Lindley to Newcastle

[Note: Letter and enclosure appear in a miscellaneous collection of material at the end of the despatches.]

Acton Green Turnham Green
London E.C.
March 18, 1863
My Lord Duke
I hope I am not wrong in thinking it my duty to your Grace to forward you the enclosed in such a manner that it may serve for your own private information & no other. The statements may be relied on. The writer has no idea that they will ever meet any other eye than mine.
Pray don't acknowledge the rect for I am ill and on the very point of starting for Vichy.
Most faithfully yours
John Lindley
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Extract, [Anonymous] to John Lindley

CO 60/16, p. 370

Private & Confidential
Extracts from a lr from British ColumbiaJan 11, 1863

I enclose a slip from the morning Post of [blank] inserted no doubt by Capt Gosset R.E. our Treasurer, gone home on sick leave—who hates the Govr & Col Moody; and tho' a clever man still (from a sun stroke in Ceylon) is quite unfit for rule in any prominent position. He is seeking to be made I hear either Col Secy or Govr of B.C.
The petition alluded to was got up by a Clique in New Westr numbering 8 or 10 persons, shopkeepers &c—who called a meeting here one day for the next but one, attended by Californian miners who happened to be passing down and others who went from curiosity. And these gentlemen style themselves "British Columbia."
The prominent men are Canadian emigrants—who are doing their little all to inflict upon this country—politics as a business, & politics of the smallest description. The only good ground they really have hold of, is the want of a resident Governor—and total final separation from Vancouver Island in every respect. This last will seem strange to folksManuscript image in England—who see the little Island of V.I. (long may it flourish) so close aboard of the Continent of B.C. Geographically—but the systems of finance taxation, customs, & what has now become a strong sentiment here—which cannot safely be disregarded; I mean the hostile feeling & interests between B.C. & V.I.—as well as the fact that BC is mining & agricultural with a revenue from customs chiefly, while VI's destiny is absolutely & purely commercial, indissolubly connected with its free port system—combined have created such an absolute divergence of views & interests between the two Colonies, that they never could work well together. The preference has always been from the first artificially given to Victoria to the material prejudice of New Westr—in all points where the interests of the two places came in collision. Outside of that B.C. has been thoroughly well managed—in the face of difficulties Geographical & financial which no young 4 year old colony of England has ever yet had to pass through.
The system of Roads laid out, the excellence of their construction, & the economy with which they have been built must be seen to be properly appreciated.
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Roads! Roads! Roads! These are our first & greatest wants. The very life blood of our healthy existence. No temporary sacrifice is too great to perfect these.
The estimate of Taxation per head on each Colonist in BC in the article in the Post, is purely imaginative. It is a well known fact to those who have given attention to the subject that 40 per Cent of our Customs & other duties is paid by the Indians—& these the Post entirely ignores—tho' over 60,000 men!! Besides the road taxes are defrayed ultimately by the transient non settling Miners; & so small an element are they in forming the market price of the goods on which they are assessed at the Mines—that it is the general saying of the Miners—why we have no Taxes here! They know well enough that tolls put on—to make roads to the Mines—lower the cost of every lb of provisions that comes over the road so made, by 8 or 10 times the amount of the Toll. The merchants the same—& these together however transient, constitute our population. The proof of it is, that to a man, they have signed petitions wherever opportunity offered—praying for the construction of these roads—& asking for the imposition of the Tolls in question.
There is no way of hitting the Miner (the only monied class here) & making him contribute towards the expenses &Manuscript image cost of governing the Country from which he extracts the most valuable of its staples—except by road tolls & customs taxes on things he must use.
A Tax on the Export of Gold (the fairest of all) is at present it is understood impracticable from the cost & difficulty of collection & the facility of evasion afforded by such an extended frontier—& without the Certainty (as in Australia) of a defaulter being brought up & detected at a sea port.
Washington Territory is (at present) it is reasoned, much too close to be pleasant—where Collections of Gold Tax is concerned.
The difficulty of the future—Is how are you to get up a Representation that shall be a real one in BC when there is not a single Town (except perhaps this one of N. Westr) where you can get even a Jury of purely British subjects—& yet they talk even of Responsible Government "ins & outs" & all the complex political arrangements of a populous & highly civilized country of 200 years political life & proportionate experience—as a thing to be even thought of for years to come.
I should be sorry to see any mistake made at home in any new constitution they may give us. It is I am well aware the fashion of the day with legislators at home, whatever their (home) political Creed, to legislate for the colonies from what, we at home, call an out & out Radical point of view—fallingManuscript image into the opposite extreme to that which evoked the American revolution.
The result we are already beginning to see in the working of Universal suffrage in Australia—which [is] (unlike this) admittedly the most English of all our Colonies.
At a similar meeting to the one I described as framing the petition spoken of by the Post—the same knot of men selected a rabid but cute Canadian played out politician—as a delegate. They tried to get up a subscription to send him home but at last 2 or 3 of the set were obliged to borrow £200 & then pretend it was the result of a subscription in the B. Columbian Newspaper published here—of which they are the proprietors. They declined to publish the subscribers names.
They have dubbed him as the delegate of BC—tho' he was only 3 weeks in the country & has never even passed a quarter thro' it.
His name is Malcolm Cameron a third rate Canadian politician by trade (They have paid members in Canada) a Director of the Grand Trunk Railway & an aider & abettor in that vast network of jobbery—which you will rememberManuscript image the English Committee of Enquiry that sat upon it—were actually afraid to publish, it was so bad, for fear of ruining their stock altogether.
He pretended to have an Inter-oceanic Railway in view in coming here—& was astonished at the substantial way in which we have been driving Roads towards Canada—but his real object no doubt was to make a new Cry for political purposes, for his party is now in the back ground in Canada, as well as work his game in England, & if possible use the Virgin Credit of a young & promising Gold Colony for a "through" scheme—which should commence work from the Canadian side—give a new chance for "plunder" there—& leave us to complete & pay as best we might, at leisure.
I should have mentioned that all those who have left the Country, some 70,000—have all contributed, & indeed have been the persons who have really paid nearly the whole of the taxation.
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