No. 71
25th November 1864
With reference to my despatches mentioned in the Margin,
No. 41, 10th Sept 1864
" 59, 7th Oct "
I have now much pleasure in laying before you the very interesting Account furnished by Mr Arthur Birch, the Colonial Secretary, of his visit to theKootenayManuscript image Kootenay Gold Mines.
2. It is with particular satisfaction that I call your attention to Mr Birch's account of the Admirable manner in which Mr Haynes has performed the very difficult duties imposed upon him. As but little work is performed in our Gold mines during the winter I have, as stated in my despatch No. 70 of the 24th Instant, appointed Mr Haynes to be a member of the Legislative Council. HisknowledgeManuscript image knowledge of the new diggings will prove very valuable to us. Mr Young who acted with Mr Haynes at Osooyos will take his place on the Kootenay until relieved by Mr Cox, whom I have appointed, subject to your pleasure, to be police Magistrate and Assistant Gold Commissioner of the District.
3. The Mining Laws of this Colony have been framed mainly on the recommendation of a Board sitting in Cariboo. Our OrdinanceshaveManuscript image have been enacted to meet the particular circumstances growing out of each successive discovery of Gold in that district, and are now a crude mass which I propose to reduce into shape during the next Legislative Session. Adapted to the peculiar wants of Cariboo, they will probably be found to require little change as regards that district, but Kootenay will require special legislation of its own. In Cariboo the richest "leads" are found at an average offromManuscript image from 70 to 90 feet below the surface of the ground and thus a large capital is required to work them. At Kootenay both the rich leads on the Bed rock and the lighter ores are found to be but little buried. The whole question shall engage my earnest attention.
4. We have set on foot four exploring expeditions to discover the best way of connecting the newly discovered mines with New Westminster, so as to get a fair portion of the trade intoEnglishManuscript image English hands. Mr Jenkins, late of the Royal Engineers, was despatched by Mr Birch from the Kootenay to reach the Fraser at Lytton by way of the Upper Columbia, Arrow Lakes and the Shushwap. He descended the river from its parent Lakes and found it navigable for 180 miles for Steamers of a moderate draught of water. At the great bend where the stream passes round the Northern extremity of the Selkirk Range, I regret to find that a Series of rapids of a total length of nearly 66 miles occursinManuscript image in which no Steamer could live. Mr Jenkins however discovered a pass in the Selkirk Mountains where a road of 36 miles might be made by which the falls and rapids of the Columbia would be avoided.
5. The exploring party I sent out under Mr Turner, as reported in the 4th paragraph of my despatch No. 59 of 7th of October, had reached the Columbia by way of Thompson River and Kamloops and Shushwap Lakes. TheyfoundManuscript image found these two large bodies of water and the connecting river, perfectly adapted to steam navigation. When last I heard from Mr Turner he was constructing Canoes to ascend the Columbia, but we are now aware that unfortunately the loop in the river is not navigable. The party finding that resource fail them will probably explore more thoroughly the pass already discovered by Mr Jenkins.
6. The certainty that steam navigation can be establishedforManuscript image for 120 miles between the Thompson and the Columbia, and that the latter river fails to be any Service to us for 60 miles, has induced me to accept the services of Captain Houghton, late of the 20th Regiment, and a small party to explore the Southern bend of the river connecting the two great Lakes to the head of Lake Okanagan. From this latter point he will proceed nearly due East towards the Kootenay, through a pass whichheManuscript image he has observed in the Gold Range. Finally Mr Jenkins has been sent back to examine a line of Country from Statapoosten across the Grande Prairie; spoken highly of in Mr Birch's report. You will see that we are using every means of making the new discoveries profitable to the Colony. The trail opened by the Hudson's Bay Company is, in Mr Birch's opinion likely to remain unserviceable.
7. In addition to his having performed the objects of his missionperfectlyManuscript image perfectly satisfactorily and furnished a most useful report, Mr Birch has done a service to the Colony at considerable personal risk in bringing about seventy five pounds weight (75 lbs) of Gold, received as Taxes on the Kootenay, from the Rocky Mountains to New Westminster.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
I shd suggest that a copy of this despatch & of Mr Birch's report should be sent to the Land Board, for their information; & that the Governor should be instructed to inform Mr Birch that Mr Cardwell has had much gratification in perusing his interesting & doubtless valuable account of his expedition into the Kootanie Country.
ABd 13 Fy
TFE 14/2
An interesting account.
CF 15
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Printed report by Birch on visit to Kootenay mines, 31 October 1864.
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Code of Laws of Wild Horse Creek, concerning mining regulations and rules of conduct, 10 April 1864.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 12, 27 February 1865, acknowledging receipt and instructing Cardwell to inform Birch that Cardwell had much gratification in perusing his interesting and no doubt valuable account.