Cooper to Lytton
Snow Hill
July 24th 1858 TheRt Honble Sir E.B Lytton Bart
Her Majestys Secretary of State for the Colonies
Rt Honble Sir
The great interest manifested by yourself in the subject matter of this communication, is I trust sufficient apology for my again addressing you.
I have read with intense interest the debates on the "New Caledonia" Bill the main features of which commend themselves to my judgement as being the basis of a constitution, which in all after years, will I trust prove a great blessing to the human race.
I have failed however in noticing that any provision is made for a Port of Entry.
The navigation of the Straits of "Juan de Fuca" is open, free from danger, and comprises all the advantages of an inland Sea.
But, beyond the South Eastern Apex of Vancouvers Island (of which "Esquimalt" harbour forms a Port of marked importance and capabilities) the navigation in British waters for Sea going ships becomes exceedingly intricate and dangerous, passing through narrow channels where no serviceable sounding can be obtained withManuscript imagewith strong tides, and frequently liable to calms and fogs for days together.
The Sands at the mouth of Frasers River extend 5 or 6 miles to the Westward in the Gulf of Georgia, with a most intricate channel, & never more that 14Ft or 15Ft water at the highest tides.
On reference to the chart it would appear as though Burrards Inlet, offered advantages for a Sea Port for "New Caledonia"; and also, Howes Sound, a few miles farther North presents apparently the same facilities, but my nautical knowledge from actual observation warrants me in pronouncing both these places, utterly unfitted for such purposes.
Rt Honble Sir, I would here venture to offer most respectfully to your notice the following few suggestions.
That, "Esquimalt" harbour should be declared a port of entry & discharge, "pro tem" if desirable, indeed, from the facts above mentioned it will be seen that there is a physical necessity for so creating Esquimalt Harbour, a harbour which is so favourably situated, a port of entry and discharge.
That a point of land at the head of navigation should be selected on the banks of Frasers River for a Town Site.
From this site, a good road should be immediately made to the locality of the principal diggings.
A small naval force should be kept continually on the coast; one or two Gun Boats would be more effective and less -exManuscript imageexpensive than ships of a larger class, because their light draught of water would enable them to visit all villages in shallow water & thereby render efficient services.
That in my humble opinion only a small land force would be necessary, to send from this Country; for these reasons. It is calculated that 20,000 white people will be in British Territory by the end of this summer, every man is armed with his rifle & revolver, perfectly competent when united to protect themselves from the overbearing conduct and insolent character of the Indians. Among them, there are doubtless, many villains, but they do not predominate, therefore some 4 or 5 companies of Soldiers & Police jointly, would be sufficient, with the naval force previously mentioned to support the Judicial, & Executive Authority, either against the Indians or any party of white men that may become troublesome.
The expenses that would be incurred in the above precautionary arrangements, might be met by imposing a small ad valorem duty on British Imports, with an increase upon foreign Imports, & a considerable augmentation on ardent spirits in proportion to their proof.
No revenue could be raised sufficient for present purposes, by any other means so readily; neither could any plan be adopted so effectually, and at so small an expense to the mother country.
This measure in my humble judgment would prepare the way for levying a license on all miners at the diggings & the ultimate and more important feature of permanent colonization, the plotting & sale of land. Manuscript imageTo prevent smuggling by land it would only be necessary to establish a small station near to the head of navigation on Frasers River before alluded to, viz the Town site; as the American people would not, to avoid a Small duty convey large quantities of goods through any part of the U.S. Territories into New Caledonia at so great an addition of distance labour & expense.
I may also add, that should such measures be effectually carried out the nucleus of the colony composed of H.M. loyal Subjects, would receive with satisfaction any measures proposed by Her Majestys Govt that would contribute to their self support.
In conclusion, allow me Rt Honble Sir to say that if at any time it should be deemed expedient to fortify the harbour of "Esquimalt," in addition to its other advantages so well adapted for a Naval depĂ´t, that place possesses in my humble opinion all the requirements for such a work & could at a comparitively small cost be made impregnable.
I have the honour to be Rt
Honble Sir
Your Most Obdt & very
humble Servt
James Cooper, late M[ember
of] C[ouncil], Vancouver