No. 69
26th October 1866
My Lord,
I have the honor to report that the Western Union Telegraph Company have made great progress during the present season in constructing the Line of Telegraph through this Colony.
2. At the close of theSeasonManuscript image Season of 1865 the line was completed a short distance beyond the Town of Quesnelmouth on Fraser River. From this point Northwards to the Russian American territory the Country through which it was intended to construct the Line of Telegraph was almost unknown and the Indians of that portion of the Colony were generally considered hostile to white men.
3. With the experienceofManuscript image of the insurrection of the Chilicoten Tribes, caused by careless indifference and the ill treatment of the Indians by the labourers employed in making a Pack Trail, I was anxious if possible to establish some law and order in the camp of the working party, consisting of 150 men, selected to construct the line northward through the wildest portion of the Colony, reported to contain a large native population.
4. InManuscript image
4. In conversation with Colonel Bulkley the representative of the Western Union Telegraph Company on the Pacific Coast, I suggested the advisability of a Government Agent being attached to the working party to obtain information of the Country and act on behalf of the Government in any matters connected with the Native tribes. Colonel Bulkley gladly acceded to my suggestion, offering onbehalfManuscript image behalf of the Company to defray all travelling expenses and to contribute one half the salary of the Officer I might select.
5. I was fortunately enabled to procure the services of Mr T. Elwyn to proceed with the constructing party as Government Agent, acting as a Magistrate of the Colony. Mr Elwyn was formerly a Stipendiary Magistrate but resigned the Public Service withtheManuscript image the intention of farming. During the Expedition against the Chilicoten Indians he was second in command of the Volunteer Force and has always been successful in his treatment of the Indian Tribes. I have now the honor to enclose copy of report from Mr Elwyn on the conduct of the Indian Tribes and the nature of the country through which the line of Telegraph passes.
6. At the request of theSuperintendentManuscript image Superintendent of the Company Mr Elwyn remains in charge of the party wintering on the Stikeen. He will continue to hold and act upon his Commission as a Magistrate without entailing any expenditure from Public Funds.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Arthur N. Birch
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
Acknowledge & express satisfaction at the progress in the construction of this line of Telegraph? The project, as you are aware, is to establish telegraphic communication thro' Asiatic Russia, so as to connect existing European & American lines. The line is to run through Russian America & B. Columbia.
VJ 26 Decr
FR 26/12
CBA 27/12
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Copy, T. Elwyn to Colonial Secretary, 4 September 1866, reporting the progress of the construction party and relations with the Indians.
Manuscript image
Copy, Elwyn to Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, no date, reporting on the nature of the country over which the telegraph was being constructed (16 pages).
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Carnarvon to Seymour, No. 2, 4 January 1867.
Birch, Arthur Nonus to Carnarvon, Earl 26 October 1866, CO 60:25, no. 12136, 190. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B66069.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)