No. 3
Victoria Vancouver's Island
1st March 1856
Sir
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch no 5 of the 12th of November last, in which you are pleased to approve of my report of the 21st August, on the state of Vancouver's Island, and of the general plan of management adopted in our intercourse with the Northern Indians, who had visited the settlements, during the summer months.  
I observe also with much
satisfaction
satisfaction that you have sanctioned the establishment of a Police Force, for the protection of the settlements, which in consequence of the Indian war now raging in American Oregon, may be considered more than ever necessary as a protective measure.  
I have communicated to the Council, and through them to the public at large the encouraging intelligence conveyed in your Despatch, respecting the interest felt by Her Majesty's Government on behalf of this Colony, and that hopes are entertained of the extension of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States, to this portion of Her Majesty's Dominions, an event which we are fully convinced will lay the foundation of a high state of future prosperity for the Colony. *
*
He is quite at issue with the HBC as to this.  
[HM]
 
The Indian war still continues to desolate Oregon, and notwithstanding the great exertions made by the Local Authorities and the Federal Government of the United States who have sent large reinforcements of
regular
regular Troops from California, with supplies of arms and munitions of war, no impression whatever has been made on the position of the hostile Tribes in Puget's Sound, who make a boast of having lost only one man since the commencement of the hostilities. The American accounts differ from their statements, but the weight of evidence and the fruits of victory are on the side of the Indians, who seldom expose their men in bush fighting, or attack their enemy except at manifest advantage.  
Their courage and daring have been lately displayed in an extraordinary manner, considering the quiet and friendly deportment of those Indians, when that country was made over to the United States.  
The latest incidents of the war are somewhat singular: three full companies of United States Troops and mounted volunteers marching into the enemie's country were surprised in a night attack, by a handful of Indians, and put to flight with the
loss
loss of their commanding officer, several men and a great part of their horses and baggage. The Indians next made their appearance at a point within three miles of the principal military station at Steilacoom, and retired unmolested, after remaining three days in open defiance of the Troops, in their vicinity. Their latest movement was an attack upon the Town of Seattle in Puget's Sound, under the Guns of the United States Sloop of war "Decator," and strange to say they retreated without loss after keeping up a smart fire of musketry for about eight hours.  
Those events prove how formidable, an enemy the Indian may become, and re-act powerfully on the minds of the natives within the British Territory, who naturally feel elated at the courage and successes of the colored races.  
There is nevertheless no change observable in their demeanour towards
the
the British settlements.  
I am not however without reasonable grounds of anxiety in regard to the future, and I trust that the Colony will be frequently visited by Her Majesty's Ships of war, during the summer months. **
**
The Admy say, in 1862 of 25 Feby last that "the President" was some time ago despatched to V.C.Id.  
ABd
 
A body of northern Indians who were suspected of plundering the deserted habitations of the American settlers, were lately discovered by a Victoria Indian, in a place of concealment on one of the Islands in the Canal de Arro, and were driven from thence by a force composed of ten whites and 25 Victoria Indians, whom I ordered out for the occasion, and placed under the command of Mr McKay of the Hudson's Bay Company's service. Mr McKay guided by the Victoria Indian, landed with his men near their hiding place, and by a rush into their camp took it, without a casualty.  
The remains of several oxen were found in their houses, supposed to have been, at least in part, the
property
property of persons residing in this Colony.  
Two of the number were, in consequence, seized and brought to this place for trial, and are now confined in the public Jail, but the remainder of the party took to flight, and have it is supposed gone to their northern homes.  
Thirty eight canoes with upwards of 300 northern Indians, arrived at this place a few days ago, and a very large number are reported to be on the route for the settlements. I have in consequence, with the approbation of the Council, commenced, raising a militia force of 30 men and officers, who will remain embodied during the presence of those savages.  
This will lead to a serious expense, but I conceive it would be unwise to neglect so necessary a precaution, in the present circumstances of the Colony, more especially when it is considered that the maintenance of a small force now
may
may have the effect of preventing much future evil and expense to the Colony.  
I have the honor of transmitting herewith for your information copy of the Minutes of a Council held on the 27th day of February, and I trust you will approve of the measures adopted in respect to the District Schools, and for the defense, and for carrying on the public business of the Colony.  
The men who have offered for the Militia Corps, have been enlisted at 2 Sterling a month for privates, being considerably less than the pay sanctioned by Council, which it is not my intention to allow, as long as men can be procured at a lower rate.  
In fixing the pay of the Militia at one dollar a day, for Privates, the Council, had in view, that the Volunteers raised in the United States Territory receive from their Government, two dollars a day
and
and rations, and it appeared then a matter of doubt whether men could be raised in this Colony, for the public service, without the stimulus of high pay.  
I have nothing further of much importance respecting the Colony to communicate at present.  
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas
Governor

The Right Honble Sir George Grey Bart.
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
Copy to H.B.Co—& approve the Governor's defensive measures.  
ABd
6 May
HM
May 7
JB
8 My
HL
12
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Labouchere to Douglas, No. 11, 15 May 1856.  
  • Draft, Merivale to John Shepherd, Hudson's Bay Company, 17 May 1856, forwarding copy of the despatch.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Minutes of Council, 27 February 1856, as per despatch.  
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Grey, Sir George, 1 March 1856, National Archives of the UK, 3969, CO 305/7. 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=V56003.scx. Accessed 15 December 2018. 

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