Romaine to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
28th December 1866
I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you herewith, for the information of the Earl of Carnarvon an Extract from a Letter dated the 24th Octr last, addressed to Vice Admiral Denman by the Officer Commanding HM Gun Boat "Forward," reporting his proceedings in visiting the Northern Settlements of British Columbia.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant
W.G. Romaine
Minutes by CO staff
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VJ 31 Decr
An Agent of the Hudson's Bay Co complained that some Indians had been insolent and turbulent. The Commander of a Gunboat, who was on a tour of inspection, gave them good advice. The paper is only sentforManuscript image for information, and I suppose that it may be put by?
TFE 4 Jany
The Officer in question seems to have very vague notions on the subject of Martial Law—and the penalty wh he proposes to inflict for matricide is not less irregular. Is it usual to call for the intervention of ships of war to maintain order amongst these tribes? And if so are there no instructions given for the guidance of the officers? If not mischief may some day arise in such cases.
I sd like to know what has been the practice.
C 5 Jany/67
The only mode by which the Indian tribes on the Coasts & living up the arms of the Sea and Rivers of B.C. & V.C.I. can be reached & kept in some sort of order is by sending gun boats to visit themManuscript image occasionally. It is manifestly impossible for the police of the Colonies to undertake this work. Hence, from the establishment of B.C. & V.C.I. as Colonies, parties from HM Ships have been employed on the Service. Hitherto no contre tems [temps] has occurred. They have usually executed their mission with discretion and success. Instructions from the Senior Commanding Officer are always provided; & sometimes we receive copies of them: sometimes not. There are no standing Instructions that I know of. They are special, & applicable to the particular mission on which the Naval Officer is sent.
Lieut Denny's notions of Martial Law seem indeed obscure. As this Officer is likely to be employed again on a similar service it might be as well to call the attention of the Admy to the passage which Yr Lordship has noticed, &, if the Lts Law is inaccurate, request that a caution may be given not to him only, but to any Officer sent to look after the Indians against transgressing the Authority committed to him.
ABd 7 Jany/67
Yes—it will be as well to write as Mr Blackwood proposes.
C 7 Jany
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Extract, D.A.A. Denny to Vice Admiral Denman, 24 October 1866, reporting on encounter with Indians, and in particular his proposed use of martial law on an Indian accused of matricide.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Secretary to the Admiralty, 18 January 1867, calling attention to the disciplinary actions of Denny and advising that officers should be cautioned not to overstep their authority.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Blackwood
I have lately read in the newspapers some instructions respecting "Martial Law" recently issued to Naval Officers by the Admiralty.
Mr Elliot
We have not recd from the Admy the recent instructions referred to by Mr Macdonald. But it seems that last summer we recd from the Admy the Instructions I send you herewith in print.Manuscript image I should say that these instructions by no means supercede the necessity of writing to the Admiralty to caution Officers in their proceedings in places where Martial Law has not been proclaimed.