No. 84
Downing Street
31 December 1861
I have had before me, and have consulted the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty on the subject of your despatch No. 63 of the 17th of August forwarding an application for the grant of a rate ofColonialManuscript image Colonial pay to the Gunboats "Grappler" and "Forward" during the time they shall continue employed on the Coasts of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
I am very sensible of the value of the services of these Gunboats to the Colonies under your Government, and I should have been happy, if it had beeninManuscript image in my power consistently with general principles, to accede to the application which you have transmitted in their favour.
The Revenues however of Vancouver Island and British Columbia are not at present in a condition, as you have justly remarked, to furnish a colonial pay to the Officers and Crews of theseVesselsManuscript image Vessels, even if the measure were approved.
In the next place I am sorry to say that it is open to serious objections of principle. When Gold was first found in Australia and an enormous rise of prices took place under the excitement of such a discovery, extra allowances were granted to the forcesthereManuscript image there. But affairs have since found their level in that part of the world, and the Australian Colonies are no longer by any means the most expensive in the Empire. At the same time the inconveniences attending extra rates of pay have been found so great, and to give rise to such invidious distinctions between the Queens forces employed at different Stations,thatManuscript image that measures are in progress for gradually reducing those special rates of pay so far as regards the troops. And if they are anomalous as concerns the forces serving ashore, they must be still more so in respect of forces serving afloat, which by their very nature are constantly liable to be moved from placetoManuscript image to place, and which also carry about with them in their own Vessels their principal Articles of Consumption. Adverting to these considerations, it would be impossible to place on the Naval Estimates an exceptional rate of pay for the Crews of Vessels employed at particular places, and I can only express my regret that there arenoManuscript image no means of granting with propriety the advantages which are sought for the Officers and Crews of the present Gunboats, of which as I have already said I fully appreciate the useful services.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
Humble Servant