The Labrador Boundary


Privy Council Documents


Volume V
Contents




[21 July,
1852.]

[4 June,
1853.]

p. 210.


p. 2185C



No. 929.

EXTRACTS FROM OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE

RELATIVE TO FISHERIES ON THE COAST OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR.1



EXTRACT FROM THE MEMORANDUM FROM NEWFOUNDLAND ON THE FISHERY NEGOTIATIONS, JULY 21ST, 1852, BY SIR ANTHONY PERRIER.

Sir A. Perrier will therefore submit to Her Majesty's Government the expediency of his making a counter proposal embodying all the conditions contained in Lord Aberdeen's instructions of March 14, 1846. He will also suggest that he be instructed to hold out (in the event of refusal to entertain the English proposal, or of the French Government insisting upon the removal of British settlers within the French limits) that Her Majesty's Government will enforce the strict observance of all the stipulations of the several treaties which concede to France a temporary right of fishery upon certain parts of the coast of Newfoundland ; that the French will be restricted from fishing, curing and drying, and to board Stages and Huts necessary for these purposes, that they will be prevented taking Salmon* or any other fish, in any part of the rivers, streams, or other water not bona fide on the coast.†
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[Enclosure with “Confidential Despatch” of 19th August, 1853.]

(COPY.)
COLONIAL OFFICE,
Downing Street,
4th June, 1853.
SIR,
In pursuance of the instructions given to us by the Duke of Newcastle, to take into consideration the project of Treaty which you have suggested for negociation with France, in reference to the Newfoundland fisheries, and

1 Reproduced from “The Journal of the Legislative Assembly of Newfoundland,” 1857, Appendix, pp. 195-260.
* In the last degree for apportioning the Fishery stations on the coast of Newfoundland the French have provided for allotment of the Salmon fisheries. this is an encroachment never before attempted.
Coast—The edge or margin of the Land next the sea ; the shore. It is not used for the Banks of less waters (Johnson's folio dictionary.)


p. 2186

communicate with you on the subject, we transmit to you, herewith, a statement of such amendments of the project as we think, after the discussions which we have had with you, to be advisable, together with observations in explanation of them.

We have, &c.,
(Signed)
E. M. ARCHIBALD.1
W. STRACHEY.

Sir A. PERRIER.

[Enclosure 1 in Letter to Sir A. PERRIER.]

Dated 4th June, 1853.
Project of proposal to France for the Settlement of the Newfoundland Fishery Question.

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2nd—The term coast (the literal meaning of which is the shore or margin of the sea) being vague and open to contradictory interpretation, it is proposed to determine its signification with reference to the fishery rights in question, as follows:—

The word Coast, so far as it relates to French fishing, curing, or drying, and erection of scaffolds and huts for fishery purposes at Newfoundland, shall be understood to mean the strand and the ground extending inland one quarter of a mile from high water mark ; and where any river, creek, arm of the sea, or other opening less than three miles wide, intervenes, then a straight line drawn from headland to headland, across this aperture, shall be considered as equivalent to high water mark.









We would suggest, in place of the first part of this proposition, Article 3 of our separate papers.

This latter part of the proposition would shut out the French from several of the harbors now used by them. But as between Cape John and Bonne Bay there are no large rivers, nor any in which we understand the tide flows beyond a short distance, we suggest, instead of this latter passage, the insertion of a provision that the right of fishery shall in no case be enjoyed by the French in any creek, river, or stream, above the flow of the tide, and shall be limited to salt water only, as in Article 2 of the separate paper.
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1 Mr. Archibald, Attorney General of Newfoundland, was on a visit to England on leave of absence, and took an important part in discussions which took place.

p. 2187

The following further concessions may be agreed to by Sir A. Perrier if he can thereby bring his French Colleague to a final adjustment of this question:—

1—Half a mile to be the Coast limits instead of a quarter of a mile.






A quarter of a mile appears to us sufficient, but we see no particular objection to half a mile if desired by the French.
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[Enclosure 3 in Letter to Sir A. PERRIER, dated 4th June, 1853.]

DRAFT PROJECT.
Her Majesty's Government being unable to accede to the proposals of Monsieur de Bon, for the reasons stated, but being as desirous as the Government of France to preclude by every possible means the disputes between the two Governments, to which the existing Treaty stipulations on the subject of the Newfoundland fisheries have been shown by experience to tend, more particularly in consequence of the ambiguity of some of the leading provisions, and being of opinion that the ambiguous rights admit of a compromise not interfering with the main advantages at present realized by the respective parties, empower Sir A. Perrier to make the following propositions :—
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3.—The operations in connection with the fishery, which the French shall have a right to conduct on shore, shall be limited to a strand bordering upon the waters in which the French shall have a right to fish as above defined, and extending inland a quarter of (or half) an English mile from high water mark. The French, however, shall be allowed to cut wood for the purposes contemplated in the British Declaration, attached to the Treaty of 1783, upon unoccupied land at such further distance inland from the strand as may not be inconvenient to the British Government.
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EXTRACT FROM DESPATCH, RT. HON. H. LABOUCHERE TO GOVERNOR DARLING, 16TH JAN. 1857, RELATIVE TO THE CONVENTION BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE OF JAN. 4TH, 1857.

The remaining stipulations of the Treaty may, as I believe, be classed not as concessions or alterations of existing rights, but as an endeavor to put into as definite a shape as the subject admitted, the right which usage, founded on the above mentioned Treaties and Proclamations, has already sanctioned.1
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1 This observation seems to apply to the clause (inter alia) defining the depth inland of “the coast” upon which the French were at liberty to enjoy the right of fishing.

[1927lab]


 

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