Williams to Secretary of State
Aylmer, Canada West
May 8th 1858
To the Right Honorable, Secretary for the Colonies
My Lord,
I beg to call your attention to the accompanying documents, which I have the honour to transmit for your consideration. They consist of; copy of letter to the late Secty for the Colonies, Mr Labouchere, with the reply to the Same; copy of letter to the Governor of Vancouvers Island; account of proceedings of a meeting held at Aylmer to consider the subject of emigration to said Island. The letter addressed to His Excellency the Governor of Vancouvers Island, together with the report of the meeting held in Aylmer C.W. there is reason to fear, have never been forwarded to their destination; the Post Office, with all its contents, having been consumed by fire, a few days after the letters were deposited therein. Your Lordship will permit me to observe, that the emigration from Canada would be of that description, most likely to Keep in check the lawless habits and wild theories of certain restless adventurers, who so abound in the neighbouring States, should they ever venture to make Vancouver Island the Scene of their operation.  
In the Settlement of Canada West certain tracts of land were appropriated to certain classes or nationalities such as the "Scotch Block" "Irish Block" "Canadian Block" &c &c. I think, my Lord, that in a political point of view, such an arrangement is judicious; and if I might presume, I would suggest, that as far, at least, as Canadian emigration is concerned, the same plan be adopted in regard to Vancouvers Island. The Hudson Bay Company have hitherto held the land at one pound Stg. per acre. Free grants have only been given to their employees. When it is considered that, on the Main land, with a climate and soil equal, if not superior, land can be purchased for one fourth that price, it is not surprising that the island still remains a comparative desert. After all the hardship and expense incurred by the emigrant in reaching so distant a spot, would not the free grant of a lot of land to the actual Settler be both judicious and paternal? In this Section of Canada the System of free grants was adopted; and, under the judicious management of the late Colonel Talbot, with the happiest results. In conclusion, I would beg to remark, that for many years there has been a steady emigration from Canada; which arises not from political feeling, but from the superiority of climate, and the greater facilities offered by the neighbouring Republic for the acquisition of land. In York State alone there are upwards of 30,000 Canadians and in the western States the proportions must be far greater.  
Your lordship will confer a favour by directing an early reply to this communication, so that the intentions of her Majesty's Government with respect to Settlement in Vancouvers Island and the adjoining British Coast, may be placed before the Committee appointed by the meeting of the 12th Sept 1857 with as little delay as possible.  
I have the honour to be
your lordship's obd Servt
A. Williams
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
 
ABd
4 June/58
Answer (through the Governor) that the Secy of State thanks the writer for his suggestions, but that he can only consider the proposals of the meeting held at Aylmer if regularly submitted to him through the Canadian Government.  
HM
June 4
Annex draft.  
C
June 4
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft, reply, Lytton to Sir Edmund Head, Canada, No. ?, 9 June 1858.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Williams to Secretary of State, 23 April 1857, asking under what terms the government would be prepared to encourage settlement in Vancouver Island.  
  • R.T. Pennefather, Secretary to the Governor, Toronto, to Williams, 29 June 1857, advising that "Her Majesty's Government have not yet taken any steps to open the Island to Settlement nor adopted any definate terms for the disposal of land to Immigrants."  
  • Williams to Douglas, 18 September 1857, suggesting the advantages of promoting Canadian emigration to Vancouver Island by setting aside a portion of land for settlement.  
  • Minutes of meeting held 12 September 1857 in Aylmer, Canada West, for the purpose of promoting emigration to Vancouver Island.  
 
Correspondence (private letter):
Williams to Secretary of State, 8 May 1858, National Archives of the UK, 5409, CO 305/9. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=V586W01.scx. Accessed 15 December 2018. 

Last modified: 11:59:14, 4/12/2018