The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume III

[11 Nov.,

No. 1.
Vide Capt. Cookesley's Records, 1816.

No. 3.
Vide Records of Capt. Robinson.

p. 1380                                         N

No. 485.



No. 59.
Fort Townshend, St. John's,            
Newfoundland, 11th Nov. 1820.  
      In reference to your Lordship's dispatch of the 4th Decem. 1819 transmitting the copy of a letter from Viscount Chetwynd enclosing an application * from Philip Beard & Co. of Dartmouth praying for a specific Grant of a Fishing Establishment of which they have long been in possession on the Coast of Labrador, and desiring I will report to your Lordship my opinion upon the circumstances of the case.
      I have the honor to report that Messrs. Beard & Co. appear to have become possessed of the fishing establishment in question which is one of considerable extent in the manner they have set forth. That finding in the year 1816 their fishing ground was interfered with by vessels from the United States and Nova Scotia, they applied for redress to Capt. Cookesley of His Majesty's Ship Hazard who had been appointed to hold a Surrogate Court on that Coast, and who issued an order of which the enclosure No. 1 is a copy, this however was disregarded, and I accordingly directed Captain the Honble. J. Gordon in the year 1819 to make particular enquiry into the circumstances of the case, and to inform himself how far the order of Captain Cookesley, while it afforded protection to one party might not be prejudicial to the interests of the fishery in general, always keeping in view that regulations for the conduct of a salmon fishery must necessarily differ materially from those applicable to a general cod fishery.
      The result of these enquiries will be found in enclosure No. 2, and I was further informed that Messrs. Beard & Co. had again experienced annoyance from a Master of a Nova Scotia Vessel of the name of Jennings who however had quitted the Bay before Capt. Gordon's arrival there.
*                    *                    *                    *
      Your Lordship is aware that the Laws enacted for regulating the Fisheries and trade of the Island of Newfoundland do not extend to the Coast of Labrador although the Government of the latter is included with the former

* Printed in Part VII, p. 1208.

p. 1381

in His Majesty's Commission. The fisheries on the Labrador have therefore as appears by the records in this office been regulated by Proclamations and orders issued from time to time by the Governor either as the necessity of the case required or from direct instructions under the King's Sign Manual or communicated through one of His Majesty's Secretaries of State and which have generally tended to encourage Ship fishery and adventurers from England in preference to any other class of His Majesty's Subjects with the obvious view of promoting the increase of Seamen. These orders and Proclamations were always (until very lately) considered to carry with them the force and effect of law, and Messrs. Beard & Co. have in their Petition given a true copy of one issued by Governor Shuldham in the year 1775 peculiarly applicable to their case.
      Under these considerations and with the precedents before me, I this year issued an order containing certain regulations for the Salmon fishery with more particular reference to that of Sandwich Bay a copy of which will be found marked H in the collection of papers No. 4 and directed Captain Robinson of His Majesty's Ship Favorite to proceed early to that station for the purpose of publishing the same, and of settling by his authority of Surrogate any differences that might arise. On his arrival at Sandwich Bay Mr. Beard. again complained of the interruption given to him by Jennings against whom he instituted an action for damages. The trial of which and the judgment given by the Surrogate will be found in enclosure No. 3.
      The defendant Jennings being dissatisfied came to St. John's and instituted an action against P. Beard & Co. for supposed damages which was tried in the Supreme Court, a copy of the proceedings in this case is also marked No. 4.
      It would appear that the Chief Justice in the judgment he pronounced has considered the proclamations of the Governor as not binding, although that issued by Governor Shuldham was expressly to the point in question viz,—“the encouragement and security of persons possessed of Establishments for carrying on a Salmon fishery, who should comply with the conditions therein specified of sending a Ship or Ships annually from England to be employed in the Cod fishery” and issued in pursuance of the King's pleasure signified by the Earl of Dartmouth, and as the parties in this case have appealed from the judgment to His Majesty in Council I have considered it my duty to transmit all these proceedings to your Lordship, and to solicit such instructions for my future guidance, as His Majesty's Government may be of opinion the case required.
I have the honor to be with great respect, My Lord,          
Your Lordship's Most obedient humble servant,  
The Right Honble. The Earl Bathurst K.G., &c., &c., &c.



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