Rowlandson to Lytton


To The Right Honourable Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton Bart M.P. Secretary of State for the Colonies

Right Honourable Sir,
In a former communication dated the 4th May last addressed to the then Chief Secretary of the Colonies, Lord Stanley, I applied for a commissn to make a mineral & agricultural survey of New Caledonia, in reply to which I was informed that it was not probable that Her Majestys government would cause such a survey to be made.
Since then I have learned that the subject has received more attention at home than was anticipated on the Pacific coast, and as it is probable that a governor will be appointed for New Caledonia, with a permanent staff for the management of its lands and minerals, I respectfully submit my pretensions to your notice for a permanent appointment under such an administration.
My qualifications for such an appointment will consist as evidenced by the accompanying testimonials, in the fact that it would be probably difficult to find in one individual so much combined knowledge as would be required to do justice to this very important subject, in its many varied phases, each requiring some special proficiency.
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I may be permitted here to respectfully express my belief that never in the course of the world wide colonising tendency of the English race, has so glorious an opportunity presented itself of converting a wilderness in a short period of time into a country teeming with an industrious population. Amongst the advantages natural to New Caledonia, I deem its auriferous wealth the least, except as an excitant for inducing a large immigration of industrious labourers. I look rather to its more permanent sources of prosperity, its mighty woods & waters oceanic & internal, its unlimited water power, and extensive inland agricultural lands; accessory to these great natural advantages is the abundant supply to be readily obtained of cheap labour from the [Mongol?] races to perform all the lower kinds of mechanical labour, who are especially well adapted to the manipulating mechanical processes employed in manufacturing textile fabrics.
On the other hand these countries, India, Australia, Central America, Peru, Chili & probably even Japan may be added to the list, will supply not only such raw materials as Cotton, Silk, Wool, Alpaca Wool, Nitrate of Soda, Dyewoods &c but the myriads peoplingManuscript image these vast regions will be the glad consumers of such products in the altered forms of cloth, blankets prints &c. This view of matters will not appear so visionary when I state that a blanket manufacturer is already in existence in American Oregon, the wool employed being principally the product of California—the latter now exports much wool of its own growth to New York. Again New Caledonia is well adapted to rearing English Sheep of the Southdown & Leicester breeds in the highest perfection, and its wild mountain and snow peaked summits would be admirably adapted to the habits of the gentle and valuable Alpaca. An iron road travelled by the iron horse will doubtless within a few years make these facts personally known to the most enterprising British Captialists, whilst the telegraph lightning flash will unite the Gulf of Georgia & the Metropolis of England in one community of interest and sentiment more closely even than her central counties were a quarter of a century ago.
Great and glorious as the above [rustic?] prospect may be, a possibility of its being greatly retardedManuscript image may arise from any initial error either in the disposal of its public lands, water privileges &c. On these points an error small at the outset may be found to assume in a few years proportions enormously gigantic for mischief. Having seen much of this in the United States arising from the operations of specultive land adventurers I think my experience would be found useful if placed in a responsible situation connected with the administration of the landed & mineral interests of New Caledonia.
Again on the many and varied points connected with the eligibility of sites for towns, ports, roads &c so as to combine the most perfect amount of sanatary conditions, water supply &c commensurate with convenience of intercourse & cost; all matters that I have long and seriously studied & can refer for my character in this respect to Mr R. Stephenson M.P. & Mr Thomas Hawksley (Government Engineer on the London Surveying board) testimonials from whom are forwarded to you. I cannot leave this subject without alluding to the fact that Victoria or any other port on Vancouvers Island would be a most erroneousManuscript image selection for either an entrepot or capital, it may be the most convenient in many respects for a year or two but not longer—to describe why would at present be too voluminous.
My qualifications as a chief adviser in the Mineral and agricultural department, will be best described in the varied testimonials which I hold, copies of which are forwarded to the Colonial office. I will however here remark that it does not consist with fairness that either mineral or agricultural, or water privileges whether rented or purchased alone or combined, should have one uniform price according to their value less they be rented or sold. This is merely thrown out by way of hint. It is on this point that a general report would be found valuable.
When I commenced this letter it was my intention to have made it a brief one, and added two or three appendices on various subjects, but the want of time, as I am now writing within an hour of the closing of the mail I shall be compelled to make the statement hereafter in a less formal measure than I purposed, this explanation will I trust form an apology for any undue appearancesManuscript image of familiarity or deficiency in style.
The Indians who recently appear to have been troublesome may I think eventually be induced to employ themselves in occupations useful to the whites, in such employment as Hoop-making or coopers &c and on the coast in making Kelp from sea weed. Their extinction however will be rapid for it is surprising how soon, the appearance of Indian blood becomes obliterated in the progeny arising from intercourse with the whites; in the third generation it is almost imperceptible.
I am now about to name a matter which perhaps it may be thought somewhat impertinent on my part to do so and out of place—
As a loyal subject of Queen Victoria I cannot however do other that what Englands greatest Naval and Military heros declared viz the former that his country expects every man to do & the latter that each man does from a sense of—duty.
I presume that the colonial office is already informed that the President of the United States has appointed one John Nugent to be the UnitedManuscript image States Agent in New Caledonia, with the object of protecting the Citizens of the United States & their interests.
The "On Dit" here is that it was simply a place carved out for a clamorous expectant of official patronage. He was or I might probably, with truth say he now is the principal manager & editor of the San Francisco Herald a copy of which is forwarded; as he is at present in this city, I have scarcely a doubt but the leading article headed "Topics of the day" is written by him, at all events it is most certain the article only conveys Nugents sentiments. To sum up his character concisely I may state that he is an Irishman with an inveterate and rabid hatred of England & will doubtless stir up difficulties if he can, unless he thinks his personal interests will be greatly injured by such conduct.
He was the great friend of Walker the Nicaraguan Fillibuster, and strenuous advocate of American fillibusterism generally, as also of all the administration rascality at one time so rampant in this state which was the means of causing the late Vigilance Committee.
That Nugent would do mischief if he could there cannot exist a doubt, but the number of AmericansManuscript image that have gone to New Caledonia, are not so numerous as is supposed, a very large portion of the immigrations are French, German and Italians, the two first equal in number [to] the Americans, and would to a man aid the English in any conflict, it is the American Irish, who are the really dangerous class as regards disloyalty.
Whilst I do not anticipate any serious disturbance from the appointment, I considered it only an act of duty to apprise the Colonial office as to the sort of Agent sent out by the United States so that his conduct might be carefully watched. It is due to myself also to state that I have given this information on public grounds alone. I never exchanged words with him either verbal or written nor do I know him personally.
Respectfully requesting that my application for an appointment to the land and mineral department of the administration of New Caledonia may be favourably considered.
I remain
Right Honourable Sir
Your obedient Servant
Thomas Rowlandson

San Francisco California 6th Septr 1858
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
I presume that Mr Rowlandson must be informed that Sir E. Lytton regrets that there is no opportunity of giving him employment?
HTI 11 Oct
TFE 11 Oct
Mr Rowlandson gives us also information which if we had not received it previously wd be very important—as to Mr Nugent. I think he ought to be thanked for this information but there will be no necessity in doing this by alluding to Mr Nugent by name. Annex draft.
C Oct 13
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Printed volume of testimonials in favour of Thomas Rowlandson, C.E., F.G.S., Mining and Agricultural Engineer of San Francisco, dated 1858 (thirteen pages).
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Carnarvon to Rowlandson, 20 October 1858, thanking him for the information conveyed but advising that there were no appointments open in British Columbia.

Minutes by CO staff
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Lord Carnarvon
I should be disposed to recommend sending to the Foreign Office—and to the Governor of B. Columbia (to the latter confidentially) an extract of that portion of Mr Rowlandson's LetterManuscript image which gives his opinion of Mr Nugent.
ABd 14 Oct
The Govr is aware of what Mr Rowlandson tells us of Mr Nugent.
C
Rowlandson, Thomas to Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer 6 September 1858, CO 60:3, no. 10333, 560. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B586R01.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)