Peel to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Treasury Chambers
5th December 1864
With reference to your letter of 13th October last, I am commanded by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to acquaint you that They have had under Their consideration the British Columbia Ordinance No 16 of 1864—to amend the Customs Duties together with the despatch from the Governor submitting certain observations upon the fourth ClausewhichManuscript image which repeals the existing authority for the clearance of Vessels in Vancouver Island for any port of British Columbia North of Fraser River—or the payment of Customs Duties of British Columbia in any part of Vancouver Island.
My Lords have no objection to the first three clauses of the Ordinance.
With regard to the fourth clause My Lords see no reason to dissent from the view taken by Mr Secretary Cardwell that the enactment is a legitimate exercise of the Powers of the British Columbia Legislature, but They thinkthatManuscript image that, before the Ordinance is submitted to Her Majesty for confirmation, full opportunity should be given for any representations to be made from Vancouver's Island touching the probable effect of the measure upon the trade of the two Colonies.
None have as yet been received.
My Lords are not aware what ports there may be in British Columbia North of the Fraser River and now open for traffic or what means the Government of British Columbia have or intend to have for levying Customs Duties at such ports, but They observe that the Governor in the 4th paragraphofManuscript image of his despatch of 6th June, states that "Vessels going to engage in the very profitable Traffic with the Northern Indians will have to clear at New Westminster."
If this means that all Vessels bound to places North of the Fraser River are in future to go up that River to New Westminster to get a clearance and to pay the Customs Duties, which would evidently take them out of their course, it is not improbable that Shipowners and Traders generally will complain of the new regulations especially considering that the ShipChannelManuscript image Channel into the River has been described as winding in a tortuous and narrow passage through the sand, a navigation somewhat dangerous.
The Despatch from Governor Douglas of 3rd November 1858, relating to the Selection of one or more Seaport Towns for the Colony of British Columbia contains some remarks bearing upon the question now under consideration.
The 13th paragraph of that despatch has reference to the arrangement hitherto in force for allowing Vessels to clear atVancouver'sManuscript image Vancouver's Island, but the 11th paragraph suggests that, for the convenience of general Trade and to prevent the risks and delays consequent on entering the River, a Customs Officer might be stationed at Point Roberts or at some more convenient point on the sea coast, outside of Fraser River, to enter ships bound to other places in the Gulf of Georgia north of Fraser River.
In the event of its being decided to allow the Ordinance My Lords would suggest thatsomeManuscript image some provision should be made for affording facilities to Vessels bound for places North of the Fraser River in obtaining clearance and paying the Customs Duties without being compelled to go out of their course.
I am, Sir,
your obedient Servant,
F. Peel
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
VJ 6 Decr
Write to Govr that as no representation adverse to this Act had been received from V.C.I. or from B.C. HM had been pleased to approve & confirm it.
Observe however that it wd seem from Mr Seymours dph that the vessels trading with the Northern parts of BC wd be obliged to come to New Westminster in order to clear, wh wd take them considerably out of their course. Refer to the 11th parag of Gov. Douglas dph of 3 Nov. 1858 and suggest the expediency of placing a Custom House if possible at Point Roberts &c as in Treay letter but wait for B of Trade rep.
FR 7/12
Sir J Douglas' dph is printed in PP 12, Aug 1859, p. 19.
CF 8
EC 10
See Trade/11899.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 63, 31 December 1864, approving of the Ordinance and outlining the Treasury’s recommendations.
Minutes by CO staff
(For to-morrow's Mail.)
TFE 31/12