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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
Mr Shakespeare recalled 31 March 1881. The prisoner Ah Jim interfered several times during the time I was taking the Inventory. When I wanted to go to put the goods we were seizing he would lay hold of the things and take them away. He appeared to be the ringleader . He took a tent from where I had placed it and put it back from where I had taken it. This he repeated several times When I was endeavoring to take a clock he interfered said it belonged to another man and he pushed me on one side. He also interfered with blankets & bedding by stating that they belonged to other man and he moved them back after I had taken them away. Lewis had tents and satchel and when he was about to take them to the waggon Ah Jim and some other chinamen pressed against him and would not let him pass. I told him to put the things down and to go and get a policeman . When a policeman came I told him to arrest Ah Jim for interfering with me whilst in the discharge of my duty. Noah Shakespeare A.F. Pemberton
BC Archives GR-0419 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Box 19 File 1880/20 Attorney General documents.