9 October 1860
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to submit for Your Grace's information the following particulars Manuscript image particulars relative to a recent journey in British Columbia, from whence I have just returned.
2. I left Fort Victoria by the regular Steam Packet on the evening of the 28th of August, and early next day landed at New Westminster.
3. I heard with much concern on my arrival there, that the Capital was suffering from one of those fluctuations in commerce commons Manuscript image common to all countries, and that there was much depression in business circles, and a marked decrease of trade, a fact which was indeed corroborated by the Customs Returns, it appearing from them that the imports for the four previous weeks had fallen off about 25 per cent, as compared with the increasing ratio of the preceding month; a casualty generally attributed by businessmen to the growing Manuscript image growing overland trade with the possessions of the United States in Oregon and Washington Territory, which now supply by the Southern frontiers of the Colony, a large proportion of the bulky articles such as provisions and bread-stuffs consumed in the eastern Districts of British Columbia; and those imports, it was supposed, had this year been for the most part fraudulently introduced, to the Manuscript image the great loss and detriment of the home merchant and the fair trade.
4. It is, however, not easy to conceive how so extensive a contraband trade as this would imply, could be carried on without the knowledge of the vigilant officer stationed on the frontier for the protection of the Revenue, whose official reports give no room for such impressions. I am therefore led to believe that the Manuscript image the present depression is traceable to another cause, and may, with more probability be regarded as the simple result of over importation; and I have no doubt a revival will take place, and trade resume its accustomed tone, as the stocks of goods in the Colony have been reduced.
5. The Officers of the Colony residing permanently in New Westminster and employed in the management of Manuscript image of the several Departments of the Public Administration are as follows,
Military............Colonel R.C. Moody, R.E., Commanding.
Lands and Works.....Colonel R.C. Moody, R.E., Chief Commissioner.
Judiciary...........Matthew B. Begbie, Judge.
Police..............Chartres Brew, Chief Inspector.
Treasury............Captain W.D. Gosset, R.E., Treasurer.
Treasury, Assay Office.....F.G. Claudet, Assayer.
Treasury, Assay Office.....C.A. Bacon, Melter.
Customs.............Wymond Hamley, Collector.
Manuscript image Post Office.........W.R. Spalding, Post Master.
6. The Treasury was lately transferred from Victoria to New Westminster, where all the financial business of the Colony is now transacted. The Assay Office has been in operation since the beginning of the month of August, and the last accounts of the 28th of that month give a return of 1600 ounces of Gold Dust which had been smelted Manuscript image smelted and run into bars of various weights.
Those, and the other Departments are in a state of efficient organization. The Public Offices are plain, substantial buildings, devoid of ornament, and constructed on a scale adapted to our limited means; they are nevertheless, roomy and commodious, and on the whole not unsuitable to the present business of the Colony.
7. There Manuscript image 7. There has not been much activity in building since my report transmitted to Your Grace in the month of May last, but Town property nevertheless sustains its former price, and the inhabitants of New Westminster appear to have unlimited confidence in the ultimate progress of the place.
8. The run from New Westminster to Douglas was effected by one of the River Manuscript image River Steamers in 16 hours including brief stoppages at Langley and Carnarvon; and the whole distance from Fort Victoria to Douglas in 24 running hours, being little over half the time occupied by the same journey last year. The charges on the transport of goods have also proportionately decreased, freights being now generally taken at £3.8.0. a ton, or 25 per cent less than the former rates.
9. While Manuscript image 9. While at Douglas I dispatched an exploring party under the command of Dr Forbes of Her Majesty's Ship Topaze, for whose assistance I am indebted to the kindness of Rear Admiral Sir Robert L. Baynes, to examine the country bordering on Harrison Lake and River, where many fragments of Silver and Copper ore have been found. A specimen of the former which was carefully assayed, gave a return of £50 worth of silver Manuscript image silver to the ton. The Copper ore appears also to contain a large proportion of that metal.
10. I am in hopes that Dr Forbes' scientific researches will be productive of much good to the Colony, as the District subjected to his examination has all the characteristics of a mineral country, is almost destitute of arable land, and, except timber, possesses no ascertained natural Manuscript image natural products capable of contributing to the support or giving remunerative employment for labour.
It is therefore especially desirable that no effort should be wanting for the early development of the minerals supposed to be contained in the soil, otherwise the district may, for years to come, remain a wilderness without inhabitants.
11. Douglas is still an Manuscript image an inconsiderable town, much improved however, since my former visit in June last. A Stipendiary Magistrate is stationed here, Mr J.B. Gaggin, who also performs the duties of Gold Commissioner within the District, which extends from Carnarvon to Port Anderson. A brisk trade is carried on from Douglas with the Mining Districts of the interior; and the constant arrival and departure of Manuscript image of trains of Pack-mules give to the place a lively and bustling appearance.
12. We pursued our journey by the newly-formed Waggon Road, then nearly finished as far as the lesser Lillooet Lake, 28 Miles from Douglas; a work of magnitude, and of the utmost public utility, which I think it only right to inform Your Grace has been laid out and executed by Captain Grant and a Detachment Manuscript image Detachment of Royal Engineers under his command, with a degree of care and professional ability reflecting the highest credit on that active and indefatigable Officer.
13. A number of Waggons, imported by the enterprising merchants of Douglas, have commenced running on the new Road; and the cost of transport has already been greatly reduced. I look forward with Manuscript image with confidence to further important reductions in the rates of transport, as the most experienced carriers are of opinion that goods of all kinds may, and will be carried the whole distance (100 Miles) from Douglas to Cayoosh, for £20 a ton, which would be a reduction of 250 per cent on former rates. The effect of so large a saving on the carriage of goods will be of vast importance to the country, and no doubt give Manuscript image give a prodigious impulse to trade and the settlement of the Public Lands.
14. A row-boat is still the only means of conveyance over the Lesser Lillooet Lake, which is nearly five miles long, and one mile and a half distant from Lillooet Lake, with which it is, however, connected by a narrow river, full of shoals and dangerous rapids, perilous in their present state for any Manuscript image any larger craft than Indian Canoes. This circumstance renders a transhipment and a resort to land carriage for a mile and a half on an excellent road, necessary before reaching Lillooet Lake. Various plans have been proposed for rendering the river between those Lakes navigable; but, important as would be the improvement, the cost is altogether beyond our present means, and the work must be left for Manuscript image for a future time.
15. A very fine piece of Gold-bearing Quartz, which I received at this point of my journey, determined me to instruct the District Gold Commissioner to cause the mountains west of Harrison River where the Quartz was found, to be carefully examined, as there is a possibility of discovering and turning to advantage, the lead from whence it came.
16. There Manuscript image 16. There are many extensive Quartz-veins in the valley of the Harrison, but none of those which have been inspected contain visible traces of Gold. The bed of the river, however, yields gold almost everywhere in small quantities, and at one place, twelve miles from Douglas, a party of French Miners have brought in Sluices, and are now working to great advantage, making as much as ten dollars a day to the man. The Manuscript image The only drawback is the shortness of the working season, which they represent as limited on the one hand by the flooded state of the River in summer, and on the other, by the severe cold in winter, which is found to have the effect of preventing the amalgamation of the fine particles of Gold, and much is therefore lost in the process of washing.
Their statements are no doubt in part true, but I think it may notwithstanding, be Manuscript image be safely concluded that all these difficulties will be over come, and this part of the country be profitably worked, whenever men of greater skill and application turn their attention to the subject.
17. Some of the tributaries of the Harrison also yield a fair return of Gold, varying from five to ten dollars a day; but that will not satisfy men whose excited imaginations indulge Manuscript image indulge in extravagant visions of wealth and fortune to be realized in remoter diggings. These all with one accord rush off to the Quesnel and Cariboeuf countries, and neglect the less productive Districts.
18. A number of fine specimens of coarse Gold have lately been brought by Indians from the Lillooet River, beyond the Lake, and I shall not fail to have its course carefully searched Manuscript image searched, at the public expense, should no private adventurers in the meantime anticipate that intention.
19. The paddle-wheel, 25 horse-power Steamer "Martrell," a small boat of 50 tons burden, built by Mr Decker, an enterprising American, conveyed my party in four hours to Port Pemberton at the further extremity of Lillooet Lake.
There is nothing to prevent vessels of a much larger class than the "Martrell" from Manuscript image from running on this Lake, as it is deep enough to float a 500 ton ship, and there are no rocks, or concealed dangers whatever. It is in fact a Highland Lake, surrounded by lofty mountains rising abruptly from the water's edge. Port Pemberton is five miles distant from the "Meadows," a fine tract of several thousand acres of rich alluvial land, situated at the mouth of the Lillooet River. settlement Manuscript image A settlement is already formed at that attractive spot, and the soil is most productive, the settlers having raised this year excellent crops of Oats, Indian Corn, Potatoes, and Hay; the Barley however, was indifferent, in consequence, it was supposed, of imperfect tillage: but I never saw better garden-stuffs of all kinds, especially tomatoes and cucumbers, which were exceedingly fine. Mr Jones, the oldest and principal settler, raised last year, as he assured me, a very Manuscript image very fine crop of potatoes, for which he found a ready sale at five pence a pound, and thereby realized the large return of upwards of £240 an acre. Having this year a much larger crop, he expects to do better, though the price of vegetables is now comparatively moderate, being 50 per cent lower than last year.
20. Near the settlement is an Indian Reserve of several hundred acres of land Manuscript image land which is retained for the benefit of, and occupied by, about 30 native families, who live on the most amicable terms with their white neighbours, and look healthy, clean, and altogether in very comfortable circumstances. They live by fishing, and on the produce of the chase, and of the land, which they cultivate, to some extent, with care and skill. They appear happy and contented, and had no complaint whatever to make.
21. The Manuscript image 21. The Horse-way, formed in the year 1858, is still the only road from Port Pemberton to Anderson Lake, the distance being about 34 miles. It is a fair and passable road of the kind, but must be improved into a Cart-road without delay. The line of Road runs between parallel ranges of mountains, rising on both sides with the unbroken regularity of a wall, into dark, rugged, and gloomy masses, thousands of feet above Manuscript image above the mountain stream that traverses the valley beneath, which is in places a mere defile, and nowhere exceeds two miles in breadth.
The Summit, or Half-way House is prettily situated on the mountain side overlooking a rich expanse of arable land covered with a profusion of potatoes, beets, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables; a certain proof of the great capabilities of the soil and climate. A large stock of hay was Manuscript image was also carefully put up by the provident owner for winter use.
22. The country from that point presents a more cheerful aspect. The river winds along the mountain side toward Lake Anderson, affording lovely views of the exceedingly beautiful valley beneath, with its gay covering of bright green woods.
23. We arrived at Port Manuscript image Port Anderson Port Anderson just in time to participate in the trial trip of the "Lady of the Lake" Steamer, and a most successful one it proved to be: the machinery working well, and no casualty whatever occurring to cause delay. We had to boat over Lake Seaton, as the Steamer usually plying there was under repair. A walk of five miles from Port Seaton brought us to the banks of Fraser River, and to the mining town of Cayoosh Manuscript image Cayoosh Cayoosh.
24. The country between Douglas and Cayoosh probably contains a smaller proportion of agricultural land than any other District in British Columbia. The whole District may be truly described as a succession of valleys and mountains covered with woods almost to their rock summits, and abounding in rivers and streams of every size. Forests of magnificent trees, and great water-power constitute Manuscript image constitute its natural advantages; its metaliferous resources, though probably vast, having yet to be explored.
25. Houses and fields begin, here and there, to break the cheerless solitude of the valleys; and in no instance that has come under my notice, has the husbandman been disappointed of his reward. Its genial climate may be inferred from the fact that tomatoes ripen in the open air, and had come Manuscript image come to full maturity at the end of August, when melons raised in the same manner, were nearly fit for use.
26. The settlers, though few in number, were full of hope and confidence; pleased with the country, and satisfied from experience that the climate is one of the healthiest in the world. The winters are moderate, the minimum temperature being, zero, Farenheit; but the cold is seldom so severe. The Manuscript image The Lakes have never been known to freeze, nor the snow to lie so deep as to interrupt the ordinary traffic of the road.
27. The District is, in short, not wanting in any of those conditions which contribute to the comfort and happiness of man; and should the explorations now in progress add the precious metals to its known elements of wealth, there will be no want of induscements Manuscript image inducements to attract and retain an industrious population.
28. As the road advances from Port Seaton towards Fraser River, a marked change is observed in the character of the country; the mountains are left behind, the massive forests gradually disappear and are succeeded by green hills and open plains, dotted with fine old trees of the species "Pinus Ponderosa Manuscript image Ponderosa". The change is grateful, the contrast bringing into bolder relief the charming scenery of Cayoosh, which is situated about half a mile from Fraser River.
29. This being the centre of a flourishing trade, where all goods brought from Douglas are necessarily deposited in their transit to the interior, and the chief town of a valuable Mining District, a Stipendiary Magistrate, Mr. Manuscript image Mr Thomas Elwyn, who also acts as Gold Commissioner, is stationed here. Successful attempts at cultivation have been made on a small scale near the town, and streams of water from the neighbouring hills have been skilfully diverted from their natural course and applied to the important purposes of mining, and of irrigating the soil, which thereby acquires a degree of fertility and productiveness otherwise Unattainable Manuscript image unattainable in a climate seldom visited by summer showers. Cayoosh is thus a place of much real and prospective importance.
30. I found nothing defective in the state of the public administration. The people are satisfied with the laws. The District accounts appear to be kept with order and regularity, and Returns of the local revenue have been duly made Manuscript image made at proper intervals to the Colonial Treasurer. The regular establishment consists of a Magistrate and one Constable, who attend to all duties connected with the public service; the former being however fully authorised to employ casual aid whenever emergencies arise.
31. An Address which I received from the principal inhabitants of Cayoosh makes no allusion to any local Manuscript image local grievance affecting the interests of the Town or District, nor suggests any change in the Mining or general laws of the Country. The object of the Address, of which a Copy is transmitted, was to urge the early sale of town lots at Cayoosh, protection for the Chinese miners, and the removal of Stake-nets, and all obstructions having the effect of preventing the ascent of Salmon from the sea to the inland rivers.
32. I Manuscript image 32. I gave immediate attention to those matters, and addressed a communication to the Commissioner of Lands and Works, expressing regret that early measures had not been taken to meet the public demand for Town Land, as delay in such cases discourages settlement, checks improvement, and is ruinous to the Country.
33. I encouraged the inhabitants to build, and improve their Lots, with the Manuscript image the assurance that the value of such improvements would be added to the upset price, and reserved for the benefit of the holder when the lots are sold.
They will in that way be fully protected from loss.
34. The Assizes were opened by the Judge of British Columbia during my stay at Cayoosh, for the trial of two Indians charged with having murdered two Manuscript image two Chinese miners. The facts were established on the admission of the accused themselves; but, it appearing from the evidence that the deceased were the aggressors, and had been slain without malice prepense, in a casual affray, arising out of an indecent assault committed on the wife of one of the Indians, the jury returned a verdict of "manslaughter" against one of the prisoners, and found the other not guilty.
35. I Manuscript image 35. I had an opportunity of communicating personally with the Native Indian Tribes, who assembled in great numbers at Cayoosh during my stay. I made them clearly understand that Her Majesty's Government felt deeply interested in their welfare, and had sent instructions that they should be treated in all respects as Her Majesty's other subjects; and that the local Magistrates would attend to their complaints, and guard them from wrong, provided they Manuscript image they abandoned their own barbarous modes of retaliation, and appealed in all cases to the Laws for relief and protection. I also forcibly impressed upon their minds that the same Laws would not fail to punish offences committed by them against the persons or property of others.
I also explained to them that the Magistrates had instructions to stake out, and reserve for their use and benefit, all their occupied village sites and cultivated fields Manuscript image fields, and as much land in the vicinity of each as they could till, or was required for their support; and that they might freely exercise and enjoy the rights of fishing the Lakes and Rivers, and of hunting over all unoccupied Crown Lands in the Colony; and that on their becoming registered Free Miners, they might dig and search for Gold, and hold mining claims on the same terms precisely as other miners: in short, I strove to make them conscious Manuscript image conscious that they were recognized members of the Commonwealth, and that by good conduct they would acquire a certain status, and become respectable members of society. They were delighted with the idea, and expressed their gratitude in the warmest terms, assuring me of their boundless devotion and attachment to Her Majesty's person and Crown, and their readiness to take up arms at any moment in defence Manuscript image defense of Her Majesty's dominion and rights.
36. Three exploratory parties were dispatched during my stay, from Cayoosh: the first, under the charge of Sapper Duffie, [James Duffy] had orders to examine a route by the Cayoosh River from Port Seaton to Lillooet Lake, reported by the natives to be more direct, and in many other respects more convenient than the present route by Anderson Lake; the Manuscript image the second under Sapper Breckenridge, who is directed to examine the character and capabilities of the Country between Cayoosh and Bridge River; and the third, composed of Mr Martin an intelligent English Miner, and two Natives, was dispatched to the mountains east of Port Anderson to inspect certain Quartz veins, said to be auriferous.
37. Lytton Manuscript image 37. Lytton was the next stage in my progress. There is a good Horse-way from Cayoosh, but travelling by the River being more expeditious, I chose that alternative, and made the run of seventy miles in five and a half hours. The stream is swift, and a number of dangerous rapids under it in part impracticable in high water, and unsafe at all seasons.
38. The Mining Bars were Manuscript image were, with few exceptions, deserted, or occupied by Chinese and Indians, who appear to form the great body of Miners on this part of the River.
39. Mr H.M. Ball is Stipendiary Magistrate and Gold Commissioner for the Lytton District; and with the exception of one regular Constable, there is no other person on the Establishment; whenever circumstances render a Manuscript image a larger force indispensable, it is made up by means of casual assistants and special Constables called out for the occasion.
40. I granted a sum of £100, at the petition of the inhabitants, in aid of a Horse-way to facilitate the transport of goods to Alexandria and Quesnel River. Other small sums were also granted for Bridges, and to improve the communications with Quayome. A party was also Manuscript image also dispatched to examine the country between Van Winkle Bar on Fraser River, and Lillooet Lake, with the view of opening a Horse-way between those places.
41. Proposals were lately made by a private company, to throw a Bridge, at their own expense, over the Thompson at Lytton, to be repaid by a system of Tolls; and the negotiation will probably be concluded in a short time, as I am desirous Manuscript image desirous of promoting so useful a scheme.
42. The gardens about this town are highly productive, and furnish a profusion and variety of vegetables; but, considering there is no want of good soil and clear land, I was surprised to find that not a single farm had been opened in the District. The want of roads, and the enormous cost of transport, may in some measure account for that circumstance, but it Manuscript image it also strongly marks the character of a population devoted to other pursuits, and who probably look to other countries for a permanent home.
43. Complaints were made here, as at Cayoosh, of the non-sale of Town Lands, and I again addressed the Commissioner of Lands and Works on the subject, directing an early sale on the spot, through the agency of the District Magistrate.
44. The Manuscript image 44. The Indians mustered in great force, during my stay at Lytton. My Communications with them were to the same effect as to the Native Tribes who assembled at Cayoosh; and their gratitude, loyalty, and devotion, were expressed in terms equally warm and earnest.
45. The further Report of my journey to Shimilkomeen, and Rock Creek, I will take the liberty of communicating to Manuscript image to Your Grace hereafter, as this Despatch has been drawn out to a greater length than I had proposed.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Copy to the Emigration Commissrs: and include in the next series of Papers printed for Parliament?
VJ 18 Decr
TFE 18/12
Very interesting & satisfactory.
CF 20
The indisposition to settle is the least favorable fact, but it is not surprising in so early a stage of the Colony's existence.
N 24
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Address from the Grand Jury at Cayoosh to Douglas, no date, signed by Allan McDonald, Foreman, reprinted below.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
.bd Address of the Grand Jury at Cayoosh to Governor Douglas

The Grand jury begs to welcome your Excellency to Cayoosh and to offer you their congratulations on the daily increasing prosperity of the Colony of British Columbia, and on the steady advance of trade, mining operantions and settlement in and near Cayoosh. The Grand Jury desire to Manuscript image to call your Excellency's attention more particularly to the great number of Chinamen now residing in, and flocking to this Colony, that from our experience of them we find that they are a steady source of profit to the trader and materially increase the Revenue of the Colony, and in addition greatly benefit the Country by the extreme development of its mineral resources they are also a well behaved Manuscript image behaved and easily governed class of population, and the Grand Jury desire that your Excellency will afford them every due protection to prevent their being driven away, either by attack from Indians or otherwise.
The Grand Jury representing the general feeling of the inhabitants of this town request that the town and suburban Lots be speedily offered for sale by Public Auction as Manuscript image as no security is felt in improving property, until it is bona fide purchased.
The Indian population of the Upper Fraser have been making great complaints of a scarcity of Salmon, which constitutes their winter food, they represent this scarcity to be owing to Stake-nets being fixed at Langley, which bar the ascent of the fish, and the Grand Jury therefore trust that Manuscript image that your Excellency will take measures to stop these proceedings, if really found to exist.
The Grand Jury would in Conclusion draw your Excellency's attention to the inefficient state of the law as relates to the Collection of Small debts, and request that measures may be instituted to prevent, by a summary process, parties who have contracted debts from Manuscript image from leaving the Colony with their property.
[signed] Allan McDonald
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Colonial Office to Emigration Commissioners, 3 January 1861, forwarding copy of the despatch for information.
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 66, 1 February 1861.
Minutes by CO staff
I do not recirculate the papers which are bulky, & in course of being copied.