Richards to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
Hydrographic Office, Admiralty
20th August 1864
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 19th instant enclosing copies of dispatches from the Governor of Vancouver Island on the subject of the ownership of Fisgard Island, and requesting that I will communicate to you for Mr Cardwell's use any information I may be able to supply relative to the ownership of this Rock in the first instance by a Private Individual.
Previous to the transfer of the Colony of Vancouver Island from the Hudson's Bay Company to Her Majesty's Government, the whole or nearly the whole of the Shores of Esquimalt Harbour together with the numerous small Islands in it were owned either by the Puget Sound Company or by private individuals.
The property of Belmont at the Entrance of the harbour was I believe owned by Mrs Young before her marriage, or by her father, and Fisgard Island, a bare Islet between100Manuscript image 100 and 200 yards in extent and 20 feet high, lying about 100 yards from Belmont, was I believe an adjunct of that property.
When the Colony was established under Government auspices and became the head quarters of the Navy with a prospect of Government Establishments Light Houses &c, the price of land in Esquimalt Harbour rose very considerably.
Although Fisgard Island is very small and of no intrinsic value, yet I think it must be considered in the same category as various other apparently equally valueless spots of ground in Esquimalt, and when it was chosen as the site of a Light House. I do not think it was unfair that the Proprietor of it should have expected some remuneration, nor do I conceive, looking to parallel cases, that the remuneration paid to Mrs Young was unreasonable.
As regards the money having been paid before a deed of Transfer was made; there was not the greatest regularity observed in such matters owing to the want of Legal Officers &c, but I apprehend that the omission lay with the Surveyor General,Manuscript image and not with Mrs Young.
I beg to enclose a Chart of Esquimalt Harbour by which Mr Cardwell will better understand the bearings of the case, and I shall be very happy to give any further information personally if required.
I have the honor to be
Your obedient Servant
Geo. Henry Richards
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
No blame seems to attach to Mr W.A.G. Young in this transaction.
I think the Govr shd be ansd by sending him a copy of this report of the Hydrographer of the Admy, & that he shd be instructed to follow the advice of the Attorney Genl of V.C.I. as to the proper mode of completing the conveyance to the Crown of Fisgard Island, as the Surveyor Genl has neglected to sign the Deed.
ABd 24 Augt
But the Governor asks us to communicate on the subject with Mr Young who is in this Country. Have we got his address?
TFE 24 Augt
Mr Young's address is "Walmer" Kent.
ABd 25 Aug
I cannot help thinking that Gov Kennedy may be unnecessarily apprehensive about this Case. I submit a draft of a reference to the Land Board.
TFE August
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Not on microfilm.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 29 August 1864, forwarding copy of correspondence relative to the dispute over ownership of Fisgard Island for their observations.