No. 59
7th October 1864
It will probably have appeared to you, as it did to me, that the discovery of Gold fields on the Kootenay River near the American frontier, and five hundred Miles from New Westminster, was one of doubtful benefit to the Colony, and would probably be a source of anxiety to the Government.
2. In my despatch, No. 41 oftheManuscript image the 10th of September, I stated that I should probably have to establish a Custom House on the American frontier at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. If the "rush" continues it may be rather difficult, without a numerous staff, to collect our import duties in so wild a country. In every way it seems desirable that we should, if possible, divert the traffic to the Kootenay Mines from Washington Territory to the Fraser. With this view the Hudson Bay Company have, with the promise of Government support, opened a trail from Fort Shepherd on the Columbia RivertoManuscript image to the diggings. Already several packtrains have passed over it, and I trust that the Colonial Secretary Mr Birch is returning by it at this moment.
3. There is, however it is believed another mode of access to the diggings from New Westminster. We have steam communication up the Fraser to Yale, from thence an admirable carriage road takes the course of the Thompson as far as the Bonaparte river where it proceeds to the Northward. It is believed that twenty miles above the mouth of the Bonaparte, the Thompson becomes navigable for steamers. The twogreatManuscript image great Lakes, Kamloops and Shushwap through which the Thompson runs, have a sufficient depth of water, and thus we hope that steam navigation may be obtained for 110 miles almost due east, the direction of the Kootenay. From the head waters of Thompson River a road of from 35 to 40 miles will have to be made to the Columbia. The south branch of this river it is reported may be made available for steam navigation up to its source in the Columbia Lakes, which are close to the Kootenay diggings.
4. I have sent an exploring party to ascertain the practicability of establishing the communication in the mode I now suggest. It is not improbable that weshallManuscript image shall have, before the close of next year, steamers and four horse coaches running regularly twice a week to the foot of the Rocky Mountains as they now do to Cariboo. The "British Kootenay Pass" affords a passage to the Eastward of perfect ease compared with the natural difficulties already overcome on the road through the Cascade Mountains in the Valley of the Fraser. Therefore if the mines fulfil the promises anticipated from them, there can be but little doubt that Gold diggers will be attracted to them from Canada and the Red River Settlements, and a communication from the Atlantic to the Pacific established throughBritishManuscript image British Territory.
5. From among the many different spellings of the word "Kootenay" I have selected that used by Colonel Hawkins, the Boundary Commissioner, and I mean, subject to your approval, to make use of it in all official documents.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Acknowledge with 10943? You will observe the Governors remark as to the communication from the Atlantic to the Pacific thro' British Territory in the event of the success of these Mines.
VJ 29 Novr
TFE 29/11