Murdoch to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
26th April 1867
In obedience to the instructions contained in your letter of 20th inst, we had yesterday an interview with Mr Klaucke, on the subject of his scheme for promoting settlement in British Columbia. We proceed to state the substance of that scheme, and the extent to which we consider that it might be entertained by Her Majesty's Government.
2. Mr Klaucke proposes to form a Joint Stock Company in this Country with a capital of £200,000Manuscript image in 2000 Shares of £100 each, to send out Settlers to be placed on Farms in British Columbia. The expense of the passage—of preparing & fencing the land on which the Settlers are to be placed—of erecting log houses and of providing implements and provisions until the Settlers can raise a Crop, is to be defrayed by the Company, and it is calculated that for a family of 3 Adults (that is for a man and his wife and two Children under 12) this might be done for an expense exclusive of any payment for the land, of $1100 = £229.3.4. Each family is to be placed on a Farm of 200 Acres—and untilManuscript image the expenses defrayed by the Company have been repaid, the Company is to be entitled to receive, as rent, one moiety of the gross produce of the Farm. It is calculated that this moiety on 400 Farms, the establishment of which, exclusive of any payment for the land, would cost £97,334, would be worth £16,000 a year or more than 16 per cent. As soon as the Settler had repaid the expenses incurred on his account by the Company the rent would cease, and the Farm become his own. In the above statement I have excluded the cost of the land, which in his pamphlet Mr Klaucke hasManuscript image put at $1 an Acre, as at our interview he expressed an earnest hope that the Government would be willing to make a free grant of Land to the Company.
3. It will be seen from the above statement that, assuming Mr Klaucke's data, there would be quite sufficient profit to induce capitalists to enter into the scheme. But we confess that we are not ourselves sanguine of its success.
The voyage from Europe to B. Columbia could not be performed in less than 4 months—it would involve passing twice through the Tropics and as far South as 55o or 56o S. Latitude.Manuscript image The Emigrants must, therefore, be provided with a large outfit of clothes, which alone would involve a considerable expense. The land which they would obtain in British Columbia would not be superior to land they might acquire in Canada, New Brunswick or the United States, while in all other respects their position would be less advantageous. It appears to us more than doubtful whether the advantages which the scheme holds out of an advance of the expense of passage and settlement, would be sufficient to overcome the disinclination which personsManuscript image of the class of small Farmers would naturally entertain to so long a voyage and so distant & unknown a Country. Nor can it fail to occur to the proposed Settlers that a [per] cent amounting to one half the gross produce of their farms is a very heavy price to pay for these advantages, and is likely to make it difficult for them to release themselves by paying off the principal debt. For these reasons we doubt whether Settlers will be found to accept the proposed conditions.
4. Moreover it appears to us unlikely that Mr Klaucke will be able at the present time toManuscript image induce capitalists to engage in such an undertaking. For assuming his estimates of cost to be correctly framed, it is clear that his estimate of profit must be liable to great deductions. Failure of crop—difficulty of collecting the Company's share—inability to sell at the estimated price—death or desertion of Emigrants, and many other casualties which it is impossible to foresee, must all tend to falsify his calculations. It may, however, be considered that the probability of the formation of the Company is not a point on which it is necessary here to enter. Unless the Company is formed the scheme cannotManuscript image go into operation—and in that case nothing will be asked of Her Majesty's Government.
5. If the question had reference to any other Colony than British Columbia we should not be disposed to recommend that it should be entertained. But it is so important, on political grounds, to increase the British population in that Colony
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I doubt this. Perhaps the fewer Englishmen committed to the place, the better.
and at the same time so difficult, that we are reluctant to discountenance any scheme which holds out a prospect, however remote, of doing so. Upon these grounds we are disposed toManuscript image recommend that the instruction to the Governor of B. Columbia which prohibits the gratuitous alienation of Crown Land might be relaxed so far as to promise Mr Klaucke that the Secretary of State would direct the Governor of B. Columbia to reserve for any Company that might be formed for the purpose of sending out Settlers to that Colony an extent of 10,000 Acres, to be allotted to Settlers in the proportion of not more than 200 Acres to each family, on condition that whatever was not settled within two years from the date of the reservation shouldManuscript image revert to the Crown—that at least three fourths of the heads of families should be natural born British subjects—that no charge should be made to the Settlers for the land itself—and that as soon as they should have repaid the advances made by the Company for their passage and settlement, the Farms should be granted to them in fee simple. It might further be promised that as soon as one settlement of 10,000 Acres had been completed, another concession of land should be made to the Company to the same extent andManuscript image on the same conditions, and so on as long as the Company were prepared to continue their operations, and the Government was satisfied with the manner in which they did so. But it would be necessary that the local Authorities should have power to visit the settlements from time to time, to ascertain that the conditions were faithfully carried out by the Company, and that the Settlers were well conducted and fairly successful. We propose the condition that at least three fourths of the heads of families should be British because Mr Klaucke contemplates the introManuscript imageduction of Germans, and it is not clear that Germans would fulfil the object of filling up the Country with persons who would be loyal to the British Crown. Unless this is attained there would be no advantage in the scheme.
6. We understood from Mr Klaucke that he would be satisfied with concessions to the above extent. We do not think that, limited as we propose, they could do any harm, & though, as we have said, we do not expect much sucess from the scheme, it may, we think, beManuscript image worth while not to throw away the chance it affords of effecting something towards an object which H.M. Government have for many years been anxious to promote.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient
Humble Servant
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
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ABd 27 April
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It is rarely that I do so, but I own that on this occasion I differ from the opinion of the Emigration Board.
First, as the Comrs justly point out, British Columbia is very difficult of access, very costly therefore to reach,andManuscript image and by no means holds out inducements for Englishmen equal to either Canada or Australia. I do not know why we should go out of our way to lead settlers to make an erroneous choice.
In the next place I by no means agree that it is good general policy to try to swell the English population in B. Columbia. The fewer Englishmen that are committed to the place the better it may prove to be in no distant times. As to hoping that we can by Emigrants round Cape Horn outnumber the natural flow of Emigrants from California and the United States, one might as well make the old experiment of keeping out the Ocean with a mop.
Thirdly, I can hardly remember an instance of a Colonial Land Company, which has not ended in disputes and disappointment. The conditionsManuscript image look very well on paper, but are only food for wrangling. Seeing that we cannot sincerely anticipate success, I should decidedly recommend that we refuse to tie up large tracts of land, without payment, for this speculatory Company. It would merely be to repeat the errors which have been fertile sources of discontent in other Colonies.
TFE 27 April
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Duke of Buckingham
I dont suppose Mr Klaucke would take the Comrs terms, even if we were disposed to offer them which I agree with Mr Elliot we should not. All he asks is a free grant of land which I think might be conceeded, though I doubt his success.
CBA 27/4
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I see no reason for discouraging the Settlement of B. Columbia. I doubt the policy or success of the scheme proposed by Mr K. but as attention appears to be turned to B. Columbia—it is important that the conditions under which land there shall be obtainable shall be well considered & made known. Let me see how this is & what are present regulations.
B&C 3/5
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The existing rules on the disposal of land in BritishColumbiaManuscript image Columbia will be found at page 70 of the accompanying Colonization Circular. These rules have been made by the local Legislature and are not unsound.
From long familiarity with the disposal of Colonial lands, I do not hesitate humbly to urge the great objections that there are to making exceptions in favor of particular individuals or Companies. What justification would there be for granting Mr Klaucke terms which would be refused to any other purchaser? We know nothing whatever about him except that he has taken the trouble to write a letter to this Office. I have howeverManuscript image seen him. He is an old German between 70 and 80 years of age, very confused, and who, so far as I can make out, has been unfortunate in business in California, and would now like to get the manipulation of a Company under the apparent patronage of the British Government.
TFE 6 May
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There is no necessity to write pro or con respecting Mr Klaucke—but the question raised by the communication is whether the general conditions of disposing of land in B. Col. are right & such as to encourage immigration or the contrary & the reasons for them. e.g. why is the upset price in B. Col. with the drawbacks stated, double that of Newfoundland or N. Brunswick.
B&C 7/5
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I gave the Duke personal explanations upon the land rules generally. As to Klaucke His Grace agreed that we should decline to make exceptions.
TFE 11 May
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Emigration Commissioners, 13 May 1867, forwarding copy of letter to Klauke for information.
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Adderley to Klaucke, 13 May 1867, refusing free grant of land.