No. 30
31st August 1864
On the departure of Sir James Douglas, who had been known by the Indians as a great Chief, the principal Authority in this territory, for upwards of forty years, an impression was allowed to arise among them that their protector was withdrawn and would have no successor. The Fraser River Indians uttered many lamentations over theirdesertedManuscript image deserted condition, and it became desirable for me to make myself known to the natives and show them that I had succeeded to all the power of my predecessor and to his solicitude for their welfare. With this object I invited the Catholic priests and others to bring in all the Indians who were willing to come to New Westminster and meet me on the Queen's birthday.
2. About three thousand five hundred attended the Summons. They came by water, and the priests marshalled the procession of canoes, which formed an extremely striking scene as they roundedaManuscript image a point of the Fraser and approached my house. The Indians sang a Catholic hymn until they passed under my windows, when they cheered vociferously. They landed at the site selected for a Public Park, where luncheon was provided at the expense of the Government. I joined them in the afternoon when the enclosed addresses were exchanged between the Chiefs and myself.
3. The day was observed as a holiday by all, and passed off with perfect tranquillity. For the following week the shopsinManuscript image in New Westminster were constantly filled with eager purchasers, and then the Indians began to return home, their canoes loaded with goods. On my recent tour in the interior the Chiefs who had spent Her Majesty's birth day at New Westminster everywhere came forward to give me a respectful and friendly welcome. I am now as well known on the Valley of the Fraser and the Thompson as my predecessor—No white man better in the Bella Coola and Chilicoten Country.
4. The Native gathering, probably the largest ever seen on this side of the Rocky Mountains was themoreManuscript image more interesting and important from the fact that all were then excited by the recent intelligence of the terrible massacre of our Countrymen at Bute Inlet, and vague rumours were in circulation of a general insurrection of the Indians being imminent. But the aspect and behaviour of the thousands who came to New Westminster was reassuring, and I may mention that on the day after the celebration, when the Theatre at the Camp was burnt down, the Indians proved their good will towards the Government by bringing out from Town andworkingManuscript image working, one of the fire Engines gratuitously. As the Natives returned home they seldom failed to give farewell cheers as they passed my house.
5. I regret that unavoidable circumstances growing out of other and very different transactions with the Indians, prevented my earlier forwarding the enclosed speeches, which show good feeling to exist, in this neighbourhood, at least, between the Natives and the immigrants.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
VJ 19 Nov
I think that this despatch might be acknowledged with some expression of approval of the kind disposition shown by the Governor towards the Fraser River Indians, and of his endeavour to make them receive with satisfaction his accession to the Government.
TFE 21 Novr
EC 23
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Address, Assembled Indian Chiefs of the districts of New Westminster, Fort Yale, Fort Douglas, and Lillooet to Seymour, no date, expressing welcome and their sense of loyalty to the Queen and her admiministration in the colony, 55 Stó:lō chiefs represented.
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Seymour to "My Indian Friends," responding to the address and promising that "good Indians" will be treated well by the administration, and that "bad white men" and "bad Indians" would be treated accordingly.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 45, 26 November 1864, acknowledging "with satisfaction" receipt of Seymour's despatch.