Hammond to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
June 13 1855
With reference to your Letter of the 9th Instant respecting the regret felt by the inhabitants of Vancouver's Island at not being included in the late Reciprocity Treaty with the United States, I am directed by the Earl of Clarendon to request that you will call Lord John Russell's attention to the circumstances which led to no mentionbeingManuscript image being made of Vancouver's Island in the Treaty.
The Treaty relates not only to reciprocal commerce, but to reciprocal rights of Fishery; and as the British Fisheries in the Pacific could not be comprehended in the Treaty, consistently with the Charter of the Hudson's Bay Company, no provision could be made for the interests of the inhabitants of Vancouver's Island in regard to the other point towhichManuscript image which the Treaty applied.
Lord Clarendon is however prepared to instruct Her Majesty's Minister at Washington to ascertain whether the Government of the United States would consent to the Treaty being extended so as to embrace Vancouver's Island, but His Lordship would wish in the first instance to be informed in what manner and to what extent the special privilegesofManuscript image of the Hudson's Bay Company under Charter would admit of any Treaty stipulations being made in favor of Vancouver's Island.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble Servant
E. Hammond
H. Merivale Esqre
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
We must, I presume, either construe the Charter ourselves for the Foreign Office or request the Hudson's Bay Company to furnish us with a legal opinion as to how, under the Charter, Treaty stipulations could be made in favor of VanCouver's Island with the United States.
If the British Govt resumes the Territory, which question is under considn, theManuscript image contraction of a Treaty to include it in the Reciprocity arrangement would be much facilitated.
ABd 15 June
There is some mistake here which I cannot explain. Mr Peel in
his minute on 6353 says that "the rights of the HBC stood in the way of our making concessions in respect of the fisheries, &c" but I am quite unaware on what authority Mr Peel says so, or when the question was considered. I cannot see what there is in the rights of the H.B.C. to interfere with the extension of the Reciprocity Treaty to Vancr Id. Their "charter" referred to in this letter does no doubt give them "the fishing of all sorts of fish, whales, sturgeons, & all other royal fishes in the seas" but that is in Hudson's Bay, not theManuscript image Pacific. Their "license" of 1837 [1838], which is their authority for exclusive trade in the Pacific Coast regions, says nothing about fisheries. Their grant of Vancouver's Island not only omits fisheries, but these were specially & deliberately omitted, see Report of P.C. of October/48. I conclude that something passed privately of which I have not been informed. Perhaps I had better talk to Mr Hammond about this before taking any other step?
HM June 15
Probably a personal interview between Mr Merivale & Mr Hammond
might clear up the difficulty.
JB 9 Jy
Yes, but Mr Merivale should also see the Governor of the
Hudsons Bay Company as to their construction of their own privileges.
JR 10
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Mr Ball
Mr Hammond has made it clear to me that the mistake arose from an oversight of the Board of Trade in quoting the grant of Vancr Id which oversight passed unnoticed by us. See papers annexed.
F.O. 700/54, F.O. 11373/54 N Amca.
I think it will be almost necessary to write to the Bd of Trade about it? and annex draft accordingly.
HM Augt 8
I suppose that the reply when received shd go [to] the Foreign
Office with a strong recommendation of the extension of the reciprocity Treaty.
Yes. I think so.
WM A 9
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Draft, Colonial Office to James Booth, Board of Trade, 10 August 1855, explaining the position of the fisheries with regard to the Hudson's Bay Company's grant, and asking that steps be taken to extend the reciprocity treaty to include Vancouver Island.
10th August 1855
On the 23rd November 1853 this Department received from the Foreign Office copy of a letter from yourself (on the subject of a counter proposition of Mr Marcy respecting the Reciprocity Treaty then pending between the United States and this country) in which the following passage occurs My Lords see great difficulty in acceding to theManuscript image proposal of Mr Marcy to include the coast of the Pacific as well as that of the Atlantic in any arrangement for mutual admission to the Fisheries of both, the Crown having already by Royal Charter conveyed to the Hudson's Bay Company the Colony of Vancouver's Island, together with the fisheries in the seas, bays, inlets, and rivers within or surrounding that Settlement as well asManuscript image all Royalties of the seas and coast within the limits of their grant.
For this reason (as well as others it is believed) no steps have hitherto been taken to include Vancouver's Island within the Reciprocity Treaty.
On reference, however, to the Charter of Grant, here referred to (as printed in Parliamentary Papers 7th March 1849) nothing therein appears to be said about "Fisheries": the only words bearing on such supposed privilege are "togetherManuscript image with all Royalties of the "seas."
The inhabitants of Vancouver's Island are very anxious for the extension of the advantages of the Treaty to their Coast if possible: and I am directed to request that you will ask their Lordships, whether on reconsideration they think that the rights of the Company present any obstacle to such inclusion, any more than the rights of anyManuscript image individual landowners of the shores of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick to the Treaty lately concluded.
[No signature]
Minutes by CO staff
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See within.
Answd 17 Aug/55 7866 [Board of Trade].
Copy to F.O. 30 Aug/55.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Elliot to Hammond, 30 August 1855, forwarding copy of Colonial Office to Booth, 10 August 1855.