No. 41
25 August 1860
With reference to my Despatch of the 8th Instant No 39, I have the honor to forward herewith a copy of the reply I received from Admiral Baynes to my requisition upon him to make some arrangements to furnish due protection against the Indians.
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2. I am happy to say all continues quiet amongst the Indians around Victoria, and as the Admiral appears disinclined to take the step, I have not pressed him to land a small guard at Victoria, as alluded to in my beforementioned Despatch. I regret however that he cannot station a Vessel for the time on the East Coast of the Island as I requested, for although the occasional visits of a Ship of War are most desirable, still her continued presence for a longer period would be much more likely to produce lasting good.
3. The extreme penalty of theManuscript imagethe Law was carried into effect this morning in front of the Jail at Fort Victoria upon the person [of] a Northern Indian who was found guilty at the last Assizes of the Murder of a man named Brown. Everything was conducted with the greatest decorum. The Indians appeared fully satisfied of the justness of the measure, and I trust the example may not be unavailing.
I have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
I think that the enclosure (from Sir R. Baynes) to this despatch affords ground for strengthening the desph proposed to be written to the Governor in pursuance of Mr Fortescue's minute on 9267. In my judgment Sir R. Bayne's decision seems quite right.
ABd 8 Oct
Mr Fortescue
I do not see what more is to be done than to acknowledge this with 9267 adding yr recommendation of a volunteer corps. But I shd be inclined to Enforce that recommendation by an observation that the peace of the Colony must eventually depend on the measures wh Govr D. seems very wisely to have originated for organizing a system of Indian Govt & teaching them habits of confidence in the law and submission to those who are charged with its execution.
It does not appear to me that the C.O. would be likely to do good by interfering wth the Govr & the Admy. Their disagreements seem the disagreements of sensible men wh will settle themselves.
Would it be worth while suggesting to Govr D. the expediency of endeavoring to create a public opinion agst those who are guilty of a practice so dangerous to the community as giving spirits to the Indians.
Govr Douglas's despatches on this subject of the Indians are very interesting, and inspire confidence in his power of dealing with them.
I wd encourage him—as Sir F. Rogers proposes—in his measures for introducing among them self government & respect for Law—wh., with the Xtian teaching & influence of such a man as Mr Duncan, may, it is to be hoped, make them useful inhabitants of the Colony, and raise their moral condition, wh. appears to be deplorably low. (See what the Admiral says is the species of traffic wh. brings them to Victoria.) At the same time as a necessary condition of such improvement, I wd impress strongly upon the Govr's mind the necessity of using every exertion, both by the vigorous execution of the law, and by every appeal that can be made to the right feeling & the self interest of the white community, to prevent or check the sale of spirituous liquors. I wd also certainly instruct him to propose to the Assembly a law prohibiting the sale of arms & ammunition to Indians, as a measure calculated as much for their own good as for that of the Colonists—& pointing out that the probability of such a law being evaded is no reason why the practice sh. remain entirely unchecked and sanctioned by law. He sh. also use his influence to impress upon the Colonists the necessity of providing themselves with arms & learning the use of them—wh. wd. probably be best accomplished by the formation of a Volunteer Force.
This collection of Indians under the immediate eye of Government, wd. be an excellent field for the exertions of those Missionary Societies wh. engage in the work of Indian conversion & civilization.
CF 10 Octr
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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R.L. Baynes to Douglas, 5 August 1860, on possible measures to "calm the apprehensions of the inhabitants of Victoria" from the large numbers of "congregated" Indigenous peoples around the city. Transcribed below.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Lewis to Douglas, No. 40, 17 October 1860.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Sir
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency’s letter of the 3rd Instant in reply to some suggestions made by me, relative to the — Northern Indians who have congregated in such numbers round Victoria; not an evil of yesterday’sManuscript imageyesterday’s
His Excellency
James Douglas C.B
Governor &c &C
growth but one that I have painfully witnessed as gradually increasing during the last eight or ten months and not unfrequently expressed an opinion how much it was to be regretted—
As far back as December last I had occasion to call your attention to robberies committed by them on the Esquimalt road.
2— Your Excellency does not deny the expediency of what I — recommendManuscript imagerecommend, but you say, Firstly— that a law passed for the prevention of the sale of arms and ammunition to the Indians would be virtually inoperative, and — secondly— that to remove them by degrees from the neighbourhood of attainment.
Both these points rest with your Excellency.
I quite agree that coercion might be attended with unhappy resultsManuscript imageresults, though the Northern Indians can have no claim to a holding on Vancouver Island, and it might be clearly explained to them that they were liable to ejectment at any moment.
I think it most desirable that notices should be circulated on Queen Charlotte Island, and the coast advising the Indians not to come down, as permission would not be given them to locate themselvesManuscript imagethemselves on shore.
3— I fully concur in Your Excellency’s philanthropic views in endeavouring to improve the social condition of the Indians and I hope they may be attended with success.
4— With respect to the measures it may be necessary to take to calm the apprehensions of the inhabitants of Victoria, I beg to acquaint your Excellency of the strong interest I feel on this point, and that itManuscript imageit is my intention to keep a Gun Boat at the entrance of the Harbour, or two if one is not found sufficient.
5— The small Guard of Marines which you suggest, I am of opinion would be of no service, averse however as I am to land a small detachment, yet if your Excellency still shares in the alarm, and feels particularly anxious on this point, I will endeavour to meet your wishes, on your stating the duties for whichManuscript imagewhich you require them in order that I may give instructions to the officer I shall— entrust with the command.
It appears to me it will have the effect you wish to avoid, that is induce the Indians to suppose we fear them. Your Excellency will understand that I shall order them to re-embark immediately the Northern Indians return, or the Government have devised, which I confidently hopeManuscript imagehope they may soon do, some measures of controlling them- should unfortunately any exigency arise or Your Excellency be under serious apprehensions of the Indians committing acts of aggression the Marines of the squadron with any additional force that may be required are at all times and at all hours for the coming and available. A want of promptness on such occasions is not unusual in Her Majesty’s Navy 6Manuscript image
6— I would strongly press on Your Excellency the necessity of strength-ening the Police by the addition of special — Constables, who from their respectability and position might render calling for Military assistance unnecessary, except under the most urgent circumstances.
7— In reply to Paragraph No 8 respecting two Petitions copies of which you enclose, one from Nanaimo, and the other from Admiral Island, asking protection IManuscript image I beg to say that Captain Richards in the Plumperarrived yesterday morningfrom the former peace, and expressed his surprise on my showing it to him. He was there for forty-eight hours, no complaint was made or fears expressed—
It does not appear that the Petition is signed by the Magistrate, and I must-observe that Mr. Nicol whose name is attached to it, saw Captain Richards and did not say one word on the subject.
With regard to the one from Admiral IslandManuscript imageIsland I must again draw your Excellency’s attention to the want-of a Magistrate or other authorized agent there—
A naval officer may stop any violence he sees likely to arise between the settlers and Indians and seize and send the latter away — or if collecting in unusual numbers with the probability of the peace being disturbed order them off, but he is not borne out in interfering with the settlers, who may refuse to attend to him, and over whom he has no control, and IManuscript image I regret to say that in the majority of cases when quarrels and disputes take place, I believe the fault originates with the white men.
8— A vessel, when I have one at my disposal, shall occasionally visit the different settlements between Cowitchen and Nanaimo, with such orders as I think the nature of the service the officer is employed on may require, but I cannot station one there.

I have &c
(Signed)

Rear Admiral and
Commander in Chief

Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 25 August 1860, CO 305:14, no. 9594, 382. 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/V60041.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)