Gosset to Under-Secretary of State
The Cloisters
Octr 26 1858
As Commissary for British Columbia, and I presume therefore (as in Ceylon) responsible for the supply of rough and sawn timber to the various Departments, I beg to suggest that the skeleton gear of a powerful water wheel and the machinery of a circular sawing mill be forthwith provided & sent out without delay. There is no one article, I deem more necessary, or more economical, for a Colony, where wood abounds, wherelabourManuscript image labor is so scarce that "a Carter 1 earns 10£ a day", and where sawn timber will be required for innumerable purposes of general utility, to an extent which will repay the cost of this simple & not costly tool, even were the Colony to last but a couple of years.
2. On the same principle of saving manual labor in an expensive labor market, though in an infinitely less degree than above, I would suggest the supply of a lithographic pressforManuscript image for the production of such forms and documents as are likely to be required from the Commissariat for the general purposes of Government.
3. Being ignorant of the amount of provisions transmitted with the force which has proceeded to Vancouvers Island, it is out of my power to offer any suggestions on this head.
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient Servant
W. Driscoll Gosset
P.S. If ordered from Mr Fenn 105 Newgate St2,Manuscript image such sawing gear as I've described, may be prepared for less than 200£; and could be sent out (if the Euphrates has sailed,) as is merchants' freight, as part cargo of any ordinary trading vessel. W.D.G.

The Rt Honble
The Under Secy of State
for the Colonies
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
There is no end to the wants of R. Engineers. The force is an expensive one in itself, & in its requirements, and an Engineer Officer having been chosen for the situation of Treasurer and Commissariat Officer to the Detachment he too proposes the purchase of articles which will help to swell a bill I am frightened even to think of. In the end I have little doubt thatManuscript image it will prove an economy of time labor, & money to comply with this request—if Sir Edward is prepared to incur the first expense.
ABd 26 Oct
Lord Carnarvon
I think that the two first requests should be complied with. But with regard to provisions, glanced at in the last paragraph, I have never yet heard it surmised that we are to feed either the functionaries or the population of British Columbia from England, and I think that the allusion may be dismissed in silence.
TFE 27 Octr
Sir Edward Lytton
I am quite alive to the importance as far as possible of keeping down the estimates: and I fear that Mr Blackwood is not wrong when he looks to a very heavyManuscript image bill for B. Columbia next year: but I sd on the whole sanction the purchase & shipment of the articles recommended by Captn Gossett: as it is clear that the saving effected by machinery, where manual labour is so costly, will be very large.
As regards the Provisions, these have been furnished on Col. Moody's recommendation & he alone is responsible for them. I hope & believe that this portion of our preparation is complete.
C Oct 27
We have no choice—order the articles, limiting the expence to within 200£. Draft a letter to Cap. Gossett of short instruction to Consider that he is Treasurer as well as Commissary, & that his first object shd be the treasure from wh to defray supplies—observe complimentingly that in appointing a person of his abil[it]y & dedication what I most looked to was his aid in effecting economy & securing revenue under the important department to wh he was appointed.
EBL Oct 28
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Colonial Office to C.E. Trevelyan, Treasury, 9 November 1858, recommending purchase of skeleton gear and lithographic press if the expense did not exceed £200. For fear of disappointment, I would venture to suggest that the limit towards the end of this draft might be so far extended as to say "from £200 to £300."
Minutes by CO staff
If the Treasury assent an intimation should, in the absence of Captain Gossett and Colonel Moody, be forthwith made to Capn Elphinstone, R.E. at the Topographical Office, who has kindly undertaken to see after any further business connected with this service, which requiresManuscript image personal superintendence.
The Euphrates is loading & will sail this month. Before ordering these things Capn Elphinstone will, I daresay, ascertain that there is stowage for them.
ABd 3 Novr
Let Captn Elphinstone be written to about the Stowage, & make sure of it.
EBL Novr 5
  1. I.e., one who drives or operates a cart.
  2. Fenn was a tool manufacturer with offices at 104 Newgate Street, London. Get biog dir??
People in this document

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Carnarvon, Earl

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Elphinstone, Howard Craufurd


Gosset, William Driscoll

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Merivale, Herman

Moody, Richard Clement

Trevelyan, Charles Edward

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office


Vessels in this document


Places in this document

British Columbia


Vancouver Island