sary to act with caution and with a prudent regard to eventualities. In the peaceful aspect of human affairs, at that time, war had become, almost an absolete idea, yet, it could not be ignored that these Ordnance properties had been acquired and held for military purposes, and that a portion of them might eventually prove more valuable and more directly useful for the defence of the Province, if retained, than by contributing, when sold, to the support of the Militia.
9. In this view it was decided not to sell lands which might possibly be required for the future defence of the country, and which circumstances might compel the Province to resume, either at an advanced price, or burthened with claims for compensation. Guided chiefly recollections of the past, it was determined to preserve intact defensible positions at Penetanguishene, Point Edward, Sarnia, Fort Malden, Amherstburgh, Fort Erie, and Fort George, Navy Island on the River Niagara, at London Toronto, Fort Wellington, Prescott, (in Ontario), Isle aux Noix, St. Johns, Chambly, Laprairie, the Barracks at Three Rivers, and Fort Ingall on Lake Temiscouata, all in the Province of Quebec.
10. The course of events since 1856 has justified those precautions, since that time Sarnia, Amherstburgh, Windsor, on the western frontier, Fort George and Fort Erie, London, Toronto, Fort Wellington, Prescott, Isle aux Noix, St. Johns, Chambly, Laprairie, and Fort Ingall in the east, have all been reoccupied militarily, and have helped to protect the country from aggression.
11. Looking in the same direction, and with the same object in view, Penetanguishene and Isle aux Noix were converted temporarily to the purposes of Juvenile Reformatories, and Fort Malden in Western Canada, and St. Johns in the eastern Province, were made use of as Asylums for the Insane. It enabled the Province for a present and useful purpose, to keep in repair buildings, which on an emergency, could be restored promptly to their original destination, and here likewise, events have borne witness to the prudence of the precaution.
12. But the reservation of these properties exclusively for military objects, deducted in proportion so much from the convertible value of the Ordnance Lands and it added considerably to the expense of maintenance. For some years the salaries of caretakers amounted to $2,000 per annum, but as occasion offered, this expense was steadily reduced; at I present we have but one caretaker receiving 50 cents per diem.
13. It remains now to be shewn what has been done with the remaining Lands not required for purposes of defence. From the first outset, it was seen that in dealing with them whether in country parts or in towns, as farm lands, or town lots, or wharf lots, much circumspection was necessary. They could not be dealt with as wild and unoccupied Crown Lands, free from all preceding obligations or engagements, but as estates which had been vested by Act of Parliament in a corporate body known as the "Principal Officers of Her Majesty's Ordnance." They had accumulated in course of time. Part had been acquired under the Treaty of Paris, 1763, part by purchase some was hold under letters patent, and some under license of occupation from the Crown. The Province accepted of the transfer of these properties, liable to the legal acts and obligations of our predecessors. The 6th section of the Act of Transfer expressly provided that these Ordnance Lands were to be held "subject to all sales, agreements, leases, or agreements for lease already entered into with or by the principal officers of the Ordnance."
14. Relying upon this proviso in the Act from the time of my appointment, claims and applications poured in from different parts of the country, all urgent for immediate settlement. An impression appeared to have obtained that these lands had been transferred to the Province,for distribution among claimants generally, and in consequence pretensions, some of them very unreasonable were revived, which had been often and long before, settled by law or by the proper authorities. Appeals were constantly. made beyond law, to the equity of the Crown. It was found that these lands had, to a considerable extent been occupied, in larger or smaller proportions, sometimes on annual lease, sometimes by sufferance, very often on verbal engagements or understandings, pretended or implied, to which prescriptive or presumptive rights were unduly ascribed. All these applications, however, were in reality, appeals to the justice of the Government, and all alike prima facie was entitled to the investigation which all have received. It became necessary to inquire into the circumstances of every case, and of very numerous conflicting cases, before it could be pronounced how far the Government was or could be bound to use the words of the Act, by the engagements or agreements of. their predecessors, "the Principal Officers of Her Majesty's Ordnance."