24th September 1867
My Lord Duke,
With reference to my despatch No. 126, of this date, I have the honor to place in separate despatch with less reserve a few remarks on thedesireManuscript image desire of the people of this Colony to join the Eastern Confederation.
2. A Resolution was passed by the Legislative Council in favour of negotiations being entered into with a view to a union of all the British Possessions in North America.
3. Though the motion passed through the Council without opposition, there was but little warmth feltinManuscript image in its favour. The question is obviously at present one of great difficulty. It is hard to know what benefits the Colony or the Eastern Confederacy would derive from a closer connexion while the lands intervening between Canada and our frontier belong to a private Company. The Resolution was the expression of a despondent community longing for change. It wasfeltManuscript image felt that no harm could be done by making public the desire for amalgamation with English Communities so much nearer the Mother Country, and that possibly some assistance might be given by either England or Canada towards the making of a road across the continent.
4. When Gold was discovered in British Columbia and glowing accounts of thewealthManuscript image wealth of the Country filled columns of the leading London journals a considerable number of immigrants arrived from home, with expectations which even the vast natural resources of the Colony could not satisfy. Most of those who sought their fortunes here were men unable to make their way in Europe, unequal to the labour which gold mining entails, without the businesshabitsManuscript image habits requisite for the trader or the capital necessary to the farmer. Many of them failed and have thrown the blame of the failure upon other shoulders than their own. No immigrants from England now resort to this Colony. The only English men who find their way hither filter to us through California, and as adventurous Americans still visit us the population is now becoming alien to a largeextentManuscript image extent.
5. It is thought by many of those who have made of this their home, that the only chance of its becoming prosperous while a dependency of a very distant Country, which helps more by advice than by the substantial aid which a young and struggling community requires, is a union with the more developed and apparently more prosperous ColoniesonManuscript image on the Atlantic. My own impression is that the main chance of keeping British Columbia English in sentiment is to furnish from home some pecuniary aid, some military assistance, or help its communications with the Dominion of Canada. Even independent of the great distance from the Mother Country natural features seem to indicate its connection with theEasternManuscript image Eastern lands. The Cascade Mountains on the western side of our principal Gold Mines and finest agricultural districts are more rugged than the Rocky Mountains and Dr Rae, the celebrated explorer, informed me that there were greater difficulties already surmounted on the line of road between Yale and Lytton in this Colony than were to be found between Lytton and the Red RiverSettlementsManuscript image Settlements. The extraordinary natural difficulty of the access from the Pacific to our best gold mines and agricultural districts seem to point to an Eastern connexion.
6. I feel that I must necessarily write very vaguely on this subject. It is for me merely to state the wish of the people of this Colony and my own, for a fusion or an ultimate connexion with the Eastern Confederation.ItManuscript image It rests with Your Grace to see if that wish can be carried out. Merely to join the Confederation on the condition of sending delegates to Ottawa and receiving a Governor from the Canadian Ministry could not satisfy the popular desire.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
See Govr Seymour's despatch 10836.
CC 6 Nov
Manuscript image
It seems to me quite useless to think of this question, till the HBC territory is in possession of Canada; nor until the two Colonies, B Columbia & Canada have so extended themselves as to warrent expenditure of money in roads &c. At present I do not see what possible purpose could be answered by enabling the Ottawa Parlt to legislate for B.C. What they want is assistance meaning money or money's worth—& it can hardly be worth Canada's while to give this yet.
I would acknowledge these two dphes (10836, 10906) and add that whatever might be the advantages wh mt in course of time result from the Union of BNA under one Govt & it did not appear to H.G. that any practical steps could be taken in the matter while the Colony was separated from Canada by so large a tract of unoccupied Country, at present in the posession of a private Company.
FR 6/11
Manuscript image
I should say the consideration of that question must at all events await the time when the intervening territory now under the control of H.B.Co. shall have been incorporated with the Confederation.
B&C 15/11
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Buckingham to Seymour, No. 87, 19 November 1867 informing Seymour that the question of British Columbia joining “the Confederation” must wait until “the intervening territory now under the control of the Hudsons Bay Company shall have been incorporated with the Confederation.”