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








26 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

26 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

Lord Sumner.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

26 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

26 Oct., 1926.

Sir Thomas Warrington.

Sir John Simon.

Lord Sumner.

Sir John Simon.

26 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.




p. 254

along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with the whole coast of the Bay of Fundy, to the River of Penobscot.” Your Lordships will find that it is very plainly shown on the white of the map, just below the Bay of Fundy; or alternatively to the River St. Croix, which is a little bit higher up. They say by doing that, they will leave “ so extensive a line of sea coast to be settled by British subjects.”
I do not think you could have a plainer contemporary proof that when you come to using words like “coast” or “sea coast,” you are really not refering to a mere marge of the sea, but you are referring to what is called higher up on the same page the area with proper and natural boundaries running up ; in other words, the height of land.

Viscount HALDANE : Can you tell me this, which I have been thinking of for some time? Does the height of land always mean the same thing? Is there one height of land running right down through all this?

Sir JOHN SIMON : I think so, my Lord. The only case of doubt—and it is a conceivable case—would be where when you get to the top, you have a crater, for example, which will fill with water and does not drain either way. No doubt that raises a refinement ; but you may put it in the form of a physical experiment. If you imagine yourself presented with a plaster of Paris model which accurately represents the undulations of the surface, and if you then proceed to pour water upon it so that it strikes different points, every drop of that water will find its way down a slope until ultimately it runs off at one edge or the other edge.

Viscount HALDANE : Then the height of land comes down from Hudson's Bay, it comes down to the 52nd parallel ; is there anything physical after that? Where does the chain continue? It comes down to the 52nd parallel of latitude ; you are touching the height of land there. Does the height of land run continuously after that down south?

Sir JOHN SIMON : I think your Lordship may take it that my pocket map indicates by the green colour what would be included within the height of land assuming the water is going to fall into the Atlantic, always remembering that the pink area has been cut out. However, for the moment I was not so much on what happened in 1825 or even earlier.

Viscount HALDANE : I was only asking you for general purposes.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I quite follow, my Lord.

Viscount HALDANE : Then is the height of land a chain that comes right down to the St. Lawrence ?

p. 255

Sir JOHN SIMON : I should not think it is.

Viscount HALDANE : Where does it start?

The LORD CHANCELLOR : It turns the corner, I suppose?

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, it turns the corner.

Viscount HALDANE : It goes to the west or both ways.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord.

Viscount HALDANE : Then how does it get down to the south—the same height of land ? Does it begin again on the south side of the St. Lawrence ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : If you took ship and crossed the Gulf of St. Lawrence you would land at the level of the sea and you would find yourself slowly or rapidly climbing up whatever slope there may be. These are the heights of land on each side and you will continue until you reach what these Commissioners call the proper and natural boundary.

Lord SUMNER : It depends on the level after reaching the top ; it may descend to another level on the other side. The height of land may be the edge of an enormous plateau with perhaps a very small fall or no escape of water off it, and when you come to decide where the height of land is, one side may say it is the east side of the plateau and the other side may say it is the west side of the plateau. Still, the best thing that you can do is to find out, as you say, where the main division between the water that falls about the plateau will be, so that some goes one way and some goes the other.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord.

Viscount HALDANE : Then coming south of St. Lawrence you come to Lake Champlain. I know that, because I have seen it. Where does the height of land run there? Does it run through the Adirondacks?

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes. If your Lordship will take this very map that is open before the Lord Chancellor now, it is indicated, not with absolute precision, but quite sufficiently for the purpose. If you will observe the green area, in substance you may take it that what we now call the Adirondacks and the Appalachees that was undoubtedly regarded, in the middle of the Eighteenth Century, as the limit of the

p. 256

coast. I am going to call your Lordships' attention to a very interesting illustration; I am afraid it may not be possible to do it to–day, but I hope to spend very little additional time on this when you next sit. M. Bellin, who was one of the great map makers, not only drew his map but wrote a commentary, which indeed you were invited to buy when you bought the map ; he tells you that you should buy his commentary, and then you will understand all this. Well, we have got his commentary, and when you look at his commentary it is perfectly obvious that geographers who were speaking of the coast meant something that ran back to the Adirondacks and the continuation of the chain.

Viscount HALDANE : Including Lake Champlain?

Sir JOHN SIMON : No, my Lord, Lake Champlain drains into the St. Lawrence.

Viscount HALDANE : Yes, but it is on your left as you go south, and the Adirondacks are on your right.

Sir JOHN SIMON : That is quite true, but the main range which I am referring to is a range that is rather southerly of that. The point is that the greater part of this green area is what used to be called the Ancient Colonies. I will show you a very important map which simply labels them “ Colonies.”

Viscount HALDANE : I suppose there is a sort of spur from this height of land which we are speaking of?

Sir JOHN SIMON : If one had to deal with it from the Pacific and you were to consider what was the meaning of “ all the Pacific Coast,” whatever else may be said, you would have some difficulty in saying that it passed over the Rockies, because there is no doubt that it drains down there. However, we are dealing after all with a particular locus and my only point on this is that when you read this document, which is strictly contemporary, you will find one more illustration of the view that you did not need to inquire, if you wanted a proper or natural boundary, in what degree of latitude or longitude you would find yourself when you got to the interior limit ; because the conception of the age was that the coast was a thing that sloped down to the sea, just as you speak nowadays of coasting down a slope ; and though, of course, it is not so simple as the surface of an inclined plane, as Lord Sumner has said (it may be full of all sorts of irregularities ; behind the first range of hills you may find yourself dropping into a lower plateau before you rise) ; still, broadly speaking, there was a thing which you could always do ; you could draw a line which would go round the rivers, and by that means you could say, now that makes, whatever it is, the Atlantic Coast.

p. 257

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON : They use that ; they do not use “ the height of land.” On page 910 they talk of the land “ beyond the sources of the rivers.” You will see the Indian country is to be the land “ beyond the sources of the rivers which fall into the River St. Lawrence from the north.”

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON : And so, later on, “ and on the other hand, all the lands from Cape Roziere to Lake Champlain, along the heights where the sources of the rivers rise.” It is not because it is a line of mountains, but it is where the rivers rise.

Sir JOHN SIMON : It is a water test, really.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON : Yes ; it is a short expression.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Let me point out to your Lordships one very curious situation which the colour on this map creates, about which I want to be perfectly frank to the Board. If, on the other hand, you look on the northern side of this proposed area of the Province of Quebec, in the first place it may be said that it is not very accurately drawn because, as a matter of fact, you start the red colour before you reach the head waters of the river St. John. It runs further up, but by this time it is sufficiently true of this map to say that there are some indications that there will be water which is in the white beyond the pink, brought up towards the top of the map which is the pink and which is still running into the St. Lawrence ; but I am not disputing that all. The point is quite clear, because you will find “ land's height.” May I give your Lordships the reference by regard to the meridians of longitude. Will your Lordships take on the may between 75 and 85 degrees ; it is very close to the binding of the book, at the top. If you run your eye down just below the first oblong where the parallel of, I think it is 45, crosses, you will see “ land's height ” and a dotted line. How you explain it may be a question, but there is no doubt at all that this map, if it was the map, did show that there was beyond the pink a certain area which would continue before you reach the land's height.

Lord SUMNER : That is consistent, is it not, with having an intermediate basin which drains into the Atlantic? It does not follow that there is only one height of land.

Sir JOHN SIMON: That is quite true, but I myself have found this a little puzzling ; you cannot expect everything to be plain in a case of this sort.
My Lords, there is one other thing in a map I would ask your

p. 258

Lordships to look at at once. Kindly observe what is meant by the Indian country ; I think it is as plain as possible. I find in the Canadian Case a suggestion, and I think it is a perfectly despairing suggestion, that the Indian country means the Mitchell line ground. The Indian country in the middle of the eighteenth century was a tremendously important thing. We had all sorts of bargains with the Indians. We purchased land from the Indians. There were treaties—I will show a reference on the map—made in 1711, and later dates in that century, with various groups of Indians; and there was a great area which only had been acquired by the Crown of England by a series of treaties and bargains which they had made with, for instance, the six nations of the Iroquois. Those Indians were all round the Great Lakes. That wes the area they were in. It is a complete mistake to suppose that they were talking about some unexplored and unimportant area. Let me give your Lordships the reference to another map which shows that perhaps more clearly than any other. It is the next map in the Canadian Atlas, Map No. 28. Here again my learned friends, who have devoted a great deal of ingenuity to this case, have thought fit to put a note on the map. Unfortunately this time their commentary is not, I think, quite so well founded. They have seen fit to print upon the map, merely in order to indicate their view, a note which you will find on the extreme right hand side. “ Note : To accentuate the notation ‘ Indians lands under His Majesty's Government ’ the lettering has been printed in red over the black of the original. On the original the ‘ DS ’ of ‘ LANDS ’ was omitted by the engraver. This error has been corrected in red.” The truth of it is that the inscription, or label, “ Indians,” is not related to the words “ Lands under His Majesty's Government.” The “ Lands under His Majesty's Government ” are in contrast and opposition with the words higher up, namely “ Hudson's Bay Company's lands.” You will see the type is a perfectly different size. “Indians” is an indication that that is where Indians live. It is quite general. But the inscription “Lands under His Majesty's Government,” which is to the south of that, is to be contrasted with an exactly similar use of type of the same size, which my friends have, of course, not reddened or blackened or emphasized. You can see “ Hudson's Bay Company's lands ” was designed to show that the Hudson's Bay Company ever since 1670 had a quasi–sovereignty in the north, and in the south there were lands which were under his Majesty's Government in a more direct sense. It is quite a mistake to suppose that “ Indians ” is an epithet having reference to the word “ lands,” and that the sentence is “ Indians lands tinder His Majesty's Government.” In the English language you do not happen to put the additional “ s ” to an adjective merely because the substantive is in the plural.
There is another thing rather difficult to pick out, and perhaps your Lordships would do it at once. I have had it picked out for me in one map. If you will take the colours of a series of colonies on the Atlantic coast, Nova Scotia which is in blue, New England which is in green, New York which is in red. and two or three other small ones, going

[1927lab]




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