No. 30
2nd April 1866
I have the honor to forward an Authenticated and two plain Copies of an Ordinance of the present Session of the Legislature of this Colony, entitled; No. 10. An OrdinanceconferringManuscript image conferring certain privileges on the Williams Creek Bed Rock Flume Company. I add the Report of the Attorney General.
2. The Williams Creek Bed Rock Flume is the most important mining speculation ever commenced in the Colony and the necessity for granting some extension of privileges to this Company was very apparent to me when I visited Cariboo last Autumn. The expenditureincurredManuscript image incurred by the Flume Company up to the date of my arrival on Williams Creek exceeded $130,000—the prosecution of the work had ceased—the capital estimated as required to complete the Flume amounted to over $100,000 and the original shareholders were dispirited and inclined to wind up the Company. Individual Miners who had remained idle for two years waiting for the Flume to reach their Claims were disappointedandManuscript image and discouraged owing to the expected failure of the Company, and I consequently found much depression among the Mercantile community, and a lack of that energy and enterprise which usually pervades a rich Mining district such as Williams Creek. During my stay at Cariboo several deputations, from all classes, waited upon me to represent the necessity for granting the Company privileges beyond those held under the existing Mining Laws.
3. UnderManuscript image
3. Under these circumstances I did not hesitate to give my assent to some alteration in the Law and I intrusted the preparation of the Bill to Mr Walkem, a barrister who represents the District of Cariboo in the Legislative Council.
4. The successful completion of this enterprise will act with two fold advantage, first in the drainage of a considerable portion of WilliamsCreekManuscript image Creek known to be rich but impossible to work until intersected by the Flume, and secondly as an inducement for the employment of Capital in similar undertakings through[ou]t the Cariboo District, where numerous auriferous creeks exist, but, owing to the depth of the Bed Rock, cannot be worked by individual Miners and must remain undeveloped if Companies are not formed to prosecuteworksManuscript image works similar to those undertaken by the Williams Creek Company.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Arthur N. Birch
Minutes by CO staff
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ABd 16 June
This Ordinance gives to a particular Mining Company (1) the "exclusive" right of way for the purpose of maintaining a "Flume"—meaning I suppose watercourse for a certain distance defined but not stated in yards or miles—and (2) the "exclusive right" to possess (as I understand) for 10 years a ribbon of land about the flume 150 feet in breadth (3) various other rights of mining of wh it is not very easy to estimate the amount.
I think first that Mr Seymour shd be consulted as to the propriety of this grant.
And next that close enquiry should be made of the Actg Govr whether he took all necessary steps to secure that this which is in fact a private bill should receive such full publicity as would enable any one who was injuriously affected by its provisions to make his objection. Pending this enquiry (wh will itself give opportunity for such objections to be raised) I would suspend the Royal decision on this Ordce.
FR 19/6
EC 21
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Printed copy of Ordinance No. 10 conferring certain privileges on the Williams Creek Bed Rock Flume Company, 29 March 1866.
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Copy, H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Officer Administering the Government, April 1866, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Seymour, 28 June 1866, forwarding copy of the despatch and ordinance for opinion.