The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Volume IV

Volume V

Volume VI

Volume VII

Volume VIII

Volume IX

Volume X

Volume XI

Volume XII

8 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Mr. Geoffrion.

8 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Geoffrion.

8 Nov., 1926.

Lord Warrington.

Mr. Geoffrion.

Sir John Simon.

Mr. Geoffrion.

8 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Geoffrion.

8 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Geoffrion.

p. 732

look at the United States Census, to which he was referring—the Report of Colonel Bouquet ?


Sir JOHN SIMON : Colonel Bouquet was in command of Fort Pitt. He was a very famous military officer in the Indian war.

Mr. GEOFFRION : Then as to the Iroquois, one must not forget the facts about them. The Iroquois were a confederacy of six nations. The point I will put to your Lordships in a minute is that the six confederate nations of the Iroquois, who alone defeated all the other nations and destroyed completely the Hurons, contained 1,550 warriors. That is all I wish to say on that point ; as I say, it is an incidental matter.

Viscount FINLAY : It is an illustration of the extremely sparse population.

Mr. GEOFFRION : The danger of the Indians in North America was not their numbers, it was the shelter that the forests gave them, when they could pounce unawares on anybody. Any organised band of white men could deal with them easily if they were got ready, but as they could not spend all their time under arms, a hundred Indians could make tremendous havoc. The population was extremely sparse, and I would not like your Lordships to be impressed by the numbers here as meaning something relatively insignificant, and in relation to the Indian problem these Indians who were the closest, the most near–by, the most civilized, were certainly as important in point of numbers as the others.
Now, my Lords, I will be extremely brief on the religions branch. On this point we have already given your Lordship a reference to Volume VI, at page 2707, where citizenship of France is conditional on being Roman Catholic. I make a point that it links these activities to political activities. At the bottom of page 2705 of Volume VI you will see that Champlain, the first Governor, is instructed as part of his duties as Governor to convert to Christianity these Indians. This is only to suggest to your Lordships that the foundation of religious activities was laid early and was part of the political effort.

Viscount FINLAY : Do you call attention to anything on this page ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : At the bottom of page 2705, line 32 : “ Et par le moyen de ce, et de toutes autres voies licites, les appeler, faire instruire, provoquer et émouvoir à la connoissance et service de Dieu et à la foi et religion catholique, apostolique et romaine.” Then follows what I have already quoted at page 2707, whereby the Indians who were

p. 733

Catholics were French subjects, and this links the religious effort with the political effort.
Now, my Lords, I will not give your Lordships the enormous mass of evidence gathered here showing the activities of the missionaries, but I will try to indicate the result by three short references. In 1774 we find at page 2772, line 40 : “ Our Shalloway is this instant return'd from Sandwich Bay ”—

Viscount FINLAY : What is “ our Shalloway ” ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : It must have been an officer's boat, I think.

Viscount FINLAY : A despatch boat.

Mr. GEOFFRION : Presumably. I confess I have not looked that up. “ Our Shalloway is this instant return'd from Sandwich Bay where she left our Furriers in possession of the Salmon Rivers ; they saw no sign of any Uropean having dwelt there ; it is a place much frequented by the Nescaupick Indians, a People who subsist by hunting, they are good Furriers, speak broken French, are Roman Catholics, and have traded with the Canadians many years. One family have been here this Summer and sold us about fifty pounds worth of Fur.”
This is George Cartwright's report to Lord Dartmouth in 1774. Therefore in 1774 we have the Nascopis, the most northern ones, speaking broken French and having traded long with the Canadians and being Roman Catholics.

Lord WARRINGTON : He writes from Charles Harbour ; where is that ? is that on the coast of Labrador ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : It is on the Atlantic coast of Labrador, south of Eskimo Islet.

Lord WARRINGTON : Cape Charles : I suppose it is there, is it ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord.

Lord WARRINGTON : Just south–west of Belle Isle.


Lord SUMNER : It is about 1½ in. south of Rigolet on the map.

Lord WARRINGTON : That is another one, then.

Mr. GEOFFRION : The one I know would be south of Rigolet on the Atlantic coast ; it is another bay south of Eskimo Bay.

Lord WARRINGTON : The only one I can see is much further

p. 734

south than that ; it is just north of latitude 52 : Cape Charles and St. Charles River. I do not suppose it much matters ; at any rate, it is on the coast.

Mr. GEOFFRION : Nothing turns on it, my Lord. I confess I am not prepared to answer your Lordship on that difficulty, because I did not consider it material.

Sir JOHN SIMON : There are other documents in the Record which show that this gentlemen, Mr. Cartwright, when he speaks of Charles River, is referring to the more southerly one of the two, I can check it, I know it is so. There is a good deal about furring and about salmon fishing.

Mr. GEOFFRION : I confess I have not looked up that branch because I do not think it is material to what I am now putting.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : It is explained in this very letter at page 2771.

Mr. GEOFFRION : The next reference I would ask your Lordships to take is at page 2797. Incidentally, I might answer now a query put by the Lord Chancellor, by reading something at the very top of this page : “ The Mountaineers, whose hunting–grounds are in the vicinity of the Bay, are a branch of the Cree Nation.” Cree and Algonquin are for some reason or other loosely used as being the same thing.

Lord WARRINGTON : It says : “ They are very much reduced in number.”

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord ; these men shifted. I might point out to your Lordship, and as you will see, there is some evidence of it, that there was some reluctance on the part of these Mountaineers to go to Eskimo Bay until they could be provided with a priest, and the Hudson's Bay Company, on the pressure of Sir Donald Smith, had to arrange to have a priest come over the Atlantic to Eskimo Bay, because they were accustomed to go down to the St. Lawrence, where the Bishop of Quebec sent a priest. It is only indicative of the firmness of the link established.
Now, if your Lordships look at the bottom of page 2797, your Lordships will see on extract from Governor Simpson to William Nourse in 1845 : “ If the indiums persist in a desire to visit Mingan ”—Mingan is on the St. Lawrence, where the Bishop of Quebec sent a missionary— : “ in order to meet a Roman Catholic Priest, you may state that, if they defer it for another year, we will endeavour to send a Priest to their own lands, without putting them to the trouble or inconvenience of so long a journey. This can be done hereafter without inconvenience when the vessel winters in the St. Lawrence ; but, if the Priests were to go this season by the second trip of the ‘ Marten ’ his stay would necessarily be

p. 735

so short, that he could only see a few of the Indians immediately round Rigolet.” Therefore your Lordships have here the Hudson's Bay Company considering as essential to the prosperity of their post at Rigolet that arrangements be made to bring a priest round there, because otherwise as the priest went to the St. Lawrence and only there, the Indians would not go to Rigolet.
Then, my Lords, we have, at the bottom of page 2820, the same language again. That is in 1862. They are dealing with the same problem, and I will not read this to your Lordships. I could give your Lordships from pages 2966 to 2084 on the missionary activities, but it seems to me that the point is sufficiently met for this case, without my further trespassing on your Lordships' time, by stating the starting point and the end. The first was the instruction to Champlain. Then we have unquestionably the activities to which references are being made everywhere ; we find these Indians are all Naskopis and speaking broken French, but French nevertheless, in 1774, at Sandwich Bay, in 1842 at Eskimo Bay, and so on. We prove, therefore, the identity of the group that went to Eskimo Bay and to the St. Lawrence, and we prove thereby the depth of the connection between them and the King of France ; and if I am right in my proposition that the King of England is successor to the King of France, it proves that they came under the English King.
Now the last branch, on which I shall be brief, is the trading branch : trading, commercial and political. On the trading branch there are three groups ; I will take them each very briefly ; I am only subdividing in order to be systematic. I am going now to refer your Lordships to Volume VII, at page 3337, line 10. I want to read this paragraph first in connection with the Fornel Grant, of which your Lordships have heard and will hear a little more in a minute.

Lord WARRINGTON : This is an application for a concession.

Mr. GEOFFRION : It is a report by a Mr. Cugnet, who apparently is lessee of the King's posts and who there objects to an application by a Mr. Fornel for a grant at Eskimo Bay, around Hamilton Inlet. He says at line 10 of page 3337 : “ Le veritable But du projet du Sr. Fornel avoit Etè de former d'ans la profondeur des Terres au dessus de la Baie St. Louis ”—that is Eskimo Bay.

Lord WARRINGTON : Otherwise Hamilton Inlet.

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord—“ vn Establissement de Traitte pour y attirer les Sauvages qui commercent d'ans les Postes fur la Coste du Nord su flueve St. Laurent, at Encore plus ceux qui vent d'ans les Postes du Domaine ”—your Lordships will see in a minute that there were trading posts on the St. Lawrence, North Shore, some belonging to private individuals and some within the King's domain. There were
5 E

p. 736

also inland posts far inland belonging to the King's domain : “ Et par le S'approprier a l'Exclusion des fermiers ”—the spelling is not good.

Lord WARRINGTON : Is it “ fermiers ” ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : It must be “ fermiers,” my Lord ; I cannot see any other possible meaning.

Sir JOHN SIMON : You will see at the bottom of the page it is translated “ lessee.”

Mr. GEOFFRION : The translator then agreed with my translation : “ et des Concessionnaires des Postes de la Coste du Nord la Traitte avec Ies Sauvages Rependus dans cette partie du Canada.” That is of importance—that their were posts of the King's domain for trading inland, there were posts on the St. Lawrence, and application is made in 1749, late in the day but nevertheless early for this case, to establish a post around Hamilton Inlet, and the objection is made by the lessee of the King's post : “ You are creating a competitor for our post.” indicating again how indivisible that area is. Now if your Lordships turn to the last line on the same page, he is referring to the posts of the domain and he gives a list at the top of the following page : “ et En a En Effet actuellement d'Etablis sur les Lacs des Maskapis, atchouanipi, manikouagan, Mistaseins, et Chobnouchouiane.” I will not take up you Lordships' time beyond saving that Atchouanipi is in the Atlantic watershed in the disputed territory, and Mistaseins is in the Hudson's Bay watershed.
It is enough for my point at present. I am trying to give only what I think I need. I say the King's Domain, or the King's trading monopoly, if we prefer to call it by that name, had one post in the very heart of the disputed domain at Lake Ashuanipi, not very far, relatively speaking, from the Indians of the Eskimo Bay intended post, and had another post at Mistassini, the big lake which we know to be in the Hudson's Bay watershed.
The Fornel grant is to be found in Volume VII, page 3330. This grant was made, and I think it is of importance. The granting words are at the top of page 3331 : “ Nous avons concédé et concédons par ces présentes à la dite Dame veuve Fornel la dite Baye des Esquimaux dite Baye St. Louis pour le temps et espace de 12 années à compter du présent jour, à prendre depuis et compris le Cap St. Gilles situé au nord de la dite Baye en remontant au Sud jusques à la Rivière des Sables icelle comprise, ensemble la Rivière Kessessakiou située au font de la dite Baye et qui se décharge jusques à la hauteur des Terres, avec les isles et islots qui se trouvent tant en dedans de la dite Baye St. Louis qu'an devant de l'étendue de terrain cy dessus concédé ; pour en jouir par la elite veuve Fornel pendant le dit temps et y faire un ou plusieurs establissemens de pesche loup marin ainsi que la chasse ” etc. We therefore have a grant very definitely of the Hamilton River up to its source, and of the Bay for fishing and hunting in 1749. Now this grant


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