Custom Fees in British Columbia 1865

In 1865, the Colony of British Columbia was looking for new ways to raise money. It raised the gold export tax to three percent; a significant increase from what it was before. A short time later, the government decided to amend the Customs Act and increase custom fees. Charges would be applied to “all goods, wares, merchandise and things imported into and landed in British Columbia.”

The list of items affected was printed in the British Columbian newspaper February 18, 1865:

Custom Fees in British Columbia - 1865

Custom Fees in British Columbia - 1865

Custom Fees in British Columbia – 1865

This was a significant change from before and there was an immediate reaction from the Cariboo district and a petition was sent to Governor Seymour:

…it largely increases the cost of living in the Colony, at a time when the mining and trading interests of the country can least afford to bear such an increase. The past season was in every sense an unprofitable one. The miner’s  labour was to a great extent spent in preparing for future operations, and his profits were consequently small. The trader shared the small profits of the miner. This has produced a general feeling of distrust and depression in the country. The increased taxation only tends to add to this feeling, and thus deter both men and capital from going into the country.

The problem with the gold rush was that it caused inflation, attracted promoters, speculators, and similar unstable elements. Both the Colony of British Columbia and the Colony of Vancouver Island were importing just about everything. Just over a year later, both colonies became bankrupt and decided to join together.