HC Deb 29 May 1865 vol 179 cc976-7

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, If any, and what steps have been taken by the Government, since the Report of the Select Committee was presented to this House, for opening up the Red River districts and the valley of the Saskatchewan to settlement under the Crown, and putting an end to the exclusive privileges heretofore claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company in these districts; and if the claim of ownership put forward by the Hudson's Bay Company in the territory lying between Canada and British America, being about two-thirds of our possessions on that continent, be admitted by the Government as well founded; and, if so, on what grounds?


said, in reply, that measures had been taken by every succeeding Secretary of State, first by Lord Taunton, when Secretary of State for the Colonies, who proposed that the Question between the Hudson's Bay Company and Canada, with regard to the western boundary, should be settled by an appeal to the Privy Council; then by the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Bulwer Lytton), under the administration of Lord Derby, who finding that Canada disputed the claim of the Hudson's Bay Company to their territory, recommended Canada to try the matter by legal proceedings; then by the late Duke of Newcastle, who entered into negotiations with the Hudson's Bay Company, to establish a Crown Colony in that region; and, finally by himself, who, reverting to the opinion of the Committee of 1857, entered into communications with Canada, hoping to induce them, as the Committee had recommended, to undertake the government and settlement of that territory. With regard to the rights of property in that territory, former Governments, acting under the advice of their Law Officers, held that Her Majesty's Government could not honourably dispute the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, under their Charter. He had not himself referred the question to the present Law Officers of the Crown, but he had no reason to suppose that they would differ in opinion from their predecessors.