Tilley to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
General Post Office, London,
7th February 1871
I am directed by the Postmaster-General to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th ultimo, transmitting copy of a Despatch from the Governor of British Columbia, in which he brings under consideration the charge at present made on letters between that Colony and the United Kingdom, vizt: one shilling per half ounce, contrasting it with the low charge of three pence per half ounce made on letters between this Country and the United States.
The Governor seems to consider that, as a letter is carried for three pence from this Country to San Francisco, the charge to or from British Columbia viâ San Francisco, should not exceed twice that amount; and he states that, by sending a letter under cover to a correspondent at San Francisco, and thus evading the higherpostageManuscript image postage by the ordinary Mail, it can be transmitted the entire distance for sixpence.
In reply, I am to acquaint you, for the information of the Earl of Kimberley, that the Postmaster-General finds on enquiry that the expense of conveying the British Columbian Mails amounts to about £3000 a year, vizt: £1000 for the sea and transit rates for the distances between this Country and San Francisco, and £2000 for the service between San Francisco and Victoria.
This expense is borne in equal parts by the Imperial and Colonial Post Offices; and they share, in like manner, the postage derived from the correspondence: each Country receiving the postage in one direction.
By this arrangement, the postage accruing annually to this Department is estimated at £1500—while its actual outlay amounts to the same sum.
Thus, there is nothing left even for the British inland Service.
UnderManuscript image
Under these circumstances, the Postmaster General is not prepared to recommend Her Majesty's Treasury to make any reduction in the postage rate between this Country and British Columbia—so long as the expense of conveying the Mails (particularly between San Francisco and Victoria) remains so heavy.
I am,
Your Obedient, humble Servant
John Tilley
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Herbert
All that can be done is to send a copy of this to the Govr as the answer to his despatch.
CC 8 Feb 71
RGWH Feb 8/71
EHKH 9/2/71
For Lord Kimberley's minute 152/282.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Kimberley to Musgrave, No. 14, 14 February 1871.