Murdoch to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
6 July 1861
I have to acknowledge your letter of 24th ultimo, enclosing a Despatch from Governor Douglas with copies of two Proclamations which he had issued in Vancouvers Island, for allowing the occupation of Land in that Island before survey, with a preemptive right.
2. The first of these Proclamations establishes the regulations underManuscript image which Land may be "preempted"—the second merely extends the operation of the first over the whole Island. The regulations are substantially the same as those established for British Columbia by the Proclamation of 4th Janry 1860, the substance of which was stated in a report from this Board of 30th March 1860.
3. In the present Proclamation the omissions which we pointed out in that of Janry 1860 have in great measure been supplied. It is provided, as we suggested, not only that the land selected should beManuscript image of rectangular form but that its boundaries should as nearly as possible be in the direction of the cardinal points of the compass. It is also provided that two months cessation of occupation shall constitute such a "permanent" cessation as would justify the Surveyor General in cancelling the claim of the person so ceasing to occupy. No provision, however, is made, as suggested in our report, to meet the case of an occupant dying after a considerable expenditure on his land but without having obtained an improvement certificate and without leaving an heir capable of occupying theManuscript image land in his place. Such cases cannot fail to arise, and it would I think be desirable that some arrangement should be made to allow the heir to dispose of land so left, even although the expenditure on it had not been sufficient to enable the occupant to claim the improvement Certificate.
4. In other respects the Proclamations appear to me unobjectionable and I would submit that they should be approved.
I have etc.
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Approve the Proclamations, but direct the Governor to amend them so as to meet the particular case of omission pointed out by Mr Murdoch.
ABd 8 July
TFE 8/7
CF 8
N 9
Murdoch, Thomas William Clinton to Elliot, Thomas Frederick 6 July 1861, CO 305:18, no. 6097, 173. 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.

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