"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No excuses

A letter from Colonial Secretary Glenelg, to Newfoundland Governor Prescott, in response to an 1835 petition from residents and merchants in Ivucktoke and Sandwich Bays, Labrador. Originally published as one of the exhibits in the Labrador Boundary case joint appendix of exhibits, it has been digitized by MUN library.

Despite the optimistic note, it would in fact be 111 years before the unelected Commission of Government first granted Labradorians the right to vote and be represented, in the 1946 National Convention election. Labrador did not vote in its first legislative election until after Confederation in 1949.

So you — go vote.

No. 550.


No. 81. Downing Street,

29th June, 1836.

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of the 24th May No. 31, enclosing two Petitions addressed to you by persons settled on the Coast of Labrador, deprecating the passing of a Bill which had been introduced into the House of Assembly of Newfoundland for regulating the Salmon Fishery of the Colony. As that Bill was not eventually presented to you for your assent, it is unnecessary for me to allude further to it, but I proceed to notice the other topic in these Petitions, to which you have invited my particular attention.

The Petitioners protest against the right of the Legislature of Newfoundland, in which they are not represented, to make Laws binding on them, and record their belief that they are still under the authority of the King in Council expressing at the same time their wish to remain so. In this view of their situation the Petitioners are evidently in error. By the Statutes 49, Geo. III., C. 27 & 6 Geo. IV., C. 59, as well as by the Royal Commissions to Sir Thomas Cochrane and to yourself, the Coast of Labrador to the Eastward of a line drawn due North & South from the Harbor of Ance Sablon to the 52° North Latitude is annexed to the Colony of Newfoundland. The authority therefore of the Legislature of Newfoundland to pass Laws for the Government of the Settlers at Labrador cannot be disputed; but at the same time the claim of those settlers to be represented in the Colonial Legislature demands, & ought to receive a deliberate consideration.

You will accordingly inform the Petitioners, while pointing out to them the error into which they have fallen, that you will be ready to recommend to the favourable notice of the Council and Assembly of Newfoundland any Petition which they may address to those Bodies, putting forward their Claim to be represented in the Colonial Legislature.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient, humble servant,


Captain Prescott

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