No. 135
28th September 1867
My Lord Duke,
I have had the honor to receive Your Grace's despatch No. 48 of the 1st August, informing me that no subsidy can be given by the Imperial Government towards theconveyanceManuscript image conveyance of the mails to this Colony, but that the Postmaster General has written to the Postmaster General of the United States requesting to be informed whether some arrangement cannot be made for the transmission of the British mails by the steamers which it is understood have lately been established under contract with the American Government between San Francisco andtheManuscript image the ports north of it.
2. Finally Your Grace is pleased to approve of an arrangement I made for six months with an American Company for the conveyance of our mails.
3. I will advert to the last topic first and state that this despatch will be conveyed by the last vessel which will run under the contract and that the Colony cannot afford to renew it.FromManuscript image From this date until better times may come I must give up hope of any regular communication with Your Grace.
4. The suggestion proposed by the Duke of Montrose would leave our letters at Portland in the State of Oregon, high up the Columbia River. From thence they would have to be conveyed at irregular intervals by steamer to Monticello on the Cowlitz, and then againtrustManuscript image trust to chance for carriage in the "stage" to Olympia on Puget's Sound. Once there their conveyance to Victoria would be pretty certain.
5. Our best chance of communicating with the Mother Country for the future will be, it appears to me, in the kindness of Officers commanding American Ships of War which may touch at this port on their way to and from Sitka.
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I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your most obedient,
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
This is not a creditable thing that our communication with B. Columbia shd be left to chance—& the best chance the kindness of Comrs of U. States Men of War. Govr Seymour says nothing of our Ships of War, but as Columbia is the Naval Head Quarters IManuscript image should think the Admiral would take care that he could send & receive his own despatches.
CC 4 Dec
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I shd be disposed to send this to the P.O. and request to be informed whether any answer has been received to the proposal wh the D. of Montrose was to make to the U.S. P.M.G. respecting the conveyance of letters from S. Francisco to V.C.I. It will be seen by 4981 B.C. that the English Naval Officers are as much put out as the Gov. of V.C.I. by the absence of regular communication.
The importance to the Fleet of such communication in time of an incipient quarrel with the U.S. is obvious. The want of it might lose a fleet. But communication thro' S. Francisco wd be but an imperfect security agst this danger.
FR 4/12
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It is very important, but I do not see how we can get out of the U.S. any way not even for commns by Telegraph.
CBA 7/12
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Prepare statement shewing financial position &c of B. Columbia—& annex P.O. report of 1863.
B&C 8/12
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Secretary to the General Post Office, 20 December 1867, forwarding copy of the despatch for information and asking whether there had been any answer to the enquiry submitted to the American postmaster general.
Minutes by CO staff
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A statement of the financial position of the Colony is being prepared as directed by His Grace.
I cannot find any trace of the Post Office report of 14 Novr 1863 referred to in par. 7 of the Post Office letter of 27 June last.