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BRITISH COLUMBIA, AND ITS RELATIONS TO THE DOMINION.
'HE Canadian who takes extended and, chance of avoiding the danger. The ques
sanguine views of the future capa- tion is, to what extent Confederation was bilities, needs, and prospects of his country, necessary; and we are inclined to think that will probably regard the 20th of July, 1871, the acquisition of British Columbia was the as one of the most important dates in the step needed to make impossible what was history of the Dominion, for on that day the before a possibility. great work of Confederation was completed That which, more than anything else, has by the acquisition of British Columbia, tended to produce whatever annexation feelbringing with it a frontage on the Pacific ing exists in Canada, has been the constant Ocean. We fear, however, that to many of emigration going on from the older Proour countrymen this date will only present vinces to the United States; an emigration itself as the day on which a nearly worthless not only of those who have recently arrived and very troublesome Province was acquired from Europe, but of native born Canadians, at a monstrous and ridiculous price. It every one of whom, when settled on the other may be of some use to present to such per- side of the boundary line, has been an addisons a brief account of the relations of the tional link to the chain which might bind Pacific Province to the Dominion, its value, Canada to the United States. commercial and political, and its claims from The only way to cure this evil is for Cana British Columbian point of view, and at the ada to find employment for her sons in her same time to remove several delusions which own territory, by increasing her commerce seem to prevail on these points and on the and her manufactures. We are told that a subject of the terms of Union.
Protectionist policy would have such an The great question regarding the future effect; this we think doubtful--anyhow, it of Canada we conceive to be this : Has she would be of no use for manufacturers to have the capabilities of becoming a powerful na- protection unless they had customers, and tion, or must she make up her mind to be customers, moreover, who would be large ultimately swallowed up by the United consumers. States? There is good reason to fear that if If our great North-West territory and the Provinces which now compose the Do- British Columbia were settled up, and minion had remained separate, the latter brought by means of the Pacific Railroad would have been their fate, and that it was into close communication with the rest of Confederation alone which gave Canada a the Dominion, manufacturers in Ontario and Quebec would have all the business the view held by our neighbours, for one of they could wish for, and our young men the arguments used in favour of the purchase would no longer need to cross the line to of Alaska was, that the acquisition of this get employment in manufacturing establish- territory would place British Columbia bements and in stores. The acquisition, more- tween two portions of the United States, and over, of ports on the Pacific coast would probably lead to its annexation, in which eventually vastly increase the commerce of case the whole of Canada would eventually the Dominion.
follow. But it may be said that it was unNo one who has not actually witnessed necessary to extend Confederation so soon it, can estimate the enormous increase of to British Columbia, and that it would have the commerce of the Pacific within the last been wise to have waited until the Northfew years. San Francisco, which little more West territory had been settled up, and than thirty years ago, consisted of a few communication gradually extended to the wooden shanties, is now rapidly becoming Rocky Mountains. We believe, however, one of the finest cities of the United States ; it was a wise and statesmanlike policy to has its lines of magnificent steamers to strike while the iron was hot, and to China, Australia, Panama, and numerous weld the whole of the British North Amerplaces on the coast, and in its harbour lie ican Colonies at once. Without British fleets of merchant vessels. For centuries Columbia as part of the Dominion, the the commerce of the civilised world was con- North-West would never get settled up, for fined to the Mediterranean Sea ; from the nothing will ever bring a large population discovery of America to the present time, there but a transcontinental railway, which the Atlantic has been the highway of na- would never be built unless the Dominion tions; but now we see the Pacific Ocean extended to the Pacific. A false impression rapidly becoming its rival, with even the prevails in Canada that British Columbia possibility of surpassing it at some future was very anxious for Confederation, and time in commercial importance.
would have accepted almost any terms to When Baron Hübner, the historian of the bring it about. Under this impression Mr. expedition sent out by the Austrian govern- Mackenzie, in a recent speech, referred to ment in the frigate Novara, had visited British Columbia as suing for Confederathe different countries of the Pacific, he tion.” This is a mistake; British Colummade the pregnant remark, “The Pacific bia never sued for Confederation. For a Ocean is the gigantic page on which is writ- a long time, the only persons in the colony ten the future history of the race.” A glance who advocated Confederation were a few at the map will show the countries with prominent politicians, who wished for a which Canada is brought into communica- wider field for their ambition, and some tion on the Pacific shore, extending from Canadians who naturally wished for a closer China to New Zealand ; and had she but connection with their native country. The railway communication between the Atlantic general feeling was opposed to it, as was and Pacific, she would hold the finest posi- clearly shown at the elections, particularly tion for trade which it is possible for a na- in Victoria, in 1868, when the two Confetion to hold, with ports on the two great deration candidates were defeated. At that highways of the world. She already has at time, the only practicable way of travelling tained a high position as a maritime power ; from British Columbia to Canada was, by and at some future time, when her trade on steamer to San Francisco, thence by steamer the Pacific has developed there a fleet as large to Panama, crossing the Isthmus, where as that which she now possesses on the another steamer had to be taken to New Atlantic, she will probably rank in re- York. The route overland was too long gard to her marine as the second in the and dangerous to be thought of, as was world.
shown by Lord Milton's narrow escapes, and It may be too strong an assertion to say by the terrible journey of a party of Canathat without British Columbia the Dominion dians who, on their way to Cariboo, expeof Canada would eventually become part of rienced sufferings which were said to have the United States, but it is undoubtedly the culminated in cannibalism. The general case that the addition has reduced this pos- feeling was that Canada was too far off, and sibility to a minimum. This was certainly that British Columbia, for all practical pur
poses, might just as well be confederated to for Sir John Macdonald's government to New Zealand. A great change, however, promise the resolution of April roth in took place in this feeling, which was simply | order to get the terms of Union passed by caused by its being announced that, as a the House of Commons. It might have condition of Confederation, Canada would been equally necessary for the government build a transcontinental railway, and that of British Columbia to promise such a resoBritish Columbia, instead of being a Pro- lution as the one imagined above, in order vince of the Dominion merely in name, to get the terms agreed to by the House of would become an important part of a great Assembly, but in that case, would not such nation, stretching from the Atlantic to the a claim for compensation have been treated Pacific, and would by railway communica- by the Government and people of Canada tion be able to trade with the East, and re- as absurd? During the last session of Parceive what she has always terribly needed, a liament, Mr. Ross (probably at the suggesconstant supply of emigrants.
tion of the government) brought forward a The British Columbia delegates therefore resolution similar to that of April 10th, went to Ottawa prepared to stipulate--as the which was passed by a very large majomain condition of union—for a railway to be rity, in regard to which we have simply to built from Canada to the Pacific, to be pre- remark, that if the House of Commons has ceded by a waggon road. The Canadian power by resolution to alter and amend the Government, in anticipation of the speedy terms of Union with any one of the Proconstruction of the railway, considered a vinces of Canada, all the terms of Union waggon road unnecessary, and, leaving this with all the Provinces are absolutely worthout, engaged to build a railway to the Paci- less. A resolution could be passed that the fic in ten years, and to commence it at both subsidy to Nova Scotia, as arranged at the ends within two years. The terms of Union Union, should be reduced one-half, and accontaining this condition were passed by cordingly that Province would have to take the House of Commons, in a resolution, on half its former subsidy, -or that New Brunsthe ist April, 1871. Nine days afterwards, wick should only send ten members to when these terms had gone completely be- Ottawa, and accordingly six members from yond their control, the House passed an- that Province would lost their seats ! This other resolution to the effect that the rail. is absurd, it being evident that the House way was to be built by private enterprise, of Commons is utterly powerless to alter the and that the construction of it was not to terms of Union with any Province without increase the then rate of taxation. The the consent and agreement of that Province. people of British Columbia received the One of the lame arguments used to force terms of Union, as passed on April ist, and the resolution of April 10th on British Cothe House of Assembly, having been dis- lumbia is this, that Mr. Trutch, who had solved, went to the polls to vote for Con- been one of the delegates to arrange the federation, in utter ignorance of the resolu- terms of Union, but whose functions as detion of April 10th, which, to their great legate had ceased, and whose fellow deleastonishment, they now learn is to be taken gates had gone home, was in Ottawa at the as part of the terms of Union. If the time, and was a consenting party to the House of Commons of Canada had power resolution ; and words made use of in a to pass a resolution, after it had passed the speech delivered by this gentleman after a terms of Union, which was to be taken as dinner given to him at Ottawa are referred part of them, and as binding on British Co- to as a proof of this. it so happens, howlumbia, surely the legislature of this colony ever, that in the whole course of this speech, had the same power. Supposing then that which was carefully prepared and carefully this latter body, some days after agreeing reported, not the least reference was made to the terms of Union, had passed a resolu- to the resolution, which the speaker had the tion to the effect that if the railway were not good sense utterly to ignore. All he said commenced in two years, Canada should was, that British Columbia was no Shylock, pay a fine of ten million dollars, would the and did not expect Canada to incur a “hopeCanadian Government consider itself now less load of taxation ” to build the railwaybound to pay over this sum ? British Co- remarks concurred in by every sensible man lumbia has been told that it was necessary | in British Columbia; but is this to be taken as equivalent to saying that this Province was population extends; and that the portion willing that the railway should be abandoned west of the Rocky Mountains should be built if the construction involved the slightest last, and only when the trade with the east increase of taxation ? But even if Mr. would warrant its construction. It was an Trutch had approved of this resolution, important part of the original terms of are the people of British Columbia to be Union that the railway should be commenced seriously told that they are to be bound by a at both ends simultaneously, and in the resolution altering the terms of Union, be- modification of the terms which was agreed cause of remarks made, in the course of an to by Lord Carnavon's arbitration, it was after-dinner speech, by a gentleman who had settled that the railway should be commenced been, but who was no longer a delegate'; and in British Columbia at the earliest possible are they unreasonable when they get angry time the Government could fix upon a route, at such futile arguments being pressed upon and that from that time a sum of at least two them ?
millions should be spent annually on the Another argument which has been used Pacific side, in construction. It would seem in favour of repudiation is, that the treaty of then, that those who advocate this mode of Union with British Columbia was made by constructing the railway, are as much open to a Government which, as shown shortly after the charge of repudiation as those who wish wards, did not represent the people of Can- to abandon the railway altogether. ada. Such an argument can hardly be We have recently heard of some strong seriously dealt with. What would be remarks made in Canada regarding the way thought of any country which repudiated a in which the United States are breaking the treaty because, after the treaty had been terms of the Treaty of Washington, and made, the Government changed before it was Mr. Mackenzie excited a hearty feeling of carried out. Suppose, for example, the Con- approval throughout the country when he servatives in England had come into power said that “it is useless to expect from the after the Treaty of Washington had been Americans an enlightened fulfilment of signed, but before the Alabama claims had treaty obligations." What if the United been paid, what would have been said had States were to turn round and say to Canthe Government refused to pay the claims ada, “ How are you keeping your treaty on the ground that Mr. Gladstone's Min- obligations ? You made a treaty with British istry, when it made the treaty, did not re- Columbia that if she would join your Conpresent the people of England ? Would federation, you would build a railway to not a nation which acted in this way incur the Pacific; you now refuse to build it if the derision and contempt of the whole it should even to the slightest extent incivilized world ?
crease your taxation; and a large part of Lastly, we are told that it is absurd to your people, if we may judge from yournewsexpect Canada to carry out her treaty obli- papers, advocate the complete abandonment gations, because the people of British Co- of the enterprise, and an utter repudiation lumbia are so few in number. This argument of the treaty of union with British Columbia.” irresistibly reminds one of the unfortunate We shall now endeavour to show that, beservant girl who told her mistress that she sides the avoidance of that dishonour and could not be much blamed, because her loss of credit which would necessarily attach baby was such a very little one. If it is re- to Canada, if she were to give cause to Bripudiation for Canada, having induced British tish Columbia to proclaim aloud to the world Columbia to join her on certain conditions, that she had been swindled into Confederato turn round and refuse to carry out those tion, she would find—and that too before conditions, that repudiation is just as great long-that it was immensely to her advantand just as disgraceful, whether there be a age to carry out faithfully her treaty obligatimillion or a thousand people in British Co. ons, and that the adage, “Honesty is the best lumbia.
policy,” is as equally applicable to nations There is a large party in Canada which as to individuals. advocates a partial repudiation, contending Having touched upon the political and that although the Pacific Railway should be commercial importance of the acquisition of built at some future time, yet that at present | British Columbia, we will now show the it ought only to be built from the east as financial advantages which would result from
building the Pacific Railway, especially the of emigration to go west. When ConfederaBritish Columbian portion of it, the con- tion with British Columbia was discussed in struction of which Canada is advised to the House of Commons, the party then in leave to a future generation. The Customs' opposition did their best to prove that the revenue from British Columbia for the last country was utterly worthless. It was even financial year, was $492,000. Of this, $92,- asserted by one eminent politician, that ooo may be apportioned, in part to the In- corn would not ripen in the Province. dian population, a large portion of whom are This is equivalent to stating that an apple but small consumers of imported goods, and would not ripen in Ontario, the fact being in part to the extra consumptiom produced that the Pacific Province has unquestionably by the railway survey, leaving $400,000 as the finest climate in the Dominion, and one the revenue derived from the white popula- that will ripen to perfection not only corn, tion. As that does not exceed 12,000, it but peaches, grapes, and other fruits which would appear that each white man, woman, can only be grown in a portion of the eastand child in British Columbia contributes ern Provinces. The summer temperature annually $33 to the Dominion revenue, or of the south and centre of British Columbia about five times as much per head as is con- is often over 90° in the shade for a considertributed by the population of Eastern Canable period, but a wonderful elasticity in the ada. It would appear, therefore, that an air makes this heat much less felt than it immigrant in British Columbia is worth five would be in the East. The winter temperaimmigrants in the east, and that any consi- ture, however, is that which gives to British derable increase of the population of this Columbia its pre-eminence over the East. Province would have a very marked effect on At the south-east end of Vancouver Isthe revenue of the Dominion.
land the winters are similar to those of the Of all the colonies of Great Britain, Bri- south of England, and such plants as vertish Columbia is the most unfortunately benas and petunias sometimes survive the situated in regard to obtaining immigrants. winter, out-of-doors, without protection, By sea she is the furthest from Europe, so while over the grazing districts of the mainfar in fact, that it would be hopeless to ex- land so little snow falls that cattle are out pect many emigrants to face the six months' all the winter, and often are in fine condivoyage round Cape Horn, involving a dou- tion in the early spring. The writer recently ble crossing of the Equator. To travel saw in New Westminster a herd of cattle, across the north-west is out of the question, which although they had lost a good deal of and the only feasible mode is either by way weight from the long journey they had had, of the Isthmus of Panama, or by the Central were still very fat, averaging 750lbs each. Pacific Railway, both of which involve pass- | These oxen were 5 and 6 years old, and had ing through California. That State is one of never in the course of their lives tasted the finest countries in the world as regards hay or roots until put on board the steamer both soil and climate ; it contains vast mine- on their way to market. As this climate ral wealth and other resources ; and the rate operates upon on a soil of wonderful fertility, of wages is very high. It is not surprising it is not surprising that the productions of then that a large proportion of emigrants are British Columbia surpass those of any intercepted on their way to British Columbia, other portion of the Dominion. One of the and go no further. In fact, it is hopeless to first grain brokers of New York, when shown expect any great increase of the population an ordinary sample of wheat from this of British Columbia so long as the immigra- Province, declared it superior to any grown tion to it is sifted through California. When on the Atlantic slope. Roots are of immense the emigrant from Europe can land at a size, and every variety of fruit grows in proCanadian port and pass by railway through portion. It is possible that at some future the Dominion, then, but not before, may we time the banks of the Fraser above Lytton, expect a large and constant stream of immi- which strongly resemble those of the Rhine, gration into what is one of the finest Pro- with its volcanic soil, will possess numerous vinces of the Dominion.
vineyards and produce an excellent quality British Columbia has in it sufficient re- of wine. sources and natural wealth to justify this As, however, its agricultural land is small assertion, apart from the well known tendency in proportion to its general area, British