Murdoch to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
7 February 1859
I have to acknowledge Mr Elliot's letter of 3rd instant, enclosing a Despatch from Governor Douglas with a report of a Sale of Town Lands at Old Fort Langley in British Columbia.
2. The Governor states that the site of Old Fort Langley being well suited for a Town site, he had had it laid out, to the extent of 900 Acres, in Lots of 64 x 120 feet, or nearly one sixth of an Acre each, that these lots had been put up toManuscript imageto Auction at an upset price of 100 Dollars or £20.16.8. each, that 187 Lots were sold on the first day and 155 on the second day, the highest price being 725 dollars or £157, the lowest 100 Dollars, and the whole sum realized about £13000 (stated more precisely by the Surveyor General at £14.583.6.8), that 10 per cent of the purchase money was paid down, and that the remainder was to be paid in the course of a month. The Governor further states that the sale was to be resumed on the 1st of December, but as his Despatch is dated 29th November the result of thatManuscript imagethat sale could not be known. In the Surveyor General's Report it is added that the actual number of purchasers was 165 but that many of these acted as Agents for others, and he, therefore, considers that between 400 and 500 persons have by this sale acquired an interest in the proposed Town.
3. Governor Douglas is fairly entitled to describe this result as highly satisfactory. His arrangements for laying out the Town site and for disposing of the lots appear to have been very judicious, and I have no suggestion to make in regard to them. I presume that Sir E. Bulwer Lytton willManuscript imagewill express his approval of Govr Douglas' proceedings.
4. The Governor adds that much anxiety being felt by Foreigners as to the rights of Aliens in the acquisition of Land in British Columbia, he had published a Memorandum, which he encloses, and which he had caused to be publicly read and circulated, explaining the state of the Law in the United Kingdom and in British Columbia, and expressing his intention to propose a measure which would secure to aliens the full enjoyment of any Land they might purchase during 3 years, at the end of which time they mustManuscript imagemust either become naturalized or part with the Land to British subjects. I am not aware of any objection to the arrangement proposed by the Governor, but the present state of the alien Law in Canada is rather more favorable to Aliens, and as it may be inferred from its repeated relaxations that it has not been found to act injuriously in that Province, it might perhaps be adopted without risk in British Columbia. By the Canadian Law Aliens are capable of holding and disposing of Land in that Province in the same manner as natural born subjects of Her MajestyManuscript imageMajesty, and after a continued residence of three years are entitled to a Certificate of Naturalization on taking certain Oaths or Affirmations of residence and allegiances and persons so naturalized enjoy and transmit to their heirs all the rights and capacities of Natural born subjects. Aliens, therefore, under this Act would not be liable to be deprived of their Land after the expiration of 3 years, should they neglect or decline to take out certificates of naturalization.
5. The Acts in which the Alien Law of Canada is comprized are theManuscript imagethe 12th Vict. Cap 197, and the 22nd Vict. Cap 1. I would submit that copies of those Acts should be communicated to Governor Douglas for his information and assistance.
I have etc.
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
In the ansr to the Govr I think something should be said to guard him from thinking that H.M. Govt have failed to notice the part that this proposed site for a Town has been fixed on the South side of the Frazer's River. In a military point of view, & with the Americans 10 or 12 miles off it wd, I think, have been more satisfactory to have had the barrier of the River as against attack upon the Town.
ABd 7 Feb
I should approve of his proceedings about the sales of land, should write to him about aliens as suggested by Mr Murdoch, and with regard to the point noticed in Mr Blackwood's Minute I should ask him whether he had adverted to that consideration, but I should avoid anything in the nature of blame, because on a matter of this kind, and especially in addressing a man who has shewn eminently practical qualities, I think that it behoves authorities sitting in Downing Street to express themselves with modesty.
TFE 7 Feby
C F. 8
Yes but as to sites of Town request him to consult Col. Moody.
EBL Feb 9
The town, I sd explain, [few words cut off file] Moody formed.