25 June 1861
With reference to my Despatch No 26 of the 4h April last upon the subject of the unsatisfactory and uncertain state of the Mail Service to this part of Her Majesty's Dominions, I have now the honor to report to your Grace that one of the Steam Vessels which usually arrive twice a month at thisplaceManuscript image place from San Francisco has come in this morning without any Mail, the Owners having positively refused to receive it from Her Majesty's Consul at San Francisco and to carry it, without being guaranteed a payment of Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars for the Service.
2. This circumstance will prove to your Grace how completely we are at the mercy of the United States Vessels, and even if our small Revenue would admit of the demand being complied with—about TwoThousandManuscript image Thousand five Hundred pounds per Annum—we have no security for the continuance of the Service, or for the performance of it in any other manner than would suit the Owners of the Vessels.
3. In the present troubled condition of the United States and in the not improbable contingency of their Mail Service being cut off or temporarily suspended, I need not dilate upon the evils resulting to these Colonies from the stoppage of communication with the Mother Country.
4. Independently, however,ofManuscript image of these considerations, the injury inflicted on the mercantile interests of these Colonies, from the want of direct Steam communication in English Vessels is very serious. The Vessels leaving San Francisco call at different American Ports en route to this place—and there are Emigrants for this Colony and British Columbia enticed away by every description of fraudulent representation; and the additional risk to the Vessels and freight caused by these stoppages naturally Entails increased charges for insurance.
IManuscript image
5. I write this Despatch hurriedly to save the Steamer just leaving, but I trust I have said sufficient to induce your Grace to give the matter Your serious Consideration, and to afford us that aid and support that we so vitally require.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
P.S. At the moment of closingthisManuscript image this Despatch, I have had placed in my hands a Memorial to Your Grace upon the subject of direct Steam communication which very forcibly and clearly represents the disadvantages and evils under which we are struggling through our connection with the rest of the world being so entirely by means of American Channels. I commend the Memorial and subject to your Grace's good offices, merely adding that the Signatures Attached to it, are those of the most substantial BusinessHousesManuscript image Houses in the place, and of some of the most respectable of the Inhabitants, and the statements made are but a clear recital of actual facts. James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
Forward copy for the consideration of the Treasury with reference to our letter of the 11th of June.
EB Pennell 29-8/61
FR 30/8
CF 2 Sep
N 5
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Memorial to Newcastle appealing for aid to resolve the unsatisfactory state of communication between San Francisco and the colonies, with extensive explanation, no date, approximately 100 signatures.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
You wished to see this correspondence when complete. It is so now. I presume you will suggest a reference to the T[reasur]y. Imperial aid, beyond what these N. Western North American Colonies get from us, so far as you observe, to Chagres, seems very unlikely to be afforded. And yet it is a matter of great moment that we should establish a solid mode ofManuscript image communication with these Colonies which otherwise must become, from commerce and approximation with the U States, thoroughly unenglish. If the VanCouver Isld Merchants will Act up to their offer of contributing £4000 per annum to any Steamboat which will bring them their Letters from S. Francisco, I think we might instruct the Governor to appropriate a sum of money out of the Revenues of B. ColumbiaManuscript image leaving the amount to his judgment. I see no other way of getting money for this service.
ABd 6 Sepr/61
Mr Fortescue
I send back to you with this 7741.
I presume all shd go to the Treasy together. Vide 7946.
FR 6/9
Yes. A British line of Steamers from Panama to V. Id wd certainly be most advantageous to British interests in those quarters.
CF 8
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 19 September 1861, forwarding copies of two despatches and the memorial and asking that a concerted effort be made to resolve the unsatisfactory situation.