Shaw to Merivale
Royal Geographical Society
15 Whitehall Place, S.W.
18th March 1858.
With reference to your communication of the 10th Febr[uar]y ulto., I am directed by the President and Council to transmit, through you, for Lord Stanley, a copy of a letter on the subject of the North American Exploring Expeditions, addressed by the President of this Society to the Foreign Office.
I am Sir
Your obedient humble Servant
Norton Shaw, M.D.
Secretary RGS
Herman Merivale Esqre &c &c &c
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Manuscript imageRod. I. Murchison to E. Hammond, Foreign Office, 2 March 1858
15 Whitehall Place
2nd March 1858.
In answer to your communication of the 18th of January, requesting on the part of the Earl of Clarendon, suggestions for the guidance of Captain Hawkins, R. E., the Chief Commissioner at the head of the Expedition about to proceed to Vancouver Island for the purpose of undertaking from thence in conjunction with a party organised by the Government of the United States, a survey of the Boundary between Her Majesty’s Dominions in North America and the United States, I beg to state for the information of the Earl of Malmesbury that by desire of the Council of this Society I at once made applications to the War Office for a copy of the instructions furnished to Captain Hawkins, and to the Colonial Office for a copy of those supplied to Captain John Palliser, in command of the party at present exploring the Country to the east of the Rocky Mountains in British North America, including the eastern slopes of these mountains and the passes through them.
Having received copies of the above mentioned documents I am requested to state that whilst the Council of this Society are fully impressed with the value of the Instructions furnished to Captain Hawkins by the War Office, they would respectfullysuggestManuscript imagesuggest that through the medium of the Colonial Office, directions should speedily be sent to Captain Palliser, desiring him to communicate to Captain Hawkins the result of his explorations on the east flank of the Rocky Mountains.
The Council would farther recommend that Fort Assineboine on the Athabasca River, in Lat. 54°30’N Long. 115° W, be selected as the most eligible locality for depositing the records of the observations of Captain Palliser, so that Captain Hawkins by sending thither may become acquainted with the structure and natural features of the chain on a more northern parallel than that which he is destined to explore, and that he be made acquainted with the name of the spot so determined upon before he leaves England.
The Council beg also to represent to the Earl of Malmesbury the great importance of giving such instructions to the Chief Commissioner as will direct his attention particularly to the permanent natural features of the region to be explored and to determine their position with every care, so as to supply materials by which the two Governments may, in their final arrangements, obtain if possible the advantage of a natural boundary between their respective territories, instead of the mere straight line defined by the 49th N. Latitude.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your obedient Servant
(Sir)Rod. I. Murchison
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr. Merivale
The Foreign Office will doubtless communicate with us on the subject of these suggestions.
ABd 20/3. HM Mh 20
C M. 22 S. 22
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Carnarvon to Shaw, 24 March 1858, acknowledging receipt of his letter.
Manuscript image
Carnarvon to Shaw, 31 March 1858, informing him that instructions had been sent to Palliser to deposit his records for the use of Captain Hawkins'.