No. 101
5th September 1867
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to forward an authenticated and two plain copies of an Ordinance of the last Session of the Legislature of this Colony entitled;No 16.Manuscript image No 16. An Ordinance to assimilate the law exempting the Homestead and other property from forced seizure and sale in certain cases in all parts of the Colony of British Columbia.
The report of the Attorney General, which I have the honor to enclose, shews that he disapproves of some of the details of the measure. While regretting any faults which may have crept into the Ordinance, I would wish once more to place on record my approval of the principle it seeks toembodyManuscript image embody in a Colony situated like this.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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CC 4 Nov
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Sir F. Rogers
Homestead Ordinance. This Ordinance is exactly similar to a Homestead Ordinance passed in V. Island last year, except that by this Ordinance the homestead need not be "the bonâ fide place of abode of the owner" as was provided by the act of 1866; and that a new provision is made for a widow by sect. 10.
The Homestead Act of V. Island has never been sanctioned. Several of the provisions were objected to and indeed the principle of the Act was considered defective, & likelyManuscript image to lead to reckless speculation. A report was asked for (10631) and a report has just been received, (10833 B. Columbia) which I send on with these papers, as they may be considered together.
The Governor, fully admitting some of the objections to this Ordinance, approves the principle generally & thinks the Ordinance will tend to promote the settlement of the Country.
The Attorney General on the other hand is strongly opposed to the Ordinance, as tending directly to encourage fraud. He admits, however that nearly all the members of the Legislative Council except the Chief Commissioner & himself were not opposed to the principle of this measure.
He is further distinctly opposed to some of the leading details of the Ordinance, but he does not think the limitations suggested from home in the despatch of 16 Feby 1867 could be carried out. (See 10833.)
The V. Island Act must have been in operation a whole year, but, curiously enough, neither the Governor or the Attorney GeneralManuscript image state what has been the effect of the working of the Act during that year—whether owners have extensively availed themselves of the Act, or otherwise.
I confess I have great difficulty in advising upon this Ordinance. I am quite alive to the force of the objections that have been raised against the measure; but, on the otherhand, it is a measure calculated, in the opinion of a large majority of the Colonists, and of the Governor, to induce persons to settle in the Colony & remain there, a consummation devoutly to be wished considering the state of the Colonial Finances.
I should not be disposed, under all the circumstances, to disallowManuscript image the Ordinance, but would inform the Governor that though His Grace entertains the same doubts as to the practical effect of the working of this Ordinance as those which he expressed in his Despatch of the 15th February with reference to the Act of Vancouver's Island & yet, under the circumstances, he has not thought it necessary at present to advise that this Ordinance should be disallowed. That whether it will be necessary for HG to do so hereafter must depend upon the reports he receives from the Govr of the actual working of the Act; and that he desires that such reports should be sent to him from time to time. Such reports should (amongst other things) contain full accounts of the number of Homesteads registered, and the form in the ScheduleManuscript image under which they have been registered, and should also, as far as possible, state whether any of the owners who have so registered have since become bankrupt.
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And whether the homesteads are supposed to be registered.
HG should also be informed whether the expectation that this Ordinance would tend to facilitate settling in the Colony has been realized.
HTH 6/11
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I agree (vide 10833)
I do not understand the [force?] of the latter sentence of SS 10. And SS 11 appears to me to have the effect of making it impossible to recover any fair proportion or debt from a person whose property is under 150$ in value—i.e. from many a day labourer, servant or idler. This perhaps mt be pointed out.
FR 8/11
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B&C 13/11
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Seymour, 21 June 1867, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.
Minutes by CO staff
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The Act has not yet received the sanction of HM. The principle was objected to & a report called for. See 10631 V Isld & the report in reply (10833 B. Columbia) just received.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Buckingham to Seymour, No. 82, 14 November 1867 conveying “Her Majesty's gracious confirmation and allowance of the Ordinance … entitled "An Ordinance to assimilate the Law exempting the Homestead and other Property from forced seizure and sale in certain cases in all parts of the Colony of British Columbia"” and requesting updates on the impact of the ordinance on British Columbia.