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and are without the pale of the Company's influence and authority.
'It gives me sincere pleasure to say, that a reconciliation has at length been effected between those lately inveterate and bloody enemies, the Saulteaux and Sioux nations. . Under the safe. guard of the Company's people, aided by the settlers, two bands of the latter tribe visited Red River during my residence there, in 1834 and 1836. Presents were given and speeches were made, both to them and to the assembled Saulteaux, who upon the first occasion were very violent, and were only restrained from bloodshed by disarming and other vigorous measures; but, upon the last occasion, they smoked the calumet of peace, and slept in the same apartments with the Sioux at the Company's head quarters, Fort Garry. The Sioux seemed highly gratified with the kindness and protection they experienced, and have on several occasions performed friendly offices to the Company's couriers and others passing through their country to the American garrison on the river St. Peter's. They are a warlike equestrian race, with light sinewy frames, and eagle eyes, who pursue the buffalo in the boundless plains of the Missouri and the Upper Mississippi.'-(Narrative, &c., pp. 14-20.)
During the years 1838 to 1842, the United States employed & scientific surveying expedition of three vessels of war, on the western coast of America and in the Pacific Ocean, under the command of an able officer, Commodore Wilkes. The information thus obtained has been published in five large volumes, with an atlas*, and may be deemed official. Commodore Wilkes, like all Americans, under the influence of so-called popular principles, was unwilling to find errors anywhere among his fellow countrymen but, with the frankness characteristic of his profession, he has not suppressed the views he entertains in consequence of what he actually saw of the proceedings and conduct of the Hudson's Bay Company. In several places throughout his interesting work, the Commodore bears high testimony to the character of the officers of the Company-to their humane treatment of the Indians—to their
* Published by Wiley and Putnam. London, 1845.
admirable arrangement and economy in conducting the fur tradeto the respect which they inspire for the British name, and to the advantageous colonizing stations which they formed in the Oregon territory
In passing through this region the Commodore remarks: The Indians of this region even now make war upon each other on the most trivial occasion, and for the most part to satisfy individual revenge.
The Hudson's Bay Company's officers possess and exert a most salutary influence, endeavouring to preserve peace at all hazards. It is now quite safe for a white man to pass in any direction through the part of the country where their posts are; and in case of accident to any white settler, a war-party is at once organized, and the offender is hunted up. About a year previous to our arrival, an Indian was executed at Astoria for the murder of a white man, whom he had found asleep, killed, and stolen his property.
He was taken, tried, found guilty, and executed in the presence of most of the settlers. The culprit was a slave, and it was some time before the chief to whom he belonged would give him up. It was proved on the trial, and through the confession of the slave, that he had stolen the property and committed the murder by order of his master, who took all the stolen goods. The master made his escape when he found his agency had been discovered; and I understood that he kept himself aloof from all the Company's posts, until the matter should be forgotten.'—(Vol. iv., p. 323.)
The Rev. G. Barnley, one of the Wesleyan Ministers in the Hudson's Bay Company's territories, in a letter to the Wesleyan Committee, dated Moose Factory, Rupert's Land, 24th August, 1848, thus speaks of the treatment of the Indians by the Company :* The Company appears to regard, as far and perhaps further than could be expected, the welfare of the Indians, who are completely dependent on them. The introduction of firearms has caused the natives to lose that skill with the bow and arrow which characterises the Indian of the plains, so that, without constant supplies of ammunition, they would be unable to procure sufficient food to
sustain life. In former times, when traders opposed to each other were competing for their furs, the Indians were more independent; but as they were passionately fond of rum, of course they wished to procure it in exchange; and if one party of traders had refused to supply them with it, all the trade would at once have been thrown into the hands of the other : and the Indians would not have been benefited, but greatly injured. It is gratifying to know, that in no case through the territory is liquor sold to them; it is more so, to find that the system of giving it is being gradually discontinued, and that dry goods are furnished instead of the fire-water.'—(Wesleyan Missionary Notices, February 1841, p. 448.)
In the Rev. J. Smithurst's Report to the .Church Missionary Society, for 1846, on the Indians in North-West America, he says: 'I by no means think that hunting has a demoralizing effect upon the Indians, if they are not supplied with rum to take out with them. I would much rather that they should be away hunting, than employed among the European and half-bred settlers, where they would be exposed to the temptations of beer, rum, &c.'
The kind treatment of the Indians by the Hudson's Bay Company, as stated by Commodore Wilkes and Mr. Greenhow, is confirmed by the Bishop of Montreal, who says, in his Journal :' Acts of violence committed upon the persons of the factors or traders of the Company must, I apprehend, be of exceedingly rare occurrence. As far as I had opportunities of knowing, the general system pursued at the Forts, with reference to the treatment of the people employed, is such as to gain their attachment. And the Indian hangers-on, in seasons of want, draw largely upon the charity of these establishments. Kindness, united with firmness and decision, appears to be the secret of governing mankind throughout the world, ill as it is understood in too large a portion of it.'-(Pp. 123, 124.)
The reader will now be prepared to estimate at its true value the assertion that the present appalling condition of the native population, their ignorance, their barbarism, and the sufferings and crimes consequent thereon, are ascribable to the present system of
misgovernment;' that the lives of the unoffending native race, are being virtually sacrificed year by year to the selfish and iniquitous object of drawing the greatest possible revenue from the country; and that by the proceedings of the Company the natives are 'exposed yearly to all the horrors of famine, and the attendant crimes of murder and cannibalism*' In no other part of the continent of North America have the Indians been conserved so well as in the Hudson's Bay Company's territories ; indeed, they have been almost extirpated in Canada, and in the United States; and it is probable that in a few years they will be utterly destroyed or expelled from the regions south of the 49o parallel of latitude.
The general and minute testimony given by the Bishop of Montreal, the British Ministers of the Gospel, by the Rev. S. Parker, Commodore Wilkes, and Mr. Greenhow, three American gentlemen, whose favourable evidence cannot be invalidated, is ample proof of the treatment of the Indians by the Hudson's Bay Company. The schools, and the attention given to religious instruction, are but the commencement of a system which requires years of the most judicious management to establish and extend. Any person who has seen savages in America, Africa, Asia, or Australia, know how difficult, nay almost impossible, it is to impart to them even the first rudiments of civilization,—to induce them to derive their subsistence from the cultivation of the soil, -to eradicate the fearful vices, crimes, and false principles of unreclaimed man. The Australian savage perishes by European contact, like snow beneath the summer sun: even the care and principles of William Penn failed for the preservation of the Indians; and Sir George Simpson, the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company's territories in America, feelingly deplores the hopelessness of civilizing the Indian population.
* Memorial to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in the pamphlet of Mr. A. K. Isbester.
CHRISTIAN CONDUCT AND BENEFICENT POLICY
OF THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY.
It is difficult to enter into details on this branch of the subject; conclusions must be drawn from general facts, and allowances made for the nature of the country, its position, climate, products, the character of the inhabitants, and the means required for their improvement.
After a careful examination of all circumstances, there can be no hesitation in saying, that the Hudson's Bay Company have well fulfilled the objects for which their Charter was granted in 1670. Without any aid from the Crown-without any drain upon the national exchequer,-opposed by American and even English rivalry, --subject to plunder and devastation by the fleets and forces of the French and Russian Governments,-struggling against an inclement climate, in a sterile soil, -shut out from maritime communication with England, except for a few months in the year,—and amidst hosts of wild, warlike, treacherous, and mere hunting savages, the Hudson's Bay Company have acquired and maintained for England, by a sagacious and prudent policy, by honourable, and, above all, by Christian conduct, that portion of the North American continent which lies between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, north of the 49th degree of latitude, extending over more than three million square miles—(3,060,000.)
But for the Hudson's Bay Company England, would probably have been shut out from the Pacific, for, on the 5th of April, 1814, a convention' was signed between the United States and Russia, (to which England was no party,) making the 54th paral