Tilley to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
General Post Office
11th November 1868
The Postmaster General having had before him your letter of the 26th of September last, enclosing a Minute of the Acting Colonial Secretary of British Columbia, transmitted by the Governor of that Colony, I am desired to state for the information of the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, with reference to the first of the threequestionsManuscript image questions dealt with in the Minute, that, whereas the arrangement under which the Colonial Government undertook to pay a monthly subsidy of $1,000 for the conveyance between San Francisco and Victoria of the Mails to and from the United Kingdom took effect on the 1st June last, the arrangement for collecting and retaining the whole postage upon letters so despatched to, and charging nothing on letters received from, the United Kingdom took effect on the 17th of January last;andManuscript image and that it is not stated what was paid for the sea-conveyance between the two dates.
In order, therefore, that the accounts between the Mother Country and the Colony, may be adjusted, I am to request that the Governor may be called upon to supply this information.
The arrangement proposed by this Department, and agreed to by the Colony was, as the Minute states, that the Mother Country should pay half thecostManuscript image cost of conveying the English Mails between San Francisco and Victoria. But, on the other hand, the Colony was to repay to the Mother Country half the cost of conveying those Mails across the Atlantic and through the United States.
The adjustment of these several charges will be made by the Receiver and Accountant General of this Department on the receipt of the information required.
I am, at the same time, torequestManuscript image request that it may be pointed out to the Government of British Columbia that it was not intended that the prepayment of postage upon ordinary letters sent to the United Kingdom should be made compulsory, and that all letters not prepaid should be detained. Such a course might occasion much inconvenience to the Public; and the Postmaster General considers that it will be better to send all letters whether paid, unpaid,orManuscript image or insufficiently paid. As the same rule will be followed in this country the arrangement will be in no way opposed to the agreement that each office shall retain the postage which it collects.
With regard to the second point adverted to in the Minute, vizt: the exchange of correspondence between British Columbia and the United States—the existing arrangement is that the Mails are conveyed at the expenseofManuscript image of the Colony; but a postage of 10 cents (5d) is levied upon each single letter by the United States Post Office, that Office, however, paying no part of the cost of sea conveyance. Upon this point the Acting Colonial Secretary is of opinion that each Office should retain the postage which it collects, but it appears to the Duke of Montrose that, to make the arrangement just, each Office should contribute a fair proportion towards the cost of conveyance; and, as the Colonial GovernmentisManuscript image is desirous that this Department should endeavour to obtain better terms for the Colony with the United States Post Office, His Grace will at once place himself in communication with the Postmaster General of the United States and suggest a more equitable arrangement.
Thirdly, the Colonial Government is anxious to exchange closed Mails with Canada through the United States, and thus to reduce the charge to which thecorrespondenceManuscript image correspondence to and from Canada is at present subject.
There is no provision in the Convention between the British and United States Post Offices for an exchange of Mails between two British Colonies through the United States Territory; but, as the Canadian Post Office has a separate postal agreement with the United States, it is not improbable that, in that agreement, there may be a provision of this nature; and, as a first step,enquiryManuscript image enquiry will be made upon this point of the Postmaster General of Canada.
I am,
Your obedient humble Servant
John Tilley
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
More attention than the Post Office generally shews to the complaints of a Colony.
Copy to Govr for his information & in order that he mayManuscript image supply the information the P.O. requires.
CC 12/11
FR 13/11
CBA 15/11
B&C 20/11
Manuscript image
See subsequent Post Office/1998 19 February 1869.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Buckingham to Seymour, No. 100, 25 November 1868 transmitting a letter from the United Kingdom’s postmaster general and requesting Seymour to provide information regarding the cost paid for conveyed mail from British Columbia between San Francisco and Victoria from the 17th of January to the 1st of June last.