Hamilton to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Treasury Chambers
4 May 1859
In reply to Mr Elliot's Letter of the 29th Ultimo, Enclosing Copies of a Correspondence which has passed relative to the erection of Lighthouses in Fucas Straits, and the Approaches to Esquimalt Harbour, Vancouver's Island; I am directed by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to acquaint you, for the information of Sir E Bulwer Lytton, that my Lords approve of measures being taken for sending out immediately from this country, the apparatus required for the two Lighthouses proposed to be erected.
They also approve of the sum of sevenManuscript imageseven thousand pounds (£7000) being inserted in the Estimate for British Columbia, with the understanding that one half of that sum will be hereafter repaid from Colonial Funds, and that the Contribution from Imperial Funds towards the erection of the Lighthouses will be limited to three thousand, five hundred pounds (£3,500).
Their Lordships are of opinion that it would be inexpedient to place any portion of this Charge upon the General Estimate for Lighthouses abroad, and that it would be desirable to include it for the present, with the other Items which are to be repaid wholly or in part, from the Revenues of British Columbia, and Vancouver's Island.
Adverting to the excessive expenditure already incurred in the attempt to erect a Lighthouse on the Basses Rocks off theManuscript imagethe coast of Ceylon—attributable in a great degree to the want of a proper and clear understanding as to the Parties upon whom devolved the responsibility of the Work—My Lords request that Sir EB Lytton will make Governor Douglas fully aware that altho the Board of Trade will readily afford any advice or information, and will send out from this country the Lighting apparatus, they decline undertaking any responsibility as to the selection of the site or the construction of the Towers; and My Lords, in sanctioning the Estimate of £7,000, trust that Sir EB Lytton will instruct Governor Douglas to consider himself responsible for the adoption of proper means for selecting the site, and having the construction of the Work properly superintended.
I am etc.
Geo. A. Hamilton
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
It will now be necessary to write to the Board of Trade, apprizing that Dt of this determination, & requesting that measures may be taken for sending out to V.Couvers Isd, with as little delay as possible, the requisite apparatus for the proposed two Lights.
2. I would also apprize the Admiralty of the result requesting them to instruct their Naval Officers on the Spot to render all the assistance, by advice & otherwise, which they can to the proposed work.
And 3y I would send the Governor a copy of the correspondence in which we have been engaged on the subject—tell him that the Bd of Trade will send out the Lighting apparatus as speedily as possible—and that the moiety of the expense, which the two Colonies are to pay, must be borne in such proportions by them as he may think equitable. (VanCouver's Isd has a Legislature, & can vote the money.)
4thly You will, I fear, have to add this item to the B. Columbia Estimate.
ABd 5 May/59
The Colonial Estimates are finally settled and gone to the printers to be struck off, so that it is too late to make any alteration this year. The item must be held over for insertion next year.
I should follow Mr Blackwood's Minute merely departing from it so far as to explain that it has been too late to insert an item for the lighthouses in this year's Parl Estimates, but that the provision for that purpose announced in the correspondence will be submitted to Parliament next year, and that in the meantime any requisite amounts will be advanced on account.
TFE 9 May
C May 10
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 63, 11 May 1859.
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Draft, Elliot to Secretary to the Admiralty, 13 May 1859, asking that naval officers in the area be instructed to render all possible assistance in the construction of the lighthouses.
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Draft, Elliot to J. Booth, Board of Trade, 13 May 1859, requesting them to immediately send the required lighting apparatus to Vancouver Island.
Hamilton, George Alexander to Merivale, Herman 4 May 1859, CO 305:13, no. 4647, 12. 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/V595TE02.html.

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