The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 47
Who should go
Who should go.
If a man is prosperous, healthy, and contented where he is, there let him stay among his relations and early friends. But if he cannot make the wealth-producing power of his labour available, if he is restless and uneasy about his own future and that of his children, and is prepared to emigrate, let him consider the advantages which British Columbia affords. He will find at first that the travel and change of life will raise his spirits; then will come a period of depression, under the rough task of beginning in a new country, to be followed by the feeling of security of home and subsistence, which is the most solid blessing to a man. Whatever may have been his former station, he will find that in the province, he may work in his own fields with his own hands, and neither feel it to be a degradation in his own eyes, nor in the eyes of those around him. His mind bowed down lately, perhaps, by care and anxiety, will recover its natural independence. His family, instead of being a burden, will be a solace and help to him. If he sets to work resolutely, and is sober and careful of his money, he will never regret the change of life which he has made. This is an undoubted truth, as I know from the mouths of hundreds of settlers, who have overcome early difficulties, and settled permanently in the country; nevertheless it is not now an easy matter to answer letters which I frequently receive, asking me page 24 to state the actual advantages from different occupations and investments in the province. No man can answer such questions satisfactorily, without second sight, and the power to guage moral dispositions. I might draw up statements on paper which might prove fallacious in practice—so much depends on the individual himself in every colonial undertaking. It will, therefore, be more prudent on my part to give general advice, the application of which to special cases must be the business of each individual himself.
We cannot at present encourage the emigration of more than a few professional men, such as lawyers, doctors, surveyors, and civil engineers, unless they have money beyond the expected earnings of their profession, and are prepared to take their chances after arrival. Clerks, shopmen, or those having no particular trade or calling, and men not accustomed to rough work with their hands, if without means of their own, would probably meet with disappointment, and, perhaps, hardship. Tutors, governesses, housekeepers, needlewomen, and women generally above the grade of domestic servants, should not go alone to the province at present, and they should not go at all, unless to join friends or relatives able to maintain them for some time after arrival.
Men who hang about the Government offices in search of "appointments" are nuisances in all colonies, and British Columbia has had her share of this class already. The only way to get an "appointment" in the province is by recommending oneself to one's fellow citizens, by sharing for years in the hard work and honest toil on which all young countries depend for their stability and progress.
A smart, active, capable man, with only a little money, but accustomed to work with his hands, is, however, sure to succeed in making a comfortable home in British Columbia. Wages, as already shown, are very high; land, food, and house materials are cheap. If such a settler has a strong heart himself, and is blessed with a commonsense wife used to country work, he may confidently look forward to becoming even rich. He need not long remain in the condition of a labourer This certainty of rising in the social scale must stimulate the emigrant. His chances will be greatly improved if he is a country mechanic, who can carry on his trade and also farm for himself. Farming is often carried on in shares—the man of no capital giving his labour for a reasonable proportion of the profits.
To farmers' sons, or persons with moderate means, qualified for the life of a settler in a new country, who cannot see openings in older countries—who cannot go up, because the passages are blocked—who cannot go down because their habits and pride forbid—to such persons I say—"go to the province, set to work at something—no matter what; give up old country notions: by-and-by take up a farm; grow fields of grain; have an orchard; establish a dairy; rear pigs and poultry, get a band of cattle or a flock of sheep; subscribe to a library; avoid whisky; be industrious and patient, and success in your case also is certain. If you feel faint-hearted at any time under the new conditions of your life, bear in mind that the men who tackled the wilderness, and made homes out of the primitive forests of Eastern Canada, New England, and Pennsylvania, had little money in their pockets. They paid more for their land than you will have to pay for land in British Columbia; they worked in a far inferior climate; they sold their produce at much lower rates. You can do what they did, if you will, and with far less privation than confronted them."page 25
Tenant farmers themselves, with limited capital, may accept the above advice. They should have at least sufficient capital to be independent for twelve months. It is often best for the father to go out and pave the way for the little folks.
Opportunities are still good in British Columbia, and just a little enterprise would give to many a family now poor and discouraged, comfort, hope, and a new life.
Farmers or other persons with larger means, will also find either tillage farming, or cattle or sheep farming in British Columbia an agreeable and profitable occupation. The natural pastures of the country are practically inexhaustible. They will feed several millions of cattle, and at present there are only about 25,000 in the country. The East Cascade region of British Columbia was made by nature to supply the cities on the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards with beef, butter, and wool. Why should an English farmer continue to pay rent, and remain under the control of a landlord as a lease-holder or yearly tenant, when, with one year's rental, he can purchase a partially prepared farm with buildings on it, in the thoroughly British province of British Columbia?
Farms cannot be made in a day, and it is evident that the demand for farm produce, which the steady growth of the country, also the Canadian Pacific Railway and other undertakings, will create in British Columbia, cannot be supplied from existing farms.
The province may be recommended generally to all properly qualified persons, with some means, and not disposed to croak, who may desire a perfectly natural, genuine, and above-board life, in a land which has the virgin attractions of great space and freedom, a superb climate, varied resources, and a bright future.
But for the scarcity of domestic servants, I could recommend British Columbia as a charming place of residence for families with fixed incomes. They would find, with much less difficulty than amidst the crowded population of the Mother Country, a suitable and pleasant home, with every facility for educating and starting their children in life. Persons living on the interest of their money can get from 8 to 12 per cent, on good security.
The invalid will find that a visit to the province will brace him up.
The tourist who can command sufficient means and leisure, might well exchange for a time the beaten tracks of European travel, for a tour of exploration and adventure, where the world assumes a new and to some minds not unattractive phase. To the observant traveller nothing could be more instructive than to witness the beginnings of a noble country—the Pacific Ocean stronghold of the Empire. In the magnificent scenery of British Columbia the lover of nature would see much that would remind him of Switzerland and the Rhine. The naturalist and botanist would find specimens not known in Europe. The geologist would witness a panorama to which the old world presents no parallel. The sportsman would find abundance of adventure, and game of all kinds. If he wants a new sporting sensation, let him try the reindeer on the Chilcotin foot-hills. For general tourists the novelty of roughing it in the bush, or traversing the fine open East Cascade country would possess singular charms. In the principal towns he can have as good a dinner as in Paris.
What I wish to enforce is, that British Columbia is not a country with page 26 only "one string to its bow;" it is not agricultural and grazing only; it is also a mining country, whose surface has hardly been scratched by miners, though about 3000 miners are profitably employed in mining; it has fine forests, and teeming ocean, river, and lake fisheries, a coast line studded with harbours and coal fields, besides a position in the world very favourable for commerce. The country is on the highway of civilized nations; it stands to America on the Pacific Ocean, as Great Britain stands to Europe on the Atlantic. The 'Alta California' newspaper, says, "That these new settle-"ments (British Columbia) are yet to become competitors for the trade of the "east, if not the commercial supremacy of the Pacific, it were useless to "deny." (See Canadian Pacific Railway, p. 72.)
The urgent requirements of the province at the present time are men and money—the large and the small capitalist—to employ the labourer who also must come with his strong hands, to bring out for conveyance to market the treasures that are hidden in the soil or merely adorning its surface. The population of the province at present is far too small to utilise their valuable domain. We have mines to be worked, railways to be made, roads to be opened, water power to be used, fish to be caught, grain, mutton, beef, and wool to be produced, and for all of them we have requirements and markets.