p. 1514 N
7th June, 1856. EXTRACT FROM MINUTES OF NEWFOUNDLAND EXECUTIVE COUNCIL.
See page 1283, infra. N
PRENDERGAST'S REPORT ON COLLECTION OF REVENUE (PROTESTS; LONG REPORT).
COLONIAL OFFICE RECORDS 197/21. JOURNAL OF THE ASSEMBLY. Appendix.
H.M. Hired Brigantine “Charles,”
1st September, 1856.
I have the honour to acquiant you, for the information of His Excellency the Governor, that on my arrival on the Coast of Labrador, I proceeded to Battle Harbour, and requested the agent of Messrs. T. & D. Slade to report and enter the several vessels consigned to their establishment the past season—as well as the Brig “John & Thomas,” which just arrived from Poole. I handed him the Proclamation of His Excellency the Governor. In reply he stated that his present instructions did not warrant him either to give the information I required, or pay duties. . . . About fifteen years since a similar demand was made by the Governor of Newfoundland; the parties interested in the trade on the coast of Labrador, applied to the Imperial authorities by petition and otherwise on the subject, since which no demand was made by the Governor of Newfoundland. It was considered the right then asserted to collect duties on the coast was abandoned. It was therefore why he had no instructions relative to that subject; previous to my arrival, he became acquainted that it was the determination of the Government to collect the duties on the coast of Labrador, which he immediately communicated to his employers by way of New York, asking instructions to guide him in the matter. In reply to some questions put to me touching the representation of the coast of Labrador, in the Legislative Assembly of Newfoundland, and providing for the religious and moral education of the people, I simply stated that the object of my visit was to see, and enquire, and to report, and that I felt assured the Government was most anxious that the population residing on the coast should enjoy and participate in as full a manner, its benefits as any people under its government.
The schooner “Hibernia” of Halifax—Sullivan, master and owner of the vessel and cargo, put in the same evening; I acquainted him with the object of my calling and made the usual demand, he objected to comply on the grounds that the Proclamation was issued after he had disposed of the greater part of his cargo; he has been engaged in that trade for the last
seven years; there was notice at the Customs of Halifax of an intention of the Government of Newfoundland to exact duties on the coast of Labrador; he was desirous to give no opposition, but until it became general, he considered the demand unreasonable.
At Henly Harbor, Mr. Kennedy has an establishment chiefly engaged in the salmon fishery; a schooner also belonging to him was there loaded with goods of every description, which lie intended to send bartering on the coast. I desired him to report her cargo and pay the duties. His refusal was nearly in the same terms as the one before stated.
L'Anse Sablon. I waited on the agent of Messrs. De Quetville, acquainted him with the nature of my visit and required that he would report the several vessels and cargoes which were consigned to that firm; his objections were couched in terms most respectful, similar to that of the agent at Battle Harbor; he assured me he would lay the Proclamation of His Excellency the Governor, with the Revenue Act, before his employers; there are two branches of that establishment, one at Isle au Bois, the other at Forteau, both of which are subject to and under the control of the agent at L'Anse Sablon.
The same evening the schooner “Belle Isle”—Taylor, Master, vessel and cargo owned by Daniel Cronan, Esq., of Halifax, came in; I went aboard, made the necessary demand of the master, he said he understood when at Halifax no duties were required on the Coast of Labrador; he had no instructions from the owners relative to it, he could not comply, but would not give any opposition, so that I may act as I may deem proper, stating that the chief part of his cargo was delivered on the coast above; on examination I found that nearly all the cargo was landed. I seized and marked one puncheon of molasses, two boxes manufactured tobacco, and two chests of tea, desiring to note my proceedings on his log; he said Mr. Cronan would be on the coast shortly in the schooner “Labrador,” I did not then remove the articles.
Isle au Bois. I went to the agent of Messrs. Boutiller Bros. and requested he would make entry of the shipments he received during the Spring, as well as the vessel just arrived from Liverpool; he made similar objections to the agent of Messrs. De Quitville, and informed me that their chief establishment was at Gaspe, and that there was another branch of the establishment at Forteau under the management of a nephew of the owners; he promised to communicate the object of my visit to his employers.
Forteau. I called on the agent of Messrs. De Quitville and on the agent of Messrs. Boutiller Bros., presented each a copy of the Governor's Proclamation; who said that either did not receive this season a direct importation; the same evening the schooner belonging to Mr. Cronan of Halifax came in. I went on board, stated the object of my calling to the supercargo, Mr. Pitts, a nephew of Mr. Cronan—his answer was similar to the reply of Captain Taylor of the “Belle Isle.”
L'Anse a Loup. I waited on the agent of a large establishment there, acquainted him with the particular object of my calling; he referred me for
the information and other matters I required, to Messrs. Stabb, Row & Holmwood of St. John's, Newfoundland, who were the sole owners and suppliers of the establishment.
Carrol's Cove. The expected schooner “Labrador,” of Halifax, owned by Mr. Cronan, was there at anchor. I found that Mr. Cronan was not on board, and that a change of masters took place; Captain Taylor, late of the “Belle Isle,” was then in charge of the “Labrador”; he informed me that the “Belle Isle” was then loaded with oil, skins and fur, the collection of himself and Mr. Pitts; that she went off for Halifax . . . the “Labrador” was loaded with a variety of articles; he said Mr. Cronan did not come down in the “Labrador” as he expected . . . he was not then in a better position to comply with my request than before.
Red Bay. The schooner “Endeavour” of Halifax—Capt. Flick, came in the day after I arrived; I went on board and demanded the duties on the cargo; he said he was told by his suppliers, Messrs. Allison & Co., that there were no Customs established on that coast, that no duties would be required; being under that impression, he could not at present comply, wishing me to understand that he gave no opposition, and that two other schooner. were on the coast supplied by the same merchants.
Cape Charles. I waited on Mr. Neil, to whom a vessel from Halifax had arrived; I made the customary demand, to which he replied that it was his desire and wish to comply, but as others on the coast he saw refused for one reason or the other, it could not be expected that he only should pay, more especially when all his supplies, except that cargo, was received in Newfoundland and paid the duties required; he hoped the question would shortly be settled and that all parties trading or supplying on the coast would stand equal.
Spear Harbor. The schooner “Margaret Ann” of Halifax, Drake, master, supplied by J. B. Hay, Esq., of Halifax, was in that port when I arrived. The master, in reply to my demands, said he was not bound to discharge cargo; I then said I would lock up his hatches under seal; he then made his objections, which were similar to those already stated, and that he sailed under the impression that duties would not be demanded; he was rather confirmed in that impression from the circumstances of the Officers of Customs at Halifax giving him blank certificates to be filled up and signed by persons on the coast, as no persons authorised by the Government of Newfoundland was known to them. The certificate was for the purpose of obtaining drawback, etc., etc.
St. Francis Harbor. I went over to the agent of Hunt & Henly, and required he would furnish me with a detail of the importations of that establishment during the Spring; he declined to furnish either, as he did not feel authorised by his instructions, without further communicating with his employers.
Venison Island. I called on the agent of T. & D. Slade, he said he was acting under instructions of the agent at Battle Harbor, to whom he respectfully referred me.
Indian Island. I waited on Mr. Warren, who said he knew that no one on the coast would pay the duties; he respectfully declined to do so for the preset.
Gready. I called on Mr. Lanmore, making the usual demands, who said he purchased the chief part of his supplies at St. John's, Newfoundland, which paid duty; he did so in preference to importing, to guard against disappointment; he had no objection to the demand for what he had imported, and would readily pay when, or at such times, as it may become general, saying it would cause him to put it on each article in addition to his present charge.
I called on the agent of Hunt & Henly, who said he received all his supplies from the chief establishment at Cartwright, and was under the direction of the agent there.
Lont Island. I called on the agent of Messrs. Hunt & Henly, who made a similar statement as the agent at Gready.
I expected to meet Mr. Goodridge, the agent of Messrs. Hunt & Henly's establishment at Cartwright; he left the morning of my arrival. I was anxious to meet him, being informed that Mr. Goodridge was notified by the agent of the Hudson's Bay Company, when he expected the appointment by a magistrate from the Governor of Newfoundland, requesting that he may not act thereon, and that the Company was prepared to appoint under a Commission Magistrate of Labrador. I requested Mr. Larmore to obtain from Mr. Goodridge, a copy of the said notice, for the service of the Government, believing the Company must have misunderstood the wording of the charter; the Government Commission is simply of the coast of Labrador and the islands adjacent, also Her Majesty by treaty, gave the right to the subjects of the United States to fish and go on shore and dry it on the coast.
On every application, I presented His Excellency the Governr's Proclamation, notifying each to consider and receive the Proclamation, a direct notice from the Government of Newfoundland, and its determination to collect the revenue on all goods and merchandise imported to the coast of Labrador.
Whilst on the French shore I was informed that a person named Buck, from Halifax resorts White Bay, trading; he says he enters his vessel and cargo at Green Spand, and pays the duties there. I had no opportunity of enquiring of the collector of the fact. Another named Charles Higgins of Halifax, resorts White Bay, French Shore, and each side of the coast in the Straits of Belle Isle.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) JAMES L. PRENDERGAST, J.P.
Honble. John Kent,