1880/20 Ah Jim, non-payment of School Tax*
As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, the BC Archives has digitized a selection of documents related to criminal prosecutions against the Chinese community from 1866 to 1914, found in GR-0419. These are mainly records created as part of the preliminary hearing held before a judge in order to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. There are often lengthy witness statements, and cross examinations by both prosecution and defense lawyers. The eventual verdict is sometimes recorded on the outside of the docket. They offer a fascinating glimpse into 19th and early 20th century criminal activity around the province, and ways in which the Chinese community was stereotyped. The records offered for transcription here are a small selection; for additional digitized material from GR-0419 click here.
*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. In addition, GR-0419 records deal with subjects such as assault, murder and abuse, which may upset some readers. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.
*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person.
upper garret of said house and found a number of other chinamen there. I ask'd them for their names. I got the names of two. and the rest refused to give their name , prisoner was within hearing . I told them that I had come to collect their school tax. They said" me no sabe"/. I then wrote out warrants and left Mr Lewis in charge of the room. The warrants were to distrain . I then went home and returned about 10 minutes to 9 o'clock . Mr Lewis had the warrants in his charge. the chinamen were still unwilling to pay their taxes. We commenced to gather up the goods and chattels that we had distrained upon and took an inventory of the same and while doing so Ah Jim used abusive language saying "You devil". He went out and came back again with 9 or 9 other chinamen ' Mr Lewis has some of the articles in his hand to carry to a waggon (in waiting) and Ah Jim took hold of the things and would not allow Lewis to pass . I remonstrated with Ah JIm . They all pressed in as if they were going to [?] abuse me and I found myself in a very awkard position . I then told Mr Lewis to put the articles down and go and fetch a policeman . he went left me there with the men and after he left the prisoner & and most of the others there left Lewis returned with a policeman and we then distrained upon the goods and I gave the prisoner a charge for interfering with me in the discharge of my duty. I am the officer appointed by the Government to collect the school tax.
BC Archives GR-0419 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Box 19 File 1880/20 Attorney General documents.