Hawes to Under-Secretary of State Foreign Office [sic]
War Office,
Pall Mall, S.W.
9 March 1859
With reference to your Letter of the 4th Inst. inquiring for the information of Sir E. Bulwer Lytton whether the Stores for R. Engineer Detachment British Columbia, lost in the "Briseis," had been insured; I am directed by Secretary Major General Peel to state that these Stores were not insured by this Department.
I am etc.
B. Hawes
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
I contend that the War Office has managed very ill in this transaction for us, & that we ought to try & rescue the Colony from the double expense. The War Office, when it sends out Stores, forwards them in Govt transports. These are as secure as they can be, risks at sea considered, & are not insured. The War Office is it's own insurer. But that was not our position. We told the Office to provide & send out the Stores to Columbia. A Vessel, & a bad one I have heard, was hired. The goods were not insured, nor were we asked the question whether they shd Manuscript imagebe so insured—which, as the Colony was supposed to be the ultimate repayers of the expense, the W. Office, if they had used any proper precaution, might have done—And the vessel was burnt.
The Colony is clearly not in the same position as the Government—which was it's own insurer; and my view, considering the circumstances of the case, is that we should tell the War Office that the Stores must be replaced with the least possible delay, but that we cannot impose the charge of doing so on the Colony, & that it must devolve on the War Office to find the money.
I have gone over the List, & made a few remarks which perhaps Lord Carnarvon or yourself will notice.
ABd 12/3
HM Mh 12
Sir Edward Lytton
I agree with Mr Blackwood as to the justice of imposing the repayment upon the W.O. but whether the W.O. will concur is another question. Please to decide upon the omission from the new list of the articles wh are pencilled.
C Mch 12
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I quite agree with Mr B. We can but struggle with W.O.
EBL M 15
For convenience I wd give up the iron houses and appendages as Ld C proposes.
EBL M 15
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Under-Secretary, War Office, 23 March 1859, advising that Lytton felt the stores should be replaced immediately at the expense of the War Department.