To Benjamin Hawes Esqe Secretary
7234 Vancouver's Isld

Sir,
I have the honour to inform you that I am a British subject, being born in Canada, and that on the seventeenth day of July one thousand eight hundred and forty six I was nominated and since have been consacrated Roman Catholic Bishop of Vancouver's Island.
I have the happiness to be one of the two first Missionaries sent out to Oregon where I have performed the
2Ansd 12 Sept/50
sacred duties of the Ministry among the French Canadians and the Natives of that country for ten years.
Besides Vancouver's Island I am Administrator, pro tempore, of two other Dioceses which are first: Queen Charlotte Island, including the Sea Coast North to the Russian Settlements; second, New Caledonia.
No doubt but you know that a certain number of Canadians, after leaving the Hudson's Bay Company's service have been settling with their families in the Wallamet Valley which now belongs to the United States. On my leaving Oregon some of them were telling me they would willingly go and settle on Vancouver's Manuscript imageIsland, would the Company allow them to do so. I have great reason to believe that the establishment of a Catholic Mission on the Island will cause many of them, as well as those that will be let free, to settle on it: which they would not do if they had no prospect of having Clergymen amongst them.
The state of things being so I will now take the liberty to expose to you my present situation: in the whole territory committed to my care their are about fifty thousands of Indians, of whom I may say four thousands are already enrolled under the sacred banner of Christianity.
Having not a single Missionery to help me I saw the necessity of coming over to Europe to find the means to bring a certain number of Clergymen that would devote themselves and follow me; a passage for each one of them will cost me seventy five pounds. Nothing is done yet, I have got no house, no place of worship put up . . .
These informations may lead you to the object I have in view in giving them: I am aware Manuscript imagethat several Roman Catholic Bishops in the British possessions are allowed a yearly some of money by Her Gracious Majesty's Government; a motive that encourages me in asking for the same favour, and I am in hopes that it will be extended to the poor Mission of Vancouver's Island, where nothing shall be spared of what can promote the welfare, both spiritual and temporal of Her Majesty's subjects in that remoted part of Her Dominions.
Please lay this letter before His Lordship the Minister of the Colonies.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
your most humble and obedient
Servant
+ Mod. Demers R.C. Bishop
of Vancouver's Island.

9 Buxton St Spitalfields, London
August 26th 1850
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
1Mr Elliot
I think the writer should be informed that Parliament has made no provision for the maintenance of a R.C. Bishop at VanCouver's Island, & that it is necessary that he should address himself on topics relating to the interests of that Settlement on this object to the Chairman of the Hudson's Bay Company, as the management of it's affairs belong to that body.
ABd 30/8.
(He was mentioned to me formally by Mr Quillin, a respectable old Priest from Canada.)
TFE 30/
A 31 BH
G. 4
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Colonial Office to Demers, 12 September 1850, advising that he should address his request to the chairman of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Footnotes
  1. It appears that, based on handwriting, Elliot made additions and emendations to Blackwood's minute entry; see image scan.
  2. This text runs perpendicular to and overtop of main body text; see image scan.
People in this document

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Demers, Modeste

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Grey, Henry George

Hawes, Benjamin

Quillin

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

Haida Gwaii

London

Oregon Territory, or Columbia District

Russian Territory

Vancouver Island

Willamette Valley

Demers, Modeste to Hawes, Benjamin 26 August 1850, CO 305:2, no. 7234, 347. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/V506D01.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)