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After these documents, it may be as well to refer to the recorded opinions of the distinguished lawyers, Samuel Romilly, G. S. Holroyd, William Cruse, J. Scarlett, and John Bell, given on the 10th June, 1814, as follows: We are of opinion that the grant of the soil contained in the Charter is good, and that it will include all the countries the waters of which flow into Hudson's Bay; that an individual, holding from the Hudson's Bay Company, a lease or grant, in fee simple, of any portion of their .territory, will be entitled to all the ordinary rights of landed property in England; that the grant of civil and criminal jurisdiction is valid, and to be exercised by the Governor and Council as Judges, who are to proceed according to the laws of England ; that the Company may appoint a Sheriff to execute judgments, and do his duty as in England ; that all persons will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Court, who reside, or are found within the territories over which it extends, and we do not think that the Act 43 Geo. III., c. 138, (commonly called the Canada Jurisdiction Act) gives jurisdiction within the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company—the same being within the jurisdiction of their own Governors and Council.'
No charters issued even now by the Crown, de mero motu, require any sanction or confirmation by Parliament; the minister, under whose advice they may be granted, is responsible of course to Parliament.
The Charter granted in 1670 by Charles II. resembled in its privilege of exclusive trade the Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1599 to the Company of Adventurers trading to the East Indies, and in its territorial rights was conformable to other Royal Charters granted by Elizabeth, James I., William and Mary, &c.
The Hudson's Bay Company, according to the printed list of 17th November, 1847, consists of 239 proprietors, representing a capital stock of £.400,000. The affairs of the corporation are managed by a Governor, Deputy Governor, and Committee of seven, elected by Proprietors holding each not less than £.900 stock for six months previous to voting, except such stock be
acquired by bequest, marriage, &c. Of the 239 proprietors, fifty five have more than two votes. Each member of the Committed must hold not less than £.1800 stock. The annexed Charter 1670 prescribes the mode of election, oaths to be administered &c.; authorises the Governor and Company to make laws and ordinances for the good government of their territory, and the advancement of trade, and to impose penalties and punishments not repugnant to the laws of England, as shown in the following clause: - The Governor and his Council of the several and respective places where the said Company shall have plantations forts, factories, colonies, or places of trade, within any of the countries, lands, or territories hereby granted, may have power to judge all persons belonging to the said Governor and Company or that shall live under them, in all causes, whether civil of criminal, according to the laws of this kingdom, and to execute justice accordingly. And, in case any crime or misdemeanor shall be committed in any of the said Company's plantations forts, factories, or places of trade, within the limits aforesaid where judicature cannot be executed for want of a Governor and Council there, then, in such case, it shall and may be lawful for the Chief Factor of that place, and his Council, to transmit the party, together with the offence, to such other plantation factory, or fort where there shall be a Governor and Council where justice may be executed.' The Company has, accordingly, established, at the Red River Settlement, at a considerable expense, a Governor, Council, Recorder, Sheriff, Coroner, &c. for the due government of the affairs of the Assiniboia or Red River territory, and for the careful and legal administration of justice throughout Rupert's Land.
The charge of the learned Recorder, Adam Thom, to the Grand Jury of Assiniboia, 20th February, 1845, is an able document with reference to the jurisdiction of the Court,—the duties of the Grand and Petty Jurors,—the power of the law over civil suits and criminal prosecutions,--the proceedings of the magistracy in Rupert's Land, and the practical dispensation of justice. Offences of a petty nature are not dealt with in a sum
iary way, as in England, by justices of the peace ; in the Hudson's Bay territories, they are subject to the scrutinizing inquisition of
jury of the colonists. Trial by jury, although not enjoined by be Royal Charter of 1670, was introduced into the Red River ettlement by Sir G. Simpson, under the directions of the Hudon's Bay authorities in England.
From February 1840, to November 1844, no crime occurred n Rupert's Land to require the summoning of a grand jury; he charge of the learned Recorder, referred to above, arose out of a case of homicide of an Indian woman by an Indian man, within the limits of the Red River settlement, under the influence of drunkenness. It appears that crime is comparatively rare in Rupert's Land, and that justice is effectively and mercifully administered under the same safeguards that exist in England*.
The fur and peltry traffic of the Company is regulated by a Deed Poll, bearing date 26th March, 1821, on the junction of the north-west traders with the Hudson's Bay Company; and by another Deed Poll, bearing date 6th June, 1834, ‘for ascertaining the rights and prescribing the duties of the chief factors and the chief traders, and for conducting the trade.' The Deed Poll of 1821 was made between the Hudson's Bay Company on the one part, and on the other part by W. and S. Mc Gillivray and Edward Ellice, who represented in England the interests of the wintering partners in America of the north-west traderswhose partnership expired in 1821-and who, as they received little or no profits, were desirous of merging their interests in those of the Hudson's Bay Company. A co-partnery was therefore agreed to for twenty-one years, on the basis that each should provide an equal capital for carrying on the trade.
The expenses of establishments in England and America are paid out of the trade; no expense relating to colonization, or to any business separate from trade, forms a charge on the concern. Profits are divided into 100 shares, of which, forty are divided between chief factors and chief traders, according to profit and
* See letters in Appendix from two clergymen of the Church of England on the
present state of the Red River Settlement.
loss; if a loss occur in one year on these forty shares, it is made good out of the profits of next year. Inventory, general account, and tariff of goods, are made out yearly on 1st June; and if profits are not paid to parties within fourteen days after Ist June, interest is allowed of five per cent.
The Governor and Company appoint governors to preside at councils of chief factors, who carry into effect all acts authorized by the Charter. Senior chief traders assist in forming council, if there be not seven chief factors present: each member of council has a vote; two-thirds form a majority for decision. There must be three chief factors, besides the President, to constitute a Council.
By the Deed Poll of 1821, there were twenty-five chief factors and twenty-eight chief traders appointed, who were named in alternate succession from the Hudson's Bay Company, and North-West Company's servants.
The servants of both Companies were placed on an equal footing; the 40 shares out of the 100, were subdivided into 85 shares, and each of the 25 chief factors was entitled to 2 shares or oths, and each of the 28 chief traders to th,—the remaining 7 out of the 85 shares were appropriated to old servants, in certain proportions, for seven years.
The chief factors superintend the business of the Company at the respective stations, and the chief traders under them carry on the trade with the Indians. The clerks serve under both; the humblest clerk, who goes out from the Orkneys or elsewhere, by good conduct may rise to the chief positions in the service of the Company. The salaries of the clerks vary from £.20 to £.100 per annum.
The chief factors and traders who winter in the interior are allowed, in addition to their share of profits, certain personal necessaries free of charge: they are not of course permitted to carry on any private trade for themselves with the Indians; strict accounts, inventories, valuations, &c., are required of them annually, and the Councils at the respective posts have power to mulct, admonish, or suspend any of the Company's servants.
Three chief factors and two chief traders are allowed to leave the
country annually for one year. A chief factor or a chief trader, after wintering three years in the service of the Company, may retire and hold his full share of profits for one year after retiring and half of the share for the four ensuing years. If he winters for five years, then half for six years. Three chief factors, or two chief factors and two chief traders, are allowed to retire annually according to rotation. The representatives of a chief factor or chief trader, who may die after having wintered five years, receive all the benefit to which the deceased himself would have been entitled had he lived ; and in like proportions for less duration of service.
The accounts are kept with great accuracy, the business conducted with punctuality, and the whole machinery of the Company is worked with order and economy, under the watchful care of a Governor and Committee in London.
Sales are made by public auction of furs or peltry, several times in each year, at the Company's premises in London. There is no upset price for the goods; they are sold to the highest bidder. The Company has no monopoly, as some suppose, of the importation of furs, &c. into England; they have to compete with those of the United States of America, of Russia, Norway, &c., and if other traders can sell lower than the Company, the public have, of course, the benefit. Beaver and other skins are now sold at much lower prices than formerly, and the steady supply from the Hudson's Bay territories has materially tended to the reduction of the price of foreign furs and skins, and has made ' London undoubtedly the most extensive market for furs in the world. [Greenhow, p. 412.]
By the printed list of the sale in March 1848, it appears that the following goods were sold by auction at the Hudson's Bay House in Fenchurch Street :-5780 otter; 4580 fisher ; 900 fox, silver; 18,100 ditto, cross, red, white, and kitt; 2566 bear, black; 536 ditto, brown, grey, and white; 30,100 lynx; 9800 wolf; 680 wolverin ; 121,000 marten; 24,000 mink skins; and sundry furs ;-and on 30th August, 1848, 21,349 beaver skins; 54 lbs. coat beaver and pieces; 808 otter skins; 195 sea