Hamilton to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Treasury Chambers
29 January 1862
With reference to your letter of the 18 Inst, I am directed by the Lords Commissoners of Her Majesty's Treasury to request that you will move The Duke of Newcastle to forward to this Board the Report of the Governor of British Columbia, relative to the creation of a Registry of Titles to Land, also the Proclamation to which he refers.
My Lords also request tobeManuscript image be informed whether the duties proposed to be assigned to the Registrar, or any part of them, are at present performed by the Officer commanding the Royal Engineers for whose Establishment a sum of £1200 was voted in the Estimates of 1861-2 under the head of "Commissioner of Lands and Works."
Their Lordships observe in the Return of Appointments in British Columbia to 31 December 1860 the Office of "Registrar of Superior Court" at a SalaryofManuscript image of £300, and They would suggest whether the Officer might not be able to perform the duties of Registrar of Titles to Land, in addition to his other duties, with an increased Salary, whereby a separate appointment with the large salary of £500, as proposed, might be avoided.
I am Sir
You obedient Servant
Geo. A. Hamilton
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Suppy the despatch 10959/61 and Proclamation asked for.
2. In the absence of a Dt for registering titles to Lands we may assume, with little fear of being wrong, that hitherto Colonel Moody's Office has performed those duties incidental to the sale of Crown Lands. And, if you will turn to 6743/61, you will perhaps be of opinion with me that it may be in some measure owing to the imperfect method of the Chief Commr of Lands & Works in conveying the public land, leading to error and confusion, that the Proclamn has been passed sanctioning the establishment of a Registrar General, & District Registrars, & putting the business of Land conveying into proper form. There is no subject in a new Colony which is of greater importance than that of land registration. The want of accurate titles & registries have led to the ruin of individuals, public discontent, & vexation to Governments & no effort should be spared to avert such results in B. Columbia. Hitherto Col: Moody has performed the registration duties, tho' not satisfactorily accg to the Govr, yet as well, it may be presumed, as he could. But now that Land has been reduced to the selling price of 4/2 an acre a great impetus will have been given & we may expect extensive sales. It is, therefore, clearly necessary that there shd be an efficient Registry Dept. Whether Mr Bushby—who is the Registrar of the Supreme Court with £300 a year—can also attend to the business of Registrar of Lands is more than we can determine satisfactorily in D.St But I so far agree with the Treasury as to consolidation in thinking that until the duties of one or other Office become too excessive for the same individual to discharge the experiment might be tried. Although B. Columbia is an expensive place it is becoming less so than it was, and as the Judge of the Supreme Court only receives £800 a year I think £500 a year ought to be a sufficient remuneration for the performance of the combined duties of the Registrar.
Though I had a good deal to do with B. Columbia on its first establishment I have no recollection of the name of "Bushby" having been recommended to the Govr. The commn about him must have been unofficial.
ABd 30 Jany
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I should transmit to the Treasury the despatches and Ordinance for which they apply, and should say that with regard to the consolidation of Offices suggested in their Lordships' letter, the Duke of Newcastle does not feel that there is sufficient information in this Country to arrive at a final opinion, but that His Grace will readily call upon the Governor for a report on the subject.
TFE 30 Jany
N 30
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Elliot to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 4 February 1862, forwarding copy of the despatch and proclamation requested, and advising the question of consolidation of the offices had been referred to the colony.