No. 35
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, entitled; No. 12. An Ordinance to repeal the Ordinance forimposingManuscript image imposing a Duty on Gold. I add the Report of the Attorney General.
2. It was with the utmost reluctance I found it necessary to propose the repeal of the Gold Export Tax. Had this Tax been introduced on the first discovery of Gold in British Columbia, I am of opinion it might have worked with success, but, coming into operation at a time when it was the Policy of the Press on Vancouver IslandtoManuscript image to create discontent at every action of this Government, no occasion was lost to excite the Miners to oppose the payment of the Duty, while the statements appearing in the Public prints were eagerly availed of by the Press of California and the neighbouring States to turn the tide of emigration to the mines of Oregon and Nevada, unfortunately with too much success.
3. The discovery of new and extensive Gold Fields in thisColonyManuscript image Colony will doubtless attract population against any misrepresentations, but the position of the new Mines was an important argument against the continuance of the Gold Export Tax. It only requires for me to refer you to an extract from the Gold Commissioner's Report, transmitted in my despatch No. 38, of this date, to explain the unsatisfactory working of the Tax in the Kootenay District, where a system of smugglingsprungManuscript image sprung up, difficult if not impossible to suppress. In the new district of the Upper Columbia the incentive to smuggling will be even greater than at Kootenay in consequence of the far easier access to our frontier line, and I feel convinced, had the tax been continued, its collection would have been impracticable and dangerous without a Staff of Officers out of all proportion to the Revenue.
4. In theory no taxationcanManuscript image can be more just. The practical working has however proved the Tax unfit for a Colony so peculiarly situated as British Columbia, and I preferred rather to take the initiative in the repeal of the Ordinance than allow the matter to be brought before me by Resolution of the Legislature.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Arthur N. Birch
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
The tax was only an experiment.
ABd 16 June
Perhaps Mr Seymour's opinion mt be asked.
FR 19/6
I think so.
WEF 19/6
EC 22
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Officer Administering the Government, 2 April 1866, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Seymour, 29 June 1866, forwarding copy of the despatch and ordinance for opinion.