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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<Hie square mile as offered by Government.

IX. On the 6th of June, Mr. -Cardwell declined to accept these proposals without
considerable modifications, but deferred any counter-proposal until after consultation
with the Treasury and with the Canadian Government.

This was the position of the negotiation when the undersigned reached London, early
in December, 1864, and when Mr. Cardwell placed in his hands the papers of which a
summary has been given.

Mr. Cardwell, in explaining verbally the state of the negotiations, added, that in case
the Hudson's Bay Company's offer of 13th April, 1864, was accepted by the Government
of Canada, as containing in principle a basis on which negotiations might be continued
with the hope of a satisfactory solution, he was of opinion that considerable modifications
of the terms might be obtained.

That there might be no misunderstanding as to the offer of the Company, I requested
that a map might be obtained from Sir Edmund Head, so coloured as to show clearly the
territory now claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company as their property ; and also a second
map so coloured as to show what portion of the land claimed to be theirs, they now pro-
posed to surrender to the Crown. Two maps, coloured in this manner, were accordingly
•obtained from the Company, and are appended to this report.

Accompanying these maps was a letter from Sir Edmund Head, dated 7th Decem-
ber, 1864, which, without abating his proposal of 13th April, offered as an alternative : —

1. That the Company be paid £1,000,000 sterling.

2. That the Government of British North America acknowledge the Company's
light to trade, without exclusive privileges of any kind, within the territory.

3. That the Company should hold in fee simple all their posts now occupied, with a
reasonable area round each post. All previous sales and bargains made by them at Red
River shall be confirmed.

4. That the Government of British North America shall impose no exceptional taxes
on the Company, its property or its servants.

5. That the disputed matter of the Company's lands in Canada be settled by issuing
grants on the footing formerly agreed upon between Mr. Yankoughnet and Mr. Hopkins.

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6. That the Company shall be bound to hand oyer to the Government of British
North America all the materials for the construction of the telegraph on the payment of
the cost price and expenses already incurred.

In discussing with Mr. Oardwell these demands of the Hudson's Bay Company, I
pointed out what appeared to me the utterly untenable character of their pretensions. I
endeavoured to show that they were seeking to sell to Her Majesty's Government, for an
enormous sum, territory to which they had no title under their charter; and I contended
that if the solution of the question was to be sought in the purchase of a portion of the
Company's territorial claims, the first step was clearly to ascertain what validity there was
in those claims — what land the Company really had to sell.

I further stated, as my personal view of the matter, that no solution would be satiB-
factory to the people of Canada short of the entire extinction of the Hudson's Bay Com-
pany's territorial claims and exclusive rights of trade. I pointed out, that to recognize
and maintain the exclusive pretensions of the Company over a large portion of the con-
tinent, and to give it thereby a monopoly of the lucrative fur trade, would be simply
erecting a barrier in the way of the rapid settlement of the country, and laying the foun-
dation for serious difficulty when the country became settled, and for a further demand
on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company, some years hence, for the final extinction of
its claims.

I urged that in view of the present unsettled position of the American continent, it
was of the highest importance to attract to British America as large a share as possible
of the European emigration — ^that the opening up of the North West Territories, with all
their agricultural, mineral and fur-trading advantages, would conduce vastly to that end
— and that a further delay of this step would (from the immigration of Americans nov
going on into the territory) render the establishment of British institutions in the settled
portions of the country much more difficult than if action were taken now.

Denying the claims set up by the Hudson's Bay Company, 1 furthw contended that,
even were all their pretensions admitted for the sake of argument, the sum demanded by
the Company — namely, one million sterling — ^was much more than they are entitled to
receive for the entire extinction of their claims from the Atlantic to the Rocky Moun-
tains, and from the American line to the extreme north. I pointed out, that it was only
eighteen months since the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company had passed by purchase
into the hands of the present proprietors ; that they paid £1,500,000 for those rights,
^which was fifty per cent above the then market value of the property ; and I referred to
the official prospectus on which the new company was formed in July, 1863, for proof
that the demand now made on Her Majesty's Government by the Company was utterly
unreasonable. I drew Mr. Cardwell's attention to the fact, that the prospectus declared
that the assets of the new Hudson's Bay Company, exclusive of the landed territory, had
been " recently valued by competent valuers at £1,023,569 sterling," and that these assets
were further explained to consist of "goods in the interior, on ship-board, and other
stock-in-trade, including shipping, business premises, and other buildings necessary for
carrying on the fur traide." I pointed out that in addition to this large amount of con-
vertible property, ** a cash balance " derived from the old Hudson's Bay Company was
spoken of in the prospectus ; and that other large landed possessions, besides those in the
east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the American line, were thus set forth in the
prospectus as being part of the property purchased by the new Company.

" In addition to its chartered territory, the Company possess the following valuable
landed property : — Several plots of land in British Columbia, occupying most favourable
sites at the mouths of rivers, the titles to which have been confirmed by Her Majesty's
Government ; farms ; building sites in Vancouver's Island ; and in Canada, ten square
miles at LaCloche, on Lake Huron, and tracts of laud at fourteen other places."

In addition to all this, I directed Mr. Cardwell's attention to the fact that the Hud-
son's Bay Company held a claim against the American Government, and which was at
that moment under consideration by arbitrators, for the surrender of their rights on the
Pacific, south of the boundary line established under the Oregon Treaty. I stated, on
information that had reached me, but without personal knowlec^ of its correctness, that
the American Government had expressed its wMngness to pay $1,000,000 for the extino-

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tion of that claim, but that the Company rejected it, and were in expectation of receiving
a much larger sum.

In view of all these facts, I contended that it was utterly unreasonable on the part of
the Company to claim any such sum as j£l, 000,000 sterling, even for the entire extinction
of their territorial and trade claims east of the Hocky Mountains. But I admitted that
it was for Her Majesty's Imperial Government to settle with the Hudson's Bay Company
the consideration to be paid for the extinction of their claims, as it could not be expected
that the people of Canada should bear the burden of extinguishing a monopoly that they
did not create and have never recognized, and the advantages from the extinguishing of
which they would only share in common with the rest of Her Majesty's subjects. I urged
that the Imperial Government should, without delay, secure the extinction of the Com-
pany's claims; and that the Government of Canada would be prepared to assume the duty
and cost of opening up communications into the country and establishing local government-
hi the settled portions.

I had the honour of interviews with several of Her Majesty's Ministers, who were
then in London, in which I was permitted to urge these views to a greater or less extent.
Bat the Christmas holidays having intervened, and being compelled to leave England in
time to be present at the opening of the Canadian Parliament on the 19th January, I waa
unable to press the matter to a close. I therefore suggested to Mr. Cardwell that I would
report to your Excellency the point to which the discussion had been brought, and that
when the proposed deputation of members of the Canadian Government visited England
in spring, the negotiation might be resumed, and, if possible, brought to a satisfactory
tennination. Mr. Cardwell kindly consented to this arrangement.

I have the honour to be,

My Lord,

Your most obedient servant,

Georgb Brown.

Report of a Committee op Council, approved by the Governor-General on the

24th March, 1865.*

The Committee respectfully recommend that four Members of your Excellency's
Council do proceed to England to confer with Her Majesty's Government : —

let. Upon the proposed Confederation of the British North American Provinces,
ud the means whereby it can be most speedily effected.

2nd. Upon the arrangements necessary for the defence of Canada, in the event of
war arising with the United States, and the extent to which the same should be shared
between Great Britain and Canada.

3rd. Upon the steps to be taken with reference to the Reciprocity Treaty, and the
rights conferred by it upon the United States.

4th. Upon the arrangements necessary for the settlement of the North- West Terri-
tory and Hudson's Bay Company's claims.

5 th. And, generally, upon the existing critical state of a£&drs by which Canada is
most seriously affected.

The Committee further recommend that the following members of Council be named
to form the delegation, viz : — Messrs. Macdonald, Cartier, Brown and Gait.


Wm. H. Lee, C.E.C.

* Journals, Legislative Assembly, Can. , 1866, VoL 25, p. 8.

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Beport of a Oommittbe of Council, approved bt the GovERsroR-GsyERAL on

THE 27th March, 1865.*

The Committee have under consideration the Report (hereunto appended) of the Hon-
ourable the President of the Executive Council, on the subject of his communicationB
with the Bight Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in London, in reference
to the opening up to settlement the North-West Territories.

The Committee respectfully recommend that the negotiations be taken up, by the
<leputation of Members of Council now about to proceed to London, at the point to which
they had been so ably brought by the President of the Council, and carried, if possible, to
A successful termination.


Wm. H. Lee, C.E.C.

The Colonial Secretary to the Governor-General.!

Downing Street,

17th June, 1865.

My Lord, — I have the honour to inform your Lordship that several conferences
liave been held between the four Canadian Ministers who were deputed, under the Minute
of your Executive Council of March 24th, to proceed to England to confer with Her
Majesty's Government on the part of Canada, and the Duke of Somerset, the Earl DeGrey,
Mr. Gladstone, and myself, on the part of Her Majesty's Government. * ♦ ♦

On the fourth point,! the subject of the North-West Territory, the Canadian
Ministers desired that that Territory should be made over to Canada, and undertook to
negotiate with the Hudson's Bay Company for the termination of tiieir rights, on con-
edition that the indemnity, if any, should be paid by a loan to be raised by Canada under
the Imperial guarantee. With the sanction of the Cabinet, we assented to this propoeal,
-undertaking that if the negotiation should be successful, we, on the part of the Grown,
being satisfied that the amount of the indemnity was reasonable, and the security sufficient,
would apply to the Imperial Parliament to sanction the agreement and to guarantee the
amount. **♦♦♦♦

I have, etc.,

Edward Cardwell.
Oovemor-General Viscount Monck,

Rbport of the Canadian Delegates to England.§

To His Excellency the Right Honourable Viscount Monck^ Govemor-Oeneral of British

North America, etc,, etc.

May it please your Excellency,

The undersigned having, by Order in Council of 24th March, 1865, been appointed
Ji Committee of ihe Executive Council of Canada to proceed to England and confer with
Her Majesty's Government on certain subjects of importance to the Province, sailed for

* Joumftls, Legislative AMembly, Canada, 1865, YoL 25, p. 54.

t Journals, Legislative Assembly, Canada, 1865, Vol. 25, p. IS.

t [Namely, the fourth point of the Minute of the Executive Council of Canada of 24th March, 1865,
umtCf p. 111. The omitted portions of the present despatch refer to the other points of that minute, and are
iheretore not pertinent to tne question now at issue. — G. £. L.]

§ Journals, Legislative Assembly, Canada, 1866, VoL 25, p. 9.

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Eogland in April last ; and having discharged the duty entrusted to them and returned
4o Canada^ we now beg to submit, for your Excellency's information, a statement of our
pzx>oeeding8 while in London.! * # * ♦ ♦ ♦

The important question of opening up to settlement and cultivation the vast British
Territories on the north-west borders of Canada next obtained the attention of the Con-
ference. Tour Excellency is aware that the desire of the Government of Canada for a
^tisfactory and final adjustment of this matter has been often formally expressed. In
your Excellency's despatch of the 19th February, 1864, to the Colonial Secretary, the
anxious desire of the Canadian Government was communicated " for some speedy, inex-
pensive, and mutually satisfactory plan" for settling definitely "the North- Western
boundary of Canada," and the claim of Canada was asserted to " all that portion of
•Central British America which can be shown to have been in the possession of the
French at the period of that Session in 1763."

In reply to this despatch, Mr. Cardwell, on 1st July, 1864, requested to be informed
whether the Government of Canada was prepared to assist in negotiations with the Hud-
son's Bay Company, with the view of accepting any portion of the territory now claimed
bj that Company, and providing the means of local administration therein ; and he sug-
gested that if so prepajred it would be desirable that some person duly authorized to
communicate the views' of the Canadian Government should be sent to England for that

On the 1 1th November, 1 864, a Minute of Council was approved by your Excellency,
in reply to Mr. Cardwell's despatch. It set forth that the Government of Canada was
ready and anxious to co-operate with the Imperial Government in securing the early
settlement of the North-West Territories, and the establishment of local government in
its settled portions ; but that in its opinion the first step towards that end was the extinc-
tion of all claim by the Hudson's Bay Company to proprietary rights in the soil and
exclusive rights of trade. It suggested that it was for the Imperial Government, and not
for the Government of Canada, to assume the duty of bringing to an end a monopoly
originating in an English charter, and exercised so long under Imperial sanction ; but
that when the negotiations were brought to a close, the Government of Canada would be
ready to arrange with the Imperial Gk>vemment for the annexation to Canada of such
portions of the territory as might be available for settlement, as well as for the opening
up of communications into the territory and providing means of local administration.
Or should the Imperial Government prefer to erect the territory into a Crown colony, the
Canadian Government would gladly co-operate in the opening up of communication into
the territory, and the settlement of the country. The Minute finally suggested that the
Honourable President of the Council while in En^and would communicate more fully to
Mr. Cardwell the views of the Canadian Government

The negotiations that followed on this despatch satisfied us of the impossibility of
-enforcing the end sought by Canada without long-protracted, vexatious and costly b'tiga-
tion. The Hudson's Bay Company were in possession, and if time were their object,
•conld protract the proceedings indefinitely ; and Her Majesty's Government appeared
unwilling to ignore pretensions that had frequently received qtuisi recognition from the
Imperial authorities. Calling to mind, therefore, the vital importance to Canada of hav-
ing that great and fertile country opened up to Canadian enterprise, and the tide of emi-
gration into it directed through Canadian channels — remembering also the danger of large
grants of land passing into the hands of mere moneyed corporations and embarrassing the
tapid settlement of the country — and the risk that the recent discoveries of gold on the
■eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains might throw into the country large masses of set-
iers unaccustomed to British institutions — we arrived at the conclusion that the quickest
solution of the question would be the best for Canada. We accordingly proposed to the
Imperial Ministers that the whole British territory, east of the Kocky Mountains and
north of the American or Canadian lines, should be made over to Canada, subject to such
rights as the Hudson's Bay Company might be able to establish ; and that the compensa
tbn to that Company (if any were found to be due) should be met by a loan guaranteed

t [The omitted portions of this Report do not relate to the matters in issue.— 6. E. L.]

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by Great Britain. The Imperial Goyemment consented to this, and a careful investiga-
tion of the case satisfies us that the compensation to the Hudson's Bay Company cannot,
under any circumstances, be onerous. It is but two years since the present Hudson's Bay
Company purchased the entire property of the old Company ; they paid £1,500,000 for
the entire property and assets, — in which were included a large sum of cash on hand,
large landed properties in British Columbia and elsewhere not included in our arrange-
ment, a very large claim against the United States Government under the Or^on Treaty ;
and ships, goods, pelts and business premises in England and Canada valued at
J&1,023,569. The value of the territorial rights of the Company, therefore, in the estuna-
tion of the Company itself, will be easily arrived at.

The results of our communications with the Committee of Her Majesty's Government
were placed, by Mr. Cardwell, in the form of a despatch to your Excellency ; that docu-
ment bears date the 17th June, 1865, and has already reJ^hed your Excellency's hands.
It contains a correct statement of the result of the conference. ♦ * *

John A. Macdonald.
Geo. Et. Cartibr.
Geo. Brown.
A. T. Galt.
Quebec, 12th July, 1865.

The Governor-General to the Colonial Secretary.*

Government House,

Quebec, 16th August, 1865.

Sir, — I have the honour to transmit for your information copies of papers relating
to the opening up of the North- West Territory to settlement and legislation, which I
have caused to be laid before both Houses of the Legislature of Canada.!

I have, etc,

The Bight Honourable

R Cardwell, M.P., etc., etc.,

Secretary of State.

Mr. McEwbn to the Governor of the Hudson's Bat Company. |

5 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, KC,

London, 18th Jan., 1866.

Sir, — Will you permit me to enquire, on behalf of self and friends, whether the
Hudson's Bay Company is at liberty and is willing to dispose of its cultivable territory
to a party of Anglo-American capitalists, who would settle and colonize the same on a
system similar to that now in operation in the United States, in respect to the organizBr
Iton of Territories and States ?

If so, perhaps you will state whether you are also ready to make or to receive, with
the intention of business, a proposition for the absolute sale of the same.

I have, etc.,

Alex. McEwbm.
. Sir Edmund Head,

Governor Hudson Bay Company,
Fenchurch Street.

♦ S6M. Papew, Cml. 1867-8, VoL 1, No. 19.

t [It does not appear what these papers were. — G. E. L.]

:;: Seas. Papers, Can., 1867-8, Vol. 1, No. 19.

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The. Secrbtart op the Hudsok's Bay Company to Mr. McEwbn.*

Hudson's Bay House,

London, 24th January. 1866.

Sir, — ^Tour letter of January 18th was received and laid before the Governor and
Committee at their meeting on the 23rd inst.

I am directed by them in reply to inform you that they are quite ready to entertain
and consider favourably any proposal for purchasing a portion of the Company's Terri-
toiy for the purpose of colonization.

With respect to the organization of the Territory to be settled, the Hudson's Bay
Company would be desirous of faciliating such organization by the exercise of any power
which they lawfully possess. As Rupert's Land is a British colony, the concurrence of
Her Majesty's Government on the part of the Crown would be necessary in the establish-
ment of any Government ; but the €k>vemor and Committee see no reason to suppose
that any obstacle would arise on this account.

I am, etc.,

Thomas Fraser,

Alex. McEwen, Esq.

The Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company to the Colonial Secretary, t

Hudson's Bay House,

London, 6th February, 1866.

Sir, — I have the honour to enclose certain papers for the information of the Bight
Honourable the Secretary of State :

A. — ^Extract from a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Hudson's Bay Com-
pany by William Mactavish, Esq., Governor of Rupert's Land, dated Nov. 13th, 1865. {

B. — Copy of a letter addressed to Secretary of Hudson's Bay Company, by Mr.
Alexander McEwen, dated January 18th, 1866.

C. — Copy of answer to the same, sent by order of the €k>vemor and Committee, and
dated January 24th, 1866.

With regard to Mr. Mactavish's letter it will be observed that Yermilion Lake is in
Ihe United States Territory, a little south of Rainy Lake.

I have, etc,

Edmund Head.
T. P. Elliot, Esq.,

Colonial Office.

The Under Secretary to the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.§

Downing Street,

20th February, 1866.

Sir, — I am directed by Mr. Secretary Cardwell to acknowledge the receipt of your
letter of the 6th inst., enclosing a copy of one addressed to you by Mr. McEwen, enquir-
ing if the Hudson's Bay Company are willing to dispose of such portion of their
Territory as is capable of cultivation to a party of Anglo-American capitalists.

# SesB. Papers, Can., 1867-8, VoL 1, No. 19.
-+ Sast. Paper.. Can., 1867-8, VoL 1, No. 19.
t [This extract has reference only to alleged gold discoveries on Vermilion Lake.— G. E. L.]
S Seas. Papers, Can., 1867-8, Vol. 1, No. 19.

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You alao enclose a copy of the reply which the Company have returned to thiB

Having regard to the reference you have made in your letter to the probable con-
currence of Her Majesty's Clovemment in the establishment of some new government,
Mr. Cardwell is desirous of reminding you that at the conferences which took place
during last summer, between the Canadian Ministers and certain members of Her
Majesty's Government, the Provincial Ministers expressed their desire that the North-
western Territory should be made over to Canada, and they undertook to negotiate with
the Hudson's Bay Company for the termination of their rights, on condition that the
indemnity, if any, should be paid by a loan to be raised by Canada under the Imperial
guarantee. To this proposal, Her Majesty's Ministers assented, engaging that if the
negotiation should be successful, they, on the part of the Crown, being satisfied that the
amount of the indemnity was reasonable, and the security sufficient, would apply to the
Imperial Parliament to sanction the arrangement and guarantee the amount

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 22 of 86)