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 28 of 86)
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territory in which the alleged " trespass " has taken place, had performed the first duty
of a government towards its people, by providing them with easy means of communication
with the outer world, or if they had shown themselves either able or willing to meet the
i^hr^tened calamity by a prompt effort to forward sufficient supplies to the settlement
^fore the close of navigation, the Canadian Government would have rested happy in the
l>elief that neither humanity nor public policy required or justified their interference.

The assertion of the Deputy Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company that the country
between Lake of the Woods and Red River is " the freehold territory of the Company,"
and that the so-called '' trespass " of the Canadian Government in sending provisions to
the starving settlers, and assisting them to make a road for their own convenience and
jsafety hereafter, is "an actual encroachment on the soil of the Company," might, if
unnoticed by us. be claimed as another proof or admission of the rights of the Company
in that part of the Continent We, therefore, beg to remind his Lordship that the
boundaries of Upper Canada on the north and west were declared under the authority
^f the Constitutional Act of 1791, to include "all the territory to the westward and

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soutliward " of the " boundary line of Hudson's Bay, to the utmost extent of the country
commonly called or known by the name of Canada." Whatever doubt may exist as to the
" utmost extent " of old or French Canada, no impartial investigator of the evidence in
the case can doubt that it extended to and included the country between Lake of the
Woods and Red Eiver.

The Gk)vemment of Canada, therefore, does not admit, but, on the contrary, denies,
and has always denied, the pretensions of the Hudson's Bay Company to any right of soil
beyond that of squatters, in the territory through which the road complained of is being

We have, etc.,

G. R Cartier,
Wm. MoDougall.
Sir Frederic Rogers, Bart., etc, etc., eta.
Colonial Office.

The GoYBBNOit of the Hudson's Bay Company to the TJndbr-Seorbtary.*

Hudson's Bay House,

London, February 2nd, 1869.

Sir, — I have the honour to acknowledge your letter of the 28th January, addressed
to the Deputy-Governor of this Company, enclosing a communication from Sir G. Cartier
and Mr. McDougall, on the subject of the recent proceedings of the Canadian Government
in the matter of the construction of a road through the Company's territory between Fort
Garry and the Lake of the Woods.

After the distinct statement contained in Sir Curtis Lampson's letter of the 22nd
December, that the Company, while protesting against a trespass on their land, were pre-
pared favourably to entertain any application for permission to make such a road, either on
the part of the Imperial or of the Canadian Government, the Committee think it unneces-
saiy to discuss the greater portion of the letter of the Canadian Ministers. Their objec-
tion is not to the road being made, but to its being undertaken by the Canadian Govern-
ment as a matter of right, as though the territory through which it is to pass were
Canadian. Such a step, taken at a moment when negotiations are in progress for the
transfer of the Company's possessions to Canada, and taken by a Government which openly
disputes their title to this portion of them, could not have been allowed to pass unchal-
lenged without derogating irom. the Company's rights. The Canadian Government them-
selves seem to have been alive to this. Mr. McTavish states that the agent of that
"Clovemment (Mr. Snow) on arriving at the Red River, communcated to him his instruc-
tions from the Commissioner of Public Works in Canada, containing the expression of
** a hope on the part of the Commissioner that the Company's agent here would offer no
opposition to Mr. Snow's operations, but would leave the matter entirely in the hands of
the Imperial Government." Governor McTavish, upon this, very properly allowed Mr.
&0W to commence his operations ; and so far as this Company is concerned, no impedi-
onent has been, or will be, offered to the prosecution of the work.

If it were worth while to discuss that part of the letter of the Canadian Ministers
^hich refers to the circumstances under which the construction of the road was ordered,
the Committee would be able to show that the Company had in no way failed in their duty
to the colony ; but that they had promptly taken measures for the relief of its inhabitants
and had supplied large sums, both by direct grants and by subscriptions raised under their
auspices for that purpose, at a period anterior to the appropriation of the Canadian road
grant. They would also be able to point out how the delay which has occurred in opening
Tip communications and otherwise developing the resources of the Red River Settlement
is due to the restraint which has been imposed upon them by Her Majesty's Government
•at the request of Canada, and not to any negligence or indifference of their own.

* Sees. Papers, Oul, 1859, No. 25.

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But the Committee desire to avoid the raising of a false issue, and they aooordingly
instruct me to re-state to Earl Granville the precise complaint which they have to make.
It is this : — that while negotiations are going on for the acquisition of their territory hy
Canada, the Canadian Government are endeavouring to exercise rights of ownership over
a portion of that territory, to the exclusion of the Company, and to the prejudice of their
title. This they are doing by virtue of an old claim which they have repeatedly advanced,,
which the Company have invariably disputed, and have declai^ themselves ready to con^
test before a court of law, and which Her Majesty's Government, acting under the advice
of various law officers of the Crown, have declined to endorse.

The Canadian Government have hitherto shown no inclination to bring their claim to
the test of a judicial decision, and in the absence of any such decision, the Committee con-
sider it not unreasonable to ask that due respect should be paid to the Company's unin-
terrupted possession of the territory for two centuries, and to the numerous and weighty
legal opinions which have from time to time been given in their favour.

In appealing to Earl Granville for support in this matter, instead of entering into a
controversy with Canada, or taking legal steps to enforce the Company's rights, the com-
mittee have been actuated by a desire to proceed as far as possible in accordance with the
views and wishes of Her Majesty's Government, as they have endeavoured to do through-
out the pending negotiations for the establishment of a settled form of Government at the-
Bed River. They desire now respectfully, but confidently, to claim the support and pro-
tection of the Colonial Minister against any invasion of the Company's rights which may
have been prompted or facilitated by the policy which they have adopted in order to meet
the wishes of the Colonial Office.

I have, etc.,

Stafford H. Nobthcotb.
Sir Frederic Rogers, Bart

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

Hudson's Bay House,

London, January 13ih, 1869.

Sir, — I have the honour to acquaint you, for the infonnation of Earl Granville, that
I was elected by the shareholders of this Company on Tuesday, the 5th instant, to the
office of Governor, vacant by the resignation of the Earl of Kimberley.

It now becomes my duty to address you in reply to Mr. Adderley's letter, dated the
1st December, 1868, which was received by my pi^ecessor on the eve of his resignation,,
and to which, in consequence of that event, the Committee have not been able to setid an
earlier answer.

Before making any observations upon the particular topics discussed in Mr. Adderley's^
letter, I am desired by the Committee to assure Lord Granville that they continue sincerely
anxious to promote the object with a view to which this Company was reconstructed five
and a half years ago, viz., the gradual settlement of such portions of their territory as
admit of colonization ; that they adhere to the opinion expressed in their resolution of the
28th August, 1863, viz., that the time has come when it is expedient that the authority,
executive and judicial, over the Red River Settlement and the south-western portion of
Rupert's Land, should be vested in officers deriving such authority directly from the
Crown ; and that they cheerfully accept the decision of Her Majesty's Government, com-
municated to them in Mr. Adderley's letter of the 23rd April, 1868, viz., that the whole
of the Company's territory should, under proper conditions, be united with the Dominion
of Canada, and placed under the authority of the Canadian Parliament.

Acting in accordance with the wish of Her Majesty's Government as conveyed to them
in Mr. Elliot's letter of the 23rd January, 1867, the Committee have declined to encourage
overtures which have been made to them by private persons for the purchase of portions of

♦ Sess. Papers, Can., 1869, No. 26.

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the Company's territory with a view to their colonization, and have kept the whole question
in abeyance daring the time that the negotiations which have led to the confederation
of the British Provinces constituting the Dominion of Canada were proceeding. In the
whole of that time they have taken no steps which could give rise to fresh complications^
or could place any new difficulty in the way of the admission of their territory into the
confederation when the proper moment should arrive ; and when they were informed by
Mr. Adderley's letter, of the 23rd of April, that the Parliament of Canada had addressed
Her Majesty upon this subject, and were requested to state the terms which the Company
would be prepared to accept, proceeding on the principle adopted in the interrupted nego-
tiation of 1864, they unhesitatingly complied with the desire of the Government.

It is therefore with surprise, as well as with regret, that they have learnt from tho
letter now under reply that the terms proposed by them, even when most strictly in con-
fonnity with the principles adopted in 1864, are considered by Her Majesty's (Government
to be inadmissible, and not to afford much prospect of an arrangement being come to.
They find, for instance, that the stipulation that the Company should receive one shilling
per acre on lands hereafter sold, which was originally suggested to the Committee by his
Grace the late Duke of Newcastle, in Mr. Eortescue's letter of March 11th, 1864, and
which has never hitherto been called in question, is the first point to which exception is
now taken. Objections are also raised against several other proposals which have been long
before the Government, while no notice at all is taken of some which have been made for
the first time with a view to the protection of the Company's trade, and with regard to
which the Committee are left in ignorance, whether they are considered admissible or not.

The Committee, although somewhat embarrassed by this apparent change in the spirit
of the correspondence, desire me, however, to make the following observations upon some
of the remarks contained in Mr. Adderley's letter, in order that there may be no misap-
prehension as to the bearing of their proposals :

The Committee are aware that, as is stated in Mr. Adderley's letter, in order to pre-
pare the country for settlement, very considerable annual outlay will have to be incurred,
and that for this charge, the produce of the early sales of land is the natural resource ;
but they are at a loss to understand upon what ground it is alleged that their proposals
would deprive the future Government of the ced^ territory of " any prospect, for a long
time at least, of receiving any income."

The only part of the territory in which it is probable that any early or extensive settle-
ment will take place is the part known as the fertile belt It has been confidently asserted
hj independent persons who have travelled through the country^ that a great part of this
land is not inferior in quality, or in advantages of climate, to the adjoining United States
territory now forming the State of Minnesota, and it has been justly pointed out that,
being prairie land, it does not require much labour to render it fit for cultivation. But
the price of land in Minnesota ranges, as the Committee are informed, from five
BhiUincrg to one pound per acre. The Committee think, therefore, that the fixed payment
of one shilling per acre, proposed by the Duke of Newcastle, and accepted by them as a
basis of compensation, cannot be deemed to be unreasonable, in so far as related to land
sold within the limits set forth in Sir Edmund Head's letter of the 11th of November,

As regards any portions of land lying outside those limits which may posdbly be sold,
the (/ommittee think it very improbable that such sales will take place except for mining
purposes, in which case the payment of a shilling per acre could hardly be deemed exces-
^ve. In order to save trouble and to obviate disputes, therefore, the Committee proposed
the fixed payment of one shilling per acre in respect of all sales wherever they may take
place, and they believe that the arrangement would have been, on the whole, more favour-
able to Canada than that suggested by Mr. Adderley.

Mr. Adderley proceeds to remark, with reference to Lord Kimberley's proposal that
the Company should retain certain reserves around their posts, that the reservations would
amount to upwards of 500,000 acres. It was, however, stated by Lord Kimberley and
the Deputy-Governor at an interview with the Duke of Buckingham upon this subject,
that the Committee were willing to confine their claim for reserves to the limits defined
by Sir Edmund Head's letter of the 11th November, 1863 ; that they were prepared to

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agree that such reservations should be measured by the importance of the posts to whidi
they were to be attached, and should in no case exceed 3,000 acres. The total quantity
of land to be retained by the Company under this arrangement, would not exceed 50,000
acres. The Committee cannot agree to the absolute exclusion of these reserves from all
frontage to " rivers or tracks, roads or portages " which would render them entirely value-
less, although they would have been ready to consider any reasonable limitaticm of these
special advantages.

As regards the right of selecting lands for the Company in proportion to the quanti-
ties sold from time to time by the Government, the Committee desire to call Lord Gran-
ville's attention to the reasons given in Sir K Head's letter of the 13th April, 1864, for
adopting this mode of reservation in preference to that of " setting apart beforehand a
number of isolated tracts of wild land, dotted over the surface of the colony, and calculated
to impede the free flow of settlement in the territory." Their proposal was framed with
reference to sales in the fertle belt only, and it never entered into their minds to comtem-
plate such contingencies as those suggested in Mr. Adderley's letter. In order, however,
to obviate all cavil upon this point, they would have been quite willing to limit the Com-
pany's right of selection to the case of lands sold or alienated within Sir R Head's limits,
provided that it were agreed that no alienations should take place beyond those limits,
-except either for distinctly public purposes or for the bona fide carrying on of agricul-
tural or mining operations. As regards Mr. Adderley's proposal that the right of selection
should be confined to five lots of 200 acres each in each township, as it is set out, the
Committee can only remark that the character of this proposal must depend upon the size
of the township, of which no indication has been given.

The Committee still adhere to the opinion that under the peculiar circumstances of
the proposed transfer of their territory, it would be reasonable that their wild lands should
for a limited time be exempt from taxation, in order to allow them a fair opportunity of
bringing them into profitable cultivation.

They observe that Mr. Adderley makes no reference to the tenth stipulation contained
in Lord KimberJey's letter of the 13th May, viz., that until the stipulated sum of X1,000,-
000 sterling has been paid to the Company, no export duties shall be levied by Canada
upon furs exported by the Company, nor any import duties on articles imported by them
into the North-Western Territory, and into thiit part of Rupert's Land which is not included
within the geographical limits laid down in Sir Edmund Head's letter of November 11th,
1863. This is a point to which the Committee attached very great importance. If it
had been proposed by the Canadian Government to make a direct purchase of the Com-
pany's territory, and to pay the price for it at once, the Company would, of course, have
accepted their &kir share of the burdens which annexation might be expected to involve.
But if the purchase money is to be withheld until the Canadian Government have sold
off 20,000,000 acres of the land, or have realized a considerable sum by the produce of
m ining operations, it is reasonable that the pressure of the fiscal burdens, which would fall
almost exclusively upon the Company's trade, should be suspended also. Otherwise it
might happen that, in consequence of the neglect or the inability of the Canadian Govern-
ment to proceed with the settlement of the territory, the Company would be subjected to
very heavy contributions to the colonial treasury without receiving the smallest benefit in
return. As an Illustration of the extent to which they might thus be injured, were no
limitation placed upon the colonial power of taxation, I may observe that according to the
present Canadian tariff, the duty upon the value of the Company's imports alone would
amount to about £20,000 a year, while any export duty that might be laid upon their
furs would operate still further to their disadvantage. The Committee feel confident that
Lord Granville will acknowledge the reasonableness of their taking precautions against
•such a contingency. -*

The Committee have desired me to offer to Lord Granville these explanations of their
proposals, in order to show that they have done their best to comply with the desire of
Her Majesty's Government, that they should submit a scheme founded on the principles
of the negotiations of 1864. They have not, however, failed to perceive from an early
period of the lengthened correspondence which has taken place between them and the
Government, that those principles necessarily gave rise to many difficulties ; and they have

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felt this the more strongly since the negotiations, originally commenced between the Com-
pany and Her Majesty^s Government, have virtually become negotiations between the
Company and the Government of Canada. They cannot disguise from themselves the
danger which exists that arrangements so complicated, and involving so many topics for
future discussion, are likely to leltd to the Company's being placed in a position of anta-
gonism to the Government of Canada, and to the creation of a state of things injurious not
only to their own interests, but to the welfare of the country itself. They are sincerely
Anxious to co-operate with the Canadian Government in the settlement, development, and
improvement of the territories with which they have been so long connected, and they
believe that if the arrangement between them can be placed on a satisfactory footing, it
will be in their power to render material assistance to the colonial authorities in this
respect. They believe that if a simpler arrangement than that which has recently been
ander discussion, could be adopted, and if the Canadian Government were prepared to
complete the purchase of the territory at once by the payment of a sum of money or by
the delivery of bonds, it would conduce to a more satisfactory result than the prolongation
of a controversy as to the minute points of such a scheme as has been under consideration.
Should Lord Granville be of this opinion, and should his Lordship think it desirable
to recommend any proposal of the kind to the Canadian delegates, this Committee will
gladly place themselves in fuller communication with him on the subject.

I have, etc.,

Stafford H. Northcotb,

Sir Frederic Rogers, Bart.

Thb Undbb-Secretart to THE Canadian Delegates. ''^

Downing Street,

18th January, 1869.

Gentlbmbn, — I am directed by Earl Granville to transmit to you, for any observa-
tions which you may wish to offer upon it, the enclosed copy of a letter from the Hudson's
Bay Company in answer to the proposals made to them by the Duke of Buckingham and
Chandos in the letter from this Department of the 1st of December last, with respect to
the proposed cession to the Crown of the Company's territorial rights in British North

I am. Gentlemen,

Your obedient servant,


Sir G. E. Cartier, Bart.
W. McDougall, Esq., C.B.

The Canadian Dblbgatbs .to the TJndeb-Sbcretart.'^

Westminster Palace Hotel,

London, Februaiy 8th, 1869.

Sir, — We have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th ultimo,
enclosing a copy of Sir Stafford Northcote's letter of the 13th ultimo, in reply to proposals
made to the Hudson's Bay Company for the cession to the Crown of their territorial
rights in British America, by his Grace the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, in the
letter of Mr. Adderley of the 1st December last.

* Seas. Papers, Oan., 1869, No. 25.

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Tou state that Earl Qranyille directed you to transmit this document to us for
any observations which we may wish to offer upon it. His Lbrdship's courtesy and
consideration in sending us a copy of Sir Stafford Northcote's letter and inviting us to-
express our views upon it are gratefully acknowledged, l;>ut upon reflection we thought it
would be expedient to refrain from any formal expression of our opinion on new and
indefinite propositions, until we had received some intimation of the view which hi»
Lordship was likely himself to take of them, or of the policy in respect to the general
question which Her Majesty's present advisers intend to adopt.

At an interview with which we were favoured by Earl Granville on the 26 th ultimo,,
he expressed his preference for a less complicated mode of dealing with the Hudson's Bay
question than that proposed by the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, and requested ua
to communicate to him our observations on the reply of Sir Stafford Northcote, and
especially on the proposition with which his letter concludes, viz., that the Canadian
Government should " complete the purchase of the territory at once, by the payment of
a sum of money or by the delivery of bonds."

As we have had but few opportunities to confer with his Lordship since his accession
to office, it may be proper, before considering Sir Stafford Northcote's letter, to state the
position of the Canadian Government, as we apprehend it, in this negotiation.

The British North America Act of 1867 affirmed the policy of uniting under one
Government all the colonies, provinces, and territories of British North America. Three
provinces were united at once, and provision was made by the 146th section, for the
admission into the union of the remaining colonies, on address to Her Majesty by their
respective Legislatures and the Parliament of Canada.

The North-west Territories and Rupert's Land, or either of them, are to be admitted
on the address of the Parliament of Canada' alone, and on such terms and conditions as
the Canadian Parliament may in its address express, and Her Majesty approve.

In pursuance of the poUcy of the Lnperial Parliament thus distinctly affirmed, the
Canadian Parliament at its first session under the new constitution, adopted an address to
Her Majesty for the incorporation of the North-west Territory and Rupert's Ijand with
the Dominion of Canada. The terms and conditions expressed in the address were, —

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 28 of 86)