Par - 7
9 & 10
15th April 1852
December 1852 184.
[…]o. Gold. July 1853
The Right Honble Earl Grey
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.

My Lord
1 3
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 16th March, of your Lordship's Despatches of the 19th SeptHESr and of the 5th November, 1851, No. 1 Military, the former inclosing a Report, from the Hudson's Bay Company, shewing the quantity of land sold by the Company at Vancouver's Island, at the price of one pound per acre, with other
4Extract to […] Blanshard 5 Augt/52
AnsdAnswered 16 2 Augt/52⎯ No3.
information relative to the progress of settlement in this Colony.
2 5
I will not occupy your Lordship's time with any remarks upon the Report from the Hudson's Bay Company, as it contains a correct statement of their proceedings in reference to the colonization of Vancouver's Island, and in the course of my communications, I will have occasion to inform your Lordship of all matters relative to the State & progress of the Settlements.
3 6
With reference to your Manuscript imageLordship's Despatch of the 5th November I beg to observe that there is no copy of my Predecessor's official correspondence with your Lordship among the public documents committed by him to my Keeping.      I therefore cannot properly furnish the information which your Lordship appears to require, relative to the proceedings taken by Mr Blanchard for the apprehension of the Natives concerned in the murders of the British seamen at Neweete in the month of July 1850.      I however informed your Lordship in my letter of the 1421st of October last, that the three natives concerned in that murder had been executed by their own countrymen, and that we had in consequence renewed peaceful relations with the Neweeté Tribe; who have since then been remarkably quiet and orderly in their deportment, from whence I infer that the retaliatory measures adapted by MrBlanchard, and so vigourously sustained by Lieut Lacy, of Her Majesty's Ship "Daphnae" have had a most salutory effect in impressing the minds of the Neweeté Tribe, as well as other Indian Tribes, who inhabit the north end of Vancouver's Island, with a proper degree of respect for the persons and property of Her Majesty's Subjects; who may Manuscript imagethrough accident fall into their power.
4 7
The instructions in your Lordships Despatch of the 20th March 1851, No 1 Military, in reference to the views, which Her Majesty's Government entertain on the question of the protection to be afforded to British subjects, against the violence of the Native Indian Tribes, will be made known to the Public, and be considered as the rule of our future proceedings in such cases. Every means in the power of this Government, will also be exerted to keep the Colonists together, and to prevent them from straggling into the Indian Country, and forming detached settlements, which from their weakness and isolation, would be greatly exposed to Indian depredations, and become a source of disquiet to the Colony.
5 8
It is obviously the interest and should be the constant study of this Government, to avoid every course that may directly or indirectly lead to dissension with the powerful Indian Tribes inhabiting Vancouver's Island, whose numbers are estimated at 20,000 including women and children.
They fortunately do not all speak the same language, and have their sectional interests and disputes, which keep them, divided, and inManuscript image a measure hostile to each other; but notwithstanding those intestine discords, their friendship is valuable and their opposition would prove a formidable obstacle to the progress of an infant Colony.
A difficulty which nearly led to a fatal affray with the Songies Tribe, occurred last month, in consequence of an attempt that was made to apprehend an individual of that nation, who was accused of having slaughtered several head of neat cattle and sheep, belonging to a Settler.
Two Indians were, in succession, charged with the offence, one of whom was captured without difficulty, and brought in by the Officer, intrusted with the execution of the warrant, but in attempting afterwards to apprehend the other offender; who had taken refuge in the principal Songies Village near Victoria, the Constable, and his retinue of ten men, were surrounded by a tumultuous throng of armed Indians; who set him at defiance, and were only restrained at the point of the Baoynet from rushing in, and disarming his party, who were consequently compelled to retire in disorder, without having executed the warrant, and with the loss of two muskets, and a Boat,Manuscript image which remained in the hands of the Indians.       As soon as that outrage was reported I sent a second party to demand ‸of the Songies the Boat and Muskets, they had so lawlessly seized, on pain of being punished if they objected to restore them; but the mission proved abortive.      They refused to give up the property unless the Indian, who had been apprehended in the morning, on the charge of Cattle lifting, and who still remained in custody, was set at liberty.
Although very unwilling to proceed to extremity with those Indians; who have been uniformly friendly, I could not allow Her Majesty's authority to be thus treated, ‸with contempt and the law set at open defiance, without a neglect of duty, and incurring greater evils, than those which it was sought to avert.
Before resorting to coercive measures I however resolved to try the effect of a demonstration, and with that view ordered out a few guns, and directed the Hudson's Bay Company's Steam Vessel, "Beaver", to be anchored abreast of the village, in a position from which it could be attacked to advantage, and in course of two hours our preparations were completed. In the mean time, there was much excitement and alarm, among the Indians, the women and children were flying in all directions, while the men, appeared to lookManuscript image unmoved upon the scene of danger, but they had also had time for reflection, on the consequences of pushing the matter further, and, to my great relief, sent a messenger to beg that proceedings might be stayed, as they had resolved to end the dispute by restoring the Boat and Muskets, which were immediately given up.
It being then late in the evening nothing further could be done; and the following morning the Songies Chief a well disposed Indian, made proffers of compensation for the cattle that had been slaughtered by his people; which were accepted, and quiet was restored.
I have probably dwelt at undue length on a subject; which may not appear of much importance, from a wish to put your Lordship fully in possession of the facts of the case, as well as our proceedings consequent thereupon, and as similar difficulties will be of frequent recurrence. I would beg the favour of your Lordship's instructions in reference to other cases of the same kind. I would at the same time beg to press upon your Lordship's consideration the advantage of stationing one of Her Majesty's
9 A ship has been ordered off Queen Charlotte Island which will be able also to afford protection to Van HESC Island.
Ships, employed in the Pacific, at this or the neighbouring Port of Esquimalt. As a protective measure, the presence of thatManuscript image force would place the Colony in "security" and give an impulse to settlement, more than any other means that could be devised, for it would remove the prevalent idea; which now hinders many parties from embarking capital in this Colony, that Her Majesty's Government are not disposed to patronize or foster its interests in any way, and lastly it may prevent much future evil, and in the end be a great saving of expense.
8 10
We have had no other cause of complaint nor difference whatever with the Indians since my last report, and probably no serious difference would ever occur were it not for the running cattle, which often stray into the woods, at a distance from the settlement, and offer an irresistable temptation to the hungry Indian, returning unsuccessful from the chase, whose ideas are moreover somewhat indistinct as to the real value of domestic cattle, being considered in the same light as the deer of the forest, in which he believes there is no exclusive property.
9 11
Several land sales have been effected, since the report made to your Lordship by the Hudson's Bay Company, to parties residing in this country; who are erecting buildings, and bringing the soil into cultivation
Manuscript image
The Puget Sound Company have commenced a large agricultural establishment west of Esquimalt, and another on a smaller scale near Victoria.
Several houses have also been erected in town, and on the whole much progress has been made, for the small British population on the Island.
A number of horses and cattle have also been imported during the winter by the Hudson's Bay Company, and by individual settlers.
As a subject intimately connected with the well being of the Colony it will not be irrelevant to inform your Lordship, that a boy's school has been lately opened, chiefly at the expense of the Hudson's Bay Company, for the instruction of the children of the lower classes; which is well attended.      That with the school conducted by the Hudson's Bay Company's Chaplain, provides secular and religious instruction for all the children in the settlement.
Two Priests of the Roman Catholic Communion, arrived a few days ago from Europe, being the precursors of Monsr Demers, Titular Bishop of Vancouver's Island; who is shortly expected here, his object being to found Missions among the NativeManuscript image Tribes of Vancouver's Island.
12 12
There has been for some time past much excitement among the labouring classes, on the subject of the Gold diggings of Queen Charlottes Island, to the great injury of the Colony, which has in consequence lost many useful men. One of the Hudson's Bay Company's Vessels sailed for Gold Harbour, about the end of last month, with a strong and well appointed party.
The "Exact" and another American Vessel, which called at Gold Harbour since my last report, returned unsuccessful from that voyage, having been beaten off by the Natives; though the American force was considerable, and well armed.     Several other American vessels are reported to be on the point of sailing from the Ports of Oregon, for the same part of the coast. I have no reliable information from California, though the rumours in circulation lead to the belief that Gold Harbour, will be the great attraction of the season.
I have also to inform your Lordship, that this Government, have it in contemplation to impose a duty
13See last instructions. I think import duties can't be levied without the consent of the Legislature of which there is none yet constituted.
on imports from Great Britain, and all other countries, for the purpose of raising a Revenue to meet its current expences. Whether it willManuscript image be a fixed or ad valorem duty, uniform or distinctive in its provisions, and the other details of the measure, have not yet been taken into consideration, by the Council; but as soon as it is matured, I will take the earliest opportunity of communicating with your Lordship.
I have the honor to be
Your Lordships
most obt humble Servt
James Douglas
Governor Vancouvers Island
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
Mr Blanshard ought to have left copies of his despatches to the Secretary of State in the Colony. It is quite contrary to rule for a Governor to take away his despatches on his retirement. I should suggest that he be called upon to deliver them to this Office.
Paragraph 7. As a ship of War has been ordered to Queen Charlotte Island for the protection of property there, of which the Governor was not of course not aware when he wrote this desph, it isManuscript image not unlikely but that the same vessel may occasionally be able to visit VanCouver's Island, & afford the Governor the aid he asks for.    You will probably consider & suggest to Sir John Pakington what instructions can be given to the Governor for his guidance in the event of the Indians again misconducting themselves.
Paragraph 9. Should, I think, be communicated to Mr Miller to print with the return to the Order of theManuscript image House of Commons for information as to what the Hudson's Bay Company had done in the way of Colonization &c &c.
ABd 16 July.
To give orders from hence as to the conduct to be observed towards Indians in Vancouver's Island seems rather unlikely to be of much service. If the colony is to maintain itself, as was the condition of its foundation, the local government must needs be left very much to its discretion as to dealings with the natives in the immediate neighborhood of the settled parts, although distant excursions against them may be discouraged, as they were by Lord Grey's Desp. of the 5th Nov. last?
As to the rest, adopt Mr Blackwood's minute?
HM Jy 19
Act upon Mr Blackwoods Minute and in writing to the Govr approve of the firmness & good judgment shewn in the affair with the Songies Indians⎯ adding that I must leave the mode of dealing with the Native Tribes to his discretion, trusting to his disposition to Cultivate friendly relations with them as far as possible.
JSP 22
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Blanshard, 5 August 1852, requesting that he deliver copies of his official correspondence with the Colonial Office so that they may be returned to Vancouver Island.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
It would not surprize me to hear that Mr Blanshard kept no copies of his despatches⎯. If so we must make them here, & send them out.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Pakington to Douglas, No. 3, 2 August 1852.
Minutes by CO staff
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There is no authority for this passage, but as the Govr, in ignorance no doubt of the Regulations, is in the habit of acknowledging several dispatches at once, thus confusing subjects which ought to be kept distinct, perhaps it may be considered right to send him a copy of the Book?
  1. This text is at the top of the despatch, above the addressee, and left of the address. See image scan.
  2. Text is at top right of page, between address and addressee. "PRINTED FOR PARLIAMENT" is stamped on the page; the rest of the content is hand-written. See image scan.
  3. This number appears in the left margin of page. See image scan.
  4. This text runs perpendicular to the main text in the margin to the left of the first paragraph. See image scan.
  5. This number appears in the left margin of page. See image scan.
  6. This number appears in the left margin of page. See image scan.
  7. This number appears in the left margin of page. See image scan.
  8. This number appears in the left margin of page. See image scan.
  9. This text appears in the margin at the bottom right corner of the page. See image scan.
  10. This number appears in the left margin of page. See image scan.
  11. This number appears in the left margin of page. See image scan.
  12. This number appears in the left margin of page. See image scan.
  13. This text appears in the margin of the bottom left corner of the page. See image scan.
  14. Douglas was incorrect on the date of the letter in question, which was from the 31st of October, 1851.
People in this document

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Blanshard, Richard

Demers, Modeste

Douglas, James

Grey, Henry George

Jadis, Vane

Lacy, Edward

Merivale, Herman

Miller, William

Pakington, John Somerset

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Puget Sound Agricultural Company

Vessels in this document

Beaver, 1835-1888

HMS Daphne, 1838-1864


HMS Thetis, 1846-55

Places in this document


Esquimalt Harbour

Gold Harbour

Haida Gwaii

Nahwitti (region and features)

Oregon Territory, or Columbia District

Vancouver Island