No. 145
16th November 1870
My Lord,
I have had the honor to receive Your Lordship's Despatch No 14 of the 1st September, with a copy of a further Letter received by your Department from Mr Nias, and expressing a desire to be informed whether Mr Nias has any ground for claiming a title to the land in question.
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2. I am advised by the Crown Law Officers that Mr Nias has not; and this is the point at issue between the Government and other parties as well as Mr Nias, who are in the same position. I enclose a Memorandum prepared by the Colonial Secretary which will I think afford Your Lordship the necessary information as to the circumstances of the case. There is not any desire to withhold from Mr Nias what he may be legally entitled to, but any concession to him of more than he canlegallyManuscript image legally establish would immediately be made a precedent in other instances.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
A. Musgrave
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Herbert
This appears to me a satisfactory explanation as regards the proceedings of the local Govt in Mr Nias' case—who I incline to think thought, with others, that he was doing a clever thing.
Mr Nias should have a copy of this Memo by the Colonial Secy, & be told that the Secy of State cannot interfere any further? This might beManuscript image done in ackng q[uery] recd from Mr Nias yesterday.
CC 3 Jan 71
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Sir F. Rogers
I agree.
RGWH Jan 3/71
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At once. I would not I think inform Mr Nias that the Govt were afraid of going to a jury (vide p. 5) but would merely say that the S. of State having enquired into the matter found that the Govt disputed Mr Nias' title—that the right in a case similar to his own (that of Dr Trimble) was under arbitration and that his case willManuscript image be dealt with by Govt when a decision on that arbitration is obtained.
& that in any case the matter appears to be one to be settled by a Court of Law & not by the Secretary of State.
FR 4/1
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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P.J. Hankin, Colonial Secretary, memorandum outlining the nature of the dispute with Nias and others, with specific reference to a case involving Dr. Trimble presently before the Supreme Court which "will be a guide to the Government in their dealings with Mr Nias."
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Vancouver Island Proclamation, signed by James Douglas, no date, detailing the method by which settlers may obtain land in the colony.
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Hankin to Nias, 11 June 1870, advising his memorial would be answered as soon as the dispute with Dr. Trimble was concluded.
Other documents included in the file
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Herbert to Y.E. Nias, 17 January 1871, acknowledging his letter of 7 November 1870 and advising that the dispute should be settled in a court of law and not by the Secretary of State.