Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next

 

304   HISTORY OF CANADA.

to the miners. When the gold fever subsided the two colonies suffered a severe relapse, and hard times had much to do in bringing about first their own union and then their accession to the Canadian Confederation.

End of the Company's Rule.—The charter of the Hudson's Bay Company was the subject of an investigation in 1857 by a committee of the British House of Commons. The grievances of the coast settlers were laid before it, and, as one result of the inquiry, it was decided that the company's privileges west of the Rocky Mountains should cease. The soil of Vancouver Island was resumed by the Crown (1859) and new provision was made for its government. Douglas was continued in his post as governor, but only upon the distinct stipulation that he should cease to be connected with the Hudson's Bay Company. He at once withdrew from it and his rule thenceforth was that of a wise, upright and impartial governor. The assembly was continued as before. The two colonies, though nominally distinct, were for purposes of executive government practically one. A

number of new officials arrived from England, and a company of Royal Engineers was also sent out to make surveys and to assist in the laying out of roads to the different settlements and mining camps. When this company was disbanded in 1863, a large number of them settled in the colony. The administration of justice was re-modelled, and Matthew B. Begbieafterwards Sir Matthew B. Beghiean English barrister, was appointed chief-justice. His was a notable figure in the history of British Columbia. After a long and able career upon the

bench he died in 1894. Owing largely to the influx of miners and traders the white population at one time amounted to about forty thousand, dropping again to about ten thousand after the gold fever had subsided.

The San Juan Difficulty.—At one time there was serious trouble with the United States over the ownership of the islands

SIR MATTHEW B. BEGBIE.

Picture

Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next