The Pioneer Committee from San Francisco arrives in Victoria

On April 25th,1858 the Steamship Commodore sailed into Victoria harbour from San Francisco. On board – 450 gold seekers; and 35 Black people, the Pioneer Committee to meet with Governor Douglas.
It all started on the evening of April 14,1858 at the Zion Church. The Black community were celebrating the release of fugitive slave Archy Lee.
In the midst of these celebrations Jeremiah Nagle, captain of the steamship Commodore which sailed regularly between San Francisco and Victoria, arrived at the meeting. It is said that Nagle came well-prepared to the meeting with maps of Vancouver Island and a letter from “a gentleman in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company of undoubted veracity” giving details about the colony and inviting the Blacks community to come to the Colony of Vancouver Island. The letter has not survived but it is understood that because of the implications of the information provided by Nagle, the invitation could only have come from Governor James Douglas.