Cooper to Lytton
Snow Hill
June 19th 1858 The RightHonble Sir E.B. Lytton Bart
Her Majestys Secretary of State for the Colonies
Right Honble Sir,
A more deliberate consideration than I was able to give to your questions, when on the 16th Inst. I was honored by an audience, has induced me respectfully to submit the following further explanations.
In regard to the extent of Coast that might be included in the new arrangement, permit me to state that the coast North of the 49th parellel (including the Island of Queen Charlotte) to the Northern boundary line presents with but few exceptions as rugged and wild an appearance as the imagination can conceive. But notwithstanding such an external aspect, this peculiar country possesses advantages that would seem to me to make it most desirable that it should be attached to the Pacific Colony.
For instance there are its fisheries most valuable, its timber (which is the finest in all the wide world for marine purposes) its bitumunous coal (which is well fitted for the generation of steam) itsManuscript imageits copper; and other minerals which it is safe to possess although not yet developed.
Bordering the Coast a range of mountains extends the whole length forbidding in their aspect to the general observer and stretching about a hundred miles inland.
The only approach from the Sea in British Territory to the newly discovered gold mines is by the way of Frazers River the country even here being of the same appearance as above described, until a distance of at least one hundred and fifty miles from Salt water has been reached, when its face becomes entirely changed and presents a rolling prairie interspersed with belts of timber and denominated at present Thompsons River and Colville districts.
Hence to the Rocky mountains and from the 49th parellel (some three hundred and fifty miles north) a more beautiful country does not exist.
It is in every way suitable to colonization.
The same congenial influences of the westerly Ocean winds extend as fully to that portion of the Globe as to Great Britain.
But, with reference to the Eastern side of the Rocky Mountains it should never be forgotten that the same differences exist between that & the western side as betweenManuscript image-tween our own country and the North Eastern coast of "America". This country may not therefore per Se, present very great inducement for colonization; when however the country East, & West of it, is more generally populated there will certainly exist a chain of settlements throughout its entire length.
If these should ultimately grow into importance as rapidly as have some of our Canadian Towns: And seeing that there is now an impetus to this country as well from the "Pacific" as from the "Atlantic" shores, the time would seem to be not far distant. This period having arrived such is the vast extent of the Country (nearly double that of Canada) that the expediency of its becoming a seperate colony must then be irresistable.
No Natural boundary exists between the British Territory & that of the United States there are however passes, and defiles difficult of access from the adjoining countries at various points on the line there, or near to it. I trust Right Honble Sir that I have not occupied too much of your time upon a matter my personal knowledge of which alone encouraged me to address you.
I have the honour to be Right
Honble Sir
Your Most Obdt & Humble
James Cooper, late M.[ember
of] C.[ouncil], Vancouvers
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale.
You will doubtless remember that Mr. Cooper has always taken a prominent part in the affairs of VanCouver Island; hostile rather than otherwise to the Govr & the H.B. Company; but which, of course, does not detract from the value of his representation on this subject.
ABd. 21 June.
Lord Carnarvon
This letter contains statements which may be of use to Sir E. Lytton in taking charge of the Fraser's River Bill.
HM June 22 C. June 23.