AFFIDAVIT OF ERNEST FREDERICK EWING.
IN THE PRIVY COUNCIL.
IN THE MATTER OF THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE DOMINION OF CANADA AND THE COLONY OF NEWFOUNDLAND ON THE
I, ERNEST FREDERICK EWING, Fish Merchant, of Rose Blanche, Newfoundland, make oath and say as follows :—
I am a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, and was employed with the Hudson's Bay Company for six years, the first two in travelling for the Company between the posts of Cartwright, Rigolet and Northwest River, buying furs and auditing, after which I took charge of the post at Northwest River, which appointment I held for four years, resigning in 1922 to engage in my present work.
There were three trading posts at Northwest River—one owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, one by Revillon Freres of Paris, and one by the Porters of New York.
There were about fifteen families on our post, that is, within the land we claimed as our own ; five families at the Revillon post, which was across the river from us, and two families at the Porter post, somewhat to the south of ours. There were also various families of half-breeds and natives within the vicinity, in small settlements.
About fifty families, or, say, 200 persons in all, of Montagnais Indians would come out semi-annually from the interior. They claimed Northwest River as their native home, and most of them had never been across the height of land except to hunt, while others travelled as far as Seven Islands, Mingan, and intermarried with some of the natives on Canadian Labrador. They were Roman Catholics, and came out every summer to meet the priest from Newfoundland, who comes to Northwest River to visit them, and they came out in winter about Christmas and New Year to barter their furs for supplies.
Our post at Northwest River operated an outpost at Mud Lake, some 18 miles away ; another at Traverspine River, 23 miles away, and recently started one at Nascopie River, 50 miles inland from Northwest River, which we ran in winter for the convenience of the Indians, to save the expense of hauling supplies there by dog teams. It was proposed to build there shortly and stock it by means of a motor-boat in summer.
In the summer of 1921 a Canadian Government steamer came to Northwest River in connection with the Labrador Boundary Case and had on board Mr. Plaxton, a lawyer from the Canadian Department of Justice. He, with the assistance of a Frenchman. Mr. Thevenet, the manager of the Revillon Post,, circulated among the residents a printed paper with various questions on it, some of which suggested that the residents would be better off under Canadian control than under Newfoundland control, and requested them to declare themselves in favour of, and petition for, the territory to pass into the control of Canada. Messrs. Plaxton and Thevenet would get the settlers to visit the latter's office, discuss with them the matters included in the circular, and then persuade them to sign this statement. Most of the people signed it under the impression that they would be better off, because they were told that if Canada had control they would not have to pay any taxes, would have a better mail service there, and a better development of the region would be undertaken. I am confident that if the facts were properly put to the people they would all sign another petition declaring in favour of Newfoundland control.
ERNEST FREDERICK EWING.
Sworn at Rose Blanche, Newfoundland,
this 23rd day of June, 1926.
ARTHUR SQUAREY, J.P.,