No. 32
5th April 1870
My Lord,
Referring to my Despatch No 18, of 21st February I have now the honor to report that the Legislative Council have passed the Resolutions which were submitted to them on the subject of Union with the Dominion of Canada. TheyhaveManuscript image have however suggested some modifications in the proposed terms, and added supplementary recommendations upon certain points which they regard as requiring consideration in respect of the peculiar circumstances of this Colony.
2. I enclose printed Copies of these amendments and Resolutions, and of the Reports of Debates upon the subject which may be interesting to Your Lordship.
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3. I have succeeded in avoiding the introduction of proposals touching "Responsible Government" or the establishment of a Free Port. Most of the amendments to the original Resolutions submitted by the Council are immaterial. Some would present no real difficulty to the Canadian Government, and I believe that none of them would be insisted upon here if they should be found to constitutetheManuscript image the only obstacles to agreement upon Union. The opinions expressed in the Supplementary Resolutions on the subject of the Excise Laws and the operation of the Canadian Tariff if applied to this Colony are of more importance and are worthy of some consideration. But I do not regard some exceptional provisions in these respects as impossible if they should be decided upon as proper in thespecialManuscript image special circumstances of the case; for instance, the present Tariff or some other to be settled by the local Government not being lower than the Canadian scale, might be allowed to prevail for a certain number of years after Union, or until effective communication should be opened between British Columbia and the other parts of the Dominion by Coach Road or Railway.
4. This matter ofcommunicationManuscript image communication is the "crux" of the Scheme. If a Railway could be promised scarcely any other question would be allowed to be a difficulty. Without the certainty of overland communication through British territory within some reasonable time, I am not confident that even if all other stipulations were conceded, the Community will decide upon Union. The noisiest of the CanadianadvocatesManuscript image advocates of Confederation who have been promoting it for their own end, the attainment of office under "Responsible Government," have led the people to believe that the construction of the Railroad is a certain matter of course, and the disappointment and reaction will be proportionately great if this is found not to be the case. For my own part, if there is no ground for expecting thecompletionManuscript image completion of that communication at least by Coach Road within a few years, I should doubt the prudence of Canada in nominally attaching British Columbia to the Dominion when practically no two Communities could be more entirely divided.
5. I have no doubt however of the propriety of now bringing the question to an issue. It has hithertobeenManuscript image been generally very little understood, but it has been used as an engine for local political purposes. It is a source of irritation and unrest in the Community at present, and this agitation will be kept up until we definitively ascertain what the Canadian Government will agree to, and what they cannot accomplish.
6. I have taken the necessary preliminary stepsforManuscript image for this purpose. I now propose to send a delegation to Ottawa to present the proposals which are made by this Government, to discuss them, and explain the grounds upon which I and my advisers have proceeded. In this manner it will be most easily ascertained how far the expectations of this Colony can be fulfilled, and when the report of the delegation has been receivedtheManuscript image the Community will be able to decide upon what will then have been settled as practicable terms.
7. The gentlemen I have selected for this service are Mr Trutch, the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, and Mr Helmcken, and Mr Carrall, the two unofficial members of the Executive Council. I have much confidence in Mr Trutch's ability and discretion. Mr Helmcken has greatinfluenceManuscript image influence in the Community. He is far from being an ardent Confederate; but practically the question, with him is one of terms, and it will be very desirable that he should have a voice in the discussion of them. Mr Carrall is a Canadian and a zealous advocate of Union, but I believe he is disinterested and not one of those who desire it only as a meanstoManuscript image to obtain political place and power. He is familiar with the wants and views of the people of the Upper Country and he will be able to render service in explaining these to the Canadian Government.
8. With respect to the expediency of "Responsible Government" for the administration of local affairs in the event of Union with Canada, I believe opinion to be very muchdividedManuscript image divided; but the party which presses for the introduction is energetic and persistent, and I doubt that determined opposition would be offered for any length of time after Confederation. But in any case the modified Consititution which I have recommended to Your Lordship in my Despatch No 20, of the 23rd February
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Which they are to be enabled to introduce & pass.
would in my opinion be necessary as an intermediate form fromwhichManuscript image which further progress could be made if finally determined upon by the local government in concert with that of Canada.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
A. Musgrave
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Herbert
The Confederation Resolutions have passed the Council & Mr Musgrave has selected three Gentlemen to proceed to Ottawa to communicate with the Govt of Canada.
Mr Trutch the Chief Comr of Lands, Mr Helmcken & Mr Carrall. Mr Trutch is all for Confederation, Mr Helmcken disinclined with a leaning to the States, & MrManuscript image Carrall for Confederation. You will gather opinions more fully from their Speeches—see respectively p 8, p 3, p 22.
CC 11/5
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I do not feel that I have anything material to observe at present. I should hardly suppose Canada wd care to have them at their own price.
RGWH May 12 70
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I think in acknowledging this I would acknowledge the ability with which the matter has been debated (I wd add temper but for the ridiculous speech of Mr de Cosmos).
Perhaps add and the evident desire of the Council that it sd be treated not as a matter of party warfare but in the interest of the Colony as a whole.
FR 12/5
WM 13/5
G 13/5
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Mr Dealtry
You will like to read the accompanying despatch about Confederation.
EB 3.6.70
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WD 3.6.70
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See subsequent 66/6129 May 13.70.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Printed copy of resolutions submitted by the government on the question of confederation, including amendments proposed by the Legislative Council, no date.
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Government Gazette Extraordinary, March 1870, "Debate on the Subject of Confederation with Canada" (thirteen pages).
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Granville to Musgrave, No. 50, 18 May 1870.