No. 182
2 July 1859
I have had the honor of receiving your Despatch No 48 of the 11th April last, having reference to the disturbances which occurred in January last at Fort Yale, and forwarding for my information the copy of a letterManuscript imageletter from Lord Naas, with an enclosure from the Chief Inspector of the Constabulary in Ireland relative to the request made for a body of the Irish Constabulary to be sent to British Columbia, & representing the necessity for further information upon various points of detail mentioned.
2. I have given immediate attention to that matter, and have the honor to forward herewith a statement which will supply the information required.
3. With reference to your remarksManuscript imageremarks respecting the inability of Her Majesty's Government to undertake the expense partially or otherwise which the proposed Police Force would entail, I have only to observe that, in such case, it will be advisable not to send out the Force, as it is impossible to raise money in the Colony at present to meet the expenditure that would thereby be incurred; and moreover the Military force now in British Columbia, and the gradual accession of a British population render the step every day less a measureManuscript imagemeasure of necessary safety.
4. The population of British Columbia would, as you correctly surmise, zealously come forward, if required, for their own protection; but it has always appeared to me a most dangerous policy to put the sword into the hands of Aliens who have no love for British institutions, and who might turn it against the Government whenever it suited their purpose. The geographical position of British Columbia must be remembered, & it also must not be forgotten that until lately British Subjects formed butManuscript imagebut a small portion of the multitudes that poured into the Country, and although I firmly believe that among the thousands of persons who have since departed from the Colony scarcely one British Subject could be found, still even in the population that remain the proportion of British Subjects is far from being in the ascendant. The difficulties attendant upon the employment of a volunteer force upon occasions of emergency are consequently great; but apart from other considerations there is one very grave objection which particularlyManuscript imageparticularly presents itself. In a gold producing country men cannot and will not render their services to the Government gratuitously, and the amount of recompense they expect is exorbitant. Upon the occasion of the disturbances at Fort Yale certain volunteers were employed by Colonel Moody. These men cheerfully and most zealously afforded their Services, so much so indeed as to call forth a warm letter of commendation from Colonel Moody, but they demanded Five Dollars a day for their Services, and as compensation for their lossManuscript imageloss of time, and, under the circumstances, I was compelled to meet the demand. I am strongly inclined to believe that as a measure of wise policy, and of sound economy, it is beyond doubt advisable to employ none but British Subjects in protecting British Territory.
5. I have read with due attention your remarks respecting the provision to be made for the repayment by the Colony of the Advances made from the Mother Country for the equipment and conveyance to British Columbia ofManuscript imageof Colonel Moody's Party of Royal Engineers. The Colony is most anxious to acquit herself of every obligation conferred upon her, and she is quite capable of meeting all her civil expenditures in a befitting and proper manner, but the cost of the maintenance of the Military Force, with the heavy charge for Colonial Pay, is at present more than her Finances can bear. The development of the Country has been stayed for want of Funds, and the amount of Revenue has in consequence fallen far short of my expectations. I cannot refrainManuscript imagerefrain from remarking, however, that the expense of sending the Royal Engineers to British Columbia, is a charge that can scarcely with perfect justness be assigned to the Colony, seeing that after all the object in view was one purely of an Imperial character. But be that as it may, Her Majesty's Government must be lenient and kind, and must until the Colony is in a condition to discharge her liabilities, look for repayment in the acquisition of a magnificent domain, which willManuscript imagewill give an expansion to British Trade and influence in this part of the world that now can scarcely be sufficiently appreciated, and which was unattainable by other means.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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See 8577.
The idea of sending out an Irish Police Force will I suppose now be abandoned. The Irish Office should in that case be so informed with reference to their letter of 21 March last.
With regard to the Governor's appeal to be relieved from the expenses of the Engineers—It was originally Manuscript imageintended by Sir E. Lytton that those expenses should be, at any rate for a time borne by this Country. (Despatch of 31 July 58.)
Afterwards in consequence of the favorable (but as they have proved over estimated) accounts of the probable revenue of the Colony, it was decided that the cost should be paid from the Colonial revenue. (Despatch 2d Sept 58.)
It was however not intended that the regimental pay should be thrown on the Colony (as clearly appears from Sir E. Lytton's letter to the War Office of 10 November) but this has never been distinctly explained to the Governor and may be stated and taken credit for in writing to him now on the subject.
The remaining expenses of the expedition however were to fall on the Colony. The Governor was instructed that they were to be made a first charge on the land sales and that any sums disbursed by the Imperial Treasury must be repaid. These instructions have been constantly adhered to and reiterated in the despatches to Governor Douglas.
Unfortunately the revenue has fallen far short of Governor Douglas' Estimate Manuscript image, the Colony is unable to defray the annual cost of the Engineers and a debt is rapidly accumulating (amounting already to upwards of £40,000 and which will probably not be less than £60,000 by the end of the current financial year) that must impede the development of the Colony and the ultimate amount of which it is not easy to foresee.
Under these circumstances it would seem a question whether it is not necessary to revert to the original scheme of providing for the cost of the Engineers from Imperial Funds until the Colonial Revenue is able to bear the charge?
I would suggest therefore that the Governor be informed that the Regimental Pay is intended to be defrayed by this Country—that a copy of the Estimate taken for B. Columbia last session shd be sent to him, pointing out that the amount of it is all that Parliament has placed at the disposal of the Treasury for the use of B. Columbia sinceManuscript imagesince the commencement of the Colony, conveying the decision which the Duke of Newcastle may adopt as to the source from which the Col Pay &c of the Engineers should be defrayed.
HT Irving 30 Augt
It is perfectly clear that the Colony cannot pay for the military force, & that any attempt to make it do so can only end in disastrous debt. The question lies between the "kind & lenient" policy advocated by the Governor, and that of withdrawing almost all the military force & leaving the Colony to take care of itself—which is what Col. Moody has been lately indicating. There is no doubt this latter policy requires firmness & nerve to follow, &, above all, that it cannot be pursued unless we are determined to disregard the apprehensions arising from the American character Manuscript imageof the population. Probably the experiment might be safely risked. But it is not to be forgotten, that this corner of the world is becoming a very important point with a view to foreign affairs. Indian hostilities & other causes have established in Oregon a large detachment (relatively speaking) of the small American army.
HM Augt 31
Self-defense is a principle sound in its character as applied to a Colony in time of peace when the Colony is of British origin, but there is much truth in the objection raised by the Govr that more than one half of the Inhabitants even now are foreigners & he might have added belong to the Country from which in case of disturbance there would be most cause for apprehension. I am not disposed to withdraw the very moderate Military Force which Manuscript imageis at present assigned to British Columbia, but on the other hand I think it would be premature to give the Govr any assurance of relief from any portion of the expense except the Regimental Pay. In gold-producing Countries events march rapidly & changes from wealth to poverty or the reverse are affairs of months instead of years. Before long we must deal with the whole question of B. Columbia expenditure—Civil as well as Military—and to let the Govr in the meanwhile feel the pressure of increasing debt is the best security for economy that we can enforce.
N 2-9
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Under-Secretary for War, 10 September 1859, forwarding copy of the despatch and draft reply and asking that they be shown to Sidney Herbert for concurrence.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Under-Secretary for the Home Office, 4 October 1859, advising it was not considered expedient to send any of the Irish Constabulary to British Columbia.
Minutes by CO staff
The papers with the minute for this draft are in circn just now.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 24, 23 September 1859, noting that "it was never the intention of Her Majesty's Government to throw the entire cost of this military force on the colony," and expressing confidence that the colony will for itself "provide for this portion of its expenditure within a reasonable time."
Minutes by CO staff
Duke of Newcastle
For approval. The desp. appears to require some answer; & I am not certain whether this expresses your view?
It will meet my view perfectly. I wish to keep the Govr "up to the collar" as to the economy till we can deal with the whole question of expenditure—wh I hope will be soon.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Answers to questions posed by Inspector General of the Irish Constabulary, 15 March 1859.