2521. Vancouvers Island.

Copy 
Fort Rupert
Vancouvers Island.
October. 19. 1850.
My Lord,
I have the honor to inform your Lordship that H.M.S. Daedalus, under the command of Captain G Wellesly, visited this colony on the 22nd of September last, on my informing Captain Wellesly that three murders had been committed by the Indians and also of my inability to take any measures for the punishment of the murderers, he consented to proceed with the Daedalus to Fort Rupert, near which the murders were committed, to give any assistance that might be required. On my arrival at Fort Rupert, I found that the officer of the Hudson Bay company who had been dispatched by Dr Helmcken to make enquiries respecting the murder, had on his return given a totally false account of the result of those enquiries, asserting that he owed no obedience except to the Hudson's Bay Company, he shortly afterwards crossed the straight to a post of the company's and made a statement of the real facts to Mr Douglas a chief factor of the company, of this declaration I was not furnished with a copy till after my arrival here a few days ago, and not till the investigation was concluded. Thus his conflicting stories were in circulation at once, which being traced to the same source, raised suspicions of foul play, and caused the report that I have previously mentioned viz. that the unfortunate men had been murdered by order of the Hudsons Bay Company; A deposition that has since been made me on oath, backed by the evidence of an Interpreter and several of the Indian chiefs, was perfectly conclusive not only as to the tribes but as to the very persons of the murderers. On the 11. October Dr Helmcken visited the Newitty camp about 12 miles distant, and demanded by name the murderers for trial, the whole tribe took up arms they acknowledged the murder and offered furs in payment, but refused to surrender the guilty parties, declared themselves hostile, and threatened the lives of the magistrate and his party pointing their guns at them; on learning this I applied to Captain Wellesly for assistance and he dispatched the boats of the Daedalus on the 12th to apprehend the murderers by force if necessary, they returned on the 13th and I have the honor to enclose your Lordship a copy of the report, by which you will see that the whole tribe had deserted their camp, which was burnt by the officer commanding the boats. I have offered a reward for the apprehension of three of the murderers, the fourth who was present being a boy of only nine years of age. 
The Daedalus left me at Fort Rupert on the 14th Inst. to proceed to San Francisco, being unable to remain longer on account of shortness of provisions — 
With regard to the disturbances that had taken place among the Honble Hudsons Bay Company's servants they have completely subsided, insomuch so that Dr Helmcken did not find it necessary to publish the proclamation of which I sent your Lordship a copy. The disturbances had been occasioned by the bad quality of food which had been served out to the English labourers, as well as by two miners being actually placed in irons illegaly for some days, for refusing to perform some work. The miners made me a written complaint on the subject demanding redress, but they left the Island before I was able to take any notice of it. 
I regret to say that Dr Helmcken has declined acting any longer as magistrate, on the ground that the
only
only causes are between the Hudson's Bay Company and their servants, and as being a paid servant of the former, he cannot be considered an impartial person; this objection is good against all servants of the company holding commissions, as they can be removed from the colony at a moments notice by their employers and are kept in the greatest subjection — 
There are at present no settlers at all in the Island, Mr Grant left for the Sandwich Islands some days ago. 
I have the honor to be
Your Lordships obedient Servant
Richard Blanshard.
Governor of Vancouvers Island

To the Rt Honble
Earl Grey
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
Communicate to the Hudson's Bay Company. See 2226.
                                       51  
ABd
26/3
Govr Blanshard should not make these charges against individuals without specifying names & facts, but the rupture between him & the Company's people on the island is evidently such that no cooperation is to be expected between them. This letter is dated from the Company's fort at the Northern extremity, the farthest point from Victoria
HM
Mh 26.
M 27
BH.
Has not a despatch been written to the Govr on this subject which I do not find here? 
G.
27
Mr Smith.
Have you any such despatch? There is none in my division; 
ABd
28/3
28 March The draft of the recent desp. to Governor Blanshard is annexed. 
This is sufficiently ansd by the despatch already written. — 
G.
29/
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Copy, Wellesly to Blanshard, 13 October 1850, reporting the failure of his men to apprehend the murderers from the Newitty camp, the camp having been abandoned by the tribe. 
 
Footnotes
  1. This addressee information appears at the foot of the first page of the despatch.
  2. Though no signature is given, this entry is presumed to be Smith's.
Despatch to London:
Blanshard to Earl Grey, 19 October 1850, National Archives of the UK, 2521, CO 305/2. 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=V50007.scx. Accessed 25 September 2017. 

Last modified: 16:14:14, 12/3/2015