No. 11
22 August 1870
In your despatch No. 20 of the 23rd Feb. you recommended to my predecessor an alteration in the present Legislative constitution of B. Columbia and requested to be furnished with the necessaryauthorityManuscript image authority for effecting it. As it appears both from that Despatch and from your previous correspondence that the Colonists are desirous of being placed in formal possession of representative institutions, and that the particular scheme advocated with clearness and cogency in your present Despatch is likely to be acceptable to them Her Majesty's Government have had no difficulty in adopting your recommendation. But as it appeared that this scheme could not be carried into effect without an Act of Parliament they thought it best that her Majesty should be advised underauthorityManuscript image authority of an Act, to establish at once a representative Legislature with the power of altering its own constitution which is given by 28 and 29 Victoria Cap: 63, rather than to remit the question perhaps for protracted discussion to the present somewhat anomalous Council.
The pressure of parliamentary and other business has caused some delay in giving effect to this decision, but I have now the satisfaction of transmitting to you copies of "The British Columbia Government Act 1870" and of the order inCouncilManuscript image Council passed under that Act. The original order in Council is transmitted in my Despatch No. 12 of even date herewith.
It is unnecessary for me to dwell in detail upon the different provisions of this order, which are in truth sufficiently simply. You will perceive that the Legislative Council is to consist, according to your suggestion, of fifteen members of whom nine are to be elective and that subject to any dissolution, the elected members are to hold their seats for four years.
ByManuscript image
By the ninth section very large powers are invested in you "Until the meeting of the first Council." Having entire confidence in your ability and judgment I purposely refrain from giving you any definite instructions as to the exercise of those powers on matters of detail upon which your own knowledge is so much more complete than my own. I do not doubt that you will take the best steps calculated to secure a thorough trustworthy representation and one which will command the confidence of the country.
YouManuscript image
You will observe that by the last section of the order in council the power conferred upon "representative legislatures" by the imperial No. 28 and 29 Victoria Cap: 63 are to avoid the possibility of any doubt expressly reserved to the newly constituted Legislature.
I shall watch with great interest the working of the new Council and the more so as it seems highly probable that one of the first questions submitted to them will be the important question of Union with the Dominion of Canada.
UponthisManuscript image this subject the views of Her Majesty's Government have been fully expressed in my predecessor's Despatch of the 14th August 1869.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
Humble Servant
Other documents included in the file
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Printed, "An Act to make further provisions for the Government of British Columbia," dated 9 August 1870.
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Printed, "Draft of an Order passed by the Queen in Council for constituting a Legislative Council for the Colony of British Columbia," dated 9 August 1870.
People in this document

Musgrave, Anthony

Wodehouse, John

Places in this document

British Columbia