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REPORT OF THE AGENT-GENERAL FOR THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA FOR THE YEAR 1896. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1897

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 60 Vict. Agent-General's Report. 833
REPORT
AGENT-GENERAL  FOR   THE   PROVINCE   OP   BRITISH  COLUMBIA
FOR  THE  YEAR   1896.
Sir,—I have the honour to enclose herewith statement showing to some extent the work
of this office during the past year.
I have, etc.,
F. G. Vernon.
The Hon. Col. Baker,
Provincial Secretary, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to report that during the past year a greatly increased interest
in the Province has been exhibited by the British and French public, and this interest is-
steadily gaining ground. Quite a number of people from England visited our country last
summer, many representing or able to influence capital, and it is satisfactory to state that all
I have seen returned most favourably impressed with the Province as a field for investment
and full of enthusiasm for the great future before it.
The reports of Prof. Carlyle have been of great service in furnishing reliable information
regarding the different mining camps upon which he has reported. I sent the " Times," " Pall
Mall Gazette," and other newspapers, copies, from which extracts have been published from
time to time. The financial press generally has also been kept supplied with what I have had
to distribute, and some have published British Columbia mining information at considerable
length. It seems to be generally admitted in London that during the next and following
years our Province will take a leading place in the way of attracting European capital for
investment in our mining and other industries.
On application to Dr. Dawson, C.M.G., that gentleman was kind enough to furnish me
with a complete set of volumes of the Geological Survey Department of Canada, and these are
often perused with much interest by visitors to this office. I would suggest that, as the
mineral wealth of British Columbia is of so much greater extent and variety than that of the
other Provinces of Canada, so far as at present known, the Reports of the Dominion Geological
Department on each Province be published separately instead of all the Reports being embodied
in one cumbrous volume. There is such a demand for official information regarding the
minerals of British Columbia that if arrangements can be made with the Geological Department
to secure a few thousand copies of a report dealing- exclusively with our minerals a very useful
purpose would be served.
The great seal of the Province, with the new Coat of Arms and new motto, was, after
considerable correspondence with Mr. Wyon, F.S.A. (engraver to Her Majesty), and several
interviews with him, successfully completed, and, as it complies with the requirements of the
Heralds' College, has, I trust, given satisfaction. I may remark though the lettering round
the seal may appear to run backwards I am informed by Mr. Wyon that it is strictly correct.
Several inquiries from responsible people have been received regarding our fisheries, but
as this industry is largely under the control of the Dominion Government, I have been unable
to furnish them with further information than is contained in the Reports of the Boards of
Trade of Victoria and Vancouver. I understand that as yet the relative positions of the
Province and the Dominion Government regarding the control of the fisheries of the Province
have not been absolutely settled. A few dozen copies of an official report appertaining
exclusively to British Columbia would be very valuable. 834 Agent-General's Report. 1896
The consignment of apples forwarded from Mr. Earl's farm at Lytton for exhibition
purposes, I have already informed you were so bruised on arrival as to be quite unfit for
exhibition purposes, though a number of people saw and admired them.
The greatest care should be exercised in the packing of fruit for exhibition purposes ; not
only should each specimen be wrapped in paper, but also in cottonwool or some similar covering.
Upon the 29th of August I had the honour to receive a letter from the Government
informing me of my appointment as representative Governor for the Province at the Imperial
Institute, and a day or two afterwards received a letter from Sir Fred. Abel, Bart., Secretary
and General Director, upon the same subject, and requesting me to allow myself to be placed
on the Standing Committee for the Colonies.
This latter matter has not, I understand, yet been brought up before the Council owing
to a change in the management, Sir Somers Vine retiring at the close of last year. Sir Alfred
Jephson, R.N., has been appointed the Assistant Secretary and is taking energetic steps to
make the Institute more attractive and more nearly accomplish the object for which it was
constructed.
Since the commencement of the year four popular lectures have been given at the
Institute on Canada and its Provinces. At the first, dealing with the whole of Canada, Sir
Donald Smith presided. The second lecture was upon the Province of Ontario, the third
embraced Manitoba and the North-West Territories, Sir Fred. Abel presiding. The fourth
and last was on British Columbia by Pro. Odium of Vancouver, at which I had the honour of
taking the chair. All the lectures were well attended, the one on British Columbia especially
so, the large room being completely filled. Pro. Odium gave an exceedingly good lecture,
which created much interest : unfortunately it is impossible to procure here photographs of
the character required to illustrate our mining, timber, fishing, agricultural and other resources.
Some views were kindly lent by the Canadian Pacific Railway Co., and some by the High
Commissioner's Office, but they by no means were of the representative description required to
convey a proper idea of our country.
It is much to be regretted the views I am advised are en route did not arrive in time,
They will, however, be valuable on future occasions, as it is the intention of the authorities to
continue the series of lectures dealing with England's Colonial Possessions. A lecture to be
devoted entirely to the mining interests of British Columbia is in contemplation as soon as the
services of a qualified gentleman can be secured.
Attached to this report will be found a letter from Pro. Odium giving an account of the
work he has been doing in the way of imparting information respecting Canada and our
Province in different parts of the United Kingdom.
It may not be out of place here to suggest to the Government the desirability of improving
the British Columbia Court at the Imperial Institute by having a more varied and creditable
exhibit of our products. Many of the Colonies have been at much pains and expense to render
their courts attractive and illustrative, and it seems a pity when such an opportunity is presented
of enabling the many thousands of visitors to realise and appreciate the great natural wealth of our
Province, it should not be taken advantage of to its fullest extent. A really good exhibit is a
valuable permanent advertisement, and even with the present indifferent display I am informed
by Mr. Harrison Watson, the Canadian Curator, that every clay he has a number of enquiries
about our country. Mr. Fannin, the Government Curator, has taken the measurements of our
court and I am confident if allowed a free hand could make it one of the best in the building.
With regard to the appointment of sub-agents to this office at Liverpool and elsewhere,
concerning which I have addressed several letters to the Government and received its consent
to submit the names of suitable firms for their consideration, I have as yet taken no action.
Mr. Ralph Baker, of Messrs. Baker Bros., Liverpool, is prepared to undertake the duties
described in his letter to me of the 16th November last, but, whilst expressing his willingness
to give his time and services without remuneration, considers it would be unreasonable to
expect him to be out of pocket the sum required to pay postage on the books, pamphlets, <fec,
which he would be called upon to distribute. As the amount voted, $1,000, for office contingencies does not, with the strictest economy, cover the expenses of the office here, it was
of course impossible for me to guarantee the sum he asked to cover the expense mentioned,
viz., $250.    The matter has therefore been allowed to drop.
The third Congress of the Chambers of Commerce of the Empire met on the 9th of June
and completed its work on the 13th. The Right Hon. Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, the Hon.
President, opened the proceedings in an eloquent speech, and the Congress continued its work
under the Presidency of Sir Alfred Rollit. 60 Vict. Agent-General's Report. 835
In common with other Agents-General I had the honour to be appointed an Honorary
Vice-President and attended the Congress upon several occasions. The attention shown
towards the delegates and members by the London Chamber of Commerce and the facilities
furnished to enable them to appreciate the vast interests at stake, deserves to be recorded.
There can be no doubt but that a great and permanent good was accomplished by the discussions
that took place, enabling the visitors to more thoroughly understand the complications
surrounding- the carrying out of the different plans advocated for the purpose of establishing
closer commercial relations between Great Britain and her Colonies and Dependencies.
Upon an invitation from the London Chamber of Commerce, I attended a meeting at
Botolph House on the 18th January, the Hon. R. R. Dobell in the chair, convened for the
purpose of considering the desirability of organising a mining section or sub-section to represent
the interests of British Columbia. After considerable discussion it was resolved to reorganise
the Canadian Trade Section of the Chamber to embrace all Canadian interests. General
Laurie, M.P., was elected President of the Section, with myself as Vice-President; and it is
hoped by this means the industries of Canada, including of course those of our Province, will
receive a greater amount of attention than in the past.
This office has proved of much use to the public here, and though some dissatisfaction has
been expressed at the meagreness of the information to be obtained respecting Provincial
resources, this will soon be remedied by the new Year Book shortly to be published by Mr.
Gosnell, and the more comprehensive official reports shortly to be issued by the Government.
Many companies have been formed in England during the past year for the purpose of
investing capital in the Province, and others are merely waiting a recovery of the markets to
broach new enterprises. These have been greatly assisted by the facilities and information
afforded since the establishment of this office. Of course here, as elsewhere, companies are
formed of a largely speculative character, and some may find a difficulty in realising their
anticipations. Still a number of bona, fide enterprises on good business lines are under way,
and, as proved by the experience of other countries, only by such means is the interest created
and the capital obtained which is so imperatively required for Provincial development.
I may mention that it was in contemplation at one time by some well-known firms in the
city, interested in the Province, to form a British Columbia Chamber of Mines in London for the
purpose of furnishing the public in this country with reliable mining information. Many
difficulties, however, presented themselves and, as yet no definite determination has been
arrived at.
It is to some extent difficult to describe in detail the work of this office. Visitors have
been interviewed upon a variety of subjects—the resourses of the Province generally and the
chances of their meeting with success in mining, assaying, chemical analyzing, farming, cattle
and fruit raising, in the legal and medical professions, as teachers of music, singing and
languages, and all branches of education, as electrical and civil engineers, etc., etc. Many
have gone out with a view of prosecuting their professions, taking with them a fair amount of
capital. I invariably discountenance anyone going out unless with sufficient means to support
himself for at least twelve months after arrival.
Though some few of these go to Victoria, the majority leave the C.P.R. at Revelstoke,
Sicamous, Kamloops or Ashcroft, booking direct from Liverpool to the point to which they
have made up their minds to proceed in British Columbia, with a view of prosecuting mining,
farming or other avocation.
The letters received request information upon every conceivable subject, and include such
matters as correspondence with foreign consuls, who address me with a view of eliciting
information regarding the estates of people who left their native country and have died in
British Columbia. Most of the letters are of such a character that replies cannot be written
by anyone, however willing, without experience in the Province, and have to be attended to
by myself personally.
It will be noticed by statement in Appendix "A" that during the past year (1896) the
number of letters received at this office is 930, as against 662 for 1895 ; letters sent out, 813,
as against 622 in 1895; the number of pamphlets, etc., distributed, 4,255, as against 3,511 in
1895 ; and the number of visitors, 737, as against 439 in 1895.
The sum of £17 has been received from the sale of maps, copies of Mineral, Company and
other Acts, for, though copies of the 1893 map are sent gratis, as well as all books, pamphlets,
etc., a charge of one shilling is made for copies of Acts that are asked for by companies and
others for private purposes, and a charge of five shillings for the 1895 map of the Province. 836 Agent-General's Report. 1896
The months of January and February for this year (1897) have brought 192 visitors to
this office, as against 140 for the first two months of last year, and the letters received during
the same period have increased from 100 in 1895 to 180 in 1896, to 220, 1897, rendering
it a difficult task to keep the correspondence up to date with the clerical assistance allowed,
more especially as, irrespective of private business, I am from time to time called away to visit
the Imperial Institute, the London Chamber of Commerce, or to attend to some public business.
A perusal of the statement of account between the Government and this office for the year
ending 31st December, 1896, herewith submitted, shows an expenditure of £234 9s. 5d. for
rent and office contingencies, and receipts $1,000 (amount voted), plus £17, sale of maps, etc.,
say in all £223 3s. 6d., leaving, a debit balance of £11 6s.
I have, etc.,
F. G. Vernon.
The Hon. the Provincial Secretary,
Victoria, B. G.
ADDENDA.
I may perhaps be allowed to call attention to the insufficiency of the sum voted last
session (vote 263) for rent and office contingencies. In the estimates for the year 1895-96 the
sum of $5,000 (vote 253) was voted for London office, salaries and contingencies, of which
sum $4,000 was for salary and $1,000 for office expenses.    (See vote 248.)
As a matter of fact, rent and office expenses, including the cost of furnishing, etc.,
amounted to the sum of $2,007, thus reducing my own salary to something less than $3,000. At
the last session of the Legislature the vote was reduced from $5,000 to $3,500 (vote 263), of which
$2,500 was for salary and $1,000 for rent and office contingencies. By the exercise of the
strictest economy and by the sum received from the sale of maps, etc. (£17), I have managed
to keep the expenditure to within about £11 of the sum voted.
The rent alone, including cleaning, electric lighting, firing, etc., takes over one-half of the
amount voted, and, as explained in my report of last year, that though I spent several weeks
endeavouring to secure suitable offices at a cheaper rate, I found it quite impossible to do so.
The item of postage is one difficult to control, and at the same time to reply to the letters
received and forward the books, pamplets, etc., that are asked for. This item has increased
from £13 in 1894-95 to £23 in 1895-96, and from the greatly increased interest that is now
being taken in the Province and the consequent desire for information respecting it, the
amount required for postage in the coming year will be considerably larger.
The only assistant that I have in the office at the present time is Mr. B. W. Martin (19
years of age), son of the Rev. W. Martin, of St. Dunstan's, Fleet street. He is regular in his
daily attendance at the office, typewrites fairly well, and gives me every satisfaction. It is
scarcely to be expected that I shall be able to retain his services for the slender remuneration
he now receives, namely, at the rate of $10 a month. This, however, is all the vote will allow.
An office boy would be very useful, as in the event of my being called away and Mr. Martin
at lunch, it is extremely undesirable to be obliged to close the office during the day for even
half an hour. He would be also useful for copying letters, taking messages, making up packages
of pamphlets, etc., and taking them to the post. I think the services of such a boy could be
obtained for $5 or $6 a month.
I may state that, in addition to the literature sent away to individual inquirers, I am
constantly forwarding consignments of what I may have on hand for distribution, to the
Imperial Institute, the offices of the High Commissioner for Canada, the offices of the Canadian
Pacific Railway Co., Mr. Odium and others. 60 Vict. Agent-General's Report. 837
635, Fulham Road, S. W., 3rd February, 1897.
The Hon. F. G. Vernon,
Agent-General for British Columbia.
Dear Sir,—I beg to state that since arriving in England I have given 63 addresses of all
sorts. These were given before various grades of schools, churches, chapels, and general
audiences.
In addition I attended many fairs and visited numerous markets, where by many methods
my subject, that of British Columbia, was brought before the attention of farmers, gardeners,
poultrymen, speculators and others. By writing to papers, weeklies, and monthlies, and by a
continual distribution of literature, I reached very many, several of whom have addressed me
by letter.
It has also been my privilege to address several educated and science bodies, which work
may be considered of very great importance.
You will readily understand that at times the very conditions under which I speak
necessitate either a very general treatment of the subject or a special reference to only a
portion of the Province. However, in all cases I make it a point to lay emphasis on the main
features in a way that usually excites interest, which, when once aroused, may lead to valuable
results.
I have visited many farmers, fishing and mining centres, and large factories, and in all
cases have aimed at turning attention to the resources of our Province.
Lastly, I may add that in the social circle, at free reading rooms, public libraries, institutes
and similar places I have done my best to make known to the British public something of our
country and the advantages it offers to certain classes.
I am, etc.,
E. Odlum.
APPENDIX "A."
1896. 1895.
The number of pamphlets on British Columbia and its  resources,  and on
mining, agriculture, etc., that have been distributed from  this office
personally and by post  4,255        3,511
The number of callers who have been interviewed on  matters connected
with the Province     	
The number of letters received     	
The number of letters sent out	
737
439
930
662
813
622
APPENDIX "B."
Expenses of Office from 1st January to 30th June,  1896.
£    s.   d.
Rent of office, including housekeeping, electric lighting etc      53    1     2
Clerical assistance in office—
Secretary (3 months)      £37 10    0
Office boy (six months) -  8    8    0
     45 18    0
Stamps, postage, and telegrams      11    3    5
Petty cash— .
Parcels and messengers       £3 10    0
Repairs ,  3    6
Telegraphic address      1     1    0
Canadian Gazette (subscription and advertising)  2  16    0
Wightman & Co (stationery)  5    8  10
Miscellaneous, including F. G. V's expenses at Oldham, typewriting last report, etc  9    5 10
 22    5    2
£132    7    9 838 Agent-General's Report. 1896
APPENDIX "C."
Expenses of Office from 1st July to 31st December, 1896.
£     s.   d.
Rent of office, including housekeeper, electric lighting, etc      53    4    7
Clerical assistance in office—
Office boy (3 months)       £6    8    6
Clerk (2 months)  4 16    8
 11    5    2
Stamps, postage and telegrams      12    5    7
Petty cash—
Parcels and messengers       £2  17     1
Canadian Gazette (subscription and advertising)  812    0
Press Cutting Association  3    3    0
Yost Typewriter Co  1   12    3
Wightman & Co., stationery  9    0    2
Miscellaneous  1-10
 25    6    4
£102    1    8
Total Expenses for the Year 1896.
£     s.  d.
Half-year ending 30th June      132    7    ?
Half-year ending 31st December      102    1    8
£234    9    5
APPENDIX "D."
The Office of the Agent-General in London in Account with the
Government of the Province of British Columbia.
For the 6 months ending SOth June, 1896.
Dr.
By salary of Agent-General from 1st
January to 30th June  $2,000 00
By  amount   voted   for  salaries  and
contingencies       500 00
2,500 00
By balance       142   16
$2,642 16
Cr.
To   salary   of  Agent-General   for  6
months $2,000 00
To    expenditure    (£132   2s.   5d.   @
$4.85—statement in App. "B."). .      642 16
2,642 16
$2,642 16 60 Vict.
Agent-General's Report.
839
For 6 months ending Slst December, 1896.
Dr.
By salary of Agent-General from 1st
July to 31st December	
By amount voted for rent and contingencies 	
By sale of maps, etc. (£17 @ $4.85) .
By balance
$1,250
00
500
00
82
45
1,832
45
54
81
$1,887
26
Cr.
To balance $   142  16
To   salary   of  Agent-General   for   6
months    1,250 00
To   expenditure    (£102   Is.   8d.   @
$4.85—statement in App. "C"). .      495  10
1,887 26
,887 26
VICTORIA, B. C. :
Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.
1897. 

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