British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical Quarterly Jan 31, 1953

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Published by the Archives of British Columbia
in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association.
Willard E. Ireland,
Provincial Archives, Victoria.
Madge Wolfenden,
Provincial Archives, Victoria.
J. C. Goodfellow, Princeton. T. A. Rickard, Victoria.
W. N. Sage, Vancouver.
Editorial communications should be addressed to the Editor.
Subscriptions should be sent to the Provincial Archives, Parliament Buildings,
Victoria, B.C. Price, 50# the copy, or $2 the year. Members of the British
Columbia Historical Association in good standing receive the Quarterly without
further charge.
Neither the Provincial Archives nor the British Columbia Historical Association
assumes any responsibility for statements made by contributors to the magazine.
The Quarterly is indexed in Faxon's Annual Magazine Subject-Index and the
"Any country worthy of a future
should be interested in its past."
Vol. XVII Victoria, B.C., January-April, 1953 Nos. 1 and 2
Walter N. Sage and History in British Columbia.
By F. H. Soward..
The Trials and Tribulations of Edward Edwards Langford.
By Sydney G. Pettit..
Some Notes on the Douglas Family.
By W. Kaye Lamb    41
The United Farmers of British Columbia: An Abortive Third-party
By Margaret A. Ormsby    53
The Choosing of the Capital of Canada.
By James A. Gibson    75
Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant:  Vancouver Island's First Independent Settler.
By Willard E. Ireland    87
A Bibliography of the Printed Writings of Walter Noble Sage.
Compiled by Helen R. Boutilier.  127
Notes and Comments:
British Columbia Historical Association  139
Kamloops Museum Association  144
Okanagan Historical Society.  145
Cariboo Historical Society  146
Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association  146
New Westminster Historic Centre  147
Plaque to Commemorate Captain Edward Stamp 148
Harold A. Innis, 1894-1952: a Tribute by Walter N. Sage 149
Contributors to This Issue.  151
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Woodcock: Ravens and Prophets.
By Vera Drury  153
Reibin:  Toil and Peaceful Life.
By Alexander W. Wainman 155
Hill: Tales of the Alberni Valley.
By Madge Wolfenden  156
McEwen: He Wrote for Us.
By A. F. Flucke  158 Dr. Walter Noble Sage. WALTER N. SAGE AND HISTORY IN
Almost thirty-five years have passed since Professor Sage joined the
staff of the University of British Columbia. His years of enthusiastic
and devoted service to the generations of students who have sat in his
classes are now drawing to a close as he joins the ranks of those who
have been " Carnegified " because they have reached the age designated
for retirement. It will be hard for the many who have heard his jovial
laugh and re-echoed the chuckle which almost invariably preceded the
jokes with which he loves to sprinkle his lectures to realize that one so
keen on his subject and so interested in the welfare of those who shared
his enthusiasm will soon be no longer found in the classroom. Upon the
writing-table of his own teacher and mentor, the late Professor Wrong,
was carved the famous line from Chaucer: " Gladly wolde he lerne and
gladly teche." That line is equally appropriate for one who has done
more than any other British Columbian to keep evergreen the history
of a Province he has loved so well.
It has been the good fortune of British Columbia from its earliest
days to win readily the devotion of those whom fortune brought from
far-away places. Whether they wrote of early days on Vancouver
Island, about the explorers of this coast, the fur-traders, or of the other
legendary figures that set this Province firmly in the path it should
pursue, all of them were eager to let the world know how and why
British Columbia developed. In that goodly company of chroniclers
and historians, Professor Sage occupies a unique place. His predecessors produced one or more books, many of enduring importance, but
they trained no disciples to carry on the work which they had
inaugurated. They trusted to providence that others should continue
to labour in the British Columbia historical vineyard. He alone had
the wisdom and foresight to plan consciously that others should be both
eager and qualified to deal with the life of this Province in the proper
historical fashion. Of the truth of this statement, the essays included
in this issue are an illustration. All of them come from men and women
who have taken his lectures, sat in his seminars, pursued researches
under his supervision, or found subjects for future investigation as a
result of his suggestions.   Best of all, they were either influenced by his
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2. 2 F. H. Soward Jan.-Apr.
passion for the subject or had their own budding enthusiasm for history
intensified by his own infectious zeal.
When Professor Sage gave his first lectures at the University of
British Columbia in September, 1918, he found a struggling institution.
The war had blocked its ambitious plans for splendid buildings, drained
away the best of its male students, and imposed upon its first president
a strain which was soon to cost him his life. It was typical of Walter,
as his friends all know him best, that he was never depressed by the
set-backs which had dogged and continued to dog the progress of the
University for two decades. On the contrary, he proceeded to turn his
attention to the history of the Province to which he owed his allegiance.
He soon won from that splendid pair of local historians, Howay and
Reid, a friendship and encouragement which never wavered. By as
early as 1921, Dr. Sage had published an article in the Canadian Historical Review on " The Gold Colony of British Columbia." It was not
long until he was deep in his study of James Douglas, the subject of his
doctoral thesis and of his first book. Since then a stream of books,
articles, and pamphlets dealing with various phases of British Columbia's
history have flowed from his pen, as the bibliography in this issue attests.
They have brought him recognition as a Fellow of the Royal Society of
Canada and of the Royal Historical Association, as president of the
Canadian Historical Association, and as the only Canadian to be president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.
They have made him one of the best-known figures in any gathering of
historians of the Pacific Northwest and caused the Historic Sites and
Monuments Board of Canada to enrol him in its service a decade ago.
But Dr. Sage has not been content with that. He saw to it that the
history of Western Canada became a subject of study at the University
as an undergraduate course, and that graduates should be initiated into
the intricacies of British Columbia history in the MA. seminar. He
directed or suggested a score of theses in this field, which were eagerly
drawn upon by such scholars as the late Harold Innis for their usefulness
in a larger study of Canadian development. He was and is one of the
main figures in the British Columbia Historical Association, which has
long been envied for its vitality by sister associations. He steadily built
up the collection of British Columbia history in the University library.
Graduating classes were induced to vote money for its support as their
parting gift to the University. Local historians were encouraged to make
provision for willing their collections to the University after their work 1953 Walter N. Sage 3
was done.   Money was collected to endow scholarships for research in
British Columbia history.
Like Sir Christopher Wren, Walter Sage can see his monument
around him. That he may long live to enjoy the prospect and to
contribute still more to its adornment will be the heart-felt wish of all
who have worked with him.
F. H. Soward.
University of British Columbia,
The foundation of a colony on Vancouver Island in 1849 was the
outcome of poUtical rather than economic considerations. After the
Treaty of Washington, 1846, the British Government was gravely concerned for the safety of its territories north of the 49th parallel. These
vast areas, like Oregon, were without government and population, and
the boundary recently drawn would be but a flimsy barrier against
future American migrations. Thoroughly alarmed at the prospect of
additional territorial losses, the British authorities decided to colonize
some part of the Pacific Coast as a means of averting the consequences
of further incursions into Her Majesty's possessions.1 After prolonged
debate in both Houses, the Government ceded Vancouver Island on
January 13, 1849, to the Hudson's Bay Company for purposes of
colonization.2 The grant met with vigorous opposition in and out of
Parliament. Opponents of the scheme contended, and subsequent
events were to prove them right, that the company was an unsuitable
agency.3 The British Government, however, had been unwilling to
find the money for the project, and was therefore obliged to entrust
the undertaking to some other authority. As the Hudson's Bay Company enjoyed the exclusive licence to trade in the area concerned and
possessed great financial resources, it was the only possible choice.
The colony was duly established. When wave after wave of Californian miners arrived in 1858, Governor Douglas was able to extend the
authority of the Crown to the Mainland and to erect there a system of
* The writer is indebted to Miss Madge Wolfenden, Assistant Provincial
Archivist, and to his wife, Constance Pettit, for valuable assistance in the preparation of this article.
(1) Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 3rd series, CI, p. 473 (House of Lords,
August 24, 1848, speech by Earl Grey).
(2) " Royal Grant of Vancouver's Island to the Hudson's Bay Company, dated
January 13, 1849," in Papers relative to the Grant of Vancouver's Island to the
■ Hudson's Bay Company, London, 1849 [Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons, 103 of 1849], pp. 13-16. This has been reprinted in E. O. S. Scholefield
and F. W. Howay, British Columbia, Vancouver [1914], Vol. I, pp. 676-680.
(3) Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 3rd series, CI, pp. 263-305 (House of
Commons, August 18, 1848); ibid., p. 315 (House of Commons, August 21,
1848); ibid., pp. 465-480 (House of Lords, August 24, 1848).
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2. 6 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
government and law which the Americans had to accept. On this
occasion they were not able to form a provisional government as they
had at Champoeg in 1843, and Washington did not intervene on their
behalf. That British Columbia is a Canadian Province to-day is the
consequence of British policy and the colonizing activities of the Hudson's Bay Company on Vancouver Island.4 In this Ught the shortcomings of company rule were a smaU price to pay for a Dominion from
sea to sea.
For the first decade of its existence, the colony was a preserve of
the Hudson's Bay Company, barren of population and constitutionaUy
backward. The company, under the terms of the Royal Charter of
1849, had taken possession of the Island, agreeing in return to form
a colony of British subjects there and to establish a system of self-
government. The costs of settling and improving the Island were to be
defrayed from the sale of land and other natural resources. The price of
land was set at £1 per acre, but for every 100 acres the colonists had to
take out with them five single men or three married couples. These
terms, of course, were prohibitive. The Island was remote. The Puget
Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company, absorbed the local market for farm products, and access to
neighbouring areas in the United States was closed by tariff walls. At
the same time, land in near-by Washington and Oregon was free or
could be obtained for a nominal sum. From the first, independent
settlers failed to appear, and until the gold-rush of 1858 the population
consisted almost entirely of servants of the company. Under such
conditions the members of the CouncU and, later, the Assembly were
largely Hudson's Bay men. Governor Douglas, who retained his position as Chief Factor in charge of the Western Department, had Uttle
difficulty in controlling these bodies and, in effect, ruled the Island very
much in the manner of the colonial governors of a bygone day who
held themselves responsible to no authority other than the Crown.
When the gold-seekers, on their way to Fraser River, arrived at Victoria, they found a fur-traders' colony of perhaps a thousand souls,
languishing under company domination and a form of government that
had passed from existence in the British possessions in Eastern North
(4) Arthur S. Morton, A History of the Canadian West to 1870-71, Toronto,
1939, p. 768.
(5) Alfred Waddington, The Fraser Mines Vindicated, Victoria, 1858, p. 15. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 7
The Hudson's Bay Company, however, met with opposition from
the beginning. Richard Blanshard, the first Governor, clashed with
Chief Factor Douglas, but, finding himself powerless to take effective
action, tendered his resignation in November, 1850, and retired in disgust to England some nine months later. The independent colonists,
who could not have numbered more than a score, were already alarmed
by the monopolistic tendencies of the company, and when they learned
that Blanshard intended to resign and that he would be replaced by
Douglas, fifteen of their number presented a memorial to the Governor.6
They set forth very clearly the precariousness of their position, and
prayed him to estabUsh a council, which, they beUeved, would serve to
redress the balance somewhat in their favour. Among the signatures
appended were those of Rev. Robert John Staines, the company chaplain, who had already had difficulties with the authorities at Fort Victoria, and James Cooper, a merchant and land-owner, whom Blanshard
appointed to the Council in August, 1850. Cooper, if he was not
always consistent, was a man of mettle, and, until he returned to
England in 1856, was the spokesman of the independent settlers and
disgruntled company servants who formed the nucleus of a radical
faction in colonial poUtics. A year later he appeared with Blanshard
before the Select Committee of the British ParUament which was
investigating the affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company. On that occasion both he and the late Governor were hostile to the company and
critical of its poUcies.7
Perhaps the most vociferous of Douglas's opponents was Captain
Edward Edwards Langford. Bora in Brighton, Sussex, in 1809, he
had served for some years in the 73rd Regiment, and on selling his
commission had retired to the country to pursue the life of a gentleman
farmer. A distant relative of Governor Blanshard, he had come to the
colony in May, 1851, as a bailiff in the service of the Puget Sound
Agricultural Company. On arriving at Victoria he was taken aback
when he found that the only accommodation available for him and his
large family was a one-room log cabin at Esquimalt. As his wife was
within a few days of her confinement, Langford refused to go out there,
(6) Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, London,
1857 [Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons, 197 of 1857], p. 293. Also
reprinted in Scholefield and Howay, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 524-526, and Alexander
Begg, History of British Columbia, Toronto, 1894, pp. 196-197.
(7) Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, 1857,
pp. 190-191, 193-196, 202, 285, 289, 290, 293. 8 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
and was about to make the best of similar quarters near the fort when
Governor Blanshard gave them rooms in his own house.8 There can
be Uttle doubt, as Dr. Helmcken suggests, that the Governor prejudiced
his guest's mind against the company.9 Under these circumstances it
is not altogether surprising that he joined the Uttle group that had ralfied
about Blanshard. Langford, it appears, was gregarious by disposition,
and spent a great deal of time in the local pot-house airing his grievances
and criticizing the Government.10 Sociable, lavish in his hospitaUty, he
soon made many friends in the district who later were to support him in
his trials and tribulations.
Captain Langford has left no record of his life in England and
the circumstances that led him to emigrate to Vancouver Island. An
impulsive man, he may have become restless and dissatisfied. Under
such conditions, life in the distant colony would seem almost ideal.
Certainly the position he obtained with the Puget Sound Agricultural
Company was attractive.11 The company undertook to pay his passage to the Island, build his house, barns, and stables, stock the farm,
and provide seed and implements. He and his family were to obtain
groceries and suppUes free of charge. The company also undertook
to supply labourers, pay them and feed them. As bailiff, Langford
was to receive £60 a year and to enjoy a third of the net profits. If
there were a loss, it would be charged to capital and paid out of future
Langford was placed in charge of Esquimalt Farm or, as he called
it, in memory of his old home in Sussex, Colwood. Six hundred acres
in area, it consisted of a long and narrow tract running inland from
a water-front that was bounded by Paterson Point and the mouth of
Millstream. He built his house some distance from the water, near the
entrance to the Royal Colwood Golf Course of to-day. Under Lang-
ford's supervision, Indians, Kanakas, and farm-labourers began the
heavy task of clearing land and the construction of dwellings and farm
buildings. After nearly four years' work, 190 acres were cleared and
twelve houses built.    Thirty people, including six children under 10
(8) Governor Blanshard's evidence before the Select Committee in the House
of Commons on June 15, 1857, as reprinted in the Victoria British Colonist,
June 3, 1859.
(9) J. S. Helmcken, Reminiscences, Vol. HI, p. 73, MS., Archives of B.C.
(10) Ibid., Vol. HI, p. 96.
(11) An unsigned copy of Langford's contract is in the Kenneth McKenzie
Papers, MS., Archives of B.C. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 9
years of age, Uved on the farm at that time.12 Colwood soon became
a centre of social life, for the Langfords were never happier than when
entertaining. There were dances and socials, picnics and riding parties.
Wine and brandy, Dr. Helmcken observes, were generaUy served on
these occasions.13 Captain Langford's five daughters attracted the
younger men of the colony, and officers from Her Majesty's ships were
frequent visitors.
Social life at Colwood could not have differed greatly from that of
the country gentry in England. Captain Langford supervised his
labourers, kept open house, and visited his friends after the fashion of
an EngUsh squire. Had the company's scheme for colonization proved
successful, the country districts would have consisted of large estates
under the direction of gentlemen farmers who in time would have formed
a colonial squirarchy. As it was, Langford and two other bailiffs, Kenneth McKenzie and Thomas Skinner, were appointed to the Bench on
March 29, 1853. These men were selected on the basis of their education and social position, for they knew nothing about law and court
procedure.14 Magistrate Skinner was soon up to his ears in trouble,
having become the dupe of an American trickster named Webster, who
actuaUy succeeded in using the processes of law to further his dishonest
ends. Governor Douglas was compeUed to intervene and, shocked by
the ignorance and incompetence not only of Skinner, but of Langford
and McKenzie as weU, took steps to limit the Magistrates' jurisdiction
by establishing a higher Court. In the meantime, until this measure
could be carried into effect, he appointed his brother-in-law, David
Cameron, a Justice of the Peace to safeguard the administration of law.
Some two months later, on December 2, 1853, the Supreme Court of
Civil Justice was ushered into existence. David Cameron was made
" judge for the time being " the same
(12) W. Kaye Lamb (ed.), "The Census of Vancouver Island, 1855," British
Columbia Historical Quarterly, IV (1940), pp. 54-58. The original MS. is in the
Archives of B.C.
(13) J. S. Helmcken, Reminiscences, Vol. Ill, pp. 50-51.
(14) Douglas to Newcastle, July 28, 1853, and Douglas to Newcastle, January
7, 1854, MS., Archives of B.C.
(15) Douglas to Newcastle, January 7, 1854, MS., Archives of B.C. This
dispatch is reprinted in Papers relating to Vancouver Island [Parliamentary Papers,
House of Commons, 507 of 1863, hereafter cited as P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863], p. 37.
See also E. O. S. Scholefield (ed.), Minutes of the Council of Vancouver Island
. . . August 30th, 1851, . . . [to] February 6th, 1861, Victoria, 1918 [Archives
of British Columbia Memoir No. II], pp. 22-23.   Douglas was authorized to pass 10 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
The appointment of David Cameron was the occasion of a great deal
of protest and agitation. James Cooper, who, as a member of the
Council, had assented to the action taken, changed his mind and joined
Rev. Robert Staines and Captain Langford in organizing the opposition.
A meeting was held early in February, 1854, and a committee was
formed which drafted a petition to Queen Victoria, praying an inquiry
into the circumstances of the creation of the Supreme Court of Civil
Justice, and a petition to the Duke of Newcastle, the Colonial Secretary,
protesting the appointment of David Cameron.16 Staines was chosen to
carry the documents to England, and a subscription was taken up to
defray the expenses of his journey.17 In due time Sir George Grey,
Newcastle's successor, wrote to Douglas for more information.18 In
reply the Governor defended the appointment, and answered the committee's charges with clarity and vigour.19 He enclosed in the same
dispatch a copy of the petition he had received from fifty-four landed
proprietors in the colony approving the appointment of Cameron.
Fifteen months later the Colonial Office gave formal approval to
Cameron's appointment to the office of Chief Justice of Vancouver
Captain Langford, who had taken a leading part in these activities,
was by this time closely associated with the leaders of the radical faction
in the colony. These men—Cooper, Staines, Skinner—shared the conviction that Governor Douglas subordinated the interests of the colony
to those of the Hudson's Bay Company, and that in his individual acts
he was partial and unjust. In their eyes the appointment of Cameron
was a transparent piece of nepotism. Whatever the truth of their contentions, Langford and his friends lacked the personal quaUties requisite
for the creation and leadership of a reform party. James Cooper's
evidence before the Select Committee in 1857 suggests the agitator and
Letters Patent under the Public Seal of Vancouver Island appointing Cameron
Chief Justice of the colony in 1856. Labouchere to Douglas, May 5, 1856, MS.,
Archives of B.C., reprinted in P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, p. 46.
(16) Enclosures in Grey to Douglas, August 20, 1854, reprinted in P.P., H.C,
507 of 1863, pp. 43-45.
(17) For Staines's part in this controversy see G. Hollis Slater, " Rev. Robert
John Staines: Pioneer Priest, Pedagogue, and Political Agitator," British Columbia
Historical Quarterly, XIV (1950), pp. 217-227 passim.
(18) P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, p. 43.
(19) Ibid., pp. 38-41.
(20) Ibid., pp. 45-46. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 11
malcontent.21 His associate, Rev. Robert Staines, who had proved to
be an incompetent schoolmaster and a most unpopular chaplain, was
Uttle less than a fanatic.22 Skinner and Langford had already demonstrated their ineptitude on the Bench, and, as the officials of the Puget
Sound Agricultural Company were soon to discover, Langford had
failed conspicuously in the management of his farm.
The company, indeed, had been unfortunate in the choice of its
bailiffs. Kenneth McKenzie, who had been given general supervision
of the enterprise, muddled his accounts so badly that the officials in
London could not make head or tail of them.23 Thomas Skinner's
reports were at first equaUy unsatisfactory, but after pressure had been
exerted upon him, he changed his ways and made a success of his
farm.24 Macaulay failed completely, as did Captain Langford, whose
extravagance and indifference to his responsibilities caused the company
to send him notice of dismissal. As Dr. Helmcken observes in his
memoirs, Langford was unwilling to work and would not accept the
hardships of pioneer life.25 Under the extraordinary conditions of his
employment he could draw upon the company for what he wanted, and
as he possessed neither judgment nor restraint, he imposed a burden
of costs on his farm far in excess of its returns. He built a fine home
and expensive buildings, which he later extended without consulting his
employers.26 Since he had but to call at the company's store in Victoria
for provisions, he Uved luxuriously and entertained lavishly. A letter
from Colvile and Berens to Kenneth McKenzie, dated July 19, 1855,
indicates the incompetence of the bailiffs and the extravagance of
Captain Langford:—
July 19, 1855.
Dear Sir
We have to acknowledge your letter of the 9th April with accounts from Mr.
Langford and Mr. Skinner, which are by no means satisfactory; they do not give
the information that is required to enable us to state an account for each farm,
(21) Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, 1857,
pp. 190, 191, 193-196, 202.
(22) G. Hollis Slater, op. cit., pp. 187-240 passim.
(23) A. Colvile and H. H. Berens to Kenneth McKenzie, July 19, 1855, MS.,
Kenneth McKenzie Papers, Archives of B.C.
(24) A. Colvile and H. H. Berens to Kenneth McKenzie, January 30, 1856,
MS., Kenneth McKenzie Papers, Archives of B.C.
(25) J. S. Helmcken, Reminiscences, Vol. HI, p. 3.
(26) A. Colvile and H. H. Berens to Kenneth McKenzie, January 30, 1856,
MS., Kenneth McKenzie Papers, Archives of B.C. 12 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
such as we can lay before the Proprietors of the Puget Sound Company, neither
do you send us any account whatever for your own and McAulay's farms, or for
your own" intromissions."   .   .   .
We have had an analysis made of the goods furnished to Mr. Langford, Outfit
1853, and charged by the Hudson's Bay Company; and when we see such charges
as £137 for Flour—£80.9.3 for Salt Pork,—1606 lbs of Sugar,—237 lbs of Tea,—
70 Gallons of Brandy, Rum & Whiskey, and Wine, and £474.12.1 Cash, when by
the year 1853 the farm ought to have been self-supporting if not yielding a return
by sales of produce. This exhibits such an appearance of wasteful extravagance
that we can have no hope of Mr Langford doing better in future, and therefore
desire that his occupation of the farm may cease agreeably to the notice which has
been given to him.27
The last item of Langford's bill is significant of the man and the laxity
of the officials in Victoria. He appears, whenever short of cash, to have
turned to the company, which advanced him in a single year a sum
almost eight times his annual salary!
Under notice of dismissal, Langford reformed his ways. Colvile
and Berens, however, were not sufficiently impressed by bis economy
and industry to aUow him to continue in their service. They made their
position perfectly clear in a letter to McKenzie dated January 30,
You allude to Mr Langford having very much improved in activity on his
farm, stimulated, no doubt, by the notice which you, in accordance with our
instructions, have served upon him. We are glad of this improvement, but a
straightforward honesty should have induced him long ago to use his best exertions
to make his farm profitable, instead of lavishly spending the capital of the Company
in luxuries for himself and family. We are not disposed to alter our decision, and
desire that the notice served upon Mr Langford for terminating our connection
with him may be carried out.28
Langford, nevertheless, managed to retain his position, and continued
in that occupation until some time in 1860, when, according to Charles
Good, he was finaUy dismissed.29 The paucity of information in his
correspondence and that of McKenzie renders it impossible to account
for the change of heart on the part of his employers. It may be that
influential friends in London interceded on his behalf. A more plausible
explanation is that since Colvile and Berens appear to have been at
(27) A Colvile and H. H. Berens to Kenneth McKenzie, July 19, 1855, MS.,
Kenneth McKenzie Papers, Archives of B.C.
(28) A. Colvile and H. H. Berens to Kenneth McKenzie, January 30, 1856,
MS., Kenneth McKenzie Papers, Archives of B.C.
(29) Charles Good to Colonial Secretary, December 23, 1862, enclosure in
Douglas to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, reprinted in P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863,
p. 29. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 13
a loss to find somebody to take his place, he was aUowed to continue
under suspended sentence as bailiff of Esquimalt Farm.30 Judge Begbie
relates that A. G. Dallas, who came to the colony in May, 1857, to
supervise the company farms, had to endure a great deal of insolence
from Langford before he succeeded in forcing him to carry out his
orders.31 In that case it seems that the long-suffering officials were
compeUed by circumstances to retain his services in order to keep the
farm under cultivation.
While Langford changed his ways with respect to his duties as bailiff
of Esquimalt Farm, he did not abate in his opposition to the Hudson's
Bay Company and the Government of the colony. As Staines had died
in March, 1854, and Cooper was to leave for England late in 1856, he
became the leading spirit of the reform faction. In the meantime, Henry
Labouchere, Secretary of State for the Colonies, had written to Governor
Douglas on February 8, 1856, to instruct him to caU an assembly.32
With considerable misgiving, Douglas set about the task of establishing
the machinery of representative government.33 On June 9, foUowing
the suggestions of the Governor, the Council laid down the necessary
provisions. There were to be four electoral districts—Victoria, Esquimalt, Sooke, and Nanaimo. Seven members were to be elected—three
for Victoria, two for Esquimalt, and one for each of the other two districts. To qualify for membership, a candidate had to own freehold
property valued at £300.34 Writs for the election were issued, returnable
on August 4. Captain Langford won a nomination for Victoria, and
after a hot contest was elected to the first Legislative Assembly of
Vancouver Island.
The House met on August 12, 1856. Governor Douglas deUvered
an eloquent address in which he reviewed the state of the colony and
instructed the members in the principles of good government.    In
(30) "We wish you to look out for some proper person to take the farm
which Mr. Langford had, upon the same terms that you and Mr. Skinner receive,"
A. Colvile and H. H. Berens to Kenneth McKenzie, January 30, 1856, MS., KenT
neth McKenzie Papers, Archives of B.C.
(31) Begbie to W. A. G. Young, December 23, 1862, MS., Begbie Letters,
Archives of B.C.
(32) Labouchere to Douglas, February 28, 1856, MS., Archives of B.C.
Reprinted in Correspondence relating to the Establishment of a Representative
Assembly at Vancouver's Island [Parliamentary Paper, House of Commons, 229
of 1857, 2nd Session], p. 3.
(33) Douglas to Labouchere, May 22, 1856, ibid., p. 6.
(34) E. O. S. Scholefield (ed.), op. cit., pp. 29-30. 14 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
closing he informed them that he had appointed Chief Justice Cameron
to administer the oath of allegiance and to receive their declarations
of qualification. James Yates, J. D. Pemberton, J. S. Helmcken, and
J. F. Kennedy took the oath and deUvered the necessary documents.
Captain Langford, however, failed to produce evidence of qualification,
and instead read a protest in which he stated that the action taken by
the Council on June 9 was unconstitutional so long as it was not ratified
by the Assembly.   His statement was as foUows:—
I subscribe in the most solemn manner to the Oath as now administered to me,
with the exception of declaring myself possessed of immovable property to the
extent of £300.
Having been chosen by the people of Victoria, both electors and non-electors,
it is my firm belief that according to the Constitution of Great Britain I am duly
qualified to take my seat in this House of Assembly, and that the Act of Council
imposing a fixed property qualification was not legal without the consent of the
House of Assembly; and therefore I beg now in a formal manner to protest in the
name and on behalf of my constituents against it, and to request that my protest
may be recorded.35
At the next session, which was held on August 19, Langford again
read his protest, which was duly recorded in the minutes of the Assembly
on a motion made by his friends Skinner and Yates. When Captain
Langford had taken the oath of aUegiance, J. D. Pemberton presented
a petition he had received from Joseph McKay, a company servant
complaining of Langford's election to the Assembly. When the document had been tabled, Pemberton and Kennedy were defeated in a
motion that Langford's return was null and void.36 At the third session,
which was held on August 26, the Speaker, Dr. J. S. Helmcken, informed
the members that Joseph McKay had entered into sufficient sureties for
his petition, and ordered that it be submitted to committee. This body,
which consisted of Skinner, Muir, and Kennedy, was instructed to meet
on the foUowing day. Langford, who had been invited to attend, failed
to appear, realizing, no doubt, that the game was up. When the House
met the foUowing morning, his election was formaUy declared nuU and
void, and instructions were given that a writ be issued for a member to
be elected in his place.37
(35) E. O. S. Scholefield (ed.), Minutes of the House of Assembly of Vancouver Island, August 12th, 1856, to September 25th, 1858, Victoria, 1918
[Archives of British Columbia Memoir No. Ill], pp. 17-18.
(36) Ibid., p. 18.
(37) Ibid., pp. 20-21. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 15
For more than three years after the debacle described above, Captain
Langford took no part in pubUc affairs and abstained from any overt
attacks on the Government. In view of subsequent events, however, it
may be presumed that he continued to nurse grudges, and that he cherished the hope of winning a seat in the Assembly at the next election,
which was to take place in 1860. There is some evidence that he took
steps to purchase land, either for the necessary qualification for membership or for mere speculation. In July, 1858, when land values were
rising as a result of the gold excitement, Langford and a friend, Dr. P. W.
WaUace, caUed at the office of the colonial surveyor. This official was
J. D. Pemberton, who, it wiU be remembered, represented Victoria in
the Assembly, and had taken steps to have Langford's election declared
nuU and void. A Mr. Pearse, the assistant surveyor, was also present.
Langford informed Pemberton that he wished to purchase a parcel of
land adjoining his farm at Esquimalt. On being told that the tract was
sold, he left the office without complaint and did nothing more about the
matter until the eve of the election of 1860, nearly a year and a half
Toward the end of November, 1859, rumours spread through the
town that Captain Langford intended to run for the Assembly, and on
December 5 the Victoria Gazette published a card or petition from an
unspecified number of citizens urging him to contest the Victoria division.
Langford's formal letter of acceptance appeared in the next number.39
In the scanty records of the election there is no mention of Langford's
property qualification for a seat in the Assembly. While it is inconceivable that he would court the humiliation that he had suffered in 1856,
there is reason to beUeve that he did not own freehold property to the
extent of £300. According to the British Colonist, Langford owned
a one-third share in a farm, 20 acres of which were cleared.40 If this
farm were worth £900, he would then have been qualified, but it is not
likely that it was. His credit had been restricted by bis employers for
some four years, and there is evidence to show that he was penmless
by the middle of I860.41   In the Ught of what foUows, it appears that he
(38) Langford to Douglas, December 17, 1859; Pemberton to Douglas, December 20, 1859; and Douglas to Newcastle, March 23, 1860, MS., Archives of B.C.
Reprinted in P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, pp. 5, 6, 13.
(39) Victoria Gazette, December 5 and 9, 1859.
(40) Victoria British Colonist, December 3, 1859.
(41) The testimonial to Langford, requesting him to accept $500 to defray the
costs of the lawsuit " into which you entered with a view to the discovery of the 16 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
did not own land of the requisite value and, confident of success in
the election, sought to manufacture an excuse for not being properly
qualified. On December 17, less than a fortnight after he had accepted
the nomination, and just before Pemberton's departure for England,
Langford wrote to Governor Douglas to " complain ... of the unjust,
partial and improper conduct of the colonial surveyor with regard to
the disposal of the colonial lands."42 He went on to relate the circumstances of his appUcation to purchase land in 1858, stating that Pemberton had informed him that the tracts that he wanted had been sold
to Mr. Dallas, either on his own account or on that of the Puget Sound
Agricultural Company, and that the necessary instalment had been paid.
Langford continued that he was disappointed at the time, as he could
have sold the land for five times the original cost, but felt that he had
no cause for complaint. Since then, he alleged, he had learned that
the land had never been sold, as stated by Pemberton, and had been
unjustly withheld from the market to his own personal loss. In closing
he demanded an immediate investigation of his complaint, as he had
heard that the surveyor was about to leave for England.
Douglas investigated the matter at once, before Pemberton went
away. With characteristic thoroughness he examined the records of
the Land Office and requested a fuU report from Pemberton. According
to the latter, Dallas had, as Langford alleged, made appUcation for the
parcel in question on behalf of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company.
Pemberton recorded the land as sold, although no payment had been
made. Accordingly, when Captain Langford appUed for a portion of
the same tract in July he was informed that it had been sold. Some
time later DaUas examined the ground and, finding that the surveyor
, had not included certain sections that he wanted, refused to complete
the purchase. As Pemberton explained to Douglas, there were two
courses open to him: he could compel the company to buy the parcel
in question, or he could throw it on the market on the same terms at
which he had offered it to Dallas.   Pemberton naturaUy chose the second
author of a most insulting attack on the members of your family," was signed by
John Coles, Geo. Henry Richards, and James Yates for the committee. Ibid.,
July 24, 1860. Chief Justice Cameron also stated "Judgment, however, was
deferred, as I well knew he could not pay a fine. . . ." Cameron to Colonial
Secretary, February 2, 1863, P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, p. 33.
(42) Langford to Douglas, December 17, 1859, enclosure in Langford to
Newcastle, March 10, 1860, ibid., p. 4. E. E. Langford. t- »  —
- *   H
Soma tmjmJHmm porana. awumhig my nomo. ha* put forward in aiwwer t» your roqoWtkm. a long wiiHhjB
and Npltoful odjfrvm, wntnlning many thing* wUrh I. of omiivc Nhould not liko to have ropcntod. among «ither
thing* Hu KkvUouoyV oompknnt that bt> wan without any iutelugrut aaKwtnm-o, when I ww ot lit* olbnw; a
Nl(rtiturat that I required a fttB dlMWMkm of the whtrte Mttbjeot of Taxation, before I eould form an> opinion in
narrow to tti and other matter* ahowing a noalttiwtin« of enmpivhetMkHi and an enviou* datpoftitkMi, which I
really ought to br anhamcd at
Tho eaalcMt way for you. gentlemen, to fudge of raj merit*. In to moke a nhort utatentent of what I uhi. and
what I have done
I romp hero abtmt eight yearn agit, tbr hired «rrvant of thr Puget Hound Company, for the wagi* of tthont
Nix I adlani a work, and my board and lodging i tho prirflogm of hoard and lodging won* aim extended to m> w ifo
and family, tn nraxldrretlon iif tbr Oairunay'N having tho benefit of thrtr labor ou tho Parm of which I «w U*
hare tho ohnogi.
| twaa brought out boro at the exprnae of thnOawpauy j I waantaredonthr Farm I bow occupy, bought b>
1 tbo Company, rtockod by tho Company. Improved by labor mppHed hy tho Company entirely. In fttot I have '
iu4 bora put to a penny oxpnwo idnee my arrival In tbo (ohm}. Tbo boom 1 wear, and tho mutton I and oiy
fondly and guewn mt, bavo boon wb«41y anppued at tho expenw of tho Umipnny; and I natter myarff that tbo
(Vdontal reputation lor HrwpitnUt). aa iMapbyod by or at tbo expenar of tho Company, haa not bora allowod to mil
hrtn dfarropute. t bavo given kwge i nlii miami aim, kept riding bamra. tmi other menaw of amaarnwat for my»cir
and my gurata: In mot I may *ry. that I end tliey. Raw rotnn, driven, and ridden tho Company for wpvoral year*,
and a ifcry metal animal It baa proved, though It* own. gentlemen, aro rathor kmg.
AU thU time I wm and am tho r^trm-llalUfl'of tho Paget Mound Ctanpmiy. at wagon of £UtK ($300.) por annum, and board, a poattkm I value m»oh too highly to vacate uutU I «hnll bo kicked ont of it, I have refitted to
render any account, any Intelligible account, of my atowardahfpi in mot I hod krpt no account*, that I. or an>
hi«iy pUo, rmiM make bond or tall of. Whou roqnoatod to giro aattatkotory oxpbumttoua. I tnW m> owncra prott>
, njuarrly. that thoy abotdd bavo no aatbdartlon oxropt that umal auwtur gnitlouion; and an I know nobody wimM
| mil mo ont and pbtnd mo, I otmtmrttood a nyiriom of ahtwo with whMi yon aro mmbtlraM tidornnty wotl arquaintrd t
' al tin* muuo tfauo cMrrjinjf ptipularlty wtth my mrm aorvantik by lotting them oat and drink, piny or wtirk, jtiKt oh
' thoy likod, whb-fa I nrnld do oheap. aa tbo Company *•}« (bralL
lamata^toaB)-.howoTw.goutlomfO,thot atUmugh protty JoUy Jmd now. I hnvo not bom roroful onongh to
: koop a qnalifloatkm for myadffln- tho Ifotwr of AammWy. ahhongh 1 havo run m> owuora many tbutwuHhi ofpound*
in debt. Howwnr.I bopr to bnUy them outof nmnlr property onttrrfy.—-Improro" thamout «f thoir bmd. Bow 1
prop«ar t«do Una. aoomg that all thr land, capital akioluand labor, haa hem provkU'd by thorn* w a arorot. In tho
rsamitinio. b* I ahouM not bo natuntu> om
in a protoat against tho grinding. doapotU* tyrany. which reatnrni a qooliflcation at all notwithstanding Bnn&ymoad
and Role Urttannia; ThontHu^ldnuJitmrf.wlUalhiwnirtBHltaudltanulonly toNorvoytni AalhAvr
•Brrodrayprwentemployer*.   I bavotbo honortobo. 0K5TLKMBK,
The election " squib." 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 17
alternative.   In closing, he pointed out that the land that Langford had
wanted was, at the time of writing, still unsold.43
After a careful examination of Pemberton's report and the records
of the Land Office, Douglas and Attorney-General Cary were satisfied
that Langford's complaint was groundless, but the Governor was not
prepared to dismiss the matter at this point. He instructed Cary to
write to Langford to ask what was the precise object of his letter:
whether he was making a claim, and against whom, or whether he simply
desired to enter a complaint against Pemberton.44 Langford replied
immediately, stating that his charges against Pemberton were specific
and that he required an official investigation. He closed with the threat
that if the inquiry were not immediately instituted, he would forward
his complaint to London.45 After a month had elapsed, during which
Langford wrote to the Governor and the Attorney-General demanding
immediate action, Douglas sent him a copy of Pemberton's report and
Cary's opinion in the matter.46 Langford did not acknowledge this
communication, and for the time being gave every appearance of having
dropped the matter for good.
Some six weeks later Captain Langford made good the threat that
he would appeal to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. On March
10, 1860, he sent a long letter to Governor Douglas for transmission to
the Duke of Newcastle, in which he laid the same complaints against
Pemberton and an additional charge that Douglas had obstructed justice
by delay in instituting an inquiry and in forwarding the colonial surveyor's report to him.47 To support his contention that Pemberton had.
informed him that an instalment had been paid on the land in question,
Langford submitted an affidavit sworn by his friend, Dr. Peter W.
Wallace, who had accompanied him to the Land Office and been present
when he made his application. According to the latter, the transaction
was as follows:—
(43) Pemberton to Douglas, December 20, 1859, enclosure in Douglas to
Newcastle, March 23, 1860, ibid., p. 15.
(44) Douglas to Newcastle, March 23, 1860, ibid., p. 13. See also G. H. Cary
to Langford, January 2, 1860, enclosure in Langford to Newcastle, March 10, 1860,
ibid., p. 5.
(45) Langford to Cary, January 3, 1860, enclosure in Langford to Newcastle,
March 10, 1860, ibid., p. 5.
(46) W. A. G. Young to Langford, February 4, 1860, enclosure in Langford
to Newcastle, March 10, 1860, ibid., p. 6.
(47) Langford to Douglas, March 10, 1860, enclosure in Langford to Newcastle, March 10, 1860, ibid., p. 7. 18 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
. . . the said Edward Edwards Langford applied to the said Joseph D. Pemberton
for several hundred acres of land in the immediate vicinity of his farm, whereupon
the said Joseph D. Pemberton informed the said Edward Edwards Langford that
the said land had been taken up and the instalments paid by Mr. Dallas, in proof
of which the said Joseph D. Pemberton offered to show his books, whereupon the
said Edward Edwards Langford declined, stating at the time to the said Joseph D.
Pemberton, " No, your word is sufficient."4^
Governor Douglas at once forwarded Langford's memorandum and all
the relevant correspondence. In addition, he sent a long dispatch of
his own, in which he explained his course of action and refuted Langford's accusations.49
Douglas attributed political motives to Langford, hinting broadly
that his complaint was an election ruse to discredit him and his government. After pointing out that the complaint reflected on the integrity
of the Land Office and his own course of action in the matter, the
Governor continued:—
I was somewhat surprised at this application, made one year and a half after
the transaction alluded to, but as it was known that Mr. Pemberton the Colonial
Surveyor was about to leave the Colony to proceed to England, and as a General
Election was pending, Mr. Langford himself being a candidate, and having in his
address to the Electors distinguished himself by the display of an unusual degree of
animosity to myself as Governor, and to the Government of the Colony generally
I had not much difficulty in surmising the true object of the application.
The rest of the dispatch was an amplification of Pemberton's report.
The books of the Land Office showed the record of the purchase and
its subsequent cancellation. Dallas had refused to purchase the land
because the survey showed the omission of an acre and a half that he
particularly wanted. As for Dr. Wallace's affidavit, Douglas stated
that Pearse, the assistant colonial surveyor, distinctly recollected the
whole transaction and denied that Pemberton had told Langford that
the first instalment had been paid. It was scarcely credible, Douglas
went on, that the colonial surveyor should offer the official records for
inspection to any chance purchaser of land or that he should volunteer
information regarding payments made by another party. In closing,
Douglas expressed surprise that Langford had not brought the matter
to his notice at an earlier date, and, if he felt that an unlawful action
had been committed, that he did not have recourse to legal measures to
obtain redress.
(48) Wallace's affidavit, dated March 20, 1860, was enclosed in Langford to
Newcastle, March 10, 1860, ibid., p. 7.
(49) Douglas to Newcastle, March 23, 1860, ibid., pp. 13-14. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 19
Some four months later, in a dispatch dated July 26, 1860, the
Secretary of State for the Colonies informed Douglas that he could not
find any just cause for Langford's complaints.50 He considered Pemberton's conduct in the transaction correct, and he could not see that
the Governor had shown any want of readiness in investigating the case
or that he could be blamed for the delay that occurred in forwarding
the colonial surveyor's report to Langford.
Captain Langford, as we have seen, laid his complaint against Pemberton on December 17, 1859, some twelve days after he had accepted
the nomination as candidate for Victoria Town. He must, at that time,
have been busy with his address to the electors, which he appears to
have completed on Monday, December 26.51 Posters were printed and
exhibited all over Victoria.
The misfortune of the reform party in the colony was that its spokesmen were agitators rather than leaders. Staines and Langford, unable
to confine themselves to the moderate demands of some of their supporters, launched ill-considered attacks on the Governor and his officials
which invariably resulted in their own humiliation and the discredit of
their party. Captain Langford's address to the electors was no exception. If due allowance is made for the pomposity of his style, it must
be admitted that the reforms he advocated were timely and by no means
excessive. He called for an inquiry into the problem of taxation, and
demanded a more liberal land policy. He advocated a wider franchise,
reduction of fees and expenses in the Courts, and better facilities for
the collection of small debts. But having made these proposals in the
space of a few paragraphs, Langford devoted the rest of his address to
personal attacks on the Government and the judiciary. The members
of the Council, he declared, had been fur-traders whose isolated existence
in the wilderness " withdrawn from the busy haunts of civilized men "
rendered them incapable of "impartial and practical" legislation.
Donald Fraser, whom Douglas had appointed to the Council in November, 1858, to replace John Tod, was singled out for special attack.52
Prior to his appointment, Fraser had served as special correspondent of
the London Times during the gold-rush. His dispatches describing the
American miners, Langford asserted, would discourage respectable settlers from coming to the Island.   "More wholesale and foul slander,"
(50) G. C. Lewis to Douglas, July 26, 1860, ibid., p. 16.
(51) Victoria Gazette, January 2, 1860.
(52) E. O. S. Scholefield (ed.), Minutes of the Council of Vancouver Island,
p. 32. 20 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
he continued, " never went forth to the world." After pointing out that
Fraser was a new-comer to the colony, Langford warned the electors
that one of his first acts as a member of the Council was to oppose an
extension of the suffrage.
Having dealt with the members of the Council, Langford turned to
Chief Justice David Cameron, whose appointment in 1853 he had
strenuously opposed. As his attack on this occasion displayed a degree
of subtlety somewhat out of keeping with his usual methods, it may be
asked in passing whether Amor de Cosmos had edited his address to
the electors. By selecting an extract from Douglas's dispatch to Labouchere concerning the calling of the Assembly in 1856, Langford attempted
to discredit the Governor himself, the Council, and the Chief Justice.
Douglas, on this occasion, had expressed quite frankly his misgivings
in the matter, apparently forgetting in his concern that the following
admission might be used against him:—
It is, I confess, not without a feeling of dismay that I contemplate the nature and
amount of labour and responsibility which will be imposed upon me, in the process
of carrying out the instructions conveyed in your despatch. Possessing a very
slender knowledge of legislation, without legal advice or intelligent assistance of
any kind, I approach the subject with diffidence.53
Langford pointed out that as this admission was made after long and
careful consideration, it condemned both Council and judiciary without
any qualification whatsoever. After enlarging on the responsibilities of
the Chief Justice, he demanded that Cameron be replaced by a qualified
legal practitioner of established repute in his profession.
No doubt there were many who read Captain Langford's address with
approval. His platform was reasonable, and his attack on the Government and judiciary was a rallying cry for the opponents of the " Family-
Company-Compact."54 At the same time Langford was a popular man
about town, the kind of person whom a section of the electorate will
support on personal grounds. Reformers and friends had elected him
in 1856 and were likely to accord him the same support in 1860. There
were others, however, who had formed a different estimate of his character and capabilities. Officials of the two Governments regarded him
as an incompetent Magistrate and an agitator who had attempted to
(53) Douglas to Labouchere, May 22, 1856, P.P., H.C, 229 of 1857, 2nd
Sess., p. 6.
(54) A phrase used by Amor de Cosmos to designate the Douglas administration. See Margaret Ross, Amor de Cosmos, A British Columbia Reformer, M.A.
thesis accepted by the University of British Columbia, 1931, p. 24. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 21
gate-crash his way into the Legislative Assembly. Officers of the Puget
Sound Agricultural Company were familiar with his extravagance and
his gross mismanagement of Esquimalt Farm. Judge Matthew Baillie
Begbie, who was constitutionally incapable of suffering fools gladly,
read the placard with sardonic amusement.55 Charles Good, at that
time Chief Clerk in the Colonial Secretary's office for British Columbia,
was later to describe it as a " pompous and silly effusion."56 It was,
in truth, the kind of thing that invited satire, and during Christmas and
New Year somebody wrote such a parody, had it printed, and posted it
all over the town.
The squib had been widely distributed before daylight on New Year's
Day. Judge Begbie, on entering the lounge of the Hotel de France,
found a copy pinned to the wall. He read it with great merriment and
assured the bystanders that its contents were true because he had read
Langford's contract with the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. The
poster which amused the Judge and his friends so much was as follows:—
To the Electors of Victoria.
Some injudicious person, assuming my name, has put forward in answer to
your requisition, a long winded and spiteful address, containing many things
which I, of course, should not like to have repeated, among other things, His
Excellency's complaint that he was without any intelligent assistance, when I was
at his elbow; a statement that I required a full discussion of the whole subject of
Taxation, before I could form any opinion in reference to it; and other matters
showing a shallowness of comprehension and an envious disposition, which I really
ought to be ashamed of.
The easiest way for you, gentlemen, to judge of my merits, is to make a short
statement of what I am, and what I have done.
I came here about eight years ago, the hired servant of the Puget Sound Company, for the wages of about Six Dollars a week, and my board and lodging; the
privileges of board and lodging were also extended to my wife and family, in consideration of the Company's having the benefit of their labor on the Farm of which
I was to have the charge.
I was brought out here at the expense of the Company: I was placed on the
Farm I now occupy, bought by the Company, stocked by the Company, improved
by labor supplied by the Company entirely. In fact, I have not been put to penny
expense since my arrival in the Colony. The boots I wear, and the mutton I and
my family and guests eat, have been wholly supplied at the expense of the Company; and I flatter myself that the Colonial reputation for hospitality, as displayed
by me at the expense of the Company, has not been allowed to fall into disrepute.
(55) Langford to Douglas, July 4, 1860, MS., Archives of B.C.
(56) Good to Colonial Secretary, December 23, 1862, P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863,
p. 29. 22 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
I have given large entertainments, kept riding horses, and other means of amusement for myself and my guests: in fact I may say, that I and they, have eaten,
driven, and ridden the Company for several years, and a very useful animal it has
proved, though its ears, gentlemen, are rather long.
All this time I was and am the Farm-Bailiff of the Puget Sound Company, at
wages of £60, ($300,) per annum, and board, a position I value much too highly
to vacate until I shall be kicked out of it. I have refused to render any account,
any intelligible account, of my stewardship: in fact I had kept no accounts, that I,
or anybody else, could make head or tail of. When requested to give satisfactory
explanations, I told my owners pretty squarely, that they should have no satisfaction
except that usual among gentlemen; and as I knew nobody would call me out and
pistol me, I commenced a system of abuse with which you are doubtless tolerably
well acquainted; at the same time currying popularity with my farm servants, by
letting them eat and drink, play or work, just as they liked, which I could do
cheap, as the Company pays for all.
I am sorry to say, however, gentlemen, that although pretty jolly just now,
I have not been careful enough to keep a qualification for myself for the House of
Assembly, although I have run my owners many thousands of pounds in debt.
However, I hope to bnlly [sic] them out of their property entirely,—" improve"
them out of their land. How I propose to do this, seeing that all the land, capital,
stock, and labor, has been provided by them, is a secret. In the meantime, if
I should not be fortunate enough to nail a qualification before the Election, I shall
do as I did before, hand in a protest against the grinding, despotic tyrany, which
requires a qualification at all, notwithstanding Runnymead and Rule Britannia:
The House, I doubt not, will allow me to sit, and I shall be too happy to serve you
as I have served my present employers.   I have the honor to be, gentlemen,
Your most obedient
E. E. Longford [sic]^
This satire cut Langford like a whip, driving him out of politics and
finally out of the colony itself. On January 5 the British Colonist published his formal withdrawal from the election. Langford's letter was
temperate and gave no indication of the resentment and animosity that
he was to display for the next three years. Stating that he was compelled to withdraw due to circumstances of a private nature over which
he had no control, he went on to say that he had not been influenced
in any way by doubts as to his success at the polls or by " any inducements held out in any quarter to lead me to retire,"58 meaning by the
latter, no doubt, the mysterious squib that was by then the talk of the
town. In closing, he urged his supporters to elect Amor de Cosmos in
his place.
(57) A copy of this squib is preserved in the Archives of B.C.
(58) Victoria British Colonist, January 5, 1860. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 23
The events described above gave rise to a number of questions which
have not been completely answered to this day. There is, of course, the
identity of the author of the squib and the person who posted it about
the town before dawn on New Year's morning. Their names were on
everybody's lips, but their complicity, though obvious, has never been
proven. It may be asked why Captain Langford retired from the election. Being the kind of man that he was, it would not have been
unnatural for him to have gone on to the bitter end. Or was he, like
Pistol, driven ignominiously from the stage? Judge Begbie and Charles
Good, who appear to have been singularly well informed in every aspect
of the matter, state that the squib disillusioned Langford's supporters
and ruined his chance of election.59 In that case it may well be that
his friends persuaded him to withdraw in the face of certain defeat. It
is probable that, as the author of the squib suggests, he lacked the
necessary property qualifications as in 1856, and hoped to bluff his way
into acceptance. If he cherished this illusion when he accepted the
nomination, it is not unlikely that his friends saved him in the nick of
time from a repetition of the humiliation he had suffered four years
On January 5, 1860, the day on which his retirement from the election was announced in the British Colonist, Langford took steps to sue
Captain Edward Hammond King, the printer of the placard, for libel,
claiming damages to the extent of £2,000.60 King was the owner of the
Victoria Gazette, a paper which he had founded in 1859, and the printer
of the Government Gazette, a fact which, in the eyes of some, pointed
to official complicity in the affair.61 It is, however, impossible to establish King's part in the pubUcation of the offending placard, and it is
equally impossible to account for his contradictory behaviour throughout the hurly-burly that ensued. As there is a lack of reliable evidence,
King must remain an enigmatic and sometimes comic figure, full of
sound and fury, yet signifying so much if only the truth were known.
(59) Begbie to W. A. G. Young, December 23, 1862, MS., Archives of B.C.
See also Good to Colonial Secretary, December 13, 1862, enclosure in Douglas to
Newcastle, February 14, 1863, P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, p. 29.
(60) "Copy of Judge's Notes, Tuesday the 12th day of April a.d. 1860,"
entered as exhibit (C) in Chief Justice David Cameron to Colonial Secretary,
January 29, 1863, enclosure in Douglas to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid.,
p. 25 ff.
(61) Madge Wolfenden, "The Early Government Gazettes," British Columbia
Historical Quarterly, VII (1943), pp. 171-190 passim. 24 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
The Langford libel case was heard in the Supreme Court of Civil
Justice before Chief Justice David Cameron on April 16 and 17, I860.62
George John Wight acted for Langford, the plaintiff, and George Hunter
Cary for King, the defendant. The case opened with a flurry of technicalities. Wight and Cary wrangled over the jury, abusing each other
in slanderous terms, until Cameron finally ruled that the case should
be heard before a special jury. On the following day Wight, and then
Cary, cross-examined Langford. When asked by Cary to produce his
books, Langford refused, declaring rather righteously that he had not
brought them to Court because his employers might object. He had,
however, brought a certified account made up from his books by the
auditor of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. Glancing at these
records, Cary asked Langford to what book the words " folio No. 2 "
referred. Langford remained silent, and finally Cary applied to the
Judge to request plaintiff to answer. With great patience Cameron
explained to Langford that his counsel had not objected to the question,
that there was nothing improper in it, that it was material and relevant.
He warned him that his refusal virtually dared the authority of Her
Majesty's Court, and that if he did not give an immediate answer he
would be committed to the custody of the Sheriff. Langford again refused to answer.   Cameron ordered the Sheriff to take him in charge.
When the Court reassembled in the afternoon, Cameron, at Cary's
request, struck Langford's evidence from his notes. Wight rose and
asked for permission to enter nonsuit. Cameron granted this request
and discharged the jury. Turning to Langford, who had been brought
into Court, he asked him whether he had anything to say in extenuation
of his contempt. When he made no answer, Cameron ordered that he
be imprisoned for twenty-four hours and pay a fine of £10.63
It is a remarkable fact that no matter how great the depth of Langford's folly, prominent citizens rallied about him in his trials and tribulations to give him their sympathy and, on more than one occasion,
monetary assistance. No doubt, he possessed a great deal of personal
charm, was popular in the taverns, and few could forget bis lavish
hospitality.   It is not at all unlikely that Mrs. Langford and her daughters
(62) There are two sources for the Langford v. King case. The first is in the
document submitted by Douglas to Newcastle in his dispatch of February 14, 1863,
as printed in P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, pp. 22-27. The second is the Victoria
British Colonist, April 19, 1860. The accounts of the trial as given in the newspaper are accurate in so far as they can be compared with the official documents
cited above.
(63) Victoria British Colonist, April 19, 1860. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 25
were liked and esteemed throughout the Victoria district. On the other
hand, it is probable that the Douglas regime was so unpopular that
a section of the population would support any man who attacked it,
whatever his folly. Stupid as Langford had been in Court, it was only
a matter of minutes before his friends took up his cause. Chief Justice
Cameron had just reached his chamber when Yates, Skinner, Meyers,
and three or four others literally forced their way into his presence and
asked him to alter the order that he had just made to the Sheriff. They
admitted that Langford's conduct could not be overlooked, but urged
that his wife was dangerously ill, and that if she heard that her husband
were confined to gaol it would have very grave consequences. For
this reason, they asked the Chief Justice to rescind the imprisonment.
Cameron pointed out that the dignity and authority of the Court must
be maintained, but as he had no wish that Mrs. Langford should suffer,
he promised to instruct the Sheriff to keep the prisoner in his own office
as if he were arrested under a bailable writ.64
A striking instance of the widespread sympathy that Langford
enjoyed occurred on the day following his committal, when Judge Cameron found that the Sheriff had confined him for only two or three
hours and had failed to collect the fine. He at once issued an order
for Langford to be brought into Court that afternoon. Langford refused
to appear, sending a letter in which he described the proceedings in
Court on the day before as " vile and illegal" and threatened the Chief
Justice with consequences of an unspecified nature if he enforced his
order. Cameron, in the face of this act of defiance, gave instructions
that he be brought into Court for interrogation. The Chief Justice
found Langford in contempt, but deferred judgment on compassionate
grounds. Some years later, when called upon by the Duke of Newcastle,
Secretary of State for the Colonies, to explain his conduct of the case,
Cameron wrote:—
Judgment, however, was deferred, as I well knew he could not pay a fine, and for
the sake of his family refrained from again committing him to custody. He was,
therefore, from a motive of lenity, and as a precaution against future misconduct,
only held on his recognizance to appear for judgment at some future time. This
kept him quiet until he left the Colony, when his sureties were discharged.63
(64) "Copy of Judge's Notes, Tuesday the 12th day of April a.d. 1860,"
entered as exhibit (C) in Chief Justice David Cameron to Colonial Secretary,
January 29, 1863, enclosure in Douglas to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, P.P.,
H.C, 507 of 1863, p. 25.
(65) Cameron to Colonial Secretary, February 2, 1863, enclosure in Douglas
to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid., p. 33. 26 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
Upon his release from detention, Captain Langford was obliged to
shoulder the heavy costs of his unsuccessful suit. When he had paid
various Court expenses, he received a bill of costs to the extent of
E87.6.2.66 This included Cary's fee as counsel for King and payments
due to witnesses whom Cary and his attorney, Drake, had called on
behalf of their client. Langford, of course, refused to pay, filing a protest with the Registrar of the Supreme Court, and claiming an appeal to
the Privy Council.67 As he was adamant in his refusal, the Sheriff
secured an execution against his personal possessions, and on July 3
began to remove furniture from his house.68 Fortunately for the Langfords, Cary intervened, perhaps out of pity, perhaps because he had
learned that the unhappy man would shortly be able to meet his obligations.69 Once again, Captain Langford's friends came to his assistance.
A committee headed by John Coles, James Yates, and Captain G. H.
Richards raised $500, a large sum of money, and one that enabled
Langford to pay in full.70
Nearly three and a half months later, on November 3, 1860, the
British Colonist startled its readers with the announcement that Attorney-
General Cary had been served with a summons to appear in the Police
Court to answer a charge of obtaining money under false pretences from
Edward Edwards Langford. The hearing took place on Monday,
November 5, before Mr. Pemberton.71 Langford, who by this time had
completely thrown off whatever vestiges of reason and restraint he
possessed, charged that Cary had pocketed money which, according to
the bill of costs, was due to witnesses who had appeared on behalf of
Captain King in the recent libel suit. It was a noisy hearing, perhaps
the most disorderly in the colonial period. Cary, choking with rage,
informed the Court on several occasions that as soon as the case was
over he would prefer a charge against Langford for wilful and malicious
perjury.   When pressed too hard in cross-examination, Langford turned
(66) Copy of the trial record with judgment signed June 12, 1860, entered as
exhibit (A) in Chief Justice David Cameron to Colonial Secretary, January 29,
1863, enclosure in Douglas to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid., p. 24.
(67) Langford to Douglas, July 4, 1860, MS., Archives of B.C.
(68) Ibid.
(69) G. H. Cary to Colonial Secretary, September 12, 1862, and William
CulverweU's deposition, enclosures in Douglas to Newcastle, February 14, 1863,
P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, pp. 18-19.
(70) John Coles, James Yates, Geo. Henry Richards, Committee, to Langford,
July 12, 1860, printed in Victoria British Colonist, July 24, 1860.
(71) Ibid., November 6, 1860. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 27
to the Magistrate to beg his protection, stating that he occupied a distressing position as all the legal profession were against him! Finally,
when the combatants had called each other liars and damned liars,
Magistrate Pemberton dismissed the charge, stating that not a particle
of evidence had been adduced to prove it, and that he would not have
issued the summons had it not been to give Cary the opportunity to
clear his character. He censured Captain Langford and sought to
restrain Cary, who by this time was clamouring for Langford's arrest.
Indeed, the case is scarcely worth recording were it not for certain
accusations that were shouted about the Court. In this play within
a play Captain Edward Hammond King took the leading role. It must
be admitted that his part was a strange one, and in the absence of certain
information it must remain to some extent the subject of conjecture.
He had refused to divulge the name of the author of the squib to Langford, even when threatened with a suit for libel. Had the mysterious
prankster promised to foot the bill if Langford won the case? From
what transpired in Mr. Pemberton's Court, it is apparent that some such
agreement had been made. Langford, who was conducting his own
case against Cary, had called King as a witness. The reporter, who
had a sense of dramatic values, gave a verbatim account of King's first
sensational revelation:—
Mr. Langford—Did you ever pay Mr. Cary any money?
Ans.—Yes, £20.
Ques.—From whom did you receive that money?
Ans.—From Mr. CHAS. GOOD!
Mr. Langford—The private secretary of the Governor?
Mr. King—Yes."
When Captain King named Charles Good, there was a sensation in
the Court, and some hissing was heard. As many of the reform faction
had suspected, somebody close to the Government, either Good or
another member of the Family-Company-Compact, had written the squib.
Magistrate Pemberton had just assured Cary that he would consider
the matter of issuing a warrant for Langford's arrest when a scrimmage
broke out near the door of the Courtroom. A barrister-at-law, a certain
Mr. Alston, had been listening to the proceedings with considerable
amusement and had, on one occasion, guffawed at some of Langford's
(72) Ibid., Captain E. H. King was sentenced to one month's imprisonment for
contempt of Court on November 6, but some days later was pardoned by Governor
Douglas.   Ibid., November 7 and 20, 1860. 28 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
histrionics. While leaving the Court he encountered King, who by this
time was in complete sympathy with Langford, and was convinced that
Cary was a rogue. According to the newspaper report, the altercation
began as follows:—
At this moment, Mr. King said to Mr. Alston, who was preparing to leave the
room:  " Cary fabricated a bill of costs."
Mr. Alston.   You lie, sir.
Mr. King replied, " You're a d d liar," and instantly struck Mr. Alston in
the face with his fist.
Great confusion ensued. The parties were at once separated, and Mr. K. placed
under arrest.   Mr. Alston made affidavit as to what had passed.
Mr. King—Your honor, I only done to that man what I would do to any other.
He called me a liar! and I will knock any man down that calls me that—at any
time or in any place.
The spectators, at this remark, shook the building with their applause—and all
order was at an end for a moment.
Mr. King continued his remarks, and said that if he had been called a liar in
the street, he would have horsewhipped Alston from one end of the town to the
Langford, who had been standing by all this time, was no doubt, like
everybody else, in a great state of excitement. He created another
furore by naming the authors of the squib:—
Mr. Langford—The authors of the libel against me were Matthew B. Begbie,
Chief Justice of British Columbia, and Charles Good, the Governor's private
Mr. King—And THE GOVERNOR, too!
Mr. Langford—Yes; and Good, the Secretary, stuck them up around town
before daylight on Sunday morning.^
It is, of course, impossible to estimate the public reaction to these
accusations. The feeling displayed in Court suggests that strong personal and poUtical prejudices were involved. Under the arbitrary rule
of Governor Douglas a radical faction had emerged, and, the population being as small as it was, poUtical issues were fought in terms of
personaUties. To many of the reformers, the squib was no Yuletide
prank. In their eyes it was a slander deUberately written by Government officials to prevent their candidate from winning a seat in the
Assembly. In that case there were some who were prepared to accept
the charges against Begbie and Good, and while it is inconceivable that
the august Douglas could have lent himself to this piece of undergraduate tomfoolery, there can be no doubt that his enemies relished the
thought and came to regard him as one of the conspirators.    It is
(73) Ibid., November 6, 1860. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 29
worthy of note, however, that when Captain Langford carried bis complaints to the Duke of Newcastle, he dropped the Governor's name,
restricting his charges to Begbie and Good.74
Nearly two months later the Langfords returned to England. Captain Langford had been discharged by bis employers, he was impoverished, and he had no hope left of pubUc office.75 On the day of his
departure, January 12, 1861, Amor de Cosmos wrote a glowing tribute
to Langford, describing him as " an honest, straightforward, high-
spirited EngUshman " and a " supporter of time-honored usages as contrasted with the poUcy of a feudal corporation." The British Colonist,
regrettably, published few accounts of the social events of the day, and
there is no record of any gatherings held in honour of the Langfords of
According to Judge Begbie, whose testimony is always reUable as
to matters of fact, friends and enemies alike made it possible for the
embittered man to leave the colony.76 George Hunter Cary had taken
steps to sue Langford for perjury, but at the request of " several country gentlemen," and upon the advice of Donald Fraser, whom Langford
had attacked so sharply, he had withdrawn the charge. Since Judge t
Begbie states that Langford was " ruined by his own wilfulness, levity
& extravagance " and enabled " by the charity of those around him to
leave the colony," it may be presumed that his friends paid his passage
home. As it is not at aU unlikely that Langford was in debt to the
Hudson's Bay Company, Begbie's reference to the " undeserved mercy
wch the company had extended to himself & his family" might be
taken to mean that the officials had accommodated him generously in
that matter. On the other hand, the Judge might be alluding to the
fact that the officers of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company had permitted Langford to continue as bailiff of Esquimalt Farm as long as
they did.
The records of Captain Langford's activities on Vancouver Island
are regrettably too few and too meagre to permit anything more than
speculation as to the psychological mainsprings of his behaviour. None
the less, there is to be discerned in his impulsiveness, his jealousy and
anger when frustrated, his insubordination and insolence to employers
(74) Langford to Newcastle, June 18, 1861, P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, pp. 7-8.
(75) Charles Good to Colonial Secretary, December 23, 1862, enclosure in
Douglas to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid., p. 29.
(76) Begbie to Young, December 23, 1862, MS., Archives of B.C. 30 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
in the face of their tolerance and generosity, a degree of emotional
immaturity that might be characterized as adult infantilism. His subsequent conduct in England, where for the space of nearly three years he
made bitter attacks on the officials of the colony, rounds out a pattern
of irrationaUty and intransigence that is essentially juvenile.
Upon their arrival in England the Langfords took up residence in
London, a situation which permitted the captain convenient access to
the Colonial Office. He lost Uttle time in mounting his attack. In a
letter dated June 18, 1861, he submitted to the Duke of Newcastle
" a statement containing complaints of a serious nature against certain
Government officials in Vancouver Island."77 Obviously writing under
emotional stress, Langford named only two of the four officials whose
conduct he considered disgraceful. These were Judge Begbie and
Charles Good, both of whom were servants of the Government of British Columbia and had no official status in Vancouver Island. The latter was actually Chief Clerk in the Colonial Secretary's office, and acted
as private secretary to the Governor only on the occasions of his
absence in the Interior of British Columbia. The two officials whom
Langford, in his confusion, did not mention by name, were Chief Justice David Cameron and Attorney-General George Hunter Cary, both
of whom were pubUc servants of the colony of Vancouver Island.
Quoting a conversation with Captain King, Langford accused Judge
Begbie of writing the squib, and Good of taking the manuscript to the
printing office. In addition, he stated that Good informed King that
Attorney-General Cary would defend him in the pending suit for Ubel
and gave him £20 to pay for Cary's services. With reference to Cameron, Langford charged that the proceedings in his Court during King's
trial " were of an improper, illegal, and vexatious character," and that
he, Langford, had been unjustly fined and imprisoned on a false charge
of contempt of Court. FinaUy, he aUeged that the Attorney-General
had presented him with a bill of costs containing items that had never
been paid.
Having lodged these complaints, Langford turned to the task of
securing evidence to support his contention that David Cameron was
unfitted for the high office of Chief Justice. He had apparently heard
that Cameron had been in financial difficulties before coming to Vancouver Island and that he had been a bankrupt. Accordingly, he wrote
to the Sheriff at Perth and the Registrar of the Supreme Court of
(77) Langford to Newcastle, June 18, 1861, P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, p. 7. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 31
Demerara for further information. These officials eventuaUy sent
Langford statements of Cameron's transactions, which he at once forwarded to the Colonial Office.78 Ten days later, on May 31, 1862, the
Duke of Newcastle's secretary, Chichester Fortescue, wrote to Langford
to inform him that his charges ought either to have been brought forward in the Legislative Assembly or transmitted through the Governor.
He went on to state that the noble Duke found it impossible to take
any other steps than that of sending his letters to Governor Douglas
with instructions to submit them to Cameron, Begbie, and Good, and
to forward to His Grace, with his own comments, whatever statements
they might think it necessary to make on the subject.79
On June 5, 1862, Langford wrote bis third and final complaint to
Newcastle.80 On this occasion he took issue with the noble Duke on
the wisdom of sending his communications to the colonial authorities,
hinting that the members of the Assembly were company men, and that
Cameron and Good were related to Douglas by marriage. He attacked
Cameron, expressed disappointment that His Grace had not dealt with
his grievance more expeditiously, and accused Cary of fraud.
In accordance with the Duke of Newcastle's instructions,81 Governor Douglas called upon the officials concerned for any explanations
that they might have to offer. He wrote to His Grace on August 23,
1862, promising to forward all the official statements required, and a
fuU account of the circumstances in connection with the appointment
of David Cameron.82 As he evidently anticipated that a great deal of
time would elapse before these documents reached London, Douglas
took the opportunity of stating that the Chief Justice performed his
duties with ability, and that his decisions gave general satisfaction. In
closing, he reminded Newcastle of Langford's complaints against Pemberton, and respectfuUy suggested to His Grace that a perusal of the
correspondence dealing with those charges would throw a great deal of
light on his character and his present proceedings.
After some delay, for which the Duke of Newcastle rebuked him,
Douglas transmitted on February 14,  1863, statements from Cary,
(78) James C. Hitzler, Pro Registrar, Demerara, to Langford, June 24, 1861,
and Arch. Reid to Langford, November 11, 1861, enclosure in Langford to Newcastle, May 21, 1863, ibid., p. 9.
(79) C. Fortescue to Langford, May 31, 1862, ibid., p. 9.
(80) Langford to Newcastle, June 5, 1862, ibid., p. 10.
(81) Newcastle to Douglas, June 2, 1862, and Newcastle to Douglas, June 19,
1862, ibid., pp. 16-17.
(82) Douglas to Newcastle, August 23, 1862, ibid., p. 17. 32 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
Good, and Begbie, and two detailed reports with enclosures from Cameron.83 He made no observations of his own on the reports of the
first three officials, giving as his reason that the documents in question,
if considered in connection with Langford's correspondence, clearly
disclosed his character and objects. In this manner James Douglas
saved himself the embarrassment of commenting on the apparent com-
pUcity of his son-in-law, Charles Good, and of his ablest and most
trusted official, Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie.
With reference to Chief Justice Cameron, Douglas wrote a long
dispatch in which he justified his appointment and expressed great
satisfaction with the quaUty of his services. At the time of the estab-
Ushment of the Supreme Court of Civil Justice in 1853, there were no
lawyers in the colony, and as the Magistrates had permitted irregularities in their Courts, Douglas was compelled to look about for a provisional Judge, a man of superior character and abiUty. In his opinion,
Cameron was the most fitting person, being, as he described him, " a
man of good business habits, of liberal education, some legal knowledge, and what was equal to aU, possessed of a more than ordinary
amount of discretion and common sense." With reference to Langford,
whom he beUeved to have wanted the position for himself, Douglas
I would beg Your Grace to note that Mr. Langford was then the senior magistrate
in the Colony, and it is not unnatural to assume from subsequent events that
Mr. Langford, forming his own estimate of himself, must have viewed Mr. Cameron's appointment to a superior position with much jealousy and heart-burning;
and I may as well here state that I selected Mr. Cameron in preference to Mr.
Langford, because an experience of nearly three years had shown me that Mr.
Langford was singularly deficient in judgment, temper, and discretion, and was
much inferior both in legal and general knowledge to Mr. Cameron.*4
Referring to the memorial that Staines, Cooper, and Langford had
addressed to Newcastle in February, 1854, Douglas reminded the noble
Duke that he had stated at the time that if Her Majesty's Government
thought the appointment improper, he had no desire to retain Cameron
in the position, and had requested that a Judge be sent out from England. The authorities, however, had considered it desirable to retain
Cameron, and without any soUcitation on his part, Douglas continued,
they had made his appointment a permanent one on May 5, 1856.
(83) Newcastle to Douglas, March 5, 1863, ibid., p. 35; Douglas to Newcastle,
February 14, 1863, ibid., p. 22.
(84) Douglas to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid., p. 30. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 33
It remained for Chief Justice Cameron to answer those charges of
Langford's that affected himself and the administration of justice on
Vancouver Island. With reference to bis conduct of the Courts, he
stated in a letter dated January 29, 1863, that Langford had actuaUy
made two aUegations, the first of which was that " the proceedings in
Court at the trial were of an improper, illegal, and vexatious character,"
and the second, bis assertion that "the purity of justice has been
entirely overthrown in Vancouver Island, rendering the proceedings in
the law courts in the Colony the theme of scorn and derision among
the colonists, and also throughout the American territories in the
Pacific."85 Cameron's answer to the first of these charges was an
emphatic denial, which he supported with copies of the Court records.
As to the second, he dismissed it as verbiage.
Four days later, in a letter dated February 2, 1863, Cameron
answered Langford's personal charges, which were as foUows: "Mr.
Cameron is a person of obscure origin, with no legal education whatever, and a very imperfect general one; he was an uncertificated bankrupt in Scotland, and was some time afterwards discharged as an insolvent debtor in Demerara, shortly before arriving in Vancouver Island."86
Cameron brushed aside the snobbish references to his origin and education, stating that the aUeged obscurity was a matter of indifference to
everybody but Langford, and that the nature of his education was
attested by the quaUty of his services. Turning to the serious aUegations that he was a bankrupt and a discharged insolvent debtor, he,
wrote a long and lucid account of his business experiences in Scotland
and Demerara. He admitted that as a young man in bis early twenties
he had faUed in business in Perth, and had been obUged to submit the
state of his affairs to his creditors. Generous terms were arranged,
however, his creditors agreeing to take a composition that was payable
by instalments over a long period. In due time, when he had settled
aU the claims against him, Cameron wound up his affairs and left Scotland for Demerara in 1830. In concluding the account of his youthful
misfortunes, he emphaticaUy denied the charge of bankruptcy: " I have
thus sketched my history at sufficient length to enable you to observe
that my mercantile failure in early life was not of the nature charged
(85) Cameron to Colonial Secretary, January 29, 1863, enclosure in Douglas
to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid., p. 23.
(86) Langford to Newcastle, June 2, 1862, ibid., p. 10. 34 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
by Mr. Langford. Unfortunate as it was, I never became a bankrupt,
and therefore never was an uncertificated bankrupt."87
After spending some eight years as an overseer of a sugar plantation, Cameron purchased a smaU property on the Essequibo River.
Here again misfortune befeU him, this time in the form of acute labour
troubles. Like almost every other proprietor in the colony, he suffered
serious losses, and was finaUy obliged to surrender his estate and everything else he possessed in order to satisfy the claims against it. Despite
these sacrifices, there still remained a residue of personal liabilities.
His creditors, however, were satisfied with his surrender, and when, in
1851, he sought a legal discharge, his appUcation went unopposed.
The Duke of Newcastle accepted this explanation without question,
and wrote to Governor Douglas on April 25, 1863: " Mr. Cameron's
letter appears to me very straightforward and satisfactory."88
Attorney-General Cary, whom Captain Langford had accused of
obtaining money under false pretences in a fabricated bill of costs,
answered the charge with clarity and precision.89 Referring to the
depositions in the case, copies of which he had obtained from Magistrate Pemberton, he was able to show that certain witnesses had refused
to accept their fees and that they had agreed to return the money to
Langford. When he refused to accept it, they donated it to the hospital. According to the evidence, Cary continued, Langford had been
aware of these facts at the time of swearing his first deposition, and
was therefore gmlty of a deUberate perjury. At this point anger got the
better of the Attorney-General, compelling him to relate, quite irrelevantly, how he had preferred charges against Langford and had withdrawn them at the urgent request of a number of leading colonists. In
closing, he stated his regret that his absence from England prevented
him from bringing the complainant to the punishment suited to him for
such a maUgnant Ubel on his professional character.
Newcastle was perfectly satisfied with this explanation. In a dispatch to Douglas dated April 23, 1863, he enclosed a copy of a letter
which he had instructed Sir F. Rogers to write to Langford, informing
him that His Grace saw no reason to question Mr. Cary's statement.90
(87) Cameron to Colonial Secretary, February 2, 1863, enclosure in Douglas
to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid., pp. 32-34.
(88) Newcastle to Douglas, April 25, 1863, ibid., p. 36.
(89) Cary to Colonial Secretary, September 12, 1862, enclosure in Douglas to
Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid., p. 18.
(90) Newcastle to Douglas, April 23, 1863, ibid., p. 36; Sir F. Rogers to Langford, April 23, 1863, ibid., pp. 11-12. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 35
Captain Langford, it will be recalled, had accused Judge Begbie
and Charles Good of being the authors of the election squib, and had
further aUeged that Good had taken the manuscript to the printer and
had subsequently posted the offensive placards about the town. When
requested to comment on these charges, they did not deny their com-
pUcity, and for this reason, perhaps, are condemned more effectively
than by Langford, whose allegations were unsupported by any evidence
more tangible than that of the astonishing Captain King. Both letters
may be regarded as masterpieces of legal evasion, and as they were
written on the same day in New Westminster, it is not altogether
unlikely that they were the fruit of a collusion in which Judge Begbie
had an opportunity to exercise bis professional talents.
Good described Langford's charge as absurd, and stated that he had
waited upon Captain King to ask him to explain why he had made such
unwarranted statements.91 When confronted in this manner, King
solemnly declared that he had never given such information to Langford, and that Langford's assertion that he had done so was untrue.
It then became apparent, Good continued, that Langford had two
motives. As the author of the squib was weU acquainted with the
affairs of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, he could be sought
within a limited circle. In consequence, Langford hoped to extort
denials successively from these individuals until, by a process of elimination, he arrived at the guUty person. His other motive was to
besmirch the Government.
Judge Begbie's observations on the charges laid by Captain Langford were not greatly different in substance from those of his friend
Charles Good.92 He declared that the squib contained an accurate
account of Langford's character and conduct, and stated that King's
allegations were without foundation. As in the case of Good, his
failure to deny authorship of the squib is conspicuous, and for that
reason leaves the reader convinced of his guilt. Be that as it may, it
does not foUow that the Judge's observations are false. He has, on the
contrary, left a pithy and shrewd commentary on the affair that is
entirely consistent with the facts already brought forward. His comments are as foUows:—
(91) Charles Good to Colonial Secretary, December 23, 1862, enclosure in
Douglas to Newcastle, February 14, 1863, ibid., pp. 29-30.
(92) Begbie to Colonial Secretary, December 23, 1862, ibid., pp. 27-28. 36 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
I entirely deny Mr. Langford's right to have any answer from me, at this time,
on this subject. He has never before thought fit to interrogate me either directly
or indirectly. His only object evidently is to acquire, if possible, the means of
continuing to annoy one or more persons for whom I feel a strong personal regard
& esteem. He can now summon me and always could have summoned me, as a
witness in any court of law. I decline now to answer him elsewhere, after the line
of conduct he has thought proper to pursue.
For the satisfaction of His Grace however, and for His Excellency's information, I have of course no difficulty or hesitation in making the following statement
I am not aware how far such official communications can be considered as confidential. But under the above circumstances, I hope that this may be deemed a
privileged communication, so far at least as that the original may not be produced
in any Court of law.
The only mention made of my name by Mr. Langford is where he states that
Captn. King, the printer of the placard in question, once told him that I was the
I have no doubt but that Mr. Langford is in this instance speaking correctly:
and Captn. King did once tell him so. But it is also true, and true to Mr. Langford's own knowledge that Captn. King on various other occasions attributed
the authorship to various other persons; all, I have no doubt, with equal confidence
& sincerity,—and equal ignorance of the truth. And I fully believe that were
Captn. King now alive he wod. be just as ready to admit (as I believe the fact was)
that he never had any knowledge at all on the subject. I am quite sure that neither
he nor Mr. Langford ever had any grounds except their own imaginations for
attributing it to me. I observe that Mr. Langford himself makes no statement
whatever as to his present or former state of belief on this point.
It is probably quite unnecessary for me to add anything to what I have already
stated. But since Mr. Langford has thought fit to cause me to be applied to for
information on the subject, it may not be out of place that I shod, state my view
of the placard and its contents—especially as, by reason of my peculiar position in
Vancouver Island, entirely unconnected with the administration & holding no office
or authority there of any description, and at the same time being on terms of
personal intimacy with the officials both of the government and of the Hudson's
Bay Compy., and with many of the other settlers on the island, I had perhaps
peculiar means of forming a correct estimate of Mr. Langford's position, and
I am glad that, since Mr. Langford has thought proper to bring forward my
name at all, he has connected it with a document not otherwise than creditable to
its author. I do not know why that author shod, any longer wish to conceal his
name (except for one reason wch I shall mention presently). The placard is a very
temperately worded election squib. Notwithstanding Mr. Langford's insinuations,
there is not in it one scurrilous epithet nor one insulting allusion directed against
him or any of his family: nor has he ever, so far as I am aware, attempted since
its publication to deny one fact or to qualify one adjective contained in it. It is
a dry statement of facts wch at that time were known to many people in the
island, including of course Mr. Langford himself. And it wod. have been (with
a few verbal alterations, and those not affecting him) a manly and decorous address 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 37
for him to have really made to the public instead of the address on wch it is a
parody. Undoubtedly, so plain a statement of undenied & undeniable facts took
by surprise most of Mr. Langford's supporters at that time, who were previously
in ignorance of his real position.
As to what Mr. Langford calls an insulting allusion to his family I have been
wholly unable to discover any such in the placard. The only allusion to his family
appears to have been copied from a clause in his own sealed agreement with the
Puget Sound Company, and is by no means insulting. Poverty is not (of itself)
disgraceful—nor is it (in these colonies) an insult (except perhaps in Mr. Langford's opinion) to suppose that any person, man woman or child, works for his
daily bread. I have seen that agreement, by wch Mr. Langford bound himself in
very stringent terms to be the working farm-servant of the Puget Sound Company
and to be entirely submissive to the authority of the Company's agent here. That
agreement is entirely in accordance with the statements in the placard. I have
also seen Mr. Langford's letter to Mr. A. G. Dallas the then agent of the Company
here (now Governor of Assiniboia) refusing accounts and couched in terms of
insolence wch, between persons of equal rank, wod. undoubtedly have tended to
provoke a breach of the peace—but wch, coming from a person in the position of
a servant, and addressed to his master, were unnoticeable by Mr. Dallas, and simply
prevented the possibility of any intercourse between master & servant except on
the terms of unconditional submission on the part of the latter. That unconditional
submission, Mr. Dallas informed me, was at last yielded: and Mr. Langford, when
he was enabled, by the perhaps weak indulgence of Mr. Cary, & by the charity of
those around him, to leave the colony, a man ruined by his own wilfulness, levity
& extravagance, expressed with many tears his contrition for his past misconduct,
and his grateful sense of the undeserved mercy wch the company had extended to
himself & his family.
The real author of the placard in question wod. probably have been avowed
long ago, were it not that he wod., if known, be exposed during Mr. Langford's
life to every description of annoyance (except personal violence) from a man who
has shewn himself to be most unscrupulous, unreasonable, & litigious: capable
therefore of inflicting a great amount of annoyance without the means of making
the smallest compensation. And since Mr. Langford's departure, he, & the placard,
the action for libel and all the surrounding circumstances, have ceased to be of any
interest to the public.
I wod. suggest that His Grace wod. derive more information concerning Mr.
Langford & his grievances (wch may be also taken, to some extent, as indicating
the tone of some other colonial grievances) from a perusal of the placard itself, of
Mr. Langford's agreement for taking service with the Puget Sound Company, & the
witness of His Excellency, or of Mr. Dallas, or (probably) of any of the home
directors of the Hudson's Bay Compy., as to the truth or falsehood of the statements in the placard, than from any further observations of mine.93
Judge Begbie is widely known as the " Hanging Judge."   With what
greater justice could he be caUed the " Enigmatic Judge "!   The entries
(93) Begbie to Colonial Secretary, December 23, 1862;  this version is from
the manuscript copy in the Archives of B.C. 38 Sydney G. Pettit Jan.-Apr.
in his diaries are in an antique shorthand, which yields nothing of
importance when transcribed. He was on intimate terms with Governor
Douglas, yet he has left scarcely a note on their conversations. In the
same way, his part in the Langford imbrogUo is obscure and must
remain so for want of tangible evidence. Prima facie his statement on
Langford's charges is a tacit admission of impUcation. His intimate
knowledge of every aspect of the case, bis merciless and contemptuous
account of Langford's foUy, the savage satire in the squib itself—aU
fuse into a pattern of convincing associations. On the other hand, it
must be borne in mind that there is not a word of reUable evidence to
prove that he and Good were impUcated. Professor Morton attributes
authorship to Kenneth McKenzie on the grounds that a copy of the
placard in bis handwriting is to be found in the McKenzie Papers.94
The handwriting, however, is clearly not Kenneth McKenzie's, nor is it
his son's. It is not in the hand of Begbie, Good, Cary, or King.
A casual glance at the McKenzie correspondence is sufficient to convince anyone that he could not have composed the squib that blew
Captain Langford out of the colony, turned the Courts upside down,
and eventuaUy, in its last reverberations, reached the ears of Palmerston
The Duke of Newcastle, however, entertained no doubts as to the
identity of the guUty parties. On April 23, 1863, he wrote to inform
Governor Douglas that while he had decided not to pursue an inquiry
into the authorship of the squib, he could not countenance interference
in party pontics by Government officials. He administered a sharp
rebuke, and though he mentioned no names, his intention was perfectly
While, however, I have declined to pursue an enquiry into the authorship of
the placard complained of by Mr. Langford, I wish you to understand, and to make
it understood by the Government officers of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, that an officer connected with the administration of justice is, in my opinion,
bound to abstain scrupulously from all interference in party politics, and that other
permanent officers of Government, though their duties are of necessity in some
respects political, cannot, without injury to the public interest, be permitted to
adopt that personal and aggressive mode of political warfare which is perhaps
allowable to those who are not identified with the administration of affairs.96
On the same day Sir F. Rogers wrote to Captain Langford to inform
him that the Duke of Newcastle thought it unnecessary to pursue his
(94) A. S. Morton, op. cit., p. 784.
(95) Victoria British Colonist, September 4, 1863.
(96) Newcastle to Douglas, April 23,1863, P.P., H.C, 507 of 1863, p. 36. 1953 The Trials of E. E. Langford 39
complaints any further. His Grace was of the opinion that as Langford
had felt aggrieved by the placard, he had taken a proper course in
bringing an action for Ubel. Had it proved to be false or maUcious, he
might have considered it his duty to inquire whether any Government
servants were concerned, but as Langford himself had caused the action
to break down, Newcastle thought it unnecessary and undesirable to
reopen the question. At the same time he felt that Langford had been
justly punished for a serious contempt of Court. FinaUy, His Grace
declined to inquire into the authorship of the squib.97
Undaunted by these reverses, Captain Langford carried out the
threat he had made when leaving the colony. He sought out Fitzwil-
Uam, who appears to have mistrusted the officials of the Colonial Office,
and induced him to carry his complaints to the House of Commons.
On July 10, 1863, FitzwilUam duly moved an address for copies of aU
the correspondence dealing with Langford's grievances.98 A dispute
arose as to whether the motion should contain the customary words
" copies or extracts " or merely " copies." Mr. Chichester Fortescue,
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, insisted on the customary
procedure, and assured FitzwilUam that his suspicion that the officials
of the Colonial Office would omit something of importance was
unfounded. EventuaUy Lord Palmerston intervened, and after some
hesitation Fitzwilliam consented to the insertion of the words "or
extracts." On the advice of the Speaker the motion was withdrawn
and taken as an unopposed return, which was approved on July 13,
and on the twenty-fourth of the same month the Colonial Office made
the return.99 As no further action was taken, Langford was at last
compeUed to accept defeat.
It must be admitted that Captain Langford fought long and hard
against the Governor and officials of the Crown Colony of Vancouver
Island. There were, no doubt, many of his friends and supporters who
subscribed to the sentiments of Amor de Cosmos when he paid tribute
to him as an honest opponent of arbitrary government and poUtical
privilege. When Langford left the colony an impoverished and beaten
man, it may have occurred to de Cosmos, who had allocated to himself
the mantle of Joseph Howe, that this Island reformer was another
(97) Sir F. Rogers to Langford, April 23, 1863, ibid., p. 11.
(98) Victoria British Colonist, September 4, 1863.
(99) Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 3rd series, CLXXJJ (House of Commons, July 10 and 13, 1863), pp. 574-577. The papers as tabled are P.P., H.C,
507 of 1863. 40 Sydney G. Pettit
Robert Gourlay. But, truth to be told, Langford was neither reformer
nor martyr. His incompetence and foUy had led inevitably to failure
in his various enterprises, and in the face of disaster he struck out with
the violence and unreason of the emotionaUy immature. The Government being the object of his animosity, he naturaUy joined the reform
faction and, like Staines before him, became an agitator. As a
champion of reform he was undoubtedly right, but right for the wrong
Sydney G. Pettit.
Victoria College,
" Parentage, birthplace, home, boyhood! these are what a reader
of biography first looks for . . . Douglas! who was Douglas?
says the opener of the book, but he must wade through 90 pages
tantalizingly, before the authors condescend to inform him, and the
information then given amounts to very little. It suffices, however,
to show that no proper investigation has been made, for lines of
inquiry are indicated that have not been pursued."—G. M. Sproat,
commenting upon Sir James Douglas, by R. H. Coats and R. E.
Gosnell (Toronto, 1908).
GUbert Malcolm Sproat was only one of many people who have been
puzzled by the lack of information about the family and ancestry of
James Douglas, but he was wrong in thinking that a routine inquiry
would solve the mystery. Many of the approaches he had in mind have
since been foUowed, and have been found to lead to nothing. One
wishes that Sproat's own curiosity had been aroused sufficiently to cause
him to make some inquiries—he had known Douglas personaUy—and
questions which no one can answer to-day might have been answered
in 1908. Yet it is by no means certain that he would have discovered
much, for James Douglas kept his own counsel aU his days, and even the
men who worked with him for many years in the service of the Hudson's
Bay Company knew only bits and pieces of his story.
The scanty details given by Coats and GosneU seem to have been
drawn from obituaries of Lieutenant-General Sir NeiU Douglas, who died
in 1853. Born in 1780, this distinguished officer had entered the army
in 1801 and had taken part in a long series of famous actions, including
the siege of Copenhagen and the Battles of Corunna and Waterloo. He
was for twenty-two years colonel commanding the 78th Highlanders.
He was aide-de-camp to George IV and WilUam IV, and was made
a Knight Bachelor by the latter in 1831. Queen Victoria made him
a Knight Commander of the Bath in 1838. His decorations included
awards for gallantry from Austria and Russia.
It has long been known that Sir NeiU was some kin of Sir James.
Coats and GosneU beUeved that the two men were cousins.1 We know
now that Sir NeiU was actuaUy James's uncle.   This lends great interest
(1) Robert Hamilton Coats and R. E. Gosnell, Sir James Douglas (Makers of
Canada Series), Toronto, Morang, 1908, p. 92.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2.
41 42 W. Kaye Lamb Jan.-Apr.
to anything that can be discovered about Sir NeiU's ancestry. The
obituary in the Gentleman's Magazine states that he was " a native of
the city of Glasgow, being the fifth son of John Douglas, esq. of that
city, and was descended from the old Earls of Angus, through the
Douglases of Cruxton and Stobbs."2 Unfortunately, none of the standard works on the history of the Douglas family seems to contain any
references to Douglases of Cruxton and Stobbs, and one is led to
suspect that the obituary writer yielded to the temptation, strong in any
Scot, to endow his subject with an ancient lineage, even though the facts
were not available to back up the claim in detail. But the sentence is
nevertheless a valuable clue, for, in conjunction with other evidence, it
gives the name of James Douglas's grandfather—John Douglas—and
clearly associates the farmly with Glasgow.
James Douglas himself stated that his father had five brothers.3
No trace has yet been found of one of these; he may have died in
infancy, or something of the sort. The five known sons of John Douglas
were named Archibald, James, Thomas Dunlop, NeiU, and John Jr.
As we have seen, NeiU went into the army in 1801; the other four
brothers aU became merchants in Glasgow. It is known that their
business interests included sugar plantations in Demerara, British Guiana, and it is evident that they prospered. Early editions of the Glasgow
Directory include a Usting of J. T. & A. Douglas & Company, and this
almost certainly refers to a partnership consisting of John, Thomas, and
John Douglas, Jr., was born in 1772.5 About the turn of the century
he must have represented the partnership for a considerable time in
Demerara. There he formed an attachment which resulted in a famfly
of at least three children—two sons and a daughter.6 The elder boy,
Alexander, was probably born in 1801 or 1802; the younger son, the
future Sir James Douglas, in 1803.    Cecilia Eliza arrived on the scene
(2) Gentleman's Magazine, October, 1853, p. 416.
(3) Douglas to his daughter Jane (Mrs. Dallas), April 26, 1869. MS. in
Provincial Archives.
(4) The Glasgow Directory, containing a list of the Merchants, Manufacturers,
Traders, &c.   .   .   .  corrected till July, 1817, p. 51.   The entry is repeated in 1818.
(5) The death certificate in Somerset House gives his age as 68 in 1840.
(6) John Tod infers in his History of New Caledonia (MS. in Provincial
Archives) that James Douglas had two brothers, but no trace of any brother except
Alexander has yet been found. 1953 Some Notes on the Douglas Family 43
in 1812.7 Scarcely anything is known about James Douglas's mother.
Dr. W. N. Sage was informed by Mrs. Arthur Bushby, daughter of Sir
James, that her grandmother's maiden name was Ritchie.8 It has been
stated that she was a mulatto, largely on the authority of Letitia Hargrave, who referred to James Douglas himself as a mulatto in a letter
written in 1842.9 But Mrs. Hargrave scarcely knew Douglas himself,
and her evidence is very far from being conclusive. John Tod, a much
better witness, since he knew Douglas weU over a long term of years,
stated that James's mother was a Creole.10 This is a very different term,
and does not necessarily carry any impUcation of mixed blood. It
simply means that she was born in the West Indies, or in some other
similar tropical region. The only known reference to his mother in
Douglas's own papers is the entry in a note-book which gives the date
of her death as July, 1839.11
Attachments of this kind seem to have been common at the time.
One gathers the impression that they were almost one of the conventions
of the life led by weU-to-do young merchants who had occasion to pass
any considerable period far from home. It seems safe to assume that
John Douglas made suitable provision for his West Indian fanuly; as we
shall see, both the sons were brought to Scotland, and James at least was
given a good schooling there. By that time John Douglas had contracted a formal alliance of marriage with a bride of suitable station in
Glasgow, but his preoccupation with the West Indies evidently continued
for some time thereafter. The marriage took place in 1809; if the entry
made in the old burial register of Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, is
correct, CeciUa Eliza, as akeady noted, was born in 1812. The entire
episode constitutes an interesting commentary upon early nineteenth-
century moraUty.
Dr. Sage teUs us that Mrs. Bushby beUeved that her father was born
in Lanarkshire, Scotland,12 but the evidence that he was actuaUy born
(7) The entry in the burial register of Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria,
states that she was 47 years old when she died in 1859.
(8) Walter N. Sage, Sir James Douglas and British Columbia, Toronto, 1930,
p. 14.
(9) Margaret Arnett MacLeod, The Letters of Letitia Hargrave, Toronto, The
Champlain Society, 1947, p. 132.
(10) John Tod, History of New Caledonia and the North West Coast. MS. in
Provincial Archives.
(11) MS. in Provincial Archives; quoted in Sage, Sir James Douglas and
British Columbia, p. 363.
(12) Sage, Sir James Douglas and British Columbia, p. 14. 44 W. Kaye Lamb Jan.-Apr.
in Demerara appears to be overwhelming. In addition to the circumstances already outlined, we find that he is referred to repeatedly as
a West Indian in the records of the Hudson's Bay Company. The entry
devoted to him in George Simpson's famous confidential "character
book " begins with the words "A Scotch West Indian."13 The only
important exceptions are his commissions as a Chief Trader and Chief
Factor. In both he is described as " James Douglas of Lanark." But
this is to be expected, since Lanark was in fact his residence at the time
he first entered the fur trade. It thereby became the " home address "
which would be used for official purposes. John Tod described him as
" a native of the West Indies," but confused the issue by referring to
Jamaica instead of to Demerara.14 But it is to the latter that eveiything
points unmistakably. Inquiries indicate that no church or official registers have survived in or around Georgetown which might throw Ught on
the matter, but additional indication comes from the fact that a legacy
of $500 left by Douglas's grandmother to his own five daughters was the
subject of correspondence with a Mr. James Stuart, of Georgetown, as
late as 1868.15
The marriage of " John Douglas, Merchant of Glasgow . . . and
Miss Jessie Hamilton eldest daughter of John Hamilton Merchant of
Greenock " took place in Glasgow on January 14, 1809. The original
marriage contract is preserved in the General Register House, in Edinburgh. Two trust dispositions and settlements, dated March and
December, 1836, and in effect constituting John Douglas's wiU and
a coditil to it, are also on file in the Register House.16 In both documents his wife is referred to as " Mrs. Janet Hamilton or Douglas "; the
reason for the change in name from Jessie to Janet does not appear.
The trustees named to administer the estate included John's wife and
his four brothers—Sir NeiU, Thomas Dunlop, Archibald, and James.
Provision is made for four children of the marriage—a son, John, and
three daughters, Jane Hamilton, Cecilia, and Georgiana. The terms of
the settlements make it evident that John Douglas was by 1836 a very
(13) The entry is quoted in full in Douglas MacKay, The Honourable
Company, Toronto, 1938, p. 200.
(14) John Tod, History of New Caledonia and the North West Coast. MS. in
Provincial Archives.
(15) Copies of letters to Stuart, dated October 7 and November 28, 1868, are
included in a James Douglas personal letter book in the Provincial Archives.
(16) All three documents were registered on July 24, 1840, when the estate of
John Douglas was in course of settlement. Alexander Douglas.
Signatures on the marriage contract between John Douglas and
Jessie Hamilton, 1809.
V'* «*s4:	 1953 Some Notes on the Douglas Family 45
weU-to-do man, and presumably a widely known merchant. It is
interesting to find that Letitia Hargrave, writing a letter in far-away York
Factory, on Hudson Bay, referred to him as " the renowned Mr. Douglass
of Glasow.""
The codicfl to the wiU is in itself reveaUng, since it was necessitated
by the purchase of a residence at 5 Moray Place, Edinburgh, one of the
most fashionable addresses in the Scottish capital. Moray Place, a
handsome pentagon-shaped square, was part of a great development in
a section of the city formerly included in the grounds of Drumsheugh,
the seat of the Earl of Moray. Most of the dwellings were only a dozen
years old, or even less, and they were so large that an extensive staff was
essential to service and maintain them. Many titled folk and famous
people have Uved in the square, and it retained its exclusive and aristocratic character until quite recent times. In his recently published
memoirs, Lord MacmiUan thus recaUs his own home there:—
And finally, in 1910, we reached the dignity of Moray Place, the goal of
ambition in those days and then still undesecrated by mutilation and the invasion
of offices and nursing homes. ... It was a beautiful and spacious home, looking out in front on the Moray Place Gardens and at the back over the Dean Valley
to the hills of Fife across the Forth, with the Bens of the Perthshire Hills just
visible away to the north-west.18
John Douglas was stiU Uving in Moray Place in 1840, when he died
suddenly whUe visiting London. Sir James noted the circumstances
years later, in a travel diary: " Father died in London, where he was
suddenly taken ill at the house of his soUcitor; and died in a few minutes
it is supposed of disease of the hart [sic]—having been subject to such
attacks for the last 10 years of his life. In the intervals he enjoyed good
health, and had fine teeth to the last."19 James was under the impression
that death occurred in September,20 but the official record at Somerset
House shows that the correct date was June 30. The place of death is
given as 6 Ely Place, Holborn Union. John Douglas is described as a
" West India Merchant," and his age is given as 68.21 The Glasgow
Herald of the time has been carefuUy checked in the hope that an
obituary notice giving some details of his career and famUy might have
(17) The Letters of Letitia Hargrave, p. 132.
(18) Lord Macmillan, A Man of Law's Tale, London, 1952, p. 44.
(19) James Douglas, travel diary, 1864-65, in Provincial Archives.
(20) He entered this date in his note-book, preserved in the Provincial
Archives; quoted in Sage, Sir James Douglas and British Columbia, p. 363.
(21) The death certificate is filed under Holborn U, 93. 46 W. Kaye Lamb Jan.-Apr.
been pubUshed, but only a brief and formal reference to John Douglas's
demise was found.
We do not know precisely when young Alexander and James were
brought from Demerara to Scotland. James was placed in a good school
at Lanark, where he boarded with a Mrs. Glendinning. Judging from
the exceUence of his penmanship and composition, and the ease with
which he handled compUcated accounts in later years, he must have
spent some time there. Both boys were destined for the fur trade, and
Alexander entered the service of the North West Company in 1818.
James foUowed in 1819, and the chief features of his long and remarkable career are weU known. Alexander, by contrast, seems to have been
a misfit in the fur trade, and far inferior to his brother in abiUty and
intelligence. After the coaUtion with the Hudson's Bay Company he was
described in a report as being " Stupid & inactive, deficient in education,
not adapted for the Country."22 He was finaUy dropped from the
service, and sailed for England from York Factory in the Prince of Wales
in the autumn of 1824.   AU trace of him is lost at that point.23
A single letter in James Douglas's correspondence hints that he may
have written occasionaUy to his father,24 but no communication between
the two has actuaUy come to Ught. On the other hand, he was in touch
fairly regularly with his sister CeciUa, who had been left behind in
Georgetown, Demerara. She later became the wife of David Cameron,
first Chief Justice of Vancouver Island; but an earUer marriage had
turned out unhappUy. Dr. Helmcken compares her with James, and
recalls the circumstances of this first marriage in an interesting passage
in his Reminiscences:—
She bore a great resemblance to him—a tall stout—dignified—rather muscular
(with a little fat) lady, with the West Indian manners—very polite and nice, but
she differed from her brother in that she liked a joke and laughed rather pleasantly.
Cameron was her second husband—the first named Cowan had gone to the States;
she followed him but could not find any traces altho she travelled much through
different states in difficulty and distress.   No tidings came to her of him.   She
(22) R. Harvey Fleming (ed.), Minutes of Council, Northern Department of
Rupert Land, 1821-31. Published by The Champlain Society for the Hudson's
Bay Record Society, 1940, p. 437.
(23) Ibid.
(24) See the letter regarding Janet Glendinning dated November 8, 1867:
" I wrote to my father on the subject ..." James Douglas, personal letter
book; MS. in Provincial Archives. 1953 Some Notes on the Douglas Family 47
always spoke in the most heartfelt manner of the American people, who had been
very kind and hospitable, assisted her in every possible way.25
The date of the Cowan marriage is not known; a cash payment of
£50 made to CeciUa by James Douglas in 1832 through the Hudson's
Bay Company may bear some relationship to it. Seven years later
James began making payments of £30 per annum to provide for the
education of her daughter, CeciUa Cowan. Meanwhile, she had met
and married David Cameron, a cloth merchant from Perth who had been
unfortunate in business, and who had taken a post on a sugar plantation
in Demerara. In 1845 Mrs. Cameron took her daughter to London,
and a letter she addressed to the Hudson's Bay Company the foUowing spring throws Ught upon the financial provision being made by
My Brother Mr. James Douglas has authorized you to pay me annually the sum
of thirty pounds to meet the expence of educating my Daughter which sum I have
hitherto received myself, but having lately placed her in the neighborhood of
Cologne, and being about to proceed to the West Indies, which will prevent me
attending personally to the business, I have to beg that you will be pleased hereafter to pay the annual allowance to Mr. P. Amsel of No. 123 Broad Street
Cologne in Instalments of £10 every four months beginning in June next on his
applying for same.2^
Young CeciUa passed the next three years in Germany. In 1850 Douglas paid her passage to the Columbia River in the barque Tory, and she
joined him in Victoria.27 By that time, plans to bring her mother and
stepfather, and their daughter Edith Rebecca, to Vancouver Island were
probably already afoot. Through Douglas's good offices, David Cameron was offered a position at the coal mines which the Hudson's Bay
Company was developing at Nanaimo. This he accepted, and in the
summer of 1853 the whole famUy was reunited. A few months later,
circumstances led to Cameron's appointment to the judiciary, and they
settled permanently in Victoria.
On March 20,1858, CeciUa Eliza Cowan Cameron became the bride
of WilUam A. G. Young, who was shortly to become Colonial Secretary
(25) J. S. Helmcken, Reminiscences, MS. in Provincial Archives; quoted from
pp. 202-203 of the transcript of the original.
(26) Cecilia Cameron to the Governor and Committee, March 19, 1846;
Hudson's Bay Company Archives, A. 10/21. Quoted by kind permission of the
(27) Payment was actually made in 1851, but the ship sailed from England
in 1850. Details of the various payments made by Douglas are taken, by kind
permission of the Hudson's Bay Company, from the original account books in the
Company's Archives. 48 W. Kaye Lamb Jan.-Apr.
of the Colony of Vancouver Island, and soon after that Colonial Secretary of the Colony of British Columbia as weU. After confederation,
Young received other appointments from the Colonial Office in Jamaica,
British Guiana, Trinidad, and finaUy the Gold Coast, where he was
Governor at the time of his death in 1885. He had been made a Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1877.28 Two of
WiUiam and CeciUa Young's sons, both born in Victoria, foUowed their
father into the Colonial Service, and both eventuaUy were knighted. The
elder of the two was christened WiUiam James in 1859,29 but appears in
Burke's Peerage as Sir WilUam Douglas Young. He was Governor of
the Falkland Islands during the First World War, and died as recently
as 1943, within a few days of his eighty-fourth birthday. His brother,
Joseph Alfred Karney Young, was born in 1865, joined the legal branch
of the Service, and finaUy became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Fiji and Chief Judicial Commissioner for the Western Pacific. He died
in 1942.30 Mary Alice Young, a daughter born in 1862, became the
wife of Frederic Mitchell Hodgson, and he, like her father, ended his
career as Governor of the Gold Coast. He was knighted in 1899.
Mary Alice herself became a Lady of Grace of the Order of St. John
of Jerusalem, and in 1901 published a volume entitled The Siege of
Kumassi, which described her experiences in that critical episode in the
Ashanti War of 1900.31
A future of a quite different kind awaited CeciUa's half-sister, Edith
Rebecca Cameron. She met and became engaged to Henry Montagu
Doughty, a young lieutenant in one of the ships of the Royal Navy
stationed at Esquimalt. This romance was interrupted by the sudden
death of Mrs. Cameron in November, 1859, which made Edith feel that
it was impossible for her to leave her father. She wrote to Doughty and
broke off the engagement, but he responded by instantly obtaining leave
and coming to Victoria to claim his bride.32   They were married on
(28) An obituary in the Victoria Colonist, June 20, 1885, refers to him as
" Sir William A. G. Young," but this is a mistake;   he was not knighted.
(29) According to the old register in Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria.
(30) Summaries of the careers of both brothers will be found in the Colonial
Office List and Burke's Peerage.
(31) For a brief account of the siege see Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition,
Cambridge, 1911, II, p. 728.
(32) See N. de Bertrand Lugrin, The Pioneer Women of Vancouver Island,
Victoria, 1928, pp. 197-198. 1953 Some Notes on the Douglas Family 49
August 21, 1860, and Edith—always a favourite of James Douglas—
left with her husband for England. There she took up residence at
Theberton HaU, the stately Doughty mansion at Saxmundham, Suffolk.
Her husband's brother, Charles Montagu Doughty, was the famous poet,
traveUer, and author of Travels in Arabia Deserta.
After he retired and received his knighthood, James Douglas decided
to spend a year abroad. He kept a detaUed diary most of the time,
and, in view of the background which has been sketched in these notes,
the entries which relate to various members of the Douglas famUy are
of quite unusual interest.
His tour occupied the latter half of 1864 and the first months of 1865.
At that date aU his uncles were dead except Thomas Dunlop Douglas,
who was entering his ninetieth year. James caUed at his home in Glasgow, but the old gentleman was out.33 No suspicion that he was merely
" not at home " need be entertained; the diary makes it clear that James
was cordiaUy received by the family connections. In Edinburgh he
caUed on " Cousin Susanha Douglas," who cannot be positively identified, but who may have been a daughter of Archibald Douglas. A few
days later he traveUed to Inchmartin, the 4,000-acre estate of another
cousin, Mrs. Fergusson Blair. This was the former Barbara Elrington
Douglas, third daughter of Sir NeiU Douglas.34 She had previously been
married to a Mr. AUen, and James Douglas met the son of this marriage,
James Douglas Bow AUen. At the time of his visit, Barbara was the
widow of Neil-James-Fergusson Blair, a Magistrate for Perthshire. In
December, 1865, she was to become the wife of the Honourable WilUam
Arbuthnot, fifth son of the eighth Viscount Arbuthnot.
Douglas first met his Cousin Barbara at the agricultural show at
Stirling. She took a keen interest in farming, and at Inchmartin devoted
much time to raising poultry. In 1861 she had pubUshed a 200-page
volume entitled The Henwife: her own experience in her own poultry-
yard, which was dedicated " by permission " to Miss Burdett Courts.
The preface states that the author had " during the last four years . . .
gained upwards of 300 prizes, in Scotland and England " and that she
had " personaUy superintended the management of forty separate yards,
(33) See the letter from James Douglas to Jane Douglas dated July 13, 1868,
in James Douglas, private letter book; MS. in Provincial Archives.
(34) Sir Neill had at least four daughters, though we know the names of only
three: Barbara Elrington; Cecilia, who married the Honourable Augustus G. F.
Jocelyn, half-brother of the Earl of Roden, and died in 1847; and a younger
daughter who became Mrs. F. D. Finlay, of Glasgow. 50 W. Kaye Lamb Jan.-Apr.
in which have annuaUy been hatched more than 1000 chickens."35 The
Uttle manual seems to have caught the popular fancy and was reprinted
frequently. The copies in the British Museum Library show that it had
reached an eighth revised and enlarged edition by 1870.36
Another highUght of the tour was Douglas's visit in September, 1864,
to Theberton HaU, where he was warmly welcomed by his niece, the
former Edith Rebecca Cameron. He arrived at an interesting time, as
his diary relates:—
Harvest home at Theberton—about 500 people. They arrived in procession,
headed by a musical band . . . the labourers repaired to the tent and the elders
men and women took their seats at the dining tables. The fare consisted of plum
pudding in which the plums were conspicuous. Boiled rounds of capital beef and
pudding again to close the repast—and one pint of beer to each person present.
. . . Dinner was succeeded by dancing on the green, foot ball—leaping foot
races, and other sports—which kept the crowd in a state of exciting hilarity until
the shades of evening stole upon them—when the day closed by the rector
Mr Hardinge with a forcible and appropriate address. The entertainment was
a perfect success.
By this time Edith had several daughters, to one of which Douglas
was godfather. Two sons were to foUow—Charles, in 1868, and Henry
Montagu, whose birth was to cost Edith her life, on September 4, 1870.
Charles became a soldier, led his men ashore from the River Clyde in
the famous and bloody landing upon GalUpoU in 1915, and was kiUed a
Uttle later in the same campaign.37 Henry entered the Royal Navy, commanded the battleship Agincourt at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, rose
to be a rear-admiral in command of the First Battle Squadron of the
Atlantic Fleet, and died just after he hauled down his flag and came
ashore in 1921.38
But in 1864 aU this was far in the future.
The remaining highUght of Douglas's journey was his visit to Paris,
where his half-sister, Jane Hamilton Douglas, was residing in the Boulevard Malesherbes. They took to one another immediately, became firm
friends, and corresponded on affectionate terms as long as both remained
aUve.    There is something very warm and touching about the diary
(35) Quoted from p. vi of the 1861 edition.
(36) Edinburgh, Thomas C. Jack, 1870, pp. xxi, 273.
(37) For an account of his career see H. W. C. Davis and J. R. H. Weaver
(eds.), The Dictionary of National Biography, 1912-1921, Oxford, 1927, pp.
160-161. He added his wife's surname to his own and is listed as Charles Hotham
Montagu Doughty-Wylie.
(38) See the obituary in The Times, London, May 3, 1921. 1953 Some Notes on the Douglas Family 51
entries relating to Jane; even though she is referred to as " Miss Douglas," it is clear that she was held in very special regard.
Other kinsfolk who have not yet been identified flit through the
pages of the diary. We would like to know more about " Mrs. Robert
Douglas of Orbiston," who extended an invitation to Douglas which he
accepted. " Mrs. Douglas of Douglas Park " appears more than once;
an old Ordinance Gazeteer of Scotland teUs us that Douglas Park was
" an estate, with a mansion, in BothweU parish, Lanarkshire . . .
\3A nule E. of BothweU viUage."39 There are references to a WiUiam
Douglas, to another James Douglas, and to " Sir John " which it would
be interesting to be able to clear up. Perhaps in time this may be
When Douglas returned to Victoria, he had many contacts abroad
which he maintained for the rest of his life. One of his own daughters
(Jane, the wife of A. G. DaUas) was Uving in Great Britain. His favourite niece, Edith, was mistress of Theberton HaU. His other two half-
sisters, CeciUa and Georgiana, were evidently stiU Uving, for he asks
Jane for news of them. " TeU me aU about CeciUa and Georgiana," he
wrote in 1868, " the subject is fuU of interest to me."40 La the spring
of 1869 news arrived of the death of old Thomas Douglas, at the age
of 94. " Peace be with him," was James's comment.41 Jane had come
to be the member of the Glasgow fanuly who reaUy mattered, and a
typical letter to her ended with the words:—
May God bless you
My dearest Jane
ever affectly yours,
James Douglas.42
In a word, he had come home from abroad a man with a fanuly,
and, thanks to his diary and his letters, we are begirining at last to know
something about bis kinsmen and ancestry.
W. Kaye Lamb.
Public Archives of Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario.
(39) Francis H. Groome, Ordinance Gazeteer of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1882,
I, p. 367.
(40) James Douglas, private letter book, MS. in Provincial Archives; letter
to Miss Douglas dated July 13, 1868.
(41) Ibid.; letter to his daughter Jane (Mrs. Dallas), April 26, 1869.
(42) Ibid.; letter to Miss Douglas, July 13, 1868. THE UNITED FARMERS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA—
British Columbia, as John Nelson noted, is a Province physicaUy
apart from the other Canadian Provinces.1 The mountains separating
coast dweUers and plainsmen create an obstacle to identity of interest
and to common action. This is iUustrated in the case of the United
Farmers of British Columbia, an agrarian movement which tried to
accommodate itself to the phfiosophy of western revolt but which could
never bring about a complete fusion with that protest.
Lack of focus in the farmers' movement in British Columbia was
evident from the beginning. This sprang largely from the fact that
agricultural conditions and pursuits within the Province were highly
diversified. " No other Province has the great variety of soU, climate,
and conditions," declared the Vancouver News Advertiser in 1917.
" The cUmate of British Columbia is the wettest and the dryest in the
Dominion. The soil is the richest and among the poorest. Irrigation
and drainage, tree planting and land clearing are among the necessities."2 The farmer on Vancouver Island was concerned about
land-clearing, which was difficult and expensive; the farmer in the
Fraser delta about dyking and drainage; and the farmer in the Okanagan
VaUey about the cost of planting fruit-trees and buUding irrigation-
works. Intensive agriculture prevailed in the southern part of the
Province; extensive agriculture in the central and northern sections.
The home market absorbed the products of dairymen, root-growers, and
the producers of hay, hops, honey, and hens. To the export market
went cattle and apples, their prices enhanced by high freight rates on
the long haul across Canada. Only a few common problems existed
to unite farmers — the taxation burden, labour shortages, and need
for short-term loans. Each farming group had its own occupational
problems and was generaUy preoccupied with them.
Concerted economic or poUtical action was made difficult not only
because there was a wide range of interests, but also because of great
differences among the farmers in background, education, and outlook.
There were in the Interior of the Province, for example, " gentlemen
(1) John Nelson, The Canadian Provinces, Toronto, 1924, p. 169.
(2) Vancouver News Advertiser, editorial, February 18, 1917.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2.
53 54 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
farmers " and ranchers, weU read and possessing good Ubraries, whose
closest neighbours had never had any formal schooling. Some farmers
knew no surcease from toU; others, even in war-time, observed the
weekly ritual of the tennis match. Some were weU versed in economic
theory and socialist doctrine; others read Uttle but the works of
Kipling. British Columbia farmers were highly individuaUstic, hardly
class conscious, and, generaUy speaking, conservative.
Yet certain co-operative enterprises had existed for some time within
the Province. These were professional organizations which usuaUy had
been founded to raise standards of production and to attempt some type
of regulated marketing. The most successful were the British Columbia
Fruit Growers' Association and the Fraser VaUey Milk Producers'
Association. By 1917 they were both efficiently organized and weU
supported by producers. Such associations as these and the organizations founded by Uve-stock breeders, dairymen, and other groups helped
to create among the farmers a tradition of self-reUance and of self-help.
Their success was in contrast to the failure of the Farmers' AUiance and
the Grange.3
Government-supported Farmers' Institutes, which had been established as early as 1897, also existed. They served the farmers' needs
by supplying information and instruction through the medium of agricultural demonstrations. Through sponsorship of social programmes,
they incidentaUy promoted exchanges of views and opinions. The fact
that they remained popular during the period when the United Farmers
of British Columbia was active is additional evidence of the conservatism
of British Columbia farmers.
The drafting of the Farmers' Platform by the Canadian CouncU of
Agriculture, and its endorsation by such agrarian organizations as the
Manitoba Grain Growers' Association, the Saskatchewan Grain
Growers' Association, the United Farmers of Alberta, and the United
Farmers of Ontario probably helped to inspire organization of a
farmers' movement within the Pacific Province. The Provincial poUtical
situation, however, seems to bear a closer relationship to its emergence.
After a long period of Conservative leadership, the people, in the
election of 1916, rejected that party and its new leader, the Honourable
W. J. Bowser.   Throughout the Province the feeling existed that poor
(3) L. A. Wood, A History of Farmers' Movements in Canada, Toronto, 1924,
p. 307. The Farmers' Alliance tried to set up locals in 1897 and again in 1908.
A Grange at New Westminster lasted only a short time. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 55
leadership had ruined the party's reputation. The new Liberal Premier,
the Honourable H. C. Brewster, was as untried as the members of his
Cabinet, and there was anxiety lest the reins of government had sUpped
into the hands of inexperienced men. The Brewster government had to
struggle with tangled problems of finance as weU as a compUcated and
difficult raUway problem, and it had to determine policy in connection
with prohibition, which the people had recently approved but the
overseas soldiers had rejected. Although the Province had a population
of less than 500,000, there was, at March 31, 1917, a total funded debt
of $23,153,146 in addition to bond guarantees of $73,782,078 given to
support the buUding projects of the Canadian Northern Pacific and the
Pacific Great Eastern RaUways.4 These debts portended heavy Provincial taxation at the time when Federal taxation was being increased to
help pay the war debt.
Lack of confidence in the Provincial Government was accompanied
by concern about the farmer's future. The contraction of foreign
markets was a worry to cattlemen and fruit-growers. The overseas
apple market was almost completely cut off in the spring of 1917 when
Lloyd George announced that shipping space must be conserved for
more important cargoes.5 Furthermore, production costs were mounting as labour became scarcer. As enlistments in the army increased,
and the shipbuUding and base-metal industries expanded, the countryside
was almost drained of its labour force. By the beginning of 1917 the
pUght of the farmer was so serious that appUcations for loans under
the "Agricultural Credits Act" of the Bowser government stood at
In November, 1916, the Cowichan Creamery Association took the
initiative in a movement to unite farmers. The Vancouver Island
Farmers' Union, with some 100 members, was created, and a provisional
committee was set up to invite representatives of Farmers' Institutes to
meet in convention in Victoria on February 16, 1917. The caU for
the convention went out under the names of R. M. Palmer, former
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and W. Paterson, of KoksUah.7 J. L.
Pridham became the proponent of agrarian organization at the conven-
(4) J. Castell Hopkins, The Canadian Annual Review of PubUc Affairs
1917, Toronto, 1918, p. 831.   Hereafter cited as " CAR."
(5) Vancouver Province, February 23, 1917.
(6) C.A.R., 1917, p. 828.
(7) B.C. Fruit and Farm Magazine, IX (March, 1917), p. 1191. 56 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
tion, and, as the result of his leadership, the United Farmers of British
Columbia came into existence.
Pridham was a pioneer fruit-grower of the Okanagan VaUey. He
had come from England in 1891, purchased land from G. G. Mackay,
and planted it to trees.8 How advanced his thinking was in 1917 is
difficult to say, but before long he became a convert to the views of
Henry Wise Wood.9 Like Wood, Pridham beUeved that " the great evU
of today was the blind selfishness of aU classes,"10 and that co-operation
should be substituted for competition. He desired the organization of
the farmers as an economic group and representation of their interests
in government, although not through the organization of a poUtical
party. " The United Farmers," he said in 1923, " never had been, and,
he hoped, never would be, tied to the chariot of any poUtical party.
Such a body should be entirely separate."11 He appears to have rejected
the principle of partyism and to have accepted the Wood principle of
" group government." He was interested in the improvement of agricultural marketing systems and in lifting the " unfair burden of taxation
put on the land " for the support of education and roads.12 Although
Pridham had thought more deeply about the problem than many of the
farmers assembled in Victoria in the spring of 1917, he did not assume
direction of the movement, and it was not until 1922 that he became
president of the U.F.B.C.
The Victoria meeting was to be the first of many at which
representatives of the Canadian CouncU of Agriculture and agrarian
movements on the Prairies were present to guide the farmers. To this
meeting came Roderick McKenzie, secretary of the Canadian CouncU
of Agriculture, and W. D. Trego, vice-president of the United Farmers
of Alberta. McKenzie explained the principles and poUcies outlined
in the Farmers' Platform, and showed the necessity of creating a force
representing the common people but led by the farmers to counteract
the influence of trusts and combines.13   " The one thing we have steered
(8) Vancouver Farm and Home, February 11, 1926.
(9) For a discussion of Wood's philosophy see W. L. Morton, " Social Philosophy of Henry Wise Wood, the Canadian Agrarian Leader," Agricultural History,
XXH (1948), pp. 114-122, and W. K. Rolph, Henry Wise Wood of Alberta,
Toronto, 1950, passim.
(10) Vancouver Farm and Home, January 25, 1923.
(11) Ibid.
(12) Ibid.
(13) Hopkins Moorhouse, Deep Furrows, Toronto and Winnipeg, 1918, p. 259. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 57
clear of is letting party poUtics enter into our organization. The thing
we are trying to do is to co-operate with our legislators by helping them
to find out the things that need enacting into law and that have not been
enacted into law or to find what laws already on the Statute books are
weak and ask that these weaknesses be corrected—not in a dominating
spirit but in a spirit of equity."14
When the U.F.B.C. programme emerged it showed striking simUari-
ties to the United Farmers of Alberta. The United Farmers of British
Columbia was to serve as a medium for united action and resistance
against unfair taxation; it was to undertake to " study and teach
economic legislation independent of aU existing parties"; promote
co-operative enterprises, good farming methods, the enlargement of
markets, and the gathering of market information; to try to obtain by
united efforts profitable and equitable prices for produce; secure the
best and cheapest transportation; and promote social intercourse, a
higher standard of community life, and the study of economic and social
questions "bearing on our interests as farmers and citizens."15 No
independent poUtical organization was envisaged; poUtical activities
were to be confined to the education of farmers along economic lines and
enUsting the support of candidates of existing parties for favourable
farm poUcies.16 At a directors' meeting after the convention, it was
decided to make the organization independent of the Government and
The chief difficulty in the path of subscribing to the Farmers'
Platform lay in its references to tariff policy. The fruit-growers, who
constituted the group which moved into the United Farmers of British
Columbia in largest numbers, stood for protection. Washington and
Oregon apples were already competing on the Canadian market with
Okanagan apples, and no fruit-grower wanted a lowering of tariff walls.
Trego tried to convince the B.C.F.G.A. convention that "through
co-operation you can do more than by seeking protection under the
tariff waU,"18 but aU it would advocate was interprovincial trade.
While they were willing to draw on the leadership and experience
of Prairie agrarians, farmers in British Columbia did not have as intense
a hostUity toward the East and the big interests.   The sense of sec-
(14) Ibid., p. 260.
(15) C.A.R. 1917, p. 828.
(16) Vancouver News-Advertiser, February 18, 1917.
(17) Vancouver Province, February 16, 1917.
(18) Ibid., February 14, 1917. 58 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
tional conflict was almost missing in the Province, although there was a
tradition of " fighting Ottawa " in the matter of subsidy arrangements.
As a Province which faced the Pacific, British Columbia had a
problem which did not exist elsewhere. Orientals, and particularly
Chinese, were taking advantage of war-time opportunities to buy land,
and their production was competing with that of the other farmers.
At almost every U.F.B.C. convention, discussion of the problem took
place, and much time was taken up with determining poUcy in connection with Chinese immigration. In 1917 the B.C.F.G.A. convention,
concerned with labour shortages, actuaUy suggested the lowering of the
bars against the Chinese.19 It was soon to take a different stand on
the matter, and the feeling of the supporters of the United Farmers
of British Columbia was represented in the statement of one of its
members that " he was wiUing to shoulder a gun to drive out the
Oriental."20 In this, as in other matters, the farmers were slow to
arrive at a policy, and their delay permitted John OUver, who succeeded
to the premiership after the death of Brewster in 1917, and who was
a practical farmer, to seize the initiative. In large measure forestalling
the emergence of a third poUtical party was due to his success in persuading the Legislature to accept a raUway poUcy, a land settlement
scheme, a reclamation project, and eventuaUy marketing legislation,
which, on the whole, were in the farmers' interests.
When the first convention of the United Farmers of British Columbia
was held in Victoria in February, 1918, membership stood at 1,000 and
between thirty and forty locals had been organized. George Clark, an
Englishman who had been in British Columbia since 1886 and who had
held the office of president of the North Saanich Conservative Club, was
chosen president. He no longer felt, he said, that he could endorse the
party tactics.21 The convention fixed membership fees at $1 a year,
authorized the executive to divide the Province into districts, and
adopted as its official organ B.C. Fruit and Farm. The resolutions
showed the variety of interests among farmers: they asked that
improvements on farm lands be exempted from taxation; that the
Government assist farmers to obtain seed-grain, pass a Rural Credits
Act, investigate the municipal and the school system with the purpose
of devising better machinery for administrative purposes, develop further
(19) Ibid.
(20) B.C. Fruit and Farm Magazine, IX (March, 1917), p. 1191.
(21) Vernon News, February 13, 1919. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 59
agricultural education, conscript foreign labour, prevent Orientals from
acquiring control of agricultural lands, and practise greater economy.
The only reference to the tariff was a statement favouring the aboUtion
of all customs duties on agricultural implements and machinery. The
Federal Government was to be asked to throw open for settlement after
a year's notice isolated tracts in the Railway Belt, and to amend the
Bank Act so that a farmer applying to a bank for a chattel mortgage
would not have to pay a legal fee. The convention also advocated the
amalgamation of telephone-lines in British Columbia, and in the event
of this failing, government control of the lines.
General opinion of the board of directors favoured affiliation with
the Canadian CouncU of Agriculture, but the step was not taken.
Among the members of the board who favoured such a step was John R.
Brown, of Vernon, whose column in the Vernon News introduced many
farmers to Wood's phUosophy of group government.22 He was far ahead
of most of his associates in the Vernon local, who, at their first meeting
in March, 1918, were content to do no more than to listen to a paper
on the " Culture and Care of Begonias."
Brown looked forward eagerly to the appearance of Wood in the
VaUey on the Chatauqua circuit. Wood, however, did not arrive.
In November the new Farmers' Platform was adopted by the Canadian
CouncU of Agriculture, and the four Provincial farmer associations in
Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan had, by February, 1919,
subscribed to it. The way was now open for local Federal constituencies
in these Provinces to organize poUtical groups to nominate and elect
candidates who would pledge themselves to support the platform.
Action was contemplated only in the Federal field, and as yet the
creation of a separate party was not approved. These developments,
and the problems they raised in Alberta, apparently prevented Wood
from coming to British Columbia until early in 1919. In his place came
P. P. Woodbridge, a member of the United Farmers of Alberta and a
man of long experience in wheat co-operatives in Alberta. Woodbridge
assisted with the organization work of the United Farmers of British
Columbia. He tried to explain to the farmers "the great benefit of
effective educative effort," which, he said, was " lacking in B.C.," but
he had to admit that he was " surprised to find so much successful
co-operative organization without it."23
(22) See, for example, his column "Agriculture and Education," in Vernon
News, March 28, 1918.
(23) Ibid., January 9, 1919. 60 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
Although Wood attended the convention held at Kamloops in 1919,
he apparently had Uttle time to concern himself with the problem of
farmer organization in British Columbia, since there were important
matters to be decided in Alberta. The whole question of amalgamation
of the United Farmers of Alberta and the Non-Partisan League was to
the fore, and a decision had to be reached as to whether the United
Farmers of Alberta would sponsor poUtical action in the Provincial field.
In the next few months it decided to do this as an economic group.24
The resolutions submitted by the U.F.B.C. locals to the 1919
convention dealt, on the whole, with minor matters. More important
than consideration of these was the necessity of deternuning poUcy in
connection with the Farmers' Institutes. The convention decided to
initiate steps to bring about amalgamation of the United Farmers of
British Columbia and the Institutes. It wanted to absorb the Institutes
and do away with government sponsorship. In June a conference was
held at Smithers. It was attended by the Honourable E. D. Barrow,
Minister of Agriculture; the Honourable A. M. Manson, member of
the Legislative Assembly for Omineca; the secretary and other members
of the Farmers' Institutes' Advisory Board; the president of the British
Columbia Fruit Growers' Association; the editor of the B.C. Farmer,
now the organ of the United Farmers of British Columbia; a representative of the Provincial Land Settlement Board; and others.25 The
principle of amalgamation was approved, and a joint committee was
set up under the chairmanship of C. E. Barnes, president of the British
Columbia Fruit Growers' Association. A plan for union was drawn
up in July.
By the time the fourth annual convention met in Victoria in
February, 1920, membership in the United Farmers of British Columbia
had grown to 4,300.26 The recent election of the U.F.O. government
in Ontario helped to fix attention on qualification for membership in
the United Farmers of British Columbia and on poUcy that should be
foUowed in connection with poUtical action. An attempt was made
to exclude from the ranks of membership aU those "interested in
farming " and to restrict membership to those " whose chief occupation
is farming " and retired farmers.27   Had this succeeded, it would have
(24) W. L. Morton, The Progressive Party in Canada, Toronto, 1950, pp.
(25) Vernon News, June 26, 1919.
(26) Victoria Times, February 23, 1920.
(27) Ibid. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 61
resulted in the acceptance of the U.F.O. principle of occupational representation. It was decided, however, to foUow the Alberta example and
to put the main emphasis on economic organization. " We are farmers,"
declared R. A. Copeland, the president, " but first of aU we are citizens
and we want no class legislation. The only class legislation we want
is first-class legislation."28 The temptation to decide on political action
was strong, since there was a strong possibiUty that the OUver government would go to the country before the year was out. It would be
unorthodox to accept any but the platform of the Canadian CouncU
of Agriculture, and consequently there was again discussion of its
acceptance. As before, however, the great stumbling-block to union
was tariff poUcy. " If the United Farmers of British Columbia identify themselves with the farmers' poUtical movement on the prairie,"
warned the Victoria Daily Times, " they obviously must join in advocating that the duty on fruit as well as upon other things prescribed in the
farmers' platform be abolished. No reservations can be permitted in
respect of fiscal poUcy, which is one of the vitals of the agrarian
Henry Wise Wood, this time accompanied by C. Rice-Jones, vice-
president of the United Grain Growers, played an important part in the
convention. There he preached his famUiar sermon that co-operation
is the true law of life:—
There is no class we can prey on or can do without. The only thing we can do
is to force an economic readjustment on the basis of justice for all. We cant
destroy any of their industries, but we can meet the competition they are building
up against us to protect ourselves from exploitation. . . . When 16,000 farmers
in B.C. can speak as one man, then you can represent some strength. At the polls,
unless you have this, you go out and assassinate one another.
You won't have this unit of strength developed in twenty years, but you can
make yourselves ten times as strong in the next few years, because you have never
had any strength before.
In Alberta we have been working for a dozen or fifteen years, but we haven't
got 5 per cent of our strength mobilized even yet.30
FoUowing his advice, the United Farmers of British Columbia again
decided against poUtical action.
(28) Ibid., February 23, 1920.
(29) Ibid., editorial, February 24, 1920.
(30) Ibid., the Honourable Charles A. Dunning, at the time Provincial Treasurer and Minister of Agriculture in the Saskatchewan Government, also attended
the convention.   He became Liberal Premier of Saskatchewan in 1922. 62 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
Wood also advised the United Farmers of British Columbia in the
matter of its relations with the Farmers' Institutes. The plan for
amalgamation had misfired. W. F. Laidman, president of the Vernon
Fruit Union, who had attended the Smithers meeting, put before the
convention a plan to create a Provincial CouncU of Agriculture, representing five farming groups — mixed farmers, Uve-stock producers,
dairymen, fruit-growers, and poultrymen—which would be substituted
for the Agricultural Advisory CouncU which assisted the Minister of
Agriculture. Many in the United Farmers of British Columbia saw in
this a device to bring the United Farmers of British Columbia under
government control, and they believed that the time had passed for
government aid and stimulus. The vitality of the farmers' movement,
they argued, depended on its independence. Wood felt that too much
suspicion was not good. He urged the farmers to organize in one
primary body and later permit speciaUzed branches to grow out of the
main body. "What you want to do is to organize your forces on a
logical basis, preparatory to that conflict on the result of which is going
to depend the future of civUization."31 The acceptance of government
grants, he said, would not necessarily mean the sacrifice of independence.32 Before the convention broke up, he had a large hand in the
creation of another committee which again was to go into the matter
of amalgamation. Until such time as amalgamation was completed,
it was agreed that three members should be chosen from each of the
two bodies to act as an advisory committee to the Government. If
amalgamation came about, the United Farmers of British Columbia
would elect the members of the Advisory CouncU.33
Decision on major poUcies was made difficult at the 1920 convention
because many of the farmers were more interested in minor and local
problems, such as aboUtion of daylight saving and increased bounties for
coyote-hides, than they were in political and economic principles. Many
of them did not have sufficient training in poUtical theory to comprehend
significant issues. When one speaker, for example, denounced the poUcies and actions of Provincial political parties and rule by a " whipped "
majority, and demanded resignation only by vote of want of confidence,
the chairman ruled the suggestion out, since he said it was based on an
" abstruse point of constitutional law."34   A motion introduced by the
(31) Ibid.
(32) Vancouver Province, February 27, 1920.
(33) Victoria Times, February 26, 1920.
(34) Vancouver Province, February 24, 1920. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 63
ChiUiwack local to endorse the platform of the Canadian CouncU of
Agriculture was branded by one member as "poUtical and therefore
dangerous," and the motion was tabled.35 There was discussion of
the incorporation of a trading corporation to handle and market aU the
produce of farmers and to supply farmers with " aU the necessaries of
life from stumping-powder to tractors and automobUes,"36 but the
convention would not go so far. Its only recommendation was that
the association estabUsh sugar-refineries. The problem of Oriental
ownership of land was aired, and a resolution was finaUy passed that
only duly qualified British subjects should be aUowed to hold or lease
land, and that goods produced and sold by Orientals should be
stamped.37 The executive was left to decide poUcy in connection with
the nationaUzation of banks and banking. An appeal from Colonel
J. W. Mcintosh, M.L.A., leader of the " soldiers' party," to join with
the veterans and labour, found no response,38 and the decision not to
take political action " was carried without debate by standing vote."39
Few seem to have realized the importance of the decision to permit
locals to put candidates in the political field,40 but advantage of this was
taken later in the year when Colonel C. E. Edgett ran on the United
Farmers' ticket in the Yale by-election.
On June 4 the committee representing the United Farmers of
British Columbia and the Farmers' Institutes met at Kelowna, and the
principle of amalgamation was again approved. When it came to
working out practical detaUs of the arrangement, however, no agreement
could be reached. The effect of the faUure to unite was revealed in the
Provincial election on December 1. In some dozen ridings, farmer
candidates were put up, but none were successful.41
Meanwhile, the directors of the United Farmers of British Columbia
had again taken under their consideration the matter of affiUation with
the Canadian CouncU of Agriculture. Presiding at the Kelowna meeting
of the co-ordinating committee of the United Farmers of British Columbia and the Farmers' Institutes, J. W. Berry, president of the British
Columbia Dairyman's Association, had declared: " There is no doubt
that the Northwest farmers have become somewhat intoxicated with the
(35) Ibid., February 25, 1920.
(36) Victoria Times, February 24, 1920.
(37) C.A.R., 1920, p. 827.
(38) Vancouver Province, February 25, 1920.
(39) Victoria Times, February 25, 1920.
(40) Ibid.
(41) C.A.R., 1920, p. 833. 64 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
power which has suddenly been gained by them. It is up to us to send
representatives to Ottawa who wiU not blindly foUow the Prairie
farmers."42 J. A. McKelvie, editor of the Vernon News, expressed his
views in his paper:—
In order to successfully co-ordinate their efforts with those of the farmers of
other provinces, it has been held advisable by some of the executive of the United
Farmers of B.C. that their organization should be linked up officially with the
Dominion Council of Agriculture, which is the offspring of the associated farmers
of the prairies and the Eastern provinces. The path to such an affiliation between
British Columbia farmers and those living east of the Rockies is, however, blocked
by a very serious obstacle. The Dominion Council of Agriculture has made its
position very plain regarding the tariff. It pronounces emphatically in favor of free
trade principles, and advocates reciprocity in natural products with the United
States. Mr. Crerar, the leader of the Farmers' Party in the Dominion Parliament,
recently made himself very clear on this point, and stated in the plainest possible
terms that his party stood for sweeping away the protection afforded the fruit
growing business by abolishing the duty on apples. It goes without saying that
such a policy will meet with scant favor among the farmers of this Province, and
will, we imagine, stand effectively in the way of any closer union between the
agriculturists of British Columbia and the wheat growers of the prairies.*3
In the Yale by-election the fruit-growers chose McKelvie, who ran on
the Conservative ticket, in preference to Edgett.
In its submission to the Tariff Commission in September, the United
Farmers of British Columbia hedged on the tariff question. " Free trade
and protection offered an interminable case for argument on both sides,"
it declared, and " it was impossible for anyone who took the trouble to
study both sides to make out a good case for either ... the injection
of the Tariff into the poUtical field was a lamentable but apparently
necessary evU, owing to the facility it offered for raising revenue, and its
appeal to self-interest."44 The British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association was more honest; in its brief it requested that protection against
American fruit be given fruit-growers.45
In February, 1921, the fifth annual convention of the United Farmers
of British Columbia met in Vancouver. It was attended by 200
delegates, as compared with 65 in 1920.46 The number of locals had
increased from 40 in 1920 to 149.47   The president, R. A. Copeland,
(42) Ibid., p. 828.
(43) Quoted in Victoria Colonist, June 15, 1920.
(44) C.A.R., 1920, p. 129.
(45) Ibid., p. 130.
(46) C.A.R., 1921, p. 895.
(47) Victoria Times, February 22, 1921. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 65
reported that a canvass of locals made in 1920 showed that ninety-five
of ninety-eight desired affiUation with other farm organizations through
the CouncU of Agriculture, but only one approved the fiscal poUcy
outlined in the Farmers' Platform.48 Copeland recommended that
application be made for affiliation,49 but no step was taken. It was
decided once again to concentrate on economic organization, since
" the farmers of British Columbia must organize thoroughly on an
economic basis before they could hope to become a powerful influence
poUticaUy."50 Present at the convention were J. B. Musselman, of
Saskatchewan, secretary of the Saskatchewan Gram Growers, who at
this time was opposed to political action; Norman Lambert, of Winnipeg,
secretary of the Canadian Council of Agriculture, who favoured poUtical
action in the Federal field; and C. Rice-Jones.
The convention adopted 107 resolutions. Many of them dealt with
matters already discussed at eariier conventions, but there were a few
new demands, as, for example, representation of organized farmers on
the Board of RaUway Commissioners. The stand taken in the matter
of Oriental ownership of land at the 1920 convention was reaffirmed.
Although affiliation with the Canadian CouncU of Agriculture had
not yet taken place, seven candidates using the Progressive Party label
ran, and three were elected in British Columbia constituencies in the
Federal election hi December.51 The return of seven Conservative
candidates, however, indicated the strength within the Province of the
party which stood for tariff protection.
For most of the farmers in British Columbia, 1921 was a good year.
For the fruit-growers, however, it was the first of a series of low prices
for apples. The period of heavy production in the Okanagan VaUey had
just commenced, and the apple-crop of 1921 was 100 per cent heavier
than in 1920. Its value in 1921 was $9,000,000,52 but in terms of
tonnage this was smaU. The most alarming development was the fact
that the nearest and most profitable market on the Prairies had been
able to absorb only one-quarter of the crop. The delay of the United
Fanners of British Columbia in detennining essential poUcies was beginning to lose it the support of fruit-growers, who were inclined to beUeve
(48) C.A.R., 1921, p. 896.
(49) Victoria Times, February 22, 1921.
(50) Ibid., February 23, 1921.
(51) C.A.R., 1921, p. 516. Canadian Parliamentary Guide . . . 1922,
p. 292.
(52) C.A.R., 1921, p. 890. 66 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
that they could, through the British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association and the Okanagan United Growers, a co-operative marketing
organization, promote their interests better than by continuing to
support the United Farmers of British Columbia.
Before the 1922 convention was held, the United Farmers of British
Columbia poUed its members to determine their feeling about poUtical
action. There were now some 3,000 members. Only a quarter of these
expressed any opinion—530 favoured poUtical action and 232 opposed
it.53 At the convention R. A. Copeland again recommended affiUation
with the Canadian CouncU of Agriculture and the adoption of a party
platform. A farmer with an Ontario background, he was moving more
and more toward acceptance of U.F.O. principles. He was now raising the question: " Can we ever expect to get anything better for the
farmers if we continue to send doctors, druggists, lawyers, promoters,
etc., to represent us at Victoria, be they Grit or Tory? "54 A strong
element at the convention supported his views. J. B. Stewart, who felt,
like Copeland, that the time had come to take poUtical action, introduced
a resolution that " realizing the old Une poUtical parties have lost the
confidence of the pubUc, we, the United Farmers of British Columbia,
place ourselves on record as being in favor of the formation of a third
party to be caUed the Provincial Progressive Party."55 It was defeated,
and, by a vote of 31 to 19, it was decided that the central organization
should not engage in pohtics or use its funds for poUtical purposes.56
A poUtical committee of the central executive, however, could authorize
locals to put forward pariiamentary candidates.
This step was highly approved by Farm and Home, a farm journal
with 7,000 subscribers pubhshed by R. J. Cromie of the Vancouver Sun
and edited by W. A. MacDonald. For two years Farm and Home had
been advocating the formation of a farmers' party, and had offered a
cash contribution of $400 to advance the cause.57 Its editorials contained
ringing appeals to the farmers:—
If we fail to permit farmers an opportunity to make farm life remunerative
and attractive; if we continue to permit wheat sharks to gamble away the production of honest men; if we continue to permit the middleman, the railroader and
the profiteer to gouge into the heart of the Canadian farmer, he will disappear
(53) Victoria Times, January 27, 1922.
(54) Ibid., January 25, 1922.
(55) Ibid., January 27, 1922.
(56) C.A.R., 1922, p. 863.
(57) Vancouver Farm and Home, December 21, 1922. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 67
as such, becoming merged with the present city surplus. In his place we shall find
the Chinaman, Jap, and European serf carrying on in their low-lived way—soil
robbers, poor buyers and not citizens at all. Which shall it be? We have our
choice.   Shall our farmers be Canadians—or what?5^
The caU for action was accompanied by denunciation of the Government's raUway poUcy, its lethargy about the removal of discriminatory
freight rates, its delay in deciding poUcy in connection with the Oriental
" menace," and its use of patronage. " The reptile fund for both the old
parties is largely raised by levies on the same firms and corporations,"
declared Farm and Home. " It is inevitable under such a system that
the parties who contribute should never be caUed upon to explain."59
WhUe Farm and Home was busy campaigning, the new poUtical
committee of the United Farmers of British Columbia met at Penticton
in April. There it went beyond the stand taken at the convention and
drew up a platform for a new party. Its principles were famiUar ones
in farmers' political movements. The committee affirmed its beUef in the
principles of organization, education, and true co-operation; urged the
Government to economize; asked for the conservation and development
of natural resources; demanded an equitable basis of assessment and
taxation on farm property, the estabUshment of uniform freight, express,
and postage rates in Canada, and of a rural credits system and a uniform
system of road-buUding in Canada; and stood by the principle that no
government should be defeated except by vote of want of confidence.60
On November 30 a group of fourteen insurgents from Nicola,
Kamloops, and North Okanagan met at Vernon. There J. F. Tener, of
Falkland, was appointed poUtical organizer, and John Redman, of
Kamloops, was made chairman of the party. New poUcies were now
added. Among the demands were the estabUshment of free ports at
Vancouver and Victoria, the setting-up by the Provincial Government
of an industrial research department to aid in estabUsbing industries
subsidiary to agriculture, the institution of a pubUc works programme
to absorb those involuntarily unemployed, the working-out of a land
settlement programme in conjunction with imperial and other authorities,
and the adoption of the recommendations hi the SuUivan Report concerning the Pacific Great Eastern RaUway.61   This development marked the
(58) Ibid., editorial, May 18, 1922.
(59) Ibid., April 6, 1922.
(60) Ibid.
(61) C.A.R., 1922, p. 864.
6 68 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
break with U.F.A. influence, and the acceptance of the " broadening
out " principle of the United Farmers of Ontario.
The spUt developing in the ranks of the United Farmers of British
Columbia involved, as Farm and Home warned, danger for the whole
farmers' movement. No reaUy strong leader had yet emerged, and the
opportunity might now exist for " a clever man whose conversion to
their poUtical faith is a matter of weeks, and whose heart and mind are
merely set upon the attainment of comfortable and remunerative
employment—possibly at Victoria "62 to assume leadership of a new
party. This is exactly what did happen in the next few months. The
re-election of Bowser as Conservative Party leader in the faU was the
signal for the sudden birth of what became known as " the get OUver
out and don't let Bowser in " party. With amazing speed, it made plans
to infiltrate the ranks of the U.F.B.C. political committee at its next
meeting in Vernon in January, 1923.
One of the organizers of the new movement was John Nelson, an
able newspaper-man who had been associated in turn with the Victoria
Daily Times, the Vancouver News-Advertiser, and the Vancouver World.
The 1922 convention had adopted his journal, United Farmer, as its
organ, but, according to Farm and Home, he had later hoped to have it
adopted by the Conservative Party, and when it refused he left the
party.63 Major-General A. D. McRae, however, was the real force in
the new movement. After making a fortune in colonization projects on
the Prairies and in lumbering and fisheries in British Columbia, and
after having had a distinguished war-time career as Director of Supply
and Transport in Canada and as Director of Administration in the
Ministry of Information in the United Kingdom, McRae's energies now
sought a new outlet. Although he maintained for some time that he had
no poUtical ambitions, he advanced the large sum of money that was
necessary to launch a new poUtical party.
The poUtical coup which took place at Vernon attracted relatively
Uttle attention. The reason was that the message of a new crusader was
now being heard. As guest of Farm and Home, Aaron Sapiro, champion
of agricultural pools, had come to Vernon to persuade fruit-growers that
his way was the only road to salvation of the fruit-growing industry, now
in desperate straits. His magnetism and evangeUstic fervour were in
great contrast to the uninspired leadership the United Farmers of British
(62) Vancouver Farm and Home, December 21, 1922.
(63) Ibid., December 28, 1922. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 69
Columbia had provided. Before long, fruit-growers had thrown themselves enthusiasticaUy into the work of organizing a Board of Control
and Central Selling Agency and of setting up a new union of growers,
the Associated Growers of British Columbia. Sapiro then moved on to
the Prairies and persuaded the wheat-growers to organize an inter-
provincial wheat pool.
On January 13 the poUtical committee of the United Farmers of
British Columbia met at Vernon and, after announcing that there was
a debt of $2,500, voted itself out of existence.64 Before doing this, it
had, however, met with General McRae and Ustened to his message.
" The business-men of this Province are of much the same view as you
farmers, but you are holding the light," said McRae. " You must be
the backbone of any movement, and we are here to co-operate and
assist you."65 A provisional executive of fourteen, consisting of eight
farmers and six business-men was then set up. The farmer representatives included R. A. Copeland, who had twice served as president of the
United Farmers of British Columbia; B. G. Stewart, of Nicola, secretary
of the farmers' poUtical committee; and J. E. Armishaw, of Sayward,
Vancouver Island. The rural committee which was to organize rural
ridings included many men who had been prominent in the United
Farmers of British Columbia. One of them was Commander Lewis
(ret. R.N.), of Rock Creek, who had said at the 1921 convention that
" since coming to this country he had taken no interest in poUtics as
they had seemed to him to be so absolutely dirty."66
A tentative manifesto was presented at the Vernon meeting. The
Provincial Party was to fight for reduction of freight rates, an improved
poUcy of colonization, a better transportation system to the Peace River
country, the reorganization of Provincial and Federal departments to do
away with duplication of work, the pubUcation of names of contributors
to campaign funds, the examination of aU pubUc accounts by independent
firms of auditors, the insertion of a fair-wage clause in aU government
contracts, the abohtion of poUtical patronage, and the aboUtion of the
personal-property tax. The strong emphasis on poUtical reform was
likely to make an appeal to aU disaffected Conservatives and Liberals.
Certain of the farmers apparently saw through the strategy, and
Colonel Edgett, for one, walked out of the meeting.   Pridham lamented
(64) Vernon News, January 18, 1923.
(65) Ibid.
(66) Victoria Times, February 23, 1921. 70 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
the division which had appeared in the United Farmers of British
Columbia during the year, and declared that he opposed organization
of a poUtical party.
In the next few months the organizing of the Provincial Party
proceeded quickly. New points appeared in the manifesto, including
one charging the Government with mdadministration of the Liquor
Act.67 On January 29 the party poUcy was outlined at a banquet at
Hotel Vancouver. Among the 600 persons present were many prominent Vancouver businessmen and some farmers. Stewart and Commander Lewis spoke for the farmers. Stewart said that " the best way
to house-clean is to throw both old parties into the incinerator,"68 and
Lewis declared that the ideal of the Provincial Party was " to serve the
country instead of rob it," and that " the old parties have not an ideal
but they have an object—personal gain at the expense of one's country
is despicable."69
As the movement snowbaUed, it became clear to some of the farmers
that its emphasis was changing. Armishaw resigned from the executive
a few days after the banquet. He had understood at first, he said, that
the new party would serve the people, and particularly the farmers, but
now " knowing the inside workings of the executive I am convinced that
the new party is a direct abuse of the confidence it sought from farmers
and is a gigantic attempt to exploit not only the farmers but the whole
Province as weU. ... I am compeUed to beUeve that sinister financial
interests are behind the whole movement, which has as its real objective
the complete exploitation of our timber, mines, and fisheries. . . .
This is no people's movement."70   Pridham also warned the farmers:—
When I originally conceived the idea of the organization of fanners I thought
what a benefit it would be to us, but I recognized that to succeed our organization
would have to be one of farmers for fanners. . . . There may be some amongst
us who possess a powerful and literary flow of language, coupled with much
persuasive power . . . but I say to you that we must listen to them with but
a doubtful mind before committing ourselves to anything which might ultimately
end in the downfall of our association as now constituted.?!
A Provincial Party convention was held in Vancouver from December
4 to 6.   An elaborate manifesto was drawn up, and General McRae was
(67) Vancouver Farm and Home, January 25, 1923.
(68) Ibid., February 1, 1923.
(69) Ibid.
(70) Ibid., February 8, 1923.
(71) Ibid., March 8, 1923. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 71
persuaded to take the title of party leader.72 Funds were to be soUcited
from supporters so that he would no longer bear the fuU burden of
financing the movement. In the next few months, candidates were
selected to run as candidates in the next Provincial election.
OUver set the date for the election for June 20. The campaign was
bitterly waged. General McRae hurled charges at the Government and
the Opposition. Both, he said, had received campaign funds from the
Pacific Great Eastern RaUway interests. The OUver government was
guilty, Ukewise, of having wasted pubUc moneys through the contracts
it had let to have parts of the Une buUt. OUver fought back through
intimating that General McRae had private ambitions which led him to
enter poUtics and that his " deals " in the past, particularly in connection
with the sale of town lots at Port Mann, would hardly bear investigation. •
A Royal Commission found no proof of the corruption charge in connection with campaign funds,73 but since certain important evidence
could not be produced, McRae succeeded in leaving the impression
that the Government was not only extravagant, but also corrupt.
When the baUots were counted after the election, it was discovered
that OUver, Bowser, and McRae had aU been defeated. On August 23,
OUver, by a narrow margin, won a by-election at Nelson and regained
his seat and returned to lead a Liberal government which had a reduced
majority. Bowser decided to retire from the Conservative Party
leadership. McRae turned his attention to Federal poUtics, and in
1926 succeeded in being elected as Conservative candidate in North
The poUtical developments of 1923 and 1924 left the United Farmers
of British Columbia drained of its strength. In contrast to its sorry
fate, the Farmers' Institutes revived.
The events outside British Columbia during the next few years had
some bearing on developments in the farmers' movement within the
Province. The people of Ontario had lost faith in the United Farmers
of Ontario and elected a Conservative government in 1923. The
Canadian CouncU of Agriculture withdrew from poUtics in the same
year, and in 1926 the Progressive Party ceased to be a force in Federal
poUtics.   The Saskatchewan section of the United Farmers of Canada
(72) Minutes of convention of Provincial Party, Vancouver, December 4 to 6,
inclusive, 1923, copy of which is preserved in the library of the University of British
(73) C.A.R., 1925, pp. 445-447. 72 Margaret A. Ormsby Jan.-Apr.
was established in the same year. The United Farmers of Canada
accepted the doctrine of the inevitability of the class struggle and decried
poUtical action. The betrayal, as he thought of the farmers' movement
by the Provincial Party, and the fate of other farmers' poUtical movements, led Armishaw to press for the identification of the United Farmers
of British Columbia with the United Farmers of Canada. The United
Fanners of Canada appeared in British Columbia in 1926, but the
executive of the United Farmers of British Columbia held out until
1928, when only six delegates attended its convention held in Vancouver.
Then the decision was reached to affiliate with the United Farmers of
Canada.74 Armishaw was to be in charge of reorganization. It is
obvious from a letter written to the Vancouver Province by Edward E.
Hardwick, president of the United Farmers of British Columbia, on
July 14, 1929, that Uttle progress was made.75 The fact of the matter
was that both Armishaw, who had run as Labour candidate for Comox-
Alberni in the Federal election of 1926, and the United Farmers of
Canada itself were too radical to suit the farmers.
In 1929, however, Armishaw, as president of the United Farmers of
Canada (British Columbia section), staged a big raUy in New Westminster and Vancouver. N. H. Schwartz, organizer of the United
Farmers of Canada, was present. The whole tone of the raUy in the
Vancouver Arena was much more miUtant than that of any U.F.B.C.
convention. The meeting commenced with the singing of " Organize,"
the battle cry of the Prairies.76 Charles Woodward, Vancouver merchant, who said he was raised "on a green bush farm in Ontario,"77
presided, and Schwartz and H. E. H. Schofield, vice-president of the
United Farmers of Alberta, addressed the crowd of 500 farmers.
Armishaw reported that the United Farmers of Canada (British Columbia section), had thirty-one locals in the Fraser VaUey, 1,200 members,
three district councils, and a trading unit at Hatzic which worked in
conjunction with U.F.C. enterprises on the Prairies.78
But it was too late to work up enthusiasm. The OUver government
had indirectly recognized the power of the farmers and had devised
many poUcies to aid them.   As the Province said, " with doubts and
(74) Vancouver Province, February 22, 1928.
(75) Letter of Edward E. Hardwick to the editor, ibid., July 14, 1929.
(76) See other battle cries in P. F. Sharp, The Agrarian Revolt in Western
Canada, Minneapolis, 1948, pp. 63-64.
(77) Vancouver Province, August 31, 1929.
(78) Ibid. 1953 The United Farmers of British Columbia 73
misgivings, perhaps with a sort of despair, certainly with an almost
pathetic readiness to give the farmers pretty nearly anything they could
agree upon among themselves, the Legislature has sweUed the statute
book with enactments for the reUef of the farmer."79 Furthermore,
professional organizations simUar to those which had existed at an early
date were solving some of the marketing problems, and the OUver
government was only too wUling to assist such work through marketing
legislation. The Sumas reclamation scheme had been carried through,
the land settlement and irrigation project in the Southern Okanagan
was past its most critical phase, and a moratorium had been declared
on the irrigation debts of the Okanagan fruit-growers. As compared
with the only practical measure of assistance of the United Farmers of
British Columbia, the issuing free of stumping-powder, this was a good
record. It appeared as if the early pattern of seff-help and some
paternaUstic assistance might serve the farmers best after aU.
The faUure to organize a third-party movement was partly due to
the great diversity of agriculture and the separation of geographical
areas within the Province, partly to the strong individuaUsm of the
farmers, partly that direction was sought from outside the Province, and
partly to the fact that the incidence of the recession of the early twenties
was not the same in aU parts of the Province. In addition to these
factors, one must take into account the conservative outlook of the
farmers and remember that most of them were disaffected Conservatives.
This movement sprang out of the Conservative Party rather than, as on
the Prairies, out of the Liberal Party. The only real radical in the
movement was Armishaw, who had probably been influenced by sociaUst
thought, which was strong on Vancouver Island.
Only one foot-note needs to be added to this story. In 1936 the
United Farmers of Canada (British Columbia section) announced its
intention to co-ordinate its efforts with those of such other groups in
Vancouver as the People's Party and Technocrats under the banner of
the British Columbia Social Credit League.80 The aim was to be the
election of a Social Credit government in British Columbia. Was a
fusion of political and economic principles in Alberta and British
Columbia going to take place in the future?
UNivERsrrv of Brttish Columbia, MARGARET A. ORMSBY.
Vancouver, B.C.
(79) Ibid., editorial.
The visitor who stands on ParUament HiU in Ottawa to-day may
admire the stately Gothic of the ParUament BuUdings and may take
note of the many reminders of the history of Canada, past, present, and
even future. But he may have scant knowledge or appreciation of the
Parliamentary wrangling and sectional animosity which fiUed up most
of a generation before construction of government buUdings in " one
certain place " began. The foUowing account attempts to trace out some
of the ParUamentary proceedings before and after the Queen's decision
of 1857.
From the cession of Canada to Britain in 1763 the capital of Canada
remained at Quebec, and Quebec continued as capital of the Province
of Lower Canada from 1791 until the suspension of the Constitution in
1837. The capital of Upper Canada, after the first meeting of the Legislature at Newark, was removed to York (named Toronto after 1834),
and there it remained until the coming into force of the Act of Union,
This Act authorized the Governor-General to summon the Legislature of the United Province of Canada at a convenient place, and the
first post-union ParUament was convened at Kingston on June 14, 1841.
In Upper Canada the Union BUI had been supported in part because of
an express understanding that the seat of government should be in the
upper Province. On practical grounds, Kingston was the city nearest to
Lower Canada able to provide appropriate accommodation.
The Union was less than a year old when the House was petitioned
to require that the ParUament of Canada should meet alternately at
Toronto and Quebec. The ostensible object was to compensate the
former capitals of the separate Provinces for the considerable outlays of
capital over nearly fifty years. A Committee of the House, convinced
that such a migratory arrangement would be generaUy acceptable and
(they said) would result in a considerable saving in pubUc expenditure,
drew up an address to the Queen which subsequently carried, 26 votes
to 21.1
During the Session of 1842 the Secretary of State reported that Her
Majesty was unwilling to fit a seat of government unless the cost of
(1) R. W. Scott, The Choice of the Capital, Ottawa, 1907, p. 5.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2.
75 76 James A. Gibson Jan.-Apr.
erection of pubUc buUdings were first defrayed by the Legislature. After
a warm debate on various resolutions, the House resolved on November
2, 1843, that the seat of government should be at Montreal. This
seemed a completely new departure, though the Executive CouncU
earUer in the year had respectfuUy advised Sir Charles Bagot to recommend the choice of Montreal.2 The House pledged itself to vote the
necessary supply if Her Majesty should so direct in favour of Montreal.
On November 4, 1843, Bagot informed the Legislative Council that
Her Majesty's government would decline to pronounce in favour of any
place without the advice of the Provincial Legislature. They invited
addresses from either House or both of them—
in recommendation of either Kingston or Montreal; it being understood that the
selection is now necessarily limited to one of these places, the former capitals,
Quebec and Toronto, being alike too remote from the centre of the province, and
the place of alternative sessions at one or the other place being deemed objectionable and impracticable, on account of its manifest and extreme inconvenience.
ObUvious to this stultifying of Canadian geography, the Colonial
Office repUed promptly to joint addresses, conveying Her Majesty's
pleasure that Montreal should henceforward be the place of " habitual "
residence of the Governor-General and his successors.3 Under colour
of this pronouncement, ParUament met at Montreal on November 28,
1844, and in the four foUowing years. But for the violence of 1849,
foUowing Royal assent to the Rebellion Losses BUI by Lord Elgin, the
capital might weU have remained at Montreal. The ParUament BuUdings were burned to the ground, and before prorogation the Assembly,
by address, prayed that ParUament might meet alternately every four
years at Toronto and Quebec.
When Sir Edmund Head succeeded Lord Elgin as Governor-General
in December, 1854, the capital was at Quebec, but late the foUowing
year it was removed to Toronto. The inconvenience and expense were
so great that renewed attempts were made to have one capital made
fixed and unchangeable.
On April 25, 1855, the Legislative Council had carried an address
to the Governor-General praying that His ExceUency would, in the
exercise of the Royal prerogative, " fix permanently on some convenient
place for the annual assembling of ParUament." On April 16, 1856, the
Assembly carried by a 64-56 vote a resolution to make Quebec the seat
of government.   But later in the Session an item of £50,000 for pubUc
(2) F. Cook, The Struggle for the Capital oj Canada, Ottawa, 1938, pp. 11-12.
(3) Stanley to Metcalfe, No. 132, December 2, 1843, P.R.O., CO. 43/145. 1953 The Choosing of the Capital of Canada 77
buUdings at Quebec, carried in the Assembly, was struck out of the
Supply BUI by the Legislative Council (which had not been consulted
in advance).4 It was then too late in the Session to carry any but an
amended Supply BiU, and at the beginning of 1857 the main question
of the capital remained undecided.
On March 28, 1857, Sir Edmund Head transmitted to the Colonial
Secretary " two addresses to Her Most Gracious Majesty, of an unusual
character." They were from the Legislative CouncU and the Legislative
Assembly respectively, and the prayer of both was the same:—
. . . We desire, may it please Your Majesty, to express our opinion that the
interests of Canada require that the seat of the Provincial Government should be
fixed at some certain place. We therefore respectfully pray that Your Majesty will
be graciously pleased to exercise your Royal Prerogative, and select some place for
the permanent seat of Government in Canada.
The Legislative Assembly, in Committee of the Whole House, implemented this petition by resolving to appropriate a sum not exceeding
£225,000 for " providing the necessary buUdings and accommodation
for the Government and Legislature, at such place as Her Majesty may
see fit to select."
The Governor's covering dispatch reviewed the whole question of
the seat of government from 1843 to the moment. The inconvenience
and expense of periodical removal had been strongly felt, but this plan
had done some good in softening prejudices and removing misconceptions.5   He then wrote:—
My own conviction was, and is, that the matter ought to be definitely settled. To
keep it open is to maintain in full flow a constant source of local bitterness and
sectional animosity, which by a little management, can always be turned against
the Government of the day; nor is this the worst consequence of its unsettled condition. If the Province of Canada is to remain one, it is essential that its seat of
Government should be fixed and recognized by all.
Head entertained no doubt that Her Majesty's prerogative enabled
her to summon the Parliament wherever she might please, but Her
Majesty, with a desire to meet the wishes of the people of Canada, had
in practice graciously left the matter to be determined by those most
(4) R. W. Scott, op, cit., pp. 23-24. See also Head to Labouchere, March 28,
1857, P.R.O., G.D. 6/69.
(5) Sir Arthur Hardinge, writing of Lord Carnarvon's connection with the
question of the capital, says that the migratory arrangement " tended to perpetuate
the remembrance of old rivalries and jealousies between the French and British
elements." Sir A. A. H. Hardinge, The Fourth Earl of Carnarvon, London, 1925,
Vol. I, pp. 286-287. 78 James A. Gibson Jan.-Apr.
immediately interested in it. It now appeared to a majority of both
branches of the Legislature that the question was one unlikely to be
arranged satisfactorily by themselves. The Governor was careful to
remark that by these addresses the Legislature in no way renounced or
disclaimed its own capacity for self-government, nor did its members,
by referring the question to the Queen, intend to estabUsh a principle
" in any way consistent with the free and unimpeded action of ParUa-
mentary responsibUity in Canada." The matter was obviously one of
exceptional character, and Head frankly said that nothing but this consideration, and that a strong settlement was of the utmost importance,
would induce him to recommend that so soon as funds for the new
buUdings had been voted, the prayer of the addresses should be compUed
The Legislature and the pubUc offices in any event would have to
be removed in 1859 to Quebec, and what was asked of the Queen was
that she should select the site at which, in the meantime, suitable buildings might be erected for the permanent legislative capital of Canada.
In order to lay fuUy before the Queen the claims of the several places
which might be said to consider themselves entitled to selection, Head
caused a circular to be addressed to the Mayor of each of the five cities
of Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec.6 He asked each
corporation to send to the Secretary of State for the Colonies a " fuU
and fair statement" of its respective claims.
In doing this [he wrote] I have, perhaps, presumed too much upon the probability
of Her Majesty complying with the request of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly; if so, I must entreat forgiveness; but I have thought it important
that no time should be lost. The question must, of course, be decided after calm
and deliberate consideration of the interests of the whole province, not those of
any particular city or place.
Head concluded his dispatch covering the two addresses in a characteristic fashion:—
It would evidently be improper to convey to the Queen's advisers in England any
opinion or advice in this matter on the part of the Executive Council here. The
whole reference is, as I have observed, of an exceptional character, and if it were
to be finally decided on the advice of persons any of whom (were) responsible to
the Parliament of Canada, the great object of removing it beyond the cross action
of local politics and sectional jealousies would be altogether frustrated.''
(6) March 28, 1857; a copy is to be found in P.R.O., G.D. 6/69. The circular
was not sent to Hamilton, although this city had figured in earlier resolutions; e.g.,
April 16, 1856.
(7) The Governor showed this dispatch to the members of his Council, who
concurred in it. 1953 The Choosing of the Capital of Canada 79
Sir Edmund Head subsequently transmitted to the Colonial Secretary
a confidential memorandum on the whole question. Though it is undated, it must have been written after the question had been raised in
ParUament by the passing of the two addresses to the Queen. The Governor remarked that he had written bis memorandum " with no wish to
thrust on Her Majesty's government advice in a matter specificaUy
referred to the Queen: but I have thought that I may be expected not
to avoid the responsibiUty of expressing an opinion of my own."
The memorandum8 states pointedly that the interests of Canada as
a whole, and the security of the union, demanded a solution of the capital
question. It takes note of the probable effects of an increasing cry for
representation by population and of broadening limits of settlement.
It concludes that the choice of Ottawa would be the least of a number
of evUs. Ottawa would be the only city which would be accepted by a
majority as a fair compromise. Montreal could not qualify as a compromise solution; it had been " a turbulent town " and was supposed
to be particularly subject to American influences of various kinds; and
the pressure which would be brought to bear on a weak government at
Montreal would always be "considerable." Its defences were inadequate and could only be remedied at an expense so great as to be
Quebec was weU secured rniUtarily, but to choose Quebec would be
to exasperate Upper Canada and to rouse the jealousy of Montreal.
The influence of Quebec was decreasing; trade and wealth were moving
westward; and aU below (i.e., east of) Quebec was of " secondary
Kingston was weU situated, " but it is what may be caUed ' a dead
place'" when compared with Montreal and Toronto. It had no immunity from enemy attack. The choice of Kingston would rouse the
jealousy of Toronto and Hannlton, both of which were then, and would
continue to be, " far more flourishing."
Toronto, despite its increasing commercial importance, tended to
unite Montreal and Quebec in renewed jealousies of Upper Canada.
(8) The memorandum, together with the original correspondence on the subject, was printed for the confidential use of the Colonial Office. A copy endorsed
" very scarce " is among the papers of Lord Carnarvon, at that time Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. P.R.O. G.D. 6/69. The text also
appears in J. A. Gibson, "Sir Edmund Head's Memorandum on the choice of
Ottawa to be the Seat of Government for Canada," Canadian Historical Review,
XVI (1935), pp. 411-417. 80 James A. Gibson Jan.-Apr.
Except for the constant readiness of a superior naval force on Lake
Ontario, it must be indefensible against an enemy.
The main objection to Ottawa was " its wUd position and relative
inferiority " to the other cities. Its population was under 10,000, " not
of the best description," but every day diminished the disadvantages.
The certainty of transfer to Ottawa—at least six years into the future—
would enhance the settlement of the fertile country of the Ottawa VaUey.
From a mUitary standpoint Ottawa was advantageously situated, since
it was farther removed from the frontier, and had alternative connections
by water with both Kingston and Montreal, and was already linked with
Montreal by raU (via Prescott).
In a broader picture, Ottawa would be a convenient capital " however far westward the commerce of Canada may extend." If the Red
River Settlement and the Saskatchewan were finaUy to be annexed to
Canada, the Ottawa route to Lake Huron and Lake Superior might turn
out to be the shortest and most advantageous of aU. Head suggested
that the miUtary authorities should be consulted about the risk of attack
and the possibUity of effective defence attaching to each of the five cities.
The Colonial Office requested opinions from the Inspector-General of
Fortifications; also from General Lord Seaton (who, as Sir John Col-
borne, had been Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, 1828-35, subsequently Commander of the Forces, and Administrator of the Government of Canada); also from Sir Francis Bond Head (Lieutenant-
Governor of Upper Canada, 1835-38). Sir Francis Head wrote, separately, a lengthy memorandum on the particular claims of Toronto
(where he had resided). He asked the Secretary of State if he could
" decently " give a copy of this memorandum to the chairman of the
delegation from Toronto which had come to England to urge that city's
claims, but was requested to await the Queen's decision.9
Though each of the five cities drew up meUifluent statements of
claims, and though HamUton, uninvited, pressed its civic interest, there
seems no doubt it was upon the substance of Sir Edmund's memorandum
that the Secretary of State advised the Queen to choose Ottawa.
The Queen's formal decision in favour of Ottawa was announced
on the last day of 1857.10   A variety of " extra-official" representations
(9) Sir F. B. Head to Labouchere, P.R.O. CO. 42/616. See also F. Cook,
op. cit., p. 5.
(10) Labouchere to Sir E. Head, No. 60, December 31, 1857, PJH.O., CO.
43/151. See also R. W. Scott, op. cit., p. 44; and Viscount Esher, Letters of
Queen Victoria, London, 1907, Vol. HX p. 332. 1953 The Choosing of the Capital of Canada 81
in favour of Ottawa had operated on both sides of the Atlantic. Colonel
Grey, private secretary to the Queen, had visited Ottawa in the early
summer, and reported himseU as enchanted by the natural beauty of
the setting. During a luncheon party in honour of Sir Edmund and
Lady Head near the site of the present ParUament Buildings, Lady Head
made a sketch of the landscape. Sir Richard Scott, who presided at the
luncheon, always beUeved that the artist had shown this sketch to the
Queen later in the year, when the Governor-General and his wife were
in England. It is entirely possible that both Sir Edmund and Lady
Head supported the claims of Ottawa from their personal acquaintance
with its attractions, even though they never resided there.11
As soon as official confirmation of the Queen's choice reached
Ottawa, the City CouncU offered to " furnish the necessary buUdings to
accommodate the Legislature and the offices of the government" until
permanent buildings should be erected.12 But there was mounting dissent and disappointment in the Assembly and an unusual preoccupation
with ParUamentary tactics. One Administration was defeated on the
question of the reference to the Queen, but was reinstaUed in the celebrated " double shuffle " of July, 1858. The Governor-General found
himself the momentary victim of some misdirected and rather carping
criticism by the Secretary of State, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. At least
four Parliamentary divisions were recorded, involving Montreal, one
concerning Quebec, and at least four amendments mentioning Ottawa,
the last of which put an end to the ParUamentary controversy which
extended over nearly a year.
The comments of the Governor-General, against the background of
his confidential memorandum favouring Ottawa, are fuU of constitutional
as weU as civic interest. The first adverse vote reciting the opinion of
the House that " the City of Ottawa ought not be the permanent seat of
government" might mean (he wrote) that Her Majesty had been advised to select the wrong place for the seat of government, or it might
signify that the Assembly, contrary to the express votes of the last two
sessions, seemed determined to continue the system of transferring the
seat of government from one place to another.   If, as the former attitude
(11) R. W. Scott, op. cit., p. 30; G. T. Curtis (ed.), Life, Letters and Journals
of George Ticknor, London, 1876, Vol. II, pp. 326, 331. It was during this visit to
England that Sir Edmund Head was sworn of the Privy Council on August 28,
(12) The offer was communicated to the Assembly through Sir Richard Scott
on April 9, 1858.   See R. W. Scott, op. cit., p. 31. 82 James A. Gibson Jan.-Apr.
would seem to imply, some place other than Ottawa were to be chosen,
that decision presumably would be taken by the ParUament itself; and
in these circumstances the Governor declared that any advice or recommendation on his part would be " premature and useless."13
One thing was certain: unless the Act voting £225,000 were to be
repealed, no money could be spent for government buUdings at any place
other than the one chosen by the Queen; nor did this ever happen.
The Governor-General could be as dignified as any subject of the Queen
in expressing his " unfeigned regret " for having (in March, 1857) recommended that Her Majesty should be advised to accept the reference
from both Houses of the ParUament of Canada.   He added:—
In palliation of so grave an error of judgement I can only urge that it might
have seemed ungracious to refuse a spontaneous reference of this kind, and that it
appeared to me impossible to conceive any form in which a legislature could bind
its successors more solemnly, or commit itself in its corporate capacity more conclusively, than was done by the Parliament of Canada with reference to the seat
of government. It would now seem, however, that my view of the binding character of the action of the Legislature differs essentially from that taken by the
majority of the Legislative Council of Canada. My present duty will be to carry
out the Government of the Province in such a manner as may best lead to an
ultimate settlement of the difficulty without deranging the administration of affairs.
... In the meantime I am ready to act in all ordinary business cordially and
frankly with the new ministers as I have done with their predecessors.
After some stormy minutes within the Colonial Office, Sir Bulwer
Lytton eventuaUy aUuded to Ottawa in a formal reply:—
In reviewing the history of the session of the Canadian Parliament now terminated,
it is impossible for Her Majesty's Government to avoid expressing their regret that
after having deliberately invited the award of Her Majesty on the question of the
future seat of Canadian Government, the Assembly should have thought proper
deliberately to reject that award. They are not in possession of the reasons which
may have led to so unexpected a decision. But they are too strongly assured of
the loyalty of the representatives of the Canadian people to believe that any individual among the numbers who joined in that vote, intended a slight to his
On January 8, 1859, L. V. Sicotte, the Chief Commissioner of PubUc
Works, resigned from the Executive CouncU because of differences with
his coUeagues on the seat-of-government question. The majority held
it was—
(13) Head to Lytton, No. 97, July 31, 1858, P.R.O., CO. 42/614.
(14) Lytton to Head, No. 55, September 10, 1858, ibid.   This paragraph was
substantially copied from Lytton's " Hints for Despatch to Sir E. Head." 1953 The Choosing of the Capital of Canada 83
essential that the Parliament of Canada should show respect for laws yet unrepealed which it (had) itself enacted and should adhere in honour and good faith
to a course of action deliberately adopted and to a pledge solemnly given.15
The Administration, in the Speech from the Throne at the opening
of the new Session on January 29, 1859, declared that the reference to
the Queen, the voting of funds, and the Queen's decision in favour of
Ottawa were alike binding upon the Executive Government of the Province, and they added it would be their duty—
to carry out the understanding which existed at the time when the reference was
made, by which the Government will be transferred to Quebec for a fixed period,
until the necessary arrangements shall have been completed.!6
Sicotte introduced an amendment to the address in reply on which
debate continued for nearly a fortnight. He sought to prove that the
" ordinary and constitutional exercise " of the privUeges of the House
must take precedence over any supposed want of respect to the Sovereign. But if this amendment had carried, the reference to the Queen
must have been reversed, and Ottawa excluded from the running with
every suggestion of finality. Sir Richard Scott and his feUow members
from Carleton and the neighbouring counties, backed by the Ottawa
Citizens' Committee, organized a skilful and successful lobby. Cartier,
then Prime Minister, " parried abuse and odium from his civil supporters
most manfully," and the amendment was defeated by the narrow margin
of five votes. The Quebec City members were induced to vote with the
majority on an understanding that the capital should remain at Quebec
until the projected new buUdings at Ottawa could be completed.17 The
tension abated somewhat; the Governor-General felt satisfied that the
" gross discourtesy " of the 1858 proceedings had been offset, and that
whether he then stayed the remainder of the Session or not would be
" immaterial."18
On September 1, 1860, in the course of his visit to Ottawa, the
Prince of Wales laid the corner-stone of the " intended " future ParUa-
(15) The dispatch of which this excerpt is a part was sent to the Queen (January 28, 1859), and the Governor was specially thanked for it.
(16) The Government moved from Toronto to Quebec during 1859. R. W.
Scott, op. cit., p. 37; Head to Newcastle, August 29, 1859, P.R.O., CO. 42/619.
(17) This was generally accepted as a fact. Sir Edmund Head acknowledged
that he was party to such an understanding when he had transmitted the original
reference to the Queen. Head to Labouchere, No. 49, March 28, 1857, P.R.O.,
G.D. 6/69; Head to Lytton, confidential, March 19, 1859, P.R.O., CO. 42/617.
(18) R. W. Scott, op. cit., pp. 37-39. Head to Merivale, private, February 12,
1859, -P.jR.0., CO. 42/617. 84 James A. Gibson Jan.-Apr.
ment Buildings.19 The departmental offices were removed from Quebec
to Ottawa during 1865, and the first Session of the ParUament of Canada
in the new capital was held in the foUowing year.
When the Honourable George Brown had visited Ottawa in the
summer of 1864, he had been much impressed by the magnificence,
style, and workmanship of the new buUdings. Writing to John A. Macdonald on August 18 he said:—
But they are just five hundred years in advance of the time. It will cost half the
revenue of the province to light them, to heat them and to keep them clean. Such
monstrous folly was never perpetrated in this world before. But as we are in for
it I do think the idea of stopping short of completion is out of the question. I go
in for tower, rotunda, fountains and every conceivable embellishment. If we are
to be laughed at for our folly at least let us not be ridiculed for a half-finished
Another interesting reaction, in the Ught of aU the auxiliary controversy which had gone before, came from Head's successor as Governor-General, Viscount Monck. Nearly two years later he wrote to the
Secretary of State:—
The public buildings are in a very forward state and are, particularly the Parliament
House, really magnificent. The chambers for the meeting of the legislature are to
my way of thinking in every respect infinitely superior to those at Westminster.
There is only one fault that I can see about them, and that is the locale. It seems
like an act of insanity to have fixed the capital of this great country away from the
civilisation, intelligence, and commercial enterprise of this Province, at a place
that can never be a place of importance and when the political section of the community will live in a position of isolation and removed from the action of any
public opinion. My confident belief is that, notwithstanding the vast expense which
has been incurred here in public buildings, Ottawa will not be the capital four years
Lord Monck's beUef was never substantiated, and the question of
Ottawa as the capital does not appear to have been raised in any urgent
(19) The word " intended," used by the London Times with considerable scorn
(September 20, 1860), actually appears on the corner-stone. I have heard descriptions of the laying ceremony from my grandparents, who were present on that
(20) Quoted in F. Cook, op. cit., p. 19. The original appropriation of £225,000
had been considerably exceeded. Including the Library, the main buildings cost
some f 595,585, exclusive of the site.
(21) Viscount Monck to the Right Honourable Edward Cardwell, private,
May 7, 1866, P.R.O., CO. 42/654. Monck was so critical of the dusty roads
between Rideau Hall and Parliament Hill that he considered using a boat on the
Ottawa River for his Parliamentary goings and comings. Public Archives of
Canada, Monck private Letter-books, 1867, passim. 1953 The Choosing of the Capital of Canada 85
form after this date. Section 16 of the " British North America Act"
provides that " until the Queen otherwise directs, the seat of government
of Canada shall be Ottawa."
James A. Gibson.
Carleton College,
On Soke Harbour the author of this paper originaUy established himself. He brought about 35 acres under cultivation,
raised a smaU stock of cattle, horses, pigs, and poultry, and
built houses for himself and men, with a barn, farm-buildings
and a saw-mill. He found the soU produce abundantly, when
cultivated, any crops that can be grown in Scotland or England; he found no difficulty in establishing a friendly intercourse with the native tribe of savages, who were only about
60 in number. For two years he resided there, a solitary
colonist; he then let his farm on lease to some of the men he
had brought out with him, and went to visit a far country.
On his return, he found his land thrown out of cultivation, and
the greater part of his property destroyed; the remainder he
immediately disposed of, and finally abandoned the country.1
In these words Walter Colquhoun Grant "of the 2nd Dragoon
Guards, and late Lieut.-Col. of the Cavalry of the Turkish Contingent"
described bis sojourn on Vancouver Island before an imposing audience
at the final meeting of the 1856-57 sessions of the Royal Geographical
Society, held in London, on June 22, 1857.2 In an age that witnessed
a considerable expansion of British overseas possessions, there is, on the
surface, Uttle in this laconic account to warrant further investigation.
However, its true significance becomes more apparent when it is recaUed
that its author was the first person independent of the Hudson's Bay
* The substance of this article was delivered before the Victoria Section of the
British Columbia Historical Association on November 26, 1952. The writer wishes
to acknowledge the assistance of the Hudson's Bay Company in searching their
Archives in London for material on Captain Grant and for the kind permission of
the Governor and Committee to publish extracts therefrom.
(1) W. Colquhoun Grant, "Description of Vancouver Island," Journal of the
Royal Geographical Society, xxvii (1857), pp. 282-283.
(2) Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, i (1857), pp. 486-490.
Sir Roderick Murchison, president, was in the chair and Richard Blanshard, first
Governor of Vancouver Island, was present and contributed to the discussion that
followed the reading of the paper. In closing the discussion the president remarked:
"... it was evident that the island was destined to become a valuable possession
of the British crown. The position it occupied, and the mineral riches it contained,
with the probability of finding more, all tended to indicate its future value to our
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2.
87 88 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
Company to settle upon Vancouver Island about whom, hitherto, only
the most meagre information has been avaUable.
Walter Colquhoun Grant was descended from an old and honourable
Scottish famUy, the Grants of MuUochaird and Lingjestone.3 His grandfather, Duncan Grant, the last owner of MuUochaird, a smaU place near
Duthil on the River Spey about 10 miles west of Grantown-on-Spey, was
Provost of Forres. He had married Jean, daughter of Robert Grant, of
KyUemore, by whom he had nine sons and three daughters. Seven of
these sons Uved to maturity, each of whom distinguished himself in his
chosen sphere of life. Of this numerous fanuly, four are pertinent to
this account.4
The second son, James Robert, was born on February 14, 1773, and
had a distinguished mUitary career, rising from an assistant surgeon,
January 27, 1792, to inspector-general of army hospitals, July 14, 1814.
He was chief of the medical department of the British forces at Waterloo,
and for his services received the Order of Ste. Anne of Russia from the
Czar Alexander at Paris in 1815. Made King's Herald in 1816, he was
knighted by the Prince Regent at Carleton House, March 18, 1819, and
honoured with the Order of Commander of the Bath, August 16, 1850.
He died at Bosford vicarage, Nottinghamshire, January 10, 1864, and
was buried at CarUsle.5   The fifth son, Lewis, was born in 1782 and, in
(3) A genealogy of this family is to be found in James Dallas, The History of
the Family of Dallas, Edinburgh, 1921, pp. 550-552. It is interesting to note
therefore the family connection between Captain Grant and Alexander Grant
Dallas, a prominent Hudson's Bay Company official who later became the son-in-
law of Sir James Douglas. Much additional information concerning the family was
made available to the Provincial Archives through correspondence with Major C. I.
Fraser, Reelig House, Kirkhill, Inverness-shire, Dingwall Pursuivant of Anns, and
with Sir Francis Grant, K.C.V.O., former Lord Lyon King of Arms and now
Albany Herald, from information supplied to him by G. D. McGrigor, Mortimer,
Berkshire, whose grandmother, Mary Grant, was an aunt of Captain Grant.
(4) Other members of this family were: Walter, the eldest son who died in
1807 in India, where he held the post of Master in Equity of the Supreme Court of
Madras; Alexander, who died December 5, 1834, with the rank of colonel and
a C.B., having distinguished himself at the battle of Assaye in 1803; Archibald, a
midshipman in the frigate Southampton who lost his life in 1793, aged 18, when
volunteering for hazardous duty; Duncan, who held the rank of captain when he
was killed at Ahmednagar, India, on August 8, 1803, aged 26 years; Robert, who
died in 1793 at the age of 17; and Hugh, who died in infancy in 1782. Elizabeth
Anne married Colonel Lewis Grant, of Auchernack, and Mary married Sir James
McGrigor, Bt.
(5) Frederic Boase, Modern English Biography, Truro, 1892, p. 1204. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 89
addition to a mUitary career, served with distinction in the colonies. He
entered the British Army as an ensign in the 95th Foot on February 15,
1794, rising to Ueutenant-colonel of the 70th Foot, 1804-24, and colonel
of the 96th Foot from 1839 untU his death. In 1837 he was made
Ueutenant-general and fuU general, November 11, 1851. From 1820 to
1829 he was Governor of the Bahama Islands and held a similar position
in Trinidad, 1831-33. On September 13, 1831, at St. James's Palace,
he was honoured by elevation to the rank of Knight Commander of the
Order of Hanover. He died suddenly in an omnibus in Regent Street,
London, January 26, 1852.6 The second daughter, Jean Duff, who died
a spinster, was popularly known as " Miss Pro."7
Of greater interest is the eighth son, Colquhoun. Born in 1780, like
his elder brothers he had a notable miUtary career, dating from his en-
signcy in the 11th Foot on September 9, 1795. The foUowing year he
became a lieutenant and in 1801 he received his captaincy. In 1798 he
had been taken prisoner in the unsuccessful attack on Ostend. For a
time he served in the West Indies, and subsequently he undertook inteUi-
gence duties in the Peninsular campaign with the rank of deputy assistant
adjutant-general. He rose to the rank of brevet Ueutenant-colonel, and
for a time was attached to the Royal MUitary CoUege but was recaUed
to active service to take charge of the inteUigence department of the
army as assistant adjutant-general when Napoleon escaped from Elba.
In 1816 he retired on half-pay as major in the 11 th Foot but was recalled
as Ueutenant-colonel to the 54th Foot in 1821 to serve in the First
Burmese War. He was made Commander of the Bath for his services,
but his health broke down completely as a result of the Indian climate
and he returned home. On October 1, 1829, he sold his commission,
and on October 20 of that year he died at Aix-la-ChapeUe.8 Colquhoun
Grant had married Margaret Brodie, daughter of James Brodie, of Brodie.
She accompanied her husband to India and suffered the same disastrous
(6) Ibid., p. 1205.   See also Illustrated London News, January 31, 1852, p. 91.
(7) References to Miss Jean Grant are to be found in the autobiography of
a family connection, Elizabeth (Grant) Smith, Memoirs of a Highland Lady,
London, 1898, pp. 97-99.
(8) Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee (eds.), Dictionary of National Biography,
London, 1890, xxii, pp. 382-383. This account concludes: " Sir James McGrigor,
army medical department, who married Grant's youngest sister, describes him as
a kindly, amiable man, possessing in a higher degree than any other officer he had
met all the better and brighter attributes of a Christian soldier." An obituary is
to be found in The Gentleman's Magazine, xcix (1829), p. 477. 90 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
consequences to her health. While returning home she died on board
ship near St. Helena, where she was buried.9 The only child of this
marriage was Walter Colquhoun Grant, born on May 27, 1822, at 6
Dundas Street, Edinburgh.10
Of the chUdhood and early manhood of Grant, very little is known.
Since both of his parents had died by 1829, it can only be surmised that
he was reared by one or other of his aunts or uncles, quite possibly Miss
Jean Grant. Under the circumstances it would not be surprising if he
were pampered to a degree, as, indeed, his subsequent conduct would,
at times, appear to suggest. With the strong mUitary tradition in his
family, it was only natural that he should turn to the army for a career.
It has been claimed that he was the youngest captain in the British Army,
being only 24 years of age when he reached that rank in the 2nd Dragoons (Scots Greys). It has further been stated that misfortune swept
away his estate, amounting to £75,000, and that the loss of this income
made it impossible for him to maintain his rank in the army, and as
a consequence he resigned his commission and decided to emigrate to
the colonies.11 While little of this information can be positively corroborated, it would appear to be substantially correct, for by the summer
of 1848 Grant was evidently in communication with the Hudson's Bay
Company regarding the possibility of settling on Vancouver Island.
The formal grant of Vancouver Island to the Hudson's Bay Company
was not proclaimed until January 13, 1849, but the significant details
of the arrangement had been settled between the Colonial Office, and the
Company by September, 1848. In return for proprietary rights on the
Island, the Company undertook to sponsor colonization and drew up its
own regulations regarding the acquisition of land. The price fixed was
£1 per acre, with no purchase to contain less than 20 acres. The purchaser was made responsible for providing his own passage to the colony,
(9) Burke's Landed Gentry for 1852, Vol. II, addenda, p. 364, has the following interesting foot-note: "Another of the sons of Mr. Duncan Grant was the late
Col. Colquhoun Grant, C.B., who m. Margaret, dau. of Brodie of Brodie, and left
issue one son Walter Colquhoun, late of the 2nd Dragoons, or Scots Greys, who is
the first British settler in Vancouver's Island." Burke's Landed Gentry, London,
1868, p. 156, is in error when it states that both Grant and his wife died in India.
(10) This information was provided by Sir Francis Grant, who found the birth
notice in the Scots Magazine.
(11) Donald A. Fraser, "British Columbia's First Settler," The Public School
Magazine, HI (1920), pp. 44-48. See also article in Victoria Colonist, July 12,
1931, entitled " Historic Grant Farm Scene of Celebration." 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 91
and as a deterrent to absentee land-holders it was further provided that
for every 100 acres acquired the purchaser, at his own expense, must
send out five single men or three married couples.12
To date no evidence has come to hand to explain why Captain Grant
became interested in Vancouver Island. Not aU of his correspondence
with the Hudson's Bay Company has survived, but it is evident from
letters written in October, 1848, that the negotiations had been under
way for some time by that date. The Company had already offered him
an appointment as surveyor, and despite the rather restrictive terms
imposed by the Company on prospective settlers, Grant's plans were on
a rather ambitious scale.
Having arranged with the Genl. Assembly of the Church of Scotland, for the
appt. of a Schoolmaster to the new Settlement in Vancouver's Island, I have the
honor to request that a passage may be provided for the said Schoolmaster Mr.
Alexr. Macfarlane, by the next vessel wch. sails for Vancouver's Island. He will
place himself in communication with the Hudson's Bay Co. previous to the date
of sailing, his address is 183 Cannongate, Edinr. His passage I sd. wish charged
to me & deducted fm. my annual salary, unless the Govr. & Committee of the
Hudson's Bay Coy. think proper to furnish him with a free passage.
I have also to request that if possible a passage may [be] provided, & the charge
therefore deducted frm. my salary for Mr. Thomas Poustie his Wife, His sister in
law Mrs. Susan Poustie, and 3 children the eldest under six year's of age,
Provided the said Thomas Poustie applied for a passage previous to the sailing of
the next vessel for Vancouver. I am also most anxious that if convenient an
advance of the sum of £15 should be made on my behalf to the said Thomas
Poustie, who is going out as my grieve, on his making application for a passage.
The said advance to be deducted fm. my salary. I have further to request that
two boxes which I expect from Edinr., but which have not arrived in time for me
to take them along with me, sd. be forwarded by the next vessel, & their carriage
paid from Edinr. I am unaware what the carriage will amt. to, but have left
directions at the Railway Station for their being forwarded to the Hudson's Bay
House on arrival in London.   .   .   .   13
From this letter it would be assumed that Grant was about to take his
departure immediately for Vancouver Island, but several months were
yet to elapse before he began his journey. From time to time he made
further requests of the Company.    In mid-October he asked that the
(12) " Resolution of the Hudson's Bay Company: Colonization of Vancouver's
Island," reprinted in Report of the Provincial Archives Department of the Province
of British Columbia  .   .   .   1913, Victoria, 1914, pp. 73-74.
(13) W. C. Grant to Archibald Barclay, Secretary, Hudson's Bay Company
[undated, probably October, 1848], H.B.C. Archives, A. 10/25. 92 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
Company's ship Harpooner1* be detained until the end of November to
suit the convenience of his intended settlers. At first the Company
demurred and announced her sailing for November 20,15 but later the
date was set back until November 30.16 In response to inquiries as to
the probabUity of the Company providing assistance on the passage of
settlers, the reply was that " the whole of the expence of transporting the
men and their families must be borne by the party taking them out."17
Late in the fall of 1848 considerable pubUc opposition to the terms
of the projected grant of Vancouver Island to the Hudson's Bay Company broke out, inspired in a large measure by James Edward Fitzgerald.
The H.B.C. are acting as if the matter was at last settled; & have chartered a ship
which is to sail or was to sail, on the 30th of this month. The Company are
sending out some miners in her & some Scotchmen who are hired by Captain
Walter Campbell [sic] Grant late of the Scotch [sic] Grays, who is the only man,
I have as yet heard of, with sufficient courage to become a settler under the
auspices of the Company; who is to give one pound per acre for land & to bind
himself to carry out six men per hundred acres! Reasonable terms for a country
where as much land as you please may be had 20 miles just across the Straits, for
a dollar an acre.
Captain Grant I am told rather repents his bargain.1^
WhUe there is no evidence to link Captain Grant directly with this
opposition, it is certain that his awareness of it made him pause and
reassess his undertaking.
(14) The Harpooner had been built in 1830. In 1848 she was owned by
Samuel Henry Wright, Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, and put under
charter to the Hudson's Bay Company. Her commander at that time was John
Smith Papps.
(15) W. G. Smith to Captain J. [sic] C. Grant, October 23, 1848, H.B.C.
Archives, A. 5/16. This letter was addressed "care of Sir James Grant, The Hill,
Carlisle." In it reference is made to a letter by Captain Grant, dated October 18,
which has not survived.
(16) Extract from records of a meeting of the Governor and Committee,
October 25, 1848, H.B.C. Archives, A. 1/65, p. 209.
(17) W. G. Smith to Grant, October 23, 1848, H.B.C. Archives, A. 5/16,
pp. 63-64.
(18) James Edward Fitzgerald to William Ewart Gladstone, November 27,
1848, quoted in Paul Knaplund, " Letters from James Edward Fitzgerald to W. E.
Gladstone concerning Vancouver Island and the Hudson's Bay Company, 1848-
1850," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, XIU (1949), p. 11. See also Paul
Knaplund, "James Stephen on Granting Vancouver Island to the Hudson's Bay
Company, 1846-1848," ibid., IX (1945), pp. 259-271. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 93
On November 8 Grant wrote, from the Junior United Services Club,
the foUowing letter to the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies:—
Permit me to apologize for the liberty which I as a stranger take in addressing
you; having however in pursuance of an intention to emigrate to Vancouver's
Island, agreed to purchase a certain quantity of land from the Hudson's Bay Coy.
& having engaged labourers at the rate of 6 for every hundred acres purchased,
who are being sent out in a vessel chartered by the Hudson's Bay Coy. on the
30th. instant, I shall feel much obliged if you will be kind enough to inform me
whether the island is so far made over to the Hudson's Bay Coy. as to justify my
purchasing land from them, & being at the expence (for I am to be at the sole
expence) of sending out emigrants to cultivate that land. The price paid for
land is £1 pr. acre, nine tenths of which Sir J. Pelly informed me wd. be spent
on the colony for its benefit, he further fixed a charge of 2/6 pr. ton on such coal
as cd. be exported by Colonists, also a charge of 10/ pr. load on whatever Wood
sd. be exported, allowing colonists the use of whatever wood they required for
domestic purposes.
He further gave me the appointment of Surveyor of the island, leaving salary
amis, of surveys to be made &c. to be fixed on arrival in the island. Sir J. Pelly
also informed me that the island wd. at present be governed by a Governor & ten
Councillors, one of which councillors he gave me to understand he had appointed
me, as also a Magistrate, justice of the peace &c. May I take the liberty of
enquiring from you as under Secretary for the Colonies whether it is in the power
of the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Compy. to make all these appointments
conditions &c. concerning the sale of land in Vancouver's Island, & whether I as
a private individual anxious to go out to that part of the world, should apply
myself to the Hudson's Bay Coy. or to Her Majesty's Government.1'
In reply Grant was informed that the grant had been completed "with
the exception of some of the necessary forms " and that the Government
had " no reason to doubt but the colonization of the Island wiU proceed
under the Company's auspices." As far as land grants were concerned,
he was assured that those undertaken by the Company " on the faith of
the negociations up to the present time would be respected by H. M's.
Gov't." In so far as appointments were concerned, it was indicated that
the instructions to the Governor had not yet been fuUy considered and
whUe the Company would not have the direct power of conferring
appointment, their recommendations would be given every consideration
by the Government.20
(19) W. C. Grant to the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, November
8, 1848, CO. 305, Vol. L pp. 547-550, transcript in Archives of B.C. and reprinted
in Report of the Provincial Archives  .   .   .   1913, pp. 68-69.
(20) B. Hawes to Grant, November 15, 1848, CO. 305, Vol. I, pp. 555-557,
transcript in Archives of B.C. and reprinted in Report of the Provincial Archives
.   .   .   1913, p. 69. 94 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
This information prompted Grant to write what can only be regarded
as a protest against the plans of the Hudson's Bay Company for the
colonization of Vancouver Island.
I refrain from expressing my individual opinions as to the policy pursued in
this instance by her Majesty's Government, I cannot however avoid stating what
I know to be a fact, that the grant of Vancouver's Island to the Hudson's Bay
Compy. will be the means of instantaneously checking the intended emigration to
that island, of several Scottish gentlemen who were otherwise prepared to embark
with all the " Material" which wd. be likely to bring about successful colonization.
As I myself purpose carrying out my intention of starting thither very shortly,
taking with me a Clergyman of the Church of Scotland, & some mechanics,
labourers, &c. I trust I may be permitted respectfully to record my petition, a petition in which I am convinced I shall be seconded by every embryo emigrant to
Vancouver Id. That it may please Her Majesty's Government, to exercise their
power of revoking within the limits of this New Colony all such privileges of
exclusive trade as have been granted to the Hudson's Bay Coy. in certain other
parts of British North America. The High price of land that settlers will have
to pay amtg. in all to abt. £2.4 pr. acre, is surely in itself a sufficient evil, to this
will be added the overwhelming competition with a powerful Coy. against which
individual colonists will have to strive in every department of culture or traffic.
Heavy Royalties that on the exportation of timber, viz. 10/ pr. load, being
sufficient to annihilate any proposed traffic in that commodity are to be charged on
all kinds of available produce, and if even then settlers are debarred, by the continuance of a Monopoly, from availing themselves of one of the principal natural
resources of the island, so crushing a check may be given to the exertions of
private enterprise, as materially to impede the success of any effort at Public
improvements in the Colony.21
Even at this early date Grant was experiencing difficulty in carrying
out his plans. The schoolmaster he had engaged was not able to travel
out in the Harpooner, nor were the arrangements concluded with his
grieve, Thomas Poustie, for when the ship saUed the names of this famUy
were not included in the passenger Ust. However the names of eight
men—"Captain Grant's men"—do appear:—
James Rose Blacksmith & Engineer     James Morrison     Farmer* Labourer
William McDonald Joiner & House Builder    William Fraser ditto
Thomas Tolmie       Carpenter & do. William McDonald ditto
Thomas Munro       Gardener John McLeod        Labourer22
Grant himself did not sail at this time.
(21) Grant to Hawes, November 17, 1848, CO. 305, Vol. I, pp. 559-561,
transcript in Archives of B.C. and reprinted in Report of the Provincial Archives
. . . 1913, pp. 69-71. This letter was addressed from 21 Albany Street, Edinburgh.   It drew no response from the Under Secretary.
(22) List of Passengers from England per Barque Harpooner, 1849, transcript,
Archives of B.C. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 95
Moreover, it soon became apparent to the Company that he had
Uttle, if any, capital avaUable for the undertaking but was dependent
upon his uncle, Sir Lewis Grant, for the necessary financial backing.
Early in December Sir Lewis began a discussion of the project with the
Company. In a personal note to Sir John PeUy he stated that he would
" take an early opportunity of arranging with him for the passage money
of the Men sent out to Vancouver's Island," and that he would discuss
the matter of the purchase of the requisite amount of land.23 On January
24, 1849, PeUy, in reply, pointed out that payment for the land and
passages was now due, and he enclosed a copy of the account with
Captain Grant as it then stood:—
Appropriation of Capt. Grants first years Salary
passage of Grieve & Wife to Vancouver's Island £40-
Do. of Schoolmaster 20-
Advance to Grieve 25-
Carriage of 2 boxes from Edinr. & expences on 3 casks of
whiskey—say 15-
This was obviously based upon Grant's original request to the Company.
It is suspected that Sir Lewis was not aware of this commitment and was
concerning himself only with the eight men sent out in the Harpooner,
for in acknowledging this letter four days later Sir Lewis noted " a difference from the account of £5 per man for passages which the Captain
has not yet explained."25 In the interim Sir Lewis and PeUy had discussed the question of land purchase at an interview held at the Bank
of England, and arrangements were made for a further conference on
January 31.26
The differences were resolved to a degree at least, for in February
Sir Lewis outlined his position in a long letter to the Company.
Capt. W. C. Grant appears to have now some intention of taking his Dep. for
Vancouver, but as I conceive there may be interruptions to this in the course of
the long distance between this Country and that Island, I should hope you would
not be particular with him either in respect to the quantity of land he may have
bespoken or in respect to his immediate payment for the ultimate quantity which
may be allotted to him.
(23) Sir Lewis Grant to Sir J. H. Pelly, undated, H.B.C. Archives, A. 10/25.
(24) Sir John Pelly to Sir Lewis Grant, January 24, 1849, H.B.C. Archives,
A. 10/26.
(25) Sir Lewis Grant to Sir John Pelly, January 28, 1849, H.B.C. Archives,
A. 10/26.
(26) Sir John Pelly to Sir Lewis Grant, January 29, 1849, H.B.C. Archives,
A. 10/26. 96 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
For the passage of his 8 men I of course am responsible for the account, and
shall be happy to arrange for it by its payment. At the time I committed myself
for this I also, I think, stated I should be responsible for the payment for the
' necessary' quantity of Land. The passage for the men was a decided expense
to the Company but not so the Land, I should therefore hope from the considerations you have shewn for Capt. G., that in the state of doubt that, at this late
period, he will have any men to place on his land if he ever should take possession,
you will consent to receive a payment for 100 Acres which is surely as much as he
would have immediate necessity for with his small number, and give him a conditional Grant for the other 100, that it shall be paid for in 2 or 3 years or
forfeited.   .   .   .
I may just observe that any indulgences shewn to Capt. Grant scarcely admits
of being brought forward as a precedent, as he was probably the first or among
the first who proposed himself as a Colonist, at least on so large a scale and that
this was before the arrangements were concluded between Government and the
H.B. Compy.2^
From this letter it wiU be seen that the purchase of 200 acres of land was
under consideration, since 8 men had been sent out. The Company did
agree to a minor modification of its demands, for Sir Lewis was informed
of their willingness "to except £100 for 100 acres of land on Captn.
Grant's Account on payment of which, and of the passage money of the
men sent out by the Harpooner, the Captain wiU (as soon as possible)
be put in possession of that quantity of land." Additional land would be
avaUable whenever Grant chose to purchase it. In the meantime the
Company had heard further from Grant on the subject of a free passage
for the schoolmaster,28 and Sir Lewis was informed of their decision in
the connection:—
. . . that if a passage be provided by the Company for the Schoolmaster, it
must be paid for, but that advances not exceeding £100 will, if applied for, be
made for the purposes stated in his letter, the amount to be charged against his
first years salary as surveyor.29
The Company stiU experienced some difficulty hi having its account
settled by Sir Lewis. Late in March Sir John PeUy, with (Uffidence,
restated their claim for £270.18, of which £100 was for the purchase
of 100 acres of land and the balance passage money:—
I have refrained asking (what you may call dunning) you for the money, till
the last moment, the Mail of next Thursday being the one by which the Co.'s
(27) Sir Lewis Grant to Sir John Pelly, February 16, 1849, H.B.C. Archives,
A. 10/26.
(28) This letter is not available; reference to it is made in Barclay to Sir Lewis
Grant, February 19, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 5/16, p. 107.
(29) Ibid. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 97
Despatch is forwarded to Sir G. Simpson who goes into the interior before the next
leaves from this country.30
Presumably payment was made, for there are no further references to
the matter in subsequent correspondence.
By this time Grant was at long last on his way to Vancouver Island.
Since he had not been ready to saU in the Company's annual supply ship,
which would have taken him directly to Vancouver Island, he was now
obUged to travel by the more hazardous Panama route. It is not known
when he saUed from England, but presumably it would be by the Royal
MaU Steam Packet Company's regular West Indian maU steamers.31 He
arrived in Panama on March 29, and nearly a month later he wrote
a long letter to the Company outlining his situation:—
... I regret much having been prevented getting ere this time further on my
route towards Vancouver's Island, by the total want of communication between
this and San Francisco. I am most anxious to commence my survey of the island
& most unwilling to be detained, on my arrival here on the 29th ult. I found that
the steamer which was expected from California wither she had proceeded with
passengers had not returned, & there were no other means of communication or
no ships in the roads. . . . Now six or seven have arrived and are rapidly
filling with tickets at a general rate of 200 dollars in the steerage, & 300 in the
first Cabin. In one of these I have taken my passage, but to enable me to do so
I have been obliged to take what I fear you will consider the unwarrantable liberty
of drawing on the Governor & the Committee of the Hudson's Bay Compy. for
£100. I had when starting from England just the sum of £140 [sic] wherewith
to pay my expences to Vancouver, the fare pr. steamer to Chagres, the enormous
expence of transit across the isthmus which altogether cost me the sum of 150
dollars, together with the unlooked for delay here, where living is excessively
expensive cost me in all the whole of the sum which I had looked to as being likely
to take me to the end of my journey. Being now therefore completely hors de
combat I think it right to give this frank statement of my affairs, which may
account for what wd. otherwise be my extraordinary conduct in drawing upon
you. I have left no funds whatever behind me in my native country, consequently
all I have to look to is the produce of the industry of myself & my people at
Vancouver, together with the salary that I am to receive as surveyor. I have
written to my two nearest relations, two Uncles, Sir James Grant & Sir Lewis
Grant, telling them the predicament in which I stand and requesting them if they
can advance me that sum to pay into your hands the sum of £100 to meet the
bill I have drawn upon you. Should they not be able to comply with my request,
my only resource is to ask you to be kind enough to apply my second years salary
(30) Sir John Pelly to Sir Lewis Grant, March 31, 1849, H.B.C. Archives,
A. 10/26.
(31) This company's steamer Toy, Captain Chapman, sailed on March 17,
1849, from Southampton for Chagres, and it is probable that Grant went in her.
London Times, March 19, 1849. 98 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
to that purpose, my first year's being already anticipated by the requests which
I made through the Secretary to the Coy. These I am still most anxious to be
complied with, without the assistance of the books whose carriage I wished pd.
frm. Edinburgh, I sd. be able to give but a poor scientific account of the country.
I also requested that some Whiskey which had been sent me frm. Scotland, sd. be
sent to the Hudson's Bay Coys, office for exportation; the quantity was 170 Gall,
and the charges on it to pay about £7. Of course it is merely for the use of my
men, & not for barter with the natives or others. In my journeyings here I have
broken two thermometers, which being essentially necessary to my prosecution of
a proper survey may I request that you will be kind enough to have replaced for
me, and sent out by the next vessel to Vancouver, I am also greatly in need of an
artificial Horizon, which may be got at Messrs. Cary's Strand for the sum of about
£5. For the advance of money sufficient to purchase these articles with I shall
be much obliged, as they are all essentially necessary; as are the passages for
individuals for which I applied necessary to my success as a colonist.
The vessel by which I start for [San] Francisco is said to be ready in about
8 days, from thence I shall make the best of my way to Vancouver either by sea
or land, the passage to San Francisco is likely to occupy about 60 [sic] days as
strong northerly winds prevail at this time of the year.   .   .   .32
Three weeks later, stiU at Panama, he wrote further of his predicament:—
I write to inform you that on Thursday last I drew the Bill for £100 upon the
Govr. & Committee of the Hudson's Bay Coy. of which I had given you notice
in a previous letter. I have to make many apologies for the very unusual & I fear
you will think extraordinary course I have followed in the anticipating or wishing
to anticipate the whole of the two years salary which I was to receive fm. the
Hudson's Bay Coy. for surveying. I need scarcely say that in the event of the
company's being so obliging as to accede to me demands my best services will be
at their disposal for the whole of that period, still I feel that they will be quite
justified in refusing compliance with my exigeant requests, although I am not
without hope that under the extraordinary circumstances under which I am at
present placed you will be kind enough to bring the matter under their favorable
consideration. ... I sold the ticket I purchased in a sailing vessel which wd.
prob. be 70 days in teeth of the N.E. trades, performing the passage and have
bought one in the Panama steamer which starts tomorrow, and calling only at
San Diego, will arrive (barring accidents) at San. F. in 17 days. There I expect
to find H.M.S. Inconstant, which was expected there in the end of May and after
stay of a week or two was to proceed to the North via Vancouvers island. In
her I hope to get a passage to Vancouver which sd. bring me there in abt. 6 weeks
frm. this date, sd. she have gone before I arrive I shall have no difficulty in
getting up in one of the coal vessels (yr. contract being in operation). . . .
I had previously applied for the anticipation of all my first years salary, as follows.
Passage of Grieve & wife to V.C. [sic] £40, Do. of Schoolmaster £20, advance to
grieve £25, Carriage of two boxes frm. Edinr. & expences on 3 casks of Whiskey
say £15—total £100.   The advance I therefore now apply for is of the salary of
(32) W. C. Grant to Barclay, April 25,  1849, dated at Panama, H.B.C.
Archives, A. 10/26. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 99
my second year. Sd. the Committee object, I wd. willingly give up all my property at Vancouver, rather than that my bill sd. be dishonored.   .   .   .33
Grant's financial involvement now became a matter of serious concern to the Company as well as to his family. Before ever leaving for the
colony he had committed aU of his first year's salary, and the Company
had no intention of permitting advances against the second year's salary.
Consequently, they refused acceptance of the biU for £100 when it was
presented. The matter was taken up directly with Sir Lewis Grant by
the Company, and at his suggestion an approach was made to his brother,
Sir James,34 who very promptly declined to be of any assistance.
I have no Funds of Captain Grant, nor ever had any, and I told him, on the
last occasion on which I had to assist him with some money, that it was all I
could afford to do for him, and that he must not look to me for any farther
advance, as from the large sums I had expended on my sons and still liable to be
called on for by the Expences of one of them, I had it not in my power to do any
thing more.35
Sir Lewis, informed of his brother's decision, in due course agreed to
honour the bill, but indicated that further financial assistance would not
be forthcoming.
I send herewith a draft on my Agent to meet W. C. Grants Bill on Hudson's
Bay Company.   .   .   .
I must now cease to have any thing more to do with Walter Colqn. Grants
drafts, as I have no assistance from any other quarter to any extent worth consideration^
Thus, before his arrival at Vancouver Island, Captain Grant had ahenated
himself from his uncles in so far as financial assistance was concerned.
It wUl be recaUed that Grant planned to take a steamer from Panama
to San Francisco, where he hoped to find H.M.S. Inconstant and travel
in her to Vancouver Island. Unfortunately, Grant's information as to
this ship's movements were quite inaccurate, for actuaUy she had dropped
anchor in Esquimalt Harbour three days before he wrote the letter outlining his plans.38   As a result, upon arriving in San Francisco, Grant
(33) Grant to Barclay, May 15, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 10/26.
(34) Barclay to Sir James Grant, July 5, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 5/16,
p. 139.
(35) Sir James Grant to Barclay, July 6, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 10/27.
(36) Barclay to Sir Lewis Grant, July 7, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 5/16,
p. 141.
(37) Sir Lewis Grant to Barclay, August 2, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 10/27.
Acknowledgment of his remittance was sent the following day: Barclay to Sir
Lewis Grant, August 3, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 5/16, p. 148.
(38) See F. V. Longstaff and W. Kaye Lamb, " The Royal Navy on the Northwest Coast, 1813-1850," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, IX (1943), p. 125.
8 100 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
had to devise other means for his onward transportation. Numerous
delays ensued, so that it was not until late in July that he reached Fort
Vancouver. He was by this time again completely without funds, and
Peter Skene Ogden, in charge of that post, was under the necessity of
advancing money to pay his passage from CaUfornia. From that point
onward the Company provided him with transportation, and his progress
is chronicled in the Journal of Fort NisquaUy, which recorded under date
of August 3:—
Mr. C. T. Todd [sic] returned from Vancouver, he is accompanied by Capt. Grant,
one of the Settlers for Vancouver's Island.39
On August 6 he left by canoe for Fort Victoria,40 where he arrived on
August 11. There he was met by James Douglas, who reported this
auspicious event to his superiors in London in a letter that is remarkable
for its foreshadowing of the problems that lay ahead:—
Captain Grant arrived here by way of Fort Vancouver and Nisqually on the
11th of August. We had much difficulty in keeping his men, who came out by
the Harpooner*! two months before his own arrival, from leaving the Island, as
they were dissatisfied about the absence of their employer.   .   .   .
On the 14th following I started with Captain Grant, on an excursion along
the coast, for the purpose of showing him the best points for settlement, and
recommending him to the natives. He chose a place a Sy-yausung 25 miles
distant from Fort Victoria, where he has the important advantage of a good Mill
Stream, and a great abundance of fine timber. He is now busily employed putting
up log houses for present use, and intends immediately after getting under cover
for the winter to build a Saw Mill and prepare deals and house frames for the
California Market, where the former, by our latest advices, were selling at 250
Dollars a thousand square feet.   .   .   .
Captain Grant arrived in this country completely destitute of funds: Mr.
Ogden had to advance money to pay his passage from California to Fort Vancouver, and since his arrival here, he has been supplied with provisions and articles
to purchase food on credit from the Companys Stores, and I have further to
furnish him with Cattle, draught oxen and horses to commence and stock his
farm; and in fact, he will be for twelve months to come, entirely dependent on
the Company for his daily bread, and I fear the Colonists who are to follow will
be equally distitute [sic] of means.   .   .   .
I have received no instructions, respecting Captain Grant, and have no idea
except from his own information of the quantity of land he purchased from the
Company; nor of any other arrangements entered into with him.   It appears by
(39) Victor J. Farrar (ed.), "The Nisqually Journal," Washington Historical
Quarterly, X (1919), p. 225.
(40) Ibid., p. 225.
(41) According to the Nisqually journal the Harpooner had reached Fort
Victoria in June.   Ibid., pp. 220-221. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 101
his own statement that he has bought 200 acres of Prairie land from the Company, which he was to receive here; and he showed me a correspondence with
Govr. Sir John Pelly, relative to the terms of a proposition, for a general survey
of this Island; which was not entertained, but that afterwards it was arranged
that he should make any surveys required by the company, at a salary of £100
per annum.
I fear that Captain Grant has undertaken a duty which the pressing nature
of his own affairs, will not allow him time to attend to, he has not been able as
yet to make any surveys nor can he with prudence absent himself from his establishment until it is in a more advanced state.   .   .   .42
It is not to be wondered that Douglas was concerned about the terms
of the appointment of his surveyor. As long back as February 16 the
Governor and Committee outlined their proposal in a letter to Douglas
sent out in the care of Captain Grant. Presumably he presented it upon
arrival, but unfortunately the duplicate was not forwarded to Douglas
until late in June and had not yet reached him.
I enclose herewith duplicate of my letter of February 16 per Captain Grant,
who, the Committee hope, has by this time reached Fort Victoria, and commenced
surveying. It is most desirable that, as the survey proceeds, sketches on tracing
paper should be sent home by every opportunity, as the Companys proceedings
in regard to colonization are greatly impeded for want of information respecting
the situation and circumstances of the land to be disposed of.43
Nor was it likely that at this date Douglas had received Sir George Simpson's instructions, which would only have added to the confusion:—
The Governor and Committee had entered into an arrangement with a Captain
Grant to proceed to the island with a body of settlers. Eight of the settlers were
forwarded by the Harpooner and Captain Grant, I understand, was to have proceeded by Panama, but I had not heard of his departure up to the time I left
Canada. It was intended that that gentleman should have been employed in
making a survey of the island, but as it appears quite uncertain when, or by what
route, he may reach Fort Victoria, it is desirable the survey be proceeded with
without awaiting his arrival.4*
In the interim the Company, unaware of the delays encountered by
Grant, early in August had written further to him on the matter:—
The Governor and Committee hope that you are making good progress with
the survey of the land which is considered most available for settlement, and also
with the clearing and cultivation of your own ground.
(42) Douglas to Barclay, September 3, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72.
(43) Barclay to P. S. Ogden, James Douglas, and John Work, June 28, 1849,
H.B.C. Archives, B. 226/c/l.
(44) George Simpson to Board of Management, Fort Vancouver, June 30,
1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72. 102 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
In conducting your surveying operations you will regard Mr. Douglas as the
representative of the Company in Vancouver's Island, receiving your instructions
from him, and looking to him for advice and assistance in cases of difficulty should
any such occur. The Company deem it unnecessary to point out to you the
importance, both as regards the interests of the Company and your own comfort,
of a harmonious cooperation with Mr. Douglas.   .   .   .
An artificial horizon and two thermometers are agreeably to your request
forwarded by the Cowlitz and also a copy of Dr. Wies Dictionary of Arts &
Douglas was informed of the contents of this letter and of the probabUity
that Grant would require assistance.46 The Company was in dire need
of maps if they were to proceed with the sale of land,47 and indicative of
their concern the secretary, Archibald Barclay, wrote privately to Douglas
suggesting how the assistance might be provided:—
Should the assistance of an additional clerk for that or any other purpose be
required you will of course select any one that may be disposable and fit for the
service. Mr. Robertson, one of the apprentice clerks going out on the Cowlitz,
has a turn for drawing and may perhaps be found useful as an occasional assistant
to Capt. Grant.4?
However, as Douglas had earUer suggested, Grant's personal problems
associated with the development of his own property were of paramount
concern, and his role as surveyor was necessarily of secondary consideration. WhUe the Company in London recognized this situation, they had
no real appreciation of the difficulties49 that were being encountered in
the colony. In October, Douglas reported to them that " Captain Grant
has had a great deal of trouble with his men and has been obUged nearly
to double their Wages, in order to induce them to remain in his Service,
(45) Barclay to Grant, August 4, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 6/28, p. 56.
(46) Barclay to Douglas, August 2, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 6/28, p. 90.
(47) " The want of surveys and local information has been much felt, persons
intending to emigrate being naturally desirous to see a plan of the locality in which
they are to settle."   Barclay to Douglas, December, 1849, MS., Archives of B.C.
(48) Barclay to Douglas, August 3, 1849, MS., Archives of B.C.
(49) "As soon as Captain Grant has in some degree settled himself, he will be
able to devote part of his time to Surveying, and should make out a distinct plan
of his own lot, and of the lands which were in the occupation of the Fur Trade at
the date of the Treaty with the United States, and which the Fur Trade is to have
free from any payment; also of the additional quantity of land which it may be
considered expedient to reserve for the Fur Trade for cultivation or otherwise, for
which additional quantity the Fur Trade will have to pay £1 pr. acre, the same as
any other settler. The boundaries and relative position of these lands with respect
to the sea and other fixed objects should be distinctly laid down, also the contents
of each in acres."   Barclay to Douglas, February 8, 1840, MS., Archives of B.C. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 103
while the work they have done is hardly sufficient to pay for their food."50
During the winter some survey work was undertaken, which evidently
proved to Douglas, at least, Grant's lack of qualification for the post
held. There is no evidence that he had had any previous training or
experience as a surveyor; indeed, Governor Richard Blanshard, writing
at a later date, claimed he had "only studied for a short time in the
MUitary CoUege, Sandhurst."51
The unsatisfactory state of affairs was finaUy brought to a head late
in March, 1850, when Grant tendered the foUowing letter of resignation:—
I have the honor to request that you will have the goodness to forward to
the Governor & Committee of the Hudson's Bay Co. my resignation of the Office
of Surveyor in Vancouver's Island, as I find owing to the subjoined reasons that
I am unable to execute the duties of that office in a manner creditable to myself,
useful to the colony, or satisfactory to the Company.
In the first place the business of forming my own settlement, and bringing my
allottment of land into cultivation, so completely engrosses my time, that I am
unable to find any leisure for surveying, & have no trustworthy person whom I can
leave in charge during my absence.
In the second place, I was promised in Fenchurch St. considerable asistance [sic]
from the Hudson's Bay Coy. who led me to believe that on arrival in the island,
I sd. find no difficulty in securing the assistance of a party of eight or ten men for
purposes of surveying & production, whereas although willing to assist me, they
have been unable hitherto to spare me the assistance of a single individual.
Thirdly, having been obliged to discharge half of my own men for misconduct,
I am unable without totally neglecting my own interests, to employ the remainder
in exploring or surveying.
For these reasons, I beg to decline holding any longer the appointment to an
office, the duties of which I am unable satisfactorily to execute. I shall however
until sufficient time has elapsed from the date of this letter to allow for the
reception of my resignation in England & for the sending out of a successor if
necessary, continue to execute such surveys as are within my limited means.
For these I beg to decline on any account receiving any remuneration whatsoever,
as also for any surveys which I have already executed. Should any advances
have already been made of my salary of £100 pr. anm. for the passage of labourers,
or in any other way, I shall take the earliest opportunity of remitting the same.
. . . Herewith I forward a sketch of such portions of the south coast of the
island without the claim of the Hudsons Bay Coy. as appear fit for purposes of
colonization.   .   .   ,52
(50) Douglas to the Governor and Committee, October 27,  1849, H.B.C.
Archives, A. 11/72.
(51) Blanshard to Grey, April 28, 1851, MS., Archives of B.C.
(52) Grant to Douglas, March 25,  1850, enclosed in Douglas to Barclay,
April 3, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72. 104 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
Douglas promptly forwarded this communication to the Company and
in his covering letter added his own comments:—
A letter from Capt. Grant is herewith forwarded containing his resignation
of the Office of Surveyor. He will however continue to execute such surveys,
as are within his limited means until there is time to send out a person from
England to replace him.   .   .   .
I may . . . observe . . . that he never applied to me for assistance in
men, to carry on his surveys, as however short handed I would have made a point
to procure at least one white man with any number of Indians required to assist
him. In a former letter, I gave my opinion as to the value of Captain Grants
services as a surveyor, which remains unaltered, not having as yet furnished a
single survey, though he is now engaged in preparing several sketches, which he
assures me will be ready in time to accompany this letter.   .   .   .
P.S.—A sketch of the south coast of Vancouver Island, by W. C. Grant, is
just received and herewith forwarded.53
Writing a month later Douglas reported to Barclay that no further work
had been undertaken and that consequently no sketches could be sent,
adding wryly, "neither do I suppose that he wiU ever accompUsh the
surveys you have so repeatedly required me to produce." The basis of
the new arrangement with Grant was set out in detaU:—
I would have, long ere this, employed another person to make these surveys,
had it not been for the heavy charges, exceeding 20 Dollars per diem, made by
surveyors in the Columbia, where alone I could procure such assistance.
I have proposed to Captain Grant to make a survey of the District of Victoria
and have agreed to pay him at the rate of 10 Dollars a Day, but he had not yet
assented to the proposal.54
(53) Douglas to Barclay, April 3, 1850, ibid. Unfortunately this sketch does
not appear to have survived in the Archives of the Company in London. The
Company were evidently under no illusions as to Grant's capabilities as a surveyor.
" The report you make of Captain Grant's qualifications as a settler and surveyor
& his general habits & character corresponds very closely with the estimate I had
formed of them from information that reached me last year. It is clear we cannot
trust to his services as a Surveyor & I have urged strongly on the Company the
propriety of authorising me to engage a duly qualified person in this country as
Clerk & Surveyor, or that such a person be engaged & sent from England. A
Canadian would in my opinion be preferable, as he would be more au fait at forest
work than an Englishman & I think could be engaged on more advantageous
terms." Simpson to Douglas, March 26, 1850, Transcript, Archives of B.C. Sir
John Pelly, however, justified his appointment as far as possible: " On the subject
of Captn. Grant's efficiency as a Surveyor I can only say that he was recommended
to me as peculiarly qualified for the work he had to perform. But when it was
found that he neglected his duties, another Surveyor of proved ability was sent
out.   .   .   ."   Pelly to Grey, September 10, 1851, H.B.C. Archives, A. 8/6, p. 106.
(54) Douglas to Barclay, May 16, 1850, MS., Archives of B.C. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 105
Douglas's worries were stiU far from being at an end, for, after
vacUlating, Grant finaUy accepted the offer Douglas had made, but the
Company, when they became aware of its provisions, refused to give it
consideration and, in effect, rebuked Douglas for bis action.
The Committee . . . are much surprised that you should have proposed to him
to make a survey of the district of Victoria at the rate of $10 pr. day after he
had given up his appointment of £100 pr. Annum for two years for all the surveys
he could make in his spare time, and although you are of opinion that he never
would accomplish what he undertook to do. It appears from your letter (of the
16th May) that he had not assented to this proposal but in a letter dated the 20th
May he informs the Governor that he has. The Outline sketch transmitted in
your letter of the 3rd April is of little or no use, and taking his whole conduct
into consideration the Committee cannot confirm the proposed arrangement.55
Prior to this the Committee had already informed Grant of the acceptance
of his resignation,56 and they now informed him of their decision on the
new proposal:—
... I am to acquaint you that it will be a matter for the future consideration
of the Governor and Committee whether they will give their sanction to such an
arrangement, as they were induced to absolve you from your original engagement
to make surveys, by your positive assertion that you could not fulfil it, owing to
your other avocations.57
Long before this word reached Vancouver Island, Grant had again
been at work,38 and on September 16, 1850, Douglas was able to
I herewith transmit a Diagram of the ' Fur Trade Reserve' at Fort Victoria
executed by Captain Grant from the survey made by him during the past summer—
which is not yet finished; but he assures me he will soon complete it, or at least
furnish a complete sketch of the portion that has been surveyed. The Diagram
will I fear be of little use beyond giving an idea of the extent of the Reserve,
which does not widely differ from the estimate given in one of my letters.59
(55) Barclay to Douglas, August 16, 1850, MS., Archives of B.C. This criticism hardly seems fair in the light of a former opinion: "A sketch, however
rough, would convey a much better idea of the localities than any mere description
can do."   Barclay to Douglas, May 3, 1850, ibid.
(56) Barclay to Grant, July 5, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 6/28, p. 153.
(57) Barclay to Grant, August 9, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 6/28, pp. 157-
(58) " Captain Grant has been employed since the month of May, in making
a survey of the Fur Trade Reserve, but has not yet finished the outline, though
he continues to work pretty steadily. . . ." Douglas to Barclay, September 1,
1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72.
(59) Douglas to Barclay, September 16, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72.
Unfortunately this sketch, like its predecessor, does not appear to have survived in
the Archives of the Company. 106 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
In presenting this " Diagram," Grant wrote a long letter descriptive
of his efforts, which may to aU intents and purposes be considered the
first report of the Surveyor of Vancouver Island:—
Ft. Victoria, Septr. 10, 1850.
I beg to report my having concluded the survey of Victoria district as far as
Trial Island. The thick fog & smoke which at present so overclouds the district
that I cannot see above 300 yards in any direction, utterly prevents my surveying
any more at present with any accuracy, even were it not so I cd. not absent myself
longer from my own settlement, unless I made up my mind to abandon it altogether, everything going to ruin during my absence. For the same reason, which
is the more pressing as it is now harvest time, I am quite unable to finish a complete Sketch of what I have surveyed, previous to the sailing of the Norman
Morrison [sic] for England. As therefore rough Sketches of the district have
already been sent home, I prefer sending you a diagram which accurately represents
the superficial content of the district.
The triangles numbered 4 & 5 in the diagram contain nearly all the portion
which has not been finished, indeed all the northern portion of no. 4 has already
been surveyed & divided into allottments [sic] of Vi Sqr. miles. The whole district
gives a gross area of 22 Sq. M. 628 Ac. O R 31 P. 2Vi Sq. Yds. of which roughly
one third may be said to be covered with woodland one third plain arable, & the
remainder Rock & Swamp. In justice to myself I may remark that the assistance
with which I was furnished was wholly insufficient for carrying on operations
rapidly, otherwise I have no doubt, the whole wd. already been finished. 2 men
fresh from England who had scarcely ever seen an axe before in their lives, &
two Indians who were still more useless, completed my party, with the exception
of Mr. Robertson who spoiled all my instruments during the fortnight that he
remained with me, & then ran away to Nisqually, his presence having been rather
a hindrance than any assistance to me.
I have to express my thanks for your kindness in remunerating me for the
assistance of the American deserters whom I employed, & without whom the
survey wd. not have been nearly in so advanced a state as it is. I may further
remark in justice to you Sir, that though the surveying party was inadequate for
the purpose, I do not conceive that from the necessary work of yr. establishment,
you could possibly have spared a single other individual to place at my disposal.
A year has now passed since my arrival on Vancouver's Island, & though I
neither think myself entitled to, nor wish to receive the Salary of £100 which
was promised me, still I concieve I am entitled to the merit of having to the utmost
of my power under the circumstances performed the promises regarding Surveys
which I made to Sir John Pelly. I have made such general Surveys as I have
had time for, & I have also by private contract made such particular surveys for
the sale of land, as the assistance with which I was furnished enabled me to do.
I have also laid out allottments [sic] for all the colonists that have come to the
island, Mr. Tod unfortunately being the only one. If others had come, I sd. have
had no difficulty in laying out allottments [sic] for them, as soon as they had chosen
their position.   I have made Mr. Tod's allottment [sic] of 100 acres 440 yards 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 107
broad along the sea coast, with a depth of 1100 yards towards the interior.
I shall take the earliest possible opportunity of completing a Sketch, & forwarding
a copy of it to London, & if spared till next season shall have much pleasure, if
enabled to do so, in finishing the survey of the Victoria district, or in giving such
information to any other surveyor who may come out, as will enable him with
ease to continue my lines. I beg to refer to my previous letter, resigning the
appointment of surveyor. The Governor & Committee of the Hudson's Bay Coy.
will I trust understand from it, that I am unwilling to be answerable for furnishing
them with surveys, which I have neither the time or opportunity for executing.
I have to acknowledge the receipt of £200 on a/c of the survey on which I have
lately been engaged, and upwards of two thirds of the survey being completed,
I have the honor to apply for an additional £100 for the immediate purpose of
provisioning my establishment.
I have the honor to be
Sir   Yr most obedt. Servt.
To J. Douglas Esqr. w- Ool«»»- Grant60
This proved to be Grant's last effort at fulfilling any of the functions
of surveyor. It only remained for Douglas some months later to reply
to the criticism he had received for having entered into the arrangement:—
My only object in employing Capt. Grant to survey the Fur Trade Reserve
was my anxiety to meet the views of the Governor and Committee, so frequently
expressed, to that effect, in your communications—and at the same time to enable
him by his own industry to purchase food for his establishment, which I must
otherwise have supplied on Credit or allowed his people to starve, a course which
I felt assured the Committee would not approve. By that arrangement he was to
receive 500 Dollars for a survey of the Fur Trade Reserve, containing about 20
Square miles divided into 640 Acres Sections. He worked pretty steadily for
about 3 Months and finished the East, West and North lines as pr. Diagram
forwarded per the Norman Morison but as usual did not complete his engagement
on account of the thick smoky weather. For that Service I paid him 300 Dollars
in provisions and supplies for his people, which is scarcely a sufficient recompense
for the Work done—as in drawing the North boundary he had to cut his way
through a thickly wooded country  .   .   &
(60) Grant to Douglas, September 10, 1850, MS., Archives of B.C. Regarding
Grant's activity as a surveyor, J. S. Helmcken in his Reminiscences has the following: "Capt. Grant . . . had some engagement given him by Mr. Douglas in the
shape of surveying—he ran a base line from about Loch-end to Mount Douglas,
and had some other surveys to do about Sooke, where he had located. He had of
course to make a report—and of course had to make a copy of this—so he would
occupy an hour and then get Benson to copy for an hour and then some one else,
but they managed to get through it in process of time; of course the manuscript in
various hands: this for the Honble H.B. Co's. eyes! !" J.S. Helmcken, Reminiscences, Vol. iii, p. 29, MS., Archives of B.C.
(61) Douglas to Barclay, November 16, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72. 108 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
By this time Grant had left the colony temporarily, and Douglas could
only await the arrival of a new surveyor.62
The faUure of Grant to fulfil his duties as surveyor was not the only
source of embarrassment to Douglas. For one thing, the fact that the
Company had waived certain of its requirements regarding land acquisition in Grant's favour had become known, and other persons began to
seek similar concessions, which it was not within Douglas's authority
to sanction.63
Grant's efforts to estabUsh himself as a settler were of even greater
concern. Within a few days of his arrival in the colony he had, in the
company of Douglas, examined the areas adjacent to Fort Victoria that
were suitable for settlement and had decided upon property at Sooke.
The existence there of a site for a sawmiU no doubt was at least partiaUy
responsible for his removing so great a distance from the fort. There
he built a house, which he caUed "Achaineach " (often also referred to
as "MuUachard"), of squared logs, roofed with cedar shakes. It was
located between two rocky knoUs on which two cannon were mounted.64
Accommodation was also provided for his men, and the necessary farm
buUdings erected.65   From the beginning Grant had (Ufficulty with his
(62) Joseph Despard Pemberton, an eminently qualified civil engineer, signed
a contract with the Company on February 15, 1851, and in June of that year
arrived at Fort Victoria to take up his work. See H. S. Sampson, " My Father,
Joseph Despard Pemberton: 1821-93," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, VIII
(1944), pp. 111-125.
(63) "I have . . . received applications from other parties connected with
the service for the purchase of Land at 20/- Sterling an Acre provided the Company
will dispense with the Conditions of bringing out 2 Mechanics and 6 labouring
Servants for each hundred acres of land purchased a Condition they cannot easily
comply with. It having been partially dispensed with in the case of Captn. Grant
who brought only eight men to this Country. . . ." Douglas to Governor and
Committee, October 27, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72.
(64) "Captain Grant, formerly of the Scots Greys, who settled at Soake [sic],
has left his land to his servant, who may not be so fortunate in intimidating the
Indians as his master was by exhibiting the effect of two small pieces of ordnance.
. . ." Rear-Admiral Fairfax Moresby to the Secretary of the Admiralty, July 7,
1851, H.B.C. Archives, A. 8/6, p. 117d.
(65) The contemporary sepia sketch of Grant's establishment, which is reproduced in this Quarterly, was made by one of the visiting Royal Navy personnel by
the initials "J.T.M." The picture, originally owned by John Muir, who acquired
Grant's property, was made available to the Archives of B.C. by the family of
D. R. W. Muir. " It is satisfactory to learn . . . that Captain Grant had arrived
and fixed on his lot of land, 100 acres, and that he with his servants were proceeding vigorously with the buildings and preparations for cultivation.  You will 2 &
c «
O *j
u c
a a
I o
3 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 109
men, who had preceded him by several months. As has already been
noted, in order to retain them he had had to increase their wages, and the
farm, then only in process of being cleared, could hardly be expected to
provide any income. He did, however, carry out his plan to buUd
a sawmUl. Some time in 1850 he instaUed a smaU water-powered miU
at the mouth of a stream at the north-east end of Sooke Basin.66 Considering the state of the CaUfornia market at this time, there was every
prospect that the venture would prove profitable.
Grant, however, was short of capital and, in addition, was a notoriously poor manager. It is not surprising to find that early in 1850
Douglas was under the necessity of forwarding a biU of exchange in the
amount of £300, "drawn on J. Davison," in payment for suppUes
purchased at the fort.
Captain Grant has I am sorry to say been conducting his operations, on a more
expensive scale than was necessary or of advantage to himself, and I have now
given him formal notice that I can make no further advances on his account except
indispensable necessaries such as provisions until I receive their Honrs. instruc-
In due course this biU was presented to the agent of the branch bank of
the British Linen Company at Forres, J. Davidson.68 The Hudson's
Bay Company were fearful of the transaction from the beginning, for
upon its receipt Barclay wrote:—
With respect to the advances made to Captn. Grant the Governor and Committee think that under the circumstances you could not avoid doing so to a
moderate extent, but advances should not be made to settlers (unless under very
special circumstances, which may appear to you to make them necessary) except
upon good security, and payable within a reasonable time, otherwise the Company
might be exposed to much inconvenience and risk of loss. Captain Grants bill
of £300 has been sent to Forres for acceptance, but there are doubts of its being
duly honored, and it will be proper that you should be cautious in your transactions with him, and take his personal obligation for the amount of the advances
you may have made to him and a security upon his land and the remaining £100
coming to him in consideration of his making such surveys as you may instruct
recollect that another 100 acres, adjoining to his lot were to be reserved for the
present, that he might have an opportunity of purchasing them, to complete his first
intention of taking a farm of 200 acres." Barclay to Douglas, February 8, 1850,
MS., Archives of B.C.
(66) This was the second sawmill to be established on Vancouver Island, see
W. Kaye Lamb, " Early Lumbering on Vancouver Island," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, II (1938), p. 48.
(67) Douglas to Barclay, January 4, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72.
(68) Barclay to J. Davidson, February 4, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 5/16,
p. 227. 110 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
him to make. The agreement with him was for two years only and a part of the
first years allowance had already been exhausted in the passage &c. of the Schoolmaster sent out to him, as will appear by the enclosed Statement of account.6?
It came therefore as no surprise that the bUl was not accepted, for
the bank had no funds belonging to Captain Grant.70 Douglas, when
informed of the dishonouring of the bill, was ordered to " take a mortgage on his land, &c, from which something may eventuaUy be recovered."71 By this time a second biU of exchange for £300 had been
received72 and refused acceptance, with Barclay commenting: "His
friends aU refuse to advance a farthing on his account."73 Later his
uncle, Sir Lewis, did come to his rescue and paid £150 on the first bill.74
The Company's reaction to this situation was very cogently stated by
Sir George Simpson in a letter to Douglas several months later:—
Capt. Grant's career, I am sorry to find, has been such as I was led to apprehend from the report that accidentally reached me of him, but he must either be
very plausible, or else possesses a peculiar talent for getting into the pockets of
his friends, otherwise I am sure your name never would have been found as a
creditor in his " schedule." You say his ill regulated attempts must not be
regarded as a fair trial of the capabilities of the island but it is to be feared that
the world at large may be very much influenced by his miserable failure in judging
of the prospects of the colony.   For the Company advances to Capt. Grant you
(69) Barclay to Douglas, February 8, 1850, MS., Archives of B.C. The
account mentioned therein cannot be traced. In acknowledging this letter, Douglas
wrote: "I am most happy to learn that the Governor and Committee approve of
the advances made to Captain Grant on his first arrival in this Colony. I have
ceased making further advances on his account since the month of December last,
as he does not manage his affairs with that degree of prudence and attention to
economy so necessary under any circumstances and more particularly with his
limited means to the attainment of success." Douglas to Barclay, May 16, 1850,
MS., Archives of B.C.
(70) Thomas Davidson to Barclay, February 7, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A.
10/28. The bank suggested that the bill be returned when due as funds might in
the interval be made available. Eventually in March the bill was resubmitted
[Barclay to Davidson, March 4, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 5/16, p. 233] and
returned with protest [Davidson to Barclay, March 12, 1850, H.B.C. Archives,
A. 10/28].
(71) Barclay to Douglas, May 3, 1850, MS., Archives of B.C. See also a
minute of a meeting of the Governor and Committee, February 13, 1850: "Read
a letter from Thos. Davidson dated Forres, Feb., Ordered that C. F. Douglas be
informed of the dishonour of Captain Grant's Bill for £300 and that the Bill be
sent to be presented when due."   H.B.C. Archives, A. 1/66, p. 153.
(72) Barclay to Davidson, May 4, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 1/16, p. 254.
(73) Barclay to Douglas, May 3, 1850, MS., Archives of B.C.
(74) Barclay to Grant, July 5, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 6/28, p. 153. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 111
say you hold the title deeds of " Mullachard "; if you mean the Mullachard in
Scotland I much fear the value of your security may be estimated at what it
would fetch as waste paper.75
ActuaUy it was the Vancouver Island property that was to be put under
mortgage, and even in that transaction Douglas encountered difficulties,
for until a proper survey and description could be sent to London it was
impossible to issue the title deeds.76
The Company also had to face the fact that Grant was stiU considering expanding his estabUshment. In addition to those men that had
gone out in the Harpooner, others were to foUow in later ships. In
August, 1849, Barclay had noted:—
Nothing has been heard from any of the persons whom you engaged to go out
to Vancouver's Island this year, except from Mr. Painter, who has written to state
that he cannot be ready to go by the Cowlitz. He will in all probability proceed
by the Norman Morison.n
When the Norman Morison saUed from Gravesend on October 20, 1849,
taking the first considerable party of immigrants to the colony, Painter
was not included in the passenger Ust,78 but the schoolmaster, Alexander
McFarlane, who had been unable to go the previous year, was on board.
Unfortunately, he did not Uve to see the distant colony, for Dr. J. S.
Helmcken, surgeon in the vessel, recorded his death on January 21,1850,
from cancer, noting that "very shortly after his arrival on board Pie]
shewed symptons of declining health."79 Grant later was to object to
being charged for his passage money, and in August, 1850, Barclay was
forced to write " the death of the Schoolmaster on the voyage you must
be aware does not do away with your UabUity for the passage money, as
such money is payable on embarkation."80 In addition, there were
shipping charges due for materials that were from time to time sent out
to Grant.81
(75) Simpson to Douglas, August 30, 1850, Transcript, Archives of B.C.
(76) Barclay to Douglas, May 23, 1851, MS., Archives of B.C.
(77) Barclay to Grant, August 4, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 6/28, p. 56.
(78) See A. N. Mouat, "Notes on the Norman Morison," British Columbia
Historical Quarterly, III (1939), pp. 204, 208, 213.
(79) J. S. Helmcken to Douglas, March 28, 1850, MS., Archives of B.C.
(80) Barclay to Grant, August 9, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 6/28, pp. 157-
157d.  Grant's letter of protest has not survived.
(81) "Miss Grant presents her Compliments to Mr. Barhley [sic], was glad to
undirstand [sic] that he approved of the Books which she sent by her friend, Dr.
Mclntyre to be forwarded to her nephew Captn. Grant at Vancouvers Island, along
with the barometre [sic].   She will be obliged by Mr. Barcley's [sic] forwarding the 112 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
To make matters worse, evidently Grant had been negotiating
personal loans in the colony. Dr. WilUam Fraser Tolmie, a retired officer
of the Company, made a loan of £30 on condition that it would be repaid
within twelve months, failing which Grant would surrender "the title
deeds of thirty acres of land fronting on the sea between Squsan VUlage
and the borders of the woods."82 It is doubtful if Tolmie ever recovered
either the money or received the land.
accompanying letter also to Captn. Grant. And when Mr. Barcley hears of his
arrival at Vancouver, she would feel obliged by his leting [sic] her know." Miss J.
Grant to Barclay, August 10, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 10/27. In reply Barclay
informed Miss Grant that by latest advices Grant had reached San Francisco en
route to the colony. The books in question were sent out in the Cowlitz and the
barometer in the Norman Morison [Barclay to Miss J. Grant, August 21, 1849,
H.B.C. Archives, A. 5/16, p. 154]. In addition, "three puncheons of Spirits which
have been sent up from Scotland" were also sent out in the Norman Morison
[Barclay to Grant, August 4, 1849, H.B.C. Archives, A. 6/28, p. 56].
(82) This document was in the possession of the Tolmie family and was loaned
to the British Columbia Historical Association on the occasion of a celebration
held at Grant's farm at Sooke in July, 1931. The contents were reported in the
Victoria Colonist, July 12, 1931. J. S. Helmcken, writing in the December, 1887,
Holiday Number of the Victoria Colonist, under the title "A reminiscence of
1850," p. 3, gives an amusing story of Grant's borrowings of a different nature:—
" Capt. Grant, of Sooke, arrived in the evening and domiciled in Capt. Nevin's
room, and I turned into the hammock.
" Every room had sporting weapons in it—muskets and rifles of great variety—
swords, a saddle and bridle, tobacco and pipes, lots of dust, and the usual utensils,
but not all supplied with the necessary articles. I slept well that night, and was
awakened in the morning by the loud ringing of a bell.  . .  .
" Benson called out, ' Get up quickly; that is the breakfast bell.'
" I did, and so did Captain Grant.   Whilst dressing I heard the following
" ' Dear, oh dear, where's my soap?   Capt. Grant, have you my soap?'
" ' Aye, aye,' was the response.   ' You shall have it directly.'
"' Why, what has become of my razor?   Grant, have you my razor?'
" ' Yes, nearly finished, you can have it directly.'
"And he got it and shaved, then I heard:
" ' Where's my shirt? I shall be late for breakfast. Grant, have you taken my
" ' I have, my dear fellow; I want to appear at table decent.'
"' This is too bad, Grant; it is the only clean shirt I have to put on!'
" ' Never mind, old fellow, put on your old one.  It will be clean enough.  Mine
hasn't been washed for I don't know how long; more than a week, anyhow. You
can get yours washed, and Benson, send mine, too, please.'
"However, we all got to breakfast and afterwards we returned and the
following: 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 113
Whether or not Grant would have been more successful had he not
attempted to carry out surveys for the Company, the conduct of which
necessarily took him away from his property, is open to question. There
was the additional handicap incidental to the distance of his farm from
Fort Victoria, which made it more difficult for him to maintain supervision over his men and to ensure its protection from the Indians. This
situation caused Douglas some concern and led him to query the wisdom
of the Company in retaining the large reserve in the immediate vicinity
of the fort.
It does not appear to me that the Company, from their position as Governors
of the Colony, and charged with its defence, will be ultimately benefitted by
retaining the entire Reserve in their own hands as the expense of protecting, the
distant and straggling settlements, which will necessarily be the consequence of
that measure, must soon far exceed any advantage, that may be expected to arise
from the increasing value of the land.83
Grant's pUght had been steadUy worsening. In April, 1850, at the
time of his resignation as surveyor, he had admitted to having dismissed
half of his men for misconduct, and by September the remainder had
deserted him. In a sense he was the victim of the general economic
condition prevailing in the Northwest, for agricultural areas were unable
to compete in the labour market with the attractions of the goldfields of
CaUfornia. The result was that he decided, at least temporarily, to quit
the colony, and some time early in October he sailed for HawaU.
Captain Grant left this Country last month by the American Schooner Dart
bound to the Sandwich Islands and it is doubtful whether he will ever return.
He has left his property under my charge as Agent for the Company—and I have
placed a man there to take care of the buildings and to extend the farm as much
as possible. If he does not return I am in hopes of being able to pay off a considerable part of his debt next year.*4
Grant remained in HawaU for some months, for in January, 1851, he
wrote to the Governor and Committee from Honolulu,85 and early in
"' Bless me, where's my tobacco? I left half a case of " Cavendish " under
the bed.'
"' Oh, yes,' says Grant, ' I took it, my good fellow, to pay my Indians with!
We'll get some more soon!'"
(83) Douglas to Barclay, September 1, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72.
(84) Douglas to Barclay, November 16, 1850, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/72.
The Dart, Captain Porter, arrived at Honolulu on November 1, 1850, twenty-four
days from Vancouver Island.  Honolulu The Hawaiian Friend, December 5, 1850.
(85) " Read a letter from W. C. Grant dated Honolulu Jany. 12/51." Minute
of a meeting of the Governor and Committee, April 23, 1851, H&.C. Archives,
A. 1/68, p. 85. 114 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
February Governor Blanshard, in a dispatch to the Colonial Office,
Mr. Grant left the Island some months ago, leaving a labourer in charge of his
farm. Nothing has been heard of him since, and as his affairs here are in a most
hopeless state, I do not think he will return. More than a year ago, he executed
an assignment of his Title to the Hudson's Bay Company.86
However, the Governor was wrong; for a few weeks later he wrote
again: "Mr. Grant has returned to the Island and resumed possession
of his farm at Soke [sic]."87
Grant did not remain long in the colony but was soon on his way to
Oregon and the Klamath gold mines. There is some confusion as to the
time of his departure, for in one instance Douglas reported it as May,88
but in a letter written in August impUed a later date.
Captain Grant left this country upwards of a month ago, with the intention of
visiting the Columbia and is not expected back before the end of October next.
His farm is let at £75 per annum to Munro one of his former servants. I have
authority from the Landlord to draw the rents once a quarter and to place such
sums as I may receive to the credit of his account with the Company.89
The first effort at independent settlement on Vancouver Island was
now nearly at an end. Douglas had done his best to retrieve the Company's financial involvement, but he was by no means free of difficulty.
Shortly before his departure from the Island to visit HawaU, Grant
communicated with Governor Blanshard and indicated dissatisfaction
with having had to settle at Sooke. The Governor, who was not favourably disposed toward the Hudson's Bay Company, transmitted the
complaint to the Colonial Office on September 18, 1850:—
(86) Blanshard to Grey, February 3, 1851, MS., Archives of B.C.
(87) Blanshard to Grey, February 25, 1851, MS., Archives of B.C. Undoubtedly it was during this visit to Hawaii that Grant procured the seeds of the broom
which local tradition credits him with introducing into this Province. " During his
visit to the Sandwich Islands in October, 1850, the British Consul gave him some
broom seeds, which on his return he planted in front of his home. Later, when the
Muirs bought the place, it was found that just three of the seeds had sprouted. The
men of the family wanted to uproot the tiny bushes, but Mrs. Muir protested,
wishing to retain the broom for sentiments sake to remind her of Scotland. So the
men stayed their hands."  Victoria Colonist, July 12, 1931.
(88) Douglas to Barclay, December 9, 1851, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/73.
". . . the Muirs are now the only settlers at Soke [sic] with the exception of
Munroe, the tenant on Captain Grants property, the other white residents having
all abandoned the settlement. . . . Captain Grant has not returned to this Colony
since his departure for the Columbia in the Month of May last, having it is reported
gone to the Clammate [sic] Gold Mines."
(89) Douglas to Barclay, August 26, 1851, MS., Archives of B.C. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 115
. . . Some complaints of Indian Outrages have reached me from Soke, about
30 miles from Victoria where a Gentleman of the name of Grant late in Her
Majesty's Service has a small settlement. He complains of want of protection,
which owing to the distance at which he is located cannot be afforded him; he
informs me that he was anxious to settle near Victoria, but was not allowed to do
so by the Hudson's Bay Company who have appropriated all the available land
in the neighbourhood.   .   .   .90
As a means of protecting the colonists, the Governor suggested the
estabUshment of a garrison of regular troops, preferably a body of
pensioners. The Colonial Secretary caUed upon the Company for an
explanation,91 which Sir John PeUy promptly provided:—
With regard to the case of Mr. Grant, I have to state that the Company never
received any complaint from him or other information (until now from your
Lordship) that he had been prevented from settling near to Victoria. Mr. Grant
purchased 100 Acres of land in 1848, and sent out in a Vessel chartered by the
Company Agricultural Implements and other articles and 8 laborers. He proceeded himself to the Island by way of Chagres, Panama, San Francisco and Fort
Vancouver on the Columbia River, and I enclose an Extract of a Letter from
Mr. Douglas the Agent of the Company, dated 3rd Septr. 1849 which contains
all the information possessed by the Company in regard to the situation of his
land. The land reserved for the Hudson's Bay Company and the Pugets Sound
Company could not make it necessary for him to place himself at a spot 25 miles
distant from Victoria there is therefore every reason to believe that it was entirely
a matter of his own choice and selection.
I have not received any information from the Company's Agent of any
Outrages by Indians at Soke [sic] or Victoria, but I have from the Captain of one
of the Company's vessels lately arrived from the Island, that from some cause or
other, Mr. Grants Servants had left him, that he had placed his farm in the charge
of one old man, whom he had hired on the Island, and that the Indians had
pilfered some of his potatoe crop, and stolen some Blankets, and other Articles,
most of which had been recovered from them, but that he the Captain had not
heard of any other injury having been done by the Indians.92-
At the same time, Douglas was asked for his comments. He made
a point of interviewing Governor Blanshard before replying and came
(90) Blanshard to Grey, September 18, 1850, MS., Archives of B.C.
(91) "I transmit to you herewith a copy of a Despatch which I have received
from the Governor of Vancouver's Island in which he states that a Gentleman of
the name of Grant has been prevented by the Hudson's Bay Company from settling in the neighbourhood of Victoria in that Island. ... I beg to request that
you will furnish me with any explanation which it may be in the power of the
Hudson's Bay Company to afford me on the subject of the refusal of land near the
Fort to Mr. Grant. . . ." Grey to Sir John Pelly, February 25, 1851, H.B.C.
Archives, A. 8/6, p. 87d.
(92) Pelly to Grey, February 28, 1851, H.B.C. Archives, A. 8/6, pp. 88d-89.
9 116 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
away convinced that the Governor " received his information from parties
whose hostiUty to the company is notorious." In so far as Grant's
complaint was concerned, Douglas reported:—
Captain Grants choice of a place of settlement was free and unrestricted,
except by the lands before disposed of, to the Pugets Sound and Hudson's Bay
Companies—which did not necessarily require that he should remove to the
distance of 25 miles from Fort Victoria. There is a much superior place, in
regard to the quality of land and position; at Metchosin, about eight miles west
of this establishment, where I strongly advised him to settle, but he chose Soke
[sic] Inlet in preference on account of the River which discharged into it, on which
he was proposing to erect a Saw Mill.
The natives on this part of the Island are quiet and well disposed, and I am
not aware that Captain Grant was ever exposed to personal danger through them.
His House at Soke [sic] was entered and some property stolen therefrom last
autumn, by unknown parties, supposed however to be Indians; in the absence of
Captain Grant and all his people who had imprudently left the settlement without
a single man to protect it.93
Little is known of Grant's adventures in the Klamath goldfields.94
In March, 1852, Douglas reported "We have not heard from Captain
Grant since the month of August when he had reached the Umpqua
river on his way to the Clammate [sic] mines."95 His efforts to recoup
his fortune, however, were unavailing, and in August, 1853, he turned
up in San Francisco. Thomas Lowe, a commission merchant in that
city, gives the foUowing information as to the condition of the wanderer
at that time:—
Captain Grant has found his way down here from the Mines, where he merely
continued during the two years he has spent there to keep body & soul together.
He is now working at discharging vessels in order to raise a little money to enable
him to get back to Vancouver's Island. After all the experience he has had, he
is yet so d d extravagant that I will probably have to pay his passage.9^
A few days later Lowe reported that Grant " has not got a cent. He is
going to Mexico to try what can be done there."97 In this Lowe was
wrong, for Grant did make his way back to Vancouver Island. Between
September 16 and November 9, 1853, there are numerous entries in the
(93) Douglas to Barclay, May 21, 1851, MS., Archives of B.C.
(94) For some information which has not been verified see an article on Captain Grant written by Joseph W. McKay appended to this article.
(95) Douglas to Barclay, March 18, 1852, MS., Archives of B.C.
(96) Thomas Lowe to Robert Clouston, August 10, 1853, MS., Archives of
(97) Thomas Lowe to George Blenkinsop, August 14, 1853, MS., Archives of
B.C. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 117
Diary of Martha Cheney, who Uved at Metchosin, chronicling his many
trips between Sooke and Fort Victoria.98
His financial involvement with the Company was stiU onerous despite
the credits Douglas had been able to achieve through his operation of the
farm. As at July 11, 1853, his indebtedness amounted to $2,169.68V£,
against which Douglas assigned a further credit of $780, being the
equivalent of his " salary as Surveyor from 25 March, 1849 to 25 March,
1850 and for extra services." The revised account including "aU the
charges we have against him, in this and the Oregon District" showed
an indebtedness of $l,389.681/i.99 Several months later, when giving
a recapitulation of land transactions since the inception of the colony,
Douglas, now Governor as weU as agent for the Company, indicated
100 acres as having been sold to Grant and an additional 384 acres
appUed for on which no payment had been received.100
Grant had no intention of re-estabUshing himself in the colony but
was primarily concerned with completing the arrangements for the sale
of his property to John Muir. From the absence of later entries in the
Cheney Diary, it is inferred that by mid-November he had left the colony,
never to return. Thus ended the first attempt at colonization by a settler
" independent" of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The subsequent career of Grant is only partiaUy pertinent, and only
the most meagre detaUs are known. It can only be assumed that he
returned to England by the Panama route. By this time Great Britain
was involved in the Crimean War, and in aU probabUity Grant rejoined
his old regiment and certainly he did participate in the campaigns, for
subsequently he was referred to as "late Lieut.-Col. of the Cavalry of
the Turkish Contingent." The conclusion of the war in 1856 found
Grant back in England.   On January 22, 1857, he read his Description
(98) Diary of Martha Cheney Ella, Part I, September 16, 1853, to March 31,
1854, MS., Archives of B.C. This has been reprinted as edited by James K. Nesbitt in British Columbia Historical Quarterly, III (1949), pp. 101-107.
(99) Douglas to Barclay, July 9, 1853, with enclosed statement of account,
dated July 11, 1853, H.B.C. Archives, A. 11/74. The salary of £162.10 had been
included in a " Statement of payments applied to the Colonization and Improvement of Vancouver's Island, to the 31st October, 1852," as printed in Return made
since 1849 by the Hudson's Bay Company to the Secretary of State for the Colonies relating to Vancouver's Island, December 23, 1852 (P.P., H. of C, 83 of
(100) Douglas to Barclay, October 10, 1853, MS., Archives of B.C. 118 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
of Vancouver Island before the Royal Geographical Society.101 This
was a remarkable effort and is one of the ablest accounts of the prospects
and progress of the evolving colony avaUable. Not only does it give
a fuU description of the physical geography of the Island, but it is fuU of
factual data, much of which was based on first-hand experience. There
are many pages devoted to ethnography, wherein Grant reveals himself
as an acute observer. There can be no doubt but that Grant kept up his
interest in the colony; indeed, there is ample evidence to suggest that he
was in communication with some of his former friends who suppUed him
with information on developments subsequent to his departure. Possibly
the exceUence of this paper accounts in large measure for his election
as a FeUow of the Society on November 23, 1857.102
Two years later, on December 12, 1859, Grant contributed a second
paper to the Royal Geographical Society entitled Remarks on Vancouver
Island, principally concerning Townsites and Native Population.1®*
When the Indian Mutiny broke out, Grant's regiment was transferred
to India, where he served with distinction until his death at Saugor,
Central India, on August 27, 1861.104 In tribute to him the Royal
Geographical Society published the foUowing obituary notice:—
Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant, the author of an able and vivid description
of Vancouver Island, published in the twenty-seventh volume of our Journal, died
at Saugor, Central India, aged thirty-nine. He was the only son of the late chief
of the intelligence department of the army commanded by the Duke of Wellington
in the Peninsula. He did good service in the Crimean war, and again in India he
assisted in the siege of Lucknow, and succeeded to the command of the regiment
of irregular cavalry known as 1st Hodson's Horse. One of Captain Grant's last
acts was to prepare and transmit to this Society a map and paper of Sikkim,
which, however, have not yet reached their destination.!05
It is difficult to make an assessment of Captain Grant. Judged only
by his financial manoeuvrings and his actual accomplishments as a colo-
(101) Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, XXVII (1857), pp. 268-
(102) Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, H (1857-58), p. 36.
(103) Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, XXXI (1861), pp. 208-213.
(104) "August 27 [1861] Ay Saugor, Central India, aged 39, Walter Colquhoun Grant, esq., Capt. 2nd Dragoon Guards, Brigade Major Saugor District. He
was the only son of the late Col. Colquhoun Grant, Chief of the Intelligence Department of the Army commanded by the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula."
The Annual Register . . . 1861, London, 1862, p. 447. See also Journal of the
Royal Geographical Society, XXXII (1862), p. xxxii.
(105) Ibid., p. cviii. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 119
nist, he would appear inept almost to the point of incompetence. But at
the same time it must be remembered that he was a young man, only 26
years of age, when he began negotiating with the Hudson's Bay Company.
Probably the best that can be said of him in this connection is that by
birth, temperament, and training he was badly cast as a pioneer settler
in a rugged country. Despite his faUures as a surveyor, he was an
educated gentleman, best evidence of which are his two contributions
to the Royal Geographical Society, which not only are highly significant
for the abundance of factual information they contain, but are the weU-
written accounts of an interested and competent observer.
Although he must have caused many of his contemporaries much
inconvenience by his financial demands upon them, nevertheless, he won
their admiration, for he was a most personable individual. Perhaps as
iUuminating a commentary as could be found is that offered by Samuel
Hancock, who, under extremely distressing circumstances, was cast adrift
with four companions in a rowboat near the entrance to the Straits of
Juan de Fuca and was rescued by Captain Grant:—
We rowed with, if possible, more vigor than any previous day, and about noon
met two Indians in a small canoe. I hailed them in the Chinook language or
jargon, used by the Hudson's Bay Company and all whites on the Coast in their
intercourse with the Indians, and they responded in the same language. I asked
how long it would take us to reach Victoria, and they said four days. We were
much delighted to find they had some familiarity with the whites, and I informed
them we were King George men, (Englishmen) who were lost from a ship, knowing the Hudson Bay Company remunerated the Indians for news concerning any
of their lost subjects and thinking the end justified the means, as we were not able
to endure the labor and exposure of getting there alone.
As soon as they heard this, they turned and left us in the direction of the
Straits of Fuca, and were soon out of sight. These Indians take great pleasure
in conveying news of any sort, and now, thinking they had some of great importance, went in a hurry to an English gentleman living on Vancouver Island about
thirty miles from Victoria. This kind and considerate person who was Capt.
Grant, immediately fitted out a canoe with clothing and provisions and a good
crew of Indians, and despatched them in search of us with a letter addressed to
the " Five lost Englishmen," in which he said, " I send you by the bearer these
blankets, clothing and provisions and will soon follow in a canoe myself; hoping
to fall in with you."
On the third day from the time we spoke to the little canoe, this one met us
bringing relief, and most welcome it was, for we were almost exhausted and
ready to give up all further exertion. The arrival of these opportune friends
imparted new life to us, as we put on the clothing and ate the food sent by this
humane gentleman. Shortly after the canoe came containing Capt. Grant himself, who, if possible, was more welcome than his considerate presents. He
expressed himself happy in being able to afford us relief, assuring us that we 120 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
were not far from his house, where he invited us to go with him. On the evening
of this day we reached his residence and a more hospitable reception he could
not have given his oldest and most valued friends. Here we remained upon the
earnest invitation of the most gentlemanly man, the beneficiaries of his house for
three days, by which time we began to feel like ourselves again. I learned subsequently that this gentleman was an officer in the British Army, who had left
England and lived here retired from all association save that of his three or four
servants. One thing is very certain, he displayed all the characteristics of a gentleman towards us, and it gives me great pleasure to say it thus publicly in behalf
of my comrades and myself.10^
The restraint with which Douglas reported Grant's activities in the
colony in itself speaks weU of the warmth of Grant's personality, for
Douglas by nature was not one to suffer fools gladly. Certainly he did
much to enUven the " Bachelor's Hall" of Fort Victoria, as the Reminiscences of Dr. J. S. Helmcken bear ample witness.107 Writing many
years later, Helmcken summed him up as " a splendid fellow and every
inch an officer and gentleman."108 He was equaUy popular with the
younger people, for J. R. Anderson recaUed: "Captain Grant . . .
God Bless him, was our patron as regards cricket, having presented us
with a fuU set, which enabled us to indulge in the game."109   But of aU
(106) The Narrative of Samuel Hancock, 1845-1860, with an introduction by
Arthur D. Howden Smith, New York, 1927, pp. 154-55.
(107) J. S. Helmcken Reminiscences, Vol. iii, pp. 137, 148-49, MS., Archives
of B.C. The following story is typical: "There were a good many in Bachelor's
Hall—all young men. After a while Capt. Grant began to entertain the company.
He showed how to use the sword. He stuck a candle on the back of a chair, and
snuffed it therewith, but I am bound to confess he took a good piece of the candle
with it, and down it went. Again the candle was stuck up. Then he split it longitudinally and this time splendidly. He wanted to " cut " a button off Benson's coat
(he had none too many) but Benson said—Oh! Oh! cut a button—no, no—split
or spit one too! ho! ho! After a while he wanted to escort Her Majesty to Windsor
Castle. All were to be cavalry. So down everybody went kangaroo fashion.
Grant being in command, took the lead, and so we hopped in this style round the
room, and made considerable of a racket. In the midst of which, some naughty
school girl overhead, possibly not being able to sleep, poured some water through
a crack in the ceiling right down upon the cavalry. This put an end to the diversion." J. S. Helmcken, "A reminiscence of 1850," Victoria Colonist, Holiday
Number, December, 1887, p. 4.
(108) Ibid., p. 3.
(109) James Robert Anderson, "Notes and Comments on Early Days and
Events in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon," Transcript, Archives of B.C.,
p. 167. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 121
his contemporaries,110 Joseph W. McKay, has left the most Uvely
Grant was a man of fine Physique he stood over six foot two and was well
proportioned he was a good scholar, had many accomplishments, was a good
linguist and had travelled extensively. ... his general affable manners have
left sunny memories in the minds of all with whom he came in contact he was a
good conversationalist his flashes of wit and intelligent discourse would enliven
the social chat round the evening fire whether in camp or in cabin through all the
changes and vicissitudes of his career he nevr lost the calm dignity and cool manner
incident to his race and early training he never forgot that he was a Highland
chieftain firm as the rocks of Craigellachie his motto was ever "Stand sure" befitting attributes for British Columbia's first settler.111
Willard E. Ireland.
Provincial Archives,
Victoria, B.C.
(110) Roderick Finlayson in his Biography recalled: "Only one settler, a
Captain Grant, took up land in this way, selected a location on Sooke Harbor, took
out eight men with him and paid their expenses. On his arrival he found the
country different from what he expected, being thickly wooded and very expensive
to clear, and before he could establish himself properly, paying all preliminary
expenses, he found his funds gone and gave up the attempt as impracticable." In
his History of Vancouver Island and the Northwest Coast, written for H. H. Bancroft, p. 38, Finlayson noted: "In 1852 there were no settlement effected, with
the exception of Capt. Grant's which was made in 1851. He had been a captain
the Scot's Greys an English Cavalry regiment. He sold his commission on hearing
of the colonization project; ascertained the conditions in London. Settlers were
to pay £1 an acre for land for every 20 acres purchased for settlers were to be
taken out, passage paid, pay freight provide impliments, &c. Capt. Grant sent out
his ship around Cape Horn; he himself coming via Vancouver. He settled at
Sooke about 20 miles from Victoria; placed his men on the land & built—in the
thick forest—investing his all in a venture. Being a patriotic Highlander he formed
the idea of establishing a Scotch Colony, & intended bringing out a Gaelic schoolmaster, and a scotch paper." Original in Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, Calif., Transcript, Archives of B.C.
(111) Memorandum on Captain Grant prepared by J. W. McKay, MS., Archives of B.C. Many years later this manuscript was published in the Victoria
Colonist, April 28, 1935. 122 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
Walter Colquhoun Grant—A Reminiscence
By Joseph W. McKay*
Walter Colquhoun Grant was the last chief in the direct line of the
Grants of Mullachard he was the first one to settle on land as a farmer in
what is now the province of British Columbia. The Muir's Farm at Sooke
was the first land taken up for actual permanent settlement in B.C. he
acquired the property as a military grant he intended to build a saw mill
at Sooke. he went to San Francisco and chartered the Scotch Barque
"Coloony" [sic] to load piles, her cargo not being ready when she arrived,
her Agent bought a Cargo of lumber at Esquimalt at $80°° per M and sold
the same at Stockton (Cala) for $300°° per M. Her Master was paid $450°°
per Month her Mate $25000 her able seamen $150°° per Month each Grant
went to the Sandwich Islands to open an agency for the Sale of Farm produce
and salted salmon as these commodities were not then in evidence his
agency did not result in material benefit to him he however made the
acquaintance of His Majesty King Kamehamea (third) III of Hawai [sic]
and sold him for $150°° a Meerschaum pipe which had once been the property of the late Duke of Sussex. Grant had an unusual adventure before he
had been half an hour in this province, he came from England by what was
then caUed the Panama Route the last portion of his journey was made in
a canoe from Nisqually on Puget Sound to Victoria, the weather being fine
his Indians made a direct traverse from Point Wilson to Clover Point by the
time they reached land they were both hungry and thirsty having landed
proceed to prepare some food for their meal after directing Grant the way
to the Fort Grant shouldered his rifle and followed the path which led along
the east side of Beacon Hill after a time he suddenly found himself surrounded by a herd of long horned quadrupeds who circled round him with
angry mien and seemed to resent his intrusion one more inquisitive than the
rest approached him to what he considered a dangerous proximity this
animal received the contents of his rifle, the others ran away. Grant proceeded to the Fort whch he reached without further molestation and was
there accorded a hearty welcome by Mr Chief Factor Douglas and provided
with the best cheer the place could afford, during his meal and whilst descanting on his latest experiences he mentioned to Mr Douglas that on his
way in from Clover Point he was suddenly surrounded by a herd of Wild
Buffalo one of which he had shot. The C F receceived [sic] this communication with a merry twinkle in his eye he had not observed that the gallant
Captains weapon was a rifle and not a shotgun. In the course of the evening
Angus MacPhail the Fort dairy man reported that one of his best Milch
* This manuscript was found in the papers of Joseph W. McKay, recently deposited in the Archives of B.C. It was published in the Victoria Colonist, April 28,
1935, with some alterations, after it came to light in the possession of Miss Agnes
McKay. 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 123
Cows had been killed by some person who was evidentiy a good hunter as
the animal was hit in a vital spot and must have died instantly after being
shot. A short time after Grant had established himself at Sooke he essayed
to walk from his place to the Fort alo[ne] he lost his way in the broken
country at the back of Albert head word having reached the Fort as to his
being on the way, and yet nothing ha[d] been heard of him a party of rangers
were sent to search for him he was discovered by them in a very debilitated
condition having been nearly five days without food of any kind. Grant
partially surveyed Victoria District he measured a line from NanKuan Hill
at the head of Victoria Arm to the top of Mount Douglas thence to the top
of Mount Tolmie thence to a point on Gonzales Hill with the ultimate intention of using these as base lines and completing the details of the survey by
offsets from them
After leaving his farm at Sooke Grant went to California and engaged in
Gold Mining for over two years; he hired himself out at first as a day
labourer until he considered that he was sufficiently expert to work a claim
of his own in time he secured a claim, pitched his tent thereon, and proceeded to develope it. the nearest adjoining claim was held by an American
who had built himself a substantial cabin for bis winter quarters Grant's
claim was rich he stuck to his work earnestly. Autumn with wet weather
succeeded summer one night during a heavy down pour of rain, Grant discovered that his bed was wet he struck a light a[nd] found a sluice-head of
water coursing across his tent he must move camp, he remembered that his
neighbour with the good cabin had been absent for over seventy two hours
and that under the miners regulations his claim and everything pertaining
thereto was forfeit. He went to the cabin burst in the door removed his
baggage under cover and turned in as he thought for the rest of the night
he was hardly well asleep before he was aroused by a loud knocking at the
door of the cabin accompanied by unusually strong language uttered in loud
tones he recognized the voice of his neighbour who was threatening to
blow the top of his head off let daylight into him load him down with cold
lead and hurt him generaUy Grant asked him to wait until he struck a light
and dressed himself sufficientiy to meet the requirements of the occasion;
having completed his arrangements and ascertained that his revolver was in
good order and loaded he quietly unbarred the door and asked his quondam
neighbour in, the latter by this time had had time for reflection and remembered that under the Mining rules he had less right to the cabin than the party
in possession, it was quickly agreed between them that the matter would be
settled by reference to a meeting of the Miners the late owner of the Cabin
took shelter with the nearest miner in the camp and Grant was left in possession. At a Miners meeting held the next day it was decided that Grant was
lawful owner of the cabin his late neighbour quietly acquiesced in the
decision sold his Claim and provisions to Grant and bought into a Whiskey
Shop with the proceeds. Grant was now provided with house and provisions
for the Winter besides having two good claims he hired assistants and
worked out the claims before the next dry season and left for San Francisco
with several thousand doUars in his pocket,   he lived high for a couple of 124 Willard E. Ireland Jan.-Apr.
weeks then cooled down chartered a Schooner loaded her with provisions and
notions sailed for Victoria and sold his cargo there and at Nanaimo at good
figures I may here remark that Captain Pattie the Master and part owner of
the Schooner was one of the discoverers of coal at Bellingham Bay. As soon
as the Autumn rains began to fall G. again went to the mines this time he
took up a claim in the neighbourhood of Yreka he did fairly weU during the
Winter in the early spring some marauding braves from the Klamath band
of Indians kiUed some miners in his neighbourhood, a miner's meeting was
held at which a Volunteer Company was raised with the object of bringing
the Indians to justice some of the Miners having ascertained that Grant
had been an officer in the British Army it was agreed to offer him the command of the Volunteers. Grant agreed to take command, provided good
discipline and implicit obedience to orders were maintained in the Corps
and that his claim be held and worked during his absence and the gross
proceeds thereof be handed him on his return. These stipulations were
agreed on. Grant saw to the equipping provisioning and arming of his command and started on the war-path after considerable trouble and forced
marches they found the Indians encamped in a strong position. Grant
however lost no time in arranging his little force and bringing them into
action the attack was so sudden that the Indians were quickly routed and
some prisoners taken without any loss on his side. On the March homeward
his second in command brutally murdered one of the Prisoners Grant was
so much disgusted at this unnecessary inhumanity that he resigned his command and returned to camp alone considerable time had lapsed during the
expidition [sic] water was becoming scarce when he reached his claim he
took what proceeds were preferred him from the parties who had worked
his claim and being a good sportsman he made up his mind to supply game
to the camp during the dry season at which occupation he made a considerable some [sic] of money. One morning he wounded a buck as he thought
fataUy the animal however took over the hills to the westward he followed
the signs of his movements until well into the afternoon when he came upon
him and shot him dead he was now on a high hill the top of which was bare
he carried the venison to the bare spot from which he had a good view of
the Pacific Ocean the Mail steamer from Oregon was in sight heading southward a large schooner was at anchor in a little sheltered Bay with her loosed
sails hanging in the brails evidently awaiting a favourable wind to take her
departure at the sight of the ocean his thoughts turned homeward, why
waste his time at manual labour when with his advantages he might aim at
some occupation more in keeping with his early habits and training, he
abandoned his game and strode towards the coast he had with him his bag
of gold dust he reached the bay before the schooner sailed and took passage
in her to San Francisco. The Crimean war was on he went to England by
way of Panama Volunteered into the ranks of his old regiment and was
soon busily engaged in fighting the battles of his country before the close
of the war he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant The Greys were ordered
to India to take part in queuing the Indian Mutiny there was no tran[s]port
for their horses   they sailed without them and had to find mounts in the 1953 Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant 125
land of the enemy, the results of Grants experiences now shone forth and
were appreciated he was entrusted with the important task of finding horses
for his regiment which was quickly and well mounted and ready to take the
field, he was soon promoted to the rank of Captain distinguished himself
wherever his regiment was engaged and when it was ordered home he accompanied it to the port of shipment with a light heart and high hopes of again
reaching home, a few days before the time for embarking he had an attack
of Dysentery of which he died in forty eight hours, he had fought his battles
paid his last debt!
Grant was a man of fine Physique he stood over six foot two and was
weU proportioned he was a good scholar, had many accomplishments, was
a good linguist and had traveUed extensively he had ridden from Constantinople to Vienna and followed the route of the " Iron Dukes " victorious
army through Spain besides journey[s] in other countries in Europe before
he came to this coast, his genial affable manners have left sunny memories
in the minds of aU with whom he came in contact, he was a good conversationalist his flashes of wit and intelligent discourse would enliven the social
chat round the evening fire whether in camp or in cabin through aU the
changes and vicissitudes of his career he never lost the calm dignity and good
manners incidental to his race and early training, he never forgot that he
was a Highland chieftain firm as the rocks of Craigellachie his motto was
ever " Stand sure " befitting attributes for British Columbia's first settler
the first one to leave his far away country and associations to make a home
in this Magnificent Province   May he rest in Peace. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE PRINTED WRITINGS
In the foUowing list no mention is made of newspaper articles or of publications presented under the auspices of either the AngUcan Church or of
the Masonic Lodge. Dr. Sage is active in both of these bodies and has from
time to time contributed to discussions and conferences which they have
sponsored, but material so prepared is not avaUable to the average reader.
Newspaper articles and book reviews reflect current interest in some historical
anniversary and appear in more permanent form in historical publications.
Helen R. Boutilier.
BCHQ British Columbia historical quarterly.
CHR Canadian historical review.
OHQ Oregon historical quarterly.
PHR Pacific historical review.
PNQ Pacific northwest quarterly.
WHQ Washington historical quarterly.
1. The chronicles of Thomas Sprott.    Kingston, The Jackson Press, 1916.
12 pp.
Bulletin of the Departments of History and Political and Economic Science in
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.   No. 19.   April 1916.
Also published in Queen's Quarterly, 23:453-464 April 1916.
2. In times like these.    Queen's Quarterly, 23:437 April 1916.
A twelve-line poem.
3. Sir George Arthur and his administration of Upper Canada.    Kingston,
The Jackson Press, 1918.   32 pp.
Bulletin of the Departments of History and Political and Economic Science in
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.   No. 28.   July 1918.
Also published in Queen's Quarterly, 26:22-53 July 1918.
4. The gold colony of British Columbia.    CHR 2:340-359 December
5. Sir Alexander Mackenzie and his influence on the history of the north
west.  Kingston, The Jackson Press, 1922.   18 pp.
Bulletin of the Departments of History and Political and Economic Science in
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.   No. 43.   June 1922.
Also published in Queen's Quarterly, 29:399-416 April 1922.
6. The early days of representative government in British Columbia.
CHR 3:143-180 June 1922.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2.
127 128 Helen R. Boutilier Jan.-Apr.
7. Introduction, British Columbia Historical Association.   First annual
report and proceedings 1923:11-14.
8. Samuel Flagg Bemis, Jay's treaty:   a study in diplomacy and commerce.
CHR 4:345-347 December 1923.
9. The first Spanish settlement at Nootka, 1789.    British Columbia Historical Association.   Second annual report and proceedings 1924:29-33.
10. Unveiling of Memorial Tablet at Nootka Sound. British Columbia
Historical Association. Second annual report and proceedings 1924:
11. Bibliographical notes and reviews. British Columbia Historical Association.
Second annual report and proceedings 1924:36-42.
References are made to:—
V. L. Denton, The far west coast.
Charles Norris Cochrane, David Thompson, the explorer.
W. S. Wallace, Sir John Macdonald.
William Watson Woollen, The inside passage to Alaska, 1792-1920.
John C. Goodfellow, The totem poles in Stanley Park.
G. H. Anderson, Vancouver and his great voyage.
Canadian Historical Association, Annual report 1923.
Canadian Historical Association, Annual report 1924.
Canadian historical review, Vol. IV and Vol. V.
Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Vol. 24 and Vol. 25.
Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol 14 and Vol. 15.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Third series.   Vol. 18, 1924.
American Historical Review, Vol. 28 and Vol. 29.
12. Sir James Douglas, fur trader and governor. Canadian historical association.   Report of the annual meeting 1925:49-55.
13. Introduction, British Columbia Historical Association. Third annual
report and proceedings 1925:7-8.
14. Notes and reviews. British Columbia Historical Association. Third annual
report and proceedings 1925:59-64.
References are made to:—
Harold A. Innis, A history of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
R. G. MacBeth, The romance of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Howard Angus Kennedy, The book of the west.
D. J. Dickie, All about Canada for little folks; All about Indians; How
Canada was found;  The long trail.
Canadian historical review, 1925.
Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, 1925.
Washington Historical Quarterly. 1953        W. N. Sage—A Bibliography 129
15. Canada on the Pacific, 1866-1925.   WHQ 17:91-104 April 1926.
16. James Douglas on the Columbia,   1830-1849.    OHQ  27:365-380
December 1926.
Read before the annual meeting of the Oregon Historical Society, October 23,
17. Judge F. W. Howay, The early history of the Fraser River Mines.    CHR
7:260-262 September 1926.
18. The annexationist movement in British Columbia.    Royal society of
Canada.    Transactions ser. 3, sec. 2:97-110 1927.
19. Olin D. Wheeler, The trail of Lewis and Clark, 1804-1904.    CHR 8:338-339
December 1927.
20. Some aspects of the frontier in Canadian history.    Canadian historical
association.    Report of the annual meeting 1928:62-72.
21. The story of Canada, Toronto, The Ryerson Press, 1929.    Pp. xii, 380.
Written in collaboration with George M. Wrong and Chester Martin.   Part IV,
British Columbia, 301-351.
22. Governor George Simpson at Astoria in 1824.    OHQ 30:106-110
June 1929.
Written in collaboration with T. C. Elliott
23. John Work's first journal, 1823-1824.    Canadian historical association.
Report of the annual meeting 1929:21-29.
24. Simon Fraser, explorer and fur trader.   Reprinted from Proceedings,
Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association 1929, 1-15.
25. F. W. Howay, British Columbia: the making of a province.   CHR 10:75-77
March 1929.
26. Herbert Eugene Bolton, History of the Americas:   a syllabus with maps.
' CHR 10:70-71 March 1929.
27. Sir James Douglas and British Columbia.   Toronto, The University of
Toronto Press, 1930.   Pp. 398.
28. Sir James Douglas.   Toronto, The Ryerson Press, 1930.   Pp. 30.
The Ryerson Canadian history readers edited by Lome Pierce. 130 Helen R. Boutilier Jan.-Apr.
29. The teaching of history in the elementary schools of Canada. Canadian
historical association.   Report of the annual meeting 1930:55-63.
30. Two North West Company documents.   CHR 11:129-131 June 1930.
31. Seminar outline in British Columbia history.   Vancouver, B.C. (1930).
Mimeographed for use of B.C. History Seminar, University of British Columbia.
32. F. W. Howay (ed.), The Dixon-Meares controversy. CHR 11:56-58 March
33. Sir Frederick Ponsonby (ed.), The letters of the Empress Frederick. Queen's
Quarterly 37:607-611 summer 1930.
34. Frederick Niven, Canada West.   CHR 11:358-359 December 1930.
35. Two memorials on Marine Drive, Vancouver, B.C. Art, historical and
scientific association of Vancouver. Museum and Art Notes 6:67-71
June 1931.
An address given over radio station CNRV, March 20,1931.
36. Spanish explorers of the British Columbian Coast. CHR 12:390-406
December 1931.
37. F. W. Howay (ed.), Zimmermann's Captain Cook . . . translated by Elsa
Michaelis and Cecil French.   CHR 12:312-314 September 1931.
38. The critical period of British Columbia history, 1866-1871. PHR
1:424-^143 December 1932.
39. Harrison Robertson Thornton, Among the Eskimos of Wales, Alaska, 1890-
1893.   PHR 1:256-257 June 1932.
40. A note on the origins of the strife between Sir George Simpson and Dr.
John McLoughlin.   WHQ 24:258-263 October 1933.
41. Lancaster Press, New Spain and the Anglo-American west. Historical contribution presented to Herbert Eugene Bolton. Volume I, New Spain;
Volume U, the Anglo-American west.   CHR 14:340-341 September 1933.
42. Life at a fur trading post in British Columbia a century ago. WHQ
25:11-22 January 1934. 1953 W. N. Sage—A Bibliography 131
43. The British Commonwealth and the collective system.   PHR 3:156-163
June 1934.
44. Sitting Bull's own narrative of the Custer fight.    CHR 16:170-176
June 1935.
Edited with comment by W. N. Sage.
45. Richard G. Montgomery, The white-headed eagle: John McLoughlin, builder
of an empire.   CHR 16:209 June 1935.
46. Historical renaissance in British Columbia.   CHR 17:415-418 December 1936.
Published under title The historical renaissance in the Maritime Provinces and
in British Columbia by Dr. J. C. Webster and W. N. Sage. Maritime section,
pp. 413-415: B.C. section, pp. 415-418.
47. Archivists' Club of the Templeton Junior High School, Vancouver, B.C.,
Vancouver, a short history.   CHR 17:346 September 1936.
48. Peter Skene Ogden's notes on Western Caledonia.    BCHQ 1:45-56
January 1937.
Edited with comment by Walter N. Sage.
49. Vancouver: The rise of a city.  Dalhousie review 17:49-54 April 1937.
50. Geographical and cultural aspects of the five Canadas.    Canadian
historical association.   Report of the annual meeting 1937:28-34.
51. Okanagan Historical Society.   Sixth report.   BCHQ 1:63-64 January 1937.
52. A note on the change in title of Fort St. James.    BCHQ 2:55-56
January 1938.
53. Arthur S. Morton, Under western skies: being a series of pen-pictures of the
Canadian west in early fur trade times.   CHR 19:76-77 March 1938.
54. James G. McCurdy, Pioneering along the north-western edge of the continent.
CHR 19:212-213 June 1938.
10 132 Helen R. Boutilier Jan.-Apr.
55. From colony to province.   BCHQ 3:1-14 January 1939.
Presidential address to the British Columbia Historical Association, November
56. Towards new horizons in Canadian history. PHR 8:47-57 March
A paper read at the meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American
Historical Association at Stanford University, December 29, 1938.
57. The position of the lieutenant-governor in British Columbia in the years
following confederation. Essays in Canadian history presented to
George Mackinnon Wrong, ed. R. Flenley, Toronto, 1939, 178-203.
58. Melvin Clay Jacobs, Winning Oregon: A study of an expansionist movement.
CHR 20:74-75 March 1939.
59. E. E. Rich (ed.), Journal of occurrences in the Athabasca department by
George Simpson.   OHQ 40:83-84 March 1939.
60. George M. Wrong, The Canadians: the story of a people. PHR 8:122-123
March 1939.
61. D. G. Creighton, The commercial empire of the St. Lawrence.
G. P. deT. Glazebrook, A history of transportation in Canada.
William J. Wilgus,  The railway interrelations of the  United States and
A. R. M. Lower, The North American assault on the Canadian forest. BCHQ
3:135-143 April 1939.
62. Arthur S. Morton, A history of the Canadian west to 1870-71. BCHQ
3:301-304 October 1939.
63. Canada from sea to sea. Toronto, The University of Toronto Press,
1940.    Pp. 32.
Two articles reprinted from the Canadian Historical Association annual reports,
1928 and 1937, Geographical and cultural aspects of the five Canadas and Some
aspects of the frontier in Canadian history.
64. John Foster McCreight: The first premier of British Columbia. Royal
society of Canada.   Transactions ser. 3, 34, sec. 2:173-185 1940.
65. James B. Hedges, Building the Canadian west: the land and colonization
policies of the Canadian Pacific Railway.   WHQ 31:101-102 January 1940.
66. James B. Hedges, Building the Canadian west: the land and colonization
policies of the Canadian Pacific Railway.   PHR 9:230-232 June 1940.
67. The historical peculiarities of Canada with regard to hemisphere
defence.   PHR 10:15-27 March 1941.
A paper read at the meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American
Historical Association at Berkeley, California, December 30, 1940. 1953
W. N. Sage—A Bibliography
68. F. W. Howay (ed.), The journal of Captain James Colnett aboard the Argonaut, from April 26, 1789, to November 3, 1791. BCHQ 5:155-156 April
69. C. C. McLaurin, Pioneering in western Canada: a study of the Baptists. PHR
10:237-238 June 1941.
70. British Columbia and the United States. The north Pacific slope from
fur trade to aviation. Toronto, The Ryerson Press, 1942. Pp. xv, 408.
(The relations of Canada and the United States.)
Written in collaboration with F. W. Howay and H. F. Angus;   edited by H. F.
71. Okanagan Historical Society.   Ninth report.   BCHQ 6:72 January 1942.
72. Jules LeChevallier, O.M.I., Batoche: Les missionnaires du nord-ouest pendant
les troubles de 1885.   CHR 23:87-88 March 1942.
73. R. Harvey Fleming (ed.), Minutes of council, Northern Department of
Rupert Land, 1821-31.   PNQ 33:207-209 April 1942.
74. Charles Marvin Gates, Readings in Pacific northwest history: Washington,
1790-1895.   BCHQ 6:153-154 April 1942.
75. Max Savelle, The diplomatic history of the Canadian boundary, 1749—1763.
A. L. Burt, The United States, Great Britain and British North America from
the Revolution to the establishment of peace after the War of 1812.
A. B. Corey, The crises in Canadian-American relations, 1830-1842.
L. Ethan Ellis, Reciprocity 1911, a study in Canadian-American relations.
BCHQ 6:216-224 July 1942.
Appears under heading The relations of Canada and the United States.
76. Frederic William Howay.
CHR 24:448^149 December 1943.
77. David Rome, The first two years: a record of the Jewish pioneers on Canada's
Pacific coast, 1858-60.   CHR 24:73-74 March 1943.
78. Graduate training in arts in Canadian universities, with special reference
to requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Ottawa, Canadian
Social Science Research Council, January 1944.   Pp. 40.
79. Frederic WiUiam Howay: Historian of British Columbia. BCHQ
8: 4-5 January 1944.
80. Judge F. W. Howay.   PHR 13:102-104 March 1944.
A tribute to the work of Judge Howay.   Signed W.N.S. 134 Helen R. Boutilier Jan.-Apr.
81. Amor de Cosmos, journalist and politician. BCHQ 8:189-212 July
Based on a paper presented to Section II of the Royal Society of Canada in
May, 1942, at Toronto.
82. Richard W. Van Alstyne, American diplomacy in action. A series of case
studies.   BCHQ 8:340-341 October 1944.
83. Walter Moberly's report on the roads of British Columbia, 1863.
BCHQ 9:37-47 January 1945.
With an introduction by Walter N. Sage.
84. Arthur S. Morton:  1870-1945.   BCHQ 9:165-167 April 1945.
85. Where stands Canadian history. Canadian historical association.
Report of the Annual Meeting 1945:5-14.
Presidential address.
86. British Columbia becomes Canadian (1871-1901). Queen's Quarterly
52:168-183 summer 1945.
87. Robie Lewis Reid (1866-1945). Royal society of Canada. List of
officers and members and minutes of proceedings of the Royal Society
of Canada, 1945.   Ottawa, The Society, 1945, 109-110.
88. H. McD. Clokie, Canadian government and politics. BCHQ 9:171-173
April 1945.
89. J. Bartlet Brebner, North Atlantic triangle: the interplay of Canada, the
United States, and Great Britain.   BCHQ 9:300-302 October 1945.
90. Vancouver: 60 years of progress. Journal of Commerce Year Book
1946, 97-115.
91. The Oregon Treaty of 1846.   CHR 27:349-367 December 1946.
92. Alice Bay Maloney (ed.). Fur brigade to the Bonaventura: John Work's
California expedition 1832-1833 for the Hudson's Bay Company. CHR
27:63-64 March 1946.
93. Henry Drummond Dee, The Journal of John Work: January to October,
1935.   CHR 27:321-322 September 1946. 1953        W. N. Sage—A Bibliography 135
94. Sir James Douglas, K.C.B.:  The father of British Columbia.   BCHQ
11:211-227 July 1947.
The substance of an address delivered on the unveiling of a tablet to the
memory of Sir James Douglas in the Parliament Buildings, Victoria, November 19,
95. A. R. M. Lower, Colony to nation: a history of Canada.   BCHQ 11:154-156
April 1947.
96. Jeannette Mirsky, The westward crossings:  Balboa, Mackenzie, Lewis and
. Clark.   CHR 28:339 September 1947.
97. William N. Bischoff, The Jesuits in Old Oregon, 1840-1940.   CHR 28:333-
334 September 1947.
98. The place of Fort Vancouver in the history of the northwest.   PNQ
39:83-102 April 1948.
99. Federal parties and provincial political groups in British Columbia,
1871-1903.   BCHQ 12:151-169 April 1948.
The substance of a paper read before Section II of the Royal Society of Canada
at the annual meeting held in Quebec City, May 26-28, 1947.
100. George M. Wrong:   1860-1948.   BCHQ 12:311-312 October 1948.
101. Oscar Osburn Winther, The great northwest: a history.   CHR 29:86 March
102. Margaret Arnett MacLeod (ed.), The letters of Letitia Hargrave.   BCHQ
12:180-182 April 1948.
103. Oscar Osburn Winther, The great northwest, a history.   BCHQ 12:323-324
October 1948.
104. The North-West Mounted Police and British Columbia.   PHR 18:345-
361 August 1949.
A paper read at the Seattle meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American
Historical Association, in December 1948.
105. James R. Masterson and Helen Brower, Bering's Successors, 1745-1780.
BCHQ 13:47-48 January 1949.
106. Mgr. Olivier Maurault, Au berceau de la Colombie-Britannique.    BCHQ
13:50-52 January 1949.
107. Athelstan George Harvey, Douglas of the fir: a biography of David Douglas,
B. A. McKelvie, Fort Langley: outpost of empire.
J. Monroe Thorington, The Purcell Range of British Columbia.
Randall V. Mills, Stern-wheelers up Columbia: A century of steamboating
in the Oregon country.   CHR 30:71-73 March 1949.
Reviews  appear under  title  Recent writings  on  the  history  of  the  Pacific
northwest. 136 Helen R. Boutilier Jan.-Apr.
108. Paul Shatp, The agrarian revolt in western Canada, a survey showing American parallels.   Indiana magazine of history 45:87-89 March 1949.
109. Okanagan Historical Society. Twelfth report. BCHQ 13:127-128 April
110. General Sir Fred Middleton, Suppression of the Rebellion in the North West
Territories of Canada, 1885.   PHR 18:404-405 August 1949.
Edition reviewed edited by G. H. Needier.
111. Harold A. Innis (ed.), The diary of Simeon Perkins, 1766-1780. BCHQ
13:290-292 July-October 1949.
112. Coal-seekers on the Peace River, 1903: diary of my journey to and stay
in the Peace River district in the year 1903, by John Strickland Leitch,
C.E.   BCHQ 14:83-108 January-April 1950.
Edited with comment by Walter N. Sage.
113. Garnet Gladwin Sedgewick, 1882-1949. Royal society of Canada.
Proceedings, 1950, 101-102.
114. Sandford Fleming, engineer. Queen's Quarterly 57:353-361 autumn
115. Sidney Warren, Farthest frontier: The Pacific northwest. PHR 19:184-185
May 1950.
116. British Columbia and Confederation. BCHQ 15:71-84. January-
April 1951.
117. Canada: the neighbour to the north.   PHR 20:111-121 May 1951.
Paper read as presidential address at meeting of Pacific Coast Branch of the
American Historical Association at Occidental College in December 1950.
118. Edward A. McCourt, The Canadian west in fiction.   CHR 32:82-83 March
119. Oscar Osburn Winther, The great northwest: a history.
Oscar Osburn Winther, The old Oregon country: a history of frontier trade,
transportation and travel.
Frederick Merk, Albert Gallatin and the Oregon problem: a study in Anglo-
American diplomacy.   CHR 32:84-85 March 1951.
120. James B. Conacher (ed.), The history of Canada or New France by Father
Francois Du Creux, SJ.   BCHQ 15:232-234 July-October 1951.
121. Herman Ausubel, J. B. Brebner, Erling M. Hunt (ed.), Some modern historians of Britain.   BCHQ 15:238-239 July-October 1951.
122. Daniel Buchanan.   Royal society of Canada.   Proceedings 1952 75-76. 1953 W. N. Sage—A Bibliography 137
123. "Record of a trip to Dawson,  1898":   The diary of John Smith.
BCHQ 16:67-97 January-April, 1952.
Edited with comment by Walter N. Sage.
124. M. Catherine White (ed.), David Thompson's journals relating to Montana
and adjacent regions, 1808-1812.   BCHQ 16:118-119 January-April, 1952.
125. E. J. Pratt, Towards the last spike.   BCHQ 16:120-121 January-April, 1952. NOTES AND COMMENTS
The annual meeting of the Association was held in the Grosvenor Hotel,
Vancouver, on Friday evening, January 16, with more than eighty members in
attendance, including a delegation of four from the Victoria Section. Mr. D. A.
McGregor, President, was in the chair, and he called upon Rev. F. G. St. Denis,
Vice-Chairman of the Vancouver Section, to extend the greetings of that Section
and to report upon its activity. Mrs. J. E. Godman, Chairman, brought the greetings from the Victoria Section.
The minutes of the previous annual meeting were read and approved, and
reports on the year's activity presented. The Honorary Treasurer reported a bank
balance of $387.95, a net gain of $54.30 during the year, but pointed out that a
considerable portion of this represented prepayment of subscriptions by members-
at-large. Membership in the two Sections had declined slightly over the previous
year; Victoria Section 151, as compared with 169; Vancouver Section 133, as
compared with 147. Members-at-large stood at 71, as compared with 147, but the
delays in publication of the Quarterly are largely responsible, and no difficulty is
anticipated in enlisting the continued support of these members. The editor of
the Quarterly, in presenting his annual report, frankly admitted that delays in
publication were reflected in the membership figures but indicated that the losses
were not permanent. When the books were closed at the end of 1951, membership
stood at 434, but since the release of the Quarterly for that year fifty-five memberships were brought into good standing, and already there is every indication that
the same result can be expected in 1952 memberships. Evidence of the continued
support of the members-at-large, who are wholly dependent upon the Quarterly,
not having the opportunity to attend regular meetings of a section, is to be found
in the fact that already forty-one have prepaid for 1953 and one as far ahead as
1955. The delay in publication of the Quarterly definitely does not stem from a
lack of suitable material, but arises largely from the time-consuming editorial work
No report was forthcoming from the Marine Committee, but its Chairman
indicated one would shortly be made available. The thanks of the meeting were
tendered to Mr. E. G. Baynes for his courtesy in making available accommodation
in the Grosvenor Hotel for the annual meeting. The question of moving and
repairing the Leechtown cairn, originally erected by the Association, was referred
to the incoming Council for consideration. The report of the scrutineers on the
mail ballot for Council positions was received and adopted.
The presidential address, entitled Peter Skene Ogden, was read by Mr. D. A.
McGregor. In it not only were the pertinent facts of the career of this important,
although relatively unknown, fur-trader outlined, but an excellent pen-picture of
his character and his times was sketched. It is anticipated that this address will
appear in a future issue of this Quarterly.
At the conclusion of the annual meeting the new Council convened, when the
following officers were elected:—
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2.
139 140 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
Honorary President - Hon. Tilly Jean Rolston.
President Mr. H. C. Gilliland.
First Vice-President Captain C. W. Cates.
Second Vice-President    -----     Mrs. A. D. Turnbull.
Honorary Secretary - Dr. F. H. Johnson.
Honorary Treasurer       -----     Mrs. J. E. Godman.
Members of the Council—
Miss Helen R. Boutilier. Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby.
Rev. J. C. Goodfellow, D.D. Dr. W. N. Sage.
Mr. J. K. Nesbitt. Miss Madge Wolfenden.
Councillors ex officio—
Mr. D. A. McGregor (Past President), Chairman, Vancouver
Mrs. J. E. Godman, Chairman, Victoria Section.
Mr. Willard E. Ireland, Editor, Quarterly.
Victoria Section
A regular meeting of the Section was held in the Provincial Library on Wednesday evening, November 26, with the Chairman, Dr. F. H. Johnson, presiding. The
speaker of the evening was Willard E. Ireland, Provincial Librarian and Archivist,
who delivered an address on Walter Colquhoun Grant: Vancouver Island's First
Colonist. A quotation from Grant's " Description of Vancouver Island," a paper
read before the Royal Geographical Society in London in 1857, was read, in which,
in a most perfunctory manner, the author epitomized his years on the Island, and
the speaker then gave the supplementary facts that rounded out the story. Grant
was the only child of parents who died while he was very young, and he was raised
by aunts and uncles, who presumably had spoiled him. His financial affairs, in so
far as Vancouver Island was concerned, were always involved and tended to place
him in an unfavourable light. On the other hand, he was extremely popular with
his associates, as was shown by extracts from recollections by Hancock, Helmcken,
and Anderson. Grant settled at Sooke and was the first person with no connection
with the Hudson's Bay Company to come to Vancouver Island. There, in addition
to cultivating 35 acres of land, he operated a water-powered sawmill. In an effort
to extricate himself from financial difficulties, he went to Honolulu and also engaged
in mining in Northern California, but to no avail, and he finally withdrew permanently from the colony sometime late in 1854. He later served with distinction
in the Crimean War and died in India in 1861. Grant was a keen observer and a
facile writer, and the two papers he contributed to the Royal Geographical Society
are invaluable contemporary accounts of pioneer conditions in the colony and
merit for him the fame of being the colony's first publicist. It is hoped that eventually this paper will be printed in the Quarterly. Miss K. Baker expressed the
appreciation of the meeting to the speaker. Two relics of Captain Grant—a silver
coaching-horn and an ivory walking-stick—were on display through the courtesy of
Mrs. Douglas Macdonald, whose father-in-law, the late Senator W. J. Macdonald,
a contemporary of Grant, had received them when Grant left the Island.
The annual meeting of the Section was held in the Provincial Library on Monday evening, December 15, under the chairmanship of Dr. F. H. Johnson, who 1953 Notes and Comments 141
took the opportunity, in a short verbal report, to thank Council members for then-
assistance and the membership generally for their continued interest in the affairs
of the Section. The reports presented indicated that a successful year had been
experienced. Many interesting papers had been contributed, and financially the
Section's affairs showed a satisfactory balance. Membership for the year stood at
151. The report of the scrutineers on the ballot for Council for 1953 was presented
and adopted. The Chairman had selected for the subject of his address The
History of Kamloops and the Thompson Country, an area in which he had for
many years been interested. He outlined the fascinating story from the time
of the advent of the first white man at Cumcloops—"the meeting place of the
waters"—in 1811, when a party of Astorians headed by David Stuart visited the
region. The transition from the fur-trading post established in 1812 to the present
modern city was traced. In 1812 the North West Company, represented by Joseph
La Roque, also established a post at Kamloops. By means of a map Dr. Johnson
clearly indicated the various sites occupied in fur-trade days. A very clear picture
was drawn of fur-trade days at this post, which was never a very profitable venture
in terms of fur returns, but was of inestimable value as a transportation centre
and half-way house for the fur brigades between the Upper Fraser posts of New
Caledonia and the Lower Columbia. This brigade route was described in some
detail, and extracts from the post journals were read to illustrate the life of the
company servants resident in the area. Interesting anecdotes relating to some
of the key persons who figured so largely in the history of Kamloops—George
Simpson, Samuel Black, John Tod, Lolo, nicknamed "St. Paul"—added much
to the account. The arrival of the gold-seekers and of the Overlanders of 1862
marked the beginning of the end of the fur-trade regime, and thereafter slowly a
community began to evolve. Steamers began to run on the river, stores and private
dwellings were constructed, and churches were built. The coming of the Canadian
Pacific Railway in 1884 gave a considerable impetus to the community and, together with the later-built Canadian Northern (now Canadian National) Railway,
gives a stability to the economic life of the city. The various phases of economic
activity that have existed in the region were sketched, thus providing an excellent
background for the appreciation of the present condition of the city. During the
course of the discussion following the paper, high tribute was paid to the Kamloops
Museum Association for its untiring efforts to preserve for posterity the record of
the development of the Kamloops region. A vote of appreciation to Dr. Johnson
was moved by H. C. Gilliland and enthusiastically endorsed by the meeting.
The new Council met immediately after the adjournment of the annual meeting,
at which time the following officers were elected:—
Chairman Mrs. J. E. Godman.
Vice-Chairman Mr. R. E. Potter.
Honorary Secretary Mrs. K. C. Drury.
Honorary Treasurer Miss Madge Wolfenden. 142 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
Members of the Council—
Miss Kathleen Agnew. Major H. C. Holmes.
Mr. R. P. Bishop. Major H. T. Nation.
Mr. Wilson Duff. Mr. G. H. Stevens.
Miss K. Baker (co-opt.). Miss K. Graham (co-opt.).
Miss W. Copeland (co-opt.). Mrs. G. Welsh (co-opt.).
Mr. H. C. Gilliland (co-opt.). Mr. Willard E. Ireland   (ex officio).
The first meeting in the new year was held in the Provincial Library on Friday
evening, January 23, with Mrs. J. E. Godman in the chair. A report on the annual
meeting of the Provincial Association, which was attended by four members of the
Section, was presented. A paper prepared by Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby, of the
Department of History of the University of British Columbia, entitled The
Okanagan-Cariboo Trail of the Sixties, was read by Mr. Willard E. Ireland. This
paper had been presented previously to the Vancouver Section at its September
meeting, and because it formed an interesting supplement to the address of the
Past Chairman of this Section at its annual meeting, arrangements were made to
secure it. Unfortunately, pressure of work at the University prevented Dr. Ormsby
from being present to read it. Following a lively period of questions, Major F. V.
Longstaff extended the appreciation of the meeting.
A regular meeting of the Section was held in the Provincial Library on Friday
evening, February 13. On this occasion the Section was privileged to hear the Past
President of the Provincial Association, Mr. D. A. McGregor, repeat his presidential address that had been delivered at the annual meeting in Vancouver, entitled
Peter Skene Ogden. A large number of members and friends were present to hear
this interesting resume of the career of one of the outstanding fur-trade pioneers of
the Pacific Northwest.
Vancouver Section
The annual meeting of the Vancouver Section was held in the Grosvenor Hotel
on Tuesday evening, December 2, with Mr. J. E. Gibbard in the chair. The reports
presented indicated that the Section had experienced another successful year. Seven
general meetings had been held and were well attended, and, in addition, a special
summer picnic at Fort Langley had been held. Membership had declined but
slightly during the year, and there was every indication that delinquent members
would be rejoining. The Chairman chose as the subject for his address Early
Explorations in the Lower Fraser Valley and Mainland Area. The history of this
region had been the subject of long research by Mr. Gibbard and was of personal
interest as well, as his parents had settled at St. Mary's Mission (now Mission City)
in 1887. In his address Mr. Gibbard described the topographical pattern of the
Lower Mainland, particularly stressing how the Cascade range had obtruded itself
athwart the lines of communication from the west to the Interior. He recounted
how Captain George Vancouver had " almost" discovered the mouth of the Fraser
River and then dealt in some detail with the exploratory party of 1808 headed by
Simon Fraser, accompanied by John Stuart, Jules Quesnel, and nineteen French-
Canadian voyageurs. This party came through the Fraser Canyon on foot to where
Yale is now located and thence by Indian canoe nearly to the mouth of the north
channel, where difficulties with the Indians in the vicinity of the Musqueam Reserve
forced them to return up-river.   It was not until 1824 that another white man 1953 Notes and Comments 143
explored the river. In that year James McMillan, under instructions from the
Hudson's Bay Company, came up from Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River to
Puget Sound and entered Semiahmoo Bay. He ascended the Nicomekl River,
crossed over to the Salmon River, and followed it to the Fraser. On December 19
he began his return journey, descending the Fraser and reaching the Gulf of Georgia by way of the south channel, thus becoming the first white man to complete the
descent to the sea. Three years later the schooner Cadboro became the first vessel
to enter the river from the sea. On that occasion she brought McMillan and
party coming to found Fort Langley. In 1828 Sir George Simpson came down the
Fraser River by canoe and, as a result of his thrill-packed trip through the canyon,
came to the conclusion that the river would never be a practicable route to the
Interior. Then followed a series of explorations directed toward discovering
alternative routes. Annacis Clerk explored the Harrison River, although he did
not call it by that name, and in 1832 he explored the Sumas River and Lake. In
1830 James Murray Yale apparently explored the Harrison River system as far
as Pemberton Meadows. The drive to find a shorter route to the Interior was
stimulated still further by the growing strength of the American population in the
valley of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, presenting, as it did, the possibility
that the Columbia River route to the Interior might be lost to the Hudson's Bay
Company. In 1845 A. C. Anderson explored a route south from Kamloops via
Alexandria and the Harrison Lake route, and on his return he went by way of the
Coquihalla to Coldwater and Nicola. Two years later he came to the coast by
still another route—following the Thompson River to Savona, thence to Merritt
and across the Tulameen country to the Coquihalla and through to Hope. Over
this route he opened a pack-trail. In 1850 H. N. Peers took a large pack-train
over the Coquihalla to Princeton. Douglas favoured still another route, using the
Fraser Canyon with a portage over the mountains from Spuzzum. Following the
reading of the paper, an animated discussion arose, particular interest centring
upon the naming of Harrison River. A vote of thanks by Mr. D. A. McGregor
was seconded by Rev. F. G. St. Denis.
The results of the election of officers for the year were announced, as follows:—
Honorary Chairman Mr. E. G. Baynes.
Honorary Vice-Chairmen     ....    Dr. W. N. Sage.
Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby.
Chairman Mr. D. A. McGregor.
Vice-Chairman Rev. F. G. St. Denis.
Honorary Secretary Miss M. Cowie.
Honorary Treasurer Mrs. W. E. Blackburn.
Members of the Council—
Mrs. H. R. Boutilier. Mr. T. D. Buchanan.
Captain C. W. Cates. Mr. R. H. Hood.
Miss K. McQueen. Mr. Noel Robinson.
Mr. A. P. Woollacott. Mr. J. E. Gibbard
(Past Chairman).
The first regular meeting of the Section in the new year was held on Tuesday
evening, February 10, in the Grosvenor Hotel, with Mr. D. A. McGregor in the
chair.   The speaker on that occasion was Mr. Noel Robinson, who had chosen as 144 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
his subject Walter Moberly, Explorer, and Henry J. Cambie, Railway Construction
Wizard. Both of these men contributed greatly to the development of British
Columbia, and the speaker knew both of them personally; consequently, his sketch
of their careers was often livened with anecdote and reminiscence. Moberly,
although born in England, was educated in Canada as a civil engineer and came
out to British Columbia by the Cape Horn route. He assisted Edgar Dewdney in
locating and constructing the Dewdney Trail to the Kootenay country and still
later was active in the construction of portions of the famed Cariboo Road. As
surveys for the route of the Canadian Pacific Railway were undertaken, Moberly
became associated with the project and is particularly remembered for his discovery
of Eagle Pass. Henry Cambie was also a civil engineer who first came to this
region in connection with the surveys for the transcontinental railway. His first
work was in the Skeena River country, but later he was placed in charge of building
the railway through the Fraser Canyon. Mr. R. A. Hood extended the appreciation of the meeting to the speaker.
A regular meeting of the Section was held in the Grosvenor Hotel on Tuesday
evening, March 17. Mr. G. S. Andrews, Surveyor-General and Director of Surveying and Mapping, was the speaker and his subject British Columbia Boundaries.
The substance of this address had originally been delivered before the Victoria
Section. In it the many boundary problems that have had, from time to time, to
be settled were discussed, and, in addition, much interesting information was given
regarding present-day mapping procedures. A series of slides effectively illustrated
many of the points discussed in the lecture. The meeting enthusiastically endorsed
a vote of appreciation.
The annual meeting of the Kamloops Museum Association was held in the City
Council Chambers on Friday evening, January 30. Owing to the absence of both
the President and the Vice-President, Mr. J. J. Morse presided, and Mr. D. A.
Arnott acted as Secretary owing to the illness of his wife. The reports indicated a
successful year. The Treasurer's report showed a balance of over $450 on hand,
but it was indicated that the greater portion of this amount had been earmarked
for the purchase of a safe in which the more precious books and documents
belonging to the Museum might be stored. During the year 4,304 persons had
visited the Museum, and it was noted that since its inception in 1937 there had been
more than 25,000 visitors. The House Committee reported the glassing of ten
small show-cases and that a photograph-mounting machine had been procured for
use on the photographic collection of the Association. A tribute was paid to the
late Mr. T. S. Keyes, for many years Convener of this Committee and a diligent
worker on behalf of the Museum. Appreciation was also expressed of the service
rendered by Mr. A. R. Hodgson in lighting the heater twice a week during the
winter months. A considerable amount of work was done on the mineral exhibit
during the year by Mr. J. Scatchard, and it was announced that a project for 1953
included a collection of weeds of the district being undertaken by Mr. D. A. Arnott.
Other projects for 1953 included the completion of the photographic collection
index, improvement of heating facilities, and the purchase of additional chairs.
The Indian Artifacts Committee reported renewed activity on the part of
archaeologists and anthropologists in the Interior of the Province and assistance 1953 Notes and Comments 145
had been rendered to several students and scholars. During the year Hudson's
Bay Company trading-beads had been found and Indian relics had been turned in
to the Museum from the excavations made west of the town by the road-building
crews of the Public Works. Mr. Burt R. Campbell reported on correspondence
with the descendants of Samuel Black, Hudson's Bay Company factor killed at
Fort Kamloops in 1841, and a committee comprising Mr. J. J. Morse and Alderman Roy Cummings was appointed to secure additional information on the subject
with a view to having a commemorative plaque erected. Correspondence indicated
that a collection of historical books and documents belonging to Mr. George
Brown, a former Kamloops resident, was being presented to the Museum.
This year Kamloops will be celebrating the diamond anniversary of the incorporation of the city, and the Association decided to request that the City Council
be asked to consider raising the grant to the Association to $500. Alderman T. T.
O'Neill, chairman of the city's Jubilee Celebration Committee, was in attendance
and spoke of plans for the suitable celebration of the event and sought the active
co-operation of the Association. Considerable pleasure was evinced at the improvement in the health of Mr. Burt R. Campbell, long a prime mover in the
affairs of the Association.
The following officers were elected for the year:—
President Mr. Burt R. Campbell.
Vice-President Mr. F. W. Pinchbeck.
Secretary-Treasurer Mrs. D. A. Arnott.
City Representative     -----     Alderman Roy Cummings.
Committee Chairmen—
House   --- Mr. R. B. A. Cragg.
Indian Artifacts      -----     Mr. J. J. Morse.
Natural History - Mr. D. A. Arnott.
Mr. R. A. Fifer.
Photographic Mr. Harry Macnab.
The annual meeting of the Kelowna Branch of the Okanagan Historical Society
was held in November under the chairmanship of Mr. J. D. Whitham. Three short
addresses were given on that occasion. Mr. Charles Clement, who arrived in
Kelowna by stage-coach in 1900 and whose parents and brothers had preceded him
in 1898, gave an account of the association of his family with the district, particularly the various homes built and the early businesses established. This family also
started the city's first newspaper The Clarion, now merged in The Kelowna Courier.
Mr. H. Odium's address was a satire on historical research, which indicated that
there is a vast difference between true research and curiosity. Mr. E. M. Carruthers had been lured to Kelowna,in 1891 by Mr. George G. McKay's accounts
of the Okanagan Valley, and he spoke of McKay's efforts to stimulate the fruit
industry in the region. The townsite of Benvoulin, named after his home in Scotland, was planned by McKay as the terminus for the Okanagan-Sicamous railroad,
but the tugs placed on the lake by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company resulted
in the development of Kelowna instead. Mr. J. B. Knowles gave a brief history of
the Museum that is operated under charter of the Okanagan Museum and Archives 146 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
Society, of which Mr. Knowles, Mr. A. K. Loyd, Mr. C. Beeston, Mr. R. Grant,
and Dr. J. W. N. Shepherd are directors, and there is a membership of forty-three.
Officers of the branch elected for the ensuing year were as follows:—
President Mr. R. C. Gore.
Vice-President Mr. George Yachim.
Secretary-Treasurer Mr. L. L. Kerry.
Mr. E. R. Bailey. Mr. E. M. Carruthers.
Mrs. G. D. Fitzgerald. Mrs. D. Gellatly.
Mr. J. B. Knowles. Mr. J. D. Whitham.
Mr. H. C. G. Collett (ex officio).
On Monday evening, November 24, a meeting was held to organize the Williams
Lake Branch of the Cariboo Historical Society. Mr. Henry Windt, a pioneer of
1901 in the Quesnel district, was in the chair, and he took the occasion to outline
some of the work that the Quesnel Branch had undertaken, including the restoration of the Blessing grave on the Quesnel-Wells Road and the examination of
the Mclnnis house near Macalister with a view to its restoration. Following the
election of officers, Mr. Windt read extracts from some of the old diaries in his
possession, including one kept by W. D. Moses, a negro barber of Barkerville, that
recorded events in that town in the 1860's and 1870's and one kept by Johnny
Stevenson, one-time Government Collector and Assessor in Quesnel. It is anticipated that regular monthly meetings will be held. Officers elected at the meeting
were as follows:—
Honorary Patron Dr. H. Bayne.
Honorary President Judge Henry Castilou.
President -- Mr. Henry Windt.
First Vice-President Mr. Arthur Haddock.
Second Vice-President   ------ Mr. Alex. Smith.
These officers were empowered to bring in recommendations of persons to fill
the remaining offices.
For the first time in the history of this organization the annual meeting was
held in Canada when, on December 28, 29, and 30, 1952, the University of British
Columbia played host to the Association. About 150 members were in attendance,
representing all the Pacific Coast and immediately adjacent mountain States of the
American union. A heavy agenda of papers and discussions had been arranged,
covering a wide variety of historical fields. Of particular interest to students of
Pacific Northwest history were the sessions on The West and the American Nation,
Agents in Economic Development, Gold Rushes and the Mingling of Peoples, and
Religion and the West. To this last series, Dr. John Goodfellow, a Past President
bf the British Columbia Historical Association, contributed a paper on the historic
background of the United Church of Canada.   Arrangements have been made to 1953 Notes and Comments 147
publish several of the papers presented on this occasion in subsequent issues of this
Late in February, 1950, the City Council of New Westminster agreed to the
purchase of the historic Irving House on Royal Avenue, together with certain
of its furnishings, as a historic centre for the city. In addition, renovation of
the house was approved and extensive landscaping of the grounds authorized.
Administration of the centre was vested in a board of directors comprised of
representatives from the city, the Native Sons and Native Daughters of British
Columbia, and the following constituted the first board:—
Mr. H. N. Lidster -     -     -     - City Solicitor.
Mr. J. A. Courtenay      -     -    Alderman.
Mr. Allison Peele - Native Sons of British Columbia.
Mr. Louis Pumphrey     -     -     Native Sons of British Columbia.
Mrs. Helen Smith - Native Daughters of British Columbia.
Miss Janet Gilley    - Native Daughters of British Columbia.
The Irving house is an exceptionally well-preserved building and typifies admirably so much of the early history of New Westminster. It was built for Captain
William Irving, a pioneer steamboat operator on the Fraser River, who in 1849
came to California and subsequently engaged in the California and Oregon lumber
trade. In 1859 he moved to Victoria and in 1862 acquired the site and began the
construction of his home in New Westminster from designs prepared by the Royal
Engineers. In 1864 the house was completed and occupied by the Irving family,
and there Captain Irving lived until his death, August 28, 1872. Subsequently,
Captain Irving's daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. T. L. Briggs, lived in the
home, and it was from their daughters, Misses Manuella and Naomi Briggs, that
the house was acquired for museum purposes.
The work of restoration and administration has been largely assumed by the
New Westminster Posts of the Native Sons and Native Daughters of British
Columbia. Many interesting items have been acquired, by gift, purchase, and
loan, for display, and the foundation laid for a picture collection depicting the
history of New Westminster.
This historic house was officially opened in a most impressive ceremony held
on Douglas Day, November 19, 1950. Mr. C. Allison Peele, Past Chief Factor of
the Post of the Native Sons of British Columbia, presided and outlined the history
of the acquisition of the building. His Worship Mayor J. Lewis Sangster, after
offering appropriate comments, handed over the keys of the building to Mrs. J. C.
Houston, representing the Native Daughters of British Columbia, and Mr. Douglas
McInnes, representing the Native Sons of British Columbia, who, in accepting the
responsibility for the maintenance of the historic centre, took the occasion to thank
all those who had worked so diligently to make the ceremony possible. Canon
Frank Plaskett pronounced an invocation. Mr. Willard E. Ireland, Provincial
Librarian and Archivist, addressed the gathering and took the occasion to congratulate the City of New Westminster on its foresight in acquiring the property
and thus making possible the establishment of an historic museum worthy of the
fine tradition of the Royal City. In his address, Mr. Ireland explained the historic
11 148 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
significance of the house itself and of the greater significance of this splendid
example of the perpetuation for the present and future generations of something
of the history of our Province.
Mr. Peter Grant, an old-time resident of New Westminster, accepted the
responsibility of Honorary Curator and, until his death in the summer of 1952,
gave untiringly of his time in building up the collections at the centre and in
showing visitors through the house. Through his efforts a fine brochure was
prepared, giving pertinent information.
Officers of the board of directors for the current year are as follows:—
Chairman    --------- Miss Janet Gilley.
Vice-Chairman      -------     Mr. H. N. Lidster.
Secretary-Treasurer Mrs. Stephen Young.
Honorary Curator Mr. Stephen Young.
On Monday evening, April 7, the Board of Park Commissioners of Vancouver,
B.C., Were hosts at a dinner in the Pavilion, Stanley Park, attended by over 100
pioneer residents whose association with the city dated from 1886 or earlier. The
occasion marked the sixty-sixth birthday of the city and was presided over by
Commissioner Arnold Webster, chairman of the Parks Board. Included in the
proceedings was the unveiling of a bronze plaque, provided by the Provincial
Department of Trade and Industry which was represented on the occasion by Mr.
E. G. Rowebottom, Deputy Minister, to commemorate the work of a pioneer
industrialist, Captain Edward Stamp. Major J. S. Matthews, City Archivist of
Vancouver, and Mr. B. A. McKelvie, popular journalist, were instrumental in
securing the plaque, which was placed temporarily on the wall of the main pavilion
in Stanley Park and subsequently was erected permanently near the Brockton
Point grounds in the vicinity of the scene of Captain Stamp's activity.
Guest speaker on that occasion was Mr. B. A. McKelvie, who characterized
Captain Stamp as " a great industrialist, a legislator, and a builder of communities." Stamp was one of the early pioneers in the lumber industry of this Province, first in cutting and exporting spars and later, in 1860, as a prime mover in
establishing the first large sawmill at Alberni. He withdrew from this operation
in 1862 but continued his spar business. In 1865 he organized the British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber and Sawmill Company, and applied for
and received from Governor Seymour a concession of 100 acres for a mill-site in
the vicinity of Brockton Point in what is now Stanley Park. The site was surveyed
and clearing begun when unanticipated difficulties made completion of the mill
impossible. The strong current in the First Narrows and the fact that the bottom
off Brockton Point was poor holding ground made it an unsuitable site for the
mooring of log rafts. In consequence, Stamp altered his project and moved across
Coal Harbour to a site on the south shore of Burrard Inlet near the foot of what is
now Dunlevy Street, where Hastings Mill was erected. Thus what is now one of
Vancouver's great scenic attractions—Stanley Park—was saved from becoming an
industrial area. The year after this new mill came into production, Captain Stamp
returned to England, and his mill passed into other hands. 1953 Notes and Comments 149
The ceremony of unveiling was jointly performed by Mr. John Charles Maclure,
born at "The Camp," New Westminster, in 1862; August Jack Khahtsahlana,
grandson of Chief Khahtsahlanogh (Kitsilano); and Mr. Fred L. Beecher, son of
C. M. Beecher, one of the later proprietors of Hastings Sawmill. The inscription
on the plaque reads as follows:—
Here Captain Edward Stamp pioneer industrialist and legislator
started lumbering operations; then, finding a better site, he moved
elsewhere on Burrard Inlet, and founded in the wilderness, now the
City of Vancouver, the famous Hastings Sawmill, 1865.
HAROLD A. INNIS, 1894-1952
Last November Canada suffered a severe loss in the death of Dr. Harold Adams
Innis, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Political Economy in the
University of Toronto. He was, unquestionably, the leading Canadian economic
historian, and his passing leaves a gap which can never quite be filled.
Born at Otterville, Ont., November 5, 1894, son of William Anson and Mary
(Adams) Innis, Harold attended a rural school and later the Woodstock Collegiate
Institute. He entered McMaster University, then located in Toronto, in the
autumn of 1912 and graduated in 1916. Then he enlisted for overseas service and
fought in France with the 4th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery. He was
wounded at Vimy Ridge and discharged from the army in 1918. After the war he
did graduate work in economics and history at the University of Chicago and in
1920 obtained the coveted Ph.D. degree from that institution. His thesis, A History of the Canadian Pacific Railway, was published in 1923 by P. S. King, London.
In 1920 Innis was appointed lecturer in the Department of Political Economy in
the University of Toronto, and there spent all his teaching career. He was promoted to the rank of assistant professor in 1924, to associate professor in 1929,
and professor in 1936. In 1937 he became head of the department and in 1947
Dean of the Graduate School.
On one occasion Harold Innis is said to have revealed that once in each decade
he wrote a book. Actually he was a very prolific writer, but in the 1920's, 1930*s,
and 1940's he did produce at least one outstanding volume. His Fur Trade in
Canada was published in 1930 by Yale University Press, and his Problems of
Staple Production in Canada appeared in 1933. The Cod Fisheries, a volume in
the Canadian-American Relations Series, sponsored and financed by the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, came out in 1940, and Political Economy
and the Modern State in 1946. Empire and Communication made its appearance
in 1950. This list is, designedly, incomplete, and no reference has been made to
his valuable editorial work or his two volumes of Select Documents in Canadian
Economic History. Mention must be made, however, of Innis's collaboration with
Professor A. R. M. Lower, now of Queen's, in the second volume of the Select
Documents and in Settlement and the Forest and Mining Areas in the Canadian
Frontiers of Settlement Series. Innis and Lower worked harmoniously together,
a tribute, incidentally, to the character and ability of both collaborators, neither of
whom was at all lacking in personality.
One of Innis's greatest assets as a Canadian economic historian was his intimate
knowledge of the outlying portions of Canada.   He visited Mackenzie River in 150 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
1924 and the Yukon in 1926. In 1930 he was in Newfoundland and Labrador,
and in 1931 he made a close survey of the north shore of the St. Lawrence. These
strenuous journeys led to a more complete understanding of the regions visited.
He knew the country of the fur-trader, the gold-seeker, and the base-metal miner,
and he studied the cod-fisheries, not only their written records, but also on the
Grand Banks and the " outposts " of Newfoundland.
On three occasions Innis was a member of a Royal Commission. In 1934 he
helped to investigate into the economic problems of Nova Scotia, and did not
concur with the findings of the majority of his colleagues. Twelve years later, in
1946, he was a member of the Royal Commission on Adult Education in Manitoba,
and in 1951 was appointed by the Federal Government a member of the Royal
Commission on Transportation.
Few Canadian intellectuals of his generation were more widely known nor
more recognized internationally than Harold Innis. In 1948 he delivered the Beit
lectures at Oxford and the Arts Foundation lecture at the University of Nottingham. The American Economic Association elected him its president for 1952,
the only time that office had been held by one who was not an American citizen.
In 1947 Innis was president of the Royal Society of Canada. Previously he
had been president of the Canadian Political Science Association, chairman of the
Canadian Social Science Research Council, and also, among many other offices,
a member of the Council of the Canadian Historical Association.
But all this recital of facts does not really give us the real Innis. He was a
rather shy, unassuming scholar, who had an amazing memory stored with facts, a
philosophic mind, and a genius for friendship. He was the economic historian,
par excellence, of Canada in his generation, but he was much more than that. In
his later years he turned away from the " staple trades " of Canada—furs, fish,
mining—to the broader problem of communications and to a study of world
problems, viewed from the point of view of a social philosopher. Dr. R. A.
MacKay, a lifelong friend, writing in the Ottawa Citizen, said of him:—
"At bottom Innis was a social philosopher rather than a mere historian or
economist. Of a reflective, imaginative, and almost intuitive cast of mind, he had
a singular capacity for seeing significant relationships between the material environment and ideas, and between facts themselves, which often escaped the more
pedestrian scholar. A humanist and a liberal, he was profoundly concerned with
social consequences of economic phenomena, and his writing, particularly in later
years, is shot through with ethical judgments on social tendencies."
As a writer Dr. Innis was often tedious. He had a tendency to pack his pages
with detail. His lectures were, as a rule, extremely factual, but occasionally he
would let his imagination run riot. So, too, in his books, after pages of almost
unendurable detail there comes a flash of rare insight and understanding. His
capacity for work was enormous and his erudition profound. As might be expected, he made a lasting impression upon his students, especially upon the honours
and graduate students. His influence over his colleagues was great; in fact, there
was almost an " Innis cult" at the University of Toronto.
The greatest thing about Harold Innis was the man himself. He could be
caustic and cutting, but he was usually kind. Above all, he was intellectually
humble.   He was never too busy to leave his work to chat with his friends, many 1953 Notes and Comments 151
of whom came from distant Provinces and States, and even from Europe and the
far-off places of the earth. It was fitting that his office had once been occupied by
the Chancellor of McMaster University, and that, as an old McMaster man, he
had come back to the old building he had loved so well. His was a huge and
rather unwieldy department, embracing not only political economy—Toronto does
not use the term " economics "—political science, and commerce, but social work
as well. Harold Innis had hosts of friends, and he became a sort of international
clearing-house for the social sciences. He could not tolerate sham or affectation,
and also he had little use for brilliant young men and women who preferred larger
salaries in business, industry, or even government service to the lesser pay of the
academic researcher.   To the serious student, his door was never closed.
Just a word in conclusion regarding Dr. Innis and British Columbia. Twice he
taught at Summer School at the University of British Columbia and thoroughly
enjoyed his work with the students. He visited our Province on other occasions,
and he was always well informed on what was happening on our coast. It is
typical of him that during one Summer School in Vancouver he read through the
entire collection of M.A. theses in economics and history in the University library.
Now he has left us, but his influence remains. His was one of the really creative minds amongst Canadian social scientists. We owe him a debt which will
grow with the years.
Walter N. Sage.
The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C.
F. H. Soward is a professor in the Department of History of the University of
British Columbia and Director of International Studies at that institution.
Sydney G. Pettit is Associate Professor of History at Victoria College in affiliation with the University of British Columbia.
W. Kaye Lamb has recently been appointed the first National Librarian of
Canada, in addition to his duties as Dominion Archivist. Formerly associated with
the Provincial Library and Archives of British Columbia, as well as the library of
the University of British Columbia, he is well known for his many writings on the
history of this Province.
Margaret A. Ormsby is Associate Professor of History at the University of
British Columbia and a Past President of the British Columbia Historical Association.
James A. Gibson, a former Rhodes' Scholar from British Columbia, is Dean of
the Faculty of Arts and Science of Carleton College, Ottawa, Ont.
Willard E. Ireland is Provincial Librarian and Archivist of British Columbia.
Helen R. Boutilier, a Past President of the British Columbia Historical Society,
is on the teaching staff of the Vancouver Technical School and an assistant in the
Department of History of the University of British Columbia.
Mrs. Vera Drury is Honorary Secretary of the Victoria Section of the British
Columbia Historical Association. 152 Notes and Comments
Alexander W. Wainman is assistant professor in the Department of Slavonic
Studies at the University of British Columbia.
Madge Wolfenden is a Past President of the British Columbia Historical Association and Assistant Provincial Archivist
A. F. Flucke is a member of the staff of the Provincial Archives and during the
past two years has been closely associated with the production of the British
Columbia Heritage Series for the Division of Curriculum of the Department of
Ravens and Prophets: An account of journeys in British Columbia, Alberta and
Southern Alaska. By George Woodcock. London: Allan Wingate [1952],
Pp. 244.   Maps and ills.   $3.
This is advertised as Mr. Woodcock's first travel book. It is based on his travels
throughout British Columbia, but it is more than a travel book. Mr. Woodcock
has a lively historical sense, and, in addition to interesting himself with the contemporary scene, he delves into the economic and social background of each of the
communities he visited. His book takes on the character of a comprehensive picture of our British Columbia culture.
The book was written primarily for the European reader, to acquaint him with
this large and romantic territory known as British Columbia and its peoples. But
it has turned out to be a book that is no less informative for British Columbians.
Few have the opportunity to penetrate many parts of this Province, much less the
ability to analyse and write in a distinguished way of its life and scene.
Mr. Woodcock was born in Canada but spent most of his life in the literary
world of Europe, where he built a reputation as a poet and critic and author of
books on Kropotkin, Oscar Wilde, and Aphra Behn. He returned to Canada in
1949, and after living two years at Sooke, outside Victoria, set out on his exploratory tours of British Columbia. They first took him up the Cariboo Highway as far
as Hazelton and the near-by Indian village of Kispiox. The second tour was over
the Hope-Princeton Highway through the Kootenay and Crowsnest country and
back through Calgary, Banff, and Kamloops. His third tour took him up the coast
to Ketchikan, Metlakatla, and Prince Rupert, inland along the Skeena River and
through the Bulkley and Nechako Valleys to Prince George, and down through the
country traversed by the Pacific Great Eastern Railway. His fourth trip took him
again into Southern British Columbia, part of the Kootenay and Okanagan Districts. On all these trips he writes in detail of places and people he saw and met.
He mentions no persons by name. He is not just writing a journalist's story about
individuals, for he probes deeper, seeking the factors that guide the group life.
To the British Columbian who does not get around much, the variety of human
interests and activities in this Province he exposes will come as a revelation.
Besides the wide range of Anglo-Saxon communities, there are those of the native
Indians and immigrants like the Doukhobors and Mennonites. Mr. Woodcock
talked with members of these groups, and what he has written of these talks will
help us to be sympathetic, as well as to have an intelligent understanding, of the
way these people think and of their problems.
One kindred soul in particular Mr. Woodcock encountered in a Quesnel shop.
He was a young men in Harris tweeds with a weathered face and a broken nose
who turned out to be the editor of the Cariboo and North-west Digest. When Mr.
Woodcock told him of his reasons for travelling, this man brought out a pile of
the back numbers of his magazine, explaining that they might give an idea of the
country's background. The magazine proved to be a curious mixture of historical
articles, some of them very conscientiously prepared of old-timers' tales which
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2.
153 154 The Northwest Bookshelf Jan.-Apr.
seemed to verge on the apocryphal, of news about the area between Clinton and
the Yukon, and of editorial comment which grappled intelligently with the problems of growth and conservation. " It was a surprising publication to find in such
a little town," writes Mr. Woodcock (p. 187), "and we asked the editor how he
had ever set out on such a venture. He explained that he had lived in the Cariboo
since his childhood. Before the war he had been one of that almost extinct breed,
the hand loggers (i.e., men who fell trees by the old crosscut saw instead of the
power saw), and later he had become a truck-driver, travelling over the north
country wherever there were any roads on which to run. In the meantime he had
put in odd spells as a guide, and his experiences had shown him not only the wealth
of unpublished historical material, and a number of local problems which needed
ventilation, but also the interest these questions aroused among the people he met.
So he decided to publish a quarterly magazine about the Cariboo. The first issue he
printed himself on a small hand-press and peddled it in the streets of Quesnel. In
five years he built it up so that it now paid its own way, with a slender margin
which enabled him to spend six months a year travelling about the back country
and gathering information. He was never at a loss for articles, since people were
becoming more conscious that their memories might help to create the history of
important social movements."
It was interesting to Mr. Woodcock, as it must be to all readers of this Quarterly, to know how powerfully the legends of the Cariboo past seem to be implanted
in the minds of the people in Quesnel. For, as Mr. Woodcock writes, it must certainly need some strong emotional impulse to inspire loggers and farmers to found
a magazine and embark on historical research. "I think," Mr. Woodcock adds,
"the reason can be found in the highly dramatic nature of life in all frontier
movements, lt is not without reason that such historical phenomenon as the gold
rushes have found their place in folk literature for their essential elements of
tragedy, disillusionment and plain human folly and weakness inevitably appeal to
ordinary men as a representation in reality and on a grand scale of their own
everyday fantasy lives." This is typical of Mr. Woodcock's approach and his
reaction to the material he uncovered during his trips. He handles his material in
a workmanlike way and his English is vividly distinctive. Ravens and Prophets is
a valuable and useful book for anyone who wants to know British Columbia and
its people better.
There are two slip-ups which should be noted. On page 123, when telling of
the mountain that collapsed on top of a town on the Crowsnest Pass railway, the
town is referred to as Michel, when in reality it was Frank, Alta. Earlier, on pages
13 and 14, when dealing with the development of the coal industry at Nanaimo, the
Muir family is named and reference made to " a great castellated mansion outside
Victoria . . . their great sham castle surviving only as a school for naval
officers." This is obviously incorrect, for the reference should be to the Dunsmuir
Vera Drury.
Victoria, B.C. 1953 The Northwest Bookshelf 155
Toil and Peaceful Life—History of the Doukhobors Unmasked. By S. F. Reibin.
Mantica, Calif.: privately printed, 1952.  Pp. 338.   Ills.  $3.50.
In the past fifty years many books have been published about the Doukhobors
by people who were not members of the sect, but few have been written by Doukhobors themselves. Among these latter are historical sketches in Russian by Peter
N. Maloff (Malov) and W. A. Soukoreff (Sukhorev), both of which have been
published within the past five years. More recently a new work has appeared by
another Doukhobor, S. F. Reibin (Rybin), likewise in Russian, the title of which is
Toil and Peaceful Life—History of the Doukhobors Unmasked.
The central theme of this book is the fact that the Doukhobors have been
throughout their history, first in Russia and later in Canada, completely under the
thumb of their leader of the moment. Whenever a minority refused to submit to
the leader's will, a schism occurred and a new splinter group of the sect was
The writer's main object appears to be to expose the dictatorial traits in the
character of P. V. Verigin (Peter Verigin the elder), under whom he worked as
interpreter and secretary from 1902 until 1923. One would have expected an
extremely interesting narrative to have been derived from these years of intimate
knowledge of the " leader." The author states he never attended either a Russian
or an English school—a fact which leads him to apologize for his simple style of
writing. It is not, however, the simplicity of style which detracts from the value of
the book, but the way in which it is put together. Hearsay and fact are so intermingled that it is often impossible to separate one from the other. Letters, newspaper articles, and other documents are included at random in the text of the book,
and the chronology of the story he is telling is not strictly adhered to by the author.
There is no attempt to divide the book into chapters, and the general impression
gained is one of lack of balance. A number of interesting photographs are reproduced, but unfortunately they are printed in such small dimensions that their value
is largely lost.
Despite all these shortcomings, the reader does at times gain an interesting
insight into the goings-on in Peter V. Verigin's immediate entourage. The comparative luxury in which he lived during the early years in Canada stands out in
rude contrast to the meagre lot of his people. The author refers to the choir of
young women who usually accompanied Verigin on his visits to his villages and to
the affair between him and Anastasia "die Godly," who on his death formed an
independent community in Alberta. Verigin's practical business sense is clearly
illustrated by a proposal he is said to have made to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company to import temporarily 2,000 workers from Tsarist Russia to help
build the railway. Verigin would have received wages for these men in dollars on
the high Canadian scale but would have paid them in Russian roubles on then-
return home and pocketed the difference—presumably for the benefit of the
Doukhobor community. The scheme, however, did not materialize.
Mr. Reibin, who settled in California on leaving the community in 1923, considers that Verigin was cheated by the real-estate agents in the Kootenays, who
made him pay $50 (actually the exact price was $52.50) per acre for the land he
bought. He also maintains that the Doukhobors would have done better to settle
in the more temperate climate of Oregon or California. 156 The Northwest Bookshelf Jan.-Apr.
Although the book concentrates on the person of Peter Verigin the elder, the
author also gives his impressions of his son, P. P. Verigin, whom he knew as a
young man and later met occasionally after the latter had returned from Russia to
assume leadership of the Doukhobor community. " Speaking frankly," Mr. Reibin
writes, " I was amazed by the contrast between Peter Petrovich and his late father
Peter Vasilevich, with whom I had worked for over twenty years. The latter was
of enormous stature, a giant, and always kept himself neat and clean. Every word
was in its place and every word law. Toward those working for him he behaved
decently and tactfully, like a kind father. Peter Petrovich was of medium build,
about my own age, nervous, capricious toward his wife and mother and toward
those working for him. In his office he would smoke cigarette after cigarette.
While looking through his papers, he would keep his holder in his mouth. The
smoke from the cigarette would get into his eyes and the ash fall on his papers
and dirty everything on the table. He cursed his staff with foul language and
threatened to beat them. He called them: 'thief,' 'cheat,' 'rogue,' and 'provocateur' indiscriminately." This man, the author states, had changed for the worse
since he had first met him some twenty-five years earlier.
This book has brought forth a wave of protest from the leading members of
the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (Orthodox Doukhobors), who still
revere their departed leaders. Perhaps the most surprising fact emerging from all
this is that it illustrates how difficult it is for a member of a primitive community
to break away, however much he may disapprove of the way life is carried on. It
took Reibin and his family twenty-four years from the time of their arrival in
Canada to make their bid for freedom and independence. How many more Doukhobors there must be who, though disapproving of it, live their whole lives within
the community and never manage to strike out on their own.
Alexander W. Watnman.
University of BRrnsH Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C.
Tales of the Alberni Valley. By Hazel A. E. Hill. Edmonton: Hamly Press, 1952.
Pp. 48.   Ills.   $1.
The appearance of a book or pamphlet dealing with the history and description
of a particular locality is bound to evoke the interest of the inhabitants and ex-
inhabitants of the locality in question. Teachers in the schools, historians, archivists, librarians, and the public in general are eager to read accurate accounts of
local history interspersed with human touches, but they form a critical audience.
The writer of this review opened the covers of Tales of the Alberni Valley
perhaps with too much optimism, for after reading the forty-eight pages and looking at the dozen or so (most of them poor) illustrations she felt that the author had
really told nothing at all worth while about one of the most beautiful, naturally,
and one of the most interesting, economically, of the varied districts of Vancouver
True enough, the title is Tales of the Alberni Valley, and the stories of the
Nicholas and Morrison families and their adventures are interesting up to a certain
point, but most of the rest are really not of much account, and could very well
have been left out.   One knows from experience that too much trust cannot be 1953 The Northwest Bookshelf 157
placed on the average pioneer narrative, and each one must be checked carefully
for factual errors. To take one example from those related by Miss Hill: On page
5, Charles Taylor Hi's story is given and in it he relates that he travelled across the
United States by train to Tacoma in 1884. He says that there was no Seattle at
that time. As a matter of fact, Seattle was settled slightly before Tacoma in the
1850's, but the Northern Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental road traversing
the Northern States, chose Tacoma as its terminal city, while the Great Northern,
ten years later, was routed to Seattle in 1893.
The present development of the Alberni district stems from the manufacture of
lumber and its by-products. This industry had its beginning in the year 1860 in
what proved to be too ambitious an undertaking for the time. The story of this
pioneer effort has been admirably given by Dr. W. K. Lamb in the British Columbia Historical Quarterly, II (1938). Two more articles connected with Alberni are
Dr. T. A. Rickard's Gilbert Malcolm Sproat and Herbert Carmichael's Pioneer
Days in Pulp and Paper, which have also appeared in the British Columbia Historical Quarterly. Miss Hill has apparently used at least two of these articles, but has
not benefited very much by them, for she had made numerous errors in referring
to facts in connection with the industries and with the people whose names are
chiefly connected therewith. Her quotations from John T. Walbran's British
Columbia Coast Names cannot be relied upon.
One regrets that the author has missed so many opportunities of giving useful
information when she refers to " Sterling and Smith," " Mr. and Mrs. Davies," " a
Clarke family," "Mr. Reeves," and so on, when a little conscientious research
would have revealed the Christian names of these particular individuals.
Evidences of carelessness appear throughout the pamphlet, as, for instance,
Sterling instead of Stirling; Robert Brown becomes Richard Brown after the first
mention of him. Abbreviations such as Pr. for Port, Gt. for Great, and Rd. for
road, and R. for river are both unattractive as well as irritating.
The style of writing is not always of the best, as, for instance, (p. 19) "Some
got together," (p. 21) "They help themselves to the gardens," (p. 37) "Guests
from all over." One wonders what the author means when she says on page 13
that the westernmost part of the Trans-Canada Highway was "dedicated to the
cause of understanding." One hopes the Chief Forester will not see the reference
to the British Columbia Forest Service as a "pretty crude affair" (p. 40). Incidentally it was begun in 1912, not 1910.
Very little mention of beautiful Mount Arrowsmith, the presiding genius of the
Alberni Valley, is made by Miss Hill, nor of its unusual and rare flora. For such
a scenic locality it should have been an easy matter to obtain really good photographs of some of the beauty spots for illustrations.
There will be expressions of disappointment that the author did not take more
care and spend more time in collecting her material before attempting to write her
pamphlet, which could have been so very much more interesting, and much more
useful to students and others. A good account, both descriptive and historical, of
the beautiful Alberni Valley is still badly needed.
Madge Wolfenden.
Provincial Archives,
Victoria, B.C. 158 The Northwest Bookshelf Jan.-Apr.
He Wrote for Us: The Story of Bill Bennett, Pioneer Socialist Journalist.   By Tom
McEwen.   Vancouver:  Tribune Publishing Company, 1951.   Pp. 159.   $1.
William Bennett was a revolutionary socialist for every one of the forty-two
years he spent in Canada. It is natural, then, that this " story " parallels the struggle of Canadian militant socialists and proletariat organizers to build, from the
ranks of united workers, a revolutionary machine capable of wresting a better
standard of living from society.
In writing He Wrote for Us, author Tom McEwen, present editor of the Pacific
Tribune, has taken the opportunity of rehashing many of the most lurid episodes
in Canada's and British Columbia's labour history, and of thundering again the
well-worn denunciations of capitalistic society. The book is obviously a propaganda piece, and, therefore, the reader can hardly expect the events reviewed to
be related with any degree of objectivity.
" Old Bill" Bennett was proud of his place in the ranks of the Communists,
and the author of this book is no less forthright in proclaiming his political bias.
Hence McEwen writes in the standard Communist vein with a plethora of expletives and " loaded " phrases common to the vocabulary of labour agitators. From
that somewhat restricted point of view the book is no doubt well written, but it is
evident that for much of his material the author has leaned heavily on Bennett's
own book, Builders of British Columbia, published in 1937—a Communist's history
of the labour troubles of this Province.
William Bennett was bom in Greenock, Scotland, in the year 1881. At the
age of 16, while still an apprentice barber, he entered the Anderson branch of the
Scottish Labour Party in Glasgow. Emigrating to Canada in 1907, he went
directly to Vancouver, the city he was to call home for the rest of his life. Bennett
continued his chosen profession of barbering, finding it a useful vantage point from
which to urge others to take up the cause of socialism. In 1922 he was one of
British Columbia's delegates to the first constituent convention of the Workers'
Party of Canada, the direct forerunner of the present Labour Progressive Party.
During the early years of the 1930's, Bill Bennett, with several others, under the
aegis of the Communist Party of Canada, went to India to aid the youthful Communist Party of that country.
Bennett contributed frequently to the early leftist newspapers and journals, his
.caustic pen appearing on the pages of the old B.C. Federationist, the B.C. Lumber
Worker, and other publications in this Province, as well as some farther afield.
But it was in the third issue of the B.C. Workers' News, when he began his column
"Short Jabs," that his career as a labour journalist is considered to have been
" officially " opened. For fourteen years, with the exception of a 2V£-year period
during World War II, when publication was suspended, " Old Bill's " vitriolic
comments highlighted the labour problems of the day in this and successive publications. A never-say-die fighter for what he believed were the inalienable rights
of his class, Bill was also a strong believer in the power of the written word. Much
of his life was spent on intensive efforts to build a more effective socialist press in
British Columbia. Bennett wrote his last column in the Pacific Tribune on December 23, 1949, and eight days later passed away quietly in Vancouver's Athlone
Hospital. 1953 The Northwest Bookshelf 159
Because He Wrote for Us is the story of partisan activities and is written wholly
from the Communist point of view, criticism of its content is futile. But there are
many pages wherein Bill Bennett enters not at all, and many more throughout
in which he figures very little, except for brief references to his attitude toward, or
his comments on, the incidents related. The chapter headings give an indication
of the tone of the book—" The Great Betrayal " (World War I), " Stocks, Bonds—
and Hunger," "Know Your Enemies," and "Capitalism's Fifth Column." The
"on-to-Ottawa trek" of 1935, the "hunger marchers " protest meetings, and the
attendant police action are detailed with the usual vituperative tirades directed
against the politicians of the hour.
Most persons who lived through the depression years were painfully aware of
the plight of the jobless and the thin subsistence margin of those workers who
happened to enjoy the luxury of even partial employment. Also they well remember the half-fearful, half-sympathetic attitude of the employed class toward the
demands of the destitute; the bewildered vacillation of penury-minded civic, Provincial, and Federal Governments; and the inevitable conflicts that arose between
police and protesting groups. Nevertheless, most of the descriptive passages in
McEwen's recital of events are patently and purposely overdrawn, particularly such
incidents as the " Battle of Ballantyne Pier " of June 18, 1935, when the Vancouver
Police charged the longshoremen's picket lines. Here the author has deliberately
produced a one-sided, black and white picture, entirely ignoring the many extenuating circumstances of the affair.
For the average working-class reader, He Wrote for Us will make exciting fare,
even for those with only a limited appreciation of the dramatic ingredients contained in the social and economic problems of human society. The struggle of
groups against any type of authority that holds their particular ambitions in check
will probably continue ad infinitum. We may only deplore the prejudices and
inconsistency of ideas on both sides of the fence that give rise to the type of writing displayed in this and similar publications.
A. F. Flucke.
Provincial Archives,
Victoria, B.C.
Printed by Don McDiarmid, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty


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