22nd November 1869
My Lord,
I have given my careful attention to Your Lordship's Confidential Despatches of the 24th and 25th August respecting arrangements for participation by British Columbia in the advantages of any Treaty affectingtheManuscript image the Commerce between the British North American Possessions and the United States.
2. In the first of these Despatches Your Lordship acquaints me that Her Majesty's Government wish to receive from me confidentially such a statement as I may think best for securing that the interests of British Columbia should meet with justconsiderationManuscript image consideration. As my acquaintance with the affairs of this Colony is yet so recent I have requested Mr Hamley the Collector of Customs and a Member of the Executive Council to prepare a Minute upon the subject of which I enclose a Copy for Your Lordship's information. From my own observations and such other material for forming an opinion as I have been enabled tocollectManuscript image collect I concur in the conclusion at which Mr Hamley has arrived that such a Treaty as is sketched in the Memorandum prepared by Mr Rose will be upon the whole substantially beneficial to British Columbia. But I am aware that this opinion is by no means unanimously entertained, and I am informed that on some confidentialdiscussionManuscript image discussion of the advantage of a Treaty of Reciprocal Trade, in the Legislative Council during last Session, it was agreed almost without dissent that such a Treaty would not be advantageous. It is thought by the opponents of the Measure that the Agricultural interests of this Colony would be entirely sacrificed by the free admission of farm producefromManuscript image from the adjacent American Territories, while they regard the free interchange of the products of our forests and mines as of less importance in as much as this Colony possesses as they think natural advantages in these respects sufficient to ensure ready Markets for our Coal and lumber notwithstanding the existing duties on these articles imposed by the UnitedStatesManuscript image States.
In the presence of such a feeling it is not certain that the Council would desire to adopt such a Treaty, more especially as its effects would be to diminish our present import duties to the extent of about seventeen per cent, creating a deficiency of Revenue which it might be difficult to supply from other sources.
5. YourManuscript image
5. Your Lordship's will therefore see that, with those who doubt the value of the Treaty in question, the facility for obtaining it which would be afforded by this Colony being treated as a part of Canada in the negociations on the subject is not likely to be regarded as of great importance. In fact the advocates of Reciprocity are those who are in favor of Confederation and theopponentsManuscript image opponents of Union see no advantage in Reciprocity.
6. It is not of course reasonable to expect that any special modification of the Treaty could be made in favor of this Colony when no valuable equivalent can be offered, and until the question shall assume a shape in which it might be submitted to the local Legislature it appears most desirable in anyarrangementManuscript image arrangement which may be possible simply to stipulate that British Columbia should be included on the assent of her Legislature, leaving it to that body to decide the question. If the arrangement should thus be presented to them as one at their option to accept or reject I have little doubt that the Community will then see that the operation of the Treaty would upontheManuscript image the whole be very much to their advantage.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
A. Musgrave
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Dealtry
The previous papers are in circulation with Mr Rose's letter—but this had best follow your letter from the F.O. I passed on yesterday without waiting for their return.
CC 8/1
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WD 8/1
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Mr Dealtry
Keep this till the previous papers come back.
FR 10/1
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Now returned.
WD 14/1
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Mr Monsell
State that although the course taken by the U.S. puts the question to rest for the moment Ld G. is glad to have been made aware of Mr M's views & to have perused Mr Hamleys sensible & apparently well considered minute.
FR 15/1
WM 18/1
G 27/1
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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W. Hamley, Collector of Customs, 29 October 1869, minute concerning the interest of British Columbia in the proposed commercial treaty with the United States.