Cameron to Newcastle
Quebec
20th July 1863
May it please Your Grace
I have this morning seen the Times, with Your Grace's speech on the introduction of the Bill for the Government of British Columbia. The Separation of the two Colonies is a great point gained, but I fear the whole value of a constitution is lost, from the fear Your Grace, seems to entertain of representative institutions in a sparse population. The enemy has succeeded in persuading the Colonial Office that there was some risk in giving the seven thousand, in British Columbia, what the four thousand, in Vancouvers Island have had for years, I am satisfied however that the danger is all in the refusal, and I only write, to express my fears that your scheme will give great dissatisfaction, and give you serious trouble, what might, suit in a far of[f] Isle of the Sea, on an isolated continent with wealthy settlers will not work with liberal Governments east, and west, of them, and a republic within sixteen miles to the South.
The officeManuscript image
The office bearers are now very odious, and incapable and who these magistrates are that are to be Councillors, I cannot conceive, for the constables and others that were made Magistrates in the interior, if made into Legislative Councillors, will hardly be borne with a day, and I fancy few, if any of the men that can command any kind of an election would condescend to serve with them. I may be entirely wrong, I hope I am, but I would not discharge my duty to the people there whom I represented, to what I consider safe and true principles of Government, or, to the kindness of your Grace if I did not raise my voice against what I conceive to be a grave political error that may give you much trouble.
Had, the present proposals been accompanied by a promise to apply the principles of 31 Geo 3. Chap. 31 so soon as the population amounted to Twenty thousand or thirty thousand the difficulties I perceive might possibly have been avoided, but it will be briefly and pertinaciously asked why should not British Columbia with seven thousand people have representative institutions when Vancouvers Island with only four thousandManuscript image is endowed with them, and it is impossible to give a logical reply or keep British Columbia in peace.
I have the honor to be
Your Grace's Most obliged and obedient Servant
Malcolm Cameron

The Right Honorable
The Duke of Newcastle
Colonial Office London
Minutes by CO staff
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Put by.
N
Mr Elliot
The Duke has seen this letter. See His Grace's pencil note at the top of the page.
VJ 6 Aug
Mr Jadis
In pursuance of that note, this letter may be put by without troubling His Grace further.
TFE 6 Aug
Cameron, Malcolm to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 20 July 1863, CO 60:17, no. 7645, 422. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B636C01.html.

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