No. 91
7th July 1865
I have the honor to forward a Petition addressed to you by Mr Alfred Waddington of Victoria, complaining of the refusal of the Government of this Colony to defray the expensesheManuscript image he has incurred in endeavouring to open a trail from Bute Inlet to Cariboo, and praying that you will cause justice to be done him. He does not specify in what manner. A consideration for Mr Waddington's losses will induce me to deal indulgently with the statements made by him. I shall first give, as near as I can, a correct narration of the particulars referred to by Mr Waddington, and then refute such assertionsonlyManuscript image only as may, when unexplained, convey the opinion that the Government of this Colony acted unjustly towards him.
2. Immediately on the foundation of New Westminster as the Capital of British Columbia, a feeling of jealousy and opposition towards it showed itself in Victoria. The gold found in the bed of the Fraser led the first immigrants to follow up that stream. By this guidetheManuscript image the Mines of Cariboo, for some years past acknowledged to be the richest in the Colony, were discovered. Step by step the miners advanced towards the upper waters of the great river, and the Government step by step, improved the communications. Settlers took up land near the line of traffic and finally the colonization of British Columbia was commenced in the valley of the Fraser. Cariboo once discovered and its position ascertained,itManuscript image it was seen that there was water carriage nearer at hand than that furnished by the river at Yale. If a road could be made from the head of North Bentinck Arm, or Bute Inlet, it appeared on the map that the Cariboo traffic would take that direction and the cost of living at the mines be possibly reduced, but the main incentive to exertion was the fact that the communication with Cariboo would be diverted from NewWestminsterManuscript image Westminster, and Victoria would then become the only market for the two Colonies. It is certainly far from my wish to cast blame upon Mr Waddington for endeavouring to further his own interests and those of his adopted town by a perfectly legitimate, if feasible transaction. Mr Waddington having determined to enter on the speculation, unfortunately for himself, selected Bute Inlet for the commencement of his enterprise instead of Bentinck Arm.
3. SirManuscript image
3. Sir James Douglas, a perfectly competent judge of the difficulty of the work Mr Waddington was about to undertake, did what he could to dissuade him from proceeding. This is abundantly shown by the papers I enclose. Seeing Mr Waddington however intent on his purpose, my predecessor consented to the work being undertaken, with the promise of certain privileges being granted in the event of its reaching completion.
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4. Mr Waddington, supported I believe by a Victoria Company, commenced operations. At first his road party was well armed & efforts were made to conciliate the Indians, but with each succeeding spring the gang returned with greater confidence to their work among the natives. They bartered away their arms to the Chilicotens and at the same time kept them short of food.
5. We have an account publishedinManuscript image in a Victoria newspaper, the "British Colonist" of the 10th May 1864, of the condition of the Chilicoten Indians at Mr Waddington's Camp two days before they massacred the white men. It is from Mr Whymper, an artist who accompanied the expedition. He says "they (The Chilicoten Indians) disputed with their wretched cayote dogs anything we threw out of the house in the shape of bones, bacon rind, tea leaves and other such like luxuries. Many of them are howeverableManuscript image able and willing to pack." The Indians had fire arms and ammunition. The white men possessed but one musket, and this was borrowed by a Homathco on the evening preceding the massacre and not restored. The road party slept while the armed and starving Indians watched. Abundance of food lay within reach of the latter. Its protectors were helpless. A range of mountains almost inaccessible to Europeans would preclude pursuit, should a force desire to avenge the fate of thosewhoManuscript image who lay at their mercy. It is no matter for astonishment that an attack was made on the road party and nearly all of them murdered in their sleep.
6. Mr Waddington alleges, that the Government was bound to give him protection. He never asked for protection. Had he made any claim of the kind the permission to engage in the enterprise would have been refused him. Supposing we had sent afewManuscript image few Constables, what could they have done? I know not under what law they could have prevented the white men disarming themselves. Had they interfered to urge the feeding of the Indians I have no doubt that an immediate clamour for their withdrawal would have been made. But this is scarcely to the point. The Constables were not asked for and would not have been given had they been asked for.
7. In this vast territorywhiteManuscript image white men have carried their ventures over the whole coast and sometimes penetrated into the interior. There is not a coasting trader who could not count on his fingers, and require all of them in doing so, the number of such adventurers who have been killed by the natives in my predecessor's time without retribution following.
8. But the Colony put forth its whole strength for oncetoManuscript image to avenge the fate of the road makers at Bute Inlet and the V.C.I.s of the succeeding massacres, my despatches will have told you with what signal success.
9. I showed Mr Waddington's petition to Mr Brew, the Police Magistrate of New Westminster, and I beg leave to enclose his report. Mr Brew commanded the Volunteer Expedition from this town and is as well acquainted with Indian affairs as anyoneManuscript image one in the Colony. I leave Mr Brew to deal with the earlier allegations of the petition, but I support his assertion that Mr Waddington's undertaking was not viewed favorably by my predecessor, by the statements of Mr Crease and Mr Trutch, and by an official letter from the Colonial Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
10. In regard to the general allegations respecting the comparativemeritManuscript image merit of the Bute Inlet and Bentinck Arm lines, I have simply to say, that the Volunteers turned back unable to cross the mountains on the former line, who subsequently penetrated by way of Bentinck Arm.
11. Mr Waddington states that the Indian outbreak or insurrection of last year originated in the Upper Chilicoten Country. He knows this to be incorrect. The Massacre at Bute Inlet took place on the 30th of April.TheManuscript image The Murder of Manning at Benshee about the middle of May. The slaughter of Macdonald and some of his party at Sutless on the 31st of May. He says that I acknowledged the successive massacres as an "insurrection." I quote the words I used in the speech to which he alludes. "Favored by impunity the assassins soon became promoted to the dignity of insurgents by the adhesion of the whole Chilicoten tribe from the summit of theCascadeManuscript image Cascade Mountains to the Benches of the Fraser." I enclose such parts of my address as referred to the outbreak.
12. The 7th paragraph complains of delay in receiving answers to Mr Waddington's letters. He is however aware that I could not answer them, inasmuch as at the time they were written I was in the Chilicoten Country having our communications with the settled portions of the Colony closed.
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13. In the 10th paragraph however Mr Waddington reports that he had to wait four months for a reply to a memorial addressed to myself in Council. This is not candid. I entered very fully into the whole question in the interview to which he refers. I told him I was of opinion he had no claim, but that I would go once more over the matter, if he petitioned me in Council. I meant the Executive Council. I told Mr Waddington that the decision of the ExecutiveCouncilManuscript image Council was unanimously against him, but that I would give him a final chance with the Legislative Council. When the Session commenced it occurred to me that I had somewhat rashly pledged myself to bring a matter of purely Executive Administration before a Legislative Body. I endeavoured to get rid of the difficulty by asking the opinions in writing of every member of the Legislature. They urged me, however to give them an opportunity of expressingpubliclyManuscript image publicly their views on the subject. Hence my message. Mr Waddington knew all that was passing in regard to the petition, and cannot justly complain of not having his hopes crushed at once by a reply which must have entailed a direct refusal. Every Member of the Legislature publicly expressed his opinion that Mr Waddington had no claim on the Government of this Colony. I did not use my influence with any of them. I expressed an opinion, and thatIManuscript image I conceive the present Constitution requires of me in a matter of importance where I leave my public officers free to vote as they please. Mr Waddington complains that his petition was not read in the Council. I do not know what occurred but he is well aware that it had been in the hands of every Member of Council before I sent it down officially.
14. The 13th paragraph requires every indulgence. It states thattheManuscript image the Indian hostilities "continued unabated." There has not been a crime of violence of any kind committed by a native on a white man for upwards of a year. And how have the murderers or insurgents fared? Eight were driven to surrender to Mr Cox. Two committed suicide. One was shot by Macdonald. Two were recently captured near Bella Coola. Six have died on the scaffold, and we fear that many of the tribe have perished of starvation, theactiveManuscript image active pursuit of the Volunteers having prevented the native[s] from laying in their usual supply of fish and berries for the winter. So far from our efforts having failed, I have recently granted a free pardon to one of the Chilicoten Murderers, being weary of taking life and thinking that the consequences of the imprudence of Mr Waddington's party have already caused but too much bloodshed and suffering. The interpretation put upon my remarks respecting an IndianpolicyManuscript image policy so disingenuous that I explain matters merely by enclosing a statement of what I said. Could Mr Waddington, in his most excited moments imagine that I proposed to feed the Chilicotens if they were still in Arms against the Government?
15. I have already stated that I sanctionedtheManuscript image the pardon granted to , who was two hundred miles from the nearest scene of massacre. The powerful , who according to Mr Waddington would make the Country impracticable to White men died yesterday at New Westminster upon the scaffold.
16. To the remaining portion of Mr Waddington'spetitionManuscript image petition I will only say, that I see no reason why the Government should compensate him for the consequences of his own reckless imprudence. The work he has performed is utterly valueless to the Colony. If the Government were to make a road from the sea board to Cariboo, to the NorthwardofManuscript image of the Fraser, it would be by Bentinck Arm, where our Volunteers penetrated by an Indian trail, certainly not by Bute Inlet where Mr Waddington's large expenditure left the Country impracticable to the hardy Volunteers of New Westminster.
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17. The failure of Mr Brew's party to cross the Cascade Mountains, and the light which his expedition has thrown upon the whole question, have ruined the Bute Inlet speculation, not the Indian massacres. A Road gang, using ordinary precautions, may with perfect safety from Indian aggression resume work on the abandoned trail, but capital will not again be deluded into so hopeless an undertaking. When I speak in my message oftheManuscript image the loss to Mr Waddington by the massacre being problematical, it is because I and every man of Mr Brew's party, are convinced that the natural difficulties of the Country would never have been surmounted with the means at Mr Waddington's disposal. The failure must have come soon and the sooner the better for his pocket.
18. An undertaking started in opposition to the wishes oftheManuscript image the Government, grossly mismanaged, and utterly impracticable, as far as we know, even in more skilful hands, has ended in pecuniary embarrassment to one and in a violent death to thirty. It would be more discrete, in my opinion, for Mr Waddington to keep silence respecting the whole unfortunate affair.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
There is but one ansr to return to Mr Waddington's application—viz to say that it is impossible for Mr Cardwell, witht the full & unqualified concurrence of the Colonial Authorities, to sanction his resumption of an undertaking which has been the cause of so much bloodshed & expense.
See 7324 V.C. Isld.
ABd 7 Sepr
TFE 7/9
EC 19
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Petition, Alfred Waddington to Secretary of State, 29 May 1865. asking that his losses on the road project be defrayed by the government, with extended explanation.
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Notes accompanying the petition as noted above, 29 May 1865, further explaining various aspects of the project and subsequent petition, signed by Waddington.
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Newspaper extract, Government Gazette, 4 March 1865, containing report from J.D.B. Ogilvy, newly appointed Police and Customs Officer at Bentinck Arm, describing the determination of the Indians to assist in the capture of the remaining murderers of the road party.
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Petition, Waddington to Seymour, 6 December 1864, asking for compensation of his losses, with explanation. Transcribed Below.
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C. Brew to Seymour, refuting the compensation claims forwarded by Waddington.
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Seymour, 2 June 1865, refuting the compensation claims forwarded by Waddington.
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Memorandum of J.W. Trutch, 1 June 1865, advising both Douglas and Moody had tried to dissuade Waddington from commencing the project. Transcribed below.
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W.A.G. Young, Colonial Secretary, to Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, 25 February 1863, advising that Waddington's charter had been extended ten years in view of his difficulty in obtaining capital, and commenting that Douglas felt the practical difficulties would be equally difficult to surmount.
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Newspaper clipping, unnamed, no date, containing extract of address by Seymour noting that there may be a need to provide relief to the starving members of the Chilcotin tribe who had had no time to gather winter food in their flight from authority. Transcribed below.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 71, 23 September 1865.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Waddington obtained a reluctant permission in 1862 to make this road. It seems to have been an agreement. If he gets no protection from the Govt—which will certainly be the case—he won't be able to go on with the road. But surely in such case he ought to be released from hisManuscript image agreement—which he seems to say that he is not permitted to get out of.
At this distance, & in such great ignorance of local details I think we cannot do otherwise than leave the decision of the matter exclusively to the local Authorities—to whom it properly belongs.
See 9137 from a Lawyer—Mr Churchill.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Dec 6th 1864
To His Excellency, the Governor
of British Columbia in Council.

The undersigned Your petitioner has the honor most respectfully to submit to Your Excellency and to his honorable Council: the he has been engaged for the last three years in opening a Route from Bute Inlet to Cariboo, and that this great undertaking, which was destined to develop the interests of the Colony, and has been carried on with the sanction and under the superintendence of the Government, was suddenly put a stop to in April and May last, by a series of Indian massacres, and the plunder of every thing belonging to the enterprise.
2. — That towards the end of 1861 there existed no Waggon road in British Columbia to the Northern Mines, and that the trails by the Fraser, which there formed the only means of communication, were so dangerous and tedious, as to elicit the loudest complaints on the part of the whole Colony
3. — That in consequence of those reiterated complaints, your petitioner conceived the plan of a shorter and better route by Bute Inlet, and instituted several exploring trips to that effect, the first results of which he communicated to the Government, Sept. 9th. 1861.
4— That the protection and privileges which were promised him in answer to that communi-cation, decided him to prosecute his researches, and led to the discovery of the Homathco river and valleyManuscript imagevalley, (see his letter of Nov. 8th. 1861,) and of the route through the Cascade Mountains to the agricultural plain beyond, the existence and great extent of which were then almost known.
5. — That shortly after, a promise of Charter was granted to your petitioner and made irredeemable by the Government, as a reward for these discoveries but that almost immediately afterwards, the Board of Works, awakened by the circumstance, entered into numerous contracts with private individuals for the speedy construction of a Waggon road by the Fraser, and that extraordinary facilities and assistance, were afforded for that purpose by large loans of money and otherwise. The result of which was, that your petitioner had to change his whole plan of operations, and instead of a simple trail, to build, alone and unsupported, an expensive Waggon road also.
6. — That whereas it is a rule in new countries, to allow the necessary stores and implements for the construction of railroads and other public works to be admitted duty free, your petitioner was obliged, in spite of repeated remonstrances, and though the possibility of trading with them was out of the question, to pay a large sum for duties, for every article he employed.
7. — That even the very ground, which he had regularly and continuously occupied, recorded, built upon and improved, at the Head of the Inlet, was taken from him by the Board of Lands and Works, (to be partially compensated for hereafter), and three miles of the valley placed under reserve; thus hindering the possibility of any settlement up to this day.
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8. — That the Engineer employed to survey the route for a Waggon road, who had been in the service of the government, and was considered duly qualified, had greatly underrated or overlooked the difficulties of the only pass or defile which exists on the Bute Inlet Route, and that this difficulties were afterwards found by Your petitioner to be almost inseperable, and became a source of endless delays and expense.
9. — They were however at length overcome, and by keeping on the work all last winter, the trail, which had now entered on the territory of the Upper Chilcoatens, who by the bye had received no compensation. (Your petitioner had given one two years before to Tellots’ tribe, for which he was never reimbursed), was so far completed, that it would (above could) have been open for the traffic of the season; when on the 30th of April the men were all murdered, and this while enterprise annihilated by those very Upper Chilcoatens who had come down for the purpose.
10. — That your petitioner most respectfully but emphatically denies, that this Indian Uprise can be attributed in any manner to the conduct of his men, who became the victims of their unsuspecting confidence, and have since been exculpated from all blame by the murderers themselves. And if, as is true, the first party were unarmed, it may be answered, that the only two men who had loaded revolvers under their pillows, were shot in their sleep like the rest.
11. — That your petitioner had an evident claim to the protection of the Government, especially when contributing largely to its support, and whilst employedManuscript imageemployed under its sanction in a work of great public utility. — But in spite of your petitioner’s observations, there was not even an Indian Agent in the whole country, to put a stop to the numerous outrages which the native were elsewhere exposed to, or to calm their just resentments; and the conse-quence is, that your petitioner has been offered up as a sacrifice on the altar of Indian revenge.
12. — That this catastrophe was the more untimely, because Your petitioner had just taken every arrangement for raising the necessary capital for a Waggon road in England, and in the mean while was empowered to levy a toll on the trail, prepa-ratory to the Waggon road; whilst the trail by its comparative shortness, (215 miles to 363), its moderate grades and other advantages, could have easily competed with the Government Waggon road by the Fraser.
13. — For the other heavy losses which your petitioner has sustained, and which are still going on, he begs to refer to his letter of 28th. May last, setting forth the distressing position in which he was then placed. Your Excellency at that time trusted that the Indian troubles would soon be over, so as to be able to resume operations; but though Your petitioner has patiently waited a whole season, wasting his resources, and with ruin staring him in the face, the impediments which then existed are at this moment as insurmountable as ever. It would be impossible for him to continue the detached works which remain to be done, without risking the lives of his man, and what is worse, of exposing the Colony to fresh disturbances; and as to the formation of a companyManuscript imagecompany in England, the thing has become simply impossible.
14. — Your petitioner therefore has no resource but to throw himself on the justice and equity of Your Excellency and his honorable Council, and most respectfully request them to grant his present prayer for relief, and allow him to surrender his Charter; renouncing all the advantages and profits for which he has so long labored, waiving all compensation or claims for the time he has expended, and the risks and trouble which he has incurred in an undertaking which has lasted upwards of three years, or for any other cause whatsoever; and simply asking for the reimbursement of his outlay, in such time and manner as may be most convenient.
Your Excellency and his honorable Council will listen favorably to the prayer of your petitioner, nor would they suffer a man, who has employed his best energies during so long a period, and invested his whole fortune in an undertaking, which when completed will be the making of Cariboo, and change the face of the colony to lose everything by a catastrophe which was entirely beyond his control: at the same time that the Colony, which has contributed nothing — not even to the discovery or exploration of the route, — still less to the security of the undertaking, but on the contrary has levied a tax upon it, would reap the benefit of a foul massacre and an honest man’s ruin.
Your Excellency and his honorable Council will deal more justly with your petitioner, who as duty bound will every pray.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Memorandum by J.W Trutch Esquire
respecting Mr Waddingtons Buke Inlet road enterprise
As to Sir James Douglas’ views regarding the Bute Inlet Road enterprise I can only state that he gave me to understand in course of general conversation on more than one occasion that he had endeavoured to disuade Mr Waddington from the undertaking, but that Mr Waddington was so persistently bent on carrying out his idea of a direct road to Cariboo by way of Bute Inlet that he Sir JamesManuscript imageJames had reluctantly accorded him an agreement for a charter
Colonel Moody I know was strongly opposed to Mr Waddingtons undertaking and I find in the correspondence of the Land and Works Department several urgent letters from him to the Colonial Secretary to that effect
Signed) Joseph W. Trutch
June 1. 1865
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Newspaper clipping, unnamed, no date, containing extract of address by Seymour noting that there may be a need to provide relief to the starving members of the Chilcotin tribe who had had no time to gather winter food in their flight from authority.
You will have anticipated my explanation that the great outlay on unforeseen contingency was caused by the suppression of the Chilicoten Insurrection of last summer. The expense incurred in this way was about €16,000.
A party of road makers, well provided with food but unarmed, lay down to sleep among a number of armed Indians, who were almost in a state of starvation. Let me do justice to the dead. On the scaffold at Quesnelmouth it was stated that they gave no provocation. But so it was; Indians were suffering all the pangs of hunger, while the white men slept unarmed. An attack was made on the sleepers at day break, and but three of them escaped. The Indians, leaving the greater part of their booty behind them, on account of the difficult nature of the country, crossed the Cascade range. They appear to have received considerable reinforcements before they reached the house of a white Settler on Benshee Lake. He was soon dispatched, and the assassins, with continually swelling numbers, advanced to meet a pack train with eight drivers approaching from Bentinck Arm. Three of these men were killed. Five, by an amount of dexterity and good fortune which seems marvellous, managed to effect their escape. Favoured by impunity the assassins soon became promoted to the dignity of insurgents, by the adhesion of the whole Chilicoten tribe from the summit of the Cascade Mountains to the benches of the Fraser.
The ruggedness of the Coast range, aided by the absence of all means of transport, seemed to debar us from access to the Chilicoten Country from the Sea, but an expedition under a gentleman of great reputation for courage and skill in dealing with the Native tribes of the Colony had left the Upper Fraser for the interior. The force of twenty-five men, suggested by my predecessor, had become by circumstances so obviously insufficient, that the Commander in the exercise of the wide discretion confided to him increased it to sixty-five. That number was found in a log Fort on the summit of a hill near Benshee Lake, when joined on the 6th July by another party of 38 Volunteers from New Westminster, who had been conveyed by Admiral Kingcome to Bentinck Arm.
Though after a first brush with the Natives, the white flag floated over the Fort from the 13th of June to the 7th July, no steps tending towards conciliation had been made by the Indians, and when the Northern Volunteers marched at day break, on the 7th of July, towards the Bute Inlet Mountains they were still in doubt as to the reception they would meet with from the Indians. It was one, I regret to say, of deadly hostility.
A scarcity of food reduced the New Westminster party to apparent inaction when left alone at Benshee, but the time was well spent in securing the confidence of the Eastern branch of the Chilicoten Indians, whose Chief had taken no active steps in the extermination of the whites. As women and children, and finally men, were allowed to leave the Volunteer Camp unharmed, according to promise, the Chief was finally induced to present himself to the Governor on the 20th of July, the day on which the Alexandria Volunteers returned to Benshee.
It is well known to you how the New Westminster party then ransacked the remotest recesses of the Bute Inlet Mountains; how the Indian Chiefs, harassed by the bands of Volunteers which had come upon them from the opposite points of the compass, found themselves without food or fire, reduced to the sole alternatives of suicide of surrender, Manuscript image
It is my duty to speak with the utmost praise of the men who came forward, from Cariboo and New Westminster, to engage in a conflict formidable from the nature and extent of the Country over which it raged, and one in which it appeared at one time as if famine were about to fight on either side. I saw more of the party raised in this neighbourhood, and can confidently say that, strengthened as it was by a large and admirable Military element, the force numerically small could scarcely have been surpassed in efficiency and good con-duct in the Mother Country, or any one of Her Colonies. The Alexandria Volunteers presented an equally fine and formidable appearance.
With the advice of the Executive Council, the Legislature not being in Session, I have ordered certain testimonials of intrinsic value for presentation to Mr. Brew and Mr. Cox, the leaders of the respective expeditions, in acknowledgment of their valuable services.
I propose to lay before you, in January, Bills having the following objects in view: —
1st. To amend the laws of bankruptcy and insolvency;
2nd. To amend those regulating the disposal of the Crown Lands;
3rd. To make waggons pay toll according to the amount of damage the insufficient width of their tires is calculated to inflict upon the public roads;
4th. A Bill to remodel the Postal Service;
5th. A Bill to consolidate and amend the Mining laws;
6th. A Bill to amend the law of evidence, two Telegraph Bills, and others, perhaps, of minor importance.
I trust, likewise, to be able to submit to you a Bill proposing to make important changes in our fiscal arrangements, with a view to increase the commerce of the Colony.
The present state of our north-west coast shall receive my particular attention, and the question of Education shall form the subject of a special message.
I shall suggest an alteration in the mode of keeping the public roads in repair. You will find that the contracts entered into by my predecessor have caused an excess of expenditure over the Estimates of a sum exceeding €9,000 on this account.
I fear that I shall disappoint some persons when I state that I shall have no Bill embodying an “Indian policy” to lay before you. The Government has its policy— always, we trust, just and firm, stern or merciful as occasion may require. Last summer straining the resources of this young Colony to secure justice— not vengeance; this winter to feed, if necessary some of those whom the energetic pursuit of our Volunteers has reduced to starvation. If you can introduce any measure by which such principles of honesty and honour can be implanted in the breast of all the white traders among the Indians, the Bill shall have my most cordial approval.
You are probably aware that the House of Assembly of a neighbouring Colony has passed certain resolutions in favor of a conditional union with British Columbia under one Governor. These resolutions shall be laid before you. Without entering into details it may perhaps be convenient that I should at once express my opinion on the subject. I think it would be better for Imperial interests that Great Britain should not be represen—