Paulet to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
6 February 1861
I have laid before the Secretary of State for War your letter of the 2nd instant together with its enclosure from the Foreign Office in reference to the question of sending a Battalion of Infantry from China to Vancouvers Island, to protect our interests there and in the neighboring Colony of BritishColumbiaManuscript image Columbia.
In reply I am to request that you will acquaint the Duke of Newcastle that Lord Herbert will raise no further objection to this measure, and he has consequently requested His Royal Highness the General Commanding in Chief to give directions for having the first available Regiment despatched from China toVancouversManuscript image Vancouvers Island.
I am to add that, in accordance with the suggestion contained in your letter of the 4th January, steps will be taken for bringing away the Royal Engineers at present serving in British Columbia under the command of Colonel Moody; but that prior to their withdrawal they will have to be employed in the constructionofManuscript image of wooden Barracks or Huts for the accommodation of the Regiment of the Line.
Colonel Moody will be instructed to consult with the Governor as to the site to be selected for the erection of the Barracks.
I have etc.
F. Paulet
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Communications will have to be addressed on this subject to the Governor—the Admiralty, & the For: Office. The withdrawal of the Engineers if it takes place this year will lead to a considerable reduction in the Estimate for the service of B. Columbia & the Extinction of the item in the Estimate of the ensuing year. Some oppy should be taken for impressing upon the Governor the necessity he is under of finding the means of repaying this country the advances made by it for these Engineers.
ABd 7/2
See minute annexed.
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We must take care that nobody is misled on this subject. The announcement looks very decisive, but in point of fact may probably make no change for a long time to come.
The War Office have merely requested the Commander in Chief to send the first Regiment which becomes available in China to Vancouvers Island: they have already told us in another letter that this may very likely not happen for a year. On the other hand that delay is the less to be regretted if a previous construction of barracks is necessary, and if the Engineers can be usefully employed in that work.
But then the Admiralty's difficulty is left just where it was before. They have a party of some hundred marines on shore at San Juan, who by the rules of the service are entitled to come home. They had been previously serving in China, and it is a hardship and a sore trial to the fidelity of men, to detain them indefinitely on duties for which they did not enlist. On the other hand the Engineers are to have their own employment in building Barracks, and if these Marines come away without any substitute, we give up the joint occupation of San Juan and leave the AmericansthereManuscript image there alone. This is a difficulty which I am bound to point out: I have not the means myself of suggesting the proper solution, which perhaps could best be found by consultation amongst the high Military Authorities who meet from time to time on questions of defence and distribution of the forces.
TFE 7 Feby
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Duke of Newcastle
It ought I sh. think to be ascertained from the War Office how soon they can reckon upon despatching a Regt from China to V.Id and from the Admiralty whether they will consent to leave the Marines at San Juan until the Regt arrives. If the delay expected proves to be too long to induce the Admiralty to leave the Marines, it will become necessary to send Troops from some other quarter.
CF 8
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Fresh difficulties have arisen in the way of complying with the desire of the F.O. that a Regt should be sent to V.Id—raised by the Horse Guards—and it is quite possible that it may not be sent after all.
Nothing must be done on this therefore till we hear again from the W.O.
In any case S. Juan must not be left without our quota to the joint occupation.
N 10