Berens to Lytton
Hudson's Bay House
10 February 1859
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr Under Secretary Merivales letter of the 24th ulto. accompanied by Copies of a Correspondence between him and the Secretary of the Admiralty and requesting this Company to take such steps as may be in their power to forward the wishes of the Lords of the Admiralty.
In answer I beg to state that Thetis Island was included in a Sale made by Governor Douglas early in 1856 before he was in receipt of the Communications addressed to him by this Company desiring that no further sales should be made of Land in the Esquimalt District. The SaleManuscript imageSale in question was of 24 acres including the Island and produced £24—which sum is included in the return of Sales made by the Company to the Colonial Office.
According [to?] the Returns here the [cut off file] Lot of 24 [acres?] in the Esquimalt District [was?] to the H.B.C.
The Sale by Auction which is referred to in the letter of the Secretary of the Admiralty to Mr Merivale of the 17th ulto. was not made by this Company or any one acting for them but must have taken place in connection with the purchase made in the early part of 1856 before referred to.
We are aware that in the correspondence that has taken place on this subject it has been stated that the Government or those representing them had been in actual possession of Thetis Island for a considerable time before the grant to this Company—but it is clear that Mr Douglas had no knowledge of such occupancy or he would not have disposed of it and it is equally clear that this CompanyManuscript imageCompany was unrestricted as to the Sale of any Land included in the grant to them except what was required for Public purposes or for Naval establishments but then as suggested by Mr Merivale's Letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty of the 31st March last it was incumbent upon the proper authorities to give notice to this Company that any portion of the Land was so required and till such Notice was given the authority of the Company to sell was without restriction.
I regret very much that the intimation given to this Company to that effect by Mr Merivale's letter of the 14th November 1855 was not received in time to have enabled them to have prevented the Sale of the Land in question. They at one time had supposed that the object had been attained, but their subsequent Communications with Mr Douglas have put it beyond all doubt that the Island in question had been sold beforeManuscript imagebefore he had received the instructions of the Directors of this Company to abstain from any more Sales in the Esquimalt District.
I have etc.
H.H. Berens
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
This is the amended letter respecting Thetis Island & should I suppose be communicated to the Admiralty?
VJ 12 Feby
I am afraid the Admiralty have lost a valuable site by their own neglect in this matter, and that we cannot help them. But a query suggested by Mr Jadis seems to me worth following up farther, & I propose a draft accordingly.
HM F 14
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Berens, 24 February 1859, requesting further clarification respecting the initial sale of the island.