No. 4
24th February 1857
1. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No 20, of the 13th of November last.
2. I trust I may be permitted to make a few explanatory observations, in reference to the remarks inyourManuscript image your Despatch on the subject of the expedition to Cowegin, with the view of more clearly showing, than was done in my report of the expedition, that the measure of sending an armed Force against the Cowegin Indians was only resorted to, on the failure of all other means of bringing the criminal to justice, and vindicating the authority of the Law.
3. I may add without fear of contradiction that never was a signal example more urgently demanded for the maintenance of our prestige with the Indian Tribes than on that occasion. Elated with the recent successes of the Oregon Tribes over the UnitedStatesManuscript image States Troops, the natives of this Colony were also becoming insolent and restive, and there exist the clearest proofs derived from the confession of his own friends, to show that the Native who shot Williams, felt assured of escaping with impunity. He, in fact told his friends that they had nothing to fear from the enmity of the whites, as they would not venture to attack a powerful tribe, occupying a country strong in its natural defences, and so distant from the coast.
4. His friends were disposed to entertain the same opinion. Our demands for the surrender of the criminal were answered by a rush to arms, and a tumultuousassemblageManuscript image assemblage of the Tribe in warlike array. From thence arose the necessity of employing an armed force to support the requisitions of the Law, and the danger to be guarded against, in our efforts to apprehend the criminal, was a collision with the whole Tribe. To avert that calamity, if possible, I had recourse, essentially, to the same principles of action, as in the case of the successful expeditions against the Cowegin and Nanaimo Tribes, reported in my Despatch of the 21st of January 1853, to Secretary Sir John S. Packington [Pakington], that is, by striving to impress on the minds of the Natives, that the terrors of the law would be let loose on the guilty only, and notonManuscript image on the Tribe at large, provided they took no part in resisting the Queens authority nor in protecting the criminal from justice.
5. And further I took the field in person with the expeditionary force, directed all their movements, and adopted every other precaution, dictated by experience, to avert disaster and ensure success.
6. The disastrous warfare with the Natives of New Zealand, and more recently in the British Settlements on the coast of Africa, where the apprehension of a criminal led to much expense and the loss of many valuable lives; and in our own neighbourhood the conflicts with the Natives in American Oregon, and the fruitlessExpeditionManuscript image expedition of Her Majesty's Ships "Daedalus" and "Daphne" undertaken by my Predecessor Governor Blanshard against the native Tribes of Vancouvers Island, evince the difficulties and dangers of that service.
7. I may further assure Her Majestys Government that I was not influenced by the love of military display in assuming the great responsibility involved in directing the Cowegin Expedition; but solely by a profound sense of public duty, and a conviction, founded on experience, that it is only by resorting to prompt and decisive measures of punishment, in all cases of aggression, that life and property can be protected and the Native Tribes of this ColonykeptManuscript image kept in a proper state of subordination.
8. I have further much satisfaction in reporting that the result of the expedition has produced a most salutary effect on the minds of the Natives.
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas

The Right Honble Henry Labouchere Esqre
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Ball
Acke, I presume?
ABd 29/Ap
I think with satisfaction.
JB 29 Ap
HL 30
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Labouchere to Douglas, No. 10, 6 May 1857. Transcribed below.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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3007 Van Couvers Island

6 May 1857

I have received and perused with satisfaction your Despatch N 11 of the 24 of February explaining herefully the proceeds on which you considered it necessary to lead an armed force against the Cowegin Indians.