No. 19
19 February 1861
I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of Despatch No 40, of the 17th of October last, upon the subject of my reports respecting the means taken to preserve tranquility in the ColonyduringManuscript image during the period of a large influx of Indians into the neighbourhood of Victoria.
2. I am gratified to learn that the measures I adopted were such as to be in harmony with the views of Her Majesty's Government, and I feel much indebted for the advice and suggestions contained in the Despatch.
3. With respect to the latter part in which I am urged to encouragetheManuscript image the formation of a volunteer force, I beg to assure Your Grace that I have not overlooked this matter. The desire exists on the part of the Colonists, but unfortunately one of the most essential requirements is wanting.
4. A Volunteer Rifle Corps has been formed amongst the coloured population, which I have fostered to the best of my ability by encouraging them to proceed, and byobtainingManuscript image obtaining the services of a Drill Sergeant from Her Majesty's Ships; and so great is the esprit exhibited by them that they have built themselves a Hall, and pay the Drill Sergeant most handsomely for each instruction: but they want Firearms, and have applied to me to render them this assistance, which at present I am unable to do.
5. The most respectableofManuscript image of the white residents are also fully prepared to enrol themselves as a volunteer force, the only drawback is a want of efficient Firearms. In fact, had I been capable of supplying these, a most valuable corps would have been formed at the time of the American occupation of San Juan.
6. The smallness of the Colonial Revenue and the infant state of theColonyManuscript image Colony will not admit of the necessary Firearms being procured by the Colony; I trust therefore that Her Majesty's Government will Extend their assistance in this matter, and if they will but furnish 500 stand of arms, I will engage on my part to form a volunteer force that I can safely assert will be no discredit to the Empire.
I haveManuscript image
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Ask the War Office if they can, & will supply these fire-arms to the V.C. Island volunteer force. If the War Office assents they will have to be sent in some vessel of War round the Horn.
ABd 15/5
The next time that a vessel of War happens to be going that way. To War Office?
TFE 16 May
CF 17
N 19
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Under Secretary of State, War Office, 22 May 1861, forwarding copy of the despatch and asking if it would be possible to comply with the governor's request.