No. 4
6 February 1862
I have the honor to forward herewith to Your Grace copy of correspondence and of an Agreement Entered into with respect to a direct steam communication between San Francisco and the Colonies of Vancouvers Island and British Columbia.
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2. The disadvantages under which these Colonies were laboring through the communication even from San Francisco not being direct—or in other words, through the Steamers coming here from San Francisco ascending the Columbia River and touching at Portland en route, whereby freight became exposed to greatly increased risks, and emigration was diverted—were very clearly exhibited in the Memorial which I had the honor to forward to Your Grace in my Despatch oftheManuscript image the 25th June last, marked "Separate."
3. The recent rich gold discoveries in the District of Carriboo in British Columbia, and the large number of successful Miners who had returned from that region exhibiting their rapidly acquired wealth, and thus advertising abroad undoubted proof of the unprecedented yield of the new gold fields, rendered it morally certain that a large immigration would flow thither in the spring of 1862. It was ascertained beyond a doubt that prodigious efforts were beingmadeManuscript image made by the people of Portland to stop this emigration at that point, not only by artful representations of the facilities for reaching the Carriboo being greater through their Territory, but also by favourably contrasting the Diggings at the Salmon River—some new gold fields said to have been recently discovered in American territory about 500 miles from Portland. The truth or fallacy of these representations would be of but little moment. So long as every Steamer on its way to these Colonies touched at Portland, thereisManuscript image is but small doubt a large proportion of the Emigration would have been checked, and the results to these Colonies would have been greatly disastrous. The fact was patent to all, and it became a matter of almost vital importance to counteract these evil influences. The Legislature of Vancouver's Island consequently voted a sum of Two thousand Five Hundred pounds (£2500) towards obtaining a direct communication from San Francisco for a few months. This sum was all that the small Reserve of this ColonycouldManuscript image could furnish, and even that amount was only obtainable at the sacrifice of other works of much importance. I propose to add another Two thousand Five Hundred pounds (£2500) from the Revenues of British Columbia, thus making the total sum available for the service Five Thousand pounds (£5000).
4. I trust that these proceedings may meet with the approval of Your Grace, and that you will deem the Agreement which has been concluded is assatisfactoryManuscript image satisfactory as could possibly have been expected. By it a weekly communication is provided for Six months, every alternate Steamer either coming direct from, or returning direct to San Francisco. Indeed had it not been that the parties entering into the contract firmly believe in the large emigration from California hitherwards, it is not likely that the small sum we have offered would have induced them to make such terms.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
This involves an additional charge on B. Columbia—for the sanction of which we must go to the Treasury. The service is a very necessary one to the interests of both Colonies, and Altho' it may be inconvenient to B. Columbia to spare the money I cannot doubt its being well laid out.
I think the G.P.O. shd be told of the existence of this Mail and passage route.
ABd 21 Apl
Mr Fortescue
I am not sure, but I imagine that you have had some conversations in the House of Commons on postal communications with Vancouver's Island & B. Columbia. Any new item of expense will be very unpalatable to the Treasury in their present mood. On the other hand, as soon as ever we are free of any past claims on their part, I should be disposed to attach very little importance to their opinions on the management of so important a Colony after it shall have become independent of external aid.
In the present instance I suppose that there can be no doubt of the importance of the object if it be sought by proper means and in an efficient way: but these are the points for you to judge of so far as it is possible to attempt to form a judgment in this Country.
TFE 22 April
Duke of Newcastle
This was evidently a matter of vital importance—and, I think, should be approved.
CF 24
Certainly. It [is] absolutely essential to the progress of the Colonies.
N 26
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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W.A.G. Young, Colonial Secretary, to the Attorney General, 27 December 1861, advising that he had been authorized to proceed to San Francisco to negotiate with the various steam boat companies for the establishment of a direct communication with the colonies, as per despatch.
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George Hunter Cary, Attorney General, to Young, 18 January 1862, describing his activities in San Francisco and enclosing correspondence and a completed agreement with Holladay and Flint to provide the desired steam service to the colonies.
Cary to Holladay and Flint, 3 January 1862, asking for a statement of the terms upon which they would undertake the required service, and describing the objects sought by the government.
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Holladay and Flint to Cary, 3 January 1862, providing a detailed description of their terms.
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Memorandum of Agreement between the government and steam company laying out in detail the terms negotiated, dated 6 January 1862, signed by Cary, Holladay and Flint.
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Schedule of voyages to be run for the six months from February to July 1862.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Frederick Peel, Treasury, 5 May 1862, forwarding copy of the despatch and advising that it was strongly felt that the expenditure of £2500 from British Columbia was "absolutely essential to the progress of the Colony."
Minutes by CO staff
This draft does not directly invite an answer from the Treasury, but it will probably be well to wait a certain time in order to see whether they make any remark? If so let the Mail of the 1st of May go out without reply to the Governor, but in case no objection be in the meantime received, send him out an approval by the following Mail.
TFE 28/4
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 100, 31 May 1862, communicating Newcastle's approval of Douglas's actions.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
See your Minute on the draft to the Treasury.
TFE 28/5