14th March 1865
With reference to my despatch No. 24 of yesterday's date, I wish to make some remarks on the defenceless state of the Colony, which you might perhaps not wish to see in a public despatch.
2. Beyond the few oldgunsManuscript image guns mounted in some of the almost dismantled Hudson's Bay forts, there is not a cannon in the Colony. The salutes I alluded to in some of my despatches as having been fired in my honor were simply loud explosions, of gunpowder placed between two anvils, one of which on each occasion was blown into the air. I was recently visited by the United States sloop of War "Shubrick," and had to send to request the Commander not to salute as I had not the means of returning the compliment. There appearslikelyManuscript image likely to be a rush of many thousands of American citizens to our newly discovered gold fields this year and we shall have to rely exclusively on moral influence for their control.
They have never yet misconducted themselves.
3. I need scarcely remind you that we have but a permanent white population of about three thousand, surrounded by Indians to the number, it is estimated of forty thousand.
4. But the most important consideration which I would venturetoManuscript image to bring before you, is that steps are now being taken for the construction in this Territory of the Telegraph which is to connect the United States with Russia. It hardly rests with me to point out the closeness of the friendship which, it is believed on the Pacific, unites those two Countries, but it is obvious that in the event of our unhappily being at war with either power, it would be most important for that power to keep up its telegraphic communication.TheManuscript image The one with America. The other with Asia and Europe as the case might be. This in the present condition of things might be effected at once by an attack on British Columbia.
5. The Collins Telegraphic Company have the right to erect blockhouses and forts within this Colony for the protection of the Company's Servants, against the native tribes. The Director of the Company here, Colonel Buckley, is an Officer of the UnitedStatesManuscript image States Engineers. He proposes to import from six hundred to one thousand men for the construction of the line and for its proper defense. Of the few men who have already arrived several have served in the American Army and it is probable that the interior of the Colony will soon be virtually in their hands.
6. Under these circumstances I venture to support the prayer of the Legislative Council that some portion of Her Majesty's NavalforcesManuscript image forces be stationed, when not required elsewhere in the Fraser.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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See 6169.
ABd 4 July
Mr Cardwell
The facts mentioned here by Governor Seymour about the American old Soldiers who are coming in to make their telegraph, and are to have a right of lodging themselves in block houses for security appear rather striking.
In other respects and as to his appeal for protection by the presence of Naval forces, I have submitted what I have to say on 6169.
TFE 6 July
Copy to F.O. for Ld Russell's information. All this tends to show the desirability of reuniting these two Colonies.
EC 28 Augt
Other documents included in the file
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Colonial Office to E. Hammond, Foreign Office, 6 September 1865, forwarding copy of the despatch for information.
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, Confidential, 20 September 1865.