9 July 1862
I have much satisfaction in communicating for your Grace's information that intelligence was this morning received, by the arrival of the Sloop "North Star," from Stickeen of the continued welfare of HerMajesty'sManuscript image Majesty's Subjects in that quarter.
2. In addition to the statements of the Master of that vessel, a number of private communications have been received from the miners by their friends at this place, which furnish much valuable and apparently reliable information respecting Stickeen and its resources.
3. It appears by these reports that the mines are not yet fairly started, for no sooner had the ice disappeared, and the mining claims been selected and opened, than the freshetsswollenManuscript image swollen by the mountain snow, set in with violence, flooding all the River Bars, and compelling the reluctant miners to suspend for a time their productive labours. The yield of gold is said to have, therefore, not been large, yet the miners do not complain, but are, on the contrary, full of hope, being now convinced from the researches made, and from their own experience, that the country does actually possess large auriferous resources, a few, moreover, are said to have realized handsome sums, especially one party of two men, who,inManuscript image in the interval between the departure of the ice and the rising of the river, a period of about seven days, succeeded in taking out of their claim six hundred and seventy-five dollars worth of gold.
4. The miners who have visited Stickeen appear to have formed a very favorable opinion of the Country, believing that it contains rich and extensive deposits of gold, no less so, indeed than those existing in the valleys watered by the Fraser and its tributaries, an opinion which derivesforceManuscript image force and corroboration from the number of places, both River Bars and Bank Claims, which have been successfully tested.
5. Several small bodies of miners are engaged in constructing flumes and making other preparations for the steady and vigorous prosecution of their arduous labours.
6. The Stickeen trade already gives employment to a number of small sail vessels which are continually plying to and from this place. The Stern wheelSteamerManuscript image Steamer "Flying Dutchman," lately employed in Fraser River, is now plying on the Stickeen, and has successfully accomplished its ascent to the distance of 140 miles from the sea. The great ambition of her enterprising owner being now to reach the "Upper Narrows" (Big Canon) about 160 miles from the sea, which is considered as the head of Steam Boat navigation, the river beyond that point being inaccessible to craft larger than boats and Canoes.
7. I enclose cuttings from the British Colonist of the 9th instant, conveyingfurtherManuscript image further information relative to the new gold field which may be interesting to your Grace.
8. No communication whatever relative to the Stickeen, has hitherto passed between my Government and the Governor of the Russian American Company's Possessions on this Coast. I have not considered it expedient to enter into any explanations, nor has that officer demanded information on the subject, nor made any attempt to interfere with British Subjects proceeding to the Stickeen River. I havenowManuscript image now however made arrangements with Admiral Sir Thomas Maitland to despatch one of Her Majesty's Ships on a complimentary visit to the Governor of the Russian Settlement of Sitka, to assure him of the friendly sentiments of Her Majesty's Government, and of our earnest wish to avoid every cause of difference, and to co-operate cordially with him in maintaining peace and order.
9. Before closing this Despatch I have further to remark, that, slender as is our knowledge of the generalfeaturesManuscript image features and resources of Stickeen, and imperfectly as it has hitherto been explored, there is in my opinion a sufficient attraction in the simple fact, now so clearly established, of the existence of gold in remunerative quantities to draw a mining population to the Country; and the experienced miner has something stronger even than that fact to build his hopes upon; he sees in it an earnest of further and more valuable discoveries probably of rich deposits ofheavyManuscript image heavy gold at remoter points, from whence the smaller particles descending through the force of floods, and torrents, have gradually settled in the sands and flats of rivers. The drift gold is thus prized not only for its intrinsic worth, but as being also an evidence of the existence of richer deposits; and I have long entertained the opinion that were the researches of science practically directed to the advancement of this branch of knowledge data might be found in the character and indicationsofManuscript image of the soil, that would conduct, by inerring process, from the outpouring as it were, of the lead, to the parent mines.
10. Under these circumstances the Stickeen can hardly fail to become the resort of a mining population, and Her Majesty's Government will no doubt consider it necessary, ere disorders arise, to take measures for the government of the Country.
11. All that perhaps is necessary for the present to secure tranquility until more formal action canbeManuscript image be taken by Parliament, is to empower me to extend the Laws in force in British Columbia to all parts of Her Majesty's Dominions west of the Rocky Mountains, not included within the limits of any other Colony.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Acke rect.
Approve Governor's proceedings and refer him to the Duke of Newcastle's desph of the 26 July No 134, which contained all the authority & information the Gov. will, for the present, require.
ABd 8 Sepr
TFE 8 Sept
N 9
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Not in file.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 142, 16 September 1862, approving of Douglas's handling of the situation and referring him to Newcastle's despatch of 26 July 1862 which gave instruction regarding the temporary administration of the Stikine.