Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


Privy Council Documents


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Volume IV

Volume V

Volume VI

Volume VII

Volume VIII

Volume IX

Volume X

Volume XI
Contents

Volume XII








4 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

4 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Mr. Macmillan.

4 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

4 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

Lord Sumner.

Mr. Macmillan.

4 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Macmillan.

The Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Macmillan.

Viscount Haldane.

Mr. Macmillan.




p. 609

friend as being the recognition by Canada itself—an identification and recognition by Canada itself, that something corresponding to that large area was Newfoundland. It arose in this way (I will deal with it very shortly) that a cargo of fish had come down to the United States (it was consigned from Labrador) and the question arose. Is it entitled to free admission ? All fish from Canada and Newfoundland was entitled to free admission, and the question was, therefore, was this fish entitled to free admission ? The real question was whether Labrador was in one or the other ; it was not necessary for the purpose of that controversy to determine in which it was.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I quite agree with you.

Mr. MACMILLAN : But the importance of the incident from my learned friend's point of view is that the matter was then considered domestically by Canada, and they came to a conclusion in terms of a map which my Lords have seen, and which is favourable to my learned friend's contention.

The LORID CHANCELLOR : Which map is that ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : It is Map No. 32A in the Newfoundland Atlas. It is not, of course, the area now claimed, but a different area ; but still it is drawn in a more or less large sense ; and what had been said by Lord Duffern, who had apparently dropped in at the Embassy at Washington, was that Labrador belongs to Newfoundland, the question being whether fish from Labrador was entitled to get in free or not. He said Labrador belongs to Newfoundland, till the question was taken up more closely. This map received the approval of the Canadian authorities at that time. First of all, of course, neither the Governor General of Canada nor his Privy Council nor anyone else could fix the boundary one way or another ; they could express their views of it, but they could do no more than that.

Lord WARRINGTON : This map is wrong anyhow, because it gives the shore of Ungava Bay to Newfoundland.

Mr. MACMILLAN : I know, my Lord.

Lord WARRINGTON : That is wrong, anyhow.

Mr. MACMILLAN : The map is wrong, anyhow. It is rather a good point for my learned friend because he is able to say : Now what did you think of it yourself at this time ? I have shown you, my Lords, that much later on, at the time of the Halifax Conference, the whole thing was still in issue ; this was not taken as a concluded matter, domestically, by us at all. My learned friend desires nie to draw attention to the fact of that large “ A,” which he regards as of importance, it is on the pink area, as being the termination of “ Canada.”

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Sir JOHN SIMON : I only mean that we have reproduced a little bit, and the big “ A,” in Quebec, is the last letter of “ Canada,” which runs across the map.

Mr. MACMILLAN : The matter concluded with a letter from he Colonial Office at home, saying : Lord Duffryn has gone too far in saying that Labrador belongs to Newfoundland, in point of fact, part of Labrador belongs to Newfoundland, but the question is of no importance, because either it is Newfoundland or Canada, if it comes from one or the other, this fish is entitled to free entry ; and there the matter drops. Such point as my learned friend gets from it, he does, but it is not his present claim, and I submit it is quite erroneous, and was not carried forward, and. as you see, in Pinsent's time, people do not found on that map or on anything that was done at that time, and at Halifax Sir John MacDonald's position is, if I remember rightly : Look at the Act and we will see what the boundary is. Your Lordships are looking at it.

Viscount FINLAY : In map 32A what does the word “ land,” which is in very large letters mean ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : That is the end of “ Rupert's Land.”

Mr. MACMILLAN : Now I will take your Lordship's admonition and not dwell over these matters. The Agnew grant I have made my comment on. Perhaps it might be worth while to say a word about the Moravian Grants, if your Lordships please. May I consider, first of all, with what object these are relied on by my learned friend. They are relied on, I take it, for this purpose : to show that “ coast,” here, means something more than a narrow selvedge, because grants were made to the Moravians of part of the Coast of Labrador, and the whole cannot be less than the part ; therefore, if you find grants made of extensive tracts of territory these give you some idea of what was in the minds of people who talked about “ the coast of Labrador ” when they made these extensive grants. First of all, with submission, what I have to say with regard to this is that, of course, that has nothing whatever to do with the height of land at all. It does not assist my learned friend there at all; it may assist him on the question of what is the depth inland of the sea coast of Labrador, but it is of no value to him at all on the question of the height of land. The first matter upon it is to draw your Lordship's attention to the map, which has already been before you, showing the four grants that were made to the Moravian Brethren.

Viscount FINLAY : Where is that map ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : It has not been reprinted.

Viscount HALDANE : You produced a copy of it.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Your Lordships have had it. I have in my

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hand the original which was supplied to us very courteously by the Government of Newfoundland when we asked them, “ What are these Moravian settlements on the Coast ” ? We received this and we must assume it is accurate.
Viscount HALDANE : Are they all to the North ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, my Lord, all four are to the North.

Lord SUMNER : How far inland does this go ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : I cannot find that any of them is at any great distance from the shore, my Lord. I looked for that very point ; it is the Northernmost one as shown here, that rhomboid.

Viscount HALDANE : How far in was this ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : They are drawn in this way, that they include a very broken coast, and it is very difficult to say exactly how far inland you get. I take it from the largest stretch of land intervening between any point of those boundaries and the nearest sea ; if I do it that way I think that the point where that occurs is in the Hebron Settlement, that is the Northernmost one, and the Northernmost one is the biggest. I want to find the point included in any one of those irregular figures which is most remote from the sea. That is what I am looking for at the moment, and I understand that is what Lord Sumner desires. As far as I have seen, that seems to be about the furthest.

Viscount FINLAY:: Is that on the Rhomboid ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : My point for the moment is to get what portion within these grants is furthest away from the sea.

Lord WARRINGTON : From the nearest water of the coast.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, the nearest sea coast. My learned friend will perhaps cheek me on this ; I cannot see any of the others which go further. (After conferring with Sir John Simon) My learned friend persuades me to do it a little more favourably than I thought I would ; his persuasive urbanity causes me to do it.

Viscount HALDANE : Is that the Hebron ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, My Lord, the Hebron. I think it is between 25 and 30 miles. That is one point only, and I have taken the furthest possible point inland.

Viscount HALDANE : Is that from the easternmost boundary, to the back ?
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p. 612

Mr. MACMILLAN : I am putting the problem to myself in this way, my Lord : How far could I get away from salt water in any of the territories granted to the Moravians ?

Viscount HALDANE : That is going inland ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, my Lord, inland. How far inland would I get ?

Viscount HALDANE : But how far is the easternmost boundary the one nearest to the sea ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : It goes right into the sea, my Lord. The grants are grants of sea water and islands as well ; and one must bear this in mind, that these grants are only grants of areas, and not of boundaries. I am taking this as set down by my learned friends themselves on this map, for the purpose of my test. But all that was done was to give grants of so many acres, and those have been construed, apparently, as involving large amounts of water. They were really locations for the Moravians, and intended to be a sphere of operations for them. I do not think, therefore, that very much turns upon whether it is 25 miles or 30 miles, or even 40 miles.

Viscount HALDANE : The Hebron territory ran into the sea, as I understand it.

Mr. MACMILLAN : It was on the sea.

Viscount HALDANE : I know ; and it came down into the sea, and it goes back for 25 to 30 miles to the other boundary.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Towards the west, my Lord.

Lord SUMNER : According to that map, a grant appears to have been made, without challenge, of land situated between 25 and 30 miles from the nearest sea water.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, my Lord.

Lord SUMNER : It may not have been much land that was as far back as that, and it may be that most of it was much nearer ; but still they did get it as far back as that, without challenge.

Mr. MACMILLAN : As I understand it, my Lord, it was not, granted eo nomine ; they were given so many acres ; and it has been laid down in that form. The whole significance of it disappears when it is remembered that these grants were not made by the Governor of Newfoundland at all, but, like Agnew's grant, were matters dealt with by the proper department to deal with them. These grants were

p. 613

made to the Moravians, not by the Governor of Newfoundland at all, but they were made by the Privy Council at home here.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : But were they not made through the Governor of Newfoundland ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : He only commended the Moravians, and he only commended them for this reason, that they were doing useful work up there, and they provided him with an interpreter to interpret between himself and the Esquimaux, who were a practically amphibious people on the margin. The Mission was to the fishing people, and not to the people of the interior. The Governor was told to look after them and to encourage them in the good work that they were doing, and he recognised that and said, “ They are doing very useful work, and if we could get these people Christianised, then we shall not have the trouble on our coast which we had had with our fisherman getting into contests.”

The LORD CHANCELLOR : I think the recommendation was that Your Majesty's Governor, the Governor of Newfoundland, should be instructed to allow the Society to occupy these acres.

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, my Lord, but that instruction emanates from the Privy Council, does it not ? The Governor is very properly told, “ We propose to give these people a seat upon your territory, and therefore we are communicating with our Governor and he is to allow those people there.” That is how I conceive that it came about.

Viscount HALDANE : It leaves open the question as to how he was acting. Was he acting as the instrument of the Crown, or was, he acting as the person in authority, to keep the peace ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, my Lord. It is interesting with regard to this point to look at page 1347. Will your Lordships observe the Proclamation by Governor Hamilton of Newfoundland as to the grant to the Moravians. It says this : “ Whereas His Royal Highness the Prince Regent in Council on the 13th of May, 1818, acting in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty was graciously pleased to authorise that every facility should be given to the Moravian Missionaries in Labrador for extending the beneficial influence which they have had upon the character of the Native Indians, and for spreading still further the benefits of the Gospel and to that end to permit and allow the Society of the ‘ Unitas Fratrum ’ to form a fourth settlement on the Eastern coast of Labrador and to occupy during His Majesty's pleasure ‘ that part of the said Coast to the North of Okkak, which comprehending the Bays of Kangerhuksoak and Saeglek reaches to the 59 Degrees of N. Latitude, provided that the spots chosen by the said Society for its settlements may he such as in no respect to interrupt or annoy the
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[1927lab]




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