Rae to Buckingham
Medical Club
53, Pall Mall, S.W.
27th March 1868
My Lord Duke
At a recent meeting of the Geographical Society a paper was read by Mr Waddington on a very important and interesting subject, namely the "Best route through British Territory across the Rocky Mountains from the Pacific to the Atlantic Seaboard.["]
Mr Waddington deserves much credit for the energyManuscript image and perseverance he has shown and the money he has spent in opening up a road from Bute Inlet on the Pacific to the Fraser River, and this as far as I know may be the best route. When however Mr Waddington goes on to say that there is "uninterrupted navigation" for a Steamer in the Upper Fraser, and that the Saskatchewan is with one exception equally free from obstructions, I mustManuscript image beg to differ entirely from him.
When I descended the Fraser in 1864, there were at least 4 rapids above whence the proposed road strikes the river, that no Steamer could have ascended. There are doubtless certain states of the water when a Steamer might possibly ascend all or some of these rapids, but these are exceptional cases.
The same may be said of the Saskatchewan, but arising from a different cause—shallowness of water.
The upper Fraser makes a very large bend to the North, and is besides extremelyManuscript image crooked, so that, even if unobstructed by rapids, it would form a most tedious route.
As far as I have seen there are no physical difficulties in the way of constructing a railway throughout the whole distance or if there are difficulties anywhere, they will be found to the west of the Rocky Mountains.
My only object in venturing to address this communication to Your Grace, is to state what I believe to beManuscript image the truth as derived from my own observation and the opinions of others whom I have consulted.
I have the honor to be
Your Graces
Most obedt Servant
John Rae
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
I think the Duke of Buckingham has been made aware of Mr Waddingtons errors.
Ackn. receipt with thanks.
CC 30/3
CBA 31/3
B&C 1/4
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Rae, 6 April 1868, acknowledging receipt of his letter, with thanks.