No. 15
Downing Street
2 September 1858
It has appeared to Her Majesty's Government that the public service in British Columbia will require at an early period the appointment of an active Officer to superintend the business connected with the landing and embarkation of passengers and goods, which will probably be of considerable and pressing importance.
As far, however, as I am atpresentManuscript image present informed, no regular harbour exists or is likely to be immediately established on the Coast of British Columbia while Esquimalt in Vancouver's Island, appears to possess qualities which will render it eventually, if they have not done so already, of great value in the communication between the Island and the Continent.
I have therefore advised Her Majesty to appoint Mr James Cooper, lately resident in Vancouver's Island, to the office of harbour master at Esquimalt. But it will be understood that this appointment is made chiefly for the purposes of British Columbia; and I wish you to consider with what office in that Colony, his services at Esquimalt can bestbeManuscript image be combined, or, if you find it more convenient, to alter the title of his Office. Considering the uncertainty of the precise form which the arrangement may ultimately take I have not caused him to be appointed by warrant from the Crown in the usual manner, but leave it to yourself to issue his Commission in such style as you shall think proper. His salary will be Four hundred pounds (£400) a year, payable from British Columbian funds, in the same manner as other salaries, and to be defrayed out of the local revenue, as you have been already apprised.
I have selected Mr Cooper for this appointment on account of the veryvaluableManuscript image very valuable information which he gave to the Committee of inquiry into the affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1 and the general intelligence which he has shown on matters connected with North Western America.
I am aware that Mr Cooper left Vancouver's Island in circumstances of some embarrassment, 2 which I mention lest you might suppose that I had been in any way deceived as to his position. But I do not find that any discreditable conduct has been proved against him in respect of those circumstances, and I trust that his former pecuniary position will not interfere with the advantage which may be expectedfromManuscript image from the employment of his talents and industry in the public service in the Colony under your Government, considering the very limited number of persons qualified by any practical knowledge of the Country and its requirements.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble servant
E B Lytton
  1. = Select Committee. Ref needed.
  2. = Cooper appointment For James Cooper, see biographical dictionary. Cf. Cooper to Lytton, 9 September 1858, 9377, CO 60/2, p. 591.
People in this document

Cooper, James

Douglas, James

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Organizations in this document

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

British Columbia


Vancouver Island