No. 56
Victoria Vancouver's Island
27 December 1858
Sir
1. Your Despatch No 30 of the 16th October, I have perused with the greatest interest and satisfaction.  
2. I acknowledge with gratitude the effective steps which you have taken to support my authority and
the
the various measures which you have adopted to aid me in the arduous task of organizing the government of the Colony.  
3. In a former communication to you I mentioned the arrival in this Colony of Admiral Baynes in his Flag Ship the "Ganges," and I recall with pleasure the cordial and hearty manner in which he entered into my views and lent to their execution all the support in his power.  
4. He remained in this Colony upwards of two months
and
and, sailed for Valparaiso on the 22nd of Instant; the "Tribune" and "Pylades," ordered from China to this station being then daily expected here, though the two latter vessels have not yet arrived.  
5. I have therefore in obedience to your instructions in reference to this point to report to you that H.M. Ships "Satellite" and "Plumper" are the only Queen's Ships at present in this harbour and that as yet no ships designed for the especial support of the civil government have arrived here.  
6. That statement is not made with the view of urging
any
any complaint of neglect, as you will observe by my correspondence with Admiral Baynes before his departure, that with the force at my disposal, I did not apprehend any immediate danger of the authority of Government being set at naught, especially as the "Tribune" and "Pylades" were known to be on their way to this Colony; at the same time I represented to him the great importance of having a respectable naval force collected here in Spring, when a very large immigration for British Columbia may be looked for, and I rely on
his
his taking the necessary measures to assemble that force in this neighbourhood before the emergency presents itself.  
7. My anxiety to avoid making exaggerated demands on you for military assistance has probably led me into the opposite extreme of asking for too small a number of troops, and I admit the wisdom of the course you have taken in completing the present military force intended for the service of this Colony to 150 men instead of the number suggested in my letter.  
It is certainly advisable in the actual state of the
country
country to err on the safe side, and to maintain a respectable military force, in order that the power as well as the dignity of the British Government may be represented.  
However effective an undi[s]ciplined civilian force may be found in a well regulated community, of persons, bound to their country and institutions by the ties of early association and affection; the same force would I apprehend prove insufficient to maintain law and order in British Columbia, among an alien population composed of all nations.  
8. I gratefully
appreciate
appreciate the unceasing care and pains which you have devoted to the hastening of the necessary preparations for the departure of the main body of troops and of the instalments of 20 and 12 men under Captains Parsons and Grant, who I am glad to say are in good health, and spirits, and busily engaged at this present time in erecting houses for themselves and the main body of Engineers at Fort Langley.  
9. I have perused with great attention your remarks indicating the policy you wish to be observed
in
in the employment and explaining the objections to the use of a royal military force in the collection of revenue, and as my own views on those subjects accord in all respects with the instructions in your Despatch, I will not fail in carrying them fully into effect. In no instance have we resorted to the employment of a military force, except when the civil power was found insufficient to ensure obedience to the Law, and even in those cases, it was regarded as subsidiary to the ordinary means of enforcing obedience.  
10. It
10. It was in fact our constant policy to keep this small military force in the Colony withdrawn from view, in order that its strength might be measured by the imagination more than by the reason of the stronger populace.  
11. I have had much communication with Mr Brew, on the subject of forming an effective Police for service in British Columbia; he proposed that a force of 150 men should be immediately raised and disciplined; but on making an estimate of the expense, assuming as data, a rate of wages below what is given to ordinary labourers in the gold Districts; the expense
appeared
appeared to be so large, that I withheld my assent until I should have time to consult and receive your instructions on the subject.  
12. With the small police Force, which has been hitherto maintained in British Columbia, we have succeeded through the blessing of God, and with the aid of the well disposed inhabitants, in bringing all offenders to justice and in maintaining a remarkable degree of quiet and good order. It is therefore unnecessary for the purposes of security to increase that force until the increase of population in
Spring
Spring, and thus it becomes a question whether in the meantime, it would not be advisable to request Her Majesty's Government to send out at once a body of the Irish constabulary force, furnished with their proper arms and equipments, and who would thus be ready for service the moment they arrived in the country.  
The advantages of that plan are important, as it would in the first place lead to a great saving of expense in the pay and equipment of the force; and secondly the force would be perfectly reliable in every emergency; with that body of men as a nucleus, and spare
arms
arms and equipment for 100 more, the police force could be recruited in the country, though with a less reliable element, to any desirable extent. I will request Mr Brew to state his opinion on that subject, and will forward the same to you with any suggestions relative thereto that may occur to him. I trust that the plan may meet with your approval, and that you will direct it to be carried into effect.  
13. There is every reason to believe that a well constituted constabulary force, with a sufficient staff of Stipendiary Magistrates, supported by the co-operation of the well
disposed
disposed inhabitants; the military force intended for the country; and the naval force on the sea-coast; will furnish, in all ordinary cases, the requisite protection to life and property. Should there be reason to alter that opinion either in consequence of the deportment of the white population, or of collision with the Indians, I will not fail to ask for additional re-inforcements, but for the present, provided we have the means above described, I think such unnecessary.  
14. I would hardly venture to give a decided opinion on the subject of recruiting a regular military Force, from the Gold Diggers of the Colony,
as
as the men taking service would probably be composed of the idle and worthless classes, but to secure the service of the active adventurers I fear a very high rate of pay not less than 12 shillings a day, including rations, would be an indispensable condition, in the outset; and the great expense of such a force, together with its unreliable character, could be an almost insuperable objection to maintaining it in the field.  
15. The practiced and skilful men for cavalry and artillery drill sent out with Col. Moody, and who are intended to form a nucleus for
such
such additional military force as may be required and formed in the Colony, will be of the greatest possible service, should any such contingency arise.  
16. I have further to state in reply to your communication that I have carefully perused your instructions providing for and suggesting how to meet the unforseen exigencies in the Colony as they may arise, and shall attend to those instructions.  
17. We shall also endeavour to settle all preliminary questions of law and police, and to make all suitable preparations for the expected immigration in Spring and for the safety and development of the Colony; and forward any further information
we
we may arrive at of the probable revenue on which we may calculate.  
In my letter No 51 of the 14th of Instant, *
*
Extract this to returns of Sir W. Dundas in footnote.  
[EBL]
I estimated the revenue for the coming year at £100,000 Sterling, assuming that the Import duty on goods would yield the sum of £80,000, and a proposed export duty on gold about £20,000, in all £100,000 per annum.  
The sale of public land will also I trust yield a considerable revenue as well as mining and other fees, so that I am in hopes of being able, after the first of the year, to pay all our own expenses.  
18. Your approval of the great enterprise of the year, the opening of the Harrison's River road
is
is exceedingly gratifying to me. The real impediment to the development of the mineral region of British Columbia is no doubt the difficulty of access to it. Passable roads and means of cheap transport would soon work a wonderful revolution in the state of the country. I have done everything in my power to remove the obstacles of route and to improve the access to the mineral regions, but much remains to be done. A road through the valley of Fraser's River from the sea coast to the Forks of Thompson's River, is urgently wanted; to open the country for settlement; for land travel, when the river is
either
either flooded or impassable from ice in winter, and for driving live stock of all kinds to and from the sea coast and interior country. That great work is in part accomplished, through the co-operation of the inhabitants, and with your approval we may finish it before the close of next summer.  
19. Other routes into the remote interior may be opened by Howe's Sound, explored last summer by Mr McKay, and by Jarvis' Inlet, where I also sent an exploring party, some months ago, but who failed in crossing the mountains which were covered
with
with snow, and they were compelled to return unsuccessful.  
In conclusion I beg to assure you that I deeply appreciate the extreme kindness of your closing remarks and you may rest assured that I will not fail in exerting every faculty to carry out the views of Her Majesty's Government and in the mean time, I shall rely with confidence on your aid and support.  
I have etc.
James Douglas
Governor
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
The question in this despatch chiefly relates to the necessity of sending out Constables from the Irish Constabulary. The Governor does not say how many he wishes to have. Probably 100. I need not say that this is a very expensive requisition—nor will you omit to notice that the Governor is silent as to who is to pay such expense. For my part I am of opinion that the Imperial Govt has provided—what with Royal Engineers—Ships of War—& supernumerary Marines—sufficient force for the external and internal protection of the Colony, and that it ought to find its own materials on the spot for any augmentation it may require to such force. At any rate if an addition must be made in the nature of Irish police men then, I think, that the Colony ought to pay the entire cost—freight—salaries, equipment &tc. This would only be adhering to the views so frequently enunciated by Sir E. Lytton in respect to this new Colony.  
ABd
28 Feby
Lord Carnarvon
This must be considered together with the despatch (forwarded yesterday) representing the insecure state of the Colony, & ending with the same application [askg?] for a force from the Irish Constabulary.  
HM
March 2
Yes—I think that Mr Blackwood did not see the desp. which gave so unsatisfactory a picture of the state of affairs. *
*
had not seen it (2147).  
ABd
With that before us **
**
That despatch has been minuted by Sir Ed. Lytton to the effect that Lord Naas was to be asked to supply the men from the Irish Constabulary.  
[ABd]
& the knowledge that in the spring there will probably be a great influx of American miners I do not see how we can refuse the application. The Colony may repay the expenses contingent on such force within a certain time but we cannot expect that they sd be paid for at once from the existing Colonial revenue. We must advance the money. No time ought to be lost.  
C
March 3
I have revoked that Minute about the Constabulary. I entirely concur with Mr Blackwood. Write to Lord Naas to know expense of 100 or 150 men—calculate that expense with freightage &c & write then to Douglas stating the cost & inquiring whether he thinks the Colony will pay. Shew this directly to Mr Elliot for his returns for Sir. W. Dundas—They justify charging the whole expense of Survey, & freightage &c to the Colony—as I have instructed him in revising the return. I think on that return it would be well to extract what I have marked as footnote to the return refering to the charge on the Colony. Print this for Parlt & hasten those papers.  
EBL
March 4 1859
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Rear Admiral R.C. Baynes to Douglas, 7 December 1858, proposing to leave Vancouver Island before the arrival of the Pylades and Tribune, if there was no objection.  
  • Douglas to Baynes, 13 December 1858, acknowledging and accepting proposals.  
  • C. Brew, Chief Inspector of Police, to Douglas, 29 December 1858, arguing a body of Irish Constabulary police be sent to British Columbia.  
 
Footnotes
  1. satisfaction. = Lytton to Douglas, 16 October 1858, CO 398/1, p. 116, Begbie's salary.
  2. 4, sailed for Valparaiso Valparaiso, the principal seaport of Chile, served as headquarters of the Pacific Station until it was replaced by Esquimalt in 1862. Gough, 186.
  3. 7, number suggested in my letter. In his despatch to Stanley (Douglas to Stanley, 19 August 1858, 10342, CO 60/1, p. 86, par. 5) Douglas suggested a company of infantry, i.e., from 80 to 100 men.
  4. 11, instructions on that subject, For Brew's recommendations, see enclosure to this despatch and enclosure in Douglas to Lytton, 30 December 1858, 2142, CO 60/1, p. 561.
  5. 17, per annum. I.e., Douglas to Lytton, 14 December 1858, 1067, CO 60/1, p. 514. Who is Dundas ??
  6. 19, exploring party, For information on McKay's exploration of Howe Sound, see enclosure to Douglas to Lytton, 9 November 1858, 549, CO 60/1, p. 400. Get info about failed exploration of Jervis Inlet??
  7. minutes, see the desp. FIND 2147?? Not in BC58reg.
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Lytton, 27 December 1858, National Archives of the UK, 2135, CO 60/1. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=B58056.scx. Accessed 20 July 2018. 

Last modified: 14:44:17, 28/2/2018