ADDRESS OF LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF LOWER CANADA TO LORD DALHOUSIE.
COLONIAL OFFICE RECORDS 42/200. LOWER CANADA 1824.
23 February, 1824.
To George Earl of Dalhousie, G.C.B., Captain General
and Governor in Chief in and over the Province
of Upper and Lower Canada, etc., etc., etc.
May it please Your Excellency,
We His Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects the Legislative Council of Lower Canada in Provincial Parliament assembled, beg leave to approach Your Excellency humbly to represent, That prior to the Cession of Canada to the British Crown, His most Christian Majesty had made Grants and Concessions within those parts of the Coast of Labrador lying between the River Saint John and Hudsons Streights of a great part thereof, and of the Island of Anticosti and other small Islands lying on the said coast, to divers of His Canadian subjects under Titles “en fiefs et Seigneurie,” and that through the benevolence of His late Majesty when passing the act of 14th Geo. III, Cap. 83, which re-annexed the said Coast and Islands to the Government of Canada then the Province of Quebec, the benefit of the ancient Laws of Canada their usages and customs relative to their Property and Possessions were secured to the proprietors of the soil within the Coast and Islands aforesaid, equally with their fellow subjects in Canada.
That the act of His Late Majesty 49 Geo. III, Cap. 27th, intitled “an Act for establishing Courts of Judicature in the Island of Newfoundland and the Islands adjacent, and for re-annexing part of the Coast of Labrador and the islands lying on the said Coast to the Government of Newfoundland,” has in its operation so separated the Coast and Islands aforesaid from the Province of Lower Canada and placed them under another Government and Jurisdiction that the Proprietors of the soil lying within the Coast and Islands aforesaid most of whom it is believed are resident in Canada, are thereby subjected to Laws and regulations incompatible with their Tenures and usages and which virtually amount in certain cases to a denial of Justice,
a situation which the benign Government of His Majesty never could have contemplated when the said Act was passed into a Law.
That the said separation from this Province of the Coast and Islands aforesaid tends to produce great and serious impediments and difficulties to the Trade and Fisheries carried on from Quebec thereto.
That Vessels and Boats with their crews and equipments belonging to Quebec are necessarily employed in the said Trade and Fisheries because their outfits in goods and provisions are sent therefrom and the returns thereof are brought to that Port, that it may reasonably be supposed under existing circumstances many crimes go unpunished, and many individuals who suffer from Trespass and other wrongs cannot without much sacrifice of time and money obtain redress owing to the great distance from Quebec of the Courts in Newfoundland, to which they would be obliged to have recourse for Justice and in cases relating to real property held under the Tenure before mentioned, it may be doubtful how far the Laws governing His Majesty's Courts in Newfoundland might enable them to grant redress.
That such is the dependance of the Coast of Labrador and Islands aforesaid upon this Province even for articles necessary for subsistence, that since the period of passing the Act of 49 Geo. III. Cap. 27th, it has invariably been deemed expedient and needful whenever an Embargo has been laid upon the exportation of Grain, flour and provisions from this Province, to insert a Proviso in the Proclamation in favour of the said Coast and Islands to prevent the Inhabitants of those places suffering from want of food, as they could not have obtained their supplies elsewhere.
We therefore respectfully entreat Your Excellency that the above representations may be laid at the foot of the Throne, with our humble prayer that His Majesty will be graciously pleased to recommend to His Parliament the revision and repeal of the aforesaid Act of His Late Majesty of Glorious Memory (49 Geo. III, Cap. 27th) in so far as that Act relates to the separation from the Government of Lower Canada of those parts of the Coast of Labrador from the River Saint John to Hudson's Streights and the Island of Anticosti and all other small Islands lying on the said Coast, and which re-annexes the said Coast and Islands to the Government of Newfoundland, and also for the repeal of that part of the aforesaid Act which gives Jurisdiction to His Majesty's Courts in the said Island of Newfoundland to hold Plea of all Crimes and Misdemeanours committed and of all suits and complaints of a Civil nature arising within such parts of the Coast of Labrador from the River Saint John to Hudsons Streights and the said Island of Anticosti and all other smaller Islands so re-annexed to the Government of Newfoundland by the said Act.
Legislative Council Chamber,
23 February, 1824.
(Signed) J. SEWELL.