p. 49

the westward of a line to be drawn due north and south from the bay or harbour of Ance Sablon, inclusive, as far as the fifty-second degree of north latitude, with the island of Anticosti, and all other islands adjacent to such part as last aforesaid of the coast of Labrador, shall be and the same are hereby re-annexed to and made a part of the said province of Lower Canada, and shall henceforward be subject to the laws of the said province, and to none other; . . . ."
III.
CANADA'S CONTENTION.

   4. Canada submits, as the basis of her contention, the two following propositions :—

   1. The extent of territory within the peninsula of Labrador to-day subject to the authority of Newfoundland is the "coast" which, by the Commission of the 25th April, 1763, hereinabove recited, was, as declared by the Royal Proclamation of the 7th October of that year, put under "the care and inspection" of the Governor of Newfoundland, less the portion thereof re-annexed to the Province of Lower Canada by the British North America (Seignorial Rights) Acts, 1825, 6 Geo. IV., chap. 59 (Imperial).

   2. That the "coast," so described, is a strip of maritime territory, extending from Cape Chidley, at the entrance to Hudson Strait, to the eastern headland of the bay or harbour of Blanc Sablon on the Strait of Belleisle, and comprising, in its depth inland, only so much of the land immediately abutting on the sea, above low-water mark, as was accessible and useful to the British fishermen annually resorting to that coast, in the ordinary conduct of their fishing operations, for the purposes of "the open and free fishery" extended to that coast by the Royal Proclamation and carried on there, and for those purpose only.

   These two propositions are, it is submitted, respectively established by the reasons set forth below.

p. 50

IV.
FIRST PROPOSITION.

   5. The Newfoundland Act, 1809, 49 Geo. III., chap. 27, sec. 14 (Imperial), constitutes Newfoundland's title to whatever rights within the Labrador Peninsula she to-day possesses, but the title which it confers is a title by relation—a title by relation to the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which, with the antecedent Commission, above cited, gives the definition of the extent of territory affected. This is made indisputably clear by the terms of that Act. By it, such parts of the coast of Labrador as His Majesty by His Royal Proclamation of the 7th October, 1763, had been pleased to declare he had put under the care and inspection of the Governor of Newfoundland, were re-annexed to the Government of that island.

   The parts of the coast affected by this disposition are not otherwise described or defined by the Act than by recital of, and reference to, the Royal Proclamation of 1763. They are, in the words of the enacting clause of the statute, "such parts of the coast of Labrador from the River Saint John to the Hudson's Streights," etc.... "so annexed to the Government of Newfoundland by the said Proclamation," i.e., of 1763—a limitation which explicitly throws the interpreter back upon the language of the Royal Proclamation. That Proclamation and the Commission of the 25th April, 1763, of which it proclaimed the effect, are, for the purpose of identifying and defining such parts of the coast, Newfoundland's title. Her rights extend over precisely the extent of coast described in those instruments, less, of course, the part which the British North America (Seignorial Rights) Act, 1825 (6 Geo. IV., chap. 59), withdrew and embodied in the Province of Lower Canada. The Newfoundland Act, 1809, dealt solely with the extent of coast (neither increased nor diminished), which the legislation of 1763 had put under the care and inspection of the Governor of Newfoundland.

   These conclusions are fully borne out, it is submitted, by the terms of the Commission and Proclamation and of the Acts cited.

p. 51

V.
SECOND PROPOSITION.

   6. The length of the extent of coast now under the authority conferred on the Government of Newfoundland is certain and not a matter of dispute.

   It originally extended from the mouth of the River St. John, which empties into the Gulf of St. Lawrence nearly opposite the west end of the Island of Anticosti, to Cape Chidley at the entrance from the Atlantic Ocean to Hudson Strait.

   The British North America (Seignorial Rights) Act, 1825, withdrew from Newfoundland's authority and re-annexed to the Province of Lower Canada, the part of the coast extending from mouth of the River St. John to the Bay of Blanc Sablon at the inner entrance to the Strait of Belleisle, including that bay, or as the statute describes it, "so much of the coast as lies to the westward of a line to be drawn due north and south from the bay or harbour of Ance Sablon inclusive, as far as the fifty-second degree of north latitude."

   The landward depth of this coast is the matter in dispute, the boundary line between it and the main or inland territory never having been located.

   7. The word "coast" as defined by lexicographers from the time Dr. Johnson's great work was first published in 1755 down to the present day, means, "The edge or margin of the land next to the sea, the shore." "It is not used," Johnson's work adds, "for the banks of less waters," e.g., of rivers or lakes. "Sea-shore" is defined as, "The coast of the sea." The words "coast," "sea-shore," and "sea-coast," accordingly, mean and designate the same thing. Such is the primary and natural meaning of the word "coast" when used in its geographical sense; and that is the meaning which the term has invariably been given by the Courts both in England, Canada and the Uniter States. (Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway v. Treat, 121 L.T.R. (P.C.) 657, 658, affirming judgment of the Court of Appeal (B.C.), 1918, 3 W.W.R. 685; The King v. Forty-nine Casks of Brandy, 3 Hagg. Adm.

p. 52

257; 275, Gammell v. Commissioners of Woods and Forests, 3 Macq. A.C. 419, 460; Regina v. Cox (1859), 1 P.E.I. 170; Soult v. l'Africaine (1804), Bee's Adm. Rep. 204; United States v. The James Morrison, 1 Newb. Adm. Fep. 241, 253; United States v. The William Pope, ib., 256, 259; Ravesies v. U.S. (1884), 35 Fed. Rep. 917, 919). There can, therefore, be no presumption or other reason for construing the term "coast," as used in the Comission and Proclamation of 1763 and in the Acts cited, in any larger sense than is strictly required for the full attainment of the object which the legislator had in view.

   8. Canada submits that the true meaning of the term "coast" as used in these instruments—i.e., its meaning as applied to the subject-matter with regard to which it was used, and for the object the legislator had in view—is correctly stated in the second of the above propositions. The precise terms fixing the length of the coast, the declared purpose of the enactments, the description of the power in respect of the coast conferred on the Governor, the nature of his functions and of the power he exercised in Newfoundland itself, the conditions prevailing in that Island, and the purposes and policy of its Government; all these unite to show that the term "coast" was used in that sense.

   9. The precision with which the Commission to Graves fixed the terminal points of the length of that coast restricts its depth well within the limits assigned to by the Dominion's contention. The Commission defines the "coast" as extending "from the entrance of Hudson's Streights" to "the River St. John, which discharges itself into the sea, nearly opposite the west end of the Island of Anticosti." That definition is of a line of "coast" extending from one point to another point; its terms exclude the idea of depth of land upon the coast of Hudson Strait at the one end, or upon the banks of the River St. John at the other.

   10. In the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the object which the Crown, as legislator, had in view

p. 53

when it included the coast of Labrador in the Commission to the Governor of Newfoundland, cited above, is explicitly declared in the following words, viz., "to the end that the open and free fishery of our subjects may be extended to and carried on upon the coast of Labrador and the adjacent islands." It was "that coast"—a "coast" upon which it was physically possible to carry on the operations of the fishery, the coast available and useful for that purpose, that His Majesty was pleased to declare he had put under the "care and inspection" of the Governor of Newfoundland. The purpose so declared is the measure of the depth of that coast. It, that coast, comprises clearly the whole of the coastal area used or susceptible of use for the purposes of fishery referred to, but is as clearly restricted to that area.

   11. What was that fishery and what was the extent of coast to which it could be extended and upon which it could be carried on? From the terms of the Commission to Graves above cited, and many other State documents, it is abundantly clear that the fishery described as "the open and free fishery of our subjects" in the Proclamation of 1763 was the free British fishery then carried on upon the coasts of Newfoundland under the rules and regulations of the Newfoundland Fishery Act (10 & 11 Wm. III., chap. 25 (1699), (Imperial)). It is essential, in order to form a clear conception of the nature of this fishery, to advert to the peculiar conditions attaching to the Island of Newfoundland and to the maritime policy with which that fishery was identified.

   From its first discovery (Cabot, 1497-98) under Henry VII., Newfoundland became, and has ever since remained, the seat of a great cod fishery. The early annals of the Island are largely concerned with the struggles and vicissitudes of two contending interests in the Newfoundland trade: the one, that of the planters and inhabitants who, being settled there, needed the protection of a government and police, with the administration of justice; the other, that of the English adventurers and merchants who, carrying on the fishery from England and visiting the Island only for the season, needed

[1927lab]


 

Partnered Projects Government and Politics - Table of Contents Site Map Search Heritage Web Site Home