The Labrador Boundary

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25 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

25 Oct., 1926.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

Sir Thomas Warrington.

Sir John Simon.

25 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

25 Oct., 1926.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

25 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Lord Sumner.

Viscount Haldane.

p. 203

the Savages called Esquimaux, inhabiting that Coast, in which undertaking the Memorialists represent that they have already taken some steps in consequence of encouragement received from the Board in 1765, but that there is a necessity of having permission to occupy such a quantity of land on that Continent as may induce the Esquimaux to settle around the Missionaries”—it is quite plain that the northern coast of Labrador is being referred to really by “that continent”now—“that for this purpose they have pitched upon Esquimaux Bay and praying for a grant on that spot of one hundred thousand acres of land, or about 12 miles square.” Twelves miles square is 144, and I think there are 640 acres to a square mile; so it would come to about 100,000 acres. That is a quarter of the whole grant which they ultimately got. Thereupon they make the grant, and at the bottom of page 1323, line 40, they may choose “any 100,000 acres of land in such part of Esquimaux Bay on the Coast of Labrador as they may find most suitable for their purpose.”

Viscount FINLAY: I think there were four parcels.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes, my Lord, and this is the first. Then the last sentence of the document, on page 1324: “And the Governor or Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Island of Newfoundland and the Territories depending thereon for the time being, and all others whom it may concern, are to take Notice and Govern themselves accordingly.”

Viscount HALDANE: They are to give them reasonable assistance and support in forming the said establishment, and by proclamation. It is not a grant.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Forgive me, my Lord; I thought it was.

Viscount HALDANE: Where is the grant?

Sir JOHN SIMON: Am I wrong, my Lord?

Viscount HALDANE: A grant is by the King.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Certainly, my Lord. It could not, I think, at that time have been anything else. The Governor of Newfoundland, under his instructions as they were then, was not like the Governors of some places a hundred years afterwards. It was not within his commission to make grants in the name of the King.

Viscount HALDANE: I have no doubt that that is so.

Sir JOHN SIMON: You had to go to the King.

Viscount HALDANE: The King grants the hinterland, and grants

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the hinterland apparently quite irrespective of the Governor, who is directed, as the agent of the Crown, to protect it.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I think the true position is this: The Governor of Newfoundland first of all gives these people facilities; he reports that it is desirable that they should be given facilities, and so on.

Viscount HALDANE: He has his ships.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I hope your Lordship will not think I am trying in the least to divert your Lordship's mind from that. The Petition is made, and it must be made, to the Sovereign, and, in the light of recommendations which are made by Palliser and other people, it is decided to do it. The grant is then a grant (your Lordship is absolutely right) by the prerogative of the Sovereign here of those 100,000 acres on the coast of Labrador, but I think both this and a subsequent passage will show it was treated from beginning to end as being within the actual area of the Government of Newfoundland.

Viscount HALDANE: The Governor is the actual person to give protection to any British subject there; he was the person who had the Fleet.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I am not disputing that at all. Just to illustrate why I think it really does come to a little more than that, I will take a later grant. Will you turn to page 1348?

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: It is obvious that it was the Governor of Newfoundland who was to have the administrative authority over the land granted to the Moravians, because he had power to appoint justices of the peace.

Sir JOHN SIMON: They all show it; but really the document on page 1348 is very clear.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: He does not make the grant because the land is not vested in him. If the land is vested in anybody it is vested in the King.

Sir JOHN SIMON: It was at that stage; but when you pass on to the early part of the nineteenth century and the instructions are varied. then it was the Governor who did it. If your Lordship will turn to page 1348 you will find the very thing.

Viscount FINLAY: Whichever way it was done, it comes to very much the same thing.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I wanted to meet the point which Lord Haldane was good enough to raise, because it is an important point, and page 1348

p. 205

is worth looking at from that point of view. The position then was this: you had the Governor of Newfoundland, who at this time was Hamilton, on page 1348, addressing the Rev. Benjamin Kohlnnuister, brother of the United Fratrum Society, and saying—we need not trouble about the first paragraph—“Captain Martin's reports to me of the result of your labours are no less pleasing than surprising, and as long as it may please His Majesty to continue me in this Government I shall feel a sincere pleasure in not only communicating but forwarding the views of your Society in every way within my power, agreeable to His Majesty's towards all his subjects, and who has commanded the Earl of Bathurst, his principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, to direct me”—Lord Bathurst, as Secretary of State for the Colonies, is directing him (that is, Governor Hamilton)—“to make a special grant of a considerable accession of territory to the Society of Unitas Fratrum, which has only been delayed for want of an eligible mode of conveyance.”

Viscount HALDANE: Where was his authority to make any such grant? This is a very nice letter to write to the Rev. Benjamin Kohlnnuister, but where was the authority of the Governor to grant territory outside the boundaries of Labrador?

Sir JOHN SIMON: Forgive me, my Lord, is not your Lordship, in putting that question, a little bit assuming something against me?

Viscount HALDANE: No. He grants apparently as if he had authority. Where did Lord Bathurst direct him to make a special grant of a considerable accession of territory which might be beyond the coasts of Labrador?

Sir JOHN SIMON: I do not think it would go beyond the coast of Labrador, because the grant is to be a grant of a portion of the coast of Labrador.

Viscount HALDANE: I am using the word “coast” in the narrower sense, but you are contesting it and saying it is up to the height of land.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I am putting a little emphasis on this because I should have submitted that the fact that these things happened was some indication that the true construction of the annexation of the coast of Labrador by Newfoundland was what I am contending for; it is entirely consistent with my contention.

Viscount HALDANE: They did not leave it to the Governor of Labrador; they went to London to get what they wanted, and ultimately London made an Order which is quite logical; they made a grant and directed the Governor to protect the Moravians.

p. 206

Sir JOHN SIMON: This is not a direction to the Governor to protect at all; it is an Order to the Governor to make a special grant.

Viscount HALDANE: I am looking at the other document, and I am asking you: Where was the authority to do more than was contained in that direction? Where was the authority to grant what may have been the property of the Crown?

Mr. MACMILLAN: It is an Order of the Prince Regent in Council, which is referred to on the preceding page.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I am obliged. If I do seem not to have been dealing with your Lordship's point, it is not intentional on my part, but I have passed from the first grant to a later one, and I may have been a little obscure. If your Lordship would turn back one page to page 1347, the authority, so far as it is a document, is to be found there in the plainest terms: “Proclamation by Governor Hamilton.” Your Lordship appreciates that I have now got to the year 1821. “Whereas His Royal Highness the Prince Regent in Council on the 13th May, 1818”—George III was indisposed at this time—“acting in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty was graciously pleased to authorise that every facility should be given to the Moravian Missionaries in Labrador for extending the beneficial influence which they have had upon the character of the Native Indians, and for spreading still further the benefits of the Gospel and to that end to permit and allow the Society of the ‘Unitas Fratrum’ to form a fourth settlement”—this is the fourth; I gave you two others, and this is the fourth.

Viscount FINLAY: From the first it was contemplated that there should be four?

Sir JOHN SIMON: It was, my Lord—“on the Eastern coast of Labrador and to occupy during His Majesty's pleasure ‘that part of the said Coast to the North of Okkak’”—I can show you that on the map—“which comprehending the Bays of Kangertuksoak and Saglek reaches to the 59 degrees of N. Latitude, provided that the spots chosen by the said Society for its settlements may be such as in no respect to interrupt or annoy the fisheries carried on upon the said eastern coast of Labrador, I, the Governor aforesaid, do therefore hereby make known unto all whom it may concern that the said settlements of the Unitas Fratrum are under His Majesty's immediate protection and do hereby strictly enjoin all His Majesty's subjects to live in amity and brotherly love with the said settlers and the Native Indians inhabiting the country aforesaid, in no wise molesting, or disturbing the said Missionaries or those who shall settle with them; And I do further require that all His Majesty's subjects who shall come upon the coast of Labrador do act towards the said Missionaries and the Esquimaux Indians justly, humanely and agreeably to those laws by which His Majesty's subjects of all classes are bound throughout His Majesty's Dominions. And the

p. 207

said Society of Unitas Fratrum are hereby enjoined to take especial care that spots it shall chuse for its Settlements be such as in no respect to interrupt, or annoy the fisheries carried on upon the said Coast of Labrador.” All I am saying is that on four successive occasions, the first of them an occasion in 1766 and two intermediate occasions the dates of which I think I can give if you wish it, and the last, I think, an occasion in 1821, the Unitas Fratrum did acquire very considerable blocks of territory, 100,000 acres in each case, at four different points. Those blocks of territory were to be chosen as they pleased. The first one, in fact, was a square block. It would not appear to have gone beyond anything in the terms of the grant, if they had chosen a narrow oblong which ran further in, but it was a square block. All I am venturing to submit is that while the source of the grant is the Crown, it is plain that in these documents from first to last it is treated as being within an area which is called the coast of Labrador, which is the very phrase “all the coasts of Labrador which are annexed to Newfoundland,” and, what is more, that the Governor of Newfoundland is the authority that is directed in that regard.

Lord SUMNER: This grant at Okkak apparently rests upon some coast, where fishing is going on, but it appears to carry you some miles into the interior, at any rate beyond the one–mile strip. It does not carry you far, but it is something for you.

Sir JOHN SIMON: It is. I would not trouble your Lordship if I did not think so.

Lord SUMNER: The other settlements may have been further inland or further up an inlet.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I have no real reason for saying so.

Lord SUMNER: I see they are shown on the map; I see that Hebron is marked. It does not show how far it goes in.

Viscount HALDANE: There are 400,000 acres.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: The 100,000 acres you have referred to is only a part.

Sir JOHN SIMON: 400,000 acres, unless my memory of these things is quite wrong, would be something like 800 square miles.

Viscount HALDANE: I find in the document on page 1247 what is anticipated from the earlier document a direction to protect and look after; that is a very different thing from a grant of the hinterland. It seems to me there are only three parties interested: Canada, Newfoundland, and, in respect of that vast tract in between, the Crown.


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