No. 7
27 October 1858
1. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch No. 9 [Vancouver Island], of the 14th of August, 1 and I hasten to attend to your requisition for information on the subject of the disposal of land in British Columbia, to CompaniesorManuscript image or private individuals.
2. In order to meet your instructions more fully on that subject, I directed Mr Surveyor Pemberton to draw up a report describing in a general manner the existing arrangements for the sale of land on Vancouver's Island, 2 and the proposed arrangements for the sale of land in British Columbia. That report I have now the honor of herewith transmitting to you. It embodies my own views on the subject of land sales, except on one or two points.
3. Mr Pemberton for instance suggests that the system of receiving payment for CrownLandsManuscript image Lands by four annual instalments; instead of immediate payment, should be abandoned, on account of the trouble and difficulty of collecting the instalments, but reasons equally cogent may be urged in support of the existing system, such as the benefit and relief it gives to poor settlers, and I am therefore of opinion that the same system may be extended with advantage to British Columbia in all sales of country lands exceeding 50 acres, but not in sales of Town Lands, which are always paid for on receiving the Title Deeds.
4. We propose to sell country land in Fraser's RiverandManuscript image and other mining Districts at the fixed price of £1 per statute acre, and Town Land according to the public value of the site. I think however, it might be advisable to adopt a lower selling price than £1 per acre, in purely Agricultural Districts, where no minerals are found, for the purpose of encouraging early settlement. That however is an arrangement which may be reserved for further consideration.
5. I propose for the present to reserve all Mineral Lands, which are generally speaking unproductive under cultivation, for the purpose of revenue, such as a great part of the narrow belt of table land, extending fromtheManuscript image the River to the mountains, on the banks of Fraser's River, between Forts Hope and Yale.
6. A series of meteor[o]logical observations would no doubt be highly interesting to the public and we propose to have them taken at the Surveying Office as soon as they are established, and we are supplied with the proper instruments.
7. With those few observations I will close my remarks on Mr Pemberton's report.
8. I beg also to assure you that we shall attend to the instructions contained in your said despatch, concerning the disposal of land; preventing persons from squatting on the PublicManuscript image Public lands; keeping separate accounts of all Revenue derived from the sale of land, and its applications at present to the purposes of survey and communication, and the necessary accounts will be furnished from time to time after the public lands are brought into the market.
9. I shall also not fail to give effect to your views in regard to the naturalization of foreigners, and you may rest assured that there will be no just cause of complaint, for favors shewn to the Servants of the Hudson's Bay Company; and that every precaution will be taken to repress speculation and land-jobbing, and to protecttheManuscript image the public interests committed to my care.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Governor British Columbia
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
The Emigration Commissrs: could no doubt offer useful suggestions on this subject of the disposal of lands?
VJ 14 Decr
E. Com. at once for a report.
C Dec 15
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 16, 7 February 1859.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Joseph D. Pemberton, Colonial Surveyor, to Douglas, 26 October 1858, reporting on the systems of land disposal in Vancouver Island, as per despatch.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 21 December 1858, forwarding copy of the despatch and enclosure for suggestions and observations.
  1. Lytton to Douglas, No. 9, 14 August 1858, PABC. CO 410/1, p. 174.
  2. According to Pemberton's report, land on Vancouver Island was then divided into four categories, namely, country, municipal, town, and suburban lands, and land could be purchased on instalments over a four year period. Pemberton recommended that the instalment system be abandoned, that mineral and other ?? lands should be reserved for government purposes, and that land offices be opened throughout the colony. Check??
People in this document

Carnarvon, Earl

Douglas, James

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Jadis, Vane

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Merivale, Herman

Pemberton, Joseph Despard

Organizations in this document

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

British Columbia

Fraser River


Vancouver Island