Queensland's Founding Documents


Pages That Mention Fortescue

Letterbook of despatches to the Secretary of State for the Colonies 1859-1861 Vol 1 (ITM17670)




I hope that the War Office will soon be in a position to propose to my Government the conditions of service as referred to above. I would suggest that the regulations under which Pensioners were settled some years ago in New Zealand, might be taken, to some extent, as a model.

5. While anxious to facilitate the settlement, on a part of the public lands of this Colony, of retired soldiers and sailors of good character, the Government of Queensland adhere, (with my entire approval) to the decision reported in my despatch No 30 of the 4th April ult., and decline to sanction "the formation, for service in this Colony, of a permanent local Corps, after the model of the West Indian Regiments, and other Colonial Corps."

6. It is with great satisfaction that I now find, from Mr. Chichester Fortescue's recent speech on Colonial defences, and from Mr. Sidney Herbert's speech in the House of Commons on the 29th June ult., that this decision of my Government, and the reasons on which it is founded (as fully explained in the Minute of Council enclosed in my despatch No 30,) only anticipated the views of Your Grace, and of the Secretary of State for War.


Mr. Herbert also quoted a singularly opposite opinion on this point of the late Duke of Wellington; who when asked, in his examination, in 1828, before a Parliamentary Committee, "Would be reduced if our Colonies, instead of having King's troops sent out to them, were to have local corps consisting of Europeans?" replied as follows:-

"I must say that I would earnestly recommend that such a system (viz, the retention of troops in the Colonies for the purposes of police Colonial troops, and their being recruited with men in the same manner as the East India Company's Regiments, so as to avoid the expense and inconvenience of reliefs,) should never be adopted in this Country. The difference in the State of the King's troops in the East Indies from that in which the East India Company's European Infantry is known to be, is conclusive against it in my opinion, but I would also refer to the Colonial African Corps. The British Army cannot be made a Colonial Corps without destroying its character and strength. Would it not be a most disgraceful and terrible mode of losing the possession of any part of his Majesty's dominions, by means of a meeting of the Officers of a

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a local or a colonial army employed to garrison it? "(Such was the meeting of the former New South Wales Regiment in 1808)." Yet that is what we must look to if the army is to be employed as mere Colonial troops, and never to quit the Colonies from the day they enter the Service. I should therefore entreat the Committee to lay that plan aside altogether."

7. After some remarks as to the inferiority of the Officers in Colonial Corps to those in the Regiments of the Line, the Duke of Wellington concluded in these words:- "I should say that I am quite sure that the putting the British army on the footing of a Colonial Corps would be very injurious."

8. I have ventured to revert at some length to this important subject, because I have observed with regret that the formation of local corps for service in the Australian Colonies, in the place of Regiments of the Line, has been recommended in certain quarters. It is, nevertheless, certain that the adoption of such an arrangement would be highly impolitic; and calculated eventually to impair, by its results, the happy relations now Existing between the Colonist and the United Kingdom.


See: Sir G. Bowen's despatch No 30 of 4th April, 1860

His Grace The Duke of Newcastle &c &c &c


9. The great majority of men of sound judgement in Australia are convinced that the true principal of Colonial defence are those laid down by Mr. Fortescue, on the occasion referred to above. It will be seen, by turning to the Minute already transmitted, that those principles are strongly advocates by the Executive Council of this Colony. We wish to have in Queensland a detachment of troops of the Line periodically relieved, and provided with Colonial Allowances, quarters &c. at the expense of the local Government, in accordance with the rules sanctioned by successive Secretaries of State. The presence of this detachment would foster what may be called the Imperial feeling, and it would be at the same time, a nucleus for our Volunteer Riflemen, and for the Reserve which might be formed, in case of need, from the retired Officers and men of the Queen's Regular Forces, whom it is proposed to settle on the public lands, in pursuance of the provisions of the enclosed Act.

I have &c. Signed / G.F. Bowen

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the experiment of a Squadron, equipped and armed by the local Colonial Government, - such as would now appear to be suggested for Australia by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, - was formerly tried in the Ionian Islands; but that it was soon given up, the few remaining vessels of the Ionian Flotilla now serving chiefly as Yachts for the Lord High Commissioner for the time being.

6. I admit that the establishment of local forces both by land and sea in the different Colonies, would be a personal convenience to the Governors, under whose control they would practically fall. Colonial Ships of War would be useful in conveying Her Majesty's Representatives on tours of business or pleasure to different parts of the territories under their jurisdiction; while Colonial Regiments would supply an abundance of men for Escorts, Guards of Honor, Orderlies, and even (in some cases) domestic Servants. But the personal convenience of individuals should not weigh in the scale for one moment against the grave reasons of public policy, which demand that the defence of the Empire should be mainly entrusted to Imperial


Imperial forces; - to the maintenance of which, however, the United Kingdom and the several Colonies should contribute in equitable proportions.

7. There can, I think, be little doubt that (as my Executive Council observe in the 7th paragraph of the enclosed Minute,) "the true principles "of the general defence of the "Empire, whether by land or "sea, are those which were "laid down by Lord Grey in his "despatch to the Governor of "New South Wales of 21st November "1848, and more recently, during "the session of 1860 by Mr. Sidney Herbert, in his Speech on the "abolition of the local European "Forces in India, - by Mr. Chechester Fortescue in his speech "on Colonial Defence, - and in "the Memorandum of Mr. T. F. Elliot "(Assistant Under-Secretary of "State at the Colonial Office,) "dated 28th January, 1860, and "comprised in the Parliamentary "Paper on the defence of the "Colonies, ordered by the House "of Commons to be printed on "4th May, 1860."

8. I would further solicit Your Grace's particular attention to the important facts stated in the 9th paragraph of the enclosed Minute. Including the heavy cost of the Native Police Corps, maintained entirely

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entirely at the expense of the Colonial Government for the protection of the Border settlers from the hostility of the Aborigines, - the inland boundary of Queensland being also (as the Council remark,) the boundary of the Empire, - it appears that the people of this Colony are now paying annually, for protection alone, about six shillings per head more than what is paid by the people of Great Britain and Ireland for the same object, including the Army, the Navy, and the Police of the three Kingdoms. "Moreover," (to quote the words of the Minute,) "the Government of "Queensland has already officially "intimated its readiness to "defray one half of the expense "of the proposed nautical survey "by the Admiralty of this part "of Australia, and to contribute "its fair proportion (on the "same scale as that now in "force in New South Wales,) "of the cost of any detachment "of the Imperial Army, or of "any vessels of the Imperial "Navy, which may be employed, "on its application, for its "special assistance and defence."

9. With reference to the 10th paragraph of the enclosure, and to my despatch on the same subject, No 84 of 6th October ult., I


I am requested by my Government to remove a misapprehension which would appear, from Mr. Murdock's letter of 31st July, ult., (enclosed in Mr. Fortescue's Despatch of 12th September ult.,) to have taken place respecting the conditions of the Grants of land, offered by the Queensland Legislature to retired Officers and men of Her Majesty's Army and Navy. The facts of the case are clearly stated by the Council.

10. With regard to the retired sailors of Her Majesty's Navy who may take advantage of the privileges offered to them in Queensland, I would make a practical suggestion identical with an opinion expressed in the letter from the Secretary of the Admiralty to the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies dated 24th Jany. 1837. These men would be called upon to serve only in case of war; when they might man coast batteries, and also the river Steamers, Surveying Ships and other vessels, which would then be placed at the disposal of the Naval Officer Commanding on the Station. In time of peace, they would pursue their ordinary avocations, under the general supervision of Lieut. G. Heath R.N., employed by this Colony as Marine Surveyor, and who might organise them on a principle

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406 His Grace The Duke of Newcastle &c. &c. &c.

principle akin to that adopted for the naval court volunteers in England.

I have &c. Signed/ G.F. Bowen

No. 3 His Grace The Duke of Newcastle &c. &c. &c.

Government House. Brisbane, Queensland. 11th January, 1861.

My Lord Duke,

With reference to Mr. Fortescue's despatch No. 35 of 12th October, ult., enquiring the present address of Mr. Beveridge late mate of the "Sapphire", I have the hour to state that I am informed by Sir William Denison that he is now living at Sydney.

2. The proposed present of a Telescope to Mr. Beveridge, in token of the sense entertained by Her Majesty's Government of the skill and courage displayed by him in navigating to Port Curtis in this Colony, the disabled and abandoned hull of the "Marina", (as reported in my despatch W29 of 4th April 1860, will have an excellent effect in Australia, where that gallant feat of penmanship produced a considerable sensation. No mark of Imperial sympathy with these Colonies and their inhabitants is thrown away here.

I have &c Signed/ G.F. Bowen

No. 4. Government House Brisbane, Queensland 12th January, 1861.

My Lord Duke, At the request of my Exective Council, I beg to submit to Your Grace that it would be well that a portrait of the Queen should be presented to Queensland, as lately to Victoria, - to the Colony on which Her Majesty has conferred her Royal title, as well as to the Colony designated by Her name.

2. Such a mark of the favour and sympathy of their Sovereign would be gratefully appreciated by the Parliament and people of Queensland, and is well deserved by the loyalty and patriotism, of which they have already given us no trifling proofs.

3. It will be within Your Graces recollection that this great Colony, - alone among the Australasian Colonies, - alone (I believe,) among all the dependencies of the British Crown - has bee founded and organized

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