SUPPLEMENT TO PART XIV.
REPORTS AND DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE LOCATION OF THE SEA-COAST LINE WITH RELATION TO THE ESTUARY OF THE HAMILTON RIVER SYSTEM.
PHYSIOGRAPHIC ASPECTS OF THE LABRADOR BOUNDARY PROBLEM.
BY PROFESSOR DOUGLAS W. JOHNSON.*
LIST OF DOCUMENTS CONSULTED . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
SUMMARY OF REPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
COAST-LINE DEFINED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
SCIENTIFIC DEFINITION OF COAST-LINE . . . . . . . . . . . .
SCIENTIFIC DISTINCTION BETWEEN COAST-LINE AND SHORE-LINE . . . .
LEGAL DEFINITION OF COAST-LINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
POPULAR CONFUSION OF COAST-LINE AND SHORE-LINE . . . . . . . .
COAST-LINE CONFUSED WITH COASTAL STRIP . . . . . . . . . . . .
OUTER, INNER, AND POLITICAL COAST-LINES . . . . . . . . . . . .
COAST-LINE DOES NOT ENTER RIVERS AND LAKES . . . . . . . . . .
COAST-LINE DELIMITED IN HAMILTON INLET REGION . . . . . . . .
SALT WATER NOT EVIDENCE OF SEA ARM . . . . . . . . . . . .
TIDES NOT EVIDENCE OF SEA ARM . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
LEGAL VIEW OF TIDAL RIVERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NAVIGABILITY NOT AN EVIDENCE OF SEA ARM . . . . . . . . . .
HAMILTON RIVER EXTENDS TO TIKORALAK HEAD . . . . . . . . . .
THE NARROWS STREAM IS A TIDAL RIVER . . . . . . . . . . . .
LAKE MELVILLE NOT A FJORD OR BAY . . . . . . . . . . . .
THEORIES OF FJORD FORMATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EVOLUTION OF NORTH-EASTERN AMERICA . . . . . . . . . . . .
LAKE MELVILLE NOT A FJORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
LAKE MELVILLE NOT A BAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
LAKE MELVILLE A TRUE LAKE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
HAMILTON RIVER AND HAMILTON INLET CONTRASTED . . . . . . . .
* Professor Douglas Johnson, Ph.D., Hon. D., is Professor of Physiography in Columbia University, New York City. During the World War he made special geographical studies in Europe for the Department of State of the American Government and for the American Geographical Society. At the Peace Conference in Paris, 1918-19, he served as Chief of the Division of Boundary Geography of the American Commission to negotiate Peace, as member of several international territorial Committees dealing with boundary problems, and as a geographical adviser to President Wilson and the Department of State in the Adriatic and other boundary disputes. He has specialized in shoreline and coastal studies, having published two volumes on these subjects (“Shore Processes and Shoreline Development” and “The Nature and Origin of Fjords”) and having received a number of native and foreign distinctions for his work.
PARTIAL LIST OF DOCUMENTS CONSULTED IN THE
PREPARATION OF THIS REPORT.
Cases and Counter-cases of the Dominion of Canada and the Colony of Newfoundland.
Joint Appendix, Volumes III and IV (Second Proof.) containing Documents Relating to Tidal and Other Surveys, Geologic and Geographic Reports affecting the Labrador Coast, and various other Documents relating to the Case (vide Final Print, Joint Appendix, Vol. V).
“ Geography and Geology of Lake Melville District, Labrador Peninsula.” Memoir 141, Canadian Geological Survey. E. M. Kindle.
“ Memorandum on the Depth of the Strand Allowed for the Purposes of Fisheries in Newfoundland and elsewhere.” Department of Justice, Canada.
“ Observations on the Hydrographic Survey and Reports by the Canadian Government of Lake Melville, Hamilton Inlet and The Narrows, 1921-23.” Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick C. Learmonth, K.B.E., CB.
“ Hydrographic Charts of Labrador Coast,” Nos. 222, 263, 1422, 375, Naval Service Chart of Lake Melville and The Narrows, No. 420.
“ Geographical considerations as to the Canadian-Newfoundland Boundary in Labrador.” J. W. Gregory.
“ Observations on the Fauna and Flora of Hamilton Inlet.” C. Tate Regan, M.A., F.R.S.
“ Reply to Observations by Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick C. Learmonth regarding Lake Melville and The Narrows.” W. Bell Dawson.
“ A Review of the Data concerning the Labrador Boundary as discussed in the Newfoundland Counter-Case, and of other memoranda concerning the Boundary.” E. M. Kindle.
“ Alaskan Boundary Tribunal,” 7 Volumes of Proceedings and 3 Atlases of Maps and Charts, Sheets 6-10 of the Sonth-east Alaska Boundary issued by the International Boundary Commission. Detailed Coast Survey Charts of the Alaskan Coast.
“ The Alaskan Boundary.” John W. Foster. National Geographic Magazine, X, 425-456.
“ The Alaska-Canadian Frontier.” Thomas Willing Balch. 45 pp. Philadelphia, 1902.
“ International Law Digest.” John Bassett Moore. I, 462-475, on Alaskan Boundary.
Various Coast Survey Charts of the Louisiana Coast for Lake Pontchartrain and other lakes near the Gulf Coast.
Various Encyclopaedias, Dictionaries, Law Dictionaries, and Legal Reports cited in the Text.
Various Maps and Atlases, including among Wall Maps those by Phillips, J. Perthes, Oxford, Stanford ; and among the Atlases, Rand McNally Commercial Atlas, “ Times ” Survey Atlas, “ Daily Telegraph ” Victory Atlas, Andree's Hand-Atlas, Stieler's Hand-Atlas, Bartholomew's Advanced Atlas of Physical and Political Geography, and the Century Atlas.
Various Texts on Physiography, including “ An Introduction to Physical Geography,” by Gilbert and Brigham ; “ College Physiography,” by Tarr and Martin ; “ Physical, Economic and Regional Geography,” by J. F. Chamberlain ; “ Physiography,” by Arey, Bryant and Clendenin ; “ Shoreline Topography,” by F. P. Gulliver ; “ North America,” by I. C. Russell ; “ Geomorphology of New Zealand,” Part I ; “ General Geomorphology,” by C. A. Cotton ; “Shore Processes and Shore-line Development,” by D. W. Johnson ; “ The Sea Coast,” by W. H. Wheeler ; “ Tidal Rivers,” by W. H. Wheeler ; “ Coast Erosion and Protection,” by E. R. Matthews ; “ The Nature and Origin of Fjords,” by J. W. Gregory; “ The Nature and Origin of Fjords,” by D. W. Johnson.
P R E F A C E.
IN the following report I have endeavoured to answer, in so far as the geographer may, two questions of prime importance in connection with the Labrador Boundary dispute: —
A.What precisely is the coast-line from which the territory known as the “ coast ” should be measured inland?
B.Where precisely should the coast-line be traced in the vicinity of Hamilton Inlet?
In seeking an answer to these questions I have examined the various reports, maps, charts and other documents listed below, and in addition many briefer memoranda and other sources of information not specifically cited in the text.
Throughout the report I have endeavoured to emphasize fundamental physical distinctions and to avoid theoretical niceties which have no place in a practical problem such as this. There are sound scientific reasons for distinguishing between seas and rivers, bays and lakes ; and these reasons we must understand and respect. But fine theoretical distinctions and controverted questions upon which specialists themselves cannot agree, need not greatly concern us. We will seek rather the fundamental reasons for making broad distinctions which are widely recognised and which form the basis of important actions in law, and in diplomacy, as well as in the every-day affairs of men.
To aid the reader in keeping clearly before him the general argument, I have summarized the substance of the report in the pages immediately following this Preface. This summary will be found convenient for ready reference, will show at a glance the relation of any details of the discussion to the general argument, and may serve a useful purpose where one desires to review the substance of the discussion without following it step by step.
SUMMARY OF REPORT.
IN answer to the first of two questions treated in this report—“ What precisely is the coast-line from which the territory known as the coast should be measured inland ? ”—it is answered that the coast-line is the line which outlines or contours a land mass where such land mass comes in contact with the sea. In elaboration of this answer it is shown (p. 1) that the scientific definition of coast-line places it at the inner edge of the shore, at the line reached by the highest storm tides (Fig. 1A). There is a scientific distinction between coast-line and shore-line (p. 2) and between coast and
shore, which the law has sometimes recognized (p. 3). In popular usage “ coast-line ” and “ shore-line ” are commonly confused (p. 4), although it is generally recognized that “ coast-line ” is a term inapplicable to the margin of lakes and rivers (p. 5). “ Coast-line ” is sometimes confused with “ coast ” or “ coastal strip,” even in diplomacy (p. 5), although it is properly a line without width. We must recognize and distinguish an “outer coast-line,” an “inner coast-line,” and a “ political coast-line,” each different from the other (Fig. 2, p. 7). It is the inner coast-line which chiefly concerns us here.
We now consider carefully the important and critical fact that the coast-line does not enter rivers and lakes (p. 9). It is first shown that physiographers and geographers restrict the terms “ coast ” and “ coast-line ” to the margins of lands bordering the sea. Then it is made clear that this restriction is so sound and practical that it is fully recognized by the law (p. 11), with only rare exceptions (p. 12). Popular custom follows the lead of science and the law (p. 13). Contrary arguments presented on behalf of the Colony of Newfoundland are considered at some length (p. 16 et seq.), especially the contention that the Alaskan Boundary Case forms a precedent for drawing the coast-line at the head of tide or head of salt water in tidal rivers (pp. 20-26). This contention, like the others, is shown to be erroneous, and it is concluded that the coast-line follows the border of the sea and its bona fide bays, but does not enter rivers or lakes, even where these are penetrated by salt water and by the pulsations of the tides (p. 26).
Having defined the coast-line, we now proceed to answer the second question—“ Where precisely should the coast-line be traced in the vicinity of Hamilton Inlet ?” The answer (p. 27) places it on the margins of Hamilton Inlet proper, but does not permit it to enter the Narrows or Lake Melville. Hamilton Inlet, east of Tikoralak Head, is thus recognized as a true arm of the sea (p. 27) ; but before we can justify the answer in so far as it relates to the Narrows and Lake Melville, we must dispose of some preliminary considerations. It is first shown that the presence of salt water in a river or a lake does not constitute it an arm of the sea (pp. 27-31) ; next that the propagation of tides into a river or a lake does not make it a sea arm (pp. 32-34). These scientific views are then shown to be recognized as sound and practical in the law (pp. 34-40) and in diplomacy (pp. 40-42). Navigability, the test proposed by Vice-Admiral Learmonth for distinguishing sea arms from land waters, is next shown to be wholly inapplicable in geographic and territorial problems such as the Labrador question (pp. 43-47).
The three preliminary considerations mentioned in the preceding paragraph having been disposed of, it is next shown that the Hamilton River system is a unit from its sources on the watershed to its mouth at Tikoralak Head, the Narrows and Lake Melville representing the tidal lower portion of this river system (p. 47). The criteria for recognizing true rivers are first set forth (p. 49), and it is shown that the Narrows stream corresponds in all essentials to the requirements for a normal river which is affected as most rivers are near the sea, by the tides (pp. 50-51). Special peculiarities of tidal
rivers are then discussed, and it is demonstrated that all such peculiarities arc typical of the Narrows stream (pp. 51-55). Finally, stream characteristics due to glaciation are set forth, and the presence of these characteristics in the Narrows-Lake Melville basin is pointed out (pp. 55-57). It is shown that if we had only the Narrows to deal with, and if Lake Melville were suppressed (Fig. 3, p. 57), no one could doubt that the Hamilton River continued to Tikoralak Head, the head of Hamilton Inlet proper.
Lake Melville is next considered, and it is argued that this water body is neither a fjord nor a bay of the ocean, but a true lake (p. 58). Inasmuch as the Colony of Newfoundland has presented testimony to the effect that Lake Melville is a fjord, apparently in the belief that this would fix its status as a sea arm, the fjord problem is fully considered, and it is shown-first, that the fjord problem is one of much intricacy and wholly irrelevant to the present issue (pp. 58-66) ; second, that the theory of fjord formation applied to the Labrador coast is highly improbable, and that Lake Melville lacks the essential characteristics of a fjord (pp. 66-70) ; and, third, that however interesting these theoretical considerations may be, territory cannot be assigned to sovereignty on such debatable grounds (p. 71). After the fjord problem is disposed of, it is shown that Lake Melville lacks the ordinary physical characteristics which are essential to a bay of the ocean (pp. 71-73). The obvious affinities of this water body with true lakes are then discussed, examples of other lakes affected by salt water and tides being cited (pp. 73-76).
In order to make more evident the fact that Lake Melville and the Narrows stream are terrestrial water-bodies whereas Hamilton Inlet proper is an arm of the sea, an imaginary drop of sea-level is assumed, and the resulting conditions (Fig. 4B) are compared with the conditions actually existing (Fig. 4A). It is shown that Lake Melville and the Narrows stream would exist independently of the sea, whereas Hamilton Inlet must be extinguished if the sea is withdrawn (pp. 76-82). Such a test fixes the mouth of the Hamilton River system at the mouth of the Narrows, and the head of the true sea inlet at Tikoralak Head (p. 83). This completes the demonstration as to the precise position of the coast-line in the vicinity of Hamilton Inlet.
A. —THE “ COAST-LINE ” IS THE LINE WHICH OUTLINES OR CONTOURS A LAND MASS WHERE SUCH LAND MASS COMES IN CONTACT WITH THE SEA.
It will later appear that the “ coast ” of any land mass is a zone or belt of country of indefinite breadth extending inward from the coast-line. It is important, therefore, that the precise significance of this base line, from which the breadth of the coast is to be measured, be clearly understood. Fortunately the meaning of “ coast-line ” is less open to controversy than is the broader term “ coast,” and it is thus convenient to treat it first, leaving the discussion of “ coast” to subsequent paragraphs.