10075. Van Couver's Island

Admiralty,
28th Novr 1851.
Sir
Copy all 
I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you herewith, for the information of Earl Grey, Copies of two Letters dated the 7th July and 5th Augt, No 57 and No 67, from Rear Admiral Moresby, and of their enclosures, containing intelligence respecting the state of affairs in Vancouver's Island
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient
humble Servant.
J Parker
Frederick Peel Esq
﹏   ﹏   ﹏
Colonial Office
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
These papers represent a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. See especially enclosure 4 on the condition of the Settlers & the Admirals remarks at Page 10 of his letter. Refer to Sir J. Pelly
4 Decr
VJ
Mr Peel
This must be done I apprehend? See further my separate minute on 7742. 
HM
D. 8.
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft, Colonial Office to Pelly, Hudson's Bay Company, 20 December 1851, forwarding Moresby's letter and enclosures and requesting explanations. 
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Information respecting the present state of Vancouvers
Island
Copy 
In 10075/5 
"Portland" at Sea.
7th July 1851
Lat. 45° 52'. N. Long 128°, 35'. W.
No 57 

Sir
My Letter No 55 left at Fort Victoria, Vancouvers, Island, with the Chief Factor, Mr. Douglas, to forward (Duplicate transmitted herewith) will inform the Lords Comms of the Admity of my proceedings to 30 July, & bring before them circumstances, relating to the Colonization of the Southern part of Vancouver, which are of interest to HM Govt.⎯ The "Portland" & "Daphne" left Esquimalt' on 4th July — the "Daphne" proceeding in execution of her orders, to Fort Rupert— 
2 ⎯ The further details I have to communicate, I must preface, by disclaiming, the slightest inuendo on the character of the Chief Factor, Mr. Douglas, ⎯ his long service in the Hudson Bay
Company
Company, his energy & intelligence, has justly raised him to the direction of their interests in their vast possessions in this part of the World. In repeating my opinion that the attempt to Colonize Vancouver, by a Company with exclusive rights of Trade, is incompatible with the free & liberal reception of an Emigrant Community, I mean to imply that difficulties, & embarassments must be the result, however, good the intention. 
3. In reference to the Remarks in my letter No 55, I did not intend to explain the position of the parties who arrived in the "Tory" in May last, & are now scarcely recovered from a voyage of nearly Seven months. I can neither denominate them as Colonists, the greater part being servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, intended for the preparation of Farms, under an agreement with Individuals, on the reserved Districts of Victoria & Esquimalt; the Company I am informed creating the Buildings, supplying the Tools, Seed & Live Stock; the Young
Stock
Stock reared to be equally divided, & a moiety of outlay being chargeable to the Settlers. I may not be quite correct, but such is the spirit of the Contract, as related to me by a Mr. McAuley, who is located on a Farm, between Esquimalt & Victoria
4. Mr. Langford, formerly in HM military service, & now a Bailiff in the employment of the Puget Sound Company, arrived in the "Tory" in May last, with his Wife & family. I visited the Farm about 300 acres, situated on the upper part of Esquimalt Harbour, which I am informed he has contracted with the Puget Sound Company to establish, under similar circumstances to those before mentioned. Wooden Houses were being erected, lime was burning, & small Enclosures, had previously been prepared; the workmen were all Englishmen & recently arrived. Mr. Douglas tells me that this Farm, wd cost the first year £1,200, by reason of the Artificers & Labourers, supplied by the Hudsons Bay Company to establish it—perhaps £800, the second year, thus creating a lien of £2,000 on the property before any return could be expected.
5.
 
5. I am informed that at Victoria, two small building lots of 120 feet, by 60, have been sold, one for 100 dollars, the other for 50 Dollars ⎯ The Governor has a small cottage, enclosed by a Stockade, near the Fort, built partly at his own expense, on ground belonging to the Hudsons Bay Company. Padre Lampfrit, a very intelligent & earnest Missionary has erected a house at Victoria a part of which is appropriated for a chapel. He is on good terms with the community, & took his place at my table by the side of the English Clergyman, the Revd R. Staines, with mutual cordiality; nevertheless the good Padre was the cause of anxiety to the settlement, through a misunderstanding with the Indians, when the Tribe assembled round the Fort in a threatening manner. Mr Douglas has a commodious dwelling, nearly completed, on his Farm, near the Fort, & a Farm house on the inland limit.⎯ his Farm, I think extends from Point Ogden, to Mount, & is within the Protection of the Fort
6. Victoria at present offers little
encouragement
encouragement to induce the visits of a Vessel of War ⎯ Neither Vegetables nor Bread could be found ⎯ Sheep we were allowed to purchase at about 9d per pound ⎯ & for a Ton & a half of dry wild grass, cut by one of the Company's Servants, near the beach, & embarked by our own Crew, we were charged £6.5.0. 
7 ⎯ The continuance of the settlement at Soake, seems to be dependent on the Miners (mentioned in Enclosure No 3 of 55) the place is well adapted for a limited number ⎯ Captain Grant, formerly of the Scots Greys who settled at Sooke, has left his land to his Servant, who may not be so fortunate in intimidating the Indians, as his Master was, by exhibiting the effect of two small pieces of Ordnance ⎯ The previous failure of the Muirs at the Coal mines, & their present discontent, does not augur well ⎯ The bush being impenetrable, the only communication with Victoria is by canoes ⎯ 
8 ⎯ I will now repeat the statement of Andrew Muir, in reference to the
rewards ⎯
rewards offered for the apprehension of deserters, by an officer of the Hudsons Bay Company, as there exists a rumour, that the Indians who murdered our unfortunate countrymen were under the impression, that their act would not be punished, but rather that they wd obtain a Reward ⎯ Andrew Muir stated to me, "That the three Seamen murdered belonged to the "Norman Morison"' which ship they left at Victoria, & went on board the England of Liverpool, Captn. Brown. They arrived at Fort Rupert, where intelligence arrived of their being on board the England":—Dr. Helmcken as justice went on board to take them out, but could not find them. The England remained loading until the American Steamer "Massachusets" arrived—on her leaving four men were missing from the Fort. A Reward was offered for their Heads, except the Blacksmith, who was to be brought back. Captain Brown of the "England" told Mr. Blenkinsop who offered the Reward, it was a rash thing:—my father heard him. My father heard Mr. Blenkinsop offer the reward of some Blankets for the
white
"white mens heads, but the blacksmith was to be brought back alive. The men made their escape to California" On mentioning the above to Govr. Blanshard, I think he said that Captain Brown had made a similar statement at San Francisco. Captain Brown is well known at Liverpool, & can be referred to, & will probably be there when their Lordships receive this Letter ⎯ 
9 ⎯ At Machusson, the district adjoining Esquimalt, Mr. Cooper, the Master who brought out the Tory, in May, an old Servant of the Company, has an allotment of 200 acres, & a Mr. Blenkhorne who also came out in the "Tory" has a 100 acres. 
10 ⎯ There is a general complaint that no Title deeds are granted, that the price of Land, & the condition of bringing out Labourers, render the formation of a Colony hopeless, & that it is vain to struggle against the monopoly of the Hudsons Bay Company. 
11. ⎯ If a further immigration is
carried
carried on, under the present agreement, I would earnestly recommend the Hudsons Bay Company to send a larger proportion of married men ⎯ of the labourers who arrived in the "Tory" 75 in number, only 9 brought their wives ⎯ the single men scattered amongst an Indian population will cause results not necessary to dilate on ⎯ 
12. That more extended protection is necessary against the possible hostility of the Indians, the opinions of Mr. Douglas, the Revd R. Staines, & the Settlers at Sooke manifest. On the eve of leaving Esquimalt, Govr Blanshard, when on board the Portland related to me a conversation he had held with Mr Douglas, ⎯ I induced the Govr to request Mr Douglas to repeat his fears in writing—the correspondence is enclosed, & if any error has been committed on the appointment of Mr. Douglas
as
as a local Magistrate, I must bear the onus of having requested it of Govr Blanshard
13. It is with some hesitation I add to my enclosures, the copy of some observations, made by my Steward, who during our stay was in daily communication with the people at Victoria ⎯ I cannot conscientiously withhold it, in justice to the community of HM subjects, who appear to require that their position shd be ameliorated ⎯ 
14. My predecessor Rr Adl Hornby, in transmitting the letter of Captain Wellesley of HMS "Daedalus" of 31 Octr 1850, No 18, commented upon the remarks made by Captain Wellesley, upon the dissatisfaction existing at Fort Rupert, & I would beg to refer their Lordships to this letter ⎯ 
15. I much regret that the State
of
of the Provisions of the "Portland," & the urgent necessity for my return to Valparaiso, has prevented me from going to the Northern Settlements 
I have &c
(signed) Fairfax Moresby
Rear Admiral
&
Commander in Chief
The Secretary
of the Admiralty
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Blanshard to Douglas, 2 July 1851, responding to the latter's concerns about the lack of law enforcement in the colony during Blanshard's imminent trip to Fort Rupert
  • Douglas to Blanshard, 3 July 1851, recommending the appointment of "local Magistrates" to keep the peace during Blanshard's absence. 
  • Blanshard to Douglas, 3 July 1851, enclosing a letter appointing him a local magistrate. 
  • Clemens (Moresby's Steward) no date, observations regarding the dissatisfaction and dismal state of the settlers in Victoria, which, based on his conversations with the settlers, he attributes to the rule of the Hudson's Bay Company.  
  • Moresby to the Admiralty, 5 August 1851, forwarding copy of notes of a conversation with Beardsmore, a former servant of the Hudson's Bay Company. 
  • "Notes of a Conversation with Mr Beardsmore on board HM Ship Portland at Honolulu," 23 July 1851, in which Beardsmore relates his unfavourable impressions of life as a servant of the Hudson's Bay Company, and supplies some details relating to the murder of three British seamen at Fort Rupert.  
 
Footnotes
  1. This addressee information appears at the foot of the first page of the despatch.
  2. This text runs perpendicular to main body text; see image scan.
Public Offices document:
Parker to Peel (Parliamentary Under-Secretary), 28 November 1851, National Archives of the UK, 10075, CO 305/3. 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=V515AD08.scx. Accessed 21 November 2017. 

Last modified: 16:14:15, 12/3/2015