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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 safeguard 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.
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 dif. ficult, 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
lel the boundary of their respective dominions. The settlements of the Hudson's Bay Company on the Columbia River and in the Oregon region defeated this project.
The American geographer and librarian to the United States' Government, Mr. Greenhow, who ably vindicates the rights and claims of his own country, who is by no means favourably disposed to any claims of England on the continent of America, and who, as an American, is little inclined to approve of the conduct of an Association whose interests he naturally considers opposed to those of his own countrymen, thus candidly expresses his views in 1844, when referring to the disputed territory of the Oregon, Columbia River, Vancouver's Island, &c. :
The British Ministers could have no counsellors better qualified to advise, or whose interests were more completely identified with those of the Government, than the Hudson's Bay Company, who, representing in all respects the interests of Great Britain in North-West America, has indeed become a powerful body. The field of its operations was more than doubled by its union with the North-West Company, and by the licence to trade, in exclusion of all other British subjects, in the countries west of the Rocky Mountains, where the fur-bearing animals are more abundant than in any other part of the world; while the extension of the jurisdiction of the Canada courts over the whole division of the continent, to which its charters apply, and the appointinent of its own agents as magistrates in those regions, gave all that could have been desired for the enforcement of its regulations. The arrangement made with the Russian-American Company, through the intervention of the two Governments, secured to the Hudson's Bay Company the most advantageous limits in the north-west; and the position assumed by Great Britain, in the discussions with the United States respecting Oregon, were calculated to increase the confidence of the body in the strength of its tenure of that country, and to encourage greater efforts on its part to assure that tenure.
• The licence granted to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821,
expired in 1842, but another had been previously conceded, also for twenty-one years, containing some new and important provisions. Thus, the Company was bound, under heavy penalties, to enforce the due execution of all criminal processes by the officers and other persons, legally empowered in all its territories; and to make and submit to the Government such rules and regulations for the management of the trade with the Indians as should be effectual to prevent the sale and distribution of spirituous liquors among them, and to promote their moral and religious improvement. It is, moreover, declared in the grant, that nothing therein contained should authorise the Company to claim the right of trade in any part of America, to the prejudice or exclusion of the people of any foreign states,' who may be entitled to trade there, in virtue of conventions between such states and Great Britain ; and the Government reserves to itself the right to establish within the territories included in the grant any colony or province, to annex any part of those territories to any existing colony or province, and to apply to such portion any form of civil government which might be deemed proper. Whether this last provision was introduced with some special and immediate object, or with a view to future contingencies, no means have as yet been afforded for determining. It is, however, certain that the British Government insisted strongly on retaining the above-mentioned privileges; and it is most probable, the Red River* and the Columbia countries were in view at the time, as the remainder of the territory, included in the grant and not possessed by the Company in virtue of the Charter of 1669, is of little value in any way. In addition to the assistance and protection thus received from the British Government, the constitution of the Hudson's Bay Company is such as to secure the utmost degree of knowledge and prudence in its councils, and of readiness and exactness in the execution of its orders. Its affairs are superintended by a Governor, a Deputy Governor, and a Committee of Directors established at London, by whom
* Mr. Greenhow is wrong so far as the Red River territory is concerned, as that region is not included in the exclusive Licence of trade in 1838.-[R. M. M.]