No. 41
Victoria Vancouver's Island
26th October 1854
Sir
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No 1, [Marginal note: This is not at present in the Dt ABd 24/3] of the 19th of June last, with copy of the Act 12th and 13th Victoria, Chap: 96, providing for the prosecution and trial, in Her Majesty's Colonies, of offences committed within the Jurisdiction of the Admiralty.  
I observe with much satisfaction, that my proceedings in the
investigation
investigation, relative to the loss of the Brig "William," have met with your approval, and I have also perused with much attention, your remarks in reference to the forms observed in erecting Vice Admiralty Courts, which I now understand cannot be organized, without a special authority, from the Lords of the Admiralty.  
The temporary appointments for the Vice Admiralty Court made by me, in this Colony, will therefore be immediately suspended; and no further measures taken, in reference to the organization of a Vice Admiralty Court, without instructions from the Lords of the Admiralty.  
The proceedings in the Vice Admiralty Court of this Island, were confined to the investigation into the loss of the Brig "William," already reported and approved, by Her Majesty's Government, and to another case, respecting certain claims made by the officers and seamen, for
wages
wages due, and by the Hudson's Bay Company, for non-delivery of cargo; against the British Ship "Colinda."  
The history of that case, is briefly as follows. The "Colinda" under the command of John Powell Mills, was chartered by the Hudson's Bay Company, to carry a cargo of Goods and 212 passengers, Coal Miners, and other hired Servants, of the Hudson's Bay Company, from London to the Port of Victoria, Vancouver's Island, without touching at any intermediate Port. Captain Mills, notwithstanding put into the Port of Valdivia, in consequence, as he declared, of the mutiny of the Passengers, who compelled him to take that course.  
The "Colinda" was by order of Admiral Moresby, taken to Valparaiso, and the passengers were there tried, before a naval court, for "mutinous and piratical conduct," at the suit of Captain Mills, and
acquitted
acquitted: the latter having failed in proving the charges made against them, and having by order of the Court, to pay the costs of suit.  
The Passengers almost to a man, refused to proceed on the voyage under the command of Captain Mills, and left the "Colinda" at Valparaiso, with the exception of seventeen; who arrived here in the ship.  
Captain Mills while at Valparaiso, also sold a large part of the cargo, of the value at Invoice cost, of about 3000, consigned to the officer in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's Establishment, at Victoria, then represented by Mr John Work.  
Captain Mills having failed in delivering the passengers and cargo, as required by the charter party and Bill of Lading, and not being disposed to come to any equitable arrangement, with the Agents of the Hudson's Bay Company, or to give them security for the cargo
not
not delivered, Mr Work acting on their behalf applied for redress, to the Vice Admiralty Court, and obtained an injunction against the ship, which was in due course made over to him for adjustment of the Hudson's Bay Company's claim. These proceedings will I trust, be found strictly in accordance with right and justice, and though a question will arise, as to the authority of the Court, granting the Process, there can be no question in regard to their justice and propriety. The difference having been since adjusted in another manner; the "Colinda" has been restored to the owner Mr Tomlin, of London, who authorized me, by Power of Attorney, to supersede Captain Mills, and to appoint another Master, to take the ship to England; which I have accordingly done.  
I have also perused with much attention your valuable remarks, on the object and intent of the Act 12th and 13th Vict: Chap: 96, providing for the prosecution and trial of offences, committed within the jurisdiction of
the
the Admiralty in Her Majesty's Colonies, and shall be guided by your opinions therein stated, in respect to the trial of such offences.  
I feel much indebted for your kind offers, of assistance, in those respects, and I shall take every opportunity of communicating with you, in all cases, when in want of directions.  
I have the honor to be Sir
Your Grace's most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas
Governor

The Right Honorable Sir George Grey
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department
Minutes by CO staff
Sir George Grey
I think the Admiralty should be put in possession of this despatch, & desired to constitute a Court of Vice Admy in Vancs Id in the usual manner.  
HM
Mh 7
GG
7
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft, Colonial Office to Secretary to the Admiralty, 16 March 1855, forwarding copy of the despatch and requesting the Admiralty to establish a court of Vice Admiralty in the colony.  
  • Draft reply, Palmerston to Douglas, No. 1, 3 April 1855, requesting that Douglas provide a list of his preferred applicants for the court-positions of “Judge, Registrar, Advocate and Marshal.”.  
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Grey, Sir George, 26 October 1854, National Archives of the UK, 1917, CO 305/5. 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=V54041.scx. Accessed 21 November 2018. 

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