The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume III


Reply to Article 12.
See pp. 61-62.


For my Proceedings and, all Occurrences that have Relation to the first Eight Articles I refer your Lordships to my several Letters of the 1st of Septr 9th & 21st Octor & 7th of Novr.

Reply to Article 13.

Reply to Article 14

Reply to Article 15

Reply to Article 52

p. 934                                  C

No. 215.


THE YEAR 1764.

B.T.N.    VOL. 19.

    What is here directed is very necessary for encouraging, extending & improving the Fishery, for administering Remedies to Abuses in the Out-Ports, and for enabling the Governor to judge of and to lay before your Lordships the true State of the Fisheries and Affairs of the Government; I fully intended in Obedience thereto to have gone quite round the Island and to have visited all the Coasts, but while the French had ships of War at St Pierres it was not proper to go far from them, least they should offer any Insult or Encroachment.
    Mr Cook the Surveyor employed by the Admiralty has this Year surveyed the Coast from Greguet (which is three Leags to the So ward of Cape de Grate) round that North point of the Island as far as Point Ferrole in the Gulph, which he has executed very completely, all which Coast we had not the least knowledge of before. His Drafts are delivered into the Admiralty Board.
    Having had no Ship to spare this Year to the Northern Part of the Coast of Labrador, I have had no authentick Account about the Place mentioned in this Article by the Name of Davis's Inlet, but from the Conversation which the Moravian had with the Exquimaux Savages, as mentioned in my Letter of the 9th of Octor, and from the Description they gave of the Place they came from, it is probable they came from about that Place & I have Reason to believe none of them abide any where to the Southward of it. See more upon this Subject in Answer to the 13th & 14th Articles.
    I am not yet sufficiently informed of all Things necessary for judging where new Establishments or Forts may be useful for securing the Country or extending the Trade & Fisheries, but upon this Subject, I take leave to observe, that, as I apprehend the Security of a Fishing Colony must ever depend upon a Naval Force, (to the Support of which such a Colony is supposed greatly to contribute) to do it by Fortifications and Inhabitants would be impracticable in such a Country as Newfoundland, which abounds with more Harbours than any known Country of equal Extent, all which in that Case, should be fortified, and would require more Expence than the whole

p. 935

charge of the Navy; Yet it seems necessary to have two or three principal Posts to secure the Command of those Coasts where the Fishery is carried on. These Posts, I am of Opinion, should be sufficiently Strong to withstand a regular Attack, so long as the Season in that country will admit of such Operations by Forces to be sent that same Season from Europe & such Posts should also be so situated as to secure the Possession of a principal Harbor. No Place Answers this Description better than St John's which has many natural Advantages beyond any Port in the Country for its Security, and the same Expence that has been laid out upon it, for ineffectually securing it (for it never stood an Attack but was taken without Resistance) would have made it impregnable to ten times the Force that ever has been sent against it.
    Having said a fishing Colony is best defended by a Naval Force, which is supposed to spring from it, I take leave to add my humble Opinion, that under the present Management of our extensive one at Newfoundland it does not afford that annual Return of Seamen to England that is generally imagined, not near the Number it might, nor scarce above half the Number the French have from their limited Fishery which I have explained in my Answer to the 16th Article & as appears by the general Scheme of the French and English Fisheries for this Year sent herewith.
    Upon the Coast of Labradore, which is inhabited by Savages, some Posts, I judge, will be necessary as well for introducing a Trade with them for Fur &c. as for securing our People from their Attacks and Plunder & I am informed those inhabiting the Coast within the Streights of Bell-Isle are a docile People much inclined to traffic; those along the Coast Northward without the Streights have never been in Friendship with any Nation, but from the Interview had with them this Year, as mentioned in my letter of the 9th of Octor I am of Opinion a friendly Intercourse might be easily introduced & I would recommend an advanced Post as far to the Northward as possible for a trucking Place, where those Savages may be stopt from coming further Southward by supplying them there with what they want or will be most useful to them & we may procure what we want of them and thus keep the rest of the Coast open & free for our Adventurers to try whether it affords a Fishery which I have good Reasons for believing it does, both for Cod & Whale, & also for Seal which is said to be here in great Abundance. See more on this head in Answer to the last & next Article.
    The whole Trade for Fur & the Fishery, upon that part of the Coast lying within the Streights of Bell-Isle, are carried on by a few Merchants from Quebec, who having had Grants from General Murray for exclusive Priviledges for that whole Coast, have prevented any other Adventurers that way. They employ none but Canadians in that Trade and Canadean Vessels having Passes from the Governor of Quebec to come to the Fisheries, I fear will facilitate a clandestine Trade between them and the French at Newfoundland, by which French Produce. will be introduced amongst them, and the French will by mixing themselves with them preserve an Influence & Correspondence with both Canadians and Indians, & get their Furs.
    No Aliens, or Strangers have had any Communication with the Indians,

p. 936

or Savages in this Government this Year, except what proceeded from Accident with the French at Quirpont as mentioned in my Letter of the 9th of Octor For further Particulars of what is required in this Article I refer your Lordships to my Letters of 1th Septr & 9th Octor, & to my Answer to the last Article, to which I have only to add that I met with a New-England Man who some Years ago made several Voyages in a small Vessel along the Coast of Labradore, as far as the Place called Davis's Inlet, he describes it, as affording many excellent Harbors, both on the Main & in Islands, which abound with almost incredible Quantities of Cod, in Size, equal to four of those caught on the Banks of Newfoundland (some of which I have seen) also abundance of Seals & Whales. He trafficked with the Indians for a great deal of Whale-bone, and says they are not so cruel and barbarous as they have been represented. I have a Sketch of the Coast, which though rough and incorrect (being only an Eye Draught) may be of some Use, as it Marks the Situation of some good Harbors, and Stations, where he never failed to meet with the Savages.
    The Whale Fishery, in the Gulph of St Lawrence, is very considerable & is wholly carried on by New England Men; this Year they have had good Success & have employed about 100 Sail of Sloops & Schooners from 50 to 100 Tons each. They commonly go two in Partnership & from the best Accounts I could collect I understood they generally got as much Oil as loaded one of the Vessels, besides Whale-bone. After the Whale Fishery is over the other Vessel goes upon the Cod Fishery.
    The Sea Cow Fishery at the Magdalen Islands is carried on by one Mr Gridley of New England, who, having had a Grant of those Islands from General Murray, has prevented any other Persons improving that Fishery. He employs in it only a few New England Men, the rest being French Men, who do not acknowledge themselves to be the King's Subjects, & refuse to take the Oaths of Allegiance, of which I informed your Lordships in my letter of the 21th of Octor.
    The Indians on the Coast of Labradore within the Streights, traffick, I am informed, with a good deal of Fur, the principal Post for which having been granted by Gen1 Murray to particular People, I find they monopolise that Trade & have prevented other People either from Newfoundland or directly from Britain, going thither. Very little Traffick has been had this year, with the Esquimaux Savages without the Streights. For farther Particulars relative to these People, and for Measures for establishing a Trade and Fishery on that Coast I refer your Lordships to my Letters of the 1th of Septr & 9th of Octor & also to my Remarks on the 13th & 14th Articles.



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