No. 27, Legislative
13 May 1863
I have the honour to forward herewith the four undermentioned Acts, together with the Attorney Generals report thereon No 1 Roads Bonds Act 1863. No 2 The Military and NavalSettlersManuscript image Settlers Act 1863. No 3 The Roads Tolls Extention Act 1863. No 4 Gold Fields Act 1863 and further Rules and Regulations issued in conformity with the Gold Fields Act 1859.
1. The Road Bonds Act is so fully reported on by the Attorney General that further comment is unnecessary except to remark that pending the question of a further loan, I had no alternative than thus to make provision for meeting our liabilities on account of Roads. The sanction of that furtherloanManuscript image loan now renders the Act unnecessary, and provision will be made in the Loan Act for cancelling the principal liability incurred under the Bonds Act.
2. The Military and Naval Settlers Act 1863 repeals the Act under the same title of 1861. Since the reduction in the price of Country land in British Columbia to four shillings and two pence (4s/2d) an acre, the areas represented by the remission in the purchase money of land to Officers of the Army and Navy greatly exceed the acreage which it was intended to convey.
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It was moreover found by two years experience that the Colony had not gained the advantages anticipated from the Act by the advent of a respectable class of settlers; while the tracts of land occupied by the few retired Officers of Her Majesty's Army who have taken up their abode in the Colony, have created much dissatisfaction among other classes of Her Majesty's subjects. These landsbeingManuscript image being with few exceptions, untilled and unimproved, are a hindrance to settlement and give the impression that they are merely held for profitable resale.
It was therefore deemed expedient to pass the present Act which practically offers free grants of country land closely representing the money value of the remissions in the former Act estimated at the rate of one pound per acre. This is the general object of the Act.
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3. The Roads Tolls Extension Act is simply a Revenue measure imposing an additional tax of say one farthing sterling per lb upon all goods leaving Hope, Yale and Douglas for parts beyond. This measure was adopted with the consent of a majority of the inhabitants as a further means of raising funds for the construction and improvement of roads and is now in profitable operation.
4. The Gold Fields Act with Rules & Regulations 1863containManuscript image contain several useful provisions for the better working of the Gold Fields. The Free Miners rights are more clearly defined, and the Act especially secures for that class the free use of any water flowing naturally through or past any mining claim and guards against the diversion of the same, by exclusive grants which are made applicable only to surplus water not required by working Miners, in all placeswhereManuscript image where such privileges may be granted. The Act also imposes a fee of ten shillings and three pence (10s/3d) on the registration of claims, instead of the fee of 4s/- before levied as a means of Revenue.
It was also thought expedient to extend the size of the claims to 100 feet square for all alluvial diggings and to define the extent and method of working tunnel claims; a matter of extreme interest to the CarribouMinersManuscript image Miners whose practical knowledge and suggestions I found of great assistance in arranging those apparently simple, but really very difficult points. The other provisions in this Act are fully explained in the Attorney Generals report.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Graces most obedient
Humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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ABd 30/6
TFE 30/6
No 1 to the Treasury.
No 2 to the Emign Crs.
I see no reason for objecting to Nos 3 and 4 or to the Gold FieldManuscript image Regulations unless the settlers object to them. I think that in cases of this kind where we are so very much dependant on the Governor's judgement it is best to leave these Proclamations subject to disallowance, but in operation.
I would say therefore that HG saw no reason to object to these Proclamations, but thought it better that HM's sanction should not be expressly given to them until it should appear that they worked in a manner acceptable to the settlers.
FR 2/7
CF 2
N 4
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Colonial Secretary, 17 January 1863, reporting on the Road Bonds Act.
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Crease to Colonial Secretary, 24 February 1863, reporting on the Road Tolls Extension Act.
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Crease to Colonial Secretary, 28 February 1863, reporting on the Gold Fields Act 1863.
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Crease to Colonial Secretary, 27 January 1863, reporting on the Naval and Military Settlers Act.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 11 July 1863, forwarding extract of the despatch and military settlers act for observations and suggestions.
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Elliot to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 11 July 1863, forwarding extract of the despatch and roads bonds act for consideration.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 33, 8 July 1863.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 42, 31 July 1863.