No. 17
Downing Street
5 March 1869
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No. 136 of the 21st December enclosing a copy of the Address with which you opened the Session of the Legislature on the 17th of that month and also a copy of the reply you receivedfromManuscript image from the Council.
I am glad to learn from your speech that the Finances of the Colony are in process of recovery.
I am not aware what are the unofficial letters to which you refer as conveying to you the opinion of Her Majesty's Government respecting the union of Her Majesty's Possessions in British North America but I have to point out to you that such communications ought not to be made the basisofManuscript image of a formal announcement to the Legislature or Community of British Columbia.
With regard to the proposal to give formally as well as virtually Representative Institutions to the Colony I have to observe that looking to the terms of the Acts 21 and 22 Victoria Cap: 99 Section 3 and 26 and 27 Victoria Cap 83 Section 2 and of the third and fifth Clauses of the Order in Council of the 11th June 1863 by which the Legislative Council was constituted it is more than doubtfulwhetherManuscript image whether the Legislative Council of British Columbia are legally competent to alter the Constitution of the Legislature prescribed by that Order in Council. I also doubt whether the enactment of a new Constitution could properly be left to them. On the legal question I may observe that the power to alter Constitutions given under the 5th Section of the Colonial Laws Validity Act (28 and 29 Victoria Cap 63) is confined to representative Legislatures whereoneManuscript image one half of the Legislative Body are elected by Inhabitants of the Colony.
If the difficulties which have hitherto prevented the formal establishment of Representative Institutions are in process of wearing out I will readily consider any detailed scheme which in your opinion will provide for the adequate representation of the population and for the efficient Government of the Country, especially if it shall appear that theopinionManuscript image opinion of the Legislature coincides with your own.
The difficulties which have hitherto delayed the establishment of Representative Institutions in British Columbia appear to have been the migratory and scattered character of the population, the large proportions of aliens or Visitors which exists in it and the presence of the Indians whom it is difficult to govern and protect without a settled and understood policy administered byaManuscript image a strong Executive power.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant
People in this document

Leveson-Gower, Granville George

Seymour, Frederick

Places in this document

British Columbia