[Draft, Proposed Charter of Vancouver Island.]1
Minutes by CO staff
1282 Vancouver's Island

2(Draft of proposed Charter)

Registered 27 June 1848 _ 1282)
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Mr Hawes
I forward once more the grant of Vancouver's Island. What I now propose (since consulting with Sir J. Stephen on the subject) is, to omit all notice whatever of the grant of Rupert's Land and to make no grant to the Company of anything beyond the land of the Island. The reason is that the power of the Crown in these days to make a grant like Charles 2nd'sManuscript image and to transfer to the Company the right of governing British subjects is to say the least very questionable. I should therefore suggest (if the Company accept these terms) that a simple Commission & Instructions should be issued as nearly contemporaneous with the grant as may be to any governor whom the Company may chose to appoint with the Crown's sanction, empoweringManuscript image him to govern & make laws with the advice of an assembly of inhabitants. This Sir J. Stephen considers perfectly legal. But this Governor must be responsible, not to the Company but to the Secy of State. Nothing short of an Act of Parlt can make this otherwise.
The clause which I have marked No 1. seems to me very insufficient as a legal instrument to bind the Company,Manuscript image but I do not see how this would be practicable where the subject is of so very general and loose a nature, & probably the object will be attained by making it publicly a part of the grant.
The clause I have marked No 2. is also a novelty: I have not been able to find any precedent.
HM June 21
If now approved I shall so inform the Company & the draft grant if they consent to these terms will then compose them in an official shape.
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Vancouver Island
___

Ld Grey.
As the change proposed merely takes the Govt out of the hands of the Cy & places it in a Govr & […] assembly, I so far go with it. But why the Cy shd appoint a Govr who is to be responsible to the Secy of State I own I do not see. I expectManuscript image however that the Cy will assent — unless the fear of an assembly operates upon them as it may.
But as they appoint the first Govr — they can make the first assembly — & for a time they may attainManuscript image all they want.
I own I wish, through the offer of a good charter, we could have attracted, or endeavor to attract, an independt body of Settlers — which is I think still in our power.
But the Company I do not expect will enter into large or liberalManuscript image views of Colonization. They desire naturally enough to keep what they have quietly & get the Coal on V.C. Island. I hear they are offering to sell their property south of the Boundary to the U. States.
3 It shd be remembered that the charges against the Companys Govt in their Territory are only being investigated — what if the report be adverse to them.
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1252.


As the power of the Govr wd be restrained by an Assly representg the inhabitants I can see no danger in allowg the Compy to select him & as there is no probability of the capital required to begin beingManuscript image raised unless by the Co's assistance I see no objectn to their choosing him — before anything further is done it is however necessary to ascertain whether this form of Govt wd be accepted by the Company — I greatly doubt it. —
G. 24/
Footnotes
  1. This document is missing from the Colonial Office volume.
  2. The draft referenced in the following minute entry is presumed missing from the Colonial Office volume.
  3. This entry is unsigned, but it appears to be in Hawes' hand. Likely, it was added shorty after the minute above.
People in this document

Grey, Henry George

Hawes, Benjamin

Merivale, Herman

Stephen, James

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

Rupert's Land

Vancouver Island

[Sender not known.] to [Recipient not known.] 1848, CO 305:1, no. 1282, 195. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/V485HB07.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)