No. 153
Government House Victoria
Vancouvers Island
12 May 1859
Sir
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch of the 11th February No. 20 referring to the sale of Town Lots at Langley and conveying to me your approval of my proceedings in that matter.
2. I have perused with muchManuscript imagemuch attention your remarks upon the subject of aliens acquiring Land, and I return you my best thanks for the same and for your kindness in furnishing me with the Canadian Acts, which will prove of great service, in legislating for that Class in British Columbia.
3. With reference to your remarks respecting the position of the Town I would beg to state that I was guidedManuscript imageguided in choosing old Langley as the site of a commercial Town chiefly by the partiality displayed for that spot by the Mercantile community of the Country
i.e. of Van Couver's Island. There is no such community yet in B. Columbia.
whose instincts in such matters, is generally unerring.
4. The place moreover possesses great natural advantages for trade being accessible by land from Semiamhoo, having deep water, a bold shore and good anchorage. The land is also clear of trees, and was surveyed at a very small expenseManuscript imageexpense, and therefore perfectly suiting our pecuniary means.
5. The operation on our part was a financial measure rather than one founded on any cogent reason of policy. The locality was popular, and the land realized a larger return of revenue than any other spot on the river would have done. You will doubtless have perceived from my Despatch No 9, 5th November last that I never proposed constituting LangleyManuscript imageLangley the Sea Port Town of Frasers River, for which purpose it would not in my opinion have been adapted owing to the obstructions caused by Ice in the Winter and its greater distance from the sea than the proposed Port of Entry, Queensborough.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
I should suggest sending a copy of this desph & of the one to which the Governor refers—No 9 of 3 Novr last—to the Board of Trade—which Dt has at present under its consideration questions relating to the Sea Ports of B. Columbia as ports of entry & delivery.
If Old Langley had been retained as the Commercial Sea Port, it is so close to the United States Town of Semiamhoo that the chief Town of B. Columbia wd necessarily, from the effect of constant intercourse with Semiamhoo, have become thoroughly Americanized.
ABd 13 July
Communicate also to Land Bd for information.
HM Jy 13
Fort Langley, it seems, is 28 miles up the River. The point proposed for a Sea Port in the Governor's desp. No 9 of the 5th Novber last, about 10 miles up.
CF 14
Langley seems adopted by all mercantile men as the point by which to regulate their trade with B.C. Communicate as proposed.
N 17
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to J. Booth, Board of Trade, 29 July 1859, forwarding copies of despatches 528 and 6451 regarding the establishment of commercial ports in the colony.
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Draft, Merivale to Emigration Commissioners, 29 July 1859, forwarding copy of the despatch for information.
Douglas, James to Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer 12 May 1859, CO 60:4, no. 6951, 361. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B59153.html.

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