Open Collections

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

British Columbia; its condition and prospects, soil, climate, and mineral resources, considered De Groot, Henry 1859

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0221821.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0221821-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0221821-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0221821-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0221821-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0221821-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0221821-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Condition and Prospects,
mm,  ii!S»l9
-:i £ kvuiiiiuo. zi.
Printed at the Alta California Job Office, 124 Sacramento street, up stairs,
The contents of the following pages, were oSpgiaally published in the columns of the
Daily Alia California, where they appeared in a series of articles prepared for that paper.
And although they have thus obtained a vast publicity, the writer has been encouraged to
think it might serve a useful purpose, to present them in a collected shape, as furnishing in a
narrow compass, the information most desired by the general reader, touching the country of
which they treat. The proximity ef our State to the gold fields of British Columbia, notwithstanding their unhappy experience, naturally attracts the attention of our people that way ;
and it was with a view to placing before them the most recent and reliable intelligence from
that quarter, that the writer engaged in the humble work in question. It was for this, and
not because of their literary merit, he has been led to collect these fugitive pieces and present
them in their present more pretentious form.
T) ^ X^l
Having spent the greater part of the past
seven months traveling through the interior of
British Columbia, in the capacity of newspaper
correspondent, the writer has since his return
been frequently applied to for information
touching that region, by parties desirous of
emigrating thither, or by others willing to canvass the inducements for doing so. As a means
of answering those inquiries, and embodying
the latest authentic intelligence from a quarter
which, despite their recent disappointments, has
not ceased to interest our people, he has
determined to publish a short series of articles
on the soil, climate and natural resources of
that country, selecting as the medium the
columns of our oldest and most widely extended journal. The writer engages in this
task the more readily from the fact that he
has, hitherto, found little inducement to publish any considerable portion of the copious
notes kept while journeying over Vancouver's
Island and the main land; and for the further
reason, that his views as heretofore exhibited
are lacking in entireness, several lengthy
letters designed for publication having failed
of that end through the uncertain modes of
transmission incident to the remote localities
where they were written.
This purpose, then, of placing before the
public the information gleaned during his
travels in a summary and consecutive shape,
will form the author's excuse should certain
of his ideas seem familiar to the reader, or
should something of repetition appear in what
he may now have to say. It will be his aim,
however, to avoid reiterating what is already
well known, and to adduce as many new facts
in the present writing as he shall have in
possession or be able to command. It constitutes no part of his plan to write a formal
"Vindication of the Praser River Mines;"
or to frame apologies for the failures that have
so frequently attended their working. This is
a business to which he has not felt called—a
work, the performance of which, in the absence
of any disposition or motive on his part, must
necessarily be left to others.
Yet it is but just a proper exposition should
be given of the causes that led to these failures
so continuous, general and disastrous, as to
have well nigh destroyed all confidence in tne
mineral wealth of a country, which, but ten
months ago, was, by many, deemed a rival, if
not the peer, of California.   Candor compels
the admission that these untoward results
were attributable to the precipitate action of
the adventurers themselves, coupled with manifold and all but insuperable obstacles interposed between them and their field of operations, quite as much as to the limited area or
non-productive character of the mines. A
slight examination of the country to be penetrated, and of the circumstances under which
this immigration took place, can hardly fail to
confirm this opinion, and impress its justness
upon every candid and dispassionate mind.
No special pleading should be tolerated in
behalf of these mines, nor should any attempts
be winked at for glossing over the fearful
perils and fatal catastrophies that attended
their opening. "We have had enough of this
—and too much, as the thousands returning
empty-handed, and the hundreds who will no
more return at all, can testify. Still, it is meet
the public be possessed of all the facts, to the
end, that being fully advised they may fairly
judge and intelligently act for themselves.
It is, moreover, important that the residents
of California properly understand the relative
postion of their own State and these new communities about being planted on their northern
border,.and that they fully appreciate the reciprocal advantages likely to arise therefrom
in the future. This is a point on which, owing
to a perverted sentiment of patriotism, or a
narrow feeling of national jealousy, or, perhaps, to the* low stand-point from which the
subject has been viewed, there is much misapprehension in the minds o'f our citizens. We
have been apt to consider these colonies of
British Columbia and Vancouver as necessarily
antagonistic to the interests and progress of
California. It has been our wont to regard
them simply as rivals—competitors entering
the field to bid for population—decoying
sojourners from our midst, and diverting newcomers from our shores. Some have even affected to see in these distant provinces, so situate on the outer verge of the British empire,
the instruments wherewith England hopes to
check our growth and impede our march to
greatness, if indeed they may not be the germs
of a power which is one day to arise and overshadow our Pacific Republics.
That England has great purposes to effect in
this part of the world, is no doubt true ; that
she has grand projects on foot, looking to a
union of her North American colonies, and
the opening of a highway from ocean to ocean,
she does seek to disguise. That these new
settlements on our north are yet to become
competitors for the trade of the East, if not
the commercial supremacy of the Pacific, it
were useless to deny. Entrepots are soon to
spring up on these hitherto undisturbed waters ; there will be ship-yards and fisheries
there, and to these lands will a numerous people go to dwell and to mine, beyond a perad-
ventnre. If we imagine such things will not
come to pass, or flatter ourselves that we can
retard them by our silence or defeat them by
our opposition, the sooner we disabuse our
minds of these beguilings the better. Yet, in
all these aims of England, so bold, far-reach-
ing, and vast, there is really nothing calculated
to excite our hostility or alarm our fears ;
nothing which a magnanimous people should
deprecate, or a young and enterprising nation
. On the contrary, this opposition is the very
thing which, of all others, we most need, and
which, instead of proving detrimental to our
interests, would serve to promote them in a
variety of ways. Of all the nations on the
earth we, of California, are suffering the most,
from the want of a stimulus to arouse our dormant energies—some outside pressure to terrify
U3 into union and activity. Separated from the
older communities, with their schemes of internal improvement and other excitant and
energizing agents; penetrated by inert masses
of savage and semi-barbarian life, and surrounded on every hand by peoples of low intellectuality and unaspiring aims ; never did a
State so much need the stimulus of a generous
rivalry as ours. Out among the islands we encounter an enervated and decaying race, too
poor to inflame our cupidity and too imbecile
to provoke opposition : while stretched along
our south lies poor, ill-faring, ill-fated Mexico,
likewise dying, and too far gone to evoke the
spirit of " high emprise," or engender a feeling of emulation within us; too far gone to be
useful, even as an antagonizing agent, and
henceforth to serve only as a sort of territorial
catacomb, whence may be dragged a carcass
ever as required by that false sense of aggrandizement, which lusts for lands without citizens, and dominion without power.
Thus circumstanced,we are fortunate in having a rival like England to arouse us from our
torpidity, to stir our pride and spur us on in
the noble contest for opulence and empire.
Not only this, but the settlement of those ter-
ritoritories so contiguous to our own, must
speedily inure the great gain of our people
by furnishing a steady and lucrative market
for almost every species of their surplus products, especially those of the orchard, the
dairy and the farm,since neither of these colonies
will be able, for some time at least, to supply
their own inhabitants with these staples. In a
word, whatever brings immigration to this
coast must necessarily advantage California
and Oregon, as from them  must be  obtained
the breadstuff's and other prime articles necessary for their subsistance. And so, again, any
large influx of miners or other transient persons drawn this way, whether by the discovery
of gold, or other attractions, must, in the end,
augment the population of California, since the
manifest superiority of her soil and climate
will determine many of them to seek her borders when contemplating a permanent settlement.
"Wherefore, view it as we may, while we
should adhere strictly to facts in speaking of
the resources of these colonies, and abstain
from all undue effort at encouraging emigration thither, it little behooves the friends of
California to underrate the advantages of her
northern neighbor or seek to disparage her
claims in the estimation of those abroad. It
requires but an ordinary share of intelligence
to see how certainly our welfare must be promoted by her growth, and how intimately our
interests are connected with hers. The peopling of her territories will tend to populate
ours ; the increase of her affluence will add to
our wealth, and the progress of her people
must inevitably react on our own.
But however we may regard the advent of
England upon our shores, or whatever estimate
we may set on the value of her possessions in
this quarter, one thing is certain, we have now
got to meet her on this side the globe, as we
have met her on the other, and   encountering
her enterprise and  capital; her practical, patient industry and persistence of purpose, dispute  with  her for the trade of the East and
the empire of the seas.    It is no mean stake to
play for this—a traffic which,  in the middle
ages having successively enriched the commercial republics of Venice, Genoa,  and the
towns  of the  Hanseatic,  at  a   biter period
promoted Spain and Holland to the pinnacle of
maritime greatness, has now come  to be the
subject of the grandest contest recorded in the
history of commercial enterprise.    The building of a trans-continental railroad, like the discovery of the Cape, will divert the trade of the
Orient into a new channel, scattering affluence
along its route and ultimately securing politi-'
cal predominance to the nation who shall enjoy it.    Where it runs there wfjl be population,
and wealth and power ; there will be cities and
workshops and cultivated fields, with all the
glo.ious attendants of civilization ; and where
it terminates there will be the emporium of the
Pacific—the permanent metropolis of the Occidental world.
If England shall precede us in the accomplishment of this work she will have gained an
advantage which we cannot readily overcome,
and which must eventually force .us into the
rank of a second rate power. As yet, the field
is clear, and we have a long way the start, yet
all these advantages will be lost if we longer
waste our time in idle dalliance, or suffer our
action to be impeded by sectional jealousies
and distracted councils. The time has come
for harmonizing our differences and dismissing ITS SOIL, CLIMATE, RESOURCES, Ac.
these feelings of distrust—for uniting our efforts
and entering vigorously on the prosecution of
the great work to which our duty points, and
our destiny invites us.
It being apparent, then, that the early settlement of the. British Provinces on this coast,
and the rapid development of thgir resources,
both material and industrial, cannot fail to react beneficially on our own State, policy dictates that we encourage emigration thither by
every convenient and laudable means in our
power. That the newspaper press presents the
most fit and available agent for effecting that
purpose, by broadly diffusing correct informa-
. tion in regard to the country in question, must
be obvious to all. Hence, the accomplishment
of that object may well be considered a part of
its legitimate duties, since it will tend to subserve the interests of our own people at the
same time that it vindicates itself against the
charge of dealing unjustly with those Colonies, and renders a good service to the world
at large. Even if the favorable accounts thus
promulgated should work the temporary with-"
drawal of a few thousand people from our
shores, this same intelligence, acting on the
populous commnities of the Atlantic slope and
the Old World, would soon more than compensate for that loss—bringing us five, perhaps,
ultimately, ten inhabitants to supply the place
of every one so abstracted. "Wherefore* while
•it can hardly be said the journals of California
have generally acted unfairly toward this, our
first competitor for population and commercial
power on the Pacific, it is yet to be hoped that
whatever of seeming jealousy may heretofore
have been manifested, or whatever of injustice
may have been unwittingly done her, our newspaper press, acting in the liberal and catholic
spirit of the age, will for the future secure our
northern neighbor a full and candid hearing in
their columns.
Before proceeding to speakof thegold mines
of British Columbia, it may be well, as a means
of illustrating their position and routes of approach, to present a brief description of the
geography and natural features of the country,
in Avhich they are located.
The territory constituting what is now the
Province of British Columbia, lies between
the 49th and SYth degrees of north latitude,
corresponding in area with what was formerly
the department of New Caledonia. By the late
act of Parliament, withdrawing it from the jurisdiction of the Hudson Bay Company, and
erecting it into a Colony, it is bounded as follows : on the south, by the frontiers of the
United States ; on the east, by the main chain
of the Rocky Mountains; on the north, by
Simpson's river, and the Finlay branch of the
Peace river, and on the west, by the Pacific
Ocean. It embraces within its limits Queen
Charlotte's Island, and all the other islands
adjacent to the coast, except that of Vancouver.
As thus bounded, it has Washington Territory
on its southern, and the department of New
Cornwall on its northern border; while its
western is skirted by the waters of Qneen Charlotte's Sound and the Gulf of Georgia., which,
with their numerous canals and inlets deeply
penetrating the main land, impart to the coast
a very irregular outline. As will appear, from
an inspection of its limits, British Columbia is
an extensive region, being nearly 5C0 miles
long, from north to south, and 400 wide, thus
containing nearly 200,000 square miles, one-
tenth more land than the State of California.
The southern and middle portions of this
territory are generally rugged, being crossed
by several mountain chains of considerable
elevation and extent. The northern part is
said to be more level. These mountains,
which consist mostly of the Rocky, Cascade
and Coast Range, with their various spurs, are
so ramified and diffused as to constitute a single group rather than separate ranges. Their
average height is between four and five
thousand feet, though many of the peaks are
muctr more lofty. Some of them lie in long
ridges consisting of shapeless masses of rock ;
some are craggy, precipitous and impending,
while others shoot up in splintered spires, or
are rounded into huge domes like segments of
a shattered world. The lower portions of
these mountains are covered with forests, the
higher with snow the entire year, which melting keeps the streams heading in, or running
near them at a high stage until late in the
summer. Nothing can exceed the grandeur of
these snow-fields as seen from a distance on a
clear day, or equal their loneliness and desolation as impressed on the mind when we come
to visit them. Viewed from the trail along the
deep valleys, they are apttoinspire the tourist
with a wish to explore their cold and lustrous
solitudes. A single day's travel, however,
across their still and pathless wastes will be
very likely to extinguish that feeling, especially
if the journey be made in thin clothes, and on
short rations, as the writer's experience enables
him to attest.
British Columbia is not only a land of mountains, but also of lakes and rivers, the latter
being numerous, and in some instances, of large
size. Of the entire number, Fraser river is
much the largest, receiving, in fact, the waters
of nearly all the others, as it passes longitudinally through the centre of the entire territory
Its principal branches beginning at its mouth
are, on the left side, Pitt, Harrison, BriAge,
Chillicoaten, "West-Road, Stuart and Salmon ;
on the right, Anderson, Thompson, Quesnel and
Rough Poplar. It has besides, a vast number
of smaller tributaries, many of which are swollen into considerable streams during summer.
Most of its larger branches take their rise in
extensive lakes and marshes that abound near
their sources ; the smaller chieflly head in the
mountains and are fed by the melting snows.
None of these streafas afford extended facilities for navigation, except the Fraser, which,
atastage-of high water, can be ascended by BRITISH COLUMBIA,
light draught steamers to Fort Yale, a point
110 miles above its month. Harrison river can,
under like circumstances, be ascended to Harrison Lake, a distance of ten miles from its
junction with the Fraser, securing steamboat
navigation on that route, by means of the river
and lake, for over fifty miles. Small steamers
could also run on the Fraser between the
Upper Canon and Thompson's Fork, a stretch
of twenty-five or thirty miles. The upper portions of this river, however, as well as nearly
all the others throughout the territory, generally flow with a strong current, broken in
many places by falls and rapids, and hence are
little adapted to steamboat navigation.
British Columbia is in every part thickly
stndded with lakes, some o'f them of considerable magnitude, and nearly all remarkable for
their great depth of water, a feature traceable
no doubt, as a general thing, to the abrupt
character of the mountains in which tbey are
imbosomed. Some of even the smaller have
been sounded to a depth of 400 feet without
finding bottom. In shape, they are usually
long and narrow, and in several instances lie
in chains linked by connecting streams along
deep depressions, to all appearance the beds of
former rivers. Some of these lakes are between
fifty and sixty miles long, and from eight to
ten broad. The water is cold the year round,
and, for the most part, exceedingly clear. To
this, however, there are exceptions, as, for example, the Lilooet, the color of which is a dirty
green, caused probably by its feeders running
over a species of argillaceous earth, that imparts to the water its turbid appearance. A
few of the smaller are somewhat alkaline, but
not to a degree that forbids their use. During
the summer months salmon of an excellent
quality abound in both the rivers and lakes,
and form the principal food of the natives, who
take them in large quantities, consuming what
they require while fresh, and curing the balance
for winter use. The salmon season extends
from June to October.
The climate of the Pacific coast, as is well
known, is no where so severe in the same par-
. all el of latitude as that of the Atlantic, the
difference varying from IS to 20 degrees—that
s, we have to go some 1,200 miles further
north on the Atlantic side of the continent to
find a mean-winter temperature corresponding
to that on the Pacific side. And though the
climate of British Columbia forms no exception to this role, it is somewhat varied, certain
belts of country being warm and dry, while
others are moist and of a more equitable temperature. Thus we have a district extending
from the month of Fraser river inland about
150 miles characterized by a humid climate,
and in which the thermometer of Fahrenheit
rarely falls below ten or rises above ninety degrees in the course of the year. Throughout
this region rain is abundant during the spring,
summer and autumn, falling not only in fre
quent showers, but continuing sometimes for
several days together. Snow also falls here
in Hie winter from one to two feet, often more
in the northern part of the district, though
hardly so much near the sea. It is not apt to
lay more than a week or two at a time, it then
melting and the ground remaining bare for a
like interval, to be again succeeded by another fall, and so on throughout the winter,
which generally breaks up in the early part
of March. The damp and cloudy weather here
prevalent during the summer prevents the heat
reaching so high a point as farther in the interior. When the atmosphere is clear heavy
dews fall at night, and fogs at all seasons of
the year are common.
Beyond this wet section of country, the
northern limits of which crosses the Lilooett
route in the vicinity of Anderson's lake, and
the Fraser between the Uper Canon and the
Forks, lies a district of about equal breadth,
characterized by greater heat and aridity, and
which though situate further north and generally more elavated, is scarcely any colder in
the winter, and has even less snow than the
country further south along the lower Fraser.
North of this, again, is another belt having a
more humid climate, showers being frequent
in the summer, and the winters some what more
Taken altogether then, the climate of British
Columbia though subject to much fluctuation,
and varying with locality, cannot be considered one of great severity, neither the heat of
summer nor the cold of winter reaching such
extremes as in Canada, or the northern States
of the Union. As evidence on this point, it
may be stated that the snow along the valleys
of the Upper Fraser and its tributaries, rarely
ever exceeds eighteen inches in depth, and
for the most part does not even reach six
inches, while a great portion of the time there
is none at all on the ground during winter.
The larger lakes never freeze over, nor does
the Fraser or other large streams ever close
entirely up. Stock is able to subsist on the
bunch grass throughout the winter, and even
work animals keep in tolerable condition on
the rushes that grow in the bottoms without
other feed. On the divides and more elevated
places, the depth of snow as well as the degree
of cold, depends of course on the height of the
locality; the traveller encountering snow "in
some places he may have to pass, twice as deep
as that found in the valleys There was no
snow or frost of any consequence on the Upper
Fraser river last year, until about the first of
December, when the weather suddenly became
cold, the snow falling to a depth of five or six
inches, and even a foot, on the lower part of
the river. The smaller streams and tho ditches
at the same time became covered with ice, and
the ground froze to the depth of1 several inches,
interfering seriously with, and for the most
part putting a stop to mining operations. Thit
weather after continuing for two or three
weeks, moderated, and (or the next five weeks ITS SOIL, CLIMATE, RESOURCES, &c.
but little snow fell, while the thermometer in
two or three instances only, went below 20 degrees, fluctuating between that point and 45
After this mild period came another spell of
cold and varying weather, which held for three
or four weeks, when the snow and ice mostly
disappeared, and the Indians . leaving their
winter houses, declared that season at an end.
The miners also got to work in their claims,
and have not since been interrupted. This was
early in the month of March, since which
time the weather has been constantly growing
warmer, the thermometer having fallen but a
few times below the freezing point. During
March the weather was showery, with some
slight frosts and falls of snow in the early part
of the month.
Much the same kind of climate as above described, prevails throughout the regions lying
between and bordering on the Kamloops and
Great Okinagan lakes, as well as the extensive
districts to the north and east.
About the mouth of Fraser river, and extending up that river forty or fifty miles, the country
is mostly level and somewhat swampy. "With
the exception of a few small prairies, and some
inconsiderable clearings near Fort Langley, it
is covered with a dense and heavy growth of
timber, as are also the adjacent mountains as
high as the limit of vegetation, above which-
they are clad with perpetual snow. The lower
portions of this flat land near the mouth of the
river are nothing but an extended marsh, being
overflowed by the tides and the stream at its-
higher stages, and from the tall thick growth
of flags with which they are covered strongly
resemble the tule lands of California. The
soil of the prairies and dryer parts, consists of
a black vegetable mold, being warm and'fertile and capable of producing abundantly of
vegetables and cereals, as the spots about Fort
Langley, cultivated for many years to grain
and potatoes, amply prove. In places, however, there is rather too large an admixture of
sand with a substratum, of gravel and decomposed granite, causing the soil to leach and
thus readily part with its fertilizing properties.
The prairies are covered with rank grass from
which the Company have been in the habit of
making hay for their winter use.
On the southern limit of this flat country and
lying partly on either side of the line, is the
Smess prairie, of great fertility and considerable extent,which,together with the Chilliwhaick
•and alsc^the Lilooett meadows at the head of
Lilooett lake, will hereafter claim a more particular notice as constituting the most valuable
portions of the district under consideration.
In passing north we next come to the country
of the Upper Fraser, with its dry climate, fertile bottoms, table lands and prairies covered
with bunch grass and scattered pine trees.
Here there is a great deal of good land, equally
fit for gardening and farming with an unlimited amount of pasturage, grass growing every
where, even to the tops of the mountains. The
only drawback to the successful cultivation
of the soil in this region would be the drouth,
which might render irrigation necessary except
in the more moist and fertile bottoms. That
much of the soil is sufficiently rich in
itself to produce good crops, admits of no
doubt, yet to insure that result irrigation, for
which there are, fortunately, great facilities,
might, in many cases, be required. The same
remark will probably apply with equal force
to the vast region east of the Cascade Range,
where, it is admitted, there are large bodies
of land possessing a very prolific soil, and supplying exceedingly desirable places for settlement.
The scenery in almost every part of British
Columbia is unique, bold and impressive, while
in some sections it assumes an aspect of wild
and gloomy grandeur. Vast mountains, cleft
to the base by hideous fissures, gigantic forests tangled with undergrowth, sullen lakes
shaded by lofty cliffs and skirted bysedgy fen-
lands, sunless valleys, arid plains and rolling
praries, majestic rivers, cascades, snow-peaks,
precipices and foaming torrents form some of
the prominent features of the scenery everywhere met with. To the east of the Cascade
range the scenery is less striking and varied
than elsewhere, though scarcely less attractive,
the country abounding in fertile bottoms,
watered by numerous wood-fringed streams,
and in high praries covered with grass and
flowers and a scanty growth of trees. The
same description of soil and scenery applies
to the valley of Salmon river, and all the
southern tributaries of Thompson's Fork, as
well as to the region about Lake Sushwap and
the great Okinagan. In going north on the Upper Fraser and its branches, some variation in
the landscape is observable; the plains are
narrower and the mountain sides more walllike ; springs and streams are more frequent,
and timber more plentiful, the hills beingoften
well wooded, and the praries embossed with
clumps of trees. A novel and highly picturesque feature is here presented in the terraced
banks and park-like parterres running for
miles along the deep-chasmed Fraser. Nothing can surpass the beauty of these tablelands
rising in regular gradations, often three or four
tier high, and extending back a great distance,
their slopes as even and their angles as sharp
as if they had been shaped by the hand of man.
Indeed, it is hard to believe, in view of their
uniform declivity and clean cut edges, that
something of art has not been employed in
laying th em out, or governing their construction.
In truth, there is scarce any part of this territory in which even the untutored eye fails to
detect something calculated to awaken pleasurable emotions; some object in nature appealing to our appreciation of the beatiful and
vast. The snow cones, when the sky is clear,
are especially fitted to arrest the attention and 8
challenge the admiration of eveD the most
stolid and prosaic. Cold, pure and sky-piercing, the nearest, though afar off, seem strangely
present, while the more distant, as they recede
further and further, fade into cloud-like pavilions scarce distinguishable from the atmosphere into which they seem about to dissolve.
Hardly less grand, and evem more attractive,
are the water-falls often met with in the mountainous districts. Sometimes these have a
perpendicular fall of a hundred feet or more ;
sometimes they rush down the mountain sides
in a straight shoot two or three thousand feet,
the water so dashed into foam that it resembles long frills of drifted snow, or wavy threads
of silver. Occasionally there are startling
sounds as well as strange sights to arrest the
attention of the traveler in these solitudes. At
times a heavy sound like buried thunder may
be heard issuing from the cavernous gates, and
resounding through the chambers of the mountains. It is an avalanche or land-slide, things
not unfrequent when the snow melts and the
frost leaves the ground on the approach of
warm weather. Taken altogether, the scenery
of British Columbia is exceedingly picturesque,
varied and majestic, affording a rich and ample field for the explorations of the tourist, as
well as the inquiries of the savant and the study
of the artist, some of whom have already
sought it in the prosecution of their researches
and the exercise of their calling.
That the climate of Vancouver's Island, as
well as of the main land, is extremely favorable to health is pretty well established by the
experience of the large number who visited
that section last year; as also by the testimony
of the old residents, nearly all of whom have
been remarkably exempt from disease. Notwithstanding the hardship, deprivation and
exposure tc which thousands of the Fraser
river adventurers were subjected, and the
severe labor they were called upon to perform,
there was very little sickness amongst them,
while the deaths from disease were almost
none at all. When it is considered that these
men were, as a general thing, very unfavorably
situated for the preservation of. health—many
of them proceeding to the mines in open boats,
crossing a stormy gulf in their passage, toiling up rapid streams week after week, encamping on the damp ground, almost constantly wet from the falling rains, or wading
in ice-cold water, exhausted with dragging
their boats up rapids, or making portages
round falls; often annoyed by Indians, and
not unfrequently suffering from insufficiency
of food—it speaks well for the sanitary character of the climate that they should have experienced such a general immunity from sickness
and disease. Not only so, but these men,
with scarcely an exception, increased largely
in flesh at the very time they were being subjected to these deprivations and toils—adding
to their weight beyond precedent, and enjoying
more robust health than ever before. It was
no uncommon thing to hear men boast of this
increment, which in some cases, was really
quite extraordinary.
The circumstances under which the first
emigration to Fraser river took place, were
certainly as little conducive to health as those
attending the early settlement of the California mines, yet the proportional amount of
sickness in the two cases, shows greatly to our
disadvantage—the difference being as three to
one against us.
The most frequent cause of ailment in
British Columbia has, thus far, been rhuma-
tism; apparently the only endemic disease as
yet developed in the country; though it does
seem a little strange that fever and ague should
scarcely be known, though there is much
overflowed and marshy land, productive of
those miasmatic exhalations on the presence
of which this malady is dependent. That this
maleria is so little virulent is probably owing
to the fact that the district where it most prevails, is situate near salt water, being thus
influenced by the sea breezes and the tides.
But whatever the cause, it is undeniable that
the climate of British Columbia is both invigorating and salubrious, and one to which the
immigrant may repair with as little apprehension as to any other on the coast, or perhaps
any other on the face of the globe.
The native races dwelling in the territory
of British Columbia, although resembling each
other in their physical appearance and other
leading characteristics, indicating identity of
origin, are still divided into numerous tribes,
each having a distinct name, and for the most
part, speaking a different language. In some
instances they seem to have been grouped into
larger communities or confederations, having
the same appellation, being that perhaps of the
mostpowerfnl or influential oftheir number. In
other cases names have been supplied them by
the whites, but which, suggested often by
mere caprice or accident, do not appear to have
been recognized very fully by the aborigines
themselves. Thus the term Carrier was applied at an early day to the tribes living along
the upper Fraser; and still later the word
Couieau was used to designate not only the
inhabitants, but also the country further
south; it being a corruption of the' Indian
Nicoutameen, the name of a numerous tribe on
the lower Fraser, and which from its resemblance to the French, couteau, a knife, was
readily converted into that term by the voy-
ageurs. The application of a word of such sanguinary significance to this people, was some-'
what mal appropo, since, as would «eem, they
were rather distinguished for theirpacific'pro-
clivities, than otherwise. At best, there would
appear to have been much confusion in the
manner of naming these tribes, scarce two
authorities agreeing as to the title by which
any particular portion of them should be
known, or the precise limits of their territorial possessions. Some writers have made the
entire number of people occupying this region
to consist  of two  great nations: the  Takali ITS SOIL;, CLIMATE, RESOURCES, &c.
or Carriers, at the north, and the Atnahs or
Sushiwaps further south. Some have divided
them into Cbilcotins, Kuz Lakes, Naskotins,
Talkotins and Atnahs or Chin Indians. While
others have designated them by still different
names, or assigned to tbem boundaries widely
diverse. From all which it is evident their
tribal limits are illy defined, and their geographical nomenclature sufficiently crude and
To account for this confusion and illustrate
how these territorial boundaries maybe made
to suffer a nominal expansion, a case of recent
occurrence, might be cited as in point.     The
.Lilooett] nation,  once  powerful, but now reduced to a few hundred persons,- having given
their name to a lake  and river near their village, the same  came  afterwards to be applied
to tlie new route opened by Government along
these waters, and, finally to the country adjacent,  until at present the whole region is in
popular parlance termed the Lilooett, and it is
common to hear   both   whites and   Indians
speak  of going to the Lilooett, when perhaps
they simply mean the terminus  of the Trail,
or other point far  distant from the home of
that people.    Extended inquiry, however, into
thisbranch of knowledge, could hardly prove
profitable, since the Indian notions on the subject are quite as crude and indefinite as those
of the   whites.   Nor   is it at all a matter of
practical  moment,  since in  addressing these
-races, it will be found a sufficient lingual at-
tainmcnt to have mastered the terms "Siwash"
and  " Clootchman," these being well understood by all,"and as likely to insure attention
as words expressive  of individual or national
Each village, or tribe, is governed by a Jyhe'ey
or chief, whose authority, though rather arbi-
. • trary, does not seem to be very extended or
well defined, being as much dependant on personal prowess and wealth, as on any fixed rules
or hereditary rights.    The amount of property
possessed by these Sagamores, such as canoes,
horses,   blankets, guns,   wives, slaves,  etc.,
mostly determines the extent of thqir influence,
and consequent authority, not only with their
own people but also with their neighbors.    By
■   the same rule is measured the degree of honor
to be awarded them after death.   Besides these
leading men,  there  are Sitcinn Tyhees, or half
chiefs, who aid the principals in the discharge
of their duties, or act for them in their absence*
A.fierce spirit of animosity prevails amongst
many of these tribes 5 a feeling that formerly
manifested itself in. sanguinary wars, wherein
whole communities were cut off or reduced to
.. slavery.     Since the presence of the whites
amongst them, this hostility has been so far
ni restrained as to spend itself for the most part
in private feuds, murders and petty skirmishes,
-, with occasional forays on a weaker neighbor,
often attended with circumstances of treachery
and cruelty, and almost always conducted in a
manner reflecting unfavorably on the magnanimity and courage of the party assailant.   To
pretend, however, that these Indians are any
worse, or to claim that they are any better than
like races elsewhere, or to say there is any
more or any less virtue and intelligence extant
amongst them, would be disingenuous, and argue an ignorance of savage life generally.    As
with similar types of men elsewhere, their virtues are few and ieeble, their vices multiplied
and inveterate—appetite being apt to predominate over the sense of right, and passion over
reason ; yet they are by no means a dangerous
people to dwell amongst, or a difficult one to
manage, as the success of the Hudson's  Bay
Company in their  dealings with  them  fully
shows.    The tribes about Kamloops and on the
upper Fraser, even to the far north, are especially honest,  intelligent and tractable,  and
withal, generally well  disposed towards  the
whites.    They are also physically greatly the
superiors  of the  tribes further south, being
much more athletic and well formed.    Their
features, too, are, as a general thing, more regular and prominent, some of them having a
contour of face  highly  classical; a  circumstance less attributable, perhaps, to  any original superiority of the race, than to the pre's-
ence of the whites amongst them.    Indeed, it
is well known that the Jesuit missionaries, at
an  early  period   in the  colonial  history  of
Canada, in thejx,zeal to propagate the tenets of
the church, penetrated to the remotest parts of
the continent,carrying their religion far beyond
the limits of civilization, and planting it on the
distant banks of the  Saskatchawan and  the
Fraser.    Here  for years,  secluded from  the
world, these holy men labored with results so
beneficial to the spiritual and material nature
of their neophytes as  have led the devout to
canonize them for their self-denying toil, and
the physiologist to infer that the Good Fathers
had impressed somethingof their own physical
lineaments on these rude children of the wilderness, while seeking to engraft the shoots of
evangelical truth on their simple faith.
The extent to which the efforts of these
early heralds of the Gospel were successful, is
evinced not only in the sftmewhat improved
morality of these northern tribes, but also by
the extent of their knowledge of the cardinal
doctrines, and their familiarity with the ceremonial observances of the church. The stranger is surprised on falling in with these people
to find them making the sign of the cross in
token of their Christian belief, while kneeling,
genuflexion and the murmuring of set prayers
are practiced on every befitting occasion. The
crucifix is universally regarded as an object of
veneration, and it is related by the voyageurg
who have penetrated far into the interior, that
it is no uncommon thing to find rude crosses
tainted on the lodges and deserted huts, or
cut on the trees in those distant wilds, to which
the natives bow in daily adoration, paying
tbem genuine homage as the emblems of a
higher and better faith, taught them by men
who came to benefit and bless, instead of
cheat and despoil them, as has since too often 10
been the practice of the whites.   As evidence
of the progress made by these people, not in
the mere rituals only, but also in the essential
doctrines of the Christian religion, as well as
of their   generally   enlightened   notions    of
morality and justice, an incident may be adduced that occurred at the Fountain in Jan
uarylast:   An Indian, belonging to  the village at that place, having committed a trifling
offence, fled to the north, taking refuge with a
powerful tribe,  governed by a chief named
Guillaume, in the neighborhood of Fort Alexander.    This   personage, whose  authority is
very extended, being recognized in a  general
way by most of the tribes north  of the Fountain, and who had already heard  of the difficulties between the Indians and the whites the
preceding summer, instead of screening the
fugitive by affording the coveted  protection,
had  him  arrested,  and   setting out with   a
From the above, it will be seen that these
people, however we may call them savages, or
treat them as such, are by no means deficient
in the religious sentiment, or ignorant of the
code of Christian ethics. It is not always that
criminal cases are abjudicated with so much
good sense as in the example just recited; nor
is it every tribunal that so effectually attains
the true aims of punishment, while it so fully
vindicates the claims of justice. Indeed, a
finer instance of well directed benevolence—of
the rigor of law, tempered with merited clemency, is not often met with. Nor would it be
easy to find, even within the pale of civilized
life, one endowed with more native goodness,
or whom we' would so instinctively trust, as
this same unschooled Chief of the Carrier Nation. When looking into his calm and benignant face, one can hardly believe that the labors of the contemned and world-feared Jesuit
numerous retinue, brought him in mid-winter I were all fruitless of good, since he sees the re-
all the way to the Fountain, a distance of flex of their teachings there, and reads in every
nearly two hundred miles, where he delivered act of this old man's life a living illustration
him into the charge of Alexander MacCrellish, of the doctrines of Jesus.
then an official at that place. The foregoing case has been presented thus
This gentleman, in view of the trifling broadly not so much for its intrinsic interest,
nature of the alleged offence, handed the as because it serves to throw light on the con-
accused over to his own people, to be dealt dition and character of a race with whom
with as they might see fit. A council having some portion of our own people may hereafter
been called, and the case examined, the pris- come in contact, inasmuch as they inhabit a
oner was found guilty, and condemned to be district in which the mosi prolific part of the
publicly whipped, a sentence that was forth- Fraser river mines is supposed to be located,
with carried into effect. This species of pun- Being timely advised as to the disposition or
ishment is one of which the Indian has a other peculiarities of the natives, those enter-
special  dread, not so much for the physical ing their territory will know how to approach
pain attending as the social degradation attaching to its infliction. After receiving it,
the culprit, unless previously rendered insensible to shame, is apt to avoid, for the time being, the society of his fellows, and withdrawing, sit apart, bowed down with a sense of
humiliation.   From"the"Stigma of his disgrace
and regulate their intercourse jvith them, thus
securing advantages that might otherwise be
lost, and avoiding difficulties into which,
through ignorance or misapprehension, they
might be betrayed. As has been stated then,
the Indians on the upper Fraser are morally
and physically superior to the tribes   further
he is not readily relieved, unless restored to I south, as well as those generally met with on
good standing at the time by those who have American territory. And although they are
decreed his punishment—an act of clemency averse to having the whites enter their coun-
frequently extended to the culprit on his mani- | try, there will  be  no active opposition, once
festing a due degree of contrition, coupled
withthepromiseofamendnient. Our hero onthis
occasion, having placed himself in this category,
was graciously reinstated by the considerate
and kind hearted Guillaume, who had just be-
they find it inevitable. Indeed, by the observance of a little tact and good management,
the new comers may not only gain easy ingress
to the country, and procure the objects of their
visit in peace, but also secure the friendship of
fore passed sentence upon him. The act of grace I the natives and render them highly serviceable
was conducted as follows :—A bountiful feast to them in their labors.
having been prepared—the supplies generously There are two lines of policy or modes of
donated by Mr. MacCrellish—all the prin- treatment, either of which is tolerably effective
cipal men were gathered about the board, after in the conduct of our intercourse with the In-
which, a blessing having been invoked in true dians. One of these adopts the plan of yield-
Christian style, the transgressor was beckoned ing to his caprices, falling in with his notions,
to draw near. This he did, approaching on and accommodating ourselves to his peculiar
his knees, when the old Chief, placing his ities and modes of living, as is apt to be the
hands on the repehtant's head, kindly soothed practice of the French. The other consists in
his sorrow and quited his sobs, whispering to treating him with kindness and justice, but at
him in the meantime words of consolation and the same time making few concessions to his
encouragement, and finally imploring the aid views or wishes while we sternly mould him
of the Great Spirit to strengthen his good reso- to our own purposes, and compel him to yield
lutions, pronounced a benediction, declared in everything essential to our success and
his forgiveness, and invited him to partake of comfort,
the repast, a privilege denied other attendants. |    Either of these modes, as has been stated, if ITS SOIL; CLIMATE, RESOURCES, &c.
consistently carried out, will answer very well, ' others, the quarters of the laborers and me-
but it is the misfortune of the Americans that chanics; also spacious storehouses for the re-
while they attempt both they adhere strictly ception of goods and furs, with shops for ear-
to neither, it being too much their custom to penters, coopers, blacksmiths, &c,and a powder
bully and abuse the Indian at one time, thus magazine, built of brick or stone. The more
arousing his enmity and opposition, and to important posts have, in addition, a school-
trifle with him at another thereby encouraging house and chapel. The whole establishment
.him to disobedience and incurring his con- is surrounded by a stockade fifteen or twenty
tempt. By pursuing a* course dignified but feet high, inside of which, near the top, is a
conciliatory, kind but firm, the troubles, or gallery, with loop-holes for  muskets.   This
rather miserable squabbles, into which our
people are so apt to be involved, might for the
most part be avoided. Let it be borne in mind
that the tribes of which we are speaking are
not the degraded, sensual creatures elsewhere
met with, ready to submit tamely to the indignities of the white man, or pander to his lust.
With these, female purity is carefully preserved
and highly prized—conjugal infidelity or other
species of incontinence being of rare occurrence. If our people will bear these facts in
mind, and regulate their conduct accordingly,
they will have little to fear from -the opposition
or enmity of these not very sanguinary, nor yet
altogether savage tribes.
Located in various parts of British  Colum-
picket-work is flanked with bastions of which
there are generally two, placed at diagonal.
corners These mount several small pieces,
of cannon and are also amply pierced for musketry. Seen from a distance these posts present a rather formidable appearance, and
though capable of offering but slight resistance
to artillery, have ever been found sufficient to
overawe the Indian or resist his attacks.
In ascending Fraser river, the first fort
arrived at is Langley, on the south bank of
the river, twenty-five miles from its mouth.
It is an old and extensive establishment, at
present under the supervision of Mr. Tale. The
Company have a large farm at this place, with
a considerable amount of stock.   The land,
bia the Hudson's Bay Company have a number cleared of heavy timber, is said to produce
of forts or trading establishments for carrying good crops, and in the garden attached to the
on their traffic with the native tribes.   These fort vegetables grew last summer with the
posts generally bear*thename of some member greatest luxuriance, while the apple trees were
of the Company, or other individual prominent loaded down with fruit.    There are many little
in their service. They are all constructed on
the same general plan, differing only as to the
number or dimension of their buildings, being
■ governed in these particulars by the importance of the trade at the point where they are
located. In founding a post reference is always
had to  accessibility,  the number of Indians,
prairies in the neighborhood, which being covered with coarse grass, afford ample feed for
stock as well as hay for winter use. The Company had large stores of goods at this po3t last-
season, it being a sort of distributing point to
places above, and to which many of the miners
and traders came for supplies.    There  is an
and the abundance of fur-producing animals Indian village on the opposite side of the river
in the neighborhood.    It is also desirable that containing the remnant of a once numerous
there be some good land convenient, that a tribe, but like most of the race in this part of
sufficient supply of grain and vegetables may be the country, they have become not only greatly
raised for the wants of the place. These latter, reduced in numbers but sadly demoralized,
however,  and even  bread  have often to be and it is questionable whether their services or
dispensed with by these hardy employes of the
Company, their only food being salmon or
other fish, with such wild fruits as the Indians
may gather, and an occasional contribution of
game. Of the latter they obtain but a very
scanty supply, every species of animal being
scarce throughout the Territory owing to the
pertenacity with which they have long been
hnnted both for their petries and flesh. Yet,
at a number of these establishments, not
only gardening but also farming, has been carried on to a considerable extent, while large
numbers of neat cattle have been raised and
n some instances also sheep.
The site selected for these forts is generally I Fort Yale  during high water,
a spot on the bank of a lake or river, suffici- having reached that point once
entiy elevated to command the  surrounding The passage, however, will always be attended
country.    The   buildings are constructed of with difficulty and some degree of danger.
hewed timber, and vary from a single block-1 fort tale.
house to fifteen or twenty in number.   Theyj    This place is fourteen miles above Fort Hope
' consist of one or two large houses for the ac- and on the opposite or west bank of the river,
commodation  of  tile  officers and clerks, and | The original post consisted of a single log hut.
trade can hereafter prove of much advantage
to the Company, or any one else.
Is the next post met with in going up the
river, on the same side with Langley, and seventy miles above it. It is an old settlement, at
present in charge of Mr. Walker, and consists
of.three block buildings within a picketed in-
closure. Being of limited capacity and somewhat dilapidated, additional houses have been
erected for the accommodation of the very extensive trade carried oh, this place having thus
far proved the head of steamboat navigation.
Suitable steamers, it is thought, can run to
the   Umatilla
last summer. 12
of small dimensions, without any palisade or
other military surroundings. Last year a large
block store in addition was erected. This has
since been kept well stocked with goods, which
have been sold at a moderate profit, however
the market might at times have justified higher
prices. The post is named after Mr. Yale, now,
as has been stated, Chief Trader at- Langley.
He is an old and efficient servant of the Company, having been on Fraser river over thirty
years, during which time he has been but once
absent from the, Territory. Mr. Alvord is at
present Superintendent at this place.
The former of these posts is situated about
fifty miles above Fort Yale, on the east bank of
the river, and three miles below the mouth of
Thompson's Fork. It is named after Mr. Alex.
G. Dallas, a son-in-law of Governor Douglas,
a gentleman whose efficient«ervices and liberal
views have alike secured him the confidence of
the Company and the respect of the public,and
who, in the estimation of all, is deemed justly
to merit the compliment thus paid him. The
buildings not yet occupied, being in an unfinished state, are located on a handsome grassy
eminence, overlooking the river, toward which
it slopes with an even and gentle declivity.
They will be completed and brought into use
the present summer, there being a numerous
mining population in the vicinity. Fort Berens,
also named after a member of the Company, is
Situated on the same side of the river, fifty
miles above Fort Dallas, at a point opposite the
terminus of the new trail opened through the
Lilooett country to the upper Fraser. It occupies a magnificent table land, commanding a
view for many miles up and down the river,
and though laid out on an extensive scale, is
in a still more unfinished state than Fort Dallas ; yet,likethe latter, is to be finished and occupied during the present spring or summer.
Making a deflection one hundred miles east,.
we. arrived at Fort Kamloops, also called Fort
Thompson. It is situated on the North Branch
of Thompson's Fork, near its junction'with the
main stream, and a little above the head of
Sushwap Lake, in the midst of an extended and
highly fertile bottom. It is the only post the
Company have in the interior of British Columbia to the east of Fraser river-—Fort Colville,
on the Columbia, at one time thought to be on
the English, having been ascertained by the
late survey to be on the American side of the
line. It is the intention of the Company to
carry it to their own side this summer, and
re-erect it under the name of Fort Shepherd,
as a mark of respect for the present Governor of
the Hudson's Bay Company. There are several
hundred acres of land under cultivation near
Fort Kamloops, a large proportion being
planted to potatoes, which grow here with little culture, and of an excellent quality. Wheat
and other cereals also thrive well^the yield
being abundant and the crop quite certain.
There  is also a  fine  range  for stock in the
neighborhood, the cows and oxen, of which
there are several hundred head, with a large
number of horses, keeping fat through the
summer, and in tolerable condition through
the winter, though none except the working
animals receive any fodder, unless, perhaps, it
be a little straw. The Indian Chief, Paul, living near the Fort, owns a large amount of stock,
the sale of which to the whites of late has rendered him quite wealthy. This post is under
the management of chief trader McLean, a
man held in great awe by the surrounding savages, from his summary and decisive manner
of dealing with offenders. Indeed, he is quite
remarkable for his reckless intrepidity, even
amongst a class distinguished for cool and
determined courage.
Returning, and follwing up the Eraser over
150 miles above Fort Berens, we arrive at Fort
Alexandria, or as it is commonly called, Alexander, being named after Sir Alexander Mac-
Kenzie, who indicated the spot as favorable
for a station as early as 1793. Having reached
this point on his journey of exploration, this
celebrated traveler being advised by the natives
of the dangerous navigation of the river below,
and conscious that he was already near the
Pacific, directed his course toward the west,
and stricking the Salmon river, followed it to
its disemboguement in one of those deep canals
that penetrate the coast of British Columbia
in such a remarkable manner. It is the principal post of the company in this region, being
a sort of depot for receiving the produce
gathered at the stations still further on, of
which there are a number, all however of
secondary importance. This Fort is situated
on the east bank of the Fraser, nearly in latitude 52° N. The country adjacent is open and
picturesque, and is said to afford good hunting
grounds, whence the Indian procuring an
abundant supply of skins, that trade has always
been active at this point.
To the southwest of Alexandria, some fifty
miles, is Fort Chilcotin, onariver,neajr a lake,
and in the country of a tribe all bearing the
same name. These people were once numerous, and their land abounding in- beaver and
other fur-producing animals, it was deemed
advisable to establish a post amongst them.
Subsequently, however, their number being
reduced through war and disease, their trade
proved profitless, and this station like several
others further north, has been abandoned or is
occupied only as occasion may require. In
this catalogue may be enumerated Fort George,
one hundred miles north of Fort Alexandria,
at the junction of Stuart and Fraser rivers,
and the still more inconsiderable stations of
Fort Fraser, McLeod and St, James.
The only remaining post requiring special
mention is that of Fort Simpson, situated on
Chathams Sound, in the extreme northwest
corner of British Columbia, adjacent to the
Russian Possessions.   Located on a fine bar- ITS SOIL, CLIMATE, RESOURCES, &c.
bor, the neighboring waters abounding in fish,
and the land in wild animals, the centre of a
large number of active and thriftv tribes, it
enjoys a large and lucrative trade. It is the
mart for all the various northern Indians, being
frequented not only by those on the main land,
but also by the inhabitants of Queen Charlotte's Island, and the Russian Possessions.
It is called after Sir George Simpson, formerly
a Governor of the Company, and is frequently
visited by steamers from Victoria, which carry
up large quantities of goods adapted to the
Indian trade, and return freighted with the
commodities procured in exchange, j
The existence of gold on Thompson's Fork,
and possibly on other tributaries of the Fraser,
has been known to the Hudson Bay traders for
the last five or six years, the Indians having
been in the habit of bringing in small quantities and exchanging it for other commodities
during this time. Mr. McLean, Chief Trader
at Kamloops, procured some dust from the natives as early as '52, since which period more
or less has been received at this and other posts
of the Company, chiefly on Fraser river. The
amount thus obtained, though perhaps consid-
derable in the aggregate, was not so large as
commonly conjectured, having been insufficient
to awaken a suspicion in the minds of these
traders that diggings remunerative to white
labor existed in that quarter ; at least so little
did they concern themselves about the matter,
that others were left to make the final discovery
which has resulted in so rapidly populatingthe
country.i The finding of paying placers in this
region was not an event, however, of such sudden or recent occurrence as is generally supposed, various parties having prospected the
banks of Thompson's river and its branches at
different times since the opening of the Colville
mines in the fall of '55, and always with results showing that moderate wages could be
made on that stream, though notsuch as would
then justify men remaining, the prices of provisions being enormously high, and the Indians
disposed to be troublesome. During the summer and fall of'57, a number of persons, being
mostly adventurers from Oregon and Washington Territories, or the Colville mines, together
with a sprinkling of half-breeds and Canadian
French, formerly in the Company's service,
made their way into the country on the upper
Fraser, where, prospecting in the neighborhood of the forks, tiiey found several rich bars,
on which they went to work, continuing operations with much success, until forced to leave
from want of provisions orlthe approach of
cold weather. Coming to Victoria, or returning whence they came, these men sprgad
abroad the news of their good luck and laid
the foundation for the excitement that soon after followed.
This intelligence reached San Francisco
early in '58, and being confirmed by subsequent reports, spreadrapidlythrough the State,
affecting every class,  and  causing a general
stampede, until culminating about the middle
of July, the movement had transferred full
twenty thousand people from California to this
new field of enterprise and exertion. How
this all turned out in the end it is now useless
to inquire, nor is it worth while to attempt indicating the particular agencies through which
it was brought about. Some have attributed
it to the efforts of the shipping interest operating through the press, while others, with more
reason and fairness, have detected its main
spring in the private advices sent from the
mines, and the naturally impulsive spirit of
our people, who, in like case, have ever shown
a penchant for acting first and deliberating afterwards. That the newspaper press can be
justly charged with any such complicity no
| well informed person will contend, since it
would be difficult to find a single line in the
editorial columns of any journal in the State
calculated to magnify the wealth of those
mines, or encourage emigration thither. It
the directors of the press published letters, or
extracts from other papers calculated to produce that end, it was simply discharging their
duty as impartial journalists, which requires
they shall present every side of a question engaging the public attention, however it may
conflict with individual interest or their own
private opinions.
The truth is, every class of persons was more
influenced by private letters received from
parties who had already proceeded to Fraser
river than by anything that appeared in the
newspapers. It cannot be forgotten, that the
mining community, recalling how often they
had been mislead by similar rumors, took
every precaution to guard against their being
deceived in this instance; companies and small
camps frequently delegating one of the most experienced and trusty of their number to go
and examine what foundation there might be
for these flying stories, and report accordingly.
And it was on these reports, or intelligence
derived through like sources, that people for
the most part acted. Sometimes a secret note
addressed to a friend advising a hasty visit to
the new Dorado, would gain publicity, and
forthwith a general scamper would ensue,
scores rushing away who never would have
thought of going from anything they might
see in the public prints. More than once a
single letter so received from a precocious ad-'
venturer has had the effect to depopulate a
farming district to an extent that seriously
interfered with the gathering of the harvest.
But why this vindication of the newspaper
press, or wherefore these excuses for the conduct of our people ? Perhaps they did not err
in their judgment so widely, or act so very
foolishly after all. Let us review a little and
see how this is. •
Here was a river reaching many hundred
miles inland, the banks of which along its lower portion were rich in gold, to all appearance
washed down from above. Upon several
tributaries of this river good diggings had also 11
been found. Adjacent to the region traversed
by it, and lying between the same mountain
ranges were extensive placeres, that had been
successfully worked for years. What was
there then, so preposterous in supposing an
auriferous region existed along the banks of this
stream ? Was it not reasonable to conclude
such was the case ? Was not this a fair deduction—an inference warranted by geological
science and our gold mining experience? Of
course it was; and herein the press has ample
justification for the course it pursued, and every
Fraser-river adventurer a sufficient reason for
the hope that was in him. It must be admitted we were mistaken—possibiy in our estimate of the magnitude and value of these
mines, though this remains to be proved ; but
certain it is, we misapprehend their precise locality, and the difficulties we should have to
encounter in reaching them. Apart from this,
no very great blunder was committed after all.
We had what seemed safe data for action; and
however we may now speak of it as a delusion,
or denounce it as a humbug, it is not always
our people have so sound a basis for theirfinan-
cial and commercial speculations, or industrial
projects, as had this widely execrated and sufficiently unfortunate Fraser river movement.
And although it has become the fashion to rank
it with Gold lake expeditions and South sea
schemes—projects purely speculative or wholly visionary—it may safely be affirmed that
'.before two years more shall have passed, these
mines will redeem themselves from the odium
I of the comparison, if they do not fully realize
the expectations of the pioneer crowd, all of
(whom sought them too early, and many of
whom left them too soon'. . That this opinion
of their future may not seem too sanguine, let
us examine for a moment, j
If we begin at Fort Hope, and follow up Fraser river to the vicinity of Fort Alexander, we
shall have passed over a stretch of country
more than 300 miles long, all of which is
auriferous. Some pay diggings have been
found below Fort Hope, and to what extent
the country above the highest point mentioned
maybe gold producing, has not yet been ascertained. Nearly all the bars within this scope,
some of which are very extensive, contain a
large amount of pay dirt. The high banks in
some places have also shown a good prospect,
while gold in small quantities has been found
even on the table lands and sides of the mountains. But the gold fields of British Columbia
are not confined to the banks of the Fraser.
Several of its tributaries are known to abound
in the precious metal; the yield of some having been quite as prolific as any part of the
main stream itself. The banks of Bridge river,
for forty miles up, "TTave furnished very satisfactory diggings, the dust being coarse, of good
quality and easily saved. The bars on Thompson's Fork, as high up as Nicholas river, "have
uniformly paid fair wages. Above that they
have not generally, thus far, proved remunerative.   Along Nicholas, Bonaparte and Tran-
quille rivers, all branches of the Fork, the diggings that will pay moderate wages—say four.-
or five dollars per day—may be measured by
the acre. On the latter stream parties mining
with rockers, averaged five dollars a day, during all last autumn. It has been prospected for
forty or fifty miles, showing dirt along all that
distance that would pay equally well. Gold has
also been found in other directions, and on waters far separated from the Fraser. On the Lilooett river, reaching from one end to the other, are
numerous bars on which small wages can be
made. The extreme fineness and levity of the
dust, however, together with the long continued stage of high water, the bars being gen-:
erally low, will preclude any chance, of successful mining on this stream, unless carried on
by some improved process, or during the three
or four months preceding the commencement
of cold weather.
Such are the limits of the Fraser river gold
fields as ascertained by actual exploration.
How much they may be enlarged by future
discoveries, or how rich these partially prospected streams may eventually prove, is matter
for conjecture. That the multitude who resorted to them have been put poorly rewarded
for their loss of time and outlay of money—
that capital has met with indifferent returns,
and merchandise netted but sorry profits, is
lamentably true. Yet all this loss, disappointment and disaster, is not to be set down to the
narrow limits or poverty of the mines. As has
been said, the laborer could not reach the
actual mining district until too late in the
season for successful operations. Besides, a
very large percentage of those who went to
Fraser river were either mere speculators and
adventurers, or persons mentally indisposed to,
if not physically incapable of doing hard work.
As to the pecuniary loss attending investments in that quarter, let us xsk ourselves
how much of this may be traced to the most
wild and absurd kind of speculation—to building towns, erecting wharves, and cutting trails
where nature never intended, and the requirements of business never called for such improvements? Thousands and hundreds of
thousands of dollars were thus spent in futile
attempts 'at building up cities where none
were needed, and in ridiculous endeavors at
forcing trade- into costly and impracticable
channels. Let the forced growth of Port
Townsend, and the unwholesome impetus giving to nearly every other place on the Sound,
producing overtrade and a fictitious rise in
real estate—let the acres of ruins and piled
water lots at Whatcom, the foolish outlays at
Poi nt Roberts,Semiahmoo and Sehome, together,
with the spirit of reckless expenditure and
insane speculation everywhere exhibited, come
in for their proper share of the-los^es incurred
by these unfortunates, and which have so generally but uijustly been charged to the account of Fraser river.
It being evident, then, that the scope of pay
diggings in British   Columbia is sufficiently ITS SOIL, CLIMATE, RESOURCES, Ac.
extensive, the question arises as to their richness, or rather their capacity to give immediate
and profitable employment to any considerable
population. The practical point to be decided
is, whether everything considered, better wages
can be realized there than in the mines of California. Of course, it is not to be expected that
any person, however much he may have seen
of the two countries, or However conversant
he may be with their comparative advantages,
will assume to advise which should be chosen
as a field for mining operations. So much
depends on circumstances—the situation of
parties, their fitness to endure hardship and
exposure, on the increase of facilities for reaching the interior of British Columbia, and a
variety of considerations, applying with greater
or less, force in each individual case, that any
advise given on this point would necessarily be
qualified to an extent rendering it nearly valueless as a general rule of action. The most that
could be expected of one treating on the subject
is that a full and candid statement of facts should
be given, leaving each one to judge for himself
as to the propriety of going or staying. It is
the opinion of very many who have visited
these northern mines that a hardy and persevering man, being without a mining claim
here, or sufficient means to buy into one, might
for the next few years make more money there
than in California. This, however, is on the
supposition that he is capable of not only doing
hard work, but also of subsisting on coarse
and scanty fare, and that he can be absent for
a length of time without serious inconvenience
to himself or others; and also, perhaps, on the
further condition that cheap and expeditious
means of transportation be supplied between
the head of steamboat navigation and the
mines, 6ince, with the present inadequate
means of carriage, the inducements for emigrating to that quarter are greatly diminished, the
cost of subsistence in these mines being enormous ; not less in the more remote localities
than the combined expense of living and the
price usually paid for labor in this State. That-
additional improvements .will shortly be made
for effecting that object, either by the Colonial
government engaging in the work or encouraging others to do so, there is every reason for
believing, from the prompt and liberal manne.t
in which it has hitherto responded to demands
of this kind; not less than $150,000 having
already been expended from the public treasury
in opening new routes, or in endeavors to
facilitate the carriage of goods into the mines.
From present indications, it may be safely inferred that the cost of passage and freight over
these routes, heretofore oppressively high, will
be reduced one hundred per cent., if not more,
during the coming summer, causing a corresponding reduction inithe expensesof the miner,
and a like increase in the net profits he will be
able to realize from his labor. Should this be
done, there is little doubt that men of moderate
means might, unless going in too great numbers, do quite as well for the present on Fraser
riveras on any of the streams in our own State.
One advantage in these comparatively fresh
mines is that every man can be his own master;
he can own his claim and work it himself;
none need be hirelings, and none need be idle;
whereas, in California it is quite different.ij
is not every miner who can be a proprietor
here ; nor is it always that a man can get work
when he wants it.
It requires capital to buy into a claim here,
or else much time must be spent in prospecting
before one is found, and then not always with
success. There, no persevering and industrious man need have any difficulty on this score;
none need hire out their services, or be compelled to go for a length of time without employment. In saying this, of course we mean
on the upper Fraser and its tributaries, where
alone, the real mines are, and to which most
new comers must make their way if they expect to be successful. The writer is aware
how little short of seditious this sort of
[ language will be regarded by those who fear
the transfer of a few thousand men, the% mere
shifting the point of consumption from one
place on this coast to another, will effect the
ruin of California. But still he is of opinion
that a candid statement of facts can never
work harm, and that labor, while it should
never be diverted into profitless channels,
should always be left to seek its most remunerative field. There are sufficient discouragements to emigration to the Fraser river
mines without recourse to misrepresentation
or concealment. Their remote and inaccessible position, the exorbitant prices of provisions prevailing at present, the cold winters and
long continued stage of high water, with many
minor difficulties and objections, make up a
formidable argument against their claims to
attention, and will no doubt check any undue
diversion of our people that way. Yet in the '
face * of all these discouragements, there is
good reason to believe some thousand of the
more hardy and adventurous of our population, with an indefinite number of the idle and
unemployed, might repair to these northern
mines with profit to themselves and no great
detriment to the public. Indeed, whatever of
damage certain interests may have suffered
from the hegira of last year, it cannot be denied that much good resulted to this community in the happy riddance of a large number
of worthless and non-producing members
effected through its agency.
The cities and towns throughout the State had
become sadly infested by a class of lazy, listless drones, some discouraged through want of
success, others broken down by dissipation and
vice—some vagabonds from force of circumstances, and some from force of habit, yet all
more or less a burden to their friends and a
nuisance to society, and who, but for some
stimulous like this Fraser river excitement,
never would have made another honest effort
to earn a livelihood ; but who, aroused by the
prospect of easily acquired wealth, again be- 16
took themselves to labor, and having thus es-j have a tolerable business or situation, or even
caped from the thraldom of a vicious indolence,! a good prospect of such in California, to leave
will be likely, in most cases, to recover their the same and repfXir to these distant gold fields
last standing, and do something for themselves in the hope of bettering their condition. Let
hereafter. And hence, however much individ- no one who has a living business here, or em-
ual injury may have resulted from this Frazer plo;, ment at fair wages, or the means of secur-
river movement, it was not all a loss to the ing either, think for a moment of abandoning
public at large. Deeply as we may deplore the same and resorting to Fraser river. Weare
certain of its effects, it still left traces of good not writing for such. Neit her are we writing'
behind it. Like the winds that sweep over our for speculators and traders, or the non-produc-
city, it carried away the pestilential effluvia ing fraternity, who seek to live by their wits
that otherwisestagnating, become the pregnant rather than hard work. To this class the in-
agents of disease and death. And it would ducements for migrating northward are indeed
hardly be matter for regret were our large I slender. But to the ill-rewarded hard worker,
towns more frequently the subjects of these the unemployed, to all such in fact as come
visitations, so effectual in purging the social within the category before mentioned, we have
atmosphere, and relieving community of its thought fit to say British Columbia opens, per-
vagrant and vicious members. haps, for you as good a labor-field Jttst now as
improved prospects. California; venturing to indicate; at tbe same
Notwithstanding the difficulties in the way time, the improved condition of things in that
of reaching the gold fields of British Columbia quarter as warranting the Suggestion. In tfte
are still formidable enough, there is no doubt   opinion that these mines will better reward any
that they have been greatly diminished since
last year", and that the chances for success in
mining are manifold better this season than
class of laborers Whatever, than those of our
State, we may be. mistaken ; but there is little
ground for mistake in what has been said as to
they were last. The locality and character of the increased facilities for travel, and tho im-
the diggings are now understood ; the peculi- proved chances for success this season as cora-
arities of the seasons and climate are known ; pared with the past. If we examine the con-
the Indian annoyances have ceased ; new routes dition and progress of affairs last year a little1
have been opened, and steamboats placed on more in detail, the truth of this remark becomes
the rivers, adding security to life, and cheapening transportation and travel; while comfortable places of entertainment have been
opened at all the central points, and at convenient distances along the principal thoroughfares. Of provisions) if not over cheap and
abundant, there will always be a sufficient
supply to insure the miner from starvation,
and at reasonable prices. Lumber, an article
so necessary for successful mining, will hereafter be procurable, as also will fresh vegetables, on a due supply of which health is so de-
folly apparent.
In the first place, a large proportion of the
miners, on reaching Victoria, were delayed at
that point a long time ; some waiting for the
river to fall, but more because they were unable to proceed, either from want of means to
go on the steamers, or the inability of atbe latter to carrythem. Here *hey- idled away their
time doing nothing, or engaged in building
boats in which, when completed, they embarked for the mines. These craft being small and
badly constructed, and as a general tiling, still
pendant; ditches and reservoirs will be, and to more badly navigated, met With many disasters,
some extent have already been constructed, j often of a fatal character, in crossing the gulf
affording a steady and ample supply of water or attempting to ascend the rivers, and were
on bars where otherwise nothing could be no longer ot any value after the owner had
done. Men becoming familiar with the periods reached his point of destination, Taking into
of high and low water,  will be  able to take! the account  the original   cost of these   boats
advantage of the same for the purpose of mining ; while acquaintance with the eddies and
dangers of river navigation. Trade monopo
lies, so far as any existed, having ceased, and
mining licenses having been practically abrogated ; what with courts and peace officers at
all the more populous points, and the prospect
of escorts for the transportation, with places of
and canoes, varying from fifty to a hundred
dollars each, together with the loss of time and
rapids will enable tt em to avoid many of the property, to say nothing of life, occasioned by
this species of navigation,: the damage sustained by the miner in being forced to resort
to it, was incalculable.
Having reabhed the mines, or, rather, got as
far up the river as practicable, the adventurer
found all the bars worth working completely
deposit for the safe keeping of the miner's gold I occupied or under water.    Thus conditioned,
dust, we cannot see what ground there can be  he had either to return, remain an indefinite
for complaint as to existing regulations, or the
manner in which life and property are protected in these mines.
period doing nothing, or attempt forcing his
way further up. A majority chose to come
back; many staid until the water went down
Comparing this year withlast, there is hardly —a part doing well and a part very little,
a single view in which the mining interest and owing to the impossibility of all getting claims,
the prospect for success has not greatly chang- Of those who pushed on to the Upper Fraser,
ed for the better. This is not said with the some going by the Brigade Trail, and others
remotest view to encouraging parties who may through the canons, or over the Lilooett route ITS SOIL, CLIMATE, RESOURCES, Ac.
all arrived so utterly impoverished, or com-1
pietely broken down, as to be unfit to do anything. Setting out with scanty stores, these
had become exhausted by the length of time
they were on the way, or been taken from them
by the Indians. Yet, living on fish and berries,
such of these men as had fortitude to remain
and make a trial, nearly all did well, some
taking out large sums of gold, though having
only the most rude and imperfect implements j
to work with. When, later in the season,
provisions began to come in, prices ranged
from one to two dollars a pound—yet so good
were the diggings that the miners were vastly
more concerned about the supply than the
price. And so these men on the Upper Fraser
lingered on through the fall, waiting impatiently for the completion of the new Lilooett
trail, when it was expected provisions would
be more abundant and cheap. This work,
however, not being finished until too late to
get in supplies for the winter, nearly the entire population was obliged to vacate this
region on the arrival of cold weather.
I And here, again, is another item, which in
estimating the value of these mines by the
yield of last season should be set down to their
credit. In the prosecution of this valuable
improvement, over five hundred men were abstracted from the mining population and j
kept on this work throughout the entire
season. A good many were, also, in like man- |
ner engaged opening trails along the Fraser,
or elsewhere, or in other pursuits foreign to
the business of mining. This, with the extent
to which labor was diverted for the purpose of
building boats, digging ditches, chastising the
Indians, and various other objects, taken in
connection with the fact that much time was J
foolishly lost in waiting for the falling of the
water, and the additional fact that mining
operations were mostly confined to the Lower
Fraser, the mere entrance to the mines, all
goes to show that large allowance should be
made when calculating the aggregate yield of
these mines the past season.
As has been said, many of these serious interferences with mining industry, as well as
much of the heavy expense alluded to, may be
avoided the present season. The miner, on i
•reaching Victoria, can proceed at once, and a
small cost, directly to the head of steamboat
■navigation on comfortable steamers, a number
of which are already on the route, while one
of our first class Sacramento river boats is
about leaving to be employed in the same service. With these accommodations the vexatious and ruinous delays at Victoria, the dangerous passage of the Gulf, with the tedious
'toilsome, and still more perilous ascent of the
•rivers, with the hard work, exposure and expense incident to travel on this part of the |
{journey in the early day, will be avoided. The
portages will also be made the present season
with much greater expedition, comfort and
economy than before, as a sufficient number of
animals will, no doubt, be brought upon them
as soon as required. This seems probable
from the fact that over three hundred pack
animals were wintered at Bonaparte river, for
the purpose of being placed on the Lilooett
route this spring, while a considerable number have been shipped from San Francisco,
and several trains have set out from Oregon
for the same destination. With these facilities, then, for reaching the centre of the Fraser
gold fields, with the Indian tribes pacified or
overawed, and a boundless extent of virgin
mines stretched out in every direction, it
would seem as if good wages ought to be made
there this summer, notwithstanding provisions
may be high, and other expenses somewhat
greater than in California. For the benefit of
such as may feel inclined to try their fortune
in that quarter, the best routes to be taken
will next be pointed out, to be followed by a
notice of the mining rules and regulations in
force, and a few practical observations of a
general character.
Parties bound to the Upper Fraser, that is to
say any point over thirty or forty miles above
Thompson's Fork, should go by the way of the
new Lilooet route, as being not only the most
safe and expeditious, but also the cheapest.
In fact the route by the river, ascending
through the canons, is nearly impracticable
expect at a low stage of wat&r, and even then
is attended with much danger and delay, there
being several portages where not only the
cargo but the boat itself has to be lifted from
the water carried over the rocks, and
launched above the rapids. A trail has been
commenced between Fort Yale and the Forks,
which, when completed, as it will be this summer, will afford tolerable facilities for travel
between these two points. In going to the
vicinity of the Forks this trail or the river
must necessarily be taken, but in going to the
upper country, to which the great mass of the
mining population must repair to find profitable employment, the route indicated should
be chosen. The diggings below Thompson
river, being mostly confined to the bars along
the Fraser, have not capacity to employ more
than four or five thousand men, while that
portion of them below the canons, and to which
nearly the entire population was restricted last
summer, would scarcely afford room for two
thirds that number. Hence, in the e^ent of
any large influx of people, a majority would
be obliged to betake themselves to the Upper
Supposing this his point of destination, then,
the miner takes the steamer at Victoria and
proceeding to Langly, or such other point as
this steamer connects with the lighter draft
boats running above, he is there transferred to
the latter,which carry him to Port Douglas, at
the head of steamboat navigation. The distances on the route thus past over are as follows : From Victoria due-north, to the mouth
of Fraser river, passing through the canal
de Harro, 65 miles;  from the mouth   of the ■
river to Fort Langley, 25 miles; thence to
the month of Harrison river 35 miles ; up Harrison river 7, and across Harrison lake to Port
Donglas, 43 miles; making the entire distance
of steamboat travel 175 miles. The time required to make this distance by steamer is
about two days—less if the Gulf be crossed
during the night. With sail boats or canoes
it is a good passage if made in a week or ten
days; hence the bad economy of attempting it
iu this sort of craft, to say nothing of danger,
must be obvious to the most inexperienced
mariner. At low water, steamboat navigation
is somewhat interfered with on the Harrison
river by a series of shoals, which at snch times
causing rapids, it is difficult for even the lightest draft steamers to ascend. At all other seasons such boats go up with the greatest facility, there being plenty of water, and the current
scarcely perceptible. The Government has
matured a plan for obviating this difficult}-,
which will be carried into effect the coming
autumn. Across the first portage from Port
Douglas to Lake Lilooett, 35 miles, there is a
mule trail. This trail, constructed last year at
a heavy'cost to the Colonial Government, leads
through a dense wilderness, and being generally in good condition, can be crossed by pack
trains in about two days. Over this part of
the route there is canoe navigation, by means
of the Lillooet t river, connecting Harrison and
Lillooett lake. But it is difficult and hazardous, especially when the stream is high, and
many lives were lost, last snmmer, in attempts
to ascend it; but there was then no other mode
of getting over this portage, there being not
even an Indian path across it. Now it is otherwise, and though packing is rather high aj
present, it will no doubt be reduced as the season advances, and should in no event tempt
parties to try the dangerous alternative offered
by the navigation of this fatal river. The price
of packing over this portage, last season, was
eight cents a pound ; this year it will probably
be less, as the number of animals will be greatly increased. The cause of these high rates
was the scarcity, or rather entire absence of
grass in this vicinity, compelling the owners of
animals to purchase hay and grain, at heavy
expense, for their subsistence.
Having reached Lilooett Lake, travelers arc
passed over in small boats, animals and large
lots of goods in scows—passage $2, freight
half cent a pound. The modes of conveyance
and the prices charged on all the lakes, of
which there are three along this line, are the
same. Prom Lake Lilooett to Lake Anderson,
25 miles, is another mule trail. Packing.
however, on this is much less than on the
other, the distance being shorter, the road
easier, and feed more plentiful. At the south
end of this portage are the Lilooett Meadows,
consisting of several thousand acres of magnificent prarie land covered with a heavy
growth of grass, fit alike for haymaking or
pasturage. Approaching the other end, the
forest begins to open and bunch grass shows
itself   in   considerable   quantities,    affording
ample feed for stock, and rendering their keep
much less costly than on the first portage.
This part of tne journey can be made comfortably in a day and a half or even a day by
footmen, the road, for the most part, always
being in good condition. Having crossed this
portage, we arrive at Lake Anderson, 16 miles
long. Over it, next comes the short portage,
one and a fourth mile long, with a wagon road
and a team in readiness to convey freight over
at the same rate as on the lakes. Having
crossed it, the traveller is brought to the last
and largest lake of the group, being Lake
Set on, IS miles long, and extending to within
four miles of Fraser river. From its foot, good
trails extend in every direction into the mines,
and all parts of the interior. Here also animals can be procured at low rates for packing,
large bands being constantly kept for that
purpose. Though the cost of transporting
goods will vary with distance, it is uniformly
less here than along the route further south,
since at this point animals coming in from
Oregon accumulate, and grass is abundant,
growing not only in the bottoms, but also on
the prairies, and even against the sides of the
mountains. Traveling and packing througn
this region is not at all difficult, the country
being open and the trails keeping along on the
I table lands, often for miles without interruption.
But having piloted the miner thus far, he
may safely be left to shift for himself, since he
is now over the most difficult part of his journey, and pretty well advanced into what may
be considered the gold fields, proper of British
Columbia. Indeed, when he shall have arrived at the terminus of the Lilooett route he
will be, longitudinally, at the centre of the
Fraser river mines, with, at least, one hundred
and fifty miles of auriferous country to the
north, and fully as far above the first diggings
met with in ascending the river. Here in the
enjoyment of a healthful and invigorating climate ; with an atmosphere exempt from sudden change of temperature and undisturbed
by storms ; encouraged by liberal mining regulations, and protected by impartial laws;
in the midst of a beautiful open country and I
wide-spread virgin mines, the adventurer may
reasonably anticipate a success commensurate
with his efforts, and tray justly consider himself unfortunate if he fails to reap an amplo
reward for all his loss of time, his heavy cx-
pens and toil.
As has been stated, England, no doubt,
entertains the purpose of carrying oat ft variety
of grand projects in her British American
possessions. The consummation of these
plans will, from their very nature, involve a
necessity for populating as speedily as practicable her territories on the North Pacific. Am
means of hastening that end, she will be impelled to the adoption of a liberal policy in
governing the colonic* about springing up in
that region. This she has signified her intention of doing, in the most  open   and positive ITS SOIL, CLIMATE* RESOURCES, &c.
manner, and not satisfied that the world should
remain in doubt as to these her beneficent designs, or be left to infer them from any vague
and,.apocryphal authority, the Colonial Secretary, speaking the sentiments of the home government, has enjoined on the representative of
the crown in that quarter a strict compliance
with these views in all bis official conduct and
transactions.   And not on a single occasion
only, have the instructions of this functionary
been made to embody these the desires of the
Imperial   Parliament   on   this  subject.    The
entire dispatches issued from his office breathe
the same spirit,  revealing the earnest wish of
the government in the premises, and  giving
assurance that a broad and generous policy is
to be impressed on the administration of public affairs in these provinces.   The system of
measures  already initiated for the regulation
of trade,  the  management of the mines, the
disposition of the public lands, and the protection of the various leading interests, are such
as will be likely to invite capital, foster industry, stimulate  enterprise, encourage immigration, and lead to a speedy development of the
resources, and a rapid and permanent  settlement of the country.   In all their public acts,
it must be conceded the hqpie government has
thus far  evinced an earnest desire and a firm
determination   to   advance the  prosperity of
these colonies, securing to  their inhabitants
all those civil rights which the English so eminently   enjoy,   and   conceding   to   them the
largest political liberty compatible with their
position as a dependency of the empire.    Nor is
this liberal  policy to be confined in its opera
tion to her own people.   England welcomes
to  these  colonies  every  class  of foreigners,
guaranteeing them the same social, commercial
and industrial privileges as secured to her own
citizens, and that whether they come as mere
adventurers, or with a view to permanent settlement.    Especially has this kind and conciliatory disposition been evinced towards  Americans, who have been particularized as a desirable population, on account of their experience in mining,  and their usually industrious
and energetic  habits.    So  solicitous has the
government seemed for the maintenance of a
good understanding with this class,  that the
authorities, more particularly the naval forces,
have been cautioned against indulging in any
undue   display of power, or the wanton commission of any act calculated to awaken opposition, orlead to a conflict between themselves
and those of a different nationality.    It is also
suggested in this connection that the Governor,
availing himself of his influence and popularity
With   the   Americans,   might readily induce
them to cooperate  with him at all times in
enforcing the law and  preserving order; and
furthermore, that since the adoption of a more
popular mode of governing may soon be rendered expedient, it would be well for that official to provide for the election of a legislative
assembly, and call to his aid a council, part of
which  should be composed of miners, chosen
by  themselves.   These   declarations   of the
mother country, so oft repeated and positive,-
sufficiently foreshadow her purposes in regard
to these colonies, and may be taken as aH
earnest of the policy to be observed in the
future conduct of their affairs. Certain, it is,
reposing in these assurances, the emigrant may
repair thither confident that he will be am-
plied protected and fairly dealt with, while
every facility will be afforded him to engage in
mining, or acquire a portion of the public
lands, with a prospect of participating to some
extent in framing the laws and regulations by
which he shall be governed.
This entire class of imposts and permitawere
levied or allowed by Gov. Douglas, in his twofold capacity as Agent of the Hudson's Bay
Company, and representative of the Crown.
Thus, the license to mine, the permission to
import goods, and the sufferance to navigate
the inland waters of British Columbia, were
granted by virtue of his viceroyal character,
and the funds accruing formed a part of the
public revenue. This fact is announced in bis
proclamation on the subject, wherein he states
that these duties are imposed by virtue of authority duly conferred upon him, and for the
purpose of providing means to defray the public expenses of the Colony. Head-money,
licences to trade, &c. are presumed to have
been exacted by the Governor in his capacity
as the executive of the Company, under warrant
of their claim to the exclusive right to trade in
the territory, and of their being in the legal
possession of the same. It is true, the validity
of this claim has constituted the subject of
much popular discussion, speculation and
complaint, but the fact that its exercise has
been acquiesced in by the Government for so
many yearsy seems a virtual acknowledgment
of its genuineness, a conclusion at which those
adversely interested in the question would
seem to have arrived, since no legal measures
have ever been taken for testing its sotmdness,
not even the law officers of the Crown being
willing to institute proceedings for that purpose, on Government account.
The Company argue that the clause in their
charter, conferring upon them the exclusive
right of trade vt ith the Indians, extends by-
implication also to the whites, the latter not
being mentioned, though intended, for the
reason that there were at the time no wMtCS fa ■
the territory thus subjected to their jurisdiction ; and, that at all events, the exercise -of
this right carries with it the force of law ffiafej :
long and uninterrupted usage. Be that as it
may, it is now too late to call in question the
legality of these acts, or to insist that they
were in their nature usurpations or exactions,
since whatever there may have been in them
illegitimate and informal, has been cured and
legalized by subsequent proclamations of the
Executive, sanctioned by the Home Government.
The amount of head money charged by the
Company was $2, for every person entering
the mines. This, however, with all trade lieeo- m
ses, except such a3 3pring from municipal reg- each person. The object of restricting the
ulations, being now discontinued, requires no miners to so small an area was that they might
further notice.   The following is the schedule be kept in as compact bodies as possible, since
of duties payable on goods imported into Brit
ish Columbia. All kinds of fresh meat, fish,
fruits and vegetables, lumber, hay, quicksilver,
poultry and live stock; all sorts of farming
implements, seeds, plants, salt, books and pa-
Ders, cloths, baggage, professional implements,
&c, are admitted free of duties. On all other
articles a ten per cent, ad valorem duty is
charged, with the following exceptions: Flour
50 cts. on every 196 lbs.; beans and peas 12J-
cts. on every 100 lbs., and every kind of grain
they could thus more easily be supplied with
provisions, and the better protect themselves
against the Indians. Subsequently these
limits were enlarged, and the size of claims
fixed at 25 feet frontage in rivers, and 25 feet
of the bed of a creek or ravine, and 20 feet
square of a table land or flats, to each person.
These regulations, however, have been but
little regarded, the miners going on and fixing
the size of their claims, and establishing such
rules  for holding  and working them as they
to be used as food, one-half that amount, deemed expedient, a practice with which the
Liquors are required to pay a duty of $1 per Commissioner and his assistants have not in-
gallon; wines 50 cts.; ale, beer, porter, and terfered to any great extent. It is probable
cider 12£ cts. Victoria and Esquimalt being however, that the authorities will assume a
free ports, all goods landed there are exempt greater control when affairs shall become a
from duty, vessels simply paying the ordinary little more settled, introducing a comprehensive
port charges. Vessels destined for British and Well digested system, based upon a general
Columbia can pay the duties at either of these survey of the gold fields, and made to conform
ports, or proceed direct to Qtteenborough, on to that now in force in Australia, with such
Fraser river, which is now a port of entry, modifications as experience may suggest or
and make payment there. circumstances require.
Touching the sufferance extended to foreign Indeed, the Governor has been instructed by
bottoms, allowing them to enter Fraser river, the Colonial Secretary to see that a proper
Governor Douglas in the exercise of the discre- system for managing and working the mines
tionary powers conferred upon him, so far in- be devised and brought into force to the end
terfered with the navigation laws of England that this branch of industry be controlled by
as to permit steamers and large vessels, what- uniform and well-known rules, rather than by
ever their flag, to clear for Fort Langley on a variety of local regulations, dependent on
payment of $12 each trip, small boats $6, a usage and chance. In maturing this system
course in which he was amply justified by the he has been advised to avail hinselfof the
pressure of circumstances and the exigencies services of Chief Justice Bigbie, and to call to
of the times. As a condition, steamers were his aid a number of miners, to the end that he
required to pay the Company $2 head-money, may have the benefit of the legal learning of
for each passenger they should carry; to stip- the one and the practical experience of the
ulate that they would convey none who had other, and thus construct a mining code which
not taken out a mining license and paid $5, while it shall duly guard the rights of the
being one month's advance thereon, and also Crown, will secure to the miner every possible
that they would carry no goods except those of advantage. In this manner a plan would no
the Company or such as they might permit.      doubt, be instituted, which, from its uniform-
For the privilege of entering the mines every ity and stability, would prove alike satisfactory
person was required to pay a royalty of $5 a to labor and capital. On the whole it may
month. But this, as was also the case with fairly be concluded that a liberal policy will
head-money, was not very rigidly enforced, be adopted, and that government interference
Passeugers proceeding to river on the so far as exerted, will be for the convenience
steamers were obliged to pay these dues, the and protection of the miner,
vessel being held accountable therefor, but in natural history and products.
most other cases they were evaded, and in very | ^Although British Columbia affords a grand
few instances was more than one month's license ever paid. Hereafter, it is probable, this
impost will be entirely dispensed With, an export duty being substituted in accordance with
the popular desire, and in compliance with a
suggestion of the Home Goverment to that effect.
For the purpose of making temporary rules
and regulations, and carrying out such per-
field for the explorations of the traveler and
the study of the artist, it holds out little induc-
ment to the student of Natural History, the
absence of nearly every kind of animal life being strikingly apparent. One may travel for
days through the woods, or over the plains
and lakes and scarcely see a living thing
except, perhaps, fish, which only at certain
seasons are abundant. These remarks, however, only apply to the interior, since along "
manent ones as government may determine I the sea shore animated nature is more prolific
upon, a Crown Commissioner for the gold- the waters being in every species of marine
fields has been appointed, having a requisite production especially abundant. Amongst the
number of assistants. The size of mining land animals the principal kinds met with are
claims was in the first instance fixed by gov- deer, of several verities, the elk bear—both
ernment, being limited to 144 square feet to | black  and  grizzly-j-panther,  lynx   wild-cat ITS SOIL, CLIMATE, RESOURCES, &c.
wolf, and mountain sheep. The latter is a
large animal weighing, when full grown, several hundred pounds. It is covered with long
hair, resembling coarse wool, and supplied
with enormous crooked horns,.upon which it
is said to strike when throwing itself from
precipices in seeking to escape pursuit.
The flesh is esteemed equal to that of the
domesticated sheep, but it is rarely the hunter
makes a prize of one, or even gets a sight of
them, they being exceedingly solitary in their
habits, keeping always on the tops of the most
wild and rugged mountains. Even when the
shows fall deep, they do not" come down as do
other animals, seeking the milder climate and
more abundant feed of the valleys. There are
also foxes, marmots, rabbits, minks and mar- j
tins, and along the streams beaver and otter,
though these animals are now very scarce, as
well as shy, having been so much hunted for
their peltries and furs. Amongst the inferior
animals are skunks, squirrels, mice and a singular species of bush-tailed rat, said to be |
naturally mischievous, a reputation it seems!
ambitious to deserve, meddling with everything
about the traveler's camp at night, and running over his person with the greatest familiarity. These easy habits are probably owing
to the immunity from harm guaranteed it by
the Indian, who scruples not to feed upon every
other form of animated matter, save only the
rat and the raven. These, owing to a natural
repugnance, or more likely in his case, to some
superstitious notion, the Indian never eats,
even in his extremest need.
While animals are scarce in this region, of
birds it may be said there are almost none,
since, with the exception of water-fowl, you
may not see one in a day's travel. Geese, ducks,
swans and brant, however, gather in clouds
about the lakes, and inlets, in the proper season. Pelicans, cranes and loons are also to be
found aboutthese places at all times. Of th e feathered tribe, are occasionally seen th e eagle, hawk,
cormorant and raven. Owls are at times heard,
but not often. There are, also, a few woodpeckers, bluejays, larks and a small dusky
ground-bird, with a few quail, and a good
many grouse, the latter always fat and tender.
The raven resembles that of California, being
large, and uttering the same harsh croak.
Near the sea, gulls and several other kinds of
aquatic animals hover about in great numbers,
affording the natives much acceptable food by
means of their flesh and eggs. The pelican
being a clumsey bird, also falls an easy prey to
the Indian.
Ksh, small and of an inferior kind, are plentiful in the lakes and streams at all seasons,'
but salmon, the only really valuable fish, is
abundant only from June tttl September,
being best and most numerous in August.
This is a most delicious fish, being large, rich
and oily, easily canght and readily cured,
and hence most valuable both for the white
and Indian. An inferior kind of salmon is
taken during the fall months, called the hook-
bill,   from  its   having a beak like a parrot.
It has small, sharp teeth, is covered with livid
spots, and its flesh is soft and flabby. The
whites do not care to eat it, nor is it much relished by the natives. Fine trout is caught in
the streams during winter. The Indians
adopt various plans for taking the larger fish,
spearing, the wier and basket being the most
common. A small species of smelt, but little
worth, swarms in some places; sturgeon of
large size and excellent quality are frequently
caught in the Fraser. In Lake Okinagan, and
in all the streams along the Oregon trail,
trout weighing from one to two pounds and of
fine flavor, are caught with the greatest
ease, men taking them out with nets by the
wagon load, and by wading into the water,
catching them with their hands without difficulty. In the inlets and all tide waters, fish
of every variety abound in incredible quantities; nor are oysters, clams, mussels, or any
other kind of shell fish wanting. Of reptiles
and insects, except mosquitoes, confined to the
Lower Fraser, and a few other localities, British Columbia has but few. There are some
rattle snakes, with a few others of a more
harmless kind. The lizzard seen in California, is not common, nor is the tarrantula, or
centipede met with. Indeed, the whole country is remarkably exempt from both animals
and reptiles of a hurtful or obnoxious kind,
being in this respect, if no other, a very desirable abode for man.
The Southern, which may also be called the
rainy portion of British Columbia, is a densely
wooded country, both the mountains and plains,
with the exception of a few inconsiderable
prairies, being covered with thick and stately
forests. So closely do the trees stand, and
withal so tall and straight, that the united
navy yards of the world might draw thence
their supplies for years, without more than
partially exhausting these spacious and majestic forests. To the north and east there is less
timber, the country being open and the only
wood met with, except in the bottoms, being a
species of pitch pine scattered sparsely over its
surface. It never grows large, being not over
a foot or tvfo in diameter, and is not much esteemed for making lumber, though being
straight and of suitable size, it is very convenient for building log cabins and for similar
uses. Many of the prairies in these sections
are entirely destitute of trees, although the
growth along the streams is in most places
abundant and varied. The prevailing timber
everywhere is pine, fir and spruce, of different
varieties, with hemlock and cedar, and a small
sprinkling of birch, oak, ash, yew and maple.
In the swamps and along the water courses
willow, alder, cotton-wood and balm of Gilead
are found / the latter always attracting notice,
its unctuous Duds glittering with healing gum
and filling the air with balmy fragrance. To
this tree the native tribes, as have the whites
from the earliest ages, ascribe many medicinal
virtues, assigning it an important place in their
pharmacy.   It here grows to a majestic size. 22
The alder also grows up into a tall slender
tree, free from limbs, and hence useful for
fencing purposes and easily cut into fire-wood.
The yew, very scarce, is a hard, tongh wood,
resembling hickory. The.Indian usesitfor his
bow, and the white man for pick and axe helves,
it being about the only stuff found in the country suitable for these and similar purposes.
The maple and ash are both of the soft varieties and fit for little else than fence and firewood. The bark of the birch is full of a resinous substance, which readily igniting and
burning with a bright blaze, is used by the Indians for kindling fires and for torches. From
the cedar rails, shingles, and even clapboards,
are easily split; while the spruce and fir, the latter also called Oregon fir and Douglas pine, afford the best material for piles, spars and every
species of lumber. The oak being the same as
that found in California, is mostly confined to
the country east of the Cascades, and even there
it is not abundant. The redwood, or anything
resembling it nearer than cedar, does not grow
in British Columbia. Everywhere the size of
the timber varies with altitnde ; that in the
lower valleys being of gigantic dimensions,
and dwindling, as we ascend the mountains,
into mere shrubbery, until, at a height of .five,
or six thousand feet, we reach the limit of vegetation—the line of eternal snow.
Although British Columbia shows great poverty in the animal kingdom, the vegetable
world is sufficiently varied and prolific. Indeed, it is not often, except in tropical climates, that a richer botany is presented to the
student of nature. Flowering shrubs, esculent roots, medicinal plants, wild fruits and
berries are everywhere abundant. In its
Flora it strongly resembles California, the
prairies being covered and the woods filled in
the spring with the same superfluity of gorgeous flowers, though there, owing to the
more timely rains, they are not so short lived
as with us. Nearly everywhere in the forests,
the wild lilac and the snow-drop, and on the
plains, the wormwood and cactus are seen as
in the southern portions of this State. For
curative and like purposes, the natives make
use of a great variety of plants, though the
medicine-men rely much on their powers of
exorcising—being simply the mesmeric influence they are able to exert for driving away
the skookiims, or evil spirits, that are supposed
to be the cause of disease and death. There
are a variety of shrubs from which they make
tea to be used as a beverage, and some of
which, to the taste, is not unlike the drink
made from the Chinese leaf. In the bark of
the tender hemlock they find a remedy for
diarrhoea, while the young sprouts of the
raspberry, is eaten in the spring, for the purpose of correcting disorders of the blood.
The leaf of the bear-berry is dried, either in
the sun or over a fire, and then smoked in a
pipe, being mixed with tobacco, when they
have any. The effect produced, though very
slight, is similar to that of tobacco, yet it does
not taste at all like that substance, being in
I fact quite insipid and nearly tasteless. Of
roots, the Indians have the potato, introduced
amongst them by the English, and a variety,
indigenons to the country, the most valuable
of which is the carumass, resembling a small
white onion. Their potatoes, of which nearly
every tribe raises some, are excellent, being of
the species known as lady-fingers, that never
fail to be dry and solid when grown in a
proper soil. The wappatoo, the root of the
fern, and of certain flags, some of which are
not only palatable, but highly nutricious, are
also baked and eaten.
But of all the comestibles in the vegetable
world, the most valuable to the Indian are the
wild fruits and berries.    On these, next to fish, morally dependant for subsistence, and
fortunate for him it is, that they grow so plentiful, and last for so great a portion of the year.
Of fruits, he has the wild plum and cherry, the
crab-apple,   the    prickly-pear,   and   several
other kinds ; while of berries, there is an almost endless variety, including the strawberry
and raspberry—coming earliest in the Spring—
the blackberry, whortleberry, blueberry, scarlet currant, the gooseberry, bcarbcrry, the sal-
lal and many others; these being the  kinds
most  common  and  abundant.      Cranberries,
also, abound in the marshy places.   Of all these
the  sallal   is   perhaps   the   most  acceptable
and    serviceable   to    the    Indian,   as   it   is
easily   gathered,   very    nourishing,    readily
preserved   by   means   of  drying,   and   lasts
the   latest  in  the   season—hanging   on   the
bushes  until December.    The leaves   of the
bcarbcrry arc dried, as above mentioned, and
used as tobacco, being  then  called qucr-lo-e-
chintl.    There is also a singular fruit called the
Oregon grape, growing on a low bush, having
serrated prickly leaves.    It is worthy of mention  only as a curiosity, being so sour, even
when.ripe,  that nothing can eat it.    The foregoing, by no means fill the catalogue of fruits,
and berries growing wild in British Columbia,
yet they serve to show that nature  has been
generous in   this department, and prove that
the Indian, thus supplied, but for his indolent
and improvident habits never need want, much
sess  perish,  as he   sometimes  does, through
lhcer starvation, during the season of winter.
The indigenous grasses of British Columbia
are very similar to those found native in California. Wild timothy or prairie grass, sometimes mixed with clover, covers the rich bottoms and prairies to the south, bunch grass
growing with the greatest luxuriance, even to
the tops of the mountains, throughout all the
open country. Swamp grass of different kinds,
some being fine and nutricious, others almost
as coarse as tules, abounds along the borders
of the lakes and in other marshy places. On
the Smass prairies about 30 miles southeast
of Fort Langley, are many thousand acres
covered with wild timothy and other nourishing grasses, from which hay of excellent quality could be made with the greatest facility,
the growth being very thick and standing four ITS SOIL, CLIMATE, RESOURCES, &c.
or five feet high. Along the Chilliwhaock, a
small river entering the Fraser five miles below the mouth of the Harrison, are also fine
opportunities for cutting hay, the grass being
equally as good, though not so much of it as on
the Smass. Hay cut here could easily be got
to. market*—the Chilliwhaock being navigable
for light draft boats for some distance. The
best place, however, for making hay, market
and facilities for cutting being considered, is
the Lilooett meadows, at the head of the Lilooett lake. Here the grass is equally as good,
and nearly as abundant as at the Smass, while
the great number of pack animals employed
will always create a demand for it at remunerative prices. The soil on all these prairies
consists of a rich sandy loom, rendering them
the most valuable districts for agricultural
purposes of any in the Colony, except, perhaps,
some of the valleys in country of the Similk-
ameen and the Okinagan, a region that has
advanced much in importance since the recent
ascent of theJGolumbia to Priest's Rapids by
the steamer Col. Wright on her late trial trip,
an event of consequence to the entire country
east of the Dalls, and particularly to that under consideration, the head of steamboat navigation having thus been brought within a
short distance of Fort Okinagan. All these
fine tracts of land offer great inducements to
settlers, they being equally adapted to the
raising of grain and stock, governmentSallow-
ing them to be occupied until such time as
they can be surveyed and brought into market. Cattle require no feed here during the
winter, except such as they can themselves
pick, while grains and fruits of every description grow with as much thrift and as little culture as in any other part of the world.
Although gold at present forms the most attractive, as well as the most ready source of
wealth in British Columbia, it by no means
constitutes the only valuable mineral in the
country. A great variety of other metals,
though as yet but little sought for, have been
met with, some in quantities indicating large
deposits. Silver ore of the richest quality, has
been found at several localities, portions of
which, on being analyzed have shown ninety
per cent, of pure silver. At two points on the
Lilooett river, and also at a place near Kamloops, ore of this description has been taken
from veins cropping out at the surface. On
the east bank of the Lilooett river, at the outlet
of the Little lake, is a silver vein of large size,
well known to the Indians in the vicinity, and
from which a Mexican, a man of scientific attainments, and well versed in the working of
•Silver mines, took several specimens last fall,
pronouncing them unusually rich. Specimens
of copper, nearly virgin, have been obtained on
the Fraser, above the Fountain, and on the
river opposite that place, lignite, or bituminous
Wood, of the earthy variety, exists in such quantities as to have been used by the miners for
fnel. It is found in detached pieces, worn
round like pebbles;. is of a brownish-black
color, nearly as light as water, very friable,
and burns freely ; when blown it sends forth a
light blaze, whence it would probably be useful for blacksmithing purposes. Iron, coal,
and traces of cinnabar are frequently met
Platinum, agates, cornelians, and quartz,
both crystalized and massive, occur, in all
parts of the interior. Excellent lime-stone,
marble of the purest variety and veryaccessi-
ble, granite and many other varieties of building stone are common. But since this class of
productions cannot be rendered immediately
available, as agents of wealth, it will hardly
be necessary to enumerate them more fully at
Mineral and warm springs aTe features of
the country. One of the latter, on the trail, 22
miles from Port Douglass, on the Lilooett trail,
has been found highly beneficial, in cases of
dispceptia and rheumatism. The water, in a
volume of about four square inches, issues
from a conglomerate rock, at a temperature of
190°, with a gurgling sound, coming at intervals from the interior of the rock. The water
smells of sulphur, and is slightly impregnated
with magnesia, lime, salt, etc. The Indians
resort to this spring at all times, bathing in,
and drinking freely of the water, having, to all
appearance, great faith in its remedial properties.
Before concluding the present series of articles, it may perhaps be well to make some further mention of the gold deposits in British
Columbia, and to inquire after the mining
prospects the ensuing summer, as based on the
latest and most reliable intelligence from that
quarter. Space will not permit of any detailed
statements or lengthened investigation of this
subject at present; yet, as the shipments of
gold dust out o£the country, maybe considered a very fair index of mining prospsrity, let
the sums transmitted through the two Express
companies doing business in Victoria, for the
month of April, being the latest statistics we
have on the subject, be taken as evidence on
that point. Between the 11th day of April,
then, and tiie 10th day of May, these two
houses brcfcglit down $195,000, on account of
shippers. lJuring the same period, it is estimated that $75,000 additional, came in private
hands, making $270,000, exported from Victoria to this port, in these 30 days. Meantime, at
least, $30,000 more was carried away, by the
steamer Constitution, and by sailing vessels running to different points on the Sound, in payment of cattle, lumber, vegetables, and other
commodities, largely imported into Victoria
and British Columbia, from Oregon and Washington Territory, giving a total of $300,000 exported during the month of April, and which
may be supposed to represent the product of
the mines for the preceding month of March.
If we further suppose there were $3,000 men—
rather a high estimate—at work in the mines
digging out this amount, and that they labored
twenty  out   of  the  thirty-one days   in  that I
month—another high estimate, Sundays and | least, but there are no saws, aud the timber is very
stormy weather being  deducted, this would poor here, nothing much but poplar and cotton wood
give an average of $5 a day, to the man, a re-  near tne river.   There is
turn comparing favorably with the wages real- 'l ,i,c u '    '  '    ", ''      M
ized in our own mines ; while it will not  be
pretended, whatever other hardships men may
have to endure, that the labor of mining is as i coantryj but hard to be'reached, and I would not
severe in British Columbia as here, operations advise -those in California who are doing well to
there being mostly confined to a foot or two of leave to come here, for a long journey to come
the top dirt. and costs a great deal,  and then the seasons here
• That a few should have returned from the are short, nothing to be done for four or five months
Upper Fraser, dissatisfied, as is represented to I in the winter.
ome scrubby pine back,
The country here is not
mountainous as on the Lower Fraser; it is sandy
and knolls and hills, and plenty of grass and some
good  spots for  farming.    It is   a very pleasant
have been the case, is not surprising, considering that over two thousand hurried to that
section in advance of supplies, and many of
them before the winter was fairly over. It is
obvious those who had already returned to
Victoria, must have done most of their prospecting in the month of March, or early in thej
The cost of living, too, is great, nothing to be
bought for less than a dollar a pound, and most
things costing a dollar and a half, and in this climate men eat a great deal. If we had to buy our
provisions, I think it would cost us four or five
dollars a day. We have enough to last six weeks,
by which time we are in hopes goods will be
cheaper. The high prices are now owing to packing animals   being  scarce,  though there will be
month of April, at a time when provisions were
yet  scarce and the cold weather had hardly I several hundred horses on this route in a few days,
abated. j when packing will be lower.    There  is plenty of
The following letter, one of several recently
received from the Upper Fraser, will serve to
illustrate the character of the diggings in that
quarter, and to show in what estimation they
are held by a practical miner, who has now
been in that country over a year. The purport
of the other letters is very similar to that of
the one presented. Rocher Rouge, near which
place the writer was encamped, is about 150
miles above the Fountain, and 160 above De
Rous' ranch, the place mentioned in this letter :
Upper Fraser River, April, 1859.
As i you wished me to write if I went above
mountain I send you a few lines by a man going
down to Port Douglas after goods. I don't know
the day of the month, but it is the last of April. We
left Jo DeRushe's ranch about four weeks ago, and
came up on the east side of the river, packed three
horses, and were about a week coming up. Found
ice on the trail coming down the steep hills and had
to unload a number of times. -We came by the
slide, and found trouble getting by that place, and
I would advise parties coming to go round, as there
is an easier road by going a little further to the
east. I have heard of a shorter route being found,
keeping on the west side of the river and leaving
it near Bridge river, and taking a cut off baek of
the mountains, but I don't know how it is. We
prospected some eoming up and found a good show
all along, but concluded not to stop, asj^ve heard it
was better up here. It is not much use to prospect,
for the gold is too fine to save with a pan, and you
grass here, and animals can be kept cheap. The
Indians have a good many horses, but they ride
them to death, and they are not fit for anything.
My partner, who has been 25 or 30 miles above,
found good prospects and larger gold, and we think
it washes down, and that a better gold country
must lay north of this. He says it is a beautiful
country and more timber up-there. We shall stop
here and try to get in sluices, when I think we can
double our present wages, though it may not pay to
Igo to that expense unless the diggings prove
deeper. There are a good many coming up this
way,   though   but   few have  got thus far as yet.
I Some have  gone  above us,  and are at work, and
I some have gone back not able to stand the pressure of the hard work and high prices of goods.   I
! think we shall make a good summer's work here, if
we can get provisions, of' which there is no doubt.
I We have, brought along twine for making fish nets,
and expect to catch plenty of salmon this summer,
bwith these and some wild fruits we shall get along
well if the mines do not disappoint us. The Indians are not at all troublesome; they are a better
race than those further south, but we have seen but
little of them as yet. They seem a little shy,
especially the women. I have seen some of them
have pieces of gold, but n"t to amount'to anything.
It is not wash gold, and must have come from dry
I diggings, or high on the banks.
We found snow on our way up, about five or six
inches deep at places on the trail, but it soon dis-
[ appeared. There has been thick ice in the river,
but it has   now   loft and the weather is mild and
cannot tell unless you work some with a rocker, and | pleasant ;^no  stormy weatherof any account since
we did not want to stop and  make one then.    In
some places we found coarse gold, but thought we had
better come on to this place. This bar has no name;
it is  a little below what they call -Rocher Rouge.
While  one of my partners and  a Frenchman went
above prospecting   I stopped here with the other
and cut down  a tree and made a rocker, and we
have worked   eight or nine  days,  making eleven
dollars a day to the hand, but the gold is fine, and
we loose a great deal; with quicksilver, I think we
could make an ounce.   But the diggings are not
deep,  and I do not think will last- long; we only
wash about a foot on the top, then  the dirt grows
poorer, but we have not tried it very deep yet, and I candid man and an experienced miner,
there  may be a   layer of pay  dirt   below.    With   »*• entitled to respect and credence,
sluices big wages could be made here, for a while at
we left. The Indians say this has been a hard
winter. From what I can learn, the summers here
are very warm and have seasonable rains. If so,
I think plenty of vegetables could be raised, as tile
ground looks'good.
My advice to those in your State is, to lemain
where they are until this .country,is more explored
and better roads are built target into it. J. M.. D.
, The foregoing letter, as has been stated, is one of a
number lately recei ed from the Upper Fraser, the tone
of some of which is more encouraging, and of ethers less
so, than that of the one here presenred. this having been
selected for publication because it fairly represents the
average opinion of the whole, and because the writer is a
whose opinions  


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items