Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Canada Company and the Huron Tract, 1826-1853: Personalities, Profits and Politics

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Canada Company and the Huron Tract, 1826-1853: Personalities, Profits and Politics

Article excerpt

R.C. Lee, The Canada Company and the Huron Tract, 1826-1853: Personalities, Profits and Politics (Toronto: National Heritage Books, 2004), viii + 304pp. Paper. $26.95 (£12.99). ISBN 1-8962-1994-2.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the British colony of Upper Canada had an abundance of land and natural resources but relatively few people. One-seventh of the land controlled by the colony was set aside as Crown Reserves for the use of the government, and another seventh was set aside as Clergy Reserves for the support of the clergy in Upper Canada. The challenge for the British authorities was to find an effective means of promoting settlement that would not only involve as little government expenditure as possible, but would actually raise revenue for the colony. It was decided that selling part of the Crown and Clergy Reserves to a British land settlement company would be the best way to realise this goal. The Canada Company was founded in 1824 and received a charter of incorporation from the British government two and a half years later. The company acquired a million acres of land adjacent to Lake Huron at a considerable discount. The land had been acquired by the British government from the Chippewa Nation. Although the Chippewa retained a small reserve within the Huron Tract, Lee decided that the relationship between the settlers and the Chippewa was outside the scope of his book.

The Canada Company was intended to be a profit-making business and it sent officials from Britain to the Huron Tract with instructions to ensure that it was settled in the most cost-effective manner. …

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