No. 136
Victoria Vancouver's Island
12 April 1859
Since the last report, I had the honor to make on the state of the country; contained in my Despatch of the 25th of March No 123, I have received various communications from British Columbia, the substance of which I will proceed to impart for your information.
2. JudgeManuscript image2. Judge Begbie is now on circuit in British Columbia having successively opened court at Langley, Fort Hope, and Yale, and by last accounts was proceeding to "Lytton" with a similar object in view.
3. The docket did not contain many cases, and was soon disposed of. Two cases of shooting were tried at Langley, but the Jury did not convict capitally in either of the cases.
4. The last reports from Mr Commissioner Brew are datedManuscript imagedated from Fort Yale, 2nd of April. That officer has not been successful in collecting the Miners License Fee. The following is an extract from his letter on that subject.
During the last week we collected over 150 dollars from Miners about Fort Yale. Some men paid the Tax most willingly, but from the majority of the Miners it was extracted with difficulty and after great grumbling. I intend to make an excursion towards Fort Hope next week to settle some difficulties about ditches and I shall avail myself of the opportunity to have theManuscript imagethe miners Tax collected from parties who on a former occasion refused to pay. Mr Smith from Fort Hope was at Fort Yale yesterday, he informs me that he hopes to be able to collect the Tax from the greater number of miners about Fort Hope.
On the 30th Ult I went in a canoe up the River some distance to visit the Bars and ascertain if any mining was going on. The snow was too deep on the ground to admit of sluicing and except at one place where there was a hand Machine for lifting water all the Miners were very idle.
Manuscript image5. It may be observed in apology for Mr Brew's want of success in collecting revenue that the Miners have not yet fairly got to work, but he will no doubt insist on a strict compliance with the established Mining regulations, as soon as the weather becomes genial and more favourable for Mining pursuits.
6. The migration of Miners to the upper Districts of Fraser's River, continues unabated.
Three hundred Boats carrying on an average 5 white men each had passed Fort Yale previously to the 24th of March, and a greaterManuscript imagegreater number of men are reported to have gone towards the same quarter by land, having packed their provisions either on mules or on mens backs to the various diggings, giving thus a collective number of about 3,000 men.
7. Favourable reports continue to arrive from Bridge River. It had just come to Mr Brew's knowledge that two men had arrived at Fort Yale with 600 ounces of Gold dust, which they had washed out during the winter at Boston Bar, 40 miles beyond Fort Yale.
8. A nugget weighing 3 ounces less 2 pennyweights was latelyManuscript imagelately found at Bridge River, which I herewith forward for your inspection, on account of its being the largest piece of gold yet found in British Columbia.
9. I forward a copy of a communication from Mr Assistant Commissioner Travaillot, dated "Lytton" 16th March. The country was perfectly quiet and the Commissioner was engaged in erecting a small building to serve as Government House, at a cost of 2100 dollars, one thousand dollars of which he had already paid out of the proceeds of local revenue, and the balance he would be in funds to meet aboutManuscript imageabout the 1st of April.
10. The numbers of the Victoria Gazette herewith forwarded
Nos. 32 to 44, 29 March to 12 April 1859.
will give some additional intelligence which may be interesting.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
Lord Carnarvon will probably agree with me in thinking that some recent remarks of Sir E. Lytton respecting Mr Brew acquire additional strength from this despatch, for whilst we know from former infn that that Officer has organized no police in the Colony out of the materials on the spot (perhaps because he cannot) we now learn that he has collected no money in his Manuscript imagecapacity of Gold Commissioner.
(I have sent the nugget, an ordinary one, to Sir Edward.)
ABd 28/5
HM My 31
Mr Brew might not be as active as cd be desired, but it must be remembered that it is no easy task to extract a mining tax from miners who are reduced to inaction by the state of the weather.
C June 1
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 75, 3 June 1859.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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O.T. Travaillot to Douglas, 16 March 1859, reporting on progress in erecting a government building in Lytton (in French).