Hammond to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
8 November 1860
I have laid before Lord John Russell your letter of the 2d instant and its Inclosure from the Admiralty stating that the detachment of Marines stationed at San Juan is about to be recalled and requesting that immediate steps may be taken to have the duties otherwise performed.
In reply to your request for Lord J. Russell's opinion as to the answer which should be returned to the Admiralty on thisManuscript imagethis subject, I am to request that you will suggest to the Secretary of State for the Colonies that the Admiralty should be informed that if these Marines are withdrawn they should be replaced by others, but that it would be very undesirable that the Officers commanding the present detachment should be changed, owing to the good understanding which appears to exist between them and the United States Officers on the Island.
Lord J. Russell would however, further suggest for the consideration of the Colonial SecretaryManuscript imageSecretary, whether it would not be desirable to apply to the Secretary of State for War, requesting that as soon as Troops can be spared from China, a Regiment should be sent to Vancouver's Island. Independently of the advantage which might be expected to result to British Columbia from the presence of a British Regiment in Vancouver's Island, the 100 men required for service on San Juan might be furnished by the Regiment and the Marines might in that caseManuscript imagecase be available for their proper services.
I am etc.
E. Hammond
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Write to the Admiralty & War office as suggested?
VJ 9 Novr
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Mr Fortescue
This is a letter on which you will probably remember that I have had more than one conversation with you.
The Foreign Office suggest for consideration the question whether after the operations in China are over, a Regiment might with advantage be sent from thence to be stationed at Vancouver's Island. This is a serious subject which can only be dealt with by the Duke of Newcastle, but the news which arrived from China immediately after the receipt of this letter has deprived the question of any immediate practical consequence.
For this reason however the other question arrives, vizt whether the Marines must really be brought away as proposed by the Admiralty in their letter of the 22nd of October, and if so what substitute is to be provided for them at San Juan. The Foreign Office suggestion that if the detachment be brought away they should be replaced by other privates, but that the same Officers should remain on the spot Manuscript imageis one which I should think that it could hardly be possible to reconcile with the usages of the Services. Besides who would have charge of the Soldiers on their voyage homewards?
TFE 8 Decr
Duke of Newcastle
I sh. be disposed to recommend the F.O. to request the Admiralty to supply another detachment of Marines instead of the present one, (if the latter must be relieved), as the best force for the purpose of holding San Juan.
CF 14
The question of placing a Regiment in Vancouvers Island is one of too much importance to be decided upon merely for the purpose of providing a substitute for the 100 Marines who are to be withdrawn. It may Manuscript imagehave an important bearing, for good or for evil, upon the negociations now going on with the United States and ought not to be done without the knowledge of the Cabinet.
I think the best step to take will be to send the letter of the F.O. to Mr Herbert, and say that I consider it a question of such immediate and prospective interest that I hope he will communicate further with the F.O. before any final decision is adopted, and that if any such measure should be decided upon it would be necessary at once to provide barracks for their accommodation. I do not see any necessity for so large a force as a Regiment, even if Soldiers must be substituted for Marines.
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It would be well to add in the letter to the W.O. that if a Regiment or portion of a Regt were to be sent to V.I. the occasion might be taken for withdrawing the Sappers—a force which costs £22,000 per ann: and has not answered the objects for which they were sent out—of surveying, road-making, &c.
N 19
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Under-Secretary, War Office, 4 January 1861, forwarding copy of letter from the Foreign Office for consideration, and promoting the withdrawal of a force sent to the colony to execute public works projects.