[No. 9]
9th December 1852 To the Right Honble Sir John S Packington Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonial Department

I have the honor of transmitting herewith Duplicate of my Despatch of the 11th November, with the accompanying Documents.
Our relations with the Native Tribes have undergone no material change since that date, they have been uniformly quiet and friendly in their intercourse with the settlement and appear to regret the unhappy event which occurred last month. We have not
1Extracts to F.O. April 11th/53. For commt.
Further to F.O. for Comt 22 Jul/53.
Further ⎯⎯⎯&⎯⎯⎯         27/Oct-/'
To Hudson's Bay Comp ⎯⎯⎯" 27⎯"⎯⎯⎯
Copy? 22 Oct/53 No 12
yet taken any active measures to secure the murderers of Brown, owing to the non arrival of the Hudson's Bay Companys Steam vessel, which except Boats, is the only means of transport at my disposal capable of conveying an adequate force to the part of the coast, where the criminals are reported to have taken refuge; and it would not be advisable, at this inclement season of the year, to undertake an expedition, of so much importance, in open Boats, which would neither represent theManuscript imagethe dignity of the Government nor afford shelter and protection to the men, and might probably end in disaster and defeat. I have therefore deferred the expedition until it can be dispatched with all the means at our disposal.
A question has lately arisen here relative to the sovereignty of the Islands in the Canal de Arro, situated between Vancouvers Island and the Continent, to which some American citizens have set up a claim in the name of the United States.
I think
this point
has been
raised upon
some former
I propose to lay the question before you in my next despatch and in the mean time I shall assert the Sovereignty of Great Britain, to all the Islands in the Arro Archipelago situated to the eastward of Strawberry Bay, so named by Vancouver, which is the usual ship channel into the Gulf of Georgia.
22 in Extract
I would also observe for the information of Her Majesty's Government that several American Merchant vessels were engaged last summer in trafficking with the natives and fishing on the west coast of Vancouver's Island, the produce of those voyages being carried into the Ports of California. That traffic is not hurtful to any existing British interest as there are no settlements on that coast, but as it may soon becomeManuscript image a lucrative branch of British Trade and as it cannot be carried on by American citizens without a manifest violation of British Territory, I think it would be advisable to place a check upon such proceedings, before they acquire, from custom, the force of national rights.
If such should be Her Majesty's pleasure I beg to receive such instructions and directions on the subject as may be requisite for our guidance.
I have the honor to be
Your obedt Servt
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
The Duplicate desph of the 11th Novr has been recd and disposed of.
Should the Foreign Office be consulted as to the ansr which should be returned to the Governor's observations as to ‸the claim of the Americans to the Islds in the Canal De Arro: & to his request for instructions as to the stopping the trade the Americans are carrying on with the natives on the West Coast of VanCouver's Isld?
On referring to the Treaty I fear it is doubtful to whom the Arro Islands belong.
ABd 2 April
The question as to the ownership of the islands has, as Mr Blackwood correctly surmises, been raised before. Mr Lawrence when Amn minister here paid some attention to it. but I am not certain that it was ever officially investigated.
As to the other points: is it unlawful for Americans to trade with Indians on an unoccupied portion of the coast of British N. America. I suppose it is, but am not sufficiently familiar with the principles of international law applicable to the question.
Consult the For. Off. on both points?
HM Apl 5
FP 5
N 6
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
1. Duplicate, Douglas to Pakington, [No. 8], 11 November 1852.
Manuscript image
1.. Douglas to Kuper, 8 November 1852 (enclosure in above).
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Addington, Foreign Office, 11 April 1853, forwarding extracts of the despatch for opinion.
Manuscript image
Draft, Colonial Office to Addington, 22 July 1853, requesting further opinion on the sovereignty question.
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 12, 22 October 1853.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Addington, 27 October 1853, advising against any communication being made to the United States government until further report was received from Douglas.
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Draft, Colonial Office to Barclay, Hudson's Bay Company, 27 October 1853, seeking the company's observations on the "propriety of authorizing freedom of trade with the Indians within the settled parts of VanCouver's Island."
  1. This text appears in the upper-left margin of the page, and runs perpendicular to the main text. Part of this text is written over the main content of the despatch. See image scan.
  2. There are numerous vertical lines in the margins, as well as underlined words, that are presumably directing which sections are to be extracted. See image scan.
People in this document

Addington, Henry Unwin

Barclay, Archibaldus

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone


Douglas, James

Kuper, Augustus L.


Merivale, Herman

Pakington, John Somerset

Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes

Vancouver, George

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Foreign Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Vessels in this document

Beaver, 1835-1888

Places in this document

Haro Strait

San Juan Island

San Juan Islands

Strait of Georgia

Strawberry Bay

Vancouver Island