No. 30
Downing Street,
16 October 1858
I have to acknowledge the receipt of your [Vancouver Island] Despatch No 34, dated the 19th of August 1 containing further reports of the progress of affairs in British Columbia, and urging the importance of your being provided with a Military force. TheinformationManuscript image information which this Despatch affords me as to the amount of Military aid which you consider would be sufficient to enable you to provide for the maintenance of order amongst the large population which is being so rapidly attracted to the Country by the reports of its auriferous wealth, induces me to recapitulate to you the steps which I have taken to support your authority and to explain to you the considerations by which I have beeninfluencedManuscript image influenced in the various measures I have adopted to aid you in the arduous task of organizing the Government of the Colony.
2. I trust that long ere this date your anxiety with respect to the presence on your Coasts of an adequate Naval force will have been allayed. Even before the act which constituted British Columbia into a Colony had received Her Majesty's assent, I had urged upon the First Lord of the Admiralty the necessity ofinfluencedManuscript image sending a Frigate or Man of War for the preservation of order in that district. 2 In consequence of my representations, the Lords of the Admiralty directed that Her Majesty's Ships on the Pacific Station should be reinforced, and instructed Admiral Baynes (since the time at which he addressed to you the letter that you have forwarded to me with your present Despatch) that the presence of a force in your waters was to be considered by himasManuscript image as a more pressing and important Service than any other on his station. By the last advices 3 I was informed that Admiral Baynes would himself leave Callao for Vancouver's Island on the 28th of August in his Flag Ship the "Ganges." He will therefore have arrived at the Island long since; and I confidently rely upon the Admiral, according to his Instructions, providing for all adequate Naval support to this important part of Her Majesty's Dominions. Indeed the FirstLordManuscript image Lord of the Admiralty assures me in reply to a letter I addressed to him, that Admiral Baynes "will be followed as quickly as possible by two Frigates from China," adding, "this was the quickest mode of reinforcement we could possible adopt, and in one case I sent a new Captain overland to take the command of a Ship in China which had become vacant, and proceed at once to the Pacific." I request that you willreportManuscript image report to me what Vessels at the time this Despatch is received may be actually in your Harbour, designed for the special support of the Civil Government. And should you deem a still larger force to be requisite for the purpose, your representation to that effect shall have my immediate attention.
3. With regard to your demand for a Military force, it isgratifyingManuscript image gratifying to me to learn, from your Statement that "the affairs of the Government might be carried on smoothly with even a single Company of Infantry," that I had anticipated and indeed exceeded your requirements by directions given at the earliest moment for sending to the Colony a party of 150 Royal Engineers.TheManuscript image The superior discipline and intelligence of this force, which afford ground for expecting that they will be far less likely than ordinary Soldiers of the line to yield to the temptation to desertion offered by the Gold fields, and their capacity at once to provide for themselves in a Country without habitation, appear to me to render them especially suited for this duty, whilst by their Services as pioneers in the work of civilization, in opening up the resources of the Country by the construction of RoadsandManuscript image and Bridges, in laying the foundations of a future City or Sea Port, and in carrying out the numerous Engineering Works, which in the earlier Stages of Colonization are so essential to the progress and welfare of a Community, they will probably not only be preserved from the idleness which might corrupt the discipline of ordinary Soldiers, but establish themselves in the popular good will of the Emigrants, by the Civil benefits it will be in the regular nature of their occupation to confer.
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4. I regret that this force has been delayed in its departure notwithstanding the unceasing care and pains I have devoted to the hastening of the necessary preparations, but owing to arrangements with the different departments of Government, the necessity for due care in the selection of the Officers and men for the expedition, and the time required for preparing the Vessels for Sea, a delay unavoidably occurred that must have caused you an anxiety in which I fully sympathize.InstalmentsManuscript image Instalments however of the force consisting of Twenty and twelve men respectively under Captain Parsons and Captain Grant were despatched to the Colony viâ Panama on the 2nd and 17th September. With the first of these Detachments I forwarded your Commission as Governor having immediately on the return of the Queen from the Continent obtained Her Majesty's Signature, and taken your Commission myself on board the Vessel in which the instalment of Engineers under Captain Parsons sailed from Southampton. I amgladManuscript image glad to be able now to inform you that the "Thames City" has recently left England having on board 119 men of the Expedition. This Vessel will be followed in a few days by the "Briseis" laden with Stores &c belonging to the party; and a small number of men and some additional stores will be sent in the "Euphrates" which is expected to sail in about a month's time. Colonel Moody who commands the expedition will proceed to British Columbia viâ Panama on the 30th Instant, tobeManuscript image be in readiness to receive the main body of Engineers on their arrival.
5. Having thus received the Military Assistance which I have afforded to you it only remains for me to indicate the policy to be observed in the employment; and particularly to explain to you more fully the objections which I pointed out in my recent [Vancouver Island] Despatch No 20 of the 16th Ultimo 4 to the use of this forceinManuscript image in the collection of Revenue.
6. The employment of a Royal Military force for the purpose of compelling the payment of taxation would in itself be undesirable and fraught with danger even in ordinary cases, and amidst the most docile population. And it seems to me that objections to such an employment are still stronger in the case of an impost like a license for Gold digging which would become so odious as to necessitate abandonment, if it led to disputes between the adventurers and the Military which might terminate in bloodshed and loss of life.
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A military force should be considered primarily as intended for the purpose of resisting Foreign aggression. Its employment in the internal control of the community must be regarded as strictly subsidiary to the ordinary means of enforcing obedience to the orders of the Civil power, and should be resorted to only when those means have through unexpected circumstances been found insufficient. The Governor of the Colony should on these principles use every endeavour to render the authority of the Civil Government independent of his Military force, and thusbeManuscript image be in a position to feel the full advantages of the moral support, which the Military afford to legitimate authority in proportion to the rarity of their interference. On the other hand, nothing is so important to the peace and progress of the Colony, as a well organized and effective Police. And I find that a Police is always feeble in Colonies that have been accustomed, in every disturbance to rely upon Soldiers. It is by the establishment of this Civil Constabulary with a sufficient staff of Stipendiary Magistrates, that I would wish the Colonists to cooperate with the Government in the requisite protection to life and property.
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Hence I have sent to you the most experienced and trustworthy person I could select amongst the Irish Constabulary, (a body of men peculiarly distinguished for efficiency) to serve as Inspector of the Police, and to carry out your instructions for the formation of a Civil force of that character.
You will not however suppose from the above observations that armed force, where required for its legitimate duties, will fail to the defence and security of this new part of Her Majesty's Dominions. A naval display of the protection that Great Britain affords to the Settlers is no doubt, while I write already in your Harbour, and, in sending to you a Military force, more than that which you state as sufficient.IManuscript image I have to add that should the chance of collision with the Indians or other elements of danger need in your judgment additional reinforcements and you can discern the means by which mere Soldiers of the line can be kept from desertion, and rendered securely serviceable, your wishes will not fail to meet with earnest and ready consideration.
7. Colonel Moody however agrees with me in assuming that in a population of Gold diggers there will be always enough disappointed adventurers in the prime of life, who would enlist at need under the British flag, and that, having secured able Officers, recruits couldthusManuscript image thus be raised on the spot more rapidly and economically than Military aid could be sent to you from England. With this view (on the correctness of which I should be glad of your opinion) I have sent to you under Colonel Moody a few practised and skilful men for Cavalry and Artillery drill, who are intended to form a nucleus and framework in the Colony itself for such additional Military force as may be required.
8. It is my objecttoManuscript image to provide for, or to suggest to you, how to meet, all unforeseen exigencies in the Colony as they may arise, but my views are based on the assumption that the common interest in life and property will induce the Immigrants to combine amongst themselves for ordinary purposes, and that when danger, needing Military force arises, they will readily gather round and swell the force which will thus expand in proportion as circumstances require. From England we send skill and discipline, the raw material, (that is themereManuscript image mere men) a Colony intended for free institutions, and on the borders of so powerful a neighbour as the United States of America, should learn betimes, of itself to supply.
9. With the scanty information which Her Majesty's Government possess of the nature of the climate of British Columbia in the Winter, in the absence of any experience as to the amount of population which may remain during that Season at the diggings, they are unable to judge what degree of activity in mining operations may then prevail;whatManuscript image what consequently may be the chance during the Winter months of armed frays or collisions, and to what extent revenue and Colonization may be then making progress. But they are led to anticipate that in the Winter there must be that pause in Immigration and its concomitant difficulties which may allow the preliminary settlement of questions of law and police, and enable you to communicate to them the probable wants and probable resources of the Colony; so that when, at the return of Spring, Immigration and activity recommence, all suitablepreparationsManuscript image preparations may have been made and the safety and developement of the Colony fully and deliberately provided for. It will be very essential for this purpose that you should instruct Her Majesty's Government by the best conjecture that you may be able to arrive at of the probable revenue on which to calculate; since in proportion to that revenue must be the rapidity with which the Home Government can aid in the growth of the Colony.
10. Referring to the laudable co-operation in the construction of the road whichhasManuscript image has been evoked by your energy from the good sense and public spirit of the miners, I rejoice to see how fully that instance of the zeal and intelligence to be expected from the voluntary efforts of Immigrants uniting in the furtherance of interests common to them all, bears out the principle of policy on which I desired to construct a Colony intended for self government and trained to its exercise by self reliance. The same characteristics which have made these settlers combine so readily in the construction of a road, will I trust under thesameManuscript image same able and cheering influence which you prove that you so well know how to exercise, cause them equally to unite in the formation of a police, in the establishment of Law, in the collection of Revenue, in short in all which may make individual life secure and the community prosperous. I trust you will assure the hardy and spirited men who have assisted in this preliminary undertaking how much their conduct is appreciated by Her Majesty's Government.
11. I feel thankful for the valuable services so seasonablyandManuscript image and efficiently rendered by the "Satellite" and "Plumper."
12. I cannot conclude without a cordial expression of my sympathy in the difficulties you have encountered, and of my sense of the ability, the readiness of resource, the wise and manly temper of conciliation which you have so signally displayed.
I doubt not that you will continue to shew the same vigour, and the same discretion in its exercise, and you may rely with confidence on whatever support andaidManuscript image aid Her Majesty's Government can afford to you.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant
E B Lytton