No. 42
30 September 1858
1. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No 4, of the 16th July. 1
2. In the midst of the varied cares and anxieties that press upon me in the present conjuncture, it is no small consolation to learnfromManuscript image from your Despatch that Her Majesty's Government feel assured of my zeal in the public service, and offer their firm support, in the performance of the arduous duties consequent on my present position, and I beg leave to say that I feel the value of that support, and deeply grateful for the confidence reposed in me.
3. I observe with satisfaction that Her Majesty's Government were engaged in conducting through Parliament, a measure for the establishment of regular government in the gold country, 2 and were devising means for affording me thesupportManuscript image support of a military force.
4. I have perused your remarks defining the extent of the Powers conferred on the Governor of Vancouver's Island by the Royal Commission and observe that you approve of the appointment of a revenue officer, to prevent the landing of prohibited articles in Fraser's River, and instruct me to maintain the principle that the navigation of Fraser's River itself, above the mouth, is open to British vessels only, and that American or other foreign vessels if admitted to navigate that river should be required to take out a license; your instructions on thosepointsManuscript image points being in strict accordance with our present regulations.
5. I observe also from your Despatch, that the rights of trade made over to the Hudson's Bay Company are limited to the trade with the Indian Tribes.
We have always hitherto given a more extended application to those rights, believing from the circumstance of the country, being inhabited by Indians alone, and from its not being open for settlement to white men, that the intention of Parliament in granting the License, was to make overtheManuscript image the whole trade of the country to the Hudson's Bay Company.
6. That construction of the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company was strengthened by the following passage in His Grace [the Duke] of Newcastle's Despatch No 12, of the 22nd of October 1853, 3 on which the proclamation issued on the 8th of May last was based. With regard to the third subject, the traffic of the Americans with the Indians, you are of course aware that the Hudson's Bay Company are legally entitled to this trade, to the exclusion of all other persons, whetherBritish"Manuscript image British or Foreign, you are therefore clearly at liberty to take such steps as may have the effect of punishing persons who infringe their rights. But I am of opinion that it would be prudent previously to issue a proclamation warning all persons against the consequences of such an infringement of the Hudson's Bay Company's rights, and also apprizing foreigners that they are precluded from fishing within three miles of the shore.
7. We shall however in future act upon your instructions, abrogating andamendingManuscript image amending without delay all existing regulations repugnant thereto. The proclamation of the 8th of May was in fact virtually abrogated by later regulations, 4 permitting in the first place, the entrance of boats and vessels under sufferance, and afterwards allowing the importation of all kinds of goods into Fraser's River, on the payment of an ad valorem duty on the goods of 10 per cent, as mentioned in the 11th paragraph of my Despatch No 39 of the 9th of September. 5
8. The object of that Proclamation which fromtheManuscript image the pressure of business my despatches have but imperfectly explained to Her Majesty's Government, was not solely to protect the interests of the Hudson's Bay Company, for in the circumstances of the country, that was a simple impossibility, but I sought to establish thereby a legal control, over the multitude of foreigners who were entering the country, and who notwithstanding our precautions to the contrary, have been with difficulty restrained from taking possession of and occupying as squatters all the valuable land on Fraser's River. I felt that a step of that kind could not be legally carried into effectinManuscript image in my position as Governor of Vancouver's Island, but while holding that position and representing, at the same time, the Hudson's Bay Company 6 I fancied that important public measure would violate no law, and therefore from its evident necessity meet with your approval and support.
9. The arrangement with the Pacific Mail Steam Ship Company 7 of which you disapprove, was never carried into effect; but the other foreign vessels employed on Fraser's River were likewise bound by the same conditions offered to that Company.ThoseManuscript image Those regulations have by subsequent changes fallen into disuse, in so much as they are connected with the privileges or tend to promote the interests of the Hudson's Bay Company.
10. We shall forthwith discontinue the regulation requiring the pre-payment of mining licenses and head money on persons going to Fraser's River, in consequence of your instructions to that effect, and in all other respects we shall conform strictly to the instructions contained in your Despatch.
I have Manuscript image
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
See 12180.
VJ 29 N
Lord Carnarvon
12180 has not reached me with this. As this is an answer to despatches which were very fully considered, but at a time when I was not present, I do not feel competent to offer any useful advice.
TFE 1 Decr
Sir Edward Lytton
I pass this on to you at once.
C Dec 2
EBL Decr 9
  1. Lytton to Douglas, 16 July 1858, No. 4, CO 410/1, p. 132.
  2. = Act to Provide for. Lytton introduced the Bill to Provide for the Government of New Caledonia in the House of Commons on 1 July 1858. It was read a second time and debated on 8, 12, and 13 July, and a third time on 19 July. The bill was given first reading in the House of Lords on 20 July, second reading on 26 July, third reading on 29 July, and received royal assent on 2 August, when Parliament was prorogued. Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Third Series, vol. 91, 1858.
  3. Newcastle to Douglas, 22 October 1853, No. 12, NAC, RG7, G8C/1, p. 148. NOTE: JH has an alternative reference: Newcastle to Douglas, No. 12, 22 October 1853, PABC. CO 410/1, pp. 49-53.
  4. = customs duties. Proclamation 8 May in Douglas to Stanley, 19 May 1858, No. 23, 6667, CO 305/9, p. 87. Later regulations that abrogate these?? Ad valorum duty, footnote Douglas to Lytton, 9 September 1858, No. 39, 12177, CO 60/1, p. 156. ??
  5. Douglas to Lytton, 9 September 1858, No. 39, 12177, CO 60/1, p. 156.
  6. = Douglas's multiple responsibilities: Douglas's position as governor of VI and also agent for the HBC in discharging their duties as proprietors. Details needed??
  7. See footnote in Douglas to Stanley, 19 May 1858, No. 23, 6667, CO 305/9, p. 87.
People in this document

Carnarvon, Earl

Douglas, James

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Jadis, Vane

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes

Organizations in this document

Hudson's Bay Company

Places in this document

Fraser River

New Caledonia

Vancouver Island