No. 115
11th October 1865
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your despatch No. 55 of the 11th August, stating that you had received a Petition forwarded to you from Vancouver Island, representing that the completionofManuscript image of the Bute Inlet route is most desirable in the interest of the Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island.
2. In the numerous despatches which Governor Seymour had addressed to you on subjects arising out of Mr Waddington's speculation, I cannot find that he has commented upon this particular petition, but his despatch No. 91 of 7th July 1865, and the enclosures which accompanyit,Manuscript image it, will have placed you very fully in possession of the views entertained in this Colony regarding the Bute Inlet Road Scheme. It is needless therefore for me to enter upon the merits of this Petition. One argument, however, brought forward by the Petitioners may possibly claim your attention. It is urged that the opening of a route by way of Bute Inlet would reduce the price of living and labour in theCaribooManuscript image Cariboo district. Any project that would be the means of reducing the rate of wages at our Northern Mines should receive the warmest support of this Government, but to entail a further debt upon the Colony for the construction of another rival route, even if that route were feasible, would certainly not tend to accomplish the object.
3. The price of the staple articles in Cariboo during the present mining season hasbeenManuscript image been so far reduced as to be little in excess of their cost in the lower portion of the Colony and it is considered, by those best able to form an opinion, that the present rate of freight is so low as to make it impossible for any further reduction to take place until the agricultural resources of the Colony become more fully developed. With this great reduction however in the expense of living at the mines,whichManuscript image which is at least 100 to 150 per cent in comparison with former years no alteration has taken place in the price of labour, and every miner who has reached Cariboo has found immediate employment at rates varying from $8 to $12 a day. It will thus be shown that the great requirement of the Colony at the present time is increased population and not increased means of access to Cariboo as the petitioners represent.
4. IManuscript image
4. I consider the Fraser River Route is now so thoroughly established that had there been a possibility of Mr Waddington completing the Bute Inlet Road it would have been a signal failure as a speculation. The probability that the more Northern Route would benefit the Town of Victoria and at the same time damage the trade of New Westminster and the towns on the Lower Fraser, wasIManuscript image I believe the inducement held out to the Merchants and Traders of Victoria to furnish Mr Waddington with the means of commencing the undertaking. The same feeling is, I fear, the origin of the Petition which has been addressed to you on this subject.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Arthur N. Birch
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
See 12264 from Mr Churchill & the draft letter to Mr Seymour. This Desp: might also be sent to him for any observations he may have to offer?
VJ 4 Jan
With reference to our letter of 22nd ulto, sending him the application made by Mr J.C. on behalf of Mr A.W., transmitManuscript image to him for his further information a despatch which has now arrived from the Acting Governor and request to be apprized of his views on the subject of the application. Draft.
TFE 4 Jany
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Elliot to Seymour, 10 January 1866, forwarding copy of the despatch and requesting his views on the application.