2 July 1863
I have the honor to inform Your Grace of the continued welfare of this Colony; and that the accounts, from the Mining Districts, up to the latest dates are of a most satisfactory character.
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2. The immigration which commenced so prosperously in the early part of the season, promising a large accession to the fixed population of the Colony, has for the last four weeks almost entirely ceased; the effect, it is supposed, of recent discoveries of mines of Silver and Gold at Washoe and Salmon river, which present great attractions to the migratory population of Oregon and California, andhaveManuscript image have to some extent diverted attention from the Gold Fields of British Columbia. It is not improbable that such causes may altogether change our present relations with these countries, and that they may in a great measure, cease to play the part as heretofore of fruitful nurseries for recruiting the population of Her Majesty's Colonies on this Coast, a contingency that will render direct emigration from theMotherManuscript image Mother Country more than ever essential to their progress.
3. The immigration of this year so far consists of about four thousand five hundred persons (4,500 persons), chiefly able bodied men, exclusive of women and children, a class of which the Colony is still lamentably deficient. I may mention as a satisfactory feature connected with the present years immigration, that,theManuscript image the immigrants of all classes appear to have found profitable employment within the Colony and there is still a great demand for labour at high rates of wages, both in the mining Districts, and on the farms which are being opened on the lines of the great trunk roads of the Country.
4. I have lately received intelligence that valuable discoveries of rich mining groundhaveManuscript image have been made by some Chinese Miners on the Banks and alluvial flats of Bridge River about 20 miles from the Town of Lillooet. Several Gold nuggets weighing from fifteen to twenty ounces (15 to 20 oz), have been picked up among the debris, and the deposits of scale gold are remarkably rich, having yielded as much as six hundred dollars ($600) a day on claims worked by four hands. The resident GoldCommissionerManuscript image Commissioner has visited the District and expresses a very favorable opinion of its mining capabilities. He also speaks favourably of its general character, describing the Country as open and accessible, abounding in grassy plains and possessing an agreeable climate, with such extraordinary natural advantages the Mines of Bridge River can hardly fail to become an attractive resort to the Mining populationofManuscript image of the Colony.
5. I have received advices from the Gold Commissioner of Carribou up to the 22nd June. On the 4th of that month he reports as follows— unanimity and good feeling prevail among the Miners on Williams Creek, and both the Upper and Lower Towns have been perfectly quiet and free from disturbance. There has however been and there still is a good deal of litigationinManuscript image in reference to mining interests.
The weather he adds had been fine and "at times very hot" for the few previous days causing a rapid rise in the Rivers, and doing much damage to the tunnels and mining shafts. Writing again on the 11th and 22nd June he reports a favourable change in mining affairs and enters with considerable detail into the state and yield of the principal gold claimsonManuscript image on Williams Creek. These two last mentioned communications contain information of so much interests that I venture to transmit copies of such portions of them as specially refer to gold mining and also extracts from other reports illustrative of the character and actual returns of a few of the rich mines of Carribou.
6. There is no other subject connected with the ColonywithManuscript image with which I need trouble Your Grace on the present occasion.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Graces most obedient
Humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Acknowledge? The Despatch shews a great falling off in the Immigration. A copy might be sent to the Land Board for information? L[edger] F[olio].
VJ 17 Aug
TFE 17/8
CF 18
N 19
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Extract, P. O'Reilly, Gold Commissioner, to Colonial Secretary, 11 May 1863, describing the history and yield of two of the richest mines in Williams Creek.
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O'Reilly to Colonial Secretary, 11 June 1863, further reporting on gold yields in the Cariboo region.
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W. Cox, Assistant Gold Commissioner, to Colonial Secretary, 8 June 1863, reporting on gold yields in Cariboo region.
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Extract, O'Reilly to Colonial Secretary, 22 June 1863, enclosing a price list of provisions in Richfield and reporting the establishment of a branch of the Bank of British Columbia in the region.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 46, 20 August 1863.
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Elliot to Emigration Commissioners, 27 August 1863, forwarding copy of the despatch for information.