No. 136
17th October 1870
My Lord,
I have had the honor to receive Your Lordship's Despatches Nos 11 & 12 of the 22nd August, enclosing an Order of Her Majesty in Council constituting a Legislative Council for British Columbia, and conveying Your Lordship's observations on the changes which that Instrument is intended to effect.
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2. I am glad that Your Lordship has approved of the arrangments which I undertook to suggest, and very grateful for the confidence which you have expressed in my discretion as to the exercise of the powers which have been confided to me on the matters of detail; which Your Lordship has, I think rightly, considered can more easily be adjusted by the aid of local knowledge in the Colony.
3. The late period of the Year at which the Order inCouncilManuscript image Council was received rendered prompt action necessary to accomplish the completion of the Elections in the more distant Districts, so as to enable the first Session to be held at the usual season. I have therefore lost no time in taking the requisite proceedings. The writs have already been issued. And I enclose Copies of a Gazette Extraordinary containing the Order in Council and a Proclamation which I have issued under the powers given by the 9th SectionofManuscript image of the Order in Council.
4. Upon general principles I have not regarded it as expedient to appear to curtail the liberty of the franchise conferred by the Order, by attempting to impose any more specific qualifications for Electors or Elected Members. But, I have thought it right that residence in the District for three months before the Elections should be required of the Electors. Any franchise which it would have been at all possible to establisinManuscript imageh in the case of this Colony, would in fact and practice amount to no franchise at all, and after excluding aliens whose votes have been taken on previous occasions would reduce the number of Electors to a very small body, probably excluding many persons presumably quite as fit to exercise the privilege of Election as any possessing the nominal qualification. I have seen the effect of Household suffrage in Newfoundland.
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5. It has been found necessary on this occasion to omit any regulations in respect of Registration of Voters. Time is not afforded to establish any effective system or to enable any revision of the Lists. But it is my impression that the omission is not likely to produce any perceptible effect upon the probable result of the Elections. When the time arrives for further proceedings towards the completion of Union with Canada, it will be necessaryforManuscript image for the new Council to pass an Election Law settling this and other matters of detail for the future.
6. I trust that the Writs will all be returned before the end of December, and that I may be able to convene the Council early in January. I have little or no doubt that the issue as to Union with Canada is already virtually settled. The matters which will probably occupy attention are the proposed introduction ofResponsibleManuscript image Responsible Government on Union and questions arising out of the alternative which has been offered by Canada, that this Colony may either accept the Canadian Tariff or retain its own until the completion of overland communication by the proposed Railway.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
A. Musgrave
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Herbert
The papers respecting the changes in the B.C. Council are in circulation. But a printed copy of them appears in the annexed Gazette.
Nine elective members are to be returned by open voting:
2 for Victoria City
1 " Victoria District
1 " Nanaimo "
1 " New Westminster "
1 " Yale "
1 " Lillooet "
1 " Kootenay "
1 " Cariboo "
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and 6 nominated members who are to have warrants.
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Acknowledge receipt, and approve the Govrs Proclamation.
RSM 23/11/70
RGWH Nov 23/70
WM 24/11
K Dec 4/70
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See subsequent 163-1207 Dec 23.70.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Government Gazette Extraordinary, 13 October 1870, containing Kimberley to Musgrave No. 11 of 22 August 1870, the Order in Council reconstituting the legislature, and Musgrave's proclamation respecting the forthcoming elections.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Kimberley to Musgrave, No. 36, 6 December 1870.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Holland to see the papers.
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Seen.
HTH 5/12
Musgrave, Anthony to Wodehouse, John 17 October 1870, CO 60:41, no. 12323, 153. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B70136.html.

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