No. 11
20th April 1857
1. I herewith transmit for your information, copies of a correspondence with Commander Swartwout, commanding the United States Steamer "Massachusetts" on the subject of a reported assemblage of Northern Indians, on Vancouver's Island or in itsimmediateManuscript image immediate vicinity, preparatory to a combined hostile movement into the American Territory, a report which he observes has given rise to much excitement and caused great alarm among the inhabitants of Washington Territory.
2. Not being aware that the northern Indians entertain the designs imputed to them by such reports, and having recently received intelligence from those parts of Vancouver's Island which in the event of a meditated attack upon the American Settlements, the Northern Indians would probably select, as a rendezvous I feelassuredManuscript image assured that no such muster of Indians has taken place.
3. I stated my opinion, to that effect, in replying to Captain Swartwout's communication and also the arrival of a large party of Northern Indians at this place.
4. I however refrained from giving a decided opinion as to their future conduct or intentions, though I do not think that they meditate evil against the whites, yet being the creatures of impulse, no sort of confidence can be reposed in them.
5. Many other gangs of those savages to the number in all of 60 large canoes, have since arrived here: a number sufficientlyalarmingManuscript image alarming, considering their character, and the weak state of the settlements. They however continue quiet and submissive to all the police regulations, which we have thought it proper to establish.
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 Merivale
I do not think that there is any positive occasion for communicating this to the F.O. & H.B.Co: but still you may deem it proper to take that course.
Perhaps it wd be advisable to ask the Admy to inform Mr Labouchere what naval force was at V.C. Island & where.
ABd 27 June
Mr Fortescue
Governor Douglas's language & conduct have been such, I think, as to inspire strong confidence in his judgment & power of managing cases like this: still, considering the extreme weakness of his settlement, he may be over powered or drawn against his will into the Indian war now raging in Washington Territory.
I think all the steps mentioned by Mr Blackwood should be taken?
HM June 27
CF 29
HL 1
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Secretary to the Admiralty, 10 July 1857, forwarding copy of the despatch and enquiring into the disposition of naval forces in the North Pacific.
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Draft, Merivale to E. Hammond, Foreign Office, 10 July 1857, forwarding copy of the despatch.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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1. Commander S. Swartwout, U.S. Navy, to Douglas, 4 April 1857, reporting rumours from Bellingham Bay that a large gathering of Northern Indigenous forces on Vancouver Island were planning to attack American settlements and asking if "in your good judgment" there were any grounds for such fears.
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2. Douglas to Swartwout, 4 April 1857, replying that similar reports had circulated in Victoria but he believed them to be unfounded.