4 June 1861
Since my departure from Victoria on the 10th May, I have visited in succession the towns of New Westminster, Hope, Yale, and Lytton from whence I have now the honor of addressing Your Grace.
2. It is not necessary to trouble Your Grace with remarks on the condition of those townswhichManuscript image which all exhibit a satisfactory degree of progress, yet nothing more than was anticipated from the quiet and prosperous state of the Colony.
3. The most interesting feature about New Westminster, are the newly formed lines of road through the densely wooded country North of that Town, which has induced settlers to turn their attention that way and will probably lead to the rapid extension of settlement, in the direction of Burrards Inlet. A similar result, in promoting early settlement, is anticipatedfromManuscript image from another new line of road which is being formed on the left bank of the Fraser, commencing a little below New Westminster and running in a Southerly direction towards the frontier. The forrests opposite the Town are beginning to yield to the woodman's efforts, and one enterprising proprietor Mr Brown, has discovered on his ground, a large tract of excellent land, which certainly cannot be surpassed in point of fertility or quality of soil.
4. Many land claims have been taken by settlers along the Fraser, yet inmyManuscript image my progress from New Westminster to Hope, there was scarcely a trace of improvement or any observable inroad on the forest. The Pre-emption Act is however beginning to work its effect, and will, as I confidently believe, ere long, make a decided change on the face of the country.
5. Several industrious settlers probably about 80 in number have taken land around Hope and Yale, and are toiling assiduously in clearing and preparing the soilforManuscript image for crops. The carriage road from Hope towards Shimilkomeen of which about 12 miles are now open to travel, is a great accommodation to settlers who eagerly grasp at every improvable piece of land to which it gives access.
6. Captain Grant with a detachment of 80 Royal Engineers under his command, and about 80 Civilian labourers, is employed in the formation of that road, which we hope to complete before the return of winter, providing alwaysthatManuscript image that the public revenue continues in a prosperous state, and our funds do not in the mean time fall short.
7. I am especially anxious for the completion of that highly important work so valuable as a military road leading towards the frontier and as an outlet for the trade of the most fertile agricultural districts of the Colony, and from discoveries which are being continually made, probably the most auriferous. Every successive discovery indeedtendsManuscript image tends to confirm the impression that the Gold Fields which have been struck at Rock Creek and Quesnel River or Caribou are but two points in a range of auriferous mountains containing incalculable wealth, which, commencing at Rock Creek N. Lat. 49 W.L. 118.30 run almost due north between Great Okanagan Lake and the Columbia River to Latitude 51 and from thence along the North River in a North by West direction through the Quesnel and Carriboo Country to thebanksManuscript image banks of the Fraser River N. Lat. 54 W.L. 123 a total distance of nearly 330 miles, a theory which if correct opens a magnificent vista of future greatness for the Colony.
8. We saw very little mining between Hope and Yale, the miners having been generally driven from their claims by the high state of the River.
9. Entering the passes of the Fraser beyond Yale we pursued our route over the new road amidst scenery of the grandestdescriptionManuscript image description. Mountains rising to the skies on both sides of the narrow pass, and immediately beneath the Fraser frantically tearing its way in foaming whirls, convey a faint idea of the scene. Neither are softer features wanting, every spot of earth being prolific of vegetation and the mountain sides covered with the most beautiful flowers.
10. Settlers, true to their instincts, have followed the new road even into thepassesManuscript image passes and are bringing every spot of tillable land into cultivation. At the Great Falls two adventurous Frenchmen have built a Kiosk and laid out a pretty little garden for the entertainment of visitors. The traveller has no reason to dread a journey through this part of British Columbia, as at every few miles, is to be found a way-side inn, with refreshments of every kind.
11. The new road onFraserManuscript image Fraser River from Spuzzum to Quayome runs along the face of frightful precipices but is nevertheless perfectly safe for horse and mule travel.
12. There is a great deal of good mining ground between Yale and Lytton and the miners of the district have displayed an unusual degree of skill and enterprise in conducting water to their claims by means of canals and viaducts, from the distant mountains.
13. One of these works called the "Poor Man's Ditch" thepropertyManuscript image property of Mr Melodey and three other natives of Ireland who came to this Colony in the year 1858 entirely without capital and commenced their career as simple miners, is seven miles long, and has cost them about 15000 dollars. These persons have another expensive work of the same kind on Van Winkle Flat which now yields them a very handsome income.
This is not a solitary instance of successful enterprise, as almost all their contemporaries who have remained in theColonyManuscript image Colony since the year 1858 are now possessed of wealth and position, and considering the advantages offered to emigrants, one only regrets that a greater number of Her Majesty's subjects have not made British Columbia their home.
14. Much remains to be done for the improvement of this part of the Colony. A carriage road from Quayome to Lytton is the work that demands our more immediate attention. Its importance is evident and the people of LyttonhaveManuscript image have, almost to a man, come forward with a Petition praying that it be made without delay, and a further tax levied on goods carried inland to defray its cost, which will probably not fall short of £10,000.
15. I propose leaving this place today for Cayoosh by the Buonaparte River, the great stock range of the Colony, where I expect to meet with many settlers.
16. I would also inform Your Grace that we are daily receiving the most extraordinary accountsofManuscript image of the almost fabulous wealth of the Antler Creek and Carriboo diggings. Mr Palmer a respectable merchant who arrived the other day from that part of the country with nearly 50 pounds weight of gold, which he kindly allowed me to examine, assured me that these accounts are by no means exaggerated. As an example of the extraordinary wealth of the country he mentioned that four of his friends who are associated in a mining company, were making regularly from 16 oz to 37 oz of gold a day, being 4 oz to 9 1/4 oz each; by "fluming"anotherManuscript image another company of four men washed out with cradles, in his presence, 36 oz of gold in one day, and the yield of ordinary mining claims is from 20 to 50 dollars a day for each man employed.
17. The gold in Carriboo is not confined to the Rivers. It is found in the Gulches and Table land 300 and 400 yards from the Rivers and much beyond their highest levels. About a foot of gravel overlies the bed rock of light colored shale extremely soft or in miningphraseManuscript image phrase "rotten", where the gold is found in the rents of the shale. He says there are mountains of quartz, and he is of opinion that some of the richest quartz leads in the world, will be found there.
18. Mr Barnston another respectable traveller from Carriboo, corroborates Mr Palmer's testimony, and adds that he never before saw a class of men more elated with their prospects than the miners of Quesnel, they look to a successful season and expect to leave the country in the autumn with their fortunesmadeManuscript image made. He feels assured of the almost fabulous wealth of the country, ordinary claims pay 50 dollars a day to the hand, and he knows one company of four men working on Antler Creek, who each receive 1000 dollars a week from their mining claim.
19. The testimony of other persons is confirmatory of these extraordinary statements, a private note dated 28th May 1861 from Mr Nind the Assistant Gold Commissioner for Quesnel River DistrictshasManuscript image has the following remarks: "The news is still good from above. We have the right thing at Carriboo." So that all things considered, I see no reason for doubting the correctness of the current reports, and I am sorry indeed that so small a portion of that wealth should at present be reaped by Her Majesty's subjects.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Acke rect.
Lay before Parlt if possible, in the collection of despatches just appearing.
ABd 29/7
TFE 29/7
CF 30
N 1/8