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RETURN To an Address of the Legislative Assembly for copies of all correspondence between the Government… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1878

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 41 Vic. Correspondence—Graving Dock. 549
EETUEN
To an Address of the Legislative Assembly for copies of all correspondence between
the Government and the Contractors, or their Agent, or the Engineers-in-
Chief, or the Eesident Engineer, in reference to the Dock at Esquimalt, since
4th March, 1877.
By Command.
P. Geo. Vernon,
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Lands and Works Office,
18th March, 1878.
[Telegram.]
Quebec, Canada, March 10th, 1877.
To Vernon, Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Have Dock plans; do you wish me to visit Victoria this Spring ?   If not will send
plans.
» (Signed) Morris.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 13th March, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you that I have received a telegraphic communication from Mr. Morris, stating that the Dock plans are completed, and enquiring whether
I wish him to visit Victoria this Spring. I myself see no immediate necessity for his
presence here, but should be glad to have your opinion upon the matter at your earliest
convenience.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. C, 13th March, 1877.
Sir,—1 beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of even date, and in
reply thereto beg to inform you that I quite agree with you that there is at present no
necessity that Mr. Morris should visit this Province in respect to Dock matters.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
London, 13th February, 1877.
Sir,—"We have this day received, from Colonel Pasley, the contract plans of the
Esquimalt Dock (No. 11 in all), duly signed, which, with the printed specifications,
conditions, bills of quantities, our Mr. Morris will take With him to Quebec on the 15th
instant, and forward them on from there should you not require his presence in Victoria
this year, but should you wish him to visit the works this spring he will bring them
with him.
38 550 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
With reference to the wrought iron caisson we shall be glad to receive your instructions for getting in tenders at once for this portion of the work, in order that the caisson
may be ready for shipment by the end of the year, for we believe by the time it could
arrive out, about say midsummer, 1878, and allowing six months for erection, testing,
and fitting, it would be the early part of 1879 before it could be finally completed for
placing in its berth, when the main dock works should by this time be so far advanced
as to enable the caisson to be tested prior to the removal of the cofferdam.
We presume you would, as regards payment for the work, make similar arrangements through the Bank of British Columbia, as in the case of the pumping machinery.
Before this reaches you our Mr. Morris will no doubt have telegraphed you from
Quebec.
We have, etc.,
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris.
P.S.—We enclose herewith copy of letter from Col. Pasley approving of the plans.
Colonel Pasley to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Admiralty, Spring Garden Terrace, S. W.,
14th February, 1877.
Gentlemen,—In reply to your letter of yesterday's date, I beg to inform j^ou that I
have examined the contract drawing of the Esquimalt Graving Dock which you transmitted to me, which I find quite satisfactory.
I now return the drawings (eleven in number) with my signature to each.
1 am, etc.,
(Signed) C. Pasley.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, B. C, 2nd May, 1877.
Gentlemen,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the
28th February last, requesting instructions to call for tenders for the construction of an
iron caisson, for the above named work. As I deem it very necessary to avoid delay in
the advancement of the main work, I shall feel obliged if you will make arrangements
at once on terms (with respect to payment) similar to those made for the pumping
machinery.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
[Telegram.]
To Vernon, Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Portion of Dock plans sent yesterday and remainder to-day.
Ottawa, Ontario, March 16th, 1877.
(Signed) Morris.
Quebec.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 21st March, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to enclose herewith a set of tracings of pumping machinery
for Graving Dock, eight in number.
1 have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon. 41 Vic. Correspondence—Graving Dock. 551
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. C, 21st March, 1877.
Sir,—1 beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of even date, with
one set of tracings of pumping machinery for Graving Dock enclosed.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
London, 28th February, 1877.
Sir,—We have the honour to inform you that by " Globe Parcels Express " we forwarded from Glasgow yesterday a box containing twenty complete printed copies of
the specifications, conditions, form of tender, quantities, and bond, for the main works
in connection with the above dock.
Our Mr. Morris, now in Quebec, has the contract drawings and also the two completed copies of the same with him, which he will forward to Victoria on hearing from
you.
We have, etc.,
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris.
[Telegram.]
British Columbia, April 20th, 1877.
Kinipple, Greenock.
Plans arrived; specifications not arrived.    Send duplicates per Wells, Fargo.
(Signed) Vernon.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, B. O, 2nd May, 1877.
Gentlemen,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated
28th February, informing me that you had forwarded per " Globe Parcels Express " a
box containing printed copies of the specifications, forms of tender, bond, &c, in connection with the above dock, and that Mr. Morris, then in Quebec, had the contract
drawings which he would forward on hearing from me. These drawings have arrived
safely, but no tidings of the box have been received up to date. On the 20th ultimo a
telegram was despatched requesting that you would send, through Wells Fargo & Co.,
duplicate copies of the papers contained in said box, and I presume they will be forwarded in due course.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Harbour Office, Quebec, April 11th, 1877.
Dear Sir,—We are glad to hear that the sets of plans of the Dock have arrived all
safe at Victoria, and hope they meet with approval.
We shall feel obliged if you will be good enough to forward to us the amount of our
charge for the said plans, in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
We have, etc.
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris 552 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
3, Westminster Chambers,
London, 3rd May, 1877.
Sir,—We have the honour to inform you that on the 21st April we received your
telegram:—"Plansarrived: specifications not arrived. Send duplicate per Wells, Fargo,"
the last two words of which we cannot understand.
We have made enquiries of the Globe Parcel Express, Messrs. John Hinshel-
wood & Co., of 17 Renfieid Street, Glasgow, through whom we forwarded the box of
specifications, and addressed to you, on the 26th February last, and we are informed that
the box arrived safely at New York about the 20th March last.
We are assured that although some delay has occurred, there is little doubt that it
will arrive safely.
To-day we forwarded, by post, a copy of the specifications to Mr. Bennett; which
copy we have instructed him to hand to you in the event of the others not arriving.
We have, etc.,
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and, Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, July 10th, 1877.
Gentlemen,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3rd May last,
in which you note the receipt of the following telegram:—"Plans arrived; specifications
not arrived. Send duplicate per Wells, Fargo," and state that you do not understand
the last two words of the message; also that you had made inquiries of the Globe Parcel
Express, and were of opinion that the box containing the specifications for the main
Dock works at Esquimalt would arrive in due course.
In reply, I have the honour to inform you that Wells, Fargo & Co., are American
express carriers, and have agents in London, Victoria,'&c, &c.
No agents for the Globe Parcel Express Co., could be found-jhere, and I requested
Wells, Fargo's agents here to endeavour to trace the missing box in San Francisco. In
a letter (copy enclosed) they are of opinion that the box was lost on the " S. S. City of
San Francisco," which foundered at sea on a voyage from Panama to San Francisco, in
the middle of last May.
As nothing has since been heard of the parcel, in all probability their judgment is
correct. Two parcels have arrived per book post, each containing four copies of the said
specifications.
I have, etc,,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's OffIce,
Esquimalt, 28th May, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you that the repairs to the boiler damaged on
board the " Mountain Laurel " have, as far as the iron work is concerned, been executed
by Messrs. Shaw & Kuna of Victoria, to my satisfaction. I have suggested that the
fire-clay bulkhead in the boiler should not be replaced until the boiler has been removed
to the store shed; this is to avoid cracking the joint in transit.
I think it right also to mention that I see no chance of the cofferdam being completed by the 31st of July, and would recommend that you strongly urge on the contractors the urgent necessity of pushing forward the work as rapidly as possible, so
that full advantage may be taken of the low tides, which seem to occur only in the
summer and autumn months.
The dredging machine which was damaged on the 16th ultimo has boen repaired
and will be at work again to-morrow.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett. 41 Vic. Correspondence—Graving Dock. 55&
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 29th May, 1877.
Sin,—-I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the
28th instant, informing me that the repairs to the boiler'damaged on board the "Mountain Laurel" have been executed to your satisfaction, and suggesting that the fire-clay
bulkhead in the boiler should not be replaced until the boiler has been removed to the
store shed, in which suggestion I entirely concur.
I beg to enclose a copy of a communication addressed to the contractors for the
cofferdam, Messrs. Reed Bros., of London.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 29th May 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to acquaint you that I have been informed by the Engineer
acting for the Government for the construction of a Graving Dock at Esquimalt, that
the contract for the cofferdam is not being carried out with the energy necessary to
derive full advantage from the favourable state of the tides at the present time, and to
urge upon you the necessity of pushing forward the work as rapidly as possible.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
Messrs. Kinipple and Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
London, May 31st, 1877.
Sir,—Wc have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 2nd
May, requesting us to call for tenders for the construction of the iron caisson for the
dock, and in reply, we beg to say that this matter shall have our immediate attention.
We also notice your instructions as to arranging the terms of payment and entering
into a contract in a similar manner as for the pumping machinery.
We have, etc.,
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
3,  Westminster Chambers,
London, May 31st, 1877.
Sir,—On the other side wo have the honour to hand you copy of letter received
from Messrs. J. Watt & Co., in reference to the question of the fifth instalment which
they claim is now due to them in accordance with the terms of their contract. Their
statement appears to be correct, but we have declined in the meantime to grant any
further certificate until we hear from you.
Duplicates of the portion of the machinery damaged will be ready for shipment on
tho 6th June. The Messrs. Anderson, Anderson & Co., have given us the name of parties,
Messrs. Fletcher & Co., of Liverpool, who are loading a ship for Victoria, and we have
written them as to sending these articles by that vessel. We will pay the necessary
expenses in connection with the forwarding of these articles, and will send you the
account for re-payment.
We have approved of a first-class man to erect the pumping machinery, and will be
glad to know when he is to bo sent out; also your idea as to what arrangement should
be made in respect to wages, expenses out and home, and standing salary if continued
after the contract is completed, as permanent engineer in charge of the Dock works.
Will you be good enough to authorise us to make the best terms we can with Mr.
Whitehead, who has been employed by Messrs. Watt & Co. at their works, and kept in
readiness to proceed to Victoria to fit up and take charge of the pumping machinery
when required.
We have, etc.
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris. 554 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
[Enclosure..]
90, Leadenhall Street,
London, May 30th, 1877.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris, 3, Westminster Chambers.
Dear Sirs,—With reference to our contract for the supply of the machinery for this
Graving Dock, and to the fact that the-certificate for the 4th instalment, which was given
to us when the engines and machinery were ready for shipment, was dated on the 31st
of last May. We feel that under the contract we are now entitled to the receipt of the
5th instalment, amounting to £630. The machinery was all ready for delivery and
shipment at the end of May, 1876, but was retained for the convenience of the agent for
his other shipping arrangements until July 1876; this, however, was for the agent's
convenience, as before stated, and not on our account. We shall be glad if you will
communicate with the Government at Victoria, stating that the 5th instalment is now
payable to us, and requesting that they will be good enough, upon the receipt of your
letter, to telegraph an authority' to London for its payment.
We iegret that so much delay should have occurred in proceeding with this Dock,
and we fear it will still be a longtime before this machinery" can be erected and set
regularly to work, for the purposes to which they were intended.
Yours, etc.,
(Signed) James Watt & Co.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
London, May 31st, 1877.
Sir,—We have the honour to enclose herewith the receipt for law charges in connection with the preparation of agreement between ourselves and Messrs. J. Watt & Co.,
and also between the Government and Messrs. Reed Bros.
We have, etc.,
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris,
June 7th, 1877.
[Telegram.]
Kinipple, Greenock, Scotland.
Specifications not arrived.   Send all can spare by post.
(Signed) Vernon.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. C, 22nd June, 1877.
g1E;—With reference to tho missing box containing specifications for Graving Dock,
forwarded to you from Glasgow on February 27th, I would respectfully suggest, as there
is every probability of this box having been lost by the foundering of the S. S. City of
San Francisco, that the Government should re-print the specifications from a copy which
I received by post from Messrs, Kinipple & Morris a few days since.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
[Telegram.]
To Kinipple, Greenock, Scotland.
June 24th, 1877.
Telegraph lowest tender for caisson, and await reply before awarding contract.
(Signed) Vernon. •41 Vic. Correspondence -Graving Dock 555
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. O, 26th June, 1877.
Sir,—I received a communication from Messrs. Kinipple & Morris by yesterday's
mail to the effect that, if the missing specifications had not arrived, it would be advisable
to have them re-printed in Victoria, as in so doing considerable time would be saved.
The above will strengthen the suggestion in my letter to you of the 22nd instant.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 27th June, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the
22nd and 26th instant, and in reply have to inform you that immediately upon the
receipt uf your letter of the 22nd instant, the necessary steps were taken to have the
specifications re-printed from the copy forwarded by you, in order that as little delay
as possible should occur to place the Government of this Province in a position to invite
tenders for the construction of the Graving Dock at Esquimalt.
I have etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 27th June, 1877.
Gentlemen,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication
of the 31st May, enclosing receipt for law charges and having reference, amongst other
matters, to the payment of the fifth instalment of the pumping machinery to Messrs.
Watt & Co. of London.
I have, in reply, to request that you will issue the fifth certificate of ten per cent,
on the contract price, amounting to six hundred and thirtyT pounds sterling, to Messrs.
Watt & Co., on account of the pmnrping machinery furnished by that firm to this Government, in accordance with the terms of the contract entered into with them.
With reference to the subject of the engagement by you of a first-class man to
superintend the erection of the machinery referred to, the necessary information will
be forwarded to you at a later date.
With respect to the subject of the caisson, I have to mention that on the 24th inst.
the following telegram was dispatched to you:—" Telegraph lowest tender for caisson
and await reply before awarding contract,"
Your remarks bearing on the subject of the reshipment of the duplicates of the
machinery damaged, are noted with satisfaction, and I may mention that as the specifications for the construction of the Graving Dock, forwarded by you some months ago
to this Department, have not arrived, it has been deemed expedient to have the copy
sent to the Resident Engineer, reprinted here, twelve copies of which (or more if necessary) will be remitted to you.
I have, etc.,
(Sigued) F. Geo. Vernon.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
London, 5th July, 1877.
Dear Sir,—We should be much obliged if you will kindly remit to us the amount
due for the preparation of the contract drawings, specifications, and quantities of the
above dock. 556 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
We would respectfully draw your attention to the circumstance that we have had
very heavy outlays in regard to this work, and up to the present time have received no
payment beyTond the fee for reporting on site, since we were appointed Engineers, which
by tho time this letter arrives will be nearly7 three years.
We were desirous not to press forward the completion of the plans, &c, until we
thought the time had arrived for their being wanted, and in this way the Government
have the benefit of the interest saved on the amount due and extending over a period of
more than two years.
We have, etc.,
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 11th July, 1877.
Gentlemen,—I beg to inform you that since writing my letter of yesterday's date
the box of specifications was discovered in a bonded warehouse in Victoria, The box
arrived on the 23rd May last per steamship " City of Panama," and from that date until
yesterday the warehousemen took no steps to advise the Department of its arrival,
notwithstanding repeated enquiries on my part.
As the Government printers have nearly completed fifty more copies, per this mail
I have sent to your address in London, eight copies of the specifications by parcel post.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Lands and Works Department.
Victoria, 12th July, 1877.
Gentlemen,—I beg to 'enclose a form of notice calling for tenders for the Main
Dock Works at Esquimalt, which you will please to cause to be inserted in such English
newspapers as you may deem advisable on the receipt of a telegram from this Department to that effect; the dates will also be set forth in the message.
This course has been adopted so as to enable the Government to call for tenders
for the said work simultaneously in England and British Columbia, when they are prepared to undertake the work.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 12th July, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the
7th instant, enclosing a statement of work executed upon the Esquimalt Cofferdam
from 31st December, 1876, to 30th June, 1877, a period of six months.
In reply, I beg to call your attention to the representations forwarded to this office
by you in your letter of 25th January, 1877, in which you remark that " nevertheless if
the time limit for completion is extended to the end of July proximo, 1 have little doubt
of my being able to complete the work satisfactorily at that date, and as the interests
of my principals demand, I shall use every endeavour to accomplish this end sooner if
possible."
In a letter dated 29th MayT, 1877, your attention was directed to the unsatisfactory
progress made towards the construction of the cofferdam at Esquimalt, as represented
to mo by the Engineer acting for the Government, and I now have to express my surprise that, notwithstanding the indulgence of the Government in having acceded to
your request for an extension of the time limit in consideration of your statement that
every exertion would be used by you to complete the work sooner than the 31st July, 41 Vic. Correspondence—Graving Dock. 557
as the interests of your principals demanded, I learn that such trivial progress has
been made during the past six months, covering the most favourable portion of the
year, as only to enable the Resident Engineer to issue a certificate for the sum of One
thousand six hundred and ninety-six dollars, forty-eight cents. In clause 68 of the specifications you will observe that no certificate will be granted for a less sum than Two
thousand five hundred dollars, unless, as stated in clause 70. other advances of money
may be agreed upon between the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and the
contractor.
As no agreement of this nature has taken place, I must decline to entertain any
certificate unless at least of the amount above stated, viz: $2,500. No further advances
on account of material will be made.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
Mr. Dawson to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Esquimalt, July 16th, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th
instant.
In reply, I beg to inform you that I have used every endeavour to bring about the
result I anticipated when I applied for an extension of the time limit for the completion
of the Cofferdam on the 24th January last.
Various circumstances, however, have combined to prevent the works from progressing as rapidly as I then hoped.
The importance of the dredging operations have been very greatly underrated, both
as regards the quality and quantity of the material to be removed, and the difficulties to
be overcome, as also the time required for the execution of the work and its cost.
In the first place the construction of the dredging machine occupied a much longer
time than was expected; a great deal of contrivance was necessary to make it suitable
to the purpose. The exceptional manner in which the dredger would have to operate,
rendered the use of any of the known and tried dredging machines impossible.
During the time the dredger was under construction, the builders had several large
jobs on hand; I did not cease to urge on the work as fast as possible, but its completion
was nevertheless greatly retarded.
Very great difficulty was experienced when the dredger was finished in getting it
piroperly slung, and in finding means to enable the steam engine to work it. Properly
two separate engines were required, but neither was the staging strong enough nor the
travelling platform suitable to bear the extra weight.
After much trouble, however, and at great expense, the various difficulties were
overcome and the dredging was commenced and pushed forward rapidly. But it at once
became evident that the material to be dredged out was very different from what it was
hitherto supposed to be.
Instead of " soft mud and sand " and shells, it was found to be very hard, heavy and
compact, and in a great measure to consist of boulders, broken rock and stones. These
catching between the jaws of the dredger prevent its closing, the result being that the
material dug up falls out of the dredger on its being raised.
This is constantly Occurring, eight or ten dips being often required before one single
cubic yard of material has been raised. This is tho cause of the greatest portion of the
delay, and one to which there is no remedy.
In the next place tho quantity of dredging to bo done far exceeds that reckoned
upon. The borings show a depth averaging from two to three feet, whereas in fact the
depth has hitherto been found to be nearer double that figure.
Towards the middle of the dam, where there is the least dredging to be done the
depth of material taken out is about four feet,' and towards the shore ends the depth
increases in rapid proportion, reaching in some places as much as nearly seven feet.
Various other obstacles have helped to cause delay. Several times breakages have
occurred in the machinery, requiring time to remedy. One serious accident happened
which caused very considerable loss of time and a very heavy cost to repair.
At a point well out in the bay, the dredger met and grasped what is supposed to be
a large boulder, firmly imbedded in the clay; on being hoisted up the bottom of the. 558 Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 1878
dredger was forced out, the lever arms broken or bent, and the whole machine forced
and twisted out of shape.
It was at once sent up to Victoria for repair, but was so much injured that it was
found necessary to pull it completely to pieces and entirely reconstruct it.
Several large boulders have since been encountered and some successfully raised by
the machine.
Since the dredging was commenced the machinery has not for one day been idle
from any preventable cause.
Had I not believed that you were fully aware cf the great delay and difficulty that
the dredging operations were entailing upon me, I should have considered it my duty7,
both to you and to my principals, long since to have reported the matter fully to you in
writing.
Hitherto I have not received the slightest intimation that it was considered the
dredging operations were not being pushed forward as fast as possible.
In your letter of the 29th May last you intimated that full advantage was not being
taken of the favourable state of the tides. This could only point to the execution of
works other than the dredging, the carrying on of which is not dependent upon low
tides.
The only work that could be undertaken until the dredging (according to specification) was completed, consisted in the blasting out of rock between high and low water,
for the reception of the toe balks of the shore end portions of the dam. This matter was
attended to and the greater portion of the rock blasting was done.
When you are fully informed of the circumstances attending the dredging operations,
I am convinced that you will no longer deem the progress made trivial.
With regard to the promise 1 made to use every endeavour to finish the work before
the end of July, as the interests of my principals demanded, I must beg leave to say that
that promise has been fully redeemed, and to repeat that every exertion has been made
to carry out the work without delay.
I have never ceased to invite inspection of the manner in which the works have
been carried out, as the difficulties of the various operations would thereby become more
fully apparent, and I was quite confident that every reasonable means were being
employed to avoid delay.
The cost of all the works hitherto executed, and especially of the dredging, has far
exceeded the prices to be paid for them by the Government. This has already entailed
the loss of a very large amount of money by Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co., nevertheless they
have endeavoured to carry out their contract faithfully and well, and have moreover
submitted without complaint to having some of the advances withheld, the payment of
which they had every right to expect.
I must now beg respectfully to point out to you that the amount of the last certificate issued by the Besident Engineer is in excess of the $2,500 required, and that the
sum which may be paid under it reaches $4,133 28, therefore Messrs. Reed & Co. are
fully entitled to a payment under this certificate.
Payment has not hitherto been refused upon the ground [that the amount was
insufficient. Your present refusal has, therefore, taken me completely7 by surprise and is
putting me to very serious inconvenience.
However, I have little doubt that you will reconsider the matter and allow a
payment when you have read the foregoing explanations of the delays in the execution
of the works, and the other statements I have made, and also when you bear in mind
that during all these unexpected delays a very large outlay has been made, so that a
payment at the present moment must necessarily be a matter of great importance to me.
For the same reasons I have every hope that you will also reconsider the matter
as regards the advances upon materials. I must, however, respectfully observe that in
most contracts of this kind the advances upon materials are made payable upon the
same conditions as those for work executed. That even when the payment is discretionary, the Contractor always reckons upon its receipt, for it is only under very
extreme circumstances, such as wilful neglect or actual dishonesty on the part of a
Contractor, that these advances are ever withheld; for it would be most unreasonable
for a Government, or other party, being fully secured by having a lien upon materials
furnished by a Contractor at considerable outlay, to withhold, without a very serious
cause, the contemplated advance of a small proportion of its actual value, 41 Vic. Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 559
I have had considerable experience of contracts for works, and for ten years as a
Government Engineer, but I have never yet met with a contract where advances upon
materials were withheld.
I must now request that you will grant a further extension of the time limit for
the completion of the works.
It would be almost impossible to s]Decify a date on which the works can be finished
until the dredging operations are completed, for it will greatly depend upon the nature
of the soil and obstacles met with how long they will yet occupy. The presence of
more boulders might also occasion further accidents and delays.
I would therefore suggest that a further extension of time should be granted, the
term of which should be fixed upon when the dredging is finished. In the meantime,
of course, the works must be carried on with energy and diligence.
I can the more readily apply for an extension of time as it must be apparent to
any person, who has taken the trouble to enquire into the matter, that the only real
sufferers by the delays in the completion of the Cofferdam are Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co.
It is to their interest to complete this job as soon as possible, and they would hardly be
willing to continue to pay a large salary7 to an Engineer to direct a small body of men
if it were possible to employ with advantage a much more powerful force, and thus to
complete the works in a shorter time.
It is quite evident that the Cofferdam can easily be finished a long while before it
is required. If tenders for the construction of the Dock were called for to-morrow, there
can be no doubt that at least ten months must elapse before a contract could be concluded and measures for commencing work taken.
Awaiting your favourable reply,
I have, etc.,
(Signed) C. E. Dawson,
Agent for Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co., London.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, B. C, July 21st, 1877.
Gentlemen,—1 beg to inform y7ou that I have received three (3) complete sets of
the necessary plans, estimates, working or detail drawings, quantities, specifications,
bonds, &c, for the Cofferdam, Graving Dock, and all necessary machinery complete, and
now have the honour to accept the same, in accordance with the letter of agreement,
dated the 2nd November, 1874.
In a letter of even date, I have forwarded draft for the sum of two thousand five
hundred pounds (£2,500.)
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Office,
Victoria, July 21st, 1877.
Sir,-—I have the honour to enclose copy of a communication from Mr. Dawson, as
agent for Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co., for your perusal, and shall be obliged by your early-
report on the matters therein set forth.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and. Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, 23rd July, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st ult.,
enclosing copy7 of a communication from Messrs. Eeed Bros.' agent, and have now the
honour to report thereon. 560 Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 1878
I am very sorry to find that Messrs. Reed Bros, "every7 endeavour" to complete
the Cofferdam contract by the 31st prox. has been such an utter failure, but quite agree
with their agent's remark " that the dredging operations have been greatly underrated,"
such no doubt, as far as the contractors are concerned, is literally the fact. The necessity of having the dredging machine completed as soon as the stage piling was driven
never seemed to have struck them; the consequence, unfortunately, was a clear loss of
three months' time.
Since the machine has been at work no unnecessary delay lias occurred, and without doubt the material dredged has been harder, and the quantity greater, than the
borings indicated.
Of the accident to the dredging machine I have already informed you; this caused
another fortnight's loss of time.
As to the contractors' inability to proceed with work, other than dredging operations, they might, I think, have completed the earth dam and also the tramway which
must be erected to convey the puddle to the dam, and besides blasting the rocks, have
also built the dam on the approaches. Their attention should be immediately7 directed
to this, and looking moreover at the advanced stage of the season they should display
extra energy in finishing the dredging by working both day and night, as no piling
with the present plant can possibly be done till the dredging is entirely finished.
As to the payment of Certificate No. 3, I would suggest, seeing that the contractors
are undoubtedly a considerable sum out of pocket on account of the dredging machine,
&c, that the amount due to them for work executed, viz., $1,696 48, he paid; and to
avoid future complications in the accounts, if the 10 per cent, payable on tho first lot of
material were advanced when the next certificate becomes due, matters would be
simplified.
With Mr. Dawson's experience as a Government Engineer, I am surprised that in
asking for a third extension of time, he should not have fixed on some definite date; an
unlimited time for tho completion of a contract is a thing unheard of.
I cannot agree with Mr. Dawson on his bare assertion that it is quite evident the
Cofferdam can be easily finished long before it is required, or that ten months must
elapse before a contract for the Dock can bo concluded. These, are matters which can
be possibly of no concern to him, and furnish no argument for delay in the completion
of the contract in which his principals are concerned. I cannot agree with him further
when he says that the only real sufferers by the delays in the completion of the work
are the Messrs. Reed Bros.
,   I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Df.partment,
Victoria, 30th July, 1877.
Sir,,—With reference to your communication of the 16th instant, I have to inform
you that the matter has been submitted to the Engineer acting for the Government,
and alter a careful consideration of the report obtained from him, it has been deemed
advisable to concur with his recommendation with respect to the payment stated to be
due to Messrs. Beed Bros. & Co. on Certificate No. 3, viz., $1,696 48.
In making this concession I desire once more to impress upon you the urgent
necessity of pushing on the work with more energy than has been exhibited in the past;
and as no piling can be driven until the dredging is entirely finished, it must be apparent
to you that to carry on these operations with all possible expedition the work ought to
have been, and should henceforth be, conducted at night as well as during the day.
It is also suggested by Mr. Bennett, the Resident Engineer, that the earth dam
should be completed, and in addition to blasting the rocks, the Cofferdam should be also
constructed in the approaches, and the tramway (which must be erected to convey
material to the dam) completed.
The question of granting a further extension of time will receive consideration
hereafter, and be dependent upon the exertion used to hasten the progress of the work
during the next few weeks'.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F, Geo. Vernon. 41 Vio. Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 561
[Telegram,]
September 24th, 1877.
To Vernon, Victoria, British Columbia.
Lowest caisson tender £7,000.
[Telegram.]
September, 30th, 1877.
Kinipple, Greenock, Scotland.
Vernon absent; answer on return.
(Signed) Farwell.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
3, Westminster Chambers,
London, September 27th, 1877.
Sir,—We have the honour to inform you that on 20th August, we invited eleven
first class engineering and shipbuilding firms to submit tenders for the construction of the
caisson, and which were to be sent in to our offices on or before the 20th instant. Out
of the above number, only four sent in; the amount of each tender being as follows:
Messrs. B. Watkin & Co  £12,578 13 10'str.
Westwood, Baillie & Co        9,545 3 2
'Thames Ironwork and Shipbuilding Company        7,936 5      0
Hanna, Donald & Wilson        7,194 8     3
On the 24th instant, we sent you the following cable: "Lowest caisson tender
seven thousand pounds." We omitted the odd figures of tender, deeming the amount
cabled sufficiently close to the actual amount.
By this mail we have forwarded to you a copy of the specification, bills of quantities,
and forms of tender dulj7 filled in, as submitted by Messrs. Hanna, Donald & Wilson,
whose tender is tho lowest.
We consider it fortunate that Messrs. Hanna, Donald & Wilson are the lowest; this
firm having constructed a similar caisson for the Greenock Works, and therefore having
experience in this class of work, we would advise that their tender be accejited, provided
that the sureties are in every way satisfactory. The sureties as proposed in the form of
tender would of course not be deemed responsible.
We have, etc.,
(Signed) Kinipple & Morris.
I he Chief Commissioner"of Lands and Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, November 23rd, 1877.
Gentlemen,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication
of the 27th of September, informing me that in August last you invited certain shipbuilding and engineering firms to submit tenders for the construction of a caisson for
the Esquimalt Graving Dock, and enclosing a list of said tenders. You also acquaint me
that a copy of the specifications, bills of quantities, and forms of tenders duly filled in,
as submitted by Messrs. Hanna, Donald & Wilson, whose tender is the lowest, was
forwarded by the same mail as the communication now acknowledged.
I beg to state that no copy of the specifications, bills of quantities, or forms of tender
for the caisson have been received at this office up to date. I am therefore unaware
who may be the sureties designated.
Upon receipt of the documents alluded to, you will be communicated with as to
awarding the contract or otherwise.
Apologizing for the delay occasioned through my absence in the interior,
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon. 562 Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 1878
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
3, Westminster Chambers,
London, October 18th, 1877.
Sir,—We have the honour to enclose herewith, a letter we have received from
Messrs. J. Watt & Co., the makers of the pumping machinery for the Esquimalt Dock,
regarding the payment of the 6th instalment, and also asking when Engineer will be
required to go to Victoria to erect the engines.
Will you kindly write us, that we may communicate with Messrs. Watt & Co., as
early as possible.
We have, etc.,
(Signed)       Kinipple & Morris.
[Enclosure.]
90, Leadenhall Street,
London, December 9th, 1877.
Messrs. Kinipple & Morris, 3, Westminster Chambers.
Dear Sirs,—Referring to our letter of the 30th May, we therein pointed out that
the 5th instalment (since paid) upon the above engines was then due to us under our
contract, and the 6th instalment falls due in six months afterwards, viz., on the 30th
November. We shall feel obliged, therefore, by your communicating this fact to the
Colonial authorities at Victoria, and that you will request them to be so good as to
open a credit in our favour in London, payable at the end of next month, for £630.
We make this application to you now, as it of course requires considerable time for
a reply to be received to any letter now sent off to Victoria.
It would also be well, perhaps, to enquire when it is probable that an Engineer will
be required for the erection and fixing of this machinery, in order that we may have
the opportunity of looking out a suitable one.
Yours, etc.,
(Signed)       James Watt & Co.
The Besident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. C, 5th December, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you, in reply to your letter of yesterday's date,
that the pumping machinery for the Graving Dock was delivered complete, as per
invoices from Messrs J. Watt & Co., and in good condition, with the exception of two
casting's broken in transit from England, which said castings are being replaced from
England at the cost of the owners of the ship " Mountain Laurel."
I have, etc.,
(Signed)       W. Bennett.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, November 24th, 1877.
gIR I have the honour to request that you will be good enough to inform me how
muchTcement has been delivered to the Municipal Council of Victoria, under any order
or orcfers from you, from the Government storehouse at Esquimalt.
You will please also inform me whether the cement delivered was in fir or oak
PackageS- I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon. 41 Vic. Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 563
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, 26th November, 1877.
Sir,—In reply to your letter of the 24th instant, I have the honour to inform you
that the quantity of cement supplied to the Municipal Council of Victoria from Selleck's
Warehouse at Esquimalt, amounts to 6 tons, 2 cwt., 0 qrs., 27 lbs., and was delivered as
follows:—
On 5th November, 4 large (Dockyard) casks, @ 506fts.==2,024 lbs.
,,      „        „ 3 small fir casks         373 1,119
„   6th      „ 4 large (Dockyard) casks       506 2,024
„      „        „ 7 small fir casks         373 2,611
„   7th      „ 5       do.       do        373 1,865
„   10th     „ 4 large (Dockyard) casks       506 2,024
„  12th    „ 4       do.       do. do. 506 2,024
13,691 lbs
Equivalent to 6 tons, 2 cwt., 0 qrs., 27 lbs.
The casks weighing 506 lbs each wore returned to the warehouse from H. M. Dockyard to replace some cement previously borrowed from the Local Government.
I may add, the cement  was supplied to the Municipal Council of Victoria under
instructions from the Provincial Secretary.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, December 5th, 1877.
Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th ultimo., setting
forth the amount of cement delivered to the City Council of Victoria by your orders.
I have the honour to request that you will be good enough to inform me how many
barrels of cement were returned by the Naval Storekeeper at Esquimalt.
The amount lent to the Naval authorities was 25 fir casks weighing, say, 9,325 lbs.
I have, etc.,
(Signed)       F. Geo. Vernon.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. C, 7th December, 1877.
Sir,—In reply to your letter dated 5th December, I have the honour to inform you
24 barrels of cement were returned by the naval storekeeper, 12 of which still remain in
your storehouse at Esquimalt.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
Mr. Dawson to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Cofferdam Works,
Esquimalt, B. O, December 14th, 1877.
Sir,—Enclosed I beg to hand you a statement of works executed upon the Esquimalt
Cofferdam from the 31st October to 30th November, ultimo, a statement of materials
on hand upon which no advance has been made, and also an account of sums payable
under the 5th certificate, amounting to $3,295 86.
When I presented the last certificate for payment, I did not press for the advance
on materials because you were then absent from Victoria, but I must now do so, and also 564 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
remind you that no advance has been made upon any of the materials delivered during
the course of the present year.
I have, etc,
(Signed) C. E. Dawson.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, 31st December, 1877.
S1R)—I have the honour to report progress to date, on the Cofferdam works at
Esquimalt.
The-staging, which at the end of last year was completed with the exception of
one bay, was finished during the early weeks of this year, as was also the travelling
platform which carries the pile-driver.
To the pile-driver, with some amount of trouble and ingenuity, the dredging
machine was attached and the hoisting engine adapted to work it. It is, however,
much to be regretted that three months' valuable time was lost at this period, as the
dredging machine was not ready and did not commence work till April 13th.
From this date to September 22nd, when the dredging was completed, it was constantly at work, on many7 days from daylight to dark, with the exception of a few days
in May, from the 16th to the 29th, when the jaws of the machine were broken owing to
their having fouied a large boulder.
The quantity of material dredged during these five months was, owing to the depth
of sand, &c, overlying the clay, about double the estimated quantity, and amounted to
1,554 cubic yards. Tne dredgings consisted of sand and shells, very compact, with
which were mixed boulders, varying in weight from half a pound to half a ton, and
which, by means of hopper barges, were deposited on the eastern side  of Thetis Cove.
As soon as this tedious and difficult operation was satisfactorily finished—for no
piles could be driven till such was the case—no time was lost in dismantling the dredging machine and preparing the pile-driver for its legitimate use, and on September 29th
piling for tho dam was commenced and has continued to date.
The dam will consist of three rows of piles, all of sawn timber, the outer and middle
rows driven at a distance of 8 feet 3 inches apart, from  centre to centre, and the inside
11 feet 2 inches from the middle row.    The outer and middle rows are of sheeting piles
12 inches square, with gauge piles 15 inches square occurring every_ 8 feet 3 inches,
driven into the the clay from 6 to 8 feet, excepting the gauge piles, which are driven 10
feet. The inside row is of 9-inch sheeting, with 15-inch gauge piles driven 4 and 6 feet
into the clay respectively. The space between the outer and middle rows will be filled
with clay puddle to 7 feet above high water mark, and that between the middle and
inside rows with rubbish, clay, and stones to the level of low water mark, to act as a
backing. The whole will be secured with four tiers of walings on the inside and outside of the outer and middle rows of piles, bolted through at every gauge pile, the
middle row7 being again bolted and also strutted to the inside row.
The clay info which the'piles are being driven is very hard, as the following details
of the driving of one of the gauge piles will prove:—The pile was 44 feet 5 inches
long and 15 inches square, shod with a wrought iron shoe. The depth of water when
driving was 27 feet; weight of hammer, 2,200 lbs.; fall of hammer at first blow, 7 feet,
increasing gradually to 76th blow, when fall was 17 feet 2 inches, the depth the pile was
driven being 10 feet 2 inches.
The compactness of the clay is a good feature in the work, as the liability to the
dam "blowing" is reduced to a minimum when the piles are driven well into it.
To the present time 263 piles have been driven in the outer and middle rows,
equivalent to 11,659 cubic feet, and a portion of the 2nd and 3rd tier of w7alings, equivalent
to 891 cubic feet, has been fixed with 8 wrought iron tie bolts If inches diameter, and 8
ditto 2 inches diameter.
The depth of water at the site of the dam is so great, varying from 25 to over 30
feet, according to the tides, that pile-driving is by no means very rapid work, so much 41 Vic. Correspondence—Graving Dock. 565
time being necessarily occupied in pitching the pile well and truly. I trust, ho,wever,
now that the work is fairly in hand, nothing will interfere to prevent its being brought
to a rapid and satisfactory conclusion.
At the eastern end, 22 cubic yards of rock has been blasted to form a trench for the
dam between high and low water mark.
The remainder of the pumping machinery from Messrs. Watt & Co. arrived per
"Mountain Laurel" at Esquimalt, on February 24th, and its delivery was completed on
April 7th. It turned out in good order, with the exception of two castings broken in
transit, and has been carefully cleaned and safely stowed. An accident occurred in
landing one of the boilers, owing to the breaking of a tackle, of which I have had the
honour to report to you on already. It has been repaired and tested to my satisfaction; the
broken castings are being replaced by new ones from fhe makers in England, at the cost
of the owners of the ship, who were also liable and paid for the repairs to the damaged
boiler.
I have lately made further tests of the Portland cement stored at Esquimalt, and
while that in the fir casks did not give such high percentage of excellence as it did twelve
months since, still that in the oak casks is apparently as good as ever,
The portion of the coal sheds on Thetis Island, which was lent to the contractors
for offices and workshops, was demanded back and delivered to the Admiralty authorities on July 26th.
The plans for the Graving Dock were received from Messrs. Kinipple & Morris, of
London, on April 4th, and specifications for the same, and also for the caisson at a later
date.
In the hope that in my next annual report I shall have the pleasure of announcing
the completion of the Cofferdam, and that work on the Dock itself has commenced,
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
Tlie Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. C, 4th January, 1878,
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you that the amount due to Messrs Reed Bros. &
Co., on account of Cofferdam contract for work executed is $2,076 49 and that the
amount which may be advanced for material on the ground is $1,794 08, the whole
as per certificate No. 6, enclosed.
The number of piles driven during the past month is 122, making a total of 263 driven
to 31st December, 1877; the work is progressing steadily.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
Mr. Dawson to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Cofferdam Works,
Esquimalt, B. C, January 12th, 1878.
Sir,—The time has arrived when a pretty close estimate can be made of the time
that will be required for the completion of the Esquimalt Cofferdam; the nature of the
bottom has been ascertained, and actual expieriment has shewn the rate of progress
possible with the piling. I have therefore the honour to request that you will now
grant a formal extension of the time limit,
The front and back piling of the main trunk, for a distance of upwards of 220 feet
in the deepest part of the bay, will be completed by the end of the present month, and
very shortly I shall be ready to commence operations on the buttress piling and on the
shore ends of the dam.
But it is now evident that, as I had foreseen, it is impossible to carry out the design
for the buttress according to the plans and specification. The datum of high and low water
spring tides as given, is totally incorrect; the low water line is shown at a point which
39 566 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
is really that of the lowest tide on record, and the datum of high water is also very much
too low. To carry out the original plans, the works would have to be executed entirely
under water.
The shore ends of the dam will also have to be constructed under different circumstances from those described, for the rock bottom at both ends has been found to extend
out, for a considerable distance, into the deep water. The difficulties of construction, the
cost, and the time required for erection, will therefore be greatly increased.
I must therefore also request you to give me your instructions as to the manner in
which these portions of the works are to be carried out.
At the east end of the dam, where at some points upwards of 8 feet in depth of
material has been dredged out, the sides of the excavation have fallen in. This will
render the re-erection of the dredging machinery necessary to clean out the bottom
afresh. Some clearing out 'will also be necessary at the west end, and some possibly in
the main trunk of the dam.
I have pointed out these various matters to the Resident Engineer, and have suggested to him the alterations I consider it would be most desirable to make, with due
regard to the saving of time and expense.
I have made a careful calculation of the time that will be required to complete the
Cofferdam. This calculation is based upon the probable movements of the tide, as shewn
by observations taken several times a day for more than a year past, and upon the time that
has been required to construct the portion of the main trunk of the dam already referred to,
taking into consideration that a great portion of the work to be done will be tide work.
Allowing that the portion of the buttress corresponding with the portion of the main
trunk already erected, will take one-third longer to construct; that the two ends of the
dam, to be built on the rock bottom in deep water, will take half as long again as the
centre portion where the piles are driven into the clay; allowing for the time required
to clean up the bottom with the dredging machine; and allowing that the puddling and
filling in can be carried on and completed nearly simultaneously with the timber work
of the dam, I have arrived at the conclusion that the works cannot be completed, with
the means at command, before the end of September next.
I have therefore to request that you will grant a formal extension of the time limit
until that date.
I must also call your attention to the fact, that the altered circumstances under
which the contract has hitherto been carried out, has put my principals to very
great trouble, inconvenience, and expense; and I must, furthermore, again call your
attention to the subject of the advances upon materials, and request you to refer to the
representations I had the honour to make to you on the subject, in my7 letter dated the
16th of July last.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) C. E. Dawson,
Agent for Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co., London.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. C, 14th January, 1878.
Sir,—As there is every probability of the Cofferdam being completed during the
coming summer, I beg most respectfully to suggest that the present is a suitable time
to advertise for tenders for the Graving Dock.
Intending contractors will thereby have ample time to examine the plans and site
of the proposed work before tendering, and no time need be lost between the completion
of the dam and the commencement of the dock, which fact must be of some importance
to your Government.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett 41 Vic. Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 567
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, B. C, 15th January, 1878.
Sir,-—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 14th instant,
re Cofferdam, Esquimalt, and have to thank you for same.
I have the honour to enclose a copy of a communication from C. E. Dawson, Esq.,
C. E., Agent for the Messrs. Eeed Bros. & Co., contractors, and have to request that
you will report upon the same.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, B. C, 18th January, 1878.
Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of ,your letter of the 15th instant, enclosing
a letter from Mr. C. E. Dawson, agent for Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co., with reference to
the time limit for the completion of their contract for the construction of the Cofferdam
at Esquimalt.
In reply thereto, I have the honour to report now thereon.
After the great indulgence your Government has shown the contractors, in already
having granted an extension of the time limit—first of all to February and then to 31st
July, 1877—I am somewhat surprised that the contractors, notwithstanding any difficulties which might have occurred and which always do and always will occur in the
prosecution of any important work, but which at the same time are not, with care and
forethought, insurmountable, have not shown greater diligence; in other words, the time
spent in doing what has been done is much greater than need have been.
I must therefore, knowing well what has to be done, decline to recommend the
further extension to the end of next September, which the Messrs. Deed's agent has
applied for—in fact I am doubtful if I ought to recommend any extension at all.
Looking, however, at the present state of the works, I consider that what remains
to be done should bo finished at the end of May or, if much more dredging is necessary,
June.
I would recommend that the height of the row of buttress piles be raised to the
level of high water spring tides, so that no further delays may be pleaded on account of
inability to execute the work owing to the height of the tide. Such alterations will not,
I think, in any way affect the stability of the dam.
The shore ends of the dam had better be constructed as recommended in the
specifications.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 22nd January, 1878.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the
12th inst, requesting that an extension of time be allowed to you to complete the contract
entered into between this Department and Messrs. Eeed Bros., & Co., of London, for the
construction of a Cofferdam at Esquimalt.
In reply, I beg to state that your application has been submitted to the Agent for
the Engineers acting for the Government, who reports upon the matter as follows:—
" After the great indulgence your Government has shewn the. contractors in already
" having granted an extension of the time limit, first of all to February, and then to
" the 21st July 1877, I am somewhat surprised that the contractors, notwithstanding
" any difficulties which might have occurred, and which always do, and always will 568 Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 1878
" occur in the prosecution of any important work, butjwhich"at the same time are not
" with care and forethought insurmountable, have not shewn greater diligence; in other
" words, the time spent in doing what has been done is much greater than need have
" been. I must therefore, knowing well what has to be done, decline to recommend the
"further extension to the end of next September, which the Messrs. Reed's agent has
" applied for—in fact I am doubtful if 1 ought to recommend any extension at all.
" Looking, however, at the present state of the works, I consider that what remains
" to be done should be finished at the end of May or, if much more dredging is necessary,
« June."
Under these circumstances I am unable to entertain your application.
With respect to your request that instructions should be given you as to the manner
in which certain portions of the work should be carried out, your attention is called to
the following recommendation made by the Resident Engineer.
" I would recommend that the height of the row of buttress piles be raised to the
" level of high water spring tides, so that no further delays may be pleaded on account
" of inability to execute the work owing to the height of the tide. Such alterations will
"not, 1 think, in any way affect the stability of the dam. The shore ends of the dani
"had better be constructed as recommended in the specifications."
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
Mr. Dawson to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Cofferdam Works,
Esquimalt, January 28th, 1878.
Sir,—The contents of your letter-of the 22nd instant, which I duly received, was
most unexpected and has caused me the utmost surprise,
As regards the extract from the Resident Engineer's report. I am entirely at a loss
to understand upon what grounds he bases his statement, implying that due diligence
has not been used in carrying on the works. His statements, as quoted, are so vague
that they leave me in ignorance on what points or to what period they have reference.
I can only suppose, however, that they point to the period of about the month of May
last year, when you informed me that he considered full advantage was not being taken
of the state of the tides.
I have every reason to believe that in my letter of the 16th July last, I gave a full
and satisfactory explanation of the delays that had occurred up to that date.
I cannot for one moment suppose the Resident Engineer can mean to imply that
since that time any want of diligence has been displayed. Due attention was paid to
the recommendations contained in your letter of the 30th July, 1877, in answer to mine
of the 16th. Dredging operations were carried on under great difficulties and at great
expense, at night as well as during the day; not one day was lost, after the dredging
was finished, in commencing piling operations, and they have been carried on with the
greatest possible activity and without any interruption until the present time, notwith-f
standing tho fact that a very large portion of the timber provided for the portion o
the dam under construction could not be used, on account of the great extra depth of
the dredging out, and that extra timber had to be procured, at very short notice and
from a considerable distance, to replace it.
If the Besident Engineer had. any suggestions to make, or any complaints, he
would surely not have remained silent for a space of more than six months. I have
constantly spoken to him on the subject of the progress made with the works, and he
has never once given me the least intimation that he was otherwise than perfectly satisfied with the way they were being carried on and with the progress made. Mr. Bennett
cannot but be fully aware of these facts, and I repeat that I am at a loss to understand
his reason for making such a report to you. I can only arrive at the conclusion that ho
has not realized the meaning his words might be taken to convey.
In your letter of the 30th July last you informed me that the question of granting
a further extension of time would be dependent upon the exertions used to hasten the
progress of the works during the following few weeks. Not only was every exertion
used at that time, but it is beyond denial that every exertion has been used since. 41 Vic. Correspondence -Graving Dock 569
Bad weather has hardly ever been allowed to stop work even for a day, although
for several weeks the rain fell almost incessantly in such torrents that I was surprised
at the endurance displayed by the men in exposing themselves to it. Two or three
times some hours were lost on account of very high tides, but hardly any amount of
" care and forethought" on the part of a contractor could prevent the tide sometimes
from rising upwards of 4 feet above the Government mark of high water spring tides!
I feel little doubt that upon making full enquiry, and upon further consideration
you will find reason to reconsider a decision arrived at before y7ou have heard any
explanations from me, Great confidence is displayed by gentlemen entering into a contract giving such large discretionary powers to the Government, and my principals have
every reason to expect that their interests as well as those of the Government
should be taken into most careful consideration by you, and I must request you
to bear in mind that considerable injury might be done to the interests of my principals
as regards other parties, should a reasonable extension of the time limit be withheld.
You will, without doubt, readily understand that for many reasons it is with the
greatest reluctance I have to take exception to the statements of the Resident Engineer
on the points at issue.
As regards the time required for the completion of the dam, I cannot think that
Mr. Bennett has given the matter sufficient consideration, otherwise he could not have
failed to see the utter impossibility of finishing the work in the time mentioned by him,
either in the manner contemplated in the contract or with the further alterations he
recommends.
At a glance it is apparent that, even if the height of the top of the buttress piles
is raised to the level of the mark given as high water spring tides, pitching them in a
depth of water out of proportion to their length and driving them from the platform
situated at a great height above them, is a matter of much greater difficulty and requiring far more time than pitching and driving the long timbers of the main trunk of the
dam.
He can hardly, I think, be aware of the difficulty we have sometimes had in accurately pitching and driving these latter when the water was high, although even then a
considerable length of pile w7hen stepiped remained above water.
He must also have lost sight of the fact that with the alteration he recommends,
nearly all the timber provided for the buttress will be rendered useless for the purpose,
and that other timber will have to be procured, and that considerable delay must ensue.
Baising the whole line of buttress piles a height of 8 feet is not a matter of small
importance to be all arranged at a few days' notice. He must also have forgotten that
a large portion of this work, even with the alterations, will be tide work, as any one
who takes the trouble to study the tide register ean see.
"Care and forethought"  on my7 part have not been wanting in regard to these
, matters, for as long as a year ago I foresaw and warned you (in my letter of 25th
January, 1877) that some modifications would have to be made in the plans of the main
dam.    I have also constantly called the attention of the Resident Engineer to this matter.
It is not in my province to make alterations in the designs, and my duty is fully
performed when I point out any difficulties I foresee.
I must also call your further attention to the subject of the construction of the
shore ends of the dam.. In the contract it was evidently considered a remote contingency that even a single gauge pile would have to be erected on the rock bottom below
the level to be reached at low water, so remote that provision is not made for one
single pile so situated, either on the plans or in the bill of quantities, and not even a
price fixed upon for tbem,
Now, if this work is to be carried out strictly as recommended in the specification,
at least 35 gauge piles will have to be erected on iron shoes set in holes 4 feet deep and
4 inches in diameter, sunk into the rock bottom at depths reaching as much as 33 feet
below7 the mark called high water.
This, looking at the nature of the rock, the bottom, and the depth of water, the
Besident Engineer must know is practically impossible under the circumstances, even if
the time is extended to the date named by me.
This portion of the work again, no matter how it is carried out, will be tide work,
and the same will be the case with respect to the fixing and bolting up of the lower rows
of walings and the construction of the sluices and sluice trunks, etc. 570 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
A reference to the tide register will shew that several months will probably elapse
before a considerable portion of these works can even-be commenced, and will also shew
the great difficulty there w7ill be in carrying them out at all.
It is quite evident that some means must be found to facilitate the erection of the
shore ends of the dam, and the matter is one of such very great importance in every
way that too much care and forethought cannot be bestowed upon it before any final
decision is arrived at. I hope, therefore, you will give it your most careful consideration.
I am now ready to commence operations on the buttress, and must request you to
give me the required written instructions as regards the alterations to be made, accompanied by the necessary plans and sections. But 1 must at the same time remind you
that a very large quantity of valuable timber procured for the main trunk of the dam,
as well as for the buttress, will be rendered useless, unless some arrangement is made
by which it can be utilized in a different manner. I have already mentioned this matter
to the Resident Engineer, and suggested a means of utilizing a considerable quantity of
this timber, which should you approve will obviate a more serious loss, and will save a
great portion of the delay.
I am fully prepared to answer further on any point connected with the matters in
question, but 1 cannot but believe I have already shewn sufficient cause for you to
reconsider the decision with respect to the extension of the time limit of which you
have informed me.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) C. E. Dawson.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and, Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, February 4th 1878.
Sir,—I have the honour to enclose, for your perusal, a.copy of a communication
received by this Department from Mr. Dawson, agent for the contractors for the construction of the Cofferdam at Esquimalt, requesting, amongst other matters, that he be
furnished with certain information therein set forth.
You will be good enough to take the substance of this document into your immediate
consideration, and report to this Department at as early a date as possible.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, 6th February, 1878.
Sir,—I enclose you a sketch, showing the alterations I suggested to you a short
time since, and would recommend that the contractors' agent be supplied with a tracing
of the same, and be requested to carry out the work as shewn.
As to utilizing some of the 12" by 12" timber, which is too short for the outer and
middle rows of the dam, I have no objection that it should take the place of the 9-inch
sheeting in the inside or buttress row. It will make the work stronger, and will not
increase the cost to any great amount.
I have suggested these alterations for tho sole purpose of hastening the progress of
the work, and I trust the contractors' agent will make use of every opportunity to fix
the fourth tier of walings and to put in the sluice trunks, the level of bottom of which I
recommend should be six feet below" high water mark.
I would further suggest that the contractors' agent be requested to have the necessary ironwork for the sluices prepared immediately.
I will report to you on the shore ends of the dam, and on other matters referred to
in Mr. Dawson's letter of 28th January, at an early date,
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett. 41 Vic, Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 571
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, 8th February, 1878.
Sir,—After carefully examining the substance of Mr. Dawson's letter of 28th
January, I have now the honour to report to you thereon.
Mr. Dawson expresses his utmost surprise at the contents of your letter of 22nd
January7, forgetting, perhaps, that from the expiiration of the original time limit, fifteen
months has already7 elapsed, and that he is now asking for eight months more extra
time, whereas the engineer's estimated time for the completion of the work, nine
months only was required, and Mr. Dawson's principals agreed to complete the work in
that time.
As some of the remarks in my letter dated 18th January, are said to be too vague, I
will try now to be more explicit.
I base tho statement that want of diligence has been shown in carrying on the works
on the following facts:—
Mr. Dawson, agent for Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co., reported himself to your department on the 14th March, 1876, the Messrs. Beed undertook to complete the work on
18th October, 1876, the first pile for the staging was not, however, driven till 7th
September, 1876; that is, nearly six months elapsed between the arrival of the contractors'
agent and the commencement of tho work, diligence was surely wanting here.
The staging and travelling platform took four months to construct, a very long
period for so small a result. A period of three months was then wasted in consequence
of the want of forethought in providing a suitable dredging apparatus.
Of the dredging and progress of the sheet piling, I have already had the honour to
report to you on in my letter of the 31st December, 1877.
If it is Mr. Dawson's opinion that executing work, the total value of which to 31st
December, 1877, was $15,756 94—about one-fourth of the estimated cost of the work
complete—in fifteen months, shows a rapid rate of progress, I most decidedly beg to
differ with him.
It is much against my nature to be continually complaining, or I might perhaps have
often, in my conversations with the contractors' agent, expressed dissatisfaction at the
slow rate of progress; as however, my silence seems to have been taken as an approval
of the way in which the work has been carried on, 1 will be careful not to be misconstrued in the future.
In my report to you, dated 18th January 1877, on Mr. Dawson's application for an
extension of the time limit, I considered fully the time required to complete the work,
unless some abnormal difficulties presented themselves, and I am of the same opinion
still.
While the interests of Mr. Dawson's principals should doubtless receive every
consideration, those of the Government must not be neglected, and I feel it to be my
duty7, though perhaps unnecessary, to remind you that on Graving Dock account for
cement, land, pumping machinery, plans, &c., a very large amount of money has been
spent, the interest of which may be said to have been lost since October, 1876, when the
Messrs. Reed undertook to complete the contract for the Cofferdam.
I have no wish to urge the Government to any extreme measures with respect to
this contract, and shall continue to assist the contractors, as I have hitherto done, in
carrying out the work as far as I conscientiously can.
I have, etc.,
(Signed)       W. Bennett.
The Resident Engineer to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, 8th February, 1878.
Sir,—With reference to the construction of the shore ends of the dam, I see no
reason,why the work should not be done as recommended in the specification, namely,
that "in all cases when the gauge piles are on rock, special holes are to be jumped to
the depth of 4 feet and 4 inches in diameter, to receive a pile shod with a special rock
shoe." 572 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
Instead, however, of drilling holes 4 feet deep and 4 inches in diameter, I think 3
feet deep and 3 inches in diameter will be sufficient. The spike of the shoe should be
split in the bottom and a small w7edge inserted, for the purpose of expanding the end of
the spike to the full width of the hole, and so to hold the pile in position.
As soon as all the gauge piles on rock that are required have been planted, puddle
ma}7 be thrown in, any shingle that may be on the surface of the rock having been
previously removed; the intervening sheet piling can then be driven through the puddle
to the rock.
I suggested some time since t»e form of a rock pile shoe to the contractors' agent;
as he, however, has taken no action in the matter, I have now the honour to send you
a sketch of the same, a tracing of which I recommend the contractors' agent be supplied
with, with a request that he will at once commence to drill the necessary holes, as it is
a work which naturally7 is a tedious one, and which neither talking of or writing letters
on will finish.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 9th February, 1878.
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you, that in a letter received by this Department
from W. Bennett, Esq., C. E., dated February 6th, 1878, he requests that you be supplied
with a tracing shewing the alterations he suggests should be made in the construction
of the Cofferdam at Esquimalt, which tracing I now beg to enclose.
He also states that he sees no objection to the 12" by 12" timber, which is too short
for the outer and middle rows of the dam, taking the place of the 9" sheeting in the
inside or buttress row. He trusts that you will make use of every opportunity to fix
the fourth tier of waling and to put in the sluice trunks, the level of bottom of which he
recommends should be six feet below high-water mark. He also urges the necessity7 of
your immediately procuring the ironwork for the sluices.
You will be further communicated with on the subject at an early date.
I have, etc,,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Resident Engineer.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 9th February, 1878.
Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 6th instant,
enclosing a sketch shewing alterations you deem necessary in the construction of the
Cofferdam, and also suggesting that the Contractors' agent be supplied with a tracing
of same.
Also your letter of the 8th instant, containing a similar suggestion with regard to a
tracing of a "rock pile-shoe."
I have the honour to inform you that the first-mentioned tracing has been sent as
requested, but 1 have to ask that y7ou will be good enough, in the future, to supply such
tracings, copies, &c, yourself.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon. 41 Vie. Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 573
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 11th February 1878.
Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th ultimo, expressing
the utmost surprise at the contents of my communication addressed to you on the 22nd
of last month, and pointing out that you considered you had already shown sufficient
cause to induce me to reconsider my decision of the 22nd ultimo.
In reply, I have the honour to inform you that I have referred the matter again to
the Besident Engineer, who reports as follows, viz.:—
"As some of the remarks in my letter dated 18th January are said to be too vague, I
will try now to be more explicit. I base the statement that want of diligence has been
shown in carrying on tho works on the following facts:—
" Mr. Dawson, agent for Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co., reported himself to your department on 14th March, 1876. The Messrs. Beed undertook to complete the work on 18th
October, 1876; the first pile for the staging was not, however, driven till 7th September,
1876—that is, nearly six months elapsed between the arrival of the contractors' agent
and the commencement of the work; diligence was surely wanting here.
"The staging and travelling platform, took four months to construct, a very7 long
period for so small a result. A period of three months was then wasted in consequence
of the want of forethought in providing a suitable dredging aj>paratus.
" Of the dredging and progress of the sheet piling, I have already had the honour
to report to you on in my letter of 31st December, 1877.
"If it is Mr. Dawson's opinion that executing work, the total value of which to 31st
December, 1877, was $15,756 94—about one-fourth of the estimated cost of the work
complete—in fifteen months shows a rapid rate of progress, I must decidedly beg to differ
with him. It is much against my nature to be continually complaining, or I might
perhaps have often, in my conversations with the contractors' agent, expressed dissatisfaction at the slow rate of progress; as however, my silence seems to have been taken as
an approval of the way in which the work has been carried on, I will be careful not 'to
be misconstrued in the future. In my report to you dated 18th January, 1877, on Mr.
Dawson's application for an extension of the time limit, I considered fully the time
required to complete the work, unless some abnormal difficulties presented themselves,
and. I am of the same opinion still."
Under these circumstances, I must again decline entertaining the application
contained in your letter of the 12th ultimo, for an extension of the time limit.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, 11th February, 1878.
Sir,—Adverting to that portion of your letter of the 28th January7, pointing out
that some difficulties existed in constructing the shore ends of Esquimalt Cofferdam, I
have the honour to inform you that I referred the matter to the Resident Engineer,
I approve of his suggestion, and beg to enclose a copy7 of his report and tracing of
his plan herewith.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
Mr. Dawson to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Esquimalt, B. O,
February 16th, 1878,
Sir,—I have duly received your two letters of the 11th inst., and shall have the
honour to reply to them at an early7 date.
I also beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 9th inst., enclosing a
tracing showing the alterations suggested by the Resident Engineer in tho construction 574 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
of the Cofferdam at Esquimalt, and referring to the use of 12" by 12" timber in the
buttress row, the fixing of the fourth tier of walings, and procuring the ironwork for
the sluices.
At the interview I had with you, since I received your letter, when I pointed
out that in it you had omitted to give me the order to execute the alterations, you informed me that in sending the tracing of the alterations suggested by the Resident
Engineer, it was your intention to convey that order. But, before I can proceed further,
I must request you to be kind enough to give me the necessary written order, and also
to sign the enclosed tracing and return it to me at your earliest convenience.
In the meantime, that no more time should be lost on account of these alterations,
I have worked out an arrangement by which as large a portion as possible of the timber
provided for the buttress can be utilized, and have taken out the quantities for the rest
of the timber required. I am now anxious to give the order to Mr. Sayward for the
delivery of the necessary timber at the shortest possible delay.
As my former letters will shew, I am fully aware of tho importance of losing no
opportunity of fixing the lower tier of walings and putting in the sluice trunks.    I had
already given orders for the preparation of the timber for these walings,  and taken*
steps that the work of fixing them should proceed whenever the state of the tide would
allow.
As regards the sluice trunks, very7 high tides continue to reign, and no opportunity
of executing any considerable portion of the work upon them is at all likely to offer for
at least two months to come.
I shall take every precaution against any delay occurring for want of the ironwork
for the sluices, but I must beg respectfully to observe that, i having regard to what I
cannot but consider as an unjust withholding, on the part of the Government, of the
advances on materials, I ought not to be expected to provide any further materials until
they are actually required.
Yours, etc.,
(Signed)        C. E. Dawson,
Agent for Messrs. Reed Bros. & Co., London.
9."
The Resident Engineer io the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Engineer's Office.
Esquimalt, 16th February, 1878.
Sir,—On referring to my letter of the 6th ultimo, as to the utilization of 12" by 1_
timber in place of 9" timber in the row of buttress piles,  I have now the  honour to
inform you that, as but little of the 12" by 12" timber will be required to be so used, I
shall have no objection to have such of the 9-inch timber of that on hand, which may bo
serviceable, used in place of the 6-inch timber in executing the shore ends of the dam.
I would suggest that the contractors' agent be informed of this, with your approval
of the same.
I have, etc ,
(Signed) W. Bennett.
'1 he Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, February 18th, 1878.
Sir, Referring to my letter of the 9th inst., I have the honour to inform you that
the suggestions of the Resident Engineer therein set forth meet with my approval.
I have further to state that in a letter dated the 16th inst., the Resident Engineer
suggests that the 9-inch timber might be used where 6-inch timber is specified for, in
the shore ends of tho dam. This suggestion also meets with my approval. Referring
to your letter of the 16th inst., returning the sketch forwarded in my Communication of
the 9th of this month, I beg again to enclose the said document for your guidance.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon. 41 Vic. Correspondence—Graving Dock. 575
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Messrs. Kinipple & Morris.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, February 18th, 1878.
Gentlemen,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of the specifications and
bills of quantities for a caisson, folding bridge, &c, for the proposed Graving Dock at
Esquimalt.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.
Mr. Dawson to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Esquimalt, B. O, February 19th 1878.
Sir,—I have now the honour to reply to j'our letter of the 11th instant, in which
you inform me that you have submitted my letter of the 28th ultimo, to the Resident
.Engineer, and acting upon his report, that you again decline to entertain any application for an extension of the time limit for the completion of the Esquimalt Cofferdam.
In the first place, I must respectfully but strongly protest against action being
taken on the report of the Resident Engineer upon matters which are not in his province
to decide upon.
Upon any7 technical points it is proper that his opinion should carry weight, but it
is entirely against the terms of the contract to submit other matters even to his criticism, much less to his decision.
The contract clearly shows that in matters like the present it is the Chief Commissioner alone with whom a decision can rest. It is, in reality, simply a difference of
opinion as to the time required for completion between the Resident Engineer and the
Engineer of the contractors, who have every right to expect and require that the
Chief Commissioner, before arriving at any conclusion, should make most strict and full
enquiry into both sides of the question, and give the matter his most ample and careful
consideration.
It is not mentioned nor intended in the specification that the question of granting
an extension or not of the time limit should in any way be dependent upon the recommendation of the assistant of tho Engineers, paid by the Government to superintend
the works; the inconvenience of such an arrangement, as regards other matters, must
be obvious on a little reflection.
I will now turn to the Resident Engineer's reports:—In the first place he expresses
surprise that "after the great indulgence of the Government in granting two extensions
of the time limit, the contractors have not shown greater diligence." Now, Mr, Bennett
in endeavouring to explain himself, calmly states that the want of diligence he complains of was shown before the extensions were granted!
I need not comment upon this contradiction.
I must also protest against tne repeated use of the expression " indulgence of the
Government in granting extensions of the time limit." The extensions were granted
not as favours (which, as matters stood, my principals would not have thanked me for
-asking), but for good and sufficient stated reasons !
In the first instance, amongst others beyond the control of Messrs. Reed Bros. &
Co., one of the chief causes was tho necessity of making fresh surveys, taking fresh
soundings, making new drawings, taking out fresh quantities, and the time required,
when all this was finished, for procuring materials and setting to work. That the
necessity for all this arose from the carelessness and negligence of other parties than
Messrs. Eeed Bros. & Co., Mr. Bennett entirely ignores.
In the second instance, the extension was granted again, not as a favour, but in consideration of the difficulties the contractors had had to contend with. Moreover, when
this extension was granted there was no question of want of diligence; and the dredo-ino-
machine being then only in hand was not considered a reason for Shewing any reluctance in granting an extension to which my principals wore fairly7 entitled, and which
was fairly granted.
The Resident Engineer's statement that three months were wasted through want
of forethought in procuring a suitable dredging apparatus, is an exaggerated one; for
when the dredgiDg machine was ordered the staging and travelling platform was not 576 Correspondence—Graving Dock. 1878
finished, and during the time the dredger was under construction a good deal of work
was done and considerable outlay made, as my wages pay-book can prove.
My explanations of any delays that occurred in the construction of the dredging
machine w7ere fully given in my letter of the 16th July, 1877, and were, moreover,
accepted.
Referring to the Eesidesit Engineer's remarks upon his uncomplaining nature, his
not having "oftener" expressed dissatisfaction at the slow rate of progress, and upon
his silence being taken as approval, I must beg to state that there has been no misconstruction on my part whatever. Instead of "oftener," I repeat that he has not once
expressed dissatisfaction, and for the good reason that he had no cause to feel any.
What Mr. Bennett's notions of the duties of a Resident Engineer are, is beyond my
comprehension. He ought to know that one of his first and most important duties is
not only to express his dissatisfaction if he thinks any time is being wasted, but to
suggest means by which difficulties may bo overcome and greater progress made. As
to taking his silence as approval, most assuredly I have done so, and that I was quite
right in so doing, his report of the 31st December last most clearly shews.
Now, having referred to various matters that occurred prior to the granting of the
last extension, to shew that I am not desirous of keeping them out of sight, I must beg
to say that nothing that happened before that period has anything.whatever to do with
the present case, and ought not to have been entered upon.
In an article of the specification it is distinctly laid down that " any and every
" extension of time shall exonerate the contractors from any claim on the part of the
''Government for and in respect of any7 delay occasioned by the cause or causes in
"respect of which any and every extension of time shall have been made."
Having disposed of that matter, I will touch upon the other statements of the
Resident Engineer. He says he reported to you upon the dredging and sheet piling in
a letter dated 31st December, 1877. Of tho contents of that letter, as of some others, I
have not been made acquainted, and was in ignorance of when I had the honour of
addressing you on the 28th January tilt. However, on Friday last a copy of the Chief
Commissioner's Eeport for 1877, in which the above mentioned letter appears, was given
me, and is now before me.
I am not at all surprised to find that not one word of fault is found with the manner
in which the dredging and piling operations have been carried on, or with the progress
made since their commencement, and that the report fully confirms all my statements.
Far from making any such complaint, he has made a very favourable report to you
On the activity disjdayed in carrying on the works under very difficult circumstances.
I further notice in your Report that, on the 5th November last, Mr. Bennett had
also reported to y7ou that the works were progressing satisfactorily.
I now beg again to call your attention to your letter of the 30th July, 1877, in
which you say that "the question of granting a further extension of time will be dependent upon the exertions used to hasten the progress of the works during the next
" few weeks."
Having fully explained matters previous to this date and since, I beg to say the
Eesident Engineer's report of the 31st December, t ;-j77, alone proves that I have fulfilled the conditions, and that my principals are therefore fully entitled to a further
extension of the time limit, the only question remaining being as to length of time
required. ,
With reference to the difference of opinion on this head between Mr. Bennett and
myself, I must remind you that he only opposes his unsupported opinion against my
stubborn facts. I wrote to you on the 12th January last, asking for the extension until
the end of September next, and requesting instructions concerning the construction of
the shore ends of the dam, and of the buttress. As to the latter, I have as yet received
no proper instructions to execute the alterations suggested by the Eesident Engineer,
although these alterations will necessitate the procuring of a largo amount of timber,
that must be ordered from a distance. Here is a delay on which 1 had not reckoned in
ray estimate of the time required for completion.
The experience I have-had in erecting some of the staging piles on rock pile shoes
shews one the almost impossibility of constructing tho shore ends of the dam in the
manner ordered—most certainly not in the time mentioned by Mr. Bennett, even if it 41 Vic. Correspondence—Graving Dock. 577
can bo done within the time asked for by me—and I must again warn you that some
modifications will inevitably be necessary.
I have already pointed out that the probability of having to erect even one pile
under such circumstances was considered so remote in the contract that no price has
even been fixed upon for them; whereas, according to your instructions, about thirty-
five piles will have to be erected under the most difficult circumstances, and at a most
serious expense. It is therefore necessary, in any case, that a price should be agreed
upon shortly.
I must now7 call your attention to the enclosed copy of my letter to the Resident
Engineer, dated January 28th ult., and of his answ7er dated the 12th inst.
From this you will see that further work not contemplated in the contract will have
to be executed, and that abnormal difficulties and delays have already commenced to
present themselves.
To enter in detail by letter on the subject of the time required to complete the work
would entail endless writing and a very great loss of time, and be necessarily incomplete.
It is only on the spot, with the evidence of the works, the plans, notes and documents,
and persons before you, that any conclusion can be properly and quickly arrived at.
Before closing, I must again express my regret at being forced to take exception to
some of the Resident Engineer's statements and remarks.
It is also with regret that I cannot help noticing he sometimes adopts a tone in his
letters which may be only facetiousness, but in matters of importance is unnecessary and
hardly becoming. Amongst others, I allude to the tone of the last words of his letter to
y7ou on the 8th February, and to his remarks in another letter dated 23rd July, 1877,
implying blame to the contractors alone as regards the underrating of the importance of
the dredging operations.
I also notice some errors and discrepancies in some of his facts, such as for instance—
" an unlimited time for the completion of a contract being a thing unheard of," and that
the quantity of material dredged to date, is about double the estimated quantity.
Of the above, those that are merely personal, 1 pass over without further comment;
but when these kind of remarks tend to throw blame on the wrong shoulders, and to
underrate the importance of the works executed and difficulties encountered by my
principals, I do not feel justified in so dismissing them. I refer to the underrating of
the importance of the dredging operations and the quantity of material removed.
It will suffice me, however, to call to your notice that the quantity of material to be
removed by dredging, as estimated by Messrs. Kinipple & Morris, was five hundred and
fifty cubic yards, whereas the quantity actually removed is one thousand five hundred and
fifty four cubic yards, or very nearly three times the amount, and that more dredging has
yet to be done i    My reasons for touching on tho above I leave to your appreciation.
In conclusion, I have only to request that you will give this whole subject your
further and most careful consideration.
1 have, etc.,
(Signed)       C. E. Dawson,
Agent for Messrs. Reed Bros., & Co., London.
[Enclosure.]
Mr. Dawson to the Resident Engineer.
COFFERDAN WORKS,
Esquimalt, January 28th, 1878.
Dear Sir,—Before proceeding further with the construction, I beg to call your attention to
the condition of the clay bottom between the two rows of piling of the main trunk of the dam
now erected, as shown by the examination made on Saturday last.
Awaiting your reply,
I have, etc.,
(Signed) C. E. Dawson. 578 Correspondence,—Graving Dock. 1878
[Enclosure.]
The Resident Engineer to Mr. Dawson.
Engineer's Office,
Esquimalt, 12th February, 1878.
Dear Sir,—In reply to your letter of 28th January, as to the condition of the clay
bottom between the outer and middle rows of piles already driven, I consider, after the examination of the bottom we made together and from an examination I have since made, it will be
necessary to re-dredge between the said rows of piles, and to remove such quantity of the clay as
has been broken up and disturbed by the driving, before depositing any puddle.
I remain, etc.
(Signed) W. Bennett.
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Mr. Dawson.
Lands and Works Department,
Victoria, February 19th, 1878.
Sir,—Referring to my letter of the 9th, the 11th, and the 18th instant, wherein are
set forth certain alterations recommended by the Resident Engineer in connection with
the details of the work of constructing the Cofferdam at Esquimalt, I have the honour
to inform you that the said suggestions meet with my approval.
I have, therefore, the honour to instruct you to carry out the work in the manner
suggested by the Eesident Engineer, and in conformity with the plans enclosed in the
letters above referred to.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) F. Geo. Vernon.

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