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The Scot in British North America
Chapter VII British Columbia


The designation of "New Caledonia," formerly applied to the British Columbia mainland, and the frequent recurrence of distinctively Scottish names in the local nomenclature, might seem to imply that the Pacific Province would prove especially rich in material for the purpose of the present work. Such, however, is not the case. There is no other Province of the Dominion where the Scottish element of the population is, both actually and relatively, so small as in British Columbia, where, out of a total population of 49,459, according to the last census returns, but 3,892, all told, were of Scottish origin. A due regard for perspectives, therefore, requires the curtailment of this chapter to within comparatively narrow limits. Moreover, many of the achievements of the Scot in British Columbia, both as regards early explorations and the Pacific Railway enterprise, have already been largely treated of in previous chapters.

British Columbia is a region of wide extent and varied characteristics. It presents many remarkable contrasts in climate and productions in regions not far apart, owing to the modifying influence of the ocean and the mountain ranges with which it is seamed. Between the Cascade range and the sea the climate is temperate and moist; the summers beautiful, the winters mild. Vancouver Island is subject to similar conditions. Eastward of the Cascade mountains the extremes of climate are more pronounced. The more southern portion is heavily timbered, and vegetation grows luxuriantly. The yield of grain crops and other agricultural produce is very large, though irrigation is often required. Further to the northward the country becomes drier, colder, and less thickly wooded. On the upper portion of the Fraser River the winter is very changeable, and the cold often very severe. The agricultural region proper terminates in the neighbourhood of Alexandria, the country showing large tracts of fine pasturage interspersed with some arable land. From this point north-eastward to the mountains is the mining region, the principal source of the wealth of British Columbia. In the south-eastern corner of the Province another marked change occurs. The rich, fertile soil of the same latitude further west, is replaced by an arid, sterile tract, sometimes almost tropical in its characteristics and partaking largely of the nature of the great American desert which stretches away to the southward. The elevated plateau between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains averages 3,000 to 4,000 feet above the level of the sea. Near the Rocky Mountains it is broken by the spurs and offshoots of this great continental range, which, with their alternations of ridge and chasm, snow-capped summit and deep-cut river-bed, present a succession of the wildest and most majestic scenes. There are numerous lakes, occupying deep depressions in the uneven surface; the rivers flow through precipitous gorges, and through the rough, broken mountainous districts, in many directions, sweep broad, undulating stretches of low, sheltered land. The Montenegrin peasantry have a curious legend respecting the origin of the mountains which have given a name to their country. They believe that when the Creator was distributing mountains over the surface of the newly-formed earth, the bag in which they were contained burst just over Montenegro, giving them rather more than their share. To a mind in the anthropomorphic stage it would not require any very great stretch of imagination to lead to the belief that some similar accident must have occurred in British Columbia, so lavish has nature been in the bestowal of her wilder features. Inequality of physical outline appears to be the distinguishing characteristic of the country. The seaboard both of Vancouver Island and the mainland is as broken and indented by harbours and inlets as the interior is rugged and uneven.

The history of British Columbia as a land inhabited by civilized men is a brief and, excepting for the transformation scenes of the gold excitement, an uneventful one. Despite its natural advantages, the progress of the colony has been retarded by its isolated position. Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes tells a good story about a party of Bostonians meeting a settler in the backwoods of Maine, who, on learning that his visitors hailed from "the Hub," remarked in a tone of wonderment, "I don’t see how you fellers down to Boston kin afford to live so fur off." The humour of the story of course lies in the inversion of the point. Literally speaking, there are not many who can "afford to live so far off" as British Columbia. Hence her sparse and scattered population. It is only by the establishment of railroad communication with the eastern portion of the Dominion that the immense resources which await exploration will be rendered available, and the mere handful of population increased by influx from Europe and Eastern Canada.

The question of which of the early navigators who explored the Pacific coast of North America is entitled to the credit of having first entered the waters of British Columbia is a much disputed one. Sir Francis Drake, in an expedition which sailed from Plymouth in 1577, reached the 48th parallel of latitude in prosecuting his search for a north-east passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and laid claim to the country between that point and the 43rd parallel, naming it "New Albion." In 1625, a narrative was published in England by Michael Lock, concerning the adventures of Juan de Fuca, whose true name was Apostolos Valerianos, a Greek pilot, said to have been sent by the Viceroy of Mexico, in 1592, with three vessels on a voyage of exploration northward along the coast. He claimed to have sailed through the channel separating Vancouver Island from the mainland of British Columbia. The inaccuracies in the narrative of his alleged discoveries, exposed by Captain Cook and other explorers, led to its being subsequently discredited, and doubts even thrown on the existence of the old Greek sailor. Nevertheless, whether he or another is rightfully entitled to the honour of being

"—the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea,"

the name of Juan de Fuca Strait preserves the memory of that ancient mariner. Other expeditions were subsequently fitted out by the English and Spaniards, in search of the North-west passage between the two oceans. It is often the case that the search after the unattainable, the impossible, and the non-existent, results in discoveries of tangible and permanent value to mankind. As alchemy was the parent of chemistry, and astrology gave birth to astronomy, so the search for the North-west and North-east passages carried on for years by the maritime nations at great sacrifices, though futile as to the immediate objects in view, did much to enlarge the sphere of geographical knowledge. The discoveries of Captain Cook and others disclosed the general trend of the coast line. Captain Kendrick, an American, is another for whom the credit of being the first to sail through the gulf between Vancouver Island and the mainland, has been claimed. He is said to have made this voyage in 1788. It was during this year that Captain Meares, who was associated with Captain Douglas in a voyage of discovery under the auspices of an association of merchants in Bengal, reached the Straits of Fuca, which had not been found by Cook, ascended the channel about thirty leagues in a boat, and formally took possession of the country in the name of the Crown. He was not, however, able to land, as the natives made an obstinate resistance and compelled the party to return to their vessel. Difficulties shortly afterwards arose between the English and the Spaniards as to their respective rights in the Pacific coast. To adjust this dispute Captain Vancouver, formerly a lieutenant serving under Captain Cook, was commissioned in 1790 to negotiate with a Spanish commission, at Nootka Sound, and in addition was charged with the duty of making an examination of the coast, in order to throw further light upon the problem of a passage between the two oceans. After some exploration in other directions Vancouver entered the straits of Juan de Fuca in 1792, and after encountering many obstacles succeeded in piloting his ships through the archipelago of the Gulf of Georgia and reaching the Pacific by way of John-stone’s Strait—thus clearly establishing the mythical character of the North-east passage supposed to exist in that direction. During a portion of this voyage the expedition had remained in company with a Spanish exploring party whom they encountered in the straits, and out of compliment to the Spanish commander the name originally bestowed upon the island—the existence of which was for the first time definitely established—was the "Island of Quadra and Vancouver." The first portion of this cumbrous designation was soon abandoned and the name fixed as Vancouver Island, in honour of the real discoverer.

While Vancouver Island and the Pacific coast was little by little becoming known by the discoveries of maritime explorers approaching it from the West, the interior of British Columbia was being penetrated from the East by the same enterprising and dauntless class of pioneers, who were the avant couriers of civilization in the North-West Territories. The part taken by the adventurous Scots, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Fraser and Thompson—whose names borne by three majestic rivers will perpetuate for all time the memory of their daring and endurance—has already been set forth in the pages devoted to the early history of the Fur Trading Companies. These discoveries were turned to practical account in 1806, when the first fur-trading post, founded in British Columbia, was erected a short distance from the great Fraser River, by Simon Fraser. The Hudson Bay Company shortly afterwards established a post at Stuart’s Lake, and the country was soon dotted with the establishments of the rival North-West and Hudson Bay companies. It was not until this time that the designation of "New Caledonia," which had previously been indefinitely used in connection with the coast line, was generally applied to the entire region of the British Columbia mainland.

The rival fur trading companies were united in 1821, under the title of the Hudson Bay Company, and in the same year obtained a charter guaranteeing them the exclusive trade of the region—a monopoly of which they remained in possession until the discovery of gold rendered it necessary to establish a colonial government, and throw the country open for settlement. It was not until 1843 that the Hudson Bay Company established themselves on Vancouver Island. At that time Mr. (after Sir) James Douglas was chief agent of the company for all their territory, west of the Rocky Mountains. His headquarters were for sometime in Fort Vancouver, Oregon Territory—under his direction a party of forty men, in charge of a Scottish official of the company, named Finlayson, landed at Victoria, then called by the natives Tsomus, from the name of the tribe. They met with no opposition from the Indians, from whom Mr. Douglas purchased the site for the contemplated fort. They at once set about the erection of the buildings, which were completed during the following year. In 1846, when by the Treaty of Oregon, Fort Vancouver was embraced in the territory of the United States—the Pacific headquarters of the company were transferred to Victoria. The fort, and the little settlement which, gradually opening up around it, continued to be for many years the only spot on the Island reclaimed from the wilderness.

Before proceeding further with the narrative of the settlement of British Columbia it will be advisable to present a few biographical details in relation to the strong and salient character just introduced upon the scene, whose after career exercised so powerful an influence upon the fortunes of the colony. James Douglas was born at Demerara, in the South American colony of British Guiana, on the 14th of August 1803. His father, who had emigrated from Scotland to British Guiana a short time previously, was in poor circumstances. Young Douglas was left an orphan at an early age, and in 1815, when but twelve years of age, accompanied an elder brother to push his fortune as so many others of his nationality have done in the great North-West. The rivalry between the Hudson Bay and North-West companies was at that time extremely keen. James Douglas entered the service of the latter, bringing to his avocation remarkable physical strength and powers of endurance, an iron constitution, and a bold, resolute spirit. As he grew to manhood these qualities were developed and strengthened by the character of the arduous service in which he was engaged, and he soon began to display those rare intellectual qualities of prudence, determination, and executive capacity which early marked him a born-leader of men. His business faculties and the tact he exhibited in his intercourse with the Indians secured his rapid advancement to posts of increased responsibility. After the amalgamation of the companies he became chief factor, in which capacity he visited the remotest outposts of the company. His wanderings were attended with many formidable perils. Once he was made captive by a tribe of British Columbia Indians and detained for many weeks. He contrived at length to effect his escape, and after enduring severe hardships succeeded in reaching one of the forts of the company in an exhausted condition. His re-appearance was hailed with mingled delight and astonishment for he had long been given up as dead. In 1833 he was appointed to the Chief Agency for the region west of the Rocky Mountains, and as we have seen, planted the first settlement on the shores of Vancouver Island ten years later. In 1851 he became Governor of the infant colony established under the auspices of the Hudson Bay Company, his commission being renewed for a further period of six years in 1857. When Vancouver Island was constituted a Crown Colony in 1859, with Victoria as its capital, Mr. Douglas was appointed Governor and received the dignity of a C. B. British Columbia having been organized as a colony in 1858, the Governorship was also vested in Mr. Douglas. How admirably he exercised his arduous and responsible functions, in this double capacity, in the face of circumstances requiring the most delicate tact, the firmest resolution, and the clearest judgment the narrative of the colony’s progress will show. In 1863 he received the honour of Knighthood as a recognition by the Imperial Government of his inestimable services. He withdrew from public life in 1864, "when his commission as Governor expired, and after making the tour of Europe returned to spend the evening of his days in the land whose best interests he had spent his life in advancing. He died at Victoria on the 2nd of August, 1877, in his seventy-fourth year. Sir James married in 1827 Miss Connolly, a daughter of the Chief Factor of the Hudson Bay Company, at Red River, by whom he had a numerous family. Mr. James W. Douglas, his eldest and only surviving son, was for some years a representative of Victoria in the Provincial Legislature.

Let us resume the thread of the narrative of the rise of the colony of Vancouver Island, which in 1848 comprised merely the Hudson Bay Company’s fort on the site of the present city of Victoria. The company applied to the British government and obtained a charter granting them the absolute control of the island for a term of ten years from January, 1849. This privilege was granted on the condition that they should establish a colony, and use exertions to attract population. Mr. Richard Blanchard was sent out from England as the first governor, but after two years returned to England, being succeeded by Mr. Douglas in November, 1851. His first official action was one eminently characteristic of the man, and in strict accordance with the just and politic conduct towards the aborigines, which has been the secret of the remarkable success of the Hudson Bay Company in maintaining the serviceable friendship of the Indian tribes. He assembled all the natives in the neighbourhood of Victoria and paid them in full for the lands appropriated by the whites. The wisdom, as well as the humanity of this policy, is apparent. The Indians were then both powerful and war1ike, and on frequent occasions it required all the prudence and decision of character possessed in such large measure by Governor Douglas to avert the horrors of savage warfare. It was necessary while treating with the Indians with fairness and honesty, to impress upon them the lesson that attacks upon the lives and property of the settlers would be firmly punished. In the winter of 185l, a shepherd was murdered by Indians at Christmas Hill, the perpetrators of the crime taking refuge at Cowichan. An expedition was sent in pursuit, consisting partly of sailors from Her Majesty’s ship Thetis, and partly of volunteers from the settlement. On the arrival of the avengers, one of the murderers was given up. The other fled and was followed to Nanaimo, where he was finally captured, and both were shortly afterwards executed. A similar expedition organized not long afterwards for the capture of an Indian who had shot and severely wounded a white man at Cowichan, nearly involved more tragical consequences. The tribe at first refused to surrender the offender, who, emboldened by their support, levelled a musket at the governor. The small force at the command of the latter prepared to fire on the natives, and nothing apparently could avert a bloody conflict. The murderer drew the trigger but without effect, and was at once seized by the tribe, delivered to the expedition, and hanged with all the due formalities of the law. Lessons such as these speedily impressed the red men with a wholesome respect for the authority of the government, which during the exciting times of the gold fever did much to restrain lawlessness and disorder. The troubles between the different tribes of Indians, and their collisions with the colonists frequently threatened to result in a general outbreak but the vigilance of the Governor always averted the crisis. Attempts were made by the savages from time to time to possess themselves of the fort, but the resource and decision of character displayed by Governor Douglas baffled the schemes of the Indians, who were conciliated, while at the same time overawed. The proverbial hand of iron in the glove of velvet was nevermore forcibly exemplified than in his dealing with the natives of Vancouver Island.

The work of colonization proceeded very slowly. In 1853 the white population of the Island only numbered about 450, two-thirds of these being at Victoria. The total quantity of land applied for up to the end of that year was 19,807 acres, of which only 1,696 acres was then in occupation by individual sett1ers. These figures are taken from a description of Vancouver Island by Col. W. Cohquhoun Grant, whose nationality is sufficiently indicated by his name, and who is described as the "first colonist." This paper was read before the Royal Geographical Society of London on the 22nd of June, 1857—and its references to the various undertakings for the development of the Island seemed to indicate that a large proportion of these early settlers were Scotch-men. Speaking of the mineral resources, Col. Grant states that coal was first discovered at Nanaimo in 1850 by Mr. Joseph McKay, who was directed to it by the Indians of the neighbourhood.. He notes that the efforts to find workable coal at Beaver Harbour, the most Northern settlement, proved unsuccessful, although "a shaft was sunk to the depth of ninety feet by the Messrs. Muir, the miners who were first sent out from Scotland by the Hudson Bay Company." A Mr. Gilmour is also mentioned in connection with mining operations. Nanaimo is described as "a flourishing little settlement with about 125 inhabitants, of whom thirty-seven are working men, the remainder women and children; there are about twenty-four children at a school presided over by Mr. Baillie." In fact almost every name mentioned has a distinctively Caledonian ring. The first white man to accomplish the feat of crossing the Island diagonally from Nimpkish River to Nootka Sound was Mr. Hamilton Moffatt, who undertook an exploratory tour in 1852, and reported favourably as to the character of that region for settlement.

In the year 1856 representative institutions were granted to the colonists, and the first Parliament, comprising seventeen members, assembled on the 12th of June. Governor Douglas, in his inaugural speech, aptly comparing the growth of the colony to that of its native pines as being slow but hardy. The organization of this embryo legislature is notable as the first instance in which representative institutions had been established in a British colony at so early a stage of its development.

By the discovery of gold in large quantities on the mainland, the circumstances of the colony were completely altered, owing to the sudden influx of miners and the large class of adventurers of all kinds who always throng to a newly-discovered El Dorado. As early as 1850 the precious metal had been found in Queen Charlotte’s Island, but only in small quantities; and some time before the actual discoveries which caused the excitement it was understood that gold existed on Fraser River and throughout the Central Cascade Range in this direction. The first to bring to light these hidden treasures, and communicate to the world the richness of the gold-producing region, were Scotsmen. In 1854 Capt. McClelland in charge of the survey for the military road from Fort Walla-Walla to Fort Steilacoom, on Puget Sound, through the Nachess Pass, unearthed gold in considerable quantities, his men sometimes obtaining two dollars’ worth a day with the pan. The first official announcement of the existence of valuable gold deposits was made in a letter addressed by Governor Douglas to the Colonial Secretary, on April 16th, 1856, in which he stated that Mr. Angus McDonald, clerk in charge of Fort Colville, one of the trading-posts on the Upper Columbia district, had reported to him the finding of gold in quantities sufficient to yield from £2 to £8 daily to those engaged in the digging. The news spread rapidly. Prospecting parties soon started out in all directions, and met with encouraging success in their explorations. Then came an immigration of gold-seekers from abroad, to which nearly every civilized nation, as well as many uncivilized, contributed its quota, the greater proportion, however, coming direct from the gold-fields of California and the adjoining American territories. Explorations in Vancouver Island were only moderately successful and the more extensive discoveries on the Fraser River made this the objective point of the influx. As Victoria was the nearest considerable settlement, and the centre of supply, its growth at once received a tremendous impetus. The excitement reached its climax in the season of 1858, when fully twenty thousand people landed at Victoria, on their way to the diggings. Both house accommodation and the supplies of provisions and other necessaries were quickly exhausted, and a period of inflation set in. Prices rose to almost incredible figures. Flour was held at thirty dollars per barrel; lumber brought one hundred dollars per thousand feet. The lack of buildings was supplied temporarily by the erection of tents, which rose in all directions around the city. Building operations went forward with great rapidity, and over two hundred houses were erected in the course of a month. Speculation in real estate rose to a high pitch. Extravagant prices were asked and paid for town lots, and rents were enormous. The value of property went up fifty-fold in a few weeks. The speculative craze at Victoria rivalled, for a time, the gold excitement on the banks of the Fraser. The fate of those who went forward to the gold fields was the usual one of treasure-seekers. The difficulties in the way of transportation were very great. The country tributary to the Fraser resembles other mountainous countries in the same latitude, where the streams begin to swell in June and reach their lowest ebb in the winter. The few who reached the scene early in the spring succeeded in obtaining large amounts of gold from the banks not yet covered by the periodic rise of the waters. The bulk of the miners, who did not arrive until later in the season, found the richest mining lands submerged. Many returned, crestfallen and disappointed, to Victoria, and the story of their reverses broke the spell under which Victoria had risen like a creation of enchantment. Miners and speculators alike returned to California by thousands; the days of inflation were over and a period of commercial depression succeeded. The population of the city fell as low as 1,500.

Meanwhile the few hundred miners who persevered in spite of all obstacles and pressed on undeterred by the ill-success of the thousands who had turned back discouraged, were subjected to the greatest hardships and perils in making their way through a region hitherto untravelled by white men, and destitute of roads and habitations. Mr. Macfie, in his book on British Columbia, thus describes the dangers and difficulties of the river trail to the gold fields of the Fraser:

"Before the line for the Lillooet route was generally known, parties of intrepid miners, anxious to be the first to reap its benefits, tried to force their way through all the difficulties opposed to them. The misery and fatigue endured by them was indescribable. They crept through underwood and thicket for many miles, sometimes on hands and knees, with a bag of flour on the back of each; alternately under and over fallen trees, scrambling up precipices, or sliding down over masses of sharp projecting rock or wading up to their waists through bogs and swamps. Every day added to their exhaustion, and worn out with privation and sufferings one knot of adventurers after another became smaller and smaller, some lagging behind to rest or turning back in despair."

The few who were able to surmount these obstacles frequently realized the hopes which had prompted them to the undertaking. Over half a million of gold was shipped from Victoria in the three months ending with October, 1858, a sufficient indication of the richness of the mines. The following year the tide again set in, though not in such large volume, and the gold mining industry began to be steadily pursued. In 1861, according to the correspondent of the London Times, 5,000 persons were engaged in mining, and the yield amounted to $6,700,000. In 1862 the discovery of the Cariboo mines gave a renewed impulse to the rush of immigration, and the scenes of 1857 were repeated. Speculation again ran riot in Victoria, and the wave of eager gold hunters again surged eagerly onward through a rugged and almost impenetrable wilderness. Cariboo was four hundred miles inland, the only road being an old Indian trail over the rivers, among the mountains, and through dark, and tangled forests. Again the result was bitter disappointment to the great majority, who returned to civilization footsore, ragged and often utterly broken down in constitution, while a few reaped a rich reward for their toils

In 1858 a government was organized on the British Columbia mainland, Mr. Douglas being appointed Governor. He found himself placed in a most embarrassing and difficult situation. A large influx of the rough mining population of California rendered it necessary to use every precaution to prevent the lawless spirit which long made that State a byword for turbulence and disorder gaining the ascendency on British soil. Roads and bridges were urgently required, and the revenue raised from customs duties proved totally insufficient for the purpose. In 1862 the only method of transportation was by mule-trains. Freight to Cariboo was one dollar per pound. The commonest necessaries of life were hardly obtainable at any price. The Governor, in order to provide the means of carrying on the work of administration, imposed taxes which at the time created a great deal of discontent, and for which he has since been severely censured, on the ground that such restrictions tended to check immigration and to retard the development of the colony. Two dollars, head-money, was charged on each immigrant, each miner was required to pay a royalty of five dollars, every trader was obliged to obtain a permit, for which a charge was also made, and numerous like imposts were enforced. It is easy to condemn this policy and that pursued in connection with sales of land as restrictive and illiberal. But, practically, Governor Douglas had no other alternative. A revenue must be had somehow, if the laws were to be enforced and the most ordinary requirements of civilized government introduced into a suddenly populated wilderness. Time has amply vindicated Governor Douglas’ beneficent policy. By his foresight and determination the worst of the evils usually attendant upon a rush of gold-seekers to a new country were avoided. There was some violence and disorder among the miners, as well as occasional collisions with the Indians, but on the whole life and property were remarkably secure, and the law was respected as it never has been under similar circumstances in the United States.

Despite the unwelcome taxes imposed the revenue was unequal to the construction of roads to the mines at Cariboo. This was accomplished at length by raising a loan of £100,000 in England and giving companies the right of levying tolls for constructing some of the more important roads and bridges of the system. The work was completed in 1863, when it became possible to send freight forward by waggon instead of on the backs of mules. The effect was at once apparent. Supplies being obtainable at reasonable rates, population flowed in, and the mining industry of British Columbia, divested of its spasmodic and uncertain character, settled down upon a steady and permanent basis. The construction of these roads, which have done so much for the prosperity of British Columbia, is justly regarded as the crowning achievement of Governor Douglas, who shortly afterwards terminated his public career, not without having given to the world such an ample vindication of his course that the public opinion of the colony pronounced unmistakably in his favour. Not the least memorable feature of the last few years of his term of office was the part he took in 1859 in the peaceful settlement of the San Juan difficulty, when war seemed almost unavoidable. By his coolness and discretion the matter was settled for the time by an agreement arrived at between himself and General Scott, as American Commissioner, for a joint occupation of the island until the matter could be finally disposed of by arbitration.

In 1866, the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia were united under the latter designation, and on the 20th July, 1871, the union with Canada was accomplished, concerning which full details have already been given. How that measure has conduced to the prosperity of British Columbia may be gathered from the census returns which show that the population exclusive of Indians, has increased from ten to twenty-three thousand within the decade. But the full realization of the advantages of union are yet to come, as her future prosperity is bound up with the completion of the railway which will bring her into communication with Eastern Canada and direct the flow of migration to her rich agricultural and mining lands.

Reference has previously been made to some of the British Columbia representatives in the Dominion Parliament of Scottish origin. Another name, which is deserving of mention is that of Robert Wallace, one of the first members elected from the Pacific slope on the accomplishment of the union. He was born in the City of Glasgow in 1820. Mr. Wallace is a commission merchant in Victoria, and took a prominent part in the movement in favour of union with Canada. He was president of the convention of delegates of the Confederation league held at Yale in September, 1868, for the purpose of accelerating the admission of British Columbia into the Dominion. He was returned for Vancouver Island as a Conservative in December, 1871, but only occupied his seat during one session, being succeeded by Sir Francis Hincks.

A large proportion of the members of the provincial legislature since the union have been of Scottish origin. Hon. John Robson, a member of the present administration is a Scottish Canadian; he was born at Perth, Ontario, on the 14th of March, 1824. Mr. Robson was mayor of New Westminster in 1866, and held the position of paymaster of the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia from 1875 until that office was abolished in 1879. He represented New Westminster and Nanaimo in the legislative council of British Columbia from 1866 until 1875. He was elected to the legislative assembly for New Westminster at the last general election of July, 1882, and in January, 1883, became a member of the administration of Hon. W. Smithe, with the portfolio of the provincial secretary and minister of finance and agriculture. He is a Conservative in his political views.

Among the Scots who have held seats in the assembly of late years but are not at present members, are James W. Douglas, eldest son of the late Governor Douglas, born in Victoria in 1846, who represented the City of Victoria in the legislature of 1875-8; Dr. William Fraser Tolmie, a Scot by birth, who sat in the Vancouver Island Assembly before the union, and represented Victoria District between the years 1874-8; William A. Robertson, born in Perthshire, Scotland, who was elected in 1874 for Victoria District; William Morrison, a Scotsman, who came to British Columbia in 1862, and was returned for Lillooet in 1875; and Donald McGillivray, a Scottish Canadian from Glengarry, born in 1838, a representative of New Westminster between 1878 and 1882.

The present House includes among its members William Monroe Dingwall (Comox), whose ancestors were farmers near Dingwall, Ross-shire, where he was born in 1851, and who came to British Columbia in 1876, and is now in business at Comox as a general merchant; Robert Dunsmuir (Nanaimo), born in Hurlford, Ayrshire, in 1825, an extensive proprietor of coal mines, and George Archibald M’Tavish, (Victoria District), born at New York in 1856, of a family from the Island of Islay, a seed grower and stock breeder, and formerly president of the Agricultural Society of the Province. All these are of Conservative opinions and supporters of the Smithe administration. Judging by the names there are several other legislators who might be entitled to a notice here were the data as to their birth or parentage obtainable.


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