No. 113
2nd October 1865
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch No. 44 of 20th July, stating that William McColl late Sergeant in the Royal Engineers has represented that he has not received the grant of LandwhichManuscript image which it was agreed should be given to those men belonging to the Detachment under Colonel Moody who might take their discharge with a view of settling in the Colony and you direct me to cause enquiries to be made and to report to you whether McColl's statement is accurate.
2. On referring to Sir E.B. Lytton's despatch No. 14 of 2nd September 1858, I find that the Governor was instructed to grant to the Non-Commissioned OfficersandManuscript image and men of the Detachment of Royal Engineers sent to this Colony, "such grants of agricultural land, not exceeding thirty acres each, after six years continuous good faithful Service in British Columbia, on condition of residence and Military Service in the Colony if called upon."
3. I am informed by Mr House, late Corporal in the Royal Engineers that at the time the detachment was broken up and the Officers were abouttoManuscript image to leave the Colony, a paper was handed to the men to which all those who wished to avail themselves of the promise made by Sir E.B. Lytton were desired to sign their names. Out of the hundred men who elected to take their discharge only one was found willing to undertake the obligations he would incur in accepting the Free Grant. It was still open to the men to apply at a subsequent date, and all such applications would have come before me in mypositionManuscript image position as Colonial Secretary, but none have been received since my arrival in the Colony. It is, I consider, very improbable that men who are making from $3 to $8 a day would be willing to accept so small a Grant as thirty acres on the terms specified, & in a Colony where the acquisition of Land under the Pre-emption Law is so easy and inexpensive.
4. I am at a loss to understand the reasonswhichManuscript image which induced McColl to apply to the Secretary of State for War on the subject, and I regret that I am unable to furnish any report from the applicant as he died somewhat suddenly about three months since while holding a Government Appointment in the Upper Country.
5. It may not be out of place in this Despatch to call attention to a generalfeelingManuscript image feeling of discontent and disappointment which exists among men lately belonging to the Detachment of the Royal Engineers in consequence of a promise which they state was made to them by Colonel Moody previous to his departure from British Columbia, to the effect that all men of fourteen years standing would be entitled to a gratuity of thirty threepoundsManuscript image pounds, and that immediately upon Colonel Moody's arrival in England the matter would be arranged and the money forwarded to the men. It is now two years since the detachment was broken up and no information has been received on the subject.
6. The men whose names are listed in the margin are those who considerthemselvesManuscript image themselves entitled to this gratuity. I shall be very glad, should their Statement be correct if the matter can be arranged without further delay.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Arthur N. Birch
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Send Copy to the War Office for information so far as regards William McColl. But there is a further question as to the gratuity alleged to have been promised by Colonel Moody to men of 14 years standing: and perhaps it may be as well to ask Colonel Moody for an explanation before sending the Desp. to the W.O.
VJ 4 Jan
I annexed a draft.
TFE 4/1
Other documents included in the file
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Colonial Office to Under-Secretary of State, War Office, 6 January 1866, forwarding copy of the despatch and asking that they investigate the alleged promise of Moody to the men of his detachment.