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JUDGE PINSENT'S REPORT, 1873.
COLONIAL OFFICE RECORDS 197/59. JOURNAL OF THE LEGISLATIVE
COUNCIL, NEWFOUNDLAND. No. 49.
Report of Judge Pinsent, Labrador Court, 1873, to His Excellency, Col. Stephen J. Hill, C.B., Governor of Newfoundland, etc., etc.
December 31st, 1873.
I have the honour to make my annual circuit report to Your Excellency.
I sailed from St. John's on the 17th of June last, in the schooner “William Stairs,” Hackett, master—vessel employed by the Government as a revenue ship on the coast of Labrador.
Messrs. Knight—Collector of Customs—Canning and Stephenson, Sub-Collectors, together with Mr. Frederick Crowdy, a medical student of the University of Edinburgh, who was employed by the Government to vaccinate the resident inhabitants of Labrador, were my fellow passengers.
We proceeded north-about, and after harbouring several times on our way, owing to contrary winds and obstruction from ice, we arrived at Red Bay, Labrador, on the 8th July.
After landing Messrs. Canning and Stephenson at Blanc Sablon, our vessel proceeded northward, and during the whole season continued cruising along the coast of Labrador, visiting the various settlements from Blanc Sablon to Hamilton Inlet, inclusive. On the 11th of October, we returned to St. John's.
The legal cases brought before me during the circuit were:—
|5 for debt,|
2 sureties of the peace,
2 injuring nets,
1 title to land,
In many matters I am applied to by the people for information and advice, and thus disputes are adjusted and litigation avoided. Although the cases tried are few, the fact of the annual presence of the court is beneficial and important in the prevention of offences.
The general conduct both of the residents and of the fishermen at Labrador during the fishing season, is very creditable to them; few serious offences are committed; and there is on the whole but little disorderly behaviour.
This season we went in our vessel where I had not been before, to the N.W. River at the head of the magnificent bay called Hamilton Inlet, for the purpose of enabling Mr. Crowdy to vaccinate the Indians belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, who have their principal Labrador establishment there, and where Mr. Connolly, their chief officer, resides. It was owing to his representation and request last year, that the Government determined to send a medical man to Labrador, for the purpose of vaccinating the inhabitants. Mr. Crowdy performed the operation on all the Indians here assembled, nearly two hundred men, women and children. These Indians are from Canada and the Mountaineer race—they speak the Indian language and follow the Indian mode of living. It was curious and interesting to see them encamped in their birchrind covered wigwams, at N.W. River, employed in building and repairing canoes and other work, preparatory to their journey into the interior of the country for hundreds of miles, on their annual furring expedition, for which purpose they are supplied by the Hudson's Bay Company. In these journeys all go—men, women and children; they travel by land and water, ascending rivers, crossing lakes and passing through woods and over barrens. They start from N.W. River in the summer and return the following spring with their catch of furs. They are Roman Catholics and are attended by a clergyman who comes down for that purpose every summer.
These Indians are quite a different race from the Esquimaux who inhabit the north coast of Labrador, and who generally occupy themselves in catching fish and seals.
Our visit was very satisfactory to all concerned. We ourselves were interested and amused by the scenery and by the Indians. Mr. Connolly was gratified by the attention paid by the Government to his application, and the job was well carried out by Mr. Crowdy.
While on this subject I beg leave to recommend to the Government what would be very useful and acceptable to the residents to those resorting to the Labrador during the fishing season, that a medical man should be sent in the circuit vessel for the purpose of attending to cases among the thousands of people congregated there in the summer. There is no doctor residing on the coast of Labrador. The medicines supplied by the Government to me, I disposed of as usual among the people, to whom they were of great use and highly valued.
Five schools were in operation this year at Labrador, viz.:—
|Pinware.||Mrs. O'Dell.||Summer and winter.|| 30 ||$80 |
|Red Bay.||John Bailey.||do.||20||80 |
|Cape Charles.||Laura Young.||do.||26||40 |
|Battle Harbor.||Thomas Ward.||do.||36||100 |
| Matthew's Cove. || Mary Marshall. ||Summer only.|| 70 ||40 |
| || || || ||$340 |
The people of the United States seem to have given up, as a fishing station, that part of Labrador comprised within the limits of the Newfoundland Government.
The Mail Packet Service at Labrador was this season satisfactorily carried out. The steamer “Walrus” employed, was built to do the work properly, and her master, Capt. Delaney, was in all respects well qualified for his duty.
(Signed) ROBERT JOHN PINSENT,
Judge of the Court of Labrador.