Murdoch to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
11 August 1859
I have to acknowledge your letter of 2nd instant, enclosing a Despatch from the Governor of British Columbia, on the subject of the disposal of Crown Lands in that Colony.
2. On 7th February last Sir E. Bulwer Lytton addressed a Despatch to Governor Douglas, explaining the principles on which Land should be disposed of in British Columbia. ButManuscript imageBut on the 14th February the Governor had issued a Proclamation in the Colony on the same subject, which he forwarded to the Secretary of State in a Despatch dated 19th February. The two Despatches crossed of course on the road. On examining Governor Douglas' Proclamation it was found that the only material difference between his regulations and Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's instructions was in respect to the mode of requiring payment for Land sold. Governor Douglas allowed the payment to be made in two equal instalments with anManuscript imagean interval of two years. Sir E. Bulwer Lytton required payment down. In our Report of 28th April last we recommended, that to avoid confusion Governor Douglas' Proclamation should be allowed to remain in force, but that whenever new Regulations were issued the mode of payment should be altered in conformity with the Secretary of State's Instructions.
3. Governor Douglas' present Despatch is an answer to Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's Despatch of 7th February before referred to, and is therefore now out of date. The only important points in itManuscript imageit are the statement that some of the Town Lots in Langley were sold at the rate of £560 an Acre, and that it has been decided to give up the system of Licenses to dig for Gold and to substitute an Export duty on Gold and a direct Tax on Miners, from both of which measures a large amount of Revenue is expected. The impossibility of maintaining the licences was anticipated from the experience of Victoria, whether the export duty can be made to answer with the American Frontier so close is a matterManuscript imagematter on which only those on the spot can form an opinion.
4. Governor Douglas evidently adheres to his preference of paying for Land by instalments rather than by money down, but admits that prompt payment may be introduced when the Country has become more settled and Land more valuable. Upon this point, however, he has already received instructions in Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's Despatch of May last. Nothing, therefore, remains to be done on his present Despatch butManuscript imagebut to acknowledge its receipt and to refer him to the instructions which he has received.
I have etc.
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
This matter is already disposed of—by the Duke of Newcastle's desph 28 July—& by the preceding despatches from this Office.
ABd 12 Augt
HM Augt 12
CF 14
N 15