Presented by the
Newfoundland's Grand Banks Site
to assist you in researching your Family History

Click on the graphic below to return to the NGB Home Page
Newfoundland's Grand Banks

To contribute to this site, see above menu item "About".

How to report a possible transcription error

These transcriptions may contain human errors.
As always, confirm these, as you would any other source material.

(written early 1900's)

By H.F.Shortis

For accompanying listing of 1675 Census numbers



In my last letter I gave you some of the important facts of the history of Carbonear Island to try and interest all in the celebration we not feel is assured to commemorate the Tercentary of Guy’s settlement in Conception Bay.

In this letter I am going to give you some historical facts about the Pirates that infested Nfld just about the very time that John Guy started these settlements.

Almost every harbour you go to in Nfld and as far as Labrado (sic) you will find traditions of pirates and I could tell you many a blood curdling story that would keep you awake over night but what I want to show now is that these old traditions are founded on facts and as I pass along from one to another of these old buccaneers I will give you the authorities that I have succeeded in getting which will authenticate the truthfulness of my narrative.

It will be easy for many of your readers to fill in the gaps, and satisfy their craving for the marvelous from the numerous legends and traditions that are readily found in every hamlet.

I have been constrained to write on this subject after seeing some brilliant pictures of that worthy artist Mr. Jno Hayward. These pictures are now on exhibition at Mr. S. E. Garland’s book store and are well worth a careful perusal.

The first picture commemorates the landing of John Guy from his little Bank shippe ye “Indeavor” on the 12th October 1612 at the Pirates Forte, Harbour Grace.

The general belief is that his fort was situated on the point of land where the Custom House now stands.  This is where the Military Fort was afterwards situated and it is more than likely the old buccaneers were the first to note its strategetic(sic)importance There is certainly a splendid outlook from there right down Conception Bay. No vessel of any size could enter the harbour round the tail of the Bar without coming in close under the cannon at this fort, and certainly no vessel could pass over the shoals of the Bar on the Southside of the Harbour.

Mr. Hayward in his picture has given a good representation of the view from Point of Beach of Harbour Grace Islands in the distance. Also Feather Point and the fort near at hand, with the Pirate ships entering, and John Guy’s “Indeavor” just coming to an anchor and the Pirates ready to welcome him.  There can be no doubt about it that John Guy had great courage to face that crowd and land his pile of 15 tonnes of Salt etc there. I am not at all surprised to find in and old record sent by the Treasurer Slancy of Guy’s Colony to the British Government that the plantation had suffered almost irreperable damage from the Pirates who came and took their provisions at their pleasure and carried away such men as pleased them.

In a letter written by John Guy July 1612 he tells about that Arch Pirate, Peter Eason being then at Harbour Grace, careening and refitting his vessels.  It is very likely that he repaired his vessels on the mud bank on the inside of the Point of Beach just where it is now proposed to build a splendid marine slip to give the required accomodation to our present numerous fishing fleets of Conception and Trinity Bay.

Mr Hayward’s other picture is a fanciful one, showing what he calls a slight brush between H.M.S. “Scrocker” and the Pirates Fort the next year.  This is taken, showing the inside of the Fort and there are so many details of what is quite possible may be true to life that I can only recommend your readers to take a good view of it when they get the chance..

These facts are what John Guy mentions of Pirates: In his Journal August 1611: He mentions that Capt Eason a pirate was troublesome to the English and terrible to the French there. July 1612 .. He writes to John Slaney, treasurer of the Company, “comlaining of Peter Eason who remained in Harbour Grace, till July 17th trimming and repairing his ships and commandeering the carpenters of each vessel to do his bidding, but has taken vituals, munition and necessaries from each ship otgether with 100 men from the Bay to man his ships now six in number. He proposes to have 500 men before he goes.

“Two companies to the number of 180 men to each Company, being discontented stole away from him in a shallop and took two ships to Trinity Bay, one of Barnstable the other of Plymouth so intend to begin this damnable course of life.  As I sailed from hence in a small bark, I fell into one of their hands and one of my company was hurt with a musket. One of their crew who had wintered with me the previous year knew me and they made show that they were sorry so departed without coming aboard..That which they sought after was men to increase their number.

Before Peter Eason’s departure he sent three ships into Trinity Bay to store himself with vituals, munition and men, who are said to be worse used than the men here. He taketh much ordinance from them.  The said Easton was latley in St Johns and now in Ferryland as far as I can learn.

It is given out that he will send Captain Harvey in a ship to Ireland to understand news about his pardon, which if he can obtain he will come in otherwise it is thought he will get the protection of the Duke of Florence. Tho he will hovor off the Azores to see if he can light upon the Plato fleet or any good rich booties before he comes in.

Guy sums up this information with the following very expressive sentence showing that he was a man of courage and only needed the force to put his views into action:  “If the proper course were taken to repress them, it would be a most easy matter”.

What hardships these early Pioneers of our Country had to put up with: It is like a fanciful story, but all are actual facts.

Sir Richard Whitbourne who visited Nfld for 40 years and whose headquarters were at Trinity, has the follownig mention of Pirates:

1611: That famous arch pirate Peter Easton was in Nfld and had with him 10 sail of good ships well furnished and very rich. I was kept eleven weeks under his command and had from him many golden promises and much wealth offered to be put into my hands as it is well known, but having no warrant to touch such goods, I gave him thanks for his offer and returned direct to England instead of going to Naples.  I found a pardon had been sent him.

1614: Sir. Hy Mainwaring was upon the coast with five good ships strongly provided. He caused me to spend much time in his company and return to England with him although I was bound to Marsailles.

1615: I returned to Nfld with a commission from the High Court of Admiralty under the Great Seal authorizing me to empanel jurie and redress wrongs.

1616: I had a ship at Nfld of 100 tons which being laden from thence to Lisbon was met by a French Pirate of Rochel and one Danil Tibolo who rifled her to my overthrow and loss of £860 and cruelly handled the master and company. I made good proof thereof at Lisbon and England but got no recompense.

1618: I sailed thither in a ship of my own which was victuled by Vaughan and myself and some others. We likewise sent another vessel but she was intercepted by an English erring Captain that went forth with Sir Walter Raleigh. He took the Mater boatswain and two other of the boat men and much of her victuals.

Our intended fishing voyage was much hindered.


The following is taken from the records of the Colonial State Papers dated

March 30th 1620……..

A petition to King James I asking that John Mason the present Governor of our Newfoundland Colonies (a man approved by us fitinge for that service) be appointed as Lieftenet for your Majesti to these parts.

Their humble entreaty is for the establishinge of good orders and preventinge enormities amongst the fishers and for securing the said plantations and fishers from Pyratts.

Then comes the first reason given to substantiate this request.

That pirates being haunted and chased out of all places for the most part may not hereafter have anie hope to make this countrie their place of refuge.

To new shippe themselfes to grave and careine their shippes to man them to victuall them and to have what supplies they list of ordonance, powder, munition, anchors, cables, cordage and all other necessaries for shipping as divers pirates have heretofore had.

In looking forward for the Pageant at the Tercentary, it will be impossible in these peaceful times to have any realistic display such as Mr Hayward has described but we should certainly do something to commemorate the havoc these desperadoes carried on at the time.

We could easily have a schooner fitted up to represent the old pirate flying the black flag with the skull and cross bones.

The crew could be dressed in a realistic way and some of the prisoners would have to walk the plank.  I feel certain this would be one of the greatest attractions for visitors at the celebration.

As soon as committees are formed to attend to this we must give it very serious consideration.

Before closing this letter which I trust many of our Summer visitors will be interested in, I will mention for their benefit a few of the places where Pirates Treasures have been found.

CUPIDS: About one hundred years ago, one of the LeDrews was inspired by a dream to hunt for a treasure in a certain spot, which she found alright. There were many Spanish doubloons and pieces of gold circulated there for many years afterwards.

LITTLE BELL ISLAND: About fifty years ago a foreign sailor related in a St Johns Bar room the story of a hidden treasure as told him by an ancient mariner on his death bed. Three graves would be found on the Easter end of Little Bell Island, two niggers were buried there but the middle grave would be found to contain a coffin with a pirates treasure. Four sports who heard the sailor repeat this year took an immediate opportunity to visit this locality and sure enough they found the treasure.

BACCALIEU ISLAND: A local vessel was wrecked and all the crew drowned. The fishermen of the locality made a diligent search for the bodies of their wrecked comrades. In the search two barrels were seen on the bottom in one of the Coves. They were soon secured and found to contain Spanish dollars packed in rolls and tied with ribbons. The Government managed to get some of this treasure trove but their share was a very small one compared to what the fishermen kept.

OLD PERLICAN ISLAND: Is the scene of another pirates treasure still unfound.

PLACENTIA: has several treasures awaiting the lucky finder.

HARBOR GRACE: Feather Point is a noted place for treasure troves, also Mosquito. There are no doubt, fortunes to be found there, buried by Peter Easton.

CARBONEAR: has its legends as well. We would direct the Visitors to the McCarthy Hotel which is said to be the exact locality where that noted bucaneer Wm. Dampier spent the year 1665.

FLAMBOROUGH HEAD: On the North Shore has a dramatic story that the local authorities will gladly relate.


March 16th 1621


Undertaking Plantations in Newfoundland:

Asking that John Mason be appointed Governor to put down piracy and keep order among the Fishermen.

- - - - - - - -

Particulars of Damage done by:

Peter Easton          1612              £20,400

Captain Mannering     1614              £ 5,400

Captain Jacob         1616              £ 4,200

Raleigh’s Fleet       1618              £ 5,400

Flemish Pirate        1618              £ 1,300

1080 men taken away from Plantations

Combat at Petty Harbour

Dreading Turkish Pirates

Damage to Grist and Saw Mills £40.0.0.

2000 acres wood burnt in Conception Bay.

To the King’s most excellent matie:

The humble petition of the Treasurer and Company wth the Scottish vndertakers of the plantations in Newfoundland.

Humblie showeth that for as much as the hopefull county of Newfoundland by the quiet possession this 12 yeires vnder your maties patent theirof to vs granted) is now become amember of this kingdome (although once questioned by the French yet cleared by vs) yerly imployinge 300 shipps wth 10 thousand seamen of this nation and breeding vpp more dayly to the practice of navigation and fishinge, As also relevinge 20 thousand more of pore men, women and children of the westerne partes of the kingdome who wholly depend for their maintenance vppon same. Besides the revenue of neir 10 thousand pounds that redoundeth yeirly to your matie by the customs of goods imported arysinge from the proceeds of this fish trade in foreign partes. All which things considered is not to be paralleled by anye one foreigh trade in this kingdome in regard of the imployment and returnes thereof. Altogether importinge goods or monys from no other stock of adventure save mens victuals and labors.

And for that the said country hath for this many yiers last past suffered exceeding great annoyance by Pyratts, as also by the disordered courses of the Fishers is much damnified tendinge in short time to the vtter overthrowe of all fishing trade their (yf not remedied). The perticulers wherof briefly abridged are herewith presented to the viewe of your matie. It beinge not wthin the extent of the power granted vnto vs in your maties.dd patent to reform this so great Inormities and Iniuries which both many of our own countrymen as well as strangers freuentinge that (tra)de (who acknowledge your maties Sovereigntee in that land) have much complayned of, desiring a lawe to be setled by your Matie for the more peacable inioyinge of the same :- And their for since your maties.subiectes of England and Scottland are now joyned together in hope of a havvy vnion to make a more settled plantation in the Newfoundland. Their humble intreaty is for establishinge of good orders, and preventinge enormities amongst the fishers and for Securing the  ad Plantations and Fishers from Pyratts. That you Matie would be pleased to grant a power to Jhon Mason the present governour of our Colonies (a man approved by vs, fitinge for that office) as Lieftenant for you matie in these parts. That he may wth 2 shipps or more attend as shall be found requisite attend the same havinge for defrayinge of his charges, the sum of five nobles in money, or five hundred dry fishes which is but the Fyftieth part of a boates ordinary fishinge voyedge ine the somer time in Newfoundland.

What are the reasons movinge the princes are herewth likewise tendered which thinges if they shall be approved and confirmed by your most excellent matie we rest assured that the sayd plantations shall be so much encouradged and advanced by the same, as that in short time their shall be many places of good thought and well peopled wth you maties subiectes, which may redound the great good of this your maties countries and kindomes.

At the Court at Workinge, 16 Marty 1620

His Maties pleasure is that the Lo:Steward, Lo:Chamberlaine Earle of Arundell, the Lo: Viscount Fawckland and Sr. George Colvert one of his Maties principall secretaries or any fower of them doe consider of this peticon and of the reason therunto annexed and calling vnto them (torn out) and Governor of the Newfoundland after Conference (torn out) all such orders as shall be found . . . . (torn off)


The Scottish vndertakers of the

Plantation in the Newfoundland

Reasons to move his Matie to take order that a lieftenant be sent yearlie to the Newffoundland to guard the Coasts from Pirats and preserve good orders amongst the fishing fleet.

First: That pirats being hunted and chased out of all places for the most part may not hereafter have ny hope to make this countrie their place of refuge, To now shipp them selfes to grave and careine their shippes, to man them, to victuall them and to have what supplie they list of ordenance, powder, munition, anchors, cables, cordadge, and all other necessaries for shipping as diuerse pirats have heretofore had.

Furthermore hereby the Roack and harboures may be preserued from future harme whereof if care be not taken they will in proces of time be quarred and filled up with balast and presse stones. And the woodes and stages also by this meanes may be kept safe which be dailie burned and ruined by the wilfulness of the fishers tending in short time (if not remedied) to the vtter ouerthrowe of the fishing trade there.

Moreover the wronges which the fishermen do one to the other may by courts to be kept receaue reformation..

Also considering the great nombers of shippes of diuorse Nationes neare fyve hundreth sayles of English French Gascoyns, Biskains, and Portugals. That all these should be without a head or stay may bring many inconuiences. Often times it hath been seen that the strongest hath done what hath pleased him without right and reason. To mantanie iustice and to keepe good order in remote places of fishing the King of Denmark sendeth yearlie diuerse shippes of warr to Iseland, wardhouse and Farro and not onlie the King of Denmark but the great Duke of Muscovie and the King of Sweden do send each one his leiftenant into Lapland at the time of the fishing to see right done to all parties, likewise to Dumber in Scotland the judges of the Admiraltie in the fishing season do repaire, and here at home in Down country it hath been thought so neidfull a matter to have gouernment in any place where manie psons are gathered togidder about fishing affaires as Yarmouth in Norfolk, The Halyffes of the cinq ports in Kent do yearlie report which began before Yarmouth was built and is still continued albeit there is a gouernment established in Yarmouth it self. In the North seas of England the flemish fishers have men of warre to protect them and to punish wrongs against them, at this present at the Banck the french fishers since their last disturbance by the pirats have two shippes of warre to defend them.

If nothing should be done in this matter considering the importance and necessitie of it, and the manie greeuances which the french and portugalles sustanie it may so come to passé that the french king of the king of Spaine may send Shippes of warre to that purpose which in the end might prove prejudicall to our nation.

That for doubt of hurt to be receaued by such pirattes and the injurious practice of the fishers. Thos who otherwise wold gladlie aduenter themselves and their means to help to bring to perfection the plantation be not discouradged.

If the Turkish pirattes should come amongst the fishermen which is by them threatened, and may very well be feared their might in on sommer so great a losse of shippes and liberties of men be sustained as wold hardlie in many yeares be repaired..

How a competencie may be raysed for the ordinarie mantenance of the Leiftenants, his officers and three hundredth tones of well fortified shiiping is expressed formerlie in the potition by the contribution of the sowme of 5 nobles in money or fyue hundredth fishes being the 50th parte of a boates ordinarie fishing voyage which are free of all customes and impositions concerning their fishing both here and there.

And if at anie time any shippes in that countrie shalbe pressed vpon extraordinarie occasion to ayde the Lieftenant in that service against pirattes: the charge there of ought to be cast in averidge ratablie vpon the whole fishing fleete.

54     II

The name of certain pirattes with the damage done by them in Newfoundland since the yeare 1612.

The pirate Eason brought 4 shippes from the Ile of May with Captaines and souldiers which he increased to nyne shippes, all which he caried away with him besides a 100 peeces of ordonance with all manner of victualles and munitions to the value of ten thousand four hundredth pounds of the goodes of the English, besides fyve hundredth fishermen of his Maties subjects taken from their honest trade of fishing (many being voluntaries) but the most enforced to serve them in the courses of piracy.

The hurt done by the said pirattes vnto the subjectes of the french king by robing and spoiling 15 shippes then fishing in and about the coast of Newfoundland amounteth to VI thousand poundes. The damage done by them to the states of the low countries by taking a great flemish shipp one thousand poundes.

By spoiling the voyage of 12 portugale shippes three thousand poundes.

The totall of the damage done to all nations by the pirat Eason and his complices in and about the Newfoundland twentie thousand four four hundredth poundes.

Anno 1614 – Captain Maneringe with diuerse other captaines arrivued in Newfoundland the 2th of June, having 8 sayles of warlike shippes one whereof they took at the Banck an other vpon the mayne of Newfoundland from all the harboures whereof they comanded carpenters, maryners, victuals, munitiones, and all necessaries for their own supplie from the fishing fleet after that rate of every 6 maryners they wold take one and the one sixt part of all their victuals; from the portugalle shippes they took all their wyne and other provisions save their bread from a french shippe in Harbour de grace they took 10 thousand fish. Some of the companie of manie shippes did runne away onto them. They took a flemish shipp fishing in Carboneir, They left the hulls of two shippes in Newfoundland yet lying their sunck; and so after they had continued three months and an half in the countrie taking their pleasure of the fishing fleete the 14th of September 1614 they departed having wth. them from the fishing fleet about 4 hundreth mariners and fishermen manie whereof voluntaries, manie compelled.

Anno 1616: Captain Jacob a flemish pirat with one Captaine Ellis an english pirate came in Newfoundland where they took a ship of Avero in portugale then fishing in Torbay and afterwards a french ship fishing in Carboneir, The damge done to both being one thousand 5 hundreth They took all the ordinance from a ship of Bristoll and a shippe of Guernsey then fishing in Witless Bay to the value of 200 poundes.

An imposition they layed upon every ship of beir, bread, candell, beif, porck, pease, powder and shote of which they made a collection to the value of 500 poundes: The fishermen sustained loss by their hindrance of them in the prime of their fishinge, Two thousand poundes besides 50 men they had away with them of the fishers.

Anno 1618: part of the fleet of Sr. Walter Rawleigh in their returne, fro Orenoq consisting of 2 shippes and a oarnell wherein was cheef comander one Captane Hollaston with diuerse other captanes adherents who took from 4 french shippes their ladinge of dry fish which they carried away and sold at Lingorne in Italy to the value of three thousand poundes  More 3 shippes they took and caried with them which they sold at Ligorne, to the value of two thousand four hundredth poundesl

One french shipp they left in Newfoundland which immediatlie was sent home by the Gouernour of the plantation yet the lose of her fishing voyage was fyve hundredth poundes.

Wrongs they did on the banck at their first coming by pilladging the french fishers 500 pounds.

Their taxing of fishermen in all the harbours of Newfoundland for powder, shote and other necessaries amounted to two thousand poundes, besides one hundredth and thirtie men they took away wth. them of the fishers.

The same year 1618 a flemish pirat out of the west indies came to Newfoundland robbing shippes of their ordonance & provisiones in Greene bay and Trinitie Harbour in both places to the value of one thousand three hundredth poundes.

This yeare and the former fyue shippes, 2 of Avero in portugale, the one full laden with fish the other emptie togidder with one thousand 5 hundreth poundes And one of Rochell being taken by pirates were rescued and restored to the right owners by the Gouernor of the plantationes and 2 others the one a french shipp the other of the Peneshe in Portugajo were preserved from the pirates by the said Gouernor.

So yt appeares the damage done by Eason and his confederates anno 1618 is twentie thousand 400 poundes Anno 1616 by Jacob a flemish pirate, damage four 200 poundes; anno 1618 by pt of Sr. Walter Rawleigh’s fleete damage nyne thousand 700 poundes; and by Captane Manoring’s fleete th particulars unvalued yet the least losse was six thousand fyve hundredth poundes.

Summ in all fourtie thousand and eight hundred poundes damage by pirates in Newfoundalnd since the year 1612. The ordnance taken and caryed away from the fishers by the aforesaid pirates nombered one hundredth and four score peeces.

Moreover one thousand and eightie men of his Maties subjects being fishermen, saylors, carpenters and gunners many whereof taken by force and other voluntarly caried away by the aforesaid pirates Besides the damage done to the plantacocs in subuerting on colony at Renoose and very much hindering the other diuerse wayes

54 III

Some few instances of certabe misdeamenors and iniuries committed by the fisher this last yaere in Newfoundland 1620.

Eight stages in seuerall harbours worth at least in labour and cost one hundredth and sixtie pounds malitiouslie  & on set purpose burned by certain of the english fishers, besides manie more in the residue of the harboures of the countrie, a thing greatlie to the prejudice of the fishing trade and not punichable but by good laws to be settled there by his Matie.

A man slaine in a controuersie for halinge of a seyne. Certaine english fishermen entered aboard a portugalle shippe in the night in St Johns harbour having swordes & axes wherewith they did cut manie of his roapes and wold have cut his cables to the overthrow of the shipp had they not been restrained by certane masters of english Shippes.

A great combate between some insolent english and certain portugalles in Petyte Harnour and one of the English dangerouslie hurt with a pike.

Great damage done by certaine english fishers to a saw mill and a grist mill built by the plantacon not to be repaired for 40 poundes.

The woodes daylie spoilied by the fishers in taking the rind and barke of the trees and fyve thousand akers of wood burned malitiouslie by the fishers in the bay of Conception anno 1618 with manye more thousand of akers burned and destroyed by them within these 20 yeares.

Much Salt, cask, Traynefates, and manie boates stoallen from one ane other by them whereof great complaintes are yearlie made.

The harboures frequented by the English neare 40 in number almost spoyled by casting out their ballast and presse stoanes into them.

Portugalls, french and all other natione frequenting that trade are more conformable to good orders than the english fishers.

The wrongs here specifyed are not the fourth part of those yearlie offered by the fishers in Newfoundland and albeit the lordes of his Maties most honble priuie counsell lies to the port Townes of the west partes the last year forbidding them to commit such disorders there yet they refuse to obey the same and manie good order setled by good aduise and proclaimed by the Gouernor of the colonie there for the generall good of the fishing for want of a power to punish the breach of the same are not obeyed.


A clause of th Patent granting a government over the planters and traffickers in the Newfoundland by the way on the seas thither or homewardes, also in the countrie, with marine power and martialle law to be established by the counsell of the plantacon, likewise a clause for interpretaion of doubtes in the patente infaur of the companie as followeth: We for vs.or heires & successors are likewise pleased and contented, and by those pntes do give and grant to the said Treasurer and companie and their successoures and to such Governors, officers, and ministers as shall by the said counsell constituted & appointed according to the natures and limits of their offices and places respectively that they shall and may from time to time for euer hereafter within the said Territories or preccincts of Newfoundland or in the way by the seas thither and from thence have full and absolute power and authoritie to correct, punish, pardon, gouerne and rule all subjects of vs or heires and successours as shall from time to time aduenture themselfes in any voyage thither, or that shall at any time hereafter inhabit in the precincts and territorie of the said land called Newfoundland aforesaid according to the good discretiones of the said Gouernors and officers respectively as well in cases capitall and criminall as civill both marine and other So alwayes as the said, Statutes ordinances and proceedinges as neare as convenientlie may be agreeable to the lawes Statutes gouermentes and policie of this or


Note: This line of small dashes appears to have been inserted later the ink being much blacker than the writing. The space (in which the dashes are placed) is very little wider than the ordinary spaces between the lines.  It is impossible to say whether any omission occurs, as I have not found another copy of the document.


Realme of England, And we do of or.especiall grace etc. grant declare & ordaine that such principall gouernor or gouernors as from time to time shall dewly and lawfulle to be authorized and appointed in manner and forme in theson presents heirtofore expressed shall have full power and authoritie to use and exercise martiall law in cases of Rebellion or mutinit in as large and ample manor as or. Leiftenance in or. Countries wthin or. Realme of England have or ought to have by force of the Comissiones of leiftenancie.

And further or.will and pleasure is that in all questiones & doubts that shall arrise ypon any difficultie of construction or interpretation of anything conteyned in these or.lros patent the same shall be taken and interpreted in most ample and beneficiall manor for the said Treasurer and companie and their Successoures & every member thereof.


“Reasons to induce his
Matie. to grant a power
for reformation of ye
disorders in Newfoundland”.


(Endorsement in pencil)



inclosure (16.Mar.1621)


SEPTEMBER 12th 1675

H.M.S.”BRISTOL” at Bay Bulls

SIR JOHN BERRY’S reply to the British Government against the removal of Newfoundland Fishermen from the Coast.

His contradiction of reports circulated against the fishermen,

Buying Brandy and wine from New England Traders

Reasons why Captains did not bring back all the fisherman at the end of the season.

List of vessels that sold wind and Brandy in Nfld in the year 1675.




I have accordinge to my orders taken a prfect account from Cape de Rase to Cape Bonavista in new Found Land of all the shipps and their concerns specifyinge each pticular as you will find by ye inclosed papers: The inhabitants of this country being ordered to remoue and settle in some other of his Maties Plantacions if they soe desire, Severall things are layd to their charge by ye marchants; yt they take wine and brandy in exchange for their fish from ye people of New England without dependinge on ye ships of old England is very false ye oldest man living never knew any such vessell come wth those goods; but some provisions have bin frequently brought and sold here for brandy and wine to ye New England vessells. I shall be too tedious and troublesome to express the pticulers of all their concerns, but shall desire you to peruse the inclosed list; by wch you will have informacon of ye persons yt doe bring these commodities; ye shipps names and where they belong to; and above ye one half of those wines and brandy are sould to ye fishing ships crews, who comes from home on provided trustinge to those vessels; yt yearly brings great quantitys selling it att a cheape rate; consideringe no duties to be taken out of y?; as to ye pulling down ye stages and storehouses ye merchant adventurers men take ye down for their own pticular vse; I have bin an eye witness of itt, and wheras ‘tis said many men are seduced to staye in ye country whilst their familys become burdensome to their Parishes att home is their fault who imployed ym in ye fishing season; to save 30s for their passages perswade ye inhibitants to receve ym and ye men to tarry behind; itt will be an easy matter to prevent all this clamour, a peece of boldness in me to dictate; but undr submission; if every commander be bound in five hund pounds bond to return all his ship’s crew, mortality and danger of ye seas only excepted and after ye fishinge voyage is over to take down all their stages intirely preserving it in some convenient place, ye admll Viseadall & Reaadmll. Required to see it done in every part, by which means same timber will serve ye next season and ye first shipps gradually that arrive in each harbor to enjoye those necessarys that they fin on yt fishing ground they imploye and not to pillage another fishing room to repaire their own; if there be not some corse taken in a few years wood will be very hard to bring out to ye decaye of ye fishery, ye sea and ice destroy many stages where ye harbour lyes open to ye rigour of itt.  There is in this land one thousand,six hundred fifty-five men women and children, they imloy two hundred seaventy seaven boats, they have cured sixty nine thousand twohundred and fifty kentalls of merchantable fish all or most part shipt off in English vessels.

(The remainder of the re????? Is similar to that )

(addresd to Sir John Williamson of the same date )

(though the facts are in different order     )

Yr.Honors most obedt. Servant


John Berry


From on baord his majties ship

Bristoll in Bay Bulls in new
found land ye 12th Septembr.1675

Sr. Robt. Southwell


Newfoundland 12th Sept 1675

From Sr. J. Berry

Read at ye Committee 4th Dec 1675

Read again 13th April 1676

Read again 8th Octr. 1676

In presence of Sr. J. Berry.

17 III


NEWFOUNDLAND – A list of those yt. Have furnisht ye Inhabitants and ships crews
wth. Brandy, Wine etc. inye yeare 1675

Thos. Weymouth                 Susanna                Dartmouth
Richd. Dodge                   Grace                  Topson
Xpr. Edger                     Mary                     do
Caleb Wedger                   Tho. and Ann             do
Tho. Brown                     Blessinge              London
Phillip Ware                   Jno.                   Topson
Michll. Gold                   Robert                 Dartmouth
Jno. Bass                      John                   Topson
Samuell Lake                   Jonas                  London
Robt. Loyd                     Benjamin               Topson
Mr Witheridge                 Bilbas Harctt.         Yarmouth
Robt. Collis                   Stt. Anthony           Bristoll
Richard Heymon                 Samuell                Tinmouth
Jno. Chapman                   Vnity.                 Falmouth
Joseph Sayer                   Leond. & John          London
Walter Crutt                   Providence             Dartmouth
Henr. Nicholls                 Providence             London
Robert Jacobs                  Mary                   London
Gilber Waken                   Dorathy                Dartmouth
Tho Tucker                     Harctt.                Tinmouth
James Lake                       do                   Dartmouth
Xpr. Hayle                       do                   Topson
Jno. Morrish                     do                   Plymouth
Mr Whitchair                  Brostoll Ketch         Bristoll
Mr Woodrall                   Harctt.                Topson
Jno. Mills                     Patience               Bristoll
Jno Slaford                    Elizebeth              Topson
Richd. Tucker                  Young Mans Delight     Plymouth
Jno Blackler                   Stt. Peter             Dartmo.
Peter Grange                   Consent                Bidiford
Edwd. Smale                    Marmaid                  do
Geo. Daracot                   Delight                  do
Jno. Orchard                   Patience               Bristoll


From Sir. J. Berry in 1675

September 12th 1675



Sir John Berry’s report to the British Government

Complete Census of Newfoundland from Cape Race to Cape Bonavista.

Names of Vessels and Masters visiting Newfoundland and places from whence they  came and markets they sailed for:

175 ships employing 4309 men in 688 Boats

17200 qtls @ 12/ current price                       £103200
Train Oil 4816 hhds @??/                                9632
3700 qtls Core Fish @ 5/                                3440


Transient Population

Resident Planters and their concerns 1655 men, women and children with 277 boats caught

69250 qtls Mchtble Fish @ 12/       £42550

Oil & Core Fish                       4263 £46813


Honod. Sr.

In my former letter of ye.24 July I gave yor.Honr. account of my arrivall in ye Newfound land, and what prgoress I had made in ye executing his majties orders:  Since which time I have taken pticular care, and doe here inclose a pfect account of all ye shipps imployed by ye marchants adventurers in ye takinge and curinge of fish from Cape de Rase to Cape Bona Vista, expressing ye shipps names; masters and place where they belong to; ye quantity of boats each shipp keeps and how many men imployd in every vessel and how many bound to fforaigne ports marketts & who bound directly home. I have cast up their whole concerne for this yeare, there is one hundred seaventy five shipps and vessels: they imployde fower thousand three hundredth and nine men : in six hundred eighty eight boats connatinge two hundred and fifty kentalls per boate, wch is ye least they have taken one wth ye other through ye land is one hundred seaventy two thousand kentalls att 12 s p. kentall being ye price current amounts to ye sum one hundred three thousand two hundred pounds sterlinge; and seaven hhds of Traine oyle p. boate is fower thousand eight hundred and sixteen hhds at 40s.p.hhd is nine thousand six hundred thirty two pounds; twenty kentalls of core fish p. boate is thirteen thousand seaven hundred and sixty kentalls; att 5s p.kentall amounts to three thousand fower hundred and forty pounds; in all comes to one hundred and sixteen thousand two hundred and seaventy two poundes sterling – I have likewise sent you an account of all ye planters and of their concerns from Cape De Raze to Cape Bonavista, there is one thousand six hundred fifty-five men women and children; they imployde two hundred seaventy seaven boates and have cured vpwards of sixty-nine thousand two hundred and fifty kentalls of merchantable fish most of it shipt in English vessels for a market att 12s p.kentall comes to forty-one thousand five hundred and fifty pounds sterling; soe that including their core fish and traine oyle their whole concernes for this yeare will amount to ye sum of forty-six thousand eight hundred and thirteen poundes sterling which is vpward of ye third part of ye fish taken by ye shippes and men imployd by ye marchant adverturers : By this yor. Honr. Maye see wt. a loss his majtie will have if those poore people should remove for they designe to goe and settle amongst ye french on ye other (side) of Cape de Raze, unless his majtie. will be gratiously pleasd to lett ym. continue.  I Stand in admiration how those people that laid so many informacons could appeare before his majtie wth soe many vntruths against ye inhabitants. It was neven known since ye memory of ye oldest man vsinge this trade that any shipps of New England brought wine or brandy ine exchange for their fish only some provisions; taking those goods before mentioned for payment. To give you ye more satisfaction I have made it my business to find our ye shippes names; masters and where she belong to yt. Have furnished ym this yeare as is mentioned in this inclosed list and for ye pullinge downe and destroyinge ye stages and houses built for ye curinge of fish; ye masters are ye first beginors, and to says 30s for a seaman passage, they care not how many men is lfet behind its my opinion yt his majtie. will never have a Regulecon of this fishery vnless a governor be settled, for here is hardest sends off he yt is ye strongest dreads down ye weakest.  Most part of ye shipps bound to a market are gonn away two or three in company who acords convoy, woe shall not be above thirty sails as I am informed: the weather of late proving so ill keeps their fish from curinge wch will cause ye to staye till ye 20th or 25th inst then yt are already gonn I shall be able by ye latter shipps to give you account of

I have sent home one Jno.Hastard a boats master by Mr Sellman of Dartmough; ye sd. person being aprehended for ye supposed murder of one John Toser his ffellow boatman in Maye last wch was before I arrived. I having examined ye whole matter, and have bund over fower witnesses to prosecute against ye said prisoner all shipt in ye Admll. Of Stt.Johns.  I have made it my business to informe you of what is required in my order concerninge ye French and their shipps, but cannot gett any certaine account, the have two men of warr one of 40 gunnes the other of 30 gunns for convoye they Rendevous at Trepassey near Cape de Raze, the Stt.Malon fleet of twenty saile goes without convoye being all considerable shippes and about forty or fiftie with ye convoye as is variously reported wch is all att present from

Yor. Honors most obedt.Servant

John Berry

From on board his Majties.
ship Bristoll in Bay Bulls
in New Found Land ye 12th
September 1675

Sr.Joseph Williamson

                          Endorsed :-

                                R.11 Oct.1675




To ye Right Honoble Sr.Joseph
Williamson one of ye principall

Secretarys off State.



"All About Pirates" was transcribed by Mary Rawlinson
The Ships List and the Planters List were transcribed by Lorraine Allen.

Page Revised: March - 2003 (Don Tate)

Recent Updates Contact Us

Search through the whole site
Hosted by
Chebucto Community Net

Your Community, Online!
JavaScript DHTML Menu Powered by Milonic
Newfoundland's Grand Banks is a non-profit endeavor.
No part of this project may be reproduced in any form for any purpose other than personal use.

© Newfoundland's Grand Banks (1999-2021)