No. 67, Miscellaneous
17th August 1865
I regret to inform you of the disastrous wreck of the American Steamer "Brother Jonathan" carrying the Mails and Passengers between San Francisco and this Colony.
I enclose a newspaper extract conveying the only particularswhichManuscript image which have yet reached me.
The recklessness with which these scarcely seaworthy vessels are overloaded and navigated renders it a matter of surprise that disasters do not more frequently occur.
I was compelled to take passage in this unfortunate vessel when proceeding to this Colony last year, after being detained at San Francisco for 17 days for want of otherconveyanceManuscript image conveyance. On that occasion she was dangerously overloaded and had eleven hundred souls on board, being licensed to carry 450 only. The American Law is quite sufficient to prevent such doings but there was not an attempt made to enforce it. We struck the bar on entering the Columbia River, and a seafaring passenger assured me that "a few more bumpswouldManuscript image would have sent her in pieces like an old band box", which appears to have actually taken place on her last disastrous voyage.
The want of regular and safe mail communication between Panama and these Colonies—more especially between San Francisco and this Colony, is a great injury to British interests, and a great discredit to EnglandandManuscript image and America alike.
The Mail conveying this Despatch will be detained 10 days at San Francisco waiting a steamer to Panama where a further delay is probable.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
Ack. rect of this deplorable catastrophe.
Govr Kennedy gives a strong hint at the end of his despatch for some help from this Country towards an improved Mail communication to our Colonies in the N. Pacific but I should fear that it is impossible to act upon it.
ABd 5 Oct
FR 5/10
EC 7
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Newspaper clipping, unnamed, 28 July 1865, reporting the sinking of the Brother Jonathan with a loss of 221 lives.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 58, 12 October 1865.