Peel to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Treasury Chambers
23rd April 1864
I am directed by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to transmit herewith a letter from the Board of Trade and its enclosures being a Petition for the grant of a Supplemental Charter to the Bank of British Columbia, and I am to request that My Lords may be favored with Mr Secretary Cardwell's opinion thereon.
I am to state that under the circumstances set forth My Lords see no objection to the grant of the proposed supplemental Charter and they will be prepared with Mr Cardwell's concurrence to intimate their opinion to that effect to the Board of Trade.Manuscript image Mr Cardwell will observe that the accompanying statement in support of the Petition of the Bank appears to contemplate the extension of its business to Canada and other British Colonies generally in North America. The draft Charter itself, however, would give the Bank the power of establishing branches only in places in North America to the westward of 95o longitude and My Lords understand that the object of the Bank is to obtain power to extend its business into the territories of the Hudson's Bay Co and to San Francisco, California; Their Lordships see no objection to the grant of such power.
I am Sir,
your obedient Servant
F. Peel
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
ABd 25 Apl
TFE 25/4
Mr Elliot
I find some difficulty in expressing an opinion on this subject, being but imperfectly informed on the subject of the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, & conflicting claims of these parties, in the vast territory covered by this Supplement Charter. But as I understand the subject, it stands as follows:
The existing Charter of this Bank (which I have procurred from the Treasury & is annexed), authorises it "to establish Banks of issue & deposit" & "to carry on the general business of banking," within the "Colonies of Vancouver's Island & B. Columbia" & not beyond them. This proposed Supplemental Charter (see top of page 6) extends these banking powers to "any city, town, or place in North America to the westward of 95o W. Longitude, "being within any of our Colonies possessions or settlements," that it is to say it extends them to a large portion of the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company, & to various other territories not yet comprised, I believe, in any Colony, but not to any portion of Canada, (if the map annexed to the Parliamentary Papers of 1850, Ho. of Commons Paper No 542 of 1850, herewith, is tolerably correct).
This extension of power, so far as it applies to the Hudsons Bay Territory is,Manuscript image I apprehend, at variance with the
These privileges are declared valid by the Atty & Sol Genl Jervis & Romilly, PP. 12 July 1850, p. 7—but are declared invalid by Atty & Sol. Genl Bethick & Keating, PP. 224-260 of 31 July and 11 Aug 1857.
exclusive privileges of trade &c conferred by the Charter of Charles 2nd. This Charter (see House of Commons' Paper No 547 of 1842 herewith) contains an injunction to British Subjects that none of them directly or indirectly do visit, haunt, frequent or trade traffic or adventure by way of merchandize into or from any of the said territories &c &c other than the said Governor & Company &c &c unless it be by the license & agreement of the said Governor & Company in writing first had & obtained under their common seal & the Crown undertakes in the same Charter that we our heirs & successors will not grant liberty, license or power to any person, or persons whatever, contrary to the tenor of these letters patent to trade traffic or inhabit into or upon any of the territories &c &c without the consent of the said Governor and Company or the most part of them.
Manuscript image
As regards the other territories—I am aware of no objection to the powers being extended to them, but it might be
I do not like a new requirement. I wd be satisfied with the old one, viz—that their operation shd be subject to Local Law.
advisable to require the consent of the Governor, or chief authority of the Colony—if any, as regards places beyond the Hudson's Bay Territories; (in case future Colonial Governments may be created).
If I am right in the above; the Treasury might be informed (as there appears no question of the propriety of the other provisions of the Supplementary Charter) that Mr Cardwell is prepared to concur in the Draft, if amended by the insertion of clauses at page 6, to make the operations of the Bank in the new territory subject to its obtaining the consent in writing of the Governor or chief authority of any Colony, within which such city, town or place may be situated, and subject also to its obtaining any consentManuscript image or license required by the rights and privileges of the Hudson's Bay Company.
I presume Sir F. Rogers, who is familiar with the question of rights in these territories, should be asked to say whether I am right or wrong in the above view.
WS May 5
Sir F. Rogers
This requires your inspection. I confess that at first sight this Banking Company appears to be rather stealing a march. I can hardly think that the Govt is called upon to give Banking powers over districts in which there exists no Colony or settled form of Government, and it's doing so might lead to inconveniences which cannot be foreseen. As to San Francisco, California, I do not properly understand how the British Govt is to be concerned in conferring powers of trading and banking in a foreign Country.
TFE 6 May
CF 10
Manuscript image
Mr Fortescue
I approach the question from rather a different point of view from Mr Elliot. I should be disposed to assume that the existence of a Bank in a new country was prima facie an advantage—and that if the Bank of B.C. was prepared to extend their operations to the center of N America (under what the Try consider proper precautions) it was true wisdom to meet them halfway. It seems to me (prima facie) that the extension of their business is a natural consequence of success, wh success is (prima facie) evidence that their operations are of public benefit.
I should be disposed to ansr that Mr C saw no reason for objecting to the proposed Charter but 1. that it shd be clearly laid down that their banking privileges in any present or future British Colony within the extended limits (as e.g. in Red River) included in the Supplemental Charter shd be subject to Colonial Legislation as provided in page 5 of the original Charter, and
2. after referring to the clauses in the H.B.C. Charter quoted by Mr Strachey—thatManuscript image without pronouncing on the validity of these provisions which validity had been admitted and denied by successive Law Officers of the Crown, it would be undesirable to assume the power of granting to the British Columbia Bank any powers which would involve Her Majesty's Government in the Charge, even though unfounded, of infringing the privileges already granted to the Hudson's Bay Company.
That it might therefore be advisable either to require the Bank to produce the written consent of the Governor and Company to the establishment of a Bank within the Hudsons Bay Territory, or to provide thatManuscript image the privileges granted to them are subject to the necessity of obtaining that consent.
The boundary of the 95th meridian would include a trifling corner of country which it might hereafter be convenient to include in Canada—but the tract is so small and the chance so problematical that it is scarcely worth considering.
FR 11/5
CF 13
Would not the reference to Local Laws [cure?] this? Practically no doubt it wd—but I am not quite sure how far it has been the practice of the Home Govt to grant Banking privileges exercisable in Canada, even subject to Local Laws?
FR 21/5/64
WS May 23
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Copy, James Booth, Board of Trade, to Secretary to the Treasury, 16 April 1864, transmitting petition for the granting of a Supplemental Charter to the Bank of British Columbia.
Manuscript image
Copy, Petition by the Bank of British Columbia, as noted above, 31 May 1862.
Manuscript image
Copy, Statement of the Bank of British Columbia in support of their application for a Supplemental Charter.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Colonial Office to Hamilton, 27 May 1864, discussing the ramifications of the proposed supplemental charter.