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Island were most available to shipping. There were coal-fields covering fifty square miles in the island. Plenty of men and plenty of capital would go there if the settlers were to be independent.
Mr. P. Howard held that England should possess in Vancouver's Island a colony of sufficient weight and power to be useful in balancing the growing influence of the United States on the western coast.
Mr. Wyld observed, that Vancouver's Island was the sentinel of the Pacific Ocean. Its numerous harbours made it of great value in that part of the world, and its position with reference to China, Australia, New Zealand, California, and the Oregon, made the possession of it a matter of great moment. "In the course of the discussion they had heard much respecting the expense of sending out emigrants to Vancouver's Island, but on that point he begged to inform the House that there were many merchants in the city of London who were quite prepared to take out settlers at the rate of 177. each."
Mr. Goulburn pointed out, that if the island was so valuable to the Americans, surely it was valuable to us also, and we ought to put it on a footing that would render it more valuable in times to come. He had no fear during a temporary suspension of our operations, while the Hudson's Bay Company possessed a settlement on the island, and we held an admirable harbour and had a squadron in the Pacific, that any efforts of the Americans would bring the island under the jurisdiction of the United States. He (Mr. Goulburn) did not understand how the colonists could enjoy constitutional privileges under the rigorous superintendence of the Hudson's Bay Company. Such constitutional privileges were at once abrogated by the power of the company to dispossess settlers of their lands, or to tax them to any extent, unless they submitted servilely to all the rules, regulations, and ordinances, which issued from Hudson's Bay House.
In the House of Lords, Lord Monteagle, in addition to the points above enumerated, dwelt with emphasis upon the fact that when a communication should be made, either by railroad or by a canal, across the Isthmus of Panama, that would become the highway of maritime nations to China and other parts of the eastern world, and then the possession of Vancouver's Island would become a matter of vast importance. The noble lord denounced the grant of that island to the Hudson's Bay Company as the most lavish, the most inconsiderate, and the most reprehensible ever made before. The company was altogether unfit to be trusted with the moral duties of government, and their occupations and pursuits were totally opposed to colonisation.
The question then remains in this position; whether it being a positive fact that for a year and a half after its being publicly known that government would receive offers for the colonisation of Vancouver's Island, although many sent in their plans, not one of them was accompanied with a show of security that the parties would be able to carry out the object in view; the said island should be handed over to a noncolonising, trading, despotic company, or should be colonised by the government of the country, and at the national expense.
It has been argued that the Hudson's Bay Company possesses already a settlement in Vancouver's Island. This settlement has been described by one correspondent to the Times as a most flourishing institution, with 3000 or 4000 acres of prairie, "appropriated for the purposes of farm
ing" a village, hospital, and school, a dairy and piggery, grist and sawmills, a shed for curing salmon, gardens and orchards full of fruit and vegetables; and by another correspondent, as "a wooden enclosure of some 200 feet square, occupied by two Englishmen, two half-breeds, and three or four Canadians with their Indian wives." But whichever way
the truth lies, one fact is certain, and has not been noticed, which is that Vancouver Fort is not on Vancouver's Island at all, but on the banks of the Columbia River, ninety miles distance in a direct line from the sea, and within the territory conceded to the United States; and that further, the United States government has already voted a considerable sum of money to indemnify the Hudson's Bay Company for the loss of that settlement, which is in this country, at once made a chief claim to the grant of Vancouver's Island, or to compensation if deprived of that island!
The Hudson's Bay Company intend, it is said, to promote private enterprise, by bestowing grants of land at the rate of 17. per acre, binding the purchasers to transport six persons for every 100 acres which they purchase, one-half of them are to be agricultural labourers, the others may be mechanics, or others who are likely to be useful to the colony; the purchasers are to be responsible for the passage of these labourers, and are to pay the money necessary for that purpose previous to sailing. The rate has not yet been fixed, but it is understood that it will not exceed 201. a head.
This is all very business-like, and if the obnoxious despotism which orders that no man shall hold land under the company unless he abide by their secret rules and ordinances, were done away with, our objections to the existing arrangement would not be so vehement. Such a state of things is utterly opposed to the establishment of a constitutional form of government, as the company must always hold the opinions of individuals under their control, upon pain of forfeiting their lands.
But still granting all this, so remarkable are the advantages for emigration, held out by Vancouver's Island, so peculiar are the advantages of its position, climate, and harbours; and so paramount its political importance, now that the United States have taken possession of California, that the opinion of every disinterested person will be that its colonisation ought to have been taken up as a national question.
We hear on every side cries for relief, and we are told that emigration is the only possible provision for the universal distress, and yet in the face of all this, we see one of the most remarkable and important fields of colonisation open to Great Britain handed over almost sub rosâ to a company who, for nearly 200 years, have held despotic sway over a tract of country nearly equal in extent to our Indian possessions, without the slightest benefit to their native land.
It is not easy to understand if tenants are so easily found, why the nation should not let its own lands and its mines in Vancouver's Island, as well as the Hudson's Bay Company. The circumstances which render the nation incompetent to perform what a company is so ready to undertake, have not been clearly enunciated. Earl Grey's phantom of a primary grant of £50,000, and of annual grants of £10,000 annually for an indefinite period to follow, had the effect of frightening the timid into an involuntary acquiescence. But the Hudson's Bay Company will be put to no such expense. They are to receive the land in mass from the government, and sell it by retail in small portions to settlers, and the pur
chase-money received from such settlers is to be applied, in the first instance, to the necessary expenses of colonisation. With respect to the coal in the island, the company do not contemplate working the mines themselves, but letting them to other parties on lease, those parties paying royalties to the company. Wherefore cannot the nation meet the same liabilities? It has been argued that there are other lands to colonise first. There are none presenting greater advantages, and emigrants have a right to choose their own colonies; and there are none that so imperiously demand occupation as Vancouver's Island.
What emigration is, or ought to be, to Great Britain, migration is to the United States. Their colonies are in the Western Provinces. Taken with the previously vacant territories of the United States Proper, the annexation of Texas, the acquisitions from Mexico, the awards in Oregon, and the cession of California (which the President's message indicates will not lie long useless in the hands of its new possessors), have placed at the disposal of the authorities at Washington a tract of land, at least twice as spacious as the whole presently inhabited portion of the United States!
Not content with these immense territorial acquisitions, the terms of the Oregon convention having left certain possessory rights to the Hudson's Bay Company within the frontier assigned to the United States, the States have expressed their anxiety to purchase them immediately, and the British government is said to have proposed, through Mr. Crampton, to sell to the States the possessory rights of the Hudson's Bay Company south of the 49th degree, and also of the free navigation of the Columbia river for 1,000,000 dollars.
"The greater part of that coast," says the Times, "to which we pay so little heed, has indeed been already brought within call of Washington, and the ports of the Pacific will be kept well in hand by a cabinet sitting on the shores of the opposite ocean. A line of mail steamers is forthwith to run between New York and New Orleans; at New Orleans it will join a second line from that port to Chagres, on the Isthmus of Panama; from the Isthmus a third line of steamers will traverse the Pacific to St. Francisco, and to and from the Columbia river. The ink of treaties is scarcely dry, and yet in January next the direct and regular communication between New York and Oregon will be such as, at this time last year, had not been established between London and Ascension." These are not times to throw away the power and the privileges conferred upon us by the possession of the very best position on the coast of North West America. Let any reader take the first map he can lay his hands on, and run his eye along the whole western coast of the continent of North America, from Behring's Straits to the Isthmus of Panama, and he will without further information, be able to form some idea of the importance of Vancouver's Island. The Hudson's Bay Company cannot be expected to rear that to the very life and substance of which it has ever been opposed.
In such a category, the well-known Mr. Enderby, to whose labours in the Southern Whale Fishery we had occasion to allude so largely in our notice of Sir James Ross's Antarctic Voyage, has come forward with a very important proposal.
Mr. Enderby proposes to connect the north-west fishery which extends
from the latitude of 30 deg. to 60 deg. north, and within the limits of which Vancouver's Island is situated with that island. This fishery, as at present arranged, commences in April and terminates in October, but if there was a station at Vancouver's Island, at which the vessels could discharge their cargoes and get a refit, the vessels, instead of returning to the Aucklands, could prosecute the sperm whale fishery from October to May; or if found advisable, some of them might be employed in conveying coals or in trading to India, China, Japan, or other places in the Pacific Ocean, thus extending British commerce, as also connecting British interests in those seas.
Now that the Americans have acquired possession of California, Mr. Enderby remarks there can be little question that they will, in future, refresh and refit at one or other of their own settlements there, rather than at Vancouver's Island, and in preference even to the Sandwich Islands, which they have raised into prosperity, by making them hitherto the chief place of their rendezvous. In order to induce parties to settle in Vancouver's Island, Mr. Enderby adds, "You should be prepared to show— first, that the ports will be frequented by shipping; and, secondly, that there will be a demand for the produce of the soil, viz., corn, animal food, wool, timber, coals, &c., over and above that of the consumers themselves -expectations which I confidently predict, can alone be realised by making Vancouver's Island a whaling station in the manner stated." In the case of the first settlement in Australia (Botany Bay), the governors, emigrants, and convicts, were conveyed out in whaling ships, and, in the first instance, the visits of whaling ships were the means of saving the colonists from starvation. If California produces no coal, Vancouver's Island will be the intermediate station in steam communication between Panama and China, but should coal be also found in California, steamvessels will cross the Pacific by the way of the Sandwich Islands. In any case, if the company's vessels now obtain full freights out and home, they cannot convey the goods or produce of the colonists; they could, in fact, only do so in cases where the outward and homeward freights in bulk or weight did not happen to be equal.
Every thing then, the objects and means of the Hudson's Bay Company, the importance of Vancouver's Island as a station in the steam navigation of the coast-and of the North Pacific, also as a station for the north-west whale fishery, as well as a general maritime station in the future Mediterranean of the New World; point out that there is now not only a great and worthy opportunity of planting a society of Englishmen, which, in the words of Mr. Gladstone, "If it did not afford a precise copy of our institutions, might still present a reflex of that truth, integrity, and independence, which constituted at this moment the orna ment and glory of the country;" but there is also an opportunity of establishing a bulwark to our power in North America, of securing the best harbour on the north-western coast, and of resolving that if there is to be a Tyre in the North Pacific, its riches and its greatness shall be gathered into the lap of Britons.
BRIGHTON IN THE AUTUMN.
THANKS to the events which have made the Continent one vast battlefield, of fact or of opinion, from the southern extremity of the Italian peninsula to the northernmost point of Germany, from the eastern frontiers of Hungary to the western shores of France, the "tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast"-the travelling English-have this year been compelled to forego their usual course of migration, and circumscribe their desires within the limits of the seas of Britain. The Highlands of Scotland, the mountains of Wales, the valleys of Derbyshire and the sweet streams of Devon, heretofore sought at this season only by the sportsman and the artist, have suddenly developed charms to the eyes of the traveller which, in his search after remoter beauties, he had hitherto, in a great degree, neglected; unwisely perhaps, but, as it so happens, not unfortunately. Instead of roaming to the shores of the blue Mediterranean, scaling the passes of Alp and Appenine, or tracking the Danube's flood, the tourist has returned perforce to the rich store of enjoyment which this island offers to all who choose to go in quest of it. It may be and is, no doubt, a pleasant thing enough, to visit picturegalleries, dine at superlative table-d'hôtes, wear a long beard, smoke a short pipe, and baragouiner half the languages of Europe with the grace and elegance of an experienced courier, but he who climbs Ben Nevis or Snowdon, lingers amid the shades of Val Crucis, or smokes his cigar by moonlight on the chain-pier at Brighton, dining on unapproachable mutton, grouse, or partridge, as the locality suggests, and speaking no language but his mother tongue, the "dim Sassenach" of the Welsh having no terror to his ear when compared with the untranslateable wants of the Continent-he, we repeat, who is in this position, has no need to envy the man who is perpetually putting on his seven-leagued boots to put 66 a girdle round the earth in forty minutes."
We have ourselves, this summer, visited scenes both in England and Scotland, which had long been a reproach to our consciences, and whereever we went, in spite of the weather, the pleasure-seekers and, as it seemed, the pleasure-finders too, abounded. But, as an Englishman turns as naturally towards salt-water as a Frenchman retreats from it, after various wanderings over flood and fell, we found that our peregrinations had led us, like Byron's pilgrim, to the sea-side, though not, perhaps, in exactly the same contemplative spirit as the noble Childe. As the place was Brighton, this is not to be wondered at, though even there exists food for contemplation and "meditation chastened down enough," as the indigenous Brightonians (they who let their houses and prey upon their fellow-men) have of late years had leisure to discover. But this is past; the gates of the temple of Janus (at Ostend and Boulogne) are closed, and Brighton is filling again as it used to fill of yore, not altogether, it may be, with the same kind of people, for while grouse, partridge, and pheasant, have their attractions on heather, in stubble, or in cover, their fashionable destroyers keep away, and, moreover, retain those who give to fashion all its charm. The fop whom Pope called Sporus, said in the last century that the world was made up of " men, women, and Herveys;" the same may be said now, but with this difference, that the "Herveys" are in a decided minority, and that the "men and women" have it; so that their absence can be