No. 13
3 November 1858
In reply to your Despatch of the 2nd September last No. 10, 1 forwarding to me an extract of a letter from Dr P.M. O'Brien, Port Physician at Port Townsend, stating that miners proceeding up the River to British Columbia are compelled to purchase their tools from the Hudson's Bay Company, thoughpreviouslyManuscript image previously provided with such articles, and instructing me to report whether this statement is founded on fact, and to furnish you with any information which I may have it in my power to give upon the subject. I beg to assure Her Majesty's Government that the allegations of Dr O'Brien are entirely unfounded.
2. From the first period of the gold discoveries in Fraser's River much petty jealousy has been exhibited by the inhabitants of Port Townsend, and other little Towns in Washington Territory, which thought proper to feel ag[g]rieved at the prosperity of Victoria, and commenced acrusadeManuscript image crusade against British interests in general, and against the Hudson's Bay Company in particular, and the American Press in that quarter, has teemed with Articles of the most absurdly fabulous character.
The letter of Dr O'Brien is a specimen, though indeed but a mild one, of the invective that has been indulged in, and of the fabrications that have been spread abroad; and the Press of California, with scarce an exception, has adopted a similar strain with the obvious purpose of deterring emigration from that state.
3. As a direct proof of the little truth, in the assertions of Dr O'Brien, I may mention that, at the date of his letter, theHudsonsManuscript image Hudson's Bay Company had no Mining tools for sale in their stores at Victoria, consequently they could not have compelled the miners to purchase them, and in refutation of the remainder of his letter, it is sufficient to state that the trouble he so confidently predicts has not come to pass, and that as a body, the American Miners, are not dissatisfied with the treatment they have received since their arrival in the British Possessions.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
This is a satisfactory refutation of Dr O'Brien's charges. Send copy to the Foreign Office with reference to their letter of 18 Augt? 2
VJ 17 Jan
C Jany 18
EBL 19
Other documents included in the file
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Merivale to W. Seymour Fitzgerald, Foreign Office, 26 January 1859, forwarding copy of the despatch for information.