Berens to Lytton
Hudsons Bay, House London,
17th August 1858
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Lord Carnarvon's letter, dated Downing Street, 16th August, stating that it is your intention to submit the name of Mr James Cooper of Vancouver's Island to the Queen for the appointment of Collector of Customs in British Columbia, and begging me previously to communicate all the information I may possess respecting that gentleman.
In reply I have the honour to state that Mr Cooper was appointed First Mate on board one of the Hudson's Bay Companys vessels in August 1844, on account of the good opinion entertained of himManuscript imagehim by the Company, they promoted him to a command in 1846, he remained with them as Captain till May 1850, and at the end of that year went out, at his own request, as Supercargo of a vessel chartered by the Company, for the purpose of settling in Vancouver's Island.
From accounts sent home I find he was indebted at the Company's store, that although he registered a tract of land in the Island, it has not been paid for, and that he returned to this Country in 1857 in pecuniary difficulties, which I have reason to believe have not yet been settled.
I have the honour to be Sir
Your most obedt Servant
H.H. Berens
Depty Govr
The Right Honble Sir Edwd Bulwer Lytton Bart
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
I confess I do not think this statem[en]t on paper is quite so serious as we were given to understand, & further that it is very possible that Mr Cooper may be able to clear himself. I shd say that it is totally out of the question to regard Mr Beren's representation on the subject as Confidential. See his private note to me.
ABd. 17 Augt/58.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Carnarvon to Berens, 16 August 1858, seeking information about Cooper.
* on verbal directions. ABd
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Draft, Carnarvon to Cooper, 16 August 1858, saying that Lytton feels constrained to make enquiries before appointing him Collector of Customs.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Cooper, 18 August 1858, enclosing an extract of the last paragraph of Berens' letter, impugning his integrity.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Berens to Blackwood, Confidential, 17 August 1858
Hudsons Bay House
17 Aug 1858
My dear Sir
I send you herewith my reply to Lord Carnarvon's letter of the 16th Augt which comprises all that I am prepared to prove respecting the pecuniary circumstances Manuscript imageof Mr James Cooper but I must add that his circumstances were well known in the Island. So far as is possible I would request that both my official Communication as well as this letter should be considered confidential.
I remain
Yours very truly
H.H. Berens
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P.S. I perceive by the papers that you are about to send Sappers & Miners to the Diggings viâ Cape Horn. Would it not be worthy of Sir E. Lytton's consideration that they should go via Panama. The voyage round the Horn would be four or five months, viâ Panama about 6 weeks.HHB
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Copy, Blackwood to Berens, 18 August 1858, as follows:
Coll Office
18th. August 1858.
Dr Sir,
I think it would be utterly and totally impossible for the Secretary of State to regard your statement and letter as "Confidential." Indeed I believe that we were all agreed at the interview on Monday that we must base our demand re Mr Cooper for explanation on the communication you should make to us; and we wrote to him in that sense (withholding at the same time the name of our informant) half an hour after you left the office.
Under these circumstances I see no alternative except to communicate to him an extract of your letter, which has been read to him already.
I hope this proceeding will not be distasteful to you; but it seems quite unavoidable as a Man's good name is at stake.
I remain &c
Arthur Blackwood