Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 486 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
RIX. 16survey reports, copper-bearing rocks have a development of over 5000 sq. m. throughout the island. Iron-mining, however, has far surpassed copper-mining, the chief centre being at Bell Island in Conception Bay. Hematite iron has been found at Exploits river, Fortune Harbour, New Bay and other parts in Notre Dame Bay. The iron exported in 1905 amounted to 635,350 tons with a value of $635,350. In 1895 the value of iron exports was nil. Of iron pyrites 68,97o tons were exported in 1905 valued at $410,514. Similarly in 1895 no slate was exported. It has since been worked at Trinity Bay, Bonavista Bay and Bay of Islands, the latter deposit being declared equal to the best Carnarvon slate. In 1905 14,750 tons were shipped. The existence of coal in the island has been known since Captain Cook first reported its discovery in 1763, but until lately little has been done to exploit it. The most important carboniferous region is at Grand Lake, St George's and the Codroy region directly opposite the Cape Breton coal-fields. Zinc has been found in many localities, as also antimony, silver and gold. Asbestos is frequently found, and mica of good size has been discovered in the Laurentian rocks in the Long Range Mountains and in Labrador. At the mouth of the Humber are large deposits of marble. The valuable non-metallic materials include talc, gypsum, graphite, lithographic stone and manganese. Shipping.—The total number of vessels sailing under Newfound-land registry on the 31st of December 1905 was 3049, with a net tonnage of 129,617 tons. Of these 66 were steamers. The statistics of foreign-going tonnage show a remarkable growth in trade. The bounty granted by the legislature has given a considerable impetus to local shipbuilding. Between 1900 and 1905 the average of vessels annually built in the colony was Io5, with a total tonnage for the five years of 17,698. In 1904-1905 the total value of exports was $10,669,342, of imports $10,279,293. For the period of seven years preceding the exports exceeded the imports by $7,174,676 or a balance of trade in favour of the colony of over one million dollars annually. Manufactures.—In 1874 there were only five saw-mills in the colony, producing 211I ft. of timber. The census returns of 190I showed 195 saw-mills valued at $292,790, employing 2408 persons and producing 43,648 ft. of timber, 16,197 of shingle and 2020 of laths, of a total value of $480,555. Paper-making from wood-pulp has been mentioned in connexion with Flora, above. Six tanneries in 1901 produced goods to the value of $98,200. There are boot and shoe, tobacco, nail, soap, furniture and carriage manufactories. The rope-walk in St John's produces rope and line valued at $300,000 annually. Government.—Newfoundland is a British colony, directly dependent on the crown. Representative government and a constitution were granted to it in 183 2, and " responsible government " in 1855. Two legislative chambers were appointed—the house of assembly, to be elected, and the legislative council, to be nominated by the governor in council. This form of government has worked satisfactorily. It consists of a governor who is appointed by the crown, and whose term of office is usually about six years; an executive council chosen by the party commanding a majority in the house of assembly, and consisting of seven members; a legislative council or upper house, of fifteen members nominated by the governor in council and holding office for life; and a house of assembly elected every four years by the votes of the people on a household suffrage basis. There are seventeen electoral districts sending thirty-six members to the house of assembly, all of whom are paid. The sessional allowances range from $194 to $291. The supreme court, instituted in 1826, js composed of a chief justice and two assistant judges. They are appointed by the crown, and hold their office for life. The jurisdiction of Newfoundland extends over the whole of the Atlantic coast of Labrador. Finance.—Duties levied on imports form the basis of the.revepue. The tariff being intended for the cost of government and not for industrial protection, the duties are not as a rule differential, being partly ad valorem, partly specific. There is no direct taxation, and there are no city or town corporations. The customs revenue grew from $840,936 in 1885 to $2,295,959 in 1905. The public debt increased from $2,149,597 in 1885 to $22,043,338 in 1905, against which there was a sinking fund of $300,244. The debt of St John's municipal council, $1,187,221, on which full interest is paid to the government, must be credited to the gross public debt. In December 1905 a new loan of $636,903 was floated in England. Based on the value of the exports the earning capacity of the population increased from $29 per head in 1885 to $47 per head in 1905. The postal and telegraph revenue amounted in 1905 to $125,000, having more than doubled in a decade. The crown lands revenue, which in 1895 was $5500, stood in 1905 at $41357. With the United Kingdom, trade, which in 1888 was 38 % of the whole, steadily diminished in volume, until it was in 1905 only 22 % of the whole. Trade with zz America in this period showed an increase of 128.5 % and that with to the colony, and this being the case, that it would be " an unwarrantable interference with the rights of a self-governing colony " to disallow the measure. The Reid contract was therefore signed by Sir Herbert Murray before relinquishing his post early in 1898. Meanwhile considerable feeling had been manifested in the colony; numerous public meetings in support of the governor's action were held; and several petitions were despatched to England; but it was not until the spring of 1900 that Sir James Winter and his colleagues were forced to resign on account of the opposition which had been engendered. The general election brought a Liberal, Mr (afterwards Sir) Robert Bond, into power; and he had hardly assumed office when the contractor approached the ministry with further proposals to convert his property into a limited liability company with a capital of £5,000,000 sterling, for which proceeding the consent of the legislature was necessary, under the terms of 1898. Mr Bond refused unless a modification of the contract was agreed to. The modifications demanded were—that the telegraphs should revert at once to the government; that the land grants, which included a large amount of private property, should be readjusted so as to conserve the rights of those whose holdings had been confiscated; also, that it should be optional for the colony to take over the railways at the end of fifty years by paying back the sum of $,,000,000 with interest, the amount paid by Mr Reid to the colony; and a sum to be arrived at by arbitration for all improvements that may have been made on the property within the fifty years. After considerable dispute these terms were substantially agreed to, and the conversion into a company took place. History.—Newfoundland, commonly termed the " senior colony " of Great Britain, antedates in discovery (though not in continuous settlement) any other British over-sea Discovery. dominion. John Cabot, sailing from Bristol in 1497, appears to have made landfall at Bonavista and claimed the whole country for Henry VII. Three years later Gaspar Corte-Real, ranging the North American coasts, discovered and named Conception Bay and Portugal Cove, and was appointed Portuguese governor of Terra Nova. The long series of annual trans-Atlantic expeditions followed upon the voyages of Cabot and Corte-Real, and their reports in England, Portugal and France concerning the multitude of fish in Newfoundland. For a long time it was supposed that the English fishermen did not avail themselves to any extent of these advantages until the middle of the lath century, but this is now shown to be erroneous. Mr Prowse states that the trade during the first half of the century was both " extensive and lucrative." In 1527 the little Devon-shire fishing ships were unable to carry home their large catch, so " sack ships " (large merchant vessels) were employed to carry the salt cod to Spain and Portugal. An act of 1541 classes the Newfoundland trade with the Irish, Shetland and Iceland fisheries. Hakluyt, writing in 1578, mentions that the number of vessels employed in the fishery was 400, of which only one-quarter were English, the rest being French and Spanish Basque. But in the same year, according to Anthony Parkhurst, " the English are commonly lords of the harbours where they fish and use all help in fishing if need require." Shortly there-after England awoke to the importance of Cabot's great discovery, and an attempt was made to plant a colony on the shores of the island. Sir Humphry Gilbert, provided with letters patent from Queen Elizabeth, landed in St John's in August 1583, and formally took possession mg ' of the country in the queen's name. The first attempt at colonizing was frustrated by the loss of Gilbert soon after-wards at sea. In 1610 James I. granted a patent to John Guy, an enterprising Bristol merchant, for a " plantation " in Newfoundland; but no marked success attended his efforts to found settlements. In 1615 Captain Richard Whitbourne of Exmouth in Devonshire was despatched to Newfoundland by the British admiralty to establish order and correct abuses which had grown up among the fishermen. On his return in 1622 he wrote a " Discourse and Discovery of Newfoundland Trade " which King James, by an order in council, caused to be distributed Canada 76.1 %. Roads and Railways.—Railways play a unique part in the modern history of the island. Not until 1825 was the first road made; it was 9 m. in length, from St John's The to Portugal Cove. When representative government Reid contract. was established in 1832 an annual grant was voted cont for roads and bridges, and of late years not less than $ioo,000 per annum has been expended on this head. There are now over moo m. of postal roads, and over 2000 of district roads. In 1880 after much agitation the legislature finally agreed to raise a loan of £1,000,000 for the construction of a railway from St John's to Hall's Bay, with branches to Brigus and Harbour Grace, the distance being estimated at 340 M. In November 1884 the line was completed for traffic as far as Harbour Grace. In the following year the construction of a line, 27 M. in length, from Whitbourne to Placentia, the old French capital, was begun and finished in 1888. Shortly after-wards it was decided to resume the line northwards from St John's to Hall's Bay (which, owing to the failure of the con-tractors, had been discontinued) with a view ultimately to a transinsular railway. The tender of a well-known contractor, Mr R.G. Reid of Montreal, was accepted, and the work was begun in October 189o. But before the contractor had proceeded far with the Hall's Bay line a new survey was made and another route determined for the proposed transinsular railway, west-wards from the valley of the Exploits, which was regarded as much more favourable than the one originally contemplated. It traversed the Exploits and Humber valleys, passing through the most fertile territory in the island, to the Bay of Islands on the west coast; hence it skirted Bay St George and the Codroy valley and terminated at Port-aux-Basques, acommodious harbour 93 M. distant from Sydney, Cape Breton. The new route was chosen, and a contract signed on the 16th of May 1893, whereby the contractor was to be paid $15,600 per mile in Newfoundland bonds, the whole line to be completed in three years. At the same time, in order to provide for the working of the line, it was agreed between the colonial government and Mr Reid that the latter should maintain and work it, as well as construct a system of telegraphs, for a period of ten years from the 1st of September 1893 at his own expense, in consideration of a " grant in fee simple to the contractor of 5000 acres of land for each one mile of mail line or branch railway to be operated." Should the line, therefore, be Soo m. in length the land grant would be 2,500,000 acres, to be situated on each side of the railway in alternate sections of i or 2 M. in length with the railway, and 8 m. in depth, the colony also retaining an equal amount of land with the contractor along the route. Much hostile criticism was subsequently directed towards this arrangement. In 1898 a new proposal was made by Mr Reid, under the terms of which he undertook to work all the railways in the island for a period of fifty years, free of cost to the government, provided that, at the termination of the said period, the railways should become his own property. He was also to receive a further concession of land to the extent of 2,500,000 acres on terms similar to those contained in the former contract. Mr Reid agreed to build and run seven steamers, one in each of the large bays, and one to ply in Labrador in summer, to provide an electric street railway for St John's, and also to pave a certain portion of the capital. The colony was to part with the telegraph system to the contractor, who was to acquire at a fixed price the government dry-dock at St John's. On the other hand, to complete the bargain, $1,000,000 in cash was to be paid by the contractor to the government within a year after the signing of the contract. This remarkable covenant, which was afterwards characterized by Mr Chamberlain, secretary of state for the colonies, as a transaction " without parallel in the history of any country," was nevertheless ratified by the legislature, and submitted to the governor, Sir Herbert Murray, for his approval. The governor declined to append his signature to the instrument, but upon its being referred to the imperial secretary of state, it was decided that the arrangement was one relating exclusively among the parishes of the kingdom " for the encouragement of and in 1814 no less than 7000 emigrants arrived. The population adventures unto plantation there." A year after the departure of Whitbourne, Sir George Calvert, afterwards the first Lord Baltimore, obtained a patent conveying to him the lordship of the whole southern peninsula of Newfoundland, and the right of fishing in the surrounding waters. He planted a colony at Ferryland, 40 M. north of Cape Race, where he built a hand-some mansion and resided with his family for many years. The French so harassed his settlement by incessant attacks that he at length abandoned it. In r65o, or about a century and a half after its discovery, Newfoundland contained only 350 families, or less than 2000 Fishery individuals, distributed in fifteen small settlements, policy. chiefly along the eastern shore. These constituted the resident population; but in addition there was a floating population of several thousands who frequented the shores during the summer for the sake of the fisheries, which had now attained very large dimensions. So early as 1626, 150 vessels were annually despatched from Devonshire alone; and the shipowners and traders residing in the west of England sent out their ships and fishing crews early in summer to prose-cute these lucrative fisheries. The fish caught were salted and dried on the shore; and on the approach of winter the fishermen re-embarked for England, carrying with them the products of their labour. Hence it became the interest of these traders and shipowners to discourage the settlement of the country, in order to retain the exclusive use of the harbours and fishing coves for their servants, and also a monopoly of the fisheries. They were able to enlist the British government of the day in their project, and stringent laws were passed prohibiting settlement within 6 m. of the shore, forbidding fishermen to remain behind at the close of the fishing season, and rendering it illegal to build or repair a house without a special licence. The object of this short-sighted policy, which was persisted in for more than a century, was to preserve the island as a fishing station and the fisheries as nurseries for British seamen. There was, however, another element which retarded the prosperity of the country. The French had early realized the Treaty of immense value of the fisheries, and strove long and Utrecht desperately to obtain possession of the island. Their constant attacks and encroachments harassed the few settlers, and rendered life and property insecure during the long wars between England and France. When at length, in 1713, the treaty of Utrecht ended hostilities, it did not deliver Newfoundland from the grasp of France, as it yielded to her the right of catching and drying fish on the western and northern sides of the island. Though no territorial rights were conferred on the French, and the sovereignty was secured to England, the practical effect was to exclude the inhabitants from the fairest half of the island. In spite of the restrictive regulations, the number of the resident population continued to increase. The sturdy settlers First clung to the soil, and combated the " adventurers " governor. as the merchants were called, and after a lengthened conflict obtained freedom of settlement and relief from oppression. But the contest was severe and prolonged. The merchant-adventurers strenuously opposed the appointment of a governor; but at length, in 1728, the British government appointed Captain Henry Osborne first governor of Newfound-land, with a commission to establish a form of civil government. This constituted a new era in the history of the colony. In 1763 the fixed inhabitants had increased to 8000, while 5000 more were summer residents who returned home each winter. In 1763 the coast of Labrador, from Hudson's Strait to the river St John opposite the west end of the island of Anticosti, was attached to the governorship of Newfoundland. The population in 1785 had increased to ro,000. During the wars between England and France which followed the French Revolution, Newfoundland attained great prosperity, as all competitors in the fisheries were swept from the seas, and the markets of Europe were exclusively in the hands of the merchants of the country. The value of fish trebled, wages rose to a high figure, now numbered 8o,000. In 1832 representative government was granted to the colony, and provision was made for education. In 1846 a terrible fire destroyed three-fourths of St John's and with it an enormous amount of property; but the city rose from its ashes improved and beautified. In 1855 the system of responsible government was inaugurated. In 1858 the first Atlantic cable was landed at Bull Arm, Trinity Bay. Unproductive fisheries, causing a widespread destitution among the working classes, marked the first eight years of the decade between 1860 and 187o. A system of able bodied pauper relief was initiated to meet the neces- histo Recent ry. sities of the case but was attended with the usual demoralizing results. The necessity of extending the cultivation of the soil in order to meet the wants of the growing population was felt more and more as the pressure arising from the failure of the fisheries showed their precarious nature more sensibly. In 1864 copper ore was discovered in the north, and mining operations were successfully initiated. In 1869 a series of successful fisheries began which enabled the government to terminate the injurious system of able-bodied pauper relief. In 1871 the revenue rose to $831,160. In 1893 direct steam communication with England and America was established. By the treaty of Utrecht of 1713 a right was reserved to French subjects to catch fish and to dry them on that part of Newfoundland which stretches from Cape Bonavista to the northern part of the island and from thence c/rsimench a. coming down by the western side reaches as far as Pt. Riche. By the treaty of Versailles of 1783 France renounced the fishery from Bonavista to Cape St John on the east coast, receiving in return extended rights upon the west coast as far as Cape Ray. Neither treaty purported to grant exclusive right, but there was annexed to the treaty of Versailles a declaration to the effect that " His Britannic Majesty will take the most positive measures for preventing his subjects from interrupting in any manner by their competition the fishery of the French during the temporary exercise of it which is granted to them upon the coasts of the island of Newfoundland, and he will for this purpose cause the fixed settlements which shall be formed there to be removed." Upon this declaration the French founded a claim to exclusive fishing rights within the limits named. A convention was entered into with a view to defining these rights in 1854, but it remained inoperative, the consent of the Newfoundland legislature, to which it was made subject, having been refused. Meanwhile the French government granted a bounty to the French fishermen which enabled them to under-sell the colonists. In 1884 a convention which had been arranged between the British and French governments was submitted to the colonial administration by its promoters Sir Clare Ford and Mr E. B. Pennell, C.M.G.,-but without commanding Act. the support of the Newfoundland government. In the year following, on a change of ministry in the colony, the Ford-Pennell convention was again offered to the Newfoundland legislature in a slightly amended form, but the joint committee of the colonial house of assembly and the council absolutely refused to ratify the arrangement unless the French government would consent either to annul or to amend the system of bounties paid upon French-caught fish in Newfoundland waters. At the same time, to counteract the effect of these bounties, which pressed very hardly upon the British competition, a Bait Act was framed and carried in 1886, empowering the executive to prohibit the capture in Newfoundland waters for exportation or sale of bait fishes, except under special licence to be issued by the colonial government. The consequence of this measure, were its provisions properly enforced, would be to place an embargo upon the local supply of bait requisite to the French fishermen—the so-called " metropolitan fleet "—on the Grand Banks. Upon being apprised of this enactment, the French government immediately demanded that Great Britain should deny its sanction to this Newfoundland Bait Act, and pressed their objections with such persistence as to induce Lord Salisbury to disallow the measure. Nevertheless, the despatch of the governor, Sir William des Voeux, to the colonial secretary, Sir H. Holland, was so entirely in favour of the principle of the bill that the Newfoundland authorities became imbued with a fixed determination to urge forward the measure for imperial acceptance. In 1887, therefore, a delegation, consisting of Sir Robert Thorburn, the premier, and Sir Ambrose Shea, visited England at a moment most propitious for obtaining the sympathy and support of the imperial government and the press and people of the mother country, it being the jubilee year of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne. A conference of colonial premiers was one of the notable events distinguishing that happy period, and the subject was argued before the conference at considerable length. The claim set up by the senior colony " to control and legislate for her own fisheries " met with general approval, the single dissentient being the representative of Canada, who feared that Canadian fishermen would suffer under the bill. When an assurance was tendered that Canada's fishermen would be placed upon the same footing with those of Newfoundland, the British government somewhat reluctantly sanctioned the Bait Act. The stipulation was made, however, that it should not be enforced until the spring following (1888). In the meantime the chagrin of the French Foreign Office at the failure of the Ford-Pennell negotiations, and the hostile attitude taken up by the Newfoundlanders in what they deemed to be the conservation of their interests, induced M. de Freycinet to devise retaliatory measures. Instructions were issued " to seize and confiscate all instruments of fishing belonging to foreigners resident or otherwise, who shall fish on that part of the coast which is reserved to our use." Lord Rosebery, then foreign secretary, protested to the French ambassador against the spirit of these instructions, which he insisted were in direct contravention of the treaty, inasmuch as they ignored the concurrent as well as those sovereign rights of Great Britain which France solemnly undertook by the treaties never to question or dispute. Nor were other opportunities soon wanting to the French to retort severely upon the Newfoundland authorities for their passage of the Bait Act, as well as to repair in large measure the injury which that act promised to inflict upon the French industry. About 1874 a Nova Scotian named Rumkey had established the first factory for the canning of lobsters on the west coast. This concern proved profitable, and others sprang up, until, at the close of the season of 1887, Captain Campbell, R.N., reported that twenty-six factories were at work, employing about 'too hands. It was at that time understood that this was an industry which, by the very nature of the process and the permanent shore structure it involved, the French were disqualified from pursuing. So clearly was this recognized that in 1886, when Commander Browne of H.M.S. " Mallard " reported the existence of a French lobster factory at Port-aux-Choix, a substantially-built structure, roofed with corrugated iron, the French authorities conceded that the establishment was in violation of the treaties, and issued orders for its removal. But this conciliatory policy was of brief duration. The year of the Bait Act's first successful application was marked by the stoppage, by order of the French government, of Messrs Murphy and Andrew's lobster factory, and by their contention that the lobster-canning industry formed a part of the privileges conceded under the treaties to the French, whose participation by the British fishermen would be forcibly resisted. An exchange of notes took place between Lord Salisbury and M. Waddington, the French ambassador, in which the latter expressed an opinion which evoked a spirited protest on the part of the British Foreign Office. " France," it was then declared, " preserved the exclusive right of fishing she always possessed. This right of France to the coast of Newfoundland reserved to her fishermen is only a part of her ancient sovereignty over the island which she retained in ceding the soil to England, and which she has never weakened or alienated." This claim of the French to an exclusive fishery was held to be wholly untenable, and their classification of the lobster catching andcanning industry as amongst the " fishing " privileges granted them by the treaty was denounced as contrary to both letter and spirit of that instrument. Notwithstanding this, the French agents on the treaty shore clamoured for the removal of several of the British factories, which (it was declared) interfered with the exclusive fishing rights of the French. The French government also voted (1888) a special bounty for the establishment of lobster factories by their subjects on the treaty coast. Pending a settlement, the British foreign office deemed it expedient, in order not to give offence to France, to invest the French claims with a semblance of right by issuing instructions to British naval officers on the North American station to continue to interpret and enforce the treaties with regard to the Newfound-land lobster-canning industry on the same terms as they had done hitherto with regard to the cod-fishery. Acting under a statute passed in the reign of George III., empowering British naval officers to interpret and enforce the treaties, Sir Baldwin Walker and others proceeded to destroy or remove a number of British factories at the request of the French agents. In 1890 the unexpected discovery was made that the act empowering British naval officers to enforce the provisions of the treaties with France had expired in 1832 and had never been renewed. Consequently all the proceedings of which the colonists had been the victims were illegal. One of them, Mr James Baird, immediately took proceedings against Sir Baldwin Walker in the supreme court, which decided in his favour, mulcting the admiral in £1000. On an appeal to the privy council the decision was upheld. But before this incident had taken place, the controversy between London and Paris culminated in the modus vivendi of 189o, by which the lobster factories, both British and French, which were in existence on the. 1st of July 1889, were to continue for the present. Instantly the colony took alarm, and a deputation consisting of the island's leading men was sent to England to protest against both the principle and practice of such an arrangement. On their return they learnt that it was the intention of the imperial government to re-enact verbatim et literatim the act for the enforcement of the treaties which had expired fifty-nine years previously. To prevent such an occurrence, delegates from both parties in Newfoundland visited London in April 1891, and, appearing at the bar of the House of Lords, promised that if the measure which was then on the eve of being introduced into that body were withdrawn, a temporary measure would be passed by the Newfoundland legislature which would answer the same purpose of enabling Great Britain to carry out her treaty obligations with France. The hope then generally entertained was that the whole question of French rights in the colony would soon be the subject of definite negotiations looking to their total extinguishment. That hope was, however, not speedily realized. For a number of years the Modus Vivendi Act was annually passed by the legislature, each year under protest., the conviction gaining strength in the colony that the imperial government was averse from renewing negotiations with France. In 1898 the secretary of state, Mr Chamberlain, yielding to the urgent request of the senior colony, despatched a commission consisting of Sir J. Bramston and Sir James Erskine, with Lord Westmeath as secretary, on a tour of investigation along the treaty shore; and the report which the royal commissioners made (though not published) touched all points of the unhappy dispute. Again, in 1901, on a suggestion put forward by the colony, Mr Chamberlain summoned Sir Robert Bond, the Newfoundland premier, and a colleague, Sir E. P. Morris, to London, for a new conference on the French shore question, in which Lord Lansdowne, the foreign secretary, participated Nothing coming of this, the Modus Vivendi Act continued to be passed annually. In 1901 a fresh attempt was made to effect a settlement, but the negotiations were again unsuccessful, as the colony declined to make concessions in regard to the sale of bait unless the French system of bounties on the sale of fish by their citizens were abandoned or at least modified in important modus ;Wend? 1890. particulars. Later in the same year negotiations were begun between the British and French governments for a general treaty, in which all outstanding matters of dispute between the two countries should be for ever settled. As regards Newfoundland, the discussion of the French fishery question on the basis of arrangement in the matter of bait and bounties having proved unavailing, it was proposed not to persist further in it, but to put before the French government an arrangement which would terminate the rights of French fishermen to land and dry their fish on the shores of the island, but leave a concurrent right of fishery, the regulation and policing of which would be in the manner provided in the North Sea Fishery Convention of 1881 and the convention of 1887. On the 8th of April 1904 the Lansdowne-Cambon Convention was signed, which effected a final settlement of the French shore question. For the total abandonment of the French con-en- rights compensation was clearly not only due to the lion of 1904. individuals actually engaged in the fishing industry, but to the French nation at large. Territorial concessions were therefore made consisting of a modification of the Anglo-French boundary line in the Niger and Lake Chad district, and a re-arrangement of the Gambia-Senegambia frontier, giving Yarbatenda to Senegambia. The Los Islands opposite Konakry Island were likewise ceded to France. Provision was made for the reciprocal recognition, on the convention coming into force, of a British consul at St Pierre and a French consul at St John's. Claims for indemnity were duly submitted to an arbitral tribunal, composed of an officer of each nation; and at length what is known as the Lyttelton Award, was made as follows: General award for French rights $255,750 Loss of occupation 226,813 Effects left by the French on treaty coast. 28,936 So far as concerned the French, an end was thus put to a situation on the treaty shore, which for nearly two hundred years had given rise to difficulties and anxieties. Scarcely, however, had a year elapsed from the signing of the convention, when another international disagreement connected with the fisheries assumed grave importance. There had long been intense dissatisfaction in the colony over the attitude of the American government and American fishermen towards the colony. The action of the American Senate in rejecting the Bond-Hay treaty negotiated in 1902 stirred the colonial government to retaliatory measures. By virtue of the treaty of 1818 American fishermen enjoyed the following rights: (I) to take fish of every kind on that part of the southern coast of Newfoundland which extends from Cape Ray to Ramea Islands; (2) to take fish of every kind on the western and northern coasts of Newfoundland from the said Cape Ray to the Quirpon Islands; and (3) to take fish of every kind on the coasts, bays, harbours and creeks from Mount Joly to the southern coast of Labrador, to and through the straits of Belle Isle, and thence northward indefinitely along the coast. Subject to these limitations American fishermen have a right in common with British fishermen to prosecute their industry within those areas. The foregoing embraces the whole of their fishing privileges. Every other right that they ever possessed they renounced under the treaty in the following language: " The United States hereby renounce for ever any liberty heretofore enjoyed or claimed by the inhabitants thereof, to take, dry or cure fish on or within three marine miles of any of the coasts, bays, creeks or harbours of His Britannic Majesty's dominions in America not included in the above limits." This renunciation contained but one qualification: " that American fishermen shall be permitted to enter such bays or harbours for the purpose of shelter and of repairing damages therein, of purchasing wood, and of obtaining water and for no other purpose whatever." Under the Newfoundland Foreign Fishing Vessels Act of 1893 the governor in council was authorized to issue licences to foreign fishing vessels, enabling them to enter any port on thecoasts of the island to purchase bait, ice, supplies and outfits for the fishery, and to ship crews. In 1905 this act was repealed and another passed by the colonial legisla- Amoendi, das viv ture imposing certain restrictions on American vessels, 1906. and a further more stringent act in 1906, preventing Newfoundlanders from joining American vessels. These acts were resented by the American government, which, through Mr Secretary Root, called upon the British government to disallow such interferences on the part of the Newfoundland legislature. Lord Elgin's reply was to suggest a modus vivendi pending further discussion of the questions at issue. In spite of the colony's energetic protest, a modus vivendi was agreed to in October 1906, whereby the Foreign Fishing Vessels Act of 1906 was held in abeyance, and the act of 1905 was held not to apply to American fishing vessels, and light dues were waived, while on the other hand American vessels were to report at the custom house on entry for clearance, and their fishermen were to comply with colonial fishery regulations. As regards Sunday fishing by the Americans, which was an important colonial grievance, the American government consented to waive it, if the use of purse seines by American fishermen were allowed. Lord Elgin's action was considered to be an interference with the internal affairs of the colony and great public indignation was aroused. Retaliatory measures were resolved upon, Newfoundland fishermen being declared liable to fine and imprisonment for selling bait to the Americans or for joining American vessels. The legislature voted an address to the imperial government, protesting against the modus vivendi, and this was carried to England in 1907 by Sir Robert Bond, the premier of the colony, but without avail. The matter was referred to the Hague tribunal for arbitration, and pending this the modus vivendi (agreed to in 1908) continued in force. The tribunal gave its award in September 1920, the two main points at issue being decided as follows: (a) Great Britain had the right to make regulations as to the fisheries without the consent of the United States, subject to the pro-visions of the treaty of 1818. (b) The " three-mile limit " in bays (subject to special judgment in individual cases) was to be taken from a line across the bay at the point, nearest the entrance, where a width of ten miles is not exceeded. Among other provisions it was decided that American vessels might employ foreign hands (but these received no benefit under the treaty); also that they might be required to report to customs houses if facilities to do so existed. Commerce received a shock, but derived a salutary lesson from bank failures which occurred in December 1894. The Union and Commercial banks suspended payment, followed by the suspension of the savings bank, a government institution. This at once lowered the credit of the colony abroad, and caused the utmost misfortune amongst all classes. There is little doubt but that a principal cause of the disaster was the vicious and dangerous system of credit which had been followed by the merchants in their dealings with the " planters " and commission merchants. The insolvent institutions were speedily replaced by branches of three prominent Canadian banks, and a loan of $1,000,000 procured in London by Mr Bond soon after the debacle served to tide the senior colony over its financial difficulties. A new era of prosperity has since set in. In politics, apart from the matters already alluded to, there occurred in 1893 the filing of petitions under the Corrupt Practices Act to unseat Sir William Whiteway and his colleagues, who had been successful at the general election of that year. The charges created no little interest in England, and the new government was subjected to much unfair criticism, arising largely from a misapprehension of the political and administrative conditions in the colony. They were examined in detail by the supreme court, which finally pronounced them unsustained, and the Whiteway government resumed office after a brief period of abdication. On the whole, it may be said that Newfoundland has passed the critical stage in her history. Between 1863 and 1900 it has been estimated that $12,000,000 worth of copper ore has been exported, and since 1898, when a discovery of iron ore made at Bell Island, Conception Bay, led to important results, the belief in the island's mineral resources, long entertained by geologists, received practical corroboration. In 1900 the British admiralty, acting upon the repeated suggestions of Sir Charles Dilke and others interested in the manning of the navy, decided to initiate a branch of the imperial naval reserve in the colony. In 19oI a difficulty arose as to paying the men, owing to the lack of any provision for that purpose in the Imperial Reserves Act under which they were enlisted. The colony was asked to bear the cost; its refusal was followed (1902) by the enactment of American fishing rights. special legislation rendering the enrolment and maintenance of the reserves in Newfoundland a special imperial undertaking. Several efforts had been and continued to be made to induce Newfoundland to confederate with the Dominion of Canada, but the project never met with any degree of favour with the electorate. Much of the disfavour with which confederation was regarded in the colony was said to be due to Sir John Macdonald's opposition on behalf of Canada to the Bond-Blaine commercial treaty, which was negotiated between an emissary from the government of Newfoundland and Mr Blaine, then secretary of state of the United States of America, in 1890, but was subsequently disallowed at his request by the imperial government. It is, however, probable that the treaty would never have received the sanction of the American Senate. After the insolvency of the colony in 1894-1895, a delegation was sent to Ottawa to ascertain if it were possible to arrange terms of confederation; but Sir Mackenzie Bowell's government objected to the assumption by the Dominion of the entire amount of New- foundland's debt (Si 6,000,000) , and the negotiations were abandoned.
End of Article: RIX

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.