EXTRACTS FROM “PARTICULARS OF THE COUNTRY OF LABRADORE,”
BY LIEUT. ROGER CURTIS.
Vide Part XVI, No. 1055.
GEO. CARTWRIGHT TO LORD DARTMOUTH.
[CAN. ARCH., DARTMOUTH MSS. ORIGINALS, PT. III P . 578,
12th Sept. 1774.
I am sorry to acquaint your Lordship that notwithstanding all my endeavours I have not been able to meet with any Fossils worthy your Lordships acceptance.
A s your Lordship kindly gave me leave to inform you of the success, and progress of the fisheries on this Coast, I think myself particularly happy in enjoying such an indulgence, and shall endeavour to give your Lordship all the information in my power.
When first I came, in the year 1770, the fisheries were on the decline; all the Newfoundland Merchants, except Noble & Pinson were grown tired of; them, finding it would not answer their end to carry on business here without erecting a variety of buildings, and being liable to loose them all the next Season, if any other vessel should arrive before them; they therefore contented themselves with sending their boats to catch fish when the season was over in Newfoundland, and withdrew all their people towards the latter end of September. Mr. Pinson hearing that great voyages of Seals had always been kill'd on this Coast, and finding that codfish were as plentifull about Chateau as in Newfoundland, determin'd to remove the greatest part
of their business from Conch hither; they having four vessels, and determining to send them out every Spring as early as possible, were not afraid of loosing their possessions by the prior arrival of any other and saw they should be able to sieze all the best Posts, by getting first on the Coast, but the murther of Mr. Darby's crew at Cape Charles, by the Indians, deter'd him from extending their business farther from Chateau than Bad Bay, a place not quite a mile's distance from the Blockhouse ; that, and Seal-island Chateau, were the only Sealing Posts, without the Streights of Belleisle in possession of the English when I came, and they had not one Salmon Post.
I settled in Charles River, the Salmon season being then over made preparations for the Winter ; fix'd a Sealing crew at Seal-island Cape Charles, & kept a sawing, and a Furing crew in Charles River. In 1774 I establish'd a Salmon fishery in Charles River, a Cod fishery at this place, kept one crew Sealing on the Island, and an other Boat building in St. Lewis's Bay. The same year Noble & Pinson built a Cod fishing room in Lance-Cove Temple Bay, kept a Boat building crew, and combined their two Sealing Posts as before.
The next Spring (1772) finding that I liv'd undisturbed by the Indians, and observing how much those people were reform'd by the pains I had taken with them, they took the advantage of my vessel's not arriving, owing to her being cast away on the Island of Fogo on the Coast of Newfoundland, and seiz'd upon both my Sealing, and Salmon Posts, which oblig'd me to establish new ones, the former in White Bear Sound; the latter in the River Colleroon, which empty's itself into the Head of St. Lewis's Bay. Noble & Pinson the same year held their former Possessions except Seal-island Chateau (which was taken from them by Mr. Slade) and flx'd an other Sealing crew in Lance Cove: These viz: four Sealing, and two Salmon Posts were all that were occupied at the time I first troubled your Lordship for redress and protection; at the same time setting forth that the establishing property was the only effectual way to encourage adventurers, and make the fisheries flourish. The event has fully prov'd the truth of my assertions, for the resolution of your Lordships Board, and his Majesty's order in Council in consequence thereof, were no sooner known than no less than two Salmon, and five Sealing posts were added to the former number, yet, notwithstanding the above order, Noble & Pinson took the advantage of my misfortune last year in being delay'd coming out, by the sickness and death of the Indians, and dispossessed me of my Salmon Post in the Colleroon, but this summer the Governor has been pleas'd to restore both that, and Charles River to me again, and confirm'd them in the possession of Seal-island, to which, I cannot help thinking, I have a prior, and better title than they.
This year seven new salmon rivers have been occupied, and there will also be some more Sealing Posts, but how many I do not yet know, our House have taken up one.
Last Winter prov'd a very bad one for the Seal fishery, all the adventurers in that branch lost a deal of money. This summer has turn'd out well for both salmon and codfish: the latter begins to revive again, and your
Lordship may depend upon it 'tis not only unnecessary, but even impolitic to force people into that branch of business, as it must of course encrease in proportion to the Sealing with all adventurers from Great Britain, but those from Quebec, I fancy, will never enter much into it, as their Servants are hired on different terms, and they rather chose to return to their familys in summer, than remain here to go through the drudgery of a Codfishery. The obliging all who keep business here, to have annually, one, or more vessels regularly clear'd out from Great Britain &c. is a point which, in my private opinion, ought by no means to be dispenc'd with.
I find that this coast is now annexed to Quebec, and that the Canadians are to be reinstated in all their former possessions. This, I'm afraid, will affect many of us greatly, particularly our House, as we have put ourselves to a very great expence in erecting Houses, and other conveniences, and may possibly be oblig'd to quit all, in favor of a Canadian, who may produce an old, unhear'd of Grant which he never made use of. Charles River is the only place we have that ever was occupied by them, and that only occasionally. As it will be a difficult matter for all the British adventurers to meet in order to consult on a Memorial, I take the liberty of humbly requesting the favor that your Lordship and your Board will take us under your protection, and do with us as it shall seem best.
His Majesty having now an incontestible right of disposing of any part of this Coast by Grant, I once more renew my request to your Lordship to procure me all that part of the Coast, contain'd between Cape Charles, and Cape St. Lewis, and the Islands which ly within those limits, reserving to all People a right of carrying on a Codfishery in any part thereof, and cutting what wood they may have occasion for, for the use of the same.
We have lately sent a Crew to Sandwich Bay to take possession of the rivers there, and kill Furs this Winter. The Esquimeaux Indians have not been near us this Summer, the great indulgencies the Moravians met with from Government have enabled them to engross all the trade of those People, to our no small disappointment and loss, for we have upwards of £300 in goods on our hands which are not saleable any where else.
We should have occupied three more Salmon-rivers this summer but unfortunately the vessel which one of my Partners and myself were coming out in, ran upon a Rock off the Landsend, and 'twas a miracle she carried us safe into Cork where we were oblig'd to leave her and purchase an other, in which we proceeded to this place, and had the misfortune to carry away our Masts about half seas over; these accidents caus'd so much delay, 'twas too late in the Season to attempt new Rivers.
Our Shalloway is this instant return'd from Sandwich Bay where she left our Furriers in possession of the Salmon Rivers; they saw no sign of any Uropean having dwelt there; it is a place much frequented by the Nescaupick Indians, a People who subsist by hunting, they are good Furriers, speak broken French, are Roman Catholics, and have traded with the Canadians many years. One family have been here this Summer and sold us about fifty pounds worth of Fur.
Next Summer I propose taking a cruise as far to the Northward as the season will permit, to visit all the Indian Tribes, and try if I can find out proper places for Summer Fisheries, and a whale fishery. Enclos'd is a list of all the Forts occupied by those British Merchants who carry on business without the Straights of Belleisle.
Wishing your Lordship a good Winter, and that Health and Happyness may attend yourself, and family, I beg leave, with the utmost respect, and gratitude, to subscribe myself
Much oblig'd and
ANNO DECIMO SEPTIMO GEORGE III. REGIS.
TO PREVENT THE ELLING OF SRONG LIQUORS TO THE INDIANS IN THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC, AS ALSO TO DETER PERSONS FROM BUYING THEIR ARMS OR CLOTHING AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES RELATIVE TO THE TRADE AND INTERCOURSE WITH THE SAID INDIANS.
Whereas many mischiefs may be occasioned by the practice of selling rum and other strong liquors to the Indians, and of buying their cloaths and Preamble. arms, and also by trading with the said Indians, or settling amongst them, without a license, It is ordained and enacted by his excellency the captain general and governor in chief of this province, by and with the advice and consent of the legislative council of the same, that
From and after the publication of this ordinance, no person or persons whatsoever shall sell, distribute, or otherwise dispose of, to any Indian or Indians within this province, or to any other person or persons for their use, any rum or other strong liquors, of what kind or quality soever, or shall knowingly or willingly suffer the same, in any manner, to come to the hands of any Indian or Indians, without a special license in writing, for that purpose first had and obtained, from the governor, lieutenant governor, or commander in chief of this province for the time being, or from his majesty's agents or superintendents for indian affairs, or from his majesty's commandants of the
different forts in this province, or from such other person or persons as the governor, lieutenant governor, or commander in chief of the province for the time being, shall authorise for that purpose.
Every person offending herein shall, for the first offence, forfeit the sum of five pounds, and suffer an imprisonment for any time not exceeding one month, and for the second, and every subsequent offence, shall forfeit ten pounds, and suffer an imprisonment for any time not exceeding two months.
If the person so offending, be a publican, inkeeper, or retailer of strong liquors, he shall, over and above the said penalty and imprisonment, be rendered incapable, from the day of his conviction, of selling or retailing liquors to any person whatsoever, notwithstanding any licence that he may have for that purpose, which licence is hereby declared to be null and void from the day of his conviction.
From and after the publication of this ordinance, no person or persons whatsoever shall purchase, or receive in pledge ; or in exchange, any cloaths, blankets, firearms, or ammunition belonging to any Indian or Indians within this province, under a penalty of five pounds and imprisonment for any time not exceeding one month, for the first offence, and of ten pounds and imprisonment for any time not exceeding two months, for the second, and every other subsequent offence.
From and after the publication of this ordinance, it shall not be lawful for any person to settle in any indian village or in any indian country within this province, without a licence in writing from the governor, lieutenant governor, or commander in chief of the province for the time being, under a penalty of ten pounds for the first offence, and twenty pounds for the second, and every other subsequent offence.
It shall and may be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever, to sue for the penalties and forfeitures aforesaid, by information before one or more of the commissioners of the peace of the district, in which any offence against any of the above articles of this ordinance, shall have been committed; who is, and are hereby authorized and required to hear and determine such information, in a summary manner, and upon the oath of one credible witness (being some other than the informer himself) and to inflict the said imprisonment, and to levy the said penalties or forfeitures, together with the costs of suing for the same, by a warrant to seize and sell the goods or lands of the offenders. Provided always that such informations shall be brought within six calendar months from the time that the offence shall have been committed, and not after different forts in this province, or from such other person or persons as the governor, lieutenant governor, or commander in chief of the province for the