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

Volume XII

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

The Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Macmillan.

Sir John Simon.

29 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Mr. Macmillan.

Sir John Simon.

Mr. Macmillan.

Viscount Haldane.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Lord Warrington.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

Viscount Haldane.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

p. 363

themselves, first of all, to Fishery, and then disposed of Fishery in this way. I will come back again on the question of what was the position of a Governor of Newfoundland, just taking him as a functionary, but I have made, to the best of my ability, the first point on this matter.
My Lords, the next matter was this, having disposed of the fisheries, the Lords of Trade addressed themselves next to an entirely different subject, as I submit,. They addressed themselves next to the question of parcelling out the Continent of Canada, which had now become a matter of administration by Great Britain, and you look therefore to the documents which preceded the proclamation, because the proclamation was the document which parcelled out territory in contradistinction to what I suggested before, namely, the regulation of fisheries, and this matter is all later than the fishery matter. Would your Lordships be good enough to turn to what I venture to call a new chapter, Volume III, page 899. This is May 5th. My Lords will always be good enough to look back to the calendar I gave at the beginning ; you notice Captain Graves is now out of the question, he has got his commission and Labrador is disposed of so far as the coast of Labrador is concerned. Here at page 899 you find a very important letter. This is addressed by the Secretary of State, Egremont, to the Lords of Trade, and just as the Lords of Trade had been been directed earlier in the year to concerning themselves with the question of fishery arising under Articles 5 and 6 of the Treaty, so now they considered other matters, matters, as I suggest, of territorical administration. “ My Lords, His Majesty having brought the negotiations with France & Spain to a happy Conclusion, and having given the necessary Orders for carrying into Execution the several Stipulations of the late Treaty, is now pleased to fix his Royal Attention upon the next important Object of securing to his Subjects, and extending the Enjoyment of the Advantages, which Peace has procurred.” You observe transition embodied in that sentence, he has closed one chapter and is now addressing himself to what I venture to call the problems of administrations of his new territory : “ His Majesty therefore, upon the same Principle of Solicitude for the Interests of His Colonies, which engaged him in a just & necessary War, in support of their Rights, and obliged him to insist on such Terms of Peace as he thought peculiarly calculated for the future Security of that important Object, directs me to transmit to Your Lordships herewith the Definitive Treaty of Peace ; and I am commanded to signify to your Lordships His Majesty's Pleasure, that You do, without Loss of Time, take into your most serious Consideration, those Articles which relate to the Cessions made by their Most Christian & Catholick Majesties, & that You do report Your Opinion. By what Regulations, the most extensive Commercial Advantages may be derived from those Cessions, and how those Advantages may be rendered most permanent & secure to His Majesty's Trading Subjects. The Means of arriving at these desireable Ends, will perhaps be most distinctly pointed out, by considering, separately, the several Cessions stipulated by the Articles of Peace and examining the different Circumstances by which each Cession becomes more or less susceptible of the great

p. 364

Advantages of Commerce & Security above mentioned.” Then comes the questions : “ North America naturally offers itself as the principal Object of Your Lordships Consideration upon this Occasion, with regard to which, I shall first obey his Majesty's Commands in proposing to your Lordships some general Questions, before I proceed to desire you will furnish that Information, which His Majesty expects from your Lordships, with regard to the Northern or Southern Parts of this Continent considered separately. The questions which relate to North America in general, are, 1st. What New Governments should be established & what Form should be adopted for such new Governments ? and where the Capital, or Residence of each Governor should be fixed ? ” My Lords, one new Government in North America had already been fixed according to my learned friend, Sir John Simon ; a very large territory in North America, to wit, the whole territory of Labrador up to the height of land had already been placed under a new Government in North America, and the form of it fixed, which was a considerable addition to the duties of the Government of Newfoundland.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : That was not part of the cession made by the Treaty of Paris as I understand. If Labrador had been ceded at all it had been ceded by the Treaty of Utrecht some years before.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I think not, with great respect. We got this territory certainly under the Treaty of Paris, at least I always assumed so.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : I thought from the answer you gave just now that it was not so.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I think what your Lordship has in mind is this, under the Treaty of Utrecht the Hudson's Bay territory was British, but then the Hudson's Bay territory was territory of ambiguous boundary and below that in Labrador it was all French.

The LORD CHANCELLOR :. I have not read this history.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Perhaps I might just say I have before me the relevant Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, which had to do with the Island of Newfoundland. Perhaps I may just read it, it is Article 13 ; I am afraid it is not printed in the book. “ The Island called Newfoundland with the adjacent Islands shall from this time forward belong of right wholly to Britain and to that end the town and forts of Placentia and other places shall be yielded and given up.” It was not under the Treaty ,of Utrecht the Island of Newfoundland was as a whole ceded, most of it was British already, but there was a certain French settlement on the south of it. I think my friend is right therefore when he says this Article of the Treaty dealt with the Island of Newfoundland.

p. 365

The LORD CHANCELLOR: There is another Article dealing with the Hudson Bay territory.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Certainly, I do not, of course, say the area on the coast of Labrador was as between Britain and France admittedly all French, still it would not be correct to say that Article 13 of the Treaty of Utrecht was dealing with anything but the Island of Newfoundland.

Mr. MACMILLAN : There were undoubtedly disputes as to whether the English had part of Labrador.

Sir JOHN SIMON : That is right.

Mr. MACMILLAN : The position was this I think, that any such disputes necessarily evaporated under the Treaty of 1763 because then France gave up anything it had including any claims it might have.

Sir JOHN SIMON : That is quite right, therefore there was a consolidation, it did not matter from which of two sources anything came.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Therefore, my Lord Chancellor will take it the territory which on my friend's contention constituted what I may call the Government of Labrador was part of the territory which it was the duty of the Lords of Trade to advise His Majesty how to parcel out.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : That is what I understand.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I do not wonder at my Lord asking that because the significance of it is, very great. We were looking at the administration just now of a large area, I suggest to my Lord that here you have a most remarkable contemporary document. It says : Now we have disposed of all those fishery questions, let us consider the question of governing the mainland of Canada, the land which has been confided to us for the first time. The first question is what new Government shall be established.

Viscount HALDANE : Is there anything which throws lights on the question whether they were proposing at this time to dispose of the newly acquired territory as a whole exhaustively, or piece by piece ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : This also appears ; there were questions whether the whole should be put under new Governments that were to be constituted or whether there should be portions of them left for the time being until more was seen. You will see that comes out quite clearly in the documents.

p. 366

Lord WARRINGTON : You have got to remember in that part of North America the Hudson's Bay territory had by the Treaty of Utrecht been restored wholly to the British Crown, at least to the Hudson's Bay Company.

Mr. MACMILLAN : That is quite right, I will deal with that later on.

Lord WARRINGTON : So that the territory lying to the west was not a new cession by France, they merely retired from what they had during the war possessed.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Anything that belonged to Hudson's Bay was ours already before 1763.

Lord WARRINGTON : The Treaty of Utrecht gave “ all the lands, seas, sea–coasts, rivers and places situate in the said Bay and Streights.”

Mr. MACMILLAN : Let me be exact and I hope also just. My learned friend, Sir John Simon, contended that the Hudson's Bay territory ended at Cape Chidley and followed down the height of land you may remember. He maintained therefore what he got in 1763 was the whole of this area because he said Hudson's Bay was not in this area. I think I put this fairly ?


Mr. MACMILLAN: Therefore his submission would be this, the whole of that area included no Hudson's Bay territory and was all territory which was placed under the Government of Newfoundland as being territory which at the moment was territory which had to be provided for and was so provided for. Now it is most significant to see up to this date His Majesty has not instructed his Lords of Trade to consider the question of Government at all, he has instructed them most carefully to deal with fishery questions, and to give him a plan for dealing with fishery questions, a plan was devised, fisheries were disposed of, now he asks for advice from the Lords of Trade : How shall I govern my new territories, forgetting apparently, on my learned friend's contention, that he had already disposed of territory more than twice the size of Newfoundland on the mainland and installed the Governor of Newfoundland as the monarch of that area with his Commission and instructions and the complete apparatus of Government so far as more or less primitive territory like that could be governed. His Majesty asks : “ 1st What new Governments should be established and what form should be adopted for such new Governments ? and where the Capital, or Residence of each Governor should be fixed ? 2ndly What Military establishment will be sufficient ? What new forts should be erected ? and which, if any, may it be expedient to demolish ? 3rdly In what mode least burthensome and most

p. 367

palatable to the Colonies can they contribute towards the support of the additional expense, which must attend their civil and military establishment, upon the arrangement which your Lordships shall propose ? Under the first of those heads, viz. What new Governments shall be established ? It will be proper to examine, what privileges are reserved to His Majesty's new subjects by the terms of their Capitulations ; I therefore send your Lordships herewith the Capitulation of Quebec and Montreal.”

Viscount HALDANE : Before you go into that, it is obvious there were large tracts of territory which were reserved to the Crown. For instance, there were the Indian lands. The Indian lands were not put under the administration of any other power as far as I remember and from what I have been told. The radical title of the Indian lands was in the Crown, and it is to this hour. The system under which the Indian reserves were ultimately set aside was that the radical title remained in the Crown, and was neither in the Dominion nor the Province. At the time you are speaking of huge tracts of British North America must have been left without any administration, but with the title in the Crown. And there may have been other parts left alone for subsequent settlement.

Mr. MACMILLAN : On this very shore of the St. Lawrence there was the very important establishment known as the King's Posts. I will go into that later on. If we are right about that, the King's Posts extended into a considerable part even of the cherished green. But I should have to show that, of course. But whether I succeed in showing that or not, I shall be able to show that there were Indians there under the special protection of His Majesty, and Trading Posts which were known as King's Posts, the revenues of which were obtained by His Majesty, being farmed out. However, that is rather beside the question, except for this. What the Government is engaged on here obviously is this. How are we to govern these extensive new territories confided to us ? That was the problem. When one looks at this document it is a very odd thing if by anticipation a large portion had already been put under settled government in the hands of the Governor of Newfoundland. The first question the Lords of Trade proceed to examine is shown at page 900. “ Under the first of those heads, viz. What new Governments shall be established ? It will be proper to examine, what privileges are reserved to His Majesty's new subjects by the terms of their capitulations ; I therefore send your Lordships herewith the capitulation of Quebec and Montreal. It may also be a proper object of consideration, how far it is expedient to retain, or depart from the forms of government which His Most Christian Majesty had established in those Colonies ; and in order to furnish your Lordships with those lights, which may enable you to form a just opinion on this head, I send herewith copies of the several reports of Governors Murray, Burton and Gage.” Governor Murray's report your Lordships will find exceedingly helpful on this
3 D


Partnered Projects Government and Politics - Table of Contents Site Map Search Heritage Web Site Home