No. 218
13 September 1859
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to transmit herewith for the information of Her Majesty's Government, copies of the following Proclamations which have been lately issued for the Colony of British Columbia, i.e.
1. Proclamation dated 15th May 1859Manuscript image1859 for the Naturalization of Aliens, in the Colony of British Columbia, alluded to in my Despatch No. 167 of the 8th June last.
2. Proclamation dated 19th May 1859 for the relief of Her Majesty's subjects, entitled the "Oaths Act" 1859.
3. Proclamation dated 2nd June 1859 altering, in some respects, the act for levying duties of Customs on Imports into British Columbia.
4. Proclamation dated 15th June 1859 imposing Tonnage, Pilotage, and Harbor dues, atManuscript imageat the Port of Queensborough, now New Westminster, British Columbia.
5. Proclamation dated 25th June 1859 amending the same.
6. Proclamation dated 10th August 1859 amending the Laws relating to the Licences for selling spirits &c and for other purposes.
7. Proclamation dated 31st August 1859 entitled the "Gold Fields Act", together with Rules and Regulations for working of Gold Mines, dated 7th September 1859.
2. The "Aliens Act" confers upon such persons the privilege of holdingManuscript imageholding and conveying real estate, and of being naturalized, within the Colony, after a residence therein of 3 years, and is calculated in all its provisions, to attach the Alien to the Country of his adoption, and through a sense of obligation, to Her Majesty's rule.
3. The Amended "Customs Act" imposes further duties—
On Tobacco, for purely revenue purposes.
On Distilled Liquors and Spirits of all sorts, not only to increase the Revenue, but also with the view of reducing the disparity of cost to the consumer betweenManuscript imagebetween the cheap American spirits, now largely imported from San Francisco, and the better qualities of Spirits imported from Great Britain; and to encourage the importation of the latter.
On Flour and other articles of food, entering largely into the consumption of the mining population, for revenue purposes. These articles were previously charged with a low specific duty, for the benefit of that class, who were then taxed through the Act imposing a Monthly Mining Licence Fee, which is now repealed.
The Manuscript image
4. The "Spirit License Act" repeals all former Acts for levying duties on the sales of Wines and Spirits.
The Charge on Spirit Licences is reduced to a much lower sum, intended to compensate in the case of Keepers of Licensed Houses for the increased Customs duty, levied on spirits.
5. The "Gold Fields Act" with the annexed rules and regulations, embraces the whole subject of Gold Mining, and provides very fully for contingent questions. Miners rights are guarded with special care. As a class they are free from any direct taxes beyond theManuscript imagethe annual charge of £1 for the Free Miners Certificate.
That document places them in a position of perfect security, with respect to mining claims, and secures to each Free Miner the right of voting at Elections.
Mining Boards having a power to make bye laws, with the consent of the Gold Commissioner, may be formed whenever one hundred or more Registered Free Miners are found in any District.
It is also provided that the Mining Boards may be dissolved by the Governor, a power which it may, in certain cases be necessary toManuscript imageto use; at the same time the Mining Boards will be fostered and encouraged as long as they confine their influence to its legitimate object, that of improving the condition of the Gold Fields.
The other Acts do not appear to require special notice, and with those reported on, will I trust meet with Your Grace's approval.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Register & refer to Sir F. Rogers.
(It is important for us to remember that these Proclamations must in obedience to the Act, be laid before Parlt.)
ABd 2 Novr
TFE 2/11
N 3
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Sir F. Rogers, Emigration Commission, 10 November 1859, forwarding copy of the despatch and proclamations for report.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 17, 16 April 1860, acknowledging receipt of the list of proclamations and transmitting an extract of a Report by the Law Advisor.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
Ought any final approval or confirmation of these Ordinances to be given after they have been laid before Parliament?
In order to answer this question, I must see the Brit. Columbia Order in Council and Governor's Commission.
Vide Act of Parliament 21, 22 Vic. 99. S. II.

It is the former I think which contains the rules about laws to be made. I want also to see the Canada Alien Act (See p. 85).
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Not in file.