Dawson to Under-Secretary of State
Osgodby Hall
W. Selby
8 Jany 1858
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th Inst. Your statement that Vancouver's Island is already an established colony is in itself sufficient guarantee for the protection of person & property under British law.
But the interests which I have reason to take in the locality will, I hope, induce you to pardon me if I trouble you with a few more questions. My sons are settled in California as landowners & carrying on general business, and their attention has been turned to communication with Vancouver's Island, the natural advantages of which are believed in California to be very great.Manuscript image My son-in-law, a retired officer of the British army, of some rank & standing, now settled with his family in Nova Scotia has also had his attention drawn to Vancouver's Island as affording great natural facilities to emigration & settlement.
I myself have not a single tie remaining in this country that I care one atom about, & am not disinclined to join my relatives in adventure to the [cut off microfilm] place—and hence, my first enquiry in my letter addressed to Mr Labouchere whether their might not be some ministerial or judicial appointment vacant in which my knowledge and experience as a lawyer & magistrate might be deemed useful. Having thus premised what, I hope, will be sufficient to shew that my questions are not idle ones, will you permit meManuscript image to ask:
If any & what facilities are given to the investment of British Capital in that Island?
What are the terms & conditions of sale or grant of land?
Is there freedom of trade in all natural & artificial productions?
In short, are there any & what imperial or colonial restrictions affecting private individuals who may be desirous of taking an active part in the development of the resources of this country?
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your very obedient servant
Geo. P. Dawson

The Under Secretary of State
Colonial Office
Downing Street
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
We can of course inform Mr Dawson as to the terms on which land is sold at Van Couvers island, but with respect to his enquiries generally would not the best course be to refer this letter for answer to the Hudson's Bay Company, & at the same time inform the Writer that this has been done?
VJ 9 Jan
I think this is the best course: annex drafts.
HM Jan 9
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to John Shepherd, Hudson's Bay Company, 12 January 1858, forwarding copy of the letter and asking the company to answer Dawson's enquiries.
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Draft, Merivale to Dawson, 12 January 1858, advising that his letter had been referred to the Hudson's Bay Company.