Corry to Merivale
Admiralty
26th June 1858.
Immediate
Sir
I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you herewith, for the information of Secretary Sir. E. Bulwer Lytton, a copy of a Letter from Captain Prevost of H.M. Ship Satellite, dated at Vancouver's Island, 7th May 1858, respecting the discovery of Gold on Frazer's and Thompson's Rivers, near to the 51st parallel of North Latitude in North America. 
The Newspaper and specimen of the Gold Dust referred to in Captain Prevost's Letter are also enclosed. 
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble
Servant.
H. Corry
Herman Merivale, Esq
Colonial Office
Minutes by CO staff
MrMerivale
Should Captain Prevost's letter on the Gold discoveries be added to the papers printing for Parliament? 
VJ
26 June.
It is not of much consequence, but might I think be added? 
HM
J. 26
Print it? 
C.
June 28.
Let extracts be made to shew the two points most pressing
1st the necessity for a govt.
2nd the expediency that that govt should not be immediately representative owing to the uncertainty of unfamiliar {&} prospects & the character of the emigrants. This principle should guide the general selection of correspondence intended to help the proposed Bill. 
EBL
28
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
1. J.C. Prevost to Rear Admiral Baynes, 7 May 1858
Copy No 3
H. M. Ship “Satellite,” Esquimalt,
Vancouver’s Island,
7 May 1858.

Sir,
I have the honor to report to you that considerable excitement has been occasioned recently in this neighbourhood by the discovery of gold on Frazers, & Thompson’s Rivers, at about the position of the juncture of the latter with the former river, near to 51st parallel of north Latitude. 
2. The reports concerning these new gold diggings are so contradictory that I am unable to furnish you with any information upon which I can depend. That gold exists is certain, & that it will be found in abundance seems to be the opinion of all those who are capable of forming a judgement upon the subject, but it is so obviously to the advantage of the surrounding community to circulate exaggerated, if not altogether false reports, for the purpose of stimulating trade, on creating monopolies, that it is most difficult to arrive at any correct conclusion, or to obtain any reliable information; I have every reason to believe that the Indians have traded some quantity of gold, with the officers of the Hudson’s Bay Co., & I am satisfied that individuals from this immediate neighbourhood who started off to the diggings upon the first intelligence of their existence, have come back with gold dust in their possession, & which they assert was washed by themselves, but whether such be really the case, or whether it was traded from the Indians I am unable to determine. These persons all declare that at the present moment altho’ the yield is good, yet that there is too much water in the rivers to admit of digging & washing to be carried on with facility, but that when the water falls somewhat, as the summer advances, that the field will be abundant. I am inclined myself to think that this information is not far from the truth, for these persons after obtaining a fresh stock of provisions have all returned to the diggings. 
3. The excitement in Vancouvers Island itself is quite insignificant compared to that
in
in Washington & Oregon Territories & in California, & which of course is increased by every possible means by interested parties. The result has been that several 100 persons from American Territory have already flocked to the newly reported auriferous regions, & by the last accounts fresh Steamers & even Sailing Vessels were being chartered to convey passengers to Puget Sound or to Vancouver’s Island, whence they have to find their way to the diggings principally by Canoes. If this emigration continues to a locality destitute of the means of subsistence, & only to be reached with difficulty the lawlessness the bloodshed, & the misery that will ensue is only too evident. 
4. I forward herewith an extract from the “Pioneer & Democrat” newspaper of 16 April/50, published at Olympia, Washington Territory, from wh the feeling in that neighbourhood will be seen. The statements made must not be received as entirely correct for while the facilities for visiting the gold diggings are prominently put forth the many difficulties & dangers that will have to be encountered are carefully overlooked. Olympia is situated in Puget Sound, & would undoubtedly reap a rich harvest by an influx of population. 
5. I have heard that all the Crews of the Ships in Puget Sound have deserted, & have gone to the Diggings, I am happy to say that as yet I have not lost a single man for the “Satellite” since the information was received & I have every reason to hope that I may not be unfortunate in this respect, altho’ doubtless soon the temptations to desert will be of no ordinary character. 
I am
(sgd) J C Prevost
Captain & Senior Officer
Present at Vancouver's Island
Adml Baynes CB
Valparaiso
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • 1.1 Newspaper clipping, "From the Frazer River Gold Mines!" Olympia Pioneer and Democrat, 16 April 1858
Minutes by CO staff
Sir E. Lytton, I am anxious to obtain at once your approval of some slight alterations which I have suggested in these drafts in consequence of the Foreign office letter accompanying, which I have marked immediate, & which has crossed ours. 
HM
June 29
I agree to the alterations Mr Merivale proposes.
There shd be one or 2 more E extracts from Govr Douglas's to H.B. Company, added to printed papers to the effect of impressing on Her Majesty's Govt the necessity of immediate steps to perserve peace &c—add any extracts as to danger of collisions with the Indians. 
EBL
June 29
 
Public Offices document:
H. Corry to Herman Merivale, Esq., 26 June 1858, National Archives of the UK, 6158 NA, CO 6/25. 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=V585AD01_A.scx. Accessed 18 September 2018. 

Last modified: 13:16:45, 4/11/2015