Open Collections

BC Sessional Papers

PAPERS Relating to the non-construction of the Island Railway. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1881

Item Metadata


JSON: bcsessional-1.0065697.json
JSON-LD: bcsessional-1.0065697-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcsessional-1.0065697-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcsessional-1.0065697-rdf.json
Turtle: bcsessional-1.0065697-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcsessional-1.0065697-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcsessional-1.0065697-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

 490 Island Railway. 1881
Relating to the non-construction of the Island Railway.
By Command.
Provincial Secretary's Office, T. Basil Humphreys,
lQlh March, 1881. Provincial Secretary.
Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honourable the Executive Council, approved by His
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the 15th March, 1881.
The Committee of Council advise that the telegrams and correspondence to and
from the Hon. Mr. DeCosmos, respecting his negotiations with the Dominion Government relative to railway matters, be laid before tho Legislative Assembly.
(Signed)        T. B. Humphreys,
Provincial Secretary and Clerk Executive Council.
Victoria, October 27th, 1880.
Hon. A. DeCosmos, M.P., Ottawa.
Acreage Mainland belt cen millions eight hundred eighty thousand acres, less
deficient at boundary one hundred and ninety thousand acres ; sold, pre-empted and for
Indian reserves three hundred forty thousand; timber leases thirtjr thousand; Derby
dyke scheme two hundred ninety thousand, but only six thousand will be used as scheme
will piobably fail. Naval reserves seven hundred and eighty acres; other reserves,
including town sites, make eight thousand acres and go to Dominion by Eailway belt
transfer; therefore approximate available acreage in belt is about ten millions three
hundred and ten thousand acres, exclusive of leased lands above.
Vancouver—Acreage of twenty mile belt seven hundred and four thousand acres;
alienated and Indian reserves one hundred and forty thousand; general reserves twelve
hundred acres; Newcastle six hundred and eighty acres, unsold; timber leases three
thousand three hundred acres; coal lands sold ten thousand acres. Available, exclusive
of leases, say five hundred and fifty thousand; about one hundred and fifty square miles
are known to contain coal; this includes Gabriola and some coast islands south of
(Signed)       Geo. A. Walkem.
Lands and Works Department,
Son. A. DeCosmos, M.P., Ottawa. Victoria, October 29th, 1880.
Sir,—I enclose you a statement, carefully gathered from the records of the department, of the lands available for railway purposes within the Mainland and Island belts.
The statement is comprehensive enough to need no explanation. Coal croppings have
been found as far south as Shoal Harbour, and discoveries of coal have recently been
made in several localities south of Nanaimo. The lands containing these prospects
have been applied for, but of course cannot be dealt with by the local Government as
they were ceded to the Dominion by Statute in 1875.    For seven years back intending 44 Vic.
Island Railway.
settlers have been turned aside from the eastern coast of the Island on account of the
lands being locked up for railway purposes. This state of things, either in the interests
of the Dominion or of any Eailway Company, must be very damaging, as both must
depend upon settlement of the lands for revenue.
I feel assured from the active interest and able advocacy you have displayed in
dealing with this subject, that you will exert every influence within your reach to have
the Island section commenced as soon as possible. When a time limit of ten years for
the construction of the whole line is fixed, why should this portion of it be left
untouched for a longer period? The line already established on the Mainland cannot
be prejudiced by any arrangements for securing speedy construction of the further
section referred to.
I telegraphed, in a condensed form, the substance of the enclosed figures so that
you might have them for immediate use.
I have the honour to be, &c,
(Signed)       Geo. A. Walkem,
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Estimate (closely approximate) of area of Public Lands which have been disposed of
within the Eailway Belt, between English Bay, Burrard Inlet, and Yellow Head
Pass ; also between Esquimalt and Nanaimo; area of Coal Deposits, &c.
Total area of Railway Belt square miles, .17,000—10,880,000 acres
Less deficiency on account of International boundary       192,000    ,,
Government reserves, as bonus for dyking Sumass and Chilliwhack ...
Coal lands sold 	
The Coal deposits within the Eailway Belt, extend—
1st.—From near Cape Muclge to North West Bay, and have a productive area of
about 300 square miles.
2nd.—From Departure Bay to the North end of North Saanich, and including the
adjacent Islands, is estimated to have a productive area of 160 square miles,
half of which may be said to appertain to Vancouver Island.
(Signed)       W.
S. Gore,
Surveyor- General. 492 Island Railway. 1881
Victoria, 14th December, 1880.
Hon, A. DeCosmos, M.P., Ottawa.
Anxious to hear from you about Island Eailway.
(Signed)       Eobert Beaven.
[Official.] Ottawa, Ontario, 17th Dec, 1880.
[Received at Victoria 20th December.]
Hon. B. Beaven, Victoria.
Your telegram of the 14th instant was received this morning. The negotiations
are moving as rapidly as possible; not one moment lost. The Minister of .Railways is
in favour of constructing the Island Eailway. He informed nic yesterday that he had
just had a long conversation with Syndicate, now here, about Island Eailway, and that
it was decided that the Hon. J. H. Pope, Minister of Agriculture, and the members of
the Syndicate should meet me to discuss the subject, and he desired me to hold myself
ready to meet them at any moment. Government want Syndicate to build the road.
Success I believe to be certain.
(Signed) A. DeCosmos.
Victoria, January 10th, 1881.
Hon. A. DeCosmos, Ottawa.
What has been done respecting Island Eailway?    The House meets on 24th.
(Signed) Geo. A. Walkem.
Victoria, January llth, 1881.
Hon. A. DeCosmos, Ottawa.
Further information respecting Island Eailway anxiously expected. Legislature
meets 24th, and telegraph communication much interrupted by storms. Please therefore
wire in time for meeting.    Use Mr. Beaven's cipher.
(Signed; Geo. A. Walkem.
Hon. B. Beaven, Victoria.
Ottawa, 15th January, 1881.
[Iteceivecl at Victoria 20th January.]
Although I have had several interviews, since 1 telegraphed to you,     :|: *        *
no practical result has been reached. One of the Syndicate, however, stated the Island
Eailway must be built in order to protect the Syndicate property against the Northern
Pacific Eailway, but would not engage to build the Island Eailway until after he had
visited British Columbia next summer.
On the 10th instant I had an interview, by appointment, with Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Charles Tapper, * * * * * * Unless
the Syndicate undertake to construct the Island Eailway I have no expectation of the
Government asking Parliament to do anything this Session in the matter.
Within a fortnight I hope to be able to acquaint you with the final result of negotiations. Long delay has been caused by the state of Sir John's health and the * * *
struggle of the Opposition to defeat tho Syndicate contract.        *       *       *       *       v
(Signed) A, DeCosmos. 44 Vic. Island Railway. 493
Ottawa, 24th January, 1881.
[Received at Victoria, '28th January, 1881.]
Hon, M. Beaven, Victoria.
No further progress made respecting Island Railway.    No meeting has yet taken
place with Syndicate,      *********
I requested Sir John, in a letter, to inform me what were the intentions of the Government respecting the construction of the Eailway, but I have received no answer.     *
(Signed)       A. DeCosmos.
Victoria, February 9th, 1881,
Hon. A. DeCosmos, Ottawa.
Syndicate Bill having passed, we expect to receive definite assurance that construction on Island will be commenced at once. Great dissatisfaction exists at the delay,
which is only allayed by tho impression that as Sir John's Government realize the
justice of our claims they will not ignore them. Energetic action will assuredly follow
if delay continues much longer.
(Signed)       Geo. A. Walkem.
Ottawa, February 22nd, 1881.
Hon. G. A. Walkem, Victoria.
1 saw Sir John this morning.    Ho promised to submit the Island Eailway question
to his colleagues, and give me a final answer next Monday.
(Signed)       A. DeCosmos.
Ottawa, February 28th, 1881.
Received at Victoria 2nd March.
Hon. G. A. Walkem.
Sir John wrote to mo to-day an official note, stating that Island question had been
before Executive Council on Saturday, and would come up on Wednesday next.
(Signed)        A. DeCosmos.
Ottawa, March 4th, 1881.
Hon. Geo. A. Walkem, Victoria.
No answer yet received from Sir John A. Macdonald respecting the construction o*
the Island Eailway.
(Signed)       A. DeCosmos.
Ottawa, March 8th, 1881.
Received at Tictoria 10th March.
Hon. Geo. A. Walkem, Victoria.
Sir Charles Tupper leaves for England to-morrow, via Halifax, by advice of physicians. No further news to communicate, except that Parliament will be prorogued
about twentieth instant.
(Signed)       A. DeCosmos.
Copy of a Eeport of a Committee of the Honourable the Executive Council, approved by His
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the loth day of March, 1881.
The Committee of Council advise that the recommendations contained in tho Eeport
of the Honourable the Attorney-General, dated the 15th day of March, 1881, in reforeuee 494 Island Railway. 1881
to the subject of the non-fulfilment by Canada of its Eailway obligations towards the
Province, be approved.
(Signed) T. B. Humphreys,
Provincial Secretary and Clerk Executive Council.
The undersigned has the honour to report that information has been received from
the Honourable Mr. DeCosmos, as Special Agent, deputed on behalf of this Province to
confer with the Dominion Government and press upon them the necessit}' of fulfilling
their Eailway obligations towards British Columbia, that ho has up to a late date been
unable to obtain from that Government any assurance that the Island section of the
Canadian Pacific Eailway will be constructed within any fixed period.
That, in view of this fact and of the further fact that the original agreement
respecting railway construction, which is contained in the Treaty of Union with Canada,
will expire in a few months without its conditions having been even approximately fulfilled, and in view also of the grave importance of the subject to the Province, the
undersigned recommends that a Petition be addressed to Her Majesty the Queen,
setting forth such facts as may be necessary to properly place the question before Her
Majesty, and praying that Her Majesty will be pleased to cause the Dominion Government to be moved to do justice in the matter.
The undersigned further recommends that the said Petition be submitted to the
Legislative Assembly for consideration, and be forwarded as approved by that body to
the Honourable Mr. DeCosmos, with instructions to present the same to Her Majesty's
(Signed)       Geo. A. Walkem,
Victoria, 15th March, 1881. Attorney-General,


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items