No. 6
10 January 1861
With reference to Your Grace's Despatch of the 28th June 1860, No 26, upon the subject of the resumption of Vancouver's Island by Her Majesty's Government, and of the temporary arrangementmadeManuscript image made for the disposal of land not heretofore dealt with by the Company, I have the honor to acquaint Your Grace that I received by the same Mail with Your Despatch, the undertaking, to which you allude, from the Governor of the Company, to confirm all sales of such land that I might make.
2. There is however, one serious drawback to this arrangement, for by it, all the Deeds must be forwarded to the CompanyinManuscript image in England to be perfected by the attachment of the Corporate Seal of the Company, the use of which it is stated cannot be delegated. I am not aware whether Your Grace contemplated this process, but it is one which will be productive of much embarrassment. Under the old system when Land was paid for by instalments the practice was found inconvenient, but under existing circumstances, when Land may be sold by Auction and paid foratManuscript image at once, the delay and uncertainty attending the issue of the Title may, I fear, have the effect of depreciating its value.
3. As an instance of the delay consequent upon sending the Deeds to England, I would mention that in February 1859, certain Title Deeds were forwarded for execution, and that up to the present time they have not been returned. Constant enquiries have been made at the Land office for them, and theirManuscript image non-arrival, combined with a rumour which has circulated that the Company do not intend to confirm the appropriation made of Land for the Public Park and Church Reserves, has created a feeling of distrust embarrassing to this Government.
4. I have specially addressed the Company upon the subject of the non-arrival of these Deeds, and in replying to the Communication before alluded to, from the Governor of the Company, I have again adverted to the circumstanceasManuscript image as will be seen from the Copy of the letter I enclose herewith.
5. My recent Despatch No 51 of the 7th December last, will throw much light upon the claim, now under the consideration of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, made by the Company to 3084 acres around Fort Victoria; and I trust I may be pardoned for urging upon Your Grace that no settlement of the claim should beadmittedManuscript image admitted which would in any way infringe upon the Reserves made and virtually guaranteed to the Public by being marked upon the Official Plan, and used as appropriated.
6. To convey a clearer idea of the position of the land in question, I forward herewith a Rough Sketch Map of the Town of Victoria and Environs, upon which the portions reserved for Governmental and PublicpurposesManuscript image purposes are distinctly noted and marked in color.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Land Board?
ABd 7/March/61
Mr Fortescue
Refer to them in the first instance?
TFE 7/3
At once.
CF 8
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Douglas to Governor H.H. Berens, Hudson's Bay Company, 8 January 1861, explaining the difficulty anticipated if deeds of conveyance were to be forwarded to London for execution, using as an example the non-return of deeds sent for execution in 1859, as per despatch.
"A Sketch Map of the City of Victoria and Environs, exhibiting the Reserves made of Land for governmental and public purposes."
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 54, 15 April 1861, acknowledging the problems that sending land transfers to the HBC in London is causing, but informing Douglas that the temporary process appears to be unavoidable until negotiations between the company and the government regarding the reconveyance of Vancouver Island to the Crown are concluded.