13 November 1863
Since my general report marked "Separate" of the 14th last I have received various communications from the Gold Commissioner of Carribou West in oneofManuscript image of which he reports the discovery of rich deposits of lump Gold on the hills forming the left bank of Lightning Creek. Mining in that part of the District has been heretofore chiefly confined to the bed of the Stream, and with the exception of a very few productive Claims, has not been successful; it having been found impossible to reach the bed rock onaccountManuscript image account of the flow of water from beds of gravel and quick sand which appear to spread over the whole valley, immediately under the alluvium some thirty or forty feet from the surface. This obstacle having been found in almost every case insurmountable with the Mining appliances in use and the Trial pits being constantly flooded the groundwasManuscript image was rapidly being deserted and great discouragement prevailed; when by one of those fortunate accidents of which the history of the Gold Fields furnish many striking examples; the enterprising firm of Nye & Coy were induced to run an adit into the hill side, 200 feet above the level of the Stream, and there found the lead—in what is now supposed to have beenatManuscript image at some former period the River bed. The first and second washings produced a return of 140 ounces of coarse nuggety Gold, and it is supposed the yield would have been much larger had the bed rock been carefully cleaned up.
2. This important discovery at once revived the hopes and restored the activity of the Miners who eagerlyproceededManuscript image proceeded to stake off, and occupy the hills, on all sides of the discovery claim and soon converted an area exceeding two miles in length into a promising Gold Field. The Evans Company holding the ground next to the discovery Claim have since hit upon the lead and by last accounts they had amassed 2000 ounces of Gold similar in size and qualitytoManuscript image to the Specimens procured from that claim, which Your Grace will receive with this Despatch.
3. Captain Evans, late of Her Majesty's 73 Regiment of the Line, whose name appears as a partner in the Evans Company has been for the last two years favorably known as an energetic Miner. He is a gentleman of good familyandManuscript image and respectability and is reported to have served with distinction in the Caffer War. He has now through his own courage and successful enterprise become part owner of a rich Mine and is in a fair way of realizing a handsome fortune, and I sincerely hope the influence of his example may induce other persons of like position to try their fortunes in the rich Gold Fields of BritishColumbiaManuscript image Columbia.
4. The Gold Commissioner mentions the Welsh Company in terms of admiration. This Company consists of Mr John Evans overseer and 26 Miners. They arrived this year from England having been sent out at the expense of H.B. Jackson Esquire of Manchester who I have been informed defrays the preliminary outlay and they are now workingaManuscript image a tract of auriferous land held under a Crown Lease on Lightning Creek. The arrival of this body of skilled workmen direct from the Mother Country is I trust the fore-runner of a new era in the Mining industry of the Colony when British skill, capital, and enterprise will be enlisted in the development of its material resources. The field has heretofore beenalmostManuscript image almost exclusively occupied by a class depending solely on their industry, and without means or credit of any kind, and their achievements amidst extraordinary difficulties, and numberless hardships and privations have been such as have deservedly won the gratitude of the Colony; yet it is easy to conceive that the work of development wouldhaveManuscript image have been greatly accelerated by the employment of Capital.
There is probably no Country in the world, with so many inviting outlets, that has been so entirely overlooked by moneyed men, as British Columbia—to say nothing of the noble forests, extensive fisheries, coal fields, mineral lodes, and vast extent of waste land, the development of its auriferousdepositsManuscript image deposits alone opens a wide field for the safe and profitable employment of Capital. I may moreover remark that the Laws of the Colony carefully protect and invite the introduction of Capital and population. With that view Leases are granted for cutting timber on any of the unoccupied Crown Lands, at a mere nominal charge, and if the alternativebeManuscript image be preferred the land itself may be acquired at the minimum cost of 4s/2d an acre. Royalties are not exacted on Minerals, the Government only insisting on the one condition of their being efficiently worked. The same spirit of liberality pervades the Gold Fields Acts, and every other Department of legislation affecting the development of the Country. I may further add thattheseManuscript image these principles have not been lightly adopted, as mere temporary measures, but have in effect become the permanent and established policy of the Government founded on just considerations of the true interests of the Country. Impressed with the obvious facts that its waste lands and undeveloped mineral deposits, are now practically useless; yieldingnoManuscript image no return either to the Sovereign or to the people, and that we must look to the application of labour and Capital as the primary means of rendering these elements productive sources of wealth; my administration has endeavoured by liberal laws, by abolishing Royalties, and other charges on production, and by the generous encouragement of enterprise to produce thatresultManuscript image result. Notwithstanding these efforts the Colony has been singularly neglected by the moneyed classes of England.
Their sad experience of California where British Capital in large sums was wasted in hopeless speculations is probably in some measure the cause of that neglect and it may be partly due to their unacquaintance with the real value of the resources of this Country, and to thefactManuscript image fact that the Gold of British Columbia is unknown, as such, in England, being nearly all shipped directly to San Francisco from whence it is exported as the produce of California.
5. Reverting from this digression to the previous subject, the discovery of the new Gold lead, it is said to yield a quality of Gold several carats finer than that of Williams Creek, and is easily distinguishedfromManuscript image from the latter by its peculiar form and appearance. The Miners arguing on such data suppose they have traced the new lead from Van Winkle downwards, through the sources of Last Chance and Anderson, two tributaries of Lightning Creek, and for some distance beyond Van Winkle upwards in the direction of the Meadows, which gives it a range of nearly five miles, and many circumstances corroborateandManuscript image and strongly favour that opinion.
6. In reporting from Carriboo East, Commissioner O'Reilly states that recent discoveries of Gold have been made at "Conklins Gulch," a tributary of Williams Creek, and that the trial pits on "McCollums Gulch" had developed a stratum of earth yielding from 40 to 50 ounces per day. "Jack of Clubs Creek" was reportedtoManuscript image to be still unproductive, but the Miners appeared as hopeful and continued working their claims as vigorously as ever. The yield on "Lowhee Creek" and "Antler" was on the increase and work was being resumed with great advantage on portions of Williams Creek above the chasm, before deserted by the Miners as worthless ground.
It appears from aninterestingManuscript image interesting return compiled by Commissioner O'Reilly that the ordinary daily output of Gold, taking only the rich claims on Lowhee and Williams Creek, varied according to the season, and number of claims in operation; from 1000 to 2500 ounces. He has made no special return for the other mines, but judging from the data in his possession he believes that the aggregate output for the two DistrictsofManuscript image of Carriboo will this year not fall short of two hundred and sixty thousand ounces (260,000 oz).
7. I will here submit some passages of a letter from the Revd MrSheepshanks dated Richfield 26th August giving the opinion of a disinterested spectator on general subjects and presenting views of the religious and social aspect of the District which may prove interesting.
"YourManuscript image
Your Excellency perhaps will remember that in an interview which I had the honor of holding with you in the Spring I expressed my intention with the sanction of the Bishop of endeavoring as the Senior Clergyman of the Carriboo Mission, to erect a small Church at this place in the course of the summer, and Your Excellency was kind enough to promise that, as heretofore the site should be presented by the Government.IManuscript image I now write to inform you that our efforts have been successful and that we have erected a small substantial well proportioned building capable of holding about 120 persons. In conjunction with the Church we have established a small library and have brought up about 250 Volumes of Books which are now in circulation, and seem thoroughly appreciated by the Miners and otherresidentsManuscript image residents. I make no doubt that in the long winter months they will prove very useful. As regards matters of general interest the Miners upon this Creek seem to be doing very well; several well experienced Miners have told me that they never knew a Creek where such a large proportion of Claims were paying expenses and in some the yield has been remarkably large. The Valley is now being workedcontinuouslyManuscript image continuously for a distance I suppose of full seven miles. Many men are working even down at Willow river. Here of course the bed rock is at a considerable depth the Mining is more expensive, and large Companies are necessary. In fact, in this neighbourhood at least, we seem to be arriving at what may be styled the "Company era" when individual Miners must club together, and the possession of a certain amount of Capital"is"Manuscript image is requisite for sinking Shafts, running drifts, rigging pumps, bringing in water, before Gold can be obtained, and the work carried on on a large scale. Several Quartz veins have been discovered bearing every appearance of richness. Companies have already been formed to work them, and there seems every probability that next year will see the commencement of far more permanent mining than any that we have"had"Manuscript image had hitherto.
It is thought that a considerable number of people will remain here during the winter—it is generally said about 1000, but this I doubt, many who have almost made up their minds to remain will I think fly as soon as the severe weather sets in—at present the weather is all that could be wished, but still several hundreds will probably stay to carry"on"Manuscript image on such Mining as is practicable during the frost. Many will also be employed in bringing in goods, the Sleigh-road is very nearly completed. Captain Grant will finish his portion by September 1st and competent persons assert confidently that they will be able to bring in goods at a low rate (I believe 10 cts per lb) from the mouth of Quesnell to this place. This would be a great boon.
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8. The Mining Board of Carriboo East has entered upon its duties with great spirit, and alacrity, holding daily sessions for the Despatch of business, and I anticipate much advantage from the labours of this useful body. One of its earliest Acts was to suggest the expediency of imposing an export duty on Gold without apparently giving much considerationtoManuscript image to the difficulties in the way of levying a tax which could be so easily evaded by passing the frontier into the United States. There is nothing to urge against the equity of the Tax, but I greatly doubt our power to enforce it, and so long as many other methods are open to the Executive for increasing the public revenue, by additional taxation therecanManuscript image can be no urgent reason for seeking that end by the objectionable expedient proposed—which I could not under any circumstances recommend to Her Majesty's Government either as a measure of wise policy or of sound finance—I believe its effect would be purely mischievous, and that it would assume as respects this Colony, many of theworstManuscript image worst features incident to taxation. The Gold being chiefly carried away by the producers, the export duty would in truth operate as a direct tax levied on the person of every individual leaving the Colony. Irritation and conflict would be the inevitable consequence. Evasions would constantly take place. Organized bands of desperate men wouldcombineManuscript image combine for the purpose of resisting or eluding the tax. A numerous staff of men and Officers would be required to enforce the Law, and thus the revenue would be absorbed by the cost of collection. In short I think an export duty would become a vexatious and most unpopular tax, and altogether fail of its desired effect as a revenue measure.
9. I had the honor ofmentioningManuscript image mentioning to Your Grace in the 8th, 9th and 10th Paragraphs of my Despatch marked Separate of the 4th December 1862 a measure having in view some important changes in the Gold Fields Act which I conceived would greatly promote the interest of persons working in the Gold fields, and also contribute to the general development of the Country—but as it wasfoundManuscript image found to be unpalatable to a large body of the working Miners who feared monopoly and as I was not perfectly satisfied of its policy it was deemed expedient to postpone the measure. Public opinion has since undergone a change and the majority of those who were, at first, opposed, have now become its strenuous advocates. The object of this measure is to make interests in mining Claims,toManuscript image to any amount, transferable like other property—saving only the rights of the Crown, and the conditions of working and occupation under which Mining claims are now held; and I propose having an Act prepared to effect that object.
It is intended that all transfers of Mining property made under this Act, shall be registered with the Gold Commissioners or other personsappointedManuscript image appointed for that purpose, and shall set forth the full price and consideration paid in each transaction, or in default be void—and there will be charged for the use of Her Majesty, certain fees, proportioned to the value of the property conveyed. In addition to the general advantages before stated, this measure will, I trust, become a fruitful source of revenue, without being oppressive to the interests affected.
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10. The Miners are now retreating in great numbers from Carribou and other remote Districts of the Colony on account of the apprehended severity of winter. This will lead to a partial suspension of Mining operations in those Districts until the return of warm weather in Spring.
11. In the accompanying map is shewn the position oftheManuscript image the Carriboo Gold Leads, and Quartz reefs. The sites of "Quesnel mouth" and of the three mining towns on Williams Creek, and of "Van Winkle" are also indicated.
"Quesnel mouth" as a town, has only had an existence of a few months. It is growing rapidly in size and population and from its favourable position for trade promises to become a placeofManuscript image of great importance.
12. The Mining intelligence from Lytton and Lillooet, is very satisfactory. Extensive placers have been lately discovered on the Shuswap and Bridge river Valleys which will afford employment, at highly remunerative rates, to a large population, and will I trust, pave the way to further important discoveries, as these Districts possess ahighlyManuscript image highly auriferous character while in point of soil and climate they form perhaps the most valuable and agreeable parts of the Colony. I will herewith forward extracts from the reports of the Gold Commissioners of Lytton and Lillooet, to furnish Your Grace with further information relative to these interesting discoveries.
13. The public revenue, I am glad to report, is in a satisfactory state. The CustomsandManuscript image and Road Tolls receipts for the ten months ending with the 31st October last amount to Seventy three thousand, one hundred and fifty eight pounds (£73158) against Sixty thousand and eighty seven pounds (£60087) collected for the corresponding period of 1862; the miscellaneous revenue is also in advance of last year to the extent of about 20 per cent though I would observe with respect to thelatterManuscript image latter, that having only a proximate return, I am unable to give the exact amount of excess.
14. There is nothing further of much interest connected with the Colony to lay before Your Grace.
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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Mr Elliot
This is an interesting report on the Mining prospects, and perhaps Mr Seymour would like to peruse it. The Governor proposes (pages 37-8-9) a measure for the transfer of mining claims which he expects will prove a "fruitful source of Revenue."
VJ 2 Jan
Mr Fortescue
Mr Seymour shd of course see this. Ackne.
FR 2/1
CF 4
N 5
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Commissioner H.M. Ball to Colonial Secretary, 3 November 1863, reporting on events in Lytton district.
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Commissioner A.C. Elliot to W.A.G. Young, 27 October 1863 reporting on events in Lillooet district.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 65, 29 January 1864.
Other documents included in the file
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Note in file: "Sketch of a part of British Columbia 1863, being fo. 313 of C.O. 60/16, has been removed to the Map Room, November 1950, D.B. Wardle."