REPRESENTATION TO HIS MAJESTY UPON THE COMPLAINTS AND PROPOSITIONS OF THE COURT OF FRANCE RESPECTING THE NEWFOUNDLAND FISHERY.
PRIVY COUNCIL 1/51, UNBOUND PAPERS.
See also 194/16. T. 35. 13th April, 1765.
16 April, 1765.
Ent. H. 369.
To the King's most Excellent Majesty.
May it please your Majesty.
In obedience to Your Majesty's commands signified to us by the Earl of Halifax, one of your Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, in his lordship's letter of the 8th instant, we have taken into consideration the subject matter of a letter to his Lordship from his Excellency the French ambassador and of several papers therein referred to, containing complaints and propositions on the part of the court of France respecting the French fishery on the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulph of St. Lawrence; and having received from Commodore Palliser, to whom your Majesty was graciously pleased to entrust the superintendency of the Newfoundland fishery and the government of that island, the last year, such information as he is able to give us respecting the facts stated in these papers, we humbly submit to your Majesty the observations which have occurred to us upon each complaint and proposition, in the order thay have placed in the Comte de Guerchy's letter;
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The sixth and last head of complaint contained in the French Ambassador's letter is, that a captain of a certain French vessel was forbid by your Majesty's Governor from having commerce with the Eskimaux Indians.
It is difficult to conceive upon what grounds or opinion or with what view this circumstance, admitting it to be as it is stated by the French Ambassador, could have been introduced as subject matter of complaint, for we are unwilling to suppose it is meant to insinuate or introduce a claim on the part of France to carry on commerce and establish connections with the inhabitants of that territory, the sole property and possession of which is in your Majesty; but whatever may have been the view or opinion of the court of France on this occasion it does appear to us that under this circum-
stance of clear territorial right in your Majesty, your Majesty's Governor was not only justified, but is to be commended for having forbid the subjects of France to trade or treat with these Indians, which might have introduced a connection prejudicial to your Majesty's rights and disadvantageous to the commerce of these kingdoms; and we are humbly of opinion that it ought on no account to be admitted or allowed, as is declared by the French Ambassador that your Majesty's Governor has not a right by his own authority to interpose his jurisdiction in the case of any foreigners whatever who may resort to the coasts of a country the sole property and possession of which is in your Majesty or who shall attempt to establish a communication or commerce with the inhabitants of it who are under the protection of and dependent upon your Majesty.
As to the particular fact alluded to in the French Ambassador's paper your Majesty's Governor has informed us that a Frenchman named Galliot offered a considerable sum of money to one Capt. Thompson one of your Majesty's officers to permit him to go to the coast of Labrador and though his offer was treated with the contempt it deserved and he was denied and strictly forbid to go yet he did send his boats over and trafficked with the savages and even invited them over to Newfoundland to the great terror of all the English and French fishermen; which does so far alter the case from the state of it given by the Court of France as to make it a real and important foundation of complaint on the part of your Majesty and gives your Majesty just cause to demand that satisfaction which the Comte de Guerchy says in his letter the Court of France is well disposed to give in the case of any complaints that may be made against the French.
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(5) That they [the French] have left a ship at New Ferrole where she is hauled up and secured for the winter, and her stores, materials and effects are deposited in storehouses erected there for that purpose, and that there is no doubt, but that the crew belonging to her is imployed on the coast of Labrador to collect furs from the Indians.
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10. That from the North part of Newfoundland the French fishermen resort to, and fish at the island Belle Isle on the coast of Labrador.
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All which is most humbly submitted.
April 16, 1765.