Murdoch to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
18 February 1863
I have to acknowledge your letter of 2nd instant, with further despatches from the Governor of Vancouver Island on the subject of the Land in the Town of Victoria supposed to have been ceded to the Crown by the Indenture of 3rd Febry 1862.
2. Governor Douglas reports that he has been unable to obtain from the Companys Agent any statement of the land so ceded—that in order to expedite the matter he had submitted to the Agent sketch maps of the LandManuscript image specified in the Agreement—but that in nearly every case the boundaries have been disputed, and in one case the site altogether changed. He requests to be furnished with a copy of the chart referred to in the Agreement as "the Company's plan" expressing his belief that no such plan existed at that date in the Colony—and he intimates that since the Agreement was received there, the Agent of the Company has been disposing of land which was previously supposed to have been unsold, and which would, therefore, have belonged to the Crown.
3. The plan which we had before us when the AgreementManuscript image was entered into was that drawn by Mr Pemberton and published in London in 1861 by Arrowsmith. I have applied to Mr Arrowsmith for a copy of it. We certainly understood from Mr Dallas that a considerable extent to the south west of James' Bay was at that time unsold, though Mr Dallas did not profess to be able to state exactly how much. If Governor Douglas is correct in supposing that the Company's Agent has been disposing of Land on account of the Company since 1st Janry 1862, such a proceeding is clearly inconsistent with the terms of the Agreement and ought not to beManuscript image allowed. Perhaps the best course will be to send a copy of Governor Douglas' despatch to the Governor of the Company and to call on him to cooperate with the Government in bringing this matter to an early and amicable settlement, by instructions to the Agent of the Company in the Colony to adhere strictly and in good faith to the conditions of the Agreement. Of course no grant by the Company within the Victoria Reserve dated after 1st Janry 1862 could be recognized, unless it could be shown that the negociations for them had proceeded so far before that dateManuscript image as to make their completion a matter of right. And even in that case the price paid for the land if paid after 1st Janry 1862, must, I think, be considered to belong to the Crown not to the Company.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient
Humble Servant
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
ABd 19 Feb
Sir F. Rogers
Adopt Mr Murdoch's conclusions, and write to the Company accordingly?
TFE 19 Feby
FR 19/2
CF 20
N 21
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Elliot to H.H. Berens, Hudson's Bay Company, 27 February 1863, forwarding two despatches received from the governor and commenting on the difficulties encountered by Douglas relative to the land settlement issue with the company.