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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Disposal of crown lands in British Columbia, 1871-1913 Cail, Robert Edgar 1956

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DISPOSAL OF GROWN LANDS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA,, IS?! 1913 • by ROBERT ED&AR CAIL B„A»j University of British Columbia, May, 19l{.7 B.Ed., University of British Columbia, Oct. ,, I9I4.7 1 THESIS SUBMITTED IN .PARTIAL FUIFIIMENT <F THE REQUXKEMEIiTS FOR TEE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of History We aeeept this thesis as conforming to the standard required from candidates for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS TEE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Sep tember, 19£>6 DISPOSAL OP CROWN LMDS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1871 - 1913 ABSTRACT Th© history of the disposal of Crown lends in British Columbia is in reality the history of the economic development of the province. It covers the progress of British Columbia from its days as a hunting and trading preserve of the Hudson's Bay Company through its brief colonial period and formative years as a province down to its years of rapid settlement and development in tho decade before 1913. Once the colonial period had passed, the attack upon the natural resources began in ear-nest. So rich and abundant did those resources of land, mine, forest, and water prove that British Columbia found itself launched into an industrial era almost before adequate legislation had been framed to deal with its land and resources. Legislation was necessary to guide the economic progress of the province ana to establish regulations govern- ing the disposal of Crown land and its appurtenant resources of mineral, timber, and water. The laws were framed always with a view to accomplishing three things - encouraging settle- ment, forestalling speculation, and securing revenue. Since in every case the basis of provincial legislation was to be found in the proclamations and ordinances framed from l8f?8 to 186I1. by Governor Douglas, a survey of colonial regulations is needed to clarify subsequent policy. To assist him In framing pro damnations for guiding the progress of the two colonies, Douglas looked to the C o l o n i a l Office, the terms under which the Hudson*s Bay Company had held Vancouver Island, and his own judgment. The first regulations adhered closely to principles laid down by the Colonial Office. Douglas was carefully instructed to ward off speculation in public lands by making beneficial use the criterion of alienation. No agricultural land was to be pre-empted other than by bona fid®, settlers. Land was not to be sold without some guarantee that it would be improved. Timber leases were to be granted only to'the operators of saw mills» Miners could not divert water from streams unless it was needed at once. By 1871 the principle of beneficial use had been so thoroughly established in law that it was never thereafter abandoned. Practice, however, was at variance with principle and until the McBride ministry had devised adequate administrative machinery after 1909 little could be done to enforce regulations. Secondly, Douglas was instructed to reserve certain rights to the Crown. Gold, wherever found, was so reserved! by 1913, silver, coal, natural gas, and oil had been added. Land for government purposes was similarly reserved to the Crown. As for other principles, Douglas found he could not enforce them in the face of existing conditions. Sale of land by auction did not work, nor did insistence upon immediate payment. • Neither principle could prevail for long. To secure money, Douglas soon discovered he must dispose of lands on easy terms. Had the Colonial Office seen fit to heed Douglas's plea to lend credit to the new Pacific colonies to relieve them of the pressing need for money, the subsequent wholesale alienation of large tracts of the best land at very low prices would have been unnecessary. Beneficial use, sale only by auction, cash sales, and survey prior to alienation could all have been firmly established and carefully super- vised. As it was, British Columbia did none of these things end indeed, became the only province in Canada where land could be alienated prior to survey. Prom I87.I to 1913 British Columbia followed the pattern set in colonial days. The only reason the province retained ninety per cent of the timber stands was that, before legal safeguards were enacted, timber was regarded more as a nuisance than as an asset. But the necessity for securing revenue by selling or otherwise disposing of Crown lands on as easy terms as possible established a pattern of thinking that was to see the reckless alienation of millions of acres of land to railway promoters between I883 and 1900. Much of the land was later repurchased. And because of the difficulties which arose between the Dominion and the province over jurisdictional conflicts stemming from the presence of a forty-mile strip of land through the heart of the province granted in exchange for rail connections with eastern Canada, enough Ill-feeling was engendered to make the allotting of Indian reserve lands one of the most vexed problems In provincial history. Crown lands in unlimited quantity were disposed of to land and timber speculators and railway promoters from 1871 to 1900. Not until 1900 did provincial governments begin to question the wisdom of such wholesale alienation. Land was so eagerly sought from I90j? to 1913 that effective machinery was finally devised to regulate Its disposal on terms most favourable to the province. Pre-emptions were inspected, water rights were clarified, timber lands were placed under reserve for sale of the timber by auction only, extensive surveys of agricultural lands were made, and settlement was at last directed to areas served by communication facilities. By 1913 Crown lands and their natural resources were recognized for what they were - priceless expendable assets and the people5s heritage - no longer to be disposed of heedlessly but rather to be conserved for posterity. In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library .shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission: for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representative. It is under- stood that copying or publication' of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of JI//)1jl4. The University of British Columbia, Vancouver A, Canada. Date JjM • )qst> . '. • I DISPOSAL OF CROWN LANDS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1871 * 1913 Introduction Throughout the last century in British Columbia the most complex and comprehensive of all legislation has been that concerned with public land policy. Its complexity results from two factors. In the first place, there was no precedent readily available for the colony prior to Confed- eration, Governor Douglas., upon whose shoulders rested the responsibility for devising land policy, had to formulate that policy before the example of the American Homestead Act of 1862 was available for lids guidance. Instructions from the Colonial Office and his own common sense were his only guides. Even had the American example been at hand, It is entirely unlikely that Douglas would have considered granting 160 acres free to bona fide settlers. Nor was any advice forth- coming from Canada. As quite separate colonies, there was practically no interchange of ideas between Canada and the two Pacific colonies, nor was there any interchange of population. Not until after the union of the two colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia in 1866 was there any appreciable Canadian element in British Columbia. And as Hudson* s Bay Company employees had never concerned them- selves greatly with the formulation of a land policy looking to the organized settlement of the country, James Douglas, on his appointment as Governor of "Vancouver's Island" in 185>1, had to work out his own salvation. In the process of doing so he worked out a policy which was a surprisingly good one in nearly every respect. The second reason for the complexity of land legis- lation in British Columbia was the topography and climate of the province. To create a policy for the disposal of public land in the Ifbrthwest Territories was a much simpler process for the Dominion government than it was for any governor or government in British Columbia. Where there is available for immediate settlement a large area of cultivable land * for the most part treeless and not known to contain any minerals, the legislation governing its disposal resolves itself into determining what quantity shall be allowed each settler and under what terms. Surveying constitutes no problem. The matter was considerably more complicated in British Columbia owing to the very reason which brought the mainland colony into existence in l8f?8 - the presence of gold. Until after Confederation it was gold that brought settlers to the Pacific colony, not land. It is significant that Douglas * s chief concern from l8f>8, when he severed all con- nection with the Hudson's Bay Company, until 1861]., when he retired from public life, was to draw up regulations governing the minersf rights to their discoveries and claims; only after that was he concerned with the disposal of lands to disgruntled miners for purposes of settlement. Because placer mining could only locate the surface gold, hydraulic developments soon appeared, and for them water was necessary. Very early in its history then, land legislation had to recognize the miners* water requirements, even if it meant abandoning the English Common Law, principle of riparian ownership of water. The same departure from Common Law became necessary later in the interior dry belt in regard to water for irrigation purposes. Moreover, land legislation had to recognize the fact that much of British Columbia was heavily timbered. Although the economic significance of timber was not reeog- nised until after 1900, provision had to be made for- the disposal of timbered lands in the land laws. After the union with Canada in 1871, cognisance was taken of both American and Canadian land legislation, sometimes with the inevitable confusion arising from the application of half-understood principles, but,on the whole, the Land Acts of British Columbia were home-grown products. Because they had to encompass such divergent elements as water rights, forest lands, mining claimsA coal lands,.and Laws from the English civil code had been in effect in British Columbia since Uoveniber 19, 18£6, except "so far as the same are not from local circumstances inapplicable," and could be modified and altered by local legislation. (See British Columbia.- Legislative Council. List of Proclamations for 18??8. 1859, i860. 18.61, 1862. 18637 and 1861-u, l861i, p. 15. Also to be found in: British Columbia. Legislative Assembly. Revised1 Statutes. 1871. No. 70, s. 2. Hereafter cited as R.S.B.C.. 1871.) I T , pastoral lands, as well as the more customary agricultural landsj the acts dealing with land in British Columbia could not be modelled on 'those which might apply in other parts of Canada*' Complications in administering the land laws, just as in framing them, were many. The first difficulty resulted from the vastness of the colony. However well devised the act, it was worse than useless if It could not be administered with some degree of efficiency and uniformity. The miners returning from the Cariboo gold fields after l0j>8 were not greatly concerned with the niceties of phraseology In a land act which they had never seen and for which there was no administering agency close at hand. Communication was slow and difficult and the country seemed boundless in extent. Small wonder that unauthorized homesteads were taken up 2 throughout the Praser Valley and even on Vancouver- island. These homesteads had to be legalised in later revisions of, or amendments to, the main ordinance. A further difficulty was that of ensuring so far as possible that lands were taken up by genuine settlers, not by speculators. For fifty years the official documents, 2 With a view to raising foodstuffs to feed miners, pioneers took up isolated unauthorized homesteads wherever they considered"the conditions suitable. This led to the practice of Crown-granting isolated blocks of land -whose geographic -position was not definitely known. (See British Columbia. Legislative Assembly. Sessional Papers, 1912, p. 0 9. Report of G.H. Dawson, Surveyor-General, February 5, 1912. Hereafter cited as B.C.S.P.) V correspondence, and reports dealing with land were filled with innumerable references either to the existence - or to the fear of the existence - of speculators. Starting with Douglas and continuing to the present time, the Land Act tries to make it impossible for land to be taken up for any other purpose than that of beneficial use. Provided that the land was to be used in all good faith by the settler, almost unlimited quantities of it could be had for many years for practically nothing. For this reason, clauses Inserted in every act stipulated that pre-emptors must begin occupation within a specified period and make certain improvements by a definite date after recording the pre-emption. Failure to do so would result in forfeiture of the pre-emption, whether agricultural, mineral, or timber lands were sought. But because no effective administrative machinery was provided until after 1900, such regulatory clauses were often disregarded completely. Governor Douglas made every effort to see that his proclamations were rigidly enforced. Hampered as he was by a very meagre and uncertain revenue for th© administration of such a large colony, he could do little.^ After 1871, even when money ^ As early as November llj., 1861, Douglas was borrowing money to finance road construction and maintenance. (See British Columbia. Legislative Assembly. Consolidated Statutes of British Columbia, consisting of.the. Acts. Ordinances & Proclamations of the Formerly Separate Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, of the United Colony of British Columbia, and of the Province since the Union with Canada . . . , 1877,' No. 17k. v. xvl. Hereafter cited as B.C. Consolidated Statutes. 1877.) After 1861 such loans became an annual event. ' vl . became available, only desultory attempts were made to enforce the regulations. For thirty years the prevalent attitude was that land was plentiful and most of It useless3 if anyone had enough initiative to pay a nominal price for it, no hindrance should be placed in his way. Indians did not qualify as genuine Settlers nor for the first few years were they thought of as speculators. So long as Douglas remained governor little difficulty arose over Indian lands. Douglas left the tribes entirely unmolested on any lands settled or used by them, and even made a start on buying out their beneficial interest In all lands on Vancouver Island. After Douglas retired in 1861|, however, Indian reserves became an increasingly troublesome issue In British Columbia and, along with the complications stemming from the existence of the Railway Belt within the province, gave rise to the strained relations between Victoria and Ottawa that culminated in th© secession resolution of 1 8 7 8 . The most troublesome of all administrative problems arose as a result of the Terms of Union under which the colony entered the Canadian Confederation In I871A Section 11 of the terms under which the union was effected specified that in return for railway connection with Canada, British Columbia should convey to the Dominion a strip of land forty miles ^ Land difficulties arising from Section 11 of the Terms of Union are dealt with fully in Chapter 31 those stemming from Section 13 are the subject of Chapter ij.. vil wide from the seaboard to the border of the Northwest Territories^ along the line of railway wherever it should be located* Five years were spent In surveying and locating the route which as then planned came through the Rockies by the Yellowhead Pass, through the gap in the Cascades provided by the Thompson River, valley, and through the Coast range by means of the Lower Fraser Valley. The route was right through the most heavily settled portion of the province, then as now. The transfer of the forty-mile strip of land through the heart of the province to the Dominion created a dual administration in British Columbia, one set of regulations for what came to be known as the Railway Belt, administered by the Dominion, and another set for the rest of British Columbia, administered by the province. The resulting complications required sixty years A , to disentangle. In the process, British Columbia came close £ The bolder was not completely delineated until January 21, At that time the Alberta-British Columbia boundary com- mission completed its report on the final 1 7 8 miles of the 912-mile boundary, but the report was not tabled until f-uary 20, 1936, following the completion of the twelve maps showing the boundary in detail. The survey was begun in 1913, suspended in 192i[. because there was no pressing need for the continuation of the survey• in the sparsely-settled northern areas of the two provinces, and resumed in 1950 when accurate demarcation became imperative following the discovery of oil and mineral deposits. (See Kelson Dally.Hews., February 21, 1936, p.. 10.) ~ 6 p o r tbe genesis.and first fifteen years of this problem, sees Oivnsby, M.A., "The relations between British Columbia and'the Dominion of Canada, 1871-1885," Bi.D. Thesis, 191*4, Ami Arbor, Michigan, in University of British Columbia library (microfilm), or MSB in Provincial Archives, Victoria, B. C. viii to withdrawing from Confederation;' and the Dominion govern- ment was badgered almost 'beyond endurance. The wonder is not that British Columbia did Hot withdraw from Confederation but rather that Canada did not ask for its withdrawal to rid herself of what became the most involved and unpleasant problem in domestic politics for fifty years. But all this was in the future. To follow the story of the disposal of public lands in British Columbia from 1871 to 19135 it is essential first to go back into the past of colonial days. The regulations of Governor Douglas formed the firm basis of the new province's land legislation after 1871.. ? On August 30, 1878, a secession resolution proposed by Premier G.A. Walkem passed the Assembly' on a vote of III. to 9. It said, in part, "That British Columbia shall hereafter have the right to exclusively collect and retain her Customs and Excise duties and to withdraw from' the Union. . . In. the confusion attendant upon the general election in Canada that September, the resolution was *mislaid* in Ottawa and did not reach London until January 2ij., 1879. In the meantime, how- ever, a much more conciliatory attitude replaced the former hostility and the resolution was forgotten both "by the Walkem Ministry in British Columbia and the newly elected Macdonald government, in Ottawa. ' (See Howay, F.W., "Political history, 1871-1913?t! in Canada and its Provinces. 191k, Vol. 21, pp. 202-20J4..) TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER P A G E Introduction I 1. LAND SETTLEMENT POLICY, 1871-1913 9 D « ' .6 s e • H O i. Policy before 1871 . ii. Policy after 1871 . . . . 33 iii. Private and Government Surveys . . . . 101 2. LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES i. Mineral Lands Policy 123 ii. Timber Lands Policy . . . . . . . . . . 161 iii. Water Rights Policy 19l| 3. LAND AND RAILWAYS 1. The Railway Belt to I88I4. 217 ii. Intraprovineial Lines . . . . . . . . 257 iii. The Railway Belt after l881j. 282 h(.. LAND AND INDIANS 1. Policy before 1871 . . . . . . . . . . 295 ii. Policy after I87I . . . . . . . . . . . 33k 5. CONCLUSION . . . . . • k2-! APPENDIX A, Land Ordinance, I87O . . . . . . . . . Iji^O APPENDIX B. Statistical Tables I. Pre-emption Records, 1873-1913 . • • II. Certificates of Improvement, 1873-1913 k$3 III. Certificates of Purchase, 1873-1913 . . . . . . . . . . . . . k?k IV. Crown Grants, 1873-1913 « V. Total Land 'Transactions, 1873-1913 . VI. Land and Natural Resources Receipts, 1871-1913 . • VII. Private and Government Surveys, 1900-1913 * • VIII. Timber Statistics (1) Timber Licences issued, 1883-1911 1^9 (2) Extent and Value of Privately held Timber Lands, 1913 . . . . k$9 TABES OP CONTENTS (Cont«d.) CHAPTER P APPENDIX C. Item 1. Item 2. Item 3 - Item k- Item 5>» (3) Provincial Land Area, Productive and Unproductive, 1913 * « * « o 4 <t o * a t> » IX. Timber Leases Held, 1888 . . . » X. Summary of Data, 1916 Indian Royal Commission Report . . . . . . . . Railway Papers Example of a provincial Act of Incorporation of a railroad . . . . Example of a provincial Land Subsidy Act for a Railway Company . . . . . Defunct Railway Companies legislated out of exigence, 1927 . . . . . . . Railways Incorporated under acts of the Legislature of British Columbia since 1883 Example of a provincial cash Subsidy 0 <• 0 a * e » » e « 1 e a » tr e APPENDIX D. Maps Map I. Map II. Map III. APPENDIX E. Item 1. Item 2, Item 3. Item i|.. Item jp. Irem 6. Item 7 . BIBLIOGRAPHY". British Columbia Railway Belt Port Moody Section, British Columbia Railway Belt Indian Reserves, Okanagan Agency, 1916 . Indian Reserve Papers Indian Reserves In the Province of British Columbia, 1 8 7 1 . . . . . . . . . Lieutenant-Governor Trutch to Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, October 1 1 8 7 2 Indian Petition to Dr. I.If. Powell, Indian Superintendent for British Columbia, July llj., l87l| . Sir James Douglas to Dr. I.W. Powell, October lij., 1874 (1) KcKenna-McBride Agreement, September 2I4., 1912 (2) Order in Council, November 27, 1912, - accepting McKenna-McBride Agreement Introduction to Report of the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia, 1916 . . . I Statement of the Allied Indian Tribes of British Columbia for the Government of British Columbia, 1919 . . . . . . . CHAPTER 1 LAND SETTLEMENT POLICY, 1871-1913 1. With the revoking of the Hudson's Bay Company Q _ charter in 18£8, Douglas, as Governor of both Vancouver island and British Columbia, faced the problem of framing legislation for the disposal of public lands. There was no thought then of railroads and conflicting .jurisdictions,, nor was there any intimation of the value Crown lands .were later to acquire. It is all the more remarkable, therefore, that Douglas's proclam- ations covered every major contingency ever to arise in the land policy of the province. Close study of Douglas*s ordinances and a comparison of them with later Land Acts leads one to the conclusion that had Douglas continued his role of leadership in British Columbia until after Confeder- ation, not a fraction of the land problems which plagued the province for so many years would have arisen. Douglas would ° Because of the distinctly unfavourable comments about the rule of the Commny made before a Select Committee of Inquiry before the British Parliament in l8£8, and of the similar remarks from another investigation made in Canada, the British government, convinced a change was necessary, revoked the Hudson's Bay Company privileges, conferred in l8i}.9, by Act of Parliament oh August 2, 18£8, The act provided that Douglas should be governor of both colonies oh condition that he sever all connection with the Hudson1 s Bay and Puget Sound Agri- cultural companies. This Douglas did, saying that "I place my humble services unhesitatingly at the disposal of Her Majesty* s government, and I will take early measures for withdrawing from the company . , . ," (See Coats, R.H. and R.E. Gosnell, Sir James Douglas1926, p. 219. (Makers of Canada series, Vol. IX^ J) no doubt have been a leader in any society or any period, not a popular leader, but one respected and deferred, to for his qualities of mind. Hot least, of these, qualities was his capacity for clear and concise thinking. Ho where is this quality more evident than in his despatches to the Colonial Office asking for instructions on lands policy, or recounting an analytical and informed recital of reasons for actions he o had already taken. The problem Douglas faced was that of providing for the systematic alienation of public land in an uncharted wilderness of unknown area and unsuspected resources, inhabited by unnumbered thousands of Indians in addition to a few thousand transient miners who had suddenly descended on the colony of Vancouver Island in l8f?8. Douglas had to accommodate a land system to most unaccommodating and widely scattered areas of arable land. Douglas had three sources from which he could get help. There were the provisions under which the Hudson's Bay Company had allotted lands, there was the Colonial Office, 9 All these despatches may be found in: British Columbia. Governor. Despatches .» . . to the Colonial Office,. October 12, 1858 ^ J u l y " 2 i r r i m r M I I : • Douglas. October 12", l8"58 - April 13* .iBSlH ^Photostat copy of MSS in Archives Depart- ment, Ottawa, G series, no. 353-358.) Also to be found in: Great Britain. Colonial Office. British Columbia. Papers relative to the affairs of British Columbia . t| Copies of the, .''jSdffll^  T farts I, II, and flxT^THereafteF^clted as*^ap~ers Relative to ;,the affairs of British Columbia.) 3' and there was his own experience. Under the grant raa.de by Royal Proclamation of January 13, 1849, the Hudson5 s Bay Company had been given absolute lordship and proprietorship of. Vancouver Island, Its land and its minerals, forever, subject only to the domination 10 of the British Crown and to an annual rent of seven shillings. In addition, the Company was to settle upon the Island within five years a colony of British subjects. It was solely for t M s reason that the Home Government had, acceded to the Com-11 • pany?s request when it was before Parliament In l8k9. " The stipulation to which Douglas must now have directed his attention required the Company to dispose of land for purposes of colonization at reasonable prices, retaining as a service charge ten per cent of all money received from the sale of land, as well as from coal or other minerals* The other ninety per cent was to be applied to public improvements, chiefly roads, The Company was further empowered to reserve such lands as were 1 0 The complete text of the agreement of January 13, 1849, may be found"inJ British Columbia, Legislative Assembly. Report of Provincial Archives Department of the .P_rovinc^jof British Columbia for the year ending' Dec ember-J31_,_1913^ 1911!-, Vol. V, pp. 73-74-. It is discussed at length ins Bancroft, H.H., The"history of British Columbia, .IJS^lMl, 1887, pp. 212-222; Sase, W.N., Sir Jaiaes Douglas and British.Colun&ia, 1930, pp. 158-162; and Wrinch, L.A., "Land Policy of the Colony of Vancouver Island, 1849-1866,n M.A. Thesis, 1932, in University of British Columbia Library. 1 1 For details, see: Gosnell, R.E., "Colonial history, 1849-1871," In Canada and Its Provinces, Vol. 21? pp. 81-87. . . . ' k • . . ' necessary for public improvements, but every two years an accounting was to be macl© to the Colonial Office of such reservations, as well as of the. number of colonists settled on the Island, and of lands sold. At the end of five years the Crown reserved the right to. recall tho grant should the Company have failed to effect any colonizationj at the end of ten years the Crown could repossess the grant upon reimbursing the Company for any and all expenses incurred in its administration of the island, civil or military. Repos- session tools place in 1858."" The sections that must have interested Douglas particularly were those specifying price, size of holdings, provisions for survey, and reservations to the Company. No grant was to contain less than twenty acres j the price was fixed at S 1 per acre., after which the land was to be held in "free and common soccage"; the Island was to be divided into districts of from five to ten square miles; and all minerals, wherever found, were to belong to the Company. The Company could dig'for minerals upon payment of adequate compensation. for any surface damage. So long as the colony was held as an imperium in imperio, Douglas had no quarrel with the terms under which 1 2 See ri. 8. For reasons why the grant should never have beer made if colonization were the object, see: Gosnell, R.E., op. cit., pp. 83-8I1 .' With the end of Company rule on Van- couveFTslend, the' Company received as compensation for its.expenditures on the colony. 1 3 Sage, W.N., o£, cit._, pp. l£8-l$9. the land had been granted to the Company, although he recognized that those terms were inimical to colonization. NoWithstand- ing the high price of S 1 per acre, he himself purchased land, but he stated that other Company men were "scared at the high price charged."1^ He knew that Vancouver Island from 18J4.9 to 1858 should have been a favourable field for settlement under other auspices, and that the Company had sufficient capital to carry out' successfully any scheme of colonization it might have felt inclined to initiate. The Company was familiar with the country and its resources; its officials understood the natives thoroughly, and could conduct trade end develop the country in a way nest possible by individual effort. But Douglas also knew that what had happened was just the reverse of what had been possible. Bancroft, an historian of the Pacific Northwest who was never too charitable toward the Hudson*s Bay Company, remarked that: Not alone must tho pound per acre for wild, and thus far worthless, land, stolen from the savages, be paid the imperial government, but to the representative of the government as the representative of a crushing monopoly must the settler go for every necessity, every article of comfort or form of requirement, paying therefore often two or three hundred per cent on London cost; to this same hydra-head he must carry his produce, and receive for it whatever the Company might please to pay. Who among nineteenth-century Englishmen would leave his happy English home with all its hallowed memories, Quoted by ,P.W. Howay in Appendix to "The Raison d* Etre of Ports Yale and Hope," Royal Society of Canada Transactions. Third Series, 1922, Vol. XVI, section II, p.TJI Douglas to Anderson, March 18, l8£0. and take up M s residence in this far-away north-west . wilderness only to ^ reathe so stifling an atmosphere as this? Hobody.l^ Although Bancroft overlooked the fact that had it not been for the presence of this "hydra-head" the territory could well have fallen into American hands by default, it is true that settlers xfere conspicuously absent. In l8i|.9 there were no more 16 than twenty, all of whom were obliged to retire at least ten miles from Victoria to obtain land, since the Company had reserved for its own use all land within ten miles of the fort, an area which contained the best and most easily cleared farm land.^ Because the lands at the periphery of the reservation were heavily timbered and devoid of adequate communication with the fort, Douglas was aware in 18£8 of the frustrations experienced by settlers In such areas. Accordingly, he made provision in his first proclamations for road •"building on the mainland. Up to the end of l8f>3 about 20,000 acres had been *] Q applied for, upon which had been paid approximately S 9,000.-° Between July 12, 1855, and October 10, l8j?6, public lends amounting to 2,137 acres had been sold to settlers at £ 1 Bancroft, H.H., op. cit., p. 311. For Comments substan- tiating the gist of Bancroft1 s remarks, see: Q-osnell, E.E., op. cit., p. 83. 1 6 Gosneli, R.E., o£. cit., p. 10$. The Company did release some of its reserved land to encourage its retired servants to become settlers, but this was a special concession confined solely to Company employees. (See Bancroft, H.H., op. cit., p. 313.) Gosnell* R.E,, op. cit., p. 116. - . « M M » • - iiin.iwmniiiiiitr 7 • 19 per acre* v Douglas, then, could look Tor no positive help from the - • ' • 20 • terms under which the Company he had served for 37 years had held the land, All that had really been accomplished between 1849 and 1859 was to demonstrate, from the limited way in which settlement and farming had been started, that under more favourable conditions the country might have possibilities for increased settlement. Even before his investiture as Governor of the mainland Colony on November 19, 1858, Douglas had transmitted his views on a land policy to the Colonial Office. To this body he now turned for guidance. That he was without any legal authority to make regulations designed to protect 21 British interests on the mainland he very well knew-, but as the only official in the region whose authority might apply, he felt constrained to do all in his power to reduce to some order the chaotic conditions resulting from the influx of the hordes of miners and adventurers going up "Eraser's River" to the gold fields. Because he felt that "the country will be filled with lawless crowds, the public lands unlawfully occupied 19 Bancroft, H.H., op. cit.» p. 339. 20 sage, W.N., o£. cit., p. 20. Douglas joined the Hudson*a Bay Company when it merged with the Northwest Company in 1821. He had been a Northwest Company employee for two years. 2 1 By proclamation on November 19, 1858, the same day he was invested"with the governorship of British Columbia, Douglas' s previous actions were legalized. (See British Columbia. Legislative Council. List of Proclamations for 1858, 1859,, i860, 1861, 1862. l863TlmP86irrpV' 13.) by squatters of every description, and the authority of the Government will ultimately be set at naught,"^2 he recommended that "as a measure of obvious necessity" the whole country should immediately be thrown open for settlement, and that "the land be.surveyed, and sold at a fixed rat©, not to exceed 20 shillings an acre."^ From these measures he hoped, aside from securing order out of chaos, to acquire a large revenue for the service of the government. Before this despatch of June 10 had reached the Colonial Office, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Colonial Secretary, had written cautioning Douglas, to make the colony self-supporting as soon as possible, and suggesting that this could be done by the disposal of public lands, especially of town lots, "for which I am led to believe there will be a great demand". Lytton referred to the fact that "many of our colonial settle- ments" possessed lands which had afforded them "safe though not very immediate sources of prosperity," but characterized British Columbia as possessing, "in a remarkable degree, the advantage of fertile lands, fine timber, adjacent harbours, rivers, together xdLth rich mineral products," the latter of which blessings would "furnish the Government with the means of raising a Revenue which will at once defray the necessary 22 Papers relative to the affairs of British Columbia, Part I, pp. 13-15, s'V 23.' Douglas to Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for the Colonies, June 10, l8£8. Loc. cit., s* 21. Ibid. „ Part II, po. klf.-k6, s. 1. Lytton to Douglas, July 31, 1858. expeiiBoa of an establishment„ When Lytten had received Douglas's despatch of June 10, he again warned Douglas that he must manage the colony without any financial assistance from the Home Government. He spoke of the "immense resources" of the colony, which assured him that the mother country would be freed "from those expenses which are adverse to the policy of all healthful colonization."' In a second despatch of August Iii, 1858, Lytton laid dox-m five principles regarding public lands x*hich, had they been followed not only throughout the colonial period out also into the provincial era, would have prevented much speculation with Its consequent retardation of settlement and dissatisfaction to settlers. But a lack of a sufficient revenue from those "immense resources" referred to by Lytton rendered his efforts fruitless. In his despatch, Lytton authorized Douglas to sell land solely for agricultural purposes whenever the demand for it should arise. It was to be many years before the wisdom of this principle was appreciated in British Columbia. Secondly, he advised that the land be sold only at an Upset price to be determined "by Douglas after consideration of the price char