Berens to Newcastle
Hudsons Bay House
17 March 1863
My Lord Duke,
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Mr Under Secretary Elliot's letter of the 27th ultimo, together with copies of two despatches from Governor Douglas.
In my letter to your Grace of the 3rd November last I had the honour to place before your Grace the sketched Maps of the property which Mr W.A. Young had forwarded to the CompanyforManuscript image for Conveyance to the Crown and I was not aware that there was any difficulty in regard to them except as to the site to be reserved for the Harbour Master. I however immediately wrote out to the Company's Agents with directions to have a plan made of the whole Island shewing exactly, also what had been disposed of and what remained for the Government, and I ventured to suggest that your Grace should give instructions to the Agents of the Crown for the Colony to make a similar plan. Indeed I was surprised to find from Governor Douglas' letter that he should not have provided himself with a correct plan oftheManuscript image the whole Island, and of the different holdings by parties who had acquired any portion of it.
I have always understood that there was such a plan in the Office of the Colonial Secretary, although it has been intimated to us that alterations have from time to time been made in it.
I beg to assure your Grace that it is the earnest desire of this Company to adhere most strictly and in perfect good faith to the conditions of the Agreement entered into with the Government and I quite assent to your Grace's suggestionsthatManuscript image that no grants made by the Company within the Victoria reserve after the 1st of January 1862 ought to be recognised by Her Majestys Government, unless it could be shown that the negociations for them had proceeded so far before that date as to make their completion a matter of right, and it has never been intended to raise any question as to the right of the Crown to receive the price of any land sold after the 1st of January 1862. My belief is that it will be found that there is none such.
It is quite obvious thatGovernorManuscript image Governor Douglas' communications are conceived in a spirit of hostility to the Company and their representatives in the Island, and it is very strange that as the reserve in question was planned by himself while in the Company's employ that he should not have himself any map or plan shewing its exact boundaries.
I am however now enabled to inform your Grace that by the last Mail we have received from our Agent Mr Mctavish full particulars of the land to revert to the Crown with a Map shewing its exact position andIManuscript image I cannot do better than transmit herewith for your Grace's information a copy of the plan and of a letter from Mr Mactavish in reference to it. The plan was forwarded by Mr Mctavish to Mr Young the Colonial Secretary on the 7th of January last.
I beg to add that from the communications received from the Company's Officials it is quite clear that the mention of Fort Street as the site of the Office for the Harbour Master instead of Broughton Street was purely a clerical mistake, as in the Company's plan intheManuscript image the Island it is marked as being at the foot of Broughton Street, and the land at the foot of Fort Street is covered with buildings long previously erected by the Company and occupied by their Officers, and the clear understanding was that the Office for the Harbour Master was to be erected on a part of the vacant ground.
I hope therefore that your Grace will give instructions to His Excellency Governor Douglas for the correction of this error.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant,
H.H. Berens
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P.S. Since the above was written a letter has been received from Mr Dallas dated January 21st 1863 in which he defends himself from the charge brought against him of having led Her Majestys Secretary for the Colonies into error with respect to the arrangement concluded for the settlement of the Company's Land Claims at Victoria; and in compliance with Mr Dallas request I have the honour of transmitting a copy of the letter herewith. H.H. Berens
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Land Board.
ABd 19/3
TFE 19/3
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Dugald Mactavish, Chief Factor, Hudson's Bay Company, to Thomas Fraser, Secretary, Hudson's Bay Company, 21 January 1863, forwarding correspondence relating to the settlement of the land question, with explanation of the quantities of land to revert to the Crown.
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Mactavish to W.A.G. Young, Colonial Secretary, 7 January 1863, forwarding copy of a map showing the land to the south and west of James Bay and providing a detailed explanation of its contents.
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Young to Mactavish, 8 January 1863, acknowledging receipt of his letter and enclosure and advising that they had been laid before the governor for his immediate consideration.
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A.G. Dallas to Fraser, 20 January 1863, commenting at length on the charge that he had "led the Government into error, and that they had expected more land then they were likely to obtain."
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"Map of the subdivisions of Beckley Farm and the lands south and west of James Bay, Victoria Vancouver Island 7th January 1863," as noted above.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 19, 14 May 1863, which informs Douglas that Newcastle received his despatches and has transmitted them to the HBC, forwards a copy of Berens' reply, and advises Douglas on matters of correspondence with the HBC.
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 20 March 1863, forwarding copy of the letter and enclosures for their suggestions and observations.