No. 8
13th June 1855
My Lord
I have the honor to inform your Lordship, that I have lately received two communications, from Rear Admiral Bruce, dated respectively, Valparaiso 6th and 14th February last, informing me that he had assumed the command in Chief of Her Majestys Naval Forces in the Pacific, and expressing his readiness to attend to any suggestions, or requeststhatManuscript image that I may have occasion to address to him, in relation to the Colony of Vancouver's Island.
It is also stated in those communications, that several of Her Majesty's Steamers of War, would in course of service, probably visit this Colony, in the month of July next.
The Commander in Chief has also therein desired me to purchase 1000 tons of Coal for Her Majesty's service, and also, that fresh meat and vegetables may be provided in sufficient quantities, for the Forces under his command. He moreover expresses a hope, that I may be able to furnish a building to serve as a temporary hospital for the sick and wounded. Immediately on receipt of those communications I took instant measures to secure the desired quantity of Coal, which will be ready for delivery on the arrival of the Fleet, at this place. I also despatched Agents to the American settlements inPugetManuscript image Puget Sound, to purchase sheep and cattle, and have now nearly 1000 head of sheep, and a number of Beef Cattle, collected here, and on the route to this place.
I have moreover issued a Circular announcing the proposed movements of the Fleet, to the inhabitants of this Colony, and exhorting them to use every possible exertion, in raising vegetables for the supply of the Fleet.
And lastly with reference to the accommodation of the sick and wounded men of the Fleet, it appeared to me an object of so much importance, to provide for their comfort, and there being no disposable building in the Colony which could be converted to that purpose, that I was induced with the advice and consent of Council, to commence the erection of airy and roomy buildings, in a healthy and convenient locality, to serve as a naval hospital, and I have now the satisfaction to inform your Lordship, that the work is inrapidManuscript image rapid progress, and the buildings will be habitable by the end of this month. The premises consists of three separate and contiguous one story houses, each 50 feet long, by 30 feet wide, and will afford accommodation, for one hundred patients.
The expense of this undertaking will I believe not much exceed the sum of 1,000.
In taking those steps I have assumed a degree of responsibility exceeding the ordinary powers vested in me, by Her Majesty's instructions, and entirely of a personal nature, but the circumstances are of so urgent a kind that I feel assured of meeting with the approval of Her Majesty's Government, especially as I am in duty bound to promote, by every possible means, the interests of the public service, which would have suffered to a very serious extent, and much public clamour have been excited had I neglected to provide fortheManuscript image the demands of the Commander in Chief, until your Lordship was consulted on the matter.
I therefore trust that your Lordship will protect me from responsibility, and direct that the said expenditure for the erection of the hospital may be paid out of the public funds.
I have the honor to be
Your Lordships most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas

The Right Honble Lord John Russel [Russell]
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
War Dept.
ABd 11 Augt
HM Augt 11
WM A 13
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Molesworth to Douglas, No. 4, 6 September 1855, stating that the Admiralty will reimburse “Naval Department” claims upon receipt of the appropriate documentation.