Magee to Newcastle
5th May 1860
My Lord Duke,
On the 24th December 1858 Bernard Rice (a Native of Carrickcloughan in the Parish of Killeavy in the County of Armagh) was Shot to death by one William Foster at Fort Yale, British Columbia. An Inquest was held before P.B. Whannell Justice of the Peace and Coroner, and a Verdict of Wilful Murder by William Foster was found.
Mrs Elizabeth Rice the Mother and next of kin of Bernard Rice lives in Castle Street in the Town of Newry.
On the 14th of January 1859, Captain Whannell wrote to Mrs Rice informing her of the Murder of her Son, and subsequently a Second letter, enclosing a Copy of the Verdict, and further Stating
That among Bernard Rice's Papers, a Bill for £20, drawn at 7 days Sight by the Provincial Bank at Newry on Spooner Atwood & Co London, was found, which Bill, Mr Whannell retained until he should hear from Mrs Rice.
That, on the person of Bernard Rice he had found, and had taken Charge of a Bag Containing Gold Dust value 69 Dollars and 50 Cents—In Silver Coin One Dollar & 85 Cents and a "Colt Revolver."
That the Deceased's friend had Sold his Effects and placed same in his Mr Whannells hands amounting to 91 Dollars and requesting Instruction for the disposal of the Effects. See letter No 1.
on Manuscript image On the 29th Decr 1858 Two men, named Simpson Musgrove and Thomas Williams, wrote to Mrs Rice from Fort Yale, stating the death of her Son and stating, "400 Dollars were on his person. That they had Sold his Claim & Effects for 91 Dollars and handed Same to the Authorities." See Copy No 2.
In March 1859 Mrs Rice received these letters and answered both directly.
On the 10th of June Williams & Musgrove wrote from Fort Yale acknowledging receipt of Mrs Rices letter (on 8th June) wherein one States, "I have just been at the Magistrate of this place to see if he had sent the Money to you and that the Magistrate said he had written to Mrs Rice on the 27th of January." See Copy No 3.
Not having received a reply from Captn Whannell, Mrs Rice instructed me to write to him and on the 3d of Augt 1859 I addressed to Captn Whannell a letter explaining that Mrs Rice was Entitled to the property of her Son, and requesting same would be remitted to her.
But up to the present, no reply has been made to this letter. Nor has she heard from Captn Whannell. See Copy No 4.
The Bill for £20 was sent by Mrs Rice to her Son to sustain him while in bad health in the Colony. The Second Bill she now holds, It having been returned to her through the Post Office at Puget Sound after her Sons death.
I Manuscript image I enclose a Copy of Bernard Rices letter to his Mother acknowledging receipt of the £20 Bill, and explaining that, it having been the Second Bill of Exchange, it was not Negotiable. See Copy No 5.
I beg on the part of Mrs Rice Your Lordship will be pleased to cause inquiry to be made into the facts, and direct Captn Whannell to remit to Mrs Rice the Effects of her Son Bernard Rice, which came to the hands of Captn Whannell, and if possible, to bring William Foster to Justice.
I have the honor to be my Lord Duke
Your Lordships most obt Servt
Joshua Michl Magee

His Grace
The Duke of Newcastle
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
(Mr Fortescue wd be glad if you could pass this to him at once.)
We do not possess the information requisite for us to act upon in this matter. But we can send copies of these papers to the Governor, directing him to institute the necessary enquiries, & report thereon. I do not feel quite sure that Capn Whannell is at present a Justice of the Peace. Inform the applicant of the course taken.
ABd 8/5
Mr Fortescue
This letter has only reached me to-day, and I forward it to you immediately, as requested.
TFE 9 May
Write to the Govr—& to Mr Magee as proposed.
CF 10
N 10
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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P.B. Whannell to Elizabeth Rice, 14 January 1859, advising of the death of her son and requesting instructions for disposal of his estate.
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Simpson Musgrave and Thomas Williams to Rice, 29 December 1858, advising of the death of her son and explaining that they had sold his effects and paid the money into the hands of the authorities.
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Musgrave and Williams to Rice, 10 June 1859, asking whether she had yet received the money and effects from Whannell.
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Magee to Whannell, 3 August 1859, enquiring on behalf of Mrs. Rice into the status of her son's estate.
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Bernard Rice to Elizabeth Rice, 8 May 1858, describing his circumstances and explaining his difficulty in getting the £20 bill cashed.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 25, 18 May 1860.
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Draft, Fortescue to Magee, 19 May 1860, advising the governor had been instructed to make enquiries into the status of property left by Bernard Rice.