No. 60
10th April 1867
My Lord,
I greatly regret to have to inform you that the American Steamers have refused to carry the Mails between San Francisco and this Colony. NinetybagsManuscript image bags of letters and despatches were left behind at the vessels last trip to Victoria and no doubt the quantity has now increased considerably by fresh arrivals from Panama and New York. The senior naval officer has consented to send down one of Her Magesty's ships for the mail bags, but we cannot expect that vessels of war will often be thus employed.
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2. The cause of the refusal I believe to be simply this. Mr Birch, lately administering the Government of British Columbia was unable to come to any agreement with Governor Kennedy in regard to the conveyance of the Mails. The House of Assembly of Vancouver Island refused to vote a cent for the service if the steamers ran up as far as New Westminster.Mr.Manuscript image Mr Birch thereupon made an agreement with an American Company, under which, for a subsidy of £300 a trip, a steamship ran between San Francisco and New Westminster calling in going and coming at Victoria. Immediately an opposition line was started in Victoria and the steamer "Labouchere" was chartered to do the service between San Francisco and that Town.
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3. On the loss of the "Labouchere" the Government of Vancouver Island made a separate agreement with the Company already subsidized by that of British Columbia. They paid £300 a trip to the vessel running to New Westminster in order to secure her more prolonged detention in Victoria. Thus the "Active" received £600 for each voyage.
4. The LegislativeCouncilManuscript image Council, mainly, I believe, to prevent the Steamers passing beyond Victoria, have only placed £100 in my hands for each trip. The vessels continue to run but will not carry the Mails.
5. It would be a very great boon to the Colony if we could receive some assistance from the Mother Country in establishing a line of Steamers runningtoManuscript image to Panama or even to San Francisco. I addressed Your Lordship on the subject in my despatch No. 39 of 7th March 1867.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Send a copy of this to the Treasury with the Admiralty letter 4981.
CC 30 May
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On account of local jealousies, these wrangling Legislators, in accordance with their past spirit, have ended by depriving the Colony altogether of postal communication.
Send to the Treasury as proposed?
TFE 30 May
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I hope with an intimation that we do not consider it right that any assistance should be given from this Country to terminate, & really to keep up this local wrangle.
CBA 3/6
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Send to Treasury with copy of 4981, for their information & consideration.
B&C 6/6
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See subsequent 71/5801.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Secretary of the Treasury, 14 June 1867, forwarding copy of correspondence on mail conveyance for consideration.