No. 92
16th August 1867
My Lord Duke,
In my Separate Despatch of the 31st ultimo, I reported the existence of a serious disturbance
Manuscript image
in the Cariboo District and thatitManuscript image it was my intention to proceed at once to the spot.
2. I accordingly went to Cariboo with the utmost expedition. I found that a dispute arising out of a boundary question between two mining companies had assumed very serious dimensions. The Gold Commissioner's Writ of Injunction had been disregarded by the intruding Company. When the Police attempted to enforce it theywereManuscript image were driven off the ground, and finally when the Magistrate and Deputy Sheriff of the District with the Posse Comitatus, consisting in this case of about thirty men, appeared with the intention of recovering the ground in dispute they were opposed by the Miners and the Magistrate in disgust left his post and repaired to the nearest Telegraph Station in order to place himself in communication with me.HeManuscript image He urgently requested that a force of Marines from the Ships now lying idle in Esquimalt might be sent to his assistance.
3. It will be seen from a correspondence which I enclose in another despatch of this date (See 93/9639)
Manuscript image
Not enclosed.
that I have no hope of assistance from Her Majesty's ships in the event of the peace of the Colony being disturbed, or, I believe, if a foreign flag shouldsupersedeManuscript image supersede our national one at the Gold Mines. I therefore with the advice of the Executive Council and at very considerable inconvenience to myself proceeded as stated to Cariboo.
4. I found less excitement there than I anticipated, but the Law utterly powerless. The Company which the Gold Commissioner and power of the District had endeavored to expel were in full possession of the disputed ground andwereManuscript image were taking out from it about one hundred and fifty ounces of gold a day. They appeared to have placed themselves in systematic opposition to the Law and had given out a large portion of the "Claim" to the greatest ruffians of the Cariboo, who held under the condition of fighting for the Company (the "Canadian") who kept possession.
5. Although matters appeared to be extremely unpromising and that accordingtoManuscript image to common opinion insults and abuse would be the only results of my interference, I placed myself in communication with both parties in the dispute. It will suffice in the present state of the affair if I simply report that I succeeded in inducing the Canadian Company to hand over the claim in dispute to me and to deliver over to justice all the ringleaders of the opposition to the Police. They further consented to giveupManuscript image up the Gold which had been taken out of the claim and to submit to any arbitration as to title that I might choose to impose.
6. I regret that the absence of a corresponding feeling of compliance on the part of the opposite party did not allow of my settling the matter finally before leaving William's Creek. I departed however, having obtained possession of the Claim in dispute andleavingManuscript image leaving eight of the principal members of the Canadian Company in gaol for contempt of the Magistrate's Writ and resistance to the Police.
7. But I cannot reckon on a Gold Mine of great value being protected from intrusion by one Constable, and I propose this morning to take the opinion of the Executive Council in the matter.
8. Having only returned late last night from a journeyofManuscript image of a thousand miles and the mail for England being about to close, Your Grace will excuse my being less explicit than I could wish on the present occasion.
9. I sincerely trust that the dispute will end without bloodshed but the policemen are now powerless against a Company like the Canadian which includes, I am told with the fighting claimants, eightywellManuscript image well armed men, and the adverse party is buying up all the "repeating" rifles that can be obtained.
10. Arbitration having been declined, I fear that nothing short of an Act of the Legislature can compel a decision in the case,
Manuscript image
should one of the parties continue to hold out.
11. The trouble has been brewing for some time and has its origin in certaindisputesManuscript image disputes in Cariboo which took place last year during my absence from the Colony and to which, having been managed by the Officer lately Administering the Government I devoted little attention.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F.Rogers
Also 9639.
An account of the disturbances between 2 Mining Companies at Cariboo arising out of the disputed possession of a rich Gold Mine. The dispute is not yet settled. Copy of the despatch might go to Admy with 9638 [9639] and be simply acknowledged.
WR 2 Oct 67
Manuscript image
B&C 31/10