Murdoch and Rogers to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
17 March 1860
We have to acknowledge your letter of 8th instant, enclosing a letter from the Governor of the Hudsons Bay Company on the subject of the payment to be made to the Company during the present year, on account of the amount which will be due to them on the resumption of Vancouvers Island by the Crown.
Mr Manuscript image
2. Mr Berens expresses some disappointment that the claim of the Company against the Crown being upwards of £40,000, it should not be proposed to pay during the present year more than £25,000. But he announces his intention to receive that amount on account, and to give the Governor of Van Couvers Island the necessary authority to make grants of Land, on the understanding that such grants are not to embrace any of the Lands claimed by the Company.
3. In respect to the amount Manuscript imageto be repaid immediately to the company it is only necessary to observe, that we suggested the sum of £25,000 because the account of expenditure on public works &c had only been furnished to the end of 1857, and because it was known that subsequent accounts had been received, and our Accountant, on his inspection of the Company's books, cursory as it was, saw reason to believe that subsequent transactions have thrown the balance in favor of, instead of against, the Crown. It appeared to us better to limit the immediate payment within what Manuscript imageunder any circumstances would probably be shown to be due to the Company, than to pay a larger sum of which a portion might have to be hereafter recovered. If the Company are now prepared to furnish complete accounts of the expenditure on public works &c, we are aware of no reason why the accounts should not be at once closed.
4. In regard to the authority conveyed to the Governor to grant land, the reservation of all lands Manuscript imageclaimed by the Company, the validity of which claim is now we believe under legal investigation, appears reasonable.
5. With reference to a claim for interest on "advances" put forward in Mr Beren's letter of 23rd January last, on which further information was requested, Mr Berens states that the advances in question were such as were considered necessary for the purpose of the Government of the Colony, and that, so far as is known to the Company, they were never made except on the pressing Manuscript imagedemand of the Governor. It appears to us that before this claim is decided on it will be necessary to have some more specific statement of the advances in question and the dates and occasions on which they were made—in order that, if it should appear advisable, the Governor may be consulted as to the validity of the claim.
6. In conclusion Mr Berens points out that the sum due to the Company on accounts already furnished is £, and claims for the Company interest Manuscript imageon the difference between that sum and the £25,000 about to be paid them, on the ground that the delay is in order to meet the public convenience. This claim does not appear to us tenable. The accounts furnished by the Company are not in a form to allow their immediate settlement—since until they are completed it is impossible to ascertain whether any and what balance will be due to the Company beyond the sum now to be paid them. The delay, therefore, is caused by the incompleteness of these Manuscript imageaccounts and not by any consideration of public convenience. As far as the public is concerned it would, we apprehend, be more convenient to discharge the whole debt at once and obtain in consequence the retransfer of Vancouvers Island. But Her Majesty's Government have no power to accelerate the rendering of the Company's accounts and are not, therefore, in any way responsible for the delay.
Minutes by CO staff
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VJ 19 March
I think the best course will now be to write direct to the Governor enclosing extracts of so much of this correspondence as is necessary to elucidate the subject: & directing him to proceed without delay to the sale of land as soon as he receives authority from the HBC in accordance with their undertaking: & to submit this desp. to the Company before it goes. Perhaps the Ld & Em. Coms would have the kindness to draft the necessary despatch.
HM Mh 19
CF 20
N 22
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The public lands in Vancouver's Island
See Mr Blackwood's note on the margin of this draft. It is certain that we cannot send out the despatch announcing a payment of £25000 to the Hudson's Bay Coy nor communicate that despatch to the Company itself without obtaining the concurrence of the Treasury. They were asked for it in our letter of the 29 February. I do not know what more can be done than to draw their attention officially to that letter, and request to be favored with their Lordships' decision.
TFE 31 March
Write again to the Treasury?
CF April 2
N 5
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Elliot to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 12 April 1860, asking for an answer to their letter of 29 February.
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Draft, Colonial Office to H. Berens, Hudson's Bay Company, 5 May 1860, forwarding copy of proposed draft reply to the governor.
Minutes by CO staff
This may now proceed? Vide Ty/4143.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 26, 28 June 1860 (extensive revisions).
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Fortescue
This draft has been prepared by Mr Murdoch, at Mr Merivale's request.
TFE 28 March
I think this is quite right.
CF 29
N 30