24 October 1861
In my Despatch of the 16th of September last, marked "Separate", it was mentioned that a report had reached this place of deposits of GoldhavingManuscript image having been found on the banks and flats of the Stikeen River, North Latitude 57o, to the eastward of the Russian Possessions, and within the limits of Her Majesty's Territories on this coast; I therefore deem it proper on this occasion to inform Your Grace that we have had no confirmation of those reports, nor any arrivals from that quarter.
2. I have also to communicate to Your GracethatManuscript image that the accounts from "Cariboo" are more than ever satisfactory, and the numbers of returning miners with their rapidly acquired stores of gold and the extraordinary fact, unusual, I believe, in Gold countries, that they have all been eminently successful, offer the strongest confirmation of the almost fabulous wealth of that Gold-field. I have not, indeed, up to the present time, met with a singleunfortunateManuscript image unfortunate Miner from that quarter. Of those whom I had occasion to interrogate during my recent visit to British Columbia, I ascertained that none who held mining claims had less than 2000 and that others had cleared as much as 10,000 dollars during their summer's sojourn at the mines. It may therefore be fairly assumed that their individual earnings range at some point between those figures. I should, however, apprize Your Grace that thelargeManuscript image large strikes of the season, such as the Jourdan and Abbott Claim on Lowhee Creek, and "Ned Campbell's" claim on Lightning Creek, the latter said to have produced 900 ounces of Gold in one day, are not included in this category, as I have had no opportunity of seeing the owners of these claims who are still in the upper country, but I will enquire into and report upon these special cases hereafter.
3. The following extracts from my travelling NoteBookManuscript image Book may not be considered irrelevant at this time when every thing connected with the Gold-fields, or tending to illustrate the true character of the Colony, possesses an absorbing interest—
Laurent Bijou, a native of France, left Cariboo on the 1st day of August. He resided about one month at the mines, and has acquired 4500 dollars worth of gold dust: says he has not been so fortunate as many others, who are making as much as 1000 dollars a day. He hasminedManuscript image mined in California, but never saw a Gold-field so rich as Cariboo.
Joseph Patterson and brother, native of Maine, United States of America, have been mining on Keithley's Creek, and left it about the 10th of September. They have cleared the sum of 6000 dollars between them, or 3000 dollars each, in Gold dust, which they carry about with them on their persons. They report that as a general thing the Miners are making from two to three ounces a day. They are well acquainted with Jourdan and Abbott'sClaimManuscript image Claim, and have often seen them weighing out, at the close of their days work; the yield on one occasion was within a few grains of 195 ounces—the number of working hands being at the time four in all. That was their largest days return, but 80, 90, and 100 ounces a day were ordinary returns.
Richard Willoughby, a native of England, discovered a mining claim on Lowhee Creek, and began to work it on the 27th of July last;heManuscript image he continued mining with from four to seven hired men, till the 8th of September, when he sold the claim to another person, and returned safely to Yale, where he now resides, with the sum of 12,000 dollars in Gold dust. His largest days return was 84 ounces, and the entire amount of Gold taken, during his tenure from the claim, amounted to 3037 ounces, valued at 48,600 dollars, and his own share to the sum of 12,000 dollars. His last weeksworkManuscript image work netted 2032 dollars, and for two weeks previously he cleared 1000 dollars a week for each working hand on the claim; and what is extraordinary, is the fact that all this wealth was found immediately at, or within five feet of the surface, the extreme of Mr Willoughby's sinkings. At that depth he encountered the Bed Rock, composed of soft blue slate, yielding readily to the pick. He also mentions the discovery of a highly auriferous quartz reef, and he gave me aspecimenManuscript image specimen of galena, containing as per assay, 67 per cent of lead, and 37 ounces of silver to the ton. He also mentioned several rich veins of silver ore which he saw at Cariboo, but the inferior metals attract scarcely any attention in countries where gold is easily acquired.
Mr Hodge, an American settled near Yale, held a Mining Claim on Lowhee Creek for about six weeks, and lately returned to Yale with a sum exceeding 2100 dollars. His reports corroborate and confirm in all respects, thestatementsManuscript image statements of Richard Willoughby.
Thomas Brown, an American citizen, claims the honour of having discovered and taken up the first mining claim on William's Creek, just one claim below the Jourdan and Abbott claim. Mr Brown has been fortunate, and has a heavy pound of Gold, but I did not ascertain its money value. He says that "Ned Campbell" a friend of his, with a company of ten other Miners, selected and recorded a claim on a newly discoveredStreamManuscript image Stream called Lightning Creek, a tributary of Swift River, which yielded about two ounces of gold to the panful of earth; and that a report had reached Quesnelle previous to his departure, that the company, almost as soon as they began to work had realized 1100 ounces in one day; and he places the greatest confidence in that report. Mr Brown's statements on all other points respecting Cariboo, corroborate the statements of Mr Willoughby.
4. IManuscript image
4. I am permitted to use the following letter from Major Downie, an old and successful California Miner, several of whose reports on mining subjects I have had the honour of forwarding to Your Grace; it is addressed to Macdonald, Esquire, Banker and Assayer, Victoria, and is dated Antler Creek, 25th September 1861
I have just been talking to H.M. Steele, he says he will do all he can for you with his boys, they are taking it out by the mule-load, soyouManuscript image you may depend upon getting lots of dust when the boys come down. Your friend Mr Norris is well, and I am writing this in his house, I am prospecting round to get claims for next season for Alex and Jim Hood. California is no where in comparison to Williams Creek. Keep good courage, and order a Mint for next year.
5. I will now quote a few passages from a private communication of the Judge, Mr Begbie, datedForksManuscript image Forks of Quesnelle, 25th September 1861, to the Colonial Secretary. In allusion to the amount of gold dust in the hands of Miners at Cariboo, and the quiet, orderly state of the population, he observes—
I have no doubt that there is little short of a ton lying at the different Creeks. I hear that Abbotts and Steeles Claims are working better than ever—30 to 40 pounds a day each. (They reckon rich claims as often by pounds as ounces now; itmustManuscript image must be a poor claim that is measured by dollars.)
On many claims the gold is a perfect nuisance, as they have to carry it from their cabins to their claims every morning, and watch it while they work, and carry it back again, (sometimes as much as two men can lift) to their cabins at night, and watch it while they sleep. There is no mistake about the gold, Steele is here, he says they took out 370 ounces one day.IManuscript image I was very glad to see the men so quiet and orderly; old Downie looked really almost aghast, he said they told me it was like California in '49, why you would have seen all these fellows roaring drunk, and pistols and knives in every hand. I never saw a Mining Town anything like this. There were some hundreds in Antler, all sober and quiet. It was Sunday afternoon—only a few claims were worked that day. It was as quiet as Victoria.
6. I will lastlysubmitManuscript image submit for Your Grace's information, the monthly report of Mr Ball, Assistant Gold Commissioner for the Lytton District, to the Colonial Secretary, dated 1st October 1861, which also bears upon the subject of Gold Mining, and is otherwise illustrative of the industrial condition of the country;
I have the honour to forward for the information of His Excellency the Governor, a Collectorate Account of the Revenue of the Lytton District for the month of September. The approach of thefallManuscript image fall, and the little mining going on at present, has caused a stagnation of business.
There are many, however, who are only awaiting the commencement of the proposed Waggon Roads to locate pre-emption claims, and to make permanent improvements on those already located with a view of making British Columbia their future home. The rich discoveries made in the Cariboo District, and the proposed line of Roads, have established a confidence in the future prospects of thepropertyManuscript image property holders of the Lower Fraser; and all are well pleased with the prospect of the forthcoming season.
It may be interesting to His Excellency to hear of the almost fabulous amount of Gold which was taken out of a claim on Lightning Creek, belonging to a man named "Ned Campbell,"
1st day 900 ounces.
2nd day 500 ounces.
3rd day 300 ounces.
and other days proportionally rich.
7. The Gold Commissioner forManuscript image the Hope District states in his last monthly report that there was a great deal of activity in the Southern Mining Districts about Kamloops, and that the Miners there are doing remarkably well. He also mentions the great want of mining supplies, especially flour, of which article not a single pound could, at the time, be purchased; a circumstance which he much regrets on accountofManuscript image of its baneful effects on the country.
8. The reports of the other Gold Commissioners contain nothing of unusual interest.
9. The information which I have thus laid before Your Grace, leaves no room for doubt as to the vast auriferous wealth, and extraordinary productive capabilities of British Columbia, and with scarcely less probability it may be assumed as a naturalconsequenceManuscript image consequence resulting from the marvellous discoveries at Cariboo, that there will be a rush thither, and an enormous increase of the population in Spring.
10. To provide for the wants of that population becomes one of the paramount duties of Government. I therefore propose to push on rapidly with the formation of Roads during the coming winter, in order to have the great thoroughfares leading to theremotestManuscript image remotest mines, now upwards of 500 miles from the sea coast, so improved as to render travel easy, and to reduce the cost of transport, thereby securing the whole trade of the Colony for Frasers River, and defeating all attempts at competition from Oregon.
11. The only insuperable difficulty which I experience is the want of funds: the revenues of the Colony will doubtless in courseofManuscript image of a year, furnish the means, but cannot supply the funds that are immediately wanted to carry on these works.
12. I propose, as soon as those roads are finished and the cost of transport reduced, to impose an additional road tax as a further means of revenue, a generally popular measure, and strongly recommended in the several petitions forwarded with my Despatch"Separate"Manuscript image "Separate" of the 18th of October Instant. I indeed acknowledge with gratitude the warm support which I have lately received from the people at large in carrying out measures of development; a significant fact, shewing that their feelings and interests are becoming every day more identified with the progress of the Colony.
13. I have in these circumstances come totheManuscript image the resolution of meeting the contingency, and raising the necessary funds, by effecting a loan of £15,000 or £20,000 in this Country, which will probably be a sufficient sum to meet the demands upon the Treasury on account of these works, until I receive the loan which Your Grace gave me hopes of effecting for the Colony in England.
14. In taking this decided step I feel that I am assuming an unusualdegreeManuscript image degree of responsibility, but I trust the urgency of the case will justify the means, and plead my apology with Her Majesty's Government, especially as it is so clearly for the honour and advantage of Her Majesty's Service; and the neglect of the measures, which by a stern necessity are thus forced upon me, might prove in the highest degree, disastrous to the best interests of the Colony.
15. Accustomed to exactobedienceManuscript image obedience within my own official sphere, I know the importance of the rule; but this is one of those exceptional cases, which can hardly serve as a precedent, and as I have always paid implicit attention to the instructions, and in no case involved Her Majesty's Government in any dilemma, I trust Your Grace will continue to place that degree of confidence in my prudence and discretion which heretofore it has alwaysbeenManuscript image been my good fortune to experience.
16. I beg to enclose a rough sketch of the Cariboo Country, shewing its relative position with reference to Arrowsmith's Map of North America.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Graces most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
This despatch should be printed in continuation of the previous Gold Report? But in the latter portion of the Despatch the Govr asks for authority to raise a loan of £15,000. The previous application for a loan of £50,000 being now before the Treasury the present proposal should I presume be also referred to them?
VJ 10 Dec
Mr Fortescue
Proceed as proposed?
TFE 10/12
CF 11
N 12
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Elliot to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 17 December 1861, forwarding copy of the despatch for consideration.
Minutes by CO staff
Gov. Douglas expressed great anxiety about the Loan for £50,000 for which he applied. On 7th August he reported that an Act for raising the loan would be prepared in about a fortnight & submitted to H.M. Govt, but it has not yet reached this Office.
When the Treasury answer this letter it wd be well to remind the Governor of the omission?
The question of reminding should then be considered, but it will partly depend on the nature of the answer from the Treasury.
TFE 17/12