National Geographic : 1899 Nov
THE ALASKAN BOUNDARY mittee are found the names of Lord John Russell, Lord Stanley, Mr.Roebuck, and Mr Gladstone. Another member was Mr Ellice, a native of Canada and a director of the Hudson's Bay Company. There was also in attendance on the sessions of the committee, as a representative of the government of Canada, Chief Justice Draper, of Canada. Sir George Simpson was examined before this committee and was questioned in detail respecting the lease, and his testimony confirms the foregoing statement. To explain and accompany his testimony, he exhibited to the committee a map of the territory in question, and said: " There is a margin of coast, marked yellow on the map, from 540 40' up to Cross sound which we have rented from the Russian American Com pany for a term of years "; * and he proceeded at some length to explain the territory and the reasons for the lease. No question was raised by any member of the committee, or by the representative of Canada, as to the validity of the lease or to the correctness of the map, which was printed as a part of the report submitted to Parliament. An examination of this map will show that the leased strip of territory is continuous, and is carried around all the inlets and interior waters, in con formity with the present claim of the United States (see map No. 11). This lease was followed by another act on the part of the two governments confirming their approval of the transac tion. During the Crimean war, at the request of the two com panies, the territory embraced in the lease was, by order of both the British and Russian governments, exempt from the opera * Report, etc., p. 1391. Extract from Simpson's testimony : "1026. Besides your own territory, I think you administer a portion of the territory which belongs to Russia, under some arrangement with the Russian Company? There is a margin of coast, marked yellow on the map, from 540 40' up to Cross sound which we have rented from the Russian American Company for a term of years. "1027. Is that the whole of that strip? The strip goes to Mount St. Elias. "1028. Where does it begin? Near Fort Simpson, in latitude 54; it runs up to Mount St. Elias, which is farther north. " 1029. Is It the whole of that strip which is included between the British territory and the sea? We have only rented the part between Fort Simpson and Cross sound. "1030. What is the date of that arrangement? That arrangement, I think, was en tered into about 1839. "1031. What are the terms upon which it was made? Do you pay a rent for that land? The British territory runs along inland from the coast about 30 miles ; the Rus sian territory runs along the coast; we have the right of navigation through the rivers to hunt the interior country. A misunderstanding existed upon that point in the first instance; we were about to establish a post upon one of the rivers, which led to very serious difficulties between the Russian American Company and ourselves. We had a long correspondence, and to guard against the recurrence of these difficulties it was agreed that we should lease this margin of coast and pay them a rent. The rent was, in the first instance, in otters. I think we gave 2,000 otters a year; it is now converted into money. We give, I think, 1,500 a year."