No 9, Miscellaneous
Victoria Vancouver's Island
24th October 1853
My Lord Duke
Since I had last the honor of addressing your Grace on the 26th of July, nothing has occurred to interrupt, in any manner, the peace of this Colony, and our relations with all the Indian tribes around continue on the most friendly footing.  
I devoted a part of the month of August last to the exploration of the east coast of Vancouver's Island, being also desirous of seeing and entering into closer intercourse with the native Tribes residing in that part of the Colony.  
In
In course of that excursion it was ascertained that the settlements may be extended in that direction with great advantage, there being much valuable land, with timber of the largest dimensions and decided indications of the existence of Coal, and other minerals in almost every part of the coast between Point Mudge & Nanaimo.  
We also observed that the Natives had abundance of fish, and appeared to live in the midst of plenty, and comparative comfort.  
They still retain much of their natural ferocity of disposition and dishonest habits, as we had opportunities of remarking that they coveted every thing that attracted their attention, and invariably sought by force or fraud to gain their object.  
They were very communicative on all matters relating to the state and condition of the Tribe, and gave a very flattering account of the beauty and fertility of the country they inhabit, with the view of prevailing upon us to form a white settlement there, from which they would commercially derive much advantage.  
The native population of the
District
District we visited which includes about 70 miles of Coast, numbered as nearly as we could ascertain about 2,200 souls.  
One of the Tribes the "Laculta" have acquired the reputation of being the greatest marauders on Vancouver's Island and are consequently with good reason dreaded by all their neighbours. In my different communications with them, I endeavoured to impress upon their minds, that they must in future, live honestly and dwell in peace with their neighbours, as the time was at hand, when every act of rapine or violence, would be restrained or punished.  
On my return from that excursion I spent a few days at the Hudson's Bay Company's establishment at Nanaimo, and examined the Coal works commenced there about a twelve month since.  
Their success considering the means employed have been extraordinary. A most valuable bed of Coal averaging 7 feet in thickness, has been laid open at the depth of 50 feet below the surface of the ground, and galleries are now run through the Coal, sufficient in extent, to afford working room for at least 100 miners. There were then
about
about ten Coal miners at work; who, were each producing at the rate of 2 tons of Coal for each working day. The Hudson's Bay Company are about sending out a large body of Colliers from North Britain, who will find very profitable employment at Nanaimo, as with an ordinary degree of industry, they can readily earn from ten to twelve shillings a day, with a free house.  
Under those circumstances Nanaimo will soon become a port of the greatest importance, and the centre of a flourishing trade, which will greatly contribute to the increase of wealth and population.  
I am happy to inform your Grace that the grain crops were secured in good condition, and the Farmers are generally satisfied with the returns of the land, which in many instances have been equal to thirty bushels of wheat to the statute acre, and other kinds of grain yielded proportionally well.  
There will nevertheless be a deficiency of bread stuffs for the consumption of the Colony, which must be supplied by importations from abroad, but I am in hopes that after this year, there will be
no
no drain on our resources for the purchase of food.  
The settlement of the country has made some progress during the past year, notwithstanding the many inducements which the labouring classes have to turn their attention to other pursuits which yield a larger present return for labour, than the slow, though more certain profits derived from the cultivation of the land.  
A late census shows, that the number of Stock and tillage farms now in progress in this Colony is thirty one, and they will all be in cultivation next year, and will I trust produce food enough for the Colony.  
By a return from the Surveyor's Office, I observe that about 16028 acres of land, have been sold and transferred to private hands, and that about 3023 acres have been registered by different persons for purchase, making, up to the 6th of October 1853, a total of 19051 acres, actually sold or registered for purchase. *
*
Extract for Land Bd. [WH]  
 
The exports of Coal and Timber, cut from the public lands, may be assumed from the following statement of duties
collected
collected on account of Royalties up to the beginning of October 1853 vizt. 1730 tons of Coal @ 2/6 216.5.0
563 loads of Timber @ 10d 23.9.2
239.14.2  
That return shews the quantity of timber only which was cut for exportation on the public lands, but a far greater quantity has been exported by persons who have purchased tracts of wood—land on which no duty is levied.  
I herewith beg to enclose a statement of the number and tonnage of British and Foreign vessels that have entered in the Ports of this Colony, from the 16th November 1852, to the 12th October 1853, a period of nearly eleven months which shows a satisfactory improvement in trade as compared with the trade of 1852.  
There has been a very large assemblage of the native tribes at this place, to attend a feast given by the chief of the Tribe who reside in the vicinity of Victoria. The numbers present were estimated at 3000 persons, and about 1000 of those were able men well armed and equipped for war. Though
I
I had no reason to suspect any hostile designs upon the settlements, I put the settlers on their guard against a treacherous attack, and sent an official note to Captain Houstoun of Her Majesty's Ship "Trincomalee," then on the point of leaving this coast, requesting that he would defer his departure for a few days, until the concourse of savages should break up, and return to their respective homes, which he kindly complied with. The meeting broke up yesterday and the Indians have since quietly dispersed; the "Trincomalee," will now sail for the Port of San Francisco with the first favourable opportunity and will I trust be re-appointed to this station, as from the character and numbers of the Native Tribes on Vancouver's Island, the Colony should not be left without the protection of a Naval Force.  
The District School of Victoria was opened in the early part of this month, under the superintendence of Mr Robert Barr who resides on the premises, and has 33 pupils, who are making satisfactory progress. A school has also been opened at Nanaimo at the expense of the Hudson's
Bay
Bay Company for the training and education of the youth of that place.  
The foundation of the Victoria Church, laid in stone, was lately finished, and the timber for the body of the Church, is hewn and drawn from the woods, but we have not as yet found any mechanic disposed to undertake the construction of the whole edifice, and we shall therefore have to do it by degrees, with hired labourers.  
I have the honour to be
Your Grace's most obedt Servt.
James Douglas
Governor Vancouver's Island

The Right Honble His Grace The Duke of Newcastle
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
Acknowledge? The account of the Coal is satisfactory. The statement of the quantity of land sold might be sent to the Land & Emition Commissioners?  
VJ
28 Dec
HM
D 29
FP
31
N
2 Jany
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • "An account of the Number and Tonnage of Vessels entered Inwards, from November 16th 1852 to October 12th 1853," in the "Port of Victoria," 12 October 1853, signed by J. Sangster, Collector.  
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 14, 13 January 1854.  
  • Draft, Colonial Office to Land and Emigration Commission, 18 January 1854, forwarding copy of the despatch.  
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Newcastle, 24 October 1853, National Archives of the UK, 12345, CO 305/4. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=V53209.scx. Accessed 17 November 2018. 

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