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HBC Letterbook: Correspondence between Joseph McKay (Nanaimo) and James Douglas (Victoria)

August 24th 1852 - September 27th 1853

Transcribed by Carol Hill, 2014

August, 1852

Fort Victoria

24th, August, 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

Sir:

1.         You will proceed with all possible diligence to Wenthuysen Inlet commonly known as Nanymo Bay and formally take possession of the Coal beds lately discovered there for and in behalf of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

2.         You will give due notice of that proceeding to the Masters of all vessels arriving there and you will forbid all persons to work the Coal either directly by means of their own labour or indirectly through Indian or other parties employed for that purpose except under the authority of a license from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

3.         You will require from such persons as may be duly licensed to work Coal by the Hudson’s Bay Company security for the payment of a royalty of 2/6 a ton which you will levy on the spot upon all Coal whether procured by mining or by purchase from the Natives the same to be held by you and from time to time to be duly accounted for.

            In the event of any breach or evasion of these regulations you will immediately take measures to communicate intelligence of the same to me.

I remain

Sir

[Your ob. Sevt.]

James Douglas

 

Fort Victoria

26th August, 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

I herewith enclose Invoice of sundries now forwarded on “Cadboro” for use of the new establishment, and the party of Miners who proceed to join you by the same conveyance.

The Miners are under the special orders of Mr. Muir and you will please to avoid all interference with them directly giving any instructions you have to issue through Mr. Muir himself but in no case directly to the men under his orders.

The Blksmith Raymond is for general service, the work of the Miners must however have the preference in all cases and be first attended to.

A small forge should be put up as soon as possible and every assistance in the way of Carpenters or Axemen be given to Mr. Muir when, and as often as required.

Please to write me fully of Your proceedings and the progress of the work by every opportunity.

The Recovery will be sent up in a few days and the “Cadboro” may be loaded with Coal and sent back as soon as possible.

I remain

Dear Sir

Yours Truly

James Douglas

P.S.  The Miners are allowed 1/- per diem instead of rations and will therefore provide their own provisions which will save you much trouble.

List of Miners

John Muir                      Oversman

Robert Muir                   Miner

Archibald Muir               Miner

John McGregor              Miner [?] “Recovery”

Mr. Douglas compliments to Mr. Pemberton & Pearse.

 

Fort Victoria

31st August, 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

The “Recovery” has just left Port on her way to Wenthuysen Inlet with a further supply of goods for trade, as per Invoice herewith.

You will endeavour to load her with Coal as soon as possible and despatch her to this place.  In case you require her presence either on a protection to the party or as a trade room for the time being you may detain her until the return of the “Cadboro” and I have directed captain Mitchell to attend to your instructions in that particular.

I hope every thing is going on quietly and prosperously at the mines and I trust Mr. Muir and party are now with you and busily engaged in carrying on operations about the Shaft.

Please to write me by every opportunity and let me know all particulars about the Coal and if any fresh discoveries have been made since my visit.

McGregor being rather unwell remains here until the return of the “Cadboro” when he will be sent to you if convalescent. 

With Kind respects to Mr. Pemberton & Pearse

With best wishes

Yours Truly

James Douglas

September, 1852

Wenthuysen Inlet

September 9, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 26th Ultimo & accompanying Invoice for Schooner Cadboro which arrived here on the night of the 3rd instant as also that for “Recovery” with accompanying Invoice which arrived here on the 4th Inst.

The Schooner Cadboro is now ready for sea with 480 barrels of Coal on board and will sail early tomorrow Weather permitting.

The Natives commenced working Coal on the 8th Instant and have been busily employed ever since notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather which has been very wet the last four days.

Mr. Muir & Miners landed on the 6th and are at present [bring?] in a log hut lined and covered with cedar bark.

Raymond and the rest of the men are also comfortably lodged and are in very good spirits.

Raymond is at work on a small shed, he forgot his [?] iron and complains that his bellows are nearly useless the wrong pair having been sent the mistake requires rectifying otherwise his work will be much retarded.

The goods for Cadboro and Recovery were correct according to Invoice.

The greater part of the Cadboro’s cargo was purchased with small trade, a few of the Chiefs have retained their Tickets until they can afford to purchase Blankets.  I have continued the Tariff established last voyage as the Indians were at first so extravagant in their demands that I considered any concessions on my part would only increase their importunacy.  They are very well satisfied with the present arrangement an able man can earn at the rate of one shirt pr Diem. They have opened the seam up to the bank and Mr. Muir has a favourable opinion of the Coal appearance of the Coal; he commenced boring about 10 yds. further along the beach.  This morning [?] has not as yet reached the Coal his intention is to work backwards towards the Edge of the Seam and lay bare a section of the seam sufficient to enable him to determine the true dip and strike in order that he may determine the best place to commence mining operations.

Lazard and Gang have most of the wood on the site for a house 25 x 15 feet and have commenced Building the Indians have brought 1000 pces. Bark they cannot raise any more this year as the season is now far advanced.

The Salt Spring mentioned in my last communication yields by evaporation at the rate of a pint of Salt from 7 pints water the salt is a little coloured by the debris brought down by the little [inlet?] which runs into it.  It appears to be of good quality and might be much improved by deepening the spring and turning off the fresh water which would not be difficult to accomplish. 

I have discovered a stratum of limestone about ¼ mile to the eastward of the Coal mine along the beach a little below high water mark.

Mr. Pemberton has nearly completed the survey of the harbour and he commenced running lines inland.

The Prairies back from the Picketed village have been visited by Mr. Pearse who reports them as being of [some extent?].

There is a Salt Lake or pond reported by the Indians as being at no great distance from the Salt Spring which I intend to visit [in?] the first opportunity.

The Recovery will commence loading tomorrow I think that it will be necessary to detain her here until we have a source place for the trade goods.

The Indians bring in a constant supply of provisions.

A number of light pick axes would be of great assistance to the Indians in mining as they waste a great deal with their axes.

The “Honolulu Packet” arrived in harbour late this evening she has been trading Salmon and Cranberries at Point Roberts.  Mr. Nevins name is said to be on her Register as Master but Captain Webster sails the vessel.  I have not seen Captain Webster as yet but I will give you a full report of her proceedings tomorrow Canoe.

I herewith enclose a Requisition for a few small articles at present in demand among the Natives also an Invoice of the Cadboro Cargo.

I have the honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

September 10th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

The “Honolulu Packet” arrived here last night. Captain Webster declares that he has no intention of trading or otherwise interfering with the Natives here. His object is to acquire a knowledge of the Coast, he intends to purchase some Coal as soon as Mr. Muir may have laid open a good sample but he has not as yet made up his mind as to the quantity he can afford to take.

The Recovery is now loading the Indians experience greater difficulties in mining as the Seam runs deeper into the Clay they have reached 4 yds. into the seam.

Mr. Muir reached Coal at Seven feet ten yds. beyond the section opened by the Indians he is now boring ten yds. further on.

I herewith enclose a Requisition of Sundries for the Servants at this place. [La Roe?] and  [Lapis?] whose contracts have expired were with difficulty persuaded to remain one fortnight longer [Lapis?] is anxious about his wife and family.

James Newlund returns invalided.  [Moe – Mic Lum?] the [Sanetch?] Chief is entitled to two Blankets for the services of himself and canoe.  He has been hard at work here.

[Soal hloe’s?] Canoe will be returned by the “Recovery”.

I have the honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

15th September 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir

I have to acknowledge the receipt of letters from you of the following days 1st, 9th & 10th September with the accompanying orders for supplies.

These orders have been completed and are now forwarded by the “Mary Dare” bound to Nanymo Bay for a Cargo of Coal, and you will use every exertion to fill and give her the earliest dispatch possible, as Coal is now at a very high figure in California and from the Cargo shipments expected from England and the United States a fall is soon expected so that it is important to get our Coal unto the Market as soon as possible.

Your report of proceedings is very interesting and so far satisfactory.  I hope Captain Webster, will not commit himself by any unlawful act which would inevitably expose him to very serious consequences which no person would more than I regret. Continue to inform me regularly of your proceedings by every opportunity and mention every particular which has any connection with the Coal beds and may serve to give an idea of their depth and extent to enable me to report definitively on these points to the Governor and Committee.

The Cadboro is now discharging her Cargo and will be sent to Nanaimo Bay as soon as she is clear.

With best wishes 
Yours Truly

James Douglas



Wenthuysen Inlet

September 16th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

I hereby forward a receipt for 32 Tons Coal delivered on board the Honolulu Packet. Captain Webster not having the ready Cash with him to pay for the same, on my objections to supply the Coals without ready payment, he informed me that he had left his Chromometer and ships papers in your possession at Victoria as a guarantee for his returning thither and that he had the means at that place to meet the Bill for the [Coals?] amounting to 320 dollars.

The Honolulu Packet sailed yesterday Captain Webster intends to call at Bellevue and will be some days reaching Victoria.

I started yesterday with Mr. Muir to examine a seam of Coal discovered on the 28th [?] but which I could not report on before having examined thoroughly.

The seam which attracted my attention on the 28th [?] is found by actual measurement to be 6 feet 2 ins. In thickness including a stratum of clay 2 ins. Thick and 2 ft. 4 ins. Below the upper surface of the Coal which is about the level of high water and 15 ft. from the Cliff which using to the height of 30 feet forms the Cost along a bay ¼ mile westward of a point from which Mr. Pemberton took the bearings and angular distances between point Upwood Point [One?] and Laurel Point.  A small Stream of water enters the bay at which you landed on your visit to the place.  The lake is a very short distance from the bay and feeds the stream, between this seam and low mark are three other seams of Coal on at no great depth below the [?] 2 ft. 4 ins. Thick the next is considerably deeper and measures 2 feet 6 ins. The last is at a much greater depth and measures only 4 ins. I made a section of the strata from low water mark to the top of the Cliff which will give a general idea of their extent and capabilities. It is however open to Correction as it may prevent many inaccuracies arising from want of instruments the general [dip?] taken by Mr. Muir’s compass is [?] 30 E.  Mr. Muir pronounces the Coal in all the seams to be of good quality and equal to good English Coal he thinks that ten thousand tons might be raised there by the natives in calculation one Thousand Tons might certainly be raised by them within a short period.

Most of the natives are now at work on this Seam as they have worked the 5 feet Seam in the harbour nearly to the level of low water mark and owing to the thickness of the [super striation?] of clay a large quantity of coal cannot possibly be raised from it without raising embankments to shut off the sea.

The Recovery is now about half full, the returns of Coal were any small at the beginning of the week but since the Indians have commenced working the new Seam the returns are as plentiful as before.

A new outfit of woollens, tobacco, shirts and ammunition will be required and next vessel, as the Recovery Cargo being equal to thrice that of the Cadboro will nearly run through our present supply of those articles.  Cut Glass Beads, Kettles and Soap are also in demand, they will not trade the Lapis Beads.

The Natives bring in a constant supply of fresh provisions.

A number of [Shusuhomish?] and Sheshalls arrived here last week.  They are anxious to enter into the Shingle business as the Nanaimoes will not allow them to work the Coal.  They brought with them a few pieces of split cedar to trade as near the shape of shingles as they had any idea of for which they asked extravagant prices owing to their want of Tools they cannot work at a reasonable rate a few bundles of shingles as samples with the price per bundle would tend to enlighten them on the subject some of the Metchowsin shingle makers have [friends?] here.

If necessary a communication may be opened between this pace and Fort Rupert and there are weekly opportunities of sending toFort Langley.

The Carpenters are now roofing the miner’s house.  Raymond assists them whenever his services are not required in the Forge.  He has been on the sick list for the last three days but is now recovering he complains of fever and chillings.  A foot [adze?] is much required as we have none here.

We are also in want of salt and Bbls [barrels] as a large quantity of Salmon and Venison might be put up here.  If we had a salt pan and a man to tend it we might manufacture a sufficient quantity for home consumption.

I have not as yet had an opportunity of visiting the salt Lake.

A number of light pick axes, iron wedges & miners shovels would be of great service to the Indians in raising Coal the trade axes sent for per Cadboro are too small.

The Miners worked the seam to 4 yds. Beyond the first crop this has satisfied Mr. Muir as to the direction of the seam and he commenced a pit to day 100 yds. Further along the Coast 8 feet from the edge of the bank, he is confident that they will reach the Coal as the depth of 12 fathoms he will require two steady mean as early as possible to work the winch.  Indians are not to be trusted as they might endanger the lives of the men below.  Mr. Muir’s prefers good Sandwich Islanders as being the most manageable one good hand might also be useful in Lazard’s gang.

We have had continual fine weather since the Cadboro sailed.

Mr. Pemberton left on Monday.  I was not aware that he would leave so soon or I would have written by him.

I have the honor or remain

Your most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

18 Sept. 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

Sir

The Cadboro is now despatched toNanaimofor another Cargo of Coal and is disposable for service under your orders until the arrival of another vessel, it being my wish that one vessel should always e on the spot, for the protection of the Establishment and to store the goods until you are firmly established on shore.

A small supply of goods as per Invoice herewith is now forwarded by the Cadboro we trust it will be sufficient to meet your present wants if not you will please to forward a requisition for further supplies by the first opportunity to this place.

I herewith transmit a letter for John Work Esquire an Officer in charge of Fort Rupert which I beg may be forwarded to this place either by expires or by any Indians from the [Northward?] who may visit Nanaimo.

I am very anxious that the letter should reach Fort Rupert before the Middle of October when the Steamer is expected there and I wish her to bring down a supply of boring rods with a reinforcement of men for the Post of Nanaimo.

You will endeavour to put up as many small houses as profitable for the accommodation of the men then expected probably about 15 in number.

I hope that everything is going on well and quietly and that we will have good accounts of your progress.

With best wishes

I remain

Yours Truly

James Douglas

 

Wenthuysen

18 Sept. 1852

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 13th Instant which arrived early this morning.

The “Recovery” is now three fourths loaded.

The Miners have reached a bed of salt Sandstone at the depth of 6 feet.  Mr. Muir calculates on reaching the Coal one month hence.

A tragical event occurred yesterday at the place under the following circumstances.

[Tsau si ai?] the Cowechin Chief arrived here early yesterday morning with forty natives all armed in four canoes on coming alongside the Recovery I invited the old man on board treated him to some victuals and enquired of him his intention in coming here in such a warlike manner he informed me that he had just returned from Fraser River and that he had come over from his villages which is about fifteen miles distant on a complimentary visit to the Nanaimo Indians who were his relations and friends leaving the harbour they shot an Indian [Collier?].

The excitement occasioned by this occurrence has nearly died away and the Coals are coming in this morning as usual.

Mr. Pemberton’s sketch book is herewith forwarded.

A supply of paper, instruments, and ½ doz. [Draw?] buckets are required.

I have the honor to remain

Your most obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

20 Sept, 1852

Mr. Joseph MacKay

Dear Sir

I have just received your letter of the 17th and 18th Instant containing satisfactory account of your progress up to those dates and of the state of feeling among the natives at Nanaimo.  I also received the fossils which are truly beautiful specimens of natures silent workings.

I am delighted to head of the discovery of the new coal bed or rather of its extraordinary thickness confirming all our previous opinions as to the abundance of that minerals in the Nanaimo District.  The plan transmitted are very Interesting and give a clear idea of the arrangements of the Coal measures, differing however in some particulars from the opinions, at first adopted on that subject.  The first for example exhibited in your plan, of Coal underlying the conglomerate or as Mr. Pemberton supposed the old Red sandstone, is at variance with our first conclusions and is a most satisfactory discovery.  The Cadboro had sailed before the receipt of your letters and was recalled to take on supplies as per Invoice herewith forwarded.

We send 40 Barrels and a quantity of Salt and I have to request that as much Venison and Salmon as possible may be cured for winter use.  You must also secure a moderate stock of potatoes, for the establishment. 

I will write again by the return Canoe.

I remain

Your Obedient Servant

James Douglas

Duplicate of above received per “Cadboro”


Fort Victoria

20 September 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

My Dear Sir      

In my letter of today by the Cadboro, I acknowledged your letter of the 17 and 18th Instant and will now proceed to a further notice of those communications.

I received Captain Webster ‘s Bill or Promissory Note for the 30 Tons of Coal purchased from you atNanaimo; but he has not yet made his appearance here.  I presume he will redeem his paper.

A number of light pick axes were sent by the Mary Dare and a further supply will be forwarded hereafter as soon as they can be got ready.

I notice the intention of the Sheshalls to enter upon the business of shingle making, and hereafter we may attend to their proposals.  But at present we have not time to do so, I have no disposable men at present to sent you; but I trust that with the assistance of McGregor who was despatched by the Mary Dare, you will continue to do the needful until the re-enforcement of hands ordered from Fort Rupert by the Steam Vessel reaches you.

I exceedingly regret the fatal occurrence of the 17th at Nanaimo and am surprised at the treachery of the Cowechins.  It is reported here that [To cu ah?], committed the murder, in consequence of your refusal to pay him for his services on a former voyage to Nanaimo.

I hope that report is unfounded as we must studiously avoid getting mixed up in [trials?]

The Cartridge paper is now sent also your instruments and some salt-petre, as per account herewith.

Pray forward the accompanying letter, for John Mark Esquire either by Express or by other conveyance to Fort Rupert as I am exceedingly anxious to open a communication with that post and that the letter should arrive there before the 15th of October in order to Catch the Steam Vessel having ordered Mr. Gilmore and a number of men say 15, to be stationed under your orders at Nanaimo.

You will receive those hands and furnish them with provisions and the best accommodations in your power as soon as they arrive by the steamer.

There is a letter addressed to John Work Esquire ore Officer in charge of Fort Rupert transmitted by the Cadboro of which the letter now forwarded to the same address is a duplicate.  It will be sufficient to forward one of those letters to Fort Rupert

With best wishes

Yours truly

James Douglas

If the Indians are likely to be too long in procuring a cargo of Coal for the Mary Dare let her complete loading from the Recovery’s cargo and the [hates?] can fill up after the former is dispatched.

JD

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

September 30, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 15th September [per?] Mary Dare also two letters of the 20th [per?] Canoe and a Duplicate of the same with a letter of the 18th[Inst. Per?] Schooner Cadboro.

The Mary Dare arrived on the 23 Inst. Discharged Ballast on the 24th and 25th and commenced taking in Coals on Monday 27th she has now nearly 80 Tons on board the average daily return of Coals traded from the Natives being about 20 Tons most of which are raised from the new Coal Seam the five foot seam being only workable to advantage during spring tides there is also a steady supply from the 20 inch seam on the small Island which lays opposite the Establishment.

The Miners have reached a depth of nine feet with the new pit on Saturday when they were obliged to suspend operations until the side of the pit was lined with wood.  Mr. Muir with the assistance of Ignace and two Indians finished that operation today a new Wench is also completed and every thing is now ready for a start.  Two of the miners have been employed in the meantime on the five feet seam in raising Coal for the Mary Dare, at which they will continue until she is loaded which will probably be five days hence as Captain [?] expects that she will carry 200 tons.  In this operation they are obliged to [wait?] on the tide.  The other Miner has nearly finished the Chimney in the miners house which will be floored and habitable in the course of two days.

The “Recovery” now sails for Victoria she is deeply laden with 1391 Barrels of Coal on board.

The Cadboro arrived here at noon this day and will occupy the Recovery’s berth.

Only eight pick axes were received for Mary Dare instead of 10 invoiced.

Raymond is suffering very much from a bad sore in the leg arising from an Old Gunshot wound, he asked leave to return to the Fort [per?] the Recovery but as his services cannot be dispensed with I told him to wait until he was relieved by some other Blksmith.

A Seam of Coal has been discovered in the Country of the [Siklauths?] a branch of the [Comocs?] tribe who live in a river in the vicinity of Point Holmes on Vancouver Island a specimen of which is herewith forwarded.  As it is as no great distance from the place I will take an early opportunity of visiting and taking possession of it in the name of the Hudson’s Bay Company providing that the latter proceeding meets with your sanction.

The letters forFort Rupert will be forwarded tomorrow by Express as no other opportunity has offered heretofore.

Mr. Sinclair 1st Officer of the Mary Dare proceeds to Victoria in the “Recovery” he has been of duty since the arrival of the Mary Dare in consequence of some misunderstanding between him and Captain [Marrat?], which the latter will no doubt explain.

John McGregor wishes to return to the Fort for his wife.  I recommended him to await the arrival of the Steamer as his services cannot well be dispensed with at present.

A [Tku who-mish?] Indian was murdered at this place eight days ago by a Nanaimo in revenge for three Nanaimoes who were killed by the [Skuwhomish?] the last Winter.

So-cee-ah the Cowechin Chief was well paid according to your orders for his services in the exploration of the Cowechin Country in 1851 he has besides received a number of presents from me since that date for which he has always expressed the utmost satisfaction so that his excuse on that score for the late atrocity committed on the Nanimoes though his sanction is only a very lame plea trumped up for the occasion.  I will perhaps be enabled to throw more light on the subject at some future period.

I have the honor to remain

Your most Obedient Servant

Joseph Willliam McKay


October, 1852

Wenthuysen Inlet

October 6th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

The Mary Dare is now ready to sail with a Cargo of 1840 Barrels of Coal.

The Miners renewed their operations on the pit today and have reached a depth of 12 feet.

They had worked the 5 feet seam 12 yds. into the land on a [Dead?] level at this point the Coal was fully 6 feet thick and much improved in quality.  The angle or amount of dip was also much [lessened?],

Most of the Native Colliers are now engaged laying in a Winter stock of Salmon 15 Tons of Coals [per?] Diem may still be depended on.

The Miners are now comfortably lodged in one end of the first house there is nearly enough wood squared for another Building 25 x 15 feet, one of the Builders is employed working the Winch for the Miners.

Raymond wants to be relieved as he can scarcely walk owing to a bad sore in is leg this is more to be regretted as he used to make himself generally useful.

The Express for Fort Rupert left in the 2nd Instant.

The [Sihlautts?] have commenced digging Coal and are daily expected with a quantity of that mineral for trade.

The Nanaimoes have been so much pressed in loading the Mary Dare that they have not brought in any great quantity of fresh provisions consequently a very small quantity has been put up as yet.  I will endeavour to meet your instructions on the subject as soon as that vessel sails by dispatching hunters and fishermen in all directions.

I have the honor to remain

Your most obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay


Wenthuysen Inlet

October 7, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

The “Mary Dare” has just left this harbour with a cargo of 1840 Barrels of Coals he most of which was raised from the New Coal seams on the Island a new seam of Coal has been laid open 1 foot thick overlaying all those described as for Section on a former occasion between it and the 2 feet 4 in. seam is a stratum of soft [claystone?] 18 ins. thick.

I did not observe this seam on my first examination of this place owing to its being covered with the loose stones and Debris at the base of the Cliff.

The Miners have reached a depth of 13 feet and are now working through a bed of [till?] on soft shale which according to Mr. Muir immediately overlays the Coal.

Raymond is laid up with a bad sore in his leg, we require another blksmith as his recovery will probably be slow and the Miners cannot continue their operations for any length of time without one.

The Cadboro is snugly moored near the Coal Mine.

Most of the Indians have left for their Fisheries up the Nanaimo River.

Mr. Muir expects to reach Coal at the depth of 10 fathoms.

I have the honor to remain

Your most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

13th October 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 6 & 7th October.  The former by the “Mary Dare” and the latter by Indian conveyance.

The “Mary Dare” arrived safely at the place and sailed yesterday morning with her Cargo for the Port of San Francisco.

Your report of the progress of the work in hand at Nanaimo is extremely satisfactory and I trust that you will continue to push on the buildings with all possible diligence.

Mr. Gilmour and the party of Miners expected from Fort Rupert will require house accommodation and it is important to do everything in our power to provide them with comfortable lodgings.  I know that with the present limited number of men you cannot get through all the work that would be desired but remember that you are at liberty to employ as many Indians as may be necessary to carry out my instructions.

I regret that Raymond is again laid up with a bad leg but he cannot be removed at present, and is leg may be treated as well atNanaimoas at this place and he is out of the way of temptation.

I am happy to hear that you succeeded in dispatching the Express to Fort Rupert and I trust it will reach that place in time to intercept the Steamer.

I shall be most happy to hear your opinion of the Sihlaults Coal, the miners do not appear to be getting on very fast with the shaft, and I trust that Coal will be found much nearer the surface than Mr. Muir supposes.

You will endeavour to produce as much Coal as possible, with which you will in the first place load the “Cadboro” and the rest may be deposited in a convenient place for shipping as it is possible that a large ship carrying about 500 Tons will soon be up from California for a Cargo of Coal we therefore wish as much got out and stored for shipment as possible in readiness for her arrival.

The Two Men who were drafted from the “Mary Dare” to the “Cadboro” should be profitably employed on shore and not kept in idleness on board.  I presume there is nothing in their agreement contrary to such an arrangement.

As it will probably be some time before a ship is again despatched to you from this place, I beg that you will communicate by Indian conveyance at least once a fortnight and please to order such goods and provisions as may be required for the use and trade of the place.

I am happy to inform you that the Nanaimo Coal is getting into [reprite?] and already bears a high Character as a Coal.

The goods ordered by the Servants are herewith forwarded and two water buckets in [Change?] of the Indians.

With best Wishes

I remain

Yours truly
James Douglas

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

October 22nd, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 13th October with the goods [per?] Servants and water buckets for miners.

The Miners have reached a depth of 30 feet as [per?] enclosed journal.

One of the men drafted from the “Mary Dare” for the Cadboro is at work on shore with the Miners in place of Ignace who is on the Sick List.

Raymond has been of very little service lately and at is earnest request I have given him permission to go down t the Fort in order to get the benefit of medical advice and proper medicine he has been making use of some samples of his own prescription with very little success.

[Vautrin’s?] contract expired on the 1st day of September he did not give me notice of his intention of leaving until the last express Canoe returned when he received a message from his brother praying him to leave the Company’s service and settle with him on Mr. Works Farm as he had made some arrangement to that effect before he left Victoria.   I could not detain him the second house 25 x 15 feet is now fitted up to the wall plate and will be habitable in the course of two or three days.

I have limited the number of Indians employed heretofore on a/c of want of goods to pay them as owing to their poverty they require to be paid up regularly at present we have 20 employed as follows 4 sawing, 6 squaring, 2 with Miners, 1 Cooking, 7 Variously Carrying in Timber, Stones, shells & Sand for Chimneys and clearing away for building sites.

I herewith forward a Requisition for some more goods and I beg to request that the order for axes, picks, shovels and rope for Miners will meet with particular attention and be forwarded by the return Canoe as they are indispensably necessary for the proper fulfilment of your instructions regarding Building house, and raising Coals.

The “Cadboro” is now loading the Coals come in very slowly partly owing to the inclemency of the Weather and principally because most of the Indians are still employed laying in a Winter stock of Salmon.

Upwards of Twenty Barrels of Salmon have been salted down potatoes are rather dull, the Nanaimoes do not appear to have a large stock of that vegetable we have had little or no Venison since the last Fracas with the Cowechins.  I am consequently obliged to Indians for some salt provisions.  The Miners have also expended all their stock of Tea and Sugar and I have consequently been obliged to supply them with those necessary from my own stock.

I received information on the 9th [inst.?] that the Fort Rupert Express Indians were afraid to proceed on their voyage owing to some disturbance between the Comox and [Mamalailikas?] and that they were detained at Sihlaults.  I accordingly started on the 10th in a well manned Canoe for Sihlault with a strong S. E. wind after pushing on all night I arrived at Sihlault at 11 am on the 10th.  I there hired another Canoe and despatched her with the [express?] the weather being very rainy, wind strong from the S.E.  I could not return, and in the mean time stood up the bag inside of point Holmes towards the [Quntlitch?] a river abut the size of the Nanaimoe 2 miles up the River are some large prairies which extend according to Indian reports as far as the [Uculla?] river as I necessarily made a very short stay there.  I could not examine the Country sufficiently to make a sketch of it and merely made a short excursion to the prairies which in their general character much resemble those at [Sanetch?] being undulating.  Studded with oak on the ridges and rows of poplars in the valleys.  The bottoms along the course of the River are very rich the Black mould in some places being more than two feet thick.  On my return to the Sechlault village on the following morning I received the annoying intelligence that the express canoe had again returned.  I immediately purchased a canoe and manned her out of my own Crew.  Giving the Packet in charge of [Wunxwunshim?] the Nanaimo Chief who is well acquainted with the Ucultas.

After despatching the Canoe I returned homewards, with the intention of examining the [Schlault?] Coal which according to Indian report crops on both sides of Valdez Inlet owing to [neap?] tides I was obliged to defer the examination to some future period.

Valdez Inlet extends from the Valdez Inlet.  Vancouver Chart to point Holmes and separates [Schlault?] from Vancouver Island.

I have the honor to remain

Your most Obedient Servant

Joseph Wiliam McKay

(O S Description of Country as to [Journal?])

 

Fort Victoria

27th October, 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

I duly received your letter of the 22nd October with the requisitions forNanaimo and the Schooner Cadboro as well as the Miners Journal to which every attention shall be paid.

The Canoe and Indians are now about to be dispatched on their return to and will take on the supplies as per accompanying account which is as much as the Canoe can take in the present boisterous weather without the risk of much detention on the route.  The other supplies will be forwarded by the first safe conveyance.

Raymond being unfit for duty cannot return at present being now under medical treatment.  Vautrin has also received his discharge from the service and we have no useful man to replace him but I trust the reinforcement expected fromFortRupertwill add sufficiently to the strength of the Establishment to enable you to carry on operating without any further aid from this place.

The Miners Journal is sufficiently interesting, but I am most anxious to hear that they have struck the seam of Coal as until then there is no certainly as to the depth and extent of the bed of which we are in quest.  My chief anxiety is to have that question solved for as soon as that takes place, I will address the Company on the subject of sending and an additional body of miners, and such other assistance as may be required from England.

I hope the Cadboro will have taken in a cargo of Coal by the time the steamer arrives from Fort Rupert and if you can then conveniently dispense with her services, she may accompany the steamer to the place and pray request Captain Dodd to bring a full cargo of wood from Nanaimo as it is now difficult to be had in the harbour.

I am glad to hear that you have put up so many salmon and I would impress upon your mind the great importance of securing as large a stock of Country provision as possible seeing that the stock here is quite inadequate to meet all the demands upon it.

I have to thank you for the very interesting description of your excursion to the Sihlault Village.  We shall have the Coal seam in that District carefully examined at a fitting time and I trust that further valuable discoveries will be made in that quarter.

I have to thank you for your great exertions in forwarding the Fort Rupert Express and if it does not reach its destination in time for the Steam Vessel it will under providence be entirely owing to your zeal and energy.

Michel Le Fleur is now sent to replace Raymond as Blksmith until he recovers his health.  Please to give my complements to Mr. Muir.

With Best Wishes [S V V?]

James Douglas


November, 1852

Wenthuysen Inlet

November 6th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

11th Nov., 1852

Mr. Joseph William McKay

(blank)

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

November 18th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

November 20th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

23 Nov. 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

(blank)

 

Wentuhuysen Inlet

November 28th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

29th Nov. 1852

Mr. Joseph McKay

(blank)


December, 1852

Wenthuysen Inlet

December 6th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)


Fort Victoria

11th December, 1852

Mr. Joseph W. McKay

(blank)


Wenthuysen Inlet

December 12th, 1852

John Work Esquire

(blank)

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

December 12th 1852

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

December 14th, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

16th December, 1852

Mr. Joseph W. McKay

(blank)

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

December 22nd, 1852

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

January, 1853

Wenthuysen Inlet

January 7th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

Jan. 16, 1853

Mr. McKay

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

January 17, 1853

Mr. McKay

(blank)

 

February, 1853

Wenthuysen Inlet

February 9th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

12th February 1853

Mr. Joseph W. McKay

(blank)


Wenthuysen Inlet

February 24th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Wenthuysen Inlet

February 24th, 1853

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

24 Feb., 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

(blank) 

 

Fort Victoria

26th February, 1853

Mr. Joseph William McKay

(blank)


Fort Rupert

26th February, 1853

Sir

(blank)

 

March, 1853

Nanaimo

March 8th

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Nanaimo

March 12th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Nanaimo

March 16th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)

 

Fort Victoria

18th March 1853

Mr. Joseph W. McKay

(blank)

 

FortVictoria

March 22, 1853

Mr. Joseph William McKay

(blank)


Nanaimo

March 31st, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

(blank)


April, 1853

Fort Victoria

April 1st, 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

(blank)

 

Nanaimo

April 9th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

The Express Canoe arrived here safely in the 6 Inst. And I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th Instant by her.

Mr. Gilmour has reached conglomerate at the depth of 7 fathoms and has relinquished the idea of making Newcastle Island the seat of his future operations. He wished to commence [pitting?] on Commercial Inlet having no direct instructions from you to that purpose, I directed him to communicate with you immediately on the subject he considered it more advisable to have an interview with you by which he may explain his ideas more fully than he can do by writing.  I have accordingly furnished him with a Canoe and Crew and he now proceeds to Victoria.

I questioned Mr. Muir on the reports regarding the foul condition of the Coal pr. “Mary Dare” he says that that circumstance arose from the carelessness of the hillsmen who shoveled in a portion of the pavement of the [wharf?] with the Coals.

The three Hatches did not arrive pr. Wunwunshim.

Versailles and Timothy now proceed to Victoria.

The two mining recruits Cluett and Weston now turn out as much coal as the regular miners, we can employ a few more to advantage.

Captain Stuart discovered a four feet seam of Coal on the Chase River 1 mile further up the River than that before discovered which may probably be the same one the [was?] of the Coal consists of Conglomerate.

I beg also to acknowledge the receipt of your letter for [Louis Oteokorie?] the papers were duly forwarded to Fort Rupert.  I received no letters for that place.

I have the honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

13th April, 1853

Mr. Joseph William McKay

Dear Sir:

Mr. Gilmour arrived here on the 11th Inst. With your letter of the 9th referring to matters of great importance which I have since had under serious consideration, the result of which is a decision to abandon the proposed workings on Newcastle Island and to commence operations on the Seam of Coal which you totally discovered Cropping out of the bank of Chase River.

Mr. Gilmour will explain the reasons which have led us to that Conclusion and should unexpected difficulties occur in working the bed in Chase River.  I have given my consent to his making a trial on the side of Commercial Inlet opposite the present pit.

The Steamer may be expected at Nanaimo about the 20th of this month and by that time you will be able to decide where the Machinery expected from Fort Rupert should be landed but should that point be undecided, then leave the Machinery on board the Recovery until the matter be further investigated.

From the dip of that bed, we are of opinion that it extends to the sea Coast and covers the whole space between [Flea?] Point and the mouth of Chase River.

The following men, 5 in number now accompany Mr. Gilmour as part of the establishment at Nanaimo.                                                                    [Viz’t?]

 

1.         Pierre Versaille                                                  Middleman

2.         George Cook                                                     Assistant Miner

3.         George Thomas                                                      ditto

4.         Magnus Edgar                                                        ditto

The 4 men last named are engaged on the same terms and with the sane prospective changes of advancement as Cluett and the other men that were sent up last time.

I hope Mr. Muir will be more careful in future when shipping Coal, as I fear the Shipment by the “Mary Dare” will have the effect of lowering the Character of the article in the California Market.

Three hatches or [Skeveys?] are not made and will be taken up by Mr. Gilmour if he can manage to stow them in his Canoe if not they will b3 forwarded by the return of the Steamer with 3 others that are now in the Carpenters hands.

I am glad to hear that Cluett and Weston are getting on so well and it is to be hoped that their example will induce the miners to be more industrious.

The discovery made by Captain Stuart on Chase River is another very important feature and may lead to results of the utmost advantage to the concern.

I received the Coal you forwarded by the Canoe, which is remarkably good and fully maintains the character of the Article.

The block of Sandstone received per the “Mary Dare” was not of the required shape a square column being wanted to support the mass of Coal, at 2 or 3 feet from the Ground.  I will be obliged to you for a few more sandstone [hags?] of moderate size, by the return of the “Cadboro”.

As the “Recovery” will not be wanted for the protection of the parties whom we intended to have employed on Newcastle Island it will be unnecessary to keep both vessels atNanaimo.

The Cadboro may therefore be sent to this place with a cargo of Coal, after the arrival of the Recovery.

With best Wishes

I Remain

Yours Truly

James Douglas

 

May, 1853

Nanaimo

May 4th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

I left Esquimalt harbour in H. M. S. S. “Virago” at 5 a.m. on the 25th [Ultimo?].  The Virago anchored off the North end of McLaughlin’s Island at 3 p.m. the same day o the 29th.  I accompanied Captain Provost to Bellingham Bay where there is a small settlement of Americans consisting of some eight or nine log huts and a Saw Mill half finished. 

I here visited a seam of Coal on Captain Pattle Claim 4 ft. 6 ins. Thick of which 2 f6. 9 ins. Is apparently good Coal the remainder consists of alternate strata of thin shale and Coal this Seam dips to the N. East an Angle of 45º.

Captain Pattle states that Beds of Coal occur along the shore of Bellingham Bay for the distance of Two Miles.

The “Virago” left McLoughlin’s Island on the 30th and grounded on a Rock in the Cowechin Gap where she remained 7 hours in a very precarious position at 9:30 P.M. she floated and reachedNanaimo early the next morning.  She was going easy with the tide against her at the time she struck and does not appear to have sustained any material damages.

The “Virago” commenced Coaling Yesterday and has now upwards of 100 tons on board.

The Steamer Beaver arrived here yesterday at 4 P.M. and will leave on the 6th Weather permitting.  George Mitchell and James Frances were loaded here and [Same?], Stove was transferred to the Steamer Beaver from this place.  Mr. Henry McNeil also proceeds to the Coast pr. Steamer Beaver.

Mr. Gilmour has mined 27 feet into the Coal at Chase River, without any satisfactory results, a Section of this Coal as it now appears is herewith forwarded.

I also forward the required plan of Mr. Muir’’s workings.

Mr. Gilmour is examining the Crop and at the head of Commercial Inlet.

I have the honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

6th May, 1853

Mr. Joseph William McKay

Dear Sir:

The Indian Couriers from Nanaimo arrived here yesterday afternoon and by them I received your letter of the 4th instant with the accompanying Charts and Documents.

I feel obliged by your report on the Coal Bed in Bellingham Bay which is however rather brief, as it gives me particulars regarding the position of the Coal field, whether near to or distant from the Coast and its accessibility for Shipping two points which will materially affect its value as an article of commerce.

I now recall your alternative to that subject as it is no doubt in your power to supply the required information.

Bellingham Bay is reported to be too shallow for navigation but our information on that point is not to be depended on and I would be obliged, if you would [communicate?] to me the results of your observation in regard to the Navigation.

The Map of Commercial Inlet appears Correct and gives a perfect idea of the place and improvements.  The results of Mr. Gilmour’s operations in Chase River do not appear to be very satisfactory though.  I conceive very necessary as the greatest possible advantages may result from an extensive examination of the Coal field.  I hope to hear by next Conveyance the result of his observations on the crop at the head of Commercial Inlet.

It is reported that the Virago grounded in the Cowitchen passage about which there appears to be some mistake as that passage does not lay in the route from McLaughlin’s Island to Nanaimo.

With Best Wishes

I remain

Sir

Your obedient Servant

James Douglas

 

Nanaimo

May 18th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 6th May 1853 which were delivered here safely on the 8th Instant.  I regret to learn that my report regarding Bellingham Bay was not sufficiently [prolix?].

The Coal seams which I visited occur on the beach along the south such Coast of Bellingham Bay east from Point Frances and dip N.E. in the direction of the Coast at an angle of 45º’s the strata in the vicinity appears much distorted some high hills occur in the immediate neighbourhood and from the circumstance of Coal occur frequently along the shore for a distance of two miles there are a great number of seams of Coal on the same seam is thrown up to the surface by a succession of slips.  By sounding the north and of McLaughlin’s Island and keeping well on the Island side the “Virago’s” boat had soundings at from 7 to 10 fathoms thus affording safe navigation for vessels of any tonnage the Channel from shore to shore varies from one mile to one and a half miles in width a flat with Boulders occurs off Point Francis which requires a wide birth.  No soundings at 30 fathoms from Pt. Francis E. to within half a mile of the shore of Bellingham Bay whence regular soundings occur gradually shoaling towards the beach in some parts are four fathoms water a Cable length from the shore a tracing of Bellingham Bay from Vancouver showing the approximate position of the Coal is herewith forwarded.  I also procured specimens of the Coal which were mislaid on board the “Virago”.

The “Virago” was safely piloted in through Cowechin Gap at Captain Provost request who appears anxious to assume a knowledge of the navigation in these parts after satisfying himself with a short excursion in the direction of the Salt Springs the vessel was [put?] round and grounded on her passage and towards the Gulf of Georgia on a rock not previously known and which lays nearly at mid-channel the South side of the Cowechin Gap is the safest, on the north side are some dangerous sunken rocks a sketch of the Gap with the position of the rock is herewith forwarded, the bearings of the rocks as regards the points of land were taken with a good compass the land may be laid down wrong as I had no opportunity of taking [crop?] bearings the Virago lost a [hedge?] and 8 inch [hawser?] which may be recovered by proper search being made.

Mr. Gilmour opened a section of the Coal at the head of Commercial Inlet which he is satisfied is the “Douglas” Coal he is now opening out a trench on a dead level commencing 50 yds. Below the Crop by which he expects to get a good hold of the Coal.

I have discovered a new seam of Coal on the beach at the Pemberton’s encampment which appears to be the same as that onNewcastleIslandat Point McKay.  It dips to the eastward and underlies the Conglomerate on which the Establishment is built between the level and Conglomerate are alternate strata of sandstone and shale.  McGregor is working this seam in from high water mark on a dead level this Coal is the most advantageously situated for surface working and shipping of any a yet discovered.  I would propose working this Coal with natives making John McGregor superintendent underground providing that that measure meets with your sanction a Section of the new discovery is herewith forwarded.

Having remarked a resemblance between them Strata overlying the Coal and that of a slip on Newcastle Island 300 yds. Beyond Mr. Gilmour’s bore, I started in Company with Captain Michell to examine the aforesaid slip and after strict search discovered a quantity of loose Coal among the loose stones and debris at the base of the Cliff.  This might lead to the supposition that the Coal [head?] at Point McKay crop out here and are not cut off by the Conglomerate as Mr. Gilmour supposed.  I will be enabled to clear this matter before next Express.

The Colliers appear determined to raise no more than thirty tons of Coals per month.  They maintain that 2/6 per ton is not sufficient pay for extra work as at the rate of 30 Tons per month.  Their pay amounts with ration money to nearly 4/- sterling per ton none of the assistant miners are working Coals at present. Cluett is on the sick list. Weston and Cork Drawing Coals 4 with Mr. Gilmour 3 at the pit head, the assistant miners lay claim to 2/6 per ton over half the quantity required from the regular Colliers they argue that as they receive only half the pay of a Collier they cannot be expected to perform more than half work for that pay.

La Fleur now proceeds to Victoria his Contract having expired, Bell, Fortier and Le Bine have notified their intention of proceeding to Victoriaafter the 1st June [proximo?].  Mahoy left in a [Bilbala?] canoe three days ago.  Hunter is at present fitting a pump for the Pits, he wishes to have his two sons employed and would work as Colliers when not otherwise employed if extra pay were allowed him for such service he requested me to Communicate with you on the subject.

Two young Nanaimoes fired on a Cowechin last Wednesday in revenge for the murder committed on the 29th of last August.  The Cowechin escaped with two wounds not mortal.  As this occurrence took place within 50 yds. of Mr. Gilmour’s house I was under the necessity of chasing the belligerent parties away from the place and warned the Nanaimoes to refrain for the future from carrying on their murderous practices so near the dwellings of the white man.

The Hunters have brought in very few deer lately the Nanaimoes are afraid to fish and we are now reduced to salt provisions of which we have a very small stock.  The Nanaimoes have brought in a great quantity of Cedar bark.

The Steamer Beaver sailed on the 6th Instant the Virago received 200 tons of Coals receipt for which is herewith forwarded.  Duplicate of the same will be sent by next Conveyance.  She sailed on the 7th inst.

I examined the Salt Lake reported to me by the natives last Autumn which proves to be a salt spring on the edge of a fresh water swamp as the spring is at present overflowing by the waters of the Swamp, I cannot ascertain the actual discharge of the Spring and quantity of salt contained in any specified quantity of water a specimen of the salt obtained by evaporation and a bottle of the water is herewith forwarded.

We are much in want of a pair of good horses as the mine is now ready for them.

An additional supply of trade goods such as 2½ inferior blankets, belts, [baize?] and cheap trousers will be required pr. First opportunity also 1 pce. Striped cotton for sale to miners a requisition for iron [Uc?] for the Steam Engine and should it be required, is also forwarded and we are in want of shovels.

Adam French has been off duty attending on his sick wife for the last three weeks.  I am at a loss whether to stop his pay or not.

Some real lead have been brought in by the natives by sender, as a supply of bad lines and bad hooks we might ascertain something important regarding that article of commerce Captain Mitchell can attend to that Department.

We have still 16 tons of Coals on hand.

I have the honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

20th May, 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

Your letter of the 18th May with the accompanying documents was received here yesterday morning, and I have to thank you for your much valuable information, both as respects to Coal discovered by the Americans in Bellingham Bay, to approaches and position, and the progress of our own operations at Nanaimo.

The charts were very nicely done and gave a much better idea of places than verbal descriptions.

The accident to the Virago on the Cowechin Gap, was unfortunate, but no blame I presume rests with Captain Stuart as the existence of the rock was before unknown.  It is a pity that a good survey is not made of the [Canal de Arro?], which would make all such dangers known and easily avoided.

The receipt for the 200 tons of Coal supplied H. M. S. Virago was duly received here and will be valued on her return to this place.

Mr. Gilmour does not appear to be very successful in his researches for Coal and moreover appears much dissatisfied with his lodgings and his treatment generally, as he evidently considers himself slighted a circumstance which I much regret, and trust you will give him no cause of complaint.

He has written to me respecting his position at Nanaimo and my answer is herewith transmitted for your perusal.   Deliver it to him sealed.

The new Seam of Coal discovered near Mr. Pemberton’s Encampment is a most gratifying and important discovery, entirely overthrowing the theory we have as long indulged that the conglomerate works the limit of the Coal formations.

It would appear from your description that the New Seam underlies the “Douglas” Coal, so that by piercing the pavement in Muir’s pit, we may come to another bed of equal value to the one we have now in hand.  I think it highly desirable to drive an [adit?] into the new discovery were it only for the purposes of ascertaining its continuity and direction.

La Fleur informs me that it appears to run through the [?] connecting the site of the Fort with the land near salt River in that case which borders the marshy plan behind the Fort and probably extends far into the Country beyond that plain with a rise towards the land, so that there will be a natural drainage towards the beach with an almost limitless supply of Coal.

Let me know in your next letter if this idea correct.  I think well of your suggestion in reference to employing McGregor with a band of Indians to work that Seam but Mr. Gilmour might probably complain of any arrangements of that kind, and consider it an injustice to him that McGregor should have the preference.  I would therefore decide as follows:  that that seam should be immediately worked, and that Mr. Gilmour should have the option of conducting it, with all the spare means you can muster but if he prefers carrying on the works on the side of Commercial Inlet opposite miners pit, let him do so and put McGregor with a gang of Indians to work the new seam and should it prove as extensive as we expect, we will concentrate all our means on that shaft and Miners pit, and hereafter abandon the other working until a future time.

I shall be happy to hear by your next letter if the opinion you formed in respect to the Coal beds at Point McKay  cropping and near the abandoned pit on Newcastle Island, be correct or otherwise, I am disposed to take a favourable view and to believe that the Conglomerate does not cut off the Coals as Mr. Gilmour supplied.

I note your remarks in respect to the Colliers and I think their arrangements are scarcely reasonable.  They have bed and board fro the Company and in doing extra work they are not put to any expense on that score.  It is therefore not fair to bring that in as an element of Expense in the extra work they do for the Company.

The fair way to value that work is to have the expense of bed and board altogether out of the question that being borne entirely by the Company and to value their wages only which at £50 a year, taking the year at 310 working days would give about 3/1 for each ton of Coal produced now the [overman?] has a small percentage upon the extra Coal produced which would leave about 2/9 per ton and I am willing to give them that allowances for all the extra Coal they deliver.  Pray give this information to the Miners and let me know their answer.

In regard to the assistant miners their demand is also unreasonable, as we are giving them an opportunity of learning a good trade and as soon as the [overman?] is satisfied, that they are qualified to do miners work in all its branches, they will be placed on the same scale as regards wages and allowances as the regular miners, but they are not likely to be soon qualified if they continue their present lazy [bed?] system of turning and ½ ton per diem, what they state about wages is not correct, they have only half the pay of miners it is true, but in other respects they are equally expensive to us, having bed and board on the same scale and medical attendance when sick which makes them much more than half the miners pay.  I am willing however to take ¾ of a ton of Coal a day as fair work from them and to allow them a premium of 2/6 on all Coal which they produce over that quantity and you may begin with them on that footing immediately.

La Fleur will probably soon return to Nanaimo under engagement as Collier, you may employ Hunters two sons as apprentices should there be work for them, and he may be allowed 2/9 per ton for any Coals he may produce at his Leisure hours.

I regret the disturbance which lately occurred between the Nanaimoes and Cowechins you did right to worn them off the precincts of the Fort, as such barbarous act must not be allowed near our premises.

You must use every exertion to get fresh provisions as salt meat is exceedingly scarce.

I am in hopes that the salt springs may yet turn out well, as the specimen now received is good and well tasted, and well tasted, and I am writing to England about it.  I now send you the Cod Lines and Hooks and I wish Mitchell every success in fishing which I trust will have to come here for them.

With best Wishes

Yours truly

(Signed) James Langley

Young [Sawceeah?], has received a Blue [Cash?] here.

 

Nanaimo

May 31st, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

I beg to report the safe return of the Express Canoe to this place with your Excellency’s despatch of the 24th day.

The receipt for 200 Tons Coal supplied the Virago is herewith forwarded.

I hardly think that the New Seam of Coal at Mr. Pemberton’s encampment extends continuously across the isthmus.  It appears to be displaced by the slip the Miners appear to agree in the supposition that the same lines of coal seam occur inland from the Establishment.  There is a difference of opinion as to the depth at which they may be struck.  Mr. Gilmour supposes that the inland part has slipped up; that the “Douglas” Coal is there eve away by denunciation and that the Coal of Mr. Pemberton’s Encampment only can be depended upon as extending inland others suppose the slip to have been downwards and that both Coals may be found inland.  I am inclined to hold with the latter opinion.  McGregor has had his hand hurt by the falling in of a piece of Coal, he is now laid up and his work is at a stand still, Mr. Gilmour prefers continuing operations where he is at present Mr. Muir proceeds to Victoria with the intention of bringing up Mrs. Muir he has been unwell for some time back.

Bell, Fortier and Le Bine now proceed to Victoria their Contracts having expired.

Samuel Rickets arrived from Fort Rupert three days ago for the benefit of medical attendance.  Mr. Blenkinsop desires me to send him back when convalescent.

I got the fresh water turned off from the Salt Spring at Salt River, the Salt water spring from between strata of soft sandstone which rest on a bed of conglomerate the spring yields 2 galls brine pr. [minute?] each gall yields on evaporation 1 lb. salt.  Specimens of which are herewith forwarded 2 small pans affording a surface of 4 ½ feet evaporated 9 lbs. salt in 8 hours with a moderate heat.

We are much in want of shovels and our trade goods are getting short.  I have not as yet been enabled to make a proper examination of the Coal Seams on Newcastle and Departure Bay.

John McGregor commenced building a house 40 feet  x 30 which he has not the means to finsh the four walls are weather boarded and the rafters are on he wishes to dispose of it for 4 cows and a young bull, if you deemed fit to Sanction that arrangement.  I could get it finished as we are much in want of recommendations at present.

I have the honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Date Blank

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

K. M. L. Virago arrived safely from Queen Charlotte Islands on Monday last and I was much concerned at the very unfavourable report of the Nanaimo Coal, which I received from Captain Provost, he complains of the quantity of [shale?] and other incompatible materials mixed with the lot of Coal supplied the Virago, which not only caused an excess of smoke but also hindered and filled the furnaces with rubbish.  He also complains that the Coal had not been screened before delivery.

Those complaints evidently arise entirely from the neglect of the oversman and miners, who are not sufficiently careful in digging the Coal to separate from it the shale and other [bituminary?] material forming the roof and pavement of the pit.

I beg you will lose no time in calling our miners particular attention to that subject and you will require him to be most careful in receiving the Coal from the miners, and to see that the [bituminary?] shale and other [outistancey?] resembling Coal is carefully picked out and thrown aside, and that it be afterward shipped clean and free from rubbish otherwise the Nanaimo Coal will sink in Character and lose half its value.

The bearers of this one are not sent Express but are proceeding to Nanaimo on their own [?] and will of course expect a trifle for carrying this letter and should they bring letters from you I have promised them each a shirt on their return to this place.

With best Wishes

I remain Sir

Yours truly

James Douglas

 

June, 1853

Nanaimo

June 2nd, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

I am much grieved to learn by your despatch of the 31st Ultimo that Captain Provost had sent in a bad report of the Nanaimo Coal as I was particular in representing to Mr. Muir the necessity there may for delivering only the best of Coal to the Virago.  As far as I am aware all the Coals were screened before shipment an assistant Engineer belonging to the Virago attended to see the sacks filled and weighed there was certainly a great deal of rubbish in the Coal that was first turned out of the mine as every thing had to be cleared away in order to make room.  I mentioned this circumstance several times to Mr. Muir who promised to ship nothing but what was good Coal.

The “Miners” are not at all anxious to increase their daily returns of Coal, the assistant Miners say that they were promised the same rate of pay as the Miners for the work that they were capable of performing they refuse to dig Coals at the rate of ¾ ton per diem for their task and 2/6 per ton for Extra Coals they consider that they sought to receive 2/6 for all Coals over 15 Tons per month they are now employed variously about the Wharf and Winch most of which services might be performed by Natives.

Hunter has changed his mind about working Coals, he has at present taken a Contract for building the Chimneys in Mr. Mims house, in fact their appears to be a general [?] the Miners to do as little for their pay as the law allows and as the oversmen are making no extra pay they are equally inert.

I have heard since Mr. Muir’s departure that he had been endeavouring to engage the retiring servants who left with him to assist his sons at Sooke.  Mr. Gilmour circulated this report, McGregor declares it to be false.  I should hardly think that the old gentleman would be capable of such perfidy as he well knew that those men were required here.

Thomas Sagoyawatha refused to go to work this morning.  I reprimanded him for being slow in the performance of his duty, he immediately answered that as I was not satisfied with his Conduct he would leave and go to Victoria, he has since that time thought proper to remain at home.  I am loath to proceed to extremities with him as he is one of my best hands he appears to be in liquor; every fresh arrival brings spirituous liquors among these people causing an endless source of trouble and annoyance.  I must either supply the allowance of liquor to the miners [Glety?] or stop the supply entirely as there are evident symptoms of clandestine sales of spirituous liquors to the labourers at this place.

The present position of affairs at this place is certainly very discouraging.  We have here two oversmen whose sole duty is to superintend 5 miners and half a dozen labourers and although a very small task is expected from these [worthies?] who have a magnificent field of Coal to work on, they cannot succeed in delivering [men?] that small quantity in a marketable state.

Of the builders Versailles and Ignace are next to useless, and since Thomas has turned obstreperous.  I have only Lazard, Oteokorie and Robilliard who are good for anything.  Thomas, Francis, Horne, Ritch, McGregor and Archibald French are on the Sick List and only five of the Assistant Miners are in a healthy condition.

I trust that matters will improve and that I will be enabled to make a better report of the place by night Express.  The Bastion is nearly finished, we have three dwelling houses 20 x 30 ft. habitable, 4 houses 25 x 15 and the wood raised for three house 20 x 30 ft.

I have the honor of remain

Your most obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

4th June, 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

Your letter of the 2nd instance has just come to hand and I address you this note in reply by some return Indians, going to Nanaimo on their own [business?].

Your report on affairs is rather gloomy, but things will mend are long.

In regard to the assistant Miners if they do not choose to act in the capacity for which they were hired, you will send them back to this place and they will lose the benefit of the increase of pay.  I do not wish them to leave the place but they must either be miners or labourers.  Tell them so.  I think an example of one or two of the leaders will bring the others to terms.  They will have the advantage of being put on Miners full pay as soon as they can do the work.

Be [?] with them.  Get as much Coal collected as you can for the “Mary Dare” will probably soon proceed toNanaimofor a Cargo.

In Haste

Yours Sincerely

James Douglas

 

Nanaimo

June 16th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

A Number of Chemsian Canoes have just arrived here from Fr. Simpson on their way toVictoria.  William Garrioch was landed here by them, he is left here on the sick list at Captain McNeil’s request which is herewith enclosed.

I reached this place safely on this night of the 14th Inst. Every thing went on well and quietly during my absence.  Mr. Gilmour has reached Coal at his working at the head of Commercial Inlet its thickness has not as yet been ascertained the Coal is of good quality, four of the assistant Miners are at work in the pit, the weekly returns are now over 50 Tons.  We are out of Nails, Tobacco and Butter.  The Natives are raising Coal.

We have now 300 Tons of Coals on hand. If all goes on well we will have raised the 400 Tons for the Virago before the 1st of July.

Professor Jamieson’s method of discovering Coal is herewith enclosed.

I have the honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

July, 1853

Nanaimo

July 4th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

We have now 400 Tons of Coals on hand.

The Natives have raised very few Coals lately they have about 30 Tons on Hand.

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the “Cadboro” with supplies as we have entirely expended our stock of trade goods and small stores a [seron?]  of Tobacco and some Congo Tea may be forwarded by the Canoe.

One of the miners has been on the Sick List since the 16th Ultimo the average weekly returns of Coal is now 50 tons.

The Water in the pit increases as the workings Extend.  Notwithstanding the dryness of the Season there is as this moment a greater flow of water in the shaft than there was last Winter, some better arrangement must be made for getting rid of the water than either the winch or hand pump, otherwise it will require the whole Establishment to keep the pit in working order during the rainy season.  Mr. Gilmour recommends the use of the Steam Engine as the most efficient and economical method of rendering this evil, a pair of Good horses might suffice for working the “Douglas “ Coal with the Steam Engine both the Douglas and the Lower Coals may be worked by the same pit.

If Mr. Muir is at Victoria it will be advisable for him to procure as many [Oat’s ?] for blasting as possible as we have none at this place.

The Coal at the head of Commercial Inlet measures 2 feet in thickness and is of good quality it rests on a stratum of shale 3 fee thick under which is a bed of Conglomerate, one hand is employed here running in an [adit?] on a dead level.  The Coal may yet be thicker as no bedded roof has as yet been discovered.  The Superstrata Consists of aSandyloam evidently of recent formation and the upper surface of the Coal is very uneven and water worn.

We require fresh supply of Cash say $300.

I have the honor to remain

Your most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

July 5th, 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

It having been necessary to send the “Cadboro” to Fort Langley, to bring the Furs of the Interior to this place, I could not carry my intention of sending her to Nanaimo into effect until the present time, when she is about to sail with the supplies on your several requisitions, completed as far as our means permit.

Mr. Swanson is in command of the “Cadboro” and the vessel is well manned and appointed in order that she may make the voyage as expeditiously as possible.  After she has discharged her Cargo you will please to fill her with Coal traded from the Indians on account of Fort Victoria and dispatch her without delay for his place.

I beg that you will also replace the Coal exported on a/c of the Fur trade as directed in the Notes which I gave you, and when that is done you will please to send me an account of the goods expended in such purchases in order that the same, may be placed to the Credit of the post at Nanaimo.

I beg also that you will send me a copy of those notes there being no copy of them at this place.

I am exceedingly anxious to hear from you and trust that you are all well and the work going on prosperously.

With reference to the Invoice and Bill of Lading herewith

I remain

Dear Sir

Yours Very Truly

James Douglas

 

Fort Victoria

7th July, 1853

Mr. Joseph William McKay:

Dear Sir:

I have just received your letter of the 4th Inst. And as the Bearers appear much alarmed at the thoughts of remaining here for the night and have left their Canoe at Cedar Hill I am induced to dispatch them immediately without however sending the [seron?] of Tobacco and the [Congo] Tea which you requested me to forward.

This is however of less importance as the Cadboro sailed yesterday forNanaimo, with your supplies and will reach you probably as soon as the bearers.

The intelligence in your letter is generally satisfactory.  I am glad to hear that you have the quantity of Coal on hand required for the ”Virago” and that you will soon be in a Condition to load other vessels.

In reference to the Coal pit I am afraid that we shall be under the necessity of adapting Mr. Gilmour’s plan of using the steam engine to clear it of water and if such should continue to be his opinion, I think you had better act upon it at once, as it will be some time before we could either send you horses or feed them properly.

Mr. Muir is still unwell, and will not probably return to Nanaimo for a month to come and I will not fail to request him to take on a supply of [straws?] for blasting.

I hope the bed of Coal at the head of Commercial Inlet will prove as good as expected and trust soon to hear from you favourably on the subject.

I will send you a supply of Cash by the first safe conveyance, which will probably be by the “Virago” as soon as the returns from the Coast.

H. M. S. “Trincomalee” is now here and has a large packet of letters for the Officers of the Virago.  Please mention this to Captain Prevost should he happen to return by Nanaimo.

Your last letter is not Signed

With best wishes

Yours Truly

James Douglas

 

Nanaimo

July 13th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th Inst. Pr. Schooner “Cadboro” which vessel arrived here safely on the 9th inst..

The Cadboro is now ready for sea with a Cargo of 50 Tons of Coals on board 34 Tons of which were traded from the Natives the remaining 16 Tons were supplied from McGregors working and will be replaced with Indian Coal at the earliest opportunity.

The Express Canoe returned here safely on the 10th inst. with your Despatches of the 7th.

If nothing occurs to retard the mining operations we will have over 110 Tons of Coals besides the Government Contract by next Saturday.

With reference to the Steam Engine Mr. Gilmour is still decided in his opinion that it affords the only means for keeping the pit is in regular working order we are now about to Commence Squaring the timber required for the Engine and Pit head Frame a list of which I herewith forward a good Carpenter will be required to put the frame together as Lazard is hardly competent to undertake that job.  Great [nicely?] being required in taking the measurements and fitting the joints.

The Sundries for the Steam Engine as per Requisition of May 18th may be forwarded by some early opportunity.

I am sorry to hear that Mr. Muir is still unwell.  I am however happy to state that as the work is going on at present our small complement of men are much more profitably in a body under one manager a division of hands requires a division of means and gives rise to a multiplicity of small troubles and bickerings.

Nothing further has been done to the Coal at the head of Commercial Inlet since my last letter all hands being employed in the workings within the boundaries of the Establishment.

The “Virago” has not yet arrived Garrioch is sufficiently recovered to perform light jobs.

A number of [Qurkyulh?] Canoes arrived here on the 9th bringing with them a man fromFortRupert named Finlay who having been ill for some time back has been sent down for the benefit of medical advice.

We have not as yet commenced evaporating the waters of the Salt Spring the pans are at present being repaired we have only a sufficient quantity of plate iron to repair one boiler a piece of the steamer’s funnel which was sent here for that purpose is so thin and corroded as to be utterly useless a few [bolts?] for repairing [boilers?] with some plate would also be useful.

I intend to use only one pan at first.

A watchman is required at night on the Coal Wharf to prevent the Indians from stealing coals – Bond would suit that situation.

A copy of the Notes with a Certificate of Mr. French’s Death Requisition and Invoice are herewith enclosed.

I beg to apologize for my carelessness in not signing my last despatch.

I have the Honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

 

Nanaimo

July 17th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

The Schooner Cadboro sailed from this place on the 14Th Inst. With a Cargo of 50 Tons of Coals and four packages of Furs and I trust that she has [?] this time reached Victoria in safety.

We are now squaring wood for the Engine frame Mr. Muir’s pit is being enlarged three of the miners are employed at Pemberton Encampment the others are working in from the point commenced by John McGregor in Commercial Inlet four of the assistant miners Cluett, Elliott, Weston and Cook are working Coals of these only Cluett and Elliott turn and the required quantity of ¾ Tons per diem, Weston and Cook have been very backward this last week, on being tasked by Mr. Gilmour for their want of energy, they answered in a very insolent manner making use of very indecent language.

I had employed James Linklater for some time back to serve and rations, attend to supplying the miners receive bark poles, shells, [?] from the natives whenever I was absent or otherwise engaged.  Two days ago having occasion to send for him at about seven o’clock P.M. to attend to some strangers who had just arrived he refused to come on my tasking him for his insubordinate conduct.  He answered no in such an insolent manner that I was under the necessity of punishing him on the [spats?] as he has refused to assist me any further in the store.  I have him employed at the Salt Spring.  I am much in want of a trustworthy person to attend to these little matters.  Linklater though generally [curt?] is naturally careless and slovenly he often allowed the fish and venison traded from the Indians to spoil under his hands from want of attention.  Salmon are being brought in, in larger quantities than heretofore.  The venison brought in lately is mostly in bad condition owing to the heat of the weather. The hunters being often wind bound in [cropping?] theGulf of Georgia.  Ovid Allard’s time is wholly occupied in superintending the Indian Labourers who are worse than useless if not kept under the strictest surveillance.

Two births have occurred at this Establishment since the Cadboro sailed in the cases of Mr. Dunsmuir and the native wife of John Malcolm Labourer.

The supply of goods for “Cadboro” are hardly adequate to meet the present demands at this place for Indian Labour and provisions.  I beg also to recall attention to my former requisition for a Blksmith’s Stock & Dies which are much required here and will be indispensable in erecting the Steam Engine, the smallest sized cod hoods or largest size of Trout hooks are now much in demand among the natives for the coming Salmon Season.  We have been obliged to postpone our experiments in Cod fishing the lines supplied being thoroughly rotten and the hoods being much too small for that purpose.

I have the honor to remain

Your most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay


Fort Victoria

20th July 1853

Mr. Joseph William McKay

Dear Sir

The Cadboros’ arrival here safely with the Cargo from Nanaimo and your letter of the 13th of July with the accompanying documents.

The Furs were found correct as pr. Invoice and the magnificent Lump of Coal which you have kindly sent was transported without accident to the spot which it is intended to occupy and the Sandstone Pedestal is now the only thing wanted to Complete the display of the Mineral treasures ofVancouver Island.

I observe that 16 Tons of the Coal forming the Cadboros’ Cargo were supplied from the pit, and must be replaced hereafter by Coal traded from the Indians.

I observe also that you have 110 Tons of disposable Coal on hand in addition to the quantity ordered by Government and I beg that you will state the disposable sock by every opportunity and also the weekly average yield from the mines that I may be in a position to answer queries and to effect sales here to vessels calling for Coal which cannot be done unless I am regularly advised of the exact quantity on hand.

I observe that you have commenced squaring timber for erecting the Steam Engine an operation that I am afraid will greatly interfere with the other necessary work of the place. Particularly the creation of houses for the accommodation of the miners expected fromEnglandthe Company having already engaged 40 Scottish Miners who will come out to this Country by the return of the Norman [Morrison?] every possible exertion must be made to prepare house accommodation for them on their arrival in this Country.

I fear the erection of the Steam Engine just at present will cause considerable delay but I presume it cannot be deferred without retarding the operations in the shaft.

Please do let me know what time it would require to complete the arrangements for the Engine and when it may be expected to be in full operation.

Mr. Muir has just been up from Sooke and was surprised to hear your report Concerning the increase of water in the shaft for which he cannot account and I could not persuade him of the necessity which you so strongly represented of having the engine as that Shaft which he still thinks might have been kept Clear by means of a hand pump and he earnestly advised that the Engine should be reserved for another shaft on the opposite side of Commercial Inlet.

I mention those points for your and Mr. Gilmour’s consideration.

Whatever is done in the premises keep two points constantly in view, that is to get out as much Coal as you possibly can, and to get as many houses put up as possible for the reception of the Miners on their arrival in the Country.  I might possibly engage a few men at this place to put up buildings by Contract if you think it would not have a bad effect on the minds of the engaged Servants.

You must employ William Garrioch to put the Wooden frame together, as it is impossible to get a Carpenter for that purpose at this place.

Mr. Muir is not yet well and will not return to Nanaimo, till after the arrival of the “Otter”.

I shall be happy to hear of your success with the Salt Spring.  I note your remark about the Barrel of pork deficient on the Invoice.

Your letter of the 17th arrived yesterday.  I regret that the assistant Miners are not more useful and better conducted.

A further supply of goods will be sent you on the arrival of the “Otter”.  I have no one to replace Linklater.  I am glad to hear that salmon is abundant and I trust you will secure as many as possible for the use of the Establishment.

We now forward a blksmiths [stock?] And Dies and a supply of the largest trout hooks in Store.

I remain

Dear Sir

Yours Very Truly

James Douglas

N.B.  The Stock & Dies now sent is the only instrument of the kind at this place and cannot be spared for a very long time and until returned I beg that you will send down by the first conveyance the small stock and dies a sent to Nanaimo last year by Raymond [Ray?] do not fail.

JD

 

Nanaimo

July 24th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

Mr. William McNeil has just arrived here on his way from Fort Simpson to Victoria and leaves this immediately.  The “Virago” will Commence Coaling tomorrow and will probably be full by the 30th.

Mr. John Work Sr. and Dr. Johnstone accompanies Mr. McNeil to Victoria.  Dr. Johnstone made arrangements with the Surgeons of the “Virago” to attend to any demands for medical attendance during his absence.

I hereby forward two gallons of Nanaimo Salt. as sample also 8 dried Cod.  The Cod [floats?] and lines were duly received by the Express Canoe.

I have the honor to remain

Your much Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria
 

27th July 1853

Mr. Joseph W. McKay

Dear Sir:

I have received your letter of the 24th July and note that you had 150 Tons of Coal on hand, over and above the quantity contracted for by Government.

It is probable that Captain Provost will want more than the 400 Tons he agreed to take in which case you may allow him as much more as he requires advising me carefully on his return of the quantity remaining on hand and of course transmitting a receipt for the quantity delivered.

I received the salt which appears to be of good quality though rather rusty in consequence probably of the pans not being clean.  But I have no doubt your next samples will be in better condition.

The dried cod fish was also received and proves to be an excellent article Cure as many of them as you can.

I am glad to learn that the frame for the Engine will be completed in about 3 weeks and to observe that it is your intention to increase the number of hands employed in building by engaging goods Indians for that purpose I will not send you any Contract builders from this place for fear of unsettling the minds of those you now have.

I now forward $500 in cash in charge of Captain Stuart who will deliver the same to you.  You mentioned that you proposed writing by William McNeil but I have not received any letter by him.

I beg that every attention and civility in your power, may be shown to Captain [Harraton?] and Captain Provost during their stay at Nanaimo.

Dr. Johnstone will leave this in Saturday next for Nanaimo.

I addressed you a note, this morning by the two Indians who brought the letters from Fort Rupert.

With Best Wishes

Yours Sincerely

James Douglas

 

Fort Victoria

27th July 1853

Mr. Joseph Wm. McKay

Dear Sir:

The bearers of this note arrived here this morning with a packet containing some letters from Fort Rupert but none from you though they inform me that they were employed by you, for the trip if so, this will suffice to inform you of the safe delivery of the Packet.

Captain Provost will leave this evening or early tomorrow and I will forward $500 by him in charge of Captain Stuart who accompanies him.  Captain [Houston?], Senior Officer on the Station, will also be of the party and I beg that every civility and attention in your power may be shown to those Gentlemen.

I will write you further by Captain Stuart.

Yours Sincerely,

James Douglas

 

Nanaimo

July 31st, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

H.M.S.S. Virago has now finished Coaling and sails early tomorrow morning, a receipt for 368 tons 11 carts of coals being the quantity shipped on board that Vessel is herewith forwarded a Duplicate of which will be sent by next opportunity.  We have yet on hand 186 Tons 13 Carts of Miners Coal and 50 Tons of Indian Coal making in all 236 Tons 13 Carts.

A distressing instance of savage treachery occurred Four days since near Noo-Noo-as under the following circumstances.  A Chimsian Canoe manned by five men and one woman came alongside the Recovery at 10 a.m. on the 26th they said that they were bound to Fort Simpson and demanded a supply of water as they were afraid to go on shore, after remaining alongside about half an hour they proceeded on their voyage until they were wind bound at a Cluster of small inlets between Nanaimo and Noo-Noo-as while asleep at this place they were surprised by a she shall war canoe

Attacked without provocation and two of them were shot the remaining three men and two women came alongside the Virago where they have remained since that time one of the poor creatures died the day after they were received on board, the other is mortally wounded but may linger on for a day or two, as no sheshalls have arrived here since that occurrence I have had no opportunity of inquiring into the excuses they may have for such conduct a report is current on board the “Virago” that Mr. Beardmore shot a sheshall on his way from Langley to Fort Rupert 3 years ago and this last murder was committed in revenge for that deed.  Donald M. [Auley?] is the authority for this piece of information.  I think that it is all a false conjecture.  I never heard that Mr. Beardmore had been guilty of such an atrocity and I think that the matter is worthy of investigation.

The weekly returns from the Coal Miners is 55 Tons. 

A Cameo was stolen two months since from [Tehee-whe-Tum?] a Nanaimo Indian by An-don a [Tomgas?] woman who ran away from this place two months since with her brother and is now in the neighbourhood of Victoria.  I had some difficulty in preventing the Nanaimoes from attacking a Bilballa Canoe in revenge for this theft, and it will be well if restitution can be made to the injured party the Canoe is valued Two Blankets.

A parcel of salt is forwarded in charge of Captain Stuart the Salt pans are at present [stopped?] all hands being employed on the Engine frame and building.

A supply of gunpowder for mining purposes will be required by the earliest opportunity.  We will hardly have the required number of cottages for the Miners by the next spring as a great quantity of lumber is constantly required in the Mine for air [courses?] yes one miner is nearly constantly employed handling picks and window sashes and sons take a long time to make if ready made window sashes and hewn lumber were supplied from Victoria it would greatly expedite the building operation and this place.

Extensive fire have been raging in this neighbourhood for the last week every particle of vegetation has been burnt up in the vicinity of the Establishment no casualty has occurred therefrom with the exception of some squared timber being a little charred our squaring operations have however been retarded as the men cannot work in the woods at present.

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 27th inst. By Captain Provost and that of the 27th by the return Canoe, the letters from Fort Rupert were mustard in the Recovery’s Cabin at the time that Mr. McNeil left and the small canoe was sent to overtake him with the packet [Mr. Mark Dunion?] had charge of my letters.

I have the honor to remain

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

30th July, 1853

Mr. J. W. McKay

Dear Sir:

Doctor Johnstone will leave today on his return toNanaimo.

He spoke to me about the surgery which leaks by the roof, and of his wish to live on shore which he can do as soon as Hunter’s house is finished.  Knowing the many calls upon the time of the men under your charge.  I cannot press you but I wish that the roof of the surgery may be improved and Dr. Johnstone lodged on shore as soon as convenient.

Having written you so lately by Captain Stuart, I have nothing particular to remark upon the present occasion.

I remain

Sir

Yours truly

James Douglas


August, 1853

Nanaimo

August 2nd, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 30th [?] by Dr. Johnstone who arrived here safely this morning.

I will endeavour to meet your wishes regarding accommodations for Dr. Johnstone as early as possible.

A Duplicate for 368 Tons 11 Carts of Coal supplied HMSS Virago is herewith forwarded that Vessel sailed on the 1st Inst.

Captain Stuart handed me specie to the amount of five hundred dollars as pr. Invoices from Mr. C. T. Findayson pr. The Virago.

The Noo-noo-as report coal in their Country as a certainty they have also brought in a small sample of Salt gathered from a Salt Spring near their village.

We have five hands on the Sick List Weston, Finlay, Wiles, Henham and Rickets.

All our disposable hands are at present employed on the Engine Frame.

Thomas [Sagayowatha?] is on leave is on leave toVictoriahe has made a fresh agreement for two months.  Commencing from the date on which his present contract expires.  Ignace [harchuana?] has sent his children toVictoriato School he says that he was promised rations for his family at the time of his engagement with the Company and desires that such extra ration may be furnished his family atVictoria.

Two of the miners [?] Mr. McGregor and Mr. Hunter are passengers in Thomas Canoe.

I have the honor to remain

Sir

Your most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Nanaimo

August 14th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

 

Sir:

There are now 300 Tons of Miners Coals and about 60 Tons of Indian Coals on hand at this place.

The Engine frame will be completed this week, the Engine is now landed many of the parts are much corroded and will take some time to clean and put in order.

We are now very short of trade goods as we have had to employ a great many Indians lately for Coaling the Virago and discharging the heavy iron work from the Recovery we are also particularly in want of Gunpowder.

The Sheshalls have not brought in any venison since the attack on the Chimsians and these is now a hard run on our stock of Salt provisions.

We are very short of Lamp Oil of which we would require to have a reserve of two or three hundred gallons constantly on hand, as the supplies from the Indians are not always to be depended on and a want of that article would immediately put an end to our mining operations.

The Salt pans are stopped for the present all hands being employed house building and raising the Steam Engine frame.

The Articles required for the Steam Engine and indented for on the 18th of last May, particularly the holding down bolts will be required in the course of two or three days.

I made an excursion to Noo-Noo-as three days ago for the purpose of examining the Coals and Salt Springs reported to have been discovered by the Natives in that District the Coal is of the variety called the [Cannel?] Coal and occurs in a seam two inches thick laying under a bed of conglomerate and over a bed of sandstone.  The Salt was formed by sea water which having been left in cavities in the Sandstone at Spring tides had been evaporated by the heat of the sun.

Thomas [Sageyawatha?] arrived here yesterday evening, he brought no Despatches.

The lamp made by Raymond are very much complained of by the miners.  The spout being only half the heighth of the body of the lamp there is a greater quantity of it wasted than is burnt the altering of this defect would greatly diminish the expenditure of oil, a sample of the [Kilmarnock?] lamp is herewith forwarded the Tinsmith will observe that the lamp has a double spout made purposely to catch the waste oil, the covers should also be fixed by a hinge to the body of the lamp and the [vice?] of the cover should be bevelled and well soldered.

Magnus Edgar wishes to draw on his Fur trade account to the amount of four pounds sterling and begs to request from you a draft to that amount which he intends to remit to his friends inScotland.

The “Recovery” has been beached pitched and has had her fore foot repaired she is now in good condition.

I have the honor to remain

Sir

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

17th August, 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

I have just received your letter of the 14th Instant, and I have perused it’s contents with interest and satisfaction.

I have noted your various wants which shall have due attention. We cannot find any iron of the size required for the holding down bolts of the Steam Engine.

Thomas [Sagoyawatha?] left this without letters, having been seldom sober the whole time he was here and was probably not so at the time of his Departure.

I will procure you a supply of ready made window sashes and doors, you need therefore give yourself no trouble about those things.  Let your whole attention be directed to the erection of buildings.

The sample lamp was received and has been made over with proper instructions to Raymond.

I propose bearing down tomorrow with the “Otter” and “Mary Dare” in two for Nanaimo and expect to be with you very soon and the Mary Dare and take in a cargo of Coals forCalifornia.

With best Wishes

Yours Very Truly

James Douglas

 

September, 1853

Nanaimo

September 5th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

On leaving Victoria 3rd Instant the “Otter” proceeded with the “Cadboro” in tow along the shores of

Vancouver Island.  Through [Sansome?] passage and at 7.30 anchored in the narrows, the ebb tide running too strong to admit of our passing through.  We reached Nanaimo at 1p:30 on the morning of the 4th we here found the U.S. Steamer Active which vessel had arrived here last evening from Bellingham Bay and the Steamer Beaver the latter vessel brings news of the total wreck of the “Vancouver” schooner on point Rose, Captain Reid with the Vancouver’s Crew are passengers on board the Beaver.

The Active received 80 Tons of Coals on board to-day and will receive 20 Tons more to-morrow morning.  I hereby forward the first of a draft for Six hundred Dollars on James King of William of San Francisco Drawn and endorsed by Captain Alden Duplicate of which I will forward by next opportunity.  I have besides received five hundred dollars cash making in all eleven hundred dollars for 100 Tons of Coals.  The Active sails on the 7th for the neighbourhood of Point Roberts.

The Otter sails at 6 A.M. tomorrow morning with the Recovery in tow.  Mr. Sinclair is on board the Otter as supernumerary Officer to assist in Piloting the vessel.  The despatches forLangleywere duly delivered to Captain Millar, the Otter has upwards of 60 Tons of Coals on board.

The Trade Goods and stores were all shifted from the Recovery to the Cadboro.

The returns of Coals last week amounted to 67 Tons.

Alexander Papley was landed from the Beaver on the Sick List.

I have the honor to remain

Sir

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Nanaimo

September  10th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir:

I hereby forward a receipt from Captain Robertson of the Schooner Archimedes for [184?] tons and five [cwt?] of Coals.  Duplicate of which I will forward by next Express.

Captain Robertson remarks in his receipt that he is not accountable for weight Sc.  He had every opportunity of examining our weights and had I been aware that he intended to make any difficulty about receipting and Coals on account of weight the Coals would have been weighed on board his vessel.

We have now only eight or ten tons of Coals on hand. Our accounts show a deficiency of no less than 80 Tons of Coals as we have not been thoroughly cleared and since last January.  I cannot well account for the deficiency.  A good deal may have been pilfered by the Indians.  There must be a considerable loss in weight by evaporation during the hot Summer months.  I think however that the principle loss arises from the Colliery turning out short weight and I have strongly represented to Mr. Gilmour the necessity there exists for his making the miners  turn out good weight.

The returns of Coals this last week amount to 110 Tons some of the miners turn out Two Tons of Coals per diem.  The New Miners work very well they require however the strictest surveillance to make them turn out good weight and clean coals.  The sale plate for the steam Engine is now laid we will be prepared to load another Vessel in the course of a fortnight the sooner the Coals are shipped the less liable are they to suffer loss or damage.

A requisition for Sundries is herewith forwarded.

I have also enclosed the Duplicate of a Draft for Six hundred Dollars on James King of William Esquire of San Francisco, drawn and endorsed by Captain Alden of the U.S.S. “Active” being part payment for 100 tons of Coals supplied that Vessel from this place.

Mr. [Owen?] who piloted the Archimedes to this place fell down last night and broke his legs.  he is now left on our hands.

I have the honor to remain

Sir

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Nanaimo

September 12, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

I herewith enclose a Duplicate of receipt from Captain Robertson for one hundred and eighty four tons and five cwt. Of Coals delivered alongside the “Archimedes” the first of which I forwarded Yesterday pr. Canoe together with a Duplicate of Captain Alden’s Draft for Six hundred Dollars on James King of William Esquire ofSan Francisco.

I also enclose a Bill on Captain Robertson for Indian Labour amounting to Two pounds three Shillings and four pence which Captain Robertson has signed and directed to R. S. Swanson EsquireVictoriafor payment.

I have the honor to remain

Sir

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

12th September 1853

Mr. Joseph Wm. McKay

Dear Sir:

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th September by the Steam Vessel Beaver enclosing a Draft of $600 on James King Banker of San Francisco, and I have today received your letter of the 10th September enclosing a receipt from Captain Robertson for 184 Tons 5 Cwt of Coals and also a Duplicate of the Draft on James King of San Francesco for $600 with an order of Goods for Nanaimo, and an Invoice of Furs shipped by the “Otter”.  The Steamer Beaver left this a few hours ago, on her return to the Coast but had no letters for you. 

I would observe in reference to your letter of the 5th that the Draft from Captain Alden was unexceptionable, and that on future occasions, when supplying ships of the United States Navy, a Bill on the Treasury atWashington is a good mode of payment but in that subject instructions will always be sent you from this place.

I think the Otter has a sufficient quantity of Coal on board for her present voyage but will require an additional supply for a visit toFortSimpson.

Your letter of the 10th contains a very satisfactory report of your proceedings through there is one point which you have neglected to touch upon, I mean the progress of the Bore, commenced before my Departure from Nanaimo, with a view of ascertaining the question as to the two [distinct?] beds of Coal of which I beg you will inform me by every opportunity.

The deficiency on the Coal arises I presume, in part, from each of the three Causes.  You have assigned for it, and with the precautions you have taken will probably not, recur.  I am glad to see that the returns of Coals have increased to 110 Tons a week, and observe with much satisfaction, that the miners are becoming more industrious, some of them turning our two Tons per Diem, and I trust they will continue so.  I hope the progress in the erection of the Steam Engine will not be impeded by any unforeseen obstacle.  The 3 men sent with you another Joseph Maurice who is engaged as Carpenter and Labourer at £30 per annum and had received an advance of £5 here, of which a statement will be forwarded who left today by the Steamer, considerably increase the number of your efficient hands and I am now in negotiation with Cote, and a party of foreman who will shortly proceed to Vancouver at their own expense if we come to terms.  I am extremely sorry to hear of the accident which befell poor Mr. Niven and am glad that you assisted him in his distress but unfortunately you are aware that there is no opening in the service for him.

I trust the bearers will reach Nanaimo before the Departure of the Steam Vessel for Fort Simpson in which case I beg you will forward the accompanying letter to the address of William K. McNeil Esquire otherwise it may be returned to me.

With best Wishes

I remain

Dear Sir

Yours Truly

James Douglas

 

Fort Victoria

12th September 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

I have just concluded a contract with Francois Cote, who has undertaken to put up houses at Nanaimo and has engaged hands for that purpose.  The buildings are dwelling houses of 30 by 20 feet inside and he is to hew and furnish the material at his own expense to cut out erect and finish the roof and all the wood work of the frame, the Company supplying only the [sheathing?] Shingles and nails.  I have stated the size of timber in the Contract with the number of posts and beams the posts you will observe are to be about 9 feet apart and the Beams about 2 feet pray see that the Beams are cut of the requisite depth say 10 inches at least.  The Beams should project one foot beyond the walls and the roof 3 feet at least so as to admit of a covered gallery in front.  Pray see that the buildings are well roofed and made strong and substantial according to the specifications. Cote is not to engage Indians but you will furnish any Indian assistance that he may require.  Charging him the Cash.  He has also to feed and pay all his own expenses but to have provisions at servants prices flour being charged 3 per pound.  This little gang will get through at least 5 or six hours before the Spring and you must cover those with shingles as they will be good buildings.  I will order a lot of shingles for Nanaimo from Fort Rupert.  A copy of the Contract with Cote is here with enclosed.

Yours truly

James Douglas

 

Nanaimo

September 24th, 1853

James Douglas Esquire

Sir

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch of the 12 [ints?] by the return Canoe and also of that of the same date by Cote.  The “Archimedes” sailed on the 15th Inst. She was detained here four days owing to smoky weather the Beaver arrived here on the 12th and sailed on the 14th the Express Canoe arrived on the 13th.  Cote did not arrive until the 17th.  The Gang have squared the frame for one house 20 x 30 ft. and are now raising the filling [pieces?].  The cylinder fly wheel and nearly all the heavy parts of the Steam Engine are on the frame and in their proper place.  The boiler seal and chimney have been somewhat retarded by the late rains.  [Crittle?] is all alone Isbister has been on the Sick List the last fortnight he suffers from intermittent fever and is in a very weak state .

The bores have reached a depth of [blank?] feet as pr. Journal herewith enclosed they have pierced through the conglomerate and are now boring the 8 feet bed of Sandstone which is very hard.  If the Strata are at all regular they have yet 30 feet of alternate beds of Sandstone and shale to [prence?] before reaching the Coal as will be seen by my section of the 18th last May.

A Circular Saw may be worked by the Steam Engine with apparently very little extra trouble the power may be taken from the fly which as affording the greatest speed by means of a band which would require to be at least 100 feet long the fly wheel is 18 feet in Diameter and may be worked to from 35 to 40 revolutions per minute the Circular saw frame would require to be 30 feet from the fly wheel as a great deal of Lumber is required for building. the Circular Saw would be a great acquisition the more so as our sawyers with three pit saws are barely able to supply the increasing demand for lawn lumber in the Coal Mines.  As the Steam Engine will not be required for mining purposes more than eight hour pr. Diem it will be disposable for sawing lumber throughout the remainder of each day.

Already half the stock of trade goods received by the “Mary Dare” and “Otter” have been Expended.  Principally for Indian Labour, Coals for the “Otter” and Coaling the “Mary Dare”, “Active” and “Archimedes”. We will soon require a fresh supply of the staple articles of Baize and 2 ½ pl. Blankets.  Otherwise we will not have the means of laying on a stock of potatoes for the ensuing winter.  Captain Robertson informed me that the firm of McKenzie, Thompson & Co. have upward of 1000 2 ½ pl. Blkts on hand atSan Francisco.

We have now 23[0?] Tons of Coals on hand. We cannot dispense with either of the screw plates until the Engine is up without entirely stopping the work as they are both in daily Requisition.

A Requisition from England for knee pipes for pumps is herewith forwarded.

Robilliard was down to Victoria on leave he is to return by the present conveyance.

Mr. Gilmour sent in a Requisition to the Sale shop for some wines which has not been attended to he desires to know whether or not the articles may be supplied him.

I have the honor to remain

Sir

Your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph William McKay

 

Fort Victoria

23rd September, 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

have just received your letter of the 12 Inst. By the Archimedes with Duplicate receipt for the Coal delivered to that vessel, and also Captain Robertson’s bill for 2.3.4 which has been paid as well as the Bill for Coal.

The Otter is now proceeding to Fort Simpson and will bring on her return a quantity of shingles from Fort Rupert of which you will retain as many as you require for the use of the Establishment at Nanaimo.

I remain Sir

Yours Truly

No Signature

 

Fort Victoria

27th September, 1853

Mr. Joseph McKay

Dear Sir:

I received your letter of the 24th Inst. Yesterday, announcing the safe arrival of the several expresses and reinforcements lately dispatched forNanaimo and reporting on the progress of the work at that Establishment.

The Contract builders appear to give satisfaction as well as Crittle who has the Character of being a very industrious man.

I have perused the Boring [Iananal?] with much interest and perceive that the metals have so far the same relative depths in the bore, as upon the Section which you sent me in the month of May last.  This Experiment increases in interest with every step of progress and will I hope result I confirming our present impression of their being two distinct seams of Coal at Nanaimo

I shall order a Circular Saw frame to be attached to the Engine by the first opportunity, as I have every reason to think that such a machine can be worked to advantage.

Let me know the assumption of lumber you require and I will procure a supply and forward it to Nanaimo.

Be most economical of the Goods on hand, as you will not get another supply soon.

The Screw plates may remain at Nanaimo for the present.

I will send an order to England for the knee pipes immediately.

Mr. Gilmour requisition was not attended to, because there was no wine for sale but I will endeavour to procure a small supply for him.

I have lately received letters from the Hudson’s Bay House announcing that the Calinda of 600 Tons, was to sail from Gravesend on the first day of August with 40 Miners 36 of whom are married and have altogether 87 Children, with the working sons they are considered to be equal to 56 [day?] or days of work.

This number of people are to be lodged and fed and employed, and we must strive to meet their views in all these points; as to food and work we can provide abundantly, but I am not sure about house accommodations.  Send me an account of the number of houses finished and in progress by next mail and the number of persons that can be accommodated in each, also the number of persons you have now to lodge, which will show the amount of space accommodations and what will be further required for the people expected from England.

The Company recommend putting up 20 detached houses containing 4 rooms in each with Chimney in the Centre so that they may accommodate either one or two families according to their numbers, giving them separate doors of entrance for each family.

Such building as so described should be about 40 x 25 feet.  We shall begin some houses on that plan when Cote has finished 4 smaller houses. 

I enclose a letter to Mr. Gilmour which you will deliver and send his report by next mail.

I hope the School is in progress and that Mr. Baillie [Bayley] is giving satisfaction.

I observe that Mr. Finlayson has not forwarded all the articles you ordered by the “Otter” which will however be sent on by the next safe conveyance.

With best Wishes

Yours Sincerely

James Douglas