Hudsons Bay House
February 4th 1852
My Lord,
I have had the honour of receiving Mr Peels letter dated the 2nd Instant, in which it is stated that your Lordship would be glad of some further explanation as to the distinction between the lands which the Hudson's Bay Company possessed before the "Boundary Treaty" and others, and also as to the meaning of the expression "lands which the Fur Trade of the Hudson's Bay Company propose to take."
In compliance with Your Lordship's wishes I hasten to afford you the required explanation.
During the period that elapsed between the original connection of the Hudson's Bay Company with the Country west of the Rocky Mountains and the division of the Territory by the Boundary Treaty of June 1846, while inManuscript imagein fact the sovereignty was in abeyance, the Company reclaimed from the Wilderness and occupied portions of land wherever their trading Establishments were planted. These lands they claim as theirs without purchase and the possessory rights thus acquired in that portion of the Territory which is situated to the south of the 49th parallel of North Latitude have been guaranteed to them by the Boundary Treaty. Among the lands occupied by the Company North of the 49th parallel is that situated at Fort Victoria in Vancouver's Island where they formed an Establishment in the year 1843 and this is the land alluded to in the 4th Paragraph of my letter of the 14th December. Its exact extent has not yet been ascertained by the Company's Surveyor, but whatever that may be the Company consider they have a right to hold that land without paying for it, while for any additional quantity that may be required to be taken by the "Fur Trade" (which is merely a subordinate branch of the Hudson's Bay Company) the same price will beManuscript imagebe paid as is paid by other purchasers of land.
With regard to the levying of Import Duties, of the legality of which Your Lordship still entertains doubts I need only say that it rests entirely with Your Lordship to instruct the Governor of the Island as to the extent and mode in which he is to exercise the powers conferred upon him.
I have the honour to be
My Lord
Your Lordship's mo. obedt humble Servant
J.H. Pelly

The Right Honble The Earl Grey
Minutes by CO staff
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VJ 6 Feby/52
Mr Peel
This is the explanation of a passage in Sir J. Pelly's letter asked for by Lord Grey. Of course it could not be intended that land actually occupied by the HBC in Vanc. Id at the date of their agreement with Government should be charged for & paid for like other land. The only question that can arise will be as to the amount of such land.
HM Feb 6
FP 6
In answer say that I am not disposed to questn the right of the Co to land actually occupied by them previously to the arrangement for constitutg Vancouvers Island a colony, but that I shd wish to be furnished as soon as possible with a statement of the extent, & a descriptn of the land so claimed by the Company, & I have to add that I understand the claim to be strictly confined to land actually occupied & made use of. A despatch shd be written to the Govr transmittg copies of the correspondence, & directg him to furnish me with any informatn in his power on the subject.
G. 7/
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Pelly, 13 February 1852, requesting further information regarding the extent of the land claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company on Vancouver Island.
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Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 5, 11 February 1852.