Farrer to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Board of Trade
8th September 1864
I am directed by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 27th August accompanied by a copy of a despatch from the Governor of British Columbia enclosing an ordinance of the Colonial Legislature for the regulation of the inland navigation of British Columbia together with the observations of the local Attorney General upon itandManuscript image and requesting to be informed whether this Board see any objection to confirming the ordinance in question.
In reply I am to acquaint you that this Board see no reason on account of the circumstances stated in the letter of the Governor which should induce them to advise the Secretary of State to disallow the ordinance. That ordinance appears to be in conformity with the legislation of the United Kingdom and the objections of the Governor on the grounds of policy seem to this Board to be of a kind which can be appreciated by the Secretary of State alone.
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As regards the details I am to observe
1st That "The Merchant Shipping Act, 1854," which the ordinance adopts, has been altered in various respects by amendment Acts—copies of which are sent herewith for the Governor's information. His attention should be especially called to the last Amendment Act; viz: that of 1862.
2ndly As regard Clause 6 of the ordinance I am to call attention to the new rules, copy of which is sent herewith, for preventing collisions and to state that it is important that these rules should be uniform and that in issuing rules under section 6 of this ordinance these rules should be adopted.
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My Lords consider this to be a point of great importance since the rules have been adopted by all maritime nations and since in the case of North America we have agreed with the Government of the United States to apply them to the inland waters as well as to the sea. If any special rules are required for any particular river which is within the colony they should be strictly confined to that river.
3rdly As regards clause IV taken in connection with clauses XVI & XVII I am to draw attention to the fact that Clause IV empowers the Governor to enable aliens to own certain British ships. This appears to be contrary to the letterofManuscript image of section 18 of the Imperial Act, which requires that British ships shall be British owned.
I am also to point out that if it is intended that the ordinance shall operate to repeal the Imperial Act as regards certain vessels registered in the colony by virtue of the powers contained in Section 547 of that Act the repeal ought to be confined to vessels which by no possibility can go beyond the limits of the rivers or lakes contained within the colony and which therefore cannot come in contact with foreign vessels or have anything to do with foreign laws or jurisdiction. But it seems doubtful whether if this is intendeditManuscript image it should not be more clearly expressed.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant
T.H. Farrer
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
As the Governors opinion is not decidedly adverse to this measure—saying that he (merely) thinks it premature & finally does not recommend its total disallowance, I should consider it best to give the Act a trial. If Mr Cardwell decides on sanctioning the Ordinance the remarks contained in this Letter shd be sent to the Govr for his informn. Send also the vol. of mercht shipping Acts, which accompanied this Letter.
ABd 12 Sepr
Sir F. Rogers
See Minute annexed.
TFE 17/9
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Sir F. Rogers
The Legislature of British Columbia enacts rules for regulating Inland Navigation, founded on our English rules. Of course therefore the Board of Trade cannot object. But the new Governor thinks that the rules are unsuited to so new a Community, a point which the Board of Trade truly observe is for the consideration of the Secretary of State. I should be disposed to send out the Board of Trade letter and to tell the Governor that the Secretary of State cannot object to the rules in themselves, but that if he finds that in practice they are too strict to be conveniently enforced in a new Country, it will be for him to propose the amendment which the Law appears to him to require.
TFE 17 Sept
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Send the B of T. report and observe first that the Act cannot be confirmed by HM till the BC Legislature has made the alterations indicated by the B of T. as necessary to bring the Act into conformity with Imperial Law. And that it must therefore be at any rate reenacted with these amendments. Then state (virtually as proposed by Mr Elliot) that the Secretary of State can have no objection to these rules adopted as they are from the English Law—that Mr Seymour will of course take care that his views on the subject are known to the Members of the LegrManuscript image but that in case the Council shd continue to consider the rules advisable for the public safety it will not in Mr C's opinion be judicious on the grounds alleged by Mr S. to refuse the Royal Assent to the law embodying their decision.
FR 21/9
EC 25
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 36, 27 September 1864forwarding the Board of Trade’s report on the Ordinance.