5122 Vancouver's Island

Hudsons Bay House
June 12th 1851
My Lord,
I have to acknowledge the receipt of Mr Under Secretary Hawes's letter of the 4th Inst transmitting to me for any observations which the Hudsons Bay Company may have to offer, extracts from a Dispatch from the Governor of Vancouvers' Island on the subject of the goods paid to the Indians to extinguish their titles to land.
Ansd 26 June/51.
In reply to which I beg to state to your Lordship that, as Mr Blanshard has resigned the Office of Governor of Vancouver's Island, the Hudsons Bay Company do not consider it necessary to make any remarks on the Extracts referred to, nor indeed do they think it fully within the province of the GovernorManuscript imageGovernor to inquire into the transactions between the Company and the Natives with respect to the extinction of the Titles of the latter to their lands.
I have the honour to be
My Lord
Your Lordships most obedt
humble Servant JH Pelly
1The Rt Honble
The Earl Grey
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
13 June ABd
Mr Hawes
It seems to me that, whatever the object may have been, the grant of Vanc. Island does not contemplate, nor was apparently intended to contemplate, a continued cognisance by Government of the accounts of the H.B.C. in respect of the conduct of the settlement. After 5 years, Government may dispatch a Commissioner to enquire & certify as to theManuscript image fulfilment of the conditions of the grant respecting the sale of land. Purchase from the natives seems to be uncontrolled.
But it is also quite true, as the Govr states, that the option is given to Government of repurchasing the island in 1859 paying the sums "theretofore laid out & expended by" the Company. If therefore the Governor's agent applied to Govr Blanshard to vouch an account of the sums expended by them, it is obvious that if he had done so without enquiry or protest, this would have been taken as an admission by Government that such sums had been really expended by the Company, though in fact Government knew nothing about the matter: & this assumption would have been all but conclusive in 1859.
Govr Blanshard therefore seems to have been quite right, & I do not understand the tone adopted by the Co. in the present letter.
I think this should be pointed out to the Company officially, though without entering into any unnecessary controversy, asking at the same time for the account in question. I think this desp: also points out a difficulty, / whichManuscript image I am sorry did not occur to me earlier, as to the appointment of a Governor who is a servant of the Company. It is plain that his vouchers of sums expended by the Company cannot be taken by Government as authentic & binding.
HM June 16.
J 17 It is all the more necessary to come now to a clear understanding & a strict one. We are now apparently in the hands of the H.B.C. entirely
Write as suggested by Mr Merivale.
G. 18
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Colonial Office to Pelly, 26 June 1851, indicating Blanshard had acted properly in checking the HBC's account because of his need to authenticate it with his signature.
  1. This addressee information appears at the foot of the first page of the despatch.
People in this document

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Blanshard, Richard

Grey, George

Grey, Henry George

Hawes, Benjamin

Merivale, Herman

Pelly, John Henry

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

Vancouver Island