Kernaghan to Lytton
20 July 1858
When in California in Jany 1851 the officers of the U.S. Steam Frigate "Massachusets" assured me, incredible as the statement may be, that the Officers of the Hudson's Bay Co at Vancouvers Island had offered the Indians so much a head, dead or alive, for any of the Co's hired servants, who might attempt to escape to California, where wages then were about £20 a month, while their contracts were about £26 pr annum. Four of the Cos servants did hide themselves in empty water casks & thus escaped without the knowledge of the Steam Ship's officers.
They also told me their ship lay close to the beach when the Coals are dug out or mined & though officers of the Co were sent with the Steamer to get the price of the quantity of Coals taken on board, the Indians, claiming the Coal as their property, would not allow the Co's officers to be paid but to save bloodshed were paid themselves in dollars & blankets by the Ship.
Should Vancouver's Island continue under the Co's rule, its inhabitants will be debarred from the benefits of the Reciprocity act with the neighboring Territories & States, while those of the new Colony will have all the privileges of it. This would cause the Island to be in a great measure abandoned as the States would charge duties of 20 to 30 pct on its produce while that of New Caledonia would be free.
Having visited all the Cities of Canada this Spring—public opinion there is against the renewal of the exclusive privileges or lease of the Co in 1859—that Govt having noticed the Co to surrender all they held under them in 18 months.
I would beg to Offer my services to her Majesty's govt for an appointment in the New Colony referring to the Rt Hon. J. Whiteside, J. Wynne MP, Hon Col Cob, Mr W.S. Lindsay MP, on this side & in Canada to the Hon Mr Alleyne M.P.P., Col Playfair M.P.P, Mr Brown M.P.P. & Mr Dawson, M.P.P.
I am your obedient [humble
[Wm. Kernaghan]
To the Rt Hon. Sir Edw Bulwer Lytton Bart
Colonial Sect.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Acke. receipt; & state that Sir E. Lytton regrets that he will not have the means of complying with the writer's wish for an apptment in New Caledonia.
ABd. 20 July. HM Jy 16
The writer is a man who has given us information on several occasions and is tolerably acquainted Manuscript imagewith the country in question. I think the best answer wd be to tell him that his name shall be noted, but that from the great number of applicants and the small number of appointments to be made Sir E. Lytton fears that there will not be much chance of complying at present with his request.
Annex draft.
C. July 22.