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William III, 1698: An Act to Incourage the Trade to Newfoundland. [Chapter XIV. Rot. Parl. 10 Gul. III. p. 3. n.5.]

Pages 515-518

Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.

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Citation:

In this section

(fn. 1) Reasons for passing this Act.

Subjects trading to Newfoundland, &c. to enjoy the same, and the Freedom of taking Bait and Fishing in the Rivers, &c. and of curing Fish, makeing Oil, &c. on Shore; Aliens, &c. not to take Bait or use Trade or Fishing.

Whereas the Trade of and Fishing at Newfoundland is a beneficiall Trade to this Kingdom not only in the imploying great Numbers of Seamen and Ships and exporting and consumeing great Quantities of Provisions and Manufactures of this Realme whereby many Tradesmen and poor Artificers are kept at Worke but alsoe in bringing into this Nation by Returns of the Effects of the said Fishery from other Countreys great Quantities of Wine Oyle Plate Iron Wooll and sundry other usefull Commodities to the Increase of His Majesties Revenue and the Encouragement of Trade and Navigation Be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That from henceforth it shall and may be lawfull for all His Majesties Subjects residing within this His Realme of England or the Dominions thereunto belonging trading or that shall trade to Newfoundland and the Seas Rivers Lakes Creeks Harbours in or about Newfoundland or any of the Islands adjoyning or adjacent thereunto to have use and enjoy the free Trade and Traffick and Art of Merchandize and Fishery to and from Newfoundland and peaceably to have use and enjoy the Freedom of taking Bait and fishing in any of the Rivers Lakes Creeks Harbours or Roads in or about Newfoundland and the said Seas or any of the Islands adjacent thereunto and Liberty to goe on Shore on any part of Newfoundland or any of the said Islands for the curing salting drying and husbanding of their Fish and for making of Oyle and to cut downe Wood and Trees there for building and making or repairing of Stages Shiprooms Trainfats Hurdles Ships Boats and other Necessaries for themselves and their Servants Seamen and Fishermen and all other Things which may be usefull or advantageous to their Fishing Trade as fully and freely as at any time heretofore hath been used or enjoyed there by any of the Subjects of His Majesties Royall Predecessors without any Hindrance Interruption Deniall or Disturbance of or from any Person or Persons whatsoever And that no Alien or Stranger whatsoever (not residing within the Kingdom of England Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwick upon Tweed) shall at any time hereafter take any Bait or use any sort of Trade or Fishing whatsoever in Newfoundland or in any of the said Islands or Places above mentioned

II. Ballast, &c. not to be thrown out of Ships to prejudice the Harbours.

And for the preserving the said Harbours from all Annoyances Be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That from and after the Twenty fifth Day of March One thousand seaven hundred now next comeing no Ballast Prest Stones or any thing else hurtfull to or annoying any of the Harbours there shall be throwne out of any Ship or otherwise by any Person or Persons whatsoever to the Prejudice of any of the said Harbours but that all such Ballast and other Things shall be carried on Shore and be laid where they may do no Annoyance

III. Persons departing from Newfoundland, not to damage Stages or Cook-Rooms, &c. which they may have falleninto on coming into the Country.

Proviso for Repair of Stages used by Persons coming to Newfoundland.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no Person or Persons whatsoever shall (at his Departure out of the said Countrey or at any other time) destroy deface or do any Detriment to any such Stage or Cook-Roome or to the Flakes Spikes Nails or any other Thing whatsoever thereto belonging as he or they shall fall into at his or their comeing into the said Countrey but that he or they shall (during his or their stay there) content him and themselves with such Stage or Stages only as are needfull for him or them and shall alsoe (at his or their Departure thence) leave all such his or their Stage or Stages without doing or causing to be done any wilfull Damage to any of them And that for the repairing of such Stage or Stages as he or they shall so takeduring his or their Aboad there the same shall be done with Timber fetcht out of the Woods there and not by the ruining breaking downe demolishing prejudiceing or any wise injuring the Stage or Stages of any other Person or Persons whatsoever

IV. What Person is to be Admiral of the Harbour during the Season, who may take such Beech or Flakes as may be needful.

What Person is to be Vice Admiral; and Rear Admiral; Masters of Fishing Ships to content themselves with such Beech and Flakes as shall be necessary; Persons having more Places than one, to elect; and send his Election to the next After-comer, demanding the same. In case of Difference, Two of the Admirals may determine the same.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That (according to the ancient Custom there used) every such Fishing Ship from England Wales or Berwick or such Fishermen as shall from and after the said Twenty fifth Day of March first enter any Harbour or Creeke in Newfoundland in behalfe of his Ship shall be Admirall of the said Harbour or Creeke during that Fishing Season and for that time shall reserve to himselfe only so much Beech or Flakes or both as are needfull for the Number of such Boats as he shall there use with an Overplus only for the Use of One Boat more than he needs as a Priviledge for his first comeing thither And that the Master of every such Second Fishing Ship as shall enter any such Harbour or Creeke shall be Vice-Admirall of such Harbour or Creeke during that Fishing Season And that the Master of every such Fishing Ship next comeing as shall enter any such Harbour or Creek shall be Rear-Admirall of such Harbour or Creeke during that Fishing Season And that the Master of every Fishing Ship there shall content himselfe with such Beech or Flakes as he shall have necessary Use for without keeping or detaining any more Beech or Flakes to the Prejudice of any such other Ship or Vessell as shall arrive there And that such Person or Persons as are possessed of severall Places in severall Harbours or Creeks there shall make his or their Election of such Place as he or they shall choose to abide in And shall also within Eight and forty Houres after any After-commer or After-commers into such Place or Places shall demand such his or their Resolution touching such his or their Election (if the Weather will so soon permit or so soon after as the Weather will permit) give or send his or their Resolution to such After-commer or After-commers touching such his or their Election of such Place as he or they shall so choose to abide in for the Fishing Season to the end that such After-commer or After-commers may likewise choose his or their Place or Places of his or their Aboad there And in case any Difference shall arise touching the said Matters the Admiralls of the respective Harbours where such Differences shall arise or any Two of them shall proportion the Place to the severall Ships in the severall Harbours they fish in according to the Number of Boats which each of the said Ships shall keep

V. Reasons for this Enactment.

Persons who since the Year 1685, have seized and detained Stages, Cook-Rooms, &c. to relinquish the same for the public Use.

And whereas severall Inhabitants in Newfoundland and other Persons have since the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred eighty five ingrossed and detained in their owne Hands and for their own private Benefit severall Stages Cook-Roomes Beeches and other Places in the said Harbours and Creeks (which before that time belonged to Fishing Ships) for takeing of Bait and fishing and curing their Fish to the great Prejudice of the Fishing Ships that arrive there in the Fishing Season and sometimes to the Overthrow of some of their Voyages and to the great Discouragement of the Traders there Be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all and every such Person and Persons as since the said Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred eighty five have or hath taken seized or detained any such Stage Cook Room Beech or other Place for taking Bait or fishing or for the drying curing or husbanding of Fish shall on or before the said Twenty fifth Day of March relinquish quit and leave to the publick Use of the Fishing Ships arriveing there all and every the said Stages Cook-Rooms Beeches and other Places for taking Bait and fishing and for the drying curing and husbanding of Fish

VI. No Fisherman, &c. to possess himself of Stages, &c. which, since the Year 1685, belonged, or hereafter shall belong, to Ships, &c., before the Arrival of Fishing Ships, and until they shall be provided

And for the preventing the ingrossing and detaining of all such Stages Cook-Roomes Beeches and other Places by any Person or Persons for the time to come Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no Fisherman or Inhabitant in Newfoundland or any other Person or Persons whatsoever shall at any time after the said Twenty fifth Day of March seize take up or possesse any of the Stages Cook-Rooms Beeches or other Places which at any time since the said Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred eighty five did (or at any time hereafter shall belong to any Fishing Ship or Ships) for taking Bait or fishing or for drying curing or husbanding of Fish before the Arrivall of the Fishing Ships out of England Wales and Berwick and untill all such Ships shall be provided with Stages Cook-Rooms Beeches and other Places for taking Bait and Fishing and for drying curing and husbanding of Fish

VII. Proviso for Persons who, since 25th March 1685, have built Stages, &c. that did not, since the said Year 1685, belong to Fishing Ships.

Provided alwaies That all such Persons as since the Twenty fifth Day of March One thousand six hundred eighty five have built cut out or made (or at any time hereafter shall build cut out or make) any Houses Stages Cook-Rooms Train-Fats or other Conveniencies for fishing there did not belong to Fishing Ships since the said Yeare One thousand six hundred eighty five shall and may peaceably and quietly enjoy the same to his or their owne Use without any Disturbance of or from any Person or Persons whatsoever

VIII. By-Boat-Keepers not to meddle with Stages, Cook-Rooms, &c., that since the said Year 1685 belonged to Fishing Ships.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all and every Person or Persons whatsoever that shall go over with their Servants to Newfoundland to keep Boats on a Fishing Voyage commonly called By-Boat-Keepers shall not pretend to or meddle with any House Stage Cook-Roome Train-Fat or other Conveniency that did belong to Fishing Ships since the Yeare One thousand six hundred eighty five or shall be cut out or made by Ships from and after the said Twenty fifth Day of March One thousand seaven hundred

IX. Masters of By-Boats to carry Two fresh Men at least.

Inhabitants to employ Two such fresh Men; Masters of Fishing Ships to carry One fresh Man in every Five Men.; Oath by Masters of By-Boats and Ships; Certificate of Oath without-Fee.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That every Master of a By-Boat or By-Boats shall carry with him at least Two fresh Men in Six (viz.) One Man that hath made no more than One Voyage and One Man who hath never been at Sea before And that every Inhabitant shall be obliged to employ Two such fresh Men as the By-Boat-Keepers are obliged for every Boat kept by them And further That all Masters of Fishing Ships shall carry with them in their Ships Company at least One such Fresh Man that never was at Sea before in every Five Men they carry And that the Master of each such By-Boat and each such Fishing Ship shall make Oath before the Collector or other principal Officer of the Customs of the Port or Ports from whence such Ship intends to saile that each Ship and By-Boats Company have such fresh Men therein as this Act directs And that the said Officer or Officers is and are hereby impowered and required to administer the aforesaid Oath to the said Masters of Ships and By-Boats and give a Certificate thereof under his Hand without any Fee Gratuity or Reward for so doing

X. Masters or Owners of Ships to have every Fifth Man a green Man.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That every Master or Owner of any Fishing Ship going to Newfoundland (after the said Twenty fifth Day of March) shall have in his Ships Company every Fifth Man a green Man (that is to say) not a Seaman or having been ever at Sea before

XI. Persons not to expunge or change the Marks of Boats or Trainfats, or use or remove the same, without Notice to Admiral, and Consent of Owner.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no Person or Persons whatsoever shall at any time after the said Twenty fifth Day of March obliterate expunge cut out deface or anywise alter or change the Mark or Marks of any Boat or Boats Trainfat or Trainfats belonging to any other Person or Persons whereby to defraud or prejudice the right Owner or Owners thereof nor convert to his or their owne Use any Boat or Boats Trainfat or Trainfats belonging to any other Person or Persons without his or their Consent and Approbation nor remove nor take away any such Boat or Trainfat from the Place or Places where they shall be left by the Owner or Owners thereof except in Case of Necessity and alsoe upon giveing Notice thereof to the Admirall of the Harbour or Place where such Boat or Trainfat shall be left by the Owner or Owners to the end that the right Owners thereof may know what is become of them

XII. Persons not to rind Trees, set fire to Woods, or do other unnecessary Damage;

nor cast Anchor, or do other Acts to hinder the haling of Sayns, &c.; nor steal Bait Nets, &c.

And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no Person or Persons whatsoever shall at any time after the said Twenty fifth Day of March rind any of the Trees there standing or growing upon any Occasion whatsoever nor shall by any Waies or Meanes whatsoever set on Fire any of the Woods of the said Countrey or do or cause to be done any Damage Detriment or Destruction to the same for any Use or Uses whatsoever except only for necessary Fuell for the Ships and Inhabitants and for the building and necessary Repaires of Houses Ships Boats and Trainfats and of the Stages Cook-roomes Beeches and other Places for taking Bait and fishing and for drying curing and husbanding Fish there And also that no Person or Persons whatsoever shall at any time after the said Twenty fifth Day of March cast Anchor or do any other Matter or Thing to the Annoyance or hindring of the haling of Saynes in the accustomary baiting Places or shoot his or their Sayn or Sayns within or upon the Sayn or Sayns of any other Person or Persons whatsoever And also that no Person or Persons whatsoever shall at any time after the said Twenty fifth Day of March steal purloyne or take out of the Nett or Netts of any other Person or Persons whatsoever lying a drift or Drover for Baite by Night nor steal purloyne or take away any Baite out of any Fishing-Boat or Boats or any Nett or Netts belonging to any other Person or Persons.

XIII.

Capital Crimes committed in Newfoundland, &c. tried in any County in England.

And whereas severall Persons that have been guilty of Thefts Robberies Murders and other Felonies upon the Land in Newfoundland and the Islands thereunto adjacent have many times escaped unpunished because the Tryall of such Offenders hath heretofore been ordered and adjudged in no other Court of Justice but before the Lord High Constable and Earl Marshall of England For Reformation thereof and for the more speedy and effectuall Punishment of such Offences for the time to come Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all Robberies Murders and Felonies and all other Capitall Crimes whatsoever which at any time or times after the said Twenty fifth Day of March shall be done and committed in or upon the Land in Newfoundland or in any of the Islands thereunto, belonging shall and may be enquired of tryed heard determined and adjudged in any Shire or County of this Kingdom of England by virtue of the Kings Commission or Commissions of Oyer and Terminer and Goal Delivery or any of them according to the Laws of this Land used for the Punishment of such Robberies Murders Felonies and other Capitall Crimes done and committed within this Realme

XIV. Admirals to see Rules and Orders of this Act executed; and to keep a Journal of Ships, &c. employed, and deliver Copy to Privy Council.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the Admiralls of and in every Port and Harbour in Newfoundland for the time being be and are hereby authorized and required (in order to preserve Peace and good Government amongst the Seamen and Fishermen as well in their respective Harbours as on the Shore) to see the Rules and Orders in this present Act contained concerning the Regulation of the Fishery there duly put in Execution And that each of the said Admiralls do yearly keep a Journall of the number of all Ships. Boats Stages and Trainfats and of all the Seamen belonging to and imployed in each of their respective Harbours and shall also (at their Returne to England) deliver a true Copy thereof under their Hands to His Majesties most Honourable Privy Councell

XV. Differences between Masters of Ships, &c. and Inhabitants, herein mentioned, to be determined by Admirals.

Appeal.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That in case any difference or controversie shall arise in Newfoundland or the Islands thereunto adjoyning between the Masters of Fishing Ships and the Inhabitants there or any By-Boat Keeper for or concerning the Right and Property of Fishing-Rooms Stages Flakes or any other Building or Conveniency for Fishing or curing of Fish in the severall Harbours or Coves the said Differences Disputes and Controversies shall be judged and determined by the Fishing Admiralls in the severall Harbours and Coves And in case any of the said Masters of Fishing Ships By-boat-keepers or Inhabitants shall think themselves agrieved by such Judgement or Determination and shall appeal to the Commanders of any of His Majesties Ships of War appointed as Convoys for Newfoundland the said Commander is hereby authorized and impowred to determine the same pursuant to the Regulation in this Act.

XVI. Sunday to be observed.

Tavern Keepers not to sell Wine, &c.

And to the end that the Inhabitants Fishermen Seamen and all and every other Person and Persons residing or being at Newfoundland or any the said Island or other Places may with all Devotion joyne in their solemn Prayers and Addresses to Almighty God for the obtaining of his Blessing upon their Persons and Endeavours Be it hereby enacted That all and every the Inhabitants of Newfoundland or the said Islands or Places adjacent near thereto shall strictly and decently observe every Lords Day commonly called Sunday and that none of the said Inhabitants (who keep any Taverne Alehouse or other publick House for Entertainment) shall entertaine or sell vend utter or dispose of to any Fisherman Seaman or other Person whatsoever upon any Lords Day or Sunday any Wine Beer Ale Cyder Strong Waters or Tobacco or any other Liquor or Liquors whatsoever

XVII. Recital of Stat. 8 & 9 W. III. c. 24. and of Stat. 9 W. III. c. 23.

Whale. Fins, Oil, and Blubber imported by Greenland Company, not liable to the Duty of 12d. charged by the said Acts.

And whereas by an Act of Parliament made in the Eighth and Ninth Yeares of His Majesties Reigne intituled An Act for granting to His Majesty a further Subsidy of Tunnage and Poundage upon Merchandizes imported for the Terme of Two Yeares and Three Quarters and an Additionall Land Tax for One Yeare for carrying on the War against France And by another Act made in the Ninth and Tenth Yeares of His Majesties Reigne intituled An Act for granting to His Majesty a further Subsidy of Tunnage and Poundage towards the raising a yearly Sum of Seaven hundred thousand Pounds for the Service of His Majesties Household and other Uses therein mentioned during His Majesties Life an additionall Duty of Twelve Pence on every Twenty Shillings Value of all Goods and Merchandizes imported (all manner of Fish English taken excepted) is granted to His Majesty His Heires and Successors And whereas some Doubt hath arisen whether Oyle Blubber and Fins taken and imported by the Company of Merchants of London trading to Greenland are not liable to the said Duty Be it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all Whale Fins Oyle and Blubber taken and imported by the Ships of the Company of Merchants of London trading to Greenland were not nor are intended to be charged or made liable to the Duty of Twelve Pence for every Twenty Shillings Value of Goods imported charged in the aforesaid Acts but that the Whale Fins Oyle and Blubber taken and imported as aforesaid and alsoe all Whale Fins Oyle and Blubber of English Fishing taken in the Seas of Newfoundland or any of the Seas belonging to any of His Majesties Plantations or Colonies and imported into this Kingdom by any of His Majesties Subjects in English Shipping were and are hereby declared to be free of the said Duties as all Fish of English taking the aforesaid Acts or any thing therein contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

Footnotes

  • 1. This is Cap. XXV. in the Common printed Editions.