Ontario. Legislative Assembly.

Correspondence, papers and documents, of dates from 1856 to 1882 inclusive, relating to the northerly and westerly boundaries of the province of Ontario online

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Online LibraryOntario. Legislative AssemblyCorrespondence, papers and documents, of dates from 1856 to 1882 inclusive, relating to the northerly and westerly boundaries of the province of Ontario → online text (page 19 of 86)
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of some arrangements being come to, I am reluctantly compelled to admit my inability to
meet the Government of Canada in this forward movement, for the following reasons :

FvrsU — ^The Red River and Saskatchewan valleys, though not in themselves fur-
bearing districts, are the sources from whence the main supplies of winter food are
procured for the northern posts, from the produce of the buffalo hunts. A chain of
settlements through these valleys would not only deprive the Company of the above vital
resource, but would indirectly in many other ways so interfere with their northern
trade as to render it no longer worth prosecuting on an extended scale. It would neces-
sarily be divided into various channels, possibly to the public benefit, but the Company
could no longer exist on its present footing.

The above reasons against a partial surrender of our territories may not appear
sufficiently obvious to parties not conversant with the trade or the country ; but my
knowledge of both, based on personal experience, and from other sources open to me,
point to the conclusion that partial concessions of the districts which must necessarily be
alienated, would inevitably lead to the extinction of the Company.

Second, — Granting that the Company were willing to sacrifice its trading interests,
the very act would deprive it of the means to carry out the proposed measures. There
is no source of revenue to meet the most ordinary expenditure, and even under present
circumstances the Company has practically no power to raise one. The co-operation
proposed, in calling on the Company to perform its co-relative duties, presupposed it to
stand on an equal footing with Canada.

♦ Seas. Papers, Can., 186;^, Vol. 22, No. 29.

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It is not to fee supposed that the Crown would grant more extensive powers to the
Companj than those conveyed by the charter. If any change be made, it is presumed
iliat direct administration by the Crown would be resorted to as the only measure likely
to give public satisfaction.

Not having anticipated the present question, I am without instructions from the'
Board of Directors in London for my guidance. I believe I am, however, safe in stating
my conviction that the Company will be willing to meet the wishes of the country at*
laige by consenting to an equitable arrangement for the surrender of all the rights con-
Teyed by the charter.

I diall by the next mail forward copies of this correspondence to the Board of
Directors in London, who will thus be prepared in the event of the subject being re-
ferred to Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies.

I may state that it is my intention to make immediate arrangements at the existing^
settlement of Red River for the sale of land, on easy terms, free from any restrictions of
tnui& It would, I believe, be impolitic to make any distinction between British subjects^
and foreigners. The infusion of a British element must be left to the effects of a closer
connection and identity of interests with Canada and the mother country.

I have the honour to be, sir,

Your most obedient servant,

A. G. Dallas,
The Hon. Charles Alleyn, Provincial Secretary,

etc., etc., etc

RiPORT OF A Committee op Council, approved by the Governor-General on the

24th April, 1862.*

In reference to the recent correspondence between the Provincial Government and
Ae Governor of the Hudson's Bay Territory on the subject of the proposed overland
communication with British Columbia, the Committee respectfully advise that a copy of the
same be transmitted by your Excellency to his Grace the Secretary of State for the

Wm. H. Lee, C.KC.

The Governor-General to the Colonial Secretary, t

Government House,

Quebec, April 25th, 1862.

My Lord Duke, — I have the honour to forward to your Grace a Minute of the
Executive Council, approved by me, on the subject of the establishment of a postal com-
munication through the Hudson's Bay Territory, between Canada and British Columbia,
containing a letter from the Provincial Secretary to the Manager of the Hudson's Bay
Company, and that gentleman's reply.

The subject is one of considerable importance, both in an Imperial point of view and
as regards the particular interests of this Province ; but the letter of Mr. Alleyn enters
80 fully into the merits of the question on both grounds, that I do not think it necessary
to trouble your Grace with any observations of my own.

The answer of Mr. Dallas would seem to imply that- the existence of the present
rights of the Hudson's Bay Company will prove a permanent obstacle to the realization

• SesB. Papers, Can., 1863, Vol. 22, "So. 29. t Ibid, No. 31.

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^f the views which the Canadian Qovemment entertain in reference fk> the proposed

As the Qoyemment of the Province have no means of acting upon the Hudson's Baj
Companj except through Her Majesty's ministers, I would, on its behalf, ask of your
Grace to take such steps as may enable the authorities here to carry into execution their
•desire for an extension of postal communication between this Province and the shores of
ihe Pacific.

I have, eta,


His Orace the Duke of Newcastle, K.G.,

etc., eto., etc.

The Qovbrnob of the Hudson's Bat Compakt to the Colokial Sbcbetart.*

Hudson's Bat House,

London, May 19th, 1862.

Mt Lord Duke, — I have the honour to enclose, for your Grace's information, copj
•of a correspondence that has passed between Mr. Charles Alley n, Secretary to the Gov-
ernment of Canada, and Mr. Dallas, who has lately succeeded Sir George Simpson in. the
Government of the Hudson's Bay Territory, in North America, on the subject of a pro-
posed road and line of telegraphic communication between Canada and the gold regions
of British Columbia.

I take the liberty of forwarding this correspondence to your Grace, because my
-colleagaes agree with me that any negotiation on the subject should be carried on, not
with the Colonial authorities, but with Her Majesty's Government in this country.

The Canadian Government propose, in the first instance, to establish steam communi-
cation on Lake Superior, and to open up roads from Fort William in the direction of
Bed River, and they appear to consider that it is the duty of the Hudson's Bay Company
to undertake the further prosecution of the work through their territories. Of course
there is no difficulty as far as steamers on Lake Superior are concerned, but between
Fort William and the height of land the natural difficulties of the country will make
road-making a very expensive business, while the soil, which consists chiefly of rock and
43wamp, will offer no inducement to settlers, even if they obtain the land for nothing.

Within the last few years a considerable sum of money has been granted and ex-
pended by the Canadian Government for the purpose of opening this route, but I am not
aware that there has been any practical result.

Beyond Bed Biver to the base of the Bocky Mountains the line will pass through a
vast desert, in some places without wood or water, exposed to the incursions of roving
bands of Indians, and entirely destitute of any means of subsistence for emigrants, save
herds of buffietlo, which roam at large through the plains, and whose presence on any
particular portion of these prairies can never be reckoned on. These again are followed
up by Indians in pursuit of food, whose hostility will expose travellers to the greatest

With regard to the establishment of a telegraphic communication, it is scarcely neces-
sary to point at the prairie flres, the depredation of natives and the general chapter of
accidents, as presenting almost unsurmountable obstacles to its success.

I have thought it my duty thus slightly to sketch the difficulties in the way of the
enterprise, the subject of the correspondence which I have brought under your Grace's
notice ; but if it be thought that the interests of Canada and British Columbia, or of this
<;ountry, require that the experiment should be made, the Hudson's Bay Company will
most readily acquiesce in the decision of Her Majesty's Government. At the same time

• Sess. Papers, Can., 1863, VoL 22, Na 31.

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it is my duty to state that, in justice to our proprietors, the Directors of the Hudson'^
Bay Company cannot risk their capital in doubtful undertakings of this description,
spread over such vast distances, through a country where the means of maintaining them,
if once made, will lead to an expenditure scarcely to be contemplated. Although, there-
fore, the Directors, on behalf of the Company, are ready to lend Her Majesty's Govern-
ment all the moral support and assistance in their power, it must be distinctly understood
that the Company have no means at their disposal beyond those employed in carrying on
their trade, and cannot consequently undertake any outlay in connection with the
schemes suggested by the Canadian Government.

I thiiLk it may not be improper to take this opportunity of referring your Grace to
former communications between the Hudson's Bay Company and the Colonial Office on
the subject of settlement in their territories.

The Company have always expressed their willingness to surrender the whole or any
part of their territorial rights upon terms that would secure hir compensation to the pro-
prietors, as well as to the officers and employees in the country.

The Governor at Bed Biver Colony has instructions to make grants of land to
settlers, on easy conditions, without any restriction as to the Company's right of exclusive
trade, and if Her Majesty's €k>vemment, with reference to the interests of the public,
consider more extensive plans for the improvement of the country expedient, the Directors
of the Company will be quite ready to entertain them, with the desire to meet the wishes
of Her Majesty's Government in any manner not incousistent with the vested rights of
their constituents.

I am, etc.,

His t^race the Duke of Newcastle, K.G.,

etc., etc.,

W. Berbns,



The Colokial Sbobbtaby to the Govebnor-Genbral.*

Downing Street,

3rd June, 1862.

Mt Lord, — I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's de-
spatch. No. 79, of the 25th of April last, and to transmit to you for your information a
copy of a letter [of 19th May] from the Hudson's Bay Company (received at this depart-
nent a few days after your despatch reached me) on tJie subject of establishing postal and
telegraphic communication through the Company's territory between Canada and British

Although it is not in the power of Her Majesty's Government to grant assistance
from Imperial funds for carrying out the object which the Canadian Government has in
view, there would be every desire on their part to co-operate in any well-devised scheme
for effecting this important communication across the American continent.

As a possible preliminary to such an undertaking, I would direct your Lordship's
attention to the facilities for the acquisition of land which the Hudson's Bay Company
announce their intention of offering to settlers proceeding to the Bed Biver.

I have, etc..

Governor the Viscount Monck,
etc., etc., etc


• S«88. Papers, Can., 1863, Vol. 23, No. 3U

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EspoBT OF Postmastbr-Gbnrral Foley (Canada).'^

Post Office Depabtmekt,

17th October, 1862.

Referring to the correspondence had with His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the
Canadian Government, and certain of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, with
reference to the establishment of postal and telegraphic communication through the
Company's territories, so called, between Canada and British Columbia, and to his report
of 31st of July last, on the subject of postal communication wiUi the North-west, the
undersigned has the honour to submit for the consideration of His Excellency the Gov-
ernor-General in Council, as follows :

The circumstances which for some years past have indicated the expediency of
opening up communications westward from Lake Superior derive, in the judgment of
the undersigned, additional importance from the recent and continuous intercourse with
British Columbia, consequent upon the discoveries there of valuable gold fields ; whilst
the reported existence of the same precious metal in the fertile valley of the Saskatdie-
wan has had the effect of awakening a yet deeper interest in what in Ceuiada is popu-
larly known as the Red River country. Under so powerful an impulse, a rapid stream
of emigration has set towards the Pacific, which gives indications of indefinite expansion
in view of the encouraging reports which are constantly received of the richness of the
mines and the value of the country as a field for settlement. The shortest and most
natural route to these inviting territories lies through the St Lawrence and its chain of
tributary lakes ; but owing to the want of facilities for transit beyond the head of Lake
Superior, persons destined for the western settlements necessarUy make the voyage by
sea, or accomplish the first stage in the land journey — Fort Garry on the Re^ River —
by way of Minnesota and Dacotah. Thus it may in truth be said that the people of the
neighbouring states bold the key to the British possessions in the west, and while by this
means their wild lands are being settled and improved, ours, lying immediately adjacent
and quite as well fitted for cultivation, remain a mere hunting ground for the sole benefit
and advantage of a company of traders, whose object it is to keep them a wilderness pro-
ductive only of game, and who, to this end, do all in their power to divert into foreign
channels, to the promotion of alien interests, the commerce carried on by them with lie
•outside world.

In the judgment of the undersigned, the time has arrived when more decisive and
effective means than have yet been put fortU should be employed in opening up and per-
fecting the communication westward from Lake Superior through British territory. Cut
off from intercourse with their fellow-subjects, except on condition of submitting to the
inconveniences, the losses, and the numerous vexations of a circuitous journey through a
foreign country, and which, on the occurrence of difficulty, would be closed to them, or
but afford facility for their invasion, and, under the circumstances, all but certain con-
quest, the people of the Red River Settlement have for many years past been loud in
their expressions of dissatisfaction. Minnesota, and not Canada, is, from imperious
necessity, the emporium of their trade ; the chief recent additions to their population are
from the United States, and their sympathies, in spite of their wishes, are being drawn
into a channel leading in an opposite direction from that of the source of their allegiance.
In a word, the central link in the chain of settlements which should connect Canada with
British Columbia is being rapidly Americanized, and unless a prompt effort be made to
advance British interests in that direction, there is reason to fear that incalculable mis-
x^ief will follow.

The tendencies which have in the main operated in keeping the North-western
country closed to the industrial enterprise of the British and Canadian people, may be
traced to the alleged obstacles in the way of the construction of practicable roads and
the improvement of navigation. Recent explorations, however, prove these obstacles to

* Sess. Papers, Can., 1S63, Vol. 22, No. 29.

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h&re been greatly exaggerated. The expeditions of the Imperial and Canadian Govem-
monts demonstrate the entire feasibility of establishing communication for postal and
telegraphic service, at reasonable rates, through the territories which the Hudson's Bay
Company claim as being under their jurisdiction.* ♦♦♦*♦♦

The undersigned respectfully submits that such a territory ought not to be permitted
longer to remain under the sole control of the mere handful of traders, however powerful
and influential, who have hitherto monopolized its rich resources, and for so many years
barred out all others from a participation in its advantages. Sooner or later their hold
upon those portions of it specially suitable to agriculture must be relaxed, and a move-
ment having for its object an end so desirable, is deserving of prompt. and liberal

In our proceedings hitherto we have been far too tardy. Our apparent indifference
and unconcern have been taken advantage of by the Hudson's Bay Company to assert,
with continuously increasing pretension, their claims to the entire territory; and to-day it
may be said with truth that they feel themselves stronger than ever before in their
clums to keep, if they choose^ for all time to come, unsettled a vast region in every way
waited to human habitation.

Without any suggestion at present as to legal title, it is sufficient that we are invited
by His Grace the Duke of Newcastle to join in adopting means to effect the communica-
tion on this side to the summit of the pass of the Rocky Mountains, and that while, in
^his despatch of 3rd June last, he promised the co-operation of the Imperial Government,
he afterwards intimated to the House of Lords, on the 4th July last, his hope " that when
Ppliament met next year he should be able to inform their Lordships that some progress
had been made towards the establishment of postal communication between Caiiada on
the one side and New Westminster on the other."

In the opinion of the undersigned, it is not only desirable but essential that advan-
tage be taken of the present favourable disposition of the Imperial authorities.

The late Administration, yielding to the pressure of public opinion, exhibited as well
as professed a strong sense of the practical importance of opening up the first link of the
route. To this en^ the subsidies were, from time to time, at their request, readily granted
by Parliament ; but for some cause or other, whether arising from difficulties occasioned
by rival claimants for the performance of the service, or want of judgment in the parties
immediately concerned in the application of the funds, or otherwise, it is not for the
ondersigned here to express an opinion ; the means granted by the liberality of the
Legislature for a good and useful purpose were worse than wasted, although during the
first year, before partisan rivalry had been intruduced, and when real efforts were
directed to the solution of the question as to the commercial advantages and the feasi-
bility of the project, success beyond the expectation of the parties engaged was the actual

As to the difficulties suggested by the Hudson's Bay Company, through their officers,
Governors Berens and Dallas, in the correspondence herein referred to, those gentlemen
in truth substantially, though evidently unwillingly, vindicate most strongly the views
contended for by the advocates of improvement and colonization.

The first and second of these objections of Governor Berens as to the practicability
of the route between Lake Superior and Red River, and the deduction to be drawn from
the failure of the projects hitherto encouraged by the Canadian Government, are suffi-
ciently met by what has gone before. His next statement establishes, in the judgment
of the undersigned, the very reverse of the conclusions he arrives at, and one finds it
difficult to account for his permitting himself to be involved in such manifest inconsis-
tencies as are apparent on the very face of his statement.

Directly in contradiction of the well-authenticated reports of others, among them
Governor Dallas, who speaks of the Red River and Saskatchewan countries as the sources
of supply of the employees of the Company, Governor Berens describes the country be-
yond the Red River to the base of the Rocky Mountains as *' a vast desert, in some places
without wood or water, exposed to the incursions of roving bands of Indians, and entirely

* IThB omitUd portions of this Report do not toooh the matter in iasae.— G. E. L.]

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destitute of any means of subsistence for emigrants, save herds of buffiilo which roam at
large through the plains, and whose presence on any particular portion of these prairies-
can never be reckoned on." " These again," he says, ** are followed up by Indians in
pursuit of food (a good ground, one would say, for the buffalo not remaining all the time
in the same particular places), whose hostility will expose travellers to the greatest
dangers." One can well fiEincy precisely ^e same reasons being given by interested
parties in any uncivilized country against its settlement The Governor evidently lose»
sight of his design to prove the territory to be a vast desert, when he adds to that terror
those of the Indians and the buffalo.

The early settler in any part of America would tell him that the regions to which
the Indians, as well as the buffalo and other wild animals most resorted, were those above
all others the most fertile and fitted for cultivation, and just the sections most sou^t
after by the pioneer anxious within the shortest possible period to make for himself, and
those dependent upon him, a habitation, and to aid in conquering for his country, with*
his axe, his spade, and his plough, fresh accessions and contributions to civilization and
improvement The Governor's next fear, namely, that the construction of tel^;raph
lines would be useless because of the probability of their l>eing burnt up, is just as
groundless, as is apparent from the fact that over the boundless plains of California, and
across the unsettled prairies of Illinois and other States, these almost indispensable
accompaniments of civilization are in full, active, and undisturbed operation.

So with respect to the " depredations of the natives, and the general chapter of
accidents." These are encountered in every new country, and are not in our day any-
thing like such formidable obstacle as they have been in tlie past

On Governor Berens' principle, the settlement of any portion of America was a>
grave mistake, for at some time or other, and at every place within its vast extent, pre-
cisely the same difBculties which he conjures up, in the shape of roving bands of Indians^
wild animals, desolation by flood and fire and tomahawk, as well as a " general chapter
of accidents," existed over them all. However, ^e unconquerable white race triumphed,
and to its energy and self-sacrificing exertions and indomitable perseverance, the British
and Canadian people are indebted for an inheritance such as Providence never before
bestowed upon any race since the world began.

If they fail to improve their opportunities, the loss will be proportionate to the
advantages otherwise certain of attainment

Differing from Governor Berens, as well as to the tAots as with respect to the style
of objection, Governor Dallas puts the whole matter on its true ground when he refers
to the Saskatchewan and ^e Red Biver countries as the sources whence the Hudson's
Bay Company draw their supplies of food; and the simple question in view of his
admission is as to whether or not these magnificent territories shall continue to be merely
the source of supply for a few hundreds of the employees of a Fur-trading Company, or
the means of affording new and boundless contributions to civilization and commerce ;
whether they shall remain closed to the enterprise and industry of millions in order that
the few may monopolize their treasures and keep ^em for all time to come, as the habir
tation of wild beasts and the trappers engaged in their pursuit.* ♦ ♦ * *

The question as to what is reasonably to be expected from Canada, is that at present
to be considered.

In view of all the facts and circumstances, and feeling that it is on our people that the
initiative in the matter rests ; that it is to this Province the Imperial Government looks
for a commencement of the movement, — a movement demanded alike from our pa^
triotism and our interests — the undersigned considers himself fully justified in submitting,
that unless the Government deem it expedient to proceed under the direction of the

Online LibraryOntario. Legislative AssemblyCorrespondence, papers and documents, of dates from 1856 to 1882 inclusive, relating to the northerly and westerly boundaries of the province of Ontario → online text (page 19 of 86)