HC Deb 08 July 1858 vol 151 cc1096-121

Order for Second Reading read.


Sir, the Bill which I rise to ask the House to sanction, is necessary to the maintenance of law and the preservation of life in the district in which it proposes to establish a Government, and it realizes at an earlier period than was anticipated an object which has already entered into the colonial policy of this country. The House is aware that in 1849 the Crown granted to the Hudson's Bay Company the soil of Vancouver's Island, on the condition of establishing a colony there, disposing of the land to emigrants, and defraying its expenses; at the same time the Crown reserved a right to resume the land on the expiration of the grant of exclusive trade in 1859. But the Company enjoy in Vancouver's Island no rights of government or of judicature. The government is administered by a Governor appointed by the Crown, with a Legislative Council, and the House of Representatives chosen by the people. The judicature is administered by Courts instituted by the Crown, under the special authority of an Act of Parliament, "to provide for the administration of justice in Vancouver's Island." Next year it is the intention of the Crown to resume the soil, and the whole public connection of the Company with the island will cease. Indeed, my right hon. Friend the Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice), in his able evidence before the Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, says, "The sooner the public re-enter into possession, and the sooner they form establishments worthy of the island, and worthy of the country, the better." My right hon. Friend proceeds to say, "that this island is a kind of England attached to the continent of America; that it should be the principal station of our naval force in the Pacific; that it is the only good harbour to the northward of San Francisco, as far north as Sitka, the Russian settlement; that you have in Vancouver's Island the best harbour, fine timber in every situation, and coal enough for your whole navy; that the climate is wholesome, very like that of England; the coasts abound with fish of every description; in short, there is every advantage in the Island of Vancouver to make it one of the first colonies and best settlements of England." But when my right hon. Friend was asked by the Committee if he thought it desirable to attempt also at once to colonize the land on the adjacent coast he answered, "No, we should have enough to do in colonizing the island." He will not say that now. He knows that since that evidence was given circumstances have arisen which call upon us to place, as soon as possible, the adjacent territory under the safeguard of an established Government, such as this Bill will provide. And those circumstances are the discovery of goldfields, the belief that those goldfields will be eminently productive, the number of persons of foreign nations and unknown character already impelled to the place by that belief, I need say no more to show the imperative necessity of establishing a Government wherever the hope of gold—to be had for the digging—attracts all adventurers and excites all passions. At this moment there is no Imperial Government at all in the place, for the Governor of Vancouver's owns no commission on the mainland. Thus, the discovery of gold compels us to do at once, what otherwise we should very soon have done—erect into a colony a district that appears, in great part, eminently suited for civilized habitation and culture. Before I proceed further it may be interesting to the House to give a sketch of the little that is known to us, through official sources, of the territory in which these new goldfields have been discovered. The territory comprehended in the proposed Bill lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific; it is bounded on the south by the American frontier line, 49 degrees of latitude, and may be considered to extend to the sources of Fraser River, in latitude 55 degrees. It is, therefore, about 420 miles long in a straight line, its average breadth about 250 to 300 miles. Taken from corner to corner its greatest length would be, however, 805 miles, and its greatest breadth 400 miles. Mr. Arrowsmith computes its area of square wiles, including Queen Charlotte's Island, at somewhat more than 200,000 miles. Of its two gold-bearing rivers, one, the Fraser, rises on the northern boundary, and flowing south, falls into the sea at the south western extremity of the territory, opposite the southern end of Vancouver's Island, and within a few miles of the American boundary; the other, the Thompson River, rises in the Rocky Mountains, and flowing westward joins the Fraser about 150 miles from the coast. It is on these two rivers, and chiefly at their confluence, that the gold discoveries have been made. Hon. Gentlemen who look at the map may imagine this new colony to be at such an immeasurable distance from England as to be fatal to anything like extensive colonization from this country; but we have already received overtures from no less eminent a person than Mr. Cunard for a line of postal steamvessels for letters, goods, and passengers, by which it is calculated that a passenger starting from Liverpool may reach this colony in about thirty-five days by way of New York and Panama. With regard to the soil, there is said to be some tolerable land on the lower part of Fraser River. But the Thompson's River district is discribed as one of the finest countries in the British dominions, with a climate far superior to that of countries in the same latitude on the other side of the mountains. Mr. Cooper, who gave valuable evidence before our Committee on this district, with which he is thoroughly acquainted, recently addressed to me a letter in which he states that:— Its fisheries are most valuable, its timber the finest in the world for marine purposes; it abounds with bituminous coal well fitted for the generation of steam; from Thompson's River and Colville districts to the Rocky Mountains, and from the 49th parallel, some 350 miles north, a more beautiful country does not exist. It is in every way suitable for colonization. Therefore, apart from the goldfields, this country affords every promise of a flourishing and important colony. In Charlotte's Island, which we include in this new colony, gold was discovered in 1850, but only in small quantities. Here I may perhaps correct a popular misconception. In Vancouver's Island itself no gold has been yet discovered. The discovery of gold on the mainland was first reported to the Colonial Office by a despatch from the Governor of Vancouver's Island, dated April 16, 1856. The Governor had received a report from a clerk in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Colville, on the Upper Columbia River. Further reports followed in October, 1856, testifying to the importance of the discovery. From experiments made in the tributaries of Fraser River there was reason to believe that the gold region was extensive; the similarity in the geological formation of the mountains in the territory to those of California induced the Governor to believe that these would prove equally auriferous. Subsequent accounts, in 1857, varied as to the quantity of gold obtained, but confirmed generally the opinion of the richness of the mines, especially above the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers. The Governor writes on the 15th of July, 1857, that gold was being discovered on the right bank of the Columbia, and the tableland between that river and Fraser's. On December 29th he ascribed the small quantity found to the want of skill and tools on the part of the natives, who opposed any white men digging. The Indians were especially hostile to the Americans, and opposed their entrance into the country. Great excitement now prevailed in Oregon and Washington Territory. An influx of adventurers might be expected in the spring, in which case collisions between the whites and the natives might be expected to occur. As far back as the first discovery in April, 1856, the Governor had suggested the system of granting digging licenses. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton (Mr. Labouchere), then Secretary of State for the Colonies, pointed out, in a reply (August 4), that it would be abortive to attempt to raise a revenue from licenses to dig for gold in that region in the absence of effective machinery of government, and left to the Governor's discretion the means of preserving order. In the exercise of that discretion he issued a proclamation (December 28th, 1857), declaring the rights of the Crown to the gold in Thompson's and Fraser's Rivers; establishing license fees of 10s., which, on the 1st of January, 1858, he raised to 20s.; and prohibiting persons from digging without authority from the Colonial Government. But this proclamation has virtually proved a dead letter, for, in point of fact, the Governor had no legal power to issue the proclamation, or cause it to be respected, he having no commission as Governor on the mainland; his sole power has been the moral power of his energy, talents, and extraordinary influence over the natives. Indeed, the manner in which he has preserved peace between the white man and the natives is highly to his honour. In a letter from the Governor to the Hudson's Bay Company, March 22, 1858, he trusts that Her Majesty's Government would take measures to prevent crimes and protect life and property, or there would be ere long a large array of difficulties to settle. "A large number of Americans," he said, "had entered the territory; others were preparing to follow." On the 8th of May, in the present year, he states to the Colonial Office that 450 passengers, chiefly gold miners, bad come from San Francisco; that they all appeared well provided with mining tools; there seemed to be no want of capital or intelligence among them; that about sixty were British subjects, about an equal number Americans, the rest were chiefly Germans, with some Frenchmen and Italians. And I have here the pleasure to observe that he states, that though there was a temporary scarcity of food and a dearth of house accommodation, they were remarkably quiet and orderly. The Governor then touches on the advantage to the trade of the island from the arrival of so large a body of people; but he adds significantly:— The interests of the empire may not be improved to the same extent by the accession of a foreign population whose sympathies are decidedly anti-British. From this point of view the question assumes an alarming aspect, and leads us to doubt the policy of permitting foreigners to enter the British territory ad libitum without taking, the oath of allegiance, or otherwise giving security to the Government of the country. He states that— The principal diggings at Fraser's and Thompson's Rivers at present will continue flooded for many months, and there is a great scarcity of food in the gold districts; that the ill-provided adventurers who have gone there will exhaust their stock of provisions, and will probably retire from the country till a more favourable season; that on the dangerous rapids of the river a great number of canoes have been dashed to pieces, the cargoes swept away, many of the adventurers swept into eternity—others, nothing daunted, pressing on to the goal of their wishes. He again, in a letter to the Hudson's Bay Company, repeats his fears:— How seriously the peace of the country may be endangered in the event of the diggings proving unremunerative, and the miners being reduced to poverty and destitute of the necessaries of life. I should state that I have also seen private letters recently from San Francisco, giving an account of the extending excitement prevailing there, and of the number of Americans, of other foreigners, and of negroes preparing to start for Fraser's River. In one letter it is stated that 2,000 persons have already left, and 20,000 persons might leave before the end of the summer, if the news continued favourable; but perhaps the news of the flooding of the waters may for a time retard so copious an emigration. I think I have said enough to convince the House of the necessity of providing at once for the government of a country threatened by so many disturbing elements. My first care has been to urge upon my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty the necessity of despatching an adequate Naval force in the harbour of Vancouver—sufficient to provide against lawless aggression, and instructions to this effect my right hon. Friend assures me he has given, and my next care is to bring in this Bill which is intended to establish lawful authority and order. Now, Sir, the Crown, of itself, could, if it thought proper, make a colony of this district. But the law officers decided, in the case of Vancouver's Island, that no Legislature can be established by the Crown, except an elective assembly and a nominative council; and, considering the very imperfect elements for such a constitution at such a moment, considering the ordinary character of gold-diggers, considering that our information as yet is really so scanty that we are at a loss to constitute even a council of the most limited number, I think that most hon. Gentlemen will agree that it would not be fair to the grand principle of free institutions to risk at once the experiment of self-government among settlers so wild, so miscellaneous, perhaps so transitory, and in a form of society so crude. This is not like other colonies which have gone forth from these islands, and of which something is known of the character of the colonists. Neither is it like those colonies in which the first thought of the emigrants is the acquisition of land, and the first care of the governor those allotments of land, which are the preliminary of representation. As yet the rush of the adventurerers is not for land but gold, not for a permanent settlement but for a speculative excursion. And, therefore, here the immediate object is to establish temporary law and order amidst a motley inundation of immigrant diggers, of whose antecedents we are wholly ignorant, and of whom perhaps few, if any, have any intention to become resident colonists and British subjects. But, where you cannot at once establish self-government, all sound political thinkers, all friends to that responsibility which is the element of freedom, will perhaps agree that the next best thing is to establish a Government which shall have as few checks as possible on its responsible functions, which shall possess unhampered what powers we can give it, to secure the respect for recognized authority; which shall be clearly for a limited time, and with the avowed and unmistakeable intention of yielding its sway at the earliest possible period to those free institutions for which it prepares the way, and which it will always henceforth be the colonial policy of this country to effect. I think that all complicated attempts to construct half-and-half forms of Government for such new societies are unsatisfactory. They only serve to weaken the Executive and to form an excuse for retarding the completion of popular systems. What, therefore, we propose to do by the Bill we now ask the House to read a second time is, to empower the Crown, for a limited period, till December 1862, and the end of the Session of Parliament next ensuing after that time—a period nominally of five years, though in reality of four, to make laws for the district by Orders in Council, and to establish a Legislature; such Legislature to be, in the first instance, the Governor alone; but with power to the Crown, by itself or through the Governor, to establish a nominative Council and a representative assembly. If, therefore, before the five years expire there are the elements for a representative assembly, I cannot doubt that, whoever then may be the advisers of the Crown, a representative assembly will cheerfully be given. Sir, there will be some, no doubt, who think the term of five years too short, who think that the materials for popular self-government could not be matured at the end of that term, and that there would be many inconveniences in coming again to Parliament to renew the powers of the Act. To these objections I have given the most respectful care, and I would submit that the larger proportion of the immigrants attracted by the goldfields will probably be Americans, accustomed to self-government; that, if you desire to keep them loyal and contented, you should give them the prospect, at the earliest possible period, of that representative form of government to which, in their native country, they have been accustomed; and that if you desire a strong Government for the preservation of internal order, no Government we can make, without the aid of armies, is so strong as that where the whole society is enlisted in securing respect to the laws which it has the privilege to enact, and has no motive to rebel against the authority in which it participates. And if, which is not impossible, the goldfields should prove a delusive speculation, and the principal settlers should be the steadier class of emigrants,—perhaps our own countrymen, who will rather cultivate the other resources of the land in its coal mines, timber, fisheries, and other agricultural produce—you may have at the end of five years a quiet and orderly population, well fitted for self-government. Therefore I think we had better fix the shortest term for the experiment of a provisional Legislature. With regard to Vancouver's Island, which has already a free constitution, we do not propose to annex that island to the new colony. In fact, if the goldfields should prove to be really productive, a very large population will rapidly spread over the neighbourhood of the diggings, which it will be impossible to govern from the distance of several hundred miles at Vancouver; while, if we extend our view to the natural destinies of Vancouver as the great naval station to our only possession on the Pacific side of the whole of America—a station from which we should carry on a trade with India, China, the Indian Archipelago, Australia—a trade now carried on exclusively by the Americans from California—I think we must allow that the Government of the island would have enough to occupy its care and attention in developing the true interests and resources of that single colony. Nevertheless, difficulties in the severance of the two colonies may be found in their geographical relation to each other. According to maps the maritime access to New Caledonia can be only made facile and guarded by its command of the noble harbour of Esquivault at Vancouver's Island—natural circumstances may thus compel the fusion to which otherwise there may be sound political objections—we therefore propose to leave the question of annexation open to further experience, and the Act will empower the Crown to annex Vancouver to New Caledonia, if the Legislature of the island intimate that desire by an Address to the Crown, under such terms and conditions as may be approved. Meanwhile, as the most pressing and immediate care in this new colony will be to preserve peace between the natives and the foreigners at the gold diggings, so there is nothing in the Act which impairs the prerogative of the Crown to permit the Governor of Vancouver to administer also New Caledonia, should that be absolutely necessary, in the first instance, just as the Governor of the Cape, which has a free constitution, is also Governor of the Crown colony of British Kaffraria, holding separate commissions for each. Our object, in short, has been, under our very imperfect information, and the uncertainty, as yet, of the value of the goldfields, to insure some immediate Government, and to leave to the Crown all discretional power, according to the advice it may receive and suited to the variation of circumstances. I should add that it has been deemed necessary by the law advisers of the Crown to abolish in the proposed Act—as was done in the Act for Vancouver's Island by the advice of the Committee of Privy Council, in 1848—the jurisdiction which the courts of Canada claim over civil and criminal cases in this region. The Crown has power to appoint magistrates and constitute courts having a concurrent jurisdiction with Canadian courts up to a certain amount. The Canadian jurisdiction is a dead letter, and though it has subsisted nominally for nearly 40 years it has never been put into execution, certainly not in the North-West territories. It is clear, however, that the concurrent jurisdiction would be attended with many practical inconveniences, which, in creating a colony, it will be necessary to remove, as we did remove them for Vancouver's Island. I have now, Sir, stated the substance of the Bill I ask leave to introduce. I have shown, I trust, the necessity of an immediate measure to secure this promising and noble territory from becoming the scene of turbulent disorder, and to place over the fierce passions which spring from the hunger of gold the restraints of established law. If the machinery we propose is simple, it is because the society to which it is to be applied is rude. But, happily, in that new world, the true sense of the common interest is rapidly conceived, and the capacities of self-government no less rapidly developed. And probably even before the end of the five years to which I propose to limit the operation of this Act, the materials for a popular representation may be found, and the future destinies of this new-born settlement boldly intrusted to the vigorous movement of liberal institutions. It may be necessary to observe that, both as regards Vancouver's Island and this more extensive territory of New Caledonia, it is not intended over these colonized districts to renew to the Hudson's Bay Company the license of exclusive trade, which expires next year. The servants of the Company will then have in those two colonies no privileges whatever apart from the rest of Her Majesty's subjects there, and therefore I was glad to hear the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) express his opinion that the present occasion was not a fitting opportunity for raising the question of which he had given notice; it is desirable to keep any discussion upon this Bill free from the more angry elements which may be involved in the general question as to the powers of the Hudson's Bay Company, by virtue of its charter, on the different district of Rupert's Land, on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, a question which the hon. Member for Sheffield will have a distinct opportunity to introduce. Sir, I have wished to keep my statement of the present value and ultimate importance of this new colony clear from all the exaggerations which belong to the philosophy of conjecture. I have carefully abstained from over-colouring our imperfect knowledge as to the permanent richness of the gold discoveries. Nothing can be more cruel to immigrants and more dangerous to the peace of the settlement than to give undue favour to any extravagant expectations as to the produce of these goldfields. It is a terrible picture, that of thousands rushing to what is already called the New El Dorado, influenced by avarice and hope, and finding, not wealth, but disappointment and destitution—provisions dear and scanty, and the gold itself meagre in its produce, and guarded by flooded rivers and jealous Indians. At present, whatever may be the riches of the discovery, it is fair not to forget the fact that California exported in the first eight months from the discovery of its mine 150,000 ounces of gold dust, while the largest amount ascertained or conjectured from Fraser's River since 1856 is not more than 1,000 ounces. More rational, if less exciting, hopes of the importance of the colony rest upon its other resources, which I have described, and upon the influence of its magnificent situation on the ripening grandeur of British North America. I do believe that the day will come, and that many now present will live to see it, when, a portion at least of the lands on the other side of the Rocky Mountains being also brought into colonization and guarded by free institutions, one direct line of railway communication will unite the Pacific to the Atlantic. Be that as it may, of one thing I am sure—that though at present it is the desire of gold which attracts to this colony its eager and impetuous founders, still, if it he reserved, as I hope, to add a permanent and flourishing race to the great family of nations, it must be, not by the gold which the diggers may bring to light, but by the more gradual process of patient industry in the culture of the soil, and in the exchange of commerce. It must be by the respect for the equal laws which secure to every man the power to retain what he may honestly acquire; it must be in the exercise of those social virtues by which the fierce impulse of force is tamed into habitual energy, and avarice itself, amidst the strife of competition, finds its objects best realized by steadfast emulation and prudent thrift. I conclude, Sir, with a humble trust that the Divine Disposer of all human events may afford the safeguard of His blessing to our attempt to add another community of Christian freemen to those by which Great Britain confides the records of her empire, not to pyramids and obelisks, but to States and Commonwealths whose history shall be written in her language.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


said, he thought there could be no difference of opinion in that House as to the propriety of taking steps to meet the wants which this Bill was intended to supply, and to establish a settled form of government in that part of British North America to which circumstances were directing the steps of large bodies of men. While he held the seals of the Colonial Office he received information of the probability of considerable gold discoveries being made, but he thought it was premature to incur expense in taking steps to found a new settlement until those discoveries should have been confirmed. The information, which had been received since, showed that there was now a stream of adventurers setting in towards that part of the world, and therefore it was indispensable that some steps should be taken to establish a settled form of law. He thought the measure proposed by the right hon. Baronet was judicious, and well calculated to effect its object. The right hon. Baronet was also perfectly correct in the interpretation he had put on the charter for exclusive trading granted to the Hudson's Bay Company. It was a common but mistaken belief that that charter precluded the Crown from taking any portion of the territories ceded to the Company for colonization or settlement. The fact was, that in every license for exclusive trading the Crown had reserved to itself the power of resuming at pleasure any portion of the territory. He would not enter upon the question of the propriety or impropriety of renewing the license of the Hudson's Bay Company, as another opportunity would be afforded for discussing that matter, and the only question now before the House was how they could best assist the Government to establish colonial institutions in that country. Although he was as attached as any one could be to free institutions, yet, considering the nature of the population that would be gathered together, he agreed with the right hon. Baronet that it was best to provide a strong and settled government with established laws at first. There was one circumstance which constituted the main danger of disorder, and that was the strong aversion which the Indians entertained towards the Americans. It was a remarkable fact, that, while on the northern side of the frontier, in the British possessions, there was perfect harmony and order between the white and the red men, there had been on the other side of the frontier scenes of carnage and bloodshed which had generated a deadly hostility on the part of the Indians towards the Americans. Governor Douglas, in the papers before the House, had referred to the feeling as likely to create difficulty. Under those circumstances he thought the House would agree that it was most important there should be a strong Executive to control the Indians and to prevent the white settlers from molesting them. The right hon. Gentleman had adverted to the soil and climate of the country, the excellence of which it was impossible to deny, and he (Mr. Labouchere) believed that in the course of time Vancouver's Island and the adjacent territories were destined to be the homes, of a large, industrious, and flourishing population. He might mention that before he left office notice was given to the Hudson's Bay Company that when the term of their present license expired the Crown would resume complete control over Vancouver's Island, and he was glad to find the right hon. Baronet had taken the same view of the necessities of the case. He could not conclude without paying a humble tribute to the excellent qualities of Governor Douglas. Through out that correspondence which he had had with that gentleman he had been much struck with his good sense, ability, and sagacity, and he could not but think that we were very fortunate in having such a public servant to watch over our interests in Vancouver's Island. The right hon. Baronet had very properly abstained from pronouncing any positive opinion as to the amount of gold which was likely to be found in that colony. The information hitherto had been very deficient on that point; but scientific persons, who were well qualified to give an opinion, had stated to him (Mr. Labouchere) that the geological formation of the country was extremely similar to that of California, and that they saw no reason why gold should not be found in very great quantities. Under these circumstances, it was certainly our duty to take such measures as the large population likely to congregate there rendered necessary. He did not know why the name of New Caledonia had been selected for this colony. He had seen several gentlemen connected with the colony and none of them appeared to know it by that name. There was a large island in the neighbourhood of Australia belonging to France which bore that name already, and he thought it possible that some inconvenience and confusion might result from two colonies having the same name. That however he would content himself by leaving to the judgment of the right hon. Baronet. He believed that the provisions of the Bill were well drawn, and he should give his hearty support to the second reading.


said, he supposed that there would be no opposition to a Bill, which would lead to the settlement of the whole line of the Atlantic frontier, and tend to create a counterpoise to the power of the United States in those regions. He would call to the mind of the right hon. Baronet that by this Bill he obtained the power of making such laws for these colonies as the Queen thought fit. If he sent out a Governor without a body of laws prepared, he would not be taking a right step towards the settlement of the colony. In the formation of a colony it was of importance that persons on going into that colony should find themselves surrounded by law and order. The first thing to be done was to survey the territory, and then to have a code of laws established at once, so that any settler on going to the colony, would find any purchase he might make surrounded by the law. There ought, then, to be an Executive with ample power to administer the law. The first thing should be to send a body of men to survey the country, then to establish a body of laws, and there ought to be a Governor armed with authority physically to support those laws. You could not send out a Governor without soldiers. He (the right hon. Baronet) looked with wonderment at his (Mr. Roebuck's) saying this; but the population of this colony was wild and vagabond, the scum of every country; much of it coming from California, where they had been living under Lynch law, and if they got a large body of this sort of population, and planted a Governor in the midst of them without the means of enforcing the law, the right hon. Gentleman might as well not have brought in this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman must send out a Governor and an armed force with him, or there would be no preserving the peace of the colony. He knew that it was unpopular language which he was using, but it was the truth. In ordinary colonies, as in the instance of New Zealand, you sent out a population accustomed to law and order, and which could govern themselves, and out of which you could create a militia. But if out of a population coming from California you created a militia, you created a force against yourself, and one which would put down order instead of preserving it. The right hon. Baronet was also wise in limiting the operation of the Bill to four years; for that time, if properly employed, would so accustom the population to law and order that you might safely leave the colonists to govern themselves. Allusion had been made to California, but that was a peculiar instance. It was far from the United States; it was full of gold, and the attraction of the gold discoveries brought to it vagabonds from all parts of the world, even from China, but especially from America; while the British Islands also supplied some of the rascally population. The result was, however, that peace and order reigned in California to an extent that was marvellously early, considering the character of the population. The Executive was not powerful, and the consequence was the establishment of Lynch law. Now Lynch law was much misunderstood. It was the only law in that country, and it was a really beneficial institution (laughter). Hon. Gentlemen might take that as a joke, but he was not in the habit of making jokes—at all events good jokes on any subject. But he could say that Lynch law was a sort of wild justice, which the nature of the case compelled the population to adopt. They adopted Lynch law, and law and order reigned in California. He did not, however, wish to see that law established in our colony, though it was a good law under certain circumstances, and if the right hon. Baronet wished that law and order should be established in those colonies, he must introduce the civil law, which could only be maintained by a strong body of soldiers—supported by this country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton (Mr. Labouchere) had said something on the subject of the native Indians. He (Mr. Roebuck) would warn the right hon. Baronet against any mock sentimentality on that point. He was about to establish a colony before which the Indian would disappear. The successful civilization of the white man, as a necessary consequence, killed out the brown man, and depend upon it the red man would have to disappear before it in this instance; and the same feeling would exist amongst the Indians against all the colonists as now existed against the Americans. The Americans had been successful colonisers, and there was universal hatred of them amongst the Indians. In Canada, Lower and Upper, there was hardly an Indian left, because these colonies had been peopled by a civilized white population. He knew something of Canada, and he could state from personal knowledge that in that country the Indians were like the wandering gypsies of other countries. They were disappearing fast from the face of nature. One might occasionally see a poor wretched being, clothed in a dilapidated blanket, creeping along, degraded and miserable, and that was the Indian of Canada. That was what we were going to do in New Caledonia. We were about to introduce civilization there. Before that civilization the Indians must disappear, and the more rapidly the better. This might seem harsh and cruel language; but it was the language of truth. The absorption of the red man was an inevitable consequence. It was not man's fault that it was so; but wherever civilization advanced the red man retired. He had abstained from introducing any topic connected with the Hudson's Bay Company into the discussion, and he had done so on the understanding that he was to have a day on which that question could be debated by the House. To show that it was imperatively necessary that that subject should be considered without delay, he would remind the House that in May, 1859, the license by which the Hudson's Bay Company now held certain territory east of the Rocky Mountains expired, that it was necessary therefore to provide for the future, and that they could only do so efficiently upon a thorough understanding of the case. The House was not yet thoroughly in possession of all the facts, and a night's discussion was needed for that purpose. Although he contemplated depriving the Hudson's Bay Company of a certain portion of their territory, yet the right hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice) might rest assured that he purposed to do them no injustice. He was prepared to give them all they ought to have, but he believed that they possessed their powers under a misconception of an illegal char- ter; nevertheless, he was prepared to deal liberally with them. He repeated, he hoped the House would understand that he had abstained from entering on all topics of this kind in the belief that he would have a full opportunity of stating his opinion with regard to the position of the Hudson's Bay Company with reference to the territory east of the Rocky Mountains; and as the question was a great and imperial one, be would entreat the Government not to treat it lightly, but from a statesmanlike point of view, as involving British interests in the region between the Atlantic and the Pacific. By so doing they might create a counterpoise on that continent to a power which was rising into overwhelming importance there. They ought not to shut their eyes to the threatening aspects which beset the condition of that country, and they ought to look on the question as one intimately concerning the interests and honour of this country.


said, he entirely concurred in the remarks which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton (Mr. Labouchere) as to the wisdom of those clauses of the Bill which reserved to the discretion of the Government the period when representative institutions should be introduced into the new body. The right hon. Gentleman had also alluded to the title of the colony. Now, when he (Mr. Mills) first saw the Bill, he certainly imagined that they were going to legislate for the French possessions of the same name in the Pacific, being ignorant of the fact that there was any other new Caledodian in the world; and he thought it might possibly create some surprise in France when they found the British Parliament legislating for a French colony. It was very desirable, then, that confusion should be avoided, if possible, in describing the colony; for he remembered once hearing an anecdote of a governor, who having been appointed to a colony, quitted this country, and after a lapse of a certain time returned, and said he was not able to find it.


said, he understood the general feeling of the House to be that the discussion should be confined to the object of the present Bill, and that they should refrain from entering on the subject of the Hudson's Bay territory; but he would beg to remind the right hon. Baronet that that great question required his immediate attention. Not only would there be emigration to these colonies from Cali- fornia, but it would flow in from Canada, as these territories were only forty-seven days overland from Montreal. That emigration could not take that route without interfering with the territory of the Hudson's Bay Company. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) had talked of employing large military force in these colonies but he would recall to his recollection what had happened in New South Wales when it was found impossible to keep troops there on account of the desertion of the men. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere) had complained of the designation of the colony, but if he referred to Cox's Tour to the Rocky Mountains, in 1831, he would find that at that time even the country was well known as New Caledonia. In conclusion, he cordially approved of the Bill, and would congratulate the right hon. Baronet on this good commencement of his Colonial administration. He would at the same time point out the desirability of making an alteration in the existing boundary, which had been found to be an inconvenient one. A degree of latitude had been suggested for that purpose, but he thought it better that the course of the river should be adopted.

MR. ELLICE (Coventry)

said, that he entertained no objection to the Bill; on the contrary, he thought it would answer well the purpose for which it was intended. He had no objection to any part of the Bill which gave powers to the Governor. With all his predilections for free institutions, he should not have objected to have extended the period fixed in the Bill for establishing them. He would beg the House, however, not to be led away by any flattering notion of the facilities for colonizing those territories. There were difficulties connected with it which did not exist in the cases of California and Australia. In the first place, not a spade had been struck into the soil on the Frazer River. The country was difficult of access; it contained no provisions, and as the gold mines were situated at the confluence of the Frazer and Thompson Rivers, they were 350 miles from the coast, and the emigrant population would have not only to find the means of transit, but must carry provisions with them for their support by the way, and when they arrived there as well. This country was different from the other gold countries. California was a settled country, rich in corn and other provisions; and in Australia our colonists had prepared the way for emigrants. He agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), that the Government ought not to establish a colony without having adequate means at hand to keep the peace and protect life and property. They must administer justice. They could not expect that there would be no crime, and how could justice be administered without the Executive being in possession of such a force as was necessary for that purpose? Those were questions of difficulty and importance, and he hoped the House would not be led away by the notion that we were about to establish a colony at the mouth of the Frazer River which could at once support itself. The plan shadowed out by the right hon. Baronet was probably the hest that could be adopted at present, and he believed the man most fitted to carry it out was Governor Douglas. The native Indians in Vancouver's Island and the adjacent coast were numerous and tolerably well armed, and they had attacked trading ships on several occasions. Governor Douglas, by his good management, had, however, maintained his colony without any quarrel or dispute with them. But there could be no such management in the interior when the emigrants first went to the gold regions, and it was necessary to make such provision in that respect. He argued that the matter could be left in no better hands than those of Governor Douglas. The advice of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, that the instructions to the Governor should be accompanied by certain rules and ordinances, which might be thought necessary by the Government at borne to enable him to carry on his administration, was well worth the consideration of the Government. He thought it was very expedient that the Government should in all matters give the most specific details to the Governor, who would have a responsibility cast upon him which would require the support of the Government at home. He ought to be instructed on what terms his proclamation should be issued, and what protection he should hold out to persons going into the interior. With respect to the unfortunate Hudson's Bay Company, he could assure hon. Members that whatever policy was adopted by the House would be accepted by them. No lawyer doubted that the grant of territory to the Company by the Crown was valid. The license to trade was given to the Company to enable theta to maintain peace, They desired no renewal of the license, and it might be withdrawn to-morrow without affecting their position. At the best, it was but a miserable concern, having half a million of capital, on which they divided 10 per cent. They desired only to be treated as the East India Company, and, provided the interests of their shareholders were guarded, they would be only too happy to give their best assistance to carry into effect any policy which might be thought for the general benefit of their territories. His right hon. Friend deemed it practicable to make some arrangement to enable the Company to establish colonies on the Red River, and if he did so he would find none so anxious to promote that object as the Hudson's Bay Company.


said, he wished to congratulate the right hon. Baronet (Sir B. Lytton) on having introduced a Bill which was the first step towards putting an end to the monopoly enjoyed by the Hudson's Bay Company. The territory which the right hon. Baronet now proposed to form into a colony was the subject of discussion in this House ten years ago, when he (Mr. Christy) had the honour to call attention to the impolicy and inexpediency of handing over to that powerful company an island of the importance of Vancouver's Island. On that occasion he was supported by many of the most influential Members of the House, and a very narrow division was taken upon the question. Since that the late Government had had the courage to propose a Committee, which sat last year, to take into consideration the whole subject preparatory to again granting, as he then feared, the exclusive right of trading over this vast territory to the Hudson's Bay Company. But the Bill now before the House, he presumed, would settle that question. That Bill, indeed, was a conclusive commentary on the impolicy of granting such a monopoly, and he believed they might thank the gold discoveries for having interposed and brought this important territory under the direct authority of the Crown: He understood that the exclusive right of the Hudson's Bay Company to trade over the territory would now cease; but he begged to observe that, although Governor Douglas might be exceedingly skilful in managing the Indians, he was in reality the chief factor of the Company, and had the management of the whole of their trading operations; and that Mr. Cowper, in his evidence before the Committee, had stated that, instead of governing Vancouver's Island with a view to induce emigrants to settle there, the policy pursued had had the effect of driving emigrants away. He hoped, therefore, that if Governor Douglas were retained in his office under the authority of the Crown, the Colonial Secretary would send him the most specific instructions on this head, and that he should not continue to encourage competition on the part of the Company's officers with the settlers and colonists who might emigrate there. It appeared to be a matter of agreement that the discussion on the main question was to be taken on the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck). If there was to be any discussion it was important that it should take place in the present Session, because the exclusive right to the trade expired in 1859, and it was very important that persons who took a deep interest in the country, as well as the people of Canada, should know what were the intentions of the Government, and what was the feeling of the House as to the renewal of the Company's charter for any lengthened period. With respect to the measure before the House, he certainly thought that in its main features it was a good one. He had some objections, however, to the geographical arrangement proposed, and on a future stage he should move an Amendment with regard to the boundaries of the colony, which he hoped would commend itself to the approval of the Government. He gathered from those men who had been in the territory that the gold which was found in the Frazer River was merely the debris of the gold that existed in the Rocky Mountains, and he therefore thought it desirable that the boundaries of the new colony should be extended further north—up to Finlay's River, and to the main chain of the Rocky Mountains that ran east and west. He was far from thinking that it would not be a judicious arrangement to confine the Hudson's Bay Company to those northern districts which were productive of profit to them. These districts produced fur-bearing animals, and were little suited to settlement and colonization. As the right hon. Baronet had alluded to the construction of a railway, be hoped it would be within his contemplation to propose to Parliament some plan which would have for its object the formation of another colony in the district of the Red River. Unless the Government directed its attention to the subject, the country would be filled with American settlers, and questions of boundary would arise, which might bring about a repetition of previous difficulties with the United States. He could not help complimenting the Government upon having carried out the views recommended by the Committee which examined this subject last year, and he had to complain that the right hon. Gentleman who was at the head of the Colonies under the late Administration never informed that Committee of the discovery of gold in this district; though it now appeared, from papers on the table, that the Government was in possession of this information two years ago. They were now told that the amount of gold found there was overrated. That might be so; but, at all events, the subject had very properly attracted the attention of the Government, who now proposed to found a colony in consequence; and he quite agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, that this colony could not be founded without sending out an adequate military force.


said, that having been a Member of the Committee referred to, he wished to remark that when the license was granted to the Hudson's Bay Company the Government fixed the price of land at £1 per acre. It appeared from the evidence adduced before the Committee that that high price had prevented colonization from being carried on to any great extent. Perhaps the right hon. Baronet (Sir B. Lytton) would take this subject into his consideration when he was establishing a Government for the new colony. It was important that land should be more easily obtainable, so that out of the shifting population who might be attracted to the colony a deposit of good settlers should be left.


said, he thought that the right hon. Baronet had done quite right to introduce his Bill now. To form a colony without a population was a useless expense, and to allow a colony in which a population had grown up to remain without a Government led to anarchy, misrule, and bloodshed. He was not very sanguine of the success of the new colony (although the right hon. Baronet had taken the right course with regard to its government), because it was certain that the first thing that would happen would be a terrible collision between the whites and the Indians, which it would not be in the power of any Minister to advert. Now, would it be suf- ficient to send a frigate there, as some had proposed. The place, although very beautiful, was most inaccessible, and it would be necessary to have a larger force for the purpose of enforcing order upon the lawless spirits who would flock to the colony than could be spared from any frigate. He hoped, also, the right hon. Baronet would take the advice of the noble Lord (Viscount Sandell), and at once fix such a price upon the land as would stimulate population. It was the unanimous testimony of all the witnesses who had been examined, that nothing had tended so much to obstruct the settlement of Vancouver's Island as the high price of land. While land could be obtained in Oregon for a dollar and a quarter per acre, in Vancouver's Island the fixed price was £1. Land ought to be obtained in the new colony upon terms at least as favourable as in the neighbouring country. This was one of the settled colonies in which the general principles of the law of England, has laid down in the well known chapter of Blackstone, would become the law of the colony. But these general principles were not sufficient for the basis of the law and constitution of the colony. Her Majesty was to be empowered by order in Council to make laws for the government of the colony, or to delegate the power to the Governor for the time being. Would it not be better to follow the precedent adopted with respect to other colonies, and give the colony the fundamental laws under which we lived, merely reserving to Her Majesty the power of passing supplementary laws as they might be found necessary? The provision that so much of the law of England as could be applied to the new colony should be enacted would be perfectly understood by the colonial lawyers, and upon this the Government might erect the requisite superstructure. It would be proper that the boon of the law of England should come to the colony through the Act of Parliament to which it owed its existence rather than by any laws passed by the Governor for the time being? He had submitted these suggestions fully under the conviction that if they were not adopted by the right hon. Gentleman it would be because he had some good reason for not adopting them. In conclusion, it did seem to him a pity that when they had one Caledonia already in Australia, another on an island off the coast of New Holland, and on the east coast of America the colony of Nova Scotia; which, he supposed, meant the same thing, that there should be so much poverty in their vocabulary that they were obliged to adopt a name that was identical with that of a French colony in the Pacific. He suggested that the right hon. Baronet should hit upon some other name that was not quite so much used up.


also objected to the name, and suggested that the right hon. Baronet should follow the fashion which had of late years been set by America of adopting the native name. He thought they were bound to perpetuate the aboriginal names in all those districts as much as possible. He would strongly urge upon the right hon. Gentleman, also, the propriety of at once fixing the land tenure, so that every colonist might know from the first what he had to expect. He could speak from experience on this point, for he happened to have been one of the earliest settlers in the colony of Hong Kong, and such was the discontent and heartburning arising from the uncertainty on this matter, that, if the colonists had been near America, they would certainly have prayed to the United States for annexation. He was happy to add that all difficulties now were satisfactorily adjusted; but he begged the House to consider what would be the effect of such disputes when the colony was only divided by a stream from the United States. He hoped, therefore, the Government would give all the settlers there a right of preemption to the lands they occupied. He would remind the House that the foundation of a new colony was a grave matter. There were many financial reformers who looked upon every new colony as a new cause of war, and in this case he believed the utmost delicacy and care would be required to prevent this colony from causing jealousies with our neighbours. He was rather surprised that the right hon. Gentleman said so little about Vancouver's Island. He believed the importance of that island could not be overrated. He had heard many Americans say that they would willingly give California in exchange for it; and, looking to its position in the Pacific, its possession of coal, and the importance of that article to the navigation of those seas, giving its possessors a dominant influence over the future of China and Japan, he fully agreed in the importance they attached to it. As to this new colony, if he thought it would be the cause of future disputes with the United States, he would rather be inclined to adopt a proposal which he believed the Americans would be willing to make—namely, sell it to them outright. He knew such a proposal was very repugnant to British feeling, as descending from that high position which he hoped this country would long maintain. He had only further to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman to make this colony as soon as possible self-supporting, and to adapt its institutions to such a scale of expenditure as the colonists would be willing to pay. For the rest he heartily joined in the aspirations which the right hon. Baronet had expressed for the prosperity of this colony; and such was his confidence in his intentions and his solicitude for its welfare, that if no other name were found for the colony, he hoped gratitude would inspire the colonists themselves to call it the colony of Lytton Bulwer.


said, he also would urge upon the right hon. Gentleman the inconvenience attending the multiplicity of names. He could mention as a proof of it that a letter posted at Plymouth addressed to his firm in Halifax, and containing a number of bank notes, but without a penny stamp, was sent over to Halifax, in Nova Scotia, though he was happy to say that the letter afterwards came back unopened, and the notes safe. Now if there was so much inconvenience with the names of towns, how much greater would the inconvenience be with the names of large tracts of country. He joined in the hope that this colony would soon become self-sustaining. But at the same time, it must not be forgotten that the Governor must be supported by an armed force. He hoped, also, that the Government would not fix the price of the land higher than it was in the neighbouring states, where the average price was a dollar and a quarter per acre.


said, he agreed that the price of land ought not to be too high; but he must say, that he had been in Vancouver's Island, and he did not think it was the price of the land so much which retarded the progress of the colony as the baneful influence of the Hudson's Bay Company, who systematically used their influence to drive private traders out of their territories. If a private trader attempted to open a trade with the natives, orders were immediately sent out to the Governor, who was also the chief factor of the Company, to outbid the trader in his dealings, and so drive him out of the country. A curious instance of this occurred while be was in that district. A gentle man sent a quantity of cranberries to California, where the fruit was highly prized; but no sooner was this known than the Governor of the district caused all the cranberries of the district to be collected and sent over to California, where they were to be sold at such a price as would drive the private trader out of the market. He agreed with those who thought there should be a survey of the country,—not such a survey as would be deemed necessary in England, but one that would be useful for practical purposes in the existing state of the colony. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry told the House that there were no settlers and no cultivation where the gold was discovered, and from thence he augured all sorts of evil to the colony. But he did not think the colony would be worse than others in this respect. There was no cultivation where the gold was discovered, either in California or in Australia; and in this colony labour would not be placed at a greater disadvantage than in either of those. The right hon. Gentleman had also spoken in high terms of the value of Mr. Douglas as Governor. Now Mr. Douglas might be the ablest Governor that ever was created; but still he was not fitted in his present capacity for the duties proposed to be entrusted to him, seeing that the post he now held was that of chief agent to the Hudson's Bay Company. For his own part he knew a little of Governor Douglas, and he should say he was a very incompetent man for the post. He had never been accustomed to deal with white men; all his dealings were with Indians, and his idea of law was that might was right. Now that would not do in the new colony. It would not do with Englishmen, far less with many of the men whom they might expect from the western States of America, because they had made the western States too hot to hold them. These men must be treated gently; their hair must not be stroked the wrong way, or else they would give a new reading of the maxim that might was right, for they would certainly show that their power was stronger than any which the Governor might immediately bring to bear against them.

Bill read 2o, and committed for Monday next.