Seymour to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
London
29 May 1866
Sir,
I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 25 instant forwarding certain papers respecting the proposed construction of a road from Bute Inlet to the interior of British Columbia, & directing me to report upon the project.
I observe that the question has been considered by the Officer Administering the Government in Executive Council & I feel thereforeManuscript image somewhat reluctant to express myself more favourably to the enterprise than Mr Birch has done. I am however of opinion that a good road from Bute Inlet to the Fraser is very desirable, but at the same I am convinced that the natural difficulties of the country are so great that the undertaking could not possibly turn out a remunerative one.
As regards the several applications made in Mr Churchill's letter to meManuscript image of the 11th of April, copy of which appears in the papers you have forwarded to me, I would observe, that I see no objection to the Fraser River Terminus of the road being at any point between Quesnelle Mouth and Soda Creek. Nor can I see any objection to the road being continued Eastward from such terminus, subject to such conditions as the Officer in the Actual Administration may think fit.
2. I think the term of 25 years too long.
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3. I should be disposed to view favourably any project for the construction of a railway from the sea to the interior of the Colony, but I am not prepared at present to recommend that the "route shall become the freehold of the grantee." I consider it however altogether out of the question that a railroad should be carried over or through the Cascade Mountains at the head of Bute Inlet for many years to come.
4th In reference to the application for a grant of land, I am of opinion that Mr Birch's offer of the 15thManuscript image of November to Mr Waddington is sufficiently liberal.
5th I do not understand Mr Churchill's application for the undertaking to be exempt from taxation. If he applies to be relieved from any of the ordinary taxation of the Colony, I would not recommend a compliance with such a request.
I write under considerable embarrassment. In the first place I should wish to leave my locum tenens unfettered in the exercise of his authority where no general principles of policy are concerned.
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Secondly, because much as I wish to see capital expended in the development of British Columbia, I fear that the money laid out on Mr Waddington's project would be lost. Thirdly, because though I sympathize with that Gentleman in his pecuniary losses, I cannot forget that his bad management caused a great sacrifice of life & entailed an enormous expense on the Colony, and lastly because I do not believeManuscript image that any enterprise, however, advantageous in itself would succeed under Mr Waddington's direction.
Regretting not to be able to furnish a more useful report,
I have the honor to remain,
Sir,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
[P.S.] I have the honor to return the papers you were good enough to enclose.

Minutes by CO staff
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I annex drafts to Mr Churchill and to Mr Seymour.
TFE 29 May
See subsequent 146/1204/67, 2/3371/68, W/2277/68.
Other documents included in the file
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Colonial Office to James Churchill, 31 May 1866, advising that the imperial government could not grant concessions in respect of the proposed project.
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Colonial Office to Seymour, 31 May 1866, forwarding copy of the answer returned to Churchill as noted above.
Seymour, Frederick to Elliot, Thomas Frederick 29 May 1866, CO 60:26, no. 5184, 404. 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/B666S11.html.

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