14 September 1863
My Lord Duke,
As I propose leaving this place in a few days on a visit to British Columbia for the purpose of instituting measures for the introduction of the newformManuscript image form of Government, and as I will not while there have opportunities of communicating regularly with Your Grace, I will now inform Your Grace that no material change in the state of the Colony has taken place since the date of my last report.
2. On the subject of the public works undertakenlastManuscript image last year I have now the satisfaction to report the entire completion of the Lillooet Alexandria carriage road terminating at the latter place, and the proximate completion of all but a section of three miles (3 miles) of the Lytton Alexandria line which unites with the former at Clinton. A detachment of Royal EngineersareManuscript image are now at work on the unfinished part of the latter road, and I am informed it will be fully open for carriage traffic by the middle of next month. The section of this road between Yale and Lytton was from the nature of the Country the most expensive and arduous part of the whole undertaking, and presented obstacles almost insurmountable with ourlimitedManuscript image limited means. Instead of the former dangerous Ferry at Spuzzum the Fraser is now spanned by a handsome Wire Suspension Bridge of Two hundred and sixty eight feet (268 feet) span, at Chapmans Bar, fifteen miles (15 miles) from Yale, a work of great public utility constructed entirely at the expense of Mr John Trutch in consideration of a CharterauthorizingManuscript image authorizing him to levy certain Tolls on goods and animals, rather less than the late Ferry charges, for a term of seven years (7 years), after which the Bridge will become the property of the Government. An accurate description of this Bridge which is to be named "Alexandra" in honor of Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, will be found in the enclosed slipfromManuscript image from a local paper. The whole journey from New Westminster to Alexandria may now be readily made in eight days by a connected line of Steamboats and stages running constantly between those places. From Soda Creek below Alexandria, a river Steamer plies on Fraser river to Quesnel and a good horse road, formed this season, connectstheManuscript image the latter place with Richfield, sixty three miles (63 miles) distant, thus completing the chain of communication between the Coast and the centre of the Carriboo District. These works have been necessarily expensive, but they are of incalculable advantage to the Colony which in fact could not have attained any degreeofManuscript image of prosperity without the facilities they offer.
3. The reports from Lillooet continue to speak favourably of Bridge river as a Gold Field, and as a generally attractive District for the Miner. The Gold Commissioner reports on the 10th of August that some Italian miners had just found a good prospectonManuscript image on Bridge river above the chasm, and under the head of agricultural improvements, he reports as follows—
I have much pleasure in reporting that there has been a large increase in the growth of grain in the district of Lillooet this year. It is difficult to ascertain with correctness the quantity of acres under cultivation in the entire district; butIManuscript image I should say that at least 500 acres are under grain between Pavilion and the Town of Lillooet, against about 120 acres last year. The good effects of this increase will doubtless be largely felt next Spring.
4. I have received intelligence from Richfield and Van Winkle Carriboo District to the 2nd September—the developed claims were paying largelyandManuscript image and a few more Companies had carried down their shafts and bottomed on the lead. The Gold Commissioner of the District writing on the 25th August remarks—
Since the date of my last report rich prospects have been struck by the "Marysville and Columbia Companies" about a mile below Cameron's Claim, thus affording satisfactory and undeniableproofManuscript image proof that the Gold lead exists in a continuous line to that point. The whole of Williams Creek as far as its junction with Willow river is taken up for Mining purposes and an enormous amount of money and labour has been expended on the lower portion which is very expensive to prospect, and before it can be effectuallyaccomplishedManuscript image accomplished will in my opinion require the aid of Machinery.
Lowhee Creek is also paying remarkably well, the results are fully realizing the favourable opinions that have heretofore been expressed relative to it.
Some very rich Specimens of Gold bearing Quartz were brought to me a few days since from Lowhee CreekbyManuscript image by Messers Loughlan and Wood to whom I have granted discovery claims, the latter gentleman purposes proceeding to Victoria immediately in order to procure machinery for working the lead.
The "Douglas Quartz" lead situated on Snow Shoe Mountain which was discovered in the autumn of last year, has been workedduringManuscript image during the summer and good propsects obtained.
I would remark that notwithstanding the Mining Laws have given general satisfaction, many alterations and additions may with advantage be made, whereby the interests of the Mining community can be served and the development of the Country accelerated.
TheManuscript image
The number of men in the District I should roughly estimate at about 4000, at least three fourths of these are employed on Williams Creek and its tributaries.
Provisions are plentiful and continue to arrive daily in large quantities and prices rule much the same as in my last report.
Since the new trail from Quesnel has beenopenedManuscript image opened for traffic the charge for packing has very materially decreased, prior to that period, it averaged from 25 to 30 cents per lb but now it has fallen to 12 and 15 cts shewing the immense advantage gained by the construction of this road.
With the exception of a few drunken squabbles this district continues in a perfect and most satisfactory state of quietude.
5._Manuscript image
5. I transmit the enclosed communication from Mr Commissioner Cox, as it contains some interesting statistics, connected with the agriculture of the District about Williams Lake. A number of persons induced by the good quality of the Soil, the beauty of the Country and the high prices of produce, are settling in that District and have beenmoreManuscript image more fortunate with their first crops of grain than usual in the newly cultivated lands of America where the virgin soil, however fertile, is encumbered by weeds, and yields to the plough a matted Sod of tough and worthless roots, until these are destroyed either by burning or the less rapid process of natural decay, it is evident the land cannotyieldManuscript image yield its strength nor produce so largely as when mellowed and in good tilth. I take the liberty of forwarding for your Grace's inspection a few specimens from the Upper Country of Wheat, Barley, Oats, and Indian Corn of this years growth, which notwithstanding the disadvantages I have just mentioned will I believe compare not unfavourablyinManuscript image in point of weight and size with the cereals of any other country.
6. There is nothing of much importance connected with the mining intelligence from Lytton District, except a report that some Indians and a few white Miners have found new and richer diggings, yielding as much as forty dollars ($40) a day on the South Branch of the Thompson whichmayManuscript image may have the effect of drawing the attention of the Mining community to a part of the Colony that I believe to be highly auriferous.
7. I have much regret in reporting that five Indians were lately taken into custody at Williams Lake charged with the Murder of two Italian Miners, whose bodies were found concealednearManuscript image near the highway, and that W. Armitage lately from Liverpool has been arrested for the Murder of one Thomas Clegg while the latter was on his way from Williams Lake with treasure—an accomplice, there being two concerned with the Murder—has not yet been found, but there is very little chance of his escape, as the most active search isbeingManuscript image being made, and a large reward is offered for his apprehension.
8. I am glad to report that the Gold Escort has made two successful trips from Carriboo with treasure and is again expected down about the end of the present month.
9. The Revenue derived from Customs and RoadsTollsManuscript image Tolls up to the 31st August exhibits a return of Fifty eight thousand seven hundred and ninety one pounds (£58791) for 1863 against Forty eight thousand and seventy pounds (£48070) collected in 1862.
10. There being nothing further of importance to communicate.
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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Sir F. Rogers
1. Acke receipt—saying that His Grace is glad to receive such a satisfactory report on B.C.
2. Duplicate to Land Bd.
3. Show to Mr Seymour when he arrives.
ABd 29 Oct
Mr Fortescue
So proceed.
FR 30/10
CF 2 Novr
N 6
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Newspaper clipping, unnamed, no date, "First Wire Suspension Bridge in British Columbia."
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W.G. Cox to W.A.G. Young, Colonial Secretary, 9 August 1863, forwarding agricultural statistics for the Williams Lake region.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 59, 18 November 1863.
Minutes by CO staff
(Better to avoid the word "receipt", as "received" occurs so soon
TFE 14/11
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Emigration Commissioners, 23 November 1863, forwarding copy of the despatch for information.