No. 39
Victoria Vancouver's Island
3rd October 1854
Sir
I beg to acknowledge the receipt on the 28 of Ultimo of the Duke of Newcastle's Despatch No 15, dated the 19th of May last, mentioning the receipt of my letter No 7, of the 28th February, and conveying His Grace's approval of the Form used in transmitting my official correspondence.  
I have also to acknowledge the receipt of His Grace's Despatch No 16 of the 8th of June last; transmitting a Despatch from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty stating
that
that their Lordships do not think it expedient to adopt the suggestion in my Despatch No 6 relative to the erection of Store houses, for naval purposes, in the harbour of Esquimalt.  
Deeply interested as I feel in the progress of every measure having a vital influence in the progressive improvement of this Colony; you will perhaps excuse me for remarking that I exceedingly regret this decision of their Lordships, and for the reason that it destroys almost the only existing prospect of being countenanced in our exertions to promote the colonization of Vancouver's Island, with the patronage of Her Majesty's Government. Deprived by its remote position from commercial intercourse with the mother country or any other British possession, and cut off from the advantages of foreign trade by the heavy import duties levied on all the productions of this Colony in the neighbouring Ports of the United States; the inhabitants of
Vancouvers
Vancouver's Island, are really placed in the worst conceivable position as regards their general prosperity, and it is very evident that the natural resources of the Colony, must in such circumstances, remain undeveloped, and the country continue an uninhabited waste. The Colony has been heretofore mainly supported by the large sums of money expended in house building and other works by the Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Companies, and by the servants of these Companies. That resource must necessarily soon fail, and then follows the perplexing question as to what the labouring people in this Colony will find to do. They will then be destitute of employment and having no property nor means of acquiring land, on which to employ their labour, and there being no foreign outlet for the expansion of general enterprise, they will be unable to earn a livelihood, and the probable consequence will be a general desire for emigration to the American settlements; where grants of
land
land are freely proffered to all parties, who become settlers and improvers of the soil.  
I was in hopes that the proposed Store-houses for the use of the Navy at Esquimalt, would have been considered of advantage to the public service, and that the money expended in those erections, would have been a resource and attraction for the labouring people, until other prospects opened upon the Colony; but those hopes being for the present at an end, I beg leave to recall to your consideration the subject of my Despatch No 22, of the 13th of May last, in relation to the commercial position of this Colony. In that communication I took the liberty of suggesting to His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the advantages that Vancouver's Island would gain in point of trade by being included as a party in the Reciprocity
Treaty
Treaty between the British North American Provinces, and the United States, which was then in course of negotiation, and I trust that the suggestion has led to the desired result.  
The provisions of that Treaty, will have a more direct influence in advancing the interests of this Colony, than can at present be correctly estimated. A degree of enterprise will be excited among the Colonists, which will soon tell favourably on the prospects of the Colony, as it is now only waiting a favourable opportunity for development. The Fisheries, Coal, Deals, Spars and other productions of Vancouver's Island, will then come into play, as sources of wealth and progress.  
Whenever our produce is exempted from the nearly prohibitory duty of 30 per cent, and is received into the Ports of California on a footing of equality, with the like productions of
American
American Oregon, our foreign Trade will soon increase, bringing wealth and prosperity in its train.  
On the contrary should this Colony not be included in the Treaty of Reciprocity it is to be feared there never will be a profitable foreign Trade, and I do not see how in that case, the country can ever emerge, from its present state of poverty, or rise to that degree of importance, which it might, in other circumstances, derive from its position in the Northern Pacific, and its great natural advantages.  
With those remarks, which I trust may not be considered inappropriate, I will leave the case of Vancouver's Island to the kind consideration of Her Majesty's Government.  
I have the honor to be Sir
Your Grace's most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas
Governor

The Right Honble Sir George Grey
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
The Governor's suggestion of including Van Couver's Island in the Reciprocity Treaty was brought under Lord Clarendon's notice in Augt last, but the F.O. have taken no notice of it.  
VJ
7 Decr
This is an unsatisfactory report, but I am not sure what can be
done, beyond informing the Govr that it was not found practicable to include Vancouver's Island in the treaty.  
HM
D 8
At the same time that his despatch of 13 May was not received at FO in time, until after that treaty had been concluded. [Fn. Illegible because of binding]  
FP
9
GG
11
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 8, 18 December 1854, reporting that Douglas’s reciprocity-treaty inquiries were received too late.  
  • Is this correct. Was the Treaty actually concluded before the 25 July?  
    GG
    The Treaty was concluded on the 5th June, and ratifications exchanged 9 Sept.  
    JJN
    20 Decr/54
    GG
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Grey, Sir George, 3 October 1854, National Archives of the UK, 10700, CO 305/5. 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=V54039.scx. Accessed 1 March 2017. 

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