HC Deb 21 August 1848 vol 101 c315

In answer to a question from Mr. HUME,


said, it was in tended to accompany the grant of Vancouver's Island to the Hudson's Bay Company with certain conditions which would make it imperative upon the Company to do all in their power to promote colonisation. If the Company should accept the grant upon those conditions, his noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Department intended to lay all the papers connected with the subject before the Committee of the Privy Council, and it would depend on the recommendation of that Committee whether the grant should be concluded or not. It was not the intention of the Government to send out a Commission of Inquiry to Hudson's Bay, because that would delay the colonisation project for two years, besides being a source of expense.


declared that he did not wish the Government to send out a Commission of Inquiry; all he desired was that Parliament should have time to consider this subject before the Government came to an irrevocable decision upon it.


thought that the noble Lord's statement was most unsatisfactory. It appeared that the Government was prepared to confirm the grant of Vancouver's Island to the Hudson's Bay Company, irrespective of the charge now pending against that Company of having exercised illegal and despotic authority over Her Majesty's subjects. The fundamental unfitness of the Hudson's Bay Company for the work of colonisation had been demonstrated; and, whatever restrictions might be imposed upon them for the purpose of preventing positive abuses, it would be as impossible to infuse the active powers necessary for colonisation into the Company as it would be into a corpse.


said, that the inquiry which the Secretary for the Colonies had directed to be made into the conduct of the Hudson's Bay Company, before any discussion on this subject took place, would proceed; but the Government did not intend to await the result of that inquiry before confirming the grant of Vancouver's Island to the Company. Both he and the Secretary for the Colonies were of opinion that Vancouver's Island was not likely to be colonised for a great many years by any other means than through the instrumentality of the Hudson's Bay Company.