British Columbia History

BC Historical News Mar 2, 1969

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Vol. 2 No„ 2 February 1969
Published November, February, April and June, each year by the
British Columbia Historical Association. Editor: P,A. Yandle,
3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver 8, B.C.
Is this tho second coming of the Ice-Age to Beautiful British
Columbia? Without exception, each report from the member societies
mentioned the trials and tribulations of the past winter.- This
winter must have )roven to many people, myself included, that one
may boast only when one has complete control of that particular
situation. The off-hand remark that the woather was "most unurial"
like the salt, soon lo.-t its savour. Be that as it may, very
cautiously I'm snying that "Spring has Sprung" in-the Evergreen
Playground and. - hat could be more in season than to start planning
to attend the Convention in May in the sunny Okanagan. In a scant
three months that time -'111 have arrived, so now is the time to
think of laying in a stock of sun-tan lotion in anticipation of
what we can expect on the week-end of May 24th. Elsewhere in the
News is a tentative ">rogramme of the Convention, and complete
details vlll appear in the April edition of the News.
TEE COVER! What an exciting surprise to get a-phone call
offering a cover for the News. The result was far beyond my
wildest hooes. No, those aren't the Keystone Coos en the cover
of this issue. They're some of the boys in blue of Vancouver town,
circa 1903. The sketch is one of a large series of British Columbia
historical drawings executed by one of cur members, Robert Genn. The
series was commissioned by Davis & Co., one of B.C.'s oldest legal
firms, for the decoration of their offices. It is. through the kind
co-operation of this firm that we will be able to publish more of
these interesting drawings in the future. Robert Genn, b>; "n in
Victoria in 1936, is well known for his drawings and paintings of
Canada. His paintings have been widely exhibited throughout the
world and many of his prints are well known particularly in Europe
•vhere his work is known as tyoically "Canada" to thousands of
Europeans.  (Thank you, Bob. -Ed.) .
Minutes of the Third Council Meeting of the British Columbia
Historical Associa"oion, held on February 9th, 1969. at 3618 Place
Road, Wellington, B.C. Present: Mrs Jordon (Pres.), Mr R. Brammall
(Vice-Pres.), Mrs G. Bowes (Treas.)., Mr P. Yandle (Sec), Mr H.B,
Nash (Exec.Mem.), Mr J. Barnes (substituting for Col. G. S. Andrews
Exec.Mem.), Mr D. New (Past Pres.). Delegates: Mr D. Sphon (Nanaimo)
and Mrs Freeman (Gulf Islands)„ The minutes of the Council Meeting held on September 15th, 1968,
were adopted on motion. Arising out of the minutes, it was re )orted
By Mr Brammall that the picture of Captain Vancouver had been delivered
to Victoria in October. The question of insurance for the picture
was discussed and it was the opinion of Council that the blanket
insurance carried by any museum where the picture may be on display
would not necessirily place the determined value as considered by
this Association, nor would it be covered in transit or storage.
Moved Yandle, Seconded New, that the aicture be fully insured, for
ft1000. - Carried. Mr Brammall would take care of this matter.
The question of the petroglyphs at Cranbrook was still an open
issue of the Association as they were on Crown Land when sold to a
orivate party; and this should be pursued with the Provincial Government until we get some assurance that the Historic Sites and Monument's
Board know of their existence and are oreparad to give adequate
protection (legislative, or otherwise) for their preservation. Mrs
Jordon would continue with this after looking over the survey maps
and information suoplied by Col. G. S. Andrews.
Convention Mrs Jordon reported thnt an agreement had been entered
into v.'ith the New Penticton Inn to arrange and cater for the Banouet
and that all meetings would be held in the Skaha Room of the Inn.
It was now a question of a programme of events and speakers for the
Convention that was our immediate responsibility. Mrs Jordon
wished to be relieved of this duty, as her husband's illness did
not allow her to do justice nor give the time for organizing. The
balance of her committee, Mrs Bowes .and Mr Schon consented to com- .
plete the -arrangements, and Mrs Bowes would be considered Convention
Secretary. From the discussion it wis decided to build a two-day
convention around a theme pertaining to the locality. Mr Schon
proposed and Council agreed that his general outline would have all
meetings, including the General Meeting, on Friday, and Saturday
would be a day-long field trip with the banquet at night. He was
given further assurance that the Convention should oay its way,
but in the event that it did not, the Association would underwrite .
any deficit. It was not Council's intention to spoil the main
feature of the year by being cheap. The registration fee was discussed and Council felt that the registration fee should be for the
whole Convention and no division would, be made of a day by day rate.
Moved Yandle, Seconded Barnes, that the registration fee be *5.00
per individual, $7.00 husband and wife. - Carried. The Secretary
turned over a orojected list of speakers that had been compiled
through selection for ability both in kno- ledge and delivery, who
could be solicited for their services.
A suggestion was made to the committee that the Provincial
Archives be approached to supply menu cards for the Banquet. It was
the opinion of Council that several dignitaries should be invited,
and -as Convention Secretary, Mrs Bowes should take care of this.
Mr R, Brammall was appointed Registrar for the Convention.
Under New Business, it was moved Barnes, Seconded Brammall, that the per capita contributions from member societies be raised
from 500 to $1,00, and that this be recommended to the Convention
for its consideration for the next year. - Carried.
The' sites for conventions for the next three years are as
follows: Nanaimo, 1970; Victoria 1971; Gulf Islands, 1972,
.Motion to adjourn at 4.25 p.m. - Carried.
AIJERNI  Old time residents of the Alberni Valley were special guests
at the November meeting of the Society, at which Mrs-W. C. Hamilton,
a former resident, gave an interesting talk on life in the area during
World War II. During the Christmas season items belonging to the
Society were attractively exhibited by the Port Alberni Branch of the
Vancouver Island Regional Library. These items, of 1900 vintage,
included such Christmas cards, tree ornaments, opera glasses
and hand warmers. George Clutesi's second book Potlatch has gone to
the printers and it is hoped that it will be available for the Easter
EAST KOOTENAY During the past summer the annual meeting was held at
Grasmere in the "SouthiCountry". 126 members and'guests from as far
afield as Oakland, California and Lethbridge, Alberta, sat down to a
turkey dinner. On June 16th a joint field trip with the Fernie'
Association went to Dorr and Newgate in the Kootenay River Valley,
an area which will be flooded when the Libby Dam' in Montana is completed. This trip was sponsored by the Fernie group, in addition to
oiie tc the old coal mining town of Corbin in the extreme southeast
corner of B.C. 'The fact that Corbin was one of the early strip
miniug propositions in the province - long before all the recent controversy - lent special interest to the trip. On July 21st a joint
outing with the Bonners Ferry Historical Society was held at Goat
River Crossing, near Creston. This was the site of a railroad construction camp and hospital during the building -of the Crows Nest
Railway in 1897-98. Dr W. 0. Green, son of the"doctor' who'was in
charge^-cf the original/old hospital,■ told of the' hardships and conditions his father worked .under, and the disastrous typhoid epidemic
which laid low so many of the construction workers -at that time. Mrs
J or 3 on j, President of the B.C. Association attended this outing and
gave a short talk. By popular demand, 'another field trip was held
up Wild Horse Creek to the scenes of the early day gold rush there.
The Society "expressed its appreciation'of. the "B.C. Historical News,
for bridging the gap between coastal members arid those in the far
WEST_ KOOTENAY At the first Fall meeting Trail-born Michael Roscoe
described his throe years at a teachers' training college in Tanzania,
East Africa, and brought along slides to illustrate'it. In November
Mr M.R, Landucci described his early reminiscences of 65 years in
Trail. He paid particular attention to .the Italian influence.and contribution to present day Trail. In this1 "connection he'mentioned the' 4
growth of the Cristoforo Colombo Lodge which had its beginnings in
1905 as what might be termed a "Mutual Benefit Society", at a time
when there was a complete lack of financial benefits for the working
man. Since then the Lodge has grown to include a cultural side, and
now second generation Italians attend University with the aid of Lodge
scholarships. The great explosion of 1904 in Rossland and the carnage
resulting from it were described to members at their January meeting.
Warren Crovre, who moved to Rossland as a boy before the turn of the
century told members how the explosion blew out every door and window
in the city and took the top two floors off the old War Eagle Hotel.
Only one man lost his life in the disaster. The speaker also described the Chinese market gardeners who maintained a large colony there.
He recounted experiences of fishing in Sheep Lake, and of the Black
Bear swimming pool, hot from the compressors and carrying a heavy
grease deposit.
NANAIMO Miss Pat Johnson addressed the November meeting on the late
Dr Klein Grant, an early Nanaimo doctor, Dr Grant, a Londoner, was
shipwrecked on his way to British Columbia in 1862, and arrived in
Victoria minus all his medical equipment and his extensive library.
Establishing a large practice, Dr Grant also became well known as an
authority on English literature and as a poet. He died in 1873 na
learned man, a kind physician (and) a courteous gentleman". On Nov*-
ember 27th, 1968 ceremonies to commemorate Princess Royal Day were
held at the stone cairn which marks the site of the landing, of 46
Hudson's Bay Company immigrants. They had sailed in the "Princess
Royal" from England, sailing via Honululu to Victoria, thence transshipped in Hudson's Bay Company ships "Beaver" and "Recovery" to
Nanaimo, where they were welcomed by a small group of earlier settlers.
At the close of the ceremonies, Mrs F. McGirr, Treasurer of the
Society read the roll, call of the Princess Royal passengers, of which
there were descendants from seven of the original families.
The Nanaimo Historical Society and the Nanaimo Museum Society,
together with the University of B.C. Extension Department sponsored
a If day field trip to Nanaimo emphasizing its past years as the
centre of Vancouver Island's coal industry. The programme included
introductory lectures and demonstrations, a tour of the new Nanaimo
museum and historic Bastion, and a field trip to the sites of former
large mines including the Carruthers mine at North Wellington, the
last operating mine in the area.  (Ed. I hope the event was as
successful as it sounds interesting.)
VICTORIA The first meeting of the season was held in September in
the Provincial Museum - Heritage Court. Members and visiting members
from Vancouver and the Gulf Islands met in the Newcombe Auditorium.
Col, G.S. Andrews presented the two annual History Prizes to Miss
Allison Weir and Mr Raymond Vlckery, history students at the University of Victoria. The prizes were "The Curve of Time" by Blanchet,
and R.E. Patterson's "Finlay's River". Mr Patterson autographed his
books and gave a short talk on his literary experiences. Dr Clifford
Carl escorted the visitors on a tour of the museum. At the October
meeting Commander Coning gave an illustrated talk on the Battle of
Trafalgar. In November Capt. A.W. Davidson gave an address "The
Arctic Voyages of the 'Camsell'". He was the skipper of the icebreaker and showed a unique movie taken by the Camsell crew. The annual Christmas party was held at the Old Forge with more than
100 members present. A traditional Christmas turkey dinner with trimmings was served together with a Christmas musical programme. A movie
followed depicting the Barkerville Show.
The following is a tentative programme for the Annual Convention
to be held May 22nd - 24th, 1969 at the Penticton Inn.
Thursday, May 22nd: Registration 7.00 p.m. - 8.00 p.m.
Wine & Cheese, Bar at Cost - Skaha Room.
Friday, May 23rd;   Morning: Registration 9.00 a.m. - 10.00 a.m. Skaha Rm.
Deadline for Banquet Tickets is 9.00 a.m.
Annual meeting 10.00 a.m. - Skaha Room.
Afternoon: President's Address
Visit Experimental Station by private cars.
Evening:  Guest speaker to be announced.
Saturday, May 24th  Morning: Field Trip (Box Lunch) by private car
(Box Lunches available $   from hotel)
Evening: Banquet 7.00 p m. Penticton Inn.
Reservations and travel arrangements should be made well in advance. It
is understood that room rates at the Penticton Inn are as follows:
Single $7.50; Double ftl0.50; Twin $10.50.
Each year the American Association for State and Local History
evaluates outstanding work done in the field of local history. Regional
committees search out projects of superior achievement for an Annual
Award of Merit for eight regional sections. The award is made to
persons or groups contributing significantly to the study of local
history or who have launched an innovation for disseminating local
history. Any person, group or organization, publicly or privately
financed is eligible. A nomination should not be made except in the
case of unusually meritorious work.
Our crategory is Region 2, Western Canada, comprising Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories. Chairman - Mr Raymond 0. Harrison, Director, Provincial
Museum and Archives of Alberta, Department of the Provincial Secretary,
Edmonton, Alberta.
Has any one any nominations? If so, the chairman would be
pleased to hear about them. Without prejudice or malice, aforethought, the News respectfully submits the following timely item from the Minutes of -Evidence, •
Royal Commission on the Liquor Traffic in Canada,  Item No.  39734.
"Victoria, November 23rd,
To Dr. Bradley,
Acting Secretary, Royal Commission, Liquor Traffic.
Sir, - As I fear some.of my'answers to the Honourable Commissioners
may have been misunderstood, I beg to supplement those answers in
I did not mean to"say, and I do not think I said (though you
have so.supposed) that the use of stimulants proved any superiority
either in a race,'or an individual, over an abstainer  My contention merely was that as a matter-'of fact stimulants are used
by all the Indo-Caucasian races; and that the only races who
habitually, or generally, abstain from alcoholic beverages are
generally considered inferior to thesej via,;-The Mohammedan
races generally, Hindoos and Chinese. I also stated that I had
never met a't'ot'al-abstainer who impressed-me as-possessed of extra~
ordinary excellence, morally, intellectually or physically. On
the contrary the best men I have known in every line have used
In answer to a question that people are debased by-using'j .and
improved by abstaining from stimulants, I meant to say that demonstration is scarcely possible; because if a people used alcohol
for a crertain period it would have been impossible to say what
their relative position would have been had they during the same
period-used nothing but water, and vice versa- ' I now 'wish to add
thax ail the examples I can remember certainly are contrary to
"ohe suggestion. For instance:
Eight hundred or one thousand :years ago the Mohammedan-nations
surpassed the Christian nations, in■■ arms,, in science, in literature;-
supported and at length repulsed far beyond their limits, all the
forces of Europe banded against them, and nearly alone preserved
mathematics, astronomy, medicine and philosophy from oblivion, .-
Thirty generations of water drinking on the one side and vane-
drinking on the other has not improved the relative position of
the total abstinence men; on the -.contrary, the-positions-are.- .
er.t: rely reversed, and many Christian nations-are now ablQ,<-singly,
to cope with the whole-force of •Islam. And the relative progress
of the Christian in arts arid :sciences and-learning has not been
less pronounced, but is ever more remarkable than their- advance
in armed strength.
As another example: I never heard of anybody here who ever saw
a drunken Chinaman; yet this extraordinary sobriety has not
enabled them to gain a higher position than the whisky drinking
colonists of European race. Again-:- The Mormons have been com~
pelled by their religion to be total abstainers during three generations; but they have shown as yet no superiority, physically,
morally or intellectually, over the surrounding Gentiles. It is further remarkable that whereas all Christian communities
are by the exigencies of their religion bound at least to the
occasional use of wine, communities who reject all fermented wines
or liquors are precisely those who reject Christianity. Even
among the most ignorant and barbarous savages, who delight in rum,
the aborigines of Africa, are more susceptible to the teachings of
our missionaries than are the water-drinking Arabs who oppress them.
So, too, the Indians of this continent who have universally a taste
for fire-water, are more open to Christian teachings than the
Mormons. And, I believe, the same observation holds as between the
higher and lower castes of the Hindoos.
I don't mean to say that these facts establish the utility of
whisky drinking or any mischievous properties in water. If the
Turks had been drinking spirits ever since the crusade, and the
Russians nothing but water, it is of course possible that the
reversal of their relative strengths might have been more ridiculously
obvious than it is now. I am as far from suggesting that Christianity
is founded on alcohol as that Mohammedism is based on water. All
I contend for is that the use of alcohol is compatible with great
improvement all along the line, and that .water drinking does not
preserve a nation from every sort of degradation. There is probably one subtile influence or instinct at work which impels one
race to Christianity, freedom, civilization and the juice of the
grape, and another race to Mohammedism, coffee and an indolent
barbaric depotism.(sic.)
Another expression I used, which one of the Honourable Commissioners appeared not to understand, was in answer .to a question to me
on the hypothesis that a large proportion of the community desired
the total suppression (as I understood) of the liquor trade. This
seemed to me an impossible hypothesis, at least on this continent,
much as if we were to speculate on what was or should be done if
the sky should fall. The only instance which could be quoted,
would be, I suppose, the State of Maine. But it is quite clear
that the majority of that community are not in favour of their
repressive law, but treat it (though the people are otherwise law-
abiding) with the utmost contempt. Statutes are not enacted,
but endured by a majority, not from any belief in their utility,
but from mere weariness - like the judgement of the unjust judge ~
and in the full persuasion that such provisions will speedily
become obsolete; as the "Maine Liquor Law" is already expected to be,
except for the purposes of derision.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
The following essay was- awarded the Prize in the University Section
of the B.C. Historical Association Centennial Scholarship Competition
in 1968.    It was written by Miss Jacqueline Kennedy, of the University
of British Columbia.
New Westminster in 1869, according to its principal newspaper,
The British Columbian, regarded itself as a disappointed "metropolis",
at the" end of its first decade.    In 1859 Colonel Moody, R.E. had
selected the site of New Westminster as that of the capital of the
new gold colony, British Columbia, and in i860 it became the first
Incorporated municipality in the colony.^   From the first gold rush
seasons the growing communits'' on the north bank of the Fraser
thought itself destined to be the Colony's political, economic and
social centre.    By 1869, the hopes of her citizenry2 for resident,
and responsible government, development of her economic resources,
ana her social services and institutions, had been frustrated by
tho business and official clique of rival Victoria.    The collapse
of the gold boom and misrepresentation abroad of New Westminster's
potential ware an added frustration - so her residents believed.
This process can be traced in the pages of the British Columbian.
John Rcbson, editor and publisher from 1861 to 1869, recorded the
pioneer community's aspiration to metropolitan status and fought off
any threats to such status.    The changes in New Westminster's
position ore documented in editorials, reports of memorials to the
Gevarnment,  letters to the editor, records of the voting in open
elections and accounts of Municipal and Legislative Council minutes.
Robson,  an emigrant from Canada West, had come to New Westminster
in 1859 not as a journalist, but as a gold seeker.-^    In 1861 a
group.of New Westminster boosters bought the defunct New Westminster
Times^ and hired Robson to publish the paper using its equipment.~
Jrr:i.I 1.862 Robson put out a four page edition weekly.    From April 30,
1862 until February 28, 1869 it was a semi-weekly except for just
over six months of trial weekly editions in 1865.    Robson,  of Scots
Pxaobyterian descent, considered himself a British Columbian from
Canada,    He wrote forcefully, though in a wordy and sometimes
ostentatiously Victorian manner,  in favour of British loyalties and
institutions and of the Canadian Confederation.    He wanted a better
judicial system and an Indian policy,  and. whatever else he thought
would benefit New Westminster and the Colony.    As a member of New
Westminster Municipal Council from IS64,  and after 1866 a popular
representative of the city in the Legislative Council, he promo-ted
the city's interests and his own interests.    His career,  and tnat of
his paper,  reflect the rise  and fall of New Westmins ter's hopes
frcra 1864 to 1869, from the days of struggle for a resident governor
and officials, during the happy period when New Westminster achieved
the success of being capital, up to the dark days when the seat of
government was removed to Victoria. Robson outlined a policy for New Westminster and the Colony of
Fritish Columbia in his first editorial, in the British Columbian.
February 13, 1861:
... we shall advocate ... a RESIDENT GOVERNOR, AND RESPONSIBLE
similar to those ... existing in the Eastern British Provinces
..., such changes in the Tariff as will tend to encourage commerce,
ship-building, and trade generally - the immediate improvement of
the navigation of the Fraser River - the early survey of the
public lands, and .,„ an enlightened and liberal land system ...
to keep out the speculator and encourage the actual settler ..,
a system by which the miners can .,. regulate their own affairs -
(and) direct steam <,„., communication with foreign ports ... an
export duty upon gold dust „„, the abolition of all tonnage dues,
mule taxes and tolls, except upon such roads as are completed and
in good condition.
Robson said that his paper would oppose a union with Vancouver
Island "at least until „.. union can be consummated with mutual
satisfactionn. He also opposed the favoritism in government
departments, and the auctioning of rural lands without "conditions
to (promote) „0<. settlement".
From 186-J 4-o. 186/,, New Westminster sought to become the "metropolis" of British Columbia in place of Victoria, the capital of
the Vancouver Island Colony. James Douglas ruled both colonies from
Victoria, which was the centre of official life, government business
and commercial activity; Few Westminster was left an administrative
centre only. The mainland community sought to replace Victoria as
the actual capital of British Columbia. In this struggle, New Westminster had already won some battles. The Chief Commissioner of
Lands and Works, Col. Moody, R.E. and his corps, of engineers
surveyed New Westminster and resided^there. Other colonial offices,
such as the assay, land agent , mint , and courthouse" were among
these. But Douglas, the "Autocrat of James Bay''1^ visited New
Westminster only occasionally, although his commission as governor
required him to be resident in New Westminster and leave it only
for "visits" to Vancouver Island.-^ New Westminster, however, was
not the political capital since colonial-officialdom was in Victoria
send was interested In promoting that city only.
Because cf Governor Douglas and his "Hudson's Bay Company
clique*-^ in Victoria^ charged the Columbian, New
capital and commercial centre could net progress. Victoria menaced
her hopes of becoming the "San Francisco of the North Pacific"-^
and terminus of overland and ocean communications. Even the unemployed and returned miners could not be employed by the New Westminster council-for public works projects because of Douglas1 refusal
of a loan,-^-- Neither did he press for the immigration of permanent
agricultural settlers to the Fraser Valley. * "Sectional legislation",
absentee officials, and a prejudicial tariff system, were in the
British Columbia.y s view designed to make New Westminster "tributary
to the upbuilding and commercial advancement of .,» Victoria." 10
Despite complaints from the municipal council and Colonial Treasurer
Gosset, projects like the Mint, more roads or steam communication to
the Cariboo were never pressed for by the "miserable,  stick-in-the-mud,
do-nothing .,. Government."-1-'''
New Westminster citizens and council sent memorials to the Colonial
Secretary in London,  asking for a resident Governor and officials.1**
The October 4?  1862 issue reported that a public meeting had delegated
the Honorable Mr Malcolm Cameron to go to England to ask for representative and responsible government, for overland continental communication,
and for diffusion of true information about the colony's resources,
as opposed to the propaganda that would undoubtedly be spread by the
Victoria delegate Mr Leonard McClure.    New Westminster insisted that
it was more than a branch office of the Island centre of . officialdom.
New Westminster felt capable of showing her Victoria "Granny ...  we
are abundantly able to get along without a hold on her apron string."^
Yet New Westmins ter, aware of her dependence on Victoria, feared early
proposals for union of the two colonies*^ would make her "bankrupt
and arasious sister" the  official capital of both Island and Mainland.
New TJestminster prided itself in being the true capital of the
mainland gold colony.    She had been chosen as such by Moody,  and
surveyed and settled by both his engineers and those early citizens
catering to the miner traffic.    They felt the Douglas "Czarship"21
could be only temporary, until British Columbia had enough permanent
population to support popular institutions,  since her people, though
not all British as Douglas wished, had as "Canadians"  or Americans,
experienced liberal British-style institutions.    Victoria, however,
had the undeniable advantage of having been an established administrative centre as a Hudson's Bay Post before New Westminster's birth.
Victoria had not only the officials of both colonies, but also the.
presence of a Royal Navy base.    She also had her Legislative Assembly
while New Westminster lacked even a popular representative on the
Governor's Council to voice its cry for removal of the capital to
New Westminster.
New Westminster's political voice was her municipal council,  the
"first representative body in the colony".22    jn the absence  of popular or official representation in the colonial government, the municipal council led the community in demanding its proper place as the
capital and due attention to its economic and social needs,  whether
it be for hospitaler tho use of the Mint,24   Thus the New Westminster
municipal council, having been given as a sop by the "Victoria Despotism",  served in place of representative colonial institutions     Even
when British Columbia was granted a Legislative Council in 1864, New
Westminster was a minority in it with only one member.    The New Westminster council, by responsible mature action,  inspired such projects
as the hospital, exploration of non-mineral resources in the New
Westminster district, and representation at the London Industrial
Exhibition to promote investment and immigration.25    Likewise,
petitions to the Colonial Secretary strove to show the fitness of the
community for self-government.
New Westminster's eagerness for capital status made her over- government and commercial control of the country.
position,^0 climate,31 good agricultural soils,^
confident and blind to Victoria's advantages and to some of her own
disadvantages.    Absentee officials were not interested in her development.    She was founded after Victoria and placed second in the minds
of the Victoria-dwelling colonial officials, regarding investments,
public works' and promotion for permanent settlement by immigration.
Editor Robson repeatedly attacked the Victoria Colonist's      misrepresentation of New Westminster's potential as a capital or commercial,
centre,    Yet the "Family Compact"  of despQtic Victoria had several
strong newspapers speaking for it whereas New Westminster had only
one.   ^   The New Westminster newspaper concentrated on local intelligence f.  sinaae mail service, even from Victoria, was poor, and after
1863 the paper did not have even the contract for official notices. 8
New Westminster, although in a commercial sense only an adjunct-
to the Victoria gold rush traffic, still saw itself as, potentially,
British Columbia's premier business community because it was the
portal to the Cariboo.    So it fought Victoria for supremacy both as
a port and a commercial metropolis.    The New Westminster business
community counted as an asset the Fraser River -"Our Tham'~'ct"29 for
Her geographical
not to mention
expanding shipping companies, merchants and hostelrles in the
"emporium of commerce"-^ advertising in the British Columbian, who
served the influx of miners.    Moreover, New Westminster was the
official porfc of deep sea entry for the colony of British Columbia
and had a Customs House and resident Colonial Treasurer.-^
New Westminster'was just a stop over for river traffic, not
on ocean terminus,  or even a centre of a great river commerce.    The
tonnage dues'received at the port were not applied to the eradication
of the tidal river's navigational hazards as the Municipal Council
wished.35   & lightship36 was needed on the often fog bound sandbars
at the harbour's mouth.    The British Columbian however tried to
argue away the port's disadvantages.    It praised Captain Richard's
pioneering efforts sailing the HMS "Hecate" right up to New Westminster..-"5''    The character of shipping in the'i860's, that is,?
sailing dippers for ccean freight and only coastal steamers'
going up-river afrber the transshipment of ocean cargoes in Victoria,
meant  '.hat New Westminster was bypassed by minera eh route from'
the Cariboo to Victoria or San Francisco.    The British Columbian
camps i^ned for "Direct Steam Communication''  as the "Great Desideratum*'''" of her commercial growth, which would bring the miners'
business as well as a better mail service.    It "attacked the "Venice
of the Pacific"^0 - Victoria - for its free port.    The situation
where :!the Commerce of British Columbia" was imported via Victoria
was "the1 mere temporary result of the direct interference of a
partisan Governor and local clique whose"interQsts ... were inimical
to the commercial prosperity and supremacy of New Westminster" ..^
Through Victoria-Abased officialdom, the port lay undeveloped and
projected connecting roads wore unbuilt," while bad'publicity was
circulated abroad about those in New Westminster v4io sought
"reforms"^ 0f government policy,
Robson stoutly maintained that Victoria was ,:little better 12
than? a temporary forwarding station for New Westminster".^   Although J
the British Columbian extolled the lively community life of the few
resident officials, the Royal Engineers and merchants - churches,
plays, debates, lectures and volunteer rifle companies - no great
influxes of permanent settlers were noted.    New Westminster lacked
amenities for permanent or temporary settlement.    On July 18, 1861
300 children over five years of age were reported to be ready for
the non-existent free non-sectarian Common School.    Miners did not
take up the invitation to spend the winter in New Westminster.^
Poor mail service was a constant complaint.    On January 2, 1862 Mr'
Ballou was reported to be setting out for "up river towns"  in a
canoe.    The large Indian population was an "evil upon two grounds -
moral and sanitary".4-6   Contagious diseases spread quickly as in
the smallpox epidemic of 1862.    The few existing services,  such as
the Royal Columbian Hospital^7 and the "Local Industrial"Exhibition"
with its buildings^-8 had been provided by volunteer civic effort,
solicited at public meetings.    Permanent settlement, Robson contended,
must be founded on a more stable economic base than gold.    Development
of non-mineral resources, "the lumber and fish",4-9 around New Westminster had only just begun.    The British Columbion complained that
the "Royal Engineers in British Columbia"^u had not been used to
survey these resources or the best access routes to them.
The year 1864 marks the end oS. a phase of the campaign when
New Westminster achieved one of its objectives with the separation
of the governorships of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.    New
Westminster acquired her own resident governor, Frederick Seymour.5-"-
The absentee officials had to move to the community on the Fraser,
said a British Columbia Legislature sat in the Royal Engineers camp
in Sapperton.52   still,  in face of the depression in placer mining
and increased Victoria competition, New Westminster hoped for other
government actions to preserve and promote her place on the mainland.
A resident governor and his officials were naturally the chief
assets in the fight for retention of commercial standing.    The
British Columbian praised officials, including administrator Birch,53
who championed New Westminster's commercial interests in face of
Victoria's competition, during Seymour's fifteen month absence
during 1865 and 1866.    Results of their work could be seen in the
more frequent postal system, which also doubled the colonial revenues
in 1865,   •' and in the new telegraphic link which brought the news
of Lincoln*s assassination to the April 20,  1865 British Columbian-
pages.    The municipal council continued to take action to promote
New Westminster commercially.    Henry Holbrook,  a leading merchant
and president of the council,  led the council in calling a public
meeting to protest Victoria's publicists1',  especially "Donald Fraser
and the capital agitators'   selfish and unprincipled endeavour" to
slander New Westminster abroad while promoting Victoria. 55
Robson,  already a member of the council, continued to promote
his constituency's commercial potential when ho became a member of
the Legislative Council in 1866.56    He advocated retrenchment in the
civil .service, abolition of tolls and taxes on traffic to or through
New Westminster,  and inducement of permanent agricultural settlement
in her area by road construction new lands legislation, and
reduction of Fraser Valley Indian Reserve lands. 13
Yet despite New Westminster's hopes for government action to
preserve her position, economic depression and retrenchment frustrated
her commercial dreams.    Depression, argued the Columbian, grew from
"overtrading" and "overspeculatiorf'5' in the mines. This, in turn, led
to a call for retrenchment in the governmental service by union of
British Columbia and Vancouver Island with the threat of removal of
the capital to Victoria.5°   And even when union came and Victoria lost
its free port, the "Victoria Wharf Street Chapmen" and Hudson's Bay-
"Blanket aristocracy"T/ were able to turn this to their temporary
advantage.    They had stockpiled goods before union,  arid then dumped
them en the mainland markets60 without paying the British Columbia
tariff, thus hurting New Westminster merchants and halving the
Colony's customs revenue.    Then a new threat arose.    Waddington,
seen in New Westminster as voice of the Victoria clique in Canada
and England .,6! agitated for an overland- railway route via Bute Inlet
to Victoria, threatening New Westminster's hopes of becoming the
centre of a Fraser Valley route.    Ironically, in combatting this
menace, the British Columbian nc longer sought to argue away the
New Westminster river port's disadvantages but came to oxtol the
harbour of Burrard Inlet,62 "only six- miles away" as "our outer
harbour" and future site of a drydeck, railway terminus and deep sea
port.    Furthermore, the British Columbian complained of the "unaccountable stupidity" of the colonial government in not employing its
capital in the development of silver or copper mines in the New
Westminster district to aid the colony and the city.63    Legislation
that did come in,  such as the Trades License Ordinance of 1866,64
hurt the commercial life  of the city by imposing direct-taxes■on its.
tradesmen.,  as had "The Customs Amendment Ordinance of 1865"°5 by
imposing a 50$" tariff on all goods passing through Victoria and
then landing in New Westminster - reinforcing the habit of river
traffic to bypass New Westminster.
•  The .New Westminster community trembled with rumours that
political as well as commercial destiny would pass"her by.    The
great annual migrations to the mines lessened and calls for retrenchment by amalgamation of government offices and residences were
heard, in the newspaper and Legislative Council.    Under Douglas'
dual regime over British Columbia and Vancouver Island and un'T
Seymour's separate administration of British Columbia, New Westminster had never ceased to fear that Victoria might officially
remove" the "Seat of Government" from New WGstminster..66   Under
Seymour, resident in New Westminster and her champion in speeches
and actions,6'i New Westminster had felt in a stronger position.
Seymour fought for the improvement of her harbour, for a lightship'
and for communications by a direct New Westminste'r - San Francisco
steamer service.    He had, moreover, pronounced confidence in New
Westminster as the site sanctioned by the British Parliament"8'for
the capital of British Columbia.    Even his fifteen month absence
from the colony in-1865 and 1866 was seen as an asset to British
Columbia and New Westminster,  since New Westminster hoped that
while in England he would convey to the Colonial Office the "absurdity"
of uniting the colonies and underline Victoria's jealousy and misrepresentation of New Westminster.69 14
Seymour had seen how the Legislative Council members from
Cariboo had supported New Westminster^ against proposals for union
with Vancouver Island, and how New Westminster itself had enhanced its
fitness as the seat of government by providing volunteer defence,
when threatened by Fenians'^ and Indians.^2 Seymour had probably also
read in Robson's paper that the community strongly held to the "public
faith and honour'1'^ placed in New Westminster as capital. New Westminster was fighting to retain this position against Victoria
because she considered herself more "central", defensible", and
"certain to be the head of (transcontinental)' railway and ocean
communication", once the new Dominion of Canada should extend itself
across the continent, '*+ Thus the prospect of Confederation when it
became, a public issue in 1867, was seen as enhancing New Westminster's
position. A public meeting, about "Confederation"'''? ? of the New
Westminster community was prepared to petition the Governor and
Council to have British Columbia join Confederation particularly if
the overland road from Canada to the Pacific would be via New
Westminster and Burrard Inlet, rather than Bute Inlet and Victoria.
Yet the Colonial Office saw the "possible expediency" of
removing the capital of the depressed colony to Victoria, and acted
upon the plea of the non-Few Westminster majority of the British
Columbia-Legislative Council for such removal. Seymour's obedient
"submission" to his "superior officers" swung "the balance" of New
Westminster opinion "sadly against the governor".^ Municipal
Council President Holbrook, -who gave the Victoria Day address to the '
annual civic celebration on May 24, 1868, could not believe that
H.M. the Queen could "countenance such an injustice."'''?
The melancholy that now fell upon the community deprived of
capital and commerce is seen in Robson's admission that "depression"
had fallen upon him too, and that he would continue to publish his-
"labour of love" only as long as "public patronage''' and "confidence"
continued. On March 2, 1867 he had had to let go his assistant and
partner, McMillan. Editorials now advocated retrenchment, instead
of advertising new mining strikes and traffic, or reporting development of resources and public works. Advertisements declined, the
paper came out on Saturdays only after November 14, 1868 and the
price doubled.
From May 25: 1863 when Victoria was proclaimed the Seat of
Government, the Nexv Westminster community sought to promote local
development by promotion of the amenities left to her as a colonial
village. New Westminster's Municipal Council championed this
fight to sustain life in the community. "A Contrast" was seen in
the speed at which the officials., so long in moving to the mainland
capital, now rushed to Victoria, leaving New Westminster "out in the
cold of official neglect".'8 New Westminster counted on her remain-"
ing citizens, their newspaper, and telegraphic links to help her, not
to fight Victoria as before, but merely to remain alive. New Westminster Council continued to seek the return of the capital or some
compensation for its loss to property holders. °   The Council had
told Governor Seymour,before the capital's "removal to Victoria, that
its loss to New Westminster would mean a fall in land prices, taxes,
and the Council's defaulting on its debts.SO New Westminster hoped 15
for an increased voice on the Legislative Council; "now that the Seat
of Government (had) been carried away to Victoria the Governor (couid
not) afford to "pack1!, the Council with Victorians as he had done in
the past".81 Confederation became the^great political arid econpmic'
panacea, that would revivify and rejuvenate New Westminster, as a
railway and ocean communication terminus. The British Columbian
reported a proposal for a naval base at Boundary Bay to protect New
Westminster as such a terminus.°2
New Westminster, in order to stay alive, sought to promote what
commercial facilities were left in the town and district. "The Resources
and Prospects of the New Westminster District", an editorial, for
August 8, 1868, said that, even after the "capital swindle"., New-
Westminster still possessed as assets its climatej river, harbour-at.
Burrard Inlet, fisheries, forests, coal and farmlands. It looked-
hopefully to government action to develop the Fraser Valley, by a
survey, by reduction of Indian reserves8^ and construction of a rood
to Pitt River. Any news of development of New Vfestminster's resources
was seized upon with alacrity, such as the May 9, 1868 British Columbian's inclusion of a letter to Syme, a pioneer salmon Conner, praising his product. An Agricultural Exhibition organized by- volunteer
committees touted New Westminster's potential in 1867. Victoria,
however, threatened these aspirations with-demands for free trade8^
and free port status again, which ,she had surrendered on entering
British Columbia in 1866.
By 1869, New TJestminster seemed completely disappointed in all
her hopes to become the "metropolis" of the "British Pacific" -,85
She had fought for, and won, -a political status equal to Victoria, but
had not succeeded in wresting away commercial control of the mainland
from the "Venice of the Pacific".°6 Hecause of the gold rush decline
and resulting retrenchment, New Westminster had lost, its-capital.
status. Her destiny clouded,, she had few industries and. a.continually
falling population, arid the mournful decline of ambition, as well as
confidence in the city was reflected in the British Columbian. An
editorial of January 2, 1869 said:
„ . . Victoria seconded by corrupt influences in England,, carried
the Seat of Government away from the Mainland to the great inconvenience of the most important and productive part of the colony,
and to the gross wronging of a loyal and industrious community . , .
(Yet) it is at least.some satisfaction to know that (the people of
Victoria) cannot deprive us of our natural advantages', pr hinder
ultimate prosperity.
By February 27, 1869>  the "Valedictory" of the newspaper was
published, echoing the disappointment of the community it. had served.
New Westminster (had) ceased to be a favourable base from which to
advocate the broader political questions of the day. and (Robson)
reluctantly (sought) the centre of population and commerce with the.
hope of attaining a wider range of usefulness \   . ,". in a better
position to promote the interests of New Westminster . . . 16
1. McDonald, Margaret L.    New Westminster,  1859-1871. Unpublished
M.A. thesis, University of B.C., 1947. Chap.l "The founding of New
Westminster" p.1-53.  (Subsequently referred to as McDonald. New Westminster. )
2. Population figures for early New Westminster (pre 1871) are difficult to obtain.    Reid, James, John Robson and the British Columbian:  a
study of a pioneer editor in British Columbia-r Unpublished M.A.  thesis,
University of B.C., 1950, and McDonald. New Westminster, discuss the
fluctuating character of the city's population in the goldrush days.
From their accounts, drawn from newspapers and census figures, the
population of New Westminster probably numbered about 1800 in the
early sixties and fell to 400 or 500 in New Wostminster (excluding
the 250 people working at,  or living at Burrard Inlet Mills) by the
time of the 1869 census.
3. Biographical ihformation on Robson is taken from Reid's thesis
on Robson,  and Howay, F.  and E. Scholefield.  British Columbia (Biographical) Vol. 3,  p.996-1002.    After publishing the British Columbian in
New Westminster from 1861 to 1869, Robson went to Victoria and after
a short time joined the Colonist staff.    From 1871 to 1875 he was
Member of the Legislative Assembly for Nanaimo.    From 1875 to 1879
he was paymaster for the C.P.R.    In 1879 Robson returned to New
Westminster.    In 1882 he re-established tho British Columbian and was
elected to the Legislature for that constituency.    In 1887 and again
in 1889 Robson was made Premier of British Columbia.
4. Editorial:  "A government organ", the British Columbian, New
Westminster, May 13, 1863     Robson said that government patronage had
caused McClure to establish the New Westminster Times in i860 and
public indignation had caused the citizens to purchase it and hire
Robson as editor of a public  organ.     (The British Columbian is subsequently referred to as Br.Col.)
5. Br.Col. Feb.  13,  1S61
6. Br.Col. July 18, 1863
7. Br.Col. Aug,30,  1862
8. Br.Col. May 7, 1862
9. Br.Col. May 28, 1864
10. Br.Col. Nov.28, 1861
11. Br.Col. May 2,  ]£6l
12. Br.Col. March 6,  1862
13. Br.Col. April 4, 1861
14. Br.Col. Dec.13, 1862
15. Br.Col. J.ane 2,  1862
16. Br.Col. Sept.  9,  1861
17. Br.Col.  Aug.  27,  1862
18. Br.Col. April 4,  1861
19. Br.Col, Feb.21,  1861
20. Br.Col. Sept.  26,  1863
21. Br.Col. April 4,  1861
22. Br.Col. Aug.  1,  1861
23. Br.Col. Dec.   5,  1861
24. Br.Col. N0v.  14, 1861
25. Br .Col. June
26. Br.Col. June
27. Br.Col.
24, 1863
18, 1862
June 24,  1863
28, McDonald, New Westminster,  p. 398-9, and Br.Col. Jan.24,  1863.
Robson explained his loss of the government gazette business to
Wolfeirtien at the R\ Eng,  press,  as the result of his refusal to become
the servile tool of a corrupt government. 17
32. Fr.Col. Feb.4, 1863
33. Br.Col. July 18, 1861
29. Br.Col. June 25, 1862
30. Br.Col. March 21,  1861
31. Br.Col. Sept.  13, 1862
34. Farthing, G. The port of New Westminster. Unpublished term paper,
University of B.C., 1958-59.  (Subsequently referred to as Farthing.
The Port.)
Farthing says that Douglas by two proclamations in June 1859 established
the future New Westminster as a deep sea port and customs depot.
35. Br.Col. Nov.11, 1863 59.
36. Br.Col. Feb.28,  1861   '. JoO.
37. Br.Col. March 28, 1861 '61.
38. Farthing. The Port.  p.27-29        62.
39. Br.Col. June 20, 1861 63.
40. Br.Col. Aug.29, 1863   ' 64.
41. Br.Col. Feb.2, 1863' 65.
42. Br.Col., 1863   ' 66.
43. Br.Col. March 27, 1862. A ... .67,
letter from James Kennedy support-68.
ed Robson's editorial comment that69.
Gov. Douglas altered the .priae. 70.
essays on B.C. and wanted none but71.
"toadies" to his regime to submit 72.
44. Br.Col. Feb. 7,
Oct. 28, 1S65
May 3, 1862
Dec. 5, 1861
Nov.21, 1861
April 1, 1863
Feb.25, 1863
April 25, 1864
May 11, 1864
Nov. 17, 1866
Br.Col. Sept. 9, 1865
Br.Col. Feb. 19, 1868
Br.Col. Sept. 9, 1866..'
Br. Col. July 28, 1866
Br.Col. March 3, 1866
Br.Col* Septi3<), I864
Br.Col. N0v. 13, 1866
Br.Col.-.Feb. 26, 1868
Br.Col. June 19, 1867
Br;Col. Jan.11, 1868
Br.Col. Feb.24, 1866
Br.Col. Feb;18, 1865
Br.Col. Aug. 8, 1866
Br.Col. May 11, I864
Br.Col. March 30, 1868
Br.Col. Aug.10, 1865
Br-.Col. May-;7, <1864
Br.Col. May 9, 1868
Br.Col. Vug.6, I864
Br.Col. April 20, 1867
Br.Col. Aug. 8, 1866
Br. Col; April 4, 1868
Br.Col. March 13, 1868
Br.Col. May 27, 1868
Br.Col.-Feb. 24, 1866
Br.Col. Oct. 12, 1868
Br.Col. April 15, 1868
Br.Col. Jxme  27, 1868
Br.Col. April 9, 1868
Br.Col. July 1, 1868
Br.Col. Nov". 11,- 1868'
Br.Coli'Jan.9', 1869
Br.Col. March 7, 1868 r 18
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Executive Committee:
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Mr H. R. Brammall
Mr G. E. Bowes.'
Mr P. A. Yandle.
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Mr H. B. Nash
Col. Gr. S.  Andrews
Mr P. A. Yandle
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