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the dreadful storm. But we put our confidence in our Heavenly Father, and although in a country where no one can assist us, being surrounded only by poor naked and starving Indians, who all come to us for relief, we hope our Heavenly Father will touch the heart of wealthy persons of happier lands and assist us by their means.
May I be allowed to assure you once more of my esteem, my profound respect, and sincere gratitude.
I am, Honourable and Dear Sir, your very grateful servant,
Sister of Charity.
HOW THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY
THE motives that impelled Sir John A. Macdonald and his colleagues at Ottawa to “round off ” Confederation by adding the Province of British Columbia to the Union after the North-West Territories had been acquired from the Hudson Bay Company were based on national as well as Imperial considerations.
What would have been the fate of British Columbia if it had remained isolated from Eastern Canada by an unexplored sea of mountains and vast, uninhabited prairies ?
There is no question that it would have inevitably resulted in the absorption of the Crown Colony on the Pacific coast by the United States. Social and economic forces were working in that direction from the date of the discovery of gold in 1856. Thousands of adventurous American citizens flocked to British Columbia, and between the two countries there was a good deal of inter-communication by land and sea. Sir James Douglas, an ex-Governor, a prominent figure in the early days of the colony, was opposed to Confederation.
Until his eleventh-hour conversion, ex-Governor Seymour entertained similar views. The appointment of Anthony Musgrave, a pro-Union man, in
1869, came at a psychological moment when the Imperial authorities in London were giving their ardent support to the cause dearest to the hearts of Canadian statesmen.
The offer of the Dominion Government to build a railway from the head of the Great Lakes to the Pacific coast was the chief inducement that settled the political destiny of British Columbia. The story of the great difficulties encountered and the obstacles overcome in carrying out that gigantic and epoch-making project forms an interesting chapter in Canadian history. As Minister of Railways at the time, I had something to do with the preliminary negotiations and the carrying out of the work.
The Government of Canada, having been successful in acquiring the North-West Territory, felt that the completion of Federation, both for national and Imperial consideration, involved the addition of British Columbia. Sir John A. Macdonald's views in regard to the wisdom of this step were shared just as strongly by every one of his colleagues. They realised that a federation, to be effective for a young nation, must represent a union extending from sea to sea.
At that period we were also hopeful of including Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland is still “out in the cold” after the lapse of nearly half a century, despite the efforts made by Sir John Macdonald's Government; but I am hopeful ere long that the colony will become part of Canada. Prince Edward Island, after a good deal of hesitancy and uncertainty from the days of the historic conference at Charlotte
town in 1866, came into the Union in 1873, a year after the parliamentary representatives of British Columbia had taken their seats at Ottawa.
It would have been impossible to retain British Columbia as a Crown Colony if overtures in favour of the Union had not been made by the Dominion. How could it have been expected to remain British when it had no community of interest with the rest of Canada from which its people were separated by two ranges of mountains and the vast prairie ? Under the existing circumstances it had no means of advancement except by throwing in its lot with the great nation to the south, with which it had constant communication both by land and sea.
We all felt that we were bound to make the hazard of incurring the large outlay for a transcontinental railway if Confederation from coast to coast was to be made a reality, and if the sovereignty of Britain was to be retained. Accordingly, negotiations towards the admission of British Columbia were started in real earnest about the end of 1869. Although sentiment in Vancouver Island, on the whole, was unfavourable to Confederation, the entire mainland, including Cariboo, then an important factor, was practically a unit in its favour. Old-time elements, represented by Sir James Douglas, ex-Governor Seymour, and other prominent men, were in opposition.
The most potent of all the arguments for Union was the promise it held of promoting overland communication with Eastern Canada. This it was, according to a statement in the “ Life of Sir James Douglas,” that finally silenced the opposition of
Seymour. In any event, the death of Seymour in 1869 led to the appointment of an avowed advocate of Confederation, Anthony Musgrave, previously Governor of Newfoundland, and with an experience of administration gained in the West Indies. A tour of the colony which the new Governor immediately undertook confirmed the view that the overwhelming sentiment of the population was in favour of Confederation. In addition came formal instructions from England that the Governor should take such steps as he properly and constitutionally could, either in conjunction with the Governor-General of Canada or otherwise, to promote the favourable consideration of the question.
When the Legislative Council of the colony met in the session of 1870, Musgrave had a series of resolutions prepared for its consideration. In a memorable debate which, the records show, began on March gth, 1870, and lasted to the 25th of the same month, the terms on which British Columbia should become a part of the Dominion were definitely formulated.
The delegation sent down to Ottawa to complete the negotiations already under way consisted of Messrs. Trutch (afterwards Sir Joseph) Carrall, and Dr. J. S. Helmcken. In the terms formulated by British Columbia there was no provision for responsible government; in fact, a clause which was attempted to be inserted by members of the Council was defeated by a majority vote of that body. The late Hon. John Robson, the late Mr. H. E. Seelye, and Mr. D. W. Higgins held a conference, and decided that in order to secure