BAYNE, DANIEL, merchant, trader; b. c. 1730, possibly in Ross-shire, Scotland; d. 1769 in London, England.
Daniel Bayne was one of the British merchants who settled in Quebec City after the conquest. He entered into a partnership with another Scottish merchant, William Brymer, and on 26 April 1763 Governor James Murray* granted them for four years the fishing post of Cape Charles on the Labrador coast. Another Quebec Scot, William Lead, was given charge of the post, and a crew of French Canadians was sent up for the winter seal fishery.
In the meantime, however, the royal proclamation of 1763 placed the Labrador coast under the governor of Newfoundland and within the fishing laws of Newfoundland. In the interests of “an open and free fishery” fishing places could be held only from year to year, with preference given to fishers sending out ships annually from England.
Daniel Bayne and his partner felt the effects of the new régime only in the summer of 1765. In August the governor of Newfoundland, Hugh Palliser*, visited Chateau Bay, a few leagues southwest of Cape Charles. He was anxious to conciliate the Eskimos and to prevent illicit trade by the French in their old preserves. Hearing of the post at Cape Charles, the governor had Lead and his French Canadian helper seized, with their French goods and firearms. He ordered them to leave Labrador, and issued a proclamation barring colonials from the coast, under threat of dire punishment. William Lead set off for Quebec City, meeting at Mingan the sloop Esquimaux which Bayne and Brymer had just fitted out for the next winter’s seal fishery “at very great expense.” The master of the sloop turned back to Quebec City, where vessel and cargo were sold in October, at a considerable loss. The infuriated partners then went to England, determined upon indemnification “by the generous honest hearts of our peers.”
Bayne and Brymer petitioned the Board of Trade for reinstatement and payment of damages of £5000. With other similarly aggrieved Quebec merchants, they declared their grants valid, and Palliser’s actions “illegal, oppressive, and prejudicial to the rights and privileges which the inhabitants of Quebec are entitled to, as British subjects.” They claimed exclusive land grants were necessary for the seal fishery, since the equipment had to be especially built for each locality.
An exasperated Palliser insisted that he had repeatedly told the merchants any losses from dispossession of lands would be made good. He justified his actions in 1765 by the proclamation of 1763 and his instructions to uphold the laws providing for an open and free fishery. The “illegal” grants of Murray would promote only the interests of a few “smuggling settlers,” whereas his own regulations had opened up a new and extensive field, to the great increase of the fishery, trade, and seamen of Great Britain.
In the next four years, lengthy petitions and memorials passed back and forth between the Board of Trade, the Privy Council, and the Court of King’s Bench. The government backed Palliser but eventually realized the legality of the merchants’ grants could not be challenged successfully. In February 1770 the two parties settled privately: Palliser delivered £600 to the merchants, and was repaid by royal warrant.
For Daniel Bayne the settlement came too late: he died in London in the summer of 1769. A bachelor, he left his estate to the sons of his uncle John Bayne. William Brymer, now in business in Lombard Street, was an executor.
The persistence of Bayne and his partner in asserting their claims brought home to the British government the interest of the Quebec merchants in securing permanent rights of property and residence on the Labrador coast. In 1774 that coast was reunited with Quebec, a recognition that the interests of Canadians were not to be subordinated to “imperial” interests. Bayne and Brymer had demonstrated how determined protest could eventually bring to terms even a proud colonial governor, and exact compensation for injuries done to the rights of property.
BM, Add. mss, 35915 (Hardwick papers). PANL, Nfld., Dept. of Colonial Secretary, Letter books, III, 1759–65. PRO, CO 194/16, 194/18, 194/26, 194/27, 195/15; KB 122, roll 347, m.672: “Judgement roll,” Easter, 8 Geo. III; PC 2/112–14; Prob. 11/951, p.301. In the matter of the boundary between the Dominion of Canada and the colony of Newfoundland in the Labrador peninsula (12v., London, 1926–27), III. Neatby, Quebec. G. O. Rothney, “The case of Bayne and Brymer, an incident in the early history of Labrador,” CHR, XV (1934), 264–75. W. H. Whiteley, “The establishment of the Moravian mission in Labrador and British policy, 1763–83, “ CHR, XLV (1964), 29–50.