No. 16, Legislative
18 February 1861
I had the honour of transmitting a sketch of the proceedings in the House of Representatives to Your Grace in my Despatch No 37 of the 6th of AugustlastManuscript image last, and I have now the honour of continuing the subject.
2. The Session, which was closed by prorogation on the 6th of instant, has not been devoid of results. Thirty one Bills have, in all, been introduced—twenty one of which have passed both Houses and received my assent; Seven are now before Council; one has passed both Houses buthasManuscript image has not been assented to and two have been rejected.
3. Three of the twenty one Bills which have become Law, are Bills of Supply, providing for the service of the Year 1860.
4. The sum of £3200 was voted to meet the Civil List Salaries, namely,
The Governor £800
Chief Justice 800
Colonial Secretary 500
Treasurer 400
Surveyor General 400
Attorney General 300 SubjectManuscript image subject to the proviso that the entire revenue of the Colony, whether derived from taxation, or sales of Crown Lands, shall be placed at the disposal of the Colonial Legislature. That sum is however, admittedly inadequate to maintain the Chief Officers of an important Colony in a respectable position, and would not fairly represent the relative importance and responsibility of the officestheyManuscript image they hold.
4a. The House would not I believe, have objected to a more liberal Civil List, had I been in a different position, but I did not think it expedient to ask for a larger sum on behalf of Vancouver Island than is allowed by Her Majesty's Government for the support of the Civil Establishment in British Columbia: and anothermotiveManuscript image motive for exercising the most rigid economy, which had great weight with the House, was the fear of imposing a burden upon the Colony greater than it is at present capable of supporting; a reason which ought to have its proper influence and consideration; but I would nevertheless submit that there should be no formal surrender of theCrownManuscript image Crown Revenues to the Colonial Legislature until it has made a sufficient provision for defraying the cost of Her Majesty's Civil Establishment according to another scale which I propose to bring forward at the next Session.
This affords ground for some delay in coming to a decision.
5. The sum of £3207 was voted for defraying Departmental Expenses, with the same restrictive provisoasManuscript image as to the payment of the amount out of the General Revenue of the Colony.
6. The other Supply Bill granting £9364 for various services, namely, the formation of Roads, the support of a Police Force, and other purposes, does not appear to require comment.
7. Those sums are to be provided out of the ordinary revenue, increasedthisManuscript image this year by the addition of a tax on Professions and Trades, and on Real Estate.
8. The Expenditure including Establishments, as authorised by the Legislature, for the Year 1860, is fixed at £15,771—and the revenue for the same period, is as follows;
Land Sales have Yielded £ 4576. 1.6
Fees of Court 1155.10.2
Spirit Licences 3851.17.6
Harbour Dues 2127.12.7
__________
£11711. 1.9
TradeManuscript image Trade Licences for the half )
year from 1st July 1860 ) 983. 0.0
__________
£12694. 1.9
Real Estate Tax Estimated 3500. -.-
__________
£16194. 1.9

From this Statement it is assumed that the revenue will slightly exceed the Expenditure, without involving any material deviation from the principle of direct taxation now fairly introduced; and it adds force to the opinionthatManuscript image that the cost of governing the Colony may, by proper care and economy, be met without imposing Customs Duties, or departing in any way from the present Free Port System.
9. Among the bills which have been passed this Session—besides the Revenue Bills—The Land Registry Act, and the Act for the formation of Roads, are of the highest importanceandManuscript image and are probably more appreciated than any other measures by the people of the Colony.
10. The Indian liquor Act imposes additional penalties on persons convicted of selling liquor to the Native Indians, and I can only hope it may have the effect of restraining so baneful a traffic.
11. Acts have also been passed for curingdefectiveManuscript image defective titles; for Extending the provisions of the Joint Stock Companies, Acts 1856, 1857 and 1858, to Vancouvers Island; for simplifying the trial of Minor Criminal cases; for the improvement of the Harbour of Victoria, and for the Incorporation of the Victoria Gas Company. The other unenumerated Acts are of merely local importance, or of a private nature.
12.Manuscript image
12. In the present state of parties there is a good working majority in the House of Representatives who take the same views and lend their strenuous support to the measures of the Government.
13. The House met for the dispatch of business on the 1st of March 1860, and were prorogued on the 6th day of this month, and I herewith transmitaManuscript image a Copy of my Address on that occasion. The compliment to the Legislature is not unmerited, as may be observed by the important measures passed during the Session.
14. Copies of all the Acts referred to in this Despatch, will be transmitted to Your Grace, with the Attorney General's reports.
Attorney Generals report not received in time to accompany this despatch.
I haveManuscript image
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
ABd 20 Apl
See also 3646/61.
TFE 20/4
Vide minute on 4322 V.C.I.
All these Acts minuted to be left alone.
Vide Minute on 13/3646/61.
Minute dated May/63.
EBP 23-5/63
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Clipping from unnamed newspaper transcribing the speech made by Douglas to close the Legislative session, no date.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 18 February 1861, CO 305:17, no. 3649, 82. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/V61016.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)