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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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 sixteenth day of November AD 1878 The plaintiff [?] Lang by Robert Edwards Jackson his attorney and the defendant John Maguire for that the defendant converted to his own use and wrongfully , deprived the plaintiff of the use and possession of the plaintiff', goods that is his say five boxes of opium. 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 herein for the space of one day making great noise and disturbance therein and greatly disturbed and disquieted the plaintiff in the possession and enjoyment of the said dwelling house and there also with force and [?] and [?] divers goods and chattels to wit five boxes of opium then being in the said dwelling house and in certain part thereof used as a shop by the plaintiff in his trade and business of a merchant and which said goods and chattels then are part of the shop in in trade of the plaintiff in the way of his trade and business and of great value to wit five hundred dollars and converted and disposed thereof to his use and to wit under a false and unfounded claim that the defendant was then entitled to [?] payment of a certain [?] then alleged to be due from the plaintiff to Her Majesty by value of the Chinese Tax Act 1878 by means whereof and of the [?] the plaintiff was greatly annoyed prejudiced injured and disturbed in carrying and conducting