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Journal of the House of Assembly

Source: Journal of the House of Assembly 1859 Appendix pp390 - 392
transcribed by Craig Besaw


H.M. Sloop Atalanta
In Cod Roy Roads,
18th day of Aug., 1858.

Before T. M. L. Pasley, Esq., J. P.

JOHN GALTON – a British subject, trader, has lived with his wife and family for seven years at Cod Roy on the Main. That his house is distant from the sea shore about 40 yards. That the French fishermen arrive at the fishing ground about the beginning of May, and leave about the latter end of September. That the French build wooden huts and stages on Cod Roy Island, which, during their absence, are left in charge of a Frenchman named Hardy. The English inhabitants of the Newfoundland coast, opposite Cod Roy Island, prosecute the fishery, viz.: Cod, Herring, and Seal principally from the month of September to February, and as long as the ice will alow, and that during the French season they prosecute the fishery, believing they had a concurrent right, provided they did not interfere with the French drying ground, and they have done so without serious interruption until the commencement of July, 1858, when a French steamer came off the island, and communicated with the French fishermen living on Cod Roy Island. The French fishermen catch as much herring for bait as they require. Deponent considers the concurrent right to extend to Bay St. George as well as to the westward. The French claim a right to the salmon fisheries during the fishing season, and cut wood for the purposes of t he fishery one mile inland. Nova Scotia and United States’ vessels do not fish at Cod Roy, but trade there. Neither French nor English use large seines or bultows. That for several years past 6 or 8 Frenchmen from St. Peter’s visited Cod Roy during the winter, and carry on the Cod and Herring fishery, and occupy a deserted winter house on the main land, for the purpose of cutting and sawing wood.

THOMAS CULBER, Fisherman, resides at Cod Roy, has done so all his life, aged 37 years, has 7 children, and occupies a house 80 or 90 yards from the mainland. Deposes to the same as Galton, and also, that the English prosecute the fishery all the year round as the fish strike in, and he believed had a concurrent right and exercised it for 26 years. --- That the French resident told him that no English fisherman would be allowed to fish on the west coast of Newfoundland after this year ; he was desired to communicate this by the French Naval Officer.

JAMES MOORE, Fisherman, a resident of Cod Roy 28 years, has a wife and 10 children, and besides deposing to the same facts as the before-mentioned parties, states that the said Hardy and a Frenchman named Bewseau live on Cod Roy Island during the winter months, and have done so for several years.


H. M. Sloop “Atlanta” In St. George’s Bay. 21st day of August, 1858.

JOHN MESSERVEY, St. George’s Bay, Fisherman and Trader, has lived in St. George’s Bay 50 years and has 8 children. The French fishing season commences early in April and ends the 20th of Sept., but the French are not now in the habit, and have not been for the last twenty years, of fishing in George’s Bay. The English inhabitants prosecute the fishery, Cod and Herring, chiefly from the beginning of May during the months generally, and have done so for about one hundred years, believing that they had a concurrent right, provided they did not interfere with the French drying grounds, and they have done so without interruption until May this year, when a French Schooner of War vessel came into the Bay and the Officer commanding her requested deponent to dispatch his vessel as quickly as possible as he feared the Captain of some other French war vessel might notice it. --- The French take as much Herring as they require for bait. The concurrent right, deponent believes, includes the Bay of St. George as well as the sea to the Westward. --- The French claim right to the Salmon fishery, during the season, but they do not exercise it in the Bay.

GEORGE MESSERVEY, Fisherman, has a wife and family, resides in St. George’s Bay, has done so for fifty years. Deposes to the same as before, and also that about 11 years ago he was interrupted in the pursuit of the cod fishery by a French schooner of war, commanded by Capt. Celerie, who prevented deponent exchanging a boat load of fish with a trader, and seized his boat and detained her for three hours; also, that during that year the Captain of a French schooner told deponent that he (deponent) was not allowed to fish in Port-au-Port this year ; that the English might fish for herring in Fortune Bay this year, but that next year they would not be allowed to catch any fish whatever in the Bay.

JOHN RENAUFF, a British subject, a fisherman, has a wife and family, resides in St. George’s Bay, has done so for the last fifty years, deposes in substance as to the former, but is silent as to the French interruption this year or on former occasions.

JOSEPH LE GRAUDIES, a British subject, a trader between Halifax and St. George’s Bay, has a wife and family, and resides in St. George’s Bay, has done so for twelve years ; deposes to the same as before, and also that in the beginning of May this year the French schooner Fauvitte, came into St. George’s Bay, and the Captain told deponent that the English fishermen would not be allowed to fish on the coast next year, and requesting deponent to inform all his acquaintances of the fact. Also that M. Gierre, commander of the French schooner Monete, told deponent that he would not be allowed to fish her next year, and that this year he would not be allowed to salt any fish afloat in his schooner, which deponent was doing at the time. In June, Captain Celone of the French steam Sesostris, informed deponent that the people about St. George’s Bay did not seem inclined to believe that they would have to give up the fishing next year, but they would see ; and if the people of St. George’s Bay did not communicate with the Government at St. John’s, and induce them to make some new arrangement with the English and French Governments, the English fishery on the West Coast of Newfoundland would have to be given up ; deponent explained to Captain Celone that the people were doubtful of the truth of the case in consequences of the absence of any official notification, to which the Captain replied that such a notice was not necessary, as they had the treaties to refer to, which they might have expected to be put in force every year, or at any time. Captain Gautier, of the French steamer Genari, informed deponent to the same effect.

SAMUEL W. KAY, trader between Halifax and St. George’s Bay, is a resident of St. George’s Bay, deposes to similar conversations with the Captain of the Fauvitte, and Cap-Celone’s senior lieutenant.


Substance of Captain Pasley’s letter, dated 18th Sept., 1858.


Visited Cod Roy, St. George’s Bay, Red Island, St. John’s Island, Forteau, and L’Ance a Loup. Codroy beong to the Campagnie Generale. Maritime and Harbour reserved for the schooners from St. Pierre and Miquelon,

Red Island also belongs to the Company, and is inhabited entirely by Frenchmen.

Port-au-Choix --- English inhabitants warned.

St. John’s Island --- Inhabitants also warned. French establishments this year on the Island for the first time.

French building substantial, some of stome but most of wood.

Transcribers notes:

Thomas Culber is Thomas Collier who was born in Codroy to John and Catherine (Dennis) Collier
Joseph Le Graudies is Joseph Louis LeGrandois of Granville, France who settled in St. George’s Bay
Samuel W. Kay is Samuel W. McKay alias McCoy of Ireland who settled in St. George’s Bay

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