CollectionCorrespondence of William IV
ReferenceGEO/MAIN/44721-44729
Record TypeCorrespondence
TitleLetter from Prince William to George III
Date21 September 1786
WriterWilliam, Prince (1765-1837)
AddresseeGeorge III, King
DescriptionPrince William starts his long letter with an account of his ship's movements and future plans: Pegasus is to proceed to the French islands with the Rose as far as the Magdalene islands. After consultation with Captain Harvey [Admiral Sir Henry Harvey], however, Prince William is instructed to stay to protect the Eastward and the fisheries there, and settling altercations among fishermen; once that is accomplished he will join the Commodore at St. John's. About the island (Newfoundland): he is not sure the inland is inhabited; in the Northern part there are Eskimos Indians crossed over from Labrador who are employed there to dress the fish. The Prince explains different aspects of the cod fishing business, from the methods of catching cod, to the ways of drying and curing the fish (in great detail) and the distribution in different markets, especially the Mediterranean one.
He gives an account of the movements of the Pegasus commanded by Captain Harvey (now in Great St Laurence) and himself: from Eastward, he moved, first to Little St Laurence and then Placentia - he provides details about the town, population and fisheries there.
Prince William tells how he has been called to preside over proceedings in the court of Surrogates (a few examples here), during which time he made all inhabitants of Placentia take the oath of Allegiance.
Reporting concerns of the merchants about the growth of Catholics after the construction of their Chapel, which brings the need of an English Protestant Chapel as well, to limit the power of the Catholic priets - he describes, later on, various aspects related to this new building enterprise.
The weather has been variable, with strong winds.
On 5th of September, Prince William leaves Placentia and sails towards St John's, where he arrives on the 9th. Meeting with the Commodore Elliot [John] who praises the Prince's conduct in Placentia. It follows a description of the town and its population - again stressing the fact that Catholics outnumber Protestants, and the negative impact this has on the fishery. The trade of fish, however, is very successful, especially with Europe. St. John's is also setting up a trade with New Brunswick to recieve livesotck during the summer and, in return, provide fish during the winter.
Prince William concludes saying he will sail for Halifax the day after.
Place Of WritingSt John's
LanguageEnglish
Extent1 document (18 pages)
Physical DescriptionLoose manuscript paper; mounted
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