John Miles


As the reality of the size and scope of the Detachment's responsibilities became clear to Colonel Moody, he began to look for men to take on some of the work.  Douglas recommends John Miles.

Hudson's Bay House
Lachine 16 October 1858

His Excellency James Douglas

My dear Sir,

Mr. John Mile, who is already known to you, is about to return to Vancouver's Island to seek his fortune, in which I wish him every success.  He has lately been in bad health and without any employment, but he is now better and anxious to be at work again.

You know his capabilities as an office man, and for his own and his father's sake, I have no doubt you will render him any assistance in your power towards finding employment.  I need only further commend him to your personal attentions.

Believe me,
Yours very truly

Moody contacts the Colonial Office.

"...To complete the Department, there should be attached to it, a gentlemen well qualified in accounts and framing letters from Minutes; for this duty I hope it may be still in my power to nominate Mr. Miles..."

--Moody to Blackwood, 31st January 1859

"...Colonel Moody also requests that he may be furnished with the services of a gentleman to act as an Accountant, and to take charge of the Correspondence of the Department, to lessen confusion and to check and regulate expenditures and well kept up systems of Accounts are matters of the highest importance to the Department in particular and to the Colony in general.  I have therefore acceded to Colonel Moody's request and have nominated Mr. John Miles for the office in question.  Mr. Miles is the gentlemen referred to in your Despatch of the 25th October 1858, No. 33, upon the subject of the grant of a certain gold quartz vein in British Columbia; he is well fitted by previous training for an appointment of the nature described, and he is on the spot desirous of obtaining Government employment..."

--James Douglas to Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton
9th February 1859

Miles, now the Accountant for the Lands and Works Department, gets to work right away.

Office of Lands and Forests, BC
15th February 1859

To W G Young, Esq.
Colonial Secretary


I have the honor, in compliance with the instructions of His Excellency the Lt. Gov. of British Columbia to transmit an account against the government for the conveyance of officials up the Fraser.

Be kind enough to submit the account to His Excellency the Governor for immediate settlement as Col. Moody received much kindness from the Officers of the "Enterprise" and is very anxious for that reason to get the accounts paid.

I am
Your most Obt. Serv.
John Miles

Note: Miles has mistakenly called his department "Lands and Forests".

The "Enterprise" is one of the steamers on the Fraser River.

Then after two months, everything changes abruptly.

Victoria, 8th April 1859


I find it absolutely necessary for the Public Service entirely to re-organize the whole of my Department and in this rearrangement your functions cease.

You will be good enough to hand over to me the Books, Accounts, Documents and whatsoever may be in your charge, furnishing a list of the same and reporting those which have accumulated under yourself.  You will include in the list all articles purchased for the office.

I cannot part with you without expressing my wish for your welfare and that your ability as a clerk and accountant will enable you soon to obtain other engagements satisfactory to yourself.

I am sir
Your obed. Servant
RC Moody
Lt. Gov. and Ch. Comm. Land. and Wrks.

Note: We have, as yet, not discovered any reason why Moody was required to "reorganize" the Department and release Miles.


8th April 1859

My dear Sir,

I return the 100 dollars you paid for a cow during my absence and have to thank you very much for this and many other acts of kind attention to my family during my absence.

Though our official connection ceases, Mrs. Moody and I look forward with pleasure the continuance of our private acquaintance.

Yours very truly,

Miles writes to Governor Douglas.

Victoria 9th April 1859


I have the honour to enclose an official letter I received yesterday from Col. Moody.  In accordance with the peremptory order, I gave up all I possessed to His Honor.

I beg to thank your Excellency for the trust you reposed in me; and altho I have been very suddenly dismissed from office, I believe I can look back upon my short official career as one in which I tried to be serviceable to the Government.

Respectfully I am Sir Your Exc. most obt.
Hum Servt.
John Miles

Miles hands in all the Documents.

Victoria, 12th April 1859

List of Books, Papers etc. belonging to the Office of Lands and Works British Columbia

1 Letter Book
1 Rough Journal
1 Rough Book relating to Langley sales etc.
1 Day Book
1 Bundle Letters
1 Bundle Accounts
1 Bundle Receipts
1 Bundle Miscellaneous papers
1 Bundle Printed Receipts, "Transfer to Queenborough"
1 Bundle Printed Receipts "Office of Lands and Works"
1 Bundle Indenture (to be transferred for lots in Queenborough)
1 parcel of Books, Papers etc. as per Mr. Pemberton's list.
1 Box of candles
3 Chains
1 Large Press
1 Box of Stationary
1 Feather Duster