No. 43
23 April 1860
My Lord Duke,
I have had the honor of receiving your Grace's Despatch of the 7th February No 8 transmitting a letter from Mr Begbie respecting the construction of a road in Manuscript image in British Columbia from Douglas to Cayoosh, and I thank your Grace for the interest you have evinced in the progress of the country by forwarding me this communication, and requesting a report upon the subject to which it relates.
2. I have carefully considered Mr Begbie's proposal and the conditions mentioned on which he would undertake the formation of the road in question, and had the proposition been made at an earlier period before the work was so far advanced and before arrangements had been made for its gradual progress, I would gladly have entered into Mr Mr Begbie Manuscript image Begbie Begbie's views, but upon the modification of the wholly inadmissable condition "of that road remaining the only route to the mines" and provided that the rate of toll to be levied had not exceeded 5 cents a pound on all goods and wares passing over the road.
3. Under existing circumstances I think it will be prudent to decline Mr Begbie's offer, for the following reasons:
1. The wants of the country can be supplied, though at an expensive rate for transport, by the present mule trail.
2. Measures have been taken and in part carried out for converting the present mule trail into a waggon road, which Manuscript image which I hope will be completed to the small Lillooet Lake before the end of next summer, and in the summer of 1861 we hope to complete the waggon road on the thirty mile interval from Lake Lillooet to Lake Anderson.
3. Arrangements have been made by private enterprise to ply with Steam Vessels on the Lakes between Douglas and Cayoosh.
4. Having accomplished so much of the work by our own resources, it would be unwise to saddle the country with a heavy tax in the shape of a five cent toll; forming a transport charge Manuscript image charge of Fifty Dollars a ton on all goods carried from Douglas to Cayoosh.
4. It is therefore advisable in our present circumstances to submit to a delay of twelve months in the construction of the road, which will then be free for public traffic, rather than to undertake the payment of a toll charge that would press heavily on the industry of the country.
5. I am not insensible however, to the great advantages of attracting English capital to British Columbia, as nothing would more certainly accelerate Manuscript image accelerate its development and general prosperity.
6. The road from Yale to Lytton and from Hope to the Shimilkomeen Valley remain open for the enterprise of capitalists, and I shall take the liberty of submitting specifications and estimates of the length and cost of construction of those roads and the probable amount of their traffic, as soon as I can get them prepared in hopes that they may be taken up in England as fair investments.
Manuscript image I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
The correspondence which has taken place on this subject is at present in the hands of the printer: but I should not think it necessary on that account to delay informing Mr Begbie (a merchant in London, & brother of the Judge in the Colony) that the Govr does not recommend that the proposal he, Begbie, made for the construction of a public road in B. Columbia should be accepted.
ABd 13 June
TFE 14 June
CF 14
N 18
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Fortescue to T.S. Begbie, 5 July 1860, advising that the governor did not support his proposal for a road from Douglas to Cayoosh.