No. 14, Legislative
Government House
New Westminster
4 April 1864
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor of transmitting the following Ordinances for Her Majesty's approval, with the accompanying Reports from the Attorney General.
No 6. An OrdinanceforManuscript image for the amendment of the Licences Act 1859.
No 8. An Ordinance to authorize the introduction of Steam Traction Engines into British Columbia.
No 9. An Ordinance to encourage the construction of a Telegraph Line connecting British Columbia with the telegraph lines of the United States, and for other purposes.
I conclude that this is the Line which the President of the California Telegraph Co sought to promote on his recent visit to V.C. Isd and B.C.
2. No 6.Manuscript image
2. No 6. An Ordinance for the amendment of the Licences Act 1859.
The object of this Ordinance is to authorize the enforcement of penalties for infractions of the Licences Act, a power not given in the Original Act. This Ordinance also imposes a Licence Fee, not hitherto levied, on all persons selling goods by auction, and it confines the tax to the House or Firm, insteadofManuscript image of levying it on each person concerned in the profits, a practice which was found to be oppressive, especially in the case of petty Firms doing a small business under the management of several partners.
3. No 8. An Ordinance to authorize the introduction of Steam Traction Engines into British Columbia.
This is a scheme for employing Steam, instead of animal, power incarryingManuscript image carrying on the land transport of the Colony.
The projectors are well acquainted with the State of the Roads, and with the Trade and resources of the Colony. With the full knowledge of these conditions they are prepared to risk their capital on the issue, without exacting any exclusive privilege, or advantage, over other carriers, except that of using Steam Traction Engines in the conveyanceofManuscript image of goods, for the term of twelve months from the date of the arrival of their Machinery in this Colony; that exclusive privilege to commence and date, from the 1st day of May 1865.
This scheme offers so many prospective advantages to the public, and will so manifestly promote the great interests of the Country, that I had no hesitation in acceding to these very reasonable proposals.
4. No 9.Manuscript image
4. No 9. An Ordinance to encourage the construction of a Telegraph Line connecting British Columbia with the telegraph lines of the United States, and, for other purposes.
This Ordinance relates to one of those bold and daring schemes which will bring the Colony into easy and direct intercourse with the world of Europe and America, and will be of the greatest advantage commercially andpoliticallyManuscript image politically to the public at large. Mr Carpentier, who negotiated this agreement is the President of the California State Telegraph Company, which has constructed Lines of Telegraph in that and the adjoining States and Territories, connecting by a line of Telegraph across the Continent with the Telegraphic Systems of the Atlantic States, and of the British Provinces of North America.
This Company ownsallManuscript image all the Telegraph Lines in the United States, West of the Rocky Mountains, and is prepared, immediately, to carry out the present project of connecting New Westminster, by a line of Telegraph with San Francisco. The work is to be commenced in five months from the passage of this Act, and to be completed in a further period of 13 months or the Act shall be void.
This Ordinance grantstoManuscript image to the California Telegraph Company the exclusive rights, for twenty years, of communicating by Telegraph between any place in British Columbia and the Territories of the United States lying West of the Rocky Mountains, and, at the same time, fixes a maximum rate of charge for messages transmitted. This exclusive right does not extend to, or interfere with any Telegraph LineswithinManuscript image within the Colony, or running across the Continent through British North America, or elsewhere not within the Territory of the United States. No other special privilege, whatever, is granted, either in the way of guarantee, or subsidy; the whole work is to be executed at the sole risk and expense of the Telegraph Company.
There is no doubt as to the advantages whichtheManuscript image the Colony will derive from the existence of this work, though it is difficult to see how it can be remunerative to the projectors for some years to come. I trust it will meet with your Grace's approval.
5. The Attorney General enters so fully into the character of these Ordinances as to render further remarks from me unnecessary.
IManuscript image
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
Humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr E.
Sir F. Rogers will remember that Sir E. Head lately directed the attention of the S.S. to a Law said to have been passed by the V.C.I. Legislature giving something in the nature of exclusive privileges to a Telegraph Company similar to this which is proposed to be also established in B.C. under the sanction of Ordinance No 9.
Former papers in circulation.
ABd 30 May
TFE 30 May
No 6 Licenses. Sanction. No 7. Here is a monopoly of the use of Traction Engines but as it is only for one year, and as it cannot be viewed as affecting any extra Colonial interest, I wd not object—an observation mt be made to the above effect adding that the Col Govt will do well to recollect that the very facility for purchasing an immediate advantage to the Colony by the grant of exclusive privileges to the promoting of a private enterprise, renders it necessaryManuscript image that they should be peculiarly on their guard agst the future embarrassment & inconvenience wh is apt to arise from such a course.
The third No 9 is a more serious matter. The 5th clause (wh shd be carefully read) gives to an American Compy the exclusive right of carrying on telegraphic communication "directly or indirectly" between B. Columbia and that part of the U.S. which lies to the west of the Rocky Mountains.
This supersedes the ansr to Sir E. Head (4601 Vancouvers Island—re-circulated herewith) and raises for decision in B.C. the question wh that letterManuscript image anticipates in V.C. Island.
The evil is that this Act has come into operation, the Compy is bound to commence its works within 5 months of March 10 (i.e before Septr 10) and will put in a claim for compensation, if it is arrested in the middle of its preparations.
At the same time I do not see how it is possible to allow a Colony placed like B. Columbia to absent to itself this power on Telegraphic communication betn (inter alia) the Admiralty and the Admiral with Pacific Station; and I assume therefore that the exclusive right clause must be got rid of.
The question is between disallowing & directing the repeal. The matter is luckily in the hands of an intelligent and determined Governor (Mr Seymour).
I should be disposed to write in terms of the annexed draft.
FR 1/6
Manuscript image
(Qu. for the department: were the P.P. above alluded to ever forwarded to Mr Douglas? Please to answer this in circulating the draft.)
[FR]
The Parly Papers relating to the establishment of Telegraphic Cies in the Colonies, with exclusive privileges, were not sent to Van C. Island. At that time (/58) V.C.Id had attained so little importance (prior to the discovery of gold in B. Columbia) that it was not the custom of the Dept to send P.P. there.
Neither have the P.P. been sent to B.C.—which was not established as a Colony until Augt/58.
ABd 1 June
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Colonial Secretary, 24 March 1864, reporting of the Trades Licenses Amendment Act 1864.
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Attorney General to Colonial Secretary, 28 March 1864, reporting on the Steam Traction Act 1864.
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Attorney General to Colonial Secretary, 28 March 1864, reporting on the Telegraph Act 1864.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 7, 1 June 1864.
Minutes by CO staff
I submit this in draft on the chance that it may be possible to send it out by this Mail.
It appeared it shd be sent to V.C. Island.
Other documents included in the file
*
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 8, 6 June 1864.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 4 April 1864, CO 60:18, no. 5063, 82. 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/B64014.html.

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