No. 123
25 March 1859
The Mail Steamer being hourly expected, I have the honor to communicate for your information the occurrences worthy of note that have taken place since the date of my last general report, contained in my Despatch of the 10th Instant, No 111.
2. Great excitement has beenManuscript imagebeen recently produced in Victoria by the exhibition of a nugget of pure gold weighing 14 1/4 ounces, procured by the Agents of the Hudson's Bay Company from the Indians of Queen Charlotte's Island.
3. There is a generally prevalent impression founded on the discovery of Gold in that Island in the year 1851, that it will yet become a productive gold field.
4. The gold collected at that period, with the exception of some water borne pieces of small size, and a lump weighing 27 ounces found on the beach at the mouthManuscript imagemouth of a fresh water rivulet, was procured by blasting from a vein of white quartz running parallel with the Coast, some of the masses of which were so largely impregnated with gold as to yield a return of 25 per Cent on the gross weight. The operation of blasting was continued until all traces of gold disappeared and the Miners, discouraged by the inclemency of the weather, the numbers and dangerous character of the Indians, and the difficulty of exploring a thickly wooded and extremely ruggedManuscript imagerugged Country, did not prosecute the search further, though I am of opinion that had they done so they would have met with a successful issue.
5. I fancy that gold will be found in many other parts of the Coast of British Columbia. Mr McNeil the Officer in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's Establishment at Fort Simpson, Latitude 54:25. N., in a letter just received from him makes the following observation.
You mention that some Adventurers will visit this quarter (Fort Simpson) in search of Gold, and in my opinionManuscript imageopinion they will find it, as it has been found even in this Harbour.
6. I have for some time past had in the Government employ a respectable Scotchman named Downie, one of the most successful Miners in California, and known all over that State as Major Downie, the founder of the Town of Downieville. He accompanied Mr McKay
Mr McKays Journal was forwarded with my Despatch No 30 of 9 Nov. '58.
last summer in his overland journey from Harrison's River to Howe's Sound. He has since explored Jarvis' Inlet, where he spent the greater part of the winter, and lately made an excursion with IndiansManuscript imageIndians into Desolation Sound, which he has in part closely examined with reference to its mineral character. He thinks favorably of the Country and proposes crossing the mountains from the head of Jarvis' Inlet into the valley of Fraser's River, as soon as the snow disappears from the Mountain Passes. I herewith transmit his Report upon the subject of his explorations, together with an accompanying sketch of the Coast, which may probably afford some points of interest. Mr Downie has no fixed Salary, butManuscript imagebut I undertook to furnish him with Provisions and other means of travelling, provided he reported on the state of the Country for the information of the Government. He is not therefore expensive to the Colony, and may possibly, from his practical knowledge of mining, and enterprising turn of mind, make some valuable discovery, and will at least contribute much information respecting the mineral character of the Country.
7. The intelligence from Bridge River and the Upper Fraser continues to be of the most favorable character. There is now much activityManuscript imageactivity at this place in shipping goods for Fraser's River, and the Revenue derived from the Customs duty begins to be felt. The collection for the last 30 days amounts to about £1300, and it is gradually increasing.
8. The last accounts from Fort Yale report a great depth of snow, and much cold weather in the Mining District, in consequence of which there has been no collection of Revenue for Miners Licences.
9. Colonel Moody is now employed in laying out the site of Queensborough, but the weather is exceedingly unfavorable for such operationsManuscript imageoperations, and I fear that consequently there will be no land for sale for some time to come, and unfortunately the commencement of the Survey of the new Town has entirely put a stop to any further sale of Land at Langley. A large building has been erected there for the accommodation of the Royal Engineers now daily expected in the "Thames City".
10. I forward Victoria Gazette, of the dates as per margin.
12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, and 26 March 1859.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Acknowledge receipt of this. It sd be I think be printed for Parlt with any other papers on the same subject.
A copy of the report attached to it with extracts of the desp. explanatory may be sent to the Geographic Society. The report is interesting.
C May 12
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Carnarvon (in the absence of Lytton) to Douglas, No. 64, 14 May 1859.
Minutes by CO staff
Give the Governor's desph to the Parly Clerk for publication.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to Sir R. Murchison, Royal Geographic Society, 20 May 1859, enclosing copy of the report for information.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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William Downie to Douglas, 19 March 1859, reporting at some length on his explorations.