Letters Written and Received by Richard Hicks
(Source: The Early History of Fraser River Mines. compiled by F.W.Howay. Published by John Forsyth, British Columbia Provincial Archives, Victoria 1926. Accession no.: NW 971.3 5F H853 c.6)
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:
I have the honour of acquainting Your Excellency that another attempt at murder was committed on Friday, and this morning little or no hopes are entertained of the poor man's recovery.(3) I have taken the depositions of the wounded man, and properly attested; all that could be done to relieve his sulferings have been done; he is under the care of Dr. Fifer,(4) of this Town. In prosecutions so very distant from Victoria, will it be required to send witnesses or will Affidavits taken and made here answer the ends of justice? I forward Your Excellency the copies of the examination and I committed the Prisoner to Victoria to await the result of the prosecution. W. Kirby(5) will deliver him over to the authorities at Victoria.
Last evening and about an hour after the excitement of the above had in some degree abated, Officers Carey(6) and McLane were informed that the notorious Joseph Foster was coming up with a Canoe-load of liquor; they waited for him, and he came boldly up to the landing expecting he would not be noticed. He was asked for the permit. He replied that he would get it in a few minutes and took the Officers up in Town for that purpose. Foster in the meantime orders his Indians down the river, etc. This is the third time Foster has been known to smuggle Liquors into Fort Yale, but always evaded the officers until now. I have committed him to Victoria for trial. The proceedings taken in these two cases have given general satisfaction and every confidence is felt that justice will take its course and life and property be protected.
Mr. Pearkes(7) will be pleased to advise me by return what further action will he required.
I received a notice from Mr. Collector Anderson (8) that all licences were for the future not collected at Victoria. I will have copies made and posted in different parts of my district.
I have been with Mr. Pemberton(9) and his assistant, Mr. Wells, half the week, and the great pressure of business at Fort Yale, and being constantly obliged to visit different parts of the mines, I have not been able to finish the collecting of the miners' licences; about 4 miles above here will complete my district.
Your Excellency stated that alterations were in contemplation with respect to the collection of miners' licences. I would most respectfully suggest that a quarterly licence of five dollars be collected instead of monthly, which will realize a larger revenue because we can then make all pay, rich and poor claims; as it is now, the great bulk of the claims do not pay over two dollars per day to the man. The taxation of claims in Australia was compelled to be given up in consequence of the miners not being able to pay it; and should Your Excellency adopt this course I now propose, I assure you you will stand higher still in the estimation of all classes. I most earnestly entreat Your Excellency to take this course and that you will be pleased to issue your immediate Proclamation to that effect; all classes will be then satisfied, the Country will be benefitted, and the revenue increased very materially.
I beg to assure Your Excellency that my motives for introducing these suggestions emanate from a desire to see this new Colony prosper and its people happy, and, Sir, you will be honoured, adored, and almost worshipped by the people.
I attended a deputation of respectable miners on Thursday and heard their remarks with regard to the mines generally, and they consider the tax oppressive. I did not, however, give them any encouragement that you would alter the tax; I only promised them to write Your Excellency on the subject. Waiting your reply.
Obt hble servt,
RICHARD HICKS.Fort Yale District
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