Naas to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Irish Office, London
21 March 1859
Referring to your letter of the 8th instant, relative to sending out a party of the Irish Constabulary Force to British Columbia, I beg to transmit for the information of Secretary Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Copy of a report which has been received from the Inspector General of Constabulary upon the above subject; and I am to request that the information required by Sir Henry Browning may be afforded, in order that he may be enabled to furnish a definite reply to your communication.
I am etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
Now, in pursuance of Sir E. Lytton's minute on 2135, send a copy of this correspondence to the Governor—desire him to supply the necessary information, his despatch having been very deficient therein, & especially to report whether the local resources will admit of the expre which this Police force will entail. Remind him that for the production [of] peace & order the Colony must depend entirely on its own resources, that it be [a] Manuscript imagehopeless task for any Minister to attempt to prevail upon the Ho: of Commons to vote money for supporting the Police of a Colony which will in a short time, according to the Governor's own account, have a revenue of £100,000 a year. Add that in any way, except money, in which H.M.G. can aid this infant Colony they will readily listen to any application whh may be made to them.
ABd 23/3/59
HM Mh 23
Sir Edward Lytton
Though you have expressed a strong opinion upon Colonial expenses in B. Columbia—upon wh Mr Blackwoods minute is really founded—yet I must trouble you with somewhat different view of the case.
I know the importance of keeping the Estimates as low as possible, and of throwing the Colony upon its own resources; but I am afraid that Manuscript imagewe are in danger of going too far in that direction and whatever assistance in money we give, may reasonably be in the nature of an advance or a loan to be repaid by the Colony—and the repayment should be insisted upon—but it is hopeless to expect that during the first year of its existence a sufficient revenue can be raised to defray the necessary expenses of establishing a government and organising a civilised community. No Colony can be created under the circumstances of B. Columbia without some sacrifice: & if it is not the sacrifice of law and order, as was the case in California, it must be a sacrifice of money. Hitherto we have been remarkably fortunate in B. Columbia, but the good fortune is owing to the remarkable ability & firmness of Govr Douglas & to the presence of a certain amount of military force. The last accounts proved the very critical condition of affairs and we have been distinctly warned by the Manuscript imageGovr that there will be a serious influx of Immigrants in the Spring, that he has not the necessary force for coping with any disturbance such as may easily arise, and that the materials from which he must draw a force cannot be relied upon. To say that we will supply him with men but that he must pay for them amounts in fact to a refusal. Under these circumstances I think it deserves consideration what our position wd be if within a few months he sd be placed in serious difficulties for the want of a police force which he has repeatedly applied for; but which we refuse merely on the ground of economy. And as a mere question of expense it must be remembered that whatever we save on the Colonial Estimates we virtually place Manuscript imageupon Admiralty expenses for the Govr is dependant at present upon the support of sailors & marines in any great emergency—a more uncertain, more inconvenient, & perhaps more costly expedient. I merely throw out these remarks for consideration.
With regard to the questions wh are submitted by the Irish Office I do not see that we need refer them to the Govr of B. Columbia, inasmuch as we can I think deal with them here quite as well, and thus avoid a delay of nearly three months, wh if even the answer from the Colony sd be ever so satisfactory, wd postpone the sending out the men untill the time when they are particularly needed wd be past.
C Mch 25
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Minute to both Despatches on B. Columbia
Govr Douglas & British Police
I suspect Lord C. forgets our Despatches at the close of printed papers—to Govr D. & C. Moody. I refer him to these. Either there is something in them or not. If not, I am not fit for any office—if there is, it should be steadily adhered to. No doubt in all Gold Colonies, violence will ensue. So there also in public schools—if a boy gets a black eye is he to send home for his Nurse. If at a gold Digging, there is a row are the Colonists to send home to the Mother Country for police? If so the boy will never be a man nor the Colonists worthy to be free men.
As yet the case reported is mere Bugaboo. Policemen in one instance [while get now give way?]. Is the Colony to [ever any way to be therany?]? Manuscript imageOrder is restored by a handful of Redcoats with a capable clever man like Col. Moody at the head.
But there is more in this demand than meets the eye. Mr Brew, whose letters have been shewn to me, thinks it a capital job for 150 of his Countrymen at 9s a day; he wants to be a man of consequence, & meanwhile he confessedly has so little to do that he is made a Gold Commissioner.
Govr Douglas knows the value of Police, knows he can get them at the spot [Emigrants?]. But that he must pay for them. He doesn't want to pay for them,Manuscript image he wants us to do that. Not so green We! If this Colony is to be a Colony of Men it must protect itself & pay for that protection by a local Tax. Once give way & you will make a Jamaica of British Columbia. I will not help in this. I have confidence in my theory if the C.O. is not a coward. Write that G.D. is referred to the continued course of my Despatches.
The first duty of a Colony pretending to be English is to fund its own police. That I am convinced (I have fairly good reason for saying this) if he had called into aid Manuscript imagevolunteers he would have found them abundant & zealous.
That nevertheless if the Colonials find it easier & cheaper to find others to protect them as police, I do not object, provided they recognize the principle that they must pay for it. I therefore send him (Lord Naas' letter) particulars as to cost & the kind of men he recommended. That before he undertakes to pay for them, he will pay the Colonial Charges of Col. Moody & Sappers & Miners. So I have copy of Return to Parlt. He & the Imp. Govt are pledged to his doing this according to all my Despatches therein Manuscript image& that if he cannot do it I will get a Governor who can & who will. Write this up [plainly?] as I write it.
EBL Ap 1
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Carnarvon (in the absence of Lytton) to Douglas, No. 48, 11 April 1859, forwarding Lord Naas's response regarding an Irish Constabulary for BC.
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Memorandum submitted by H.J. Brownrigg, 15 March 1859, advising of difficulty in answering the enquiry regarding the proposed police force without further information from the governor.