EXTRACTS FROM EVIDENCE OF HONOURABLE WILLIAM H. DRAPER, C.B.,
BEFORE SELECT COMMITTEE OF 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 LICENC TO TRADE.
(Ordered to be printed 17th August, 1857.)
Jovis, 28 die Maii, 1857.
||Mr. PERCY HERBERT
|Mr. EDWARD ELLICE.
|Mr. CHARLES FITXWILLIAM.
||Sir JOHN PAKINGTON.
|Mr. J. H. GURNEY.
||Lord JOHN RUSSELL.
The Right Hon. HENRY LABOUCHERE, in the Chair.
The Honourable WILLIAM DRAPER, C.B., called in, and examined.
4038. CHAIRMAN : What situation do you hold in Canada ?—I am Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas of Upper Canada.
4039. How long have you held that situation ?—I have held the office of Chief Justice a little more than a year, but I have been upon the Bench of Upper Canada for nearly 10 years.
4040. What other public situations have you held in Canada ? —I was appointed to the Executive Council of Upper Canada in the year 1836. I was appointed Solicitor-general of Upper Canada in 1837. I was appointed Attorney-general of Upper Canada in 1840. I held that office until some time in the latter part of 1842 ; I as re-appointed in 1844, and I continuted
to be Attorney-general from taht time until I was appointed to the Bench.
4041. How long have you been residen in Canada ? —I landed in Quebec on the 16th or 17th of May, 1820 ; I have been a continual residen in Canada since that period.
4042. Under that circumstances are you now visiting this country ? —I was requested by the Government of Canada, through the medium of two of its members, to undertake the duty of coming to England for the purpose of watching the investigation which it had been communicated to them, was to take place before a Committee of the House of Commons, with the view of pressing whenever I deemed it necessary for the interests of the province, certain views which the Government of the province adopted in reference to their rights and interests in this question. I had written instructions from the Government of Canada to that effect, which I can lay before the Committee, if they desire it. They were communicated to me through the provincial secretary, and emanating from the Government, giving me general directions what I was do do.
4089. How far back do you think it would be desirable to throw the frontier to the north for the purpose of giving opportunities for settlement in the manner which you have described ?—I understand by that question how far there might be the exclusive right of trade which T have spoken of as that which should be reserved ; how far from the north it should extend to the south, leaving an intermediate space in which there should be no such exclusive right, but which should be open to settlement.
4090. Exactly so ?—I have no personal knowledge of the territory whatever ; all I know of it has been derived from books or other documents which I have consulted from time to time upon that subject. It has occurred to me that the line once proposed by the Hudson's Bay Company themselves, shortly after the peace of Ryswick, would reach about the extent of what would be the land desirable for settlement ; I suppose that the most valuable portion of the land for settlement would be found to lie in a parallel of latitude south of Norway House ; but I give that as a mere matter of opinion, not that I have any personal knowledge.
4091. Where is Norway House ?—At the head of Lake Winnipeg, about the north-east corner of Lake Winnipeg ; I do not desire to attach any importance to my own answer, because I have no knowledge of the country of a personal character, and therefore may be very much mistaken as to its resources and capabilities of settlement.
4092. Mr. EDWARD ELLICE : In that answer do you contemplate including that portion of Labrador and James's Bay ?—I do not propose carrying the line straight through there, because it would be depriving the Hudson's Bay Company of control over the Indians in one portion of the territory ; I referred to the line proposed to* the Company themselves upon the negotiations for limits between Canada and the Hudson's Bay Company's
territory shortly after the peace of Ryswick, in which they themselves proposed certain limits, which, although they were not willing to take, they nevertheless, as a pis aller, were ready to submit to if nothing better could be gained for them. With regard to the eastern portion of the territory, the limit which I should at present suggest would be rather that limit which was proposed under the Treaty of Utrecht, which was to start from Cape Perdrix in 58½° of latitude, just below Cape Chudleigh on the Labrador coast. The Hudson's Bay Company themselves proposed that a line should be run from there (in one of the papers it is called 59½° and in the other 58½°), that it should come down through the island of* a lake called Lake Mistassinnie, and from there in a south-west direction extending to what they then required as the boundary to be given to them, namely, the 49th parallel of latitude directly through the continent. Grimmington Island, I think, was the name of the island, and Cape Perdrix the name of the cape.
4093. That proposition, I believe, was not agreed to ?—I believe nothing grew out of it ; it was propounded to the French, and they would not assent to it. (The Witness pointed out the position on the map.) Instead of that, my own suggestion would be that it should only come down in this direction, and come to the point which I have already referred to, across the country to the Rocky Mountains.
4094. Sir JOHN PACKINGTON : That would be your line to get to Norway House ?—I have only thought of it generally. The line must leave sufficient space here, so as not to interfere with the trade of St. James's Bay, on which some Indians are settled ; this country being at present, I believe, so far as white inhabitants are concerned, wholly unsettled.
4095. Still, I apprehend that your proposed line would pass considerably to the northward of the present boundary shown for Canada on that map ? —Yes. I wish to be understood as stating that I am suggesting merely the line suggested by the Hudson's Bay Company themselves.
4096. Mr. EDWARD ELLICE : In what year was that proposal made ; in 1719, was not it ?—The proposal that I speak of was renewed by the Hudson's Bay Company in the year 1750. On the 25th of July, 1750, the Company were called upon to lay before the Lords of Trade the limits which they proposed, and they replied in the month of October of that year, giving the boundary that I have just spoken of.