No. 11
Victoria Vancouver's Island
19th May 1856
Sir
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt on the 16th of Inst, of your Despatch No 4, of the 22nd February last, in reply to my communications No 24 and No 32, reporting the measures taken for aiding the authorities of the United States, in repelling the attacks of hostile savages, and it is highly gratifying to observe that those measures have met with the approval of Her Majesty's Government.  
Since
Since the date of my Despatch of the 10th of April last, another pressing appeal has been made to me by Governor Stevens, through Commissary Robinson, for assistance, and I once more advanced funds out of my own private fortune for the purchase of supplies to the amount of 3535 dollars, making with the former advance the sum of 7000 dollars, for which I hold Governor Stevens' acknowledgement. This is a serious drain upon my resources, but in the circumstances I could not with propriety, deny the assistance so pressingly claimed, and I confess that it was not motives of humanity alone that induced me to lend such aid, as I could command, as other reasons of sound policy were not wanting, strongly urging to that course; such as the conviction on my mind that the triumph of the native Tribes, would certainly endanger the position
of
of this Colony; which in that case could not be maintained without a vast increase of expense for military defences.  
It is therefore clearly our interest that the American cause should triumph and the natives be made to feel that they cannot successfully contend against the power and resources of the whites.  
The war does not appear to progress at present; there is a very large force of Americans in the field; acting however chiefly on the defensive, instead of pushing vigorously into the Indian country and forcing the Indians either to give battle or to yield. About 5000 Puget Sound Indians, who remain friendly to the American cause, are collected at various stations, and provided with food at the cost of the United States, with the view of keeping them from joining the ranks of the hostile Tribes. The expense of maintaining so many persons
must
must be large indeed, while the advantage derived from the measure is uncertain.  
A party of British Indians belonging to this settlement who complained that they had been chaced and captured in the Straits of De Fuca, by the United States Steamer "Active," lately appealed to me for redress, and for restitution of their arms, of which they had been deprived.  
I thought it proper in those circumstances to make a demand on their behalf upon the commander of the "Active," who admitted the general facts complained of, and it appears he was induced to take the parties into custody, in consequence of their refusal to bring to, when required, and for afterwards threatening to fire upon his boats, which led him to suppose they were American and hostile Indians. He also gave up the arms, and much to their delight they were returned to the owners.  
I
I have since taken the precaution of issuing an order, warning all British Indian Tribes, not to visit the American Coast, during the continuance of the present Indian war, without having a written permit from me, which the American authorities have promised to respect, and giving them notice that this Government will not otherwise interfere on their behalf, should they be seized by the United States ships of war, on or near the American Territory.  
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient humble Servant,
James Douglas
Governor

The Right Honble Henry Esqre
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
F. Office. L[ithographed] F[orm].  
ABd
13 Augt
HM
Aug 13
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Labouchere to Douglas, No. 15, 23 August 1856.  
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Labouchere, 19 May 1856, National Archives of the UK, 7189, CO 305/7. 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=V56011.scx. Accessed 25 September 2017. 

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