No. 25
Victoria Vancouver's Island
20th October 1856
Sir
1. I have the honor of enclosing herewith a copy of a communication which I lately received from Commander Swartwout, commanding the naval Forces of the United States within the Straits of Juan de Fuca, reporting that an American citizen had been cruelly murdered by the natives near the town of Seattle, and requesting my aid and assistance towards arresting
the
the murderers. The letter was delivered by Captain Swartwout in person, and he also informed me that the murder was committed on the 3rd of this present month.  
2. For obvious reasons I declined interfering with the arrest of the murderers, except in the case of their taking refuge within the British settlements, when I agreed to sanction the execution of any process issued by the Magistrates of Washington Territory and embraced by the provisions of the Extradition Treaty.  
3. I also made it obvious to Captain Swartwout that the moral effect of the punishment on the Indian mind would be altogether destroyed if the arrest were made by the British authorities, and I advised him to chase the murderers
to
to their homes, and to arrest them if necessary in the midst of their friends being the course which in every attempt on the lives of British subjects we have been compelled to resort to.  
4. He did not however seem disposed to follow my advice; and I presume the Indians have made their escape. I am convinced that none of them have been seen, or heard of in this quarter; especially as I have, on all occasions, warned the Natives, that offenders against the laws of the United States, are not to seek harbour in the British settlements. If permitted to do so, they might be claimed by the United States' authorities, and their arrest on British Territory, would most certainly embroil us with their friends.  
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas
Governor

The Right Honble Henry Labouchere Esqre
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
Acknowledge & approve the Govrs proceedings?  
VJ
30 Decr
HM
D 30
JB
Jan 3
HL
4
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Labouchere to Douglas, No. 2, 7 January 1857.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Commander S. Swartwout, USS Massachusetts, to Douglas, 4 October 1856, requesting assistance in the arrest of some Indigenous men for murder.  
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Labouchere, 20 October 1856, National Archives of the UK, 11583, 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=V56025.scx. Accessed 20 July 2018. 

Last modified: 15:43:34, 28/5/2015