Copland, John
John Copland was an attorney and a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Vancouver Island.1 Before arriving on Vancouver Island, Copland studied at the University of Edinburgh where he passed his law examinations,2 hoping to gain an official position as an attorney in the colony of V.I. On 24 September 1859, Copland began clerkship work, serving as a barrister, under attorney George Ring. For the purpose of moving up in his legal position, he worked as a law clerk for 12 months.3 After his time as a law clerk under Ring, he served as James Duncan’s clerk for five years. Within these years petitions were sent in order to have Copland admitted to the Bar.4
However, Chief Justice Cameron’s original promise to promote and admit Copland was unfulfilled. The Daily Colonist commented that it was a form of maltreatment and a deprivation of a man’s rights.5 Beyond Copland’s struggles to become an official attorney for Vancouver Island, upon his arrival in Victoria, he initially presented himself as a land agent -- helping those who wished to obtain cheap land settlements -- primarily on Salt Spring Island.6 As a solicitor he advocated for the settlers on Salt Spring. The petition he circulated to promote their settlement on the island, was equally a petition to dispossess Indigenous Territory.7
Other than his work as a solicitor, Copland ran for Councillor of Yates Street Ward in 1862, and became a Councillor for the City Council of Victoria in 1863.8 On 23 December 1862, the Daily Colonist commented on a supplementary law Copland introduced which prohibited persons from harboring squaws, a by-law to introduce sanitary regulations to the disgraceful scenes of Indigenous women at the height of the smallpox epidemic.9 It is unclear how long Copland remained in his positions as his date of death is unknown, but his ads as a solicitor -- to sell land lots -- appear in the newspaper until at least 1865.10
Mentions of this person in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. Copland, John. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/copland.html.

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