Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


Privy Council Documents


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Contents

Volume XII








29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Lord Warrington

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.




p. 403

the lands and territories not included within the limits of our said three Governments’ (i.e. E. and W. Florida and Quebec) ‘or within the limits of the territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company ; as also the lands and territories lying to the Westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea’ i.e. the Atlantic Ocean) ‘from the West and North West.’” Then they go on to say, “The effect of the Proclamation, according to the submission of he Colony of Newfoundland, was to place under the Government of Quebec, the area coloured blue, and under the Governor of Newfoundland, the area as coloured green and red on the map marked “ A ” ; so that it is quite plain, I think, that they have misapprehended that position. Sir John did not fall into that mistake ; he carefully avoided it, of course. He did not make the mistake which had been made by the cartographer who had suggested that. It is manifestly wrong. I listened with interest to see how Sir John would deal with that, and, of course, he saw that that related to the ancient colonies, and what is referred to there as “ the rivers which fall into the sea from the West and North West as aforesaid,” carries you back to the previous passage at line 18, where the phrase “ the heads or sources of any of the rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the West and North West,” is repeated, and that is in relation to “ our other Colonies or plantations,” to wit, “ our ancient Colonies,” so there can be no question whatever that that has nothing whatever to do with this.
Well, then, my Lords, what is there ? “And we do further declare it to be our Royal will and pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our sovereignty, protection, and dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the land and territories not included within the limits of our said three new Govertmenns[sic], or within the limits of the territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company.” Would your Lordships be good enough to pause there just for a moment ? There is no mention made of the territory of Newfoundland ; and the Indians, therefore, are to have reserved for them in this area all that is not Quebec and all that is not Hudson's Bay. There is no exclusion at all of what is Newfoundland.
You have, therefore, I suggest, a further recognition of what I have been maintaining, that so far from anybody conceiving that there was a territorial region of Labrador appertaining to Newfoundland at this time, there was nothing but a strip of coast ; and that was dealt with separately, and it was not necessary to exclude that here at all when they were considering the case of the Indians other than those in the territory of Quebec or those in the territory of Hudson's Bay. There is no exception of Newfoundland territory at all.
Of course, if I am right, the strip along the coast, the maritime strip, was not hunting grounds, and was not Indian territory in that sense at all ; it was an Esquimaux place and not an Indian place, and it is quite proper, therefore, to take no notice of it here, because the Indians really were not affected, territorially, by what had been given to the Governor of Newfoundland, at all,[SIC]
One saw, of course, why they were so anxious, why whoever it was who was concerned in these pleadings originally were so anxious to avail

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themselves of the next sentence, where it says : “ As also all the land and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers.” One sees now why it was that they were so anxious to get that in, because otherwise there is something unaccounted for here. There is no mention, therefore, of Newfoundland at all there.
Then it goes on : “ And we no hereby strictly forbid, on pain of our displeasure, all our loving subjects from making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of any of the lands above reserved, without oure[SIC] special leave and licence for that purpose first obtained. And we do further strictly enjoin and require all persons whatsoever, who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any lands within the countries above described, or upon any other lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such settlements.” Then the next is important also, where it says : “ And whereas great frauds and abuses have been committed in the purchasing lands of the Indians, to the great prejudice of our interests and to the great dissatisfaction of the said Indians ; in order, therefore, to prevent such irregularities for the future, and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our justice and determined resolution to remove all reasonable cause of discontent, we do, with the advice of our Privy Council, strictly enjoin and require that no private person do presume to make any purchase from the said Indians of any lands reserved to the said Indians within those parts of our colonies where we have thought proper to allow settlement ; but that, if at any time any of the said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said lands, the same shall be purchased only for us, in our name, at some public meeting or assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that purpose by the Governor or Commander–in–Chief of our colony respectively, within which they shall lie : and, in case they shall be within the limits of any proprietary Government they shall be purchased only for the use and in the name of such proprietaries conformable to such directions and instructions as we or they shall think proper to give for that purpose : and we do, by the advice of our Privy Council, declare and enjoin that the trade of the said Indians shall be free and open to all our subjects whatever, provided that every person who may incline to trade with the said Indians, do take out a licence for carrying on such trade, from the Governor or Commander–in–Chief of any of our colonies respectively, where such person shall reside.” Now, my Lords, there is no record of any licence ever having been granted by Newfoundland to anybody to trade with Indians.

Lord WARRINGTON : Probably not, because I expect Newfoundland did not consider that this referred to them at all.

Mr. MACMILLAN : It did not refer to them at all.

Lord WARRINGTON : If you compare this proclamation with the document which preceded it, it becomes pretty evident, I think, that

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this part of the proclamation did not refer to Newfoundland at all, or to any Indians there.

Mr. MACMILLAN : No, my Lord ; and yet you will see in the sequel, some rather curious episodes. You will find Governor Palliser, of Newfoundland, founding upon this proclamation in order to complain that certain occupation was taking place on the territory under his charge, and he is invoking the proclamation.

Lord WARRINGTON : I daresay.

Mr. MACMILLAN : The confusion becomes pretty serious as one gets on, but for the moment I am anxious to show what your Lordship has been good enough to put for me, that we are dealing with two entirely different things altogether : On the one hand we are dealing in this Proclamation with the Government which has been set up and all that is necessary to be done, and the regime of the Indians who are upon their borders ; and on the other hand we have been dealing with something with a marine flavour in the previous Commission and instructions. Now, my Lords, if I have made good the distinction between the two regions in which the Government was operating I have made a considerable point.
At this stage I think it might be useful to consider the Indians' position a little more closely. I confess that I was a little bit surprised to hear my learned friend Sir John Simon give utterance to this sentence : “ The idea that this Indian country had to do with a few Esquimaux up here in Labrador is really quite unhistorical and fantastic.” Of course, I must address myself to my contention with some trepidation when what I am about to say has been characterised as “ quite unhistorical and fantastic,” and also, I think, as “ preposterous ” ; but I can only assume from the violence of the epithets that were used, that the argument which they where intended to support must be a weak one. I say that because I think your Lordships will appreciate that the argument that I am about to submit to your Lordships is neither unhistorical nor fantastic nor preposterous.
First of all, will your Lordships kindly turn to the document which was before these persons who prepared the proclamation. Governor Murray's report was transmitted, as your Lordships will remember, for the consideration of those who prepared the proclamation. Governor Murray's report was sent by the Secretary of State to the Lords of Trade on the 5th of May, 1763, in order that, in preparing this very proclamation, they might have that report before them. Governor Murray's report is printed on page 893 in Volume III, and it is a very interesting document, and one which has not yet been before your Lordships.

Your Lordships are now going to hear about the few Esquimaux up in this district : “ My Lord, In obedience to his Majesty's Commands signified in Your Lordship's dispatch to Sir Jeffery Amherst of the12th December last I have the honor to transmit the following account of His Majesty's Government of Quebec and the dependancies thereof.”

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—Will your Lordships kindly note the date of this document, which is the 5th of June, 1762, before Quebec had been defined ; and, therefore, they are dealing with old Quebec here, and not the Quebec as delimited in the proclamation 1763.—“ I have the honor to transmit the following account of His Majesty's Government of Quebec and dependancies thereof.”—Then, my Lords, he is anxious to tell all that he can, and he deals with the matter under several heads. The sixth head is “ Indian Nations ” ; and on page 894 he deals with the Indians thus : “ Indian Nations residing within the Government. In order to discuss this point more clearly I shall first take notice of the Savages on the North shore of the River St. Laurence from the Ocean upwards, and then of such as inhabit the South side of the same River, as far as the present limits of the Government extend on either side of it.”

Viscount HALDANE : When the word “ Indians ” is used in this document, does it always include Esquimaux ?

Mr. MACMILLAN: Not always, my Lord; there is a distinction.

Viscount HALDANE : Here it does.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Sometimes, I am bound to confess, you have a reference to “ Esquamaux Indians” ; that expression does occur, but there is a quiet recognised distinction, racial and in every other way, between the Esquimaux and the Red Indians. They belong to a different people. Now he deals with this in the following way at the top of page 895 : “ 1st, The Savages on the North shore. The first to be met with on this side are the Esquimaux, these are the wildest and most untamable of any, and are emphatically stilled by the other Nations, Savages. They never dress their food but eat fish rotted in the Sun and drink the oil it produces.”

Viscount HALDANE : Evidently General Murray did not like either their food or their drink.

Mr. MACMILLAN : They were in a state of nature, where life was what might be known as “ short, brutish and ”—I forget the rest of what Hobbs says. Then it goes on : “ Travellers represent them hardy, active and expert navigators. In the summer they come with their whole Families in Chaloups to fish in the streights of Belisle, these they leave in the Bays, and go out themselves to a considerable distance in Canoes made of skins wherein they sew themselves up. Their clothes and sails of their Vessels are made of the skins of wild beasts ; They are reckoned treacherous, and have had many encounters with the French and Canadians employ'd on the fisheries in those parts. Their Language is not understood but a few words they make use of nearly resemble the dialect of some of the most northern European Nations. A few here have trafficked with them and make a considerable advantage by it, but they never agreed well together ; and trade with the Esquimaux

p. 407

however must be precarious ; The Coast is rocky and difficult of access, the seasons for navigation short, and the risks too great to entice adventurers ; they have never been known to come on this side of La Forteau.”

The LORD CHANCELLOR : Where is that ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : That is close to Blanc Sablon, in the Straits of Belle Isle, my Lord.
Now, these are the Esquimaux. As you will see later on, they are a nation of coast dwellers, who do not penetrate into the interior, who speak a different language from the Red Indians altogether, and who, ethnologically, are thought to be associated rather with the Mongolians.

Viscount FINLAY : They are as different as any two races could be.

Mr. MACMILLAN : They are, my Lord ; and your Lordships will find later on that there was intense hostility between them and the Red Indians inside—a constant feud. The interior nations are quite different. These are the Esquimaux on the edge, and these are the people, for the most part, to whom the Moravians administered in their settlements on the shore.

Lord SUMNER : It says here that their language nearly resembles the dialect of some of the most northern European Nations.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, my Lord. I suggested that they were of the Mongolian type ; they were Laplanders.

Lord SUMNER : It does not say anything about that.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Well, my Lord, I do not know whether it was their diet which suggested that.
Now comes the second class, and your Lordships will pray note the distinction : “ The Montagnais or Monsonies inhabit a vast tract of Country from Labrador to the Saguenay ; they are again distinguished into those who live in the inland parts, call'd Nascapies, and the inhabitants of the water side, for this reason stilled Chuchouxlapishouets[SIC]. They take as many different names as they have Villages but are all the same people, and speak the same language. As in the interior parts of the Country there are many Lakes and Rivers which communicate with Hudson's bay, the former often trade on that side, which the latter also would have been obliged to do, if the interruption caused by the War, had continued for any time, tho' from the more convenient situation, they would have ever reverted to those who were Masters of the River St. Laurence, those are the mildest and most tractable of all Savages and never enter into War. Tho' their country is extensive their number is inconsiderable ; From Labrador to Mingan the Traders do not reckon more than from Eighty to one Hundred Families, and of those who resort
3 I

[1927lab]




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