No. 33
21 May 1863
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Grace's despatch No 11 of the 10th February last having reference to the illicit supply of spirits by the Masters of Trading VesselstoManuscript image to the Indians on the North West Coast of British Columbia.
2. The large extent of coast, with its inlets and bays, uninhabited by white people; the numerous Islands lying off it forming intricate channels and hiding places, afford I am sorry to say very great facilities for this iniquitous traffic, the profits of which are so large as to inducetheManuscript image the unscrupulous readily to incur the risk of capture and conviction. The vile spirit that is sold to the Indian is the origin of nearly all the trouble we have with them, and for years past my anxious attention has been given to intercept the trade. To put a stop to it altogether would require a Fleet of Revenue Vessels constantly cruizing on the coast, but I believe with the limited meansatManuscript image at command the traffic has been reduced to a minimum.
3. HM Ship Devastation has but just returned from a cruize on the coast upon which she was sent by Commodore Spencer at my requisition, and I am happy to say that through the energy of Commander Pike three vessels have been seized and condemned,andManuscript image and a large quantity of pure alchohol and manufactured spirits confiscated.
4. I enclose herewith for your Grace's information a copy of Commander Pike's Report of proceedings and I would take this opportunity of representing to your Grace that this is the second occasion upon which Commander Pike has rendered good service totheManuscript image the Colony in a manner which marks him as an intelligent persevering and most judicious Officer.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Acke rect, signify the approval of the Duke of Newcastle of the proceedings adopted by the Governor, and say that the only way of checking this illicit trade in spirits is by putting the Law into full force against the violators of it.
Add that the Duke of Newcastle has had much pleasure in forwarding to the Admy a copy of the Governor's despatch commending the services of Commander Pike.
ABd 16 July
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I agree, with the exception only that I doubt whether we need insert the passage which I have marked in pencil. I think that an approval of what he has done will be sufficient, without the general remark about the future?
TFE 16 July
I think so. The Bishop of Columbia gave me a striking account the other day of the lamentable effects upon the Indians of this vile supply of the vilest spirits. Govr Douglas's efforts to prevent it deserve all praise.
CF 18
N 19
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Commander J.W. Pike to Commodore J.W.S. Spencer, 28 April 1863, reporting on his expedition against liquor sellers on the coast of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, with enclosures.
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Master H.O. Simpson to Pike, 7 April 1863, reporting the seizure of liquor on Cormorant Island and subsequent pursuit of George Collins, who sold it to the Indians.
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Simpson and Boatswain W.T. Daw to Pike, 7 April 1863, advising that they had boarded the Kingfisher and found a large quantity of liquor, the master admitting that he had traded liquor for furs with the natives.
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Daw and Lieutenant W.C. Singleton to Pike, 12 April 1863, reporting the discovery of liquor hidden in a house in Kitimat owned by a trader, Louis Morris.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Secretary to the Admiralty, 27 July 1863, forwarding copy of the despatch and commending the services of Commander Pike.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 38, 24 July 1863.