No. 6
31 July 1858
Though I expect shortly to have the honor of transmitting to you an act passed by the Imperial Parliament authorizing the establishment of a regular Government in the Territory West of the Rocky Mountains I will not lose the opportunity of this Mail to communicate to you the views which I entertain, for I am scarcely in aManuscript image condition to furnish [you] with positive instructions, upon certain topics of importance which bear upon your present situation.
1. I need hardly observe that British Columbia, for by that name the Queen has been graciously pleased that the Country should be known, stands on a very different footing from many of our early Colonial settlements. They possessed the Chief elements of success in lands which afforded safe, though no very immediate sources of prosperity. This territory combines in a remarkable degree the advantage of fertile lands, fine Timber adjacent Harbors, rivers, together with rich mineral products. These last, which have led to the large immigration of which all accounts speak, furnish the Government with the means ofManuscript image raising a revenue which will at once defray the necessary expenses of an Establishment.
I am aware that in Queen Charlotte Island where gold was discovered a few years ago, license fees were contemplated. But the small quantity of gold which was worked there has not afforded any settled or fixed data as to the result of that experiment.
My own views lead me to think that moderate duties on Beer, Wine, Spirits, and other articles, usually subject to taxation, would be preferable to the imposition of licences; and I confidently expect that from these sources a large and an immediate revenue may be derived.
The disposal also of public lands, and especially of Town lots, for which I am led to believeManuscript image there will be a great demand, will afford a rapid means of obtaining funds applicable to the general purposes of the Colony. You will probably at an early period take steps for deciding upon a site for a seaport Town.
But the question of how a revenue can best be raised in this new country depends so much on local circumstances upon which you possess such superior means of forming a judgment to myself, that I necessarily, but, at the same time willingly, leave the decision upon it to you, with the remark that it will be prudent on your part, and expedient to ascertain the general sense of the Immigrants upon a matter of so much importance. Before I leave this part of the subject I must state that whilst the Imperial Parliament will cheerfully lendManuscript image its assistance in the early establishment of this new Colony, it will expect that the Colony shall be self supporting as soon as possible. You will Keep steadily in view that it is the desire of this Country that representative Institutions, and self Government should prevail in British Columbia when by the growth of fixed population the material for those Institutions shall be shown to exist; and that to that object you must from the commencement aim and shape all your policy.
2. I have informed you in my Despatch of the 30th instant that a party of Royal Engineers will be despatched to the Colony immediately. It will devolve upon them to survey those parts of the Country which may be considered most suitable for settlement, to mark out allotments of land forManuscript image public purposes, to suggest a site for the seat of Government, to point out where Roads should be made, and to render you such assistance as may be in their power on the distinct understanding however, that this force is to be maintained at the Imperial cost for only a limited period; and that if required afterwards, the Colony will have to defray the expense thereof. I have to add that I am of opinion that it will be reasonable and proper that the expense of the survey of all allotments of land to private individuals should be included in the price which the purchaser will have to pay for his property. I shall endeavour to secure, if possible the services of an officer in Command of the Engineers who will be capable of reporting on the value of the Mineral resources,Manuscript image and especially of the coal which is said to exist in the Colony.
This force is sent for scientific and practical purposes, and not solely for military objects.
As little display as possible should, therefore, be made of it. Its mere appearance, if prominently obtruded might serve to irritate rather than appease the mixed population which will be collected in British Columbia. It should be remembered that your real strength lies in the conviction of the Emmigrants that their interests are identical with those of the Government which should be carried on in harmony with, and by means of the people of the Country. As connected with this subject it may be convenient to you to know that I contemplate sending out an experienced Inspector of Police to assist in the formation of a Police force. You shall consequently lose no time in considering how that force can be organized. It must be derived from the people on theManuscript image spot, who will understand that for their preservation from internal disturbances they must rely solely on themselves and not on the Military. I cannot permit myself to doubt that in a matter so essential to the common security of all you will meet with the ready concurrence of the Community and that you will act for their interests in a manner which shall be popular, and conformable with their general sentiments.
3. I have to enjoin upon you to consider the best and most humane means of dealing with the Native Indians. The feelings of this country would be strongly opposed to the adoption of any arbitrary or oppressive measure towards them.
At this distance and with the imperfect means of knowledge which I possess, I am, reluctant toManuscript image offer, as yet, any suggestions as to the prevention of affrays between the Indians and the immigrants. This question is of so local a character that it must be solved by your Knowledge and experience, and I commit it to you in the full persuasion that you will pay every regard to the interests of the Native which an enlightened humanity can suggest. Let me not omit to observe that it should be an invariable condition in all bargains or treaties with the Natives for the cession of Lands possessed by them, that subsistence should be supplied to them in some other shape, and above all that it is the earnest desire of Her Majesty's Government that your early attention should be given to the best means of diffusing the blessings of the Christian Religion and of civilization among the Natives.
4. In conclusion I wish to impress upon you the necessity ofManuscript image seeking by all legitimate means to secure the confidence and good will of the Immigrants and to ex[h]ibit no jealousy whatever of Americans or other foreigners who may enter the country. You will remember that this Colony is destined for free Institutions at the earliest moment.
In the meanwhile it will be advisable for you to ascertain what American[s] resorting to the diggings enjoy the most influence or popular esteem and you should open with them a frank and friendly communication as to the best means of preserving order and securing the interests and peace of the Colony.
It may be deserving your consideration whether there may not be found already amongst the Immigrants both British & Foreign some persons whom youManuscript image could immediately form into a council of Advice; men whom, if an Elective Council were ultimately established in the Colony the Immigrants themselves would be likely to elect, and who might be able to render you valuable assistance until the machinery of Government were perfected and you were in possession of the instructions which the Queen shall be pleased to issue for your guidance.
5. I shall hope to receive at an early period your views on these and other topics of importance which are likely to present themselves for your decision in the difficult circumstances in which you are placed, and I request you to be assured on the part of Her Majesty's Government, that I shall be most ready to afford you every assistance in my power.
I have etc.