p. 1797                                  C



No. 747.
REPORT BY COUNCIL OF TRADE AND PLANTATIONS TO THE KING, RESPECTING IMPORTANCE OF TRADE OF NEWFOUNDLAND.

CALENDAR OF STATE PAPERS, AMERICA & W. INDIES, 1696-1697, p. 303.
         583.   Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. In obedience to your Order in Council of 12 November last, on the petitions of the West Country Merchants relating to Newfoundland, we report as follows. The trade of Newfoundland is of very great importance to the Kingdom, employing numbers of poor people in the West of England in making nets. The exports to it are all English produce except salt ; the imports from it are not only the bare returns of what is carried out, but the fruit of all the labour employed therein, while the employment of numbers of ships and seamen increases the naval strength of the country. To recover and preserve it, we recommend that besides the convoy already appointed for the salt ships at the end of the month, four frigates (two at Plymouth and two at Milford) be appointed for the fishing-ships at the end of February, and two more (at Plymouth and Milford) for the salt-ships at the beginning of June. These convoys, while they remain at Newfoundland, should be ordered to cruise for the security of the fishing-fleet or to annoy the enemy, and should at the end of the season escort the ships to their markets. Besides the fishing-ships that resort thither annually, planters are convenient to preserve the boats, oars, stages, etc., and, in time of war, to protect the ports. But the number of these inhabitants left there during the winter should be limited to 1,000, lest by the increase of their numbers they engross the fishery to themselves, to the prejudice of our navigation. The French have already so fortified themselves in the Island, and seem so intent on the improvement of their interests there that the planters cannot suffice to protect our part. In order therfore to establish some military force by land to protect the harbours from such attacks as that made upon Ferryland, last summer, we think that little forts or redoubts should be built, two at St. Johns, one at Ferryland, and one at Fermouse, and that an engineer should be sent out for the purpose. We think that at least three companies of soldiers are necessary during the war for defence of these places ; and since some think that a general Governor would be too great an encouragement to the planters, to the obstruction of the fishery, we think that each captain should command separately in each place, and have no power over the fishermen and planters except in case of actual invasion. Lastly we recommend that all suitable encouragement should be given to the inhabitants of Ferryland now residing at Appledore, Devon, for their relief and re-establishment. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. Memo. This was not presented. (Board of Trade, Newfoundland. 25 pp, 58-61.)

[1927lab]


 

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