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No. 593.

REPORT OF THE COLLECTOR OF REVENUE ON THE COAST OF LABRADOR.



St. John's,                   
October 26th, 1864. 
SIR,
      I beg to submit the following report on the proceedings connected with the collection of duties on the coast of Labrador during the past season.

      Forteau, 23rd June.   On arrival I found that the Nova Scotia fishing vessels had not begun to make their appearance but were daily expected to arrive. Three vessels had arrived from Jersey (having come down the Straits) one to each of the mercantile firms at the place, viz.:—
Messrs. De Haume,
     ,,      Le Boutiller Bros. and
     ,,      De Quetteville & Co.
      These houses reported their vessels—the two former paid duties on their cargo; on applying to the third for duties, I was referred to the agent at Blanc Sablon. While at anchor in the harbour a vessel arrived, which on boarding, I found to be a Nova Scotia trader, and put a man on board. The next day the master entered his vessel and paid duties; by a bill on Jersey procured from one of the firms here. Two American vessels also arrived while we were at this place, the captains came on board the “Volant” and reported their vessels, at the same time expressing their satisfaction in complying with the demand for duties, saying that they would gladly pay the few shillings demanded from them, while they enjoyed the advantage offered to them by the Newfoundland Government: viz.: the protection of fisheries by a commissioner and a man of war, and the presence of a judge to administer justice and to settle differences among them. Here I had much pleasure in noticing that during the past two years in which the revenue vessel had visited the Labrador coast, where hundreds of Nova Scotia and American vessels have been constantly mixing with those of fishermen, not a single case of dispute or complaint among those fishermen has come before the court. The vessels here having all entered we proceeded to
      Blanc Sablon, 27th.   Here we found several vessels which had arrived to the several Jersey mercantile and fishing establishments, also 5 Nova Scotia fishing vessels, all of which I boarded and requested the masters to

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report. The next day it blew a gale, which prevented us from doing any business. On the following day, 29th, I visited Woody Island (Isle au Bois) and went to the establishment of Messrs. Boutiller Bros. and saw Mr. Boutiller and informed him of my business. He readily complied with my request, sent the masters of the vessels on board with manifests, bills of lading and invoices, and paid duties on all goods. The amount received from this firm this year is much less than last year, owing to short importation of spirits, viz.:—gin, and whiskey, which they imported largely last year, but which they have now abandoned altogether, on account of the imposition of duties.

      I then called upon Messrs. Fruing & Co. Mr. Fall the agent, objected to pay on the same grounds as last year, viz.: that their place of business was not within the jurisdiction of Newfoundland, the boundary line being a small brook which ran a short distance to the eastward of their premises. This, however, I showed him was an error on his part, and he afterwards entered his vessel and gave a bill for the duties (under protest).
      30th.   Visited the establishment of Messrs. De Quetville & Co. The agent Mr. Lesellem received me in a most friendly manner and expressed his readiness to pay the full amount of duties on his importations.

      I have great pleasure in noticing the honourable and straightforward manner in which this firm, by their agent, transacted their business, the entire satisfaction I experienced in dealing with them, and the readiness with which the agent paid me the large amount of duties on their goods. which was nearly double that which was paid by the same firm last year. The masters of the Nova Scotia fishing vessels, after having been repeatedly called upon to report, at length came on board, but with great reluctance, assigning as their reason for not having complied when called upon, that at the Custom House at Halifax and elsewhere, they had been led to understand that the payment of duties could not be demanded by the Collector of Labrador; and therefore they considered that they were justified in resisting, and it was not until a great deal of time and trouble had been taken to explain matters to them that they consented to pay the few shillings demanded.

      July 1st.   Passed by Forteau, saw no ships has arrived except a steamer which we were informed was a French man-of-war. Arrive at L'Anse a Loup.

      July 2nd.   Went to Pinware, where the judge held court.

      6th.   Went to Red Bay. Here the judge held Court 7th.

      11th.

      On board this vessel [Arien] I found that they had met for the purpose of deliberating on the subject of the duties, and had come to a united deter-

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mination to resist payment. Being anxious to arrive at an amicable settlement (the number I had to contend with being so great) I produced and read the Royal Gazette containing the correspondence between His Excellency the Governor and His Excellency the Administrator of the Government of Nova Scotia on the subject of the collection of duties. This had the effect of convincing a few, who complied without further opposition. The majority, however, still refused, and it was not until after repeated applications and threats as to consequences of further opposition, that they were prevailed on to report their vessels, and paid the small amounts demanded of them.

      18th.   The master came on board and entered his vessel [the Margaret]. On requesting payment of the duties, Mr. Kennedy said he had no money, but had written to Halifax to be advised how to act. I told him that as the order given by me last year had not been paid, in due course, I had now no alternative but to take a sufficient quantity of goods to pay the duties and expenses incurred, but offered to take his note of hand, payable on my return from the northward. This he would not consent to, when, having given him sufficient time to consider, and he still refusing, I ordered the “Volant” alongside and had two puncheons of molasses taken on board, when he came and begged of me not to take the molasses, offering to give me half the amount of duties in cash, and his note of hand for the remainder, which I accepted.
      A vessel from Canada came in, which on boarding, I found had been entered and duties paid at Blanc Sablon to Mr. Knight.
      21st.

      At Battle Harbor we found two vessels which had arrived at Messrs. T. & D. Slade, and a number of Newfoundland fishing vessels. The next day I called on the agent of Messrs. Slade, Mr. Bendell, who sent the masters on board to enter, produce invoices, etc. and to pay the duties on the goods by a bill on Poole. The importations to this firm show a great falling off from those of last year, which I remarked to the agent; he accounted for it by saying that in consequence of the death of Mr. Slade, sen., changes in the Newfoundland freight were spoken of as likely to take place, that the supplies usually sent to their establishment at Venison Tickle had been altogether stopped, and that a large quantity of dutiable goods had been imported into Battle Harbor this year from their establishment at Twillingate and Fogo, where duties had been paid.
23rd.  VisitedSpear Harbour,
 Salt Point,
Murray's Harbor,
Petty Harbor, and
Seal Bight,
and finding in these places none but Newfoundland fishing vessels, proceeded to

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      Francis Harbor, 24th.    The next day I visited the house of Messrs. Hunt & Henly. The agent Mr. Hunt, gave me an account of the goods imported by them (the vessels having left Francis Harbor when we arrived and paid duties by bills on London. The amount was less than paid by this establishment last year, owing to the importation of molasses and other articles from St. John's, duty paid).
      At Cariboo, Williams Harbor and Francis Harbor Bight, saw none but fishing vessels from Newfoundland.

      2nd [August].   At Rocky Bay, we got an Indian pilot.
      3rd.   Arrived at Indian Tickle.
      4th.  At Round Island, Messrs. Hunt & Henly have an establishment. I called on the agent, Mr. Goodridge, who reported the vessels that had arrived, and paid duties on the goods. There is a considerable decrease in the amount collected here this year as compared with last, which Mr. Goodridge explained by stating that they had imported nearly all their supplies from St. John's this year, and stated further that owing to the failing in the salmon and cod fisheries, the importations next year would be shorter still. He produced no manifests, bills of lading or invoices (saying he had none) of goods imported in the vessels that had left, he gave me only an account of his own, which I was obliged to accept; and I regret to say that the manner in which he acted in this particular, contrasted most unfavourably with that of other merchants whom I had visited, and who were similarly situated.
      Here we entered 6 Nova Scotia fishing vessels.
      At Cartwright we found the schooner St. Andre from Quebec, consigned to Messrs. Hunt & Henly, with part cargo for the Hudson's Bay Company to be landed at Rigoulette. Hunt & Henly having paid the duties on their part I allowed the vessel to proceed.

      6th.   Independent Harbor.— Found 12 Nova Scotia fishing vessels, some of which had entered at Blanc Sablon. I requested the masters of the rest to go on board and report, but it was not until I had detained the “Volant” for two days that they could be brought to comply. One of them, however, was determined to resist, if possible, seeing which I put a man on board. The crew threatened to throw him overboard, when I put a second man on board. The next day I boarded the vessel, the captain persisted in refusing to report, and the crews of the other vessels alongside, kept up a shout of “Throw him (meaning me) overboard!” I then proceeded to seize the salt, when the master at length consented to pay duties. Here I wish to bring under notice a statement made by a Mr. Smith, captain of one of the Nova Scotia vessels, confirmed by his brother, in the course of conversation with them on the subject of the collection of duties, which was to the effect that Mr. John Freeman, Customs Officer at Liverpool, N.S., had directed them “not to pay the duties, to take no notice of the Collector and not allow him to go on board.” This announcement I took down in writing and read

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over to them, which they assented to, and gave this as their reason for refusing to comply with my demands.

      11th.   Arrived at Rigoulette, where the Hudson's Bay Company have an establishment. A few hours afterwards the “St. Andrew” arrived. The agent here, Mr. McKensie, being subordinate to Mr. Smith, the head agent who resides at N.W. River, would riot undertake responsibility of paying the duties, but immediately dispatched a boat to inform Mr. Smith of the arrival of the “St. Andrew,” and also of my being at Rigoulette awaiting his answer respecting the duties.
      Having allowed sufficient time for the boat to go up and return, and Mr. Smith not arriving, I decided on proceeding to the N.W. River. This place is at the head of Esquimaux Bay, at a distance of about 90 miles from Rigoulette. Not being able to procure a pilot, and the captain being unwilling to take the vessel there, I was under the necessity of going in the vessel's gig. On arriving I was met by Mr. Smith, who without hesitation, gave me a bill on the Company for the amount of duties, saying that it was not their intention to present any opposition to the payment of duties, the Act having received the Royal assent. I then left him and returned to Rigoulette, after being absent six days.
      31st.   At Indian Harbor, is a place of business belonging to Mr. Norman, but the goods had been imported from St. John's. This is the most northern part which we can visit, and we accordingly started on our way back.
      September 2nd.—At Grady is the establishment of Messrs. King & Lamour. Called on Mr. Lamour, who said that they had imported their supplies from St. John's. The captain of their vessel, who was present, produced a clearance from St. John's. I told Mr. Lamour that I had been informed that goods had been imported for him in Messrs. Hunt & Henly's vessel (this vessel had landed her cargo and left Grady). This he admitted, but said that “the goods had been disposed of, that he did not expect to be paid for them, and that he would not pay a penny of duties.” There being no means of enforcing payment, I could do nothing. This was an open and avowed breach of the law and defiance of her officers on the part of one who is entrusted by Her Majesty with the administration of peace, and whose example will readily be made a plea by others for committing similar unlawful acts.


      12th.   At Sizes Harbor. I boarded a merchant vessel. and found on board, in addition to salt and fishing tackle, a cutting machine, presses and boilers, to be used for manufacturing herring oil. The master reported and paid duty. Also collected duties, from the master of a vessel from Canada, on herring barrels. The master of a Nova Scotia fishing vessel which we found here, at first resisted, but on seeing me determined, at length complied.

[1927lab]

 


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