No. 61
Downing Street,
30 December 1858
I have to acknowledge your Despatch, No 6, of the 26th October last, 1 reporting on various subjects connected with the progress of events in British Columbia.
There are one or two topics which seem to me to deserve a separate notice.
With Manuscript image
With respect to Mr Pearkes' proposal for the administration of the law. It appears to me well adapted for the purpose from its simple and practical character: but since the date of your Despatch, Mr Begbie the newly appointed Judicial Officer will have arrived, and the scheme will necessarily have been subjected to his revision.
The amount to be expended upon Judicial and Legal Establishments must however necessarily depend upontheManuscript image the revenue by which the expenditure is to be met. And in this respect there is likely to be a just correspondence between the degree to which the want may be experienced and the means by which it may be supplied, since the same expanding of the population which necessitates enlarged establishments legal or Judicial, will furnish the revenue proportioned to its requirements.
Both on this headandManuscript image and with regard to the Salaries of Civil Officers on which you ask my instructions, I cannot too early caution you against entertaining any expectation of the expenses of the Colony under your charge being met at the outset by a considerable Parliamentary Grant. It is needless to discuss the possible benefits or evils which such pecuniary assistance might produce, inasmuch as I am fully satisfied that parliament would regard with great disfavoranyManuscript image any proposal of a gift or loan to the extent you suggest, and upon such a principle as that on which you would recommend the application to Parliament being made. But I cannot avoid reminding you, that the results, even if the object could be attained, would, according to all past experience, be of a very questionable character. The lavish pecuniary expenditure of the Mother Country in founding new Colonies has been generally found to discourage economy, by leadingtheManuscript image the minds of men to rely on foreign aid instead of their own exertions, to interfere with the healthy action by which a new community provides step by step for its own requirements; and to produce, at last, a general sense of discouragement and dissatisfaction. For a Colony to thrive and develope itself with steadfast and healthful progress it should from the first be as far as possible self supporting.
I can assure you that in bringing these generalconsiderationsManuscript image considerations under your notice, I by no means overlook the special circumstances of the case of British Columbia, nor do I at all under estimate the difficulties and the anxiety which they must occasion you. But I need not impress on one so accustomed as yourself to the details of public business and the conduct of financial enterprises that, even under more unfavorable prospects than those of a Colony of which the resources, along with the necessities are rapidly aug==menting,Manuscript image augmenting, there is room for exercising the control of a judicious economy, and for adapting your objects to such means of attaining them as you may possess. Nor must you forget that we have contributed from this Country the aid which you state to be the most immediately and imperatively required. You will not only have a Naval and Military force adequate, I trust, to secure respect to order and Law, but the Military part of that force will at onceassistManuscript image assist in the construction of roads and bridges, the want of which is so sensibly felt. I look to the Royal Engineers under Colonel Moody and the able Officers at his Command for the opening of the readiest and speediest means of access and communication. In selecting from Her Majesty's Forces those commonly known by the name of Sappers and Miners I bore in mind the necessities of a wild Country without Barrack accommodation; these being the Soldiers who couldwithManuscript image with the most ease and rapidity cover themselves; and I thus enabled you to postpone costly Buildings for the accommodation of troops, until you could raise from Colonial resources the means by which such improved accommodation might be provided. The Military pay of this force the Home Government may for the present contribute; but with regard to the pay and expenses which belong purely to Colonial Services, I shall expect that the proceeds from Land Sales, which aretheManuscript image the appropriate fund for all collateral Costs of Survey, will suffice to provide for these objects, and I should regard any advance upon that score as a temporary accommodation to be defrayed from the earliest Sales.
No doubt it might be more agreeable to the pride of the first founders of a Colony which promises to become so important, if we could at once throw up public buildings and institute Establishments on a Scale adapted to the prospective grandeur oftheManuscript image the infant Settlement. But after all, it is on the character of the inhabitants that we must rest our hopes for the land we redeem from the Wilderness; and it is by self exertion and the noble spirit of Self sacrifice, which self exertion engenders, that communities advance through rough beginnings to permanent greatness. Therefore it is not merely for the sake of sparing the Mother Country that I invite your cordial and intelligent co-operation, in stimulating the pride of the Colonists tosubmitManuscript image submit to some necessary privations in the first instance, and to contribute liberally and voluntarily from their own earnings (which appear to be so considerable) rather than to lean upon the British Parliament for Grants, or for loans which are rarely repaid without discontent, and can never be cancelled without some loss of probity and honor. It is my hope that when the time arrives for representative Institutions the Colony may be committed to that grand experiment unembarrassed by a Shilling ofdebtManuscript image debt and the Colonists have proved their fitness for Self Government by the spirit of independence which shrinks from extraneous aid, and schools a community to endure the sacrifices by which it guards its own safety and provides for its own wants.
I have said thus much in commendation of the strictest thrift at the onset. But whether this thrift can be with the greatest safety exercised in the construction of public buildings, the creation of Establishments, thenumberManuscript image number and Salaries of Officers engaged, or otherwise, I cheerfully leave to the discretion of a Governor who has shewn himself so provident and sagacious.
I cannot conclude without begging you to convey to Major Hawkins of the Royal Engineers my acknowledgments of the assistance he so ably rendered you. Your sense of the value, of that assistance will be duly reported to the War Office.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble servant
E B Lytton