EXTRACT FROM EVIDENCE OF SIR GEORGE SIMPSON,.
GOVEROR OF THE HUDON'S BAY COMPANY'S TERRITORIES< BEFORE THE SELECT COMMITTEE APPOINTED BY THE IMPERIAL HOUSE OF COMMONS IN 1857, TO CONSIDER THE STATE OF THOSE BRITISH POSSESSIONS IN WHICH THEY HAD A LICENSE TO TRADE.*
1558. I have before me a letter of Mr. Kennedy : I suppose you have heard of Mr. Kennedy ?—There are several Kennedys ; which Kennedy do you mean ?
1559.He is a person who has quarrelled with your Company, I believe ; and he wrote a letter to Lord Elgin ?—William Kennedy.
1560. There is this passage in his letter ; and I want to ask you whether you are at all cognizant of the facts : quoting from a letter received by him, he says, “ You will be grieved to learn that the curse which had effect in the old country has extended here, though arising from causes of more frequent occurrence than even the failure of the crops. Starvation has, I learn, committed great havoc among your old friends the Nascopies, numbers of whom met their death from want last winter ; whole camps of them were found dead, without one survivor to tell the tale of their sufferings ; others sustained life in a way the most revolting, by using as food the dead bodies of their companions ; some even bled their own children to death, and sustained life with their bodies ! ” Quoting from another letter, he says, “ At Fort Nascopie the Indians were dying in dozens by starvation ; and, among others, your old friend, Paytabais.” A third he quotes as saying, “ A great number of Indians starved to death last winter ; and —— says it was ——'s fault in not giving them enough of ammunition.” Do any facts like that come within your knowledge ?—No ; that is an exaggerated statement.
1561. In your 37 years' experience in that territory, you have never heard of any transactions like that and deaths like that ?—Never, except in Mr. Kennedy's letter.
1562. Not in your own experience?—Certainly not.
1563. Mr. EDWARD ELLICE. in what part of the country is that ?—Upon the Labrador coast.
* Copied from Report from the Select Committee, ordered to be printed 17th August, 1857, pp. 83-84.
1564. Mr. ROEBUCK. Then you do not believe that statement ?—I do not.
1565. Where is For Nascopie ? (the same was pointed out.)—It is on the Labrador coast.
1566. EDWARD ELLICE That is in Canada, is it not ?—It is in Newfoundland.
1567. Mr. ROEBUCK. Does not the Hudson's Bay Compnay's territory extend over Labrador ?—No ; it is a part of Newfoundland.
1568. So that that northern peninsula does not belong to the Hudson's Bay Company ?—The whole does not.
1569. Mr. GROGAN. But is that fort which Mr. Roebuck is questioning you about, in Labrador or is it in Rupert's Land ?—It is in Labrador.
1570. Mr. ROEBUCK. It is pointed out as on the Green ; the it is in the Hudson's Bay Company's terriroty ?—I think not.
1571. Mr. EDWARD ELLICE. Have you examined that map ?—I have not attentively. I had not seen it till I came in just now.
1572. Do yo know whether that for belongs ot the Hudson's Bay Company ?—It does ; it is a post or establishment called the Post of Nascopie.
1573. Mr. ROEBUCK. Can you remove a fort ?—A fort is half-a-dozen log huts, and may be erected by half a dozen men in about a week ; that is what we call a fort.
1574. It bears the same name wherever it travels ?—We call it either a post or a fort.
1575. Do you mean to say that you move a fort about ?—We call it an outpost, a trading post. I do not call it a fort.
1576. It is called a fort here ?—I may be so ; it is a misnomer.
1577. Do you mean to say that you have no Fort Nascopie ?—We have an outpost called Nascopie.
1578. You have no fort called Nascopie ?—We have not.
1579. Mr. GROGAN. It is a station ?—it is a station.
1580. Mr. EDWARD ELLICE. And those stations depend upon the time they are occupied ?—Exactally so.
1581. Mr. ROGAN. Has that station ever been abandoned ?—I really cannot tell ; I think it is very likely.
1582. But has it been abandoned ?—I really cannot tell ; we move an establishment according to circumstances. If the fish and the other means of subsistance are not sufficiently abundant, we move it to another point, 10, 20, or 30 miles distant.
1583. Mr. Roebuck put a question to you about the death of a great number of natives adjoining a fort, whic at first you were under the impression was in Labrador ?—Yes.
1584. Now it appears that it is in the Hudson's Bay Company's territory ?—I am not quite sure that it is ; I am rather disposed to think it is not.
1585. Mr. ROEBUCK. You distinctly said that Nascopie was a station belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company ?—Yes.
1586. This account speaks of Nascopie ?—Yes.
1587. Therefore it belongs to the Hudson's Bay Company ?—It did belong to the Hudson's Bay Company.
1588. Mr. GROGAN. Has it ever been abandoned ?—I do not even know whether it is at present occupied or not.
1589. Mr. EDWARD ELLICE. It is still occupied ?—Yes.
1590. Mr. ROEBUCK. So that it still belongs to the Hudson's Bay Company ?—It always belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company, when it has been occupied.
1591. It just now belonged to Labrador ?—upon the coast of Labrador ; we have establishments upon the coast of Labrador.
1592. Mr. BLACKBURN. Are these posts sometimes in Labrador, and sometimes in the Hudson's Bay territory ?—They are moved as circumstances may render advisable.
1593. Mr. ROEBUCK. But they are always under the command of the Hudson's Bay Company ?—Yes.
1594. So that wherever they are moved to they belong to the Hudson's Bay Company ?—Hudson's Bay establishments are under the control of the Hudson's Bay Company, but there are other establishments in the immeiate neighbourhood.
1595. CHAIRMAN. Is there any arrangement with the government of Labrador, by which you use that territory for your purposes ?—It is open for anybody.
1596. In truth it is practically unoccupied ?—Yes.