Paget to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
29 November 1864
Sir,
I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you, herewith, for the information of Mr Secretary Cardwell, a Copy of a Letter of the 30th Ultimo, No 21, from Rear Admiral the Honble Joseph Denman, and also a Copy of its Enclosure, reporting his proceedings,andManuscript image and the steps taken by him to discover the captors of the Sloop "Kingfisher," and the Murderers of her Crew—reporting, also, that a portion of the murderers of Mr Bamfield, and of the Bute Inlet Murderers, had been captured.
I am,
Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
C. Paget
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Some of the occurrences reported by Admiral Denman are referred to in the recent Despatches from Govr Seymour. But the acts of piracy & Murder of the Indians in the case of the "Kingfisher" is new intelligence. Admiral Denman remarks strongly upon the audacity of the outrage & the open defiance of British authority.
VJ 1 Decr
Mr Cardwell
I am afraid you will find that this letter gives some discouraging prospects about our relations with a powerful Tribe of Indians. At the same time there is something remarkable in their taking time to consider and then giving fair notice beforehand that their intention was to fight. In this, as well as in Governor Seymour's report about the other Tribe, there appear indications of their being not mere senseless savages, but people who can be dealt with. Their complaints of ill usage by the White Traders seem to me very noteworthy.
Comdr Pike appears to be a thoughtful and a prudent man.
TFE 1 Decr
EC 3 Dec
Memo [two words illegible].
This is to await the [one line off microfilm].
[TFE]
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Rear Admiral Denman to Secretary to the Admiralty, 30 September 1863, reporting in detail on recent efforts to bring to justice various "Indians" accused of piracy and murder in a number of separate incidents.
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Copy, Pike to Denman, 27 September 1864, providing a detailed description of the successful expedition to capture the "Indians" accused of murdering Bamfield, including a report of First Nations' complaints regarding their poor treatment at the hands of white traders. Transcribed below.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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No 11063
[???]
Copy

HMS Devastation
Esquimalt 27 September 1864
No 23 of 1864
Sir,
I have the honor to report my arrival at this anchorage & that I have on board for delivery to the proper Authorities, three Indians of the Ohyat tribe, named Leech-kool, Hoth-lee-arta, & Klats-mish, the principals in the murder of Mr. Bamfield in Barclay Sound.
Having in obedience to your orders left Esquimalt Harbour on the evening of the 17th Inst: at daylight on the following morning, I called at Neeah Bay, Cape Flattery, & there obtained a Clayoquot Indian Pilot & Interpreter who has been of
Rear Admiral
The Hon. J. Denman
&c-&c-&c
veryManuscript imagevery great service during this cruise.
I also received information of the persons concerned in the Piracy & murder committed on the sloop Kingfisher by the Ahusett Indians in Clayoquot Sound.
At 1.30 P.M. on the same day I called off Cape Beale , but finding both villages deserted, proceeded round the Cape & anchored in Bamfield Creek.
At night I landed at the house of the Chief & as he had hidden himself, & would not come forward I seized his canoes, & took his Daughter as a hostage. I found the Indians fully prepared for resistance someManuscript imagesome 300 men being under arms at the Numukamis Village, & that they had received information, that the object of our visit, was to arrest the murderers of Mr. Bamfield.
On Monday afternoon Mr. Smith left in his boat with two Indians & his assistant, to pull round to the Numukamis Village. When near the village he was surrounded suddenly by 12 large canoes, containing 60 or 70 armed Indians who seized Mr. Smith’s assistant & took him on shore. Immediately on Mr. Smith’s return on board I weighed & proceeded to an anchorage about 1000 yards from the Numukamis Village, when upon theManuscript imagethe ship’s appearance, Mr. Smith’s assist: was at once sent on board in a canoe.
On Tuesday morning I obtained one of the tribe as an Interpreter & through him & another whom I had seized as a hostage endeavoured to restore confidence to the Indians.
By degrees I got them to come off to the ship, & they pledged themselves to give up the murderers of Mr. Bamfield. They stated that their being under Arms was owing to the threats of the Master of the Schooner Surprise that when a man of war did visit them, she would at once open fire upon them. OnManuscript imageOn Wednesday morning a large portion of the tribe came alongside I managed to allay their alarms & excitement & to restore confidence among them. I spoke to them about their general behaviour to the White traders lately, telling them that while we were determined to punish them for any crimes, we were at the same time ready to protect them against any injustice. They complained much of the behaviour of the Traders to them, saying that frequently any wrong they did, was provoked by the bad language used towards them & in some cases by their being pushed & struckManuscript imagestruck by the men in the trading schooners. They all begged that I would bring this matter to the notice of H. Ex. the governor, & request him to issue a warning to the masters of trading vessels visiting them, to be more circumspect in their language & behaviour to the Indians, when trading with them.
The interpreter’s information regarding the murder of Mr. Bamfield is that an Indian named Klats-mish, held Mr. Bamfield by the hair, another named Hoth-lu-arta, stabbed him in the right side & a third named Luch-kool stabbed him in the left side & the back of the neck. The Chief Cleyshin instigated them to the murder & appropriatedManuscript imageappropriated Mr. Bamfield’s property. They buried the body in the bush at the back of the house, but about 10 days before our arrival (having heard that information of the crime had been given to the authorities at Victoria) they disinterred the remains & sunk them in the Sound.
The three men Klats-mish, Hoth-lee-arta & Luch-kool were seized & brought on board for conveyance to Victoria but the Chief who proposed the murder Cleyshire hid himself in the woods near Cape Beale, & could not be found.
On Thursday morning the 22nd I weighed from Numukamis & proceeded through junction passage, & Seshart, & anchored in Toquat Harbor, at the entrance ofManuscript imageof Pipe-stem Inlet. Here again I found the Indians under arms, their faces blacked & ready for resistance, the interpreter went among them & re-assured them, & in the afternoon the whole of the tribe came on board & I impressed upon them the perils they incurred by any violence offered by them, to the traders & the certain punishment that would follow a second offence of the same kind. The pistol stolen from the Surprise was returned.
At daylight on Friday morning I weighed from Toquat & proceeded out of Barclay Sound through the Western channel & entering Clayoquot Sound by the ship channel anchored in 8fms. off the Ahusett Village. OnManuscript image On Saturday morning I observed several canoes full of Indians watching the ship from Base point & Clifford point, This & information received from a Nootka Sound Canoe, led me to believe that they were to be found in Herbert or North Arm. I anchored in the evening off Bawden Bay & searched the Village in Matilda Creek, having been told that some of the goods stolen from the Kingfisher were secreted there. The search was unsuccessful but traces were found proving that the Indians had only recently left. On Sunday morning 8 canoes full of armed Indians, were observed watching the ship from different points, & after some difficulty I managedManuscript imagemanaged to communicate with them. After various communications on Sunday & Monday forenoons, their positive & final answer was, that they would not restore the goods taken from the Kingfisher would not deliver up the guilty parties & would not hold any further communication with the ship, being determined to fight. Their tactics were truly Indian, 50 men were placed in Ambush at the extreme point of Matilda Creek; 40 were concealed round the village, 30 in Bawden Bay & the remainder were a short distance up Herbert Inlet, & every endeavour was made to draw our boats into these Ambushed. IManuscript image
I am of opinion that this Ahusett tribe (who number 195 fighting men) will offer a determined resistance. That the guilty persons can be taken eventually is certain but I feel assured that it cannot be done without loss of life, considerable on their side, & some on our own.
The Chief of the Clayoquot Indians has offered his assistance with men & canoes, & I have brought him to make that offer to H. Ex. the governor & as it is certain that nothing can be done without very severe measures, I have deemed it better to return to this Port, to receive your further instructions.

I have &c.
(Signed)
Commander
Paget, Clarence Edward to Rogers, Frederic 29 November 1864, CO 305:24, no. 11063, 16. 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/V645AD04.html.

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