The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume III

[8 June, 1763.]

[8 June, 1763.]

Page 904
sponsored by
Sandi & Ken Tulk,

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sponsored by
Violet Moores,
Mount Pearl,

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No. 201.


WHITEHALL, June 8 1763.   
    MY LORD,—Having, in Obedience to His Majesty's Commands, signified to Us by your Lordship's Letter of the 5th of May last, prepared Our Representation upon such of the Points, thereby referr'd to Our Consideration, as appear to Us the most pressing. We beg leave to inclose Our said Representation to your Lordship, & desire you will be pleased to lay it before His Majesty.
We are                                
My Lord,                
Your Lordship's most Obedient and      
most humble Servants               

        SHELBURNE                  JOHN YORKE
        SOAME JENYNS           GEO: RICE
        ED: ELIOT                       ORWELL
        Ed BACON                      BAMBER GASCOYNE

Earl of Egremont, One of His
    Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State

Endorsed: June 8th 1763. Lords of Trade, To the Earl of Egremont,
    With an Inclosure. (Report on Acquisitions in America)
A  Nº  8.

No. 202.                              JOINT

[Enclosures in No. 201.]
[L.S.]                To the King's most Excellent Majesty.
    MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,—Having received Your Majesty's Commands, signified to Us by a Letter from the Earl of Egremont, dated May 5th 1763, to take into Consideration, without loss of Time, those Articles of the late Definitive Treaty of Peace, which relate to the Cessions made by France and Spain, and to report Our Opinion by what Regulations the most extensive Advantages may be derived from them, and those Advantages rendered most permanent and secure to Your Majesty's trading Subjects; And Your Majesty having further directed Us with regard to North America in general, to point out, what new Governments it may be necessary to establish, with the Form

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most proper for such Governments, and the Places most convenient for the Capitals; What Military Establishments will be sufficient for that Country; What new Forts it may be proper to erect, and what (if any) to demolish; And by what Mode of Revenue, least burthensome and most palatable, the Colonies can contribute to the Additional Expense of such Civil and Military Establishments: And Your Majesty having commanded that, particularly As to Canada and Newfoundland, after furnishing every Information in our Power relating to the Fishery, We should consider the Encroachments made by the French in this Article, contrary to the Stipulations in the Treaty of Utrecht, and give our Opinion by what Means such Encroachments may be prevented in future, and any Inconvenience which may arise from the Vicinity of St Pierre and Micquelon, may be most effectually guarded against.—That in respect to Florida, We should report upon it's Produce, the Situation of it's Harbours, and Rivers, with the Benefits which may arise from the free Navigation of the River Mississippi;—That in regard to the Islands conquered in the West Indies, and Senegal on the Coast of Africa, We should state the means which appear to Us most effectual for securing and improving the Commercial Advantages which may be derived from them;—But that upon the whole, it was Your Majesty's Pleasure (as some Time would be required to examine and deliberate on the several Points referred to Us) that We should, as soon as possible, report to Your Majesty Our Opinions on such of them as appear to Us most pressing, in order that Directions may be given without loss of Time:
    In Obedience to Your Majesty's Commands, We have taken the several Points referred to Us into our most serious Consideration, and are of Opinion that We shall best comply with Your Majesty's Intention and Directions by stating particularly the Advantages which severally result to Your Majesty's Colonies and the Commerce of Your Subjects by the Cessions stipulated in the late Treaty, and then submitting Our humble Opinion to Your Majesty of the Means, which appear to Us immediately necessary to be put in Execution for securing and improving those Advantages.
    Many of the particular Questions contained in the Reference will receive a particular Answer under one or other of those general Heads, and such as do not, We shall beg Leave, in Obedience to Your Majesty's Direction, to reserve for a future Report, when We may be better enabled to give Your Majesty Information upon such Points.
    The most obvious Advantages arising from the Cessions made by the Definitive Treaty are, The exclusive Fishery of the River St Laurence on all the Coasts in the Gulph of St Laurence and all the Islands in that Gulph. From all these Fisheries Your Majesty's Subjects were hitherto entirely excluded; partly by the express Stipulations of the Treaty of Utrecht by which Cape Breton, St Johns and the other Islands in the Gulph were dismember'd from Nova Scotia and ceded to France, partly by the Claim immediately set up by France to the whole Southern Shore of the Gulph under pretence that it had never made a part of Nova Scotia, but had always been considered as a seperate District of New France. In consequence of

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this Claim and of the Possession instantly taken of that Territory by the French, which till the late War they were permitted to retain, they established their most Valuable Fisheries in the different and most convenient Bays of that Country, as well in respect to Catching and Curing of Fish and fitting out Boats, Shallops and other Vessels, as to raising Provisions at the Cheapest Rates. From all these Circumstances this Fishery upon the Coasts of the Gulph and of the Islands in the Gulph of St Laurence, well known by the Name of La Peche Sedentaire, has ever since been deemed one of the most valuable parts of the French Fishery and We have reason to conclude from the Spirit and Industry which Your Majesty's Subjects have shown ever since the Reduction of Louisbourg that it will become equally valuable in their Hands, especially when We consider that, the Fishery of the River St Laurence consisting of Whales, Seals, Sea-Cows &ca has been in the short Period since the taking of Quebec, carried to a much greater Extent by your Majesty's Subjects, than ever it was by the French, during their Possession of Canada.
    This Claim, and the Possession in consequence of it, of the whole Southern Coast of the Gulph of St Laurence, from the Streights of Canceau to Cape Roziere, at the Mouth of the River, appears to Us to have been the chief Encroachment made by the French in Violation of the Stipulations in the Treaty of Utrecht; But the Monopoly of the Fishery which they endeavoured to establish upon this Encroachment was greatly strengthened by other Circumstances. By suffering the whole of Nova Scotia (the Fort of Annapolis excepted) to remain entirely in the Possession of French Inhabitants from the Treaty of Utrecht to the Year 1749, Your Majesty's Subjects were discouraged and prevented from availing themselves of the advantageous and abundant Fishery which might have been carried on upon that part of the Coast of Nova Scotia expressly and exclusively reserved to them in the Treaty of Utrecht, for the french constantly excited the Indians to disturb the Fishermen that resorted thither; And by their Possession of the whole Coast of Labrador, they not only carried on an extensive Trade with the Esquimeaux Indians in Oyl, Furs &ca. (in which they allowed Your Majesty's Subjects no Share) but by the Vicinity of the Eastern Part of that Coast, to that part of Newfoundland, (where a permissive Right of drying their Fish, only during the Fishery Season was granted by the Treaty of Utrecht) They assumed in some Measure an Exclusive Right to the Navigation in the Streights of Bellisle.
    These several Encroachments, will, We apprehend, entirely cease, on the one Hand, by the compleat Settlement of Your Majesty's Colony of Nova Scotia, according to it's true and ancient Boundaries, and on the other by the Annexation of the Labrador Coast to the Government of Newfoundland, and by the faithfull Execution of those Instructions, which Your Majesty has been pleased to give to Your Governor of that Island, With respect to the Islands of St Pierre and Miquelon, We do not apprehend that any great Advantages can result to the French Fishery, or great Inconvenience to that of Your Majesty's Subjects by the Possession of them according to the Terms of the Treaty; We do not imagine they are fitted to restore or revive that Branch which the French call La Peche Sedentaire, and of which they have

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been deprived by the Cessions, not only as these Islands are without Wood, either for Firing or for any sort of Naval Construction, but as they are utterly incapable of producing Provision sufficient for the Consumption of any considerable Number of Inhabitants. And as to any Conveniences of Drying and Curing such Fish upon those Islands, as may be caught upon the Banks of Newfoundland during the Banking Season, It appears, by what Information We have had, that the best Fish so caught may be earlier and more conveniently dryed upon that part of Newfoundland, where a permissive Right for so doing during the Season was granted as well by the Treaty of Utrecht, as by the late Treaty. It seems, therefore, only to remain, that proper Precautions be taken against any Contraband Trade, which may be carried on from those Islands by any of the Ships of Your Majesty's Subjects trading thither or otherwise. To prevent which Your Majesty's Governor of Newfoundland should be instructed to employ the utmost Vigilance with regard to all such Trade during his Continuance upon the Station, and to give express Directions to the Officers of the Garrisons and the Magistrates in their several Departments that in his Absence they should have the utmost Attention to this Object, and to put the Laws against contraband Trade into strict Execution, for which purpose it will be necessary to establish in that Government a Court of Vice Admiralty or some other Jurisdiction competent to the Cognizance and Punishment of Breaches of the Acts of Trade.
    The next obvious Benefit acquired by the Cessions made to your Majesty is the Fur & Skin Trade of all the Indians in North America. The first of these Articles before the present Cession, was enjoyed by the French almost entirely; The only part left in the Hands of Your Majesty's Subjects, being that carried on by the Exclusive Company of Hudson's Bay, and a very inconsiderable Quantity through the Province of New York. This Trade was acquired in virtue of the Possession which they had taken (contrary to the Stipulations of the Treaty of Utrecht) of all the Lakes in North America, communicating with the River St Laurence, tho' the circumjacent Territory avowedly belonged to the six Nations of Indians, Acknowledged by the French to be Your Majesty's Subjects in that Treaty, and by virtue of the Claim which they afterwards set up and were suffered to maintain for a long time of forcibly excluding Your Majesty's Subjects from any Navigation in those Lakes. But this Trade which the French with the utmost Industry had carried to the greatest Extent, by means of numerous well chosen Posts and Forts sufficient as well to overawe as to supply all the Indians upon that immense Continent, is now fallen entirely and exclusively into the Hands of Your Majesty's Subjects and may be secured and communicated to all Your Majesty's Colonies according to the Industry of each, by means of those Posts and Forts with proper Regulations for the Trade with the Indians, under the Protection of such a Military Force as may preserve their Tranquility, not only against Indian Incursions but be ready for their Defence against any European Attack.—The Skin Trade was Chiefly in the Hands of Your Majesty's Subjects in the Southern Colonies even previous to the Cessions, but was often disturbed and interrupted by the frequent Incursions of Indians incited by the French—

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As these Circumstances no longer exist, a great Extension and Improvement of that Article may likewise be expected.
    Another obvious Advantage of the Cession, will be the supplying of all the Indian Tribes upon the Continent of North America with European Commodities immediately through the Hands of English Traders.—This Article, if not wholly engrossed by the French, was possessed by them in the greatest Degree, and was of so much Importance that the Traders of New York chose rather to supply the Inhabitants of Canada with English Goods and Manufactures fit for the Indian Trade, than to risque the Loss of what they esteemed so valuable a Branch, by attempting a direct Trade with the Indians themselves. And this strange Principle was adopted by many of the Merchants of London, as appreared upon a Hearing on that Subject before Your Majesty's Board of Trade in 1721.
    Another Advantage attending the late Treaty is the secure settling of the whole Coast of North America, as it's produce may invite, or Convenience for Settlement may offer, from the Mouth of the Mississippi to the Boundaries of the Hudson's Bay Settlements, with the whole Variety of Produce which is capable of being raised in that immense Tract of Sea Coast, either by the Industry of Emigrants from Europe, or from the Overflowing of Your Majesty's ancient Colonies—previous to the late War, Nothing is more certain than that many of Your Majesty's ancient Colonies appeared to be overstock'd with Inhabitants, occasioned partly from an extremely increasing Population in some of those Colonies, whose Boundaries had become too narrow for their Numbers, but chiefly by the Monopoly of Lands in the Hands of Land Jobbers from the extravagant and injudicious Grants made by some of Your Majesty's Governors, whereby a great many of Your Majesty's industrious Subjects were either forced into Manufactures, being excluded from planting by the high Price of Land (A Situation which they otherwise would have preferr'd) or forced to emigrate to the other Side of the Mountains, where they were exposed to the Irruptions of the Indians as well as the Hostilities of the French. And though, on the one Hand, Your Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia according to it's true and just Boundaries, and on the other, that of Georgia, would have contained many more of Your Majesty's Subjects than were in this disagreable Situation, and more advantageously for the Trade and Interest of Your Kingdoms, Yet the Hostilities which the French contrived to excite at first, by the Indians in their Alliance, and at last by regular Troops in Nova Scotia, and a Dread of the like Calamities on the Side of Georgia from the Indians and Spaniards, have hitherto prevented the salutary progress of these new Settlements, and the happy Consequences which otherwise might have been expected from. them.
    We have already mentioned the great Scope and Room which there is for beneficial Settlements in the Article of Fishery in Nova Scotia, another great Advantage however of the late Treaty, producing Strength to Your Kingdom and Riches to Your Subjects, is the future Supply which the new Acquisitions will afford of Naval Stores, more particularly that of masting for the Royal Navy, and of that Species of Timber and Wood commonly called



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