Series GR-0429 - Selected Attorney-General correspondence inward

Chinese can vote Chinese selling liquor to Barclay Sound Indians Officer Kirkup's fight with Chinese over the collection of poll tax Smallpox case in Chinese prisoner awaiting sentencing at Yale Chinese man with smallpox at Yale Dewar's body found buried in Smart Alec's cabin, Cherry Creek Price Ellison in pursuit of Smart Alec Price Ellison needs $150 Smart Alec may be found amongst 6000 Chinese men at Missoula, Montana Ellison needs $150 to go to Walla Walla and Portland Give up the search for Smart Alec Ellison did not find Smart Alec Murder of Chinese men by Indians Indians released for $200 each Chinese problem at Lytton Yu Kaw and Yu Chow versus Regina Dr. J.S. Helmcken on Chinese in Victoria Gaol Shallow Chinese graves on old Departure Bay Road, Newcastle Town Reserve, Nanaimo Indian Wild Louis scaring miners at Goat River Capture of Nemiah who killed a Chinese man at Hanceville A Chinese petition for unpaid wages and goods, Kootenay Correspondence regarding confession of murder of 2 Chinese miners near Quesnelle by Harry Brown, ... Union Colliery Mines hires Chinese to work underground; legal action Union Colliery charged with hiring Chinese to work underground Chinese murder at Lightning Creek, Cottonwood, 3 killed Chinese tragedy at Cottonwood, deaths of Wong Quan, Mow Wah and Gu Si, murdered by Chung You Chinese murder case at Cottonwood Oriental naturalization figures, 1875-1898 Union Colliery versus Bryden Privy Council, Gard, Hall and Rook, London regarding appeal (employi... Conspiracy to kill Chinese Viceroy
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Selected Attorney-General correspondence inward

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  • textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.
  • Source of title proper: Previously known as: Attorney General correspondence

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  • 1872-1950, predominant 1872-1937 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General

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Physical description

8 reels of microfilm [B09318-B09324, B09325] and 2.2 m of textual records

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Biographical history

The Attorney-General’s Department was established in 1871 by authority of the Constitution Act of 1871 (SBC 1871, c. 147). Prior to that, from 1863 to 1866, the origins of the ministry were in the offices of the Attorney-General for the Colony of Vancouver Island and for the Colony of British Columbia. In 1866, the colonies united to form one colony, with one Attorney-General, who remained in place until British Columbia became a province of the Dominion of Canada in 1871. The Attorney-General was the official legal advisor of the Lieutenant-Governor and of the Executive Council. He was responsible for the settlement and approval of all documents issued under the public seal of the province and for the supervision of magistrates, police, and the constabulary.

In 1899, the department was reconstituted by the Attorney-General’s Act (SBC 1899, c. 5), which expanded the duties and powers of the Attorney-General to include: management and direction of correctional institutions, the British Columbia Provincial Police, and the administration of public affairs; provision of legislative and legal advice to the representative of the Crown and the heads of government departments; administration of justice within the Province; and regulation of all litigation for and against the Crown and public departments within the jurisdiction of the Legislature.

At various times several different agencies have been under the direction of the Attorney-General, such as the Industrial Schools for Boys and for Girls, Factories Inspection Branch, Electrical Energy Inspection Branch, Mothers’ Pension Board, Municipal Branch, Provincial Board of Health, Prohibition Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and Superintendent of Neglected Children. In most instances these agencies have later been placed under the management of other departments, absorbed into new organizations, or abolished altogether.

In 1976, the Dept. of the Attorney-General was renamed the Ministry of the Attorney General (OIC 3199/76).

Custodial history

The bulk of the records in GR-0429 were transferred to the BC Archives ca. 1934; boxes 21 and 22 were transferred from the Attorney General’s Department in 1960. The file accessioned as G80-031 was transferred to the BC Archives in 1980, but not processed and added to this series until 2022.

By 1934 the B.C. Archives had acquired legal custody of a selection of the correspondence from 1872 to 1911. It is not clear whether the selection was made by the Archives or the Attorney-General’s Department; the original folio listing for Boxes 1 to 18 was also created at that time. In 2005 the folio listing was expanded and revised prior to the microfilming of the records.

GR-0429 contains most of the extant inward correspondence for the Department between 1872 and 1911. A separate accession, GR-0996, also contains inward correspondence from 1883-1888. The bulk of inward correspondence from 1911-1937 may be found in GR-1323. There is no contemporary index for letters inward prior to 1911.

Although the items of correspondence from 1872 to 1911 were assigned numbers sequentially, the original order was not always maintained while the records were in the Attorney-General's Department. This means that the items are no longer in strict numerical order within a year, and items relating to a single topic may sometimes be found together, regardless of the date when they were first received.

Although the items of correspondence from 1872 to 1911 were assigned numbers sequentially, the original order was not always maintained while the records were in the Attorney-General’s Department. This means that the items are no longer in strict numerical order within a year, and items relating to a single topic may sometimes be found together, regardless of the date when they were first received.

Unfortunately, almost all of the Department’s letterbooks for 1872-1917 were destroyed by fire in 1939. Some correspondence was also destroyed by flooding. As a result it is not possible to locate departmental replies to most of the correspondence in GR-0429.

Most of the inquests from this series were extracted and may now be found in GR-1327, although the covering correspondence may remain in GR-0429. Similarly, depositions and preliminary trial transcripts were separated and may be found in GR-0419.

Oversize original items remain in their original containers and files but were filmed on Reel B09325. See last page for container list.

Scope and content

This series contains selected inward Department of the Attorney-General correspondence from 1872 to 1950, although most of the items date from 1872 to 1937. Records cover all aspects of work conducted by the Attorney General and discuss a wide variety of subject matter.

The department used several numbering and filling systems during this time period. From 1872 to 1911 letters were assigned a number as they were received, and then filed in numerical order by year. From 1911 to 1917 a subject file drawer system was used, and thereafter correspondence was coded and filed according to the Act which applied to the issue under discussion in the correspondence.

See the file list for descriptions of files or individual folios within the files.

The series is arranged into the following subseries:

-- Correspondence inward, 1872-1911
-- Reports on coal miners’ strike, 1912-1913
-- Memos and correspondence, 1899, 1912-1933, 1950
-- Correspondence regarding unemployment administration and communist activity (Attorney General Department file number L-125), 1930-1937

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Selected items relating to the Chinese in British Columbia digitized as part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative.

Restrictions on access

These records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other acts and access may be restricted. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Associated materials

GR-0419, GR-0996, GR-1323, and GR-1327

Related materials


General note

Accession number(s): GR-0429, G80-031

General note

Microfilm reel B09325 includes a file list; the microfilm numbers given on this file list appear to be incorrect. Researchers are strongly encouraged to consult the file list published online.


Use microfilm copy.

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