491 North America

Printed for Parlt
10 Aug/48/PP 619
Hudsons Bay House
March 4th 1848
My Lord
No 9
1No 7
I have to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from Mr Hawes dated Febry 25th, acquainting me that he is desired to remind me of my letter of March 5th 1847, in which I submitted for Your Lordships consideration an application, on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company, for a grant of all the Territories belonging to the Crown which are situated to the North and West of Ruperts Land.
Mr Hawes also states that in an interview which I had with Your Lordship subsequently to that application I was informed that the proposal I had made was too extensive for Her Majesty's Government to entertain.
In the interview to which allusion is made, Your Lordship did not appear to me to express yourself so decidedly as to lead me to believe that Her Majestys Government had made up their minds on the subject, and therefore I did not consider what then fell from Your Lordship as an answer to my official letter of the 5th March. I regret this misapprehension, and shall now proceed to the consideration of that part of Mr Hawes' letter now before me, in which he says that he is directed by your Lordship to state that, if I am prepared to submit another scheme which shall be more limited and definite in its object, and yet embrace a plan for the colonization and government of Vancouver's Island, Her Majesty's Government will be ready to give their attentive and immediateManuscript image consideration to such proposal.
As far as the Hudsons Bay Company are concerned, all that they would require would be the very limited grant of lands which I had in view in my letter to Your Lordship of the 7th September 1846. To such a grant Mr Hawes informed me, in his letter of 14th December 1846, Your Lordship was prepared to assent on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, provided Her Majesty's Attorney and Solicitor General should be of opinion that the acceptance of it by the Company would be consistent with their Charter.
The opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor General in the affirmative was forwarded to you on the 22d January 1847, and on the 2d February I received a letter from Mr Hawes stating that Your Lordship was then "ready to receive and consider the Draft of such a Grant as the Company would desire to receive of lands belonging to the British Crown in the Oregon Territory".
In my reply to that communication, dated March 5, and with reference to what from some casual conversations with Your Lordship I had conceived was your opinion, I proposed a grant which might appear extensive, but I did this not with the view of obtaining for the Hudsons Bay Company any advantage, for, as I have already said, they as a Company require no more for the purpose of carrying on their trade than was asked in my letter of the 7th September 1846, and assented to by Your Lordship.
When I understood that you were desirous that a part or the whole of the country recently confirmed to Great Britain should be colonized, I was induced to propose that the whole should beManuscript image included in a grant to the Hudsons Bay Company, because I was persuaded that the colonization would be much more Successfully conducted under the auspices of the Company, than it could be in any other manner, as I foresaw serious difficulties should different parts of the territory be colonized under different authorities.
As to the territory lying eastward of the Rocky Mountains and between the Arctic Sea and the Company's territories, (from which it is separated by no defined or definable boundary) though its addition to the grant gives the latter a formidable appearance in point of extent, it is little better than a barren waste. It is besides inaccessible except through the Company's territories or by crossing the Rocky Mountains from the Westward.
My object in proposing this tract of country to form a part of the grant was that its annexation to Ruperts Land, held of the Crown as of the Manor of East Greenwich in free and common Soccage and not in Capite or Knights Service, would place the whole territory north of 49 the American boundary line under under one governing power, and thereby simplify any arrangements respecting any part or parcel of the same; but if Your Lordship should be still of opinion that the grant is too extensive, the Hudsons Bay Company are willing that it should be limited to the territory north of 49, bounded on the East by the Rocky Mountains, or even to Vancouver's Island alone. In fact the Company are ready and willing to give every assistance in their power to promote colonization, and in any way in which Your Lordship may be of opinion that their services can be made available towards that important object.
Manuscript image
On that part of Mr Hawes's letter in which it is assumed that the value of the coal on Vancouvers Island will form a material consideration on the part of the Hudsons Bay Company in any negociation that may take place on this subject, I have only to observe that the Company expect no pecuniary advantage from colonizing the Territory in question. All monies received for land or minerals would be applied to purposes connected with the improvement of the country and therefore, if the grant is to be clogged with any payment to the Mother Country, the Company would be under the necessity of declining it.
I have the honor to be
My Lord
Your Lordship's most obedt
humble Servt
J H Pelly

The Right Honble the Earl Grey
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale. This is the ansr to Mr Hawes' Letter of the 25th of Feby which you will find with 475 N. A _ .
The Hudsons Bay Company appear ready 2ABd 7/3/48 to accept any grant that the Crown may be advised to issue to them; and as less extensive demands have been insisted on from them they now state their willingness that the grant should be limited to the Territory north of 49°, bounded on the E. by the Rocky Mountains, or even to VanCouver's Island alone. They wd decline however any grant if it were to be accompanied by a pecuniary demand on the Co for the Coal at Van Couver's Island.
ABd 7/3/48.
Lord Grey /
Perhaps this may stand over for Mr Hawes's return, as he has a good deal considered this subject?
HM. March 7.
Time is rather an object therefore answer to the effect that I think it will be advisable in the 1st instance to confine the grant to Vancouver's Island, […] I shall be happy consider a proposal to that effect proceeding on the principle suggested by the Co. that they are not to derive any pecuniary profit from the undertaking but to apply all money received for land or minerals towards colonizg the island.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Colonial Office to Sir D. LeMarchant, Commissioner for Trades and Plantations, 8 September 1848, forwarding copy of "an address to Sir J. Pelly on the subject of the proposed grant of Van Couver's Island to the Hudson's Bay Company."
Minutes by CO staff
I presume it was intended that this letter to Sir J. Pelly should be so communicated?
  1. This is likely notation. Author unknown.
  2. The following text is unclear. It is likely that Blackwood made an addition to his original minute, and overwrote his previous closer.
  3. Signature does not show in the image scan. Likely, it is G.
People in this document

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Dundas, David

Grey, George

Grey, Henry George

Hawes, Benjamin

Jervis, John

LeMarchant, D.

Merivale, Herman

Pelly, John Henry

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

Oregon Territory, or Columbia District

Rupert's Land

The Rocky Mountains

Vancouver Island