No. 51
14 December 1858
1. Since my report of the 30th of November 1 on the state of British Columbia there has been a change in the weather, from mild to cold, the mercury fell, on the 5th of Instant, to 12o Fahrenheit; there have been several falls of snow, to the depth of ten inches, and Fraser's River from LangleytoManuscript image to Point "Aitch Bee Cee," 2 is frozen over, and impassable for ships. The River above Langley was by last accounts also frozen, and winter fairly set in, though at an unusually early season of the year.
2. No accounts from Langley have, in consequence, of the cold weather been received here, for the last week; but the weather being now milder two Steamers are preparing to leave to day, with freight and passengers for that place, and it is hoped they will succeed in forcing a passage through the ice.
WeManuscript image
3. We have had no tidings from Fort Yale since the 25th of November last, the weather was then mild but exceedingly wet, and the miners doing little in consequence of the state of the weather, others of that class were nevertheless still moving onwards by the River with goods and provisions for the upper country.
4. The country was then generally in a state of tranquility.
5. The American Steamer "Pacific" 3 left this place on the 4th of Instant with 400 passengers principally returning miners, for the Port of San Francisco.
Probably the Miners will be very migratory—for when the Season for working suits one place it is not available for the other. ABd.
The export of Gold dustbyManuscript image by that vessel was reported to be ten thousand ounces, exclusive of a large amount in private hands.
6. An export duty on gold would now yield a respectable amount of revenue, and together with the duties levied on imports, would probably yield an income of £100,000 per annum.
The Governor can if he chooses impose an export duty. That tax was suggested to him on the 14 Augt., & he has the power of establishing it. ABd..
7. With some assistance from Parliament in the outset, either by way of loan or as a free grant, the Colony will soon emerge from its early difficulties, and defray all its own expenses.
ThisManuscript image
8. This has hitherto been accomplished without assistance from any quarter, as I have not yet drawn upon you for any expenditure incurred in the Colony; which have all, nevertheless, been paid.
9. I cannot however undertake immediately to defray the cost of the detachment of Royal Engineers appointed for the protection of the country; as a large sum must, this year, be provided for the erection of the many public buildings so much needed, in British Columbia.
10. I propose building a small Church and Parsonage, a Court house, and GoalimmediatelyManuscript image immediately at Langley and to defray the expense out of the proceeds arising from the sale of Town Lands there.
11. The Mail Steamer is expected in tonight, but will probably leave again immediately afterwards for San Francisco, allowing no time for replying to letters by the same mail.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
Sir Edward Lytton will doubtless regard this despatch as very satisfactory: especially as Govr Douglas is not a man to express exaggerated opinions.
ABd 29 Jany
HM Jan 29
It sd be answered by an expression of approval & satisfaction & it ought to be printed for Parlt.
C Jany 29
You will approve the proposal of an Export Duty on gold which with other resources will, I trust, defray all expenses even those of the R. Engineers & that tho there may be an advance in our estimates of their pay—it is an advance to be repaid. Refer him to my former letter.
Print for Parl.
EBL Feb 1
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 22, 12 February 1859.
  1. = Douglas to Lytton, 30 November 1858, No. 40, 1056, CO 60/1, p. 471.
  2. I.e., the point on which the "H.B.C." tree stood; cf. footnote in Douglas to Lytton, 3 November 1858, No. 9, 528, CO 60/1, p. 331. above.
  3. The Pacific was a sidewheel steamship, 225' long, 1004 tons, built by William H. Brown of New York at a cost of $100,000. Launched 24 September 1850, it arrived in San Francisco on 2 July 1851 and the Nicaragua Steamship Company operated it on the coast from 1853 to 1858 and the Merchants Accommodation Line from 1858 to 1863, from San San Francisco to the Columbia River. On 18 July 1861 it sank in waters off Oregon but was raised and repaired. In 1872, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company bought the Pacific, selling it to Goodall, Nelson, and Perkins in 1875. On 4 November 1875, it collided with the sailing ship Orpheus, off Cape Flattery in Washington Territory, and sank almost immediately. Only two survived of nearly two hundred fifty people on board. See Heyl, Early American Steamers, pp. 331-32; Kemble, The Panama Route, 1848-1849, p. 241; and account in the Colonist, 9 November 1875. Also 1 November 1903, and 14 November 1965??
  4. = export duty on gold. The export tax was never inaugurated.
People in this document

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Brown, William H.

Carnarvon, Earl

Douglas, James

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Merivale, Herman

Vessels in this document


Pacific, 1850-1875

Places in this document

British Columbia

Cape Flattery

Columbia River

Fraser River


New York

Oregon Territory, or Columbia District

Point Aitch Bee Cee

San Francisco

Vancouver Island


Washington Territory