No. 80
7th June 1865
Following the successful precedent of last year I invited a considerable number of Indian tribes to celebrate Her Majesty's Birthday with me in New Westminster. The weather was extremely unfavorablebutManuscript image but about six thousand attended the meeting. The Homethcoes, from Bute Inlet came the greatest distance of the Coast visitors. The Lillooet and Lafontaine tribes represented the utmost limit in the interior to which my invitations extended.
2. It was not alone the weather which kept some of the natives away; a few were intimidated by the ridicule of the tribes on the Lower Fraser who jeered at thoseofManuscript image of the interior for coming, as they said, some hundreds of miles simply to be fed by the Governor. You will observe in the speeches that passed between the Chiefs and myself this circumstance referred to.
3. It rained heavily on the morning of the 24th of May, but a procession was formed of nearly one thousand canoes, extending from one bank of the Fraser to the other. Each boat had its flagandManuscript image and the more civilized of the natives sang a Catholic hymn, which had a very fine effect proceeding from thousands of voices upon the water. The Indians landed on the Park reserve near the camp where the addresses were interchanged. Though the rain came down in torrents the Chiefs stood bare headed before me. I distributed to each a Union Jack, some agricultural implements and garden seeds, and left the ground while God save the Queen was sung by the IndianBoysManuscript image Boys of St. Mary's Mission, and the Indians generally cheered vociferously. A dinner of cakes, biscuits and molasses was then served out, together with a liberal allowance of tobacco.
4. The 24th and 25th of May were kept as public holidays, and games and races of all kinds carried on, concluding with an extremely effective torchlight procession on the Fraser.
5. We had taken the precautionofManuscript image of appointing a few Indian Constables to arrest any of their own race who might get drunk or otherwise misbehave themselves. It seems almost strange to have to report that there was not a single offence of any kind which came before the notice of the Magistrates as having been committed by the Indians during the forty eight hours of, to them, enormous excitement.
6. It was generally observedthatManuscript image that the Indians had made considerable progression in civilization and wel[l]being since I first met them on the 24th of May 1864. It was obvious that they were better dressed, and nothing could be greater than the respect with which they treated the constituted authorities of the Colony.
7. The Indians have now returned to their fisheries or hunting grounds. Tribes longatManuscript image at war with each other have met peacably under one authority acknowledged by all as supreme. I allow myself to hope that the native conflicts will soon cease throughout the wide extent of the Colony, and the white man will be able to travel anywhere without molestation.
8. I have not had a report of a single act of violence committed by a native on a white man since the captureandManuscript image and execution of the Chilicoten Chiefs last year. The outrage on the "Nanaimo Packet" referred to in my despatch No. 78 of the 5th Instant was committed by Indians from the Russian territories.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Ansr that Mr Cardwell has derived much satisfaction from the perusal of this account of the Celebration of the anniversary of the Queen's birthday in B.C. and is especially pleased to learn that the Governor observed that the Indians collected together on this occasion had made so much progress in civilized habits since the time he last met them.
ABd 25 Augt
TFE 25/8
EC 25
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Address of four native chiefs, representing all the assembled Indians, to Seymour, 23 May 1865, and copy of Seymour's reply thereto.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 61, 1 September 1865.