Hill to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
General Post Office
22nd February 1856
I have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of Mr Secretary Labouchere, that, in consequence of a representation recently received from Her Majesty's Consul General at Woahoo, that Letters and Newspapers from this Country addressed to California, Oregon and the Sandwich Islands, reach their destination more expeditiously via New York and Panama, than when forwarded from Southampton by the West India Mail Packets, the Postmaster GeneralManuscript imageGeneral has rescinded the regulation which heretofore existed of transmitting this Correspondence by the latter Packets, and has directed all Letters and Newspapers for California, Oregon and the Sandwich Islands to be forwarded, in future, as a rule, via the United States, and only those Letters &c to be sent by the West India Packets, which bear a special direction that they are to be so forwarded.
In consequence of this alteration, itManuscript imageit becomes necessary to enquire how the Despatches addressed by the Secretary of State to the Governor of Vancouver's Island should be forwarded; whether in the Mail for California via the United States, or by the West India Mail Packet to Panama, as heretofore, and I request you will have the goodness to inform me what are the wishes of Mr Secretary Labouchere on this point.
It is presumed that, in either case, the Despatches pass through the hands of Officers of the United StatesManuscript imageStates Post Office.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
F. Hill

Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
Answer that in pursuance of the request of the Governor (4064/54 which send to the GPO) we have, since the month of May/54, always addressed the S.S. despatches to V.Couver's Island with the superscription "via Panama", & that we still continue to do so. This route is now recommended by the Consul for Woahoo.
ABd 23/F
Annex dt.
HM F 23
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Merivale to Hill, 1 March 1856, asking the postmaster general to direct all mail to Vancouver Island through New York and Panama.