No. 23, Miscellaneous
15th April 1865
1. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No 38 dated 16th September 1864 on the subject of the Crown Lands and Civil List of this Colony.
2. I have deferred entering upon this subject in the hope of the Legislative Assembly arriving at some definite and reasonable decision upon it.
3. TheManuscript image
3. The Legislative Assembly was in Session when I assumed the Government of this Colony, and a Select Committee occupied in taking evidence as to "the present condition of the Crown Lands with reference to the proposal of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies dated 15th June 1863 to hand over the Crown Lands to the Legislature."
4. Their proceedings extended over a period of eight months and I now transmit a copy of the Minutes of Proceedings of the Select Committee accompaniedbyManuscript image by a Report dated 14th June 1864 and Resolutions on the same subject dated June 29th 1864.
5. The manuscript of some of these documents was very imperfect and there was consequently great delay in having them printed.
6. With these documents before you it is unnecessary for me to trouble you with any lengthened remarks upon them. No analysis of mine would make them intelligible where many Members of the Assembly sought to prove opposite anddifferentManuscript image different things.
7. I do not attach much weight to the Evidence which has not been taken on oath, and it is difficult to form a sound opinion upon a matter surrounded by such complications and conflicting statements.
8. There are nevertheless some extraordinary facts connected with the sale and management of the Crown Lands disclosed in the Minutes of Proceedings before the Select Committee which I apprehend are new to HerMajesty'sManuscript image Majesty's Government.
9. If the question is to be re-opened, and the Indenture between the Crown and the Hudson's Bay Company dated 3rd February 1862, reconsidered or questioned, it can only be done effectually and fairly by a Commission appointed to inquire on the spot, where books, papers, maps, and evidence could be produced, and in the event of a new Chief Justice being appointed he might fitly be entrusted withsuchManuscript image such a duty. I am not however in a position to recommend that course if the question can be settled and an agitation detrimental to the best interests of the Colony put an end to by any other means.
10. I have endeavoured by every means at my disposal to effect a settlement of this question, but in vain. There are various and conflicting interests which under the existing form of Government in this Colony are wholly beyond my control.IManuscript image I have no public officer in the Assembly to advocate the real interests of the Colony or to correct misapprehensions and even misstatements which have entered largely into the numerous debates which have taken place.
11. The question will again shortly come before the Legislative Assembly in connection with the annual Estimates and salaries of officers which with the exception of that of the Colonial Secretary I have declined to charge against Crown RevenuetillManuscript image till the conditions proposed in the Secretary of State's Despatch, 15th June 1863, are accepted or modified by your authority. I will communicate the result when arrived at.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
As the celebrated Indenture of Feb/62 was arranged by the Land Board I think there is no help for it, but to refer this despatch to that Office for report and to request that their report may be made as soon as convenient.
If the suggestion of referring the matter to the new Chief Justice be approved "twere well" that the report "be done quickly" for Mr Needham is going out in a few weeks.
ABd 3 July
Mr Cardwell
Land Board?
TFE 6/7
EC 8
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In 1863 the D. of Newcastle engaged to surrender the Crown Land Revenue to the H. of Assembly provided the House undertook to provide certain salaries.
A committee of the House was thereupon appointed to consider the condition of the Crown Lands as a source of Revenue.
The Report of the Committee with Minutes of evidence and Resolutions founded upon the Report are with 6183.
The House has not come to any decision upon the proposal made in 1863. They express however the opinion that the agreement of 1862 between the Crown and the H.B. Company ought to be annulled and that the Colony will be seriously injured if it is not annulled, and they request that proceedings may be taken withManuscript image that object.
They wd not interfere with the rights of third parties but they wd oblige the Company to compensate the Government for the Sale of any portions of Govt Reserves.
They ask that pending such proceedings the Company may not be confirmed in the possession of unsold lands and they particularly request that the title of Mr Lowenberg to Lot Z which is in transition may not be confirmed.
Governor K. in 6183 suggests that the whole matter should be made the subject of a Commission of inquiry.
The sale of lot Z, although dragged into the wider question, is a question by itself and, distinct from other subjects,Manuscript image has been the subject of correspondence since 1861.
The latest despatch upon it as a separate question is 2637 in which Governor K suggested that the Government shd resume lot Z upon payment of the price paid for it by Mr Lowenberg if the Company insisted upon it but expressed the opinion that the Co certainly ought to relinquish lot Z.
The Colonial office, Emign office and Law officers were agreed that the Indenture of 1862 cannot be cancelled.
The Emign Commrs (6606, 3034) were of opinion that the Sale of lot Z as a distinct question should be made the subject of legal proceedings first before the Supreme Court in the Colony and secondly in the event of an unfavourable decision beforeManuscript image the Privy Council at home.
On the other hand the Law officers are of opinion that lot Z was never dedicated as part of a Govt Reserve in any binding manner in which case its sale could not be questioned at law with any prospect of success.
The alternative left is that of letting it (lot Z) alone or of resuming it upon compensating Mr Lowenberg whether by arrangement between him & the local Govt or under a local act.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Kennedy to [Colonial Office], 15 May 1865, advising that a copy of the Resolutions of the Legislative Assembly of June 1864 would be forwarded to the colonial office in the duplicate of Despatch No. 23 dated 15 April 1865.
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Printed copy of "Minutes of Proceedings of a Select Committee of the House of Assembly appointed to inquire into the present condition of the Crown Lands of the Colony, with reference to the proposal of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated 15th June, 1863, to hand over the Crown Lands to the Legislature" (forty-two pages).
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Printed copy of "Report of the Committee on Crown Lands, Vancouver Island, June 14th, 1864" (fifteen pages).
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Printed copy of resolutions confirmed by the House of Assembly on 29 June 1864 upon receipt of the report as noted above, signed by J.S. Helmcken, Speaker.
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Printed copy of "Despatches and Correspondence transmitted to the House of Assembly in Governor Douglas' Message of 3rd September 1863" (thirty-six pages).
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 11 July 1865, forwarding copy of the despatch and enclosures for their observations and suggestions.