No. 28
29th October 1856
1. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No 14, of the 4th of August, communicating the arrival of my Despatch No 10, of the 16th of April last, in which was reported the discovery of Gold within the British Territory, in the Upper Columbia River district.
2. I have since the date of that letterManuscript imageletter, received several other communications from my correspondent, in that part of the country, who however scarcely makes any allusion to the subject of the Gold discovery, but I have heard through other almost equally reliable sources of information, that the number of persons engaged in gold digging is yet extremely limited, in consequence of the threatening attitude of the Native Tribes, who being hostile to the Americans have uniformly opposed the entrance of American citizens into their country.
3. The people from American Oregon are therefore excluded from the Gold District, except such, as resorting to the artifice of denying their country, succeed in passing for British SubjectsManuscript imageSubjects. The persons at present engaged in the search of Gold, are chiefly of British origin and retired servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, who being well acquainted with the Natives, and connected by old acquaintanceship and the ties of friendship, are more disposed to aid and assist each other in their common pursuits, than to commit injuries against persons or property.
4. They appear to pursue their toilsome occupation in peace and without molestation from the Natives, and there is no reason to suppose that any criminal act, has been lately committed in that part of the country, nor indeed do I apprehend any difficulty in preserving order among those men, so long as the heterogeneous population of American Oregon are excludedManuscript imageexcluded from the gold district.
5. It is reported that gold is found in considerable quantities and that several persons have accumulated large sums by their labour and traffic, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of those reports, though on the other hand, there is no reason to discredit them, as about 220 ounces of Gold dust, has been brought to Vancouver's Island direct from the Upper Columbia, a proof that the country is at least auriferous. From the successful result of experiments made in washing gold from the sands of the tributary streams of Frasers River, there is reason to suppose that the gold region is extensive and I entertain sanguine hopes that future researchesManuscript imageresearches will develop stores of wealth, perhaps equal to the gold fields of California.
The geological formations observed in the "Sierra Nevada" of California, being similar in character to the structure of the corresponding range of mountains in this latitude, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the resemblance will be found to include, auriferous deposits.
6. I shall not fail to furnish you with full and regular accounts of every event of interest, connected with the gold district, which may from time to time occur.
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas

The Right Honble Henry Labouchere Esqre
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
VJ 14 Jan
HM Jan 15
JB 16 Jy
HL 19
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Labouchere to Douglas, No. 4, 24 January 1857.