Romaine to Under-Secretary of State
Admiralty
3 February 1863
Sir,
I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you, herewith, for the information of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, copies of a Despatch, and of its enclosures, that have been received from Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Maitland, dated, 1 Decber 1862,
No 312,
No 312, reporting the proceedings of Captain G.H. Richards, of HMS "Hecate" and of Commander Pike of HMS "Devastation", in capturing certain Indians implicated in the Murder of two White men near Fort Simpson, reporting also, the result of Commander Pike's investigation of other disputes with the Indians on the North West Coast of Vancouver's Island.  
I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
W.G. Romaine
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
No mention has been made by the Governor to this Office of these proceedings—which, so far as the Naval Officers are concerned, seem to me to be characterized with much discretion.  
We can have little doubt that, if the case is brought to Govr Douglas' knowledge, he will deal sharply with traders selling spirits & pure alcohol to the Indians.  
ABd
Perhaps a despatch ought to be addressed to Governor Douglas saying that we have received through the Admiralty the reports of their proceedings made by the Naval Officers who captured certain Indians implicated in the murder of two White men near Fort Simpson, and inquired into other disputes with the Indians on the Northwest Coast of Vancouver's Island.  
With reference to the passages to which Mr Blackwood refers, state to the Governor that the Secy of State does not doubt that if any cases should be duly substantiated and brought within the scope of the law, the Governor will deal with due rigor with any Traders who may illegally sell spirits to the Indians.  
TFE
6 Feby
N
8
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 11, 10 February 1863, informing Douglas of the receipt of the naval reports from Pike and Richards and advising that Douglas deal severely with the illegal sale of spirits.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Maitland to Secretary of the Admiralty, 1 December 1862, enclosing: 1. Richards to Maitland, 24 September 1862.
    2. Pike to Maitland, 7 October 1862, enclosing:
    a. Statement of Nishga Chiefs
    b. Receipt for Blankets
    c. Statement by John White
    d. Account of Property Received from HMS Devastation.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
 
1. Maitland to Secretary to the Admiralty


"Bacchante" at Valparaiso
1st December/62

Sir
With reference to my letter No. 264 of the 3rd September on the Subject of Indian outrages on the North West Coast of Vancouver Island, I enclose for the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty copies of letters from Captain G.H. Richards of the "Hecate" and Commander Pike of the Devastation reporting
-ceedings
proceedings in capturing certain Indians implicated in the murder of two White Men near Fort Simpson, also the result of Commander Pike's investigation of other disputes with the Indians on that Coast.  
I have &c
T. Maitland
Rr. Admiral and
Commander in Chief



The Secretary of the Admiralty
 
1.1 Richards to Maitland
(Enclosure in Maitland to Admiralty, 1 December 1862


H.M. Ship "Hecate"
Fort Simpson
British Columbia
24 Sept/62

Sir,
I have the honor to acquaint you that HM Ship under my Command anchored here on the 18th Inst where I found the "Devastation" and learned from Commander Pike the measures he had taken for the capture of three Indian men and a woman of the Kin-ak-aw-geak Tribe, implicated in the late murder of two White men near this place, the details of which you will
gather
gather from his report on the subject.  
2. It appears that on the 16th Inst one of the supposed murderers and the native woman were given up to Commander Pike & that the tribe had promised to use their endeavours to apprehend the remaining two who had taken refuge on Dundas Id 12 miles westward of this Port.  
3. At an interview with the Chiefs which took place on the 15th Inst Comr Pike informed me that he had expressed his determination to destroy their village & property should the whole of the delinquents not be given up to him by Friday evening the 19th Inst.  
4. On the morning of that day, accompanied by Comr Pike I requested Mr Duncan the Missionary teacher here to assemble the Chiefs of the different tribes, and with his assistance as Interpreter, I pointed out to them that by the presence of a second ship of war here, they might rely on our determination to carry our point & likewise impressed on them that it was their duty as well as their interest to assist in bringing the murderers to justice.  
5. Through the great influence which Mr Duncan possesses over the Tribes generally, several of the principal men
among
among them volunteered to proceed to Dundas Id to assist in the capture and I desired Comr Pike to convey them there in the Devastation on the following morning and to use every means in his power to apprehend the culprits & bring them to this place; in the mean time the destruction of the village & property was deferred. The "Devastation" returned in the same evening having seized 15 of their Canoes & a large quantity of winter food belonging to the tribe.  
6. Owing to the very boisterous state of the weather no communication by canoe could be kept up with Dundas Id until Tuesday the 23rd when another of the murderers was
brought
brought to Fort Simpson by the natives and confined on board the Devastation.  
7. There now remained but one man to be captured "Loo-dree-chee-wost" but the natives did not seem disposed to give him up, indeed there is reason to believe that more than once he had been in their power, it was scarcely possible with any force of ours unaided by them to effect this object as the man was concealed in a thickly wooded Isd of considerable extent & was supported & sustained in his hiding place by powerful friends.  
8. At the same time it appeared most desirable that our success in the matter should be complete: the natives are a large and powerful body of eight different Tribes with a certain sympathy& connection existing between them and have always considered themselves, & really been, superior to any European force that has hitherto been brought in contact with them.  
9. The murder of the White men was a cruel and premeditated one purely for the sake of plunder and would probably be followed by others unless a complete recognition of our authority & superiority was not established and a certainty that such acts could not be perpetrated with impunity.  
10. With a view therefore to leave nothing untraced to gain our object I left Fort Simpson with the "Hecate" on the 23rd and accompanied by Commander Pike and the armed
boats
boats of the "Devastation" as well as by Mr Duncan proceeded down the coast to the Southward where a part of the Tribe were said to have fled and among them some of the relations of the man we desired to capture, on the 24th we seized 9 more of their large canoes, but the people with the exception of a few women were gone, & had probably concealed themselves in the thick bush. I then visited Dundas Isd and a smaller one to the westward of it where some of the Natives asserted the murderer still to be but was unsuccessful in securing him & returned to Fort Simpson in the evening where a rumour reached me that he had fled to Nass River
70
70 miles to the Northward.  
11. The case appeared now to be assuming a more complicated aspect, there seemed but little probability of our getting the man without a considerable delay which circumstances rendered very inconvenient at this time & I therefore decided that the chief of the tribe and 5 hostages the latter already on board the "Devastation" together with the 3 natives implicated in the murder should be conveyed to Vancouver Isd. without delay & delivered over to Colonial Auths. at Victoria by which means I have little doubt but that the man "Loo-dree-chee-wost" will be eventually given up.  
12. To have destroyed the large village here, as well as
the
the 25 canoes and great quantity of provisions in our possession would have undoubtedly inflicted a very severe punishment on the tribe and looking to the number of women & children who must have been equally the sufferers, I was led to think that such an act would scarcely have been justifiable & would probably have produced a feeling among the Indians generally, which might have compromised the safety of the H.B. Co's servants here, as well as the numerous White miners passing between Stickeen River and Vancouver Island & not least have exercised a very mischievous influence on the missionary establishment of Mr
Duncan
Duncan
& probably placed that gentleman's life in danger while the possession of the Chief and some of the powerful men of the tribe by us, would in all probability prove a source of safety to the whites here generally.  
13. Another meeting with the natives consequently took place on the morning of this day when my intentions were explained to them, & the chief of the tribe was seized & secured on board the "Devastation" for conveyance to Victoria. The canoes & property were then restored to them & they were acquainted that the hostages would be retained until the murderer was given up.  
14. The "Hecate" & "Devastation" will proceed tomorrow to Metlakatla Mr Duncan's native settlement 20 miles south of this place where the latter Ship will procure wood & probably remain until the 29th or 30th instant, and it seems very probable that during the interval the murderer may still be captured and conveyed to her in which case the hostages will be set at liberty. After taking in fuel Comr Pike will proceed to Nanaimo and Esquimalt calling at Seleassa a native settlement about 60 miles from this place to settle some dispute between the Indians and White people & I shall resume my surveying duties on the western side of Vancouver Isd in the "Hecate."  
15. It is due to Mr Duncan to say, that for the success obtained in the capture of these people without resorting to violent measures we are mainly indebted to his untiring exertions and the great influence he possesses over all the native tribes & that his assistance was proffered in the most prompt and ready manner.  
I have &ca
G.H. Richards, Captain



Rr Admiral Sir T. Maitland C.B.
Commander in Chief
 
1.2 Pike to Rear Admiral Maitland.
(Enclosure in Maitland to Admiralty, 1 December 1862
HMS "Devastation"
Johnstone's Straits
Vancouver's Island
7 Oct: 1862

Sir
I have the honor to report my proceedings with regard to outrages committed by Indians upon miners on the West Coast of British Columbia.  
With regard to the first complaint, a robbery of goods from the Schooner "Nonpareil" in October 1861 by the Nishka Indians, at Nass River, I found that in the summer of that year the Master of the "Nonpareil" after trading
a
a large quantity of spirits, had taken away from Nass the wife of a Chief named Seospahkoot. On the return of the schooner to Nass in October, the master invited the Chiefs on board, & served spirits out to them.  
The Indians then traded all the skins they had for spirits, and afterwards parted with their blankets. In the evening, a nephew of Seospahkoot went on board the schooner, & while there, his canoe was cut adrift by a Chimsian Indian, one of the Schooner's crew. The Nishka Indians, excited by drink, then commenced to quarrel
with
with the Chimsian for cutting away his canoe, and would have struck him, upon which the master of the schooner took up a heavy Iron tiller, and struck Seospahkoot's nephew on the head; the man fell to the deck insensible, and the master endeavoured to throw him into the sea.  
This man is permanently injured by the blow, and unable to from its effects to get his living, as an Indian must, by his physical strength.  
The whole body of Indians maddened by drink, then boarded the schooner, the master begged them to take property in preference to life, and then
opened
opened the door of his store room, into which they rushed and helped themselves, but they insist upon it that the master's account of the goods taken is much exaggerated.  
I find that this schooner has been in the habit of bringing up immense quantities of spirits, depositing it in the various creeks to replenish her cargo, and trading at the following rates.
1/2 pint for a minx skin
1/2 Gall. for a martin or bear
1/2 Gall. for a blanket and that pure alcohol & camphine are by no means uncommon articles of trade.  
Considering the gross
miconduct
misconduct of the master of the schooner, & the great provocation the Indians had received, I felt much inclined to dismiss the complaint, but lest such a proceeding might induce them to mistake my motives, I explained to the Ten Chiefs, who in answer to my summons, at once came to represent the tribe, that however great the provocation they might receive they were not justified in seizing property, that Drunkenness was no palliation of the offence, but the contrary, & that this property having been unlawfully taken, they must give up on demand.  
The Chiefs answered that
they
they had long ago determined to return the property that it was all ready to return on the Schooner's last visit, but then as on former occasions, large quantities of spirits were served out and traded—five men were shot, and the vessel sailed before they recovered from this excitement.  
They expressed a strong desire to make amends for their unlawful act and at once agreed to return the property.  
As however HMS "Devastation" could not wait while they returned to Nass to fetch, I received from them the enclosed paper, binding themselves to return the goods
when
when demanded.  
Regarding the complaint of the forcible seizure of a canoe from five men by a chief of the Kitzeetch tribe in June last. The evidence went to show that the purchasers have misrepresented the terms upon which they purchased the canoe at Victoria.  
Instead of paying 32 dollars as they state, they payed 20$ in cash and promised a further payment of rum & cloth at Fort Simpson.  
On their arrival there, they would not complete their bargain, & the vendor used force to regain possession of his canoe. I took the opportunity
of
of explaining publicly that violence, in any case, was unjustifiable, & adjudged him to return the 20 dollars he had received, which was done in my presence.  
On the 15th Septr I received your orders to endeavour to secure the murderers of John Henley and George ______ and hearing on enquiry, that the murderers were secreted among their tribe, and that they threatened to resist any attempt to take them, I landed at daylight of the 16th and with the armed boats and marines of HMS "Devastation" surrounded the village of the
Kimahangreh
Kimahangreh Indians, and seized 8 of the most influential persons of the tribe, announcing to the rest my intention to hold these 8 as hostages until the murderers were given up.  
The woman Ighsh was given up that same day.  
On the 18th Talkh, one of the murderers, was given up, but they refused to give up the other two.  
On the 20th September by Captain Richards directions (who in HMS "Hecate" arrived on the 18th) I proceeded to Dundas Island, whither I heard that the murderers had been conveyed, seized fifteen canoes belonging to the tribe, and made prisoner
of
of a man named Kohmanah who had assisted the murderers to escape. I also made prisoner of a man named Stimbao, who had fired at and narrowly missed the Boatswain of this ship, when in charge of the gig; he was seized in the Act of priming his musket for a second shot.  
On the 23rd Leash, another of the guilty men, was given up, but they determinedly refused to surrender the third person implicated, a man of considerable influence in the tribe, named Loodyeecheeoust, & who, having possessed himself of a large sum of money from the person
of
of the murdered man is able to pay well for the assistance rendered him by others of the tribe.  
On the same day the armed boats of HMS "Devastation" proceeded in tow of HMS "Hecate", & I seized 9 more canoes belonging to the same tribe. A search was also made for the murderer at Zayas Island by the HMS "Hecate" but without success.  
On the morning of the 25th the Chief of the tribe, Allan-lah-hah was taken on board the "Devastation" and as there seemed no prospect of arresting the third person implicated in the murder, I left Fort Simpson without him,
retaining
retaining the Chief & 5 of the tribe for conveyance to Victoria as hostages, until the third guilty person should be given up.  
On the afternoon of the 25th the Sloop "Hamley" arrived from Victoria off Port Simpson, and on examining her, she was found laden with spirits. The master could show neither permit, manifest, nor bills for lading, and prevaricated very much in his statements, saying first that the spirits belonged to an Italian passenger, then declaring that he did not know that any spirits were on board, nor did he know to whom they were consigned, or
who
who would receive them from him.  
As the distribution of these spirits amongst the Indians at that present time of excitement would have been followed by most serious results, and as the vessel was known to be a notorious whiskey trader & the seizure & detention of her would been a matter of great inconvenience, the master of HMS "Devastation" by my authority started into the sea that portion of his cargo amounting to some 300 gallons of the spirits, among which were 14.5 gallon tins of pure alcohol.  
At Metlahkartah (Mr Duncan's mission) the chief I had detained on board was released in consequence
of
of a general appeal from the community of Indians there to Captain Richards, that his great age might be taken into consideration and that he might be left among them in lieu of being taken to Victoria. I also took upon myself, at Mr Duncan's request, to give authority to 10 Indians whom he selected, to act as constables at that settlement.  
I anchored off the village of the Kithrahtlah or Sebessah Indians on the 3rd Oct, and received from them a British subject named John White—the circumstances which led to his detention among them will be detailed in his statement.  
I took upon myself to award
and
and pay to an Indian named Quoshawahl and his wife Aylash $15 for their humanity in rescuing him from starvation and providing him with food and lodging for more than 6 weeks.  
I found the Sebassah village almost deserted, nearly all the tribe being absent at distant fishing stations, but I recovered a canoe & a portion of the property of which some miners had been plundered in July last.  
I had little or no information as to the facts of this last named outrage, & felt greatly the want of an interpreter. The Indians however, promised to produce the men implicated (eight in number)
and
and the remainder of the property on the return of the tribe to the villages.  
I have &c
J.W. Pike, Commander



Rr Admiral Sir Thomas Maitland KCB
&c &c &c
 
1.2.1 Statement of Nishga Chiefs
(Enclosure in Pike to Maitland, 7 October 1862)  
We the undersigned Chiefs of the Nishka tribe of Indians at Nass River promise in the name of the tribe, to deliver the property taken from the Schooner "Nonpareil" in October 1861, to any man of war that may demand it or to any person who may be authorized by His Excellency Governor Douglas to receive it.  
Fort Simpson
22nd Septr/62
Kintsahda, his X mark
Kithion, his X mark
Akshahtahan, his X mark
Nayioum, his X mark
Akwah
Akwah, his X mark
Kameghyan, his X mark
Shahoowha, his X mark
Pillahshkah, his X mark
Necachkinwaht, his X mark
Yay, his X mark  


 
1.2.2 Receipt for Blankets
(Enclosure in Pike to Maitland, 7 October 1862)  
Fort Simpson
16th Sept 1862


Received from John W. Pike Esquire Commander of HMS "Devastation" the amount of ten blankets at a value of two dollars each (amounting to 20 dollars) being the amount adjudged by him to be returned to us by Heymash, a chief of the Kazeetch tribe of Indians being the amount which appeared by evidence to be the sum paid by us to him for
a
a canoe, which he afterwards took from us by force at Fort Simpson and retained in his possession, in June last, on the plea that the bargain had not been completed.  
W.H. Gilbert, his X mark
Wm Graham, his X mark
For W.H. Gilbert, Wm. Graham, G.D. Williams, C.H. Page, and H. Taylor

Witness W. Duncan


 
1.2.3 Statement by John White
(Enclosure in Pike to Maitland, 7 October 1862)  
The information of John White of Kithrahtalah in the District of British Columbia taken this second day Octr in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & sixty two before me John W. Pike one of H.M.'s Justices of the Peace for British Columbia who being sworn upon his oath saith—  
1. I am a British Subject borne at Queens Co: Ireland. I have never naturalized as an American Citizen.  
2.
2. At New Westminster I joined with 4 Americans and bought a canoe, their names were William Fullard, (who had worked with Mr Spence a contractor, between Boston Bar and Lytton) Baker, (a Sailor on board a Whale Ship lately from Sandwich Islands) Charlie (a ship carpenter who attended men with the small pox & is well known in New Westminster) and Adams an American who hunts between New Westminster and Victoria.  
3. I left New Westminster in July in company with these four men, stopped at Nanaimo and took in an Indian guide for Stickeen. After passing Fort Rupert I overheard a conversation between Baker, Charlie, and Fullard to the effect, "we will get all we can out of White and then do away with him" when they observed that I had heard their conversation Fullard remarked "Oh God, he has heard all we have said".  
4. The second day afterward I observed them making signs to one another in the
canoe
canoe and each man handled his knife, I also drew mine and put it on the seat beside me, we then pulled to an island and landed and I refused to go any further with them and they left me there with my clothes and a little flour and went away at once.  
Two days afterwards 3 Indians, 2 men and a boy, came by in a canoe seal hunting they landed and enquired whether I was sick with the Smallpox. They then robbed me of all I had and searched my pockets & took me in
their
their canoe about 20 miles promising to take me to their home. We landed on an Island and they made me make a fire one of them took a gun saying "he would go into the bush and shoot some fouls for supper" while I was making the fire I was shot from behind in the shoulder I then got up and ran along the beach and all 3 ran after me. I got out of their sight and went into the bush and remained there some days. I do not know how long without food or shelter until I crawled down
to
to the beach and met 3 Indians and a woman. I called to them and they gave me food & brought me to their house, they kept me there for some time, treating me very well, and then moved me to another fishing village, & from there brought me to the Sabassah village.  
5. They moved me about from place to place frequently but on all occasions the man and woman treated me very kindly I consider they saved my life and did everything in their power for me except give
me
me up.  
John White, his X mark

Sworn before me the day and the date above written.
Signed John W. Pike
Witness
Signed, Carter Assist Paymr, 2nd Class


 
1.2.4 Account of Property Received from HMS Devastation
(Enclosure in Pike to Maitland, 7 October 1862)  
Account of Property received from HMS "Devastation" for conveyance to the Police Station, Victoria, being a portion of property pillaged from miners by the Kitrahtlah Indians, in July or August 1862.
1 Canoe
1 Bag of flour
1 Box of flour
2 pairs of Boots
1 small bag of property
8 Blankets
1 sail
1 shovel
1 Bear Skin ) given by Indians
4 Beaver Do ) in lieu of flour
11 Minx Do ) they had consumed
1 Otter Do )  
J.W. Pike, Commr
.in
 
Public Offices document:
Romaine to Under-Secretary of State, 3 February 1863, National Archives of the UK, 1181, CO 60/17. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=B635AD01.scx. Accessed 24 September 2018. 

Last modified: 14:47:07, 28/2/2018