No. 18, Legislative
4 March 1861
With reference to my Despatch No 16 of the 18th of February transmitting the Acts passed in the House of Assembly during the past Session, I have the honour now to forward
the
the report upon those Acts, by the Attorney General, which should have accompanied that Despatch, but could not be obtained in time.  
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • George Hunter Cary, Acting Attorney General, to Acting Colonial Secretary, 23 February 1861, reporting on the various Acts "which have become law during the late Session of the House of Assembly" (21 pages).  
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
9341/60—V.C.I. [and] 3646, 3649, 1322/61—V.C.I.
 
The Atty Genls report on these Acts (4322) has just been recd—& gives a very good accg of the Acts.

3646 V.C.  
No 1 (or 19) assigns certain permanent salaries to the Governor, C.J., Col. Secy, Treasurer, Surveyor Genl and Atty Gl—in all £3200 per ann.  
These are granted on condition that the Land Revenue is given up.  
On this subject Mr Elliots opinion will probably be desired by the D. of N.  
Mr Merivale's view is contained in a minute on 2661/60 Vancouver Island.  
Mr Murdoch's & my own (written from the Emign Office with little knowledge of the circes of V.C.I. in particular) on a Land Board Report 3485/60 VanCouvers Island.  
Mr Elliot's is minuted on that report.  
So is the D. of Newcastle's.  
I would only suggest one temporary obstacle to the giving up of the Land Fund.  
It is impossible to forsee what turn the pending negotiations with the H.B.C. may take; it may be prudent for the Govt to compromise—compensate &c &c and this probably by grants of land or by abandonment of questionable claims upon Land.  
At present the Crown being the land owner is competent to deal ad arbitrium with questions of this kind. But when the land is handed over to the Colony this can no longer be done.  
It is therefore very questionable whether this ought to be done at present—cf also the Govrs views in 3649 V.C.I.  
Nos 2 & 3 (or 20, 21). Supply Acts—Sanction.  
No 4 (or 24). Act imposing a tax on certain trades & professions—Sanction.  
No 5 (or 26). Road Act. Six days labour to be given for the first 100 acres & 2 days for every additl hundred any person may possess—also six days to be given by every male resident above 18 years old—composition 6s/3 a day. Appointment of Road Commr & Overseer provided for. Sanction.  
No 6 (or 27). A tax of 1 per cent per annum on the market value (not rental) of any real estate—with certain exceptions among wh are "all agricultural buildings & improvements." The Govr dislikes the Law.  
The tax seems (by the Atty Genl's report) to have been passed not witht an eye to Speculators in Land. Sanction.  
No 7. Fees for entrance & clearance of Vessels. Refer to B of Trade with extract from Atty Gens report.

3649 V.C. Island  
No 18. Joint Stock Compies Act. Sanction.  
No 22. Street Fund. 2000£ (borrowed of course) to be spent on improvement of Streets in Victa—a tax of 5/6 per cent coincidently imposed on real property in Victoria.  
No 23. Protection of firemen destroying property in exercise of their office. Sanction.  
No 25. Persons who sell liquor to Indians or who keep liquors (without licence) within 50 yards of any Indian reserve or gathering are subjected to a fine of 100£ for the first offence—and to imprist not exceedg a year & not less than a month for the second. A well meant Act. But observe that it seems that no fine could be imposed in the case of a second offence—and that it is doubtful whether any punishment whatever cd be inflicted for a third or subsequent offence. Sanction however.  
No 28. Any person who has an informal or defective conveyance of the fee simple of any Estate on Land (to wh fee simple the Act is easily limited) may summon his Grantor before the Supreme Ct & if the conveyance shews that the fee was intended to be granted, may obtain a legal Grant. A rough remedy for a usual difficulty in the early stages of Colonies. Sanction.  
No 30. Gas Compy. Sanction.  
No 31. Titles derived from H.B.Cy. Refer to H.B.Cy for any observations they may desire to offer.  
No 32. Provides a summary method of dealing (by a jury of 8 men) with offences triable at Quarter Sessions. I dare say a very good Act. Sanction.  
No 33. An action, the cause of wh has arisen in a foreign country is to be barred by turn in V.C.I if it wd have been so barred in the country where the contract (or other cause of action) took place. Very right. Sanction.  
No 24. Registration of Voters. Sanction.  
No 35. Victoria Bridge. Sanction.  
No 36. Transfer of Real Estate. Defer consideration. The Atty Genl promises a further report. (If it is even a tolerable Act it will do him great credit.) *
*
This has not been received.  
EBP
23-6
[date partly off microfilm]
 
No 37. Powder Mill. Sanction.  
I think the Govr mt be told that the Legislation of the Session appears to the D of N very creditable to the industry & practical good sense of the Legislature.  
It mt be observed however as a matter of detail that it wd be a convenience if the Acts are numbered and in all cases were accompd by a marginal abstract.  
FR
18/5
Minutes by CO staff
Duke of Newcastle
The Vancouver's Id legislation of the past session (wh. lasted nearly twelve months!) deserves, I think, the compliment proposed and so does the Attorney General. The only question of doubt is as to the surrender of the Crown Lands to the Assembly. It seems to me that the consideration urged by Sir F.R. is conducive—altho' only temporary—and that the Govr sh. be informed that until the negociations with the H.B.Co. are terminated the disposal of the Waste Lands of the Crown must be retained in the hands of the Crown, but that as soon as those questions are settled, you will be prepared to advise their transfer to the control of the Colonial legislature, provided that a Civil List be granted to Her Majesty upon a scale of sufficient liberality. You will see (in 3649) that the Govr is not satisfied with the present scale, & means to propose another in the next Session.  
CF
18
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Newcastle, 4 March 1861, National Archives of the UK, 4322, CO 305/17. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=V61018.scx. Accessed 15 December 2018. 

Last modified: 12:00:35, 4/12/2018