HC Deb 09 March 1854 vol 131 cc550-1

said, he rose pursuant to notice, to present a petition, which was numerously signed by residents of Vancouver's Island, each of whom stated their place of abode, their profession, and the nature of their connexion with the Island, and he, therefore, had as much reason to believe as any person presenting a petition could have, that the signatures were authentic, and that the petition actually proceeded from a considerable body of the most respectable inhabitants of the Island. The petition stated that the grant of the Island to the Hudson's Bay Company for five years was about to expire, and it complained that many persons were prevented from settling in the Island by the high price of land, and the want of a better and more settled form of government; it prayed that the Island might be taken under the Imperial Government, that a Governor might be appointed by this country, and proper Courts of Justice established; it suggested the form in which the petitioners would desire to have the Executive and the Legislative Council established; and it concluded by praying that the Legislature would give its earnest attention to provide a remedy for the evils complained of. He would also take that opportunity of asking the hon. Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether the connexion between the Hudson's Bay Company and Vancouver's Island had yet terminated; and whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Ministers to establish a new form of Government in the Colony of Vancouver's Island when that connexion has ceased?


replied, that the connexion between the Company and the Island was not about to terminate, nor was it likely to do so, for the Government had no power to remove the Company, unless it could be shown that no settlement was established in the Island, and that, he thought, was disproved by the petition the right hon. Gentleman himself had just presented. The Company were merely proprietors of the Island in trust for the settlers; but it was by no means indispensable that there should be any connexion between the Company and the Governor of the Island. It was true the commission of Governor was now held by an agent of the Company, but it was open to the Imperial Government to appoint an officer independent of the Company if they pleased.