Confederation
1864-1949



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
Contents

Volume XII








4 Nov., 1926.

The Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Macmillan.

4 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

4 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

4 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

4 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.




p. 594

to contrast these instructions with those given to the Governor of Newfoundland.

Mr. MACMILLAN : My Lord is good enough to appreciate what I have said ; but my learned friend is very much concerned to show throughout these matters that the whole of the green territory was one thing throughout ; it was it that was being handed back and forward. My submission is, No, what was being handed back and forward was the coast, and the interior country was under these other titles and came to us in this other way. I am only concerned to make that clear. It is rather interesting to note the instructions to the Governor of Newfoundland, after 1809 (Duckworth was his name) after Newfoundland had got back the Coast of Labrador, which upon my friend's view included all this added area where the Governor of Quebec had been told to look after the interests, both spiritual and spirituous, of the inhabitants. The instructions to Sir .John Duckworth are at page 641. If one looks at his instructions, you will see that the only Indians he is to concern himself with are the Indians of Newfoundland.
This, the 5th June, 1810. This is after Newfoundland has got back what I venture to call the coast of Labrador, bearing in mind that I use the word “ Coast ” as the equivalent of what is sometimes called the territories, land and countries. I turn to page 662, and here is a contrast. Here the Governor of Newfoundland has got back a bit ; but is he instructed to do all these things about granting licences for trade and looking after these people ? Not at all. He has got the whole of this green area right up to the watershed and right down to the head waters of the St. Lawrence, according to the plans before my Lords, and this is what he is told to do : “ You are to use your best endeavours to encourage a friendly intercourse with the Indians residing in our Island of Newfoundland or resorting thither, using your best endeavours to conciliate their affections so as to induce them to trade with our Subjects,” and so on. Then he tells you on the other side what he has done. This is a case in which, as in many of the cases, the Governor has used his instructions as his text and then he tells you in parallel what he has done. He says : “ I have issued a Proclamation as directed by this Article respecting the Native Indians ; (Appendix B) and have given every attention to this interesting subject which it assuredly deserves.” Then he proceeds to discus it ; he deals entirely with the Newfoundland Indians and points out what is, of course, true, that they are very small in numbers. If your Lordships will look at page 663, the left hand column, he says at line 35 : “ The number of the Native Indians remaining does not appear to be known, nor can I find the means of forming any judgment of what it may be : but the prevailing idea is that they are about five hundred. A few families of the Micmac Indians from the Coast of Canada have been long settled in the neighbourhood of St. George's and Fortune Bay ;”—that is in Newfoundland—“ but they do not amount to more than seventy or eighty persons and the only Trade which they carry on is in the Sale of a few furs occasionally to the Merchants.

p. 595

Other Indians from Nova Scotia and Canada come over occasionally to the northern parts of this Island to hunt ; and perhaps it would be quite as well if they were prohibited from doing so, as little advantage is gained from an intercourse with them, and they destroy great numbers of animals for the sake of their furs, even when with young. A few of the Esquimaux also came over from Labrador, but our settlements are so remote that they do not frequently visit them. With these latter Indians I am informed that the Society of Unitas Fratrum carry on a considerable trade on the Continent, and I am sorry to add, impose upon them in a very shameful degree if the reports which have been made to me are founded in truth.”

The LORD CHANCELLOR : That is very disappointing.

Mr. MACMILLAN : It is, my Lord, and I do not think it is true so far as I have read the papers. My Lords, is not that very striking ? I have brought to my Lordships' notice what was done under the provisions that were made in 1774, when Quebec got the green area, I say under two titles.

Sir JOHN SIMON : And also got the whole Indian country.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Of course, Sir John, I am not forgetting that, and I do not think their Lordships are either. They got the whole Indian country.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Ohio.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Ohio ; the Six Nations and all the rest of it. Elaborate instructions were given to this Governor to look after these people in every conceivable way and to grant licences for trading with them, and so on. Then when part of the same area is handed back to Newfoundland the Governor of Newfoundland is enjoined in 1810, the first Commission, at the time when this matter must have been fresh in the minds of those dealing with it. There are no such instructions as are given to Guy Carleton, but he is told to look after the Indians of Newfoundland. That is a most striking contrast, and in my submission reflects very useful light upon the whole situation and the distinction between the interior and the coast.
On the question of the Indians in this area, my Lords have once or twice, I think, raised the question of how many of them there were. There are some interesting figures given in Volume III, at page 3729.

Viscount HALDANE : That is Indians where ?
4 K

p. 596

Mr. MACMILLAN : Indians in Labrador. This Census which I am looking at was a Census of 1871, and may I draw attention to a paragraph or two there ? Your Lordships will see it on page 3729 at line 17 : “ Census of 1871. In the report of this census, the returns for the south–eastern part of the Peninsula east of the Bersimis River included under the Province of Quebec, in census district No. 152, ‘ Labrador.’ The detailed returns are given for various sub–districts lettered from A to H, identified with the names of places along the north shore of the St. Lawrence and comprising in all a superficial area of 38,856,353 acres. These returns include for : Sauvages des Sept Isles, 190 ; Sauvages Betsiamites, 552; Sauvages de Mingan, 530 : total 1032[sic]. These figures indicate that the census contained an enumeration of a very considerable portion of the Indians inhabiting the interior country of the south–eastern half of the Peninsula. The census, however, contained a special return of the aboriginal population of Canada, which shows that the whole of the Indians within the Labrador peninsula were enumerated as subjects of Canada. This return was set forth in the form of a table with an accompanying illustrative map indicating the territory occupied by each aboriginal group. Extracts from this table with the map are given below.” Then your Lordships see “ The Esquimaux, In. ” “ In ” means “ Innuit ” ; that is the Eskimo name for themselves. “ Description of places inhabited : Littoral of the North Sea from Labrador to Alaska, the northern shores and islands of Hudson's Bay, with the islands of the Arctic Ocean.” Then “ Population 4,000,” and “ Territorial Superficies in English square miles, 600,000.” Then “ The Naskapis Al.” “ Al ” means the Algonquin race. “ Interior of Labrador, South–east Watersheds of Labrador, Rupert's Land to the east of Hudson's Bay, and the Mistassin Country.” The population is 2,500 with an area of 330,000 square miles. Then “ The Montagnais, Al.” The description is : “ North shore of the Gulf and mouth of the St. Lawrence, valley of the Saguenay River.” The population is 1,745 and the area is 115,000 square miles.
The map which was prepared as the key map to this is printed, Of course, it is only a diagrammatic map, but it is to show generally the districts. There you will see the Peninsula, the whole of Labrador with the various aboriginal tribes inhabiting it. The Montagnais are the southern portion, the Naskapis are in the middle, and the Esquimaux are in the north. These are the people with respect to whom, as I submit, among others, the important duties were confided to Guy Carleton in his instructions after that territory was added unto him in 1774.
My Lords, there is a curious matter. I am really not quite sure what its import is, but it is worth mentioning. Your Lordships will find that least two oi the Newfoundland Commissions do not give the Newfoundland Governor the Coast as far as the River St. John at all. The origin of that I think I have ascertained, but I am not sure. Will your Lordships be good enough to look at Volume II, page 685 ; it is one of the curious puzzles in this case ? Will your Lordships look at the description of the jurisdiction of the Governor of Newfoundland ?

p. 597

This is in 1816, after 1809, when the whole of the coast has been given back to Newfoundland. You will see his territory at line 29, on page 68. “ To be our Governor and Commander in Chief in and over our said Island of Newfoundland and the Islands adjacent and all the Coast of Labrador from Mount Joli to the Entrance of Hudsons Streights the Island of Anticosti and all other Adjacent Islands.”
In 1816 the Commission is cut down and if you look at Mount Joli, which is shown upon the small map, you will see that from Mount Joli to Mingan Island is not included in his Commission at all. The suggestion that I make is that that was a sequel to an alteration in the Admiralty instructions. The Admiralty had altered the station, and the Commission to the Governor of Newfoundland in these matters is regarded as being so entirely a matter related to the Admiralty that they actually took the liberty of confining the Governor, after the Admiralty has changed the limits of its station, to the same limits. You will find that in the instructions from the Admiralty to Sir Richard Goodwin Keats, on page 683. He was the Governor of Newfoundland in 1813, and these are the Admiralty instructions to him as Commander–in–Chief of His Majesty's Ships on the Newfoundland Station. At page 683, line 19, you will find his station defined : “ You are to consider the limits of your Station to be as follows, viz. : At and about the Island of Newfoundland, but having for its Western boundary a straight line drawn from the Latitude of 40 degrees North and Longitude 50 West to a position midway between Cape Ray on the Newfoundland Coast & the Island of St. Paul off the Northern point of Cape Breton Island ; & from thence in a direct line to Mount Joli, of the Labrador Coast ; and you are to restrict your Cruizers to these limits accordingly.”

The LORD CHANCELLOR : There seems to be a strip of coast without a Governor at all.

Mr. MACMILLAN : This same thing happens again with regard to Sir Charles Hamilton, in Volume II, at page 716. What I suggest to your Lordships is this, that in the eyes of those who were concerned in the administration of this Coast, its administration was regarded as so entirely a matter related to Admiralty concerns that when the Admiralty alter the cruiser station the Commission to the Governor of Newfoundland contracts in the same way, and he is made Governor only over the area to which his Admiralty instructions relating his stations for his cruisers extend.

Viscount FINLAY : From the St. John River to Mount Joli, roughly speaking, is opposite the Island of Anticosti.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Very nearly ; it is about 100 miles long, I think About 100 miles of coast, as my Lord points out, were withdrawn from the Governor of Newfoundland, and it may be that it is left derelict.
4 K 2

p. 598

My point is this, that the whole point in the view of those concerned in dealing with these matters was the Admiralty aspect of it, and that the Commission merely follows what the Admiralty has done, and consequently you find that as the Admiralty limit the scope of their cruisers, so also the Governor's scope is limited. Whether that is done legitimately or not, I cannot say, but it reflects the attitude of mind of those who deal with these matters. Those two Governors had no jurisdiction over that bit of coast during that period.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: It must have been an oversight, but as you say, it throws a light upon the attitude in which they looked at it.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I think that is the most valuable inference I can draw. There are other points arising on the various Commission's instructions, but I do not propose to go into them further. I have naturally taken the best one for myself, unlike my learned friend, who always takes the worst one for himself. I have taken the best one for myself ; there are others which help me, too, but which are not so helpful to my argument, and I therefore do not labour them further, but my Lord has my point.
Now, my Lords, I propose to leave these large matters, and I propose to say a little about certain of what my learned friend called the very subordinate matters. It is, of course, vital, and on that we are agreed here on both sides of the bar, to consider what was done in 1763. What has been done since then more or less close to the time, is helpful as a contemporary exposition, but what has been done a hundred years after becomes of necessarily very much less value. There are a great many matters which have been collected and are printed in these volumes, some of which I venture to think help me and some help my learned friend's argument, but which I think we are both agreed, if I have gauged the position of my learned friend accurately, are of relatively less importance—the varying views that have been taken by different people at different times, and the things they have done when this boundary was not an ascertained thing and when nobody quite knew where it was. There are certain more or less outstanding incidents, however, which, as my learned friend said, are interesting to look at, and they are worth perhaps a little discussion, and I should not like it to be thought that I had not an answer upon those points. It might be said, if I did not say something about them, that I might have left them to go by default. I propose, therefore, to look at one or two of the more prominent of those matters to which my learned friend alluded, because he derived assistance from them though they have perhaps another aspect, as so many questions in this case have. May I take first the instance with regard to Judge Pinsent. The relevant papers are in the second volume. They show the extraordinary dubiety of mind at this time among those who had to consider the position as to where exactly this boundary was. Of course, it is true that when we are dealing with

[1927lab]




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