Head to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Hudsons Bay House
May 2nd 1865
I have the honour to acknowledge your letter of the 24th April and I beg that you will thank the Right Honorable the Secretary of State for giving to the Hudsons Bay Company the opportunity of offering some remarks on the subject to which it relates.
I now enclose a Memorandum prepared by our Solicitors in conjunction with Mr Dallas on the facts of the case. This latter gentlemanwasManuscript image was the person who originally sold the lot Z to Mr Lowenberg and was conversant with all the circumstances. It will be seen that the enclosed Statement certified by him differs materially from the alleged facts as recited in your letter.
Assuming that Mr Dallas's statements are correct the Secretary of State will see it is impossible for the Governor and Committee of the Hudsons Bay Company to give way on the points at issue. They have always considered the Agreement of 1862 as a final settlement of all disputed questions, binding in good faith on both parties; and they do not admit that there are reasons for takingthisManuscript image this particular case out of the purview of that Agreement. When they are asked, what means there are of obtaining the lot in question for the Colonial Government they can only reply that they presume it may be done by compensating Mr Lowenberg, but they do not see that this Company is the party who ought to pay such compensation.
If Mr Cardwell is of opinion that the whole matter should go before a Court in the Colony the Hudsons Bay Company must do their best to defend it there, or in any Court of Appeal to which it may hereafter be carried.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant,
Edmund Head
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Besides the traditional skill and ability which have invariably distinguished the proceedings of the Hudson's Bay Co in the defence of their interests they have at hand Mr Dallas—probably a shareholder if not a Director—who possesses an intimate personal knowledge of the localities in dispute. The Company's legal advisers are Messrs Crowder & Maynard, than whom better are not to be found. With such opponents it behooves this Office to exert all the means at its command to secure its rights, if rights we have. Of course this letter will be referred for the opinion of the Land Board; but I would wish to throw out the suggestion that if the question is to be tried at Law in the Colony the Court should at any rate be presided over by a competent & professional Judge. Mr Cameron—a very able man & self made Lawyer—is still acting as Chief Justice; both sides will feel it more satisfactory that the cause should be tried before a professional Judge. The Office of Attorney General, moreover, is not filled up. Mr Cary has been succeeded by Mr Wood who holds the Acting Appointment. I know nothing against Mr Wood who may be a very good Lawyer, & a sharper practitioner than the H.B. Company have it in their power to get on their side. But is it not advisable that, with such antagonists as the H.B.Co, we should have the very best local help in the Colony which we can get. Whether we shdManuscript image better our position by sending out a strange man as Attorney General—to whom a salary of only £300 a year (with private practice) is assigned than by confirming Mr Wood in the office is a question of considerable nicety and importance. I simply call attention to our legal situation in the Colony with the prospect of a suit before us.
ABd 3 May
Sir F. Rogers
This is a subject on which I cannot add anything to the topics thrown out by Mr Blackwood for consideration.
TFE 3 May
To E.C. at once.
FR 3/5
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Memorandum explaining in detail the position of the Hudson's Bay Company in regard to the dispute over the land sold to Lowenberg, signed by A.G. Dallas, no date.
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Sketch map of the area in dispute, showing the government reserve, the property owned by Lowenberg and that owned by Douglas, with explanation attached, initialled by Dallas.
Other documents included in the file
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Colonial Office to [Emigration Commissioners], 5 May 1865, forwarding copy of the letter and enclosures for their observations and suggestions.