Nias to Queen Victoria

To Her Most Gracious Majesty Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Humble Petition of George E. Nias, a native of Yorkshire, Citizen of London and Freeman of the Stationers Company, now residing in Melbourne Australia.
That in the year 1860 your Petitioner emigrated to the Colony of Vancouver Island.
That Sir James Douglas, then the Governor of Vancouver Island, as empowered by law, issued several Proclamations, (having the force of law,) prescribing the manner in which land might be acquired by persons actually living on it and improving it.
That the third Proclamation issued in 1863 (to the best of your Petitioner's recollection) allowed land to be Pre-empted without restriction in any part of the Island.
That your Petitioner relying on the bona fides of this Proclamation Pre-empted a small piece of land, containing from 9 to 16 acres, situated about half a mile from the boundary of the Town of Victoria.
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That your Petitioner complied in every respect with the very stringent requirements of the Proclamation—registered his Pre-emption at the Surveryor-General's office in the Town of Victoria. (The Surveyor-General [Mr] Pemberton, being present assisting [at] the entry)—fenced in the land, built a house on it and was living in it within one month from the time of registering his claim, and with his family has continued to reside upon it—and your Petitioners family are now residing upon [it], during his temporary absence.
That by the terms of the Proclamation at the expiration of Two years from the date of registering the Pre-emption claim, the Governor (or other authority) was to issue a Title to such Pre-empted land on payment of one dollar per acre.
That more than four years have elapsed since your Petitioner should have had his Title to such pre-emption but the officials refuse and neglect to issue the proper Title on various frivolous pretexts—but really because some-one of greater influence than your Petitioner wishes to obtain the land, which is beautifully situate on the Sea Coast.
That your Petitioner is too poor to go to law with the Government.
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That your Petitioner has expended all his means (about £600) on building a house, barn and outhouses, sinking two wells 90 feet deep, planted an orchard and expended much labor on the place.
That Mr William A.G. Young late Secretary of British Columbia is now in England and cannot deny the facts set forth by your Petitioner should enquiry be made of him.
Your Petitioner therefore Prays that your Most Gracious Majesty 3 will cause the proper authorities without further delay to issue the proper Title to which under the said Proclamation your Petitioner is entitled.

And your Petitioner will ever pray that health and happiness may long attend your Majesty and that peace beyond the Grave may be your Majesty's portion hereafter.
G.E. Nias
Hall of Commerce
Minutes by CO staff
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Buckingham Palace
Feb 5 1870
My dear Meade
Will you be so good as to submit this to Lord Granville? I have made no answer to it.
Truly yours
T.M. Biddulph

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Mr Cox
Can you tell me anything about this?
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Mr Meade
I think the Petition had best be registeredManuscript image & the writer told that a copy of his Petition has been sent to the Govr, but that it is a matter that rests entirely with the local Govt.
CC 7/2
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Please do so.
RM 11/2
Other documents included in the file
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Herbert to Nias, 19 February 1870, advising that a copy of his petition had been forwarded to the governor, it being a matter for the decision of the local authorities.
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Draft reply, Granville to Musgrave, No. 10, 19 February 1870.