Bethell and Atherton to Newcastle
Lincolns Inn
24 January 1860
We were honored with Your Graces commands signified in Mr Merivale's letter of the 31st December ulto stating that he was directed by Your Grace to request that we would favor you with our opinion on the following question.
Whether, on the repurchase of the soil from the Hudson's Bay Company being effected, the public lands of the Colony, and the revenue arising therefrom, will be at the disposal of the Legislature (the title to the lands of course remainingManuscript imageremaining vested in the Crown) under its general powers?
Or, whether the public lands will be subject to the management of the Crown, and the revenue derivable therefrom at the disposal of the Crown, as a separate fund from the ordinary revenue of the Colony?
In obedience to such commands we have taken the above question into consideration and have the honor to Report
That, on the repurchase of the soil from the Hudson's Bay Company by the Crown being effected, the public lands of the Colony and the revenue arising therefrom, will not beManuscript imagebe at the disposal of the Legislature, under its general powers: but that such Lands will be subject to the management of the Crown; and the revenue derivable therefrom at the disposal of the Crown, as a separate fund from the ordinary revenue of the Colony.
Minutes by CO staff
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Duke of Newcastle
I think the minutes out of which this letter arose are on papers already with you on the subject of the alleged private land of the H.B.Co. But I remember that the opinion was taken for General Guidance, & not with a view to any pressing emergency, as indeed the land is not ours yet, the repurchase not having been effected. I think there is an address, unanswered, from the Assembly of Vanc. I. touching the control over these lands: this shall be seen to by & by.
In the mean time the opinion is of importance as shewing the rights of the Crown: but it will deserve attentive consideration, when the time arrives, whether it is best to maintain those rights, or to allow the practical control to be exercised by the Legislature.
HM Jan 25
I pass today the papers in question which accompany a draft to the Law Officers by Mr Merivale.
A Letter of date 23d from H.B. Company accompanies this but without minute.
N 26
Land Bd for information at once.
HM Jan 26
I should now propose to make this known, confidentially, to the Governor. Dt annexed.
HM F 18
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, Confidential, 21 February 1860.
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Draft, Merivale to Emigration Commissioners, 1 February 1860, forwarding copy of the report from the law officers.
[Sender not known.] to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 24 January 1860, CO 305:15, no. 824, 338. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/V605LW01.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)