Murder, gunplay and riot were also commonplace.  "As you may imagine," wrote Lt. Wilson, "where there is so much young blood and no female population there are sometimes very fierce scenes enacted & the bowie knife & revolver which every man wears are in constant requisition."  In Victoria, he commented casually, "the whiz of revolver bullets round you goes on all day & if anyone gets shot of course it’s his own fault."

     Following one such shooting, the Engineers took charge of a native accused of murdering an Irishman. One evening the prisoner, wearing only a blanket, "watched his opportunity and darted away from his guard.  They were armed with revolvers, and rushed after him firing.  But the revolvers had been loaded for some time and hung fire."  Sapper Meade tried to leap on the escaping figure, but "the Indian cleverly threw his blanket over Meade, and sped away down the bank towards the river."  The naked man is presumed to have drowned trying to swim the half-frozen Fraser River.

     Another adventure in law enforcement was recounted by Lt. Lempriere in October 1859.  Three men had been found murdered downstream from New Westminster.  A posse of sorts set off in search of the native suspects:

  “I and Capt. Luard each went in command of a boat with armed men and started up the River. There was also a party of Yankees all armed, one man had no less than 3 revolvers on his waist belt. When we arrived at the Indian ranch we took 3 Indians whom we had some suspicion of. The Yankees wanted to hang one of them right off the bat and requested Captain Luard, the magistrate and myself to go away a short distance saying ‘That it would be all over by the time we got back and that no one would be any wiser’ – however Captain Luard told them that was not the way we did business.  They then said they would put it to a vote, endevouring to get our men to join them. We immediately made our men fall in, put the prisoners in my boat and returned to our Camp."



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