15. These retardments have continued, though partially surmounted, and still continue to exist. Hundreds of such cases had been discussed and disposed of, when the approach of confederation, and its actual advent, and the removal of the Seat of Government created an unavoidable pause in the despatch of office work, and led to an accumulation of cases which awaited decision and received the early and rapid attention of the Secretary of State. Of theme cases a large number already reported on, were disposed of forthwith, many are in process of settlement (some involving claims,for money of considerable magnitude). All that we know of have been carefully considered, and are now in a shape, either admitting of decision, or inviting the opinion of the Law officers of the Crown.
16. A large majority of these troublesome questions have arisen in the city and in the vicinity of Ottawa and on the line of the Rideau navigation. That part of the city which lies north of Wellington and Rideau streets was formerly the property of the Ordnance authorities and known as the "Bytown Estate" It consists of the Lots A and B in Concession C, of the Township of Napean, contents about 415 acres, and was purchased in 1829 by the Earl of Dalhousie from Hugh Fraser, Esquire, Prothonotary of Three Rivers, in the name of the King. It has been for the in most part divided and set off in town lots, a considerable portion has been sold and granted in fee simple, other portions have been leased for periods of 30 years, on leases renewable at the option of the holder. The Government of the Dominion holds for the sites of Parliamentary and Departmental Buildings, about 70 acres of land worth, as prices rule in Ottawa at least $8,000 per acre. The rental of the City of Ottawa in 1856 amounted to $8195.06. Many Lots then held on lease, but open to redemption, have been redeemed and the capital passed to the credit of the Militia and, Police Fund. Other lands or lots have since been disposed of so as to keep up and increase the income of the rent roll which for 1869 will equal at least a sum of $11,036.86.
17. On the line of the Rideau navigation a large proportion of the lands disposable have been sold. It may be explained here that these lands consisted in parcels of various dimensions and of irregular shapes, acquired by the Royal Engineers from 1827 to 1832, for the use of the canal or to forclose damages. Theme pieces of land amounted in all to 22,586 acres, of which 11,107 acres are given on the Ordnance Schedule at "left dry" and available. These lands are scattered along the whole length, and on both sides, of a navigation of 126 miles in extent. In process of time, from their situation in connection with the canal and the growing population of the surrounding country, they have all become valuable. All or very nearly all, became occupied, in process of time, partly by recognized tenants "at will," partly by squatters not recognized, but not dispossessed. All these people had lived on in the hope of acquiring the land each had occupied, or, as they term it, improved. At least nine hundred applications were preferred in writing for such pieces of land. From the first it was difficult to understand what was the legal character and force of the engagements or agreements, expressed or implied, existing between these parties and our predecessors, which had been entailed upon us by the 6th Sec. of the Statute 19 Vic., cap. 45; still more difficult was it to understand the conflicting claims and adverse pretensions which, in the course of years had grown up between the parties themselves and their neighbors, perhaps more legitimately established on contiguous lots. One enquiry was found to lead and to be dovetailed into others indispensable for the settlement of questions, often of trivial value, but complicated, and arising in fact, from a general disregard of the morality of lawful occupation; still, the man who held a rood of ground with his shanty and potato patch, had, with the children around him, as deep an interest in it as the neighbouring farmer who sought it as a means of access for his cattle to the water of the Rideau. All these cases, therefore, demanded and received equal and careful examination, and of them a large number have been investigated and disposed of since the confederation of the Provinces. It is satisfactory to know that in the settlement of these cases by this Department, not a single man has been dispossessed of his holding. Squatters have been converted into contented settlers, with equal benefits to public and private interests.
18. In the Province of Quebec the Seigniory of Sorel is the, most extensive of the Ordnance properties. It includes several important islands in the River St. Lawrence and contains 50,000 acres of land and 12,000 inhabitants. The censitaires or tenants paving rents number 3,000. The sum paid by these parties respectively, as rents are small. The whole revenue of the Seigniory amounts to about $2,400. This year, (1868,) the rents