p. 4174

No. 1595.



1. EDWARD COLPITTS ROBINSON, F.R.G.S., of 32, Crescent Grove, Clapham Common, London, England, make oath and say as follows :—

(1) Between the years 1905 and 1916, I spent, altogether, about six years in Labrador, including two whole winters. I acted as Agent for the London and Labrador Corporation, which was a Lumber Company, and had areas totalling 1,000 square miles from the Newfoundland Government, located on both sides of the inner section of Hamilton Inlet, extending up the Mulligan, North West, Kennimmoo and Kenimish Rivers. I have travelled north as far as the most northern point, Cape Chidley, and south into Canadian territory. My work was prospecting. I have travelled inland 30 miles beyond the Muskrat Falls. I am the author of a book on Labrador entitled “ In an Unknown Land,” published in 1909.

(2) I was acquainted with all the hunters and trappers on Labrador more particularly with those at the head of Hamilton Inlet, which is about 150 miles from the open coast. The hunters and trappers all live at the heads of bays and inlets and trap a long way inland, often as far up as the Grand Falls. I know several trappers who have talked to me of their journeys up there. The inhabitants of this district are all of British descent. Malcolm Maclean, who is the leading character in the district, came from the Orkney Islands and settled here some sixty years ago. The other inhabitants are descended from Britishers who settled in Labrador many generations ago.

(3) I was also familiar with the salmon fisheries near mouth of the Kenimish River in Hamilton Inlet and at Eagle River in Sandwich Bay. Newfoundland regulations forbid commercial fishing in any river, no nets being allowed in the rivers or within 200 yards of their mouths. In addition to salmon, there are thousands of seals in the inner part of Hamilton Inlet up to Grand River. The inhabitants catch these seals, use the skins for various purposes and also sell them to the Hudson's Bay Company.

(4) I have known instances of the Newfoundland criminal laws being enforced at North West River in Hamilton Inlet, and at the heads of other bays by Dr. Grenfell and others, holding Commissions as Justices of the Peace from the Government of Newfoundland. On one occasion, I acted as policeman for the purpose of legal proceedings by Dr. Grenfell, against a

p. 4175

man who had contravened the liquor laws. He committed the offence up the Hamilton River, and Dr. Grenfell imposed a fine of $100.00 on him, but the sentence was afterwards remitted by Governor MacGregor, when he visited the region. Newfoundland fishermen come up Hamilton Inlet and other bays to cut spars for their boats and timber for all fishery purposes. The livyers also cut timber for house building and they supply wood to the Mission steamers and the fishing vessels for fuel and cooking purposes.

(5) The Indians, both Montagnais and Nascopies, come out and sell their furs at Sandwich Bay, North West River and Davis's Inlet. I have met them at North West River and at Paradise River in Sandwich Bay, and I have known of them going from North West River to Davis's Inlet.

(6) In times of distress, relief is distributed among the inhabitants of eastern Labrador by the Newfoundland Government through the agency of the Hudson's Bay Company. In such cases, the persons relieved frequently cut timber and make boats which are sold and the proceeds credited to the Newfoundland Government to the best of my knowledge and belief. The Moravian settlements relieve the natives who are attached to them, and in return the Newfoundland Government allows the Moravians to import their supplies free of duty.

(7) Hamilton Inlet exists right up to the mouth of the River and the name Lake Melville is not known to the inhabitants. The mouth of Hamilton River is located in Goose Bay. Portions of Goose Bay have been rendered shallow by river deposits of sand, etc., which have been shifted about by the tides, but a passage always remains open for large vessels. I have myself seen a steamship of about 2000 tons, the “ Briardene,” at Mud Lake up the Hamilton River, from whence it took a cargo of lumber to England which was sold at Liverpool. The rise and fall of the tide is discernible in the Hamilton River up to the Muskrat Falls ; and about half way up to the Muskrat Falls there is some salinity in the water.

Sworn at No. 1 Lincoln's Inn Fields in the
County of London this 28th day of
Sept. 1926.

Before me,
A Commissioner of Oaths.


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