No. 99
4th September 1867
My Lord Duke,
With reference to my despatch No. 92 of 16th August, I regret to have to report that an unsatisfactory state of things still prevails in Cariboo.
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2. The Canadian Company obeyed my instructions, and the claim in dispute between the Bed Rock Flume Company and themselves was quietly taken possession of by a single Constable on behalf of the Government; and his possession though unsanctioned by Law has been acquiesced in by both parties.
3. But further difficulties have sprung up. Mr Ball, the Gold Commissioner, advisedtheManuscript image the Flume Company not to fight, but to trust to the Government for protection. Upon this advice the Flume Company abandoned the whole of their land. Other persons, under the 38th section of the Gold Mining Ordinance of 1867, waited for 72 hours and then considering the Flume Company as dispossessed recorded their claim to the abandoned land, and began working at a spot whichwasManuscript image was unquestionably included within the Flume Company's Charter. Mr Ball endeavored to turn them out on the ground that a Government charter can only be declared void by the Government itself. The men resisted and, as in the former case, the police is [sic] once more powerless.
4. I am fully aware that I am giving Your Grace but an imperfect statement of the case, whichisManuscript image is one of great complexity, but my present duty is more to act than to report and I have to state the measures I have taken and those that I am about to take.
5. As regards the past, I enclose copy of a letter which, in the form of Instructions to the Surveyor General, made public the transactions between myself and the Canadian Company during my recent visit toCaribooManuscript image Cariboo. A total inability to coerce by physical force the Canadian Company may have led to a more civil tone in speaking to them than they deserved, but I think that they were well advised by their lawyers and kept within the law.
6. The Police force at Cariboo has by successive reductions dwindled down to two Constables. The public feeling was rather in favourofManuscript image of the Canadians. At all events no one would come forward to assist the Government in an emergency. I have now sent up five Constables, thoroughly armed, and Mr Brew, the Police Magistrate of New Westminster will succeed Mr Ball in Cariboo. I give power to Mr Brew to add to the force on his way to Cariboo and positive instructions to enforce the Law at any cost.
7. But the scheme ofarbitrationManuscript image arbitration has been rejected and our principal difficulty is still, as it was, to ascertain what the Law really is. Mr Spalding—I beg to refer to my private letter enclosed—decides one way, Mr Ball, quite his equal in ability, decides another way, and Mr Chief Justice Begbie is of opinion that there is no appeal from the irreconcilable judgements; both though contradictory having the force of Law.IManuscript image I have however consulted very fully with Mr Chief Justice Needham on the whole matter and he agrees with me that there is an appeal under the ordinance I enclose. That the matter may be viewed as a question of Law as well as of fact and reheard by a Judge of the Supreme Court. Sincerely thankful for any issue out of a case of such extrordinary difficulty, I am sending MrNeedhamManuscript image Needham at once to Cariboo. I have telegraphed to Mr Begbie that I particularly require his presence in New Westminster at once.
8. I have the satisfaction of adding that my confidence in Mr Ball is not diminished by the unfortunate occurrences which have attended his short administration of affairs in Cariboo.
9. I enclose copy of a Correspondence which has passed between Rear AdmiralHastingsManuscript image Hastings and myself respecting the assistance which the Colony might expect from Her Majesty's forces in any case of insurrection or rebellion.
10. I may add that during my stay in Cariboo, though I mixed freely with all classes, I met with no incivility.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Holland
I pass this through you as there are legal points at issue & Mr Begbie & Needham differ in opinion.
Despatch No 92 has been sent to the Admiralty & acknowledged the correspondence attached to this shd also be sent to that Dept.
The following telegram was sent to the Govr as to Naval assistance on the 18 Sepr. Navy may send what assistance the Admiral considers he can afford but Admty wishes to avoid landing men without there is real necessity.
WR 21 Oct 67
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Mr Elliot
2 Companies—the Canadian & the Flume Company—quarrel about some mining claims; Commissr Spalding in a case before him decides one way, Commissr Ball in a case before him decides another way. Mr Begbie says that the decisions were decisions upon questions of fact, & that therefore under the recent Gold Mining Act (10372) no appeal lies to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Needham on the other hand, thinks that questions of law, as well as of fact, were involved in the decisions & that an appeal lies; & by the Govrs desire he has gone to Cariboo to see what can be done.
We are not called upon to decide which Judge is right; nor indeed could we do so upon the material before us.
I should be disposed to approve generally what the Govr has done, expressing perhaps regret that this unsatisfactory state of things still continues in Cariboo, and to send to the Admiralty the correspondce attached to this Despatch.
HTH 26/10
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The mistake was Balls inducing the Flume Cy to withdraw. Arbitration seems the only course—as the Law is powerless. Seymour's address saved the semblance only.
CBA 28/10
B&C 30/10
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Newspaper clipping, unnamed, no date, containing a letter outlining the situation in Cariboo (incomplete), published on the authority of the governor.
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Seymour to Rear Admiral Hastings, 29 August 1867, inquiring as to role of the military in case of possible rebellion.
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Hastings to Seymour, 3 September 1867, stating his instructions did not cover intervention in such a case.
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Secretary to the Admiralty, 11 November 1867, forwarding copy of correspondence between Hasting and Seymour.
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Draft reply, Buckingham to Seymour, No. 74, 6 November 1867 approving of Seymour’s course of action and conveying regret that the situation in the Cariboo continues “in such an unsatisfactory state.”