Murchison to Lytton
15 Whitehall Place, S. W.
31 January 1859
I learn by a letter dated “Fort Edmonton,” Oct. 8, 1858, addressed to myself by Capt. Palliser, that he and his party, who have been exploring the sources of the Saskatchewan River, are most anxious to be permitted to return to England by a western route, and not to go over the same ground in North America, which they have already traversed. As President of the Royal Geographical Society, I beg to suggest that this proposal seems to be fraught with good sense and exhibits such a laudable desire to promote the public interests as well as Geographical Science, that I hope it will meet with your approbation.
Now that Capt. Palliser and his associates have determined the existence of practicable passes of no great altitude through the Rocky Mountains, and have penetrated into the valley beyond them, it seem to be of great importance that we should, through the means of the same efficient explorers, be made acquainted with the mineral structure and physical geography of the ridges, which separate the valley of the Columbia and its affluents from that of the Fraser River.
As thisManuscript imageAs this operation would determine the capability of communicating between large portions of British North America and the newly discovered gold region of Fraser River, and possibly make us acquainted with some data of value respecting the Cascade Range and the coast opposite Vancouver Island, and as Capt. Palliser states that such a return expedition will cost less than the journey back through the United States and Canada I earnestly hope that so very desirable an opportunity may be taken advantage of.
I need not remind you that the labours of the North American Expedition for determining certain details respecting the boundary between the settlements of Great Britain and the United States lies so far to the south of the proposed route as to afford little hope that they will throw light on the physical geography of the more northern portions of British Columbia.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your very obedient Servant,
Rod. I. Murchison
TheRt Honble
Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart, M. P.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
See papers passed this morning, 1073/59 and 449/59
See 920. Answer that permission has accordingly been given to Capt. Palliser.
HM F. 3 C Feb 3
This[…] from Sir R. Murchison to be considered in reference to Palliser's letter.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply from Merivale to Murchison, noting that Palliser has been given permission to continue his route westward.