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A History of British Columbia
Chapter IX - Union of the Colonies


Scarcely had the colony of British Columbia been fully organized, as described in the last chapter, when an agitation was set on foot for representative government and union with the colony of Vancouver Island. With the limited population and the contiguity of the two colonies it was the most natural thing in the world that union should be suggested. There was dual governorship, a dual set of officials, a dual system of fiscal arrangements, and a dual administration of justice. It was obvious that by consolidation a large item of expense might be saved. There were difficulties in the way of even so simple a solution—personal interests and sectional considerations.

Early in 1861 a memorial was presented to Governor Douglas from residents of several parts of the Mainland asking for a representative Assembly for the colony of British Columbia. This was inevitable. The colony was ruled directly by representatives of the Crown, nominally by the sovereign, through a responsible minister, the Secretary for the Colonies, who' conveyed his instructions to the British Columbia officials. These were carried into effect under the supervision of the Governor. Vancouver Island, a much smaller colony and less important from many points of view, had a legislative assembly, and it cannot be wondered at that the residents of British Columbia should seek for similar consideration. Sir James Douglas did not favor, this. There were several reasons which suggested opposition on his part. His experience so far as the more favored colony of Vancouver Island was concerned did not argue for its usefulness in his mind. The Assembly there was largely the creature of his will, and of his successors, Governors Kennedy and Seymour, neither regarded it as of particular importance. The former in a dispatch said: "There is no medium or connecting link between the Governor and the Assembly, and the time of the Legislative Council (which comprises the principal executive officers) is mainly occupied in the correction of mistakes, or undoing the crude legislation of the lower House, who have not, and cannot be expected to have, the practical experience or available time necessary for the successful conduct of public affairs. On financial subjects they are always greatly at fault." Governor Seymour in a dispatch on the same subject remarked: "The loss of the House of Assembly would not, I think, be much regretted." That Governor Douglas, whose nature was to rule with a-lone hand, should not have a high opinion of that Assembly is not to be wondered at. There was, again, the personal reason that he did not desire to share with any legislative or representative body the responsibilities of government. A man who had been chief factor in the Hudson's Bay Company, an aggregation of autocrats, with a long experience of supreme authority, could not adapt himself to the limitations to be imposed by what he could not but regard as inferior officials. He had been reared in the kind of school that did not brook contradiction. But there was still another reason, and we must do justice to Sir James in supposing that it had due weight with him. In fact, there were a number of reasons. He was a man of practical ideas. His experience in the government of men and in affairs had taught him useful lessons, and one of them was that a wise autocracy is better than rule by democracy. He cared little for theories of government. He believed in direct methods and undivided responsibility. Apart from that there were peculiar circumstances in British Columbia that rendered the system of government in vogue in England as the result of centuries of development inapplicable to a new country with unstable and unsettled conditions. These reasons he set out ably and clearly in a dispatch to the Secretary of State, dated April 22nd, 1861. After enumerating the steps which had been taken to lay before him the views of the delegation, which had waited upon him, he pointed out that what they had in mind was a general reduction of taxation, and that instead of a system of import and inland duties levied on goods, which were regarded as oppressive, they proposed to carry on the public works necessary for the development of the country by means of public loans, their object being to throw a portion of the burden upon posterity, something which he regarded, as indeed, not without a measure of justice in it, and consequently with many zealous advocates. It may be remarked incidentally that the memorialists were certainly not antiquated in their ideas of public finance and really anticipated a policy that became only too popular in later years, and was carried to such an extreme as to shift an inordinate share of burden on future generations, and to seriously impair the credit of the province. In proceeding to review the various subjects brought to his attention, he remarked:

Douglas's Views on a Legislature for British Columbia.

"The first prayer of the inhabitants is for a resident governor in British Columbia, entirely unconnected with Vancouver Island. Your Grace, will perhaps, pardon me from hazarding an opinion on a subject which so nearly concerns my own official position. I may, however, at least remark that I have spared no exertion to promote the interests of both colonies, and am not conscious of having neglected any opportunity of adding to their prosperity. The memorial then proceeds to the subject of Representative Institutions, asking for a form of government similar to that existing in Australia and the Eastern British North American Provinces. This application should, perhaps, be considered to apply more to the future well-being of the colony than to the views and wishes of the existing population. Without pretending to question the talent or experience of the petitioners, or their capacity for legislation and self-government, I am decidedly of opinion that there is not, as yet, a sufficient basis of population or property in the colony to institute a sound system of self-government. The British element is small, and there is absolutely neither a manufacturing nor farmer class; there are no landed proprietors, except holders of building lots in towns; no producers, except miners, and the general population is essentially migratory—the only fixed population, apart from New Westminster, being the traders settled in the several inland towns, from which the miners obtain their supplies. It would, I conceive, be unwise to commit the work of legislation to persons so situated, having nothing at stake, and no real vested interest in the colony. Such a course, it is hardly unfair to say, could be scarcely expected to promote either the happiness of the people or the prosperity of the colony; and it would unquestionably be setting up a power that might materially hinder and embarrass the Government in the great work of developing the resources of this country; a power not representing large bodies of landed proprietors, nor of responsible settlers having their homes, their property, their sympathies, their dearest interest irrevocably identified with the country; but from the fact before stated, of there being no fixed population, except in the towns. Judging from the ordinary motives which influence men, it may be assumed that local interests would weigh more with a legislature so formed, than the advancement of the great and permanent interests of the country.

"I have reason to believe that the memorial does not express the sentiments of the great body of the people of British Columbia, not that I would, for a moment, assume that Englishmen are, under any circumstances, unmindful of their political birthright, but I believe that the majority of the working and reflective classes would, for many reasons, infinitely prefer the government of the Queen, as now established, to the rule of a party, and would think it prudent to postpone the establishment of representative institutions until the permanent population of the country is greatly increased and capable of moral influence, by maintaining the peace of the country, and making representative institutions a blessing and a reality, and not a byword or a curse.

"The total population of British Columbia and from the colonies in North America, in the three towns supposed to be represented by the memorialists, is as follows: New Westminster, 164 male adults; Hope, 108 adults; Douglas, 33 adults, in all 305, which, supposing all perfect in their views respecting representative institutions, is a mere fraction of the population. Neither the people of Yale, Lytton or Cayoosh, Rock Creek, Alexandria, or Similkameen appear to have taken any interest in the proceeding or to have joined the movement.

"From the satisfactory working of the New Westminster Council, established last summer, with large powers for municipal purposes, I entertained the idea of enlarging the sphere of their operations, and of constituting similar bodies at Hope, Yale, and Cayoosh, and all the other towns in British Columbia, with the view, should it meet with the approval of Her Majesty's Government, of ultimately developing the whole system into a House of Assembly. Part of the system has already been commenced at Yale and Hope. The Government may, by that means, call into exercise the sagacity and knowledge of practical men, and acquire valuable information upon local matters, thus reaping one of the advantages of a legislative assembly without the risks—and, I still think the colony may, for some time to come, be sufficiently represented in that manner.

"The existing causes of dissatisfaction as alleged in the memorial, may be classified under the following heads: (1) That the Governor, Colonial Secretary and Attorney General do not reside permanently in British Columbia. (2) That the taxes on goods are excessive as compared with the population, and in part levied on boatmen, who derive no benefit from them, and that there is no land tax. (3) That the progress of Victoria is stimulated at the expense of British Columbia, and that no encouragement is given to shipbuilding or to the foreign trade of the colony. (4) That money has been injudiciously squandered on public works and contracts given without any public notice, which subsequently have been sub-let to the contractors at a much lower rate. (5) That faulty administration has been made of public lands, and that lands have been declared public reserves, which have been afterwards claimed by parties connected with the Colonial Government. (6) The want of a registry office, for the record of transfers and mortgages. " The first complaint, that the Governor, etc., do not reside permanently in British Columbia, scarcely requires comment from me. Your Grace is aware that I have a divided duty to perform, and that if under the present circumstances the Colonial Secretary and Attorney General resided permanently in British Columbia, these offices would be little better than a sinecure —the public service would be retarded and a real and just complaint would exist. Although the treasury is now established at New Westminster, and the Treasurer resides permanently there, I have no hesitation in saying that it would be far more for the benefit of the public service if that department were still in Victoria.

"The complaint of over-taxation is not peculiar to British Columbia, but whether it is well founded or not may be inferred from the example of other countries. Judging from that estimate, the people of British Columbia have certainly no reason for complaint of their public burdens, for the United States tariff which is vigorously enforced in the neighboring parts of Washington Territory, averages 25 per cent on all foreign goods—spirits and other articles of luxury excepted, on which a much higher rate of duty is charged. The citizen of Washington Territory has also to pay the assessed road and school taxes, levied by the Territorial Legislature. In contrast with these taxes, the import duty levied in British Columbia is only ten per cent, with a similar exception of spirits and a few articles of luxury, which pay a higher duty; while all other taxes levied in the colony are also proportionately low, compared with those of Washington Territory. I might also further state that two-thirds of the taxes raised in British Columbia have been expended in making roads, and other useful works, and have produced a reduction of not less than a hundred per cent on the cost of transport, and nearly as great a saving in the cost of all the necessaries of life, so that while the communications are being rapidly improved, the people are, at the same time, really reaping substantial benefits more than compensating the outlay.

"With respect to the complaint about the boatmen, they had no claim whatever to be exempted from the law imposing a duty indiscriminately oni all goods passing upward from Yale, neither did the duty bear at all upon them, as they were merely carriers, and not owners of the goods. The real question at issue was, whether the inland duty should be charged on goods carried from Yale by water as well as by land, and was nothing more than a scheme concocted by the owners of the goods to benefit themselves at the expense of the "public revenue.

"And here I would beg to correct an error in the memorial with respect to the population of British Columbia, which is therein given at 7,000, exclusive of Indians, making an annual average rate of taxation of 7 10s per head. The actual population, Chinamen included, is about 10,000, besides an Indian population exceeding 20,000, making a total of 30,000, which reduces the taxation to 2- per head instead of the rate given in the memorial. It must be remembered that all the white population are adults, and tax-paying—there being no proportionate number of women or children, and it is a great mistake to suppose that the native Indians pay no taxes. They have, especially in the gold districts, for the most part, abandoned their former pursuits and no longer provide their own stores of food. All the money they make by their labor, either by hire or by gold digging, is expended in the country, so that the Indians have now become very extensive consumers of foreign articles. Every attention has been given to render Fraser River safe and accessible; the channels have-been carefully surveyed and marked with conspicuous buoys; and foreign vessels may go direct to New Westminster, without calling at Victoria, and the port dues are the same whether the vessels clear originally from Victoria or come directly from foreign ports. It is impossible to imagine a more perfect equality of legislative protection than is given to these ports.

"I have had applications, under various pretexts, from almost every trading place in the colony for remissions of duty, and I have steadily resisted all such applications on the ground that class legislation is vicious and leads to injustice and discontent. It is, moreover, very doubtful if the proposed remission of duty on shipbuilding materials would advance that interest, as long as the timber business of New Westminster is a monopoly in the hands of a few persons who keep timber at an unreasonably high price.

"With respect to the fourth and fifth complaints I am not cognizant of any circumstances affording grounds for them. I addressed a letter to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, whose department they more immediately affected, and I forward herewith a copy of that officer's report, from which it will be seen that no just cause exists for the allegations made.

"The want of a registry office, which also forms a subject of complaint, arises solely from our not having succeeded in maturing the details of a measure, which is, I feel, replete with difficulties of no ordinary kind, but that measure, providing for the registration of real estate, will be passed as soon as practicable.

"Before concluding this dispatch, I shall submit a few observations on the financial system of Vancouver Island in contrast with that of British Columbia, explanatory of their distinctive features and their applicability to the colonies respectively.

"The public revenue of Vancouver Island is almost derived from taxes levied directly on persons and professions, on trades and real estate, on the other hand, it is by means of duties and imposts, and on goods carried inland, that the public revenue of British Columbia is chiefly raised. No other plan has been suggested by which a public revenue could be raised, that is so perfectly adapted to the circumstances of both colonies, or that could be substituted or applied interchangeably with the advantage to the sister colony. The reasons may thus be stated: The low price and bulky productions of Vancouver Island will not bear the cost of exportation to any British possession, and are virtually excluded from the markets of the Mother Country] by the distance and expense of the voyage. A precisely similar result is] produced through the almost prohibitory duties levied in the neighboring ports of Oregon and California; the former, moreover, abounding in all th| products common to Vancouver Island, except coal; and neither being inferior in point of soil, climate or any physical advantage. Thus practically debarred from commercial intercourse and denied a market for its produce, it became painfully evident that the colony could not prosper, nor ever be al desirable residence for white settlers, until a remunerative outlet was found for the produce of their labor. It was that state of things that originated the idea of creating a home market, and the advantageous position of Victoria suggested free trade as the means, which was from henceforth adopted as a policy—with the object of making the port a center of trade and population, and ultimately the commercial entrepot of the North Pacific. That policy was initiated several years previous to the discovery of gold in British Columbia, and has since been inflexibly maintained. Victoria has now grown into commercial importance, and its value and influence can hardly be overestimated. Financially, ]t furnishes four-fifths of the public revenue,! it absorbs the whole surplus produce of the colony, and it is a center from whence settlements are gradually branching out into the interior of the< island. Thus Victoria has become the center of population, the seat of trade, a prospective source of revenue, and a general market for the country. The settlements are all compactly situated within a radius of twenty miles, except those which are accessible by sea; there is, therefore, no pressing call for large expenditure in the improvement of internal communications. Roads are opened where required, with due regard and in proportion to the means^ of the colony, its vital interests not being greatly affected by any avoidable delay.

"The circumstances of British Columbia are materially different from those just described. That colony has large internal resources, which only require development to render it powerful and wealthy. Its extensive gold fields furnish a highly remunerative export, and are rapidly attracting trade and population. Mining has become a valuable branch of industry, and essentially the vital interest of the colony; it hereto has been my unceasing policy to encourage and develop that interest. The laws are framed in the most liberal spirit, studiously relieving miners from direct taxation, and vesting in the mining boards a general power to amend and adapt their provisions to the special circumstances of the districts. The Government has, moreover, charged itself with the more onerous duties in furtherance of the same object, by opening roads through the most difficult routes into all parts of the country, to facilitate transport and commerce, and to enable the miner to pursue his arduous labors with success. Three lines of roads have been successfully carried through the last range, and mining districts five hundred miles from the sea have been rendered accessible by routes hitherto unknown. The extension and improvement of works so pressingly required and indispensable to the improvement and development of the country, still claims the anxious care of the Government. The greatest difficulty was experienced in providing funds to meet the necessarily large expenditure on those works, and that object was accomplished by imposing an import duty on goods, as the only feasible means of producing a revenue adequate to the public exigencies. It was justly supposed that any tax directly levied on the mining population, would lead to clamor and discontent, without being productive of revenue; whereas the indirect tax is not felt as a burden, and, I believe, makes no appreciable difference in the price which miners have to pay for their supplies.

"I have entered into the foregoing review of the administrative systems adopted in British Columbia and Vancouver Island, in answer to the assertion of the memorialists, that every exertion is made to stimulate the progress of Vancouver Island, at the expense of British Columbia, and to prove that my measures have ever been calculated to promote, to the fullestj extent, the substantial interests of both colonies."

The Views of the Home Government.

From a practical point of view the foregoing was a complete answer to the memorialists, and yet Sir James overlooked the fact that the spirit of thd times was completely in antagonism to his attitude. He was right, and yet he failed to appreciate that nine-tenths of the people of British Columbia] were educated in the school of popular government. Douglas had lived hid life among the western wilds in an atmosphere of one-man government, per-] feet and absolute in its mechanical details, but wholly out of harmony with the institutions of its people. It was as perfectly hopeless to expect the Imperial Government to deny British Columbians the right of representative government as it was foolish and suicidal in a past century to have antagonized the American colonies in their aspirations for greater freedom of commerce.! It was, therefore, only a question of time when the Home Government would! grant to the memorialists their request. We are only surprised that it took two years for Douglas to be apprised of the decision of the authorities to make important changes in the system of administration in British Columbia. In a dispatch dated May 26th, 1863, the Duke of Newcastle informed Douglas that the act for the government of British Columbia would expire! in a year and that it was proposed to make provision for a Legislative Council] and for separate governors for the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. It was, however, made plain that the Home authorities had in mind the union of the two colonies as soon as public sentiment was pre-j pared for it. The Duke of Newcastle expressed confidence that economy and! efficiency would be promoted, that commerce would be facilitated, that political capacity would be developed, that the strength of the colonies would be consolidated, and that generally their well-being would be greatly advanced by union. The representations made by Governor Douglas, had, however, considerable weight in Downing Street, because, the dispatch went on to say, that while the authorities would have been pleased to give British Columbia the same representative institutions which existed in Vancouver Island, it was felt that that under present conditions would be impossible. Some of the circumstances referred to by Douglas were recited.

"Under these circumstances," His Grace remarked, "I see no mode of establishing a purely representative legislature, which would not be open to one of two objections. Either it must place the Government of the colony under the exclusive control of a small circle of persons, naturally occupied with their own local, personal or class interests, or it must confide a large amount of political power to immigrant, or other transient foreigners, who have no permanent interest in the prosperity of the colony.

"For these reasons I think it necessary that the government should retain, for the present, a preponderating influence in the Legislature. From the best information I can obtain, I am disposed to think it most advisable, that about one-third of the Council should consist of the Colonial Secretary and other officers, who generally compose the Executive Council; about one-third of magistrates from different parts of the colony; and about one-third of persons elected by the residents of the different electoral districts. But here I am met by the difficulty that these residents are not only few and scattered, but (like the foreign gold diggers) migratory and unsettled, and that any definition of electoral districts now made, might, in the lapse of a few months, become wholly inapplicable to the state of the colony. It would, therefore, be trifling to attempt such a definition, nor am I disposed to rely on any untried contrivance which might be suggested for supplying its place—contrivances which depend for their success on a variety of circumstances, which, with my present information, I cannot safely assume to exist.

"By what exact process this quasi-representation shall be accomplished, whether by ascertaining informally the sense of the residents in each locality, or by bringing the question before public meetings, or (as is done in Ceylon) by accepting the nominee of any corporate body or society, I leave you to determine. What I desire is this, that a system of virtual though imperfect representation shall at once be introduced, which shall enable Her Majesty's Government to ascertain, with some certainty, the character, wants and dis-J position of the community with a view to the more formal and complete establishment of a representative system, as circumstances shall admit of it. * * * With these explanations, I have to instruct you first to proclaim a law securing to Her Majesty the right to allot the above salaries to the officials of British Columbia; and, having done so, to give publicity to the enclosed Order-in-Council and to convene as soon as possible, the proposed Legislature."

The Pioneer Legislature.

And a Legislative Council on the lines indicated in the Duke of Newcastle's despatch was convened. It consisted of officials of the colony, of magistrates and of elected representatives in about equal numbers. The first council came into existence in 1863 and sat for the year 1864. The members were: The Hon. Arthur Birch, Colonial Secretary; Hon. Henry P. P. Crease (afterwards Sir Henry), Attorney-General; Hon. Wymondl O. Hamley, Collector of Customs; Hon. Chartres Brew, Magistrate, New Westminster; Hon. Peter O'Reilly, Magistrate, Cariboo East; Hon. E. H. Sanders, Magistrate, Yale; Hon. H. M. Ball, Magistrate, Lytton; Hon. J. R. Homer, New Westminster; Hon. Robt. T. Smith, Hope, Yale and Lytton;, Hon. Henry Holbrook, Douglas and Lillooet; Hon. James Orr, Cariboo East; Hon. Walter S. Black, Cariboo West; Mr. Chas. Goode, who married a daughter of Sir James Douglas, was clerk or secretary of the Council.

Of these pioneer legislators, two are still living; so also is the Clerk. Hon. Mr. Hamley, for some years Collector of Customs at Victoria after the union of the colonies, is in retirement at the capital; Hon. Arthur N. Birch, subsequent to his leaving British Columbia, was appointed to an important position in Ceylon, was knighted, and is now living in London, England, as agent of the Bank of England. Mr. Goode is living in England. Four of the number died within a year of the writing, Hon. Peter O'Reilly, who was for many years Indian Commissioner for the province; Sir Henry P. P. Crease, who was knighted after retiring from the Supreme Court Bench; Hon. E. H. Sanders, in California, and Hon. James Orr, the last of the number to be laid away. Lt. Col. R. Wolfenden, who was Queen's printer in those days and the first to serve Her Majesty in that capacity in British Columbia, is still in harness, the only difference being that he is printer to His Majesty instead of Her Majesty. The others have long been memories among the shades of the band of pioneers, who left this coast for the shores of the hereafter.

About this time took place an event of some note. The terms of office of James Douglas as Governor of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, respectively, expired almost concurrently, they being but a few months apart. Those few months remaining of his term in British Columbia he decided to spend in New Westminster, to which place he removed in the fall of 1863. He was the recipient of many marks of esteem and respect on the part of the citizens of both the Island and the Mainland, from whom he received testimonials and by whom he was banquetted. In addition to that, however, his services in his public capacity were rewarded by the distinction of knighthood, the first recipient of such a title on the Pacific coast; and here, perhaps, is the place for a word as to the qualities and qualifications of the founder of the most westerly province in the Dominion of Canada. The editor of the British Colonist at the time the official news of knighthood was received, who was no less than Amor de Cosmos, a strong opponent of the government as administered by Sir James—and a remarkable man in his way—had this to say: "If we have opposed the measures of the Government, we have never in our public acts of the executive head of that Government failed in our esteem for the sterling honesty of purpose which has guided those acts, nor for the manly and noble qualities and virtues which adorn the man."

Sir James Douglas.

Sir James was, perhaps, the most remarkable man that has appeared in the public arena in the province of British Columbia. A Scotchman by descent through the line of the Black Douglas, educated in Scotland, and associated for his earlier years with the members of the Northwest Company, who were his countrymen, he both inherited and acquired many of those distinguishing characteristics which seem to reflect the ruggedness and strength of their native mountains, and much of the picturesqueness and charm of Caledonian scenery. Sir James Douglas was a large man physically and mentally. He had strength alike of physique and character. Although at the age of sixteen he sought the wilds of the Northwest in the employ of a fur company, he had had a liberal education, and throughout his career he aimed to increase his stock of knowledge and increase his accomplishments. He retained and strengthened the moral rectitude of his youth. In his principles he represented the old-fashioned punctiliousness in regard to details of all kinds, with progressive and far-seeing views of business and public policy. He combined a genius for business with a love of nature, of family, of literature, of devotion. His love of order, his respect for the conventionalities of office, his becoming self-respect, gave rather too much the impression of pompous display and an assertion of superiority, both of which were foreign to his nature. Sir James loved to magnify the office, but not the man. He was a strong, masterful man, with the faults that such men have—a tendency to rule with too firm a hand, to brook no opposition, to be perhaps overbearing, traits which were developed unusually under the one-man rule of the Hudson's Bay Company, and necessary in the conditions under which that wonderful corporation carried on its operations over a vast extent of the New World. He had a good mastery of French, which he spoke fluently with a correct accent; had a wide knowledge of history and political economy; conversed with ease and entertainingly; rose early and rode and walked a great deal; was tenderly devoted to his family; was constant in religious exercises; assiduous in the performance of official duties; and generally was a man who acted well his part in life and did honor to his high position in the state. Of splendid physical proportions and herculean strength, he had an imposing presence. He possessed the quality of personal magnetism in a high degree, and exercised corresponding influence with all with whom he came in contact. Cool, calculating and cautious, he was also courageous and prompt to act, combining the dominating characteristics of Anglo-Saxon and Celt. When he retired he still possessed considerable vigor of mind and body, and might still have continued to take an active part in the affairs of the country; but he had probably reached that stage in the development of the province at which he was more in spirit with the past than the present, where others more in harmony with new conditions would rule with greater acceptance to the people. He had acted a part in affairs that redounded highly to his credit and to the welfare of a budding colony, with tact, intelligence, rare ability, and high conception of and conscientious application to duty. Had his early training been in the field of politics and his lot been cast in a wider and more important sphere .he could have and undoubtedly would have taken a place in history. He had the qualifications which make men of mark. In estimating him as a man and as an official we must judge him by the success he achieved in the sphere in which he moved. His record in that respect was the best possible.

When he retired from public life, accepting his well-earned honors, he visited his native land. He went to England by way of Panama, and after spending some time in Great Britain, visited the continent, through the countries of which he made a leisurely circuit, and returned to his adopted and ultimate home in British Columbia, for which he had an ardent attachment, after about a year's absence. His impressions of his travels, as recorded in his journal, are most interesting reading and throw many luminous side-lights on his character and qualities. He lived in retirement with his family in Victoria until August 2nd, 1877, upon which day death came as a hasty and unexpected messenger to call him to his final home. He lives gratefully in the memory of the older inhabitants of the province. He is also remembered by a monument of stone in the grounds of the Parliament buildings at the capital, and his statue occupies a niche at one side of their main entrance, a corresponding niche being filled by another commanding figure, that of the late Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, whose selection to bracket with that of Sir James was wisely made by the designers of that splendid structure, adorning the sward "across James Bay."

Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie.

Sir Matthew was one of the remarkable characters, and a notable figure, of British Columbia history. He was Chief Justice from his appointment in 1859 until the day of his death, June 11th, 1894. Even a brief outline of the founding and development of the western province of Canada would be incomplete without a pen sketch of a man who so strongly impressed his character upon the administration of justice, notable for its completeness and effectiveness at a time when firmness was most needed. I This is furnished by the late Sir Henry Crease, for many years a colleague on the bench:

"Accompanied by his faithful henchman, Benjamin Evans, who drove the Court over twenty times from Yale or Ashcroft (after the C. P. R. reached it) to Cariboo and back without an accident, and his trusty friend, Charles Edward Pooley, as Registrar, he traversed the province wherever it was necessary in the interests of law or justice to go. His unflinching administration of the law from the outset of the colony in 1858 to his death in 1894, at a time when—mixed with a great many good men, it is true— the miners and the class of men who came with them comprised many of the wildest characters under the sun, whose sole arbitrament in their quarrels in other countries had been knife and revolver, struck such terror into wrong-doers and defiers of the law from his first assize at Langley in. 1859, to the time of his death, that the peace of the country was thoroughly secured—and the wilder spirits were tamed to such an extent that even in difficult cases the court relied confidently on their assistance under a short special enactment, as jurors, and was never disappointed of their aid when so invoked. The result was that the whole of the .country could be traversed from end to end by all men without weapons, except sufficient to protect themselves from wild animals or for subsistence—a course in which he was effectually supported from first to last by all the judges who sat with or have succeeded him, to the great benefit, as the statute hath it, of person and property and the peace, order, and good government of the colony. He was a man over six feet (six feet four) in height, strong, and active in proportion, a good sportsman and an excellent shot. His abilities and his accomplishments were of the highest order, and his hospitality and his social qualities gained him fast friends in every direction. So take him for all in all we shall not often lock upon his like again."

Union and the Capital.

Really Douglas did not lay down the reins of office until the spring of 1864, when his successors arrived—Arthur Kennedy as Governor of Vancouver Island,- in March, and Frederick Seymour, formerly Governor of British Honduras, in April, as Governor of British Columbia. The decision to appoint separate Governors for the colonies was in deference to local feeling on the Mainland. Governor Douglas, of course, had his official residence in Victoria, where he and his family had always resided since their removal from Fort Vancouver; and the other leading officials of British Columbia also preferred to live in Victoria. As might be expected it constituted a grievance on the part of the people of New Westminster, then the leading and practically the only town of any importance on the Mainland. Sectional feeling. was even then strong; it was still more embittered subsequently, and has not completely died out until the present day. With the division of the governorship was linked a permanent and definite basis for the civil list for both colonies. With the arrangement for separate governors and separate civil lists was associated the desire expressed on the part of the Imperial authorities to see the colonies united under one government, and upon this point the views of both Governors Kennedy and Seymour were sought.

In considering the question of union, it may be stated briefly that the majority of people on the Island of Vancouver, and especially in Victoria, were in favor of it. The majority of residents of the Upper Mainland, who as a rule had their starting point at Victoria, and who when they came to the coast wintered there, were also in favor of the Island capital. It was the centre of business and government at that time, and was then as it is now a very desirable place of residence. The Lower Mainland, however, and iii< particular, the city of New Westminster, was opposed to the proposed union. As to which place should be the capital was really at the bottom of the issue, and even when not brought into the discussion was ever present in the minds of both parties. New Westminster feared, owing to the larger population, greater influence and enhanced attractions of Victoria, that it would be chosen, and the people of Victoria for similar reasons were, confidently hopeful that it would be. Governor Kennedy reports the majority of the House of Assembly of Vancouver Island as "in favor of unconditional union with British Columbia," and while the Legislative Council did not care to express an opinion, he was nevertheless in a position to state that nearly all, if not all of the ex-officio members were also in favor. He avoided the question of the location of the capital, but stated that "I have abstained from expressing any public opinion, or exercising any influence I may possess, in encouraging this movement, but I have no doubt that the expression of the former and legitimate use of the latter, if acquiesced in by Governor Seymour, would immediately remove all serious opposition to a union of these colonies, which I consider a matter of great Imperial, as well as colonial interest."

Governor Seymour's views of the subject are somewhat in doubt. In a despatch to the Home Government, he expresses the opinion that union with Vancouver Island is not desired in British Columbia. His sympathies were entirely with the city, where he had his official residence. He says: " In the event of union taking place, a question which will locally excite some interest is as to the seat of government. Victoria is the largest town of the two colonies, and is, in many respects, the most agreeable place of residence. I think, however, in seeking union with British Columbia, she relinquishes all claims to the possession within her limits of the seat of government. New Westminster has been chosen as the capital of British Columbia, and it would not be fair to the reluctant colony to deprive her of the Governor and staff officers. Both of these towns are inconveniently situated on an angle of the vast British territory; but New Westminster on the Mainland, has the advantage over the island town. It is already the centre of the telegraphic system, and is in constant communication with the upper country, whereas the steamers to Victoria only run twice a week.. The seat of government should be on the Mainland; whether it might with advantage be brought, hereafter, nearer to the gold mines is a question for the future." It may be interesting to note in this connection that years after, when the colony of British Columbia had become a province of the Dominion and the question of erecting the present new Parliament buildings was before the country, a suggestion was strongly supported in the upper country that the capital should be removed to Kamloops, as being strategically safer in case of war and more central. Doubtless, Kamloops, in a period of hostility, would afford the necessary security, and would be a delightful site for a capitol building, but considering the vast extent of territory to the northward opening up and to be opened by railways, it would be anything but a central location. Future generations will probably agree that, taking all in all, Victoria was well chosen for the purpose.

The subject of union continued to be a live issue, for a time practically the only public issue of importance. There were petitions and counter petitions. Finally, union, strongly supported by the Imperial authorities, took place and went into effect on the 17th of November, 1866. The matter of the selection of a capital, however, was not then settled. Governor Seymour strongly opposed Victoria, and did not withdraw his opposition until the position of the Home Government was clearly defined and he advised the Legislative Council in 1868 to come to a decision and to assist him in so doing. The decision was in favor of Victoria, where the first united Parliament of British Columbia sat in that year, and continued to sit for ever afterwards. Governor Seymour stated in his speech at the opening of the Legislative Council in the year referred to that Her Majesty's Government was of the opinion that he had held an extreme view as to the extent to which the public faith and honor are pledged to the purchasers of land in New Westminster. Undoubtedly a great many persons had been induced to buy property in New Westminster on the strength of its being selected as the capital of a new colony, but upon the union of the two colonies, which was without any doubt advantageous from many points of view, it was necessary to select or reject one of the two capitals. Victoria at the time was by far the most important point of the two, and the Home Government regarded " public convenience as the main guide in the selection of a seat of government." Sir Henry Crease states that " those who on the faith of the royal proclamation staked their all were simply ruined, without redress or compensation, leaving behind a wound and a sense of deliberate injustice in the minds of- the Mainland against the Island that has never been entirely healed, although the reason given that it was necessary to consolidate not only to save the unnecessary expense of two governments and two sets of officers where one would do, especially to prepare for Confederation, was not without great weight."

The question of Confederation with Canada was also mixed up with that of union of the two colonies and the fixing of a place as capital. At the very time when an effort was being made to unite British Columbia and Vancouver Island on the Pacific coast, a similar movement was on foot on the Atlantic side of the continent to bring together in one federation the separate British colonies there. Though far removed from the old Canadas and separated by almost insuperable physical obstacles, the sentiment of the east began to be reflected in the west, more especially as the scheme of Confederation completed in 1867 made provision for the bringing in of British Columbia, and we shall tell in the next chapter how that was brought about.

Story of Confederation.

Confederation came about in a way in British Columbia entirely different from that in any of the other provinces. It is scarcely necessary to review the events which led up to the union of four provinces in 1867. Although the Maritime Provinces wanted an alliance of their own, they did not take kindly to one with Canadians, as the inhabitants of Ontario and Quebec were then exclusively known, and it was only by political strategy that it was accomplished in the case of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, while Prince Edward Island remained out for some time after. Quebec at heart was not with the movement, although she joined hands with Ontario, having first fixed her representation. Manitoba cost the Dominion a rebellion. Her entry into the Federal compact was badly managed, and an unnecessary grievance created, which prejudiced the cause for the time being. In the east Confederation arose largely out of a sentiment of unity. It was an idea—a grand consummation into the accomplishment of which the leaders of both parties entered with enthusiasm. There were many diverse elements and interests

*The story of Confederation as given in the following pages was first prepared in 1896, and was published in the Vancouver World, and subsequently in the Year Book of British Columbia. It is a very necessary part of the narrative, in fact, one of the most interesting and important in the history of the Province. As the author feels that he has given his best efforts to it. and cannot hope to materially improve it, the chapter has been carefully revised and reproduced to consider, many difficulties in the way, but there were also many obvious disadvantages in remaining1 apart; and when the fathers of Confederation had made up their minds to succeed and went seriously to work, the difficulties were soon overcome. It was an experiment at first, and no man could confidently predict the outcome. There were local irritations, provincial prejudices and weighty obligations to make good. For a time not a few able, conscientious and truly loyal men, who subsequently became good Canadians and heartily acquiesced, looked on with misgivings and gravely doubted the wisdom of the experiment. If, however, the British possessions in North America were to remain British, Confederation was inevitable. Amalgamation and structural organization were rapidly going on on the United States] side of the line, and such a political force could only be counterbalanced and restricted by a similar movement on this side. In the east, therefore, as has been intimated, the stimulus to Confederation was political and national, and was so in spite of local considerations. Manitoba, on the other hand, was a territorial purchase, and was virtually created at the time of its union with the other provinces, and had it not been for the community of Metis, whose fears were inspired by an ambitious zealot, abetted by a few American citizens, there would have been nothing either in the way of local interests or sentimental objections to have interfered.

In British Columbia the conditions were entirely different from, and the considerations of a nature totally unlike those which affected the eastern half of Canada. Geographically, the Crown Colony was far removed from the seat of Government. An almost insuperable barrier of mountains cut it off from the rest of the British possessions. A vast, unbroken and practically uninhabited plain separated it from the nearest province. Politically or socially, the influences of Eastern Canada did not extend to within a thousand miles of its extremest boundary eastward. There was absolutely no land communication, and, apart from Hudson's Bay Company fur caravans, only one or two parties had ever come overland. There were comparatively few Canadian-born residents, and these were mainly among the pioneers who had left their native place while Confederation sentiment was still in its infancy. and who had formed new associations, and, to some extent, new ideals and objects in life. The population was largely British-born, with not a few Americans interspersed. The country, in its physical configuration, its resources, its requirements, was in every sense foreign to Canada. Communication and trade were wholly with the Pacific Coast and Great Britain, and sympathies to a considerable extent followed in the line of trade and travel. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that there was an important element opposed to Confederation at the outset.

The mainspring, however, was not sentimentalism. It was not with the idea of rounding off Confederation, or building up a commonwealth from ocean to ocean, with a common organic structure and a common destiny— nothing of the kind. While there were prominent men in the colony, like the late Hon. John Robson, F. J. Barnard, and the Hon. Amor de Cosmos, who hailed from Canada, and who were no doubt imbued with aspirations of a kind that directed the movement in the east, yet the mass of the population was not influenced by such considerations, and that was the most natural thing in the world. It could not have been expected to be otherwise. Dr. Helmcken, who opposed Confederation conscientiously as well as ably, during the debate to go into committee on the terms submitted by Governor Musgrave, said with much force that " No union between this colony and Canada can permanently exist unless it be to the material and pecuniary advantage of this colony to remain in the Union. The sum of the interests of the inhabitants is the interest of the colony. The people of this colony have, generally speaking, no love for Canada. They care, as a rule, little or nothing about the creation of another empire, kingdom or republic. They have but little sentimentality, and care little or nothing about the distinctions between the form of Government of Canada and that of the United States. Therefore, no union on account of love need be looked for. The only bond of union, outside of force—and force the Dominion has not—will be the material advantage of the country and pecuniary benefit of the inhabitants. Love for Canada has to be acquired by the prosperity of the country and from our children."

Dr. Helmcken did not represent the feelings of British Columbia in so far as the desire for Confederation was concerned. To rightly understand the feelings of the people on the subject we have to go back to the! conditions of the time. The situation has already been described, which] in one word, in relation to Canada, was isolation. The circumstances,] however, were these: The Province was heavily in debt, the liabilities being] around $1,500,000 for about 10,000 white people. The after effects of the Cariboo gold fever were being experienced. Prosperity had vanished, times] were depressed, money was scarce, and there were no prospects ahead except] the chance of new gold fields being discovered. A great many people deplored the loss of a free port, to which they attributed a good deal of theirl former prosperity. On the Mainland, where the Confederation movement I was the strongest, there existed a keen dissatisfaction over the removal of the capital from Westminster. And so all around there was a desire for change. As a Crown Colony there were only two roads open which offered any hopes of betterment—Confederation or Annexation. While there was a slight movement in the latter direction, and a petition had been gotten up in its favor, signed mainly by Americans; and, while there was a modicumi of truth in what Dr. Helmcken said about the majority of people cared little about the distinctions as to the form of government of Canada and the United States, yet British Columbia was essentially loyal to British institutions and to the British flag. As a political possibility annexation was not to be thought of, and the sentiments expressed by the fathers of Confederation in British Columbia, in the debate referred to, showed to what small extent the annexation movement had influenced public opinion; union with Canada, if it meant no more than continued connection with the mother country, in that respect was unobjectionable at least. It was, in fact, preferable to annexation. Isolation seemed to be hopeless and unendurable. Change was necessary.

The C. P. R. as a Factor.

For some years before, the subject of a trans-continental railway ha*d been much discussed, both in Great Britain and Canada, and with the writings of prominent men on this subject British Columbians were familiar; because, as a class they were educated, intelligent and well-informed—highly superior to any similar number of men in the other provinces—a fact easily accounted for. Many were graduates of universities and well connected, a select company of adventurers, so to speak. A railway from ocean to ocean was a popular theme. It opened up new vistas of possibilities not only for Canada, but the Empire. To Canadians it meant a chain to bind the disconnected British possessions together; it meant an outlet to and inlet from the West; it disclosed a new Dominion of great magnitude and promise. It was a subject brimful of opportunity for the eloquence of oratory and the pen-picturing of the essayist. To Great Britain it afforded that alternative route of commerce long sought for in the North-West passage, for the discovery of which her seamen had been diligent and persistent; and for military transport in case of war. It is not easy to give due credit for the first advocacy of a Canadian trans-continental railway. It goes quite far back in Canadian history. It was discussed by Judge Haliburton, and was a dream of Hon. Joseph Howe. We find a route well defined in an article that was contributed by an officer of the "Thames City," which brought out a detachment of the Royal Engineers and Sappers & Miners in 1859, to a paper published on board. Curiously enough, the route then indicated, was the one that was subsequently followed in actual construction. As a matter of fact, the project at various times was widely discussed. Like so many other great enterprises of national importance, it was a long time in the public mind before it assumed concrete form. In British Columbia, Mr. Alfred Waddington was the first and foremost advocate. He was an enthusiast on the subject and devoted much of his time and energy to acquiring information and in an agitation for a railway via Bute Inlet. Begg's history of British Columbia contains the following reference to his later efforts: "Mr. Waddington proceeded to London, and petitioned the House of Commons, in the interests of British Columbia. His first petition of the 29th of May, 1868, was signed by himself; the second (3rd July) was presented by Viscount Milton. It was largely signed by parties connected with British Columbia, and showed that that Colony was for all practical purposes, isolated from the Mother Country, and surrounded by a foreign state, and great national difficulties; that it was entirely indebted to the United States for the carriage of its letters and emigrants, and almost entirely for the carriage of goods required for trade and domestic purposes: that a graving dock was required; that it was of great public importance to secure the advantages of an overland communication through British North America, which would be the shortest and best route to China, Japan and the East; that the overland communication sought for would perpetuate the loyal feelings of the colony, and that a line of steam communication from Panama to Vancouver Island should in the meantime be subsidized.' Mr. Waddington after remaining in London until 1869, returned to Ottawa, and continued to advocate the construction of a trans-continental railway, until after Confederation. He sold the plans of his overland route through British Columbia to the Dominion Government in August, 1871. He died in Ottawa of smallpox in February, 1872."

As Confederation was the order of the day, and was being successfully accomplished, the people of British Columbia were not slow to see that in the undertaking of such an enterprise lay their hopes for the future. With a railway having one terminus at Halifax and the other on the shores of the Pacific, they recognized the importance of their position geographically and commercially—a position which in annexation would only and always be secondary to San Francisco, but in Confederation second to none. In all the political habiliments, paraphernalia and belongings, clothing, surrounding, and attaching to Confederation the one main object—the essence of it all was a railway—direct communication with the East. As Dr. Helmcken might have expressed it, they loved not Canada for what she was, but for what she would do for them. They noted the terms under which the other provinces had entered the Federal Union—debts assumed, allowances made for differences of degree and conditions, annual subsidies in lieu of existing revenues, provincial autonomy, and so on. They knew further the anxiety there was to extend the Dominion of Canada westward to the Pacific Ocean. To be relieved of debt, to throw off the weight of an overweighty officialdom and to secure a railway and still possess the sovereign rights of self-government, by the one act of union, was a consummation devoutly to be wished. The people of British Columbia were wise in their day and generation and knew or thought they knew, how to make a good bargain, and whatever may be the difference of opinion that exists to-day as to the position of this province in the Dominion, they flattered themselves, when the news came from Ottawa as to the outcome of the negotiations there, that they had done well. And who will say, considering the circumstances of the province at that time, and its impotency to do for itself what the Dominion Government had agreed to do for it, that the issue did not justify some measure of self-satisfaction? This is what it got: A railway 3,000 miles long to be begun within two years; $100,000 a year in lieu of lands to be given for railway in question; 80 cents per head of a population computed at 60,000; deliverance from $1,500,000 of debt; $500,000 for a dry dock at Esquimalt; superannuation of officials; $35,000 a year in support of the government; five per cent per annum on the difference between the debt and that of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick pro rata of the population; Indians to be cared for by the Dominion and nine representatives at Ottawa, three senators and six members in the House of Commons. In lieu of this the province gave the land included in the railway belt, its customs and excise revenues, the control of the general affairs now within the jurisdiction oft the Dominion Government, which then pertained to its colonial status. These-terms were subsequently modified to some extent, favorably to the province, but not in any essential respect.

Looking at it from the standpoint of to-day it would be a difficult task indeed, and perhaps a not over-wise one, to decide as to which of the two parties to the negotiations really made the better bargain. Speculation would not be quite idle as to what this province would be standing alone as a Crown Colony; but we cannot come to a definite, conclusion. Great life and energy have been imparted to the people and great development has resulted. The foundation has been laid for things many times greater in comparison, the magnitude of which we are not yet in a position to realize. It is true the province is paying a too substantial dividend to the Dominion for the latter's investment, and is under no financial obligations for the advantages it has derived. On the other hand, the Dominion, in order to carry out the terms of the bargain with British Columbia, assumed enormous obligations, under which she staggered for a time, but Canada to-day without the West would not rank higher in the category of countries than one of the States of the American Union. With the prestige which a trans-continental line with its trans-Pacific connections has given her, with the markets that have been afforded to her manufacturers thereby, and the wealth that has been added to her domain, the taking of British Columbia into the family compact has constituted it the supreme achievement of Confederation.

The Preliminary Steps.

To come back to the starting point of Confederation in British Columbia; that may be said to have been the union of Vancouver Island with the Mainland. No doubt the dissatisfaction in the Westminster district over the removal of the capital had much to do in stimulating the movement, and its foremost advocates belong to the Mainland. It is true that the Hon. Amor de Cosmos, in Victoria, had been among the first—if he was not indeed the first—to publicly advocate it in his paper, the "Standard."

However, it first came prominently to the front during the session of 1867, when a resolution was unanimously passed in its favor, requesting Gov. Seymour " to take measures without delay to secure the admission of British Columbia into the Confederation on fair and equitable terms." Gov. Seymour, it may be remarked, was at first not favorably disposed to a union with Canada, and whatever his influence with the executive may have been in this regard is not known; but at all events, when the session of the following year was held, little or no progress had been made in the direction indicated by the resolution in question, and, as a matter of fact, the members of the Government seemed to have changed their attitude in regard to it, and when the subject was again introduced it met with overwhelming opposition. As a result of the action taken, or rather, not taken, by the Executive Council, an agitation was started throughout the country for the purpose of bringing it to an issue.

At a meeting held in Victoria on January 29, 1868, a committee was appointed, consisting of Messrs. James Trimble, Amor de Cosmos, I. W. Powell, J. R. Findlay, R. Wallace and H. E. Seeley, who drew up and signed a memorial, which set forth, among other things, the resolution unanimously passed by the Legislative Council, already referred to; that a public meeting had been held at the same time expressing concurrent views with the Legislative Council; that the people of Cariboo had held in the previous December a highly enthusiastic meeting, and unanimously passed a resolution in favor of immediately joining the Dominion; that public opinion was overwhelmingly in favor of Confederation; that there was only a small party other than Annexationists who were opposed; that nearly all the offices belonged to the latter party; that there was only a small party in favor of annexation to the United States; that Governor Seymour had not made any representations to the Dominion Government asking for admission, as requested; that the Legislative Council, composed as it was of officials and' others subject to the will of the Government, could not be depended upon to express the will of the people, and so on.. These and other representations were contained in the memorial which was addressed to the Dominion Government.

Hon. S. L. Tilley, the Minister of Customs, sent the following reply, dated Ottawa, March 25, 1868: "The Canadian Government desires union with British Columbia, and has opened communications, and suggests immediate action by your legislators and a passage of an address to Her Majesty requesting union with Canada. Keep us informed of progress."

On the 21st of May of the same year a Confederation League was formed in the city of Victoria, of which the following gentlemen formed the Executive Committee: James Trimble (Mayor), Captain Stamp, Dr. Powell, J. F. (now Hon. Justice) McCreight, Robert Beaven, J. D. Norris, George Pearkes, R. Wallace, C. Gowen, M. W. Gibbs, Amor de'Cosmos and George Fox. The League began with a membership of one hundred in Victoria, and branches were formed in several places on the Island and the Mainland.

On July the 1st of the same year, what was described as "a largely attended and spirited open-air meeting" was held at Barkerville, Cariboo, at' which strong resolutions were passed unanimously condemning the Government for opposing Confederation and favoring "some organized and systematic mode of obtaining admission into the Dominion of Canada." Atf this meeting Mr. J. S. Thompson, afterwards a member of Parliament, made an effective and eloquent speech in moving a resolution, which, by the way, was seconded by Mr. Cornelius Booth, late Supervisor of the Rolls for the Province. Before the meeting adjourned a committee of five was appointed to carry out the wishes of the meeting in furthering what had been advocated.

The next most important step in the agitation was the holding on September 14 the somewhat celebrated convention at Yale, at which most of the leading men of the province were present. A committee was then appointed, composed of Hon. Amor de Cosmos, Messrs. Macmillan, Wallace and Norris, of Victoria; Hon. John Robson, New Westminster; and Hon. Hugh Nelson. of Burrard Inlet, to carry out the objects of the Convention. The proceedings of this Convention were very much criticised at the time, and were the subject of not a little ridicule on the part of those who were opposed to the movement.

At the next meeting of the Legislature, in 1869, the question was again brought up, with the result that the Government carried an adverse resolution as follows: "That this Council, impressed with the conviction that under existing circumstances the Confederation of this colony with the Dominion of Canada would be undesirable, even if practicable, would urge upon Her Majesty's Government not to take any steps toward the present consummation of such union." Messrs. Carrall, Robson, Havelock, Walkem and Humphreys, who stated that they had been returned as Confederationists, entered a protest against the passage of the resolution, and placed on record their disapproval of the action of the Government.

Despite the attitude taken by the Government, events about this time began to hasten that which facilitated in rather an unexpected way the bringing about of Confederation. There was considerable talk of annexation on the part of, it is true, an inconsiderable minority of American citizens, and a petition which was circulated and signed principally by the latter, was sent to the President of the United States, praying for admission into the Union. In June of that year Governor Seymour, whose sympathies and influences during the preliminary portion of the agitation for Confederation had been on the side of those who were opposed to it, but whose opposition, we are led to understand, was subsequently withdrawn—the result of his visit to England—died. Anthony Musgrave, whose instructions were to bring about Confederation as speedily as possible, in conformity with the Imperial policy, succeeded him. Governor Musgrave, we are told, "was admirably fitted for work of reconciling the opposing elements, and his efforts were easily successful." Since the time that the first resolution had passed the House, when it was unanimously agreed to, the events in Canada had led to a temporary damper in the enthusiasm at first displayed over Confederation. There was the dissatisfaction existing in Nova Scotia, which did not augur well for the success of the Union, and the trouble in Manitoba, which at the time the Legislative Council sat, in 1870, had not yet been settled satisfactorily. These no doubt created unrest in the minds of some of the leading men in the colony, especially in Victoria, as to the wisdom of joining hands with the Dominion while as yet Confederation was, so to speak, only in the experimental stage. There were in British Columbia indications of improvement of the situation, owing to mining excitement, the result of new discoveries, and it was thought by some, notably Dr. Helmcken, that it would be better to wait a little longer in order to judge more accurately of the results of Confederation in the other provinces, and in case of times improving, as seemed probable, British Columbia would be in a better position to demand her own terms than if she went into the Union on the first invitation.

However, Governor Musgrave was anxious to carry out his instructions, and no doubt wished to have the honor of bringing the matter to a successful issue during his term of office, and he succeeded, as we shall see, in bringing the Executive to his way of thinking. Prior to the session of 1870 he had, with his Council, framed resolutions to lay before them so as to enable him to deal with the Government of Canada. It was agreed that the terms of Union should not be finally accepted until ratified by the people, and authority was to be asked to reconstitute the Legislative Council, so as to allow the majority of its members to be formally returned for electoral districts, and thus obtain expression of opinion of the people of the colony.

The terms of Union proposed by the Governor were, briefly: Canada to assume the debt of British Columbia; to pay $35,000 yearly for the support of the local Government, and 80 cents per head of the population, to be rated at 120,000, the rate of 80 cents to be continued until the population reached 400,000. the subsidy thereafter to remain fixed; to commence at once the survey for a line of railway; to complete a wagon road to Lake Superior within three years after Confederation, and not less than $1,000,000 to be spent in any one year in its construction; to guarantee 5 per cent interest on a loan of $500,000 for the construction of a graving dock at Esquimalt: to provide fortnightly steam communication with San Francisco; to give regular communication with Nanaimo and the interior; to build and maintain a Marine Hospital, a Lunatic Asylum and a Penitentiary; to maintain the Judiciary and the Postoffice and Customs services; to use its influence to retain Esquimalt as a station for Her Majesty's ships and to establish a volunteer force; to provide a pension for the present officers of the Government; and to allow interest at the rate of 5 per cent per annum on the difference between the actual amount of the indebtedness of the colony, per head of the population, rated at 120,000, and the indebtedness per head of the other provinces.

The Debate on Confederation.

On Wednesday, March 9, 1870, began the memorable debate on the subject of Confederation with Canada, when the then Attorney-General, Hon. (late Sir Henry P. P.) Crease, rose to move: "That this Council do now resolve itself into committee of the whole, to take into consideration the terms proposed for the Confederation of the Colony of British Columbia with the Dominion of Canada, in his excellency's message to this Council." "In doing so," he said, "I am deeply impressed with the momentous character of the discussion into which we are about to enter, the grave importance of a decision by which the fate of this, our adopted country of British Columbia, must be influenced for better or for worse, for all time to come. And I earnestly hope that bur minds and best energies may be bent to a task which will tax all our patriotism, all our forbearance, all our abnegation of self and selfish aims; to combine all our individual powers into one great united effort for the common good." He then invoked the Divine blessing in the following words: "May He who holds the fate of nations in the hollow of His hand, and crowns with success, or brings to naught the councils of men, guide all our deliberations to such an issue as shall promote the peace, honor and welfare of our most Gracious Sovereign, and of this and all other portions of her extended realms." His speech in introducing the resolution above was brief, but lucid and eloquent. "This issue is," he remarked, "Confederation or no Confederation," and pungently added, "Your question, Mr. President, that I do now leave the chair, means: That is the issue before us now." Thus was launched a discussion which, vigorously conducted for a number of days, landed the Province of British Columbia in the arms of the Dominion.

The debate to go into Committee of the Whole lasted three days, and nine days were occupied in discussing the details in committee. Some notable speeches were made, and probably no debate since that time brought into requisition greater talent, or better sustained and more dignified oratory in the Legislative Assembly. They were able men, some of them, who took part, and all the speakers were prominent in the affairs of the country. Among them were Attorney-General Crease, Dr. Helmcken, Amor de Cosmos, Thomas Humphreys, M. W. T. Drake, John Robson, Joseph Trutch, Hy Holbrook, T. L. Wood, F. J. Barnard, R. W. W. Carrall, E. Dewdney, G. A. Walkem—nearly all of whom are familiar to the newest comers as men having a high place in the affairs of the province. It would be impossible in a limited space to give even in outline the salient points in the debate.

Following the Honorable the Attorney-General came Dr. Helmcken, from whom the principal opposition arose. In the course of his remarks he said: "The honorable gentleman laid great stress upon the consolidation of British interests on this coast; but I say, sir, that however much we are in favor of consolidating British interests, our own must come first. Imperial interests can well afford to wait. We are invited to settle this question now and forever; but I say that we are not called upon to do so. The matter will come before the people after the proposed terms have been submitted to the Dominion Government; and it will very likely happen that if these terms were rejected and others of a mean nature substituted by the Government of Canada for the consideration of the people of this colony, other issues may come up at the polls, and amongst them the question whether there is no other place to which this colony can go but Canada. Whatever may be the result of the present vote, it is impossible to deny the probability of the lesser being absorbed by the greater, and it cannot be regarded as improbable that ultimately not only this colony but the whole of the Dominion of Canada will be absorbed by the United States." As has already been stated, Dr. Helmcken dwelt largely on the fact that the time was inopportune to open the question, because he indicated .that the new gold discoveries would bring a large population to the province, and that the present depression would be swept away, and that in that event the province would be in a better position to go to the Dominion and negotiate for terms.

In noticing the drawbacks of the colony he said: "The United States hem us in on every side. It is the nation by which we exist. It is a nation which has made this colony what it is; but, nevertheless, it is one of our greatest drawbacks. We do not enjoy her advantages, nor do we profit much by them. We do not share her prosperity, and we are far too small to be rivals. The effect of a large body and a small body brought into contact is that the larger will adopt the smaller and ultimately absorb it. And again, I say so, sir; I say that the United States will probably ultimately absorb both this colony and the Dominion of Canada. Canada will, in all probability, desire quite as much to join her ultimately as we do now to join the Dominion." Dr. Helmcken also objected to the Canadian tariff, which was lower than that of British Columbia at the time, and consequently unfavorable to the development of the agricultural industry. This was a matter that was very strongly dwelt upon by nearly all the members, and it was held that in arranging the terms the Dominion Government would be specially induced to look after the interests of this province and see that the farmers were protected from competition from the neighboring territory of Washington and Oregon. The doctor held that Confederation would be inimical to nearly every interest of the province, and particularly to the farmers. He said it would be inimical to brewers, to the spar trade, to the fisheries, whaling pursuits and the lumber business. Of all the speeches delivered, his may be said to have been the most original.

Hon. Mr. Drake, member for Victoria City, moved the six months' hoist, saying: "I need not state, sir, that I have always been opposed to Confederation. I have consistently opposed Federation on any terms up to the present time, and I do not see any reason now to change my opinion." Mr. Drake took very much the .same line of objection as Dr. Helmcken. He spoke particularly in regard to the Canadian tariff, which he said would place the farmers of British Columbia at a very great disadvantage compared with those of the United States. He claimed that distance from Canada, small-ness of population, giving an insignificant representation in the Dominion Parliament, and the unsettled state of the intervening territory, would be insuperable barriers to the success of the scheme. The Hon. Mr. Ring, member for Nanaimo, seconded Mr. Drake's amendment, and spoke briefly. Hon. Mr. Robson, it is needless to say, though opposed to the Government, took a strong and patriotic position in favor of the original resolution. He always favored Confederation.

Perhaps the strongest speech was made by Hon. J. W. Trutch, Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. His arguments were well presented, and his advocacy of Confederation moderate but firm. Regarding Canada, he said: "I believe, sir, that many of the objections which have been raised to Confederation have arisen from prejudiced feelings. I have no reason to be prejudiced against or partial to Canada. I believe the Canadians as a people are no better than others, and no worse. I have no ties in Canada, nor particular reason for entertaining any feeling of affection for Canada." He repudiated some suggestions of Hon. Mr. Drake as follows: "The honorable junior member for Victoria asks what guarantee have we that the terms will be carried out. I say at once, sir, if the terms are not carried out, if the Canadian Government repudiate their part of the agreement, we shall be equally at liberty to repudiate ours. We should, I maintain, be at liberty to repudiate Confederation." He considered the time was most opportune. He was in favor of the province having the right to make its own tariff, so as to protect its farming interests, and hailed with pleasure the salmon laws of Canada and advocated the rights of the Indians. Concluding, he said: " As we shall, from our position on the Pacific Coast, be the keystone of Confederation, I hope we may become the most glorious in the whole structure, and tend to our own and England's future greatness."

Hon. Mr. Wood was the next speaker. He supported in an able and argumentative speech the amendment for the six months' hoist. His objections were, first, to the principles of the Organic Act of 1867, as applied to the British North American Provinces; second, to the special application of the principle to this province; third, to the mode in which the consent of its adoption was attempted to be obtained. Mr. Wood thought the principle of Confederation was bad in itself and would not work out successfully. He thought that Great Britain favored it from a selfish point of view, and not from considerations of broad statesmanship. With respect to British Columbia his objections were: Remoteness, comparative insignificance, and diversity of interests. As to the third objection, the mode of bringing about Confederation, he objected to it as not appealing to moral or political considerations, but to pecuniary motives. In other words, the people were being bribed by promises of a railway and a dry dock rather than being convinced by political advantages.

Hon. Amor de Cosmos made a long and vigorous though somewhat discursive speech. He claimed to be the first to advocate Confederation. and as such condemned the Government for delaying so long. He remarked at the opening: "For many years I have regarded the union of the British Pacific territories, and of their consolidation under one Government, as one of the steps preliminary to the grand consolidation of the British Empire in North America. I still look upon it in this light with the pride and feeling of a native-born British American. From the time when I first mastered the institutes of physical and political geography I could see Vancouver Island on the Pacific from my home on the Atlantic; and I could see a time when the British possessions, from the United States boundary to the Arctic Ocean, and extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, would be consolidated into one great nation." Mr. De Cosmos incidentally remarked: "If I had my way, instead of the United States owning Alaska, it would have been British to-day." He laid great stress on the terms of Confederation and was anxious to make as good a money bargain as possible. On that ground he objected to the financial arrangements as submitted by the Government as not creating sufficient surplus of revenue, and also to the fiction, as he termed it. of assuming the population to be 120,000 instead of 40,000. It may be remarked here, incidentally, that the assumption of 120,000 as the population of British Columbia was based not on an estimate of the actual number of people, including Indians, in the province, but on the relative tariff revenue as compared with that of Canada, which was as three to one. In other words, it was estimated that as every individual paid three times in tariff imposts what was paid in Canada, the population should be figured as 120,000 instead of 40,000. It is curious that the rate of revenue still maintains the same ratio. Our population is now 200,000. According to that method of figuring it should be 600,000 for the purpose of a subsidy.

Hon. Mr. Ring again spoke, advocating that the people should have an opportunity of deciding upon the terms before it was discussed by the House.

Mr. Barnard was the most enthusiastic supporter of Confederation, and he took up the subject, as he did anything in which he became interested, with peculiar energy. Speaking as a Canadian born, he said: " I desire, before going further, to allude to a charge commonly laid against my countrymen—often offensively put, but yesterday put by the Hon. Mr. "Wood in his usually gentlemanly way. It is that of Canadian 'proclivity.' As a native-born Canadian, in common with others, I love the land of my birth. We admire her institutions and revere her laws; but we never forget the land of our adoption, and we should no more consent to see her wronged by Canada than would the tens of thousands of Englishmen who have made Canada their home permit a wrong to be done her by England. * * * As to that 'other issue' (meaning annexation), I have no fears for Canada, or this colony either. It used to be fashionable here in early days to associate the name of Canada with rebellion. It was the result of prejudice and ignorance and was a great mistake. * * * To sum up, sir, I say that amongst the statesmen of Canada we may safely look for men fully competent to control the affairs of a young nation. They are men of as much ambition and grasp of thought as are the rulers in the adjoining states; and depend upon it, nothing will be left undone to advance the prosperity and well-being of every portion of their vast Dominion. We may safely repose full confidence in them."

Hon. Mr. Humphreys, for Lillooet, was somewhat fiery in his remarks, and though in favor of Confederation was much "agin" the Government. He wanted to see responsible government made a sine qua non of Union.

Hon. Mr. Carrall, another enthusiastic Confederationist, followed in a well-balanced speech, and coming from Cariboo, he had strong support in his constituents. Speaking of Canada, he said: " After she was prevented from going to the United States by that abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty, she turned her attention to her own resources, and I believe she is now going to be one of the most progressive nations upon the earth. Undoubtedly she is determined to progress westward until she reaches British Columbia and the Pacific, and with all her progressive tendencies she will not abate one jot of her loyalty for which now, as ever, she is distinguished."

Hon. Mr. Alston, Registrar-General, a representative of the official element in the House, supported the Government's resolution. Mr. Dewdney, the present Lieutenant-Governor, member for Kootenay, was in rather an awkward position, for, as far as he could ascertain, his constituents were opposed to Confederation, but, as he was unable to consult with them upon the terms submitted, he took the responsibility of supporting the resolution for Confederation. He said that "in the light that it now bears, that I do believe that their opinions would be in unison with that of the country generally—in favor of Confederation in terms now proposed." The debate was closed by brief remarks from Dr. Helnicken, defining his position, and the Honorable Attorney-General, Hon. Mr. Drake, member for Victoria City, withdrew his amendment, and the resolution was carried unanimously and the House went into committee of the whole.

The discussion for the next ten days was on matters of detail and was quite too long and irregular to endeavor to present in any concise form. The term's as submitted by Governor Musgrave were agreed to, with a few exceptions, the principal of which were that the annual grant of $35,000 to be paid by the Dominion for the support of the local Government was raised to $75,000, and the limit of population at which the amount of subsidy became fixed was changed from 400,000 to 1,000,000, and a series of supplementary resolutions added. Messrs. Helnicken, Trutch and Carrall were chosen by the Executive to go to Ottawa to arrange the terms with the Dominion Government. The sum of $3,000 was voted to defray their expenses, and they left on May 10, 1870, by way of San Francisco. On the 7th of July the special correspondent of the "Colonist" telegraphed as follows : "Terms agreed upon. The delegates are satisfied. Canada to England. Carrall remains one month. Helmcken and your correspondent are on their way home."

The terms agreed upon have already been given in substance, and were confirmed by the Legislature upon its first meeting thereafter.

The Terms of Union.

In connection with the terms of Confederation submitted by Governor Musgrave and adopted in substance by the Legislative Council, supplementary resolutions, as has already been stated, were passed, stating: 1. That duties levied upon maltsters and brewers, under the Excise Law of Canada, would be detrimental to British Columbia, and requesting that no export duty should be charged on spars exported from British Columbia. 2. That the application of the Canadian tariff, while reducing the aggregate burden of taxation, would injuriously affect the agricultural and commercial interests of the community, and requesting that special rates of customs duties and regulations should be arranged for the colony. 3. That a geographical survey of British Columbia be made, such survey to be commenced one year after Confederation. 4. And that all public works and property as properly belonged to the Dominion under the British North America Act, should belong to British Columbia, and all roads to be free of toll of every kind whatsoever.

The terms of union agreed upon between the delegates from British Columbia and the Government of Canada differed from those adopted by the Legislative Council in the following respects: That the population should be estimated at 60,000 instead of 120,000; that British Columbia should be entitled to six members in the House of Commons and three in the Senate, instead of eight members in the House of Commons and four in the Senate.

The proposition for the construction of a wagon road from the main trunk road of British Columbia to Fort Garry was dropped, and the Dominion undertook to secure the commencement simultaneously, within two years of the date of the union, of the construction of a railway from the Pacific to the Rocky Mountains, and from a selected place east of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, to connect the" seaboard of British Columbia with the railway system of Canada and to secure the completion of the railway within ten years from the date of union. For the construction of such railway the Government of British Columbia agreed to convey to the Dominion Government a land grant similar in extent through the entire length of| British Columbia, not to exceed twenty miles on each side of the line, to that appropriated for the same purpose by the Dominion Government from lands in the Northwest Territory and the Province of Manitoba, with this provision, however, that the land held under a pre-emption right or Crown grant within the forty-mile belt should be made good to the Dominion from contiguous public lands. In consideration of the lands to be thus conveyed to the railway to the Dominion Government agreed to pay to British Columbia from the date of union the sum of $100,000 per annum' in half-yearly payments in advance. The charge of the Indians and the trusteeship and management of lands reserved for their use and benefit, were assumed by the Dominion Government. The constitution of the executive authority of the Legislature of British Columbia was to continue as existing at the time of union until altered under authority of the British North America Act, but it was understood that the Dominion Government would readily consent to the introduction of responsible government when desired by British Columbia, and it was agreed by the Government of British Columbia to amend the constitution so as to provide that the majority of the Legislative Council should be elective.

An election was held in November of 1870, in which it is unnecessary to state that the terms of Confederation were the main issue. The new Council met January 5, 1871. Dr. Helmcken was nominated as Speaker, but declined. The terms of Confederation, as agreed upon, were passed unanimously, and an address was presented to His Excellency the Governor, praying that Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to admit British Columbia, under the provision of the British North America Act, into the Dominion of Canada.

Responsible government, for which the colony was fully prepared, was a natural consequence of Confederation, and a bill was introduced in the Council on the 31st of January, 1871, to give power to alter the constitution of British Columbia. The bill was considered in committee of the whole and reported complete, and was formally adopted on February 6. The first election under the new constitution took place in October, 1871. Hon. Joseph Trutch, conspicuous in bringing about Confederation, had been appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the new province. Hon. J. F. (Justice) McCreight was called upon to form the first administration. There were twenty-five men elected to the first Legislature, as follows: George A. Walkem, Joseph Hunter, Cornelius Booth, John Ash, M. D.; William Smithe, John P. Booth, A. Rocke Robertson, Henry Ccgan, John A. Mara, Charles Todd, A. T. Jamieson, T. Humphreys, John Robson, Henry Holbrook, J. C. Hughes, W. J. Armstrong, J. F. McCreight, Simeon Duck, Robert Beaven, James Trimble, M. D., A. de Cosmos, A. Bunster, Robert Smith, James Robinson, Charles A. Semlin. Of that number of well known British Columbians, many of whom were or afterwards became prominent in public affairs, the following are still living: George A. Walkem, recently retired from the Supreme Court bench; Joseph Hunter, for many years Superintendent of the E. & N. Railway; John A. Mara, ex-Speaker, and ex-member of the Dominion House of Commons; W. J. Armstrong, ex-sheriff of New Westminster; J. F. McCreight, retired from the Supreme Court bench; Robert Beaven, who for many years occupied a seat in the House, was Premier and several times Mayor of Victoria; W. F. Tolmie; and Charles A. Semlin, of Cache Creek, who was Premier succeeding Hon. J. H. Turner, and for many years a member of the Legislature. Seven of the number became Premiers of the province.

It was not long before the question of the Canadian Pacific Railway began to give cause for trouble, which existed in a more or less aggravated form for seven or eight years. Few people, even in .British Columbia, imagined that the terms of union, so far as the railway was concerned, would be, strictly adhered to, but of course they expected a bona fide attempt to commence and complete it within the time specified. Few people, either, probably had considered fully the magnitude of the enterprise and the difficulties to be overcome. Sir Joseph Trutch, one of the delegates, was fully cognizant' of the difficulties, however, when he made a speech at Ottawa in reply to the toast to his health at a banquet given in his honor before his visit to England. Speaking about the limit of time, he said: " If it had been put at twelve or fifteen years, British Columbia would have been just as well satisfied, and if the estimated period had been reduced to eight years it would not have been better pleased. But some definite period for the completion of this work the delegates from British Columbia insisted upon as a necessary safeguard to our colony in entering into the proposed union. To argue that any other interpretation will be placed upon this railway engagement by British Columbia than that which I have given to you as my construction of it, to argue that she expects that it will be carried out in the exact interpretations of the words themselves, regardless of all circumstances, is a fallacy which cannot bear the test of common sense. I am sure you will find that British Columbia is a pretty intelligent community, which will be apt to take a business view of the matter. She will expect that this railway shall be commenced in two years, for that is clearly practicable, and she will also expect that the financial ability of the Dominion will be exerted to its utmost, within the limit of reason, to complete it within the time named in the agreement. But you may rest assured that she will not regard this railway agreement as a ' cast iron contract,' as it has been called, or desire that it should be carried out in any other way than as will secure the prosperity of the whole Dominion, of which she is a part. I have understood this railway engagement in this way from the first, and still so understand it."

This statement of Sir Joseph Trutch is most important to keep in mind. At a later date it was quoted in justification on the part of the Dominion Government for the delay in fulfilling the terms of union in regard to the building of a railway as agreed upon. In the next chapter the sequel to Confederation in the long and sore dispute over the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway is dealt with at some length. Between that and the personal reminiscences supplied by Mr. Higgins in a previous part of this history, a very complete record is supplied of a memorable and crucial period in affairs of the province.


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