America and West Indies Colonial Papers: September 1720, 1-15

The comprises correspondence regarding the security and territorial disputes involving Carolina, Nova Scotia, and the Island of Providence in 1720. Mr. Delafaye conveyed concerns about the security of these regions, prompting inquiries into the state of the Island of Providence and its immediate needs. Meanwhile, Mr. Pulteney reported on negotiations in Paris regarding the ownership of the Islands of Canceaux, situated near Nova Scotia. The British delegation argued for British sovereignty over Canceaux based on the Treaty of Utrecht, while the French claimed ownership citing the treaty’s language and historical governance. The Archbishop of Cambrai supported France’s claim, referencing the treaty’s exclusion of Canceaux from British possession and asserting French fishing rights. Discussions also touched on fishing rights along the coast of Nova Scotia, with France agreeing to abide by the Treaty of Utrecht’s provisions. Governor Nicholson proposed appropriating land for garrisons near future forts in various regions, including Nova Scotia, Virginia, Carolina, and the Bahamas.

Mr. Delafaye to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have laid before the Lords Justices your representation of the proper measures to be taken for the security of Carolina and Nova Scotia. Their Excys. judging that care should likewise be taken at this time to preserve our Settlement upon the Island of Providence, direct that you report the state of it, and what immediate supplies they may stand in need of etc. Signed, Ch. Delafaye. Endorsed, Recd. 2nd. Read 5th Sept., 1720. 1 p. [C.O. 23, 1. No. 26.]

i. Extract of letter from Mr. Pulteney to Mr. Delafaye. Paris, Sept. 10th (N.S.) 1720.

I was this afternoon with Sir Robt. Sutton at a Conference in the Archbishop of Cambray’s apartment, upon the affair of Canceaux. The Archbishop had with him Monsr. Peque his first Commis, Monsr. Rodeau the Commis of the Marechal d’Etrees, and a captain or master of a ship who has been in those parts of America. We founded our right to the Islands of Canceaux on the Treaty of Utrecht which gives Nova Scotia, and all Islands belonging to it, to the Crown of Great Britain for ever, except Cape Breton and the Islands lying in the mouth of the River of St. Laurentz and in the Gulph of the same name; we said, the Islands of Canceaux were comprehended in the general cession of Nova Scotia as depending on it, and were not excepted with Cape Breton, as not being situated in the mouth of the River, nor in the Gulph of St. Laurentz, but lying very near the coast of Nova Scotia, and joyning almost to the Cape of Canceaux; our demand for excluding the French from the fishery there was founded on the Treaty of Neutrality in America as well as on that of Utrecht, the first declares that they are not to fish anywhere on our coasts, the latter expressly restrains them from fishing on the coast of Nova Scotia within 30 leagues beginning from the island of Sable inclusive and stretching to the South West.

The Archbishop’s assistants claimed a right to the Islands of Canceaux because they are not named in the cession of Nova Scotia, whereas in the cession of Newfoundland it is said we are to have all the Islands adjacent to it, but we shewed in the Article of Nova Scotia, that we are to have tout ce qui depend des dites terres et isles de ce pais là; they then endeavoured to include those islands in the exception with Cape Breton, as being dans l’emboucheure du Golf de St. Lawrentz; the Latin Treaty says—insula vero Cape Breton dicta et aliae quævis tam in ostio fluvii Sti. Laurentis quam in sinu ejusdem nominis— The French runs—Mais l’Isle dite Cape Breton et toutes les autres quelconques situées dans l’emboucheure et dans le Golf de St. Laurent.

They would have the emboucheure relate to the Gulf and not to the River as in Latin, and Monsr. Rodeau to support this, said, that the mouth of the River and the Gulf were the same thing, and therefore emboucheure must necessarily relate to the Gulph; they pretended too that the French Treaty is the original, and the only rule to proceed by, tho’ they were told that the Latin must certainly be our rule, and ought to be theirs in this case, being clear and plain, whereas the French could not properly bear the sense they put upon it, but that there seemed to be an omission, perhaps in the transcribing, of the words du fleuve after l’emboucheure; however allowing the French in their sense we said the Islands of Canceaux which lye without the Gut of Canceaux, cannot be reckoned dans l’emboucheure du Golf, the emboucheure being properly between Cape Breton and Newfoundland the great passage to Canada.

Monsr. Rodeau would have it that there are three emboucheures to the Golf, and the Gut of Canco is one; the Captain pretended that the whole space between Cape Canco and the extremity of Labroder, in which space lye the Islands of Cape Breton Newfoundland and others, was properly the emboucheure du Golf; Monsr. Pequé went further and maintained that Cape Breton and the Islands of Canco (which by their accounts are four leagues, and by ours 7 leagues distant from it) are in the Gulf itself, from these words l’Isle de Cape Breton et toutes les autres quelconques situees dans l’emboucheure et dans le Golf de St. Laurentz; but tho’ this was merely a quirk on the word autres and might as well serve to place them in the mouth of the River; the Archbishop himself seemed to think this observation was very material. As to the fishery they acknowledged the exclusion of 30 leagues from the Island of Sables but were for placing this Island where it might best answer their purpose and instead of drawing the line from thence to the South West, had drawn one, in a map they shewed us, to the South East, and another towards the West directly to the coast of Nova Scotia, so as to cutt off a considerable part of that coast near Cape Canco, and they pretended a right of fishing any where even at Cape Canco without and to the northward of that line.

They would not allow that by the Treaty of Neutrality or by that of Utrecht they are excluded from fishing on our coast, tho’ in forming the Article of that of Utrecht relating to the Fishery, the French themselves had proposed these words—Regis Christianissimo subditis in posterum prohibitum sit, in dictis, insulis, maribus, sinubus aliisve locis ad littus Novae Scotiae sive Acadiae spectantibus, piscaturam exercere—and our Ministers added the clause about the 30 leagues.

They plainly told us, that when they came to treat of the limits of Nova Scotia, they will insist on having that part of the land which is southward of their line, they said too that they had formerly Governors at Cape Canceaux, which they make a cut of Island independent of the Governor of Acadia, and they give us likewise to understand that they will pretend to confine our limits of Nova Scotia to that part only which makes a Peninsula. We did not think it proper at this time to enter into any dispute on this subject. I need not trouble you with all the answers we gave to their several pretensions about Canceaux and the fishery; we insisted on the Islands of Canco because it removes the French still further from our coasts tho’ I fancy the complaint against them is for fishing at Cape Canco itself, but as this was not plainly distinguished in the papers sent to me, which said only Canco in general, we thought it safest to demand the most, especially since the Islands are not far distant from the Cape. The Archbishop seemed to sit by as an Arbitrator, but whenever he put in his word did not do it as an impartial one.

He proposed at last to put something in writing as the resultat, of this conference and as taking it to be on the foot of the Commission, but we said we had particular orders on this subject and were to desire an immediate resolution from the Regent to whom the Archbishop was to report what had been said on both sides; we expect an answer in writing to the Memorial Sr. Robert Sutton gave in, and we shall make a reply. It had been proposed at the Treaty of Utrecht to divide Cape Breton, the South part for us, the North part for the French, and I remember in a letter of Lord Bolingbroke’s on this subject that he says, that if the French insist upon the whole Island it must be with a view to disturb our settlements of Nova Scotia; what are we to judge of their insisting on Islands which lye much nearer than Cape Breton does to Nova Scotia, and even claiming part of the Continent of Nova Scotia. Same endorsement. 51/8 pp.

ii. Reply of the Archbishop of Cambrai to the Memorial of Sir R. Sutton, Aug. 23, (N.S.), 1720. Paris, Sept. 12th. (N.S.) 1720. Refers to Sir R. Sutton’s Memorial. Continues: His Royal Highness has caused to be explained to Sir R. Sutton and Mr. Pulteney the reasons for the claim that the islands of Canceau are no part of Nova Scotia, from which they are separated by a broad and deep arm of the sea, which is the same as that which separates the Peninsula, where Nova Scotia is, from the Island of Cape Breton, and that not only have they not been ceded to Great Britain, but they have been reserved to France by Article 13 of the Treaty of Utrecht, with all the other islands situated in the mouth and in the gulph of St. Lawrence.

These reasons appear so evident and so decisive, that H.R.H. hopes that when they are reported to the King of Great Britain, he will fully recognise their justice, and give orders to prevent the subjects of the King of Isle Royale being disturbed in their fishing about the Islands of Canceau, or in the stay they make there to cure their fish. With regard to the limits prescribed for fishing on the coast to the S.E. of Nova Scotia, H.R.H. has had it explained to Sir R. Sutton and Mr. Pulteney that he would issue instructions in conformity with the 12th Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, to restrain under severe penalties the subjects of the King from fishing within the space of 30 leagues from all the S.E. coast of Nova Scotia, beginning from Sable Island inclusively, and running S.W. Copy. French. 2½ pp.

xi. Memorandum [? by Governor Nicholson]. Proposes that when forts shall be built either in Nova Scotia, Virginia, Carolina or the Bahama Islands, the land adjacent thereto be appropriated for the use of the Garrison etc. 1 p.

“America and West Indies: September 1720, 1-15.” Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 32, 1720-1721. Ed. Cecil Headlam. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1933. 132-144. British History Online. Web. 2 April 2020.