Mills to Molesworth
6th August 1855 To The Right Honourable, Sir William Molesworth Secretary of State for the Colonies

Honourd Sir,
I beg to acknowledge your reply to a letter I addressed to Sir George Grey, of the 9th January last. I feel extremely thankfull for it; but feel extremely pained to hear the Government can do nothing in the Case.
Honourd Sir, I am not writing again to solicit the aid of Government in righting a most sorely persecuted British subject. Your answer, Yes, or No, was all I required, but more to acknowledge the receipt of your letter.
Honourd Sir. Knowing your uprightness and the great Interest you take in the affairs of the Colonies belonging to Great Britain, I feel sanguine you will forgive me for stating a few incidents in respect of my cruel treatment at VanCouvers Island, You Honourd Sir have heard one side of the story from His Excellency Governor Douglas, but the said Gentleman is also the Head & Chief Factor of the Honourable Hudson Bay Company, he was also my Agent for the ship, and my ship was employed by the said Company, Sir, I will ask you to judge of what redress, or justice, I could obtain there allowing Governor Douglas to be the most impartial Gentleman living. Sir, it was impossible, where I have a great cause of dissatisfaction is in Governor Douglas not having an Investigation of all the proceedings of the ship's passage before casting me intoManuscript image into that vile place not fit for a poor dog, and keeping me there four sittings and a half of their supreme courts, without even noticeing me, Yes, five monthly sessions was there not unmercifull persecution in this: is this the Law of our Land, does it not state, Honourable Sir, that a subject shall not be any unne[ce]ssary time in prison before being brough[t] to trial neither is he guilty untill found so by his countrymen. I was treated as guilty from the first day of my incarceration, and fed upon the dogs portions of food was also suffering from a decease, which at this time I am given over as incureable by my surgeon attending on me.
When His Excellency thought fit to bring on my Case I was acqui[t]ted by His own subalterns, He knew it must fall to the ground, had there been any person there in the shape of a Lawyer it could never have taken place even after acquital by the Juror's, I was most spitefully sent to prison again by the supreme Judge who was at the bar Counsel for prosecuting, and was released 9 days after by the judge running away, leaveing a message with the sheriff to let me Free. This leaves room for Law improvements. The Charge against me was trumpery Viz The Honourable Hudsons Bay Company were indebted to me near 1400 Freight they would not pay me nor give a certificate to obtain such, I therfore did as the Law allows, detain a portion of their chattels amounting to 700 for my Freight and certainly should have detained more had the Cargo not been perishable. I had lost 5 months Valuable earnings of the ship, put to enormous expense & trouble and mental anxiety through their brutal and mutinous passengers compelling me to go into port under the plea of having bad provisions which the company procured. And here Honourd Sir, I state on my solemn Oath, and my good conscience and before theManuscript image Allmighty God, I did strenuously strive to do that which was right & just between employers and employed as I felt proud of having got into so Princely a Company as the H.B. Company for employment.
In answer Honourd Sir to the second Item in your letter, I state positiv[e]ly on oath that I was not allowed to take my personal effects on shore, the answer I got from the sheriff was, "leave your state room door open and take a change of linen with you", all I took was a small portmanteau. I will say no more Honourd Sir, as I am afraid I have encroached on your time too much, I could state a great deal if necessary.
I may say, Sir, in Van Couvers Island there is very great room for improvements and alterations, it is a splendid Island where many thousands of our countrymen might find a comfortable home under proper Legislation, many settlers are there living in a great state of dissatisfaction, there is plenty of Law such as it is without any justice the Rule is most despotic in the extreme. Navy Officers who have visited those parts are the best informants of the state of things.
Trusting, Sir, I have not trespassed
I have the Honour to remain Honourable Sir
Your most obedient Humble Servant
John Powell Mills
of Swansea Sth Wales


Opposite H.M. Victg Yard Entrance
Deptford
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
Simply acke rect. The writer addresses no new grievances, or facts to throw doubt on the correctness of the Governor's representation.
ABd 8 Augt
HM Augt 8
JB 9 Aug
WM 9 A
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Ball to Mills, 11 August 1855, acknowledging his letter.
Mills, Powell to Molesworth, William 6 August 1855, CO 305:6, no. 7488, 319. 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/V556M02.html.

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