No. 57
19th May 1865
I have the honor to forward an Authenticated and two plain Copies of an Ordinance of the recent Session of the Legislature of this Colony, entitled;
No. 13. An OrdinanceforManuscript image "for imposing a Duty on Gold."
I add the Report of the Attorney General.
2. A large revenue is undoubtedly required in a Colony like this where gigantic public works have to be made to prevent the Gold Mines, its only developed source of wealth, at present, being abandoned by the migratory population who on this coast withdraw from labour in the winter and consider in the spring the relativeattractionsManuscript image attractions of the several Gold fields within their reach. Heavy taxation is imposed upon the few persons who have made of this Colony their home, and nearly the whole of the proceeds have been expended in facilitating access to the mines. The miners have hitherto paid no direct taxes except on the licence voluntarily taken out for the protection of claims of value. There appeared no more legitimatemodeManuscript image mode of increasing the Revenue than by the passing of the present measure. The burden will fall heaviest upon those best able to pay, and will not be felt by those whose labours are unsuccessful.
3. A Gold Export tax has been more than once recommended by the Secretary of State. I beg to refer to Sir Edward Lytton's despatch No. 16 of 7th February 1859, and to the Duke of Newcastle's, No. 22ofManuscript image of 19th September 1859.
4. As to the details of the measure, I would observe that the Miners of Cariboo think two shillings (2s/-) an ounce too high. But I have entered into an engagement with the Bank of British Columbia, (which has established an Assay Office in Cariboo) whereby they will be allowed to have their Gold re-assayed
Reducing the duty thereby from 2s/ to 1s/6 an ounce.
in the Government Office in New Westminster on a paymentofManuscript image of a penny an ounce, instead of two pence, on condition that they only deduct duty at the lower rate of one shilling and six pence (1s/6d) an ounce on Gold purchased by them on William's Creek. This agreement I have caused to be made public in Cariboo, thus the Miner will be protected against undue charge from the Bank. Had this agreement not been entered into the Bank would have been entitled to demand two shillings (2s/-) an ounce from the Miner, andbyManuscript image by having the Gold reassayed in New Westminster at the ordinary rate of two pence an ounce, they would have been able by Law to make a profit of five pence an ounce upon such miners as had to sell their Gold to the Bank.
5. I proposed that the following rates of duty should be levied on Gold: Two shillings on raw Gold (2s/-). One shilling and nine pence (1s/9d) on Gold assayed by private personswithManuscript image with the consent of the Government. One shilling and six pence (1s/6d), on Gold passed through the Government Assay Department. end The Council was strong against the second proposal and I withdrew it.
6. I enclose copies of two proclamations I have issued.
Not received with this Desp.
[?] 8/7/65
The first giving one half of Gold seized for attempt at smuggling to the informer. The second declaring the places through which Gold can be legallyexportedManuscript image exported. I have offered every facility for the purpose. Miners leaving the Colony by Bentinck Arm can pay duty on their Gold on William's Creek.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
ABd 20 July
TFE 21 July
The 7th clause is confused in language, but I suppose the Authorities may be left to fight their way through it. If the Judge cannot construe it the Legislature must mend it.Manuscript image What is meant is that gold may be forfeited if found without a clearance in [course?] of conveyance to any point on the frontier other than that from wh exports exportation is permitted.
Sanction, observing that the language of SS 7 appears to be somewhat confused.
FR 27/7
EC 27
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Colonial Secretary, 9 May 1865, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.