Murdoch to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
13 November 1862
I have to acknowledge your letter of 7th instant, with one from the Hudsons Bay Co on the subject of the recent Agreement between the Company and H.M. Government relative to land in the City of Victoria Van Couvers Island.
2. By that Agreement it was stipulated that all unsold land in Victoria should revert to the Crown, except 50 Acres to be selectedManuscript image by the Company South of James' Bay. In transmitting the Agreement to Governor Douglas he was directed by the Duke of Newcastle to reserve out of the lands to be surrendered a site for barracks. He answered that in fact after the selection of the 50 Acres above referred to by the Company there would remain no land to be surrendered to the Crown, and he intimated that Mr Dallas had taken a skilful advantage of his local knowledge to mislead the Government into the supposition that they were recovering for the Crown a considerable extent of Land,Manuscript image whereas they were in reality giving up to the Company what the Crown was before entitled to.
3. This despatch was communicated to the Hudsons Bay Co. In his answer Mr Berens makes no allusion to the deception said to have been practised by Mr Dallas, but expressed the anxiety of the Company to carry the Agreement into operation as quickly as possible, and discusses a question that has arisen in the Island between the Local Government and the Company's Agent, as to the site to be surrendered for a Harbour Masters Office.Manuscript image In that question the Duke of Newcastle will probably not desire to enter before receiving a report from the Governor, and if so I would submit that Mr Beren's letter should be transmitted to Governor Douglas and that Mr Berens should be informed of his Grace's decision.
4. Mr Berens offers to furnish copies of the plans of the Land to be surrendered which had been forwarded to the Colonial Secretary by the Company's Agent. If no copies of these plans have been received at the Colonial Office (as I suppose is the case) his offer should, I presume, be accepted [marginal note: None have been received]. They may probably show how far Governor DouglasManuscript image is justified in stating that the Government had been overreached by Mr Dallas.
5. Mr Berens likewise suggests that the reconveyance of the whole Island and of the Land at Victoria should be comprized as a single instrument and that with a view to its preparation and execution in this country instructions should be sent to the Governor to forward a plan of the Island showing the portions of it to be excepted from the reconveyance. He states that very pressing instructions to this effect have been sent by the Company to their Agent. I presume that the Duke of Newcastle willManuscript image issue the instructions suggested to the Governor, but to prevent the difficulty and delay which would arise from discrepancies between the Maps sent home by the Governor and the Companys Agent it would be very desirable that those officers should communicate with each other on the spot—and agree on the exact extent of the reservations to be made and the manner in which they should be described in the reconveyance.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient
Humble Servant
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
See 10823 from the H.B. Company. The Mail will be despatched tomorrow.
VJ 14 Novr
I suppose that Mr Murdoch's advice will be likely to be followed. As the mail goes tomorrow, I have thought that it may be best to forward with Mr Murdoch's report, for consideration, the draft of a despatch executing it's suggestions.
TFE 14 Novr
Draft approved.
N 15
Other documents included in the file
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Colonial Office to H.H. Berens, Hudson's Bay Company, 15 November 1862, responding to the contents of his recent letter and observing that no comment had been made on the charge by Douglas that Dallas had "led the Government of this country into error on the extent of land which the Crown would recover by the Agreement relative to lands in the City of Victoria."
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 18 November 1862, forwarding copies of a despatch sent to Douglas and a letter sent to the Hudson's Bay Company relative to their report.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 121, 15 November 1862, informing him that Newcastle shared Douglas's earlier despatch concerning ongoing negotiations between the government and the HBC regarding land in Victoria with the HBC, forwarding the company's response, and addressing a number of outstanding points of contention between the two parties.