LETTER, 28 SEPTEMBER, 1839, GOVERNOR PELLY TO
LORD JOHN RUSSELL re RENEWAL TO HUDSON'S
BAY CO. OF LEASE OF KING'S POSTS.
ARCHIVES OF CANADA, SERIES Q VOL. 267, pp. 34-36.
Hudson's Bay House
28th September, 1839.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Stephen's letter of the 16th Inst. (in reference to mine of the 20th March to the Marquis of Normanby, on the subject of the King's Posts in Lower Canada) together with Copy of a Letter from Sir J. Colborne of 22nd July, and of the Report of the Executive Council on the proposal made by me on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company for a renewal of the lease of those Posts now held by the Company : And requesting that in laying the same before the Hudson's Bay Company, I should move them to inform Your Lordship, whether they are willing to accept the Lease in question on the terms stated by the Governor.
In reply I beg leave to refer your Lordship to my letter of the 20th March for the reasons for desiring a renewal (not of the whole but) of a small part of the privileges of the present Lease.
“The Hudson's Bay Company in wishing to obtain a renewal of the Lease as far as regards the exclusive right of hunting and of trading with the Indians, have in view the more effectually to maintain in their own Territory, bordering on that part of Canada, the restriction of the use of Spirituous liquors, and all those other beneficial regulations, which have been found essentially to improve the condition of the Indians and to preserve the peace of the country, and to continue the like benefits to the Indians of the
' King's Posts.' ”
From the following extract of the Report of the Council to whom Sir John Colborne submitted the proposition. “The Indians of the King's Posts, in number about 400 Souls, having for a long period of years been accustomed to the protection and fostering care of the different Lessees, it would be neither wise or just to allow them to be abandoned at once, without some provision being made for them : they are generally of a mild and tractable disposition, and a Majority of them have been converted to Christianity. The Lessees supplying the means for Annual Visit of a Missionary of the Roman Catholic Faith to the different Posts, where Small Churches have
been erected, Chiefly by the late order of Jesuits. They have moreover no Agricultural pursuits, and it is not likely that the present generation would be induced to forsake their Indian habits, sojourning as they do, alternately in the forest and on the coast of St. Lawrence, to which latter they resort in the Winter season for the purpose of Killing Seals, living chiefly on the Oil, which these animals produce. It may be proper to add that these Indians are not included in the Schedule annexed to an approved Report of Council on Indian Affairs dated 13th June 1837, nor have they ever received assistance in provisions or outfits of any kind from the Government.
Under these Circumstances and before throwing the Country open to the Public, some previous Arrangement should be made for the care of the Indians, else they would of necessity turn idle and dissolute, and become a burthen to Society. The proposal of the Hudson's Bay Company seems to offer the most convenient and least expensive mode of protection and employment, and the Committee are therefore humbly of opinion that it may be expedient to grant them a new Lease for an additional twenty one years to be limited to an exclusive right of hunting and trading with the Indians, including also the Seal Fishery.”
Your Lordship will perceive that the Council distinctly admit the expediency of granting a lease for the purpose of hunting and trading only with the Indians, not only from the necessity of some arrangement being made for the care of the Indians, else they would of necessity turn idle and dissolute and become a burthen to Society, but that it offers the most convenient and least expensive mode of protection and employment.
On the measure itself we are quite agreed and the only difference is the terms proposed, namely, That the Crown have immediate right of entry and occupation for the purpose of settlement, and that the Hudson's Bay Company be restrained to the trade with the Natives, but that the present rent of £1200 be paid till the 1st of October 1842 ; That the Hudson's Bay Company relinquish the Sum of Eighteen hundred pounds, which the Government will leave to pay them on 1st October 1842 ; and that then a new Lease be granted them at Eight hundred pounds a year.
Under all the circumstances which have been detailed, I trust your Lordship will consider that in making the following proposition on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company, it will be considered liberal. That the present Lease be cancelled and that the claim for Eighteen hundred pounds be relinquished on a new Lease for twenty one years at a Rent of Five Hundred pounds p annum being granted by the Government for the exclusive right of hunting and trading with the Indians, including the Seal fishery.
I have the honor to be
The Right Honble.My Lord
LORD JOHN RUSSELLYour Lordship's most obedt. Servt.
&c. &ca. &ca. J. H. PELLY