No. 5, Civil
8 January 1861
I have the honor to acknowledge Mr Rogers' Despatch No 39 of the 4th of October, transmitting an Extract of a letterfromManuscript image from Admiral Sir Robert L. Baynes to the Secretary of the Admiralty, and requesting me, in reference thereto, to report to Your Grace on the suggestion made by that Officer that a Magistrate should be appointed to reside on Admiral (or Salt Spring) Island.
2. I have accordingly the honor to inform Your Grace that Rear AdmiralBaynesManuscript image Baynes' suggestion points to an exceedingly proper and advisable course, in perfect accordance with my own views and the invariable practice of my Government, as is manifest from the circumstance of there being one or more Justices of the Peace resident in every settled District of this Colony, Salt Spring Island excepted. I have made it a rule to select those localMagistratesManuscript image Magistrates from the respectable class of Settlers, in compliment to them as well as with the view of economising the Public Revenue, which would be severely taxed by maintaining so many Stipendiary Magistrates at a probable cost for each of £500 a year; while the District Justices in performing the same duties with at least creditable efficiency, receive only one pound a daywhileManuscript image while in session, as remuneration for their services. None of the resident settlers on Salt Spring Island having either the status or intelligence requisite to enable them to serve the public with advantage in the capacity of local Justices, no appointment was, simply for that reason, made; and there was no urgent cause why we should depart in that instance from Established custom, by appointingaManuscript image a Stipendiary Magistrate for that District.
3. It would be a mistake to suppose that the presence of a Civil Magistrate, however useful in preserving the peace among their fellow subjects, is an effective substitute for Military protection in the case of Indian difficulties; or to suppose that without physical force either the Magistrate or his authority would be respected by the Natives.
4._Manuscript image
4. Admitting, to some extent, the truth of Admiral Baynes' remarks as to the origin of quarrels between white men and Indians in other parts of the world, I differ from him in opinion as to their applicability to the British Possessions on this Coast, where I think it will be found that the Indians have generally been the aggressors in the few serious disputes that have occurred.
5. The IndiandisturbanceManuscript image disturbance at Salt Spring Island mentioned in Admiral Baynes' letter, was a purely accidental occurrence arising out of the unexpected meeting of people belonging to hostile Tribes—neither knowing the other to be there. It was the affair of a moment, an uncontrolable ebulition of savage fury—each attacking the other with relentless ferocity until one of the parties was entirely destroyed. It is therefore evident that nothingshortManuscript image short of a Military Force, anticipating and prepared for the occasion, could have been of the least avail in preventing the slaughter: the interference of a Civil Magistrate, unless strongly supported, might have aggravated the evil, by provoking, through injudicious zeal, a contest with the Savages, which, considering the small number of settlers, might not improbably have led to their utter destruction.
The latter though greatlyalarmed,Manuscript image alarmed, suffered no molestation whatever from the victorious Tribe, who, before leaving the Settlement, expressed the deepest regret for the affray, pleading in extenuation that they could not control their feelings, and begging that their conduct might not be represented to this Government in an unfavorable light.
6. Your Grace may rest assured that I shall take the first opportunity of appointing in theusualManuscript image usual manner, a Justice of the Peace for Salt Spring Island Settlement; and should there be an urgent necessity for an Earlier appointment, the Legislature will, I have no doubt, cause a sum of money to be appropriated for the support of a Stipendiary Magistrate at that place.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
I shd suggest that this despatch be ackd and the Governor's views & intention commended.
ABd 7/3
Mr Fortescue
I do not know that there is anything particular to commend in this matter. The Governor having been asked his opinion on appointing a Magistrate at a certain station, says that he has it in contemplation to do so at a proper opportunity. This is an answer to an inquiry & I think that it may be put by.
TFE 8 March
CF 9
N 10