EXTRACTS FROM EVIDENCE OF SIR GEORGE SIMPSON
BEFORE SELECT, COMMITEE OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS (IMPERIAL) APPOINTED TO CONSIDER THE STATE OF THOSE BRITISH POSSESSIONS IN NORTH AMERICA WHICH ARE UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY OR OVER WHICH THEY POSSESS A LICENSE TO TRADE.
(Ordered to be printed 17th August, 1857.)
Jovis, 26° die Februarii, 1857.
||Mr. PERCY HERBERT.
|Mr. EDWARD ELLICE.
|Mr. CHARLES FITZWILLIAM.
The Right hon. HENRY LABOUCHERE, in the Chair.
Sir GEORGE SIMPSON, called in, and Examined.
702. CHAIRMAN : I believe you hold an important situation in the administration of the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company ?—I do.
703. What is it ?—I have been Governor of their territories for many years.
704. How long have you held that situation ?—Thirty-seven years I have been their principal representative.
705. Mr. EDWARD ELLICE : As governor the whole time ?—Yes ; I have held the situation of governor the whole time.
706. CHAIRMAN : What is the nature of your authority in that capacity ? —The supervision of the Company's affairs ; the presiding at their councils in the country, and the principal direction of the whole interior management.
707. Where do you generally reside ?—I have resided for several years at the Red River Settlement ; I have resided in Oregon ; I have resided in Athabasca, and latterly I have resided in Canada.
708. Is there any fixed seat of government within the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company ?—There is no fixed seat of government, but there is a seat of council for the northern and the southern departments ; one at Norway-house, at the northern end of Lake Winnipeg, and the other at Michipicoton, or Moose Factory, for the southern department.
709. Your authority extends, I imagine, as well over Rupert's Land as over the territory which the Company holds by license ?—Over the whole of the Company's affairs in North America.
714. Of course, having administered the affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company during so long a period, you are well acquainted with every part of their territories ?—I have travelled through the greater part of the country ; I have not visited what are usually known as the Barren Grounds.
715. You are well acquainted with the western portion, as well as the eastern ?—Yes ; I have not been in Mackenzie's River, but I have been in nearly all the other parts of the country ; my usual route in going up the country is from Montreal by Rainy Lake and Lake Winnipeg to Red River ; I have crossed the Rocky Mountains at three different points to Oregon.
993. What number of Indians do you calculate are living in the whole p.57. of the Hudson's Bay Territory ?—The Indian population of Rupert's Land we estimate at 42,840.
994. When was that calculation made ?—This season ; I collected from different data all the information within reach when I understood that I was required to leave Canada.
995. In the rest of the territory what are the numbers ?—In the Indian territory, east of the Rocky Mountains, 12,730 ; west of the Rocky Mountains, 80,000.
996. What is the whole amount of Indian population within the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company ?—139,000.
1062. Mr. GREGSON : What mode have you of ascertaining the population of the Indians ?—We have lists of the Indians belonging to various posts ; we have compared and checked them with the report of the Government officers who went to Vancouver's Island some years ago, as regards the tribes to the west of the mountains, and with Colonel Lefroy's Lists, as regards those on the east side, and we have arrived at this estimate of the population.
1066. Mr. KINNAIRD : You stated just now the population in rough ; would you have any objection to give in to the Committee a copy of the estimated census of the population which you have made. There are some other parts ; can you give us your census of the Red River population ; you have got it, I presume, in detail ?—I think I have ; I am not certain ; I took these notes previously to leaving Canada.
1376. Mr. ADDERLEY : Is your appointment an appointment for life ?—No ; my appointment is by the Governor and Committee.
1377. Mr. ROEBUCK : I think it is a double government. You have a government in England and one in Hudson's Bay, have you not ?—The Governor and Company are the superiors ; they have the supreme direction.
1378. The Governor and Company in England appoint the Governor in Hudson's Bay ?—They do.
1379. According to their will and pleasure, and his appointment is revoked at their will and pleasure ?—It is so.
1471. You were also asked to put in the census of the Indian population in detail over the whole territory ?—Yes. Here is the census of the Indian population. There is a list of the Company's trading posts, and the estimated number of Indians frequenting those posts. (The Witness delivered in the same.)
1472. Mr. ROEBUCK : Will you state the total ?—The Indians, east of the mountains, 55,000 ; west of the mountains, 80,000 ; Esquimaux, 4,000.
1473. What is the date of that census ?—Last year.
LIST OF APPENDIX.
APPENDIX, No. 2.
Papers delivered in by Sir George Simpson and referred to in his evidence, 2 March, 1857 :
(C. )—Indian Population
It is a matter of great difficulty to obtain reliable information respecting the Indian population, their migratory habits, and the vast extent of country over which they are spread, misleading the calculations, and rendering it almost impracticable to prepare a satisfactory census. The following estimates have been compiled with great care, from a mass of documents and the actual personal knowledge of several of the Company's officers, tested by comparison with published statements, especially those presented to Government in 1846 by Messrs. Warre and Vavasour, and those of Colonel Lefroy, R.A., contained in a paper read before the Canadian Institute.
ESTABLISHMENTS of the HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY in 1856, and Number of INDIANS frequenting them.