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John Robson and the British Columbian a study of a pioneer editor in British Columbia Reid, James Gordon 1950

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t JOHN ROBSON AND THE BRITISH COLUMBIAN A Study of a Pioneer Editor in British Columbia A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts i n the Department of History at the University of British Columbia James Gordon Reid October 1950 Abstract John Robson, one of the most forceful and dynamic persona-l i t i e s of Br i t i s h Columbia's history, was editor and proprietor of the New Westminster B r i t i s h Columbian during the colonial period. This thesis i s an attempt to appraise the importance of Robson i n the development of the colony primarily from a study of his newspaper writings from 1861 to 1869. Such a stu-dy has distinct limitations: i t i s not possible to delineate accurately Robson's personality solely from what is revealed in his newspaper, and one cannot claim to arrive at specific conclusions without abandoning fundamental principles of his-t o r i c a l research. Nevertheless i t i s hoped that some appreci-ation of Robson's importance can be gained from a close study of his newspaper over an eight-year period. Because of the veritable mine of information that i s re-vealed i n Robson's writings, i t has been necessary to limit the topic considerably. No attempt has been made to embrace the multitude of subjects which Robson discussed i n his jour-nal. Those selected for consideration are subjects which i l -lustrate to advantage Robson's attitude toward the question of developing the colony's resources and his opinions on matters of economic, social, and p o l i t i c a l importance.- Since this work i s concerned only with an appraisal of the editor's a t t i -tude to these subjects, and since some of them are but minor threads i n the fabric of the region?s history, no attempt has been made to trace the history of each topic. An introductory chapter opens the work. In i t the geo-graphical environment i s discussed, to indicate the importance of geography i n the colony's development. This i s followed by brief comments upon the character of the men who were drawn to the region during the colonial period, and leads to a section of approximately twenty pages which outlines the history of the colony from 1855, when gold was f i r s t found i n the region, to 1861, the year of the founding of Robson's newspaper. In the second chapter an attempt has been made to gather together the known facts of Robson's youth and formative years to serve as an introduction to this important personality. Be-cause of the paucity of available material on his early l i f e , the section of Robson i s necessarily brief and incomplete. The second part of this chapter i s devoted to a brief discussion of Robson's newspaper, to indicate the medium through which the editor presented his views. Embodied in this section i s a sketch of the history of the newspaper from 1861 to 1869. In chapter three Robson's attitude toward the development of the colony's resources i s discussed. Seven aspects of this topic are considered: immigration, surveying the colony's i i resources, agriculture, land policy, lumbering, fishing, and manufacturing (these three being considered together), mining, and roads. Considerable use was" made of quotations from The  Briti s h Columbian i n this chapter and in chapter four: the latter considers the editor's attitude toward eight other ques-tions of public importance during the colonial period. These include Robson's opinions on an export tax on gold, retrench-ment i n government expenditures, a northern route to the interior, the Indian question, education, union of the colonies, Confederation with Canada, and the location of the capital of the united colony. In conclusion, an attempt i s made to appraise Robson's writings and to indicate those qualities of this pioneer editor which are revealed i n his newspaper. A bibliographical note, in which emphasis i s placed upon The Brit i s h Columbian as the most important source for the thesis, concludes this study of a pioneer B r i t i s h Columbia editor and his newspaper. TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter , Page 1. The Environment 1 2. The Man and the Newspaper 34 3. Robson and the Development of the Natural Resources of the Colony 57 4. Robson's Attitude toward Certain Other Public Questions 93 5. An Appraisal of Robson's Writings 136 Bibliographical Note 158 ILLUSTRATIONS Map Showing the Relevant Features of Br i t i s h Columbia 4 John Robson 35 Preface Of the many fields of research open to students of British Columbia history, not the least fascinating i s that of the news-papers of the colonial period. Several forceful and dynamic personalities rose to prominence on the journalistic stage during the eighteen-sixties. Of these, possibly the most s t r i -king was John Robson, editor and publisher of the New Westmin-ster British Columbian. An exhaustive study of this:.important personality would certainly prove a valuable contribution to the region's history Unfortunately this project i s not yet possible, for up to the present time there i s no evidence that Robson's personal papers have survived. However on the basis of his public writings i t i s possible to gain some insight into this interesting h i s t o r i -cal figure. This thesis i s an attempt to appraise the importance of John Robson i n the development of the colony primarily from a study of his newspaper writings from 1861 to 1869. Such a study has distinct limitations: i t i s not possible to delineate accurately Robson's personality solely from what is revealed i n his newspaper, and one cannot claim to arrive at specific con-clusions without abandoning fundamental principles of h i s t o r i -cal research. Nevertheless i t i s hoped that some appreciation of Robson's importance can be gained from a close study of his newspaper over an eight-year period. Because of the veritable mine of information that i s re-vealed i n Robson's writings, i t has been necessary to limit the topic considerably. No attempt has been made to embrace the multitude of subjects which Robson discussed i n his jour-nal. Those selected for consideration are subjects which i l -lustrate to advantage Robson's attitude toward the question of developing the colony's resources and his opinions on matters of economic, social, and p o l i t i c a l importance. Since this work is concerned only with an appraisal of the editor's attitude to these subjects, and since some of them are but minor threads in the fabric of the region's history, no attempt has been made to trace the history of each topic. It i s hoped that this study w i l l arouse interest i n the f i e l d of B r i t i s h Columbia's pioneer newspapers and w i l l encou-rage further study of that prominent personality, John Robson. Chapter 1 THE ENVIRONMENT On February 13, 1861, a. l i t t l e over two years after the colony of British Columbia was founded, the f i r s t issue of The British Columbian appeared on the streets of the capital, New Westminster. In the leading editorial John Robson, the editor and publisher, dedicated his newspaper to the conside-ration of problems arising i n the colony, promising to air a l l just grievances and to agitate without fear or favor for their redress. Robson was well suited to the task. Endowed with a keen and active mind, fearless i n the promulgation of the truth as he saw i t , he guided his newspaper through the forma-tive years of the colony u n t i l forces which were beyond his control compelled him to retire from the capital. During the eight years of The British Columbian i n New Westminster, John Robson fait h f u l l y mirrored the development of the colony. But he went farther: realizing the tremendous potentialities of this frontier region he strove continually and consistently to focus attention on the undeveloped resour-ces of the country. He saw, too, that his dream of a great and prosperous British Columbia could not become a re a l i t y un-t i l the problems that hindered the colony's development were solved. While an estimate of the success of Robson's endeavors to better conditions i i i the colony i s beyond the scope of this work, a study of his attitude to the problems that beset the pioneers of the community reveal him as a powerful force for good. He was a man of vision: many of the policies he advo-cated have since proved their worth. He was a perpetual op-timist, continually drawing his reader's attention to the great future of the colony once i t s problems were solved. And he was a persistent agitator for the redress of grievances that he believed stood i n the way of future greatness. That he envisaged i n broad outline the region's future development i s the more remarkable when i t i s remembered that underlying the immediate problems of the community were geographic and economic problems which were to harass the region throughout i t s history. The influence of geography on history i s particularly evi-dent i n any study of the early settlement of Br i t i s h Columbia*! Geographically this area i s part of the Cordillera region which stretches along the western border of North America and includes many coastal islands, the most important of which are Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlottes^ Two great barriers bar access to the region, the Rocky Mountains on the east and the Coast Range bordering the Pacific Ocean on the west. Be-tween these mountain ranges l i e s a plateau ranging i n altitude from three thousand to four thousand feet, and broken by lesser mountain ranges and deep river valleys. These valleys form 1. The geographical section of this chapter i s based primarily on A. ¥. Currie, Economic Geography of  Canada. Toronto, The Macmillan Co., 1945, passim and pp. 245-312. -3-the only natural lines of communication i n the region. The four most important rivers flowing into the Pacific are, from north to south, the Stickine, the Nass, the Skeena 2 and the Fraser. A f i f t h , the Columbia, flows for much of i t s length through the eastern part of the region before cros-sing into the United States at the forty-ninth parallel of latitude. Due to glacial erosion these rivers are often nar-row with rather steep rocky banks. Near the Pacific Ocean the rivers are broad and navigable, but where they breach the Coast Range dangerous canyons render navigation extremely ha-zardous, and d i f f i c u l t portages were formerly necessary. Most of the rivers i n the interior flow approximately north and south, following the line of the mountain ranges and sometimes changing direction several times before turning westward to the sea. Thus the rivers made travel to the interior during the early years of settlement both dangerous because of their rapids and time-consuming because of their circuitous routes. The climate of the Cordillera region i s extremely varied. Moisture-bearing winds blowing i n from the Pacific are forced upward by the high mountains of the Coast Range and drop their moisture, resulting i n an annual precipitation which varies from two hundred inches i n the north to thirty inches i n the south along the Pacific seaboard. When these winds reach the interior of the region they have already given up their mois-ture. As a result the interior plateau receives only five to 2. See map, p. 4. fifteen inches of precipitation yearly, and irri g a t i o n i s of-ten required. The temperature of the coastal regions varies roughly from eighty degrees i n summer to twenty-five degrees i n winter; i n the interior the extremes are more pronounced, temperatures of ninety degrees i n summer and twenty degrees below zero i n winter being not uncommon. These climatic conditions are admirably suited to the growth of large stands of timber. This i s particularly true of the coastal region, where f i r , hemlock, cedar and spruce grow to great heights i n dense groves. Before the early settlers could build even the barest shelter, these trees had to be fel l e d . Removing their roots was an equally d i f f i c u l t task. These magnificent stands of timber were to bring wealth to the area i n later years; but to the early gold-seekers and merchants they were a hardship and to the pioneer farmer a formidable barrier which must be removed before a crop could be planted. Although the Cordillera region i s essentially mountainous, s o i l and climatic.' conditions combine to produce rich agricul-tural land i n some d i s t r i c t s . The great ice f i e l d which i n ages past sometimes cut deep canyons between the mountain ranges also created broad terraces or benches rising l i k e giant steps from the banks of the rivers. Glacial action also produced the great interior plateau and, i n combination with the erosive action of the Fraser River, the rich agricultural s o i l of the lower Fraser valley. The bench lands of the lower - 6 -interior proved particularly suitable for f r u i t ranching, es-pecially where the contours of the valleys make irri g a t i o n feasible. Farther north the s o i l and climate of the interior plateau along the banks of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers i s unsuitable for large-scale f r u i t farming, but ideal for cattle raising. In the extreme south-west i s the lower Fraser valley, shaped like an isosceles triangle and comprising about fifteen hundred square miles..Here a combination of temperate climate and f l a t topography produces conditions ideal for mixed far-ming, dairying, and poultry-raising. In the early years of settlement the agricultural potentialities of these regions were not f u l l y appreciated. Shifting centers of population, d i f f i c u l t i e s of communication, and comparatively long distan-ces between the producer and his market further retarded the development of agriculture. In the lower Fraser Valley region the dense growth of timber carpeting the area was a deterrent to a l l but the most stouthearted farmer. Any study of early Br i t i s h Columbia history focusses at-tention on the Fraser River Valley through which the great ma-jority of immigrants entered the future colony. A brief study of that river w i l l delineate the major problems of settlement that were encountered during the colony's early years. Settlers approaching the mouth of the Fraser had f i r s t to negotiate the channel of the river delta with i t s constantly shifting sand bars. Proceeding up river they found heavy stands of timber on each bank—timber which must be cleared before towns could be founded, roads built, and farms established. -7-A hundred miles upstream the Fraser turns north, becoming increasingly turbulent where the river forces the barrier of the Coast Range and boils through the dangerous rapids of the Fraser Canyon. Here d i f f i c u l t portages were necessary. To some of the pioneers who made their way over the narrow twis-ting t r a i l s cut into the deep slopes of the river valley the possibility of building a road through the Fraser canyon must have seemed like the dream of a visionary. But a road was es-sential despite the obvious engineering d i f f i c u l t i e s and con-sequent expense. The Fraser Valley was the most direct route to the interior; the alternative route by way of Harrison River, Harrison Lake, and a chain of rivers and lakes to the upper Fraser required several portages and was more than twice as long. Once past the dangers of the canyon the immigrants re-turned to the river and proceeded upstream* Where the Thomp-son joins the Fraser they could choose between continuing due north to the Cariboo country or following the river's major tributary flowing i n from the east* Both river highways led into the interior plateau with i t s rugged mountains and broad galleys, i t s hot dry summers and i t s cold winters. Following either route increased the pioneers' food costs, for apart from the supplies they had brought with them and the f i s h and game procured along the way they were entirely dependent on the settlements along the river bank. The few farms of the lower Fraser valley were quite unable to supply the needs of -.8-the population of the interior, and almost a l l food consumed during the early years of settlement had to be imported. Transportation d i f f i c u l t i e s and long communication lines added greatly to the cost of food. When the f i r s t rush of immigrants poured into the future colony of British Columbia they scarcely realized the problems that faced them. L i t t l e was known about the region: i t was the private preserve of the Hudson's Bay Company and settle-ment had been discouraged, for settlers invariably drove away the fur-bearing animals on which the Company's livelihood de-pended. The topography of the region was forbidding: i n a land of snow-capped mountains flanked by dense forests and threaded by swift-flowing rivers settlement presented obvious d i f f i c u l t i e s . Lines of communication were few and long. Ri-ver travel was often dangerous due to rapids, or flood waters i n the early summer, or low water i n the f a l l and winter. The climate was on the whole pleasant, but the interior winters were often severe. Large timber stands promised future wealth, but they retarded the founding of towns because of the prob-lem of land clearing. Farm land sufficient to support a large population was available, but farming was handicapped by eco-nomic and geographic d i f f i c u l t i e s . In the late 1850's and early 1860's thousands of pioneers rushed into this vast and little-known region. The lure of gold that attracted the f i r s t rush of immigrants also blinded them to the problems which they would face. -9-Of a l l the gold rushes that history records, possibly none drew such a heterogeneous population as that which began to descend on the northern Pacific coast i n 1858. Into the l i t t l e town of Victoria at the southern t i p of Vancouver Is-land, with i t s small population of Hudson's Bay Company men, half-breeds, a few settlers, and negroes who had fled the social restrictions of the United States, there poured a great horde of Americans from California. They called themselves Americansj actually many of them were British, Germans, French, Jews, I t a l i a n s — i n short they were the Forty-Niners of CalifOP-nia migrating i n search of more gold. Among them were "... speculators of every kind...bummers, bankrupts, and brokers as well as "...a f a i r seasoning of gamblers,swindlers, thieves, drunkards, and j a i l birds...." But with these came "...a large body of respectable emigrants; patient hardworking miners, and others; honest men who had come here to li v e by their industry, hoping to assist their families and better their position; quiet law-abiding citizens, i f ever there were."w They came from a l l walks of l i f e and from a l l levels of society. The majority were Americans during the f i r s t few years of the rush, but as news of the gold discoveries spread, immigration from England and the colonies turned the scale. By 3. Alfred Waddington, The Fraser Mines Vindicated. Victoria, printed by P. de Garro, 1858, pp. 30-31. -10-4 the early eighteen-sixties B r i t i s h subjects predominated. This motley population was motivated by one impulse: either to find gold, or to profit from others engaged i n the search. These men knew l i t t l e about the country into which > they thrust themselvesj they knew nothing of i t s problems of transportation and food. That their new environment was far from sources of supply, d i f f i c u l t to penetrate, and almost isolated from the rest of the world did not deter them. Here was gold for the taking, where the chance of fortune for the poorest prospector was equal to that of the richest, where social distinctions were often forgotten. The hardships, the isolation, and the dangers of pioneering i n an abnormal envi-ronment were accepted almost without complaint. On a l l sides was evidence that the region possessed great undeveloped re-sources, but before their riches could be unlocked the i n i t i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s of transportation and supply must be solved. To understand the problems which must be faced before the unorga-nized region could become a prosperous community i t w i l l be profitable to trace the founding of the colony of British Co-lumbia. British Columbia owes i t s founding to the discovery of gold. In 1855 gold was found on the Columbia River and i n 1856 on the Thompson and Fraser Rivers. News of the disco-veries spread during 1857, and i t was obvious that a great 4. R. C. Lundin Brown, B r i t i s h Columbia. An Essay. New Westminster, Royal Engineers Press, 1863, p. 52.! -11-gold rush to the area known as New Caledonia was imminent. The Hudson's Bay Company, whose license for exclusive trade with the Indians i n the area had been renewed i n 1838 for a period of twenty-one years, did mot welcome the prospect of an influx of miners. Governor James Douglas of Vancouver Island, who was also Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company on the Pacific Coast, realized that the Company's trade monopoly would be endangered. Although his jurisdiction did not extend to the mainland, he issued a proclamation i n December 1857 re-5 ' quiring a l l miners to be licensed by the Crown. He also re-stricted trade with the mainland to ships licensed by the Com-Q pany, by a proclamation of May 8, 1858. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Secretary of State for the Colo-7 nies, approved Douglas's policy " . . . i n asserting both the dominion of the Crown over this region, and the right of the 8 Crown over the precious metals". But the Governor's procla-mation forbidding ships not licensed by the Company to trade with the mainland was specifically disallowed i n a despatch 5. Douglas to Henry Labouchere, Secretary of State for the Colonies, December 29, 1857, Correspondence Re- lative to the Discovery of Gold i n B r i t i s h North  America (hereafter called Gold Discovery Papers). PPC 2398, 1858, p. 5. 6 . Douglas to Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for the Colonies, May 19, 1858, Papers Relative to British  Columbia (hereafter called B r i t i s h Columbia Papers)  Part 1. PPC 2476, 1859, p. /z • Stanley succeeded Labouchere i n February, 1858. 7. Lytton replaced Stanley i n June, 1858. 8. Gold Discovery Papers.p. 17, Lytton to Douglas,July V 1858. -12-from the Colonial Office, on the grounds that the Company had no rights other than to trade exclusively with the Indians, and 9 could neither exclude aliens nor interfere with trade. The spring and summer of 1858 witnessed a great gold rush to the Fraser. From California the miners came by the thousand, landing at Victoria, crossing as soon as possible to the mouth of the Fraser, and making their way with a l l speed to the sand bars of the river near Hope. Gold was found i n paying quanti-ties on the bars, and was readily extracted with a minimum of equipment. The wave of miners swept on past Hope, abandoning paying claims when rumors arose of richer strikes farther up the river. By July the vanguard had reached the Chilcotin Ri-ver: neither the dangers of the tortuous Fraser canyon nor the growing h o s t i l i t y of the Indians deterred the gold seekers. The rush reached i t s peak i n June and July when over thirteen thousand sailed from San Francisco for the Fraser; i t i s e s t i -mated that i n 1858 alone, twenty-five thousand persons were drawn to the mainland and the adjacent colony of Vancouver 10 Island by the lure of gold. Governor Douglas kept the Colonial Office f u l l y informed of developments on the mainland. The gold rush was sweeping a motley group into the area, and more were on the way. In a land unable to support the newcomers, and peopled by Indians who did not welcome them, there were the makings of a dangerous 9. Lytton to Douglas, July 16, 1858, B.C. Papers. Part 1. p. 42. 10:. ¥. P. Morrell, The Gold Rushes. New York, The Macmil-lan Company, 1941, p. 121. -13-situation. Fortunately the majority of the miners were law-abiding and well-behaved, not given to excessive drinking and fighting, and l i k e l y to accept the discomforts of pioneering i n the wilderness and the perils of the Fraser canyon as part of the fortunes of the hunt for gold. But the jealousy of the In-dians increased, and f r i c t i o n inevitably arose between the two groups. There was also a danger that American miners, and they formed a majority, might appeal to their government to extend i t s protection to the area, and thus sweep away the tenuous barrier of the international boundary. During the f i r s t half of 1858 i t became apparent to the Colonial Office that problems arising from the rapid influx of miners could not be solved by the authority of Governor Doug-las alone. Accordingly a b i l l for the government of New Cale-donia was introduced i n the British Parliament on July 1, was given second reading on July 8, and received royal assent on August 2, 1858, under the t i t l e : "An Act to Provide for the 11 Government of British Columbia". The name of the new colony was.changed because the French already had a colony of New 12 Caledonia; Queen Victoria chose the name British Columbia. The preamble to the Act states that " . . . i t i s desirable to make some temporary provision for the C i v i l Government... 11. Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons.Official  Report of Debates. Session 1857-1858, vol. 151, pp. 730, 1096-1122, and 2370. 12. F..W. Howay and E.O.S. Scholefield, B r i t i s h Columbia  from the Earliest Times to the Present. Vancouver, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, JL914, v o l . 2, p. 49. -14-u n t i l permanent settlements shall be established....", thus providing for future changes i n government as the new colony 13 developed. The-most important sections of the Act follow. British Columbia was to be bounded by the summit of the Rockies 14 on the east, the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Nass River and the Finlay branch of the Peace River on the north, and the International Boundary on the south, including the Queen Char-lotte Islands but not Vancouver Island which was to remain a separate colony. The government was to consist of a governor, and of a legislature "...so soon as {Her Majest^ may deem i t convenient...." Until that time came, the governor was to re-present the Crown. He was responsible for the administration of justice and was "...to make, ordain, and establish a l l such laws, institutions, and ordinances as may be necessary for the peace, order, and good government of Her Majesty's subjects and others...", such laws and ordinances to be submitted with-out delay to both hqusesLO'f Parliament. "In the f i r s t phase, then, the Governor, i n virtue of the Act of Parliament, was to embody i n himself a l l authority, including the right of taxa-15 tion." Provision was made for the possible: annexation of Vancouver Island to British Columbia, should the Island Colony express, by means of a joint address of i t s two legislative 13. B. C. Papers. Part 1.'pp. 1-2. 14. In the text the Nass River i s called "Simpson's River". 15. A. S. Morton, A History of the Canadian West to 1870- 71. Toronto, Thomas Nelson and SonsJ^p. 771. houses, a desire to be joined to the mainland. The Act was to remain i n force u n t i l the end of the session of Parliament af-ter December 31, 1863. James Douglas, already governor of Vancouver Island, was i n addition appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the 16 new colony on September 2, 1858, with authority to govern the colony as he saw f i t , subject to the disallowance of his acts 17 by the British government. He was, however, forced to sever a l l connection with the Hudson's Bay Company, and the Company lost i t s license for exclusive trade with the Indians of B r i -tish Columbia. Lytton's despatches to Douglas during the summer of 1858 outlined the principles by which the colony was to be governed. The Colonial Secretary hoped that the colony would soon be self-supporting, and while realizing that the governor's know-ledge of local conditions would influence the means adopted to raise revenue, Lytton suggested an export tax on gold, duties on alcoholic beverages, and the sale of public land. Douglas was reminded that his extraordinary governing powers were only temporary, and that i t was the desire of the British Government that representative institutions and self government should be established. It was suggested to Douglas that he form a tem-porary council as a step towards representative government, "...calling i n this manner to your aid such persons as the 18. B. C. Papers. Part 1. pp. 3-5. I D i d - . PP. 8-9. -16-18 miners themselves may place confidence i n . " The appointment by the governor of Hudson's Bay Company men to f i l l governmen-t a l posts i n the colony might arouse suspicion; Douglas was therefore asked to inform the Colonial Office of situations to be f i l l e d , and qualified men would be sent out from England. A detachment of Royal Engineers would be despatched to assist in the development of the colony, under the command of Colonel Richard Clement Moody, who would also be Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works i n Bri t i s h Columbia and would hold a dormant commission as Lieutenant Governor. The f i r s t four o f f i c i a l s to be sent out were Wymond Hamley, Collector of Customs, Char-tres Brew, Inspector of Police, James Cooper, Harbour Master, 19 and Matthew B a i l l i e Begbie, Judge. On November 19, 1858, the colony of Bri t i s h Columbia was o f f i c i a l l y proclaimed at Fort Langley on the Fraser. There Governor Douglas administered the oath of office to Judge Beg-bie, and the judge then administered to Douglas the oaths of office and allegiance. The proclamation revoking the Hudson's Bay Company's license for exclusive trade with the Indians was read, and the governor then issued three proclamations, the f i r s t announcing the Act creating the Colony of B r i t i s h Colum-bia, the second validating the acts of the governor before that date, and the third declaring English law to be i n force 18. Lytton to Douglas, August 14, 1858, B. C. Papers.  Part 1. p. 48 19. Great Britain, Colonial Office, Returns of a l l Ap- pointments. C i v i l . Military, and Ecclesiastical. ...to the Colony of Bri t i s h Columbia. March 18, 1859, PPHC 146. - 1 7 -i n the colony. It was recognized at the outset that the duties of the Royal Engineers assigned to the colony would not be solely military. They would include the execution of surveys i n ar-eas where settlement was anticipated, and other duties de-signed to assist the colony's development. Officers were cho-sen who were proficient i n construction and surveying. Other ranks were as carefully selected; the force, totalling 165 men, included architects, draughtsmen, surveyors, carpenters, masons, and blacksmiths. Colonel Moody's instructions from the Colonial Office 20 were exp l i c i t . while the governor's authority was supreme, the Engineers had special duties which would not normally be interfered with. Surveying to permit land sales was to begin promptly, and sites were to be chosen for a maritime port and for others inland, keeping i n mind the military advantages of their location. The possibility of improving the navigability of the Fraser River was to be considered. Careful studies of the resources of the colony were to be carried out, and reports on these were to be sent to the Colonial Office. The Engineers were to be used as a military force only when necessary. The expenses of the Engineers would be paid by "...the immediate raising of large Revenues from the land sales and other re-sources of the Colony, sufficient to defray from the outset the expenses of the survey and of a l l other except the salary 20. H. Merivale, Under Secretary for the Colonies, to Moody, August 23, 1 8 5 8 , B . C. Papers. Part I . P P . 5 5 -5 6 ; Lytton to Moody, October 29, 1 8 5 8 , Ibid, pp. 7 3 --18-21 of the Governor". If funds were not available i n the colony the British Government would bear the expense, but the colony would have to repay these advances. The Engineers travelled to the colony i n three groups. The f i r s t two groups totalling about thirty men arrived i n time to be present at the inauguration of the colony at Fort Langley, and began to construct buildings for the main body of troops. This large group of 183 men, women and children ar-rived at Vancouver Island i n April 1859. Meanwhile Colonel Moody had reached Victoria with his family on Christmas Day, 1858, and was sworn i n as Lieutenant Governor and Commissioner of Crown Lands for British Columbia, and Commander of the Land Forces of B r i t i s h Columbia and Vancouver Island. Early i n 1859 Moody examined the lower Fraser River, seeking a suitable site for the capital of the new colony. Governor Douglas had already chosen Derby, on the south bank of the river a few miles below Fort Langley, and i n November of the previous year a public auction of town lots there had realized about |65,000. Vork was begun on barracks for the Engineers, and tenders were called for a court house, j a i l , church and parsonage. Moody's study of the river, however, convinced him that the governor's choice was unsuitable. In a 22 long report to Douglas which was transmitted to Lytton,Moody 21. -Ibid, p. 55. 22. Moody to Douglas, January 28, 1859, B. C. Papers. Part 2. PPC 2578, 1859, p. 60. -19-gave detailed- reasons why the new capital should be situated on the north bank of the river. Foremost of these was the a b i l i t y to defend the colony i n the event of h o s t i l i t i e s with the United States, for the isolated colony had reason to fear American ex-pansionist aims. After considering the geography of the lower Fraser, Moody decided upon the present site of New Westminster. This would require building the capital on a h i l l s i d e , but the military advantages of the position were very great, and the waterfront was suitable for the construction of a port for ocean-going vessels. Although the governor had the power to overrule Moody he must have realized the wisdom of the engineer's choice. Accor-dingly Douglas formally authorized by proclamation the laying out of the capital of Br i t i s h Columbia on February 14, 1859, on the f i r s t high ground on the north shore after entering the r i -ver, about fifteen miles above the sand heads. Work was stopped at Derby, and the Engineers stationed there were moved to the site of the new capital. When an argument arose as to whether the capital should be called Queenborough or Queensborough, Queen Victoria was asked to decide the issue. She chose the name New Westminster, and i n July Governor Douglas proclaimed the change. Those who had purchased lots at Derby were allowed to exchange them for lots at New Westminster. By the end of Ap r i l 1859, a l l the Engineers had arrived i n the colony. The work done by the advance parties at Derby to prepare for the main party was abandoned. Thus the Engineers' -20-f i r s t task was to build l i v i n g quarters for themselves. The site chosen by Colonel Moody for the capital was on a slope covered by a dense growth of towering cedar, hemlock, and f i r . The task of clearing this virgin stand of timber was prodigi-ous: Felling the trees forms but a small part of i t . when they are down, they are...too large to be removed, and they have to be sawn and cut up into blocks handy for removal or burning. That done, the hardest work remains. In forests such as these the roots of the giant trees have been spreading underground for ages, forming a close..,' network some"eight or ten feet beneath the surface. To dig this mass of interlaced roots would defy the strength and patience of ordinary men.2^ Despite these d i f f i c u l t i e s the Engineers soon cleared the 24 site for their camp, which was called Sapperton, and began . the construction of barracks. At the same time, surveying of the capital was begun with the aid of c i v i l i a n surveyors to augment the military survey party. Miners, awaiting the f a l l of the Fraser before proceeding to the gold-bearing sand bars of the Interior, were employed as laborers. When they l e f t the capital, Indians were engaged to replace them. Clearing the site of the capital was even more d i f f i c u l t than preparing the ground at Sapperton, for the h i l l s i d e was steeper and was cut by several ravines. Nevertheless there was confidence i n the future prosperity of the town. Early i n June 1859 the f i r s t sale of lots was held at a public ~~, R. C. Mavne. Four Years i n British Columbia and ~ Vancouver Island. London, John Murrary, 1862, p. 87. 24. The Engineers' camp was just east of the present Provincial Penitentiary. F e d er a. / -21-auction; and over $90,000 was realized for 505 lo t s . The auctioneer announced on the authority of Governor Douglas that the money would be used to build roads i n the town, a promise that was later to arouse dissension when i t was not kept. Meanwhile the gold rush continued. During 1859 the center of mining began to shift northward along the upper Fraser and i t s tributaries above the dangerous canyon, that i s , from Hope and Yale to the area around Lytton and Lillooet. Gold i n paying quantities lured the miners onward. The t r i -butaries sometimes proved more profitable than the main stream; some miners who ascended the Quesnel River to Cariboo Lake made strikes which paid as much as $200 per man per day, poin-ting the way to even richer strikes a few years later when the Cariboo gold rush was on. Bar mining began to give way to sluice mining, requiring more capital but yielding better re-sults. In the interior of the colony a white man was no longer a rarity; Howay estimates that i n 1859 a thousand men were mining i n the triangle formed by Alexandria and Fort George, 25 on the Fraser, and Quesnel Lake. Late i n 1859 gold was found near the mouth of the Simil-kameen River, due east of Hope, by men employed i n marking the international boundary. Hope and Yale had already witnessed an exodus north to the Quesnel d i s t r i c t ; now much of the re-maining population l e f t for. the Similkameen. There they were joined by a smaller rush from American territory. The 25. Howay and Scholefield, British Columbia, vol. 2, p. 72. -22-diggings were profitable; i n the f a l l of 1860 about six hundred men were engaged i n mining along the shores of the river and at Rock Creek nearby. The miners who l e f t Hope and Yale to go north to the Ques-nel or east to the Similkameen were forced to follow rough t r a i l s which made the transport of supplies d i f f i c u l t and ex-pensive. Two Hudson's Bay Company t r a i l s had been built i n fur-trading days to connect Kamloops, at the junction of the North and South Thompson Rivers, with the lower mainland, but one had been abandoned and the other was inadequate to supply the needs of the miners. Neither served the upper Fraser valley directly. Above Yale the terrain through the Fraser canyon made t r a i l and road building extremely d i f f i c u l t , and an alternative route was sought to supply the growing influx of miners on the upper Fraser. The government of the colony readily appreciated that communications must be improved i f the potentialities of the interior were to be realized. As early as 1858 Governor Doug-las foresaw the value of a t r a i l joining Douglas, at the head of Harrison Lake and easily reached by boat from the lower Fraser, to Lillooet and thence down the Fraser to Lytton. This was a roundabout route but i t avoided the expense of cut-ting a t r a i l along the steep rock walls of the Fraser between Yale and Lytton. Funds were scarce and there was l i t t l e sur-plus manpower—the Engineers had not yet arrived—but the governor solved these problems. He called together a group of -23-miners and offered them free transportation to the head of Har-rison Lake and free food i n return for their labor i n construe ting the t r a i l . Since i t was to the miners' advantage to build a better t r a i l to Lytton, the men readily agreed. The t r a i l was completed i n two months and reduced the cost of transpor-ting the goods from Yale to Lytton by about, half, although the new route was more than twice as long as the more direct one by way of the canyon. The influx of miners into the Quesnel d i s t r i c t i n succee-ding years increased the importance of this route to the inte-r i o r , and i n 1860 and 1861 the Royal Engineers together with c i v i l i a n contractors widened and improved the t r a i l , again re-ducing the cost of transporting supplies. Commenting on the improvement, Commander Mayne, one of the Engineers, said i n his memoirs: "...the change was, indeed, great since my last v i s i t . Then the traveller scrambled...by a wretched t r a i l , carried, quite unnecessarily, over the steepest h i l l s and roughest placed. Now, however, we were journeying along a waggon-road which would be no discredit to many parts of England Although the Harrison-Lillooet route to the upper Fraser was a comparatively inexpensive and safe means of transporting supplies, the need for a more direct route through the Fraser canyon was apparent. In 1860 the government arranged for p r i -vate contractors with some assistance from the Engineers to build a t r a i l from Yale to Boston Bar—roughly half the 26. Mayne, Four Years i n B r i t i s h Columbia, p. 205. -24-distance to Lytton. Governor Douglas-visited the d i s t r i c t i n October 1860 and commented on the t r a i l : In riding over the face of these frowning c l i f f s , which a twelvemonth ago seemed to defy a l l improvement, i t i s impossible to suppress a feeling of thankfulness and intense gratification at the successful issue of our l a -bours and their probable influence on the trade and deve-lopment of the country. 2' An existing t r a i l completed the connection to Lytton. Together they constituted an improvement over the Harrison-Lillooet route, and might have proved adequate to serve the needs of the interior for a number of years. But early i n 1861 rumors of new and fabulously rich strikes i n the Cariboo d i s t r i c t pro-mised a new rush to the Interior. It soon became evident that a wagon road through the canyon was essential to the develop-ment of the colony. The smaller gold rush to the Similkameen-Rock Creek dis^ t r i c t i n 1860 prompted the government to build a t r a i l from Hope to serve the miners. This t r a i l , called the Dewdney T r a i l after the chief contractor, was surveyed by the Royal Engineers. Early in 1861 the Engineers were directed to re-place the Dewdney t r a i l by a wagon road because the number of miners i n the area seemed to warrant an improvement i n commu-nications. The road was not completed; after twenty-five miles had been built news of the Cariboo rush drew men from the sout-hern parts of the colony i n such numbers as to render the ex-pense required to complete the road an unjustified extravagance. Most of the roads and t r a i l s i n the colony were constructed 27. B. C. Papers. Part 4. PPC 2952,1862, p. 30. -25-over d i f f i c u l t terrain. This and the cost of transporting supplies to the construction crews made the opening of commu-28 nications extremely costly. To avoid saddling the young colony with a large debt i n i t s early years Governor Douglas instituted a t o l l system. By a proclamation of October 15, 1860, a t o l l of one shillin g on every f i f t y pounds was levied on goods destined for the interior leaving Hope, Yale, or Douglas, at the head of Harrison Lake. Meanwhile the growth of the capital of the colony had been slow. In i t s early days New Westminster had been a mag-net to tradesmen and merchants who were eager^to profit from the gold seekers on their way to the diggings. By the time the Engineers began carving a townsite from the virgin timber, a bakery, a general store, and the inevitable saloon had ap-peared, surrounded by the tents and rough huts of a typical frontier town. But the population of the new colony was f l u i d i n these early years. Rumors of rich strikes from 1859 to 1861 drew men from Yale to Lytton and Lillooet, from Hope to Rock Creek, and from a l l points to the Quesnel area. Some who came to the capital to settle and establish businesses were beguiled by exaggerated accounts of easy wealth i n the gold fiel d s ; hastily selling their goods for miners' tools and sup-plies they would leave for the mines hoping to strike i t r i c h . Too often their hopes were dashed and they would return empty handed, or secure work as laborers on others' proved claims. 28. Roads and bridges accounted for the largest single item of government expenditure i n 1860. -26-Each winter many interior miners, unable to withstand the cold weather, returned to Victoria and New Westminster to work, i f work was available, and accumulate a "stake" for the next sea-son. This ever-changing population may account for the lack of figures concerning the size of the community i n the years 1859-1861. Governor Douglas i n a despatch to the Colonial Office i n the spring of 1861 stated the populations of New Westminster, Hope, and Douglas were 164, 108, and 33 adult males respective-29 l y . An estimate of,300, population i n New Westminster at this time, not counting the Engineers, would seem to be reasonable. One reason for the slow growth of New Westminster was the nature of the site i t s e l f . The problem of clearing the dense growth of timber and removing the roots has already been men-tioned; preparing the ground for construction was also unusu-a l l y expensive. . The government had realized $90,000 from the f i r s t sale of town lots i n June 1859 and had promised to use the money for clearing and grading the streets of the capital. But the promise was broken. Financial d i f f i c u l t i e s arose, and the governor decided that the Treasury could not afford the ex-pense. A deputation of. New Westminster pioneers visited the governor i n December and requested that at least Columbia Street, which had been designated as the main street of the capital, should be graded, and that two bridges should be built ; - \ -, f , 29. Douglas to the Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State -r for the Colonies, April 21, 1861, cited i n W.N. Sage, Sir James Douglas and B r i t i s h Columbia. University of Toronto Press, 1930, p. 294. Newcastle succeeded Lytton i n June, 1859. -27-across the ravines that intersected i t . Early i n 1860 this was done. But public confidence i n the capital was influenced by the apparent lack of government support. In April when the second sale of town lots was offered to the public, the auc-tioneer was howled down i n protest over the failure of the go-vernment to clear and grade streets. When the delayed auction was held a month later, only thirty-three lots for a total of $25,000 were sold. It should be pointed out at this time the San Juan boun-dary dispute between Great Britain and the United States was coming to a head. Thus Engineers who would have been .available for surveying streets i n the capital were sent with: the Royal Marines to San Juan Island. Other Engineers were building roads and t r a i l s elsewhere in the colony. , Yet the chief reason for the failure of the government to clear and grade the streets of the capital seems to have been the reluctance to release the required funds, for there was labor available i n the floating population of miners i n the town. The growth of the capital was also hindered by the attitude of Governor Douglas, since he was the government. The suggest tion put forth by Lytton i n his instructions of 1858 that Douglas form a temporary council as a move i n the direction of representative government had been neatly sidestepped. In March,1859, Colonel Moody and Judge Begbie were appointed mem-bers of the governor's Executive Council. Thus Douglas "... met the letter, but not the s p i r i t , of the instructions....The Despatch clearly meant that the council should consist not of of f i c i a l s who already had a voice i n (government^ policy, hut of, persons who were closely i n touch with and understood the 30 r wants of the mining population". Obviously the governor pre-ferred to legislate by proclamation. He; had no desire to share his authority with a council. He was able to rule the colony almost singlehanded u n t i l a few months before he was succeeded as governor i n 1864. This lack of representative government aroused the people of the capital against the p o l i -cies of the governor. Another grievance was absentee government. Neither the governor nor any of his o f f i c i a l s lived i n the capital. C i t i -zens with o f f i c i a l business to conduct with the government were thus forced to journey to Victoria; furthermore they were obliged to pay a tax of $1 head money on their return. Com-plaints to the Colonial Office resulted i n one government of-f i c i a l , Captain Gossett, the Treasurer, moving to New Westmin-ster i n 1860, but the continuation of absentee government was another source of i r r i t a t i o n to the people of the, capital. In an effort to secure redress of their grievances and to stimulate the growth of the capital, representatives of New Westminster joined with delegates from Hope and Douglas i n for-warding a petition to the Colonial Secretary. This f i r s t peti-tion of May 1860 requested a resident governor and o f f i c i a l s , and representative government. When nothing was done a second 30. Howay and Scholefield, B r i t i s h Columbia, vol. 2, pp. 161-162. -29-petition was drawn up early i n 1861. Among the grievances listed were the heavy road t o l l s , the fee of twelve shillings a ton on a l l goods leaving New Westminster, and certain dis-criminatory practices which stimulated Vancouver Island at the expense of the mainland. This petition was being prepared when the New Westminster B r i t i s h Columbian began publication i n February 1861 and was one of the f i r s t causes to be cham-pioned by that newspaper. Lacking a voice i n the government of the capital, the peo-ple of New Westminster had no defence against the governor's policy of legislating by proclamation. One proclamation i n 1860 deprived the capital of considerable trade by naming Victoria a free port, while New Westminster merchants were re-quired to pay a duty of ten per cent., on many essential goods. Thus many miners found i t to their advantage to travel to Vic-toria for their supplies and ship them direct to the interior, bypassing New Westminster entirely. "Naturally this discrimi-natory t a r i f f worked a tremendous hardship on merchants on the 31 mainland". Industries i n the capital such as shipbuilding were handicapped by a ten per cent, duty on materials for con-struction. The failure of the government to clear and grade the streets of the capital, except for the improvements to Columbia Street already noted, led the people of New Westminster to seek 31. M. L. McDonald, "New Westminster, 1859-1871", unpub-lished Masters Thesis held by the University of B r i -t i s h Columbia, 1947, pp. 140-141. This was a valu-able source for the history of the early development of New Westminster. -30- • incorporation as a municipality. Incorporation would permit local taxation, the funds from which could be used for public works to foster the capital's development. In May 1860 a dele-gation approached the governor requesting incorporation. Having secured the approval of the Colonial Secretary Douglas agreed, and i n July New Westminster was proclaimed a municipality. Iro-vision was made for seven councilmen, to be elected by. property holders of twenty-one years of age or older. The council could tax town lots and buildings up to £2 per £100 valuation, and impose an additional levy of up to £5 per £100 with the appro-val of the voters. The f i r s t election was held i n August 1860, and the council spent most of the tax receipts of the f i r s t year i n clearing operations. Even after the incorporation of New Westminster, revenues from the sale of town lots went d i -rectly into the colonial treasury. On the ground that this was unjust the council secured a grant of £1,000 for the year 1860-1861 from Victoria. Thus although the capital secured a mea-sure of independence from the governor's authority, and some control over i t s own finances, there remained grounds for fu-ture i r r i t a t i o n over the question of revenues from the sale of public lands. The attitude of the governor towards the new colony i n the years 1859-1861 was one of parsimonious control. This led to discontent and demands for redress of grievances. But to a great extent the governor's hands were tied . The Colonial Office, f a i l i n g to realize the d i f f i c u l t i e s of road building, -31-land clearing, and food production i n the new colony, blindly insisted that a colony so rich i n gold must pay i t s own way. Douglas was thus forced to find the necessary revenue solely within the colony. Since the miners stood to profit most from the colony, on them was placed the greatest burden. In 1858 a head tax of $2, reduced the following year to $1, was levied on each person entering the colony. Miners' licenses, o r i g i -nally costing twenty-one shillings a month, were reduced to £1 a year i n 1859. A tax of twelve shillings a ton was levied on a l l goods.leaving New Westminster, and an ad valorem duty of ten per cent, was placed on many essential goods entering the colony. Customs duties, liquor licenses, land sales, water rights, ferry sites, and road t o l l s increased the revenue.-Complaints of oppressive and unjust taxation became causes which the Bri t i s h Columbian was later to champion, but i t i s to the governor's credit that he kept the colony free from debt during i t s f i r s t two years. A d e f i c i t of £2,135 i n 1859 was wiped out by a surplus of about £10,000 i n 1860. When the New Westminster British Columbian began publica-tion i n February 1861 much had been, accomplished since the co-lony and the capital were founded, and much remained to be done. In the colony, gold had brought wealth to some and a substantial l i v i n g to many. Vague rumors sweeping through the mining camps of new riches i n the Cariboo country promised another and greater.rush to the interior. T r a i l s to the mining camps were adequate, but demands were being voiced for a more -32-direct route through the Fraser canyon to reduce the cost of supplies at the mines. Thanks to the wisdom and a b i l i t y of Judge Begbie and Chartres Brew, there was l i t t l e of the law-lessness that had occurred at the California mines. The In-dians remained pacified, and some of the mining towns gave promise, of developing into stable and prosperous communities. But the wealth of gold, the f i r s t great strength of the colony, was also indirectly a weakness. Many who came to farm or set up business were swept into the stream of gold-seekers leaving for the mines. The few farms around Derby and on e i -ther side of the Fraser at New Westminster were wholly insuf-ficient to supply the agricultural needs of the colony. Food had to be imported; even the promise of moderate wealth be-cause of high food prices failed to attract farmers when there was the chance of a fortune i n the mines.Industry likewise remained undeveloped, requiring the. importation—at a; ten per cent, duty—of a l l but a few manufactured art i c l e s . These i n -dications of an unbalanced economy were directly traceable to the gold rush, and presented problems which would be d i f f i c u l t to solve u n t i l the gold rush had run i t s course. , In the capital i t s e l f there were, despite the problems a l -ready noted, factors i n favour of steady future growth. As the f i r s t town above the mouth of the Fraser, New Westminster was assured of i t s position as a trading center. The'governor's proclamation of June 2, 1859, named i t the sole port of entry 32 for a l l vessels entering the colony: as the chief port,with 32. B.C. Papers. Part 3. PPC 2724, 1860, p. 55. -33-deep water wharves and l i t t l e affected by tides i t could count on becoming a terminus for ocean-going vessels. It was the largest town i n the colony and the best supply center for the miners. Thus i t could act as a two-way funnel, receiving goods from many points by sea and shipping them throughout the co-lony. There was ample water frontage for future" industrial de-velopment, although by the spring of 1861 the total industrial capacity of the town consisted of one -sawmill. There was ex-cellent s o i l nearby for agricultural expansion, and a demand for farm products with few farms to supply them. There was a need for increased shipping f a c i l i t i e s , the two docks available being unable to handle the number of vessels calling at the ca-p i t a l . As the capital city i t s importance to the rest of the colony was assured. A pioneer entering the colony early i n 1861 would have found a town of over a hundred buildings overlooking the Fra-ser, with wood giving way to more permanent brick i n some new construction. He would haver\found stores, churches, hotels, saloons, some rough huts and a few attractive homes hewn out of the dense growth of timber, together with a number of govern-ment buildings: Customs House and Treasury, Survey Office, Court House, Magistrate's Office and J a i l . Had he arrived on Thursday February 14, 1861, he .might have seen the f i r s t issue of John Robson's pioneer newspaper, The British Columbian. Chapter 2 THE EDITOR AND THE NEWSPAPER -34-Throughout history there have been many important personalities who have l e f t behind them few written records by which future generations could reconstruct their early lives and formative years. John Hob son i s an outstanding example i n British Columbia annals. The personal history of this interesting figure i s beyond the scope of this work, but a study of his writings naturally brings to mind a number of questions concerning their author. Unfortunately many of these must go unanswered. So far as can be learned, John Rob-son l e f t no diaries or personal papers, and his descendants have added l i t t l e to what i s known of this pioneer Kew West-minster editor. One might expect the early years of his news--a, paper to be rich source of information i n this respect: a few personal articles written by Robson might have revealed a wealth of facts valuable i n a reconstruction of his l i f e . The search proved disappointing, for Robson rarely mentions his 1 personal l i f e i n his writings. Thus i t i s d i f f i c u l t to learn 1. It i s barely possible that Robson had good reason to prevent his personal l i f e from becoming public knowledge. Mr. Roy W. Brown, a prominent Vancouver newspaperman who i n his youth knew Robson's brother Ebenezer, a pioneer Methodist minister i n B r i t i s h Columbia, told the writer that Ebenezer considered John "a black sheep". (Interview with/Mr. Roy Brown, August 22, 1950). -35-JOHN ROBSON Reproduced from Howay and Scholefield, British Columbia, vol. 3, p. 997. - 3 6 -how he prepared himself, wittingly or unwittingly, during his twenties and early t h i r t i e s , for the important part he was to play i n the colonial history of Br i t i s h Columbia and later i n the p o l i t i c a l history of the province. Only once during the years 1861-1869 does Robson write at any length concerning his personal l i f e before his a r r i v a l i n Bri t i s h Columbia, and there the reference i s disappointingly brief. He t e l l s us that "... QieJ came to this Country i n the spring of '59; but finding things i n a very different shape from what he anticipated, he.went to work in earnest at grading, grubbing, chopping, making shingles, or such work as he could get, altho' he had for fifteen years been engaged i n commercial 2 business before coming here." By adding to this the known facts of Robson's early l i f e , a brief sketch of this pioneer Bri t i s h Columbia editor emerges. John Robson was born i n Perth, Upper Canada, on March 14, 3 1824, the second of sixteen children. His parents were Scots. 4 His father, John Robson, who came to Canada i n 1820, was a man of high ideals and an elder i n the Presbyterian church. His mother, Euphemia Richardson Thompson, was a widow [With two 2. The British Columbian (hereafter called The B. C.V. October 29, 1862. 3 . J. >B.. Kerr, Biographical Dictionary of Well-Known  British Columbians. Vancouver, Kerr and Kerr, 1890, p. 279. 4. Howay and Scholefield, B r i t i s h Columbia, vol. 5, 8<ogra.p/,icii, pp. 996-1002. -37-rief 5 children before his- remarriage. John received his education at Perth Grammar School; apparently he did not attend a universi-7 ty. Part of his formative years were spent on the shores of 8 9 L a k e Huron, both i n Sarnia, and i n Bayfield, twelve miles south of Goderich. He was married i n April 1854 to Susan Long-worth of Goderich. Information, on Robson's whereabouts and occupation after he l e f t school and before he arrived i n British Columbia i s extremely meager. We know that he was engaged for a time as a clerk i n a mercantile firm i n Montreal, and later went into the dry-goods business i n partnership with his brother Robert at B a y f i e l d . 1 0 He was apparently drawn to British Columbia by the lure of gold, 1 3" and travelled to the Pacific Coast by way of isthmus of Panama in company with C. G. Major, who had been a 12 clerk i n the Robson's business i n eastern Canada., 5. R. E. Gosnell, A History of British Columbia. The Lewis Publishing Co., 1906, p. 371. 6. V. S. Wallace, The Encyclopaedia of Canada. Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1937, vol. 5, p.258. 7. Howay and Scholefield, op. c i t . . p. 1002. 8. G. C. Hacker, "The Methodist Church i n Bri t i s h Colum-bia, 1859-1900", Unpublished Graduation-Essay held by The University of British Columbia, 1933, p. 4.' 9. The B. C.. June 27, 1861. 10. The B. C June 30, 1892; McDonald, "New Westminster", p. 392. 11. Kerr, Biographical Dictionary, p. 279. 12. Howay and Scholefield, B r i t i s h Columbia . vol 3, p. 159. -38-Arriving i n Victoria from San Francisco on.the Forwood on 13 June 18, 1859, Robson journeyed to New Westminster before the end of the month "... en route to the 'gold f i e l d s , " 1 4 We do not know just how long he remained at the mines, although i t 15 was apparently only a short time. His hopes of quick riches were not realized, and he turned to other pursuits: "Being un-successful at H i l l ' s Bar, Yale, he took to the woods and a-chieved for himself the reputation of boss axeman of B r i t i s h Columbia, and secured contracts for clearing lots at New West-minster." One of the projects in-which he was engaged at this time was the "construction, i n company with his brother the Rev. Ebenezer Robson, of the f i r s t Methodist church i n New 17 Westminster. In February 1861 John Robson abandoned his career as a woodsman and became a newspaper editor. Although the town of New Westminster was then only two years old, Robson's journal was not the f i r s t to appear i n the capital, neither was i t the 18 f i r s t to be published there. In September 1859 the New West-minster Times. published i n Victoria and brought to the capital 13. Victoria Gazette. June 21, 1859. 14. Hacker, "Methodist Church", p. 25. 15. Hacker says i t was "...a matter of weeks...." (loc.  c i t . ) : The B. C.. June 30, 1892, says "...some months...." 16. Victoria Colonist (hereafter called Colonist)June 30, 1892. 17. Hacker, "Methodist Church", p. 20. 18. cf. Wallace, ed., Encyclopedia of Canada, vol. 5, p. 258, calls i t "...the f i r s t newspaper on the mainland." -39-19 by boat, had appeared. In March 1860 i t was sold to Leonard . . McClure who brought the press to New Westminster. Early i n 1861 McClure l e f t New Westminster for Victoria where he started the Victoria Press with which he merged the New Westminster Times. " The [New Westminster Times] plant was purchased by a number of leading citizens and our humble self engaged to 21 publish therewith the Bri t i s h Columbian ." This brief remark was the only reference to the establish-ment of the newspaper that was found i n Robson's writings. Who the leading citizens were, and why John Robson should be chosen editor and proprietor, we dp not know. Unfortunately none of the early business records of the newspaper are avai-lable. These were destroyed i n the great f i r e of September 10, 1898, when the whole business section of New Westminster was 22 ' gutted. It i s d i f f i c u l t to believe that Robson- could become editor McDonald, "New Westminster", p. 391. M. Wolfenden, "Early Government Gazettes", The British  Columbia Historical Quarterly, vol. VII, (July, 1943), p. 182. The B. C . May 13, 1863. Robson himself may have con-tributed some of the capital required. If so, his share was probably small, for on his return from the mines "His financial resources were extremely limited...." Howay and Scholefield, B r i t i s h Columbia, vol. 3, p. 999. Howay and Scholefield.- B r i t i s h Columbia, vol. 2, p. 498. Because of the loss of these records we must leave unanswered such interesting questions as the type of press used, i t s motive power, the number of copies printed, the source of newsprint, the number of Rob-son's employees and^their names, the hours they worked, the wages they earned, and many others. 19. 20. 21. 22. -40-and sole proprietor of a newspaper without some experience i n the occupation, but unfortunately definite information i s lack-ing . Dr. W.K. Lamb says that Robson "...seems to have joined ~ 23 the staff of the New Westminster Times i n 1860 ....", . and Mrs McDonald adds:"... [he] probably worked for , McClure jfor a few 24 months." Robson himself i s extremely laconic on.this point: he t e l l s us that he began publishing The B r i t i s h Columbian 25 "...without editorial experience...i" Whether he was better qualified to act as the proprietor of a newspaper i s doubtful., Robson's only reference to the question i s somewhat vague: i n the seventh anniversary issue he remarks that he assumed this responsibility "...bringing l i t t l e or no professional experi-ence to the task of directing [The B r i t i s h Columbian's] „26 course...." Despite Robson's meager experience i n newspaper work he guided the journal safely through the f i r s t year without mis-sing an issue—something of an accomplishment i n a pioneer community. Following completion of the f i r s t volume, those who had subscribed to establish The B r i t i s h Columbian held a meeting and expressed their satisfaction with Robson's editor-ship. Thereupon they "...voluntarily resigned a l l claim upon 23. W. K. Lamb, "John Robson vs. J. K. Suter", The  British Columbia Historical-Quarterly, vol. 4, (July 19407, p. 207. ' ^ 24. McDonald, "New Westminster", p. 392. 25. The B. C . February 13, 1862. 26. The B. C February 12, 1868.. -41-the office, i n our favor, thereby constituting us the sole and absolute proprietor, as well as Editor, of the Br i t i s h Colum- bian ...," 2 7 In spite of the optimistic tone of Robson1s remark, the motive of his patrons i n withdrawing from the newspaper ven-ture may have been fear of financial loss, for there i s evi-dence that the newspaper was not profitable:" In his endeavours to carry on his paper...he and his family suffered very much, 28 being at times put to very great s t r a i t s . " Although he en-gaged an assistant J. E. McMillan for the f i r s t two years after 29 the journal was founded, he probably performed the functions P • ' "?-of reporter, editor, typesetter, and press operator for many of the issues that appeared between 1861 and 1869. "I remember when he ran his paper at New Westminster," said Wymond Hamley 30 in 1892. "He wrote a l l himself and put i t a l l i n type...." Robson's ina b i l i t y to make his newspaper more profitable can be traced to,-the colony's economic condition rather than to his lack of experience or business acumen, for he continued publish-ing his journal for several years after the depression of the eighteen-sixties began to strangle the mainland. 27. The B. C . May 21, 1864. 28. Colonist. June 30, 1892. 29. Wolfenden, B. C. Hist. Q.. vol.. VII, (July, 1943), p. 189. McMillan bought a half interest i n Robson's journal in*1865 but sold out about 1867. loc. c i t . 30. Colonist, loc. c i t . -42-There i s ample evidence that John Robson was a- respected and valuable member of the young colony during the years when his newspaper was published i n New Westminster. He was vice-president of the Board of Management of the Royal Columbian 31 Hospital, chairman of the New Westminster Exploration Asso-32 elation, director of The British Columbia Coal Mining Com-33 pany, and president of the New Westminster District Agricul-34 tural Society, to name a few of the positions of responsibi-l i t y held by this pioneer editor. While i n New Westminster he laid the foundation for his later pol i t i c a l * career. In 1864 he was elected to the Municipal Council and the following.year was named president of that body. In 1867 he was chosen to re-present New Westminster i n the legislature of the united colony, an office he held u n t i l 1870. Undoubtedly his position as. the editor of the most influential mainland newspaper greatly 36 forwarded his p o l i t i c a l ambitions. 3 1 • The B. C.. February 13, 1862. 32. Ibid.. August 13, 1864. 33. Ibid.. July- 27. 1865. 34. Ibid.. December 11, 1867. 35. Kerr, Biographical Dictionary, p. 279. 36. John Robson was destined to occupy a prominent posi-tion i n the later history of the province. He re-presented Nanaimo i n the legislature from 1871 to 1875 while serving as editor-in-chief, of the Vic-toria Colonist. In 1875 he became paymaster of the Canadian Pacific Railway for i t s western surveys, holding1his position u n t i l the office was abolished in 1879. Returning to New Westminster i n 1880 he resumed publication of The British Columbian. (over) -43-While an appraisal of the influence of John Robson i n British Columbia history must await a definitive study of this important personality, i f one can be made, these brief remarks w i l l give some impression of the editor of the newspaper under consideration. Let us turn now for a glance at the medium through which Robson expressed his attitude to the problems of the colony, The British Columbian newspaper. The f i r s t issue of The British Columbian appeared on Thursday February 13, 1861. The newspaper appeared once a week during i t s f i r s t year and usold for one shi l l i n g or 37 twenty-five cents. Beginning i n April 1862 the paper was published twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the 38 price was cut to sixpence or twelve cents. An "extra" was published when Robson considered that the news warranted i t . After the f i r s t year when the paper appeared more often, extras appeared less frequently, judging by references made to selling out three years later. In 1882 he again entered p o l i t i c s and was elected to represent New Westminster. The following year he was appointed Provincial Secretary and Minister of Finance and Agriculture. In 1889, on the death of Premier A.E.B. Davie, Robson was called upon to form a cabinet. He served as Premier, Provincial Secretary, and Minister of Mines. He died on June 29, 1892, i n London, Eng-land, and was survived by his widow and a daughter. Two sona had predeceased their father. (Kerr, Bio- graphical Dictionary, pp. 278-280; The B. C . June 30, 1892; Colonist. June 30, 1892).; 37. The yearly rate was £1 10s or |7.50. Clergymen could buy the paper for half price. 38 The B. C . April 30, 1862 -44-39 them i n regular issues. In February 1865 The Br i t i s h Columbian became a tri-weekly newspaper, appearing on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but with no reduction i n price. Announcing the change Robson sta-ted the paper would publish three times a week "...until such time as we shall feel justified i n issuing' daily, which we 40 trust w i l l not be many months." But he was too sanguine. Less than seven months later semi-weekly publication was resumed. Robson announced the change was necessary " . . . f i r s t because a tri-weekly issue i s not compatible with existing means of com-munication. . .and, secondly, i n consideration of the great ex-41 pense incurred i n getting telegraphic news." Underlying these reasons was the economic depression that was hindering the co-lony's development. Except during the Christmas and New Year holiday season when Robson sometimes announced that his journal would take a holiday, only once did the newspaper f a i l to appear on i t s re-gular day. Moving from Columbia Street to new offices i n 42 Lytton Square i n March 1862 did not interrupt publication, but when f i r e gutted the Lytton Square offices on September 29, 39. The extras are not included i n the f i l e of The B. C. i n the University of B r i t i s h Columbia Library. 40. The B. C February 21, 1865. 41• Ibid.. September 2, 1865. 42. Ibid.. March 27, 1862J -45-1866, the press was destroyed. The f i r e broke out at three o'clock i n the morning, and Robson was convinced i t was the work of a personal enemy. In reporting the disaster the editor said: 4^ That the f i r e was the work of some malicious person, or persons, as yet unknown, there i s , we are pained to say, not the slightest room to doubt. That we have, i n the course of our editorial career, been so unfortunate as to create enemies i s not surprising; but we were scarcely-prepared to find that enemies so made would adopt a mode of revenge so utterly repugnant to the feelings of honour and manhood. The belief that the f i r e may have been of incendiary o r i -gin i s supported by the offer of a $500 reward, by the Police Chief, Chartres Brew, for information leading to the arrest of 44 the supposed arsonist. Damage was estimated at over $4,000 and neither the building nor the press was insured. Robson1s friends immediately subscribed $1,000 to buy the offices and press of the defunct North Pacific Times, and publication was resumed after missing one issue. The Victoria Chronicle re-marked: " [The British Columbian's| morals have undergone no change after the fier y ordeal thro' which the paper has passed.™ The make-up of the newspaper varied l i t t l e during the 43. The B. C . October 3, 1866. This issue i s unusual i n that the outside (pages 1 and 4) which had been struck off before the f i r e bear the date September 29, while the inside pages which were not then i n type are da-ted October 3. 44. No mention of his capture was found i n the f i l e s of The B. C. The advertisement offering the reward ap-peared i n thirty-one issues before i t was disconti-nued after January 26, 1867. 45. Quoted i n The B. C . October 13, 1866.' -46-eight-year period studied. The front page usually carried the leading editorial i n the f i r s t column with advertisements i n the remaining four columns. The second and third pages con-tained less advertising, and included local, colonial, and world news, and letters to the editor, with often a second and sometimes a third editorial. The fourth page was usually given over completely to advertisements. The following details of.Robson's journal may be of inte-rest. From 1861 to 1869 the newspaper invariably consisted of four pages. The size of the paper used was generally speaking slightly smaller than the newsprint sheet of today. In the news and editorial columns the type varied from five to twelve point pica, with twelve point predominating, A great variety of type appeared i n the advertisements, from extra-condensed to extended, from lightface to extrabold, and ranging i n size from six to sixty point. Until April 1866 five columns made up a page; thereafter six were adopted. A few simple cuts were used to i l l u s t r a t e advertisements. Headlines rarely appeared and never extended to more than column width except i n adver-tisements. There was considerable variation in the c l a r i t y of type. In most issues the type i s clear, i n a few i t i s so faint as to be almost i l l e g i b l e . Misprints abounded. These have been corrected i n quotations wherever necessary. In an early issue the reprinting of the poem "A Time For Everything" provides an amusing example of a typesetter's blunder: There i s a time to meet The loved ones gone before, When we shall pass death's stream. And reach the heavenly sore. 4 6 Lack of conclusive evidence makes i t Impossible to assert that John Robson wrote a l l the editorials that appeared i n his newspaper. Yet there i s a measure of internal evidence to support this view: after reading approximately a thousand edi-torials a distinct pattern emerges. Almost invariably the edi-tor i a l s are prolix -. Their author had a love of verbosity that apparently made i t d i f f i c u l t for him to cover any topic i n less than five hundred words. Fifteen hundred word editorials are not uncommon. This i s due to redundancy, and because several topics are often discussed i n the same editorial. Thus the editorials tend to become disjointed, and rarely work up to a climax. There are many allusions to literature, particularly to the Bible and Shakespeare, with the former predominating. Too often the author strives for effect, and too often the re-sult i s a wealth of exaggeration that seems almost ludicrous to us today. Few editorials indicate any attempt at humor: 47 what wit there i s i s sarcastic and bitter. These characteris-t i c s , common to the great majority of the paper's editorials, indicate but do not prove that a l l came from Robson's pen. Yet i t i s a reasonable assumption that while Robson controlled the 46. The B. C . June 20, 1861. 47. An unintentional exception i s contained i n the f i r s t sentence of a serious editorial under the heading "The Indian Graves Ordinance." "The subject i s a grave one...." (The B.C.. March 30, 1865.) -48-paper they reflected his views. As might be expected i n a pioneer community, a l l but a handful of editorials are concerned with local and colonial affairs, with the latter predominating. Very few i n the period under study take cognizance of such momentous world events as the American C i v i l War and the Austro-Prussian War. The sources of information of the paper were varied, and depended to a large extent on the co-operation of Robson's sub-scribers. Much of the local news was .submitted by members of local organizations and by personal and business friends, a practice which the editor encouraged. Much of the colonial news was gathered by means of letters to the editor. Apparent-ly Robson persuaded miners returning to the interior after win-tering i n New Westminster and Victoria to send him the news from the mining centers. These letters appeared under such headings as "News from Lillooet" or, "The latest from Cariboo". They emphasized the condition of the roads and t r a i l s , and gave a wealth of detail i l l u s t r a t i n g the prosperity of the 48 mines, the cost of food, and so forth. Apparently Robson him-self never visited the interior, although i n 1861 and 1863 he made trips to Hope and Yale, sending back his impressions to the paper which reprinted them under the heading "Editorial Corre spondenc e". It i s lik e l y that Robson himself gathered the p o l i t i c a l news for his journal since he was a member of both the Munici-pal Council of New Westminster (1864-1865) and the colonial 48. Whether these amateur correspondents were paid by the newspaper i s not known. legislature (1866-1870). While the proceedings of the munici-pal council were carried i n brief, the activities of the legis-lature, following i t s inauguration i n January, 1864, were very f u l l y reported, particularly when Robson had made a speech. There i s evidence that the.editor used his newspaper to foster his p o l i t i c a l ambitions. While he was a member of the legis-lature, The Bri t i s h Columbian published many of his speeches in f u l l . The speeches of those with whom he disagreed were often disposed of in a few words. The manner i n which The Bri t i s h Columbian handled one item of p o l i t i c a l news was the direct cause of an assault upon John Robson, the results of which might well have proved s e r i -ous both to Robson himself and to R. T. Smith, his assailant. In April 1868, Smith, a member of the legislature, voted i n favor of a motion to establish free trade over a portion of the northern coast of the colony. Robson, who considered this proposed legislation absurd, reported Smith's vote i n the news-paper without comment, but enclosed Smith's name between two 49 50 " f i s t s " , thus:" jJ3gF=»R. T-. Smithc:^^". Two days later the editor was returning from.the legislature to the town when he was accosted by Smith on a secluded part of the road. Deman-ding to know what Robson had against him and receiving an un-satisfactory reply, Smith knocked Robson down with his f i s t . 49. "Fist" i s the printing term used by Robson. Actually the type used represented a pointing finger, as _ shown. 50. The B. C.. April 18, 1868. -50-Then, seizing the editor's walking stick and holding i t by the pointed end, he struck him on the head with the heavy handle. Robson grabbed the stick and managed to ris e , but Smith conti-nued to hit him with his f i s t s u n t i l Robson was rescued by two 51 colleagues of the legislature. Taken to a doctor, the editor was treated for a lacerated scalp and severe bruises. Robson promptly charged Smith with assault. When the case was heard, Smith declared that he had been abused i n Robson's newspaper by having his name placed between two " f i s t s " , c l a i -ming that he had been thus provoked into assaulting the editor. Robson replied that the news report i n question contained only facts and was not disrespectful, and that i f Smith took excep-tion to the " f i s t s " , i t was because of "...his ignorance of newspaper matters....The f i s t s merely called attention to the voter....It was for the facts, not the f i s t s , to explain whether the vote was praiseworthy or the reverse. If the defen-dant had given a disgraceful vote i t was, of course, disagr^ee-52 able to have public attention specially called to i t . " Robson wished to have the case tried by a higher court, and called attention to the seriousness of the crime. He poin-ted out that i t was committed i n a lonely place after the 51. The B. C.. Apri l 25, 1868. Dr. W. K. Lamb adds an interesting footnote relative to the cause of the as-sault. "According to the late W. H. Ladner, the mo-tive was revenge for an effort made by Robson to prevent Smith...from voting on the ground that he (Smith) was a bankrupt and should therefore f o r f e i t his seat in the council." (Lamb, B.C. Hist. G.. vol. 4, (July 1940) pp. 204-205.) 52. The B. C . April 25, 1868. defendant had nursed a grievance for two days, and that i t was 53 the second assault by Smith upon the editor within two weeks. His request was refused, but he had the satisfaction of hearing Smith sentenced to pay his $20 doctor's b i l l and also a fine of 54 £5, the highest which the court could levy. In The British Columbian, news of eastern Canada was re-stricted to the most important events, particularly during the f i r s t few years of publication. After 1865, however, there was a trend towards a greater coverage of news from this source, especially after Confederation i n 1867. News of the pioneer settlement at Red River was scant. The story of the Overlan-ders of 1862 who endured great hardships i n their journey a-cross the continent was printed i n a long a r t i c l e with i n s t a l l -ments appearing i n each issue from November 1862 to January 1863. The author was Thomas McMieking of Queenston, Upper 55 Canada, one of the original party. 53. No mention of this previous assault was found i n The  B.C. 54. The B.C.. April 25, 1868. This was not the f i r s t time that Robson's journal had printed Smith's name en-closed i n " f i s t s " . When, on April 25, 1864, Smith voted against admitting the press to the proceedings of the legislature, Robson singled out Smith's name i n exactly the same manner. (The B.C.. April 27, 1864); No evidence of repercussions of this previous "provo-cation" was found,and Robson's account of the t r i a l does not mention i t . 55. ' Apparently either Thomas or his brother R.B. McMicking, both of whom were members of the party, subscribed to The British Columbiani some of the copies of the news-paper i n the University of British Columbia Library have the~name "McMicking" written i n pencil at the top of the f i r s t page—an interesting link with the past. -52-World news was received by steamer during the paper's f i r s t four years, and emphasis was placed on the American C i v i l "War. In April 1865 the telegraph from San Francisco to New Westminster was completed: the f i r s t communication received 56 over the wire told of the assassination of President Lincoln. Thereafter world news was printed under the headline "By Magne-57 t i c Telegraph!" i t was highly condensed and appeared without comment or interpretation. Following Confederation i n eastern Canada there was a gradual shift i n emphasis from American news to Canadian and British news. In a l l but a few issues of The  British Columbian, local and colonial news received considerab-l y more space than world news. One gains the impression that the colonists were much too concerned with their own problems to take more than a passing interest i n world events. Those letters to the editor which did not concern news from the interior were as a rule of high quality. Many of them discussed the colonists' grievances and were often used by Robson as a basis for his editorials. Few of those printed c r i t i c i z e d the editor. Those which did were often the subject of sarcastic editorials, particularly when the writer's views 58 were known to be at variance with Robson's. 56. The B. C . April 20. 1865. 57. The inauguration of telegraph communication with California was the occasion for a well-written edito-r i a l giving the history of the telegraph and paying tribute to the enterprise of the United States. (The B.C.. April 22, 1865). 58. On one occasion Robson printed a f i c t i t i o u s letter which he may have written himself. A letter c r i t i -cizing Robson and signed "Philo Junius" had appeared i n the Victoria Chronicle. In the next issue of From September 1861 to December 1862 much of the revenue of The Bri t i s h Columbian was derived from the publication of "The Government Gazette", which appeared on the fourth page. In i t were included government notices such as postage rates, go-vernment proclamations, l i s t s of unclaimed letters, and invita-tions for tenders for government contracts. In September 1862 the government renewed the contract with the paper for another year, but i n December the Colonial Secretary notified Robson that after December 31 the Gazette would appear as a separate publication. Robson's indignation at what he considered high-handed treatment was expressed i n bitter editorials i n his 59 newspaper. He also pointed out that making the Government Gazette a separate publication and posting i t haphazardly throughout the colony would result i n far less publicity for government matters. Robson informed his readers that he would not hesitate to sue the government i f he could afford the ex-60 pense, D U t Miss M. Wolfenden points out that there was no written contract and Robson would undoubtedly have lost his 61 suit.  The British Columbian there appeared a letter signed Phil 0'Junius written i n broad Irish dialect and strongly taking Philo Junius to task for his views. One strongly suspects Robson was the author. (The B. C . March 21, 1863). 59. The B. G.. January 24, 1863> January 28, 1863; May 13, 1863. 60. Ibid.. January 28, 1863. 61. Wolfenden, B. C. Hist. Q.. vol. VII, (July, 1943), p. 176. -54-Indicative of the prosperity of The Br i t i s h Columbian was the proportion of space devoted to advertisements. The loss of the contract to publish the Government Gazette was apparently met by new advertising, and the ratio of news, editorials, and letters remained high. The paper maintained semi-weekly publi-cation continuously from 1862 to 1868 (except for the brief at-tempt to publish three times weekly i n 1865 which proved a f a i -lure), with no indication of financial d i f f i c u l t i e s . However during 1868 a progressive decrease i n the amount of advertising indicated f a l l i n g revenues. Together with the decrease i n the amount of advertising there was a corresponding increase i n the space given to " f i l -l e r " , or heterogeneous information which was inserted to com-plete the journal's columns after the editorials, news, and advertisements had been set i n type. Modern newspapers rarely 62 use material for " f i l l e r " that requires more than a few lines, but Robson*s journal often appeared with extraneous reading matter f i l l i n g a column or more. Because the i n f i n i t e variety of material included by Robson to complete his issues makes i t d i f f i c u l t to select typical examples, perhaps an excerpt from one w i l l suffice. A long account of cannibalism i n Australia concludes with the following: "The carcase was severed into f i f t y parts and i n i t s raw condition was devoured without the slightest affectation of sympathy, nausea, shame or indigestion. The bones were picked very clean, and the result was a splendid 62. E. g., "A full-grown giraffe may be 18 feet high." (The Vancouver Sun. September 6, 1950.1 -55-63 skeleton." The increase i n the use of " f i l l e r " and the decline i n ad-vertising revenue were indications of monetary problems ahead for Robson's newspaper. A hint of financial d i f f i c u l t i e s was given i n the seventh anniversary issue. In an editorial re-viewing briefly the history of the paper, Robson said: It should hot be forgotten that the depression which presses so heavily upon every other branch of business f a l l s with peculiar severity upon our own...when the cease to exist....It rests, therefore, with the public to say whether this Journal shall continue to be The  People's Organ. In November 1868 Robson decided to discontinue the Wednes-day issue and publish only on Saturday. The price was raised to twenty-five cents a copy. A notice to subscribers explained that the change to weekly publication was only temporary and again blamed the poor communications with the interior, adding: "...we venture to hope that l o c a l Readers w i l l cheerfully sub-mit to a t r i f l i n g temporary privation, especially as i t w i l l be our aim to compensate for infrequency of issue by increasing the reading matter and general interest of the paper." This aim was not realized. Reading matter was increased, but most of i t was reprinted from American and Br i t i s h publications— " f i l l e r " to replace advertising which continued to decrease.1 63. ' The B. C . November 30, 1864. 64. Ibid.. February 12, 1868. 65. Ibid.. November 14, 1868. 6 4 public cease to smile - 5 6 -Early i n 1869 a significant change appeared i n the news columns of the journal. News of Victoria began to replace news of New Westminster. In February 1869 Robson announced that the 66 newspaper would soon move to Victoria. A week later, i n a 67 brief item headed "Valedictory", Robson said: It i s now a l i t t l e over eight years since we commenced publication of the Br i t i s h Columbian i n this c i t y . During that period i t has been our aim to advance the interests of the Colony i n general, and those of this portion of i t in particular. That our endeavours have, i n some measure, failed i n attaining the desired result i s owing to circum-stances which we could not control. New Westminster has ceased to be a favorable base from which to advocate the broader p o l i t i c a l questions of the day, and we reluctant-ly seek the centre of population and commerce. There i s no mention of a public subscription to assist the fa i l i n g newspaper. The economic depression that gripped the mainland had overtaken the New Westminster British Columbian.' 66. The B. C . February 20, 1869,! 67. IbidiV February 27, 1869.! Chapter 3 ROBSON AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE COLONY -57-Before a pioneer region can become a prosperous com-munity i t s natural resources must be developed. Where the re-gion i s endowed with favorable lines of communication, a plea-sant climate, easily available agricultural land, and adequate markets, a well-balanced economy and resultant prosperity w i l l normally follow. Where these natural advantages are lacking, the development of the region's resources i s retarded. The geographic and economic problems which faced the pioneers of Bri t i s h Columbia have already been mentioned. That they had to be solved before the f u l l potentialities of the colony would be realized was evident. To these problems John Robson turned his attention. He foresaw a thriving community rising beside the shores of the Pacific when the region's resources were f u l l y developed. He realized that before they could be exploited they must f i r s t be made known. Here was his opportunity. Through his news-paper he could explain, discuss, proclaim, or argue the need for developing the resources of the colony. While his newspa-per does not reveal his motives, they were probably those of any pioneer i n the frontier region: the fostering of the colo-ny's development would contribute to i t s prosperity, thus i n -creasing the prospects that his business would succeed, and per-haps enable him to become a power i n the community. Robson was i n a peculiarly favorable position to set forth -58-his views. He was the editor of the most important journal on the mainland, a newspaper second only to the Victoria Colonist i n influence throughout the region. His sources of information were at least equal, and usually superior, to those of his c r i -t i c s . In a pioneer region his incurable optimism was welcomed: men who had come to make their fortune were prone to share his enthusiasm. That he was handicapped by a tendency to exagge-rate did not deter him and apparently had l i t t l e adverse effect on his readers. They could readily overlook the shortcomings of one who appeared to have their interests at heart. His ad-vertising of the colony's potentialities was undoubtedly wel-comed by a population which knew l i t t l e about i t s environment. Robson's editorials concerning the development of the natural resources of the colony would seem to reveal considerable i n -sight and understanding. Where the lure i s gold and the incentive sudden wealth, immigration into a frontier region i s usually rapid. When the frontier advances i n search of land for agricultural purposes, immigration i s often gradual. The gold rush to British Colum-bia had drawn many thousands between 1858 and 1863; but con-ditions i n the colony offered few inducements i n those years for permanent settlement. The cold winters of the interior, the high cost of supplies, and the isolation of the gold fields impelled many of the miners to leave the colony each winter and return to California. Robson deplored this mass exodus each year; he f u l l y -59-realized that a permanent population was essential i f the co-lony was to develop. Apart from one or two editorials each f a l l lamenting the number of miners passing through New West-minster on their way south, he did not devote much space during the f i r s t years of publication to this problem. Two possible reasons are that he realized that the high cost of liv i n g made i t d i f f i c u l t for the miners to remain for the winter; and that u n t i l conditions i n the colony made settlement more attractive, immigration would continue to be a problem. In the autumn of 1863, that i s , at the time of year when many miners came down the Fraser to take passage for San Francisco, Robson printed an editorial which indicated that he had given some thought to the 1 problem of immigration. In i t he drew attention to the wealth of gold i n the co-lony, pointing out that despite the attractions offered to the settler, the great question was how to entice a stable popula-tion to the region. He realized that the colony's isolation, the unsatisfactory steamer service to the outside world, and the erroneous information concerning actual conditions i n the area were d i f f i c u l t i e s which must be considered. To this last problem he offered a solution: make known to the world the true condition of the" colony—the wealth that could be wrung from i t s ores, s o i l , timber, and fisheries—and a healthy immigra-tion would follow. "The only practicable mode of attaining this end...is the establishment of emigrant agencies i n those 1. The B. C.. November 25, 1863. -60-countries from which we expect or desire to draw a population .. 2 said Robson, indicating London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Toronto, and San Francisco as centers where such agencies would prove most beneficial. As for the money required to establish his scheme, Robson was convinced that as an investment i t would prove worthwhile: the increased revenues from the immigrant po-pulation would soon repay the outlay. The wisdom of this practical scheme i s obvious; yet Robson apparently did not enlarge upon the subject i n future edito-r i a l s , whether he realized that the government of the colony would not sanction the expense, or f e l t that he was premature in advocating the plan, or whether each spring, when a new i n -flux of miners passed through New Westminster, his optimism pushed i t from his mind, we do not know. Apart from passing references i n other editorials to the need for permanent set-tlement, the general question of immigration did not occupy his attention again u n t i l the depression of the late 1860's. Three editorials i n the early months of 1869 express to advan-tage his attitude to the problem of immigration. In January 1869, under the heading "Our Great Want", he said:^ That the cardinal want of this Colony is- population few persons w i l l , we apprehend, attempt to deny. With every advantage and resource necessary to make a great and pros-perous Colony, British Columbia i s less prosperous and at-tracts far less attention today than at the commencement of the present decade. How i s this? Simply because we 2. loc. c i t . 3. The B. C . January 9, 1869. -61-have only a mere handful of population, a few thousand people living upon one another. No fresh blood has been infused, no -fresh capital introduced.. The same old faces, the same impoverished pockets present themselves always. A month later he returned to this theme but i n a slightly more 4 cheerful vein: ...after a l l , the most urgent and pressing want of this country i s population. It may be true that the tribe of gold-seekers do not, as a general rule, constitute a class from which the most i s to be hoped i n the way of permanent settlement; and the history of B r i t i s h Columbia during the past few years sufficiently shews how complete-ly large numbers of this class, after a brief residence and various fortunes, may disappear from amongst us, with-out any appreciable benefit from their transitory sojourn being l e f t behind. The conclusion, however, at which we might thus arrive, must be considerably modified when we turn to such countries as Australia and C a l i f o r n i a — countries, i t may be safely affirmed, which would not for many a long year have been peopled as they have been, but for the powerful attraction presented by their rich auri-ferous deposits. The experience of this Colony i s a l l too limited to be put i n opposition to what has been realized i n these countries. California, indeed, after the f i r s t headlong rush to her goldfields, would appear to have suf-fered just such a collapse—to have passed through just such a period of depression—as has, unhappily, been wit-nessed among ourselves; and the prosperous condition of things there which has since supervened, may well warrant us to anticipate a better time coming for B r i t i s h Columbia. In conclusion he alluded to the isolation of the colony but pointed out that the new transcontinental railroad i n the Uni-5 ted States would assist immigration. A week before Robson l e f t New Westminster to.set up his newspaper i n Victoria, he again stressed the need for immigra-6 tion. He also returned to his plan of 186.5 of making known 4. The B. C . February 6. 1869. 5. Completed three months later at Promontory Point,Utah. 6. The B. C.. February 20, 1869. -62-the advantages of settlement i n British Columbia but without enlarging upon i t , perhaps because he realized that the finan-c i a l condition of the colony would s t i l l not permit of the re-quired expenditure. Of those subjects now pressing upon the attention of the Government, probably few involve more important conside-rations than the question of how to encourage An increased immigration into B r i t i s h Columbia. In dealing with this subject i t i s safe to assume the possession of very great attractions and advantages, as a new colony—that we have the richest mines, the most inviting climate and, perhaps we may add, the most varied resources of a l l Her Majesty's Colonial Possessions. 0 ur mountains are f u l l of precious metals, our waters are f u l l of wholesome f i s h , while i n forest and agricultural wealth we are second to few coun-tries i n the wide, wide world.... Beyond the precincts of the Colony i t i s l i t e r a l l y an unknown land; and u n t i l we take the trouble to bring the country and i t s unquestionable advantages before those communities from which we might hope to draw population, i t i s idle to look for any more practical results than we have experienced i n the past. Let a beginning, however small, be made, and made at once. Too much precious time has already been permitted to run to waste. As Robson pointed out, before the frontier community of British Columbia could hope to attract permanent settlers, the resources of the colony must f i r s t be made known. Obviously these resources could not be advertised u n t i l they had f i r s t been surveyed and assessed. Robson accordingly pressed for a general survey of the colony, and particularly for a survey of i t s agricultural lands, for the editor realized that the key to permanent settlement and development lay i n attracting a large farming class. It seemed to Robson that the best means of surveying the colony was to engage the Royal Engineers to undertake a tho-rough exploration of the region. "One of the principal objects -63-in sending the Royal Engineers to British Columbia," he pointed n out i n an editorial i n 1862, "was undoubtedly to explore, sur-vey and map out the country." He went on to say: If there i s one thing more than another of which we should feel ashamed, i t i s the fact that the Government have had, during nearly four years, both men and money at command,. and to-day they are i n Egyptian darkness about the greater part of the country. We sometimes express wonder at the ignorance which exists abroad about this country. But i s i t not more f i t t i n g we should, remembering how very l i m i -ted our own knowledge i s , f i r s t make ourselves thoroughly acquainted with the country i n which we l i v e , and then use proper means to circulate that knowledge abroad? The statement that the government had "both men and money at command" i s open to question. The Royal Engineers were f u l -ly occupied i n surveying townsites, laying out roads, and map-ping portions of the colony; to undertake In addition the ex-ploration of the entire region was probably beyond their pow-ers. Robson may have realized this, for i n the same editorial he declared that the Engineers should devote a whole season to 8 a survey of the country's p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Apparently he be-lieved that a l l other projects should be temporarily postponed. In fact, however, the execution of such a scheme at this time would probably have retarded the colony's development: i n 1862 the greatest need of the colony was a road to the Cariboo mines, a need that the Engineers were laboring diligently to meet. Robson may have foreseen this criticism: i n an editorial i n October, 1862, he claims that the Engineers should have been 9 used for surveying rather than roadbuilding. His attitude 7. The B. C . June 14, 1862. 8. loc. c i t t 9. The B. C . October 22, 1862. -64-toward the work of the Engineers was not that i t should be re-stricted solely to exploring the colony, but that too many of the men were employed as laborers i n constructing roads. Pro-bably Robson failed to realize that i t would have been well-nigh impossible to find another body of men as capable of sur-mounting the obstacles of roadbuilding i n British Columbia. Whatever the means employed to survey the colony, i t was obvious to Robson that the work must be done* In August, 1862, he wrote: Hundreds who came to the country this year would have settled—'Were anxious to settle—had there been any i n t e l -ligent or i n t e l l i g i b l e land system i n existence—any means by which they would obtain the necessary information. They . went up one t r a i l and came down the other, without seeing anything which would justify them i n concluding that this was an agricultural country; and many have l e f t disappoin-ted and disgusted, just about as wise about the resources of the country as they were the day they landed on our shores. Something practical and thorough i n i t s charac-ter should be done at once to meet the want. Unless the country can be settled simultaneously with the digging of the gold, i t must suffer an irreparable loss. And the sooner i t i s explored, and people made acquainted with i t , the better. Under the present system—perhaps i t would be more correct to say, i n the absence of any system—the Chief Commissioner of Lands might as well be i n Hong Kong, and the Governor i n Siberia, so far as the opening up and settlement of our agricultural lands are concerned. The former i s perfectly helpless—bound hand and foot by the Governor, who i s a stranger to the country he governs, luxuriating on the Island on our seaboard, while this Colony i s most effectually bolted and barred against those who would settle on our lands, and supply us with those staples for which we are entirely dependent upon a foreign neighbor. Five months later the editor returned to this theme, pointing our that i f there was a "...general plan comprising the whole [region] hung-up i n the office of the Chief  10. The B. C.. August 2, 1862. -65-Commissioner...", interested parties could choose land"... easily, intelligently, and c o r r e c t l y . " 1 1 ..He. urged the govern-ment to embark on a program of surveying the country. Robson*s dissatisfaction with the government's failure to inaugurate a survey program was expressed i n an editorial i n 1864 t i t l e d "Exploration—Emigration", i n which he said: "It seems almost incredible that, although six years have elapsed since the great rush to this Colony, consequent upon the discovery of rich placer diggings on the Lower Fraser, comparatively nothing i s really known of the country." He deplored the fact that nothing had been done to publicize the region and i t s resources abroad. A. year later, however, he drew attention to the high quality of the report of a government expedition to explore the colony.1^ During the late eighteen-sixties Robson rarely returned to the problem of immigration i n his writings, except where he found i t convenient to repeat his views while discussing other issues. Although he offered his readers no explanation, i t may be surmised that he believed he could foster immigration equally well by drawing attention to the opportunities for developing the colony!s resources. This was the. editor's forte: he never tired of lauding the great future of the region. Almost from 11. The B. C . December 24, 1862. 12. Ibid.. August 13, 1864. 13. Ibid.. September 23, 1865.• -66-the f i r s t issue, The British Columbian published editorials and news items pointing to the advantages i n the fields of agri-culture, forestry, fishing, manufacturing, and mining. Of these, agriculture was undoubtedly the most important, i n Rob-son's opinion: apart from the general subject of the need for redressing the grievances of the community, the. topic of agri-culture received more attention than any other. "The strength and true greatness of any country l i e s in i t s peasantry...", 14 Robson wrote i n 1862, and he strove consistently to further the welfare of this c l a s s . 1 5 "...look at our agricultural prospects," said Robson a few 16 months after his newspaper f i r s t appeared i n New Westminster: Within a short distance of this c i t y there are 500,000 acres of good land, some of i t rich prairie, a large por-tion well adapted for stock raising. In short our lands are well calculated for general agriculture purposes, es-pecially stock, f r u i t , and vegetables of a l l kinds; And the good land i s by no means confined to this section; for up through the entire country, with some t r i f l i n g ex-ceptions, a sufficient proportion of the land i s suitable for agricultural purposes to warrant the assertion that this Colony w i l l yet be great i n her agriculture. During the f i r s t few years of Robson's newspaper lengthy edito-r i a l s were devoted to this subject. Apparently i t was obvious to the editor that the best means of attracting a farming class was to advertise the great opportunities i n agriculture. The 14. The B. C . September 5, 1862. 15. Other editorials i n which Robson expressed his view that the foundation of any community was i t s farming class appeared in the issues of May 2, 1861, and January 22, 1862. 16. The B. C . June 27, 1861. -67-same theme,, appears repeatedly:".. .our farming lands are rich and - 17 extensive...," he wrote i n 1861 ; and again:"...there i s an a-18 bundance of good land...." That he feared his constant repe-t i t i o n of the subject might fatigue his readers i s obvious from the opening sentence of an editorial t i t l e d ."Agriculture Again": "At the risk of becoming tiresome we again invite the attention of our readers to this most important branch of industry—the 19 backbone of a country, "T. In addition to proclaiming the agricultural opportunities of the colony i n his newspaper, Robson also championed the founding of an agricultural association i n New Westminster. This, he f e l t , would be an admirable means of drawing attention to the excellent land available. He advocated such an associ-ation i n 1861 and 1868 and, pointing our that i t would be par-ti c u l a r l y valuable i n a pioneer community, he refuted the idea 20 that the move was premature. Again i n 1867 he sugges ted that a movement be instituted to establish an agricultural society, 21 adding: There i s an impression with some that the movement i s pre-mature. What? A movement premature which ought to have been made five years ago! The same was said of that i n 1861; and the same w i l l be said to the end of time. Away with such anti-progressive nonsense. The show i n 1861 was a marked success^ silencing croakers and surprising i t s most enthusiastic promoters. For every farmer we had then we have ten or more, now. - 17. The B. C 1 f October 10. 1861. 18. Ibid., May 18, 1865* 19. Ibid.. October 25, 1862. 20. Ibid.. September 3, 1862. 21. Ibid.. September 18, 1867. -68-Robson's enthusiasm for agriculture sometimes overflowed from his editorials and found i t s way into the news items of The B r i t i s h Columbian. In some of these he was apparently un-able to restrict himself solely to news. A report on the clea-ring of farm land was often accompanied by a longer comment on the great potentialities of i t s s o i l , and reports of unusually large yields were discussed with feeling. An example w i l l i l -lustrate the editor's tendency to advertise his views by means of news columns as well as i n editorials, and w i l l also indicate his attitude toward the agricultural possibilities of the 22 colony: HOEING WHEAT. Mr. James Kennedy, of this c i t y , who has a property of the opposite bank of the Fraser, put a small quantity of winter wheat into a piece of ground which would scarcely be said to have been prepared for i t . No further attention was given to i t t i l l a few weeks ago, when he pulled a bunch of stalks and brought them over, which, upon closer examination, proved to be as follows: 56 stalks from a single grain, averaging 70 grains each, giving a total of 3,920 grains as the product of one, or within a fraction of an increase of four thousand f o l d I And this, be i t remembered, was produced by a piece of ground that was only half reclaimed, and no attempt at cultivation from the time the seed was f i r s t put i n . In using his influence to further the development of agri-culture, Robson shrewdly capitalized on the desire of the ma-jority of immigrants to make a fortune i n the colony. We have seen how transportation d i f f i c u l t i e s and import duties contri-buted to the high cost of food i n the colony. Robson deplored these obstacles and agitated for their removal, but while they lasted he consistently drew attention to the fortunes to be made i n growing food for the interior settlements. To support 22. The B. C . August 29, 1861 -69-his argument he quoted figures showing that the farther one went into the interior, the greater the profits to the pioneer farmer. In an editorial i n December 1861 he published a wealth 23 of statistics proving his point. For example, barley would bring seven to ten cents a pound at Lillooet, thirty cents at Williams Lake, and forty cents at Quesnel Forks. An acre of potatoes at Lillooet would s e l l for $1,080, at Williams Lake $2,880, and at Quesnel Forks $9,000. "And i f one acre of po-tatoes alone w i l l produce such a result, we leave the reader 24 to say what a farm, on a small scale, would realize." It i s perhaps significant that Robson seems not to have taken into account the high farming costs i n these pioneer areas, nor does he mention that the transient mining popula-tion was an added hazard to the most enterprising farmer. He seems content to l e t his figures state his case, disregarding other factors which might weaken his argument. While there i s no evidence that the publisher's readers disputed his f i g u r e s — the letters to the editor which Robson published were almost invariably complimentary—it i s highly l i k e l y that Robson exag-gerated to some extent. This would not deter him i f i t gave added emphasis to his case. As a rule, Robson's attitude toward agriculture was usual-ly that of a shrewd and farsighted businessman. On one occasion, 23. The B. C December 12, 1861. 24. Other issues of The British Columbian which quoted figures to prove that great opportunities existed i n the f i e l d of agriculture appeared on September 3, 1862, February 4, 1863, October 26, 1864, and May 11, 1865 i -70-however, he seems to have stepped out of character i n his en-thusiasm for his favorite topic. Instead of giving precedence to the profits to be made from agriculture he launched into a rather fanciful version of a farmer's thoughts on a sunny mor-as r u n g : The pursuit of agriculture has always been, and w i l l conti-nue to be t i l l the sound of the last trumpet cal l s the ho-nest farmer from his plough, an honorable, healthful, independent, and happy occupation. The farmer walks forth at early dawn to view his herds and his f i e l d of growing corn, and to take a glance at his ample domain. He feels a deep interest i n a l l he sees; and while inhaling the grateful and balmy a i r of the morning, he i s feasting his delighted eyes upon the gorgeous scene presented to his view. Before him, away i n the distance, i s the king of day, i n a l l his effulgent glory, just sklmming the surface of yon silvery lake, or, perchance, peeping over the crag-gy peak of yon rugged -mountain, while the singing of d i -verse birds salutes his grateful ears, and, involuntarily, his heart joins with their merry voices i n giving praise to the bountiful Creator of a l l this gorgeous beauty. He returns to his dwelling, where, awaiting his coming, he meets a smiling wife, surrounded by a group of rosy and merryfaced children, and, his appetite sharpened by his morning ramble, and his heart joyous within him, he offers to God the acceptable tribute of an honest and grateful heart, and si t s down to a bountiful breakfast, a thousand times more happy and contented than i f hepwere a monarch. At this point Robson the businessman returned to oust Robson the poet: i n his next sentence he pointed out that of a l l enterprises, agriculture was "...the surest...way to make mo-ney i n this colony." A somewhat unusual plan to further agriculture which Rob-son advocated was for a group of miners to take up land and put in seed and then proceed to the mines, leaving two men to care for the farm: "In this way the two occupations could be carried 25. The B. C December 12, 1861. -71-on with mutual advantage; and i f the party should prove unsuc-cessful i n Cariboo they would have a comfortable home close at hand, with plenty of provisions, while the proceeds of the ve-getables and stuff, for which they would obtain a ready market, would pay good wages to the whole party." whether this plan would have proved feasible i f attempted i s open to question. Robson may have realized i t s obvious disadvantages: at any rate the editor apparently thought his* editorial policy would not suffer i f the project were dropped, for he does not again refer to i t . while Robson's concern with the future of agriculture was particularly directed toward the t i l l i n g of the s o i l , he did not neglect stock-raising and poultry-farming. Pointing out that the opportunities for stock-raising i n British Columbia were at least the equal of those i n Oregon, the editor said: "It i s [a] matter of surprise that we should be content to depend upon a foreign neighbor for a supply of that which we can very well produce at home, at a lower price and with great advantage to the Colony."'5' But he was pleased to report that a few farmers were turning to stock raising, and added: "If a few more would follow the example of these gentlemen, we would soon find the Colony self-supporting i n this Branch." A year later Robson repeated the theme of this e d i t o r i a l . He drew at-tention to the protection afforded to stock raising because of 26. The B. C April 30, 1862. 27. Ibid.'. January 16, 1862,; -72-the high cost of importing cattle: the expenses of transporta-tion and the import duty made stock-raising a profitable f i e l d for the farmer: 2 8 With a cattle range well stocked, and a small vegetable farm and dairy i n this Colony, any one possessing moderate means and ordinary a b i l i t i e s may realize a handsome for-tune i n less than ten years. And thus a million annually now entirely lost to the country would be spent i n i t , and, to a great extent, employed i n opening up and settling i t s agricultural lands and developing i t s resources. "Amongst the numerous modes of making money i n this coun-try may be classed a poultry-yard," said Robson i n the opening sentence of an editorial devoted to the profits to be made from poultry-farming. 2 9 He added that five hundred hens would pro-duce $4,000 annually, and that the supply of eggs has never equalled the demand* Lamenting the fact that too few immigrants were engaged i n this or other forms of agriculture, Robson con-cluded: "...people in this country are generally so f u l l of golden dreams, and so bent upon digging out the precious metal that they are loath to engage i n any occupation which would re-quire their constant presence and prevent their going to the 30 mines." In a later editorial he commented: "Hens w i l l l i v e and lay here as well as i n the most favored di s t r i c t s of Eng-land; and yet eggs readily bring one dollar a dozen i n our marketI" After 1864 Robson*s editorials on the great future of agriculture appeared less frequently. In them he usually con-88. The B. C.. February 21, 1863. 29. Jpld.T May 23, 1863. 30. Ibid.. September 5, 1864. -73-fined himself to general statements on the progress made i n this enterprise, complimenting the pioneer farmer on his fore-sight i n entering a profitable vocation, and modestly taking some of the credit for having publicized the colony's agricul-tural opportunities. In these editorials Robson thus furthered his aim of advertising agriculture. An excerpt from an example 31 follows: We are glad to observe a growing disposition to engage i n agricultural pursuits i n this colony. It has always been . a source of surprise and regret to witness a marked disin-clination to settle down to farming, while there was such an abundance of good land, a ready and most remunerative market and plenty of bone and sinew unemployed. Gradual-ly, however, the prejudices and cavils which we used to hear raised against the s o i l , the climate and the country generally are becoming fewer, and every fresh evidence of the wonderful productiveness of the s o i l adds to the number of our farming population. The quiet confidence of this passage would suggest that farming as a profession was highly satisfactory i n the new colony and that the,farmers were quite contented with their lo t . That a l l was not well, however, i s shown by an editorial of 1867 where Robson, with the air of a mother hen clucking to her brood, brusquely chides the farmers for complaining of the 32 d i f f i c u l t y of marketing their goods: What are our farmers about? Growling about not being able to get a market? Impossible! Why, look over the items. No market for hogs, when you are protected by a duty of 4 cents a pound, and nearly eight thousand dollars worth has had to be imported i n three months, i n order to meet the demand! No market for grain, when, notwithstanding the 31. The B. C . May 18, 1865 32. Ibid.. August 21, 1867. -74-enormous protective duty i n your favor, over seven thou-sand dollars' worth has been imported to supply the mar-ket! No market for flour? Why, man, during the last three months seventeen thousand, seven hundred and seven dollars' worth of the article has been brought many hundreds of miles by sea and land, and has paid the positively enor-mous import duty of one dollar and a half a barrel, to find a market under your very nose!! No market for butter. Indeed! How then do you account for the importation, i n three months, of thirty-three thousand, six hundred and  seventy-two pounds of the article} notwithstanding that i t has to pay the high duty of 10 cts. a pound? We hope to hear no more about the absence of markets, demand, protec-tion, encouragement for farm produce, and farming. Yet such chiding.was rare. Robson preferred to adopt the role of the perennial optimist i n discussing the agricultural possibilities of Bri t i s h Columbia. A year later he lauded the progress of agriculture i n an editorial t i t l e d "Progress i n the 33 Interior". The land policy which Robson advocated was, on the whole, consistent with his attitude toward agriculture. In an early 34 editorial he stated his views clearly and at length: "The idea of selling land only to those who w i l l use i t for the pur-poses for which i t was intended, viz; agriculture, and that upon the most reasonable terms, i s the true and proper one for a new country like t h i s . No man should be allowed to purchase more than one claim of, say 160 acres for a single man, and twice that amount for a man with a family, from the Crown." Ad-mitting that the pre-emption law of the colony was very l i b e r a l and enabled the poor immigrant to acquire land easily, Robson 33. The B. C September 9, 1868 34. ' Ibid.. A p r i l 4, 1861. -75-pointed out that i t also threw the door wide open to the specu-lator. For this reason i t was "...one of the worst systems which could he introduced at the present stage of our progress," said Robson, adding: Can i t be possible that His Excellency and advisers are blind to this? or i s i t really true that those who are at the head of affairs desire to have this country remain a wilderness i n the hands of a few, instead of having i t settled and cultivated, by a large and prosperous popu-lation? To show the ruinous and abortive working of the present system, and the excellence of the one we recommend, Is not d i f f i c u l t . Take, as an i l l u s t r a t i o n , i t s working i n our own neighborhood.—There i s within ten miles of this c i t y sufficient good agricultural land for the accommodation of at least five hundred families—say 100,000 acres. Now i f this land were sold exclusively to actual settlers, and each limited to the proper quantity, we might reasonably expect that i n five years from this time we would have a rural population i n the above area of at least five thou-sand souls... It should,Nwe hold, be the very f i r s t business of our Governor to see that our land system i s so changed as to keep out ...land-sharks.and give every possible f a c i l i t y to the actual settler. Every such settler i s of more value to this Colony than the price of his land ten times told; whereas every claim held by one of these sharks. i s worse than lost. Better would i t be i f i t could be anni-hilated at once, rather than i t should be held by a s e l -fish absentee, t i l l such time as the poor struggling pio-neer has, by his hard labor, improved the country around it...and increased i t s value f i f t y , or often an hundred, fold. Another editorial a month later pointed to the danger, under the present land system, of New Westminster's suburban lots f a l l i n g into the hands of "...monied s p e c u l a t o r s ( T h e y ) w i l l thus be i n a position to keep back improvements and agri-culture about two miles from the city, [and] we shall be sur-35 rounded with a dense forest for years to come." Commenting on the need for a change i n the land policy of the colony, 35. The B. C.. May 9, 1861. -76-Robson said: If such conditions were attached as would insure their immediate settlement and cultivation, we would i n two or three years have the ci t y surrounded with snug l i t t l e farms and orchards, which would supply our market with vegetables and f r u i t s i n a l l seasons. Thus the c i t y would not only reap a substantial benefit, but agriculturists arriving here would not, as now, eye the gigantic and unbroken forest with which our city i s surrounded with feelings of disappointment and disgust, and turn away to seek a more inviting- f i e l d . If government would dispose of; these lots at a nominal price, under proper conditions of improvement, we venture to predict that the experiment would most effectually convince one of the importance of making actual improvement a condition i n the sale of a l l our agricultural lands. Such a principle introduced into our land system would most effectually protect the farmer, cripple and hamper the land-shark, and speedily insure us a numerous and thriving agricultural population.1 In order to draw attention further to the abuse of absen-tee ownership of land, Robson f e l t that i t would be"...extreme-ly desireable and proper..." for the government to publish im-mediately an o f f i c i a l return of a l l lands bought or pre-empted 36 together with the names of their owners and claimants: Such a course would be a very great convenience to parties desirous of obtaining land, and would at the same time tend either to confirm or refute the charges so frequently made against certain "land sharks". If our government would manifest a disposition to afford the public more informa-tion i n reference to a l l such matters, there would be less ground for suspicion and complaint; and the "open and above board" system would operate as a preventive to a l l jobbing and corruption. A l l this concealment and redtape-ism i s calculated to destroy confidence and arouse suspi-cion. Robson's agitation against the evils of absentee land ownership and the obstacle i t presented to agricultural deve-lopment apparently had some effect upon the government. This can be surmised from the change i n land policy announced i n 36. The B. C . A p r i l 25, 1861. -77-June 1861. Under the heading "Better Late than Never", the 37 editor said: In our advertising columns w i l l .he found Proclamation No. 6, rendering bona fide occupation imperative on a l l lands, whether acquired by purchase or pre-emption, and otherwise explaining and regulating some of the confused and ambi-guous points i n our pre-emption law* This w i l l , i f pro-perly carried into practice, most effectually strike at the root of the monstrous evils resulting from our land system, of which we have complained so bitterly, while i t f u l l y recognizes .the cardinal principle for which we have uniformly contended, both as a journalist and a cit i z e n . Eighteen months later Robson apparently f e l t that the time had come for a further change i n the land laws of the colony. 38 In an editorial t i t l e d "A New Land System Wanted", he said: "To the Government has been entrusted the task of directing i n the founding of a Colony, not the mere facilitation of the ex-traction of gold; and should that cardinal duty be neglected, and the country f a i l to be settled and cultivated contempora-neously with the working of the mines that Government .will have ignobly and culpably betrayed a most important trust." Remar-king that the 1861 Pre-emption Act, although a boon at the time, had since proved i t s e l f incomplete and defective, Robson added: "...a 'free grant' system should be adopted, whereby every bona fide settler...would be entitled to an allotment of". .V rural land, upon the simple condition of occupation." In con-clusion he expressed his view that the land system should be on a more l i b e r a l basis, with inducements to settlers as l i b e r a l 37. The B^ C . June 20, 1861. 38. I b i d t . December 20, 1862. -78-as those of the United States. Barring occasional references to the need for further changes i n the* land policy of the colony, Robson did not write again at any length on this subject u n t i l 1867. In March of that year a well-written editorial appeared i n which the editor 39 applauded the new land ordinance. This new law doubled the amount of land which could be pre-empted to 320 acres and per-mitted any person, male or female, B r i t i s h or foreign, to set-tle on public land. Robson's comment follows: One hundred and sixty acres, although perhaps enough i n some instances, was i n many cases too l i t t l e , and hampered the operations of a substantial farmer, or compelled him to buy out his next neighbour at any price. Nor did the small allotment of one hundred and sixty acres form a very tempting prize to the intending settler* While land i s so abundant, and we are so much i n need of settlers, 320 acres i s none too much to offer. The distinction and re-stric t i o n hitherto kept up with regard to foreigners had not, we think, a single redeeming feature, when applied to this Colony i n i t s present condition. At a time when a l -most every interest i s languishing for want of population, and when i t i s to a contiguous foreign country we must chiefly look for a population i n the f i r s t place i t ap-peared inexplicably inconsistent that we should practical-l y , repel that very population by placing foreigners under a s i l l y d i s a b i l i t y . It has been pointed out that Robson's attitude toward the development of Br i t i s h Columbia's resources reveals a great predilection for agriculture. Probably two editorials on this topic appeared for every one devoted to the opportunities i n the fields of forestry, fishing, and manufacture. Nevertheless Robson discussed these subjects frequently enough to indicate his opinion of their importance for the future of the colony. 39. The B. 0.. March 30, 1867.; - 7 9 -In an e d i t o r i a l t i t l e d "Our Forest Wealth", Robson i n " 4 0 November 1862 reported that the piece of a large Douglas F i r which had been sent to the I n d u s t r i a l E x h i b i t i o n i n London the:: previous year had been tested there and had proven superior to 41 a l l others. Here was proof of the colony's great f o r e s t wealth, said the editor; the l o c a l f i r and cedar would be most important a r t i c l e s of export. Robson further stated that the quality of lumber on Puget Sound was not equal to-that i n B r i -t i s h Columbia, and that with the colony's lumber a t t r a c t i n g the favorable attention of European dealers, "...we have every rea^ son to expect that i n the year 1863 we s h a l l have English ships seeking our shores f o r cargoes of deals and spars." Three months later 4 2Robson drew attention to the excellent q u a l i t i e s of the indigenous trees, discussing t h e i r great age and unusual physical c h a r a c t e r i s i t c s , t h e i r great strength and d u r a b i l i t y . "The other valuable properties of the Douglas 43 Pine timber have already been f u l l y established by s c i e n t i f i c t e s ts i n France as well as i n England and elsewhere, and i t i s most inter e s t i n g and s a t i s f a c t o r y to have an incontrovertible proof of i t s d u r a b i l i t y . . . " 40. The B. C . November 26, 1862. 41. See The B. C . October 1, 1863, f o r an e a r l i e r edito-r i a l c a l l i n g attention to the advantages of using Douglas F i r . 42. The B. C February 25, 1863. 43. Presumably Robson means Douglas F i r . -80-During the early months of 1863, the editor of The B r i t i s h Columbian embarked upon a short series of e d i t o r i a l s c a l l e d "The Resources of B r i t i s h Columbia". In an e d i t o r i a l dealing 44 with the colony's forest resources Robson said: We believe i t would not be d i f f i c u l t to convince (the world] that we have the noblest pineries i n the world i n our possession, l i n i n g the coast, and every i n l e t of the coast, and accessible at a l l points. Spars that outvie i n size and strength the celebrated spars of Norway, with markets opening on every shore of the P a c i f i c Ocean, and being created on every r i v e r that flows i n t o i t . We have cedars, too, i n comparison with which...the celebrated cedars of Lebanon are mere twigs. Although these wooden treasures s t i l l l i e untouched, although these towering and symmetrical giants of the f o -res t are viewed by many of our immigrants with anything but the eye of a connoisseur, yet we have an abiding and increasing confidence i n t h e i r ultimate development. In a very short time the enterprising lumberman and lumber merchant w i l l f i n d t h i s as a f i e l d of operation u n r i v a l l e d , and we s h a l l enjoy almost a monopoly of the lumber trade of the P a c i f i c Ocean. The importance of developing the colony's f i s h e r i e s was 45 the topic of an e d i t o r i a l Robson published i n 1864. Amongst our -resources those of the ocean are not the l e a s t important. B r i t i s h Columbia possesses a seaboard of over 600 miles, pierced by innumerable i n l e t s and sounds and a-dorhed with many picturesque Islands; and on that extended shore l i n e i s to be found the most favorable grounds f o r taking every species of f i s h frequenting these waters, from the Royal Sturgeon, weighing as high as 800 l b s . , and y i e l d i n g i t s 50 l b s . of caviare, down to the l i t t l e Oolo-han, which i s so f a t as to y i e l d nearly gallon f o r gallon of precious o i l , and i s l i t e r a l l y used for a taper by the natives. E a r l i e r Robson had praised the establishment of a f i s h i n g com-pany i n the colony, adding: 4 6 "The Fraser teems with salmon... 44. The B. C . A p r i l 1, 1863. 45. Ibid.. August 31, 1864. 46. Ibid.. March IS, 1864.! -81-sturgeon...and with an almost endless variety of the finny tribe of lesser note...." A few other references to the opportunities for development i n the fishing industry were found i n Robson's writings, but i t i s rather surprising to note that the editor devoted very few editorials to this theme. Upon the subject of manufacturing Robson i s almost equally reticent. Nevertheless his attitude toward the need for esta-blishing new industries i n the colony i s evident. In an edito-r i a l t i t l e d "British Columbia a Favorable Field for Manufactu-47 ring", Robson i n 1862 drew attention to the "very substantial protection" afforded the colony because of the high import ta-r i f f against manufactured goods, "...this Colony [has] a de-cided advantage as a manufacturing Country, "Robson said, adding: "For a Colony so young and possessing so small a population as British Columbia, i t may seem premature to write upon this sub-ject. But we are strongly inclined to the opinion that even now there are several branches of manufacture which may be en-gaged i n with great advantage." A year later the editor enlarged upon this subject and enumerated the industries which he believed offered "the grea-test inducements."4® He expressed surprise that flour milling had not proved an attractive f i e l d when 26,000 barrels of flour had been imported during the past year. Leather would be ano-ther profitable enterprise, he pointed out: l i t t l e capital was 47. The B. C . October 22, 1862. 48. Ibid.. October 28, 1863. -82-required and hides could be easily procured. Soap and candles, and sash and doors, were other articles which were imported but which could profitably be manufactured i n the. colony. Nowhere does Robson demonstrate his unbounded enthusiasm for the great future of the new colony better than i n his a t t i -tude toward i t s mineral wealth. Each spring he printed articles welcoming the new rush of miners on their way to the interior. Every report of new gold discoveries i n Cariboo was published with optimistic comments on the prospects of each strike. The editor rarely bothered to confirm these reports; since many of them were received at second or third hand, i t is.not surpri-sing that gross exaggerations crept into his news columns and often into his editorials. It i s doubtful whether these errors caused Robson any concern: since his news sources were as ac-curate as could be expected i n a pioneer community, he made l i t t l e effort to correct the unduly favorable impressions of the colony's gold wealth that found their way into his news-49 paper. Each f a l l , however, when the annual exodus of miners on their way to California passed through the capital, Robson printed editorials expressing disappointment that the mines had not lived up to the great expectations of the previous spring. But even i n these editorials the. publisher found i t d i f f i c u l t to- contain his enthusiasm. Almost invariably he drew attention 49. A rare exception occurred i n The B. C.. November 15, 1862, when the leading editorial contained a retrac-tion of a report of rich gold fiel d s found on the Thompson River. Robson gave the source of the infor-mation as a miner returning from the interior, and by implication blamed him for the error. -83-to the vast unexplored areas of the region and expressed the hope that the next season would bring reports of newly dis-covered gold f i e l d s . Although Robson never lost sight of the importance of agri-culture to the colony's future, although he realized that to rely upon i t s gold resources alone would be disastrous, he nevertheless appreciated the importance of the gold rush to the general development of the country. In an editorial i n the spring of 1864 he expressed his attitude toward the part that 50 the miners should play i n the colony's future. Pointing out that the great majority of miners did not become settlers but l e f t the colony each fall,"...carrying with them whatever gold they may have been fortunate enough to amass, (and) thereby impoverishing rather than enriching the country," Robson said: "Our view i s this, that while we admit the present importance of the mining population, and their claim upon the revenue of the Colony, the great business of the Government i s to so use and direct the mining interests as that they may the most ef-fectually contribute towards the developement of the general resources and the permanent settlement of the Colony." One means of accomplishing this aim, i n Robson's opinion, was to assist the incoming miner by maintaining a record of a l l mining claims. Pointing to "...this serious defect i n mining 51 regulations," the editor said: "...there i s no provision by 50. The B. C.t A p r i l 9, 1864.... 51. Ibid. f August 6, 1862. -84-which newcomers can ascertain what claims are legally taken up, or, indeed, taken up at a l l . " The remedy, Robson added, was simple: A plan or tracing of each Creek or mining section, with every claim indicated and properly marked off as taken up by a duly licensed miner, displayed i n a public place at every mining lo c a l i t y , so as to be freely accessible to a l l , would, we apprehend, f u l l y meet the case. By a glance at such a plan, the new-comer could at once ascer-tain that which now costs him much trouble and delay, as well as exposes him frequently to un c i v i l replies and imposition. 52 In a later editorial Robson carried this idea further, cal-ling for a geological survey of the whole colony to indicate the profitable fields for mining. As has been mentioned, Robson*s newspaper published f u l l reports of the progress of the Cariboo mines. However he did not confine his attention to this one region. In keeping with his avowed intention of making known the resources of the colo-ny, and perhaps because he feared that the great reputation of the Cariboo country would cause other regions to be neglected, he took pains to publicize the gold strikes i n the Shuswap, Big Bend, and Kootenay d i s t r i c t s . In November 1863, an editorial t i t l e d "Mining Prospects" pointed out that there were other regions besides the Cariboo 53 which gold miners should consider i "Of these the Shuswap country i s unquestionably the most important... jit| i s not only extensive and rich i n minerals,.but i t possesses the 52. The B. C . January 6, 1864. 53. Ibid.. September 16, 1863. -85-unusual and not unimportant advantages of a good climate, plen-ty of excellent agricultural land, and natural facilities for communication." He concluded:"There i s no doubt, i n our mind, that the Shuswap country i s destined to occupy a very important position i n the mining history of B.C., and that very shortly ....we look upon this newly discovered gold region as the most promising and important f i e l d we possess...." The following spring Robson was equally optimistic about the future of mining 54 i n this region. The rush to the Kootenay mines i n 1864 was fu l l y reported i n The Br i t i s h Columbian, with enthusiastic edi-55 torials lauding the prospects of the region. Similarly when gold was found i n the region of the Big Bend of the Columbia River late i n 1864 and a new rush to that region began to ap-pear i n 1865, Robson published several editorials with the l a -test reports of gold strikes and predicting a great future for the d i s t r i c t . i~e<jfons Robson not only endeavored to direct attention to other A than the Cariboo where gold could be found: he also reminded his readers that the mineral wealth of the colony was not con-fined to gold alone. One of the series of editorials devoted to the study of the region's resources which the editor pub-lished early i n 1863 discussed the colony's other mineral 54. The B. C . March 26, 1864. 55i For example, The B. C . July 24, 1864. 56. The B. C July 22, October 4 and October 7, 1865. -86-57 resources: We are so young yet that beyond the gold which i s known to exist, our mineral wealth i s unascertained. Plumbago, lead, copper, si l v e r , coal are known to exist i n many l o c a l i t i e s . A very promising silver mine has been discovered this last season near Keithley Creek i n Cariboo. From the peculiar geological character of the country we have every reason to believe i t to be wealthy i n a l l kinds of valuable mine-rals, but scarcely any prospecting has yet been done any-where. From common report, and information gathered from men of general though not scientific intelligence, we are strongly inclined to think that we possess a very important source of wealth, to which we do not remember to have seen any attention directed, although every man who has gone to Cariboo must be acquainted with the fact, v i z . , that we have a tract of country i n central B.C. covering thousands of square miles, rich i n alkaline or mineral matters. He also pointed out that much of the interior was believed to be rich i n alkaline mineral salts—potash, soda, and borax— which might later prove to be important i n industry* It i s interesting to note that the question of developing the local coal resources received scant attention i n The B r i - tish Columbian u n t i l the summer of 1865. At that time Robson became a director of the British Columbia Coal Company which was established to explore and develop a coal seam on Burrard Inlet. Thereupon the editor wrote a long editorial pointing out the opportunities for investment i n this f i e l d , and s o l i c i -58 ting the support of the public i n the venture. in the f o l -lowing issue Robson drew attention to the profits to be made i n 59 coal mining. Later issues ignored the topic of coal, except 57. The B. C t. March 14, 1863.' 58. Ibid., July 27, 1865. 59. Ibid.. August 1, 1865.1 -87-for passing references to this undeveloped f i e l d . The reason may have been the failure of the venture i n which Robson was interested: exploration failed to reveal coal i n commercial 60 quantities and the enterprise was abandoned. The greatest deterrent to the development of the new colo-ny was the d i f f i c u l t y of opening lines of communication. We have seen how the geography of the region presented great ob-stacles to the construction of roads. That roads to the inte-rior were built despite these obstacles and the attendant ex-pense i s to the credit.of Governor Douglas and the Royal Engi-neers. While Robson f u l l y appreciated the need for these roads, recognizing that his hopes for the colony's future could not be realized without them, he believed i t his duty to examine closely the government's road policy and to c r i t i c i z e i t when-ever he f e l t that criticism was j u s t i f i e d . One of Robson's major criticisms was the government's lack of an overall plan for a network of roads i n the colony. "Can any one man," he said i n an early editorial, "...give us any idea of a general scheme of communication, with the slightest indication of what amount of progress...we may reasonably ex-pect from year to year?" Such a plan, he added, would enable the country to "...gain a confidence i n i t s future i t has not 60. F. W. Howay, "Coal Mining on Burrard Inlet?', The  British Columbia Historical Quarterly, vol. IV, (January, 1940) p. 10. - 61. The B. C . August 22,. 1861. -88-hitherto enjoyed; much of the fever of speculation and uncertain-ty would be abated, men of business would pre-arrange their matters to chime i n with pre-arranged advance, and the progress of our roads would, by being appreciable, appreciably lessen the price of food, and give renewed l i f e to every undertaking in the Colony." Such a plan, Robson f e l t , should be drawn up on the prin-ciple of providing the greatest benefits to the greatest num-ber. Critic i z i n g past road policy, he claimed that "...some of [the] roads already constructed at very great cost...will stand as a monument of bungling f o l l y . " 0 In the same edito-r i a l he said: The location of roads i n the more remote and inhospitable parts of the Colony demands the utmost care. These roads cost very high and there should be no hap-hazard about the matter. The Government i s generally safe i n constructing roads through agricultural and inhabitable parts of the country, because such roads can never become wholly use-less. If they should be abandoned as highways to mineral regions they would s t i l l tend to open up farming lands and would serve the settlers. Robson, ever eager to c r i t i c i z e James Douglas during the early days of the colony, chose the -road policy as the subject of one of his strongest editorials attacking the governor. Fol-lowing the editor's v i s i t to Douglas, Lillooet, and Yale i n the f a l l of 1861, he published an editorial t i t l e d "Governor Doug-63 las' Road Policy", i n which he said: What we have seen and heard during our recent v i s i t to the towns above, has matured the conviction that there i s some-thing radically wrong in. the Governor's road-making policy. We exceedingly regret to find the opinion widening and  62. The B. C . July 20, 1864. 63. Ibid.-. October 31, 1861. -89-deepening that he, either intentionally or otherwise, i s i n this as in many other matters, pursuing a course but too well calculated to retard the prosperity of this Colo-ny. This i s a bold charge, but we do not see how one can honestly and intelligently arrive at any other conclusion. A l l who are acquainted with His Excellency know right well that he i s not a fool, and they cannot therefore but atr tribute his fearful blundering and enormous waste of time and money to a less enviable cause. Upwards of five hun- dred thousand dollars i n money, and three years i n time, have now been expended in making roads to the interior, and what has been accomplished? In the following year there were indications that the edi-tor's attitude to the government's road policy had begun to change. Early i n April 1862 Robson had occasion to compliment the government upon the granting of a charter to extend the 64 road from Lillooet north toward the Cariboo country: This work i s without doubt the greatest step forward that has yet been made by our Government towards interior com-munication and opening up the Cariboo country; and unless i t turns out to be possessed of some objectionable fea-tures, either as to i t s conditions or the manner of i t s negociation—with which we have not yet been made acquain-ted—we feel disposed to award credit to the Government for doing what should have only been done sooner. Two weeks later, however, Robson again c r i t i c i z e d Douglas' road policy. The government, he claimed, should decide upon one main road to the interior,".•.ascertaining which i s the best route, not only as a means to reach Cariboo, but...which w i l l conduce the most towards permanent settlement; and, by concen-trating our means and energies thereon, complete one grand trunk road through the Colony. But now...two nearly paral l e l and competing roads are under contract from the head of naviga-tion on the lower, to the foot of navigation on the upper 64. The B. C . Ap r i l 3, 1862. -90-6 5 Fraser...." Two years later the editor again pointed to the need for a trunk road through the colony hut called the con-66 struction of two parallel roads an "absurd extravagance". As late as 1868, long after the Douglas-Lillooet route had ceased to be an important highway to the interior, Robson continued to attack the government's early "haphazard and un-decided" road policy. 6" 7 Claiming that the opening of the Doug-las-Lillooet route was a blunder, he admitted that the construc-tion of the Fraser River road had brought temporary prosperity but pointed out that i t had resulted i n a heavy burden of debt and had caused the failure of the Douglas route. The problem of the high cost of roadbuilding i n the colony was probably the root of much of Robson's criticism of the government: apparent-ly he believed that the great sums spent on roads could have been put to better use elsewhere: "Instead of grand highways, absorbing colossal fortunes, we require a net work of roads and good t r a i l s , costing much less than those now bu i l t , and s u f f i -cient to accommodate a young commerce i n i t s f i r s t essay. De-velop the colony f i r s t by this system, and the colony w i l l i n turn develop i t s e l f and i t s roads." 65. The B. C April 17, 1862. 66. Ibid.. April 20, 1864. 67. Ibid.. February 29, 1868. 68. Ibid.. March 7, 1865. -91-Despite Robson's criticism of the colony's road policy, he nevertheless paid tribute to the government's determination and foresight i n constructing the Cariboo road. Two editorials express his attitude toward this great undertaking: While taking exception to the manner of locating and the mode of constructing some of these roads, and while we have had occasion to deplore considerable waste of revenue upon roads even now f a l l i n g into disuitude, we could not but admire the courage and firmness necessary to undertake and execute the construction of the road through the t e r r i -f i c canyon and mountain scenery between Yale and Lytton, now the great artery of the colony. The influence which these roads have exerted upon the price of living i n Cari-boo i s perhaps at once the most practical and conclusive proof of their u t i l i t y . 6 9 Suppose we reflect for a l i t t l e upon the possible conse-quences of being without that highway. Think of what a journey to Cariboo i n 1861 implied, and of mining opera-tions carried on with provisions, clothing and mining ap-pliances at the prices which ruled then. What would Cari-boo have been today? An unprospected, howling waste. Where would have been the series of farms, with their broad acres under waving corn which now dot the entire line of road? Echo answers where. Looking at the question from every point of view, and feeling keenly, as we do, the grinding burden of the debt which i t s construction involved, we are disposed to regard this great a r t e r i a l highway as an undying monument to the daring energy and enlightened en-terprise of the administration which conceived the under-taking andcarried i t through to successful completion.70 That the problems of developing the resources of the colo-ny were f u l l y appreciated by the editor of The Br i t i s h Colum- bian w i l l be evident from this study of Robson's attitude to-, ward them. To him, the basis for the region's future great-ness lay i n the sound foundation that must be l a i d through the fostering of agriculture. To assist the development of 69. The B. C . June 20, 1865 70. Ibid.. February 8, 1868. -92-agriculture, immigrants must be attracted; before permanent settlement could be assured, the colony should be thoroughly surveyed. But the colony should not rely upon i t s agricultural resources alone: forestry, fishing, and manufacturing were fields wherein lay great opportunities for development. That the colony was rich i n gold was obvious, but Robson saw the twin dangers of concentrating only on the Cariboo region, while neglecting the exploitation of other mineral deposits. Yet before the fullest advantage could be derived from any of the colony's resources, lines of communication must be estab-lished. Robson's policy of c r i t i c i z i n g the government's road policy, while giving credit where i t was due, i s evidence that he appreciated the part that roads would play i n the future of the colony. Chapter 4 ROBSON'S ATTITUDE TOWARD CERTAIN OTHER PUBLIC QUESTIONS -93-As a pioneer editor i n a frontier community, John Robson f u l f i l l e d to the best of his abi l i t y his avowed inten-tion of airing grievances and advocating policies for the betterment of the colony. In the course of his eight year proprietorship of The British Columbian i n New Westminster his newspaper discussed virtually a l l the contemporary questions of public importance. While i t i s impossible i n a work of this scope to examine his attitude to more than-a few of these, yet a study of his writings on some economic, social and p o l i t i c a l questions w i l l indicate his views and w i l l help to delineate this interesting personality. A favourite topic i n Robson's editorials was that of the revenues of the colony. He considered i t his duty not only to report the news relating to taxes, t a r i f f s , road t o l l s , and other sources of revenue, but to c r i t i c i z e the government for i t s principles and methods of taxation. While the editor ap-parently considered himself qualified to discuss the important topic of public finance, his treatment of i t does not indicate that he was a f i s c a l expert. Probably he believed the impor-tance of the topic compelled i t s consideration; i t i s unlikely that he was deterred by his lack of knowledge of a subject that was undoubtedly popular with his readers. One measure which Robson championed during the f i r s t few years of his journal was the establishment of an export tax on -94-gold. Since the mining class derived the greatest wealth from the colony, he believed that this class should bear the heavi-est tax burden, while recognizing that the f i s c a l policy of the government was founded upon this principle, Robson believed that the miners should be required to pay a direct tax on the gold taken out of the colony. Such a tax, he f e l t , would rea-l i z e a very large sum and would permit of a reduction i n other taxes. That Robson's estimate of the amount of revenue from this source was completely erroneous i s further evidence of his unbounded optimism of the gold wealth of the interior. In an editorial i n May 1862 Robson discussed the question of an export tax on gold. 1 He referred to the large amounts of —i gold that were carried out of the country by "men who pay the merest t r i f l e towards the revenue," and added: "Such a tax as we now advocate, i s the only effectual means of reaching these cases." He went on to say: Had this tax been i n operation last year, i t would, at 50 cents on the ounce, which we would consider a f a i r rate, have produced no less than one hundred and thirty-seven  thousand five hundred dollars, or nearly half the revenue of last year! During the present season i t would not be too much to say that the yie l d of our gold-fields w i l l be double that of last year, which would, estimated at twelve million dollars, give three hundred and seventy-five thou- sand dollars!....But suppose two-thirds paid the tax, we should s t i l l have from this source i n one year the very handsome sum of $250,000! In conclusion he stated that this tax should make a reduction of the customs t a r i f f possible. The overall result would be a more equitable distribution of the burden of taxation, which would exert a healthy influence on the commerce of the colony. 1. The B. C . May 24, 1862. -95-Robson's estimate of twelve million dollars as the pro-bable yield of the gold fields i n 1863 i s approximately three 2 times the actual yield for that year. He offers no authority for his figures, and one can only guess their source. 3 A few days later Robson returned to this theme, remarking that "While few i f any i n the Colony would object to pay their quota towards the revenue of the country, yet many, very many, do object to the mode i n which i t i s at present raised." He repeated his previous arguments and advocated an export tax on gold as an experiment. Two months later he again raised the 4 subject: Now i s the time to levy a tax on gold exported from this Colony. It w i l l not be matter of surprise i f our gold fields should yield twenty million dollars this season! Upon that sum a tax of 50 cents per ounce would give us a revenue of #625,000; considerably more than the entire revenue of the Colony at present. Apparently i t did not occur to the editor that his estimate of the gold yield for 1863 had risen eight million dollars since May. He continued: The great bulk of our revenue i s expended i n f a c i l i t a t i n g gold digging—in opening up roads, administering laws, etc., and we can conceive of no more rational mode of paying for this expenditure than by levying a rate upon gold, thereby making every man pay i n exact proportion— not to his expenses, and the amount he consumes, but to the amount of our treasure he carries out of the country. 2. R. E. G-osnell, The Year Book of Br i t i s h Columbia. Victoria, n. p., 1897, p. 389, states that the yield i n 1863 was #3,913,000. This was the grea-test yield of any year between 1858 and 1874. 3. The B. C . May 28, 1862. 4. Ibid.. July 30, 1862 -96-5 In 1863 he repeated his demand for an export gold tax, and 6 again i n 1864 when he added: "Is i t a matter of indifference that this, the only present available source of revenue and wealth i s being rapidly drained out of this Colony at the rate of many millions every year to enrich other countries, without yielding any commensurate advantages to this?" In conclusion he claimed that the objection that the tax would be d i f f i c u l t to collect could be easily overcome, and that collecting the tax would not prove to be expensive. The attitude of Governor Douglas to the imposition of this tax aroused Robson1s indignation. In March 1864 the Legisla-tive Council "...unanimously recommended His Excellency the Governor to impose a tax of two shillings an ounce upon a l l raw gold and one shilling an ounce upon a l l assayed .gold leaving this Colony....we are surprised—we may say, shocked--to hear that the Governor has subsequently expressed his determination that such a measure w i l l never become law during his administra-7 t i o n l " Douglas' term of office was about to expire, and Rob-son told his readers that he had hoped the governor might, "at the eleventh hour", seek to allay some of the i r r i t a t i o n his administration had aroused by approving the desired tax. How-ever, the governor's action "...precludes the possibility of a 5. The B. C . February 18, 1863. 6. Ibid.. January 20, 1864. V.- Ibid.. March 9, 1864. -97-friendly parting." A few months later a registration fee for the transfer of mining claims was put into effect. Robson commented editor i a l -8 iy: In our Cariboo letter, published on Saturday, reference i s made to the fee of one per cent, recently imposed upon the registration of the transfer of mining claims, and with re-spect to the feeling upon the subject our correspondent says: "The miners i n general look upon i t as an extortion almost without a parallel." It w i l l be remembered that during the early part of the session of the Legislature the then Governor was recommended by a unanimous vote of the House to levy an export tax upon raw. gold leaving the Colony, that he refused to do so, and instead of the tax recommended established the present unfair and oppressive fee upon the transfer of claims. We say the fee i s unfair ' and oppressive because i t i s a tax upon unrealized labor, and too heavy at that. For instance, a claim may change hands for $10,000 and turn out to be valueless, yet the transaction would pay a fee amounting to $100. The registration fee proved to be very unpopular, and agitation continued for an export tax on gold. The following year the Gold Export Duty Ordinance was passed, providing for an export duty of two shillings an ounce on unassayed and one s h i l l i n g and sixpence on assayed gold. 9 "The Ordinance comes into operation today," said Robson, "—rather sharp work we think." The editor commented: We by no means fe e l certain that the objections raised to the rate of 2s. per ounce were unworthy the serious consi-deration of the House. It i s a question whether i t would not have been wise to commence with ls.,^-0 and after people 8. The B. C . June 22, 1864. 9. Ibid.. February 1, 1865. 10. It w i l l be remembered that i n his editorial of May 24, 1862, Robson said he considered a tax of f i f t y cents an ounce (equivalent to two shillings) "a f a i r rate." (v. supra, p. 94). -98-became habituated to the tax and gold became more settled i n commercial channels, increase i t to 2s. i f necessary. Robson continued to Support the measure, but maintained that the tax was too h i g h . 1 1 By November 1865 the editor had begun to realize that opposition to the tax was growing among the mining population. Nevertheless he again justified the tax and claimed that the opposition was the result of misrep-12 resentation i n a r i v a l newspaper. A month later, however, Robson1s attitude toward the ex-pediency of an export tax on gold had undergone a considerable IS transformation: The Gold Export Tax—Its Abolition The readers of the British Columbian w i l l doubtless rub their spectacles, and take another look. What! the British Columbian out i n favor of the abolition of the Gold Export Tax? It i s , perhaps, due to ourselves to premise that this apparently sudden revulsion i s i n no measure attributable to a change of views i n reference to the principle of the tax i t s e l f . We are as thoroughly convinced as ever that, i n a mining country circumstanced as B. C. i s , the tax i s a f a i r and equitable one; and we also feel convinced that had the Government not fixed the rate much too high, and had not the prejudices of the mi-ners been worked upon by a few scheming politicians, the measure would have evoked l i t t l e or no opposition. But, that i s not the point to be considered now. The tax has unfortunately proved to be obnoxious to a large majority of that class most directly affected by i t ; and however equitable i n principle, the Government would not be jus-t i f i e d i n persisting i n collecting i t . We hold i t to be an axiom i n p o l i t i c a l economy that the Government should be administered i n accordance with the well-understood wishes of the people, and that whenever any particular measure of revenue i s found to be obnoxious to a large majority of the revenue-producing population, i t ought to be withdrawn, no matter how sound i t may be as an ab-stract thesis. 11. The B. C August 26, 1865. 12. Ibid.. November 8, 1865. 13. Ibid.. December 6, 1865. Robson also pointed out that because of the extent of the gold 14 fields the tax would be easy to evade. Apparently the editor of The British Columbian realized that the measure which had been advocated so strongly i n 1864 had become unpopular less than two years later. It had also proved a failure: the tax which was expected to realize £25,000 15 in 1865 actually produced only £10,585. Accordingly Robson turned to other topics: the export tax on gold ceased to be a subject for his leading editorials. During the years 1861-1869 a major problem i n the develop-ment of the region was that of financing government expendi-tures. A policy of heavy taxation was adopted, but geographic and economic factors together with Great Britain's decision that the region could develop with l i t t l e financial aid soon re-sulted i n a mounting public debt. Robson's attitude during the f i r s t few years of his newspaper toward the crushing burden of taxation was marked by abuse of Governor Douglas' f i s c a l policy and a lack of constructive criticism. Later the editor came to realize the necessity of road t o l l s and import duties but chose to c r i t i c i z e the manner of collecting them. As the public debt continued to grow, Robson turned his attention to the most ob-vious means of improving the colony's finances—that of redu-cing public expenditures. By the summer of 1864 Robson 14. It w i l l be remembered that i n his editorial of January 20, 1864, Robson had indicated that collec-ting the tax would not prove d i f f i c u l t . ( v. supra, p. 96). 15. The B. C . November 21, 1866. -100-recognized the growing financial problem i n an editorial en-t i t l e d "Our Financial Prospects" i n which he said: "Much as we may be disposed to close our eyes to future e v i l there i s no use i n longer concealing the fact that this Colony i s threa-tened with serious financial d i f f i c u l t i e s . " During 1866 the editor embarked upon a program of deman-ding a reduction i n government expenses. Following the opening of the Legislative Council i n January 1866, Robson bi t t e r l y at-tacked the government's proposals for retrenchment that were outlined i n the Speech from the Throne. "The circumstances of the country demand a greater, a much greater reduction i n the 17 expense of carrying on the Government," said Robson; a few days later he added: "We (are] thoroughly convinced that a radical measure of retrenchment can no longer be delayed with impunity" 1 8;a week later he commented: "The ^Government e s t i -mates] may, i n fact, be characterized as a ;;saving at the spit, 19 while the bung-hole i s l e f t open."* During May the editor's comments on the problem of re-20 trenchment were only slightly less c r i t i c a l of the government: 16. The B. C . August 24, 1864. 17. Ibid.. February 3, 1866. 18. I b i d f . February 6, 1866. 19. Ibid.. February 14, 1866. 20. ' Ibid.. May 5, 1866. -101-Now that the small end of the retrenchment wedge has been entered, let His Excellency lay firm hold upon the Execu-tive mallet and drive i t home. It i s not enough that the two dis t r i c t s of Lytton and Douglas have been merged into others. It i s not enough that our airy Postmaster-General has subsided into a Stipendiary Magistrate. Nor w i l l i t satisfy the public to know that two or three T o l l Collec-tors have been lopped off.... Our success depends upon keeping our expenses within .our means, and the most r i g i d economy i s essential to make'a-mends for past prodigality.... ' \ The people cannot, i f they would, support such an army of o f f i c i a l s as now swarm every department of the Public Service. They are i n no mood to submit quietly to the most crushing rate of taxation, merely for the prestige of keeping up a l l the departments usually found i n older, more populous and more wealthy Colonies. In an editorial later i n the month Robson made use of the fable of the goose that lai d the golden egg to demonstrate that the colony had squandered i t s revenues because of the preponderance of government o f f i c i a l s . 2 ^ In June the editor returned to the attack, waxing eloquent 22 i n his demands for retrenchment: RETRENCHMENT—RETRENCHMENT has undoubtedly become the watch-word, the 'battle-cry', i f you w i l l , of the colonists. It i s shouted forth by every settler on the lower Fraser, while i t i s heard re-echoing through fche canyons of the upper Fraser and the mountain gorges of Cariboo and Big Bend. RETRENCHMENT I We hear the shout from the hoary top of Bald Mountain,23 and from the highest peak on the Sel-kirk Range. We hear i t rolling' from mountain summit and thro' grassy dale, startling the indolent grizzly bear i n his secluded l a i r , and disturbing the equilibrium of the equally indolent o f f i c i a l , as he whiles away the day drow-si l y i n his comfortable tent, i n the interior, or s t i l l more comfortable quarters at the capital. We do but glide along i n the current of the stream of 'public opinion' when we shout, at the top of our voice, RETRENCHMENTI RETRENCHMENT!I Later i n June another editorial on this subject began with 21. The B. C . May 30,1866. 22. Ibid.. June 9, 1866. 23. Mount Agnes, a famous landmark i n the Cariboo region during the days of the gold rush. -102-an apology to the reader, explaining that "Like Dan O'Connell we mean to 'agitate, agitate', u n t i l the country i s i n some measure relieved from the load which i s crushing i t s tender limbs and dwarfing and crippling i t s whole body, and u n t i l those who profess to administer i t s affairs 'according to the well understood wishes of the people' are compelled to l i s t e n 24 to these wishes, and-pay becoming deference thereto." The following week he reiterated his demand that government expen-ditures be reduced: 2^ ...when we compare the C i v i l List of this Colony with the number and a b i l i t y of i t s population we find the one pal-pably disproportioned to the other. This, a l l who are not stone blind must see, and a l l who are candid must admit. Under these circumstances what i s to be done? Are we, from a feeling of ostentatious pride, to refuse to adapt our habits and expenses to our means, and land i n bank-ruptcy? Or are we to act wisdom's part, cut down our establishment, discharge every servant we can do without, and reduce the salaries of those we cannot do without, to a point at which they w i l l bear some proportion to our means, and to the work expected of them? 26 The same theme was repeated i n December: Wo half measures w i l l be acceptable to the people. They are i n no temper-to be put off with anything short of a sweeping reduction i n the "bloated C i v i l L i s t " , and we can assure his Excellency that we do but glide along i n the current of the stream of public opinion2''' when we say so. Let the reduction be judicious but - thorough. ~~ 24. The B. C . June 50. 1866. "~ 25. I b i d r . July 7, 1866. .26. Ibid.. December 5, 1866. 27. The reader w i l l remember that the phrase "we do but glide...stream of public opinion" appeared i n the passage quoted from The B. Cf for June 9, 1866. (v. supra, p. 101). -103-That Robson -was far from satisfied with the government's attempts at retrenchment i s shown by the editor's cri t i c i s m of 28 the estimates for 1868-1869: There i s no doubt that the Estimates are far, very far from being what the country had a right to expect. ¥hile promising a reduction, the Government has really attempted nothing of the kind worthy of the name. In order to im-part a color of retrenchment to the Estimates, five thou-sand dollars less were put down for charitable purposes and four thousand dollars less for Education. A pretty attempt at retrenchment certainly'. Later i n the year, however, he drew attention to what had been done> but pointed out the need for an extension of the govern-ment's policy:29 The Colony has been two years without a Treasurer! Will anybody say that the Department has been rendered any less efficient by decapitation? Has i t s efficiency not really been increased? Four thousand dollars a year saved and an incumbrance put out of the way! The Postmaster generalship was abolished, as a distinct office, some two or three years ago, the t i t l e and functions being transferred to the Registrar-General. Are the duties worse performed? Are they not i n f i n i t e l y better performed? Two thousand dollars a year saved and nobody missed! If, i n the two instances which we have"cited, amalgamation, or rather decapitation and amalgamation have resulted so satisfac-•... t o r i l y , how i s i t that the measure has not been pushed farther?... Hitherto we have had our rulers of thousands, our ru-lers of hundreds, our rulers of f i f t i e s , our rulers of tens, and, i n some instances, our rulers of sevens! a l l drawing large salaries, absorbing a l l the v i t a l i t y of the country. We have, i n fact, been 'governed off the face of the earth'. In truth, we have 'overrun the Constable', and must re-trench; and we see no better way for retrenchment to com-mence than that, the rough outline of which we have been endeavoring to indicate. Retrenchment i s , under any c i r -cumstances, a disagreeable work. In our case i t has be-come an absolute and urgent necessity. Despite Robson's earnest editorials pleading for 28. The B. C . April 29, 1868 29. Ibid.. September 2, 1868. -104-retrenchment, the financial condition of the united colonies continued to deteriorate. In spite of heavy taxes, annual de-f i c i t s were repeated each year with monotonous regularity. De-pression began to grip the colony like a vise. The economic condition of the region i n the late 1860's did much to turn the eyes of the struggling settlers toward the east. Perhaps Confederation with Canada would be the ray of sunlight to bring r e l i e f from the financial clouds which darkened the colony's future. A major problem i n the colonial history of Brit i s h Colum-bia was that of penetrating the coastal mountains and reaching the auriferous interior. New Westminster was favorably situ-ated upon the most practicable route to the gold f i e l d s , that by way of the Eraser River. Realizing the importance of her position she looked with a jealous eye upon attempts to open other routes. The constant feud between island and mainland which runs like a thread through the region's history was given impetus by any endeavor of the island colony to control trade with the interior. Accordingly when the subject of a northern route from the Pacific overland to the Cariboo region arose during the eighteen-sixties, the scheme was championed by the . island and denounced by the mainland. The reasons are obvious: a northern route would channel trade through Victoria, bypas-sing the Fraser River and New Westminster entirely. Robson, ever eager to support the mainland at the expense of the island, turned his attention to discrediting the scheme, condemning i t -105-consistently and at length. In an editorial written not long after he began publica-tion, Robson said: Our Victoria neighbors appear to be growing really alarmed, judging from the CTictoriai Colonist..... lest they might, amidst a l l their competition, lose the Brit i s h Columbia trade, which they very properly regard as the chief cause of their past and present success, as well as their great hope for the future. They made strenuous efforts some time ago to convince Hope, Yale, Douglas, and other towns above, that their true policy was to advocate a union of the Colonies, or as they would express it,'annexation of Br i t i s h Columbia to  Vancouver Island. 1 and form direct communication with Vic-toria, giving Hew Westminster the go by. Failing i n this attempt to induce the.wide awake people above to swallow the bait, they now resort to their old sham cry of a 'Northern Route!' so as to keep the uninitiated i n a fog un t i l something turns up. We have no doubt they would be greatly relieved i f they could devise some scheme to get the precious dust of Cari-boo, without running the ris k of having to come down the Fraser River.*.. But even i f this Northern route should prove to be a l l that i t s most sanguine advocates claim for i t , would i t be pol i t i c or just to spend a l l our energies and resources i n making a road which would only benefit the adventurer, when we can ' k i l l two birds with one stone' by improving nature's  highway to our mines, and opening out our agricultural re-sources at the same time? A week later Robson ridiculed a project of Alfred Wadding-ton, a strong supporter for a northern route to the mines. Wad-dington envisaged a town at the head of Dean Channel about 350 miles north of Victoria, to serve as the seaport for his pro-posed t r a i l east to the Cariboo. Robson published a spurious advertisement, which no doubt he composed, offering lots for 31 sale i n this hypothetical town.1 The date of the sale i s 30. The B. C . April 18, 1861 31. Ibid.. April 25, 1861. -106-significant. W A D ' D I N G T O N I Great Sale of Town Lots!I ROUSING OPPORTUNITY!!! On the 1st of April, 1862, w i l l be offered, on the ground, 5,000 Town Lots, being the entire site of Waddington, at the head of Dean's Canal, on the North Coast of Brit i s h Columbia, A few citizens of Victoria, having been moved by a philanthro-pic desire to build up a Town at that point, are prepared to offer Extraordinary Inducements! And i n order that said point may be the seaport of British Columbia, steps w i l l be taken to f i l l up the present 'dangerous' entrance to Fraser River and Burrard Inlet. For plans, and further particulars, apply at the Waddingtonian Office, No. 10 Siwash Alley, Victoria. P.S. Should parties making ...purchases at the above sale desire to have half the purchase money refunded, the thing can be done,-as the philanthropic citizens aforesaid have a way of managing such matters with the government. As the naviga-tion i s very bad at present, balloons w i l l be provided to convey intending purchasers to the place of sale, free of charge. During the summer of 1861 Robson attacked a similar scheme which was proposed to construct a t r a i l from Bentinck Arm, near 32 Dean Channel, to Quesnel. He pointed out that the distance by land would not be shortened, while that by water would be i n -creased by thirty-three per cent. "This comparison,. therefore, speaks for i t s e l f ; we must be content with that approach to the interior which Nature has given us, i n our broad and majestic Fraser, and the invaluable chain of Lillooet Lakes." Robson claimed i t was ridiculous to suppose that the center of com-merce should be anywhere but New Westminster when the coast of 32. The B. Gt. July 18, 1861 -107-the colony north of the Strait of Georgia held such terrors of navigation. He concluded: While then, our Island neighbors, prompted by a philan-thropic (?; desire to reach our mines by some other route than the Fraser, are eagerly engaged i n the abortive at-tempt to discover a highway that w i l l supercede this, l e t us avail ourselves of the superior advantages Nature hath so bountifully given us, and, by making New Westminster the great emporium of supply for British Columbia, we shall most effectually benefit the miners, at the same time that we better ourselves. Late i n 1861 Robson again c r i t i c i z e d the Victoria interests which persisted i n agitating for a northern route to the mines. 35 He continued: But we are happy to say that we have reason to believe our Government i s sound upon this question, and that the inte-rests of this Colony w i l l not be betrayed i n this matter, and made to subserve the selfish ends of a handful of hun-gry adventurers, who, caring not a f i g for the future weal of the country, only desire to f i l l their pockets at the expense of the permanent settler, and then leaye for other lands.... Before the government would be justified i n alloting public funds to such a scheme, the editor said, there must be proof that a large volume of t r a f f i c was assured. "At the present moment there i s not only a total absence of certainty i n the matter, but on the contrary, both the Government and people of this colony regard the whole scheme as neither more or less than a Victoria bubble., indebted for i t s existence mainly to the bellows-blower of the Colonist." By 186S Robson seemed convinced that the scheme to build a northern route to the mines would be abandoned. "Two weeks ago i t was our melancholy duty to record the death of this 33. The B. G.. December 19, 1861 -108-34,35 chimerical abortion. Now we have to announce i t s obse-36 quies." Nevertheless seven months later when an attempt to revive the plan was made he f e l t i t necessary to publish ano-37 ther editorial attacking i t . Thereafter, similar editorials appeared whenever Robson detected signs that the project was 38 again attracting attention. When the colony of British Columbia was created i n 1858, approximately ten thousand native Indians inhabited the area. Many of these lived i n the lower mainland and along the routes to the interior. The policy of Great Britain toward them was one of force tempered by humanitarianism: the colonial gover-nors, James Douglas i n particular, carried out this policy with justice and authority. As a result the Indians i n the colony came to accept the influx of miners, and outbreaks of violence were rare. However the tendency of the natives to settle near the towns and along the river valleys brought them into close contact with the white man. The attitude of Robson to the social problem thus created i s reflected i n his editorials i n The Bri t i s h Columbianr .34. A reference to a previous editorial i n which Robson expressed the conviction that the Fraser River would remain the sole route to the interior. 35. A. favorite word i n Robson's editorials. 36. The B. C . April 3, 1868. 37. Ibid. f November 1, 1862. 38. Ibid.. October 16, 1867; May 23, 1868.! -109-Robson was particularly concerned with the problem of In-dians i n and around New Westminster. An editorial i n February 1862 described a scuffle between a group of miners and an i n -toxicated native during which one of the miners was stabbed 39 with a knife: We have had reason to congratulate ourselves upon the comparative paucity of cases of this sort heretofore; but,unless something be done by the authorities to re-move the Indians to a reserve at a suitable-distance from the c i t y , we have every reason to anticipate (further oc-currences of this natureJ The Indians are now encamped-in considerable numbers almost i n the very centre of the city, where they are permitted to make a display of ...' licentiousness and corruption i n the blaze of day, under the gaze of respectable families—where a l l night long peaceful slumber i s disturbed by their drunken orgies. Three months later i n an editorial entitled "The Executive Demented", Robson expressed amazement that the government had actually taken some action i n this matter by appropriating a 40 reserve for the Indians, but he c r i t i c i z e d the site chosen: Our objections to the arrangment are that i t i s altogether too near, and so situated that should any contagion break out there, i t would be certain to communicate to the city, as during the summer months the wind blows from that quar-ter every day; and that the ground i s notoriously too small for the accommodation of (fifteen hundredl Indians. In Robson's view, a location which enabled the Indians to cul-tivate the s o i l should be chosen. This would tend to raise their living standard: Under the present arrangement they w i l l be a l l huddled together...devoured by mosquitoes. Is this the way to treat human beings, be they white or red? Is i t good policy to so use the Indians? 39. The B. C . February 27, 1862 40. Ibid.. May 21, 1862. -110-In conclusion he characterized the government's action as "blundering f o l l y " . One reason for Robson's concern over the proximity of Indians to New Westminster was the danger of a smallpox epide-mic. In June 1862 he reported that the disease had broken out among the town's native population. " A l l Indians should at once be removed from the city, and means adopted to prevent 41 steamers bringing any more from Victoria." In 1864 Robson returned to the question of the Indians i n and around the capital. Repeating his reasons for advocating 42 their removal, he said: "...decent people residing upon ad-jacent lots are subjected to the intolerable nuisance of having f i l t h y , degraded, debauched Indians as next door neighbors, and are compelled to spend sleepless nights on account of their drunken orgies." He called upon the legislature to consider the Indian- question, and concluded: We give way to no man i n a desire to mete our justice and even kindness to the aborigines of this country. But we believe their removal beyond the city limits i s not only demanded by the interests Of the whites, but would contri-bute to the welfare of the Indians themselves, by removing them further from corrupting and degrading influences. 1 The need for a comprehensive Indian, policy, was brought to the government's attention i n an editorial i n 1862. Robson urged that reserves for the natives should be "definitely and permanently fixed", so that the "...Indian population—now a curse to themselves and the country—would rapidly become 41. The B. C June 21, 1862 42.. Ibid.. January 20, 1864. -111-43 intelligent and industrious members of the community." The editor continued: The natives of these countries are inclined to view the white colonists as intruders, who have come to deprive them of their lands and their b i r t h - r i g h t — a feeling which i s by no means to be wondered at. Consequently, i t be-hooves us to see that i n a l l our intercourse with these people we have due regard to their rights, while at the same time the more important interests of the country are conserved. A year later Robson enlarged upon this theme i n two long 44 editorials t i t l e d "Our Relations with the Indians". He poin-ted out that only upon the ground that superior c i v i l i z a t i o n , manners, and religion had been imparted to the Indians could the colonists^ justify their occupation of the country, adding "...even upon that ground i t i s not quite clear that we have any moral right to occupy these lands before they are freely ceded to us by their original owners, or to enforce the ob-servance of our laws upon the natives without their consent ...." However, now that the country had been occupied, the colony's obligations to the Indians must be recognized. Con-sidering the natives' present position, Robson pointed out that their hunting grounds had been occupied, and their occupations of fishing and trapping disrupted. In addition the white man 45 had introduced drunkenness, prostitution, and disease. "We 43. The B. C . June 21, 1862. 44. Ibid.. June 10 and June 13, 1863. 45. Robson's attitude toward supplying liquor to the Indians was that i t was an e v i l which must be stopped See The B. C. for April 14 and October 20, 1866, and February 16, 1867. -112-need not be astonished at the occasional manifestations of re-venge and insubordination among the Indians which we are called upon to chronicle," the editor commented, referring to past at-tacks by the Indians upon the settlers, adding that only fear, 46 and not love, prevented further bloodshed. The government was guilty of neglect i n f a i l i n g to pro-tect the native's from demoralization, Robson continued, and must take action at once before the Indian race becomes ex-ti n c t . As the Indians' guardian, " [the government mustj exercise i t s paternal protection*-, .and, at the same time, use every available means for their improvement." Reservations, each sufficient for five hundred natives, should be estab-lished, and the natives compelled to live on them. The In-dians should be assisted i n clearing and fencing their lands and i n establishing farms on them. "What i s wanted i s not to do the work and afford a free support to the Indians, but ju-diciously to stimulate them, and guide, as far as may be, ^their efforts so as to cultivate i n them a s p i r i t of self re-liance and the desire to excel." Schools for the Indians, i n -cluding an industrial school, should be established by the government. 46. Robson i n the issue of June 27, 1863 blames Gover-nor Douglas for the plight of the Indians. This would seem to be the result of personal animosity rather than an impartial study of the facts. Be-cause of Douglas' long association with the natives, both as an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company and as a colonial governor, he was particularly well qualified to deal with this problem. Undoubtedly the Indian question would have been more serious but for the governor's forceful yet understanding treat-ment of the native population.1 -11-3-With the adoption of this Indian policy, said Robson, the natives would be more easily controlled and would have more con-fidence i n the government. They would no longer be i n danger ef dying out and, being f u l l y occupied on the land, they would have less contact with the white man's vices and diseases. A year 47 later he added: It i s cheaper and better every way to deal honorably and even generously with the aborigines i f we look no higher than pounds, shillings and pence. Depend upon i t for every acre of land we obtain by improper means we w i l l have to pay dearly i n the end and every wrong committed upon these poor people w i l l be visited upon our heads as sure as justice i s one of the immutable attributes of Him who avengeth the wrongs of the weak and oppressed of what-ever color or caste. But after land had been set aside for the Indians, Robson told his readers that the reservations were too large i n proportion 48 to the native population. These extravagant reserves have beenlaid off, i f indeed, one can apply the term at a l l , i n such a way as to do the greatest possible amount of injury to the greatest pos-sible number of settlers. This may appear to some to be strong language; but we think i t i s f u l l y borne out by facts, and facts are stubborn things to deal with. Six months later he substantiated this charge by quoting from the o f f i c i a l report on Indian reserves of the lower Fraser pre-49 pared by the Chief Commissioner for Lands and Works. A question of some social significance during the years 1861-1869, although perhaps not of v i t a l importance i n the 47. The B. C . May 21, 1864. 48. Ibid..November 16, 1867. 49. Ibid..May 2, 1868. -114-colony's history, was that of education. That Rohson devoted considerable space to this topic indicates i t s importance to this pioneer editor. In July 1861 Robson published an editorial t i t l e d "The 50 Education of our Youth". In i t he suggested that government should keep pace with the growth of the colony by establishing a school system "...founded on principles of equity and justice to a l l — f r e e from sectarian domination and exclusiveness, and which would be supported by the w i l l , and for the benefit, of the entire community." Cr i t i c i z i n g the governor for his pro-crastination i n this matter, the editor pointed out that i n New Westminster alone there were thirty children ready for school. In this editorial, one of the f i r s t which appeared i n The  British Columbian on the subject of education, Robson's a t t i -tude toward sectarian schools i s visib l e , an attitude which appears i n many of his columns on this topic. In February 51 1862 he said: "...the establishment of a system;of public schools, i s rapidly assuming an important and urgent charac-ter." Stating that i t was f u t i l e to wait for the government to take action, Robson continued: "The paramount importance of education, and to that end, the importance of a public school system, regulated and endowed by the Government, i s ac-knowledged by a l l c i v i l i z e d nations; consequently to argue the 50. The B. C.July 18, 1861. 51. Ibid.. February 27, ,1862. -115-claims of the question would he a work of supererogation...." Such a system should be founded upon a "broad and noneectarian basis," the editor claimed, adding that Br i t i s h Columbia would do well to "...make use of the long experience of Canada, by adopting at least as far as circumstances w i l l admit, her com-mon school system." In April 1864 Robson returned to the topic of education, 52 enlarging upon i t in three editorials: Popular Education. ...we think the time has f u l l y come when the matter should be taken up by our legislators, and such a school system inaugurated as would, at this early day, lay broad and deep i n this young but hopeful Colony, the foundation and elements of future intelligence and social elevation. Ve want a system which, while i t perfectly meets present re-quirements, w i l l at the same time anticipate that rapid progress which we a l l expect to see i n years to come. The question before us i s one which i s not circum-scribed i n i t s importance by the number of those who would receive immediate benefit from i t s operations. The enac-ting of such a school law as we are asking for would raise the character of the Colony i n the estimation of our neigh-bors and would offer one of the greatest possible induce-ments to that very class of immigrants whom we are most desirous of attracting to our shores. In the second editorial the editor gave his reasons for i n s i s -ting upon non-sectarian schools: ...we should say l e t (the school system] be NON-SECTA-RIAN—strictly so. Our population, small though i t be, embraces representatives of every important nation of the earth and adherents of almost every variety of religious f a i t h under heaven, and i t would be manifestly impossible to induce a l l these to place their children i n schools where the religious creeds and formularies of any denomi-nation are obtruded or the tests of any particular sect are made the basis of instruction. So that i f our Govern-ment schools are to be generally available for the youth of the land they must of necessity be non-sectarian. To make them anything else would be to render them to a very 52. The B. C . April 6, April 13, and April 23, 1864. -116-great extent inefficient, and at the same time would create among the religious denominations of the Colony a bone of contention which should be ... excluded. The third editorial dealt with the manner of supporting the co-lony's schools: Why should not a l i b e r a l portion of the Crown Lands of this Colony be set apart to form a prepetual endowment for our national schools and colleges for the education of the youth of each succeeding generation? While man i s by his s k i l l and industry cultivating the s o i l and thus rendering i t f r u i t f u l why should not the s o i l be made tributary to the culture and refinement of man's superior nature? Financing the education of the children of the young co-lony presented a d i f f i c u l t problem. In September 1864 Robson reported that the cost per student i n New Westminster's only common school was $7.50 per quarter; parents with two or three children thus were often unable to send them a l l to school. 5 3 The following month Robson announced that the government had decided to subsidize education to the extent of four shillings 54 a month, a course which the editor applauded.. But when i n the following year the government allocated money for a new 55 school, Robson c r i t i c i z e d the amount as quite insufficient: ...we confess to a feeling of surprise and disappointment at seeing so insignificant a sum as £250 set down for a new School-house i n the capital. Whatever money i s expen-ded now for that purpose should be upon a permanent site, How Should our Public Schools be Supported? 53. 54. The B. C.. September 2, 1864. I b i d T . October 19, 1864. 55. Ibid.. March 14, 1865. -117-and i n the erection of what might form the nucleus of a complete suite of educational buildings." It follows there-fore, that what i s put up should be of brick or stone. From time to time Robson returned to the theme of the need for education. A favorite aspect of the question was that of 56 the importance of education to the future of the colony: But what, we ask, w i l l be the character, moral and i n t e l -lectual, of the rising generation ten years hence, i f we do not see to their education while boys and g i r l s , i n the rural settlements as well as i n the towns? And who, we ask, that has an interest i n the Colony, or a soul i n his skin, can f a i l to see that the entire community i s v i t a l l y interested i n promoting popular education? De-pend upon i t the moral and intellectual status of our people w i l l be high or low, just i n proportion as common school education i s placed within the reach of a l l , or withheld from the masses.1 That the question of sectarian schools continued to oc-cupy Robson's attention i s evident i n two editorials which ap-peared i n 1867. Remarking upon the attitude of Governor Sey-57 mour toward the subject of education, the editor wrote: It i s to be hoped that His Excellency will...recognize the inexpediency of allowing religious teaching to intrude upon the smaller common schools with which the country w i l l probably have to be content for some time to come, and f u l l y admit the principle that state aid can be given to none which are denominational. This we hold to be an essential principle i n a colony like this, where there i s no state church, where the colonists represent every shade of religious belief, and where one religion cannot be taught at the expense of the Exchequer without giving of-fence to, and i n f l i c t i n g injustice upon those holding d i f -ferent creeds. Later i n the year Robson re-emphasized his position: 56. The B. C.. December 16, 1866. 57. Ibid.. March 2, 1867. 58. Ibid.. August 17, 1867. -118-For our part, we have always maintained, and w i l l ever main- tain, that not a dollar of the public revenue can be right-eously or safely devoted towards the support of sectarian schools. The nature of the population contributing to the revenue, i n fact the whole 1 situation' would forbid any-thing of the kind. One of the most significant p o l i t i c a l questions which oc-cupied the attention of the editor of The British Columbian during the period 1861 to 1869 was that of the union of the two colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Almost from the f i r s t issue of his newspaper this question was the topic of long and prolix editorials. In March 1861 Robson . 5 9 wrote: As to the question of union we have no hesitation i n saying that we think, and have always thought, that these colonies would, and should be united under one Govern-ment. For although this colony has undoubtedly s u f f i -cient territory and resources to warrant her occupying the position of an independent and distinct colony, and that of the f i r s t magnitude, yet i t must be admitted that Vancouver [Island] i s too small and slender i n her resources to raise the necessary revenue for the support of a separate Government. Cut off from a l l connexion with Bri t i s h Columbia she would lose the advantage of that prestige resulting from, such connexion, and would consequently occupy but an i n -significant position as a British colony. We beg to assure|our sister that we desire her welfare next to our own, and have no wish to take one step, or pen one word, that w i l l tend either to annoy or injure her, unless we do so in what we conceive to be the dis-charge of a sacred duty i n protecting our own interests, and whenever we, i n the conscientious discharge of that duty,happen to checkmate her, we hope she w i l l excuse us. We have said we believe a union w i l l , and should, take place, "but we wish to be distinctly understood to hold that that union can only be consummated upon a broad and l i b e r a l basis; a basis which w i l l f u l l y recog-nize the superiority of this colony both i n age and 59. The B. C . March SI, 1861 -119-60 importance. In October of the same year Robson indicated that the "broad and liberal." basis which he f e l t must be the foundation for the union of the colonies must include representation i n proportion to the mainland colony's population and subsequent legislation on such questions as the location of the capital, 61 t a r i f f policy, and so forth. He continued: We do not ask for a union; and under present circumstances i f such a thing were thrust upon us without our interests being properly consulted, i t would be resisted to the death. But as soon as we are in a position to meet our sister on equal terms, and arrange the matter upon a f a i r and equitable basis, we see no reason why B r i t i s h Columbia should object to such connexion. 62 Returning to this theme two weeks later, Robson said: We would.,.point out one or two things which as necessary conditions to a union, Bri t i s h Columbia would demand, and Vancouver Island must yi e l d . F i r s t , we would demand that the free port speculation at .Victoria be done away, and that that place be made a port of entry. Secondly, that before the union she should present a square account, and enter into partnership free of debt. Thirdly, she must relinquish any notion she ever entertained of Victoria becoming the capital of the United Colonies....1 60. The previous issue of Robson's journal carried an editorial on the same theme but written i n a more impassioned vein. Severely c r i t i c i z i n g the editor of the Colonist for suggesting that Br i t i s h Colum-bia be "annexed" to Vancouver Island. Robson con-cluded: "Let our rulers and neighbours see to i t — we can assure them that to attempt to force such a union upon this colony w i l l be to cause every man, from the Rocky Mountains to the mouth of the Fraser to arouse himself and resist to the death. Again we say BEWARE!!" (The B.C.. March 14, 1861). 61. The B. C . October 3, 1861. 62. Ibid.,October 17, 1861. -120-63 Early i n 1862 Robson again mentioned the question of union. Discussing the "insuperable obstacles in the way of Union", he claimed that the island colony would be able to build roads, p^ v her o f f i c i a l s and her debts "to prop up her rotten system" at the expense of the mainlandj the editor asked the rhetorical question: "...what has she to give i n exchange?" In conelusion he said: We have a l l along entertained the opinion that these Co-lonies ought to be one—are destined to be united. But that union must take place on broad and well-understood ground, both the contracting parties intelligently con-senting thereto—and under a very different state of things than at present obtains, i n order to he either lasting or productive of mutual benefit. Later i n the same year he wrote: "We must s t i l l acknowledge our utter i n a b i l i t y to discern any real practical advantage that would accrue to this Colony from such a union....In the case of these Colonies, Bri t i s h Columbia asks not for union, de-sires not union, can hope for no material advantage from a union with a neighbouring island." Robson apparently believed i t necessary to combat the growing desire for union that was evident on Vancouver Island. In June 1863 he wrote: It by no means follows that because union i s strength as an abstract rule therefore a union of these Colonies would be productive of strength and economy. A union of certain bodies and substances sometimes results i n the 63. The B. C . January 9, 1862. 64. Ibid.. August 20, 1862. 65. Ibid.. June 17, 1863. -121-very opposite of strength, as a union of Colonies under cer-tain circumstances would have a tendency to weaken both.... With vast territory, varied and immense resources which cannot f a i l to draw a large population, and with nothing l e f t to desire which the neighboring Island has to offer, in short, possessing within ourselves a l l the latent ele-ments of a great and wealthy country, we are at a loss to conceive how (Victoria newspaper editors] can expect to convince their readers, much less the people of this Colo-ny, that i t would be an act of policy [for B r i t i s h Colum-biaQ to seek union with a small, poverty-stricken Colony like Vancouver Island. It might be an act of charity.... By 1864, however, the editor appeared to be satisfied that Bri t i s h Columbia would not be forced into a union with the i s -land colony, and that should such a union occur, her rights would be respected. "Upon this subject," he wrote i n July, 66 67 "we have nothing to fear." Again i n October he commented: The time when a union could be brought about without the consent of this Colony has passed forever. So that any-thing the people of Vancouver Island can do or say upon the subject must be pretty harmless for either good or e v i l without the consent and f u l l co-operation of the people of Bri t i s h Columbia. He also reminded his readers of the benefits of union: "As one, these Colonies would possess a p o l i t i c a l status and commercial vigor which separately they could hardly hope soon to a t t a i n t But eight months later he returned to his thesis that B r i t i s h 69 Columbia would gain l i t t l e from union: 66. The B. C.T July 2, 1864. 67. Ibid.. October 22, 1864. 68. Ibid..August 6, 1864. 69. Ibid.. April 1, 1865. -122-Would Union Benefit Vancouver Island? We think that a careful examination of the whole subject w i l l produce a reply i n the affirmative—that any substan-t i a l advantages l i k e l y to accrue to (this] colony from the proposed union are, to say the least, extremely pro-blematical. Long accustomed to hang upon Bri t i s h Columbia for that support which they lacked the s p i r i t and self-reliance to create for themselves, the people of Victoria, now that they no longer have easy access to our treasury, find i t hard to stand upon their own bottom, or reduce to practice that l i v e l y faith which they used to profess i n the material resources and natural advantages of Vancou-ver Island. _., Despite the desire of Vancouver Island for union, and des-pite the anomaly of two separate colonies i n a region where the population could only support one, Robson apparently believed that union was, on the whole, undesirable, and that i t was un-li k e l y to occur i n the immediate future. "The possibility of being forced into a union with a neighboring colony, with i t s rotten institutions and bankrupt exchequer, with i s self-traducing policy and i t s tricky and unscrupulous politicians, has had the effect of deterring capitalists from embarking i n 70 mining or other enterprises here," he wrote i n 1865. "But there i s no further need for misgiving upon this subject. Union cannot take place for the next five or six years, and i t can never take place without the f u l l consent of the people of Br i t i s h Columbia." As late as June 1866, when the legislative assembly of Vancouver Island passed a resolution strongly fa-voring union, Robson maintained that union was. not possible. 71 He wrote an editorial entitled "The Last Struggle" i n which 70. The B. C June 6, 1865 71. Ibid.. June 23, 1866.: -123-he implied that the island colony's resolution was the last act of the snuggle for union, quoting facts and figures to prove that union could never occur. Unknown to Robson, the b i l l to unite the two colonies had already been introduced i n Great Britain. The f i r s t i n d i -cation of i t s clauses appeared i n The British Columbian on August 4, 1866, when the newspaper printed the b i l l . Robson commented e d i t o r i a l l y : " . . . i t simply annihilates Vancouver Is-land and i t s p o l i t i c a l institutions and pretensions, making that l i t t l e Colony an integral part of British Columbia." Two weeks later he commented upon the preponderance of appointed 72 over elected members i n the new executive: "Long accustomed to enjoy the full e s t exercize of the rights of self-government, 73 i n another part of Her Majesty's dominions, and after years of agitation for a representative form of Government for B r i -t i s h Columbia, we w i l l hardly be expected to approve of the constitution proposed to be conferred upon these Colonies." On August 6, 1866, the Union B i l l received royal assent. The news reached New Westminster five weeks later and was an-nounced i n Robson's journal on September 19. Three days later 74 the editor commented: The f i n a l settlement of the vexed question of union of the Pacific Colonies inaugurates a new era i n our history—one, 72. The B. C.. August 18, 1866. 73. It w i l l be remembered that Eobson emigrated from Canada i n 1859. 74. The B. C . September 22, 1866. -124-we trust, better calculated to render B r i t i s h interests permanently prosperous. There i s no blinking the fact that the war of words so unremittingly waged between the respec-tive capitals of the two Colonies, during the past five or six years, has exercised a pernicious influence both at home and abroad; and although we confess our i n a b i l i t y to see how Br i t i s h Columbia i s to be substantially benefited by the acquisition of Vancouver Island, yet we, i n common with many others, do not feel disposed to object to the disposition which has been made of the vexed question. The union of the two colonies was proclaimed i n New Westminster on November 19, 1866. Robson's report of the incident i n d i -75 cates his general antipathy to the measure: ...a stranger might have experienced some d i f f i c u l t y i n deciding from the general deportment of the assemblage, whether the Sheriff was discharging the unusual duty of proclaiming the banns between two colonies or the less pleasing one of reading a death warrant. Not a cheer was given, not a hat was raised; no smile of satisfaction l i t up the public countenance, no congratulations were offered to either bride or bridegroom as the last words...were read....All this may appear strange to the distant reader; but to those acquainted w i t h r a l l the circumstances under which this marriage de conveyance has been brought about by the 'old folks' i n opposition to the wishes of the principal party to i t , a l l appears plain and proper. Union had come. In Robson's words, "a new era" had been i n -augurated. It remained to be seen whether union would relieve the depression that had begun to strangle both colonies. An important p o l i t i c a l question during Robson's editor-ship of The British Columbian was that of Confederation with Canada. As early as 1863 an editorial t i t l e d "A Colonial Alliance" appeared i n his newspaper. In i t Robson stated that there was growing annoyance i n eastern Canada over the colonial 76 policy of Great Britain: 75. The B. C . November 21. 1866. 76. Ibid.. May 6, 1863. -125-Do not these facts i n the history of B r i t i s h Colonies suggest the necessity for a friendly and sympathetic a l -liance—an alliance which would secure to each the co-operation and support of a l l i n struggling for those rights and liberties which i f sought single handed might be denied for years, but which would be obtained at once as the result of the united demand of a l l the Colonies? We h a i l the recent movement i n Canada with delight as indicative of a ripening for such an alliance....' This alone w i l l enable us to f u l f i l l our great des-tiny and f i t these Colonies to take their place i n the great British American Federation which i s destined to be at no very distant day the dominant power upon this continent. Barring passing references to this topic, Robson turned his attention to other questions ibr four years. With the news of the passage of the B r i t i s h Worth America Act early i n 1867, Robson reverted to the subject of Confederation. That there might be no doubt as to his attitude, Robson said i n an edito-An impression appears to have gained a certain amount of credence, i n what way we are at a loss to understand, that we are disposed to 'throw cold water' upon the Confedera-tion movement. . Whatever may be the origin of this impres-sion, we most emphatically deny that i t has the slightest foundation i n fact. From the very earliest inception of that grand scheme by which a great, and, we trust, power-f u l and enlightened nation i s to be created out of a num-ber of scattered, isolated and disintegrated communities, possessing no national status and l i t t l e p o l i t i c a l . i n f l u -ence i n the world,? we have f e l t an absorbing interest i n the movement, believing, as we do, that i t is,, under Pro-vidence, •* the only available means of certain success and permanent prosperity to Br i t i s h institutions on the shores of the Pacific., If we have at times appeared to 'throw cold water' upon a blind fanaticism exhibited i n certain quarters i t i s simply because we believe such calculated •* to exert a pernicious influence upon the cause which i l l regulated minds profess to help forward. While we would desire most earnestly to assist i n every possible way the progress of Confederation, and the acceleration of our ad-mission thereunto, we have yet to be convinced that the un-becoming aeal and undue haste exhibited by some w i l l not hinder rather than help forward the good work. 77. The B. C . June 1, 1867. -126-This attitude of caution i s again evident i n an editorial 78 of the folio-wing September: It has...been hinted that we would perhaps have better studied our own interests and self-respect had less pre-cipitancy characterized our movements i n this matter. Indeed i t would appear that the Canadian Government, not dreaming of such precipitancy on our part, and deeply im-pressed with the indispensability of Bri t i s h Columbia i n order to the completeness and success of the Dominion, were actually entertaining the idea of sending a pleni-potentiary-extraordinary a-wooing to the Pacific. In reference to this subject, an eminent Canadian States-man remarks,1I think i t would have been as well i f , like g i r l s , you had waited to be coaxed a l i t t l e . ' When this theme was repeated the following month, Robson i n an editorial entitled "Is Confederation Economy?" also recognized 79 the financial benefits of Confederation: Although somewhat skeptical about British Columbia being admitted so soon, yet this i s a most important subject, completely removing, as i t does, the oft reiterated ob-jection that Confederation would increase instead of les-sen the expense of government. Nor i s i t d i f f i c u l t to account for the reduction. Under the old system every province must keep up a l l the departments, or nearly a l l , that w i l l be necessary for the Federal Government of Ot-tawa. Robson remained cautious toward a precipitate union of British Columbia with Canada, while reaffirming his attitude toward the advisability of eventual union. On the occasion of 80 the newspaper's seventh anniversary, Robson said: One great event we may not pass over in silence. A star of promise has arisen i n the East. A nation, a B r i t i s h 78. 79. 80. The B. C.. September 28, 1867. Ibid.. October 30, 1867. Ibid.. February 12, 1868 -127-nation has been born and i s even now stretching i t s hand over the Rocky Mountains to welcome us into the new family c i r c l e . Although, we fear, not imminent enough to avail us i n the present financial pinch, i t i s undoubtedly to that new relationship that we must look for ultimate rest and permanent wellbeing. In the same issue the editor again counselled caution i n any move toward Confederation: "We should deem ourselves unworthy of the name of Canadian, were we found willing to rush this, our adopted Colony, into a premature, unfair and unprofitable alliance even with Canada." Ten days later he f e l t i t neces-81 sary to explain once again his attitude to Confederation: We have been accused of recently assuming an attitude hostile to Confederation. This i s a mistake. We give way to no man i n a sincere desire to see this our adop-ted Colony included in the Confederation as soon as that most ardently-to-be-desired change can be consummated with mutual advantage. Sooner than that we do not wish for i t . - Depend upon i t , Canada won't take us i n to her own disadvantage; no true patriot would wish to humili-ate Br i t i s h Columbia by accepting disadvantageous and degrading terms. No. We have not assumed a hostile attitude; but have simply been trying to look the d i f -f i c u l t i e s f a i r and square i n the face, and promote a free and honest discussion of a measure which i t i s most desirable a l l should understand. When news was received on March 25, 1868, that the Cana-dian government desired union with B r i t i s h Columbia, Robson's attitude immediately changed. This was indicated i n an edito-82 r i a l a week later when the editor said: This important question i s rapidly assuming an entirely new and, so far as we are concerned, unexpected aspect. We did not venture to hope that Canada would be prepared during this or even next year to receive British Colum-bia upon terms advantageous to the latter. It would 81. The B. C . February 22, 1868. 82. Ibid..April 1, 1868v -128-appear, however, to he our good fortune to be agreeably disappointed, as the reply sent to the Victoria Memorial by the Government of the Dominion leaves no room for doubting the willingness of the present Cabinet to re-ceive us at once. A week later Robson commented upon his change of view. Repor-ting a meeting called to discuss Confederation i n which the editor moved a resolution favoring early union with Canada, he s a i d : 8 3 ...I should explain how i t i s that I, who, only a few weeks ago, appeared to be opposed to the immediate ad-mission of British Columbia into Dominion of Canada, should now be found moving the resolution under conside-ration. Although from the very f i r s t inception of the great Confederation scheme, I was strongly impressed with i t s importance to us who had settled upon the dis-tant shores of the Pacific, yet u n t i l very recently I was under the impression that a year or two must elapse before i t could reasonably be expected to reach us, and that to press our suit with an unwilling party might have the effect of placing this noble Colony i n a false posi-tion i f i t did not result i n the acceptance of terms un-just and humiliating to this our adopted country. This appears, however, to have been a misapprehension. The Government of the Dominion, i t seems, i s not only ready to receive us upon the most l i b e r a l terms which could well be asked, but i s absolutely anxious for the immedi-ate consummation of Union. Robson1s newly-formed attitude toward the question of Confederation was not shared by his colleagues i n the Legis-lative Council. In April 1868 that body decided i n favor of a policy of delay by a vote of twelve to four, with Robson recording his opposition. He continued to favor early union, 84 commenting i n August: Perhaps no p o l i t i c a l event i n the history of B r i t i s h Columbia has caused more universal regret than the 83. The B. C . April 8, 1868. 84. Ibid., August 5, 1868. -129-occurrence of those circumstances calculated, to a l l human appearance, to postpone the admission of this Colony into the Dominion of Canada. Probably no desire was ever more widespread and deeprooted than that i n favor of early ad-mission. In February 1869, as already mentioned, Robson's newspa-per ceased publication i n New Westminster when the editor transferred his business to Victoria. It i s thus impossible, within the limits of this study, to trace his attitude toward Confederation beyond that date. There i s an indication, how-ever, that the editor's views on the question were about to change again just before he l e f t the mainland. Reporting the proceedings of the Legislative Council for February 17 and 18, ten days before publication stopped, The British Columbian sta-ted tiiat a move by the council to brand Confederation as un-desirable was answered by a protest i n which Robson joined. The protest claimed that the council did not represent public opinion on this question. It also stated the colony's entry into Confederation at this time would be premature. Robson thus recorded his view that while the colony should continue to seek Confederation with Canada a precipitate union should be avoided. Unfortunately the editor did not comment edito-r i a l l y upon this apparent change of opinion before leaving the mainland. When the union of the two colonies was proclaimed i n November 1866, no decision was made as to the location of the capital. Both Victoria and New Westminster l u s t i l y claimed 85. The B. C . February 20> 1869.; -130-the honor, realizing the value of i t s prestige and i t s economic importance. To Robson, the issue was of v i t a l consequence: with a dwindling population, beset by heavy taxation, New West-minster was greatly i n need of a stimulus: the f a l l i n g revenues of Robson*s newspaper were an indication of general business depression. Accordingly} the editor summoned a l l his powers of persuasion i n an effort to influence the decision. Robson began his campaign even before the union of the 86 colonies became law. In July 1866 he wrote: So far as fixing the capital at Victoria, i n the event of union, i s concerned, i t i s l i t t l e better than an act of suicide on the part of our neighbors to deceive themselves longer with a hope so utterly delusive. From the very f i r s t time the subject of uniting these Colonies was s e r i -ously approached by the Home Government i t was decided that New Westminster must be the capital; and although some of the conditions of the union have subsequently formed the subject of discussion and reconsideration, we speak advisedly when we state that upon the question of the capital there has been no hesitation, the claim of this place, upon whatever ground considered, being alto-gether undeniable. A week after receiving word that the union b i l l had been passed, Robson reiterated his belief that New Westminster would be made the capital: "Fortunately for the interests of Bri t i s h Columbia, and for the future peace and wellbeing of these united colonies, as a whole, the question of the seat of Government i s not longer an open one—has wisely been placed beyond the influence of Victoria demagoguism." Robson1s apparent confidence i n the outcome of the 86. The B. C . July 14, 1866. 87. Ibid.. September 26, 1866 -131-capital question i s belied by an editorial campaign which he embarked upon i n January 1867. Over a period of eighteen days the editor wrote four lengthy editorials under the t i t l e "The Seat of Government", a l l with the same theme: The capital must remain at New Westminster. One dealt with Lytton's instruc-tions concering the choice of a maritime port on the mainland, and attempted to prove from this that New Westminster should 88 be the capital. The second claimed that Vancouver Island had forfeited any right to retain the capital when she voluntarily 89 joined the mainland colony. Another pointed out that the re-moval of the capital from New Westminster would be a serious 90 breach of faith on the part of the Imperial Government,' The fourth, which required three f u l l columns, was a prolix at-tempt to. prove ..that the mainland seaport was the most eligible 91 site for the capital. These editorials were written with an air of confidence, almost overconfidence: once his readers had given the matter a l i t t l e thought, Robson implied, a l l talk of naming Victoria the capital would cease. Yet the movement to make the island seaport the seat of government continued. Des-pite Governor Seymour's obvious preference for New Westminster, the Legislative Council by a vote of thirteen to eight passed 88. The B. C.. January 5, 1867.! 89. Ibid.. January 12, 1867. 90. Ibid. s January 19, 1867. 91. Ibid.. January 23, 1867.' -132-a.resolution i n March 1867 requesting that Victoria be named 92 the capital. Robson's comment upon this development was mild, conside-ring the disappointment i t must have brought him. He conten-ted himself with c r i t i c i z i n g the arguments presented by the advocates of Victoria, pointing to the expense required to move the seat of government to the island, and implied that considerable mainland support for the move was obtained under false pretences. Following the conclusion of the publisher's editorial cam-paign, Robson's newspaper carried few references to the capital question u n t i l November 1867. Then the editor wrote a series of six editorials sharply c r i t i c i z i n g a memorial dispatched to the colonial secretary the previous summer by island interests requesting that Victoria should be the capital. In the f i r s t of this series, Robson implied that the memorial could be dis-94 missed as unimportant: We w i l l not be guilty of anything so inconsiderate as to i n f l i c t upon our readers a perusal of the one hundred and twenty clauses of this Memorial. They do for the most part but reiterate baseless assertion, exposed and dis-proved many times already. In fact the Memorial, as a whole, may, without any injustice, be defined to be an ! embodiment of a l l the misrepresentation and falsehood promulgated by Victoria speculators and land-grabbers respecting New Westminster during the past five or six years. 02. The. B. C . March 30, 1867. 93. Ibid.. April 3, 1867. 94. Ibid. ? November 20, 1867; -133-A few days later, however, Robson decided to submit the memo-95 r i a l to a closer study: Mature reflection and a more careful perusal has induced us to believe that what we were at f i r s t disposed to treat with contempt and pass over with a mere cursory notice claims further attention; and we propose, there-fore, to devote another a r t i c l e or two towards a more thorough exposure of the disingenuous misrepresentation and positive falsehood which we find permeating the Memo-r i a l from clause number one even to clause number one hundred and twenty. 96 The four lengthy editorials which followed added l i t t l e to Robson's arguments as expressed the previous January. Again there was an undertone of contempt for those who favored Vic-toria as the capital, but Robson's confidence was less evident, for the movement to transfer the capital was obviously strong. The editor's long articles on this subject a l l deprecated the possibility that Victoria would become the capital. In March 1868, however, Robson f i n a l l y acknowledged publicly the growing strength of the Victoria movement but maintained his 97 position that the maneuver would f a i l : It would be l i t t l e better than mere affectation on our part to ignore the existence of a growing feeling of i n -security i n this community, annent the question of the removal of the Seat of Government. As good B r i t i s h sub-jects, we utterly refuse to believe Her Majesty's Govern-ment capable of perpetrating an act so flagrant as that which would be implied i n a realization of the fears of many in this community. Without any intention of f a t i -guing the reader by a recapitulation of circumstances already almost stereotyped i n these columns, we may be 95. 96. 97. The B. C . November S3, 1867. Ibid.. November 30, December 4, 11, and 14, 1867.!  Ibid.. March 21, 1868. -134-permitted to say, i n a word, why we cannot bring ourselves to think so i l l of the Imperial Government. This was followed by a recapitulation of the editor's previous arguments. But Robson's was a lost cause. On April 2, a resolution i n the Legislative Council to name Victoria the capital was passed, fourteen to fi v e . Governor Seymour, whose preference for New Westminster had been obvious ever since the question was f i r s t raised, accepted the decision. Robson's reaction i s 98 evident i n the following editorial: It would be l i t t l e better than affectation on our part to ignore 99 the fact that recent action anent the Capital question has given public f a i t h i n the Government a severe shock, from the effects of which i t w i l l take years to re-cover, i f , indeed, recovery be possible. Confidence i s a plant of slow growth, which, i f nipped while i n the tender leaf, by the untimely frost of treachery, w i l l be thrown back, i f haply i t be not k i l l e d outright. It i s equally true that recent events have been such as to give rise to the most painful feelings of doubt respecting His Excel-lency's share i n the 'Capital Swindle'. Nor can we be surprised at this. Circumstances clo place the Governor in a most equivocal and painful position before the pub-l i c , irjconnection with this a f f a i r ; and i t i s only upon the principle of assuming a man's innocence u n t i l he be proved guilty that the public-can possibly be supposed to withhold a unanimous verdict of GUILTY. But Robson's recriminations had no effect: Victoria was pro-claimed the capital of the united colony on May 25, 1868.1 The decision to name Victoria the capital of the colony sounded the death knell for Robson's newspaper on the mainland. He had fought tenaciously to keep the capital i n New 98. The B. C . May 13, 1866. 99. The reader w i l l immediately notice the similarity between the opening sentence of this editorial and that of the previously quoted passage. (v. supra, p. 133) -135-Westininster: ridicule, contempt, and reason had been his wea-pons, and he had used them well. But he was fighting against a power that he could not subdue—the growing impression that Victoria held greater promise of future prosperity than the mainland cit y . The loss of the seat of government was soon apparent i n New Westminster. Business firms transferred their operations to Victoria, and The British Columbian suffered a corresponding decline i n advertising revenue. It i s to Rob-son's credit that he did not immediately leave the mainland, preferring to remain i n the former capital as long as possible. During the winter of 1868-1869 the note of pessimism which crept into Robson's editorial pages was an indication of grow-ing problems i n his newspaper business. On February 20, 1869, appeared the brief notice that the journal would move to Vic-toria. A week later, i n the f i n a l issue of The British Colum- bian to appear on the mainland, Robson announced" that "...we 100 reluctantly seek the centre of population and commerce." "The People's Organ", the newspaper which for eight years had championed the rights of the mainland and New Westminster, was forced to cease publication there. Robson's enterprise had succumbed to economic depression. 100. The B. C . February 27, 1869 Chapter 5 AN APPRAISAL OF ROBSON'S WRITINGS -136-No thoroughly satisfactory study of a prominent his-t o r i c a l personality i s possible without at least some of his personal papers, diaries, or letters. Since i t appears that none of John Robson's private writings have survived, i t i s necessary to look elsewhere for information to delineate the character of this interesting figure i n British Columbia his-tory. Fortunately there i s a wealth of material available i n the newspaper which he published i n New Westminster from 1861 to 1869. But since i t i s probable that a man's public wri-tings would differ greatly from those which he considered per-sonal, their value i n a histori c a l study must be carefully cir-cumscribed. It i s necessary to surmise rather than to assert, to premise rather than to dogmatize, and the p i t f a l l of attemp-ting to sketch Robson's personality solely on the basis of what he wrote for the eyes of the public must be carefully avoided. Nevertheless i t i s possible to gain some insight into his character by studying Robson's attitude to the many problems and public questions relating to the colony on which he wrote at such length i n his journal. Thus an appraisal of his wri-tings should aid i n understanding this interesting historical figure and should permit some appreciation of his importance in the history of the development of the colony. That Robson realized the importance of attracting sett-lers to the colony i s evident from a study of his writings on immigration. However he might have devoted more attention totthis -157-topic. His proposal that emigrant agencies he established vas undoubtedly sound. Had i t been adopted during the early eigh-teen-sixties there i s reason to believe that the colony's deve-lopment would have been more rapid. Erroneous tales of condi-tions i n the region would have been disproved, and a virtually unknown colony would have been advertised to some extent i n centers from which a high class of settlers could be drawn. Robson appreciated the fact that the plan would add to the colony's expenses, but as he pointse^out i t would be an invest-ment which would pay dividends. Here was another reason for keeping the proposal i n the minds of the government and the people. The time was ripe: the mines were attracting a large population, i t i s true, but as Robson f u l l y appreciated, the colony needed a stable population: i t could not expect to flourish when the majority of the miners l e f t each f a l l to spend their gold-dust elsewhere. Yet Robson did not press the scheme. From 1865 to 1869, that i s , during the years when an immigration of permanent settlers was most needed, he was reticent on this point. True, he realized that the "powerful attraction" of the gold fields would lure transient miners, and he believed that eventually Br i t i s h Columbia would emerge as a prosperous community. But he might have tried to prevent the intervening period of de-pression by emphasizing the need for immigration. By 1869, when he reverted to his original proposal to make known the opportunities for settlement, the united colonies were deep i n -138-depression and were anxiously considering Confederation with Canada as a means of wiping out the huge public debt. Robson exhibited a measure of foresight i n advocating his proposal i n 1863. It i s unfortunate that thereafter he neglected i t u n t i l 1869. Robson was on firm ground i n advocating a general survey of the colony's resources. An immigrant himself, he realized how l i t t l e was known about the colony. He also knew, from personal experience, that there was l i t t l e likelihood of more than a small proportion of immigrants achieving success i n the gold f i e l d s . Moreover he recognized the potentialities of the colony i n the f i e l d of agriculture, and that the possibilities in other fields were s t i l l largely unknown. A thorough survey would undoubtedly have uncovered a wealth of information with which to attract immigrants. Furthermore, Robson's suggestion that a general plan be prepared to indicate to incoming sett-lers the regions where land was available was practical and praiseworthy. The wisdom of suggesting the employment of the Royal En-gineers to carry out a survey of the colony i s obvious. These men had proved their capabilities i n survey work, and would undoubtedly have performed-the task well. Yet Robson was i n error i n asserting that the Engineers were available for such a grandiose scheme. Of that body of 165 men, only a small proportion were trained surveyors: had the group been composed of surveyors alone they would have experienced d i f f i c u l t y i n - 1 3 9 - . completing i n one season the task Robson suggested for them. His proposal was certainly farsighted: had such a plan been possible the development of the colony might well have been more rapid. Yet apparently he failed to see that i t was not only impossible but also undesirable at that period of the colony's history: other more pressing problems demanded the Engineers' attention. In discussing the need for developing the region's re-sources, Robson devoted more attention to agriculture than to any other topic. This emphasis on agriculture i s to be com-mended. The great lure of the new colony was gold, but Robson realized that a prosperous community could not emerge u n t i l the agricultural areas of the region were developed. He also rea-lized that of the great number of immigrants who came i n search of gold, only a small proportion would make their for-tune. By suggesting an alternative occupation Robson hoped to prevent disappointed miners from leaving the colony. Further-more he appreciated that high food costs deterred incoming settlers: the development of agriculture would reduce food costs i n the interior and would i n turn foster further settle-ment . To advertise the agricultural opportunities of the region Robson made good use of his medium, The Br i t i s h Columbian. His editorials were lengthy and verbose: while they may be c r i t i -cized on the ground that they contained too many generalities, i t might be pointed out that l i t t l e accurate information on the -140-agricultural potentialities of the region was available espe-c i a l l y during the colony's f i r s t years. His suggestion that an agricultural association be formed was sound, while his use of news columns to make known the high yields of farm lands also furthered agriculture. Remembering that the majority of immi-grants had come to the colony i n hopes of making a fortune—as he had come himself—Robson's emphasis on the profits to be made from farming was at once obvious and astute. That he exag-geratedly choosing figures which lent color to his argument can be condoned on the ground that such exaggeration was not malicious and was rarely carried to extremes. While Robson i s to be commended for drawing attention to the agricultural potentialities of the region, he must be cen-sured for what he l e f t unsaid. That large farm profits were possible during the colony's early years is true, but the edi-tor f a iled to point out any of the drawbacks to farming. Most important of these were high farming costs.. Agricultural equip-ment was expensive owing to the costs of transportation from the place of manufacture and the duties charged before i t was admitted to the colony. Farmers i n the interior also paid the expense of transporting equipment from the seacoast—an appre-ciable amount because of the high road t o l l s . Farm labor was expensive: farmers were forced to pay wages comparable to those of labor i n the mines. Labor was also d i f f i c u l t to se-cure because of the transient population. Also, onee the far-mer had engaged farm help, there was the possibility that a -141-rich gold strike nearby would prove a greater attraction, lea-ving the farmer with unharvested crops. Markets for his pro-duce were another d i f f i c u l t y : transporting goods to centers of population was expensive, and there was the contingency that new gold strikes would result in a shift i n population, depri-ving the farmer of his market entirely, while Robson undoubted-ly performed a service to the colony i n proclaiming i t s agri-cultural p o s s i b i l i t i e s , the measure of credit due to him would be increased had he considered the subject with a more c r i t i c a l mind. He might also have enlarged upon the subject of stock-raising. He seems not to have f u l l y realized the opportunities that existed i n this f i e l d , perhaps because he never travelled to the interior beyond Lillooet. Robson's denunciation of land speculation is to be commen-ded. He; perceived that to permit land to be held as an i n -vestment could only result i n hindering agricultural develop-ment. Not only would this be true of rural lands; the danger, as he pointed out, was even more acute when New Westminster's suburban lots were considered. His suggestion that the go-vernment publish a l i s t of a l l land held i s a further indica-tion that he wished to foster agricultural settlement. He was even prepared to sanction free land for settlers, and he re-cognized that any restrictions applied to settlement on the basis of nationality could only hamper the colony's develop-ment . The editor's attitude toward lumoering, fishing, and manufacturing i n the colony indicates an appreciation of their -142-future importance. Nevertheless he was somewhat over-optimis-t i c i n his expectations that the forest resources of the re-gion would he developed i n the near future. He may also be c r i t i c i z e d for f a i l i n g to devote more attention to the ques-tion of developing the colony's fisheries and manufactures. However he may have realized the d i f f i c u l t y of attracting capital to the region; also the fact that the small population was a problem which must be solved before industries could be established may have caused him to turn to other topics. Robson's many editorials praising the mining prospects of the region undoubtedly played an important part i n attracting immigrants to the colony, and he i s to be commended for devo-ting so much space to this important -topic. His attitude of unbounded optimism probably did much to counter the occasional cries of "humbug" which were spread by unsuccessful miners. Yet this s p i r i t of optimism which underlay his writings might well have been tempered on occasion: the inaccurate impression in the editor's mind that the entire colony was rich in gold re-ceived considerable publicity through the medium of his news-paper. Also Robson was prone to exaggerate, ready to believe the most promising reports of new gold strikes. That he rea-lized his reports were sometimes inaccurate can be surmised from the note of disappointment that found i t s way each f a l l into his comments upon the exodus of disappointed miners. Since the editor relied upon reports of miners passing through New Westminster for his information on mining prospects, his -143-over-optimism can to some extent be condoned: yet i t i s unfortu-nate that Robson did not undertake an occasional journey to the interior to gather at f i r s t hand information which would have been much more accurate. Evidence that Robson appreciated the importance of mining is seen i n his insistence that the government control and fos-ter the mining interests to ensure their f u l l contribution to the development of the colony. Specifically he suggested that the government maintain a record of mining claims, and also undertake a geological survey. Robson drew attention to gold regions other than the well-known Cariboo f i e l d , and also dis-cussed the colony's lead, copper and silver resources. But in using his editorial columns to s o l i c i t support for a ven-ture to mine coal on Burrard Inlet the editor i s open to cen-sure. While i t i s true that the enterprise played some small part i n developing the-colony's mineral deposits—despite the fact that i t proved a failure—Robson here interjected a perso-nal note that i s not i n keeping with his role as the editor of a newspaper. Had he been merely a subscriber instead of a d i -rector i n the company his stand would have had more j u s t i f i -cation. However i n his favor i t should be stated that in each issue lauding the scheme there appeared alongside his editorial a large advertisement for the company, i n which Robson's name appeared prominently in the l i s t of directors. In devoting considerable attention i n his newspaper to the topic of the colony's roads, Robson offered proof that he rea-lized their importance. However i n calling for an overall -144-government program for a network of roads, the editor may he guilty of a lack of foresight. Admittedly a general plan would have proved of great value, but i t i s perhaps surprising that Robson failed to see the d i f f i c u l t y of planning such a project in a region about which so l i t t l e was known: he himself had called for a survey to ascertain the colony's p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Carrying out a road program such as the editor envisaged would have been f o l l y , not only because of i t s cost but because u n t i l a f u l l e r appreciation of the colony's resources was gained, i t would have been impossible to decide the exact location of fu-ture roads. In branding the government guilty of "bungling f o l l y " i n constructing some roads i n the colony, Robson i s again open to censure. Admittedly the construction of the road from Hope to-ward Rock Creek proved premature, but the decision to build i t was taken when a rush to this region Indicated that the road was necessary: Governor Douglas could not be blamed for the sudden exodus from the region when gold in the Cariboo region drew miners thither. One wonders whether Robson's personal animosity toward the governor blinded him to this fact. The editor.is also guilty of lack of foresight i n c r i t i c i z i n g the governor for building two parallel routes to the interior. That the Harrison-Lillooet route was desired by the miners i s indicated by their cooperation with the government i n construc-ting this road. When i t proved unsatisfactory the road through the Fraser Canyon was undertaken. Since the latter proved -145-much the better of the two routes i t was to be expected that the Harrison route would f a l l into disuse. Again one wonders whether the editor permitted personalities to intrude upon his judgment. Similarly the charge that the construction of two parallel roads to the interior was an absurd extravagance was hardly just: considering conditions i n the colony during i t s early years, building two roads was probably a wise policy on Governor Douglas' part. While i t i s unfortunate that the small population could not support two routes to the interior, each played i t s part i n opening the colony's communications. Apparently Robson also failed to realize the great ex-pense required to build the colony's roads. This i s surprising, for on more than one occasion the editor visited Yale and he also travelled to Lillooet by the Harrison route. Yet he did appreciate the value of the Cariboo road to the development of the colony, and submerged his animosity toward Governor Doug-las to the extent of paying tribute to the latter's administra-tion for completing this prodigious undertaking. Turning now to an appraisal of Robson's views on certain other public questions, a study of his writings upon an export tax on gold reveals a measure of insight as to the value of tris tax together with some inconsistency i n his attitude toward i t . That such a tax was just can be readily admitted, and the edi-tor i s to be commended for advocating i t . Those who profited most from the colony's mineral wealth should rightly contri-bute the most to i t s revenues: since this tax would be ass-essed i n proportion to the gold yield i t could not be -146-considered unfair. The tax would also permit a reduction in other taxes and would permit a more equitable distribution of the colony's tax burden, with results beneficial to the deve-lopment of the region. Robson's estimate of the gold yield of the colony, on which he based his estimate of revenue from an export tax, was completely erroneous. Furthermore he raised his estimate u n t i l i t was over five times the actual yi e l d . While recog-nizing that Robson's figures represent l i t t l e more than an opinion, and that i t was undoubtedly d i f f i c u l t to assess the annual gold yield of the colony, yet i t i s questionable whether his over-sanguine hopes should not be termed gross exaggera-tion. Certainly the editor i s open to criticism i n advocating a tax of f i f t y cents an ounce i n 1862 and three years later im-plying that this rate was too high. He also claimed in 1864 that the d i f f i c u l t y of collecting the tax could be overcome, but less than two years later he claimed the levy would be easily evaded. Robson defended his change of attitude toward the tax on the ground that i t was the wish of the people that i t be abolished. One wonders whether he was motivated by a desire to dissociate himself from a measure which he had advo-cated and which had proved unpopular. It i s perhaps to be regretted that Robson did not draw attention sooner to the need for retrenchment in the colony's finances. By 1866, when he embarked upon his editorial cam-paign pressing for a reduction i n expenditures, i t was obvious -147-that the colony's f i s c a l policy of the past few years had ind i -cated the need for such a policy for some time. Nevertheless the editor's forceful editorials undoubtedly attracted atten-tion to the colony's growing financial plight, and his emphasis on this question deserves praise. Scornful of the government's efforts, yet praising what l i t t l e had been done, he consistently reiterated his demands that the "bloated c i v i l l i s t " be reduced.1 Robson's attitude toward a northern route to the interior i s marked by foresight, logic,and consistency. He realized the danger to the interests of the lower mainland and particularly to New Westminster, should such a scheme be adopted. While he naturally had a personal motive i n denouncing the plan, since i t s adoption would have affected his newspaper enterprise, i t i s probablx that the editor took the large view and had i n mind its effect upon the entire mainland colony. His appeals to logic, i n pointing out that the Fraser River route was shorter, safer for navigation, and was already served by an established sea-port, were arguments d i f f i c u l t to refute. In consistently con-demning the scheme, attacking i t whenever i t appeared to gain support, he probably did much to ensure the abandonment of the project. In his writings upon the Indian question, Robson recog-nized the obligations of the government to the natives and called for action to prevent the Indian race from dying out. However underlying his opinions on this topic there i s visible an interesting attitude of superiority. He was i n favor of -148-providing the Indians with land for settlement but he upheld the principle that such land should not be chosen from regions where immigrant settlement would be hindered. In his attacks upon the natives' debauchery he implied that i t constituted a menace to the more c i v i l i z e d whites. In calling attention to the danger of a smallpox epidemic when the disease broke out among the Indians i n New Westminster, he advocated their removal from the city but did not suggest any action to relieve the natives' sufferings. There i s also a hint of superiority in advocating justice "and even kindness" to the Indians. This superior attitude should not be too severely c r i t i c i z e d : Robson was merely reflecting the feelings of the colonists, many of whom cared l i t t l e for the welfare of the native population. On the other hand the editor realized that segregation of the natives upon reservations would be the best means of pre-serving the race. Here they should be established upon farms with government assistance; furthermore the government should protect the natives and stimulate them to play a part i n the growth of the colony, while providing schools for their educa-tion and moral development. He recognized that many of the natives' vices had been introduced by the whites, and pointed out that the colonists had l i t t l e moral right to seize the In-dians' territory i n the f i r s t place, a fact which explained the basic h o s t i l i t y of the natives. In the main, therefore, Robson's attitude to the Indian question indicates that he appreciated the moral obligation of the government to care for< the Indians, and the policies he advocated for their -149-betterment were sound. The most significant aspect of Robson's writings on the subject of education was his attitude toward sectarian schools. His reasons for insisting upon a government policy of non-sectarian education were undoubtedly well-founded. In a pio-neer community peopled by immigrants of many faiths and sects a sectarian policy would have been impractical and unjust: furthermore the region was not in a position to support secta-rian schools. To assert the reasons for Robson's attitude i s impossible without further information on the editor's forma-tive years: i t may be surmised however that having witnessed the struggle between the major sects to control education i n Upper Canada Robson expressed his reaction by his unqualified denunciation of sectarian schools. In calling for a broad and comprehensive educational p o l i -cy Robson exhibited considerable foresight. He realized the value of such a program to the future of the colony,—that i t would foster immigration and thus further the region's develop-ment. Appreciating the expense of education i n a frontier com-munity he called for government support, suggesting a policy of endowing the schools with public lands. In consistently draw-ing attention to the topic of education Robson undoubtedly per-formed a valuable service to the colony. Robson's stand on the question of uniting the two colonies is marked by vacillation, both as to whether union would occur and whether i t was desirable. At one point he claimed the co-lonies should be united; later he claimed that he saw no -150-advantages from union; s t i l l later he asserted union would help both colonies. He told his readers that obstacles to union were insuperable, adding later that union could never occur without Br i t i s h Columbia's consent, yet when the colonies were united his comments upon the decision were mild. Throughout his writings on this topic runs the thread of animosity toward Vancouver Island; where he exhibits a surface solicitousness he i s either insincere or sarcastic, yet when union occurred he unblinkingly remarked upon the war of words which the question had aroused, without commenting upon his own contribution to the h o s t i l i t i e s . Perhaps Robson's antipathy to the island colo-ny blurred his judgment concerning the question: i t i s unfortu-nate that he failed to realize the anomaly of two colonies sup-porting two governments where one would have sufficed. While Robson exhibited a lack of foresight in his attitude to Union, the subject of a larger union with Canada was one which found favor with him several years before i t became a matter of importance to the frontier region. As early as 1863 he advocated Confederation with Canada, never losing sight of i t s value to the colony. Yet when the Confederation movement gathered strength i n the region, the editor advised a policy of caution, while insisting that he was not hostile to Confede-ration. Apparently he feared the colony might rush into a precipitate union which would be detrimental to 'her best inte-rests. The news that the Canadian Government was prepared to offer advantageous terms prompted a change i n the editor's -151-attitude: he immediately advocated an early union, maintaining this opinion despite the colonial government's continued cau-tion. His protest against the Legislative Council's resolution that Confederation was undesirable would seem to support this view: although the protest claimed Confederation at that time would be premature, this can be interpreted as a move to soften the original resolution and need not be taken as a sign that the editor's views on the desirability of Confederation had sub-stantially changed. Robson's attitude to Confederation would seem to be more practical than i d e a l i s t i c : while recognizing the overall benefits of union with Canada the editor appeared to be more concerned with winning the most desirable terms possible. It can be readily appreciated that i n asserting that the capital of the united colonies must remain in New Westminster. Robson was motivated by personal reasons, for i t was unlikely that his newspaper enterprise could survive the decline in po-pulation that would follow the transfer of the capital to Vic-toria. Yet i t would be unfair to claim that the editor thought only of himself. The longtime champion of the mainland inte-rests was doubtless also motivated by the desire to see his policy of supporting the mainland crowned by the stimulus that would result should New Westminster retain the capital. Fur-thermore his reasons were sound: the mainland city had every reason to expect that the capital would remain there, as Robe-son pointed out forcefully i n his two editorial campaigns. De-spite the air of confidence revealed i n these columns, there -152-is no doubt that he realized the growing strength of the move-ment to name Victoria the capital—the volume of words which flowed from his pen i s sufficient proof. That he did a l l i n his power to combat the movement i s evident: that he failed can be attributed to forces greater than he could muster. Yet his defeat would have been the more glorious had he not sought to single out Governor Seymour as the scapegoat.< Considering the broad aspects of Robson's attitude toward the need for developing the colony's resources, several quali-ties are indicated. Foremost of these i s his foresight: his attention was drawn continually to the prospects for future growth of the colony. He was no prophet: some of his predic-tions proved premature, and some proved false. Yet he main-tained an attitude of optimism toward the colony's future and his forceful editorials on this theme were undoubtedly bene-f i c i a l . Visible, although not clearly delineated, i s the fact that the editor maintained some appreciation of the need for a balanced economy for the region. Less v i s i b l e , although suggested, i s the fact that he realized the d i f f i c u l t y of at-tracting capital to the frontier community. The editor's writings upon the subject of the colony's re-sources might have been of more significance had he adopted a more c r i t i c a l attitude toward the topic. He appreciated the value of st a t i s t i c s , and he used them with great effect. Yet he apparently used them rather indiscriminately: had he taken the trouble to subject them to close scrutiny he could have -153-avoided exaggerations and errors. True, the editor relied upon—indeed, was often forced to rely upon—second-hand i n -formation, but i t i s regrettable that he did not undertake a tour of the interior each year to gain at f i r s t hand, informa-tion of "its present condition and future prospects. The qual-i t y of his journal might have suffered during his absence, yet the long-term effect upon his. newspaper would probably have been beneficial. The editor might thus have been less subject to his personal prejudices i n interpreting his information: the work of Governor Douglas might have appeared i n ,a more favor-able light to the editor, and Robson might have gained a better appreciation of the problems of road-building i n the colony.1 On the other hand, a study of Robson's writings gives evidence that their author was endowed with a practical and logical mind. This i s best illustrated by his appeal to the profit motive as a means of attracting settlers. The colony was best known for the gold-dust to be won from i t s s o i l , and the editor doubtless stimulated interest i n the region by his many optimistic editorials on this topic. But he also called attention to the profits to be gained from the exploitation of other resources, not only as a means of drawing immigrants to the colony but as an appeal to disappointed miners who might be eager to flee the region. Robson's use of the editorial campaign to advertise the colony's resources was also praise-worthy; i t served to counter the widespread impression that the colony's wealth lay mainly i n i t s gold f i e l d s . In scope -154-and emphasis the editor, on the whole, deserves commendation.1 He included i n his writings the most important fields for deve-lopment—those which would have the greatest appeal to an i n -coming settler. While i t i s true he emphasized mining and agri-culture at the expense of lumbering, fishing, and manufacturing, i t should be remembered that i n the frontier community which Robson served, the interests of the colonists would best be served by rapid development in these two f i e l d s . Robson's attitude toward other public questions also re-veals aspects of his personality. During the early years of The British Columbian a great proportion of his writings were -devoted to argument which might better have been taken up with more serious matters. His running feud with Governor Douglas, his animosity toward Vancouver Island and especially Victoria, and his attacks—sometimes personal, usually sarcastic, and often bitter—against the views and policies of those who disagreed with him, can hardly be considered to have performed a great service to the colony. True, i n this manner the editor kept before the public those matters which he considered im-portant and which were usually of some consequence. Yet the probability remains that had he avoided the temptation to launch diatribes against his opponents, his service to the community would have been enhanced. But one should not judge the past i n terms of the present: i t should not be forgotten that newspaper standards have changed since Robson's day.' Per-sonal animosity, publicly expressed, was then by no means un-usual, especially in frontier settlements. Robson's acerbity -155-toward other newspaper editors in the region, in particular those of Vancouver Island, was certainly reciprocated i n kind.1 Also, i n fairness to Robson i t must be pointed out that during the late eighteen-sixties the proportion of space de-voted to controversy tended to decrease. . There i s also visible a less v i t r i o l i c attitude to those who disagreed with him. It would seem that the editor gained maturity, perhaps realizing that as a newspaper editor i n a frontier region his function was to lead the way to a better future rather than to quarrel over the past. Consequently the tone of his journal changed: the discussion of personal quarrels became less evident and a general improvement i n the quality of his editorials appeared.5 In appraising Robson's work as an editor, several c r i t i -cisms are immediately possible. He was sometimes blind to facts, adopting a position and adhering to i t dogmatically.' He sometimes allowed himself to be influenced by personalities. He occasionally discussed topics about which he knew l i t t l e or nothing, thus paving the way for errors that appeared i n his journal. He repeated himself word for word i n some instances. Only on rare occasions did he print letters to the editor which were c r i t i c a l of his opinions, giving rise to an impression— certainly erroneous—that his attitudes always and i n every respect reflected the views of the community. Yet when i t i s remembered that Robson—so far as we know— was untrained as a journalist, some of these criticisms appear t r i v i a l . He.began publishing The Br i t i s h Columbian withjonly the support of a group of fellow-immigrants, and without -156-personal means to -withstand financial d i f f i c u l t i e s should the enterprise prove a failure. He accepted the challenge: solely on the strength of his own capabilities he maintained almost uninterrupted publication for eight d i f f i c u l t years. He won and retained the support of his readers, even to the extent of receiving as their g i f t a new press when f i r e threatened to terminate publication. There i s no evidence that he received any financial assistance to maintain his business, and his high principles prevented him from accepting support from pressure groups who wished to further their own interests. The decision to move his business to Victoria i n 1869 was taken only when economic conditions on the mainland forced him to cease publi- -cation there, and only after a bitter struggle, i n which Robson conducted himself well, over the site of the capital. Moreover i t i s not solely for the service he performed as a pioneer newspaper editor that Robson has earned a place in the colony's history. The principles he enunciated so force-f u l l y i n his journal were repeated with vigor and eloquence whenever possible from the speaker's platform. Invited to f i l l executive positions on several of New Westminster's civic organizations, he soon became known as.a stalwart champion of the rights of the mainland, and earned for himself the respect and support of the community. Serving both as mayor of New Westminster and as i t s representative in the Legislative Coun-c i l , he thus lai d the foundation for a p o l i t i c a l career that was later to carry him to the office of premier i n the future province . colony. -157-Obviously one cannot assert the importance of this inte-resting personality to the formative years of the colony sole-ly on the basis of his newspaper writings. Yet i t i s possible to gain from them a hint of his position in the colony's his-tory. A study of his newspaper over an eight-year period offers l i t t l e evidence that he was a great man: nevertheless i t i s doubtless true that the colony would have been much the poorer but for his contribution to i t s development. His merits were many, yet his faults must be recognized. He set himself the d i f f i c u l t task of attempting, without previous editorial experience, to reflect the l i f e of a pioneer community. Had he restricted himself solely to this aim, his work would deserve praise. But he went further: he realized the importance of drawing attention to the need for developing the colony's re-sources and for examining with a c r i t i c a l eye a l l matters of public consequence. Overenthusiastic, inconsistent, and un-c r i t i c a l on occasion, and with a tendency to examine questions which he was not f u l l y qualified to appraise, he nevertheless f u l f i l l e d his duties as a newspaper editor with a measure of distinction, f a i t h f u l l y mirroring colonial conditions. John Robson believed wholeheartedly that a great future lay ahead for the young colony struggling to rise on the shores of the Pacific. Through the medium of his journal he did a l l i n his power to further i t s development. Assuredly the his-tory of the region has been enriched by the presence of this forceful personality and the publication of his newspaper, The British Columbian. -158-Bibliographical Note It w i l l be obvious that the principal primary source, in fact the most important source for the entire thesis, was Robson's newspaper The British Columbian, for the years 1861 to 1869. The only reasonably complete f i l e for these years i s i n the Howay-Reid Collection of Canadiana i n the University of Br i t i s h Columbia. Every issue has been examined: only eight issues are missing, and except for a very few mutilated copies the f i l e i s i n excellent condition. The Parliamentary Papers consulted (here arranged i n order of their importance for the topic) were: Correspondence Rela-tive to the Discovery of Gold in...Fraser's River.... (PPC 2398, 1858); Papers Relative to the Affairs of Bri t i s h Colum- bia (4 parts: Part 1, PPC 2476, 1859; Part 2, PPC 2578, 1859; Part 3, PPC 2724, 1860; Part 4, PPC 2952, 1862); Papers Rela- tive to the Proposed Union of B r i t i s h Columbia and Vancouver  Island (PPC 3667, 1866) and A Further Despatch Relative to the  Proposed Union.... (PPC 3694, 1866); Correspondence...on the  sub.iect of a Site for the Capital of British Columbia (PPC 483, 1868); Papers on the Union of British Columbia with the  Dominion of Canada (PPHC 390, 1869); and Return of a l l Appoint- ments, C i v i l . Military, and Ecclesiastical, made...to the Co- lony of British Columbia.... (PPHC 146, 1859).' -159-The two most important sources consulted for the geography of north-west Pacific coast region were A. ¥. Currie, Economic  Geography of Canada (Toronto, The Macmillan Co., 1945), which provided the essential information, and Henri Baulig, Amerique  Septentrionale (vol. 13, part 1, of P.V. de l a Blache and L. Gallois f Gebgraphie Universelle. Paris, Armand Colin, 1935) which offered a wealth of informative detail. The most detailed and authoritative secondary source for British Columbia history i s undoubtedly F. ¥. Howay and E. 0.S Scholefield's B r i t i s h Columbia from the Earliest Times to the  Present (Vancouver, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1914, 4 vols.) This work was used freely for background information: although of necessity i t does not provide the detailed history which would be helpful in a close study of an eight-year pe-riod, yet i t served to outline the major events and personali-t i e s . Among other important sources consulted for information on early British Columbia history were Alexander Begg, Hi story of British Columbia (Toronto, William Briggs, 1894), a work of considerable value despite i t s haphazard arrangement, and H. H. Bancroft, History of British Columbia (vol. 22 of The  ¥orks of Hubert Howe Bancroft. San Francisco, The History Com-pany, 1887), which abounds i n minor errors but has some appre-ciation of the pattern of events of the colonial period. Vo-lumes 21 and 22~ of Canada and i t s Provinces (A. Shortt and A. G. Doughty, eds., Toronto, Constable, 1914, 23 vols.) and A. S. Morton, A History of the Canadian ¥est (Toronto, Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1939), both cover the period well i n broad -160-outline but proved of l i t t l e value for such a narrow topic. Of the more recent works on the early period, ¥. N. Sage, Sir James Douglas and British Columbia (University of Toronto Press, 1930), provides an authoritative study of this command-ing personality and acted as an effective counterbalance to Rohson's estimate of him. It also Corrects a number of errors in R. H. Coats and R. E. Gosnell... Sir James Douglas (Toronto, Morang and Co. Ltd., 1909). Valuable in tracing the colony's relations with her great neighbour to the south),- during the colonial period was F. W. 'He-way,, w". N. Sage, and H. F. Angus, Brit i s h Columbia and the UnitednStates (Toronto, Ryerson Press 1942). The Howay-Reid Collection offers many interesting and i n -formative works written during or shortly after the colonial period. None of these are free from faults, but they provide an excellent picture of l i f e i n the frontier region and offer background against which the problems of the period appear to advantage. Among those which proved most useful were:Alfred Waddington, The Fraser Mines Vindicated (Victoria, printed by P. de Garro, 1858), an attempt to vindicate the cry of "humbug raised by disappointed miners who had fled the colony before the extent of the gold fields was revealed; Kinahan Cornwallis The New Eldorado (London, Thomas Cautley Newby, 1858), which contains inaccuracies that detract from i t s usefulness; Comman der R. C. Mayne, Four Years i n Bri t i s h Columbia and Vancouver  Island (London, J. Murray, 1862), a well-written work by one -161-of the Royal Engineers, H. de Groot, British Columbia. (San Francisco, Alta California Job Office, 1859) a brief but ser-viceable discussion of colonial conditions, C. E. Barrett-Lennard, Travels i n British Columbia. (London, Hurst and Blackett, 1862), which includes interesting observations on the region, D. G. F. Macdonald, British Columbia and Vancouver^  Island, notable for i t s thesis that the colony was deficient i n agricultural resources, R. C. Lundin Brown, B r i t i s h Columbia,  an Essay. (New Westminster, Royal Engineer Press, 1863) a brief but well-written factual account of the development of the colony, and A. C. Anderson, The Dominion at the West (Victoria, Government Printer, 1872). An early periodical ar-t i c l e describing conditions i n the colony appeared i n five i n -stallments i n The Leisure Hour (vol. 14, 1865): W. Champness, "To Cariboo and Back", discusses a journey from Victoria to the interior i n an article illustrated by interesting line drawings. Other works which were of value in appreciating the pro-blem of reaching the gold fields and in gaining some insight into the l i f e of the miners were:TT. Wymond Walker, Stories of  Briti s h Columbia (Vancouver, News-Advertiser Publishing Co., 1914), which offers first-hand accounts of pioneer mining, F. W. Howay, The Early Hi story of the Fraser River Mines (Victoria, King's Printer, 1926), which reflects mining condi-tions generally, Agnes C. Laut, The Cariboo T r a i l (Toronto. Glasgow, Brook and Co., 1916) which provides some of the atmos-phere of the mine fields, and Margaret McNaughton, Overland -162-to Cariboo (Toronto, William Biggs, 1896), the story of The Overlanders of 1862, based on the diaries of three of the par-ty. A recent account of the gold rush i n B r i t i s h Columbia, which i s brief but avoids irrelevant detail, i s included i n W. T. Morrell, The Gold Rushes (New York, The Macmillan Co., 1941). Accurate s t a t i s t i c a l information for the colonial period proved d i f f i c u l t to discover. In this respect Arthur Harvey, A Sta t i s t i c a l Account of British Columbia (Ottawa, G. E. Desbarats, 1867) and R. E. ol s n e l l , Year Books of British  Columbia (Victoria, n. p., 1897, 1901, 1903, and 1911), sup-plemented by the Blue Books, were of value. The paucity of biographical information on John Robson has already been mentioned. Apart from the standard biogra-phical works and what could be gleaned from a study of his newspaper, two periodical articles proved of some value: W. Kaye L^amb's "John Robson vs. J. K. Suter" (B. C. Hist. Q.. vol. IV, July 1940, pp. 203-315) and Madge Wolfenden's "Early Government Gazettes" (B. C. Hist. Q..vol. VII, July 1943, pp. 171-190). Among the periodical literature consulted were W. N. Sage, "The Gold Colony of British Columbia" (Canadian Historical  Review, vol. II, December 1921, pp. 340-359), a brief outline of the founding of the colony, R. L. Reid, "The First Bank i n Western Canada" (C.H.R.. vol. VII, December 1926, pp. 294-301), the story of the pioneer bank i n the gold region, W. N. Sage's "The Early Days of Representative Government i n British -163-Columbia" (C. H. R., vol. I l l , June 1922, pp. 143-180), valu-able for an understanding of pioneer p o l i t i c a l conditions, A. S. Deaville, "The Colonial Postal Systems of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, 1849-1871" (Third Report and Proceedings  of the British Columbia Historical Association. 1925, pp. 42-59), which covers the essential points of the topic of mail i n the colony, two articles on Burrard Inlet by F. ¥. Howay in volume 1 of the B. C. Hist. Q.. January and April, 1937, pp* 3-20 and 101-114, t i t l e d "Early Shipping on Burrard Inlet, 1863-1870" and "E a r l y Settlement on Burrard Inlet", R. L. Reidfe a r t i c l e , "The Gold Coinage of Br i t i s h Columbia" in the Journal ' of the Canadian Banker's Association (July 1918, pp. 279-283) which discusses the problem, of coinage i n the colony, and four articles by Sydney G. Pettit which provide considerable infor-mation on that interesting personality in the colony's history, Matthew B a i l l i e Begbie (B. C. Hist. Q.. vol. 11, 1947, pp.1-14, 113-148, 187-201, and 273-294). In conclusion i t might be reiterated that of these and other sources consulted there are two which assume paramount importance: Howay and Scholefield's British Columbia and the f i l e of The Brit i s h Columbian for the years .1861. to 1869, the subject of detailed study for this thesis. 


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