Berens to Newcastle
Hudson's Bay House
23 January 1860
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a Letter from Mr Under-Secretary Merivale under date the 30th ulto, in reference to the reconveyance to the Crown of the Island of Vancouver, under the terms of the Grant to this Company of that Island of the 13th January 1849.
Although this Company have never received what might be considered to be a formal notification of the intention of the Crown to resume possession of the IslandManuscript imageIsland in the terms of the Grant it has always been considered that the Letter of Mr Under-Secretary Merivale to Captain Shepherd the late Chairman of this Company of the 20th January 1858,
P. 2. P.P. of 26 Feb/58.
did, in point of fact, amount to a Notification of such intention. In accordance with that understanding, the Company have considered their interest in the Island under the Grant to have ceased on the 31st May last, after which time, as your Grace has been already apprized, the Officers of this Company have been instructed to abstain from supplying the means which might be required for the purposes of the Colony, and from disposing of any of the LandManuscript imageLand.
In my letter of the 16th July last, referring to the termination of the Company's Interest in the Island, I took occasion to call your Grace's attention to the inconvenience experienced from the present anomalous position of affairs there, arising from the fact that while it is considered that the beneficial interest in the Island (subject to the payment of the advances made by this Company) is in the Crown, the legal title, from no reconveyance having yet been executed, is in this Company, so that there is at the present moment no party competent to dispose of Land in the Colony.
The Governor nevertheless reported his intention of selling 20,000 acres. See desph 19 July/59—& the intention was not objected to here.
ABd 25/1
If Her Majesty's Government areManuscript imageare not at present prepared to call for a Reconveyance of the Island, this Company will be most desirous to assist in putting an end, as far as practicable, to the existing inconvenience by concurring in an arrangement that the Governor should now be empowered to dispose of the land, receive the proceeds of it, and account for it to the Crown, as was heretofore done by this Company; but they think that before such an arrangement is entered into, their claims for advances clearly ascertained, and long since communicated to the Government, should be satisfied.
With reference to the expenditure in searching for Coal at Fort Rupert, this CompanyManuscript imageCompany will be prepared to assent to the terms proposed in Mr Under Secretary Merivale's letter, vizt to receive from Her Majesty's Government one half only of that outlay namely £6,234:12:10.
There are but two other items. The first is the balance of £8,505.6.11 due for advances up to the 31st December 1857, on account of the Colony.
The Government has, from time to time, been furnished with particulars in regard to this expenditure, but in order that Your Grace may have the matter fully before you, I have now the honor to send, herewith a statement, from the commencement, shewing how that balance is arrived at, and should itManuscript imageit be considered necessary to go into further details, the Books of the Company, made up here from the Accounts furnished from the Colony, are open to inspection and I should hope, therefore, that there will be no difficulty in settling the amount payable to the Company under this head.
The other item of £25,550 for the cost of sending out and maintenance of Emigrants to Vancouver's Island, during the years 1848 to 1854 inclusive, is made up from the Accounts in this Country and, for your Grace's information, I have the honor to send herewith, a statement shewing how it is arrived at. The detailed particulars with the names of all the Settlers sent out can be furnished if required.
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I would venture therefore to suggest that the Government should now settle the three Claims here referred to, upon this Company, giving a legal Authority to the Governor, under the sanction of Her Majesty's Government, to grant Conveyances of any land which he may dispose of and to account for the proceeds to Her Majesty's Government, this Company receiving an Undertaking that any further sums that may be due to the Company for advances in the Colony, subsequent to the date to which the Colony account is brought down, should be made good on the formal reconveyance to the Crown of the Island.
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I may add that no further claim can arise in respect of Emigrants sent out. All therefore that will be necessary will be that the Government should be furnished with the further Accounts of this Company shewing their additional receipts and expenditure on account of the Colony.
I have etc.
H.H. Berens
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Fortescue
This will have to be referred at once to the Land & Emn Board who have hitherto sifted these accounts. But as a large proportion is now agreed on, I think it will be desirable to make a large part payment this year & take a vote for it. The Commissioners should if so, be moved to consider this & suggest the amount as early as possible.
HM Jan 28
CF 30
N 1-2
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Emigration Commissioners, 4 February 1860, forwarding copy of the letter and enclosure and asking that they determine the amount which "it would be advisable to submit for the sanction of Parliament."
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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"Statement of account for taking out Emigrants to Vancouver Island during the years 1848 to 1854."
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"Statement of Accounts Vancouver's Island Colony January 31st 1858. London Accounts included to 31st January 1858, Country Accounts included to 31st October 1856" (24 pages).