Berens to Lytton
Hudson's Bay House
13th July 1858
Herewith I have the honour to transmit for your information an Extract of a letter from Governor Douglas, dated Victoria, Vancouvers Island 18th May, giving the latest intelligence received by the Hudsons Bay Company in reference to the gold fields on Fraser's River.
I beg at the same time to forward an Extract of a letter from the Company's Superintendent at Fort Vancouver, Oregon, dated 20th May, shewing the steps which are being taken by the Americans to open a road to the gold fields from the United States territory.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your most obedt humble
H.H. Berens
Deputy Govr
The Right Honble Sir Edw Bulwer Lytton, Bart &c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
These papers do not add to the infn already recd /6667/ from the Governor.
ABd. 14 July.
HM Jy 16
C. July 16
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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1. Extract, Douglas to Smith, 18 May 1858, enclosing a copy of his proclamation, 8 May 1858, and form of a General Sufferance, both designed to control foreign passage up the Fraser River, and reporting on measures taken.
Extract of a letter from James Douglas Esqre to William G. Smith Esqre dated Victoria, Vancouver's Island, 18th May 1858. ______________
“I herewith transmit copy of a Proclamation lately issued in consequence of the number of people who are crowding into Fraser’s River in pursuit of gold; and of reported violations of the British Territory by foreign Boats and Vessels, and of infringements of the chartered rights of the Hudson’s Bay Company, warning all persons that such acts are contrary to Law, and whoever takes part in them will be subjected to the penalties which the Law demands against such offences.
I have since made a Requisition to Captain Prevost of Her Majesty’s ship “Satellite” for an effective force to carry out the proposed measures, as set forth in my Proclamation and generally to enforce obedience toManuscript imageto the Laws, and he has agreed to furnish the force required.
I now propose to make an excursion to Fraser’s River in a few days hence and on my return shall further report to their Honors on the state of the Country.
I trust that the measures which I have taken for the support of Law & order, for asserting the rights of the Crown, and for protecting the interests of the Hudson’s Bay Company will prove successful, and meet with your approval and support.
I fear that I may be blamed for conceding too much to the pressure of circumstances, though I have done my best to breast the storm. The conviction has at last been forced upon me that it is altogether impossible to prevent people from entering the British possessions in search of gold as long as there is a prospect of finding it in abundance, in which case, the country will soon be settled by a largeManuscript imagelarge population whether it be agreeable to our wishes or not, and that on the other hand, if the diggings do not prove remunerative, the excitement on the subject will soon altogether cease, and the crowds of people now gathering on Fraser’s River will abandon the Country and return to their homes. The evil will thus work its own cure without interposition on our part. In the meantime with the view of escaping the greater evil, of compelling people to have recourse to expedients for entering the Country by unlawful means, I have endeavoured to legalize the entrance of Gold Miners into Fraser’s River, on certain conditions which at once protect the interest of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and asset the rights of the Crown, at the same time keeping in view the protection of the trade of Fraser’s River, which we wish to secure for our own country, and to prevent its being diverted into any other channel.
The American Steamer “Commodore” arrived here yesterday from SanManuscript imageSan Francisco with 400 passengers on board for the gold mines. They are all preparing to leave for Fraser’s River in boats and Canoes licensed for the purpose.”
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2. Extract, Dugald Mactavish to Smith, Vancouver, 20 May 1858.
The Americans are making strenuous efforts to open a Communication to the Thompson's River Country from this Territory. Some Miners have gone up there from here by the Columbia River and Okanagan, whilst a number of others are now busily occupied making a road from Bellingham Bay by the Chil-whe-ack river and lake, across the Cascade Mountains to the Shi-milk-a-meen Valley, which I need not say is an operation of some magnitude, and if successful, will render parties going to the Mines by the Western Route, entirely independent of Fraser's River."