Confederation
1864-1949



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
Contents

Volume XII








25 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

25 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

25 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

25 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

25 Oct., 1926.

Lord Sumner.

Sir Thomas Warrington.

Sir John Simon.


p. 165

from the French Court for the delivery of the Possession.” I think it is a little important and bears a little on what Lord Sumner has just said to me that these documents certainly show that the view taken was: We are not getting anything from France; what we are doing is, we are recognising the fact that there is, by virtue of the language of the Charter of Charles II, a great area. Then at page 4060 there is a curious glimpse of it from the other side. This is from a French authority to De Vaudreuil, which is a famous name in the history of French Canada; it is directly handing Accadia over: “The King”—that is the French King—“haveing Thought fitt by the Treaty of Peace Concluded at Utrich the 11th of the Last month, to Grant to the Queen and Crowne of Great Brittaine Accadia, the Island of Newfound Land & Hudsons Bay to be possessed henceforward in full Right (or Sovereignty) & His Majestie desireing That The Same should be punctually performd he has Commanded me to give you Advice Thereof & Lett you know That his Intention is That you should not obstruct or hinder ye same But on the Contrary That you should Conforme yrselfe Thereunto.” Lord Haldane will notice the use of the word “Accadia” there. He said to me on the first day he thought Accadia was sometimes used as the equivalent of French Canada. No doubt it sometimes is, but the more proper use of it was to refer to what we now call Nova Scotia, and this is not a direction to hand over Canada—no one imagined they were going to hand over Canada in 1713—it is a direction to hand over Nova Scotia. Then on page 4061 you get repeated the same thing to the Lords Commissioners of Plantations as we had already to the Hudson Bay Company. Lord Dartmouth is insisting there “The Queen has commanded me to transmit to you the enclosed Petition of the Hudson's Bay Company, that you may consider of it and report your opinion, what orders may properly be given upon the several particulars mentioned. In the meantime, I am to acquaint you that the places and countries therein named, belonging of right to British subjects, Her Majesty did not think fit to receive any Act of Cession from the French King, and has therefore insisted only upon an order from that Court for delivering possession to such persons as should be authorised by Her Majesty to take it; by this means the title of the Company is acknowledged, and they will come into the immediate enjoyment of their property without further trouble.” Some details follow, which I do not think matter very much, both on the French side and the other side, and then on page 4067 you get another representation of the Hudson's Bay Company to the Lords Commissioners asking that the limits be settled by Commissaries, and on page 4071 you get who the Commissaries were. The principal one was a gentleman named Martin Bladen; Mr. Pulteney also had to do with it. The French Commissaries are also named, and they met. When they met it was necessary, of course, for the British Commissioners to have instructions, and the instructions to the British Commissioners are on page 4075: “Instructions to Commissary Bladen.” It is interesting to observe that Commissary Bladen is given the line which the Hudson Bay Company

p. 166

had propounded, that is what we may call the Grimington Line, and those are the terms of his Mandate; but when he comes to deal with the other side in the negotiation he betters his Mandate, as I daresay was prudent. Page 4075: “Instructions for Martin Bladen, Esq., appointed His Majesty's Commissary to Treat with the Commissary or Commissaries to be Appointed by the Most Christian King—Given. Together with those instructions you will receive His Majesty's Commission under the Great Seal of Great Britain, appointing you, the said Martin Bladen, to be His Majesty's Commissary for treating of and concluding with the Commissary or Commissaries on the part of the French King, all such matters and things as are referred to your cognizance and determination by the said Commission,” and so on, “It being provided by the 10th Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, that the limits and boundaries between Hudson's Bay and the places appertaining to the French, be settled by Commissaries on each part, ‘which limits both the British and French subjects shall be wholly for–bid to pass over, or thereby to go to each other by sea or by land,’ you are to endeavour to get,” I think the language is a little important, “the said limits settled in the following manner”; then they repeat what was the Hudson Bay demand. “That the same begin from the Island called Grimington's Island or Cape Perdrix, in the latitude of 58½ North, which the Company desire may be the boundary between the British and French subjects, on the coast of Labradore towards Rupert's Land, on the East Main, and Nova Britannia on the French side, and that no French ships, barque, boat or vessel whatsoever shall pass to the Northwestward of Cape Perdrix or Grimington's Island towards or into the Streights or Bay of Hudson, on any pretence whatsoever. And further, that a line be drawn from the South–westward of the Island of Grimington or Cape Perdrix (so as to include the same within the Limits of the Bay), to the great Lake Miscosinke alias Mistoveny, dividing the said lake into parts (as in the map to be delivered to you); and that where the said line shall cut the 49th degree of Northn latitude, another line shall begin, and be extended westward from the said lake, upon the 49th degree of northern latitude; over which said line, so to be described as above mentioned, the French and all persons by them employed, shall be prohibited to pass.” That was the nature of the instructions to Mr. Bladen. Now if your Lordships will turn on page 4080 you will see what the boundary was which Mr. Bladen and the other English Commissioners put forward when they met the French Commissaries face to face. It is interesting to notice how much he bettered his instructions. Lord Stair is one of the Commissaries, you will see. It is addressed to M. le Maréchal d’ Estrées. Take the second paragraph: “Les Commissaires nommes par Sa Majeste Britannique demandent que lesd. limites soient regles dans la maniere suivante, assavoir que les limites commencerent depuis le Cap Nord de la Baye de Davis,” you see, “darts le 56½ degre de latitude,” which was springing another degree and a half at least. If you go back, which is the right thing to do really, to the old maps, the effect of it

p. 167

was (perhaps you need not go back to the old map) that they were bringing the boundary down to just about Hopedale; anyhow, it is 56½ degrees. Then after that it goes on as before, you will see—“qui servira de limites entre les Anglois et les Francois sur la Cote de Laboradore vers les terres de Rupert sur le continent d’Orient, et de la Nouvelle Bretagne du cote des Francois,” then he goes on stipulating. Then he carries on the line, after that, just as required, to Lake Miscosinke, and carries it on as proposed. I think your Lordships will see clearly what I mean if I may be allowed to turn my book round and draw. The line which the Commissioner was directed to stipulate for was a line which ran up at a certain point to Grimington. The line which they did ask for was a line which ran from that point to Davis Inlet; that is the origin of the line which you see on some of the maps described as the line as laid down by the Commissioners after the Treaty of Utrecht. It is not that it was ever made the subject of bargain or agreement—there never was a bargain—but the maps not unnaturally got upon them the line as put forward by the Commissioner Bladen. Lord Stair was with Mr. Bladen, and on page 4082 you will see that Mr. Pulteney is writing to Mr. Secretary Craggs from Paris, having been in Paris for about six months, and at line 12 he says: “I think there had been two Conferences before I came; at the first of them the Commissions were read, and at the second my Lord Stair and Mr. Bladen gave in a memorial about the limits of the Hudson Bay Company, to which no answer has been made . . . . I must own that I never could expect much success from this Commission, since the French interests and ours are so directly opposite, and our respective pretensions interfere so much with each other on the several points we were to treat about; but that the French have not been willing to entertain us now and then with a Conference, and try how far we might be disposed to comply with any of the views they had in desiring the Commission, cannot, I should think, be accounted for, but by supposing they knew we came prepared to reject all their demands, and to make very considerable ones for ourselves.” It was not a very hopeful opening for a Conference of Versailles or Paris. You see light thrown on it by the documents on the next page which show that on the French side not unnaturally memoirs were being drawn up which protested that that was a most grotesque exaggeration of any legitimate claim. You see M. D’Auteuil is discussing it and is saying it is all the most complete nonsense; and there are a lot of observations and reflections which follow which do not matter. The result of all that was that nothing was ever settled at all; and if you will turn to the Newfoundland Atlas and will kindly look at map No. 14 you will see a very good example of how this line of the Commissioners, which was never in fact agreed at all, a line, as your Lordships now know, deliberately exaggerated by Lord Stair and Mr. Bladen—

Viscount HALDANE: What map is this?

p. 168

Sir JOHN SIMON: No. 14 is an English map, a map by a cartographer called Gibson, which was published in 1763. In fact, it was one of the maps published to illustrate the arrangements made after the Treaty of Paris, some 50 years after the Treaty of Utrecht and just after the Treaty of Paris.

Viscount HALDANE: This shows the boundary between Britain and France.

Sir JOHN SIMON: That was not settled, that is the point.

Viscount HALDANE: That was not settled in the early part of the 18th century, but it was settled at the date of this map.

Sir JOHN SIMON: It was settled very satisfactorily, your Lordship remembers, after the victory of Wolfe and the Treaty of Paris; the French withdrew to the west of the Mississippi.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: There never was a real settlement till after this.

Sir JOHN SIMON: No. But what I want to look at this map for is what you will see at the top of the colour: you will see there “The Southern Boundary of the Hudson's Bay Company's Territories settled by Commissaries after the Treaty of Utrecht.” Your Lordships see that inscription. What I am anxious to make plain—and this is rather a puzzle; I remember the Lord Chancellor asked me about it—is that is in fact not the line which the Hudson's Bay Company asked for, or the line which the British Government instructed the Commissioners to ask for, but it is the line which was propounded by Commissioner Bladen and his colleagues in order that he might be quite sure at any rate that he had asked, on the Labrador coast, enough; and if you wanted on this map No. 14, Gibson's map, to draw the line as the Hudson's Bay Company asked for it, what you would do would be this, you would join—does your Lordship see the word “Commissaries” in that inscription “The Southern Boundary of the Hudson Bay Company's Territories settled by Commissaries”?—what you would do is, after “Commissaries,” or perhaps after the word “after,” you would draw the line from the “w” in New Britain to just to the South of Cape Chidley—to the 58th degree instead of the 60th. That was the line which the Hudson Bay Company put forward. You do not get Grimington there, but you get Cape Chidley. Your Lordship may remember perhaps in the Canadian Atlas Grimington Island is a little to the south of Cape Chidley. In fact, the map was so drawn as to make it out that that place would be the proper starting point for the Hudson Straits.

Viscount HALDANE: I see names such as “New South Wales” there.

p. 169

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes, that was a name which had been used for some time. There are a lot of indications that the Welshmen had a lot to do with the discoveries in Hudson's Bay. I happen to be a Pembrokeshire man myself, and I was interested to notice that there are two or three names quite well known to me in Pembrokeshire which are actually to be found quite far North in some of the maps. Those names must have been given them by Pembrokeshire sailors. I do not know if the point has ever been made before, but I noted it because I knew the names of the villages. All I am anxious to make quite plain, in answer to the Lord Chancellor and to any others who may have speculated (the Lord Chancellor asked me a question) is that “the Southern Boundary of the Hudson's Bay Company's Territories settled by Commissaries after the Treaty of Utrecht” was not settled; it was not even the line which the Hudson Bay was demanding, but was better than the line they were demanding; and, if you wanted to make it the line as they put it forward, you would have to cross the light yellow, which is there called “Labrador,” from the Lake, not to St. Peter's Haven, but to a point which is a little to the south of Cape Chidley.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: They alter these names so often that it is very confusing.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Can I help my Lord to identify the name? I think I can tell your Lordship, with the help of my learned friends, most of the synonyms.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: Where was St. Peter's Haven on your sketch map?

Sir JOHN SIMON: Will your Lordship take Davis Inlet on my sketch map? Of course they have not got the survey by latitude and longitude quite accurate, but I think your Lordship may take it Davis Inlet was the point to which Commissioner Bladen thought fit to get the boundary; he called it 56½. Of course, I do not suppose at that time they had taken astronomical observations in sufficient detail, but the language he uses indicates that.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: Davis Inlet on the sketch map is a little south of 56, not a little north. St. Peter's Haven, which is marked on that map No. 14, to which the Utrecht line is made to run out, is not marked at all.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: There is no such place marked on Map 14.

Sir JOHN SIMON: You can identify it by putting together several things. May I just put them successively, though they are probably all in your Lordship's mind? Commissioner Bladen put forward a claim to

[1927lab]




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