No. 45
4 November 1862
Rumours have recently reached me that some of the Assistant Gold Commissioners, and their Subordinates, have more or less directly or indirectly, entered into Mining speculations; that is to say have become personally interested in Mining affairs, eitherdirectlyManuscript image directly by taking up a mining claim, or by purchasing an interest in a claim, or indirectly by investing money in claims upon behalf of relatives or friends.
2. I have not yet been able to ascertain the entire truth of these reports, but I much fear, from the fact of one of the Subordinate Officers having suddenly resigned his situation, and immediately afterwards become the avowed possessor of a rich claim at Carribou, that they are not altogether destitute of foundations.IManuscript image I, therefore, have not hesitated to address a Circular to such Officers, and, generally, to Officers throughout the Colony, distinctly and peremptorily forbidding any such practices.
3. I am well aware that the temptations offered to Officers in a gold producing Country are of no ordinary character, and the more especially were they so, during the past season at Carribou, for with the famine prices of provisions, flour at one time being upwards of Six Shillings a pound!—it has been a hard struggle with some of them toprocureManuscript image procure the bare means of subsistence, notwithstanding their apparent high rate of salary, but, still, I can entertain no doubt of the serious evil which may result in such a Country from Officers being in any way mixed up with matters, which, sooner or later, can hardly fail to be affected, one way or the other, by the decisions which they may find themselves called upon to give, and I have therefore imperatively laid down the rule that Officers must surrender their interests in such speculations, or abandon the service of the Government.
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4. I enclose a copy of the Circulars which I have caused to be issued, and, as I doubt not that the question has arisen in other Colonies somewhat similarly circumstanced to British Columbia. I should feel thankful if Your Grace would favor me with your views thereupon, and advise me how far, in a new Colony, it may be just for a Government to prevent its Servants from investing their Savings in the enterprises which such a Country offers.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Graces most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Approve the Circular addressed to the Gold Commissioners? I cannot ascertain on enquiry that a similar question has ever arisen in any other Colony.
VJ 24 Dec
A very proper Circular indeed, I think.
TFE 26/12
N 27
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Circular, Douglas to Heads of Departments, 30 October 1862, forwarding a second circular as noted below, and advising that the principle therein expressed should be known to all officers in the colony.
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Circular, Douglas to Assistant Gold Commissioners, 30 October 1862, advising that no public officials could engage in mining speculation and still hold office in the colony, with explanation.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 1, 1 January 1863.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 4 November 1862, CO 60:13, no. 12257, 482. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B62045.html.

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