No. 16
3rd March 1866
I have the honor to forward a Petition addressed to Her Majesty by certain Merchants, Miners and others resident in British Columbia.
2. The Petition to whichtheManuscript image the signatures are attached was drawn up in Victoria in February 1865. Printed Copies were very freely distributed, placarded on every wall, and left for signature at every Public House. After a lapse of more than twelve months the petition has been presented to me for transmission bearing the signature of four hundred and forty five persons out of a white population, estimated at six thousand, although, every opportunityhasManuscript image has been afforded, and, I may say, some pressure has been brought to bear on the inhabitants, as well as the migratory population, to swell the number of petitioners. The result of this attempt to foster discontent has thus proved a complete failure.
3. The arguments used to arrive at a calculation of the taxation of the Colony in 1865 are so fallacious ashardlyManuscript image hardly to require explanation at length, more especially as the Gentlemen who formed the Deputation on presenting the Petition, stated to me that they were satisfied the calculations were incorrect, and that their only object in now presenting the Petition rested in their desire for the Union of the two Colonies.
4. I regret I am unable to furnish accurate statisticstoManuscript image to refute the statement that the Chinese and Indian population "contribute in a very small proportion to the general Revenue," but I fully agree with the remarks made by the Chief Magistrate of this District, in a letter copy of which I enclose, that a very large share of the Taxation is borne by these two Races.
5. As regards the one object of the Petition, thedesireManuscript image desire for Union of this Colony and Vancouver Island, I am convinced from the information I received during my recent tour in the Interior, that the people of the Upper Country care little whether there be Union of the Colonies or continued separation and a petition of opposite effect to the one now forwarded would be signed by at least an equal number of the resident population.
IManuscript image
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Arthur N. Birch
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
This is not a very satisfactory desph to lay before Parlt for it does not prove much in favor of the projected Union of the two Countries. The plan must be argued very much on Imperial considerations. The petition is said to have been got up in Victoria. If so it can not be said fairly that it represents the wishes of B.C. at all.
Mr Cardwell will give us directions as to printing these papers for Parlt.
ABd 14 May
TFE 14/5
Laying this despatch & enclosure before Parl would not help a Bill for Union.
WEF 15/5
EC 16
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Printed petition in favour of union, "signed by 445 persons."
Manuscript image
C. Brew, Magistrate, New Westminster, to Birch, 3 March 1866, advising he could not accurately determine the amount of "excisable articles used and consumed by the Indians in this Colony."