Foster to Fortescue (Parliamentary Under-Secretary)
18 Hanover Square
London
Nov 22nd 1861
Sir,
Having been appointed by His Excellency Governor Douglas to the command of the Vancouver Island Volunteer Rifle Corps I have the honor to lay before you the copy of a communication relative to the supply of Fire arms for the use of that Corps.  
The Fire arms proposed to be furnished to the V.I. Volunteer Rifle Corps, are I consider, too antiquated and obsolete an arm for the use of any corps in H.M. Service, and I do not think it would be advisable for H.M. Government to incur even the expense of their transport to the
Colony
Colony.  
I further consider that the possession of such an arm would cause the V.I. Volunteers to appear to great disadvantage when placed in comparison with the troops on the U.S. continent.  
I would therefore beg to suggest that the same arm be furnished to the V.I. Volunteers as that supplied to the volunteers of the United Kingdom.  
I have further to request that H.M. Secretary of State for the Colonies will be pleased to order the gazetting of Officers appointed by H.M. representative to hold commands in the V.I. Volunteer Rifle Corps, and that such appointments shall have permanent effect, and be subject to the rules & regulations promulgated by the Horse Guards for the Volunteer Corps of Great
Great
Britain.  
In venturing to offer this suggestion I would deprecate the adoption of the annual Election of Officers practised in the American States, feeling deeply as I do the necessity of keeping the appointments of Officers in such a distant Colony, and one also so close on the frontier of a foreign Country, under the immediate controul of H.M. Government.  
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient Servant
George L. Foster
Lt Col.

The Honable
Chichester Fortescue Esqr M.P.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
The Agent has reported the shipment of these Rifles, so that if any representation on the subject is to be made to the War office there is no time to be lost, even if it is not already too late? The letter reporting the Shipment is in circulation with a draft to the Govr.  
VJ
23 Novr
As this case might have proved to be so urgent, I inquired into it at once upon the receipt of the present letter on Saturday. We ascertained however that the ship had actually sailed with the rifles on board. I am afraid that the Brunswick Rifle is a very old pattern: as to the question of gazetting officers, there must be some general practice, with a reason for it, at the War Office.  
Forward this letter to the W.O.; tell them that the Rifles were shipped in the [blank], which vessel is reported to have sailed on the [blank]; and request to be favored with the views of the Secy of State for War on the contents of Colonel Foster's letter?  
TFE
25 Novr
CF
26
This letter is the result of a conversation I had with Lt Col Foster. He is strong against election of Volunteer officers by the men.  
I have mislaid this letter for 10 days. The S. for W. lately refused a request from V.I. for 500 more rifles. Write to W.O. as proposed by Mr Elliot & say that in present circumstances I recommend the issue of 1000 superior rifles [if Sir G. Lewis is of opinion that they can be safely conveyed to the Colony].  
[N]
Other documents included in the file
  • Elliot to Under-Secretary of State, War Office, 14 December 1861, forwarding copy of the letter for their views, and recommending the issue of 1000 superior rifles.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Colonial Secretary W.A.G. Young to Foster, 29 August 1861, advising that the volunteer corps was to be issued free of cost 500 Brunswick rifles.  
 
Correspondence (private letter):
Foster to Fortescue (Parliamentary Under-Secretary), 22 November 1861, National Archives of the UK, 10440, CO 305/18. 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=V616F03.scx. Accessed 21 September 2017. 

Last modified: 15:36:56, 14/5/2015