No. 40
Downing Street
17 October 1860
I have received your despatches Nos. 39 of the 8th of August, and No. 41 of the 25th August respecting the recent influx of Indians into the neighbourhood of Victoria.
I am very glad to perceive that, without neglecting those precautions which are Manuscript imagenecessary for the immediate security of the Settlers; you are endeavouring to provide for the permanent tranquillity of the Colony not by the mere application of physical force but by measures calculated to introduce among the Indians habits of order, and respect for law and authority.
I hope that these means and the Christian teaching and influence with which, by the valuable exertions of Mr Duncan they are now brought into contact, will beManuscript imagebe effectual gradually to elevate their moral character, and to render them useful inhabitants of the Colony.
But as a necessary condition of any such improvement I would impress most strongly on you the necessity of using every exertion both by the vigorous execution of the Law, and by every appeal which can be made to the right feeling, and self interest of the Settlers to prevent or check the sale of spirituous liquors.
This practice always Manuscript imagedemoralizing and destructive to the Indians, is at Fort Victoria a source of real and important danger to the Colony. Every man who habituates these savages to the use of stimulants, puts in peril the lives and property of the society to which he belongs. He commits a crime against his brother colonists, which if even it cannot be reached by the law ought in mere prudence to be subjected to the heaviest penalties whichManuscript imagewhich public opinion can inflict. I trust that it will be so. If it is not I am sure that the community will soon have reason to lament its own apathy on a matter so vital to its interests. I am sure you will take care that no part of the evil consequences which may result are chargeable on the silence or inaction of Government.
I think you should also propose to the Assembly a bill prohibiting the sale ofManuscript imageof Arms and ammunition to Indians; a restriction not less required apparently for their own protection than for that of the Colonists. The probability that such a law will be evaded is no reason for leaving the practice wholly unchecked, and sanctioned by law.
And finally I wish you to use your influence to impress on the Colonists the necessity of providing themselves with arms and of learning to use them, which would probably be best accomplished by Manuscript imageencouraging the formation of a volunteer force.
I need hardly add that Her Majesty's Government will view with great interest the measures you may adopt for the improvement of the Indians and for regulating their intercourse with the Colonists in such a manner as shall conduce to the well being of both races.
I have etc.
G.C. Lewis

People in this document

Douglas, James

Duncan, William

Lewis, George C.

Places in this document