Hammond to Fortescue (Parliamentary Under-Secretary)
April 1860
I have laid before Lord John Russell your letter of the 19th Instant, inclosing a Despatch from Governor Douglas stating the reasons which had induced him to delay acting upon the Instructions addressed to him by The Duke of Newcastle on the 16th of November last, directing him to place upon the Island ofManuscript imageof San Juan a force equivalent to that retained by General Scott.
I am to request that you will state to The Duke of Newcastle, in reply, that it appears to Lord John Russell that it would be as well to wait for further accounts before Governor Douglas' conduct in this matter is approved by His Grace. Lord John Russell cannot but feel that Governor Douglas has incurred a seriousManuscript imageserious responsibility in delaying to act upon The Duke of Newcastle's Instructions of the 16th of November last, and that serious consequences may ensue if the execution of those Instructions is further delayed.
I am etc.
E. Hammond
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
No draft of approval was prepared: the intention was merely to ascertain whether the Foreign Office would concur in signifying approval.
Answer that in accordance with the opinion expressed by Lord John Russell no approval will for the present be signified of the delay to occupy a part of the Island of San Juan?
TFE 21 April
CF 23
I think it is hardly necessary to send any answer.
I observe that my Minute on the despatch was dated 1 17 March but the letter to the F.O. was not drafted till 11 April. I approved the draft on 12 April and again another delay in copying & sending till the 19 April. Such delay may often be very inconvenient and in such a simple matter seems wanting in excuse.
I am not surprised at the observations of the Duke & wish to explain that the first delay was occasioned by the necessity of circulating the Governor's desp. 2830 a second time with some fresh papers which arrived before we were able to execute His Grace's instructions. As those papers—with the desph in question—did not reach us again for some time we were forced into a delay, which so far as we were concerned was unavoidable. The 2d delay is, in a great measure, attributable to the system of copying we have recourse to. Under ordinary circes we are scarcely ever able to send a Letter off under 4 or 5 days at the soonest. In this case, however, as the delay was one of 7 days I think we must be to blame. At any rate I am unable now to account for it.
ABd 26 April