No. 33
Downing Street,
28 October 1859
I have to thank you for your Despatch of the 23d August No 207, reporting upon the state of British Columbia down to that date. There is much in that report which affords satisfactory evidence of the value of this Colony as a British possession but it is impossible to peruse your Despatch without being struck with the little progress which has beenmadeManuscript image made in the communications into the interior. From the large expenditure incurred on account of the Harrison Lillooet Road and the zeal which was so early manifested in the Colony for its formation, Her Majesty's Government were led to suppose that a route would be opened for the Miners which would considerably abridge the distance in reaching the scene of their labors, and facilitate the transport to them of the means of subsistence. I now learn that this work is being faintly prosecuted by the Royal Engineers under the command of Captain Grant, that funds to theextentManuscript image extent of £30,000 are needed for its completion, besides, as you inform me, "the helping hand of Government on all sides." You throw out a suggestion that this pecuniary assistance could be easily raised by way of loan either in England or in Vancouver Island provided its payment were guaranteed by Parliament. I think it right to lose no time in disabusing you of the impression you allow yourself to entertain that the Imperial Parliament could be recommended to take the course you wish. Both Parliament and the English public claim from British Columbia an energeticdevelopementManuscript image developement of the great natural resources with which it is endowed.
The admonitions which have been so ably and so frequently proffered by my Predecessor that British Columbia should look to her own exertions for success must not pass unheeded, but a practical exemplification of that advice must be exhibited. Her Majesty's Government have applied to Parliament already for advances in aid of the Colony to an extent which shows that no reasonable demands have been refused when proved to exist, but this assistance must not be drawn into a precedent to be followed on alloccasionsManuscript image occasions, nor lead you, or the Inhabitants of the Colony, to expect that this Country shall supply you with the means of developing those resources which it is your duty to make the most of yourselves. I am explicit with you on this point, and wish you to understand that Her Majesty's present Government, sharing completely the sentiments of the late Government in respect to British Columbia, cannot venture to ask Parliament for any such Guarantee as you desire.
2. You have on many occasions adverted to your intention of levying an export duty on Gold,butManuscript image but as no report has reached this Office of your having done so I conclude that impediments have arisen to frustrate this very necessary measure. Now, however, that it has been determined to set up a Government Assay Office in the Colony, you will lose no time in resorting to the expedient for which you have pressed Her Majesty's Government to give you such facilities as are requisite.
3. I am glad to hear that the Miners have been so successful in their pursuits on the Thompson and Quennel Rivers. I wish it were in my power to assist them in regard to Banks of Deposit. ButtheseManuscript image these conveniences of a highly civilized state of society will accompany wealth by degrees, and can scarcely be looked for at so early a period of advancement as British Columbia has yet arrived at. Possibly some arrangements may be made with the Bank of British North America which has the power and intention of carrying on banking business in Vancouvers Island and British Columbia.
4. The Newspapers enclosed in your Despatch contained intelligence of a highly interesting nature; and I will thank you to send me more from time to time.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant