Lugard to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
16 June 1859
I am directed by the Secretary of State for War to transmit to you, for the information of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, the enclosed copy of a letter from the Admiralty, in reference to the detention in British Columbia of the Party of Royal Marines who had been despatched from China to that Colony.
Major General Peel is not aware of the circumstances under which this Detachment was sent to British Columbia, but he presumes that instructions were given Manuscript imagebefore it had been decided to station a Military Force in that Colony. He therefore proposes to inform the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that arrangements have some time since been made of the nature which they suggest for the performance of the Military duties in British Columbia by the regular Troops, and that the Secretary of State for War is aware of no reason for the detention of the Royal Marines.
I have etc.
Edward Lugard
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
Soon after the establishment of this Colony this Office pressed most strongly upon the Admiralty the importance, & necessity, of strengthening the naval force off B. Columbia, and of sending as many marines as possible—who, if the emergency required it—cd be employed on shore as well at sea. You will notice Sir E. Lytton's earnest Manuscript imageviews in his private Letter to Sir John Pakington of the 20 August. In consequence the "Tribune" was ordered from China with as many Supernumerary Marines as she cd carry, and the Rear Admiral on that Station cd spare: and she duly arrived at V. Couver's Island on the 13th Feby. Gun Boats were also ordered; but I have not heard of their having reached the Colony. The object of the Marines was that they should assist in keeping good order in the Colony; but this Office has not given the Governor any instructions that he was to land them. He has, however, done so, as reported in his despatch of the 11th April, & has sent them up to Queensboro, or as it is now called "New Westminster," saying that he wd report hereafter more fully as to his reasons for that step. And I presume, he will accy shortly do so. But we can scarcely wait the Governor's report before we ansr the War Office definitively. My own impression is that in view of the numerous ships which are now being put in Commission, & the demand made upon the Admiralty for the complement of Marines required for each vessel—in view of the fact Manuscript imageof the remarkable quiet & order which has prevailed, & I hope does still prevail in this new gold producing Colony, and remembering that we have 150 Royal Engineers in the Colony, besides Justices of the Peace, & an Inspector of Police (who was to have organized a police force but has not done so) ready to come forward on disturbances arising, I am of opinion that we want the marines less in B. Columbia than we do nearer home; & that the Admiralty ought to be informed that though it is impossible to dispense with some Naval force off the Colony, which wd necessarily have its usual strength of Marines on board, we shall be ready to instruct the Governor not to employ those Marines on land service, unless it be absolutely indispensable, and that the present force of Marines may be diminished if the Admiralty wish it, & subject to the non receipt of unfavorable accounts from the Colony.
ABd 17 June
Mr Fortescue
I have no reason for doubting that Mr Blackwood is right.
HM June 19
I quite agree.
CF June 23
N 25
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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H. Corry, Admiralty, to Under-Secretary, War Office, 9 June 1859, transmitting Colonial Office letter relative to use of marines in British Columbia for information.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Under-Secretary of State, War Office, 9 July 1859, advising that the marines were less urgently required in the colony than elsewhere, so the force could be withdrawn if desired.