851 North America

In Crowder & Maynard 15 April

20th May 1848

This is the draft grant1 of Vancouver's Island to the Hudson's Bay Company. I have not suggested any alteration of importance, except striking out the Grant of jurisdiction, which is done in red-ink. Perhaps this is to be regretted, but on looking into the Statutes it appeared to me that it wd require an Act of Parliament to effect this object. Without going into details, the Chief obstacle is the Act 1st & 2nd Geo: IV c: 66, which establishes Courts of Judicature &c for North West America, and saves the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company only in their Charter Territory. I pointed out this to Mr Maynard, the Solicitor of the Company, and the result is the letter "No 979 North America", which I forwardManuscript image herewith, in which he says, that the authorities at Hudson's Bay House prefer relying on Government to appoint some of their own people to the necessary offices.
The result will be that The Hudson's Bay Company will legally possess
1. In Rupert's Land, i.e. the territory East of the Rocky Mountains — Proprietorship of Soil, Jurisdiction and Exclusive Trade, under the original grant of Charles II as usually understood.
2. In the North West territory, between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific, — exclusive trade only, without land or jurisdiction : under the License of 1838 : which will expire in 1859.
3. In Vancouver's Island, the Land under this grant, the exclusive trade under the License of 1838, but no jurisdiction.
It is to be observed, that the GrantManuscript image is simple and without any conditions like the original grant of Charles II. This, therefore, requires to be considered. If it is intended to impose either any terms in respect of Colonizing, or any Royalty on Coal or other Mines, this, I apprehend, must be done in the grant. But I do not suggest this: on the first point I collected Lord Grey's opinions rather to be, that the Company should be left unfettered: on the second, inasmuch as the Company must apply to Government to have any Civil Government established, it may be enough to wait until the necessity arises to impose on them terms for maintaining it?
HM May 20
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
May 20
Should this proceed pending the Enquiry referred to Lord Elgin?
And considering that many parties are now turning their attention to the Colonization of Vancouvers Island is it consistent with imperialManuscript image policy to grant the Cy exclusive rights of trading. The License of 1838 I imagine did not include Vancouvers Island?
The Island contains Coal, & a great deal of good Land. Are the whole proceeds of the Land Coal &c to become exclusively the Companys — with no equivalent conditions as improvts — price of Land — in the encouragt of Settlers? The interests of the Cy may be adverse to the establishment of free settlements & good municipal Govt. — This Island seems peculiarly the place considering its proximity to the U States to establish a Colony with a good Charter? Would the Company cooperate?
I do not think the enquiry into the Company's administratn of Rupert's Land has anything to do with the questn of making them this grant. — The early colonizatn of Vancouver's island is an object of some importance to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Americans, but as Parlt certainly would not & ought not to make a grant for the expenses of such an undertakg it can only be attempted by a company, nor is there the slightest probability but this cd be formed for the purpose. But though I am not indisposed to make the grant I am of opinn that it shd contain a recital that its object is to promote the colonizatn of Vancouver's island, & that in consequence consideratn of this grant the Co undertakes to form a settlement upon it & to defray the whole expense of any civil & military establishments which may consequently be required there. — There shd also I think be a conditn that the grant shd become void unless settlements shd be formed within a definite time. The proposed grant as I understand is to give no new rights of exclusive trade. It wd therefore be convenient to avoid […] any reference to their exertg rights of this descriptn wh. is not absolutely necessary. These rights are highly unpopular — some of those claimed by the Company are I believe disputed, hence any words introduced into the grant wh wd imply a fresh recognitn of such rights wd be highly objectionable. — It wd likewise be desirable to have some general explanatn from the Company as to the manner in which they propose to avail themselves of the property to be conferred upon them. — If they really wish to colonize I shd wish to afford them all the encouragement & assistance I can. — Perhaps Mr Merivale had better see either their Solicitor or Sir J. Pelly.
G 22/
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
This enclosure is a copy of Crowder and Maynard's "Grant of Territory in North America," from "Her Majesty Queen Victoria" to "The Governer & Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudsons Bay." It contains extensive revisions and notation. Of note is that this enclosure appears to be out of sequence in the Colonial Volumes, as it follows letter 979, but is marked as 851. See the image scan for more detail.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
This Paper reached the Dept. without any covering letter. The last correspondence with Sir Jno. Pelly on the subject is annexed.
VJ. 29 April 48
It was left with me by Mr Maynard Solr to the Co.
Manuscript image
2[…] but nevertheless upon condition that the sd Governor & Co shall form such settlement or settlements as hereafter mentioned for the purpose of colonizing the sd Island Provided that if the sd Govr & Co shall not within           years from the Grant hereafter contained have established such settlemt or settlemts than this present Grant to be void otherwise to be of full force & effect.
  1. See Crowder and Maynard's non-transcribed enclosure below.
  2. This transcription of what is presumed to be Merivale's minute entry is taken from the overleaf of page 5 of the draft-grant enclosure. It was, apparently, not photographed or added to the microfilm images; however, it was transcribed from the original by Dr. Hendrickson. The text in question appears at the bottom of the page. It is faint, inverted, and in reverse.
People in this document


Grey, Henry George

Hawes, Benjamin

Jadis, Vane

Maynard, Joseph

Merivale, Herman

Pelly, John Henry

Victoria, Alexandrina

Organizations in this document

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

Rupert's Land

The Rocky Mountains

Vancouver Island