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J. D. B. News Letter

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Rev. Isaac de la Penha, the minister of the Spanish and Portugese Jewish Congregation in Montreal, who for many years has followed, through much legal debate, the hope of obtaining possession of some $80,000,000 worth of the peninsula of Labrador, has just received information from his legal advisers in London, that they have assembled sufficient documentary evidence to show the justification of his claim, and propose to lay it before the Privy Council in the near future.

Rev. de la Penha contends that he holds certain documents that show that William III, the king of England and Prince of Orange, gave to his great great grandfather, Joseph de la Penha, then a resident of Amsterdam, the perpetual rights to a section of Labrador. This was in 1697, and some time later, in 1732, and again in 1768, documents were issued by William IV and William V respectively, of the Netherlands, renewing this concession. Since that time, however, no other renewals were given out. The original concession states that the portion of Labrador was donated to the family for all times. Experts state, that at the present day, the property is valued at no less than $80,000,000.

Leo M. Friedman, lawyer of Boston, and M. Wallach, international law expert of Amsterdam, have been working on the case in England, through the intermediary E. Eliasoph, Montreal lawyer, who is acting on behalf of Rev. de la Penha. They have found in the Egerton Manuscripts, published in 1839, by Sir Henry Cavendon, and containing his memoirs of the British Parliament at that time, a number of statements, tending to prove Rev. de la Penha’s claim. Among them, is a document dated 1760, of Sir Francis Bernard, Governor of Massachusetts, asking the British Government to show clearly to whom Labrador belonged. In the treaty of Paris, an important section stipulates also that gifts and concessions to individuals were to be respected in the future.

With much documentary evidence unearthed from old records to back his claim, Mr. de la Penha feels hopeful that results may be achieved before long.

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