Seymour to Cardwell
London
2 November 1865
Sir,
Among the papers lost in the wreck of the steamer "Brother Jonathan"
Duplicates of all the public Desp lost in this Vessel have been supplied.
would appear to have been an unofficial letter from you directing me to communicate freely with the Governor of Vancouver Island on the suggested union of the two colonies west of the Rocky Mountains. YouManuscript image enclosed a copy of this letter to Governor Kennedy, and the Vancouver Island mail bag having been recovered, I thus became aware five minutes before my departure from Victoria, of the contents of a communication which has never reached me.
I learn that Mr Kennedy transmitted to you a copy of an informal letter headdressedManuscript image addressed to me on the same subject; a letter to which I had not, at the time of my departure from Victoria, returned an answer. I have now the honor to lay before you a copy of a hurried communication which I sent to him from San Francisco in reply.
Although no definite scheme for the union of the two colonies was proposed on either side, I am happy to say thatManuscript image the relations which existed between the Governor of Vancouver Island & myself were always of the most intimate and friendly nature.
I have the honor to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour

The Right Hon:
Edward Cardwell M.P.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Mr Cardwell has I believe all the important Despatches on the subject of the Union before him, with a Memo by Mr Blackwood.
VJ 3 Novr
TFE 4 Novr
I have seen Gov. Seymour. Put by.
EC 11
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Manuscript image
Seymour to Kennedy
18 Sep: 1865
My dear Kennedy,
Until our conversation took place just before I left Victoria I had no idea that you attached much importance to the letter you wrote me in New Westminster on the subject of the suggested union of the two colonies. I should certainly have answered it, had you desired it,Manuscript image although I do not see that my answer would possibly have been satisfactory.
The situation of things at the time you wrote was this; Vancouver Island, through its House of Assembly, had declared in favour of union upon any terms. B. Columbia, through its Legislative Council, had pronounced against the proposed union. You, however, commence with the rather startling assertion that the only obstaclesManuscript image to union rest with Vancouver Island. This was not a promising foundation for our correspondence.
I gathered however from you in conversation that your meaning was that as I had the power to command a majority of votes in the Council I could force down any measure in favour of which the Secretary of State had shewn a leaning. You are aware of the attention whichManuscript image was paid in Downing Street to the oratory of the people of British Columbia, even before they possessed their present very moderate share of representation. I cannot believe that I should be consulting the wishes of H.M's Government were I [to] make union a Government question in my Council and carry it by force. Far from that, I am convinced that I should be blamed for exercisingManuscript image a tyrannical power which would revive all the old complaints. I think the proceeding would be so unwise that, as I said in your office, I should not take it without instructions so imperative as to leave me no discretion.
You informed me of your intention of dissolving your Assembly on the union question. I expressed verbally my satisfaction at the intention.
Agreeing with you, in the abstract, thatManuscript image union is desirable, I waited to see whether any party in favour of it would rise up in this Colony. Failing that, it was very difficult for me to enter into any negotiation on the subject, and I even refrained from writing about it to the Secretary of State. The despatch to which he alludes, in his note which has not reached me, enclosed my proroguing speech on my assumption of office. I thereinManuscript image said, referring very shortly to my speech that I considered a return to the old order of things impossible and that Cariboo could never be satisfactorily governed from Victoria; or something to that effect.
The state of uncertainty which the agitation in your Colony has kept up in both is most detrimental and I shall be glad to see an end put to it, but this it is not in ourManuscript image power to bring about. You seem to see this as you have never made a suggestion to me on the subject upon which we could have founded a discussion. It was prima facie for you, as the representative of the proposing colony to have made the advances, for me, whose people wish to keep clear of the connexion, to be reserved.
I should long ago have answered you hadManuscript image I thought you cared about it. I fear that this answer will not appear very satisfactory.
Believe me &c
&c &c &c
Frederick Seymour
Seymour, Frederick to Cardwell, Edward 2 November 1865, CO 60:23, no. 10701, 334. 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/B656S03.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)