p. 1196 JOINT
GOVERNOR HOLLOWAY TO LORD CASTLEREAGH.
RECORD BOOK, ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND. Volume 20, page 113.
Isis at Spithead,
18th Nov. 1808.
Having this Year had more time to examine and reflect on the Observations made by my two Predecessors, together with the pointed Remarks made by the Lords of Privy Council on the subject of the State of Newfoundland, which were communicated to me on my appointment to that Government, I cannot but lament that it was ever recommended to His Majesty's Ministers by my Predecessors to grant Leases of Land on that Island: it was striking at the Root of the Law which had for so many Years regulated this Fishery as a Nursery for Seamen, and meant to discountenance Residency; the great and improper Increase of which tends to Colonization; it likewise gives the Inhabitants a kind of Sanction, to claim from Occupancy, Lands that are no longer used for the Fishery, for which purpose alone they received their Grants from the different Governors, agreeably to His Majesty's Instructions; consequently can have no legal Right to sell, mortgage, lease and transfer, as is now become a daily Practice. This subject requires most serious Consideration, and I shall be happy to meet their Lordships on it whenever it may suit their Conveniency.—This Island is utterly incapable of raising sufficient Food for its own Consumption, and the Inhabitants will most probably look where they ought not for Supplies. I have read with great Attention the Remarks made on my Predecessors' Observations, by the Lords of Council for Trade and Foreign Plantations, and am fully convinced that they are perfectly correct in their Opinion whenever the Ancient System is departed from and Colonization encouraged.
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If it is their Lordships' intention (and I am every day more and more convinced of its propriety,) to annex the Coast of Labrador to the Government of Newfoundland, as heretofore, it will be necessary to include it in the new Judicature Act.—At present the most atrocious Deeds may be committed, and the Offenders go unpunished, Irregularities being constantly practized; as also by the Americans who frequent that Coast, which I have no Authority to take Cognizance of, although only to be detected by my Cruizers; Quebec being too remote for the Establishment of any Civil or other Authority.—The number of Vessels from the United States frequenting or fishing on the
Coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, have been but few in comparison with former Years; the number this Year not having exceeded two or three hundred.
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I have paid out of the Lease Money the several sums as directed by Your Lordship's letter dated 10th June last, and a stated Account with Copy of the said Letter is herewith annexed in Appendix C, several Persons are in Arrear for Lease Rents alluding that they have not yet inclosed the Ground, which till done is a Plea for non payment, such an Excuse having been accepted by my Predecessor.—How far this may be allowable, and what steps should be taken, I have for Your Lordship's Decision, and further Instructions thereon.
I have the honor to be, My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant,
The Right Honorable
Viscount Castlereagh, &c &c &c.