No. 2
7th January 1854
My Lord Duke,
I herewith transmit for the information of Her Majesty's Government, copies of the proceedings in the Council of this Colony, from the 20th day of September, to the 2nd of December last, inclusive.
Your Grace will observe that the attention of Council, was drawn in the first place to certain irregularities, in the practice of the Justices Court; arising from the inexperience of the Magistrates, which required amendment. It was therefore resolved to limit the Jurisdiction of the Justices Court, in civil cases, to such simplemattersManuscript image matters, as our Justices are competent to deal with, and to establish a Supreme Court of Civil Justice with Jurisdiction, over the whole Colony of Vancouver's Island, and its dependencies, in all matters of Law or Equity, where the amount in dispute is of the value of £50 Sterling and upwards.
An Act to that effect containing the rules and Forms of pleading to be used, in said Court, was passed in Council, on the 2nd day of December last, and David Cameron Esquire, was appointed Judge for the time being, with an yearly salary of One hundred pounds Sterling, and a sum was appropriated out of the Proceeds of the Duties, on Licenced Ale Houses, to meet that outlay.
A copy of the Act in question is herewith transmitted for your Grace's information, and I beg that it may be submitted to a Law Officer of the Crown, for revision, as acting Judge Cameron, by whom the rules were compiled is not a professional lawyer, and accepted the appointment solely in compliance with my request,untilManuscript image until a Law Officer for the Colony, is appointed, by the Crown, a measure which for the sake, of the Colony, and for my own relief, from an unusual amount and variety of responsibility, I am desirous, should be soon carried into effect.
We next proceeded to pass an Act imposing a small duty on timber, cut upon the Public lands, and restricting the exercise of that priviledge to Her Majesty's subjects residing on Vancouver's Island.
Qy as to the legality of this proceeding. I think duties can only be levied in V.C. Island by an Assembly of Freeholders.
See Draft
The object of that act is altogether protective, it being thereby intended to prevent the waste and destruction of timber on the public lands, and to throw the timber trade, as much as possible, into the hands of the actual Colonist.
The other matters contained in the Minutes now transmitted, relating chiefly to the charge for the board of Pupils, at the Colonial School, and the scale of Fees in the Justice's Court, will explain themselves, and I will therefore not detain your Grace, with any further remarks.
Trusting Manuscript image
Trusting that those proceedings, may meet with your Grace's approval.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient Servant
James Douglas
Governor Vancouver's Island

His Grace The Right Honble The Duke of Newcastle
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
I think that this, the first Act or Ordinance passed by the Council of VanCouver's Island shd be registered, & referred to Messrs Wood & Rogers, & that their opinion might be requested on the regulations for the cutting of Timber, & on the other matters contained in the minutes of Council.
ABd 18/Apl
HM Ap 18
FP 18
N 21
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Enclosure not in file. Presumably, the missing documents were the copied Council minutes referred to in Douglas's despatch.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Labouchere to Douglas, No. 8, 26 April 1856.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
(I propose collecting & sending some good precedents of rules of court, elementary books, &c.)
Mr Merivale has been reminded.
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Labouchere to Douglas, No. 9, 5 May 1856.