Childers to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Treasury Chambers
6th December 1865
With reference to your letter of 11th October, on the subject of the deficiency of proper Postal Regulations in the Colony of Vancouvers Island, owing to the Legislative Council having thrown out a Bill for the management of the Post office, introduced by the Governor of the Colony, I am commanded by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to transmit to you copy of a Letter from the Postmaster General dated 25th Ultimo, on the same subject, but I am to stateManuscript image that while the course His Lordship recommends, affords probably the only means for carrying on the postal service strictly in accordance with law, yet My Lords trust that Mr Secretary Cardwell will not be compelled to resort to an arrangement so inconvenient to all parties; & that the good sense of the Government & Colonials of Vancouvers Island will lead to proper provision being made for the service.
The printed Enclosures to your letter are herewith returned as requestedManuscript image by you.
I am
Your obedient servant
Hugh C.E. Childers
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Stanley of Alderley, General Post Office, to [Treasury], 25 November 1865, discussing possible methods of solving the problem of establishing proper postal regulations in Vancouver Island and supplying general policy guidelines should legal means be employed to carry on the business of the post office.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Governor Kennedy has already been asked if he wd desire that the Treasury should fix the rates of postage & if so what rates he wd wish shd be prescribed. See 9648.
The Post Office in the enclosure to this letter propose two courses, either to allow the Colonists to suffer the consequences of their own conduct & to discontinue the Inland Postal Service or that the Govr should fix rates of postage sufficient to cover all expenses. I conclude the last course will be adopted.
VJ 3 Decr
Sir F. Rogers
See separate Minute.
TFE 11/12
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Sir F. Rogers
This is the subject of the postal service in Vancouver. You may remember a conversation on the subject with Mr F. Hill some time ago.
You will observe that in these official letters both the Treasury and the Postmaster General are averse to our stepping in with Imperial authority if it can possibly be avoided, and rather lean to leaving the Colonists either to pass a good postal measure or else to bear the consequences of their own recusancy. When we spoke of it with Mr Hill, we felt a natural wish if possible to help a deserving Governor in difficulty. But on reflection I own that partly for the sake of the lesson to unworthy depositaries ofpowerManuscript image power, and for the hint to the Colonists that they suffer by their perversity—and partly also on account of the clamour and misrepresentation for which room may be offered by helping these people against their will from home—I am inclined upon the whole to the course which I have marked in pencil at page 2 of the letter from the Post Office to the Treasury. This Island has the misfortune to be under the dominion of a sort of turbulent Vestry clothed with all the powers and attributes of the House of Commons. I do not see why, so long as they have all the power, we should trouble ourselves with any of the responsibility. The only check on the arbitrary conduct of such bodies is theManuscript image impatience of their own Constituents, and the best way of bringing that check into action is to let the Constituents feel for themselves where the shoe pinches.
TFE 12 Decr
There is a great deal in what Mr Elliot says. But I am a little apprehensive of the inconvenience to the Governor. At present by some means or other he carries on this inland Postage. The population—or rather the few settlers who do not reside in Victoria—will ask why he shd not continue to go on as before: and it will be rather difficult to give an answer wh will not enable the opposition to represent his proceedings as a piece of temper.
His only answer wd be that he was acting under Instructions from home—Manuscript imagebut is Mr C. prepared to give positive instructions to that effect witht a clearer opinion as to the nature of his present arrangements and their legality than can well be extracted from the papers now sent.
He mt be instructed that the management of the Inland Posts could not conveniently be undertaken by the Home Govt—that if the Col. Lege refused to pass the necessary laws for establishing a Postal system it wd be his duty to exert such authority as in the opn of the L Offrs he legally possessed to prevent any public inconvenience—but that if he found that such inconvenience could not be prevented witht adopting measures in excess of his lawful authority he must leave the community to suffer the consequences imposed upon them by the Legislation or non Legislation of their representatives.
It is to be observed that the state of the Law appears to be this. By 7 Will[iam] & 1 Vict c. 33, S. 2 the Imperial P.O. has the exclusive privilege of conveying letters (except in certain cases not material) but by 12 & [17?] Vict c. 66 the Colonial Legislatures have authority to establish Posts—& in such establishment the power of the Imperial Govt is to cease—so that under the Acts of Parlt the [approximately one line off microfilm].
FR 13/12
WEF 14/12
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 74, 30 December 1865.
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
This is a draft rewritten by me, but I am anxious to draw your attention to it, as I am by no means confident of hitting the exact shade of opinion, and wish it to receive your judgment.
TFE 20/12