Town of Esquimalt’s petition for a resident police force
- GR 1372, Box 108, File 1346 (BO 1354)
This original document, petitioning for the establishment of a resident police force in Esquimalt, was presented to His Excellency James Douglas Esq., Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, on October 8, 1862. It was signed by “householders, Traders, Hotel Keepers, and residents” of the Town of Esquimalt. With the 1858 Gold Rush, Victoria and the adjacent areas, including Esquimalt, quickly boomed. The petition asked for a resident police force, rather than one shared with Victoria, based on the increased activity at the port of Esquimalt. Presented by local merchants and residents, the petition is particularly interesting because in the middle of the two pages of signatures in English are three Chinese signatures.
In the early years of the Gold Rush, Victoria residents were not as prejudiced against the Chinese as in later years. Chinese at this time were treated as contributors to the economy. This petition revealed that they were considered part of the community, and that their signatures in Chinese were taken into account.