Berens to Lytton
Hudson's Bay House
August 18th 1858
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Lord Carnarvon’s letter of the 17th Instant in which he Encloses a copy of a letter from a gentleman of the name of Nias at San Francisco, on the subject of sales of town lands in Victoria Vancouver's Island, and of the Despatch thereupon addressed by you to Governor Douglas.
In reply I have the honour to state that there is no land in the vicinity of Victoria that has not been acquired long ago, either by the Hudson's Bay Company, or by private individuals, and I have no reason to believe that any public land has been disposed of in the shapeManuscript imageshape of Town Lots. I am aware that there has been a considerable excitement with respect to the sales of lands in the vicinity of Victoria and Esquimalt Harbour but as I have stated above, these transactions are not in Colonial land; nor do I think that there is any quantity of land available for town lots that has not been acquired years since by private parties.
In reply to your request that I should communicate any information on the sales of public lands in Vancouver's Island, I have the honour to refer you to a Return which I sent in on the 15th July last setting forth the quantity of land sold, the names of the several purchasers, and the Districts in which each sales have been effected. That returnManuscript imagereturn contains the latest accounts of the sales of Public Land, which have reached us.
I have also the honour to refer you to my letter of the 12th August, in which I Enclosed the regulations laid down by Governor Douglas with regard to the sale of land.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your mo. obedient humble
H.H. Berens
Depty Govr
The Right Honble Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Bart
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale.
I think that Sir Edwd Lytton has written everything which can be said on this point, and, if so, that this Letter may be laid aside for reference, when needed.
ABd 18 Augt
Lord Carnarvon
This is important, & corresponds very much with what I told you was my own suspicion before—that the gains on sale of land in Vanc. I. have been made by private sellers, not by the Company as users of the soil under the grant. These sellers have quite a right to the benefit of their successful speculation. One would however be curious to know whether any of the land purchased by the Company (or Puget's Sound ditto) as a private owner from itself as a public grantee has been resold, & participated in the rise. I question our being able to touch the proceeds, in that case. Corresp. to L & Em. Com. for information.
HM Augt 19
Em. Com.
C. Aug 20
I see little more that we could do, but since Lord Derby sent the letter it would be well to send him Mr Berens reply with our own despatch to the govr.
EBL Aug. 20
Other documents included in the file
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Carnarvon to Emigration Commissioners, 4 September 1858, forwarding copies of Nias's letter and Lytton to Douglas, .