Walcott to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
9 October 1862
I have to acknowledge your letter of the 2nd instant, with the copy of a despatch from the Governor of VanCouver's Island on the subject of the Lands to be surrendered to the Crown by the Hudsons Bay Co under their Agreement of the 3rd Febry 1862.
2. The Secretary of State had instructed Governor Douglas to reserve out of the Lands so to be surrendered a fit site for the future erection of Barracks. Mr Douglas now expressesManuscript image his apprehension that when the Company have chosen the 50 Acres about "Beckney" [Beckley] or "Dutnelli" Farm which by the 5th Article of the Agreement they are entitled to select from the unsold lands in the district lying South and West of James' Bay, there will not remain one Acre to be surrendered to the Crown; and adds that the Company, so far from making any concessions to the Government which the Agreement would lead anyone to infer, have actually obtained almost the whole of the very small portion of ground, not covered by buildings, now and for years past inManuscript image the possession of the Government, and to which the Company had no sound claim. He also complains that he had endeavoured in vain to ascertain from the Company the extent and position of the Land to be surrendered by them to the Crown.
3. In framing the Agreement, it is no doubt true that in the absence of specific information as to the quantity of Lands that remained unsold in the district alluded to, it became necessary to rely on the intimate and local knowledge of Mr Dallas, one of the Company's principal officers, who had recently arrived from the ColonyManuscript image and who acted for the Company in the matter. But as it was important to settle amicably—definitively—and without further loss of time, all open land questions with the Company, it was considered advisable to accept an arrangement which was at all events precise and afforded the means of closing within a given time all disputes, even at the expense of some uncertainty as to the quantity of Land that might be recovered by the Crown. Nevertheless it was not anticipated that the 50 Acres stipulated for by the CompanyManuscript image out of the District lying South and West of James' Bay would absorb the whole of the the Lands remaining unsold in that district, and that in fact the Crown would obtain nothing under the Agreement except one Well, already set apart for public use—a water frontage lot of 50 feet reserved for the use of the Harbour Master—& the sites of a Police Barrack—and of the Post Office. The Public Park—School—Church and Burying Ground referred to in the 6th article of the Agreement had previously been appropriated for public use, and was therefore no concession to the Crown.
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4. The Company are entitled under the 5th Article of the Agreement to a period of 18 calendar Months from the 3rd of Febry last, within which to make their selection of the 50 Acres at Beckney Farm.
5. Under these circumstances I do not see that any step can now be taken except, if the Duke of Newcastle sees fit, to send a copy of the Governor's despatch to the Company for any observations they may wish to offer, and to request, on the grounds of public convenience and for bringing this matter to a close, thatManuscript image they would at once forward instructions to their officers in the Colony to select as early as practicable the 50 Acres at "Beckney Farm," and to convey "forthwith" according to the express stipulation of the Agreement, all the other property that is to be surrendered to the Crown.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient
Humble Servant
S. Walcott
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
I apprehend that the course suggested by Mr Walcott is the proper one to pursue. This case shows that it is not safe for this Office to settle any thing definitively with the H.B.Co without previously communicating to the Govr what is contemplated.
ABd 10 Oct.
Proceed as recommended by Mr Walcott?
TFE 10 Octr
N 11
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to H.H. Berens, Hudson's Bay Company, 18 October 1862, forwarding copy of the despatch from Douglas for his observations, and asking that the agents of the Company be instructed to select the 50 acres allotted to them as quickly as possible.