The Labrador Boundary

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21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.


The Lord

Sir John Simon.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.


21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

The Lord

Sir Thomas

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the most eminent cartographer of his time; he was called Premier Géographe du Roi; he was a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences; Peter the Great took a special interest in him as well as the Kings of France. What I was going to call attention to is this. If your Lordships will look—more particularly perhaps Lord Finlay, since he put the question to me—to the description on that map of the sea which is called Mer Christiane, you will see immediately underneath it this note: “So named by Jean Munck, a Dane, in 1619.” There was a King Christian of Denmark, and I think we may assume that he named the sea after his his own sovereign. That I think answers that point.
My Lords, I made a slip in one statement at any rate this morning, which I will correct at once. I spoke in a casual phrase as though the Islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon had ceased to be French. I was in error about that; I believe they are still French. Your Lordship sees this Map No. 7 gives again this opening which Davis in the time of Queen Elizabeth had found here. The inscription is not quite the same as it is in the English map which copies from this. It says: “Entrance found in 1586 by Davis, an Englishman, who trafficked there with people of the country, and into which Weymouth advanced 30 leagues.” It happens to give the name of the comrade Weymouth, who did that.

The Lord CHANCELLOR: I do not see the date.

Sir JOHN SIMON: There are several editions of this particular map. It has been worked out for us at the British Museum, and there is a series of notes to all these maps to be found immediately preceding Map No. 4. De Lisle was born in 1675 and died in 1726, and he was doing this about the year 1700. One or two of his maps do bear a date, but this particular one does not. Take the next map, No. 6, which is another part of the same map of De Lisle. You will see that the legend says that he is “premier géographe du roy.” It is published at Paris, “at the house of the author on the Quai de l'Horloge, avec privilège du roy pour 20 ans.” The date is 1700.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: It says he was born 1673 and died 1726, so that it must have been the early part of the eighteenth century.

Sir JOHN SIMON: That is right. There is no doubt that these maps, which I am told were maps of great authority in their day, might be regarded as a foundation of that map of Senex, an Englishman, which is Map No. 9, and which is dated 1710.
I am anxious that your Lordships should have before you, even if only in outline, the case in its essential compass; so that I am not going at the moment, unless your Lordships wish otherwise, to read long passages from the instructions to Governor Graves, and other documents of that sort. I would sooner go at once to the other document of 1763

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which has to be examined for the purpose of seeing how this area has been parcelled out.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: That is the proclamation.

Sir JOHN SIMON: The proclamation. Your Lordships have my dates which are, of course, the pretext of the argument. The 10th February 1763 was the definitive Treaty of Paris, and the 25th April 1763 was this extended Commission to Thomas Graves which puts all the coasts of Labrador under his administration as between two termini.

Viscount HALDANE: You mean sign manual.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I mean the Commission under the Great Seal. That is the document at page 149 which we were looking at just before your Lordships adjourned. Your Lordships remember the words at page 149, line 31. There is thirdly the proclamation which is at page 153, dated 7th October 1763. There is a little history which accompanies this, which your Lordships will need to look at later. There is recorded the inquiries that were made by the Secretary of State, Lord Egremont, to the Lords of Trade and Plantations—I rather think they had been sitting in this building—who gave advice as to what should be done. All that I have in mind, but I am taking you to the accomplished fact. The accomplished fact is that a Royal Proclamation is made on the 7th October 1763, the terms of which I think it is most important carefully to observe. It is a document which carves out this area. We have the Hudson's Bay territory, we have all the coasts of Labrador with Newfoundland, and now of course we have the substantial remaining area mostly acquired from the French. The Proclamation says: “Whereas we have taken into our Royal consideration the extensive and valuable acquisitions in America, secured to our Crown by the late definitive treaty of peace concluded at Paris the tenth day of February last; and being desirous that all our loving subjects, as well of our kingdom as of our colonies in America, may avail themselves with all convenient speed of the great benefits and advantages which must accrue therefrom to their commerce, manufactures, and navigation; we have thought fit, with the advice of our Privy Council, to issue this our Royal Proclamation, hereby to publish and declare to all our loving subjects, that we have, with the advice of our said Privy Council”—those were the Lords of Trade and Plantations who in their turn, of course, had moved the Privy Council as a whole—“granted our letters patent under our Great Seal of Great Britain, to erect within the countries and islands ceded and confirmed to us by the said treaty, four distinct and separate governments styled and called by the names of Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, and Grenada, and limited and bounded as follows, viz.: Firstly.—The Government of Quebec, bounded on the Labrador Coast by the River St. John.” Your Lordships will see that is the same river which earlier in the year had been used as the

p. 43

limit westward of the Coasts of Labrador which Newfoundland assumed control over. Then it goes on to say: “and from thence by a line drawn from the head of that river”—would your Lordships kindly observe that that in itself involves the idea that the coast will run up to the head of the river—“through the lake St. John, to the south end of the Lake Nipissim.” I am going, if I may, in one moment to ask attention to a map—there are a number which might be used on which your Lordships could trace this—but I thought your Lordships would let me read the words first.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: Is that map No. 16?

Sir JOHN SIMON: If I might suggest it, I think we had better not look at map No. 16 just yet. That is rather later. The whole paragraph reads: “The Government of Quebec, bounded on the Labrador Coast by the River St. John, and from thence by a line drawn from the head of that river, through the lake St. John, to the south end of the Lake Nipissim; from whence the said line, crossing the River St. Lawrence and the Lake Champlain in forty-five degrees of north latitude, passes along the high lands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into the said River St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the sea: and also along the north coast of the Baye des Chaleurs, and the coast of the Gulph of St. Lawrence to Cape Rosieres, and from thence crossing the mouth of the River St. Lawrence by the west end of the Island of Anticosti, terminates at the aforesaid River St. John.”

Viscount HALDANE: Lake Champlain one knows to-day is south of the St. Lawrence.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Certainly.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: It takes in the land bordering on the St. Lawrence, including Gaspe.

Sir JOHN SIMON: That is the idea. I am quite willing that your Lordship shall look at Map No. 16, but the actual one that I thought was convenient to take was map No. 12. What 1 would suggest to the Board is that what is really important is to see for this purpose how the geography was believed to exist at the time these boundaries were drawn. I am not saying, of course, that you will not have to apply the definition to the facts on the ground as they really are, but it is at least rather interesting to see how they would apply if you were to take the maps as they were believed to represent the truth. A very good example of that is map No. 12. It is a map of 1755. I will give your Lordship the original as it is a better map than the reduced scale your Lordship has. That map is a map published in 1755, and I could produce others to the same effect. You observe, therefore, that it is just before the Treaty of Paris. It is a map which shows, and it is rather interesting to notice that it does show, the Hudson's Bay territory. The Hudson's

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Bay territory is shown tinged in yellow, and it does what so many people have done before and since, i.e., treated the Hudson Bay Territory as a territory which runs back from Hudson's Bay to the watershed. If you examine it, you will see it was drawn so on that map. They did not know exactly how these things were. They sometimes drew lakes which ran both ways. Indeed, there are a few cases on the maps where they record “This lake drains both ways.”

Viscount FINLAY: But there are such lakes.

Sir JOHN SIMON: But I am not saying that they explored all along the boundary. It was to a large extent a work of imagination in detail, but what is important is to look at the principle of the thing. You have on a map such as this all the material to draw the line. If with this map before your Lordships, I may just refer to the passage again, you will see the whole thing. It says, the new Government of Quebec is to be bounded on the Labrador Coast by the River St. John. You will see the River St. John marked on the map. It is marked as running up a considerable way. We know it had just been used as the way of cutting off the coast of Labrador so far as Newfoundland administered it. You are to turn up to the head of that river. I do not know which of these various tributaries may be called the head, but at any rate you can see it carries you a very substantial distance inland. Then when you have reached the head of that river, you are to have an artificial line which is expressly defined—a straight line I suppose—which is to run from the head of the river through the lake St. John. The lake St. John is shown on the map.

Viscount FINLAY: Is it on the river?


Viscount FINLAY: I think the lake St. John is a long way off?

Sir JOHN SIMON: I observed before the adjournment the lake St. John has nothing to do with the River St. John except that they are both called St. John.

Viscount FINLAY: Then what does this passage mean?

Sir JOHN SIMON: You are to draw a line from the head waters of the river, a line which will run many miles, till you reach a lake. The lake happens to be called Lake St. John, but that has nothing to do with it. It is as though you were to draw a line from the head waters of the Thames to Lake Windermere.

Viscount FINLAY: I forget which map it was which showed that Lake St. John was very clearly a very great distance away.

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Sir JOHN SIMON: This little green map that we have been using shows it.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: It is shown on map 16.

Sir JOHN SIMON: The Lord Chancellor will appreciate it is not that I have the smallest objection, but it seems to me if we are going to deal with the thing logically what one wants to see is the sort of map of which would be before the people when they laid clown the line. What your Lordship is referring to is a map which was drawn afterwards.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: Immediately afterwards, as showing what the Proclamation did.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I am not in the least complaining, but I think it is not unreasonable to say, let us see what sort of map was available and see what they had before them. Returning to the point I was on—you are to join the head-waters of this river which happens to be called St. John by an imaginary straight line with the Lake St. John. Then you are to go from there to Lake Nipissim. This map calls it Lake Nipissing, while other maps call it Lake Nipissim. It is the same lake. That lake is very substantially further to the west.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: Nearly in a straight line.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Nearly in a straight line.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: In Map No. 16 it is put down almost in a straight line.

Sir JOHN SIMON: It is substantially that. When you get to Lake Nipissim then the boundary—the thing being a lozenge shape—takes a very sharp turn, and the line will be found now crossing the St. Lawrence to Lake Champlain in 45° latitude. If your Lordships will find 45° latitude on the map which I invited attention to, you will see it running across the St. Lawrence and striking Lake Champlain. It struck me as a little significant that whatever may have been accurately or inaccurately known, at any rate it was on this map accurate to say that Lake Champlain is to be found actually cut by the 45th parallel of latitude. That is just what the man who drew up this Proclamation is saying. He says you are to draw a line from Lake Nipissing to Lake Champlain, and then you are to pass along the high-lands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence. I think that is rather striking. We are dealing now with the Promontory of Gaspé, which is on the south side of the St. Lawrence. What he is saying is that this boundary is the line along what I may call the spine of the country, along the watershed. Having done that, then pass along the north-east coast


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