British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical Quarterly Apr 30, 1942

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Published by the Archives of British Columbia
in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association.
W. Kaye Lamb.
• British Coin rr, B.C.
Willard E. Ireland.
'ictoria, B
J. C. Goodfellow, P> F. W. Howay, A
e L. Rei T. A. Rickard, Victoria.
W. N. Sage, Vancouver.
Ed • r co the Editor or to
Lo  the  P ,  Parliament
B.C.    Price, 50c. the copy, or $2 the year.    Members
Historical Association in good standing receive the
irther charge.
wr the  British  Columbia  Historical
statements made by contributors BRITISH COLUMBIA
" Any country worthy of a future
should be interested in its past."
Vol. VI. Victoria, B.C., April, 1942. No. 2
Articles : Page.
Captain George Vancouver, 1792-1942:   A Study in Commemorative Place-names.
By F. V. Longstaff  _..     77
The Victory " V " and the Colonial Stamps of 1865-71.
By J. A. Pearce.  .-.    95
Responsible Government and Confederation:   The Popular Movement for Popular Government.
By K. A. Waites  -     97
Documents :
Four Letters from Richard Cadman Etches to Sir Joseph Banks,
With an introduction and notes by F. W. Howay-  125
Notes and Comments:
Regional History as a Social Studies Enterprise _   141
New Cariboo Item  _ 142
Notes on the Barkley Family    143
Archives receives New James Strange Manuscript _. 144
British Columbia Historical Association    145
Contributors to this Issue    147
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Carr:  Klee Wyck.
By Ira Dilworth  _  149
Lomax: Pioneer Woolen Mills in Oregon: History of Wool and the
Woolen Textile Industry in Oregon, 1811-1875.
By W. Kaye Lamb  _  151
Miller:  Northwest Water Boundary.
By F. W. Howay    152
Gates: Readings in Pacific Northwest History:  Washington, 1790-
By W. N. Sage     153
Powell: Philosopher Pickett.
By T. A. Rickard  154 CAPTAIN GEORGE VANCOUVER, 1792-1942.
It is a long way from an old Dutch fortified town near the
eastern frontier of Holland to a mountainous and densely forested island on the Northwest Coast of America. Yet for nearly
one hundred and fifty years there has been perpetuated in the
geographical nomenclature of British Columbia the link between
two so widely separated places, for the western point at the
entrance to Lynn Canal bears the name Point Couverden. The
donor of this name was Captain George Vancouver, who recorded
the circumstances in his Voyage of Discovery in the following
Here in the morning of the 13th [July, 1794] they were visited by fifteen
Indians, men, women, and children, who conducted themselves in the most
civil and affable manner, and, took much pains to explain, that they had
recently been engaged in a war with the inhabitants of the southern side
of the branch, in which they had been beaten, and pointed to a deserted
village, where those of their comrades who had fallen had been buried.
These people appeared to be a part of a very poor tribe, and had scarcely
anything to dispose of; for which reason Mr. Whidbey made them presents
of some few trivial articles, which were very thankfully received, and then
he resumed his examination, and found the continent from the last mentioned open bay compact, and taking a course somewhat irregularly S. 50
E. 7 leagues, to a point, which I called after the seat of my ancestors, Point
Couverden, where the observed latitude was 58° 12', longitude 225° 7'.2
Little has been written in English about the old frontier town
of Couverden,3 yet its long association with the Pacific Northwest would appear to justify a brief resume of its early history.
Of the ancient history of the land where Couverden now stands
nothing is known, although it has been established that no
Roman road ever passed through, or even near, the townsite.
(1) At this particular time, Captain Vancouver was anchored in a port
on the south side of Cross Sound, from whence he had sent Joseph Whidbey,
master of the Discovery, on a boat expedition up the sound and through
Icy Strait to Lynn Canal. Vancouver's account is consequently based' upon
the report he received from Whidbey.
(2) Captain George Vancouver, A Voyage of Discovery to the North
Pacific Ocean and Round the World, London, 1798, III., pp. 245-246.
(3) There are many variants of the spelling of this word: Coevorden,
Coevordon, Covoerden, Coverden, Koevorden, and Couverden; the latter is
that in common use to-day.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No. 2.
77 78 F. V. Longstaff. April
One of the earliest available records tells of the appointment, in
1024, by the Bishop of Utrecht of a deputy to live in the town
castle. This deputy, with the support of the citizens and countrymen, eventually defied the bishop and inaugurated a struggle
which did not culminate until 1462, when Reinond van Koevor-
den renounced his rights to the town and to the province of
Drenthe generally in favour of Bishop Frederick van Blanken-
heim. In 1536 the province of Drenthe came under the rule of
Emperor Charles V., notorious for his introduction of the Inquisition into the Low Countries. By 1572 a revolt had broken out.
Seven years later the seven northern provinces, having formed
the Union of Utrecht, separated from the southern provinces
and laid the foundation of the Dutch Republic. During the
turbulent years which followed the town of Couverden endured
many sieges. It was betrayed to the Spanish forces after 1579,
but retaken by Prince Maurice of Nassau in 1592, only to endure
a long siege the following year by the Spanish army under
General Verdugo. In 1672 the fortress was captured by the
Bishop of Munster, but the same year he was driven out. During the Napoleonic period4 the fortifications were once more put
in order by the French, who, however, were forced to withdraw
in 1814. The fortress was dismantled in the second half of the
nineteenth century, its great earthworks having been levelled
and the sites taken up by the warehouses, railway freight-yards,
and public gardens of the modern city.5
During the long years of turmoil and oppression many Dutch
families fled to other countries, and it is possible that the ances-
(4) According to The Modern Gazetteer, London, 1773, by Thomas
Salmon, Cover den was " a town of Holland, in the pr[ovince]. of Overyssel,
sit[uated]. near the confines of Westphalia, 40 m. N.W. of Deventer; a
fortress in the marshes, strong by nature, as well as by art." The General
Gazetteer: or Compendious Geographical Dictionary, compiled by R. Brooks
and revised by W. Guthrie and E. Jones, Dublin, 1791, states: " Coevorden,
one of the strongest towns in the United Provinces, fortified by Cohorn;
taken by the Bishop of Munster in 1673; and by the Dutch the same year.
It is surrounded by a morass, 30 miles South of Groningen, and 37 miles
North-East of Deventer." Later editions of this same work, 1834 and 1865,
report much the same information.
(5) The writer is indebted for much of this information to H. A. Poel-
man, Keeper of the Records in Groningen and Drenthe, in a letter dated
September 15, 1930, at Groningen. 1942        Vancouver Commemorative Place-names. 79
tors of the Vancouver family emigrated for that reason to England.6 The possible transliteration of the Dutch van Couverden
to an anglicized form, Vancouver, is fairly obvious, and meagre
records in the archives of the city of Couverden tend to substantiate the statement made by Captain Vancouver himself.7
The first trace of the Vancouver family in King's Lynn8 is
a record relating to Mrs. Sarah Vancouver, the widowed mother
of John Jaspar Vancouver, who was rated as a householder up
to 1759. From 1748 until 1770 John Jaspar Vancouver held the
office of Deputy Collector of Customs at the port of King's Lynn.
This was a post of some importance and responsibility, for at
that time this Norfolk town was one of the chief ports of England.
The Collector, Charles Turner, a member of an influential local
family, treated his office as a sinecure and left his deputy to do
the work. In addition, John Jaspar Vancouver also held an
important appointment under the Lynn Corporation; namely,
that of Collector of the Town Dues.
John Jaspar Vancouver married Bridget Berners of Lynn,
on June 22, 1749, in All Saints' Church, South Lynn. The Berners family was an important one in Essex. Six children (not
five, as is often stated) were born of this union. The records
of their baptisms are, as follows: Bridget, 1751; Sarah, 1752;
Mary, 1753; Charles and John, 1756; and George, March 16,
1761.9 In the case of the latter a special entry was made of his
birth, June 22, 1757, probably because nearly four years had
intervened between his birth and baptism. Very little is known
of the early life of George Vancouver, save that in 1768 his
mother died and that four years later his life at sea had begun.
(6) It has also been pointed out that many Dutchmen came over to
England to assist in the engineering projects connected with the drainage
of the Fens.
(7) On this point, see George Godwin, Vancouver: A Life, 1757-1798,
New York, 1931, pp. 2-3. Mr. Poelman, in the letter previously referred
to states: " It is possible but there is no evidence at all that the name
Vancouver is derived from van Coevorden and that the family Vancouver
came over from Coeverden."
(8) The details of the early history of the family in King's Lynn are
to be found in G. H. Anderson, Vancouver and his Great Voyage, King's
Lynn, 1923, passim.
(9) Bridget was baptized at All Saints' Church, all the other children
were baptized in the parish Church of St. Margaret.   Ibid. 80
The Admiralty records10 show that Vancouver entered the
navy on May 27, 1772, as an able seaman, although placed on the
quarter-deck. His probation was served under the watchful eye
of one of England's foremost hydrographic surveyors, Captain
James Cook; for when the Resolution sailed from Plymouth
Sound on July 13, 1772, on what was to be Cook's second world
voyage, young Vancouver was on board. Three years passed
before the expedition returned and after but a short time at
home, early in 1776, Vancouver was posted to the Discovery,
a tender to the Resolution, and, in consequence, he found himself
once again a member of an exploring expedition under the command of Captain Cook. It was on this voyage that Vancouver
first saw the Northwest Coast of America. This expedition did
not return to England until October 4, 1780. Midshipman Vancouver had now served eight years in the navy. Not only had
he undergone a thorough training in seamanship, but he was
(10)  In 1911, Mr. Charles
Bradbury, of Vancouver, B.C., instituted a
search in
the Public Record
Office, London, England, which revealed the
following information concerning Captain Vancouver:—
George Vancouver
First Entry
27 May 1772 (Age 15)
Passing Certificate
19 October 1780
7 May 1782
12 May 1798
Date of Entry                 Date of Discharge
' RemarkB
27 May 1772             22 Aug 1775
Paid off
A.B. & Mid
27 Feb. 1776            21 Oct. 1780
7 May 1782              2 July 1783
Half Pay
3 July 1783               23 Nov. 1784
Eur op a
24 Nov. 1784            14 Sept. 1789
Half Pay
15 Sept. 1789           6 Jan. 1790
7 Jan. 1790              23 May 1790
24 May 1790            16 Dec. 1790
17 Dec. 1790            3 Nov. 1795
Half Pay
4 Nov. 1795              12 May 1798
Enclosure in Secretary, Public Record Office, to Mr. C. Bradbury, September 5, 1911. This material has been generously donated by Mr. Bradbury
to the Archives of British Columbia. It is to be noted that there are some
errors in this record; for we know that Vancouver was appointed Commander on December 15, 1790, and Post Captain, August 28, 1794, while
still in the Pacific Northwest. 1942        Vancouver Commemorative Place-names. 81
also well grounded in the scientific side of navigation, surveying,
and map-making. On October 19, 1780, Vancouver passed his
examination as lieutenant and shortly afterwards, on December
9, he was appointed to the sloop Martin. Eventually he was
transferred to the Fame,11 in which ship he began his service on
the Jamaica Station. Still later, in 1783, he was transferred to
the Europa, in which he served until his return to England in
The British Government at this time was planning to send
a scientific exploring expedition to the South Seas and the Northwest Coast of America. A new ship, the Discovery, was fitted
out for this purpose and Lieutenant Vancouver was appointed
second in command. Before all the arrangements could be
brought to completion, however, serious difficulties had developed
between Great Britain and Spain over rival pretensions at
Nootka Sound, and, in consequence, the exploring expedition was
postponed. The Nootka Sound Affair was eventually brought
to a pacific settlement under the terms of a convention, dated
October 28, 1790, which provided for the repossession by Great
Britain of certain places in the Pacific Northwest unjustly seized
by Spain. It thus became necessary for the British Government
to be officially represented on the Northwest Coast to carry out
the provisions of the convention. A new expedition was planned,
the partially-fitted Discovery was selected for this service, and
George Vancouver, now holding rank of commander,12 was
selected to head the expedition. In addition to the fulfilment
of political duties, provision was also made for an accurate survey of the Northwest Coast. Thus it was that after eighteen
years of service in the navy George Vancouver reached his first
independent command, in charge of an expedition which gained
for him imperishable fame.
From the time of the arrival of the Discovery and its tender
Chatham on the coast of America on April 17, 1792, until their
departure from Nootka for England on October 16, 1794, Van-
(11) The original parchment commission of Vancouver's appointment
to the Fame is the property of T. S. Annandale, of New Westminster, B.C.
(12) This promotion had been made December 15, 1790.    Prior to this
appointment, Vancouver had been serving in the Courageux. 82 F. V. LONGSTAFF. April
couver worked assiduously to carry out his instructions.13 Careful surveys were made of many portions of the coast. In this
work the British were not alone, for the Spaniards under the
direction of Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra were also
active. It was in the course of such survey-work in the Gulf
of Georgia and Burrard Inlet that the now famous meeting with
Galiano and Valdes took place in mid-June, 1792,14 off Spanish
Banks, near the present city of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The major accomplishment of the year was the establishment
of the insularity of what was to become known as Vancouver
Nor did Vancouver neglect the political aspect of his mission.
In August, 1792, he proceeded to Nootka Sound for conferences
with Quadra, and during the course of one of their many interviews a name was formally bestowed upon the island. Vancouver has left two accounts of this event. The one is contained
in a general report to the Secretary of the Admiralty written at
Nootka on September 26, 1792.
Next morning [September 5, 1792] after breakfast we embarked on our
return. The weather was pleasant, but the wind though light was contrary.
The afternoon was cloudy attended with some rain, thunder, and lightning;
about 5 O/clock we reached Friendly Cove having dined by the way. In the
course of conversation which passed this afternoon, Sigr. Quadra requested
that in the course of my farther exploring this country I would name some
port or Island after us both, in commemoration of our meeting and the
friendly intercourse that on that occasion had taken place; which I promised to do; and conceiving no place more eligible than the place of our
meeting, I have therefore named this land, (which by our sailing at the
back we have discovered to be an extensive Island) The Island of Quadra
and Vancouver: which compliment he was excessively pleased with; as
also my retaining the name of Port Quadra to that which in May last I had
(13) For a copy of these instructions, see Vancouver, op. cit., I., pp.
(14) This event has been suitably commemorated by the erection of a
cairn by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1930, in the
small park of the British Columbia University Endowment Lands, between
the waters of English Bay and Marine Drive, Vancouver, B.C.
(15) On this point, see C. F. Newcombe, The First Circumnavigation of
Vancouver Island (Memoir No. I., Archives of British Columbia), Victoria,
1914, passim. For a brief discussion of Vancouver's accomplishments while
on the Northwest Coast generally, see L. R. Boone, " Vancouver on the
Northwest Coast," Oregon Historical Quarterly, XXXV. (1934),pp. 193-227. 1942 VANCOUVER COMMEMORATIVE PLACE-NAMES. 83
called Port Discovery, but finding it had been formerly explored and named
after this Officer, I had since adopted that name.1*
The other occurs in the Voyage of Discovery, in which Vancouver recorded:—
In our conversation whilst on this little excursion, Senr. Quadra had
very earnestly requested that I would name some port or island after us
both, to commemorate our meeting and the very friendly intercourse that
had taken place and subsisted between us. Conceiving no spot so proper
for this denomination as the place where we had first met, which was
nearly in the center of a tract of land that had first been circumnavigated
by us, forming the south-western sides of the gulph of Georgia, and the
southern sides of Johnstone's straits and Queen Charlotte's sound, I named
the country the island of Quadra and Vancouver; with which compliment
he seemed highly pleased.17
All the charts of the Northwest Coast made by Vancouver
showing the whole or part of the island display the name Quadra
and Vancouver, without exception. The same two names are
displayed on the contemporary Spanish and French charts and
the many commercial map engravers followed the same practice.
The rather awkward, though highly significant, designation did
not long survive and by the middle of the nineteenth century the
name Quadra had disappeared from association with the island.18
(16) " A Narrative of my proceedings in His Majesty's Sloop Discovery
from the 28th of August to the 26th September 1792, particularly relative
to transactions with Sigr. Quadra . . , ," enclosed in Vancouver to Stephen,
September 26, 1792, CO. 5/187. Transcript in the Archives of B.C. Vancouver and Quadra had, on September 4th, left Friendly Cove on a short
expedition to " Tahsheis " in the Discovery's yawl.
(17) Vancouver, op. cit., I., p. 397.
(18) One of the first charts to omit the name Quadra was the British
Admiralty chart, No. 1917, published February 28, 1849, entitled "Vancouver Island and Gulph of Georgia, from the Surveys of Captain G. Vancouver, R.N., 1793, Captains D. Galiano and C. Valdes 1792, Captain H.
Kellett R.N. 1847." In the Oregon boundary negotiations in 1846 reference
is made only to Vancouver's Island. It is also to be noted that the name
of the main chain of mountains extending the length of Vancouver Island
was officially designated Vancouver Island Mountains by the Geographic
Board of Canada. See " The Nomenclature of the Mountains of Western
Canada," Sixteenth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa,
1919, pp. 33-34. The place-name Quadra was returned to the coast of
British Columbia in 1903 when the Geographic Board of Canada named the
island immediately east of Seymour Narrows after the Spanish officer. This
island was supposed to have formed part of the northern Valdes Island, but
it was then found to consist of three islands which were named Quadra,
Sonora, and Maurelle Islands. 84 F. V. Longstaff. April
During his two and a half years' activity in the Pacific Northwest Vancouver's name was bestowed upon only one other geographical feature. This was Point Vancouver on the Columbia
River, which has long ceased to be known by this name. The
farthest up-river point seen by Lieutenant W. R. Broughton on
October 30, 1792, during his survey of the Columbia River was
so named. Vancouver made use of his lieutenant's report in
recording this incident in his Voyage of Discovery:—
" Having now passed the sand bank," says Mr. Broughton, " I landed for
the purpose of taking our last bearings; a sandy point on the opposite shore
bore S. 80 E., distant about two miles; this point terminating our view of
the river, I named it after Captain Vancouver; it is situated in latitude
45° 27', longitude 237° 50'." The same remarkable mountain that had been
seen from Belle Vue point, again presented itself. . . . Mr. Broughton
honored it with Lord Hood's name. . . . Mr. Broughton at this time calculated the distance, from what he considered the entrance of the river, to
be 84, and from the Chatham, 100 miles. . . . Previous to his departure
... he formally took possession of the river, and the country in its
vicinity, in His Britannic Majesty's name. . . ,19
There has been considerable controversy over the exact location
of this point. At first it was maintained that the present Cottonwood Point in the State of Washington, nearly opposite the
railway-station of Corbett, Oregon, was the site.20 Subsequently
a claim was put forward for the gravel-bar at the mouth of Law-
ton Creek, 2V2 miles east of Cottonwood Point.21 An appeal was
made to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey to settle
the issue, and the decision rendered in a report by Captain R. S.
Patton read as follows:—
In short, I believe that Vancouver Point was the south tangent of Vancouver Island [Reed Island] as seen from Broughton's position.    Owing to the
(19) Vancouver, op. cit., II., pp. 65-66.
(20) T. C. Elliott, " Where is Point Vancouver? ", Oregon Historical
Quarterly, XVIII. (1917), pp. 73-82. "It at once became conclusive that
Point Vancouver is that low and quite broad point of land situated southeast from Washougal and southwest from Cape Horn, Washington, and
nearly opposite to the railway station of Corbett, Oregon; it has come to
be known by the river-men as Cottonwood Point." Ibid., p. 82. See also
H. R. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the year
1800, Berkeley, 1937, II., p. 522.
(21) J. N. Barry, " Broughton up Columbia River, 1792," Oregon Historical Quarterly, XXXII. (1931), pp. 301-312. "... Broughton's ' Point
Vancouver' is a gravel bar at the mouth of Lawton Creek (Washington
side of Columbia River), 2% miles east of the modern Cottonwood Point
and 4 miles east of Washougal;   .   .   ."   Ibid., p. 301 (editor's note). 1942        Vancouver Commemorative Place-names. 85
migration of the island, that point has since disappeared, or at least, has
shifted to such a different position as to be equivalent to disappearance.22
Since Vancouver's time, however, his name has come to be
more permanently associated not only with the Northwest Coast
of America but with other parts of the world as well.
Pioneer in this task of commemoration was the Hudson's Bay
Company. By its union with the North West Company in 1821
it had fallen heir to the holdings of the latter company west of
the Rocky Mountains. At that time the principal post was Fort
George (originally Fort Astoria), at the mouth of the Columbia
River. For a number of reasons, not the least Of which was
political, it was decided to build a new headquarters for the
company's business in the Oregon country and, consequently, in
the winter of 1824-25 a post was erected farther up the Columbia River in the neighbourhood of Broughton's " Belle Vue
Point."28 At this time George Simpson, Governor of the Northern Department, was on the Columbia and he has left the following description of the dedication of the new post:—
Saturday, March 19th [1825]. At Sun rise mustered all the people to hoist
the Flag Staff of the new Establishment and in presence of the Gentlemen,
Servants, Chiefs & Indians I Baptised it by breaking a Bottle of Rum on
the Flag Staff and repeating the following words in a loud voice, " In behalf
of the Honble Hudsons Bay Coy I hereby name this Establishment Fort
Vancouver God Save King George the 4th " with three cheers. Gave a
couple of Drams to the people and Indians on the occasion. The object of
naming it after that distinguished navigator is to identify our claim to the
Soil and Trade with his discovery of the River and Coast on behalf of Gt.
Britain. If the Honble Committee however do not approve the Name it
can be altered.24
That the Governor and Committee in London did approve of the
action taken is to be gathered from an extract from a letter by
the Governor, J. H. Pelly, to George Canning, British Foreign
. . . Governor Simpson, when at the Columbia, abandoned Fort George
on the South side of the River and formed a new Establishment on the
(22) L. A. McArthur, " Location of Point Vancouver," Oregon Historical Quarterly, XXXIV. (1933), p. 37.
(23) For the naming of Belle Vue Point, see Vancouver, op. cit., II.,
p. 63.
(24) F. Merk (ed.), Fur Trade and Empire: George Simpson's Journal,
1824-1825, Cambridge, Mass., 1931, p. 124. On the naming of Fort Vancouver, see also O. B. Sperlin, " Washington Forts of the Fur Trade
Regime," Washington Historical Quarterly, VIII. (1917), pp. 107-108. 86 F. V. LONGSTAFF. April
North side, about 75 Miles from the mouth of the River, at a place called
by Lt. Broughton Belle Vue point. Governor Simpson named the new
Establishment " Fort Vancouver " in order to identify our Claim to the
Soil and Trade with Lt. Broughton's discovery and Survey.2^
The site selected, however, was not entirely satisfactory to the
trading functions of the company and, consequently, in 1828 the
transfer to an adjacent location nearer the river was effected.
This fur-trade post thus became the oldest continuous home
of the white man in the State of Washington for to-day its history is carried on by the City of Vancouver. To be sure, for a
short time in the early 1850's, thanks to the Anglophobia of
Samuel R. Thurston, Oregon Territory's first delegate to Congress, its name was changed to Columbia City, but the older
name was restored in 1855 by a territorial Act.26
In passing it might be interesting to note that several of the
vessels27 engaged by the Hudson's Bay Company in their trade
on the Northwest coast were named after Vancouver. The
earliest, the schooner Vancouver, of about 85 tons burden, was
constructed at Fort Vancouver by carpenters brought from the
Orkney Islands. She was the first vessel to be built on the Columbia River and was used on trading voyages to the north,
where she was wrecked in 1832 on the northern shore of Queen
Charlotte Island.28 In 1838 the company began to use as the
annual supply-ship from England the barque Vancouver, a teak-
built vessel of about 400 tons. In 1845 she made marine history
when she became the first vessel to enter Victoria harbour direct
(25) Merk, op. cit., p. 258.
(26) See E. S. Meany, Origin of Washington Geographic Names, Seattle, 1923, pp. 91, 324-325.
(27) The earliest record of a trading vessel of the name Vancouver on
the Northwest Coast is for 1802, thereafter other vessels of the same name
appeared at irregular intervals. See the following articles by F. W.
Howay: "A List of Trading Vessels in the Maritime Fur Trade, 1795-
1804," Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd series, XXV.
(1931), pp. 144, 147; "A List of trading Vessels . . . 1805-1814," loc.
cit., XXVI. (1932), pp. 50, 55, 64, 66; and " A List of Trading Vessels . . .
1820-1825," loc. cit., XXVIII. (1934), p. 49.
(28) Lewis & Dryden, Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (ed. by
E. W. Wright), Portland, 1895, p. 13. This account gives a precis of the
log of a voyage by the vessel, July 8-October 2, 1830. For a slightly different account of the vessel, see H. H. Bancroft, History of the Northwest
Coast, San Francisco, 1884, II., pp. 499-500. 1942        Vancouver Commemorative Place-names. 87
from England. Three years later she was wrecked on the bar
of the Columbia River inbound from London.29 Still later, in
1853, the company brought into service the brig Vancouver,
which had but a short-lived career on the Coast. This vessel
of 184 tons was brought to Victoria from England in May, 1853.
On August 1 she sailed for Fort Simpson, but twelve days later
ran aground on Rose Spit, at the north end of Queen Charlotte
Islands. All efforts to float her, even with the assistance of the
steamer Beaver, were unavailing and, on August 18, in order to
prevent her stores from falling into the hands of the Indians,
she was set afire and burned.80
In 1849, as a bulwark against American expansion in the
Pacific Northwest, the British Government undertook to encourage the establishment of a colony in the portion of territory
remaining to Great Britain under the Oregon Treaty of 1846.
As a result the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island came into
existence under the aegis of the Hudson's Bay Company. Nine
years later the mainland colony of British Columbia was organized. In November, 1866, Vancouver Island lost its identity as
a separate colony31 with the union of the two Pacific colonies
under the name of British Columbia.
During the colonial period the British Admiralty was actively
engaged in continuing the task of coastal survey. This service
revealed the importance of Captain Vancouver as an exploring
(29) Lewis & Dryden, op. cit., pp. 15, 21, 24.
(30) Ibid., p. 49. This version of the destruction of the vessel is in the
main borne out by an " Affidavit by James Murray Reid concerning the loss
of the brigantine Vancouver before James Douglas," dated September 8,
1853. MS. Archives of B.C. The first steamer to be built on the Columbia
River was also called Vancouver. This vessel, built by Captains James
Turnbull and W. H. Troup, was launched July 11, 1857, at Milwaukie. See
Lewis & Dryden, op. cit., pp. 65-6.
(31) Some confusion has remained until the present, for some correspondents persist in using the letters " V.I."—as, for example, Duncan, V.I.
—but in the sorting department of the post-office the official meaning of
" V.I." is Virgin Islands, in the West Indies. Sometimes a comparison is
made with Prince Edward Island, which is abbreviated " P.E.I." Although
Vancouver Island is much larger in area than Prince Edward Island, yet,
as it is not a Province in itself, " Vancouver Island " is not a postal address.
Another source of confusion to postal authorities is the existence of the
City of Victoria, B.C., and the State of Victoria in the Commonwealth of
Australia. 88 F. V. LONGSTAFF. April
surveyor, for, in general, his earlier surveys proved to be unusually accurate. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that these
later hydrographic surveyors generously honoured his memory
in the place-names they bestowed. On the east shore of Jervis
Inlet, in Prince of Wales Reach, about 30 miles from its head, is
located Vancouver Bay?2 This name was bestowed in 1860 by
Captain G. H. Richards, in command of the surveying vessel,
the steam sloop Plumper, because Vancouver while surveying
this inlet had spent the night of June 17, 1792, in this bay.83
Years later the Geographic Board of Canada named the 13-mile
river flowing into this bay from the east Vancouver River,u and
the settlement on its shores is a steamboat-landing known as
Vancouver Farther up the coast, about 28 miles northwest from the site of the old Fort McLoughlin of the Hudson's
Bay Company and some 70 miles west of Bella Coola, is to be
found Vancouver Rock. It is situated off the west entrance to
Moss Passage in Milbanke Sound, and its sides are steep and
uncovered 12 feet at low water. The name, adopted by Commander Daniel Pender,36 commander of H.M. surveying steamer
Beaver in 1866, derives from the fact that Vancouver himself
(32) Geographical Gazetteer of British Columbia, Victoria, 1930, p. 271.
(33) "Along this rocky shore of the main land we passed in quest of a
resting place for the night, to no effect, until after dark; when we found
shelter in a very dreary uncomfortable cove near the south point of an
island, about a mile long, and about two miles to the S.S.E. of a narrow
opening leading to the northward. This on the return of day-light [Sunday,
June 17] we proceeded to examine; and passed through a very narrow,
though navigable channel, amongst a cluster of rocks and rocky islets, lying
just in the front of its entrance, which is situated in latitude 49° 35'%, longitude 236° 26'. It is about half a mile wide, winding towards the N.N.E.
for about 3 leagues, where it divides into two branches, one stretching to
the eastward, the other to the westward of north, with an island before the *
entrance of the latter. Agreeably to our general mode of proceeding, the
north-easterly branch became the first object of our attention, and was
found from hence to continue in an irregular course to the latitude of 49°
49', longitude 236° 35'%; where, finding a tolerably comfortable situation,
we rested for the night." Vancouver, op. cit., I., p. 307. See also Captain
J. T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906, Ottawa, 1909,
p. 507.
(34) Geographical Gazetteer of British Columbia, p. 271.
(35) Ibid., p. 271.
(36) Walbran, op. cit., p. 507. 1942 VANCOUVER COMMEMORATIVE PLACE-NAMES. 89
noted it as a " very dangerous sunken rock " when passing by it
in the Discovery on June 20, 1793.37
. At this point it might be well to consider the applications of
Vancouver's name far to the north in Alaska and Yukon Territories. Situated off Cape Northumberland, which is the southern point of Duke Island, in Dixon Entrance, is Vancouver Islet,
so named by the United States Coast Survey in 1885.88 Lying
off the Alaskan coast between the mouths of the Yukon and
'Kuskawim Rivers is Nelson Island, which forms part of the east
shore of Etolin Strait. A bold promontory, about 1,000 feet
high, situated on the west point of this island, is to-day known
as Cape Vancouver. As early as 1821 this cape was discovered
and named by Adolf Karlovich Etholine, then an employee of the
Russian American Fur Company, who later rose to the position
of Chief Manager of the company, 1840-1845.39 Still another
Alaskan geographical feature in this connection is Mount Vancouver, situated on the Alaska-Yukon boundary, about 60 miles
north of Ocean Cape at the entrance to Yakutat Bay in southern
Alaska. This mountain in the St. Elias range towers 15,696
feet above sea-level and is about 28 miles northwest of Mount
Logan, the highest peak in Canada. It was named in 1874 by
William Healey Dall during the course of one of his many
exploratory expeditions in Alaska.40    The sole Vancouver place-
(37) " The north-west point of entrance into Milbank's sound, now bore
by compass S. 16 W., and the south-east point, named after the third lieutenant of the Discovery, Cape Swaine, S. 13 E.; in this direction was a
small island about two miles and a half from us; and from that island S.
14 W., at the distance of about half a league, lies a very dangerous sunken
rock. We passed to the westward of these, but the Chatham went between
them and the eastern shore, which still continued broken and rocky, forming
a passage with the above sunken rock and breakers about half a mile wide,
where the soundings were found to be very irregular." Vancouver, op. cit.,
II., p. 291.
(38) Marcus Baker, Geographic Dictionary of Alaska, Washington,
1906, p. 657.
(39) Ibid., p. 657.
(40) Ibid., p. 657. It is interesting to note that at the time of the
survey of Garibaldi Park in British Columbia it was proposed to name the
mountain north of the headwaters of Billygoat and Wedgemount Creeks,
Mount Vancouver, but, presumably in order to avoid confusion with the
Alaskan mountain of the same name, the Geographic Board of Canada
decided against the proposal and the name Wedge Mountain was authorized
in 1928. 90 F. V. LONGSTAFF. April
name in Yukon Territory is Vancouver Creek, which was so
named by the Geographic Board of Canada in 1912. This stream
flows into McQuesten River, which enters the Stewart River,
which in turn joins the Yukon River at Stewart, Y.T.
In 1871 British Columbia ceased to be a Crown Colony and,
by Confederation, became a Province of the Dominion of Canada.
One of the terms of union provided for the construction of a
transcontinental railroad from tide-water to tide-water. After
long deliberation it was agreed that this line should terminate at
Port Moody on Burrard Inlet. It soon became obvious that the
choice was unfortunate, for at that site the water was too shallow and the shore too flat for a seaport. Consequently, during
the summer of 1884, a new location was selected on Coal Harbour41 to which an extension was laid. Almost immediately references began to appear to " Vancouver, on Coal Harbour."42
The name appears to have been first mooted by William Van
Horne, the general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway
Company. Settlement on Burrard Inlet43 had begun many years
earlier with the pre-empting of land by William Hailstone, John
Morton, and Samuel Brighouse in October, 1862. By 1871 there
were three villages on the borders of the inlet; two on the south
shore—Granville,44 usually known as Gastown, and Hastings,45
at one time called New Brighton—and Moodyville on the north
shore. The City of Vancouver, comprising only the townsite of
Granville, was incorporated on April 6, 1886.45
(41) So named by Captain G. H. Richards who surveyed Burrard Inlet,
1859-60, and set aside military and naval reserves in the area.
(42) The West Shore, (Portland, Oregon), X. (September, 1884), p.
304. For a general discussion of the naming of Vancouver, see Denys Nelson, Place Names of the Fraser Delta, a typescript in the Archives of B.C.
(43) See F. W. Howay, " Early Settlement on Burrard Inlet," British
Columbia Historical Quarterly, I. (1937), pp. 101-114. For a brief popular
history of Vancouver, see [Archivists' Club, Templeton Junior High School],
Vancouver: A short history, Vancouver, 1936, passim.
(44) Gazetted in March, 1870.
(45) Gazetted in May, 1869.
(46) "An Act to Incorporate the City of Vancouver" (49 Vict. c. 32),
Statutes of the Province of British Columbia . . . 1886, Victoria, 1886,
pp. 161-256. For a time in 1882 the name " Liverpool" was applied to
what is now known as the West End. 1942        Vancouver Commemorative Place-names. 91
The commencement of through traffic on the Canadian Pacific
Railway in May, 1887, paved the way for a rapid expansion. In
a short time the pioneer's" dream of a bustling commercial port
became a reality. With the emergence of a metropolitan area
the name Vancouver began to be applied to newly-organized
adjacent municipalities. Thus, in 1891, Moodyville, on the north
shore, became the District of North Vancouver,*1 and the following year South Vancouver** was organized as a municipal district. As expansion continued further subdivisions were made;
in 1906 the City of North Vancouver*9 came into being, while
still later, in 1912, the District of North Vancouver was again
divided by the organization of the Municipality of West Vancouver?0 On January 1, 1929, South Vancouver, along with the
Municipality of Point Grey, was amalgamated with the City of
Vancouver to form Greater Vancouver.51 In this way the exploits of the great navigator are permanently perpetuated in
Canada's Pacific outlet.52
(47) August 10, 1891; The British Columbia Gazette, 1891 (August 13,
,1891), pp. 620-622. At this time incorporation was made possible by letters
patent issued by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council under the provisions
of the " Municipal Act, 1891 " (54 Vict., c. 29), and'published in the Gazette.
(48) April 13, 1892; The British Columbia Gazette, 1892 (April 14,
1892), pp. 510-512.
(49) March 29, 1906; under the provisions of "An Act to accelerate the
Incorporation of the City of North Vancouver " (6 Ed. 7, c. 35), Statutes of
the Province of British Columbia  .   .   .  1906, Victoria, 1906, pp. 299-308.
(50) March 15, 1912; under the provisions of "An Act to incorporate
West Vancouver Municipality" (2 Geo. 5, c. 60), Statutes of the Province
of British Columbia  .   .   .   1912, Victoria, 1912, pp. 399-410.
(51) Under the provisions of "An Act to include the Inhabitants of the
Corporation of the District of South Vancouver and the Corporation of
Point Grey, and the Respective Areas thereof, within the City of Vancouver "
(18 Geo. 5, c. 17), Statutes of the Province of British Columbia . . . 1928,
Victoria, 1928, pp. 47-87. Previously, in 1911, Hastings Townsite had been
absorbed, as well as D.L. 301.
(52) In addition it might be added that Vancouver Heights in the adjacent Municipality of Burnaby is a recognized sub-post office. The name
has also been applied variously within municipalities in the Province. For
example, in Victoria there is a Vancouver Street, leading south from Pandora Avenue to Humboldt Street; while in Nanaimo, Vancouver Avenue, in
the Newcastle addition, runs in a northerly direction from Union Avenue
for about five blocks. 92 F. V. Longstaff. April
In the neighbouring State of Washington, Vancouver's name
has been preserved elsewhere than in the City of Vancouver in
the southwestern part of Clarke County. About 3 miles northwest of that city there is a lake about 2 miles in width and 3
miles in length which is, in reality, an enclosed backwater of
the Columbia River. Since 1856 it has been called Vancouver
Lake,53 and at the foot of a cliff on the east shore of this lake
there is a small community known as Vancouver Junction.5*
While Captain Vancouver's name has come to be more readily
associated with the Northwest Coast of America it must not be
overlooked that in his voyages he explored and surveyed many
other regions of the world, particularly in the South Seas. It is,
therefore, not surprising to find his name commemorated in
places far removed from the Pacific Northwest.
During September and October, 1791, while en route to
Nootka Sound, Vancouver spent some time in surveying the
southwest coast of New Holland, as Australia was then called,
and in particular the region in the neighbourhood of King George
Sound. Sixteen miles east of Albany, Western Australia, there
is a Cape Vancouver. The city is located on the north shore of
Princess Royal Harbour, which, in turn, is entered from a channel on the western side of King George Sound. The entrance to
the sound faces east and is about 5 miles wide, being bounded on
the north by Herald Point and on the south by Bald Head, and
the 5 miles is divided into three by two large islands, Michaelmas
Island on the north and Breaksea Island on the south. There is
an outer bay beyond Herald Point, with a long headland running
(53) Meany, op. cit., p. 325.
(54) This is a junction point on the line of the Northern Pacific Railway between Vancouver, Wash., and Seattle and the branch line from
Yacott, Wash. It should also be added that at various times Vancouver's
name has been applied elsewhere in the States of Washington and Oregon.
For example, Hayden Island in Multnomah County, Oregon, was originally
named Menzies Island by Broughton in 1792, and some maps have it marked
as Vancouver Island. See L. A. McArthur, " Oregon Geographic Names,"
Oregon Historical Quarterly, XXVII. (1926), pp. 303-304. In addition,
Reed Island was named Vancouver Island by Commodore Wilkes, but the
name has since been changed. See Oregon Historical Quarterly, XXXIV.
(1933), pp. 32, 36. E. S. Meany states that Vancouver Straits was once
applied as the name for the present Rosario Straits. See Meany, op. cit..
p. 325. 1942        Vancouver Commemorative Place-names. 93
north and south about 7% miles east of Herald Point, and Cape
Vancouver is situated on the extreme point. The land rises
rapidly behind, and the highest point is Mount Gardiner, 1,300
feet above the sea. The name Cape Vancouver does not appear
on Vancouver's " Chart Shewing Part of the S.W. Coast of New
Holland," but Mount Gardiner appears instead.56 As this coast
was resurveyed in detail in 1877 by Staff Commander W. E.
Archdeacon, R.N., it is probable that this officer commemorated
his predecessor's activities in this manner. In addition, there is
Vancouver Rock, about 2 miles southwest of Bald Head and some
12 miles southwest of Cape Vancouver.
From New Holland, Vancouver set sail for Dusky Bay, in
New Zealand, and there spent the better part of the month of
November, 1791, in surveying this region which he had visited
in 1773 when serving under Captain Cook. To-day his activity
in that area is commemorated by Vancouver Arm. Breaksea
Sound is a narrow waterway on the west coast of the South
Island of New Zealand, about 50 miles from Windsor Point, the
most southwesterly point of the island. This sound extends
inland for some distance, after which it divides into two parts,
the one to the north being Vancouver Arm while that to the
south being Broughton Arm. Neither of these names appear on
Vancouver's chart; the name " No body knows what," which had
been assigned by Captain Cook, is shown across the entrance to
the two arms, while the name " Some body knows what" was
placed across their heads by Vancouver.56 It is probable that
the present names were given to the features during 1851, when
H.M. steam surveying vessel Acheron, Captain John L. Stokes,
R.N., was at work on this coast of New Zealand.57
One further application of Vancouver's name remains for
discussion. This is Port Vancouver, on the south shore of Staten
Island. The island, which belongs to Argentina, is situated off
the east side of the Strait of Le Maire, at the easterly point of
(55) For Vancouver's description of his activity in this area and of the
place-names he designated, see Vancouver, op. cit., I., pp. 32-36.
(56) Ibid., I., pp. 60-66, for Vancouver's account of his work in this
(57) It is interesting to note that Captain G. H. Richards, who later
served so faithfully in surveying the coast of British Columbia, was a member of this expedition. 94 F. V. Longstaff.
Tierra del Fuego. The arm of the sea is about half a mile wide
and about 3 miles long, curving around to the west. The name
appears first on an Admiralty chart published in 1892, but based
upon surveys made by Lieutenant E. N. Kendall, R.N., in H.M.
sloop-of-war Chanticleer, in 1828, and by Captain Robert Fitz-
roy, R.N., in H.M. sloop-of-war Beagle, in 1830-34.
Captain George Vancouver played an important role in the
geographical exploration of various parts of the world, in general, and of the Pacific Northwest, in particular. His careful
surveys and equally meticulous charts were the only guide for
mariners for many years. It was only fitting, therefore, that
his name should be forever perpetuated in the geographical
nomenclature of the world.68
F. V. Longstaff.
Victoria, B.C.
(58) Some mention should be made of H.M.C.S. Vancouver. This ship,
formerly H.M.S. Toreador, was loaned to the Canadian Government by the
British Admiralty on the removal from service of the H.M.C.S. Patriot and
Patrician in 1928. She arrived at Esquimalt, May 24, 1928, and remained
in the service until 1937, when she was replaced by H.M.C.S. Fraser,
formerly H.M.S. Crescent. Henry Wootton.
Postmaster of Victoria, in charge of postal affairs of tho Colony of
Vancouver Island, October, 1861, to November, 1866. Postmaster of
Victoria until his death in December, 1875. British Columbia
surcharged 5-cent of 1869,
on the 3d. die of 1865.
British Columbia 3d. stamp
STAMPS OF 1865-71.
Photographs of Prime Minister Churchill holding aloft his
spreading fingers to the cheering crowds have appeared in all
our newspapers, and he has popularized a sign which has become
the symbol of our united endeavour. The crashing chords of
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, simulating the three dots and dash,
are heard frequently over the air, and the " V " for Victory sign,
with the Morse characters, has appeared on envelopes, stationery, and post-cards throughout the Empire. In Canada it has
been recognized officially, and most Canadian post-offices are
using a cancellation in which both the "V" and the dots and
dashes appear.
It is interesting to find that the threepenny stamp issued by
the old Crown Colony of British Columbia in 1865 had the
modern Victory sign, complete with the dots and dashes, clearly
engraved upon it. This curious coincidence does not appear to
have been noticed before.
The unusual design, which is unique among British Empire
postage stamps, shows a large "V" (for Queen Victoria) surmounted by a crown. The rose, thistle, and shamrock, floral
emblems of the distant homelands of our pioneers, are included
within the oval bearing the name of the colony and the denomination of the stamp.
The name of the designer of this interesting stamp is not
known, but it is generally believed that he was one of Colonel
R. C. Moody's Royal Engineers. It will be recalled that Captain
W. D. Gossett, R.E., came to the colonies in 1859 in the civilian
capacity of Colonial Treasurer, and that he was appointed acting
Postmaster-General from 1859 to 1860. He designed the first
Colonial stamp—the 2V&d.—which was used in 1860-65 both in
British Columbia and in the adjacent colony of Vancouver Island.
The Royal Engineers were disbanded in 1863, many of them
remaining in the colonies. The original design of the "V"
stamp does not appear to have survived, but documentary evidence shows that Governor Seymour forwarded it to the Colonial
Office in 1864.   The design was accepted, and the famous print-
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No. 2.
95 96 J. A. PEARCE.
ing house of Thomas De La Rue, Bunhill Row, London, E.C.,
engraved and printed the stamps, which were issued in November, 1865. There were two printings, one of dark and the other
light blue, to the total number of 1,174,800 stamps.
Were the dots and dashes inserted intentionally? The writer
believes that they were. The Morse telegraphic code had been
in use for some twenty years, and the letter " V " in the original
Morse code, as in the modern International code, was designated
by three dots and a dash. It is more than likely that the designer
was an ex-Royal Engineer, familiar with the telegraphic code,
and therefore it would be natural for him to use the characters
to decorate the principal element of his design, the large capital
"V," which undoubtedly stood for Queen Victoria.
After the union of the colonies in 1866 a new issue of British
Columbia stamps was made in 1868-69. In the interests of
economy new plates were not engraved. The original threepenny plate was used, but the stamps were printed in different
colours and the various denominations surcharged. The set
comprised six stamps, having the face value of two, five, ten,
twenty-five, and fifty cents, and one dollar.
Following Confederation in 1871 the colonial stamps were
superseded by those of the Dominion of Canada, and more than
two million remainders of these interesting and now rare stamps
were burned in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, by Postmaster Henry
Wootton and Postal Inspector Griffith.
Thus after seventy years these stamps, which fascinate a few
collectors of colonial letters and documents, assume an added
J. A. Peaece.
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, ■
The spring of 1870 was a momentous one for British
Columbia. Confederation with Canada was imminent, and the
Legislative Council was about to consider the terms upon which
the colony would throw in its lot with the young Dominion.
A score of men in the quaint, old, gas-lit Council Chamber in
Victoria held the destiny of the country in their hands.
The Legislative Council consisted of twenty-two members,1
thirteen of whom were nominated by the Governor and nine
elected by the inhabitants of the colony. Of the nominated
members, five were executive officials of the Government and
eight were Justices of the Peace. Of the elected members, two
had been appointed " unofficial" members of the Executive
Council. The officials were responsible for their actions to the
Crown through the Governor. The elected members owed
allegiance to the people whom they represented. The Justices of
the Peace, though constitutionally answerable to no one, usually
supported the policies of the Executive.
Within the Council division in responsibility was very naturally accompanied by division in policy.    In 1870 one of the chief
* Presidential address to the British Columbia Historical Association,
January 16, 1942.
(1) Philip J. Hankin, Colonial Secretary and Presiding Member; Henry
Pering Pellew Crease, Attorney-General; Joseph William Trutch, Chief
Commissioner of Lands and Works; Wymond Ogilvy Hamley, Collector of
Customs; Arthur Thomas Bushby, Acting Postmaster-General; Edward
Graham Alston, J.P.; Henry Maynard Ball, J.P.; Henry Holbrook, J.P.;
Peter O'Reilly, J.P.; Augustus Frederick Pemberton, J.P.; Edward Howard
Sanders, J.P.; George Anthony Walkem, J.P.; Thomas Lett Wood, J.P.;
Francis Jones Barnard, member for Yale; Robert William Weir Carrall,
member for Cariboo; Amor DeCosmos, member for Victoria District; Edgar
Dewdney, member for Kootenay; Montague William Tyrwhitt Drake,
member for Victoria City; John Sebastian Helmcken, member for Victoria
City; Thomas Basil Humphreys, member for Lillooet; David Babington
Ring, member for Nanaimo; and John Robson, member for New Westminster.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI.f No. 2.
97 98 K. A. Waites. April
points of divergence was the form of government which British
Columbia should possess as a Province of the Dominion.
A majority of the people's representatives sought responsible
government with Confederation. The Governor and his officials,
who had prepared the proposed terms, and most of the Justices
of the Peace were a unit in believing that the colony was not yet
ready for the establishment of full self-government.
For years prior to the union of Vancouver Island and British
Columbia, in 1866, responsible government had been the announced objective of aggressive and persistent reform groups
in both colonies. The leader of the Island group, Amor DeCosmos,
had, in December, 1858, established the British Colonist as a
reform newspaper, whose main objective had been the substitution of a system of responsible government for the alleged
Family-Company-Compact administration headed by Governor
Douglas, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company's post at
Victoria. In the Mainland colony, which was also administered
by Governor Douglas, with the assistance of executive officers
for the most part resident in Victoria, the reform leader, John
Robson, published the British Columbian as a reform journal.
Bete noire of British Columbia reformers was the pro-island
policy and absenteeism of the Douglas administration. Consequently the agitation centred about the appointment of a resident
Governor and officials as well as the establishment of responsible
On the Mainland the first reform movement culminated in
the establishment of a Legislative Council in the closing months
of 1863 and the resignation of Governor Douglas in 1864.
The paternal policies of his successor, Frederick Seymour, although administered through the medium of a Legislative Council in which the nominated members were in a majority, ushered
in a period of political quiet. On the other hand, in Vancouver
Island the assumption of office by Governor Kennedy in 1864
hastened the crisis which marked the second phase of the reform
movement. The Legislative Assembly refused to make provision
for a permanent civil list in return for the Crown lands without
an investigation into the administration of the Lands and Works
Department and, moreover, maintained that the civil list suggested by the Imperial Government was far beyond the capacity 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.        99
of the colony to pay. Reformers, turned demagogues, tried to
force responsible government upon the new Governor and, failing in their purpose, precipitated a political deadlock in the
solution of which external forces were to play a large part.
For some time the union of the two Pacific colonies had been
under consideration. The Imperial Government now decided to
take advantage of a resolution of the Legislative Assembly of
the Island colony of January 27, 1865, in favour of unconditional
union. A subsequent resolution of June 15, which had called
for " a constitution apportioning representation according to
population, and giving to the people's representatives control
over the mode and amount of taxation and expenditure . . ."2
was ignored. In August, 1866, the Legislative Assembly rescinded
that portion of the resolution of January, 1865, which had intimated that they would gladly accept any constitution that Her
Majesty's Government would confer. The volte-face had come
too late. The Act of Union was assented to on August 6, 1866,
and Vancouver Island became united with British Columbia
under the Governor, constitution, and most of the laws of the
latter colony. Instead of an elective assembly the Island was
forced to accept minority representation in a Legislative Council
in which the majority of the members were nominees of the
Governor. Moreover, New Westminster, and not Victoria, was
selected as the site of the capital of the newly organized united
colony of British Columbia.
The union of the colonies was consummated in November,
1866, in the midst of growing domestic difficulties. The failure
of the Cariboo mines and the advent of a depression common to
the whole Pacific Coast made retrenchment a vital necessity.
Unfortunately, the reduction in the number of officials and in the
cost of government, anticipated as a result of union, failed to
materialize. Mainland versus Island issues complicated but did
not deviate the course of a growing antagonism to the weak and
vacillating policies of Governor Seymour. Reformers organized
a Confederation League and in September, 1869, met together in
convention at Yale to urge immediate union with Canada and the
establishment of representative institutions and responsible gov-
(2) Parliamentary Papers [3852] (Further Papers relative to the Union
of British Columbia and Vancouver Island), London, 1867, p. 4. 100 K. A. Waites. April
ernment. The sudden death of Governor Seymour in June, 1869,
paved the way for the appointment of Anthony Musgrave, Governor of Newfoundland, whose name had previously been suggested to the Colonial Office by the Canadian Prime Minister,
Sir John A. Macdonald. The new Governor was charged with
the responsibility of bringing British Columbia into the Dominion.
Governor Musgrave looked forward to the deliberations of
his Legislative Council with some trepidation. The Colonial
Secretary, Lord Granville, in a dispatch dated August 14, 1869,
had advised him of the desire of the Mother Country to see the
union of British Columbia with Canada accomplished. While
Lord Granville realized that there was not unanimity in the
colony on the point, he believed that the preponderance of opinion
was in favour of union.3 Governor Musgrave took ample time
to survey the situation before making his report to the Colonial
Office. Eventually he reported that he felt that it was by no
means clear that a majority of the community was prepared for
Confederation, except on terms which were not likely to be procurable. In his opinion the more prominent agitators for Confederation were " a small knot of Canadians who hope that it
may be possible to make fuller representative institutions and
Responsible Government part of the new arrangements, and that
they may so place themselves in position of influence and emolument."4 This group, in order to obtain support for their
purposes, had led the mercantile portion of the community to
expect that Victoria would be made a free port. Although it
was from this combination that the movement derived its greatest
force, there were others favourable to union either from sentiment or from a restless desire for any change which might
improve their prospects. Moreover, the Governor firmly believed
that when the leaders found that neither responsible government
nor a provision for a free port could reasonably be made parts
of the programme there would be a considerable abatement of
In the speech opening the Legislative Council on February
15, 1870, the Governor announced that any terms to which the
(3) Parliamentary Paper, H.C. 390 of 1869  (Papers on the Union of
British Columbia with the Dominion of Canada), pp. 30-31.
(4) Musgrave to Granville, October 30, 1869.    MS., Archives of British
Columbia. 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.      101
Government of Canada might be willing to agree would be submitted to a new Legislative Council so reconstituted as to allow
a majority of its members to be elected. Further than this he
was not prepared to go, for his experience in several forms of
colonial government had convinced him that" the form commonly
called ' Responsible Government' would not be found at present
suited to a community so young and so constituted. . . ."B
The Governor pointed out that this form of government was not
known in any of the neighbouring States or Territories, that
it was expensive, and that its operation was not successful except
in more advanced communities, with a population more homogeneous in character than that of British Columbia. However, it
was explained that, after union, it would be open to the local
legislature, with the concurrence of the Government of the
Dominion, to accept whatever modification of the existing system
it should propose.6
On March 9,1870, the Legislative Council began its debate on
the proposed terms of Confederation. This celebrated debate
lasted in all for nearly a month. The first three days were
devoted to a heated discussion as to whether or not the Council
should resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider
the terms.
In proposing this step, the Attorney-General, Hon. H. P. P.
Crease,7 took occasion to refer to the " misunderstood "—he
would not say " misconstrued "—attitude of the officials. He
had in mind the charge that the Government members, having
voted in favour of the principle of Confederation in the session
of 1867, voted against the consideration of terms in the session
(5) Journals of the Legislative Council of British Columbia, 1870,
Victoria, 1870, p. 4.
(6) Ibid., pp. 2—4. In the absence of the Governor, who had had the
misfortune to break a leg, this speech was read by the Colonial Secretary,
Hon. Philip J, Hankin.
(7) Henry Pering Pellew Crease was born on August 20, 1823, near
Plymouth, England. In the early 1850's he spent several years in Canada,
subsequently returning to England to practise his profession. In 1858 he
again returned to Canada and in December settled in Vancouver Island,
where he took an active part in the political life of the colony. In 1861 he
became Attorney-General of the colony of British Columbia, which office he
held until his appointment to the Supreme Court of the colony in 1870. He
continued to reside in Victoria until his death on December 27, 1905. 102 K. A. Waites. April
of 1868 because they feared the loss of their positions. In their
defence it was suggested that until the receipt of Lord Granville's dispatch of August 14, 1869, the officials had not felt at
liberty to go further than to affirm the propriety of the general
principle of Confederation. The translation of the principle
into practice was a matter for arrangement " by Her Majesty's
Government, an Executive peculiarly qualified for the task, this
Legislature, and the People of this Colony, . . . "8—a truly
disarming suggestion in view of the fact that the terms were not
only inspired by the Government, but were to be forced through
the Legislature by a Government majority.
The member for Victoria City, Hon. J. S. Helmcken,9 who,
along with Hon. R. W. W. Carrall, had been appointed an " unofficial " member of the Executive Council, followed the Attorney-
General. Helmcken contended that the time had not arrived
when the colony could, with greatest advantage, be confederated.
In attacking the sponsorship of the terms by the Imperial and
Colonial Governments he maintained that all the Council was
asked to do was
to agree to a series of Resolutions. It is not pretended that it is the voice
of the people, or the voice of this Council. It is well understood that it is
a Government measure.1"
In consequence, he advised the people of the colony to organize
so that at the proper time they might give their verdict as to
whether or not they desired confederation.
Hon. M. W. T. Drake,11 junior member for Victoria City,
moved that the consideration of the question be postponed for
(8) Debate on the subject of Confederation with Canada, Victoria, 1912,
p. 6. The debate was originally published in The Government Gazette
Extraordinary, March and May, 1870. It has been twice reprinted; in
1895 and 1912.    Hereafter referred to as Confederation Debates.
(9) John Sebastian Helmcken, born June 5, 1829, in London, England,
came to Vancouver Island on board the Norman Morison in 1850 as a surgeon in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company. He played a prominent
part in the political life of the colony, serving as the first speaker of the
Legislative Assembly. In 1871, after declining a senatorship, he retired
from public life.    He died in Victoria, September 1, 1920.
(10) Confederation debates, pp. 8-9.
(11) Montague William Tyrwhitt Drake was born in Hertfordshire,
England, January 20, 1830. He practised law in England until 1859 when
he came to Vancouver Island where he continued in his profession. In 1889
he was appointed Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of the Province. He
died in Victoria, April 19, 1908. 1942     Responsible Government and Confederation.       103
six months, this being the polite parliamentary way of dropping
the question for the session. His main objection was based upon
the futility of a change from " King Stork to King Log "—from
the selection of officials by Downing street to their selection by
We are told that we are not fit for Representative Institutions or Responsible Government. Then we shall go into the Dominion as a Crown Colony
—bound hand and foot. The few Members that will represent us at Ottawa,
will not have the power to do anything for us. I do not trust the Politicians
of Ottawa. ... I would rather remain as we are, with some change and
modification in our Government.12
Hon. D. B. Ring,13 member for Nanaimo, in supporting the
amendment, stated that his constituents did not want Confederation, and that the people's name should not be " mixed up " with
the resolutions. Believing that the people should not be bound
by what occurred in a Council constituted as was the existing
body, he called for a Legislative Council with enlarged representation, in order that the people might be heard.14
Hon. John Robson,15 member for New Westminster, closed
the debate for the day by announcing his support of the principle
of Confederation. He favoured immediate consideration of the
terms. In promising his support, however, he was insistent that
the people of British Columbia should have " the right to manage
their own local affairs, as fully as every other Province," and, in
addition, maintained that there were terms " of the greatest
importance " which ought to be added to those proposed.16
(12) Confederation debates, p. 14.
(13) David Babington Ring was born in Dublin in 1804. He arrived in
Vancouver Island in August, 1859, where he practised law and served in
the House of Assembly and for a time during the illness of George Hunter
Cary was Acting Attorney-General. Shortly after Confederation he was
stricken ill and returned to England, where he died January 17, 1875.
(14) Confederation debates, pp. 15-16.
(15) John Robson was born March 14, 1824, in Perth, Upper Canada,
from whence in 1859 he migrated to British Columbia, where, in 1861, he
established the British Columbian in New Westminster. Few men have had
as extensive a political career, for he sat in the colonial and provincial legislatures in 1866-75 and 1882-92. At the time of his death, June 29, 1892,
he was in London, England, on official business as Premier of the Province.
(16) Confederation debates, p. 18. 104 K. A. Waites. April
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, Hon. J. W.
Trutch,17 opened the second day of the debate (March 10). In
replying to those members who had attacked the Government's
sponsorship of the terms, he maintained the " necessity " of the
measure being Government inspired.
The constitution of this House renders it imperative that the initiatory
steps should be taken by the Government, although the final acceptance of
the terms will properly rest with the people.1^
He reiterated the official criticism of the popular misconception
that the official members had in time past been obstructive to
Confederation because of its effect upon their positions and
interests by stating that " on a matter so clearly involving a
question of Imperial policy we were not at liberty to anticipate
the views of the Home Government, which have now for the
first time been distinctly made public."19 The Government, he
explained, proposed the terms " as the guardians of the interests
of this infant Colony." On the constitutional question, the Chief
Commissioner did not believe that Confederation meant responsible government. In his opinion the colony would obtain
responsible government as soon as the proper time arrived—
" sooner, probably, through Confederation than by any other
means, and the sooner the better "20—for under the organic act
(the " British North America Act, 1867 ") the colony would
have the power to regulate its local constitution.
In the lengthy debate which followed, points of view became
more defined. There was some opposition to Confederation arising from suspicion of men and motives, yet most of the members
favoured union because they believed that it would bring prosperity. A majority of the elected members looked forward to
a further benefit—the establishment of responsible government.
(17) Joseph William Trutch, a native of Somersetshire, England, was
born in 1826. By profession a civil engineer, from 1849 to 1856 he was
employed in California and Oregon. After a short sojourn in Illinois he
came to British Columbia in 1859, where he constructed many public works.
From 1864-71 he was Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. Upon the
completion of his term as the first Lieutenant-Governor of the Province he
returned to England where he died March 4, 1904.
(18) Confederation debates, p. 20.
(19) Ibid., p. 20.
(20) Ibid., p. 22. 1942     Responsible Government and Confederation.       105
Hon. T. L. Wood,21 speaking as a " non-representative, non-
official member,"22 voiced the sentiments of the Britisher abroad,
distrustful of things Canadian. He insisted that Canada could
never become " the assignee, the official assignee, the Downing
Street official assignee of the affection and loyalty which exists
between this dependency and the Mother Country."23 Fearful
lest the preponderance of Canadians in the Federal house would
make of Confederation " union, incorporation and absorption,"24
he warned British Columbians against selling their birthright
for immediate benefits—the spending of Canadian money in the
colony on the railway and the drydock, increased population and
business enterprise. He believed, too, that many would accept
Confederation because it offered the hope of power and eminence
under responsible government.25 He stated, further, that he considered the espowsal of Confederation by the Home Government
as a design to relieve the British taxpayer and consequently
tantamount to an order to the colony.
England is alarmed at the extent of her Colonial possessions, and her obligations to protect them by sea and land. . . . The question of Confederation is the question of every tax-paying Englishman, and whatever may be
the reasoning put forth, the motive is economy and security to the tax-
paying public of Great Britain.26
So pointedly did some of the members avow their distrust of
unscrupulous and untrustworthy Canadian politicians that other
(21) Thomas Lett Wood arrived in Vancouver Island from England in
the S.S. Robert Lowe, January 10, 1863. He was a lawyer by profession
and for a time acted as Attorney-General, and still later as Solicitor-General. Following Confederation, he entered the colonial service and eventually became Chief Justice of Bermuda, and, still later, of Singapore.
(22) Confederation debates, p. 26.
(23) Ibid., p. 31.
(24) Ibid., p. 26.
(25) " We shall reap the benefit, and those that come after us will reap
the disadvantage and humiliation. It is not in the power of the present
generation to dispose of the birthright of its descendants. Liberty and self-
government are inalienable rights. The original vice of the matter still
remains, and when once the material benefits are enjoyed or forgotten, and
the consciousness of disadvantage is apparent, reaction will set in; a party
of repudiators and repealers will arise, who with great show of justice will
clamorously demand the reversal of an organic change, founded on political
error and wrong."   Ibid., p. 30.
(26) Ibid., p. 27. 106 K. A. Waites. April
members were forced to rise to their defence. Hon. F. J. Barnard,27 the native-born Canadian member for Yale, referring
specifically to the implications of " Canadian proclivity " commonly made against his countrymen, spoke warmly in their
defence, stating that he had never heard any one express a desire
for Confederation except upon just and beneficial terms.28 His
fellow-Canadian, Hon. R. W. W. Carrall,29 extolled Canadian
statesmanship, and urged those Englishmen who had expressed
" too much caution, fear, and anxiety with respect to the course
which Canada might pursue," to realize that the colony was dealing with " statesmen who would be incapable of offering ' mean
conditions ' even if . . . British Columbia would accept them."80
On the other hand, Hon. T. B. Humphreys,81 member for Lillooet, made responsible government a sine qua non of Confederation—" Confederation means to Official Members a pension, to
the people it means self-government."82 He added the warning
that to exclude responsible government from the terms was to
(27) Francis Jones Barnard was born in Quebec City, Lower Canada,
February 18, 1829. Following business reverses in Toronto, he migrated
to British Columbia in 1859, where he actively engaged in the transportation
business. A member of the Legislative Council, 1866-71, he then retired
from public life until 1879 when he represented the Yale-Kootenay constituency in the Federal house. Ill-health forced his retirement in 1887, and he
died in Victoria, July 10, 1889.
(28) Confederation debates, pp. 40—44. In this address he made no
reference to the constitutional question.
(29) Robert William Weir Carrall was a native of Woodstock, Upper
Canada, where he was born in 1839. By 1866 he had migrated to Vancouver Island and in 1867 moved to the Cariboo, where he practised as a medical doctor. After Confederation, Dr. Carrall accepted a senatorship. He
died suddenly at Woodstock, September 19, 1879.
(30) Confederation debates, p. 45. Even the Attorney-General counselled placing a generous trust in Canada.    Ibid., p. 53.
(31) Thomas Basil Humphreys was born in Liverpool, England, in 1840,
and came to British Columbia in 1858, settling in the Lillooet district. By
this district he was elected to the Legislative Council, 1868-71, and to the
Provincial legislature in 1871. He continued active in the political life of
the Province until his death in Victoria, August 26, 1890.
(32) Confederation debates, p. 44. 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.      107
ensure their defeat when the whole Confederation scheme went
before the people at the polls.38
Those favouring Confederation without responsible government continued to take refuge in the argument that the organic
act would meet the current needs of the colony. As Hon.
R. W. W. Carrall pointed out, if a majority of the people wanted
responsible government after Confederation, " neither Governor
Musgrave nor any other power on earth "84 could prevent their
having it. The Attorney-General, in concluding the debate,
went even further. He pointed out that even without Confederation the people would have fuller representative institutions as
forecast in the Governor's opening speech, and, once possessed of
them the colony would, " if it be such a unit as described, be able
at once to get Responsible or Party Government."85
The debate in the Legislative Council at this point ended with
a plea by the Attorney-General that the Council deal with Confederation on its own merits " apart from all side issues, such as
the special form of the Government ... to subsist at the time
of Union,"86 and that it close its ranks and present a united
I . . . sincerely trust that all parties and sections in the House, setting
aside all prejudices and sectional issues, will unite cordially, frankly, and
unanimously in giving a generous support to the Government, and thus
strengthen their hands for the country's good in all future negotiations.8'
Hon. M. W. T. Drake then asked leave to withdraw his amendment, and this having been granted, the Council proceeded to
carry unanimously the motion of the Attorney-General to go into
a committee of the whole to consider the resolutions.
(33) Another participant in this debate, Hon. Henry Holbrook, believed
that already there was too much liberty in certain parts of the colony. Holbrook was a native of Cheshire, England, born July 11, 1820. He became
a merchant in Liverpool and after the Crimean War turned his attention to
the colonies. He established himself as a general merchant in New Westminster in January, 1859, where he took considerable interest in municipal
as well as colonial politics, and ultimately entered the first administration
after Confederation. In 1881 he returned to England where he died May
13, 1902.
(34) Confederation debates, p. 46.
(35) Ibid., p. 53.
(36) Ibid., p. 53.
(37) Ibid., p. 53. 108 K. A. Waites. April
When the Council resumed its debate on March 14, 1870, the
discussion turned to a consideration of each term separately. No
term provoked so much heated debate as clause 15, which read:
The constitution of the Executive authority and of the Legislature of British Columbia, shall, subject to " The British North America Act, 1867,"
continue as existing at the time of union, until altered under the authority
of the Act.38
The debate on this constitutional issue occupied three days;89
the report of the proceedings cover thirty-one closely printed
pages, almost one-third of the section devoted to the debate upon
the terms.
The Attorney-General, in introducing the clause, stated that
ample time would elapse before Confederation to carry into
effect the changes in the constitution forecast in the Governor's
opening speech. He reiterated that the question of the alteration in the form of government was not necessarily connected
with the resolution before the Council. This observation had
been prompted by a motion on responsible government on the
Orders of the Day. The Attorney-General believed that the subject, although worthy of the fullest discussion, should be considered on a special day after the terms had been considered.
Once again he reminded the House that possessed of the constitution forecast by the Governor the colony would then itself have
the power to secure responsible government.40 Hon. D. B. Ring
was of a contrary opinion and maintained that the resolution did
invite discussion. He reminded the Council that the people had,
in former days, been favoured with representative institutions,
and had been defrauded of them. In anticipating the argument
which some members might raise against responsible government by reference to the former Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island, he claimed:—
This is no argument. Because there are defects in some Assemblies, do not
let us run into the abject error of saying we are not fit for self-government.
. . . Who, I ask, has examined the people? Who has tried them and discovered whether or not they are competent to exercise the privileges of
(38) Ibid., p. 97.
(39) March 18, 21, and 22, 1870.
(40) Confederation debates, pp. 97-8. 1942     Responsible Government and Confederation.       109
Responsible Government?   ...  I say   .   .   .  that the question of Responsible Government must be considered.    I throw the gauntlet down.41
Hon. T. B. Humphreys, the sponsor of the resolution on
responsible government referred to by the Attorney-General,
moved an amendment which demanded representative institutions and responsible government irrespective of Confederation.
The awkward position in which both parties now found themselves placed by this turn of events is best illustrated by an interchange of debate between the Attorney-General and Hon. John
Hon. Mr. Robson—The Honourable and learned Attorney-General has
appealed to those Honourable Members who are in favour of Responsible
Government to postpone the question for the present. I should be glad to
accede to the request if the Honourable and learned gentlemen will meet
the objections that present themselves to my mind as to that course. In my
opinion, to vote for this section now will preclude the possibility of our
bringing on the subject of Responsible Government in the House this Session. We shall be met with the assertion that it has been already discussed
and decided for this Session. I am quite sure the Honourable and learned
Attorney-General does not wish to catch us in a trap.
Hon. Attorney-General—Certainly not. As Honourable Members have
insisted upon opening the question, I now propose to go on with the
Hon. Mr. Robson—I am most anxious to meet the views of the Government in this matter, if possible; but, as we are asked to vote aye or no
upon this clause, I say that in voting for it we shall be casting our votes in
direct opposition to Responsible Government.
Hon. Attorney-General—The discussion must go on now. You have
begun; it is too late to withdraw. The lists are closed, and the gang of
battle down.42
Robson then delivered a lengthy and able exposition of the
implications of responsible government. Previously Dr. Carrall had suggested that its introduction into British Columbia
(41) Ibid., p. 98. The question as to the fitness of the people of British
Columbia for self-government had been frequently raised during the debate.
Earlier Ring had brought forward the suggestion that members of the
Council should be paid. " Then we should see whether the gentlemen disguised in mean apparel—Graduates of Oxford, Cambridge, and other Universities—who have cast their lot in this Colony, but are unable to defray
their travelling expenses from remote places to the Capital. We should
see, I say, whether they were capable, or not, of enlightening and controlling by their wisdom the feeble powers of Governmental diplomacy." Ibid.,
p. 40.
(42) Ibid., p. 99. 110 K. A. Waites. April
would be tantamount to " applying the machinery of the Great
Eastern to a dairy churn," whereas the speaker maintained that
it was not a quantity but a principle, and, as such, was applicable •
" to the Great Eastern or to a dairy churn,—capable of being
applied to a tiny lady's watch."48 It was a principle which could
be adapted to and successfully worked out in British Columbia;
although in dealing with this question he assumed that British
Columbia would be a Province of the Dominion. If it were to
remain a separate colony Robson admitted that his advocacy of
the adoption of the principle would be less hearty. He greatly
deprecated the discussion as to whether or not " the people "
were fit for self-government; from his own knowledge of the
people, based on eleven years of contact with them he was convinced that they were pre-eminently fitted for the task.
There are scores of men in this country with calloused palms and patched
garments, well fitted by natural endowments, education, and practical experience in the working of Responsible Government in other Colonies, to
occupy seats either in the Legislative Assembly or in the Cabinet of British
Columbia. . . . The opinion of His Excellency the Governor to the contrary notwithstanding, I boldly assert that the people of British Columbia
are fit for Responsible Government. Do they want it? ... I venture to
think that I have the weight of both argument and evidence on my side
when I assert, as I do, that the great body of the people—certainly an overwhelming majority—do earnestly and intelligently desire that form of
Without responsible government British Columbia would find
herself in a dangerous position as a Province of the Dominion,
for, while other Provinces would only have surrendered Federal
questions, British Columbia, in reality would have surrendered
all. Turning to examine the constitution which the Governor
proposed to confer upon the colony, Robson insisted that it would
only result in a prolonged agitation for what the people were
now prepared for and entitled to. The colony desired political
rest and continued political agitation might lead to disastrous
results. Although admitting that in a sense the responsible government question was distinct from the conditions of union, and
that the Governor would probably seek action from a different
quarter, he exhorted:  " Obtain it from where he will, it must,
(43) Ibid., p. 100.
(44) Ibid., pp. 100-101. 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.      Ill
I say, be obtained."45 In consequence, he moved a new amendment which met the case more fully than the previous resolution.
Whereas no union can be either acceptable or satisfactory which does not
confer upon the people of British Columbia as full control over their own
.local affairs as is enjoyed in the other Provinces with which it is proposed
to confederate;  therefore, be it
Resolved, That an humble address be presented to His Excellency the
Governor, earnestly recommending that a Constitution based upon the principle of Responsible Government, as existing in the Province of Ontario,
may be conferred upon this Colony, coincident with its admission into the
Dominion of Canada.46
Hon. Amor DeCosmos47 disagreed with this resolution which
thus united responsible government with Confederation. He
preferred the previous motion which had demanded representative institutions and responsible government irrespective of Confederation. In his opinion the people would be traitors to themselves were they to accept any form of government which had
not the element of responsibility.
I would rebel if there were enough like me in the Colony, and arrest every
member of the Government that I thought was robbing me of my rights.
I would go to a further extreme. However, I shall not trouble the House
with a long speech on this matter, as I consider it of little use. This question ended, I am contented to leave this Council and go to my constituents.48
Following this outburst, Dr. Carrall arose to inquire what all the
breeze was about; for, as he saw it, as soon as British Columbia
entered the Dominion, the people could have any form of government they desired. He refused to consider the issue as separate
from Confederation, and whilst he again stated his approval of
the responsible government system, he felt equally bound to maintain that it was too cumbersome for the colony. His most important objection is worth noting.
The Council contains no men of influence, the constituencies are too remote,
and the inhabitants are all engaged in bread-seeking; there are few men of
(45) Ibid., p. 102.
(46) Ibid., p. 103.
(47) Amor DeCosmos, born William Alexander Smith in 1825, was a
native of Windsor, Nova Scotia, who migrated to California in 1852 and to
Vancouver Island in 1858. There he established the British Colonist and
actively participated in politics. Later, in June, 1870, he began publication
of the Daily Standard. He became premier of the Province in 1872 and
represented it at Ottawa from Confederation until 1882, when he retired to
private life.    He died in Victoria, July 4, 1897.
(48) Confederation debates, p. 103. 112 K. A. WAITES. April
independent means who would take part in Responsible Government, and,
consequently, the direction of public affairs would fall into the hands of
men who are not fitted, or qualified to govern the country, or otherwise into
the hands of Victorians;   neither of which I, for one, wish to see.4^
In his opinion major issues would rarely arise, and British
Columbia would present the spectacle of a responsible ministry
going out on a question of " repairs to Cowitchan road."
Other members continued the debate. Messrs. Ring and
Humphreys spoke again for responsible government, and the
latter withdrew his resolution in favour of the amendment proposed by Robson. The Attorney-General announced his regret
that the proponents of responsible government had not accepted
the offer of the Government to deal with the subject on a special
day after the clause had been passed, and suggested that official
members might then have joined in the discussion, " perhaps
some might have supported the principle."50 J. W. Trutch went
even further when he argued, " if Confederation is to depend
on this question of Responsible Government, then I say let it
be the test also of the reality of the supporters of Confederation."51 The issue was now clear. The official and Government
members would not, indeed, could not, support the measure.
Responsible government with Confederation, in so far as a
favourable vote in the Legislative Council was concerned, was
Of the succeeding speakers, Messrs. G. A. Walkem,52 J. S.
Helmcken, F. J. Barnard, E. Dewdney,53 and E. G. Alston54 all
(49) Ibid., p. 103.
(50) Ibid., p. 106.
(51) Ibid., p. 111.
(52) George Anthony Walkem was born in Newry, Ireland, November
15, 1834, but in 1847 his family moved to Canada. He was educated in
Montreal and served before the Bar in both Upper and Lower Canada
before coming to British Columbia in 1862. He served on the Legislative
Council, 1864-70, and after Confederation was twice Premier of the Province.    He became a Puisne Judge in 1882 and died at Victoria, July 13,1908.
(53) Edgar Dewdney, a native of Devonshire, England, was born in
1835 and came to British Columbia in 1859, where he became interested in
many of the public works of the colony. After serving on the Legislative
Council for a time he represented a constituency in the House of Commons.
In 1881 he became Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories and
served in that capacity throughout the Riel uprising of 1885.   Later, 1892-7, 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.       113
spoke eloquently for the Government. Dr. Helmcken dealt the
hardest blow.
Responsible Government has been one of the watchwords of a certain set of
politicians who wanted to bring on Confederation. Government of, from,
for, and by the people, without regard to the material interests of the
Colony. This means government by politicians. These gentlemen will
sacrifice every benefit to the Colony for Responsible Government. Confederation to me means terms: to them it means pickings, office, place, and
He assumed that all the members would acknowledge that money
was the basis of all government and consequently he urged " let
us get that money,"56 and not attempt to have the public vote
for responsible government and forget the money or put it in
the background.
There are, doubtless, many who hope to live upon Responsible Government;
but, Sir, Responsible Government is not food and raiment. The people can
live without Responsible Government, but they cannot live upon it. Give
them food and raiment first; the rest will follow in natural succession.51
In his opinion self-government should be introduced gradually,
and consequently he reserved the right to vote for responsible
government if and when he thought the time proper. Thus he
was in favour of settling both questions separately, and not
linking them together, for he feared that " at the polls Responsible Government might carry Confederation with very indifferent terms,"58 and thus take the place of material benefits.
In this respect Dr. Helmcken was in complete agreement
with his colleague in the Executive Council, Dr. Carrall. They
were not the only elected members, however, to support the
Government. Hon. F. J. Barnard, although favouring responsible government, would " under no circumstances " have the
question go to the polls with the Confederation issue.    " Let us
he was Lieutenant-Governor of British  Columbia.    He died at Victoria,
August 8, 1916.
(54) Edward Graham Alston was an English barrister who arrived in
Victoria in 1859. Immediately following Confederation he was appointed
Attorney-General of the Province but resigned to accept a similar post in
the colony of Sierra Leone. He died at Freetown, Sierra Leone, late in
(55) Confederation debates, pp. 113-114.
(56) Ibid., p. 114.
(57) Ibid., p. 114.
(58) Ibid., p. 115. 114 K. A. Waites. April
have Confederation and we shall get Responsible Government "59
was his advice. The member for Kootenay, Hon. Edgar Dewdney, reported that he had travelled throughout the mainland
territory and had " yet to meet the first individual" who had
expressed a desire for responsible government. His own constituents were not in favour of a change in the form of government ; in fact, all they did want was " money to keep their
trails in order and a resident Magistrate to administer and carry
out the laws."60
It thus became obvious that the popular members were, indeed,
divided. While the above-mentioned representatives were exhorting that responsible government should be divorced from
the terms, others, notably Messrs. Robson, DeCosmos, Drake,
Ring, and Humphreys, were warning the Government that to
leave responsible government out of the terms of union was to
jeopardize the whole Confederation movement. Indeed, Humphreys had subsequently amended the Robson motion to make
full self-government a sine qua non of union. Had the question
of whether or not the people wanted responsible government
been left to the popular members to decide—a course suggested
to the Council by Robson—the vote would have been five to four
in favour of including a provision for full self-government in
the terms of union. As it stood, the five protagonists of responsible government could not even count on the support of Hon.
T. L. Wood, who, before the Council went into committee of the
whole, had appeared to be in favour of the introduction of full
self-government. During the debate upon clause 15, however,
he had stated that, although he approved of the extension of
representative institutions little by little, he was opposed to the
establishment of responsible government in British Columbia.61
The official record gives the result of the voting, as follows:—
The recommendation of the Honourable Mr. Humphreys was put by the
Chair, and on division was lost.
The recommendation of Honourable Mr. Robson was put by the Chair,
and on division was lost.
Clause fifteen then passed as read.62
(59) Ibid., p. 117.
(60) Ibid., pp. 121-122.
(61) Ibid., p. 117.
(62) Ibid., p. 128. 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.      115
The Legislature, in due course, approved of the Government's
plan to send a delegation to Ottawa to negotiate the Terms of
Union. Selected as delegates were Messrs. Trutch, Helmcken,
and Carrall. In a dispatch to the Colonial Secretary, Governor
Musgrave stated that he had much confidence in Trutch's ability
and discretion. Speaking of Helmcken, the Governor remarked
that he had great influence in the community, and although he
was " far from being an ardent Confederationist," the question
with him was purely one of terms and, therefore, it was desirable
that he should have a voice in the discussion of them. Dr. Carrall was referred to as " disinterested—not one of those who
desire place and power."68
In this same dispatch the Governor acquainted the Secretary
of State with the march of events since he had last written on
February 21, 1870. In particular he was able to report success
in " avoiding the introduction of proposals touching Responsible
Government or the establishment of a Free Port." In his
opinion the matter of communication with the East was the
" crux " of the whole scheme of Confederation.
If a Railway could be promised scarcely any other question would be allowed
to be a difficulty. Without the certainty of overland communication through
British Territory within some reasonable time, I am not confident that even
if all other stipulations were conceded, the community will decide upon
Union. The noisiest of the Canadian advocates of confederation who have
been promoting it for their own ends, the attainment of office under
" Responsible Government," have led the people to believe that the construction of the Railway is a certain matter of course, and the disappointment
and reaction will be proportionately great if this is found not to be [the]
case. For my own part, if there is no ground for expecting the completion
of that communication at least by Coach Road within a few years, I should
doubt the prudence of Canada in nominally attaching British Columbia to
the Dominion when practically no two communities could be more entirely
As for the establishment of responsible government in the event
of union, the Governor believed that opinion was still much
divided, and, although the party which pressed for its introduction was " energetic and persistent," he did not believe that
determined opposition would be offered for any length of time
after Confederation.
(63) Musgrave to Granville, April 5, 1870.    MS., Archives of British
(64) Ibid. 116 K. A. Waites. April
The above-mentioned dispatch was sent on April 5. On
April 11 the people acted. Mayor James Trimble65 was the
chairman of an alleged large and influential meeting held in the
Victoria Theatre. Robert Beaven66 proposed the following resolution, which was passed with only some twenty dissenting
Resolved that this meeting, fearing that Union with Canada may be
delayed unless Responsible Government be granted simultaneously with our
admission into the Dominion, is of opinion that Union will not be accepted
by the people of this colony unless Responsible Government be made an
indispensable condition, and that any Delegates sent from this colony to
Canada who have not insisted on Responsible Government as a Term of
Union, have not the confidence of this community.67
A committee of five68 was appointed to lay the sentiments of
the gathering before the Governor, and the meeting closed with
three cheers for the mayor and three for responsible government.
The " Responsible Government Deputation " met His Excellency the next day, and the press carried the following report of
the Governor's reply to their representations:—
His Excellency, having given the fullest opportunity for discussion and
listened most patiently to the deputation, assured them that the question
of Responsible Government was in his opinion altogether separate from the
greater question of Confederation, and that he thought the introduction of
such a condition would endanger the passing of Confederation. His Excellency expressed it as his individual opinion that Responsible Government
would not be suitable to this colony at present, and that the people might
safely pause for a time—that the question would bear delay.    He distinctly
(65) James Trimble was a native of County Tyrone, Ireland, and after
spending his early life as a surgeon in the British Navy went to California
in 1849, and later to British Columbia in 1858, in both of which places he
practised his profession. In Victoria he took an active part in both municipal and colonial affairs, and after Confederation served two terms as Speaker
of the Provincial Legislature.    He died January 1, 1885.
(66) Robert Beaven was born in Staffordshire, England, January 28,
1836, but his family came to Toronto, Upper Canada, in 1843, and it was
there that he received his education. He came to British Columbia in the
gold-rush days of 1858, and after a sojourn of several years in Cariboo
settled in Victoria as a merchant. From 1871 until 1894 he represented
the city in the Provincial Legislature, serving in several cabinets. He died
in Victoria, September 19, 1920.
(67) Victoria British Colonist, April 12, 1870.
(68) The delegation consisted of William Sanders Sebright Green,
Captain James Arnold Raymur, Robert Wallace, John Wilkie, and Robert
Beaven. 1942     Responsible Government and Confederation.       117
denied that he had ever said the people of the colony were not fit for self-
government. His Excellency also said that the people must settle the question for themselves by constitutional means, and if, after a general election
which must take place before the question of Confederation could be finally
settled, the representatives of the people were in favor of Responsible
Government, they must have it—that he would not throw himself into the
breach single handed to oppose it. Canada, said His Excellency, will have
nothing to do with it, and the Imperial Government will have very little
interest in the matter. The people must decide themselves, and if, through
a return of a majority of representatives, the people said unmistakeably
that they desired Responsible Government, they would get it; the voice of
the people could only be expressed to a government through their representatives; that Responsible Government would, if the people desired it, go in
as a rider to the Terms, which would settle the matter.6^
In this manner Governor Musgrave had capitulated.
The British Columbia delegates, charged with the negotiation
of terms of union with the Canadian Government upon the
proposals accepted by the Legislative Council of the colony, left
Victoria for Ottawa by way of San Francisco on May 10, 1870.
They did not go alone, for D. W. Higgins,70 proprietor of the
Daily British Colonist, and his editor, Hon. John Robson, having
conferred with H. E. Seelye71 a member of their staff, decided
that the latter should proceed to Ottawa both as a representative
of the newspaper and as a " People's Delegate." It was to be his
special duty to impress upon the Dominion Cabinet that, unless
responsible government were assured, his principals and himself
would oppose the terms altogether and thus delay Confederation.72
Some idea of the success of his effort is to be gathered from
(69) Victoria British Colonist, April 14, 1870.
(70) David Williams Higgins was born in Halifax, November 30, 1834,
but at an early age moved with his family to Brooklyn, New Jersey, where
he was educated. In 1852 he went to California and engaged in journalism,
from whence he came to British Columbia in 1858. He took a prominent
part in the life of Victoria, having acquired ownership of the British
Colonist, and for a time after confederation represented the city in the local
legislature.    He died in Victoria, November 30, 1917.
(71) Henry E. Seelye was a native of St. George, New Brunswick, born
October 19, 1819. He came to British Columbia in 1862 and was variously
engaged in the newspaper business. In 1872 he was appointed Collector of
Customs in the Kootenay district, where he died at Joseph's Prairie,
March 27, 1876.
(72) W. A. Harkin (ed.), Political Reminiscences of the Right Honourable Sir Charles Tupper, Bart., London, 1914, p. 87. 118 K. A. Waites. April
the following extract from Sir Charles Tupper's Political
Mr. Seelye . . . succeeded in convincing the Dominion Government that
his contention that the province was sufficiently advanced to entitle it to
representative institutions was correct. When the terms came back they
contained a clause to that effect, and upon those lines the provincial government has ever since been administered.78
The first conference between the colonial delegates and the
committee of three74 appointed by the Canadian Government to
discuss the terms was held on June 6, 1870, under the chairmanship of Hon. Sir George Etienne Cartier. No official record of
the proceedings was kept, but in a personal diary, Dr. Helmcken
thus cryptically touched upon clause 15 as it was considered by
the delegations.
[Saturday, June 25.] The Council have sat four hours then adjourned,
but not before the subject of Govt. Resp. [i.e., Responsible Government]
had been talked over, but we were obliged to wait for telegram from
His only other reference to a discussion regarding responsible
government reads:—
The section about Responsible Govt, would be put in and speaks for itself.
The Govt, [presumably the Canadian Government] are not particularly
anxious about Responsible Govt, but will put no objection in its way.
It would perhaps be advisable to let confederation come first and settle the
responsible govt, afterwards.76
Clause 15, as amended by the joint delegations, thus came to
The constitution of the Executive Authority and of the Legislature of
British Columbia shall, subject to the provisions of the " British North
America Act, 1867," continue as existing at the time of Union until altered
under the authority of the said Act, it being at the same time understood
that the Government of the Dominion will readily consent to the introduction of Responsible Government when desired by the inhabitants of British
Columbia, and it being likewise understood that it is the intention of the
Government of British Columbia under the authority of the Secretary of
(73) Ibid., pp. 87-8.
(74) Sir Etienne Cartier, Minister of Militia and Defence and acting
Prime Minister; Sir Francis Hincks, Minister of Finance; and S. L. Tilley,
Minister of Customs.
(75) Willard E. Ireland (ed.), " Helmcken's Diary of the Confederation
Negotiations, 1870," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, IV. (1940),
p. 125.
(76) Ibid., p. 127. 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.      119
State for the Colonies, to amend the existing constitution of the Legislature
by providing that a majority of its members shall be elective.77
On the satisfactory completion of the work of the British
Columbia delegation, Governor Musgrave proceeded to prepare
for the summoning of the " Transitional Council" to which the
terms as negotiated at Ottawa were to be submitted. This Council was to consist of fifteen members, six nominated by the Crown,
and the remaining nine elected. Special powers were delegated
to this body, including the authority to alter its own constitution.
The Governor looked forward to the approaching elections
with some apprehension. Writing privately to Sir John A. Macdonald in November, 1870, he expressed the fear that he might
yet " have to use the government officials' vote to carry a measure " which he believed the majority of the people desired, but
which their representatives were " very likely to botch." In a
frank manner he reviewed the political prospect for the Canadian
Prime Minister.
Mr. Robson of the Colonist, who was so staunch a Confederate and not for
Responsible Government has ignominously been rejected by his Constituency
in favor of a Bankrupt radical Brewer [Arthur Bunster], who I fancy
scarcely knows what his views are except to feather his own nest, and
generally abuse the government. I am told that Carrall is by no means
certain of his election in Cariboo and the other Candidate [Cornelius Booth]
is far from a desirable substitute; and in the Yale District it is not certain
that the Candidate whom we prefer [Clement Francis Cornwall] will
succeed. I am a little anxious as to the result though still hopeful; because
if things go against us in these cases, we shall have as a majority of the
elected members men without brains and without principle who would think
nothing, for any selfish motive or for no reason at all, of upsetting all that
I have been labouring to accomplish. I am not going to be beaten, however,
if I know it; but what frets me is that Helmcken and some others who
ought to know better are so difficult to manage. Notwithstanding all the
boasted eagerness of the community for Confederation the only men I can
depend upon are the officials. DeCosmos and the leading Demagogues like
their fellows in Newfoundland would throw Confederation to the winds
tomorrow if without it they could obtain Responsible Government which
with them does not mean national self-government as in a larger community,
but official plunder and possession of the public offices. And in fact they
have only been asking for Confederation as a Catspaw to get their Chestnuts out of the fire. Even now I expect I shall have to withstand attacks
to get ' Responsible Government' simultaneously which means before Con-
(77)  Ibid., p. 115. 120 K. A. Waites. April
federation; and if I were weak enough to yield this point, we might whistle
to no purpose for Confederation for years to come.78
By election-day every candidate had felt it necessary to
promise his constituents that he would vote for responsible government if elected. Even Dr. Carrall and Dr. Helmcken were
explicit in announcing their intention to support the measure.
A press statement by the latter read:—
I want it to be distinctly understood that I will use my best endeavors to
obtain for this colony, Responsible Government immediately after Confederation. I hope there may be no misunderstanding now. I have stated
over and again that, if returned, I will support the demands of the electors
on this point.™
Political necessity—the importance to the Government of having
men elected who would vote for the establishment of responsible
government after union rather than " simultaneously " with it
—had forced the hands of those who otherwise would not then
have supported the movement for full self-government.
Preceding the opening of the " transitional" Legislative
Council,80 Governor Musgrave acquainted the Colonial Secretary
with his views upon what would probably transpire during the
session. Business would be limited almost entirely to the completion of the proposed union with Canada. A favourable issue
of the proceedings was anticipated, in spite of attempts that
might be made to obtain modifications of the terms. The most
important question likely to be raised would be " as to the time
when ' Responsible Government' shall be introduced," for it was
by that time generally conceded that the community was in
(78) Musgrave to Macdonald, November 24, 1870, private. Macdonald
Papers, Public Archives of Canada, General Letters, 1869-70, pp. 684-94.
Presumably the Governor when he stated that Mr. Robson was " not for
Responsible Government," must have meant that he was not in favour of
responsible government before Confederation.
(79) Victoria British Colonist, November 13, 1870.
(80) The elections for members of the " transitional " Council were held
in November, 1870, and resulted as follows: Victoria City, Dr. J. S. Helmcken and Henry Nathan; Victoria District, Amor DeCosmos; Nanaimo,
Arthur Bunster; New Westminster, Hugh Nelson; Hope, Yale, and Lytton,
Clement F. Cornwall; Lillooet and Clinton, T. B. Humphreys; Cariboo,
Dr. R. W. W. Carrall; and Kootenay, R. J. Skinner. The appointed
members were Philip J. Hankin, Colonial Secretary; George Phillippo,
Attorney-General; Joseph W. Trutch, Chief Commissioner of Lands and
Works; Wymond O. Hamley, Collector of Customs; A. F. Pemberton, J.P.;
and E. G. Alston, J.P. 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.      121
favour of this plan of administration. Indeed there was a party
disposed to press for its adoption simultaneously with Confederation, an arrangement which the Governor considered impossible,
as the necessary machinery was lacking. However he was prepared to introduce a Bill to have responsible government instituted as soon as possible after union by the creation of an
enlarged Council in which nominated members would not sit.
He would oppose such a measure before Confederation, as that
union would " remove the most important portions of public
affairs to the control of the Parliament of Canada." When Confederation was finally agreed to, and only then, would he regard
it as expedient to further modify the constitution of the Legislative Council.81
The " transitional" Council met on January 5, 1871. The
opening speech of the Governor announced his intention of laying
before the Council the report of the Privy Council of Canada
with respect to Confederation, and invited the Council to pass
an address to the Queen in accordance with the provisions of the
" British North America Act, 1867," praying for the admission
of British Columbia into the union on the terms outlined. He
further intimated his awareness that the generally prevailing
opinion in the colony favoured responsible government, and
stated that if the Council deemed it expedient he was prepared
to introduce a Bill to enlarge the popular representation in the
Legislative Council and to exclude the nominated members " after
the adoption of the proposed Terms of Union." In this way a
new legislative body and " the form of administration known as
Responsible Government" would come into operation at the first
session of the legislature subsequent to union.82
The DeCosmos faction anticipated the Government resolution
for responsible government " subsequent" to union by giving
notice of motion in favour of the inauguration of the system
" simultaneously" with Confederation, which to them meant
" before " the union. The resolution, when called, was immediately amended by the Government majority to make provision
for full self-government subsequent to union.    A counter-pro-
(81) Musgrave to Granville, December 22, 1870.   MS., Archives of B.C.
(82) Journals  of the Legislative  Council of British Columbia, 1871,
Victoria, 1871, p. 3. 122 K. A. Waites. April
posal was brought forward by the DeCosmos group but, after
its defeat, the Government's proposal was carried.
What was the goal of the DeCosmos clique in seeking responsible government prior to Confederation? The answer is to be
found in the press battle and public meeting campaign inspired
by the newly-founded DeCosmos newspaper, The Daily Standard.
DeCosmos had demanded the reopening of the terms and the
insertion of a clause naming Esquimalt or Victoria as the terminus of the mooted transcontinental railway. That the people
of the districts in the Lower Fraser Valley were acutely aware
of his strategy is demonstrated by a resolution emanating from
a public meeting at Langley, which urged the Governor " not
to countenance the absurd pretensions of the Victoria people,
in asking (as a fresh provision to Confederation) for the terminus of the Railroad to be at Esquimalt."88 The allegation,
made some years after Confederation, that DeCosmos held land
on Bute Inlet, the only tide-water terminus which by any stretch
of the imagination could link the mainland with the island, offers
yet another motive for the agitation to reopen the terms. Had
they once been broken, it is conceivable that the DeCosmos group
might have raised other issues to win popular approval and to
retain control of the Government.
On January 20, 1871, the necessary address to the Queen
praying for union with Canada was adopted. Subsequently the
terms were submitted to, and approved by, the Canadian Parliament. Confederation was proclaimed on July 20, 1871. Hon.
J. W. Trutch (afterwards Sir Joseph) was selected as the first
In due course the new Lieutenant-Governor called upon J. F.
McCreight to form a ministry. The latter, a well-known and
highly respected barrister of Victoria, was a Conservative in
politics and one of those who felt that the Province was not yet
ready for complete autonomy. Nevertheless, he and his colleagues84 were returned by the electors. Premier McCreight and
his cabinet met the Legislative Assembly on February 15, 1872.
(83) Victoria Daily Standard, December 1, 1870.
(84) The Honourable A. Rocke Robertson, Provincial Secretary; the
Honourable George A. Walkem, after his election Chief Commissioner of
Lands and Works; the Honourable Henry Holbrook, at first Chief Commissioner and later President of the Council. 1942    Responsible Government and Confederation.      123
Public sentiment in favour of giving this ministry an opportunity to establish firmly the first Provincial Government won the
grudging support of the Robson " independents" and the
DeCosmos " party men." As the session progressed, however,
it became evident that Robson, in return for a cabinet portfolio,
was prepared to give full support to the ministry, and consequently DeCosmos and his group came to be considered more
in the nature of the official opposition. The McCreight government survived its first session in a factious House, in spite of
more than one opposition threat of a vote of want of confidence.
The second session of the Legislature opened on December
17, 1872. Two days later the DeCosmos and Robson cliques
united to amend an inocuous Reply to the Speech from the
Throne in the following manner:—
That whilst entertaining the fullest confidence in that form of administration known as Responsible Government, still we believe that the administration of public affairs has not been satisfactory to the public in general.^5
The House divided, and on the amendment being put, it was carried eleven to ten. An immediate adjournment followed, and in
the House on December 19, 1872, Premier McCreight arose to
announce that " in consequence of the adverse vote of yesterday
. . . the Ministry had tendered their resignation to His Excellency the Governor, and they did not propose to do any further
Government business in the House."86
On December 23, 1872, Amor deCosmos, having been invited
by the Lieutenant-Governor to form a ministry, announced its
personnel. Responsible government, reform issue extraordinary
for full fourteen years, had been consummated in the Province
of British Columbia.87
K. A. Waites.
Vancouver, B.C.
(85) Victoria Daily Standard, December 20, 1872.
(86) Ibid., December 21,1872.
(87) On this subject, see W. N. Sage, "From Colony to Province: the
Introduction of Responsible Government in British Columbia," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, III. (1939), pp. 1-14. FOUR LETTERS FROM RICHARD CADMAN
These four letters from Richard Cadman Etches to Sir
Joseph Banks are presented to the readers of the Quarterly by
the kindness of the Sutro Branch of the California State Library.
They are a part of the valuable collection of manuscript material
gathered by the late Adolph Sutro, of San Francisco. The correspondence seems to have been one-sided; the letters contain no
reference to any written replies. Probably Sir Joseph's replies
were made at personal meetings.
Sir Joseph Banks may well be called the Maecenas of 18th
century England. He was possessed of ample means, a favoured
child of Fortune. For forty-one years he was President of the
Royal Society. He had a passionate love of science and a burning desire to aid worthy persons and worthy projects. Amongst
the sciences botany was his favourite. Through his exertions
the bread-fruit was brought from Tahiti to the West Indies, and
the mango from Bengal. Exploration was with him almost an
obsession. Banks accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage,
1768-71, of which he published a very interesting journal; and
he had intended to go with the Great Navigator on his second
voyage, but the lack of accommodation prevented him. Banks's
name is scattered widely over the globe: in Australia, New Zealand, the New Hebrides, British Columbia, and the Canadian
Arctic. Writing practically nothing himself, he stimulated others
to write; as witness the many dedications to him—sometimes,
it must be admitted, bordering on the fulsome.
Richard Cadman Etches, the writer of these letters, was one
of the first men in England to enter into the fur trade of the
Northwest Coast, which Captain Cook's third and last voyage
had made known to the world. He was a merchant of London.
In 1785 he interested eight others, principally merchants and,
it is likely, members of his family, in the formation of a company
to exploit this new field of adventure. The other members of
the company were: John Hanning, of Dowlish, Devon; William
Etches, merchant, of Asborne, Derbyshire; Mary Camilla Brook,
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No. 2.
125 126 Etches Letters, 1788-92. April
a tea dealer of London; William Etches, a merchant of Northampton; John Etches, a merchant of London; Nathaniel Gil-
mour, a merchant of Gosport, Hants; Nathaniel Portlock, the
master of the King George; and George Dixon, the master of
the Queen Charlotte. Though Portlock calls the company the
King George's Sound Company, the licence granted to it by the
South Sea Company names it Richard Cadman Etches and Company; moreover, in the agreements made in China in 1789 it is
referred to as Richard Cadman Etches & Company. At any
rate, .whatever its name, Richard Cadman Etches was the prime
.mover and the principal owner. His brother John, one of the
company, was the supercargo on the second expedition sent out
by it. His company made two attempts in the fur trade: that
of the King George and Queen Charlotte in 1785-88, and that of
the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal in 1786-89. From the
terminating words of the fourth letter in this series it may be
inferred that the two ventures had ended in financial loss, though
at the time it was written the amount that Spain was to pay for
the wrongful seizures of 1789 had not been determined. That
sum was fixed in February, 1793, at 210,000 hard dollars. Let
us hope that Richard Cadman Etches' share enabled him to
emerge from the ventures without loss.
British subjects entering the maritime fur trade were faced
by the monopolies of the South Sea Company and the East India
Company—the former closed the region where sea-otter skins
could be obtained, the latter closed the only market for them.
Licences must therefore be secured from both companies; and
it is fair to assume that they were not issued gratis. But the
terms imposed by the East India Company were a greater handicap than any monetary demand. Over and above a humiliating
supervision of the conduct and movements of the ships and their
personnel, the licences gave the company the right to buy the
furs and failing their purchase the right to sell them on commission. On this point Portlock's remarks are pertinent:—
. . . When the King George and Queen Charlotte arrived at Canton, and
even a month after that period, prime sea-otter skins sold from eighty to
ninety dollars each. Of this quantity [quality?] these ships had at least
two thousand on board, besides a large quantity of furs of inferior value:
but though we could have sold our cargo with ease, we were not at liberty
to dispose of one material article; the sole management of it being vested in 1942 Etches Letters, 1788-92. 127
the hands of the East India Company's supercargoes; and at length the
skins just mentioned were sold for less than twenty dollars each.1
The two ships had collected 2,552 sea-otter skins, and, as Dixon
says, they were sold to the company's supercargoes for 50,000
dollars, " well knowing that the money would be more acceptable
to our owners than an account that we had left the furs on
commission."2 Thus, although in these letters Etches blames
Portlock and Dixon for the ill-success of the venture, some share
of that blame must lie on himself for having accepted a licence
that gave such high powers to the East India Company. Another
factor was the refusal of the East India Company to allow
British subjects to purchase with the proceeds of their furs
Oriental goods—which was the profit-making part of the trade.
Instead, the best a British ship could obtain for the return
voyage was a charter to carry home the goods of the monopoly-
holding company. The East India Company fixed the rate per
ton and it was a case of " take it or leave it"; the ship-owner-
trader could obtain no other cargo between the Cape of Good
Hope and Cape Horn. Ballast or tea at a lower freight rate
than the company's cost of operating its own vessels! Etches
received £13 per ton on the first venture, the King George and
Queen Charlotte; but when he applied for a licence for the next
attempt, the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal, the monopoly
company cut the rate to £11 a ton. The real root of the loss of
the maritime fur trade by the British was not the Napoleonic
wars, nor the keen Yankee opposition, but the octopus hold and
suction of the East India Company. The South Sea Company's
monopoly was only a nuisance, for " without carrying on any
traffic themselves " they only stood, as Portlock says, " in the
mercantile way of more adventurous merchants."8 Their licence
contained no drastic terms; it required only the delivery of
copies of diaries, etc., and information regarding the course of
the vessel.
These letters are concerned principally with the establishment of a settlement on the Northwest Coast as a centre from
which the fur trade could be conducted and finally controlled.
(1) Nathaniel Portlock, A Voyage Round the World, London, 1789, p. 382.
(2) F. W. Howay (ed.), The Dixon-Meares Controversy, Toronto, 1929,
p. 134.
(3) Portlock, Voyage Round the World, p. 4. 128 Etches Letters, 1788-92. April
Etches complains bitterly of the failure of Portlock and Dixon
to obey his instructions in this regard.
. . . And for the future securing of the trade Of the continent and islands
adjacent, you are to establish such factories as you shall see necessary and
consistent with the safety of such settlers and your ship's company. King
George's Sound, we should presume, not only from being centrical, but in
every respect consistent with the intent of forming such establishment;—
but in this respect we must leave you entirely discretional.4
Etches in those instructions added that Mr. Wilby, one of the
crew, was qualified to command the factory and " accompanies
you entirely with that intent." He goes on to instruct Portlock
and Dixon to appoint the men " who shall turn out as volunteers
to be companions to Mr. Wilby," and to order the erection of
the necessary buildings, the provision of arms and ammunition
for defence, and food-supplies and articles of trade. The failure
to found this settlement formed one of Meares's acrimonious
charges against Dixon in their well-known controversy. Dixon
replied that there were no " volunteers " for the undertaking,
and that all on board the vessels had signed articles for a three-
years' voyage out and home. [And see, on this point, note 32.]
Portlock and Dixon, moreover, took shelter under a subsequent
clause in the instructions, which reads:—
And as it is impossible to foresee the accidents that may arise in such a voyage, you have full power to act according to your own discretion for the
benefit of the undertaking.5
A similar clause, it will be remembered, protected Sir Edward
Belcher when in 1854 he abandoned his four vessels in the
Arctic sea.
Probably the high commendation of Captain James Colnett is
partly due to the fact that when the letter was written Etches
was financially interested in the indemnity to be paid by Spain
for the capture of the so-called Meares vessels, and wished to
create in the mind of such a prominent and influential man as
Sir Joseph Banks the impression that Colnett would have succeeded in founding the intended colony had the Spaniards not
prevented him by their high-handed conduct.
It was easy enough for Etches, sitting in his counting-house
in London, to form plans for a settlement on the distant Northwest Coast and to see in it the germ of success in the fur trade;
(4) Howay, Dixon-Meares Controversy, p. 61.
(5) Ibid., p. 119. 1942 Etches Letters, 1788-92. 129
it was a very different and difficult matter to put such plan into
execution. Frequently similar instructions were given—the result
was always the same. What attraction could draw free Englishmen voluntarily to exile themselves on a savage coast, on the
other side of the globe, thousands of miles from civilization?
But if free men would not willingly settle in such a wild and
remote region could not men, not free—convicts—be forced into
the life? When a difficult or dangerous situation has to be met
some minds naturally turn to the criminal portion of the community, perhaps believing that any life that offers a modicum
of freedom will appeal to the person in confinement. When the
Canadian Pacific Railway was only a dream, a book was published setting forth a plan for its construction and the ultimate
settlement of the prairies by means of convicts. Probably Etches
knew the prominent part which Banks had taken in the agitation for the establishment of a penal colony at Botany Bay
(Sydney), Australia; the plan had just been put into operation,
the first fleet for Botany Bay having sailed in May, 1787.
The plan that Etches develops in these letters is the formation of a convict settlement, somewhat on the model of that at
Botany Bay, which would be a centre of trade and discovery on
the Northwest Coast. The British Government would bear the
expense of sending out these convict settlers and would, if deemed
advisable, maintain at the settlement an armed vessel, whose
commander would be its governor. Etches & Company, protected by a monopoly, would carry on the fur trade from this
centre, their trading vessels would make and map discoveries,
and the armed vessel would survey the coast. Thus British
commerce would be benefited and British influence strengthened.
How the convicts were to be maintained and employed was evidently regarded as a detail to be settled later. How the settlement and the requested monopoly would overcome the barrier
of the East India Company's rights is not discussed. Etches
seems to expect to reach a great market in Japan, but others
had tried there and failed, and, moreover, Japan was within the
East India Company's monopoly territory.
New Westminster, B.C. 130 Etches Letters, 1788-92. April
Dear Sir
The repeated acts of Friendship that I have experienced from You,
particularly in our North West Expedition enduces me to presume to
solicit your assistance in maturing it, tho' our first expedition1 hath
by no means answered our expectation—yet it hath fully satisfied us
of the real prospect of it proving that valuable commercial acquisition
which we had originally reason to hope it wou'd—the present system
must be very materially chang'd; I am sensible Sir Joseph [that you]
need not be told the superiority they have over us, who fit out under
Foreign Colours,2 a foreign Bottom that wou'd equally answer that
purpose may be purchas'd at half, if not One third the amount—and
labouring under no Restriction whatever when in the China Seas, as to
Trading either by Barter or absolute sale from whence they can return
to Europe or any part of India whichever may appear most advantageous; if the latter they can again take in fa] third Cargo for Europe,
which gives them so decisive an advantage that no expedition from this
Country except very materially alter'd from the plans already adopted
can cope with them.3 But I am perfectly satisfied that a system may
be adopted which will give us every advantage to be requir'd—satisfied
that You have the Prosperity of the undertaking much at heart I presume to trouble You with my sentiments for the future conducting of it.
Our Ships in their late Voyage discover'd a New Island4 which lays
between Nootka and Prince Williams Sound, and some distance off the
Coast (I cannot tell exactly where it lays as they only mention the
discovery) they met with abundance of Furs5 and found the Natives
(1) The first trading expedition to the Northwest Coast sent by R. Cadman Etches & Company was that of the King George and Queen Charlotte,
under Portlock and Dixon. The vessels sailed from England in September,
1785, and returned in August, 1788.
(2) The monopolies of the South Sea Company and the East India
Company effectually closed the Pacific Ocean to British subjects. In order
to enter the maritime fur trade they must obtain licences from the monopoly-
holding companies.
(3) Foreign vessels could with the produce of their furs purchase a
return cargo of Oriental goods; but the East India Company, having the
monopoly, refused to allow British ships to do so. Such ships were fortunate if they could procure a charter to carry to England a cargo of that
company's goods. The King George and Queen Charlotte obtained such a
charter at £13 per ton; but the East India Company reduced the rate and
would only pay the second venture (that of the Prince of Wales and Princess
Royal) £11 per ton.
(4) Queen Charlotte Islands, so named by Dixon, who inferred their
insularity, in July, 1787.
(5) At Cloak Bay, near the northern end of Queen Charlotte Islands, in
July, 1787, Dixon obtained 300 sea-otter skins in less than half an hour. His
total trade at those islands amounted to 1,821 sea-otter skins, worth in China
about $5,500. The northern and eastern sides of those islands were amongst
the richest sea-otter grounds. 1942 Etches Letters, 1788-92. 131
very friendly—a small Factory6 shou'd be established on this Island as
an Annual Rendezvous and about four large Shallops sent out in frame,
as the Ship would no doubt put into K[ing] G[eorge's] Sound first two
of the Shallops might put up and properly Arm'd & fitted here and trade
along the Coast—the Ship then to push for the Island—fit the other
two Shallops up,7 and dispatch them to the North,—the Ship to make
her Establishment during the Season and the Shallops to return to the
Island at an appointed time—when the Ship might take all their Cargoes to Market—the Shallops to Winter and Refit, and again return to
the Coast in the Spring—the Shallops to be thus continually employ'd
—and a Ship sent annually with stores and provisions—and to take
their produce to market.
To Establish two small Factories was our Original View and we
fitted out with that intent—sending out a Number of extra Men, Arms,
Ammunition, and Provisions with everything requisite, but the Captains found on their arrival, their Powers of Government were not
competent to the task—nor cou'd they form any Establishment with a
certainty of it ever being prosperous, because they had not Powers to
form any real government for the regulating the People, consequently
all wou'd soon have been Anarchy and Confusion8—so flattering a
source of Commerce I should presume to be a grand object to more
Countrys, to our Own in particular—and if it is worthy of support and
Protection—I hope from the liberality with which we took it up, as
Individuals (tho' a National object) I must hope gives us some claim
to it—our Intention is to adopt a Permanent system of Commerce direct
from this Country to the N.W. Coast and from thence to the Asiatic
Coast, and Islands. All we wou'd wish is to have the forming the
foundation (on any system that may be adopted) and a short and
partial claim to its Commercial Part9—an Establishment is what I have
long had at Heart, not only as an Individual, but a National attempt—
(6) John Boit, of the Boston ship Columbia, in August, 1791, had chosen
Masset as such a site. He says: " The land about this River [Masset
Sound] is the best without exception I've yet seen, on the NW Coast, and a
place well calculated for a Factory for to reap the advantages of the fur
trade." F. W. Howay (ed.), Voyages of the "Columbia," Boston, 1941,
p. 377.
(7) The plan of having a mother ship and tender, suggested in Cook's
Third Voyage, London, 1784, III., p. 438, was frequently adopted with modifications. Sometimes the tender was built on the coast: for instance, the
North West America by Meares, in 1788; the Hancock's long-boat in 1791;
the Adventure in 1792; and in the same year the tenders to the Margaret
and Three Brothers. The Jefferson built her tender, the Resolution, in 1792
at the Marquesas Islands.
(8) This letter was written before Etches had seen either of his captains
upon their return: the King George arrived August 24, 1788, and the Queen
Charlotte was " off Dover " on September 17, 1788. Probably Captain Port-
lock, as commander of the expedition, had reported from China the failure to
make a settlement. Dixon claims in his Further Remarks, p. 38, that he had
no " extra men," nor had Portlock.
(9) This cryptic expression means, as appears later in the correspondence, a monopoly. 132 Etches Letters, 1788-92. April
Your Patronage I have experienc'd—Your Assistance I have found of
the utmost consequence. The past enduces me to Solicit your future
endeavour to complete our Views—Protection from Government is what
we presume to hope for10—You, Sir, I am sure can adopt an Idea in
what manner this may be done with propriety. Such an Idea hinted
to me, I wou'd adopt it and present a memorial to Government, and
shou'd hope for your kind assistance in carrying it thro'. There is
one Idea, which perhaps may not be immediately thought of, which
with all possible defference [sic} I will beg leave to suggest to You,
Government having adopted the measure of Colonizing with Convicts,
I shou'd presume the same wou'd hold good with forming an establishment on the N. W. Continent of America or Islands, equally with New
Holland.11 If that Government wou'd adopt the same Idea, and make
the attempt with a certain Number (perhaps 100) under the same
regulations, with a few Soldiers, paying their Freight out, in fact
adopting every regulation already laid down for the Colonizing New
Holland, and giving us such power over the Commercial part, for a
limited time as they shou'd approve, a plan form'd on such an Idea, I
am persuaded wou'd not only secure the complete discovery of that
extensive and unexplor'd part of the World, but wou'd open, and secure
a source of commerce of the most extensive magnitude to this Country.
Understanding that you merely stop in Soho as you pass thro' Town
this morning, I have hastily put my sentiments to paper for your
perusal—persuaded you will favour me with your Sentiments, as to the
Utility and Probability of such measure, I am sensible I had your good
wishes for the Success of the past, and my [any?] future attempt I
may make, I have therefore only to entreat Your pardon for any Inaccuracy and to believe me
38 Fenchurch Street Sir, Your most devoted,
Thursday morning and Obedient Servt.
July 17,1788 R. Cadman Etches
Dear Sir
When I last had the honor of waiting upon you, you was so kind as
to promise your kind assistance in adopting a measure for the future
carrying on the Trade to the N.W. Coast, but You was of opinion that
the Idea I had suggested of Establishing a small factory, or two, with
Convicts, cou'd not be attended to, owing to the too great expence of
the Governmental part of the Establishment, but as I am persuaded
(10) Apparently Etches did not know that Spain claimed the sovereignty
of the Northwest Coast. The " protection " he refers to is protection from
opposition in the trade.
(11) Doubtless Etches thought this suggestion would appeal to Banks
because of his earnest advocacy of the plan of colonizing Australia with
convict settlers. 1942 Etches Letters, 1788-92. 133
that the chief part, if not the whole of it may be done away.—And that
a factory or two wou'd be the great object, for the completely securing
the Commerce of the present discoveries, and of the impossibility to:
form any, with a degree of permanency or even safety, without the
protection of Government—And persuaded that a given number of
Convicts might be Transported and maintained at as little expence to
Government as they cou'd dispose of them any other way, and that their
labours might be made Conducive to a great National object—I shou'd
presume cou'd the expence of the Establishment be done away, it wou'd
be an object to Government worthy attention.
With all possible deff'rence to your superior opinion, I will beg leave
to suggest a few more hints on the subject.
If government wou'd allow a given number of Convicts paying their
passage out, with Provisions, Stores, Arms, Ammunition, Implements
of Husbandry, and other necessaries for the forming one or even two
Factories—Granting us such powers as wou'd keep them in subjection
—but doubtfull wether [sic] such powers cou'd be granted, I shou'd
presume it to be a real object with Government to appoint a small arm'd
vessell commanded by a Lieutenant, to the Station to whom full and
ample powers might be granted, this wou'd do away the expence of
the Establishment and might be attended with the greatest good
After having attended to the forming of the Establishment, she
might make a regular survey of the whole of the Coast, and Islands
from King Georges Sound to Cooks River,12 the utility of such a measure, I am persuaded even from Captain Dixon's opinion, You will deem
very great.
There being such vast plenty of Timber, both large and small, the
factories might soon be formed, and in a very short time provisions
might become very plenty, particularly if a small vessell was to make a
few trips to the Sandwich Islands13 for Pork, Hogs, &c, &c. Hogs they
no doubt might bring over in almost any quantity, and as to fish the
whole shores abound with them—two small Factories with a small
Arm'd Cruiser, wou'd, I am fully satisfied, be ample security to the
whole of the discoveries from L[atitude] 50 or 60 N, and wou'd lay a
complete foundation for opening a communication with the Indians in
the back Settlements,14 as our first Idea wou'd be to fit out four large
(12) In 1791 Captain Vancouver was sent out to carry on such a survey.
Remembering the interest taken by Sir Joseph Banks in all efforts to
increase knowledge, and his great influence with the government, it may be
that we have here the seed out of which that exploring expedition grew. It
was originally planned for 1789, to be in command of Captain Henry
Roberts, but because of the Nootka trouble it was postponed; and owing to
Roberts's absence in the West Indies in 1790, Vancouver was selected.
(13) The settlement was to depend, as did the trading vessels, upon the
Hawaiian Islands for food and supplies.
(14) Which would probably have brought Etches's proposed monopoly
into conflict with the existing monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company. 134 Etches Letters, 1788-92. April
Arm'd Shallops which I persuade myself the very nature of their Traffic
must enduce them to make more discoveries than all the Ships that have
yet been—during the Winter they wou'd rendevous with the Arm'd
Vessell, and deliver up an Account of all their discoveries,16 which in a
short time the whole Compil'd together, wou'd form a real Chart of that
part of the world—
A foundation thus laid, and as it is no longer to be doubted but
there are plenty of furs to be met with, a market for their disposal
wou'd be the whole to seek for, the opposite shore afford ample field,
and I am perfectly satisfied that the Japan Islands may be attempted
with success,161 understand that a Country Ship sail'd thro' the Archipelago, and even landed on the Island of Nyphon, and that the Natives
behav'd very friendly,17 tho' our first Ships have not made the attempt,
owing to the Season being too far advanc'd—I am determined the rest
Shou'd Government be dispos'd to pay any attention to the Idea,
they perhaps might prefer doing the whole by Contract, which we
shou'd have no objection to, Contracting for the whole, carrying them
out, Victually them, or even taking the whole Establishment upon ourselves, provided we were protected, either by powers gave us, or an
Arm'd Cruiser which I presume wou'd be the most complete and ample
security. We wou'd bind ourselves to send out a Vessell annually with
Provisions and stores, submitting the whole to your consideration. I
remain with much esteem
Your most obedt. sevt.
R. Cadman Etches
N 38 Fenchurch St.
Wednesday [?]
20 July '88
(15) Though discovery is put forward to enlist Banks's interest, Etches
was doubtless more concerned with trade than with discovery.
(16) Many other traders had this opinion, but those who tried were
invariably unsuccessful. The Dutch was then the only European nation to
which Japan was open for trade. In March, 1791, John Kendrick in the
Washington is said to have entered a harbour on the southern coast of
Japan and to have been well received; but when he offered sea-otter skins
for sale the people " knew not the use of them." But in the following
August the Japanese refused Colnett any entry, with threats of death were
it attempted.
(17) This ship has not been identified; and it is improbable that any
British ship obtained such entry. In 1673 the East India Company's ship
Return strove ineffectually for a month to obtain entry to trade. 1942 Etches Letters, 1788-92. 135
Dear Sir
Ever anxious to give every information in my power, I cannot but
acquaint You of a Conversation I yesterday had with some of the
People that belong'd to the Souden,18 Cap. Barclay—When last I had
the honor of seeing You, You was of opinion that the Souden had gone
to the Northwest from King George's Sound, and that they had committed some depredations among the Rusian {sic] Settlers. I find that
the first place they made was K[ing]. G[eorge's]. Sound19 where they
landed between 3 and 400 Hogs which they brought from the Sandwich
Islands, all of which they took away except one a sow which got away—
they left the Sound and coasted about 40 leagues to the Southward,
frequently anchoring among the Islands (to Traffic) till they came to a
large strait20—the Country appear'd, from the Sound to this Strait,
entirely all Islands, as they sail'd thro' a Number of them—they found
the Natives a very Hospitable and well Govern'd People, most of the
Cheifs [sic] were of one Family, the Head Cheifs were all Brothers to
whom the Natives paid the highest respect; they remark'd that one
day, two of the Brothers appear'd with Light Horseman's Caps on, with
the King's Arms imprint—and they had small Brass Medals (Guineas)
hung around their Necks, which they found they had had from the
Prince of Wales when in the Sound. They found abundance of Trade
particularly the Sea Otter, Beaver, Martin, Mouse21 and Red Deer—the
last place they anchor'd at was under a small Island the North side of
the Strait, of which they give a very good description—it is about a
league over, and appear'd to Trend to the North East, so far as they
went it appear'd about the same bredth with a very strong Tide. The
Northside was all Islands and Inhabited by the people mention'd, the
South appear'd like the Main—and the people by no means so friendly
they were more of the Bandity kind, without any Cheif, it was at a
Town at the entrance (this side') where they lost four men (which went
on shore with too much confidence, and unarm'd) a party of 20 went in
search of them who found their cloths, with evident marks of their
being murder'd, they burnt the Town, and again went to trade with
(18) The Loudoun, alias Imperial Eagle, commanded by Captain Charles
William Barkley. See, on her voyage generally, " The Mystery of Mrs.
Barkley's Diary," by W. Kaye Lamb, in this Quarterly, supra, pp. 31 ff.
(19) King George's Sound, the name first given by Captain Cook to
Nootka Sound.
(20) The Strait of Juan de Fuca, discovered and named by Captain
Barkley in July, 1787.
(21) Moose. 136 Etches Letters, 1788-92. April
their former friends amongst the Islands,22 they brought them vast
plenty of Fish—and some small Red Deer alive—their dress was much
the same as in K[ing]. G[eorge's]. Sound but their Cloaks were made
of a kind of White Wool,23 these Cloaks being very common, they were
satisfied their [sic] must be plenty of Mountain Sheep—I asked them
if ever they heard Cap. Barclay's opinion of the Strait, they told me, he
said it was laid down in a Spanish Chart that he had with him, but that
it differ'd in the latitude laid down.
From the whole Conversation I had with them their [sic] appears
evident probability that, this is the Strait laid down by Juan de Fuca,
and from the Depth of Water, bredth, strong tide and its trending to
the N.E. we may presume that the Western Sea laid down by de Fuca,
de Fonte,24 and Aguilar, hath existance, and the whole now laid down as
Continent, is nothing but Islands.
The vast abundance of the skins of marine animals they collected in
so short a time25 is a further proof, and they particularly observ'd that
the Cheifs who carried on the whole Trade (except what was smuggled)
were about 5, 6 or 7 days and always return'd with 20, 30, 40, sometimes 50 Sea Otter besides the skins. The Cheifs us'd to tell them,
they shou'd be gone so many days and all ways return'd to their time
—they frequently press'd them to return in ten Moons when they wou'd
have a Cayce ready for them—I cannot help relating one curious
Anecdote—the Indians told them that the two Ships which had been in
the Sound (the Prince of Wales & Princess Royal) had been fighting at
Sea they heard the Guns—on their arrival at Canton they found that
Cap. Dixon fell in with the two Vessells coming out of the Sound—on
first sight he fir'd Signal Guns which the Prince of Wales answer'd—
which accounted for the Indians' Idea of their having been an Engage-
(22) The preceding twelve lines are quite confused. There is no " small
Island the North side of the Strait" [Strait of Juan de Fuca]; the reference is to Destruction Island which lies some 40 miles southward of Cape
Flattery; it is about a mile and a half in length and quite narrow, and
about a mile from the mainland. Etches must have misunderstood his
informant in stating that the Strait of Juan de Fuca is " about a league
over "—it is 13 miles wide. The reference to the murder of the four men
(the number was six) and the circumstances stated fit with the quotation
given by Dr. Lamb in the article on Mrs. Barkley's diary, mentioned in
note 18, supra.
(23) Blankets made from the wool of a small white fleece-bearing dog.
Some of these dogs were kept on Tatoosh Island. See, generally, my article
on " The Dog's Hair Blankets of the Coast Salish," in Washington Historical Quarterly, IX. (1918), pp. 83 ff. The mountain-sheep has hair like that
of a deer; but the mountain-goat has hair resembling wool.
(24) De Fuca's and de Fonte's alleged voyages are now regarded as
imaginary. See " Apocryphal Voyages to the Northwest Coast," by H. R.
Wagner, Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, 41, pp. 170 ff.
(25) The Imperial Eagle in about three months collected 700 prime and
100 inferior sea-otter skins, which were sold (or, rather, held for sale) at
$30,000. 1942 Etches Letters, 1788-92. 137
ment.26 From this and every other information we have been able to
obtain, I am fully persuaded that their [sic] is every Probability of the
whole Country from this Strait to the latitude of 60 N being an
immense chain of Islands and from what we hitherto know of its
Traffic must prove of immense Value.
Having before submitted my opinion to You relative to the Prospect
and Utility of forming a small Establishment or two—and trafficking
with a few small shallops, and the sending out one or two Ships
Annually with Stores and Provisions, and carrying their Produce to
Market, I have only to rely on Your kind assistance in the adopting any
measure that can be conducive to permanent securing of the Commerce,
and have the Honor to be with the utmost respect
Dr Sir
Your most devoted
38 Fenchurch Street and Obedt. Serv.
Tuesday[?] Morg. 7 o Clock R. Cadman Etches
July 30,1788
PS The Depredations committed among the Russian settlers was by the
Nootka, Capt. Meares27—from Bengali and Arm'd at Canton
As you was so warm a Promoter of my first Expedition to the N.W.
Coast of America &c, &c, in the Year 1785,28 I am fully persuaded you
will have a peculiar pleasure in being acquainted, how much of the.
plan, which I had the honour to submit to your judgment, has been
carried into effect29 by the zealous perseverance of Capt. Colnett.
You, Sir, was a Witness with what liberality the first Expedition
was equipp'd, the encouragement to the Commanders was much greater
than held out in any other service, yet, instead of securing their gratitude, exertions, or even perseverance—their conduct from leaving the
Channel of England was a continual series of misconduct, disobedi-
(26) The Imperial Eagle (alias Loudoun) left Nootka on July 24, 1787;
the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal met the Queen Charlotte off Nootka
on August 8, 1787, more than a fortnight later. The Imperial Eagle must
have then been south of Cape Flattery. How did she hear this story from
the Nootka Sound Indians?
(27) This is the first intimation of any depredations committed by
Meares on the Russians.
(28) Banks was greatly interested in the voyage of the King George
and Queen Charlotte, the first attempt to carry on the maritime fur trade
from England. He had named the smaller vessel, as the Secretary of the
Treasury had the larger, on the occasion when they, with other influential
people, were on board, before the departure of the expedition.
(29) Meaning thereby: would have been carried into effect had the
Spaniards not intervened. 138 Etches Letters, 1788-92. April
ance [sic] of their Instructions, pusilaminity [sic] and shameful waste
of the property committed to their care.80
Had I been so fortunate in the first undertaking as to have employed a Commander of Capt. Colnett's Abilities, Enterprize and
Integrity, my Instructions would have been faithfully executed—several
factories would have been established in the Years 1786 & 87, and the
Markets of Japan, Corea81 and North parts of China would have been
opened for the disposal of the products of our discoveries, but although
the King George and Queen Charlotte were provided with every description of Stores, Provisions, Merchandise, Implements of husbandry &c,
&c, for such purpose, the whole of which they brought back to
England with Forty extra Officers and Settlers,82 the Commanders
never made the attempt, I have even ample proof of the declaration of
Portlock to the Officer (M. Willy) who was to Superintend the settlements88 that he had no intention of carrying such part of his Instructions into effect—although they was bound in a penalty to obey—but
which they evaded on their return by a plea of discretionary power.
Captain Colnetts equipment from Canton was likewise on an extensive scale, in order to execute the orders given to the first Expedition,
and had not he and all his Vessells (five)34 under his Command been
captur'd by the Spaniards in 1789, there does not remain a doubt, but
that before this, the whole of my project would have been completed—
He would not only have established several Factories and trading
houses, but he would have induced the Fur Commerce to a regular and
permanent system, and have completely secur'd the benefit of our
discoveries to this Country.
However, it will afford much satisfaction to You, Sir, and every
. well wisher to the extension of British Commerce, to be informed that
Capt. Colnett has not only made a complete survey of the N. W. Coast
from 38 to 60 N. lat., and fully ascertained the Northern boundary of
Spain—as fixed by the late convention—but he has Surveyed a great
(30) The date of this letter is subsequent to the bitter controversy
between Meares and Dixon, and these charges smack of it. Etches at this
time was interested with Meares in wresting as large a money compensation for the seizures of 1789 as possible.
(31) Colnett had, however, failed to obtain any markets in Japan and
Corea: in fact, had been warned against landing in either country. Any
attempt to reach shore had been prevented by the exhibition of force.
(32) The King George, of 320 tons, carried nine officers and a crew of
fifty, including eleven boys; the Queen Charlotte, of 200 tons, had nine
officers and a crew of twenty-four. To detach forty men for the settlement
out of this total of ninety-two persons would appear to leave the vessels
undermanned. This lends support to Dixon's statement that he had no
settlers aboard. See Portlock, Voyage, p. 6; Howay, Dixon-Meares Controversy, pp. 117 ff.
(33) William Wilbye is named in Portlock's list of the crew as " Assistant Trader."
(34) The Iphigenia, North West America, Argonaut, and Princess Royal.
The fifth is the Jason, which was only in frame on board the Argonaut. Out
of her materials the Spaniards built a schooner at Nootka. See F. W.
Howay (ed.), The Colnett Journal, Toronto, 1940, pp. 204, 206. 1942 Etches Letters, 1788-92. 139
Part of Japan—Corea and the Northern skirts of China36—and had not
his Vessell been disabled (her Rudder broken &c.) it was his intention
to have completed his Survey of the Yellow Sea—the East Coast of
Chinese Tartary—even the Sea of Okatsk—and have completed that of
the Islands of Japan—however as it is yet my determination to persevere in prosecuting the discoveries by future Voyages I trust we yet
shall fully complete them. I cannot but observe that the Island in the
Archiplago [sic] of Japan are very erroneously laid down.
I am fully persuaded that you, Sir, will admit that the Annals of
History have not on record, so many important discoveries and stupendous Commercial Advantages being achieved to the Nation by the
Enterprize and at the expence of Individual Merchants few of the
numerous streams and Channels opened by us for the Expectation of
the Manufactures of England—and Importation of American and
Asiatic products—are as yet known but by ourselves.
If the China trade which is a drain to the Nation of upwards of a
Million and a half of specie annually be of importance of what consequence must that branch of Commerce be, which bids fair gradually
to diminish such drain, by substituting the returns of the Manufactures and Produce of our Country? a Commerce that five years ago
was ridiculed by almost every Mercantile Man in the Kingdom! but
which even in the deranged situation it has been since our expulsion
by Spain, has been productive of 100,000 sterlg. annually, and I am bold
to say, that with the discoveries since made on the Coast of America
and Asia, in these years it would double that Sum, and if pursued on
liberal principles, and Protection, would progressively and prodigiously
increase, and as the whole proceeds might be paid into the Company's
Treasury at Canton in lieu of so much specie expected from England,
which must greatly add to such a branch of Commerce.
I cannot conclude, without attempting to account for any unfavourable impressions, my apparent want of attention and gratitude for your
kind exertions and patronage of the Enterprize may have occasioned.
Jealousy operating on the Minds of some and apprehension of the
difficulties to be encountered on others from the Novelty and apparent
extravagancy of the Enterprize created me numerous Enemies, and
involved me in difficulties, few Men could have accomplished or surmounted—but as I continued steady in the hopes of Reimbursing the
property I had engaged and of carrying my project into full effect—I
therefore waved [sic] every opportunity of communicating to my kind
patrons—the duplicity and bad conduct of the Commanders I had
engaged, till such time—I should have overcome all my embarrassments.
I have the honour to be
with the most profound respect
Your Very obliged
N 38 Fenchurch Street and Obedient Servant
 Saturday May 19 1792                      R. Cadman Etches
(35)  These charts are reproduced in The Colnett Journal.
With a view to stimulating interest in the historical and geographical
setting of the Nicola Valley and the City of Merritt—which happens to be
the community in which I live—I undertook some time ago an " enterprise "
with my pupils of Grades VI. and VII. It was a Social Studies project,
and proved to be of great interest to the children. Because it was so successful, I feel that the experiment would be worth recommending to schools
elsewhere, and the details which follow are given for their information.
The Nicola Valley, like countless other valleys in British Columbia, was
chosen for settlement for some very definite reason. That reason, then,
became the basic problem underlying the enterprise. To discover it, and
trace the subsequent development of the district, provided an historical
project of a very interesting and profitable nature. So began the " enterprise " based upon pioneer and present-day life within our own immediate
The whole project was carefully planned in advance. Objectives were
chosen, and ways and means by which the pupils might attain them were
carefully thought out before the subject was even presented to the class.
I decided that the children themselves could secure practically all the information required, and the project was planned with that in mind.
When all was ready, committees were organized amongst the pupils and
the various objectives presented. These included the making of a mural, or
frieze, depicting the valley's development, and, accompanying this, written
accounts of events of importance, historical data, and descriptive passages
pertaining to the valley's natural beauty.
The pupil-committees handled their work admirably and a wealth of
material was secured and tabulated. All children took part in the work
and historical events soon began to take form on the mural. As finally
completed, this measured no less than 48 feet in length by 3 feet in height,
and constituted a colourful and reasonably complete representation of the
highlights in the history of the valley. It was prepared upon heavy wrapping-paper, coloured in crayon, and shellacked. Small cardboard labels were
attached at the base of the frieze to identify the various persons, places^
and incidents.
The frieze was by no means the only exhibit prepared. A contour map
of the Nicola Valley was made with salt and flour, and on it were placed
miniature buildings of wood, indicating the location of the various settlements. A large box-like portfolio was built, and in it were mounted all the
clippings, notes, memoranda, etc., secured by the children. Finally, an
exhibit of local clay and its possible products was assembled.
Information was secured from a wide variety of sources. In all, thirty-
six children, of an average age of 11 to 12 years, participated in the enter-
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No. 2.
141 142 Notes and Comments. April
prise. These searched the community for the desired facts and records.
Many citizens, and in particular the surviving pioneers, contributed to the
fund of knowledge gathered. Books, maps, magazines, and reference material from the Merritt Court-house and Municipal Hall proved to be bountiful
sources of information.
Many aspects of the history and life of the community were dealt with.
Early settlement was traced in the local pre-emption records; efforts were
made to trace the history of the cattle industry, from the Harper and Garcia
herds of 1860 to the Douglas Lake Cattle Company and the Guichon Brothers
of to-day; sheep-raising was recorded similarly; the first sawmills and
flour-mills were traced and the subsequent developments of these industries
noted; the discovery of coal about 1870 was the starting-point of another
study; the building of wagon-roads was investigated; and, finally, the construction of the Kettle Valley Railway, first from Spences Bridge to Merritt
in 1906-07 and from Brookmere to Merritt in 1911-12, was recorded. The
compilation of all this information gave incidental training in many other
subjects besides Social Studies. For example, the computations which preceded the drawing of graphs gave practice in mathematics; the study of
the water-supply of the City of Merritt offered opportunities for lessons in
science and health;  and so on.
The entire project was completed in one month of intensive work. By
the end of that time I felt that all the children, without exception, had
acquired a good working knowledge of the past, present, and future possibilities of the Nicola Valley. They had derived both pleasure and profit
from the enterprise. They had learned to work together and to share
responsibilities. As the work progressed a real, co-operative community
spirit was developed, and an intense interest aroused in the pioneer days of
the valley which to them is " home." From this experiment other enterprises of a similar but even more comprehensive nature have been developed,
and the interest tends to become greater and shows no sign of waning.
That, in itself, is recommendation enough for the development of any worthwhile Social Studies project.
Helen T. Nisbet.
Meeritt, B.C.
An item of Northwest Americana, of interest on both sides of the
boundary-line, and apparently hitherto unknown, has just come to light.
It is a slim paper-covered pamphlet entitled Guide and History of Salmon
River & Cariboo Mining Districts, published by A. Rosenfield of San Francisco, in 1862. It consists of 36 pages, measuring 5% by 3% inches. As it
makes no reference whatever to any roads or road projects from Lillooet
north, it is evident that it was written either in 1861 or during the winter
of 1861-62.
It covers three distinct topics: (1) An itinerary of the routes from Victoria to Cariboo; (2) a similar itinerary from Lewiston, Idaho, to the
Salmon River mines;  and (3) a vocabulary of the Chinook Jargon. 1942 Notes and Comments. 143
The lengthy title of the first section, which runs to 16 pages, is interesting: Three Years in Cariboo: By Jo. Lindley, being the Experience and
Observations of a Packer, What I saw and know of the Country; Its
Traveled Routes, Distances, Villages, Mines, Trade and Prospects. Commencing at San Francisco, the writer traces the route by boat to Victoria
and New Westminster, and thence by the Fraser River and Harrison Lake
route to Lillooet. Then he describes the two routes from Lillooet to Williams Lake—one along the Fraser River, and one by the Brigade Trail; the
one shorter but difficult to travel, the other longer but much easier to follow.
Next he describes the long trail to the Forks of the Quesnelle River; and
then, following the North Fork of that river, traces the route by way of
Keithley Creek to Antler City and the creeks beyond. Apparently Barkerville was not known at the time, and Antler City was the centre of mining
activity in the Cariboo region.
The second part (pp. 17-31) is by T. R. Olney, and describes in detail
two routes from Lewiston, Idaho, to the Salmon River mines.
The third part, the vocabulary of the Chinook Jargon, while fairly
comprehensive, varies much in the spelling of the words from the vocabularies of a later date.
Robie L. Reid.
It has been suggested that a few notes regarding the ancestors and
descendants of Captain Charles William Barkley, particulars of which had
no proper place in the article entitled The Mystery of Mrs. Barkley's Diary,
which appeared in the January issue of this Quarterly, might be of interest
to readers. The following few paragraphs have been compiled with this
suggestion in mind. They are based on data collected by Captain J. T.
Walbran, and are to be found either in his British Columbia Coast Names
(Ottawa, 1909), or in his manuscript Memo re Captain C. W. Barkley, a
copy of which was secured many years ago by His Honour Judge Howay,
of New Westminster.
James Barkley, grandfather of Captain Barkley, " resided on the small
estate of Himglende, Cromarty, but this was not sufficiently extensive to
provide for a large family, especially when the government began to take
strong measures to put down the smuggling which was carried on all down
the coast and by which the fortunes of most of those whose properties were
on the coast were increased. The three younger sons were accordingly sent
out into the world."    (Coast Names, p. 34.)
These sons were Andrew (died 1790), who became a post captain in the
Royal Navy; William, who made a handsome fortune as a lawyer; and
Charles Barkley, father of Captain Barkley, who was first in the service of
the East India Company, and later " took to a seafaring life, commanding
his own ships." He was drowned in the Hooghly River. His three children,
John, Martha, and Charles William, were in India with him at the time of
his death.
6 144 Notes and Comments. April
John Barkley was for a time in the Royal Navy and later in the service
of the East India Company. Charles William Barkley was born in 1759,
entered the service of the East India Company, and resigned from it to take
command of the Imperial Eagle (or Loudoun) in 1786. He died at North
Crescent, Hertford, on May 16, 1832, and was buried at Enfield. His wife,
Frances Hornby Trevor, was probably born in 1770. She died in 1845, and
was buried at Enfield, near her husband.
Little is known about the Rev. John Charles Barkley, eldest son of
Captain C. W. Barkley. In 1846 he was residing at Little Melton, near
Norwich, England.
Edward Barkley, fourth son of the Rev. J. C. Barkley, was born on
January 25, 1829. He entered the Royal Navy and had attained the rank
of Captain when he retired. After leaving the service he made his home
at Westholme, Vancouver Island, where he lost his life in a fire on November
22, 1909. Officers, bluejackets, and marines from H.M.S. Egeria attended
the funeral and accorded naval honours.
W. Kaye Lamb.
Through Mr. W. A. McAdam, Agent-General for British Columbia in
London, the Provincial Archives recently received from Mr. A. P. Trotter,
of Salisbury, England, the original manuscript of the Additions to Captain
Cook's Vocabulary of the Nootka Sound Language in 1786, compiled by
James Strange. The vocabulary, which runs to more than five hundred
words, was appended by Strange to the journal of his voyage to the Northwest Coast. It is printed on pages 46-56 of the edition of the Journal and
Narrative published by the Government of Madras in 1929.
Mr. Trotter is a grandnephew of James Strange, and this is the third
occasion upon which he has made a presentation to the Archives. Some
readers may recall that in 1936 he sent to British Columbia the original
of a very interesting silhouette portrait of his great-uncle, executed in
Edinburgh in 1830. An odd chapter of accidents befell his first gift, which
was received as early as 1918. During the first World War Mr. Frank
Swannell, of Victoria, met Mr. Trotter in England, and heard that he had
in his possession a copy of James Strange's journal of his voyage from
Bombay to the Northwest Coast in 1786-87. At that time this journal was
unknown to historians, and Mr. Swannell suggested that Mr. Trotter should
present a copy to the Archives of British Columbia. This he agreed to do,
and the transcript was prepared in due course and forwarded to Victoria.
What then became of it is still a mystery, as it disappeared from view for
more than ten years. It was never entered in the Archives indexes, and
no one except Mr. Swannell seems even to have known that the original of
such a journal was in Mr. Trotter's possession.
Some years later, and with no knowledge of these facts, His Honour
Judge Howay drew to the attention of the late John Hosie, who became
Provincial Archivist in 1926, a number of entries relating to Strange in the
Dictionary of National Biography.    Mr. Hosie at once started to inquire 1942 Notes and Comments. 145
far and wide, in the hope that he might find Strange's papers. Success
crowned his efforts in 1928, when a copy of the journal was found amongst
the records of Fort St. George, in the Madras Record Office. As noted above,
this Journal and Narrative was published by the Government of Madras in
1929. Meanwhile Mr. Hosie's inquiries in other quarters had also met with
success, and a second copy of the journal was discovered in the India Office
Records in the Public Record Office, London. A complete transcript of this
copy was secured for the Archives. Finally, when both this version and the
printed edition had been received, the long-lost transcript made in 1918 by'
Mr. Trotter came to light. The Archives thus possesses transcripts of all
three of the copies of Strange's journal which are known to be in existence.
It was Mr. Hosie's intention to print the journal, together with various
miscellaneous correspondence and papers relating to Strange, in an edition
including a biographical introduction and notes. Unfortunately, the project
had been scarcely started before his untimely death, although he had gathered a good deal of material descriptive of Strange's long and interesting
life. Much of this was incorporated in the excellent article on James
Charles Stuart Strange and his Expedition to the North-west Coast of
America in 1786, which Mr. Hosie contributed to the Fourth Report and
Proceedings of the British Columbia Historical Association in 1929.
W. K. L.
Victoria Section.
Captain Francis P. Armstrong of the Upper Columbia Valley was the
subject of a paper prepared for the members of the Victoria Section by
Mr. J. P. Forde, of Kelowna, and read at the meeting held at the home of
the President, Mrs. Curtis Sampson, on February 10. The sketch, which in
the absence of Mr. Forde was read by Miss Alma Russell, dealt with the
opening and settlement of the Upper Columbia Valley, from Golden to Canal
Flats. Captain Armstrong, son of Chief Justice Armstrong of Quebec, was
born in Montreal in 1861. He came west at the age of 20, as a member of
the engineering staff of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and worked with the
party which located the line through the Selkirk Mountains, by way of
Rogers Pass. Descriptions of hardships encountered by the exploration
party, and the hazards of blazing trails to carry mail and supplies over
long distances were given in Captain Armstrong's own words.
In 1884 the Captain left the Canadian Pacific to settle on land he had
pre-empted on the shore of Upper Columbia Lake. His farming efforts and
small store seem to have met with success, but it was as a steamboat man
that Captain Armstrong became best known in the valley. He built and
operated the Duchess, the first steamer on the Upper Columbia, and he
continued to travel the river, with few interruptions, until steamboating
ceased in 1913. By that time he was in the employ of the Public Works
Department of the Dominion Government, and he remained in its service
until his death in 1923. 146 Notes and Comments. April
Captain Armstrong twice left the Columbia Valley temporarily. Upon
the first occasion he operated steamers on the Yukon River and Lake Tagish.
The first World War took him much farther afield. He was commissioned
in the inland waters' branch of the Royal Engineers, and placed in charge
of the steamers carrying men and supplies on the Tigris, during the Meso-
potamian campaign. Later he was transferred to the Nile, where he was
in charge of all military vessels on the river.
Miss Charlotte Armstrong, Captain Armstrong's daughter, and Mrs.
Norman Taylor, his niece, were introduced to the meeting by Mrs. Curtis
An interesting old broadside entitled Old England to Her Daughters,
a message to the women of England to be calm and self-reliant, was read
by Mrs. T. A. Rickard. The message, written in 1815, during the Napoleonic Wars, originally in the possession of the late Lady Crease, was presented some years ago by her son, A. D. Crease, K.C, to Mrs. Cree, who in
turn has now presented it to the Provincial Archives.
The Section met in the Provincial Library on the evening of March 11
to commemorate the ninety-second anniversary of the reading of the commission of Richard Blanshard, first Governor of the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island, the event which marked the beginning of formal British rule
in what is now British Columbia. In the course of an informal address,
Mr. Willard Ireland, Provincial Archivist, described the events which led
up to the organization of the Colony in 1849, and the peculiar circumstances
which faced the Governor when he arrived at Fort Victoria on March 9,
1850. At that time Blanshard was in his 32nd year and had had no previous
experience in the colonial service. His appointment had been the result of
a compromise, for the Hudson's Bay Company, which was virtually proprietor of the Colony, had originally intended that the first governor should
be their representative, Chief Factor James Douglas. From the outset there
was considerable friction, for Blanshard received no salary, the house which
was to have been provided for him was months in building, and the cost of
living in Fort Victoria was excessively high.
Despite Blanshard's short tenure of office—he resigned within eight
months of his arrival, and in all resided in the Colony only seventeen months
—his regime was nevertheless of great significance, by virtue of the foundations laid. Under Blanshard's guidance the first coroner's inquest was held,
the first marine inquiry conducted, and the first civil magistrate appointed.
In addition, his final act as Governor was to appoint a Legislative Council,
which was the first step in the long struggle which was to culminate in the
introduction of responsible government in 1872. The major issue of Blanshard's administration was the Fort Rupert incident, involving at first a
labour dispute between the Hudson's Bay Company and its miners, but later
the more serious problem of the murder of deserting seamen by the Newitee
Indians. These events brought to light the impossible situation in which
the Governor found himself, owing to the fact that all virtual power was in
the hands of the Company. 1942 Notes and Comments. 147
Blanshard left Vancouver Island early in September, 1851, a sadly disillusioned man, and considerably the poorer for his experience. Very little
is known of his later career, except for two public appearances in 1857.
He inherited a fortune from his father, and seems to have lived the life of
an English country gentleman for the rest of his days.
At the conclusion of the address a number of slides were shown depicting life in early Victoria. In addition, a number of relics relating to Richard
Blanshard were on display, including the parchment Royal Commission and
his original dispatches.
Vancouver Section.
The Section assembled in Hotel Grosvenor on the evening of February 24
to hear an address by Dr. W. N. Sage, Head of the Department of History
of the University of British Columbia, on British Columbia at the Crossroads. Sketching the background of his topic, Dr. Sage reviewed the political development of the Colony from the proclamation of the Colony of
Vancouver Island in 1850. But his chief concern was with the critical years
from 1866 to 1871. He pointed out that the union of the Island and Mainland colonies in 1866 was merely a palliative, and that it did not really cure
the economic ills of either. Moreover, an even more serious problem was
in the offing, for it was during those years that the united colony of British
Columbia had to make its choice between the allures of " manifest destiny "
and the United States on the one hand and Confederation with the new
Dominion of Canada on the other. The difficulties facing the advocates of
Confederation were great, but these were overcome in the end, thanks to
events and circumstances which Dr. Sage described with a wealth of interesting detail.
F. V. Longstaff, Major (ret.), is a past president of the British Columbia Historical Association and has long been interested in the naval history
of the Pacific Northwest. His recent history of Esquimalt Naval Base has
just been released and will be reviewed in the next issue of this Quarterly.
J. A. Pearce, Ph.D. (California), F.R.S.C., is Director of the Dominion
Astrophysical Observatory at Victoria. Distinguished as an astronomer,
Dr. Pearce is also well known as a philatelist. He possesses an important
collection of stamps and covers relating to the Crown Colonies of British
Columbia and Vancouver Island.
Kenneth A. Waites, B.A. (British Columbia), is a member of the staff
of King Edward High School, Vancouver. Readers will recall that he compiled and edited The First Fifty Years: Vancouver High Schools, 1890-1940,
which was reviewed in the last issue of this Quarterly.
Ira Dilworth, A.M. (Harvard), was for some years Principal of Victoria
High School. Later he joined the Department of English of the University
of British Columbia. He is now Regional Director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for British Columbia. THE NORTHWEST BOOKSHELF.
Klee Wyck.    By Emily Carr.    Toronto:   Oxford University Press, 1941.
Pp. xiv., 155.    111.    $2.50.
It is reported of Lord Byron that he said, speaking of the sudden and
great success of his Childe Harold, " I awoke one morning to find myself
famous." Whatever may be the degree of absolute truth of this statement
as applied to Byron, it is almost literally true as a description of the experience of Emily Carr. For over fifty years she had worked in her native
Victoria with singular concentration upon her chosen art of painting, suffering discouragement, misunderstanding, even at times hostility, gaining here
and there slowly and almost, it would seem, grudgingly, a little recognition.
Admiration she had long had from a small group of devoted friends, but
fame or anything approaching it she had never known. Then one day last
November there appeared in the bookstalls a slim volume, Klee Wyck.
.Suddenly articles blossomed in the book pages of Canadian papers and
magazines, exhibition windows featuring the new work were arranged by
great department stores in the East and West, and Miss Carr was amazed
to find herself saluted throughout Canada as a great and significant literary
figure. By Christmas practically the whole of the first printing had been
disposed of and many people, seeking Klee Wyck as a suitable gift, looked
for it in vain.
Why all this stir? Well, it is hard to say exactly. Some who read and
admired the manuscript before its publication had feared that there was
an austerity in the style of these sketches of Indian village and British
Columbian forest that might repel the reader. They had feared that the
volume had too little of what Miss Carr herself called " giggle " in it, to
catch the public fancy. Its publication made it quickly evident that under
the austerity and economy of the style there were appealing qualities which
commended the volume to the Canadian reader. Seldom, if indeed ever,
has there been produced a work more simple and true about any part of
the Canadian scene.
And the reason for that is not far to seek. Klee Wyck was born of
a great and sincere love, the love of Emily Carr for Western Canada, for
the West Coast with its deep forests of which no one has captured the
mysterious spirit more completely than she, with its Indian villages and
their totem-poles for which she had a deep veneration, seeing in them the
achievement of a sensitive people striving to express their faith and their
fear; with its vanishing race of Indians in whom she saw a fine dignified
spirit, a link with their great past, which she has always loved honestly
and with no sentimentality, no condescension.
The twenty-one sketches in Klee Wyck are made out of memories which
had been stored up in Miss Carr's mind as she went into lonely places along
the British Columbian coast seeking subject-matter for her painting.    In
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. Vl.f No. 2.
149 150 The Northwest Bookshelf. April
them she takes us with her into a score of those inaccessible spots and we
feel and see and even smell what she had experienced. That is perhaps
the most outstanding quality of her writing—what we may call its immediacy.
It is a dramatic quality depending on a great objective power of minute
observation, and the gift to select the master detail and choose the magical
word. Miss Carr has that gift, her writing has the power of incantation
which we usually associate with great poetry. Lawren Harris has said
that her work is evocative. But it matters little whether you think in terms
of being taken into it, or of its being brought to you. The experience of
the artist here becomes vividly your own. Read the majestic D'Sonoqua,
watch its form expand before you, close-knit and economical as a last
quartet of Beethoven; feel the deepening, compulsory suspense and let the
final calm resolution grip you; or meet old Dr. Cabbage and laugh at him
with Miss Carr, laughter in which there is no trace of superiority or bitterness ; or go to Cha-atl and hear the overwhelming roar of the surf pounding
on the Queen Charlotte Islands—
" While I stood there that awful boom, boom, seemed to drown out
every other thing.    It made even the forest seem drab and shivery.
Perhaps if you could have seen the breakers and had not had the
whole weight of the noise left entirely to your ears it would not have
seemed so stunning."—
or listen to the almost epic tale of Sophie and her babies;  or go with Miss
Carr in a great canoe and experience the hypnotic spell of her rhythmical
cadenced prose, inducing the very effect of the movement of the canoe itself
as it glides through the water:—
" The canoe passed shores crammed with trees—trees overhanging
stony beaches, trees held back by rocky cliffs, pointed fir trees climbing in dark masses up the mountain sides, moonlight silvering their
" Our going was imperceptible, the woman's steering paddle the only
thing that moved, its silent cuts stirring phosphorous like white fire.
" Time and texture faded .  .  . ceased to exist .  .  .  day was gone,
yet it was not night, water was not wet nor deep, just smoothness
spread with light."
Well, in short, read the book, go out with Miss Carr and have your sensibilities made more keenly sensitive and your mind broadened and enriched
with the experiences of a great original genius.
Rupert Brooke said as he stood at Lake Louise that the Canadian Rockies
seemed to him empty in their awful loneliness—" no recorded Hannibal has
ever crossed these unmemoried heights." Perhaps you, too, have felt that
unnerving aloneness at times in the presence of the great manifestations of
Nature in Canada. Those of us who have read Klee Wyck or studied Miss
Carr's canvases will never again be able to pass by solemn Tanoo, or the
downright calm or fierceness of Skedans, or Cumshewa with its great lone-
someness smothered in a blur of rain, or to approach the desolation of 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 151
Greenville—we shall not be able to go into the forest of the West Coast—
and feel completely lost and alone. The spirit of Emily Carr has been there
■before us and on canvas and in the written page she has recorded her
experience in patterned forms which will provide ordered shelters for us
where our spirits can feel themselves at home. What greater thing could
a Canadian artist do for Canadians?
Ira Dilworth.
Vancouver, B.C.
Pioneer Woolen Mills in Oregon: History of Wool and the Woolen Textile
Industry in Oregon, 1811-1875. By Alfred L. Lomax. Portland, Oregon:
Binfords & Mort, 1941.    Pp. 312.    111.    $2.50.
This interesting and thorough study is based upon a lengthy and unflagging search through manuscripts, books, and newspapers, supplemented by
talks with Oregon pioneers. As long ago as 1930-33 Professor Lomax
printed a preliminary version of the book in the form of a series of eight
articles in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, but a good deal of new material
has been brought to light since that time.
The first third of the volume is devoted to the early history of sheep
husbandry in Old Oregon. The author admits that he may well be drawing
a long bow in attempting to carry this history as far back as 1811. True,
it is known that there were two sheep in the Tonquin when she sailed from
the Sandwich Islands that year, but it is more than doubtful that they
survived to come ashore in Oregon. Equally open to question is Bancroft's
contention, which Dr. Lomax quotes with apparent confidence, that Captain
Dominis, of the American trading-vessel Owhyhee, brought sheep to the
Columbia River from California in 1829. No record of a visit to California
appears in the log of the Owhyhee, which was examined by Judge Howay
some years ago, nor does it leave any period unaccounted for in which the
voyage might have taken place. But the point is more important to the
antiquarian than to the historian. What matters is that by the early
eighteen-thirties both Nathaniel Wyeth and the Hudson's Bay Company had
flocks of sheep in Oregon. With the start of American immigration the
number of animals in the country increased rapidly. In 1850 there were
50,000 sheep in Oregon Territory, and the total had risen to 80,000 a decade
This meant that there was sufficient raw material available to supply a
local woollen industry. In the last two-thirds of his book, Dr. Lomax
records the history of the earliest mills in detail. The first of these was
at Salem, and commenced operations in December, 1857. Its existence led
to the construction by rival manufacturers or rival communities of three
other mills in the Willamette Valley. The first of these was completed at
Brownsville, in 1863. Numbered amongst the employees there was Thomas
Kay, a noted pioneer in the industry, whose descendants are to-day still
leaders in the woollen manufacturing industry in the State of Oregon. The
largest of the early mills was built at Oregon City in 1865, while the last
of the pioneers, a miniature establishment at Ellendale, was erected in 1866. 152 The Northwest Bookshelf. April
In spite of political and financial difficulties, and the inevitable fires which
sooner or later consumed every one of the original mill buildings, the
industry quickly became one of importance to farmers and merchants alike.
As early as 1866 the four mills were using about 700,000 lb. of wool per
It is interesting to find that British banks played a part in these developments. When the Salem woollen mill got into difficulties it borrowed heavily
from the Bank of British Columbia, and after a legal battle that was carried
to the Supreme Court of the United States the Bank eventually foreclosed.
The Bank of British Columbia also made loans to the mill at Oregon City.
The Bank of British North America appears in the history of the Brownsville mill, and in a somewhat kindlier light. In 1875, when the mill was
reopening under new management, Thomas Kay and his associates found it
difficult to raise funds. They turned to the Bank of British North America,
which had established a branch in Portland, " the officers of which," Dr.
Lomax notes, " were Englishmen and understood the problems of industry,
whereas the local banks with boards of directors and officers composed of
farmers and small-town business men, could hardly be expected to be as
sympathetic." The mill received the required credit immediately, " and
thereafter for many years very happy relationships were maintained with
the British institution."
The format of the volume is most attractive, and the publishers are to
be congratulated upon the excellence of the printing and binding.
W. Kaye Lamb.
The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C.
Northwest Water Boundary: Report of the Experts summoned by the German Emperor as Arbitrator under Articles 34-42 of the Treaty of
Washington of May 8, 1871, preliminary to His Award dated October
21, 1872. Edited with a translation by Hunter Miller. Seattle: The
University of Washington, 1942.    Pp. vii., 75.
The San Juan boundary dispute—the Northwest Water Boundary* to
take Dr. Hunter Miller's title—arose out of the division of the Old Oregon
territory by the Treaty of Washington, 1846. The British contention was
that the line of boundary according to the ambiguous wording of the treaty
passed southward of the San Juan Islands, through Rosario Strait; the
American contention was that it ran through the Haro Strait, northward of
the group. The two powers agreed to abide by the decision of the Emperor
of Germany, to whom was referred the question: Which of these claims is
more in accordance with the true interpretation of the Treaty of June 15,
1846? The Royal arbitrator summoned to his assistance, as the above subtitle shows, three experts: Dr. Grimm, Dr. Goldschmidt, and Professor
Kiepert. Dr. Grimm and Professor Kiepert favoured the American contention ; Dr. Goldschmidt, the British. The Emperor accepted the view of
the majority.    The editor, Dr.  Hunter Miller, in the preparation of his 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 153
Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States obtained from
the German Foreign Office photostatic copies of the reports of the experts,
and in this booklet reproduces them in the original German, with a translation. He has merely added a short introduction and half a dozen notes;
but he has included a map which shows that the acceptance of the British
contention would have resulted in a more uniform and symmetrical boundary
than the tortuous one which was adopted.
F. W. Howay.
New Westminster, B.C.
Readings in Pacific Northwest History: Washington, 1790-1895. Edited by
Charles Marvin Gates. Seattle: University of Washington Bookstore,
1941.    Pp. 345.    $2.50.
In 1939 the State of Washington celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of
its formal admission to full membership in the American Union. The State
legislature in 1941 passed a bill which required the teaching of State history
and government in the Washington schools. The volume under consideration
has been issued to help to meet the requirements of the new courses.
Professor Gates has done a most careful piece of work. He has selected
essential passages which deal with Washington's history. Roughly a third
of the book deals with the early days before 1853, the year in which
Washington Territory was established. It is this portion of the volume
which is of most interest to British Columbian readers. The first six chapters deal with the following topics: " Early explorers visit the Pacific Northwest," " Washington Indians and their customs," " The fur trade in the
Pacific Northwest," " Missionaries among the Indians," " Government officials study the Indian problem," and " Northern Oregon becomes Washington
The editor has written a short, but adequate preface to each extract,
and has kept the foot-notes to a minimum. Professor Gates thus explains
his method of selection:—
" The choice of items has been somewhat arbitrary; many alternative
passages might have been substituted without changing substantially the
character of the collection. Each selection should be read as a document
which illuminates but does not completely explain the event or the historical
movement to which it refers."
Most of the volume, quite properly, deals with the story of Washington
Territory. The extracts deal with the social and economic problems faced
by the territorial lawmakers; the problems of military protection; transportation by water, trail and rail; with the basic or staple industries,
lumbering, fishing, mining; and with the growth of commerce and manufacturing. An interesting chapter is devoted to " appeals to tourists, immigrants and sportsmen." The final chapter is entitled " Washington becomes
a State." In a valuable appendix the editor has included two basic documents: The organic act of 1853, and Governor Stevens' proclamation of the
same date.    There is, unfortunately, no index. 154 The Northwest Bookshelf. April
These readings were compiled as a handbook for students of the history
of the State of Washington, but the volume will appeal to all those interested
in the development of the Pacific Northwest. British Columbian historians
might well take a leaf from Professor Gates' book. There is a place for a
similar volume dealing with British Columbia.
W. N. Sage.
The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C.
Philosopher Pickett.   By Lawrence Clark Powell.   Berkeley and Los Angeles,
University of California Press, 1942.   Pp. xv., 178.   111.   $1.50.
This is the story of an irrepressible crank, an aggressive journalist, an
indomitable reformer. Charles Pickett, at the age of 22, left his home in
Virginia to start an adventurous life in the Far West. That was in 1842.
First he went to St. Louis and then to Oregon, where, in the Willamette
Valley, he began his career as a journalist by inscribing pronunciamentos
on shingles that had been made smooth enough to take ink. He organized
a literary club of which he became secretary. Soon he was engaged in one
of the many feuds that gave scope to his natural belligerency. He opposed
the Methodists, who, under cover of sanctity, grabbed the best lands near
Oregon City. He challenged them by squatting on one of their pieces of
property and dared them to oust him. He held his ground successfully
despite their legal efforts. That was in 1845. Then he started a newspaper
with the suggestive name of the Flumgudgeon Gazette and Bumble Bee
Budget. He adopted the pseudonym of " The Curltail Coon." Satirical
thrusts at the members of the Legislative Committee were varied, with
vindictive attacks on an Indian agent of grafting proclivities. He was successful, his enemy was unhorsed, and the post of Indian agent was offered
to Pickett. But that restless individual had already left the territory for
In California he made his mark. He arrived just before the Mexican
war and the discovery of gold. The country was in a condition of intense
confusion, which gave scope to Pickett's energies. He quarrelled with the
military regime and indulged in lively correspondence. The starting of the
weekly California Star gave him a chance to vent his spleen against sundry
officials. He advertised himself as a lawyer, which he was not, and thereby
obtained some pseudo-professional business. When Yerba Buena (now San
Francisco) became a little too hot for him he went to Honolulu, where he
spent much time in nature study and rested his febrile mind. He returned
to California with some sheep, intending to start a wool industry. The idea
was good, but it was frustrated by the gold-rush. The shepherds decamped,
the sheep strayed and were devoured by the coyotes. While the experiment
was in progress at Sonoma in 1847, Pickett sent a box of grape-vine cuttings
to James Douglas, the Hudson's Bay factor at Fort Victoria, and requested
that in return some apple, plum, and gooseberry scions might be sent to him.
These well-meant acts do him credit.    From Sonoma he had begun to send 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 155
correspondence to the California Star.    His pseudonym was " Pacific," but
his writings were tempestuous.
Shortly after the gold discovery Pickett went to New Helvetia (Sacramento), where he had established friendly relations with Captain Sutter.
He opened a store at Sutter's Fort. Soon he had a quarrel with a trader
in adjoining premises, and when this trader threatened him with a shotgun
he retaliated in kind and killed him. A mistrial ended in his acquittal.
Then he had trouble with Sutter. As a storekeeper Pickett was out of his
element. As the author says: " He was too kind hearted to down-and-
outers, too easygoing, and ready to extend credit."
He took part in the movement to organize a government in California.
The region was in a turmoil. Pickett was spokesman for the law-abiding
element in the excited population. In 1850 he started a newspaper, the
Western American. Short and stormy was its life. Pickett flayed his
rivals, the other local newspapers. He opposed the vigilante organization,
insisting that it were better to enlarge the police force. In this he showed
good sense. The use of vigilantes confessed the failure of law and order.
In California a myth has been created, as if the vigilante effort were something highly creditable to the State.
Pickett allied himself with the settlers, victims of the land pirates. He
raised a vigorous voice against political corruption of every kind. As might
be expected, his efforts proved unprofitable. His newspaper ended its career
with an " Apology " in March of 1852.
He appealed to the Legislature for reimbursement of the money he had
spent in aiding immigrants during the winter of 1849. The sum of $9,500
was voted to him, but it came too late to revive the Western American.
Instead, he became a pamphleteer, and waged war on the exploiters and
monopolists that were ruining California. Among others he attacked John C.
Fremont, a four-flusher of the worst type, around whom also a myth has
been wrapped. Pickett was right often, and did a public service, but he
was too " brilliant and irascible, quick to condemn and slow to forgive."
He continued his pamphleteering to the very end, which came in 1881.
The book gives the story of a curious character, and it is valuable for
the side-lights it throws on current historical events.
T. A. Rickard.
Victoria, B.C.
Printed by Chabi.ks F. IUnfikld, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
600-342-6984 We
Organized October 31st, 1922.
His Honour W. C Ma.
OFFICERS, 1940-41.
3. Pearson       ...
GOODFELLeW       -
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Willard E. Ireland
Helen R. Boutilier       - Honorary Secretv.
W. Robie L. Reid.
. Goldie.
Mrs. Curtis Samp Y. Willi.
toria Section).
ter and Fraser Valley Si
To ■ historical research an iterest in history;
imote the preservation and mar'
al featui 'id to
publish historical sketches, studies, a::
nee and fees may ial Archives,
Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C.


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