No. 84
Downing Street
14 August 1869
1. In my despatch of 17th of June, in which I communicated to you your appointment to the Government of British Columbia, I informed you "that I should probably have occasion to address you on the question then in agitationofManuscript image of the Incorporation of that Colony with the Dominion of Canada."
2. You are aware that Her Majesty's Government have hitherto declined to entertain this question, mainly because it could not arise practically till the Territory of the Hudson's Bay Company was annexed to the Dominion, but also, perhaps, in the expectation that the public opinion of British Columbia might have opportunity to form and declare itself.
3. I have now to inform you that the terms onwhichManuscript image which Rupert's Land and the North West Territory are to be united to Canada, have been agreed to by the parties concerned, and that the Queen will probably be advised before long to issue an Order in Council which will incorporate in the Dominion of Canada the whole of the British Possessions on the North American Continent, except the then conterminous Colony of British Columbia.
4. The question therefore presents itself, whether this single Colony should be excluded from the great body politicwhichManuscript image which is thus forming itself.
5. On this question the Colony itself does not appear to be unanimous. But as far as I can judge from the Despatches which have reached me, I should conjecture that the prevailing opinion was in favor of union. I have no hesitation in stating that such is, also, the opinion of Her Majesty's Government.
6. They believe that a Legislature selected from an extended area, and representing a diversity of interests, is likely to deal more comprehensivelywithManuscript image with large questions, more impartially with small questions, and more conclusively with both than is possible when controversies are carried on and decided upon in the comparatively narrow circle in which they arise. Questions of purely local interest will be more carefully and more dispassionately considered when disengaged from the larger politics of the country, and at the same time will be more sagaciously considered by persons who have had this larger political education.
FinallyManuscript image
7. Finally why anticipate that the interests of every province of British North America will be more advanced by enabling the wealth, credit and intelligence of the whole to be brought to bear on every part, than by encouraging each in the contracted policy of taking care of itself, possibly at the expense of its neighbour.
8. Most especially is this true in the case of internal transit. It is evident that the establishment of a British line of communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans,isManuscript image is far more feasible by the operation of a single Government responsible for the progress of both shores of the Continent than by a bargain negociated between separate, perhaps in some respects rival, Governments and Legislatures. The San Francisco of B.N.A. would under these circumstances hold a greater commercial and political position than would be attainable by the Capital of the isolated Colony of British Columbia.
9. Her Majesty's Government are aware thattheManuscript image the distance between Ottawa and Victoria presents a real difficulty in the way of immediate union. But that very difficulty will not be without its advantages it if renders easy communication indispensable and forces onwards the operations which are to complete it. In any case it is an understood inconvenience and a diminishing one, & it appears far better to accept it as a temporary drawback on the advantages of union than to wait for those obstacles, often more intractable, which are sure to spring up after a neglectedoppotunityManuscript image opportunity.
10. The constitutional connection of Her Majesty's Government with the Colony of British Columbia is as yet closer than which any other part of North America, and they are bound on an occasion like the present to give, for the consideration of the community and the guidance of Her Majesty's Servants, a more unreserved expression of their wishes and judgment than might be elsewhere fitting.
11. You will, therefore, give publicity to this despatch, a copy of which I have communicatedtoManuscript image to the Governor-General of Canada, and you will hold yourself authorised, either with communication with Sir John Young, or otherwise, to take such steps as you properly and constitutionally can, for promoting the favourable consideration of this question.
12. It will not escape you, that in acquainting you with the general views of the Government, I have avoided all matters of detail on which the wishes of the people and the Legislature will of course be declared in due time. I think it necessary, however, to observe that theconstitutionManuscript image constitution of British Columbia will oblige the Governor to enter personally upon many question, as the condition of Indian Tribes, and the future position of Government servants, with which, in the case of a negociation between two Responsible Governments he would not be bound to concern himself.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant