Berens to Newcastle
Hudson's Bay House
26 June 1861
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Mr Fortescue's letter of the 24th instant on the subject of the accounts of the Hudson's Bay Company in connection with the Government of Vancouver's Island transmitted to Your Grace on the 22nd of March last.
I should not consider it necessary on the present occasion to trouble Your Grace with any observation on Mr Fortescue's letter, beyond merely announcing the perfect readiness of myself and Colleagues, to accede to your Grace's suggestion, that anAccountantManuscript image Accountant on the part of the Government should be allowed to inspect those portions of the Company's Books and Vouchers as have reference to the Company's administration of the Government of Vancouver's Island, were it not that Mr Fortescue mentions that Your Grace has felt much surprise at the large amount of the excess now claimed by the Company.
Upon this point I have merely to state that in all my communications with your Grace on the subject of these accounts I have endeavoured from time to time to make your Grace aware that the accounts did not reach this Country in a perfect and final state andthatManuscript image that supplementary demands would probably be made. This was to be expected from the position of the Company in the Island, where, at one and the same time, it carried on a large Commercial business and conducted the Government of the Settlement. From the very nature of things, where all payments were in the first instance made by the Company the accounts were not kept very distinct and it required time as well as research to unravel them. Indeed the mere fact that the functions of many of the Gentlemen, holding Office in the Island, were of a mixed character, partly employed in the service of the Company as Governors of the Island, and partly as Merchants—shows the difficulty of keeping the accountsseparate,Manuscript image separate, and in such circumstances it is not to be wondered at that there was much doubt as to many of the charges, and that some items of expenditure were occasionally charged against the Company, which on investigation it was found should be charged against the Government.
With these observations and refraining from commenting upon Your Grace's announcement of objection to the claim of Interest inasmuch as I am of opinion that these points would be better deferred, as Your Grace appears to suggest, until after the verification of the accounts—I have only to add that on the part of this Company I shallbeManuscript image be happy to receive any Accountant Your Grace may appoint for the examination of the accounts having reference to the Company's administration of the Island at any time Your Grace may fix upon and will give instructions that every possible facility shall be afforded to him in his investigation.
Minutes by CO staff
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ABd 27/6
TFE 27/6
Duke of Newcastle
This sh. now go at once to Mr Murdoch, requesting him to select for your sanction a suitable accountant for this purpose & to ascertain the rate of remuneration which it will be necessary to give to secure the service of a perfectly competent person, who may possess sufficient weight & authority in any questions wh. may arise between this Department & the Co. upon the accounts.
CF 29
N 30
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Emigration Commissioners, 2 July 1861, forwarding copy of the letter and asking them to select a suitable accountant.
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Rogers to Berens, 26 September 1861, introducing W. Andoe of the Audit Office, who has been deputed to conduct the investigation.
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
Mr Andoe is ready to begin his work. It will be requisite to provide him with a letter of introduction &c.
To Mr Andoe 26 Sept/61.