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consists of a stockade enclosing four acres, a village of sixty houses, stores, mills, workshops, a farm of 3000 acres, and a considerable quantity of cattle for the supply of the Company's posts. Another is Fort-Nasqually on the sea-coast, within the Straits of Fuca. The purposes for which this post has been established require some explanation. The supply of the Russian settlements with provisions, and the Sandwich Islands with timber, has turned out a profitable trade; and it is supposed that the ships which carry supplies to Vancouver might, on their return, fill their stowage, which is more than is required for furs, with wool, hides, and tallow for the English market. But as such a use of the Company's capital, not being within its charter, would be illegal, a sub-company has been formed, called the Puget's Sound Company, consisting of members of the Hudson's Bay Company; and governed by its officers, but employing capital of their own. Their principal farm is at FortNasqually, and they have a considerable one on Vancouver's Island, and others between the Straits of Fuca and the Columbia.

To the south of the Columbia, principally on the banks of the Willamet, some agricultural establishments have been formed by Americans. The nucleus is generally a missionary, who proposes to convert the Indians by civilization, and for this purpose begins by using them as agricultural labourers. He is followed by men either misled by the misrepresentations of the climate and soil of Oregon, which, for party purposes, have been spread through the United States; or so unprovided with capital, as to think it worth while to undergo the dangers and toils of the journey, in order to obtain land for nothing. The principal is Oregon, which is thus described in the most recent information which has reached us :— This place, Oregon city, is situated • at the head of the navigation at the foot of Willamet Falls, one

of the greatest water powers in the world. It contains twelve • dwelling-houses, three stores, one blacksmith's shop, two saw

mills, and a grist mill.’t The American establishments are not supposed to have yet succeeded as sources of net profit, though they have afforded to the inhabitants the means of existence. Captain Wilkes states, that in 1842 and 1843 prices were merely nominal, and the settlers' horses were fed with their finest wheats.

• Wilkes, Vol. iv. p. 307.

† See Mr Perry's letter, dated Oregon city, March 30, 1843, in Simmonds Colonial Magazine, Vol. i. p. 101. # Vol. iv. p. 308.


It is, we repeat, as a hunting-ground that Oregon is valuable; and, as applicable to this purpose, the merits of the northern and southern portions are reversed. The districts to the north of the Straits of Fuca, which are generally unfit for agriculture and pasturage, still continue to afford a considerable supply of furred animals. Those to the south, which contain some spots fit for settlement, have been almost exhausted as hunting-grounds.

In a letter from Mr Pelly, the governor, to Lord Glenelg, previous to the grant of the charter of 1838, he states, that nearly their whole profits are drawn from their own proper territory ; their other trade showing in some years a triling loss, and in others a small gain.* Mr Wyeth, who had been himself a fur-trader, believes that trade to be less profitable than any other in which as much danger of life and property is incurred; and he adds, that he has good evidence that in 1833 the profits of the western department of the Company, which includes Oregon, did not exceed 10,000 dollars, or less than L.2500.* This confirms Mr Pelly.

The fur-trade, as we have already said, is naturally a decreasing trade. If it was bad in 1837, it is not likely to be better now. And this is supported by the testimony of Captain Wilkes, who visited Oregon in 1840. Many persons,' says Captain Wilkes, writing from Fort Vancouver, imagine that large gain must "result from the Indian trade; but this is seldom the case— the • Indians understand well the worth of each article. The Com‘pany are obliged to make advances to all their trappers, and • from such a reckless set there is little certainty of getting returns even if the trapper have it in his power. All the profits of the Company depend on economical arrangements; for the quantity of petry in this section of the country, and indeed • the fur-trade on this side of the mountains, has fallen off fifty

per cent in the last few years. It is indeed reported that this • business is at present hardly worth pursuing.' I

This is confirmed by a statement, which we have now before us, of the Company's whole importations for 1844, and of their importations from the Columbia (which includes the whole Oregon territory) in 1845. In 1844, they imported from the whole of their North American territories and hunting-grounds 433,398 skins, of the value of L. 173,936, 17s.; of which Oregon furnished only 61,365 skins, valued at only L.43,571. In 1845, their


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* Hudson's Bay Company Correspondence. House of Commons' Pa

' . per. 1842, No. 517, p. 26-27. + Territory of Oregon Report, p. 13.

# Vol. iv. p. 333.

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importation from Oregon has been only 57,628 skins, valued at L.56,749, 148. We have also before us a return of the number of persons in their employ in North America for the year ending the Ist of June 1844. It is 1212. There are many single manufacturing establishments in England-such as the Great Western Cotton Factory in Bristol, or Mr Marshall's in Leedswhich keep in activity a much larger capital, employ a much greater number of persons, and give a much larger annual produce, than can be predicated of a Company which is the actual proprietor of territories larger than the British Islands, and has the exclusive use of a region greater than the whole of Europe !

But though the Company, as far at least as this portion of their trade is concerned, have been unsuccessful merchants, they have been wise and benevolent administrators. In all the countries,' says Mr Wyeth, where the Hudson's Bay Company . have exclusive control, they are at peace with the Indians, and • the Indians are at peace among themselves.'*

* An opinion bas gone abroad,' says Captain Wilkes, that at . this post (Vancouver) there is a disregard of morality and re·ligion. As far as my observations went, I feel myself obliged ' to state that every thing seems to prove the contrary. I have

reason to believe, from the discipline and the example of the * superiors, that the whole establishment is a pattern of good • order and correct deportment. This remark not only extends

to this establishment, but as far as our opportunities went (and • all but two of their posts were visited,) the same good order prevails throughout the country. Wherever the operations of the Company extend, they have opened the way to future emigration, provided the means necessary for the success of • emigrants, and rendered its peaceful occupation an easy and 'cheap task.'t

And yet, even under these favourable circumstances, though spirits are refused, wars are discouraged, and profligate intercourse is prevented, the proximity of the white men still exercises, and apparently with little diminution of intensity, its destructive influence on the red men. They are attacked by new diseases, and their old ones seem to be aggravated.

During my stay at Vancouver,' says Captain Wilkes, 'I frequently saw Casenove, the chief of the Klackatack tribe. • He was once lord of all this domain. His village was situated • about six miles below Vancouver, on the north side of the ‘river, and within the last fifteen years was quite populous; he

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• Territory of Oregon Report, p. 14.

† Vol. iv. p. 332.

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then could muster four or five hundred warriors; but disease • has swept off the whole tribe, it is said that they all died within three weeks. He now stands alone, his land, tribe, and property all departed, and he left on the bounty of the Company. Casenove is about fifty years of age, a noble and • intelligent-looking Indian. I could not but feel for the situ*ation of one who, in the short space of a few weeks, lost

not only his property and importance, but his whole tribe and • kindred, as I saw him quietly enter the apartment, wrapped in • his blanket, and take his seat at the lonely side-table. He • scarce seemed to attract the notice of any one, but ate bis meal • in silence, and retired. He has always been a great friend to the whites, and during the time of his prosperity was ever ready to search out, and bring to punishment, all those who committed • depredations on strangers. " Casenove's tribe is not the only one • that has suffered in this way; many others have been swept off entirely, without leaving a single survivor.' *

It seems probable that in a few years all that formerly gave life to the country, both the hunter and his prey, will become extinct; and that their place will be supplied by a thin white and half-breed population, scattered along the few fertile valleys, supported by pasture instead of by the chase; and gradually degenerating into the barbarism, far more offensive than that of the savage, which degrades the backwoodsman.

Having given this short view of the Oregon country, we proceed to examine the grounds on which the very doubtful advantage of its sovereignty is claimed.

It will appear that the facts on each side are tolerably clear ; the difficulty, therefore, if there be any, must arise from the obscurity of the law; and we will begin, therefore, by a brief statement of what we believe to be International Law, with respect to the acquisition of sovereignty over an unoccupied territory.

Generally, it may be said, that such sovereignty can be acquired by five means. By Discovery, by Settlement, by Contiguity, by Treaty, and by Prescription. There is one requisite, however, which, as it is essential to every source of title, ought to be mentioned before we treat them separately-namely, that the acts by which sovereignty is acquired, must be the acts of a Government, not of unauthorized Individuals. The acquisition of sovereignty is a grave act. It imposes on the acquiring state the duties of administration and protection. It imposes on all other states the duty of

* Vol. iv. p. 369.

abstaining from interference. It takes from the common patrimony of mankind a part which was previously open to the enterprise and industry of all nations, and appropriates it to one. It is obvious that great inconveniences would arise if private persons could arbitrarily impose such duties on their own sovereigns and on independent states. No title, therefore, is given by the discoveries made by private adventurers. If they make settlements, such settlements form no portion of the territory of the state from which the unauthorized settlers have proceeded. If they enter into treaties, such treaties give them no right either against their own government or against any other.

We now proceed to consider the different sources of title separately, beginning with title by Discovery. What amount of exploration is necessary to title by discovery, has not been decided. As far as we can perceive, a very little, perhaps the mere distant glimpse of a headland, has been considered sufficient. And it is admitted that when once a title by discovery, however imperfect, has been gained by the agents of one nation, it is not superseded by a subsequent though more accurate examination by those of another. The reason is obvious ; for if title by discovery depended on the comparative accuracy of the examination, no such title could be safe. It would always be liable to be divested by a new survey, which was, or professed to be, more elaborate.

The title by mere discovery, however, is not a permanent one. It requires to be perfected by Settlement. The title,' says

. Vattel, of navigators going on voyages of discovery, and furnished with a conmission from their sovereign, has generally been respected, provided it has been soon after followed by a real possession. But the law of nations will not acknowledge the sovereignty of a nation over countries, except those in which it • has formed settlements, and of which it makes actual use.' *

No nations have asserted this more strongly than England and the United States. • She understood not,' said Elizabeth to Mendoza, the Spanish Ambassador, 'why her subjects or those • of any other prince should be debarred from the Indies, to which • she could not persuade herself that the Spaniards had any just ' title by the Bishop of Rome's donation; or because they had

touched here and there on the coasts, built cottages, and given names to a river and cape, things which cannot entitle them to a propriety. This imaginary propriety could not hinder other princes from transporting colonies into those parts thereof where

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* Book I.



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