IN THE PRIVY COUNCIL.
IN THE MATTER OF THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE DOMINION OF CANADA AND THE COLONY OF NEWFOUNDLAND ON THE LABRADOR COAST.
Voluntary Statement of MALCOLM MCLEAN of Carter Basin, Lake Melville.
1. I came to Labrador from the Island of Lewis, Scotland, a young man of 19 years of age, in the year l872, in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. For five years I worked at the Company's posts at Rigoulette and Northwest River ; then I left the Company's service in order to do trapping and fishing on my own account and I have followed that occupation ever since. I have resided continuously on and about the Hamilton Inlet and Lake Melville, and have an intimate knowledge of the conditions which have obtained from time to time and of everything that has happened in this region since I came here.
2. The Montagnais and Nascaupee Indians, with whom the trade at the posts at Rigoulette and the Northwest River has always been carried on, hunt over all the territory north and south of Lake Melville and the Hamilton Inlet, right out to the sea-shore, wherever there is game to be found. They have always been doing that since I came to this country and I believe their forefathers ranged over the same territory. The Eskimo live along the sea-shore north of the Hamilton Inlet, the first considerable settlement of them being at Hopedale where the Moravian Brothers have a mission. A few of them trade at the Hudson's Bay Company's post at Rigoulette but none of them trades at the posts at North West River.
3. The first grants or leases of lands or of timber rights upon Lake Melville of which I have knowledge, were made by the Newfoundland government about 1901. In that year two concerns began operations. One, the Grand River Pulp and Lumber Co., of Nova Scotia, began to cut timber on limits lying upon Goose Bay and the Hamilton River. The Company established two mills : one at Mud Lake and another at Carter's Basin, though they were operated at different times. The Company continued operations until about 1911 or 1912, when the mills were closed down and all operations suspended. Since then. I have cut 5,000 ft. of timber on the Company's limits in each year in order to maintain the Company's lease in
good order under the Newfoundland regulations ; but beyond this no further operations have been carried on.
The other lease granted in 1901 was to the firm of Messrs. Calder and Muir of Nova Scotia, of a timber limit upon the Kenamou River. In the fall of 1901, they erected a portable mill at Carter's Basin ; they cut timber throughout the winter and sawed it in the following summer. The lumber was sold to the Grand River Pulp and Lumber Co., which shipped it away. About 1907, Messrs. Carter and Muir sold their limit to S. P. Benjamin, of Nova Scotia, who in the winter of that year had a gang of 14 or 15 men on the limit. They cut a large quantity of logs but nothing further was done. The logs are still rotting on the ground. I understand Mr. Benjamin some time afterwards sold the limit to the McMartins of Montreal but this firm never worked the limit.
In or about September 1913, a man named Edward E. Robinson came to Carter's Basin as the manager of The London and Labrador Corporation, Ltd., of London, England. He began operations for his company on the Kenamou River. They cut logs up to Christmas time the first winter and the next winter they cut a large quantity of pit props on Carter's Basin, and on the north side of Lake Melville about 12 miles east of Northwest River. These props are still on the ground. No further operations were ever carried on by the company.
About 1910 or 1911, and for several years following, a concern called The Labrador Syndicate in which I believe a number of Newfoundlanders were interested, had some cruising done in the timberland around the head of Lake Melville ; also a search was made for minerals. No operations of any kind were started, however.
During two or three summers (1916, 1917 and 1918, I think), a Mr. Penny, agent of the Reids of Newfoundland, did some cruising over the lands around the head of Lake Melville, but no operations resulted from this work.
4. The game and fish regulations of Newfoundland are observed neither by the Indians nor by the settlers in and about the Lake Melville country. During the past six or seven years a Newfoundland game and fish warden has paid an annual visit to Lake Melville, going up as far as Mud Lake. There were many breaches of the law if he had wished to take notice of them, but I have never heard of his taking any action to secure the punishment of offenders.
5. No cod fishing has within my recollection ever been carried on in Lake Melville for the reason that the water of this lake, whilst slightly brackish, contains too much fresh water to make the lake a suitable habitat for this species of fish. On one or two occasions cod-fish have been caught in the Narrows, about three miles eastward of Rigoulette, but this was regarded as a most exceptional event. Usually they are caught about two miles east of Rigoulette in the Hamilton Inlet but rarely to the westward of that limit.
6. According to my certain knowledge, a census has been taken for the Canadian government of the settlers living around Lake Melville on three different occasions, namely, in 1891, 1901 and 1911, and this year it is again being taken. The census of 1891 was taken by Mr. Mesber of Sandwich Bay ; that of 1901 by Mr. Guy, of Sandwich Bay and that of 1911 by Mr. Peter Smith of the Hudson's Bay Company at the Northwest River post.
7. Ever since I came to Labrador, the Indians of the country, both Montagnais and Nascaupee, have been, without exception, devout members of the Roman Catholic Church ; and until last year their spiritual needs were attended to by priests belonging to the diocese of Quebec. Pere Babel was the first priest to visit the Northwest River post. That was in the " Sixties." He was followed by Pere Arnaud who came here several years. He was succeeded in this mission by Pere Lacasse who also made a number of visits. Later on Pere Favert came ; and still later, Pere Le Moine. The last named was the last priest from Quebec to come here. He discontinued his visits about thirty years ago, telling the Indians to come down thereafter to the missions on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Last year a priest from Newfoundland came here.
8. The inhabitants of this country are dissatisfied with the present state of things and are anxious, according to my knowledge, hardly without exception, that this country should be held to constitute part of Canada rather than Newfoundland.
They believe that their lot cannot be any worse and expect that it is likely to be a great deal better if the question as to the boundary is decided in that way.
9. In 1905, I may add that I secured from the Newfoundland government a grant of 160 acres on Carter's Basin, subject to a reservation of gold, silver, coals and other minerals. I paid the government the sum of $49.00 for this land.
The foregoing statement has been read over to me and I sign the same verily believing it to be true according to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.
Dated at Dated at Carter's Basin, Lake Melville, this 19th day of July A.D. 1921.
LE ROY T. BOWES.
C. P. PLAXTON.