No. 27
20 July 1859
There has been much agitation lately at this place on the subject of the sale price of country land, which up to the present time has been maintained at the official rate of one pound Sterling (£1) per statute acre, payable in four equal instalments, the first five shillings (5/s) on making the purchaseManuscript imagepurchase, the second at the end of two years from the date of purchase, the third at the end of three years, and the fourth at the end of four years, with interest at the rate of 5 per cent per annum on the respective unpaid instalments from the date of purchase.
2. The rate of One pound (£1) sterling per statute acre is considered too high, and has become a constant subject of complaint with the people of the colony, who believe that the settlement of the country wouldManuscript imagewould be greatly advanced by a large reduction in the sale price of land.
3. Public Meetings have lately been held at this place for the purpose of getting up petitions and bringing to bear upon the Government an influence sufficiently powerful to forward that object.
4. One of those petitions signed by a large and respectable body of immigrants chiefly from the province of Upper Canada, makes out a truly distressing case, to the effect that in consequence of detentions on their way hither, and the obstaclesManuscript imageobstacles encountered since their arrival in this Colony, their funds are nearly exhausted, and that their remaining means would soon be spent, and themselves rendered incapable of settling, unless they at once obtained leave to settle on the public land; they moreover pray that no money should be required of them for 12 months, and, that the price should be Five shillings (5/s) (1 1/4 dollars) per statute acre, payable in four years.
5. Deeply as I sympathized with the distress of the petitioners I did not considerManuscript imageconsider it prudent or advisable to make precipitate or sweeping changes in the land regulations of the Colony, without being first duly authorized on that behalf by Her Majestys Government, and in that spirit, was my reply to the petitioners framed.
6. Anxious however to relieve their distress, and to retain a fine active body of working men in the Colony I adopted the simple expedient of allowing a delay in the payment of the first instalment, by which it appearsManuscript imageappears to me that the desired end is obtained, without involving a material change in the principles of the established land regulations of the Colony.
7. Thus for instance, instead of requiring the sum of Five Shillings (5/s) to be paid at the time of purchase, we agreed to receive one Shilling (1/s); the next Shilling to be paid at the end of two months; leaving the balance of the first instalment or Three Shillings (3/s) per acre, to be added in equal proportions toManuscript imageto the three subsequent instalments so that the actual price of land and the periods at which the respective instalments fall due, remain unaltered.
8. This plan proved satisfactory to the petitioners, who are now negotiating the purchase of such land as they want on those terms, which I trust will, under the circumstances I have described and as an exceptional arrangement adopted in the emergency, meet with your approval.
I have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
Land Board.
ABd 7 Sep
HM S 7
CF 7
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Three petitions to Douglas requesting lower prices and better terms for the purchase of land, dated 2 July, 11 July, and 12 July 1859.