No. 17
13 September 1855
I have the honor to inform your Lordship that the Colony has been lately visited by Rear Admiral Bruce with the "Monarch", and several other of Her Majesty's Ships, forming part of the Squadron employed in the Pacific.  
In consequence of the
arrangements
arrangements made by this Government the ships, while here, were abundantly supplied with vegetables and fresh provisions, so that the officers and men were all in good health, and in a state of perfect efficiency, when the Fleet sailed from this Colony.  
The naval hospitals constructed at Esquimalt have, from unforseen circumstances, been only partially required this season; but nevertheless our wish to assist Her Majesty's Ships, in time of need has been appreciated by the Commander in Chief, as you will observe through a letter from him, which I have the honor to enclose herewith.  
The outlay caused by the erection of the naval Hospitals, so far as it has yet been ascertained, is £938.3.8 Sterling, and I believe that £60 or £70 more, making altogether the sum of £1000, will cover every expense connected with
the
the undertaking.  
I have now to request that your Lordship will be kind enough to direct, whether that outlay is to be defrayed out of the Imperial Treasury or from the Colonial Funds, and if the latter, that the wishes of Her Majesty's Government to that effect, may be communicated to the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.  
I have had much conversation with Rear Admiral Bruce in respect to the question which has been raised by the authorities of the United States, concerning the sovereignty of the Islands in the Arro Archipelago.  
His views on that subject coincide entirely with those which the obvious meaning of the First article of the Treaty of July 1846, had led me to embrace.  
I also communicated to him the instructions, on the same
subject
subject, which I have received from Her Majesty's Government, as stated in Sir George Grey's Despatch No 4 of the 21st September 1854, and he has agreed to lend every assistance in his power, in asserting Her Majesty's sovereignty over all the disputed Islands, and for the protection of British property on the Island of San Juan.  
Since the arrival of the Fleet at this place the Americans have made no attempt to molest the British settlers of San Juan, and I do not apprehend any difficulty with them, as long as we have a military force at hand, to punish their aggressions.  
Her Majesty's Ship "Trincomalee" is at present refitting in Esquimalt, and will probably not leave Port, before the first week in October, when the "President" is expected to touch here for refreshments.  
Perhaps
Perhaps your Lordship will pardon me for alluding to an opinion which I have long entertained in respect to the important advantage the public service would gain by forwarding the provisions and stores required for the national ships employed in the Northern Pacific, direct from England to Vancouver's Island, instead of landing them in the first place and storing them at Valparaiso; an arrangement involving one of two evils—either the ships of war must, at brief intervals, abandon their distant stations, and to the neglect of other objects resort to Valparaiso to revictual—or that service must be performed by means of hired transports, at a very considerable expense, in fact, I believe, in all cases, exceeding the sum that would be required to bring the supplies, in the first instance, direct
from
from England to Vancouver's Island.  
As a means of avoiding that expenditure and the inconvenience of employing Her Majesty's ships, as mere transport vessels, I would take the liberty of proposing to your Lordship that a Naval Store House be erected here, or rather at Port Esquimalt, and that the provisions and stores required for the ships employed in the Northern Pacific be sent from England directly to this place, and stored here.  
I will further remark on that subject, that the expense of erecting a proper building, for a naval store House, would not exceed the sum of 1500, and should your Lordship think favourably of the plan, and authorise me to carry it into effect, and to appoint a store keeper, I think the Council of this Colony would cheerfully vote a sum of money in aid of so popular
an
an object.  
With those remarks I will leave this suggestion for your Lordships consideration.  
I have the honor to be
Your Lordships most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas
Governor

The Right Honble Lord John Russel [Russell]
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
1st With respect to the Naval Hospital, the Govr has been informed that the Admiralty would defray the expense of its construction—see 7548 and 8277 V.Couvers Isld.  
2nd Send extract to the Foreign office of so much of the desp. as relates to the sovereignty of the Islands in the Arro Archipelago?  
3d Naval Stores Houses. The Admiralty declined last year to adopt the Govrs suggestion on this head but this renewed proposal on the subject had better be referred to them? See 4064 and 4698.  
VJ
27 Nov
No reason was assigned for declining. See 4698. I daresay there
are good & sufficient ones. But it would clearly be a great point gained for the prosperity & importance of this colony.  
HM
N 28
I think it wd be well to send a copy of the entire despatch to the Foreign Off. for Ld Clarendon's information & to the Admiralty for consideration.  
JB
30 Nov
HL
Dr 1st
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft, Colonial Office to E. Hammond, Foreign Office, 13 December 1855, forwarding copy of Douglas's despatch.  
  • Draft, Colonial Office to Secretary of the Admiralty, 13 December 1855, forwarding copy of Douglas's despatch.  
  • Draft reply, Labouchere to Douglas, No. 1, 24 December 1855, reporting that Douglas’s requests for storehouses and direct delivery of stores from England to Esquimalt have been sent, via the Admiralty, to Bruce for a report.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Rear Admiral H.W. Bruce to Douglas, 30 July 1855, expressing appreciation for the services provided for the squadron while at Vancouver Island.  
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Russell, 13 September 1855, National Archives of the UK, 10886, CO 305/6. 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=V55117.scx. Accessed 25 September 2017. 

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