No. 98
30th August 1867
My Lord Duke,
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. 34.Manuscript image No. 34. An Ordinance to amend the Laws relating to Gold mining. I add the Attorney General's report.
2. I hardly venture to recommend this measure formally for allowance, inasmuch as the present disturbed state of Cariboo, alluded to in my despatch No. 92 of the 16th August, will probably lead to a reconsideration of the Gold Mining Laws at the approaching Session oftheManuscript image the Council.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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WR 22 Oct
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Mr Elliot
Gold Mining Law. This Ordinance practically extends to V. Island the Gold Mining Law of the mainland. There is (as pointed out by the AG) one important difference. The Act of 1865 by sec 10 allowed an appeal from the Gold Commissioner in civil cases over £50 to the Supreme Court. By theManuscript image present Act (sec 17) an appeal is allowed in civil cases over 250 dollars, but only on points of law. Decisions of the Gold Commissr on questions of fact are to be conclusive.
This change has always been strongly urged by the miners probably with the view of preventing vexatious appeals & consequent delay. But it has been made (accordg to the Attorney General) against the general feeling of the Legislative Council & the Report of a Law Committee. The Attorney General recommends that the Ordce be disallowed, or sent back for attention.
I confess that it appears to me that the Gold miners are probably the best judges as to a question of this kind. They are willing to treat the Commissioner (who is appointed by the Governor) as an arbitrator is treated in England, & to let his decision be binding upon questions of fact. There is nothing unreasonable in this, but rather the reverse. There is no doubt more difficulty about not allowing an appeal from the verdict of a Jury.
You will see by the accompanying papers 10373 thatManuscript image a question has arisen in Cariboo upon this question of appeal.
Upon the whole, I should be disposed to inform the Govr that before advising HM upon this Ordinance, HG desires to be furnished with a copy of the Report of the Law Assimilation Committee referred to by the A. General in his report; & that, as at present advised, HG thinks that though an appeal might fairly & reasonably be dispensed with from the decision of a Commissr upon questions of fact, he entertains doubts whether it is desirable to take away the right of appeal from the verdict of a jury in all cases; though it may, perhaps, be desirable to do so where the subject matter in dispute does not exceed a certain amount.
HTH 23/10
TFE 26/10
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But the Govr does not recommend this orde for allowance.
CBA 28/10
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But he may & it will be better therefore to write as proposed.
B&C 31/10
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Seymour, 28 August 1867, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Buckingham to Seymour, No. 73, 6 November 1867 requesting “a copy of the report of the Law Assimilation Committee” and recommends an amendment regarding appealing a jury verdict “in cases above a certain amount."