Murdoch and Rogers to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
29 March 1860
We have to acknowledge your letter of 19th instant, enclosing a Despatch from the Governor of Vancouvers Island on the subject of a proposal which has been made by Mr Edward Stamp, on his own behalf and that of others associated with him, to establish, on certain conditions, a Saw Mill and other works in that Island, and the concessions which the Governor has Manuscript imagepromised to make to Mr Stamp in consequence.
2. Mr Stamp proposes to establish a Saw Mill capable of delivering 50,000 feet of lumber a day—a Fishery, and a Patent Slip capable of accommodating vessels of 2000 Tons burthen on condition
1st That he is allowed to acquire a tract of 2000 Acres on the Sea Coast for the support of his establishments.
2nd That he should be allowed to acquire a further tract of 10000 or 12000 Acres, either absolutely or with an exclusive right of cutting timber on it, andManuscript image
3rd That the place at which his establishments are constructed should be made a Port of Entry.
3. After some correspondence Governor Douglas has promised Mr Stamp, that if his undertaking is proceeded with, the Company shall hereafter be at liberty to purchase, at the upset price of the day for Agricultural Land, not exceeding under any circumstances £1 an Acre, the land on which their establishments are to be placed, as well as any timbered land on which they may have formed roads, Wharves &c, not exceeding in the whole 15,000 acres. He has Manuscript imagelikewise promised to constitute the settlement a Port of Entry and to appoint Mr Stamp a subcollector of Customs, but to ensure that the enterprize shall be proceeded with he has required that the sum of £7500 shall be expended in permanent improvements on the Land in the course of the present year.
4. It appears to us that this arrangement should be approved. It is needless to enlarge on the importance to the Colony of such undertakings as those contemplated Manuscript imageby Mr Stamp—or the impolicy of driving them to the United States by refusing any advantage which could be granted without injury to the public. The only material concession is the promise that the Company shall hereafter be allowed to purchase the Land which they occupy without auction and at the upset price of Agricultural Land. But it would obviously have been fatal to the scheme to compel them hereafter to purchase their own improvements, or to insist that the Land which had Manuscript imagebeen converted into Town sites by their establishments should be paid for at the price usually demanded for town sites. The value to the Colony of such establishments must far exceed any amount that could be obtained from the sale of the Land which they may occupy. At the same time the immediate expenditure for which Governor Douglas has stipulated, and the sum which the Company will hereafter have to pay for their land will be sufficient guarantees for the bona fide Manuscript imagenature of the undertaking.
5. The transaction cannot of course be completed till after the retransfer of Vancouvers Island to the Crown, but in the meantime the Company will no doubt enter on their Land and commence their operations on the faith of the Governors promise.
6. The only further observation which occurs to us is that it would be desirable to determine clearly as soon as possible the conditions under which the right of selecting 15000 Acres of forest is to be exercised by the Company. The selection should Manuscript imagebe made in blocks of not less than a certain length and breadth and within a certain time.
Minutes by CO staff
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ABd 30/3
Adopt the Commissioners' recommendations?
TFE 31 March
This is an interesting correspondence—& well illustrates the necessity of settling the Land system of V. Isl. & B. Columbia as soon as possible, Manuscript imageand of offering such terms to settlers, as will not drive them to the U. States, but attract them to British territory.
CF Ap 2
N 3
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 18, 6 April 1860.