No. 79
Victoria Vancouver's Island
21 January 1859
I have lately received intelligence from Mr Assistant Commissioner Travaillot dated "Lytton" 19th December 1858, by which it appears that the miners in that district had generally suspended work in consequence of theManuscript imagethe coldness of the weather, for the 20 days preceeding the date of his letter.
2. The rapid transitions in the temperature during that time were remarkable. On the 10th of December the Thermometer fell to Zero Faht; a change occurred on the evening of the 13th, when the Mercury rose to 48o and up to the 19th it was ranging from 46o to 52o—and not over half anManuscript imagean inch of snow had fallen at "Lytton", or in the neighbouring districts South of Fraser's river previously to the 19th of December.
3. Fraser's river has set fast with ice at several points, but not continuously at and near "Lytton," and pack horses had crossed in safety with their loads, from side to side, upon the ice. But that appears to have been rather a consequenceManuscript imageconsequence of drift ice from the upper part of the river accumulating at those points than from the degree of cold about "Lytton," the climate of which is pleasant and temperate, the weather being generally clear and dry, in so remarkable a degree, that from the 24th of August last,
Curious: the popular [whim?] being that this is a rainy climate.
there had not been, in all, more than twelve hours rain, or snow up to the date ofManuscript imageof Mr Travaillot's letter, (19th December.)
4. The few miners remaining in the upper country were well supplied with food by the Harrison's River Road; and since my last report, no difficulties whatever had occurred, Either with the white or indian population.
5. Reports Continue to arrive respecting the rich deposits of Gold, on and about BridgeManuscript imageBridge river: a lump of pure Gold weighing One and a half ounces was lately found in the deposits of that stream, and the Gold generally is coarse and lumpy, not requiring Quicksilver for its separation from the soil.
6. It is believed that men are able to make there, from five to six dollars a day with the cradle, and that they will clear much larger sumsManuscript imagesums by means of sluices: there will therefore, no doubt be a great rush of people, to that part of the country in the Spring.
7. I have lately received a sample of Gold found at "Stonia", a point on Fraser's River five miles beyond the Hudson's Bay Establishment of Alexandria, about 400 miles distant from the Sea Coast. And it is further supposed, on very probableManuscript imageprobable grounds that the whole course of the River, to its sources in the Rocky Mountains, contains deposits of Gold. This idea, applied to the tributaries of Fraser's River, as well as to the main stream, opens a dazzling prospect to the miner, of the most Extensive Gold region in the world, and will soon fill the country with people, when it is made accessible by a system of passable roads.
8. I herewithManuscript image8. I herewith do myself the honor of forwarding that specimen of Gold, together with specimens procured from Bridge River, Thompson's River, Harrison's River, and other parts of the country which have been partially explored.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
Acke: rect.
Lay before Parlt, though it may be right to enquire for how long we are to continue this practice of communicating papers to Parlt concerning B. Columbia.
Extract about the gold with the samples to the Geological Society in Jermyn Street.
ABd 16/3
HM Mh 16
And I think that part wh relates to the character of the climate might be sent to the Geographical Socy?
C Mch 17
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Packet containing specimens of gold from various districts along the Fraser River.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Sir R. Murchison, Museum of Practical Geology, 24 March 1859, forwarding specimens of gold.
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Draft, Merivale to Murchison, 24 March 1859, forwarding extracts of the despatch (paragraphs 1-3 and 7-8).
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Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 39, 24 March 1859.