No. 63
17 September 1861
I have the honour to forward herewith for Your Grace's consideration, an application transmitted to me by the Naval Commander in Chief Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Maitland, fromtheManuscript image the Lieutenants in Command of Her Majesty's Gun Boats Grappler and Forward, for a rate of Colonial Pay to be awarded to those Vessels during the period they are employed in this part of Her Majesty's Dominions.
2. As Your Grace is aware, the Revenues of the two Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia are not yet in a state to admit of any charge beingmadeManuscript image made upon them upon this account. Both Colonies are still in that infant condition which requires the fostering care of the Mother Country to provide the means necessary for safety and protection. Towards this end these two Gun Boats are a most invaluable auxiliary, and it affords me great pleasure to say that recently they have upon several occasions been most judiciously and usefully employed in themaintenanceManuscript image maintenance of law and order, and in the preservation of life and property: and it is very desirable that they should at all times be in a state of perfect efficiency and free to be detached with confidence upon emergency or upon any service for which they may be required. This, however, can hardly be expected under the existing circumstances of the Country, when the rate of wages, bothafloatManuscript image afloat and ashore, is so high, and appears so extremely disproportionate to the rate of Naval Pay; and when, as now, the most exciting reports are daily received from the Miners, and fortunate Miners are seen in the Streets with their glittering and seemingly easily acquired treasures.
3. The Crews of the Gun Boats are exposed to temptation more than theCrewManuscript image Crews of larger Vessels. The Gun Boats are permanently stationed here. Larger Vessels visit other parts of the Station, have fresh scenes before them, and are not constantly hearing the exciting and unsettling tales incident to a Gold Country. Larger Vessels have also Officers sufficient to supervise the Crew. The Gun Boats have but one Commissioned Officer, theOfficerManuscript image Officer in Command, so that the Crew must, to a certain extent, be more trusted, and less under surveillance.
4. Under these circumstances, and appreciating the value of the Gun Boats, and the expediency of keeping them thoroughly efficient, and considering their small cost in proportion to the services rendered, I cannot but recommend the applicationtoManuscript image to the favorable notice of Your Grace.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
We have no information as to terms offered to the Crews of the Gun boats, and I presume the present application for Colonial Pay should in the first instance be referred to the Admiralty?
VJ 26 Nov
Mr Fortescue
See minute within.
TFE 10 Decr
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Maitland to Douglas, 14 June 1861, forwarding two letters addressed to Captain J.W.S. Spencer of HMS Topaze by the officers commanding the gun boats.
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Lieutenant A.T.H. Helby, commander of HMS Grappler, to Spencer, 19 October 1860, applying for Colonial Pay for the crews of the gun boats, in fulfillment of expectations held out to them at the time of their recruitment, and for other reasons.
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Lieutenant Charles Robson, commander of HMS Forward to Spencer, 16 October 1860, applying for Colonial Pay for the crews of the gun boats, with arguments similar to Helby's.
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Douglas to Maitland, 24 June 1861, asking for his opinion as to the propriety or otherwise of the applications.
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Maitland to Douglas, 28 June 1861, stating that he felt the crews had a claim to the extra pay, and giving the amount of daily pay currently received for each vessel.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Fortescue
These extra allowances to our Army and Navy in different parts of the World, depending on no fixed rule either as to their amount or as to the places where they are to be given or withheld, constitute an anomaly of recent growth, and one which may sooner or later prove very inconvenient. You are familiar with the subject on account of your researches in the Committee of last Session. In India the Troops always had double pay. In the Colonies (except Ceylon so close as it is to India) neither Soldiers nor Sailors, so far as I am aware, had any extra pay until the Gold discoveries in Australia. Those created a demand which it was impossible to resist for additional allowances. They were not only just in themselves, but had they been refused, our forces might have melted away by desertion. Afterwards the Troops got extra pay at the Cape, and they haveitManuscript image it likewise in some of the other Colonies.
As to the Navy they receive extra allowances from Colonial sources in Australia, but I fear that we have no very clear account of their rate, and I cannot at present remember an instance of extra allowances to the Navy in other Colonies. In India I believe that they have Batta as the Army has, and possibly in China during the War. But on the subject of India I speak without accurate information.
If the Navy are to have extra allowances in any other Colonies besides Australia, I suppose that the gold-producing regions of British Columbia & Vancouver's Island would have the best claim to such an advantage, but you are aware that the public revenues of those Colonies are small; and on the other hand I should hardly think that Parliament could be asked to vote different rates of pay from England for the Queen's Forces afloat, being asthoseManuscript image those Forces are by their very nature erratic and liable to be constantly moved from one part of the world to another.
The more I think of it, the greater appear to me the general objections to establishing extra allowances to the Navy. The plea in the case of Soldiers was the extra expense of living in certain colonies. But in the case of Sailors, victuals, clothes, even luxuries, are carried about in the same ship with them, the first issuable as rations, the other saleable to them at a fixed price: they have nothing to do with their money on shore except to spend it, as unhappily the poor fellows do, in boundless riot and extravagance. Local dearness therefore does not affect Sailors as it does Soldiers.
I may also add that in an excellent report which I have seen of a Departmental Committee, it is shown that the high price of living in some Colonies compared with others has been greatly exaggerated.
TFE 10 Decr
Duke of Newcastle
The question must I think, be decided by the Admiralty. It must, however,Manuscript image be admitted that V. Id at this moment affords the strongest case, probably, that can be made out in any Colony for extra allowances—and if the Admiralty sh[ould] think that they are necessary, or tell us that the Gunboats cannot be kept at V. Id without them, I would give them, rather than deprive the two Colonies of the invaluable services of these little vessels.
CF 11
By all means give the pay rather than lose the boats, but in transmitting to the Admiralty I would suggest a doubt of its propriety.
N 12
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Secretary to the Admiralty, forwarding copies of the despatch and enclosures for consideration, and expressing views of the Colonial Office on the subject.