No. 60
26 November 1859
I have the honor of transmitting herewith the Copies of Certain Acts, eight in number, and entitled as per accompanying Schedule, which have been duly passed by the Legislature of Vancouvers Island SinceManuscript imageSince the 20th day of April last, and the same are now submitted for the approval of Her Majesty The Queen.
2. There is no provision in any of those Acts of an Extraordinary nature, or which appears to be repugnant to the Laws of England; but I nevertheless beg to request your attention to the remarks of the Attorney General on the character of the Act numbered 6 in the Schedule, relating to the interest of money in the Colony of Vancouver's Island.
3. That Act was framed by the Attorney General, and essentially altered in its passage through the House of Assembly as explained in his report which accompaniesManuscript imageaccompanies the Act.
4. He is doubtful as to the expediency of the measure as it now stands, though it appears that the Act has no other object in view than to protect persons who have honestly advanced money on the security of landed property in this Colony, under a Specific agreement as to the rate of interest, and with the conviction that the Laws of England were, and have always been, in force in Vancouvers Island. It will be a serious hardship to such persons, and a wide door will be opened to fraud should the Statute not come into operation.
5. Though I have always beenManuscript imagebeen opposed to the high rates
I have heard that money is lent by English Capitalists at the rate of 45 per ct on the security of Land & houses.
of interest charged for the use of capital in this Country, I am convinced that the practice is one of those things which legislation cannot with advantage control, and which it is advisable to leave to the common sense of persons contracting loans; for it may reasonably be supposed that men will not give more in the shape of interest than the use of money is worth.
6. In the case of ordinary debts, and where no previous stipulation as to rates of interest is made, the debtor is protected by the English Statute which limits the charge for interest to 5 per cent as is the practice in the Colony of British Columbia.
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7. Should there be no constitutional objection I therefore think it would be advisable to yield to public opinion and to sanction the Act as it now is.
8. The three Acts numbered 4, 5 and 8 in the Schedule, relating to the representation of Vancouvers Island have been very carefully considered, and the whole system assimilated as far as the circumstances of the Colony would permit, to the practice of popular representation in England.
9. The Attorney General's Report herewith forwarded, will furnish more detailed informationManuscript imageinformation with reference to those Statutes.
I have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
Regr & refer to Sir F. Rogers. I see that [one or two words cut off file] passed which adds 6 members to the House [of] Assembly. The House has hitherto consisted of 7 Members.
ABd 27 Jany
At once.
HM Jan 27
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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"Schedule of Acts enclosed in Despatch No 60 of November 26th 1859," as follows: 1. (No. 8) An Act to authorize the macadamizing certain Streets, the erection of a Bridge, and to provide means for the same. 2. (No. 9) An Act to authorize and regulate the sale of Wines, Spirits and other Liquors. 3. (No. 10) An Act to provide for the Resignation and Vacating of Seats in the House of Assembly, and for the election of Members on Vacancies. 4. (No. 12) Representation Act 1859. 5. (No. 11) Registration of Voters Act 1859. 6. (No. 13) An Act to remove doubts as to the Law relating to the Interest of Money in the Colony of Vancouvers Island and its Dependencies. 7. (No. 14) An Act for the protection of the Wooden Bridges in Vancouvers Island and its Dependencies. 8. (No. 15) Franchise Act 1859.
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Report of George Hunter Carey, Acting Attorney General, on each of the above acts.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 11, 22 February 1860.
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Draft, Merivale to Sir F. Rogers, Land and Emigration Board, 31 January 1860, forwarding copy of the despatch and enclosures, including subsequent enclosure from Justice Begbie, for his report.