Fraser to Buckingham
33 St James Square
London
August 9, 1867
My Lord Duke,
In conjunction with other Gentlemen interested in British Columbia I had the honour to transmit on the 24th Ultimo, A Memorial to Your Grace on the subject of the site of the Capital of that Colony.
2. It was suggested that if Your Grace should desire further information on the subject matter of the Memorial or on the affairs of the Colony generally, some of the Memorialists would visit upon Your Grace for the purpose of furnishing such information.
3. As some of these Memorialists are about to leave London; and as we have not received any intimation from The Colonial Office on the subject of the Memorial, I beg respectfully to call your Grace's attention to the matter.
4. I feel persuaded Your Grace will pardon me for doing so when I state that my interest in the Colony as a Landowner is greater than that ofanyManuscript image any of the other Memorialists—that I am pressed by many of the Colonists to bring the matter of the Capital under the notice of the Government—and that I consequently feel Considerable anxiety on the question at issue.
5. The other Gentlemen who moved in this matter having left it very much in my hands, I would state that the Memorialists, although ready to meet Your Grace if required, do not wish to press a formal Deputation upon you, knowing how much Your Grace's time is occupied at present.
6. It has therefore been suggested that I should offer to your Grace such information as my experience, gained by long residence and varied relations with the Colony may enable me to supply; and I beg to state that I shall be happy to adopt this suggestion should your Grace wish to see me.
7. I beg leave to avail of this opportunity to enclose for Your Grace's information two Notes written to me by Capn Richards, the Hydrographer, on the question of the most suitable position for the Capital.
8. Captain Richards' testimony in favour of Victoria confirms the truth of the statements made in the Memorial on this head and justifies the prayers of the Memorialists to have the Capital placed there.
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9. Captn Richards' private character and professional position guarantee any opinion he gives; but in this case, the value of his opinion is enhanced by the fact that his knowledge of the locality was gained by long personal experience while on the Survey of the North West Coast for several years during which period he visited Fraser River and all parts adjacent often.
10. In further corroboration of the accuracy of our Statements as to the unsuitableness of New Westminster I beg to bring to Your Grace's knowledge the fact that in June last Her Majesty's Ship "Malacca" when bringing Governor Seymour from New Westminster to Victoria Struck and took the ground upon The Sand Heads off the Mouth of Fraser River and remained there in a dangerous position for a whole night, although the Ship had the benefit of Captain Cooper the Harbour Master's presence on board to navigate her.
11. It is added by a Gentleman in the Colony writing from the spot and whose letter I received Yesterday that The Enterprize, one of The Hudson's Bay Company's Steamers, assisted the 'Malacca' off the following day. Fortunately it was calm. Had there been any wind the officers say the Ship would have bumped herself to pieces. She has to go to San Francisco to be docked. The same Vessel received injuries in the same place—on The Sand Heads—in January last on her passage to New Westminster when she struck twice.
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12. To these recent accidents to the "Malacca" have to be added an accident which befel Her Majesty's Ship "Tribune" on the same dangerous Sand Heads on a voyage from New Westminster by which she was so seriously injured that she had to be broken up on her return to England.
13. These facts demonstrate the unsuitability of the Site of New Westminster for either a Commerical or Political Capital, since even large and full handed Steam Vessels can neither approach nor leave that place without incurring the risks of the gravest casualties and of probable destruction; and, since Sailing Vessels cannot be expected to incur such risks, as no insurance would cover such palpable and notorious hazards.
Begging to be excused for troubling Your Grace with this letter and for its length,
I have the honor to remain, with respect,
Your Grace's most obedient humble Servant
D. Fraser

The Right Honble His Grace
The Duke of Buckingham & Chandos
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State
for the Colonies
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
The Duke of Buckingham has the previous papers before him.
CC 12 Aug
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I have the papers and annex a draft.
TFE 13/8
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Seat of Government in B. Columbia
We know that the Legislative Council have passed Resolutions for placing the seat of Government at Victoria in Vancouver Island. But although this has been known for some time, no report has come from the Governor. May it not therefore be prudent to write a short despatch to Mr Seymour saying that the Resolutions have been brought under the Duke's notice byManuscript image private persons, but that His Grace has declined adopting any conclusion until the arrival of the report which he will doubtless shortly receive from Mr Seymour on the subject.
TFE 13 August
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Is there any need to press for Report. Resolutions only came through private persons & do not require further notice immediately.
CBA 14/8
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I think the Govr shd be informed of the fact that the resolutions have been communicated byManuscript image persons—as prima facie—it is negligence on the part of the Govr not to have communicated them officially by same mail.
B&C 14/8
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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G.H. Richards to Fraser, 25 July 1867, expressing opinion that Victoria should be made capital of the colony, with explanation.
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Richards to Fraser, 1 August 1867, stating that he had no objection to "any one knowing the opinion I entertain as regard to where the Seat of Govt should be in B.C."
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Fraser, 13 August 1867, advising that no decision could be made until further report had been received from the governor, and declining to see a deputation on the subject.
Minutes by CO staff
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Approved by the duke. For Signature.
TFE 13/8
Other documents included in the file
*
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Draft reply, Buckingham to Seymour, No. 49, 17 August 1867 notifying Seymour that Buckingham has received notice of the “Resolutions … passed by the Legislative Council of British Columbia” and informing Seymour that Buckingham is waiting for Seymour’s report.
Fraser, Donald to Grenville, Richard 9 August 1867, CO 60:31, no. 7739, 241. 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/B676F04.html.

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