A. W. COCHRAN TO LORD DALHOUSIE.
RECOMMENDING MODIFICATION OF LOWER CANADA'S CLAIM RESPECTING ANNEXATION OF COAST OF LABRADOR TO THAT PROVINCE.
12, Bury Street,
25th March 1825.
I had yesterday the honour of receiving your Lordship's letter of the 21st. I am obliged now to trouble you with a matter which 'though of very little importance in itself requires your Lordship's decision. It relates to the application made by the Legislative Council, by an address in the Session of 1824 for the re-annexation of the whole coast of Labrador, up to Hudson's Streights, to the Province of Lower Canada. I have drawn up a statement of the pretensions advanced on the part of Lower Canada and of Newfoundland, which I enclose. The question is whether the claims of the former should not be cut down, and confined to that part of the coast lying West of Bay Forteau—Isle au bois, or Ance à Sablon, inclusive (it is no matter which boundary is taken) so as to comprehend the last Canadian fishing post of any importance on that Shore, and to leave to Newfoundland its most Westerly fishing establishment. This question it is necessary to solve now, both on account of the Act which is to be brought in for re-annexing to Lower Canada what she ought to have, and on account of the necessity of making out Sir Thomas Cochrane's Commission as Governor of Newfoundland—which must be delayed until the true boundary of his Government in that quarter is fixed. The question however is one that no authority short of your Lordship's—acting for Lower Canada—can determine.
The fact appears to be that the Council asked more than they would have done had they been aware of the actual circumstances, but they acted upon general and vague information—or notoriety—without particular evidence—and without knowing how far the interests of the Province were at all concerned in regaining the coast beyond Mingan. I think the real interests of the Province will be amply covered by re-annexing to it all within the limits I have mentioned, and that this will be perfectly satisfactory to all parties, and perfectly equitable.
If such is your Lordship's opinion, and you will be good enough to intimate it to me in the first place, both the Act and Sir Thomas's commission will go
forward, and an official statement of the question will be afterwards made to you for an official answer. This reference I make merely for the purpose of expediting the business. Mr. W. Horton wishes to bring in the Act before the recess if possible.
* * * *
I am, My Lord,
Your Lordship's obliged & devoted servant,
A. W. COCHRAN.
No. 347. N
MESSRS. NEWMAN, HUNT & CO. TO SECRETARY
COLONIAL OFFICE RECORDS 42/206. LOWER CANADA 1825. Vol. 4.
12, New Broad Street,
5 April, 1825.
We take leave to acquaint you that the Fisheries carried on from England, Jersey and Newfoundland at Labrador extend Westward to the Straits of Belle Isle, as far as Esquimaux Bay and occasionally (by temporary establishments) as far as Micatina Harbour and that the persons concerned in those Fisheries would find it the extreme of inconvenience to be compelled to have recourse to the Canadian Courts of Law for the settlement of any disputes that may arise.
We have, etc.,
NEWMAN, HUNT, CHRISTOPHER & CO.
R. W. Horton, Esq.
Note.—Original bound in Newfoundland.