Open Collections

BC Sessional Papers

REPORT OF COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY Concerning the genuineness of an alleged transfer, dated the 23rd day… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly. 1886

Item Metadata


JSON: bcsessional-1.0061675.json
JSON-LD: bcsessional-1.0061675-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcsessional-1.0061675-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcsessional-1.0061675-rdf.json
Turtle: bcsessional-1.0061675-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcsessional-1.0061675-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcsessional-1.0061675-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 217
Concerning the genuineness of an alleged transfer, dated the 23rd day of June, 1884,
from certain Indians to one J. M. M. Spinks.
Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen,
Defender of the Faith, &c, &c., &c.
To the Honoitrable Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, Knight—Greeting.
Alex. E. B. Davie, I VST HERE AS by an Act passed in the forty-eighth year of Our Reign,
Attorney-General, j VV intituled "An Act to authorize the appointment of a Commission
of Enquiry concerning the genuineness of an alleged transfer, dated the 23rd day of June, in
the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four, from certain Indians to one
J. M. M. Spinks," after reciting that during the investigation by a Select Committee of the
Legislative Assembly of claims to lands in the vicinity of Coal Harbour, a document had been
produced purporting to be a transfer of the alleged rights of two Indians to certain lands and
improvements at False Creek to one J. M. M. Spinks, and dated the 23rd day of June, in the
year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four,
And that the genuineness of such document had been impugned, and that it was desirable
that a Commission of Enquiry should be appointed for the purpose of ascertaining whether such
document was genuine or not,
It was enacted, that it should be lawful for the Lieutenant-Governor, by commission
under his hand and seal, to appoint some person to be a Commissioner to enquire into and concerning the genuineness of the said document.
Now know you, that having every confidence in your prudence, ability and integrity,
We do hereby, in pursuance of the powers contained in the said Act, and of every other power
or authority Us in that behalf enabling, constitute and appoint you, the said Sir Matthew
Baillie Begbie, to be a Commissioner to enquire into and concerning the genuineness of the
sa'd document; hereby requiring you to report in writing to Our Lieutenant-Governor of Our
said Province of British Columbia the result of your deliberations.
In Testimony whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent, and
the Great Seal of the said Province to be hereunto affixed: Witness, the
Honourable Clement Francis Cornwall, Lieutenant-Governor of Our said
Province of British Columbia, in Our City of Victoria, in Our said Province,
this 20th day of March, in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and eighty-five, and in the forty-eighth year of Our Reign.
By Command.
T. Elwyn,
Deputy Provincial Secretary. 218 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
To His Honour
The Lieutenant-Governor in Council.
Sir,—In pursuance of the Commission to me directed, dated 20th March, 1885, and of
an Act of Parliament, 1885, No. 39, I have to submit to Your Honour the following Report:—
2. The Commission was opened in the Court House at Victoria on Thursday, 9th April,
and another sitting was held on Saturday, 11th April. It was opened in the Court House at
New Westminster on Tuesday, 14th April, and evidence was taken on Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, and Friday, in that week.
3. The evidence taken, and also the documents produced and relied on, are set forth in
the Appendix. In an enquiry of this sort, not having for its direct object the determination
of any criminal charge or civil right, it was not deemed necessary to exclude altogether
testimony which might not be properly admissible -at nisi 'prints.
4. The enquiry has arisen under the following circumstances:—It being deliberated in the
House of Assembly to hand over to the Railway Syndicate certain lands near English Bay in
consideration of an extension of the Railway, various persons put forward claims to various
portions of the lands proposed to be so handed over. Among the rest, Messrs. Walls, Henderson, and others presented a joint claim to a certain piece of land which they had purchased
from one J. M. M. Spinks, producing, among their muniments of title, a deed purporting to be
executed by two Indians in the presence of McTiernan, the Indian Agent, whereby they conveyed to Spinks all their rights in the land in fee. The genuineness of this document having
been denied, the present Commission was issued to enquire into that point.
5. In considering the purview of the enquiry intrusted to me, viz.: concerning the genuineness of thi§ document, the first matter to be decided was the meaning of the term  "genuine."
Two epithets are constantly employed in discussing the effect and validity of historical
and other documents, viz.:—"genuine" and "authentic." A document may be impugned,
either on the ground of its not being the work of the author by whom it professes to have been
compiled or executed, or else on the ground that it contains an untrustworthy statement of
facts, although really composed by the person whose name it bears.
Unfortunately the very learned writers by whom these questions are discussed, although
they very clearly distinguish between these two grounds for impeaching the value of a document, are by no means agreed as to the epithet by which they are to be distinguished; nearly
one moiety using the word "genuine," to signify that the document was really composed at
the time it bears date, and is really a trustworthy guide as to facts, and using the term
"authentic " to signify that it was really composed by the person whose name it bears; while
nearly the same proportion of writers employ the word "genuine" to signify, in short,
" unforged," and " authentic " to signify that the work is of authoritative value, as a veracious
and contemporaneous representation of the facts.
Thus to take a well-known instance, one-half of the writers who doubt of Homer's existence would call the Iliad and Odyesey authentic, but not genuine poems; the other half would
call them genuine old works but not authentic; or of those who impugn the false decretals of
Isidore, as being pure inventions, though truly attributed to that monk, one-half would say they
were not authentic though genuine; the other, that they were not genuine though authentic.^
It being impossible to ascertain in which of these senses the word " genuine " is used in
the Act of Parliament, it seemed proper to extend the enquiry so as to embrace them both.
This course has, it is hoped, not unduly lengthened the enquiry, and, I think, I have been able
to form a clear opinion upon both points; both as to the value of the deed as expressing the
deliberate intention of the parties named in it, and as to the question whether the signatures
of the parties and of the attesting witness are, any of them, forged or unforged.
6. The impeached deed will be found at full length in the Appendix, marked L. It was
produced to me by Mr. J. P. Walls, representing himself and the other parties claiming rights
to land under it; the proper custody therefore. He received it from his vendor, McDonald; who
in his turn had received it from Mr. Henderson, acting as agent for J. M. M. Spinks, the vendor 49 "Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 219
to McDonald; and being at the same time interested himself in the claim. Spinks did not
fully recognize the document when shewn to him on the 9th April in Court—in fact rather
doubted its identity. If the same, he had received it from the hands of Samuel Greer, at New
Westminster, personally; not by post. But all doubt as to its being the same document was
set aside by the evidence of Greer, who fully recognized it, and declared that it was in the same
plight and condition, entirely unaltered, as when he handed it to Spinks, and as he himself had
received it in an envelope addressed to him by P. McTiernan, the Indian Agent at New
Westminster (the agent therefore of the alleged grantors), under the following circumstances:—
7. Early in June, 1884, between the 6th and the' 9th June, Messrs. Spinks and Greer,
who were previously unacquainted with each other, formed the scheme of taking up lands on
the Lower Fraser for their joint benefit; and on the latter day they signed an agreement to that
effect [marked I in the Appendix], The expense and profit were to be equally shared; but the
land was to be taken in the sole name of Spinks, Greer now alleges, because Spinks had
influential letters of introduction in the Province; but he seems to have intimated another
motive in his conversations with McTiernan [evidence, page 231].
Spinks and Greer do not agree in their recollections of the inducement to fix upon the
precise spot which was actually selected; but, however, about the 10th or 11th June they
had resolved to endeavour to acquire a piece of land on the south-eastern corner of English
Bay, situated eastward of lot 192, between it and the Indian Reserve. They found, however,
that there were two Indians living on that land with wives and children; two houses, built
Indian-wise of chance planks picked up along the shore; potato patches, and, in the interval of
stumps, some apple trees, currant and raspberry bushes, &c. The houses were also, to some
extent, furnished,—with a stove, &c.
This tract of land and these improvements Spinks and Greer proposed to acquire—by
purchase from the Indians, and by pre-emption from the Government.
Upon their claim by pre-emption, a good deal of light will be found to be thrown by
Greer's evidence. But as this was not the subject of the enquiry under the Commission, a
reference to that evidence will be sufficient.* It is the purchase from the Indians with which
the impeached document deals, and which now has to be investigated.
8. Messrs. Spinks and Greer very soon determined that nothing was to be done about this
purchase except through the intervention of the Indian Agent, Mr. McTiernan. Spinks living
at Victoria, Greer conducted the negotiations; but the Indians distrusted Greer, and Greer
says he distrusts the Indians; fearing that if his investment proved a success, they would
continually be demanding additional consideration, unless the bargain had been fully sanctioned
by the Indian Department. It was resolved therefore that Mr. McTiernan. should be communicated with; that all parties should meet and sign and seal in Mr. McTiernan's presence;
and that the consideration money ($125 was ultimately agreed upon) should be paid by Greer
to that gentleman, and by him distributed to the Indians.
9. Greer gave accordingly the account [which will be found in his own words in the
Appendix, page 228] of the negotiations which culminated in the payment of the money and
the execution of a conveyance in the presence of Mr. McTiernan; which Greer alleges is this
conveyance, viz.,—the impeached document. But before the Select Committee appointed to
enquire into these land claims, Mr. McTiernan alleged that the conveyance actually executed
was of quite a different character, and conveyed no title to land, and he denounced the signature
of his name a forgery; and the genuineness of this document is the question at issue on which
I have to give an opinion.
* The title of the applicants, Messrs. Walls and others, so far as it is based, the pre-emption application 17th June, 1884, and their purchase from the alleged pre-emptor, appears obvious to the following
objections, among others :—
1st.—The land was in the Hastings Mill leasehold, and could not be pre-empted without the consent of
the Manager and Chief Commissioner, which had not been procured.
2nd.—It was not "unreserved land," having been expressly reserved by the Chief Commissioner, 30th
May, 1884.
3rd.—It was not " unoccupied land." There were two Indians and one or two white men raising crops
4th.—Neither the attempting pre-emptor, nor any person on his behalf, erected a single post as required
by the Act, or of any kind.
5th.—The alleged pre-emptor has never yet spent a night on the land, although in his letter of application, 17th June, he alleges that he is "living on the land."
6th.—The pre-emption record was at once and definitely refused.
7th.—No Certificate of Improvement appears to have been issued, without which no pre-emptor can
convey any title, even if his pre-emption record be unimpeachable. 220 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
10. That portion of Greer's evidence marked between 1111 in which he narrates the
circumstances leading up to the execution of this instrument was carefully read over to him,
and maintained by him to be accurate [Appendix, p. 228-9], and of course reference must be
made to that, but a shorter note may suffice here.
11. His statement is to this effect:—That immediately after the consecration of a certain
Roman Catholic Church at Moodyville, Mr. McTiernan, at his request, summoned the Indians
Charley and Jim to New Westminster; that Jim being very ill (he died shortly afterwards) did not
come in but Charley did; he thinks on a Wednesday or Thursday. That the three, he, Charley, and
Mr. McTiernan, met at the office of the latter, and they agreed upon $125 as the price; that
$50, in one bank note, was then paid to the Indian through McTiernan to bind the bargain;
but not agreeing as to the form of conveyance to be executed, he went and got one prepared by
a professional man (the impeached document), which he afterwards brought to Mr. McTiernan,
and they read it over "line by line." That McTiernan approved of the document, but the
Indians were not there to execute it, and Greer being anxious to run up to Chilliwhack on
Saturday, 21st June, left it with McTiernan to get it executed, along with a cheque drawn by
one Mr. Henderson on Garesche, Green & Co. for $75 in favour of Greer, and by him endorsed
to McTiernan, which was to be paid to the Indians on their executing the deed; McTiernan
undertaking, if the transaction were closed before Greer's return, to leave the document, properly
signed and attested, for Greer at the Holbrook House. That he, Greer, then left for Chilliwhack by the steamer of Saturday, 21st June, returning thence on Monday, 23rd, and immediately going to his hotel, the bar-keeper handed him an envelope, with enclosures, saying
it had been left for him by McTiernan; on opening which he found the impeached document
as it now exists; mentioning several details which are not fully corroborated. There was a
covering letter, but both that and the envelope Greer says are lost. The bar-keeper recollects
giving Greer such an envelope on his arrival at the hotel towards the latter part of June, but
cannot say whether on the 23rd June; and that it had been left by McTiernan about two days
previously; and he remembers Greer's expressions of satisfaction on opening it. It appears
from the hotel register that Greer did become a guest at the Holbrook House on that day;
though it contains no entry of whence the guests come, nor would it, of course, be even prima
facie evidence on that point in such a case as this; it would only be Greer's own statement.
Greer mentioned the fact that he had got the deed duly executed, to Mr. Rickman, a Land
Agent, whom he had employed to get the deed prepared. And to shew that McTiernan for
some time afterwards recognized the transaction, though he now repudiates it, Greer produces
two letters, one dated 15th October, addressed to the Indian (page 230), forbidding him to
disturb Greer in his possession, and another dated 7th November (page 230), addressed to Greer,
and fully recognizing him as the only person who had ever purchased anything from the Indians.
12. Mr. McTiernan gives a flat denial to a great part of this narrative and explains the rest.
The only difficulty between him and Greer, he says, arose from the first, and it arose from
this: Greer wanted the Indians to convey a right to land, as well as chattels, crops, <fec;
McTiernan would not sanction any such conveyance, for, said he, they have no right or title to
convey; they have no estate in the land, and if they had, they could not convey it away. As
to the chattels, improvements, &c, if they choose to sell or abandon them to Greer, that is
another matter; all I have to do is to see that they quite understand, and that they get paid
the agreed price. And Mr. McTiernan on this distinction says he sanctioned an assignment of
chattels accordingly about that time for $125, and witnessed it, and refused to sanction another
draft which pointed to lands; not indeed the impeached document L, which he says he never
saw, but another document (produced to the Commission, "K") in Greer's handwriting. This
last document, though McTiernan attested it incautiously, he detained, and it was never
delivered to Greer. Two other documents which McTiernan alleges to have been executed on
that day, were, he says, delivered to Greer and taken away by him; but they refer solely to
chattels. One of these was produced by Spinks to the Commissioner [marked N]. Spinks
swore he received it from Greer. It is the document attested by Ella White. The other
document to the same effect is only evidenced by the copy M—reproduced by McTiernan from
memory. Greer wholly ignores these last two documents (M and N), and, in fact, swears that he
never received them. Referring again to this distinction between land and chattels, McTiernan
points out that the letters of the 15th October and 7th November, on which Greer relies as a
recognition of his position as a purchaser under the impeached document, do in fact recognize
an assignment of chattels only; and were, McTiernan declares, written in reference to the
assignment which Greer ignores, and not in reference to the conveyance by the impeached 49 Via. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 221
document. And this appears to be the case. McTiernan further states that the letter of the
15th October was induced by Greer's unfounded complaints of misconduct on the part of
Charley; and the letter of the 7th November was in answer to another complaint of Greer's in
a letter of 2nd November, 1884, which was produced.
Then as to the letter handed by the bar-keeper to Greer, as having been left for him by
McTiernan; McTiernan says it is true that he did leave there on one occasion (he forgets the
precise day) a larged sized envelope for Greer, but that it did not contain the impeached
document, which he says he never saw, but letters for two Indians at Chilliwhack with
whom Greer had a dispute, and which letters Greer had requested to be forwarded through
him, as they would be more quickly and conveniently delivered than by post. McTiernan says
he did leave such two letters in an envelope accordingly; but that he does not know what has
become of them, as he never received any answer. All this, unfortunately, is categorically
denied by Greer.
13. Mr. McTiernan's narrative of the time and manner in which the negotiations for the
purchase by Greer from the Indians was conducted and concluded, is as follows:—Mr. Mc
Tiernan, who was already informed of the negotiations, went across to Burrard Inlet to be
present at the consecration of the church mentioned above. Fortunately, among all these contradictions, there are two dates which are incontrovertible. One of these dates is the date of
this consecration; which admittedly preceded the arrangement between Greer and the
Indians. It was on a festival of the Roman Catholic Church, which fell on Friday, the 20th
June, 1884. It was on the afternoon of that day that McTiernan's invitation to the Indians
was written, requesting them to come to New Westminster to sign and receive payment. That
letter is produced in Mr. McTiernan's handwriting, dated 20th June. The other date, that
seems quite indubitable and marks the conclusion of the whole arrangement, is the day on
which the cheque for $75 on Garesche, Green & Co., was converted into money at New Westminster to be given to the Indians. The books of the Bank of British Columbia at New
Westminster shew that to have been on Thursday, 26th June. The whole negotiation
between Greer and McTiernan, on behalf of the Indians, therefore took place in that interval.
And Greer is possibly accurate when he says the Indian Charley came into New Westminster,
and that they had an interview with McTiernan on Wednesday or Thursday after the consecration. Only he crushes a week out of the calendar. It is very highly probable that the
precise day was Thursday, 26th June; that being the day on which the Indian cashed the
cheque. McTiernan does not remember the precise day; it was in the week after the consecration. His account of the interview is to the following effect:—Greer first produced the
document marked K (in his own handwriting); which was then signed by Charley, and witnessed
by McTiernan; but on reading it over, the latter refused to deliver it to Greer, because he said
it dealt with land. McTiernan then drew up the document N, which was executed and witnessed by Ella White. That is dated 26th June, and from that date, and the entry in the books
of the Bank of British Columbia, McTiernan feels quite sure that the 26th June was the date
of the meeting, but will not swear to his recollection. Greer then drew up a third document
in his own handwriting, which, so far as McTiernan can remember, was in the terms of the
document M. This was also executed by the Indian, and attested by McTiernan. McTiernan
says Greer took possession of these two last documents. Greer denies all knowledge of them.
One of them, (viz., N., the "Ella White" document, referring only to chattels, however, is
produced by Spinks, who swears he received it from Greer. At the time these documents were
successively signed, a sum of money was lying on the table, consisting of several bank notes
and the cheque for $75; placed there by Greer for the Indian. The whole of this account
is supported both by the Indian and McTiernan, who are substantially in perfect accord; and,
to a certain extent, by the witness Ella White [See evidence, Appendix]. Greer's assertion
that he never saw the document N, is quite incredible in the face of the united testimony
of these three witnesses, and of Spinks, who alleges that he received this particular document
in a letter from Greer; and a consideration of dates will shew clearly that Greer's whole statement must be false, and probably knowingly and wilfully false.
14. The history of the preparation of the impeached document is to be collected from the
statements of Greer, Rickman, and Eckstein; the former being included merely to show the
contradictions into which he falls. He says that at that interview, on Wednesday or Thursday
before his departure for Chilliwhack on Saturday the 21st (on the 18th or 19th June therefore),
McTiernan desired him to get a proper deed drawn up for himself, and that he went to Rickman to get it done accordingly. Rickman remembers the circumstances, but does not remember the day.    He says he took the instructions immediately to Eckstein, promising Greer to 222 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
be ready in an hour. Eckstein drew the deed accordingly, and handed it to Rickman in an
hour. It is all in Eckstein's hand, date and all. That is particularly demonstrated by a
singular peculiarity in his writing, mentioned in his evidence [Appendix, p. 227]. The date is
the 23rd June, not the 18th or 19th. Neither Eckstein nor Rickman keep any diary of their
professional doings—at least so they say—not of this sort of transaction; though they do keep
some memoranda, they have no note of this. But Eckstein says it is his regular practice to
fill in the date as of the clay on which he prepares a draft, unless otherwise specially instructed,
and that he has no doubt whatever but that the draft was prepared on that day. The date
filled in in his handwriting is clearly the 23rd June. Rickman having received the draft from
Eckstein, hands it over to Greer. That all occurs by about 2 p. m. And in the evening of
the same day on which Rickman and Eckstein were thus employed by Greer, Greer informs
Rickman that it is all right; sealed and witnessed.
15. But this is not the only document which Greer says he deposited with McTiernan
on the "Wednesday or Thursday" mentioned by him. He also deposited, he says, Henderson's
cheque on Garesche, Green & Co., to be given to the Indians on their executing the conveyance.
This cheque is also dated 23rd June. This is the only cheque which Greer ever got from
Henderson; he had no other cheque to deposit; and his receipt which he gave to Henderson
for this cheque (produced to the Commissioner) is also dated 23rd June. It is clearly impossible
that he could have deposited these two documents, both dated on the 23rd June, before quitting
New Westminster for Chilliwhack on the morning of the 21st. Moreover it would appear from
the register of McNaughton's hotel at Granville, that Greer occupied room No. 10 there on
the night of the 21st, so that he could not have left New Westminster for Chilliwhack on that
day. And there is also a telegram from Greer to Spinks, produced by the latter, dated Granville,
22nd June (Sunday), [showing further that Greer was at Granville and not at Chilliwhack];
which telegram is as follows:—"Got cheque, will arrange with Indians to-morrow "—i. e., 23rd
June. The conclusion seems inevitable that Greer's whole story at pp. 228 to 229, although
deliberately repeated and sworn to, is a pure invention.
16. It occurred to me as a possible solution that Greer might have mistaken the week of
his departure for Chilliwhack; that it was possible he might, after the consecration on the 20th
June (a Friday), have slept at Granville on the 21st; reached New Westminster on the 23rd;
prepared in his own handwriting on that day two instruments of transfer of the Indians' rights,
viz., K, and that of which M is a copy, and also procured the impeached document to be drawn
by Rickman and Eckstein, and provide himself with the cheque from Henderson, and, perhaps,
also cashed Spinks' cheque mentioned in the telegram of 22nd June, and then awaited the
arrival of the Indians, whom he knew McTiernan had sent for, and who actually did come in
(at least Charley the only one who was able to travel) on the Wednesday or Thursday (I have
no doubt Thursday, the 26th, to which all the trustworthy viva voce evidence points); and that
it was on the Saturday following, viz., Saturday, 28th June, that he left for Chilliwhack as
described by him, returning to New Westminster on Monday, the 30th, on which day, and not
on the 23rd, he intends to say he received for the first time the impeached document, duly
executed, from the bar-keeper. Rickman's evidence,, however, makes this an impossible
solution. For Greer says that it was on the same day on which he returned from Chilliwhack,
and received the impeached document from the bar-tender, that he announced to Rickman the
satisfactory execution and attestation, and Rickman gives that date as the 23rd June. And a
telegram is produced by Spinks, dated at New Westminster the same 23rd June, from Greer
informing Spinks. that the Indians are "settled with." This cannot refer to any arrangement
more or less definite made, as Greer swears, on the Wednesday or Thursday after the 20th
June; on one of which days he says he gave $50 to bind the bargain; for those days fall on the
25th and 26th June, and on the 23rd he telegraphs " settled with Indians." According to all
the evidence, including his own, he had not on the 23rd June ever met any Indian at all in
the presence of McTiernan. Greer's account of his receiving the impeached document, signed
and attested, from the hands of the bar-tender at Holbrook House, cannot, therefore, be postponed to the 30th June. He cannot have mistaken the day. He must be taken as deliberately
swearing to the receipt of the executed document on the 23rd June, and on no other day; and
it is quite clear that he could not have received it on that day. I am persuaded he never
received the executed document at all; it never was executed.
17. The real sequence of events was, I believe, as follows:—-Greer seems to have been
very fond of preparing instruments. The Indian Charley mentions three tendered to him
before McTiernan invited him to come to New Westminster at all.     I think that on the 20th 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 223
June McTiernan sent a letter to the Indians requesting their attendance at New Westminster.
On the 21st June Greer slept at Granville, and stayed there next day (Sunday). On Monday,
23rd June, he came to New Westminster, prepared the document K, got L drawn by Rickman and Eckstein, and procured from Henderson the cheque for $75, and, perhaps, cashed
Spinks' draft, and waited for the Indians. The Indian Charley' came in on Thursday, 26th
June, and the interview between him and Greer was held at McTiernan's Office, and in his
presence. I believe Greer must have kept back L (the impeached document) and produced
K. K was executed, but McTiernan presently perceiving that it exceeded his intentions,
detained it in his own possession. Greer seeing this, kept L (the impeached document) still
in his pocket, unproduced. Then McTiernan drew up, in his own hand, the document N, conveying the chattels only and improvements, which was executed, witnessed by Ella White, and
delivered to Greer (Greer swore positively he never saw it; but the document was produced to
me by Spinks, who swore he had received it from Greer. Ella White says she signed it, Greer
looking on; and McTiernan swears Greer took it away with him). This instrument, however,—
Greer presently reflected—was unsatisfactory, not being witnessed by McTiernan, and he
therefore drew up another, in his own handwriting, of which M professes to be substantially a
copy. This is equally limited to the Indians' chattels and improvements (Greer perceiving by
this time that McTiernan would authorize nothing more). McTiernan says he signed this as
a witness (Greer denies all knowledge of this deed also). As nothing further could be got from
the Indian under McTiernan's charge, Greer then left the money, $50 in notes and the cheque
for $75, on the table, and the parties then separated. McTiernan and the Indian going
directly to the Bank and cashing the cheque. Greer the same night sent the instrument N to
Spinks. Spinks on the 27th June (evidence, page 224) wrote to Greer, pointing out that N
convej-ed the chattels merely, and directing Greer to get from the Indians a conveyance of the
land. Greer finding Spinks dissatisfied, wrote on the 3rd July informing him that he had had
a deed properly drawn by a lawyer, duly executed by the Indians, and attested by McTiernan ;
and when Spinks shortly afterwards visited New Westminster, he handed to him the impeached
instrument with three signatures attached.
I believe all three signatures to be forgeries. I believe the forgeries were committed
between the 23rd June and the time when Greer delivered the impeached document to Spinks,
some time about the second week in July; and I do not see how Greer could have been ignorant
that they were forged, seeing that the document was, during that whole interval, in his sole
Looking to the internal evidence of the instrument itself, I should arrive at the same
conclusion—1st. The contents extend expressly and clearly to cover the very point which
McTiernan had absolutely refused to sanction, viz., a conveyance of the land. It is most improbable that he would detain and impound the document K (which he did detain and now
produces), and yet on the same day deliver to Greer the document L, which is much more
clearly and expressly obvious to the same objections.
2nd. It is sworn, and I think clearly established, that neither of the signatories, Charley
and Jim, were at New Westminster on the 23rd June. But the forger, whoever he was,
finding the date already filled in, and unwilling or afraid to make any erasures, left the date
as Eckstein had written it.
3rd. It is clearly established that Jim never came in at all, and never executed any
assignment. Here again, the forger, finding two names of transferrers, and two seals, may
have been led by this to affix "Jim's" name.
4th. The signature " P. McTiernan," does not, on consideration, appear to be genuine. I
have no pretensions to be an expert, but it appears to me to be written slowly and carefully,
and not at all with the careless facility with which a man usually signs his own name.
Although it is certainly a good imitation, yet, I think, it looks, on examination, like a mere
imitation and rather cramped.
I have, therefore, to report that, in my opinion, it is fully established that the impeached
deed is not genuine in any sense of the word; that the names and marks of the two signatories,
and also of P. McTiernan, are forgeries; and that the body of the document does not express
truly the agreement actually sanctioned or intended by either the Indians or the Indian Agent.
All which is respectfully submitted.
(Signed)       Matt. B. Begbie.
Victoria, 1st May, 1885. 224 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
Notes of Evidence
The Commissioner having taken his seat, and the Royal Commission having been read,
the witnesses were called and testified as follows:
Jno. P. Walls.—I produce the impeached document, dated 23rd June, 1884, one sheet
foolscap, blue paper, "Know all Men," two seals, "Charley," and Jim, marksmen, "Witness
P. McTiernan," pieces of land, houses, orchards, etc., to J. M. M. Spinks.    [Exhibit L.]
This was received by me about the 22nd September, 1884, but from McDonald. Henderson
and Humphrey were also present. We had some conversation. It was handed to me on
account of all parties. We agreed to purchase Spinks' right under this deed for six hundred
dollars—five of us to pay one hundred dollars each. Henderson was supposed to have already
expended up to that amount. Henderson went to Spinks and purchased Spinks' interest in
McDonald's name for five hundred dollars. I have never seen the land, and know nothing of
the posts or boundaries. As to McTiernan's signature as witness: McTiernan came to my
office about the middle of February last. Mr. Plummer introduced him tome. Hughston and
one or two others were there. He asked to see the deeds, etc., (and repeats his statement
before the Select Committee at page xxxv. down to "Indians"). He seemed thoroughly
amazed at the contents of the deed. Mr. Plummer is here. Hughston is at Oakland, California.
The document of 23rd June was tied up with four or five others and McTiernan read them all.
I produce the document of 25th September mentioned at page x. in answer to Mr Dunsmuir.
Chas. Wilson, being sworn, produced document alleged to be that really witnessed by
McTiernan dated the 23rd June—white paper and shorter than the impeached document; also
McTiernan's bill of expenses. Received it on or about the 20th and 24th days of February,
1885.    [Post Exhibit marked K.j
J. M. M. Spinks, called and sworn:—I produce a bundle of documents tied together; these
are what I received from Greer, and one from McTiernan. They begin on the 11th June,
1884. They are all in June, except two in July and one in November. Greer had a habit of
omitting the month in dating his letters. On the 9th of June I was at New Westminster, and
returned that day to Esquimalt. Greer on the same day went to Coal Harbour to locate some
land. He was to act on my behalf. He went to see a place I pointed out to him on the map.
The next communication I received was a letter of 11th June. About the 15th I went to
New Westminster, and on to Coal Harbour with Greer to see the place. That was the first
time I was on it. We found two Indians with their wives and families on the land. Greer
spoke to them in the Indian language, which I do not understand. I do not know what he said,
but he told me he informed them they would have to move. They produced a letter from
Captain Pittendrigh, the former Indian Agent, (afterwards produced by Mr. Walls, dated 17th
February, 1880, addressed to one Preston, a logger in camp, alleged to be driving Indians away).
I then arranged with Greer for the Indians to come to New Westminster and see McTiernan,
the Indian Agent, on the following day. Neither of them came. We met McTiernan, however,
in New Westminster, mentioned the matter to him, and he said he would try and arrange it.
On the 20th June McTiernan wrote to the Indians to come to him. I returned to Vancouver
Island about that time. On the 26th June one Indian seems to have come in, for here is a
receipt by Charley alone, dated on that day, witnessed by Ella White. This was sent to me by
Greer (one of the bundle produced). I wrote to him in reply that this would not do, that it
was only a receipt for money, and that I wanted an assignment of the land, of the Indians'
rights. On the 2nd July Greer wrote me a letter (also in the bundle) dated at Hastings Hotel,
Granville, (q. v.):—"I got your letter with cheque ... I have been offered $500 for
the bargain . . . best property on bay . . . through McTiernan . . . signed
and sealed in your name    .    .    ,    drawn by Howse & Rickman, by a lawyer." 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 225
The deed referred to in that letter I received from Greer at New Westminster, and have
not seen it very lately. It was on a piece of blue paper. I forget whether sealed (impeached
document shown to witness), I believe this to be the same.
As to Henderson coming to me: He brought me a draft on Garesche, Green & Co. for
$450, not $500, and received $75, which he had advanced to Greer, as mentioned in Greer's
To the Commissioner.—I have been about twelve months in British Columbia, I am
keeping a store at Cowichan. I was in a shipping office in England. My present residence is
at Cowichan. In June and July I was living at Esquimalt. I first became acquainted with
Greer on the 6th June, 1884. I had had no other transactions with him. I was then intending
to pre-empt land, and I entered into an arrangement with him by the document of the 9th
June, 1884. I had no particular reason why I made this agreement with Greer. I do not
know what Greer's trade or occupation is. I do not know what capital he has. I saw this land
on the map. I did not go there for some days after, when I went with Greer, as I have already
stated. I do not know whether he put in any posts; I saw none. Greer told me that he had
put in some. I did not make any measurements. I am sure I went on some of the ground.
I went as far as two or three hundred yards back from the shore. There is not much heavy
timber, a good deal of brush-wood. My object in taking up the land was to pre-empt it. Cannot say what my ulterior object was, whether to build a saw-mill, set up a cannery, plant an
orchard, or put in crops, or what object in particular. I suppose that is what people call
Qites.—Would you be surprised to hear that the land would cost $500 an acre to clear?
No answer. The witness seemed surprised. I was not prepared to provide money to clear
many acres at that rate. The only maps of the ground I have seen are Land Office maps. I
should fancy them pretty correct. Greer told me he had put in the posts, viz.:—Two on the
south boundary, two on the coast boundary according to the plan annexed to the deed of
22nd September (Spinks to McDonald produced and shown to witness to enable him to
answer this question).    I never measured the ground, the quantity is stated at 400 acres.
Qites.—It is described as being 120 chains from East to West, and 125 at least from North
to South, besides an irregular piece on the North along the coast; would not these measurements give a quantity of 1,500 or 1,600 acres'!    No answer.
Ques.—How do you account for this contradiction?    No answer.
Ques.—The Statute says a man may pre-empt land that is unoccupied, unsurveyed and
unreserved. You found Indians in occupation of this land? Ans.—They had no right to be
Ques.—Rightly or wrongly they were in occupation?    Ans.—They had no right.
Ques.—But if you find a drunken stranger in your bed to-night—he has no right there,
probably,—but would you say the bed was unoccupied?    No answer.
Ques.—That was on the 11th June. On the 23rd June you gave them money to go away.
Why did you do that ?    Ans.—They had no right, but we wanted them to go away quietly.
Ques.—But you were not contented with  that,  for in your letter to  Greer you  say  you
want a conveyance of the land and of their rights.     Why did you want that if they have no •
right—if you thought their occupation no occupation?    Ans.—We wanted to get rid of them
Ques.—You paid them out on the 23rd June, and your application is on the 17th. Why
did you not get them to abandon their occupation before pre-empting? Ans.—We did not
think it of any consequence.
Ques.—Then why did you pay them $125, or any money at all?    No answer.
Ques.—According to the Statute a person wishing to pre-empt must first find a piece of
unoccupied land, then put in his posts, and then apply to record his pre-emption. You first
recorded your land, then put in your posts, then induced the Indians to move out of occupation.
Why did you thus invert the order of things? Ans.—I don't think I have ever seen the
Further statement of Spinks on 11th April, 1885:—
In reference to the receipt for $500 which I gave to Henderson for McDonald, it was
arranged between me, Greer and Henderson that after parting with that deed of 23rd June for
whatever we could get for it, all the money expended was to be returned, and then the surplus
divided amongst us. Out of the $5001 took $450, Henderson took a gold watch from McDonald
and then I returned him a cheque for $75, which he had advanced to Greer. 226 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
When I received the deed of the 23rd of June from Greer it was in a letter-sized envelope,
1 arge, but not foolscap. As far as I can remember it was on ruled paper. The document I
received was written, I supposed, by Howse & Rickman. It was sent to me by Greer. I had
told him to get a proper conveyance prepared by them. I believe I also wrote to Howse &
Rickman to do so for me.
As to getting at the Indian title: I found that as to squatters before a certain date their
title would be acknowledged. These Indians had been on the ground ten or twelve years, and
I thought I was purchasing their title, I alone—Greer was not my partner—Greer was squatting. Mr. Byrnes, the auctioneer, has often seen the original which I received. I do not
know what capital Greer had. I do not believe Greer expended any capital. I advanced
what capital there was     The arrangement was that if he could hold it he was to have half.
Ques.—Why was he not to have the whole? Ans.—I suppose because I advanced the
money—there was an arrangement. I went out to see the land after Greer had made a good
report of it.    I staid there all day; never slept there—I went back to Granville to sleep.
I had no capital to go in for clearing at the rate of $500 per acre, or $250 either. In fact
I had no intention to do so.
I do not remember signing a document on the 9th June. (Copy shown to witness.) I
know we had an arrangement something to that effect     It was a verbal arrangement.
On the 9th June I think, as I stated, on a Thursday, I returned from New Westminster
to Esquimalt, and there I got the document above referred to, (viz., that in the letter envelope),
the letter of 11th June, Greer to Spinks. Then I returned to New Westminster about 15th or
16th June.
I first met Greer as fellow passenger on the steamer from New Westminster. I was going
to Yale, but went no farther than Chilliwhack. I staid at the hotel. He never stated to me
any amount of capital at his disposal.
James Orr, M. P. P., sworn:—I can merely repeat, concerning the document in question,
the statements I made before the Committee at page xxxvii. (The impeached document
produced.) This is the sort of document I saw. It was on blue paper. I could not swear to
it.    I could not then recollect about the seal, nor can I now.
Robert Plummer, sworn.—I happened to be in Walls' office one day about ten or half
past ten o'clock, a. m. I clo not recollect the exact date. Mr. McTiernan came in, and we
were talking together when Walls came in. He said to McTiernan, "I suppose you have come
to see that deed," and produced a bundle of papers from the safe, which he opened and shewed
to McTiernan, several sheets of foolscap—McTiernan took it in his hand and said at once at
the first glance, "Oh, yes ! that's my signature." He then took it to the window as if to
examine it more closely, when I immediately left and heard nothing more. Probably Mr.
A. A. Green, Captain Tatlow, Major Dupont or Mons. De la Penotiere know about the custody
of the impeached document.
Hugh McDonald, being sworn, says the evidence he has to give is already printed in
the report of the Select Committee ; it is correct, and he can only repeat it:—
(Re-called 22nd April).—Henderson was acting on 22nd September as agent for Spinks
and also for all of us—A. A. Green, Humphreys, Walls, ifec. The deed of 22nd September
was drawn by Walls here. Henderson took it up to Maple Bay or Cowichan to get it signed by
Spinks. Henderson took up with him, as the price to be paid to Spinks, a cheque for $450,
which I had bought at Garesche, Green & Co.'s for $450, and a watch of mine which they valued
at $50, but the two—the cheque and the watch—were to make up the consideration of $500 to
Spinks. On his return, Henderson handed me the deed dated 22nd September and the blue
document; also some correspondence between Greer and Spinks. I think Mr. Walls has it.
The blue document was then in the same condition as now. Henderson got it from Green,
I think, with whom Spinks had deposited it. [This is in accordance with Henderson's evidence,
page 233.—M. B. B.]. The deed of the 22nd September conveys "all Spinks' right and interest
in the land "—not the land itself. I cannot say what share Spinks had, or what the deed conveyed. [The commissioner observed that some of the covenants were extensive enough to cover
the fee simple of the whole land].    I cannot explain the anomaly, though I think I perceive it. 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 227
New Westminster, B. C, Tuesday, 14th April, 1885
Royal Commission read.    Genuineness and authenticity explained.
W. N. Bole, sworn.—I have little to add to my testimony before the Committee; it is
all true so far as it is within my own knowledge ; and as to other matters, I believe it to be
true. Personally I know nothing about the impeached document [produced]. I believe it is
in the handwriting of Louis Philip  Eckstein,.my clerk.
Reginald John Rickman, sworn.—I am a Real Estate Broker at New Westminster, a
partner in the firm of Howse & Rickman. On, or about the 23rd June, Mr. Greer called upon
me ; he asked me to make out a document according to instructions contained in a piece of
paper which he left with me. I have not that piece of paper. I left it with Eckstein. I was
ordered to put in a clause saying that the money to be paid to the Indians was to be paid
through Mr. McTiernan, the Indian Agent. He (Greer) asked how long it would take. I
said about an hour. He then left. I was busy with other matters. I read the instructions
and thought reference to our legal adviser necessary. I therefore immediately took it to Mr.
Bole's, and asked Eckstein to make it out. I told him to put in the clause about paying the
money through McTiernan. Eckstein brought it to me. I gave it to Greer Greer took it
away. I met him in the aftermoon ; he told me that he had got the document signed and witnessed. This must all have been in one day. I had never seen Greer before. He came into
the office stating that he had been advised by Spinks to come to us. He gave his name.
About a month previously Spinks had been employed on the wharf under Mr. Briggs, and
introduced himself to me. He then went down to Victoria. The next I heard of him was
that he was looking after land at False Creek. I saw the document after Eckstein had
drawn it up. I think I should know it again [impeached document produced]. This is the
document in question.
Louis Philip Eckstein, sworn.—I am a law student employed in Mr. Bole's office
[impeached document produced]. This is in my handwriting. It is one I drafted under
instructions from Mr. Rickman. I gave it to Rickman. I have not seen it since until to-day.
I have heard Rickman's evidence. It is quite accurate so far as comes within my own knowledge.
I cannot say who put the seals on the document. I fancy I did. We usually do so. I explain
the figure 2 which stands by itself below the date as having been possibly due to my holding
the pen in a very slanting position, so that the nib made one mark and the shoulder of the pen
makes another mark exactly similar [witness gave proof that this could occur by writing
accordingly]; all, including the date, the whole document, except signatures, was written by me,
and it is in my handwriting. I wrote it immediately after receiving instructions from
Rickman. I finished it about 2 p. m. I cannot swear, but I have not the least doubt, but
that it was drawn up by me on the date written there by me (viz.) 23rd June. When I have
no instructions as to the date, I always insert in a draft the date on which it is drawn up.
That is my practice. [The Commissioner pointed out, however, that it is more convenient, and
the only proper way, to leave the date in blank.]
Samuel Greer, sworn.—[Under subpoena to produce, he produces a copy of telegram,
and sixteen letters, one being a copy of a notice of J. P. Walls of 22nd October. The copy of
telegram bore no date—probably about the end of June. [Enquire at Victoria office.] [See
letters from Spinks, two of 19th June, 22nd June, 25th June, 3rd and 8th August. Letter
of 27th June from Spinks mentioned in his evidence is wanting. None of these letters make
any allusion to impeached document or to any similar document].
I have been sixteen years in British Columbia ; my business is partly farming. I am a
blacksmith by trade. I reside at Chilliwhack. I first met Spinks about the 6th or 7th of
June. We were fellow passengers on the steamer going up the river from New Westminster.
I never saw him before, nor had any previous transaction with him. When we were about as
far as Langley, Spinks, in conversation, suggested taking up land to me. I do not know what
Spinks' business is He was employed by Captain Irving at New Westminster. I do not
know what his capital was. We had no definite parcel of land in view till about the 11th
June. On the 9th June we had entered into an agreement to take up land [see page iv.
Evidence before Committee]. Spinks told me when we first met that he was going to look for
land along Fraser River; that he had two days' leave of absence from Mr. Briggs, the wharfinger at New Westminster.    I asked him to come ashore at Chilliwhack and look there.    He 228 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
did so, and we went out to the prairie. He staid there four days. The land he thought too
wet, and requiring too much draining. He did not make up his mind whether to take up land
there or not. He said he thought he would go to the salt water and take up land there, as he
could not afford the price asked for some at Chilliwhack, $1,800, by McGuire. He said he had
bought a place on Salt Spring Island which he had sold again [I think].    He then asked about
land at Burrard Inlet.    I said " no ! " only times there."    I agreed to go to the Inlet to
look. On the 9th we returned to New Westminster and went to the Holbrook House. There
we entered into the agreement of that date [160 acres, any place west of Port Moody], I went
out to the Inlet, and I believe Spinks also ; there was only a day or two difference between
our visit anyway. I think I went first, and came back to New Westminster, and then he went
out with me to the land. He asked me if I had seen any land which I thought worth taking
up. I said " no," not for agricultural purposes, except one place where some Indians were
living ; that we might probably buy from the Indians their rights in that place. We went
there together. The Indians were absent ; we returned to Granville to sleep ; next day we
went out again. I asked the Indian if he owned the place. He said " yes." I asked " what
right he had to the land." He said "he had lived there all his lifetime, and his father before
him in this place." I asked if the Indian Department knew of his claim, or had given him any
right to the land, he said "they had," and produced a letter from Captain Pittendrigh [dated
17th February, 1880]. Spinks on reading the letter, said that the Indian Department seemed
to recognize the Indian right. I asked him (the Indian) if he would sell? He said "yes, with
the consent of his Tyhee," meaning the Indian Agent. I told him I would go to New Westminster and see Mr. McTiernan, the Indian Agent. Spinks and I went to New Westminster
accordingly, and Spinks went to Victoria next day, leaving me instructions to transact any
business with McTiernan during his absence that I possibly could. McTiernan said if the
Indian was satisfied to sell, he had no objection. I asked McTiernan for a note to the Indian
to come in, as I would have no business or transactions with Indians of any kind directly ; I
would therefore only deal with McTiernan in order to avoid further trouble. I told the Indian
to that effect accordingly ; he said he would not believe me, as so many white men had been
bothering him; he said he would see McTiernan himself. I returned to New Westminster,
but the Indian did not come in. This would be about the 14th or 15th of June. McTiernan said
he would be at the dedication of the Church on Sunday, and would see the Indians. On Monday
accordingly I went to McTiernan, and he gave me a letter for the Indians. The Indian Charley
came in shortly after, in a day or two, to New Westminster, on the Wednesday or Thursday.
We both went together to McTiernan. McTiernan said it is a different question as to Indians'
IT I did not urge him [i. e., the Indian] in anyway ; but told him in McTiernan's presence
that if he sold the land he must have nothing more to do with it. The Indian said the apple
trees, the Queen gave him [and some other trees were not his to give]. There were four Indians
in all. I told McTiernan I wanted no half bargains. McTiernan suggested that the Indian should
state just what he wanted to dispose of. The price was left to him; $125 was what it all came to.
McTiernan told Charley to go and see Jim and get him to come round in a canoe and execute
a conveyance of his rights also. He could not come over the road, so a canoe was suggested.
McTiernan said he would give him two days. I then said I wanted to go to Chilliwhack on
the Saturday's boat, and to bind the bargain then, in order that I might not have to wait at
New Westminster until the Indian returned, I drew a writing in the form of a bill of sale,
giving an inventory, and that the Indians had better sign that and so bind the bargain. I gave
$50 at that time. The balance was to be paid on the execution of a proper document, or I
to forfeit the $50. It was in one bank note. McTiernan said that he was about to leave, and
would probably not be in New Westminster on Monday 23rd June. I said I would get a
formal document drawn up and would leave it with him, and that he was to get it signed when
he returned.
I accordingly went to Rickman and left on a paper all the items and also a clause that
nothing was to pass directly to the Indians' hands, but only through the agent. He proposed
to put in a clause binding McTiernan to the bargain as well as the Indian. Rickman said he
would probably have it ready in an hour. He brought it and read it to me. I said I thought
it would do. I returned to McTiernan's house that afternoon. He was in his own room. This
is the document [impeached document produced]. McTiernan and I read it over together, line
by line. As to the words " parcel or parcels," he said he did not know whether they could
convey a title, but that if they pleased to do so, he had no objection.    I then gave him a cheque 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 229
on the bank of Garesche, Green & Co. for $75. 1 told him that if he were going away, and I
came back on Monday, I should like to know where to find the document. He said he would
leave it at the Holbrook House, executed and witnessed. I went to Chilliwhack, I believe on
Saturday, 21st June, and returned to New Westminster on the Monday, 23rd. I went to
Holbrook House, the bar-tender, I think it was, handed me an envelope—either he or the landlord. I opened the envelope, it contained the document [the impeached document executed
and witnessed as it now appears] and I think a covering note. I said aloud at the time, I
considered it worth thousands of dollars (viz:), the land in question was worth that. In
Columbia Street half an hour later I met McTiernan; he said he had left the document, had I
got it ? I said "yes, in my pocket." I took him and treated him to a drink at Holbrook
House in consequence. He said he would be glad if I made thousands of dollars by it. I then
went to the Inlet. The Indians removed away according to agreement. They took away their
furniture and gave me the key. I have lived there and occupied the place ever since—occupied
and cultivated.
The Indian Charley signed a paper when I paid the $50. Only myself and McTiernan
were there. I left others not signed at McTiernan's. That was on Wednesday or Thursday.
Next day I went and gave instructions to Rickman to get a regular document drawn up. The
first was a mere memorandum [i. e., that signed when the $50 was paid]. I went away on the
following Saturday, and returned on the following Monday, when I received the document
signed and witnessed [i. e., the impeached document] U.
This [the alleged true document produced by McTiernan] is in my handwriting ; I cannot
account for the date (23rd June), I may have drawn this upon the Wednesday or Thursday
previously. I paid the $50 in a bank note and the $75 by cheque. The date of the cheque
would shew when it was paid.
I never saw that document of 26th June.
By the Commissioner.—But Ella White says you were in the room when she attested it,
and that she heard you thereupon say "the money was for the Indians" ?—No answer.
Greer.—The date of the cheque would shew when the money was paid.
There was another document signed by another two Indians.
I was surprised to find Jim's signature to the document. I had not expected that he could
travel round, and I don't believe he signed.     " Jim " is now dead.
Our intention [of Spinks and myself] was to pre-empt the land from the Government, and
to purchase the Indians' title.
The land we took up was not in the Hastings Saw Mill Co.'s leasehold—not to my
knowledge—for we found that the Indian Agent was protecting the Indians in their possession.
Qites.—What did you do on first going on the land ? Ans.—I did not move about much
until we had bought out the Indians.
Ques.—When did you put in your posts? Ans.—I think on the 11th June. I did not put
in all four posts. I took the posts of the adjoining lots on the front, i. e., next the sea-shore,
for our posts. I did not mark them. As to the posts in the rear, I could not find the adjoining
lots' posts [there was never but the one, the south-east corner 192.—M. B. B.] but I blazed a
tree where I judged each corner would come. They were living trees. I merely blazed them
with an axe—put up no other marks.
Qites.—Do you think that is complying with the Statute of 1884 ? Ans.—That is the
usual way in which land is taken up [read the S. 5 of 1884 and the words of nullification].
Ques.—Do you think you complied with the law ? Ans.—I don't think we were aware of
that Act of Parliament.
Ques.—The Act says you are to find some unoccupied piece of ground ; you are then to put
in your posts; and then you are to apply to have your pre-emption recorded. You first applied
to have your pre-emption right recorded; you do not yet seem to have put in any posts; however,
you did something which you deemed equivalent, and after that you took steps to get the land
cleared of its former occupiers:—Why did you invert the order of things provided in the
Statute ?    Ans.—I can't say ; we thought we were all right.
Ques.—These deeds of 22nd and 25th September contain a description of the land claimed
by you in three ways, by a map, by quantity, and by dimensions. The application for pre-emption only asked for 160 acres, but these deeds, prepared on lines for which you are responsible,
state the quantity at 400 acres. How do you justify that ? Ans.—I was not a party to the
Ques.— No, but you claim an undivided moiety of the same land, and you supplied the 230 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
information on which the description is given; you were  the person supposed to have marked
out the land.     Does not the sketch map shew the land you claim ?    Ans.—Yes.
Ques.—How comes it to reach 400 acres instead of 160 acres? Ans.—In pre-empting,
you always stake out fully 160 acres and perhaps more ; for if you only stake out 100 or 120
acres you cannot get more than you have actually staked out.
Ques.—That may cover a small allowance, but here you are grasping at nearly three times
what the law allows, or you asked for.    Ans.—We thought we were all right.
Ques.—But a glance at the map would have shewn you how far you had overshot the
mark.    Ans.—I had no scale to measure the map.
Qites.—Did you measure the ground at all, chain it, &c?    Ans.-— No.
Ques.—How came you or anybody to furnish these enormous measurements ? The deeds
profess to convey a piece of about 400 acres, measuring 120 chains from East to West and a
good deal more than 125 chains from North to South. Would not these measurements give
you some 1,600 acres, just about ten times the quantity you had asked for in your pre-emption
record ?    How do you account for that 1    Ans.—I suppose it would.    I cannot account for it.
I moved in on the 24th June and have lived there ever since. There is not much timber;
there are seventy acres of as good cultivable land as can be ; only scrubby trees upon it. There
is also a spring of water. I suppose that was what attracted the Indians. I justify my allegation to the Committee, that the clearing would cost $500 per acre, because the Indians want
potato patches and they always go on the high ground where there is heavy timber. I should
prefer to drain the swamp land, which the Indians never do.
Ques.—But you put the cleared portion at 20 acres at $500, that would be $10,000, where
did that money come from ?    Ans.— I do not say that all the cleared land cost $500 per acre.
Ques.—But if there were only one such acre, where did the Indians get $500 ? Ans.—
There was the value of their labour.
Ques.—You state in your letter to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, 15th
December, 1884, that you had up to December spent $2,000 on the land? Ans.—I was not
under oath then.
Ques.—Do you remember that in September last, on a judgment summons at Chilliwhack
County Court you swore you had no money at all?    Ans.—Yes.
Ques.—When did you get this $2,000 ? You must either have had the money of your own
or else have borrowed it. Who lent it to you ? [After a good deal of explanation, the
examinee stated that he thought he might have had $20 in cash of his own in that interval].
Ans.—But Spinks was to pay me wages which are still due and unpaid.
Greer continued:—I produce two letters written by McTiernan, the first dated 15th
October, 1884, to the Indian Charley and others, the other dated 7th November, 1884, which
shew that he was fully aware of the transactions of the 23rd June, and approved of them and
of my rights both as against the Indians and as against any other white man.
Letter of 15th October, 1884, as follows :—
"New Westminster, B. C, Oct. 15th, 1884.
" Charley, an Indian,
False Creek, B. C
" I regret to hear that you are giving a great deal of annoyance to Mr. Samuel Greei.
" You sold him all your improvements on the place you lately occupied. I was present at the
" agreement between him and you. Mr. Greer paid you the amount you asked for your
" improvements. Now if you give him further annoyance, I will be obliged to go out and inter-
" fere. I request you to be good enough not give Mr. Greer any more trouble. I fear you
" have some parties who are not advising you for your good.
"Yours truly,
(Signed)        "P. McTiernan.
"■Indian Agent."
Letter of 7th November, 1884, as follows :—
"New Westminster, B. C, Nov. 7th, 1884.
" Samuel Greer, Esq., Granvillle, B. C,
"Sir:—I have the honour to inform you in answer to your letter of the 2nd inst., that I have
"given no authority to any person to enter upon, or take possession of Indian Charley's
" improvements at False Creek. I have no authority to do so without the consent of Charley.
" You are the only person I know of who have negotiated with Charley for the improvements
" in question. 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 231
"Charley has repeatedly told me that parties wanted to put him off the place without
"giving him any compensation. I advised him not to leave the place until he was paid for
" his improvements. You are the only person that came forward and paid the Indian what
" he demanded for his improvements and good-will of the premises lately occupied by him
"at False Creek.
"I have &c,
"P. McTiernan,
"Indian Agent."
Ella White, sworn:—The document of 26th June, 1884, admitted to be in McTiernan's
handwriting being produced says—This is my signature. I saw it signed. It was in New
Westminster. I did not see it written. I saw Charley sign it, Mr. McTiernan asked me to
witness it. He and Greer were both then looking on. Greer put some money on the table for
the Indians. I heard Greer say it was for the Indians. Do not know how much; saw that
there were several bills; that is, there was more than one bill. I do not remember how many.
I did not see anyone take the money up. Mr. McTiernan is my uncle, [not in fact, but by
adoption]. This took place in McTiernan's house, in the office. Nobody else was there, i. e.,
in the same room, but my aunt was in the house. I never saw Charley there except on that
occasion.    I heard Greer say something about a fence, and potatoes and a stove.
Recalled, 17th April, 1885 (Friday):—Jim was not there. I saw Mr. Greer writing
something, I don't know what. Did not see Greer take the document M. up, or any other
document. I do not remember seeing any cheque among or with the bills. It might have
been there under the bills. The bills were laid out at full length. They were spread a little
crooked so that I could see quite well there was more than one bill; also so as to occupy considerably more space than one bill. [The witness laid out two notes somewhat over-lapping. The
cheque is somewhat broader than an ordinary bank note.]
Patrick McTiernan, sworn—[The impeached document being placed in his hands] said:
I swear positively that I never signed that document. If for no other reason, because the sum
is mentioned as one hundred and seventy-five dollars [It might be read as one hundred and
twenty-five. I should have said one hundred and seventy-ii ve. L. P. Eckstein being recalled,
in whose handwriting it was, swore that it was one hundred and twenty-five.—M. B. B.]; but
apart from that, the document mentions land, and I perfectly well knew that the Indian was
not to sell the land.
The Commissioner.—But look at the alleged true document marked K produced by you, it
contains the word " orchard." [This document was also objected to by McTiernan, not on account
of the word " orchard," but because it dealt with "right and title." and retained by him.—
M. B. B.]
That document is not perhaps executed on the day mentioned, viz. 23rd June, but it was
executed. Greer had brought it already written. After being executed and witnessed, Greer
read it over again aloud, and I stopped him, for, said I, "it grants a title, and the Indian says
he has no title." " Oh," says Greer, "itis only for the improvements"; however, I refused to
give it up to him, and kept it, and told him he must get a document for himself ; it was an affair
between the Indians and himself. Then he brought another document at a subsequent hour of
the same day, I think, and it was executed in my presence. I asked him " why, as he was
paying the money, he did not take the assignment in his own name." He said "he would not
put in his own name, because of that snake at Chilliwhack." I understood him to mean
Ashwell, with whom I knew him to have had some trouble. I did not know that Greer had an
agreement with Spinks, that it should stand in Spinks' name [Ashwell was the judgment
creditor at Chilliwhack County Court.]
John McKay, sworn:—[Testimony interposed.] I was bar-tender at Holbrook House.
I remember Greer coming down from Chilliwhack in the latter part of June. I gave him a
letter that McTiernan had given me for him. I do not know the day of the month exactly ;
it was in the latter part of June. McTiernan had given it to me about two days previously.
I swear it was not given me on the same day. Greer on opening it said it was just what
he wanted, or something to that effect.
To Mr. Greer.—McTiernan said he was going down the North Arm when he gave me
the letter. I remember you and McTiernan taking a drink. I would not swear that it was
on the same day.    It was some time in June, I think. 232 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
To the Commissioner.—I remember Greer going to Chilliwhack. I cannot say whether
it was before or after I received the letter from McTiernan. The letter was in a large envelope,
there is a register of arrivals of guests at the hotel.
Commissioner.—You had better bring it.
P. McTiernan, resumed.—It is true I left two letters for Greer, enclosed in one envelope for
him to take up to Chilliwhack. Greer had written to Dr. Powell that I was negligent in
protecting him at Chilliwhack against the Indians there. I had gone up to Chilliwhack and
found them squabbling about a fence and some logs that they said he had promised
them, and for which in the result, I had to pay $6. After my return here, I was going to post
two letters to be given to the Indians. Greer said it would be more convenient for him that he
should take them up and deliver them himself, if I would leave them for him at the Holbrook
House. The letters were for two Indians concerning Greer's dispute with them about the fences.
It was purely for Greer's convenience, and at his suggestion. I do not know whether they
were ever delivered.    I never received any answer.
One letter of 15th Ooctober, shewn by Greer, written by me to Indian Charley, was in
consequence of a letter from Greer, complaining to me of Charley disturbing him. That was
an entire misstatement by him as I afterwards found out. The letter of 7th November was
written in answer to one of 2nd November from Greer to myself. Both of those letters of
mine (as will be seen on perusal) refer solely to chattels, improvements and such like referred
to in the two agreements which I allege to have been executed, and not to the land or other
matters mentioned in the blue document which I allege to be a forgery.
To Mr. Greer.—The complaints you made to Dr. Powell were made about a year ago,
long before the 23rd June last year. I think it was between Christmas and May. I produce
a document (marked M), which I have prepared quite lately from recollection ; it is as near as
I recollect a copy of the document which Greer took away after paying the $125. I cannot
recollect the day of the week, or the day of the month; it was a few days after the dedication
of the Church at Burrard Inlet. That was on the anniversary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
(in 1884, on Friday, 20th June). I was acting for the interests of the Indians. I was never
offered $300 for the Indians, for the very same land. I never told him (the Indian) not to
back out of his agreement with you, because I knew that if I had told him so he would have
backed out all the same if any one had offered him $300.
New Westminster, Wednesday, April 15th, 1885.
William Mackie, Sen., sworn.—I recorded the land in question in October, 1883. I
put up a dwelling and made improvements. I went to work for Government on the new road
in May last at False Creek. About the middle of June, as I should judge, an Indian came
telling me to come to Granville. I saw Charley, an Indian, who is living about the centre of
my land. jHe told me a "Masacha man" wanted to drive him off the place, pointing out
Greer. 1 asked him (Greer) what he meant, and told him the place was mine, and told him where
to find my posts. He said there was room for both of us. I said I had heard of him, though
we were not previously acquainted. I forbade him to buy from the Indians, and told Charley
not to sell. Charley said he was " quass," that he was going to New Westminster to see Mr.
McTiernan, and Greer was going too. That he, Charley, was to get some "Chickaman." I
told Charley that I was going back to work, but that if money was going I would give as much
as any other, and he was to pick me up on the way in. But they went by the old road, and so
I waited till late, and then left for New Westminster. Charley told me he had received the
money, and I felt that I was too late. I returned to the ground. One Indian remained there,
named Jim; he was helpless. I asked him if he had sold. He said no, he had not been asked.
I cautioned him not to sell unless he had quite made up his mind. I gave him a little money,
as he said he had nothing to eat, a little money and provisions from time to time. Jim said
that when he felt he was going to die he would go to Squamish, up the Howe Sound, his own
country, and die there, and that he would give me the key of his house, and make me a potlatch
of the illahee. About two weeks later Jim's wife came and gave the key to my nephew, and
said Jim was in a canoe going to the Squamish territory to die, and had told her to give me the
key. This was late in the fall, perhaps in October. I had not seen Jim for about fourteen
days previously.    I saw him often between the 23rd June and October.    He always said he 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 233
had never been asked even to sign a deed, and had never seen any paper. He said so, I think,
on the 25th June, the first time he expressed a desire to give me the key. I did not think the
key of much importance, but besides I did not like to turn out the poor man before his time.
To Mr. Greer.—I know nothing about any moving of the Indians' posts, except what
the Indians told me
Mr. McTiernan, recalled for further examination by Mr. Greer:—
I gave the papers to the bar-keeper after my return from the consecration of the church,
Tuesday, 20th June; it was after the commencement of the negotiations with the Indians.
You had told me you were going up to Chilliwhack. I think the boat went on Wednesdays
and Saturdays.    You told me it was inconvenient for you to have the letters sent by post.
The agreement signed in my presence was after that day. I placed two letters in one
envelope addressed to you. The enclosed letters were addressed to an Indian named Paul and
another Indian. You said, "Don't send them by post, but send them to me at the Holbrook
House, and I will deliver them," that "Paul and his father-in-law were not on good terms."
You said "it would save you time and trouble."
The first time I ever saw the impeached document was at Mr. Walls' office.
Joseph Mannion, (hotel-keeper at Granville), sworn.—Examined by Mr. McTiernan.—
I know Greer. He showed me a document. 1 do not know that I should recognize it.
(Impeached document produced.) I do not think that is what he showed to me—to the best
of my knowledge it is not.
To the Commissioner.—The paper shown me was, I think, wider and not so long. It
was of a blue colour. I forget whether ruled or not. It was some time last summer—I really
forget whether before or after the consecration of the church: but it was about that time; it
was at Granville; he said he had got it all fixed. It was signed and had Mr. McTiernan's
name to it It related to some chattels and improvements to the amount of $125 by Indians
at English Bay, I think. All was conveyed to Spinks. Greer's name was not in the paper. I
do not know why he showed it to me, except that he had been stopping in the house, and talking
a good deal of this land.    He paid cash at the hotel.
To Mr, McTiernan.—I could not say whether the document conveyed land or was
confined to chattels. I was looking for Greer's name, and so read it through; his name was
not there.
To Mr. Greer.—I think it was a thinner piece of paper than this, not so deep a blue,
perhaps half an inch broader, and not so long, and I think there were fewer words. I do not
remember any letter to the effect that Charley was requested to come to New Westminster on
the following day.
J. B. Henderson, sworn.—I produce a cheque drawn by me on Garesche, Green & Co.,
dated 23rd June, for $75, endorsed by S. Greer to P. McTiernan, cashed at Bank of British
Columbia 26th June, and at Garesche, Green & Co.'s 30th June. Also receipt by S. Greer for
$75, 23rd June.
To Mr. McTiernan.—I do not remember mentioning to you any particular sum as paid
by me to Greer.
To Mr. Greer.—The first time, to the best of my recollection, when I saw the impeached
document was in September, when I received it from Mr. A. A. Green. I was on the ground
once with Spinks some time in July. I do not remember your giving that document to Spinks
in my presence. I cannot say that he ever told me you had given it to him, but that was
assumed by all parties to be so as a matter of course.
Charley [the Indian], sworn.—I am a Squamish Indian. I know the land in question,
what Greer wanted to get from me. It is not Squamish land. That lies on a river called Iche-
ak-a-muth, which runs into the Squamish river, on Howe Sound. I have not resided on this
land at English Bay long. I used to work for Rogers in his lifetime [died eight or nine years
ago]. I have not been there quite four years. I was at first alone there. The only Indian I
knew there was Jim. His proper residence was at Chowassen (Canoe Pass), and had come
recently to the land in dispute. I had some potatoes and apple trees. Jim had potatoes only,
he had worked a little. There was nobody there when I first went on the land. My wife and
children were with me. Jim had his wife also. Each of us had made a house for himself.
Jim's was not a very good one.    I built it of boards found on the beach.    When Greer first 234 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
came I was away at the Cowichan potlatch, and did not see him. Afterwards he spoke to us.
He said we had better look out, that he had got the house and the land, and that I had better
clear out. I declined, and said let us go and see Alexander, who looks after the Indians, he
will know whether I am to give up my land and house. Greer said Alexander had nothing to do
with it, that he had no charge over the land, but only control over the timber. I was much
afraid of Greer. He talked strongly. I was much afraid. [To the Commissioner: "Oh, Tyhee,
I will not tell a lie, but I have never seen a man like Greer,"—resuming his seat.] I was afraid
to make any arrangement, but proposed to go to the constable at Granville to write to McTiernan
and go and see him at New Westminster. Greer did not want to go, so we did not go. I
wanted to speak to McTiernan. Three times Greer came to me with a paper to sign, and when
I always refused, then at last he said, "Let us go and see McTiernan at New Westminster."
He did not say he had any order or invitation for me to go in; he did not tell me so. Joe
Mannion gave me a paper telling me to hurry up and come to town.
I, Greer and McTiernan met at McTiernan's house once, and once only. I think I signed
three papers then, but I am not sure. The little girl [Ella White] was present at one signature.
I think this is the paper I then signed [picked out correctly the document attested by her].
Greer put that in his pocket and took it away. I do not know the impeached document
[produced]; never signed it; never saw it. I think this is one of the documents I signed that
day [selecting the paper dated 23rd June, in Greer's handwriting, detained by McTiernan.
Witness could never have seen it in the interval]. I am not sure that I signed three. I think
I did. I clo not see the third paper. I know I signed two. Both or all three of these were
signed on one day, the same day the little girl came in. I received $125—$50 was in bank
notes, and $75 in a cheque. There was no silver money there. I went to the bank the same
day with Mr. McTiernan to get the cheque cashed. It was cashed $50 in notes and $25 in
silver.    I had to pay half a dollar for exchange on Victoria.
To Mr. Greer.—I saw Mr. McTiernan yesterday. He gave me one dollar to get some
food. We did not talk about this business. Why should we? He is not my father. He took
me down to Victoria. Miller, constable at Granville, told me I was to come to New Westminster.
I did not know why I was sent for. I told Miller I was sick. I might die if I went to Victoria.
He said he would write to McTiernan about that.
I was the first Indian on the ground who lived there [i. e., in a fixed habitation]. There
was another named Jim—not the Jim in this case, who used to stop there occasionally. I used
to work many years for Rogers; was in his employ when he died, and for years previously.
To Mr. McTiernan.—I never cleared twenty acres; not more than one acre. I left the
stumps standing, and. put in potatoes in the spaces between the stumps.
Samuel Greer, re-called:—
The following statement was then read over to Greer, and sworn to by him:—
H "First and last I never got more than one document, viz., the impeached document from
" McTiernan. I never received any document in the nature of an assignment, or bill of sale or
" conveyance of land from these Indians, Charley and Jim, or either of them, except that one
" [impeached document]. There was one other executed by Charley when I paid down the $50
" to bind the bargain, but I never received it from McTiernan. I do not know what has become
"of it." Ji -  •
New Westminster, April 16th, 1885.
Samuel Greer, being re-called:—The Commissioner read over to him the passages, marked
UJ4, ante pages 228, 229, 234, and a few corrections.
That statement is all true and accurate.
I never had any conversation with McTiernan as to any letters to be taken to Chilliwhack.
He never asked me to take a letter to Chilliwhack for Indians, or any other persons, and I
never took a letter there from McTiernan for Indians or anybody else. There was no letter in
the envelope which I received at the Holbrook House, except the blue document, and, I think, a
covering letter. Both that and the envelope are lost. All McTiernan's statements as to the
two letters for Indians to be taken to Chilliwhack are false. I had no cheque for $75 on
Garesche, Green & Co., nor any other bank in all 1884, except that one cheque.
R. J. Rickman, re-called:—
On the evening of 23rd of June I met Greer in the street. He called out to me that it
was all right.    I have no entry of the date in our books; it was getting dark; it was after the 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 235
steamer from Victoria had come in. The blue document was all completed in one day. I mean
I received my instructions, got the deed from Eckstein, and met Greer in the street when he
said it was all right, all on the same day. If Eckstein drew the deed on the 23rd June, then
all these things happened on the 23rd June.
John McKay, bar-tender at the Holbrook House, produced the register of visitors. I
find Greer's name entered as arriving at the hotel on 6th June, and again on the 9th June.
Again he is marked as arriving and taking a bed on the 17th June; again on the 23rd June,
and again on the 27th June. The register does not show where the guest came from; only his
residence. Greer's residence is marked Chilliwhack. The register does not show the dates of
departure. I cannot recollect all these dates. That is, what appears in the book. Sometimes
the guest writes his own name, sometimes I did it. A man may be registered who merely
comes into the hotel and takes a meal.
McTiernan further deposed.—The original of the document M was in the handwriting
of Greer. Charley signed it, I witnessed it, and Greer took it away, as well as the, Ella White
document. The third document signed that day I detained; it is now in the possession of the
New Westminster, Friday, 17th April, 1885.
Isaac B. Fisher, sworn.—I am now in charge of the branch of the B. C. Bank here. I was
not here last June. Mr. Keith was then in charge of the cash department. There is an entry in
his handwriting [to which I swear] concerning a cheque drawn by J. B. Henderson on Garesche,
Green & Co., at Victoria, for $75, in favour of Samuel Greer, and dated 23rd June. The entry is
to the effect that the cheque was cashed by us on the 26th June; Keith was the proper person to
make the entry. He is now at San Francisco. I find, also, from the letter book of the bank that
the cheque was on the same 26th June sent down by us to the Bank of B. 0. at Victoria, to be
presented at Garesche, Green & Co.'s for payment. That would be the regular course of business,
if the cheque had come into our possession on that day: there was a daily mail at that time,
and it would have been irregular to have detained the cheque here till the 26th if it had come
into our possession on the 25th, or any previous day. I am, therefore, perfectly certain that
the holder cashed it with our bank on the 26 th June, and on no other day, before or after. The
books at Victoria would probably show the arrival of the cheque there: no doubt of it. There
is no entry, and I do not suppose Keith would recollect whether anybody came with McTiernan
to get the money, nor of the way, notes or coin, in which it was cashed. I have enquired of
the clerks now here, who were also here in June, 1884, but they do not recollect. It was not,
in fact, anybody's business to recollect that, or notice it. When a cheque is presented by a
stranger for payment, especially on another bank, we always require the presenter to be
introduced. Here, looking to the endorsements alone, I have not the slightest doubt but that
Mr. McTiernan received this money, and on the 26th June.
J. B. Henderson, further examined.—I may have seen the impeached document when at
English Bay in the middle of July; I could not swear as to that. The first time I remember
it distinctly was when I received it from A. A. Green. The receipt of 23rd June, signed by
Greer, although expressed to be a receipt for $75 in money, was, in fact, in respect of this
cheque for $75 of the same date, and in respect of nothing else. What I was particularly
anxious about in drawing out the receipt was to show that the money was advanced by me in
respect of the land in question.
To the Commissioner.—Of course that object could equally have been effected if the
receipt had expressed the receipt of a cheque for $75, but we both treated the cheque as an
advance of cash, and so expressed it.
The Commissioner.—It was not cash, however—the Indian had to submit to a loss of 50
J. B. Henderson.—No cash passed between us—nothing but the cheque.
McTiernan again handed in a memorandum signed "Donald McNaughton," hotel-keeper
at Granville, being an extract from the hotel register, which, according to the usual tenor of
such registers, showed that Greer slept there in room No. 10 on the night of Saturday, 21st
June, and also in the same room, No. 10, on the night of the 27th June. 236 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
Office of Holbrook House, Front Street,
J. W. Hennessey, Proprietor. New Westminster, B. C.,
June 9th, 1884.
It is agreed by J. M. Spinks and S. Greer that they will locate 160 acres west of Port Moody, known
as the Hastings Mill Co.'s timber leasehold, in equal parts, to share both land and expenses in retaining and
obtaining the Government grant and improving, and that the claim shall be taken up in the name of J. M.
(Signed)       J. M. Spinks,
Samuel Greer.
(Produced by P. McTiernan.)
Know all men by these presents that I Samuel Gree [Samuel Oree erased] J. M. M. Spinks has this day
bought all right and title belonging to Indian Charley and Jim situated at False Creek, English Bay, 2
houses and all improvements and potatoes belonging to the said Charlie and Jim [Jim erased] orchard for
the sum of §125.00 one hundred and twenty-five, and the said Charley agrees to leave the said place at
once give all his good will of the same. his
Charley       X
Witness— mark.
P. McTiernan. June 23rd, 1884.
(The Impeached Document.)
Know all men by these presents that we, Charley and Jim, two Indians, for and in consideration of the
sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars, to us in hand paid before the sealing and delivery of these
presents, through P. McTiernan, Esquire, Indian Agent, do hereby grant and set over to J. M. M. Spinks,
his heirs and assigns, for ever, ail our right, title and interest in or to that or those parcel or parcels of land
situated at False Creek heretofore occupied by us, and also all and singular the two houses thereon, all
improvements on said land and the crop of potatoes thereon, except those belonging to Jim, and all other
improvements, matters and things thereunto belonging, or in any wise connected therewith soever, to have
and to hold the same unto and to the use of the said J. M. M. Spinks, his heirs and assigns, for ever, free
from all claims of us, except the claim of Jim to present year's crop of potatoes.
In witness whereof, we have hereto set our hands and seals this 23rd June, 1884.
(Signed)       Charly    X
(Signed)        Jim X
Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of mark.
(Signed)       P. McTiernan,
I hereby agree to sell to Mr. J. M. M. Spinks all my improvements on lalse Creek, where I now live,
namely, one house, one shanty, fencing, fruit trees, currant and raspberry bushes, also one stove and fixtures,
and all the potato crop on the place except Jim's. I further agree to deliver up my house immediately to
Mr. Spinks or his agent. his
(Signed)       Charley       X
Witness— mark.
P. McTiernan.
June 23rd, 1884.
N.   '
(Produced by J. M. Spinks.)
Received from J. M. M. Spinks, per P. McTiernan, the sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars, for
my own and my friend Jim's right in all the improvements, buildings, fences, &c., &c., on the land occupied
by us lately at False Creek. his
(Signed)       Charley        X
New Westminster, B. C, mark.
June 26th, 1884.
In presence of
(Signed)       Ella White. 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 237
Granville, B.C., 11th June, 1884.
Mr. Spinks.
My Dear Sir,—I have located on the enclosed described land. I consider it the best and most desire-
able in this locality. The are three Indian houses on the land. The are temporary, being Indians which
belongs up the coast. Come up prepared to buy them out if possible. The are no time to be lost, as the
are quite a excitement at present. All will be well if we can arange with Alexander. Make sure of that.
I will look for you on Saturday. If you could get another good party to go in with us it would make it
liguter on all conserned.
I am faithfully yours,
(Signed)       S. Greer.
Locate the doted lines Indian Reserve what will mak 160 acer.    Tak in maandrings of cost.
New Westminster, B. C, 17th June, 1884.
Mr. Spinks.
My Dear Sir,—I want you to come back at the earliest possible time. I have got a proposition to
make you—that is to say our acquaintances I might say as strangers has been brief and I have nothing to
regret with respect to our dealings so far. I gave you my honest opinion in all matters so far as my judgment went and I believe I can get a good figure for your half interest should you wish to dispose of it. So
far as we have gone, there is a gentleman representing a banker in Victoria has made me a proposition to go
in with us. Will do nothing to I hear from you but we want to secure the Indians rights and then we will
be able to talk, for it is a right that is well worth looking after. I seen one of Indians to-day and he wants
to sell separate from the other and I came to the conclusion to start to build, and I think they will then
want to sell. The Indian Agent and myself will leave on Friday morning. In the meantime you forward
the money I telegraphed you for immediately, and should I again want the remainder of the money I will
telegraph you and I want you to come up. There is a gentleman here Superintendent of the Dominion
Mills, named J. B. Henderson. He is agent for Garesche, Green & Co., banker of Victoria. He wants to
see you. He is a friend of mine. I think we have a better thing that we first anticipated. You do your
best and if we can get a title you can get $10,000 for the land we have located.
I am faithfully yours,
(Signed) S. Greer.
I am advised to let the Indians in possession for some time and go on with the clearing. In the meantime if we can buy them out.
Telegraph me at once at New Westminster.
Esquimalt, June 19th, 1884.
Dear Greer,—Your telegram came after I had left Victoria. I now send you cheque for $100. Am
sorry you could not arrange with the Indian. Write and let me know full particulars of what you have
done and are doing.    I shall be over again in a few days.
Yours truly,
(Signed)       J. M. Spinks.
Esquimalt, June 19th, 1884.
Dear Greer,—I got your letter this afternoon, but cannot quite make out what your driving at.
Make no arrangement with anyone until I see you. If you can buy out either of the Indians do so ; don't
give him too much, for they have no title, nor have we. But I have heard some good news to-day. Get on
the land as soon as possible, and if you cannot arrange with either of the Indians, put up the house and
make things look something like. I will try and come over on Monday, but I have some business on here
for a few days.    Write me full particulars what you do and report progress.
The Henderson you mention is brother to the one at Chilliwhack—is it he who wants to see me ?
and what about ?
Yours very truly,
(Signed) John M. Spinks.
New Westminster, 20th June, 1884.
To J. -M. Spink,
Oriental Hotel. '
Not got cheque.    How did you send ?   To whom ?   Answer.
(Signed)       Saml. Greer.
Granville, June 22nd, 1884.
To J. M. Spink,
Oriental Hotel.
Got cheque ; will arrange with William to-morrow.    Come up.
(Signed)      S. Greer. 238 Report of Commission—Greer Case. 1886
Esquimalt, June 22nd, 1884.
Dear Greer,—I have had an answer from the Lands and Works Office saying that (the land is at
present reserved from sale and cannot be dealt with in any manner, nor can the application be deemed to
confer any claim whatsoever to the land when the same shall be in the market). It is a printed letter
signed by W. S. Gore. I find I cannot get over to New Westminster this week, so let me know how you
get on and what it was Henderson would do to come in with us—for the claim will be all right. I am sure
now. Since writing the former I have got your letter and two telegrams. I am sorry you have done anything with Henderson or any other without my being there, but I dare say it will not matter. I must see
them when I come over, for they must pay more than a proportion, as the claim is in my name and any
lawsuit will come on me. But we must talk it over when I see you. In the meantime, if you do anything
with the Indians you must have the receipts, &c., made out to me. If we can possibly get a title we will
divide the land into lots, and halve the produce of the sale proportionately.
In the meantime,
I remain, yours truly,
(Signed) John Spinks.
New Westminster, 23rd June, 1884.
To J M. Spink,
Oriental Hotel.
Remit hundred dollars through bank to-morrow by telegraph to my order.    Settled with Indians.
(Signed)'     S. Greer.
Esquimalt, via Victoria, 26/6/84.
Dear Greer,—I have been up the coast for a few days and didn't get your telegram until this afternoon. I now enclose you cheque for another $100. I have had some legal advice in the matter, and I want
you to send me a receipt from the Indians, and also the letter they showed us, and I will then interview
Mr. Smithe myself and see what he says. Again I think we are all right. Keep an account, and we must
talk over what Mr. Henderson and his friend will have to pay.
I intend coining over to New Westminster on Tuesday next, and on to Chilliwhack on Wednesday for
a day, to look over the other end of the prairie beside Henderson's. Let me hear from you by return,
enclosing those papers.    I met Mr. Alexander in Victoria.
Yours truly,
(Signed) John Spinks.
Granville, B. C, 27th June, 1884.
Mr. Spinks.
Dear Sir,—I do not quite understand your letters. I got two of them. I explained matters to you
and sent you two telegrams, but you did not answer them. I told you I had bought out the Indians. I
also told you that Green & Co., bankers, by their agent, J. B. Henderson, Superintendent Dominion Saw-
Mills, New Westminster, wanted to become partners in the claim ; would pay their share of all expenses.
When you left New Westminster we agreed on a course to follow, and you promised to forward me the
money or I would not have telegraphed ; but you will please come up as soon as you get this note make
final arrangements. I want you to call on Henderson, bring him out to Granville with you. I can do
little to you come If you don't want to keep the claim as it now stand, let me know what you will take
to draw out.    You must give me a definite answer by telegram when you receive this note.
I remain yours truly,
(Signed) S. Greer.
Granville, B. C, 2nd July, 1884.
Mr. J. M. Spinks.
My Dear Sir,—I got your letter to-day with cheque. I am going to put on some Chinamen to clear
on beach to keep any person off. I was offered $500 for my bargain, but Indian Agent McTiernan helped
me out. This is the best property on the Bay. I got $75 from Henderson to help me on the bill of sale.
It is through Mr. McTiernan I got the land. I had no dealing with the Indians. It is signed and sealed in
your name, drawned up by Howse & Rickman by a lawyer. 20 men have asked me for an interest. This is
a good property.    Come over at once.
Yours truly,
(Signed) S. Greer.
Granville, B. C, 17th Nov., 1884.
Dear Spinks,—Capt. Irving has written you to-day respecting the Indian title ; the parties ignored
me. 8 thousand was offered last week for the Indian title. Captain Irving and Mr. Drake will test the
matter. The parties who duped you wanted me to sue you for 8 thousand dollars for my share ; I suppose
the place is worth a million. I have two of the best backers in the Province. A dreadful fight will take
place soon. I am still in occupation. I done all the business and I am determined you shall have a equal
share with Green, McDonald, or Henderson, or Humphres, or Walls—for these is the parties you sold 49 Vic. Report of Commission—Greer Case. 239
yourself to against my advice. You had a true friend in me always. Now you see the object Henderson
had in discouraging you. Live and learn. I have a share already transferred for you ; forward the $500
immediately. Since writing you at Victoria I have adopted another course, by the advice of Capt. Irving,
who believes you to be honest as well as myself. You may been deceived. Every thing is in my power.
There were only one of the Indians who signed the transfer we got. The other was—that is Jim—Charly
had no right to sign for him. There are four Indians in all who owned houses and patches on the place.
I have got new transfers made out in my own name for the other three to sign; then we will talk business to
Green & Co. I am pretty hard to beat on business matters of this kind, but honesty and upright dealings
will come out all right in the long run. These parties knew, especially Henderson. You stick up for that
I am entitled to one-half of the place, and I will have it, and you will have 8 eights part with McDonald,
Green & Co., or equal part with them ; that is already fixed. Myself and Captain Irving and Co. will hold
the other. I leave to-morrow with the Indian Agent to get Indians to sign the transfer. I was badly
annoyed when I wrote my last letter to you at Victoria. They said you were a mean skemp. I told them
I could not believe that to I was convinced that you were consious of what you were doing at the time. No
doubt you signed all away. I have had a hard time with them at Victoria for the last week. The costs have
been heavy for advice and other documents, the expenses of getting the Indians and Indian Agent. I
have deposited $150 for new transfer, advanced by Capt. Irving. About 300 expenses this last ten day.
Two men on the place. We will have the deeds as soon as everything is settled. Send me some assistance
to I can see you. When Capt. Irving telegrams me to Victoria I will telegram you to meet me there; then
I will leave everything before you.
Your sincear friend,
(Signed) S. Greer.
This is confidential—trust no Body.
New Westminster, B. C, June 20th, 1884.
Charley and, George.
I wish that one or both of you would come into town to-morrow.    I want to see you in reference to the
land where you now live, as a white man has pre-empted it and wants me to put you off the place.
Yours truly,
(Signed) P. McTiernan,
Indian Agent.
$75.00. . New Westminster, B. C, June 23rd, 1884.
Received from Jno. B. Henderson the sum of seventy-five dols. on a/c of payment for land at English
Bay, part of that applied for by J. M. M. Spinks.
(Signed) Samuel Greer.
Indian Office,
Mr. tS. Preston, New Westminster, 17th February, 1880.
False Creek.
Sir,—Two of the Indian Chiefs from False Creek, William George and Charlie, complain that you
claim part of the land set apart for their reserve. By the Act providing for the organization of the department of the Secretary of State of Canada, and for the management of Indian and Ordnance laws, it is not
lawful for any person, without the licence in writing of the Secretary of State, or of some officer deputed by
him for that purpose, to trespass upon any of the said lands, &c, &e.; and by sub-sect. 28 of said Act, in all
cases of encroachment upon any lands set apart for Indian reservations, or for the use of Indians, not hereinbefore provided for, it shall be lawful to proceed by information in the name of Her Majesty in the Courts
of Law, &c, &c.    I have given the complainants this to advise you as to their statement.
I am, etc.,
(Signed)       G. Pittendrigh, Capt.,
Acting Indian Agent.
'ICTORIA: Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Government Printer,
at the Government Printing Office, James' Bay.


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