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A History of British Columbia
Chapter VIII - Organization of the Mainland

The history of the Mainland of British Columbia began with the discovery of gold in 1857. Prior to that it was part of the Indian Territory of British North America, an area of uncertain metes and bounds over which the Hudson's Bay Company had exclusive trading rights, which had been exercised by that corporation in what is now the province of British Columbia since the year 1821, the date of the union of the rival fur companies. Shortly after this the company surrendered the grant of 1821 to the Imperial Crown, and obtained a new crown grant on the 30th of May, 1838, of the exclusive trade with the Indians of all those parts of North America to the northward of the lands and territories belonging to the United States of America, not forming part of any British provinces or of any lands or territories belonging to the United States or to any European government or power, but subject to certain provisions. These provisions referred to the protection of the Indians—the regulation of the liquor traffic and the moral and religious improvement of the natives, to certain regulations as to trade monopoly by the company, to the right of the Crown to the establishment of colonies or provinces, or the annexation of any part of the territory to existing provinces or colonies, or for the erection of any form of civil government that the Crown might deem necessary 6r desirable; and also the power of the Crown to revoke the whole or any part of the Hudson's Bay Company grant within the territory designated.

In accordance with the rights under the charter in question the company had established forts or trading posts at a number of points in the interior and on the coast of the mainland. Among these were: Alexandria and Chilcotin in 1821, Babine in 1822, Langley in 1827, (old) Fort Simpson in 1831, Simpson in 1834, Dease in 1838, Stickine about the same time, Hope in 1847 and Yale in 1848. Kamloops and a number of other posts had been established prior to that by the Northwest Company, which were acquired by the Hudson's Bay Company by the terms of the union in 1821. Through all this vast territory the Company had exercised practical and undisputed sovereignty, and established a wonderful system of communication, whereby the product of the chase in furs obtained by purchase from the Indians were conveyed to the company's depots for final export to London by ships, and the necessary supplies for trading purposes and the use of the servants of the company were returned. With the discovery of gold and the subsequent rush of the miners from all parts of the world the sovereignty of the Hudson's Bay Company came suddenly to an end, and the crown exercised its power to revoke the charter of rights to the company, and to establish colonies, and erect civil government throughout their extent. In 1849, the Crown had erected Vancouver Island into a colony, with provision for at least a semblance of government, although the grant of the island to the company had been made on conditions of colonization. It was an empire within an empire, so to speak. That anomalous relation came to an end, ten years later, as the result of an investigation before a select committee of the Imperial House of Commons. The separate colony of British Columbia came into existence on the 19th of November, 1858, with James Douglas, afterwards Sir James, as governor. In the interim, that is, between the time of the rush of miners up the Fraser and the formation of the colony, he had governed the country by proclamation, without authority, it is true, as he had no jurisdiction beyond the Island of Vancouver, but it was not a time to cavil about nice distinctions; and the Colonial Secretary, while cognizant of the irregularity of the proceedings, approved the action he had taken to preserve order and establish a temporary form of government.

Governor Douglas's Instructions.

Lord Lytton, acting for the Imperial Government, lost no time in instructing Douglas as to the course he should pursue, and the wisdom of his suggestions will be recognized today almost as fully as at the time when they were penned. They bear all the ear marks of enlightened statesmanship for which His Lordship was distinguished, and were a constitution for the new' colony in embryo, and a charter of liberties for the new commonwealth on the Pacific Coast, the extremest outpost of the British Empire. A few extracts from these dispatches will best convey an understanding of the spirit in which they were framed, and which wisely actuated the British authorities at the time, so different from the policy which had emanated from Downing Street on many previous occasions when dealing with colonies in British America. Writing on the 16th of July to Governor Douglas, Lord Lytton advised him of the steps that were being taken to organize a colony and establish civil government. Among the instructions to Douglas were the following:

"It is proposed to appoint a governor with a salary of at least £1,000 per annum, to be paid for the present out of a parliamentary vote. And it is the desire of Her Majesty's Government to appoint you at once to that office, on the usual terms of a governor's appointment, namely, for six years at least, your administration of that office continuing to merit the approval of Her Majesty's Government; this government to be held, for the present, in conjunction with your separate commission as governor of Vancouver Island. With regard to the latter, I am not at this moment able to specify the terms as to the salary on which it may ultimately be held, but your interests would, of course, not be overlooked.

"The legal connection of the Hudson's Bay Company with Vancouver Island will shortly be severed by the resumption by the crown of the grant of the soil. And their legal rights on the continent opposite terminate in May next, at all events by the expiry of her license, if Her Majesty should not be advised to terminate it sooner on the establishment of the new colony.

"It is absolutely necessary, in their view, that the administration of the government, both of Vancouver Island and of the mainland opposite, should be entrusted to an officer or officers entirely unconnected with the company. I wish, therefore, for your distinct statement, as early as you can afford it, whether you are willing, on receiving the appointment which is thus offered to you, to give up, within as short a time as may be practicable, all connection which you may have with that company, either as its servant, or a shareholder, or in any other capacity.

"I make this proposal without discussing at present the nature and extent of your actual connections with that company, but with the acquiescence of the governor of the company, who has seen this dispatch. In the meantime, and awaiting your answer, it is my present intention (liable only to be altered by what may transpire in future advices from yourself) to issue a commission to you as governor; but you will fully understand that unless you are prepared to assure me that all connection between yourself and the company is terminated, or in course of speedy termination, you will be relieved by the appointment of a successor.

"I make this proposal briefly and without unnecessary preface, being fully assured that you will understand, on the one hand, that Her Majesty's Government are very anxious to secure your services, if practicable; but on the other that it is quite impossible that you should continue to serve at once the Crown and the company, when their respective rights and interests may possibly diverge, and when, at all events, public opinion will not allow of such a connection."

"As it is a matter of considerable importance, both to Her Majesty's Government and yourself, that there should be a perfect understanding as to the terms on which, if you should so decide, you would assume office under Imperial authority, I think it right to state, as it was omitted on the last occasion, that beside relinquishing, directly or indirectly, all connection with the Hudson's Bay Company, it will be indispensable to apply that condition equally to any interest you may possess in the Puget Sound Company.

"It is most probable that you have understood the offer contained in my confidential dispatch of the 16th instant in that sense, but I think it better now to guard against any possible misconception on the subject by this additional explanation. It is due to you to add that if, after reflection, you should entertain the persuasion that it will either not conduce to the public interests or your own to exchange your present position for that of governor of British Columbia, the ability which you have displayed whilst holding the office of governor of Vancouver Island will not escape the. recollection of Her Majesty's Government, should it be your wish, on the expiration of the Hudson's Bay Company's license next year, to enter into the service of the Crown in the colonies."

"I need hardly observe that British Columbia, for by that name the Queen has been graciously pleased to observe that the country should be known, stands on a very different footing from many of our colonial settlements. They possess the chief elements of success in lands, which afforded safe though not very immediate sources of prosperity. This territory combines in a remarkable degree, the advantage of fertile lands, fine timber, adjacent harbors, rivers, together with rich mineral products. These last, which have led to the large immigration of which all accounts speak, furnish the government with the means of raising a revenue which "will at once defray the expenses of an establishment. * * * My own views lead me to think that moderate duties on beer, wine, spirits and other articles usually subject to taxation would be preferable to the imposition of licenses; and I confidently expect that from these sources a large and an immediate revenue may be derived.

"The disposal also of public lands, and especially of town lots, for which I am led to believe there will be a great demand, will afford a rapid means of obtaining funds applicable to the general purposes of the colony. You will, probably, at an early period take steps for deciding upon a site for a seaport town. But the question of how a revenue can best be raised in this new country depends so much on local circumstances, upon which you possess such superior means of forming a judgment to myself, that I necessarily, but at the same time willingly, leave the decision upon it to you, with the remark that it will be-prudent on your part and expedient to ascertain the general sense of the immigrants upon a matter of so much importance. Before I leave this part of the subject, I must state that whilst the Imperial Parliament will cheerfully lend its assistance in the early establishment of this new colony, it will expect that the colony will be self-supporting as soon as possible. You will keep steadily in view that it is the desire of this country that representative institutions and self-government should prevail in British Columbia, when by the growth of a fixed population, materials for these institutions shall be known to exist; and to that object, you must from the commencement aim and shape all your policy.

"A party of Royal Engineers will be dispatched to the colony immediately. It will devolve upon them to survey those parts of the country which may be considered most suitable for settlement, to mark out allotments of land for public purposes, to suggest a site for the seat of government, to point out where roads should be made, and to render you such assistance as may be in their power, on the distinct understanding, however, that this force .is to be maintained at the Imperial cost for only a limited period, and that if required afterwards, the colony will have to defray the expense thereof. I have to add, that I am of the opinion that it will be reasonable and proper that the expense of the survey of all allotments of land to private individuals should be included in the price which the purchaser will have to pay for his property.

"I shall endeavor to secure, if possible, the services of an officer in command of the engineers who will be capable of reporting on the value of th« mineral resources. This force is sent for scientific and practical purposes, and not solely for military objects. As little display as possible should, therefore, be made of it. Its mere appearance, if prominently obtruded, might serve to irritate, rather than appease the mixed population which will be collected in British Columbia. It should be remembered that your real strength lies in the conviction of the immigrants that their interests am identical with those of the government, which should be carried on in harmony with, and by means of the people of the country.

"As connected with this subject, it may be convenient to you to know that I contemplate sending out an experienced inspector of police to assist you in the formation of a police force. You should consequently lose no time in considering how that force may be organized. It must be derived from people on the spot, who will understand that for their preservation from internal disturbances, they must rely solely on themselves, and .not on the military. I cannot permit myself to doubt, that in a matter so essential to the common security of all, you will meet with the ready concurrence of the community, and that you will act for their interests in a manner which shall be proper and conformable to their general sentiments.

"I have to enjoin upon you to consider the best and most humane means of dealing with the native Indians. The feelings of this country would be strongly opposed to the adoption of any arbitrary or oppressive measures towards them. At this distance, and with the imperfect means of knowledge which I possess, I am reluctant to offer, as yet, any suggestion as to- the prevention of affrays between the Indians and the immigrants. This question is of so local a character that it must be solved by your knowledge and experience, and I commit it to you, in the full persuasion that you will pay every regard to the interests of the natives which an enlightened humanity can suggest. Let me not omit to observe, that it should be an invariable condition, in all bargains or treaties with the natives for the cession of lands possessed by them, that subsistence should be supplied to them in some other shape, and above all, that it is the earnest desire of Her Majesty's Government that your early attention should be given to the best means of diffusing the blessings of the Christian religion and of civilization among the natives. "I wish to impress upon you the necessity of seeking, by all legitimate means, to secure the confidence and good-will of the immigrants, and to exhibit no jealousy whatever of Americans or other foreigners who may enter the country. You will remember that the country is destined for free institutions at the earliest moment. In the meanwhile it will be advisable for you to ascertain what Americans resorting to the diggings enjoy the most influence or popular esteem, and you should open with them a frank and friendly communication as to the best means of preserving order and securing the interests and peace of the colony. It may be deserving of your consideration whether there may not be found already amongst the immigrants, both British and foreign, some persons whom you could immediately form into a council of advice; men whom, if an elective council were ultimately established in the colony, the immigrants themselves would be likely to elect, and who might be able to render you valuable assistance until the machinery of government were perfected, and you were in possession of the instructions which the Queen will be pleased to issue for your guidance. I shall hope to receive, at an early period, your views on these and other topics of importance which are likely to present themselves for your decision in the difficult circumstances in which you are placed, and I request you to be assured, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, that I shall be most ready to afford you every assistance in my power."

"There has not been time to furnish you by this mail with the order-in-council, commission, and instruction to yourself as governor, which are necessary in order to complete your legal powers. You will, nevertheless, continue to act during the brief interval before their arrival as you have hitherto done, as the authorized representative of Her Majesty's Government in the territory of British Columbia, and take, without hesitation, such steps as you may deem absolutely necessary for the government of the territory, and as are not repugnant to the principles of British law; but you will do so in conformity with the directions which I transmit to you on several subjects by my dispatches of even date herewith, and in such others as you may receive from me."

"I have to acknowledge the very important series of dispatches (numbers 24 to 29 inclusive, from June 10th to July 1st, 1858), showing the manner in which you have continued to administer the government of the territory in which the recent discoveries of gold have taken place, and detailing the extraordinary course of events in that quarter. Her Majesty's Government feel that the difficulties of your position are such as courage, judgment and familiarity with the resources of the country and character of the people can alone overcome. They feel also that minute instructions conveyed from this distance, and founded on an imperfect knowledge, are very liable to error and misunderstanding. On some points, however, you have yourself asked for approval and instructions; on others it is absolutely necessary that the views of Her Majesty's Government should be made clear to you.

"As to the steps which you have already taken, I approve of the appointments which you have made and reported of revenue officers, Mr. Hicks and Mr. Travaillot, of Mr. Perrier as justice of the peace, and of Mr. Young as gold commissioner. I approve, also, as a temporary measure, of the steps which you have taken in regard to the surveying department, but I have it in contemplation to send to the colony a head of that department from England.

"I propose selecting in this country some person for the office of collector of customs, and shall send you also, at the earliest moment, an officer authorized to act as judge, and who, I trust, as the colony increases in importance, may be found competent to fill with credit and weight the situation of chief justice. I await your intimations as to the wants and means of the colony, in this sudden rise of social institutions in a country hitherto so wild, in order to select such law advisers as you may deem the condition and progress of immigration more immediately require. And it is my wish that all legal authorities connected with the government should be sent from home, and thus freed from every suspicion of local partialities, prejudices and interests.

"I highly approve of the steps you have taken, as reported by yourself. with regard to the Indians. It is in the execution of this very delicate and important portion of your duties that Her Majesty's Government especially rely on your knowledge and experience obtained in your long service under the Hudson's Bay Company. You may in return rely on their support in the execution of such reasonable measures as you may devise for the protection of the natives, the regulation of their intercourse with the whites, and whenever such work may be commenced, their civilization. In what way the fur trade with the Indians may henceforth be carried on with the most safety, and with due care to save them from the demoralizing bribes of ardent spirits, I desire to know your views before you make any fixed regulations. No regulations giving the slightest preference to the Hudson's Bay Company will in future be admissible, but possibly, with the assent of the whole community, licenses for Indian trade, impartially given to all who would embark in it, might be a prudent and not unpopular precaution.

"I approve of the measures which you have taken for raising a revenue by customs, and authorize their continuance. I approve also of your continuing to levy license fees for mining purposes, requesting you, however, to adapt the scale of these fees to the general acquiescence of adventurers, and leaving it to your judgment to change this mode of taxation (as, for instance, into an export duty), if it shall appear on experience to be inadvisable to continue it. But on this head I must give you certain cautions. In the first place, no distinction must be made between foreigners and British subjects as to the amount per head of the license fee required (nor am I aware that you have proposed to do so). In the second place, it must be made< perfectly clear to everyone, that this license fee is levied, not in regard to« any supposed rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, but simply in virtue of the prerogative of the Crown (now confirmed by the Act of Parliament transmitted to you, if this was necessary) to raise revenue as it thinks proper, in return for the permission to derive profits from the minerals on Crown lands.

"Further, with regard to these supposed rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, I must refer you, in even stronger terms, to the cautions already conveyed to you by my former dispatches. The Hudson's Bay Company have hitherto had an exclusive right to trade with Indians in the Fraser River territory, but they have had no other right whatever. They have had no rights to exclude strangers. They have had no rights of government, or of occupation of the soil. They have had no right to prevent or interfere with any kind of trading, except with the Indians alone. But to render all misconceptions impossible, Her Majesty's Government has determined on revoking the company's license (which would itself have expired in next May) as regards British Columbia being fully authorized to do so, by the terms of the license itself, whenever a new colony is constituted.

"The company's private property will be protected, in common with that of all Her Majesty's subjects, but they have no claim whatever for compensation for the loss of their exclusive trade, which they only possessed subject to the right of revocation. The instrument formally revoking the license will shortly be forwarded to you. * * * The immense resources which the information which reaches England every day and is confirmed with such authority by your last dispatch, assures me that the colony possesses, and the facility for immediate use of those resources for the purposes of revenue, will at once free the Mother Country from those expenses which are adverse to the policy of all healthful colonization. * * * The most important works to which, the local revenue can be applied seem to be police, public works to facilitate landing and traveling, payment of the absolutely necessary officers, and above all, surveying. But your own local judgment must mainly decide. You will render accurate accounts to me both of receipts and expenditure, and you will probably find it necessary shortly to appoint a treasurer, which will be a provisional appointment.

"You are fully authorized to take such measures as you can for the transmission of letter and levying postage. It appears by your despatch that the staff of surveyors you have engaged are at present employed on Vancouver Island, the soil of which is as yet held under the expiring license of the Hudson's Bay Company; but it is British Columbia which now demands and indeed may almost absorb the immediate cares of its governor, and your surveyor may at once prepare the way for the arrival of the surveyor-general appointed from hence, and of the sappers and miners who will be under his orders.

"I now come to the important subject of future government. It is possible (although on this point I am singularly without information) that the operations of the gold diggers will be to a considerable extent suspended during winter, and that you will therefore have some amount of leisure to consider the permanent prospects of the colony and the best mode of administering its affairs.

"You will be empowered both to govern and to legislate of your own authority; but you will distinctly understand that this is a temporary measure only. It is the anxious wish of her Majesty's Government that popular institutions, without which they are convinced peace and order cannot long prevail, should be established with as little delay as practicable; and until an Assembly can be organized (which may be whenever a permanent population, however small, is established on the soil), I think, as I have already^ stated in a former despatch, that your best course will probably be to form some kind of temporary council, calling in this manner to your aid such persons as the miners themselves may place confidence in.

"You will receive additional directions along with your commission, when forwarded to you; and I have embodied in a separate despatch those regarding the very important question of the disposal of land.

"Aware of the immediate demand on your time and thoughts connected with the pressing question of immigration to the gold mines, I do not wish< to add unnecessarily to the burden of duties so onerous; but as yet, our Department has been left singularly in ignorance of much that should enter into considerations of general policy, and on which non-official opinions are constantly volunteered. Probably, amongst the persons you are now employing, and in whose knowledge and exactitude you can confide, you might find someone capable of assisting, under your superintendence, in furnishing me, as early as possible, with a report of the general capacities of the harbors of Vancouver,—of their advantages and defects; of the mouth of Fraser River, as the site of the entry into British Columbia, apart from the island; of the probabilities of a coal superior for steam purposes to that of the island, which may be found in the mainland of British Columbia; and such other information as may guide the British Government to the best and readiest means of developing the various and the differing resources which have so strangely been concealed for ages, which are now so suddenly brought to light, and which may be destined to effect, at no very distant period, a marked and permanent change in the commerce and navigation of the known world. The officers now engaged in the maritime survey will probably render great assistance to yourself and to her Majesty's Government in this particular."

"With regard to the very important subject of the disposal of land, you are authorized to sell land merely wanted for agricultural purposes, whenever a demand for it shall arise, at such upset price as you may think advisable. I believe that a relatively high upset price has many advantages; but your course must, in some degree, be guided by the price at which such land is selling in neighboring American territories. But with regard to land wanted for town purposes (to which speculation is almost certain to direct itself in the first instance), I cannot caution you too strongly against allowing it to be disposed of at too low a sum. An upset price of at least f i per acre is, in my opinion, absolutely required, in order that the local government may in some degree participate in the profit of the probable sales, and that mere land-jobbing may be in some degree checked. Whenever a free legislature is assembled, it will be one of its duties to make further provision on this head.

"To open land for settlement gradually; not to sell beyond the limits of what is either surveyed or ready for immediate survey, and to prevent, as far as in you lies, squatting on unsold land.

"To keep a separate account of all revenue to be derived from the sale of land, applying it to the purposes, for the present, of survey and communication, which, indeed, should be the first charge on land revenue; and you will of course remember that this will include the expense of the survey party (viz., sappers and miners) now sent out. I shall be anxious to receive such accounts at the earliest period at which they can be furnished.

"Foreigners, as such, are not entitled to grants of waste land of the Crown in British colonies. But it is the strong desire of her Majesty's Government to attach to this territory all peaceful settlers, without regard to nation. Naturalization should, therefore, be granted to all who desire it, and are not disqualified by special causes, and with naturalization the right of acquiring Crown land should follow.

"You will pardon me if I enjoin on you, as imperative, the most diligent care that in the sales of land there should not be the slightest cause to impute a desire to show favor to the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company Parliament will watch with jealousy every proceeding connected with such sales; and I shall rely upon you to take every precaution which not only impartial probity but deliberate prudence can suggest, that there shall be no handle given for a charge, I will not say of favor, but of indifference or apathy to the various kinds of land-jobbing, either to benefit favored individuals or to cheat the land revenue, which are of so frequent occurrence at the outset of colonization, and which it is the duty of her Majesty's Government, so far as lies in them, to repress."

"I need scarcely observe to you that the object for which this officer and his party have been despatched to British Columbia is for the exclusive service of that colony. You will, therefore, afford him every assistance in your power for enabling him to commence immediately such operations in it as shall appear to him to be necessary, in anticipation of his commanding officer, Colonel Moody, R. E., who will follow him with as much rapidity as practicable. And I trust that, if Captain Parsons should require the temporary occupation for his party of the trading-posts up the country, which belong to the Hudson's Bay Company, you will take measures for affording him such accommodation."

"With these few observations, I leave with confidence in your hands the powers entrusted to you by her Majesty's Government. These powers are indeed of very serious and unusual extent, but her Majesty's Government fully rely on your moderation and discretion in the use of them. You are aware that they have only been granted in so unusual a form on account of the very unusual circumstances which have called into being the colony, committed to your charge, and which may for some time continue to characterize it. To use them, except for the most necessary purposes, would be, in truth, to abuse them greatly. They are required for the maintenance of British law and British habits of order, and for regulating the special questions to which the condition and employment of the population may give birth. But the office of legislation, in the higher and more general sense, should be left for the legislature which may be hereafter constituted, and which her Majesty's Government hope will be constituted at the first time consistent with the general interests of the colony. And you will above all remember that the ordinary rights and privileges of British subjects and of those foreigners who dwell under British protection, must be sedulously maintained, and that no innovation contrary to the principles of our law can be justified, except for purposes of absolute and temporary necessity.

"I will only add that, although it has been judged prudent not to make the revocation of the Hudson's Bay Company's license take effect until proclaimed by yourself, it is the particular instructions of her Majesty's Government that you proclaim it with the least practicable delay, so that no questions like those which have already arisen as to the extent and nature of the Company's rights can possibly occur."

"With respect to offices generally, which the public exigencies may compel you to create, and for which selections should be made in England, I have to observe that I consider it of great importance to the general social welfare and dignity of the colony that gentlemen should be encouraged to come from this kingdom, not as mere adventurers seeking employment, but in the hope of obtaining professional occupations for which they are calculated; such, for instance, as stipendiary magistrates or gold commissioners.

"You will, therefore, report to me at your early convenience, whether there is any field for such situations, and describe as accurately as you can the peculiar qualifications which are requisite, in order that I may assist you by making the best selections in my power. It is quite natural that thd servants of the Hudson's Bay Company should, from their knowledge of business, their abilities and services, have a very fair claim to consideration and share in the disposal of the local patronage. But caution should be observed against yielding to any appearance of undue favor or exclusiveness to the servants of that company. You will carefully remember that the public interests are the first consideration, and that it should be known that employment in the public service is as open and fair in British Columbia as in every other of the Queen's colonial possessions. For these reasons it is still more desirable that careful appointments should be made in England. You will not fail to write to me fully by each mail, as her Majesty's Government wish to know everything that passes of importance in British Columbia."

"Such arrangements may on the whole be most congenial to the disposition of the American miners whom you may have to consider; but I cannot forget that it was the system of enforcing, from time to time, the license fee which created in Victoria so much dissatisfaction, and ultimately led to the Ballarat riot, and to the adoption of new rules. The Victorian system] was in the main the same as that which you have apparently adopted. It exacted a license fee of £1 from each miner per month, and, as Sir Charles] Hotham says in a despatch, 21st November, 1855, to Sir William Moles-worth, 'the great and primary cause of complaint which I found was undoubtedly the license fee.'

"It was then decided that the monthly license fee should be abolished,! and be replaced, independently of royalties, first, by a miner's annual certificate of £1; secondly, by the payment of £10 per annum on every acre of alluvial soil; and thirdly, by an indirect tax in the shape of 2s. 6d. export duty on the ounce of gold. Experience seems, as far as we yet know, to have justified this change in Victoria. Discontent, with its attendant dangers, has been removed; and by the present system, which appears to be acquiesced in by all parties, a larger revenue is obtained than ever was the case under the earlier arrangement. I observe, indeed, by the last Victorian returns for 1856, that the duties on the export of gold amounted to more than £376,000."

"It is my object to provide for, or to suggest to you how to meet all unforeseen exigencies to the colony as they may arise; but my views are based on the assumption that the common interest in life and property will induce the immigrants to combine amongst themselves for ordinary purposes, and that when danger needing military force arises, they will readily gather around and swell the force, which will thus expand as circumstances require. From England we send skill and discipline; the raw material (that is, the mere men), a colony intended for free institutions, and on the border of so powerful a neighbor as the United States of America, should learn betimes of itself to supply.

"Referring to the laudable co-operation in the construction of the road which has been evoked by your energy from the good sense and public spirit of the miners, I rejoice to see how fully that instance of the zeal and intelligence to be expected from the voluntary efforts of immigrants, uniting in Khe furtherance of interests common to them all, bears out the principle of [policy on which T designed to construct a colony intended for self-government, and trained to its exercise by self-reliance. The same characteristics [which have made these settlers combine so readily in the construction of a road, will, I trust, under the same able and cheering influence which you [prove that you know so well how to exercise, cause them equally to unite in the formation of a police, in the establishment of law, in the collection bf revenue, in short, in all which may make individual life secure and the community prosperous. I trust you will assure the hardy and spirited men who have assisted in this preliminary undertaking, how much their conduct is appreciated by her Majesty's Government.

"I feel thankful for the valuable services so seasonably and efficiently rendered by the "Satellite" and "Plumper." I cannot conclude without a cordial expression of my sympathy in the difficulties you have encountered, and of my sense of the ability, the readiness of resource, the wise and manly temper of conciliation which you have so signally displayed; and I doubt not that you will continue to show the same vigor and the same discretion in its exercise; and you may rely with confidence on whatever support and aid her Majesty's Government can afford you."


A careful perusal of the foregoing will show how carefully and intelligently the wants of the colony had been thought out, and what a liberal and advanced conception of pioneer colonial conditions Lord Lvtton possessed. According to the intimations made in Lord Lytton's despatches,] as in the foregoing, two detachments of the Royal Engineers were despatched* to British Columbia, one on the 2nd of September in the steamer "La Plata," under command of Captain Parsons, who was accompanied by twenty non commissioned officers and men; and the other by the clipper ship "Thames City," 557 tons, on September 17th, which was made up of two officers, one! staff assistant surgeon, eighteen non-commissioned officers and men, thirty-one women and thirty-four children, the whole under the command of Captain R. H. Luard, R. E. Captain Parsons was the bearer of important communications to Governor Douglas. One was his commission as Governor of British Columbia, another empowering him to make due provision for the) administration of justice and the establishment of laws for the maintenance! of law and order; and still another notifying him of the revocation of the charter of May 30th, 1838, so far as the Mainland was concerned. By the same mail came the advice of the appointment of Colonel Moody to the command of the Royal Engineers, and to the office of chief commissioner of lands and works. Under his instructions he was second in command to Governor Douglas, from whom he was in certain matters to take orders, but with special duties that were not to be interfered with unless "under circumstances of the greatest gravity." Simultaneously also came the advice of the appointment of Matthew Baillie Begbie as Chief Justice of the new Colony, who was to receive a salary of £800 and would sail by packet on October 2nd. With these despatches came copies of proclamations declaring British law to be in force in British Columbia, and indemnifying the governor and other officers for acts done before the establishment of legitimate authority. With the appointment of W. Wymond Hamley as collector of customs, the organization of British Columbia was practically complete, and it only required the arrival of the incoming officials to set the machinery of government in full operation. This was in 1858, but it was not until 1864 that the mainland colony was granted a representative assembly, as will be seen later. In the meantime officialdom was king, and the word of James Douglas was law.

In due time by various routes Colonel Moody, Chief Justice Begbie, Mr. Hamley, Captain Parsons and the detachments of Royal Engineers and the corps of Sappers and Miners arrived, and the real work of starting a colony began.

Preliminary to Organized Government.

To go back a step, however, the rush of miners to the Fraser River made it necessary, as I have said, to take steps towards preserving law and order and reducing the operations of the miners to some system having respect for the rights of the community as well as of the individual. It was a difficult task to be confronted. Those who have read the story of the mining excitement of '49 in California, and the pages of history for the years immediately following will understand the character of population from which the exodus to British Columbia was drawn. The annals of San Francisco in the early days are replete with incidents of gambling, robbery and hold-ups, murder, vice of all kinds, and general social misrule The disregard for life was one of the prevailing tendencies of the pioneer! mining camp. In its wake followed all the toughs and blacklegs and desperadoes, which a free and unfettered life in the far west developed to prey on unorganized or imperfectly organized society. The miner himself was usually an honest man, with a high native regard for the rights of hi^j neighbors. He had many excellent qualities of head and heart, and was| a good example of what we usually understand by the "diamond in the rough." But one of his cardinal principles was not to interfere with other people's business, and to ask no questions. If games went on he accepted it as one of the natural concomitants of the life. If men drank, and fought, and cheated at cards and were shot they regarded the incidents as the "lookout" of those who engaged in them. He did not constitute himself a guardian over either the souls or the bodies of any person. If there was excitement he might take a hand in it. He knew and was prepared for the risks. If he were wise he kept out of the way of the toughs. If he got entangled in the meshes of the many webs that were woven in this rough and ready society, and got the worst of it, it was part of the game. So the outcasts of society found in the mining camp and a city like San Francisco, a Mecca of adventurers, a congenial soil in which to take root and flourish. It was from the many elements of which the Forty-Niners of which California were composed that Fraser River gold seekers were drawn. Douglas understood the men he had to deal with, and was prepared to deal with them. He proposed to instill in their hearts a wholesome respect of British law. Incidentally he did not forget that he was doing business for the Hudson's Bay Company. His first move was to establish the authority of the latter. He had a fleet of British warships at hand, two boats, the "Otter" and the "Beaver," the property of the Company, to assist him in maintaining order and peace and enforcing his commands. Fortunately for the country Douglas was on hand to exercise an authority which, though illegally exercised on his part, was necessary, and, therefore, by virtue of the exigencies of the situation became law, subsequently confirmed. A proclamation was issued on the 8th of May to the effect that "any vessels found in British northwest waters not having a license from the Hudson's Bay Company and a sufferance from the customs officer at Victoria should be forfeited." The proclamation was in the main respected, and it had the effect of bringing every person to Victoria as a starting point. The Governor proceeded himself to the mainland, and found at Langley, then a post of the Hudson's Bay Company and a principal-point of attraction for the incomers, a number of speculators taking possession of the land and staking out lots for sale, he found unlicensed canoes, and contraband trading going on. All these matters were speedily set right to his own liking. Fort Hope and Fort Yale farther up the river soon also became places of importance. These were visited by the Governor. The miners prior to his arrival had already organized a form of government for their requirements and had already posted regulations. These were replaced by regulations drawn up and proclaimed in the name of the Governor of Vancouver Island. Persons carrying on business were required to pay a fee of $7.50 monthly for the use of land, and the owners of claims to pay $5 a month license. Strict observance of the Sabbath was enjoined and a heavy fine was imposed on those found guilty of selling liquor to the Indians. Special constables were appointed, courts of justice were established, and permission was granted to aliens to hold land without interference for three years, after which it became necessary to take the oath of allegiance. There was a good deal of complaint about the arbitrary rule of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the exaction of the temporary mining and other regulations. There were also troubles among the miners, incipient revolution; but the turbulent ones were soon quelled, and the early mining records of the Fraser as well as of the Cariboo later on are remarkably free from notes of disorder. There was trouble with the Indians, who resented the invasion of the " Boston 1 men, as the Americans were called by them; and an Indian war against the whites was only averted by the influence of the Hudson's Bay Company. As a matter of fact, bloodshed did occur, two Frenchmen having been killed.- The miners organized themselves for defense and enrolled under H. M. Snyder. They marched as far as the Thompson River, made treaties with some 2,000 Indians between Spuzzum and the Forks of the Thompson River and returned to Yale. The casualties altogether were not very large, being several whites and about thirty Indians. This was the end of the campaign. Road-building was also undertaken. Mr. McKay, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island, who was with Douglas on a trip up the Fraser, was instructed to return to the coast by way of Big Lillooet Lake to ascertain the feasibility of a shorter route. He proceeded to the head of Howe Sound and reported that the route he had followed was the best and shortest whereby to reach the mines, but on account of the question of expense in opening up the road the route was never adopted. At Langley preparations were made for the reception of the Royal Engineers and party from England and a sale of town lots to take place at Victoria on the 20th of October was advertised. It may be here stated that it had been the intention of making Fort Langley the capital of the Mainland, a decision that was subsequently changed in favor of New Westminster.

Choosing the Capital.

Following the preliminaries outlined before going, which were antecedent to any recognized form of government, came the resignation of Douglas as chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, his formal appointment as Governor of the Colony of British Columbia, the arrival of Chiet Justice Begbie, of Lt. Col. Moody, of Captains Grant and Parsons, the Royal Engineers, the sappers and miners and all the rest of the Government paraphernalia. What followed was in accordance with the instructions contained in the despatches from Lord Lytton. extracts from which have already been given in the preceding. The sale of Langley town lots as advertised came off. The bidding was brisk, and the demand active. In two days some 400 lots were sold ranging from $100 to $400 per lot and aggregating $68,000. It, as stated, was to have been the capital of British Columbia, and work had already begun on the erection of the barracks, and tenders were called for the erection of church, parsonage, courthouse and jail there. The arrival of Col. Moody, the new Commissioner of Lands and Works and commander of the forces, changed all that. He had hardly arrived, however, when he was despatched to Yale along with some of his Royal Engineers and a party of marines and blue jackets to quell a reported uprising among the miners. The matter did not prove to be very serious, having arisen out of a dispute among special constables, over the body of a prisoner. Prominent among these was the notorious Edward McGowen, who was finally obliged to leave the "diggings." The incident was made more of in history than its importance deserved. Probably on account of the display of force made by the Government officials and the promptitude with which they responded to the demand for assistance, the trouble was not greater than it was. It had a most splendid moral effect on the miners, who were impressed with the thoroughness and efficiency with which the administration of justice was carried .out. There never was thereafter any bar disturbance, because it was nothing more than that, in which Ned McGowen with over-zeal, so Captain Mayne says, committed an assault, is memorable for having laid sure the foundations of peace in the new colony. On his return from Yale in H. M. S. "Plumper," Col. Moody examined the site of the present city of New Westminster for the purposes of a capital and selected it in preference to Derby, as it was proposed to call Langley. It is said that Col. Moody, in going up past it to Yale on his punitive expedition, pointed to the sloping hillside and remarked upon its advantages from a strategical point of view. Its commanding position, its accessibility from the rear to the sea, and the depth of water on its frontage were all advantages in its favor over Derby. After conference with Governor Douglas at Victoria the recommendation of Col. Moody was adopted and the plans were altered accordingly. A town site was surveyed and parties who had purchased town lots in Derby were notified that they might surrender their lots there and receive others in Queenborough, or Queensborough, as you will, in their place. The late Sir Henry Crease, in a contribution made to the Year Book of British Columbia at the request of the author, described some incidents of interest in connection with the selection of the capital of New Westminster, for thus it came to be called: Col. Moody, R. E., who had come out with a corps of four hundred engineers to assist in protecting and advancing the country, and had a dormant commission as its Governor in case of the prolonged absence, illness, or incapacity of the Governor, at once opposed the selection of Langley as being on the wrong bank of the river, and indefensible on military grounds, and with his officers sought a suitable site on the right bank proper, and against the advice of his officers, at first fixed on Mary Hill, a fine and elevated site near the mouth of Pitt River, in preference to a still finer site a couple of miles lower down on the right bank, and ordered his senior captain—Captain Jack .Grant, as he was familiarly termed, now General Grant, R. E.—to take the axe and make the first cut at one of the trees nearest the river. He was in the act of swinging his axe to deliver the blow, when he was so much impressed with the mistake they were making that he said: ' Colonel, with much submission I will ask not to do it. Will you yourself be pleased to take the responsibility of making the first cut?'—respectfully giving his reasons. These were of so cogent a nature, one being that the lower site being at the head of tidewater, big ships could come up the Fraser to it, and that it was easily defensible by a tete du pont on the opposite side of the river, and similar reasons, that the Colonel was convinced, rowed down the river and ordered the first cut to be delivered on one of the huge cedars with which the hill was covered, and named the new town ' Queenborough.' But so great already was the jealousy in Victoria against the projected new city that Queenborough was considered by the Colonial Secretary, Mr. W. A. G. Young, as too nearly a paraphrase of Victoria, the only permissible Queen' city, that after a great inkshed and a long acrid correspondence the name was proclaimed to be not the Queenborough (Victoria), but Queensborough, which was quite another thing. The site was put up to auction and sold at great prices on the understanding that all the money, a large sum, from the sale should be applied in opening the streets and clearing away from the lots some of as large and dense timber as the world could possibly produce—an undertaking which it need scarcely be said the government for lack of money to push its roads and public works could not, or would not provide, and the purchasers were obliged to tax themselves a second time and engage in 'bees,' as in old Canada, to get even a small quantity of the site cleared and to submit to the feeling of having been deceived, and to see Victoria's streets and roads flourish while Queensborough had to be content with trails. The sequel may as well be told. The matter was taken up by the Home Government, Her Majesty was engaged to finally fix on the name and by Royal Proclamation, Queensborough (a convenient name) was converted into a Royal city, and the capital of British Columbia under the name of New Westminster (an inconvenient one), and on the faith of that many invested their all in it."

The camp of the Royal Engineers was located about one mile west of New Westminster, where the Provincial Penitentiary now stands. Here the sappers and miners went to work to prepare permanent quarters and on account of that was named Sapperton, which as a suburb of the city it is still known as. Here an official residence for Col. Moody and family and suite was erected, and here the first church in the colony of British Columbia was raised for the purposes of public worship. Col. Moody moved from Victoria to his new residence on the 18th of May, 1859. Work on the clearing of the town site and the making of the streets was carried on. Queensborough was on the 2nd of June declared to be the sole port of entry for vessels entering the Fraser River, and for all goods imported by sea into the. ports of British Columbia adjacent to the Fraser River, and a tariff of customs duties was established. The first sale of Queensborough lots took place in June and was most successful. This was followed on July 20th by a proclamation setting forth that Her Majesty had decided to change the name of the capital to New Westminster.

Road Building Extraordinary.

Governor Douglas was essentially a road-builder and had he lived today, instead of over fifty years ago, when his energies were at their prime, he would in all probability have been a railway magnate or as the leader of a government would have had a strong railway and road policy. Even at this early date he launched out in a policy of building roads, which in their every detail remain to-day a monument to the zeal, energy and care which he displayed in their undertaking. The Royal Engineers were a military organization, but their purpose in British Columbia was not so much that of defense as the opening up of the country by the laying out of roads, the work of which they entered upon with zest; that they did not persevere in the good work which they began was due to the fact that the residents of British Columbia did not think their services were necessary, and there was the usual jealousy as to their supervision of public works. The alleged reason for their disbandment, Which took place in 1863, was that their special services were unnecessary. They, however, performed splendid works in laying the foundation and were a splendid lot of men. Those who wished to return were given a free passage to England. Those who wished to remain were each allowed a free grant of 150 acres of land. The greater number, enamored with the freedom and abandon of a new country, and the prospects of participating in coming development, chose to remain, making their selections out of unoccupied land. Col. Moody and staff, accompanied by some twenty-five or thirty of the force, returned to England. Road building was a conspicuous feature of the years between 1859 and 1864, the year of Governor Douglas's retirement. Speaking of that we may again quote the remarks of the late Sir Henry Crease. He remarks that, " Next to the great financial principle for government which he professed, roads in Vancouver. Island and British 'Columbia were the one great object which Governor Douglas, during his long reign, always kept in view. He was a king of roads. As a Hudson's Bay Company officer he had traveled from end to end of this great country from the earlier days of the Hudson's Bay Company down to the time he had charge of its affairs, and knew the difficulty and delay caused in getting in supplies to the out-stations, and was thoroughly convinced that no mining could be carried on for any length of time profitably without giving the greatest possible facilities for getting supplies to their works, and in Vancouver Island in enabling farmers to take their produce without difficulty to market. So everywhere around Victoria for miles splendid roads, much better than they are now (1897), well macadamized, abounded. Many and good roads were made into the interior and along the coast, where the configuration of grounds made them practicable. Thence, they were extended into the districts outside of Victoria—e. g., Cowichan, Chemainus, Saanich and Lake, were duplicated, nay, even at times, as for instance at Comox, triplicated—and a still greater and bolder enterprise was contemplated by Sir James Douglas, and indeed commenced by him on the Mainland, no less than a prospective toll wagon road from Hope, the then head of navigation of the Fraser River, through Hope, Similkameen and Okanagan, down and across the Columbia to Kootenay, and more ambitious still, through the Rocky Mountain Passes and across the Indian territory via Edmonton House to meet a similar road from Canada westward towards British Columbia, which he confidently expected eastern Canada would build to meet him at Edmonton, and form together a great British Canadian colonization road, England being too far off to expect any general colonization from thence. General immigration from Canada east was always his idea, fostered, no doubt, by his familiarity with the Hudson's Bay Company coasts in that direction and away north. Convinced always that population ultimately would come from Canada there is reason to believe that so satisfied was he of the benefit it would be both to British Columbia and Canada, that he was inclined to press such a scheme as a toll colonization road if it could be favored by the Home Government, and he hoped to obtain from them what then would have been an impossible commission. At first his aims were confined to opening the country by roads along the Fraser up to the bars and placers where already gold was found in paying quantities and more expected further up. Miners and prospectors fitting out at Victoria took at first the "Otter" and "Beaver," the only two Hudson's Bay Company steamers which had come out to this country round Cape Horn to Queensborongh, and by sternwheel steamer to Douglas. Then from Douglas they proceeded along the Pemberton Portage and the Lakes, which were crossed by steamer to Lillooet, where they joined the Fraser and its gold bearing bars again. From Lillooet a wagon road was projected to climb up Pavilion Mountain by the well-known Rattlesnake grade and go on to Clinton and from thence on through the green timber and the fifty-mile alkali belt along Lac La Hache to the 150-Mile House, thence to Soda Creek, Alexandria and Quesnel Mouth; thence direct east by Cottonwood and Van Winkle to Richfield and Williams Creek, some of the richest gold-fields of the rich Cariboo country. The Similkameen road from Hope was commenced as a trail, with the progress and prospects of which Governor Douglas was so pleased that he directed it to be converted into a wagon road. This he intended as a toll road to Kootenay and across the Rockies, but required a petition from the people of Hope, who would have been enriched by the business of the road, requesting him to impose a small toll on goods and passengers to authorize him to raise and expend the necessary money. At the instance, however, of a petty local opposition the petition was not signed. The Similkameen route as a through road fell through —although, as will be shown, a good and valuable trail was afterwards made in that direction.

"Failing at Hope, a public meeting was held at Yale, the merchants of which were delighted at the chance, and warmly espoused a wagon road along the rocky canons and forbidding defiles and banks of the Fraser, passing Lytton and up the Thompson by way of Ashcroft and the Bonaparte to join the other part of the wagon road at Ginton, thus making the connection with Cariboo complete—and giving the whole of the Lillooet-Yale road to Cariboo the general name of the Cariboo Road—a monument to the determined will, outlay and skill of the chief who ordered and the men who executed this (even at this day) wonderful effort of engineering skill, and which opened up such a long and wide tract of auriferous as well as agricultural country."

The men who constructed this great work were the Royal Engineers, who were paid by the Colony, and local men. A list is here given of the roads constructed under Sir James Douglas's regime, and the men who made them:


The road from Everett's "Horse and Jockey" to Esquimalt, built in i860 by (now Sir) J. W. Trutch.

Douglas Portage.

From Douglas to Six Mile Post by Royal Engineers in 1861; from Six Mile Post to Twelve Mile Post by Royal Engineers in 1861; from Twelve Mile House to Eighteen Mile Post by Hon. J. W. Trutch, 1861; from Eighteen Mile Post to Twenty-eight Mile Post, Little Lake, by Royal Engineers, 1861.

Pemberton Portage.

From Pemberton at head of Lillooet Lake to Six-Mile Post by Colquhoun, in autumn, 1861, failing to complete contract to Anderson Lake.

From Six-Mile Post across Anderson Portage to Twenty-Seven Mile Post at head of Anderson Lake, in autumn and winter of 1861, by Joseph W. Trutch, to complete Colquhoun's contract.

From foot of Seaton Lake about three miles to Lillooet in 1860 or 1861.

Yale-Cariboo Wagon Road.

Mule Trail.—From Yale to Spuzzum Ferry, 11 miles by Powers and M. C. Roberts in summer of 1861.

From Spuzzum to Boston Bar, 14 miles, in the autumn of 1861, by the same. Wagon Road.—From Yale to Six-Mile Post by Royal Engineers in 1862.

From Six-Mile Post to Thirteen-Mile Post at Suspension Bridge, by Thomas Spcnce in autumn of 1862.

Alexandria Suspension Bridge, erected in summer of 1863 by Joseph W. Trutch. From Suspension Bridge to Boston Bar, 12 miles, by J. W. Trutch in 1862-3.

From Boston Bar to Lytton. 32 miles, by Spence and Landvoight, 1862.

From Lytton to Cook's Ferry (Spence's Bridge), 23 miles, by Moberly and Oppen-heimer, in 1862 and spring of 1863.

Spence's Bridge, built by Thomas Spence in 1863-4.

From Spence's Bridge to Eighty-nine-Mile Post, 9 miles, by Royal Engineers in 1863. From Eighty-ninc-Mile Post to Ninety-three-Mile Post, by Thomas Spence in 1864.

From Ninety-three-Mile Post to Clinton at 136-Mile Post, Moberly and Hood in 1863. (Note.—Clinton, 136 miles from Yale.)

Wagon Road, Lillooet to Alexandria.

From Lillooet to Clinton, 47 miles, by Gustavus Ben Wright in 1861. From Clinton to Soda Creek, 177 miles from Lillooet, by G. B. Wright in 1863. From Alexandria to Quesnel Mouth, 40 miles, by Spence and Landvoight, 1863. From Quesnel to Cottonwood, 21 miles, 1864. From Cottonwood to Barkerville, 42 miles, 1865.

Now to return to the wagon road from Hope to and across the Rockies.

Having been obliged to abandon his original plan, which was a wagon road, commenced by ex-Lieutenant-Governor Hon. E. Dewdney, in addition to the numerous works of surveying and engineering he had already completed in the Colony—he had done twelve miles of it when it was stopped, for lack of the support I have described from the people of Hope, but the road was carried on twenty-five miles to Skagit Flat. From thence the Royal Engineers carried on a trail to Princeton, which was-afterwards much improved by Alison's cut-off. This trail was improved from Skagit to the Summit. It was then carried through the open, down the Similkameen country. In 1865, Mr. Dewdney commenced a trail clown the Similkameen, by Keremeos to Osoyoos; thence he followed the boundary along down Kettle River Valley to the mouth of Christine Creek; thence across the mountains to Fort Shepherd east of the Columbia, crossing the Kootenay River at the mouth of Kootenay Lake. This was in 1865, when Sir Joseph W. Trutch was Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. From Kootenay Lake, Mr. Dewdney carried the trail by the Mooyie to Wild Swan Creek, now called Fort Steele. This was done from Osoyoos in 1865, hut it has been much improved since. It has always been called Dewdney Trail, and it has been by means of Dewdney that access has been given to the rich Kootenay country, and great facilities afforded for the discovery and exploration of valuable deposits of gold in that district. In fact, the Dewdney trail was the key to the Kootenays.

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