No. 14
21st February 1871
My Lord,
I yesterday received a Telegram from Your Lordship dated 10th February, as follows: Her Majesty's Government have learnt with much dissatisfaction of the unanimous passing of the Address by the Legislative CouncilforManuscript image for Union with Canada.
2. This Telegram was accompanied by a Message from the San Francisco Office dated on the 17th instant stating that Cable (Message) of 10th was repeated from terminus of Western Union lines the same as original. If receiver desires another repetition Cable tolls will have to be collected thereon, notifying Cable Room, New YorkifManuscript image if you want it repeated from London.
3. At the same time I received a Note from the Agent of the Telegraph Company at Victoria as follows— I enclose foregoing instructions to this Office from San Francisco relative to Cable Telegram of the 10th instant. The Despatch was received here on the 10th but held till now for correction. There is scarcely a doubt the prefix "dis"isManuscript image is unintentional, the Cable Company being in error. Should you wish it repeated from London, however, I will order it at once at a cost of Forty-five Dollars ($45.00).
4. As I had no doubt about the policy and instructions of Her Majesty's Government upon the subject of the Union, I had no hesitation in assuming that the prefix "dis" was accidental,andManuscript image and I did not therefore regard it as necessary to have the Message repeated. My purpose had been served by ascertaining that Your Lordship had received my Message. But as this is a striking example of the manner in which the whole meaning of a Telegraphic Despatch may be changed by a very trifling error, I have thought it right toacquaintManuscript image acquaint Your Lordship with these particulars, in order that it may be ascertained at least that there was no mistake in the original message.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
Humble Servant
A. Musgrave
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Herbert
This telegram's incorrectness might have been serious.
The despatch sending copy, Mr Musgrave probably has just recd—it is dated the same day as this dispatch.
Enquiry ought to be made & I suppose thro' the Post Office.
CC 10 April
Yes. It is a very gross case.
RGWH Ap 12/71
K Ap: 14/71
Other documents included in the file
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Holland to Secretary to the General Post Office, 18 April 1871, asking that an enquiry be made into the mistake.
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F.I. Scudamore, General Post Office, to Holland, advising advising that an immediate enquiry would be made into the matter.
Musgrave, Anthony to Wodehouse, John 21 February 1871, CO 60:43, no. 3468, 170. 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/B71014.html.

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