No. 48
4th July 1865
1. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No 20, 11th April 1865, transmitting extracts from a Despatch addressed to the Board of Admiralty by Rear Admiral Denman in which he suggests that the Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island should employ a colonial vessel for the purposes of defenceandManuscript image and for preventing aggressions of the Indians against British Traders; and requesting my opinion on the practicability of adopting Admiral Denman's suggestions and providing for the requisite expenditure out of Colonial funds.
2. This subject occupied my attention at an early period after my arrival in the Colony and I concur generally in the views expressed by Rear Admiral Denman.
3. I feel sure that true economy and the peace and character of our Government will be bestattainedManuscript image attained by the employment of a better class of vessel than the Gunboats heretofore employed on the coast of this Island; and I think that such vessels should be commanded by Officers having special aptitude for this peculiar service.
4. The adoption of some such course will appear all the more necessary when it is remembered that it is physically impossible to connect the outlying settlements with the seat of Government by roads, and that the cupidity andtreacheryManuscript image treachery of the Indian character can only be held in check by the prospect of prompt and certain punishment when they assail the lives and property of white men.
5. On the other hand I fear it would be impossible to obtain the necessary funds from the Legislature of this Colony even did the finances afford it.
6. I have during the present Session estimated for funds for the employment of an IndianAgentManuscript image Agent or Agents in the out-settlements where at present there are neither Magistrates, Police, nor other protection for life or property. My application to the Legislative Assembly resulted in a recommendation from that Body that I should "appoint unpaid Magistrates from among the settlers to be remunerated by fees."
7. I have been obliged to decline the responsibility of acceding to this recommendation because few or none of the settlers are above thestatusManuscript image status of labouring men, and the employment of such persons in a position requiring great tact and special qualities would be a sure mode of bringing the two Races into collision.
8. Whiskey selling by unprincipled whites is in my opinion the bane of the Indian race, and the immediate or remote cause of all the murders and robberies committed by them whether inter se or on white men.
9. There are no sufficient local Laws to repress this dangerousandManuscript image and disgraceful traffic from which enormus profits are derived and in which many persons are interested, nor is there a probability of any such Laws being enacted. The Honorable the Speaker who exercises much influence in the Legislative Assembly very recently stated his opinion, which is shared in by many other Members, that the sale of liquor to Indians should not only be legalized but that they should be permitted to manufacture it if they could.
10. The existing law imperfectasManuscript image as it is, has been administered by officers holding these or similar opinions, and the results have naturally been a failure to repress this degrading traffic.
11. Liquor sellers cannot be convicted on Indian Evidence alone, and hence they enjoy a comparative impunity for their crimes, for such I regard the sale of poisonous and maddening alcohol to excitable savages.
12. I introduced a Bill (a copy of which I enclose) to remedythisManuscript image this latter evil, but it was, after passing the Legislative Council, rejected by the Legislative Assembly without an attempt to amend it.
13. Hence the strange anomaly exists that the evidence upon which a culprit may be arraigned, convicted, and executed in British Columbia cannot be received in the Courts of Justice in Vancouver Island.
14. It will be necessary for me to address you on the general subject of Indian management atanManuscript image an early period, a subject which causes me great anxiety from want of powers to deal with it effectively.
15. I cannot better conclude my Despatch than by directing your attention to the Report of Commander Jones R.N., a very active and intelligent officer whom I had lately occasion to send to Cowitchan and Comox Districts, a copy of which I enclose.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Minutes by CO staff
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See minute.
ABd 2 Sepr
Mr Cardwell
I forward Mr Blackwood's separate Minute, for your consideration.
TFE 4/9
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Governor Seymour and Rear Admiral Denman have been putting their heads together to consider how the coasts of British Columbia and Vancouver Island can be protected and the Indians, I might perhaps add the European Traders with the Indians, be best kept in order.
Admiral Denman suggested to the Admiralty, who referred the suggestion to this Office with the observation that the principle was applicable to all of our Colonies similarly situated, that a Colonial vessel should be established for the service in question.
Mr Fortescue—see his minute on 3004reviewedManuscript image—reviewed the idea favorably, and even thought that so far as these Colonies were concerned, it was a case in which Parliament might be asked to vote the money to defray the expense.
Mr Cardwell ordered a reference to be made to the Governors—called their attention to the late Naval Defence Act, and asked them if they could pay the cost of keeping up the vessel.
Governor Seymour has answered this enquiry. See 8241. He says that British Columbia alone will find work enough for one ship: he is quite prepared that the Colonial Revenue shall pay for her services, and explains his ideasasManuscript image as to the management of the vessel.
Governor Kennedy in his despatch just received, 8404, thinks the plan of a Colonial vessel a good one, but he fears that even if Vancouver Island's finances could afford it, it would be impossible to obtain the necessary funds from the Legislature.
A main difficulty in this case is the expense. I conclude that Parliament will not really be asked to provide a vessel or vessels for these Colonies. It would open the door to similar applications from other quarters. The expense then must fall on these two Colonies. How is this to be arranged? British Columbia says, or the Governor doesforManuscript image for her, that she will pay, Vancouver Island will not. If the Admiralty will consent to appropriate a vessel for Colonial Service, and if her expense is defrayed by British Columbia alone, can you restrict her to that Colony? Such a proceeding will embitter still more the present feelings of animosity of Vancouver Island towards British Columbia: for Vancouver Island will envy British Columbia the wealth which enables her to afford the luxery of a Colonial Vessel to herself. But I have grave doubts, as expressed in my minute on 8241 whether it is a certainty that British Columbia can spare funds for this service. Until that point isascertainedManuscript image ascertained, and we feel ourselves in a condition to make a definite proposal to the Admiralty, I would not embark in a Correspondence with that Department, for the first thing for us to know is whether Governor Seymour has a balance in his favor at the public Treasury and this fact will not reach us for some time. My own notion is that before any decided action is taken, we had better see our way more clearly to the means of paying for this vessel. We can, without inconvenience, wait for an opportunity of conversing with Governor Seymour about it, and if he can shew us in black and white that he has the money to spend on this Ship, which he imagines he willhaveManuscript image have, I apprehend that, even at the risk of leaving Van Couver Island out, we might ask the Admiralty to lend a Ship to British Columbia, subject to such arrangements as to management as the Admiralty shall think fitting to dictate.
The Treasury would have to be consulted on the money part of the question. Should Union be achieved in this Section of our Colonies it would subserve this as well as other local matters.
ABd 2 Sepr/65
Mr Cardwell
In forwarding Mr Blackwood's useful Minute, the only additional remark I have to offer is, that if we should hereafter have a Colonial Vessel, the Admiralty ought to have nothing to do with it. They would only entail the disadvantages & the disputes of a dividedManuscript image administration; and would make the Vessel much more costly than she would be otherwise.
TFE 4 Sepr
If, as we believe, Govr Seymour is now on his way home, it will be better to speak to him. If not, I do not wish the subject of a Colonial Vessel for B.C. under the Act of last Session to be lost sight of.
As regards V.C.I., I see no prospect for that Colony except reunion to B.C.
EC 5
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Put by.
Mr Seymour will, if necessary, take this matter up.
ABd 20 Sepr/66
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Printed copy of "A Bill to Amend the Law of Evidence," laying out the conditions under which natives were permitted to give evidence in the law courts of Vancouver Island.
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T.M. Jones, R.N., to Kennedy, 10 April 1865, advising of his return from Cowichan and Comox and reporting extensively on the Indian situation in the two areas. Transcribed below.
Minutes by CO staff
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The Victorians are great smugglers. Their chief profits are derived
from the smuggling into the U. States—which is occasioned by the high tariff of that Country.
This leads them to think lightly of the offence of smuggling whiskey for the Indians of our Colonies.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Concerning the state of affairs at Cowichan and Comox
H.M Steam Sloop Cameleon
Nanaimo April 10th 1865

1. I have the honor to inform you that I have returned to Nanaimo from Cowichan and Comox and avail myself of the return of the Superintendent of Police to Victoria to acquaint you with the state of affairs at both these settlements.
His Excellency.
Governor Kennedy C.B.
2. AtManuscript image2. At Cowichan on communicating with the settlers I found that the causes of complaint were not by any means numerous; when sober the Indians appear to be well disposed towards the settlers generally and with the exception of petty thefts do not in any way molest or annoy them; when however under the maddening influence of liquor, an Indian appears to be entirely irresponsible for his actions, and at any moment as serious crime may be committed, and Europeans murderedManuscript imagemurdered without the existence of previous ill will or disaffection.
3. The Indians themselves appear perfectly conscious of this, and begged that steps might be taken if possible to put down this whisky traffic. One Native against whom existed strong suspicion of having been engaged in whisky selling on being taxed with the offence, acknowledged it, and in the presence of the assembled natives declared that nothing would induce him so to again commit himself.
4. ThereManuscript image4. There appears to be no limit to the facility which at present exists for the importation of spirits into the Cowichan District. I hear it is to be obtained in any quantities
The Victorians are great smugglers. Their chief profit, are derived from the smuggling into U. States- which is occasion by the high tariff of that country. This leads then to think lightly of the offence of smuggling whiskey for the the Indians of our colony.
at Victoria and is then brought here by canoes and schooners.
5. With a considerable number of Indians, and with the prospect of an increase also of European settlers, I would suggest that the law should be represented in this district as soon as possible, with the view of avoiding future seriousManuscript imageserious difficulties, as also of settling at once, the minor grievances and complaints, which are constantly cropping up, and which if not taken in time may lead to very serious complications hereafter.
6. The only complaint brought before me by the Indians was that two of their member, one of them a woman, had been a short time previously severely beaten by a Policeman who had been sent on some duty from Victoria, and as far as I could learnManuscript imagelearn without any provocation. The settlers state that the excitement for some days was, in consequence, of a very serious nature. Mr. Hankin is in possession of the facts of the case and will investigate it on his return to Victoria.
7. At Comox the European settlers complained of the frequent robberies principally if their potatoes, committed by the Indians, and attributed them in a great measure to a party of U-cul-taws who have been fishing in the neighbourhood for the last two months. As these IndiansbelongManuscript imagebelong to Cape Mudge, I caused them to be assembled and having told them the nature of the complaints that had been made against them directed them to leave Comox and return to their own country giving them a week to clear out. This they promised to do, and I propose sending a Gunboat shortly after my return to Esquimalt to see that this measure has been carried out. I further warmed the Comox Indians that they would now be held responsible for any further depredationsManuscript imagedepredations that might be committed on the settlers.
8. The U-cul-taws have I believe given trouble on a previous occasion, and do not by any means bear a good character, I would therefore suggest that they should not be permitted at any future time to remain at Comox.
9. The Comox Indians appear well affected to the settlers, and are anxious to see the number increased. It is a beautiful district, with a good anchorage, andManuscript imageand the occasional visit of a Man-of-war is, I hear, attended with the best results. —
10. Mr. Hankin, has been of guest service from his knowledge of the language, and tact and judgement displayed in communicating with the Indians—
I have & c. (Signed).
T. Morton Jones
Commander and Senior Officer at Vancouver Island