Cooper, Langford and Skinner to Newcastle
Victoria
Vancouvers Island
20th April 1854
To His Grace The Duke of Newcastle Her Majesty's Secretary for the Colonies &c &c &c

Your Grace
A catastrophe of the most melancholy kind has rendered it imperative on us, as a Committee elected, to act in the matter on which we have the honor of addressing you, by our fellow Colonists, to wait upon your Grace with the prayer of the independent residents of this Island for protection from the arbitrary and unconstitutional enactments of the present Governor.  
Situated as we are at so Great a distance from the Imperial Government, & feeling that the most certain and speedy way of laying a clear statement of our grievances before Your Grace, would be by securing the presence in England of some member of our Community to whom we might entrust our Cause, the Colonists, at a meeting held on the 4th Feby (Ulto) for the purpose of arranging the preliminaries of the proposed step, unanimously selected the Revd R.J. Staines, Chaplain to the Hudsons Bay Co for this Island, as the most proper person to proceed to England for the purpose of waiting on Your Grace.  
This Gentleman, at the earnest request of the Colonists, undertook the Commission, & sailed hence for San Francisco, in route to England, on the 1t March (Ulto), but never, as it has pleased the Almighty, to reach his destination, the vessel having been discovered some short time since by a passing Ship in a waterlogged state, & but one of the crew surviving to tell the sad fate of his fellows.  
Deeply regretting as we do the untimely end of one who had the interests of our infant Community so much at heart, & than whom none could more efficiently have depicted the crushing effect of the incubus under which our energies are paralysed, we at the same time are so well assured of Your Graces earnest wish, as ever shewn, for the protection of the true interests of this Colony, that in laying before you the Documents with which our Delegate would have been charged, we do so with a perfect Confidence that they will meet from Your Grace every Consideration & attention, their importance entitles them to.  
We have the honor to remain Your Graces
Most obt humble Servants
James Cooper M.C.
Edward E. Langford J.P.
Thomas James Skinner J.P.
Wm E. Banfield
James Yates
Committee elected by the Colonists
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
The Ordinance referred to has been reported upon by Sir F. Rogers. His report [marginal note: (down stairs)] is dated the 20 ulto.  
The last despatch from Govr Douglas is dated the 28 March, & no mention has been yet made by him of the subject of this complaint, or the death of Mr Staines.  
As this Settlement is so distant we had perhaps better not wait for the receipt of the Governor's report on this subject, but write to him at once for it.  
ABd
11 July
This may be done I think: but it is difficult to deal with such a paper: because the memorialists specify no dates, names, or other particulars.  
But I am much inclined to believe the time is come when the Governor ought to be positively directed to summon an elective legislature.  
HM
Jy 11
I should like to see the despatch in which Governor Douglas reported Mr Cameron's appt as acting Judge of his new Court.  
FP
12
This complaint certainly demands more enquiry. Is there any information as to Mr Cameron's qualifications?  
GG
12
Sir George Grey
We have no information as to Mr Cameron's qualifications.  
S. Thellusson
17th July/54.
Mr Colvile (Govr of the H.B.Co.) could no doubt give information about him.  
HM
FP
17
Write for a report.  
GG
18
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 3, 20 August 1854, memorial, in protest of Cameron's appointment.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Colonists of Vancouver Island to Queen Victoria, 1 March 1854, petition requesting an investigation of the recent appointment of David Cameron as judge of the Supreme Court of Vancouver Island (70 signatures).  
  • Colonists of Vancouver Island to Newcastle, 1 March 1854, memorial protesting the appointment of Cameron and other arbitrary acts of the governor. (6 pages, 70 signatures).  
 
Correspondence (private letter):
Cooper, Langford and Skinner to Newcastle, 20 April 1854, National Archives of the UK, 5924, CO 305/5. 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=V546C01.scx. Accessed 18 November 2017. 

Last modified: 15:05:35, 31/3/2015