No. 11
3 February 1863
I beg to inform your Grace that the official reports of the Gold Commissioners, and District Magistrates of British Columbia for the month of December last, present a very satisfactory view, of the general condition and prospects of the Colony. The weather has been uniformly mild andtradeManuscript image trade had sustained no serious interruption from severe cold or deep snow.
2. Another most gratifying circumstance also consequent on the mildness of the season is the fact dwelt upon in these reports that the large droves of beef cattle and transport animals wintering at Sumass, and in the Thompson & Buonaparte Valleys, preparatory to being sent to the Mines, are doing extremely well thoughnotManuscript image not housed and improvidently left by their owners to roam at large and pick up their food on the natural range of the country.
3. The reports from Carribou mention that the mining population did not exceed 350 men, the great body of Miners having left the District on the approach of winter, and that relatively to the numbers employed, the mines were yielding as largely as everManuscript image ever.
4. The annual exodus of Miners from Carribou, causing the suspension of work for nearly seven months in the year, retarding the development of the mines and affecting the amount of public revenue to a most serious extent, is an evil, originating almost entirely in the scarcity and high prices of food, and it is one of those evils which must continue to tell severelyuponManuscript image upon the industry of the Country until the extensive tracts of arable land in the neighbouring Districts, now lying waste, are brought into cultivation, and the Colony is supplied with home grown food. It is some consolation to reflect that so desirable a consummation may be accelerated by the dearth of the present time; and result in rendering agriculture a more attractive pursuit and in teachingsettlersManuscript image settlers by the inducement of cheap land and high prices to give up the mines for the more certain realizations of the farm.
5. In the meantime we are using every exertion, within the power of Government, to mitigate the evil, by laying out new roads and by improving the existing communications, in order to facilitate the introduction of supplies of all kinds fromabroadManuscript image abroad, at a lower rate than the enormous charges for inland transport, which have heretofore operated so disastrously to the industrial pursuits and proper development of the Colony.
6. Had the supply of food in the mines, last year, been larger and less costly a much greater number of men would have remained there, and the returns of Gold as well as the amount ofpublicManuscript image public revenue been proportionably increased. The exodus will probably be on a smaller scale this year, as the climate is every day becoming less an object of dread, and with greater facilities of communication, food may be expected to be cheaper and more abundant.
7. I have lately seen some rich specimens of silver ore and auriferous quartz found in Carribou which the discoverers, if they can procure a sufficient command of CapitalproposeManuscript image propose to work this season.
8. I regret to add that the ravages of the Small Pox, which made its first appearance in May 1862, have, notwithstanding the most strenuous efforts, by vaccination and treatment, to arrest its progress, been severely felt by the Native Tribes who from ignorance or superstition would not resort to the preventive measures recommended to them. A few of the Colonists have also fallen victims, buttheManuscript image the number of cases, among the latter, which have proved fatal is not great.
9. As other matters of interest are touched upon in Mr Commissioner Elwyns report I forward it for Your Grace's information.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Graces most obedient
Humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
ABd 1 April
Mr Elliot
350 men wintered at Wms Creek.
FR 8/4
TFE 8 April
N 13
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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T. Elwyn to Colonial Secretary, 15 December 1862, reporting events in the Cariboo district.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 22, 18 April 1863.