52, Herbert Street
Shepherdess Walk
11th October, 1852
My Lord,
In reply to your Lordship's Communication of the 9th instant I have the honour to state that the Rev. Mr Staines's letter, in addition to various particulars respecting Vancouver's Island, and the existence of gold in Queen Charlotte's Island, contains some statements relative to a supposed remittance of gold to England, not on account of Her Majesty's Government, as far back as September 1850, and also mentions a reported attempt to obtain a cession of Queen Charlotte's Island, accompanied by a probable concealment of the value of the solicited grant.  
It appears by Mr Staine's letter that it had the benefit of a revision by some of the officers of H.M.S. Thetis, after their visit to the auriferous district, and that it may therefore be regarded as possessing the general sanction of their approval.  
Having no means of determining what portion of the statement is of value, and what unimportant, I have felt it best to forward the communication entire, and have now the honour of enclosing it, trusting that the circumstances of the case will be deemed a sufficient apology for the non-official style of a private letter.  
I have the honour to be, My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient humble Servant,
Thomas Boys

The Right Honourable
The Earl of Desart
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Staines to Boys, 6. July 1852.
Victoria, Vancouver's Island
July 6, 1852

My Dear Uncle Boys,
I hope you will be ready to forgive me for my unpardonable remissness in never having had the grace to send you even the shadow of an epistle from this chaplaincy which, I may say, you were principally instrumental in originating. You would not be much surpised at my disinclination for enjoying in correspondence, if you could be present in my house for one month, or even one week, be a witness of the various kinds of occupation that I have within such a period to undertake. There is the school, the ministry, the Colony, my neighbours, strangers, English & American, the natives, helping Emma to make the bed, sending one of my pupils with an Indian servant to try to get meat for the day, trading venision, partridges, salmon, mats, baskets, berries &c., &c., &c., with Indians, cutting up a deer, a quarter of beef, or a sheep, teaching the Indians how to cook it, occasionally going into the kitchen to see that all is going on right, preparing & mixing ingredients for soup, gardening, including fensing, breaking up the ground, procuring from all quarters of the globe, or saving seeds, going to gather peas, cut cabbages, attending to their being properly boiled, for Emma cannot eat meat well without vegetables, & cannot eat them unless nicely cooked, making sauce if we have time a[nd] materials; considering, when a vessel is going to the Sandwich Islands, what articles of use in the Domestic economy, it may be proper to try to procure these, or at other times how to invent substitutes for them, attending to the poultry, gathering the eggs, setting the hens, registering the time of incubation of each, feeding the chickens, also the dogs; this brings me perhaps to dinner time. then you have doubtless heard that I have lately become a Bonâ fide Colonist having taken a claim of about 400 acres within 1 mile & 3 furlongs of the fort. This takes up some more of my time at present, but I intend it to abridge my labours by-and-bye. For some months we have supplied ourselves with milk & butter, & very soon we shall have our own meat altogether, pork beef & mutton; also our own potatoes, so that instead of buying 200 bushels every season of Indians, in lots from 2 or 3 to 10 or 12 bushels at a time, from Oct. to Feb.y, all of which I have to stand by to see weighted myself,—we shall have from the farm all we want & some hundreds or thousands of bushels to sell.  
Perhaps you would like to have some idea of the stock on the land. Well then there are 10 cows with their calves, 3 yearlings of oxen, 31 head in all, 3 mares 1 horse and 2 other horses bought for me at Nisqually, but not yet arrived, about 20 pigs, including 11 or 12 sows, all the produce of 1 sow which I bought in 1850, & which is the finest in Vancouver's Island. These 20 pigs wd average now from 150 to 200 lbs. each. In about 6 weeks or 2 months we expect the stock will increase to about 80 or 90.  
There is a dairy built, a store-house, a fowl-house, a piggery, an enclosure for driving in the cattle, 2 dwelling houses, each with 2 windows & a chimney, but with only one room. These will hereafter have the windows abstracted & be turned into cattle-sheds. They are all build of wood. There is wood already squared for building a good dwelling house, but this I do not intend to erect this year. There is a portion of land of about 25 acres nearly enclosed with a strong fence, about 9 acres of which are ploughed & sown with wheat, oats, barley, pease, potates & turnips, though from the fence not being conpleted in time this will nearly be all destroyed by the irruptions of cattle. However there will be at least all this under crop next hear, if we live & prosper. I think you would be much interested in coming & giving a peep at us.  
I really should seriously be delighted if you would come & settle here with us. There certainly is a feild for another clergyman; there is even an absolute & an urgent necessity for 4 or 5 more upon the Island. But there is no support for one at present. There is a Clergy-reserve, but without some capital to improve it & some interested persons to manage it & look aout after it, it is useless.  
My reason for taking so much load & setting to work at once upon it upon so great a scale, is very much owing to my anxious desire to promote the specitual welfare of the Island, for in about 3 years, this land will produce a revenue of from £500 to £70. per annum clear, if the Island has the slightest chance given to it by the Colonial Authorities, I mean those in England. At present it is true its chances are very small.  
The following table will serve to give you some idea of the increase of stock in 3 or 4 years. I must premise that the climate & soil are excellent & casualties with the calves are unknown. I have at present as follows. (Of the calves I am not aware at present what are male what female. I shall suppose them =.)
1852. 10 Cow. 2 yearling heifer. 10 calves havin. 5 ox-calves & 1 besides
1853 may be expected
10 cow. 2 heifer. 5 yearling d. 10 calve. 5
1854 12 cow. 5 heifer. 5 yearling d. 12 calve. 6
1855 17 cow. 5 heifer. 6 yearling d. 17 calve. 9
1856 22 cow. 6 heifer. 8 yearling d. 22 calve. 11
To people in England, who, having high rents to pay for their land, and oblige[d] to part with their stock as it increases year by year, I believe this rapid multiplication after a few years seldom occurs. The same rule applies to horses. Pigs increase with far greater rapidity.  
[Marginal note: For Hudson's Bay Co.] The great difficulty here is to procure labour at a moderate price; and this difficulty can never end until the price of land on Vancouver's Island is reduced so as to bring it nearer to an equality with that in Oregon. At present if I chose to cross to the other side of the straits, I could have 320 acres for nothing but residence, choosing where I liked in unappropriated land; and previously to Dec. 1850 or 1851, I might have had 640. This will last 3 or 4 years longer; and even then the land will be purchasable for $1.25 or 5s/- an acre.  
These circumstances thus operate upon the Colony of Vancouver's Island, which is distant from the Coast of Oregon only from 8 or 10 to 15 or 20 miles, a distance which people are continually traversing summer & winter in canoes; (I have done it myself, and am intending to do it again next week. When labourers are brought to the Island, which can only be effected at great expense—an expense which no man of sane mind knowing the circumstances' of the Colony, at present would risk. They soon learn that, by just crossing the straits & stating before a magistrate their intention to become Citizens of the U.S., they will become entitled to 160 acres of land gratis & if they marry, to 320, any time they choose to settle until 1. Dec. 1855. Consequently finding their chance of ever becoming proprietors here, with land at £1 an acre, tied down as it is by conditions, which do not allow a man more than 20 acres except he import English labourers at the rate of 1 man for every 20 acres (this condition the Company are wisely blinking at [at] present, otherwise they would not have one private proprieter of more than 20 acres on the Island at this moment, which they are aware of no doubt,) which to a labouring man is of course impossible; finding I say that the chance of their ever becoming independent is very minute & so remote as to vanish into nothing, they naturally become dissatisfied. As long as they remain they work, if at all, disaffectedly, with murmurs & grumblings, & at last they apply downright for their discharge. If this is refused they take the first opportunity, & cross over to the other side, where their accession is hailed with joy & triumph, & they feel themselves what they call free, i.e. free from the H.B. Coy, for they never feel themselves otherwise than free as Englishmen; but this term free is applied amongst the Company's servants to those whose time of service is expired, or whose engagment is terminated. Moreover proprietors of land in Oregon not having to pay anything for it, are able to spend more money in improving it, & consequently to give higher wages for labour. This is an additional source of dissatisfaction amonst the men here, & another incitement to leave.  
The beneficial consequences of all these advantages to Oregon soon reacting, contribute to operate as a new cause of prosperity, for the population increasing, & merchants & mechanics & artisans of all descriptions being attracted amongst them, the agriculturists have a more extensive & immediate & a surer market for their produce, besides the many incidental advantages resulting in a new country from a rapidly increasing population, & a rapidly extending spirit of enterprise. In any part of Vancouver's Island at the present moment, I do not believe that any general shop-keeper could live. There are 2 blacksmiths & 1 carpenter, & 2 ship-carpenters. I know of no more mechanics of any kind.  
There is little or no inducement at present for any one to come to settle. The vis inertice acts with its own peculiar force here as elsewhere. Some of those persons, without any enterprise, who have been brought here by other circumstances, settle here, because they have already some connection with the place. They speculate to the extent of £10 in buying a town-lot 120 feet by 60, & put up some kind of a habitation, hoping some day, if the Colony turns out well (as they say) to sell it at a profit. Other persons settle from an entirely opposite motive. They settle, from a direct and powerful principle of enterprise. They can & do appreciate the natural advantages of the Island; its fine climate, soil, timber & fish, its fine harbours, & its favorable geographical position. There is no harbour North of San Francisco until you arrive at Esquimalt which is 4 miles from this harbour. They are not ignorant of the obstacles thrown in the way of the Colony, particularly by its being given over bound hand & foot to the Hudson's Bay Company. They see all the disadvantages under which it labours, & they must for some time labour with it, but they face them, & trusting that our Govt only needs to be informed of its circumstances in order to give them relief, they hope to overcome them.  
All persons between these two extremes, & all not actuated by this high spirit of patriotism & enterprise in the other, that is to say, the vast majority desert us for Oregon, or California. Up to the present moment a large amount of English money has been spent in bringing out British subjects to colonise Oregon for the U.S.; whereas Many Englishmen who were attracted to California by the gold, would have preferred to settle here, if it had been possible for them to do so. But I may say they have been driven off the Island by the illiberal policy of the Govt, and literally in one instance which I am well acquainted with by the jealousy of the Company's agents here, who are afraid of the two great increase of independent Colonists, for this would interfere with their present political supremacy. But I must say, because it is an important truth, that as long as this supremacy lasts, the Colony never can progress and prosper, notwithstanding all its natural advantages.  
[Marginal note. Send to Admty.] Its timber, of which I have already spoken, is fine & admirable, I am told on good authority, for shipping purposes, i.e. for masts &c., beyond parallel. A Mr Webster who lived in N. Zealand, 9 years during wh. time he had a contract to supply the British Govt with spars, has come up here lately. He says that the timber here is far superior to that of N. Zealand. The reason why he left the latter place was that his establishment at the Bay of Islands, was broken up & all his property destroyed, including his timber—& whaling station, by the war with the natives, after our Govt took possession. He lost several thousands of pounds & then went to California.  
A Mr Broachie [Brotchie] has been cutting spars up at Fort Rupert, and this Mr Webster & some others are intending to buy them & send them to England. They are expecting to arrive at London in about Feb. 1853; they design remaining there about 6 weeks, & then returning with a cargo & passengers to this place. The passengers will go where they like. They can either settle here or on the other side; but unless some change is made in the administration of the Colony by our Govt in the meantime, they are sure to go to Oregon. These spars have been seen by the Officers of H.M.S. Thetis, which has just been up at Fort Rupert. They have told me that they are most extraordinary. One was described to me, as being about 150 feet in length, free from knots, without a single branch for 130 feet, 6 feet in diameter unsquared, & perfectly straight. They saw one squared 110 ft. in length, squared, 38 in. in diam. at butt, 28 inches at the top. They say they average nearly 100 ft. in length & from 32 to 36 inches in diam. sqd. They say they are "unparalleled and unequalled". [Marginal note indicates extract to Admiralty ends but that to HBC continues.]  
I have given you a pretty extended description of the Colony & the circumstances of Colonists at present, without entering into statistical details. Perhaps an addition in this respect would make it more perfect. There are from 5000 to 6000 acres of land sold to about from 30 to 40 proprietors exclusive of the Company. Of this, upwards of 4000 acres lie in the district just round Victoria, which for some time was reserved for the Fur-trade, i.e. for the Hudson's Bay Company, & of which they refused to sell any until very lately, and another portion lies within the Puget Sound Association's reserve round Esquimalt Harbour. These reserves were excessively pernicious to the Colony. They comprised the districts most eligible for first settlers & amounted to about 30 square miles together. The extent to which they obstructed the sale & settlement of land is proved from the fact that, whereas before these reserves were offered for sale, purchasers came forward at once, myself among the number. [Blackwood has crossed out the following paragraph.]  
I had applied nearly 2 years before for a piece of land in the neighbourhood of the Fort, in the presence of our late Govr Mr Blanshard & Capt. Johnson H.M.S. Driver, & was refused in their presence by Mr Douglas, the land agent. He told me deridingly, when I pointed out how injurious this was, that I might have 100,000 acres at Mitchowsan or elsewhere "by paying for it & complying with the conditions. As land at Mitchowsan, which is about 8 miles distant (accross the bay) by water, & 15 miles by land, would have been perfectly useless to me I declined, I could not become a proprieter and a Colonist until the Fur-trade reserve was thrown open, when I obtained a claim within 1 1/2 miles of my residence. I have already without paying for the land invested about £400 upon it in stock, implements, buildings, labour &c, indeed nearly £500, although I only took the claim in Novr 1851, & did not commence operations until the end of Decr. I state this to show my willingness to become a bonâ fida Colonist, & to give an idea of the manner in which the advancement of the Colony has been retarded by the selfish & bad policy of the Company. For my case is only one of many. "Ex uno disce omnes." I may also say to those who are wise enough & willing to learn, "Ex pede Herculem."  
The leaving the conditions in obeyance has also contributed considerably to the formation of a settlement, for compliance with them as I have stated above is absolutely impossible. But their very existence is wrong, except they be universally suspended. In truth I should rather say they are only partially in obeyance, for the land agent has it in his power to enforce them, & being Govr as well, & Chief Factor of the Company, he may use them as means of persecution or of indulging private resentment, or throwing difficulties into the way of persons competing, or likely to compete with the Company or interfere with their trade. The general feeling of all persons independent of the Company here, & of many who are in their service is in accordance with the representation I have made, as our late Govr Mr Blanshard, I am sure, well knows, (& to him I would appeal for proof,) & a Govt Commissioner wd find, if he were to come & make investigation on the spot. Adml Moresby also, I believe, must be well acquainted with the correctness & justice of my statement.  
I could say a good deal more upon the subject if I had time, but unfortunately my time is so taken up with other matters, that it is not in my power to put on record all I know about the Colony, its condition, prospects & proceedings.  
I hope the present Government will evince a greater interest in this Island, than has been manifested hitherto. I believe they can scarcely be aware of its importance & of its natural capabilities. If we had but a Govt independent of the Company, and a regular & due administration of justice, which, I may say, is unknown at present, now that the Reserve is, even though but partially, thrown open, & the impracticalbe & crushing conditions left neglected, the Island could make a rapid advance in prosperity, that is provided also the price of the land were reduced. This is necessary to complete its chances of sucess as a Colony; though even without this, if we had but an independent Govt, connected directly with the Colonial authorities in England, a great improvement would be made. [Next sentence underlined by Blackwood]. As it is the people in general would be glad that the Island should be annexed to the U.S. Here is a Colony professedly independent, with its Governor a Chief Factor of the H.B.C., 2 members of the Council out of 3 Chief Traders, & the remaining one a ship-master often absent. Even he was appointed by the former Govr Mr Blanshard. Had not he appointed him, the three, which number is necessaary to form a quorum, would doubtlelssly have been all members of the Company's trade, sharing in its profits, their income depending on the amount of the Annual divident. The Govr is at this moment away in the Company's fur-trade at Fort Langley, whither he has gone as Chief Factor, to meet what they call the brigade, that is, the party bringing the annual collection of furs from the interior, the country called New Caledonia, lying N. of Oregon & W. of the Rocky Mountains. [Marginal note. If the writer is as respectable a man as his profession, and his Letter wd lead one to suppose he was he would make a good addition to the Council. ABd]  
One of the fundamental articles of the Charter granting the constitution of the Island, is, that its ports & harbours shall be free to the inhabitants & to all nations either trading or seeking shelter therein. [Remainder of paragraph struck out by Blackwood]. A few weeks ago, the Govr Mr Douglas, stated to Mr Tod, the Senr Member of Council, that he was going to bring forward a measure in council, proposing to establish a duty of 5 per cent. on imports. He expressed his dissent. Mr Douglas argued and persuaded, but Tod was invincible. At length Mrr Douglas stated, as if this, he thought, would settle the matter, "but The Company wish it, Tod; The Company wish it." This is the free & independent Colony that is to govern & tax itself. This Tod told his fellow Member of Council Cooper, & Cooper told me. I believe it to be perfectly true. The measure was brought forward, & Mr Douglas stated that the Compnay offered it to the Colony as a boon, for, that as they were & must be for some time the principal importers, they would be gratuitously conferring upon the exchequer of the Colony about £1500 per annum, the amount they would have to pay. What ignorance of one of the first & most obvious principles of political economy, is displayed by one party, or supposed to belong to the other. [Marginal note. If the preceding passage were sent to the H.B.C. it wd lead to the discovery of the writer. ABd]  
However I must now turn to another subject. You are of course aware of the great state of excitement & ajitation existing in this part of the world. These discoveries of gold all round the Pacific have as it were completely intoxicated almost the entire community, so that it is very difficult to make a serious & calm estimate of the condition of the countries round about us, or of the people inhabiting them. During this year we have heard of the immense discoveries in Western Australia, which have attracted thither many who were formerly wanderers in California.  
But all this was not it seems enough. It is now ascertained that Queen Charlotte's Island, the large Island just North West of us, also abounds in the precious metal, as well as in other valuable menerals, copper & antimony, &, I am told, lead & silver. Of the gold, copper & antimony I have several specimens. Of the former, that is, of gold, I have already sent [Blackwood underlines to end of Miller] on two occasions some which have been forwarded to the Govt They both went thro' Genl Miller. [Not received at C.O. ABd]  
It was this that brought the Thetis up here. I saw some specimens of the gold as far back as March or April 1851, & in August or Septr I forwarded two to Genl Miller, H.B.M. Consul Genl of the Pacific, at the Sandwich Islands. He informed [me] in October that he had forwarded one of them together with an extra 1 from my letter to the Foreign Office. Genl Miller had previously requested me to give him all the information I could, concerning this part of the Coast, & Q.C. Island particularly.  
The Coy's agents here had been active in getting all the gold they could by trading it with the natives & visiting the spot where it had been discovered; or perhaps, I shd rather say, one of the spots; for it is my belief that the Natives have discovered it elsewhere besides. I believe some of this gold was sent from here to England, consigned to the H.B. Company by their agents here, in the Norman Morison, in Sept. 1850. I am under this impression and I am pretty sure I am correct in saying so.  
About July, 1851 they sent the Una, under the command of Capt. Mitchell, to the spot. One Englishman, who had been in California, named W'm Rowland, & who had become owner of a little sloop of 40 tons, the Georgiana of Sydney, went in the Una as a Volunteer, but really to get accurate information. He returned in the vessel in Septr or Octr, with several specimens, of which I procured some. The information brought was of such a nature that the Una was immediately fitted out again & despatched for the purpose of obtaining all they could. Rowland now separated from the Una, & by going to Olympia, which is at the S. extremity of Puget Sound, & exhibiting his specimens, & relating the results of his experience, he gained a party of some 25 men to go with him, which they did about the end of Octr or beginning of Novr, after the Una.  
In Decr another vessel the Damariscove, belonging to two persons, named Palmer & Balch, trading between Puget Sound & San Francisco, was despatched from the latter place to Puget Sound; but the owners having been informed by friends in Oregon of the discovery of gold on Q.C. Island, they thought they might as well just pass the straits of Juan de Fuca, & for the sake of a few days' farther passage, have the advantage of ocular evidence. There being only 7 persons in all on board, & the Natives reputed to be savage & Fierce, they did not intend to attempt to do more than obtain reliable information.  
On arriving at this spot, they found the Una had left, & they were warned by a paper with the signature of Capt. Mitchell, which was brought on board by the Indians, & was supposed by them to be a letter of recommendation, by no means to trust them. Fortunately they attended to the warning in good time, for in the morning when they were sailing away, they saw canoes pulling towards them containing about 200 men.  
Just before they left, they received from some Indians, a scrap of paper from Rowland, written on with a pencil, which informed them that the Georgiana had been wrecked on the other, i.e. the East side of the Island, & that all the party were captives in the hands of the Indians, who had stripped them of everything. The Damariscove sailed for Olympia, Puget Sound, immedly & gave information of the wreck, &c.  
The U.S. Collector of customs, Mr Moses, at once chartered the Damariscove as a Revenue Vessel, & fitted her out under the U.S. flag, sending a small party of Military, Lieut. Dement & 4 or 5 privates, with 10 volunteers, to undertake the redemption, or rescue, (though the latter in a hostile manner was not to be thought of, as it was rather dangerous than otherwise) of the captives. They put in here on their way to purchase blanckets &c., wherewith to buy the men from the Indians.  
Mr Moses sent here to buy the necessary blankets, because Qn Charlotte's Island being British Territory, they did not wish to have any cause of complaint arise from the British Authorities, through their introducing American goods; and they were the more careful in using this precaution, because they themselves had been extremely particular in enforcing their own Customs's laws, and by most strictly following out the letter of them, had seized & Condemned two or three British vessels just before, the Company's among the number.  
Another Amern vessel, the Exact, had set off for Qn Ch. Island during the interval in Novr, containing English & Americans, & amongst others, a man named Jeal, who was in my service at the time. When the Damariscove returned this vessel had not been heard of, & was supposed, through some peices of plank & other remains of a vessel being picked up on the S.W. side of this Island, to have suffered ship-wreck. I was informed that Mr Palmer was here without any place of shelter, there being no houses of public entertainment here at that time, & therefore I invited him to remain at my house the few days he intended to stay. He had come so far in the ship because the health of Capt. Balch, his partner, was in a precarious state when they left Olympia, & he thought it advisable to accompany him. however before the vessel left here, he had so far recovered as to be able to venture to proceed alone. Mr Palmer therefore stayed until he had an opportunity of finding some conveyance for crossing the straits & returning to his home, Port Steilacoom, Puget Sound.  
I derived a great deal of information from him whilst he was here. Amongst other things he infomed me that he had heard on very good authority in San Francisco that the H.B.Co. had been or were applying to the British Govt, for a cession of Qn Ch. Island, without saying why they wanted it, & of course without informing them of the discovery of gold upon it. From my own experience knowing this to be highly probable I judged it proper to take means of giving our Govt intelligence, as soon as I had good ground to go on. This was soon afforded me.  
A day or two before Christmas day Mr. Kennedy, Chief Trader H.B.C., who had left Fort Simpson to come & settle here, arrived here, having left the Una, in which he had come down (after leaving the Gold harbour, she visited Ft Simpson) at Cape Flattery, & came on from thence in a Canoe. In about 10 days, another vessel came in, named the Susan Sturges, under American colours. When we saw this new vessel enter the harbour we thought it was either another adventurer on her way to Q.C. after gold, or the Exact returned. It had been blowing very heavy gales during the week, which accounted for the Una's not arriving, as we supposed she would not leave Neah Bay (you will require a good map or chart for this letter), which is close to Cape Flattery, in such weather. Judge of our regret & grief when we heard that the Una had been wrecked & poor Mitchell had nearly lost his life among the Indians on shore at Neah Bay.  
The ship was anchored in the bay, and was safe for some time, but after the gale had been blowing a long time very violently from one quarter, during which time the vessel was in a safe position, lying to leeward of a protecting point, the wind suddenly shifted to another quarter, from which the vessel had no protection & blew if possible with increased violence.  
The Damariscove, on her way here to Q.C. Island, & the Susan Sturges, on her way from San Francisco to Olympia, were fortunately in the bay at the same time. They had got in before the weather became so very bad & so were able to take up good positions. The Una had no choice. She could not reach the place where they were anchored. She was finally driven ashore almost out of the water. The Indians, who were infuriated & beyond the control of their chiefs (or one chief called Cape Flattery Jack, possibly the others Cleessit, or Classet, was as bad as they) plundered the ship & the people who went ashore, stabbed the Indian Woman, the mother of Mr Kennedy's children, who had been left on board, & finally set the ship on fire. When the Susan Sturges sailed away for this place with the Una's people on board, the Una was in flames.  
Poor Mitchell never got over it. They saved some of the stores & the gold belonging to the Company. Had not those other two vessels been there, the whole of them would have been probably massacred. Some of the men lost their all. One man, a native of Cephalonia, named Cosmos Gabriellet, lost 300$ which he had saved from his wages. Others lost their money, their clothes, & all the gold they had privately collected. One man, named John Crittle, had his jacket cut thro' the breast with a knife, in an attempt to stab him. They were taken off by the boats of the other vessels. I received several specimens from different individuals & some valuable ones I bought, one for £5, one for £4 & another for £1; and some others worth more than £1 were given to me.  
I now received exact information from the eye-witnesses about Q.C. Island. The Una had taken up one miner, named John McGregor, who had come out to work the coal, in company with the Muirs; they made 4 blasts; the last time the blast produced I have been assured £230 worth of gold. But the Indians contested the possession of the gold with the Una's people. They scrambled, struggled & fought for it. McGregor was going to pick up one valuable peice, when it was seized by an Indian; he ran after him & tried to get it away. They surrounded him, threw him down, held him down by his hair, brandished their long knives over him, & wd have cut off his head, but that the wives of some of their chiefs were on board the ship, which was close alongside, so close that some of the frayments of rock & gold, as it showered into the sea, fell upon her deck. One of the chiefs proposed to McGregor that after a blast was made, they should divide the proceeds, & avowed his great liberality in allowing to McGregor for the larger share; for that he wd only take the yellow metal, while McGregor shd have all the bulk of the rock.  
It was so evidently impossible to succeed without bloodshed that the Coy's agent, in charge of the expedn (for Mitchell merely navigated the vessel) thought it proper to desist. So they left the place although Mr Douglas, now the Govr of Vancouver's Island had ordered them to remain 6 months & had had the vessel fitted out & provisioned for that time. No doubt Mr McNeill, who was in charge, did well not to proceed to bloodshed, as it would have become a very grave matter in that case; for certainly the Island belonging not to the Company but to the Crown, the gold most certainly is not their property; and they would have been placed in a very serious posture, if they had murdered the natives to possess themselves of gold which belonged not to them but to the Crown.  
Although the Una was lost Mr Douglas did not intend to give up the gold. About that time, the end of Decr, an American vessel the Orbit, put in her, in her way from Olympia to Honolulu. In the same gale which ruined the Una, she was blown ashore, lost her rudder & was otherwise damaged. Mr Douglas bought her & proceded to fit her out, under the name of the Recovery, for Qn Charlotte's Island, wither she has accordingly proceeded under the command of Mitchell.  
Being aware of this intention, and also of the fact of several other vessels fitting out for the same place both in Oregon & San Francisco, English as well as American, I thought it my duty to acquaint the English Govt with the circumstances, for although it was doubtless the duty of the Govr of Vancouver's Island to do all he could to protect the interests of the British Crown & Nation, & to give them full information, I knew it was highly improbable he would do so, both from my own knowledge of his personal character, & also of the influence which his private connexion with the Hudson's Bay Company, and his participation in their trade & profits, would exert over the obligations of his public duty as Govr. The positive information too which I had recd about the application of the Coy for the Island, seemed to me to confirm the necessity for some one to give intelligence in the proper quarters. If Mr Douglas gave information as well, no harm wd be done, and if he did not, why then it was necessary some one else should.  
I therefore wrote to the British Consul at San Francisco, suggesting to him the propriety of at once acquainting Adml Moresby with the matter; which he did, forwarding to him a copy of my letter. Within a 1/4 hour after receiving it, which he did at Calao, in April, he ordered the Thetis to come up immedly. They arrived here 24th May on their way up, the Captain (Kuper), having asked permission to put in here, & try to get some charts or information about the precise locality of the harbour, for no man-of-war had been there before.  
They remained here until 7th June when they proceeded to the gold harbour Mitchell's Harbour the inner portion of which they named Thetis Cove; this branches off from the South side from a channel which runs deeply, 6 or 7 miles into Qn Charlott's Island. This Channel, Moore's Channel bends to the N.W. & returns to the sea forming an island, which they named Kuper Island. They saw one peice of gold weighing 22 oz. The people had not been successful in finding it so as to answer their expectations. There had been 7 or 8 vessels there, but the most of them failing in finding the gold, had departed. The Recovery was there, blasting & trading. They bought specimens for the govt.  
I sent some of my specimens to Genl Miller by the Mary Dare in April. I advised him to choose one piece for himself, to send the next largest to our Govt, & the next to Adml Moresby, & to let the Adml also have a sight of his own piece. I have recd from him a long letter, acknowledging the receipt of my "valuable specimens" &c. He had forwarded the Admsl's, & wd forward the other to the Govt by the first safe opportunity. I suppose they wd receive the first, which was a small inconsiderable peice, & only of worth as a specimen, about Jany or Feby last.  
I have written at great length a sketch of the discovery of gold on Queen Charlotte's Island. I suppose it will be the first authentic one that will reach England. You may make what use of it you please. I thought it might not be unacceptable for you to be made the depository of the intelligence. By-and-bye of course there will be official reports; but except Capt. Kuper had orders from the Adml to make a report immedly directly to the Govt, without waiting to meet with him & send it thro' him, you will have it first, as I imagine this letter will be forwarded from San Francisco.  
You may observe some few corrections in figures & otherwise in the course of the letter. It has been read by some of the officers of the Thetis, & I found two or three mistakes in the description of the gold region in Q.C. Island, and in the dimensions of the spars lying at Fort Rupert, on this Island. I believe now that all I have said is correct, & may be relied on.  
This letter is so long, it is impossible for me to copy it. If you think it may afford any information of interest to her Majesty's Govt, as it probably may, particularly with respect to Qn Charlotte's Island, I should suggest the propriety of your taking the proper measures for laying it before them. The information which has reached them at present, will have been thro' the Amiralty & the Foreign Office; but it properly belongs to the Colonial department. I directed the Greek seaman I have mentioned to lay his beautiful specimens before Lord Palmerston for inspection. He went hence to London in the Norman Morison, which sailed from here, 21st Jany 1852. Captain Kuper was present when a blast was made & obtained some fine specimens for the Govt, but of course they cannot reach them yet.  
You will now I am sure excuse my leaving off. We are pretty well. I should be glad if some arrangement could be made to supply me regularly with papers, as I only get a few news then by fits & starts. I could easily remit the money for them, if I knew how much wd be necessary. I shd like the Times, second hand & the Illustrated London News. Many thanks for your very interesting, useful, & I should say, decisive book "4 ward for the Church." The views therein exprssed are my own. What are Hobart Seymour's books. They seem to be highly spoken of. Popery is going fowward here as elsewhere. A Bishop of Vancouver's Island has just arrived, & taken 300 acres of land within about 4 or 5 miles of the Fort. I am going to make an application to the Colonial Church & School Society for assistance with respect to a school. I have secured 5 acres of land close to the Fort, which I have bought for £25, for the purpose. Why do they not send us a Bishop of the Established Church. This is just what is wanted. I am very much opposed by the Company's Agents, who wish to administer every department, but by the blessing of God, if I live, I shall succeed. I know I am working in a good cause. They have built no church nor chapel, nor a [Editorial note: transcription ends.]

Minutes by CO staff
9263. Van Couver's Island
1st The Reverend Thomas Boys should, I think, be thanked for the interesting and indeed valuable Letter which he has sent Sir John Pakington from his Nephew in Vancouvers Island.  
2ndly If it were not for the fear that it would be prejudicial to Mr Staines to send a Copy of his Letter in extenso to the Hudsons Bay Company (and even if it were sent without the name, the company would be sure ultimately to find out who the writer was) it might be of service to apprize them of its contents.
At any rate there are passages of which extracts might be made and sent to the Company without detriment to Mr Staines. For instance that part which relates to the high price they put upon Land, (which, as contrasted with the facility with which the Americans dispose of their Land on the Oregon Territory, seems to act unfavourably for the interests of the Company, and consequently of the Settlement,) might be forwarded to them.  
3rdly To the Admiralty, I think might be sent the passage concerning the Spars for the Navy. [Marginal note. The Governor has called attention to this. I am aware of it. ABd]  
4thly I think the Company should be apprized that the Secretary of State considers that there ought to be a Church or Chapel in the Settlement, and that he should be very glad to learn that they had fulfilled the intention which he is informed they have had on that subject.  
[No signature]
It is unnecessary to advert to the objections taken by Mr Staines to the power of the Hudson's Bay Company over affairs in the Island. The grant to them was a matter of necessity, no other persons being found willing to undertake the management of the Colony without expence to the Imperial Government, and on that ground alone Lord Grey handed the Island over to them. If the Govt wish it the Island may be reclaimed in 1859, on payment of the sums expended by the Company on the Settlement. Perhaps by that time Canada may be glad to take the management of the Country into its own hands. There was recently a notice of a motion to that effect in the Journals of the Ho. of Assembly. [Fn. Journals of the House of Assembly, for Canada?]  
20 Oct/52
I feel convinced of the mischievous tendency of free grants of land, which appears to be the plan pursued by the Americans in Oregon, and I should avoid saying anything to make the Hudson's Bay Company suppose that the Secy of State advocates a recourse to that mode of proceeding.  
20 Oct
Proceed as proposed—but let the extracts be made with caution.  
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft, Colonial Office to Boys, 29 October 1852, thanking him for sending the letter from Staines.  
  • Mr Merivale.
    You will like to peruse this Letter of Mr. Staines'.  
    I should like to see it when the drafts are done.
    Should not the original enclosure to Mr Boys Letter be returned to him?  
    Not till I have seen the papers.  
    Papers read by Mr M 15 Nov/52.  
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft, Colonial Office to Hamilton, Admiralty, 3 November 1852, forwarding an extract of Staines's letter relating to the ability of the colony to supply spars for the navy.  
  • Draft, Colonial Office to Barclay, Secretary to the Hudson's Bay Company, 3 November 1852, forwarding extracts of the letter from Staines and expressing hope that a church or chapel can soon be built.  
Correspondence (private letter):
Boys to Desart (Parliamentary Under-Secretary), 11 October 1852, National Archives of the UK, 9263, 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=V526B05.scx. Accessed 21 September 2017. 

Last modified: 15:05:32, 31/3/2015