p. 1856 C
EXTRACT FROM A REPRESENTATION OF THE LORDS OF TRADE TO HIS MAJESTY THE KING,
RELATING TO THE
C.O. 195. VOL.
9, p. 440.
To the King's most excellent Majesty.
May it please Your Majesty,
It appearing from the Reports of the State of Newfoundland made
last Year to this Board by Your Majesty's Governor of that Island, That
the military Establishments were neglected and the principal Fortifications
in Ruins ; That an illicit and destructive Commerce had been carried on
between Your Majesty's Subjects there and the French at Miquelon and St
Peters ; That great Difficulties and Embarrassments had occurred in the
Execution of the Instructions given by Your Majesty for the well ordering
the Fishery in those Parts, where the Subjects of France are allowed by
Treaty a concurrent Fishery ; and that a State of Inhabitancy, unrestrained
by any Form or Consitution * of civil Government, had operated to the total
Subversion of that Policy upon which the Fisheries dependent on that Island
were originally established, and to defeat those great national Advantages,
which were the Objects of the Regulations of the Statute of the 10th and 11th
of William the third ; our Predecessors in Office thought it their Duty humbly
to lay before Your Majesty in their Representations of the 11th of December
1764 and the 29th of April 1765, a full State of these several Matters, to the
End that Your Majesty might, with the Advice of Your Council, take such
Measures, and establish such Regulations as should be found necessary and
expedient in a Case of so great Importance to the Interest of this Nation, and
which appeared to require Attention.
In Consequence of this Proceeding it becomes a necessary and indispensable
Duty in us most humbly to lay before Your Majesty such further Reports,
as have been made to us by Your Majesty's Governor of Newfoundland, of
the present State of that Island, and of the several Occurrencies during the
last Fishing Season, so far as they relate to those Parts of his Duty, on which he
was directed to correspond with this Board.
From these Reports, as contained in the Papers hereunto annexed, it
will appear to your Majesty, That the Fortifications still continue in a State
of Ruin and Decay ; That the illicit Commerce between Your Majesty's
Subjects and the French has been greatly enlarged and extended, That, from
Claims of exclusive Property set up by Your Majesty's Subjects, the Difficulties
attending the Execution of those Instructions of Your Majesty, relative
to that Part of the Coast where the French are allowed a concurrent Fishery,
have become more and more urgent ; and that the same disordered State
of Inhabitancy still operates to subvert that Plan of Fishery adopted by the
Statute of King William, and to render it's Provisions and Regulations nugatory
and useless ; insomuch that it is the Sense and Opinion of Your Majesty's
Governor, that it would be better for the national Interest, in respect to the
Encouraging the Increase of Seamen, which is one main Object of the Act of
King William, not to have any Fishery at all, than that it should continue
to be carried on under the Disadvantages that at present attend it, in this View
of the Spirit and Intention of that Act.
How far Your Majesty's Governor is well founded in this Opinion, we
do not take upon us to determine ; but certain it is, that the present State
of this Island and of the Territories dependent thereupon does require the
fullest Consideration ; and that a Revision of the several Regulations, which
have been heretofore made in respect thereto, is now become essentially
Every Information, which this Office can furnish relative to the antient
Policy and present State of this important Part of the national Interests, is
already before Your Majesty ; But that nothing may be wanting which may
be of use in this great Consideration, we further beg leave humbly to lay
before Your Majesty a Paper of Observations upon the State of the Newfoundland
Fisheries communicated to us by Your Majesty's Governor since his
Return to this Kingdom ; in which Paper are contained several Propositions
for the future Regulation of this important Branch of Commerce tending to
re-establish it upon the antient Policy of a Ship Fishery, the Propriety of
which Policy Your Majesty's Governor appears in all his Plans and Measures
to have zealously adopted.
Mar. 27th 1766.