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BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

[A history of British Columbia. Part one, being a survey of events from the earliest times down to the… [Gosnell, R. E. (R. Edward), 1860-1931]; [Scholefield, E. O. S. (Ethelbert Olaf Stuart, 1875-1919)] 1913

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british   columbia
•    X.
At the Time of Confederation.
Politica! Conditions and Early Legislation.  \b
Federal and Other Matters. -2 ?
The Edgar Incident.y 'A^
The Carnarvon Terms.   5"1
The Dry Doek and Financial Muddie.
Lord Dufferin's Visit. ^
The Story of the C. P. R. ^
The DunsmutrSv^/   \vS|
The SettlementtoAet. jpj
A Settled State of Affairs. \M
A Period of Political Transition.
Stable Government and Prosperity./4:
Railway and Industrial Developmênt. II* '
Economie Phases of the Province.
The History of Kamloops (by M. S. Wade, M.D.).
Developmênt of the Okanagan (by J. A. MacKelvie)
The Advisory Board.
1  1
To write a history which even approximately reflects the true conditions
of any remote period to which it refers is always an onerous and responsi-
ble task. To attempt to dweil in any detail, according to approved historical methods, upon a period which includes the present may be less dif-
ficult in respect to the availability of materials and on account of existing
personal knowledge of the events and circumstances of the time, but it is
much more delicate and dangerous ground to tread upon and the writer of
such history must, in a figurative sense, be prepared to carry his life in his
hand. There are numbers of persons in British Columbia who have lived
through the entire period to which the second part of this volume relates.
Some of them, and others as well, have been conspicuous factors of the political situations discussed. Many of the subjects dealt with are still regarded as extremely controversial topics. The author, therefore cannot
hope to escape criticism when he runs counter to the opinions of those who
in their time differed with the views herein expressed. As an honest, even
if not the most competent, student of the period under consideration, he has
at least endeavoured to present the truth as it appears to him.
Truth is at all times relative in respect to the great mass of facts and
information of which the world now is, or ever has been, cognizant. Truth in
its absolute forms is expressed only in the abstract—in the concepts of meta-
physics. In its concrete aspects it depends in the main upon the angle of
vision—the point of view from which objects, events, personalities, policies,
are scrutinized. Atmosphere and environment visually impart the reality
which everything possesses and unless an historian can reconstruct these for
any given period or group of events he must fail in painting a faithful picture. Much of all history will forever remain in doubt for the very reason
that we can never know all the intangible facts of life. Mind and motive are
only explicable from what appears to reflect them and in respect to such
subtle and elusive, but basic, elements of history, we can never be sure that
our analyses are not at fault. Facts, statistics, official documents—in fact,
the entire category of archivistic lore, however indisputable its origin or
authenticity—can in themselves convey only a very imperfect impression
of what they relate to unless we can reincarnate in the narrative, of which
they are the anatomical f ramework, the spirit, the motif, the mental attitude,
the mainsprings of thought, the primum mobile, the human element of the
time and the action.
In regard to the history of the Province of British Columbia since Con-
federation, the author has not striven to enumerate a series of facts in
organized groups but rather to convey a series of impressions derived from a
careful study of the facts and the factors. The period has never before, except in outhne, been dealt with in any comprehensive way, and he is confident in stating that, while much of interest has been omitted, much that
is interesting and important has been presented for the first time in the form of historical narrative. In a sense and in purpose it is an account of
political and economie developmênt and necessarily does not profess to be encyclopedie in its scope. Incidentally, however, it does deal with many matters
that are not strictly germane to the main purpose. Whatever may be the
conclusions or criticism of readers, the writer is conscious of a single desire to
state accurately what are alleged to be facts; to view impartially the events
related and the personalities discussed; to set down naught in malice or in
favor. With the men who played a leading part, with a few exceptions, the
author was personally acquainted. With the greater number he was on terms
of at least friendly relation. With none of them has he been on terms of
personal enmity. The personal equation counts for much and the little touch
of intimacy with his characters he was privileged to have from time to time
has given him impressions invaluable in summing up results and arriving at
conclusions that otherwise would have depended solely upon the printed record and the estimates of others. Nevertheless, he is fully conscious of the
fact that all judgments formed in respect to contemporaneous men and
events are subject to those re-adjustments and revisions which the lapse of
time and the clearer perspective of distance will enable successors in the field of
enquiry to undertake. AT THE TIME OF CONFEDERATION.
At the time of confederation the colony of British Columbia had advanced certainly in political consolidation and self-governing experience. But
in other regards there was no perceptible progress. In population indeed it
had f allen back since 1858. A local census, in 1870 (1), taken by the colonial government did not return more than 9,100 white inhabitants, the majority of whom were resident in Victoria, New Westminster and Nanaimo districts,
whereas it is estimated that there were at least 25,000, some say 35,000, gold-
seekers in the two colonies in 1858, although these were mainly transients, a
large number of whom left almost as suddenly as they came. The second rush
attracted by the Cariboo gold excitements brought a more permanent element;
probably twctthirds of these later corners remained.
Conditions in the meantime had become stable; but there was little progress made for some time—in some respects indeed there was retrogression. In
1863 the output of the mines had been $3,900,000, while in 1871 it was only
$1,400,000. Agriculture (2), which was confined largely to the New Westminster district, and the southeastern peninsula, of which Victoria was the
apex, could not be said to have made material advance. There was little local
demand for the products of the forest, and the export trade in lumber was
restricted to the shores of Burrard Inlet (3), where there were two sawmills,
so that the timber industry, though the most prosperous, was not large in
volume. It could hardly be said to have been flourishing. Salmon canning
was then only a prospective asset, and the fisheries generally afforded a very
(l)The census referred to gave about the following results:                 Whites Coloured Chinese
Victoria    :   2,842 217 210
Victoria District, South Saanich, etc   1,512 56 36
Nanaimo and District         601 92 36
Comox          102
Lillooet-CHnton          235 3 80
Cariboo         920 32 «85
New Westminster City and District   1,292 37 ^27
Columbia and Kootenay       108 2 J.45
Tale,   Lytton          524 5 60
Cowichan  and  Islands          456 5 25
Omineca      500 10 25
Total   9,092 459 1,319
(2)There were 13,384 acres under eultivation in 1871, the product of which in that year was: 215,000
bushels of grain (oats, wheat, barley and peas), 140,000 bushels of turnips, 125,000 bushels of potatoes,
etc, 2,373 tons of hay and 28,737 head of live stock.
According to the census of 1881, 1891 and 1901 the same products amounted to:
1881 1891 1901
Grain, bushels      559,120 1,511,428 1,958,705
Turnips   bushels       352,774 576,242 635,988
Potatoes,  etc     473,831 685,802 955,946
Hay,   tons          43,398 102,146 170,187
Live Stock, number     151,202 251,367 237,096
(3)There were 126 names in the directory of Burrard Inlet, nearly all of whom were millmen, loggers,
etc. Among them are those of George Black (who afterwards kept a hotel at Hastings), T. Brew, J.
Deighton   ("Gassy Jack"),  J.  Van Bremer.
The Moodyville mill, on the north side, was owned by Moody, Dietz & Nelson. J. C. Hughes and
Coote Chambers were office associates. S. P. Moody, the principal of the firm, was lost in the ill-fated
Pacific, ajid Nelson was Hugh Nelson, afterwards Ldeutenant-Governor. Hastings Mills, still one of the
leading export milis in the Province, was managed by J. A. Raymur, father of Mr. James Raymur, Water Commissioner, Victoria, Jonathan Miller (father of Mr. Ernest Miller, M. P. P. Grand Forks), and
late Postmaster, Vancouver, was constable.
Among the names also are those of the DeBecks and L. Linn, after whose father, who came to
British Columbia In 1859, Linn Creek was named.
[1] narrow scope. Lode mining did not become a feature until after the comple-
tion of the C. P. R., while, owing to its isolation from the outside world, the
absence of effective communieation between the interior parts of a vast province, and the limited opportunity for enterprise the country had come, prac-
ticaÜy, to a standstill. It was the realization of these facts which actually
brought about the union with Canada. Not that there was any lack of faith
in the ultimate future; that was as strong then as now. None of the band of
pioneers ever lost courage or hope. They were inspired always by the possi-
bilities of British Columbia, even in the hour of its deepest depression. The
huge mineral wealth which Jiad been exposed and exploited; the vast shoals
of fish that swarmed in the contiguous sea and the inland waters; the density
and extent of the forests; the fertüity and adaptability of the soil already
brought under the plough; the geographical situation in regard to the Pacific
trade; the charms and salubrity of the climate; the rare opportunities for
sport afforded by the abundance and wide habitat of game; the magnificent
resources of scenery—all these happy causes combined to render certain,
under favourable conditions, the great future that awaited the country. Nature
brought optimism to birth on whose lap, like that of Danae, feil showers of
gold. She travailed with great destiny. And so it came to pass that when
the Terms of Union were proposed the chief demandwas for railway connection
with the systems of Eastern Canada—unbroken communieation between tide
water and tide water. This demand seemed to impose a tremendous obliga-
tion upon the Dominion as a whole and more especially upon the older
provinces, whose shoulders mainly had to bear the added burden without
apparently any hope of return. Look at that picture and on this! To-day
two new transcontinental railways are being built with eagerness, whereas
in 1871 the prospect of one, in order to fulfil the terms of the treaty with
British Columbia, was enough to fiU the hearts of all Eastern Canadians with
dark forebodings. This was the first of the great problems of confederated
Canada that chiefly concemed the people of this province for the first ten years
of their political history. While there were of course local questions affecting
the fortunes of those in office, and the prospects of those out of it, the great
overpowering issue was always the construction of a Canadian Pacific Railway. This problem brought about a serious estrangement with the rest of the
Dominion; it sent delegations to Ottawa and to Downing Street; it occupied
diplomatic representatives in the persons of Mr. Edgar, Lord Dufferin and
Lord Lome, and it left grievances, the memory of which are still alive, and
wounds, the scars of which are still to be seen.
In order to account for the stagnation which existed in the midst of
progressive elements, the situation as it then was must be realized. It was
through no lack of enterprise, because the British Columbians of that day
invested freely, and in many instances to their cost, in anything that looked
promising. It was merely the lack of opportunity—of outlet. There was
a considerable trade with the Indians in some few products, but, beyond that,
10,000 white people, generous consumers as they were, could create only a
limited local market. Some trade indeed was done with Puget Sound ports,
then a series of hamlets, but the principal market was San Francisco. Thence
were imported various manufactured articles and fruits, the Nanaimo col-
lieries, the output of which was then about 35,000 tons a year, sold coal in ex-
[2] J^
change for these commodities. Thither gold bullion, too, was imported, though
in decreasing quantity. From England, round the Horn, in sailing ships
came a number of staple products—liquors, clothes, cottons, haberdashery,
apothecary supplies, heavy hardware, etc, etc. The Hudson's Bay Company sent back furs as in time past, and there were occasional cargoes of
lumber and spars. The exports in 1872-73 amounted to $1,750,000; imports
to $2,076,476. In 1862, after both colonies had been fairly well established,
these had totalled about $2,750,000 and $3,700,000, respectively. The reve-
nues of the province at the time of Confederation amounted to $327,215 and
the expenditure to $432,082. In 1862 these items had aggregated $490,000
and $540,000, respectively. Statistics are tedious, but a few are necessary to
emphasize a progress, which, since the C. P. R. has been completed, has
been rapid and during the last decade phenomenal (4).
(4)The Exports in 1862 were:
Gold     $2,176,185
Coal    41,500
Furs    300,000
Timber    200,000
Miscellaneous    5,000
Total   $2,713,683
(Note:   Owing to the difflculty of getting exact details  under   these  different  heads,   the  figures  are
only approximate, but are substantially accurate.)
In 1872  the Exports were:
Gold       $1,038,574
Coal          180,963
Furs, etc.           259,292
Timber           211,026
Fish  48,361
Miscellaneous  59,231
Total    $1,792,347'
These exports included $50,000 worth of goods that  were not the products of the Province.
To carry on the comparison further, showing expansion consequent upon railway building, we find
exports in 1891 to have been:
(1) The Mines     $2,375,770
The Fisheries        2,374,717
The Forest            325,881
(2) Animals and their produce        346,159
(3) Miscellaneous          213,198
Total  $5,636,725
Coal   $1,970,743
(1) Gold     377,000
(2) Furs     248,832
(3) Not  produce  of  B.   C  91,104
In 1895:
(1) The Mines   4,615,452
The Forest    500,048
The  Fisheries  3,264,500
(2) Animals and their produce ^  454,618
(3) Miscellaneous   & *hp  231,647
Total    $9,066,265
(1) Gold       $   611,209
(2) Furs             126,091
In 1901:
(1) The Mines    $11,941,716
The Fisheries         3,443,037
The Forest  771,098
(2) Animals and their produce    482,078
(3) Miscellaneous    578.352
Coal       $ 3,348,920
(1) Gold           5,118,708
(2) Furs      250,619
(3) Including manufactures, $265,663, and not produce of Canada, $210,619.
The trade and navigation returns of the Dominion for the year endlng the next period of five years
do not give the details by provinces, a change made as the result of a mistaken and foolish idea of the
department in respect to the danger of discriminating comparisons among provinces. But the comparison
may be made in a more general way by the total of exports and imports compared as follows:
Exports Import*
1872  $1,912,107 $1,790,352
1875 '"     2,824,812     2,543,552
1880            2,643,570     1,756,291
1885      3,237,804     4,089,492
1890   .." É   5,763,467     4,379,272
189S        *     9,121,098     4,379,611
1900    17,851,812-    10,560,532
1905        16,677,882    12,565,019
1910 .e e e e e 25,068,411     27,091,019
J Conditions which affected the colonies from 1860 to 1870 continued more
or less the same until the completion of the C. P. R. in 1885. Activity, it is
true, had been quickened by the anticipation of the railway, by the circula-
tion of the vast sums of money required for the surveys, and construction of
the transcontinental line; by the previous completion of the Northern Pacific
to the coast, which gave direct communieation with the East by way of the
Sound /by the developmênt of the salmon canning industry; by the expansion
of the lumber industry, and by the attention directed to the prospecting for
lode mines. But this activity was more marked in the way of increased population and speculation than of actual developmênt.
During all the 25 years since 1858 the ^colonies and the provinces had
imported, with few exceptions, everything the people ate, wore or used. Of
agricultural produce—eggs, butter, bacon, flour, fruits, poultry, canned goods,
vegetables even—only a small percentage was supplied locally. Beef cattle
for the most part came from the bunch-grass ranges of the interior, mutton
and lamb largely from south of the line; bread, biscuits, oatmeal, canned
salmon, beer, (for a time) matches, bricks, lime and building material alone
were manufactured locally. There were in addition to these industries, ship
and boat-building in a limited way and foimdry and machine shops. Sealing
was an important enterprise for a considerable period.
The period from 1870 to 1910 can, therefore, be conveniently divided
into two parts, the first ending with the completion of the C. P. R. to Burrard Inlet, after which a new era, rendered possible by new conditions, began.
Progress in actual developmênt, comparatively slow at first, was accelerated
year by year. Three new factors were created: first, transcontinental traffic
and intercommunication between British Columbia and the other provinces;
secondly, the commencement of interior developmênt; and, thirdly, the opening of direct trade with the Oriënt and Australasia. From a federal and
imperial standpoint, there was stül another and greater factor—the opening
of the new Empire trade route across Canada—of which our ocean ports
are the gateways. It might not seem the proper place at the beginning of the
history of the post-confederation era to enlarge upon the nature and extent
of these factors. Nevertheless, the unfolding of the scheme of railway construction, the long drawn out negotiations, and the extension of the systems
of internal communieation, will be better understood and appreciated by being
discussed at this point, because the raison d'etre of joining Canada together
in^confederation was founded upon these considerations and not upon patriotic
sentiment, loyal as British Colmnbians always were. If the British authorities
had built the C. P. R. as an Imperial highway, as they were at one time
strongly urged to do, British Columbia might have remained with some advantage to herself, as Newfoundland is to-day, a separate colony of Great
Britain; qr, again, if such a course had been constitutionally possible, British
Columbia might have removed some of her existing disabilities by merging
her destiny with that of the country south of it. Indeed, the situation at one
time did create a certain amount of annexation sentiment. Separated as Victoria was three thousand miles away from the seat of central government,
with a vast extent of barren and undeveloped country, with huge mountain
barriers between, such a course might have seemed to justify the theory of
Goldwin Smith that sovereignty should be based on the lines of least resist-
SBEEB ance, namely, contiguity of place and homogeneity of conditions. In all prob-
ability British Columbia, joined to Washington and Oregon, would have more
quickly sprung into new life, but on the other hand, she would not have enjoyed the substantial growth in the years which were to follow. Subsequent
events have shown that, in so far as the welfare of Canada and British Columbia are mutually and separately concerned, Goldwin Smith was wrong in his
philosophical deductions, and that the wisdom of his very specious theory has
not been demonstrated by practical results. In any event, whatever might
have been the outcome of negotiations between the governments of the colony
and of the Dominion in respect to union, British sentiment which was dominant in the Province would not have agreed to annexation with the United
States, except as a very last resort. Far too much weight has been attached
to what this crude and very limited tendency towards annexation portended,
although indifferently informed writers, some of them in high places in Great
Britain, even yet persist in referring to it as a danger which, as a matter of
fact, never existed. Indeed, throughout the length and breadth of the Empire there is no part where the people as a whole are so wholly and unreserv-
edly devoted to the idea of Imperial unity and to British institutions as is British Columbia.
To consider the above named factors in order, direct communieation
with the eastern provinces by the completion of the railway made British Columbia an indissoluble part of the Dominion and brought about new conditions
of trade and politics.
The balance of commercial advantages, indeed, for some time were, as they
still are, in a large measure in favour of Eastern Canada. This Province became
a new and profitable field for the manufacturers and wholesale merchants of
the older provinces—in other words, she enlarged their sphere of activity. On
the other hand, the natural products of British Columbia—lumber, fish, and
minerals—on account of distance and other disadvantages, could not readily
find a market in the East. Nor did she possess manufactured goods to give
in exchange. But the completion of the C. P. R. stimulated activity, brought
population, incited travel to the Coast, built terminal cities, and gradually and
increasingly fulfilled the expectations, so that transcontinental traffic has
assumed immense proportions, and from a condition of practical isolation our
social and political relations with the East have been rendered intimate.
Internal developmênt at the time of Confederation, however, was prac-
tically at a standstill. Cariboo, which had enjoyed such a period of prosperity,
was on the wane. No other rich fields had been exploited. Wild Horse Creek,
Big Bend, Rock Creek, Boundary Creek, and Similkameen had shown spas-
modic outbursts, but, had they proved richer than appeared, the difficulties
and expense of transportation would have offset their advantages. The Omi-
neca and Cassiar excitements of a later day "produced considerable gold, but
here again the districts were too remote and too hard to reach to be really
reproductive. Plaber camps have always been the graveyards of the brightest
hopes of mankind, and even had the provincial revenues sufficed, the amount
of the precious metal won from them, excluding, of course, Cariboo, would not
have justified the expense of building wagon roads. The operation of lode
mines with wagon roads as the sole means of communieation has always been,
as experience teaches, an impractical proposition. Mining in the interior is only
^ possible on one condition: cheap transportation by railways in combination
with numerous waterways. The main line of the C. P. R. did not run
through the most fruitful parts of the Province. In the Kootenays, to which
prospectors for lode mines first directed their attention, opportunities were
soon opened up for traffic and interior communieation by means of railways,
and steamboat traffic began to expand until a network of lines was completed.
Thus was made possible the mineral developments of to-day, combined with
the establishment of the coking and smelting industries, and the building of
mining towns.
One of the first results of the completion of the railway to Burrard Inlet
was the opening of direct trade with Japan and China. In 1886 sailed the first
tea-ship, which transhipped its cargo for overland at Port Moody; soon after
which were chartered for this trade the steamshipS Parthia, Abyssinia, and Batavia, and these again were succeeded by the three "Empresses": India, China,
and Japan. Then foliowed the establishment of liners to Australia. There is
now a large neet of transpacific stearaers calling at Victoria and Vancouver,
representing half a dozen companies. The importance to the Province of these
developments is very great, involving as they do the building up of seaports, in
the creation of commission and forwarding houses, and the bringing of the people into contact with the commerce and leading men of three continents.
But there is a phenomenon of larger and infinitely more important consequence to be noted. The coupling of ocean with ocean by means of a railway has placed British Columbia on the new Empire route of travel. Coin-
cidently with the establishment of Pacific steamships to the Oriënt came the
agitation for a faster Atlantic service between Great Britain and Canadian
seaports. Again, the fact that the C. P. R. has subsidiary European con-
nections has had the effect of drawinef the trade to the west coast cities from
the continent as well as from Great Britain. The new condition also sug-
gested the idea of a Pacific cable, which in its turn inspired the still wider
vision of an all-British cable girdling the earth. All these enterprises will
clearly have the greatest effect on the future of British Columbia seaports;
add to which the opening and settlement of the Middle West, the invasion of
the Great Northern Railway, the developmênt of the Grand Trunk Pacific
and the Canadian Northern, the expansion of commerce seaward and coast-
ward, the enlargement of shipbuilding, the establishment of pulp milis, and
the prospect of iron and steel industries, all of which are f raught with infinite
consequence to the Province, the Dominion and the Empire alike—have been
the direct and logical outcome of that bargain between Canada and British Columbia, which stipulated that a railway should be the main condition
of union. The difficulties, however, the heartburnings, the agitations, and pro-
tracted negotiations connected with the fulfihnent of the terms of that union
will be seen to form a large part of this history of the Province after 1871.
To begin with, the political, social and economie conditions of the period
must first be briefly considered. Victoria, politically the capital, was also for
many years the social and commercial centre of the Province. New Westminster had lost its importance as chief city of the colony of British Columbia when the union of British Columbia and Vancouver Island took place in
1866, and had by that time become a town of only several hundred inhabitants.
Though being on the highway to the interior, the chief point in the navigation
[61 r
of the Fraser River and the natural centre of New Westminster district,
which was the most considerable farming area in the Province at that time,
it had a trade and importance peculiarly its own, yet it was inert and lifeless.
The feeling of its people on account of the change of the capital, in addition
to a natural rivalry was anything but friendly to Victoria. The latter, with
the population, the wealth, the men of influence, the trade, and the seat of