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JUDGE SWEETLAND'S REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS OF THE LABRADOR COURT, 1864.
COLONIAL OFFICE RECORDS 197/39. JOURNAL OF THE ASSEMBLY,
Appendix No. 707.
Report of Judge Sweetland of Proceedings of the Labrador Court during the summer of 1864, etc., together with census returns of resident population Blanc Sablon to Indian Harbor.
11th October, 1864.
I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 6th June, directing me to proceed in the Schooner “Volant,” employed to take the Collector of the Customs and myself to Labrador, and to inform you that we left St. John's on the 10th of the same month.
We arrived at our destination on the 23rd. Having visited Blanc Sablon, Forteau, L'Anse Loup, Pinware, West and East St. Modeste, we reached Red Bay on the 7th July.
Salt Pond (twice),
Francis Harbor Bight,
Williams and Merchants Harbors,
Tub Herring and
and various numerous creeks and coves were visited, until we reached Indian Harbor, at which place we arrived on the 31st August last.
Here we found the captain and crew of the schooner “Charlotte” recently wrecked on White Bear Island. The captain having complained that some wrecked materials were in the possession of “Greenfish” catcher on the coast, the bailiff was dispatched with a crew to the scene of the wreck. In the meanwhile the complainant and his crew went off to join a vessel for England, leaving no person to identify the parties complained of, or the property saved; but for the address of the bailiff, very little, if anything, would have been recovered. The articles saved were left in possession of Nathan Norman, Esq., J.P., for the benefit of whom concerned.
There being no settled fishery north of Indian Harbor, we returned south, visiting most of the places named above, and also Grady and Bolsters. In going and returning over 50 harbours were visited.
There were before the Court:—
|13 cases of account,|
5 ,, ,, trespass,
1 case of malicious injury,
1 ,, ,, theft,
1 ,, ,, bastardy,
1 recovery of wrecked goods,
3 parties to prove wills.
1 case of defamation,
2 cases for the recovery of wages.
I enclose herewith census which I believe to be correct. Having visited personally every place within my reach, and being greatly assisted by the Revd. Hutchinson and the Revd. B. Botwood, in directing my attention to coves and places within their missions.
Roads to be of any general use, cannot be made except from Blanc Sablon to Forteau about 12 miles, and thence should join the road from L'Anse Loup to Port Lamour Lighthouse. It is possible to continue the road to Chateau, but I doubt if it will be required in this age. The total distance is 60 miles. Other settlements are so isolated that it would be difficult to make a good road from one house to another.
Schools. I found only one regular day school in existence, that is in the house of the Revd. George Hutchinson in Battle Harbor. At Red Bay, and also at Henly Harbor, there are Sunday schools, attended with considerable success, particularly at the former place, where it is possible to establish a day school, the whole population being within easy distance of each other. A winter school might be had at Pinware, where the inhabitants of west and east Modeste take up their residence for the sake of fire-wood. Most other places are formed of islands requiring conveyance by boat from one place to another.
In Sandwich and Exquimaux Bays, the inhabitants disperse themselves for the sake of furring in the winter and catching salmon in the summer. Very little can be sone in the way of an established school. In the latter bay the “half casts” evince a greater desire for learning to read than any other classes. They complain very much of want of first and second class school books. In general the resident population, being useful furriers, are very well taken care of during the winter. Of destitute poor the number is very small, viz.:—
|One widow and two children in Red Bay.|
Three widows and five children in and about Battle Harbor,
One Esquimaux widow at Francis Harbor,
One man beridden, wife and three children at Battle Harbor.
For these I made arrangements, which I hope will assist in keeping them from any great privation. I did not hear of any general distress occurring, except in the summer of 1863, when supplies did not reach them until the 9th July.
Churches.—There is one at Forteau, one in Red Bay, one in Battle Harbor, one in Francis Harbor, and one at Seal Island; one Roman Catholic Church in Pinware, one Weslyan chapel in Red Bay, and a building for general purposes in Indian Tickle.
There are only two resident clergymen on the coast, both Protestant and episcopalian. Beyond the reach of these gentlemen, the marriage ceremony, if performed at all, is very irregular, in some cases the name of the party officiating is unknown.
The season was wet and cold, so much so that the usual crop of “greens” could not be obtained; potatoes on the coast did not come to perfection. At the N.W. River at the head of Esquimaux Bay, they produce green peas, new potatoes and radishes of immense growth; fresh butter and home made cheese. In no other places were there any cattle kept, or attempts to raise such luxuries, but I think they may be had at the heads of every deep pass with as little trouble.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) B. SWEETLAND.
Judge of the Court