No. 73, Separate
24th August 1865
1. I have the honor to transmit the Blue Book of the Colony of Vancouver Island for the year 1864 which is far from being as full as I could wish it to be.
2. The taxes by which the Revenue of the Colony is chieflyraisedManuscript image raised are 1. Real Estate Tax,
2. Port and Harbour Dues,
3. Land Sales,
4. Liquor Licences,
5. Trade Licences.
3. Of these the Real Estate Tax is an impost of one per cent on the assessed value of all real property which yielded £9,787 in 1864 as compared with £8854 in 1863.
4. The existing mode of assessingrealManuscript image real property is faulty and imperfect, and the tax is levied upon an assessment much below the real or market value.
5. The Port and Harbour Dues include, in addition to customary charges for the entrance and clearance of shipping, fees leviable for permits for the landing of imported goods according to a scale (p.p. 3 and 4), the rates of which are very unequal and disproportionatetoManuscript image to each other, and also licence fees for coasting vessels.
6. The produce of the sale of Public Lands and the Land Revenue is not applicable to the general purposes of the Government pending their acceptance by the local Legislature.
7. Liquor Licences are issued for the sale of spirituous and fermented liquors. The amount obtained from this sourcewasManuscript image was £5898 in 1864 as compared with £4914 in 1863. A remarkable sum when considered with reference to the population.
8. The remaining principal source of Revenue is what are termed "Trade Licences" which are levied according to the scale at page 2, the rates under which are most unequal and bear no proportion to each other.
9. The total Revenue receivedfromManuscript image from all sources in 1864 amounted to £71,268 as compared with £73,776 in 1863—nevertheless under almost every head of Revenue there is an increase. A new source of Revenue also appears in Gold Mining Licences, £830.
10. There has been a falling off of £1697 under the head of "Land Sales" owing to the unsettlement of the Crown Lands question, and the partial suspenseofManuscript image of the Proclamation regulating the sale of Public Lands.
11. The total Expenditure, £74,246, presents an increase as compared with that of 1863, £69,589. A considerable increase occurs in the ordinary expenditure. Under the head of "Works and Buildings" the sum expended out of the "Road and Harbour Loan" is £18,452, as compared with £1603 in 1863.
12. The Acts passed during the year do not call for any special remarks.
Political Franchise
13. The number of Electors on the Register for 1864 is 1,213. This number however represents the number of votes, but not the number of voters, many persons being on the Register for three, four, and some for even as many as five and six electoral Districts. The actualnumberManuscript image number of persons who possess those 1213 votes is 890 or less than three fourths, and nearly all those are resident in Victoria and possess votes in respect of lands which they have taken up in out-districts and which they neither occupy nor improve.
14. The number of registered voters for the seven out-districts, which return eight Members, is 367, but of those only 141 reside in the Districts forwhichManuscript image which they have votes.
Resident Number of
Esquimalt Town..... 67 20 1
Esquimalt and
Metchosin District..
83 38 2
Sooke District..... 25 9 1
Saanich District..... 50 13 1
Lake District.... 65 19 1
Saltspring and Chemainus 39 24 1
Nanaimo........... 38 18 1
367 141 8
Legislative Council and Assembly
15. The Legislative Council is composed of five ex officio and three non-official Members nominated by the Crown.
16. The Legislative AssemblyconsistsManuscript image consists of 15 Members elected by constituencies before described. The British population of the Island, women and children included, cannot much, if at all, exceed 3000. No one connected with the Government has a seat in the Assembly, which is in my opinion a great misfortune, placing the Assembly and the Executive at a mutual disadvantage and obstructing or neutralizing useful Legislation.
In Sir J. Douglas' time, the Col. Secy used to be in the Assembly.
Civil Establishment
17. With more concentratedauthorityManuscript image authority I think a reduction in numbers might be effected, but the scale of salaries, having regard to the small value of money and high cost of living in the Colony, is injudiciously low, furnishing with few exceptions a bare subsistence to those employed.
18. The Estimate given is the best that can be furnished and is substantially correct. The European, Negro, and ChinesetogetherManuscript image together numbering about 8000 and the Aboriginal Indians about 10,000.
19. These show a net decrease as compared with 1863. There is however an increase of Imports from the United Kingdom of £24,367, and a decrease of Imports from the United States and foreign countries of upwards of £80,000.
20. The general record of Exports is too meagre to be ofmuchManuscript image much value. The amount of gold the produce of British Columbia and Vancouver Island exported through the Banks alone is £556,945.
21. No point worthy of notice presents itself in the Shipping Returns.
22. No means exist of obtaining agricultural statistics of any value. The agricultural resources of the Colony may be said to bealmostManuscript image almost wholly undeveloped. The manner in which public lands have been alienated has tended rather to speculation, than occupation and improvement. The agricultural land though limited in extent is amazingly fertile and sufficient in extent for ten times the present population.
Manufactures and Mines
23. Under this head the coal mine at Nanaimo is the most remarkable as affording employment for a fixed populationwhichManuscript image which is the great want of the Colony.
24. During the year the discovery of profitable gold diggings within 20 miles of Victoria has pointed out a new source of prosperity. The low cost at which the miners can subsist compared with the miners of British Columbia will probably render these mines both profitable and attractive though the yield of gold be comparatively small.
GeneralManuscript image
General Remarks
25. The great want in this as in all other new countries is a fixed population, and this can scarcely be expected till the excitement attendant upon the first discovery of gold has subsided, and communication with the Mother Country is facilitated and cheapened. The want of direct Mail communication with England is a serious discouragement and agreatManuscript image great detriment to British interests in the Pacific.
26. The following simple statment showing the amount of trade transactions for 1864, the revenue received therefrom and the percentage of Revenue will prove interesting.
TheManuscript image
The assessed value of the transactions
of the year amounted to.....
The tax assessed according to the
Schedule under the Act amounted to...
19,945 0.34
To these amounts should be added,
1. Value of Wines and Spirits
imported during the year
which is allowed to be
deducted from Trade Returns......
2. Amount of Liquor Licences
collected during the year....
3. Amount of Landing Permits
charged on merchandize....
________ 6,430 ________
Gross amount of transactions..... 6,148,561
Gross amount of revenue..... 56,013
Percentage........ 0.91
27. In connection with the foregoingaManuscript image a statement showing the gross amount of Imports for the year 1864, the taxes bearing upon Imports and the percentage thereof will afford a generally correct view of the extent of mercantile transactions and the taxation they are subject to.
Imports for
Taxes bearing
on Imports
Gross amount of Imports
for the year......
Trade Assessments...... 19,945 0.55
Liquor Licences...... 29,638
Landing Permits..... ________ 6,430 _________
3,602,886 56,013 1.55
Manuscript image
28. An inquiry into the drinking statistics in all, especially new, British Colonies, presents very deplorable results. The following figures will show that this Colony is not exempt from the evils which exist elsewhere.
TheManuscript image
The imported value of wines and spirits
of every description during the year
1864 (Port of Victoria)........
Add profits, say 40 per cent....... 118,314
Deduct value of wines and spirits of every
description imported through Vancouver
into the Colony of British Columbia
during the same period......
Estimated consumption of Vancouver Island
during the year 1864........
Which, assuming the male adult population
to be 5000, gives an annual expenditure,
per man, of $52.98.
Amount brought down as the transactions of
Wholesale dealers (Importers)........
Add for retail transactions...... 264,915
Annual transactions in Liquor $679,014
On this amount of transactions the annual
Licences for the sale of Liquor Wholesale and
Retail ($29,638) is equal to 4.36 per cent.
*This is equal to more than 8 percent of the
total Imports of Vancouver Island.
29.Manuscript image
29. There are 85 retail Licences for public houses granted in the City of Victoria alone in addition to 23 wholesale licences, the quarter by fees for which amount to $6880.
30. Outside the City there are 41 licensed retail public houses making a total of 149 licences to sell drink for which the fees payable for the year amount to $29,909. This enormus drain upon the earnings of the small population of this Colony cannotfailManuscript image fail to produce disastrous social results.
31. It cannot be expected that this Colony will continue to progress in the rapid manner it has hitherto done but I entertain no apprehension for its future. Its fine climate, good harbours, natural resources, and favorable geographical position for all purposes of commerce cannot fail under judicious laws to secureforManuscript image for Vancouver Island a high station among prosperous British Colonies.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Acknowledge and print as usual.
ABd 12 Oct
At once.
FR 12/10
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 61, 19 October 1865.
Kennedy, Arthur to Cardwell, Edward 24 August 1865, CO 305:26, no. 9816, 322. 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.

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