1776 – Raynal – St Peters and two islands of Miquelon

A Philsophical and Political History of the Settlements and
Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies,
by Abbé Raynal (Guillaume-Thomas-François)
Translated from the French by J. Justamond, M.A.

By stationary fishery we are to understand that which is made by the Europeans who have settlements on those coafts of America where the cod is most plentiful It is infinitely more profitable than the wandering fishery because it requires much less expence and may be continued much longer These advantages the French enjoyed as long as they remained peaceable possessors of Acadia Cape Breton Canada and part of Newfoundland They have lost them one after another by the errors of government and from the wreck of these riches have only preserved a right of salting and drying their fifh to the north of Newfoundland from cape Bona Vista to Point Rich.

All the fixed establishments that are left them by the peace of 1763 are reduced to the island of St Peters and the two islands of Miquelon which they are not even at liberty to build fortifications upon. There are 800 inhabitants at St Peters not more than one hundred at great Miquelon and only one family on the smaller. The fishery which is extremely convenient upon the two first is entirely impracticable on the lesier island but this last supplies them both with wood and particularly St Peters which has none of its own Nature however has made amends for this deficiency at St Peters by an excellent harbour which indeed is the only one in this harbour which small Archipelago In 1768 they took 24 390 quintals of cod but this quantity will not much increase because the English not only refuse the French the liberty of fifhing in the narrow canal which separates there islands from the southern coasts of Newfoundland but have even seized some of the Loops which attempted it.

This severity which is not warranted by treaty and only maintained by force is rendered still more odious by the extensiveness of their own possessions which reach to all the islands where the fish is to be found. Their principal settlement is at Newfoundland where there are about 8000 English who are all employed in the fishery. No more than nine or ten ships a year are sent out from the mother country for this purpose and there are some few more which engage in other articles of commerce but the greater part only exchange the productions of Europe for fish or carry off the fruit of the industry of the inhabitants.

Note : le document ci-haut indique qu’en 1776 la population de l’archipel était comme suit.

  • Saint-Pierre : 800 habitants
  • Miquelon : 100 habitants
  • Langlade : 1 famille

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