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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 44

Land Scrip

page 53

Land Scrip.

Col. Dennis, the Surveyor Genera], gave the following statement in evidence before the Immigration and Colonization Committee, in the session of 1877 :—There are three kinds of scrip.

1. The certificates issued to soldiers for military services performed to the Dominion—in other words, Military Bounty Land Warrants.

2. Similar certificates arc issued by the authority of law for services rendered to the Government in the North-West Mounted Police.

These two certificates, if located by the owner, may only be entered in quarter sections of land, 160 acres, intact.

A number of these warrants, however, may be acquired by any individual and may be used to pay for land in the same way as cash.

Both military and police warrants may be purchased and are assignable, and whoever holds them for the time being, under a proper form of assignment, can exercise full ownership over them, cither in the locating or paying for land; but the first assignment from the soldier or policeman, as the case may be, must be endorsed on the back of the warrant.

No affidavit is necessary where the assignment is endorsed, but the execution of the assignment must be witnessed, either by a Commissioner for taking affidavits or by a Justice of the Peace.

Any subsequent assignment may be upon a separate paper, but must be regularly attested before a Commissioner, and accompany the warrant in its transmission to the Land office.

3. The third kind of scrip is that issued to the half-breed heads of families and to old settlers in the Province, under recent Acts.

A claim against the Government for lands may, by law, be committed by an issue of scrip which would be in form similar to that issued to the Half-breed heads of families and old settlors before mentioned.

This scrip is a personalty, and there is no assignment thereof necessary to transfer the ownership. The bearer for the time being is held to be the owner, and we accept it in the Dominion Lands Office in payment for Dominion lands, the same as cash.

The Surveyor-General stated further, in answer to a question, that land scrip cannot be used in payment of the half-breeds claims: and explained that the lands set apart for half-breeds, under the Manitoba Act, was an absolute grant to the children. The extent to which lands belonging to minors will be tied up will depend greatly upon whether steps be taken to appoint trustees who would be able to make sales, or upon such other measure as the Government might see fit to adopt, with the view of bringing these lands into the market.

page 54

The only other reserves in the Province are those of the Mennonitcs, which are rapidly filling up. There is still a very considerable extent of excellent land in the Province now available for settlement, but it can easily be understood the people who have been going into the Province for the last four or five years have selected the most favorable locations, and, consequently, the most of the good land in those localities have been taken up. The lands remaining, although generally desirable, are not so conveniently situated.

Col. Dennis further stated in answer to questions: The Province of Manitoba contains nearly nine millions of acres.

The Railway reserve contains about 1,900,000 acres, and the Mennonite townships about 500,000 acres.

The Hudson Bay Co.'s one-twentieth contains about 430,000 acres.

There are granted for school purposes two whole sections, or 1,280 acres, being sections 11 and 29 in each township, which are, by law, dedicated throughout the whole North-West for educational purposes, and the grant amounts in Manitoba to 400,000 acres.

In Manitoba the greatest quantity of land available for settlement is in the west and south-west.

Miles of railway located in the Province are about 158; the main line of the Canada Pacific Railway about 77, and the Pembina Branch about 81 miles.

Road allowances are laid out on the ground in the townships in Manitoba which correspond to concessions and side roads in Ontario and Quebec. Each section or square mile there is surrounded by an avenue of 99 feet, or a chain and a half, in width, resulting in a magnificent dedication to the public for highways.

Q. Are any of the lands fronting on the main river in Manitoba available for settlement?—None, with the exception of lands on the Assiniboine River, above Prairie Portage. As a rule, the lands on the Red River and Assiniboine River were laid out and settled upon, previous to the transfer, in narrow frontages, running back two miles, called the "Settlement Belt," and the township lands available for sale and settlement lie outside of this Belt. There are many unoccupied lots in the Settlement Bolt, but people are not allowed to enter them, as they are considered to possess a special value. The intention is, shortly, to offer the unoccupied lots belonging to the Government, in the Settlement Belt, at public auction, at an upset price, with conditions of actual settlement upon the land.