No. 35
Victoria, Vancouver's Island
27 August 1858
My Lord,
1. Since I last addressed you on the 19th of Instant,
  • Indians
    • hostilities with miners
an alarming report reached this place of the murder of 42 miners by Indigenous peoples of Fraser's River, and I in consequence, made a requisition on Major Hawkins, Her Majesty's
  • Hawkins, Maj. John S.
    • escorts governor to Fraser River
Commissioner for determining the Land Boundary; for an officer and ten men, and for an equal force respectively on Captain Prevost of Her
  • Prevost, Capt. James C.
    • furnishes escort for governor
  • Montresor, Capt. Frederick
    • unable to furnish escort to governor
  • Ships
    • Satellite
  • Ships
    • Calypso
Majesty's Ship "Satellite" and Captain Montresor of Her Majesty's Ship "Calypso," so as to
form a force of 33 officers and men to proceed with me to the scene of the disaster.  
2. That alarming report has since been contradicted in a
  • Hicks, Richard
despatch from Mr Hicks, Her Majesty's Sub Commissioner of Crown Lands, for the district of Fort Yale, who states, that two men only were killed by Indigenous men, instead of the larger number previously reported. I am nevertheless preparing for an excursion to Fraser's River, with a small military force of 35 men, composed of 15 sappers and miners furnished by Major Hawkins, and Lieutenant Jones with 20 marines, kindly furnished by Captain Prevost of
  • Jones, Lt. Howard S.
    • commands force from Satellite
Her Majesty's Ship "Satellite."  
3. Major Hawkins has decided on accompanying me to
  • Hawkins, Maj. John S.
    • escorts governor to Fraser River
, and will command the military force.  
4. The object I have in view by undertaking that journey is the
  • Law
    • enforcement of
enforcement of such laws as may be found necessary for the maintenance of peace and good order among the motely population of foreigners, now assembled in Frasers River, and also practically to assert the rights of the Crown, by introducing the levying of a Licence duty on persons digging for gold, in order to raise a revenue for the defence and protection of the Country.  
5. The military force is absurdly small for such an occasion, but I shall use every
exertion in my power to accomplish the great object in view, and to assert the rights of my Country, in hopes that early measures will be taken by Her Majesty's Government, to relieve the country from its present perilous state.  
6. I transmit for your information the requisition I made on Captain Montresor and his reply thereto.  
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
Major Hawkins and his party of Sappers & Miners are rendering the Governor good service. Communicate to the Foreign Office as he is under their orders—and send a copy to the Admiralty with reference to the aid rendered by Captn Prevost of the Satellite.  
Acknowledge approving the Governors measures?  
10 Oct
11 Oct
Matters are evidently in a critical state but not so bad as they have been represented. Approve?  
Oct 12
I have given verbal instructions on this to Mr Blackwood.  
Oct 26
Write to the Admiralty enclosing extracts from the
  • Navy
    • need for assistance in BC
Despatch asking for Naval force & shewing that the Satellite & Plumper are not there to support Civil Authority & that the Calypso was perfectly useless for that purpose & had left [december cmoniesty?] That as yet the only practical effect of my strong & urgent request on the 26th of June is the information that on the 28th Augt Admiral Baines will leave Callao for Vancouver.  
Observe that I must again impress upon the Admiralty the imperative necessity of keeping at Vancouver for the present 2 vessels of sufficient force to protect life & property. And that I am sure it will be a source of lasting regret to their Lordships—& it will be a cause of great & severe Parliamentary censure upon the Naval Authorities of England if any inactivation or lukewarmness in the protection of so valuable a part of H.M. Dominions after the repeated & urgent representations which had been sent from this office should produce there evils which might so probably ensue & of which their Lordships were so carefully warned.  
Oct 12
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Douglas to Captain Montresor, 24 August 1858, requisitioning one officer and ten marines from H.M.S. Calypso.  
  • Montresor to Douglas, 24 August 1858, stating he must return to sea and had advised Captain Prevost accordingly.  
  1. of Instant = Douglas to Stanley, 19 June 1858, No. 28, 7832, CO 305/9, p. 116.
  2. Indians of Fraser's River = Indigenous-settler conflict. In mid-August 1858, reports arrived in Victoria of trouble between Indigenous groups and miners in the Fraser River area, and a party of 194 men left for the interior the week of 20 August to investigate the situation. The Gazette (27 August 1858) reported that Indigenous men had massacred forty-two of the men in the party but retracted the story the next day and stated that the men who began firing upon the settlers at the camp had been stopped by other Indigenous men. Two settlers in the party were killed and two others wounded, before quiet was restored. Gazette, 20, 25, 26?? and 27 August 1858.
  3. despatch from Mr. Hicks Colonial Secretary's correspondence, PABC ?? Howay?? Cf. Douglas to Lytton, 9 November 1858, No. 30, 549, CO 60/1, p. 400.
  4. despatch asking for Naval force A draft of despatch appears in Douglas to Labouchere, 8 May 1858, No. 19, 6113, CO 60/1, p. 10.
  5. Oct 12
    This minute by Lytton has been crossed out and the preceeding page removed from the file by Colonial Office staff before the volume was bound and paginated.
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Stanley, 27 August 1858, National Archives of the UK, 10343, CO 60/1. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed 15 December 2018. 

Last modified: 11:58:45, 4/12/2018