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The sea of mountains; an account of Lord Dufferin's tour through British Columbia in 1876 (Volume 1) online

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little trying, but until angels take to
ministering in domestic service " the
missuses " must remain subject to trials.
Besides the graceful solution of house-
hold difficulties is one of the highest
triumphs of a gentlewoman, and who
would deprive the sweeter sex of a legiti-
mate field of womanly occupation at the


risk of driving them into some new branch
of manly art. I heard three ladies discus-
sing " John " one day, and learnt to
appreciate their trouble. In the one case
my fair friend complained that " Sing "
had contracted a friendship with another
Chinaman, who came to the house to gam-
ble with " Sing" when the latter ought to be
cooking the dinner. The consequences in
some cases had been frightful, and repeated
warnings had been in vain. At last
she turned the friend out of doors, and
taking " Sing " by the shoulders she
shook him as hard as she could,
threatening at the same time that on the
next occasion she would beat him. At
her hands the shaking and the beating
were in themselves mere pleasantries, but
" Sing's " dignity was wounded, and he
mournfully remarked " Suppose you
catchee new cook. My no can stay."

" Ah !" sighed another lady, " I could'nt
do that with ' Yop.' He's so big. And
besides the only fault he has is that he


won't let me go into the kitchen at all,
and won't let me have any dinner until my
husband comes home, which on mail
nights is very uncertain. Sometimes we
get dreadfully hungry, but Yop is inexor-

"My little wretch is always doing some-
thing he ought not to do," said a third,
a young unmarried lady; "I dare not
have any poultry in the house, because
he will insist upon plucking the fowls
alive. My little sister told us about it at
dinner the last time we had fowls, and it
entirely prevented anyone eating any
more dinner. 1 felt as if I had been eat-
ing someone I had helped to murder.
Yesterday when I went into the kitchen I
found him making a skewer red hot, to run
through a mouse which he had caught in
the trap, and so as he is only a boy I
boxed his ears."

" What did he say to that ?" I asked.

" He swore at me in bad French."

"And you."


" Oh !" replied my young friend, as the
tinge of the rose mounted in her cheek,
" I swore back at him, and then he got
white with horror at finding I had under-
stood him."

John however does not limit his walk in
Vancouver Island life to domestic service.
He carries on business here both in a
large and small way. When the railway ,
is set going, his services will be available
at a more moderate rate than those of work-
men from the States. Neither does he create
a great pandemonium in every place in
which he stops, whereas it has become
almost a point of honour with railroad
builders in the United States to make
every place through which they are carry-
ing the line a " hell on wheels."

The great fault that is charged against
John is that he hoards his money. I have
heard this said of a people who occupy a
country not a thousand miles from the
Lower St. Lawrence. John lives frugally,
and when he has saved some money goes


over to China with it for a spree. If any
human being can see any pleasure in going
to China why should he not go, as well as
to Paris ? We have had out of John the
full value of the money he takes with him.
This habit of John's that is going to and
returning from China has served in a
measure to mislead Eastern people as to
the numbers of Chinamen coming to this
continent. A gentleman who had been
long in the San Francisco China trade
told me that only a small percentage of
the arriving cargo of Chinamen are new
people. He said that in the last trip he
made, bringing four hundred Chinamen,
the number of new people was under fifty.
All the others were California Johns re-
turning from their visit to China. The
objection I make to John is that unless
very clean he is not a pleasant neighbour.
As a rule Chinamen, and particularly
the house-servants are very clean, but if
you have ever lived in China you will



afterwards always be able to detect tbe
presence of Jobn even witbout seeing bim.
As I stepped on board tbe mail-steamer
at San Francisco I saw no one, but I re-
marked to my companion tbat tbere were
Cbinamen on board. It was seventeen
years since I bad dwelt among them, but
I could not be mistaken. A door opened,
and we saw a Chinese cook and balf a
dozen servants preparing tbe passengers'
luncbeon. I explained tbe manner in
wbich I detected Jobn, and my companion,
thougb an old Californian, seemed inclined
to doubt. A few days afterwards be said
tbat he wished he bad never asked me
the peculiar distinction of John, because
he bad tasted bim ever since in bis
tea, in his soup, and in everything that
he had eaten on board the ship. Jobn
is a worthy fellow, but as a sub-
stitute for Crosse and Blackwell's flavour-
ing compounds he is not always satisfac-


I must not forget to mention that in
spite of John's alleged parsimony he made
elaborate preparations to receive the Go-
vernor-General. The Chinese arches and
decorations were very handsome and ex-
pensive, and curious ornaments were hung
about his triumphal arches, having some
profound allegorical meaning, if one
could only understand from John what
that was. The principal arches, as well
as the sides of the streets all of which
were lined with pine saplings were hung
with Chinese lanterns. John had sent
down to San Francisco for a large
shipment of these, with fireworks, &c.,
on purpose to do honour to the occa-
sion. They unfortunately arrived in the
mail-steamer too late for use, but his
display was sufficiently grand, and the
good- will was as valuable as the actual
show. I have made the acquaintance
of a wealthy John at the head of one of
the houses here, and on the strength of

N 2


knowing his birthplace we are likely to
become friends. Should we arrive at any
degree of intimacy, I will endeavour to
ascertain what he really thinks about
things in general.



Their Excellencies Reception Deputations from the
Churches Railway Deputation Division of Senti-
ment in the Province Conservative Demands Bri-
tish Columbia Unfulfilled Obligations Threat of
Separation Rumours of a Railway Difficulty Ad-
dress to the Governor.

first public appearance of the
Governor- General and Lady Dufferin
since their arrival was at the reception
held by them on Saturday evening in the
Legislative Assembly Chamber. This was
very largely attended, and was altogether
a bright and satisfactory gathering. Lord
and Lady Dufferin stood on the dais usually
occupied by the Speaker's chair, the
members of his own staff and the local
staff officers on either side of the dais,
and the naval officers of the squadron,


making an opposite block, and thus
creating the passage by which those pre-
sented passed before their Excellencies.
The Governor- General was dressed in the
uniform of his high office, and Lady
Dufferin wore a handsome pink silk dress,
very handsomely got up after a fashion I
am not rash enough to describe. As I
have said, there was a large assemblage
of people, amongst whom one recognized
some whose names have long been familiar
to people in the Eastern provinces, and a
very fair number of ladies who sustained
the reputation Canada possesses of pro-
ducing pretty women. There has been a
dinner-party at Government House I think
every night, and to-day a garden party
is to come off in the grounds of Carey

Deputations from the Keformed Episco-
pal, Presbyterian, and Methodist Churches
waited on the Governor-General on Satur-
day to present addresses of congratulation
on his visit, and embodying sentiments of


loyalty and goodwill. To these Lord
Dufferin replied with his usual felicity of
expression. The Church apparently does
not share any disintegrating opinions that
may be floating about, or at least does not
believe that reason has yet been given to
utter threats of " separation."

This afternoon the deputation of which
I spoke in my first letter from here, are to
present their address to the Governor-
General, which, as everyone can see, is
sufficiently pronounced although much
milder than when first adopted. During
his conversation with the clerical deputa-
tion on Saturday, Lord Dufferin promul-
gated the fact that the Island Railway
that is the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway
is virtually a dead letter. It seems to
be understood in the city that certain
compensation is to be offered in lieu of
such a road. The Islanders have always
urged, rather as a complaint against
Canada, that a twenty mile strip of valu-
able land has been held by the Dominion


Government that would otherwise have
been eagerly desired by investors and
settlers, particularly as portions of it are
rich in mineral wealth. If this belt of
valuable land is released, and a fair com-
pensation given to the Island, one may
suppose that if essential to the well-being
of this portion of the province, the Island
railway may be built by the Islanders.
Of course, the people here fall back on the
Carnarvon award, and are not likely to
surrender such a vantage ground of argu-
ment. But the extreme people are as is
always the case the noisiest, and the
more violently they talk, the more, it
seems to me, they alienate from them-
selves the support of the property-holders
and other people of influence. There are
some people here who seem to be supremely
satisfied with themselves when they can
fling some insult at Canada and Mr. Mac-
kenzie. Sometimes these are Canadians
who belong to the political party opposed
to Mr. Mackenzie.


One of the deputation of the ultimatum
address of to-day, whose avocation is the
dispensing of dry goods, described the
Canadian flag as " the British ensign with
the ring-worm." This gentleman told me
he saw no impossibility at all in carrying
out the original terms as agreed to by
Sir John Macdonald. I think, however,
that persons of this calibre are not the
rule in Victoria or the Island generally.
There is a general feeling of great disap-
pointment; but I believe that if reasonable
arrangements are proposed in lieu of that
which Canada cannot undertake, and when
work is really commenced, some portion of
the disappointment will be allayed. At
the same time there are some who dislike
any compromise. The " Standard" of this
morning (the Conservative journal) is out-
spoken against the Governor-General, and
says in effect that they require Carnarvon
Terms or separation. Here is an extract
from it :

" The first, the ceremonial act in the


Dufferin drama, is over. The political
one is just beginning. On one side is the
Governor-General, representing the Mac-
kenzie Ministry and the Imperial Govern-
ment ; on the other are the people who have
founded a Province, earned their own
bread, paid their own taxes, are indebted
to neither England nor Canada for any-
thing, except a flagstaff with a bit of
coloured serge stuck on the top of it, but
who now ask Canada to keep faith with
them, and fulfil her treaty obligations to
the Province, the chief of which is the im-
mediate commencement of the construction
of the Pacific Railway. How this act will
terminate no one can tell. It may be big
with the fate of empire. It may be the
destruction of the Confederation, or the
thorough consolidation of Canada.

" We are told, however, by the Under-
secretary of State in England, that Lord
Dufferin would pay an official visit to
British Columbia to adjust her relations
with Canada. (Which, by the way, is not


what Mr. Lowther said.) Now what is
there to adjust ? Is it the terms on which
the Province will surrender her right to
the construction of a railway from Esqui-
maltto Bute Inlet, and thence to Montreal ?
or the terms on which separation from
Canada shall take place?"

It appears from this that the Conservative
party here require the fulfilment of the
" treaty obligations," or an arrangement
as to the terms of separation. I have
no infallible means of judging, but I
do not believe this represents the
actual sentiment even of Vancouver
Island, perhaps not of all the Conser-
vatives. On the contrary, I think that
they although feeling sore and disap-
pointed at the failure of their hopes will
be willing to enter into some other
arrangement which will ensure its own ful-
filment without any delay. Anything of a
nature requiring the lapse of time to
fructify will not, I think, carry conviction
or satisfaction with it. It must be borne


in mind in judging affairs in this country,
that while Victoria is the heart of the
British Columbian body politic it is by no
means all of British Columbia, nor does
its opinion always jump with that of the
mainland. Here, for instance, is what
the " Mainland Guardian" says of the ad-
dress which is to-day to be presented to
Lord Dufferin :

" This ill-advised document, which has
been published in full by the Victoria
papers, is very much what we anticipated
it would be a cool assumption on the
part of a few Victorians to speak for the
whole Province entirely in the interest of
Victoria. This, to say the least of it, is
a gross insult to the entire 'mainland, and
will be productive of a result quite the
reverse of that intended a disposition on
the part of Lord Dufferin and those with
whom he is associated to receive these
statem ents cumgrano sails. Under present
circumstances, however, we must repudiate
any connection with this Victoria ultimatum,


and declare that the mainland in no way
admits the correctness of the statement
therein contained. The Victorians may
sincerely regret that the Carnarvon Terms
were not fulfilled, but the Victorians were
the chief cause of this misfortune. It is
now generally admitted that the con-
struction of an Island railway, at the
present juncture, would be unwise, be-
cause it is unnecessary, wlfereas a com-
promise securing the immediate payment
of a round sum of money in cash which
would be of incalculable value to the entire
Province with the immediate commence-
ment of the railway on the mainland, would
satisfy the great bulk of our people. The
people of the mainland distinctly deny
any right on the part of Victoria to embody
in their address to Lord Dufierin the follow-
ing statement :

" ' We trust that your Excellency has
it in charge to convey to this Province
the gratifying intelligence that the Do-


minion Government will fulfil their obliga-
tions under the Carnarvon settlement, and
that this is the last occasion when the
people of British Columbia will have the
painful duty of making complaint to Her
Majesty, through her representative, of
any breach of the terms of Union by the
Dominion. If, however, that Government
fail to take practical steps to carry into
effect the terms solemnly accepted by them,
we most respectfully inform your Ex-
cellency that, in the opinion of a large
number of the people of this Province, the
withdrawal of the Province from the Con-
federation will be the inevitable result,
and in such a case compensation from
the Dominion would be demanded for the
unfulfilled obligations which she under-

" It would be interesting to know who
authorized this sapient clique to talk
about separation from the Dominion on
the part of the mainland ? We are sure
the people in this part of the Province


did not, because they feel that any assist-
ance to the development of the country
by a railway must come from the Federal
capital, and that the necessity for the
recently imposed local taxes would dis-
appear with a payment of money by the
Dominion, as a set-off to the sacrifices we
have endured, in consequence of the non-
fulfilment of the original terms, upon which
all our calculations were built."

We have some rumours about a diffi-
culty in the line of the railway east of
Fort George, the point of departure west
of the Rocky Mountain pass, but every-
thing about the route of the railway on
the mainland requires to be taken with
extreme caution, unless you hear from the
one person from whom the news arises.
The news gets shaken up and mixed a
good deal coming down that rough
country. No doubt, however, more will
be known about the matter as the Gover-
nor-General's party moves up the coast
and into the interior.


On going to Government House this
afternoon, I found the deputatian with
the address. It was toned down a little,
but it appears the Governor-General had
intimated his intention not to receive the
address, expressing his willingness to re-
ceive the deputation and explain to them
his reasons for declining it.

The address in question ran as follows :

" May it please Your Excellency,
"We, Her Majesty's loyal subjects, in-
habitants of Victoria and its vicinity, in
public meeting assembled, welcome with
pleasure the visit of Your Excellency to
this Province, and beg respectfully to
address Your Excellency, as Her Majesty's
representative in British North America,
upon the present unsatisfactory relations
of British Columbia with the Dominion of

" Your Excellency is thoroughly aware
of the many and urgent representations
made from time to time by the Provincial


Government to the Government of the
Dominion and Her Majesty on the sub-
ject of the unfulfilled terms of Confedera-

"Your Excellency is also aware that
these representations resulted in certain
recommendations by the Earl of Carnarvon
favourable to the Dominion, and which
relieved the Dominion of those conditions
of the Terms of Union which they con-
sidered incapable of fulfilment. These
recommendations were accepted by the
Dominion as a solution of the difficulties
that existed.

" The action of the Dominion Govern-
ment in ignoring the Carnarvon settlement
has produced a widespread feeling of dis-
affection towards Confederation, which has
been intensified by the utterances of pro-
minent public men of the Dominion, who
apparently look on this Province as a source
of expense and trouble to the Dominion,
and as a Province whose withdrawal would
not be regretted.

VOL. i. o


" We trust that Your Excellency has it
in charge to convey to this Province the
gratifying intelligence that the Dominion
Government will fulfil its obligations under
the Carnarvon settlement, and that this
is the last occasion when the people of
British Columbia will have the painful
duty of making complaint to Her Majesty,
through her representative, of any breach
of the terms of Union by the Dominion
Government. If, however, that Govern-
ment fails to take practical steps to carry
into effect the terms solemnly accepted by
it, we most respectfully inform Your Ex-
cellency that, in the opinion of a large
number of the people of this Province,
the withdrawal of this Province from
Confederation will be the inevitable re-
sult, and in such a case compensation
from the Dominion would be demanded
for the unfulfilled obligations which it

" This growing desire for separation is
simply the expression of a feeling which is
gaining strength every day.


"The knowledge that Canada relies on
the paucity of our numbers and her
power to fulfil or repudiate the terms of
union as she pleases, creates a feeling
of irritation which is being continually

" In thus openly addressing Your Ex-
cellency we feel assured that, whatever
may be the final result of these unhappy
differences, Your Excellency will seek to
promote the most enduring interests of
this Province, the Dominion, and the

" Bounded as this Province is on the
north and south by United States terri-
tory, and without railway connection with
the Dominion of Canada, (British Co-
lumbia will ever be an isolated Province,)
the railway and other facilities of the
American people are sapping our trade
and diverting commerce and population
from our shores.

" Your Excellency, in recently travelling
through the Western States of America,

o 2


must have had ample opportunity of ob-
serving the wonderful progress there, in a
great measure resulting from a bold rail-
way policy.

" In conclusion, we beg you to convey
to Her Majesty that whatever may be our
future, whether as a Province of the
Dominion or as a separate Colony, we
shall always entertain for Her Majesty
feelings of the deepest loyalty and affec-


" Chairman.


" Secretary."

When the deputation was introduced,
on Monday, Lord Dufferin explained that
he could not receive the address, and at
the request of one of the deputation the
reasons were put in writing, and were as
follows :

" Government House, Victoria, Ang. 21st, 1876.

" Sir,
" The Governor-General regrets that it


is not in accordance with the usual practice
for him to deal with the addresses other
than those of a personal or complimentary
nature, except under advice from his
responsible Ministers, and ventures to
point out that the more correct course in
the present instance would be for the sig-
natories of the present address to proceed
by memorial or petition to the Crown, in
the usual manner.

" I have the honour to be Sir,
" Your most obedient servant,


" Governor-General's Secretary.

" S. Duck, Esq., Victoria."



A Disappointed Deputation and a Furious Editor Ex-
citement in Victoria The " Standard " The Topic of
the Day The " Colonist" Feeling excited by the
Abandonment of the Island Railway Demands of
the Extreme and Moderate Parties Degraded Indeed
Report "Wanted A Convention at Victoria Mr.
De Cosmos Departure of the Governor-General.

NEXT morning Victoria was in a great
state of excitement, on the subject
of the deputation's interview with Lord
Dufferin, and concerning the fate of the
Address. All that the street corners
could learn, with any degree of certainty,
was, that Lord Dufferin, while declining
to receive the Address had taken advan-
tage of the deputation being present
to hold an informal conversation with


them on the topic in which the country is
so much interested. He brought forward
British Columbia's views and position
apparently to the satisfaction of her cham-
pions, and then followed with Canada's
reply. It seems to have been understood,
that, while removing any hopes of the
Island Railway being undertaken as a
Government work, he gave the deputa-
tion to understand that certain compen-
sation had, or would be, offered for the
inability on Canada's part to meet British
Columbia's reasonable expectations. The
" Standard" (the organ of a gentleman
opposed to the present Canadian Govern-
ment) published next morning an article
which, though sui generis, and a fair
example of everything a newspaper article
ought not to be, has had in one way a
more or less beneficial result. It has
.disgusted a number -of men who were
blindly following the Editor, and who now
repudiate him, and it has caused those,
who, a few days ago, were violent and


unreasonable in their language to speak
more calmly, and to approach the ques-
tion in such a way, that it has become
possible to learn their views and generally
to listen to them. As the article has be-
come a subject of conversation, and has
had such a damaging effect on the leader
of the noisy party, I give it in full :


" All Victoria were on the qui vive
yesterday to learn what were the results
of the efforts of the distinguished, but
temporary, occupant of Gary Castle as
interviewer of the Committee appointed
at the recent Public Meeting. Everybody
asked everybody, * Have the Committee
returned r* And what is the result ? After
a waste of four mortal hours, the Com-
mittee-men were relieved from their pain-
ful but patriotic duty of listening to Vice-
Regal subterfuges and queries all of

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