Berens to Newcastle
Hudson's Bay House
22 July 1861
I have the honour of transmitting, herewith, a Copy of a Memorial
Enclosures not sent to Registry.
CWS 24/7/61
addressed to the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company by the Reverend Edward Cridge of Vancouver's Island praying that steps may be taken for the completion of the Title deeds of a piece of Land at Victoria, known as the "Church Reserve", in order that the land in question may be at once conveyed to parties who will hold it in trust for the benefit of the Christ Church, Victoria District Church. I have also the honour to transmit a Copy of a letter addressed to me by the Bishop ofColumbiaManuscript image Columbia recommending the said Memorial to the favourable consideration of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The land in question forms part of the 3084 acres claimed by this Company as belonging to them prior to the Grant to them of the Island. It is situated in the centre of the Town of Victoria, and comprises not only the site of the principal Church, but also the Public Cemetery, and an extensive section set apart as a glebe for the Clergyman. It appears that until the Conveyance be completed the Church and Burying Ground cannot be consecrated, nor can the rest of the ground be made available for the purposes for which it was originally set apart.
As far as this CompanyareManuscript image are concerned I and my Colleagues are prepared to give effect to our original intention by executing a Conveyance, but before proceeding in the matter we think it necessary that the subject should be brought under the notice of your Grace, and that, in whatever steps it may be considered advisable to take we may have the consent and concurrence of Her Majesty's Government.
There are several points which appear to require consideration. When the Company agreed to set apart the ground for the Church, the Church intended was, undoubtedly, the Church of England, but a portion of the Ground has since been transformed into a Cemetery, and has been used for thatpurposeManuscript image purpose by all denominations of Christians, without reference to whether they belonged to the Church of England, or were Roman Catholics or Dissenters of any other description. Supposing, therefore, that in Your Grace's opinion it were desirable that the Glebe and site of the Church should be conveyed, as originally intended, to the Church of England, it appears to us that it may create great discontent in the community if the Cemetery, so long used generally, should also be made over to that Church. It is in these circumstances that we have thought it necessary to bring the subject under your Grace's notice.
We would, therefore, be glad to know, if it is the opinion ofHerManuscript image Her Majesty's Government that the Conveyance of the land in question should be made, at once, for the benefit of the Church of England? Should it be conveyed to trustees, and if so, in what form, and who are to be the Trustees appointed? Should the Cemetery also be conveyed for the exclusive use of the Church of England, or for the benefit of Christians in general? And if the latter—Who are to be the Trustees for that purpose?
The wish of myself and my Colleagues is to complete the title of the Church without further delay, but we feel that if we did so, unadvisedly, it might create some confusion hereafter, and as our objectinManuscript image in troubling Your Grace in the matter is to prevent that confusion we hope to be excused.
I have etc.
H.H. Berens
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
See the Duke of Newcastle's despatch, answering the Governors 6109, which will be sent the next oppy. Besides the objection to moving in this "Church Reserve" matter, pending the settlement of the questions between the Govt & the H.B.Co, you will notice that the Governor advises no action being taken by the Executive at present & also that a solution by the means of Law wd be the safest course.
ABd 25 July
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Mr Fortescue
Both as a question of Colonial lands, and also a Hudsons Bay question, I should think that you would like Mr Murdoch's advice on this subject?
TFE 25/7
Duke of Newcastle
I have had a good deal of communication with the Revd Jas. Skinner, acting on behalf of the Bishop of Columbia, about this "Church Reserve" question. He assures me that the H.B.Co are ready & willing to make the conveyance, wh. wd. merely carry out the original intention, provided they have your consent. It seems to me that this ought to be done. The complaints wh. will no doubt be made of what will be, to this limited extent, an exclusive endowment of the Church of England, are fully met by the fact that the endowment was really, though not formally, conferred upon the Anglican Church (now the Cathedral) by the Co—years ago. The Govr however, in his desp. of 7 May (6109) so strongly deprecates any action upon the subject here, at present, that I think we can do no more than send this letter to him for his report. But it might be added that your GraceManuscript image is prepared to concur in the issue of the conveyance to such Trustees as the Bishop, in conjunction with the Govr, may propose—and without prejudice to the claim of the Crown to the Lands claimed by the HB Co. in their private property, within which the "Church Reserve" is included.
CF 2 Aug
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Has Mr Murdoch seen this?
N 4
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Memorial, Edward Cridge to Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company, 23 April 1861, asking that the church reserve be formally conveyed to the church without delay. [Note: marked at top "in 6681/61."]
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Bishop of Columbia to Berens, 15 May 1861, enclosing the Cridge memorial and supporting it. [Note: marked at top "in 6681/61."]
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 7 August 1861, forwarding copies of two letters from the Hudsons Bay Company and a related despatch from Douglas (No. 34, 7 May 1861) for their observations.