No. 49
1t February 1855
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No 1 Military of the 5th of August last, in reply to my letter No 27 of the 16th of May, and I observe that Her Majesty's Government do not consider it advisable to adopt the measures which I then recommended for placing Vancouvers Island in a condition to repel any hostile attack, deeming that the directions given by theLordsManuscript image Lords of the Admiralty to the Admiral on the station to cause the Island to be frequently visited by the ships of war, under his command, will suffice for the protection of the Colony.
I trust you will not consider the remarks I have to make on that subject irrelevant. I coincide in the opinion expressed in your Despatch that the presence of a small defensive force whether naval or military will be a sufficient protection for the Colony, but to answer that purpose effectually, the force ought I conceive to be attached to, and at the disposal of the Executive Government, otherwise it may be withdrawn when such aid is most urgently wanted.
With the exception of a very brief visit from the Fleet, on its return last summer from the expedition against the Russian settlement of St. Peter and St. Pauls, this Island has not been visited by Her Majesty's Ships, at any time, since the declaration ofwarManuscript image war against the Emperor of all the Russias.
We have thanks to Providence not been molested in any manner by the enemy. The Hudson's Bay Company's Fur Ship laden with a cargo valued at from 60,000 to 80,000 Sterling, sailed from Victoria for the Port of London, on the 13th of last month, the coasting vessels belonging to the Colony, have been all equally fortunate up to this time. I do not indeed apprehend any danger for our ships, except from the attacks of privateers.
The inhabitants of this Colony feel alarmed at their generally unprotected state, and have made repeated appeals to me for protection.
Though I have done every thing in my power, which can serve to allay their fears, or to add to their security, I am often placed in apainfulManuscript image painful position, it being a difficult matter situated as I am without means of any kind, except such as are procured on my own responsibility, to discharge the duties naturally expected of me, in a manner satisfactory to myself, or to the Public.
I shall nevertheless continue to exert every nerve to protect life and property, and as an encouragement, I have made known to the people, at large, the kind intentions of Her Majesty's Government expressed in your Despatch, to afford constant and efficient protection to the Colony through the visits of Her Majesty's Ships of war.
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas

The Right Honble Sir George Grey Bart
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
War Dept.
ABd 26 April
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Colonel Mundy, War Department, 10 May 1855, forwarding copy of the despatch and suggesting that they seek information from the Hudson's Bay Company as to the probability of a Russian attack on the colony.
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Draft reply, Russell to Douglas, No. 2, 20 June 1855.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Ball
It must be remembered that this little settlement lies very near the coast of the Russian possessions in Nth Ama of the condition of which our knowledge is I believe very small indeed. Their fears therefore are not unnatural, and possibly not ill founded, & the War Dept should therefore I think be requested to pay its best attention to the subject.
HM Apl 26
I concur. At the same time I think that it may be well to take some step for the purpose of obtaining reliable information as to the probability of attack from the side of Russian America and as to the real condition of that territory. Such information wd most naturally be sought from the Hudson's bay Company who are deeply interested. These papers shd be considered along with those relating to the Govt of the Island.
JB 27 Ap
To be returned to me when copied for War Dept.
JB 27 Ap
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Communicate with War Department, admiralty & H.B.Cy.
P 2/5-55