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Petitions to the House of Assembly
of resident s of
Esquimaux Bay and Sandwich Bay

 

National Archives of Canada, MG 11 C.O. 194/94, Reel B-540 at 322 et ff.

1. Petition of the residents of Esquimaux Bay

To His Excellency Henry Prescott Esq., C.B., Governor [of Newfoundland]

The humble petition of the Merchants Planters and others residing in Esquimaux Bay on the Coast of Labrador, and carrying on and proseceuting the Salmon and Cod fisheries there

Humbly Sheweth

That having observed a Bill had been proposed and brought forward and ordered to be printed in the House of Assembly in Newfoundland entituled "For the regulation of the Salmon Fishery of this Colony and its dependencies" Now we your humble petitioners perceiving that if this proposed Bill should pass and receive your Excellency's consent it would be the means of destroying the settled Salmon Fisheries on this Coast or at least driving the present perseceutors or occupiers of them from the same, many of whom have been established for a great number of years and are depending on the same for the support of themselves and families.

Now we your humble Petitioners humbly hope that your Excellency will perceive the injustice of the proposed Bill which proposes to take away all right privelege and interests in established fisheries many of which have been purchased for valuable consideration and others taken by first settlers under the protection of the King in Council and Governors of Newfoundland and under which we not only wish to be but presume we are as we have no representation in the House of Assembly in Newfoundland nor is there as far as we can learn any provision made for us in the Charter of that House. Under these circumstances protesting against the House of Assembly in Newfoundland interfering and making laws for us whilst unrepresented there nor do we wish to be (whose interests are so entirely different from climate and locality) their object being presuming from the Bill in question to take from us our just and equitable rights and to throw the same open to themselves and who would we have no doubt immediately avail themselves of it. We your Petitioners therefore humbly hope that your Excellency will take into your consideration the justice of our complaints and not sanction the passing of the proposed Bill whilst it includes the Coast of Labrador and your Petitioners will ever pray &c.

Wm. Langley & Co.
Mark Ansty
Angus Brownson
John Mudge
George Pottle
John Reed
Thomas Broomfield
Josh. Broomfield
Jms Ryan
W.H.A. Davies
Geo. Flowers
John Jourdain
Moses Brown
William Dowding
John [Parsley?]
William Whitten

Esquimaux Bay 16 September 1835

2. Petition of the residents of Sandwich Bay.

The humble petition of the undersigned being Proprietors and occupiers of the salmon fisheries in this Bay.

Humbly Sheweth

That your Petitioners having observed that a Bill entituled "For the regulation of the Salmon Fisheries of this Colony and its Dependencies" has been proposed ordered to be printed in the House of Assembly in Newfoundland.

Now we your humble Petitioners perceiving that if this proposed Bill should pass the House and receive your Excellency's consent that it would be the means of destroying the settled salmon fisheries on this Coast many of which have been attended with very great expenses in erecting buildings and other requisites for proseceuting the same advantageously and effectually, also driving from the same the present proprietors and occupiers many of whom have been established for a great number of years and have no other means of maintaining themselves and families.

We your humble Petitioners therefore humbly hope that your Excellency will perceive the injustice of the proposed Bill which is intended to take away and destroy all Rights Interests and Priveleges in our settled and established salmon fisheries (without our having a single voice to state our grievances) many of which have been purchased for valuable consideration and others taken and possessed by first settlers under the protection of the King in Council and Governors of Newfoundland, all under which we not only wish to be but presume we are from the fact of our not having a Representative in the House of Assembly in Newfoundland, nor is there as far as we can learn any provision made for us in the Charter of that House. Under these Circumstances we humbly look to your Excellency for protection and protest against the House of Assembly in Newfoundland interfering with or making laws for us whilst we are unrepresented there and which we have no wish for as our interests and theirs are entirely different from climate and locality.

Therefore we humbly beg that your Excellency will not sanction the passing of the Bill in question including the Coast of Labrador whilst it embraces such very illiberal and unjust measures. Instead of taking away the Rights and property of established fisheries and throwing them open to continual litigation, we presume it would be more beneficial to people in general and the nation at large to afford such protection to settled fisheries as would induce other adventurers to explore and take possession of the still unoccupied parts of this Coast which be from the 55th degree of North Latitude to the commencement of the Hudson's Bay Company Territories and which never will be done if encouragement & protection are not given to first adventurers.

And your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray &c.

E.V.E. Hunt, Merchants
Jas. Sutton, Planter 37 years on this coast
Chas. Williams, Planter 37 years on this coast
Francis [Quirk?] born on the coast
Chas. Davis, Planter 10 years on this coast
Patk. Sullivan, Planter 40 years on this coast
Jas. Morris, born on the coast
Jas. Goodenough, Planter 27 years on this coast
Hy. Lucey, Planter 10 years on this coast
Patk. Connors, Planter 23 years on this coast
Wm. Fancey, Planter 35 years on this coast
Josh. [Wells?], Merchant
Thos. Chaffrey, Planter 12 years on this coast
Jas. Edwards, Planter
Hy. Martin, Planter
Jas. Martin, Planter 9 years on this coast

Sandwich Bay Labrador 15th September 1835

 

3. Governor Prescott to Lord Glenelg, May 24 1836

Government House

Newfoundland 24 May 1836

The Right Honble.

Lord Glenelg

My Lord,

I have the honor to enclose copies of two petitions presented to me at the commencement of the late session of the Colonial Legislature, to which I replied that I would give them all due consideration should such a Bill as the petitioners apprehended to be offered for my acceptance.

No such measure has since been agitated, but Your Lordship will observe that the petitioners protest against the power of the Legislature of Newfoundland to make laws binding upon the Settlers at Labrador, in consequence of their being unrepresented in the House of Assembly; and they at the same time disclaim any wish of being represented therein, and express a desire to be ruled and regulated by the King in Council and by the Governor of Newfoundland.

I request the opinion and direction of your Lordship upon this point, and have the honour to be,

My Lord,

Your Lordships

Most obedient

Humble servant

H. Prescott

 

4. Lord Glenelg to Governor Prescott, June 29 1836

Downing Street

29 June 1836

Captain Prescott

Sir,

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch of the 24th May No. 31, enclosing two Petitions addressed to you by persons settled on the Coast of Labrador deprecating the passing of a Bill which had been introduced into the House of Assembly of Newfoundland for regulating the salmon fishery of the Colony. As that Bill was not eventually presented to you for your assent it is unnecessary for me to allude further to it, but I proceed to notice that the other topic in these Petitions to which you have invited my particular attention.

The Petitioners protest against the right of the Legislature of Newfoundland in which they are not represented to make laws binding on them, and record their belief that they are still under the authority of the King in Council expressing at the same time their wish to remain so. In this view of their situation the Petitioners are evidently in error. By the Statute 49 Geo. III, c. 27 & 6 Geo. IV, c. 59, as well as by the Royal Commission to Sir T. Cochrane & to yourself, the Coast of Labrador to the Eastward of a Line drawn North & South from the Harbour of Ance Sablon to the 52º North Latitude is annexed to the Colony of Newfoundland. The authority, therefore, of the Legislature of Newfoundland to pass laws for the Government of the Settlers at Labrador, cannot be disputed, but at the same time, the claim of these settlers to be represented in the Colonial Legislature demands, and ought to receive, a deliberate consideration. You will accordingly inform the Petitioners, while pointing out the error into which they have fallen, that you will be ready to recommend to the favourable attention of the Council & Assembly of Newfoundland any petition which they may address to those Bodies, putting forward their claim to be represented in the Colonial Legislature.


 

Page Contributed By Wallace J.McLean (1999)

Page Revised by Craig Peterman (March 06, 2013)

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