Stamp to Carnarvon (Parliamentary Under-Secretary)
4, Mansion House Place,
8th June 1859 The Right Honorable The Earl of Carnarvon Under Secretary of State for the Colonies &c &c &c

My Lord,
I again beg leave to address your Lordship on the subject of the British Columbia Mail Contract. Last Saturday I had an interview with Mr G.A. Hamilton and Mr Stephenson at the Treasury, when I was informed that the Publication of the Advertisement calling for tenders for the above Mail Service was postponed for the present, in consequence of an offer having been made by a projected North West Transit Company, to convey the Mail through Canada to British Columbia. In the summer I believe that could be done, altho' the time occupied would be considerably longer than by the Panama route; but during the Winter, say from the 1st of November to 1st April, any one acquainted with British Columbia (in the present absence of all roads) knows it to be an utter impossibility.
That the necessary roads cannot be made for several years to come is equally certain.
Allow me to state, as some excuse for my again trespassing on Your Lordships attention, that I left Vancouver Island in December last at the urgent solicitation of the leading inhabitants of that Colony, and with strong recommendations to your Lordship's Department from His Excellency Governor Douglas, for the purpose of endeavouring to induce Her Majesty's Government to grant a veryManuscript imagevery small subsidy
in support of a regular Mail Service between San Francisco & British Columbia, the want of which, as your Lordship is aware, is occasioning great inconvenience to the Colonial Authorities as well as to the Commercial public.
After the favorable reception this subject has till lately met with at the Colonial Office, I feel most reluctant to return to the Colony without having attained the important object which I & my fellow Colonists had in view.
I feel convinced that the rising prospects of the promising Colony of British Columbia will be seriously checked by the long delay which must take place before any Overland Mail Communication can possibly be carried out, with regularity and dispatch, at all seasons of the Year, through Canada.
Before making my final preparations for departure I beg leave to solicit the favor of your Lordship informing me for the guidance of myself & my fellow Colonists, whether the publication of the Advertisement calling for tenders as lately prepared by the Admiralty is postponed sine die or only for a few days? In the latter case I would prolong my stay in this Country a little longer, although my interests in the Colony are suffering seriously from my absence.
I have the honor to remain My Lord,
Your Lordships Most Obedt humble Servt
Edwd Stamp
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
This bears upon the subject of the Letter recd a few days ago from the T-y concerning the establishment of a British postal route to B. Columbia—a matter doubtless of some present, and much future importance. The writer of this Letter declares it is impossible to Convey the mail by the overland route to B.C. during the 5 winter months. This statement corresponds with the proposal of the N.W. Coo. They offered to accomplish the service for 7 months: leaving the remainder to be completed in the course of time—which wd not answer our purpose, regular & safe communication with the Colony being demanded all the year round. Meanwhile, as you are aware, the proposal of the N.W. Co is under reference to Canada. We can, I apprehend, answer nobody definitively until the ansr be recd from the Governor. But this subject is one in which the Treasury must take a leading part, & without whose concurrence it wd scarcely be advisable for us to move.
Accordingly I shd suggest that Mr Stamp be referred to the Treasury for an ansr to his enquiry whether the advertisement for "Tenders for the service is postponed sine die or only for a few days." I have little doubt that it is deferred pending consideration of the subject.
ABd 9 June
HM June 9
I have minuted the Treasury letter with the substance of the reply wh I think ought to be returned. Copy of this communication sd be forwarded to the Treasury at the same time & they sd be reminded that a reference has been made to Canada & the question, as suggested by Mr Blackwood, asked. Mr Stamp's letter in the meantime sd be acknowledged & he sd be told that we have written to the Treasury on the subject & that we hope shortly to give him some answer to his enquiries.
C June 10
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Stamp, 17 June 1859, advising that his enquiry had been referred to the Treasury for comment.