No. 24, Ecclesiastical
17 February 1860
My Lord Duke
In my Despatch No 224 of the 18th October last, reporting to your Grace on the state of British Columbia, I took occasion, while adverting to the existing means of moral moral Manuscript image and religious instruction in the Colony, to inform your Grace that Divine service was regularly held in the several Towns of Lower British Columbia, by resident Clergymen, and that the almost total absence of crime went far to shew how usefully, and extensively, the influence of their teaching is felt.
2. It did not however occur to me, to inform your Grace at Manuscript image at the same time, that I had on the part of this Government done everything in my power to promote the good cause, by encouraging the residence of an ordained and educated Clergy in British Columbia.
3. Having no authority to apply any part of the Public Revenue to the aid and support of Churches, there was little in my power to bestow, beyond the sincerest sympathy and advice, in aid of the zealous Clergy Manuscript image Clergy of the Church of England, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, who first entered the field of Missionary labour in British Columbia.
4. I did not however hesitate to assign to the Clergy of those persuasions respectively, on their application, a Church, School, and Dwelling House site, forming a block of four building Lots, or about one acre of Land, in extent, in all Towns Manuscript image Towns where they resided. Thus free grants to that extent, viz., one acre, have been made for the use and benefit of the Church of England, and of the Methodist Episcopal Church, respectively, in the Towns of Yale, Hope, Derby, Douglas, and New Westminster, as a small return for the valuable services rendered to the country by the Clergy of those Churches, who have hitherto received no other compensation from the Government.
5. I have to request Manuscript image Your Grace's sanction for those grants, and authority to continue the same practice in all other Towns of British Columbia, where ordained Ministers of the Gospel may think proper to take up their residence, and further, seeing that one of the duties most deserving the attention of Government, is to provide means for the moral and religious training of the people, I would take the liberty of recommending Manuscript image recommending to Her Majesty's Government, that free grants of One hundred acres of rural land, should be made in aid of every Cure, formed in British Columbia, provided they be not otherwise supported at the Public expense, and there be a resident Clergyman, and a place of Christian Worship erected.
6. A grant of Land to that extent would not be burdensome to the Colony, and would nevertheless form an attractive inducement Manuscript image inducement, for Christian Churches to devote their attention to the Country, until population increases, and other provision is made for the maintenance of a Christian Clergy, and the erection of places of Christian Worship.
7. It is not my intention to advocate the establishment of a dominant and endowed Church, as that object could not be accomplished without injustice Manuscript image injustice, in a country to which persons of all religious persuasions are invited to resort, but I conceive it would be advisable to extend in the manner before indicated, the protection and support of Government, to the four grand denominations of Christians, viz. the Church of England, the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Roman Catholic Churches Manuscript image Churches, which are all represented by classes of the population in this Colony.
8. I shall be glad to receive the instructions of Her Majesty's Government on this subject.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Refer to Land Board. The grant of one acre of Land as a site for a Church, school, & dwelling house to the Clergymen of the principal religious persuasions in B. Columbia wd seem a very legitimate & proper measure: indeed can the setting aside of 100 acres for the support of the Clergymen—who have no other means of subsistence that I know of—be really objectionable in the infancy of the Colony, & its inability to pay for its religious instruction. But care must be taken against the introduction of any extensive Clergy Reserve system of endowment.
ABd 17 April
Refer to Land Board?
TFE 20/4
CF 21
N 22
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 26, 19 May 1860.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 17 February 1860, CO 60:7, no. 3621, 112. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B60024.html.

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