Berens to Newcastle
Hudson's Bay House
13 December 1861
It has occurred to the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company that, in the present emergency, Her Majesty's Government might be disposed to increase the amount of Steam power which they possess in the North Pacific Ocean, and I am directed to acquaint Your Grace that the Hudson's Bay Company have now a Steamer at Victoria Vancouver's Island, which, with her full complement of Arms, the Governor and Committee are willing to place at the disposal of Her Majesty'sGovernmentManuscript image Government.
The Steamer in question is called the "Labouchere". She was built by Messrs Green and Company of Blackwall in 1858, of the very best materials and regardless of cost. Her frame is of the best English Oak. Her planking &c of East India Teak—and she is fitted with Copper fastenings throughout. Her Register Tonnage is 507 Tons. Her Engines of 160 Horse-power were built by Messrs Penn and Company of Greenwich. Her Upper and Lower Decks are of more than ordinary strength, having been constructed with a view to her carrying Guns, with which she is in fact provided. In other respects she is fitted up as a first-class vessel.
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I may add that the "Labouchere" is a Paddle-wheel Steamer, and that she is fully rigged for sailing. She made an excellent voyage round Cape Horn partly under Steam and partly under Canvas.
The "Labouchere" was sent to Vancouver's Island by this Company for the use of the Colony, as well as for the operations of their Trade—in the altered circumstances of the Company in that Country, and their having no further connection with the Administration, she is found to be too large for the purpose of the Trade alone. It is on this account that the Governor and Committee have contemplated the propriety of disposing of her oremployingManuscript image employing her elsewhere. They think it, however, their duty before giving her any other destination to tender her to Her Majesty's Government.
Should Your Grace consider that Her Majesty's Government would be inclined to entertain the proposition of purchasing this Steamer, simple details with respect to her capacity for the public service can be supplied.
I have etc.
Thomas Fraser
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
It will probably be considered proper to consult the Admiralty on this application?
VJ 16 Dec
Refer to the Admiralty?
TFE 17 Dec
N 18
Other documents included in the file
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Colonial Office to Secretary to the Admiralty, 18 December 1861, forwarding copy of the letter and asking what answer should be given.