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298   HISTORY OF CANADA.

compelled to sell the land to the tenants upon fair terms. But in this matter the Imperial authorities practically withheld those rights of self-government which in other matters were freely admitted. It was insisted that the settlement of the question must be by some voluntary arrangement between the proprietors on the one hand and the island government, acting for the tenants, on the other. Two large estates, aggregating over 143,000 acres—one of them owned by the descendants of the Earl of Selkirk—were, accordingly, purchased by the government and resold to settlers at a low price.

The Commission of 1860. —As a final solution of the vexed question, certain proprietors—headed by Sir Samuel Cunard, the founder of the Cunard Line of ocean steamships—suggested that three commissioners should he appointed, one to be named by the British (government, one by the proprietors, and the third by the island government. These commissioners were to inquire into the relations between landlord .and tenant on the island, to fix the price at which every tenant aright have the option of purchasing his land, and also to determine in what cases arrears of rent should be remitted. The island legislature promptly agreed to this suggestion, and named lion. Joseph Howe, of Nova Scotia, as their couunissioner. Time proprietors named Mr. .1. W. Ritchie, of Nova Scotia, as their commissioner ; and the British Government appointed Mr. John R. Gray as the third. Their report (1860) depicted in strong language the evils resulting from the improvident grant of nearly the whole island to a few large proprietors. The remedy suggested was a compulsory Land Purchase Act. The general principles were laid down upon which the price to be paid by the tenants should be fixed, but the working out of these principles in each particular case was to be left to a Land Purchase Court.

The Question Unsettled. —Unfortunately, their suggestions were not adopted, for the proprietors declined to accept the suggested solution of the question. In their refusal they were supported by the law officers of the Crown, upon the ground that the proprietors had agreed that the commissioners should fix the price, but not that they should delegate this duty to another tribunal. The result was that an Act passed by the island legislature to confirm the report was disallowed in England, and


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