No. 13, Legislative
8 February 1861
I have the honour of transmitting herewith, Copies of the following Acts, which have been duly passed by the
Legislature of Vancouver's Island, and are now submitted for Her Majesty's approval. No 1 An Act for the payment of certain Salaries ... £3200. No 2 An Act to apply the sum of £3207.14.1 out of the General Revenue to defray the Expenses of Departments for the Service of the Year 1860. No 3 An Act to apply the sum of £9364 out of the General
Revenue of the Colony of Vancouver Island and its Dependencies to the Service of the Year 1860. No 4 An Act to impose certain duties in respect of certain Trades and Occupations. No 5 An Act to provide for the repair improvement and regulation of Roads in Vancouver Island and its Dependencies. No 6 An Act to levy an Annual Tax of £1 per centum on the value of all Real Estate in the Colony of Vancouver Island and its Dependencies.
No 7
No 7 An Act to amend the Scale of Fees charged for the entrance and clearance of Vessels; Licences to Boats, Scows and other Craft; and dues for Landing Permits, as well as other matters relating to the same, in the Port of Victoria, including Esquimalt.  
2. The first three Acts, numbered 1, 2, and 3, are Bills of Supply, setting forth the sums voted for the Service of the Year 1860,
and need no remark, as they explain themselves. Neither does it appear that those numbered 4, 6, and 7 require explanation, as they merely impose certain taxes in addition to previously existing sources of revenue to form the sums granted for the year. The Real Estate Tax Act, No 6, is objectionable in some of its features, especially that provision which imposes an ad valorem duty on improvements
Agricultural improvements are excepted.  
which is really a tax on enterprise, increasing in the exact ratio of expenditure on works whether of utility or luxury. I fear it will have a direct influence in checking the introduction and investment of capital; operating with fatal effect on the sources of revenue, and restraining their natural growth and expansion. It is however one of those
Evils for which it is difficult to find a remedy, as the omission of the objectionable provision would render a prolific tax comparatively unproductive, and leave a deficit of revenue to meet the expenditure. We shall however, endeavour to amend the Act next Session.  
3. The Road Act, No 5, is peculiar in its provisions, but is perhaps the only system that
can be worked to advantage in the present condition of this Colony.  
I have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
Sir F. Rogers
20 Apl
See 3649/61.  
Vide Minute on 4322 V.C.I.  
Vide Minute on 13/3646 & 16/3649/
these Acts to be left alone.
Minute dated
These despatches relate to the Acts of the VanCouver Island Legislature of the Session of 1861—which have been so long away from us. The Acts have been reported on by Sir F. Rogers. I do not see that the Duke of Newcastle has formally signified his concurrence in Sir F. Rogers' opinions thereon. Considering the lapse of time we had better proceed as if the Duke had approved—asking for His Grace's approval when the drafts are submitted to him.  
It is very important to make a note of such papers—& minutes as relate to the exchange of the Crown Revenues for a Civil List in V.C. Isld, as this will probably form a subject for conversation & arrangement with the new Governor.  
17 Apl/63
Mr Fortescue
These acts have been so long without action that it becomes a fresh question what shd be done with them.  
No 1 or 19 gives the following Salaries Governor 800£
C. Justice 800
Col Secy 500
Treas 400
Surveyor Gen. 400
Atty G. 300 to take effect so soon as the Land Fund shall be handed over to the Colonial Legre.  
The H.B. Cy question being practically settled there appears little reason why the Land Fund should not be handed on; unless the Imperial Govt (wh has in fact bought it from the H.B. Cy) consider themselves to have any lien upon it.  
The question arises however on what terms as to Salaries &c this shd be done—wh is an administrative not a legal question.  
I should be inclined, now, to leave this Act unnoticed and take up the question in connection with the General politics of V.C. Island as a new one. Nos 2 & 3 (or 20, 21) Appropriation Acts—they are now Exhausted. Take no notice. Nos 4 (or 25) Tax on lands repealed. Take no notice. 5 (or 26) Roads—unobjectionable. 6 (or 27) Tax on real property repealed. Take no notice. 7 (or 29) Victoria & Esquimalt Harbour Do Do 18 Joint Stock Companies ) 22 Street Fund ) Unobjectionable 23 Firemens Act. Expired. Take no notice. 25 Sale of liquor to Indians—an imperfect Act. But the imperfection is such that it is hardly worth remarking upon now. 28 Conveyances of land (a rude act but very likely required). 30 Gas Compy. 31 Gives validity to titles derived from the H.B.Cy. It is minuted to be referred to them but as they have no longer anything to do with the matter the reference seems unnecessary. 32 Jury at Quarter Sessions ) 33 Foreign Actions ) All unobjectionable 34 Registration of Voters ) 35 Victoria Bridge ) 36 Transfer of Real Property. Further report promised but not received.  
I am disposed to say that the best thing that can be done with all these Acts is just to put them by.  
Some are repealed or have expired. The rest remain in form witht confirmation. There is no reason why they should not remain in form and no good purpose will be answered by any special confirmation of them. On the other hand a confirmation after a lapse of two years draws attention to the delay.  
Of course however the political question connected with No 1 (or 19) remains for consideration.  
Duke of Newcastle
Leave the Acts unnoticed, as advised by Sir F.R.?  
But the question of the Crown Lands, & a Civil List will have to be settled.  
It is obviously the best course to take no further notice of these Acts.  
I should like to have a Memm shewing what has heretofore passed on the subject of the Crown Lands.  
Mr Blackwood
These Vancouver I. Acts rather puzzle me with regard to the Civil List.  
The Land Revenue seems to be only 4576.1.6.  
The Salaries & Contingencies of the Govt &c are
Salaries 3200
Contingencies 3207
6207 £  
And the Acts Nos 19 & 20 provide that these Salaries are not to be paid until the Crown Revenue is handed over to the Lege.  
How then are they to be paid?  
They must be paid for the present in [the] same way as they have hitherto been paid—i.e. out of the General Revenue of the Colony. But a great question is opened by these despatches—a question which did not present itself to me at first sight but which is now apparent. It is nothing else than a proposal for the surrender of the Crown Revenues in exchange for a Civil List—[a] very important affair. In relation to [it] I send you some former papers—& minutes which will be serviceable to you, & which we ought to have supplied you with in the first instance.  
It seems to me that the Governor ought to have insisted on a suspending clause to these Civil List Acts. And we should bear in mind that there is always a probability of VanCouver Isd and B. Columbia being some day placed under separate Governors. In such case I doubt £800 a year being adequate pay for a Governor in that place. Provision shd be made for an increase.  
Further I wd suggest that whenever we do give up the Crown Revenues for a Civil List we shd avail ourselves of the oppy to insist on the establishment of the principle of reserving to the Govt the initiation of money votes. The want of this right has caused much inconvenience &c [in] the B.N.A. Colonies (Canada excepted) & has only lately been acquired there. Practically under Douglas I think this right prevails in V.C. Isld but it wd be well to insist on the public recognition of it least [sic] a weaker man than Douglas shd ever hold the Govt.  
3 May
Vancouver Island Acts
The following Acts are not acted on for the reasons stated. No 19 No decision has been adopted in respect of this Act. Nos 20 [and] 21 Supply Acts for the year 1860. [Marginal note: Exhausted. Let them alone. FR] No 24 Trades Licenses. This Act is repealed "save in so far as any licenses and penalties accrued due or incurred heretofore are concerned." Vide Act No 74 of 1862. In the marginal Abstract of the Act of /62 it is stated that the Trades Licenses Act /60 is repealed. Does the above quotation amount to an actual repeal? and should the Act of /60 now be sanctioned? [Marginal note: 1. Certainly. 2. No Let it alone. (FR)] No 27 Real Estate Tax Act. Does the Act No 71 of 1862 actually repeal this Act (as stated in the marginal abstract?) or ought it to be now sanctioned? [Marginal note: 1. Certainly. 2. No. Let it alone. (FR)] No 29 (or 7). This Act is repealed by No. 65 of 1862 so it appears unnecessary to refer it to the Bd of Trade. [Marginal note: Certainly. (FR)] No 23 This Act is in force only for a year—the subsequent Act No. 43 is entitled "To extend and amend the provisions of the Firemans Protection Act/60". If the Act of /60 is extended by the subsequent Act I presume it should be sanctioned—but the subsequent Act seems not to extend the old Act as the title states but to reenact it—so I have omitted it from the list to be sanctioned. [Marginal note: Certainly. Let it alone. (FR)] No 36 The report promised by the Attorney General has not been received.  
[No signature - Looks likeEBP's hand.]
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • [Not on microfilm.]  
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Newcastle, 8 February 1861, National Archives of the UK, 3646, CO 305/17. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed 20 July 2018. 

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