No. 89
26 October 1860
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Grace's Despatch No 33 of the 15th June forwarding a letter from the Deputy Governor of the Hudson Bay Co complaining Manuscript image complaining of the operation of the Customs Laws of British Columbia upon the interests of that Company.
2. Your Grace has taken so clear and just a view of the case that it is scarcely necessary for me to enter into the merits of the general question, but to prove to your Grace the futility of the complaint, and to exhibit the general working Manuscript image working of the Customs Laws in British Columbia with regard to the business of the Hudson Bay Co, I forward herewith a very clear and able Report from Mr Hamley the Collector of Customs, accompanied by correspondence from the Officers of the Company at Victoria, by which it will be seen, that not only has it been the practice to allow a drawback on the goods sent into the Russian Territory, but that in a recent case Manuscript image case where goods were forwarded by the Company in transit through British Columbia to Colville in the American Territory, no duty whatever was either levied or paid. Although the Directors of the Company in England could not at the date of their letter be aware of the latter transaction, yet it appears somewhat remarkable Manuscript image remarkable, that the data before them from which they reviewed the case, should not have supplied so important an item of information as the former.
3. With regard to the alleged "exaction" of Customs duties at Victoria, your Grace has already pointed out to the Company that the law is optional on vessels going North of Frasers River to Manuscript image to pay duty at Fort Victoria or New Westminster, and that this provision must be intended as a convenience rather than a restriction. As Mr Hamley remarks It was expressly to save the Company's servants the trouble and delay of coming to New Westminster that permission was given to them Manuscript image them to pay their duties at Fort Victoria from which Port the Vessel sails. An objection on their part to this arrangement is simply absurd, but if from any unaccountable reason they prefer it, they are at all times at liberty to bring their vessels to New Westminster for clearance and the payment of duties.
No overt complaints have ever been made by the Company's Officers Manuscript image Officers on the spot regarding this convenience, and I need scarcely say they do not avail themselves of the option of clearing at New Westminster, although since the removal of the Treasury to that place, the duties in such cases have been paid to the Collector of Customs at New Westminster—the Vessel Manuscript image Vessel meanwhile clearing from Fort Victoria as heretofore.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
I presume that a Copy of this Despatch should be communicated to the Hudson's Bay Company with reference to the letter addressed to them on the 13 of June? See drafts attached to 4963.
VJ 18 Decr
Mr Fortescue
For your consideration.
TFE 18/12
This shd go to the H.B.Co. as the result of the reference to the Govr wh. they were informed in the letter of the 13th June wd. be made.
It is a complete answer.
CF 20
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Mr Berens called upon me a few days ago & renewed this complaint with other new ones. He is to put them on paper. I hope he will admit that this complaint at least is fairly answered.
N 24
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Wymond Hamley, Collector of Customs, to Colonial Secretary, 28 August 1860, responding to the complaint of the Hudson's Bay Company against customs procedures in the colony.
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W.F. Tolmie, Hudson's Bay Company, to Hamley, 13 July 1860, submitting an invoice of goods enroute to Washington Territory and therefore not liable for customs duties in the colony.
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Dugald Mactavish, Hudson's Bay Company, to Hamley, 10 August 1860, submitting an invoice for seventeen packages of goods bound for Washington Territory.
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Mactavish to Hamley, 14 August 1860, asking that the appropriate paper work be completed in relation to the shipment of two cases of guns enroute to Fort Colville in Washington Territory.
Mactavish to Hamley, 22 August 1860, advising of a drawback of some $400 on goods shipped to Fort Simpson.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Hudson's Bay Company, 31 December 1860, forwarding copy of Hamley's report.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 26 October 1860, CO 60:8, no. 11679, 262. 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/B60089.html.

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