Murdoch to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
5 January 1859
I have to acknowledge Mr Elliot's letter of 21st ultimo, enclosing two despatches from the Governor of British Columbia, the first accompanied by two Proclamations and a Notice which he had recently issued, and requesting to be furnished with a Form of Land Grants, the second submitting for approval a Form of Grant for Town Lots.
2. The proclamations and Notice enclosed in the first DespatchManuscript imageDespatch prohibit the introduction of Spirituous Liquors among the Natives, announce the approaching sale of Town Lots at Fort Langley, and caution purchasers against fraudulent sales of Crown Lands by unauthorized persons. To these there can evidently be no objection. In regard to the form of Grant sent home by Governor Douglas, I may point out that it runs in the name of the Governor himself instead of in the name of the Queen, as is usual in all grants made in virtue of powers delegated by Her Majesty, and that the conditionManuscript imagecondition at the end of it, that the Lands shall be subject to all Laws and sanitary regulations now in force, is superfluous and calculated to raise a doubt on that point rather than to settle it. All grants must be accepted liable to such laws & regulations as exist at the time or may subsequently be made by competent authority, and it is scarcely possible to imagine a case in which it would be desirable to enforce that liability as a Contract between the Crown and its Grantee rather than as a legal obligation on the Landowner.
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3. I enclose the Form of a Grant which appears sufficient for all purposes. All reservations of Timber Minerals &c are omitted in conformity with the policy which has been established in other Colonies of late years. I have pointed out, however, in another report of this date, that this omission will not entitle a grantee to appropriate Gold or Silver which may be found on his Grant, although it willManuscript imagewill entitle him to the baser metals and Coal.
4. I have adopted in this form the new Title of Her Majesty published in the recent Indian Proclamation, which was announced as having been approved by the "Queen in Council." I am not, however, aware whether it is intended to adopt this form of Title in all future documents running in Her Majesty's name, or whether it was to be used only on the special occasion of the Proclamation to India.
I have etc.
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
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HT Irving 6 Jany
Mr Merivale
As this is a proposed form of a deed of grant, it requires your inspection.
TFE 8 Jany
The grant seems right. The point as to the Queen's title deserves consideration. I suppose there can be no objection to our adopting it?
HM Jan 10
None occurs to me.
C Jan 10
EBL Jan 11
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Form of grant for crown lands in British Columbia and Vancouver Island.