No. 40
29 September 1858
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your [Vancouver Island] Despatch of the 1st of July marked "Confidential" 1 transmitting copy of a letter addressed to the department over which you preside, by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty informing you of the steps they proposed to take in consequence of thegoldManuscript image gold discoveries in Fraser's River, and you are pleased to add for my particular information that the officers commanding Her Majesty's ships at Vancouver's Island would be directed to give me the fullest support, should the civil power require a force to maintain order among the adventurers resorting to the gold fields.
You also recommend caution in employing such force on account of the obvious danger of the desertion of the men.
2. I have on this occasion to assure Her Majesty's Government that the considerable powers so placedinManuscript image in my hands will not be misapplied nor rendered subservient to the promotion of any interests other than those which with unbounded confidence they have intrusted to my charge.
3. Though so long and intimately connected with the Hudson's Bay Company, I have uniformly striven during my administration of the government of Vancouver's Island to dispense equal justice to all its inhabitants, and to avoid even the suspicion, so allowable in the circumstances, of undue influence being used on my part in favouring the objects of the Hudson's Bay Company, I was cautious even about enforcing the LawsinManuscript image in respect to the rights of that association, which has in fact exercised no right nor enjoyed any privilege of trade or otherwise, in this Colony that was not equally shared by every free-holder in the country.
4. Her Majesty's Government may also rely upon a proper and discreet use being made of the military and naval force at my disposal, and that it will not be called into action except in cases of extreme necessity; and also that all claims and interests will be rendered subordinate to the great object of peoplingandManuscript image and opening up the new country; and consolidating it as an integral part of the British Empire.
5. I have given full consideration to your suggestion of inducing by conciliatory advances such of the American immigrants, as appear to be respectable, and to possess influence with their fellow countrymen to co-operate with me, in preserving order; and I shall gladly avail myself of such aid should it be at any time attainable.
6. The feeling of the American population is however not in favor of their own countrymen; they object as strenuously as do the British Subjects here to the appointmentofManuscript image of Americans as Magistrates; or to other offices under the Crown.
The general feeling is in favor of English rule in Fraser's River, the people having a degree of confidence in the sterling uprightness and integrity of Englishmen, which they do not entertain for their own countrymen.
7. I beg further to remark that I feel under great obligations to Captain Prevost of Her Majesty's ship "Satellite" and to Captain Richards, commanding the "Plumper," for their cordial and unflinching support in every emergency and you will confer a great favor, by causing this testimony of their zeal, to becommunicatedManuscript image communicated to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
I presume that Extracts or Copy of this Despatch may be communicated to the Admiralty?
VJ 29 N
Sir Edward Lytton
You will observe Govr Douglas' remark upon the general preference for English over American rule. Forward Extracts to Admiralty.
C Nov 30
Extracts to the Admy with renewed acknowledgements to Capt Prevost.
EBL Decr 1
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Merivale to Secretary to the Admiralty, 15 December 1858, acknowledging receipt of report from Captain Prevost 2 and transmitting extracts of Douglas's despatch. 3
  1. = Lytton to Douglas, Confidential, 1 July 1858, CO 410/1, p. 128.
  2. Prevost's report was forwarded by the Admiralty to the Colonial Office on 16 August 1858 (Romaine to Herman Merivale, Esq. Under Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs, 16 August 1858, 8219 NA, CO 6/25, p. 10). [NOTE: JH says "8226, CO 6/27, p. ??", but that document makes no mention of Prevost or his report. I think 8219 was intended. MDH.] Paragraphs 3, 5, and 6 have beem crossed out in editing the despatch for the Admiralty, and the word "omit" added in the margin. NEED Prevost report.
  3. In editing the despatch for the Admiralty, a clerk has crossed out paragraphs 3, 5, and 6, written "omit" in the margin.
People in this document

Carnarvon, Earl

Douglas, James

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Jadis, Vane

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Merivale, Herman

Prevost, James Charles

Richards, George Henry

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Hudson's Bay Company

Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty

Vessels in this document

HMS Plumper, 1848-1865

HMS Satellite, 1855-1879

Places in this document

Fraser River

Vancouver Island