Despatch from the Duke of Newcastle to Viscount Monck, No. 108 (20 October 1863)

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Date: 1863-10-20
By: Duke of Newcastle
Citation: Despatch from the Duke of Newcastle to Viscount Monck (20 October 1863) in UK, HC, Return to an Address of the Honourable The House of Commons, dated 30 June 1864; for Copy of Correspondence between any of the North American Provinces and the Imperial Government, relating to their Application for Assistance in raising a Loan for an International Railway (1864).
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Downing-street, 20 October 1863.

My Lord,

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s Despatch, No. 93,* of the 1st instant, enclosing a Minute of your Executive Council, approved by yourself, arising out of the proposed commencement of the preliminary surveys for the Intercolonial Railway.

I understand this Minute to embody the decision of the Canadian Government to the following effect : that the negotiations with the Imperial Government, commenced last winter, with a view to the construction of that railway, are conclusively abandoned; that the Provincial Governments (and therefore, of course, the Government of this country), are no longer bound by their respective proposals in relation to that project, and that by rejecting the offers made last winter by the Home Government, the Canadian Government bas placed itself at liberty to repudiate also the Convention of the previous September.

I find some difficulty in reconciling the terms of this Minute with those of your Lordship’s Despatch, No. 87, of the 14th ultimo, in which you conveyed the recommendation of your Government that an engineer should be appointed by the Imperial Government for the preliminary surveys in apparent pursuance of the terms embodied in the Treasury Memorandum of December last, which Memorandum was based upon the negotiations which your Government now treat as abortive, and I am therefore somewhat at a loss to understand on what grounds, or in what capacity I have been requested to nominate a surveyor on behalf of the British Government. I have, however, no difficulty in stating that I have every desire to facilitate the operations of the Provincial Government in this matter, and in repeating that the preliminary survey may, in my opinion, very properly be placed in Mr. Fleming’s hands.

I have, &c.
(signed)           Newcastle.

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