Barwise to Lytton

The Right Honorable Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton Bart, MP

Having examined the Sierra Nevada range of Mountains in California for many months, and being acquainted with the physical formation of that district I beg most respectfully to offer to your polite notice a few observations relative to the same range of Mountains running through British Columbia which has proved as rich in mineral wealth as my letter of May last addressed to Her Majesty's Government had suggested.
May I now be allowed to submit for your kind consideration some few facts that I think would be useful to that Colony, and also of great advantage to the Mother Country.
I would Manuscript image
I would in the First place submit that the Plascier [Placer] Mining & Diggings should be at liberty to be worked by all parties going to the Colony, upon any arrangement that the Colonial Government might think most fit to adopt. These will be found to be as extensive and rich, as those in California, and will take hundreds of years to work out.
Secondly. That the Government should reserve to itself the rights of working the Quartz Leads.
This would in no way interfere with the Plascier workings, but in "Prospecting" for which, good workings would be discovered as a matter of course near to the Quartz Leads, as they are the parent Deposits of the Gold found in the vallies, and without them no metal could exist in the earthy matter; commonly called "the diggings."
Permit me to take the liberty of explaining how the formations in these Mountains exist.
The whole Manuscript image
The whole of the West Coast of North America, is a more recent formation than Australia, and this is quite evident by the Water-washed Boulders and Shells found on the Mountains many hundred feet above the level of the Sea, and also that the Quartz Veins are much less worn, and the deposit in the Vallies not nearly so deep to the Bed Rock, as in Australia, where all the Quartz Veins are more depressed, and the depth of the earth above the Bed rock uniformly much greater.
In examining this range of Mountains; I found the crests of the hills were more or less charged with Cinnabar; and this dark reddish substance at[t]racts the suns rays and becomes extremely heated during the whole of the summer which lasts for eight months; and when the rain comes, a large quantity of this is liberated and is washed down and passing over the Quartz Veins, removes any portion of Gold that may be on the surface, is in the top crevises of the Quartz, and takes the same into the vallies and rivers below, where the metal rests. Thus, I have known thebedManuscript image Bed of one river washed, with good results for four years in succession, the Gold having been replenished by each winters rain. The Quartz Veins of this range, I believe to be larger and of greater continuation than any at present discovered. I have traced one for Eighteen and a half Miles, and at the highest point it was more than Twelve hundred feet above the bed of the rivers through which it passed, and in no place less that Nine feet wide, but to what depth it went, it is impossible to conjecture. I have no doubt that I should have been able to have traced it into the perpetual Snow, had I have been able to have continued my search, but my men got alarmed about the Indians, and I was compelled to abandon my further investigation of this enormous Bank of treasure, where I frequently found visable gold. I left two of my men to Drive in upon it at Eighty two feet below the out crop, and I found it equally good or rather better in its appearance than at the surface. To give you some view of the richness of this Vein, I need only mention that in one season the firm of Messrs Palmer Coutt & Co. obtained from some veryroughManuscript image rough workings, and poor appliances, enough wealth to start their Bank at San Francisco.
The Quartz of this range is much more easily worked than the matrix of that class, which I have found in other parts of the world, and is uniformly richer, and likewise contains less of foreign substances, there being generally very little else than Iron intermixed; and without which gold cannot exist.
I would propose that the Government should work the Quartz Veins for its own benefit, and this would yield very large returns; and not only pay all the expences of the local Government, but would help the Mother Country to pay off her National Debt, and therefore like a good child, help her aged parent with her pecuniary assistance to any amount that she required.
[Only] if the Colony would let us.
Beside the Quartz Leads that will be discovered in the continuation of the Sierra Nevada, I would respectfully call attention to the Gold found in Queen Charlottes Island in Latitude 53° 1 1/2 North, Longitude 131° 49 West.
This is a Greenstone formation; in which the Gold is granulated and very rich. The Bluff in which it is reposited stands errect out of the seaand theManuscript image and the well mearly requires blasting down, as in a Stone Quarry. This would yield largely and would pay enormously to work, as it could be blasted and ship[p]ed on the spot, and be brought down to Victoria, or wherever the Government works may be determined on, and the reduction of this matrix is so extremely simple, that the advantage to the Crown would be greater than I dare venture to state. I brought specimens of this well to England at the close of the year 1852, as also some of the granulated Gold.
I need lastly call your kind attention to the fact of the great amount of wealth that Russia derives from her works on the Orel Mountains, and which I believe is her only source of mineral treasure.
I have found Californian Quartz which has yielded more than Sixty ounces of Gold to the ton of Quartz (and can produce some that I have by me now,) and, this from many parts of the same Vein; and I have seen even richer material than this.
I should be most happy [to] show Her Majesty's Government, a very cheap and certain method of obtaining the Gold from the matrix, and which could be proved in this country from Quartz to be obtained fromWalesManuscript image Wales, Ireland or Scotland, and I would undertake to make the trials of the same before them, and show them how it can be done. In fact any gentleman might do it himself under my direction.
Such Quartz working would not at all infringe on the "Miners claims" and could but be popular in the Colony, and must be more so in this country.
And Thirdly. That the Government should establish a Mint in the Colony, as soon as convenient, and thereby gain all the advantages of the Gold discovery.
I do not know if I have made myself understood as I am rather a bad hand at descriptive writing being more an operative, than a pen and ink man, but perhaps my poor attempt may be sufficiently plain for your powerful mind to perceive my meaning and should these few hints be deemed worthy [of] your kind notice, I shall be most happy to give any further explanation, either personally or otherwise, to any interrogatories you may please to make.
I have the honor to be Sir
With muchManuscript imageWith much respect
Your most obedient humble
Jackson Barwise
14 Alexander Street Westbourne Park W.
August 28th 1858
Minutes by CO staff
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I have seen the writer of this Letter two or three times. He is a most intelligent practical man—& is a Surveyor for some line of Railroad which is in course of construction in California. He is an Englishman.
ABd 11 Sep
This paper is worth looking at—it may suggest a practical hint or two. The writer should be courteously thanked.
EBL Aug 28
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Barwise, 24 September 1858, thanking him for the interesting information offered.