1 January 1867
I have had under my consideration Governor Kennedy's Confidential Despatch dated the 5th July, respecting the conduct of the United States Consul at Victoria in having fired, off the mouth of the Harbour, from a chartered scow, two Salutes of 36 Guns each, on the 4th of last July.
Manuscript image
I see no objection to the celebration of the anniversary of American Independence by any means in themselves lawful and harmless. The Governor of a British Colony may properly give any countenance or facility to such celebrations, as he would be justified in giving to the celebration of the Birth day of any Foreign Sovereign by the subjects of that Sovereign. But if it were to appear that the means adopted for the celebration of such an anniversary were not lawful, it would become your duty after due notice, to enforce the law for their prevention. If they were not contrary to Law, but were so calculated to cause danger or inconvenience as to justify legislative prohibition, you should endeavour to procure the passing of a law prohibiting the inconvenient or dangerous practicesManuscript image not of course with reference to one particular nation but generally as a matter of municipal regulation. If the mode of celebration, though objectionable and inconvenient, were yet not positively illegal nor yet so inconvenient as to justify legislative interference, it would be your duty to use your influence with the United State Consul in order to discountenance such practices, and in case your remonstrances were unheeded to report what had passed to the Secretary of State.
But if the mode of celebration, whether by firing guns or otherwise, is not inconvenient, dangerous or illegal, but is only viewed with dislike by certain British Subjects, I am of opinion that you would act most prudently in refusing to interfereManuscript image with the form of public rejoicing adopted by subjects of the United States in celebrating their national holiday, and by availing yourself of any opportunity which may occure to you to discountenance any feeling hostile to that demonstration on the part of the English Colonists.
I need scarcely point out to you the wisdom of overlooking trifling and really immaterial causes of national irritation, so long as no real interests are at stake and no principle is involved in the matter.
I have etc.
The Acting Governor