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Lecture delivered by the Hon. Malcolm Cameron to the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, the… Cameron, Malcolm Colin, 1832-1898 1865

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Hon.  Malcolm  Cameron 

Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, 
Published by request and Sold for Benefit of the Association 
Hon. Malclm Cameron 
Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, 
Published by request and Sold for Benefit of the Association. 
Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association,
My Lord Bishop, Ladies and Gentlemen—
I felt it an honor to be invited by this Association to address
them, and sincerely regret that my education and pursuits
through life have not fitted me for the preparation of a lecture on
a literary or scientific subject which would aid the object of this
Society, namely—the education, elevation and mutual improvement of the young men of Quebec—feeling however a lively
interest in all that concerns the youth of Canada and anxious to
show my feelings in any way open to me I offered to give some
reminiscences of my voyage to British Columbia, which I trust
may throw some light on the way thither, give some idea of the
countries through which we pass in going there, some informa-'
tion relative to the Islands of the Pacific, and to what, I feel to
be, our own Western extremity, British Columbia.
In the middle of July, 1862,1 left Canada, with the intention
of visiting that distant land, and arrived in New York in time
to take the steamer of the 21st, went to the office and secured
my passage in the «Champion» got my ticket for $250 and at noon
went to Pier No. 3, where I met crowds of people flocking
towards the steamer, carts, carriages, and wheelbarrows, Irish girls with small boxes about the size of cupboards, Germans with
guns, sausages, meerschaums and spinning-wheels, and Yankees
with rifles, bowie knives, revolvers and axes, and a motly group
of people of all ages and countries. We had the greatest difficulty
in getting on board, found it impossible to get baggage stowed,
and no one could get the berth allotted by ticket, and in the
midst of this confusion the weeping friends were shoved on
shore, the plank drawn in, and away we steamed.
The Bay of New York, may on a fine July afternoon be inferior to the Bay of Naples—that I have never seen—but to my
eye then, to my mind's eye now, it is one of the most lovely
scenes in the world, the magnificent city on a point formed by the
junction of the North and East rivers, terminating at the Battery,
the well known promenade f Jersey, Brooklyn and Hoboken,
with their one million of inhabitants ; Governor's Island, Staten
Island; and as you pass down the Highlands of Neversink and
the Hook, all combine to form a perfect landscape. But in about
two hours, we left all this beauty and were on the open sea, of
which I was reminded by a stentorian voice in full glee :
The sea, the deep blue sea for me,
Where I would ever wish to be.
In less than two hours however all this was changed, many-
would have preferred to—
Wait for the waggon.
But the study of human nature, the examination of berth, and
the; contemplation of room-mates began in good earnest, by>
those able to attend to business.
There were three or four Canadians who had figured largely
as men of business and in their country's history, but who,, by
the vicissitudes of fortune and the extraordinary depression in the
value of real estate were forced to leave their native land, first
for relief from mental anxiety, next, with the hope of opening
new channels for that spirit of enterprise which had made them;
useful and popular at home. I did not, at first, recognise my
"mates in misery,,, but they knew me at once,—there wera
■HH Califotnian Members of Congress, Engineers of note, wives of
fortunate Nevada millionaires, a Protestant Clergyman, six Irish,
priests going to fields of Labour, a converted Spaniard travelling
as Agent for the British and Foreign Bible Society, Mechanics
for Chili, and other South American ports, who where to leave
tls at Panama, seventeen wives who had not seen their husbands
for years,and widows whom «hard times» had forced out of New
York to try to earn a living in the new and better land—in fact,
specimens of every class, and country, in all, some 500 people
where not over 200 could have been comfortably accomodated.
About the fifth day we were crossing the Gulf stream and
the air became extremely warm, the sixth we passed between
San Domingo and Cuba, the Queen of the Antilles, and about
thirty miles East of Jamaica, which I did not till then know, lay
so close to the border of America; here I first saw a tropical rain}
large drops fell on the ocean and sparkled up in large white] tubbles,
the most exquisitely beautiful sight you can imagine, as if some
unseen hand were pouring myriads of large pearls on to the
surface of the wrater, and immediately after the shower, clouds
of what I supposed to be our Canadian snow birds rose from the
sea; "they were small flying fish about six inches long.
On the 9th day the old Fort of Porto Bello came in sight, the
scene of famous exploits by the bold Buccaneer's 200 years ago—
in 1502 whenColombus left Darien, its Indian population nun>
bered about 300,000, but in 1535 hordes, of Spaniards allured by
the cry of gold and the prolific vegetation came over and 30 or
40,000 died in crossing the fatal Isthmus, but the rest made fearful havoc among the natives—in 1558, Drake sacked the city but
Morgan and Dampier finished the work of murder and robbery
in 1665 and 1670 by the capture of Porto Bello, and crossing to
Panama which City they totally destroyed as they did many
Cities down the coast.
Here we feasted our astonished eyes on the luxuriant tropical
foliage, the tall and graceful cocoa-nut tree like our own elm,
fiftY or sixty feet without a limb, then branching out like an If
umbrella in long and pendulous leaves through which we saw
the clusters of large nuts, amongst which the merry monkeys
gambol with gluttonous delight. We then turned westerly
along the coast and after about three hours sail neared the town
of Aspinwall situated on a low marshy Island in what was Navy
Bay near the old Isthmus of Darien, famous in the history of
Scotch enterprise—an enterprise though ridiculed—rightly
conceived and nobly begun, with two millions of gold, one
half of all that Scotland then owned ; but blasted by English
jealousy, collision with the East India Company, and the fact
of the projectors being in advance of the times, crushed finally
by the treachery of the heart which sanctioned the massacre
of Glencoe, the King of England having forbade the British
Colonies even to sell food to the Emigrants, and thus encouraged
the Spaniards to destroy the Company which King William
himself had but lately chartered.
But in our own day the Isthmus of Panama has become
famous by a stupendous work of American enterprise and ingenuity, boldly planned and successfully carried out; a work
which owed its developement to three men whose names will
be imperishable in the history of American Commerce; W. B.
Aspinwall, J. L. Stephens, and Henry Chauncy, the projectors of
the Panama Railroad. The idea of an inter-oceanic communication had been entertained for*centuries, the whole commercial
world was alive to its advantages, New Grenada unable to under-
take it had freely offered the privilege to any nation rich enough
to perform it—England looked at it with longing eyes but
quailed for once before the magnitude of the difficulties ; France
did more, surveyed the country and entered on a contract, but
too many millions were found necessary and she let it go by
default. In 1848, Congress authorized contracts for the establishment of two Mail lines of Steamships, one from New York and
New Orleans to Chagres, the other from Panama to California
and Oregon ; the inducements were insufficient, but at last Mr.
Aspinwall and the famous George Law did enter on the enterprise, but the wisest fancied it must fail, gold not yet having been discovered. New Grenada, however gave her charter for a
railway, with a gift of 250,000 acres of land, contract to continue
for 49 years, the termini to be free ports, and the only remuneration asked 3 per cent, on all profits divided and $10,000 for the
passage of Mails ; but I must pass on, for this wonderful work is
worth a lecture, the road ran over deep morasses, over mountains
300 feet high, amidst the most deadly malaria, its sides one continued cemetery a man having died for every square yard that
-"•as rempved, the first million of dollars of the 5 estimated for,
was soon expended, but the energy of the engineers Messrs.
Totten and Trotwein overcame every obstacle and in six years
the road was completed, 1855, at a cost of $7,500,000.
In 1858, 31,000 passengers erossed.
$53,000,000 of Treasure,
66,000 tons of Freight,
Income 1,300,000
Expense   350,000
$950,000   Net profit
They did boast of one of the greatest bridges ever built of iron
600 feet long, eost $500,000. But our Victoria Bridge is nearly
two miles long, one span 480 feet long, and 80 feet high and it
cost 15 times as mueh or about 1\ million of dollars.
Aspinwall is one of the most miserable dirty places on the face of
the earth, inhabited by the worst combination of African, Spanish,
Indian and half breed, I ever saw; vultures and buzzards gather
in flocks at every corner to partake of the offal when the Butchers are killing and cutting up oxen and cows into long strips
of beefs and hanging this in the sun to dry, the method of curing
meat then in fashion—Indians having an objection to salted
meat_the whole place is filthy and abominable beyond description—we gladly left it in the afternoon, and immediately entered
on a scene of the most gorgeous beauty over the plains, through
the swamp—by the bank of the Ghagres river, it was 28 miles
of perfect loveliness, the grandest flower fields eye ever beheld, 8
jheconvolvulu8 and the lily, the fuchsia and magnolia, oleanders
69 large and full of blossom as an apple tree, the rose, pansy and
orchis of our own summer, with the rhododendron, the passe-
,flora, the orange, the lemon, the cocoa, the palm and the mango,
all in a profusion and luxuriance such as no Northern mind caa
imagine; the trees are not only large, lofty and crowded, wonderful parasites hang from every bough and twist and twine all into
one forest; and then trees filled with Birds of Paradise, Cockatoos,
Parrots and humming birds—so dense is the growth that a man
cannot penetrate it, but with long knives and bill hooks, a way
must be opened; at the first station I was astonished to see a long
arched avenue that had been opened into the heart of the wood
through which the cord wood cut up as stove wood is all
brought out on horses, in paniers piled three feet above the
pony's back.
There I first saw the natives and half breeds, the women are
bare headed, a loose wrapper trimmed with red is their only
covering, it is low necked and down off the left shoulder—their
skin is a beautiful mohagany colour, clear, smooth and clean—
the children up to at least twelve years of age go perfectly nude,
the houses are of cane and bark covered with plantain and palm,
open and airy, the food plantain and bananas, the former being
indigenous and as wholesome as our potato, this is said to be the
curse of the country for all can live without work, they are like
potato, but the Bananas like bread.
But to describe "everything curious would occupy the night,
so, with but a mention of the splendid oranges at 5 cents a dozen,
bunches of palm nuts 30 inches long and 18 through which hang
from the tree by an arm a yard long, the Boa Constrictors, the
Alligators, the Chameleons, the Parrots, the Cockatoos, the
painted Calabash, the prickly pear, and other varieties of cactus
used for fencing, but we must pass on to Panama.
From Panama we ascended rapidly over granite crags, span of
mountains and the famous Basaltic ledge. The descent from the
Bummit level is about a grade of 60 feet to a mile, and it terminates on the shore of the gulf of Panama.
^ 9
The old'and famous city is a striking contrast to Aspinwall
elevated some 40 or 50 feet above the sea, on a peninsula, a mile
long, the streets run from sea to sea, the shore is rocky, and the
harbour safe—protected by beautiful Islands about a mile or a
mile and a half distant.
The city was fortified by.the Spaniards with a great wall
having a carriage drive around the top, and sentry boxes of stone
at the Bastions, curious old cannons are still there, the city is
full of noble ruins, old Churches, Colleges, Monasteries and
Nunneries, a fine Cathedral still in use, but alas a very degraded
priesthood, the greater part of whom had lately been driven
away by the people; the one great amusement of the people is
cock fighting, and every shoemaker and tailor has his .game
chicken tied by the leg to his work bench, and is ready at any
moment to fight for any sum he can raise—the great day for
cock fighting is the Sabbath, and after service the Priest is as
ready as his people, and will back his bird for a considerable
The city has about 12,000 inhabitants. The houses and hotels
are good—in every house, in fact in every room, is a hammock—
and the vicinity very rich, immediately in rear is the hill " Bogota," an eminence of great beauty.. The groves of orange and
mango and other fruits—of which there are about fifty-six varieties—are very fine. About six miles below the city is the old site
of Panama, destroyed by the Buccaneers in 1670; only the steeple
of the church remains to tell of the glory of the famous city.
Panama, I consider a healthy, lovely, and strong town. The
Granada troops were there; bare footed, open-kneed pants, coats
of every colour and variety, and no two guns alike in a regiment
They had just had a revolution, and the expatriated governor had
gone off to raise 600 soldiers with whom to return and recover
his position.
The beauty of New Granada and the degradation of its inhabitants recalls the beautiful lines—
Know ye the land where the cypress myrtle
Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime,
Where the rage of the Vullure, the love of the Turtle, 10
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime.
Know ye the land of the cedar and vine,
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine,
Where the light wings of zephyrs oppressed with perfume
Wax faint o'er the garden of gul in her bloom.
Where the olive and citron are fairest of fruits,
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute,
Where the tints ofihe earth, and hues of the sky,
In colour tho' varied in beauty may vie,
Where the purple of ocean is deepest in dye.
Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine,
And all save ihe spirit of ma.i is divine.
We left Panama in the steam u- " Sonora," a magnificent ship
of two or three thousand tons, with upper deck, saloon, and state
xooms, and every possible comfort. The captain we found a
Christian man, and of course the officers and crew were in perfect order, the table well supplied, and every thing in marked
contrast to the dirty mismanaged " Champion." All were delighted. We had indeed made a blessed change, from a boisterous sea and a miserable ship, to a really Pacific ocean and a
floating Paradise. We sailed along the bay of Panama in latitude 9 south to latitude 7 south, before we turned the point and
gained the open sea, but even then our course lay along the
coast of New Granada and Costa Bica Avith extraordinary rocky
islands in view. And in addition to the magnificent foliage I
have attempted to describe, the smoking tops of active volcanic
mountains were full in view : six of which we saw during the
trip sending forth enormous volumes of smoke, and flame, and
About the second day we passed the Port of St. Catharines or
Nicaragua, which is the Pacific port of the Nicaragua route, once
the most popular one, being a natural chain of road, river, and
lake from sea to sea, at Greytown or San Juan on the Atlantic is
still a rival to the Panama route, and cheaper at the present time.
After passing Costa Bica on the fourth day, we passed the Bay
of Tehuantepec. Our first stopping place was Accapulco, in
Mexico, one of the loveliest little harbours possible, not over three
miles round, protected by an island that completely covers it
leaving a channel at either side just wide enough for ships to ^1
pass. Accapulco is distinguished by being the old site of a city
swallowed up by an earthquake, and the present fort havin°-
stood a seige by Santa Anna; finding the enemy gaining upou
them the beseiged quietly withdrew, leaving neither food nor
amunition, consequen tly the victorious invaders were soon forced
to abandon the position.
The Pacific steamers always coal at Accapulco, a large vessel
being stationed here with supplies. This is also the point of exit
for travellers from the city of Mexico, only six days journey to the
eastward, on the direct road to Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico.
Here I met Mr. Bonar, of Quebec, and a Captain Palmer whom
I knew, they had just travelled through Mexico; the former had
become a favorite mining engineer, was employed by an English
Company, and was making a fortune out of the silver mines.
The trade of this place is shells, baskets, oranges, cotton, hides,
and coffee, and English vessels do a good business. The great
amusement is diving, the water being wonderfully clear, and
the native boys equal to the Indian pearl fishers. The traveller
throws York shillings into the sea, the boys allow them to
go perhaps half a minute, and then down, and I never knew
one diver but came up with the shilling in his teeth. The pots
used for cooking are made of earth, the mills for grinding corn are
two stones worked by hand, and the habits of the people are primitive in the extreme. Yet here in this Spanish Catholic town I saw
one of the best schools I ever entered. One hundred and sixty
boys from ten to sixteen years of age, all of whom wrote the most
beautiful text hand, and all just alike as if it were lithograph; the
master was a perfect Spanish gentleman. I called on the priest,
a plain pleasant man, but who like most others there, though not
allowed to marry, had a family he acknowledged and provided
Here we expected to have met the steamer " Golden Gate " on
her down trip, and great anxiety was caused by her non-appearance; we proceeded, however, along the coast to Mazanilla,
another commercial harbour where English ships bring goods to supply the country and receive silver in exchange : this is smuggled as the law forbids its export.
As we were leaving this port a brig came in bringing news
which verified our worst fear* about the «Golden Gate,»the vessel had taken fire and burnt to the waters edge. One hundred
and sixty passengers perished, and the rest were scattered along
the coast destitute. We turned back to render assistance to the
saved. I found one Canadian from St Catharines, a nephew of
the late Mr. Lepper, he gave the most delightful account of the
inhabitants of Mexico; they had found him and others famished
on the shore, they took them to their houses in the interior, fed
them, clothed them, mounted them on horses, and brought them
safely over the mountain to Manzanilla, the nearest port. Lepper
got two suits and we got him $20: he went on with us, to return
by the «Sonora» to Canada.
It may be well to state here that Mexico has 7 millions of
inhabitants : 3 fifths are natives, the other Spaniards and Spanish
Creols ; only about 5,000 Europeans or Americans in the country
in all.—Since 1823, they have had above 36 different Governments, and if the nominee of a foreign government, a Scion of
the House of Hapsburg expects a peaceful possession he will be
grievously disappointed.
On the 10th day after leaving Panama we passed the mouth
of the gulf of California, an inlet 600 miles deep and 150 miles
wide, famous for its pearl fisheries, the method and history of
which would form a lecture.
Early in the morning of the 14th day going along a bold rocky
coast we saw a square, clear opening about a mile wide between
gates of solid stone, this, we were told was the celebrated "Golden
Gate,)) about a mile and a half from its mouth an island lay right
across the Channel called the Island of Alcatross, closing the sea
out from the Bay of San Francisco into which we now entered,
the largest, most perfect and splendid harbour in the world, in
which all the navies of the world might ride at anchor in safety
and not be crowded—for this matchless bay is forty miles wide.
There are two cities, that on the left is Benicia, and that on
I ~>
the right San Francisco; the latter was was commenced in 1852
and now it has over 100,000 inhabitants, with four Hotels equal
to the Astor House, streets, wharves, warehouses and boats
equal to New York, and as moral, nay as religious and excellent.
a population as any in the American Union ; vessels ply on the
Sacramento river to the city of that name, 120 miles from the
ocean, the first station on the overland route to St. Louis, from
wdiich roads diverge to Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Oregon and
Washington Territory.
From Sau Francisco I took another and poorer boat to Vancouver's Island, and proceeded up the coast north 800 miles,,
passing the famous Columbian river—known to all readers—
Astoria the city of that name, at the mouth, now nearly depopu
lated, was commenced in 1811 by the enterprise of J. J. Astor of
New York—who sent out a ship to trade—two of the traders
were from Quebec, one of them known and loved by parties in
this room, old David Stuart and Bobert, Ms nephew, who walked
back across the continent.
But I cannot stay to tell you of them, suffice it that the
steamers run up to Portland 80 miles and so have carried the
trade past Astoria. We steamed on to Cape Flattery at the entrance of straits of Fuca, these straits are 10 miles wide and were
discovered by Cook—the entrance is due East for 60 miles, then
we came upon the gulf of Georgia; on our left lay the beautiful
little harbour of Esquimalt, V. I., on our right was Puget Sound,,
and Port Angelos in Washington Territory, and directly in front
the disputed Island San Juan.
We landed at Esquimalt, the rendez-vous of the British fleet,
three miles from Victoria; wagons were waiting to take us to
our desired haven, for although there is a very pretty little arm
of the sea running directly up to Victoria, it is too rocky and
difficult of navigation ever to be used by large ships. The drive-
up is over a very rocky but very beautiful country, and the situation of Victoria? itself perfectly picturesque. The first object that
strikes the eye of a stranger is the Methodist church, erected by
t&e energy of Dr. Evans, and next the Bishop's church erected on 1
a beautiful hill sloping towards James Bay, (part of the harbour,)
and commanding a view of the snowcapped mountains of Washington Territory, some of which are 10, 12, and 16,000. feet high
—these are seen over most of the streets just as the view over the
St. Charles gives life and beauty to Quebec, so do these dazzling
and magnificent snow peaks make Victoria one of the loveliest
cities in the world.   The view to the west is of the ridg^ of mountains called the back bone of Vancouver Island, in which since I
left gold has been found in paying quantities, and is now the
hope of the island.   The streets of Victoria are laid out at right
angles, the whole position is beautiful and the Methodist church,
the Iron church, (Episcopal,) sent out from England, are buildings worthy of our best Canadian towns; they have also a Presbyterian and a Congregational church and two  very clever
preachers.   The government buildings are small but convenient^-
and the governor's residence was then his private property.   The
governor, Sir James Douglas, was a native of Douglas, Clydesdale, a noble Scotchman, and certainly Her Majesty lost a famous
general when he was sent to Hudson's Bay.   He was in figure,
mien, and voice a soldier, but he had been made a trader;  he
had read deeply, studied human* nature profoundly, and had sue
ceeded in winning the confidence of the Indian tribes, had mar
ried a half-breed, a fine, sensible, and intelligent woman, he had;
a beautiful and excellent family, and himself practised a noble
hospitality; his only misfortune being that he had been in the
Hudson Bay Company's service, which created a prejudice against
him.   His tact and method of dealing with the natives may be :
best illustrated by an anecdote.
About the time Sir James Douglas was to be appointed governor
of the colony, a small well educated countryman of his, Mr.
McKay, was sent to succeed him, in his position in the Hudson
Bay Company; his first move was to organize a company of volti-
geurs, had them drilled and armed for defence. Of course the
Indians became alarmed, vexed, and ready for war; word came
that there was to be an insurrection, and an immediate attack on •
the Fp|t Mr. McKay came hurriedly to Sir James, expressed his | 1"
fears, and asked leave to call out his men. Sir James crossed his:
legs and said quietly, «Be patient, Mr. McKay, let the men have a
little more molasses.» A barrel was rolled out and tapped, the insurrection was quelled, and not one trembling prisoner taken. Since
Governor Douglas left many lives have been lost, and some
twenty white men massacred. «A little more' molasses»is better
than cannon for British Columbia and Chateau Bicher.
The Island of Vancouver is 280 miles long, and about 60 wide,
there are many fine plains but no rich alluvial deposits, no hard
wood timber, in fact neither on Vancouver's Island, nor in
British Columbia is there white oak, ash, elm or hickory
enough to make an axe handle or a whip-stalk ; small frush oak
as in Michigan, fir, pine, arbutus, willow, poplar, and soft maple
are the only woods known. Coal and copper abound as well as
gold, fish fill every stream and creek of the sea, and the cattle,
on the hills are deer and very numerous but wont be caught
The Douglas pine, a peculiar species, is perhaps the finest, and cer-
trainlv is the strongest for masts in the world—so that enduring;-
JO o
material for commerce abounds.
The gulf of Georgia is full of islands so much so that the San
Juan difficulty arose from the fact that the first discoverers went
up the East channel and the islands were so close and continuous,
they mistook them for the mainland, and never dreamt of any
other channel.
Victoria is a free port, British goods are cheaper than in
Canada, and Houses there are partners of London Houses, and
supply goods for the whole coast, a trade which Lthink will
vastly increase and make Victoria always a city of great foreign
traffic and account with China, Japan, the Sandwich and other
islands and all the Pacific coast, and thus create a demand which
will be supplied by an Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.
The climate is equal to that of the South of France.   Farming j
is in its infancy, though the Hudson Bay Company has done j
much good in this way, sent out fine stock and farming utensils,
had three fine farms and even when I was there, had 700 sheep- m
in one place—at Sanich, and at Nanimo, farming is now beginning and I doubt not will succeed.
The late Mr. Work, Dr. Tolmie, Mr. Finlayson and Mr. Yates'
are all farming near the city and I think deserve great praise for
their enterprise.
From Vancouver I took the Hudson Bay Company steamer
«Enterprise»to New Westminster, the capital of British Columbia,
60 miles from the island ; the greater part of the distance, say,
36 miles we were among the islands, safe as a river, the main
crossing being 11 miles, to the mouth of the Fraser river, about
6 miles north of the 49th parallel of latitude, the Boundary line
between British Columbia and the United States. The entrance
to the river is low and grassy and has been misrepresented by local
jealousy; it only requires a light-ship to be made perfectly accessible at all times to vessels of 18 to 20 feet draft. Her Majesty's
men of war have gone up and thus settled the question beyond
dispute, for in spite of repeated assertions of dangerous bars, and
sha!lowTs and what not, the fact is proved that the mouth of the
Fraser is safe and commodious, and the river perfectly navigable
to Fort Langley far above New Westminster.
From the moulh of the river to the capital is 12 miles, filled
with islands of the richest deposit, only requiring draining and
dyking to become the best farming land on the Pacific, they are
of immense value and capable of sustaining 20,000 people-
The site of New Westminster on the left bank of the river is
very fine : rising almost too abruptly from the water to a height
of about 200 feet; several streets are well graded, the mint is a
neat building, the general hospital is, a most creditable undertaking, the Episcopal church is a perfect gem—but the gaol is a
miserable hovel. «The Camp» was the residence; of Colonel
Moodie, Boyal Engineers, and the barracks of the soldiers of his.
corps. And here I must not omit to say how much the colony
owes to that excellent officer and most sincere Christian, and his
amiable and pious wife; the morals and ehiaracter of Sew Westminster stand far above any other place on the Pacific, and I
could attribute this very much to the purity, liberality and Catho- 17
licity of his religion, which so much aided and strengthened the
hands of Mr. White, Methodist, and Mr. Jamieson, the Free
Church, as well as the Episcopal ministers, in all their efforts for
the people's good. His liberality extended to aiding the Abbe
Fouquet, Roman Catholic Missionary, in his extraordinary efforts
for the Christianizing of the Indians, four thousand of whom
he vaccinated in his travels—saving thousand of lives.
The lands about New Westminster are covered with the most
enormous growth of Douglas pine trees 300 feet long, 10 to 15
feet through, 200 feet without a limb, they are now unsaleable
and to clear fee land would cost $100 an acre. The country is
all rough and by no means generally good for farming, but at
present prices money is made by farming. However, with her
inexhaustable resources of coal, iron, copper, silver, and gold, and
her position as the terminus of the road from the Atlantic, I feel
assuned that New Westminster will be one of the finest towns on
the continent.
One of the chief products of the colony is in such abundance
that my word has been doubted in reference to it, I mean salmon..
In crossing the Colqruhalla the horses feet struck the fish, and a
mill stopped because the mill race was filled with them. The
Hudson Bay Company used to export thousands of barrels till the
gold fever raised the price of labor too high.
The elevation of the city gives magnificent scenery. Views of
Mount Ba*ker 10,000 feet high, Gulf of Georgia, bend of the Fraser
river, and the Mountains of Washington Territory covered wife,
everlasting snow, give it a picturesque beauty and interest never
to be forgotten.
Ten miles in rear of New Westminster is the Burrard Inlet, a
very fine harbour without bar, shaol, or defect; coal has been
found there, and mills have been built. Just above the town is
a small river with water power, and seven or eight miles out is
the Pitt river, on which there is some good farming land, and
immediately opposite the city there are large flats yielding the
finest vegetans and large quantities of hay. Board lumber is,
now manufactured there, and a market is opening in Japan and
B 18
China. Shingles also and cordwood afford means of employment.
The climate is still milder and better than Canada, though over
fifty miles east, and up country it approaches more to the severity
of our own winter.
I proceeded up the river as far as Douglas, on the northern
route to Cariboo ; this little town is at the head of Lake Harrison, a lake fifty miles long, on which I think there is not an acre
fit for cultivation; but the beauty of which equals the Lake of
Lucerne. I retured from Douglas to the Fraser river, and proceeded eighty miles to Hope on the Southern road to Cariboo, to
Simmilkameen and Lake Akanagon, and the Kotanie pass, where
the late gold discoveries were made. In the year 1858 Hope had
1500 inhabitants, now there are only five or six families, the head
of one being the Church of England clergyman : a man of rare
ability, and who has done much for the country by his pen.
There I first saw Indian graves, salmon cribs, and Indian winter
The Indians bury their dead on the most beautiful part of the
river, and a figure, the size of life, is placed on each grave in full
dress, with their canoes raised on posts, and the figure has- hat
and gloves, and the real gun of the deceased, his best canoe, the
skin of his horse, his blanket, and other pToperty, and all remain
in perfect safety, protected by the reverance of the Indian and
the fear of the white man ; for the most gentle native would take
fearful vengeance on the desecrator of a grave. On some graves
are carvings of eagles, beavers, or crocodiles, very well executed.
The cribs of dried salmon are high up in the pine trees, thirty
or forty feet up, almost inaccessible, thus preserved from year to
The winter house is an hole dug six feet deep in the ground,
covered with earth like a. root house, and a hole in the middle
for the smoke: they are with great propriety called sweat houses-
There are also smaller ones used by their doctors for curing
diseases. These Indians are much more clever and mechanical
than ours, and I think shew traces of Chinese descent.
There is a very neat English church at Hope. In fact all over
the colony churches and clergymen have preceeded population. 19
Protestant Bishop Hills, Catholic Bishop Demers, from Quebec
and their clergy, with the old pioneers of the Methodists and
Presbyterians, all have been early in the field and have superior
and able men.
The Anglican Bishop of British Columbia (Hills) is a most excellent and really remarkable man—a total abstainer, by the way.
His friends in England are very influential and have assisted him
munificently, even to a magnificent grand piano for the school at
New Westminster, and a fine bell for the church.
In 1862 Bishop Hills visited Cariboo himself, and spent three
months in the woods, and never slept in a house even when near
a settlement, as, like St. Paul, " he would not be chargeable to
any mam" This very day I received a paper with an account of
a temperance meeting in Windsor, England, where Bishop Hills
spoke and gave great credit to the Temperance Association in
. Vacouver and British Columbia for their efforts and success with
the Indians.
From Hope I went up as far as Yale, twelve miles, a very well
.selected, rising place at the head of navigation, with the most
go-a-head, enterprising men, women, and clergymen in British
Columbia. To Mr. Landvoight, Mr. Sutton, and their wives and
a French Canadian agent of the Hudson Bay Company, Mr. Dal-
lair, I can never be sufficiently grateful. Ten such people are
worth a thousand ordinary settlers in any land.
There I took a mule and rode over the mountain to the forks
of the Thompson river, about ten miles, and saw the famous
Sailor bar, Yankee bar, Chapman bar, and many others from
which so much gold has been taken, and where the Chinese still
work in hundreds. I saw the washing, panning, cradling, the
sluices, dais, and water-works all along the river to the north of
the Thompson, and have examined the wonderful roads that the
government were making around the highest and most desperate
bluffs and curves of the Fraser, and over the most stupendous
mountains ; and all these, fortunately, in the direct route to the
Rocky Mountains, a part of the great road to Canada. Having
there satisfied myself that I had seen all I could see, I returned f
by the mountain passes, and Yale and Hope to New Westminster, to attend a meeting of the people which had been called on
the subject of grievances.
The colonists were most anxious that I should go to England
as their delegate, to endeavour to get British Columbia disunited
from Vancouver, and to obtain a constitution and government for
themselves. This has been granted by the Home Government.
Governor Seymour has fulfilled their expectations, is consulting
the feelings and wishes of the people, and the colony is making
rapid strides in wealth and happiness, greatly to his honour and
their profit
Now having given you an outline of my personal experiences
from Canada round the Continent to the Thompson river, it only
remains to sketch the route from Yale over the Rocky Mountains due east to Canada.
I have brought a map to show a peculiarity of the Fraser and
Columbia rivers. From their source they run a certain distance
eastwards, and curve round till they run due west to the Pacific;
inside that circle is the famous Cariboo district, over 400 miles
from the coast, and about 100 miles north-eastwards brings you to
the Rocky Mountains. To reach the favourite pass, you leave the
Tete-Jaune-Cache, and come by the Leather pass to Jasper House,
to Fort Edmonton on the east slope, and so on to the Red river.
The survey and reports of Captain Palliser have demonstrated
that there are other and better passes, and that there is no real obstacle in the way of a road—nature having provided for a railway. Ox carts have frequently crossed without difficulty, and
troops of emigrants go over with their cattle. The land immediately on either side of the mountains is all rough and never will
be worth cultivating, and the climate is severe and liable to great
storms, but as you descend to the eastward the country of the
Assiniboine, the valley of the Saskatchewan, and the Red River
settlement, the land becomes equal to ours, and offers a home to
sixty or eighty millions of people, and it is for us now to legislate
and act so as to give Canada the transit and supply for this great
reetion. 21
I have the journal of a Mr. Mackenzie who passed over this
country in 1862 on foot, who saw large tracts of the best of land
and is satisfied of the great value of the gold fields. I have just
seen Mr. Schwieger who passed over it in 1864, and who corroborates the statement, besides the reports of Dawson, Hind, and
others, all proving the immense value of this district. Now I
believe beeause of all these great resources and means of continuous advancement, we should desire to unite the British provinces
from Halifax to Vancouver's. With no adverse or dangerous
climate, no cypress swamp or yellow fever; in the same parallel
of latitude, or when they run further north with an isothermal
line that gives the climate of 40° to latitude 49°, Providence,
seems to have arranged for the future support of a great nation,
with all the natural elements of strength, longevity, and success.
We hear much now of amalgamation, but remember you? who
are historians, that no aboriginal, normal race, ever succeeded in
victorious conquest, or became a great governing power. It is a
mixed race which produces a great people, a powerful nation.
We possess this great advantage ; we have the fair soft Saxon,
the brave and hardy Celt, the old and noble Norman, the proud
and brilliant Spaniard, the magnanimous and cunning Aborigi-
nies, the musical and spiritual African, and meet on the Pacific
the ingenious and patient Chinese, so with the combined blood
of every race, the unrivalled treasures of the earth, and abundant
material for manufactures, what can hinder our onward progress ? Nothing, unless we yield to party jealousy or strife, or
that most fearful and unchristian of all evils-^war! Having the
entrepot of goods from the east and west, the fine textures of
Europe, the tea and spices, the ornamental wood and ivory of
China, and Japan, and." all the Islands of the sea, while we ourselves supply the southern and eastern world with timber, ships,
machinery, and all heavy manufactures in iron, copper, and
wood, should we not become the fathers of a race as far above
Tubal Gain as his day is distant from ours.
Federal Unions have been successful as experiments; ours is a
necessity.   We have been coming to a dead lock.   We have but 22
little good land left this side of Lake Superior, let us open up this
country which, I say, the North West Company never could have
■owned, for when they obtained their charter it belonged to France, I
say our only hope of having great lilies here like Montreal, of
being great ship owners and carriers of goods, of being a commercial and maritime power, is to unite the country from sea to
sea, settle the valleys I have named, and hoist the banner of Peace
and Free Trade with the world. We have water power in Canada
worth more than the coal fields we lack, for the great quantity
of coal needed is to drive machinery. I may just say that I hold
in my hands letters from British Columbia shewing that they are
lipe and anxious for Federation, Free Trade, and Reciprocity, as
any party in Canada But the clock admonishes me that I must
But my young friends, sound Christian education, self-reliance,
self-help, mutual improvement, and a determination to work,
with sober temperate habits are the main requirements, the real
working capital necessary to bring out the vast natural resources
God has given us—that God without whom nothing is good, great,
or successful. You have avowed yourselves Christian, you have
pledged yourselves to improvement,—go on impressed with a
sense of your responsibility for the future of this great country—
your impress for good or evil will be left upon it. Your habits
of thought and action will make the character of your children;
if you be sober, industrious, wise, and God-fearing, Canada will
be prosperous, noble, and free, and stand as high for virtue and
moral worth as she does for beauty and strength.
I said at the outset that I am not scientific, neither am I a poet,
but I crave your permission to close in the_language of ono who
Is both a scholar and a poet:— %L-^'t-*-t.
Tell me not in mournful numbers
Life is but iin empty dream,
For lhc soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Lite is real, life is earnest,
And the grave is not its coal— 23
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
JNot enjoyment and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way,
But to live that each lo-morrow
Finds us further than to-day.
Art is long and time is fleeting,
And our hearts though stout and bravt
Still like muffled drums are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac, of life,
Be not like dumb driven cattle—
Be a hero in the strife.
Trust no future, howe'er pleasant,
Let the dead past bury its dead ;
Act, act in the living present,
Heart within and God o'erhead.
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us
Foot-prints on the sands of time.
Foot-prints that perhaps another
bailing o'er
life's troubled main-
Some forlorn and shipwrecked brother-
Seeing, may take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing
With a heart for any late,
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.


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