Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


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Volume XII








26 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

26 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Lord Sumner.

Sir John Simon.

26 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Sir Thomas Warrington.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

26 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.




p. 259

down to Virginia, you will find if you can pick out the words that that band of colonies is labelled “ Colonies.” There is a big “ C ” which is to the south of the yellow of Virginia. You then see the “ O.” You must go on some way in order to find the “ L,” but you will find it just above “ land ” in “ Maryland.” Then you will find the “ 0 ” is in the green. Then there is an “ N ” just below the “ L” in “ New England.” “England” is spelled “ Englad, ” there being no room for the “n.” Then the letter “I” is at the further edge of the green, under the “d” in “ New England.” Then there is the “ E ” in the blue of “ Nova Scotia,” and the final letter “ S ” finishes up the word. The Ancient Colonies of the Crown in the middle of the eighteenth century was this band of ancient plantations. In contrast with that you had the new Province of Quebec which you see indicated in the yellow colour, and you had on the other side the Mississippi. Does your Lordship remember the passage in the book which I had just now, where the Lords of Trade say that the Indian country will be quite sufficiently defined if you regard it as enclosed between the Mississippi and the Hudson's Bay territory on the one hand, and the new Province of Quebec and the Ancient Colonies on the other. It is enclosed between the two. Therefore I venture to hope we have given the quietus to this far–fetched suggestion that the Indians are the people whose hunting grounds are reserved to them by the Lords of Trade in 1763 somewhere in the frozen fastnesses of Labrador. Of course, they were not doing anything of the kind. That being so, I really get rid of the suggestion that my green area is historically neither Newfoundland nor Quebec. There is no tertium quid so far as my green area is concerned, if I have made good my point on the height of land.
Perhaps I might finish the document I had in mind. The document is in Volume III, p. 911. They go on to deal with other places, and the only passage which I think has any incidental value is at page 913, where at line you will notice, in a perfectly different connection, exactly the same implication for “ coast ” is to be found. “ West Florida to comprehend all the Sea Coast of the Gulph of Mexico, extending West ”—from a particular point towards a particular point.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : There is nothing here about Labrador at all.

Sir JOHN SIMON : They had already disposed of Labrador. The only references to Labrador in this document are the references I have given, namely one on page 905, line 39, “ Annexation of the Labrador Coast to the Government of Newfoundland,” and the other at page 909, line 10, where they say “ which induced your Majesty to annex the Coast of Labrador to the Government of Newfoundland.” They are dealing, of course, with a fait accompli, because this document is a document drawn up in the summer, in June, whereas, of course, the
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p. 260

Newfoundland arrangements had all been made, indeed the Commission under the Great Seal and the instructions had been given, and as far as Governor Graves was concerned he was in the saddle.

Lord SUMNER : There is an observation on this, which I think may also arise here. They specify a number of areas—Quebec, and East and West Florida. If I do not mistake they completely describe the bounds all round. There is a complete description of the boundaries right round the area of Quebec, and of East and West Florida.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, that is true.

Lord SUMNER : It looks, therefore, as if the plan was that the new Government should be once and for all entirely and completely described by limits.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes.

Lord SUMNER : In the case of Labrador they certainly have not done it by description so completely, but unless we are to suppose for some reason there was an intention to leave the boundary gaping at a certain point the presumption would be that in the case of the Coast of Labrador also it was supposed that the proclamation contained a totally enclosed limit.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I think so.

Lord SUMNER : Then when you come to look for the limit enclosed, you say, “ What is there but such a natural feature as the height of land? ” It is of some importance as negativing the idea that at that date it should be deliberately taken as an undefined tract unassigned to any Government, and not governed at all. Of course, “ Indians ” might be an explanation for it, but if you get rid of the “ Indians ” there is no explanation for leaving unassigned at that date to Labrador a space of land on a pattern not pursued in Florida or in Quebec at all.

Sir JOHN SIMON : That is entirely my case. Your Lordship has put it for me. Though it is a dangerous thing to embroider a point which has been put by a Member of the Tribunal merely to define it, let me add this. Your Lordship will think it is confirmation. Not only that, my Lord, but if I am to go back and try and find where my Coast of Labrador stops, I have these subsidiary indications. No one suggests that it runs into the Hudson's Bay territory. I hope I have satisfied the Board completely that the Hudson's Bay territory was regarded as running up to the height of land as from Hudson's Bay. I have the

p. 261

fact that Lord Egremont indeed was anxious to make quite certain before he arranged for the enlarged Commission of Governor Graves to be drawn up as to how that was. I have the further fact, which is surely very striking, that when you give me all the Coast of Labrador, you further say that it is to be on the one side as far as the River St. John, and immediately in the same year the adjoining Province of Quebec is described as a province with a boundary which runs up to the head waters of the River St. John, and that it is then to follow some heights of land. I have the fact that on the other side of the St. Lawrence you get the spine of the Gaspe Peninsula indicated, and you are told that the slope on one side comes into Quebec, and you are told the slope on the other side will therefore be left for the persons who are engaged in colonizing the coast of Nova Scotia. Could you have a more complete indication that according to the language of the time the Coasts of Labrador were what I say? And that is entirely consistent with what is done in 1825 when you cut the pink strip out of it, and it is entirely consistent with the view which has been taken as far as we can see by everybody until, as your Lordship says, somebody discovers there is something valuable there.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON : It looks as if in those days when they wanted to define a strip of land bordered by the sea they defined it by points which they knew on the sea—not knowing the inland—as Coasts between two points on the sea.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Certainly.

Viscount HALDANE : On the other hand, why did not they say “ Labrador,” instead of the “ Coast of Labrador ”? It is not as though it was a small coast ; it was an enormous territory.

Sir JOHN SIMON : The answer may be—your Lordships will consider it at your leisure, I am sure—that Labrador is the name of a peninsula five times as big as anything that I am asking. I am not asking for Labrador. I am only asking for one of the Coasts of Labrador between certain termini. I am not asking for the pyramid.

Viscount HALDANE : To the height of land from the sea.

Sir JOHN SIMON : If your Lordship pleases. May I take it in the form of a pyramid. Would your Lordship imagine it for a moment in the form of a triangular pyramid. I am not asking for the pyramid, but for one slope of the pyramid as between two lateral termini, which is to be ascertained by seeing, if water falls on the pyramid, will it run down to my sea.

Viscount HALDANE : Is there any evidence that the slopes of the pyramid except that on the east were ever called “ Labrador ” ?
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p. 262

Sir JOHN SIMON : Certainly, there is overwhelming evidence. There is a lot of evidence to show, for example, that Labrador is a peninsula ; and, for example, that the Coasts of Labrador do not stop, as you go up the Gulf of St. Lawrence, at the River St. John. There is no reason why they should. My area stops there, because it is given me as a terminus.

(Adjourned till Thursday next at 10.30 a.m.)

[1927lab]




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