Corry to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
22nd March 1858
I am commanded by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to transmit to you the Enclosed Copies of Correspondence between the Governor of VanCouver's Island & the Senior Naval Officer on the Station, relative to the recent Sale of Thetis Island in Esquimalt Harbour to a private Individual. And as it appears that this Island hasalwaysManuscript image always been looked upon as Naval property, and has been invaluable for Naval purposes; I am to request that you will move Lord Stanley to Endeavour to recover it for the use of Her Majesty's Ships.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
your obedient humble Servant,
H. Corry
P.S. I am to request that the enclosures may be returned.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
I suppose that to get out of this difficulty we had better refer to the H.B. Company. But as the Naval Authorities regarded the Island as so valuable it is to be regretted that they did not give themselves a legal title to the property, when it cd have been secured on such easy terms.
ABd 25/3
This is a case in which we have some cause to complain of inattention to a very plain duty, although we cannot at this distance tell who is in fault. The grant of the land of Vanc. I. to the HBCo. expressly provides that "the Company shall reserve for the use of us our heirs &c all such land as may be required for the formation of naval establishments, we paying a reasonable price for the same." Thetis Island according to this report was so "required" and ought to have been so purchased. But I suppose the naval officers on the station preferred using it without paying for it & trusting to the chapter of accidents. Now they complain that the land has been sold: but on what possible ground? I do not suppose the Surveyor could refuse to sell land claimed by nobody. Gov. Douglas's suggestion that the Admy had better trust to "possession" is very public spirited, but I am not sure what Mr Nagle the purchaser might say to it. Point out this to the Admy? & ask the Govr for a report. Also communicate to the HBC, but I do not see how they can help us.
HM Mh 25
C M. 26
Yes—but we should at the same time make it clear to the Adm. that we are willing to help them to get the island back, if it can be done.
S 28
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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H.W. Bruce, Vice Admiral and Commander in Chief, to R. Osborne, Admiralty, 21 January 1858, enclosing copy of a letter (not in file) from Captain James C. Prevost respecting the sale of Thetis Island.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Secretary to the Admiralty, 31 March 1858, advising that they would communicate with Douglas to see if the island could be recovered for the navy.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Governor, Hudson's Bay Company, 31 March 1858, regarding the sale of Thetis Island.
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Draft, Stanley to Douglas, No. 1, 28 March 1858.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Secretary to the Admiralty, 26 April 1858, forwarding copy of a letter from the Hudson's Bay Company advising that the sale would not be completed and the island would be reserved for the use of the navy.