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PETITION OF NEWFOUNDLAND MERCHANTS FOR A LABRADOR COURT (1845).
[EEXTRACT FROM JOURNAL OF HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, NEWFOUNDLAND, 1845, p. 100.]
Thursday, April 3, 1845.
The Hon. Mr. Noad by direction of the Governor presented to the House a petition from William Gordon & others, Shipowners, Shipmasters & Planters, trading from Newfoundland to the Coast of Labrador setting forth:
That no fewer than 200 sail of vessels annually proceed from Conception Bay, St. John's and other parts of Newfoundland to the Coast of Labrador to prosecute the Cod & Salmon fisheries: that these vessels employ at least 5000 hands, supported by a heavy capital furnished by merchants & outfitters.
The petitioners have found their houses, fishing rooms, flakes, stages and oilcasks, which have been provided at heavy outlay, destroyed by the winter residents. They have no redress whatever, there being no magistrate, not even a constable on the whole coast of Labrador.
The petitioners, always lamenting the abolition of the late Labrador Court, pray His Excellency to constitute a Court of Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction for the Coast of Labrador, with power to try and decide in a summary way, all suits and complaints of a civil nature arising on the Coast of Labrador & Islands adjacent thereto; with an appeal to the Northern Circuit Court, in all Conception Bay cases (from whence three fourths of the trade is conducted), and to the Central Circuit Court in all St. John's cases. It would be advisable that the said Court should have a criminal jurisdiction in a summary way concurrent with the jurisdiction as at present exercised in practice by the Magistrates in Newfoundland.