The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume IV

[March, 10,

Page 1759
sponsored by
Sandi & Ken Tulk,

p. 1759                                         C

No. 728.



At the Counrt of Whitehall, the 10th of March, 16.


The King's Most Excellent Majesty.

His Royal Highness the Duke of York.    
His Highness Prince Rupert.
Lord Keeper.
Duke of Ormond.
Lord Great Chamberlain.
Lord Chamberlaine.
Earl of Bridgewater.
Earl of Sandwich.
Earl of Anglesy.
Earl of Craven.
Earl of Lauderdale.
Lord Arlington.
Lord Newport.
Mr. Treasurer.
Mr. Secretary Trevor.

        Whereas in pursuance of an order of this Board of the 11th January last, upon the petition of the merchants, owners, and masters of shipps, and inhabitants of the western parts of this Kingdom, adventuring to the Newfoundland in fishing voyages The Right Honorable his Majesty's Council for foreign Plantations did this day represent to the Board, that they have called before them, and heard the petitioners and the other parties concerned, and after due consideration of the best ways and means, of regulating, securing, and improving the fishing trade, in Newfoundland, do humbly offer unto his Majesty as their opinion and advice, That his Majesty would be pleased to grant by way of addition to his former charter an establishment of the powers, rules, and orders for the government of the said fishery as followeth, viz.
        That all the subjects of his Majesty's Kingdom of England shall and may for ever hereafter peaceably hold and enjoy the freedom of taking bait, and fishing in any of the rivers, lakes, creeks, harbours or roads, in or about Newfoundland, or in any of the islands adjoining thereto, with liberty to go on shore in any part of the Newfoundland, or the said islands, for the curing, salting, drying, and husbanding of their fish, and making of oil, and for the cutting of all manner of wood, and trees for the building, or making of stages, rooms, train vats, hurdles, ships, boats, and other necessaries, for themselves

      ¹ Reprinted from App. to the British Case, North Atlantic Coast Fisheries Arbitration at the Hague, pp. 518-520.

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and their servants, seamen, and fishermen, and all things which may be useful, or advantageous to their fishing trade, as fully and freely as at any time heretofore hath been used, and enjoyed there by any of the subjects of His Majesty's royal predecessors.
        Provided always that they submit unto, and observe all such rules and orders as now are, or hereafter shall be established, by his Majesty, his heirs, or successors, for the government of the said fishery in Newfoundland.

        2.  That no alien, or stranger be permitted to take bait, or fish in any of the rivers, lakes, creeks, harbours, or roads in Newfoundland, between Cape Race, and Cape Bona Vista, or in any of the islands thereunto adjoining.

        3.  That according to the establishment of his Majesty's royal father of blessed memory in the 13th year of his reign, no planter or inhabitant in, or upon the said Newfoundland, be permitted to fell, cut down, root up, waste, burn, or destroy any wood, or timber trees, or erect or make any houses, buildings, gardens, &c. or inhabit or plant within six miles of the shore, or in any part of the said Newfoundland, between the Cape de Race, lying in or about 46 degrees of North latitude, and the Cape d'Bonavista lying in or about 49½ degrees likewise of North latitude, nor upon any island within ten leagues of the shore between the said capes.

        4.  That no planter or inhabitant in Newfoundland, do take up, or possess any of the stages, cookrooms, &c. beaches, or places for taking bait, or fishing, before the arrival of the fishermen out of England, and that they be all provided.

        5.  That the clause in his Majesty's charter of confirmation of rules, and orders for regulating the Newfoundland fishery bearing date the 26 of January in the 12th year of his Majesty's reign concerning the transportation of men thither, may be altered, and enlarged in manner following. That is to say
        That no master, or owner of any fishing ship do transport, or carry any seamen, fishermen, or other persons in his ship to Newfoundland, other than such as are truly belonging to his or their ships company, and such as are engaged in the voyage and share, or shares, or hire of the said ship.

        6.  That no master or owner of any fishing ship do transport or carry in any one ship for a, fishing voyage, more than sixty persons to one hundred tons burthen of the said ship, and so proportionately for all ships of a greater, or lesser burden.

        7.  That it be strictly provided for, and commanded, that every fifth man yearly carried out of England, be a greenman (that is to say) not a seaman.

        8.  That the masters and owners of all fishing ships trading out of England to Newfoundland be enjoyned according to the number of men in their respective ships, to provide in England victuals, and other necessaries (salt only excepted) for the whole voyage, or fishing season, for themselves and companies, and to put the same on shipboard before the going out of port here.

        9.  That it be likewise strictly commanded that no fishing ship or company do depart out of England directly for Newfoundland on any fishing voyage

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in any year, before the first day of March, nor to the Isles of Cape d'Verde intending from thence to Newfoundland before the 15th day of January.

        10.  That from henceforward all masters of fishing ships trading to Newfoundland shall yearly before the beginning of their voyage, give bond in His Majesty's name to the mayors for the time being of the ports of Southampton, Poole, Weymouth, Melcombe Regis, Lyme, Exeter, Dartmouth, Plymouth, East Looe, Fowey, Falmouth, Biddiford, Barnstaple, and Bristol, and all other ports and towns upon the coast of England respectively, according to the port or place from whence they shall set out, under the penalty of one hundred pounds, with condition that they shall not carry out any seamen, fishermen, or other persons, other than such as are truly belonging to his or their, or other ships company, and such as are engaged in the voyage, and share, or shares, or hire of the said ship or ships respectively.
        And that they shall bring or cause to be brought back into England, all such seamen, fishermen and other persons as they shall carry out (mortality and danger of the seas excepted) and also such persons as shall be employed from the Newfoundland in English ships with fish for market voyages.
        Provided nevertheless that if any of the said seamen, fishermen, &c., shall run away, or desert their ships, the master or masters of such ship or ships, paying such person's share or shares or hire to the mayor of the place from whence the said ship set out, shall be discharged of his or their bond or bonds respectively.
        Or if no complaint shall be made against the said masters in three months after their return from the said voyage, then his or thier bonds to be delivered up unto them respectively.

        11.  That no master of any fishing ship or others do take up or use any stage already built, in any port, harbour, or bay, between Cape Race and Cape Bona Vista, with a less number of men than twenty-five, who are to be of one entire company.

        12.  That no fisherman or seaman carried out as aforesaid be suffered to remain in Newfoundland in the winter, after the fishing voyage or season is ended.

        13.  That the Admirals, Vice-Admirals, and Rear-Admirals of and in every port and harbour in Newfoundland for the time being be authorized and required to preserve peace and good government among the seamen and fishermen in their respective harbours, as well as on the shore, to see his Majesty's rules and orders concerning the regulation of the fishery duly put in execution, and to cause all offenders to be apprehended, that they may be punished according to their demerits.

        14.  That the Admirals, Vice-Admirals, and Rear-Admirals in their respective harbours, bays, &c., may according to ancient custom be empowered to apprehend and secure all offenders for any crime committed in Newfoundland, on shore, or at sea, and to bring them into England.

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        15.  That the several Admirals in their respective harbours and bays in Newfoundland do, on or about the 20th day of September yearly, publish in their said harbours and upon the shore his Majesty's orders and commands forbidding all seamen or fishermen to stay or remain in or upon the said Newfoundland, after the last day of October.

        16.  And that the said Admirals do yearly keep journals of their proceedings there, and at their return into England, deliver copies of them, with an account of the number of ships, boats, stages, train vats, &c., and of the seamen and fishermen belonging to and employed in their respective harbours, unto his Majesty's Council for foreign Plantations.

        17.  That the several Recorders, or their deputies, and the Justices of the Peace for the time being, of the respective ports, towns, and places before-named, and one neighbouring justice of the Peace for the same county, may be joined in commission with the mayors of the said ports, towns, and places respectively, and any two, or more of them, be empowered to take cognizance of all complaints made of any offenders against the laws, rules, and orders established by his Majesty for regulating the Newfoundland fishery, and to hear and determine the same according as is provided and directed to the respective mayors alone by his Majesty's said charter of confirmation.

        18.  That reasonable fines, penalties, and forfeitures may be imposed upon all masters, and owners of ships, seamen, fishermen, and other persons employed in or about the fishery in Newfoundland as shall offend in breaking his Majesty's rules and orders established for the said fishery.
        And that all such fines, penalties, and forfeitures relating to the fishing trade may be apportioned out, one third part of them to the use of his Majesty, one third part to the use of the poor of the place where such offence shall be prosecuted, and the other third part to the informer, that shall prosecute the same, or otherwise in such manner, and to such uses as his Majesty shall think fit.
        All which having been this day read and seriously considered at the board, his Majesty was pleased to approve thereof, and did order, that the several rules, powers, and authorities above recited be added to, and inserted in the charter formerly granted by his Majesty for the regulating of the Newfoundland fishery.
        And to that end Sir Heneage Finch Knt and Bart his Majesty's Attorney-General, is hereby authorized and required to prepare a bill for his Majesty's royal signature to pass the great seal of this kingdom containing his Majesty's confirmation of the said charter, with the additional powers and authorities, hereby ordered to be inserted therein.
        And whereas the said Council for foreign Plantations did further represent unto his Majesty as their humble opinion and advice, that the clause in his Majesty's said charter of confirmation, which concerneth the powers of the earl marshal in the punishing of felonies, murders, &c. committed in Newfoundland, may be reviewed, there being at present no such office or court,

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and in lieu thereof if his Majesty shall think fit, that a certaine way of judicature may be established, for the hearing and determining of treasons, felonies, and murders, and all criminal matters committed or done in Newfoundland, on the shore or at sea, according to law and equity, and for the awarding of execution thereupon, as the cause shall require.
        It was thereupon ordered by his Majesty in council, that the said Attorney-General, with the assistance of his Majesty's council learned do review the said clause, and consider of establishing a certain way of judicature for the hearing and determining all such cases aforesaid, and the same to present to this Board with all convenient speed.




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