GOVERNOR OF HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY TO
EARL BATHURST, 8th JUNE, 1815.
HUDSON BAY COMPANY'S RECORDS.
Hudsons Bay House,
8th June 1815.
To the Rt. Honble. Earl Bathurst &c. &c.
Messrs. Bleasdale & Co. have communicated to me a letter, which Mr. Goulburn had addressed to them the 2nd inst. in consequence of an application made by them on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company. Mr. Goulburn having desired that your Lordship should be furnished with a distinct specification of the limits of the Territory within which the ordinances of the Hudsons Bay Company relative to the better administration of Justice are to have effect, I beg leave to transmit a Copy of the Charter, granted by King Charles the 2nd from which your Lordship will observe that the grant of the Territory includes all lands which lie upon the waters that run into Hudsons Bay The limits therefore can only be defined by the Height of land which divides these waters from those which run into the Sea in any other direction.
The geographical discoveries which have been progressively made by the Company's Servants for many years past have ascertained with great accuracy the situation of the height of land which is laid down distinctly in most of the recent maps of North America. On the South East of Hudsons Bay it divides the rivers that run into James Bay from various branches of the St. Lawrence. On the South west, it divides the waters of the Saskatchewan & Red River from those of the Missouri & Mississippi & on the North West, those of Churchill River from the Athapescow, & other rivers which flow to the Northward into the Frozen Ocean.
Within these limits the Governors of the different establishments have always exercised jurisdiction, so far as circumstances required but in consequence of the increasing population of the Country, new rights & varied interests have arisen, which call for a more regular & effectual administration of Justice.
For the satisfaction of all persons, living within the jurisdiction of the Company, it has been thought advisable to take the opinion of several eminent counsel of the different courts of Law & Equity who concurred in an unanimous opinion that the Company have a complete title to all the Lands within the
limit above mentioned & that within these limits their Governor & their Council appointed by the Company, are empowered by the Charter to administer Justice according to the Law of England. A copy of these opinions is inclosed for your Lordships information.
As these questions involve points of Royal Prerogative, we were anxious to obtain the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown in addition to those of Sir Sam'l Romilly, Mr. Cruise, Mr. Holroyd, Mr. Scarlett, & Mr. Bell. The high sanction of their opinion would certainly have been a great satisfaction to the persons acting under the Charter but as the circumstances of the Colony require that an adequate provision for the administration of justice between man & man should be made without delay, the Board of Directors have felt it to be their duty provisionally to give Instructions to the Governor in Chief with his Council to try & determine according to the Law of England, all causes which may arise, & to administer Justice with all those precautions which have been recommended by the eminent legal authorities whom we have consulted trusting that we may yet be enabled to transmit to Hudsons Bay the opinion of His Majesty's Attorney & Solicitor General.
I have the honor to be &c., &c., &c.
(Signed)JOS. BERINS, Govr.