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This webpage reproduces a section of
Mackenzie of Canada
by
Mark S. Wade

published by
William Blackwood & Sons Ltd.
Edinburgh and London 1927

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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 p311  Appendix I

Letter from Sir Alexander Mackenzie to John Sullivan, Under-Secretary for the Colonies

"Montreal, 25th October 1802.

"Sir, — My Lord Hobart having done me the honour at parting, to express a wish of hearing from me, on this side of the Atlantic, I take the liberty of addressing you, enclosing copies of two papers, which on the substance of which, I presume, will be transmitted through the Lieut. Governor, tho' not perhaps immediately, and which I beg leave to request, that you will please with this to lay before His Lordship. The papers will explain themselves, and, I am sorry to say, show that I have not succeeded; as also evince the improbability of my being able to succeed in bringing about the union between the two Fur Companies, which my Lord Hobart so strongly recommended to me as the first step towards the accomplishment of my favourite project; Without the aid of Government, by granting the Licences (I had the honour of proposing) to one of the contending parties, with the condition that the other party should have the option of sharing, in the proportion of the Trade they might be carrying on, to that part of His Majesty's Dominions, I see no means of bringing about a coalition for several years to come, making the Western Establishment lost perhaps for ever.

"I have conversed with General Hunter upon the subject, and, though averse to Monopolies of any kind, he agreed with me that no mode would answer to carry on that trade to advantage and to make proper Establishments but through  p312 a Chartered Company. I had no promise from His Excellency that he would communicate this his opinion to His Majesty's Ministers.

"As so little probability exists of bringing about in a reasonable time a Voluntary Coalition of the two Fur Companies, may I be permitted to submit to His Lordship's consideration the expediency of securing at all events in a National point of view the means of hereafter giving efficiency to the favourite project alluded to, or any other which the Government may think eligible to countenance by forming an immediate Military Establishment upon the Western Coast of North America, so as to prevent other nations anticipating us in an object the importance of which cannot at present be foreseen in all its consequences.

"And further, I cannot too strongly entreat His Lordship's attention to the propriety and necessity of establishing as speedily as possible such a jurisdiction as shall prevent the contending Fur Companies from abusing any power which superiority of numbers or strength may accidentally confer, and which shall seem to each, the fruits of fair harvest and industrious exertion.

"A jurisdiction possessing such efficient Judicial Control, besides having the most beneficial effects in general, might also be a means of promoting a speedier Voluntary Coalition of the Companies by preventing a recurrence of those causes of increasing animosity which tend to keep them asunder.

"It will not escape His Lordship's penetration that in any Legislative interference upon the subject, it will be essential to avoid everything which could be construed to confer upon the Hudson's Bay Company a Parliamentary sanction in regard to their doubtful Charter, or which could give them the right of checking commercial enterprise from this quarter by the usual inland routes into any Territory which Traders from hence have been accustomed to occupy; although the same may nominally be included in the limits of the said Charter.

"I had the honour of remarking to my Lord Hobart that an attempt had been made by one of partners of the old Fur Company to penetrate in a more Southern direction than I did to the River Columbia, in which he failed through ill‑health. A second attempt has been made by another partner  p313 of the same concern with no better success, owing to a mutiny of the men employed, arising as I judge from the want of an appropriate Talent for such an undertaking in the leader. I have been credibly informed that the Astronomer who went with both expeditions declares positively that the object is not impracticable.

"The communication to the Lieut. Governor through Mr Ryland is clearly and decidedly the sentiments of the principal people of the new company, of whom Mr Richardson is one and a most valuable, active, and respectable Magistrate of this City.

"I have the honour to be, with much respect, Your Devoted and faithful Humble servant,

Alex. Mackenzie."

(The enclosures were a letter from John Richardson, and the Presentment of the Grand Jury of Montreal.)


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