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Newspaper Records

"The Daily News"

Year End 1932 - Historical Facts on Labrador

Place of publication: St. John's.
Dates of publication: Feb. 15, 1894 - June 4, 1984.
Frequency: Daily (except Sunday).

The records were transcribed by JOHN BAIRD and SUE O'NEILL. While we have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there may be typographical errors.



Labrador Matters In Brief Survey

Some Statics and Details Regarding the Great Northern Dependency of Newfoundland With Reference to Past and Present Titles and a Historical Data in Connection With The Labrador Award.

During the last few months of 1932 the Coast of Labrador, has once again been brought prominently before the world, and this time because of the reported discovery by D. S. Bondurant of gold bearing quartz and slate in the vicinity of Lake Wakunich on the headwaters of the Ashuanipi River which empties in Hamilton River. The reported discovery is in 57.5 Lat and 67 Long.  On October 5th last Captain Bonduant signed agreement with the Government under certain conditions.  Since that date 11 or 12 applications for 100,000 square miles each have been approved by the government on the same terms as granted in the original applicant and it may be presumed that any further areas to be approved will be along the similar lines.

In short form the terms are as follows.:-
The concessionaire is given for a term of three years the exclusive right to prospect over the area of land included in his agreement.  He shall yearly pay to the Crown the sun of $1,000 and expend on actual prospecting the sum of $5,000 yearly expense to use such reasonable water power within his area.  He may cut on the land such timber as is actually required for building and mining, and shall pay neither rent or royalties for it.  He is permitted to import free of duty during the term of the agreement-three years all mining equipment for prospecting and exploration.
At the end of the three years the concessionaire may select such potion of the area held by him, and stake and take up such portion under the provisions of the Crown Lands Act.
He shall pay as royalty , on coal, 15 1/2 cents per ton; Copper 4 cents and ____ (unreadable) that is one per cent of copper are smelted, lead 2 cents per unit, figured as above; Iron 5 cents on every ton sold or smelted.
A tax on net profits he shall pay a 5 per cent on annual net profits in excess of$10,000 up to  $5,000,000; (b) and a 6 per cent on annual net profits in excess of $5,000,000 up to $105,000,000 (c) 7 per cent on annual net profit in excess of $10,000,000 up to $15,000,000; (d) on the excess above $15,000,000 a proportional increase of 1 per cent for each additional $5,000,000.
These agreements between the concessionaire and the Government of Newfoundland are subject to ratification at the next session of the Legislature.


The question may well be asked, "If we have Crown Lands Act," and that act dose not cover all the conditions in the original agreement, made with Bondurant , why not amend the Act, instead of making special agreements? The answer is that it has become "the custom of the country to give a charter to anyone who seeks, if the concessions required are not met with in existence Acts of the Legislature."

In connection with the concessions already granted, there is this point also, which discriminates against any future prospecting parties.  Under the agreement signed, all prospecting materials comes into Newfoundland duty free.  This applies to the concessionaires only.  Prospectors who may enter the Coast of Labrador after January 5th, will pay duty on their equipment.

Those entering by means of airplanes, will take off from Seven Islands, Quebec province.  There is no Newfoundland Customs there and duty , it is presumed , will have to be collected, after the arrival in Labrador.    

The Government in November of 1932 after it had issued minerals licences to some 30 or 40 prospectors and whilst they were on their way to St. John's from Labrador Coast, having spent a couple of months prospecting, issued a proclamation reserving from the operation of the Crown Land's Act, all minerals on the Labrador.  On November 15th of this year, after certain areas were approved the Government issued a proclamation rescinding the reservation, except in as far as it applied to such areas as are held under any grant, lease or licence, or are reserved by agreement with the Governor in Council.  On December 5th, a notice was published that on and after January 5th1932 the staking of mineral areas on the Labrador  under the provisions of the Crown lands Act ,shall  again be valid.


The prolific tinkering with rights and be granted under the Crown Lands Act in the past brought the country into disrepute amongst many reputable mining engineers.  They have felt that it is not safe to take prospecting seriously because, overnight the area that they have been examining may be reserved from the operation of the Act.  It is presumed, that on and after January 5th next, when the Labrador Coast is thrown open for staking, that the granting of 100 square miles reservations will be abandoned , and that the prospectors who actually dose his work on the ground will be left to prospect and stake, under the provisions of the Crown Land Act as it is.

These reservation for the exclusive right to prospect, have not established a precedent however.  Chapter 47 of the Consolidated Statutes of of Newfoundland (First Series) passed in 1872, contains amongst other these sections.
The Governor in Council may grant an exclusive right of searching for minerals and mines to any person for any period not exceeding three miles, and he shall have the right to grant any quantity not exceeding one square miles, if applied for with the said two years.

The Governor in Council may issue grants in fee or leases of one square mile of land, with the mines and minerals therein to any person applying for same. The conditions were that the lessee must expend the sum of $20,000 in and about the working of minerals within a period of eleven years.  On expenditure of this sum he was entitled to a grant in fee simple.  The cost of the licence not to exceed $50.

When section is made or patent issued for part of the land under license the residue shall, before being granted, be put up to public auction in lots , as the governor in Council may direct after three months notice in the Royal Gazette, and the highest bidder, being qualified as by law required, shall on payment of the purchase money, be entitled to a grant, subject, however, to the provisions of this chapter.

Another blanket reservation of indeterminate boundaries was made in favour of Charles Fox Bennett, in the years 1851, 1852 and 1853.  He was given by the government, mining rights over 1,000,000 acres on the West die of Placentia bay, the Burin Peninsula, and extending West to Bay D'Espoir, with no boundary inland.  In 1904 by arrangement with the executor of the Estate, fee simple mining grants for 50 square miles were issued because of the question of validity of the former title.


the method of dealing with such portions of the 100 square miles reservations on the Coast of Labrador, as may not be taken up under the Crown Lands Act., as the expiration of three years might well be the same as that under Chapter 47 quoted.  It will be impossible to thoroughly prospect the whole 100 square miles in the time set.  Then at the expiration of the three years, the area not staked should be advertised in the Newfoundland Gazette and sold to the highest bidder, and a title issued under the Crown Lands Act.  This would make for intensive prospecting on the part of the concessionaires.

All or any portion of any 100 squares miles , which may be selected and staked under the Act, will carry the timber and water claims, (if any) which may be included within the boundaries of the mining claims.  The Crown Lands Act of 1930, is based on the Ontario Act.  In the Ontario Act a special section is inserted, providing that any water power, that may be capable of developing 100 horse power and upwards, shall be reserved from the mining claims.  The Newfoundland Act dose not carry this reservation.  Where the timber rights are in the Crown , the mining lease will also carry the right to this timber, and both water power and timber, without renter royalty. Hesketh  Prichard F F. R. G. S. published in 1911 "Through Trackless Labrador."

In the preface he sums up in a few sentences just what Labrador has been, and is ; and goes further and suggests the only remedy.  He writes "The life of the Labrador is entirely predatory. it never has been anything else north of latitude 54, and unless mineral discoveries are made new can be.  The bear, the caribou, the birds, the seals, the salmon, the trout, and the cod form the capital of the country and the problems is solved by successful destruction."
A. P. Low, of the Canadian Geological Department, in his reports of 1883 , 94 and 95 makes the reference to the result of his exploration of the Hamilton River.


Gold.  This metal was not observed in any of the rocks, along the routes followed, but it may occur the numerous small quartz vain that cut the Huronian rocks, carrying iron and copper pyrites.  The most promising localities for future investigation are along Koksoak River, especially in the vicinity of the Manitou Gorge a few miles above Stillwater River.
Copper pyrites was met with in quartz veins.

Iron.  The immense deposits of magnetite, hematite and siderite in the Cambrian formation, and their widespread distribution may at some future date be of economic importance especially those containing a large percentage of manganese.  The ore are always associated with cherry limestone, and this carbonate of lime is very wide-spread, being met with at Lake Mistassini and along the Koksoak River and Hamilton River.


Tin-1.20 per cent of oxide of tin was found to be contained in a specimen of Columbite, from Labrador.  Molybdenite- Good specimens have been exhibited from Hamilton Inlet, Labrador.


Mr. Smith afterwards Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, was for a number of years chief factor at Labrador for the Hudson's Bay Company , and Beckles Wilson in his published work on this great man says.

"On August 1st 1866,  Mr. Smith left on the Company's (Hudson's bay Company) steamer Ripple for Esquimaux Bay, and on August 8th arrived at Rigolet .  After the labour incidental to loading of the homeward bound steamer, and packing of salmon had been disposed of the Chief Factor left for North West River.
He returned to find that in on sequence of his many representations, a competent mineralogist, Mr. Bauerman had arrived in the company's new ship, the Labrador, and was now spending the summer in surveying all that part of the coast supposed to contain minerals.  The expedition was of value, but some of the shareholders expressed themselves as disappointed because no gold mines had been found."

The first forest fire proclamation that we have a record of was put up along the Coast of Labrador in 1767 and reads as follow:-

                     By His Excellency Hugh Palliser

Whereas the woods are frequently set on fire upon this coast by the crews of whaling vessels from the plantations and the same in an offence against the Statute of the 10th and 11th of William III, and is equally prejudicial to the public whether done wilfully, maliciously or negligently.  Notice is hereby given that if any person by any ways or means whatever, shall set on fire any of the woods within my Government they will be apprehended and sent to me at St. John's to be tried for such offence against the Statute.
N. B. Copies of this Order are put up along this coast where whaling vessels resort.
N.B. No fires must be made on shore where there is a possibility of its communicating fire to the adjoining woods.
By Order of His Excellency,
Sgd. John Horsnall.
Given at Pitts Harbour, Labrador,
July 23rd, 1767.


In reply to a communication from the Governor General of Canada when the question of Newfoundland's right to the Coast of Labrador was first questioned by Canada, the Government of the drafted a minute of Council.  It was signed by R. Bond, Colonial Secretary , and approved by Cavendish Boyle, Governor, and dated July 24th 1903.  It gives briefly and clearly the history of the Coast of Labrador as follows :

"By the Royal Proclamation of 1768 the River St. John was made the Eastern limit of the Province of Quebec on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence, and all the rest of the shore and the Atlantic Coast of Labrador, to Hudson Strait with Anticosti and other islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, were annexed to Newfoundland.

Eleven years later , in 1774 the Labrador, the North Shore of the River and Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Islands in the Gulf were all transferred to Quebec by the Quebec Act.  They remained part of Quebec until 1791 and part of Lower Canada until 1809, in which year the Imperial Parliament passed an Act which re-annexed to Newfoundland all that had been added to it by the proclamation of 1763, with the exception of the Magdalene Islands.  In the year 1825 the Imperial Parliament passed an Act which restored to Lower Canada part of what had been taken from it in 1809, namely so much of the Coast of Labrador as "lies to the Westward of a line to be drawn due north and south from the Bay or Harbor of Ance  Sablon , inclusive as far as the fifty second degree of North Latitude with the Island of Anticosti and all other Island adjacent to such  part as last aforesaid of the Coast of Labrador.


The first title to be issued for the mines and metals on the Coast of Labrador was to John Agnew and his associates in 1773 and this provide that one tenth of all minerals gotten from the earth shall be the property of His Majesty the King.  As a matter of interesting reading the following extract is given.  This extract shows that in 1773, the copper Mine at Shoa Bay, near Petty Harbour was being worked.

Privy Council order for instrument granting mines and minerals to John Agnew and his associated
At the Council Chamber, Whitehall, the 3rd day of July 1773 by the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs.

In a report of the Lords of Trade on petition of several London merchants for an exclusive right to trade in perpetuity upon the Coast of Labrador, the following appears:-
Whereas there was this day laid before their Lordships a report from the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations dated the 3rd of June 1773 upon the petition of John Agnew of Shecuan and associates in the county of Wigtown North Britain , humbly praying that His Majesty would be graciously pleased to grant unto them all mines and minerals already discovered in the Island of Newfoundland or on the coast or country of Labrador, between the river St. Lawrence and Hudson's Straits, at a certain limited distance, not exceeding sixty miles from the sea or flowing of the sea water or any part of the said coast of Labrador, under such reservations and restriction as have been usual on like occasions:

They seen objection to advising your Majesty to grant to the petitioners all mines and minerals, that have been or shall hereafter be discovered by them or their associates within the said Island of Newfoundland and upon the coast of Labrador, between the River St. John's and the south limits of the territory granted to Hudson's Bay Company ; provided a such grant be accompanied with the following conditions and restrictions viz:-

First .That the petitioners shall annually lay before your Majesty in Council an account, attested upon oath, of the state of the works, the number of persons employed therein, the quantity of ore, mineral, and metal dug up, and to what place exported.

Second. that in case the petitioners shall not lay before your Majesty in council, satisfactory proof of their within seven years from the date of their charter caused diligent search for, and used their endeavours to discover some mine or mines, and shall not within fourteen from the said date, lay full evidence, if required before your majesty as aforesaid, or their having opened, dug and effectually worked some mine or mines or extracted some mineral or metal, then and in either case upon an order or declaration of your majesty in council the Letters Patent shall cease, determine and become void.

Third. that there shall be reserved to your Majesty , your heirs and as successors one tenth of all ores, minerals and metals that shall be discovered, dug up or extracted by the petitioners.

And your Majesty's Attorney and Solicitor General having accordingly prepared a draught of a grant to pass the Great Seal, of such mines, minerals and ore, and of a license to dig and search for the same for the term of 999 years.
Tuesday, January 27th 1778.

The secretary laid before the Board of commissioners for Trade and Plantation certain papers relating to a grant to John A. Agnew, and others of mines which they shall discover and work within the Island of Newfoundland and such parts of the sea coat of Labrador as lie within sixty miles of the low water mark.
Also a report of the state of the copper mine at Shoal Bay.  A letter from Mr. Dunn to Governor Montagu respecting the Kings tenth.


In a report of the Lords of Trade on petition of several London Merchants for an exclusive right to trade in perpetuity upon the Coast of Labrador, the following appears :

1752.  The country called Nova Brittania or Terra Labrador , and by some ancient geographers Estoitland and Terra Corteralis.

The first authentic account we have of a discovery of this country was of that made by Sebastian Cabot in the year 1497, who had a commission from Henry VII to make discoveries to the Westward.  In the first voyage he made in consequence of this commission he fell in with land in Latitude 67 North, from whence he continued his cruse southward along the coast of Labrador, to Newfoundland and the Baccalaos Islands, and from thence down to Florida.  At his return to England he brought with him three savages whom it is said he took in Newfoundland; but as that Island is only visited by the natives from the continent at certain seasons of the year, and then only on the western coast, it is most probable that he brought them from the coast of Labrador, and there is the greater reason to believe this as Gaskar Corterealis who is said to have visited this coast in the year1500, and from whence it has the name of Terra Corterealis, brought from thence a gilded sword and saw amongst the natives several toys and other evident vestiges of Europeans having been lately amongst them.

After this several voyages were made by the English to these Northern parts of America, particularly by Martin Frobisher, John Davis, George Weymouth and James Hill in the years from 1576 to 1605.  But as the object of these navigators was to discover a passage to the westward it dose not appear that any of them visited the coast of Labrador, except John Davis who in 1586 landed in a harbor in latitude 56, where he stayed trafficking with the natives for several days and this is the first authentic account we have of any actual possession being taken of that country on the eastern side.
(Report of Lords of Trade on petition of several London merchants for an exclusive right to trade in perpuity upon the coast of Labrador)


As a conclusion a list, chronologically of early discoveries and exploration in this cost ay be given.
The first European authentically know to have visited the Eastern shores of America was Biarne, the Norseman who in , in 990, sailed southeast from Greenland, and skirting the shores of Labrador and Newfoundland, proceeded southward..

In 1000, Lief, the son of Eric the Red, the first settler in Greenland, followed Biarne's track, and landed on the coast of Labrador, which from it desolate rocky coast he called Helluland, "Strong Land".
According to Humboldt, Szkolney, a Pole, is said to have made a voyage to Greenland and Labrador in 1476.
About this time or shortly afterwards, the Basque fishermen in search of whales, crossed the Atlantic to the shores of Labrador, and Newfoundland, and appear to have been met there by the Cabots and Cortereal.

A Portuguese map of 1520 has the name "Lavrador" applied to Greenland while the unseparated coast of Labrador and Newfoundland are called "Bacalhaos" or codfish in the Basque tongue.
In 1586, John Davis passed along the Labrador coast and discovered two openings, Davis Inlet,  and Ivutoke (Hamilton) Inlet.

In 1770 the Moravian Missionaries first settled among th Eskimos on the Atlantic coast.

In 1777 the first English entered Hamilton Inlet for purposes of trade with the natives, and found there the remains of posts erected by the French.

In 1814 the Rev. Mr. Steinhaur published in the Transaction of the Geological Society a short description of the Atlantic coast, with notes on the various rocks found about the Moravian Mission stations.

In 1824 the governor of Newfoundland was empowered to institute a court of civil jurisdiction along the coast of Labrador.

In 1833 John McLean, then in the charge of Fort Chimo, crossed overland to Hamilton Inlet, where the Hudson's bay Co. had established posts in 1837, passing the way Lake Michikamau.

In 1839 McLean again started across to Hamilton Inlet with canoes, but reached only the Grand Falls on the Hamilton River, and thus had the honour of being the first white man to view this mighty cataract.

In 1860 an expedition was sent by the United States Government and a station was established at Eclipse Harbour to observe a solar eclipse. Note on the geology of the northern coast of Labrador were made by Oscar M. Leiber.

In 1862 Henry Yule Hind ascended the Mosie River and wrote two volumes on the interior of Labrador , which is still regarded as the standard authority.

In 1860 and 1864 Dr. Packard visited the Atlantic coast, and published a paper dealing with the natural resources.

In 1873 the Moravian Missionaries published two maps of the Atlantic coast.

In 1887 F. R. Holmes attempted to reach Grand Falls but only reached Lake Winokapau.  He made a map of the river to that point.

In 1891 two separate expeditions from the United States ascended the Hamilton River, and visited Grand Falls.

In 1893, 1894 and 1895 A. P. Low of the Canadian Geological Department spent these years on the Hamilton River and his geodetic and geological data, has still to be relied.

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