No. 35
17th August 1854
My Lord Duke,
I herewith transmit for the information of Her Majesty's Government, Minutes of the proceedings in the Council of this Colony on and since the 12th day of July last.
Your Grace will observe that several small sums of money were appropriated for the payment of certain expenses, incurred about the Colonial School, for necessary improvements, and that the sum of £50 Sterling was granted for the relief of Mr Barr the Teacher, whose salary of £60 a year is unsufficient for his support.
Your Manuscript image
Your Grace will also observe that the sum of £1500 in all was voted by the Council in three sums of £500 each, to be applied to the erection of a Court House, a Church, and to the construction of roads and bridges. It is not supposed that those sums are sufficient to accomplish more than a small part of the objects proposed, but even to that extent, it was considered important to commence a course of improvements, that might encourage the settlement of the Country, and give employment to the disposable labour in the Colony.
2. The defence of the country against the direct or indirect aggression of Russia, is a subject, forced by circumstances upon our attention.
Extract to War Dept.
The Colony can do little if left to its own resources, and we must trust for protection to Her Majesty's Government.
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The people were much alarmed at the idea of a descent by the Russians, or rather by predatory vessels, acting under the authority of letters of marque, and it was to guard against that danger, that it was thought expedient in the absence of Her Majesty's Ships, to charter the Hudson's Bay Company's Propeller "Otter", as a guard ship, for the protection of the Colony.
That measure of defence will cost about £600 a month
£7200 per ann.!
which I presume will be defrayed by Her Majesty's Government, as in the Grant of Vancouver's Island to the Hudson's Bay Company, it is provided that the Governor and Company are, to defray the entire expense of any civil and military establishments which may be required, for the protection and Government of such settlements, (except nevertheless during the time of hostilities, between Great Britain, and any foreign European or American power), a proviso which directly applies to the present circumstancesofManuscript image of the Empire, and I shall therefore be happy to have your Grace's instructions in reference to the payment of that outlay.
3. I have also the honor to transmit herewith copy of "An Act prohibiting the Gift or Sale of intoxicating liquors to Indians",
Extract to Mr Wood.
which passed the Council on the 3rd day of August, and has been strictly enforced, with a most salutory effect, in respect to the Indian population among whom, the vice of intemperance was spreading to an alarming extent, to the great annoyance of the peaceful inhabitants, whose lives and property are endangered through the excesses of savages, maddened by the excitement of drink.
I trust that the provisions of this act, and the other matters referred to in this communication will meet with the approval of Her Majesty's Government.
I have the honor to be
Your Grace's most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas

The Right Honble The Duke of Newcastle
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
The Governor should not have blended these three subjects in one despatch, but should have written 2, if not three despatches. With respect to the first topic it will probably be most advisable to take no notice of it as we holdManuscript image here that Money cannot be constitutionally raised in Van Couver's Island without an Assembly of Freeholders—a body however, which it is, at present, impossible to create there.
2. The second topic—the defence of the Settlement at an expense of £7200 per annum—should, I presume, be referred to the Secretary of State for War; and the
3rd being the copy of the act prohibiting the gift or sale of intoxicating liquors to Indians shd be registered & referred to Messrs Wood & Rogers.
ABd 27 Octr
Mr Blackwood
The first point was referred some weeks ago to the Law Advisers: has there been an answer?
HM O 28
It has not.
ABd 28 Oct
Follow the above minute?
HM O 30
1. There is nothing unconstitutional in the Governor a[nd] Council of Vancouver's Island appropriating money. A doubt has been raised whether they can impose taxes,
This is my meaning.
but the Colony has a Revenue from Crown land Licences & the Cutting of timber: and this Revenue can of course be appropriated by the Crown. There is nothing in the despatches to show that the money here voted is paid out of taxes.Manuscript image In other respects Mr Blackwood's Minute May be followed.
FP 3 Nov
GG 4
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Colonel Mundy, 17 November 1854, asking for an opinion on the expediency of chartering the Otter at a sum of £7,200 per year.
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Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 7, 18 December 1854, with extensive revisions.
Minutes by CO staff
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I do not understand this draft. Gov Douglas despatch of the 16 of May was answered months ago (5 Augt) and does not contain one word upon the subject of Chartering a Vessel.
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(What is the effect of this disallowance?)