Romaine to Under-Secretary of State
December 18th 1866
With reference to My Letter of the 16th October enclosing a Copy of a Letter from Rear Admiral The Hon. J. Denman dated the 26th August 1866, recommending The Colonization and Defence of Vancouver Island, I am Commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to transmit herewith for the Information of the Earl of CarnarvonanManuscript image an extract from a further Letter of Adml Denman's dated the 22nd Octr No. 145 relative to the State of Affairs in That Colony.
I am
Your obedient Servant
W.G. Romaine
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
The former papers on this subject are in circulation with a War Office letter dated 21 Novr on the general question of the defence of the Colony.
VJ 19 Decr
FR 19/12
The Papers passed me Oct 31st. I do not think Engd should make Docks or Forts on V.C.I. We could never put the English Fleet there on a par with the U.S. in San Francisco. The Colny when rich enough if desirous may make a Recg Dock for our Ships.
CBA 20/12
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These past papers sd be found at once and annexed to this letter. I have—with the exception of two or three particular subjects on wh I am engaged—only the day's work with me.
C 22 Dec
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1. I think myself that the objections to an expenditure of £80,000 or £100,000 by this country on a dock at Esquimalt are greater than the advantages that wd result from it. Commercially it wd not enable us to compete with American trade—in time of war it is doubtful whether it wd not at once fall into the hands of the U.S. But bearing this conclusion in view & expressing no opinion in favour of commencing at imperial cost the work I think that all that part of Mr Blackwoods min. wh sets out the case mt with gt advantage be embodied in a dft to the Admiralty in pursuance of the previous correspondence. 2. I agree as to the dft to the Treasury. But I sd wish to see both. 3. It may I think be well to wait for another month before making these comns. It is probable that we shall hear from Mr Seymour on one if not both these subjects shortly & the despatches may contain some local information.
C 19 Jany
Dock & Packet Station at Esquimalt
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Mr Blackwood
See Lord Carnarvon's Minute of 19th of Jany. No Report has been received from Mr Seymour on either of these questions. Should the proposed communications to the Treasury and Admiralty now be made?
VJ 20 Feby
I should wait another month. Mr Seymour will have had his hands full on his assumption of his Govt of the combined Colonies, & if he shd write to Lord Carnarvon on these subjects, which is no more than probable, we may be supplied withManuscript image more materials for strengthening our Application to the Treasury.
ABd 20 Feb
Mr Blackwood
Another Month has elapsed, and no Report from the Govr has arrived. Perhaps the Papers had better be circulated again.
VJ 23 March
Mr Elliot
I confess that I incline to more procrastination. Events march apace on the Continent in the Neighbourhood of our little possessions in the N. Pacific, & no man can predicate the certainty that they shall long be British Territory & justify the expendre upon them of English money.
ABd 2 April
Mr Adderley
If I may expressManuscript image my humble opinion, I own that I have the strongest possible impression against the wisdom of spending money on Docks and Forts at Vancouver Island, the very most distant spot on the Globe for practical purposes from Great Britain. But having submitted what I can say on the point in the annexed minute of 28 Decr last, I will add no more here.
TFE 2 April
Duke of Buckingham
The House of Commons would wisely & peremptorily refuse. The defence of VCI is simply impossible—except from raids. The only possible [lruncy?] having all his means at hand would fire shillings at our guineas. Our only prospect would [be so to fight?] elsewhere as to secure our possessions at the end of the war.
CBA 2/4
Defer till another mail has been received from Vancouver so that it may be seen whether the Govr makes any report or suggestion.
B&C 3/4
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Extract, Denman to Admiralty, 22 October 1866, urging consideration of the measures suggested in his previous letter in favour of promoting the colonization and defence of Vancouver Island.