Minute by Blackwood, 18 May 1854
 
Minutes by CO staff
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Questn Monday 12 May 
The Duke of Newcastle
VanCouver's Island was granted to the Hudson's Bay Co on the 13 Jany 1849. The grant was made for the declared purpose of promoting the colonization of the Island; & accordingly it is provided in the Letters Patent conveying the grant that all monies realized by the Company for the sale of Land or of Coal or other Minerals should, after a deduction of 1/10th by way of profit to the Company, be applied towards the colonization & improvement of the Island. What the Co have done in the way of Colonization down to Novr 1852 the annexed P.P. (83) will exhibit to Your Grace without the necessity of repetition. Since that date a certain number of miners have been sent out to the Colony, who are now employed in developing its mineral resources.

1;2.
 
Provision was made in the Grant that if the Co should not within 5 years from the date of the grant have established on the Island a settlement of resident Colonists, emigrants from the United Kingdom or other British Dominions, the Crown shd be at liberty to revoke the grant [marginal note: See P.P. 103, P. 16]. But it was also declared that this failure on the part of the Company must be ascertained by a person appointed for the purpose by the Crown, and "certified". As the company have not been formally charged with neglecting this requirement, & no person has yet been appointed to enquire into the condition of the Colony the inference is that they have not brought themselves within the terms and penalty specified in the grant. It is however certain that the five years expired on the 13 Jany last, & that the Crown had then the power, if it chose to exercise it, of instituting an enquiry into the state of the Island to ascertain if all the conditions of the Grant had been fulfilled.

1;3.
 
Land is sold in VanCouver's Island at £1 per acre under regulations of the Company which the Govt have not the power of interfering with. Those regulations require that purchasers of Lands should introduce settlers. Lately the Company have agreed to relax their rules on this subject and not to require purchasers of so small a quantity of Land as 100 acres to introduce Laborers. In answer to the comparison instituted by persons opposed to the Hudson's Bay Co between the system of disposing of Land in V.C. Island & the adjoining possessions of the United States it is maintained that the effect of free grants is to enhance the value of labor—that in Oregon, where free grants are made, great complaints exist as to the high price of Labor, and that the public is better off in that respect in the British than in the United States' settlement.  
With reference to the charges of monopoly it is proper to observe that the Co do not really exercise any monopoly whatever within the limits of the Colony or it's dependencies, Every branch of business being unreservedly free & open to all parties who may choose to embark therein. It is true that the H.B. Co do nearly all the business, but that arises from their having superior goods for sale, & their selling them at lower prices than other Importers of English Merchandize, & not from any exclusive privilege or protection enjoyed by their Agents in the Colony. Though the Company always affirm that trade in the Island is practically free Your Grace is well aware that they have the exclusive right of trading with the Indians in furs; but that the Crown has power to revoke that right whenever any portion of the Territories over which the license to trade extends becomes Settled. See last clause but one of the license of 1838—P.P. 547, P 11.

Council
 
It has been alleged that the Council (which consists of 4 persons) is composed almost exclusively of the Servants of the H.B.C. This is, no doubt, true: but the reason is that the present population of the settlement is not possessed of sufficient education to enable the Governor to make selections out of any other class. However one Member, a Mr Cooper, does not belong to the Company's service.

Establishment
 
The Establishment consists of the Governor
4 Members of Council
4 Magistrates
1 Surveyor
A Collector of Customs
A Clergyman (though there is no Church yet built, one is in Contemplation)
and a Schoolmaster

 
The last grant to the Hudson's Bay Company of the Exclusive trade with the Indians in B.N.A. was made on the 30 of May 1838 for a period of 21 years. The license consequently expires on the 30th May, 1859, when the Govt may repurchase the land on repayment of the sums expended by the Company & the value of their Establishments.  
ABd
18 May/54
 
Public Offices document:
Blackwood to Newcastle, 18 May 1854, National Archives of the UK, CO 305/5. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=V545MI01.scx. Accessed 24 September 2018. 

Last modified: 14:09:07, 16/2/2015