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Canadian Pacific Railway routes. The Bute Inlet and Esquimalt route no. 6, and the Fraser Valley and… Tolmie, William Fraser 1877

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Array Inlet asi Esquimalt Route Ie* 6,
Iliiiffdltf asi Iiniii Inlet S@il© Ro. I
1877  Less a two years absqpce, the writer of what
follows has, since 1833, resided in these parts,
having the previous year entered the service of
the Hudson's Bay Company as surgeon and
clerk. He has since been stationed at various
points at or near the Pacific coast from Oregon
to Alaska:
At the H. B. post, Fort MacLoughlin, Milbank
Sound, having for two years incited the natives
to search for that mineral, he had the good fortune in 1835 to ascertain the existence on the N.
E shore of Vancouver Island, of good bituminous coal, which was tested less than a year
after on board the Company's new steamer Beaver just out from London.
He has by land and water travelled over the
great Northwest from Jasper's House to "Winnipeg; has been more than once through the
Walamet Valley, Oregon, and has seen a great
part of the beautiful bunch grass country of
British Columbia south of N. lat. 51° .
Later in life, when resident at Victoria and
concerned in the management of the Company's
business in British Columbia, the writer had
much occasion and opportunity of acquiring information regarding the coasts and harbors of
our inland seas, as well as of the farming and
grazing capabilities of the trans-Cascade mainland north and south'.
Since a few years ago—retiring from the Company's service—he has, from every available
source, collected facts bearing on the subject in
question, and for such infqrmation has been in-.
debted to many. He has now specially to thank
Captain Devereaux for essential aid often and
freely rendered. To Captains Pamphlet, Bud-
lin and others too numerous to name, his thanks
are also respectfuUy offered. The statements of
fact and opinion in this pamphlet have been
made in as moderate a fashion as seemed compatible with a fair presentment of the case advocated. Many of the same facts and conclusions
have been clearly set forth in the substantially
unassailed speech of the Hon. A. deCosmos, during the first day (April S$) of the long debate on
the "Pacific Bailway" in the House di Commons, Ottawa, session of 1877; but this was unknown to the writer, until the conclusion of his
pamphlet was in type; then, .obtaining perusal
of Hansard, he was rejoiced to find that during
the debate there had been unanimity regarding
the pressing need of the Pacific Bailway, as the
great means of Canada's further development
and expansion.
Thoroughly persuaded, as the writer is, that
adoption of Boute 6 will be largely conducive to
the general good, he the more earnestly desires
that every settled section of our Province should
be placed in the way of well-doing, by such aid
as the Dominion and Provincial Governments
can afford.
Seven years ago, the historian Froude urged
our British rulers to avail .of the calm, sure to
follow the close of the Franco-Prussian war, to
bring to a more definite and satisfactory con
dition her then and still anomalous relations
with the Colonies. A year ago a Canadian writer
of ability, "A. M. B., Ottawa," in the Canadian
Monthly of Nov. '76, referred to Scottish experience since 1707, and to Canadian of later date in
proof that our English friends need to be importuned by complaint and remonstrance, ere
they will do or concede anything. "A. M. B."
last year urged that Canada should take the initiative.
When the present Eastern war comes to an
end, another calm may ensue, during which
action should surely be taken and the great Western queation treated as its importance warrants.
Canadians must cheerfully assume a fair share
of the financial responsibility involved in closer
connection with the Parent State, in view of the
multiform benefits thence to accrue to all concerned.
Premier Mackenzie must have uttered the
sentiments of his adopted countrymen, when at
Dundee, Scotland, in July, 1875, he said in public. ' 'I believe that the Colonies are essential to
British supremacy in the world. I don't say so
because we are desirous of the slightest favor financially from Great Britain. We are able and
willing. God knows, to bear our full share of all
Imperial responsibility whenever required for
the common interest, and we are doing so at the
present moment."
Further on in Mr. Mackenzie's reported speech
explanation is given of what he meant by British
supremacy. It cannot prove offensive to any,
being "universal freedom, emancipation from
everything degrading." Soon may such be the
case, wherever the flag flies—at home and
"A. B. M." and others, though ardent for
Imperial federation, admit that Canada's material interests would benefit by annexation to
the United States. That may be a general
opinion, but nevertheless closer connection with
the Parent State is preferred. Sentiment, as the
venerable Carlyle has truly said, always rules
great movements, religious and political, and
not "the checks and balances of profit and loss."
It may be well for civilized communities generally, and in particular for the timid in Europe,, that in the New World, two distinct experiments in Democracy should amicably
advance side by side; while amongst older nations, Britain and France progress carefully and
deliberately, but unfailingly in the same direction. England must reconsider her free trade
theories and practices to which other peoples
have not given the expected adhesion.
America, which appears to have taken a "new
departure" for good objects, should, with her
accustomed forecast, weigh well the possible
future effects of the "Chinese wall of protection"
now surrounding her.
A kind and frank interchange of ideas on
commercial and tariff matters between Britain,
America and Canada seems now a great desideratum. Why not a conference of delegates to
meet either at London or Washington.
"Canadian Pacific Railway Routes.
Tlie Bute Inlet and Esquimalt Stoute (No.6)
and tl»e fraser Valley and Burrard Inlet Borne (No. ii) compared as to tbe advantages offered by each to tbe Dominion and to tbe Kmpive.
No. 1.
[June 30th, 1877.]
. Editob Cobonist:—I have for some time
past thought of writing tmi the railway routes
and have been induced To offer the present
communication to your widely read gaper, by
perusal of the speech of Mr. Dewdney. M. P.,
at Ottawa, 24th April last, correctly produced,
it is presumable, in your issue of the 24th.
inst. It may be inferred that when Mr.
Dewdney had the floor at Ottawa his fellow-
members from Columbia, having previously
taken part in the debSte, were precluded
from reply.
Alluding to a recent contention in the
House between himself and the member for
Victoria, Mr. DeCosmos, as to whether the
population along the Fraser route exceeded or
not that on the Bute line, and in which the
Victoria member read from the voters' list in
proof that the larger population was on the
latter route, Mr. Dewdney did not attempt
contradiction; but, in military parlance,
manoeuvred into a new position—to a certain
extent, "changed the subjeet"—and adroitly
avoided the real issue by an elaborate showing in figures that in 1875 the number of
records under the Land Act of 1870 was on
the Bute line, including. Vancouver Island,
89, "while on the Fraser Kiver route, the
number was 551, out of which there were in
the New Westminster and Yale districts
through which the line ran 479." "In 1876
(according to Mr. D.) there were on Yancouver Island and Bute Inlet route 42 records;
and on the Mainland 37$, of which 312 were in
the districts of Yale and New Westminster.
Mr. Dewdney claimed a triumph from these
showings. I have not verified, neither do I
call in question his figures as presented, nor
yet have I been at the Land Office to find how
many of the records mentioned are those of
absentee land speculators who may not yet
have paid up. I shall presently submit to
Mr. Dewdney, and to your other readers
everywhere, facts and figures "galore" on
the matter of present relative Mainland and
Island populations, to which, although the
Island has the .preponderance in number
more importance seems to be attached at
Ottawa than it merits; as a factor in the great
questions of route and terminus..
Mr. Dewdney, who, I will say, is an able
and untiring advocate of what he considers
Mainland interests, at the outset of his speech
claims to be a "British Columbian knowing
his province thoroughly, probably as well as
any man in it." He nevertheless showed
lack of knowledge or political smartness—
it is for himself to say which—in omitting
mention of the fact •— all important in connection with his figures — that, since the
summer of 1873 the best and most attractive
lands on the Bute Inlet line and those nearest
the already existing settlements, have been
out of the market. I do think that in the
heat of debate Mr. Dewdney must have overlooked this. As others, besides himself may
have forgotten, or do not know the fact, I
will now mention that when in 1873 the Macdonald administration, not without knowledge
or in any haphazard fashion, but with the
surveys of 1871 and 1872, and correct information about harbors, before them, decided
to locate* a railway line from Esquimalt harbor to Seymour Narrows," a belt of public
land between these points and along the East
Coast of Vancouver, twenty miles wide was
reserved from "sale or alienation." What
sort of land this is, I will let the geologist,
Mr. James Eiehardson, say. Mr. Bichardson
in his able report on the coal measures of the
Island examined by him contained in the
report of Progress of the Geological Survey
of Canada under A. B. Selwyn, Esq., for
1871-72, speaks of the coal deposits of this
district as extending from the vicinity of
Cape Mudge (near Seymour Narrows T.) on
the north-west, to within fifteen miles of Victoria on the south-east, with a length of about 130 miles." Beferring to this tract, which
he thoroughly examined, Mr. Bichardson
adds "it possesses generally a good soil, and
may hereafter be thickly settled. . It is mostly
covered with forest, but in some parts presents a prairie or parklike aspect with grass-
covered ground, studded with single trees or
clumps of them, and offers great encouragement to agricultural industry.
Like the'Fraser Valley west of the Cascade
mountains, the valuable agricultural country
just described will need clearing, and Us timber will be saleable; but unlike many of the
best parts of the Fraser it will nowhere require
the very costly process of dyking, etc., nor
like the arable lands of the settled upper
country—(New Westminster and Yale'dis"-
trictsj—will it want the not inexpensive work
of irrigation.
Better than all, our East Coast farmers will!
in the coal towns, and in the iron-smelting
and manufacturing towns, and villages of tne
future, have a home market for - all they can
produce, not omitting sawlogs and firewood,
and, when their fully developed ability fails
to meet the ever-increasing demand, it will,
by railway, be supplied from the Columbian
and Saskatchewan Mainland, so that eventually a great interchange ef products will
ensue; thus affording local business to the
railway in addition to what, in no inconsiderable degree, would, from the first, arise between Esquimalt and the coal mines and
agricultural districts north of it.
The foregoing is quite relevant to the population question; now for the facts and figures
thereanent promised in a preceding paragraph :
First, however, let it be premised that
others besides the Mainland M. P. need to be
set right in this matter. How it comes, perhaps Mr. Dewdney can tell; the strange
belief has recently found utterance in Ottawa
and Toronto, that of the .sparse population
of this Province as a whole the greater part
is to be found in Mr. Dewdney's pet districts
already named. A leader in the "Weekly
Globe" of 27th April last has the following—
"What there is of population in British Columbia is located chiefly along the' Fraser and
Thompson Valleys," and the usually accurate
and cautious Premier Mr. Mackenzie in the
Commons at Ottawa, 20th April last, speaking on the Pacific Bailway, said—"There is
no doubt the bulk of the population of British
Columbia is settled in the Fraser Valley."
The facts are decidedly against this statement, as will now be proved in more ways
than one.
The electoral districts of New Westminster
and Yale are vast in extent, including the
greater part of the as yet settled Fraser Valley, and all of the Thompson Valleys north
and south fit for arable farming, besides to
the south, the - settlements of Okanagan,
Nicola Yalley and Similkameen, and on the
coast the Burrard Inlet sawmills and logging
camps. These districts in 1858 and succeeding years offered the greatest attraction to
immigrants of any part of the  Province, as
on the Fraser bars, and the Thompson and
Similkameen mines, gold in paying quantities
was found. These localities have always (unlike the east coast of Vancouver for the four
last exciting years) been open for settlement
without let or hindrance; yet, for all this, the
B. C. voter's list of 1876 shows fo*r these two
Mainland districts 851 voters, and for the
compact districts of Victoria-District and Victoria City 1057 voters, or a difference of 25
per cent, in favor of the Island. Adding to
the two Mainland districts 118 voters for New
Westminster city electoral district, we have a
total of 969; and adding to the total of the
two Island districts, named as a foreshadowing
of what Vancouver's east coast will yet be,
338 voters for Nanaimo district we have a
total of 1395, or about 50 per cent excess for
the Island. The 445 voters for Cariboo and
the voters of Lillooet and Kootenay help up
the Mainland count; yet notiwthstanding the
disabilities pointed out the whole Island exceeds the Mainland by about 9 per cent. For
lack of a census of population the yoters' list
has to be referred to. The Provincial census
of school population for 1876 throws other
light on the question*at issue. It indirectly
points to the comparativ.e number of married
couples and families on the Island and Mainland, thus to a certain extent indicating how
far each population may be counted on as
fixed/ On the Is^knd the census gives
1790 as the number of children of school
age of whom a few are from the
Mainland attendiug the higher public and
private schools of Victoria. The whole Mainland has 700 as its school population.
The imposition and collection of assessed
and school taxes for the year 1876-77 affords
yet another way of viewing the matter in
dispute.    The revenfte from the Island under
this head comes to   $31,364
and from the Mainland to     19,269
Showing in favor of the   Island an	
excess of : $12,095
I have been careful as to the accuracy of
the facts and figures herein presented, and
upon them rest the case for the Island as
against the statistics above quoted from Mr.
Dewdney's speech, and the erroneous assertion copied from the Toronto"Globe,'' that the
bulk of Columbia's population is along the
Fraser and Thompson valleys.
In a further communication I will deal
with more serious matters, on which I am
compelled to differ with Mr. Dewdney and
some other Mainlanders. '
No. 3.
[July 16th, 1877,] '
Editor Colonist:—Dnder the above heading in a letter of 30th June last in your paper,
facts and figures were adduced by me to prove
the preponderance of population in this
Province to be on the Southeast and East
coast of Vancouver Island and not in the
valleys of the Fraser and Thompson, as had
mistakenly been affirmed in the House of
Commons, Ottawa, and ■within the columns
of the Toronto Globe. This superiority, it was shown existed, notwithstanding the fact—all important in view
of the aforementioned comparisons made in
Ontario—that, since 1873, the public lands of
Vancouver on the East and South Coasts had
been reserved from sale or alienation in consequence of the decision, that year, of the
Macdonald administration to ' 'locate a railway line from Esquimalt harbor to Seymour
Now must briefly be noticed a few   of   the
many matters—mostly irrelevant—brought up
by the Mainland Guardian, in its two edi
' torials on that letter.
The Guardian views the subject, of rival
routes}"as.warn threadbare; as to the mind
of any intelligent person, the question has
been finally settled." Not so have I read the
last report of Engineer-in-Chief Fleming, on
the Canadian Pacific Bailway, 1877. Not so
have I understood the purport of the two last
published dispatches to our Government from
Earl Carnarvon.
It matters not where any particular Islander, or any one or more Mainlanders, may have
their personal interests. All are alike hound
to aim at strict accuracy in statements publicly made on the railway terminus question,
and it is the imperative duty of any one,
aware that, on such a vitally important question, inaccurate and misleading : representations have been published, to call these in
question, in order that, by free discussion,
the truth may be elicited and ' if necessary
"proclaimed from the house tops." There is
no earthly net-d of, as the Guardian hints,
stirring up sectional strife. Npthing is more
undesirable or ridiculous* There need be no
strife save that of sound argument based on
the inexorable logic of such facts as "winna
ding and daurna be disputed.''
An inaccuracy to be noted occurs in the
Toronto Weekly Globe. April 13, 1877, p.
256, under the caption "Pacific Bailway."
The real choice (says the writer) '■'will to all
appearance, lie between Bute Inlet and Burrard Inlet, each of which has some advantages
in its favor. If the railway is ever to be constructed to Esquimalt along Vancouver Island,
it becomes a matter of necessity to adopt Bute
Inlet as the present terminus. As a military
road this Hne would be the most serviceable,
since a Une along the Fraser valley would be
for a considerable distance in close proximity
to the Canadian frontier. But the latter has
the advantage in respect both of distance and
the harbor- atits terminus." The italics are
The author of the foregoing leader in the
Globe had probably read a letter in the
London Times of last January or early in
February, dated New Westminster, British
Columbia, December 4th, 1876, and signed.
. "Old Settler." The Globe scribe had also,
perhaps, heard or read the statement in the
House of Commons, Ottawa, by Mr. Dewdney,
M. P., on the 6th April, 1876, that (his words
are quoted) "the navigation from the southern extremity of Vancouver Island to Burrard
Inlet is excellent,''
"Old Settler's" letter does not overflow
with the milk of human kindness towards
Victoria or Victorians; but let that alone as
far as may be. The following quotation is,
however, unavoidable. "A good route (0. S.
says) has been found passing through, or
close to, the'settled parts of the Province, and
terminating at the? magnificent harbor of Burrard Inlet—a harbor capable of containing all
the navies of the world, with plenty of room
to spare; a harbor which Victorians in their,
blind rage stigmatize as difficult and dangerous of access, but into which sailing ships'
have been brought under sail and without a
Now will "Old Settler," over his "nom de
plume,'' or, as ho may prefer, kindly inform
the readers of The Colonist, how many shipmasters^ the last twelve years he has known
,to bring their vessels into Burrard Inlet from
the Fucan Straits without a pilot ? how manj'
of these to go out without a   pilot, and   how-
many to repeat the venture of sailing in from
the Straits, through the intricate channels of
the- Haro   Archipelago, across   the   Gulf   of
Georgia and through the  dangerous Narrows
at the entrance of the Inlet—but   300   yards
wide at one place ?    Since 1871 I have sought
information from every source, relative to the
principal harbors of this Province, that prima
facie, seemed suitable for the Western terminus of the British Transcontinental Bailway.
As to the sailing of ships from Boyal   Boads
to Burrard Inlet with or without a pilot, two
instances thereof have come to my knowledge,
but these vessels, small in size, were   piloted
if not towed out.   .There may have been a few
other like cases.   I have been told   of   shipmasters having come to grief in making   the
attempt.    The rule now is for vessels   to   be and fro.   Far indeed is Burrard Inlet from being the extensively capacious harbor ' Old Settler, the Guardian editor, and
others would have the world imagine.   Instead
of, as they assert, -having room for the navies
of the world, it has   of   good   anchorage   at
Granville, or Coal Harbor, only about 1 square
marine mile in  extent, and, off  Moodyville,
north shore, only about %  a square   marine
mile in extent.     In English   Bay   there   are
about 3 square marine miles; but that   roadstead is exposed from W. S. W. to W. N. W.,
whence the strongest winds   blow   from   the
Gulf of Georgia, and, with northerly   winds,
there is a long fetch of sea in from the Gulf.
Here ships   anchor   with   their   tugs, while
awaiting turn of tide, ere they pass   through
the Narrows to Burrard Inlet.
The remaining space or mid-tfhannel of the
Inlet outside the second Narrows is unsafe for
anchorage owing to the strength of its tidal
currents and eddies. It is from about 20 to
30 fathoms ih depth.
Esquimalt has, with the excepti6n of a few
spots, some day to be dredged, of safe anchor- age about 3 square marine miles in extent,
and of wliarf frontage about 4% miles in extent. Its adjacent outer harbor, Boyal Boads,
has 3 square marine miles of good holding
ground, where well found ships, -such as
Plimsoll would approve of, ride out S. E.
gales, the only wind this roadstead is exposed
[August 13th, 1877.]
Editor Colonist:—On the 26th ult, it was
in your columns made to appear that, despite
of sundry boastings,to the contrary, Esquimalt has of safe anchorage about thrice the
extent possessed by Granville, Burrard Inlet,
and twice as much as .there is in the whole
' expanse of the Inlet, inside the first and out
side the second Narrows.
victoria harbor.
In connection with the comparison as to
extent of safe anchorage in Esquimalt. and
the "Inlet" it is proper to mention that Victoria harbor, not long since by a facetious
correspondent of the Mainland "Guardian"
tei'med "a mudhole in a rock," can by
dredging and by the blasting of iwo rocks,
each smaller than the already broken up
"Beaver rock," have a wharf frontage of
about six miles in all, equal for accommodation of merchant shipping- to the enclosed
artificial docks of older countries. At the
shallowest part of the entrance of Victoria
harbor, the depth at low water will be about
24 feet on completion of the dredging; now
on account of hard times, temporarily suspended by the Dominion Government.
At high water in ordinary tides the depth
at the entrance, now 20 feet, will then be 24,
and ships of the latter draught of water can,
after harbor dredging, he afloat at the
wharves. That such dredging is practicable
has been by boring satisfactorily proved.
Where else on this coast anywhere can such
a contiguity of good safe harborage and anchorage be found so near to and so accessible
from the ocean as at Boyal Boads, Esquimalt
and Victoria ? To what other places are the
sea-approiaches nearly so good as to these V
Appendix V of Mr. Fleming's last Bailway
Beport to January, 1877, consists of letters
and statements by "master-mariners, pilots
and others resident in the Province or locally
First in this appendix is a letter dated Victoria, 6th February, 1877, from Captain James
Cooper, of Victoria, to the Governor-General
"respecting the sea approaches to British
Columbia, and certain of the harbors on the
coast." In said letter Cpatain Cooper's first
position is indisputable and will surely have
the fullest consideration from those on whom
may at length devolve the grave responsibility
of selecting the western terminus of the Canadian Transcontinental Bailway. "Sea approaches," Cooper says, "are in my judgment
the first essential consideration in finally deciding upon a terminus site." Although this affir
mation is by him made only in reference to
the seven Mainland inlets categorically inquired about at the Admiralty by Mr. Fleming,
it is clearly as applicable to Barclay Sound
and Esquimalt on the West coast of Vancouver's, as it is to the more inland and unapproachable waters, of which Burrard Inlet
seems, as far as is yet known, to be the most
How. as to sea approaches and other essenr
tjal conditions for a terminal harbor the three
localities just named compare, will be seen as
we proceed.
Treating of the inland navigation north of
the Fucan strait, Captain Cooper says,
"Vessels'do, however, frequently make the
passage to and from the lumber and coal
depots without the assistance of steam." In
this I am at issue with the Captain, for as
stated in my last letter in the Colonist "The,
rule now is for vessels to be towed to and
fro." Captain Cooper justly condemns Mil-
bank Sound, the main entrance from the sea,
leading'to Dean's Canah' Gardner's Inlet, &c,
"FOR THE WANT OF SOUNDINGS AND THE DANGER of the sea approaches." Bear this in
mind, my readers, "having in view (the Captain considerately adds) the purposes for
which this Inlet mi-jht be selected." Italics
Captain Cooper next presents much against
the northern route to Skeena. Port Essington he says is a bar harbor and freezes hard
in winter. .
"It has been demonstrated (he says p. 306)
that Burrard Inlet is a safe and commodious
harbor, for, since the establishment of the two
large sawmills in that port, the first in 1864,
at least six hundred ships of large tonnage,
to' say nothing of local and smaller crafts,
have xentered to load aud have left the port,
not one of which received any damage; and
the dasualties incident to navigation in the
inland waters would compare most favorably
with any part of the world."
At p.-307 the.Captain states as follows:—
"One common road for the inland navigation
from the Straits of Juan de Fuca, via the Haro
Straits, whichhas two separate and distinct
navigable channels, through both of which
any sized ship could pass. The channel
nearest to Vancouver Island, which could be
used if required, would lead a ship at a minimum distance of 4% miles from the American
possessions) continuing through Active Pass
direct into,Burrard Inlet."
Investigation of the comparative merits of
rival routes, in which I have   been   engaged
necessarily involved   ascertainment   of   the
marine disasters on each proposed Une during
a given period.
Between Boyal Boads and the Ocean there
has not been disaster to shipping, since in
1860, Bace Bocks Light first guided the mariner to safe anchorage at the Boads, or thence to that wide and safe passage to   the   Ocean>
De Fuca Strait.
For six years between 1868 and 1874, fourteen (14) casualties are said to have occurred
between Boyal Boads and Burrard Inlet, and
eighteen (18) between the Boads and Nanaimo. The worst mishap on the Inlet Une
was the wreck of the barque "CorneUs."
Next was the sale of a ship, stranded while
steam aide;d. Another stranded ship had to
sacrifice her deckload ere getting afloat. Seven
vessels struck and got off in the Burrard Inlet Narrows, and four in the Haro Strait. Of
the number of narrow escapes Uttle is known.
The foregoing does not accord with Captain
Cooper's herein quoted statement regarding
' "casualties incident to navigation." On the
Nanaimo line four ships,have been wrecked
when unaided by steam, and three when thus
assisted. Three steamships of war struck and
got off. The same happened to five oceangoing steamers of the mercantile marine.
One ship had two anchors down in seventy-
five fathoms of water and got off, after the
masts had been cut away. One was ashore
and got off and another vessel struck and got
And yet this Nanaimo route is "the channel
nearest to Vancouver Island" through which
Capt. Cooper, as above quoted, has reported
to the Governor-General that "any sized ship
could pass."
In .adeUtion to the various dangers in this
channel so clearly described in the pages of
the "Vancouver Island'Pilot," there is said to
be, in some patches of it, only two and three
fathoms of water. How would this suit the
largest ocean-going ships by night, or in fog
or storm, navigating to and 'from the terminal harbor, in the days when the Canadian Pacific Bailway wiU be "an accompUsh-
'"Active," better known as "Plumper's
Pass," is not suited for (to borrow the words
of Mr. Fleming in his former Bailway Beport,
Jan., 1874,) "the largest ships that now or
hereafter may navigate the Pacific'' In July,
1860, H. M. S. Termagant, drawing 18 feet of
water, struck so severely in this passage,, and
that, be it observed, with a favorable tide,
that after repairs, &c, in San Francisco costing it is said, £30,000 sterling, she was, on
reaching home, at once condemned and sold'..
Admiral Bichards and Staff Commander Pender, B. N., have each had a practical experience of years in the survey of the southern
and middle coasts of this Province. The results of their work up to 1864 are given in the
"Vancouver Island Pilot," which from p. p.
1 to 70 treats of the Fucan Strait and the Haro
Straits west of the international (sea) boundary hne, marked on recent maps. Both of
these officers have furnished answers, to the
twenty-eight (28) questions submitted by Mr.
Fleming to the Lords of the Admiralty.
Question 9 is as foUows:— "At, what minimum distance would vessels have to pass San
Juan Island, or other islands on the coast of
the United States, in their   passage   by   the
• southern, channel to Burrard Inlet, &c, &c?"
To this Admiral Bichards repUes:—Vessels
need not pass within three miles of San Juan,
but they must pass within two miles of Stuart,
and Patos Islands, unless indeed they take
the inner channel along the coast of Vancouver Island; and the passages from these
channels to the Strait of Georgia are dan-\
gerous, and they would not be used unless in
case of emergency."   Italic-: min,j..
How completely the opinion of Admiral
Bichards just quoted runs counter to that of
Captain Cooper, as above given in his own
Desiring only that the "Truth, the whole
Truth, and nothing but the Truth," should
be elicited by the discussion invited in this
and previous letters, I now respectfully ask
Captain Cooper to set me right, if now o.t
heretofore, as he may think, I have aught
No. 4.
[August 28th, 1877. J
Editoe Colonist:—First, I must briefly notice' Captain Cooper's polite and
cleverly devised letter in The Colonist
of the 20th inst. Therein the Captain, in
true "Sir Oracle" fashion, declines discussing in ' 'a newspaper controversy" his
soidisant "unassaible" position as to the
fitDess of the western Haro Channel for
navigation by night, and in fog or storm
by the largest sailing ships or steamers;
Railway routes, and the comparative merits of harbors, as projected termini, being
the chief subjects of his letter to the Governor-General; this is what his assertions
therein must mean. They can have no
other plain meaning.
The words in the communication to
His Excellency, (re tbe Haro Channels,)
"through both of which, any sized ship
could pass" being without the slightest
qualification as to times or seasons, it
must be obvious to a gentleman ofCaptain
Cooper's well known acuteness that' he
cannot get off by the hackneyed expedient,
the stale strategy, of imputing obtuseness
to his controversial antagonist and implying that his own meaning has henoe
been misunderstood. In this matter the
good Captain's zeal seems to have outrun
his discretion.
The availability, for shipping, of any
inland channel, has to be judged of, not.
as it may be, under snmmer skies with
smooth seas, but, as it'oresents under the
worst conditions of "weather and darkness,
known to oceur in the locality; just as the
strength of a hawser or chain cable—cannot safely be reckoned as greater than is
the resisting power of its weakest part.
That Captain Cooper's assertions as to the
channel in question are quite untenable,
has in my last, been demonstrated as well
by reference, to the   highest   authorities in print, as by mention offacts, verifiable
by every shipmaster and pilot acquainted
with our inland waters from Clover Point
As to the good Captain's pleasantry
about my having a "nautical ally," I gladly avow having had not merely one, bnt
many such,—men of varied position, experience and nationality, with whom I
have often been conferring since in 1870-
71, the investigation, forming the subject
of these letters, was commenced. Such
of these worthy persons, as are still "to
the fore" and happen to be .here, concur
in the estimate of the Western Haro Channel presented in my last.
As the consideration of these is so intensely important,and as Captain Cooper's
position thereon is so thoroughly "unassailable"' a reproduction of his words in
large type seems warrantable.    "Sea ap:
From the valuable appendix V. of Mr.
Fleming's oft cited report p. 308 quotation is now made out of a document entitled "Statement by Captain John Dever-
eux respecting harbors in the Straits of
Georgia, and on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
Capt. Devereaux, long and favorably
known in Victoria, is the only master-
mariner resident in the Province, who, in
addition to a practical knowledge of this
coast acquired in command of coasting
steamers, has brought to bear on the
queetion of sea routes to the projected
western termini of the C. P. R. R. a most
useful insight, gained by years of service
as an officer in the ocean mail steamers of
the Old Country. Some of my nautical
allies have had experience in Her Majesty's navy, in command of coasting steamers and of ocean-going sailing ships as
well as of coasters and pilot boats.
"Burrard Inlet (Devereaux states) has a
safe and commodious anchorage two miles
inside the first narrows at Coal Harbor,
also another seven miles inside the second
narrows at Port Moody, twelve miles from
the entranceohut there is one great objection to either of these places, viz: both
the first and the second narrows respectively are but about about a cable-and a-
half wide, through which the tide runs
about nine knots an hour, creating whirls
and eddies and rendering it unsafe for
large steamers to enter or leave port at
night, or at certain stages of the tide,
leaving out altogether interruption by
fogs and thick weather, which occur more
frequently inside than out."
''Next is the outer harbor of Burrard Inlet, known   as  English Bay;   there, at a
place marked on the chart as Government
Reserve, is a good anchorage with every
facility for a breakwater, or even docks,
both wet and dry, andjby erecting a lighthouse on Passage Island, eiitrahce to
Howe Sounrt, one on East Point, one on
Turn Point and another on Discovery Island, the largest ships in the woild
might be conducted thither in safety; but
there are three months in tb.9 year, viz:
from part of August to the same time in
November, when this coast is subject to
dense fogs, rendering it unsafe, if not ut
terly impossible to navigate Haro Strait
and the Gulf of Georgia with large' steamers such as the Royal Mai), Cunard, and
Pacific Mail Company's ship-."
"This point will, I think, be conceded
by all who know anything about such
ships, and the straits in question where
the tide runs from i'out to six knots an
hour, with boiling rips and overfalls,
narrow channels and outlying reefs, deep
water, and no anchorage that could be
reached in such weather; and to stop a
steamer in such a plight would simply
mean to the mariner to lose his reckoning,
as he would be carried off by the tide and
not know whither to go. On the other
hand if the engines of a large ship were
kept going like those of the small steamers on this coast she would neither answer
to her helm nor turn astern quick enough
to avoid running ashore, as it frequently
happens the fogs are so dense here that
land cannot be seen one hundred yards
The eastern Haro or boundary channel
is the one referred to in the foregoing
qaotation from Captain Devereaux. Its
depth where ships must pass is from sixty
to on© hundred and eighty fathoms, and
its anchorages, difficult of approach in
thick weather, do not afford swinging
room enough for ships of from three to
four thousand tons burthen. Such as
these, and larger craft, will in "the good
time coming," be resorting to the terminal
harbor, if quite accessible at all seasons
from the oeean. If otherwise, their destination may be to American ports; for
commerce ever seeks the safest routes,
and those where delay need not be incurred from any bad weather short of
hurrioanes, or from other causes such as
waiting for tides, for daylight or for lifting of fog.
About eight hundred tons may be considered as the average size of lumber ships
now going to the Inlet. A few of from
twelve to sixteen hundred tons have been
In the eastern Haro Strait, between
Turnpoint, Stuart's Island, U.S.A., and
Cooper's Reef, B.N.A., ships would have
to pass within less than two miles of possibly hostile batteries. What has been or may be stated about
Burrard Inlet; and its approaches from
Royal Reiads cannot disparage the present
undisputed commercial importance of
that place as the site of two large sawmills.
These statements are- set forth simply in
view of the possible purposes for which
this inlet might be selected. They receive
the strongest confirmation from Staff
Cammander "Pender, R N., who in dm
pithy sentence thus summarises his
opinion in reply to Mr Fleming's last
and twenty-eighth question: "For reasons
. giwen (says Commander Pender, p. 300,
report cite\-i) in No. 27, Burrard Inlet is
in my opinion preferable to either of the.
plaees named (the other six mainland inlets inquired about by Mr Pleming, T.;)
it is also the most easy of access from the
ocean, but even hebe the ribs attending NAVIGATING WITH LARGE STEAMSHIPS
In his letter to the. Governor General
Captain Cooper forcibly dilates on the
manifold risks to be incurred "in a gale of
wind and thick weather" off Milbank
Sound, or thence to Kam'squot, head of
Dean's Canal, "by a steamer having on
board Her Majesty's mails and probably
several hundred passengers bound east"
"with scarcely an anchorage for the whole
distance thai, the commander of a valuable steamship would risk his ship to
swing in." "It is questionable (adds the
Captain) whether any insurance offices
would take the risk on such  navigation "
Outside Milbank Sound such a ship in
stormy weather might get to sea. Inside
her plight would be unsafe indeed. At
the best there would be serious and vexatious delay, causing passengers to chafe
and to declaim agaiDst such a dangerous
And now with a deep sense of their importance, and with due regard to Imperial
or in other words, general, inteiests, let
me ask Captain Cooper, ho w it would fare
with his large mail steamship in a S. E.
gale and thick weather, or, in one of our
long enduring and densest autumnal fogs,
suppesing her'course to be from Trial
Island, Haro Straits to Burrard Inlet.
Would not her risks be nearly as great in
the latter direction as in the former ? According to the quota, ion just made from
Commander Pender's evidence and to
merchant-seamen recently consulted by
me, they certainly would. Such a large
mail steamer as is mentioned, would necessarily be NAVIGATING AGAINST TIME.
Again, supposing our transcontinental
railway to terminate so far from the ocean
as at Burrard Inlet, how many   casualties
to ocean steamers or large sailing ships,
how toany alarms and narrow escapes,
how many even of annoying detentions
involving, no one could tell, how much
loss to the diverse large interests-at stake,
how many of slkjIj mii-baps could occur
on this line, without inevitably diverting
passenger and goods traffic, express business, correspondence, and everything else
■from East and West, to foreign railway
termini on or near the Fucan Straits ? It
is for the Captain to respond, or to adhere
to the Carlylean maxim that "Silence is
The prevalence of fogs on this coast in
autumn is in tbeir answers dwelt upon by
Admiral Richards and Stuff-Commander
Pender. It is also notice.!, I thiDk, by
CaptaiD Cator. In September, 1868,
coasting steamers were by fog for ten days
confined to Victoria harbor. In November, 1869, as nearly as I can ascertain,
several steamers were fog bound in Nanaimo harbor, and amongst others the "old
Beaver," in which Commander Pender.
R N., was then bringing to a close hit'
valuable labors on this coast. At this time
the commander of an ocean-goii:g American steamer, doubtless merre pressed for
time than the otheis ventured out first,
and wrecked his beat. This shipwieck was
omitted in the detail given in a former
letter of casualties on the route from Royal Roads to Nanaimo.
Whether British and Americans are
hereafter always to be friends is beyond
human ken. Often the unexpected happens in national, as well as in individual
affairs. The future being hidden, due
precaution in selecting the railway route
and terminus on strategical consideration
should be exercised by those having the
guidance of Imperial interests in this
quarter of the world. Americans and English have long been keen commercial rivals and are likely to continue so. Notwithstanding this, and the irritations it
usually engenders, they have lately, like
sensible kinsmen, become better friends.
On the Fucan Straits, almost opposite
Esquimalt. anel seventeen miles distant,is
the much prized American harbor, by
Vancouver named Ediz Hook, now better
known as Port Angeles, and jocu'arly
termed " Cherbourg." This port is, at
p. 188 of the U. S. Pilot (Washington
Territory) termed " an excellent and extensive harbor." At page 190, of the Pame
authority, is the statement that " coal of
fair quality is reported to have been
found within three miles of the harbor.
Port Angeles could by a railway of from
150 to 175 miles to Tenino, be joined to
the line going south from Tacoma to Kai aroa, Washington Territory, XLS. A. This
line, it is said, will ultimatelv be joined
in California to the Central Pacific Trans
continental line. Between Kalama and
Portland thecoDneotionis made by steamer on the Columbia and Walamet rivers,
bat from the latter town southward a railway route is in operation throughout the
length of tbe Walamet valley lo Rose
burg in the Umpqua valley, a distance of
about 170 miles.
Afewyeirs ago American capitalists
projected the North Pacific Railway to
connect with lines in the E tst. They explored extensively in Washington Territory, finding the most favorable opening
through the Gambade Mountains at Sno-
qualimi Pass; and their terminal point at
.Holmes' barbor. sixty miles southeasterly
of Port Angeles and facing em the eastern, or more inland shore of Whidby Island.
Lund at and around' this locality of
course rose greatly in value. For the
sake of reaching this harbor, it was then
proposed to bring the railway, by a long
circuit, north to opposite Fidalgo Island,
thither by bridge, thence south, and by
bridge across Deception Pass to Whidby
Island, and on to Holmes' harbor, which
was, by a short ship canal, to be connected with Admiralty Inlet, the straight, and
comparatively safe, southern furcation of
DeFuca Strait.
A point in some degree suitable might
perhaps have been found at Mukilteo, or
elsewhere on Possession Sound, in a westerly and more direct course from the Cascade mountain pass; and, on the mainland
shore, are Simiamo, Birch, and BeUingham Bays, all like Burrard Inlet (B. 0.)
separated from the Fucan Strait by the'
islands of the Haro Archipelago. From
the nearest to the Strait of these, BeUingham Bay, where, says the W.T. Pilot, the
anchorages are "from 4 to 20 fatho...s in
good sticky bottom," coal has in sailing
vessels been for years exported. The capitalists mentioned nevertheless seem to
have been resolved to get to the east
shore barbor, most accessible from the
Fucan Strait, and the costly operations
contemplated, in order to compass this
end, clearly indicate the paramount importance attached to it.
If it be of extreme consequence to Americans to have railways from the East
terminate on the seaboard at the points
most accessible from the Pacific Ocean,
must it not, in equal measure, be so, Mr.
Editor, for the widespread British people. The whole Empire is interested in
having the best selection made.
No. 5.
[October 13th, 1877.]
Editob Colonist: True it is as stated
in my last that the selection of the best
route for the Canadian Pacific Railway is
of vital import not only to the United
Kingdom and the Dominion but likewise
to all British interests, present and prospective, in Polynesia, Australasia and
Eastern Asia. It cannot be doubted
that "the high contracting parties" to the
original railway compact fully agreed
that the line should pass where it would
afford the most widespread advantage to
the varied interests of the several diviB '
ions of British North America, settled and
yet to be settled; and. on the Pacific seaboard, lead to the harbor in every respect
most eligible for commerce—aye and for
defence—but not for defiance, save to a
The recent newspaper advocates of Burrard Inlet as the terminus set much store
on its value as a hiding place, but even in
this respect being by land so easily assailable it could only be made to >ifford the
sort of safety the pursued ostrich has been
said to seek by concealing its head amid
the scant herbage of the desert.
In the just quarrels for which alone Britons now feel it a duty to fight, may the
day never arrive whentthey will hesitate
to "meet the enemy in the gate," yea, and
outside of it too, if they can have at hi in
on "the mountain wave" the scene of yore
of Britannia's greatest triumphs—triumphs, too, let the nations remember,
which early in this century so much tended to relieve a large portion of Europe
from apprehension of an abhorred foreign
. New Westminster editors, but without
a particle of proof thereof, continue to insist that the choice of the powers that be
has already, for route and terminus, fallen
on route) No. 2. Firmly persuaded that
according to Earl Carnarvon's despatches
to our Government, the question is still
open, I ask our New Westminster friends
to calmly consider the following quotations from Mr. Fleming's last report published some four months ago,and referred
to in my previous letters.
At page 65, Mr. F. says: "It is most
desirable that the railway should terminate on the coast at a harbor wbioh from
its general excellence and geographical position would be best calculated to accommodate the shipping of the Pacific and attract commerce from distant countries.
This question has an important bearing
on tbe choice of route." Then at page 66,
Mr. Fleming dwells on the importance of
selecting such a route and terminus for
tbe railway "as would beet attract ocean
traffic and wonld admit ef successf al competition   with foreign lines."   Again at
. page 71, he says: "An unbroken line of
railway from the easterh Provinces of the
Dominion to one of these harbors on the
outer coast of Vancouver Island would be
exceedingly desirable. All the difficulties of navigation to be encountered IN BEACHING THE MAINLAND FROM
(Emphasising mine ) It must also in
fairness be stated that in the same page
Mr. Fleming adds "thebridging from the
Mainland to Vancouver's would be unprecedented in magnitude and its costs
would indeed be enormous."
But as Mr. Fleming, at page 72, says:
"By extending the railway along the western side of Bute Inlet and thence across
to Frederick'Arm—a feasible scheme but
one exacting a heavy expenditure, ' 'Nod-
ales channel," a completely sheltered and
an easily navigated sheet of water is
reached. This channel is reported to be free
^from str'ong currents, slu xls, or other difficulties, and could be used by a railway ferry
at all seasons of the year."    (Italics mine.)
As to the proposed bridging being of
magnitude unprecedented—what wonders
in the .way of unprecedented achievements
engineering and other, has not the world
.within the last conturv witnessed, say
since 1777, when the sick and grief-worn
Earl of Chatham in a last bootless appeal
to his infatuated sovereign ere the news of
Saratoga had reached home, urged the
staying of fraricidal strife by an offer of
federal union, between England and her
American colonies.
Bridging can be dispensed with for
some years. The excellent ferry-line from
some point on Frederick Arm to the snug
harbor Otter Cove,Vancouver's,will serve
every purpose until, owing to the greatness of "through traffic" and the wants of
the millions 'yet to occupy our country
west of Ontario, through railway connection may be deemed essential.
The navigation of the Frederick Arm
and Nodales channels is by nautical men
considered as safe as that on the Thames
between Blackwall and Gravesend, or on
the Clyde between Broomielaw and Dun-
barton. At a convenient point fronting
on the south shore of the ferry channel,
Chameleon harbor, easy of access, offers
safe and good anchorage which on emergency might be of great avail. This good
- and conveniently placed harbor will yet
be the site of sawmill and other industries.
One more quotation. At page 74, Mr.
Fleming's remarks on the "Route via Bute
Inlet:" "If it be considered of paramount
importance to carry an unbroken line of
railway to one or more of the harbors on
the western coast' of Vancouver Island,
and there is a likelihood that this project
will, regardless of cost, hereafter be ser
iously entertained, then Route No. 6 becomes of the first importance and really
the only one open for selection."
When bridging is to be a necessity much
depends on how soon the mother country
and the Dominion learn to work heartily
and unselfishly together in fairly proportioned joint outlay, for,'amongst other
things the settlement of the vast and fertile though yet unpeopled wastes of the
great North-west, soon sarely to be to the
British Isles "the butchers'and bakers',
department" with "an Imperial cooperative store." These words are from
the very able pamphlet by Captain Co-
lomb, R.M.A., already quoted frominThe
Colonist and entitled "Imperial and Colonial Responsibilities in War."
Of course Colomb thinks the Imperial
government "should take prominent part
in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He speaks well of what
Canada has already done in the way of
defence, saying at page 16: "Considering
that an Englishman in Canada bears a far
greater military burden than an Englishman in the United Kingdom, surely in
common justice we would be bound to
sacrifice our whole naval power rather
than permit her being invested by blockade." At page 19, British Columbia is
mentioned as "the North Pacific gem, set
as it is with black diamonds," and of
great strategical value to the Empire,while
the neglect of Columbia's defence is condemned. At page 20, the Canadian Pacific Railroad is said to be "the short cut
from Britain to the infinite supply departments of Australia, Tasmania and New
There is much of deep interest to us all
in Colomb's pamphlet. It is circulating
in Victoria and should, by such as feel interested in federation of the Empire, be
earefully read and pondered over. This
Pan-Britannic unification, the dying desire of the great Chatham, the sentiment
for which united empire Americans a
century ago sacrificed home and kindred,
this noble aspiration is now becoming
more deeply felt, and ils realization more
longed for by English-speaking people at
home and abroad. It is for the United
Kingdom and the Dominion to take the
initiative. The Australian colonies will
soon join in and Colomb's most sensible
and pressing suggestions will be carried out
in their entirety while yet there is time.
Enlightened Americans of the United
States, well aware that they already have
enough of social and political problems to
work out. look with favor on this British
federation movement,knowiDgthatBritons
are their own co-workers in all that tends
to the upraising of humanity; and that 1
each of the great kindred Anglo-Saxon
nationalities learning, one from the other
what to imitate and what to avoid, may
thus "strive together in well doing,"
while having no othei contention. Eli-
hu Burritt, the well known learned and
philanthropic New Englander, has in the
Canadian Monthly for August last an article on the "Integration of the British Em-
p»e" that does him infinite credit. There
is more pith in this short essay than in
Sir Francis Hincks' recent lukewarm
dealing with the great subject in the same
periodical; or than in tomes of able and
well-meaning Goldwin Smith's theorising
about disintegration in  other monthlies.
Mr. Editor, I may in part of the foregoing have seemed to digress, but the digression, if a y, has been more seeming
than real. The Canadian Pacific Railway
by the best possible route from ocean to
ocean, and soon to be completed by "a
strong pull and a pull altogether," is indeed the first step and the sine qua non to
the much needed consolidation of the empire. 	
No. 0.
[November 5th, 1877.]
Editor Colonist:—Inasmuch as England, after all the good she has for some
three hundred years past been effecting
in North America, is likely through what
seems the "manifest destiny" of Imperial
Federation to be an abiding power on
this'continent, it has happily ensued, in
the Divine order of events, that on the
Pacific she owns the Northern, while her
first born and biggest daughter, the United States, possesses the southern shore of
that great inland sea, the Fucan Strait,
which presents more advantages to the
mariner than any other inlet on the Anglo-American Pacific Coast; aye, or from
the Magellan to the Bhering Strait.
The Fucan Strait, extolled above all
others on our coast by the naval authorities consulted by Chief Engineer Fleming, is excellently described by Captain
Devereux, p. p. 309-10 of Fleming's Report, 1877. Although from August to
November it is occasionally subject to
fog, "sometimes very dense over the entrance for days together," "these are not
nearly of such freqnent occurrence as on
the neighboring of California.where
they prevail almosff uninterruptedly during the summer, and as late as the middle
of October." Both the foregoing extracts
are from the Vancouver Island Pilot, p.
5. The United States Pilot for California, Oregon, and Washington, at p. 69,
mentions the sunset fogs on the San
Francisco bar and outside of it as of frequent eecurrence in summer. At p. 70
the same authority states that "during
heavy Southeaster the sea breaks upon
the San Francisco bar, clean across the
entrance, presenting a fearful sight." The
sound can be heard at the anchorage in
front of the city." At p. 183, referring to
the Fucan Strait.the Coast Pilot men!ions
that "in winter the S.E. winds draw di
rectly out, and create a very heavy cross
sea off the entrance, the great Southwest
swell meeting that rolling out. In such
ca'ses trading vessels try to gain Neah Bay
or San Juan Harbor and remain at anchor
until the wind changes." Both these harbors need breakwaters to make them
thoroughly effective for shelter; but that
for each country is a work of the future.
An immediate and pressing want on the
British side of the Strait is telegraphic
extension to Cape Beale lighthouse in order that sailing vessels, now occasionally
delayed outside by calm, fog, or foul
winel, may thence indicate their arrival
and need of a tug.
Owing to the fortunate irregularity of
soundings, and variety of bottom on the
ocean banks reaching for more than forty
miles outside Fuca Strait,powerful steamers can enter during dense fog, or during
a S. E. gale with its usual attendant,
thick weather.
This being in either case impossible off
San Franci-co bar, it is obvious that from
the nautical point of view ports on the
Fuca Strait are better suited for commerce
than any to the Southward. This strait
will yet be a great highway for British
and American trade, and the Empire must
Lave its chief North American port thereon , just as necessarily as that a London merchant prince must be established for business within hearing of Bowbells, and not
at Islington or Croydon.
The time occupied in land travel by
rail, and in ocean travel by steamer, can
approximately be calculated,'but the delay and risks caused by the intricacies of
inland navigation cannot be reckoned on.
In this quarter fog may last from half-
a-day to more than eight days, that being
a much longer period than is occupied in
crossing the continent by railway. In dry
seasons, fog is more enduring, being then
prolonged and intensified by the smoke of
extensive forest fires. The early rains, in
September, have this autumn prevented
such a combination of the "powers of
darkness." Fog is not unknown in British waters,and it must have been in avoidance of this and other dangers incident,
less or more, to all inland navigation that
at home the points of arrival and departure for ocean-going mail steamers have,
since the Atlantic was first steamed across,
been gradually shifting ocean-wards from
London, until, at length, the ultimates of
Cork and Falmouth have been reached. 11
Not long ago the large American steamer Alaska, bound'from Puget Sound to
Esquimalt for the British Columbia outgoing mail and passengers,was fog-bound
thirty hours in one and sixteen hours in
another United States pdrt; besides, as
the fog continued, having been navigating
slowly and with circumspection in her
course towards Esquimalt. Now, let us
First—That transcontinental railways in
operation terminate at Port Angeles,W.T,
and English Bay, B.C.. respectively.
Second—That each ef equal speed, and,
during fog, proceeding towards the termini just named, an American (A) and a
British mail steamer (B) at the same time
enter the Fucan Strait ami that while A is
lahding mails, passengers and specie at
Port Angeles, B—unable to proceed further' with safety in such weather—is sacking anchorage in   Esquimalt   Roadstead.
In such case, and from what has in previous letters been set forth, is it not an
obvious conclusion that, should our supposed fog—by no means a "vain imagination'"—last as long as the real one which
lately delayed the Alaska, passengers.etc.,
by the line from Port Anereles, would be
considerably more than a thousand miles
advanced on the journey eastward, 'ere
those bound for English Bay. Gulf of
Georgia, could set foot in a railway   car?
It has been well remarked by a late
American writer that "Commerce, as
every one must realize, who carefully
considers modern methods, depends upon
speed and regularity of communication,
hot merely in the movement of goods,
but far more in the carrying of mails. The
merchant who can get in his order, his
offer, or his remittance most promptly
gets the cream of the market."
This is perfectly true, and in view of
the varied commercial competition in all
likelihood yet to ensue on the Pacific be-
teen Britons and Americans, it ought now
to be keenly appreciated by all whose interests lie north of the United States
The Imperial and Dominion authorities
cannot, in the general interest, neglect to
avail to the utmost of every natural advantage our province possesses, and the
harbor and roadstead of Esquimalt on the
Fucan Strait are amongst the greatest of
Esquimalt roads (or on the chart Royal
Bay) is becomingmore and more resorted
to by ships seeking freight. Here they
can anchor free of pilotage or other
charge, and from Victoria, some five
miles off, telegraphic communication can
be had to the more important parts ot the
world, while within less than a hundred
miles are thelumbe?r ports of Puget Sound
and Burrard Inlet, en the continent, and
the coal depots of Nanaimo and Departure
Bay on Vancouver.
Great, indeed, will be the attraction to
Esquimalt and its roadstead after the
graving dock there is ready for the repair
of merchantmen, and when the largest
sailing ships afie at can at its coalbies be
expeditiously laden with the coal brought,
from the north by 'railroad. iVhen ships off
Cape Beale lighthouse can telegraph their
arrival to Victoria and, if , necesssry, be
towed in, the inducement for large ships
to take a coal cargo from Esquinult will
be much strengthened.
Merchantmen from San Francisco sail
to Royal Bay in from six to ten days.
Sailing up the Straits is so for the rule.
A wheat cargo can only in season be obtained in Oregon and California ports. It
takes considerable time to obtain and ship
a lumber cargo, but coal could, from
properly constructed bins in Esquimalt,
be poured in fore and aft so as to shorten
tbe trimming process and let large ships
off with a cargo in a very few days. The
advantages of this are obvious.
Now, with the probability of a' widespread war, in which England, and of
course her dependencies,can hardly escape
being involved, the coaling of Her Majesty's ships at' Esquimalt in the safest
and speediest manner possible must
surely be a consideration of pressing' import. So, likewise, must be the preparation of the graving dock for the promptest repairing of these ships during war.
In commerce, time judiciously saved is
always money gained. In war, time saved is often mdney saved, and that besides
which, to Britons tbe world over, is much
more precious. It is indeed fervently to
be desired that the solemn and not overcharged monitions of Colomb as to the
existing lack cf land defences in British
dependencies are 'having due attention
from our rulers at home. Time and tide
wait neither for man nor nation, and history abounds in proofs of the truism that
"opportunities lost can never be recalled."
ISTo. 7".
[December 14th, 1877.]
Editob Colonist :—As promised in the
sixth paragraph — headed "Sea Approaches"—of the third letter of this
series, brief comparison must now be
made between Esquimalt and Uchuk-
leist, Barclay Sound, recommended p.p.
298-9 of Fleming's report by Capt. Cator,
R.N., as the fittest point for our railway
terminus in the west. Thereanent no
better referee can be found than Admiral
Richards, in the Vancouver Island Pilot.
Except its two good, but by no means
extensive, anchorages, "Snug Basin" at I
the head and "Green Cove" at the entrance, the soundings in Uchuklesit vary
from twenty to forty fathoms. Depth of
water is an objection to the greater part
of Barclay Sound. Three miles long,
Uchuklesit is but half mile wide, and not
one and half miles, as stated by Capt.
Cator, F. R. p. 299.
In the V. I. P., p. 1S1, Richards, treating of the island ocean shore, north of
"Fuca Strait to Sydney Inlet," says "the
coast is fringed by numerous and hidden
dangers, especially near the entrance of
the Sound, and the exercise of great caution and vigilanoe will be necessary on
the part of the navigator to avoid them,
even with the present admiralty charts."
The nature of the bottom where there are
deep sea soundings is so uniform " as
(p. 182) not sufficiently to afford any
guide for ascertaining a vessel's exact
position on the coast."
As to Barclay Sound specially, Richards
(p. 184) says : " Off the entrance, and in
the southern part of the Sound, are innumerable rocks and islands with navigable channels between them," and (same
page) "the three navigable channels into
Barclay Sound all require great caution
in navigating."
The Provincial Government steamer
Sir James Douglas, owing to the uniformity of soundings as to depth and
character, has, as lighthouse tender, been
in fog compelled to anchor with a
kedge within a few hundred yards of Cape
Beale lighthouse, her officers being unable
to ascertain either the position of the
light or of the entrances to Barclay
Sound. See Devereux, p. 309, F. R.
on Uchuklesit and the west coast of Vancouver's generally north of Fuca Strait.
Obstructions in respect of sea approaches added to some sixteen miles of
intricate, and, iii bad weather, dangerous
inland navigation, relegate to their proper
level in the scale of fitness, the harbor in
question and Barclay Sound, irrespective
of their comparative inferiority, as regarded from the commercial and other
points of view.
A digression is here necessary, as an
editorial in the Mainland Guardian of
New Westminster (Dec. 5, 1877) without
shadow • of proof, stigmatises as "undoubtedly false" some unspecified statements in a pamphlet on the railway question recently published in London, and
with which I have hai to do. Most of
the statements in the pamphlet have been
at greater length reproduced in the foregoing letters, with ample reference to
authorities. The Guardian editor has it :
"He says the tides rush at the rate of ten
knots an   hour through   the  first  Nar
rows !" This is a quotation shamefully
garbled. At p. 8 of the pamphlet, par,
4, occurs the following : "For two hours
spring tides are said by experienced men
to average ten knots an hour through
the Narrows." This has been proved io
the following way : A master mariner,
commanding a boat capable oi running ten knots an hour in still,
smooth water, has. when under orders to>
proceed with all speed for the Inlet. beeD
for two hours steaming against the tile
in the first Narrows without gaining an
inch." This happened in January, when
and in June the strongest spring tides run.
At p. 110, V. I. P., Riohards states
"the strength of the tide in the narrowest
part of the first Narrows is from 4 to &
knots. Admiral Richards, let it be
noticed, does not here specify spring
Unless the tidal currents and eddies of
the first and second Narrows, as well as of
Burrard's Inlet, mid-ehannel, were the
ever-recurring obstacles to "navigation
against time," they are in this quarter of
the Dominion well understood to be, why
should Captain Cooper, at p. 307 of
Fleming's report, at the end of the 21st
paragraph of his already quoted letter
to His Excellency the Governor-General,
as a "means of reducing the current at
the entrance of the Inlet probably one-
half or two-thirds of its present velocity,"'
modestly have suggested the Cyclopean
and perhaps impossible undertaking of
"blocking up" the north arm of said
Inlet, and why should another gigantio
'work have been spoken of, to wit : The
dredging of the first Narrows. A third!
project that has been mentioned is the
construction of a breakwater in English
Bay, which, although, like the Inlet, difficult to approach froin Fuca Strait during
a fog or storm,, has been talked of as «
possible' site for the terminus. Spanish
bank (see chart) a prolongation' around
Point Grey of the Fraser sand heads,,
would, in the roadstead, be the only site
shallow enough for such a "costly e rec-
tion, if it afforded a sufficiently solid
foundation ; but oh two occasions a merchant steamer aground on the bank
through the action of her propeller displaced so much sand as to have been
afloat before the rise of the tide enabled
her to move over the rim of the basin
thus scooped out. Spanish bank may be
more solid elsewhere.
In continuance of the investigation,
from the first contemplated in these letters, Routes 2.and 6 must now be regarded otherwise than merely in respect of
the nautical,'commercial, strategical, and 13
geographical -MsabiliJies or advantages
inherent in each. Eifefeer line proceeding
eastward must reach Edmonton ob the
Noit^ Saskatchewan. From-tEdmontOB
westwareJijfB^as "the most eligibteJhjajo Pacific Coast,'"-jtbat line mvdk
if reason rules, be adopted,.i5-dlifch, in the
immediate :fjutt*jr*£[: in cegstji'juition of
existing settlements, will bdothe most
densely peopled, and that which on tjbef
^aainlan^Ffias, nqtfeand southr»6o^»: the
lfWgest extent of countrjtijj'swtftbX&for
colonization. Such a railway linfe Can-
yet by land anfttwater from vaarwus
points have connections greatly increasing ifewaysicje. ftad export traffic.
From Edmonton, via Leather Pass-to'
Fdrt George,Ahere is* Bot mSfirii'farming
land. Neither can much be ."found from
Edmonton by way of 'the No*ftte*d?bJbmp-
son to Kamloops or Savona, most of toe*
p:$pduotive. districts ois<th*B<ifiainland up
to N. Lat. 51 ° lying south, east, or west
these localities. Nor yet is there much
cultivable country from Savona along
Route No. 2 to Chilliwhack on the lower
At page 68 of the Geological Report of
Progress, 1875 and '76, occurs the following from the pen of the well-known Mr.
Selwyn, F.R.S., Director of the Geological Survey of Canada :—"Taking Edmonton, on the Saskatchewan, and Fort
George, on the Fraser, as the initial
points, it will, I believe, be found that by
Pine River Pass the line could not only
be carried almost the whole distance
through a magnificent agricultural and
pastoral country, but it would actually be
shorter than the Leather Pasaroute, and
it would probably not present any greater engineering difficultie* !" Mr. Selwyn
says much more on this most important
matter ; but the permissible limits of this
letter forbid further quotation. Let
Columbians and others feeling more than a
passing interest in the subject refer to
the report itself, and to all that in their
fevi-ral reports is stated by Professor
Macoun, Mr. G. M. Dawson, and others
about this vast north and west country in
respect of fitness for settlement, its
wealth of timber, its wealth of fisheries.,
and its promise' as to metals and minerals.
Commencing beyond the 51st paralel
of latitude, or say"51° 30, it constitutes
with the mainland west of the Cascade
mounJains, Vancouver's and the other
islands, about three-fourths of the area of
the province. It contains in greatest
abundance our three most important resources, namely, those of the mines, the
forests and the fisheries, and it will unquestionably always have the preponderance of population and wealth.
- Anonymous writers and others uphold-;
ing route and terminus No. 2 havstejaBji
in assuming the whole mainland to be as a
Bijifc-iOBithe railway line of theygchoice.
l&c'ij'easjfm'itiifest impj*obabilit[friii<sujjh,^
ffRppesifcion. The farmgtsaiand miners
p*Mh of La*. 51° 30 declp^ognfojijijl
No. 6laisd»es£;for their own and the gen-
eral interests, n
The adoption of the Edmonton-Fp^fe
George line suggested l$j Mr. Selwyn,
besides affexrSing wayside tr,aiBe:)tJ@o"agho
out would supply the most direfctfftti$i§ijf"
towarflsi the Fuca StraitiMebPacifie J@j5
the great couBfcsy of Peace River.
Even connected with Edmonton by the
other rente, F-Mjfc Geo-fgeo'fti'liL' be an im^
portant centre of fartoitfg and pasting
country as well as of water stretches
north, west and south, when. rendered
suitable for light draught steamers.
Improvement  of- the 8?raser for such
navigation,   perhaps from  Boston Bar to
above Fert  George, woifld" be a natural
sequeSfee of  the constrtfl&ibn of the railway via  Bute Inlet.    The CaUyon at Big-
Bar, two miles long, would perhaps best
be passed at first by a rail  or tramway.
Mr. G. B.  Wright has, after careful survey, reported elaborately to the Dominion
Government on the obstacles to  navigation and supposed cost of their removal.
Three hundred  and seventh miles of the
river, if not more, could be rendered trav-
elable for steamers whereby wayside and
export tiaffio  by the railway would be
greatly promoted.    Mr.   Wright states in
some valuable notes furnished me that a
great proportion of produce from a country bordering the Fraser could at or near
Fort George be taken from the deck of the-■■•
steamer to the railway  cars      He says
" extensive farming lands  near   Lillooet
would furnish their quota, and even the
productions   of   Bounaparte  and  Cache' •
Creek valleys would seek this cheap and
speedy method of transport to the sea,
while the mines of Cariboo and Omineca,
rendered profitable  by the influx of low-*'
priced food  and labor, would again yield -
their tribute as in former years."
Mr. Wright's own words are given, as--*
he knows the upper country as well as
most men. The crushing of quartz in
Cariboo, a new industry there, will, if
productive, vastly add to the importance-
of all that northern region. • Success at
Cariboo may lead io similar and success^
ful ventures at Omineca and Cassiar,-
which are also permanently habitable-,
should mining attractions suffice. Several parts of Cassiar abound in summer
grass, and that means a good deal.
A gentleman, acting as surveyor for the
Western Union Telegraph Company, some
ten years ago, and who had previously TT
been over most of the sbuthern mainland-
considers the lands extending north-west
of Westroad River, embracing an area of
about five miiMon acres, and including
most of the "lake country," at least as
good as any in the province for stock and
farming purposes. See, in their reports,
what Messrs. Selwyn, Macoun and G.M.
Dawson have set forth about this eottnftejP
as to its agricultural value, &c. On the
long valley of the Wastonqua, a tributary
of the Skeena, my informant foufe«Ugoose-
berries and strawberries as large as garden sorts, and in a few places the red currant similar to the cultr*"t***fed kind. The
haughs and braes of the Wastonqua, the
delight of cattle drovers to Cassiar, wave
in summer with luxuriant grasses and
vetohes, The stream flows sluggishly,
and could, it is said, at small outlay, be
rendered navigable for river steamers.
The lakes and streams of the north
country abound in excellent fish. Its
climate is suited for the growth of turnips, being moister in summer than that
to the southward.
*■'-.-;!.;: sqfitt'fscr biiiow .g<
The northern limit of fall wheat growing
in the Dominion has yet to be skilfully
tested from Norway House, if not further
east, to Fort Stager, N. Lat. 55° . 20, if
not beyond. There, in 1866-67, a bullock
wintered out, and was found in spring in
fair condition.
It is very gratifying to observe that
the value of our province as a whole is
becoming better and better appreciated
throughout the Dominion. Cordiality
should prevail between esigt and west,
and, above all, amongst ourselves. Victorians desire the real welfare of the
southern mainlanders. As an evidence of
what a careful observer and close reasoner,
Principal Dawson, of Montreal, thinks of
our province- as a whole, I ask you to
print as an appendix to these letters when
issued from The _<Oolonjst press in pam-
phletu form, the accompanying extract
fi#m Dr. Dawson's address (18th May,
1877) to the Natural History Society of
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v';S#Jfr;-■:-   [>ri*8- ^Oii^BaO-*}' 'APPENDIX.
— AT THE —
Annual Meeting of tlie Natural History Society of Montreal,
May 18, 1877.
"I have reserved to the last some remarks
connected with the subject of my own paper
on the Geology of the Intercolonial Railway,
and which subject I desire here to refer to in
somewhat broad and discursive manner, demanded I think by the present condition of
science and the industrial arts in this country.
I would in 'tbiB connection desire to elirect
*jmpr attention to the immense importance of
that great public work, and to the effects
Wgjch would flow from a further extension of
similar enterprise in the west. I can remember a time when the isolation of the Maritime
provinces from Canada proper was almost
absolute. There was a nearly impassable
wilderness between, and no steamers ,on the
waters, and the few whom business or adventure caused to travel from Halifax or St. John
to Quebec or Montreal, had to undertake a
costly and circuitous journey through the
United States, or to submit to almost interminable staging through a wilderness, or to the
delays of some sailing craft on the St.Lawrence.
In later times steamboats have supplied a less
tedious mode of communication, and now we
see placards informing us that the Intercolonial
carries passengers from Quebec to Halifax in
twenty-six hours. Butit has done more than
this. The traveller may now see the coal of
Nova Scotia travelling upward to Quebec, and
the fresh fish of the Atlantic coast abundantly
■supplied in our markets; while the agricultural
products of the interior travel seawards in
return. This is however but the begmning
of a great change. A delegation of coal
owners was in Ottawa endeavouring to attract
the attention of members of the Legislature to
the fact that Ontario might be cheaply supplied with coal from Nova Scotia in returnfor
her farm products. The representation led
to no immediate practical results, but it
foreshadows a great future change. Living
as we do on the borders of that great nation
without any name, except that of America,
which does not belong to it, and which builds
an almost impassable wall of commercial
restriction along its frontier, we cannot long
endure the one-sided exchange of commodities
which takes place at present so much to our
disadvantage.   The Nova Scotian cannot buy
flour and manufactured goods from a people
who refuse to take his coal and iron in exchange; and the Ontarian or Quebecker
cannot afford to have the commercial connection with the mother country severed in favour
of a nation wnich will not take the products
of our fields, our forests, our mines or our
granaries in exchange. "We shall have in
self-defence to cultivate our own internal
trade, and even if we must bring the products
of the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts across a
whole continent to meet each other, this will
be cheaper in the end than to sacrifice our
own interests and those of the empire to the
Chinese policy of our neighbours in the South.
The diversities of products in countries
depends much on differences in latitude, but
there are also diversities depending on longitude, and, fortunately our country possesses
these in no small degree. On our Atlantic
coast we have rich fisheries and minerals not
possessed by the interior regions. In these
last, through all the great regions extending
from Quebec to the Rocky Mountains, we have
vast breadths of fertile soil besides many of
the elements of mineral wealth, and varied
kinds of manufactures are growing up both
on the coast and inland. "What is to hinder
a direct exchange of commodities within our-
sefvesinstead of an infdrrect exchange under
the most serious disadvantages with the
United States. Further, such direct exchange
would increase our trade with Great Britain
and the West Indies, and bind together the
somewhat divergent sections of our own pop-
lation. The opening up of railway communication aejross the great western plain might do
for us what a similar process has done for
New York. But from a railway terminus on
the Pacific shore we could stretch our commercial relations over that great ocean, and
bring all the treasures of the Orient to enrich
our markets. Further in establishing communication with British Columbia, we are not
merely establishing a landing place on the
Pacific, though this would be an inestimable
advantage. British Columbia is the mining
point of view, one of the richest portions of
the earth's surface.   It is of more value acre 16
for acre than any portion of the Eastern States
or of Canada proper. In an appendix attached to a recent report on the Pacific railway,
Mr. G. M. Dawson has collected some details
as to the mineral wealth of this region. He
mentions gold-fields yielehng now more than
a million and a half dollars annually. In
eighteen years British Columbia with only
10,000 inhabitants has exported gold to the
amount of 40,000,000 of dollars; and it is no
exaggeration to say that with a larger population and better means of conveyance-Mbhis
yield might be increased twentyfold.
Coal exists on Vancouver's Island and the
neighboring mainland in inexhaustible
abundance, and of excellent quality, and represents the sole supplies of that mineral on
the Pacific coast of North America. British.,
Columbia might supply the whole Pacific
coast and a vast interior region, and might
produce many millions of tons annually.
Iron, silver and copper are known to exist
in productive quantities, and there is reason
to believe that mercury, lead, and platinum
might be added.
In short, British Columbia possesses all
that mineral wealth which has enriched Cah-.
fornia and the States adjoining it; and the
opening tip of communication between it and
other parts of the Dominion would be the
beginning of a series of events that would
build up great and wonderful-cities and populous seats of industry in a region now
scarcely inhAbitecband cut off from direct
intercourse'with the other provinces political-
ly connected with it.
What the Intercolonial has begun to do for
our relations with the Atlantic provinces, the
CanadajPacific must do for ourrrelations with
the Pacific province; and if I could present
before you in a prophetio picture all that
would follow from the establishment of such
a connection, and the trade of the great sea
and landjs beyond, which might flow through
our country, you as citizens of a commercial!
city, as well as in the capacity of votaries of
science and scientific art, would at once say
•g^ffej&J: . ■ .;: ,^ii-i;:-.i   -589J8i(||^i^f:
that at almost any sacrifice this great work
should be executed. The difficulties in the
way are undoubtedly great—so that this generation of Canadians should scarcely be called
upon to overcome them unaided, but they are
not insurmountable, and the mode of meeting
them is certainly at present the greatest public problem that our statesmen have to solve.
It is further undoubtedly the, duty of those
whose scientific studies show them the grandeur of this great question and the nature of
the practical results of its solution, to aid in
every way that they can the progress towards
an unobstructed highway through the territory
from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
If it is in our power thus to bring together
the resources of the whole breadth of the
Continent, we may hope to consolidate our
connection with the Mother Country by making ourselves indispensable to her interest^,
to relieve otSxselves from the galling commercial yoke laid upon us by our neighbors, to
provide homes and work for the surplus
population of our older provinces, to build
UTrthe wealth of great trailing centres, and to
render vast and naturally wealthy regions
productive of subsistence for millions of men.
When I look forward to the future of this
country and base my anticipations, not on the
merely human elements of to-day, but on the
geological treasures laid up in past ages, I see
the Dominion of Canada with a population as
great as that of the United States, aha^with
some of the greatest and wealthiest cities of
this continent in Nova. Scotia and British
Cmumbia. Geologists axe not merely prophets?;
of the past, they know something of the
future as well. It might perhaps be well if we
could inoculate our statesmen with a healthy
belief in the geological future of Canada, or
even with some faint idea of the billions of
dollars of accessible treasures that he beneath
thesoil of Nova Scotia and British ColumbuSr
We might then see them put forth some effort
to realize this El Dorado within the time of
those now living, rather than contentedly
allow it to wait the action of men wiser and
more energetic than ourselves."
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