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The writer then proceeds to discuss the name of the future colony, expressing a preference for "Assiniboia."
And yet, notwithstanding this decisive language, the Nor'wester is hardly abreast of the public dissatisfaction. The party which favors annexation to the United States is so numerous, especially among the French population, as to suggest the scheme of a rival newspaper, as will appear from the following paragraph in the Nor’wester of October 15, also copied into the Toronto Globe:
“ ANNEXATION TO BE ADVOCATED THROUGH THE PRESS.
“The Nor’wester says: “The last mail brought us a prospectus from Minnesota of a new journal to be published in this settlement. The projectors are Ohio men, and have only recently arrived in Minnesota. It is their intention to come this fall, if possible, but if not, assuredly next spring. The projectors are Catholics, but say that they will deal fairly with Protestants of every denomination, their paper being purely secular. The leading principles of this journal (which, by the way, is to be $3 a year) are said to be a determined, uncompromising hostility to the Hudson Bay Company," and "the annexation of the Red River country to the United States." Of these two planks in their platform we must say that we have uniformly refused to adopt the former or its opposite, though urged thereto by many here and abroad, and we have yet to learn that our moderate, middle course should be abandoned. The second will, we hope, be utterly impracticable. Though we have some reason to complain, still we go decidedly for British connexion; and we have such confidence in the Red River people that we believe they will scorn to support any journal of contrary opinions."
The people can be satisfied only by a speedy organization as a British prorince, with such recognition and encouragement of local interests as is usual on the part of the mother country when a crown colony is established.
As I have previously assured the department, the Americanization of this important section of British America is rapidly progressing. Unless the British Parliament aets promptly—for instance, during the session soon to transpireI shall confidently expect a popular movement looking to independence or annexation to the United States.
In case of a collision with England, Minnesota is competent to “hold, occupy, and possess" the valley of Red River to Lake Winnipeg There are no British troops at Fort Garry, the Canadian rifles whom I saw there in 1859 having returned to Quebec, by way of Hudson bay, during the summer just passed. To illustrate the defenceless posture of affairs
, as well as the dissatisfaction with the administration of Hudson Bay Company officials, I annex another paragraph from the Nor’wester:
"MORE TROOPS NEEDED.'
“ Under this heading, in our last number, we gave instances of Indian assumptions at Pembina. We are now, alas! able to illustrate the necessity for troops by occurrences in our very midst. Yesterday fortnight, a band of Indians, fifty or sixty in number, went to the house of August Schubert, liquor dealer, and helped themselves to a cask of whiskey and almost everything in the house. He remonstrated and protested, but to no effect; might took the place of right, and he was compelled to give way. There were two or three others besides Schubert at the time in the house-Mr. Solomon Hamelin, magistrate, being one. It was he that interpreted between Schubert (who is a German) and the Indians. They were powerless, however, to check or prevent the spoliation, and dreading an appeal to force, they allowed the Indians to have
their own way. This is a signal proof of what we have frequently affirmed, that the government of Red River is unsuited to the times. We require a change; we need more vigor, more energy, more strength, more vigilance, more general effectiveness. Let it come how it may, and whence it may, but a change is absolutely necessary. Allowing that we would have to pay some taxes, we would rather do that and have security of life and property than continue to be under a rule which is cheap, certainly, but which fails to afford security.”
I hasten, sir, to lay before you these facts in regard to the Red River settlement, as confirming my conviction that no portion of the British territory on this continent is so assailable, so certain of occupation by American troops in case of a war with England, as Fort Garry and the immense district thence extending along the valley of the Saskatchewan to the Rocky mountains. If our struggle is to be, in the fullest sense, a struggle for national existence, against foreign foes as well as domestic traitors, Minnesota, however remote from the scene of the southern insurrection, will claim the distinction of a winter campaign for the conquest of central British America. I append a rough diagram, exhibiting that portion of British territory (enclosed in heavy black lines) which 1,000 hardy Minnesotians, aided by the French, American, and half-breed population, could seize before the 4th of March.—(See diagram on following page.)
The winter weather would not deter the lumbermen and borderers of Minnesota from the march to Pembina and Fort Garry. The line from St. Paul marked “M. & P. R. R.” (Minnesota and Pacific railroad, for whose construction Congress has granted 3,840 acres per mile) traverses the country, is known familiarly as the “wood road,” and along which such a march, with proper equipments, could be made. In 1858, at the depth of winter, an ill-appointed party of adventurous men transported the machinery, furniture, and lumber of a steamboat from Crow Wing, on the Upper Mississippi, to Shayenne, on the Red River of the North, where the vessel was reconstructed, and has since made trips to Fort Garry. Indeed, there is some reason for the opinion that the frozen prairies, marshes, and lakes of Minnesota afford facilities for military operations in winter months much greater than the army will find in Virginia or Kentucky. The snow-fall is no obstacle, the cold can be guarded against, and, on a route well supplied with wood for camp fires, the journey can be made with security if not comfort.
I am led into this train of remark by the news of the morning, forcing me to consider the possibility of war with England. Probably to no one will the news be more unwelcome. My correspondence with the Treasury Department, and the investigations which I have been encouraged to pursue, have had, for their permanent predicate, the peace of the two great nations who speak the English tongue. "The telegrams of this date surprise me in the midst of labors, the object of which was to demonstrate how much the United States and the British districts northwest of Minnesota are identified in geographical situation and material interests of all kinds. To the advancement of the latter I had not deemed annexation essential. By treaty stipulations and concurrent legislation it seemed possible to work out the mutual destiny of the American States and British provinces of the northwest. I trust that such agencies will yet be suffered to shape and advance events on this frontier. But if otherwise—if war is unavoidable—the budget on which I am engaged, and of which some instalments are on file in the Treasury Department, may prove of some advantage to the government in our altered relations to England, and to the immense central region of which Minnesota has hitherto been the commercial key, and may yet prove a military highway. Respectfully submitted.
JAMES W. TAYLOR,
Special Agent. Hon. S. P. CHASE, Secretary of the Treasury.
St. Paul, June 12, 1862. Sir: Upon the general subject of a customs union of British America and the 7 United States, I invite your attention to recent developments, as follows:
1. IN CANADA. The new minister of finance, Honorable William P. Howland, is a native of New York city, and as a member of Parliament from the Toronto district, and a member of the committee on commerce at several sessions, is fully committed to the most liberal policy of intercourse with the United States. In 1859 he presided at a meeting in Toronto, which was addressed by myself, and followed me in expressions of cordial concurrence with our Minnesota propositions. Lately I met Mr. Howland in Quebec, and received additional assurances of his sentiments, whatever policy may be suggested by party expediency.
2. IN CENTRAL BRITISH AMERICA. At the Selkirk settlements the general dissatisfaction with the neglect of the home government finds renewed utterance. The following article is copied from the local newspaper of a late date: "From the Red River settlement—Strong talk to the British Government
Threats of Annexation to the United States. “The Red River Norwester of May 28 contains the following article upon the relations of the Red River people with England and the United States:
“It is high time that the British government should take into earnest consideration the affairs of this country. They have hitherto been utterly indifferent to the condition of Central British America; but careless neglect will no longer be indulged with impunity. The present imperial cabinet must at once take up the subject of a change in this country, or they will soon wake up to a very unpleasant state of things here.
* Annexation to the United States is the universal demand of the people of this country, seeing that the home government will do nothing. The sentiment has been growing ever since commercial intercourse with Minnesota commenced; and it is increasing in intensity to such an extent that a little agitation would ripen it into a formal general movement. British-born residents who have ever looked fondly to the dear old fatherland now ask themselves, What is the use of our British connexion? The name is something, for by the association of ideas it suggests a participation in all that is enlightened and liberal in government, all that is advantageous in commerce, all that is glorious in history. We would fain, they say, be connected with Britain; but what is the use? Of what advantage is it, seeing that the connexion is nominal, empty, worthless ? Now, when old British-born settlers hold this tone, what can be expected of that overwhelming majority consisting of natives (whether half-breed or whites) and foreigners? These care not one groat for English institutions or English connexion, unless they bring or confer palpable advantages. And really we cannot expect anything else, nor is their course altogether without excuse.
“«Can it be expected that we should not become Americanized, when on the one hand Britain shows perfect indifference to us, and we enjoy none of the commercial or governmental advantages which we have a right to expect, and upon the other hand American influences of every kind are operating upon us ? Mark the following facts:
"*(1.) We have no postal communication with any part of the civilized world except through the United States! For two or three years previous to 1860 the Canadian government maintained a monthly mail to and from this settlement,
via Fort William, on Lake Superior. This was a step in the right direction, though the arrangement was very unsatisfactorily carried out. But irregular as were the mails, we had a right to expect that they would continue, and gradually, through experience of the route, would work better. The Canadian government has, however, discontinued this small boon, and we are at this moment entirely dependent on the favor of the American government for our means of communicating with the outer world. They have, at great expense, established a fortnightly mail to our frontier, sixty miles from this settlement, almost entirely for our own benefit. Does this fact not present the British government to our view at a disadvantage?
“(2.) If we except the round-about, slow, and uncertain route through the arctic straits of Hudson bay, it is only through or from the United States that we can import goods—by an American route alone can we export furs, skins, cattle, or anything else! Is this favorable to loyalty ? An importer from Britain can at present get but one supply of goods in the year, and counts himself very lucky indeed if
, considering the many possible mishaps, he does get it; whereas the dealer in American goods can get twenty supplies during the same time it he chooses. Almost any week from May to October, inclusive, a splendid steamboat may be seen at Fort Garry discharging her cargo of goods, and taking off packages of furs for the St. Paul, Boston, or New York market: whose boat is this? American citizens, whose enterprise, in the eyes of Red Riverites, throws into shade the slow-going, do-nothing Britons, whom, nevertheless, we are expected to admire, imitate, and hold as our indispensable fellow-subjects.
**(3.) The only decent route into this country for emigrants is through the States. The consequence is that the foreigners who are settling amongst us are for the most part American citizens, or persons thoroughly Americanized. Is their influence favorable to loyalty?
**(4.) By frequent intercourse with the Americans, and occasional visits to Chicago, Boston, New York, &c., the impression is fast gaining ground that there is no people like our republican neighbors. We see their fine cities, their railroads, and their steamboats; we read of the rapid settlement of new territories, and of the liberal systein of legislation by which the sudden development of the resources of new districts is a matter of every day experience. Meanwhile, we see nothing of England's prosperity and greatness, and get none of her vast wealth, and the inference from all is, that our best plan is at once to become part of Minnesota.
". These are a few of the reasons why the people of Red River now say to England, Do something for us at once, or forever give us up and let us shape our own destinies.””
I reserve for a subsequent communication some details of the measures by which the new governor general of the Hudson Bay Company is instructed by the London directory to check or divert the general dissatisfaction at Setkirk.
3. ON THE PACIFIC COAST OF BRITISH AMERICA. The following article from the British Colonist, of April 15, published at Victoria, Vancouver island, indicates quite distinctly that no adjustment of our relations with the British provinces is now desirable, unless its proportions are continental:
“Reciprocity.We hope some of our legislators will not allow the present session to pass over without devoting some attention to a reciprocity treaty with the United States. A little more attention to the commercial and industrial interests of the country would assist materially in the development of the island. Beyond the ordinary routine of voting money to pay officials, passing a few private bills, and spending a few pounds on the roads, nothing substantial and expansive has been done. It is high time that something beyond nursery legis