On Wednesday afternoon a deputation waited upon the Hon. Commissioner of Crovtn Lands to urge unon him the claims of the diggers at the Jupiter Gold-field to protection in regard to the priority of their claims as against applicants for
mineral leases. The deputation consisted of Captains Edward James Hughes and Taylor, accompanied bv Messrs. B. Amsberg, G. T. Bean, M.P., aud J. Cheriton, M.P. Mr. Cheriton introduced the deputation, and stated that it was understood that applications had been made to the Government for a lease of the land which had been already reserved as a gold field, the object of the applicants being to work the land as a silver mine. The diggers considered this to be an encroachment upon their rights, and a3 they had expended a good deal of money in searching for gold, they thought that if mineral licences were issued at all they bad a prior claim to those who wished to avail themselves of the advantages to be obtained from the discovery of silver by the diggers. If faith were not kept with the diggers they would kick against any encroach ment upon their rights. He believed that it would be good for the country either to grant liberty to the diggers to remove whatever minerals-gold or silver— they might find upon their claims, or that a certain radius should be laid out within which there should be no leases issued. A memorial, signed by 177 persons, was stated to have been forwarded to town in support of the object the deputation had in view. Mr. Bean stated that when he consented to attend with the deputation lie was hardly under the impression that application would have been made to give the diggers priority of choice over those who mijltt apply for a licence to raise silver. Such application could not be complied with, but he was quite in favour of the proposal that no such leases should be granted within a certain radius. Mr. Cheriton submitted that the diggers who obtained gold licences, and discovered the silver reefs, were virtually the first applicants. Mr. Amsberg maintained that the men who expended so much time and money upon the gold field, in accordance with the regulations, were as a matter of justice entitled to the priority in regard to any leases which might be issued to work the silver reefs. Mr. Taylor explained to the Commissioner the action which had been taken by the diggers in regard to several uieinoi-iaU that had been prepared, and uiged upon iiim the necessity of protecting anil encouraging thru in their pursuits. Mr. Hughes stated that the quartz, gold, and silver reefs run parallel to each other. This dis covery by the gold-diggers would open up a new in dustry, which the Government should encourage by Euch amended regulations as would enable the gold-diggers to avail themselves of them. If, lowever, the leases were issued so as to include large areas of land, the gold reefs could not be worked because it was necessary to carry on their operations by working small patches of 100 or 200 yards here and there whenever it was found pro fitable to do so. As a matter of common justice he hoped the diggers would be protected. The Commissioner of Crown Lands said it was not a question of justice, but of law. The regulations were based upon an Act of Parliament which the Government had no authority to alter. The gold licences only authorized the diggers to remove gold. If they found silver they could not take it away themselves, and it was only a dog in the-manger policy on their part to wish to deprive others to do so. He could not give them the power to work the silver reefs; and if he had such power, it would be absurd to suppose that, capitalists would advance £50,000 for the erection of ma rhinprv nnnn the faith of a mere sold licence or
tne autnonty oi me reguiauouB, ne cuuiu assure the deputation, however, that there should be no leases granted without providing for the rights of the gold-diggers being thoroughly protected. The deputation then withdrew.