No. 61, Miscellaneous
19th July 1865
I have the honor to transmit for your information and consideration copies of a Procalmation under which Crown Lands have been disposed of in this Colony, and which is still in force subject to the modifications contained in the accompanyingGazetteManuscript image Gazette notices dated 29th July 1864 respectively.
I also transmit copies of certain queries which I addressed to a Board of Officers appointed to inquire into this subject with their replies thereto, and the opinion of the Acting Attorney General on a specific question submitted to him.
I have deferred troubling you with this question in the hope that the local Legislature wouldacceptManuscript image accept the management of the Crown Lands of the Colony on the terms proposed to them in the Duke of Newcastle's Separate Despatch dated 15th June 1863, and provide a legal remedy for the evils which obviously and admittedly exist.
A persusal of the Proclamation with the accompanying documents will I think disclose evils of no ordinary kind, calculated to effect great injury to thefutureManuscript image future as it undoubtedly is to the present progress of the Colony.
The practical working of the Proclamation may be shortly stated as follows:
1st It has retarded and obstructed the settlement of the Public Lands of the Colony.
2nd It has alienated 118,506 acres of the cream of the Public Lands, for a consideration of $13,805 of which only 23,629 acres are in part occupied, a large portion of which isunimprovedManuscript image unimproved and uncultivated.
3rd It enables a pre-emptor of 100 acres to take up any further quantity of unoccupied land without any conditions of occupation or improvement whatever.
4th It has encouraged land speculation and discouraged settlement and locked up the best lands of the Colony in the hands of speculators who pay neither rent nor taxes for it.
The foregoing are among themostManuscript image most obvious evils resulting from this, in my opinion, very injudicious Proclamation, but innumerable minor evils flow from it which call for remedies which the existing complications on the subject of Crown Lands prevent me from applying while the local Legislature decline to accept the responsibility of their management.
You will observe from the Gazette notices of the 29th July1864Manuscript image 1864 that I have limited the operation of the "Land Proclamation 1862" to certain Districts.
This measure was rendered necessary on the discovery of gold to prevent further speculation and monopoly of Crown Lands in the neighbourhood of those discoveries.
I fear that Certificates of Improvement under Section XIX of the Proclamation have been very loosely issued and uponwhollyManuscript image wholly insufficient grounds for the purpose of enabling the original pre-emptor to "sell, mortgage or lease" his lands under the terms of Section XX.
There existed a large arrear of purchase money under Section XXI until a recent period when I enforced payment.
I entertain no doubt that a large portion of the 118,506 acres pre-empted are forfeited under the conditions of Sections XXVI,XXVIIManuscript image XXVII and XXVIII, but I cannot learn that any sufficient steps have been taken in this direction.
The Legislative Assembly has declined to make any provision for "Land Recorders" in the Districts or for a Surveyor General, thus limiting the staff of Surveyors to one Assistant Surveyor General who is wholly unequal to fulfil the numerous duties properly devolving upon him.
ConnectedManuscript image
Connected with this question there are boundaries unsettled which will lead to future confusion and litigation and Indian Reserves and claims undefined and unadjusted, for the doing of which neither machinery nor means are at my disposal.
Any unauthorized action on my part might possibly under certain contingencies create more serious complications, thanthoseManuscript image those which already exist, and I therefore think it better to await your instructions on a subject which requires careful consideration.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
To Land Board.
It is curious that this Proclamation shd not have been transmitted to this Office by the late Governor. It is, however, the fact that we have no record of it from him; though, I learn, that the Library here professes a return of the V.C.I. Laws and Proclamations in which this Proclamation is contained.
I apprehend that as the waste Lands are still the property of the Crown & have not been surrendered to the Colony the disposal of them canManuscript image be regulated by Proclamation. And the sooner a good Proclamation is issued the better it will be for the local interests, for rights of Land are a futile subject of debate especially in young Colonies.
ABd 19 Sepr
Emign Comms at once.
FR 20/9
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Printed copy of the Vancouver Island Land Proclamation, 1862, detailing the methods by which land could be acquired in the colony, issued by Douglas, 6 September 1862.
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Printed copy of notices detailing the areas to be exempt from the Vancouver Island Land Proclamation, 1862 and those areas still open for pre-emption, signed by Henry Wakeford, Acting Colonial Secretary, 29 July 1864.
Wakeford, T.L. Wood, Acting Attorney General, and B.W. Pearse, Acting Surveyor General, to Acting Colonial Secretary, 23 June 1865, forwarding their replies to various questions posed by the governor in reference to the disposition of land in the colony.
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Eleven questions and the replies thereto, as noted above, signed by Wakeford, Wood and Pearse.
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Wood to Colonial Secretary, 25 April 1865, commenting upon the abuses inherent under the Vancouver Island Land Proclamation, 1862, with particular reference to the comments of James Duncan, MLA.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 28 September 1865, forwarding copy of the despatch and enclosures for their observations and suggestions.