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LABOUR PARTY

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 29 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LABOUR PARTY, in Great Britain, the name given to the party in parliament composed of working-class representatives. As the result of the Reform Act of 1884, extending the franchise to a larger new working-class electorate, the votes of " labour " became more and more a matter of importance for politicians; and the Liberal party, seeking for the support of organized labour in the trade unions, found room for a few working-class representatives, who, however, acted and voted as Liberals. It was not till 1893 that the Independent Labour party, splitting off under Mr J. Keir Hardie (b. 1856) from the socialist organization known as the Social Democratic Federation (founded 1881), was formed at Bradford, with the object of getting independent candidates returned to parliament on a socialist programme. In 19oo Mr Keir Hardie, who as secretary of the Lanarkshire Miners' Union had stood unsuccessfully as a labour candidate for Mid-Lanark in 1888, and sat as M.P. for West Ham in 1892–1895, was elected to parliament for Merthyr-Tydvil by its efforts, and in 1906 it obtained the return of 30 members, Mr Keir Hardie being chairman of the group. Meanwhile in 1899 the Trade Union Congress instructed its parliamentary committee to call a conference on the question of labour representation; and in February 1900 this was attended by trade union delegates and also by representatives of the Independent Labour party, the Social Democratic Federation and the Fabian Society. A resolution was carried " to establish a distinct labour group in parliament, who shall have their own whips, and agree upon their own policy, which must embrace a readiness to co-operate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interest of labour," and the committee (the Labour Representation Committee) was elected for the purpose. Under their auspices 29 out of 51 candidates were returned at the election of 1906. These groups were distinct from the Labour members (" Lib.-Labs ") who obeyed the Liberal whips and acted with the Liberals. In 1908 the attempts to unite the parliamentary representatives of the Independent Labour party with the Trades Union members were successful. In June of that year the Miners' Federation, returning 15 members, joined the Independent Labour party, now known for parliamentary purposes as the " Labour Party "; other Trades Unions, such as the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, took the same step. This arrangement came into force at the general election of 191o, when the bulk of the miners' representatives signed the constitution of the Labour party, which after the election numbered 40 members of parliament. LABRADOR; a great peninsula in British North America, bounded E. by the North Atlantic, N. by Hudson Strait, W. by Hudson and James Bays, and S. by an arbitrary line extending eastwards from the south-east corner of Hudson Bay, near 51° N., to the mouth of the Moisie river, on the Gulf of St Lawrence, in 5o N., and thence eastwards by the Gulf of St Lawrence. It extends from 5o° to 63° N., and from 55° to 8o° W., and embraces an approximate area of 511,000 sq. m. Recent explorations and surveys have added greatly to the knowledge of this vast region, and have shown that much of the peninsula is not a land of " awful desolation," but a well-wooded country, containing latent resources of value in its forests, fisheries and minerals. Physical Geography.—Labrador forms the eastern limb of the V in the Archaean protaxis of North America (see CANADA), and includes most of the highest parts of that area. Along some portions of the coasts of Hudson and also of Ungava Bay there is a fringe of lowland, but most of the interior is a plateau rising toward the south and east. The highest portion extends east and west between 52° and 54° N., where an immense granite area lies between the head-waters of the larger rivers of the four principal drainage basins; the lowest area is between Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay in the north-west, where the general level is not more than 500 ft. above the sea. The only mountains are the range along the Atlantic coast, extending from the Strait of Belle Isle to Cape Chidley; in their southern half they rarely exceed 1500 ft., but increase in the northern half to a general elevation of upwards of 2000 ft., with numerous sharp peaks between 3000 and 5000 ft., some say 7000 or 8000 ft. The coasts are deeply indented by irregular bays and fringed with rocky islands, especially along the high Atlantic coast, where long narrow fiords penetrate inland. Hamilton Inlet, 250 m. north of the Strait of Belle Isle, is the longest of these bays, with a length of 15o m. and a breadth varying from 2 to 30 m. The surface of the outer portions of the plateau is deeply seamed by valleys, cut into the crystalline rocks by the natural erosion of rivers, depending for their length and depth upon the volume of water flowing through them. The valley of the Hamilton river is the greatest, forms a continuation of the valley of the Inlet and extends 300 M. farther inland, while its bottom lies from 500 to 1500 ft. below the surface of the plateau into which it is cut. The depressions between the low ridges of the interior are occupied by innumerable lakes, many of great size, including Mistassini, Mishikamau, Clearwater, Kaniapiskau and Seal, all from 5o to loom. long. The streams discharging these lakes, before entering their valleys, flow on a level with the country and occupy all depressions, so that they frequently spread out into lake-expansions and are often divided into numerous channels by large islands. The descent into the valleys is usually abrupt, being made by heavy rapids and falls; the Hamilton, from the level interior, in a course of 12 m. falls 76o ft. into the head of its valley, this descent including a sheer drop of 315 ft. at the Grand Falls, which, taken with the large volume of the river, makes it the greatest faltin North America. The rivers of the northern and western watersheds drain about two-thirds of the peninsula; the most important of the former are the Koksoak, the largest river of Labrador (over 500 M. long), the George, Whale and Payne rivers, all flowing into Ungava Bay. The large rivers flowing westwards into Hudson Bay are the Povungnituk, Kogaluk, Great Whale, Big, East Main and Rupert, varying in length from 300 to 500 m. The rivers flowing south are exceedingly rapid, the Moisie, Romaine, Natashkwan and St Augustine being the most important; all are about 300 m. long. The Atlantic coast range throws most of the drainage northwards into the Ungava basin, and only small streams fall into the ocean, except the Hamilton, North-west and Kenamou, which empty into the head of Hamilton Inlet. Geology.—The peninsula is formed largely of crystalline schists and gneisses associated with granites and other igneous rocks, all of archaean age; there are also large areas of non-fossiliferous, stratified limestones, cherts, shales and iron ores, the unaltered equivalents of part of the schists and gneisses. Narrow strips of Animikie (Upper Huronian or perhaps Cambrian) rocks occur along the low-lying southern and western shores, but there are nowhere else indications of the peninsula having been below sea-level since an exceedingly remote time. During the glacial period the country was covered by a thick mantle of ice, which flowed out radially from a central collecting-ground. Owing to the extremely long exposure to denudation, to the subsequent removal of the greater part of the decomposed rock by glaciers, and to the unequal weathering of the component rocks, it is now a plateau, which ascends somewhat abruptly within a few miles of the coast-line to heights of between i From the Portuguese llavrador (a yeoman farmer). The name was originally given to Greenland (1st half of 16th century) and was transferred to the peninsula in the belief that it formed part of the same country as Greenland. The name was bestowed " because he who first gave notice of seeing it [Greenland] was a farmer (llavrador) from the Azores." See the historical sketch of Labrador by W. S. Wallace in Grenfell's Labrador, &c., 1909. 500 and moo ft. The interior is undulating, and traversed by ridges at in this manner: Indians—west coast, 1200; Ungava Bay, 200; east coast, 200; south coast, 'goo. Eskimo—Atlantic coast, '000; south shore of Hudson Strait, Soo; east coast of Hudson Bay, 500. The Indians roam over the southern interior in small bands, their northern limit being determined by that of the trees on which they depend for fuel. They live wholly by the chase, and their numbers are dependent upon the deer and other animals; as a consequence there is a constant struggle between the Indian and the lower animals for existence, with great slaughter of the latter, followed by periodic famines among the natives, which greatly reduce their numbers and maintain an equilibrium. The native population has thus remained about stationary for the last two centuries. The Indians belong to the Algonquin family, and speak dialects of the Cree language. By contact with missionaries and fur-traders they are more or less civilized, and the great majority of them are Christians. Those living north of the St Lawrence are Roman Catholic, while the Indians of the western watershed have been converted by the missionaries of the Church Mission Society; the eastern and northern bands have not yet been reached by the missionaries, and are still pagans. The Eskimo of the Atlantic coast have long been under the guidance of the Moravian missionaries, and are well advanced in civilization; those of Hudson Bay have been taught by the Church Mission Society, and promise well; while the Eskimo of Hudson Strait alone remain without teachers, and are pagans. The Eskimo live along the coasts, only going inland for short periods to hunt the barren-ground caribou for their winter clothing; the rest of the year they remain on the shore or the ice, hunting seals and porpoises, which afford them food, clothing and fuel. The christianized Indians and Eskimo read and write in their own language; those under the teaching of the Church Mission Society use a syllabic character, the others make use of the ordinary alphabet. Political Review.—The peninsula is divided politically between the governments of Canada, Newfoundland and the province of Quebec. The government of Newfoundland, under Letters Patent of the 28th of March 1876, exercises jurisdiction along the Atlantic coast; the boundary between its territory and that of Canada is a line running due north and south from Anse Sablon, on the north shore of the Strait of Belle Isle, to 52° N., the remainder of the boundary being as yet undetermined. The northern boundary of the province of Quebec follows the East Main river to its source in Patamisk lake, thence by a line due east to the Ashuanipi branch of the Hamilton river; it then follows that river and Hamilton Inlet to the coast area under the jurisdiction of Newfoundland. The remainder of the peninsula, north of the province of Quebec, by order in council dated the 18th of December 1897, was constituted Ungava District, an unorganized territory under the jurisdiction of the government of the Dominion of Canada. AuTxoRrr'us.—W. T. Grenfell and others, Labrador: the Country and the People (New York, 1909) ; R. F. Holmes, " A Journey in the Interior of Labrador," Proc. R.G.S. x. 189-205 (1887); A. S. Packard, The Labrador Coast (New York, 1891); Austen Cary, " Exploration on Grand River, Labrador," Bid. Am. Geo. Soc. vol. xxiv., 1892 ; R. Bell, " The Labrador Peninsula," Scottish Geo. Mag. July 1895. Also the following reports by the Geological Survey of Canada: R. Bell, " Report on an Exploration of the East Coast of Hudson Bay," 1877–1878; " Observations on the Coast of Labrador and on Hudson Strait and Bay," 1882–1884; A. P. Low, " Report on the Mistassini Expedition," 1885; " Report on James Bay and the Country East of Hudson Bay," 1887–1888; " Report on Explorations in the Labrador Peninsula, 1892–1895," 1896; " Re-port on a Traverse of the Northern Part of the Labrador Peninsula," 1898; " Report on the South Shore of Hudson Strait," 1899. For History: W. G. Gosling, Labrador (1910). (A. P. Lo.; A. P. C.)
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