Parsons to Lytton
Royal Engineer Camp
Esquimalt, Vancouver Island
9 November 1858
I have the honor to report my arrival with the 20 Engineers under my Command, at this place on 29 October.
I had the honor of communicating with you from Panama on 27th Septr requesting larger funds to be placed at my disposal, and mentioning the arrangements I proposed making for the progress of my Detachment towards Victoria. There was no other conveyance from Panama northwards than the United States Mail Steamer "J.L. Stephens" which sailed from Panama for San Francisco on 1st OctrandManuscript image and from my experience during the transit I feel fully justified in having incurred the expence of the second Cabin accommodation for my Men, alluded to in my former letter. There were 1240 passengers and a crew of about 160 on board the Steamer.
On 16th October the Detachment was landed in San Francisco as British Soldiers, but without their Arms, and they were quartered together in an Hotel until 20th October when I embarked them on board the U.S. Mail Steamer "Panama" proceeding to Victoria; after running up the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, landing at Fort Vancouver & Portland &c, the ship anchored in Esquimalt Harbour, 3 miles by land from Victoria, on 29th October. Finding Coll Hawkins R.E. the Boundary CommissioneratManuscript image at Esquimalt, I reported my arrival and encamped the Detachment with the portion of his party that were with him.
I sent the bag of Despatches entrusted to me to the Governor on the day of my arrival, and waited on him the following day with the letter you gave me.
The Governor had provided a house for the Detachment in Victoria but conferring with Coll Hawkins, I thought it better to remain encamped with the Boundary Engineers for a period on our first arrival.
Captn Grant R.E. arrived at Victoria yesterday with 11 men and takes command of the Columbia Party, he will doubtless report his proceedings as early as circumstances permit, he is now occupying the house taken by the Governor in Victoria.
With Manuscript image
With regard to our movements, it is the Governor's wish that we proceed with him up the Frazer River when he proclaims the Queen's Commission in British Columbia, and that we remain at or near Fort Langley.
As the time does not admit of my making an Inspection of the locality near Fort Langley for the purposes of providing due accommodation for the Troops, our removal probably taking place this week, the Governor intends placing a Schooner at our disposal in which we shall be housed until the portable buildings we take up the River shall be erected.
I beg to add that I am receiving valuable advice and assistance from Coll Hawkins R.E. and his knowledge of the localities on the Frazer River enables him to assist me materially in securing proper accommodation for the Men.
Captn Grant R.E. my Senior Officer will report our further proceedings.
I have the honor to be, Sir
Your most obedient Servant
R.M. Parsons,
Captn Royal Engineers

The Right Honble
Sir Bulwer Lytton
Colonial Secretary of State
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
As the Govr has reported and the War Dept have been informed of the arrival of Capt Parsons at Esquimalt it does not appear to be necessary to act in any way upon this letter? See 651 1 from Capt Parsons.
VJ 20 Jan
Lord Carnarvon
But it seems to me that too early steps cannot be taken to prevent these military authorities from corresponding with us direct, which they are certain to do if allowed. In acknowledging the Governor's report, therefore, notice this letter of Capt Parsons also, & request he will in future correspond with us in the regular official way? See also 651.
HM Jan 20
I agree.
C Jany 20
Yes. See my desph to Col. Moody.
EBL Jan 21
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 13, 2 February 1859.