Mundy to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
War Department
28 November 1854
I have received and laid before the Duke of Newcastle your letter of the 17th instant, with its accompanying extract of a Despatch from the Governor of Van Couver's Island, from which it appears that, without waiting for an answer to the Despatch under datetheManuscript image the 16th May, which he has already addressed to the Secretary of State on the subject of the Defences of the Colony, he has taken upon himself to charter a Vessel belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, to serve as a Guard Ship, at a cost of £600 a month, which, he presumes, will be defrayed by Her Majesty's Government.
In reply thereto, I am directed to request that you will intimate to Secretary Sir George Grey, that, unlessheManuscript image he should have been supplied by Governor Douglas or from any other quarter with information of a much more reliable nature than any which has hitherto reached the Duke of Newcastle, as to the danger to which the Colony is exposed from Privateers or otherwise, His Grace is of opinion, adverting to the correspondence which has already passed on the subject, that the proceeding thus adopted by Governor Douglas should be disapproved, and that he should be informedthatManuscript image that Her Majesty's Govt cannot sanction, or hold itself in any way responsible for the outlay incurred on this account as a charge against the Imperial Treasury.
The correspondence referred to is to the following effect.
Military Correspce
In a Despatch, dated 16th May last, Governor Douglas requested to be furnished, from Her Majesty's Stores, with arms, accoutrements, ammunition and 12 Months provisions, for the service of a Military Force of 500 men, to be raised in the Colony; also with several pieces of light andheavyManuscript image heavy Ordnance for defensive Batteries, intimating, at the same time a desire to be supplied with immediate instructions in respect to the payment of any expenses necessarily incurred in providing for the defences of the Colony, and to be informed to what amount, and on whom he might draw for the same.
In answer to this Despatch (which was received on the 25th July) he was informed, on the 5th August, that Her Majesty's GovernmentdeemedManuscript image deemed it to be at once both unnecessary and unadvisable to accede to the above requisition; that the Lords of the Admiralty had already given such directions to the Admiral on the Station as would ensure the Island being frequently visited by one or more of the Ships of War under his command; and that Her Majesty's Government considered there was nothing in the circumstances of the War with Russia to forbid the hope andexpectationManuscript image expectation that the countenance and support which would be thus afforded, would amply suffice for the protection of the Island.
I have Sir,
Your obedient Servant
E.C. Mundy

Herman Merivale Esqr
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
Refer Governor Douglas to the despatch Marked Military of the 5th Augt of which we were not aware in this Dept. when the reference to the War Dept was made?
VJ 29 Novr
HM N 30
But why were we not aware of it? This is another instance of the InconvenienceManuscript image caused by the registering of our colonial despatches as Military, and thereupon at once assuming that we have no concern with such despatches.
I think all despatches from Governors intended to be dealt with by the War Dt should first be circulated through our office.
This is arranged.
I except of course such (if there are any) as have immediate reference to the war with Russia, and demand immediate attention.
I do not find with these Papers the despatch, which is commented upon in their Letter. But something more is necessary than a mere reference of the Govr in answer to the Duke of Newcastle's despatch of 5 Aug. His proceedings must be disapproved, and he must be directed to pay all expenses incurred in the best way he can without expecting any assistance from Imperial funds.
FP 1 D
GG 4
See separate minute.
Manuscript image
I quite agree with Mr Peel that some different arrangements shd be made by which all Despatches addressed to & received by this Department Should be read & disposed of in the Department. Where they relate to matters purely military they shd be officially transmitted to the War Department, exactly as Despatches relating exclusively to our Foreign relationsManuscript image are communicated to the Foreign Office to be there dealt with by directions from the Secy of State for Foreign Affairs. The War Department on the other hand should give us information of what is done upon despatches so transmitted to it from this Department, where theyManuscript image concern any Colonial interest.
GG 4 Decr
Mr Peel
I have already made you acquainted with the course of business of which I should recommend the addition, at least on trial, between this department andManuscript image the Duke of Newcastle.
I pass this accordingly: when returned, the particular directions of the minute on 10301 will be followed.
HM D 8
FP 11
GG 12
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 7, 18 December 1854.