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Biographical dictionary of well-known British Columbians : with a historical sketch Kerr, J. B. (John Blaine) 1890

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      Fbrmer Re$dent Fiffds
City's Charms Appeal
Ijderick Begg,  One-Time Member of Colonist
Editorial Staff, Back After Forty-Four Years'
Vle-Ai^     Absence in New York City
Admitting that he hacralmost for-1
gotten that Victoria was so beauti-|
ful, but  anxious to make  amends)
for his oversight, Roderick Begg, a
'(Emma, no-' MM Travis;, were
simultaneously admitted to the Supreme Court txf the United States,
and shortly afterwards joined forces
: former resident who left here forty- ^ the law firm 0j Begg, Begg &
four years ago to live in New York Begg> 220 Broadway, New York.
!city, called at The Colonist office -j^g^, iSj nc.wever, still another
I last evening to express his delight brother> Robert a. Begg, of New
jin the rediscovery of the city's Westminster, with whom Roderick
I charms. : Begg is now enjoying a quiet holiday
"I am so charmed with the place  in Victoria,
that   I  cannot3 understand why I      it  will  toe   of  interest  to  many
ever left it," he confessed. j Eastern  Canadians  in  Victoria  to
Mr. Begg's visit to The Colonist] know that a memorial, in the form
had a second motive: To renew as-1 of a large fountain, is being erected
sociations  established  through his | at the present time* at the old Begg
connection with the paper nearly
forty-five years ago, when he was
assistant city editor under the late
Charles Gibbons. Another contemporary on the editorial staff at tha*t
time was Oscar Bass, now deputy
attorney-general, whom he sought
out immediately on his arrival in
the city this week.
Prom   the   editorial   department,
Mr. Begg became advertising manager for The Colonist, and during
this  time  instituted  the   classified
directory and developed  it to the
point where it filled an entire page,,
quite an achievement in that time.
Later he became a member of the1
firm of Kerr & Begg, dealers' in!
books and stationery.    Their store
occupied the premises now occupied
by Joseph Rose, the jeweler.   The!
upstairs was rented to a Mr. O'Sul-j
livan, who established one of the!
first   commercial   schools   in   the'
province. |
Another important work which he!
was associated with before he leftj
for New York was his publication!
of what was known as "The Biog-:
raphical Dictionary of Well-Known'
British Columbians," which was re-'
garded as an indispensable part of
every library and big business house
at that time.
Every  ambitious  young man   at!
that  time regarded New York asj
the "green hill" of his ambitions,;
and thither Mr. Begg went.   In 1908
he and three brothers  (Alexander,
Ralph   and   Peter),   and  a sister
homestead at Orillia, Ontario, to
the memory of Mr. Begg's mother,
Mrs. Emily M. Begg, one of the sons,
the late Ralph Begg, having left a
bequest for this purpose in his*will.
Through their father, the late Alexander Begg, F.R.G.S., the family is
remotely connected with Robert
Burns, Scotland's poet, as John
Begg, a -lineal ancestor, was the
brother of Andrew Begg, miller of
Dunn, who married Burns' sister,
"Now that my memory is refreshed toy seeing it all again, I
remember in detail the wonderful
natural beauties of Victoria and its
surroundings. But the city itself
is greatly changed. When I left
here the population was only about
18,000, and the streets and buildings
were those of a small town still
near pioneer days. I see very great
changes, and much toeautification,
not only of the downtown district,
but in the opening up of fine residential suburbs, parks and highways," Mr. Begg volunteered.
As honorary secretary of New
York Canadian Club, the largest
Canadian club in the United States,
Mr. Begg is naturally much interested in the place which the Canadian club occupies in this country.   Biographical Dictionary  
By J. B. KERR. 
Vancouver, B.C. 
1890.  PREFACE.
The need of a work like the one here submitted to the
public is especially manifest in British Columbia. Until a few
years ago this province was cut off from the rest of the Dominion by what seemed an insuperable barrier, and communication
■was necessarily of a limited and unsatisfactory character. The
result was that to .the outside world, the history of the province
and of the men who were guiding its affairs was almost entirely unknown. Since the construction of the Canadian Pacific
Railway the condition of things in the Province has radically
altered. The population is rapidly increasing by immigration
from the East and the early settlers who underwent the storm
and stress of pioneer life and made the new condition of things
possible are rapidly passing away. If this book assists in preserving the names of some of these "old timers" it will not be
I desire to return thanks to those citizens of Victoria, Na-
naimo and New Westminster who rendered me valuable assistance
in collecting material for my historical sketch. Among the published books I made use of was "William's directory for 1882,
which contains a large amount of reliable information, carefully
compiled and arranged,  concerning early colonial history.
J. B. K.
In submitting the present volume to the public I make no
apology for the briefness and imperfection of the historical sketch of
the country with which the biographies are introduced. In a work
of this character it would be impossible to place before the reader
in exact and minute detail every gradation of the country's history
from its condition as a wilderness to its present state as an important and enlightened province. This task will remain for the
luminous and discriminating page of the gifted historian of the
future who will possess unstinted means for obtaining his material
and unlimited leisure for casting it.
There is none of the provinces of the Dominion, with the exception of Quebec, which offers such a large and interesting field to
the historian as does British Columbia. From the beginning of the
present century every change which has taken place in its condition
has been strongly marked, and each period possesses an interest of a
character separate and distinct from the others. In each, too, there
is abundant material for historical work. This material is, however,
yearly becoming less and may, if it is not collected without delay, be
in a great measure lost. With the death of every time-honored
agent of the Hudson's Bay Company, of course, valuable personal
recollections and experiences entirely disappear. It is to be hoped,
therefore, that while there is yet time some discerning writer who
can judiciously arrange and forcibly present his narrative may enter
this field and do for British Columbia what Mr. Parkham has done
for French Canada. As it is at present there is no work containing
a full and readable history of the country. Several volumes there
are in which vivid and interesting sketches are given of certain
periods but none presenting a satisfactory outline of the country's
growth. There is, indeed, one book published by a most voluminous
writer, named Hubert Howe Bancroft, which professes to be a history of British Columbia from the earliest period. It is, however,
such a muddled mass of misstatements and misrepresentations that
when one does, after much effort, break through the thick husk of m '
iFm?'    i
rhetorical bombast in which the alleged facts are hidden, he finds
the fruit utterly unsound. This writer, who is an American of
most pronounced anti-British proclivities, has certainly obtained access to public records and private memoranda of a most valuable nature
but the use, or rather mis-use, which he has made of his privileges
and opportunities has been such that his "authorities" will in the
majority of cases be found to be widely at variance with the statements with which he credits them. In addition to the untrust-
worthiness of his facts his book is written from that standpoint of
antagonism to British institutions which characterizes the half-
educated and bitterly-patriotic citizen of the American republic.
This gentleman has "written up" (the expression is used advisedly
being the only one applicable to his style of work) the whole
Pacific Coast of North America, and has presented the result of his
"long historical pilgrimage from Darien to Alaska" in forty odd
volumes. The arrangement of the whole work is so ingenious that
without repeated reference to all the others a reader is unable intelligently to peruse any one of these volumes, and he is constantly
experiencing the most remarkable transitions in time and space, of
the many efforts of the writer's genius, and when they are placed
side by side they fill a good sized book-case, it would be difficult to
choose the one to which, for intrinisic worthlessness the palm should
be awarded. If, however, there is one more than another which
combines the quality of dullness with the quality of mendacity it is
the volume on British Columbia. The facts it contains are indeed
scanty, but they are sufficient for Mr. Bancroft's purpose. To the
ordinary reader the book is an enigma. There is not even an attempt at chronological sequence in the arrangement of his facts.
The matter is thrown together at hap-hazard and to the ingenuity
of the reader is left the task of bringing some sort of order out of
the chaotic mass. There is, too, throughout the whole volume a
clearly defined impatience at treating of the subject at all, the
writer's democratic instincts evidently rebelling against the prostitution of his pen to such ignoble uses as that of recording the
events which have occurred in a British colony.
Among the number of books connected with British Columbia
which I have thought it necessary to read is one entitled the "Story
of Metlakathla" to which I shall make reference hereafter. The
author of this work, who is also an American,  quotes with evident INTRODUCTION.
relish one of the grossest misstatements of which Mr. Bancroft is
guilty, and I shall, therefore, go to the trouble of citing it in extenso
and then of giving the true version of the occurence. The following
is Mr. Bancroft's version: "During the summer of 1850 a case occurred at Fort Rupert, while yet John Sebastian (Hehncken) wore
ermine, which casts dark reproach, both upon the Hudson's Bay
Company and the officers of the Imperial Government, and which
tended in nowise to reconcile Blanchard to his anomalous position.
The ship England, on her way from the southern coast to Fort
Rupert for coals, stopped at Victoria for sailors, the vessel being
short of hands. The California gold excitement was everywhere
raging, and sailors willingly risked their lives to free themselves from
service. From one of the Company's vessels, then lying at Victoria,
three men deserted to the England, which then continued her way
to Eprt Rupert. Meanwhile notice was sent to Fort Rupert of the
deserters, who thereupon became frightened, left the England and took
to the woods, intending to join the vessel at another port. Indians
were sent in pursuit with orders from Blenkinsop, then acting for
the Company at Fort Rupert, to bring in the deserters dead or alive.
Four days afterwards the Indians returned and claimed the reward,
saying that they had killed them all. It was true. The sailors had
been shot down in the forest by savages set upon them by an officer
of the Hudson's Bay Company. Blenkinsop gave directions to
have buried the bodies of the murdered men where they lay, and let
the matter be hushed, but Muir insisted that they should be buried
at the Fort, and it was done. Very naturally the colliers were
furious. ********* About a month after the
murderous affair H. M. S. Daedalus, Captain Wellesley, arrived at
Victoria, when the Governor went on board and proceeded at once
to Fort Rupert. Now mark the course of justice pursued by the
officers of the Imperial Government. Instead of proceeding against
the instigators of the murder and arresting the'officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, as they should have done, they direct the full
force of their vengeance against the natives. Helmcken, the newly-
fledged magistrate, cognizant of the whole affair, and well knowing
who were the guilty persons, and what hand he himself had in it,
goes to the Newittee Camp, twelve miles distant, and loudly demands
the surrender of the murderers. The savages acknowledge the murder, but plead that they were only executing orders.     Truer to vm.
themselves and to the right than were the white men, they refused
to give up the perpetrators of the deed, but offered to give up the
property paid them by the white men for the commission of the
crime. This did not satisfy the European justice-dealers. Servants
of the Hudson's Bay Company had been slain by order of the officer,
of the Hudson's Bay Company. Some one must be punished; and
as they did not wish to hang themselves, they must find victims
among their instruments. As the magistrate was unable to accomplish their purpose, Wellesley sent a force, under Lieutenant
Burton, in three boats of the Daedalus, against the Newittees. Finding their camp deserted, Burton destroyed the village and made a
bonfire of all the property he could find. The following summer H.
M. S. Daphne, Captain Fanshawe, arrived. Meanwhile the Newittees had rebuilt their village, supposing the white men satisfied
with the injury already inflicted. One day, while holding a pot-
lach, and being at peace, as they believed, with the white men, the
Daphne's boats, under Lieutenant Lacy, crept into their harbor and
announced their arrival by a discharge of musketry. Men, women
and children were mercilessly cut down, persons innocent of any
thought of wrong against their murderers, and their village again
destroyed. Then the Daphne sailed away. Justice was satisfied;
and Blenkinsop and the rest of them went about their work as
Not only are the statements, as they are given above, untrue,
but they bear prima facce evidence of deliberate malice. To any one
at all conversant with the history of the Hudson's Bay Company in
this country, the absurdity of the charge here made against Mr.
Blenkinsop will be at once apparent. One of the first, or indeed the
first, principle of the company's policy was to impress upon the
natives a profound respect for the lives of its servants. It was upon
this that the whole vast commercial system was built, and any divergence from it would have brought speedy disaster and ruin upon
the corporation. Mr. Blenkinsop was a trusted servant of the company, in charge of a fort imperfectly garrisoned, and, that he should
at such a juncture, when his own life might have been imperilled by
any imprudence, have taken a step contrary and foreign to the well-
known policy of the company, and offered a reward to the savages
for the murder of his own servants, is supremely incredible. The
true facts in connection with the whole affair are as follows, and are INTRODUCTION.
easy of verification even at the present time:     During the summer
of 1850 Mr. Blenkinsop was placed in charge of Fort Rupert in the
absence of Capt. McNeil.     There were at the time about thirty individuals within the pickets,  all servants of the company,  and a
number of them miners, as a test of the coal seams at this place was
then being made.      In close proximity to the Fort was a villiage of
Indians with a population of some three thousand.     The news  of
the wonderful discovery of gold in California had been brought to
the fort and had created considerable commotion.     The miners of
course became excited and wanted to get away.     They  refused  to
continue at work and claimed,  as a ground for their conduct, that
they were supplied with unsuitable food, and that there had been on
the part of the company breaches of agreement committed.     They
refused, moreover, to submit to the discipline so necessary for the
protection of the Fort and its inhabitants from surrounding tribes.
The insubordination increased,  and coming to the knowledge of
Governor Blanchard he sent to Dr. Helmcken, the company's surgeon,  stationed at Rupert, an acting commission of Justice of the
Peace, and recommended him to appoint special constables.     The
men were called together, the proclamation was read, and volunteers
to act as  constables were asked for.     The men,  one and all, positively refused to serve.     They would all sink or swim in the same
boat, and they would not work for the company any longer.     It so
happened  that  Captain  Dodd,   of  the Hudson's Bay  Company's
steamer Beaver, who brought and gave to Dr. Helmcken his commission as Justice, made complaint as soon as it had been read, that
three of his men had deserted at Victoria in the barque England.
The England, after the desertion of the men from the Beaver, had
come to Fort Rupert for a cargo of coal destined for San Fiancisco,
and was there then.      Dr. Helmcken, in his capacity as Justice of
the Peace, went on board the England, but found that the men,
fearing capture, had left the ship as soon as the Beaver was sighted.
In a couple of days afterwards the Beaver left, and as the men
were no longer wanted, Dr. Helmcken told the Captain of the England to get his men on board as it was very dangerous for them to
be prowling about the woods unprotected.     One of the men only
returned to the ship; the other two refusing to do this.     This man
becoming suspicious that his arrest was intended left again on the
following day.     The England was a source of much trouble and
danger to the Fort at this time. The men and Indians got intoxicating liquor from her and this, together with the tales told by the
crew of the riches in California, maddened the miners beyond
measure with their imprisoned condition at Fort Rupert. The fort
became anything but secure, with drunken Indians without and enraged miners within. The men made no secret of the fact that they
would take the first opportunity which presented itself of leaving.
The England, having nearly completed her cargo, one day it was
found that all the miners had disappeared. Their whereabouts
could not be discovered. They were not on board the England, and
although the Captain and crew knew perfectly well where they were
hidden they would not tell. The desertion of the men was, of course
a great blow to the fort. By it the mining industry was brought
to an end. Owing to this and other desertions, too, the gates of the
fort were closed, and ingress and egress prevented. The Indians,
of course, were only too well acquainted with the state of things
within the fort, and as they were easily excited it became very
questionable whether they would not make an attack on the fort or
set it on fire. Mr. Blenkinsop and Dr. Helmcken had to keep
watch and ward, and on more than one occasion Indians climbed to
the top of the pickets and looked into the enclosure by way of
bravado. The Indians, however, finally promised that if they found
out where the deserters were they would let the officers at the fort
know. At this time the England was ready to leave. One day the
Indians brought word that three white men had been seen on an island not a great distance away. Knowing that these must be either
miners or seamen, Mr. Blenkinsop despatched a canoe of Indians,
with Old Whale, an Indian chief, in command. Whale was well
acquainted and friendly with the miners. If he brought the men
back safely he was to be rewarded. He returned empty, however,
the men having left the island. A day or two after rumors became
rife among the lodges that three men had been murdered by the
Newittees, a tribe living thirty miles from Fort Rupert. The fort
interpreter was sent to inquire into the truth or falsehood of the report and returned next day, having seen the deserting miners at
Sucharto, near Newittee, from whom he learned that the murdered
men were three sailors. The miners were waiting for the England
to carry them away, and the sailors had been hiding in other places
for a similar purpose.     The latter had been supplied with food by INTRODUCTION.
the England, but no arms given to them. The Rupert Indians offered at once to go and make war on the Newittees, to avenge the
murder, but their offer was declined. At this juncture Mr. Beard-
more returned from Victoria, and immediately volunteered to go in
search of the murdered men. The Newittees would not go with
him, but directed him to the spot. On his way there he sighted the
England at anchor off Sucharto, ready to take away the miners.
Mr. Beardmore found the bodies and reported the discovery to Dr.
Helmcken, who brought them to Fort Rupert. Here they were
buried in the fort garden with Christian rites. During this time
there was not a word of complaint against the officers at the fort,
or a suggestion that these men had been murdered on account of
rewards having been offered for their apprehension, but some one, as it
subsequently transpired, wrote to Governor Blanchard informing him
that rewards had been offered to the Indians to take and bring back
these men dead or alive. How such a report originated is uncertain, as the only reward offered, as has before been mentioned, was the
one to be given to Old Whale for every one of the deserters who was
returned safe and sound. It is, however, surmised that a young
man named Muir, who knew a little of Canadian French, was responsible for the report. In speaking to the Indians Mr. Blenkinsop was obliged to employ the aid of an interpreter, and in doing so
he spoke French, the interpreter's native tongue. The French term
for each man, which is, of course, par tete, struck on this young
man's ear, and he construed it, whether wilfully or not, to mean
"per head—dead or alive." This mistranslation at last got abroad
among the men and matters grew worse at the fort for a time.
They at length, however, found out the mistake and, as the England
had gone beyond reach, things finally settled down into a hum-drum
monotonous routine.
A month or so after the departure of the England H. M. S.
Daedalus arrived at Fort Rupert with Governor Blanchard on board.
When the Governor was placed in possession of the true facts of the
case it was decided that Dr. Helmcken should go and demand the
surrender of the murderers, in the usual manner. The doctor accordingly set off with an interpreter and half a dozen Indians for
Newittee. On entering the harbor he was met by four or five
hundred Indians, painted black, and armed with muskets, spears
axes, and other weapons,  and all making the usual hideous noise Xll.
which they employ to strike terror into their enemies. Dr.
Helmcken explained his mission to them from the canoe. The
chief answered him that they would not and could not give up the
murderers, but were willing to pay for the murdered men as many
blankets, furs and other articles as might reasonably be demanded,
this being their law and custom in such cases. Of course this was
declined, and they were told that they were bringing great misery
on themselves by not acceding to the demand of King George's
law. When Dr. Helmcken returned and made known to Governor
Blanchard and Captain Wellesley the decision of the Newittees
chiefs, it was decided to send boats and men to seize the murderers
or to punish the tribes. The boats arrived only to find a deserted
village. The crew partly destroyed the village and returned without
having seen a member of the tribe. Shortly after this the Daedalus
left Fort Rupert and, when near Cape Scott, she was fired at, and a
sailor slightly wounded. This may not, however, have been the.
work of the Newittees, but of some other Indians, who simply intended isaluting the ship. The year following H. M. S. Daphne
went up to punish the tribe, if they still refused to give up the murderers. On this occasion they were found in a new camp. They
peremptorily refused the demands of the captain and accordingly the
crew prepared to attack them. The Indians fired and wounded several of the sailors, who thereupon went at them. The Indians, however, fled to the thick woods in the rear, where they could not be
followed. Only two Indians were killed in this skirmish. The
village huts were then destroyed and the Daphne left. Governor
Blanchard now ordered rewards to be offered for the delivery of the
murderers. The Newittees by this time had quite enough, and fearing another attack they determined to make their peace by handing
over the malefactors. They made an attempt to seize these men,
but it was so clumsily done that in the scuffle a young chief was
killed and another wounded. So the murderers were shot and their
dead bodies brought to Mr. Blenkinsop at Fort Rupert, where they
were buried. It is believed however, that one of the murderers escaped, and to make up the full number a slave was substituted.
The reward offered by Governor Blanchard was asked for, but Mr.
Blenkinsop declined to pay it. He gave the Indians, who had a
right to the money, a letter to Governor Blanchard at Victoria.
Whether it was ever delivered is unknown.
While the Daedalus was at Fort Rupert, Governor Blanchard
held a court of inquiry, but after hearing the evidence he gave a
very enigmatical decision. The fact was that in his first despatches
to the Imperial Government, concerning the affair, which he had
sent before he left Victoria, were based on ex parte statements, and
when he came to enquire into the matter he found his error; an
error, however, which he did not choose to acknowledge in view of
the unfavorable light in which such an admission would undoubtedly
have placed him. He made no complaints whatever of the conduct
of Mr. Blenkinsop or Dr. Helmcken in the affair, and as Blanchard
was inimical to the Hudson's Bay Company, he certainly would not
have omitted to censure the officers of the company had there been
any reasonable grounds so to do.
Now between these two accounts of the same occurrence it is left
to the honest reader to judge which is the true one. It may be said
that Mr. Bancroft's account was obtained from Muir, the man who
is supposed to have written the letter which misled Governor
Blanchard, and who has since died of disease of the brain. Mr.
Bancroft made no attempt to verify the account, although there are
men still living who were present at Fort Rupert during the whole
trouble, and who could have set him right, not only on this, but
on other matters. I may also say that I have sifted the
matter thoroughly and give the facts as I found them. I would not
have troubled the reader with this exposure of Mr. Bancroft's
method of writing history, had I not, as I have said, found the account of this particular affair quoted elsewhere. The book, however,
is full of such misrepresentations and, it will be admitted that when a
writer allows his prejudices thus to warp his judgment and color his
entire narrative, he simply shows his unfitness to write history.
Another book which I feel compelled to mention, owing to the
fact that it has obtained in British Columbia a circulation far beyond
its deserts, is that entitled "A Story of Metlakathla," by Henry S.
Wellcome. This highly-colored romance is "dedicated to the cause
of Justice, Truth and Humanity," and, as it is nothing more or less
than a plea to the people of the United States for pecuniary assistance to a village of discontented Indians, the moral virtues which
are thus called upon to become its sponsors are presumably those
which have become so popular throughout the American Republic.
This book tells "a story of outrage upon, and cruelty to, a civilized XIV.
Indian community on the part of the Dominion of Canada," and
calls upon the people of the United States with its "government of
the people, by the people and for the people, to save this  stricken
community from desperation, and perhaps from bloodshed."    It contains, according to the author and the press of the Republic, materials for another Evangeline.      It is not. unlikely that in the hands
of some dexterous versifier it may be so employed, and yet after all
the labor of American genius has been expended upon it, the story
will still retain about the same modicum of truth 'as Mr. Parkman
has proved went to the manufacture of Mr. Longfellow's  pretty
poem.     The  history  of  Mr.  William Duncan's labor among the
Indian tribes about Fort Simpson is already fairly well-known, and
it would therefore be unnecessary for me to attempt, had I space to
do so, a narration of the seemingly impossible work which he undertook, the wonderful success he achieved, and the marvellous metamorphosis which he accomplished in the moral and social natures of
the natives who  came under his influence.     He was sent out to
British Columbia in the interest of the Church of England Missionary Society, and worked under their auspices for some twenty years,
during which time he succeeded not only in converting and educating a great number of the most abandoned savages, but of founding
an Indian village and establishing industries.      Many men of note
visited, at various times, his mission village, which had a population
of about one thousand persons, and all bore testimony to the wonderful results of  Mr.   Duncan's labors.     Mr. Duncan,  however,
impressed his people with such a profound regard and reverence for
himself, and rendered himself so necessary to the spiritual and material life of the mission, that when it was decided to withdraw him
and substitute another in his place, the natives rebelled and refused
to submit themselves to the directions of their new spiritual guide.
Mr. Duncan accordingly returned.     The society now seeing the advanced stage of civilization to which the people of Metlakathla had
attained, desired Mr. Duncan to conform his church more closely to
the Episcopal form of government, and instructed him accordingly.
He,  however,  refused to obey the commands of the organization
which had so long maintained him in this field, and his people of
course supported him in his difference with the society.    The society
then instructed the Bishop of Caledonia to take charge of the mis- §
sion in their interests.     This was done, and from this flowed all the INTRODUCTION.
trouble which  subsequently  occurred.      A   portion of  the  land
attached to the mission was given to the society by the government,
and a cry arose that this, was a fraudulent seizure of Indian lands,
although the Indians, it will be remembered, have no title to land in
British Columbia.    The Indians were told that they were being unjustly treated, and they took it so much to heart that when the
government surveyors went north to survey the land they were prevented by the natives, which necessitated sending a warship to the
spot.    Mr. Duncan then went to Washington to see if he could obtain from the United States Government a strip of land in Alaska
to which he could remove his people.     He was  successful in his
mission  and  his  people  and  he have been for some years living
under  the stars  and  stripes.     Mr.   Wellcome   obtained  all   the
material for his book from Mr. Duncan alone, and thus has only one
side of the story.      The whole matter, which might have been made
plain, and lost none of its effect, even from Mr. Wellcome's uncompromisingly    partisan    standpoint,   has   been   lengthened out to
nearly  500  pages.     The "filling in" consists of diatribes against
the governments of the Dominion and the Province, the Church
of England Missionary Society,  the bishops and ministers of the
church,  residents of Victoria who were not disposed to reverence
everything Mr. Duncan said and did, and all, in short, who took a
different view  of the matter from that taken  by  Mr. Duncan.
These choice passages are relieved by panegyrics on Mr. Duncan,
and by dissertations on law, morals, missionary work and the Indian
question.   The panacea prescribed for all the ills of the Metlakathlans
is to settle them in Alaska under the mild and beneficent rule of the
Washington Government.    It is amusing when one reads this to
think of the constant ill-treatment which the tribes in the United
States have suffered at the hands of that government's officials, of
the unconcealed villany with which they have been robbed of their
lands, of the outrages which for years they have had to submit to,
of the massacres which have repeatedly taken place, and the Indian
wars which have made the name of the United States a by-word for
their usage of the native races.      The Metlakahtlan trouble could
have been avoided by a little   compromise on the part of Mr.
Duncan and, after all, the society which had maintained him so long
was not asking very much at his hands in desiring him to use a few
church forms, which Mr. Duncan himself considered good in other XVI.
than Indian churches. The land question, over which such a stir
was made, and concerning which Mr. Wellcome whips himself into
such a fury of virtuous indignation, he did not understand. It is
nonsence to talk about an Indian title in British Columbia, at least
on the coast. The aborigines never dreamed of tilling the land or
of obtaining their food from it. The principal source from which
they derived their living was the rivers, lakes, inlets, and the ocean
itself. Animals and birds they also used, but the cultivation of the
earth was beyond their conception. These same sources are still
open to them, as they ever were, and the government sees that they
are protected in their rights.
The geography of the Province is, since the construction of the
transcontinental highway, fairly well known and it will be unnecessary here to do more than mention its chief features. British
Columbia has the general shape of a parallelogram, is seven hundred
and sixty eight miles long, five hundred miles broad, and contains a
superficial area of three hundred and fifty thousand square miles.
The Rocky Mountains, the great " backbone of the continent," form
the eastern boundary, separating it from the remainder of Canada,
and the Pacific Ocean bounds it on the west, save for a distance of
about 300 miles to the extreme north, where the Alaska possessions
of the United States interpose between it and the sea. Its southern
limit is the forty-ninth parallel, which forms the international
boundary line between the Province and the United States, and the
northern is the sixtieth parallel. The general surface of the
country is mountainous and broken, consisting of short mountain
ranges, detached groups of mountains, elevated plateaus and many
valleys of various extent. Running parallel with the Rocky
Mountains, and in many places scarcely distinguishable from them,
are masses of mountains, and along the coast lies a high range
usually indicated as a continuation of the Cascades, but, in fact, a
northern extension of the great Coast Range. Lying between these
two, and extending as far north as latitude 55.30 degrees, is an
irregular belt of elevated plateau. Beyond this the mountains, except those bordering the coast, decrease in height, and before the
limit of the Province is reached the land has a gentle slope towards
the Arctic Ocean, Peace river and other streams of the Arctic
watershed finding their sources there.    Such are the general features INTRODUCTION.
of the interior—high mountain ridges on the east and west, enclose
ing a high plateau, down the centre of which flows the Fraser river,
its general course being south until almost to the international line,
where it turns sharply to the west and enters the ocean. The other
great streams of the interior are Thompson river, entering the
Fraser from the east, and the Okanagan, Columbia, and Kootenay,.
the last two having very eccentric courses. The Columbia rises
almost in the extreme southeastern corner, sweeps northerly around
the upper end of the Selkirk Range, and then flow directly south
.between the Selkirk and Gold Mountains into the United States.
The Kootenay has its source in the same region as the Columbia,,
makes a long sweep to the south, crossing the bounday line, and,
returning again, discharges its waters into the Columbia. One
peculiarity of this region is that nearly every stream of consequence
has its origin in or passes through, one or more long, narrow lakes,
consisting in many places of simply a broadening of the river, and
at others a well defined lake of considerable area. Such are Shus-
wap Lake, whence flows the Thompson, and Lake Kamloops,
through which the same stream passes; also Upper and Lower
Columbia and Upper and Lower Arrow lakes along the course of
the Columbia, and Lakes Kootenay and Okanagan, features of the
streams thus christened. Lakes and water courses abound from
one end of the Province to the other, many of them navigable by
steamers of a light draught for great distances.
The coast line is the most wonderful in the world. The mountains border closely upon the sea, the shore being indented by a
multitude of bays and inlets and fringed by countless small islands,
between which run tortuous, but safe and navigable, channels.
Outside of these, and protecting these inland channels for nearly
the entire length of the coast, are a series of large islands, the
greatest and most southerly of which is the Island of Vancouver,
separated from the extreme northwestern portion of Washington.
Territory by the historical Straits of Juan de Fuca, through the
center of which runs the international line. It is oblong in shape,
extending northwesterly parallel with the mainland, from which it
is separated by the narrow and island-dotted channel of the Gulf of
Georgia, a distance of nearly 300 miles, and has a width varying
from thirty to fifty miles.   Its area of 12,000 square miles is heavily XV111.
timbered and generally mountainous, the highest peaks attaining an
altitude of from 6,000 to 9,000 feet.
As the immense yield of gold was, in the majority of instances,
the magnet which for years subsequent to the founding of the
colony of British Columbia attracted hither those who are now
regarded as the fathers of the country and as the majority of these
tried their fortunes at the mines for a greater or less period of time,
it will not be out of place to describe briefly the methods pursued
in working mining claims. The work of digging for gold was by no
means of an easy character but on the contrary required arduous
and persevering toil to be successful. All the processes of extracting the precious metal from the earth required water and with rare
exceptions quick-silver. The following interesting description is
from the pen of Commander R. C. Mayne, R. N. who in 1860 made
a tour of the California gold fields and who both before and after
that period visited the British Columbia mines. His book on that
period of the colony is the most interesting extant and for accuracy
and completeness of. detail is unrivalled.
The first task of the miner attracted to a new gold country or
district, by the report of its wealth, is " prospecting." For this
purpose every miner, however light his equipment may otherwise
be, carries with him a " pan " and a small quantity of quicksilver ;
the latter to be used only where the gold is very fine. Very little
experience enables a miner to detect that " colour" of the earth
which indicates the presence of the metallic sand in which gold is
found. Wherever, as he travels through the new country, he sees
this, he stops at once to wash a pan of dirt, and thus test its value.
Although many diggings are found away from the bank of a stream,
the river-sides are the places where gold is generally first looked for
and worked. In saying this, of course I except the gold in quartz,
of which I shall have to speak hereafter. The spots first searched
are generally those upon the bank of a river where the deposit consists of a thick, stiff mud or clay, with stones. In some cases this
is covered with sand, so that the surface has to be removed before
the I pay dust" is revealed. All these workings on river-banks are
called I bars," and are usually named after the prospector, or from
some incident connected with their discovery.
When the prospector comes to dirt which looks as if it would
pay, he unslings his pan from his  back,   and  proceeds  to  test  it. INTRODUCTION.
This he effects by filling his pan with the earth, then squatting on
the edge of the stream, he takes it by the rim, dipping it in the
water, and giving it a kind of rotary motion stirring and kneading
the contents occasionally until the whole is completely moistened.
The larger stones are then thrown out, the edge of the pan canted
upwards, and a continual flow of water made to pass through it
until, the lighter portion of its contents being washed away, nothing
but a few pebbles and specks of black metallic sand are left, among
which the gold, if there is any, will be found. The rotary movement, by which the heavier pebbles and bits of gold are kept in the
centre of the pan, and the lighter earth allowed to pass over its
edge, requires considerable practice, and an unskillful prospector
will perhaps pass by a place as not being worth working that an experienced hand will recognize as very rich. The specific gravity of
the black sand being nearly equal to that of the gold, while wet,
they cannot be at once separated, and the nuggets, if any, being
taken out, the pan is laid in the sun or by a fire to dry. When dry
the lighter particles of sand are blown away; or if the gold is very
fine it is amalgamated with quicksilver. The miners know by
practice how much gold in a pan will constitute a rich digging, and
1 hey usually express the value of the earth as "5," "10," or "15
cent dirt," meaning that each pan so washed will yield so much
in money. Panning, it may be remarked, never gives the full
value of the dirt, as may be imagined from the roughness of the
process. If the gold should be in flakes, a good deal is likely to be
lost in the process, as it will not then sink readily to the bottom of
the pan, and is more likely to be washed away with the sand. In
panning, as well as, indeed, in all the other primitive processes of
washing gold, the superior specific gravity of this metal over others,
except platinum, is the basis of operations; all depending upon
its  settling at the bottom of whatever vessel may chance to be
The " pan " is hardly ever used except for prospecting,  so that
the "rocker" or "cradle" may be described as the  most  primitive
appliance used in gold-washing.    In the  winter of   1859,  when I
first went up the Fraser, the rocker was the general machine—the
use of sluices not having then begun.    It was used in California as
early as 1848, being formed rudely of logs, or the trunk of a tree.
And yet, ungainly as they were, they commanded, before saw-mills
were established in the country, enormous prices. sav
The rocker, then, consists of a box 3J to 4 feet long, about 2
feet wide, and 1 \ deep. The top and one end of this box are open,
and at the lower end the sides slope gradually until they reach the
bottom. At its head is attached a closely jointed box with a sheet-
iron bottom, pierced with holes sufficiently large to allow pebbles to
pass through. This machine is provided with rockers like a child's
cradle, while within cleets are placed to arrest the gold in its passage.
One of the miners then, the cradle being placed by the water's edge,
feeds it with earth, while another rocks and supplies it with water.
The dirt to be washed is thrown into the upper iron box, and a continual stream of water being poured in, it is disintegrated, the gold
and pebbles passing down to the bottom, where the water is allowed
to carry the stones away, and the cleets arrest the precious metal.
When the gold is very fine. I have seen a piece of cloth laid
along the bottom box, covered with quicksilver to arrest the gold.
When a party of miners work with rockers, they divide the labour
of rocking, carrying water, if necessary, and digging equally among
themselves. The rocker is the only apparatus that can be at all
successfully worked single-handed; and rough as it appears and
really is, I have seen men make 30 to 50 dollars a day with it,
while far greater sums have been known to be realized by it. In
these remarks I have assumed that my readers generally are aware
that quicksilver arrests whatever gold passes over it, and, forming
an amalgam with it, retains it until it is retorted from it. In
washing gold, quicksilver has to be used always, except where the
mineral is found very large and coarse. Even the earth is generally made to pass over some quicksilver before it escapes altogether,
in order to preserve the finer particles. I may here mention that
in a "sluice" of ordinary size40 or 50 lbs. of quicksilver are used
daily ; in a rocker perhaps 8 or 10 lbs. Of course the same quicksilver can be used over and over again when the gold has been
retorted from it.
The first improvement on the " rocker" was by the use of a
machine called the " Long Tom." This, though common enough in
California, I never saw used in British Columbia. It consists of a
shallow trough, from 10 to 20 feet long, and 16 inches to 2 feet
wide. One end is slightly turned up, shod with iron, and perforated like the sieve of a rocker. The trough is placed at an
incline, sieve-end downwards.    A stream of water is turned into
the upper end of the Tom, and several hands supply it with earth,
which finds its way to the sieve, carrying along with it the gold,
which it washes or disintegrates in its passage. Immediately beneath the sieve a box is placed, in which are nailed cleets, or as
they are more generally termed " Riffles," which catch the gold as
in the rocker, When the gold is fine another box containing quicksilver is placed at the end of the riffle, to catch the gold which
passes it.
A man always attends at the end to clear away the "tailings,"
or earth discharged from the machine, and also to stir up the earth
in the Tom, and keep the sieve clear of stones, an iron rake being
used for the purpose. By the use of the " Long Tom," rather than
the cradle, a great saving is effected; the work being performed in
a much more thorough manner. It is estimated in California that
the Tom will wash ten times as much earth as a cradle, employing
the same number of hands.
The next important method is " sluicing." This is by far the
most commonly used both in British Columbia and California,
employing, I suppose, one-half the mining population of both
Sluicing is, moreover, an operation which can be carried on on
any scale, from two or three men upon a river bar, to a rich company washing away an entire hill by the "Hydraulic" process.
Whatever may be the scale of the operations, however, " sluicing |
is necessarily connected with a system of " flumes," or wooden
aqueducts of greater or less extent, either running along the back
of a river-bar, and supplying the sluices at it, or cobwebbing and
intersecting the whole country as in California. I have seen flumes
on the Shady Creek Canal there, conveying an enormous stream of
water across a deep ravine at the height of 100 to 200 feet.
| Sluice-boxes " are of various sizes, but generally from 2 to 3
feet long, by about the same width. These are fitted closely together at the ends, so as to form a continuous strongly-built trough
of the required length, from 15 or 20 to several thousand feet, their
make and strength depending entirely upon the work they have to
do. I will here describe sluicing upon a moderate scale, as I found
it in practice at Hill's Bar upon the Fraser during my visit there
in 1858. XX11.
This bar was taken up in claims early in 1858, its size being
then about 1| mile, although it has since been much extended, the
richness of the soil proving, I believe, greater as it is ascended. In
this place, then, a flume was put up, carrying t he water from a
stream which descended the mountain at its southern end along the
whole length of the bar, and behind those claims which were being
worked. From this flume each miner led a sluice down towards
the river; his sluice being placed at such an angle that the water
would run through it with sufficient force to carry the earth, but
not, of course, the gold with it. Its strength, indeed, is so regulated as to allow time for the riffles and quicksilver to catch the
gold as it passes. The supply of water from the flume to each
sluice is regulated by a gate in the side of the flume, which is raised
for so much per inch. The price paid for water of course varies
greatly with the cost of timber, engineering difficulties of making
the flume, etc. It is ordinarily established by the miners, who meet
and agree to pay any individual or company who may undertake
the work a certain rateable rental for the water. Their construction, indeed, is one of the most profitable of colonial speculations.
The flume I am now speaking of cost 7000 or 8000 dollars, and each
miner paid a dollar an inch for water daily. Since that time it has
become much cheaper, and the usual price is about 25 cents an
inch, the width of the gate being 1 foot. The sluice-boxes here
were very slight, about inch-plank, as the dirt which had to pass
through them was not large. In the bottom of each box was a
grating, made of strips of plank nailed crosswise to each other, but
not attached to the box like the riffles. In the interstices of these
gratings quicksilver is spread to catch the fine gold, the coarse
being caught by the grating itself. The sluice is placed on tressels
or legs, so as to raise it to the height convenient for shovelling the
earth in; the water is then let on, and several men feed the sluice
with earth from either side, while one or two with iron rakes stir it
up or pull out any large stones which might break the grating.
Such is the working of ordinary sluices; but sluicing is also inseparable from the grandest of all mining operations—viz., " Hydraulic Mining." Hydraulic mining, as I witnessed it at Timbuctoo
in California, is certainly a marvellous operation. A hill of moderate size, 200 to 300 feet high, may often be found to contain gold
throughout its formation, but too thinly to repay cradle-washing, or INTRODUCTION.
even hand-sluicing, and not lying in  any  veins  or  streaks  which
could be worked by tunnelling or ground-sluicing.
A series of sluice-boxes are therefore constructed and put together, as described above; but in this case, instead of being of
light timber, they are made of the stoutest board that can possibly
be got, backed by cross-pieces, &c, so as to be of sufficient strength
to allow the passage of any amount of earth and stones forced
through them by a flood of water. The boxes are also made shorter
and wider, being generally about 14 inches long by 3 to 4 feet wide
—the bottoms, instead of the gratings spoken of above, being lined
with wooden blocks like wood-pavement, for resisting the friction
of the debris passing over it, the interstices being filled with quicksilver to catch the fine gold. The sluice, thus prepared, is firmly
placed in a slanting position near the foot of the hill intended to be
To shovel a mass of several million tons of earth into these
sluices would prove a tedious and profitless operation. In its stead
therefore, hydraulic mining is called into play, by which the labour
of many men is performed by water, and the hill worn down to the
base by its agency. The operation consists of simply throwing an
immense stream of water upon the side of the hill with hose and pipe
as a fire engine plays upon a burning building. The water is h d
through gutta percha or canvas hoses, 4 to 6 inches in diameter,
and is thrown from a considerable height above the scene of operations. It is consequently hurled with such force as to eat into the
hill-side as if it were sugar. At the spot where I saw this working
in operation to the greatest advantage they were using four horses,
which they estimated as equal to the power of a hundred men with
pick and shovel. There is more knowledge and skill required in
this work than would at first sight be supposed necessary. The
purpose of the man who directs the hose is to undermine the surface
as well as wash away the face of the hill. He therefore directs the
water at a likely spot until indications of a | cave-in " become apparent. Notice being given, the neighborhood is deserted. The
earth far above cracks, and down comes all the face of the precipice-
with the noise of an avalanche. By this means a hill several hundred feet higher than the water could reach may easily be washed
away. \f
The greatest difficulty connected with hydraulic work is to get a
sufficient fall for the water—a considerable pressure being, of course
necessary. At Timbuctoo, for instance, a large river flowed close
by, but its waters at that point were quite useless from being too
low; the consequence was, that a flume had to be led several milec,
from a part of the river higher up, so as to gain the force required.
Supplying water for this and similar mining purposes has, therefore,
proved a very successful speculation in California. I am not able
to give the exact length of the longest flumes constructed there, but
I know that it has in some cases been foun'd necessary to bring
water from the Sierra Nevada, and to tap streams that have their
rise there. Tt is not at all uncommon to bring it from a distance of
50 miles, and in some cases it has been conveyed as far again.
The expense of this is, of course, enormous, and it is in the
ready supply of water at various levels, that the work of mining in
British Columbia will be found so much more easy than in California. So scarce is it there, indeed, that it sometimes has been found
cheaper to pack the earth on mules and carry it to the river-side
than to bring the water to the gold-fields.
The difficulty of obtaining water in the early days of gold-
digging in California gave rise to a very curious method of extracting the mineral, which, I believe, was only practised by the Mexicans. Two men would collect a heap of earth from some place
containing grain-gold, and pound it as fine as possible. It was then
placed in a large cloth, like a sheet, and winnowed—the breeze
carrying away the dust, while the heavier gold fell back into the
cloth.    Bellows were sometimes used for this purpose also.
While upon this subject, I will take the opportunity of describing the most common appliance for raising water from a river for
the use of a sluice on its bank. The machinery used is known as
the I flutter-wheel," and the traveller in a mining country will see
them erected in every conceivable manner and place. It is the
same in principle and very similar in appearance to our common
I undershot-wheel," consisting of a large wheel 20 to 30 feet in
diameter, turned by the force of the current. The paddles are
fitted with buckets made to fill themselves with water as they pass
under the wheel, which they empty as they turn over into a .trough
placed convenient for the purpose and leading to the sluice.    In a INTRODUCTION.
river with  a  rapid  current,  like the Fraser, they can be made to
supply almost any quantity of water.
There is a kind of intermediate process between that which I
have just described and tunnelling or " koyote-ing," partaking in a
measure of both. This is called | ground-sluicing," and is quite
distinct from " sluicing." The reader will better understand this
process if I speak of " koyote-ing," and " ground-sluicing " together,
the latter having become a substitute for the former.
As the miners in California began to gain experience in gold-
seeking, they found that at a certain distance beneath the surface
of the earth a layer of rock existed, on which the gold, by its superior specific gravity, had gradually settled. Experience soon
taught the miner to discard the upper earth, which was comparatively valueless, and to seek for gold in the cracks or " pockets " of
this bed-rock, or in the layer of earth or clay covering it. The
depth of this rock is very various; sometimes it crops out at
the surface, while at other times it is found 150 to 200 feet down.
Where it is very deep, recourse must be had to regular shaft-sinking
and tunnelling, as in a coal or copper mine; but when the rock is
only 20 or 30 feet beneath the surface, tunnelling on a very small
scale, known as " koyote-ing," from its fancied resemblance to the
burrowing of the small wild-dog common to British Columbia and
California, is adopted. These little tunnels are made to save the
expense of shovelling off the 20 or 30 feet of earth that cover the
I pay dirt" on the bed-rock, and their extraordinary number gives
a very strange appearance to those parts of the country which have
been thoroughly "koyote-ed." I have seen a hill completely honeycombed with these burrows, carried through and through it, and
interlacing in every possible direction. So rich is their formation, however, that after they have been deserted by the
koyote-ers they are still found worth working. I remember looking
at one in the Yuba county in California which appeared so completely riddled that the pressure of a child's foot would have brought
it down. Upon my expressing my conviction that anyhow that
seemed worked out, a miner standing by at once corrected me.
I Worked out, sir 1" he said—" not a bit of it! If you come in
six months, you'll not see any hill there at all, sir. A company are
going to bring the water to play upon it in a few days."     " Will it XXVI.
W  ■
pay well, do you suppose ?"    "All pays about here, sir," was the
quick reply ; " they'll take a hundred dollars each a-day."
The Koyote tunnels are only made sufficiently high for the
workman to sit upright in them. They are generally carried
through somewhat stiffish clay, and are propped and supported with
wooden posts, but, as may be imagined in the case of such small
apertures extending for so great a length as some of them do, they
are very unsafe. Not unfrequently they "cave in" without the
slightest warning. Sometimes, too, the earth settles down upon the
bed-rock so slowly and silently, that the poor victims are buried
alive unknown to their companions without.
The danger of this work and its inefficiency for extracting the
gold, much of which was lost in these dark holes, gave rise, as the
agency of water became more appreciated, to " ground-sluicing."
This consists in directing a heavy stream of water upon the bank
which is to be removed, and, with the aid of pick and shovel, washing the natural surface away and bringing the " pay-streak" next the '
bed-rock into view.
Before proceeding to the subject of quartz-crushing, it will be
well perhaps to give the reader some further idea of the great extent of those mining operations which, begun by a few adventurers,
have become a regularly organized system, carried on by wealthy
and powerful companies. As a striking monument of their courage
and the extent of their resources, I would instance the fact of their
having diverted large rivers from their channels so as to lay their
beds dry for mining purposes. This has been done at nearly every
bend or shallow in the numerous streams of California, and will
doubtless be imitated in Columbia ere long. The largest of these
operations that I ever saw was near Auburn, a large town in Placer
county, on the American river.
Sometimes the water can be brought in a strongly-built flume
from above, and carried by a long box over the old bed of the river;
at other times a regular canal has to be made and dams constructed
upon a very large scale. The result is that the bed of the river is
laid dry, when its every crevice and pocket is carefully searched for
the gold which the water has generally brought down from the
bases of the hills and the bars higher up the stream. These operations are frequently  so extensive as to occupy several successive INTRODUCTION.
seasons before the whole is worked, and to employ hundreds of
laborers besides the individuals composing the company, who usually in such an enterprise number fifty or sixty. Sometimes the
premature approach of the rainy season, and consequent freshets,
carry away the whole of the works in a night. These works occasionally yield immense returns, and it is not unfrequently found,
on renewing them after the rainy season, that fresh deposits of gold
have taken place, almost equal in value to the first. On the other
hand, no amount of judgment can select with any degree of certainty a favourable spot for "jamming" or turning a river, and,
after months of hard labour, the bed when laid bare may prove
entirely destitute of gold deposits. The long space of still water
below a series of rapids will sometimes be found in one spot to contain pounds of gold, while in another the workers who have selected
that portion of the river above the rapids will find themselves in the
paying place.
All gold operations, indeed, depend very much upon chance for
success. No one can ever calculate with any degree of certainty on
the run of the " lode " underground, or in the | pay streak " near
the surface. Thus it is ever a lottery. As an instance of this on a
large scale, I remember when I was at Grass Valley, " Nevada
county," going to see the working at the " Black Bridge" tunnel
there. The first shaft for this tunnel was sunk five years before
my visit, and up to that time nothing had been taken, though it
had been constantly worked and was nearly 20,000 feet long. It
was commenced in 1855 by a company, who sunk a shaft nearly
250 feet, to strike, as they hoped and expected, a lode from the opposite side of the valley. The original company consisted of five
men, and in the course of the five years some of them gave up and
others joined, part of them working at other digging to get money
for provisions, tools, &c„ to keep their firm going. At length, just
before my visit, all the original projectors, and about three sets of
others who had joined at different periods, gave the enterprise up
as hopeless after carrying it, as I have said, nearly four miles. A
new company then took possession of it and summoned the miners
of the valley to a consultation. The meeting decided that they had
not gone deep enough, and the shaft was accordingly sunk 50 feet
lower, when the gold was at once struck. I tried to ascertain what
had been expended upon this tunnel, but it had passed  through  so xx vm.
many hands that it was impossible even, to estimate it. The gentleman who showed me over it, and who was an Englishman and the
principal man of Grass Valley (Mr. Attwood), said it would cost
the new company 12,000 or 14,000 dollars before they took
out anything that would repay them. The recklessness with which
money is risked and the apparent unconcern with which a man
loses a large fortune, and the millionaire of to-day becomes a hired
labourer to-morrow, is one of the most striking characteristics of
the American in these Western states. It is owing in a great
degree to the mere accident which gold-working is. The effect of
this upon society is of course most injurious. The poor miner, hobbling along the street of San Francisco or Sacramento trying to
borrow—for their are no beggars in California,—money enough to
take him back to the mines from which ague or rheumatism have
driven him a few months before, knows that a lucky hit may enable
him in a very short time to take the place of the gentleman who
passes by him in his carriage, and whose capital is very probably,
floating about in schemes, the failure of which will as rapidly reduce
him to the streets, or send him back again to the mines as a
labourer. The spirit, too, with which these changes of fortune are
borne is wonderful. I travelled once in California with a man who
was on his way to the mines to commence work as a labourer for
the third time. He told me his story readily : it was simple enough.
He had twice made what he thought would enrich him for life, and
twice it had gone in unlucky speculations. An Englishman under
these circumstances would probably have been greatly depressed :
not so my fellow-travellor. He talked away through the journey
cheerfully; describing the country as we passed through it, speaking
of the past without anything like regret, and calmly hopeful for
Sib James Douglas Frontispiece.
Barnard, F. J  66
Bate Mark  74
Beaven, Hon. Robert  96
Begbie, Sir Matthew Baillie  28
Bole, Judge  106
Brighouse, S  112
Clute, J. S  126
Corbould, G. E  130
Cornwall, Hon. C. F  56
Cunningham, Robert  134
Cunningham, Thomas  140
Davie, Hon. Theo  160
Dickinson, Robert  168
Douglas, Benjamin  144
Dunsmuir, Hon. Robert  152
Earle, Thomas  156
Edmonds, H. V  162
English, M. M  170
Ewen, Alex  176
Fisher, I. B  182
Grant, John  188
Helmcken, Hon. J. S  194
Hendry, John   ;  202
Horne, J. W  208
Innis, J. H  214
Irving, John  220
Laidlaw, J. A  228 w
Macaulay,  W. J  234
Marvin, E. B  240
McBride, Arthur H  244
McTnnis, Hon. T. R  250
Nelson, Hon. Hugh  36
Oppenheimer David  258
Pooley, Hon. Charles E  264
Prior, E. G  270
Robson, Hon. John ;.. 42
Scoullar, E. S  276
Shakespeare, N  282
Townsend, W. B  290
Turner, Hon. J. H  48
Vernon, Hon. F. G  60
Weiler, John  300 -<3u
jf.   •   ji<>.  HISTORICAL SKETCH.
Half a century ago that portion of the British possessions in
North America, now known in its relation to the Canadian Confederation as the Province of British Columbia, was a wild and
trackless region peopled by fierce and hostile savages whose barbarous empire was only broken here and there at distant intervals in
the boundless forest by a few scattered trading posts, which the resistless energy of the Anglo-Saxon had succeeded in establishing and
maintaining for the purpose of commerce with the natives. To the
civilized world the country was as if she did not exist. Her harbors and streams, her mountains and valleys were unvisited save by
the hunter; and the hardy mariner, who ventured into her waters,
was in continual dread of the perils which might await him and
against which he could not provide in an unexplored and unknown
To-day her shores are dotted with populous cities and thriving
towns, and her waters are covered with a thousand sails bringing
the products of distant lands in exchange for those of her virginal
soil. The fame of her inexhaustible wealth and her salubrious
climate has attracted to her the enterprising and ambitious spirits
of two continents, while from the advantages of her situation,
commercially and politically, she has become a matter of Imperial
Her history during these fifty years is one of especial interest,
not alone on account of the many and seemingly antagonistic forces
which have co-operated in her settlement and development, but also
for the happy conditions which, established during the early portion
of this period, made the colonization of the country by the civilized
races and all the beneficial results following in its train, a matter of
easy and frictionless accomplishment.
It has been remarked that England, more, than any other nation,
has ever exercised humanity in her dealing with primitive races who
(2) HISTORICAL sketch.
m nil
were being dispossessed of their lands. It is beyond question that no
other Empire has been able to accomplish so many bloodless victories in extending her territories and her civilizing influences, and
it is doubtful if within the catalogue of Britain's colonial possessions
there is a parallel to the quiet and effectual redemption from savagery
of British Columbia. Indeed, from the time that the white man, in
the capacity of a simple trader, obtained a permanent foothold in
the country to the present, when all danger of any uprising has forever passed away, there has never been any serious or combined
effort on the part of the primitive tribes to eject him. Not only
this, but it may without exaggeration be said that throughout the
entire period of early occupation attempts at outrage, or even acts
of injustice or dishonest dealing on the part of the natives were of
rare occurrence; and this at a time, when, but a handful, separated
by hundreds of miles, possessing scanty facilities of communication,
and with but little means of defense against a vigorous or sustained
attack, the early settlers might easily have been exterminated.
By one familiar with the history of the subjugation of the southern portion of this continent,—a history replete with fraud and
rapine and murder, the usual concomitants of avarice and lust and
ambition—an explanation of the happy condition of things which
obtained here is naturally looked for. The explanation lies in the
character of the early occupants, and the attitude which from the
beginning of their intercourse they assumed towards the natives.
They were indeed a wonderful class of men, those early fur
traders, and viewed by the light of the present day seem almost to
have been specially designed by Providence to pave the way for the
introduction into this country of Christian civilization. By their
unflinching courage, inflexible honesty, and resolute forbearance in
their daily intercourse with the native, they quickly won his respect
and confidence and established with him relations of truth and justice. These sentiments, early planted and industriously cherished,
have ever since continued to flourish and to bear fruit. It is to
this policy of humanity and justice that, while we have seen during
the last twenty years other lands, and especially the neighboring
Republic, disturbed by massacres and outrages on the part of their
Indian populations, and by wars in which thousands of valuable
lives have been sacrificed, there has been nothing but peace and
harmony in our own country. NEW CALEDONIA. 3
In my sketch of the country's history I shall therefore go back
to a period anterior to colonial rule, and briefly review the progress
of events from the time the agents of the Hudson's Bay Company
first crossed the mountains in search of new hunting grounds to the
time that the discovery of gold made it advisable for the.Imperial
Government to raise the Mainland to the dignity of a colony] and
I shall first speak of New Caledonia, by which appellation the Mainland was then known, as it was here that the company's agents
first established themselves.
NEW CALEDONIA, 1800 to 1843.
It was towards the close of the last century and late in its own
history that the Hudson's Bay Company, eager to precede rival organizations in the field, pushed its outposts from the valley of the
Saskatchewan across the Rocky Mountains. The Peace River
Pass had been previously traversed by that famous explorer Alexander Mackenzie, when he made his then perilous trip to the Pacific
ocean in 1792-3, and it was by the same route that the agents of
the Hudson's Bay Company first penetrated into British Columbia.
The country's rugged and mountainous character, diversified by delightful valleys, and the similarity of its climate reminded these adventurous wanderers, the majority of whom where of Scotch birth,
of their native land, and they bestowed on the region the name of
New Caledonia—a name which it continued to bear for over half a
century. The fur traders, however, did not waste much time on
sentimental considerations of the country's picturesqueness and
beauty. Their minds were engrossed by thoughts of business, and
they found immediate employment in making themselves secure
against the dangers which everywhere threatened them. "When
this had been accomplished their next task was the initiation of the
natives into the mysteries of traffic.
As New Caledonia was simply a game preserve, leased to the
Hudson's Bay Company, and as the private transactions of that
company have in themselves nothing of historical value, this sketch
will necessarily be limited to a brief description of the fort life of
the traders, the relations which existed between them and the
natives, and the permanent results which accrued from the good understanding which they established. historical sketch.
It did not come within the scope of their design to attempt the
elevation of the mental or moral character of the Indian population,
except in so far as it tended to the betterment of the fur trade. The
servants of the company knew by experience that the less the
aboriginal races were brought into contact with civilizing influences
and the longer they were permitted to retain their primitive habits
and natural instincts, the better hunters they were likely to be.
The fur trader, therefore, having an eye simply to his own profit
wisely abstained from any attempt to introduce the arts of civilized
On entering a new region the first task which lay before the adventurers was the construction of a fort within which they intrenched themselves, and where was stored the year's supply of goods,
which was to be employed in the purchase of furs. The location of
a trading post was always a matter of deep consideration. It was
necessary, of course, that between it and headquarters the means of
communication and the facilities for the transmission of supplies
should be reasonably good. As the water system of the country
was very largely utilized in travel, the trading posts were usually
situated on some navigable river or lake, which communicated with
other bodies of water, and afforded the speediest and safest means
known of reaching the seaboard. The site of a fort, usually a cleared
space of over one hundred yards square, was enclosed by stout
wooden pickets from ten to fifteen inches in diameter sunk in. the
ground and rising about twenty feet above it. At corners diagonally
opposite, and raised above the tops of the palisades, two wooden
bastions were so placed as to command the surrounding country. In
each of these bastions several large guns, ranging between six and
twelve-pounders, were mounted. Within the palisades were built
the store houses, work shops and quarters of the company's servants,
and as a rule so arranged as to form an inner square. Here it was
within these narrow limits that the trader confined himself and
passed weary days which often crept into weeks of unchanging
monotony. Here he experienced his triumphs and reverses
through his routine of daily labor, made his bargains
dians and learnt the great lesson of endurance. His only relief consisted in occasional trips from one post to another, or perhaps an
expedition to an as yet unvisited part of the country. In the estimation of the savages the forts were the storehouses of priceless
treasures, where they could exchange their furs for all that was
most desirable, and they soon came to regard the erection of a trading post within convenient distance as a boon conferred upon them
by the white man—a boon the white man was only too willing to
confer, if business justified it.
Many years elapsed after trade was opened with the natives of
British Columbia before the Hudson's Bay Company was able to
place its business in this country on a perfect systematic footing.
But as its operations extended, and its establishments grew in number, the country was divided into departments, each department
possessing its compliments of forts, and each having a chief post to
which subordinate forts sent the result of each season's business.
These departmental capitals in turn transmitted the furs to headquarters, situated subsequent to 1810 on the Columbia River. From
here they were sent overland to Lachine for shipment to London.
The system of government to which the company's servants were
subject was a most reasonable and perfect one. All who aspired to
command had first to serve, and a long term of apprenticeship was
required before every promotion. The highest officers had passed
through every grade and knew thoroughly every detail of the business. The entire country was subject to the command of one man,
who occupied the position of chief factor, and who was directly
amenable to the jurisdiction of the Governor, resident in Canada.
Next in dignity to the chief factor was the chief trader, who was
usually in charge of some important fort. The ehief clerk ranked
third, and was either entrusted with the management of a minor
fort, or sent on expeditions through the country. Inferior to the
chief clerks were the subordinate and apprenticed clerks, who were
learning the business, and who were prospective traders and factors.
There were also a great many mechanics and laborers in the company's employ, none of whom, however, were eligible to fill the higher offices in the gift of the corporation.
Their fort life and training was largely answerable for the mental
and moral character of the early Hudson's Bay traders. The majority of young men who entered the service were possessed of good
natural abilities and bodily health and strength, and in the discharge of their duties to the company these gifts were strengthened
and developed to the utmost.    From the time a youth entered the Era
6 historical sketch.
service as an apprenticed clerk he was under the most rigid discipline, and taught that self-reliance, honesty and assiduity in the
company's business were the highest of moral qualities, and those in
the practice of which his material welfare was most likely to be advanced. His existence amid the solitude of the mountains and the
forest was calculated to impress him with the fact of his own individual weakness and the dangers to which he was continually exposed, and to avoid which he had ever to be on the alert, developed
within him the principles of thoughtfulness and resolution.-
As it was necessary for the company's business that absolute
truth should be the basis of all dealings with the savages, the trader
early came to guard his words with caution, and never say what he
did not mean, nor promise what he did not intend to fulfill. It was
part of his duty carefully to study the Indian character, and this
study was of incalculable benefit to him in his. future career. The
natives he found were possessed of no small amount of shrewdness,
quick to see through subterfuges, and suspicious and resentful when
once wronged or deceived. He speedily perceived also that moral
courage was, in the estimation of the savages, regarded equally with
physical fearlessness as necessary to the character of a leader. Acting on the knowledge thus gained the trader in his dealings with
the Indians was truthful and just, and gained at once their respest
and confidence. At the same time, however, that the company's agents
sedulously cultivated the friendship and good will of the natives,
they closely inquired into the relations of the various tribes, noted
their rivalries and jealousies, and kept alive all those differences
which were calculated to prevent a good understanding among them.
By this means all possibility of a general union of the tribes was
prevented, and among the warring and jealous elements the agents
of the company held the balance of power.
On this basis of justice, toleration and tact, it was that the power of the Hudson's Bay Company was built up in British Columbia,
and the considerate observer will admit that the fruits pf the system have amply proven the wisdom of its adoption.
Until 1821 the Hudson's Bay Company did not possess an undisputed monopoly of the fur trade on the Pacific slope. The comparatively young Northwest Company had for many years been
cutting into the business of the older organization, and the keen
competition which had resulted had not only reduced the profits of NEW CALEDONIA.
the trade, but had in some respects demoralized it. In the Red
River district, to the east of the Rocky Mountains, this rivalry had
terminated in bloodshed, and while it did not in New Caledonia
reaeh this extreme point, there was enough reckless bidding by the
agents of both companies to alarm a sensitive Montreal or London
In 1821, however, the two companies were consolidated under
the name of the Hudson's Bay Company, and in the same year the
united company was given a twenty-one year's monopoly of trade in
the territory stretching from the Columbia River to the Russian
boundary of Alaska. Astoria, situated at the mouth of the Columbia, which had been established in 1810 by John Jacob Astor, be
came the headquarters of the company on the Pacific coast.
Besides Astoria there were two permanent establishments on the
coast, and about fifteen in the interior. The majority of the company's forts were at this time situated in what are now know as the
Omineca and Cariboo districts, with Fort St. James, on Stuart Lake,
as their central point. At this post Chief Factor Ogden, then in
charge of this district, made his headquarters. Eighty miles in a
north easterly direction was Fort McLeod, on Lake McLeod, where
Chief Trader Tod ruled, and sixty miles, in a south easterly direction, was Fort George, on the Fraser River. A number of minor
posts also sent their furs to Fort St. James. Farther down the
River Fraser, the next post of importance was Fort Alexandria, situated about one hundred miles from Fort George. To the south
east of this, on the Kamloops River, was Fort Kamloops, the capital of what was known as the Thompson River district. Near the
mouth of the Fraser was Fort Langley, and away up on the north
coast was Fort Simpson. All of these posts, and their subordinate
establishments, yielded large annual returns. Besides the business
done by the permanent forts, migratory expeditions were yearly dispatched to districts in which no permanent establishments as yet
existed, and along the coast the company's steamers, Beaver and
Cadboro, every year did a large trade.
With the consummation of the union the Hudson's Bay Company
became absolute rulers over an extent of territory greater by one-third
than that of Europe and exercised supreme civil and criminal jurisdiction over the greater portion of this enormous region. Their system of
communication was complete and extended in an unbroken chain from 8
the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. A consideration of these facts
will give the reader an idea of the energy and enterprise of this
ambitious corporation and the perfect system it necessarily employed in the successful management of so great a possession.
After the union of the two companies, operations were continued with
renewed confidence, on a more extensive scale and with a success
that surprised the most sanguine anticipations of the directors.
The year 1824 marked an epoch in the affairs of the company
west of the Rocky Mountains, and also in the history of British
Columbia, as it was in that year John McLoughlin came from the
east to take charge and brought with him James Douglas, then a young
man of nineteen years, who was to play such an important part in
the subsequent history of the country. McLoughlin had been
chosen to fill the position of chief factor on the Pacific coast, on
account of his superior knowledge of the Indian character and his
keen business instincts coupled with a large spirit of enterprise.
He had until the consolidation of the two companies been in the service
of the Northwest Company and had been stationed at Fort William
on Lake Superior, where Douglas, then in the same service, was employed as one of his clerks. McLoughlin became attached to his
youthful subordinate and not only induced him to remain in the
company's service after the union had been consummated but took
him along with him when he was transferred to New Caledonia.
McLoughlin came to his new field of labor possessing the fullest
confidence of his company and with power to make whatever changes
suggested themselves to him as wise. His first action, after a
careful survey of the country, was the removal of headquarters from
Astoria to a site farther up the Columbia river near the mouth of the
Willamette. To his new foundation he gave the name of Fort Vancouver, which continued to be the central depot for the Pacific District until 1849. McLoughlin as far as possible encouraged the
cultivation of the land in the immediate neighborhood of forts and
the result was before many years agriculture began to assume importance. Not only were the company's own establishments thus
kept in supplies but at no distant date large quantities of grain and
dairy produce were disposed of at profitable rates to the Russians
resident in Alaska. Douglas crossed the mountains in company
with James Connolly and wintered in Fort St. James where the
following year he took command.    For several seasons he was kept NEW CALEDONIA.
at outposts and sent on expeditions by which means he was enabled
to gain a knowledge of the country, its inhabitants and their
language, and being a close observer and a ready student, he not
only mastered the dialects of the natives but obtained such an accurate knowledge of the domain as stood him in good stead throughout his subsequent career. During this time he established several
forts and among them Fort Connolly on Bear Lake. He was then
summoned to headquarters where he became second in command.
In this vast domain, then, the Hudson's Bay Company continued
to build forts, explore trails, cultivate their farms, drive an extensive trade in furs and in every way enrich the pockets and swell the
importance of those who were fortunate enough to possess stock in
this commercial corporation. Everything favored and furthered
their aims. Men fitted by temperament and intelligence, had the
management of the company's affairs in the country, the native races
had been won over not only to peace but in most cases to ardent
friendship and as yet the idea of colonizing the country had not
suggested itself to the civilized races. Three ships owned by the
company made annual trips from England to the chief fort with supplies which were distributed twice every year.
From the date of the consolidation of the two companies until
the year 1839 there was no disturbing element from the outer world
to question the traders' perfect possession. Mutterings there had
been in the TJnited States and much babble of the Republic's ownership by right of purchase as far north as parallel of latitude 54° 40"
but as it only ended in bluster the traders paid little heed to it.
In the year 1839, however, appeared the first signs of what was
eventually to destroy the monopoly and practically terminate the
fur trading business of the company on the Pacific coast. The immigrant found his way to Oregon and began to settle on its fertile
lands. The earliest of these enemies of the fur trade were in most
cases destitute and starving, and the company's agents, although
they saw the danger of further invasion were compelled by their
sense of humanity to give food and assistance to these destitute
wanderers. The assistance thus supplied, as was to be expected,
only aggravated the evil and thereafter the tide of immigration continued to increase. The London managers were made acquainted
with this condition of affairs and also with the fact that substantial
sympathy had been extended to the suffering settler.    They did not, 10
however, look at the matter in the light in which it presented itself to
their agents on the Pacific coast. As they were not familiar with
the causes which impelled the immigrant to Oregon and had not the
advantage of a personal acquaintance with the extreme destitution
which appealed to the humanity of the traders they were inclined
to blame the chief of the department on the Pacific for encouraging,
when he should not even have permitted settlement on their hunting
preserves. Their suspicions were aroused against McLoughlin and
from this time they continued to watch with a jealous eye his attitude towards the immigrant. McLoughlin was unaware of the
offense he had given and being of a kindly disposition continued his
good offices to the unfortunates and thus laid himself yet more under
the displeasure of his superiors. These suspicions of the managers
were, however, kept dark while McLoughlin's services seemed indispensable and so during six years the pioneer settlers had the benefit
of his advice and assistance.
If, however, the southern border of its Empire was thus being
threatened the company was enlarging its northern domain. In
1839 a strip of the Alaskan coast was leased at a yearly rental of
$2,000 and in the following spring formal possession was taken by
Douglas who placed a man in charge at Fort Stikeen which had been
a Russian post. He then held a conference with the Russian
Governor, Etholin, during which certain matters of trade were
arranged. He also decided to build another post on the newly acquired territory and Fort Taco on the Taco river came into existence. The following three years were not marked by any event
of importance save the assassination, in 1841, of John McLoughlin,
Jr., at Fort Stikeen. The returns from the different departments
during this period were in excess of those of any previous period
and if the company were not occupied in making history it was because they found it more to their interest to confine themselves
strictly to the barter in furs. VANCOUVER ISLAND TO 1858.
Down to this time no settlement nor any attempt at permanent
settlement had been made on Vancouver Island and its existence
even seems to have excited no interest in the minds of the adventurous men who had covered the mainland with their forts. A combination of circumstances now, however, conspired to render it desirable for occupation. The rush of agricultural settlers from the East
to Oregon and the doubt which existed as to where the dividing line
between the United States and British territory would fall made
the site of the headquarters on the Columbia river in every respect
one of questionable advantage. It was more than desirable—it was
necessary that the company's chief station should be situated on
Britisb soil and as far as possible removed from civilized settlements.
These and many minor reasons pressed on the minds of the company's
chief agents the need of at least having in readiness a well established place of business to which they could remove their headquarters
at short notice. The erection of a fort on the seaboard was accordingly, after mature consideration, decided upon, and as the selection
of the site required prudence and judgment and a large knowledge of
the bays and harbors of the country Douglas was deputed to take the
matter in hand. After carefully balancing the advantages of a number of different points he chose that on which the city of Victoria now
stands. In his selection he was influenced by the good harborage
afforded and the ease and quickness with which it could be reached
from most of the posts on the mainland as well as by the quality of
the soil in the immediate neighborhood and by its timber.
The history of Vancouver Island previous to this time is a record
of a few fights in its waters between European vessels for the right
to possession and of a few conferences between inferior plenipotentiaries with the same object in view interlarded by a number of
massacres of each party by the native inhabitants. The discovery
of the Island was the result of a search for that chimera of the
mariner of   the  16th and   17th centuries—a north west passage 12
between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In this vain quest the
shores of the Pacific were eagerly explored and the Spaniards, then the
foremost adventurers in the New World, dispatched many expeditions northward. Boisterous seas and the cold climate, however,
retarded discovery and the hostile attitude of the native tribes
damped the enthusiasm of the sailors. The first European who is
recorded to have visited these waters was a Greek pilot named
Apostolos Valerianos, known to his fellow sailors as Juan de Fuca.
He discovered the straits which now bear his name and sailed some
distance up them. He was confident that he had found the long
sought for channel but was unable to push his investigations owing
to his capture shortly after by an English freebooter and the consequent loss of all he possessed. Some years subsequent the story of his
discovery became current and was by many believed to be true but
little or no effort was made to verify it until the voyage of Captain
Cook in 1778, almost two centuries later. Captain Cook was unable to find the channel as indicated by Fuca and unhesitatingly
pronounced the tale a fiction. Some ten years later, however, an
English naval captain named Meares re-discovered the straits and
sailed up them about thirty miles.
Shortly after this date a number of Spanish vessels anchored at
Nootka Sound and the country (they did not then know it was an island)
was taken possession of in the name of the King of Spain. With
all the arrogance which has ever characterized the procedure of that
Power on this continent, absolute ownership as far north as the 60th
degree of latitude was laid claim to and in enforcing this claim frequent outrages were committed on English vessels visiting these
parts. The matter was brought to the attention of both governments and nearly precipitated a war. This calamity, however, was
averted by the timely humility of Spain who promised to make restitution of the vessels and goods seized and indemnify the owners
for losses. What is known as the Nootka Convention was held in
1790 in which England and Spain came to an understanding regarding the territory north of California, and to adjudge the amount of
indemnification due by Spain Captain Vancouver, of the English
navy and Bodega Y. Quadra a Spanish officer were sent hither by
their respective governments. In addition to this official business
Vancouver had instructions to explore the coast and report to the
home authorities.    In doing so he discovered the insular character VANCOUVER ISLAND.
of the country, having sailed around it. The island thus discovered
was given the name Quadra and Vancouver Island and so appears
on many of the early maps. The Spaniards not long after this
abandoned their post at Nootka and gradually withdrew from this
part of the coast. With the settlement of this dispute all interest
in the Island seems to have died out and until the time that James
Douglas decided on building Fort Victoria or Camosun as the post
was first named, the primitive inhabitants had remained in undisturbed possession,
At the same time that a fort on the southern part of Vancouver
Island had been resolved on, it was also decided to abandon the
posts Taco and McLoughlin and to transfer their men and supplies
and whatever else they possessed of value to the new establishment.
In consequence of this Douglas had only fifteen men with him when
he arrived from Fort Vancouver in March 1843 to commence building operations at Camosun. This number, however, was increased
to fifty by the addition of those from the northern stations. The
work was now pushed forward with rapidity under the supervision
of Douglas. The tribe of Indians native to the locality, the Songhies,
expressed their satisfaction at the establisment of a fort on their
territory and offered their assistance, and surrounding tribes were
attracted to the spot by the novelty of the proceeding. With the
exception of a -few attempts at pilfering which in most cases were
defeated no trouble was given by the natives. Their good behavior
was probably owing, however, in a large measure to the fact that
the workmen were armed to the teeth and kept guard night and day
to prevent any hostile manifestations. After seven months of unflagging labor Douglas declared the new fort in a defensible state
and prepared to take his departure. He appointed Charles Ross to
the command of the fort with Roderick Finlayson as his assistant
and giving general directions for their guidance returned to Fort
Thus Victoria rose into being forty-seven years ago as a palisaded
fort of one hundred yards square enclosing eight log houses and
garrisoned by two dozen men. Douglas' parting exhortation to his
lieutenants to be zealous and thrifty and accomplish the largest possible results with the smallest possible means was acted upon to the
letter. The men in charge regarded their management of the fort
as a crucial test of their ability and were determined that their work 14
should be such as would not admit of failure. As soon as it was
possible to do so the work of clearing land for agricultural purposes
was commenced as it was intended that next year the fort should be
self sustaining. In the spring of 1844, Mr. Ross, the chief officer
died and Mr. Finlayson took his place. By this time considerable
land had been cleared, cattle had been brought from the company's
establishments on Puget Sound and a small dairy farm started.
This year was marked by the only attempt on the part of the Indians to occasion trouble at Fort Victoria. The traders missed a
number of cattle from their herd and after careful enquiry fastened
the guilt of stealing them on the natives. When reparation was
demanded the aborigines'became threatening and even went so far
as to make an attack on the fort. They were easily beaten off,
however, and frightened by an exhibition of the powers of the big
guns. On the same day that they made their attempt they also
brought to the gates of the fort the full value of the stolen cattle
and sued for peace.
By rigid economy, industry, ingenuity in turning almost everything to account, devising new means of surmounting difficulties and-
by tact in the management of the Indians the young post was very*
shortly able to take care of itself and it did so to the admiration of
even the exacting Douglas. In 1845 the name Camosun whicn it
had borne until this time was dropped and that of Albert, in honor
of the Prince Consort, was substituted. The year following another
change took place and Fort Albert became Fort Victoria under
which designation it has since continued to flourish. In accordance
with the intentions of the Hudson's Bay Company Victoria was
pushed rapidly forward in importance and almost immediately became recognised as the second depot on the Pacific Coast. The
ships from England were ordered to sail directly to that port and
after depositing there the supplies for distribution among the coast
establishments to proceed to Fort Vancouver. In founding Victoria
the company bad it within the horizon of their hopes that it should
become a redezvous for whalers—a business which at that time was
rapidly assuming large proportions. It seemed at first as if this
hope would be fulfilled and for several years whaling vessels did
drop anchor in its harbor but it was finally found that the Hawaiian
Islands offered a more convenient port of call and Victoria accordingly lost this trade. VANCOUVER ISLAND.
While these events were taking place in Vancouver Island and
the foundation of a future capital was being thus modestly laid, a
question, the settlement of which was big with results for Victoria,
was exercising the minds of men in the greater world. The question
as to where the line of boundary between Her Majesty's dominions
and the territory of the United States should fall was assuming
threatening importance and for a time it appeared more than likely,
especially in view of the hostile and unreasoning stand taken by the
American people or at least those who undertook to speak for them,
that over it the two nations would be plunged into war. The people
of the Republic, as has ever been their custom in their dealings with
England, put forward most monstrous and unjust claims and trusted
to bluster and chicanery to carry their point. They asserted a right
of possession to the territory as far north as Alaska and throughout
the entire Republic rang the cry "54° 40" or fight." But a popular
cry no matter with what enthusiasm it may be shouted or how
much effect it may have in determining matters of internal economy,
especially in a country where mob-law is supreme, fortunately is of
little avail in settling matters of international importance. The
English Government, it must be confessed, did not take the firm
stand which it should have done at this time. The fact was, the
British ministers, who did not think the territory worth fighting for,
seemed only anxious to get out of the difficulty with as good grace
as possible. This lukewarmness when the time for settlement arrived cost this country dear and robbed her of a vast deal of territory. The Home Government, indeed, sent out a special commission
of enquiry, consisting of two engineers named Warre and Vavasour
to report on the value of the country and these gentlemen arrived at
Fort Vancouver in 1845 having come overland by way of York
Factory. H. M. S. America, Captain Gordon, also arrived at Victoria in 1845 and during the next year quite a number of naval
vessels followed. The officers in command of most of these ships had
instructions to report to the Home Government on the same matter
—the value of the territory. As the majority of these gentlemen
were men whose opinions on questions with which they were most
.intimately acquainted would have been of little value, nothing, plainly, was to be expected from them on a matter concerning which
they were profoundly ignorant and on which they had neither the
energy nor inclination to inform themselves.     Their reports it is 16
needless to say were unanimously to the effect that the country was
not worth a battle and this view of the case received the confirmation of the managers of the Hudson's Bay Company. Under these
circumstances and with the politicians of the United States keenly
alive to the desirability of acquiring all the territory they could
on the continent it is not to be wondered at, that matters were so
badly managed and so much was yielded by Britain when by the
treaty of 1846 the 49th parallel of latitude was agreed upon by the
two nations as the line dividing their dominions. The settlement
of the boundary question could not but open up a large prospect of
future greatness to Victoria, which now became the principal station
of the company on British territory west of the Rocky mountains.
Improvements went on rapidly around the fort and by the time it
had been three years in existence one hundred and sixty acres of
land had been cleared and placed under cultivation. At the end
of 1847 double that amount had been tilled and two dairies each
possessing seventy milch cows were in operation. Thus matters
progressed with the infant city and its trade increased so rapidly
that very soon the picketed enclosure was not of sufficient size to accommodate the business done and it had, therefore, to be enlarged.
As it was now the avowed intention of the company to remove
the headquarters from Fort Vancouver as soon as a route to the interior by way of the Fraser River had been opened up, the work of
exploration in this connection was at once begun. Mr. A. C.
Anderson, who had charge of Fort Alexandria, was entrusted with
this work and early in 1846 he set out from Fort Kamloops with
five men to survey the country from that point to Fort Langley.
He did not meet with much success on his downward journey but
was more fortunate when returning and the result of his labor was
the adoption of a route from Langley by way of the Quequealla-
river and Lake Nicola to Kamloops from whence the trails to the
interior were reasonably well known. 1847 he made another survey <
but without further success and his route of the previous year was
in the main adopted and has since become the wagon road to the
south-eastern interior. Anderson's explorations were conducted in
the face of a considerable amount of Indian hostility, which, how-,
ever, was not openly displayed but exhausted itself in attempts to
misguide and discourage him in his undertaking. Notwithstanding
this, his determination to succeed, and the fidelity of several native VANCOUVER ISLAND.
servants enabled him to defeat the machinations of the savaees
This enmity on the part of the Indians, while it did not come to a
head or adversely affect the company's interests, was indicative of a
restless feeling which at this time possessed the tribes of the interior
and which during 1864 found vent in an attempted uprising of the
united Shuswap peoples. The attempt was defeated by the address
and courage of chief trader Tod who was in charge of the Kamloops
station and steps were at once taken to remove any cause which
tended to dissatisfy the natives with the rule of the corporation.
Consequent upon the success of Anderson's survey and the necessity
that arose for a resting place on the new route between Kamloops
and Langley, Fort Yale was established in 1848 on the Fraser and
in the year following Fort Hope, a short distance farther down the
river, came into existence.
The Hudson's Bay Company was now at the zenith of its prosperity on the Pacific coast and Douglas was at the head of its
affairs in name as well as in fact, McLoughlin having retired from
the service in 1845. The company's license of trade had been renewed in 1838 for a second term of twenty-one years and would not,
therefore, expire until 1859. The country had been thoroughly well
explored from a fur trader's point of view and posts established
wherever business warranted. These establishments amounted in all
to thirty-nip.e and were all of them doing profitable businesses. In
1849 the time had come when, in the opinion of the management,
the headquarters could be removed from Fort Vancouver with advantage and accordingly in that year Douglas placed Mr. Dugald
McTavish in command on the Columbia and, accompanied by Chief
Factor Ogden, removed to Fort Victoria.
But if this period saw the realization of the company's largest
hopes on the Pacific it was also fruitful in causes which ultimately
led to the destruction of the fur trade. Chief among these causes
were the tide of immigration which began to flow from the east into
Oregon \ the fact recently come to light that coal beds existed on
Vancouver Island, and the discovery in 1848 of gold in California.
1. The first of these, namely the rapid settlement of the American
territory had attracted the attention of English statesmen and the
question naturally arose in their minds why the adjacent dominion
of Britain should not be utilized as a colonization ground for their
overplus population.    The idea had no sooner been entertained than 18
it received expression in parliament: It chanced, however, that the
same idea had suggested itself to the managers of the monopoly who
were ever awake to what affected their interests and they regarded
it from a stand-point directly opposite to that taken by those who
brought the matter before parliament. None saw more clearly
than they that the colonization of the country was simply a
matter of time and while they did not apprehend any trouble
for years to come, they considered it as well to be prepared against all contingencies. They, therefore, without, delay, set
themselves to solve the problem how best to reconcile the colonization of the country with their own interests. Their cogitations took
the form of an application to parliament asking that they be granted
the privilege of colonizing the country. This solution of the question
was a highly ingenious one as it meant, when analyzed, that the company would have it within their power to retard or assist settlement
as suited them best. The application was made in 1847 and in the
form it first took somewhat startled the Government by its magnificent proportions. The proposal was that the company should undertake the government and colonization of all the territories belonging
to the crown in North America and should receive a grant accordingly. It was quickly seen, however, that such a proposition
would not be entertained and it was accordingly withdrawn and
after several modifications and the substitution of Vancouver Island
for British North America was again presented. This request the
Government was not averse to granting and a charter was placed before Parliament in 1848, which, although it met with strong opposition'
was finally carried. By the terms of this grant which was consummated on January 13th/1849, the company was given the Island
"with the royalities of its seas, and all the mines belonging to it,
subject only to the domination of" the British Crown and a yearly
rental of seven shillings. The company was to settle upon the
Island within five years a colony of British subjects; and to dispose
of land for purposes of colonization at reasonable prices, retaining of
all the moneys secured from such source as well as from coal and
other minerals, ten per cent., and applying towards public improvements upon the Island, the remaining nine-tenths. Such lands as
might be necessary for a naval station, and for other government establishments, were to be reserved; and the company should every
two years report to the Government the number of colonists settled VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
on the Island, and the lands sold. If at the expiration of five years
no settlement should have been made, the grant should be forfeited;
and if at the expiration of the company's license of exclusive trade
with the Indians in 1859 the Government should so elect it might
recover the Island from the company on the payment of such sums
of money as had been actually expended by them in colonization.
Except during hostilities between Great Britain and any foreign
power, the company should defray all expenses of all civil and military establishments for the government and protection of the
2. The existence of coal on the Island had, as early as 1835,
been brought to the attention of the traders by the tribe inhabiting the district about Beaver Harbor, but as the company had little
need for it themselves, and no market in which to sell it, they made
no use of their discovery. With that caution, however, for which
they were remarkable, they said nothing about the matter, and until
1845 the outside world was in ignorance of the hidden wealth which
the country possessed. In that year the engineers Warre and Vavasour, in their report to the Home authorities, mentioned the fact
of the existence of this mineral, both on the Island and on the Mainland, and in the following year the steam-sloop Cormorant^ of the
Royal Navy, loaded some sixty-five tons at Beaver Harbor. It was
not till a couple of years after this that the company decided on
working the mine. Early in 1849 an expedition was sent north
and a post, to which was given the name Fort Rupert, erected at
Beaver Harbor. A practical miner named Muir was brought out
from Scotland, also proper mining machinery, and everything got in
readiness for a thorough test. Muir began work without delay and,
notwithstanding the hostility of the natives, succeeded in making a
sufficient test to convince him that the seams at this point were not
valuable enough to pay the working. During the same year,- however, the Douglas seam, situated near what is now the City of
Nanaimo, had been discovered by Chief Factcr McKay, and Muir
abandoned Fort Rupert and removed his machinery to the new field
where his test was successful beyond anticipation. Accordingly in
1852 a fort was built at this spot which has since grown into a city.
The work progressed so well that before the end of two years two
thousand tons had been shipped to California where it brought $28
per ton. 20
3. In the spring of 1848 a rumor of the existence of gold in California flashed over this continent, and in the following year occurred
the great rush to the auriferous regions. This discovery, while not
immediately affecting the company's fur business, inaugurated a new
state of affairs at Victoria, and gave the traders a novel commodity
for which to barter their goods. Fort Victoria was at that time the
nearest point outside of San Francisco where miners could obtain
their outfits, and many of them preferred wintering here to wasting
the result of their labor in the gambling hells of California. The
first that was seen of the miners at Fort Victoria was in 1849, when
a large number of them arrived direct from the gold fields. Finlayson at first supposed them to be pirates and prepared to give them
a warm reception, but discovering his mistake entered into converse
with them and finally took their gold in exchange for goods. The
report of the vast wealth to be