3885 Vancouvers Island

Copy only
February 3. 1851.
My Lord,
Nothing of any importance has occurred since I had last the honor of addressing your Lordship;
As two years have expired since Vancouvers Island was granted to the Hudson's bay company, and the conditions of that grant bind them to deliver a report of the state and progress of the colony at the end of such
2[…] to Gov. No 2 […] 19 Sept/51
period, I beg that your Lordship will allow
Copy to Sir J. Pelly. 15 May/51.
me a copy of such report, that I may compare it with my own remarks.
The only real sale of land that has taken place so far as I am informed, is one of one hundredManuscript image hundred acres of land to a Captain Grant at Soke harbour. Mr Grant left the island some months ago, leaving a labourer in charge of his farm. Nothing has been heard of him since, and as his affairs here are in a most hopeless state, I do not think he will return. More than a year ago he executed an assignment of his title to the Hudson's Bay Company. A Mr Todd, (still a servant of the Hudson's Bay company's) has ploughed up a few acres near Fort Victoria, under a verbal arrangement with the company's agent Mr Douglas, that he should be allowed to purchase one hundred acres, to be furnished with a title, finding that he cannot obtain the said title; nor even a written promise to furnish it, he is becoming alarmed has discontinued the house he was beginning to build, and talks of leaving the colony.
With the exception of a Canadian who has squatted near Rocky point, there is not another cultivatorManuscript image cultivator on the Island.
I have written to Sir John Pelly, the governor of the Hudson's bay company, requesting some information respecting a large tract of land called the Hudson's bay company's, and Puget Sound company's Reserve, but no notice of my letter has been taken yet. Their Agent here professes ignorance of every arrangement, but has admitted that they do not intend to pay for it; This tract contains I am informed nearly thirty square miles of the best part of the Island, and they are already attempting to sell small lots to their own servants at greatly advanced rates.
I consider this as an extremely unfair proceeding. The terms of the grant of the Island expressly state that "All lands shall be sold except such as are reserved for public purposes," and in consideration of the trouble and expense this may incur the Hudsons bay Company are allowedManuscript image the very handsome remuneration of ten per cent on all sales they may effect, and on all Royalties, not satisfied with this they are grasping at the whole price of the land, by monopolizing this vast district making it a free gift to themselves, and then selling it for their own profit, as they are attempting to do; in proof of this I may mention that, an Englishman of the name of Chancellor arrived here from California a few weeks ago, with the intention of settling. The Agent offered to sell him land on the "company's reserve," which he declined as he preferred another part of the Island but found so many difficulties thrown in the way that he at last pronounced the purchase impracticable, and is leaving the colony in disgust; He told me that he was the forerunner of a party of several British subjects at present in California who were merely waiting for his report to decideManuscript image
No. I
2 decide whether they would settle in California or the United States.
I have the honor to be
Your Lordships
Most Obedient Servant
Richard Blanshard
Governor of Vancouver Island
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
We have received Extracts from time to time from Letters written by Mr Douglas & others but no general Report on the progress of the Colony from the Hudson's Bay Compy.
8 May. VJ
The Grant says the report should be "once in every two years at the least," without saying from what date.
The date of the grant is Jany 1849: but it could hardly have been intended that the time should begin to run before the first st attempt at colonization began. But I think the Company should now be called on to make the Report? & this letter sent Sir J. Pelly.
HM May 9.
G. 9
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Colonial Office to Pelly, 15 May 1851, forwarding copy of the despatch and requesting a report be submitted in accordance with the terms of the grant.
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Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 2, 19 September 1851.
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Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 1, 19 May 1851.
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Draft, Colonial Office to The Lord President, 5 May 1851, submitting drafts of a commission and instructions appointing Douglas governor of Vancouver Island for approval to Her Majesty in Council.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Admiralty, 16 May 1851, that advises of the appointment of Douglas as governor of Vancouver Island and its dependencies, and asks that he be commissioned as Vice-Admiral of the region.
  1. This addressee information appears at the foot of the first page of the despatch.
  2. This text runs perpendicular to main body text; see image scan.
  3. This text runs perpendicular to main body text; see image scan.
People in this document

Blanshard, Richard

Chancellor, Elisha

Douglas, James

Grant, Walter Colquhoun

Grey, Henry George

Jadis, Vane

Merivale, Herman

Pelly, John Henry

Tod, John

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty

Puget Sound Agricultural Company

Places in this document

Rocky Point


Vancouver Island