Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


Privy Council Documents


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Contents

Volume XII








28 Oct., 1926.[sic]

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

The Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Macmillan.

The Lord Chancellor.

The Lord Warrington.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Lord Warrington.

Mr. Macmillan.

The Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

Lord Warrington.

Mr. Macmillan.

Lord Warrington.

Mr. Macmillan.

Lord Warrington.

Mr. Macmillan.

29 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Macmillian.

Viscount Haldane.

Mr. Macmillan.




p. 373

is needless to state with any degree of precision the bounds and limits of this extensive country, for we should humbly propose to your Majesty that the new Government of Canada should be restricted, so as to leave on the one hand all the lands lying about the great Lakes and beyond the sources of the rivers which fall into the River St. Lawrence from the north, to be thrown into the Indian country, and on the other hand, all the lands from Cape Roziere to Lake Champlain, along the heights where the sources of the rivers rise, which fall into the Bay of Fundy and Atlantic Ocean, to be annexed to Nova Scotia and New England in such a manner as upon any future directions after particular surveys have been made shall appear most proper. If this general idea shall be approved the future bounds of the new Colony of Canada will be as follows. On the South East it will be bounded by the high lands which range across the Continent from Cape Roziere in the Gulph of St. Lawrence to that point of lake Champlain above St. Johns which is in latitude 45 degrees north ; which high lands separate the heads of the rivers which fall into the great River St. Lawrence from the heads of those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean or Bay of Fundy. On the North West it will be bounded by a line drawn south from the River St. Johns in Labrador by the heads of those rivers which fall into the River St. Lawrence as far as the east end of Lake Nipissin upon the Ottawa River, and on the South West by a line drawn due west to the River St. Lawrence from that point on Lake Champlain which is directly opposite to where the south line falls in and so cross the said River St. Lawrence and pursuing a North West course along the heights where the rivers rise, that fall Lnto the Ottawa River, to be continued to the east end of Nipissin Lake where the north line terminates. In order however that your Majesty may judge with the greater precision of the limits of Canada as above described and also of those we shall propose for Florida, and of the country we think right to be left as Indian territory, we humbly beg leave to refer to the annexed chart in which those limits are particularly delineated, and of which your Majesty will have a clearer conception than can be conveyed by descriptive words alone.” The chart referred to is Chart No. 27 of the Canadian Atlas, by Bowen & Gibson. Perhaps we may postpone looking at it for the moment, as I am on the text at present. “The advantage resulting from this restriction of the Colony of Canada will be that of preventing by proper and natural boundaries, as well the ancient French inhabitants as others from removing and settling in remote places, where they neither could be so conveniently made amenable to the jurisdiction of any Colony nor made subservient to the interest of the trade and commerce of this Kingdom by an easy communication with and vicinity to the great River St. Lawrence. And this division by the heights of land to the south of the River St. Lawrence will on the one hand leave all your Majesty's new French subjects under such Government, as your Majesty shall think proper ”—I do not think I need read that further. That is the boundary along the Spine of the Gaspe Peninsula, as Sir John called it, where the height of land is made the express boundary.

p. 374

I had not noted for comment anything more in that document, and I think your Lordships might now look at the next important document on page 915.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : Do you attach importance to the words, on page 910, “ beyond the sources of the rivers which fall into the River St. Lawrence from the north” ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : Oh, yes. My submission upon it is going to be that they contemplated territory right up to the north. Of the rivers that fall into the River St. Lawrence from the north a very good example is the River St. John itself. It falls into the River St. Lawrence from the north.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : It says the land beyond the sources of those rivers. That means the land beyond that height of land is affected.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, that is so. There is a good deal more about this later.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : Of course, it stops at the River St. John, as its eastern boundary.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Quebec does.

Lord WARRINGTON : When they say “ the rivers that fall into the St. Lawrence ” they do not mean the rivers that fall into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Mr. MACMILLAN : It is very difficult to say exactly where the gulf ends and the River begins.

Lord WARRINGTON : We are not considering here the rivers on the south coast of Labrador which fall into the River St. Lawrence.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I am not sure, my Lord.

Lord WARRINGTON : I think you will find they are dealing with the boundaries of Quebec.

Sir JOHN SIMON: My friend will notice the word “ Gulf ” comes immediately afterwards, and also before.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, but I do not forget that I am seeking for a line of demarcation between the Gulf and the River. It has been a highly contentious topic. I do not know whether one can get it out of this.

p. 375

Lord WARRINGTON : What are they setting themselves to define in that paragraph which begins : “ It is needless to state,” are the boundaries of Canada as possessed and claimed by the French. You will see in the previous paragraph it says : “Canada as possessed and claimed by the French consisted of an immense tract of country ”—and so forth. Then they say : “ It is needless to state with any degree of precision the bounds and limits of this extensive country.” That is what they are setting themselves to define in that paragraph.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, but may I suggest to your Lordship that Canada as possessed and claimed by the French included the whole of Labrador other than the Hudson's Bay territory. There is no doubt about that.

Lord WARRINGTON : I am not sure whether the French called that Canada.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I could show your Lordship that later on, I think.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Governor Murray's report said it was not so.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Somebody else said the other thing.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : That expression in line 20 might be taken to refer to all land north of this height of land to a certain distance east, but I am not quite sure how far east. It is only north of the rivers which fall into the River St. Lawrence ; so that it might stop at this point, or a little bit further east, but would not go certainly beyond the River St. John.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Fortunately, I do not need to rely upon this for my point there, my Lord.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : It is rather obscure.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I am not going to be dogmatic upon it, my Mr. Macmillan. Lord. I am not going to be dogmatic upon any point in this case. I am going to be, I hope, of assistance rather than a dogmatist, who never is of any assistance to anybody. I think you have this conception there. I suggest that you are parcelling out Canada as possessed and claimed by the French, and that you are considering this question of Government. You are recognising that certain portions of it do not require the same elaboration of government as other parts, because they were more primitive, and some portions may be left to the Indians. The point I am concerned with at this stage is to show from a perusal of these documents that the Lords of Trade did not consider that they had relegated already a large part of Canada as possessed and claimed by
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p. 376

the French to Newfoundland. That is what I want to bring out if I can.
Lord WARRINGTON : But did they not recognise that on page 909, where they say : “ This we suppose has been the reason which induced your Majesty to annex the Coast of Labrador to that Government,” that is the Government of Newfoundland. Then when you look and see what the Coast of Labrador was, it was from the Hudson's Strait to the River St. John. Therefore, when they are settling the boundary of Canada that has to be, they are obviously not dealing with that which has already been annexed to Newfoundland.

Mr. MACMILLAN : You will see how they parcelled it out. The significance of that is this. Here this Coast of Labrador has been annexed. Why ? Because a temporary fishery is the only object.

Lord WARRINGTON: Oh, yes, I know the reason. I am only saying when you come to the definition of boundaries, on page 910, it must be fairly clear that they are not dealing with either the River St. John or anything to the east, because that territory they have already referred to—whatever “territory ” may mean. That is at issue, of course.

Mr. MACMILLAN : They have disposed of the coast of that territory. May I qualify it in that way. May I say the coast of that territory, because I attach great importance to that. The hinterland and interior, in my submission, are dealt with otherwise. My Lord will reserve judgment upon that for the moment.

Lord WARRINGTON : I am only saying that the boundaries referred to on page 910 were not the boundaries of the territory which has already been annexed to Newfoundland, whatever it may be.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Of course.

Lord WARRINGTON : And it must be the rivers west of St. John's River, and not those to the east of it.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I think that probably is uncontrovertible. Your Lordships are, very naturally, possessed of the alluring propositions of my learned friend at present, which it is my humble endeavour to displace. The suggestion that your Lordship has in mind is naturally prompted by what you have already heard. If we pass to the reply on the 14th July, 1763, this whole matter is still under consideration. What are we to do in these new territories ? His Majesty is pleased to communicate his views. The passage is to be found at the foot of page 915. “ My Lords, Your Report, dated the 8th of last month, having been laid before the King, and His Majesty having taken the same into consideration ; I am, in consequence thereof, to acquaint

p. 377

your Lordships, that the King approves the erecting three new Governments in North America, under the denominations your Lordships propose, of Canada, East Florida, and West Florida.”

Viscount HALDANE : These are Crown Colonies.

Mr. MACMILLAN : There was provision made in Quebec for the calling of an assembly as and when times permitted.

Viscount HALDANE : That is all right. In the first instance they were Crown Colonies. We know that Sir George Murray had great trouble with the germ of the idea, and Sir Guy Carleton had after his time. There was a tremendous strife up to the days of Lord Durham which was finally settled about 1860.

Mr. MACMILLAN : That interesting historical statute which Sir John referred to, the Quebec Act, is exceedingly interesting reading on that subject. His Majesty approved of three new Governments, and they are suggested to be called Canada, East Florida, and West Florida. Then it goes on to point out : “ Yet the King thinks that great inconveniences might arise, from so large a tract of land being left without being subject to the Civil Jurisdiction of some Governor, in Virtue of His Majesty's Commission, under the Great Seal of Great Britain.” He has observed the boundaries proposed, but lie says that that may mean a great deal of territory without civil jurisdiction. “ And (besides the Difficulties there might be, for Want of such a Civil Jurisdiction, in bringing to Justice Criminals and Fugitives, who may take refuge in that Country). Their not being included within some Established Government might, in time to come, furnish matter of Dispute, with regard to the Property; And other Powers, who might hereafter find Means of Access to those Countries, might take Possession thereof, as derelict lands ; the King therefore is of Opinion that, in the Commission for the Governor of Canada, all Lakes, namely, Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, should be included ’—that is the five lakes—“ with all the Country, as far North and West as the Limits of the Hudsons Bay Company and the Mississippi.” Note the next very significant words, my Lord,—“ And also that all Lands whatsover, ceded by the late Treaty, and which are not already included within the Limits of His Majesty's ancient Colonies, or intended to form the Governments of East and West Florida, as described in your Lordships Report, be assigned to the Government of Canada, unless your Lordships should suggest any other Distribution, which might answer the purpose more effectually ; On which matter your Lordships will lose no time in making a Report to His Majesty.” Now these are significant words, my Lord, “also that all Lands, whatsoever, ceded by the late Treaty, and which are not already included within the limits of His Majesty's ancient Colonies, or intended to form the Governments of East and
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[1927lab]




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