No. 25
Government House Victoria
Vancouver Island
15 July 1859
Sir
I have the honor of transmitting herewith a Communication from Mr Pemberton the Colonial Surveyor relative to the sale of about Twenty thousand acres of land of inferior value, consisting in a great measure, of rocks and swamp, scattered in small
portions
portions over the four surveyed districts around Victoria.  
2. Mr Pemberton therefore suggests, for the reasons stated in his letter, viz. his inability to sell the land in question at the established price of one pound (£1) sterling an acre, and, consequent on the land remaining unsold, the obliteration of the subdividing lines by fire or otherwise, and the loss of the public outlay in the survey, that those lands may be put up for sale on the 1st day of
August
August next at the upset price of Four Shillings and two pence (4/2) per acre.  
3. As Mr Pemberton's views on this point appear to be perfectly sound, I have given my sanction to the Sale of the land in question on the terms proposed, as a Special and exceptional case, in no way affecting the sale price of other public lands in this Colony.  
4. I do not however feel disposed to adopt Mr Pembertons suggestion respecting the Cowitchin Country. It has for good reasons been the invariable
policy
policy of the Government to concentrate as much as possible the white population when forming settlements in Districts inhabited by powerful tribes of Indians, but that object is attainable now as fully as at any former period in the history of this Colony, and I therefore do not consider it expedient or advisable to close, for some time, the Cowitchin valley against the settlement of Whites, as Mr Pemberton suggests. To adopt such a course would naturally
give
give rise to much clamour and dissatisfaction among the people, and in effect retard the legitimate progress of the Colony.  
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient humble servant
James Douglas

To The Right Honble
Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton Bt
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
Land Board.  
ABd
7 Sep
HM
S 7
CF
9
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Joseph D. Pemberton to Douglas, 1 June 1859, suggesting that undesirable land in the vicinity of Victoria be sold at a reduced price, and advising the Cowichan Valley be closed to settlement for the present. Printed below.  
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 15, 20 October 1859.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Victoria, V.I.
1st June 1859 To His Excellency James Douglas Esqre C.B. Governor of Vancouver's Island
Sir,  
I have the honor to address a note to your Excellency on the subject of the price of and circumstances connected with, the Lands now unsold in the surveyed Districts nearest Victoria, viz. Esquimalt, Metchosin, Sooke, Lake, North and South Saanich.  
Of these unsold Lands about 20,000 acres are divided into 100 acres Sections, of inferior value, containing as they do a large proportion of Timber, rock or swamp.  
Persons will not purchase these lands at one pound per acre paid by instalments, to reclaim them would cost an average of Five pounds per acre.  
If left unsold Fires in the Autumn may destroy many of the subdividing lines and the outlay will be lost.  
Cattle dealers, and Sheep Farmers, Timber Merchants, and others might now be got to purchase them at a lower price.  
I respectfully suggest to your Excellency the expediency of putting them up to auction at an upset price of Four Shillings and two pence per acre giving time for an examination before the Sale.  
The surveys at Cowichan and Nanaimo progress favorably. 50,000 acres are already surveyed and divided into 100 acre Sections at a cost not exceeding Two pounds per lineal mile of line cut, or Two pence per acre.  
I do not recommend to your Excellency any alteration of the usual terms of sale in these Districts and am strongly of opinion that the number of bona-fide settlers wanting to purchase Land here at present is so small, that it would be better for some time not to throw them open for Settlement for the following reasons.  
1st The advantage of concentrating the White population in a country containing so many Indians.  
2nd The expense of police and roads and access must press heavily on the settled portion of the country in a self-supporting Colony.  
3rd The danger of disturbance with Indians from a few families of settlers among them where an immigration on a large scale might be perfectly safe.  
I take the liberty of submitting the considerations above written to your Excellencys better judgement.  
I have the honor to be Sir
your Excellencys very obedient servant
(sd) Joseph D Pemberton
Colonial Surveyor
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Lytton, 15 July 1859, National Archives of the UK, 8942, CO 305/10. 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=V59025.scx. Accessed 20 July 2018. 

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