No. 104, Legislative
Victoria, Vancouver's Island
19 February 1859
Sir,
I have the honor of forwarding herewith for your information copy of a Proclamation issued on the 14th day of this present Month, declaring the price and manner in which lands in British Columbia are to be
offered
offered for sale.  
2. The Proclamation sets forth the constitutional rights of the Crown to all the lands in British Columbia, and to the Mines and Minerals therein.  
3. Lands are to be offered for sale in the following classes, vizt Town Lands, general country lands, and lands for special settlement. All known Mineral lands, and lands reputed to contain Minerals will for the present be reserved.  
4. It is also our intention
to
to make large reserves for roads, the erection of places of worship, schools, and public purposes, and also for Towns and Villages, in such a manner, however, as not seriously to interfere with or retard the progressive improvement, and settlement of the Country.  
5. As a general rule no land is to be offered for sale without having been first surveyed and mapped off under government authority.  
Town
6. Town lands are to be sold by Public Auction, at an upset price to be hereafter fixed according to the value of the site.  
7. Country lands are also to be sold by Public Auction at the upset price of ten Shillings an acre, the purchase money to be paid, one half at the time of sale, and the remainder at the end of two years.  
8. We considered it advisable for many reasons to fix the upset sale price of country Lands in British Columbia at a
comparatively
comparatively low standard. In the first place we think it a matter of the greatest importance to encourage emigration from England, in order to supply the want now so much felt of an English element in the population, a want which in fact lies at the root of all the difficulties which now so much embarass all our attempts at legislation for the country. We are therefore especially desirous of placing before the English public, the attraction of cheap
land
land, at the same time we feel assured that the interests of Government will not suffer through that cause, as from the manner of sale and the effect of competition, the land if worth more, will fetch its value.  
9. We also feared that by adopting a higher price for land, the sturdy yeomen expected this year from Canada, Australia, and other British Colonies, might be driven in hundreds across the frontier to seek for homes in the United States Territories, where
it
it is the custom to make free grants of land.  
10. Coupled with the attractions of a low upset price to actual Settlers, we think the system will guard the land operations of the Colony, as much as in the nature of things is practicable, from the designs of speculators, who make purchases of land, not for actual settlement, but merely for profitable resale.  
11. The land for special Settlement is that bordering the
frontier
frontier of the United States, and on this we propose to make a Military Reserve, on behalf of the Royal Engineers, and, if possible, also otherwise to settle it with a population composed exclusively of English subjects.  
12. The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works is in Article 5 empowered to sell by private contract at the upset price, any land remaining unsold, after having been exposed at auction to public competition.  
13. The Proclamation further
declares
declares the intention of Government to lay out and settle the site of the Capital or Sea Port Town of British Columbia, and the conditions of sale for Town land there, and also that all persons who have paid for Town Lots at Langley, will be allowed, upon the surrender of such Lots, to have their Money transferred either as a whole, or part payment for Lots in the new Town, the object being to meet the wishes of the people, and to concentrate the commercial interests of the
Colony
Colony in the Capital.  
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
Land & Emigration Commrs.  
When their report has been made, & the Governor's proceedings approved, as I should judge they would be, it wd materially assist the object of attracting British settlers to B. Columbia to publish in a newspaper the Contents of this despatch. It will be months before this desph will appear in the Parly Series.  
ABd
12 Apl
HM
Apl 12
First to the Land Bd for report.  
C
Apl 12
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Newspaper clipping, unnamed, no date, containing the proclamation issued by Douglas for regulating the sale of land, port of entry, and location of the capital in British Columbia.  
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Carnarvon (in the absence of Lytton) to Douglas, No. 62, 7 May 1859.  
  • I embody in this draft, for consideration, the course which appears to me on the whole the best to be adopted.  
    TFE
    7 May
    N.B. This shd go to Land Board with reference to their report, in L[ithographed] F[orm].  
    TFE
    7 May
    Print for Parlt.  
    ABd
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Lytton, 19 February 1859, National Archives of the UK, 3826, CO 60/4. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=B59104.scx. Accessed 24 September 2018. 

Last modified: 14:45:14, 28/2/2018