The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume XII


9 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.


Sir John Simon.

9 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.


Sir John Simon.

9 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

9 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

p. 847


Sir JOHN SIMON : My Lords, I now ask attention to the concluding entries in the Calendar of the year 1763, and I have just approached the documents which bear on the matter I indicated in advance, as to which Lord Finlay enquired—the part of the case which bears upon the Indian territory. Your Lordships have noted in Volume III, at page 899, how on the 5th May, the Lords of Trade were instructed to consider and recommend how the remainder of the acquisitions of the British Crown on the North American mainland were to be dealt with ; and I had asked your Lordships to note line 11 on that page.

Viscount FINLAY : Which page do you say it is ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : Page 899, and there are a number of pages which follow. I hope to be able to save your Lordships from much shifting about between book and book now. Your Lordships notice on page 899, in the first paragraph, the nature of the inquiry addressed to the Lords of Trade : ”His Majesty having brought the Negotiation 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 Pease has procured." He transmits the definitive Treaty of Peace and he asks a large number of questions ; and the question which comes first, as shown on the top of page 900 is : ”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 ?" I am most anxious, if I can, to con­

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centrate my own argument, and if I may be allowed to say so, to secure your Lordships' attention to the passages in this and the following documents which deal with the Indian country. It seems to me to be most critical to adjust our attention to the whole case. Of course we are still reading the instructions. At the bottom of page 900 is the 5 first reference that I have observed to ”the Indian country." Will your Lordships kindly pick out the words on page 900, at line 34, ”the Indian country."

Viscount HALDANE : It is an observation that may be in your favour, that that applies not only to Labrador, but to a great many other 10 places.

Sir JOHN SIMON : That is, as your Lordship has justly said, an observation in my favour. My argument is going to be that ”the Indian country," if we just compare three or four documents now, will be found easy to be identified as being not Labrador but a very different 15, area, and I am going to call attention to maps which so describe it.

Viscount FINLAY : I am not sure that it excludes Labrador.

Sir JOHN SIMON : That would naturally depend on the contents of the documents

Viscount FINLAY : It might include it.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I am merely anticipating, my Lord ; I am making no assertion.

Viscount FINLAY : Certainly Labrador was not "the Indian country" par excellence.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Your Lordship will forgive me, I am sure ; 25 I am endeavouring to call your Lordships' attention to a series of documents which now follow, which I trust will enable your Lordships to find out without difficulty what "the Indian country” is. I am making no assertion about it at all ; it is all here in the pages which follow. "The Indian country” is referred to at line 34. Now may I just read 30 the paragraph, because it is very important for my purpose : "Tho' in order to succeed effectually in this Point, it may become necessary to erect some Forts in the Indian Country, with their consent"— you see, it is treated as an area known as "the Indian Country," in which forts could be erected with the consent of the Indians. There are just 35 three or four passages, which, taken together, have, in my humble submission, a perfectly definite connotation, and their meaning is not, if I may say so, to be ascertained by speculations, as to what "the Indian Country” might be supposed to mean. Documents are coming on which show what those words mean. Then at line 34 : "Yet His 40 Majesty's Justice & Moderation inclines Him to adopt the more eligible
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Method of conciliating the Minds of the Indians by the Mildness of His Government, by protecting their Person & Property & securing to— them all the Possessions, Rights and Privileges they have hitherto enjoyed, & 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";— now here is a geographical indication— ”that I have already received and transmitted the King's Commands to this Purpose"—now, to whom ? —to the Governor of Newfoundland and all these people who are already existing ?—No, but ”to the Governors of Virginia, the Two Carolinas & Georgia, and to the Agent for Indian Affairs in the Southern Department."
I will show your Lordships in a moment that there were two Agents for Indian Affairs ; one was the Agent for Indian Affairs in the Southern Department, and the other was the Agent for Indian Affairs in the Northern Department ; and I have got the Commissions for each of them, and I shall be able to show your Lordships within what areas their duties range and I will satisfy the Board, if I do not misunderstand the material which I have done my best to put together and study, that it has no reference to Labrador from beginning to end. Then on the top line of page 901: ”As Your Lordships will see fully in the inclosed Copy of my Circular Letter to them on this Subject." I quite agree that, reading that paragraph by itself, one might remain in some doubt ; but now will your Lordships kindly turn to the next document, which is on page 903, and comes in the Calendar next, June 8th. There are at least three passages in the next document, which is a long document, dealing with the Indian Country, which will go a very long way to identify it.

Viscount HALDANE : Before you pass from that, will you tell me who is the Agent for Indian Affairs in the Southern Department ? The reference is at page 901 ; is that the Southern Department of State ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : No, my Lord. I meant to convey that there were in this part of the world two Agents for Indian Affairs, one of whom was for the more southerly portion of the Indian Country, and the other of whom was for the northerly portion. The Agent for the southerly portion at the moment was a gentleman named Stuart ; it had previously been a man named Atkin ; the Agent for the Northern Department was Sir William Johnson, who lived at a place called Johnson Hall, which we are going to identify on the map, on which your Lordships will find the area within which they each operated identified with quite sufficient precision.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : These instructions, I suppose, are No. 9 in your book of new documents ?

p. 850

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, they are, my Lord.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : I see them there.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I am much obliged. Would your Lordships be good enough to turn to my additional documents, document No. 9. That is a document of 16th March, 1763. This answers Lord Haldane's question. It is a circular letter to the Governors of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Your Lordships have no need to turn to the map, but, of course, it is quite obvious that that is hundreds or thousands of miles away from Labrador and it is to ”Mr. John Stuart, Agent for Indian Affairs in your District"—that was the Southern District— ”from Lord Egremont." The instructions I think, are worth just looking through. They refer to what was at this moment becoming the most serious anxiety, namely, the state of rebellion and hostility which was developing in that area. ”As the removal of the French and Spaniards from the countries which extend from the Colony of Georgia to the river Mississippi, and which are now ceded to His Majesty, will undoubtedly alarm and increase the jealousy of the neighbouring Indians, the King judges it to be indispensably necessary to take the earliest steps for preventing their receiving any impressions of this kind, and for gaining their confidence and goodwill, without which it will be impossible for this nation to reap the full benefit of its acquisitions in that part of the world."
Now, my Lords, I should tell you that we are going to travel further north than the Colony of Georgia in a moment, but at any rate we see what is being dealt with here : ”The French and Spaniards in Florida, and Louisiana have long and too successfully inculcated an idea amongst the Indians, that the English entertain a settled design of extirpating the whole Indian race"—I do not imagine anybody supposes that that piece of propaganda had been carried on in Labrador— ”with a view to possess and enjoy their lands and that the first step towards carrying this design into execution, would be to expel the French and Spaniards, the real friends and protectors of the Indians ; In order to prevent the ill effect of these suggestions, which our taking possession of those countries will seem to verify, it is His Majesty's pleasure that you should, in concert with the Governors of Virginia, the Two Carolinas, and Georgia, without loss of time, immediately invite the chiefs of the Creeks, the Chactaws, Cherokees, Chickasaws and Catabaws, to a meeting with them and the Indian Agent for that department." That answers Lord Haldane's question ; there is a South and a North Department : ”at Augusta in the Province of Georgia"—these places can all be identified on the map, if needed—”or any other place equally convenient for the several parties ; at which these chiefs are to be apprized in the most prudent and delicate manner of the change which is going to take place. In doing this, the King judges it to be absolutely necessary not only to avoid every expression which might awaken the fears or point out the dependance of the Indians upon us, but to use every means to quiet

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their apprehensions and gain their good opinion. For this purpose it would be proper to recur to the original causes of the war with the French, to mention and dwell upon the several cruelties they exercised during the course of it, the arts they employed, the groundless stories they propagated among the Indians in order to excite their jealousies, to alienate their affections from this nation and to provoke them to commit such violences as His Majesty was at length compelled to resent, that by the same insidious arts they had so far wrought upon the credulity of the Spaniards, as to involve them in their quarrel, and its consequences, that thro' the special favour of providence, the wisdom of the King and the courage of His Troops, all these mischievous practices and designs have been discovered and defeated. In order to prevent the revival of such disturbances and troubles by repetitions of the same dangerous proceedings, His Majesty found himself obliged to insist in the Treaty of Peace, that the French and Spaniards should be removed beyond the River Mississipi"—your Lordships remember they were shifted entirely to the west—”to the end that the Indians and his White People may hereafter live in peace and brotherly friendship together ; That the English feel a particular satisfaction in the opportunity which their successes afford them of giving the Indians the most incontestable and substantial proofs of their good intentions and cordial desire to maintain a sincere and friendly correspondence with them ; That these proofs will consist, lstly, in a total oblivion and forgiveness of all past offences, fully per- suaded that they were entirely owing to the deceiving arts of the French, and no ways to be attributed to any ill will in them ; 2ndly in opening and carrying on so large a traffick with them as will supply all their wants ; 3rdly in a continual attention to their interests and in a readiness upon all occasions to do them justice ; and lastly, in the most solemn assurances"—now here are the forts—”; that those forts now ceded to us"—the question of forts is important. I may tell your Lordships what the forts were, or some of them. There was a fort further north, for example, at what is now called Detroit, which was the name originally given to the Narrows between two of the great lakes ; there was a fort at Fort Pitt, which is now called Pittsburg ; there were forts further south, and the Indians were naturally deeply concerned at seeing the English taking these forts under their control ; they thought that these were points of vantage from which they were going to be attacked ; and so you get this : ”and lastly in the most solemn assurances that those forts now ceded to us, by means of which the French really did intend to subvert their liberty, and accomplish these evil designs, which they artfully imputed to Us, shall never be employed but to protect and assist them, and to serve for the better convenience of commerce between the Indians and Us, and the cultivation of friendship and goodwill, between them and the subjects of His Majesty. And should the Indians retain any jealousy or suspicion that the forts situated in the heart of the Indian Country——"


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