Henson to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
British Columbia Overland Transit Company,
6, Copthall Court, Throgmorton Street, E.C.
12 July 1862
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 11th Instant, together with enclosure dated Quebec 9th June.
I have also received from St Pauls and Red River letters from our Agents on the Spot informing me that 150 emigrants (not forwarded by this Company) have started this year Overland for British Columbia by the Saskatchewan route and that others are following.
So fully impressed were the Company with the importance of their passengers getting through safely, that we wrote to our Agent Mr Hime at St Pauls, that should he find any real, or serious difficulty presented, he wasauthorisedManuscript image authorised to send our passengers via the United States Overland Route, or the Panama Route notwithstanding the heavy expense which would be incurred thereby. We advised our Agent on receipt of letter from Colonial Office enclosing extract from Red River respecting the Cereal Crops, and instructed him to well enquire into the matter before letting the passengers start by that route.
Mr James Hayward whom we sent as through Agent, received similar instructions, and our Agent at Quebec has also had instructions forwarded to him, that in the event of apprehended danger on the route to send the passengers per "United Kingdom Steamship," via Panama, and to draw upon the Company for such extra expenses.
We areManuscript image
We are fully cognisant of the importance of this question, and have given by every Mail very careful instruction to our Agents. We must remark at the same time that the most contradictory, and conflicting accounts respecting this route have reached us. The Red River Newspapers and a portion of the Canadian Press represent the route as the most advantageous and practicable on the Continent, while other Newspapers give a contrary opinion.
We have in our possession letters from Mr Dawson offering to Amalgamate his Company "The North West Navigation &c Compy" with the "British Columbia Overland Company" and eulogising the route in the most confident terms. What are we to believe with such facts before one?
I have the honor to remain
Your most Obedient Servant
James Henson
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Send copy of this Letter to the Governor of Canada. Mr Dawson's proceeding seems to expose him to comment, Tho' not by this Dt. The Duke of Newcastle is not unacquainted with certain importations against Mr Dawson.
ABd 15 July
The concluding sentence seems to destroy all value of Mr Dawson as an authority. It is a pity that Ld Monck's Despatches are usually so jejune, as to leave us in the dark on information that we ought to have. I think that, on forwarding this letter, I should remark that if Mr Dawson be an interested party, as the statement at the end of the letter shows to be the case if it be correct, it is to be lamented that Viscount Monck in forwarding Mr Dawson's letter with all the authority which it must derive from being transmitted by the Govr of Canada, had not mentioned so essential a fact.
(A Govr of Canada ought to be very [careful?] that he is not [used?] for jobbing [purposes?].)
TFE 15 July
Duke of Newcastle
Write accordingly?
CF 16
Yes. I believe Mr Dawson's character by no means stands high in Canada & tho' he knows all about this route his statements are open to suspicion.
N 19
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Monck, Canada, No. 155, 29 July 1862, sharing Henson's letter.