Sleigh to Fortescue (Parliamentary Under-Secretary)
British Columbia Overland Transit Company,
6, Copthall Court, Throgmorton Street, E.C.
14 May 1862
I have the honor to request you will submit to His Grace The Secretary of State for the Colonies the following proposition with reference to opening up the Postal Service via Canada to British Columbia.
This Company will undertake forthwith to organize a Pony Express from the Red River Settlement to Lytton in British Columbia and thence to Vancouvers Island by Steamer. The time of transit for letter to and from Great Britain and British Columbia to occupy 25 days. The Company will erect Stations at every 25 Miles on the land route, put on an efficient Staff of Post boys and an ample Stud of Horses.
Her Majesty's Government to undertake upon receipt from any duly delegated AuthorityManuscript image of the Government, of a certificate, stating that the Stations, Horses &c are on The Spot, and in readiness for the Postal Service, to grant to The Company £[blank] per week for a Mail from Great Britain to British Columbia. Such Sum not to be paid unless the Post Master General of British Columbia certifies to the due performance of each Weekly Contract.
This Company is ready to send out in its Chartered Steamer the "United Kingdom" to sail from Glasgow on the 31st of May Inst. Stabling for this Service—The Company will purchase the necessary Stud of Horses, forthwith, and employ the necessary number of Post Boys and be in readiness to carry a Mail from England on the 1st July, if the above offer is accepted by Her Majesty's Government.
The Service will be conducted fromManuscript image England by the usual Mail Steamers to Canada and thence per Rail to St Paul's and per Steamer &c to Red River Settlement, from thence per Pony Express to Lytton and from thence per Steamer to Vancouver's Island.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedt Servt
Arthur Sleigh
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
I presume that to this proposal there will be but one ansr—viz: that HM Govt are not prepared to entertain it.
ABd 11 June
Mr Fortescue
I forward this for your consideration.
TFE 12 June
Duke of Newcastle
I suppose it can only be answered, as proposed by Mr Blackwood, mentioning that the letter was only forwarded by Mr Pierce Samuel Butler on the 5th inst.
CF 14
In such hands as this project seems to be it would be worse than useless to give it any encouragement.
N 15
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
P.S. Butler to Fortescue, 5 June 1862, concerning the postal route, and forwarding copy of Sleigh's letter.
Manuscript image
Draft, Fortescue to Sleigh, 21 June 1862, stating that the government was not prepared to entertain his proposal.