Murdoch to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
21 February 1859
I have to acknowledge your letter of 14th instant with an Extract of a Despatch from the Governor of British Columbia, enclosing a Proclamation which he had issued to confer on himself and his successors the power to convey Crown Lands within the Colony.
2. This Proclamation was issued on the advice of Mr Begbie, and authorises the Governor to make grants under his hand and Seal. In all other Colonies asManuscript imageas far as I am aware grants of Land are made in the name of the Crown & under the public seal of the Colony, and the power to make such grants is derived from the Prerogative of the Crown delegated in this particular to the Governor by his Commission. I am not aware of any circumstances connected with British Columbia which should make it necessary to pursue a different course in that Colony, and if none such exist it would I think be muchManuscript imagemuch better, and probably safer, to follow the Established practice in this respect.
I have etc.
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
See observation addressed to Mr Merivale on 2297—which also applies to this Proclamation about Lands in B. Columbia.
ABd 3/3
The proclamation is with 2297. I agree with the Commissioners that the Governor (or rather Mr Begbie) has made a slight mistake.
HM Mh 4
Communicate substance of this report to the Gov?
C March 4
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Mr Merivale
There is no clause in the Commission or Instructions to Governor Douglas giving him power to grant land.
He has issued his Proclamation under the general powers conferred by the Act of Parliament on the governor to make laws Institutions &c.
Under these circumstances was that step necessary & proper?
H Irving 12 March
Mr Irving is certainly right, and this being so, the proclamation may I think be approved.
HM Mh 15
Annex dt.
C Mch 16