1878/26 Tai Chong et al. vs. Maguire – non-payment of head tax due under Chinese Tax Act of 1878
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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
In the Supreme Court of British Columbia. the fourteenth day of November AD 1878 Victoria [?] The plaintiff lee [?] Duck and lee [?] by Robert [?] their attorney sues the defendant John Maquire for that the defendant converted and to his use and wrongfully deprived the plaintiff of the use and possession of the plaintiff's goods that is boxes two cases of tobacco and two chests of tea. And the plaintiff further sues the defendant for that the defendant broke and entered the dwelling house belonging to the plaintiff and continued and stayed therein for the space of one day making great noise and disturbances therein and greatlt disturbed and disquieted the plaintiff in the possession and enjoyment of the said dwelling house and there also with the the force of arms took and seize3d divers goods and chattels to wit two cases of tobacco and two chest of tea.