Romaine to Under-Secretary of State
Immediate
15 October 1858
Sir/
I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you herewith, for the information of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs, the Copy of a letter dated the 31th August last, No 6, from Captain Prevost of H.M.S. Satellite—& of its enclosures reporting his proceedings at Vancouvers Island and upon the subject of the disturbed State of the Mining Districts in Fraser's River.
I am etc.
W.G. Romaine
Minutes by CO staff
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I have shewn this Letter &c to Sir Edward Lytton. He wishes that an emphatic expression of his approval of the cordial & constant assistance received by Capt Prevost of the "Satellite" be sent to the Admy.
The receipt of the Letter has, with otherManuscript image reasons, induced Sir Edward to abstain from sending to the Admy the Letter I had prepared, by his desire, complaining of the lukewarmness of that Board in the cause of Columbia.
ABd 16 Octr
TFE 18 Oct
C Oct 20
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Elliot to Secretary of the Admiralty, 23 October 1858, acknowledging receipt of letter.
Minutes by CO staff
In pursuance of directions from Sir Edward Lytton.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Captain J.C. Prevost to Secretary of the Admiralty, No. 6, 31 August 1858, enclosing copy of his letter to Rear Admiral R.L. Baynes.
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Prevost to Baynes, No. 20, 31 August 1858, reporting he had supplied one officer and twenty Marines to accompany Douglas up the Fraser. Transcribed below.
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Captain Montresor, HMS Calypso, to Prevost, 24 August 1859, on necessity of raising an armed force to police Indigenous-settler hostilities.
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Douglas to Montresor, 24 August 1858, seeking a detachment of men to accompany him to Fraser River.
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Montresor to Douglas, 24 August 1858, stating that he had to sail the next morning but that the Satellite could spare twenty men.
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Douglas to Prevost, 24 August 1858, requesting a detachment to accompany him to Fraser River.
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Prevost to Douglas, 26 August 1858, agreeing to provide men but warning they would not be capable of offensive action.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Prevost to Baynes


No 20 31 Augt 1858
Sir,
I have the honor to report to you that I left this anchorage on the 12th Inst for Semiahmoo Bay, 49th Parallel, conveying Major Hawkins, Royal Engineers HMs Commissioner for marking out the land portion of the line of Boundary established by the first Article of the Treaty between Great Britain the United States of 15 June 1846; to meet and toconferManuscript image confer with Mr Campbell the Commissioner on the part of the United States, and I returned to this Anchorage on the 18th Inst.
Upon my arrival I found HMS Calypso lying in Esquimalt Harbour. I received from her the provisions and Stores you had sent up for this Ship and for the Plumper, and the Calypso sailed for San Francisco on the 25 Instant.
I enclose herewith the copy of a letter dated 24 Augt addressed to me by Capn MontresorofManuscript image of the Calypso, to accompany him upon a projected visit to the mining districts in Frasers river, consequent upon intelligence having been received of an alarming collision between the white miners and the native Indian tribes. I also enclose the copy of a similar requisition made upon me by His Excy together with a copy of my reply thereto. From this correspondence you will perceive thatCaptnManuscript image Captn Montresor did not conceive he was at liberty to prolong his stay at Vancouver's Island and he therefore recommended me to furnish from the Satellite, the assistance required by His Excy from the Calypso in addition to that solicited from the Satellite.
Fully understanding and appreciating the motives of His Excy; knowing the actual State of Affairs frombeingManuscript image being on the spot; having the most perfect confidence in the sound discretion of His Excy; and being well aware from personal knowledge and observation that the presence of the Governor in the Country would have the most beneficial effects upon the native Indian Tribes, as he, from his intimate personal knowledge of them, and from the deep respect and awe with which he is regarded by them wouldaloneManuscript image alone do more towards the tranquillization of the country than even the introduction of a considerable armed force, I deemed it my duty to co-operate with His Excy to the fullest extent of my power, firmly believing that probably by so doing greater evils might be avoided hereafter; I therefore supplied the force he required from HM's Ships vizt one officer & twenty marines to form a body guard to His Excy, so that he might sustain the dignity of the Queen'sGovtManuscript image Govt. Major Hawkins has supplied fifteen of the sappers and miners under his command, and he has himself accompanied them. With this force His Excy left this place yesterday evening for Fraser's River, and he expects to be absent about two or three weeks.
I am happy to say that just prior to the departure of His Excy intelligence was received which contradicted the reports of the massacreofManuscript image of a large number of white persons, but at the same time affairs were shown to be in such a state that the most lamentable consequences might ensue unless immediate steps were taken to allay the excitement generally existing. It is reported that in consequence of the naked and headless bodies of two white men, supposed to be Frenchmen, having been picked up floating down the stream, a large body of Frenchmen, said to number about 120, had organized themselves and had determined upon immediate Retribution.
TheyManuscript image
They proceeded up the river to a considerable distance above Fort Yale (about 130 miles from its entrance) and dividing themselves into two parties had descended the River, one party along one bank, and the other party by the other bank, Shooting every Indian they met with. If these reports be true, proceedings such as these cannot but entail the most fearful retaliation; for the Indians regard it as a sacred duty to take life for life without making any distinction as to the guilt or complicity of the victim they may select. However, the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Officers and Ship's Company of a Man of War are regarded by the Indians asManuscript image being of a distinct tribe from other white men, as they are called by them "King George's Men," while all other white men are generally known among them by the distinctive appellation of "Boston Men." In the present visit of the Governor to the scene of these disturbances, I do not, therefore apprehend the slightest danger from the expected hostile attitude of . H.E. is known amongst them as the "Great Chief," and from what I myself personally witnessed when I visited Fraser's River, they all appeared ready to submit to his authority and to follow his directions without the slightest question. The principal difficulty will doubtless existManuscript image among the thousands of white immigrants; a large no. of these, however, are an order-loving and well disposed class of men, and inclined for their own good to maintain the authority of the law, but, notwithstanding, it is undoubtedly of the highest importance for the preservation of life and order, and of the national prestige, that a large body of regularly organised & disciplined Troops should without delay be sent to the country.
The mail being on the point of departure, and my distance from your Flag being so great, I propose sending a copy of this letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty.
I have &c
Jas. C. Prevost
Captain HMS Satellite & Senior
Naval Officer at Vancouver's Island

R Admiral Rt Baynes CB
Commr in Chief Pacific
Romaine, William Govett to Carnarvon, Earl 15 October 1858, CO 60:2, no. 10567, 31. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B585AD14.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)