1762 – Mr. Pitt absolutely refused to cede the island of Miquelon to the French

Anecdotes of the Life of the Right Hon. William Pitt, Earl of Chatham: And of the Principal Events of His Time. With His Speeches in Parliament, from the Year 1736 to the Year 1778

Chapter XXII – 1762

Mr. Pitt absolutely refused to cede the island of Miquelon to the French; and the French minister told Mr. Staley “He would not insist on it.” To the cession of the island of St. Peter only, four indispensable conditions were annexed*. The cession of the island of St Peter was not agreeable to Mr Pitt’s own inclination; for it is a fact that both HE and Lord Temple earnestly contested for the WHOLE EXCLUSIVE FISHERY, which they said ought to be insisted upon. But in this, as many other things, they were over ruled.

The islands of St. Peter and Miquelon are both ceded to the French in full right, without any one of the four indispensable conditions. No English commissary is allowed to reside there; our security is on the present French King’s royal word; but not a syllable is mentioned of any engagement for his successors.

Chapter XIII – 1762

The first important article was the fishery. The terms in which this article was written, appeared to him to give to France a grant of the whole fishery. There was an absolute, unconditional surrender of the islands of St Pierre and Miquelon, which if France continued to be as attentive to her own interest as we have hitherto found her, would enable her to recover her marine. He considered this to be a most dangerous article to the maritime strength and future power of Great Britain. In the negotiation he had with M. Buffy, he had acquiesced in the cession of St Pierre only; after having, he said, several times in vain contended for the whole exclusive fishery, but he was over-ruled, not by the foreign enemy, but by another enemy. After many struggles he obtained four limitations to the island of St. Pierre – they were indispensable conditions, but they were omitted in the present treaty. If they were necessary in the surrender of one islands, they were doubly necessary in the surrender of two. In the volumes of abuse which had been so plentifully bestowed by the writers who were paid, and patronized by those who held great employment in the state, this cession of St Pierre only had been condemned in terms of acrimony.

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