Murdoch to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
3 January 1862
I have to acknowledge your letter of 20th ultimo, with copies of two despatches from the Governor of British Columbia, enclosing two Proclamations numbered 8 & 9 of 1861 and entitled respectively "The British Columbia Land Registry Act 1861" and
"The preemption Consolidation Act 1861."
2. As the Governor in his despatch of the 21st October last gives a full recapitulation of the principal provisions of the Registration ActManuscript image it is only necessary here to state, generally, that after providing for a Chief Office in New Westminster and for District Offices with a Registrar General and subordinate Officers, the Act proclaims that all instruments in any way affecting Real Estate which have been properly executed and certified may be registered in the District in which the Land is situated.
3. Unlike the practice of the Register Counties in this Country and in Upper Canada the Registration is effected not by a short memorial but by a verbatim transcript in the Register books of the originalManuscript image Instrument, and the measure is confined to instruments inter vivos and does not affect testamentary dispositions (see 37). The object of excluding Wills from the operation of the Act does not appear from the Governor's despatch.
4. The effect of Registration is to make void all unregistered instruments executed after the 1st Novr 1861 as against subsequent purchasers or Incumbrancers of the same Estate except in case of actual fraud or conspiracy. In other words priority of Registry confers priority of Title. The Governor explains that the measure is of a less elaborate character than the one in forceManuscript image in VanCouvers Island and assigns as reasons for the great cost and the impossibility of procuring from the very limited body of Practitioners a sufficient number of properly qualified Officers.
5. The "Preemption Consolidated Act No 9 of 1861" as its Title imports, and as the Governor explains, is merely a consolidation of three existing Acts relating to preemption of unsurveyed lands in the Colony, viz. The Act of the 4th Janry 1860. "The Preemption Amendment Act 1861" (No 2 of 19th Janry) and "The Preemption Purchase Act 1861" (No 6 of 28th May) which it repeals andManuscript image reenacts with but little modification. The principal alteration being in allowing the Holders of 160 acre claims to take possession of any contiguous Land on payment of an instalment at the rate of 2s/1d per Acre as security that the Land is held for the purpose of immediate settlement. The payment of the remainder of the purchase money is deferred until the Land is surveyed.
6. With this exception the Act contains nothing that has not already been sanctioned.
7. I have the honor to report that these Proclamations appearManuscript image to me open to no objection, and I would recommend that they should receive H.M. approval.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient
Humble Servant
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
VJ 4 Jan
Sanction both Proclns.
FR 7/1
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 111, 17 March 1862, informing Douglas that proclamations 8 and 9, titled "The British Columbia Land Registry Act 1861" and "The preemption Consolidation Act 1861," respectively, have been approved by the Queen.