No. 25
13 May 1862
I have to acknowledge the receipt of Your Grace's Despatch No 105 of the 27th February last, and I regret to observe that Your Grace disapproves of the form in which the Estimates for British Columbia for theyearManuscript image year 1862 have been transmitted, inasmuch as while the Salaries comprised in these estimates are exhibited in almost superfluous detail, those heads of expenditure which most demand scrutiny and deserve explanation are merely stated in a single large sum, such as Thirty one thousand seven hundred and forty nine pounds for roads, and Seven thousandfiveManuscript image five hundred pounds for Works. Your Grace also alludes to evidence of a disposition, exhibited by the annual estimates, continually to augment the Civil expenditure so as to equal or even exceed the growing revenue, and lastly Your Grace announces the decision of Her Majesty's Government to throw upon the Colony of British ColumbiaaManuscript image a portion of the Military expenditure for the year 1862, amounting to the sum of Eleven thousand pounds, and instructs me to curtail some of the different services proposed in the Estimates so as to admit of paying this charge out of the Colonial Revenue.
2. I have in explanation to submit that the sum of seventhousandManuscript image thousand five hundred pounds the proposed outlay on Works, comprises the cost of keeping in repair and erecting some additional public buildings wanted in the Colony, and for maintaining the Buoys which mark the channels leading into Fraser River.
3. These several objects are indicated in the Estimates with as muchprecisionManuscript image precision as is possible in the case of works not actually commenced, and of which the cost is uncertain and necessarily dependent on the value of labour and material.
I forward herewith a detailed summary of them taken from the Estimates, but should Your Grace desire any other form to be adopted, I will notfailManuscript image fail to give immediate effect to your instructions.
4. The subject of roads in British Columbia and the peculiarly difficult and inaccessible nature of the Country, which really gives to the opening and improvement of the inland thoroughfares a character of the highest importance, have so often been dwelt upon at length in mydespatchesManuscript image despatches to Her Majesty's Government, that in forwarding the formal Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure I did not consider Your Grace would desire that I should enter into any further recapitulation of those matters, than was contained in my Despatch enclosing them No 74 of 30th November 1861. The whole sum disposableforManuscript image for that service was something short of thirty two thousand pounds which at most represents an insignificant item of the sum which must sooner or later be laid out in the formation of upwards of three hundred and fifty miles of road connecting Lillooet and Lytton with the Gold fields of Carribou.
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5. The increase of the civil expenses of the Colony, I would beg to observe, is one of the inevitable effects resulting from the extension of population and discovery.
Wherever men congregate in large bodies, instant and vigorous, measures must be taken for the prevention of crime, and for the protection of lifeandManuscript image and property, otherwise a state of license and misrule will be inaugurated which would be, at once disgraceful to a civilised community, and injurious to the honor and dignity of Her Majesty's Government.
6. I can assure Your Grace that no increase of the civil expenditure except the small proposed augmentation of the SalariesofManuscript image of a few of the subordinate officers not in the whole exceeding the sum of Six hundred pounds, has arisen from other causes than those I have just stated, neither fancy buildings nor ornamental works of any kind, nor even the Government House at New Westminster which I was authorized by the Estimates of 1861 to erect, have been attempted; but the whole disposablerevenueManuscript image revenue of the Colony has been rigidly applied to the paramount objects, of opening the thoroughfares and maintaining the peace and good Government of the Colony.
7. With respect to the large proportion of the Military expenses which are hereafter to be defrayed from the Colonial Revenue I thinkitManuscript image it altogether inadvisable to enforce the payment of that charge for the present year, as the works of interior improvement which are detailed in my Despatch of the 15th April last marked Separate are now in rapid progress, and will absorb the disposable revenue of the Colony as fast as it comes into the Treasury; in fact it wassolelyManuscript image solely with the view of carrying on these works that I applied to Your Grace for authority to contract a loan to the extent of Eighty thousand pounds in England.
8. I will not occupy Your Grace with a review of the reasons which induced me to undertake those works as they are very fully set forth inmyManuscript image my (several) despatches commencing with that of the 24th October 1861 marked Separate and I am now, as the season advances, more than ever impressed with their value and importance to the Colony, for numbers of people are arriving, by every Steamer, from California Canada and England, and the rush towards the Gold Fields is incessant.SteamersManuscript image Steamers are running every day with freight and passengers from this place to New Westminster; the Customs receipts have for the last 4 weeks been doubled in amount; the inland duties will experience a corresponding impulse, and there is little doubt of a great increase in the annual revenue, if we can only succeed in retaining thepopulationManuscript image population now arriving, and in keeping them from being driven from the Country by want and starvation, a calamity which will inevitably happen unless the appalling cost of inland transport to Carribou, now exceeding seven hundred dollars a ton, be greatly reduced; such reduction being the effect proposed by the worksworksManuscript image in progress which it is estimated will produce a saving of at least five hundred dollars on the ton, in the charges for the transport.
9. I have adopted these measures from the fullest conviction of their urgent necessity, and that they will materially aid in the development of the Country, add to the publicrevenueManuscript image revenue, render the Colony independent of extraneous aid, and redound to the honor and advantage of Her Majesty's Government.
10. It is in fact impossible to retain a population in the Colony unless such improvements are made, and without population there can be neither wealth, revenue, nor progressive development.
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11. I submit as an impressive corollary to those views the following extract of a letter just received from Mr Elwyn, Gold Commissioner for the Carribou District, dated Lillooet, 6th May 1862:
The past severe winter tells against us more than I could ever have expected. About four hundred men have up to the present time left this place for Carribou; certainly a similar, in all probability a greaternumberManuscript image number have started from Lytton. Not one single pack train, has yet left either place (most luckily two or three trains are expected to leave Lytton tomorrow having got their loads out of boats from Yale) and those Miners who have started had with very few exceptions only sufficient provisions to take them up. The long winter must have almost entirely exhausted the stock of provisions laid in last autumn,fromManuscript image from the best information that I can obtain I believe that the road side houses between here and Williams Lake could not muster five sacks of flour between them. I am entirely at a loss to know what those men will do who have gone up, and greatly fear a rush back, though they will hold on almost to the verge of starvation on account of losing their claims. Added to all this, there are between three andfourManuscript image four hundred men at this point, only waiting to get a sack or two of flour per company to start.
Even this much they can only get in driblets, and have to pay from 25 to 30 cents per lb. (last year 12 1/2 cents).
Unless provisions are rushed up from below I can see nothing for it but a stampede down stream.
12. Whatever expenses Your Grace may have in contemplationtoManuscript image to bring against the Colony should not, I submit, be brought forward and enforced at the very hour of its greatest need, and when it is maintaining an arduous struggle with difficulties altogether unprecedented, in the early history of Colonies. It has, up to the present time, defrayed the whole of its own civil expenditure and has put the ImperialGovernmentManuscript image Government to no expense whatever except for the Governors salary, and the pay and maintenance of the Troops, and is therefore entitled to some consideration.
This, I think, is true, and is the strong point in the case on behalf of the Colony.
The services of the Troops are, I admit, most useful to the Colony, but as the portion of those services devoted to civilian pursuits really amounts to no more than about the labourofManuscript image of eighty men for five months in the year, I conceive, they will be dearly purchased at the proposed charge of Eleven thousand pounds per annum.
13. I have however no wish to moot that question at present, nor to dwell upon the value of the large and growingtradeManuscript image trade of the Colony, which will more than re-imburse the Mother Country for the expenses of this small Military force. All that I would propose to Your Grace, is not to enforce a charge which would so seriously embarrass me, and which by crippling my operations, would, at this epoch,produceManuscript image produce the most disastrous effects upon the Colony.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient
Humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
See 6358.
It will be very difficult to resist this Appeal from the Governor for "more time." Assuming that his representations are void of exaggeration, & that he is what he ought specially to be, in the important post he occupies, worthy of credit I think that his request ought to be complied with. It wd be a serious reproach agt the Col. Office if we helped to cripple this new Colony for the sake of a few thousand pounds, about which there can be little doubt that we are sure of eventual repayment if we choose to enforce our claim.
I shd, however, order the Governor to stop building the proposed Govt house at New Westminster. The Governor does not reside there, & the money will be more usefully applied in roads.
ABd 30 June/62
See Minute attached to 6358.
TFE 7 July
N 8
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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"Statement of proposed Expenditure on Works and Buildings, as given in the Estimates for the year 1862," signed by W.A.G. Young, 9 May 1862.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Elliot to Frederick Peel, Treasury, 21 July 1862, forwarding copies of two despatches and discussing in detail the disposition of finances in the colony.