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within the entrance of the straits, commonly called Hudson's Straits, that are not already actually possessed by, or granted to any of our subjects, or possessed by the subjects of any other Christian Prince or State.'
No latitudinal or longitudinal boundaries are here expressed. By several Acts of Parliament, especially by 14 Geo. III., cap. 83, the northern boundary of Canada was to be the southern boundary of the eastern portion of the territory granted' to the Hudson's Bay Company; and a map, published by Eman Bowen, in 1775, assigns the 49th parallel of north latitude as part of the southern boundary of the Hudson's Bay tract, as far as the Canadian frontier.
No western or northern boundary having been expressed in the Royal Charter of 2nd May, 1670, it has been said that the Pacific and Northern Oceans constitute the limits in these directions; the Hudson's Bay Company, on the 10th June, 1814, sought an opinion respecting the Red River Territory (as shown at p. 47), from the learned counsel, Samuel Romilly, G. S. Holroyd, William Cruise, J. Scarlett, and John Bell, who stated that the grant of the soil contained in the charter is good, and that it will include all the country the waters of which run into Hudson's Bay. This opinion does not define how much more territory may be included in right of the Charter.
In addition to this grant of territory to the Hudson's Bay Company, and exclusive trade over the same, Charles II., in the said charter, with a view to the discovery of a new passage into the South Sea*, and for the finding of some trade for furs, mine
* It has been erroneously stated that Charles II. granted a charter to the Hudson's Bay Company, in order to enable them to discover a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This is not the case, as the words of the accompanying Charter show. It was granted not only as an encouragement to endeavour to find a passage into the South Sea, but also to find ‘some trade for furs, minerals, and other considerable commodities.' Arctic discovery has, nevertheless, always formed a prominent part of the proceedings of the Company.
Mr. Hearne adverts, in his interesting work, published in 1795, to the monies expended by the Company in prosecuting researches, and to the various attempts made by their officers, Bean, Christopher, Johnston, and Duncan, to find out a north-west passage. In 1719, the Hudson's Bay Company fitted out the Albany frigate and the
rals, and other commodities, and to encourage them to proceed further in pursuance of their said design, whereof there may probably arise very great advantage to us and to our kingdom,
Discovery sloop, to find out the Straits of Anjan, and a passage to the northward. These ships were embayed in the ice near Marble Island, and all perished by a lingering miserable death. No intelligence of the vessels, or their crews, reached the Company, or any of their forts, until 1769, and then the remains were discovered by accident.
The Hudson's Bay Company, between 1769 and 1772, sent Mr. S. Hearne from Fort Churchill on three journeys throughout the regions west and north-west of the Fort, to the extent of a thousand miles. Considering the period when these journeys were undertaken, the ignorance which prevailed respecting the topography and climate, the number and dangerous character of the Indian tribes, and the total separation of Mr. Hearne from any other European, the investigations of this enterprising traveller erve the highest approbation.
Hearne discovered the Lake Athapescow, and explored a large extent of country : he traced the “far-off Metal River, since called the Copper Mine River,' to its termination in the Arctic Ocean, where the tides were observed, and on whose shores relics of whales were strewed in abundance. Hearne conceived that he had proved the entire impossibility of any direct communication between Hudson's Bay and the Pacific, for the discovery of which, by H.M. ships, an Act of Parliament was passed in 1745, offering a reward of £.20,000.
The Admiralty concurred in the opinion of Hearne, and, in 1776, the reward was offered to any of His Majesty's subjects who should find out, and sail through, any passage in any direction from the Atlantic to the Pacific, north of the 52nd parallel of latitude.
In 1836-7-8-9 the Hudson's Bay Company incurred considerable expense in prosecuting an extensive and successful exploring expedition to the Arctic Ocean, under two of their officers, Messrs. Dease and Simpson, whose valuable researches have been recently published, for which the Geographical Society awarded their gold medal, and Her Majesty's Government a pension of £.100 per annum to Mr. Simpson and Mr. Dease. These enterprising travellers advanced, in one season, from the Mackenzie River to Point Barrow, and in another from the Copper Mine River to Boothia Felix, when the region reached, was 680 43' 39" north latitude, 1060 3 west longitude, magnetic variation, 600 38' 23" east; the compass was sluggish and uncertain in its movements, requiring to be shaken before it would traverse. The discovery was termed Victoria Land. During the preceding year, the explorers reached 710 23' 33" north, 1500 20' west; an open sea was seen to the eastward, and a large bay studded with islands, the land dipping to east-south-east for thirty miles. In 1846-47 the Hudson's Bay Company sent out another Arctic expedition, under the command of one of their able officers, Mr. John Rae, for the purpose of exploring and surveying the unknown portion of the north-east angle of the American continent. The expedition consisted of thirteen persons, started from Fort Churchill in July 1846, suffered great hardships, and wintered at a place named Fort Hope, in 660 32' 16” north, 860 55' 51" west; variation of the compass, 620 50' 30" west, dip of the needle, 880 14' ; the thermometer in their snow-covered habitation, was 100 to 120 below zero. After severe privations, and overcoming considerable difficulties, Mr. Rae successfully accomplished the object of the expedition by tracing the coast of America between Lord Mayor's Bay of Sir John Ross, to within eight or ten miles of the
granted, ‘for ever hereafter,' not only the whole, the entire, and only trade and traffic to and from the territory, limits and places aforesaid, but also the whole and ' entire trade and traffic to and from all havens, bays, creeks, rivers, lakes, and seas into which they shall find entrance or passage by water or land out of the territories, limits, or places aforesaid ; and to and with all the natives and people inhabiting, or which shall inhabit within the territories, limits, and places aforesaid ; and to and with all other nations inhabiting any the coasts adjacent to the said territories, limits, and places which are not already possessed as aforesaid, or whereof the sole liberty or privilege of trade and traffic is not granted to any other of our subjects.'
This grant not only, therefore, gave the Hudson's Bay Company a large territorial manor in perpetuity, but it also gave them an exclusive right of trade, for ever, over such adjoining territories as above described.
Mr. Greenhow—after reciting the Royal Charter of 1670acknowledges, that from thence it will be seen that the Hudson's Bay Company possessed, by its Charter, almost sovereign powers Fury and Hecla Strait (see map); thus proving ' Boothia Felix' to be a peninsula*. The country thus explored was formally declared to be British territory, and, in September 1847, Mr. Rae and his party arrived in safety at York Factory, in Hudson's Bay. This scientific officer of the Company has now, at the request of the Lords of the Admiralty, accompanied Dr. Richardson in search of Sir John Franklin and his gallant companions.
During the researches, journeys, and voyages of Parry, Franklin, Ross, Beechey, Back, &c., the Hudson's Bay Company have spared no exertions or expense to aid Her Majesty's Government and the naval service in the Arctic explorations, which, independent of the expenditure of the Company, have cost Her Majesty's Government, since 1815, nearly half a million sterling, without any territorial or commercial advantage being derived by the nation.
The Hudson's Bay Company have long since demonstrated, that no available route exists by sea between the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and this national expenditure might bave been spared, and any further required exploration of these hyperborean regions may well be left in the hands of the Company.
* See the Times and Morning Herald of Nov. 1 and 2, 1847, for an unassuming despatch of Mr. Rae to the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company, containing an account of his important geographical discoveries, of which an excellent map has been prepared by Mr. Arrowsmith with his accustomed public spirit.
over the vast portion of America drained by streams entering Hudson's Bay.'-(" Oregon" Proofs and Illustrations, I. p. 456.)
These latter rights were, however, invaded after the British occupation of Canada, by an associated body terming themselves the North-West Company, between whom and the Hudson's Bay Company, a series of direful struggles, attended with great loss of life, injury to the fur trade, and destruction to the Indians, was maintained for years, until, in 1821, an Act of Parliament was passed, under which the Crown granted to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to the three representative agents of the North-West Association in London and Montreal, on 6th December, 1821, a licence of exclusive trade for twenty-one years, in what were termed the 'Indian territories,'that is, over those tracts which might not be included in the grant of Charles II., and also over those tracts which, by mutual consent, were open to the subjects of England, and to those of the United States. The three NorthWest Association Agents merged into the Hudson's Bay Company; the exclusive trading licence was surrendered in 1838, and, after careful examination and investigation, on 30th May, 1838, the Crown granted, under covenant, another licence for twenty-one years of exclusive trade over the aforesaid Indian and Neutral territories. These licences (which extended to those parts in North America beyond the limits of the Charter which the Hudson's Bay Company at present enjoy,' (see Board of Trade letter, 2nd of June, 1837, in Parliamentary Papers of 8th August, 1842,) in nowise invalidated or questioned the rights possessed by the Hudson's Bay Company under the Royal Charter of 2nd May, 1670, which has been recognised by various treaties and Acts of Parliament. From the correspondence of 7th September and 30th October, 1846, laid before Parliament, 10th August, 1848, it would appear that the Crown considered the 'Rocky Mountains' as the eastern boundary of the territory over which the Hudson's Bay Company have the exclusive right of trading with the natives for twenty-one years from 13th May, 1838. Previous to the recent Oregon treaty, the Hudson's Bay Com
pany had formed settlements on the Columbia River, and some of its servants and retired officers established an agricultural farm at Puget Sound, south of the 49th parallel, and within the present American territories; but the Oregon treaty (see Appendix) expressly guarantees the possessory rights' of the Hudson's Bay Company in the American States, and of course thus acknowledges the possessory rights of the Hudson's Bay Company north of the 49th parallel. In the trading licence of 1838 the Crown reserved to itself the right of establishing any colony in the territory over which the licence extended : hence the power now exercised by the Crown of disposing of Vancouver's Island.
PHYSICAL ASPECT.It is difficult to convey an idea of the territories belonging to, as well as those included in the trading licence of, the Hudson's Bay Company. A great portion of them, east of the Rocky Mountains, consists of inland seas, bays, lakes, rivers, swamps, treeless prairies, barren hills and hollows, ' tossed together in a wave-like form, as if the ocean had been suddenly petrified while heaving its huge billows in a tumultuous swell.'-(T. Simpson's Life and Travels.) La Hontan has not inaptly called the region north of Lake Superior, the
fag end of the world. There are, doubtless, several spots, such as the Red River, adapted in some respects for European settlements; but they are like oases in the desert, few and far between—and totally inapplicable for extended colonization ; indeed, at a great many of the posts, not only can no corn be grown, but even the potatoe and other crops are cut off by summer frosts, so that the rearing and preservation of a sufficient quantity of human food is an object of the most anxious solicitude throughout the country. By the concession of part of the Oregon country and the Colombia River to the United States in 1846, we gave up a fertile and temperate region, south of the 49th parallel, capable of yielding abundance of food; and the tract now left in the possession of the Hudson's Bay Company will require great care and industry, to render even the most promising spots productive.