Petition from Beggs Settlement to the Governor

Beggs Settlement Salt Spring Island
December 21, 1868

To His Excellency Frederick Seymour
Governor of British Columbia &c &c.&c

May it Please Your Excellency

The memorial of the undersigned humble sheweth, [that?] we the residents of the north end of the Island commonly called "Salt Spring" are desirous of laying before Your Excellency a statement of our unhappy condition in regard to the natives on our borders and other circumstances.

As we are among the first settlers in the Colony, and under the present tariff are paying our share of the revenue, we can see no reason why the government should not extend to us the same care and fostering aid which are given to other parts of the Colony. Yet it is remarkable that while other settlements less needy have been largely assisted in the instruction of their youth the surveying and making of their roads &c. we have never received a farthing towards our school, roads, or any other local interest.

Not to repeat here our grievance respecting the mail steamer we feel it be our duty to assure Your Excellency that the late tragical and unprovoked murder of Mr. Curtis, a peaceable and much respected settler, [viewed?] in connection with prior murders and robberies in our midst, has fully convinced us that something must be done at once to detect and punish the offenders, or there will be no security for either life or property in this district.

Without presuming to offer suggestions to Your Excellency as to the cause or cure of the crimes of which we refer we may be permitted to state that the commuting of the sentence passed on the man who shot the Indian woman near Burgoine Bay a few months ago and the slight efforts made to avenge the murder of Mr. Robinson and other offenses, seems in a marked manner to have weakened the confidence of the Indians in these parts in the strength and fairness of the British law.

The greatest boon which could be given us in regard to the future would be the appointment of a resident justice of the peace, the very knowledge of which by the Indians would be a powerful protection to us, and when required we could take prompt and legal means of defence &c.

We are a law abiding people and desire to ever honor the flag under which we are trying to make homes, but we deeply feel that we have approached a crisis in which, if the government do not grant needed protection, we shall be obliged to organize a vigilance Committee and defend ourselves, or sacrifice our property and leave the Colony. We earnestly hope that such steps may be taken as will prevent either of these alternatives being forced upon us and we shall, as in duty bound, ever pray.

To the Hon. Colonial Sec'ry

Thomas Griffiths, Residential
Thos C. Parry, "
Jonathan Martin, hired laborer
James McFadden, Res'dtl
J.C. Crane "
Henry Sampson "
Chalres Legacie, hired laborer
Lewis Leirs [?]
William Smith , hired laborer
William MCFadden, Res'dtl
John Grandam "
Timothy Bryan, hired laborer
Louis Stark, Res'd
Henry W. Robinson, Res'dtl
John Norton, "
Hiram Whims
Clark Whims "
David Norton, Res'dtl
[?] Jones
John P. Booth, Residential
Armstead Buckner, "
Henry Shore, "
George H. Anderson, "
Mr. J [?] Estes "
John Holland
Alfred Holland
David Holland
Thomas Nules
William Harris
B.F. Wall
Thomas Park
Richard Brinn at Nanaimo occ. Resident — owns a farm
Jos Thompson

Hon. Colonial Sec'ry The enclosed memorial speaks for itself. I need only add that many of the peaceable Indians have said that if a Gun boat comes up they will assist in detecting and delivering up the murderers of Curtis. Surely the government will make an effort to avenge these depredations or we may soon expect others of a more startling character to occur, for the natives have threatened to exterminate the settlers and take possession of this settlement.

Your obedient Servant
R. Brinn

[Notation on letter]
Inform that one of the Her Majesty's ships carrying a Magistrate will very shortly visit Salt Spring Island.
[signature illegible]
Col. Secty

[Letter in Response to the Petition]
C.S.O. Jany 1869

Mr. R. Brinn
Salt Spring Island

I duly reviewed and laid before the Governor your letter containing a Memorial dated the 21th December 1868 to the Governor from the residents of the North end of Salt Spring Island.

With reference thereto H.E. desires me to acquaint the memorialists that one of Her Majesty's Ships with a magistrate on board will very shortly visit Salt Spring Island.
[Signature illegible]

Source: BCA, Petitions 1868, GR 1372, f 1354, Various, Petition from Beggs Settlement to the Governor, December 21, 1868

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