The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume IV

[(23 Dec.,)

Page 1758
sponsored by
Sandi & Ken Tulk,

p. 1757                                         C

No. 727.



CAL. STATE PAPERS, AM. & W. I., 1669-1774, pp. 143-4.

        362.  Petition of the merchants, owners, and masters of ships, and inhabitants of the western parts of this kingdom adventuring to the Newfoundland in fishing voyages, to the King in Council. That the laws for regulating the fishery have been confirmed by his Majesty, who by letter of 4th Dec. 1663 commanded certain mayors of corporations and others to see them put in execution. That notwithstanding private boatkeepers still continue to fish in Newfoundland and great number of passengers still go there. That the whole state of this affair is now presented in an address to the King. Pray that the fishery may be maintained by fishing ships, and that the mayors may depute persons to execute laws for the fishery. Signed by the Mayors of Exeter, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Lyme Regis, Barnstaple, Weymouth, and Poole. Annexed,


       362.  I. The address to the King above referred to, showing that about 30 years since 270 sail of ships were employed in the fishery and 20,000 seamen. That in process of time loose persons stayed in the country, who tend much to destroy the trade and are useless in all respects, Newfoundland being a barren island. That in consequence the fishermen's houses are torn down, timber is burnt, and the seamen are debauched. The fishery is carried on without fishing ships by the inhabitants. And the French in their seamen and shipping by their fishery do much increase. The inconveniences through permitting private boatkeepers being allowed to fish.

      362.  II. Additional powers desired by the petitioners about the Newfoundland fishing.

      362.  III. Order by the King in Council upon above petition, read at the Board 23 Dec. last, when it was ordered that Mr. Gould and all other parties concerned should give their attendance, who being fully heard it was now ordered that all papers relating thereto be referred to his Majesty's council of Plantations, who are to consider the best ways and means whereby the fishing trade in Newfoundland may be regulated, advanced, and protected and secured from foreigners and

p. 1758


managed for the increase of seamen and the advantage of his Majesty and his subjects; also to take into consideration his Majesty's charter and the additional powers desired by the western traders, and to report their opinion to his Majesty within 14 days. Whitehall, 11 January 1670-1.

      362.  IV. Report of his Majesty's Council for Foreign Plantations. Having heard the petitioners and all parties concerned, they offer, as their opinion and advice, That his Majesty grant, by way of addition to his former charter and rules and orders for the government of said fishery: That all his Majesty's subjects enjoy the freedom of taking fish in any of the rivers in Newfoundland, provided they submit to the orders established for the fishery. That no stranger be permitted to take bait or fish, no inhabitant to burn or destroy any wood or plant within six miles of the sea shore, nor take up any stage before the arrival of the fishermen out of England. Masters of ships to bring back all seamen, fishermen, and others, and none to be suffered to remain in Newfoundland. Fines and forfeitures on offenders. Encouragement to the inhabitants of Newfoundland to go to Jamaica or other foreign plantations. These rules and orders are contained in 29 articles. 1670-1, March 2.

      362.  V. Order of the King in Council approving above report and directing Sir Heneage Finch, Attorney-General, to prepare a bill for his Majesty's signature to pass the Great Seal, containing his confirmation of said charter, with the additional powers hereby ordered to be inserted therein, as also for establishing a certain way of judicature for hearing and determining felonies and murders and other offences committed in Newfoundland. Together 24 pp. (Col. Entry Bk., No. 65, pp. 39-62).



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