Confidential
1 July 1858
In transmitting you the Copy of a letter addressed to this Department by order of the Lords Commissioners of the AdmiraltyManuscript image to inform me of the steps they propose to take in consequence of the gold discoveries on Fraser's River, I wish to add, for your particular information, that I have ascertained by communication with the Admiralty that the Officers commanding Her Majesty's Vessel at Vancouver's Island will be directed to give you all the support in their power and to render their crews, and more especially the Marines, serviceable as far as circumstances will allow, if the Civil Government should require a force to maintain order among the adventurers resorting to the Gold Fields. But it will be necessary to be very cautious in employing them, on account of the obvious danger of desertion.
Her Majesty's Government feeling the difficulties and the critical nature of your present circumstancesManuscript image have not hesitated to place these considerable powers in your hands, but they rely upon your forbearance, judgment and conciliation to avoid all resort to Military or Naval force, which may lead to conflict and loss of life, except under the pressure of extreme necessity. Still less need I impress upon you the importance of avoiding any act which directly or indirectly might be construed into an application of imperial resources to the objects of the Hudsons Bay Company in whose service you have so long been engaged. Even the suspicion of this, however unfounded, would be eminently prejudicial to the Establishment of civil government in the Country lying near the Fraser's River, and would multiply existing difficulties and dangers. All claims and interestsManuscript image must be subordinated to that policy which is to be found in the peopling and opening up of the new country with the intention of consolidating it as an integral and important part of the British Empire.
It is possible that by personal influence and conciliatory communications with such of the leading men amongst the American Immigrants as appear to be of good intention or respectable bearing, you might induce them to co-operate with you in preserving order amongst their countrymen, and to lay aside any feeling of prejudice or mistrust with which they may have entered the territory.
I have etc.
Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer to Douglas, James 1 July 1858, CO 410:1, 128. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/V587202A.html.

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