colonize it the grant should be revoked. The few settlers in 1853 petitioned the home authorities to enforce this provision, on the ground that the course pursued had practically prevented colonization, but the influence of the company in England was sufficiently strong to secure the continuation of their rule on the island.
The First Assembly. --Governor Douglas was, however, instructed to call an assembly. The island was divided into four districts, from which seven members in all were to be elected. Only those could vote who owned twenty acres, and only those could be elected who held freehold land worth £300. There was difficulty in finding seven such men on the island. The members finally chosen were all officials of the company, or under the company's practical control. The upper House at this time consisted of but three members, "chief factor, chief trader and ancient pensioner respectively of the Hudson's Bay Company." The first parliament met in August, 1856. During the next few years it framed such laws as were deemed necessary for the well-being of the island, but the real law was the company's will.
The Mainland Colony. —During all this time the mainland —New Caledonia as it was called—was practically known only to the Indians and to the company's factors and traders. In 1857 gold was discovered on the Fraser River, and at once there was a rush of California miners and others to the new gold fields. To preserve order it was deemed necessary to establish some form of government. In 1858, therefore, the mainland was made a province under the name British Columbia, to be ruled by a governor and a small council. Until 1864 James Douglas was governor of both the new and the older province, receiving at the close of his term the honor of knighthood. In 1859 New Westminster was founded and made the capital of the colony, though all public business was in fact carried on from the government offices in Victoria. British Columbia, during these years, was a typical mining community. Its population was of an unsettled character, the man who "made his pile " usually disappearing to spend it in more settled regions. Apart from preserving order, the chief work of the governor and his council was to open roads to the different gold fields. Vancouver Island profited by the activity on the mainland, and Victoria rapidly became a thriving town, much occupied in furnishing supplies