No. 1 [Queen Charlotte Islands]
Victoria Vancouver's Island
11th April 1853
My Lord Duke
I have the honor to transmit herewith copy of a Proclamation, which I lately caused to be issued at this place, declaring the rights of the Crown, in respect to Gold found in its natural place of deposit, within the limits of Queen Charlottes Island, and forbidding all persons, to dig, or disturb the soil in search, of Gold until authorised in that behalf by Her Majesty's Colonial Government, and also a copy of the regulations since published setting forth the terms on which Licences will be issued to legalize the search for Gold, on payment of a reasonable fee, the conditions being nearly similar to those prescribed by the Governor General of New South Wales, on the discovery of Gold in that Colony.  
The most important difference, is a reduction of twenty shillings in the Licence fee, which I have fixed at ten shillings a month.  
The reasons which led me to consider the expediency of that reduction, were in the first place, the fact that the true beds of Gold, on Queen Charlotte's Island, are yet unknown, and the returns have been consequently small and uncertain, and obtained at much labour and expense, and secondly because there will be great difficulty in collecting the dues, against the feeling of the Miners, and it is therefore advisable to make them as moderate in amount, and as easy as possible in the mode of payment, at least until Mining becomes a remunerative employment, and there is proof of the extent, and productiveness of the Gold deposits, when the fee may be gradually increased, in such a manner, however, as not to be higher than the persons engaged
in
in mining can readily pay.  
I hope that those measures may meet with the approval of her Majesty's Government, and that I will soon be favoured with your instructions, on such points, as your Grace may consider necessary.  
I have the honour to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient Servant
James Douglas
Lieut Governor

The Right Honble His Grace the Duke of Newcastle
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Merivale
Approve the Proclamation & regulations? Under present circumstances, & considering the difference in the state of Society at Q. Charlotte Island & in Australia 10s a month would seem a more appropriate license fee than 20s.  
It strikes me, and I suggested as much one day to Messrs Gray & Esterby [Easterby], that it wd be a much better arrangemt for all parties to take out these monthly licences to hunt for gold than to form an association and perhaps, after much expense, fail of success. It wd certainly be a simpler thing for the Govt & relieve it from the embar[r]assment of having to grant a monopoly to either Messrs Esterby or the Hudson's Bay Co.  
Mr Douglas has not supplied this Office with as much information concerning the natives & the gold at Q.C. Island as he has the Company.  
Should not this desph be laid before Parlt, with the other correspce about Gold?  
ABd
8 July
Approve the proclamation—and print as suggested by Mr
Blackwood
.  
HM
Jy 15 [14]
FP
14
N
14
Other documents included in the file
  • Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 5, 16 July 1853, on the subject of Douglas’s proclamation.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • 1. Douglas, Proclamation, 26 March 1853, declaring the rights of the Crown to gold in the Queen Charlotte Islands.  
  • 2. Provisional regulations, 7 April 1853, under which licenses may be obtained to search for gold.  
 
Despatch to London:
Douglas to Newcastle, 11 April 1853, National Archives of the UK, 6981, CO 305/4. 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=V53101.scx. Accessed 22 July 2018. 

Last modified: 14:08:03, 16/2/2015