R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

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land is selling in neighboring American territories. But with regard to
land wanted for town purposes (to which speculation is almost certain to
direct itself in the first instance), I cannot caution you too strongly against
allowing it to be disposed of at too low a sum. An upset price of at least
£i per acre is, in my opinion, absolutely required, in order that the local
government may in some degree participate in the profit of the probable
sales, and that mere land-jobbing may be in some degree checked. When-
ever a free legislature is assembled, it will be one of its duties to make
further provision on this head.

" To open land for settlement gradually ; not to sell beyond the limits
of what is either surveyed or ready for immediate survey, and to prevent,
as far as in you lies, squatting on unsold land.

" To keep a separate account of all revenue to be derived from the
sale of land, applying it to the purposes, for the present, of survey and
communication, which, indeed, should be the first charge on land revenue;
and you will of course remember that this will include the expense of the
survey party (viz., sappers and miners) now sent out. I shall be anxious
to receive such accounts at the earliest period at which they can be fur-

" Foreigners, as such, are not entitled to grants of waste land of the
Crown in British colonies. But it is the strong desire of her Majesty's Gov-
ernment to attach to this territory all peaceful settlers, without regard to
nation. Naturalization should, therefore, be granted to all who desire it,
and are not disqualified by special causes, and with naturalization the right
of acquiring Crown land should follow.


" You will pardon me if I enjoin on you, as imperative, the most diligent
care that in the sales of land there should not be the slightest cause to im-
pute a desire to show favor to the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Parliament will watch with jealousy every proceeding connected with such
sales; and I shall rely upon you to take every precaution which not only
impartial probity but deliberate prudence can suggest, that there shall be
no handle given for a charge, I will not say of favor, but of indifference or
apathy to the various kinds of land-jobbing, either to benefit favored indi-
viduals or to cheat the land revenue, which are of so frequent occurrence
at the outset of colonization, and which it is the duty of her Majesty's Gov-
ernment, so far as lies in them, to repress."

" I need scarcely observe to you that the object for which this officer
and his party have been despatched to British Columbia is for the exclusive
service of that colony. You will, therefore, afford him every assistance in
your power for enabling him to commence immediately such operations in
it as shall appear to him to be necessary, in anticipation of his commanding
officer, Colonel Moody, R. E., who will follow him with as much rapidity
as practicable. And I trust that, if Captain Parsons should require the
temporary occupation for his party of the trading-posts up the country,
which belong to the Hudson's Bay Company, you will take measures for
affording him such accommodation."

" With these few observations, I leave with confidence in your hands
the powers entrusted to you by her Majesty's Government. These powers
are indeed of very serious and unusual extent, but her Majesty's Government
fully rely on your moderation and discretion in the use of them. You are
aware that they have only been granted in so unusual a form on account
of the very unusual circumstances which have called into being the colony


committed to yonr charge, and which may for some time continue to char-
acterize it. To use them, except for the most necessary purposes, would
be, in truth, to abuse them greatly. They are required for the maintenance
of British law and British habits of order, and for regulating the special
questions to which the condition and employment of the population may give
birth. But the office of legislation, in the higher and more general sense,
should be left for the legislature which may l3e hereafter constituted, and
which her Majesty's Government hope will be constituted at the first time
consistent with the general interests of the colony. And you will above all
remember that the ordinary rights and privileges of British subjects and
of those foreigners who dwell under British protection, must l>e sedulously
maintained, and that no innovation contrary to the principles of our law
can be justified, except for purposes of absolute and temporary necessity.

" I will only add that, although it has been judged prudent not to make
the revocation of the Hudson's Bay Company's license take efifect until pro-
claimed by yourself, it is the particular instructions of her Majesty's Gov-
ernment that you proclaim it with the least practicable delay, so that no
questions like those which have already arisen as to the extent and nature
of the Company's rights can possibly occur."

" With respect to offices generally, which the public exigencies may
compel you tO' create, and for which selections should be made in England,
I hive to observe that I consider it of great importance to the general social
welfare and dignity of the colony that gentlemen should be encouraged to
come from this kingdom, not as mere adventurers seeking employment, but
in the hope of obtaining professional occupations for which they are calcu-
lated; such, for instance, as stipendiary magistrates or gold commissioners.

" You will, therefore, report to me at your early convenience, whether
there is any field for such situations, and describe as accurately as you can


the peculiar qualifications which are requisite, in order that I may assist
you by making the best selections in my power. It is quite natural that the
servants of the Hudson's Bay Company should, from their knowledge of
business, their abilities and services, have a very fair claim to consideration
and share in the disposal of the local patronage. But caution should be
observed against yielding to any appearance of undue favor or exclusiveness
to the servants of that company. You will carefully remember that the
public interests are the first consideration, and that it should be known
that employment in the public service is as open and fair in British Co-
lumbia as in every other of the Queen's colonial possessions. For these
reasons it is still more desirable that careful appointments should be made
in England. You will not fail to write to me fully by each mail, as her
Majesty'^ Government wish to know everything that passes of importance
in British Columbia."

" Such arrangements may on the whole be most congenial to the disposi-
tion of the American miners whom you may have to consider; but I cannot
forget that it was the system of enforcing, from time to time, the license fee
which created in Victoria so much dissatisfaction, and ultimately led to
the Ballarat riot, and to the adoption of new rules. The Victorian system
was in the main the same as that which you have apparently adopted. It
exacted a license fee of £i from each miner per month, and, as Sir Charles
Hotham says in a despatch, 21st November, 1855, to Sir William Moles-
worth, ' the great and primary cause of complaint which I found was un-
doubtedly the license fee.'

" It was then decided that the monthly license fee should be abolished,
and be replaced, independently of royalties, first, by a miner's annual cer-
tificate of £1 ; secondly, by the payment of £10 per annum on every acre of
alluvial soil; and thirdly, by an indirect tax in the shape of 2s. 6d. export
duty on the ounce of gold. Experience seems, as far as we yet know, to


have justified this change in Victoria. Discontent, with its attendant dangers,
has been removed; and by the present system, which appears to be acqui-
esced in by all parties, a larger revenue is obtained than ever was the case
under the earlier arrangement. I obsen^e, indeed, by the last Victorian re-
turns for 1856, that the duties on the export of gold amounted to more
than £376,000."

" It is my object to provide for, or to suggest to you how to meet
all unforeseen exigencies to the colony as they may arise; but my views
are based on the assumption that the common interest in life and property
will induce the immigrants to combine amongst themselves for ordinary
purposes, and that when danger needing military force arises, they will
readily gather around and swell the force, which will thus expand as cir-
cumstances require. From England we send skill and discipline; the raw
material (that is, the mere men), a colony intended for free institutions, and
on the border of so powerful a neighbor as the United States of America,
should learn betimes of itself to supply.

" Referring to the laudable co-operation in the construction of the road
which has been evoked by your energy from= the good sense and public spirit
of the miners, I rejoice to see how fully that instance of the zeal and intel-
ligence to be expected from the voluntary efforts of immigrants, uniting in
the furtherance of interests common to them all, bears out the principle of
policy on which T designed to construct a colony intended for self-govern-
ment, and trained to its exercise by self-reliance. The same characteristics
which have made these settlers combine so readily in the construction of
a road, will, I trust, under the same able and cheering influence which you
prove that you know so well how to exercise, cause them equally to unite
in the formation of a police, in the establishment of law, in the collection
of revenue, in short, in all which may make individual life secure and the
community prosperous. I trust you will assure the hardy and spirited men


who have assisted in this prdiminary undertaking, how much their conduct
is appreciated by her Majesty's Govemment.

" I feel thankful for the valuable services so seasonably and efficiently
rendered by the " Satellite " and " Plumper." I cannot conclude without a cor-
dial expression of my sympathy in the difficulties you have encountered, and
of my sense of the ability, the readiness of resource, the wise and manly temper
of conciliation which you have so signally displayed ; and I doubt not that
you will continue to show the same vigor and the same discretion in its
exercise; and you may rely with confidence on whatever support and aid
her Majesty's Government can afford you."


A careful perusal of the foregoing will show how carefully and intel-
ligently the wants of the colony had been thought out, and what a liberal
and advanced conception of pioneer colonial conditions T>ord Lvtton pos-
sessed. According to the intimations made in Lord Lytton's despatches,
as in the foregoing, two detachments of the Royal Engineers were despatched
to British Columbia, one on the 2nd of September in the steamer "La Plata,"
under command of Captain Parsons, who was accompanied by twenty non-
commissioned officers and men ; and the other by the clipper ship " Thames
City,'" 557 tons, on September 17th, which was made up of two officers, one
staff assistant surgeon, eighteen non-commissioned officers and men, thirty-one
women and thirty-four children, the whole under the command of Captain
R. H. Luard, R. E. Captain Parsons was the bearer of important communi-
cations to Governor Douglas. One was his commission as Governor of
British Columbia, another empowering him to make due provision for the
administration of justice and the establishment of laws for the maintenance
of law and order; and still another notifying him of the revocation of the
charter of May 30th, 1838, so far as the Mainland was concerned. By the
same mail came the advice of the appointment of Colonel Moody to the


command of the Royal Engineers, and to the office of chief commissioner of
lands and works. Under his instructions he was second in command to
Governor Douglas, from whom he was in certain matters to take orders,
but with special duties that were not to be interfered with unless " under
circumstances of the greatest gravity." Simultaneously also came the ad-
vice of the appointment of Matthew Baillie Begbie as Giief Justice of the
new Colony, who was to receive a salary of £800 and would sail by packet
on October 2nd. With these despatches came copies of proclamations de-
claring British law to be in force in British Columbia, and indemnifying
the governor and other officers for acts done before the establishment of
legitimate authority. With the appointment of W. Wymond Hamley as
collector of customs, the organization of British Columbia was practically
complete, and it only required the arrival of the incoming officials to set
the machinery of government in full operation. This was in 1858, but it
was not until 1864 that the mainland colony was granted a representative
assembly, as will be seen later. In the meantime officialdom was king, and
the word of James Douglas was law.

In due time by various routes Colonel Moody, Chief Justice Begbie,
Mr. Hamley, Captain Parsons and the detachments of Royal Engineers and
the corps of Sappers and Miners arrived, and the real work of starting a
colony began.

Preliminary to Organized Government.

To go back a step, however, the rush of miners to the Eraser River
made it necessary, as I have said, to take steps towards preserving law and
order and reducing the operations of the miners to some system having
respect for the rights of the community as well as of the individual. It was
a difficult task to be confronted. Those who have read the story of the
mining excitement of '49 in California, and the pages of history for the
years immediately following will understand the character of population
from which the exodus to British Columbia was drawn. The annals of


San Francisco in the early days are replete with incidents of gambling, rob-
bery and hold-ups, murder, vice of all kinds, and general social misrule.
The disregard for life was one of the pre\'ailing tendencies of the pioneer
mining camp. In its wake followed all the toughs and blacklegs and des-
peradoes, which a free and unfettered life in the far west developed to prey
on unorganized or imperfectly organized society. The miner himself was
usually an honest man, with a high native regard for the rights of his
neighbors. He had many excellent qualities of head and heart, and was
a good example of what we usually understand by the " diamond in the
rough." But one of his cardinal principles was not to interfere with other
people's business, and to ask no questions. If games went on he accepted
it as one of the natural concomitants of the life. If men drank, and fought,
and cheated at cards and were shot they regarded the incidents as the
" lookout " of those who engaged in them. He did not constitute himself
a guardian over either the souls or the bodies of any person. If there was
excitement he might take a hand in it. He knew and was prepared for
the risks. If he were wise he kept out of the way of the toughs. If he
got entangled in the meshes of the many webs that were woven in this rough
and ready society, and got the worst of it, it was part of the game. So
the outcasts of society found in the mining camp and a city like San Fran-
cisco, a Mecca of adventurers, a congenial soil in which to take root and
flourish. It was from the many elements of which the Forty-Niners of
which California were composed that Fraser River gold seekers were drawn.
Douglas understood the men he had to deal with, and was prepared to deal
with them. He proposed to instill in their hearts a wholesome respect of
British law. Incidentally he did not forget that he was doing business for
the Hudson's Bay Company. His first move was to establish the authority
of the latter. He had a fleet of British warhsips at hand, two boats, the
" Otter " and the " Beaver," the property of the Company, to assist him in
maintaining order and peace and enforcing his commands. Fortunately for the


country Douglas was on hand to exercise an authority which, though ille-
gally exercised on his part, was necessary, and, therefore, by virtue of the
exigencies of the situation became law, subsequently confirmed. A procla-
mation was issued on the 8th of May to the effect that *' any vessels found
in British northwest waters not having a license from the Hudson's Bay
Company and a sufferance from the customs officer at Victoria should be
forfeited." The proclamation was in the main respected, and it had the
effect of bringing every person to Victoria as a starting point. The Gov-
ernor proceeded himself to the mainland, and found at Langley. then a
post of the Hudson's Bay Company and a principal- point of attraction for the
incomers, a number of speculators taking possession of the land and staking
out lots for sale, he found unlicensed canoes, and contraband trading going
on. All these matters were speedily set right to his own liking. Fort Hope
and Fort Yale farther up the river soon also became places of importance.
These were visited by the Governor. The miners prior to his arrival had
already organized a form of government for their requirements and had
already posted regulations. These were replaced by regulations drawn up
and proclaimed in the name of the Governor of Vancouver Island. Persons
carrying on business were required to pay a fee of $7.50 monthly for the
use of land, and the owners of claims to pay $5 a month license. Strict
observance of the Sabbath was enjoined and a heavy fine was imposed on
those found guilty of selling liquor to the Indians. Special constables were
appointed, courts of justice were established, and permission was granted
to aliens to hold land without interference for three years, after which it
became necessary to take the oath of allegiance. There was a good deal
of complaint about the arbitrary rule of the Hudson's Bay Company, and
the exaction of the temporary mining and other regulations. There were
also troubles among the miners, incipient revolution; but the turbulent ones
were soon quelled, and the early mining records of the Fraser as well as
of the Cariboo later on are remarkably free from notes of disorder. There


was trouble with the Indians, who resented the invasion of the " Boston "
men. as the Americans were called by them; and an Indian war ag-ainst the
whites was only averted by the influence of the Hudson's Bay Company.
As a matter of fact, bloodshed did occur, two Frenchmen having been killed.
The miners organized themselves for defense and enrolled under H. M.
Snyder. They marched as far as the Thompson River, made treaties with
some 2,000 Indians between Spuzzum and the Forks. of the Thompson River
and returned to Yale. The casualties altogether were not very large, being
several whites and about thirty Indians. This was the end of the campaign.
Road-building was also undertaken. Mr. McKay, a member of the Legis-
lative Assembly of Vancouver Island, who was with Douglas on a trip up
the Fraser. was instructed to return to the coast by way of Big Lillooet Lake
to ascertain the feasibility of a shorter route. He proceeded to the head of
Howe Sound and reported that the route he had followed was the best and
shortest whereby to reach the mines, but on account of the question of ex-
pense in opening up the road the route was never adopted. At Langley
preparations were made for the reception of the Royal Engineers and party
from England and a sale of town lots to take place at Victoria on the 20th
of October was advertised. It may be here stated that it had been the inten-
tion of making Fort I^ngley the capital of the Mainland, a decision that
was subsequently changed in favor of New Westminster.

Choosing the Capital.

Following the preliminaries outlined before going, which were ante-
cedent to any recognized form of government, came the resignation of
Douglas as chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, his formal appoint-
ment as Governor of the Colony of British Columbia, the arrival of Chiet
Justice Begbie, of Lt. Col. Moody, of Captains Grant and Parsons, the Royal
Engineers, the sappers and miners and all the rest of the Government para-
phernalia. What followed was in accordance with the instructions contained


in the despatches from Lord Lytton, extracts from which have already been
given in the preceding. The sale of Langley town lots as advertised came
off. The bidding was brisk, and the demand active. In two days some 400
lots were sold ranging from $100 to $400 per lot and aggregating $68,000. It,
as stated, was to have been the capital of British Columbia, and work had
already begun on the erection of the barracks, and tenders were called for
the erection of church, parsonage, courthouse and jail there. The arrival
of Col. Moody, the new Commissioner of Lands and Works and commander
of the forces, changed all that. He had hardly arrived, however, when he
was despatched to Yale along with some of his Royal Engineers and a party
of marines and blue jackets to quell a reported uprising among the miners.
The matter did not prove to be very serious, having arisen out of a dispute
among special constables, over the body of a prisoner. Prominent among
these was the notorious Edward McGowen, who was finally obliged to leave
the " diggings." The incident was made more of in history than its im-
portance deserved. Probably on account of the display of force made by
the Government officials and the promptitude with which they responded to
the demand for assistance, the trouble was not greater than it was. It had
a most splendid moral effect on the miners, who were impressed with the
thoroughness and efficiency with which the administration of justice was
carried out. There never was thereafter any bar disturbance, because it
was nothing more than that, in which Ned McGowen with over-zeal, so Cap-
tain Mayne says, committed an assault, is memorable for having laid sure
the foundations of peace in the new colony. On his return from Yale in
H. M. S. " Plumper," Col. Moody examined the site of the present city of New
Westminster for the purposes of a capital and selected it in preference to
Derby, as it was proposed to call Langley. It is said that Col. Moody, in
going up past it to Yale on his punitive expedition, pointed to the sloping
hillside and remarked upon its advantages from a strategical point of view.
Its commanding position, its accessibility from the rear to the sea, and the


dqjth of water on its frontage were all advantages in its favor over Derby.
After conference with Governor Douglas at Victoria the recommendation
of Col. Moody was adopted and the plans were altered accordingly. A town
site was surveyed and parties who had purchased town lots in Derby were
notified that they might surrender their lots there and receive others in
Queenborough, or Queensborough, as you will, in their place. The late
Sir Henry Crease, in a contribution made to the Year Book of British
Columbia at the request of the author, described some incidents of interest
in connection with the selection of the capital of New Westminster, for
thus it came to be called : " Col. Moody, R. E., who had come out with a
corps of four hundred engineers to assist in protecting and advancing the
country, and had a dormant commission as its Governor in case of the
prolonged absence, illness, or incapacity of the Governor, at once opposed
the selection of Langley as being on the wrong bank of the river, and inde-
fensible on military grounds, and with his officers sought a suitable site on
the right bank proper, and against the advice of his officers, at first fixed
on Mary Hill, a fine and elevated site near the mouth of Pitt River, in
preference to a still finer site a couple of miles lower down on the right
bank, and ordered his senior captain — Captain Jack Grant, as he was famil-
iarly termed, now General Grant, R. E. — to take the axe and make the first
cut at one of the trees nearest the river. He was in the act of swinging
his axe to deliver the blow, when he was so much impressed with the mis-
take they were making that he said : ' Colonel, with much submission I will
ask not to do it. Will you yourself be pleased to take the responsibility of
making the first cut?' — respectfully giving his reasons. These were of sa
cogent a nature, one being that the lower site being at the head of tide-

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