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No. 542.



31 December, 1874.  

      Report of I. L. McNeil, Esq., Acting Judge of the Court of Labrador.

      To His Excellency Sir Stephen Hill, C.B., K.C.M.C., Governor         and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Island of         Newfoundland and its dependencies.

      I have the honour to make my circuit report for the information of Your Excellency and Council; Having been appointed Judge of the Court of Labrador I sailed from St. John's on the 9th June in the revenue cruiser “Voyager,” Giles, master, in company with Mr. Knight and Mr. Stevenson, Collectors of Customs of the Coast of Labrador.

      We suceeded in getting over to the Labrador coast on the 27th June, and anchored at Blanc Sablon, where we landed Mr. Stevenson, and then proceeded northward to Hamilton Inlet, arriving there on the 30th July, calling on our way north at the principal harbors and fishing stations, and attending to our official duties, during which I had frequent occasion to offer advice in the settlement of disputes between the residents of the coast.
      On our return from the north, we arrived at Battle Harbor, 22nd September, where I found several parties awaiting my presence to hear and settle their complaints. After getting through our business here I landed from the revenue cutter, Mr. Knight having to go in that vessel to the French shore for the purpose of completing census returns on that part of the coast. I took passage on the mail steamer “Leopard” for St. John's, where I arrived on the 2nd October.

      The salmon fishery on the sea coast was unusually good, while in the rivers and northern bays, it was quite a failure, more especially in Sandwich Bay and Hamilton Inlet.

p. 1479

      Owing to a succession of unfavourable fisheries of late years, the resident population of Labrador had, (with few exceptions) become impoverished in their circumstances, and many of them found it difficult to procure necessary supplies for the support of their families.
      The supply of books and medicines furnished by the Government for the poor, was distributed by me principally to the settlers of Sandwich Bay and Hamilton Inlet, who made anxious enquiries for them, and appeared very grateful for the attention bestowed upon them in this respect. Medicines especially are a valuable boon to the poor people on that coast, many of Whom have no other means of getting a supply.
      Eight public schools were in operation in Labrador during the year, viz:—
Red Bay,
Cape Charles,
Matthews Cove,
Battle Harbor,
Little Harbor,
Venison Tickle,

      I visited some of the schools and found a fair attendance of children who appear in most cases to be making some improvement.
      I received returns from all the schools except that of Venison Tickle. I I [sic] transmitted the returns to the Colonial Secretary. The legal cases brought before me during the circuit were four.
For debt and damages — one,
For trespass — two,
Assault and battery — one,
One bastardy,
One larceny.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,                   
ISRAEL L. McNEIL,        
Acting Judge of the Court of Labrador.
Carboner, [sic]
      December 31st, 1874.



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