484 Vancouver's Island
31st October 1851 To the Right Honble Earl Grey
Her Majestys Principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department

My Lord
2Ansd 4 Feb/52 No 4.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordships communication of the 19th May 1851, transmitting a Commission under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, appointing me to be Governor and
1Copy to Hudson Bay Compy for observn 9 Feb
Extract |14 Paragraph| to Ch Miss. Soct […]
Commander in Chief in and over the Island of Vancouver, and its dependencies, together with instructions under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet for my guidance in the administration of the Government thereof, and also a Commission under the Seal of the High Court of Admiralty, appointing me to be Vice Admiral of that Island and of its dependencies, all which instructionsments were duly received by me on the 30th Instant. ⎯
I beg through your Lordship to convey to Her Most Gracious
Majesty, my humble thanks for those distinguished marks of confidence, which, it shall be my endeavour to prove, are not misplaced. ⎯ The Royal Instructions, will be faithfully executed, and in the exercise of the power and authority vested in me by the Royal Commission, it shall be my study to promote, to the utmost of my ability, the honor and advantage of the Crown, as well as the interests of Her Majestys Subjects in this Colony. ⎯
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I am happy to inform your Lordship that nothing has occurred to disturb the tranquility of the Settlements on this Island, since the departure of the late Governor Blanchard by Her Majestys Ship "Daphne" on the 1st September last. The Natives generally profess the most friendly disposition, and prove their sincerity, by the character of their daily intercourse with the Settlers. ⎯
The late operations of Her Majestys Ship "Daphne" acting under instructions from Governor Blanchard against the Neweeti Tribe, inhabiting the north end of Vancouvers Island, have been attended with the happiest effects, and so filled their mind with terror, that they made no attempt at reprisals. They since abandoned their former place of residence, and took refuge among the Tribes living on the West Coast of Vancouvers Island. ⎯
To that point as Soon as their retreat was discovered a party of friendly Indians were dispatched by Mr George Blenkinsop the Hudson's Bay Companys Officer in command of Fort Rupert, with a message from this Government proffering peace to the Tribe at large, on Condition of the delivery of the three Indians concerned in the murder.
Those terms were at once accepted by the Neweete Chiefs, but before the proposed seizure could be effected the murderers receivedManuscript imagereceived notice of their danger and fled from the Camp. They were however chased into the woods, and put to death by their own people after making a desperate resistance, in which one of the assailants was severly wounded. ⎯
The mangled remains of the Criminals were taken to Fort Rupert and after being identified by the Chiefs of the Quaheolth Tribe, were interred near the Fort, so that there is no doubt as to their having met with the fate they so Justly merited. ⎯
The war with that nation may be now considered as virtually at an end, and I beg to express, to your Lordship, how greatly I feel indebted to Mr Geo Blenkinsop, for his able and active aid, in bringing it to a satisfactory and honourable close. ⎯
I propose in a short time to visit that part of Vancouvers Island for the purpose of establishing amicable relations with that, and other Tribes of Indians whose friendship will greatly conduce, to the well being of the Colony. ⎯
I am happy to inform your Lordship that the Grain Crops throughout the Settlements were abundant this season, and were secured in fine condition; though Singular to say, in the American Settlements about Nisqually and on the Columbia River, the harvest was remarkably wet, and it is estimated that at leastManuscript imageleast one third of the grain of this season perished on the field, and a larger proportion was much damaged by the wet, a circumstance which tells greatly in favour of the climate of Vancouvers Island. ⎯
The grain raised in the Colony this year will not be Sufficient to meet the home demand, and we shall be under the necessity of making up the deficiency by importing bread stuffs from abroad. ⎯
On the other hand the potatoe crops will greatly exceed our annual consumption, and the potatoes are remarkably large and of good quality. ⎯
The Natives generally are turning their attention to the cultivation of the Potatoe, and to other useful arts, such as the manufacture of Shingles and Laths which are becoming popular among them.
I shall probably take the liberty of calling your Lordship's attention hereafter to the best means of improving the condition of the aborigines of this Island, who are in many respects a highly interesting people, and I consider worthy of attention.
They will become under proper Management of service to the Colony and form a valuable auxiliary force, in the event of war with any foreign power. ⎯ From my long experience of Indian character and of theManuscript imagethe tribes on this Coast in particular, I am led to regret that the Missionary Societies of Britain, who are sending Teachers to so many other parts of the world have not turned their attention to the natives of Vancouvers Island; as by the aid of those Societies, Schools might be established for the moral training and instruction of the Aborigines, to the manifest advantage of the Colony. ⎯
On the subject of internal improvements, I may remark that a high road along the Coast from Victoria to Soke Inlet about 25 miles distant, is greatly needed to facilitate intercourse, and we have that object now in contemplation, having already surveyed the ground and found it not ill adapted for the purpose. ⎯
I have further to inform your Lordship, that the natives have discovered Gold in Englefield Bay, on the West Coast of Queen Charlottes Island. One of the Hudson's Bay Company Vessels visited the spot, in the month of July last, and succeeded in procuring about 60 oz of Gold, principally by barter from the Indians. One lump of nearly pure Gold weighing 1 lb 11 oz was seen in the possession of one native, who demanded a price beyond its value, so that it was not purchased. ⎯ The Gold is associated with white Quartz rock, similar to that of the auriferous deposites in California; it is yet found in small quantities, but I amManuscript imageam of opinion that it exists abundantly in that and other parts of the Island. ⎯
The report of that discovery having become known in this Country, I am informed that several American Vessels are fitting out in the Columbia, for Queen Charlottes Island, for the purpose of digging Gold—a circumstance to which I would request your Lordships attention, as it may be the desire of Government to exclude foreign vessels from that part of the Coast. ⎯
As the Council of this Island nominated by Governor Blanchard, consisted originally of three members, myself included, and is now reduced by my late appointment, to two members, a number insufficient to form a quorum, I have selected Mr Roderick Finlayson, a Gentleman of worth and great experience, to fill the vacancy until your pleasure thereupon is made known. ⎯
I shall do myself the honor of addressing your Lordship from time to time, on the affairs of Vancouvers Island, as circumstances occur, deserving of your notice.
I have the honor to be
Your Lordships
Most obt Servant
James Douglas
Governor of Vancouvers Island
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
Send a copy of this desph to the Hudson's Bay Co for information.
Send copy of Paragraph 14 to the Church Missionary Society & enquire whether they have to are able to send out any Missionaries to the Settlement?
Instruct Mr Smith to prepare a warrant appointing Mr Finlayson to the Council.
ABd 20 Jany/52.
Mr Peel.
Par. 16. 17. announce the discovery of gold in Q. Charlotte's island, & ask a question whether foreign vessels are to be prevented from going there. Q.Ch.I. lies N.W. of Vancouver's Island, & from 2 to 4 degrees farther N. I apprehend it is not within the government of Vancouver's Island.
See also 409. The Governor […] (a servant of the Company) writes in a very different tone from his predecessor.
HM Jan. 22.
FP 23
With regard to the questn adverted to by Mr Merivale the answer to be returned must be that I do not consider that it wd be expedient to issue any prohibitn against the resort to Q.C.Id of foreign vessels, even if there were no other objectn to such a step it wd be a sufficient reason against it that H.M's Govt are not prepared to send thither a force to give effect to the prohibitn. ⎯ The rest of the despatch requires only a general acknowledgement expressg satisfactn at the nature of the report it contains. ⎯ Adopt also Mr Blackwood's suggestns.
G. 26/
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 4, 4 February 1852.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Pelly, 9 February 1852, forwarding copy of the despatch.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Straith, Church Missionary Society, 9 February 1852, forwarding extract of despatch and asking whether missionaries could be sent to the settlement.
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Draft, Colonial Office to The Lord President, 12 February 1852, recommending the appointment of Finlayson to the council of Vancouver Island.
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People in this document

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Blanshard, Richard

Blenkinsop, George

Douglas, James

Finlayson, Roderick

Grey, Henry George

Merivale, Herman

Peel, Frederick

Pelly, John Henry

Smith, Peter

Straith, H.

Organizations in this document

Church Missionary Society

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty

Vessels in this document

HMS Daphne, 1838-1864

Places in this document

Columbia River

Englefield Bay

Fort Rupert, or T'sakis

Haida Gwaii

Nisqually, or Fort Nisqually

Vancouver Island