Sproat to Secretary of State
London, 33 King William St E.C.
7th September 1867 The Right Honble The Secretary of State for The Colonies

My Lord Duke,
On behalf of the Memorialists who have addressed your Grace on the subject of a selection of a Capital for British Columbia for whom Mr D. Fraser of 33 St James Square and I act as honorary Secretaries, I am asked to refer to a paragraph in Mr Frasers letter to your Grace dated the 9th August, as that Gentleman is at present absent from London.
In the paragraph referred to it is stated that Her Majestys Ship "Malacca" remained for one night aground.
I beg to mention that an account of the accident, published in the Colony, and received since Mr Fraser's letter was written varies from the statement in his letter to this extent, namely, that the "Malacca" passed a night at anchor, instead of aground, as appears from the enclosed slip cut from a Victoria Newspaper.
However the ship may have passed the night,whetherManuscript image whether aground where she stranded, or at anchor in deep water, the inference which was drawn from the accident was just and correct.
Either position of the ship would justify the same inference—viz, that the approach to Fraser River is dangerous to such vessels, but, nevertheless it is considered proper in candour to acquaint your Grace with this discrepancy of detail, slight though it be.
When the Admiral on the Station reports to the Admiralty, the exact fact will of course be known.
I beg to acknowledge receipt of Mr Elliots letter to Mr Fraser of the 21st August in reply to Mr Frasers letter of the 16th August.
I am aware of the practise alluded to in Mr Elliots letter in ordinary cases; but the choosing of a site for the Capital of British Columbia has been so very publicly discussed in the Colony and in England, and excites so earnest an interest in persons in this Country connected with the Colony; and is, besides, fraught with such grave consequences, that the Gentlemen, who have been moving in this matter—many of whom are thoroughly conversant with the subject—deem it important that the Secretary of State should be made aware of their anxiety, and of their readiness to furnish information with respect to the question.
They specially mention this, rememberingthatManuscript image that your Grace's predecessor in Office, The Duke of Newcastle, informed several of the present Memorialists who composed a deputation which waited upon the Secretary for the Colonies in reference to questions connected with the Union of Vancouver Island and British Columbia that they came too late, and that if persons in England really interested in the Colony were themselves apathetic or dilatory, the Colonial Office could not be blamed for acting on the information that was before them, even though such information might be partial and imperfect.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke
Your Graces most obedient humble Servant,
G.M. Sproat
Hon Secy to the Memorialists on the
question of a Capital for British Columbia
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
I recently forwarded on to you all the papers relating to the B. Columbia Seat of Govt. Whether the Malacca was aground or at anchor for a night does notManuscript image signify as far as the main question is concerned—tho' it does as to the correctness of Mr Fraser's statement.
As regards the concluding Section of this letter what was asked forManuscript image was a copy or perusal of the Governor's report on the Seat of Govt when recd—& before it was acted on by the Secy of State.
Ack: receipt, & if as I have already suggested copy of all correspondence shall be sent to the Govr add a copy of this.
CC 12 Sep
FR 16/9
CBA 17/9
B&C 23/9
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Newspaper clipping, The Weekly British Colonist and Chronicle, no date, reporting the grounding of the Malacca on the sand banks at the mouth of Fraser River.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Rogers to Sproat, 3 October 1867, acknowledging receipt of his letter and enclosure.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
This was with the bundle of papers respg Selection of Capital returned by his grace Yesterday.
WR 1 Oct
Manuscript image
N.B. The Ss letter to be Copied for Govr Seymours despatch on the Capital.
Sproat, Gilbert Malcolm to Grenville, Richard 7 September 1867, CO 60:31, no. 8885, 337. 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/B676S03.html.

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