No. 9
14 August 1858
Frequent inquiries are addressed to this office on the subject of the disposal of Land in British Columbia to Companies or private individuals in this Country. In consequence of the ignorance in which, from the peculiar circumstance of the case, I am placed as to your viewsManuscript image on a subject of such great importance to the future wellfare of this new Colony, I have foreborne answering these enquiries, or encouraging expectations which might not be realized. It is therefore very necessary that you should at your earliest convenience, communicate to me the impression which you entertain on this subject, accompanied by all the information which you can collect.
In the meantime you will take the following provisional rules to guide you:
1. With regard to the very important subject of the disposal of land, you are authorized to sell land merely wanted for agricultural purposes (whenever a demand for it shall arise) at such upset price as you may think advisable. I believeManuscript image that a relatively high upset price has many advantages but your course must, in some degree, be guided by the price at which such land is selling in neighbouring american territories. But with regard to land wanted for town purposes (to which speculation is almost certain to direct itself in the first instance) I cannot caution you too strongly against allowing it to be disposed of at too low a sum. An upset price of at least £1 per acre is in my opinion absolutely required in order that the local government may in some degree participate in the benefit of the probable sales, and that mere land jobbing may be in some degree checked. Whenever a free legislature is assembled, it will be one of its duties to make furtherManuscript image provisions on this head.
2. To open land for settlement gradually; not to sell beyond the limits of what is either surveyed or ready for immediate survey and to prevent, as far as in you lies, squatting on unsold land. Mineral lands will require a special care and forethought, and I request your views there on.
3. To keep a separate account of all revenue to be derived from the sale of land, applying it to the purposes for the present of survey and communication, which indeed should be the first charge on the land revenue; and you will of course remember that this will include the expense of the survey party (viz. Sappers and Miners) now sent out. I shall be anxious to receive such accounts at the earliest periods atManuscript image which they can be furnished.
4. Foreigners, as such are not entitled to grants of Waste Land of the Crown in British Colonies. But it is the strong desire of Her Majesty's Government to attract to this territory all peaceful settlers without regard to Nation. Naturalization should therefore be granted to all who desire it, and are not disqualified by special causes, and with naturalization the right of acquiring Crown land should follow.
5. You will pardon me if I enjoin on you, as imperative, the most diligent care that in the Sales of land there should not be the slightest cause to impute a desire to show favor to the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company. Parliament will watch with jealousy every proceeding connected withManuscript image such sales and I shall rely upon you to take every precaution which not only impartial probity but deliberate prudence can suggest that there shall be no handle given for a charge, I will not say a favor, but of indifference or apathy to the various kinds of land jobbing, either to benefit favored individuals or to cheat the Land Revenue, which are so frequent occurring at the outset of Colonization and which it is the duty of Her Majesty's Government, so far as lies in them, to repress.
I have etc.
People in this document

Douglas, James

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Organizations in this document

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

British Columbia

Vancouver Island