[No. 6]
2nd August 1852
"Gold".— Queen Charlottes Island" July 18/53.
Extract paragraphs
also Extract part of paragraph
No 7
To the Right Honble Sir John S. Pakington Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State For the Colonial Department

I had the honor on the 26th Ultmo of receiving your communications,
3 Extract to F.O. 29th Oct/52
No — to Admty " — "—"—
numbered 1 and 2 of the 11th and 18th March and with the former a Warrant under the Royal Sign Manual, appointing Mr Roderick Finlayson to be a member of Council of Vancouver's Island. I have duly signified Her Majestys Will and pleasure to that gentleman, and shall forthwith swear, and admit him as a Member of Council
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The instructions
contained in your letter of the 18th March in reference to the admissibility of Indiantestimony in the Law Courts of this Colony, shall be communicated for the guidance of the Magistrates and Officers, who may be entrusted with the administration of the Laws.
I observe with
much satisfaction that you have directed the attention of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to the subject of stationing a vessel of war off Queen Charlotte's Island for the support of national rights, and the protection of Her Majesty's subjects trading to that quarter.
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We have received no intelligence from Queen Charlottes Island since the arrival of Her Majesty's Ship "Thetis" in the early part of last month. The Americans had all left, before the departure of the "Thetis" from Gold Harbour, and I have no doubt the report of her proceedings on the coast, will deter many persons from going there, who would otherwise have been induced, by its reputed wealth, to visit the Island.
The danger is not however completely removed, as rumours are still abroad of parties forming in California and Oregon for the avowed purpose of working the Gold Mines, and any prospect of success will set them all in motion.
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The reports received from the Hudsons Bay Company's parties employed on Queen Charlottes Island, are not so favourable as anticipated, and it has now become a question, if surface gold, as found in California, exists in large quantities on any part of the Island. On the other hand all the accounts agree in representing the great value of the auriferous quartz from which it is expected that a rich harvest of the precious metals will be obtained.
The presence of a Vessel of War, permanently stationed on this coast will I am convinced have the happiest effect in promoting general trade, as well as the special interests of thisColonyManuscript image Colony, and I am in hopes, that Her Majesty's Government will take a favourable view of that measure. In that event I will submit for your consideration that a War Steamer of small force would be the most useful and effective Vessel that could be employed on this coast, as besides the celerity and certainty of her movements she could with less risk and far more ease than a sailing vessel, visit the numerous Bays and Inlets where prohibited vessels may be concealed.
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The Colony of Vancouver's Island is, from present
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circumstances, in a most unfortunate position for Trade; at the distance of more than 4000 milesfromManuscript image from the nearest British posession and separated from the Mother Country by half the circumference of the Globe, it has no available outlet for its productions, consisting of Salt-fish, Deals, Limestone and Spars for Masts, which with the exception of the last will do little more than defray the expensive transport to Great Britain. Added to that disadvantage the Colony has to sustain a competition with the American settlements in Oregon, whose staple exports are similar to those of Vancouvers Island, and
This is one of the points to be discussed in the approaching negotiation with the U. States. Send this passage to the F.O.
ABd 19 Octr
are admitted into the American Ports in California free of duty, while heavy protective duties ranging from 20 to 30 per cent, are chargeduponManuscript image upon the staple exports of this country.
Enterprise therefore languishes and unless some steps are taken to mitigate as far as possible, those disadvantages, the Colony will never prosper, and the labouring classes will seek employment in the neighbouring settlements of Oregon. Much I conceive may be effected in that way by encouraging the export of spars for the supply of the Royal Navy, which this Island produces in great abundance, and of the very best quality. I herewith enclose a document containing a description of a lot of spars prepared for shipment by Mr Brotchie a British subject; who has been nearly two years a resident on this Island, andwhoManuscript image who after devoting his whole time and spending all his means in the prosecution of that enterprise can find no sale for his property, which is therefore in danger of being destroyed by fire and other accidents.
I beg to recommend the case of Mr Brotchie to your consideration, as I have no doubt the Lords ‸Commissioners of the Admiralty would find it of advantage to order a contract to be made with him for any number of Spars, required for the public service, this besides rescuing a worthy and enterprising man from ruin, would give an impulse to industry and be the means of calling into exercise a branch of trade which may leadtoManuscript image to very important results, as concerns
7 end for Ady.
the future interests of the Colony.
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I have nothing further of any importance relative to the Colony to communicate. Petty offenses have on several occasions been committed by the natives, which have been fairly dealt with, but we have had no serious difficulty with any of the Native Tribes, who, generally speaking, live on friendly terms with the white settlers.
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Since my last cummunication several dwelling houses have been erected at Victoria, and the Puget Sound Company have commenced two large farms in the same district; otherwise there has been little progress made in the settlements.
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The harvest began about a week ago, and it is the general opinion that the wheat and pea crops will afford a good yield, but the oats are considered short and defecient in straw, owing to the extreme dryness of the summer, there having been no rain, with the exception of three light showers since the 10th of May last.
I have the honor to be
Your obt humble Servt
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Submit this to Mr Merivale on his return to Town. In the meanwhile, send, I think Paragraphs 31, 4, 5, 6 and 7 to the Admiralty, and recommend, if that be Sir J. Pakington's view, the employment of a Steam ‸instead of a Sailing Vessel for the protection of British interests off VanCouver's and Queen Charlotte Island. There is Coal on the spot, and with such active competition as the Americans at Oregon it seems to me that any assistance we can give in the development of the resources of a British Possession, and one so situated as this is ought to be afforded. It having been decided that a vessel of war is always to be stationed there it is surely best to have one of the most useful sort.
A considerable portion of Par: 7 should, I think, be communicated to the F.O. with reference to their late enquiry as to the subjects which it will be necessary for the British Negotiator to discuss with the American Envoy.
ABd 19 20 Octr/52
T.FE. 20 Oct
I approve of Mr Blackwood's suggestions.
JSP 22
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Pakington to Douglas, No. 1, 11 March 1852.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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"An Account of Spars belonging to Captn Brotchie on hand at Beaver Harbour," dated Fort Victoria, 22 March 1851.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Addington, Foreign Office, 29 October 1852, forwarding extract of the despatch.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Hamilton, Admiralty, 30 October 1852, forwarding extracts of the despatch and recommending the choice of a steamer as requested by Douglas.
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People in this document

Addington, Henry Unwin

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Brotchie, William

Douglas, James

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Finlayson, Roderick

Hamilton, William Alexander Baille

Merivale, Herman

Pakington, John Somerset

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Foreign Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty

Puget Sound Agricultural Company

Vessels in this document

HMS Thetis, 1846-55

Places in this document

Beaver Harbour

Gold Harbour

Haida Gwaii

Oregon Territory, or Columbia District

Vancouver Island