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Speech on the subject of the Canadian Pacific Railway, delivered recently by E. Dewdney, esq., M.P.,… Dewdney, E. (Edgar), 1835-1916 1875

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1875  PREFACE.
Having been requested by a large number of the settlers
of the mainland of British Columbia, to publish, in pamphlet form, my address made some few weeks ago to the electors of the
Yale District, and which has appeared in the Mainland Guardian,
I have much pleasure in doing so.
The remarks I made at that time, were prepared for the especial
purpose of informing the electors of my District, the position of
Railway matters, as I understand them, both in an Engineering and
Political light—and feeling very strongly that the result of the elections for our Local Parliament, which were about taking place, would
influence, for good or evil, our Mainland prospects. I entered into
other local matters for the purpose of assisting, as far as lay in my
power, the return of such men as I knew were in accord with what
I believe are the true interests of our Province, and who would support no government that would not act in a conciliatory manner,
(without sacrificing our just and equitable rights) toward the Domin
ion Government, and then assist rather than oppose, a speedy and
satisfactory settlement of our Railway question, and crush a government whose I organ " and agents were advocating "' Secessi||t/' for
a purpose which is becoming clearer every day to all of us, and to
which I may address myself at some future time.
.-• I am very sorry that illness prevented my being present at your
gathering to celebrate Dominion Day.    It would have given me an
opportunity of meeting more of my constituents together than can
happen at any other time without great inconvenience to many.    I
propose now, if not displeasing to you to ask your attention for a
short time, while I  refer to matters of public importance, which I
feel sure will interest you, and explain the reason for my action in
the House of Commons since you last did me the honor of electing
me.    When addressing you at that time, gentlemen I stood in a different position from what I do to-day, and I must say in not quite as
pleasant a one.    It was on the eve of a General Election for the
Dominion Parliament and I was soliciting your suffrages.    You had
my address before you, and if you recollect, in it I asked you to
place so much confidence in me as your representative, as would
leave me free to be governed by events as to my future course of
action.    I am happy to tell you that I have received assurances of a
very general nature since my return from Ottawa, to my District,
approving of the course I have taken—and, I trust that this Section,
second to none in importance, has seen no reason to withdraw the
confidence placed in me some two years ago.    The approbation
of one's constituents is not only gratifying to a member, but repays
him for losing sometimes the close friendship of men to whom personally, he is attached, but with whom he is compelled to differ Politically.    The fifth anniversary of the Confederation of our Province
with the Dominion of Canada, has just passed, although the chief
inducement which brought about such unanimous feeling in support
of Confederation in 1870, viz: the immediate prospect of the contraction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, has not been fully realised,
I believe the Province does not regret having become a portion of
this great Dominion.    We cannot but feel the advantages of our
superior mail communication, and in reference to that, I can  assure you that the Government is willing to extend that service whenever it can be shown that the cost will not too heavily exceed the
receipts.    Besides mail communication, we were at the time of
Confederation relieved from a very heavy debt that was hanging oyer
us like a cloud; the various sums of money expended in our midst
s (6)
upon Public works cannot but have been felt by all of us, neither
must we forget that Confederation brought with it Responsible Government.
At the time that questton v. as considered in our local Legislature
(the spring of 1870) I represented a constituency adverse to Responsible Government, and I myself did not consider that our Colony
was prepared for that form of government, and the experience we
have had of it up to this lime, (particularly last year) convinced me
that it is open to very grave doubts, whether in a small community
with necessarily so few members, and with men at the head of affairs
thirsting for office, it is not a mistake, and the true principels of Responsible Government liable to be sacrificed. This is the more
likely to be the case when led by men known to be antagonistic to
it. In a short time it will be for you to say, whether the true principles of Responsible Government were carried out when the present
incumbents in office in the local Government, appointed one of themselves to agree to a relaxation of the Terms of Union, after having
passed a resolution a few months previously, that in case of any relaxation oi Terms, you, the people, should be consulted, and further,
did agree to Terms known to be antagonistic to your interests, and
used their influence to stop public your section of the country. There is another matter which you will have to express an
opinion npon, and which equals in importance what 1 have just
referred to, and which to my mind was a grave constitutional crime,
(viz) forcing through an expiring Parliament, unasked for by the
people the " Qualification and Registration of Voters Act," in order
to disfranchise a large number of you, and thus lessen their chances
of defeat at the forthcoming general electiou. There is but one
opinion expressed from Esquimalt to Peace River on that question,
which has been the means of compelling the government to exempt
almost all the mainland constituencies from the operation of that
Act, shewing, that if the representatives of their several Districts had
voted according to the wishes of their constituents, the government
must have experienced a signal defeat. But, Gentlemen, these
same ministers are drawing their salary, while knowing they have
not the confidence of the country. We are in hopes, that we shall
shortly have a great accession to the population of this Province,
this must lead to the increasing of the numbers of representatives
in the local House—when that tine arrives, I shall have no fear of
the successful working of Responsible Government, and the opportunity of unprincipled governments manipulating weak-minded and
servile members, will proportionately diminish. In the mean time,
we must use every endeivor to place men at the head of affairs, who
will govern according to the well understood wishes of the people.
The issue that in a short time must (unwillingly perhaps to some
people) be decided at the polls, are of such general interest in a
national as well as local point of view, that I find it impossible to (7)
speak of them without referring to the past actions of the local Government; you are aware that I have differed almost entirely from
their policy, and I presume, it must have been their knowledge of
that, and further, that I was a mainlander in heart as well as in deed,
that induced some of their number to work against me at my last
election. In a short time, they and their supporters, will be on their
trail. Nothing ought now to prevent you giving a decided expression of opinion, not only as to their previous acts, but as to what you
expect, and will demand of yonr representatives in the future. The
question to which I shall now refer, is one uppermost in all our
minds, (viz.) Railway. The Honorable position, which, thanks to
you, I have lately occupied, gives me an opportunity of gaining information which you cannot have; and of coming to conclusions,
which I think should have some weight with you. It will be in your
recollection, that immediately previous to the resignation of Sir
John Macdonald's Government, Railway matters stood thus in the
Province—exploratory surveys had been made of the Fraser and
Thompson River route to Tete Jaune Cache. Fraser River, via the
Coquehalla and Thompson Rivers—Howse Sound and Thompson
River—Bute Inlet, via Chilcoten, Mahood's Lake, Clearwater and
Thompson River—several other branch lines, in connection with,
and for the purpose of obtaining the roost favorable line, on what
is known as the Bute Inlet Route, as well as a survey of the Howse
Pass in the Rocky Mountains, via the Big Bend of the Columbia and
Shushwap Lake, connecting with the Thompson and Fraser Rivers
below Kamloops.
With all that amount of information, the government were unable
to proclaim a line, and up to the 20th July, 1873, the date at which,
according to the Terms of Union, railway construction should have
commenced, the only question solved (which I grant was a very important one) was, that we had a most favorable Pass through the
Rocky Mountains, via the Yellow Head. This conclusion was come
to after the first season's surveys, and they did not commence before
August. With reference to the adoption of that Pass by the government, in preference to the Howse Pass, it cannot be doubted that,
although the Yellow Head has advantages in an engineering point
of view, superior to Howse; there were other reasons which led the
government to come to that conclusion—the chief of which was,
their great anxiety to be in a position to proclaim a line, and commence work according to the Terms of Union, and as their information about this Province, outside of the surveys of that year, was
limited to what had been represented to them by the late Mr. Wad-
dington, who turned mountaiss into mole hills, gravelly benches
that grow nothing, but what you know as timber or sour grass, into
plains of unsurpassed fertility, you will not be surprised to learn what
the instructions to the District Engineers in the spring of i872, were
to put their whole force on the line, connecting Yellow Head Pass (8)
with Bute Inlet, to reach this latter point via Howse being almost
impracticable—and, what, gentlemen, was the result of that season's
work—why, the more the Engineers saw of it, the clearer it became
that the government has been misled bv Mr. Waddington's representations, and not only was the line a very long one, but the Engineering v ork was of such a character that they knew it would be
madness to commit themselves to it. This brings us to the spring
of 1873, anc- as tne time f°r tne commencement of Railway construction was drawing near, you will find great anxiety displayed by
the government to commence work on the 20th July; and, although
I have reason to believe, that an extension of time could have been
obtained from the government of British Columbia, at that period,
the Dominion Government preferred passing an order in council,
on the 7th June, 1873, recommending that Esquimalt, Vancouver
Island, be fixed as the Terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway,
and that a line be located between that point and Seymour Narrows:
and asking for a conveyance of the land between those points, according to the nth " paragraph of the Terms of Union." The local
government refused to convey the land, but made a reservation of
it. The result of this was, that on the 20th July, instructions had
arrived to commence locating the line from Esquimalt—on that
morning, tbe City of Victoria was all alive—Real Estate changed
hands; a locating party was formed, consisting of the Chief Engineer, and assistant, and several members of the local government,
the Premier, Mr. DeCosmos being amongst the number, repairing
to Esquimalt, the initial post was set, lunch taken, champagne suffered, a few hundred feet of line run, and that was the end of it. It
was thought by many that the action of the Dominion government,
passing an order in council recommending that Esquimalt be made
the Terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, indicated pretty
clearly that the Bute Inlet route would be adopted. I felt it did not
■neccessarily do so, for an application to Sir John Macdonald. a short
time previously, he stated that the line from Victoria to Nanaimo,
if built, would be common to either the Bute Inlet or Fraser River
Route. If the latter was adopted, it could be connected by Ferry
to Burrard Inlet. It is a pity that this survey was not continued
then. Had that been the case, some information as to the cost of a
Railway on Vancouver Island, would hrfve been m the hands of the
Dominion Government, at a time when its construction was forced
on them as the price for relaxation of the Terms of Union—and to
which I shall shortly refer. Between the 20th July and the resignation of Sir John Macdonald's government, several minutes of council of our local government were forwarded by the Lieut. Governor
to the Dominion Government, in reference to the non-commencement of the Railway, and the reservation of land on Vancouver
Island, and so persistent were they in endeavoring to get the Dominion Government further committed to the Island piece of road,
L (9)
that they passed an order in council, authorising Mr. DeCosmos,
the then Premier, to proceed as special Delegare to Ottawa, to ask
the Dominion Government to define the boundaries of the land on
Vancouver Island, proposed to be claimed by them to aid in the
construction of the Railroad on the Island, although in a previous
report of the council, they had impressed on the notice of the Dominion "that the Reserve itself should not be of a permanent character."
This was at a time when political complications were imminent, and
I have no doubt it was considered a favorable one for driving a
hard bargain. Thus the question rested until Mr. Mackenzie came
into power, and on the 2 2d November, 1873, we find a report of
the Executive Council of our Province, asking the Dominion Government for an expression of its policy with reference to the Railway clause of the Terms of Union—and a reply by telegraph from
Mr. Mackenzie to Mr. Walkem on the 22d December, reterring
him to his speech at Sarnia of the 25 November, which he supposed
Mr. Walkem had seen, and further stated, that the government was
giving earnest consideration to the details of a scheme, which they
believed would be acceptable to the whole of the Dominion, including British Columbia—and ends by saying "we hope to communicate with you shortly, probably by special agent." The local Legislature was now in session, and a few days after the receipt of this
telegram, (with, I presume a knowledge and approval of the policy
of the Dominion Government.) Mr. Walkem makes a speech,
lauding Mr. Mackenzie to the skies, and casting obloquy on Sir John
Macdonald, who only a few weeks previously had fallen in our cause,
and who was then and still is a staunch friend to British Columbia.
On the 9th February, 1874, during this same session, Mr. Beavan,
finding that Mr. Mackenzie did not consider himself bound to construct a Railway beyond the sea-board of the Province, brings in a
resolution protesting -«gainst the infraction of the Railway clause of
the Terms of Union, and impressing upon the administration of Canada, the absolute necessity of commencing the actual construction
of the Railway from the seaboard of British Columbia, early in the
present year. The drift of this resolution is apparent. At this time,
the surveys had been pushed forward most energetically on the Bute
Inlet Route, and it was thought a favorable line could be obtained,
so, if by any means, the local government, could force the Dominion
to make a commencement early that year, Mr. Beaven knew it
must have been made on it.
That spring, while at Ottawa, I brought forward a resolution in
the House of Commons, asking that further surveys might be made,
between Kamloops and Hope on Fraser River, and gave my reasons for it. I was listened to attentively by Mr. Mackenzie, who
promised that what I asked for should be granted, although Mr. De
Cosmos assured the House, that the money might as well be thrown
into the Fraser River.    I was astonished to hear this from the lips (IO)
of a gentleman, who, only a short time before, made use of the
following words:—" I never could see how British Columbia could
be settled up, without a railway to connect Fraser River with Kamloops;" also, " I maintain that the true course for the development
of the resources of the country, is to make a line of railway from
some navigable spot on the Fraser to Lake Kamloops; I claim for
this, that it might be regarded as a part of the trans-continental line,
and, in my opinion, it would do more to build up the country, than
anything else that could be conceived, and I believe it to be
thoroughly practic~ble." He even went so far as to make an estimate of what that line would cost, viz. $50,000 per mile, and that
through admittedly the worst portion of the Fraser River route; (vide
Confederation debates 1870); but I do not attach much importance
to his estimate, as last session, he stated in the House of Commons,
that the Island road could be built for $30,000 per mile, and upon
a survey being made this spring, it was found that it would cost
nearly three times that amount. Well, during the early spring of
1874, an exploration was made of the doubtful portion on the line
of the Bute Inlet route, as recommended by Mr. Fleming. Upon
that, depended the success of the route up to that time. The engineers failed to find a practicable line, and so, from quarters which
appeared then to be reliable [Globe, August 17th, 1874, and which
were subsequently confirmed in a report of the Privy Council of
Canada to Lord Carnarvon,) came rumors, that on a further, exam
ination of the Bute Inlet route, it was shown that the difficulties
were all but insurmountable, and that having regard to those considerations, and the importance of saving in distance, the road would
probably terminate at Burrard Inlet; and so the matter remained
until the spring of 1875, and the Government appear to have continued in that opinion until very lately, as Mr. Barnard received instructions to commence constructing the Telegraph line from Cache
Creek to Kamloops, and thence follow up the North Thompson
River, on the supposed line of Railway. In fact, the cutting out of
the line, was to be part of the Railroad work itself. Since I left
Ottawa, Mr. Barnard received instructions to stop the work for a
time. I have endeavored to find out from what cause this was
brought about. If, as in previous years, the report of last season's
surveys had been published, with the engineers remarks thereon, I
have no doubt our curiosity would be easily satisfied. But failing
that, 1 think by referring to the Globe of April 30th, 1875, whose
authority appears to have been correct last year, we shall find that
the government have received information of such a favorable character of the Northern Route as to cost, compared with Fraser River,
that they were compelled to suspend the construction of the telegraph through the Province of British Columbia, until some more
reliable data were before them, upon which an estimate of the comparative advantages of the several routes could be formed.   The
L (II)
Canadian Pacific Railway Act, although authorizing the construction
of the telegraph in advance of the railway, limits it to a period subsequent to the general location of the line. After referring to the
different routes in the North, terminating at Bute Inlet, Gardner's
Canal and Bentick Arm, the Globe goes on to say: "We believe we
are correct in stating that the government have definitely abandoned
the lower Fraser route." This conclusion, if come to by the Government, will, I confidently believe, be re-considered when the
reports, plans, profiles, &c, are placed before them of this season's
work. The fire which occurred in Ottawa in January, 1874, destroyed not only the Pacific Railway offices, but almost all the plans
and information that the government had with reference to the surveys in British Columbia. Had that not happened, the possibility
is that no further surveys would have been found necessary. But
when the government find that there is such slight data in existence,
as to the cost of the enormously heavy work through the Cascade
range, to reach the head of Butt: Inlet, I am not surprised that they
have ordered a partially located line to be run from that point to
Fort George. When the result of that survey is before them, I cannot but believe, from information I possess, that the work from the
head of Bute Inlet to the summit of the Homatheo, will be found
heavier than the same number of miles on any portion of the Fraser
River route. I refrain from entering fully into a comparrison of the
various routes, until che engineer's reports are made public, but
when the proper time arrives, you will find me as much alive to your
interest as I am now. Having reviewed in as few words as possible
the position of the surveys from the commencement up to the present time, I shall now ask your attention, while I refer to the political aspect of affairs on the accession of Mr. Mackenzie to power.
Public feeling and sympathy up to that time in British Columbia had
been, I may say, unanimously in favor of Sir John Macdonald and
his government, and every member of the House of Commons had
gone either pledged to, or, by public sentiment, expected to accord
that government his support. This is hardly to be wondered at,
when we know that il was in a great measure through their instrumentality, that we entered the Union; and further, that the railway
was promised by them to be commenced in two years from Confederation, and to be completed in ten—while we, in framing the
Terms which were submitted by our delegates to them, asked for a
coach road from our trunk road to Fort Garry, to be finished in three
years, and railway commenced at the earliest practicable date. You
are familiar, I have no doubt, with the position taken by the two
political parties at the time our Terms were considered in Parliament, in the spring of 1871; with reference to the railway clause,
Sir John Macdonald's Government contended that the proposition
submitted by them, was not less favorable for Canada, than that
proposed by British Columbia, and the Hon. Mr. Tilley a member (12)
of that Government, stated in the House of Commons, March 28th,
1871, in answer to Sir A. T. Gait, "The member for Sherbroke had
stated that all British Columbia asked for, was a coach road connecting Fort Garry with the Government roads of British Columbia,
and an expenditure of a million dollars a year on a railway, and
that the proposition submitted by the government was less favorable
to Canada. He entirely dissented from the non. member on that
matter, on these grounds. When the road had been proposed, it
had been found from enquiry and investigation, that from the high
cost of labor, and other charges that would have to be met in constructing such a road within the stated time ot three years, that the
cost would be very heavy, very heavy indeed, and in addition to this,
it was coupled with a proposition that a Railway should be built as
soon as practicable, and that there should be an annual expenditure
from the commencement, of a million of dollars. Under these
circumstances, the government had held that any expenditure on a
coach road was useless, and one that was not required, inasmuch,
as all the traffic would be taken by the Railway, as soon as completed. Taking this view, therefore, the government had at once dissented from the proposition of British Columbia, and would not
agree to it."
The Hon. Mr. Chapais, also a member of the Government, stat
ed, "With regard to the construction of the Railway, I will show
that the conditions embodied in the resolutions—which are in keeping with the policy already followed by the Government, when they
agreed to construct the Inter-Colonial Railway, are much more
favorable to Canada, than would have been the acceptance of the
propositions made by British Columbia."
The Opposition, on the other hand, contended that the 10 years
limit was very objectionable, and Mr. Mackenzie, when Sir George
Cartier moved the House into committee, to consider the resolution
respecting the admission of British Columbia into the union with
Canada, moved the following amendment: "The proposed Terms
of Union with British Columbia, pledge the Dominion to commence
within two years, and complete within ten years, the Pacific Railway,
the route for which has not been surveyed, nor has the expense
been calculated. This House is of opinion that Canada should not
be pledged to do more than proceed at once with the necessary
survey, and after the route is determined, to prosecute the work at
as early a period as the state of its finances will justify, and that the
further consideration of the said terms be postponed, with a view to
obtaining some modification thereof." A debate, lasting several
days, took place, in which all the able men of both sides took part.
The Hon. Mr. Blake (Opposition) stated, "If this measure should
become law, the faith of the Dominion would be plighted, and without the consent of British Columbia, could never break one jot or
tittle of these cast-iron obligations;" and further stated in answer to (13)
Sir George Cartier, "But the Hon. Mimster of Militia, did not propose to increase the taxation of the country. Let him then put it
in the bargain with British Columbia that no future misunderstandings might arise in the fulfilment of our pledge." The Hon. Mr.
Langevin stated, "It was necessary to satisfy the Columbians as weli
as to give confidence to British capitalists, that a period should be
fixed for the completion of the road, but if in seven or eight years it
should appear with representatives from that Province, sitting
amongst us, that despite our good faith and utmost efforts, it was
impossible to complete the work vithin the time named, they could
not and would not find fault with us." The Hon. Mr. Morris said,
"He believed that when the Union should be accomplished, and
representatives from British Columbia should sit in that House,
there would be no doubt of the Railway being proceeded with as
rapidly as the resources of the country would admit." The Hon.
Sir A. T. Gait (Opposition), "Considered that a policy of prudence
and foresight was more necessary for the future progress of the Dominion, than the unwise incurring of the obligations now proposed
could possibly be. As to the coach road proposed by British Columbia, involving a useless expenditure of money, he maintained
that the necessities of the railway, would require the construction of
such a road, so that it would have to be made in any case." The
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks said, "That it was estimated that the Dominion would have to pay about a million and a quarter a year; but
it was well understood that if insurmountable difficulties arose, the
Government could not be supposed to proceed to anything ruinous."
At the close of the debate, several amendments were put to the
House, one from Mr. Jones (Halifax) that the proposed railway
engagement would press too heavily on the resources of the Do7
minion. Mr. Ross (Dundas) proposed that the question be postponed. Mr Mackenzie's amendment, which I referred to before,
was also put, as well as one from Mr. Dorion, to the effect that, "In
view of the" engagements already entered into since the Confederation, and the large expenditure urgently required for Canal and
Railway purposes within the Dominion, this House would not be
justified in imposing on the people of this Dominion, the enormous
burden required to build, within ten years, a Railway to the Pacific,
as proposed by the resolution submitted to this House." On the
31st March, 1871, the Hon. Sir George Cartier moved the recep
tion of the Report of the Committee of the Whole on certain resolutions respecting the admission of British Columbia into Union
with Canada, and Mr. Mackenzie moved the following: "That having regard to the vast im portance of the question involved in the*
said resolution, including the obligation to construct within ten years,
the Pacific Railway, the cost of which is estimated to exceed one
hundred millions of dollars, time should be afforded to the people
and   representatives   for   consultation   before coming  to a final (14)
decision, and that the said resolutions should therefore be postponed
till next session." The Hon. Sir. George Cartier, in reply, stated,
"If the Railway was practicable at all, everyone would admit that
it could well be built in ten years. If there had been any complaint, it should have been that the time allowed was too short, and
in answer to a question of Mr, Mackenzie's, what about the obligations ? said, 'suppose the Hon. gentleman undertook an obligation,
could he be obliged to fulfil it, if he should be prevented by unfor-
seen circumstances ?' No one could be compelled to perform an
impossibility." The Hon. Mr. Blake replied, "The argument
seemed to be, that they could not be compelled to perform impossibilities, but an honest man would fulfil an obligation though the
result might be bankruptcy." At the close of the debate Mr. Mackenzie's amendment was put to the House and lost. I have hurriedly referred to the debates that took place in the House of Commons in 1871, to show you that what Mr. Mackenzie enunciated,
when he came into power, as the policy of his Government, with re-
gaid to the Canadian Pacific Railway, was what he and his party had
advocated in opposition; and it appears to me, that after all there
was very little difference between the policv of the then Government and the Opposition; the chief fight was on the time limit.
The Government of Sir John Macdonald said, "British Columbia
insists on the 10 year limit, it is in the terms agreed between the
Government of the Dominion and the people of British Columbia;
they are now submitted to you for approval, and must be accepted
or rejected as a whole. The Hon. Mr. Campbell in the Senate,
said, " But it is urged, why not include the resolution of which notice has 'been given elsewhere in the present arrangement. It is
unnecessary, in my opinion, but more than that, it would force us
to send back the whole scheme to British Columbia, and open the
door for other changes." And so to save a year's delay with the
possibility of British Columbians requiring "other stipulations," the
terms were forced through both Houses. Still there appears to have
been an understaiiding that the Railway works should be proceeded
•foith only as fast as the resources of the country would allow, and a
resolution was passed in the House of Commons, as follows: " Resolved, that the railway referred to in the address to Her Majesty
concerning the Union of British Columbia with Canada adopted by
this House on Saturday tlie ist of April instant, should be constructed and worked by private enterprise, and not by the Dominion
Government, and that the aid to be given to secure that undertaking, should consist of such liberal grants of land, and such subsidy
in money, or other aid, not unduly pressing on the industry and
resources of the Dominion, cs the Parliament of Canada shall hereafter determine.'' I trust I have clearly shown you, in what light I
believe our great public work was regarded by the Commons and
Senate of Canada, I shall now go further, and read you what one of (15)
the delegates said (our present Lieutenant-Governor) at a  complimentary dinner given to him on April ioth, 1871, in Ottawa.
He had been present during the whole of the debates on the
Union question, and in response to the toast of Sir George Cartier—
" Our Guest," the Hon. Mr. Trutch said with reference to the ten
years limitation. " And now, Sir, I speak with special care, as I
desire that full weight should be given to every word I utter on this
point, that is to say, as to the understanding which I had when this
clause was framed, and still have, of the intention of this engagement by the Dominion to construct the Canadian Pacific Railway
within ten years. When we came to you in June last, we proposed
that you should at once build a coach road from Fort Garry to the
Pacific, and within three years begin a railway, and we sought to
bind you to spend a million of dollars annually on the section, of
this railroad in British Columbia, and to complete its construction
with the utmost possible despatch. We fully understood then, that
once the road was commenced, it must be urged to its completion,
as a matter of course, as a business necessity, and that instead of
$1,000,000 being spent, probably $5,000,000 would be'yearly expended in British Columbia. We knew, in fact, that if the road
were to be completed at all, it would have to be proceeded with at
a far faster rate than a million a year would insure. But there were
those in British Columbia who thought that Canada would not undertake the work at all, and it was to satisfy their doubts, to secure
their adhesion to the scheme, that the guarantee of the expenditure
of the $1,000,000 annually was asked. The Government, on conference with our delegation, at once expressed their readiness to
commence at once the railroad to the Pacific, and to complete it as
soon as it was practicable to do so; but the coach road was objected
to as an unnecessary expense, in view of the immediate construction
of the railroad. We, from British Columbia, were prepared to accept the amendment of the scheme, and we accordingly proceeded
to calculate the time it would probably take to build the railroad,
and we agreed upon an estimated period of ten years. If it had
been put at twelve or fifteen years, British Columbia would have
been just as well satisfied, and if the estimated period had been reduced to eight years, she would scarcely have been better pleased,
but some definite period for the completion of this work, the British Columbians insisted on as a necessary safeguard to our colony,
in entering into the proposed union. To argue, that any other interpretation-will be placed upon this railway engagement by British
Columbia, than that which I have given to you as my construction
of it—to argue, that she expects it to be carried out in the exact interpretation of the words themselves, regardless of all consequences,
is a fallacy which cannot bear the test of common sense. (Hear,
hear.) The case stands thus: British Columbia is about to enter
into a partnership with Canada, and one of the terms of the articles (i6)
of partnership, is, that we are under the partnership to construct a
railway, upon certain conditions. Is British Columbia going to hold
her partner to that, which will bring ruin and bankruptcy upon the
firm ? Surely, you would think us fools indeed, if we adopted such
a course. I would protest, and tl>e whole of British Columbia would
protest, if the government proposed to borrow $100,000,000 or $150,
000,000 to construct this road; (hear, hear,) running the country
into debt, and taxing the people of British Columbia as well as of
the rest of the Dominion to pay the burden of such a debt. Why,
Sir, I heard it said the other evening, that British Columbia had
made a most Jewish bargain with you in these terms, but even Shy-
lock, himself, would not exact his pound of flesh, if a portion of it
had to be cut from his own body. (Loud cheers and laughter.) I
am sure that you will find that British Columbia is a pretty intelligent community, which will be apt to take a business view of this
matter. She will expect that this railway shall be commenced in
two years, for this is clearly practicable; and she will also expect
•■hat the financial ability of the Dominion will be exerted to its ut-
-most, within the limits of re ison, to complete it in the time named
in the agreement; but, you may rest assured, that she will not regard
this railway engagement as a 'cast-iron contract,' as it has been
called, or desire that it should be carried out in any other way than
as will secure the prosperity of the whole Dominion, of which she
is to be part. (Cheers.) i have understood this railway engagement in this way from the first, and I still so understand it."
■ I believed when we negotiated this clause in the Terms of Union
last year, and I now believe, that it is not only practicable for this
road to be built by a liberal land grant and a moderate money subsidy: but that it will be so built, and completed within the estimated
period of ten years. But if a mistake has been made in this estimate, do not think that British Columbia is going to put a strained
interpretation upon it, to her own material injury; that she is likely,
as the saying is, to bite her own nose off to spite her face." Mr.
Trutch spoke, I believe, the true sentiments of British Columbia
then, and those utterances represent the feeling here to-day. So,
not only was there the understanding I have referred to, between
the Government and the Opposition at the time of our Union, but
British Columbia, through her delegate, enunciated the same views.
But with all, complications have arisen. Mr Mackenzie, on coming
into power, saw the attitude the Government of British Columbia
had taken with reference to the two years limit, the time at which
construction should have commenced; he saw that it was the forerunner of continued and protracted bickerings between the two
Governments, unless an early arrangement was come to. At the
general election for the Commons, in the spring of 1874, Mr.
Mackenzie stated what the policy of the government would be, with
rerer'ence to the Pacific Railway; this Avas accepted by the country, (17)
and he came back to the House, supported by a large majority of
the people's representatives. He then, as you are aware, in order'
to come to a speedy and satisfactory arrangement with British Columbia, sent an agent of his Government to treat with British
Columbia, for an adjustment of the terms, on a basis consistent with
his policy; and in his letter introducing- Mr. Edgar to Mr. Walkem,
said, "I need not, I am sure, assure you of my own sincere desire
to do all I can, to not only act justly, but generously to Columbia.
It is in your interest, and in the interest of the Dominion, ihat we
should both act with a reasonable appreciation of difficult:es which
are unavoidable, and to devise means to remove them or overcome."
I do not propose to delay you with a long dissertation on the result
of that mission, it is now a matter of history; but the disastrous termination to a very friendly overture on behalf of the Dominion
Government cannot but be felt by all of you, when you look around
and see that the public works you have been anxiously expecting to
be actively progressing, are at a stand-still, and the only parties who
have succeeded in holding their own, are the four high salaried
members of your Local Government; it is to their action in this
matter, that 1 wish to call your attention, and I think before I finish
I shall be able to convince you that to their selfish policy alone,
must this protr icted and heartburning uncertainty, which we are
now suffering, be attributed. It will be in your recollection, that in
the spring of 1874, before the arrival of Mr. Edgar, there had been
considerable excitement in Victoria at the action of the local Government, with reference to their attempt to place us it a false position with the Dominion Government by seeking a relaxation of 2
and 12 of the Terms of Union, at a time when it was known that
negotiations had to be entered into with regard to our all important
Railway clause. The excitement was so great that the populace
went in a body to the Parliament building, singing, "We will hang
DeCosmos to a sour apple tree, and then go marching on." They
demanded that a petition should be received at the Bar of the House,
setting forth their grievances—Parliamentary proceedings were
stopped, the Premier wilted, and dispatched a messenger to the
Government House at midnight, to ask the Lieutenant-Governor to
order a gun-boat to the harbor, and he proposed to subjugate these
rebellious subjects at the cannon's mouth. His forced and hurried
resignation, and precipitate flight to Nanaimo, are laughable political incidents which we shall not readily forget. Mr. Walkem was
then called on to form a Government, and"perhaps it is not generally
known that it was impressed on him very wisely I think, that in case
of any alterations of the Terms of Union, the question must be submitted to the people—and a resolution was also passed in the House,
forced by the Opposition, to the same effect. I must ask you to
recollect this, as it has, to my mind, an important bearing on the
subsequent actions of the local Government.    At the close of the (i8)
session, a banquet was given to the members of the Opposition who
had so'uni-edly and nobly acted and saved the Province, being placed
in a false position with the Dominion Government. Mr Edgar had
just arrived in Victoria, and the newly elected members for the Dominion Parliament were leaving for their duties in Ottawa. Mr.
Edgar remained in the Province for some two months, and as directed by Mr. Mackenzie, endeavored by consulting with leading men
in and out of the Government, to find out what would be acceptable
to the Province, and was instructed, should no proposition be made
to him, to telegraph what he thought would be acceptable. The
course pursued by tlie local Government during Mr. Edgar's stay in
British Columbia, is very clearly shown in his report to the Dominion Government, on his return East.    I will now read it to you.
"When I received the above letter, I lost no time, and starting
upon my journev and leaving Toronto, February 23rd, I arrived
upon March gth at Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. On
the d y that 1 landed in Victoria, the Hon. Mr Walkem, leader in
local Government, called upon me, and I made him aware of the
object of my mission. Upon the same day I handed him Hon. Mr.
Mackenzie's letter of 16th February (Appendix A), also informing
him that I had letters from His Excellency the Governor-General
to his Honor the Lieutenant-Governor, which were next day delivered. Very soon afterwards Mr. Walkem introduced me to his
colleagues, as the representative of the Canadian Government.
Upon my arrival in the Province, I found that an intense interest
was manifested by all the population in whatever related to the question of railway construction. It is difficult, at a distance, to conceive
the importance that is attached to the railway by British Columbians.
On account of the vast construction expenditure, and the sparseness
of the population who would prticipate in the immediate benefits
derivable from it, an interest of a direct and personal character is
felt upon this subject. The enti:e white population of the Province,
according to the census of 1870, was 8,576 souls. Of this number,
there were upon the Mainland 3,401, and upon Vancouver Island,
5, 175. The white population to-day has probably increased to 10,-
Ooo. With the exception, perhaps, of the gold miners, who are
confined to the mainland, there is no class in the Province, that
would not derive immediate personal advantage from the railway
construction expenditure. Those in business, in trade, and in agriculture would feel the stimulus instantly; while those of means and
leisure would be enriched by the increase in the value of their property. The circumstances of the early settlement of the Province,
gave it a population of peculiar intelligence; and the fact that most
of the rougher kind of labor is performed by Chinamen and Indians,
has afforded, in an especial way to the people of Victoria, the Provincial Metropolis, leisure and opportunity for the fullest discussion
of their great question of the day.    Their keen intelligence and zeal (19)
in public affairs suggests a parallel in the history of some of the
minor States of ancient Greece or Italy. Although a strong feeling
of jealousy of the greatness of Victoria, undoubtedly exists in parts
of the mainland, yet, that town is the chief centre of public opinion.
Its population is almost equal to the whole of the rest of the Province, and in its midst are the head-quarters of Government, of the
courts, of the churches, and ot trade. Within three miles, there is
the fine harbor of Esquimalt, with its arsenal and British ships of
To Victoria, the question of the location of the railway terminus,
is all important, because there is nothing in the terms of Union
which settles that there shall be any portion of the line upon Vancouver Island, except a revocable Order in Council, and the intrinsic merits claimed for the location, are the grounds upon which they
hoped to secure the terminus at Esquimalt. When it became well
understood, that the surveys were not yet so far advanced, as to
warrant the Canadian Government in fixing the permanent route
and Western terminus of the railway, it was strongly urged upon
me, by many persons in Victoria, that the construction of the line
of railway should be at once undertaking by the Dominion, from
the harbor of Esquimalt to the port of Nanaimo, on the east coast
of Vancouver Island, a distance of about seventy miles. It was
argued, that at whatever point, upon the mainland, the P2cific Railway might be brought to the coast, asleum ferry thence to Nanaimo,
might be established, and would render their portion of railway a'
means of connection with Esquimalt, which is said to be the finest
harbor upon the shores of the North Pacific. It was also insisted,
that from ils opening, there would be a considerable and profitable
traffic over this line in the carriage of coal to Esquimalt, from the
mines at Nanaimo and Departure Bay.
Moreover, it was contended, that in view of the admitted impossibility to complete the construction of the trans-continental railway, within the time originally limited, some substantial concessions
should be made to the people of the Island, as compensation fof
their disappointment and prospective losses.
A contention, similar to the 1 >st mentioned one, was also pressed
upon me warmly, by leading men of the mainland, who considered
that they were now entitled to have some definite understanding
arrived at, not so much in regard to the ultimate completion, as to
the early, vigorous, and continuous construction of the railway upon
the mainland, It was represented that those engaged in agriculture
and stock raising, in the interior parts of the country, were almost
without a market for their produce, pailly because the gold miners
were leaving in considerable numbers, and partly for the reason that,
in anticipation of railway construe ion, they had raised more crops
than usual. The great distance to the coast, and the stupendous
mountain ranges to be traversed, prevented them from getting the (20)
bulky products of their land to the Island markets of Victoria and
Nanaimo. Being familiar with the difficulties to be met with by
engineers, in seeking for a railway route through their conntry, the
mainland people were not disposed to blame the Dominion, for insisting upon further time and surveys before fixing the location.
Their immediate necessities also induced them to attach more importance to the securing of an early and steady expenditure amongst
themselves, than to the maintaining of an arbitrary time limit for
completion, while they also expressed their perfect appreciation of
the agreement, that a vigorous expenditure of itself involves an accomplishment of tne work within a reasonable period.
In the Provincial Constitution of British Columbia, the working
of representative institutions, and responsible parliamentary government, mav be studied in a simple form. The system is elaborated
out of, perhaps, slender materials, but has been courageous')' fashioned
.after tlie model of the British Constitution. The people are represented by a House of twenty-five members, of whom thirteen are
elected from the mainland, and twelve from the Island. In th:s
House sit the Ministers of the Crown, four in number, two being
Island members, and two from the mainland. The deliberations
are presided over Ly a Speaker, and due respect for the dignity of
the Assembly is maintained by a Sergeant-at-Arms.
Although I had not the foiiune to be in the country when the
House was in session, 1 was able to discover among the gentlemen
who hold seats, a considerable number of much experience, and
somewhat above the average intelligence of Provincial legislators.
To those accustomed to older Canadian. constituencies, each with
population varying usually from fifteen to thirty thousand souls, it is
■somewhat novel to see the smallness of electoral districts in British
Columbia. Yet it would be quite unfair to fix the number of electors as the standard of the intelligence of the representative, for one
of the ablest of the Provincial Ministers, after an exc'ting contest at
the last election, succeeded in polling but sixteen votes ip his constituency, vriiilst his opponent suffered a decisive defeat, having
polled exactly half that number.
The Session of the Provincial Legislature had terminated on the
2nd March, a week before my arrival, and the House had unanimously agreed to a resolution upon the subject of the eleventh, or
railway clause, in the terms of Union with the Dominion, which was
calculated to have an important bearing upon all negotiations with
the local Government for a change in that clause. The language
of the resolution is as follows:—'That in view of the importance of
the Railway Clause < f the Terms of Union between Canada and
British Columbia being faithfully carried out by Canada, this Hous^
is of opinion, that no alteration in the said clause should be permitted by the Government of this Province until the. .same has bren submitted lo the people for endorsalion.'    When I  ascertained that (21)
the resolution had been passed, that the Provincial Parliament had
yet more than a year to run, and that the Ministry had in it a sufficient working majority, it at once became apparent that any proposals 10 alter the railway clause, could possess few attractions in the
eyes of the party in power. While prepared to admit that the Province would be most reasonable, and would not be disposed to insist at all upon the origin d time limit for completion, yet, members
of the administration, looking at it from -their own point of view,
very naturally urge that this was a peculiarly unfortunate time to
seek any alterations. I also discovered that the first Act of the Provincial Statute of 1873-4, contained elements of danger to the continued harmony between the General and Local Governments.
This Act became necessary to authorize the Provincial to receive
from the Dominion, the large sums of money, both for the Esquimalt graving dock, and for other public works, which the local Government petitioned the Dominion Government to advance, and
which requests the latter complied with, as concessions to the Pro
vince in excess of what could be claimed under articles two and
twelve of the terms of Union. A saving clause, or proviso, was inserted in this Act, containing very strong language concerning the
rights and wrongs of British Columbia as regards the railway, and
adding, -This Act shall not have any force or effect unless the above
proviso be inserted, in the same words, in any Act of Parliament of
Canada, which may be passed for the purpose of this Act'
A profound anxiety at once manifested by Mr. Walkem and his
colleagues, to ascertain through me, if the Canadian Ministry would
propose to Parliament to adopt the words of this proviso. When I
sought to get from them some proposals or suggestions, as to their
terms of the concessions that should be made to British Columbia,
in consideration of a change in the railway terms, I was continually
met by an urgent inquiry as to what was to be done about that
clause. As early as the r6th of March, I was informed by telegram,
that the Dominion Government would not adopt the language of the
proviso in their bill, but would make the concessions as original}*
agreed, and without conditions affecting the railway terms. The
announcement of this, was received by the local Ministers with alarm
and disappointment, and it afterwards became still more difficult to
get a satisfactory discussion of an alteration of railway terms with any
of them. Orders in Council were passed by the local Government
upon the subject, and I was continually urged to press upon the
Dominion Government, the anxiety of the Provincial Ministry for
the adoption of the saving clause, and I took many opportunities of
doing so.
This pressure continued without intermission until the 25th of
April, when, at the request of Mr. Walkem, I sent a dispatch to Mr.
Mackenzie on behalf of the former, and in his own language, urging
the adoption of the saving clause. (22)
When, according to instructions, I endeavored to ascertain from
the local Ministers, if their unwillingness to submit proposals as to the
railway, to the people, arose entirely from our refusal to adopt the
saving clause; 1 found that even such a concession would not induce
them to bring about an appeal to the people.
According to instructions receiv ed,. VL was in my aim, from the
very first, to take every means of ascertaining the popular view of
the railwav question. Indeed, when it was understood that the Canadian Government had delegated me upon this and general matters,
the politeness and hospitable attentions of all classes soon rendered
it an easv matter to foim some estimate of public opinion. All were
as willing to communicate, as I was anxious to receive their various
views and information. I paid two brief visits to the mainland,
meeting with people of New Westminster, Hope, Yale, and some
few other places, and 1 was so fortunate as to meet, at one tine or
another, neailv all the members of the local Legislature, and many
other persons of local piominence from the mainland.
The Lieutenant-Governor and the Hon. Capt. Hare, Senior Naval
Officer at Esquimalt, kindly offered me an opportunity of visiting
the east coast of the Island, in company with them, on board H.M.
S. Myrmidon.
In discussing the question of the time for the completion of the
time for the railway, I elicited a very general expression of opinion,
that there was no gieat importance attached to any particular period
for completion, but that serious disappointment had been felt at the
failure to commence the woik of actual construction by July of last
year. Much anxiety was felt for an announcement of the policy of
Canada upon the subject of the railway, and an extreme desire prevailed to have a definite understanding arrived at as to what the Province could expect, in place of the original railway terms, which
were all hut universally admitted to be incapable of lheral fulfilment.
The public agitation in Victoria of February last, might have
been mistaken for a movement to insist upon 'the terms, the whole
terms, and nothing but the terms,' or to seek some disloyal alterna-
tiye. Indeed, a portion of the community, who did not sympathize
with the excitement, so interpreted it. Yet, I was assuied by the
leaders of that agitation, that no such motives or intentions influenced them. The people had b- en roused, by what were deemed
/suspicious circumstances, to fear that efforts would be made, or were
being made, to secure from the local Government an agreement to
change the railway terms w h1 out a submission to the people, who
bad directly sanctioned the original terms. The local contradictions
had scarcely been accepted as satisfactory upon this point, but my
denial of it on the part of the Ottawa Government, coupled with the
announcement that the latter would not seek to secure any alteration without the sanction of the people of the Province, set that
difficulty very much at rest. (23)
Notwithstanding the attitude that was assumed by the Provincial
Government against the submission of a proposal, or the openin°* o%
negotiations lo alter the .railway terms, it was quite apparent'that-
popular feeling, all over the Province, was strongly in favor of some
cjefinite settlement being arrived at upon the question. The notor-^
ious and admitted failure of the original scheme of railwav construction, had unsettled the business of the country, and the whole community, including even those who would have been the most exacting in bargaining with Canada for new terras, were anxious to have
a proposal made, and to have a full opportunity of discussing and
accepting or rejecting it.
I felt, therefore, that I should lake an early opportunity of arriving
at the views of the local Government upon the subject I was given,
an appointment by Mr. Walkem in the first week of April, and then
confidentially discussed with the Ministry, the whole question of
alteration in the railway terms. I may mention, that upon this occasion, no difficulty was raised as to my authority to represent the
General Government.
. At this time there was considerable irritation displayed by Ministers upon this subject at the saving clause, before alluded to; they
would not admit any necessity for a present settlement of the railway question, but still persisted, that next year, or some time, should
be awaited for the making of any such propositions; and they were:
particularly careful to avoid saying what concessions, in their opinion, would be acceptable to the Province in lieu of the original terms.
The attitude of the local Ministry, rendered it more important than
ever, that the popular feeling should be accurately ascertained, and
it was my aim to discover it by unreserved discussion with as many-
men as possible of the different parties and localities.
It was now quite apparent that the local Ministers were determined lo be obstructive,  and it  became all the more necessary to.
satisfy the people in so far as their views were found to be reajon-.
able.    After receiving from me the best information I could supply,
Hon. Mr. Mackenzie directed me to make the Provincial Government certain proposals, which were so arranged as to give large and
certain advantages to the mainland, equally with the Island, and on-
the 6th May, I was instructed lo put them formally in writing and
give them to the local Premier, and a copy to the Lieutenant-Governor.    Upon the 8th May, I had prepared, and I read over to Mr.
Walkem, the letter of that date, containing the proposals (Appendix
B), and upon the following day I handed it to him, and furnished a
copy to His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor, as directed, accompanied with a short note (Appendix C).    I had made arrangements
for another visit to the mainland, to ascertain something more of the-
feeling theie,  while the Provincial Government were having the
proposals under consideration.    Before sailing for New Westmin--
ster, however, I received the letter from Mr. Walkem (Appendix D) (24)
in which he raised objections to recognizing me as the agent of the
General Government. It struck me as so peculiar a communication on Mr. Walkem's part, after he and his colleagues had recognised me as such agent, almost every day for two months, that I felt
it would be better not to be too hasty in accepting that as a serious
and final reply to the proposals, but to await the lapse of a few days
to Le occupied bv me in visiting New Westminster, Burrard Inlet,
and some other places on the mainland. Upon returning to Victoria, on Saturday, 16th May, I was waited upon by a deputation of
leading gentlemen, connected with both sides of local politics, who
informed me that it had been announced in the House of Commons
at Ottawa, bv Hon. Mr. Mackenzie, that proposals had been made,
on behalf of his Ministry, through myself, to the Provincial Government as to the alteration of the railway terms; and yet, that it was
denied by members of the local Ministry, and by their newspaper
organ, that anv proposals whatever had been made. They represented that the popular feeling was very much excited upon the subject, and that the people wexe anxious lo have the earliest opportunity of considering and deciding upon the question, and I was asked
to inform them whether such proposals had been made. Upon receiving an affirmative reply, they took their leave, and shortly afterwards, as the intelligence spread, considerable excitement was manifested at the treatment the proposals were receiving at the hands of
local Ministers.
in order to afford Mr. Walkem another opportunity to reply to
the proposals, or to consider them, if he were at all desirous of doing
so, I again addressed him, and in a letter of i8tn May (Appendix
E), endeavored to point out that he could not ignore the communication of 8th May. and reiterated the request on behalf of the Government of Canada, that the proposals should receive the consideration to which they were entitled. In reply to this, I received the
letter (Appendix F) and upon the 19th May, under directions from
Hv.n. Mr. Mackenzie, I lett Victoria upon my return journey, without any further official communication with the local Ministry.
I may be permitted to mention that His Honor the Lieutenant-
Governor, throughout the whole of my visit, was always most obliging in giving me, upon all public questions, very full information,
which his large experience in the Province, rendered of the highest
value. He also manifested an earnest wish to see a definite and
amicable settlement of the railway question speedily arrived at be
tween the General and Provincial Governments
In accordance with the direction contained in the last paragraph
of Hon. Mr. Mack- nzle's letter to me of the 19th February, I took
every opportunity, during :i y stay in British Columbia, of noting
various matters connected with Dominion business and interests.
In several despatches to Heads of Departments, as well as in verbal
communications with Ministers, I have already called attention to (25)
some important subjects of that kind, and I propose to have the
honor of communicating in separate reports, or despatches, upon
several other points of interest and importance, connected with Dominion affairs in the Pacific Province,
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed,) J. D. Edgar."
I contend, gentlemen, that nothing has transpired from that day
to this, to alter the view taken by Mr, Edgar, viz: that the only
reason that prevented Mr. Walkem from negotiating with
Mr. Mackenzie, was his fear of facing the country. The
quibble about credentials, did very well to play off on
a few of the prominent lawyers in Victoria, who took every
opportunily of stating that " Walkem was right in his law,"
but that gentleman did not dare, while extended at the foot of the
throne, to raise that objection, such trickery would not go down
with a high-minded statesman like Lord Carnarvon, for when ne
gotiations were going on with that gentlemen, he admitted that Mr.
Edgar had made the proposals on behalf of the Canadian Government. It was plain to these srentlemen in power that it would be
fatal to go to the country, the present House had been in existence
three years. When it was elected, no matter of such vital importance were before the country, as has lately occupied the attention of
the public, and very little interest was taken in the election; men
unfortunately were returned who proved recreant to their trust, when
the time of trial arrived, and many mainland members had been so
manipulated by Mr. Walkem that they were always found opposed
to your interests, and in favor of Victoria; and the Premier himself,
who was supposed to represent a mainland constituency in the Cabinet, as you know by his actions, has proved himself to be anything
but the friend of the mainland. On my return to Victoria, in the
spring of 1874, Mr. Edgar had just left for the East; Victoria was
in a state of excitement. The local Government had determined
on petitioning Her Majesty, and a vote advocating it was passed by
the "Preservation of Terms of Union League," at a meeting packed
for the purpose, at the instance of the local Government. The
mainland, and many on Vancouver Island, opposed it, but the opportunity for a pleasant trip and a little notoriety, could not be lost
by Mr. Walkem. The mission resulted, as you are aware, in nothing—in fact, it was a miserable failure Lord Carnarvon, after having received an assurance from the local Government, that they accepted his offer to arbitrate between the two governments on the
question in dispute, upheld the policy ot the Dominion Government,
suggested terms if anything inferior (certainly to the mainland,) to
those previously offered by Mr. Mackenzie through Mr. Edgar, and
is that to be wondered at, when we find Mr. Walkem opposing to
the utmost, any public work in your section of the country, which (26)
had the appearance of strengthening the adoption of your railway
route. In order to prove this to you, I am compelled to go back
to the Edgar Mission: "To avoid possibly tedious correspondence,"
Mr. Mackenzie sent an agent, authorized to lay a certain proposition
before our Government, for the relaxation of the Railway terms, and
the chuse lo which I wish to draw your attention, is that proposal
which affects us most; it is the clause that was introduced (so I am
informed) at the instance of the known fr'ends of the districts to the
East of the Cascade Range, and I propose to follow i he discussion
that arose from it between Lord Carnarvon, the Canadian Cabinet,
arid Mr. Walkem. It is dated, Victoria, May 8th, 1875, ar|d reads
thus:—" The Government have alreadyasked Parliament for a large
sum, for the purpose of carrying on these surveys, and no expenditure will be spared to achieve the most speedy and reliable selection
of a permanent location of the line upon the mainland. It is useless to propose an actual construction being undertaken before the
location has been determined upon; but in order to afford as much
benefit from the works of construction from the very'first, as can
possibly be derived by the people of the interior, the Government
would immediately open up a road, and build a telegraph line along
the whole length of the railway in the Province, and carry the telegraph wire across the Continent. It is believed that the mere commencement to build a railway at the seaboard, as stipulated for in
the existing terms, would give but little satisfaction to the producers
living japon the east side of the Cascade Mountains, who would be
unable, without a road being first constructed, lo find a market all
along the whole extent of the railway, wherever construction was
progressing. It would then be the aim of the Government, to strain
every nerve to | ush forward the construction of the railway—and
they would endeavor, at the same time, so to arrange the expenditure, that the legitimate advantages derived from it, wou'd as much
as possible fall into the hands of our own producers. In addition
to consttucting the road, lo facilitate transport along the located line,
they are anxious to avail themselves of large supplies of all kinds of
provisions, now existing, or capable of being produced in the interior,
and would proceed, from the very first, with all the works of construction in that portion of the country, that their engineers could
This proposition was rejected by Mr. Walkem, on the pretext-
that Mr. Edgar was not properly accredited, ana is thus referred to
by the Canadian Government, in addressing Lord Carnarvon. "The
reason alleged for refusing to consider the proposition Mr. Edgar
was finally directed to make, that Mr. Edgar was not accredited by
this Government, was evidently a mere technical pretence. Atl
that Mr. Edgar had to do, was simply to present the proposals and
ascertain on the spot, whether they would be entertained by the
Government."    The Earl of Carnarvon, on the 16th August, after (27) wr
having seen Mr. Walkem, and having discussed the difficulties between Canada and this Province, thus writes to the Canadian Government. I will proceed to state the case as I understand it, and the
impressions which I have formed as to the course that ought to be
The proposals made by Mr. Edgar, on behalf of the Canadian
Government, to the Provincial Government of British Columbia^
may be stated as follows:—
(1.) To commence at once, and finish as soon as possible, a railway from Esquimalt to Nanaimo
(2.) To spare no expense in settling, as' speedily as possible, the
line to be taken by the railway on the mainland.
(3.) To make at once, a wagon road and line of telegraph along
the whole length of the railway in British Columbia, and to continue
the telegraph across the continent.
(4.) The moment the surveys and road on the mainland are
completed, to spend a minimum amount of $1,500,000 annually
upon the construction of the railway, within the Province
The terms suggested by Lord Carnarvon, were as follows:—
I am under the impression, after conversing with Mr. Walkem,
that he is not fully empowered, on the part of British Columbia, to
' make specific proposals to the Government of Canada, or to me, as
to what terms British Columbia wou d be willing to accept, but he
has stated very clearly, in conversation at this office, the objections
entertained by his Government, and in the Province, to the proposals of your Government; and they, or a considerable part of them,
are fully set forth in the petition to the Queen, of which, as it has
been published in the Colonial press, you no doubt have a copy.
Taking each point s riatim, as numbered in the last preceding'
paragraph but one, I understand it to be uaged:—
(1.) That nothing is being done by the Dominion Government,
towards commencing and pushing on a railway from Esquimalt to
(2.) That the surveying parties on the Mainland are numerically
very weak; and that there is no expectation in British Columbia or
guarantee given on the part of the Dominion, that the surveys will
be proceeded with as speedily as possible.
(3.) - That the people of British Columbia do not desire the wagon road offered by the Dominion Government, as it would be useless to them; and that even the telegraph proposed to be made along
the line of the railway cannot, of course, be made until the route to
be taken by the Railway is settled.
(4.) That "The moment the surveys are completed," is not only
an altogether uncertain, but, at the present rate of proceeding, a
very remote period of time, and that an expenditure of $1,500,000
a year on the railway within the Province will not carry the line to
the boundary of British Columbia before a very distant date. (28)
I am of opinion, therefore, on a general review of all the considerations of the case, and as an impartial but most friendly adviser,
who, if I may be allowed to say so, has the interests of both parties
and the prosperity of the whole Dominion deeply at heart, that the
following proposals would not be other jhan a fair basis of adjustment.
14. (1.) That the section of the railway from Esquimalt to Na
naimo should be begun at once.
(2.) That the Dominion Government should greatly increase the
strength of the surveying parties on the Mainland, and that they
should undertake to expend on the surveys, if necessary, tor the
.speedy completion of the work, if not an equal share to that which
they would expend on the railway itself if it were in actual course of
construction, at all events some considerable definite minimum
(3.) Inasmuch as the proposed wagon road does not seem to be
desired by British Columbia, the Canadian Government and Parliament may be fairly relieved of the expense and labor involved in
their offer; and desirable as, in my opinion, the construction of the
telegraph across the continent will be, it perhaps is a ques Jon
whether it may not be postponed till the line to be taken by the
railway is definitely settled.
His Lordship, then goes on to say, how much he desires to see
the Province and central government arrive at a good understanding, and winds up by asking if it would be convenient for the Government, (the Government of Canada,) to reply by telegraph, so
that no unnecessary delay be caused, in bringing the matter to a
Mr. Dewdney then entered fully into the correspondence between
the three Governments, showing clearly that Mr. Mackenzie was
battling for advantages for the Mainland, while Mr Walkem was
doing what he could to delay any works in that section of the Province.
He showed that Mr. Walkem's chief complaint to Lord Carnarvon was, "That nothing is being done by the Dominion Government towards  commencing and pushing on a railway from  Es
quimalt to Nanaimo."
To which Mr. Mackenzie replies, "The Dominion has no engagement to build such a railway, and therefore there can be no just
complaint that it is not commenced. The construction of such a
railway was offered only as compensation for delay in fulfilling the
engagement to build a railway to the Pacific seaboard."
He advised, that now, as the people had an opportunity of expressing their opinions at the polls, none but men should be sent to
the local Legislature who could be depended on, to work for Mainland interests. He also gave his reasons for his vote on the Island
Railway, which were received with applause, and perfectly satisfac-
toiy to his constituents.


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