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domains. It has one thriving colony of Christian people completely subjected to its power, and nearly cut off from intercourse with the rest of the world. It keeps at bay the enterprising and adventurous people both of the United States and of Canada. It wages a petty, but continual warfare, with numerous and savage tribes of the North American Indians : * it not only retains in subjection and in that state of wild and savage nature, which best suits its own purposes, very nearly the whole American Continent north of the sources of the Mississippi as its own property under a royal charter, but, by a different mode of acquisition and tenure, it has obtained and holds as outposts some tracts which it clearly is not desirable should be condemned to be the mere preserves of wild beasts, however beautiful may be their skins. • The political existence of the Company depends upon a charter granted to them by King Charles the Second, which purported to give them both the amplest estate which a subject can enjoy in the soil of almost half a continent, and the exclusive right of trade within the same territories. The first, however inexpedient or unreasonable it may have been, has been deemed by lawyers to be a lawful and valid grant: the second, namely, the exclusive right of trade, is, at any rate, at variance with the resolution to which the House of Commons came on the 19th January, 1694, with reference to the trade with the East Indies; namely, “ That all the subjects of England had equal right to trade to the East Indies, unless prohibited by act of parliament."
It would be most mischievous, however, to destroy the actual exclusion which the Hudson's Bay Company maintains. The breed of animals from which the fur is collected can only be preserved in sufficient numbers to make the trade valuable, by keeping the territories within which the hunting for furs is to be carried on, and the Indian tribes, by whom it is carried on, under active, steady, and uniform control: and if the trade was to be so far disturbed as to make it no longer worth while for the Hudson's Bay Company to keep up its establishments, the Russians or the people of the United States would probably occupy, at least, a share of the territory as large as the people of the Canadas would get; and as for the people of the United Kingdom, they would lose at once both the little use which they now have of the soil, and the great and valuable use which, through the Hudson's Bay Company, they have of the trade. Whenever, therefore, the Hudson's Bay Company may come to parliament to ask for an exclusive right of trade, or for such a control over all trade within the territories in which they are understood to have taken an estate under their charter, it is to be hoped that their claims will be patiently and favourably entertained.
* The average annual loss of life amongst the servants of the Company, in these skirmishes, is about forty men.
But as to some territories in Lower and in Upper Canada, of which they have at different and not far distant times got possession for themselves or their trustees or agents, by the acts of the governors or of the executive governments of these provinces, it is a widely different case. The territories comprised within their own charter are so vast, that they cannot want any addition for the sake of space, merely. The exclusive right of trade within any part of the Canadian provinces cannot be allowed, in these days, to be conferred by any power but that of the imperial parliament; and the grant of any Canadian governor, for such a purpose, will scarcely bear mention--certainly not discussion. But in those ungenial climates, wherever the Hudson's Bay Company can acquire an exclusive possession of the soil, they manage to make it answer as well as an act of parliament for securing an exclusive trade; because, within the borders of their own lands, they neither encourage nor permit the settlement
or increase of any other living beings than the four-footed animals which have handsome hair, and the human creatures who are employed to hunt them; so that trade has no attraction to those borders, nor finds upon them the means of existence. The possession, therefore, of the Canadian tracts ought not to be continued to the Hudson's Bay Company; and as it will be found that the term for which they claim the right of holding the most important of them is drawing to a close, and that, from the different grants having been originally vitiated by comprising the unlawful object of exclusive trade, they are of dubious validity, it probably would be more advantageous to the Company to give up at once, by their own spontaneous act, all pretensions to keep their hold of any district in Canada, rather than call for a decision or enter into discussions which may involve their other rights or claims, and must end in ejecting them within a few years at least from the two provinces of Canada.
The most important of the Canadian districts from which, without an actual, or at all events any extended occupation by themselves, they exclude all other of the Queen's subjects, is that known by the name of the King's Posts, of which the most valuable portion is the Saguenay river and its tributaries, and the adjacent lands. The following description is taken immediately from the appendix of a political tract, published in Canada, but has been compiled from Colonel Bouchette's topography of that country, and from the reports of the Committee of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, which collected a mass of very valuable and otherwise inaccessible information respecting the waste lands of the province ; and of which Committee the gentleman who was the chairman is now, or was very recently, in this country.
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. The Saguenay Territory. For several reasons, which will appear in the sequel, I think it advantageous to lay before the public information respecting this important part of Lower Canada. To the Government at home, and to settlers, the subject may be properly regarded as one of considerable interest.
In latitude 48° 20° north, and 72° 30' west longitude, in the middle of the course of the river St. Lawrence, a little above the Isle of Bic, where all vessels coming from Europe, or other parts of the world, can arrive without much danger, even without the aid of pilots, is situated ản immense and deep river, called the Saguenay, which takes its principle source in the Lake St. Jean, which much resembles the lakes so well known in Upper Canada. The mouth of the river Saguenay forms the harbour of Tadousac, wherein ships of the greatest burden can ride with perfect safety in the most tempestuous weather, owing to the high lands by which the harbour is surrounded, and which rise immediately from the water. As I am desirous of giving my readers a particular description of this portion of the country, hitherto most shamefully neglected, but which must eventually become of the highest political importance,* I shall reserve whatever observations it may be requisite to make for the end of this article, and at present lay before them extracts of the evidence given by different persons before the Committee of the House of Assembly.
Lieutenant-Colonel Bouchette, Surveyor-General of the province, appeared before the Committee, and said :
"Lower Canada comprehends an extent of territory “ of 150,000 superficial miles; of that great superficies, “ not more than about 25,000 to 30,000 may be said to “ have been explored and tolerably known, and about one “half thereof actually surveyed; therefore, it appears " that about four-fifths of Lower Canada remain unex“ plored and but little known, and even that is obtained “ from sketches and descriptions through travellers, “ traders, and aborigines of the soil — the Indians.”
* Different surveys have taken place this year, which, I have no doubt, when published, will thoroughly corroborate my statement.
On referring to the most recent maps of Canada, it will be perceived, however, that numerous large rivers flowing towards the St. Lawrence, and taking their rise in the mountains which divide these waters from those which discharge themselves into Hudson's Bay, traverse an immense tract of country, the most considerable of which are the Saguenay, the St. Maurice, and the Grand, or Ottawa river. The Saguenay, which is navigable for large vessels to Chicoutimy, a distance of about ninety miles, and thence, for boats, to Lake St. John, fertilises in its course a wide expanse of country, by innumerable tributary streams and branches on either side, which should, from a comparative view of the extent of territory fit for culture lying along the borders of the St. Lawrence and its branches, possess equal advantages in a proportional degree. The same may be said of the Ottawa, whose principal source rises in lake Temiskaming, traversing (to its confluence into the St. Lawrence) a space of country of about 300 miles. The river St. Maurice, although not so wide as either of the former, winds through as great a space of country as the Saguenay. Can it be doubted that, possessing such natural advantages, such exhaustless treasures, any encouragement held out, with a view of colonising that valuable tract, of country, would fail'in its object?
François Verrault appeared before the Committee, and said :
“ That he was sixty-five years old, and that, from the “ age of fifteen to last fall, he had remained in the Sa