The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume VII

1 Decision of Privy
Council in re the
Labrador Company
defendant, and
The Queen, plaintiff.

2 Ibid.

3 Bacon to Dept of
Justice Canada,
12 May 1921.

4 Concession by
Beauharnois and
Hocquart to
1 September, 1733.

1 Brevet of
13 March. 1736.

2 Minister to
Beauharuois and
Hocquart, 13 April,
1740 and 26 April,

3 Deeds executed
before Panet, at
Quebec, 21 October,
1745 and 9 August,

4 Deed executed
before Sanguinet,
at Quebec,
31 August, 1751.

5 Inventory
executed before
Saillant, at Quebec,
29 September, 1751.

6 Deed executed
before Panet,
at Quebec,
10 June, 1751.

7 Deed executed
before Boucault,
at Quebec,
22 June, 1756.

8 Deed executed
before Saillant,
at Quebec,
2 September, 1756,

9 Grant by Murray,
15 June, 1761.

10 Declaration before
Saillant, at Quebec,
15 October, 1762.

11 Deed by
Lafontaine, at
Quebec, registered
by Goldfrap,
January, 1765.

12 Deed executed
before Planté,
at Quebec,
19 September, 1804.

13 Deed executed
before Planté,
at Quebec,
22 April, 1808.

14 Deed by Sheriff
of Quebec,
30 April, 1808.

1 Concession by
Beauharnois and
15 January, 1740.

2 Deed executed
before Latour,
at Quebec,
27 April, 1740.

3 Deed executed
before Planté
at Quebec,
19 September, 1804.

4 Deed executed
before Planté,
at Quebec,
22 April, 1808.

5 Deed by Sheriff
of Quebec,
30 April, 1808.

6 Concession by
Beauharnois and
2 May, 1738.

7 Ordinance by
25 September, 1758.

1 Deed executed
before Latour,
at Quebec,
30 April, 1739.

2 Concession by
Beauharnois and
20 September, 1739.

3 Brevet de
confirmation by the
13 April, 1740.

4 Engagements
executed before
Boucault, at Quebec,
17 September, 1742.

5 Ordinance
by Hocquart
4 October, 1743.

6 Ordinance by
Beauharnois and
30 December, 1743.

7 Concession by
Galissonière and
1 May, 1749.

8 Maseres to
3 January, 1767.

1 Ibid.

2 Maseres to
3 January, 1767.

3 Deed executed
before Saillant,
at Quebec,
20 April, 1756.

4 Memoir by
6 March. 1763.

5 Murray to
7 September, 1762.

6 Return by Murray,
22 July, 1763.

7 Memoir by
6 March, 1763.

8 Lafontaine to
23 October, 1763.

9 Murray to Halifax,
20 April, 1764.

10 Lords of Trade to
Privy Council,
30 November, 1772.

p. 3164

1892, in re the appeal of the The Queen vs. Labrador Company, the Imperial Privy Council stated that : “In an action of ejectment by the Crown, it appeared that the appellant company derived title through a grant made in 1661 by the French Government which gave no seigneurie over the land in suit but only a right to make establishments for hunting and fishing within certain limits” ; that an Ordonnance [by Hocquart] in 1733, together with the action of the French Crown thereunder, did not create or recognize any title in the heirs of the grantee to such seigneurie ; that, down to 1854, there was no evidence of either its creation or recognition by the British Crown; but that, in 1854, the Canadian Act, 18 Vic., cap. 3 (amended by subsequent Acts,) recognized that there was a seigneurie of Mingan, being part of the disputed land the boundaries whereof were conclusively established by a schedule authorized by the Acts.”1
The Privy Council held that the Court of the Queen's Bench was right in confirming the title of the Labrador Company to the scheduled lands.
They concurred in the conclusion arrived at by Justice Routhier, namely, that “the territory in which the right to make establishments for fishing, etc., was granted by the Concession of 1661, did not extend further eastward than the River Goynish and that there is no foundation for the claim to extend it to Bradore bay” and that “the bay referred to in the grant of 1661 as that where the Spaniards ordinarily fished was not that which is now called Bradore bay, but was the one indicated as the Baye des Espagnols (mouth of Natashkwan river) on the map.” They observed, however, that this point was not important inasmuch as the “schedule drawn up by Mr. Judah is conclusive on the sub jet of boundary.”
The Privy Council held, further, with regard to the claim of the Company to hold the whole of the land in suit by prescription and immemorial possession, that, inasmuch as it had disclosed the true root of its title, “there is no room for the application of the law of prescription.”2
1921, the Secretary of the Labrador Company stated that the Company “is the owner of the Seigniory of Mingan, which extends from Cape Cormorant to the liver Agwanus (Goynish), by two leagues in depth. . . . At present, we are only doing some salmon fishing . . . . We apply for fishing licenses to the Canadian Government.” 3



1733 Beauharnois and Hocquart granted Montagamiou concession to Lafontaine de Belcour for nine years (1733 to 1742). The concession granted the exclusive right to establish seal fisheries on the north shore of the St. Lawrence from Itamamiou river, inclusive, to the Montagamiou river.4

p. 3165

1736, the King confirmed the concession of Montagamiou to Lafontaine de Belcour.1

1745, Lafontaine had petitioned, in 1739, for a grant in perpetuity. The King refused this request but granted an extension of six years (1745-1751).2

1749, Lafontaine leased his concession to Jean Taché for six years (1749 to 1755), but the lease was cancelled in 1749). 3

1751, Lafontaine entered into partnership for five years (1751 to 1756) with William Strouds (or Stroude), the association to operate Montagamiou, Chicataka (Apetepy) and St. Augustin.4

1751. the fishing gear. trade goods and supplies at Montagamiou were duly inventoried.5

1756, Jean Taché, as assignee of the estate of Lafontaine, sold the returns from Montagamiou and Chicataka for the benefit of the creditors.6

1756, Joseph Godin engaged as master of the La Trinite to navigate it on the St. Lawrence on behalf of William Strouds (or Stroude).7

1756, Gilles de Lafontaine and William Strouds entered into partnership for three years (1756-1759) to operate Montagannot and Grosse Isle.8


1761, Murray granted Lafontaine permission to carry on the fishery and to take seals in Montagamiou concession for one year, on the ground that it had been represented to him by said Lafontaine that it belonged to him “par droit de Succession.”9

1762, Jean Tache protested the seizure and sale of Montagamiou post and other properties owned by Lafontaine.10

1764, Lafontaine sold Montaganmiou to Alex. McKenzie and John Lymburner. The concession is described as having a frontage of about 9 leagues “by four leagues in depth,” whereas, in the original concession, no depth was specified. It is possible that in one of the renewals of the grant, the said depth may have been inserted.11

1804, Lymburner & Crawford sold Itamamiou (Montagamiou) and other fishing posts on the north shore of the gulf of St. Lawrence to William Grant.12

1808, James Richardson, as curator of the estate of Wm. Grant and Chas. Wm. Grant sold Montagamiou and other fishing posts to Langan, Burns, Woolsey and M. Lymburner.13

1808, The Sheriff of Quebec sold the fishing posts on the islands opposite Montagamiou concession and on other islands to the east and west of it to John Richardson et al.14

p. 3166


1740, Beauharnois and Hocquart granted to Henry Albert de St. Vincent, for nine years (1740 to 1749), Petit-Mecatina concession with a frontage of about seven leagues, a depth of four leagues and extending from the Pommereau concession (Gros-Mecatina) to the Lafontaine concession (Montagmiou), also the islands opposite said concession, with the exclusive light to take seals and to hunt and to trade with the Indians within the limits of said concession.1
St. Vincent entered into partnership with Guillaume Estèbe for the operation of his concession, conceding to Estèbe a moiety thereof, the partnership to last for nine years, or, if extensions of the concession were granted, it was to continue in force during the period of such extensions.2


1804, Mathew Lymburner and John Wm. Woolsey, curator of the estate of John Crawford, sold to William Grant fishing posts on the north shore of the gulf and river St. Lawrence, including “Petit-Mecatina et dependances.”3
1808, James Richardson, as curator of the estate of Wm. Grant, and Chas. Wm. Grant sold Petit-Mecatina and other fishing posts to Langan, Burns, Woolsey and M. Lymburner.4
1808, the Sheriff of Quebec sold to Richardson, Langan, Burns, Woolsey and Lym burner, certain fishing posts and establishments, including “Little Mecatina.”5


1738, Beauharnois and Hocquart granted to Jean Baptiste Pommereau for ten years (1738–1748), Gros-Mecatina concession extending from cape Gros-Mecatina and including the cape, five leagues northeastward on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, by four leagues in depth and including the islands opposite, with the exclusive right to take seals, hunt and trade with the Indians, and permission to take fish concurrently with other French subjects.6
1738, Hocquart issued an ordinance authorising Pommereau to establish sedentary fisheries on the islands opposite his concession, such permission being granted without prejudice to the rights and claims of Volant d'Haudebourg, lessee and part owner of Isles et Islets de Mingan seigniory.7

p. 3167

1739, Pommereau “subrogue en son lieu et place” to each of his partners, Guillaume Estebe and Daniel de Beaujeu, a one-quarter interest in Gros-Mecatina.1

1739, Beauharnois and Hocquart granted to Pommereau for nine years (1739 to 1748), an augmentation of his Gros-Mecatina concession. It extended northeastward about four leagues to the river Thekapoin, with a depth of four leagues, with the exclusive right to take seals and hunt and trade within the limits of his concession.2

1740, the King confirmed the grants of 1738 and 1739, but explicitly excluded the islands opposite, doubtless because it had been discovered that they were within the limits of Isles et Islets de Mingan seigniory.3

1742, sixteen men from Quebec and vicinity engaged themselves as employees in Gros-Mecatina concession.4

1743, Beauharnois and Hocquart issued an ordinance regulating the respective rights of the concessionaires of the north shore of the gulf of St. Lawrence and the proprietors of Isles et Islets de Mingan seigniory. In 1739, they had fixed a rent of 25 livres per league of the islands conceded by the proprietors of the seigniory to the concessionaires of the mainland. In 1743, they fixed the rental to be paid to the seigniors of Mingan Islands seigniory at three per cent upon the total amount of seal oil and seal skins.5

1743, Hocquart, by an ordinance, determined the amount owing by the widow Pommereau to Lafontaine and the Bissot heirs as owners of Mingan Islands seigniory for rental of the islands opposite Gros Mecatina. The owners of the seigniory were ordered “d'accorder Titre de Concession a la ditte veuve Pommereau des Isles, Islets et Battures qui se trouvent vis-a-vis” Gros-Mecatina.6

1749, An extension of six years (1748 to 1754) of Gros-Mecatina concession—including the Augmentation—was granted to Croisille de Montesson, au nom et comme avant epousé le veuve du Jean-Baptiste Pommereau,” and to Guillaume Estèbe.7

1753, Maseres says that the widow Pommereau operated Gros-Mecatina till 1751 in which year Hocquart returned to France; that the seigniors of the Terre Ferme and of Isles et Islets de Mingan “obliged her to quit it, and it remained unoccupied for about two years”—till about 1753. Intendant Bigot. however, refused to allow the said seigniors to resume full possession.8
In accordance with the advice of Bigot, the seigniors authorised Tache who had married one of the co-heiresses of the Family,” and who was then going to France, to “endeavour to obtain an Order from him [the King] to have their right acknowledged and the Possession of the Post delivered to them.”
Taché obtained the promise, but, after his departure, the King, in 1754, was
p. 3168

prevailed upon to grant it to Hocquart for his lifetime, subject to the payment of a rental of three per cent to the seigniors of the Terre Ferme and Isles et Islets de Mingan. Hocquart also agreed to surrender St. Modet to Taché.1

1754, upon the strength of the promise he had received in 1753, Taché made preparations for Occupying and Improving” [sic.] Gros-Mecatina. However, he rented it from Hocquart in 1754 for a yearly rental of 7000 or 8000 livres paid to Hocquart, in addition to the rental of three per cent paid to the seigniors. Taché held it, as Hocquart's lessee, from 1754 to 1759.2

1756, Estèbe, acting “pour ses associés cy-devant propriétaires” of Gros-Mecatina, sold to Pierre Revol, Alexandre Dumas and Sérvant Durand the buildings, fishing gear, etc., in the concession.3

1760, the concession of Gros-Mecatina to Hocquart in 1754, was ratified by the King of France, 20 January 1760.4


1761, Governor Murray granted the seal fishery of Gros-Mecatina to Lafontaine for seven years.5

1762, Governor Murray granted the seal fishery of Gros-Mecatina to John Gray for seven years “or until his Majesty's Pleasure is further known.”6

1763, Hocquart requested that Gros-Mecatina concession be confirmed to him by the British Government.7

1763, Lafontaine stated to the Earl of Halifax, Secretary of State, that, although Gros-Mecatina was Lafontaine's private property, Murray had made an absolute grant of it to John Gray and that such grant was made without any legal or regular examination of his title.8

1764, Murray stated that : “I, out of pure Charity for Mr. Lafontaine and his family, gave him leave to occupy that post [Gros-Mecatina] for one year only. Had he behaved properly he might still have Possessed that Post.” But, as Lafontaine sheltered privateers at his posts, Murray says that “it, consequently, became expedient” to take Gros-Mecatina from him and give it to Gray in whom he could confide.9
Murray further says that Gray's partner, William Grant, paid Lafontaine “three per cent from the produce” of Gros-Mecatina and that, as Panet had assured him of the equity of Lafontaine's claim to the three per cent, he, Murray, had ordered payment thereof.

1772, the Lords of Trade reported against Hocquart's claim to Gros-Mecatina. They state that Gros-Mecatina is “comprised within the Limits of the Seigneuries or Lordships of the Main Land and of the Isles of Mingan.”10


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