4 December 1862
I have the honour to inform Your Grace that through Official reports, and respectable private sources, I have received intelligence up to the 16th of November from Shimilkomeen, Lillooet, andotherManuscript image other central Districts, and, to the 31st of October from the Carribou and Alexandria Districts.
2. The weather, which set in sharp and cold about the last week in October, has, since, greatly improved and been most favourable for mining operations.
3. A Messenger from Shimilkomeen reports that snow had fallen fifteen inches deep on the crest of the mountain road towards Hope,butManuscript image but there was no snow in the vallies, neither had ice formed on any of the streams. The same person states that he has been mining in the neighbourhood of Okanagan Lake, about thirty miles from the Revenue Station, with a party of eight others, and that the average yield of gold was from seven to fifteen dollars a day per man. He thinks that about two hundred men might work to great advantage there, and that the area of auriferousgroundManuscript image ground is probably much greater than that estimate assumes it to be.
Some valuable specimens of coarse gold have been lately received from a party of Miners working on the Shimilkomeen River, their daily earnings have not been reported to me, but they must, I presume, be considerable, as otherwise they would not remain in that part of the country.
4. Mining on the Fraser between Hope and Lillooet has been for some time past,andManuscript image and still is, chiefly confined to Chinamen and Native Indians, who look for smaller returns than will satisfy Miners whose imaginations have been inflamed with golden visions of Carribou.
5. The Miners generally, returned from the latter Gold Field on the approach of winter, those who remained, between 300 and 400 in number, are employed in shafts and tunnels beyond the influence of the surface temperature,andManuscript image and are said to be in a prosperous condition.
The "Barker," "Black Jack" and other Companies who have succeeded in striking the auriferous leads on William's Creek, are mining with uninterrupted success, and realizing enormous profits. The "Hurd Curry" Company have in their shaft, bottomed on what is supposed, both from the form and colour of the gold, and the direction of the "gutter," to be an entirely new lead; adding force to the generally received opinion that twoseparateManuscript image separate and distinct "leads" exist on William's Creek.
6. Food of every kind—especially Bread Stuffs—continues to fetch a high price on William's Creek and the other mining Districts of Carribou, but no alarm is felt about the supply of the resident Miners, who have, it is presumed, taken care to lay in a good stock for the winter.
7. I transmit herewith, Copy of a letter from Mr Commissioner O'Reilly, enclosing a view of the Town of "Richfield,"
In Depart. framed.
and a Plan of William's Creek,shewingManuscript image shewing the subdivision of the ground into mining claims, and also the Mining Firms by whom they are held. The Plan gives a fair idea of the mining enterprise, and of the amount of capital embarked in a five mile section of the Carribou District.
8. I am now busily engaged with the revision of the Gold-field Laws and Regulations, which are not comprehensive enough in their provisions to meet the growing wants of the Gold-fields. There is a general feeling among persons interested in the MinesinManuscript image in favour of making interests in Mining Claims transferable like other property, without, however, affecting the rights of The Crown, or in any manner altering the conditions as to working and occupation, under which claims are now held.
The advantages of this measure would be chiefly felt in the protection afforded to capital; moved by the attraction of large profits, it would then seek investment in mining operations, and tend greatly to promote the safe and rapid development of the Gold-fields.
9. InManuscript image
9. In surface mining very little capital, beyond the labour of the miner himself, is required to produce a return, but in opening deep shafts and elaborate works similar to those in the Carribou Gold-fields, complete success is seldom attainable without a moderate command of capital. Hundreds of men have been compelled by sheer poverty to give up most valuable claims. They could not raise money, even at the customary exorbitant rates of interest offered in Carribou, four and five per cent a month, tomakeManuscript image make the preliminary excavations.
10. By recognizing the validity of sales and transfer of rights in Mining Claims, this want would be met, and capital could be procured to the amount required on the security of such assignment.
Provision has also to be made for the protection of persons embarking in the construction of tunnels and other costly mining works, and for many objects of minor importance, of which I need not at present trouble Your Grace with a detail.
11. TheManuscript image
11. The Colony exhibits in all respects unequivocal signs of prosperity, the only pressing subject of anxiety is in reference to the means of completing the two great lines of Road connecting Alexandria with Lillooet and Lytton. The work is far advanced, and, though now suspended, will be resumed as soon as the ground thaws in Spring, and will be continued to Alexandria, from whence Fraser's River is navigable to the very bases of the Rocky Mountains. I shall be pressed for funds to carry out these plans, and shall be under the necessityofManuscript image of again appealing to Your Grace for assistance. I will however reserve the consideration of that subject for a separate Despatch.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Governor Douglas threatens us with further appeals for money for his roads in B. Columbia.
ABd 31 Jany
TFE 1 Feby
I suppose he means more loans.
N 3
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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O'Reilly to Colonial Secretary, 4 December 1862, enclosing a plan of Williams Creek.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 9, 4 February 1863, acknowledging his despatch.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Note in file: "Plan of William's Creek, Caribou, British Columbia, showing Mining Claims and giving a list of Mining Companies, being fo. 566 of C.O. 60/13 has been removed to the Map Room. Map Room Reference M.P.G. 648(u), November 1950, D.B. Wardle." This map can be viewed in the Colonial Despatches map gallery.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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564 In 1016/63

Mr P. O'Reilly to the Colonial Secretary

Victoria V. I.
4th December 1862


I have the honor to enclose herewith for the information of His Excellency the Governor, a plan of Williams Creek, Carribou, and of the ground occupied for mining purposes, shewing about five miles of the Creek, with a list of Mining Companies, and the claims held by each, with rotation numbers referring &c Manuscript imageto the plan; the area for each free Miner being a square of one hundred feet.
I have &c
signed) P. O Reilly
W. A. G. Young Esquire
Colonial Secretary