p. 1740                                         C

No. 717.



Instructions to John Treworgie Gent. appointed Commissioner for         managing and ordering the affairs and interest of this         Commonwealth in Newfoundland for this present year.

        Whereas upon consideration had of the present state and condition of affairs in Newfoundland relating unto this Commonwealth, The Council have thought it expedient to continue you for this summer upon the place as a Commissioner for managing and ordering the affairs there.
        You are therefore to demean yourself in that trust and employment according to the powers, instructions, and authority hereafter mentioned:—

        1st.  You are hereby required and authorised to take care for the Government and well ordering of the said country of Newfoundland and the people there inhabiting and likewise the fishery according to such laws and ordinances as are hereunto annexed.

        2nd.  You are by yourself or such fit persons as you shall appoint to collect the imposition of fish due from and paid by strangers, and likewise the imposition of oil for the use of this Commonwealth, and the adventurers aforesaid, until the Supreme Authority shall declare their futher pleasure therein.

        3rd.  You are to use your best endeavours to secure the fishery there against any that shall attempt to distrub or interrupt it, and to that end you have hereby full power and authority to command such ships and vessels as are upon that coast or in any of the harbours to keep together or otherwise to dispose of themsevles in such manner as may be most for the common safety and to use such other means for the end aforesaid as you shall judge meet. And all Captains of convoys are hereby required to be assisting to you in the execution thereof. And you are to consider in what manner any of the harbours and bays, belonging to the country may be fortified for preservation both of the country and fishing.

        ¹ “Reprinted from App. to British Case, North Atlantic Coast Fisheries Arbitration at the Hague, pp. 511-512.”

p. 1741

        4th.  Whereas security is given by Sir David Kirke such as the Council do approve of, for his appearance to the Council and being responsible as to any matters to be objected against him, upon which the sequestration or former seizure upon his Estate is to be taken off, you are therefore to deliver up unto such person or persons as he shall appoint all that remains of his there that was formerly sequestered or seized, or that belongeth to him, only of the Ordnance or any other things that do properly belong to the Commonwealth, You are to take a particular notice & Inventory, and unto the person or persons in whose charge you shall leave the same you are to give strict directions that they take care the same be preserved and forthcoming to the use of the Commonwealth.

        You are to recieve and examine all such complaints as shall be made unto you as well by strangers as others of any wrong or injury done unto them by any person or persons whatsoever, and to certify their particular Cases unto the Council.
        You are upon the close of this summer's fishery to return back into England and to repair to the Council or the Supreme Authority, of this Commonwealth and to give as well a just and true account of all such money and profits as have come to your hands due to the Commonwealth or Adventurers, as of all your proceedings and in what condition you left all things there at your coming away.

[Annexed Laws and Ordinances.]

Laws, Rules and Ordinances whereby the affairs and fishery of        Newfoundland are to be governed until the Parliament shall        take further order.

        1.  That no ballast, prest-stones nor anything else hurtful to the harbours be thrown out to the prejudice of the said harbours but that it be carried ashore and laid where it may not do annoyance.

        2.  That no person whatsoever either fishermen or inhabitants do destroy or deface or any way work any spoil or detriment to any stage, cookroom, flakes, spikes, nails or anything else that belongeth to the stages whatsoever either at the end of the voyage, when he hath done, and is to depart the country, but that he or they content themselves with such stage or stages only as shall be needful for them, and that for the repairing of such stages as he or they take, they shall fetch timber out of the woods and not to do it with ruining or tearing down of other stages.

        3.  That according to, the ancient custom, every ship or fisher that first entereth a harbour in behalf of the ship, be Admiral of the said harbour, wherein for the time being he shall only reserve so much beach and flakes, or both as is needful for the number of boats that he shall use, with an overplus only for one boat more than he needeth as a privilege for his first coming; and that every ship coming after content himself with what he shall have necessary use for,

p. 1742

without keeping or detaining any more to the prejudice of others next coming. And that any that are possessed of several places in several harbours with intent to keep them all before they can resolve upon which to choose shall be bound to resolve and send advice to such after comers in those places as expect his resolution and that within 48 hours if the weather so serve, that the said after comers may likewise choose their places and so none receive prejudice by others' delays.

        4.  That no person cut out, deface, or any way alter or change the marks of any boats or train vats whereby to defraud the right owners, and that no persons convert to his own use the said boats or train fats so belonging to others without their consent nor remove, nor take them from the places where they be left by the owners except in case of necessity and then to give notice thereof to the Admiral and others whereby the right owners may know what is become of them.

       5.  That no person do diminish, take away, purloin, or steal any of the fish, or train, or salt which is put in cask, train vats, or cookrooms, or other houses in any of the harbours or fishing places of the country, or any other provisions, belonging to the fishing trade or to the ships.

        6.  That no person set fire in any of the woods of the country or work any detriment or destruction to the same by rinding of the trees either for the sealing of ships holds or for rooms on shore, or for any other uses, except for the covering of the roofs for cookrooms to dress their meat and these rooms not to extend above 30 foot in length at the most.

        7.  That no man cast anchor or ought else hurtful which may breed annoyance or hinder the haling of sains for bait in places accustomed there-unto.

        8.  That no person rob the nets of others out of any drift, boat or drover for bait by night, nor take away any bait out of their fishing boats by their ships' sides nor rob or steal any of their nets or any part thereof.

        9.  That no person do set up any taverns for selling of wines, beer or strong waters, cider or tobacco to entertain the fishermen, because it is found that by such means they are debauched, neglecting their labours, and poor ill governed men not only spend most part of their shares before they come home upon which the lives and maintenance of their wives and children dependeth, but are likewise hurtful in divers other ways, as by neglecting and making themselves unfit for their labour, by purloining and stealing from their owners, and by making unlawful shifts to supply their disorders, which disorders they frequently follow, since these occasions have presented themselves.

        10.  That no planter be permitted to keep any more stage room than he hath fishing-men in possession for the managing of it, and that every planter in each harbour may take their stages and fishing room together in one part

p. 1743

of the harbour and not scattering as they now do, wasting as much room for one or two boats as may serve 6 or 8 boats.

        11.  That no planter be permitted to build any dwelling-house, store-house, court-ledge or garden or keep any pigs or other cattle upon or near the ground where fish is saved or dried.

        12.  That all provisions imported for sale necessary for fishing be free for any person to buy for his own present occasion, so it be demanded within six days after its arrival, and not to be ingrossed by a few to make benefit on others thereby.

        13.  That upon the Lord's day the company assemble in meet place for divine worship.

Whitehall, 3rd of June 1653.



Partnered Projects Government and Politics - Table of Contents Site Map Search Heritage Web Site Home