No. 35
27 August 1858
My Lord,
1. Since I last addressed you on the 19th of Instant, 1 hostilities with miners an alarming report reached this place of the murder of 42 miners by , 2 and I in consequence, made a requisition on Major Hawkins, Her Majesty's Commissioner for determining the Land Boundary; for an officer and ten men, and for an equal force respectively on Captain Prevost of Her Majesty's Ship "Satellite" and Captain Montresor of Her Majesty's Ship "Calypso," so as toformManuscript image form a force of 33 officers and men to proceed with me to the scene of the disaster.
2. That alarming report has since been contradicted in a despatch from Mr Hicks, 3 Her Majesty's Sub Commissioner of Crown Lands, for the district of Fort Yale, who states, that two men only were killed by the Indians, instead of the larger number previously reported. I am nevertheless preparing for an excursion to Fraser's River, with a small military force of 35 men, composed of 15 sappers and miners furnished by Major Hawkins, and Lieutenant Jones with 20 marines, kindly furnished by Captain Prevost of Her Majesty's Ship "Satellite."
3. Major Hawkins has decided on accompanying me to Fraser'sManuscript image Fraser's River, and will command the military force.
4. The object I have in view by undertaking that journey is the enforcement of such laws as may be found necessary for the maintenance of peace and good order among the motely population of foreigners, now assembled in Frasers River, and also practically to assert the rights of the Crown, by introducing the levying of a Licence duty on persons digging for gold, in order to raise a revenue for the defence and protection of the Country.
5. The military force is absurdly small for such an occasion, but I shall use everyexertionManuscript image exertion in my power to accomplish the great object in view, and to assert the rights of my Country, in hopes that early measures will be taken by Her Majesty's Government, to relieve the country from its present perilous state.
6. I transmit for your information the requisition I made on Captain Montresor and his reply thereto.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Major Hawkins and his party of Sappers & Miners are rendering the Governor good service. Communicate to the Foreign Office as he is under their orders—and send a copy to the Admiralty with reference to the aid rendered by Captn Prevost of the Satellite.
Acknowledge approving the Governors measures?
HTI 10 Oct
TFE 11 Oct
Matters are evidently in a critical state but not so bad as they have been represented. Approve?
C Oct 12
I have given verbal instructions on this to Mr Blackwood.
EBL Oct 26
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Write to the Admiralty enclosing extracts from the Despatch asking for Naval force 4 & shewing that the Satellite & Plumper are not there to support Civil Authority & that the Calypso was perfectly useless for that purpose & had left [december cmoniesty?] That as yet the only practical effect of my strong & urgent request on the 26th of June is the information that on the 28th Augt Admiral Baines will leave Callao for Vancouver.
Observe that I must again impress upon the Admiralty the imperative necessity of keeping at Vancouver for the present 2 vessels of sufficient force to protect life & property. And that I am sure it willManuscript image be a source of lasting regret to their Lordships—& it will be a cause of great & severe Parliamentary censure upon the Naval Authorities of England if any inactivation or lukewarmness in the protection of so valuable a part of H.M. Dominions after the repeated & urgent representations which had been sent from this office should produce there evils which might so probably ensue & of which their Lordships were so carefully warned.
EBL Oct 12
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Douglas to Captain Montresor, 24 August 1858, requisitioning one officer and ten marines from H.M.S. Calypso.
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Montresor to Douglas, 24 August 1858, stating he must return to sea and had advised Captain Prevost accordingly.
  1. = Douglas to Stanley, 19 June 1858, No. 28, 7832, CO 305/9, p. 116.
  2. = Indigenous-settler conflict. In mid-August 1858, reports arrived in Victoria of trouble between Indigenous peoples and miners in the Fraser River area, and a party of 194 men left for the interior the week of 20 August to investigate the situation. The Gazette (27 August 1858) reported that Indigenous men had massacred forty-two of the men in the party but retracted the story the next day and stated that the men who began firing upon the settlers at the camp had been stopped by other Indigenous men. Two settlers in the party were killed and two others wounded, before quiet was restored. Gazette, 20, 25, 26 and 27 August 1858.
  3. Colonial Secretary's correspondence, PABC ?? Howay?? Cf. Douglas to Lytton, 9 November 1858, No. 30, 549, CO 60/1, p. 400.
  4. A draft of despatch appears in Douglas to Labouchere, 8 May 1858, No. 19, 6113, CO 60/1, p. 10.
  5. This minute by Lytton has been crossed out and the preceeding page removed from the file by Colonial Office staff before the volume was bound and paginated.
People in this document

Baynes, Robert Lambert

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Carnarvon, Earl

Douglas, James

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Hawkins, John Summerfield

Hicks, Richard

Irving, Henry Turner

Jones, Howard Sutton

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Montresor, Captain Frederick Byng

Prevost, James Charles

Stanley, Edward Henry

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Foreign Office

Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty

Vessels in this document

HMS Calypso, 1845-1866

HMS Plumper, 1848-1865

HMS Satellite, 1855-1879

Places in this document


Fraser River

Vancouver Island