No. 17
6th June 1864
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to forward an Authenticated and two plain Copies of an Act of the recent Session of the Legislature of this Colony, entitled:
No 13. An Ordinance for the regulation of the Inland Navigation of British Columbia.
I add the Attorney General's Report upon it.
2. Your Grace will observe that the Ordinance has been passed with a suspending clause. I shouldprobablyManuscript image probably have disallowed it but for this provision.
3. I will at the outset say, that I believe public opinion is in favour of an allowance of the measure. In my own it is premature. I think every facility should be given for the accommodation of passengers when a "rush" to a new Gold Mine occurs. I believe it is generally admitted that had the Act been brought into immediate operation and rigidly enforced, it would have stopped the running, as high as Yale, of every Steam Vessel now on the Fraser. I should be disposed to risk an occasional accident rather than make the access to the upper country toodifficultManuscript image difficult.
4. During the early summer Months when the snow melts on the mountains the water rushes with immense velocity down the bed of the Fraser in the Narrow Gorges of the Cascade Mountains. At Emory's Bar, when I recently went up to Yale, the stream ran down at the rate of from fifteen to sixteen miles an hour. The surface of the river showed inequalities of fully three feet, and drift wood of all sizes came down upon the steamer as she struggled against the stream. The boilers had been tested and allowed a maximum of 100 lbs. steam. We entered thevesselManuscript image vessel with the ordinary rate of 110 lbs. which was increased to 140 lbs. when I last looked at the register, but I presume it rose much higher as at 140 lbs. she could make no head way, but merely drifted from the high ridge of water in the centre of the river to a hollow under the rocks. The boilers stood the pressure and presently the ship landed her passengers and freight at Yale, having carried the former 100 miles up the river at a dollar a head. Such a System though subject to occasional misfortunes is admirably calculated to develope the resources of a new country. Vessels of a more solid description than those in use could not afford tocarryManuscript image carry passengers and freight at the low rate now prevailing on the Fraser.
5. I doubt likewise the necessity of forcing our River Steamers to carry boats and am of opinion that such a provision would be extremely inconvenient. The Vessels now in use draw only about eighteen inches when loaded and approach everywhere to the bank.
6. I submit these remarks for Your Grace's consideration, without recommending the total disallowance of the Act.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Graces most obedient
humble Servant
Arthur N. Birch
Colonial Secretary
In the absence of
the Governor
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Refer to Bd of Trade requesting their Ldships to favor Mr Cardwell with their obserns on this Ordce.
ABd 22 Augt
Requesting to know whether they see any objection to confirming this Ordinance. Draft.
TFE 23/8
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Copy, H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Colonial Secretary, May 1864, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Elliot to J. Booth, Board of Trade, 27 August 1864, forwarding copy of the despatch, ordinance and attorney general's report for consideration.
Birch, Arthur Nonus to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 6 June 1864, CO 60:18, no. 7941, 373. 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/B64217.html.

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