Bennison to Colonial Secretary
Fredericton N.Bk
Decr 11th 1866 To The Colonial Secretary Gt Btn

I should like that the British Govt should commence laying down a rail Road from the main Land back of Vancouvers Island through to Lake Superior at once. Giving one Half of the Land in Lots of 200 acres 80 Rods front to actual Settlers; the Govt reserving the remaining lots of Land as first charge for the Rail Road and the Government of the Country; that vast Country said to be, I mean that vast Pra[i]rie Country on the Saskatchawan River 800 miles long by 100 miles Broad, saying nothing of the 200 miles remaining in breadth. I should like the Land given to English, Irish, & Scotch Settlers, and an Asylum for the poor persecutedManuscript image Southern Gentlemen of the United States. Let the British Government offer them an asylum. Should the same dissatisfaction continue as at present in the United States, thousands yea Millions will leave it for a place of quietness & repose, and would not, like British People be offering it to their own kith & kin. This Land is as good if not superior to any part of the United States and of Superior Climate being so far north. Here the wild oats grow in abundance, also rye and other Grains and millions of Buffalo roam at large; the Lakes are filled with fish & fowl and all that is required is a rail road and the British People are able to build one. Young men from New Bk think little of going to Wisconstan & Minesota on the very borders of this vast plain. 10,000 Settlers are located on the Red River and get their supplies and seek a market in the Western States and the Yankees have an eye on it thinking some day to annex it, when they get a proportion sufficientlyManuscript image thrown in or located there, to join it to the United States. By the by, I saw by our late Papers that they have got up the annexation cry in Vancouvers Island the House of Assembly should be subverted. Half a Dozen British Regiments should be sent there and hang a few of the Ring Leaders and annex them to Eternity. I told a Yankee the other day that if I had my way that there would be but one Law for all such fellows, & that would be like the law of the Meeds & Persians "which abereth not;" that I would hang every man who dared to open his mouth about annexation to the U. States in a British Province. I'd soon make them scarce. The Honble Joseph Howe has expressed my views in some measure in regard to this vast, this magnificent Country but if the British Govt lay down a rail Road I would say, Keep the grip on the Lands till it was paid for and not give them, the people, a representative assembly till it was asked for, though the Country should contain Millions of souls and then only one representative to 20,000 or more of a population. Should a Civil War open in the United States no doubt not only this Country wouldManuscript image be populated by hundreds of thousands, but even upwards of a million of souls in a year I doubt not would flow into that fine Country. English, Irish, & Scotch have seen fighting enough in the United States and would flee from it as from a pestilence or plague. Should this idea be acted upon what better men could be selected as Governors than such men as the Honorable Joseph Howe & S.L. Tilley yet the same men notwithstanding my Grandfather Capt. George Bennison who was actively engaged throughout the Old American War, and was a severe sufferer and never got, because he never asked for, services, most signal too, because he had too proud a British Spirit. I say that notwithstanding this, though I should like that either of these Gentlemen was appointed Governor, I would be the last man that either of the two would give a place of profit to. I love the British People, I love the British Flag, in fact I love every thing British, but I want them to be up to the Yankees and I would like this fine country open to the Southern People who love the Yankees as much as I do myself.
Yours with Respect
R.S. Bennison
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
The Writer suggests that the Imperial Govt should construct a R. Road from V. Couver Island to Lake Superior, and that the British Regiments should be sent to V.C. Island to hang those who proclaim their desire to be annexed to the United States.
I should say "put by" for this Letter. It is scarcely worth the trouble of requesting the Governor of New Brunswick to acknowledge its receipt.
ABd 3 Jany/67
No doubt, Put by. This is a specimen of the [illegible] that people can write sometimes to a Govt office.
TFE 4 Jany
At once. Without ackg.
CBA 8/1
Put by.
C 9 Jany
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Sketch showing the proposed method of settlement and land division along a railway line from the Rocky Mountains to Lake Superior.
Bennison, R. S. to Cardwell, Edward 11 December 1866, CO 60:26, no. 157, 247. 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/B666B02.html.

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