William Sebright Green to Frederick Chesson, 10 December 1869, C137/9

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Green, William Sebright









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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C137-9


Govt St
Victoria BC
10th Dec 1869

Dear Sir,

I have received your letter of the 1st ult and am heartily glad to find that the society will take up the cause of the Indians in this colony and endeavour to stir up the Colonial Office.

It is difficult to say in a few words what means the government can take to ameliorate the condition of the Indians. But in the first place in my opinion an Indian Agent should be appointed by the government who should hold the position of a Justice of the Peace, and whose business it would be to travel round to all the Indian settlements hearing their complaints and teaching them to look to him for redress. He should have a knowledge of the languages, or he must have someone to travel with him who has that knowledge, and he should have an office in Victoria where a competent interpreter would always be stationed, connected with this office there ought to be a store where Indians could get at a fair price flour break clothes and such articles as they require, and where they could find a market for their mats, their bracelets, the manufacturing of which is I fear going out, and for their furs and skins. Now as regards the expense there are several magistrates who services are really not required since the amalgamation of the two colonies. I would name Mr A.F. Buck… who holds the offices of postmaster general and registrar of deeds for the mainland, both these offices are …, he is a justice of the peace and his standing in the colony is high. He has been here some ten years and I should suppose he has a tolerable knowledge of Chinook. There would, if this gentleman were appointed Indian Agent, be no extra expense as regards his salary. Travelling expenses cannot be estimated at less than $2000 a year and from $2000-$3000 for clerks and interpreters. The colony would grumble at this extra expense, but I am not at all sure that officers already in the service could not be told off for this work. There should also be a fund provided for the defence of Indians put upon trial for any crime, the Indian Agent employing counsel to defend in all cases.

Since I wrote last an Indian boy has been tried and convicted of the murder of an unoffending white man living at a lonely place about 25 miles from our city. It was a brutal murder and the boy admitted firing the shot but said it was accidental, but there were wounds from at least two different discharges. This case I trace to the evil system that has prevailed, whiskey has probably been the motive power, and the desire to possess himself of the gun and other items belonging to the white man. I confidently hope to be in England before June next. If I carry out my intention I will certainly call upon you. In the meantime any information that I can give I shall cheerfully afford you.

I am
Yours very truly
W.S. Sebright Green

F.W. Chesson Esq
Aborigines Protection Society
7 Adam Street Adelphi