National Geographic : 1899 Nov
THE ALASKAN BOUNDARY to the Hudson's Bay Company the strip of territory on the main land and " all the bays, inlets, estuaries, rivers, or lakes in that line of coast" secured to Russia under the treaty, in considera tion of the abandonment or satisfaction of the claim for damages on account of the Dryad, and also of an annual payment by the Hudson's Bay Company.* This lease was approved by both the Russian and British governments, and in accordance with its terms the Hudson's Bay Company entered upon and occupied the strip of territory, and at the expiration of the term of years stated the lease was, with the approval of the two governments, extended for another like term, and afterwards prolonged to about 1865. The plenipotentiary on behalf of Great Britain and the Hud son's Bay Company who negotiated and signed this lease was Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, who had assumed that office five years before the treaty of 1825. He was fully conversant with the negotiations, and, as he testified before the Parliamentary committee, was familiar with the leased strip of territory, having traveled over it in the course of his duties as governor. The language of the lease is sufficiently ex plicit as to the particular territory and waters to which it applied, but we have in addition an authoritative ocular proof of what land and water this lease embraced. In 1857 a select committee of the House of Commons of the British Parliament was appointed " to consider the state of those British possessions in North America which are under the admin istration of the Hudson's Bay Company, or over which they possess a license to trade." t Among the members of this com * The following is a copy of article I of the lease : "ARTICLE I. It is agreed that the Russian American Company, having the sanction of the Russian government to that effect, shall cede or lease to the Hudson's Bay Com pany for a term of ten years, commencing from the 1st of June, 1840, for commercial purposes, the coast (exclusive of the islands) and the interior country belonging to His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, situated between Cape Spencer, forming the northwest headland of the entrance of Cross sound and latitude 540 40' or thereabouts, say the whole mainland coast and interior country belonging to Russia, together with the free navigation and trade of the waters of that coast and interior country situated to the southward and eastward of a supposed line to be drawn from the said Cape Spencer to Mount Fairweather, with the sole and entire trade or commerce thereof, and that the Russian American Company shall abandon all and every station and trad ing establishment they now occupy on that coast, and in the interior country already described, and shall not form any station or trading establishment during the said term of ten years, nor send their officers, servants, vessels, or craft of any description for the purposes of trade into any of the bays, inlets, estuaries, rivers, or lakes in that line of coast and in that interior country." (Russian archives, Department of State.) t Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Compan y, etc. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 31 July and 11 August, 1857, p. 2.