Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


Privy Council Documents


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Volume IV

Volume V

Volume VI

Volume VII

Volume VIII

Volume IX

Volume X

Volume XI
Contents

Volume XII








21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

The Lord
Chancellor.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

The Lord
Chancellor.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

The Lord
Chancellor.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount
Haldane.

Sir John Simon.


p. 46

of the Bay of Chaleurs. You may remember that the Bay of Chaleurs is just south of the Gaspé Peninsula. Then along the coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Cape Rosières, just at the end of the Gaspé Peninsula, and from thence, crossing the mouth of the River St. Lawrence, by the west end of the Island of Anticosti, terminating at the River St. John.
I have taken the liberty of just roughly marking on my own copy what is involved on that map. Perhaps one of your Lordships would be so good as to look at it. (Handing map to their Lordships.) Lord Finlay will see that I have just roughly marked in blue chalk the area which is thus enclosed. I do not say I have done it precisely, but roughly. I want your Lordships, if you will, to observe what seems to follow. Do you notice that the Hudson's Bay territory cuts a great horseshoe out which takes up a portion of that area. We know that earlier in the year the Governor of Newfoundland had had added to his jurisdiction all the coast of Labrador as far as the River St. John. Is not the inference almost irresistible that what was being done was that they were making an area which they were going to call the Government of Quebec, which, so to say, fits into the map? Its boundaries, do you notice, correspond. The River St. John is at once the western boundary of the Newfoundland area and the eastern boundary of the Quebec area. It does not stop there. If, as a map like that suggested, you reached the height of land, if you went up to the high waters of the River St. John, and if in its turn the Lake St. John was a reservoir which ran down to the sea, you would be dividing the land which may be on one side of the watershed from the land which is on the other side of the watershed. The consequence is that you really are in this portion of the world dividing the country up. The alternative view, which I contest, is a view that although in 1763 the authorities here at home were plotting out an area which they called the Government of Quebec, at the same time all that they were doing on the coast of Labrador, as far as Newfoundland was concerned, was giving to Newfoundland this salvage. It seems to be a most far-fetched and curious hypothesis. If the business which had to be tackled was the business of dividing this country up, what an odd thing that you should define the boundary of the Government of Quebec by language which is precisely appropriate with the boundary of Newfoundland Labrador in my sense; that you should then trace its equivalent boundary on a principle which is, at any rate roughly, corresponding with what are known to be the already appropriated regions in that quarter, and that then you should make these provisions on the south and west. If one looks at that map, remembering that it was a map available immediately before the Treaty, one sees that it has upon it every single name which is used in this careful definition.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: In any case, we have a territory intermediate between the land which you are clamming from the height of land and the boundary of the Hudson's Bay territory; you have a thin strip. You have not shown it in your colours, but there is a thin strip between the new boundary of Quebec and the boundary of Hudson's Bay that runs up to the region of Cape Chidley.

p. 47

Sir JOHN SIMON: Your Lordship may be right. If your Lordship would now turn over to one or two more of these maps you will see the way in which the geographers in the immediately following period dealt with the matter. For example, No. 14 is an interesting map. This is Gibson's map of 1763. The original is here, if you wish to see it. It is by Emanuel Bowen, geographer to His Majesty, and John Gibson, engraver, and it purports to give details according to the Treaty of 1763. This, my Lord, is the original of which No. 14 is a reproduction in part. If I may read the legend it is called this: “A new and complete map of all America, of the West Indies, and other islands dependent thereon, with a copious table fully showing the several possessions of each European Prince and State as settled by the definitive treaty concluded at Paris on February l0th, 1763, the clauses of which relative thereto are inserted by John Gibson, geographer.” I think in this case the reproduction is as plain as the original. It is an attempt to indicate the new Province of Quebec; you can see Lake Nipissing quite well.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: They have made the St. John River very straight.

Sir JOHN SIMON: They have. It is not very well done. One can see it is not that at all; but geographers, like other people, can make mistakes. At any rate, they show the kind of thing; and as your Lordship was truly saying, there is an indication of a sort of passage-way between the lozenge which one calls the Government of Quebec, and the boundary, as marked, of the Hudson's Bay territory. Something may turn hereafter on this intermediate bit; it is a branch of the subject which has to be treated rather by itself. I will call it for the moment the branch of the case which deals with Indian territory. It will need to be dealt with in some detail. If I may, I will go on with my chronological story, because I think it is convenient for your Lordships.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: Is that right; “the Treaty of Utrecht”? That is supposed to be the boundary between the Hudson's Bay and Canada.

Sir JOHN SIMON: No, my Lord. We saw this earlier in the day. Under the Treaty of Utrecht the commissaries were to be people of both countries. Commissaries were appointed by the British; and this line which starts a long way to the left, “The southern boundary of the Hudson's Bay territory, settled by commissaries after the Treaty of Utrecht” was drawn by the British Commissaries.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: Is that a wrong line?

Sir JOHN SIMON: I am not saving it is wrong. I do not quite know why they should have carried it out across Labrador in the way

p. 48

they do. because that would not be—and as a matter of fact was not afterwards regarded as—Hudson's Bay territory.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: That is why I was asking you. That does not fit in with your theory that you were to have everything which Hudson's Bay had not got.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I should have said the real thing was this: it all depends upon where you regard Hudson's Straits as beginning. Later on it is perfectly plain, because the words are used that Cape Chidley is the point. That, you remember, was illustrated in the Arrowsmith map of 1857, where you had that green area, and where the point at which the boundary reached Hudson's Straits was at Cape Chidley. The other Governments which were carved out by the same proclamation, that is to say the Governments of East Florida and West Florida and Granada, have nothing to do with this case, and your Lordships, I think, except as a matter of interest, need not be troubled to search for them. The Granada one is the West Indies. In trying to use the time I have to get the scale complete, I would ask your Lordships to notice in this Royal Proclamation of the 7th of October, 1763, there is this paragraph. We have read the full definition of the countries and governments of Quebec and East Florida, and over the page West Florida and Granada. Now I want you to notice that this proclamation recognises the fact that the area of the Newfoundland administration is enlarged, because it goes on, on page 154, at line 14: “And 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, we have thought fit, with the advice of our said Privy Council, to put all that coast”—this is really extracted—“from the River St. Johns to Hudson's Straits, together with the Islands of Anticosti and the Madelaine, and all other smaller islands lying upon the said coast, under the care and inspection of our Governor of Newfoundland.” That phrase “care and inspection” is a little striking. Of course, if the root of title of Newfoundland was this declaration on page 154, I could quite understand that an argument might be advanced to suggest that this shows something short of an actual extension of boundaries, but, of course, this is mere reference. The actual root of title, the thing which gives the area, is in the Commission passed under the Great Seal to Thomas Graves on page 149. Your Lordships will really be relieved of any doubt on that score, because we shall come again and again to descriptions of the coast of Labrador as being annexed to Newfoundland, or as a dependency of Newfoundland.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: It is noticeable that in this paragraph the coast of Labrador is something upon which a fishery may be carried on.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Undoubtedly it occurs again and again. I hope your Lordships appreciate that I am conceding this in the fullest and frankest way: there is no doubt whatever that at the time the

p. 49

Newfoundland area was enlarged to the mainland, and for long afterwards, the primary object of the whole thing was to deal with fisheries. There is not the slightest doubt about it. The question in the case is really not that, which is really not a matter which is argued or arguable. The question in the case is whether, when you get a grant of all the coasts of Labrador (howbeit at the time it was first made probably nobody cared twopence what you would find if you went back some distance; it was a barren, non-occupied, useless land) and you come to try and ascertain what is the test which the grant prescribes, the test is not the test that you should go to the height of land. I have called attention to the most important parts of that document. My Lords, we have, therefore, this position. Your Lordship has been kind enough to keep some sort of chronological note, and this is the milestone. From 1763 down to 1774, for those 11 years, the British Province of Quebec—it was really called the Government of Quebec—was that limited lozenge which your Lordship just traced out, whereas all the coast of Labrador, from the entrance to the Hudson's Straits to the River St. Johns was annexed to Newfoundland. That lasted for those 11 years. Governor Murray, to whom my Lord Haldane referred, surrendered his post to Governor Guy Carleton, and Sir Guy Carleton was the Governor of the Province of Quebec in 1774. In 1774 there was passed a Statute, which is called the Quebec Act, which completely revised the distribution of areas, which enlarged the Province of Quebec enormously, and which threw into the Province of Quebec all that part of Labrador which had previously been annexed to Newfoundland. So that you have Newfoundland with what I may call continental areas between 1763 and 1774, and then there comes a period which begins in 1774 and which continues till 1809, when once again Newfoundland gets its continental area.
I think your Lordships may—of course, in time these things will become so familiar you will not need it—find it convenient to take these dates if you are making any notes.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: This is the Act at page 158.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes, I am going to give your Lordships four dates: 1763 to 1774, 1774 to 1809, and 1809 to 1825.

Viscount HALDANE: These are the Statutes?

Sir JOHN SIMON: These are the three periods. Between 1763 and 1774, as I have already said, you had Newfoundland on the mainland to the extent to which the Commission to Governor Graves and his successors prescribed, whatever that is. From 1774—this is the Statute which, as the Lord Chancellor says, we are just going to look at, at page 158—down to 1809 you had no Newfoundland on the mainland, but the whole thing was in Quebec.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: The whole thing, coast and all.

p. 50

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes. It is most striking what happens. What kind of an operation on the view of my friends happened—we shall have to consider it; I have a perfectly intelligible view of what happened. From 1809 to 1823 you get yet another stage in which Newfoundlland goes back to where she was in 1763, and lastly, in 1825 comes the final change which has persisted till to-day, the change by which Quebec gets what I may call that pink oblong cut out and given back to it while the balance remains with Newfoundland.

Viscount HALDANE: It is most important that we should follow the words of these Statutes.

Sir JOHN SIMON: It is most important.
That gives the stages. Perhaps your Lordships will turn to page 158 and observe the language that is used in the Act of 1774. Here again the thing which is principally important for me is to see whether when what was previously attached to Newfoundland is added to this enlarged Quebec, it can possibly be supposed that what is thus being transferred is a mere selvedge or whether on the other hand the inference is very strong—I should have thought it was irresistible—that what is being transferred is not mere selvedge but on the contrary is a very substantial continuous area of territory. The recitals I am afraid must be read: “Whereas His Majesty, by His Royal Proclamation, bearing date the Seventh Day of October in the third year of his reign, thought fit to declare the provisions which had been made in respect to certain countries, territories and islands in America, ceded to His Majesty by the Definitive Treaty of Peace, concluded at Paris on the tenth day of February one thousand seven hundred and sixty three,” which, as you know, is to be found at page 153, you have just been looking at it. “And whereas, by arrangements made by the said Royal Proclamation, a very large extent of country, within which there were several Colonies and Settlements of the Subjects of France, who claimed to remain therein under the faith of the said Treaty, was left, without any provision being made for the administration of Civil Government therein.”
My Lords, might we pause there for one moment, if you would look at the little sketch map which shows our green area, you will remember upon that we had marked not only the pink and the green, but we had distinguished between a portion which is coloured light blue, or slate colour, and portion coloured yellow. The portion that is coloured light blue is bounded by the line which runs from what is supposed to be the head of the River St. John to Lake St. John. You will remember that line was the northern boundary of the Government of Quebec. To take an example, obviously you see to the north of that there was this yellow patch. there may be more, but there is at least that, and, of course, it is quite plain there would be a large extent of country within which there were colonies and settlements of the Subjects of France who claimed to remain therein under the faith of the

[1927lab]




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