John Clappe et al. ["the constant inhabitants of Ferryland"]; 1697
Petition to William III
Great Britain, PRO, Colonial Office, CO 194/1 (6), 14.
CNS microfilm. Transcribed by P.E. Pope.
To his most sacred Majesty, William the 3rd of England, Scotland, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith etc.
The humble petition of John Clappe, William Roberts and William Short and others, for themselves and others of the constant inhabitants of Ferryland in Newfoundland, now residing in Appledore [near Bideford], in the port of Barnstaple in the County of Devon, with all due reverance and submission,
That on Monday the 21st day of September last past , seven sail of French ships of war and two fire ships landed about seven hundred men in Ferryland and attacked us on every side and after what resistance we could make against them (they being too many in number and too strong for us) we were forced to submit. And, for as much as we, your Majesty's most obedient and faithful subjects and petitioners, refused to take an oath of fidelity to the French king and take up arms against your most gracious Majesty, the said enemy dealt very hardly with us, and burnt all our houses, household goods, fish, oil, train vats, stages, boats, nets, and all our fishing craft to the value of twelve thousand pounds sterling [£ 12,000] and above and sent us away with our wives, children and servants, which are in number about 150 persons, who (through the mercy of God) are all safe arrived in this kingdom, although by reason of our said great loss reduced to great poverty and not able to subsist with our families without relief.
We therefore humbly implore your most sacred Majesty for relief and that a sufficient number of frigates [warships] and land forces may be timely sent, that this next season for fishing may not be lost and to regain and defend the said harbour and other be possessed of our places for rebuilding our houses and stages and room for carrying on of our fishery trade without any hinderance or molestation and your petitioners, as in duty bound, shall always pray etc.