Septembr 18, 1850
My Lord,
I have nothing of importance to communicate respecting this colony, as all communication is stopped with the Northern part of the Island, and the want of force has prevented me from going there myself to enquire into the late disturbances.
Some complaints of Indian outrages have reached me from Soke, about thirty miles from Victoria where a gentleman of the name of Grant, late in Her Majesty's service has a small settlement. He complains of want of protection, which owing to the distance at which he is located cannot be afforded him; he informs me that he was anxious to settle near Victoria, but was not allowed to do so by the Hudson's Bay Company who have appropriated all the available land in the neighbourhood.
Future settlers will labour under the same disadvantages viz. being dispersed at considerable distances from each other and from the establishment, as well as being exposed to the depredations of the Indians, which no means are afforded me of checking.
I would beg to press on your Lordships consideration, the necessity of protecting this colony by a garrison, of regular troops, in preference to a body of pensioners, for as the principal service that they would be called on to perform would be to repress and over-awe the natives a moveable force would be necessary, and I think that Marines would be better calculated for the duty than troops of the line. Two companies would be sufficient of which a detachment would be stationed at Fort Rupert, and the remainder near Victoria. A cantonment might easily be formed on the plains near Esquimalt Harbour, and as timber is abundant there, the troops if landed in the spring could easily complete their own barracks before the rainy season which does not commence till October. The expense of maintaining a garrison would be inconsiderable, and there are ample funds for the purpose, as the Hudson's Bay Company has still in their hands the price of the lands they have taken in their own name and that of the Puget Sound Association. Should your Lordship decide on placing such a garrison, I would recommend that an engineer officer should be sent, beforehand to select such sites for barracks &c as might be most convenient.
I remain
Your Lordships obedient Servant
Richard Blanshard
Governor of Vancouvers Island

Minutes by CO staff
The Governor applies for two companies of troops of the line
but marines would be preferable. He deprecates the sending of pensioners almost as if they had been promised to him. But I cannot ascertain that any communication has been made to him on the subject, and it is very possible that he may have had in his mind the Hudson Bay Company's scheme of having a detachment of pensioners at Fort Garry —where by the bye these pensioners are unhappy and anxious to come away.
It may be presumed that Lord Grey will think it expedient to hold some communication with Sir John Pelly.
PS 19 Feb.
It seems to me singular that the Govr has so little communication with those who represent the HBC, on the island, that he speaks of the Company having prevented Mr Grant from establishing himself near Victoria on mere hearsay, without having apparently made himself certain whether the fact was so or not. Communicate to the HBC?
HM F 19
Transmit a copy to the H.B.Co. & ask for some explanatn on the subject of the refusal of land near the fort to Mr Grant & of the views of the Co as to the measures to be taken for the more efficient protectn of the settlers.
G. 20
Other documents included in the file
Draft, Colonial Office to Pelly, Hudson's Bay Company, 25 February 1851, requesting information about denial of land near Victoria to Grant, and also the need for military protection of settlers.
Draft reply, Grey to Blanshard, No. 1, Military, 20 March 1851.
  1. Please note that, at the time of this writing, the correspondence transcribed below has only what appears to be a title page, for a document marked "No. 6;" see image scan. The despatch does not appear to be in the Colonial Office volume. It was, presumably, transcribed from another source, as yet undiscovered. Therefore, the transcription below has not been vetted for accuracy or content.
People in this document

Blanshard, Richard

Grant, Walter Colquhoun

Grey, Henry George

Merivale, Herman

Pelly, John Henry

Smith, Peter

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document


Fort Rupert, or T'sakis


Vancouver Island