No. 68
8 January 1859
1. Intelligence arrived here last night from Mr Justice Whannell of Fort Yale, reporting that he had met with serious opposition in the discharge of his official duties from a party of gamblers andManuscript imageand refugees from justice, who have collected about Hill's Bar and Fort Yale.
The particulars of the outrage are detailed in Mr Justice Whannell's letter, written under great excitement, yet correctly portraying the men we have to deal with.
2. They are reckless desperadoes requiring the strong arm to curb them; hitherto they have been very guarded in their conduct, and the present difficulty would not have occurred, but for the attempt made to suppress gamblingManuscript imagegambling at Fort Yale—in consequence of the atrocious murder which Justice Whannell mentions in his letter—as having been lately committed in one of those unhallowed resorts.
3. Mr Hicks who is weak rather than corrupt was removed from office some time ago and Justice Perrier who appears to have acted in the arrest of his Brother Magistrate, either under the influence of fear or fraud, will also be struck off the list of officers.
4. No time will be lost in dealing with this case; Lieutenant Governor Moody—who leftManuscript imageleft this place some days ago on a visit to Fort Langley—will as he states, in a letter which I have this hour received from him, at once proceed with a force of 25 Engineers under Captain Grant's command to Fort Yale, accompanied by Judge Begbie.
This admirable promptitude on the part of Colonel Moody will be attended with the happiest effects—and I shall immediately despatch a force of 25 marines and a body of police under Mr Brew's command to re-inforce Colonel Moody's party.
TheManuscript image5. The case will be thoroughly investigated and the decision of the Law courts will be carried out to the letter.
6. Justice Whannell was not properly supported by the Fort Yale Police who fell away at the first appearance of danger; a fact showing that we cannot rely on a force raised from the mining population.
I therefore would strongly urge that 150 instead of 60 men as recommended in my Despatch No 56 of the 27th ofManuscript imageof December, of the Irish constabulary force fully armed and equipped, should be shipped without delay for British Columbia.
7. Four numbers of the "Victoria Gazette"
1, 4, 6, & 8th Jany 1859.
are forwarded herewith for your information.
Not received.
I write in haste to save the mail.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir Edward Lytton
This desp. contains serious information. The most unsatisfactory point to my mind in it is the fact wh the Govr states as to the complete irreliability of the local Police force wh has been raised in the Colony. At first I was inclined to doubt whether the police might not have failed from being under the orders of an evidently timid & incompetent man but you will observe that Govr Douglas says that the materials of wh they are composed are such that no trust can be placed in them.
The Govr asks for 150 men from the Irish Constabulary and such a force wd clearly be very desirable. I do not think that such an application made under such circumstances can be entirely disregarded & I wd Manuscript imagerecommend that you should write privately to Lord Naas to ask how many men can be spared from the Irish Constabulary (for they must be picked men) and at what rate their services can be secured. The Govr asks for 150, but does not say by wh route he wishes them to be sent. I sd therefore I think send him 50 at once by Panama; promise him reinforcements if he absolutely requires them but point out the expense & the difficulty. I do not think that this is a case wh will bear delay—& if once the country falls into a state of anarchy it may require a large expenditure & a long interval of time to restore it to a satisfactory condition.
Approve all that the Govr has done Manuscript imageand proposes to do with regard to the Magistrates? It is clear that he is surrounded by an incompetent & corrupt class of men from whom he has had to choose his officers and he deserves all the support & encouragement wh we can give him. Express approval of Col. Moody's energy and of the high character wh in one or two recent despatches the Govr has given of Mr Brew?
C Feb 28
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I have seen no Despatch from Douglas asking for 60 police mounted. Write to Lord Naas asking if 100 irish
could be spared & at what [e]xpense. But they must be paid out of the Colonial revenue tho' I suppose in sending them we must guarantee that they will be so paid. Speak to Mr Elliot on this.
Approve to Govr & apprise Moody &c—& infor Govr that we are doing our best to obtain him 100 police, referring him to all our previous correspondence [illegible] that the Colonial revenue [illegible].
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Mr Merivale
Douglas asked for 150 police—I signed a minute to enquire about their cost &c proposing to send 100; but at the expense of Colony.
Thinking again over this question I feel great scruple in sending them. If you will glance over all my despatches, (those printed will suffice) you will see that my object, has always been as a policy, to enforce on the Colonials the duty of finding their own police.
I don't wish to stretch a theory too far. But I don't think Douglas makes out a sufficient case for so large & unusual a police force from this Country. Manuscript imageThe Police at Fort Yale failed, it is true; but that was on the first occassion—they may not fail permanently. Moreover, he has sailors marines & the Engineers.
I fear Parlt would frown at 100 Police sent out, if an Advance is to be made for them. And the charge will be immense. Remember their passage, outfit, &c.
And as this [has] to go in this years Estimates, when having taken no estimates last year, I am in difficulties already.
Might it not be better to ascertain the cost & that of voyage & write to Douglas stating it & asking whether he can undertake to defray the cost from the Revenue if so he shall have them. At the same [time] consistently Manuscript imagedwelling on the principle of self defence & police I had so strongly laid down & reminding him of the armed force he has already.
This seems to me the best course.
EBL Mar 4 1859
HM Mh 3
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Lord Naas, M.P., Confidential, 8 March 1859, asking if 100 or 150 police could be spared and at what pay.
Minutes by CO staff
See separate minutes of Sir Edd's on this subject, dated this day on 2147, and 2135.
[ABd] 4 March
Mr Merivale
The alteration I have made in this draft will make it accord with Sir Edward's views. When we Manuscript imagereceive Lord Naas' ansr we will take immediate steps for ascertaining the cost of freight for the police men. Col: Moody has in a private letter mentioned to me that the quickest & cheapest mode in the end is to employ Mr Cunard at New York to freight passengers through—or as far as he can.
I will find the Letter, if I did not forward it to Sir Edd in the winter.
ABd 5/3
C March 5
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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P.B. Whannell, J.P., to Douglas, 31 December 1858, reporting on the disturbance at Fort Yale.