No. 59
24 November 1859
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Grace's Despatch of the 3rd September last No 9 relative to the existence of the Bonding System in Californian Ports, and transmitting for my information the copy of a letter which has been received on the subjectManuscript imagesubject from the Foreign Office.
2. Your Grace also furnishes me with the Copy of a letter upon the same subject from the Board of Trade and instructs me to afford an explanation concerning the statement made in my Despatch of the 23rd March last, that articles imported into Vancouver's Island are "necessarily" charged with the Customs duties levied in that State.
3. The passage in my Despatch alluded to I find to be as follows—"These goods (the imports from California) areManuscript imageare necessarily burdened with the Customs and municipal duties levied in California forming a charge of nearly 30 per cent on their first cost."
And I must express my sincere regret that the somewhat defective nature of the statement therein contained as to goods "necessarily" being charged with "Customs duties" should have conveyed an impression which was erroneous, and contrary to my intention.
4. I was fully aware when compiling that Despatch that the BondingManuscript imageBonding System did exist in California, but I have every reason to believe that, from various circumstances, the bulk of the goods imported from California up to the period at which I wrote were not purchased in Bond but were actually burdened with Customs Duties. It however unquestionably did not follow that that impost should "necessarily" continue to be attached to them, and I should therefore have been more exact had I expressed myself thus "Those goods are necessarily burdened, with the municipal duties and hitherto in most casesManuscript imagecases with the customs duty in addition levied in California, thus forming a charge of 30 per cent on their first cost."
5. The principal object I had in view when writing the Despatch in question was to attract attention to a matter of vital importance to this Colony. I was desirous of explaining the nature of our trade with San Francisco, and its effects financially on the Colonies of Vancouver's Island and British Columbia; and of showing that the produce and manufactures ofManuscript imageof Great Britain and other Countries could if brought direct from the first market be imported at a less rate by 30 percent than articles obtained from San Francisco; and that conclusion is I believe substantially correct.
I forward herewith for your Grace's information a statement presenting in detail the data upon which my conclusions were founded, and I trust that the same may not prove uninteresting to your Grace.
IManuscript imageI have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
Copy to the Bd of Trade with reference to their Letter of the 25th of last August.
ABd 27 Jany
HM Jan 28
CF 30
N 1-2
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
"Statement, Showing the Charges on Goods imported from England and other countries in Europe into the Port of San Francisco; and the rate of advance on first cost at which such goods are generally Sold by the Merchants of that place," with explanation, 1 March 1859, signed by Joseph Porter, Accountant.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Merivale to T.H. Farrer, Board of Trade, 13 February 1860, forwarding copy of the despatch.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 24 November 1859, CO 305:11, no. 872, 269. 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/V59059.html.

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