The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume III

[3 April,



[22 April,

*I now desire to add and all other such Claimants.




p. 969                                  C

No. 233.



B.T. NEWFOUNDLD.   VOL. 18.   T. 88.

      SIR,—Having perused the Memorial presented to the Right Honble the Lords for Trade and Plantations in behalf of several Persons, Signers thereto, Settlers in the Province of Canada, Claiming an Exclusive right to great tracts of Coast and to the Fishery's thereon in Labrador, within my Government.—
       In Addition to what their Lordships have already before them from me upon that Head, be Pleas'd to lay before their Lordships one or two Observations upon the said Memorial.—
       Whether the Coast in Question was a dependancy or not on the Government of Canada whilst the French possess'd Quebec.
       Whether Exclusive Grants and Monopoly to Trade and Fishery's on that Coast made by French Governors are binding to the English Nation, or proper Examples for me as an English Governor to follow.—
       Whether the Coast in Question is within the Limits of Canada according to the French Governor Generals Accounts of its Bounds deliver'd in when he Capitulated for Canada.—
       Whether a Coast conquer'd and possess'd, (or of right belonging, before to the English) long before Ye Capitulation of Canada or even before the Surrender of the City of Quebec (which was the Case of this Coast) can be comprehended either in the Capitulation for Canada or that for Quebec.—
       Whether the Tenure of such Exclusive Grants (suposing the Authority had been good) as have been usually given by the French Governors and by General Murray to parts of the Coast in Question, convey a Real Estate of Vast Tracts of Coast, and.—
       Whether the said Coast in Question is not free and at His Majesty's disposal, are all matters that must be submitted to the determination of His Majesty's Ministers, I shall speak only to other parts of the Memorial.
       The Assertion of their Fishing Tackle, Utensils and Necessary's, having been Seiz'd, Burnt and destroy'd, is an Audatious attempt to impose a falsity

p. 970

on the Board, not the least thing having been Seiz'd or taken from any Man, nor any thing hapen'd to give a Colour to such an Insinuation, except the Memorial means to alude to a trifling Accident, by which a few Old Barrell Staves, belonging to Messrs Brymer and Bayne were Burnt at Charles River, which was Occasion'd by the folly and Imprudence of their own People, and no fault in any of the Kings Officers, the Circumstances of which they have been fully inform'd of by myself, nor has any one of them been the least Molested or affronted, certain I am, that they will do me the Justice to own, that such of them as have Aply'd to me, I have taken infinite Pains to give them the utmost Satisfaction in my Power, and to Encourage them to pursue the Fishery's in a Publick and fair way, and to lay aside their Schemes of Monopoly and Clandestine Trade, and find I have Succeeded with some but not with all.—
       As to the Restraints Complain'd of in the Memorial laid by me upon the Lawless Banditi Murdering Crews, resorting to that Coast from the Colony's, by which certain Punishments and Penalty's are threaten'd against Offenders, the Execution of those Restrictions and Punishments is reserved for His Majesty's Pleasure, nothing of what is therein threatened having yet been done nor intended till His Majesty's pleasure should be known.—
       I have stop'd no Lawfull Commerce of the Kings Subjects from the Plantations, but I have stop'd them Fishing for and Assisting the French Fishery, for which Fish and Assistance they are Paid with French Goods and Manufactory's.*
       As to my making Regulations for the Coast of Labradore (having receiv'd none from His Majesty or this Board) I Aprehend I had Authority to make temporary Regulations, but that General Murray had no such Authority.
       The Regulations that I did make, are (or at least I intended they should be) for the Encouragement, Improvement, and Extension of every Branch of the Fishery; most for the Benefit of the Nation in general, and of the Adventurers in Particular, by which the most industrious and most Orderly will find a Proportionable Reward.—
       Whatever Regulations His Majesty may please to make for that Coast, shall be most punctually executed according to the Comands I may receive upon that Head.—
       I Will only trouble the Board with adding, that as Mr. Murray's Plan, has had an uninterrupted tryal of three Fears, the Pernicious Effects of which has been represented by me to the Board, and as in confidence * of my having laid the Coast open and free to all the Kings Subjects, with certain Encouragements to British Adventurers in preference to others, several English Adventurers have fitted out several Ships for that Coast, at a far greater expence than those settlers from Canada at their first outset, so I most Humbly hope, my Plan with their Lordships amendments may have an Equal tryal with Mr Murray's, and as I Aprehend the true Policy of the Nation respecting Fishery's has ever been to encourage Shiping and Men from England, if an Effectual Stop is but put to all Expectations of Monopoly, Exclusive Grants and

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residence on that Coast, & some Encouragements and preferences given to British Adventurers I think I may venture to say, that in three years there will be above a Hundred Ships from Britain Employ'd upon that Coast, and that Number will be constantly increasing.
                      I am
                                  Your most Obedt
Humble Servt
London 3d April 1766.—
      To J. Pownall Esgr &c &c


No. 234.                                        C



B. T. NEWFOUNDLD   VOL. 18.   T. 89.

      MY LORDS,—Having heard the Pleadings before your Lordships, in support of Claims to certain Exclusive Rights and Possessions on the Coast of Labradore, and observing that somehow there was omitted a Paragraph of my Letter to the Secretary of State dated 21st Decr last, in Answer to one of those Claims, which Letter I requested your Lordships would admit, and that it might be farther Consider'd as Applicable to every other such Claim, which request I again repeat, because all the Claimants were, at first, under Mr Murrays Sole Authority, independent of any Old French Claims; the Paragraph of my Letter that was omitted, and which I request may be read and Considered at your Board, and that your Lordships Sentiments thereupon may be set forth in your Report is as follows:—
            How far Mr Philibot* may as an Individual be considered as       an Object of the Governments Consideration, I shall only take       leave to Observe, that if he has Paid any thing for the Grants he       Obtain'd, it may be a matter of Consideration whether he ought       or not to be remburs'd* that Sum.—

      To this I would now Add, for your Lordships Information and Considerations that I have very Good Grounds for Intimating, that those extraordinary

p. 972

and unlawfull Grants of Posts, were not Obtain'd Gratis; whatever Injury may be suppos'd to have been done, by annulling and setting aside the Old French Claims (if any thing is to be admitted under them) has not been done by me, who was Ignorant of them, but by Mr Murray who knowingly did Annul and set them aside, for reasons which it seems he has given your Board some Account of.
      If Particular People, by acting under Mr Murrays particular Grants, have suffer'd Inconveniencies or disappointments, they may Possibly be entitled to some satisfaction on that Account, but not from the Government I hope on Account of what I have done, or from me, but from Mr Murray, who took upon him to make those Grants without any Power Vested in him either by his Commission, by his Instructions, or by the Laws to Authorize his so doing.
      Mr Murrays Proceedings and mine, seem to have been influanced* by very different Motives, and will produce very different Effects, Mr Murrays Promoting the very great Profit of a very few Individuals, without the least Authority for so doing, and thereby Injuriously precluding all the rest of the Kings Subjects.—
      My Proceedings in regard to myself, have produced me much trouble and Vexation, and some Expence, but not the smallest Pecuniary Advantage whatever, the Object of them is to lay open to all His Majesty's Subjects, a New and extensive Field for the great Increase of Fishery, Trade and Seamen, which will prove of Immense Advantage to this Kingdom by the Smallest Encouragement from Government, and in this I presume myself fully Authoriz'd not only by His Majesties Proclamation which Admits of no Monopolies or Exclusive Possessions; but by my Commission also as Governor of the Country, and by my Instructions under His Majesties Signe Manuel relative to every Branch of Fishery and Trade within the Limits of my Government; but all these things I make no Doubt your Lordships will duly Consider and take Notice of in your Report.—
      I did not look upon the Pleadings before Your Lordships Yesterday as a matter of suit against me, therefore I did not offer to trouble Your Lordships with the tedious Pleading of a Lawyer, I rather close* to trust wholly to your Lordships Candor and Justice, for Impartially. Stating the Matter for His Majesty's Information.—
I am             
Very Respectfully                           
My Lords,                              
Your Lordships' most Obedt          
and most Humble Servt           
      London 22d April 1766.

To The Right Honble the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.



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