p. 1841                                  C

No. 759.




To the King's most excellent Majesty.

        May it please your Majesty.
                 In humble obedience to your Majesty's commands signified to me by his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, your Majesty's principal secretary of state, referring to me an extract of the commission to Captain Osborne, Governor of Newfoundland, so far relates to the authority and direction thereby given to him, to appoint justices of the peace in the several districts of that colony, and an extract of a letter received from him, with copies of two papers therein referred to, (all which are hereunto annexed,) by which it might appear how he is obstructed in the execution of your Majesty's commands to him in this respect, and particularly, that it is pretended to be contrary to the act of parliament for encouraging the fishery of Newfoundland, and directing me particularly to take that act into consideration, and report to your Majesty how the law stands in this point, and whether there is any foundation for that objection, or any interfering between the powers given by the act to the fishing admirals, and the authorities which justices of peace, in the manner they are established here, are invested with by their commission : I have considered the said annexed papers, and also the act of parliament above mentioned, which was made in the 10th and 11th years of the reign of his late Majesty, King William III ; and I humbly certify to your Majesty, that by the said Act, it is enacted “That the admirals of and in every port and harbour of Newfoundland, for the time being, be, and are, thereby authorized and required (in order to preserve peace and good government amongst the seamen and fishermen, as well in their respective harbours as on the shore,) to see the rules and orders in the said act contained, concerning the regulations of the fishery there duly put in execution ; and that in case of any difference or controversy shall arise in Newfoundland, or the islands thereunto adjoining, between the masters of fishing-boats and the inhabitants there, or any by-boat keeper, for, or concerning, the rights and property of fishing-rooms, stages, flakes, or any other building or conveniency for fishing or curing of fish in the several harbors or coves, the said differences, disputes,

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or controversies, shall be judged and determined by the fishing admirals in the several harbors and coves ;” and in case any of the said masters of fishing-ships, by-boat-keepers, or inhabitants, shall think themselves aggrieved by such judgment or determination, and shall appeal to the commanders of any of your Majesty's ships of war, appointed as convoys for Newfoundland, the said commander is hereby authorized and empowered to determine the same, pursuant to the regulation in the said Act.
        These are all the clauses in the said act of parliament which relate to the present question, whereby it appears that the whole authority granted to the fishing admirals is restrained to the seeing the rules and orders, contained in that act concerning the regulation of the fishery there, duly put in execution, and to the determination of differences arising between the masters of fishingboats and the inhabitants, or any by-boat-keeper, touching the right and property of fishing-rooms, stages, flakes, or any other building or conveniency for fishing or curing of fish, in the several harbors or coves of Newfoundland, which is a kind of civil jurisdiction in particular cases of property ; whereas the authority of justices of the peace extends only to breaches of the peace, and other criminal matters, and therefore, I am humbly of opinion that the powers granted by your Majesty to captain Osborne, to constitute justices of the peace in Newfoundland, is not contrary to, or inconsistent with, any of the provisions in the said act ; and that there is no interfering between the powers given by that act to the fishing admirals, and the authorities which justices of the peace are invested with by their commission.

P. YORKE.            

December 29, 1730.



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