No. 38
2nd May 1865
I have had the honor to receive your despatch No. 38 of the 26th October 1864, on the subject of a proposal made for the Division of the Diocese of British Columbia.
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2. I should long ago have furnished you with my opinion upon the project but that I knew the Bishop would soon return to the Colony. When I saw his Lordship I promised him, as we did not quite agree, that I would consider the matter further for at least a fortnight before finally communicating my views to you.
3. Previous howevertoManuscript image to the Bishop's return, I had devoted an anxious consideration to the whole question. I called for the assistance of such members of the Executive Council as are now in the Colony. Their opinions I have the honor to forward. I am so reluctant to oppose arrangements already approved of by the Church in England that I particularly call your attention to the unanimous condemnation by my constituted advisersofManuscript image of the proposal made by the Bishop of British Columbia. Their opinion, if promulgated, would have the concurrence I believe of every inhabitant of the Colony.
4. Acknowledging at once the advantage which would accrue from a division of this Diocese and the appointment of an additional Bishop, I regret to say that I think more harm than good would be donebyManuscript image by carrying out the division in the manner proposed.
5. You are but too well aware of the jealousy existing between the two Colonies on this side of the Rocky Mountains. The Merchants and owners of Town-lots in Victoria, in the Comparatively unimportant Colony of Vancouver, have drawn nearly all the share of the profits of the Gold discoveries in this Colony, which have not been absorbedinManuscript image in California. British Columbia, the source of wealth, has remained poor and imagines itself neglected in every way. Its name was used as an attraction for Capital, which was invested beyond its limits; its gold created a demand for a Bank whose head quarters are in another Colony, for a Diocese whose See is in the rival Island. Its treasure poured forth without leaving a deposit here, and a territory of the greatestMineralManuscript image Mineral wealth ran the risk of utter abandonment.
6. The feeling of injustice suffered is diminished here, since the separation of the two Colonies, yet Victoria still irritates the local jealousy by affecting, though contributing nothing to the Revenue, to be the Capital of British Columbia. The project of Bishop Hills by which it is proposed thattheManuscript image the seat of the Episcopate of British Columbia should be on Vancouver Island,
This is surely a mistake of Mr Seymour. I do not find that the Bishop has proposed any such thing.
with just enough of this territory annexed to justify the retention of the title, would, I feel convinced, create an amount of hostility in this Colony, that would greatly impede the progress of the Church.
7. Bishop Hills himself appears to have recently held the opinion I now express. I enclose an extract from theColumbiaManuscript image Columbia Mission Report for 1864, His Lordship acknowledges the "rivalry" of the two Colonies and says, "in whichever of the two is fixed the Episcopal Seat an alienation of feeling in the other will be the consequence. The best interests of religion, as well as good policy, will be served by yielding to the Colonial feeling, and by gathering up all sympathies in a division of the diocese."ButManuscript image But I enclose a portion of the Bishop's Minute.
8. Until Vancouver Island is politicallly incorporated with British Columbia no division of the Diocese can be satisfactorily made which does not recognise and adhere to the existing territorial limits of the two Colonies.
9. I will not allow myself to follow up the subjects mooted by some of the ExecutiveCouncillorsManuscript image Councillors. Unquestionably as stated, the religious destitution of the Colony is considerable, and the spirit of rivalry already alluded to leads people to count the respective number of the clergy on the Mainland and on the outlying island. I must in all justice however, with the Colonial Secretary, bear testimony to the noble results of the labours carried on, in a spirit of humility and self denial, by the RomanCatholicManuscript image Catholic Missionaries among the Indians. The Reverend Fathers however devote their lives to the civilization and salvation of the Native races and do not come across the miners' path.
10. New Westminster though it may possibly feel that the Episcopal Seat of the Diocese of British Columbia should not be in another, and not over friendly Colony, haslittleManuscript image little to complain of as regards the attention bestowed on it by the Church of England. The Clergy and laity have worked energetically together and as high a sense of honor and morality, as sound a tone, exists in this young town as in any with which I am acquainted.
11. But in Cariboo, the source of wealth, the centre of life of the two Colonies, the real British Columbia,thisManuscript image this winter has seen a great festival. The three towns on Williams Creek were dressed in flags and the population turned out into the Streets for it was announced that several sleighs loaded with squaws were on the road.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
The answers to the references made to the Governors of V.C. Island, and B.C. are now complete. See 1983/65 V.C.I. The objections raised by B.C. have reference to the proposed boundary of the New See, and to Miss Burdett Coutts' endowment which was intended for the service of the whole of the Bishopric. If the Bishopric is divided B. Columbia means to claim half the endowment I suppose.
ABd 10 July
TFE 17 July
Letter to Archbishop of Canterbury that the Governor of B.C. has reported that objections are entertained by his Govt to the mode, in which it is proposed to divide the Bishoprick: and that as I have reason to believe that the Governor is about immediately to visit England, I think it will be desirable to wait for his arrival.
EC 18 July
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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A.N. Birch, Colonial Secretary, 5 January 1865, expressing aversion to the method of division proposed by Bishop Hills, with explanation.
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, 3 January 1865, expressing opinion as noted above.
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C.W. Franks, Treasurer, 3 January 1865, expressing opinion as noted above.
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W. Hamley, Collector of Customs, 3 January 1865, expressing opinion as noted above.
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Printed copy of Seymour's opinion on the division.
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Printed copy of "Ministerial Life at the Gold Fields. Columbia. Difficulties and Encouragements" (partial entry only).
Other documents included in the file
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Cardwell to Archbishop of Canterbury, 22 July 1865, advising that the subject would be held over for discussion with the governor upon his arrival in England.