Laird to Newcastle
11 St James Place
5th August 1862
His Grace
The Duke of Newcastle
Colonial Office

My Lord
I have been requested by Mr R.C. Janion of Liverpool, to forward to Your Grace, the enclosed documents received by him from Victoria Vancouvers Island, in reference to the great want of regular Mail communication between Great Britain and her possessions in that part of the World.
The documents are: No 1 A Memorial from Most of the respectable residents at Victoria to His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, praying that Her Majesty's Government will assist the Colonists in promoting a Safe and Speedy British Steam Mail Communication between Panama & Victoria. No 2 Letter from Messrs Janion & Green dated 24 May accompanying and explaining the benefits which would accrue to the Colony from a quick and certain Postal communication, and stating facts connected therewith. No 3 Another letter from Messrs Janion & GreenManuscript image relative to the same subject, and enclosing copy of a letter from Her Majesty's Consul at San Francisco. No 4 Copy of a Letter from Mr Wm Booker, British Consul at San Francisco, stating that the Indians had destroyed some Mails 400 Miles East of Salt Lake, etc.
I may also refer to the British Memorial which I forwarded to Your Grace some weeks ago on the same subject, which Memorial was signed by most of the leading Mercantile Houses in this Country.
I hope that Her Majesty's Government may after investigating the case, be able to devise some means for remedying the difficulties complained of.
I am My Lord
Your Most obedient Servant
John Laird
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
Appropriations out of the local Revenues to the extent of £5000 towards securing a postal communication with San Francisco for a few years [marginal note: 2y months] have already been sanctioned. The present Memorialists pray for the aid of the Imperial Govt. Similar applications have been considered & negatived by the Treasury.
VJ 8 Augt
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The Victoria merchants it appears hope that the Morrill tariff (if it can be maintained) will enable them to establish Victoria as a Species of Emporium (in the nature of a bonded warehouse) for the East Coast of America. But for this it is necessary that they should be in regular communication with the rest of the world wh was not the case at the date of this memorial—& once the Governor had recd no letters by post from Europe between the 8th of March and the 20 of May. The overland mail it appears was delayed by the hostility of the Indians, & the letters viâ Panama by order as I understand of the U.S. Postmaster were not received on board the American Steamers running from Panama to Victoria.
This state of things, as I understand is terminated by the temporary contract with an American steam vessel company wh is to last for 6 months from the 1st of March last under a subsidy of 5000£ per ann. payable in equal proportions by V.C.I. & B. Columbia.
The memorialists want a British Compy to be set up with an Imperial subsidy.
The memorial is forwarded by Mr Laird and I presume can onlyManuscript image be answered by reference to the C.O. letter to him of the 5th June 1862 sending the whole [Pkg?] to Try for infn.
It seems to me I confess that the case is one which calls for no Imperial assistance. We subsidize the Australian Steam Packets (I presume) not from [love?] of Australia, but because the correspondence wh passes by those Steam Packets is correspondence in wh the British public is as much interested as the Australian public. But these postal facilities are required not for a special trade betn England & V.C.I.
Mr Jannians illustrations are not Manchurian cotton but China sugar, French brandy, Tea, Coffee, Rice.
but to enable the V.C. Islanders to Establish themselves as a Pacific Emporium in preference to St Fransisco. [Thus it?] really seems to me an object—highly desirable no doubt—but wh ought to be effected at the Colony's expense—and wh, if necessary will be so effected [if we can?] make it unequivocally clear that they must do it for themselves & will not lose time by delaying it in hopes of help from us.
FR 8/8
I see nothing else to be done.
CF 11
N 12
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Laird, 19 August 1862, acknowledging receipt of his letter and its enclosures and referring him in reply to an earlier letter "containing the only answer which it is in His Grace's power to return to the present Memorial."
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Rogers to Hamilton, Treasury, forwarding copy of the letter and enclosures for their information, and also a copy of the reply sent to Laird.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Memorial from various merchants and citizens of Vancouver Island to Newcastle asking for aid in the establishment of appropriate postal communications with the colony, 22 May 1862, approximately 137 signatures.
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Henry Rhodes to Robert C. Janion, Janion & Green, 24 May 1862, forwarding copy of the memorial for submission to Newcastle, with detailed explanation of the benefits to result from the proposed establishment of a line of British steamers from Panama to the colony.
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Rhodes to Janion, 29 May 1862, enclosing copy of a letter from the British Consul in San Francisco, and further commenting on the necessity of establishing better mail communications.
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William Lane Booker, British Consulate, San Francisco, to H. Wootton, Post Master, Victoria, 24 May 1862, explaining the recent delay in receiving mails from Europe.