No. 29
1 July 1858
My Lord,
1. Since I had last the honor of addressing you on the 19th of Instant,1 the excitement on the subject of the Fraser's River Gold Mines, has been more than ever exhibited, in the rush of people from all parts of the coast to this Colony.
The Custom House Books of this place shew a return of
  1. 19 Steam Ships
  2. 9 Sailing do
  3. 14 decked Boats
whichManuscript image which have entered at the Port of Victoria, since the 19th of May last, having 6133 passengers on board; all either bound directly for Fraser's River, or proposing to settle at this place with the view of entering into business connections with parties at the mines.
2. The ascertained number of persons who had actually sailed from the Port of San Francisco, with the intention of going into the Fraser's River Mines, up to the 15th of Instant, was 10,573, and there was then no abatement, in the demand for passages, every vessel being taken up as soon as advertised to sail for Vancouver's Island.
3. Those statements give a proximate idea of thenumberManuscript image number of persons, at and on the way to Fraser's River, from Calefornia, and other more distant countries, but do not represent the increase of population derived from the United States Territories of Washington and Oregon, through parties of adventurers who have entered the British Possessions by land.
We are therefore led to the inference that this country and Fraser's River have gained an increase of 10,000 inhabitants within the last six weeks, and the tide of immigration continues to roll onward without any prospect of abatement.
4. No complaints have been made as to the deportment of the emigrants, who notwithstanding the weakness of the ColonialExecutiveManuscript image Executive, have been quiet and submissive to the Laws of the country.
5. We continue successfully to enforce at this place the pre-payment of one month's Licence Fee, that is the sum of Five dollars, on all persons entering Fraser's River for the purpose of gold mining, for which a receipt is given in the accompanying form.
6. We have up to this day issued 2221 such receipts at this place, and 304 more were issued by Captain Prevost of Her Majesty's Ship "Satellite," when stationed off the entrance of Fraser's River, making a total issue of 2525 Licence receipts to as many respective miners, and we have thereby collected thesumManuscript image sum of 12,625 dollars on account of the Territorial Revenue, which I hold subject to your instructions.
7. I have lately received a communication from Mr Travaillot a gentleman who has resided for some months past in the Couteau gold diggings. He represents the country as exceedingly rich, and abounding in gold, fully to as great an extent as Calefornia in its better days.
8. The returns given in his report refer to "Morman Bar,"2 in the bed of Fraser's River, six miles above the junction of Thompson's River, and state the produce as follows vizt:
One Rocker yielded in 8 days a quantity dollars cents
of gold dust equal in value to . . . . . . 830. 00
A second Rocker yielded in 12 days . . . . 800. 00
A third Rocker yielded in 5 days . . . . . 248. 00
The Manuscript image
9. The second Table shews the yield procured from the "dry diggings," on the table land at the distance of thirty yards from the bed of Fraser's River, at the "Fountain,"3 64 miles above the junction of Thompson's River, and gives the following as the average daily return of each of Five Rockers, employed there for seven days between the 1st and 7th of June instant.
  dollars cents  
1st Rocker 42. 12 return per diem
2nd " 55. 58 " " "
3rd " 37. 69 " " "
4th " 46. 58 " " "
5th " 54. 57 " " "
It may perhaps be necessary to explain that the Rocker is a machine for washing out gold, made in the form of a child's cradle, and fitted withperforatedManuscript image perforated plates of iron and transverse bars of wood to intercept the pieces of gold, in the process of washing. Those referred to in the foregoing statement were worked by two white men; which gives a daily return, ranging from 18 to 27 dollars to the man.
10. Mr Travaillot's report is important in consequence of its being the first authentic information received of gold being discovered in the soil, apart from the River beds.
11. I have thus, much pleasure in communicating for your information that every succeeding report tends to confirm the belief as to the great value and extent of the auriferous deposits in this country.
12. I have appointedMrManuscript image Mr Travaillot revenue officer for the District of Fort Dallas, or Forks of Thompson's River,4and will authorize him to issue Licences to Miners, and to collect the legal Fees in that District. The Law must however be imperfectly executed until there be a military Force placed at my disposal.
13. I will authorize Mr Travaillot to raise and maintain a force of eight men for the service of Government, and to swear in all persons who take out mining Licences as Special Constables, for the maintenance of Law and order, granting to them also certain privileges in respect to mining claims in order to secure their fidelity and attachment.
14. About two thirds oftheManuscript image the emigrants from Calefornia are supposed to be English and French, the other third are Germans and native citizens of the United States. There is no congeniality of feeling among the emigrants, and provided there be no generally felt grievance to unite them in one common cause there will in my opinion always be a great majority of the population ready to support the measures of Government.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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See 7828.5
This conveys the very important information that a very small proportion of the immigrants are Americans—only part of a third.
HM Aug 10
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Form of receipt for mining license, printed form of license, and printed notice, "Conditions of Sufferance," applying to all non-HBC vessels operating on the Fraser, no date.6
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O. Travaillot, C.L.C., to Douglas, 24 June 1858 (in French).
  1. Douglas to Stanley, 19 June 1858, No. 28, 7832, CO 305/9, p. 116.
  2. Mormon Bar was located six miles north of Lytton. Source??
  3. The Fountain was an important local landmark situated in the middle of the big reverse curve on the Fraser, approximately midway between Lillooet and Pavillion. It was so named because of a small natural spring located there. Cite Mayne ?? G.P.V. and Helen B. Akrigg, 1001 British Columbia Place Names (Vancouver: Discovery Press, 1973), p. 67.
  4. The junction of the Thompson and Fraser was commonly called the Forks, until November 1858 when Douglas named the settlement that arose there Lytton, after the secretary of state for the colonies. A year previous, ?? the Hudson's Bay Company had selected a site two and one-half miles to the south for Fort Berens, named after Henry Hulse Berens, Governor?? of the H.B.C. Dallas or Berens?? See ??, below for time?? Akrigg, 1001 British Columbia Place Names, pp. 106-7.
  5. Douglas to Stanley, 10 June 1858, No. 24, 7828, CO 60/1, p. 29.
  6. = sufferances. Douglas ordered all persons bringing goods or passengers to the Fraser gold fields to compensate the Hudson's Bay Company, by way of a sufferance or charge, because he misunderstood the extent of the company's monopoly rights. For an explanation of Douglas's position, see Victoria Gazette, 7 July 1858; footnote on Douglas to Stanley, 10 June 1858, No. 24, 7828, CO 60/1, p. 29; and Douglas to Lytton, 30 September 1858, No. 42, 12179, CO 60/1, p. 169. The Conditions of Sufferance are printed in Papers Relative to British Columbia, p. 21. Also Gazette ?? Unnecessary if enclosure taken?? OMIT??
People in this document

Berens, Henry Hulse

Douglas, James

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Merivale, Herman

Prevost, James Charles

Stanley, Edward Henry

Travaillot, Oswald Justice

Organizations in this document

Hudson's Bay Company

Vessels in this document

HMS Satellite, 1855-1879

Places in this document

Fort Berens


Fraser River



Mormon Bar

Oregon Territory, or Columbia District


San Francisco

Thompson River

Vancouver Island


Washington Territory