No. 55
17th May 1865
I have the honor to forward an Authenticated and two plain Copies of an Ordinance of the recent Session of the Legislature of this Colony, entitled: No. 11. An OrdinanceforManuscript image for the formation and regulation of Municipalities in British Columbia. I add the Report of the Attorney General.
2. Though I wish to give to the people a larger share than they now possess in the administration of Public affairs, I am of opinion that it is inexpedient to make any material change in the Legislative Constitution of this Colony at present. The vast extent of territory over whichourManuscript image our small white population roams, the intricate relations sometimes existing with the native tribes, the sudden "rushes" backwards and forward of the Miners whom the machinery of Government must follow, all point to the necessity of a strong Government. Besides, were an elective franchise granted to the people for the choice of their representatives in a House of Assembly, all aliens, probably the majority of our population would, I presumebeManuscript image be excluded both from the voting and the representation.
The O. in C. is silent on this point.
This I think in itself is a sufficient reason for making no important change at present. The Ordinance is intended as a preparation for that self Government which I trust will, should the Colony attract any considerable English immigration, be granted to the people.
3. But British Columbia owes much to foreign enterprise, and foreigners have a large interest in her welfare. The MajorityofManuscript image of the population in Lytton, Quesnel Mouth, and I believe some other towns, is alien. I propose allowing those not under allegiance to the British Crown a share in the management of these small municipalities. The central Government is sufficiently strong to enable me to do so with perfect safety to the Public, and with general benefit to those limited Communities.
4. You will however observe that with the Governor rests theprivilegeManuscript image privilege of determining the "qualification of Voters or Burgesses at the election of such Officer." Should he be apprehensive of difficulty he can restrict the privileges to British subjects.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
The policy of this investment appears to me to be wise, and the measure itself a liberal forerunner of more extensive representation hereafter.
ABd 17 July
I have no doubt that the general policy of the Ordinance is good. But the power with wh it invests the Governor is far too great.
It enables him to constitute municipalities with powers not limited by any general ordinance, as yet subject, in each particular case to the approval either of the Legislature or of the Home Govt. He may constitute a body by Charter with power to make bylaws "for any local purpose connected with the Borrough (SS 2 [P. 14?])" wh bylaws are to "have the force of law and beManuscript image enforcable as law in any Court in the Colony." But the Atty Genl represents the Charters as merely provisional to last "until such time as they shall be all gathered in under a general Municipal Law" and the 4th clause accordy provides for the cessation of the Charters when a general Municipal Law shall pass. Sanction.
FR 27/7
EC 27
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Colonial Secretary, 9 May 1865, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.