Admiralty,
27th Septr 1852
Sir
I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you herewith, for the information of Secretary Sir John Pakington, Copies of a Letter dated the 23rd July last from Captain Kuper of Her Majesty's Ship "Thetis", and of its enclosures, containing intelligence respecting Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Islands.  
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble Servant
W.A.B. Hamilton

Herman Merivale Esq
Colonial Office
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
This is the fullest account we have yet received about Queen Charlotte's Island. but it does not occur to me that any particular use can be made of the information.  
ABd
30 Sepr
It has been usual to communicate these accounts to the H.B. Company. but this seems to me hardly necessary in the present instance. Put by?  
HM
O 2
D
3
JSP
5
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Kuper to Secretary to the Admiralty, 23 July 1852, forwarding a copy of his report to Moresby, 20 July 1852.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Copy
Augustus L Kuper, Captain,
(Signed)
H.M.S. "Thetis"
San Francisco
20 July 1852

No. 5
Sir
I have the honor to report my proceedings up to this date since I parted from your Flag at Callao on the 10th April last.  
1. Having crossed the line in 96ç.30" W, fresh South West winds carried us up to 11ç North, when with very little interval of variables, we fell in with the N.E. Trade which was very light throughout. We carried Northerly and N. Westerly winds
up
up to 38ç North and 135ç West, where we got a fine breeze from the S. Eastward which carried us up to within 150 Miles of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which we entered on the evening of the 23rd May and anchored in Esquimault Harbour on the Morning of the 24th.  
2. As it was considered full early in the season to insure fine weather at Queen Charlottes' Island I completed the ship and wood and water previous to starting and on the morning of the 5th of June, I left Esquimalt Harbor, but owning to calms and strong tides did not succeed in getting fairly into the straits of Juan de Fuca until the afternoon of the 7th where we met a very strong breeze, from the Westward accompanied by a dense wet Fog, and we had a very disagreable and anxious beat down the straits during the whole night being able scarcely to see a ships length a head. It cleared off on the 8th and we Made the Southern point of Queen Charlottes Island on the evening of the 13th, but owing to light and variable winds did not arrive off our Port until the morning of the 16&Sth June.  
3. The only person I could find at Fort Victoria who professed to have any knowledge whatever of Queen Charlotte's Island, was a Mr Nevin,
a
a Gentleman now in the Hudsons Bay Company's service, who had formerly been Chief Officer of the "Una" schooner during her two visits to the Island and whom Mr Douglas the Governor kindly allowed to accompany me. Mr Nevin declined taking any responsibilities as a Pilot, but I naturally supposed from him having twice visited the Island previously, he would possess some useful knowleldge of the localities etc. He proved however of no service whatever and on arriving off the entrance of the straits leading to Port Mitchell did not even recognize the headlands, therefore as we
had
had had a thick fog the whole of the previous day, and were uncertain of our reckoning, and the entrance appeared very much narrower, that it had been described to me, I stood off and on sent a Boat in with an officer to ascertain whether it was the right Place; on her return I bore up and ran through a narrow strait of little more than half a mile in width, with no soundings at 80 and 100 fms. in most parts of it and entered Port Mitchell at 3 P.M. where I found, the Hudsons Bay Company's schooner "Recovery" the only vessel in the Port, anchored close to the Rocks
near
near the spot where the Company were carrying on their mining operations. I anchored near her with the stream and sent the Boats away to find a secure berth and in the evening ran farther up the Harbour into a Snug Anchorage which I have called "Thetis" Cove where the ship was safely anchored in 22 fms, with barely room to swing, and surrounded by precipitous hills of nearly 1000 feet height.  
4. It would appear that the information contained in the letter addressed to you by H.M.
Consul
Consul at San Francisco on the 1s March last was substantially correct but the amount of Gold as yet procured from Queen Charlotte Island has I think been overated. The only place where gold has as yet been found is in Port Mitchell and the Indians maintain that all they have procured came from the same spot, and that they have not found it in any other part of the Island, their reports however cannot be depended upon.  
5. The Hudsons Bay Co's schooner "Recovery" arrived at Port Mitchell from Fort Victoria on the 5th April
last
last, with a party of men who had agreed to work on shares the vein of Quartz which had first been worked by those on board the "Una". The Hudsons' Bay Co. finding all materials, powder, mining tools etc and receiving on half of the proceeds towards paying the expenses, the other half being equally divided amongst those employed, who although the regular servants of the Company, were to receive no wages during the time. This expedition is under the command of Doctor Kennedy but from the information I received from him as well as
from
from some of the miners, it would appear that they had been much disappointed in their expectations. Several of the men had already deserted and the rest all expressed themselves as anxious to get away, as the amount of gold procured would not by the account of Doctor Kennedy by any means pay the expense of Powder and Tools, and would only give a very trifling share to the men. The gold they have got has been procured by dint of very hard labour, the mere clearing the ground being a matter of difficulty and the stone contiguous to the vein of Quartz being exceedingly hard and difficult to blast. They
told
told me that they had sometimes been days without finding fold. The vein is close to the waters edge, and the portion opened about 20 feet in length and in the deepest part 6 or 8 feet below the surface.  
6. I have been unable to obtain any correct information as to what amount of Gold has actually been taken from the Island, but the "Una" previous to her being wrecked in Neah Bay in the straits of Juan de Fuca certainly got some and I was informed by Mr. Mitchell who
then
then commanded the "Una" and is now in command of the "Recovery" that when he left the Island in the "Una", there was a considerable amount of gold visible in the vein, but not being in sufficient numbers on board they were prevented from working it by the Indians, but that the place had been visited subsequently, by a vessel with a party of Adventurers from San Francisco, who are supposed to have met with some success. Of the existence of Gold, in considerable quantity upon the Island, there can be no doubt
from
from the specimens of pure Metal which have been brought for Barter by the Indians. The largest piece as yet seen, weighs 22 ounces and is in possession of one of the Chiefs, who however places so exorbitant a price upon it (I believe 1500 blankets) that nobody has been able to make a bargain with him. The Mountains as far as we were able to explore abound in veins of Quartz, but the extremely rugged and impracticable nature of the Country will present most serious obstacles to the success of any adventurers who may
be
be disposed to visit the Island in search of gold.  
7. I enclose a List of the vessels which have visited Port Mitchell since April last, for the purpose of seeking for gold. I am told that they had each from 40 to 50 Californian adventurers on board, but they appear to have met with no success whatever, and returned to San Francisco, after remaining only a short time, during which they appear to have examined many of the Hills and water courses in the vicinity of the Port. The only persons left hehind were a party of 7 men professing to
be
be British subjects, whom I found living in a small Rocky Island close to the "Thetis" anchorage. They had been landed in the beginning of May from the schooner "Susan Sturgess" which vessel they expected daily to return to take them away again. They were preparing a boat in which they intended to return to San Francisco should the schooner not arrive shortly. This party were also working a vein of Quartz, not far from that of the Hudsons Bay Company, but according to their own account
had
had not found sufficient gold to make it worth their while to continue their operations and were anxiously looking out for an opportunity to leave the Island.  
8. I have purchased for Her Majestys Govt such specimens as I could procure from Dr Kennedy of the gold and gold ore found on Queen Charlottes Island. Those of pure Metal were purchased by him from the Indians. The specimens of Quartz all containing more or less gold, were taken from the vein which the Company are now working in Port Mitchell.  
9—
9. The Country around Port Mitchell, is a series of rugged and precipitous Rocky Mountains in some parts perpendicular for 100 feet or more and thickly wooded whenever it is possible for a tree to take root. The woods particularly where exposed to the N.W. winds, are much blighted in many places. It is impossible anywhere to penetrate more than a few yards into the Country without extreme labour, the ground being a mere mass of Rocks and fallen and decayed trees of great size, everywhere
covered
covered very thickly with moss. [Marginal note. It will be a work of labor to survey this Country if the Island is all like this. ABd. We found good water abundant in any accessible streams, but I think it probable that later in the season when the snow is all melted on the Hills that it would be more scarce, as even during our short stay, we found the streams considerably diminished and few were sufficiently large to warrant the supposition, that they would continue to flow during the heat of the summer months. We found the climate damp and very changeable the thermometer during the five days of our stay ranging from 56 to 80 in the shade.  
Lieutenant
Lieutenant Moresby after a fatiquing walk, succeeded in reaching a fresh water lake of some extent, about a Mile and a half from the head of the harbour and supposed to be about 400 Feet above the level of the sea and Lieutent Peel reached the summit of one of the highest peaks, where he and his party walked for some distance over snow of considerable depth. Mr Peel describes having seen from thence a large inlet or harbour to the Southward. From the information I received, there would appear to be many good Harbours in Queen Charlottes Island; Not far to the
Northward
Northward of Port Mitchell is a passage which completely intersects the Island and which was navigated by the Hudsons Bay Co's steamer "Beaver" from the Eastward to within a few miles of its Western Entrance, where she was stopped by dangerous Rapids. The Eastern Coast of Queen Charlottes Island is said to be much more level and the neighboring waters not so deep. It is said that Antimony Lead and Iron are plentiful in that part.  
10. The navigation of that part of the Island which I visited appears to be very free from hidden dangers, but is difficult and dangerous for sailing vessels
of
of any size in consequence of the great depth of water everywhere there being no anchorage except in a very few places, too close to the Rocks for a large ship and the Mountains are so high and abrupt that the winds are unsteady and partial.  
Mr Geo. Moore the Master of the "Thetis" has by my direction made a plan of Port Mitchell and the channel leading to it, a tracing of which I enclose herewith.  
11. The Indians upon Queen Charlottes Island appear to be very numerous and a finer and fairer race of Men, than those on Van Couvers Island. From
our
our first arrival, we were daily surrounded by numbers of large canoes full of Men, Women, and children. All the Tribes within reach came to see what they called the Mountain ship and we had at one time upwards of 100 canoes round the ship, but the Indians invariably behaved in the most friendly manner towards us and beyond the noise they made caused us no annoyance whatever. They have almost all some portion of European dress, and many understand some words of English. They are considered to be generally well disposed towards their white visitors, and I was
informed
informed by the officers of the Hudsons Bay Co. that they rarely had any trouble with them.  
12. The furs procured from Queen Charlottes Island, by the Hudsons Bay Co are Sea and Land Otter, Bear and Martin.  
13. On the 22nd June I got under weigh taking advantage of a light breeze from the S. Eastward which with the assistance of the Boats carried us down to the Entrance of the Straits, when it freshened to a strong breeze with heavy and variable puffs off the land enabling us barely to
weather
weather the Rocks to the Northward and having hoisted the Boats in I was glad to get H.M's ship safe out to sea.  
14. Shortly after I weighted the American Schooner "Susan Sturgess" made her appearance round the point, but as I could not recover the anchorage I had left, I sent an officer to board her and finding that she only returned for the purpose of conveying the party landed on the Island in May, back to San Francisco, and had nobody on board, but a sufficient crew to navigate her I proceeded warning the Master of her who together with most of his crew
were
were Englishmen, that all speculation upon this coast could be there only upon sufferance.  
15. We had S.E. Winds together with a good deal of rain until off Cape St James's at Noon on the 24th when after some hours calm, a Westerly wind sprang up. Passed Scotts Islands on the afternoon of the 25th, entered the Newitty Canal or Goletas Channel on the morning of the 26th crossing the Bay in 9 fms with very smooth water and anchored in Beaver Harbour at 1 P.M.  
16. On the 28th I went in a Boat to visit the place where the Hudsons Bay Company are carrying on their
operations
operations in search of Coal, which is about 10 miles from Fort Rupert. They have got boring apparatus at work in three different places, and have reached the several depths of 45, 35 and 27 fms, but hitherto nothing has been brought up to indicate any probability of finding coal. [Marginal note. Hudson's Bay operations for Coal. No coal in mines. [ABd]. I was informed that it is their intention to continue boring to the depths of from 80 to 100 fms, after which no hope of success would be entertained of finding coal in any part of Vancouvers Island. The surface coal appears to be
abundant
abundant in the neighbourhood and is good of its kind.  
17. No alteration has taken place in the settlement at Fort Rupert, since the "Daphne's" visit in July 1851 nor has any vessel visited the Port since, with the exception of the Hudsons Bay Co's steamer "Beaver" which called there some months ago, in passing on one of her trading voyages to the Northward. The only land cleared or under cultivation consists of 2 or 3 acres of Potatoes and a garden in
the
the immediate vicinity of the Fort.  
18. I received a most favourable report from Mr Blenkinsopp [Blenkinsop] the gentleman in charge of the establishment at Fort Rupert of the conduct of the Indians in that neighbourhood generally. I was informed by this gentleman that the Newitty Tribe had latterly been perfectly quiet and peaceable and that shortly after the departure of the "Daphne " last year they had themselves shot three of the Tribe who had been guilty of the murder of the three white men, and brought the bodies over to the
Fort
Fort
as a proof when they were recognized as those of the real delinquents.  
19. I enclose herewith for your information the Copy of a Letter addressed to me at Fort Rupert from Mr William Brotchie, who it appears has been occupied for some time in cutting and preparing the spars named in the accompanying List. I went with the master to examine the spars and can confidently bear testimony to their superior quality. Mr Brotchie deserves great credit for the patience and perserverance he has displayed in teaching
the
the Indians to square and trim spars of such large dimensions, and it is much to be regretted that having exhausted all his means, he has not been left in a position to enable him, to get them conveyed to England in completion of his contract with the Admiralty, as I feel satisfied that the introduction of spars from Vancouver's Island for the purposes of H.M's Navy would be most desirable.  
20. I left Beaver Harbour at 10:30 AM, of the 29th June and beat down the Newitty Canal against a strong breeze from
the
the Westward, making 56 Tacks in 13 hours, crossed the bar at the entrance at midnight in 7 fms. on which there was a very high swell. At 1 A.M. when nearly in Mid channel with the Westernmost visible Point of Gallianos Island bearing N.E. we shoaled the water suddenly from 14 to 5 fms with Rocky bottom. As the ship was pitching very deeply, I feared she would have struck but a strong ebb tide flowing swept her over the rock and into deep water again before
she
she came round on the other Tack. We were becalmed off Cape Scott, with a very heavy swell setting on to the point until the afternoon of the 30th when a breeze sprang up from the Eastward which lasted 3 days a most unusual occurrence I understand at this season of the year. We entered the straits of Juan de Fuca at 4 P.M. on the 3rd July, but the Fog being too thick to run during the night, did not anchor in Esquimalt Harbour until the afternoon of the 4th.  
21. Very little change appears
to
to have taken place in the settlement of Victoria, which is in much the same state, as when you visited it in the "Portland" last year. There are no new Colonists since then [Marginal note. No fresh Colonists. [ABd]] and the only arrivals during the year, have been about thirty five servants of the Hudsons Bay Co., who I understand are barely sufficient to supply the vancancies caused by desertion or otherwise.  
The few settlers occupying land in this part of Vancouvers Island complain much of the Hudsons Bay Company, who so far from rendering them any assistance
appear
appear (by their account) to throw every possible obstacle in the way of the advancement or improvement of the Colony, and all not actually in the service of the Company, are anxiously looking forward with the hope that H.M's Govt may be induced to take the Colonization of this fine Island into their own hands, when it would doubtless become a most valuable possession.  
The Indians during my second visit to Esquimalt, were almost all absent at the Salmon Fisheries. They have latterly been quiet and peaceable but
there
there was some disturbance in March last which however was fortunately put down without bloodshed, since then everything has gone on quietly.  
Mr Douglas, the Governor was at Frazers River in the service of the Hudsons Bay Co and was not expected to return to Victoria for some days.  
22. I sailed from Esquimalt on the 9th July, got to sea on the 11th after two days beating in the straits of Juan de Fuca with light winds and very thick Fog
and
and anchored in this Port on the 10th.  
23. Since my arrival at this Port, I have not, after strict enquiry been able to ascertain that it is the intention of any parties here, to renew for the present the search after Gold in Queen Charlotte's Island.  
I have the honor etc etc
(Signed) Augustus L. Kuper
Captain


List of Vessels which have visited Port Mitchell, Queen Charlottes Island
.
Name of Vessel. Under What Colours Date of arrival Where Fro. Date of Departure
Schooner "Susan Sturges America.
20 April
185. San Francisco
11 May 1852

Brig "Tepic. . . . Englis. 2. . . . . D. . . 15 . "
Brig "Palerma. . . . America. 2. . . . . D. . . 15 . "
Schooner "Mexican. . America. 2. . . . . D. . . . . "
Brigantine "Eagle. . America. . Ma. . Columbia River
7 June
"
Schooner "Cecil. . . America. 1. . . San Francisco
26 May
"
(Signed. Augustus L. Kuper
Captain
 
Public Offices document:
Hamilton to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary), 27 September 1852, National Archives of the UK, 8866, CO 305/3. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=V525AD07.scx. Accessed 11 December 2017. 

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