Murdoch to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
29 March 1862
I have to acknowledge your letter of 21st inst, enclosing a Despatch from Governor Douglas on the subject of the erection of Barracks in Vancouvers Island. The Duke of Newcastle desires to be informed whether the sites pointed out by Governor Douglas and Colonel Moody as most suitable fall within the Lands recovered to the Crown under the recent Agreement with the Hudsons Bay Co.
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2. Without a more precise specification than is given in Govr Douglas' despatch and Coll Moody's letter of the sites in question it is not possible to speak confidently on this point. But I should have little doubt that the Crown now possesses Land enough in the situation indicated by Coll Moody for the erection of Barracks. The situation which he points out is Beacon Hill, and on the Chart furnished to us by Mr Dallas, containing we believe all sales up to a recent date, the Land in the neighbourhood of Beacon HillManuscript image appears to be still undisposed of—Beacon Hill itself is in the Public Park reserved by the Hudsons Bay Company when they marked out the Land which they originally prepared for public sale & which they claimed as their private property.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient
Humble Servant
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
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ABd 2 April
Mr Fortescue
Attached to this you will find an extremely clear and concise statement of the case by Mr Ebden. I think that with reference to the Governor's despatch No 2, we should inform him that the project of sending a Regiment to Vancouver's Island has for the present been dropped, but that there can be no doubt that it is proper to reserve a fit site for the future erection of Barracks for any of H.M's Troops who may be stationed in the Colony, and that adverting to the large extent of the lands recovered to the Crown under the recent agreement with the Hudson's Bay Company, the Duke of Newcastle confidently expects that the Governor will be able, with Coll Moody's assistance, to select a fitting spot for the purpose on ground belonging to the Govt. It would be highly unbecoming, I should add, that in a Colony which has been so recently formed, and which owes so much to the protection afforded by the Mother Country, there should be a question of the necessity of buying the land required to provide accommodation for the Queen's Troops.
TFE 8 April
I agree.
CF 9
N 11
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Mr Elliot
The idea of building barracks on Vancouver I[sland] originated in a letter from the WO relative to transferring to the Island a Regiment from China.
The WO subsequently forwarded a letter from Colonel Moody on the supposed necessity for losing no time in purchasing a site. The reply was that such necessity depended on the question whether the proper site should prove to be within the H.B.C. Reserve or without it and a copy of the correspondence was sent to the Governor for his Report.
The Governor reported that the site considered most suitable would most likely have to be purchased from the H.B.C. The question then aroseManuscript image how far this supposed necessity might be affected by the recent agreement between the Company and the Crown of which Mr Douglas was not in possession when he wrote his Report.
On this question the Land Board has reported.
In the meantime however the Military authorities expressed disinclination to sending a Regiment to Vancouver I[sland] whether from China or elsewhere on the general principle that the force would be isolated and beyond the reach of support. Earl Russell who had been chiefly anxious for the measure concurred in the objection and agreed to let the matter drop for the present. There is therefore no immediate need for barracks, but, as theManuscript image question of sending a Rgt. to Vancouver I[sland] may be revived by the F.O., it may not be inexpedient to reserve a site if possible.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 95, 30 April 1862, advising him that although plans to send a regiment to the colony have been cancelled, it would be expedient for Douglas to reserve an appropriate spot for the construction of a barracks on Crown land.