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No. 337.

PETITION OF PHILIP BEARD AND CO. TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE REGENT IN COUNCIL.



THE HUMBLE PETITION OF PHILIP BEARD AND CO.
OF DARTMOUTH.
Sheweth—
      That your Petitioners are proprietors of a Fishing Establishment situate at Sandwich Bay in Lat. 55 upon the Coast of Labrador.

      That finding their rights envaded by transient Vessels from Nova Scotia and the United States no Kings Ships having been stationed upon that Coast for the protection of Persons who like your Petitioners have Permanent establishments there since the Summer of 1816, and that your Petitioners will therefore be obliged to abandon their establishments and Fishing Trade unless protection be afforded them.

      Your Petitioners humbly beg leave to bring the subject under your Royal Highness consideration, and deeming it necessary to this end to state to your Royal Highness the origin and progress of their said Fishery at Sandwich Bay, and the grounds of their exclusive right thereto, your Petitioners most respectively beg leave to represent that by the Act 10 and 11 Wm. 3 Cap. 25 it was declared within the realm of. England or the Dominions thereunto belonging to Trade and Fish freely at and about the Island of Newfoundland and the adjoining Islands and that aliens or Strangers should be excluded from such trade and Fishery.

      That by the Act 49 Geo. 3, Cap. 27, Labrador was annexed to and made part of the Government of Newfoundland and remains so at present time.

      That in the Year 1770 Mr. George Cartwright sailed from England and took possession of several Posts on the Coast of Labrador for the purpose of prosecuting the Cod Salmon and Seal Fisheries, and was the first Settler there.

      That the said George Cartwright having contracted a friendship and resided some time with the Esquimaux Islands during which time he had several Vessels employed in the Fisheries, he ultimately settled in Sandwich Bay (the spot now occupied by your Petitioners) and built convenient Houses on the different Rivers in the Bay, and also at its entrance for the various purposes of the Fishery.

      That in order to prevent himself from interruption the said Cartwright in the Year 1772 made application to the Right Honorable the Earl of

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Dartmouth, then President of the Board of Trade, and in consequence a proclamation was issued the following Fishing Season whereof the following is a copy.

VIDE RECORDS, Vol. 5, page 167.

      That protected by said proclamation Mr. Cartwright continued to enjoy the peaceable possession of His Salmon Fishery in the Rivers at Sandwich Bay, his cod fishery at the entrance thereof, and his sealing posts on the usual Coasts, strictly conforming to the stipulations of having his shipping every Season from England and returning thither at the end of it, leaving a sufficient number of Artificers and Men to protect his possessions from the Natives and to prepare necessaries of Wood and for repairing the Stages in the Spring.

      That during the American War his said Settlements were plundered by the Crew of the Boston Privateer Minerva, when Mr. Cartwright's property to a large amount being carried off he was ruined and became a Bankrupt.

      That upon this occasion the said Settlements at Sandwich Bay were purchased of his assignees by Messrs. Noble Pinson and Co. of Dartmouth who thereupon rebuilt the Warehouses necessary for the Fishery and continued to carry on the Fishery regularly until the l ear 1811, and 1812. When the Partnership being dissolved the Settlements at Sandwich Bay were assigned to Messrs. Noble and Hunt as their part of the concern who continued the Fishery until the Year 1816, when the Establishment was sold to your Petitioners, and who have since annually carried on Fishing thereat as required by the Proclamation of the Year 1773. That in the Month of July, 1816, your Petitioner per Beard went out to Sandwich Bay with three Vessels and about 80 men, in order to prosecute the Fishery when he found that a Mr. McPherson had arrived from Nova Scotia and had taken possession of part of the Bay, and was Fishing for Salmon, and preventing the Salmon from taking the usual course to the Rivers which had been for so long a period uniformly Fished by your Petitioners predecessors. Your Petitioners also found that a Vessel had arrived from Halifax in Nova Scotia.

      That However His Majesty's Ship “Hazard,” commanded by Capt. Cookesley (who had appointed Surrogate for Labrador Coast by the Governor of Newfoundland) having arrived out soon after a representation Was made to him of these encroachments upon your Petitioners Fishery, whereupon Capt. Cookesley compelled the Vessel to desist, but did not think himself authorised to send away Mr. McPherson, but previously to leaving the Harbour issued certain general instructions wherein it was declared that no strangers are to lay down their Nets within three miles on either side the Boundaries of Rivers Fished by the proprietors that is, so long as the said proprietors do actually Fish the same.

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      That notwithstanding with these directions as no King's Ships has been stationed upon the Coast since the “Hazard,” and the distance from the seat of Government at St. John's is so great as Five Hundred Miles, the rights of Your Petitioners are violated with impunity by Vessels from various parts the Masters whereof place their Nets at the Mouths of the Rivers and Bays, and thereby destroy the Salmon Fishery which is the principal object of your Petitioners in their said Establishments.

      That the consequence is that instead of the annual average of 750 Tierces of Salmon as caught prior to 1817, the quantity caught last Year was only 450 to 250 Tierces having been caught by Mr. McPherson and by Vessels from the United States and from Nova Scotia, at the very Mouths of the Rivers and Bays, and your Petitioners are therefore under the apprehension of being obliged to relinquish their Property and Fishery altogether, it being impossible for them successfully to complete with Vessels, which are neither fitted out from nor are required to bring their Cargo to Great Britain.

      Your Petitioners therefore humbly submit the matter to your Royal Highness wisdom, and earnestly solicit that protection may be afforded them and which appears to your Petitioners to be more necessary at the present time, as the first article in the Convention recently concluded with the United States considers to the Americans the liberty to take Fish of every kind on that part of the Coast of Labrador on which your Petitioners Establishment is situated, in common with the subjects of His Britannic Majesty.

      Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that protection may be afforded them by such a grant of the Settlement to your Petitioners by a specific deed (subject to the stipulations of the Proclamation of 1773) as shall enable them to enforce by Legal process a just regard to their rights and privileges as the Proprietors of the said Fishing Establishments in Sandwich Bay.

      And your Petitioners as in Duty bound will ever pray.

&c.                         &c.                         &c.

(Sgd)    C. HAMILTON.    

[1927lab]

 

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