The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume XII


12 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Lord Sumner.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Finlay.

12 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

12 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

12 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Finlay.

Sir John Simon.

12 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

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the Algonquins are to be regarded as sweeping in every member of the aborigines in the Labrador Peninsula.

Viscount HALDANE : What do the red lines represent ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : They are intended to represent boundaries between the different tribes.

Viscount HALDANE : I see the Esquimaux begin at the side of Hudson's Bay. I do not know whether that is the height of land.

Sir JOHN SIMON : No. The Esquimaux would be spread over the northern portion of Labrador.

Viscount HALDANE : That is the northern portion of Labrador ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord. In the middle bit there are people marked Naskopis ; then there are Montagnais. All I am saying is that you will observe those are treated as quite distinct from the tribe called the Algonquins, whom you will find numbered 11.

Viscount HALDANE : I think it is quite likely that there are different Indian tribes there.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I do not doubt that for a moment. I should have expected at any rate at an early stage in the history of the North American continent you would have found Aborigines of some sort all over it. It is nothing to do with any case that I am contending for, to suggest the contrary. I am saying that it is all very well to state the Algonquins race is a race that is spread all over Labrador ; that is a question for science.

Lord SUMNER : I do not think " Algonquins " is the name of a Lord Sumner. tribe at all ; it is the name of a great family of tribes spreading very widely over North America. It is like the Bantu Race in South Africa.

Sir JOHN SIMON : It does not seem very likely when we have these Sir John Simon. lines here. Knowing what we know (possibly I have been too elaborate about it) was the area which was dealt with as being the area of the Northern Commissioner, with lines drawn and all the rest of it, I respect-fully suggest that there is no ground for saying that the Algouquins in this particular connection are intended to sweep in every man in Labrador, which in any event would have to be read with the qualification——

Viscount FINLAY : You observe the line drawn below Esquimaux Viscount Finlay. is printed three times, and it confines the Esquimaux to the proximity of the northern portion.

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Sir JOHN SIMON : I do, my Lord. I will not delay longer on that. The only other thing which seems to me to matter on this subject—and I will then pass from it, I hope, altogether—is this. If your Lordships will look at my document No. 17 in the new documents, you will see there that consideration is being given to an application by Sir William Johnson for a grant of land, and this is the way, in 1767, that that is dealt with by the Lords of Trade. I want your Lordships to observe the contrast between what happens when Sir William Johnson wants a piece of land in an area which is the Indian country, and what happens when people want a piece of land in what is undoubtedly Labrador. The method adopted is decidedly different. When Johnson applies, the Lords of Committee say they have "taken into consideration the memorial of Sir William Johnson, superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern district of North America, praying amongst other particulars for a grant of a certain tract of land on the north side of the Mohawk River conceded to him by the Indians of that nation ; and the said report not containing information sufficient to enable the Committee to give any opinion to His Majesty with respect to granting the said lands, their Lordships are hereby pleased to refer the said report back to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in order for them to report their opinion to this Committee upon the authenticity of the said grant made to Sir William Johnson, and to ascertain in the best manner they are able the situation of the land granted, and whether any and what part of the said lands so granted to Sir William Johnson lie within the land reserved to the Indians for hunting ground by the proclamation of the 7th October, 1763." Observe, my Lord, the contrast between that, which is the way in which Sir William Johnson's application is dealt with for what is undoubtedly Indian country, and the way in which the Moravians are dealt with. I will not trouble your Lordships to go back to it. Your Lordship remembers the matter ; it is in Volume III round about page 1321. No such question arises at all. I will give your Lordship a second example. There was a representation to the Lords of Trade asking for mineral rights near Lake Superior. I have the. document here. It is the only additional one that I hope I am going to inflict upon anybody. It is in 1768, which is almost exactly the same time when Agnew was making a similar application for mineral rights in Labrador. This is the way it is dealt with ; and look at the contrast : "Representation of the Lords of Trade to His Majesty re grant of mines in country adjacent to Lake Superior." Apparently there had been this application in 1768, and the report is : "that copper is an article of great importance in the manufactures and commerce of this Kingdom and as there is great reason to believe from the Reports made of the Country described in the Petition, that it does abound with Mines of Copper Ore of a very rich and valuable quality, we are of the opinion that it will be very advisable to give all reasonable encouragement to the Discovery and Working of such Mines to persons of Substance and Ability under such Restrictions and Regulations as shall be judged expedient for your

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Majesty's Interest and Advantage ; But as the system adopted by Your 12 Nov. 1926. Majesty's Proclamation of the 7th October, 1763, does pre-elude all Establishment in the interior country adjacent Sir John Simon. to the Great Lakes, and as your Majesty's Interests in that Country do appear, from the Representations given of the present Temper and Disposition of the Indians, to be in a precarious State," and so on. They say full inquiry shall be made. Will you contrast with that the way in which Agnew was dealt with ? I will not trouble to turn to it ; Agnew is in Volume III, page 1080.

Lord SUMNER : Did they ultimately refuse these copper mines ?

Sir. JOHN SIMON : I have not been able to find out that.

Lord SUMNER : They are there now of incalculable value ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : It just shows how very far back it was appreciated. I think there are precious metals as well. Agnew's is an interesting case, because it is almost at exactly the same time, and the application comes before the same people in Volume III, at page 1080. When the application of Agnew comes, the Lords of Trade never say : We must be careful because we may be invading the interior or Indian country. Here in 1773 is the recommendation that Agnew is to have not exceeding 60 miles depth of area in Labrador for the purposes of minerals. Those seem to me to be illustrations, and I must not expand the argument further on this general proposition.

Viscount HALDANE : Where is the description of the area ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : In this representation just where the two words " does preclude " are written in ; " as the system adopted." I am merely contrasting the different way in which the same body at the same time deals with corresponding applications, in the one case which would involve penetrating into Labrador, and in the other case would involve penetrating into what is undoubtedly Indian country.

Viscount HALDANE : And it is done, not by the Governor General, but by the Sovereign.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Never in either case is it done by the Governor of his own right ; always is it done otherwise. That question was asked by one of your Lordships the other day, and I have checked it so far as Newfoundland is concerned. I will give your Lordship one reference in a moment. You may take it that it was about 1825 when you got, in the case of the Governor of Newfoundland, an authority by which he could make grants of land within his jurisdiction ; not limited to the island, but within his jurisdiction.
To sum up, my point is this : I say that if you take the documents which are in Volumes II and III and ask yourself what is meant by the

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Indian country, you will find, if you fit them together, that that Indian country is a defined area which is not regarded as including anything that is immediately in dispute here, but on the contrary is described and defined as bounded and enclosed within limits which make it this interior country.

Viscount FINLAY : The defined limits are not very exactly traced, but as to the general situation of the Indian country there dealt with there can be, I should think, no doubt.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I do not want to go back, because one tends to go over the same ground, but if your Lord-ships will forgive me, I have called attention to passages which define the boundaries in most express terms. The passage, which I should regard as most obviously doing that, is the one which your Lordship will remember very well in Volume III. I am conscious that we have had this, but I am merely answering your Lordship's question. The most obvious extract is page 919 at line 8. This is a passage which has become very much trampled over, but there are heaps of instances, and this is as good a one as any. The first sentence on page 919 is a perfectly definite description. Anyone who looks at the map can see it. It is "that large tract of country bounded by the Mississippi and the limits of the Hudson's Bay Company on the one hand, and on the other by the limits of Canada" —that is the lozenge—" East and West Florida, and His Majesty's ancient Colonies." Subject to what I have always conceded, the question about what I call the corridor, that little strip of yellow that runs up between the line on the northern boundary of my old Province of Quebec and the Hudson's Bay territory, there is no doubt at all that that is defining an area by boundaries. There are many other instances. The other instances are these, my Lord, if I may just repeat them in case anybody hereafter cares to look at the note. The Indian country was a defined area within definite boundaries, and that follows from these passages taken together : Volume III, page 919, line 7 ; Volume III, page 920, line 44 ; Volume III, page 923, line 20 ; Volume II, page 820—that is the passage about Carleton and the interior country—Volume II, page 832, line 34 ; Volume II, page 833 ; Volume II, the plan that is referred to on page 840 ; and Volume II, page 846. For those reasons I submit that we really get rid of this which has been a very elaborate and, I am afraid, rather a long-winded analysis. It appears there is no difficulty in my way on that point ; there were no British encroachments on the aborigines in Labrador ; there was no complaint of any encroachment ; there was no rising of the aborigines in Labrador. We must all speak here with hesitation' of historical propositions, but I still submit with some confidence this view : that it is quite unhistorical to regard Labrador as part of the Indian country in the sense in which that phrase was being used in 1760, or thereabouts, and I would observe in conclusion on the point (and it is my excuse for being so long-winded in reply) that in the Canadian Case, the main printed Case, there is not one word to

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suggest this ; there was not a single document which was exhibited or extracted by the Canadians in their Case, or in connection with their Case which put forward any such proposition. It was not until we had filed our Case and they had filed their Case and each side had had the opportunity of a second shot, so to speak, and you come to their Counter-Case, that they put in a paragraph making this suggestion which I have humbly called " far-fetched," that the Indian country is a country or includes a country in my green, and that this in some sway supports their contention. My respectful submission is that it is not only an after-thought, but it is an after-thought without any historical foundation, as your Lordships will always remember. It really is fallacious, as a matter of argument. Supposing (which I altogether dispute) that you were to regard for some purposes hunting grounds, or the like, as included in Newfoundland Labrador, what would happen then ? The Indians do not lose their hunting grounds any more than the Indians lost their hunting grounds by extending they boundary of Quebec to include all the yellow. If the proposition is that it would be horrifying to treat the documents here in such a way as to deprive the natives of their hunting grounds and that therefore the coast of Labrador given to Newfoundland cannot cover any more, you might just as well argue that it was horrifying in 1774 to extend Quebec so as to cover the whole of this annexed area to the west and south, because that per se would extend to the Indian hunting grounds, which it does not do. I submit on both ways of looking at it, on that point I am well-founded.
I have only to deal now with two or three matters which I must just pick up and dispose of. Reference was made to the American census. I could not help but observe that though my learned friend produced it he dropped it rather hastily. As it was referred to I have looked at it. As a matter of fact, this document, which is in the introduction on the very first page of the Eleventh Census of the United States, which deals with natives in the North American Continent, has got a very curious bearing upon the case. It does not show, as my learned friend,. Mr. Geoffrion, seemed to think that it did when it was put into his hand, that all over the Continent the number of Indians was exceedingly small ; and, indeed, that is quite contrary to the fact. This is a very interesting document indeed. I did not know it before, but it appears that Thomas Jefferson took a great interest in this subject, and that in the year 1782 he drew up, with the assistance of other people, a sort of table or synopsis giving information upon the aborigines ; and that was based upon three previous reports, namely, reports by George Croghan in 1759, Colonel Bouquet in 1764, and Captain Hutchins in 1768. There are the names of the tribes, a long list of them, covering thirty pages, and in each case it gives, according to these different authorities, both where they reside and the sort of numbers that there are of them. So far as I have inspected it, when I do read it, I certainly do not get the impression that the Indians were a small folk ; but, on the contrary, there are all sorts of views as to how many of them there


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