Petition by Merchants of Bideford and Barnstaple 1706
National Archives - CO/194/3/363 Board of Trade Correspondence
Petition of the Merchants of Biddyford, praying that a Fort may be Built at Ferryland, and that a Man of War may be Ordered to Convoy the Ships from Milford to Newfoundland &c.
Rec[eive]d & read: 24 Jan 1706
To the Rt. Hon[ora]ble the Lords Com[issone]rs of Trade
The Humble Petition of the Merch[an]ts and traders &c. of Bideford in the County of Devon Trading to Newfoundland
That for many Years Past yo[u]r pet[itione]rs have sent from this Port 40 to 50 ships yearly on a fishing Voyage to Feryland & the parts adjacent to Newfoundland to the great advantage of Her Ma[j]esties Revenue, Bringing up thereby a Numerous Company of Seamen for the Queens Service to the Great benefit of the Country by taking of their Provisions.
And for as much as our Fishermen are unacquainted w[i]th Fishing in St Johns, or any of the Northern Harbours, there not being Room for o[u]r ships & boats should we send them thither:
And since Feryland has often been Insulted by the French, & Indians who no less than 3 times the last year burnt & destroyed all they could not carry away from thence, So that if Yo[u]r pet[itione]rs having no Fort should also be void of a Man of War to protect our Fishery during the Fishing season in the Country, yo[u]r pet[itione]rs will be most certainly ruined. And yo[ur] Pet[itione]rs having Advise That care is taken for the Erecting of Forts in other parts pf Newfoundland, & knowing th[at Feryland yo[ur] Pet[itione]rs usuall place of Fishing may be made a Good Fortification with littel Charge.
We most Humbly Pray That a Fort may be Erected in Feryland to protect our Fishery in the Sum[m]er and to preserve from Plundering and Burning what we must leave there during the Winter; And that Yo[u]r Hon[ou]rs would be pleased to Grant a Man of War to come to Milford by the 20th of Feb[ua]ry to take care of our ships & see them safe to Feryland, and that the Captain may have Yo[u]r Hon[ou]rs Orders to stay there in Harbour to Protect our men Untill a Fort can be Finished.
Yo[u]r Hon[ou]rs are the more Earnest in their Supplications for a timely Convoy for that the delay thereof has formerly almost Ruined our Fishing Voyage by o[u]r ships not arriving in the Land untill the Season was almost over.
And yo[u]r Pet[itione]rs as in duty bound shall ev[e]r pray &c.
Jno. ...[?], J. Larkly
[?] Power, Jnr.
Brian Randell, 25 Apr 2007