Romaine to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
2 December 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 the Colonies, a Copy of a Letter dated the 11thInstfrom Captain Prevost of Her Majesty's Ship Satellite, and Copy of its enclosure, relating to the state of affairs at Vancouver Island, and in British Columbia.
I am etc.
W.G. Romaine
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Captain Prevost's letter is interesting.
VJ 2 Decr
Lord Carnarvon
You will like to read this on it's way to Sir Edd. The good conduct, and fidelity, of the Marines is to my mind more interesting than all about the Gold. You will observe how well Govr Douglas's energy and judgement are spoken of.
Put by?
TFE 3 Decr
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A satisfactory communication.
C D 9
A copy of this letter may be sent to Queen. Print it for Parlt. Acknowledge it to Admiralty with special compt to Capt Prevost.
EBL Decr 10
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Captain Prevost to Rear Admiral Robert L. Baynes, 16 October 1858, reporting the outcome of his trip to the Fraser with Douglas. Transcribed below.
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Douglas to Prevost, 11 October 1858, commending the conduct and bearing of the detachment.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Prevost to Baynes


No 21 11 Oct /58
Sir,
Referring to my letter of the 31st Aug last (No 20) wherein is mentioned the departure from Vancouver's Id of Govr Douglas for the mining districts in Fraser's River, in consequence of disturbances in that quarter & anticipated hostilities between the white Miners & the native Indian population, & reporting my having in compliance with a requisition from H.Ey furnished him with a guard of Royal Marines from the Satellite, to accompany him upon his excursion, I have the honor now to communicatetoManuscript image to you that H.E. returned to Victoria on the 26th Ulto, & the Guard rejoined the Satellite the same day.
2. Although I regret to have to mention the desertion of two of the party, yet I have much pleasure in forwarding to you the copy of a letter which I have received from the Govr bearing testimony to the unexceptionable conduct & soldierlike bearing of the party generally. The Two who deserted are young recruits & had only been a few days in the Satellite prior to their being sent up the River, having joined from the Calpyso on the 23rd Augt last; & they were without doubt led away by the novelty of the circumstances in which they found themselves placed, & by the rare & manifold temptations by which they were Manuscript image were surrounded. Under a just consideration of all the circumstances of the case, it is, therefore to me a source of no undue satisfaction to find that the old hands of the Satellite who formed the remainder of the Escort, were proof against temptations to desert so great & so unusual, & to see that they returned to their Ships not only with evident pleasure but apparently perfectly contended with their present condition; & notwithstanding the two cases of desertion, which I feel satisfied could not have been prevented I conceive Lieut. Howard S. Jones R.N. who commanded the party is deserving of much credit for the measure in which he dealt with his men & kept them together in perfect discipline.
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3. I have every reason to believe that the visit of the Governor has been productive of the most beneficial results. He was everywhere well received & by his able & energetic measures & sound discretion, law & order were restored & confidence was diffused as well amongst the white immigrants as among the native Indians.
4. The winter season is now fast approaching & numbers of miners are leaving the river, & are proceeding to San Francisco by every Steamer. They all tell the same tale. They declare that although the winter in the river has fallen, & is falling yet the nearer the bed of the river is approached the less the yield of Gold, and that they are obliged to leave to escape starvation, being in such need as to scarce have sufficient money to pay for their passage. I dont myself place much confidence in these reports. Their policy is obvious. I should be ratherinclinedManuscript image inclined to attribute the case of leaving to other considerations. That large quantities of gold have been taken out by different individuals is an undoubted fact; and it is no more than reasonable to assume that those who have been fortunate during the past few months, and, to use their own words, have made their "pile," would prefer being in comfort during the winter at San Francisco and realising the enjoyment of their gains, to remaining upon the banks of Fraser's River exposed to the inclemency of a winter season under a canvas tent.
Although Expresses and Agencies have been established by private individuals, yet I do not think they have hitherto obtained much confidence,Manuscript image and the Miners prefer carrying their gold dust with them, and it is very natural under these circumstances they they should endeavour to divert attention from themselves by declaring their poverty, and should attempt to stay others from flocking to a region which they, no doubt, purpose revisiting in the Spring. I learned from a source which I can scarce question, that the recent Mail Steamer to San Francisco took down many individuals, who all had considerable quantities of gold dust in their possession; one party, consisting of 4 men, carrying with them as much as 40 lbs. weight.
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5. Business at Victoria at the present time is in a somewhat depressed state. Many of the Merchants and property holders are returning to San Francisco, disheartened at the non-fulfilment of their wild and unreasonable expectations of realising immediate wealth, and disinclined to abide with patience the course of a more healthy and legitimate traffic, with its less rapid, but probably surer, gains.
6. Mr John Nugent, who has been appointed by the Govt of the United States as its special Agent on the Pacific Coast arrived at Victoria on the 23rd ult. He visits Vancouver's Island in anManuscript image unofficial capacity, and he is soon to proceed to Fraser's River, for the purpose, I believe, of advising his Govt of the true State of affairs in these parts; although his ostensible object is said to be to preserve order amongst the citizens of the United States who have immigrated into British Possessions, and to advise them to submit quietly and cheerfully to the laws of the Country.
I have &c
James C. Prevost
Captain HMS Satellite
& Senior Naval Officer present
at Vancouver's Island

Romaine, William Govett to Merivale, Herman 2 December 1858, CO 60:2, no. 12329, 56. 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/B585AD19.html.

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