Who Was The Author? REGISTRAR=GENERAL'S VIEW
The correspondence in our open columns regarding; the authorship of what is known as the Torrens system of lands titles disclosed
such widespread interest in the subject, that the Registrar-Gene- ral of Deeds (Mr. V. E. R. Dumas) was asked yesterday to give his views. As the Attorney-General , (Mr. Denny) pointed out, said Mr. Dumas, no significant change of the magni- tude of the Torrens System could be the sole unaided work of any one man. so there was no need to cavil at the claims put forward on behalf of Mr. Anthony Forster and Dr. Ulrich Hubbe (both now deceased) that they had rendered assistance in bringing the reform about—Mr. Forster by his able and spirited articles in the press, and Dr. Hubbe by his translation of the real property law of the Hanse Towns of Germany, and by his wide know- ledge of their application. To the full extent to which the work can be ascribed to any one man, however, Torrens was the originator, creator, and author of the system bearing his name, and was also the first adminis- trator of the Act. Torrens Knigbted For His Work "I have read much on this mat- ter," Mr. Dumas continued, "but the records of Torrens's time do not yield anything to detract from this asser tion. It is true that in 1884, Parlia- ment, as mentioned by "Historicus," granted Dr. Hubbe £200 for bis trans lation. But if this is to be accepted as evidence in recognition of Dr. Hubbe's work, how much greater weight must be attached to the fact that Torrens was knighted for his work. It is past belief that such a signal honor would be conferred were there was a particle of doubt as to the claims of the recipient. As a sidelight, I might mention that the worthy German settlers of Tanunda gave a largely attended reception and banquet to the author of the Real Property Act, and it was Torrens they honored, not their countryman. Dr. Hubbe. "Going further afield for evidence, we find that, on February 1, 1864, at a meeting of landed proprietors, bankers, merchants, and others, held in the Commercial Buildings, Dublin, Ireland, Torrens delivered a lecture, and tbe following resolution was passed—That the thanks of this meet ing are due to Robert B. Torrens, Esq.. for his clear and able exposition, of the method of conducting dealings with land by registration of title which is .now in operation in tbe Australian colonies . . . and that this meeting commends Mr. TorrensVs system ..." &c. Before this, Torrens bad been
thanked in every part of Australia and New Zealand for the same reason. "It would be well that the Torrens- Dr. Hubbe disputation were settled before the real facts are further ob- scured by the mists of time, and while those seeking to establish the claims of Dr. Hubbe are still few in number. Let those wno, from their sense of fairness mistaken though it be, ad- vocate recognition of the work of Dr. Hubbe, peruse Hansard of 1857-8, Forster's 'South Australia, Its Progress and Prospects,' published in 1866, Chapter VI, Hodder's The History of South Australia,' pages 310-315, the pamphlet published in 1882 entitled correspondence on the Real Property Act,' Kerr's "The Australian Lands Titles (Torrens) System,' p. XIII, and Hogg's 'Australian Torrens System,' quite the. most authoritative work yet written, pages 1, 21, 23, and elsewhere. Preserve The Author's Fame "It may be some satisfaction io Dr. Hubbe's supporters, if I mention that Dr. Hubbe gave important evidence before the Royal Commission on Real Property Law appointed in 1872, many years after Torrens initiated his measure, and I think the active part he then took has led some people to over-estimate the assistance he ren- dered to Torrens in 1857-8. It is possible that the extracts given by 'Research' in your Issue of the 15th from Loyau's work, 'Notable South Aus tralians,' is based on some such con- fusion. In any case, Loyau would not be accepted as an authority with those I have quoted. It is the duty of the people of Australia who benefit so greatly by the measure of real pro- perty law reform introduced by the late Sir R. R. Torrens to preserve for all time his fame as its author."