BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

The early history of the Fraser River mines Howay, F. W. (Frederic William), 1867-1943 1926

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0347560.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0347560-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0347560-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0347560-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0347560-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0347560-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0347560-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

f Chablbs F. Ban
-_-_-_- I
tfeCen and
Printed by Chaeles F. Banfield, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty. r Provincial Library,
Victoria, B.C., 1926.
The Hon. William Sloan,
Provincial Secretary^ and Minister of Mines,
Parliament Buildings, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to transmit herewith the sixth memoir
of the Provincial Archives Department, entitled " The Early History
of the Fraser River Mines," contributed by His Honour Frederic W.
Howay, Judge of the County Court of New Westminster and a leading
authority on the early history of British Columbia.
The main body of the work consists of official correspondence taken
from the original documents in the Provincial Archives; these have
been carefully annotated by His Honour Judge Howay, who has also
furnished a very complete introduction to the work which is a valuable
addition to the literature of this interesting period of the Colonial
history of British Columbia.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
Librarian and Archivist.  CONTENTS.
Introduction    vii.
Address of His Excellency Governor Douglas      1
Correspondence of Richard Hicks from October, 1858, to June,
1859       3
Correspondence of Judge Begbie from January, 1850, to March,
1859     23
Miscellaneous documents relating to origin of " Ned McGowan
War"     54
Correspondence of Chartres Brew from November, 1858, to April,
1859     60
Miscellaneous documents   120 ILLUSTRATIONS.
Early view of Yale Frontispiece.
Interior of Fort Langley, 1858    xi.
The steamers " Beaver," " Colonel Moody," and " Enterprise "....   25
| Ned " McGowan    56
Fort Langley exterior    65
Chartres Brew     87
Robert T. Smith    94
J. C Haynes  100
A miner working in a sluice  105
Chartres Brew's grave at Barkerville  117 m u INTRODUCTION.
Time rolls his ceaseless course.   The race of yore,
Who danced our infancy upon their knee,
And told our marvelling boyhood legends store,
Of their strange ventures happ'd by land or sea,
How are they blotted from the things that be 1
How few all weak and wither'd of their force,
Wait on the verge of dark eternity,
Like stranded wrecks, the tide returning hoarse,
To sweep them from our sight!   Time rolls his ceaseless course.
AS THE years pass by and take their toll of the pioneers the
interest in the story they had to tell deepens. 'Tis sixty-seven
years since the great gold-rush to the Fraser River; and few, if
any, of that first onrushing tide of gold-seekers yet remain with us.
These men could recall, from personal experience, the conditions in
California, when, after almost ten years of unprecedented production,
the placers, like thoughtless spendthrifts, found their wealth exhausted
and had little left to bestow, at any rate upon the individual miner.
In 1858 the California miners were eager and restless, if not downhearted.    They were, as one has said, " industrially desperate."
In the spring of 1858 there went out to the world—that is, to
California, which was the nearest civilized spot that had a mining
population—rumours of the existence of gold in the bars of the Fraser.
It was known that the gold was fine, but this constituted an incentive
rather than a detriment, for, arguing from the analogy of the Sacramento, the Feather, and the San Joaquin, the Californians concluded
that higher up the river rich and extensive placers must exist. Then
began a great exodus. The worm-eaten wharves of San Francisco
fairly trembled under the weight of eager humanity hurrying to reach
the new El Dorado. Steamers and sailing-vessels departed almost
daily, loaded to the guards with miners and with the human flotsam
and jetsam that invariably gathers at the prospect of easily acquired
riches. Beginning in April the rush continued through May, June,
and July. It was at its height in June, when nearly ten thousand adventurers are said to have left San Francisco for the Fraser River; during
the first ten days of July six thousand more sailed; it is estimated that
the total number who came by land and water was between twenty-five
and thirty thousand. In the words of the Rev. R. C. Lundin Brown:
" In short, never in the history of the migrations of men has been seen
a ' rush" so sudden and so vast." These adventurers knew but little of the country to which they
were bound. That region, the mainland of British Columbia, was then
unorganized territory, in which the Hudson's Bay Company had a
licence of exclusive trade with the Indians. It had no government,
no towns, no roads, no means of transportation—none of the organization or accompaniments of civilization. For fifty years and more
the fur-traders had been in possession; but the only evidences of their
existence were some eight or ten trading-posts or " forts," a few
" brigade trails " in the interior, and a little farming at Fort Langley.
English law prevailed in the land. It is possible that justices of
the peace existed—on paper—for there is no evidence of their having
acted as such. In any event, their jurisdiction was limited to trivial
matters. Serious crimes were by the old Acts of George III. and
George IV. to be tried in Upper Canada, which meant, practically,
that they would not, and could not, be tried at all. Hence it is scarcely
an exaggeration to say that on the mainland of British Columbia there
was no law but the " law of the, club and the fang."
To this unorganized and uncivilized country the gold-seekers were
hurrying. The vessels from San Francisco landed them, first at Esqui-
malt, but later at Victoria. About one hundred and sixty miles still lay
between them and their Mecca, the bars of the Fraser. The first-comers
transported themselves as best they could. Some built boats for the
journey; some hired Indians with their canoes; some obtained passage
in a tramp " plunger," or sloop, to Langley and trusted to the future for
the remainder of the way. The only British steamers on the coast
were the " Beaver " and the " Otter "; but they were quite incapable
of stemming the swift current of the upper Fraser, and, besides, were
of too heavy draught to venture much beyond Langley.
James Douglas, who then occupied the dual positions of Governor
of Vancouver Island (which had been a colony since 1849) and the
head of the Hudson's Bay Company on the Pacific Coast, seeing this
great inrush, took upon himself, of necessity and as the nearest government official, to represent the Crown upon the mainland. He had
already issued regulations regarding the digging of gold and now
promulgated the terms upon which people might enter the country.
His action was approved by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, the Secretary
of State for the Colonies, and he was requested to continue until Parliament could meet and pass the necessary Act to form the Colony of
British Columbia.
As in every large gathering, the adventurers were from all walks
of life and of greatly diverse characters. The majority were, and
wished to be, well-behaved and law-abiding; but in the influx had come -^
Introduction. ix.
many with unsavoury reputations—loafers and idlers, gamblers, roughs
and toughs, San Francisco " boatmen," ex-convicts, and murderers. As
Judge Begbie says, the " lives of some of them would not be worth an
hour's purchase in any street in San Francisco." Douglas had indeed
a difficult task before him: to organize a civilized and peaceable community out of this unpromising material; to enforce the law, maintain
order, and punish crime; to provide means of transport on land and
water; to explore the country and survey towns and agricultural lands;
and to do all this out of current revenue—for Sir E. B. Lytton seemed
to think it strange that a community brought into existence only by
the presence of gold should need monetary assistance. It is not surprising that Douglas asked at once for a detachment of soldiers; in
response Colonel Moody was sent out in command of a body of Royal
In California, whence the miners came, law had been so poorly
enforced and life had been held in such small esteem that the people
had been compelled twice to rise in their power and form Vigilance
Committees to arrest and punish malefactors and to protect life and
property. These self-constituted bodies had, in 1851 and again in
1856, usurped the positions of the feeble courts and had been both
accusers and judges. They had tried and hanged many murderers;
others they had deported or ordered to leave the state. Opposed to
the Vigilance Committee was the Law and Order party. In the migration to British Columbia were included " Vigilantes " as well as " Law
and Orders," and naturally they both brought to this new land the
animosities engendered in the old. But the strong hand of Governor
Douglas and the stern justice of Judge Begbie soon made them realize
that conduct which had been freely permitted in California would not
be tolerated under the British flag. In the correspondence of Judge
Begbie and Mr. Brew herewith reproduced will be found references to
the smouldering trouble between these two factions; it will, however,
be observed that it went no further than useless threats or a trifling
To provide transportation from Victoria to the mining region
Douglas issued " sufferances" to American steamers for a limited
period. He strove to impose terms requiring them to carry the goods
of the Hudson's Bay Company only, and also to pay to that company
" as compensation " two dollars for every passenger carried by them
into the mining region. These restrictions were immediately disallowed
by Sir E. B. Lytton; but in the interval they were the source of much
friction. Under the " sufferance " plan the American steamers " Surprise," " Umatilla," " Enterprise," " Seabird," and " Maria " during the I
summer of 1858 were in the carrying trade between Victoria and Fort
Hope. The " Surprise " was the first steamer to ascend the Fraser
beyond Langley; she arrived at Fort Hope on Sunday, June 7, 1858.
Two British vessels, " Governor Douglas" and " Colonel Moody,"
were soon built for the trade; included in this volume will be found a
petition from their owners for an exclusive right of navigation for one
year between New Westminster and Douglas and Hope.
In June, 1858, Douglas, who as yet had no legal authority as
Governor of the mainland—and he did not become Governor of British
Columbia until September 2, 1858—appointed three officials whose
names frequently appear in the annexed correspondence: Richard
Hicks, as Revenue Officer and Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands
at Yale; George Perrier, as Justice of the Peace at Hill's Bar; and
O. Travaillot, usually styled Captain Travaillot, as Revenue Officer
and Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands at Lytton. In September, 1858, he appointed Robert T. Smith as Justice of the Peace and
Revenue Officer at Fort Hope.
The Act creating the Colony of British Columbia was passed on
August 2, 1858; James Douglas was appointed Governor on September
2, 1858; and on the same date his instructions were signed, authorizing
him to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the
colony, an unusual power, only justified by the unique conditions; and
by an instrument of the same date also the exclusive trading privileges
of the Hudson's Bay Company were abrogated. At the same time
Matthew Baillie Begbie, afterwards Sir Matthew, was appointed the
Judge of the colony. But by the time these documents reached Victoria
and Judge Begbie had arrived over two months had elapsed. Finally
on November 19, 1858, at Langley, the ceremony of swearing in the
officials and formally launching the colony was performed. The only
account extant of this important event is herewith reproduced:—
" Installation of the Government of British Columbia.
| New Fort Langley, 20th November, 1858.
"Editors, Gazette:
" Yesterday, the birthday of British Columbia, was ushered in by
a steady rain, which continued perseveringly throughout the whole day,
and in a great measure marred the solemnity of the proclamation of
the Colony. His Excellency Governor Douglas, with a suite comprising Rear-Admiral Baynes (commanding the naval forces on the Pacific
station) ; Mr. Cameron, the respected Chief Justice of Vancouver
Island; Mr. Begbie, the newly appointed Judge of British Columbia;
Mr. Lira, and others, proceeded on board H.M. ship ' Satellite,' Captain 1  Introduction. xi.
Prevost, on Wednesday morning, by the Canal de Haro to Point
Roberts, where His Excellency remained during the night. On Thursday morning His Excellency and suite were conveyed by the Hudson's
Bay Company's screw-steamer {Otter' to the Company's steamship
* Beaver,' which was lying moored within the mouth of Fraser River.
Both vessels then proceeded in company as far as Old Fort Langley,
where the ' Otter' disembarked a party of eighteen sappers under the
command of Captain Parsons, who immediately embarked on the
' Recovery' revenue cutter, joining the command of Captain Grant,
R.E., who had previously reached this spot with a party of the same
corps. Both these gallant officers have recently arrived from England
with small parties of men under their command. The ' Beaver' then
proceeded with His Excellency aboard to New Fort Langley, where
preparations were made for the ceremonial of the following day.
" On Friday, the 19th inst., His Excellency, accompanied by his
suite, and received by a guard of honour commanded by Captain Grant,
disembarked on the wet, loamy bank under the Fort, and the procession
proceeded up the steep bank which leads to the palisade. Arrived
there, a salute of eighteen guns commenced pealing from the ' Beaver,'
awakening all the echoes of the opposite mountains. In another
moment the flag of Britain was floating or, to speak the truth, dripping
over the principal entrance. Owing to the unpropitious state of the
weather, the meeting, which was intended to have been held in the
open air, was convened in the large room at the principal building.
About 100 persons were present.
| The ceremonies were commenced by His Excellency addressing
Mr. Begbie, and delivering to him Her Majesty's commission as Judge
in the Colony of British Columbia. Mr. Begbie then took the oath of
allegiance, and the usual oaths on taking office, and then, addressing
His Excellency, took up Her Majesty's commission appointing the
Governor, and proceeded to read it at length. Mr. Begbie then administered to Governor Douglas the usual oaths of office—viz., allegiance,
abjuration, etc. His Excellency, being thus duly appointed and sworn in,
proceeded to issue the Proclamations of the same date (19th instant)—
viz., one proclaiming the Act; a second indemnifying all the officers of
the Government from any irregularities which may have been committed in the interval before the proclamation of the Act; and a third
proclaiming English law to be the law of the Colony. The reading of
these was preceded by His Excellency's Proclamation of the 3rd inst.,
setting forth the revocation by Her Majesty of all the exclusive privileges of the Hudson's Bay Company. The proceedings then terminated.
On leaving the Fort, which His Excellency did not finally do until
1 I
xii. Introduction.
to-day, another salute of seventeen guns was fired from the battlements,
with even a grander effect than the salute of the previous day.
" On leaving the river-side in front of the town, a number of the
inhabitants were assembled with whom His Excellency entered into
conversation previous to embarking on board the ' Beaver,' and by
whom he was loudly cheered in very good style as he was on his way
to the steamer.
" Viator/'
The letters that are in this volume consist of a part of the correspondence of Richard Hicks from October, 1858, to May, 1859; of
Chartres Brew, the Chief Inspector of Police and Assistant Chief Gold
Commissioner, from November, 1858, to April, 1859; of Judge Begbie
from January, 1859, to March, 1859; together with a few scattered but
illuminating documents. The selection, however, has been carefully
made with the view of showing the men and the life of the time, the
difficulties of maintaining order and collecting revenue, and generally
the conditions prevailing in the Colony of British Columbia—that is,
on Fraser River—when it was in its swaddling-clothes.
The papers open, naturally, with Governor Douglas's speech to
the miners at Yale in September, 1858. That address gives a concise
outline of some of the problems he had to face. It shows the Governor
in a unique role. The occasion of his visit to Yale was the troubles
that had occurred between the gold-seekers and the Indians. The
latter desired to monopolize the mining and were jealous of their rights
as the original occupants, while the miners were extremely arrogant
and acted as though the natives had no claims whatever and were their
natural enemies, and that, as one expressed it, " the only good Indians
are the dead ones." Fire-arms and fire-water fed the flames of incipient trouble, and soon the natives became so threatening that the whites
who had ascended the canyons were forced to flee for their lives.
Some, who were unable to escape, were killed, and their bodies, in
some instances scalped, came floating down the turbulent river.
A punitive expedition of over one hundred volunteers was organized
by the gold-seekers and dispatched towards Lytton. This display of
force, aided by a little diplomacy, brought an amicable understanding.
When the news of this disturbance reached Governor Douglas, late in
August, 1858, he, supported by Colonel Hawkins and fifteen of the
Royal Engineers of the boundary survey with twenty marines from
H.M.S. " Satellite," set out at once to preserve order in the Fraser
River mines.   But before his arrival there peace had been concluded.
Mr. Hicks, some of whose letters are reproduced, was a complete
failure in his position as a Crown officer.   This was not altogether
i\ Introduction. xiii.
from lack of ability, but from want of character. He was unsuitable,
undiplomatic, and undignified; but, worse than that, he was dishonest
and guilty of using his public office for his private gain. The charges
against him, set out in these papers, which were investigated by Judge
Begbie and Mr. Brew and found to be well established, his own records,
and his own admissions, all unite to condemn him. When he was dismissed for misconduct those who rallied to his support and passed the
resolutions set out in these papers were the miners of Hill's Bar, many
of whom were of the worst class, the dregs of California, and some of
whom had been driven out of that state by the Vigilance Committee
of 1856.
Mr. Brew was appointed by Sir E. B. Lytton and sent out to form
a police force suitable to the needs of the new land and its motley population. One of his difficulties was to procure men of the proper stamp
to act as peace officers. Some of those who had been appointed before
his arrival were quite unfit and incompetent. He succeeded in attracting to the service many persons whose names stand out in the later
story of the Colony; men like E. H. Sanders, W. G. Cox, J. C. Haynes,
and Thomas Elwyn. A great deal of Brew's correspondence has been
chosen to show the difficulty in the collection of the miners' monthly
licence fee of five dollars. Their constant cry that they were not making
enough to pay the tax is very different from the stories of great returns
with which the papers of the day are filled. Gambling, the illicit sale of
liquor, and smuggling are the evils that the police have mostly to
encounter. It will be observed that there are practically no complaints
of robberies; but murders were quite frequent. Yet even there it will
be found that they, generally, arise from quarrels over gambling, or
disputes over mining claims, or have some connection with old
The central item in Judge Begbie's correspondence is the " Ned
McGowan War." Many versions of that opera-bouffe " war " have
been given. The usual sources are either Lieutenant Mayne's " Four
Years in British Columbia " or the items in the newspapers of the
time; but in the letters of Judge Begbie, of Colonel Moody, and of
Mr. Brew are contained the official reports of those whose business it
was to ascertain the facts. Judge Begbie's account will be taken hereafter as the correct story. His correspondence contains many sidelights upon the early administration of justice; in it can be seen from
the outset that determination to maintain order and that stern impartiality which soon made it plain to all that the lawlessness of California
could not be implanted in the soil of British Columbia. Introduction.
Concurrent documents dealing with the " Ned McGowan War"
and supporting Judge Begbie's statements are also given: The short
report of Colonel Moody, dated 17th January, 1859; the letter from
Mr. Perrier, the justice of the peace at Hill's Bar, justifying the arrest
of his brother magistrate, " Captain " P. B. Whannell, of Yale, through
the instrumentality of "that notorious villain Edward McGowan,"
together with the affidavit of Thomas Piesley which doubtless was
enclosed with it; and the letter from " Captain " Whannell containing
an exaggerated and biased account of the difficulty between himself
and Perrier arising out of contempt for their respective dignities which
set in motion the whole law-enforcing power of the infant colony.
The effort that Whannell makes in that letter to link the trouble
between himself and Perrier with the murder he mentions—with which
he knew that the actions of the Hill's Bar magistrate had no connection—and his exaggerated and inflammatory language will cause
readers to wonder why he was not dismissed as well as Perrier;
Whannell was equally to blame for the affair. Judge Begbie characterized them both as " alike ignorant of the law, surrounded by evil
counsellors, and carried away with the most unbounded ideas of the
dignity of their offices and themselves." In his opinion neither of them
was fitted for his position. Beyond this incident Whannefl's conduct
as a magistrate appears extreme, if not, as the miners called it,
"tyrannical." As a side-light upon his character the report of his
misdeeds in Australia is illuminating.
To appreciate the prompt action of Colonel Moody in taking an
armed force of about one hundred and twenty-five men up the river in
midwinter to quell a supposed insurrection it is necessary to keep always
in mind the bad reputation that the miners of Hill's Bar unfortunately
had. Amongst them was that arch-renegade, Ned McGowan. As he
became the storm centre a short sketch of his life will show why any
unlawfulness in which he was concerned would be closely scanned by
the authorities.
McGowan was born in Pennsylvania. In his youth he learned
the trade of a printer, which he followed, on and off, during the
remainder of his life. Becoming interested in politics and being self-
possessed, resourceful, crafty, unscrupulous, and a fiery debater and
public speaker, he soon rose in the councils of his party. He studied
law and was finally elected a member of the State Legislature. In a
debate in the House he attacked unfairly and unmercifully the Governor
of Pennsylvania. One of the newspapers took up the cudgels in
defence of the official and berated the young politician; in revenge
McGowan assaulted and stabbed the editor.    Succeeding in escaping punishment, he returned to Philadelphia, where he soon became a
captain of police. He consorted with the most dissolute characters in
the city, and, being suspected of complicity in the robbery of the
Chester County Bank, he fled in disguise. He was arrested, but again
succeeded in escaping punishment. Two years later (1849) he arrived
in California, then a wild place. McGowan was amongst the wildest
of the wild. He became a political power, or rather a power politically,
by means of the famous ballot-box with false bottom and sides. He
was soon elected a justice of the peace and, in 1851, an associate
justice of the Court of Quarter Sessions. Resigning this position, he
continued on his downward course and became notorious as the boon
companion of gamblers and thugs and of the denizens, male and female,
of the underworld. In May, 1856, lawlessness reached its height
when James King of William was murdered by James P. Casey. As
a result the Vigilance Committee of that year was organized. One of
its first steps after obtaining Casey was to charge McGowan as accessory to that murder; but he was nowhere to be found. Of him the
chairman said: " The chief of the vultures—the notorious Ned
McGowan—it has been difficult to find. He may be now in some cave
in our midst. Probably he is now in some dark cellar at the base of
Telegraph Hill, or some other invisible place, but he may yet come to
The note in the Vigilance Committee's black-list is: " Ned
McGowan ran away about June 1st." High and low through San
Francisco, but in vain, the " Vigilantes " sought him. After lying in
hiding for many days and after numerous hairbreadth escapes he
reached Mexico. Even there he was not safe; they followed him;
they tracked him from hiding-place to hiding-place; but he always
succeeded in eluding them. After the excitement had died down and
the Vigilance Committee had disbanded he returned to California.
Through his instrumentality an Act was passed by the State Legislature
under which he obtained a change of venue for the trial of the charge
against him from San Francisco to Napa County. Napa was then a
veritable Goshen for scoundrels of all kinds. The trial of McGowan
as an accessory to the murder of King of William resulted in his
acquittal by a Napa jury.
Then in the summer of 1857 he began the publication of a scurrilous paper, which under the names of the " Phoenix | and the
" Ubiquitous " continued until February, 1858. The style of the publication may be inferred from what has already been said regarding
McGowan's character, and if more be wanted it may be added that the
issue of February 14, 1858, was seized by the police of San Francisco 1 '
as unfit for circulation. About this time he published a " Narrative
of Edward McGowan, including a Full Account of the Author's Adventures and Perils, while persecuted by the San Francisco Vigilance
Committee of 1856.    Published by the Author, 1857."
Then the Golden Goddess, waving her wand of Chance and Adventure, summoned him to the bars of the Fraser. Of his life in British
Columbia the letters of Judge Begbie and Mr. Brew enable us to obtain
many glimpses. He has not changed but is a great deal more discreet.
Leaving the colony in March, 1859, under the circumstances stated by
Mr. Brew, Ned is next found in Tucson, Arizona, where he is following
his two callings of printer and lawyer. Thence he drifts back to the
Eastern States, and when he next appears he is an Assistant Sergeant-
at-Arms in the House of Representatives. About 1883 he returned
to the West and took up his residence in San Francisco, where he died,
in 1893, a penniless, garrulous, and, strange to say, pious old man.
In reading the accompanying letters and reports it must be borne
in mind that all numbers and all mileages are merely approximations.
The mining population in 1858-59 is supposed to have been about
ten thousand men, scattered along the river from the vicinity of Sumas
to beyond Canoe Creek. The bars upon which they were working
existed at almost every bend of the Fraser. " For ages the Fraser,
rushing madly along, had torn away the gold-bearing rock, crushed it
in its natural arrastre, and deposited the gold with the accompanying
metallic sand in the eddies in those bends."
Between Hope and Yale, which was the centre of the mining,
there were probably more than thirty bars named and worked; while
between Yale and Lytton there were more than fifty; and upon them
all the miners were at work with rocker or sluice to wrest from its
hiding-place " the yellow root of evil." Langley was the only town on
the lower river; it may have had a population of a few hundred; in
Hope there were then, perhaps, five hundred people; Yale was the
important spot: its inhabitants probably numbered three thousand;
Boston Bar, now but a name, was then a real place with hotels, stores,
and gambling-houses; Lytton is said to have numbered about one
thousand inhabitants.
It is now in many instances impossible to identify with certainty
many of the bars so well known and so populous in 1858-59. An
effort has been made to indicate as accurately as possible the situation
of some of those mentioned in the correspondence. It is, of course,
realized that errors will, in all probability, be found in these attempted
identifications. As an instance of the difficulty of accurately fixing
these various bars reference may be made to the reports of Mr. Sanders
-J of April 6 and April 23, 1859; it will be seen that all his distances
are exaggerated and at times the sequence is not observed.
The notes have been made as brief as possible; no attempt has
been made to include complete biographical sketches, nor complete
historical information; and in many instances the printed and easily
accessible sources have merely been indicated. Where quotations have
been included it will usually be found that they are from manuscript
or other material not readily obtainable. The Parliamentary Papers,
in four parts, known as " Papers relating to British Columbia,
1859-62," are a perfect mine of information on the subjects dealt with
in the correspondence; but to have included all references to those
papers was quite impossible within practical limitations of space.
The hope is entertained that this volume will serve to make more
widely known the wealth of basic material relating to the story of the
province that is preserved in the archives; that these letters, which are
but the merest fragments of the correspondence of the mining days,
will be found useful to the student of the history of British Columbia;
and that their perusal will aid the reader to visualize the conditions
under which the colony came into existence in those early days—" the
days of old, the days of gold."
j j S5^
OCTOBER, 1858, TO JUNE, 1859.
Address of His Excellency the Governor to the Inhabitants
at Fort Yale, September 12th, 1858.
Gentlemen,—I understand that you assembled yesterday on my
arrival here, not only to welcome the Representative of our Most
Gracious Lady the Queen, but also to learn from me the views of
the Queen's Government about this country.1
It is not the custom with Governors of British Provinces to address
the public, but as this is a particular occasion, and the circumstances
are peculiar, and as you have expressed a wish to learn the truth, I
will depart from the custom and explain to you in a few words what
are the views of the Government in relation to this country.
(1.) In the first place, I am commanded to say to all Her
Majesty's native-born subjects that this is their country, and that
their country opens wide her portals to receive them from whatever
part of the world they come, and that they will enjoy here all the
rights, privileges, and immunities of British subjects.
(2.) In the second place, I am commanded to say to the citizens
of that great republic which, like the mustard-seed, has grown up into
a mighty tree, and gives shelter to the oppressed of all nations, that
offshoot from England of which England is still proud—I am commanded to extend to you the right hand of fellowship and to give you
a hearty welcome to our country.
And not less to you gallant Frenchmen, with whose country
England is so closely allied, I am commanded to give a hearty welcome,
as well as to the natives of other foreign countries I am commanded
to offer friendship and protection.
Our Gracious Queen commands me to receive you with kindness,
and to allow you to dig for gold in her dominions, and to offer you ■PP-H
The Fraser River Mines.
the protection of British laws, as long as you obey those laws and pay
the Queen's dues like honest men.
Now for a word about the country. Colonies cannot be established without the consent of Parliament. Frazer's River is therefore
not yet open for settlement, but we learn by last accounts from England
that the subject was before Parliament, and, as public opinion is strongly
in favour of colonizing the country, there is little doubt that the
measure will pass. In the meantime what is to be done? Many of
you, I know, wish to settle in the country, and wish to build and to
make yourselves comfortable before winter sets in. I have therefore
adopted a plan which will meet the prospective views of Government,
and your wants at the same time, by giving you the necessary amount
of protection.
I have decided, entirely on my own responsibility, to give you the
only title that can be granted for land at present.
I have given orders to Mr. Hicks, the Commissioner for Crown
Lands, to have a townsite surveyed here, and to dispose of building
lots to any person wishing to hold them under lease, with a pre-emption
right when the land is sold by the Crown. This will give confidence
and security to every one.
In the same manner I have given Mr. Hicks instructions to lay out
the farming lands near the town in convenient lots of 20 acres and to
make grants of them under the same tenure.
I have also given him instructions to permit the building of sawmills, to establish ferries, to open roads, and generally to carry out the
views of Government in the manner best calculated to give development
to the resources of this glorious country.
I have now said all that relates to your individual interests, and
have further to assure you that the laws will be administered with
justice and impartiality; and I have to exhort you all to aid and support
the civil officers in the discharge of their duties.
Every wise man and every good man knows the value of good
laws, and every man who expects to receive their protection when he
himself gets into trouble must be ready at all times to come out manfully
in support of those laws.
Let all do so, and there will not be a better or more quiet community in any part of Her Majesty's dominions than will be found
at Yale.
On our way up the river we stopped at nearly all the mining bars,
and found the people healthy, happy, and prosperous, and I am proud
to say what is much more to their honour, I found among the miners Richard Hicks.
a degree of probity, of good order—aye, and intelligence, that I was
not prepared to expect.
Gentlemen, I have now done and I have only further to wish
you all well. 	
Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
27th December, 1858.
Dear Mr. Blackwood,—I have much pleasure in acknowledging
your note of the 1st of November last, accompanying Sir Edward
Lytton's Despatch No. 35 of the 1st of November; which though
unsigned will meet with all due attention and respect.
Col: Moody2 and party arrived here on the 25th, not in time,
I regret to say, to take part in our Christmas festivities, which would
have been all the gayer for his presence. Our quarters are rather
crowded at this moment, in consequence of so many official arrivals,
and the want of official residences, but we have contrived through the
kindness of friends to procure temporary house accommodation for
the whole party.
The weather is at present fine, and the opposite hills still retain their
hue of green; a single Castile rose, somewhat faded, was picked yesterday, and the humble Daisy-heart's Ease, and wall flower, growing
exposed in my garden, have not yet entirely lost their bloom. Those
few facts will perhaps give a clearer idea of the climate than any
With respect and best wishes yery faithfully
James Douglas.
The Mail Steamer will leave in a very short time—and I will therefore probably have no time to address Sir Edward Lytton by the present
mail in reply to his late Despatches.—J. Douglas.
Sunday Morning,
October 17th, 1858.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas.
May it please Your Excellency:
I have the honour of acquainting Your Excellency that another
attempt at murder was committed on Friday, and this morning little
or no hopes are entertained of the poor man's recovery.3 I have taken
the depositions of the wounded man, and properly attested; all that
(2) Colonel Richard Clement .Moody, the commanding officer of the detachment of Royal Engl-
(3) The killing of Isaac C. Miller by Henry Post.    The trouble arose oyer the right to T Satin k~^,_-._
The Fraser River Mines.
could be done to relieve his sufferings have been done; he is under
the care of Dr. Fifer,4 of this Town. In prosecutions so very distant
from Victoria, will it be required to send witnesses or will Affidavits
taken and made here answer the ends of Justice? I forward Your
Excellency the copies of the examination and I committed the Prisoner
to Victoria to await the result of the prosecution. W. Kirby5 will
deliver him over to the authorities at Victoria.
Last evening and about an hour after the excitement of the above
had in some degree abated, Officers Carey8 and McLane were informed
that the notorious Joseph Foster was coming up with a Canoe-load of
liquor; they waited for him, and he came boldly up to the landing
expecting he would not be noticed. He was asked for the permit. He
replied that he would get it in a few minutes and took the Officers up
in Town for that purpose. Foster in the meantime orders his Indians
down the river, etc. This is the third time Foster has been known to
Answered smuggle Liquors into Fort Yale, but always evaded
To be referred to reasons   the officers until now.    I have committed him to
for reducing licence. ,7.   ,      .     .       .   .  ,      ~, ,. ■ . .     ..
Victoria for trial. The proceedings taken in these
two cases have given general satisfaction and every confidence is felt
that Justice will take its course and life and property be protected.
Mr. Pearkes7 will be pleased to advise me by return what further
action will be required.
I received a notice from Mr. Collector Anderson8 that all licences
were for the future not collected at Victoria. I will have copies made
and posted in different parts of my district.
I have been with Mr. Pemberton9 and his assistant, Mr. Wells,
half the week, and the great pressure of business at Fort Yale, and
being constantly obliged to visit different parts of the mines, I have
not been able to finish the collecting of the miners' licences; about 4
miles above here will complete my district.
Your Excellency stated that alterations were in contemplation
with respect to the collection of miners' licences. I would most respectfully suggest that a quarterly licence of five dollars be collected instead
of monthly, which will realize a larger revenue because we tan then
make all pay, rich and poor claims; as it is now, the great bulk of the Richard Hicks. 5
claims do not pay over two dollars per day to the man. The taxation
of claims in Australia was compelled to be given up in consequence of
the miners not being able to pay it; and should Your Excellency adopt
this course I now propose, I assure you you will stand higher still in the
estimation of all classes. I most earnestly entreat Your Excellency to
take this course and that you will be pleased to issue your immediate
Proclamation to that effect; all classes will be then satisfied, the Country will be benefitted, and the revenue increased very materially.
I beg to assure Your Excellency that my motives for introducing
these suggestions emanate from a desire to see this new Colony prosper
and its people happy, and, Sir, you will be honoured, adored, and
almost worshipped by the people.
I attended a deputation of respectable miners on Thursday and
heard their remarks with regard to the mines generally, and they consider the tax oppressive. I did not, however, give them any encouragement that you would alter the tax; I only promised them to write Your
Excellency on the subject.   Waiting your reply.
Believe me, Your Excellency's
Obt hole servt,
Richard Hicks.
Fort Yale District. 	
To His Excellency Governor Douglas.
May it please Your Excellency:
I take leave to present you with a report of the prospect of the
mines in my district, and in doing so have much pleasure in observing
that everything is quiet, and very extensive preparations are being made
for mining in the Spring.
I forward Your Excellency a list of water privileges that are
granted to parties for mining purposes. There are several large water
Companies who are making watercourses upon different plots or flats
on Fraser River, their object being to erect Flumes in some places that
will supply more than one thousand claims; it is by such means and
enterprise that the Country will be prospected.
I also forward you a diagram of " Prince Albert" flats.10 The
most extensive preparations are being made for opening these mines,
and upwards of four thousand men can work on this flat when the
water comes in the claims. I have measured off myself, allowing to
each miner twenty-five feet frontage and five hundred feet in depth)11
(10) Prince Albert Flat, about a mile above Bmory'i
the discretionary powers given In bis instructions.    Bee tl
■5*% ■■■_■-«
The Fraser River Mines.
being the first dry diggings discovered on Fraser River. The twenty-
six claims allowed to Mr. MacHenry12 I have reduced to one claim
each, by mutual consent, in consequence of the depth of the claims
being on a liberal scale; each miner looks forward with confidence of
reaping a golden harvest. There are two water Companies hard at
work making ditches for conveying the water to the flat; it will take
some time, perhaps a month or more, before they will be able to get in
the water.
I have heard nothing more of the reported " Silver-mine " nor
seen any of the men who discovered the lead; other parties are now
in search of the continuation of the mine. Your Excellency shall know
the result of their labours. I understood Mr. Williams had taken
specimens of the Ore to Victoria.13 All I can procure I forward
I am sorry to state that Hill's Bar is worked out; the flat at the
back of the Cabins, however, proves very rich. I have marked out the
line of high-water mark on this bar; some of the miners have taken
great offence, expecting they could dig up to the very mountain on this
flat, and indeed the mountain or side-hill will soon be worked.14 A water
company have already commenced to dig a ditch for conveyance of
water for the miners here, and will be completed in about five weeks ;
this ditch will cost about Four thousand dollars.
On American15 and Santa Clara16 bars the miners are also waiting
for water, which is being conveyed in a ditch about two miles long from
a Lake at the back of Texas Bar. The parties are Messrs. King,
Severe, and McKay; they are now employing sixty-eight men on the
work, the cost of which, I understand, will exceed five thousand dollars.
Such men as Mr. King deserve encouragement for their enterprise.17
(12) John McHenry, Richard Dighton, Thomas Wolters, D. McLaughlin, W. lee, F. Car-
fj R. H. Maines, H. Knox, 0. Johnstone, W. Grash, G. Grash, G. White, and W. Gilmore,
; the discoverers of the flat, were " allowed to take up an additional thirteen next contiguous
i, quite unintelligible.    The claim was
ust 5, 1858.
below high water.    The difficulty was
September 28, 1858, it appears that tt
(15) American Bar was about four
(16) Santa Clara Bar was immedli
(17) Texas Bar was about seven mi
Island.    On July 20, 1858, Mr. Hicks
7 alongside of Americ Richard Hicks.
On Cornish Bar18 very few claims pay to work with a rocker;
here again water is being conveyed for sluicing and miners will shortly
be able to work to better advantage. In all operations of fluming and
sluicing, where the dirt only pays a cent to the pan, a man can earn
$10 per day, whereas in a rocker he will not save more than $1, the
gold being fine; it is almost impossible to save it without quicksilver.
Very little mining is doing above Fort Yale up to the Ferry19—
indeed, hardly worth naming; the spring-time will, however, be better,
the rain and cold driving miners down, together with the high price
of provisions.
On the flat opposite Fort Yale the miners have sunk shafts and
discovered good mining ground; consequently Mr. Wells did not survey
the twenty acre lots for Garden purposes.20 If this flat should prove
rich, I presume Your Excellency will not object to have it worked;
water can be carried up the river in a ditch from below Hill's Bar.21
Some Miners commenced sinking a shaft near the Indian house
this side Fort Yale Creek and discovered good diggins of course gold.
I was, however, compelled to stop further progress, otherwise Fort
Yale Town would not exist; much disappointment was manifested by
my interferance.    I could not, however, do otherwise.
An immense extent of flat land opposite Strawberry Island22 was
a few days ago discovered to contain rich deposits of the precious
metal, and much excitement was created in consequence. I was down
on this flat on Friday last and was much delighted to find that eighteen
cents to the pan was found at a depth of eight feet. The ditch Company
No. 13 are making every exertion to bring the water on the flat from
the Creek at the head of the flat, it will however take some time to
complete the operation.
I have given Your Excellency some idea of the mining prospects
which cannot be but most gratifying to your feelings, especially with
regard to Prince Albert flat—above the rock named Albert head—
at least one mile of frontage on the river I intend to survey off into
claims of twenty-five feet frontage. Your Excellency will perhaps feel
much surprised at the depth allowed for each claim. The striping of the
top dirt does not pay within eight feet of the surface, it would not pay
men to go to the great expense of fetching in water so long a distance 8 The Fraser River Mines.
unless more extended privileges were granted; therefore it was to open
these mines and encourage the men on that induced me to comply with
their wishes. There is plenty of ground that pays, even up to the foot
of the mountain, about one and a quarter mile back. I trust you will
confirm the action I have thus taken.
I have very many difficulties to contend with, especially with
regard to Water grants. Men are almost at times out of their cences
and are determined to infringe on the privileges granted to others.
I was compelled to issue Injunction notices to Messrs. Williams, Burns,
and six others to restrain them from carrying a ditch from Santa Clara
Creek on to the bar and flat, and very much interfering with other
operations in progress.
All that can be done to carry on the mining operations of this
Colony I will do to the utmost of my power. There are many elements
that would, if possible, stay its progress, but I trust to overcome
them all.
I stated to Your Excellency my opinion in a former Letter that
the reduction on mining Licences would operate most beneficially.
I mean that, instead of a monthly licence,23 a Quarterly one be substituted of the amount of Five dollars. All miners can pay that amount,
no complaint would be made, and I assure Your Excellency a sufficient
revenue can be collected to support the Colony, because the poorest
claim can afford and must pay the licence; as it is now, the miner
cannot do it. I would also respectfully beg to observe that the collection of the licence will be more easy; it now takes upwards of a month
to go over my district and I am called off to different points of my
district to settle disputes, which retards the collecting considerably.
All these obsticles could be remedied, and if the monthly system is to
be retained, Your Excellency will, I am sure, allow me to appoint
deputies to assist; these collectors must be paid, and it would be much
better that the hard-working miner should have the advantage, if any.
In granting water privileges I have not neglected the interests of
this new Colony; they will all be subject to taxation, monthly, when
completed. I have fixed the amount at Five dollars for each sluce and
flume, on some of the large flats forty or fifty sluces will receive water.
I have little doubt but that next year more than two thousand sluce
boxes will be in operation in this district.
A meeting of the miners on Hill's Bar was held last evening and a
memorial (signed by the Chairman) to Your Excellency adopted.
I beg to state that I have only done my duty in marking out the boundry
(23) The original license fee as fixed by the regulations of December 29, 1857, had been ten
V Richard Hicks. 9
of high water mark, which seperates the river claims from the
bank diggins. Mr. Allard, myself, and two of the oldest Indians on
the river proceeded to the spot; the Indians ought to know best the
bounds of the river. It took us a day to go over the ground; it was
no interest to the Indians to deceive us, and I am sure they performed
their duty manfully, altlio' the miners swore and insulted them, to
the disgrace of white men—as they call themselves. The fact is there
are a set of men on the river who are doing their utmost to treat the
Authority with contempt, and establish the same system as in California.
I am happy to say that their are many exceptions and the general
mass of the miners are well disposed; there are many such characters
on Hill's Bar termed the Boatmen of San Francisco who care for
no Law or order and if such men are to rule and have their own way,
others of course will follow. It is not at all likely Your Excellency
will sanction men holding a larger claim than is allowed by Law, if
they do they will run back into Canada in time.a*
Mr. Kirby having returned from Victoria handed me your Letter,
and another I received this morning dated Oct. 13th by Mr. Kitson
who came up with a boatload of Flour for Mr. Allard.25 I will have
the accounts ready by tomorrow and forward for your inspection.
I would have done so sooner; the only reason is the want of accommodation for carrying on my duties. I shall in two weeks have my office
ready, now you approve of the plan, and of the amount to be expended
in its completion; after I get into my office I will forward Your
Excellency a monthly account on the first of each of the month.
I assure you I have little rest or time for myself. I am early and
late at my post, and altho" Your Excellency intimates that parties
complain of my public and private conduct, I am at all times ready to
answer any charge that can be brought against me.28
All your wishes shall be complied with in every respect intimated
in your kind favors.   With the greatest respect,
I am, Your Excellency's
Most Obt Hble. Servt
Richard Hicks.
Fort Yale, Oct. 26th, 1858.
I. 18S8.    They olmracK
caused by the o
s Bay Company's The Fraser River Mines.
To His Excellency the Governor of British Columbia.
May it please Your Excellency:
Since I wrote my first Letter forwarded herewith miner's have
sunk two shafts, one in front of the reserve of the Hudson's Bay
Company and the other about one hundred yards above. At the back
of the front row of stores in the Town of Fort Yale in one shaft as
much as twenty-four cents to the pan was washed out at a depth of
about ten feet; a rush was immediately made to stake out the whole
of the ground which Mr. Wells surveyed off for the Town. I was
compelled to put a stop to it, which produced some disappointment.
If mining is allowed upon this flat, altho' it may prove ever so rich,
the progress of the Town will be stayed, and we shall have to remove
to another location; therefore Your Excellency will perceive that I am
between two fires—the Miners and the Trader's. Whatever you may
suggest for the best will I think be satisfactory; it is impossible to
please all parties.
I herewith enclose a proposition from Dr. Fifer, together with an
Account for another Post Mortem examination on a man who died very
suddenly on Monday last, the Inquest papers will be forwarded to you
in due course.
Mr. Brown, a respectable man, has applied for the appointment of
Sexton for this district, he is well qualified for the Office.
I am much concerned to hear that Your Excellency has received
Letters reflecting on my public and private conduct in my Official
capacity. I court enquiry and at any moment can prove that I have
performed the duties of my Office independantly and fearlessly, without favour and affection. People can more easily assert than prove,
and so long as I have the high honour of your confidence I shall continue to perform the duties as I have hitherto done. I am very anxious
to see the two Letters you name.27
I am under the necessity of informing Your Excellency that the
notorious Ned McGowen,28 who is on Hill's Bar, has been trying the
last two days to excite the miners to revolt, and I can prove that he
asserted that " Your Excellency had better mind your own business in
Victoria, for that he was the ruler of Hill's Bar, and that if the miners
would only stand by him he would put all Englishmen to defiance,"
and with oaths not fit to name, openly declares he will be master of
o and Judge Begbie's Richard Hicks. 11
Hill's Bar. Such men as these are the first to ask for protection; the
last to obey. A party of boatmen on this bar have, I understand,
written Your Excellency on the subject. The fact is, the bar being
worked out and these men having only paid one month's licence, and
taken out large sums of money, now want the upper flat, which from
all accounts will prove rich. I have done all that man can do by fair
means, and Your Excellency will not be surprised if I arrest McGowen
and send him to Victoria.29
Now Mr. Donnellar80 has returned I will have a place of confinement erected and it will soon pay for itself.
All my accounts shall be forwarded between now and Sunday.
With the greatest respect,
I am, Your Excellency's
Most obt. Hble. Servt.
Richard Hicks.
Fort Yale, Oct. 28th, 1858.
To His Excellency the Governor of British Columbia.
May it please Your Excellency :
I have received dispatches from Your Excellency dated October
13th, 19th, 25th, and 28th; the last one yesterday.
I have forwarded all you require up to this period. I cannot find
out the location of the silver mine, altho' I have sent out two men for
that purpose, it is up in the Mountains at the back (or nearly so) of
" Prince Albert's flat," I wont rest until I have found it.81
There certainly has been a want of regularity in the transmission
of Letters, sometimes I get two at one time and longer than the time
required to forward them to California.
I would advise that a Post Office be immediately established here
and at Fort Hope. If Mr. Postmaster Anderson will forward me the
necessary instructions, I will take care it shall be satisfactorily carried
out and all the miners would be delighted.  A Letter from here costs 12 The Fraser River Mines.
a dollar to Victoria; this is enormous; one shilling sterling would produce a large revenue because there would be more Letters than are now
I have much pleasure in informing Your Excellency that another
flat opposite Victoria Bar, named " Manuel Flat,"38 has been discovered
equally as rich as " Prince Albert's flat", and claims taken up all in
front of the river, it will take some time to get water to work river fiat
I have also received application for and recorded to Ozious Hovey
a quartz vein said to be very rich. Your Excellency will be pleased to
make allowance for the secrecy maintained by parties making such
discoveries—there are so many men of no character who are waiting
only to jump upon such claims at the expense and labour of others.
I shall however forward the Ore as early as possible. I will also visit
the spot as soon as the weather will permit; the rains are very heavy
and almost incessant—the vein is located upon the Creek at " rocky
point" or " Indian reserve ", about eleven miles up the Creek.34 Mr.
Kirby and Mr. Hovey started this morning, but were compelled to
return, after getting up five miles of the Creek, on account of the rains.
I will not loose no more time than I can help in forwarding the Quartz
to Victoria.
I beg to thank Your Excellency for the appointment of Captain
Whannell36 as a Justice of the Peace for Fort Yale. He will certainly
relieve me of much labour.
Mr. Tennant has not returned from Victoria. I shall proceed to
collect the second month's mining licence on Monday next, unless Your
Excellency in the meantime order otherwise. I am, however, quite
certain that more satisfaction would be felt by all classes had my plan
been adopted. I am glad to know that you will do all in your power
for the miners' interest; they are well pleased with your replies to their
wishes in Your Letters of Oct. 19th and 28th.
I have drawn upon the Colonial Treasurer86 for some money.
I will keep a correct account and forward the amount as soon as I
return collecting.
(32) On November 30, 1858, the Postmaster-General, Alexander Canlfleld Anderson, notified
(33)' There were two '« Victoria " Bars—one about six miles above Hope and the other about
the same distance above Yale. Manuel Flat, named after a miner, G. Manuel, was opposite the
former.    On November 8, 1858, Mr. Hicks granted to G. Manuel and his associates the right to Richard Hicks. 13
I have purchased a strong log house for a Prison and a Building
for a Court House for 350 dollars—they will soon pay for themselves.
Another case of murder occurred here on Sunday night last.
I held an Inquest yesterday. I was compelled to go to Hill's Bar this
morning to settle disputes with mining claims. Tomorrow I will take
the examination; all the documents shall be forwarded in due course.
I have not received any Sealing wax nor the Official Seal.
Officer Carey returned on Thursday last. Provisions are very high
and hardly any flour for sale, the Company's store is almost empty, and
much fear and complaints exist on account of the scarcity of all sorts
of provisions.
I will, I assure Your Excellency, forward every information at
the earliest possible moment.
I have the honour to be,
Your Excellency's
Most obedt Hble Servant
Fort Yale, Nov. 9th, 1858, 12 o'clk p.m.
To His Excellency the Governor of British Columbia.
May it please Your Excellency:
I forward herewith the depositions and other papers in the case
against Mathias Neil, charged with the murder of William Hartwell
at the Forks of Fraser and Thompson's River. The prisoner made his
escape from the custody of Charles Emerson, a deputy Officer, near
Sumas. I understand he is again captured and secured on board the
brig " Recovery."87 Captain Emerson informs me he wrote Your
Excellency fully upon the subject. Efforts are being made by the
Gambler's who infest the Country to obtain his discharge. When the
trial comes on it will be proved that a more cool and deliberate murder
seldom ocurrs.
I have also committed for trial George Harrison Jones for shooting Herman Wallace at Fort Yale on Sunday night last; the depositions
I also forward herewith.   There are some mitigating circumstances in w.
14 The Fraser River Mines.
this case; still, Your Excellency will not uphold the right of any man
to sacrifice the life of his fellow-creature over a gaming and drinking
table. I also enclose the verdict of the Coroner's Jury for your perusal.
I have had the prisoner in confinement in Fort Yale Prison on account
of the heavy rains, and unfit to expose him and the Officer to so
much wet.
I received two Letters from Your Excellency forwarded by Mr.
Tennant which shall have every attention.
I have notified all parties that the sale of town lots will commence
by your direction, and I am preparing the leases accordingly. Do you
intend Mr. Allard and Mr. Yorke to have free grants, or are they to
be on the same terms as other parties?38
The land opposite Fort Yale I have received for mining purposes,
according to your decision.39 Water will be conveyed on this flat
from New York Bar Creek,40 round the ridge of rocks above where
Your Excellency camp'd opposite Fort Yale. The cost of fluming
and conveying this water, from information that I have obtained, will
not be less than five thousand dollars. A Company of miners have
taken up the water and will commence the work early next Spring.41
McGowen and his party at Hill's Bar are all quiet, but insist on
holding the bank or flat claims as well as the bar. I have done all I
can with the limited force at my command, and I have checked them
from working up to the present.
On Emery's Bar the same difficulty I have to contend against;
the claimants on the bar have the assurance to demand back from the
river to the foot of the Mountain, a distance of nearly two miles, and in
consequence of my pointing out to them and others the absurdity of
such grasping propensities, I am grossly insulted and considered a
nuisance. I will, however, perform my duty and yet act with moderation. With regard to the petition forwarded and published at Victoria,
I can assure Your Excellency it is a fabrication from beginning to
end.42 McGowen was the mouthpiece of it all, and when I marked
off the claims no person was allowed to interfere either way, and
there was no objection made at the time by any of the miners, nor
would it if McGowen had not interfered afterwards.
Governor h
at Yale; an
Me* hTparag
Hicks's ha
note (24),
J Richard Hicks. 15
The Spuzzum Bridge43 is already erected by private enterprise,
and proves to be a good substantial structure; the amount saved to
the Government will be about five hundred dollars.
I herewith enclose a list of names of parties, applicants for land
for Agricultural purposes, much attention is being turned towards
Farming, and next year will prove that British Columbia can grow
sufficient for her own consumption.44
We have not had a dry day now for upwards of a week and
every branch of Trade looks gloomy—the damp in the tent has caused
me a very severe cold.    I shall be in my new Office tomorrow.
I must respectfully apologize for the manner in which my letters
are written; in future they will be forwarded cleaner and freer from
blots.    I cannot help myself on the present occasion.
I have the honor to be
Your Excellency's
Most obt. Hble. Servt.
Richard Hicks,
Assistant Crown Commissioner.
Fort Yale, Nov. 12th, 1858.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas.
May it please Your Excellency:
I have seen today an Advertisment in the Victoria Newspaper
from McGowen's party on Hill's Bar condemning my conduct, etc.45
I feel assured Your Excellency will treat it with all the contempt
it deserves, nevertheless. I have substituted Office McLane for Officer
Hickson, who was and now is with Mr. Justice Perrier on Hill's.Bar.
As Officer Hickson48 attended me the whole of the day I was
measuring the ground, he can and no doubt will state the true facts.
I am, Sir, ashamed to be so constantly brought to notice by my
public conduct. I beg, however, to assure Your Excellency that my
conduct altho' displeasing to some is approved by the many. There
l here who call themselves Americans that are a disgrace to
civilized society, and I defy any officer in power to satisfy their
grasping propensities.
h resolutions w
re passed roundly an
(46) The police
officer at Hill's Bar
e "Ned McGowan W
He 16
The Fraser River Mines.
My sincere and earnest desire is to conduct myself with honour,
integrity, and usefulness; that course I have and will continue to
Mr. Hickson will give Your Excellency some valuable information.
I have the honor to be
Your Excellency's
Most obt. Hble. Servt.
Richard Hicks.
Wednesday night, Nov. 17, 1858.
Captain Whannell and Lady arrived this evening about five o'Clock.
Mrs. W. I very much like. She appears like a fine young English
Lady. The Captain is busy making his house arrangements. I have
afforded him every assistance.47
Is it Your Excellency's desire that a Cottage residence should be
built for their use? if so, I should feel obliged for your assent.
To His Excellency the Governor of British Columbia.
May it please Your Excellency:
I received your communication this morning dated November 11th.
I am deeply sorry that Your Excellency should be annoyed with
continued complaints of my conduct. I assure you, Sir, as I live, they
are entirely unfounded and false in every respect. As to dissipation,
which I presume means drinking, I must say that I never have been
in that state since I left England. I am much blamed by Gentlemen
here and elsewhere for not indulging more than I do. God knows, Sir,
I have had no time to devote to my own comfort. I have not entered
any gambling house since I have been in Fort Yale, on the contrary
I have been their greatest enemy.48
With regard to the charges made against me by I. C. Hawley,
I have to state that a more scandalous and false accusation never was
before uttered and sworn to. I have from pretty good authority
learn'd that certain parties are doing all in their power to harrass and
cause disunion amongst the Officials appointed by Your Excellency, and,
Sir had I not taken a firm stand and combat'd all their base designs
they would have given our Government much trouble and inconvenience.    I allude to their efforts to declare this an Independant Colony.
ouse acting very familii Richard Hicks. 17
Captain Whannell is now here with me. I trust his account to
Your Excellency will more than ever confirm me in your high esteem
and confidence. I shall never forget Sir the high position you have
confided to me, more especially when I call to mind the circumstances—
an entire stranger in a far distant Country from friends and home.
I hope and trust you will no more be teased with such contemp-
table complaints. I have done my best to please every one, and the
more people seem to be discontented. I will now try a new and inde-
pendant course. Should you require it I can forward you high
testimonial of my conduct here.
I beg most respectfully to submit the documents forwarded to the
Crown Solicitor for rebutting the accusation, and feel confident you
will not allow me to be so unfairly wronged by this man Hawley nor
any one else.   W. List (Hawley's partner) denies the charge.
There are many parties I cannot please, do what I will. W. Snyder48 is one, and pretends to be a friend, when his own writings in the
San Francisco papers condemn him. He boasts that he will have me
out, cost what it will.   He is a bad man.
Your Excellency knows but little what I have gone through since
I have been at Fort Yale. I do not mean to complain; on the contrary,
I am proud of the office I hold under Your controul.
With the greatest respect,
I have the honour to be
Your Excellency's
Most obt. Hble. Servant
(Sgd.) Richard Hicks,
Assistant Crown Commissioner.
Fort Yale, Nov. 24th, 1858.
British Columbia,
April 5th, 1859.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas, C.B., etc.
May it please Your Excellency :
I have the honor to inform you that very rich and extensive
diggings have been discovered in the Canoe Country,50 and that a party
of four men have taken out as high as eight hundred dollars a day, and
others are avaraging three hundred dollars daily. I have this from the
most reliable source and can be relied upon. 18 The Fraser River Mines.
I take leave also to acquaint Your Excellency that several hundred
men and a large amount of freight are on the overland route from
California and Oregon, headed by General Palmer,51 bound for the
headwaters of Fraser, Thompson's, and Bridge rivers, the duty on
which will be considerable if properly collected.
I am proceeding up Fraser River to Fort Yale and will forward
Your Excellency all the information I can procure from the different
miners as to the amount they are making on their different claims,
which I trust will be most acceptable.
I have the honor to be
with the greatest respect
Your Excellency's
Most Obt. Hble. Servt.
Richard Hicks.
Fort Yale, British Columbia,
April 30, 1859.
To His Excellency the Governor of British Columbia.
May it please Your Excellency :
I have the honor herewith to enclose a copy of the charges of
the costs of Court of Captain Whannel, of this place; the imposition
and enormous charges inflicted upon the poor hard working miners
requires Your Excellency's immediate attention. This is only one
amongst the many instances complained of, and the people here feel
assured you will not allow such petty tyranny to be practiced upon
them. The charges, like these for hearing any trivial offence, prevents
parties from having justice done them.
In the present case the charge was for assault, and the defendant
waived a hearing and only required binding over until the Assizes.
Justices of the Peace require no salary if such enormous charges
are allowed as these.
At the request of several inhabitants of this place, I have taken
this liberty of submitting the case to Your Excellency, feeling assured
you will speedily remedy the evil.
Another charge of gross injustice to a W. Way, who was defrauded
by a boatman of the sum of sixty dollars, which Captn. Whannell
(51) Joel Palmer, who in 1858 and 1859 was prominent in his advocacy of a route to the
upper Fraser by way of the Columbia and Okanagan rivers. He used wagons to transport freight
to the mines in those years.   See a lengthy letter from him in the Vregon /Statesman, February
^ allowed in the face of evidence the most complete, because W. Way
spoke rather lightly of said Whannell of his conduct in California. On
proper investigation Your Excellency will find he is quite unfit for the
office he now holds.58
With the greatest respect
I have the honor to be
Your Most Obt. Servt.
(Sgd.)     Richard Hicks.
Fort Yale, British Columbia,
May 18, 1859.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas.
May it please Your Excellency :
I have this day had an interview with the Gold Commissioner,
Mr. Brew, who handed me a Letter from the Colonial Secretary to him,
stating that Your Excellency " was not aware of any grant having been
made to me of land in Fort Yale, but that if I could produce any proof
I was to forward it to the proper quarter for consideration "—or
nearly to that effect.   .
I feel assured Your Excellency must have forgotten me entirely.
When you were at Fort Yale in May twelve months ago, I applied
to you for one acre of land; you gave instructions to Mr. Golledge53
and Mr. Young5* to make the grant and enter it in their books.
I believe Mr. Golledge did so; and you also directed Mr. Allard55 to
measure it off adjoining the reserve of the H.B. Company; this was
also done assisted by Capt. Emerson and Mr. Champlain.58 The right
has always been respected here by all parties up to now.
When I was at Victoria last you requested me to pay the amount
to Mr. Anderson57 for the lots. I did so and the money was lodged
two weeks. I then by your permission withdrew the amount, with the
understanding that I was to pay Mr. Brew the money on receipt of
the deeds, which were to be prepared and forwarded as soon as
(63) Richard Gol'ledge, at that time Private Secretary to the Governor.
(54) William A. G. Young, the Colonial Secretary.    See note (27) to Mr. Brew's correspon- X
20 The Fraser River Mines.
I had an intervieew with Lieut.-Gov. Moody58 on the subject a few
weeks ago; he then told me that " what you promised me I should certainly have, which would compensate me for the labourous work I
I have been waiting here now nearly three months, with great
patience and much expense, depending entirely upon you for my lots.
I trust, therefore, you will be pleased to confirm me to them.
I have consulted Mr. Kelly a Barrister residing here and others
who all consider I am not done fairly by if deprived of the property.
Waiting Your Excellency's reply
I have the honor to be
with the greatest respect,
Your Most Obt. Servt.
Richard Hicks.
Synopsis of Governor's Reply.
Note.—His Excellency the Gov. has duly received your letter of
the 18th inst. upon the subject of the instructions conveyed to Mr.
Brew by the Colonial Secretary respecting the Lots which you claim at
Fort Yale.
In reply thereto, I have to acquaint you that no record is found
of any grant of land having been made to you in May last, nor does
His Excellency remember the transaction to which you allude.
However, should any verbal promise have been made to you by
His Excellency, such promise will undoubtedly be performed if practicable ; but it will be necessary that you adduce the clearest evidence
in that behalf, such as the specific act of Mr. Allard in marking out
the ground for you under direct instructions from His Excellency in
person, or by other proof equally satisfactory. In such case there
will be no objection to the land so marked and promised ( ?) conveyed
to you subject to any rights of the Government or to any claims in
equity which can be brought by private individuals.
To Mr. R. Hicks.
To Mr. Brew: Enclose copy of this case and copy of my reply
for his information and guidance; also have made a copy of this
communication and a copy of the reply which will be sent to Col.
(58) Colonel Richard Clement Moody, commanding the Royal Engineers, and who also held
the dormant commission of Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. . Though Moody signed himself " Lieut.-Gov.," the title was improper, as Lytton pointed out to Douglas,   See note (37) to Richard Hicks. 21
Fort Yale, British Columbia,
June 3rd, 1859.
To His Excellency lames Douglas, Esq., C3., etc.
Governor of Vancouver's Island and British Columbia.
Sir,—Perhaps you are not aware that much of the discontent and
stampede from this Country or from the upper part of Fraser River is
on account of the incapacity of the Officials at the Forks and Lytton
City. Your instructions are not carried out. Tyranny and oppression
are practiced to the utmost extent. The Country can never be developed
under such men as Mr. Trevailott According to miners' statements
made to me, is that when application is made for water for fluming or
mining purposes they are charged a fee of one pound ten shillings for
recording, and then only a limited quantity of water, which deprives
other miners working on the same or adjoining ground. Miners cannot
afford to cut ditches miles long without a sufficiency of water to sell
to repay them for the immense outlay. The consequence is the fiats
cannot be worked; the mines lay dormant; the revenue suffers severely;
hence the disaffection and stampede.59
No men from any Country will be satisfied to stay in the mines
unless practical men are appointed over them as rulers. Mr. Travel-
lott is a man of gross intemperance. Mr. Townsand, a very respectable
man residing here, told me a few days ago that Mr. Travelliott was
lying on the ground in his cabin unable to speak or take care of himself;
his officers also, three in number, were in the same condition. This
is not the only instance he has been found in the same plight. I think
it my duty to inform Your Excellency because you are blamed publicly
for keeping such a man in office, and I would gladly avoid the Newspapers getting hold of the facts. No such man can have the goodwill
and confidence of those around him; in fact, he ought to be a good
example to his fellow-creatures.60
Another circumstance I will mention. Mr. Travillott has appointed
a notorious highway robber of the name of Brown to the office of Policeman. This man was committed to Fort Yale for robbery and attempt
at murder last November. The prosecutor, however, was, I believe,
drowned in February last; hence the felon escaped.61
:, 1858.    See B.C. 1 22 The Fraser River Mines.
I could fill pages of such complaints against Mr. Travillott.
Your Excellency requires no more than what I have stated to convince
you how business is carried on above here.
I would most strongly recommend an Englishman to the Office at
Lytton, one acquainted with mining and that can and will command
respect. Your Excellency will, instead of blame, receive the thanks of
the community.
The fees charged by Justice of the Peace require your serious
consideration. The charges are most cruel; justice is frustrated by
such imposition. The fees in Fort Yale alone must amount to many
thousand dollars per annum. Mr. Whannell's office must be more
lucrative than the Governor of the Colony. He little remembers his
own condition when he kept a low liquor-shop at Shaw's Flat, California, or he would pity poor miners instead of exacting from their
industry to keep him in luxury.62
I must beg to apologise for these remarks which I am sure Your
Excellency will excuse.
I would at all times sooner complain to you right out than through
Newspapers—this at all times is the proper course.
I have the honor to be
Your Most Obt. Servt.
(Sgd.)       Richard Hicks.
(62) See further,  as to  " Captain " Whannell's  earlier life,  the letter from Lieutenant-
vi. mmK^mmm^mm
Judge Begbie.
JANUARY, 1859, TO MARCH, 1859.
1st January, 1859.
To His Excellency James Douglas, Esq.,
Governor of British Columbia, etc.,
Victoria, Vancouver's Island.
Sir,—I would again bring before the notice of Your Excellency
most respectfully the present state of the town of Langley.
On Christmas Eve a man by the name of Joseph Miller went into
the house of Mr. W. B. Bolton, for the purpose of taking a drink as
he says, and that he had no sooner entered the house when he was
knocked down, and kicked in the face and severely cut about the head;
his trouser pocket containing $340 in dust was cut out, his watch cut
from the guard, and, in fact, the man was very much abused, and, as
far as I can learn, by a party of men who appear to have very little
means of obtaining a livelihood.
The same parties, I hear, have expressed their intentions of arming
themselves and going out for the purpose of killing the H.B. Co.'s
I would also most respectfully inform Your Excellency that the
constant firing of pistols and guns is getting dangerous, particularly
during the night-time. The practice of gambling is becoming very
glaring, and to endeavour to prevent the same would, I fear, be useless.
There is also another daily occurrence; that of parties losing Boats
and Canoes up the River by having them stolen from them and brought
down here and sold; the rightful owners then claiming them. I have
endeavoured to the best of my ability to settle those which have come
before my notice, and even then my opinion has not given much satisfaction to the parties concerned; and in this matter I am particularly
at a loss how to act.
In regard to the tax on cutting wood, at present I am unable to
collect any sum whatever; parties cutting seem totally regardless of the
consequence and expenses of non-payment; and in my own opinion
I would most respectfully call the attention of Your Excellency to this
point, as when cases come to be tried parties who are guilty may excuse m
i y
The Fraser River Mines.
themselves by saying that I could shew them no form of law to warrant
the payment of $1 per chord; on this account the Government is losing
considerable revenue.2
As to the trading licence of $7.50 p. mth, there are several parties
who say they cannot pay, when I am satisfied that they are well able.
I am inclined to think that the man Lewis, who is in arrear 4 months,
has been telling others that the tax is not lawful, etc.; I am informed
that he has told one party that he was foolish to pay any such tax.3
The practise of selling liquor without license, also to Indians, is
very common in one house ;4 and I am satisfied that selling liquor without license is a customary thing in most of the houses in the town.
I have warned and cautioned the parties repeatedly, but still it appears
to be of no avail.5
In conclusion, I would most respectfully inform Your Excellency
that any attempt to arrest criminals on my part would, I fear, be
attended with some trouble, as our force here is so small, and where I
to call on all good citizens to aid me, from present appearances there
would, I fear, be very little response; and in the many little cases of
petty thieving which almost nightly occur, I am afraid the people will
take the law into their own hands and punish the offenders.
I have the honour to remain,
Your most obedt Servt-
(Signed)     Wm. H. Bevis.
Fort Hope,
14th January, 1859.
Dear Governor,—Mr. Main, of the | Plumper,"6 accompanied by
Mr. Lewis,7 has just arrived from Langley (where the " Plumper " is
now lying) with despatches for Col Moody: among wch I find your
kind note.    I was afraid that you might have thought this expedi-
rade.    He was a
(2) There
seem t
obably it wi
(3) This
t   IK
ohibited the
r gif
or venc"
(6) Lieute
B. 0.
Mayne v./—ff"  -''''Mo P.E_^^'J',
The " Colonel Moody," second  Judge Begbie.
tion rash, looking to the time of the year, a hard frost just getting in,
and (now that we have received later and, I hope, more accurate
accounts) looking also to what I now very much suspect as to the
temper and discretion of Captn Whannell.8 The accounts, however,
that we have heard since we left Langley have been all on the side of
what may be called Mr. Ned McGowan's faction: and much as they
dispose one to fancy that the unprecedented proceedings at Fort Yale
may have been excited at all events by his inconsiderate and indeed
illegal and oppressive conduct (if the accounts received by us here
approach to accuracy), of course no judgment or opinion even can be
arrived at until his side of the story be heard.
The state of intelligence however wch greeted us at Langley was
such as left no option but to proceed with every available man. You
have seen Captn- Whannell's letter of the 31st ulto to Capt. Grant.9
The loose rumor flying about Langley (but wch was not credited) was
that both Whannell and his Constable had been shot by McGowan: and
that the district was in open insurrection.
Col. Moody of course determined to proceed at once, leaving
only the sick behind,10 and we started at 11 p.m. the same night by
the " Enterprise,"11 wch had remained there luckily for the arrival of
the " Beaver."12
The next day there was a good deal of ice: just below Harrison
River we met Ballow's express going down: who gave us the greatest
relief by intimating that all was quiet at Fort Yale—lathat there had
been a squabble betwn the justices and that a public meeting had
been called at wch a "multifarious conglomeration of heterogeneous
nonsense " had been passed in the shape of resolutions. Coll- Moody,
however, deemed the matter, though luckily this change deprived it of
its serious sanguinary aspect, as still of sufficient importance, joined to
the desirability of his having a personal knowledge of the localities, to
make it prudent for him to proceed in person to Fort Yale; (the river
I, July 28, 1858. 26 The Fraser River Mines.
was indeed by this time frozen behind us) and asked me to accompany
him. We proceeded, therefore, to the " Umatilla snag,"14 wch we
tried in vain to pass, both that day and the next: the water was too low.
We therefore ran into a creek where we were shortly frozen in. This
was on the 8th. Mr. Ogilvy,35 who happened to be on board, very
kindly offered to go on express to Fort Yale and bring information,
and he returned on the 12th. The next day we tried the passage again,
when the snow and rain had raised the water to enable us by handing
out a rope to scrape over. But we could not reach beyond Murder's
Bar, where we brought to for the night.16 This morning Coll- Moody
and myself started in a whaleboat; but the wind and snow were so
perplexing that it was llj/j a.m. before we reached Fort Hope, after
3j4 hours: and seeing little likelihood of reaching Yale, the Coll- decided
on staying here all night. He thought (in wch I quite agreed) that it
would have a good moral effect in bringing the soldiers here, and they
accordingly marched in in 2^4 hours: but that it wo- be more politic
to treat the disputes at Yale as of secondary importance, place our
passage up the country entirely to motives of civil survey, and proceed
alone to Yale, taking me with him. We walked about the town, therefore, examining the localities as well as we could in the snow, wch
was so thick that you could not see more than a very short distance,
and entered into conversation with divers settlers, miners, etc. In particular with Mr. Smith17 and Mr. Perrier,18 who, having heard of our
advent, came on from Fort Yale on purpose to tell his story first, in
wch he by chance succeeded: had the weather been less atrocious, we
shod have gone on to Yale without stopping here.
Mr. Smith gave us a good deal of information as to Mr. Hicks,
but in a general way, wch certainly confirmed every report wch I
have heard of him from every body but himself. I cannot get anybody
to speak up for him.   Even Mr. Edward Macgowan,19 who does him
s Yale,  wh
8 further h
e's "Fou
r Yea
rs in  B
ritish Colun
bia and
r  Island
p.   90
S<U5) Mr
y   oi
e of the
n's  Bay
at Hope.
A  pea
f the
four miles
>elow H
of Judg
Begbie he
e Got
rltish Colu
L864; was
the Big B«
nd cc
,  1864-66
; and
was an
elected m
mber of
the Legis
lative 0
11 in
fP Vr
the reside
nt Jus
tice of t
he Peace at
Hill's B
ar, appoint
ed in Ju
had been
tish subjec
sent up the
petty sq
empt of Co
) The notorious Ned McGowa
\4 Judge Begbit
the honour of preferring him to Capt Whannell, alleges his reason to
be because he prefers dealing with a knave rather than a fool. In
particular, however, it appears to me that Mr. Hicks has been probably
exceeding any reasonable limits in granting and recording rights of
pre-emption and water privileges—having granted, I am informed, to
one individual the exclusive water privilege of no less than 7 streams
wch run into the Fraser between Hope and Yale.20
With Mr. Perrier Coll. Moody and myself could not help being
to some extent pleased. He admitted that he had committed a very
gross error: but pleaded very strong provocation, wch he certainly
received, according to his own story. This, however, I must wholly
reserve until the other side be heard. The very long delay has, I hope,
not altogether been suffered to lie idle. The bed of the river and every
possible shoal has been exposed to the observation of Coll- Moody
and Captn- Grant in its very lowest state, under the advantage also of
the remarks of Captn- Wright, of the "Enterprise," who has personally made our voyage most agreeable. We have had a good deal of
conversation with miners, etc., and have had occasion from the expression of their wants to consider what general measures might be framed:
wch we shall have the pleasure of submitting for your approval on our
As I really think it would be for the public service that I shod
return immediately to Victoria, and it may be impossible to return again
in time for the first Sessions or circuit wch ought to be held, according
to the Genl- orders of the 27th Deer-,
month, I have issued another order a
circuit until the last Monday of Februa
if I ask you to cause Mr. Pearkes22 to be i
Believe me
Yours very truly
Matt. B. Begbie.
I am extremely glad to hear of Mr. Brew's arrival with his
reinforcements.   They will be more use than the Marines,28 I hope.
L on the last Monday of this
of this date, postponing this
r.    I hope you will excuse me
nformed of this change. 28 The Fraser River Mines.
On second thoughts, and comparing dates, I think that I shall be
able to return to Langley if necessary by the 31st inst., and therefore
shall for the present, at all events, leave things as they stand.—M. B. B.
Fort Yale,
18th Jany, 1859.
Dear Governor,—I have only time to write a few hurried lines
to give you the smallest account of a great meeting held here by the
Hill's Bar men calling themselves " citizens of Fort Yale ". But of the
last there were about 6 and about 200 from the bar.24 A deputation
of 3 asked Col. Moody and myself to attend: we had not any notion of
it previously, but went down directly, accompanied by Whannell and
ultimately by Captn- Grant.
The proceedings commenced with three cheers for the Governor:
then an address was read with a good many epithets, pitching heavily
into Whannell. This Coll- Moody very properly stopped and requested
that the reader of the address wod. omit epithets. This produced a very
bald reading: and I took the liberty of suggesting a short adjournment
in order to re-draw the resolutions with an eye to the adjectives. This
done the address was read: I have not got a copy: the purport was an
expression of confidence in the British Law, confidence in British
administration, an offer of assistance if necessary to maintain that law,
and an impeachment of sundry misdeeds of Captn. Whannell's. The
address was received in solemn silence by Col'- Moody as to anything
contained in it: he merely gave answer that his ear and his heart were
open. In answer, however, to a previous very excellent (but superlatively humbugging) address from a red-shirted miner named Wilson,26
both Col*. Moody and myself had given a few words, not above 5
minutes apiece, expressive of the general intention of the Gov't to carry
out the laws without fear or favour: And in conversation with Wilson
and a very fine young fellow, not more than 21 or 22, who has already
the distinction of being Ned McGowan's lieutenant, we had both
impressed them with the fact that His Excellency could make no answer
to the address: that the mere fact of our presence here, in such weather,
our proceeding to action, and quite alone (in the first instance) shewed
our resolution to examine into matters, and that, whatever might be the
particular terms of the address, the line of action ultimately adopted
wod be utterly irrespective of their views or sentiments and wod be
guided solely by facts.   There was also, I must tell you, for at last I Judge Begbie.
have heard a good word for him, high expressions of confidence in
Mr. Hicks.   The meeting broke up with 3 cheers for the Queen.
I only add two things: first, that the Captn26 here has certainly in
many instances overstepped his authority and acted with quite illegal
severity: 2ndly, that it is just as well to strike while the iron is hot,
and that a sort of log hut to act as a tete du pont already projected shall
be erected immediately on the other side of the river.
Matters have so far quieted down that the sailors are countermanded and only the marines ordered up, to relieve, if thought fit, or
support the sappers, as the case may be.27
There is an excellent feeling on the lower bars in case of actual
fighting—but men don't like to leave work for mere " buncombe "—
come up only to go down again. 200 could have been enlisted at
Hope alone.
Believe me,
Yours very truly,
Matt. B. Begbie.
Resolutions of a Meeting of Miners concerning Character and
Acts of Mr. Hicks and Captain Whannell.
Resolved, That we, as law-abiding citizens, consider it an inalienable right guaranteed by the British Constitution to meet in public and
make known such grievances as press upon us, and in doing so hope that
His Excellency Governor Douglas will remedy the evils which we now
so grievously suffer from.
Resolved, That the late meeting held on the eve of December 31st
at the Court-house, and presided over by Dr. Fifer, did not represent
the sentiments or true expression of feeling as known to exist among
our most responsible citizens. And that we consider it a most dastardly and cowardly attempt to defame the character of a gentleman
who is now absent at Victoria upon official business.28
(27) The Engineers
as might be thought adv
(28) As Governor D
sable.    See Lie
Hope.   They were now to go forward to Yale; while
ties were sent up to Yale to aid or relieve the Engineers,
a tenant Mayne's account in his book,  " Four Years iu
until February S, 1859, ■
ned is probably
in 'the shape of resolution
.    These Oallfo IP*
30 The Fraser River Mines.
Resolved, That the conduct of Richard Hicks, the present Crown
Commissioner, has always been fair and honourable, and satisfactory
to the citizens of this community, and the fact of his good name being
traduced by an insignificant number of suspicious persons (only two in
number) proves that designing and bad motives actuated the leaders in
this vile attempt at slander.29
Resolved, That the tyrannous conduct of P. B. Whannell, a Magistrate in Her Majesty's service, in arresting persons without cause, without issuing warrants, and for imprisoning persons merely to gratify his
own caprice, and in refusing said persons an examination, as the law
directs, and also for levying fines in violation of the Statutes, deserves
the severest censure, and we earnestly pray that His Excellency
Governor Douglas will remove said Whannell from his present position,
and appoint a gentleman possessing sufficient knowledge of the duties
of his office as will meet the confidence of this community.80
Resolved, That the conduct of P. B. Whannell, in endeavouring to
excite this community to acts of violence, by giving expression at a
public meeting held in this town to sentiments at variance with the
recognized principles of law and justice, deserves the severest condemnation, and at the same time proves his total incapacity to comprehend
the dignity of the position he now, so unfortunately for this community,
Resolved, That the action of said Whannell, in arresting and casting into prison Officer Hickson, while in the performance of his duty,
was endeavouring to bring witnesses before the Court of His Honour
Judge Perrier, deserved the punishment so justly meted out to him
(Whannell) for his gross contempt of Court.81
Resolved, That the thanks of this community and of the adjacent
townships be and is hereby tendered to His Honour Judge Perrier and
Officer Hickson for the honourable and highly satisfactory manner in
which they have discharged the duties of their office, and we trust that
his zeal and fidelity to the interests of his Government will be amply
rewarded by His Excellency Governor Douglas.
Resolved, That we have every confidence in the wise and patriotic
administration of His Excellency Governor Douglas, and his humane
policy of advancing the interests of miners and other emigrants by lay
by Jud«
cter.    £
from both
the alle
5in of the
it Yale
p. 54.
m Judge Begbie.
rag out roads, thereby facilitating communication, is especially deserving
of praise and worthy of the highest regard and favour of the Home
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to His
Excellency Governor Douglas, to Senior Justice Perrier, and to the
Victoria Gazette for publication.82
J. W. Wilson.
P. J. Cassin.
D. Campbell.
Charles Emerson.
Wm. Read.
A true copy of the original.—B. Bailey, Secretary.
31st January, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to forward a letter which I have just
received from Mr. Bedford relating to retail liquor licenses.
I should perhaps find much to say against issuing retail licenses for
a less period than a year, under ordinary circumstances. But I conceive that it is of primary importance to accustom people to obey the
laws: and for the present, therefore, to modify the laws if necessary
so as to induce a ready obedience: since compulsory means are scarcely
in all instances available, even if they were in any instance advisable.
It is also to be observed that in one district at least retail licenses
have, as I am informed, been granted for so short a period as one
In favor of allowing retail licenses to be issued for three months,
it might be observed that the duty $150 or £30 is 2j4 times as great as
for a whole year in England.
The peculiar position of Langley might also deserve to be taken
into consideration: I mean with reference to the uncertainty as to its
future prospects which has hitherto prevailed,88 and wch may well deter
a trader from fixing himself permanently there by the payment of so
large a sum of £120.   At the.same time it might be dangerous or w*
32 The Fraser River Mines.
impolitic to initiate a system there wch wod. not be extended to all the
Colony. j haye the honour to be>
Your obedient servant,
Matt. B. Begbie.
January 29th, 1859.
Dear Begbie,—A difficulty is found here in preventing people
from selling liquors without a license, and to-day I have received an
application from a man who is about to open a saloon in the New
Town34 to be allowed to pay a quarter-licence instead of the whole
year's licence at once; he is ready to open his store in two days, but
hesitates on account of the heavy license. I myself should suggest
that an order be given to Mr. Bevis35 to grant licenses by the quarter
just now, subject to alteration when the working of it is seen. I feel
confident then we could prevent unlicensed retailing of liquor and also
a good deal of the smuggling which is going on, as it is carried on
mostly by the unlicensed houses. If you will write me a note by the
" Otter " I shall be much obliged, as I am spoken to by every man here
.on this subject.
Excuse this rough scrawl as I am writing on the " Governor
DouSlas-" Yours very truly,
C. J. N. Bedford.
Note.—Received and forwarded with memorandum to His Excellency the Governor, 31st January, 1859.—M. B. B.
Victoria, V.I.,
3rd Feby-, 1859.
Sir,—I have to report for your information, respecting the late
occurrences at Yale,88 that I left Victoria for Langley in company with
the Lieut. Govr.37 on board the H.B.C. Str " Beaver " on Wednesday,
(34) Probably the reference is to Derby, about two miles below Fort Langley, where Governor
Douglas purposed to build a " seaport town."
(35) William Henry Bevis, who had been appointed Eevenue Officer at Langley in June, 1858.
1 Moody as the Lieutenant-Governor. Judge Begbie.
the 4th ulto., intending to return immediately to Victoria, after having
arranged one or two matters connected with the detail of judicial business which seemed to require my personal presence.
Immediately on the arrival of the " Beaver" at Langley, Capt.
Grant, R.E., commanding the detachment there,88 waited on the
Lieut. Govr., who shortly afterwards summoned me to consult upon a
very alarming letter received some days previously by Capt. Grant from
Captn. Whannell, the resident J.P. at Yale, which letter from the state
of communications could not have been answered earlier, or only by one
day earlier, the steamer " Enterprise "3B having been at Captn. Grant's
instance delayed 12 hours to await the arrival of His Excellency Col.
Moody. With the terms of Captn. Whannell's letter I believe Your
Excellency is acquainted.
The reputation of Edward McGowan,40 a citizen of the United
States named in such letter as a leader of the alleged outrages, being
very notorious, I agreed with the Lieut. Govr. that as a military commander thus summoned by a magistrate generally reputed to have considerable personal courage, there could be but one course to follow—
viz., to proceed to the scene of action: and, owing to the deficiency of
police constables on the river, to proceed accompanied by as many of
the detachment as could be conveniently spared. This was accordingly
done; but for particulars I beg to refer to the Lieut. Govr's report to
Your Excellency. I may add that although some canoes had arrived
from the upper part of the river since Captn Whannell's letter, there
had been no further communication from him: and there was a loose
report that he and a constable had been murdered by the mob.
i 4. The Lieut. Govr. left on the same night at 11 p.m., accompanied '
by Captn. Grant and, I believe, 24 sappers: and myself, His E. having
requested me to accompany him. The frost wch had already set in two
days froze the river fast in our rear the next day: and having diminished
the supply of water in the river the rapids were so shoal that we could
not pass up: and we were reduced to a state of inactivity and to allow
ourselves to be frozen up in a creek about 8 miles above Harrison R.
5. While lying here we were informed by the enterprise of Mr.
Ogilvy, a gentleman in charge of the Hudson's Bay settlement at Hope-
town, who volunteers to the Lieut. Gov1"- to undertake in very severe
weather to take a letter express to Capt. Whannell and also reconnoitre
generally the state of affairs, that a disturbance and outrage of a very
1 34 The Fraser River Mines.
extraordinary nature had certainly taken place, but that no further
breach of the peace was immediately threatened. The Lieut. Govr
then determined to take the sappers no further than Hopetown41 and
to go up alone to Yale, especially as it appeared that it wod be necessary
to go the remainder of the distance in small boats.
6. On our arrival at Yale, it appeared that on the 24th Deer,
a man named Bernard Rice had been shot in a saloon there by a man
named Foster. Capt. Whannell, in his anxiety to prevent the ends
of justice from being defeated, had imprisoned Foster's partner
(Adams) and a servant named Allmeyer, whom he intended to call as
witnesses, requiring enormous bail for their appearance. For Foster's
partner he required 10,000 dollars, one-fourth to be deposited in cash:
but ultimately released him on giving security with two sureties for
6,500 dollars. These sureties now wish to be discharged, and I have to
report that the ends of justice will not probably be affected by their
discharge, and in my opinion they ought not to have been required for
the liberation of Adams. For Allmeyer, a person (of)
t^bfdiscSarged.0118114   mean circumstances, $1,500 (£300) were required,
with security; wch he was wholly unable to procure,
and was consequently lying detained in custody when I arrived at Yale.
Although when the man Allmeyer was before me I did not place much
confidence in his looks or his statements, I felt that it was impossible
to condemn too seriously the course pursued: wch amounted, the
killer, Foster, having by this time absconded, to a sentence of perpetual
imprisonment upon a witness of (as yet untried) murder: and which
might turn out to be a case of even justifiable homicide. I therefore
caused him to be brought up before Capt. Whannell and myself and
we discharged him on his own recognizances in the sum of £50.
A similar course was pursued in the case of another man, Compter,
who was also imprisoned through inability to procure bail for what I
conceived an excessive amount, for his appearance as a witness in
another case. Him I also caused to be brought before Captn Whannell and myself, by whom he was dismissed from custody on entering
into his own recognizances for a like amount of £ 50. This man when
dismissed was in actual want of the commonest necessaries of food and
clothing, and I only fixed the amount of his recognizances so high lest
too great a contrast might be drawn between my proceedings and
Capt. Whannell's.42 Judge Begbie.
7. It was not only witnesses that were thus oppressively treated.
A colored man named Dixon had been maltreated by two citizens of
the United States of N. A., Burns and Farrell, on the 25th Dec. last,
an assault which was the occasion of the outrages which had called the
Lieut. Govr and myself to Yale. Captn Whannell entertained Dixon's
complaint and issued warrants for the apprehension of Burns and Farrell, although from the various accounts I received at Yale the assault
was probably at law a common assault only. In order to secure the
presence of Dixon to prosecute the complaint, Captn Whannell then
committed him, Dixon, to close custody and so detained him. This
brings me so near the final outrage that I shall proceed at once with the
narrative and observe upon the conduct of parties afterwards. Upon
Captn Whannell's warrant, Burns and Farrell were apprehended and
taken before Mr. Perrier, another Justice of the Peace for the same
district residing at Hill's Bar, the next village to Yale, about \% miles
distant. Perrier, wishing to investigate the matter, sent his constable
for Dixon, the prosecutor (who was, as stated above, detained in gaol
at Yale). Captn. Whannell, having the prosecutor in his hands, refused
to give him up: but demanded that Burns and Farrell shod be brought
before him: and when the constable declined to undertake to do this
without a written order, and also, as alleged by Captn. Whannell, upon
some insolence or contempt at Captn. Whannell's authority, he, Captn.
Whannell, threw Mr. Perrier's constable also into the gaol at Yale;48
wch, being circumscribed in its limits, must, when thus containing prosecutor, witnesses, and constable—everybody but the accused persons—
have been rather inconveniently crowded.
8. Mr. Perrier, indignant at this treatment of his constable, and
apparently entirely ignorant of his power and authority and of the
respect due to the commission of the peace, immediately fulminated
against his rival a warrant for his apprehension, and also a warrant
for forcibly taking Dixon out of the gaol at Yale and bringing him to
Hill's Bar; and having no constable to whom the execution of these
warrants could be committed, he swore in Edward McGowan and one
Kelly44 and, I believe, several others as special constables to execute the
warrants. I only name these two, as they were the most noted men
on Hill's Bar, and were therefore the two who were summoned before
Mr. Brew,45 J.P., and myself to answer for their conduct.
See note (23) i> JH-5^
36 The Fraser River Mines.
9. These two men then, with 12 or 14 others, all fully armed—
the usual weapons worn here being one or two revolvers and a large
knife—came to Yale, suddenly seized Captn. Whannell, who himself
also usually sat in Court with a revolver at his belt, and also the
gaoler, who refused to obey Perrier's warrant for the delivery-up of
Dixon, the prosecutor. This was all effected with violence no doubt,
but happily without bloodshed or injury to property, although there is
no doubt that had the attack been less sudden and successful not one
of all these men—justice, gaoler, or special constables—would have
hesitated for an instant to use his revolver with the most deadly effect
to carry out his will.
10. But little remains to be told. Captn. Whannell and his gaoler
were both immediately taken before Perrier. The gaoler was discharged as having acted under orders. Capt. Whannell was fined 25
dollars " for contempt of Court" in Perrier's Court.
11. Of all these circumstances we were informed at great length
on our arrival at Yale, and partly also on our way thither. Mr. Perrier
was immediately (on Saturday, 15th Jany) sent for, and Your Excellency's despatch announcing his suspension was communicated to him
on the next day, Sunday, "after service in the Court-house read by
the Lieut. Govr and myself as clerk.46 The service was very well
attended. A copy was also affixed publicly at Yale and at Hill's Bar.
It was also announced that the Lieut. Governor and myself would go
alone on Monday, the 17th Jany, to Hill's Bar (the sappers having been
all left at Hopetown) to examine into the affair, and summonses were
prepared for that purpose. But on the afternoon of Sunday, the 16th
Jan., McGowan in the town of Yale assaulted one Dr. Fifer—it is true,
without inflicting any personal injury, but with circumstances of great
contumely, although he knew that the Lieut. Govr was then residing
within 100 yards of the spot where the assault took place. Under these
circumstances it was considered right to proceed more formally.47
Summonses were issued to McGowan to answer this assault and the
assault on Captn. Whannell, and to Kelly for the latter assault, returnable at Yale and with full legal notice. And on Wednesday the hearing
took place. On the summons for the assault on Fifer, McGowan
pleaded guilty, expressed his regret and his intention to observe the laws
p the Royal Engine
Mb Judge Begbie.
strictly for the future—expressions wch I was very glad to hear, as
coming from a man reputed to be of violent character, and made without any compulsion whatever, and in the presence of a large crowd of
men over most of whom he exercises a very considerable influence, and
therefore possessing much more weight with these bystanders than any
words of mine.
12. The next matter then came to be examined into; and although
irregular, I permitted the defendants to enter into what really was the
gist of their case—viz., that they were acting under virtue of a warrant
from a justice of the peace wch they were in fact precluded from
even questioning. Mr. Perrier was examined on this point; and on
the whole Mr. Brew and I were both of opinion that no jury would
have convicted on an indictment for the alleged misdemeanour in
assaulting the Justice and forcing the gaol. It appeared, indeed, to me
that if the matter had gone to trial I should have been bound to direct
an acquittal. With the concurrence of the Lieut. Governor, therefore, Mr. Brew and myself directed the defendants to be dismissed.48
I ought here to mention that Air. Brew, J.P., arrived very opportunely,
having travelled express in a canoe all the way from Langley in very
trying weather,49 and that he was of the greatest assistance to me in
this affair, carrying out all the details; my time being very much
occupied in other multiplied investigations, chiefly relating to the conduct of Mr. Hicks, late J.P. and Assistant Crown Commissioner at
Yale, into wch the Lieut. Governor deemed it necessary for the public
service to institute minute inquiries.
14. I am sorry to have to report, as the result of those inquiries,
throughout wch the Lieut. Governor bore a patient and laborious
part. Mr. Hicks appears wholly to have neglected his duties as far as
keeping any records: the imperfect entries wch he has kept being
such as to invite doubt and investigation only, and being apparently
incapable of proper explanation even by himself—that he appears
wholly to have neglected any attempt to collect the revenue wch it was
his duty to have collected, and wch to some extent at least might have
been collected, whereas it is now more than probable that much of the
arrears will be lost; that he has on many occasions by his own admission
taken unauthorized fees from miners or others for recording or pre- 38 The Fraser River Mines.
tending to record their claims; that he has in several instances, on
granting or pretending to grant privileges connected with the land,
reserved or obtained for himself an interest in the profits; that he, befng
authorized to grant liquor licences, has in particular granted to one
Kingham an exclusive wholesale liquor license at Yale in wch he is
allowed a third or a quarter share on the express stipulation that no
other person shall be allowed a wholesale license there, and has refused
to grant such other license accordingly: and that he has brought
the whole administration of justice into contempt.50 It is scarcely
possible to arrive at an accurate knowledge of his misconduct, as we
found by experience that no reliance is to be placed on his most distinct
assurances on subjects wch must be within his own personal and very
recent knowledge; e.g., an interest reserved to himself in a sawmill
and a ferry, as to which he admitted on the last day we were at Yale
that he had told us clear and repeated falsehoods. The whole of the
leases in the Yale town district are, moreover, so far as I have seen
them, void, in consequence of his having without a pretense of authority
very materially altered the terms of the printed forms wch he had
furnished by Your Excellency; in fact, omitting the principal stipulations in the lease introduced on the part of the Crown. I am therefore
of opinion that Mr. Hicks is totally unworthy of serving Her Majesty
in any capacity whatever, and that it would be extremely proper that
criminal proceedings shod be instituted against him.
In consequence of the state of titles to town lots at Yale arising
from the falsification of the leases and the recording or alleged recording of conflicting claims, it would almost seem a proper step to wipe
out all that has been done and recommence the town. The buildings
wod not all require to be removed: and all of them are of a very light
description and could easily be rebuilt anywhere.
As to the origin of the outrages, it appeared that Yale and its
vicinity are chiefly inhabited by citizens of the United States of
N.A. more or less connected with California; and, like other Califor-
nians, deeply imbued with party spirit; and, like all United States
citizens, very fond of political excitement and meetings, particularly
when they conceive that some legal right has been infringed. Yale is
chiefly inhabited by partisans of the "Vigilance Committee"; Hill's
Bar by partisans of the " Law and Order " party in San Francisco.
In particular McGowan and Bagley51 are resident there, owning claims
on the bar; also Wilson, an ex-alderman.   Not one of these men's
(50) For the details of these various misdeeds see the charges made by Captain Whannell,
'(51) Probably j. W. Bagley, a notorious person in California in 1856. The executive of the
Vigilance Committee had resolved, in September, 185T, " that if J. W. Bagley is found in San
Francisco after the 20th instant he will be immediately executed without trial." Judge Begbie.
lives wod be worth an hour's purchase in any street in San Francisco,
nor probably a month's purchase in any large town in the Union: and
thW and others all know it. They have been expatriated for no proved
crime and not unnaturally are indignant at their banishers and at all
who sympathize with them. Having never experienced the protection
of the law—finding it impossible to return to their own country and
stand a trial, for they wod be certainly shot down even in the very
Court of justice—they have become habituated to violence and to a
distrust and contempt of all constituted authorities, and become their
own avengers whenever and wherever they meet any of their supposed
oppressors. Fifer, whom McGowan assaulted as above mentioned, is
a "Vigilante," and McGowan avowed that he assaulted him on that
score. I believe that McGowan and his party had reason to believe
that an attempt, at all events, was contemplated to construct something
like a Vigilance Committee at Yale, directed agst themselves. How
criminal and bootless such an attempt wod have been under Your
Excellency's administration52 it is not necessary for me to point out.
I believe that it was seriously apprehended by McGowan: and though
they believe, perhaps, that it might ultimately be disowned or perhaps
put down by Your Excellency's Govt., yet they evidently had some
anxiety as to the inconveniences to wch they might have been put in
the meantime, and even as to the spirit in wch such a quasi-Vigilance
Committee might be viewed at Victoria. They therefore resolved to
anticipate violence by violence. It appeared to me that when their
violence was reprehended and punished as it was by me, they acquiesced
all the more readily and cheerfully in my decision because they received
at the same time assurances that the same protection shod be extended
to them in case of need wch was now exercised against them.
It is easy to conceive what a ready opening there was for disturbance in a district where a weak and corrupt magistrate like Mr.
Hicks, having thrown men's minds and titles into discontent and confusion, was succeeded by two magistrates like Captn Whannell and
Mr. Perrier, alike ignorant of the law, surrounded by evil counsellors,
and carried away with the most unbounded ideas of the dignity of
their offices and themselves. It appears very providential that no more
serious consequences took place.
In my opinion neither of these gentlemen are fitted by their learning or discretion usefully to fill the duties of the Justice of the Peace ;53
although I feel bound to add that not only nothing was proved, but
nothing was alleged against their personal honour and uncorrupted
J 40 The Fraser River Mines.
integrity, though every cause of offence, it is needless to say, was
remembered and brought forward.
From what has come before me I feel bound to state to Your
Excellency that I have no confidence that anywhere else in British
Columbia higher up the Fraser the office of justice of the peace is so
efficiently represented as is desirable, and I feel bound to recommend
that when any discreet person be found he shod be appointed without
delay and proceed directly up the river where a very large immigration may almost immediately be expected. From what I have observed
a very small force of regular police constables wod in general be
A large proportion of the population might, I think, be depended
upon as special constables; and evil-doers are in general disunited,
aware of the positive animosity with wch they are regarded by a
large number of the persons by whom they are surrounded, and, though
prone to violence, not very courageous. The late expedition of troops
also, at perhaps the very worst period of the winter wch has yet
occurred, has, I hope, shown them the temper of Your Excellency's
With respect to the powers of Justices of the Peace, various alterations have suggested themselves, chiefly in consequence of the late
occurrences. These I propose to reduce into the form of a Proclamation having the force of law, and to submit to Your Excellency for
approval.   The chief points which wod be brought forward would be:—
1st. The abolition of all districts wch are at present wholly
undefined and seem to promote confusion and jealousies.
2nd. Empowering a single Justice to do all acts for which by the
English law two Justices are required.
3rd. Augmenting the pecuniary penalties; the English fines of 5s.
and even 40s. are quite inadequate in " ounce diggings " districts.
4th. Regulating the fees to be taken. At present I am not aware
of any authorized table of fees; very different amounts are demanded
at different places, and in some the fees seem perfectly exorbitant.
5th. Throwing the Excise and Customs duties' proceedings into
the summary jurisdiction of justices.
6th. Generally codifying and classifying offences. This draft
I have in a great measure prepared, but I feel great difficulty in the
absence of the English Statute of 1848, wch codifies, I believe, the
English law on the subject and of wch no copy exists in the Colony.
I may state the weather was exceedingly ill adapted for travelling.
The snow lay eighteen inches deep on the flats opposite to Yale after a *%
Judge Begbie.
rain of 36 hours. But although we experienced a very great deal
of frost and snow, I doubt whether the thermometer ever descended
10° F. below freezing. And the weather was in general calm, with
the exception of one tremendous storm at Yale wch lasted only a very
few hours.
I should feel that I would be committing an act of injustice in
closing this Report without expressing, however inadequately, the obligations under wch I conceive the Government has been placed by the
Officers of the Hudson's Bay Company and which probably the Lieut.
Govr. will express more strongly than myself. It appeared to me that
but for the goodwill, energy, endurance, and personal influence with
classes possessed by those officers not only would the public service have
been very much impeded, but wod for the time at least have been impossible to be carried on. Wherever there was a Hudson's Bay post there
was a certainty of a hospitable offer of shelter and provisions; wherever there was a Hudson's Bay Company's man there was an energetic,
intelligent, and trustworthy aid.
I have the honor to be,
Your obed. Serv't,
Matt. B. Begbie.
To His Excellency the Govr-, etc.
Victoria, V.I.,
2nd March, 1859.
Sir,—I beg to hand to Your Excellency for approval the draft of
a Proclamation wch I think would be proper to issue previous to
holding trials, etc., involving questions of life and death.
Owing to the absence of all the usual Court officials who in
England perform the offices of registrar, assize clerk, etc., I suggest
that Your Excellency shod give power to such person as I may from
time to time appoint to be assize clerk to do in fact all such ministerial
acts as I may direct.
In the Commission of the 2nd Sept., 1858, wch Her Majesty
was pleased to direct to me, there is no statement as to my constituting any one of the three Courts of Common Law in England, or a
Court of Equity. There are Judges of course in all these
Courts, as also, in fact, in other courts. And as this
indefinite nature of my commission might be laid hold of, I beg to
suggest that you invest me by this Proclamation with all the authorities 42 The Fraser River Mines.
of the Court of Queen's Bench in England, being the highest criminal
Court. I shod have no hesitation in assuming a jurisdiction in civil
cases, but in matters of life and death I think the highest jurisdiction
not too great.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
Matt. B. Begbie.
To His Excellency the Governor.
Justice of the Peace—Oath.
I, A. B., do solemnly swear that I will honestly and truly perform
all the duties of [High Sheriff for] [a Justice of the Peace in] the
Colony of British Columbia to the best of my knowledge and ability,
without fear or favor, according to the laws which now are or hereafter shall be in force in the sd Colony.    So help me God.
High Sheriff.
British Columbia—Proclamation.64
By His Excellency James Douglas, Governor and Commander-in-
Chief of Her Excellency's Colony of British Columbia, having the force
of law for making temporary provision for the better administration of
Justice in the said Colony.
Whereas, by a commission under the Great Seal of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which has been duly proclaimed
and published, I, the Governor of British Columbia, have been authorized by Proclamation under the Public Seal of the Colony to make
laws, institutions, and ordinances for the peace, order, and good Gov-
ment of the same:
And whereas it is expedient to make temporary provision for the
trial of criminals and of civil causes in British Columbia, and to provide
for the issuing of writs and the inforcement of process thereupon:
Now, therefore, I, James Douglas, Governor of the said Colony,
do hereby enact, proclaim, and declare as follows, viz.:—
1st. It shall be lawful for the Judge in British Columbia to appoint
from time to time, by any writing under his hand, some fit and proper
person to be assize clerk in British Columbia: and that every person so
appointed shall have power to issue all such writs and do all such acts
as he shall be directed by the said Judge to do and as are usually done Judge Begbie
by any sessions clerk, or by the clerk of the Crown or clerk of the
writs, or associate of the Court of Queen's Bench in England: and
that all ministerial acts bona fide done by such assize clerk, and for
the doing of which he shall not be expressly disqualified, shall be as
valid and shall be enforcible in the same way as if such acts had been
done by the sessions clerk, clerk of the Crown, clerk of the writs, or
associate respectively.
2nd. The Judge in British Columbia shall have all the like powers
and authorities in all respects as are exercised by the Court of Queen's
Bench in England.
3rd. It shall be lawful for the said Judge in British Columbia to
direct any criminal or accused person to be detained in custody in
Vancouver Island although convicted or accused of offences committed
in British Columbia: Provided always that the whole expense of the
conveyance, maintenance, reconveyance, and treatment of the said
prisoners or accused person shall be exclusively borne by the said
Colony of British Columbia.
4th. This Proclamation shall continue in force for the space of
twelve months from the date hereof and no longer, unless the same
shall in the meantime be extended by lawful authority.
Issued under the Public Seal of the Colony of British Columbia,
at Victoria, Vancouver Island, this second day of March, one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-nine, in the twenty-second year of Her
Majesty's reign, by me.
Note.—Copy B.C. Proclamation. Judge to be of C.B. Power to
appt. assize clerk, etc.    5th March, 1859.
Langley Barracks,55
Dear Sir,—I am sorry to say that in consequence of my non-
arrival on Monday, and the boisterous state of the weather here wch
induced people to suppose that the " Governor Douglas "58 could not
cross at all, two of the principal witnesses in Jones's case left Langley
a few hours before my arrival. Mr. Pearkes expected, however, to
find other witnesses agst him (Jones) and we proceeded with the
trial to-day.    Bedford was foreman of the Grand Jury and found true
nterprise,"   " Marl
y 27, 1859. 44 The Fraser River Mines.
bills agst both the prisoners  for murder.   The  Grand Jury made
presentments of 3 public inconveniences:—
1. The practise of carrying offensive weapons on the person,
especially in the neighbourhood of towns.
2. Some arrangement about the permits; goods bought in Victoria and properly paid on and cleared up here are, it appears, subject
to seizure higher up the river after being sold here by importers to
smaller traders, unless these last produce also a permit; and
3. The want of a port of entry in the Fraser.
The trial of Jones was ultimately postponed on the application of
Mr. Pearkes.57 That of Niel was proceeded with. I found it necessary to withdraw from the jury all the capital part of the case: it was
a sudden combat, it appeared, in wch the deceased had fired the first
shot. It occurred in a drinking saloon: gaming was going on: and
arose out of a quarrel about the change for some money, apparently
lost at cards. The jury were partly from the necessity of the case,
partly from the prisoner being entitled to have half foreigners on his
jury; not necessarily citizens of the U. S., but foreigners of some sort.58
They were a remarkably intelligent jury. The defendant urged that it
was in self-defence. I charged the jury pretty strongly for manslaughter: in fact, it appeared to me a case too clear for them to
require to turn round in their box. They did not, however, come to
a decision until they had been locked up for near 5 hours, and sent for
me twice—once I wrote; once I went in to them. They could not in the
end agree to guilty or not guilty: so at my suggestion, made three
hours before, they at last sent in a special verdict, finding: 1st, that
Niel killed the deced by firing at him; 2nd, that the deceased had
fired at Niel; but that, 3rd, they could not come to any decision on
the evidence whether Niel had retreated as far as he could previously
to firing, wch last finding was not to be wondered at, seeing that not
only was there no evidence that he shewed any unwillingness for the
combat, but that he expressed his readiness: " If that is your game,"
he cried, " I'm in "; and advanced firing bullet after bullet with fatal
precision, drilling the deced at every shot. 'This amounts to manslaughter: the deced (although the jury do not say so) having, on
the evidence, fired the first shot. If Niel had fired the first I shod
have been obliged to let the case go to the jury for wilful murder.59
(57) George Jones, accused of the murder of H. Wallace at Tale on December 14, 1858.    It Judge Begbie.
This verdict I received long after dark, having resolved to take up my
quarters in an empty room at the back of the Court-house, purely for
Ogilvy's sake, who was on the jury and suffering from a bad gumboil.
Had it not been for him I shod have gone back to the Fort and left
the obstinate jury here all night, without coal, food, or candle.60 They
were all pretty glad to get out and seem determined never to come on
a jury again, each party calling the other a set of obstinate fools.
I think the plan of taking special verdicts, wch I opened to you in
conversation some time ago, must be followed for some time. It will
be difficult, perhaps, to get a jury to say " guilty " when they cannot,
on their oaths, refuse to state the result of the evidence.
The " Beaver" leaves, I believe, to-morrow morning. I shall
request Capt. Sinclair to sound his whistle at leaving, and stop opposite the " Recovery " to take the prisoners on board; there is no probability of keeping them here, and I shall take advantage of your late
Proclamation and sentence Niel to penal servitude in Victoria; you may
afterwards do with him as you please.
I think all the proceedings, so far as they have gone hitherto,
seem to have been regarded with great respect and some little awe.
Mr. Nicol61 appears a very intelligent, active officer. There is one
boat here seized before the issuing of the late Proclamation.62 There
are 5 men, and the whole boat and seizure is estimated by Mr. Bevis68
at $150. I propose to authorize him to release the seizure on payment
of $50, ys of the estimated amount. The parties effecting the seizure
are entitled to one-third; and in releasing the boat I do not like to
do anything wch may interfere with Mr. Bevis's just expectations.
I think this $50 ought to go as if the goods had been sold. The
Customs dues on the freight, about $100 worth of flour and sugar,
wod. at 10 per cent, only come to $10; the sufferance for the boat
wod. at Victoria have been, as we know, $5. The fisc. will therefore
only lose $15, wch, if you think I am doing very wrong, you may
make me repay. It seems hard that the country shod lose the industry of 5 men and the men themselves $150 of property in a case where
no fraud is clearly shown to have been intended, and where the fisc.
only has an interest of 1/10 part of the value of the property—viz., $15.
I propose to proceed on Monday by the " Maria "64 to Fort Hope and
Fort Yale.
:o San Francisco. The Fraser River Mines.
The Court-house here is held in the barracks, wch contain nearly
twice the accommodation of the new proposed parsonage, Court-house,
and church all put together. It would have been well to have taken
them over for that purpose, wch they wod suit very well, and they are
about the best-built wooden buildings and neatest-looking I have seen
either here or in V. I.
I beg that you will apologize to Mr. Anderson65 for my intrusion
upon his orders, wch I admit, of course, to be altogether unauthorized
and impertinent, but the case comes, I think, so completely within the
spirit (though not in time to come within the letter) of your late Proclamation that I have with some hesitation ventured to direct Mr. Bevis
to depart from the rigor hitherto observed, reserving to him his full due:
or at least reserving the proportion wch wod have come to him had the
seizure gone to a sale, and wch you may deal with at your pleasure.
Friday, 7 a.m.   The " Beaver " is starting 4 hours earlier than
I expected, and I must close precipitately and can only send Jones, not
having given judgment in the other case.
Believe me,
Yours faithfully,
Matt. B. Begbie.
12th March, 1859.
Dear Sir,—I sentenced the prisoner Niel67 this morning to four
years' penal servitude, to be undergone for the present in Victoria.
I took the opportunity of making a few observations wch the occasion seemed to call for, pointing out the leading vices wch seemed to
have led to the crime and showing the audience what the law of homicide is; not unluckily, I happened to find a United States law-book,
from wch I read some of the more decisive passages. I never saw
a Court conducted with more propriety; there was a tolerably large
After the conclusion of the trial I wrote to Captn. Sinclair, of
the " Beaver," who was advertised to leave Fort Langley at 10 a.m.,
informing him that there would be two prisoners ready for him at
II a.m. if he could remain so long. However, he left at 7 a.m., leaving
several disappointed passengers, as I afterwards heard at the Fort; and
of course leaving also the prisoner Neil.    Captn. Sinclair wrote me
(65) Alexander Caulfleld Anderson, the Collector of Customs at Victoria, which under Doug-
(67) Judge Begbie g Judge Begbie.
a civil note regretting his inability to delay; but his owners have certainly lost several hundred dollars on the run by passengers left behind.
The complaints about him are loud, bitter, and universal, and only
soothed by the explanation that he is insane. On arriving off Queen-
borough he pitched overboard into the water (above low-water mark)
some bricks and barrels of lime, wch are rendered of little value, to
poor Captain Parsons's great concern. I suppose you will have heard
of this from Coll- Moody.
I came down here on the "Recovery" wch was towed down
here by the " Maria "6S steamer—leaving a little after high water. It
took two hours to come down, I suppose, 13 miles. The weather is
very much agst any proceedings here; there is from 6 to 8 inches
of snow all over the site of Queenborough, and to-day it is snowing
fast. It is scarce possible to survey. The men69 are in a log hut and
the Colonel70 in a shake house. The face of the country is being gradually better known, although very little cleared. Two trout-streams
have been discovered: one running into the right of the bay opposite
the shoal; the other nearly opposite Tree island.71 The latter runs for
a considerable distance, apparently, parallel to the Pitt R. and issues,
like the Pitt, from a lake in the mountains. This confirms, as far as
it goes, the opinion formed on the January explorations, that there is
a larger space between the sea and the Pitt or Bedford Lake than the
map wod lead us to suppose.
I drew for the expenses of some of the witnesses at the trial two
bills on Captn Gosset72 for $183 and $53. I also paid the expenses
of bringing the 2 prisoners here and placing them in custody of
Mr. Nicol, $65. Total, $331. With respect to one witness, James
Brown, the partner of the deced man, he had been mainly instrumental, according to his own account, wch I believe to be truly, in
tracking and securing the criminal; in fact, his evidence was attempted
to be shaken on the ground of the strong personal animosity wch he
had displayed. And he very frankly admitted that he would have followed the prisoner equally if he had never expected a reward; but that
he thought the Government could pay, and might as well do so, and
that he suggested another $100. I explained to him that I could order
no such payment without further sanction (although I am not sure
note (64), ante, p. 45.    This
" Umatilla," which had been
Judge Begbie
it may be added, was an ent mm
48 The Fraser River Mines.
that I could not according to English custom), but promised to report
the case: wch I report accordingly. The usual practice in England
is that the expenses of criminal prosecutions be borne by the county
rates in the first instance, to which they are recouped, I believe, out of
the consolidated fund.
The sanction to the treasurer is the Judge's initials. Mr. Nicol
and Mr. Bushby78 both investigated all the accounts and have the
particulars, wch seemed to me to be reasonable.
There are several little matters here wch can scarcely be explained
in the compass of a letter, and, though small, lead to many observations
and might perhaps establish a precedent. For instance, one man,
Colman, the same who had been involved in that unfortunate litigation
before Travaillot,74 wants a permission to go to a point opposite the
Harrison R., a little higher up, and cut wood to supply the steamer
with fuel. I propose to Col'- Moody to apply to him the trading
license proclamn—treat this as the trade of felling and selling firewood; allow him to use unoccupied Crown land, say 40 feet square,
for that purpose; and pay 30s. a month and Is. for everything felled.
I have drawn a short form to that effect wch I leave with Coll. Moody;
with a clause expressly stipulating that the lessee is to remove at 15
days' notice without any compensation whatever, and everything not
removed to be confiscated.
There are squatters, traders already coming to Queenborough—
one a baker who has supplied the troops at Langley with bread all
the winter. I saw him this afternoon in the snow handing out the
bricks out of a scow for making his oven in a tangled jungle where
you would think an oven wod. never be. I propose to Coll- Moody,
as Commr. of Lands, to take rent from these in the same way and form.
I don't think the principle can be applied to sawmills or farmers, who
require a larger extent of ground, more difficult to ascertain, more likely
to be encroached upon.
There appears to be a very considerable extent of land between
Queenborough and the Pitt R. prairie, or nearly so, well watered by
rapid brooks and described in most glowing terms by all who have
been up. The soil all over the hill here and wherever the surveying
parties have been is most admirable.
I saw Mr. Kirk to-day. He seems an extremely proper man for
his post and is well spoken of by all here. I rather suspect Bevis and
he do not agree very well. I shod, think he is at least as good a man
as Bevis; but I shod, be sorry to see the latter displaced, as I rather
(73) Arthur Thomas Bushby, at that time Registrar of the Supreme Court of British Colum-
(74)' Captain Travaillot, the Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands, etc., at Lytton. Judge Begbie. 49
like him notwithstanding several stories here about him: wch I always
put to the fault of the empty sack that could not stand upright. He is
always against his own interest; fair and liberal in his statements relative to revenue matters, so far as they come before me; and I never
go to the beach at Langley without some request or another relative
to the boats seized, wch I cannot always attend to. The parties in
whose favor (Simmons or Simons & Co.) I authorized Mr. Bevis
the other day to liberate their boat and stores on payment of £ 10 have,
I am informed, declined to redeem on those terms. The £10 wod.
have paid the usual fees and Mr. Bevis's % nearly, as he reduced
his valuation from £30 to £24 for the whole. Their refusal, however, releases me from any responsibility in the matter. Another man,
Paston, applied to me this morning; he had two trunks seized on
board one of the many boats going up to Fort Hope. He was not on
board himself. I gave Mr. Bevis an authority to release them at once
(instead of proceeding to a sale by auction) to the owner on payment
of the full value wch he estimated the property wod. fetch if fairly
sold by auction, and told Paston he might make any application he liked
for a return of the money. This again is an interference in a matter
with wch I know I have nothing to do, but I do not think the revenue
can suffer, and the poor wretch, if innocent, has already suffered mental
anxiety and been mulcted in the sum necessary to pay his expenses from
Fort Hope and back. If he did knowingly wrong, I don't think he
will try it again.    If he was innocent, he has suffered enough.
Bevis suggested to me that he has only one room in all, for office,
living, sleeping, cooking, and he is a married man. However, as he
said he was to be in Victoria very soon, I directed him to lay these
circumstances before you personally.
I do hope the barracks at Langley may be saved. As to the new
Court-house, wch is nearly framed, the two rooms at the back have
not the slightest convenience of any description whatever; and how it
is intended to get at the apartments on the first floor Mr. Fells does
not understand, as there are no stairs nor any place to put them. They
cannot be in the Court-room, as they would block up what alone can
be the jury-box, and if in one of the back rooms they wod. block it
completely up. I did not observe either the parsonage, the church,75
or the gaol; I do not think they are commenced. The snow lay on
the ground the whole time we were there and it was not very tempting
for explorations. The barracks by themselves alone afford adequate
accommodation for all purposes, and will not be wanted apparently
1 50 The Fraser River Mines.
except for the women and children of the men coming out, who will of
course be kept from their husbands as short a time as possible.
There was a complaint by some newly arrived Yankees at Langley
that the Indians had stolen their goods and one boat coming up.
I thought it very odd, but thought there might be something in it,
because it is so unusual: and as there must be a robbery some time
or other, of course every day's delay makes it more likely to occur. It
did not come before me officially, but I suggested that a good many
more inquiries shod, be made before it met with implicit credence.
There was some mystery about it; and at last the fellows intimated,
I believe, their willingness to accept a reasonable compensation from
the Government, etc. So then it was clear at once; it was a case of
the I Mayflower " in little. You may perhaps hear more of it; perhaps
you may not.
Colonel Moody has not got copies of the recent proclamations.
Might I suggest that you shod, direct Mr. Young to enclose him the
boats proclamn. and that concerning the tariff of licenses, etc.76 It
seems to me that the 30s. per month for the use of Crown lands and
all licenses under that head fall more properly within his department
than under the Customs or Excise departments, the payment being
not for the license to trade as in England—e.g., tobacco and spirit and
auctioneer's licenses—but for the use of Crown land. And it seems
useful, if anything is to be permitted of the sort, that all the documents
ought to be in the Land Office, to know what land is occupied and what
not. Perhaps a public notification that all applications respecting lands
ought to be sent through Col. Moody wod. be desirable.
Sunday, 13th.    I return to Fort Langley to-night and to-morrow
morning start for Fort Hope and Fort Yale with Mr. Ogilvy, Mr.
McColl,77 and Mr. Bushby.   Really, unless the weather is lighter, I
shall not attempt Lytton, but return at once from Fort Yale.
Believe me,
Yours very truly,
Matt. B. Begbie.
Fort Yale,
19th March, 1859.
Dear Sir,—We arrived here this afternoon, having luckily had a
few hours' tolerably fine weather and a much more pleasant passage
up than we expected.   There appear to be fewer persons from Fort Judge Begbie.
Hope to Fort Yale than in January last and the river seems lower.
This evening, however, it froze sharp as soon as the sun set and is now
snowing heavily. There was some cake ice near six inches thick in the
eddy off Strawberry Island. Great quantities of miners have gone up
the river—many English; none stopping here, scarcely.78
Captn. Whannell we found just the same as usual: calmer, I
think, since Mr. Hicks's departure, wch I was not aware of until
my arrival here. Mr. Nicol and myself have mattresses in his parlour; there appears to be scarcely another spare sleeping-place in the
town. There seems much uncertainty as to the town lots here, and
I really think that the plan adopted as between Queenborough and
Langley wod. give more satisfaction than what is now the state of
affairs79—viz., declare all that has been done of none effect, relay the
whole place, and put it up to auction, allowing to bidders the whole of
their advances to Govt- and, say, % of their outlay: or, better, give
every purchaser in the new town all his advances to Government and
the right to take away and dispose in any manner of any building or
improvements wch he may have made on the present sites. The town
is not laid out at all, except with parallel rulers and a water-line. The
leases are, every one of them I believe, invalidated by the unauthorized
erasures of the two terms originally contained in them—viz., payment
of rent to be in advance and power of resumption in the Govt- And if
this general confiscation be not made, it seems probable that a far larger
amount in £. s. d. will be shortly expended in law costs besides the
time wch will be lost to the Colony if the town be long delayed.
Nobody would be really injured by this: for in 6 months the place
will be much more improved than sufficiently to compensate for the loss.
Mr. Coe80 was extremely anxious before I left Fort Hope that I
shod, authorize his cutting some trees for his mill wch he expects
to have in working order in 20 days. He shewed me a letter from
Dr. Tuzo81 and written by Your Excellency's order, in wch he certainly
is justified in assuming that he is to have the mill. There are thousands
of trees close by; he proposes at present to take some—he spoke of 20
or 30 out of several hundreds immediately behind his mill upon what 52 The Fraser River Mines.
appears to be rough somewhat steeply rising ground. (I explained to
him that a good many of these trees, but I certainly think that one-tenth
of them wod. probably be sufficient, wod. be retained by way of ornament.) Ultimately he proposes to take the trees by means of a shoot
from high up among the rocks, where they can be of no earthly value to
any body else. It wod. be of great importance to the town to get
lumber on this spot at 50 dollars per 1,000. They were paying $90 for
it here last winter and $80 now I am informed, and have had to pay
$100 at Fort Hope.
Capt. Whannell desires me to mention to you that he is exceedingly anxious to be removed. I fancy he means by that promoted. He
say that he wrote to Col. Moody the letter of resignation wch he
mentioned to him; I write a few words to the Coll- at Queenboro on
the'point. He also (Capt. WI.) says that he wrote to Your Excellency
through Coll- Moody submitting that the fine of $25 inflicted by Perrier82
ought to be remitted by the Crown: wch appears certainly proper, as it
never ought to have been inflicted. Perrier, having received it, is bound
to a/c for it to the treasury: but the treasury may at once I wod. submit,
order it to be repaid to Captn. W. Perrier was willing when I was last
here to repay it; but I pointed out that, having been received by him for
the Crown, he must pay it to the Crown officers, who might deal with
it as was thought just. He repaid the costs while I was here. W. says
that he has received no answer to his application to Your Excellency.
We are to have a sermon to-morrow from one of the Wesleyan
ministers, who is, I believe, going higher up the river also. I don't
know where he lodges and he does not seem to care, but though quite a
boy in looks everybody seems to think he gives a very good sermon.
He preaches at Fort Yale in the morning, Emory Bar in the middle of
the day, and Fort Yale in the evening; paddling himself, as Saint
Peter used to do.88
The snow is by no means clear at Lytton; according to all reports,
there is still too much for any surveying to be done. I wish that I
had had sufficient confidence, in the Irish sense, to ask you to appoint
Mr. Nicol and myself commissioners to settle land disputes up here.
Both at Fort Hope and at Fort Yale there are matters, but here
especially, wch I submit really ought to be settled one way or the
other: and any settlement almost is better than none at all. Hicks has
left things in a hopeless state up here.   A few of his doings: He has
(82) The fine for the " contempt of Court," one of the incidents that led up to the " Ned
(83) The Rev. Ebenezer Kobson, later the Rev. Dr. Robson. The first Methodist ministers
in British Columbia were himself, the Rev. E. White, the Rev. Arthur Browning, and the Bev.
Dr. Evans.    They arrived in Victoria in February, 1859. Judge Begbie.
received applications from his friends for leases so early as the 15th
Octr., the first public intimations having been given on the 19th Oct1--
He granted to one ditch company 500 inches of water on Hill's Bar,
and then to another compy. (in which he was a partner) all the water
from the same brook beyond 200 inches. Notwithstanding his denial
of recording ditch claims, I find page after page of them. I submit
that the most proper means of satisfying town lessees whose claims
have been jumped wod. be by portions of his acre,84 as far as it will go.
His ditch claim, wch I thought might be valuable, he has sold.
Another Indian was brought up to-day charged with murder of a
"Boston man"85 last summer. But it appeared pretty clear that the
accuser, also an Indian, had got up the charge out of jealousy; and the
case was dismissed. He was from a tribe above the Big Cafion and the
only interpreter we could trust was Martin, a carrier Indian, Mr. Nicol's
servant, who seems a first-rate fellow. I gave him a warning in
French, wch Martin interpreted in about ten minutes of a very eloquent harangue in such gutturals as I never heard, and as seemed really
very dangerous for his back teeth; the poor wretch, who had tried to run
for it at first, seemed quieted and impressed, and thankful to get off.
Sunday night.   The mail has been hourly expected all day, but
has not arrived, and this mail, wch, by the bye, is said to be slow and
irregular, closes to-night—did in fact close last night.
Believe me,
Yours very truly,
Matt. B. Begbie.
To His Excellency the Governor. 54 The Fraser River Mines.
December 31st, 1858.
Thomas Piesley, being duly sworn, makes affidavit to the following:
I reside at the Hole in Wall on Fraser River above Fort Yale.
I was at Fort Yale this morning. I know Mr. Hickson, constable of
Hill's Bar. I saw him at the Court-house this morning; saw him hand
a letter to Judge Whannell, which he read and appeared very much
excited, and called Mr. Hickson up to the desk and said: " I want you
to bring those men before me forthwith." Mr. Hickson said he could
not without an order from Judge Perrier, as the men were already
before Judge Perrier. Captain Whannell says: " I am your superior
officer; I wish them to be brought before me." Captain Whannell
appeared very much excited and said: " Do you not acknowledge me
as your superior?" Hickson answered: "No, not as a superior."
Captain Whannell did not ask Hickson if he did not recognize him as
a superior officer, but as a superior.86 Captain Whannell desired an
officer to remove Hickson from the Court-house. Hickson replied:
"I have another letter," which he handed to Captain Whannell, but
he refused to read it. An officer then removed Hickson from the
Court-house. After he (Hickson) left, Captain Whannell said: "I
will commit him to Jail," and ordered the clerk to write a commitment,
I then went to see Hickson, not expecting to find him locked up, but
found that he was before a commitment was made out.
Sworn before me at Hill's Bar this 31st day of December, 1858.
(Sgd.)       George Perrier,
Justice of the Peace.
To His Excellency James Douglass
Governor of British Columbia.
Dear Sir,—It is with sincere regret that I have to inform your
Excellency that a misunderstanding has arisen between Capt. Whan-
nel (the gentleman your Excellency was pleased to appoint as Justice
of the Peace for the District of Fort Yale) and myself. On Wednesday the 29th of Deer., Capt. Whannel directed a general warrant to me
for the arrest of two men charged with assault and battery at Fort
Yale on the 25th day of Deer. I indorsed the warrant and placed it
in the hands of Constable Henry Hickson, of Hill's Bar. On Thursday
he arrested the men.    I admitted them to bail to appear for examination
Judge Begbie refers in his letter of February 3, 1859, ante, p. 35. Ned McGowan War. 55
on Friday at 12 o'clock A.M. On Friday morning I directed a note to
Captain Whannel asking the release of one, Isaac Dickson, the Prosecutor in the Case whom I heard was in Custody as a Witness. Officer
Hickson proceeded to Fort Yale and placed the note in the hands of
Cap. Whannel, who told him that he could not have Dickson, and
Commanded Constable Hickson to bring the Prisoners before him at
Fort Yale. Mr. Hickson answered that he could not bring them without an order from me. Cap. Whannel ordered Mr. Hickson to be
removed from the Court and locked up, which I think was an Insult to
me as a Magistrate and likewise a contempt of my Court, and as I
considered it my Duty to preserve the Dignity of my Court I issued
a warrant for the arrest of Capt. Whannel for Contempt, and also an
order for the release of Constable Hickson. Capt. Whannel appeared
before me. The Copy of the Evidence with my descion in the case I
have forwarded to your Excellency, hoping that it will meet your
Excellency's approval.87
I remain, Sir,
Your Most Obdt Servant
Hill's Bar, I any- 4th, 1859. (Sgd.)      Geo. Perrier.
Fort Yale,
17th January, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honour to report to you it seems probable the
difficulties at Fort Yale and Hill's Bar are for the present quelled.
In conjunction with Judge Begbie, I deemed it the best policy to
leave the Royal Engineers at Fort Hope and for us to proceed alone
to Fort Yale and try to arrange matters in the ordinary way. We
purposed to visit Hill's Bar together without any display of force or
authority, and it was our intention to have summoned before us
Edward McGowan and a man named Kelly (who appears to act as a
sort of Lieutenant to him) to answer the outrage upon Captain Whannell, J.P., and the breaking-open of the Jail.
On communicating, however, to Mr. George Perrier your Excellency's order for his suspension from the role of Justice of the Peace,
considerable excitement arose in the town and Edward McGowan
violently assaulted a Dr. Fifer in the street, and the information
I received of the state of affairs altogether convinced me that it was
hopeless to expect the Law would be respected. I therefore sent
Lieut. Mayne, R.N., express to Fort Hope to send up the Detach-
mmm *+^(
56 The Fraser River Mines.
ment of Royal Engineers under Captain Grant, and to proceed on in
the steamer " Enterprise " to Langley to bring up the Detachment of
Royal Marines with the Field-piece party of Seamen. In accordance
with my detailed orders to Captn. Grant, the Detachment arrived this
morning after a trying night advance by batteaux and marching.
Mr. Brew accompanied the Party and also 12 special constables headed
by Messrs. Ogilvy and Macdonald, of whose zeal and ability (especially
Mr. Ogilvy's) I cannot speak too highly. There was some little excitement on their arrival, but the feeling generally in this town was of
the best description, and summonses have been duly served at Hill's
Bar on McGowan and Kelly, who are to appear here the day after
I am very much afraid, however, they will be able to shelter themselves behind Mr. Perrier's authority, he having sworn them in as
Special constables on the occasion.
The troops are in excellent health and spirits. I shall have the
honour of addressing your Excellency more particularly on a future
occasion and report the arrangements I now propose to make in respect
to the troops.
I have the honour to be,
Yr Most Obedient humble Servant,
(Sgd.)     R. L. Moody,
His Excellency the Governor. Lt-Gov.
Fort Yale,89
31st December, 1858.
His Excellency James Douglas, Esquire,
Governor, etc., British Columbia.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform your Excellency that on the
24th inst. one William Foster, a notorious character and gambler,
shot one Bernard Rice, a miner, in open daylight and has absconded.
I have used every precaution and exerted every possible means in my
power to capture the criminal, but to no purpose as yet. He has been
hidden by his associates here as well as on Hill's Bar, among whom is
that notorious villain, Edward McGowan.
I have closed up all the Gambling Saloons, appointed three men on
the Police Forse, and taken on several special constables on pay, as I
could not arrange otherwise, and a large force is absolutely necessary
here at the present crisis.
(88) This short report from Colonel Moody adds but little to the full account of Judge Begbie. Edward ("Ned") McGowf BE*-*-'*
I Ned McGowan War.
I have also to inform your Excellency that Edward McGowan
came up this day to this town at the head of a lawless band of ruffians;
broke open the Jail and liberated a Prisoner, in the person of Hickson,
Constable at Hill's Bar, whom I committed this day for contempt of
Court and insubordination.
Mr. Perrier, Justice of the peace at Hill's Bar, issued a Warrant
for my arrest for the above act and dispatched a band of Sworn in
special constables composed of the most notorious characters in that
locality, and of which number was McGowan.
I pronounce Mr. Perrier totally unfit to serve in any capacity under
Her Majesty's Government.
This town and district are in a state bordering on anarchy; my
own and the lives of the citizens are in imminent peril. I beg your
Excellency will afford us prompt aid. I have applied to Captain Grant
for assistance already, as troops can easily be billeted in this town.
An effective blow must at once be struck on the operations of these
outlaws, else I tremble for the welfare of this Colony.
In conclusion, I beg to report to your Excellency that at the
present time, owing to Mr. Perrier's act this day, my authority is set
at defiance and I am, as it were, a mere cipher.
With due deference to your Excellency, I must state that should
an armed force not be convenient to be sent up here at once, I shall
be under the necessity of tendering my resignation.
To Mr. G. Tennent, the bearer of this, I beg to refer your Excellency, as he is aware of all that occurred here from the date of the
murder of Bernard Rice.
Before concluding I must state that the whole of these disturbances
at Fort Yale have originated in the acts of Mr. Richard Hicks, whom
I do not hesitate to denounce as an unprincipled and corrupt Public
Officer and a disgrace to the Government under which he has served.
I have dismissed Hickson, the Constable at Hill's Bar, but the
Justice there has put him on again; that man is also in league with
McGowan's party.
I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's Most Obedient Servant,
(Sgd.)     P. B. Whannell,
Justice of the Peace, District of Fort Yale.
P.S.—I beg to report that Mr. William Kirby, late of the Police
force here, refused to be sworn in or to act as a Special Constable when
called upon by me on the present occasion.—P. B. W. 58
The Fraser River Mines.
Melbourne, Victoria,
9 May, 1859.
Sir,—Referring to my recent verbal communication, I have now
the honor of acquainting you that a person of the name of Whannell,
who for some time held a situation in the Customs Department here,
absconded from this Colony in the month of November, 1856, accompanied by the wife of a resident in Melbourne whose name I have not
learned, leaving his own wife and family behind totally unprovided for.
Whannell was a private trooper in the Victoria Volunteer Yeomanry Corps under my command, and at the time of his enrolment
represented himself as having been formerly in a light cavalry regiment
in India, as to which I had some reason afterward for expressing my
doubts in consequence of his ignorance of ordinary Cavalry exercise
and field movements. Nothing whatever was heard of Whannell after
his departure until very lately, when the following paragraph appeared
in one of the Melbourne newspapers:—
" British Columbia.—His Excellency Governor Douglas has been
pleased to appoint as Justice of the Peace at Fort Yale, Captain B.
Whannell, of the Victoria Yeomanry Cavalry in Australia, late of the
Nigaria Cavalry in the East Indies."
If Whannell represented himself to His Excellency Governor
Douglas as having been a Captain or even a commissioned officer in the
Victoria Yeomanry Cavalry he told a deliberate falsehood. The uniform of that Corps is a very expensive one, that of the ranks being
mounted with gold lace precisely the same as a commissioned officer,
and I have no doubt that this has assisted Whannell in some measure,
if he appeared in that uniform, in imposing upon the Governor with
the tale of being a commissioned officer.
I deem it my duty, as commanding officer of the Royal Victoria
Yeomanry Corps, that some steps for the purpose of making known
to Governor Douglas that Whannell is an absconder, and that if he has
represented himself to His Excellency Governor Douglas as having
held a Commission in the Victoria Yeomanry Corps (now called
" Royal " by Her Majesty's permission) he (Whannell) has been guilty
of falsehood and wilful imposition. Under these circumstances it has
occurred to me that the most direct course would be to communicate
the facts to His Excellency Governor Douglas thro the office of the
Secretary of State for the Colonies, but of course I defer to your better
judgment in such matters.
Herewith I beg leave to forward for your further information a
letter addressed to me from the Customs Department of date 27 ult., Ned McGowan War. 59
mentioning the precise date of Whannell's departure and of his subsequent dismissal from the service by the Governor in Council.
Whannell's name was erased from the roll of members of the
Royal Victoria Yeomanry Corps, he having been reported as an
absconder and absent without leave.
I have the honor, etc.,
(Signed)       Jas. H. Ross,
Lt. Col. Commanding R.V.Y.C.
C. Standish, Esq., Chief Commissioner of Police, Melbourne. f
60 The Fraser River Mines.
NOVEMBER, 1858, TO APRIL, 1859.
Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
11th November, 1858.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform your Excellency that, having
been appointed Head of the Police Department in British Columbia by
the Right Honourable Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart., Secretary of State for
the British Colonies,1 I embarked on the 4th of September last at
Southampton in the steamship " Austria " for New York to proceed
across the Isthmus of Panama to Victoria. I arrived here on the
8th inst., on which day I had the honor of presenting myself to your
I presume Your Excellency is informed that my salary was fixed
at £500 a year; half pay to commence on the day I embarked and
my full pay to commence on the day I reported myself to Your Excellency. I received in London £ 150 for my passage-money and expenses
out to the Colony, and I received an advance of pay of one hundred
and fifty pounds less income-tax.
The steamer in which I left Southampton was burned at sea on
the 13th of September, 4 days' sail from New York. By this disaster I lost all my property, all my money, and all my papers—amongst
the last a despatch from the Colonial Office addressed to your Excellency. I escaped from the burning ship with nothing but the clothes
on my person, and these were torn to shreds in my struggles to save
myself. I was rescued by a French ship and on the following day got
on board a vessel bound for Halifax, N.S., at which port we landed on
the 27th of September.
In the absence of the Governor the Executive Council in Halifax
advanced me £ 100, for which sum I gave my acknowledgment. This
seasonable loan enabled me to start immediately for my destination,
and notwithstanding the misfortune with which I met, and that after
my escape I was 14 days in a sailing-ship and was taken out of
my way to Halifax, I arrived here only 10 days later than the party
of the Royal Engineers which sailed from England on the 2nd of
September, two days before I left.8 Chartres Brew.
I owe the Government £150 advance of pay made to me in
London and the £ 100 lent to me on account of the Home Government
in Halifax. I find that my income in this expensive Colony is a very
limited one, and I trust the Right Honble. the Secretary of State
for the Colonies, taking into consideration what I have suffered and all
I have lost while on the public service, will not insist on the repayment
by me of the entire amount.
I am prepared whenever I receive Your Excellency's orders to
the effect to proceed to British Columbia and take charge of the police
already there established. As soon as I become acquainted with the
localities and understand fully the nature of the police duties in the
Colony I shall submit for the consideration of Your Excellency a plan
for the organization of a more efficient Police Force. My wish would
be to form a body of men well disciplined, well armed, and well
drilled, whose general duties would of course be as peace officers, but,
if required, prepared to take the field as soldiers. This is a scheme,
though, which with the means at present at command cannot be immediately carried out. I assume that the £500 a year is my pay exclusive
of allowances, and in this Colony it is little enough. When the country
is opened up more and settled I shall have to keep horses and shall
have to travel about the Colony in the discharge of my duty. I therefore beg leave to request to be informed what allowance will be made
to me to enable me to keep horses, and what travelling allowances I am
to receive, and what extra pay I shall be permitted to draw when
detained by night on duty away from my quarters.
I am compelled also to take the liberty of asking that allowances
will be made to me for house-rent and a servant, the expense of both
of which in the Colony will be exorbitant.
I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's obedient Servant,
(Signed)       C. Brew,
Chief Director of Police, British Columbia.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas, Victoria, V.I.
Victoria, V.I.,
11th Dec, 1858.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that, having been informed that
the steamer " Beaver " will proceed on this day to British Columbia,
I have to request Your Excellency's permission to proceed in her to 62
The Fraser River Mines.
Langly and there await until I shall receive Your Excellency's orders
to commence the duties of my office.
I beg leave to take the liberty of saying that if it be expected to
have a Police Force in some working order next spring, when a great
influx of people into British Columbia is anticipated, no time ought to
be lost in commencing to erect barracks and in taking measures to
provide clothes, arms, and accoutrements for the men.
If Your Excellency conceive that the strength of the Force I proposed to raise is too great at present, one-half, a third, or a fourth of
the officers and men might be embodied in the first instance, and afterwards, if circumstances required, the number might be increased to any
I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's obedient Servant,
(Signed)       C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police, British Columbia.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas, Victoria, V.I.
Victoria, V.I.,
29th Dec, 1858.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the bearer
of this communication, Mr. John Carmichael Haynes,5 a young gentleman from Ireland, arrived in Victoria on the 25th inst. and applied
to me for an appointment in the Police Force which he believed was
being organized in British Columbia.
I beg leave to submit to Your Excellency a strong testimonial
which he produced to me signed by the Mayor and Magistrates of Cork,
and I also beg leave to send attached two letters to me in his behalf
;ember 27, 1858, B.C. I
t Gold Commissioner ii Chartres Brew. 63
from two gentlemen of my acquaintance who are Magistrates for the
County and City of Cork.
I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's obedient Servant,
(Signed)       C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police, British Columbia.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas.
Victoria, V.I.,
29th December, 1858.
Sir,—With reference to Your Excellency's communication regarding the expediency of obtaining from Ireland a body of the Irish Constabulary fully armed and equipped to form the nucleus of an armed
and disciplined Police Force for service in the Colony of British
Columbia, I have the honor to state that I feel it my duty to
request Your Excellency to urge that that course be adopted by the
The Police Force in British Columbia must be an armed corps,
otherwise they would be powerless in a country occupied by armed
Indians and by an unruly mining population who may be said to be
armed to the teeth.
Arms and accoutrements will have to be procured from England, ,
and it certainly would much hasten the organization of the Force if a
small body of men were at the same time sent out who were disciplined
and accustomed to the use of arms and were prepared to enter at once
on tneir duties upon their arrival in the Colony.
Until a large immigration take place it will be extremely difficult
to find men in British Columbia fit for the police. The class of men
who now offer themselves for enrolment are with few exceptions
persons not to be trusted as peace officers. They are chiefly miners
who would never become obedient subordinates or submit themselves
to the strict discipline which must always be maintained in an armed
corps. These men, besides, merely want employment for the winter
months and are determined to return to their mining pursuits on the
opening of the spring, so that just when they knew something of their
duties and their services were most needed they would abandon the
J 64 The Fraser River Mines.
If Your Excellency should determine on writing to request that a
body of the Irish Constabulary be sent out to the Colony, I beg leave
to suggest that it would be expedient to name the rates of pay the men
would receive.
I have no doubt but if the men of the Irish Constabulary considered the rate of pay liberal a number of them would come out to the
Colony at their own expense.
I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's obedient Servant,
(Signed)       C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police, British Columbia.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas.
Fort Langly, B.C.,
12th January, 1859.
Sir,—I have the  honor to  inform  Your Excellency  that  the
"Plumper"7 arrived at Fort Langly on yesterday evening; Colonel
Moody Lt. Governor and the party of Royal Engineers have not yet
returned, and the last time the steamer in which they
went up Fraser's River was heard of here, the account
stated that she was struggling to ascend the river about 6 miles at
this side of Fort Hope.8
Captain Richards9 found that it would not be practicable to send
men up the river just now in boats, so he dispatched an officer10 on
this morning to Colonel Moody by an expert canoe with dispatches.
Capt. Richards would not allow any one to accompany the officer
lest the canoe might be overladen and delayed.
I intended going up to Fort Yale to-day, but I could not get a
Approve of his proceeding canoe and men. I hope, however, to-morrow to
up the river without delay. |je ab*e t0 procure men to take me up to Fort
Hope in a second revenue boat which is here.11
Edward Belcher in 1852-54, 1
totes to Judge Begbie's letters ?Jf!
11  Chartres Brew. 65
A number of the well-disposed inhabitants at the little village of
Langly complained to Captain Richards and myself to-day of the riot
and outrage which almost nightly occur in the villages, and requested
that some measures would be adopted for their protection.12 I made
inquiries on the subject and have no doubt but the place is in a most
disorderly state and requires a Magistrate and peace officers. I
Mr. Bedford is in training expected Mr. Bedford18 would arrive by the
hir tdeti>eropfas(11Maaurte °t "Otter" to act as Magistrate, and as he would
and will be sent to Langley want some person on whom he could place reliance to act as a principal peace officer, I determined to leave Mr. Ronaldson here to act in that capacity; but I have
just learned by the " Otter "14 that Mr. Bedford will not be up for
some days yet, so that the arrangement will not be as effectual as
I intended. However, I shall leave Mr. Ronaldson and swore him in
as a Constable, and also a Mr. Moore, who came up by the " Otter,"
who is scarcely able to go up the river by the boats, and I shall instruct
them to exercise their duties as discreetly as they can until Mr. Bedford
arrives. I should remain here myself till then, only that Mr. Begbie
wrote to me to say that Colonel Moody desired that I should follow
him to Fort Yale.
I beg leave to urge on your Excellency the expediency of sending
a Magistrate to act at Langly as soon as practicable.
I   have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's obedient Servant,
(Signed)      C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police and
Chief Gold Commissioner, British Columbia.
To His Excellency Governor Douglas, Victoria, V.I.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
20th January, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that I conceive
that a force of at least twenty constables should be stationed in Fort
Yale to preserve peace and order in the town and to act when required
in the mining districts around.   These men can be sent up or down _urff
66 The Fraser River Mines.
the river on any emergency and they will be frequently employed by
the Assist.  Gold Commissioner when collecting the miners' licence
tax.    I  trust, therefore,  that your  Excellency  will  be  pleased  to
authorise me to enrol the number of men I propose to raise.   The rate
of pay I would suggest would be 12s. 6d. per day.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
To His Excellency Colonel Moody, Lt. Governor. British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
30th January, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to transmit to you a copy of a communication addressed by me to Captain Travailoot,15 Assist. Gold Commissioner at Lytton, a few days after my arrival at Fort Yale, and I
also beg leave to submit for your information
ttS^etter^wit- c'orrespon- Captain Travaillot's reply which I received this
dence °fonMaIj-e£^r_*''J11M3t~ evening.
esting—and regret it did not Although Captain Travaillot states that min-
Jje1sireShimeto report carefully ing operations are for the present stopped in his
thirofflcfcPportanIty mrect t0 District, Gold is coming down the River in large
of toforma^i'o™tna^itDtePprCo! quantities. The Gold brought down, too, is coarse
aiie__ningtoi_ntd0in"British grain and scale gold,18 which may be collected at
c?amwb\ao*b\ofmtnets_»r_Sw anv temperature unless when the Ground is so
tew"" ?e"sseer ft° aSr**^ frost-bound that it cannot be turned up with pick
tion, with power of arrange- and shovel, but the Ground should be very hard
"aTce m^ash? at ?he comV indeed when miners in that remote District would
theCs'amedmanner anTby am° be deterred by the cold they would have to endure
prop^^rfor^acb^ciaTm or the amount of labour they would have to
than Snrpereonabedempio'yed undergo from seeking for Gold. They would
men?of lis11, month oel_5__e scarcely remain idle consuming their scanty stores
tor additional inen over one Df provisions if they could earn only a dollar a
Siauon Tomes into^peratton" day. I know the cold weather affects the collect-
To enforce1 thewpresenteregu- ing of fine or dust gold by amalgamation on the
u_Mk* ToUconsidelra1nd,g?re lower River, as the Quicksilver will not take up
M^optaion of the proposed ^ ^j^ beiow a certain temperature, but I do
not as clearly understand how the cold can so
extensively affect the mining operations on the Upper River, where
the use of Quicksilver is unnecessary.
The accounts down River the last few days say that the Bars above
the " Forks "19 are rich beyond anything that was ever known, and
_J mmm
The Fraser River Mines.
thousands of miners are expected up from California early in the spring
to settle on Claims which were " prospected " during the winter by the
pioneer miners of their Companies.20
I saw on this morning a large quantity of Coarse Grain and Scale
Gold taken off a Bar above the Forks; every ounce of it was worth an
ounce and a drachm of the Amalgam Gold taken off the Bars on the
lower Fraser River.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
As. Chief Gold Commissioner.
Lieut. Governor Moody, Victoria, V.I.
Lytton City,
25th January.
C. Brew, Chief Govt. Commissioner,
Fort Yale.
Sir,—I have received last night and copied the Communication of
His Excellency Governor Douglas, and I herewith return it to you.
It will afford me a great relief, Sir, to correspond with you on all
affairs connected with the Gold and Revenue Departments.
I have forwarded lately to His Excellency an account of receipts
and expenditures made in Fort Dallas's District,21 and will by the
next opportunity send to you a copy of the same; I regret to have not
time to do it immediately.
The extent of River in this District is of 180 miles, to wit: On
Fraser's River from Canaka Bar22 to Canoe 120 miles, 40 miles on
Thompson's River, and 20 on Bridge's; the probably number of men
(white) 600; but none at work now; ground is frozen and the temperature at a degree altogether to low to admit any mining operation,
except, perhaps, one day per week by intervals of 2 or 3 hours.
The exact number of claims registered is 95, scattered in the whole Chartres Brew. 69
district; I came here in October and from that moment one license only
has been paid by each claim. Cold weather has settled here early in
As to try to collect now mining licenses is out of question; I have
already tried to do it without any success; but as soon as the mining
season will open the collection will be made without any difficulty.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient,
(Sgd.)     O. Travaillot,
A Commissioner.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
12th February, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to request to be informed, in the event of
Smuggled Goods28 being Seized and forfeited, what portion of the
money arising from the sale of such goods should be awarded to the
officers by whom the seizure was made.
Mr. Smith,24 Revenue Officer at Fort Hope, appropriates one-
third to his officers upon, he states, the verbal order of His Excellency
Governor Douglas.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
As. Chief Gold Commissioner.
Lieut. Governor Moody, Victoria, V.I.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
12th February, 1859.
,  Sir,—I have the honor to submit a communication received by
Mr. Hicks, Assist. Gold Commissioner, from Doctor Fifer, of Fort Yale,
enclosing an account of medicine supplied at Fort Yale to indigent sick
persons.   Those sick persons were chiefly affected with frost-bite and F/i
70 The Fraser River Mines.
scurvy25 and several of them would probably have perished if they
had not been attended to and supplied with medicines by Doctor Fifer.
Doctor Fifer28 seeks no remuneration for his attendance, but he
applies to the Government for payment for the medicines he supplied,
which are costly to him and of great value at Fort Yale.
A man named Brown, a prisoner in Fort Yale Gaol, is suffering
from an attack of scurvey and I had to request Doctor Fifer to attend
to him.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
Lieut. Governor Moody, etc., Victoria, V.I.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
19th February, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that in obedience to the orders
contained in the accompanying letter of the Colonial Secretary,27 dated
the 18th ult., I called on Captain Whannell28 to furnish me with
the specific charges which he had to prefer against Mr. Hicks, Assist.
Gold Commissioner. Captain Whannell transmitted to me the annexed
letter of the 8th inst. and on the 12th inst. he handed me his charges
against Mr. Hicks, for his denial or admission and explanation.
Mr. Hicks generally denied the charges and he applied to have a public
investigation into them;29 to this I refused to accede, as I knew that
by complying with the request I would only afford an opportunity for
a display of disapprobation on the part of Mr. Hicks's supporters for
the present towards Captain Whannell and any friends he may have in
Mr. Hicks had not decided on when he would be ready to meet
the charges up to the date on which I received a communication from
(25) This is eloquent upon tl
e condi
(26) See note (47) to Judge
correspondence, ante, p. 36
nally appointed  by  Douglas
approved by Lytton in March, 1859
A* t
He time of his appointment I Chartres Brew. 71
the Colonial Secretary informing me that His Excellency the Governor
had determined on discontinuing Mr. Hicks80 as Assist. Gold Commissioner.
As Mr. Hicks has therefore ceased to be a public officer, I consider
it proper to ask for further instructions before I enter upon the Inquiry.
I take the liberty of suggesting that it may be expedient to suffer the
matter to drop; for now no good result can arise from pressing the
charges to an investigation so far as they are an impeachment against
Mr. Hicks, and no matter how privately the Inquiry may be conducted
it would lead to a mischievous agitation here, which at present it would
be prudent to avoid.
The remark at A in Captain Whannell's letter of the 8th inst.31
alludes to a matter which in conversation I chanced to mention in his
hearing, that Mr. Hicks and I were coming up lately to Fort Yale
from Langly in a canoe and that persons passing down in boats hooted
Mr. Hicks.   I confess I cannot coincide with the conclusions which
Captain Whannell implies should be drawn from this fact, and I
cannot reconcile myself to the propriety of his introducing the subject
into an official communication on the present occasion.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
To Lieut. Governor Moody, Victoria, VI.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
Captain C. Brew, 8th Februar^ 1859*
Commissioner of Police and Chief Gold Commissioner,
British Columbia.
Sir,—I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter,
dated the 7th inst., enclosing a communication to your address from
His Excellency Governor Douglas for my information, and requesting
me to state in writing, fully and clearly, the specific charges I have
J mm
The Fraser River Mines.
to make against Mr. Richard Hicks, lately Assistant Gold Commissioner, in order that you might take immediate steps to investigate the
Apart from any charges which I may have it in my power to
prove against Mr. Hicks, I have to state that the allegations alluded
to in His Excellency's letters, as having been set forth by me, to the
effect that that official was unfit for further employment under Government, are only too fully proved by the feelings, as well as sentiments,
of the citizens and miners of Fort Yale District, with a very few
solitary exceptions.
Mr. Hicks has been, to my knowledge, since my arrival here, looked
upon in a most contemptuous light, and had been almost universally
despised in the district, long before / came up here; of this
latter assertion I believe ypu have had pretty positive proof on
coming up the river lately in the same boat with Mr. Hicks.
I had not been three days in Fort Yale32 before it became evident
to me that there were grounds for many things which came to my
knowledge, and that the only Government official of any rank in the
town was looked upon with odium and thoroughly despised.
Under those circumstances, I did come to the conclusion, and do
still assert, that Mr. Hicks was not the right man in the right place,
and that he is quite unfit for further employment under Government,
giving for my reason for so saying that the employment of a man, by
this Government or any other Government, who stands in the public
estimation of the district, over which he presided in the responsible
and dignified capacity of Assistant Crown Commissioner, as Mr. Hicks
does, would be far from being creditable to them.
I do not presume to make these remarks with the view of censuring or reflecting upon the act of the Government for employing
Mr. Hicks; it would be totally out of place and indiscreet on my part
to do so; but I merely advance them for the purpose of vindicating
my allegations under reference.
I shall proceed forthwith to frame my charges, and will submit
them, with the least possible delay, for investigation as directed.
I have the honor to be,
Your Obedient Servant,
(Sgd.) P. B. Whannell,
Justice of the Peace, District of Fort Yale, B.C. Chartres Brew.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
12th Feby, 1859.
Captain C. Brew,
Commissioner of Police and Chief Gold Commissioner,
British Columbia.
Sir,—In accordance with the instructions contained in the communication from His Excellency Governor Douglas to your address,
and transmitted by you for my perusal and explanations, I have the
honor to enclose four distinct, specific charges against Mr. Richard
Hicks, lately Assistant Gold Commissioner of this district, which I beg
you will forward to Victoria after the investigation, together with my
letter to your address of the 8th instant, for His Excellency's perusal
and satisfaction.
I have the honor to be,
Your Most Obedient Servant,
(Sgd.) P. B. Whannell,
Justice of the Peace, District of Fort Yale, B.C.
First Charge against Mr. Richard Hicks, lately Assistant Gold
Commissioner at Fort Yale, British Columbia.
Bribery and Corruption.
In the following instance, viz.:—
" For having at Fort Yale, British Columbia, on some day last
spring or summer, when applied to by one Harry Eyres for a license
to construct and carry on the business of a Ferry at the village of
Spurzum, drawn up the said license, and, showing it to the said Harry
Eyres when the said Richard Hicks had taken him (Eyres) out to a
lonely spot away from the office, told him (Eyers) that he might then
and there have it on the same terms as the parties belonging to the
sawmill across the river had theirs. On being asked by the said
Harry Eyers what those terms were, he, the said Richard Hicks, replied
that the terms were,' That he (Hicks) should have a half-share in the
business.' "3S
r September, 1858.
J n ■
74 The Fraser River Mines.
Such conduct being contrary to that of a Government Officer and
a gentleman; unworthy of a party holding the respectably and responsible appointment of Assistant Gold Commissioner; tending to effect
the dignity of the Crown in the eyes both of the citizens and aliens in
the Colony; and rendering the party so transgressing unfit to serve the
Government in any capacity.
(Sgd.) P. B. Whannell,
Justice of the Peace, District of Fort Yale, B.C.
British Columbia, Fort Yale, 9th February, 1859.
Second Charge against Mr. Richard Hicks, lately Assistant
Gold Commissioner at Fort Yale, British Columbia.
Bribery and Corruption.
In the following instances, viz.:—
1st. " For having, in his capacity as Assistant Crown Commissioner of the District of Fort Yale, granted and leased unto Messrs.
Land, Fleming & Co. (he, the said Richard Hicks, to have an interest
in their business) a license for constructing and working a sawmill
on the opposite bank of the river to the town of Fort Yale, with right
to fell timber for that purpose to an unwarranted extent."
2nd. " For having, at the same time and place, to the same parties,
on the same conditions, and in the same capacity, leased and granted
the sole mill right on the Fort Yale side of Fraser River; thereby
securing to the firm, in which he (Hicks) had an interest, a complete
monopoly of that particular business, to the detriment of other parties
seeking and applying for just and legitimate privileges of a like nature;
and tending to retard the prosperity and welfare of the town and
3rd. a For having, at Fort Yale, British Columbia, in his capacity
of Assistant Crown Commissioner, granted unto the Messrs. Kingman
& Co. (he, the said Richard Hicks, to have an interest in their business)
a wholesale liquor license, at the same time refusing a similar privilege
to all other applicants, although repeatedly solicited by one P. J. Cassin
for a wholesale liquor license, who had even tendered the cash in payment for the same; thereby giving the said firm of Kingman & Co.,
in which he, the said Richard Hicks, had an interest, a complete
monopoly in that particular branch of business, to the detriment of
others equally well entitled to the same license."84 Chartres Brew. 75
Such conduct being unbecoming a Government Officer and a gentleman; rendering the party so transgressing unworthy of the power
vested in him for granting such privileges, and, consequently, unfit for
Government employment. Such acts tending to lower the Government,
the party himself, and everybody else connected with the Government,
in the minds of the public, both citizens and aliens.
(Sgd.) P. B. Whannell,
Justice of the Peace, District of Fort Yale, B.C.
British Columbia, Fort Yale, 9th February, 1859.
Third Charge against Mr. Richard Hicks, lately Assistant Gold
Commissioner at Fort Yale, British Columbia.
Disgraceful Intoxication.
In the following instances, viz.:—
1st. " For having, at Fort Yale, British Columbia, between the
17th and 25th days of November, 1858, appeared in the public street
(Front Street) of the town of Fort Yale in a disgraceful state of
intoxication between the hours of 8 and 12 p.m. So much so that
the Chief of Police at that time, Mr. B. Donnellan, found it necessary
to lead him (Richard Hicks) to his house, the Government Building,
and there leave him in safety."
2nd. " For having, at the same place and date, after having been
taken home in the state described in the 1st instance of this Charge,
left the house and gone down into the said public street of said town
again; and did there enter the public gambling-saloon kept by one
Alexander Roberts and Charles Bennet (his partner) in which were
assembled at the time a large number of gamblers and others of notorious character; and did there suffer himself to be handled by one
James Farrell, a gambler or another, who seized him (Hicks) around
the waist and, lifting him (Hicks) off the ground, swung him round
several times, to the amusement and delight of the assembled audience
in the said saloon."
Such conduct being unbecoming a Government Officer and a gentleman; lowering and debasing the dignity of a Magistrate (in which
capacity Mr. Hicks at that time officiated); unworthy of a person
holding the respectable and responsible appointment of Asst. Gold
Commissioner; tending to effect the dignity of the law, as well as that
of the Crown, in the eyes of both the citizens and aliens in the Colony;
setting an example diametrically opposite to that of a Magistrate, to
the gamblers and other rough and unruly characters with whom the 76 The Fraser River Mines.
town at that time was infested, and the said saloon on that particular
night was filled; and rendering the party guilty thereof unfit to serve
this or any other Government in any capacity whatever.
(Sgd.) P. B. Whannell,
Justice of the Peace, District of Fort Yale, B.C.
British Columbia, Fort Yale, 9th Feby, 1859.
Fourth Charge against Mr. Richard Hicks, lately Assistant
Gold Commissioner at Fort Yale, British Columbia.
Culpable Dereliction of Duty.
In the following instance, viz.:—
" For having, at Fort Yale, British Columbia, on or about the
9th day of November, 1858, when report to, by Constable Joseph W.
Carey, to the effect that Mr. B. Donnellan, the Chief of the Police (at
that time),35 had been guilty of endeavouring to abstract the sum of
Five hundred Dollars from a prisoner named George Harrison Jones
then in custody under charge of murder, connived at and taken no
notice of the said serious charge, more especially against the head of
the Police force of the said town; nor caused any investigation to be
made into the matter; nor reported the said B. Donnellan, if found
guilty, to His Excellency the Governor for dismissal from the Service."
Such conduct being a manifest and highly culpable dereliction of
his duty, both as a Government officer and as a Magistrate; for which
latter position the said Richard Hicks had so rendered himself totally
unworthy and unfit.
(Sgd.) P. B. Whannell,
Justice of the Peace, District of Fort Yale, B.C.
British Columbia, Fort Yale, 9th Feby, 1859.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
_,   _ _,        - February 15th, 1859.
To C. Brew, Esq., J
Chief Gold Commissioner,
Chief Inspector of Police, etc.
Sir,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of yesterday's date, inclosing a letter from the Colonial
Secretary with directions from His Excellency Governor Douglas to
investigate certain charges made against me by one Capt. Whannell WgfSm
reflecting on my official conduct, etc., together with four written papers
from the said Whannell purporting to be such charges.
The unmanly course persued to deprive me of my daily bread and
drive me from my appointment at my time of life only shows the
venom and malice lounging in his breast and the ruin he would cause,
had he been invested with unlimited power. Not satisfied with the
overthrow of my friend, W. Perrier, he now heaps his vengeance on
me; and to show how far some men will carry their interests, it was
believed by all in Fort Yale that I had perished in the cold and frost,
and at the very same time this news arrived these charges were for-
. warded to His Excellency Governor Douglas to make me blacker than
black in the estemation of His Excellency, who, thank God, would not
crush even a fallen foe.
You were kind enough to allow me time to consider what course
to pursue and to advise with my friends how to act. I will do so,
and will as early as possible let you know the result.
The indignation that would be felt by the inhabitants at the course
pursued in this matter would exceed no bounds were I to demand a
public examination against Capt. Whannell, and altho I shall have
cause to examine many witnesses, perhaps a private hearing will be
advisable; at the same time it will be impossible to keep it a secret.
I have the honor to be,
Your Most obt. Servt.
(Sgd.) Richard Hicks,
Assistant Crown Commissioner.
Fort Yale,
February, 1859.
To C. Brew, Esq.,
Chief Gold Commissioner,
Chief Commissioner of Police, etc.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform you that after carefully perusing the charges made against me by Capt. Whannell, and also by the
advice of my friends, I am willing to have an inquiry instituted—and
that that inquiry should be a public one—on the following charges:
" Disgraceful Intoxication "; " Culpable Dereliction of Duty," and
numbered 3rd and 4th; and also the 1st charge of "Bribery and Corruption." 78
The Fraser River Mines.
With regard to the 2nd charge, I have to state that I have very
fully stated to Lieut. Col. Moody, every particular connected with the
matter; that I consider I am not justified in entering into the affair
again except to a higher authority.
Whenever it is convenient to you I shall be ready to meet my
accuser and rebut those charges, which, I fear not, I shall be able to do
to your entire satisfaction.
I have the honour to be,
Your Most obt. Servt.
(Sgd.)       Richard Hicks.
Fort Yale,
17th February, 1859.
I have decided that the Inquiry shall not be a public one.    I shall
take steps to secure the attendance of any witnesses Mr. Hicks may
require for his defense if he will furnish me with a list of their names,
as I required in my communication to him of the 14th inst.
It remains with me to determine whether or not I shall receive
evidence in support of the 2nd charge. Mr. Hicks may, if he choose,
decline to enter into any defence against it.
C. Brew,
As Chief Gold Commissioner.
Richard Hicks, Esq., Assistant Crown Commissioner.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
20th February, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to report that matters here are perfectly
tranquil.   There is to be a Ball here on the 28th inst. in celebration
of Washington's Birthday, and McGowan36 and others have promised
me that good order shall prevail upon the occasion.
You are of course aware that Mr. Hicks, Assistant Crown Commissioner, is superseded. I spent all day yesterday and a part of to-day
in getting his accounts exmined, in which he afforded me every facility;
they appeared to be correct.    I got from him all the Gold, Cash, Books,
(86) The notorious Ned McGowan so frequently mentioned.    Doubtless, Brew breathed more W**J-
Chartres Brew.
papers, and public property which I could ascertain were in his possession. I gave him an order on the Colonial Treasurer87 for the
amount of pay due to him, and also included in the order a sum which
he advanced on account of the public service out of his private funds.
The order before being cashed is to be submitted for approval to His
Excellency the Governor.
I trust that His Excellency will be pleased shortly to appoint a
person to replace Mr. Hicks. I shall of course have the duties of the
District carried on for a little while until an Assistant Gold Commissioner can be appointed. I shall cause the duties and taxes to be
collected in the meantime under my Superintendence, but I do not feel
competent to become the collector of duties and taxes myself—I could
not weigh gold.
On the day I was leaving Victoria last a Mr. William George
Cox,88 who was recommended by Mr. J. D. Pemberton39 to His Excellency the Governor, was to accompany me to British Columbia on the
same terms as Messrs. Elwyn,40 Haynes,41 Ronaldson, and Moore, but
I started so suddenly that Mr. Cox was left behind. He arrived here
upon the 16th Inst, with a letter to me from Mr. Pemberton, and I
placed his name on the roll of Constables at the same rate of pay as
His Excellency authorised to be given to the other gentlemen. Mr. Cox
holds very high testimonials; he is a good clerk and accountant and
was of the greatest assistance to me in my examination of Mr. Hicks's
accounts and books.
I am informed that excisable wares are brought into the Colony
by the Whatcom Trail,42 are placed in boats on the Sumash or Chilli-
wah Rivers, and are taken up the country by the Harrison River route
without a chance of getting into contact with a Revenue Officer. I beg
leave to recommend that a Revenue Officer be placed on the Harrison's
River with a few constables to assist him in overhauling the boats
passing up that way.    From what I have seen of Mr. Cox, I think he
" London, 1860. 80 The Fraser River Mines.
would make a very excellent Revenue Officer; he has got the highest
character for integrity and would, I have no doubt, perform the duties
with diligence and fidelity.
I believe that excisable wares are smuggled into Fort Laugh43 and
Fort Hope; they are then shipped up the river without permits, with
fictitious bills of sale, as if they had been purchased within the Colony
at Hope or Langly from parties who had passed them through the
Customs and paid duty on them. In order to prevent this discription
of fraud, I mean to write to the Revenue Officers at Fort Hope and
Fort Langly to post up notices announcing that excisable wares conveyed through the country in quantities over a certain weight or bulk
without a permit were liable to be seized and confiscated.
I understand that the examination of wares and the granting of
permits are very loosely done at Fort Langly. I believe it would be
an immense advantage to the public service if, without removing
Mr. Bevis,44 an active officer of higher position of tone were placed
over him.
There are no mining operations going on; everything is covered
with snow and frozen hard. There are, though, some symptoms of
a thaw this day.
There are many complaints here of the irregularity and uncertainty
of the Mails. Merchants rather send their letters by Bellors45 express
at the cost of half a dollar than' put it in the post at a cost of 5 cents
and remain in uncertainty when it would reach its destination. All
persons would gladly pay 10 cents colonial postage if the mails were
despatched and delivered regularly, and if 10 cents were charged on
all letters taken by the Express Company a revenue might be created
which would enable the mails to be sent by special boats. At present
they may remain at any stage on the route for days awaiting an opportunity of sending them on, and then they are entrusted to the first
trustworthy person passing the way willing to be troubled with them.
I think if a contract be not entered into that the mails might be
carried by Indians more cheaply and expeditiously and as safely as
by white men. If they are carried by contract the contractor ought to
be bound to time, otherwise he will weigh down his boat with freight
and move along at the rate of a dredging-machine. The chief of the
Indians at Fort Yale, for a trial, offered to convey the mails to Fort Chartres Brew. 81
Hope once a week for four weeks for twenty dollars for the four trips.
I should like to have authority to employ him.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
P.S.—I beg leave to enclose a list of applicants for land which I
obtained from Mr. Hicks, late Assist. Crown Commissioner.
To Lieut. Governor Moody, Victoria, V.I.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
20th February, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform you that late on the evening
of the 18th inst I received your letter of the 8th inst., announcing
to me that His Excellency the Governor had decided that Mr. Hicks,
Assistant Gold Commissioner, should be discontinued as a public
On yesterday morning I handed Mr. Hicks his supersedeas which
accompanied your letter to me, and I took over from him all the Gold,
Cash, public documents, and public property which I could ascertain
were in his possession. And I must say that Mr. Hicks was most
prompt to afford me every facility in settling with him. I went over
Mr. Hicks's accounts as carefully as time would permit and it
appeared to me they were correct. I found vouchers for every charge,
with a few trifling exceptions, in which the defect was satisfactorily
accounted for.
Your letter states that Mr. Hicks's appointment dated from the
1st of September, 1858, but I find in this office the accompanying communication to Mr. Hicks, signed by His Excellency the Governor, by
which it would appear that Mr. Hicks was appointed Assist. Gold
Commissioner on the 14th of August, 1858.48 This, Mr. Hicks also
asserts, was the date of his appointment, and I have therefore calculated his pay as commencing from that date, subject to the approval
of His Excellency the Governor. 82
The Fraser River Mines.
I have given Mr. Hicks an order for £205 9s. 7d. on the Colonial
Treasury, being the amount of his pay for six months and five days,
and I have included in the order a sum of $392, which, on balancing
and closing his accounts up to the 31st of December last, it appeared
he advanced for the public service out of his private funds, and which
he has not since been repaid.
I beg leave to send herewith Mr. Hicks's accounts made out by
himself and examined by me from the date of his appointment up to the
31st of December. I shall have the accounts for the month of January
Ult. prepaid and forwarded as soon as possible.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
William A. G. Young, Esq., As. Colonial Secretary.
British Columbia,
Fort Yale,
22nd February, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to request to be informed if I am at
liberty to give public notice that gold will be received in trust for safekeeping at the office of the Gold Commissioner at Fort Yale.
It would be necessary to notify on what conditions gold will be
received, and whether or not the Government will be security for
deposits and be responsible to parties for Treasure placed in the charge
of the Gold Commissioner if under any circumstances it should be lost.
There are only two ways in which Treasure committed to the care
of the Gold Commissioner could, I think, possibly be lost. By burglary
and robbery, against which the precaution should be taken of keeping
a trustworthy constable constantly on guard on the public chest.
Or else by embezzlement on the part of the Gold Commissioner,
which can scarcely be anticipated, as of course a person appointed to
that office would be an individual of high character and integrity and
perhaps would be required to give to the Government security for his
^i-a* Chartres Brew. 83
I think J_ per cent, per month would be a fair charge to make
for keeping Treasure. Wells, Fargo & Co., I am informed, charge only
1 per cent, per month and hold themselves accountable for lodgements
made with them.47
The safe here, of which I have the keys, appears to be a very
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
As. Chief Gold Commissioner.
P.S.—It has suggested itself to me that there might be two rates
of charges—one a higher rate for insured Deposits and another lower
for deposits made at risk.
To Lieut. Governor Moody, etc., Victoria, V.I.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
2nd March, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that some short time since it
came to my knowledge that a person named Davis, who fills the office
of Chief Constable at Lytton, kept a public-house. I knew that such
was contrary to law, and I mentioned so to Captain Travalliot in a
letter which I wrote to him on the 16th Inst, respecting a party who
wished to have a Water privilege for Mining purposes recorded.
The following extract from my letter is all of it that related to
11 heard on yesterday that the principal peace officer at Lytton
while in the public service kept a public-house. It may be proper to
acquaint you that keeping a spirit shop or store by law incapacitates
a man from being a peace officer."48
I do not know how Davis became informed of the contents of
my communication to Captain Travalliot, but on Sunday last I received
the annexed letter, which, it must be said, has a very unsteady tone
to have been acted upon.    Wells, Fargo & Co. operated an express business between Victoria and
San Francisco, purchased gold-dust, and received it for safe-keeping.
\ The Fraser River Mines.
and appearance. The writer may be a stout Constable, but I think the
letter is sufficient evidence that he is a person scarcely eligible to hold
, the position of Chief Constable. I beg leave, there-
appointment as chief fore, to apply for permission to despatch Mr.
constable for Lytton. fhomas Elwyn or Mr. John C. Haynes to Lytton
to act as Chief Constable for that district. These gentlemen while
with me have afforded me great satisfaction, and I am persuaded that
either of them will exert himself to the best of his ability to perform
the duties of any office he may hold with zeal and fidelity.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
As. Chief Gold Commissioner.
Lieut. Governor Moody, Victoria, V.I.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
26th February, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform you that the 22nd Inst, was
celebrated at Fort Yale by the citizens of the United States as the
Birthday of Washington. At noon one hundred discharges were fired
in imitation of one hundred Guns by exploding gunpowder between two
anvils. The noise of each explosion was as loud as the report of
the largest-sized Gun. I am informed that they subsequently
fired ten Guns as a salute to me, as they imagined that a young lad who
was brought up before Captain Whannell for firing a squib out of a
pistol in the street, and was discharged by him with a rebuke, was
released through my interference.
In the evening a ball took place at the house of a man named
Campbell. I was invited but did not go. Mr. McGowan, Mr.
Perrier,49 and others promised me that they would exert themselves to
have peace and order maintained during the night, and I particularly
requested that no pistols should be taken into the room. The utmost
harmony prevailed till the company went to supper, when some jealousy
arose about precedence for seats. A Mr. Bagly, of Hill's Bar, abused
McGowan and called him an old grey-headed scamp.   McGowan imme- Chartres Brew. 85
diately broke a plate on Bagly's head and Bagly in return broke
McGowan's head with another plate. At once there was a general row
and friends on both sides went off to get their pistols, but when they
returned to the scene the affair had subsided into a demand for " satisfaction" as soon as arrangements could be made. On the following
morning Bagly sent McGowan a message and a friend of McGowan's
calling himself Major Dolan sent a message to a friend of Bagly's named
Burus. McGowan replied to Bagly that he would not fight in British
territory, but that he was willing to meet him on the United States territory and fight him with rifles at 40 paces, to be placed back to back,
walk to the mark, and wheel and fire at the word. This proposition
Bagly accepted and McGowan has actually sold out his claim at Hill's
Bar and distributed as presents among his friends all his chattels, and he
proceeds on this day to the Washington Territory to be at the place
appointed for the meeting on, I think, the 2nd prox. Every effort was
made by peace-making friends to arrange the dispute amicably, but
without success. It may be settled yet, though, as the parties are not
gone, but McGowan is off Hill's Bar. If they were going to fight in this
country I should have had them arrested and bound to the peace, but as
they are leaving the Colony and are not English subjects the propriety
of interfering with them appears to me to be doubtful. I think Bagly
would not have challenged McGowan if he thought he would fight,
and I am satisfied that McGowan would be glad to get out of the duel
if he could, but he knows he must fight or for ever lose his influence
over the reckless band of which he is the chief.
The duel between Dolan and Burus is off for the present. They
had agreed to fight with revolvers at 30 paces, advancing a pace
each shot, but Burus afterwards insisted that if there was no hit after
the six shots a side, they should finish the business with Bowie knives.
To this Dolan would not consent as his right arm is weak from a
wound, and so the matter stands. There are five or six friends from
Hill's Bar to accompany each party.
With the exception of this " difficulty," everything has been quiet
during the last week.
We had another heavy fall of snow on yesterday and frost last
night. Mining operations therefore are not recommenced. The chief
number of miners on the lower river are, I am informed, determined to
abandon their claims and move up the country this spring. They are
led by reports to expect to find gold there in sackfuls.50 n
The Fraser River Mines.
I took possession of the office in the new Government House here
on the 24th Inst. The house, as far as the builder's contract is concerned, is nearly completed.
Joseph W. Carey,51 one of the constables at Fort Yale, resigned
on the 22nd Inst. I am just as well pleased that he did; he was one
of these at a hundred dollars a month.
There are great numbers of boats coming up the river with freight.
Provisions, with the exception of flour, are excessively dear here.
Mr. Land52 is getting down the timber on the flat very slowly.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police, British Columbia,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
P.S.—Mr. Elwyn has just come in to say that the row between
McGowan and Bagly is all amicably settled. I have not heard whether
or not McGowan will get back his claim, but I know he sold it.58
Office, 3.40 p.m.
Lieut. Gi
Moody, Victoria, V.I.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
5th March, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that, as I conceived you would
be anxious to learn how matters progressed at Fort Yale after your
departure, I transmitted a report by every mail that was despatched
since you left.
Since the row which took place here on the night of the 22nd
Ult. everything has been perfectly tranquil. The apple of discord
was adroitly thrown amongst the Hill's Bar confederates. McGowan
is gone to California and Dolan and Bandy, two of his most favoured """Ik
Chartres Brew, Chief Inspector _w Chartres Brew. 87
satellites, have taken their departure with him; it is said that none of
the party will return.54
There is a deep snow still lying here; consequently regular mining
operations have not recommenced. Two or three times symptoms of
a thaw made me determine on an expedition down the river to collect
gold licence duties, but frost and snow set in again and prevented me
from carrying my intentions into execution.
There would be no use in attempting to collect mining licence duty
till the miners begin to work. It would be almost impracticable to
discover by whom cash " diggings " was claimed unless the owner was
found upon it, and unless the miners happen to be found at work they
will find some excuse to evade payment of the tax.
Clusters of boats crowded with people are passing up the river
every day. It is surmised that there will be an immense population in
the upper country this season.55
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
As. Chief Gold Commissioner.
Lieut. Governor Moody, Victoria, V.I.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
8th March, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to submit to your Excellency a communication which I received late last evening from Captain Travaillot,
Assist. Crown Commissioner at Lytton. I wrote Captain Travaillot
requesting that he would transmit through me all his communications
relating to goldfields and mining operations, but he has introduced into
his letter matter unconnected with the Gold Department. I shall therefore write to him again desiring that in his official letters to me in
future he shall confine himself to matters relating to the Departments
with which I am concerned, and suggesting that on all other subjects
he should address himself to your Excellency direct.
(54) McGowan passed through Victoria about the middle of March, showing with pride some
$4,700 in gold-dust, which he declared was " pretty good for an old man of fifty."
(55) See note  (78)   to the correspondence of Judge Begbie, ante, p.  51.    The surmise did
not come true.    The miners of the " upper country " were obtained by the depletion of other 88 The Fraser River Mines.
I have marked so X these parts of Captain Travaillot's letter
which are of interest as connected with the goldfields.
At A Captain Travaillot refers to information I gave him that a
party of professional gamblers from Fort Yale were about to proceed
to his district, and that unless he took prompt measures to dislodge
them they would cause him trouble.
At B he alludes to the announcement of the time at which the
Assizes were to be held, made public by desire of the Hon. Chief Judge
At C Captain Travaillot alludes to instructions which I sent to
him with regard to the recording of water privileges for mining purposes in order to guard against litigation such as will soon probably
arise in the Fort Yale District.
Paragraph D alludes to the report that the Chief Constable at
Lytton kept a public-house referred to in my letter to your Excellency
of the 2nd Inst.
At F Captain Travaillot alludes to remarks which in a letter I
made to him as a suggestion merely. I knew that he had been applied
to for a choice lot in the new Town of Lytton, and I suggested to him
that under present circumstances it may be expedient before he disposed
of Town lots if he applied for or awaited your Excellency's instructions as to how the Town lots were to be sold.58
I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
As. Chief Gold Commissioner.
To His Excellency Lieut. Governor Moody, Fort Langly.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
17th March, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state, with reference to your letter of
the 2nd Inst, relative to the granting of spirit licences quarterly, that
on making inquiry into the licensing system pursued at Fort Yale,
I ascertained that Mr. Hicks, late Assist. Crown Commissioner, had "\
Chartres Brew. 89
been in the habit of granting yearly spirit licences and of receiving the
duty on them in quarterly instalments. It was intimated to me that
this practice was permitted by His Excellency the Governor, and as I
could not discover by any papers in this office that it had been prohibited
by His Excellency, I was slow to interfere with an arrangement which
to me appeared to work satisfactorily until I should receive His Excellency's orders on the question, and I continued to issue licences as
Mr. Hicks had done, with this exception: that instead of granting the
licences for the full year and taking the duty in quarterly payments, I
granted the licences for the quarter, to be extended on each additional
payment in advance. I adopted this course in order that the licences
should become void in case the payments in advance were not punctually
His Excellency the Governor has given his decision in this matter.
I therefore cannot presume to argue on the opposite position, but I
hope I may be pardoned for making bold to say that I am yet advisidly
of opinion that the issue of quarterly licences to spirit dealers would
increase the revenue and tend to check the illicit retailing of spirits,
while at the same time the practice would not be more extensively
productive of vicious effects upon the community.
With regard to the law as it now is by Proclamation, I beg leave
to request some instruction. What is the penalty attached to the
breach or evasion of the law? And in what way must proceedings
against offenders against the law be taken? I believe, as the English
law stands, Magistrates must be authorised by special statute to try
any particular description of case, and in offences against the revenue
laws, unless a special mode of proceeding be laid down, the cases must
be brought into the Court of Exchequer. I may be wrong in this
view. I only ask for instruction lest the question may be some day
raised by a lawyer.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary. n
90 The Fraser River Mines.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
18th March, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communications—three of the 2nd Inst., one of the 4th Inst., three of the
7th Inst., and four of the 8th Inst.—all of which arrived here at the
same time by mail on the afternoon of the 16th Inst.
It appears His Excellency the Governor is under the impression
that I have delayed letters transmitted through my hands and that I am
not sufficiently prompt to write on matters which should be made the
subject of Report. I have not since my arrival at Fort Yale overheld
for one mail any letter which I conceived should be submitted, and I
have never delayed an hour to write on any matter which I considered
should become the subject of a written communication. One letter
from Captain Travaillot particularly alluded to was submitted the day
I received it and forwarded on the following morning.
I regret that any delay should have been caused by the error which
in my ignorance of official etiquette I fell into of not addressing my
correspondence through the proper official channel.58
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
18th March, 1859.
Sir,—With reference to your letter of the 4th Inst., stating that
you were instructed by His Excellency the Governor to acquaint me
that, in regard to the account of Dr. Fifer's59 submitted by me on the
12th Ult., Dr. Fifer had no claim against the Government, I have
the honor to state that on the 1st Inst. I submitted another account
of Dr. Fifer for medicines which were chiefly supplied to prisoners in Chartres Brew.
Fort Yale Gaol at my request. For future guidance I beg leave to ask
to be instructed how medical attendance and medicines are to be provided for parties in gaol. If an invalid prisoner suffered from neglect
the consequences would be very disagreeable.
I may add that Dr. Fifer informs me that if he be called on any
future occasion to attend prisoners in gaol he will feel himself at liberty
to charge for his attendance as well as for his medicine.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
18th March, 1859.
Sir,—In reply to your letter of the 8th Inst., directing me by
order of His Excellency the Governor to submit without delay a
" Return of Town Lots granted on Lease under the conditions established in September last," I have the honor to state that on the 3rd Inst.
I forwarded through the Lieut. Governor in a very full form the information required by His Excellency the Governor.60
I now beg leave to submit again the information ordered, but I
have not had time to have as full and complete a Return prepared as
I before submitted. One payment of $50 made on yesterday by Daniel
McClean on his Lot is included in this Return.
11. The Returns called for in your communication of the 8th of
February are an Account of income and expenditure in the Fort Yale
District, a List of debts due, and a Return of the average monthly
expenditure in the district. All this information I think I supplied in
my communication to you dated the 5th Inst. The debts have been as
far as means would admit paid; but I hope the finances of the district *
The Fraser River Mines.
will shortly be in a condition to clear everything off. I attach an
account of the monthly pay of the officials at Fort Yale. The only
other expenses are irregular and can scarcely be averaged. The
expenses of one prisoner in gaol is about $40 a month, but the cost of
each individual prisoner lessens as the number of prisoners increases.
The expense of fuel and light for my office depends on the numbers of
hours each day I happen to be engaged at office business.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
19th March, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that two miners—one named John
Carne Williams, a Cornishman, and the other named George White, a
native of the United States—who were proceeding higher up Fraser
River requested me to place some gold of theirs for security in the safe
here until their return, as they were afraid to take it with them. The
men had no other safe place to deposit their gold and I was unwilling
to refuse them, so I took it at their risk and placed it in the Government
Williams deposited 7 3/16 oz. weighed and White deposited a bag
said to contain 43J4 oz. White said he would pay anything reasonable for the safe-keeping of his gold, but I told him I was not
authorized to receive anything.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissio
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretaryr Chartres Brew. 93
Fort Yale, B.C.,
19th March, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to submit for the approval of His Excellency the Governor the accompanying accounts of expenses incurred by
me in proceeding to Fort Yale from Fort Langly on duty on the 23rd
of November last, and again in proceeding from Fort Langly to Fort
Yale on the 13th of January last to act as Chief Gold Commissioner.
On the latter occasion I was accompanied from Fort Langly by
Mr. Hicks, Mr. T. Elwyn, Mr. John Haynes, and by Mr. George
Tennant, all on the public service.
At Fort Langly I received a verbal order from the Lieut. Governor
to follow him to Fort Yale with all despatch. I could not either procure a canoe or Indians and I had to attempt the journey in a heavy
boat with a crew of four white men. We made every effort to push on,
but failed in getting the boat beyond the " Sumash "61 River, and on the
third day I had to send the boat and crew back to Langly and with
much difficulty procured two canoes to take us on to Fort Hope. I got
a light canoe for myself to enable me to get on more rapidly and I got
a heavier one for the remainder of the party, who were not in such
In addition to the cost of the boats and crew's wages, we had to
feed the white men and Indians, which we did at our own expense.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
19th March, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to report, for the information of His
Excellency the Governor with reference to my letter of yesterday, that
Mr. Cox and Mr. Haynes have just returned from the expedition on
which I despatched them to collect gold licence tax between Fort Yale
(61) Sumas Elver.    " Langly " is, of course, Langley.
J \m\
The Fraser River Minei
and Fort Hope.   They succeeded in collecting only $80, although they
visited every bar between the two places.62
Most of the miners who did not pay said that they would gladly
pay as soon as they had worked out some gold, but that they had only
just commenced mining, which, Mr. Cox informs me, he believed to be
the case, as the ground had scarcely been disturbed and the miners
were shovelling into their sluices as much snow as dirt.
On the I American Bar, "6S about six miles from Fort Hope, the
miners, except a few Chinamen, absolutely refused to pay and only
laughed at the demand. I shall send Mr. Smith64 a warrant to collect
on this bar, and if the miners refuse to pay I shall have them summoned
to Fort Hope and shall attend the prosecution.
I trust that in these measures His Excellency will not consider that
I am exceeding or deviating from my powers or duty.
I shall despatch another expedition up-river on Monday or Sunday
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police.
Ass. Chief Gold Commi
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
[March 26, 1859.]
Sir,—I have the honor to state, for the information of His Excellency the Governor, that I despatched Mr. Haynes and Mr. Cox up-river
this morning to collect miner's licence, spirit licence, and trading licence
duties. After inquiry and full consideration of the cheapest and best
river trail65 on foot to Lytton.   They are to collect at all the places
o Judge Begbie's
W 1  Chartres Brew. 95
they can visit as they go along, and at Lytton they are to hire a canoe
manner in which they could travel I decided on sending them by the
and return by the river to Fort Yale, visiting every bar and claim on
either bank. I furnished these gentlemen with letters to Captain
Travaillot, Assist. Crown Commissioner, who will of course afford
them his best advice and assistance.
As I stated I should do in my communication of the 19th Inst.,
I sent a warrant to Mr. Smith, J.P., authorizing him to collect mining
licence duties in the neighbourhood of Fort Hope. I beg leave to
submit for His Excellency's information Mr. Smith's reply.
This day is a very fine one; heavy rains during the last few days
have washed off a good deal of the snow, and I hope that now mining
operations will commence in full vigour. I have been informed on
reliable authority that there are at least thirty Indians washing out
gold with "cradles " between Fort Yale and Lytton and that they are
becoming most expert miners.
Since the up-river movement commenced about 300 boats have
passed Fort Yale; on an average each boat carried 5 white men beside
Indians, and I dare say a greater number have passed up-country by
trail than by boats.66
The " Way " over the falls about 5 miles above Fort Yale, alluded
to in my letter of the 26th Ult. to the Lieut. Governor, is completed.
It is found a great convenience and already about 60 boats have passed
over by it. Travellers by boats are glad to take advantage of it, as a
portage which heretofore occupied a whole day is now done in an hour
or two. I believe I had no right to permit the " Way " to be con-
• structed and I am sorry I did so without authority. I was tempted
to do so, as I know that I should receive no reply to a communication
on the subject for at least a fortnight, and as the " Way " can only be
used in low water I knew that every hour lost was of value.
I have recorded a water privilege for mining operations of 15
inches for one sluice about 20 miles above Fort Yale to Henry Dryfoot
and Henry C. Miller. I annex a copy of the record. I received a
fee at the time of registration of $5, which I placed in the public
I beg leave to request to be instructed if I am at liberty to receive
the rents on Ferries granted by Mr. Hicks, late Assist. Crown Com- 96 The Fraser River Mines.
missioner.   He erected and let a Ferry at Boston Bar, Spuzzem, Fort
Yale, Quequinalla, and, I think, Fort Hope.68
Four men coming down-river a few days since were drowned.
I have not learned their names. It is said that one of them had
eighteen hundred Dollars worth of gold-dust on his person at the time
he was lost.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
P.S.—It has just come to my knowledge that two men are at Fort
Yale with six hundred ounces of gold which they, since the river fell,
washed out on an island opposite Boston Bar, about 40 miles up-river.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
27th March, 1859.
Sir,—With reference to my communication of the 12th of January
last addressed to His Excellency the Governor, reporting that I had
placed Mr. Thomas Ronaldson and Mr. William Moor to act as peace
officers in Langly, I have the honor to state that I am informed that
some weeks since these gentlemen got into a row, in consequence of
which Mr. Ronaldson resigned and Mr. Moor was suspended. I
received no official account of the transactions, but it appears that
Mr. Moore was reinstated and ordered to be sent up to me. He
has arrived here and I really do not know what to do with him.
Recommended as he believes he was when he arrived from England,
he hopes to occupy a more respectable position than that of constable,
and if he is to be appointed to a higher post I should be unwilling to
order that he should be placed on constable's duty with the class of
men who are constables here.
The only duty I could put Mr. Moore to would be to collect duties
on the river, but until I know anything more of him I do not wish to
trust him on a duty of this nature; he appears to have been while
IL Chartres Brew. 97
at Langly so very foolish. He left the place in debt, did not pay for
his passage up the river, and arrived here without one farthing in his
If Mr. Moore does anything wrong here I shall not hesitate to
report his dismissal, but if he continue to conduct himself with propriety I request instructions as to the duty at which I am to employ him.
I shall give him some office-work until I receive orders respecting him.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
As. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
2nd April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that the expedition which I despatched on the 26th Ult. to Lytton to collect duties has not yet returned.
During the last week we collected over $150 from miners about
Fort Yale. Some men paid the tax most willingly, but from the
majority of miners it was extracted with difficulty and after great
I intend to make an excursion towards Fort Hope next week to
settle some difficulties about ditches, and I shall avail myself of the
opportunity to have the miner's tax collected from parties who on a
former occasion refused to pay. Mr. Smith from Fort Hope was
at Fort Yale yesterday. He informs me that he hopes to be able to
collect the tax from the greater number of miners about Fort Hope.
I think- it would stimulate Mr. Smith to bolder exertion if he were
promised some remuneration for his trouble in collecting the tax. He
can scarcely at present consider it a part of his duty.
On the 30th Ult. I went in a canoe up the river some distance
to visit the bars and ascertain if any mining was going on. The snow
was too deep on the ground to admit of sluicing, and except at one
place, where there was a hand-machine for lifting water, all the miners
were idle. 1
98 The Fraser River Mines.
On this occasion I inspected the " Way " over the falls; it is of
timber, as rudely constructed as can be well conceived, but is completely
successful; every boat passing up or down river takes advantage of it,
but now that it is known to be a profitable speculation people think
the charge for passing over it is too high.
I send attached a copy of a claim for a water privilege between
Fort Yale and Fort Hope which I recorded. I charged $5 for recording the claim, which sum I placed in the public chest.
There seems to be some doubt whether I have authority to grant
water privileges; I shall therefore in future only record the claim to
decide priority of application.
I collected $90 at Fort Yale to expend in blowing up a rock a little
above Hill's Bar which in high water renders the navigation of the
river at that point dangerous. Six men were drowned there last
summer. I was on the rock yesterday and found that it was larger
than I supposed, so I fear the $90 will not complete the work.
I requested several persons going up the river to write to me to
say what were the prospects in the goldfields of the upper country.
Amongst others, an intelligent lawyer named George, from whom I
received a letter, which I beg leave to forward as it contains matter
which may be considered of interest.
I have taken up the new Government House from the contractor
and settled his account. I shall send all the particulars with the district
monthly account by the next mail.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary,.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
9th April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to report that Mr. Cox and Mr. Haynes,
who were despatched by me on the 26th Ult. to collect licence duties
up the river, returned to Fort Yale on the night of the 4th Inst.
I regret to say that the expedition was not as successful as I
hoped it would be.   The expenses exceeded the amount collected by Chartres Brew.
$44.75. The expenses of the officers amounted to $127.25; the sum
collected was only $82.50. I did not expect that
t^n^sMesteken^oentorce a very large sum would be collected, but I cer-
tee haveCbeen sufflefenuy^en- tainly did not at all anticipate that the expedition
pay'the tax "unless compelled w011^ De so complete a failure as it proved,
to do so. whenever a miner I am satisfied that the want of success can-
fee, his claim should be im- not be attributed to any want of sufficient exer-
mediately offered  and made     . , .   He       „ .  , _      T T
over to any other person who tions on the part of Mr. Cox and Mr. Haynes,
"on should6 be* protected1"^ for these gentlemen are aware how very anxious
uVeteariy idle to maintain 1 ai*i to collect the revenue, and I am convinced
try If ntghel0miners are tTdo ^y would leave no effort untried to carry my
brought in'toSsubm1ss°on to wisnes an<i orders into execution. I beg leave to
the laws. send attached a report which I received from
ush the regulations firmly on Mr. Cox. If his Excellency think, after the
InVhfav^tL^roefBa'rs^OT failure of this expedition, that I would be war-
hesifatton'in pouingflielaw ranted in risking the expense of another, I shall
that°rMr'. ^rew'^ene"^Tnd proceed up the river myself and try what amount
ert^vrtuliccoinpSnn_iiythat °^ revenue I can have collected under my imme-
u desired. diate superintendence.   I would have some of the
cers in the discharge of their parties on the bars up the river who refused to
prepared with care to pay pay the miner's licence tax summoned, but the
and^otXdetatoTheCoffleeier1,by expense and difficulty of having summonses
smau.rlporttons of gold-dust!.' served and, if the parties failed to appear, the
expense and difficulty of having them arrested
would be so great that I do not like to adopt the measure without
special authority. I am only deterred by the expenses, but if His
Excellency will be pleased to permit me to incur them I shall not hesitate for a moment; for if the duties are to be enforced coercion must
be resorted to.
I expect that there will be some trouble on Hill's Bar before
many days; all the miners on the bar are wrangling about the extent
of their claims. I was the greater part of yesterday down there trying
to settle their disputes. I found that some of the claims had over
25 feet frontage and some others under. I tried to assimilate the claims
as much as practicable and in doing so had to take a few feet off the
mining-ground claimed by Mr. Perrier, lately the Magistrate on Hill's
Bar,69 who gave himself a very liberal measurement. I am informed
that he declared he would work the ground I took from him and not
allow the man to whom I adjudged it to interfere with it.   If Mr.
\ 11
100 The Fraser River Mines.
Perrier attempt to do anything in opposition to my decree, which I
gave after full inquiry, I shall positively have him summoned and
punished. I am inclined, though, to suspect that his threats are nothing
but talk.
Within the last fortnight there were two boats upset between Fort
Yale and Lytton and six men drowned. I have not learned any of
their names.70
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary,.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
6th April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform you that in accordance with
your instructions I left Fort Yale, accompanied by Mr. Haynes, on
Saturday, 21st Ultimo, by trail71 for Lytton City. We started at
8 o'ck AM., taking with us three Indians as packers, two of whom
carried our blankets, the third necessary provisions for themselves.
The morning was fine and, although the snow on the neighbouring
mountains was fully three feet deep, the trail was pretty good. During
this day we walked about sixteen miles and on our way passed three
| stop-houses," at each of which I presume the illegal sale of spirits is
carried on. Yet we had no ocular proof of such being a fact. In the
evening we arrived at the " California House," close to the Ferry,72 and
were detained the following morning until near 12 o'ck by a heavy fall
of snow, when the day brightened and we resumed our journey and
came to the Canon House78 at 6 o'ck in the evening after a march of
fourteen miles.
(70) These frequent references to drowning a
(71) Judge Begbie, who passed over this trai
advanced was at that time, I should think, ut
'(72) The ferry at Spuzzum, operated by Frai
nted December 4, 1858.    The distance from Ya
(73)   Near the Big Canyon.  ii Chartres Brew. 101
We staid there for the night, much fatigued, as the trail had been
very indifferent indeed.
Next morning (Monday) we left our quarters at 7 o'ck and after
a couple of hours' fair walking we entered on a trail, if it could be
called such, extending over five miles of huge broken rock, with continual ascents and descents across rugged and dangerous masses of
stone, and as these obstacles presented themselves for so long a distance
our progress was much impeded. However, at 5 o'ck same evening
we reached " Island Bar," crossed the ferry to " Boston Bar,"74 and
there remained for the night; the latter is a pretty little village and a
fair business is transacted there in the way of " entertainment for man
and beast." Up to this point we observed nothing but one uniform
extended range of mountain without the smallest variety, except that
now and then we were hemmed in between precipitous hills of the
same inhospitable character. One general feature, however, pervaded
the entire wall unpassed over—viz., its utter nakedness as respects
either beast or bird, we having seen but a solitary raven.
Leaving "Boston Bar" on Tuesday morning at 7 o'ck, we travelled
a very agreeable trail for nearly seven miles, during which we met
several Indian families carrying their all and making their way to
Fort Yale. These poor natives informed us by speech and gesture,
and indeed their wretched appearance fully bore them out, that they
were destitute and starving; we handed the children a few biscuits
which were greedily devoured. We also visited some Indian habitations and found each family in a state of fearful misery and want, their
meals for the most part consisting of soaked moss converted and baked
into a peculiar kind of black cake; others were busily engaged devouring a wasted dog, a dainty they told us seldom to be met with.75 Parting with these unfortunate fellows, we pushed on, and after travelling
seven miles further (fourteen miles from " Boston Bar") we arrived
at " Jackass Mountain." I regret I cannot afford you much information connected with this locality, for with perpendicular ascents and
dangerous descents my eyes and thoughts were wholly engrossed with
the safety of my life, more especially when crawling along the edge,
paths which are only a few inches in width and which form the trail
along the sides of this lofty mountain and overhangs the river.   There 102
The Fraser River Mines.
is some skill required in travelling these narrow ledges to preserve the
balance, particularly when fatigued, for the smallest false movement
would occasion a fall of some hundreds of feet. I fear, were this the
only mode of transport between The Forks and Yale, personal and commercial intercourse would have but a limited extent; this disagreeable
and dangerous pass extends for about half a mile, perhaps less.
Gladly leaving it behind us, we again came on a fair trail, and
after a walk of six miles arrived at a restaurant, where we put up for
the night.   We walked this day twenty miles.
The following morning (Wednesday) we left at 7 o'ck with the
intention of reaching Lytton City before night, distant about twenty-five
miles.77 Our trail on this occasion lay principally through woods and
was not to be complained of. We accomplished about eighteen miles of
our journey when darkness approached, and not being acquainted with
the road we decided on taking shelter in an unoccupied and almost
roofless miner's hut standing close to a deserted " bar."
The following morning (Thursday) we pursued our march, and
about four or five miles this side of Lytton we observed some very
pretty patches of flats and slight mounds, also preparations for vegetable gardens on a few plots of ground fenced in, in one and two acre
lots, by some Frenchmen.
At half-past 12 o'ck this day we reached Lytton. Lytton at
present is a small village composed of about twenty-five small and a
few large log cabins and stands on a spacious plateau, being elevated
considerably above the level of the river. We have seen several large
boats arriving and passing, some loaded with provisions for disposal
and others with miners and mining apparatus, but all bound for the
" upper country."
Having enquired for Captain Travalliot, J.P., for Lytton City,
Constable Flynn informed us that he had gone on magisterial business78
to the I Mountain " and probably would not return for some days.
Under these circumstances and accommodation being so very immoderate (meals $3 each),79 we determined on leaving the following morning by canoe. But we could not procure a [illegible] on and were
thus delayed one day longer than necessary.    On the evening of this Chartres Brew. 103
day (Friday) Chief Justice Begby, with Mr. Sheriff Nichole and
Mr. Bushby, arrived, apparently fatigued but not displeased with the
On Saturday morning Mr. Walker, lately connected with the
Hudson Bay Company's service,81 most kindly placed one of his best
canoes at our disposal and afforded us all information and every facility
necessary for our undertaking, advising at the same time our engaging
two additional trustworthy and experienced Indians to assist in managing our canoe (a large one) through the many ripples to be encountered
in our passage.
Following Mr. Walker's advice, we left Lytton City at 10
o'ck A.M.
The first sluice we met with was about two miles and a half from
Lytton. The owners refused paying the miner's tax, stating that their
means were but scanty.
" Kanaka Bar " :82 Did not observe any miners.
" Siwash Bar,"83 about fifteen miles from Lytton: Refused payment for the present. One sluice at work between this and Lytton.
Saw several scattered miners, all of whom declined paying the tax, stating then they had only worked for a few days.
" Italian Bar," eighteen miles from Lytton: One sluice at work by
two Frenchmen; both readily paid.
" Putman's Bar,"84 nineteen miles from Lytton. Three partners,
one sluice; had lately called on Captain Travalliot and paid the tax.
" Fargo's Bar,"85 28 miles from Lytton: One sluice at work, three
partners; refused payment. Opposite and in the vicinity of this bar
we observed many solitary miners, but could not induce payment;
also saw some deserted bars, with cradles and rockers strewn about.
" Island Bar," immediately opposite " Boston Bar," forty miles
below Lytton:86 Three sluices at work, two of which wash from eight
to twelve ounces daily each. The original holders of these rich claims
returned a short time since to their homes, having cleared within ten
weeks $3,600 to the man. We were paid by four miners, the remainder
excusing themselves for want of time.
(80) Bee 3
report in B.C. Papers, Part III., pp. 17-24; a
graphical Society for 1859, pp. 237-248.
in Kamloops, where he died in November, 191
(82) Kani
(83) This
Siwash Bar w
as about ten miles below Lytton. 104 The Fraser River Mines.
" Nieurangun Bar " :87 Rich claims. The miners absent, having
gone to Yale to purchase provisions.
" Sierei Bar,"88 fourteen miles from " Boston Bar ": Ten miners
at work, six of whom willingly paid, the remainder declining to do so
for a few weeks.
" Cross Bar " :89 No yield; refused payment.
" Dutch Bar " :90 Completely deserted.
" China Bar " :91 One sluice, three owners, but payment refused;
had only been there three weeks.
I Maddison Bar,"92 sixteen miles above Yale: Miners in bad spirits
and preparing to leave for the upper country.
At the Ferry two bars are deserted.
I Higon Bar,"93 fourteen miles above Yale: Sluices only, preparing
to work and refused payment.
" Sailors Bar,"94 nine miles above Yale: Almost deserted; payment
refused by those remaining.
I Piket Bar,"95 seven miles above Yale: One sluice; four partners
had only worked three days; refused payment, but will willingly pay in a
short time.
During our course down the river we observed about twenty or
thirty Indians working with [rockers]; both men and women were
engaged in this and we were given to understand that they cleared $1
per day. We also called on all scattered miners who have located
themselves along the banks of the river, but did not receive one payment
from this class. We also met many boats, all for one destination—
the " Canoe River."96
The miners who refused paying the licence in all cases informed
us that they had passed a severe and expensive winter and would
willingly conform to all the laws when properly at work.
We arrived here on Monday night, 4 April, having been absent
ten days from the date of leaving, and particulars of moneys received
and spent shall be furnished you immediately with the proper receipts.
v be identified. pism*
_J  Chartres Brew.
It may be proper to remark that we went by the " River Trail,"
the other by " Lake House "97 being completely closed by many feet of
snow, making it impassable even for mules.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient servant,
(Signed)       William Geo. Cox.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
10th April, 1859.
Sir,—With reference to your letter of the 2nd Inst., stating
that you were desired by His Excellency the Governor of British
Columbia to acquaint me that I am to act as Collector or Sub-
Treasurer in my District, I have the honor to
not8 intoKV'witf rSeS state that as my appointment as Chief Inspector
hei^but^were^otted^to °* Police was for the whole of British Columbia,
the*j)rincipai *an_ most8 re? anc* as ^ aPPointment which His Excellency did
sponsible public officer at me the honor of conferring on me was Chief
duties are confined to the Gold Commissioner for British Columbia, and as
I was under the impression that the Assist. Commissioner's duties at Fort Yale were only temporarily to be carried on
under my superintendence until an Assist. Commissioner should be
appointed, I do not know what the limits of my District are, unless I
am to assume that it is intended that the range of my duties is not to
extend beyond the District of Fort Yale.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
11th April, 1859.
Sir,—As a step towards entering upon the task to accomplish
which I was appointed to the office of Chief Inspector of Police for 106
The Fraser River Mines.
the Colony of British Columbia—the organization of a uniform system
of police in the Colony—I have the honor to
coi. is now under Mr. Brew's request that His Excellency the Governor will be
posed Vincrease that°force pleased to permit me to take under my exclusive
penseCCtrwhichthet ?-t_ the management and control the whole Body of Con-
that'the B"oyai°Marinesenow stables at present in the Colony. This step
mrTlnin 'enre^encies0^™-!- aPPears to be the more necessary as it is now
ployed as a police force.— determined that the financial arrangements of
the several departments are to be conducted
distinctly of each other with the Colonial Treasurer by the head of
each department.
I am satisfied that the superintendence of the colonial police and
the conducting of the financial branch of the department98 will occupy
my time to an extent that will render it impracticable for me to hold
with advantage to the public service the supervision of another
If His Excellency be pleased to allow me to assume this charge,
I have to beg His Excellency's orders to proceed without delay to the
seat of Government99 to prepare and submit for His Excellency's
consideration a plan for conducting the police duties of the Colony,
and to enable me to confer with the Colonial Treasurer respecting the
system of police accounts which should be established.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed)       C. Brew.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary,.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
16th April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to report that on yesterday Mr. E. H.
Sanders,   Assist.   Gold   Commissioner   for  the   Fort   Yale  District,
.     reported himself to me.    He will without delay
as j.p. win be forwarded to enter upon the duties of his office, and appears
resolved to leave no effort untried to levy the
miner's licence tax in his district. Chartres Brew. 107
Mr. Sanders informs me that he has not been appointed a justice
of the peace; as it will be impossible for Mr. Sanders to perform his
duty as Gold Commissioner effectually unless he possesses all the power,
authority, and jurisdiction of a Magistrate, I trust His Excellency
the Governor will be pleased to issue to him the commission of the
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretaryf
Fort Yale, B.C.,
16th April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that I have been called upon by
the Colonial Treasurer to furnish returns showing the probable income
and "expenditure of the Gold and Police Department from the 1st of
April to the 31st December, 1859.
As I am at present advised, any estimate of probable expenses
I could give would be merely a wild guess, for I do not know what
staff His Excellency the Governor will appoint to the Gold Department,
and I am not informed of what determination has been arrived at
with regard to the formation of a police. I have never taken charge
of the constables at present under pay in the Colony; they are under
the control of the Magistrate of the districts in which they are stationed.
I beg leave to ask His Excellency's order for me to proceed to
Victoria for a few days, as I have to request the honor of being
permitted to have an interview with His Excellency on these matters,
and I should also be most anxious to have an opportunity of consulting
with the Colonial Treasurer.
I shall arrange to have all the duties here carried on during my
absence just as well as if I were present.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary,
1 r
The Fraser River Mines.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
16th April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to submit the annexed application from
Mr. Sanders, Assist. Gold Commissioner, for 1,000 Forms of mining
Licence for issue in the Fort Yale District.
The old Forms, of which there are not many on hand, are loosely
and vaguely worded and lead to misconception. The miners think that
on the payment of 21s. they are licensed for three months, and they
in many cases are tempted to object to the payment of the tax for the
second and third months.
Another objection to the old Forms is that unless all the Licences
when out of date be collected, which would be impracticable, there
would be no check on the collector for sums received on account of the
second and last months of the quarter.
I think it would be expedient to adopt the Form proposed by
Mr. Sanders and issue a new Licence to each Miner every month; then
by compelling the collector to account for all Forms intrusted to him
there would be a complete check on the amounts received.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
I m Fort Yale, B.C.,
16th April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to submit for the consideration of His
Excellency the Governor the accompanying account furnished to me
by Mr. Land, proprietor of Fort Yale Sawmill,1
MrTmF?e_itingl>esSS?d' be re- *or lumber supplied for Government purposes at
Ssed'fo'r GorornmCTt'buHd- tlie re(luest of Mr. Hicks, late Assist. Crown
$60 &h at Pmce ff°red Is <Md Commissioner.
cae' at Fort Hope, otherwise Mr. Hicks states the lumber was procured
for tneeiumberr8removed ?rom to complete the Government House, now occu-
land.rown an ' an   °r   * pied as a post-office.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Commissioner's Office,
Fort Yale, B.C.,
23rd April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to inform you that it came to my knowledge within a few days that a Mr. Erastus Champlain, of Fort Yale,
had taken possession of 80 acres of land on the plateau on the left
bank of Frazer's River opposite Fort Yale, and
decision3. Mr" Brew's that he was clearing it and preparing it for tillage.
c"hamp°ain°nmay 'have"town 1   asked  Mr.   Champlain  to-day  by  what
anowedetotta-e3thecriopoff authority he occupied the land, and he informed
me that it had been granted to him by Mr. Hicks,
late Assistant Crown Commissioner, that the grant was recorded in
this office, and that it had been confirmed to him by His Excellency the
Governor of British Columbia.
I made search in this office and the only papers I could find bearing on the matter are a notice of " location," a copy of which I send
attached.   A paragraph in a letter from His Excellency the Governor 110 The Fraser River Mines.
to Mr. Hicks dated the 5th of September, 1858, of which the following
is a copy:—
I Lastly, let the land opposite Fort Yale be divided immediately
into 20-acre lots for garden purposes, to be immediately afterwards
sold off on condition of immediate improvements."
A paragraph in another letter from His Excellency to Mr. Hicks
dated the 4th of Nov., 1858, of which the following is a copy:—
" Contrary to our first intention, we have decided on reserving the
tableland on the opposite side of Fort Yale on account of its being
auriferous and therefore valuable as mineral land for the purpose of
raising a public revenue."
And a sentence in a letter from His Excellency to Mr. Hicks dated
the 19th of October, 1858, of which the following is a copy:—
" I have seen Mr. Champlain, but have referred him to the settlement made by Mr. Pemberton and yourself."
Under all the circumstances it did not appear to me that Mr.
Approve of Mr. Brew's Champlain's title to the land was valid, and I
decision of this case.—j. d. therefore wrote to him cautioning him against
holding or trespassing on the land or he would be prosecuted for the
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
23rd April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to request to be informed whether or not
it is the determination of the Government to compel the removal of
the houses built in the streets of Fort Yale by the 1st of May next.
Persons occupying those houses are naturally anxious to know if
they will have to remove, as they wish to make the necessary preparations for shifting their stores and concerns.
People who hold town lots are most desirous to have those houses
removed and are unwilling to pay up on their lots until they learn
whether the houses are to be removed immediately or not, as the lots Chartres Brew. Ill
will be of little or no value till the storekeepers living on the street are
forced to abandon the street and locate themselves on town lots.2
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
23rd April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that since this day week $580
taxes on miners and water privileges have been collected at Fort Yale
and Mr. Smith at Fort Hope has collected $195.
I beg leave to submit a report received from Mr. Saunders, Assist.
Gold Commissioner, stating his proceedings on the different bars.
On one bar several miners refused to pay Mr. Sanders, and as he
is not a Magistrate I am to proceed down the river with him early
next week and sign summonses against the defaulters on the bar. At
the same time I am not informed of the punishment which may be
imposed on them for offending. I believe they are trespassers and as
such may be fined five pounds before a Magistrate, but there is no
penalty attached to a breach of the law in the proclamation making the
levying of the Miner's Licence Tax legal.
As trespassers on Crown lands, I think that miners refusing to
pay Licence tax might be arrested on the spot; but I fear that such a
strong measure would lead to a serious collision, and I should be most
unwilling to resort to it without special orders of His Excellency the
It is proper to inform His Excellency that from information I
received this evening I have good reason to believe that there is a
strong feeling arising against the Licence Tax, and that an agitation has
already commenced to resist the payment of it. I fear that next month
very little will be collected without resorting to coercion.3 112 The Fraser River Mines.
The news from the upper country is not very favourable. Miners
are wandering, prospecting in every direction, but as yet they have
found no goldfields richer than those on the lower Frazer River, and
no gold-bearing quartz has been found.
Mr. Elwyn and Mr. Haynes, accompanied by Mr. Hicks, went on
the 21st Inst, to search for a silver mine said to exist some distance
up a creek near Emery's Bar. They returned on the evening of the
22nd unsuccessful. They found it impossible to proceed on account
of the depth of the snow in the ravine, but they are determined to
try again.*
Out of one claim on Hill's Bar they took one day 39 ounces of Gold
and I saw 16 ounces taken out of another claim after one day's work.
I am satisfied that many who went to the upper Frazer will return
again and take up their old claims below, and I think that every alluvial flat on the river will be mined as soon -as they can lead water upon
The river has risen at Fort Yale five feet by a river metre which
I had erected.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary,
Fort Yale,
April 23rd, 1859.
Sir,—Pursuant to your instructions, I on the 17th inst. left this
for the purpose of collecting sums due upon expired mining and
other licences. As I had been informed that Mr. Smith, J.P. at Fort
Hope, had orders to collect up to American Bar,5 I went no farther
than Puget Sound Bar,6 situated on the right or western bank of the Chartres Brew. 113
river. On this bar there are certainly not more than thirty to forty
men mining, although it is, under present circumstances, difficult to
ascertain even the approximate number. Only nineteen licences were
collected; the remainder of claim-owners either could or would not
pay; many, I am convinced, had it not in their power to do so. The
miners as a body complain bitterly of the extreme severity of the
tax levied from them; they declare that what with the tax on claims,
the tax on all articles of consumption, the exorbitant charges made by
the ditch companies for the water they require for sluicing purposes,
and the high rate of " grub," they have nothing left. It is only too
evident that claims on this river on an average do not pay more than
two to three dollars a day to the man. It would be advisable to recommend to the Government some more suitable and equitable mining tax;
for instance, a tax on the gold exported from the country would yield a
much larger revenue than that obtained by the existing system.7 If
the present mining regulations are to be strictly enforced, I am afraid
the Government will be put to a very considerable expense; then, again,
if they are not enforced, I do not suppose that I should succeed in
collecting fifty dollars next month throughout the whole District.
French8 and Landeau Bars: On these bars there were not more
than six men; they are realising so little that they declare themselves
unable to pay for licences; now that the river has increased, these bars
will again be worked. On Victoria Bar9 there were only four or five
men, digging at the lower end; the upper end of this bar is, I am told,
quite exhausted.
Strawberry Island :10 On this island ten to fifteen men are mining
with [varying] success. On .one spot twelve to fifteen dollars a day
have recently been won; on others only from four to six bits have been
obtained.    Seven licences were issued.
Victoria Bar:11 The miners all insisted that they were unable to
pay for licences, the whole of their earnings being absorbed in the
erection of sluices and paying for water; many are owing for "grub "
in stores at Yale and Hope.    I here only issued two licences.
On Texas Bar,12 which at one time yielded the richest gold in the
country; Rosey Bar, situated opposite Texas Bar; Niagara Bar, and
I mmwmwmm
114 The Fraser River Mines.
London Bar13 very little mining is done; although two men on the last-
named bar are earning as much as twelve to fifteen dollars per diem.
Emory Bar:14 There are not many miners on this bar; I did not
collect more than the amount of four licences. The bar is the headquarters of the Pioneer Ditch Company, who pay an average day's
profits each month15 to the Government.
Hill's Bar:16 This is undoubtedly the richest bar in the district;
I here collected three hundred and twenty dollars. The bank diggings
are said to be exceedingly rich and extend for a considerable distance
Although the collection on some bars proved very unsatisfactory,
the total sum realised was $515. You will be pleased to bear in mind
that I have not yet visited all the bars of my district. Early next
week it is my intention to collect on the bars between Fort Yale and
the upper end of the Douglas Portage,17 and subsequently between
Puget Sound Bar and Fort Hope.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient servant,
(Signed)        E. H. Sanders,
Assistant Gold Commissioner.
To Chartres Brew, Esq.,
Chief of Police, Chief Gold Commissioner, etc.,
Fort Yale.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
23rd April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to submit two letters just received by me
from Captain Travaillot, Assist. Commissioner, Lytton.
I never stated to any miner as at A; it would be simply absurd
of me to do so; but as a Gold duty was strongly advocated some numbers
id by Mr. Hicks when ii
e Begbie's and Mr. Hie
m Chartres Brew. 115
back in the Victoria Gazette, it was generally believed that it would
be substituted for the Miner's Licence Tax. Several asked me for information on the subject, but I could not afford any; but I never concealed
my wish that the Gold duty would be adopted.18
Captain Travaillot's rules compelling parties holding water privileges to pay $10 a month for each sluice and to be accountable that all
persons receiving water are licensed miners simplifies and facilitates
very much the collection of the revenue. But I fear these regulations
will tend to retard ithe development of the goldfields of the Colony,
as mining operations on an extensive scale cannot be carried on without
a large outlay on ditches and water privileges, and people will not invest
their money on speculations while subject to such responsibilities and
restrictions. There is a ditch in this District on which I am informed
$8,000 have been expended.19
With reference to B, I dare say officers are required at the point
described by Captain Travaillot.   As I have not been placed in charge
instructio °* tlie Body of police Constables in the Colony,
i Mr. Brew, directing him I presume I have nothing to do with the appoint-
mstabies u/tbe ooionyand ment of any Constables in the Lytton District.
iereof as may be^requisite I have seen Flynn here and had opportunities of
aHenece*!aollc safety and°on' judging of him, and I must say he is not a man
upon whom I would place an absolute trust.
I have received some accounts from Captain Travaillot21 which I
shall forward as soon as I extract sufficient information from them to
enable me to frame a consolidated return of the Gold Revenue exclusively for the quarter ending the 31st of March last.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary. 116 The Fraser River Mines.
Fort Yale, B.C.,
23rd April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that I feel that circumstances
render me unable to have the business connected with the Gold Department performed either to my own satisfaction or to the advantage of
the public service. I trust, therefore, that His Excellency the Governor
of British Columbia will pardon me for requesting that His Excellency will be pleased to permit me to resign the office of Chief Gold
I take the liberty of asking this favour as I believe my resignation
will in no way inconvenience the public service, for Captain Travaillot,
Assistant Commissioner at Lytton, and Mr. Sanders, Assistant Commissioner at Fort Yale, are fully competent to perform their District
duties independently of me and without my immediate Superintendence.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretaryf
Fort Yale, B.C.,
30th April, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to submit the annexed letter from Mr.
Saunders, assist. Commissioner, reporting his proceedings in collecting mining taxes during the last week.
Mr. Saunders having stated to me that many of the miners working on Victoria Bar, about six miles above Fort Hope, refused to take
out Licences, I went to the bar on the 25th Inst, to meet Mr. Saunders
there on his way back from Fort Hope, and I brought blank forms of
summonses with me, determined to summon all persons found mining
who refused to take out Licences. The result was that nearly all the
miners who were working paid, but there were some who had not the
means of doing so and were not even able to pay the ditch company
for the water they used. These men would willingly give up their
claims to the ditch company to clear off the water debts if the company
were allowed to take them and employ the men as labourers.  J Chartres Brew. 117
I shall visit American Bar22 next week with Mr. Saunders to try
if I can frighten or influence the miners into paying, but with the
present state of the law and the means at command I look upon it as
hopeless successfully to collect the tax. If the present system is to be
persevered in it will be necessary to place a strong armed body at the
disposal of the assist. Commissioner, and he must
tne^mm6'" 8lTen t0 have power legally to arrest on the spot any man
found mining without a licence. It would be impracticable to adopt the system of summoning, for men deny their names,
give false names, and quit the bars, so that it is nearly impossible to
make them out again to have them served with summonses.
I beg leave to submit an account I received from Captain Travaillot, assist Commissioner, and I also send a consolidated return of
the Revenue arising from the Gold Fields since the 1st of January last,
with the expenses of collecting the same. I imagine that Captain
Travaillot's return must be inaccurate as he has inserted no expenses,
although I know he was travelling over his district.
It would be necessary that an arrangement should be made authorising the Head of the Gold Department to approve expenses to a certain
amount, otherwise the officers of the department will be crippled and
the duty will neither be cheerfully nor satisfactorily performed.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) C. Brew,
Chief Inspector of Police,
Ass. Chief Gold Commissioner.
W. A. G. Young, Esq., Colonial Secretary.
Fort Yale,
April 30th, 1859.
Sir,—On the 24th inst. I resumed the collection on the bars
intervening Puget Sound Bar and Fort Hope,23 but, I am sorry to
inform you, with little or no success. On Prince Albert Flat24 fifteen
men were engaged in mining operations; according to their statement
it was quite out of their power to pay the mining tax, advancing the 118 The Fraser River Mines.
customary litany of grievances—indebtedness for the winter's " grub,"
debt for lumber required for the construction of the necessary sluices,
high rate of provisions, and poverty of " pay-dirt"; many of these
men promised faithfully to take out the Licence required by the Regulations in the course of ten days. The water privilege granted to a
company of eight individuals upon this flat yields no returns, there
being no consumers. I am told that the average returns do not exceed
two and a half to three dollars per man a day.25 On Union Bar28 there
were only from three to four men working; the back or bank diggings
on this bar is from various indications supposed to be rich in " pay-
dirt " and will in all probability, now that the river has risen, be more
extensively worked and when sluiced pay well. The low-water diggings
did not yield more than two to two dollars and a half to the man; the
men assured me that they were quite unable to pay. Trafalgar Bar,27
on the left bank of the river, was being worked by two miners only and
both were unable to comply with the Regulations; this bar also yields
but one and a half to two dollars per diem. There were, as far as I
could judge, about twenty-two men mining on American Bar, but these
without exception refused to take out licences. I am informed that the
average " make " per day is as much as three and four to five dollars.
I should feel much obliged if you would be pleased to inform me as to
the most advisable course to be pursued in cases such as the above, so
that the Law may effectually be enforced. In my opinion coercion must
be resorted to to put a stop to this, now almost general, unjustifiable
opposition to the tax.
On the 25th I visited Puget Sound and Victoria Bars28 for the
purpose of collecting from those in arrears. I found that some of the
miners whom, on my former tour, I had threatened with summonses
in case of non-payment had left; others paid. Your presence on the
latter bar had quite a magical effect and facilitated the collection incalculably. This proves how necessary it is that the Commissioner be at
the same time a Magistrate, which would enable him more effectually
to fulfil his duties, avoiding circumlocution and expense by settling
all mining disputes on the spot.
On Ohio Bar29 there were only two men working; both had been
up the river and, to use a mining phrase, had returned " broke."
I granted these men ten days' time to comply with the regulations. Chartres Bre
On the 28th I again visited Hill's Bar for the purpose of settling
disputes between various parties with regard to claims. Some I satisfactorily adjusted; others will require a more minute investigation.
The miners on this bar are peculiarly troublesome owing to the richness and consequent value of the claims, and partly also to their possessing a special code of rules, sanctioned by His Excellency the
Governor when here, enabling the miner to own two claims, one by
location and the other by purchase; the result of this is that the purchased claims have changed hands so often and been divided and subdivided into such infinitesimal parts that it would require a Commissioner's whole time to settle the innumerable misunderstandings
which arise.
The Rules and Regulations for Miners distinctly state that " all
persons digging for gold or otherwise employed at the Gold Fields " are
to take out licences. This law, it is needless to inform you, has been
totally disregarded and claim-owners on every bar on the river employ
three, four, and even five laborers; by this means excavating the
claim in a very short time. This evil is difficult of remedy; the only
possible means of doing so, that I can see, is to enact that all claims
employing unlicensed hands will subject themselves to prosecution.
Cunoso's account (in the Victoria Gazette) of the mining operations in this district is infamously exaggerated; one convincing proof
is the utter inability of most miners to pay for the water they require
for sluicing purposes. Only the other day some ditch companies
applied for advice desirous of enforcing payment! It is to be hoped
that the Executive will speedily adopt some new system of taxation.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant,
(Signed)      E. Howard Sanders,
Assistant Gold Commissioner.
To Chartres Brew, Esq.,
Chief of Police, Chief Gold Commr, etc.
Fort Yale. The Fraser River Mines.
To His Excellency James Douglas, Esq., C.B.,
Governor and Commander-in-Chief of British Columbia.
The Undersigned, representing the owners of the Steamers
" Governor Douglas " and " Colonel Moody," trading on Fraser River,
beg most respectfully to apply to your Excellency for Protection against
To be referred to the Attor- **ie competition of foreign capital and foreign
-ey-Generai for his opinion steamboats that undoubtedly will attempt to
me to grant exclusive rights obtain possession of the trade of Fraser River;
gators.—j. d. ^g *arge capital of the California Steam Navi
gation Company, the number of steamers under their control, renders
such a project quite feasible.
Your Memorialists would respectfully state that at the time they
invested their money in these Steam Boats—namely, the "Governor
Douglas " and " Colonel Moody "—and caused them to be built on Vancouver's Island, the prospects for doing business with them looked
very gloomy. False reports of the probable trade of the country of
British Columbia were industriously circulated by the owners of the
American Steam Boats then running on Fraser River (by a " sufferance " from Your Excellency), thereby endeavouring to prevent us from
building these boats and thus raising up a British interest on the river;
and, further, Your Memorialists were strongly encouraged by the
implied assurances that continually reached them that Your Excellency
would afford every protection possible to sustain our enterprize.
The result of their enterprize has been most serviceable to the
interest of British Columbia, being forced to carry merchandize in
competition with the foreign steamers on the river at the commencement of the spring of this year; the rates of freight and passages
were reduced from $70 per ton of measurement to $25 per ton, and for
passengers from $10 per passenger to $6; and Your Memorialists have
made no attempt to enhance those rates until within the last month,
when the risks of running on the river have increased so much that
Your Memorialists would either have to lay up their boats or charge
such an additional rate as would cover the extra risk; the causes of
this risk at the low stage of water on Fraser River are patent to
your Excellency.
The protection that Your Memorialists pray for is only for a temporary period to enable us to consolidate our enterprize and renders
us independent of foreign capital.   We ask Your Excellency to grant Miscellaneous Documents.
to us the exclusive right to navigate with Steam Boats the Fraser and
Harrison Rivers from New Westminster to Port Douglas and to Fort
„ ..   „ _     Hope for one year; Your Excellency to stipulate
Bates far too high.—J. D.      f.    *    bj        ,-.,', , .   / *    .
the rate of freight to be charged for conveying
merchandize and passengers. Your Memorialists would respectfully
state that they think that a fair compensation for the steamers would
be as follows:—
From 15th April to 15th November in the year the rate of freight
from New Westminster to Fort Hope to be $25 per ton of 40 cubic
Hates f r t   hi h ^eet* an<^ ^or eac^1 passenger up $10 and for
each passenger down $7; from the 15th November to the 15th April the rate on this route to be advanced on freight to
$40 per ton; passengers at former rates.   The rate of freight from New
Westminster to Port Douglas to be $25 per ton
toi_e1toaconferSbenents on^the °^ Forty cubic feet and so continue for the entire
ciamfed^otu twithet_rlGIe,'B 5*ear > the charge for passengers on this route to
could not undertake to grant be $10 upwards and $7 downwards.   In consid-
exclusive  rights  of  naviga- J. &»>, ^ J . ,,      .
Hon.-^j. d. eration of the grant to us of the foregoing privi
lege, our companies bind ourselves to appropriate
$1,000 in freight and passage monies to the Government towards the
fund for the improvement of the navigation of Harrison River.
Hoping that Your Excellency will give the application of Your
Memorialists a favorable consideration.
As in duty bound, Your Memorialists will ever pray.
Saml. Price & Co.,
Jas. N. Thain,
Agents of the Steamers "Governor Douglas"
and " Colonel Moody."
. V.I., 31st October, 1859.
To His Excellency James Douglas, C.B.,
Governor of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, etc.
May it please Your Excellency :
As General Superintendent of Wesleyan Methodist Missions in
these Colonies, I beg leave to apprize Your Excellency that a Wesleyan
Missionary has been for some time past stationed at Queenborough,
B.C., and that we are anxious to have a Church and Parsonage erected
as early as practicable, as also to secure suitable premises for similar
edifices in another part of the Town at an early future period. 122
The Fraser River Mines.
With the concurrent opinion of the Commissioner of Crown Lands
in British Columbia as to their suitability, I have selected Lots Nos.
5 and 6 in Block 25, and Nos. 1 and 2 in Block 32, and respectfully
pray that Your Excellency will grant the said Lots for our Church
purposes, and give the requisite instructions to the Crown Lands
Department for the conveyance of the same.
I have the honour to be,
Your Excellency's obdt Servt
Ephm. Evans.
Victoria, May 27,1859.
Note.—Referred to Attorney-General, His Excellency being very
desirous donating the Lots mentioned for the purpose described.
By His Excellency's Command.
William A. G. Young,
Act. Col. Sec.
Attorney-General's Office,
15th November, 1859.
Sir,—I have the honor to direct your Excellency's attention
to the claim made by the purchasers of town lots at New Westminster
with regard to the promised grading of that town. I am informed
that in June last a promise was made by Mr. Franklin at the sale of
the town lots in question that the streets of New Westminster should
be immediately graded. The Chief Commissioner of Lands and
Works authorized the promise and on the faith of such promise a great
number of people invested largely. In the month of August or September last the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, upon the
occasion of an interview upon the subject, where your Excellency,
the Judge of British Columbia, the Colonial Secretary, and I were
present, promised that the grading should be proceeded with immediately and completed within a limited time, which has long since
elapsed; and that upon a completion he would report to your Excellency. (In pursuance of my duty as Your Excellency's official legal adviser, I had to call your Excellency's attention in the month of August
last to the subject in question in consequence of threatened proceedings
on behalf of lot-holders with a view to recover from Her Majesty's
Government the purchase-money paid on such town lots and in respect
of which a writ of right had been demanded of me.)    I am informed Miscellaneous Documents. 123
that the grading has not been carried out and that no report of the
character promised has been made to your Excellency.
I must most respectfully direct your Excellency's attention to the
facts that the lot-holders had an undoubted right to the performance
of the promise in question within a reasonable time; that such reasonable time has long since elapsed; that under the circumstances I am
bound to give my sanction to any proposed action against the Government; that such action would in all probability be successful and may
be shortly anticipated; and that your Excellency is responsible for the
consequences of any such action notwithstanding any instructions which
you may have given. I would therefore respectfully suggest that some
further action should be taken in the matter which may (so far as
possible) save Her Majesty's Government from proceedings which
would be of an injurious and discreditable character.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
George Hunter Cary,
Attorney-General, British Columbia and Vancouver's Island.
His Excellency the Governor. I INDEX.
Allard Ovid "      9
American Bar .6, 94, 112
Anderson, Alexander Caulfield 4, 19"
Ballou's Express 25, 80
Assize   Clerk,   proposed   appointment    41-43
Ballou's Express 25, 80
Bedford, C. J. N _     65
Begbie, Matthew Baillie, correspon-
Bevis, Wiffiam"Henry_L7_"_L_..-32, 80
Brew, Chartres   27
  Correspondence  _  60
British Columbia, Birthday of the
Colony     x.
Bushby, Arthur T    48
Canoe Country    17
Cary, George Hunter   123
Champlain, Erastus
China Bar ..
Coe, Jot
Court, charges of costs of	
Court House at Fort Yale —
Cox, William George - _
Cross  Bar   1
Donnellan, B    11,
Douglas, Governor, address at Yale
Douglas Portage  — 1
Dutch Bar     1
Elwyn, Thomas  	
Emerson, Charles _
Emory's Bar  14, 1
" Enterprise," steamer  ix.,
Evans, Rev. E   1
Fargo's Bar —    1
Fifer, Dr. M. W 4, 69,
Fort Dallas District	
" Forks " of the Thompson River_
Foster, Joseph 	
Foster, William 	
" Governor Douglas,"
Golledge, Richard .
Grand Jury at Langley    43
Grant, Capt. J. M   —   25
Hartwell, William  13
Hawley, I. C   16
Haynes, John Carmichael  62
Hicks, R., appointment    x.
Hicks, Richard ..
Charges against 	
Hickson, police officer ..
Higon Bar _
Hill's Bar 	
of the Peace, powers of	
Kanaka Bar 	
King's mining claim
Kirby, Willia:
, 57
Land, Fleming & Co _.
Landeau Bar    113
Lewis, Herbert George    24  •
Licences      24
Liquor licences  _ _ 31, 88
London Bar    114
Lumber prices     52
McGowan, " Ned "_....iv., x., 10, 14, 25
 " Ned " McGowan War xiii., 54
MacHenry, John, mining claims      6
McKay's mining claim       6
Maddison Bar    104
" Maria," steamer ix., 45, 47
Mining bars, location of   xvi.
Mining licences and fees —
8, 21, 87, 111, 113
Moody, Colonel R. C, arrival 3, 20
 As Lieutenant-Governor     31
Moor, William     96
"Ned" McGowan. See McGowan.
Neil, Mathias...._    13
ing of si
.   14
Nicaragua Bar  _ 104
Nicol, Charles Samuel     45 t
126                               The Fraser River Mines.
Ohio Bar   118
"Otter," steamer     65
Severe's mining claim	
Siwash Bar	
Palmer, Joel 	
Passenger rates o
Pearkes, George	
Perrier, George  x.
Pest, Henry, imprisoned for murder
" Phoenix," newspaper 	
Piket Bar
establishment of    61
" Plumper," H.M.S 24, 64
Population, mining, in 1858-59  xvi.
Postal Service 12, 80
Pre-emption Proclamation, first......   15
Price, Samuel & Co  121
Prince Albert Flats  5, 117
Prison at Fort Yale     13
Puget Sound Bar 	
. 103
Queenborough      46
Resolutions at meeting of miners
at Yale     29
" Recovery," brig    13
Rice, Bernard  :..!.:.!: 34, 56
Richards, Capt    65
Robson, Rev. Ebenezer     52
Ronaldson, Thomas     96
Rosey Bar 	
Sailors Bar 	
Sanders, E. H	
| Santa Clara " Bar ...
Sawmill, Fort Yale ...
..... 104
Smith, Robert T x., 1
Snyder, W    1
Spuzzum Bridge     1
Steamboat rates _  12
Strawberry Island  7, 11
Sufferances to American steamers   i:
"Umatilla," steamer   i:
Tennent, G _    i
Texas Bar  | 11
Thain, James N  |
Trade licences   J24, '.
Travaillot, O x., 21, t
Trial of Jones and Niel      '
Tugo, Dr. H. A    '
" Ubiquitous," newspaper   x
" Umatilla Snag "  _ „   \
" Umatilla," steamer   _  i:
Union Bar   1]
Victoria Bar   lj
Vigilance Committees   i
Walker, Donald _  1(
Wallace,  Herman       ]
Washington's Birthday celebration   i
Way, W ...._    1
Wesley Church, Queenborough  §
Whannell, P. B xiv., 16, \
Whatcom Trail  _     '
Wright, Capt. Thomas  25, i
York, Thomas  _     ]
Young, William A. G _ 19, '  %


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items