The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume VII

1 Opinion of
Arden, Edw.
Bearcroft and John
Lee, 1785.

2 Dunn, Grant and
Stuart to Hope,
14 May, 1785.

3 Lease by
18 May, 1785.

4 Hamilton to Sydney,
26 May, 1785.

5 Lease by Hamilton,
21 June, 1786.

6 Commission by
Hope to Harrison,
5 August, 1786.

7 Harrison to Hope,

8 Deed executed
before Pinquet and
Deschenaux, at
9 Sept., 1786.

9 Lease by
5 April, 1802.

10 Order-in-Council,
6 April, 1803.

11 Lease by Dalhousie,
26 July, 1822.

12 Report of the
Committee on
22 March, 1831.

1 Ibid.

2 Commission by
23 February, 1828.

3 Report of the
Committee on
Grievances. House
of Assembly,
22 March, 1831.

4 Bishop of Quebec
to Rev. Belleau,
23 May, 1831.

5 Keith to Simpson,
25 April. 1835.

6 Simpson to Keith,
21 September, 1837.

7 Galt to Glenelg,
28 September and
15 October, 1836.

8 Nixon to Galt,
22 September, 1836.

9 Pelly to
20 March, 1839.

10 Transactions of
the Literary and
Historical Society
of Quebec. vol. IV,
pp. 35-10, 1841.

1 Lease by Bagot
27 June, 1842.

2 Memorandum by
W. H. A. Davies,
31 August, 1842.

3 Simpson to Taché
29 October, 1849.

4 Bouthillier to
5 September, 1849.

5 Bouthillier to
22 January, 1850.

6 Report to Council,
11 Sept, 1861,
p. 2955, vol. vi.

1 Narrative by Fornel, 7 September,

1 The Voyages and
Works of John
Davis. Edited by
A. H. Markham,
London. 1880, p. 29.

2 Agreement
executed before
Barolet, at Quebec,
3 May, 1737.

3 Minister to
Beauharnois and
21 April, 1739.

4 Fornel to the Minister,
27 October, 1742.

p. 3129

Allsopp, Chinn & Co. were ejected by the Imperial Order in Council of 26 June 1767, above referred to.
Following the expiration of the lease to Dunn and Gray in 1777, it was extended for a further terns of three years. After the expiration of the extension in 1780, the lessees continued as tenants at will at the same rent.1

1785, the lessees petitioned for a new lease for 10 years (1785 to 1795). In their petition. they state that “at their sole expense, they have carefully attended to, supported and maintained the Aged, and Infirm, the Widows and Orphans ; the distressed Indians residing on the King's Domain have been relieved and supported by your Memorialists. . . . Your Memorialists, as consequent to their possession, claim, and expectations, were under the Necessity to keep a Constant and Sufficient quantity of Goods and Provisions at the Posts to Supply the Wants of the Indians.”2

1785, Lieut. Gov. Hamilton leased the King's Posts to Thos. Dunn, William Grant and Peter Stuart for one year certain and for a further period of nine years (1786 to 1795), subject to the approbation of the King, for an annual rental of £400 cy.3
The King disapproved the lease to Dunn, Grant and Stuart4 and, in accordance with his instructions, the King's Posts were leased to Alex. Davison, Geo. Davison and Francois Baby for 10 years (1786 to 1796) for an annual rental of £400.5

1786, Edward Harrison was commissioned by Lieut. Governor Hope to make an inventory of the posts and the contents thereof, the inventory to be used in determining the compensation due to the old lessees, Dunn, Grant and Stuart.6 Harrison submitted his report in the same year.7

1786, Francois Baby assigned his interest in the lease of the King's Posts to George Davison and Alexander Davison.8

1802, the lease of the King's Posts was awarded to the highest bidders, Simon McTavish, John Gregory and associates, commonly known as the North West Company. The lease was for the term of 20 years (1802 to 1822) at an annual rental of £1,025 cy.9

1803, the Legislative Council ordered that a Proclamation be issued prohibiting unauthorised persons hunting, trading or fishing in the King's Posts.10

1822, the lease of the King's Posts for 20 years (1822 to 1842), was awarded to the highest bidder, John Goudie, at an annual rental of £1,200 cy.11

1823, Goudie “transferred two-thirds of his rights therein, to Mr. James McDouall.” In 1824, William Lampson acquired McDouall's rights and claims and, in 1828, he also acquired Goudie's share.12

1822, the Hudson's Bay Company, which, by union with the North West Company in 1821, had acquired its rights and claims, leased the seigniory

p. 3130

of Mille-Vaches. Later, they established Portneuf fur-trading post in this seigniory and, owing to its position with reference to the King's Posts, were able to carry on a considerable trade with the Indians of the Posts to the manifest injury of the lessee.1

1828, Andrew Stuart and David Stuart were appointed Commissioners to explore “the tract of country . . . . commonly called the `King's Posts' and the lands adjacent thereto.” 2

1831, a committee of the House of Assembly reported that the Portneuf post had been established by the Hudson's Bay Co. “in contradiction to the conditions of the Concession deed of said Seigniory” and that the Crown officers had given it “as their opinion that Portneuf constituted a part of the Domain of His Majesty leased out under the appellation of the `King's Posts.'”3

1831, the Hudson's Bay Co. acquired the lease of the King's Posts by purchase from Lampson.4
When Lampson disposed of his interest in the lease of the Posts to the Hudson's Bay Co., purchaser and vendor “reciprocably engaged not to interfere or molest the Trades carried on at the King's Posts and at Esquimaux Bay, owned by each concern respectively.”5

1836, “The Hudson's Bay Company purchased a transfer of the remaining (say 10 years) of the Lease of the King's Posts, together with the stock on hand for a consideration of £25,000.”6

1836, John Galt wrote Lord Glenelg, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, urging that the King's Posts be thrown open to settlement upon the expiration of the existing lease.7 Lieut. Nixon recommended that military pensioners be settled in the basin of the Saguenay river.8

1839, Governor Pelly, of the Hudson's Bay Co. wrote to the Colonial Secretary, the Marquis of Normanby, requesting a new lease of the King's Posts and stated that the Company were willing that the Saguenay territory be thrown open to colonisation. He stated that the company desired to retain the exclusive right of hunting, and of trading with the Indians, that they might the more effectually “maintain in their own Territory bordering on that part of Canada, the restriction of the use of Spirituous liquors, and all those other beneficial regulations, which have been found essentially to improve the conditions of the Indians and to preserve the peace of the Country and to continue the like benefits to the Indians of the King's Posts.”9

1841, Samuel Robertson states that there were about 50 establishments, chiefly sedentary seal fisheries, between Blanc Sablons and a point 150 miles west of it and, of the “fifty, nearly half are in the neighbourhood of Bradore, which is only three miles from Blanc Sablon river.” 10
Robertson states that the Hudson's Bay Company had six establishments in the King's Posts, namely, Tadoussac, Portneuf, Jérémie, River Godbout,

p. 3131

Seven Islands and River Moisie ; that, in the Terre Ferme de Mingan, they had four posts, namely, Mingan, Napisipi, Natasquan and Musquarow.
Robertson estimates the number of Montagnais Indians inhabiting the coast “from the Saguenay downwards,” at about 700 “and including those about Lake St. John, may amount to 1,000—I am afraid, however, that this estimate is too large.” He estimates that, 200 years earlier, the Montagnais tribe “was four times as numerous as now.”

1842, the King's Posts were leased to the Hudson's Bay Co. for 21 years (1842 to 1863) at an annual rental of £600 cy., the Company also releasing the Crown from the payment to them of the sum of £1,800 cy.,“by them paid for the value of certain Indian Debts.”1
This lease granted the exclusive right of trading, hunting and fishing, but, unlike earlier leases, it provided that the Crown could grant any part of the Ring's Posts tract for the purposes of settlement.

1842, Davies states that the Indians frequented the various posts as follows : Jeremie, 15 families ; Godbout, 10 families ; and Seven Islands, 8 families.2

1849, Sir George Simpson wrote the Commissioner of Crown Lands. He stated that, during the previous six years, on several occasions, the Hudson's Bay Company had claimed compensation for losses occasioned to then by the granting of licenses to cut timber in the King's Posts. He suggested that a friendly suit be taken and a “decision of the Bench obtained.”3
T. Bouthillier reported that “if the Government is to be held strictly to the letter of the Lease, the Hudson's Bay Company may perhaps be maintained in the position they assume.” 4
Later, Mr. Bouthillier reported that “it would appear desirable to have the Lease, if not cancelled, at least so modified as to do away with all the exclusive privileges attached to it.”5
The connection of the Hudson's Bay Company with the King's Posts came to an end with the termination of the lease on November 15, 1860.6



It is difficult to fix an exact date for the first appearance on the map of the body of water known under the names of Kessessakiou, Kichecatsou, Esquimaux, Sauvages, St. Louis, Ivucktoke and Touchstoke Bay and Hamilton inlet.
The Ribero map of the World, 1529, indicates a large bay in latitude 54 ½°, which may have been intended for Hamilton inlet.

p. 3132

The Desceliers map of the World, 1550, indicates a large inlet designated “Grand Baie” but the latitude and the width at its mouth would seem to identify it with the mouth of Hudson strait.
Mercator's map of the World, 1569, shows a large gulf designated “Golfam de Merosro,” apparently based on the discoveries of Corte-Real. This, also, is probably the southern portion of Davis Strait.
The map of the World which accompanied Hakluyt's “Voyages.” 1600, contains the explorations made by Davis in 1586. His “great sea” is shown as a large bay with several islands near its mouth, but is not named. This defect, Hondius, in his map of Septentrio America, 1630, endeavoured to supply. He reproduces Davis' “great sea,” but identifies it with the Golfam de Merosro of Corte-Real.
On both the World map, 1600, and Hondius' map, 1630, Hudson strait is indicated with a note: “A furious overfall,” referring to the tumultous sea sometimes caused by the tides at its mouth.
The “Baye Sauvage,” indicated on Sanson's map of Amerique Septentrionale 1669, can be identified with certainty with the present Hamilton inlet.
On Jaillot's map of Amerique Septentrionale, 1695, it is still “Baye Sauyage,” but, on de l'Isle's map of l'Amerique Septentrionale. 1700, it is “Grande Baye des Esquimaux.” During the French regime, it wits commonly known either as Baye des Esquimaux or as Baye de Kessessakiou.
Courtemanche, on the chart accompanying the report of his exploration of the coast east of the Kegaska river, 1704, names it the “Quesesasquiou,” presumably a variant spelling of the native name.
Fornel, in his chart dated 1744, designates it: “Baye Kessessakiou ou des Esquimaux, dite Baye St. Louis” and, in the report accompanying the chart, he states that he had re-named it “St. Louis,”doubtless in honour of the reigning monarch.
Fornel named present Rigolet narrows “Riviere Kessessakiou. recognizing that it is really the mouth of the present Hamilton river.1 This usage was adopted by the famous French cartographer, Bellin, in the official French chart of the “Golphe de St. Laurent,” published by the Départment de la Marine, Paris, 1753.
Subsequent to the Treaty of Paris, 1763, most maps of Canada were issued by British geographers, but it is a remarkable fact that it was only after a lapse of about sixty years that Hamilton inlet was indicated on British maps with the detail shown on the Fornel chart of 1744 and the Bellin chart of 1753.
Jefferys, in his “American Atlas,” 1776, shows the “Great Bay of the Eskimaux,” but the topographical detail shows that his knowledge could be summed up as follows : He knew that there was a large inlet in this locality but had absolutely no data respecting the shore-line and, like Arrowsmith, was ignorant of the existence of present lake Melville, although it had been indicated on the French naval charts 23 years earlier.
Jefferys, however, in a note, suggests that “This perhaps is the place about 54° 30´ where Davis saw a great Sea entering between two lands, the lower all Islands and had hopes of a N.W.Passage.”

p. 3133

With our present knowledge, we are able to state with certainty that Hamilton inlet is the locality referred to by Davis, who states that, in 1586, he “had a perfect hope of the [Northwest] passage, finding a mighty great sea passing between two lands West. The South land, to our judgment, being nothing but isles, we greatly desired to go into this sea, but the wind was directly against us.”1
Davis' account demonstrates that he entered present Sandwich bay but was unable to enter Hamilton inlet, owing to the unfavourable wind.
In his map of North America, 1822, Arrowsmith shows an opening designated “Ivucktoke Inlet,” but the utter absence of detail of the shore-line demonstrates that he had not had access to a survey of the inlet itself. For this portion of the shore of Labrador, Arrowsmith used a sketch survey made by Lieut. Roger Curtis, R.N., in 1773. As Curtis did not enter Hamilton inlet, he shows no portion of it with any attempt at accuracy except the capes at the southern and northern sides of the entrance.
In his chart of Labrador and Greenland, 1825, Arrowsmith shows “Ivucktoke or Hamilton Inlet” and “Lake Melville” in detail, and a note on it states that, between Hamilton inlet and Okkak, it is based on surveys by “Mr. Rt. Morison. . . . .when on coasting voyages in H.M. brig Clinker in 1821 and 1822.”
Summing up: The Atlantic coast had been surveyed with a fair degree of accuracy by the French before the publication of Sanson's map in 1663, at least as far north as Hamilton inlet. It is probable that Bourdon, during his voyage in 1657, sighted the coast from Belleisle strait to the most northerly point he reached, namely, latitude 55°, or about present Kaipokok.
1737, Louis Fornel entered into partnership for seven years with Louis Bazil, concessionaire of Baye-des-Chateaux concession, and Francois Havy, a merchant of Quebec. The agreement provided that Fornel, Bazil and Havy should carry on a seal fishery within the limits of said concession.2
1738. Fornel applied to the Minister for a concession of Baye-des-Esquimaux. As Daine and Foucault had also applied to Beauharnois and Hocquart for a concession in the same region, the Minister suggested that Fornel should unite with them, but, in any event, Fornel must receive as favourable treatment as the others.3
1742, Fornel applied for a grant of the Baye-des-Chateaux concession on the ground that he, alone, of the partnership, had developed it ; that he had come to a good understanding with the Eskimo and offered, if granted Baye-des-Chateaux, to explore Baye-des-Esquimaux at his own expense. He also stated that he had applied for the concession of Baye-des-Esquimaux “quelques annees” before 1742.4
1743, Louis Fornel made a survey of the Atlantic coast of Labrador peninsula from the strait of Belleisle to the upper end of present Hamilton inlet. He sent a detailed report of his explorations, with a chart, to the Governor and Intendant. In 1744, he submitted another chart showing his own explorations and also those made by the Pilotes in present lake Melville.


Partnered Projects Government and Politics - Table of Contents Site Map Search Heritage Web Site Home