No. 7
1st June 1864
I have received your predecessor's despatch No. 14 of the 4th ultimo accompanied by three Ordinances of the Legislature of British Columbia including No. 9 of 1864 intituled An Ordinance to encourage the construction of a telegraph line connecting British Columbia withtheManuscript image the telegraph lines of the United States and for other purposes.
I observe that by the 5th clause of this Ordinance there is secured to the California State Telegraph Company, for a period of twenty years after the completion of a certain telegraph line, the exclusive right of sending and receivingmessagesManuscript image messages between any place within the Colony of British Columbia and any other place within the territory of the United States of America to the West of the Rocky Mountains.
From the Parliamentary Paper noted in the margin
Parl: Paper 162—1858
of which a copy is enclosed you will learn (what, from the correspondence between this department and Mr.CollinsManuscript image Collins, respecting the construction of a telegraph line to British Columbia across the North of Asia, which correspondence was communicated to you on the 10th of February last, you will already have inferred) that Her Majesty's Government are unable to sanction the establishment of any exclusiveprivilegesManuscript image privileges in regard to telegraphic communication, and you cannot fail to see that the strict enforcement of this principle is peculiarly indispensable in British Columbia through which Her Majesty's Government may have to communicate in very critical times and on very important matters with Her Majesty'sNavalManuscript image Naval Forces on the Pacific. It will therefore be impossible that the 5th clause of the Ordinance under consideration should be allowed to remain in operation, and the California State Telegraph Company should be at once so informed.
I have hesitated to recommend the immediate disallowance of this OrdinancebecauseManuscript image because it appears to me that by allowing it for the present to remain in operation I shall facilitate those negotiations between the Government and the Company which will be necessary to provide either for the continuance or for the abandonment of the enterprise.
I hope that youwillManuscript image will be able to make arrangements under which the understanding may proceed, but it must be clearly understood that the exclusive right of telegraphic communication can under no circumstances be allowed, and that if the clause giving that right be not repealed I shall have no other alternative left thanthatManuscript image that of advising Her Majesty to disallow the whole Ordinance.
I have the honor to be
Your obedient servant
Edward Cardwell
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
18 June 1858, Schedules and extracts of correspondence between the Secretary of State and North American colonies on the subject of "giving an Exclusive Right to the Establishment of Telegraphic Communication between this Country and North America to one Company."