No. 85, Separate
14th October 1864
Sir
1. I have the honor to transmit the papers named in the margin *
*
Admiral Denman, 7th September 1864.
Governor Kennedy, 7th September 1864.
Admiral Denman, 10th October 1864.
Admiral Denman, 14th October 1864.
Governor Kennedy, 14th October 1864.  
relating to two separate Indian outrages upon white men. I will confine myself to an outline of these cases, the particulars and details of which are disclosed in the accompanying documents.  
2. In the early part of 1862 information reached Victoria that
a
a Mr Bamfield, who had been appointed by my Predecessor in 1859 as an Indian Agent at Barclay Sound, had lost his life by drowning, and though there was a strong popular belief that he had been murdered I cannot learn that any steps were taken to ascertain the truth.  
3. Shortly after my arrival in this Colony circumstances came to my knowledge that left no doubt in my mind that Bamfield had been murdered.  
4. I
4. I instituted inquiries both here and in the neighbouring American Territory which established the identity of the murderers. After a conference with Admiral the Honorable J. Denman he sent H.M. Steam vessel "Devastation" with the Superintendent of Police and succeeded in capturing some of the murderers who are now awaiting trial.  
5. The second case is more serious and more lamentable. The "Kingfisher," a small trading vessel of 16 tons left this harbour on a coasting voyage about the 8th June last.
The
The owners, Messrs Stevenson and Wilson were highly intelligent and respectable Englishmen who with a Fort Rupert Indian formed the Crew.  
6. Rumours reached Victoria that this vessel had been seized and plundered, and the crew murdered by the Ahouset tribe of Indians at Clayoquot Sound on the north west coast of this Island.  
7. I consulted with the Admiral on the subject and the result was the expedition of which
I
I now transmit the report dated 10th October 1864.  
8. The last communication from Admiral Denman dated 14th October brings the narrative up to that date, from which you will observe that three of the Indians implicated in the murder of the Crew of the "Kingfisher" are now in custody.  
9. I feel confident that the forbearing yet firm and effective proceedings taken by the Admiral in the latter case will be productive of the best results.  
10. The natives on this coast
will
will require constant and regular supervision till they are impressed with the danger of breaking the law, and the certainty of punishment. It is all the more necessary as several cases of white men being attacked or murdered have unhappily been allowed to pass by unredressed and which has encouraged the Indians in bolder courses.  
11. Mr Hankin who is so well spoken of by Admiral Denman in his report dated 10th October is a Gentleman to whom I have lately given temporary employment in the
Colonial
Colonial Secretary's Office and knowing his experience on the coast I offered his services to the Admiral. Mr Hankin was recommended to me by Captain Richards under whom he served in the Royal Navy. I hope to put Mr Hankin in a better position when a suitable opportunity offers.  
12. I cannot conclude without expressing my obligations to Admiral Denman and those under his command for the cordial manner in which they have aided me in this matter.  
I have the honor to be,
Sir,
Your very obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Governor
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
We have already received this account of the seizure of the "Kingfisher" & Murder of her Crew from the Admiralty. The Papers are in Circulation.  
VJ
19 Decr
Mr Fortescue
I send on today (although minuted by me on Saturday) the Admiralty letter in which we first received Admiral Denman's report of his proceedings.  
The upshot is that in the case of the murder of a European named Bamfield, some of the Indian murderers are now in custody and awaiting trial, and that in the case of the murder of the Crew of the "Kingfisher", three of the Indians implicated in it are also in custody.  
Wars are doubtless to be deprecated, but unless we could chastise repeated murders on the part of the Indians, it would soon be time for us to abandon these Countries to their aboriginal Inhabitants. It seems to me therefore that we have every reason to rejoice at the promptitude and vigor of the measures which have been
taken
taken on this subject in British Columbia and now in Vancouver Island, and that their success is the best and most gratifying proof of their having been well designed.  
TFE
19 Decr
Acknowledge with approval—recognizing the absolute necessity of protecting peaceful traders by inflicting condign punishment upon natives guilty of such treacherous acts of murder & robbery as those committed by the Ahusett tribe.  
Add that in this case there is no appearance of the outrage having been provoked by anything except the opportunity of plunder. But express a hope that the Govr will lose no occasion of impressing upon traders & others the impropriety & folly of irritating the natives, as is sometimes the case, by violent & contemptuous language or conduct (see Commander Pike's letter).  
CF
20
EC
22
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Copy, Deposition detailing "Information received from Cetahanun Chief of the Clay-o-quot Indians relating to the burning of the 'Kingfisher' and massacre of the Crew," no signature, no date.  
  • Kennedy to Denman, 27 September 1864, expressing satisfaction at the conclusion of the expedition, and asking that Pike be sent to deal with the outrage committed against the crew of the Kingfisher.  
  • Denman to Kennedy, 10 October 1864, undated newspaper clipping containing an account of his expedition to Clayoquot Sound to bring to justice those accused of the murder of the crew of the Kingfisher.  
  • Statement of Ea-qui-ok-shittle, 5 October 1864, regarding the sinking of the Kingfisher and the murder of her crew, including the names of the perpetrators and the actions taken by them, signed by Denman, J.P. Coode, J.W. Pike, W.E.L Veale, P.J. Hankin and the mark of the Indian witness.  
  • Copy, Hugh Robert Stewart, Senior Lieutenant, to Captain J.P. Coode, 8 October 1864, reporting on his expedition to capture the chief of the Ahouset Indians, including a list of articles believed to have belonged to the crew of the Kingfisher found in the Indian village at Cypress Bay.  
  • Denman to Kennedy, 14 October 1864, undated newspaper clipping advising that he had returned to Victoria with "two of the murderers of the late crew of the Kingfisher and one other man who was present at the murder and whose deposition I have already sent to you."  
  • Denman to Kennedy, 14 October 1864, warmly acknowledging the successful completion of the recent expeditions.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Denman to Kennedy, 27 September 1864


H.M.S. Sutlej
Esquimalt
27 Sep 1864

Sir
I beg to inform your Excellency that the Devastation has returned to this Port having brought back Three Indians guilty of the Murder of the late Mr Bamfield.  
I enclose a copy of Commander Pike's letter of proceedings which shows the report of the Murder of the "Kingfisher's" Crew &c to be too true. The refusal of the Tribe of Ahusetts to afford redress renders severe measures indispensable but in making the necessary example I am anxious that there
should be
should be the least possible effusion of blood, and I request to be informed of Your Excellencys views with respect to the question of accepting the aid of the Clay-o-quot Indians as well as on the subject in general.  
I have desired Commander Pike to wait upon you and supply any further particulars you may wish to ascertain.  
I have &c
J.O.S. Denman
Rear Admiral and Commander in Chief



His Excellency Governor A.E. Kennedy C.B.
&c &c &c
Victoria
Pike to Denman, No. 23, 27 September 1864


H.M.S. Devastation
Esquimalt
27th September 1864

Sir
I have the Honor to report my arrival at this anchorage and that I have on Board for delivery to the proper authorities Three Indians of the Ohyat Tribe named Such-kool, Hoth-lu-arta and Klats-mish the principals in the Murder of Mr Bamfield in Barclay Sound.  
Having in obedience to your Orders left Esquimalt Harbour on the evening of the 17th instant, at daylight on the following morning I
called
called at Neah Bay, Cape Flattery, and there obtained a Clay-o-quot Indian as Pilot and Interpreter who has been of very great service during the cruize.  
I also received information of the persons concerned in the Piracy and Murder committed on the sloop "Kingfisher" by the Ahoset Indians in Clay-o-quot Sound.  
At 1.30 P.M. on the same day I called off Cape Beale but finding both Villages deserted proceeded round the Cape and anchored in Bamfield Creek.  
At night I landed at the House of the Chief and as he had hidden himself and
would
would not come forward I seized his Canoes and took his daughter as a hostage.  
I found the Indians fully prepared for resistance some Three hundred men being under arms at the Numakamis Village and that they had received information that the object of our visit was to arrest the Murderers of Mr Bamfield.  
On Monday afternoon Mr Smith left in his Boat with two Indians and his Assistant to pull round to Numakamis—when near the Village he was surrounded by Twelve large Canoes containing 60 or 70 armed
Indians
Indians who seized Mr Smith's Assistant and took him on shore.  
Immediately on Mr Smiths return on board I weighed and proceeded to an anchorage about 1000 yards from the Numakamis Village when upon the Ships appearance Mr Smiths Assistant was at once sent on board in a Canoe.  
On Wednesday morning I obtained one of the Tribe as an Interpreter and through him and another whom I had seized as a hostage endeavoured to restore confidence to the Indians.  
By degrees I got them to come off to the Ship and
they
they pledged themselves to give up the Murderers of Mr Bamfield.  
They stated that their being under arms was owing to the threats of the Master of the Schooner "Surprise" that when a Man of War did visit them she would at once open fire upon them.  
On Wednesday morning a large portion of the Tribe came alongside. I managed to allay their alarm and excitement and to restore confidence among them. I spoke to them about their general behaviour to the White Traders lately, telling them that while we were
determined
determined to punish them for any crime we were at the same time ready to protect them against any injustice.  
They complained much of the behaviour of the Traders to them saying that frequently any wrong they did was provoked by the bad language used towards them and in some cases by their being pushed and struck by the men in the Trading Schooners.  
They all begged that I would bring this matter to the notice of His Excellency The Governor and request him to issue a warning to the
Masters
Masters of Trading Vessels visiting them to be more circumspect in their Language and behaviour to the Indians when Trading with them.  
The Interpretors information regarding the Murder of Mr Bamfield is that an Indian named Klats-mick held Mr Bamfield by the hair of the Head another named Hoth-lu-arta stabbed him in the right side and a third named Sutch-kool stabbed him in the left side and back of the neck. The Chief Cley-shin instigated him to the murder and appropriated Mr Bamfield's
property
property.  
They buried the body in the bush at the back of the House but about 10 days before our arrival (having heard that information of the Crime had been given to the authorities at Victoria) they disinterred the remains and sunk them in the Sound.  
The three men Kats-mish, Hoth-la-arta, and Sutch-kool were seized and brought on Board for conveyance to Victoria but the Chief who proposed the Murder Cley-shin, hid himself in the woods near Cape Beale and could not be found.  
On Thursday morning
the
the 22nd
I weighed from Numerkamis and proceeded through the junction Passage and Seshart Channel and anchored in Toquot harbour at the Entrance of Pipestone Inlet. Here again I found the Indians under Arms their faces blacked and ready for resistance. The Interpreter went among them and reassured them and in the afternoon the whole of the Tribe came on Board and I impressed upon them the perils they incurred by any violence offered by them to the Traders and the certain punishment that
would
would follow a second offence of the same kind. The pistol stolen from the "Surprise" was returned.  
At daylight on Friday I weighed from Toquat and proceeded out of Barclay Sound through the Western Channel and entering Clay-o-quot Sound by the Ship Channel anchored in 8 fms. off the Ahusat village. On Saturday morning I observed several Canoes full of armed Men watching the Ship from Base Point and Clifford Point. This and the information received from a Nootka Indian led me to believe
that
that they were to be found in Herbert or North Arm. I anchored in the evening off Bawden Bay and searched the village in Matilda Creek having been told that some of the goods stolen from the "Kingfisher" were secreted there. The search was unsuccessful but traces were found proving that the Indians had only recently left.  
On Sunday morning Eight Canoes full of armed Men were observed watching the Ship from different points and after some difficulty
I
I managed to communicate with them. After various communications on Sunday and Monday forenoon their positive and final answer was that they would not restore the goods taken from the "Kingfisher" would not deliver up the guilty parties and would not hold any further communication with he Ship being determined to fight.  
Their tactics were truly Indian, 50 Men were placed in ambush at the extreme point of Matilda Creek, 40 were concealed round the Village, 30 in Bawden Bay and the remainder were a short distance up Herbert Arm
and
and every endeavour was made to draw our Boats into these ambushes.  
I am of opinion that this Ahoset Tribe (who number 195 fighting men) will offer a determined resistence.  
That the guilty persons can be taken eventually is certain but I feel assured that it cannot be done without loss of life and considerable on their side and possibly some on ours.  
The Chief of the Clay-o-quot Tribe has offered his assistance with men and Canoes and I have brought him to make that offer to His Excellency The Governor and as it is
certain
certain that nothing can be done without very severe measures I have deemed it better to return to this part to receive your further instructions.  
I beg to report that I have sent a Copy of this Letter for the information of His Excellency The Governor.  
I have &c
John W. Pike
Commander

Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 31, 31 December 1864, extensively altered.  
  • This draft requires care.
     
    I have submitted some alterations, not by way of verbal criticisms or deviations from the objects of the minutes, but in order to render the draft strictly in accordance with the tenor of the reports on which it is founded.  
    TFE
    30/12
    N.B. Commander Pike reports, at the request of the Indians, their complaint as they effect: but he gives no opinion or testimony of his own on the subject. Of course it is highly probable: all I mean is that we must not appear as if we quoted his authority. Would it not be better to show what he really does say, & found the instruction on that? As submitted in annexed separate sheet.  
    See 4th substitution, submitted for consideration.  
    TFE
    30/12
 
Despatch to London:
Kennedy to Cardwell, 14 October 1864, National Archives of the UK, 11617, CO 305/23. 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=V64185.scx. Accessed 24 September 2018. 

Last modified: 14:53:02, 28/2/2018