Newfoundland; Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies

By R. A. MacKay | Go to book overview

THE FRENCH SHORE1
(Chapters III, IV, V, VI)

A. M. FRASER


III
TREATY BASIS AND PROBLEMS OF SETTLEMENT

NEWFOUNDLAND had hardly recovered from the internal convulsion caused by the struggle for political freedom, when her new Government was confronted by an exceedingly complex external problem. This originated in the right of easement on the "French Shore" conferred by Great Britain on France by a series of treaties in the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries. These treaties, mainly because of their ambiguous phraseology, were destined to be a source of perennial discord between the mother country and the Colony until the final settlement in 1904.

The first of these Anglo-French treaties that affected the Newfoundland fishery was the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. By the thirteenth article of that treaty, France ceded Newfoundland to Great Britain in absolute sovereignty, but retained certain fishing rights on a specified section of the Island's coast, namely, "from Cape Bonavista in the Northern point of the said Island, and from thence running down by the western side, reaches as far as the place called Point Riche". On this, the original French Shore, Frenchmen were entitled "to catch fish and to dry them on land". They were not permitted, however, "to erect any buildings there, besides stages made of boards, and huts necessary for the drying of fish", nor were they allowed "to resort to the said Island beyond the time necessary for fishing and the drying of fish".

____________________
1
See map in Appendix.

-275-

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