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

. (page 23 of 86)
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 23 of 86)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Until this engagement shall have been disposed of, it will be necessary for Her
Majesty's Government to keep it in view in any steps which they may be called upon to
take in the matter.

I am, etc.,


Rt. Honourable Sir K Head, Bart., etc., etc.

Thb Colonial Sborbtart to thb GovbbnorGeneral.*

Downing Street,

24th February, 1866.

My Lord, — I have the honour to transmit to your Lordship a copy of a letter,
6th February. with its enclosures from the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company,
20th February, relative to a proposal for purchasing such portion of the Company's
Territory as may be capable of cultivation by a painty of Anglo-American capitalists.

I also enclose a copy of a reply which I have returned to Sir Edmund Head.

I have, etc.,

Governor the Right Honourable
Yiscount Monck.

Edward Cardwell.

The Governor op the Hudson's Bay Company to the Under Secretary.*

Hudson's Bay House,

London, March 1st, 1866.

Sir, — I hav^ the honour to acknowledge your letter of the 20th instant.

I beg to assure the Secretary of State that the Committee of the Hudson's Bay
Company have never lost sight of the fact, that an arrangement for transferring their
rights to Canada was contemplated as possible, although no action or engagement has
been yet taken on the part of the Company, except so far as to express a readiness
to consider any offer which may be made.

The letter to Mr. McEwen intended only to say that the Company would be ready
to exercise its lawful powers for the protection of the colonists, and the organization of
a settlement in their territory. If those powers shall have been previously purchased by
Canada, or assumed by Her Majesty's Government, their exercise will not be needed,
because there will then be another government in existence. If such powers were still

* Seas. Papers, Can., 1867-8, VoL I, No. 19.

Digitized by



in the hands of the Company, the Committee ventures to think that the Bight Honour-
able ihe Secretary of State would probably concur in any lawful exercise of them which
might be necessary for the good of settlers.

Irrespective of any question of the government of the Territory, the Committee
presume that they are at the present time in nowise hampered in the disposal of their
private property in lands by sale. At the same time, I would venture most respectfully
to enquire for how long a period the option, if it may be so called, which has been given
to Canada, is supposed to remain open.

On the 29th June, 1865, 1 assured the Secretary of State of our readiness to con-
sider any offer made in pursuance of the agreement between Her Majesty's Government
and the Canadian deputation. Since that time, so far as the Committee know, the only
step taken has been the publication of a report made to the Governor-General of
Canada, by one of the deputation, in which, as it appears to the Committee, the rights of
the Company are disputed, and the value of its property systematically depreciated.

If indeed the action of the Company with reference to its rights of private property
(as distinguished from its rights of government) is in any degree fettered or suspended
by ihe existence of the agreement of Her Majesty's Government with that of Qanada,
the question of delay, and the possibility of losing a favourable opportunity for sales,
may become a very grave one in a pecuniary point of view. This is more especially the
case, because in the agreement the words " if any " are expressly inserted in connection
with the proposed compensation.

So far, therefore, as that agreement is concerned, the Company, after all, may bo
held entitled to no compensation for their rights, public or private. It is difficult to see
how a stipulation of this very contingent character, not entered into by the Company
themselves, can, with any fairness, be considered as interfering with its right to deal with
its own property.

It is scarcely necessary for me to say, that the final acceptance of any • offer made by
Canada or by any other party, would depend, not on the Committee, but on the body of
shareholders, to whom that property belongs.

I have, etc.,

Edmund Head,

To K Forster, Esq., MP.

The Colonial Secretary to the Governor-General.*

Downing Street,

3rd March, 1866.

My Lord, — ^With reference to my despatch of the 24th ultimo. No. 18, forwarding
copies of a correspondence between the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company and this
Office on the subject of a proposal addressed to that Company by Mr. McEwcn, for the
purchase of a portion of the Hudson's Bay Company's Territory in British North
America, I have the honour to transmit to your Lordship a copy of the reply which Sir
Edmund Head has returned to the letter written to him by my direction on the 20th

I have to request that your Lordship will communicate this reply of Sir Edmund
Head to your confidential advisers, and state that I shall be glad to be favoured with
their wishes on the subject of the proposed purchase by Canada of the rights of the
Hudson's Bay Company.

I have, etc.,
* Edward Cardwell.

Governor Viscount Monck.

♦ Seas. Papers, Can., 1867-8, VoL 1, No. 19.

Digitized by Google


Report of a Committee of Counoil, approved bt the Goybrnor-Gbneral oir the

32irD Day of June, 1866.*

The Committee of the Ezecutire Council have given their careful consideration H
the despatches of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, bearing date the 24th Februarj
and 3rd March last, relative to a proposal made to the Hudson's fiay Company by a party
of Anglo-American capitalists, for the purchase " of such portion of the territory claimed
by the Company as may be capable of cultivatioir ; " and they have the honour to submit
to your Excellency the following remarks on the subject : —

In the first place, the Committee do not admit that the Company have a legal titlt
to that portion of the North- Western Territory which is fit for cultivation and settle-

This fertile tract is a belt of land stretching along the northern frontier of the
United States to the base of the Rocky 'Mountains, and Canada has always disputed th»
title of the Company to it

Even if it be admitted that the Charter of 1670, recognized as it has been by
several Imperial Statutes, gives to the Company a freehold right in the soil in Ruperfs
Land, Canada contends that the cultivable tract in question forms no part of that land.

It is not now necessary to repeat the grounds on which this opinion is founded, as
ihey have been already more than once submitted to Her Majesty's Government, and it
is only alluded to lest silence on the subject might be assumed as an acquiesence on the
part of Canada in the right of the Company to sell. Assuming, however, that such right
exists, the Committee see grave objections to the proposition of Mr. McEwen being enter-
tained. Canadian experience has shown that sales of large tracts of land to individuals,
or commercial corporations, have operated prejudicially to the best interests of the
Province, and retarded rather than promoted its settlement and progress. Companies or
individuals purchasing for the purpose of speculation, are governed solely by the one
view of obtaining a profitable return of the money invested in the purchase. All other
considerations are set aside. No general or comprehensive system of settlement is or can
be established. The best tracts are withheld from settlement in order that their value
may be increased by the improvement of the surrounding country, and by the labour of
the settlers, and the price paid to the Company for the lands, instead of being expended
in the opening up of roads and in developing the resources of the country, is divided
among a number of non-resident shareholders having no interest in the prosperity of the
country further than as such prosperity contributes to the value of their shares.

In the correspondence which took place in 1863 and 1864 between the Hudson's
Bay Company and the Colonial Office, with reference to the introduction of the direct
authority of Her Majesty's Government in Rupert's Land, it appears that the Company
proposed, as a condition of their assenting to the erection of a Crown colony, that they
should retain the ownership in fee simple of one-half of the lands of the colony.
This proposition was rejected by the Duke of Newcastle, in language which appears to
the Committee to be conclusive :

'* In an unsettled colony there is no effectual mode of taxation for purposes of
government and improvement, and the whole progress of the colony depends on the
liberal and prudent disposal of its land. These considerations afford decisive reasons
against leaving that land in the possession of a corporation. And I am to observe that
these objections, conclusive in any case, are greatly enhanced in the case of the Hudson's
Bay Company, as I learn from your letter that it has been * the unvarying opinion ' of
the Committee on whose behalf you speak that the Company would ' lose fully as much
as they would gain, by the increase of settlement in the chartered Territory.' It is
therefore, to say the least, a question whether the Company would not be under a direct
inducement to use their proprietary rights to thwart the colonizing efforts of the Govern-
ment .... The conclusive objection to the scheme is that it would reproduce
in a gigantic shape the inconveniences which, on a far smaller scale, were found intoler
able in Canada. It is evident as a matter of reasoning, and notorious as a matter of

* Sew. Papers, Can., 1867-8, Vol. 1, Na 19.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


{act^ that the interposition of large blocks of property between tracts or districts of
Orown land must obstruct the opening up of those districts, unless it fortunately
happens that the private proprietor is ready to expend money pciri pa$su with the
Oovemment in the construction of roads and other improvements, and to conform his
land policy to that of the authorities. It is also clear that colonists of the Anglo-Saxon
race look upon the land revenue as legitimately belonging to the community, and that
the diversion of half or more than half of that revenue to the purpose of increasing the
<]iYidends of a private corporation would cause a continual and growing discontent,
vhich could not be allayed by any abstract argument of right, and the full force of which
the Government would be expected by the Company to sustain. His Grace cannot con-
sent to make himself responsible for these consequences, and he is therefore obliged to
treat as inadmissible any proposal for the proprietary partition of those territories which
may be placed under the government of the Grown. '''^

If such objections exist to the tenure of large tracts of land by so ancient and
responsible a corporation as the Hudson's Bay Company, with large powers of govern-
ment, and a political as well as a commercial status, with how much greater pressure
most they weigh against the transfer of such tracts to a private association of

The Committee are further of opinion that before any steps are taken to introduce
a large body of settlers into that country, provision should be made for the efficient
administration of the government thera

So long as the Great North- West is only occupied by the Hudson's Bay Company's
servants, and by the few scattered settlers at Fort Garry, the system of government now
obtaining there may work sufficiently well ; but whenever a large population shall settle
in the country, it is to be feared that the Company's power will be altogether insuffi-
cient to preserve order and good government, and that its authority will be set at

It is evident that the old policy of exclusion of strangers from the Territory must
shortly be at an end.

lie neighbouring territories belonging to the United States are fast being settled
up to the boundary line, and if the statements as to the existence of gold in the Yalley
o! the Saskatchewan be at all verified, there will, ere long, be an influx of population which
no power that can be exerted by the Hudson's Bay Company can either resist or control
ThiB population will mainly come from the United States, and although there may be
a good many of Her Majesty's subjects among them, by far the greater portion wiU be
aliens, ignorant and regardless of the laws of England, and perhaps hostile to the British
Government. They wUl utterly disregard the authority of the Company, will endeavour
to establish a government and tribunals of their own, and, as similar bodies have done
elsewhere on this continent, assert their political independence.

Such a community would sever the British North American possessions in twain
and be the means of retarding, if not altogether preventing, the formation of a railway
•connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The future interests of Canada and all British North America are, therefore, vitally
concerned in the immediate establishment of a strong Government there, and in its settle-
ment as a part of the British colonial system.

Impressed with this conviction, Canada would ere this have opened negotiations
with the Hudson's Bay Company for the extinction of their claims, had it not been for
the prospect of her speedy absorption in the proposed Union of the British North
American Colonies. It would obviously have been improper for the Canadian Govern-
ment to commence negotiations which they could not hope to complete, or to enter into
engagements, the fulfilment of which must fall on the, whole Confederated Provinces^
At the same time, the Committee beg leave to observe that if the Company had thought
proper to submit for consideration formal proposals for the transf^ of their claims, the
final settlement of the question would have been greatly advanced.

*rFr(nnletter of Mr. Fortescue, Under-Secretary of State for the Oolonies, of Uth March, 186i
4»>ted in Report of Hon. George Brown, ante, p. 107.— G. E. L.]

Digitized by



Recent events serve to shew that in a few months that union will be effected, and*
the Committee have no doubt that the Confederate Government and Legislature will feel
it to be one of their first duties to open negotiations with the Hudson's Bay Company,
for the transfer of their claims to th e territory. Meanwhile Canada invites the aid of
Her Majesty's Government in discountenancing and preventing any such sales of any
portion of the territory as is now applied for.

W. H. Leb, C.KC.

The Govbrnor-Gbneral to the Colonial Sboretart.^

Government House,

Ottawa, 23rd June, 1866.

Sir, — Eef erring to your despatches (Nos. 18 and 20) of February 24th and March
^rd, I have the honour to transmit, for your information and consideration, an approved
Minute of the Executive Council of this Province, on the subject of the Hudson's Bay

I have, etc.,


The Eight Honourable

Edward Cardwell, M.P., etc., etc..
Secretary of State.

Thb Governor of the Hudson's Bat Compant to the Under Secretabt.*

Hudson's Bay House,

London, 17th July, 1866.

Sir, — I have the honour to enclose, for the information of the Right Honourable^
the Secretary of State, a copy of a pamphlet which I received on the 12th instant.

This pamphlet purports to be a report addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury of
the United States, and it contains certain statements to which the Committee of the
Hudson's Bay Company desire to call the special attention of the Earl of Camavon.

At page 26 the following passage occurs : —

<' Twenty years later, in 1865, the American territory of Montana adjoins the region
which excited the enthusiasm of DeSmet. Its population of 25,000, to be increased
during 1866 to 50,000, have been drawn to the sources of the Missouri by discoveries
of gold and silver mines close to the international border, and rumours of gulches and
ledges in the Saskatchewan District, yielding even greater prizes to the prospector, are
already rife, and will soon precipitate a strong, active and enterprising people into the
spacious void. What is called the 'Americanization' of the Bed River Settlements has
been slow, although sure, since the era of steam navigation ; but the Americanization
of the Saskatchewan will rush suddenly and soon from the camps of treasure-seekers
in Montana."

You, Sir, are aware of the correspondence which during the last three years has
passed between myself as Governor of this (-ompany and the Colonial Office, on the
subject of establishing in the Hudson's Bay Territory some government administered in
the name of Her Majesty. You know also that Mr. Cardwell decided to offer to Canada
an option of acquiring the rights of this Company, and that so far back as the 1st of
March last I ventured respectfully to ask the question (which has not yet been answered)
how long this option was to remain open.

♦ S688. Papers, Can., 1867-8, Vol 1, No. 19.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


In a letter addressed to me by Mr. Forster, and dated the 20th of February last^
we were told : —

" Having regard to the reference you have made in yonr letter, to the probable
ooncnrrenoe of Her Majesty's Gonemment in the establishment of some new govern-
ment, Mr. Oardwell 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
ihe 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.

" Until this arrangement shall have been disposed of, it will be necessary for Her
Majesty's Government to keep it in view in any steps which they may be called upon to
take in the matter."

Under these circumstances, it is dear that the Company thus cautioned can take^
no steps of themselves to meet any inroad or immigration within their territory, if it
be on their territory that it wiU first take ])lace— a point to which I shall afterwards

Indeed, the powers of the Charter were probably not given to be used for any such
purpose ; but if they were sufficient for such an emergency, our hands are at the present
moment tied by Mr. Forster's letter.

We think, therefore, that we are the more bound most respectfully to suggest
whether, if it is intended to retain the territory north of tBe 49th parallel as British
soil, some steps ought not to be taken for asserting its British character, and maintaining
law and order witlun it.

This may, no doubt, either be effected by the direct action of the English Govern-
ment, or be attempted by the agency of Canada ; but as we understand the latter course
to have been deliberately selected, the Committee (provided this Company are fairly
dealt with in the matter of compensation) can have no right to offer any remarks on the

In the face, however, of the confident predictions and statements contained in this
report to the Secretary of the United States Treasury, we should not be justified if we
failed to point out the necessity of speedy action of some kind.

With regard to the particular strip of country where the first* overflow of settlers or
miners may be expected from the United States Territory of Montana, I think it prob-
able that the Hudson's Bay Company have no immediate interest or responsibility
connected with it. So far as I can judge from the imperfect maps accessible to us, I
believe that on the north of Montana there is a narrow belt running along the 49tb
parallel, watered by streams, which fall not into Hudson's Bay but into Milk Biver^
a tributary of the Upper Missouri. If this be so, this strip of land, though British
ground, as beihg north of the 49th parallel, is not included in the grant made by tlio
charter of Charles IL to the Hudson's Bay Company.

I have, etc.,

Edmund Hbad,

Sir Frederic Bogers, Baronet,
etc., etc., etc

Digitized by



Thb Colonial Sbobetaby to thb Goybbnob-Gbnbbal.*

DowNiira Stbbbt, lot AugoBt^ 18(^6.

My Lobd, — 1 have the honour to transmit to you, to be laid before your responsible
fidvisers, the aocompanying copy of a letter from the Governor of the Hudson's Baj
Company, enclosing, in the form of a pamphlet, a letter from the Secretary of the United
States Treasury, in answer to a Besolution from the House of Representatives, calling
for information in regard to commercial relations with British America.

1 have, etc.,

Governor the Bight Honourable Yisconnt Monck,
etc., etc., etc.

Thb British Columbia Act, 1866.t


Bb it enacted by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
oonsent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, in this present Parliament
.assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows :

1. This Act may be cited as "The British Columbia Act, 1866."

2. In this Act the term " Governor " means any officer for the time being lawfully
^ministering the government!

3. From and immediately after the proclamation of this Act by the Governor of
British Columbia, the colony of Vancouver Island shall be, and the same is hereby united
with the colony of British Columbia, and thenceforth those two colonies shall form and
be one colony, with the name of British Columbia (which union is in this Act referred to
as the union).

4. On the union taking effect, the form of government existing in Vancouver Island
as a separate colony shall cease, and the power and authority of the Executive Govern-
ment and of the Legislature, existing in British Columbia, shall extend to and over Van-
couver Island; but in-order that provision may be made for the representation of Van-
<K)uver Island in the Legislature of British Columbia after the union, the maximum
number of councillors in the Legislative Council of British Columbia, after the union,
flhall, until it is otherwise provided by lawful authority, be twenty-three instead of fifteen.

7. Until the union, British Columbia shall comprise all such territories, within the
dominions of Her Majesty, as are bounded to the south by the territories of the United
States of America ; to the west by the Pacific Ocean and the frontier of the Russian
territories in North America ; to the north by the sixtieth parallel of north latitude ; and
to the east from the boundary of the United States northwards by the Bocky Mountains
And the one hundred and twentieth meridian of west longitude ; and shall include Queen
Charlotte's Island, and all other islands adjacent to the said territories, except Vancouver
Island find the islands adjacent thereto.

8. After the union, British Columbia shall comprise all the territories and islands
aforesaid, and Vancouver Island and the islands adjacent thereto.

♦ Seas. Papers, Can., 1867-8, VoL 1, No. 19.

t Imperial Act, 29 & 80 Yiot o. 67. ABsented to 6th Augmst, 1866.

Digitized by



The Goveenob-Gbnbral to the Colonial Secretary.*

goybrnment housb,

Ottawa, 18th August, 1866.

My Lord, — I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch
^Wo- 15) of the Ist instant, transmitting copy of a letter from the Governor of the
Hudson's Bay Company, respecting the proposed purchase by the Canadian Government
•of the territorial rights of that Company.

I shall not fail to bring before my advisers your Lordship's despatch and enclosure ;
bat I wish to remark, for your information, that this is one of the subjects upon which
it is considered undesirable to decide, pending the discussion of the Union of the
Provinces of B.N.A.

As the completion of that Union may now be looked for at an early day, I trust 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 23 of 86)