Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


Privy Council Documents


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Volume VII

Volume VIII

Volume IX

Volume X

Volume XI
Contents

Volume XII








29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

28 Oct., 1926.[sic]

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.




p. 368


problem a little later on, because you will see the information they had. Governor Murray's report is printed at page 893, if my Lords wish to Mr. Macmillan. side–note it.
“ The second question, which relates to the security of North America ”—observe in its largest terms—“ seems to include two objects to be provided for ; the first is, the security of the whole against any European Power ; the next is the preservation of the internal peace and tranquility of the country against any Indian disturbances. Of those two objects, the latter appears to call more immediately for such regulations and precautions as your Lordships shall think proper to suggest.”

Viscount HALDANE : That is Imperial defence.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes. The peace and tranquility of the country. “Though in order to succeed effectually in this point, it may become necessary to erect some forts in the Indian country, with their consent, yet His Majesty's justice and moderation inclines him to adopt the more eligible method of conciliating the minds of the Indians by the mildness of his Government, by protecting their persons and property and securing to them all the possessions, rights and privileges they have hitherto enjoyed, and are entitled to, most cautiously guarding against any invasion or occupation of their hunting lands, the possession of which is to be acquired by fair purchase only ; and it has been thought so highly expedient to give them the earliest and most convincing proofs of His Majesty's gracious and friendly intentions on this head, that I have already received and transmitted the King's commands to this purpose to the Governors of Virginia, the Two Carolinas and Georgia, and to the Agent for Indian Affairs in the Southern Department, as your Lordships will see fully in the inclosed copy of my Circular Letter to them on this subject. Having thus executed the King's commands, with regard to such questions as relate to North America in general, I am to signify to your Lordships His Majesty's further pleasure that you do take into consideration the following Queries, which concern some parts of that Continent in particular. The first and most important object is the Fishery, with regard to which your Lordships will furnish all the lights you possibly can in order to skew :—Whether the French had made any incroachments with regard to the Fishery, contrary to what is stipulated, on this head by the Treaty of Utrecht ? How those incroachments may be most easily prevented by such timely precautions, as may most effectually obviate all disputes between the subjects of both Crowns, in those parts and preserve peace and tranquility there for the future ? What inconvenience or disadvantage may arise to His Majesty's Northern Colonies, or to the Fishery in those parts, from the vicinity of St. Pierre and Michelon, ceded to France, under certain restrictions by the 6th Article of the Definitive Treaty ? And by what precautions may that inconvenience be most effectually guarded against, either with respect to our Fishery, or a contraband trade with our Colonies.”

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Then follows a lot about Florida, and then at the foot of the page there is this : “ Having thus gone through the several points relative to North America, upon which His Majesty desires to have the opinion of your Lordships, the obvious application of most of the same Queries to the other cessions made to His Majesty by the peace, makes it unnecessary to repeat them ”—and then he goes on to ask about Senegal and so on. Then on page 902, among the material handed to the Lords of Trade to enable them to consider what new Governments should be established, and to give answers on this and the other matters they were asked to busy themselves upon, there is Governor Murray's report, which is given on page 893 ante. It was in reply to that letter, which I do not think your Lordships had before you, that the letter printed upon page 903 and following pages was returned by the Lords of Trade, dated 8th June, 1763. These are the Lords of Trade who have already dealt with the question of Labrador, and are now addressing themselves to this second task. “ May it please your Majesty, Having received your Majesty's commands, signified to us by a letter from the Earl of Egremont, dated May 5th, 1763, to take into consideration ”—and so on—“ And your Majesty having further directed us with regard to North America in general, to point out, what new Governments it may be necessary to establish, with the form most proper for such Governments and the places most convenient for the Capitals : what military establishments will be sufficient for that country ; “—and so on—“ And your Majesty having commanded that, particularly as to Canada and Newfoundland, after furnishing every information in our power relating to the Fishery, we should consider the encroachments made by the French in this Article, contrary to the stipulations in the Treaty of Utrecht ”—and then they recite the powers to which I have already alluded, and say : “ In obedience to your Majesty's commands, we have taken the several points referred to us into our most serious consideration, and are of opinion that we shall best comply with your Majesty's intention and directions by stating particularly the advantages which severally result to your Majesty's Colonies and the commerce of your subjects by the cessions stipulated in the late Treaty, and then submitting our humble opinion to your Majesty of the means, which appear to us immediately necessary to be put in execution for securing and improving those advantages.” Those are new means over and above the means already put into execution through the Commission to Captain Graves. “ The most obvious advantages arising from the cessions made by the Definitive Treaty are, The exclusive Fishery of the River St. Lawrence on all the Coasts in the Gulph of St. Lawrence and all the Islands in that Gulph.” I think I am entitled to say, for what it is worth, that there “ Coasts ” has a maritime flavour. “ From all these Fisheries your Majesty's subjects were hitherto entirely excluded; partly by the express stipulations of the Treaty of Utrecht by which Cape Breton, St. Johns and the other Islands in the Gulph were dismembered from Nova Scotia and ceded to France, partly by the claim immediately set up by France to the whole southern shore of the

p. 370

Gulph under pretence that it had never been made a part of Nova Scotia, but had always been considered as a separate district of New France. In consequence of this claim and of the possession instantly taken of that territory by the French. which till the late war they were permitted to retain, they established their most valuable fisheries in the different and most convenient bays of that country, as well in respect to catching and curing of fish and fitting out boats, shallops and other vessels, as to raising provisions at the cheapest rates. From all these circumstances this fishery upon the Coast of the Gulph and of the Islands in the Gulph of St. Lawrence, well known by the name of La Peche Sedentaire, has ever since been deemed one of the most valuable parts of the French Fishery and we have reason to conclude from the spirit and industry which your Majesty's subjects have shown ever since the reduction of Louisbourg that it will become equally valuable in their hands, especially when we consider that, the fishery of the River St. Lawrence consisting of whales, seals, sea–cows, etc., has been in the short period since the taking of Quebec, carried to a much greater extent by your Majesty's subjects, than ever it was by the French, during their possession of Canada. This claim. and the possession in consequence of it, of the whole Southern Coast of the Gulph of St. Lawrence, from the Streights of Canceau to Cape Roziere, at the mouth of the river, appears to us to have been the chief encroachment made by the French in violation of the stipulations in the Treaty of Utrecht ; but the monopoly of the Fishery which they endeavoured to establish upon this encroachment was greatly strengthened by other circumstances.”
I do not think I need read again till I come to line 30 : “ And by their possession of the whole Coast of Labrador, they not only carried on an extensive trade with the Esquimaux Indians in oil, furs, etc. (in which they allowed your Majesty's subjects no share) but by the vicinity of the eastern part of that Coast, to that part of Newfoundland, (where a permissive right of drying their fish, only during the fishery season was granted by the Treaty of Utrecht) they assumed in some measure an exclusive right to the navigation of the Streights of Bellisle. These several encroachments, will, we apprehend, entirely cease, on the one hand, by the compleat settlement of your Majesty's Colony of Nova Scotia, according to its true and ancient boundaries, and on the other by the annexation of the Labrador Coast to the Government of Newfoundland, and by the faithful execution of those instructions, which your Majesty has been pleased to give to your Governor of that Island.” They say, as to the fishery we think the purpose has been achieved. We have disposed of that matter, and we think successfully. We have devised a good plan for dealing with that.
Then they go on, on page 906, to say this : “ The next obvious benefit acquired by the cessions made to your Majesty is the fur and skin trade of all the Indians in North America. The first of these articles before the present cession, was enjoyed by the French almost entirely ; the only part left in the hands of your Majesty's subjects, being that carried on by the exclusive company of Hudson's Bay, and a very inconsiderable quantity through the Province of New York. This trade was

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acquired in virtue of the possession which they had taken contrary to the stipulations of the Treaty of Utrecht of all the lakes in North America, communicating with the River St. Lawrence, though the circumjacent territory avowedly belonged to the six nations of Indians, acknowledged by the French to be your Majesty's subjects in that Treaty, and by virtue of the claim which they afterwards set up and were suffered to maintain for a long time of forcibly excluding your Majesty's subjects from any navigation in those Lakes.” Those are the great Lakes to the west, Ontario, Huron and so on.
May I go now to line 14 of page 907. “Another advantage attending the late Treaty is the secure settling of the whole Coast of North America, as its produce may invite, or convenience for settlement may offer, from the mouth of the Mississippi to the boundaries of the Hudson's Bay settlements, with the whole variety of produce which is capable of being raised in that immense tract of sea coast, either by the industry of emigrants from Europe, or from the overflowing of your Majesties ancient Colonies. Previous to the late war, nothing is more certain than that many of your Majesty's ancient Colonies appeared to be overstocked with inhabitants, occasioned partly from an extremely increasing population in some of those Colonies, whose boundaries had become too narrow for their numbers, but chiefly by the monopoly of lands in the hands of land jobbers ”—and so on.
There is no suggestion there that this large area—which, of course, is included in that, because this is a tract of sea coast to the boundary of the Hudson's Bay Settlements, which according to my learned friend is Cape Chidley up in the north—has already been provided for by the previous Commission. It is a problem still, and is not a matter that has been dealt with and disposed of so far as that portion is concerned.
I think I may now pass to page 908, the last paragraph. “ Having thus stated the most obvious advantages resulting from the cession made to your Majesty by the late definitive Treaty, we submit to your Majesty, as our humble opinion, that they can only be secured and improved by an immediate establishment of regular Governments ”—that is the first suggestion of the establishment of regular Governmentsin North America to deal with the territory.

Lord WARRINGTON : But will you read on.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, my Lord. “ In all such places, where planting and settlement, as well as trade and commerce are the immediate objects.”

Lord WARRINGTON: That is where the new Governments are to be.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, my Lord. “For in order to invite new settlers to risque their persons and property in taking up new lands, as well as to secure the old inhabitants in the enjoyment of those rights and privileges reserved to them by the Treaty, such regular Government appears, both from reason and experience, of absolute

p. 372

necessity. And it seems likewise necessary for the same reasons, as well as to secure your Majesty's sovereignty and the publick tranquility, that a large military force should be kept up in each Government, till by the increase of inhabitants, each Colony shall be enabled to maintain their own Governments by their own internal force.” The next paragraph is of very great significance. “ But as no such regular civil Government is either necessary or indeed can be established, where no perpetual residence or planting is intended ; it will there be sufficient to provide for the free trade of all your Majesty's subjects under such regulations, and such administration of justice as is best suited to that end. Such we apprehend to be the case of Newfoundland, where a temporary fishery is the only object, and this we suppose has been the reason, which induced your Majesty to annex the Coast of Labrador to that Government. Such is the case of Senegal and the principle upon which we suppose your Majesty thought proper to put that river and country under the administration of the African Committee: And such we apprehend will be the case of that territory in North America which in your Majesty's justice and humanity as well as sound policy is proposed to be left, under your Majesty's immediate protection, to the Indian Tribes for their hunting grounds; where no settlement by planting is intended, immediately at least, to be attempted and, consequently where no particular form of civil government can be established. In such territory we should propose. that a free trade with the Indian Tribes should be granted to all your Majesty's Colonies and subjects under such regulations as shall be judged most proper for that end ” and so on. “ We shall defer at present entering into any particulars, as to the number of troops which it may be necessary to maintain for this purpose. The number and situation of the posts and forts, and the regulations proper to be established for a free trade from all your Majesty's Colonies into the Indian Country ; till by further information from your Majesty's Commander in Chief of America, and from your Majesty's Agents for Indian Affairs, we shall be enabled to make a more full and particular report upon so interesting and important a subject. And we apprehend that no such delay can be attended with very material inconvenience, since, if your Majesty shall be pleased to adopt the general proposition of leaving a large tract of country round the great Lakes as an Indian country, open to trade, but not to grants and settlements, the limits of such territory will be sufficiently ascertained by the bounds to be given to the Governors of Canada and Florida on the north and south, and the Mississippi on the West ; and by the strict directions to be given to your Majesty's several Governors of your ancient Colonies for preventing their making any new grants of lands beyond certain fixed limits to be laid in the instructions for that purpose.”
Then on page 910, line 10 : “ Canada as possessed and claimed by the French consisted of an immense tract of country including as well the whole lands to the westward indefinitely which was the subject of their Indian trade, as all that country from the southern bank of the River St. Lawrence where they are carried on their encroachments. It

[1927lab]




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