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Handbook to the new gold fields: a full account of the richness and extent of the Fraser and Thompson… 1858

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Array     HANDBOOK
author of
 Hudson's bay ; or, everyday life in the wilds of north America.
/53,336, CONTENTS,
» •
• •
Richness and Extent of the Gold Fields
Climate, Productions, and Soil  .
Routes, &c.
Description of Coasts, Harbours, &c.
• 4
• ■
Native Tribes
Appendix :—
Correspondence relative to the Discovery of Gold in the
Fraser River District, in British North America     . 91
Charter incorporating the Hudson's Bay Company      .       106
Comparison between Price of Labour in Australia and
California, or British Columbia       ....       107 IV
Treaty made between the United States and Great
Britain in regard to the Limits westward of the
Rocky Mountains, June 15,1846     . .       .       107
Form of Licence granted to Diggers . . . . 109
Proclamation issued by Governor Douglas , . g|jp 109
General Sufferance for the Navigation of Fraser River 110
Advantages possessed by British Columbia over Australia as a Field for Emigration * 110
Prices of Provisions, &c, at the Gold Fields . . Ill,
Table of Distances from Victoria (Vancouver's Island),
to the lower portion of the Mines     .               .       .113
The Bill for the Government of the North American
Colonies        113 HANDBOOK TO THE NEW EL DORADO.
The problem of colonisation in the north-western portion of British America is fast working itself out. The
same destiny which pushed forward Anglo-Saxon energy
and intelligence into the rich plains of Mexico, and which
has peopled Australia, is now turning the current of emigration to another of the " waste-places of the earth."
The discovery of extensive gold fields in the extreme
west of the territories now occupied by the Hudson's
Bay Company, is a great fact. It no longer comes to us
as the report of interested adventurers, or the exaggeration of a few sanguine diggers, but with well-authenticated results—large quantities of gold received at San
Francisco, and a consequent rush of all nations from the
gold regions of California, as well as from the United
States and Canada. The thirst for Gold is, as it always
has been, the most attractive, the strongest, the most
unappeasable of appetites—the impulse that builds up,
or pulls down empires, and floods the wilderness with a
sudden population. In those wild regions of the Far
West men are pouring in one vast, gold-searching tide of 2        HANDBOOK TO THE NEW EL DORADO.
thousands and tens of thousands, into the comparatively
unknown territory beyond the Rocky Mountains, for
which our Legislature has just manufactured a government. How strange is the comparison instituted by
the Times between the rush to Fraser River and the
mediaeval crusades, which carried so large a portion of
the population of Europe to die on the burning plains
of Palestine! At Clermont Ferrand, Peter the Hermit
has concluded his discourse; cries are heard in every
quarter, "It is the will of God! It is the will of
God!" Every one assumes the cross, and the crowd
disperses to prepare for conquering under the walls of
the earthly, a sure passage to the heavenly, Jerusalem.
What elevation of motive, what faith, what enthusiasm!
Compare with this the picture presented by San Francisco
Harbour. A steamer calculated to carry 600 persons, is
laden with 1600. There is hardly standing room on the
deck. It is almost impossible to clear a passage from one
part of the vessel to the other. The passengers are not
knights and barons, but tradesmen, "jobbers," tenants,
and workmen of all the known varieties. Their object is
of the earth, earthy—wealth in its rawest and rudest
form—gold, the one thing for which they bear to live, or
dare to die. Although in the comparison the crusades
may have the superiority in many points, yet so little
have ideal, romantic, and sentimental considerations
to do with the current of human affairs, that while the
crusades remain a monument of abortive and objectless
folly, fatal to those who embarked in them, and leaving
as their chief result a tinge of Asiatic ferocity on European
barbarism, the exodus of San Francisco, notwithstanding
the material end it has in view, is sure to work out the
progress of happiness and civilisation, and add another to
the many conquests over nature, which the present age
has witnessed.
In a year more than ordinarily productive of remarkable events, one of the most noteworthy, and that which
is likely to leave a lasting impression on the world, is this
discovery of gold on the coasts of the Pacific. The importance of the new region as a centre for new ramifications of English relations with the rest of the world cannot
well be exaggerated either in a political or a commercial
point of view. It will be the first really important point
we shall have ever commanded on that side of the Pacific
Ocean, and it cannot but be of inestimable value in developing our relations with America, China, Japan, and
Eastern Russia.
This new discovery must also tend to make the western
shore of the American continent increasingly attractive.
From Fraser's River down to Peru the rivers aH bear
down treasures of a wealth perfectly inestimable. Emigration must necessarily continue to flow and increase.
Gold digging is soon learned, and there will be an immense demand for every kind of labour at almost fabulous
It is further valuable as tending to open up a direct
communication from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from
Europe across the continent of America to India and*
i& ggjg *&nt9Ka
China. This is a grand idea, and the colonial minister
who carries it out will accomplish a greater thing than
any of his predecessors, for he will open up the means of
carrying English civilisation to the whole of that vast
continent, and to the eastern world.
The pioneers* in this movement will conquer the territory not with arms in their hands, but with the gold-
rocker, the plough, the loom, and the anvil, the steam-boat,
the railway, and the telegraph. Commerce and agriculture, disenthralled by the influences of free institutions,
will cause the new empire to spring into life, full armed^
like Minerva from the brain of Jupiter. Its Pacific
ports will be thronged with ships of all nations, its rich
valleys will blossom with nature's choicest products, while
its grand rivers will bear to the sea the fruits of free and
honest labour. Great as have been our achievements in
the planting of colonies, we have never entered upon a
more magnificent work than the one now before us, in
which the united energies of the two great branches of
the Anglo-Saxon race will be engaged, heart and hand.
While the present volume is intended chiefly for those
desiring information on the subject of the gold discoveries, it also addresses itself to the general public, for the
condition and character of the country and its inhabitants
cannot fail to be a subject of inquiry with all who can
appreciate the importance of its situation. The book lays
claim to no merit but that of careful collation. Little
information is given but what is derived from sources of
general access; but it does profess to set forth the truth INTRODUCTION.
as far as that could be obtained from the conflicting
statements of different parties. ^
While the following pages will be found to contain
ample proof as to the extent and richness of the gold
fields, as well as the salubrity of the climate, it is satisfactory to be able to state here that the country is proved
to be easily accessible both for English and American
merchandise. The public have now certain, though unofficial news, of the journey of the Governor of Vancouver's
Island as far as Fort Hope, about one hundred miles above
the mouth of the Fraser River and seventy above Fort
Langley. This voyage has established the extremely important fact, that the river is navigable for steamers at
least up to this point, where the mines are now known
to be of extraordinary wealth, although it is reported
that their yield regularly increases as the stream is
ascended. It is now proved that these districts are
actually within from fifteen to twenty-three hours steam
of Victoria, the principal town of the Vancouver's Island
colony. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of
this fact. It is true that the same voyage which the
steamer carrying the Governor of Vancouer's Island successfully performed, was attempted without success by
another steamer about the same time—a fact which probably indicates that the river will be navigable only for
vessels of small draught, and possibly, perhaps, not
equally navigable at all seasons; for we must remember
that in the early part of June, when this attempt was
successfully made, the waters of the river had already 6
begun to rise, in consequence of the melting of the snow
from the Rocky Mountains, from which it springs. But
they were then by no means at their full height; and
even if the river be only navigable by vessels of small
draught, that is a fact of very little importance as compared with the certainty that it is navigable at all to so
considerable a height. Fort Hope is, as we have said,
about one hundred miles up the river—that is to say,
about one hundred and ninety from Victoria in Vancouver's
Island, the voyage across the Gulf of Georgia being about
ninety miles. The rich diggings between Fort Yale and
Fort Hope are, therefore, not so far from the fertile land
of Vancouver's Island as London from Hull, and the
distance from Victoria to the mouth of the river, where
gold is at present found in considerable quantities, is not
so great as the distance from Liverpool to Dublin. Now,
as almost all the importance of a mining district depends
on easy communication with a provision market—and
the very richest will be rendered comparatively insignificant if provisions can only be carried thither at enormous cost and labour—no fact has yet been established
of more importance than the easy navigability of the
Fraser River. Immediately above Fort Yale, which is
twelve miles higher up the river than the point reached
by the steamer, a succession of cataracts begin, which, of
course, interrupt all navigation, but thence even to "the
Forks," or junction between the Fraser and Thompson
Rivers, there is certainly not more than one hundred
miles of road, which, as we learn from the government INTRODUCTION. 7
map, are mostly practicable for loaded waggons. Hence
it is evident that the new gold district will be easily
accessible' both for English merchandise from England,
and for the provision market of Vancouver's Island.
In explanation, and refutation of the prejudice which
almost universally exists against the climate and soil of
North America generally, but especially of the divisions
included in the Hudson's Bay Company's Territories, we
cannot do better than quote the following just remarks
from the Rev. Mr Nicolay's treatise on Oregon. He says:—
IA predisposition towards one opinion, or bias to one
side of an argument, too often warps both the judgment
and the understanding; and one man in consequence sees
fertile plains where another could see only arid wastes on
which even the lizards appear starving, while the other
looks forward to their being covered with countless flocks
and herds at no very distant period of time. Both Cook
and Vancouver, having previously made up their minds
against the existence of a river near parallel 46°, passed
the Columbia without perceiving it, and the former even
declared most decidedly that the strait seen by Juan de
Fuca had its origin only in the fertility of the pilot's brain.
As they were discovered to be in error, so it is not impossible that others not less positive in their assertions
maybe convicted of the same carelessness of examination
as those navigators, so remarkable in all other respects for
their accuracy, and so indefatigable and minute in their
researches, that little has been left to their successors but
to check their work. 8
"With respect, however, to the attributed barrenness
of great part of the territory, so peremptorily insisted on
by many, there is some excuse for the earlier travellers
from whom that opinion is derived. Ignorant of the best
routes, and frequently famishing in the immediate neighbourhood of plenty, they most justly reflect back to others
the impressions they received; but in so doing, though
they speak truth, they give very erroneous ideas of the
country they think themselves to be describing most
accurately, and of this very pregnant examples are found
in the travels of Lewis and Clarke, and the party who
came overland to Astoria: both struck the head waters
of the Saptin, both continued its course to its junction
with the main stream, both suffered—the latter party intensely ; but had they, by the fertile bottoms of Bear and
Rosseaux Rivers, found access to the valley between the
Cascade and Blue Mountains—or, keeping still further
west, crossed the former range into that of the WaUa-
mette, they would have found game, and grass, and wood,
and water in abundance, the word sterile would have been
banished from their pages, and the Oregon would have
appeared in her holiday attire—
" A nymph, of healthiest hue—"
and the depth of ravines and the elevation of rocks and
precipices would have been changed into the unerring
evidences of fertility and luxuriance of vegetation afforded
by the dense forests and gigantic pine-trees of the coast
district.   We can scarce estimate the transition of feeling #oe
and change which would have been produced in their
estimate of the country, if they could have been suddenly
transported from their meagre horse-steak—cut from an
animal so jaded with travel as to be in all probability
only saved from death by starvation and fatigue, by being
put to death to save overwearied men from famine, and
this cooked at a fire of bois de vache, with only the shelter
of an overhanging rock—to the fat venison and savoury
wildfowl of the woods and lakes, broiled on the glowing
hardwood embers under the comfortable roof of sheltering bark, or the leafy shade of the monarch of the forest;
while the cheerful whinny of their well-fed beasts would
have given joyful token that nature in her bounty had
been forgetful of nothing which her dependent children
could desire.
" While such and so great is the power of circumstances
to vary the impressions made upon the senses, some hesitation must be used in their reception until fully confirmed, or they must be limited by other accounts, as
unbiassed judgment may direct, especially as the temperament of individuals may serve to heighten the colouring,
whether sombre or sunny, in which circumstances may
have depicted the landscape. It is not every traveller who
can, with Mackenzie, expatiate on the beauty of scenery
while in fear of treachery from fickle and bloody savages;
or like Fremont, though dripping from the recent flood,
and uncertain of the means of existence even for the day,
his arms, clothes, provisions, instruments, deep in the
whirlpools of the foaming Piatt?, stop to gaze with admi- 10
nation on the "fantasticruins" Nature has "piled" among
her mountain fastnesses, while from his bare and bleeding
feet he draws the sharp spines of the hostile cacti. Truth
from travellers is consequently for the most part relative.
.Abstractedly, with reference to any country, it must be
derived from the combined accounts and different phases
of truth afforded by many." ISM
I Destiny, which has lately riveted our attention on the
burning plains of the extreme East," says the Times of
9th July, " now claims our solicitude for the auriferous
mountains and rushing rivers of the Far West and the
shores of the remote Pacific. What most of us know of
these ultra-occidental regions may be summed up in a
very few words. We have most of us read Washington
Irving's charming narrative of 'Astoria,' sympathised with
the untimely fate of Captain Thorn and his crew, and
read with breathless interest the wanderings of the pilgrims to the head waters of the Columbia. After thirty
years, the curtain rises again on the stormy period of the
Ashburton Treaty, when the ' patriots' were bent upon
'whipping the Britishers' out of every acre of land on the
western side of the Rocky Mountains. And now, for
the third time, we are recalled to the same territory, no
longer as the goal of the adventurous trader or the battleground of the political agitator, but as a land of promise
•—-a new El Dorado, to which men are rushing with aU 12
the avidity that the presence of the one thing which all-
men, in all times and in all places, insatiably desire is
sure to create."
This El Dorado lies between the Rocky Mountains and
the Pacific; it is bounded on the south by the American
frontier line,,49 deg. of latitude, and may be considered to
extend to the sources of Eraser River, in latitude 55 deg.
It is, therefore, about 420 miles long in a straight line, its
average breadth from 250 to 300 miles. Taken from corner
to corner, its greatest length would be, however, 805 miles,
and its greatest breadth 400 miles. Mr Arrowsmith computes its area of square miles, including Queen Charlotte's
Island, at somewhat more than 200,000 miles. Of its two
gold-bearing rivers, one, the Fraser, rises in the northern
boundary, and flowing south, falls into the sea at the
south-western extremity of the territory, opposite the
southern end of Vancouver's Island, and within a few
miles of the American boundary; the other, the Thompson River, which rises in the Rocky Mountains, and*
flowing westward, joins the Fraser about 150 miles
from the coast. It is on these two rivers, and chiefly
at their confluence, that the gold discoveries have been
Fraser River is about as famous a point as there is today on the earth's surface—as famous as were the Califor-
nian diggings in 1848, or the Australian gold mines in 1853.
It is now the centre of attraction for the adventurous of
all countries. The excitement throughout the Canadas
and Northern States of America is universal.   In fact, RICHNESS AND EXTENT OF THE GOLD FIELDS.
the whole interior of North America is quite in a ferment
—the entire floating population being either " on the
move," or preparing to start; while traders, cattle-dealers,
contractors, and all the enterprising persons in business
who can manage to leave, are maturing arrangements to
join the general exodus. Persons travelling in the mining
regions reckon that, in three months, 50,000 souls will
have left the State of California alone. The rapidity and
extent of this emigration has never been paralleled.
It is now established that the district of British Columbia, holding a relation to Puget's Sound similar to
that of Sacramento Valley to the Bay of San Francisco,
contains rich and extensive gold beds. The Fraser River
mines have already been mentioned in the British Parliament as not less valuable and important than the gold
fields in Australia. Geologists have anticipated such a
discovery; and Governor Stevens, in his last message to
the Legislative Assembly of Washington Territory, claims
that the district south of the international boundary is
equally auriferous.
The special correspondent of the San Francisco Bulletin,
a reliable authority, writes from Fort Langley, twenty-five
miles up the Fraser, under date the 25th May, that he had
just come down from Fort Yale, where he found sixty
men and two hundred Indians, with their squaws, at
work on a " bar" of about five hundred yards in length,
called " Hill's Bar," one mile below Fort Yale, and fifteen
miles from Fort Hope, all trading posts of the Hudson's
Bay Company.   " The morning I arrived, two men (Ker- 14
rison & Co.) cleaned up five and a-half ounces from the
rocker, the product of half a day's work. Kerrison & Co.
the next day cleaned up ten and a-half ounces from two
rockers, which I saw myself weighed. This bar is acknowledged to be one of the richest ever seen, and well
it may be, for here is a product of fifteen and a-half ounces
of gold, worth 247\ dols., or ,£50 sterling, from it in a day
and a-half to the labour of two rockers. Old Calif ornian
miners say they never saw such rich diggings. The average result per day to the man was fully 20 dols., some
much more. The gold is very fine; so much so, that it
was impossible to save more than two-thirds of what,
went through the rockers.* This defect in the 'rocker
must be remedied by the use of quicksilver to ' amalgamate' the finer particles of gold. This remedy is at hand,
for California produces quicksilver sufficient for the consumption of the whole world in her mountains of Cinnabar. Supplies are going on by every vesseL At Sailor
Diggings, above Fort Yale, they are doing very well, averaging from 8 to 25 dols. per day to the man. I am
told that the gold is much coarser on Thompson River
than it is in Eraser River. I saw yesterday about 260 dols.
of coarse gold from Thompson River, in pieces averaging
5 dols. each. Some of the pieces had quartz among them.
Hill, who was the first miner on the bar bearing his name,
just above spoken of, with his partner, has made some
600 dols. on it in almost sixteen days' work. Three men
just arrived from Sailor Diggings have brought down
670 dols. in dust, the result of twelve days' work.   Gold RICHNESS AND EXTENT OF THE GOLD FIELDS.
very fine.   Rising of the river driving the miners off for
a time."
Correspondents from several places on the Sound, both
on the British and American territories, men of various
nationalities, have since written that the country, on the
Fraser River is rich in gold, and " equal to any discoveries
ever made in California." The Times1 correspondent, writing from Vancouver's Island on 10th June, says, "The gold
exists from the mouth of Fraser River for at least 200
miles up, and most likely much further, but it has not
been explored; hitherto any one working on its banks
has been able to obtain gold in abundance and without
extraordinary labour; the gold at present obtained has
been within a foot of the surface, and is supposed to have
averaged about ten dollars per diem to each man engaged
in mining. Of course, some obtain more, some less, but
all get gold. Thompson River is quite as rich in gold as
Fraser River. The land about Thompson River consists of
extensive sandy prairies, which are loaded with gold also;
in fact, the whole country about Fraser and Thompson
Rivers are mere beds of gold, so abundant as to make it
quite disgusting. I have already seen pounds and pounds
of it, and hope before long to feast my eyes upon tons of
the precious metal." And the same high authority writes
on 17th June,—"There is no longer room to doubt that
all the country bordering on Fraser River is one continuous gold bed. Miners abandoning the partially exhausted placers of California, are thronging to this new
Dorado, and the heretofore tranquil precincts of Victoria 16       HANDBOOK TO THE NEW EL DORADO.
are now the scene of an excitement such as was witnessed
at San Francisco in 1849, or since in Melbourne. Land
has run up to prices fabulously high; and patches that
six months ago were, perhaps, grudgingly purchased at
the colonial price of 20s. the acre, are re-selling daily at a
hundred times that amount. The small number of steam
ships hitherto found sufficient for the commerce between
San Francisco and these vicinities no longer suffices to
convey a tithe of the eager applicants for passage. An
opening for the enterprise of British capitalists such as
was not anticipated has thus suddenly arisen, and the
opportunity will, of course, be seized with alacrity.
" Lest I should appear too sanguine in my representations, I will cite one instance to illustrate the richness of
these newly discovered diggings. Three men returned for
provisions lately, after an absence of seven days; they had
during this interval extracted 179 oz. of gold. I state this
fact on the authority of Governor Douglas, who has just
returned from the mining regions, whither he went with
the view of establishing certain regulations for the maintenance of order. In short, all who have visited the mines
are impressed with the conviction that their richness far
excels that of California in its palmiest days."
And, again, the correspondent of the New York Times, in
a letter dated 21st June, gives the following corroborative
testimony:—" The gold is found everywhere, and even during the extreme height of the river, parties are averaging
from ten to twenty dollars per day, digging in the
banks or on the upper edge of the bars, nearly all of which RICHNESS AND EXTENT OF THE GOLD FIELDS.
are overflowed. Big strikes of from fifty to two hundred
and fifty dollars are frequently reported. Nearly all the
work at present is carried on between Forts Langley and
Yale, and for some twenty or thirty miles above the latter
an entire distance along the river of about a hundred miles.
Some few are digging on Harrison River, and other
tributaries, where the gold is found in larger particles.
Those who were engaged in mining on the forks of
Thompson River shew still richer yields, but have been
compelled to leave on account of the high stage of the
water, the want of provisions, and the opposition of the
Indians. The gold where the most men are located (upon
the bars of the river), is found in very minute particles,
like sand. No quicksilver has been used as yet, but when
that is attainable, their yield is sure to be greatly augmented. At Hill's Bar those at work had averaged fifty
dollars per day the whole time they had been there. The
Indians all have gold, and are as much excited as the
whites. It is of no use to cite various reports of individual successes in this or that locality. The impression
of all who have gone is unanimous and conclusive as to
the great facts of new gold fields now being explored equal
to any ever yet developed in California or elsewhere. No
steamer has yet returned with more than twelve or fifteen
passengers, and nearly every one of these had come down
to obtain supplies for himself or his party left behind in
the diggings. They all say they are going back in a few
The following personal testimony may also be cited;—
I u
" On Sunday," says the San Francisco Globe, " we received
a visit from Messrs Edward Campbell and Joseph Blanch,
both boatmen, well known in this city, who have just returned from the mines on Fraser River. They mined for
ten days on the bar, until compelled to desist from the
rise in the river, in which time they took out 1340 dols.
They used but one rocker, and have no doubt that they
could have done much better with proper appliances.
There were from sixty to seventy white men at work on
Hill's Bar, and from four to five hundred Indians,
men, women, and children. The Indians are divided in
opinion with regard to Americans; the more numerous
party, headed by Pollock, a chief, are disposed to receive
them favourably, because they obtain more money, for
their labour from the ' Bostons' than from ' King George's
men,' as they style the English. They have learned the
full value of their labour, and, instead of one dollar a-day, or
an old shirt, for guiding and helping to work a boat up
the river, they now charge from five to eight dollars per day.
Another portion of the Indians are in favour of driving off
the 'Bostons,' being fearful of having their country overrun by them."
The proprietor of the San Francisco News Letter had
determined to be at the centre of the present excitement
in the El Dorado, and to judge for himself, or, rather,
to solve the problem of how much gold, how many Indians, and how much humbug, went on board the Pacific
mail steam-ship Cortes, Captain Horner, and made the
passage to Victoria, 840 miles, in five days.   Although RICHNESS AND EXTENT OF THE GOLD FIELDS.
nine hundred persons were on board, yet no actual inconvenience was felt by the high-pressure packing; the greatest good humour and accommodating spirit prevailing,
controlled by the gentlemanly conduct of Captain J. B.
Horner and his officers. On the day of arrival, the operations of the Government Land Office at the fort in Victoria was 26,000 dols. The importance of the amount
can best be realised by comparing it with the prices, viz.:
100 dols. per lot, 60 by 100 feet, unsurveyed. Some of
these lots have been sold at 200 to 1000 dols. Lots at
first sale, surveyed price, 50 dols.; lots, second and last
sale, 100 dols. each, are now being sold from 500 to 1000
dols. each. Six lots together in the principal street are
valued at 10,000 dols. The figures at Esquimalt Harbour
and lots in that vicinity assume a bolder character as to
value, from the fact that the harbour is a granite-bound
basin, similar to Victoria, with an entrance now wide and
deep enough to admit the Leviathan. Victoria has a bar
which must be dredged, dug, or blown away. We noted
at Victoria that the most valuable lot, with a flat granite
level, with thirty feet of water, sufficient for any ship to
unload without jetty, is now covered by a large building
constructed of logs, belonging to Samuel Price & Co. A
ship was unloading lumber at this wharf at 35 dols. per
M., which was the ruling price. At Victoria, on the 21st
June, a Frenchman landed from the steamer Surprise,
who came on board at Fort Langley with twenty-seven
pounds weight of gold on his person, which we saw and
lifted.   Another passenger, whom we know, states that {
there are six hundred persons within eight miles of Fort
Hope, who are averaging per man an ounce and a half of
gold per day minimum to six and a half ounces per day
maximum. The largest sums seem to be taken out at
Sailor's Bar, five miles above Fort Hope. The lowest depth
as yet reached by miners is fifteen inches; these mere surface scratches producing often 200 dols. per day. At Fort
Hope, potatoes were selling at 6 dols. per bag; bacon,
75c. per pound; crackers, 30c. From Fort Hope to Fort
Thompson the road is good, with the exception of twenty
miles. For 20 dols. the steamers will take miners from
Victoria to the diggings at Fort Hope, and for three or
four dollars more an Indian will accompany you to Fort
Yale. Bowen, steward of the Surprise, says that about a
hundred Indians usually ran after him to obtain little
sweet cakes, which he traded off four or five for 1 doL in
gold dust. Sugar at Fort Langley, 1 dol. 50c. per pound;
lumber, 1 dol. 50c. per foot; tea and coffee, 1 doh per
pound; pierced iron for rockers, 8 dols.; plain sheets, 2
dols. each; five lbs. of quicksilver sold for 40 dols.—10
dols. per pound was the ordinary price. The actual ground
prospected and ascertained to be highly auriferous extends
to three hundred and fifty miles from the mouth of Fraser
River. One hundred miles of Thompson River has been
prospected, and found to be rich, south-east of Fraser
River. The same will apply to all the tributaries of
Thompson River. A large extent of auriferous quartz has
been discovered ten miles from Fort Hope. Exceedingly
rich quartz veins have been»found on Harrison River. RICHNESS AND EXTENT OF THE GOLD FIELDS. 21
The most astounding facts have yet to be divulged. A
river emptying into the Gulf of Georgia, not a hundred
miles north'of Fraser River, hitherto supposed to contain no gold, has proved fabulously rich. An Indian
arrived at Victoria from this locality, having twenty-
three pounds weight of pure gold, obtained solely by
his own labour, in less than twenty days. In confirmation of our figures, and being short of space, we append
the following Statistics, derived from an official and
authentic-source of the strictest reliability. We deem the
above facts sufficient to cause an exodus of a far more
alarming character, and of higher proportions as to number, than any hitherto known in history. Suffice it to
say, that the present furore is well founded; that it holds
out busy times, high prices, speculations, contracts, and
employments of a thousand kinds.
Fountain's Diggings (Fraser River, at 51° 30' north),
month of June 1858.
Five rockers worked by half-breed Canadians.
June    1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
dols. dols. dols. dols. dols.
1 38 50 42 40 50
2 40 51 38 29 51
3 41 53 39 51 52
4.. 28 55 18 33 56
5 32 60 £4 54 53
6 64 62 39 58 55
7 52 58 48 52 64
Total,   295 385 268 327 381
Average, 42.14      55.50      38.70      46.72      54.40 22
A highly reliable correspondent sends the following
from San Francisco, under date 5th July:—
The emigration for Fraser River has gone on for months
with no signs of growing less. The best means of judging
what grounds there are for the belief in the existence of
gold in large quantities on its banks, is by letters received
from persons who are engaged in mining. It is worthy
of note that there is no discrepancy between the accounts
given by different individuals, all their statements agreeing. The mines are reported to be exceedingly rich, and
yielding large returns to those engaged in digging. The
river is very high, and miners have been driven from
several of the most lucrative bars until the water subsides. Mr Hill, from whom Hill's Bar took its name, is
mining some distance above that point. He and six hands
were making from an ounce to an ounce and a half of
gold dust a day to each man. For three weeks' prior to
the freshet, Mr Hill and one man averaged one hundred
to one hundred and fifty dols. a day. The freshet, however drove him off for the time being. Mr E. R. Collins,
who has spent some time in the Fraser River gold region,
and who brought down last week a quantity of dust, has
communicated the following intelligence to the Alta California. Mr Collins is a trustworthy gentleman. He left
San Francisco in March last, and was at Olympia when
the excitement first broke out. He then, in company
with three others, proceeded to Point Roberts, from
whence they proceeded up Fraser River to the mouth of
Harrison  River,  about  twenty-five  miles  above Fort RICHNESS AND EXTENT OF THE GOLD FIELDS.       23
Langley. This portion of the journey they performed
without guides or assistance from the natives. The current was moderate, and occasionally beautiful islands
were discovered with heavy timber, which presented a
beautiful appearance. From Fort Hope to Fort Yale, a
distance of fifteen miles, the river runs narrow, and the
current running about seven miles per hour, though, in
some places, it might be set down at ten or twelve. At
Fort Yale, the first mining bar was reached. It extended
out from* the left bank a distance of some thirty yards,
and was about half a mile long. Twenty or thirty squaws
were at work with baskets and wooden trays, while, near
by, large numbers of male Indians stood listlessly looking
on. Here some of Mr Collins' companions, who had
now increased to twenty, proposed to stop and try their
luck, but the majority resolved to go on, having informed
themselves satisfactorily that further up the " big chunks"
were in abundance. After resting a while, therefore, the
party went ahead. Two miles from Fort Yale they entered
upon the commencement of the real difiiculties and dangers of navigation on Fraser River, the water for a distance of thirty-five or forty miles passing though deep
gloomy canons, and over high masses of rock. At this time
the river had attained only a few feet above its usual
height, so that by perseverance and the skill of the native
boatman they were enabled to make slow progress. Numerous portages were made—one of them, the last, being
four miles long. These portages could not be avoided, the
cliffs rising perpendicularly on either side of the river, 24
sometimes to a height of fifty or sixty feet, affording not
the slightest footpath on which to tow. At other places
the whirls, and rocks partly submerged, rendered a water
passage utterly impracticable. At every bar and shallow
spot prospected in these wild localities gold was obtained
in paying quantities, all of very fine quality—rather difficult to save,without the use of quicksilver. From the head
of the canons to the forks of Thompson's River, thirty-
five miles more, the current and general appearance of the
river seemed about the same as from Fort Hope to Fort
Yale, gold also being found where there was an opportunity for a fair " prospect." At the Forks the party were
told by Travill, a French trader, whom they met by accident, that the richest and best diggings were up Thompson's ; but that river being navigable but a few miles up,
it was thought best to keep on up Fraser, which they did
for a distance of forty miles, encountering no serious obstacles beyond a few rapids, and they were passed by
towing. Five miles above the Forks some twenty white
men were at work, making with common rockers from ten
to sixteen dollars per day. Arriving at a bar about ten
miles below, where white men were congregating in numbers considered sufficient for mutual protection, they took
up, a claim and commenced digging. They worked here
steady twenty-four days, averaging fifteen dollars per day
to each man. The greatest day's work of one man was
thirty-one dollars. These figures, it is thought, would
apply to all the miners.
Our latest news from the new mines reach to the be- RICHNESS AND EXTENT OF THE GOLD FIELDS.
ginning of July. At that time there were immense num-
bere of miners on the banks of Fraser River, waiting for
the stream to fall and enable them to go to work on the
bars, which are said to be fabulously rich. Some dry diggings had^also been discovered in the neighbourhood of the
river; but owing to the presence of a large number of
Indians, not of the most friendly disposition, the miners
dared not then extend their researches far from the stream,
where the bulk of the whites were congregated. The
town of Victoria, on Vancouver's Island, has sprung
rapidly into importance. Great advances have been made
on real estate there. Lots, which a few months ago were
sold by the Hudson's Bay Company at £12, 10s., are now
selling at over £2b0. A newspaper, called the Victoria
Gazette, has been started there; and an American steamer,
The Surprise, is also running regularly between Victoria
and Fort Hope, which is one hundred miles above the
mouth of Fraser River. In the last week of June the
arrivals by steamers and vessels at the various ports of
British Columbia reached the large daily average of one
thousand, while those who have lately travelled through
the mountains say that the principal roads in the interior
present an appearance similar to the retreat of a routed
army. Stages, express waggons, and vehicles of every
character, are called into requisition for the immediate
emergency, and all are crammed, while whole battalions
are pressing forward on horse or mule back, and on foot.
Of course, the shipments of merchandise from San Francisco and other ports are very large, to keep pace with this
238 26
almost instantaneous emigration of thousands to a region
totally unsupplied with the commodities necessary for
their use and sustenance. Up to the present no outbreak
or disturbance has occurred, and a certain degree of order
has already been established in the mining region, through
the j udicious measures adopted by the governor. Justices
of the peace and other officials have been appointed, and
a system protective of the territorial interests organised.
Licences, on the principle of those granted in Australia,
are issued; the price, five dollars per month, to be exacted
from every miner. There was a good deal of talk as to
the right or propriety of levying this tax when it. was
first proposed, and some of the Francisco papers were loud
in their denunciations; others took a calmer view. It is
satisfactory to add that little difficulty has so far been
experienced on this head. As a body, the miners are
reported to be a steady set of men, well conducted, and
respectful of the law. CHAPTER II.
Next to the extent and richness of the gold mines, the
most important inquiry is as to the character of the climate
and soil. And in this respect the Fraser River settlement
does not lose any of its attractions, for, though seven hundred miles north of San Francisco, it is still one or two
degrees south of the latitude of London, and apparently
with a climate of a mildness equal to that of the southern
shores of England, being free from all extremes, both of
heat and cold. One hundred and fifty miles back from
the Pacific, indeed, there lies a range of mountains reaching
up to the regions of perpetual snow. But between that
and the coast the average temperature is fifty-four degrees
for the year round. Snow seldom lies more than three
days. Fruit trees blossom early in April, and salad goes to
head by the middle of May on Vancouver's Island. In
parts of this region wheat yields twenty to thirty bushels
to the acre. Apples, pears, pease, and grains of all kinds
do well. The trees are of gigantic growth. Iron and
copper abound, as does also coal in Vancouver's Island, so
l 28
that altogether it bids fair to realise in a short time the
description applied to it by the colonial secretary (Sir E.
B. Lytton), of " a magnificent abode for the human race."
When introducing the " Government of New Caledonia
bill," on 9th July, the Colonial Secretary said in his place
in the House of Commons:—" The Thompson River district is described as one of the finest countries in the
British dominions, with a climate far superior to that of
countries in the same latitude on the other side of the
mountains. Mr Cooper, who gave valuable evidence before our committee on this district, with which he is
thoroughly acquainted, recently addressed to me a letter,
in which he states that \ its fisheries are most valuable,
its timber the finest in the world for marine purposes; it
abounds with bituminous coal, well fitted for the generation of steam ; from Thompson River and Colville districts
to the Rocky Mountains, and from the 49th parallel some
350 miles north, a more beautiful country does not exist.
It is in every way suitable for colonisation.' Therefore,
apart from the gold fields, this country affords every promise of a flourishing and important colony."
The Times special correspondent, in a letter from Vancouver's Island, published on 10th August, says, "Productive fisheries, prolific whaling waters, extensive coalfields, a country well timbered in some parts, susceptible
of every agricultural improvement in others, with rich
gold fields on the very borders—these are some of the
many advantages enjoyed by the colony of Vancouver's
Island and its fortunate possessors.   When I add that the 29
island boasts a climate of great salubrity, with a winter
temperature resembling that of England, and a summer
little inferior to* that of Paris, I need say no more, lest my
picture be suspected of sharing too deeply of couleur de
Of the southern part of this district Lieut. Wilkes,
who commanded the late exploring expedition under the
United States government, says, " Few portions of the
globe are so rich in soil, so diversified in surface, or so
capable of being rendered the happy homes of an industrious and civilised community. For beauty of scenery
and salubrity of climate it cannot be surpassed. It is
peculiarly adapted for an agricultural and pastoral people,
and no portion of the world beyond the tropics can be
found that will yield so readily with moderate labour to
the wants of man."
Perhaps the fullest account of the country yet given is
that contained in " The Narrative of a Residence of Six
Years on the Western Slopes of the Rocky Mountains," by
Ross Cox, one of the earliest explorers of British North
America. He says, % The district of New Caledonia extends
from 51° 30' north latitude to about 56°. Its extreme
western boundary is 124° 10'. Its principal trading post
is called Alexandria, after the celebrated traveller Sir
Alexander. Mackenzie. It is built on the banks of Fraser
River, in about latitude 53° N. The country in its immediate vicinity presents a beautiful and picturesque
appearance. The banks of the river are rather low ; but
a little distance in-land some rising grounds are visible, 30
partially diversified by groves of fir and poplar. This
country is full of small lakes, rivers, and marshes. It
extends about ten days' march in a north and north-east
direction. To the south and south-east the Atnah, or
Chin Indian country, extends about one hundred'miles;
on the east there is a chain of lakes, and the mountains
bordering Thompson River; while to the westward and
north-west lie the lands of the Naskotins and Clinches.
The lakes are numerous, and some of them tolerably
large : one, two, and even three days are at times required
to cross some of them. They abound in a plentiful variety
of fish, such as trout, sucker, &c.; and the natives assert
that white fish is sometimes taken. These lakes are
generally fed by mountain streams, and many of them
spread out, and are lost in the surrounding marshes. On
the banks of the river, and in the interior, the trees consist of poplar, cypress, alder, cedar, birch, and different
species of fir, spruce, and willow. There is not the same
variety of wild fruit as on the Columbia ; and this year
(1827) the berries generally failed. Service berries, choke-
cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, and red whortleberries
are gathered; but among the Indians the service-berry is
the great favourite. There are various kinds of roots,
which the natives preserve and dry for periods of scarcity.
There is only one kind which we can eat. It is called
Tza-chin, has a bitter taste, but when eaten with salmon
imparts an agreeable zest, and effectually destroys the
disagreeble smell of that fish when smoke-dried. St
John's wort is very common, and has been successfully
— i.
applied as a fomentation in topical inflammations. A
kind of weed, which the natives convert into a species of
flax, is in general demand. An evergreen, similar to that
we found at the mouth of the Columbia, with small
berries growing in clusters like grapes, also flourishes in
this district. Sarsaparilla and bear-root are found in
abundance. White earth abounds in the vicinity of the
fort; and one description of it, mixed with oil and lime,
might be converted into excellent soap. Coal in considerable quantities has been discovered; and in many places
we observed a species of red earth, much resembling lava,
and which appeared to be of volcanic origin. We also
found in different parts of New Caledonia quartz, rock
crystal, cobalt, talc, iron, marcasites of a gold colour,
granite, fuller's earth, some beautiful specimens of black
marble, and limestone in small quantities, which appeared
to have been forced down the beds of the rivers from the
mountains. The jumping-deer, or chevreuil, together with
the rein and red-deer, frequent the vicinity of the mountains in considerable numbers, and in the summer season
they oftentimes descend to the banks of the rivers and
the adjacent flat country. The marmot and wood-rat also
abound: the flesh of the former is exquisite, and capital
robes are made out of its skin; but the latter is a very
destructive animaL Their dogs are of diminutive size,
and strongly resemble those of the Esquimaux, with the
curled up tail, small ears, and pointed nose. We purchased
numbers of them for the kettle, their flesh constituting
the chief article of food in our holiday feasts for Christ-
M 32
mas and New Year. The fur-bearing animals consist of
beavers ; bears, black,, brown, and grizzly; otters, fishers,
lynxes, martins; foxes, red, cross, and silver; minks, musquash, wolverines, and ermines. Rabbits also are so numerous that the natives manage to subsist on them during
the periods that salmon is scarce. Under the head of
ornithology we have the bustard, or Canadian outarde
(wildgoose), swans, ducks of various descriptions, hawks,
plovers, cranes, white-headed eagles, magpies, crows, vultures, wood-thrush, red-breasted thrush or robin, woodpeckers, gulls, pelicans, hawks, partridges, pheasants, and
snow-birds. The spring commences in April, when the
wild flowers begin to bud, and from thence to the latter
end of May the weather is delightf uL In June it rains
incessantly, with strong southerly and easterly winds.
During the months of July and August the heat is intolerable ; and in September the fogs are so dense that it
is quite impossible to distinguish the opposite side of the
river any morning before ten o'clock. Colds and rheumatisms are* prevalent among the natives during this
period: nor are our people exempt from them. In October the falling of the leaves and occasional frost announce
the beginning of winter. The lakes and parts of the
rivers are frozen in November. The snow seldoms exceeds
twenty-four inches in depth. The mercury in Fahrenheit's therometer falls in January to 15° below 0; but
this does not continue many days. In general, I may say,
the climate is neither unhealthy nor unpleasant; and if
the natives used common prudence, they would undoubt- CLIMATE, PRODUCTIONS, AND SOIL. 33
edly live to an advanced age. The salmon fishery commences about,the middle of July, and ceases in October.
This is a busy period for the natives; for upon their industry in saving a sufficiency of salmon for the winter
depends their chief support. Jub, suckers, trout, and
white-fish are caught in the lakes; and in the month of
October, towards the close of the salmon-fishery, we catch
trout of a most exquisite flavour. Large-sized sturgeon
are occasionally taken in the vorveaux, but they are not
relished by the natives."
Mr Dunn, in his valuable "History of the Oregon
Territory," thus describes the country and climate :—
"After the Columbia, the river next in importance is
Fraser River. It takes its rise in the Rocky Mountains,
hear the source of Canoe River, taking a north-west course
of eighty miles. It then turns to the southward, receiving Stuart's River, which rises in a chain of lakes in the
northern boundary of the territory. It then pursues a
southerly course, and after receiving many tributaries,
breaks through the cascade range of hills in a series of
falls and rapids; and after a westerly course of seventy
miles, empties itself into the Gulf of Georgia, in latitude
49° 7' north. This latter portion is navigable for vessels
that can pass its bar drawing ten feet of water. Its
whole length is 350 miles. There are numerous lakes
scattered through the several sections. The country is all
well watered; and there are but four places where an
abundance of water cannot be obtained, either from lakes,
rivers, or springs.
& 34
The climate of the western division is mild throughout
the year, neither the cold of winter, nor the heat of
summer predominating. The mean temperature is about
50° Fahrenheit. The prevailing winds, in summer, are
from the northward and westward, and in winter, from
the west, south, and south-east. The winter lasts from
about November till March, generally speaking. During that time there are frequent falls of rain, but not
heavy. Snow seldoms lies longer than a week on the
ground. There are frosts so early as September, but they
are not severe, and do not continue long. The easterly
winds are the coldest, as they come from across the mountains, but they are not frequent. Fruit trees blossom
early in April in the neighbourhood of Nasqually and
Vancouver; and in the middle of May pease are a foot
high, and strawberries in full blossom; indeed, all fruits
and vegetables are as early there as in England. The
hills, though of great declivity, have a sward to their tops.
Lieutenant Wilkes says, that out of 106 days, 67 were fair*
19 cloudy, and 11 rainy. The middle section is subject
to droughts. During summer the atmosphere is drier
and warmer, and in winter colder than in the western
section; its extremes of heat and cold being greater and
more frequent. However, the air is fine and healthy;
the atmosphere in summer being cooled by the breezes
that blow from the Pacific.
"The soil of the western section varies from a deep
^)lack vegetable loam to a light brown loamy earth. The
hills are generally basalt stone and slate.   The surface is CLIMATE, PRODUCTIONS, AND SOIL. 35
generally undulating, well watered, well wooded, and well
adapted for agriculture and pasturage. The timber consists of pine, fir, spruce, oaks (white and red), ash, arbutus,
cedar, arbor-vitas, poplar, maple, willow, cherry, tew, with
underwoods of hazel and roses. All kinds of grain,
wheat, rice, barley, oats, and pease, can be procured there
in abundance. Various fruits, such as pears, apples, &c,
succeed there admirably; and the different vegetables
produced in England yield there most abundant crops.
" The middle section, which is about 1000 feet above the
level of the western, is not so well wooded or fertile; yet
in the southern parts of it, where the missionaries have
established settlements, they have raised excellent crops,
and reared large stocks of cattle. Notwithstanding the
occasional cold, their cattle are not housed, nor is provender
laid in for them in any quantity, the country being sufficiently supplied with fodder in the natural hay, that is
everywhere abundant in the prairies, which the cattle
Mr Wilkes says, " In comparison with the United
States, I would say, that the labour necessary in this territory to acquire wealth or subsistence is in the proportion
of one to three; or in other words, a man must work
throughout the year three times as much in the United
States to gain the like competency. The care of stock,
which requires so much time with us, requires no attention
there, and on the increase only, a man might find support."
He further says, " There will be also a demand for the
timber of this country at high prices, throughout the 36
Pacific. The oak is well adapted for ship timber, and
abundance of ash, cedar, cypress, and arbor-vitae may be
had for other purposes, building, fuel, fencing," &c. He
also adds, "No part of the world affords finer inland sounds,
or a greater number of harbours, than are found within the
Straits of Juan de Fuca, capable of receiving the highest
class of vessels, and without a danger in them which is
not visible. From the rise and fall of the tides (eighteen
feet) every facility is afforded for the erection of works
for a great maritime nation. The country also affords as -
many sites for maritime power as any other."
On the northern coast there are a number of islands
which belong to the territory. The largest are Vancouver's
Island, and Queen Charlotte Island, both of which enjoy
a mild and salubrious climate, with a soil well adapted to
agriculture. They have also an abundance of fine fish
in their waters. Coal of a very good quality is found there
close by the surface, and they also contain numerous
veins of valuable minerals.
All the rivers abound in salmon of the finest quality,
which run twice a year, beginning in May and October,
and appear inexhaustible. In Fraser River, the salmon
are very numerous. The bays and inlets abound with
several kinds of salmon, sturgeon, cod, carp, sole, flounders,
perch, herring, and eels; also with shell-fish—crabs, oysters,
&c. Whales and sea otters in numbers are found along
the coast, and are frequently captured by Indians, in and
at the mouth of the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
Game abounds in the western section, such as elk, CLIMATE, PRODUCTIONS, AND SOIL. 37
deer, antelopes, bears, wolves, foxes, musk-rats, martins.
And in the spring and fall, the rivers are covered with
geese, ducks, and other water-fowl. Towards the Rocky
Mountains buffaloes are found in great numbers.
From the advantages this country possesses, it bids
fair to have an extensive commerce, on advantageous terms,
with most parts of the Pacific. It is well calculated to produce the following staple commodities,—furs, salted beef
and pork, grain, flour, wool, hides, tallow, timber, and coals.
And in return for these—sugars, coffee, and other tropical
productions may be obtained at the Sandwich Islands. Advantages that in time must become of immense importance.
Those districts of British America west of the lakes
which by soil and climate are suitable for settlement,
may be thus enumerated:—
Vancouver's Island ..'...«.. . . 16,200 square miles.
Fraser and Thomson Rivers 60,000    „       „
Sources of the Upper Columbia . . . 20,000    „        „
Athabasca District 50,000     „        „
Saskatchewan, Red River, Assineboin,
&c 360,000    „       „
Under these geographical divisions we propose to give
the results of a parliamentary investigation (just published)
into the affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company, so far as
they are descriptive of the foregoing districts:—
Vancouver's island.
This island is fertile, well timbered, finely diversified 38
by intersecting mountain ranges, and small prairies, with
extensive coal fields, compared by one witness to the West
Riding of Yorkshire coal, and fortunate in its harbours.
Esquimault Harbour, on which Victoria is situated, is equal
to San Francisco. The salmon and other fisheries are
excellent; but this advantage is shared by every stream
and inlet of the adjacent coast. The climate is frequently
compared with England, except that it is even warmer.
The winter is stormy, with heavy rains in November and
December; frosts occur in the lowlands in January, but
seldom interrupt agriculture; vegetation starts in February, rapidly progressing in March and fostered by alternate
warm showers and sunshine in April and May—while
intense heat and drought are often experienced during
June, July, and August. As already remarked, the island
has an area of 16,200 square miles.
Northward of Vancouver's Island the coast range of
mountains trends so near the Pacific as to obstruct intercourse with the interior, but "inside," in the language of
a witness, " it is a fine open country." This is the valley
of Fraser River. Ascending this river, near Fort Langley,
I a large tract of land" is represented as " adapted to colonists ;" while of Thomson River, the same witness says that
it is " one of the most beautiful countries in the world "—
" climate capable of producing all the crops of England,
and much milder than Canada." The sources of Fraser
River, in latitude 55°, are separated from those of Peace CLIMATE, PRODUCTIONS, AND SOIL. 39
Paver (which flows through the Rocky Mountains, eastward, into the Athabasca) by the distance of only 317
A glance at the map will shew how considerable a district of British Oregon is watered by the Upper Columbia
and its tributary, the M'Gillioray or Flat Bow river. It is
estimated above at 20,000 square miles, and has been described in enthusiastic terms by the Bishop of Oregon—
De Smet—in his " Oregon Missions." The territory of the
Kootonais Indians would seem, from his glowing description, to be divided in favourable proportion between forests
and prairies. Of timber, he names birch, pine of different
species, cedar, and cypress. He remarked specimens of
coal, and "great quantities of lead," apparently mixed
with silver. The source of the Columbia seemed to impress him as " a very important point." He observes that
"the climate is delightful"—that the extremes of heat
and cold are seldom known, the snow disappearing as it
falls. He reiterates the opinion "that the advantages
nature seemed to have bestowed on the Columbia, will
render its geographical position very important at some
future day, and that the hand of civilised man would
transform it into a terrestrial paradise."
It is an interesting coincidence that Bishop De Smet
published in a St Louis paper, a few months since, a
similar description of this region, adding that it could be
reached from Salt Lake City along the western base of
the Rocky Mountains with waggons, and that Brigham
mm* H
Young proposed to lead his next Mormon exodus to the
sources of the Columbia River. Such a movement is not
improbable, and would exhibit far greater sagacity than
an emigration to Sonora.
The valleys of the Peace and Athabasca Rivers, which
occupy the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains from lat.
55° to 59° share the Pacific climate in a remarkable
degree. The Rocky Mountains are greatly reduced in
breadth and mean elevation, and through the numerous
passes between their lofty peaks the winds of the Pacific
reach the district in question. Hence it is that Sir Alexander Mackenzie, under date of 10th May, mentions the
"exuberant verdure of the whole country"—trees about
to blossom, and buffalo attended by their young. During
the late parliamentary investigation, similar statements
were elicited. Dr Richard King, who accompanied an
expedition in search of. Sir John Ross, as " surgeon and
naturalist," was asked what portion of the country he saw
was available for the purpose of settlement. In reply,
he described as a "very fertile valley," a " square piece of
country," bounded on the south by Cumberland House,
and by the Athabasca Lake on the north. His own words
are as follows :—"The sources of the Athabasca and the
sources of the Saskatchewan include an enormous area
of country; it is, in fact, a vast piece of land surrounded
by water. When I heard Dr Livingstone's description of
that splendid country which he found in the interior of ^s^
Africa within the equator, it appeared to me to be precisely
the kind of country which I am now describing. ....
It is a rich soil interspersed with well-wooded country,
there being growth of every kind and the whole vegetable
kingdom alive." When asked concerning mineral productions, his reply was,—" I do not know of any other
mineral except limestone; this is apparent in all directions. * o * • The birch, the beech, and the maple are in
abundance, and there is every sort of fruit." When
questioned further as to the growth of trees, Dr King replied by a comparison "with the magnificent trees round
Kensington Park in London." He described a farm near
Cumberland House under very successful cultivation—
"luxuriant wheat"—potatoes, barley, pigs, cows and
The area of this continent, north-west of Minnesota,
and known as the Saskatchewan district, is estimated by
English authorities to comprise 368,000 square miles.
North-west from Otter Tail Lake, the geographical centre
of Minnesota, extends a vast silurian formation, bounded
on the west along the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains by coal measures. Such a predominance of limestone implies fertility of soil, as in the north-western
States, and the speedy colonisation of Saskatchewan
would be assured if the current objection to the severity
of climate was removed. On this point a few facts will
be presented. m
The Sea of Azof, which empties into the Black Sea,
forming the eastern border of the Crimean peninsula,
freezes about the beginning of November, and is seldom
open before the beginning of April. A point less than
one hundred miles north, but far down in southern Russia,
namely, Catherineoslay, has been found, from the observation of many years, to be identical in summer and winter climate with Fort Snelling. Nine-tenths of European
Russia, therefore, the main seat of population and resources, is further north than St Paul. In fact, Pembina is the climatic equivalent of Moscow, and for that of
St Petersburg, (which is 60° north), we may reasonably
go to latitude 55° on the American continent.
Like European Russia, also, the Saskatchewan district
has a climate of extremes—the thermometer having a
wide range; but it is well understood that the growth of
the cereals and of the most useful vegetables depends
chiefly on the intensity and duration of the summer heats,
and is comparatively little influenced by the severity of
winter cold, or the lowness of the mean temperature during the year. Therefore it is important to observe that
the northern shore of Lake Huron has the mean summer
heat of Bordeaux, in southern France, or 70° Fahrenheit;
while Cumberland House, in latitude 54°, longitude 102°,
on the Saskatchewan, exceeds in this respect Brussels and
The United States Army Meteorological Register has
ascertained that the line of 70° mean summer heat
crosses the Hudson River at West Point, thence descends "%
to the latitude of Pittsburg, but, westward, is traced
through Sandusky, Chicago, Fort Snelling, and Fort
Union, near -latitude 49°, into British America. The
average annual heat at Quebec is experienced as far
north as latitude 52° in the Saskatchewan country.
Mr Blodget states that not only all the vicinity of the
south branch of the Saskatchewan is as mild in climate as
St Paul, but that the north branch of that river is almost
equally favourable, and that the ameliorating influence of
the Pacific,, through the gorges of the Rocky Mountains, is
so far felt on Mackenzie's River, that wheat may be grown
in its valley nearly to. the 65th parallel
In the foregoing account of the districts of the interior,
we have given faithfully, as in duty bound, the facts that
have been elicited in the various investigations, public
and otherwise, that have taken place. At the same time,
we think it but fair to state, that large portions of these
fine districts, especially the Athabasca and Saskatchewan,
are at present very far beyond the reach of any civilised
market, and overrun by hordes of warlike Indians.
We have thus given a brief survey of the position
and resources of the territory surrounding the new El
Dorado. One observation we may be permitted to hazard.
Perhaps there is no more striking illustration of the wisdom of that Providence which presides over the management of our affairs, than in the fact that emigration was
first led to the eastern coast, rather than to the slopes or
plains of the west. Had the latter been first occupied, it
is doubtful whether the rocks and lagoons of the seaboard HANDBOOK TO THE NEW EL DORADO.
would ever have been settled. No man would have turned
from the prairie sward of the Pacific to the seamed slopes
of the Atlantic edge. As it is, we have the energy and patience which the difficult soil of the east generates, with that
magnificent sweep of western territory, which, had it been
opened to us first, might, from its very luxuriousness, have
generated among those occupying it, an ignoble love of
ease. CHAPTER in.
For some time to come, the great line of route to the
new El Dorado will likely be by water from the different
settlements along the coast of the Pacific. Steam communication has long been established between Panama
and San Francisco, and a line of vessels is now regularly
plying between the latter port and Vancouver's Island,
from whence easy access is had to the diggings, by means
of small steamers. The steamers at present running on
the coast make the voyage from Panama to Vancouver's
Island in fourteen or fifteen days. The following statistics
of fares and freights are supplied by the Times1 correspondent :—
I The rates of passage at present from San Francisco
to New York are—Steerage, 150 dols.; second cabin, 250
dols.; first cabin, 300 dols. per berth for each passenger.
An entire state-room is the price of two passengers—600
dols. From New York to San Francisco the fares are
the same. San Francisco to Panama, sometimes the
same as to New York, and sometimes one-third less.
!   ■*:
I 46
Freight on specie, 1 per cent, to New York; j per cent,
to Panama, with a slight discount to shippers of large
amounts. Freight on merchandise from Panama, 2 dols.
10 cents per foot. The quantity of freight is considerable
in French silks, cloths, and light goods, but the bulk is
in Havannah cigars, nearly all the supply for this market
coming vid Panama. The fares up by the steamers from
San Francisco to Victoria are—Steerage, 30 dols.; cabin,
60 dols."
This route, besides being at present the most direct and
expeditious, presents another great advantage. Passing
along the coast of California, it gives passengers ah opportunity of either settling there, or continuing their
journey to British Columbia. That this is no unimportant advantage, will be at once conceded when it is borne
in mind that it is not the gold-producing country on the
Fraser River alone that offers strong inducements to
In a letter published on 4th August, the Times1 correspondent remarks:—" In a few weeks, with a continuance
of the present drain upon our mining, mechanical, and
labouring population generally, as good a field for labour
of every kind will again be open in California as there
was from 1849 to 1851, when the country became flooded
with immigrants. In fact, the openings now being made
in the mines and in labour of all sorts, and the rise of
wages in consequence of the exodus hence, offer greater
inducements to emigrants than existed in the first years
of our organisation. Then there was little besides mining ROUTES.
that a man could turn his hand to. Now the gradual
development of the resources of the country has opened
many avenues* for labour of various kinds, and mining
claims, which pay well, and in which a competency would
be realised in a moderate space of time, are abandoned
because they do not produce gold in bushels, as their
owners1 hope to find the new mines to yield." And in
another letter, the same authority says:—"The excitement in the interior is universal. I was up the country
this week, and returned only last night; so that I had an
opportunity of judging for myself. From every point of
the compass squads of miners were to be seen making for
San Francisco to ship themselves off; and I heard of
arrangements having been completed for driving stock
overland to meet the demands of the new population
congregating in the Puget Sound country. One man had
purchased a drove of mules, and another had speculated
in 200 Californian horses, to supply the demand for
' packing.' These two ' ventures' were to proceed overland in two days hence. The speculator in horses had
been at Fraser River, and returned convinced of the
judiciousness of his ' spec' He spoke of the overland
trip with enthusiasm; plenty of game and of grass, a
fine climate, and no molestation from Indians. As a
natural result of all this emigration, business in the interior is becoming much deranged. The operations of
the country merchants are checked; rents and the value
of property in the interior towns are diminishing. Some
of the merchants are ' liquidating,' and some have already
2S 48
moved their business to San Francisco, to take advan^
tage of the business which must spring up between that
port and the north-west. All the movements made in
consequence of the new gold discovery have tended to
benefit San Francisco, and she will, no doubt, continue
to derive great advantages from the change. The increase of business will bring an increase of immigration
to the city, for there is every reason to believe, judging
from past experience, that a considerable proportion of
the emigration from Europe, the Atlantic States, and
Australia, will rest here; that the city will increase
rapidly, and that an advance in the value of property
must ensue in consequence. The fact is, that there is
now in California so extensive an association of capital
and labour engaged in mining successfully, that, happen
what may in other countries, the 'yield' here must continue to be very great. Companies of men who have
large amounts of money invested in mining of a variety
of sorts, such as 'tunnelling,' 'sluicing,' and 'quartz
crushing,' on a large scale, are not going to abandon well-
developed properties which produce profitable returns.
We have no fear of having to suffer any inconvenience
from a scarcity of gold in California in consequence of
the removal from the country of so many miners. I
make these statements for the information of parties
abroad engaged in business with this country."
The following is the journal of a traveller who lately
proceeded on this route:—
" Left San Francisco on Thursday, the 24th of June, at ROUTES.
4j p.m., and arrived in Esquimault Harbour, near Victoria, on the following Tuesday, at six in the morning—
distance, 800 miles. The steamer was so crowded with
gold-hunters, speculators, merchants, tradesmen, and adventurers of all sorts, that exercise even on the quarterdeck could only be.coaxed by the general forbearance
and good-humour of the crowd. Before starting there
were stories to the prejudice of the steamer, the Oregon,
belonging to the Pacific Mail Company, rife enough to
damp the courage of the timid; but she behaved well,
and beat another boat that had five hours' start of her. The
fact is we had a model captain, a well-educated, gentlemanly man, formerly a lieutenant in the United States
navy, whose intelligence, vigour, and conduct inspired
full confidence in all. With Captain Patterson I would
have gone to sea in a tub. Whatever may be the sins of
the company as monopolists of the carrying trade on this
coast, justice must award them the merit of having
selected a staff of commanders who atone for many
"The voyage from San Francisco to Vancouver's
Island, which in a steamer is made all the way within
sight of the coast, is one of the most agreeable when the
voyager is favoured with fine weather. I know none
other so picturesque out of the Mediterranean. The navigation is so simple that a schoolboy could sail a steamer,
for a series of eighteen headlands, which jut out into the
ocean all along the coasts of California, Oregon, and
Washington Territory, served as landmarks to direct the
D 50
mariner in his course. All he has to do is to steer from
one to another; from Point Reyes outside the Golden
Gate to Point Arena, the next in succession, and so on
till he comes to Cape Flattery, upon rounding which
he enters the Straits of Fuca, towards the end of his
voyage.   •
" The northern portion of the coast of California and
the whole length of the coasts of Oregon and Washington are thickly wooded. In fact, this vast stretch of
country is one continuous pine forest. From the shore,
where the trees dip into the sea, back to the verge of the
distant horizon, over hills, down valleys, across ravines,
and on and around the sides and tops of mountains, it is
one great waving panorama of forest scenery. Timber
enough to supply the wants of the world for ages, one
would think. Yet the broken character of the country
relieves the scene from monotony, and it fully realises
the idea of the grand and the beautiful combined. One
spot in particular made an impression upon me which I
wish I had the power to convey by words. Between
Cape Mendocina and Humboldt Bay, on the northern
limits of California, a grand collection of hills and mountains of every variety of size, shape, and form occurs.
This grand group recedes in a gentle sweep from the
coast far inland, where it terminates in a high conical
mountain, overtopping the entire mass of pinnacles which
cluster around it. The whole is well clothed with trees
of that feathery and graceful foliage peculiar to the
spruce and larch, and interspersed with huge round ROUTES.
clumps of evergreens, with alternations of long glades
and great open patches of lawn covered with rich grass
of that bright emerald green peculiar to California. This
woodland scene, viewed of an early morning, sparkling
with dew-drops under the rising sun which slowly lifted
the veil of mist hanging over it, surpassed in beauty anything I have seen on this continent. Here everything in
nature is on a grand scale. All her works are magnificent to a degree unknown in Europe. A trip to these
regions will pay the migratory Englishman in search of
novelty to his heart's content, and I will bear the blam*
if he is not well pleased with his journey. California
alone should satisfy a traveller of moderate desires.
Here he will find combined the beauty and loveliness of
English landscape with the bolder and grander features
of the scenery of the Western continent—a combination,
perhaps, unequalled in any other country. On this, the
northern coast, the bold and the picturesque predominate
over the tamer park-like scenery of the interior valleys,
which so nearly resemble the 'fine old places' of England."
Another route, which it is proposed to open on the
other side of the country, from Minnesota to the Fraser
River gold mines, would appear to be very feasible.
From St Anthony the Mississippi is navigable for large
steamers as far as the Sauk Rapids. Thence to Brecken-
ridge, at the head of the navigation of the Red River
of the North, is a distance of 125 miles. This part
of the journey must be made overland; but already 52
this district is being fast occupied by settlers, and a good
road may easily be constructed.    At Breckenridge a
settlement has also been established.   Here commences
the fertile valley of the Red River, and from this point,
as appears from Captain Pope's survey, the river, which
runs due'north, is navigable for steamers all the way to
its mouth, at the southern extremity of Lake Winnepeg.
It begins with four feet of .water, and gradually deepens
to fifteen feet.    Lake Winnepeg, which is long, narrow,
and deep, receives near its northern end the Saskatchewan, flowing from the west, and having its sources in the
Rocky Mountains.    The river, and the country on its
banks, have recently attracted attention as well fitted for
colonisation.   Taking the climate of the eastern portion
of the continent, and of the region round Hudson's Bay,
as a standard, it was long supposed that all the interior
of North America, beyond the 48th or 49 th degree of
north latitude, was too cold to produce grain crops; and
unfit, therefore, for the habitation of civilised men.   Recent investigations, however, have fully established the
curious  and very important  fact,  that  west of   the
western end  of   Lake  Superior,   at about  the  100th
degree of west longitude, a remarkable change begins to
take place in the climate; to such an extent, that as we
proceed westward the limit of vegetable growth, and of
the production of grain, is extended far to the north, so as
to include the whole valley of the Saskatchewan, which
is represented as in other respects well fitted for settlement.    The Saskatchewan is a river larger and longer ROUTES.
than the Red River of the North; and, according to
Governor Simpson, of the Hudson's Bay Company's Service, in his notes on its exploration, it is navigable by
its northern branch, with only one rapid to obstruct
navigation, for seven hundred miles in a direct line to
the foot of the Rocky Mountains. How serious an obstruction this may be does not clearly appear. It can
hardly be a perpendicular fall, since, according to Governor Simpson, canoes and flat-boats pass over it in
safety. From the head of navigation it is only about two
hundred miles across the Rocky Mountains, of which the
elevation here is much less than in Oregon and California,
to the Thompson.and Fraser Rivers.
The distance from Breckenridge to the mouth of the
Red River is estimated at 450 miles. Thence through
Lake Winnepeg to the mouth of Saskatchewan is
200 miles. Allowing for windings, the navigation by
that river may be set down at 1000 miles. Add 125
miles of land carriage at one end of the route, and 200
at the other, making in the whole a distance of about
2000 miles, from the starting point on the Mississippi.
So fully impressed are some enterprising people of
Minnesota with the practicability and advantage of this
route, that measures have been already taken for building
a steamer at Breckenridge, designed to navigate the waters
of the Red River, Lake Winnepeg, and Saskatchewan,
and to be ready for that purpose by the opening of next
spring. Meantime as the greater part of the route is
within the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company,
M 54
steps have been taken to open a communication with the
Governor of that Company, and with other persons
likely to assist in putting a line of steamers on these
At present various measures are being taken by the
Canadians to shorten this last route, and apparently with
much success. They are making arrangements for passing around the head waters of Lake Superior, and thus
saving the detour in Minnesota. In a very short time it
is said that an easy and inexpensive means of communication will be formed between Canada and the gold-
fields ; but, for the present, the Panama route is decidedly
the preferable one for British emigrants. CHAPTER IV.
The Pacific coast extends from Panama westward and
northward, without any remarkable irregularity in its
outline, to the tropic of Cancer, almost immediately und
which is the entrance of the great Gulf of California,
separating the Peninsula of California from the main
continent on the east. From the southern extremity of
this peninsula the coast runs generally north-westward to
Mount St Elias, a lofty volcanic peak, rising from the
shore of the ocean under the 60th parallel, beyond
which the continent stretches far westward, between the
Pacific on the south, and the Arctic Sea on the north, to
its termination at Cape Prince of Wales, in Behring's
Straits, the passage separating America from Asia. The
part of the coast south of the 49th degree of latitude (the
American boundary) presents few indentations, and the
islands in its vicinity are neither numerous nor large.
North of the 49 th degree, on the contrary, the mainland
is everywhere penetrated by inlets and bays; and near it
are thousands of islands, many of them extensive, lying
jgwrjiu 56
singly or in groups, separated from each other and from
the continent by narrow channels.
From the mouth of the Columbia forty-five miles
of unbroken coast reaches Whidbey's Bay, called by the
Americans Bulfinches' Harbour, and not unfrequently
Gray's Bay, which, with an entrance of scarce two miles
and a-half, spreads seven miles long and nine broad,
forming two deep bays like the Columbia. Here there is
secure anchorage behind Point Hanson to the south and'
Point Brown to the north, but the capacity of the bay is
lessened to one-third of its size by the sand banks which
encroach on it in every direction. like the Columbia,
its mouth is obstructed by a bar which has not more than
four fathoms water, and as it stretches some three miles
to seaward, with breakers on each side, extending the
whole way to the shore, the difficulty of entrance is
increased. It lies nearly east and west, and receives from
the east the waters of the river Chikelis, having its rise
at the base of the mountains, which, stretching from
Mount Olympus in the north, divide the coast from
Puget's Sound. From Whidbey's Bay to Cape Flattery,
about eighty miles, but two streams, and those unimportant, break the iron wall of the coast, which rising
gradually into lofty mountains is crowned in hoary
grandeur by the snow-clad peaks of Mount Olympus.
Cape Flattery, called also Cape Classet, is a conspicuous
promontory in lat. 48° 27'; beyond it, distant one mile,
lies Tatouches Island, a large flat rock, with perpendicular sides, producing a few trees, surrounded by rocky DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 57
islets : it is one mile in length, joined to the shore by a
reef of rocks, and a mile further, leaving a clear passage
between them, is a reef named Ducan's Rock. Here
commences, in lat. 48° 30', that mighty arm of the sea,
which has been justly named from its first discoverer, the
Strait of Juan de Fiica, and which Captain Cook passed
without perceiving. The entrance of this strait is about
ten miles in width, and varies from that to twenty with
the indentations of its shores, of which the northern,
stretching to the north-west and south-east across the
entrance, gives an appearance of continuity to its line on
the Pacific. Running in a south-easterly direction for
upwards of one hundred miles, its further progress is
suddenly stopped by a range of snow-clad mountain, at
the base of which, spreading abroad its mighty arms to
the north and south, it gives to the continent the appearance of a vast archipelago.
Of the Straits of Fuca and surrounding shores, the
latest and fullest information we possess is that contained
in the letter of the Times1 special correspondent, published on 27th August.   He says:—
| We have now rounded Cape Flattery, and are in the
Straits of Fuca, running up between two shores of great
beauty. On the left is the long-looked-for Island of
Vancouver, an irregular aggregation of hills, shewing a
sharp angular outline as they become visible in the early
dawn, covered with the eternal pines, saving only occasional sunny patches of open greensward, very pretty and
picturesque, but the hills not lofty enough to be very
MtoMmae. 58
striking. The entire island, properly speaking, is a
forest. On the right we have a long massive chain of
lofty mountains covered with snow, called the Olympian
range—very grand, quite Alpine in aspect. This is the
peninsula, composed of a series of mountains running
for many miles in one unbroken line, which divides the
Straits of Fuca from Puget Sound. It belongs to
America, in the territory of Washington, is uninhabited,
and, like its opposite neighbour, has a covering of pines
far up towards the summit. The tops of these mountains
are seldom free from snow. The height is unknown,
perhaps 15,000 feet. We ran up through this scenery
early in the morning, biting cold, for about forty miles to
Esquimalt Harbour—the harbour—which confers upon
Vancouver's Island its pre-eminence.
" From the information of old miners, who pointed out
some of the localities on the northern coast' of California, and indicated the position of places in Oregon in
which they had dug for gold, I had a strong corroboration of an opinion which I stated in one of my late letters
—that the Fraser River diggings were a continuation of
the great goldfield of California. The same miners had
a theory that these northern mines would be richer than
any yet discovered, because the more northern portions
of California are richer than the central and southern
" The harbour of Esquimalt is a circular bay, or rather
a basin, holiowed by nature out of the solid rock. We
slid in through the narrow entrance between two low, DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 59
rocky promontories, and found ourselves suddenly transported from the open sea and its heavy roll and swell
into a Highland lake, placid as the face of a mirror, in
the recesses of a pine forest. The transition was startling. From the peculiar shape of the bay and the deep
indentations its various coves make into the shore, one
sees but a small portion of the harbour at a glance from
the point we brought up at. We therefore thought it
ridiculously small after our expectations had been so
highly wrought in San Francisco.
"The whole scenery is of the Highland character.
The rocky shores, the pine trees running down to the
edge of the lake, their dark foliage trembling over the
glittering surface which reflected them, the surrounding
hills, and the death-like silence. I was both delighted
and disappointed—delighted with the richness of the
scenery, but disappointed at the smallness of the harbour. Can this little loch, imprisoned within natural
ramparts of rocks, buried in the solitude of a forest, be
the place which I hoped would become so famous, the
great destiny of which has been prognosticated by statesmen and publicists, and the possession of which is bitterly envied us by neighbouring nations; this the place
where England is to centre a naval force hitherto
unknown in the Pacific, whence her fleets are to issue for
the protection of her increasing interests in the Western
world; this the seaport of the Singapore of the Pacific;
the modern Tyre into which the riches of the East are to
flow and be distributed to the Western nations; the
terminus of railway communication which is to connect
the Atlantic with the Pacific?
"Victoria is distant from Esquimalt, by land, about
three miles; round by sea, double the distance. The
intervening ground is an irregular promontory, having
the waters* of the Straits of Fuca on the south, the Bay of
Victoria on the east, and the Victoria arm encircling it
on the north. The promontory contains three farms,
reclaimed from the forest of pines, oaks, alders, willows,
and evergreens. The soil is good, and produces fair crops
of the ordinary cereals, oats, barley, and wheat, and good
grass, turnips, and potatoes.
" I came the first time to Victoria round by water.
The rowing of our boat was much impeded by kelp? The
shore is irregular; somewhat bold and rocky—two more
facts which confirmed the resemblance of the scenery to
that of the western coast of Scotland.
" The bay of Victoria runs in a zigzag shape—two long
sharp promontories on the southward hiding the town
from view until we get quite close up to it. A long low
sand-spit juts out into it, which makes the entrance
hazardous for large vessels at some little distance below
the town, and higher up the anchorage is shallow. Twice
at low tides I saw two or three ugly islands revealed,
where ships would have to anchor. In short, Victoria is
not a good harbour for a fleet. For small vessels and
traders on the coast, it will answer well enough.
" Victoria stands nobly on a fine eminence, a beautiful
plateau, on the rocky shore of the bay of the same name. DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 61
Generations yet to come will pay grateful tribute to the
sagacity and good taste of the man who selected it.
There is no finer site for a city in the world. The
plateau drains itself on every side by the natural depressions which intersect it, and there is space enough to
build a Paris on. The views are also good. Across the
straits you have the Olympian range washed by the sea;
towards the interior, picturesque views of wooded hills;
opposite, the fine woodland scenery of the country intervening between it and Esquimalt, the Victoria arm,
glimpses of which, as seen through the foliage, look like
a series of inland lakes; while in front, just at one's feet,
is the bay itself and its tributaries, or arms rather—
James's Bay, &c, always beautiful; and behind, towards
the south-east end of the island, is a view of great beauty
and grandeur—a cluster of small islands, San Juan and
others, water in different channels, straits and creeks, and
two enormous mountains in the far distance, covered
from base to summit with perpetual snow. These are
Mounts Baker and Rainier, in Washington territory.
Such are a few—and I am quite serious when I say only
a few—of the beauties which surround Victoria.
" As to the prospects of Vancouver's Island as a colony,
I would say that if it shall turn out that there is an
extensive and rich gold-field on the mainland in British
territory, as there is every reason to believe, the island
will become a profitable field for all trades, industries,
and labour. The population will soon increase from
Canada, whence an immigration of many thousands is
_-...-,-, -^
* 62
already spoken of, from Australia, South America-, the
Atlantic States, and, no doubt, from Europe also. If this
happens, the tradesman and the labourer will find employment, and the farmer will find a ready market, at
good prices, for his produce.
" Should the gold suddenly disappear, the island will
have benefited by the impulse just given to immigration,
for, no doubt, many who came to mine will remain to
cultivate the soil and to engage in other pursuits. If
this be the termination of the present fever, then to the
farmer who is satisfied with a competency—full garners
and good larder, who loves retirement, is not ambitious
of wealth, is fond of a mild, agreeable, and healthy
climate, and a most lovely country to live in— the island
offers every attraction. Its resources are, plenty of timber,
towards the northern portion producing spars of unequalled quality, which are becoming of great value in
England, and will soon be demanded in France, now that
the forests of Norway and of Maine are becoming exhausted ; limestone in abundance, which burns into good
lime for building and for agricultural purposes; coal in
plenty, now worked at Nanaimo, on the northern side of
the island, by the Hudson's Bay Company—the quality is
quite good, judging from the specimens I saw burning—it
answers well for steam purposes, and would have found
a ready sale in San Francisco were it not subject to a
heavy duty (of 30 per cent. I think) under the American
tariff; iron, copper, gold, and potter's clay. I have no
doubt that a gold-field will be discovered on the island DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 63
as it gets opened up to enterprising explorers. A friend
of mine brought down some sand from the sea-beach
near Victoria, and assayed it the other day. It.produced
gold in minute quantity, and I have heard of gold washings on the island. The copper is undeveloped. The
potter's clay has been tested in England, and found to be
very good.
" The character of the soil is favourable to agriculture.
It is composed of a black vegetable mould of a foot to
two feet in depth, overlaying a hard yellow clay. The
surface earth is very fine, pulverised, and sandy, quite
black, and, no doubt, of good quality; when sharpened
with sheep-feeding it produces heavy crops. The fallen
trees, which are very numerous, shew that the substratum of clay is too hard to produce anything. The roots
of the pine never penetrate it. In some places the spontaneous vegetation testifies to the richness of the soil—
such as wild pease or vetches, and wild clover, which I
have seen reach up to my horse's belly—and a most luxuriant growth of underwood, brambles, fern, &c.
" I visited seven farms within short distances of Victoria. The crops were oats, barley, wheat, pease, potatoes,
turnips, garden herbs and vegetables, fruits, and flowers;
no clover, the natural grass supplying sufficient food for
the cattle and sheep. The crops were all healthy, but
not heavy. The wheat was not thick on the ground, nor
had it a large head. It was such a crop as would be an
average only in a rich, well-cultiyated district of England
or Scotland; far lighter than you would see in the rich 64
counties of England and in the Carse of Gowrie. I was
informed that the ground was very badly prepared by
Indian labour—merely scratched over the surface. I
believe that with efficient labour and skilful treatment,
the crops»eould be nearly doubled. The oats and barley
were very good crops, and the potatoes looked quite
healthy, and I doubt not will turn out the best crop of
all. The peas were decidedly an abundant crop. Vegetables thrive well, and all the ordinary fruits, apples, currants, &c, are excessively abundant, some of the currant-
bushes breaking down with the weight of their fruit.
Flowers of the ordinary sorts do well, but delicate plants
don't thrive, owing to the coldness of the nights.
" Sheep thrive admirably. I saw some very fine pure
Southdowns. The rams were selling at 100 dollars each
(i>20) to California sheep farmers. Other breeds—hybrids
of Southdowns, merinos, and other stock—were also. in
good condition, and fair in size. Black cattle do well also.
The breed is a mixture of English and American, which
makes very good beef. The horses are little Indian
breeds, and some crosses with American stock, all very
clean limbed, sound, active, hardy, and full of endurance
and high spirit, until they get into livery-stables.
" During my stay, the climate was charming; the weather perfection—warm during the day, but free of glare,
and not oppressive; cool in the evenings, with generally
a gentle sea breeze. The long days—the protracted daylight eking out the day to nine o'clock at night—the lingering sunset, and the ample "gloaming," all so different DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 65
from what I had been accustomed to in more southern
latitudes, again reminded me of Scotland in the summer
" So far as I wandered—about ten miles round Victoria—the landscape is dotted with extensive croppings
of rock, which interfere with the labours of the husbandman. Few corn-fields are without a lot of boulders, or a
ridge or two of rocks rising up above the surface of the
ground. Consequently the cultivated fields are small,
and were sneered at by my Californian neighbours, who
are accustomed to vast open prairies under crop. I have
seen one field of 1000 acres all under wheat in California.
But then no other country is so favoured as this is for all
the interests of agriculture.
" The scenery of the inland country around Victoria is
a mixture of English and Scotch. Where the pine (they
are all " Douglass" pines) prevails, you have the good soil
broken into patches by the croppings of rock, producing
ferns, rye-grass, and some thistles, but very few. This is
the Scottish side of the picture. Then you come to the
oak region; and here you have clumps, open glades, rows,
single trees of umbrageous form, presenting an exact copy
of English park scenery. There is no running water, unfortunately, but the meadows and little prairies that lie
ensconced within the woods, shew no signs of suffering
from lack of water. The nights bring heavy dews, and
there are occasional rains, which keep them fresh and
green. I am told that in September rains fall which
renew the face of nature so suddenly, that it assumes the
E w
garb of spring, the flowers even coming out. The winter
is a little cold, but never severe. I have heard it complained of as being rather wet and muggy. Frost and
snow fall, but do not endure long.
" The climate is usually represented as resembling that
of England. In some respects the parallel may hold
good; but there is no question that Vancouver has more
steady fine weather, is far less changeable, and is on the
whole milder. Two marked differences I remarked—the
heat was never sweltering, as is sometimes the case in
England, and the wind never stings, as it too often does
in the mother country. The climate is unquestionably
superior in Vancouver."
To resume our description of the coast, the southern
shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca is described by Vancouver as being composed of sandy cliffs of moderate
height, falling perpendicularly into the sea, from the top
of which the land takes a further gentle ascent, where it is
entirely covered with trees, chiefly of the pine tribe, until
the forest reaches a range of high craggy mountains
which seem to rise from the woodland in a very abrupt
manner, with a few scattered trees on their sterile sides,
and their tops covered with snow. On the north the
shore is not so high, the ascent more gradual from thence
to the tops of the mountains, which are less covered with
snow than those to the south. They have from the strait
the appearance of a compact range. Proceeding up the
strait about seventy miles, a long low sandy point
attracted Vancouver's attention: from its resemblance to DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 67
Dungeness, on the coast of Kent, he named it New
Dungeness, and found within it good anchorage in from
ten to three fathoms j beyond this the coast forms a deep
bay about nine miles across; and three miles from its
eastern point lies Protection Island, so named from the
position it occupies at the entrance of Port Discovery.
Vancouver landed on it on the 1st of May 1792, and thus
describes its appearance :—" On landing on the west end,,
and ascending its eminence, which was a nearly perpendicular cliff, our attention was immediately called to a
landscape almost as enchantingly beautiful as the most
elegantly finished pleasure-grounds in Europe. The summit of this island presented nearly a horizontal surface,
interspersed with some inequalities of: ground, which
produced a beautiful variety on an extensive lawn
covered with luxuriant grass and diversified with abun-:
dance of flowers. To the north-westward was.'a coppice
of pine trees, and shrubs of various sorts, that seemed as
if it had been planted for the purpose of protecting from
the north-west winds this delightful meadow, over which
were promiscuously scattered a few clumps of trees that
would have puzzled, the most ingenious designer of
pleasure-grounds to have arranged more agreeably.
While we stopped to contemplate these several beauties
of nature in a prospect no less pleasing than unexpected,
we gathered some gooseberries and roses in a state of
considerable forwardness."
From this island, lying at the entrance of Port Discovery, commences the maritime importance of the terri- 68
tory, with, says Vancouver, as fine a harbour as any in
the world, though subsequently he awards the palm to
its neighbour Port Hudson. Its shores and scenery have
been thus described by Vancouver :—
" The delightful serenity of the weather greatly aided
the beautiful scenery that was now presented; the surface
of the sea was perfectly smooth, and the country before
us presented all that bounteous nature could be expected to draw into one point of view. As we had no
reason to imagine that this country had ever been indebted for any of its decorations to the hand of man, I
could not possibly believe that any uncultivated country
had ever been discovered exhibiting so rich a picture.
The land which interrrupted the horizon below the
north-west and north quarters seemed to be much broken,
from whence its eastern extent round to south-east was
bounded by a ridge of snowy mountains, appearing to
lie nearly in a north and south direction, on which Mount
Baker rose conspicuously, remarkable for its height and
the snowy mountains that stretch from its base to the
north and south. Between us and this snowy range, the
. land, which on the sea-shore terminated like that we had
lately passed in low perpendicular cliffs, or on beaches of
sand or stone, rose here in a very gentle ascent, and was
well covered with a variety of stately forest trees; these,
however, did not conceal the whole face of the country
in one uninterrupted wilderness, but pleasantly clothed
its eminences and chequered the valleys, presenting in
many directions extensive spaces that wore the appear- DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 69
ance of having been cleared by art, like the beautiful
island we had visited the day before. A picture so
pleasing could not fail to call to our remembrance certain
delightful and beloved situations in Old England." Both
the approaches to this port, round the extremities of
Protection Island, are perfectly free from obstruction, and
about a league in breadth.
Separated from Port Discovery only by a narrow slip
of land from a mile and a-half to two miles broad,
which trending to the east protects it from the north and
west, is port Hudson, having its entrance at the extremity of the point on the east side, but little more than
one mile broad; from which the harbour extends, in a
semicircular form, for about four miles westward, and
then trending for about six more, affords excellent
shelter and anchorage for vessels in from ten to twenty
fathoms, with an even bottom of mud.
In lat. 48° 16' the waters of the strait are divided by
a high white sandy cliff, with verdant lawns on each side ;
this was named by Vancouver Point Partridge. It forms
the western extremity of an island, long, low, verdant,
and well-wooded, lying close to the coast, and having its
south end at the mouth of a river rising in those mountains which here form a barrier to the further progress
of the sea. The snow-covered peak of the most lofty of
these is visible soon after entering the strait. Vancouver
named it Mount Baker, from the officer of his ship by
whom it was first seen. This mountain, with Mount
Olympus, and another further to the south, named by s^a
the same navigator Mount Rainier, form nearly an equilateral triangle, and tower over the rest, the giant
wardens of the land. From Point Partridge the
southern branch extends about fifteen miles below the
island before mentioned; this Vancouver named Admiralty Inlet. Here the tides begin to be sufficiently
rapid to afford obstruction to navigation; and hence it
parts in two arms, one named Hood's Canal, taking,a
south-west course, and the other continuing a south
course for forty miles, and then also bending to the west,
terminates in a broad sound studded with islands, called
by him Puget's Sound.
On the east coast of Admiralty Inlet, there is a broad
sound with very deep water and rapid tides, but affording good anchorage in the mouth of the river. Here
Vancouver landed and took formal possession of the country on Monday, the 4th of June, (with the usual solemnities, and under a royal salute from the ships), in the
name of his Britannic Majesty King George the Third,
and for his 'heirs and successors—that day being His
Majesty's birthday—from lat. 39° 20' to the entrance of
this inlet, supposed to be the Strait of Juan de Fuca, as
well the northern as the southern shores, together with
those situated in the interior sea, extending from the
said strait in various directions between the north-west
north-east, and south quarters. This interior sea he
named the Gulf of Georgia, and the continent bounding
the said gulf, and extending southward to the 45th degree
of north latitude, New Georgia, in honour of His Majesty DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 71
George III. The sound he named, from this incident,
Possession Sound. Of the country round the sound he
thus writes*:—" Our eastern view was now bounded by
the range of snowy mountains from Mount Baker, bearing by compass north, to Mount Rainier, bearing N. 54°
E. This mountain was hid by the more elevated parts of
the low land; and the intermediate snowy mountains, in
various rugged and grotesque shapes, were seen just to
rear their heads above the lofty pine trees, which appeared to compose an uninterrupted forest between us
and the snowy range, presenting a most pleasing landscape ; nor was our west view destitute of similar diversification. The ridge of mountains on which Mount
Olympus is situated, whose rugged summits were seen no
less fancifully towering over the forest than those of the
east side, bounded to a considerable extent our western
horizon; on these, however, not one conspicuous eminence arose, nor could we now distinguish that which on
the sea-coast appeared to be centrally situated, forming
an elegant biforked mountain. From the south extremity of these ridges of mountains there seemed to be an
extensive tract of land, moderately elevated and beautifully diversified by pleasing inequalities of surface, enriched with every appearance of fertility.
The narrow channel from Possession Sound, at the
back of the long island lying at its mouth, which Vancouver named Whidbey's Island, affords some small but
convenient harbours; its northern entrance is so choked
with rocks as to be scarcely practicable for vessels; but
its southern is wide, and the navigation unimpeded.
i% **&*
The northern arm of the straits commences in an
archipelago of small islands, well wooded and fertile, but
generally without water; in one of theni, however, Vancouver found good anchorage, though exposed to the
south, having wood, water, and every necessary; this he
named Strawberry Cove, from that fruit having been
found there in great abundance, and the island, from the
trees which covered it, Cypress Island. About this part
the continental shore is high and rocky, though covered
with wood; and, it may be remarked generally, that the
northern shore of the gulf becomes more rocky and
sterile, shewing gradually a less and less variety of trees,
until those of the pine tribe alone are found.
Above the archipelago the straits widen, swelling out
to the east in a double bay, affording good anchorage,
beyond which the shores become low and sandy, and a
wide bank of sand extends along them about one or two
miles, closely approaching the opposite side of the gulf,
leaving a narrow but clear channel. This bank, affording
large sturgeon, was named by Vancouver after that fish;
and keeping to the south around it, he did not observe
that here the gulf receives the waters of Fraser River
from the north. Here the gulf is open, and the navigation unimpeded, except by a few islands on the north
shore; one of them, named by the Spaniards de Feveda,
deserves notice; it is parallel with the shore, narrow, and
about thirty miles long.
Among the natural features of this part of the north
shore of the gulf, must not be omitted, on account of DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 73
their singularity, the small salt-water lakes, which are.
found divided from the sea only by a narrow ledge of
rock, having a depth over it of four feet at high-water.
They are consequently replenished by the sea every tide,
and form salt-water cascades during the ebb and rise of
of the tides; some of them, divided into several branches,
run through a low swampy woodland country. Here
also are streams of water, so warm as to be unpleasant
to the hand; and every feature of this district evidences
the violent effort of nature in its production. Except
the coast and canals, nothing is known of it; but its
mineral riches are scarcely problematical. The channels
between the several islands which here obstruct the gulf
are narrow, deep, and much impeded by the strength
of the tide, which is sufficient in some places to stop the
progress of a steam-vessel, as has been frequently experienced by the Hudson's Bay Company's steam-boat Beaver;
yet Vancouver found no difficulty in working his vessels
through Johnstone's Strait, the passage between these
islands and the southern shore, against a head-wind;
being compelled, as he says, to perform a complete traverse from shore to shore through its whole length, and
without meeting the least obstruction from rocks or
shoals. He adds, "the great depth of water, not only
here, but that which is generally found washing the
shores of this very broken and divided country, must
ever be considered a peculiar circumstance, and a great
inconvenience to its navigation; we, however, found a
sufficient number of stopping-places to answer all our 74
purposes, and in general Without going far out of our
way." From this archipelago, extending about sixty
miles, the strait widens into a broad expanse, which
swells to the north in a deep sound, filled with islands,
called Broughton's Archipelago. This part was named
by Vancouver Queen Charlotte's Sound; and is here
fifteen miles broad, exclusive of the archipelago, but it
contracts immediately to less than ten, and sixty miles
from Johnstone Straits joins the Pacific, its northern
boundary, Cape Caution, being in lat. 51° 10'. The entrance to the sound is choked with rocks and shoals.
Here, between Broughton's Archipelago and Cape Caution, another mountain, called Mount Stephen, conspicuous from its irregular form and great elevation, and
worthy to be named with those to the south, seems to
mount guard over the northern entrance to the straits.
From Cape Caution, off which are several groups of
rocks to lat. 54° 40', where the Russian territory commences, the coast has much the same character as that
already described between the Gulf of Georgia and the
sea, but that its harsher features are occasionally much
softened, and its navigation less impeded. Throughout
its whole length it is cut up by long and deep canals,
which form various archipelagos of islands, and penetrate
deeply and circuitously into the land, which is high, but
not so precipitous as about Desolation Sound, and generally covered with trees.
The islands lying close to the shore follow its sinuosities, and through the narrow channels thus formed the DESCRIPTION OF COASTS, HARBOURS, ETC. 75
currents are rapid; those more detached are more fertile;
they are all the resort of the natives during the fishing
season. Their formation is granite, the prevailing rock
north of lat. 49°. Distant thirty miles at its nearest and
ninety at its furthest point from the line of islands which
cover this coast, and under parallels 52° and 54°, lies
Queen Charlotte's Island, called by the Americans Washington. It is in form triangular, about 150 miles
long, and above sixty at its greatest breadth, and contains upwards of 4000 square miles. Possessed of an
excellent harbour on its east coast, in lat. 53° 3', and
another on the north, at Hancock's River (the Port
Entrada of the Spaniards), it is a favourite resort of
traders. The climate and soil are excellent, hills lofty
and well wooded, and its coast, especially on the west side,
deeply indented by arms of the sea, among which may be
named Englefield Bay and Cartwright's Sound. Coal and
some metals are said to have been found on this island.
On the whole the character of this coast seems to be
well expressed by Lieutenant Wilkes, when he says—
"Nothing can exceed the beauty of these waters, and
their safety; not a shoal exists within the straits of Juan
de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, Puget's Sound, or Hood's
Canal, that can in any way interrupt their navigation by
a 74 gun ship. I venture nothing in saying there is no
country in the world that possesses waters equal to these." CHAPTER V.
Mr Nicolay, in his treatise on the Oregon Territory,
gives a minute and graphic account of the aboriginal
inhabitants of this district, from which we purpose making some extracts to enrich our pages.
The principal Indian tribes, commencing from the
south, are the Callapuyas, Shaste, Klamet, Umqua,
Rogues' River, and Chinooks, between the Californian
boundary and Columbia, to the west of the Cascade
Mountains; the Shoshones or Snake and Nezperces
tribes about the southern branch of the Columbia, and
Cascade Indians on the river of that name; between the
Columbia and the Strait of Fuca, the Tatouche or Classet
tribe; and the Clalams about Port Discovery; the Sachet
about Possession Sound; the Walla-walla, Flat-head,
Flat-bow Indians, and Cour d'Aleine or Pointed Heart,
about the rivers of the same names; the Chunnapuns
and Chanwappans between the Cascade range and the
north branch of the Columbia; the Kootanie to the east,
between it and the Rocky Mountains; and to the north »<MP v
about Okanagan, various branches of the Carrier tribe.
Of those on the coast to the north and on Vancouver
Island not much is known.
Their numbers may be stated at a rough estimate as—
On the coast below the Columbia                .       .
About the Cascades	
On the Snake River and its tributary
Between the Columbia and Strait of De Fuca
Flat-head, &c.	
Vancouver's and Queen Charlotte's Island   .
On the coast of the Gulf of Georgia
This is, however, 6000 less than was reported to the Congress of the United States, and 4000 more than Mr
Wilkes' calculation.
That there are errors in his there can be no doubt;
and it is probable that some smaller tribes may be omitted in the above calculation; the number, therefore, between parallels 42° and 54° 40' may be roughly estimated
at 30,000.
Through the care of the Hudson's Bay Company and
the semi-civilised habits they have adopted, the number
of Indians to the north of the Columbia is not on the
decrease; to the south it is; and the total must be very IFTffli
considerably less than it was before the settlement was
made among them.
The Indian nations in Oregon may be divided into
three classes, differing, in habits and character according
to their locality and means of sustenance—the Indians
of the coast, the mountains, and the plains. The first
feed mostly on fish, and weave cloth for clothing from
the wool or hair of the native sheep, having to a great
extent settled residences, though these last characteristics are rapidly disappearing; the second, trappers and
hunters, wandering for the most part in pursuit of game;
and the third, the. equestrian tribes,, who, on the great
plains about the waters of the rivers, chase on their fleet
horses the gigantic bison; whose flesh supplies them with
food, and whose hide covers them. The former bear
some resemblance to the native inhabitants of the islands
of the Pacific. The two latter are in every respect Red
men. Those on the coast were first known, and when
visited by. the early voyagers had the characteristics
which, from contiguity to White men, have deteriorated
in the south, but which have been retained in the north
—high courage, determination, and great ingenuity, but
joined to cruelty and faithlessness; and as in the south
Destruction Island obtained its name from their savage
cruelty, so does the coast throughout its length afford
the same testimony. Cook, who first discovered them,
says, "They were thieves in the strictest sense of the
word, for they pilfered nothing from us but what they
knew could be . converted to the purposes of utility^ NATIVE TRIBES.
and had a real value according to their estimation of
things." %"•
Their form is thick and clumsy, but they are not
deficient in strength or activity; when young, their
colour is not dark nor their features hard, but exposure
to the weather, want of mental culture, and their dirty
habits, soon reduce them all to the same dark complexion
and dull phlegmatic want of expression which is strongly
marked in all of them.
In Cook's time, and till the White men settled among
them, their dress was a flaxen mantle, ornamented with
fur above, and tassels and fringes, which, passing under
the left arm, is tied over the right shoulder, leaving the
right side open: this is fastened round the waist by a
girdle: above this, which reaches below the knee, a circular cape, perforated in the centre to admit the head,
made of the same substance, and also fringed in the lower
part, is worn: it covers the arms to the elbows. Their
head is covered with a cap, conical but truncated, made
of fine matting, ornamented at the top with a knot or
tassels. Besides the above dress, common to both sexes,
the men frequently throw over their garments the skin of
a bear, wolf, or sea-otter, with the fur outwards: they
wear the hair loose, unless tied up in the scalping-lock:
they cover themselves with paint, and swarm with vermin ; upon the paint they strew mica to make it glitter.
They perforate the nose and ears, and put various ornaments into them.
But besides these common habits, they have official 80
and ceremonious occasions, on which they wear beautiful
furs and theatrical dresses and disguises, including large
masks; and their war-dress, formed of a thick doubled
leathern mantle of elk or buffalo skin, frequently with a
cloak over it, on which the hoofs of horses were strung,
makes an almost impervious cuirass. Their love for
music, general lively dispositions, except from provocation, but determination in avenging insult or wrong, is
testified by all.
Cook also gives a full description of their houses and
manner of life. Of the former, he says they are made of
split boards, and large enough for several families, who
occupy small pens on each side of the interior. They
have benches and boxes, and many of their utensils, such
as pipes, &c, are frequently carved; as are also gigantic
human faces on large trunks of trees, which they set up
for posts to their dwellings.
In their persons and houses they were filthy in the
extreme; in their habits lazy; but the women were
modest and industrious. Their principal food was fish,
but they had edible roots and game from the land. A
favourite article of food was also the roe of herrings,
dried on pine branches or sea-weed. Their weapons were
spears, arrows, slings, and clubs, similar to the New
Zealanders; also an axe, not dissimilar to the North
American tomahawk, the handle of which is usually
They made garments of pine-bark beaten fine; these
were made by hand with plaited thread and woollen, so NATIVE TRIBES'.
closely wove as to resemble cloth, and frequently had
worked on them figures of men and animals: on one
was the whole process of the whale fishery. Their aptitude for the imitative arts was very great. Their canoes
were rather elegantly formed out of trees, with rising
prow, frequently carved in figures. They differ from
those of the Pacific generally, in having neither sails nor
outriggers; they had harpoons and spears for whale-
fishing. Vancouver, when at Port Discovery, saw some
long poles placed upright on the beach at equal distances,
the object of which he could not discover, and it was not
till the last voyage of discovery, despatched from the
United States under Commodore Wilkes, that they were
ascertained to have been used for hanging nets upon, to
catch wild-fowl by night: their ingenuity in this and in
netting salmon is very remarkable. They have two nets,
the drawing and casting net, made of a silky grass found
on the banks of the Columbia, or the fibres of the roots
of trees, or of the inner bark of the white cedar. The
salmon-fishing on the Columbia commences in June,
the main body, according to the habit of this fish, dividing at the mouth of the tributary streams to ascend
then to their sources. At the rapids and falls the work
of destruction commences; with a bag-net, not unlike to
an European fisherman's landing-net, on a pole thirty
feet long, the Indians take their stand on the rocks, or on
platforms erected for the purpose, and throwing their
nets into the river above their standing-places, let them
float down the rapids to meet the fish as they ascend.
F 82
By this means many are caught; they have also stake-
nets and fines with stones for leads;  they also catch
many with hook and line, and sometimes, now  they
have fire-arms, shoot them.    Their mode of fishing for
sturgeon is also peculiar.     The line, made of twisted
fibres of tlie roots of trees, is attached to a large wooden
hook and let down over the side of a canoe; those used
for this purpose are small, having only one or two men at
most in them:   having hooked a fish, they haul him
gently up till he floats on the water, then, with a heavy
mallet, with one blow on the head they kill him; with
singular dexterity they contrive to jerk a fish of three
hundred pounds over the lowered side of the canoe by
a single effort.     They catch whales also by means of
harpoons with bladders attached.   The oil is sold to the
Hudson's Bay Company.     It has been said that their
houses were made of boards, but some constructive art
is displayed in their erection; as was much ingenuity in
procuring the materials   before axes  were   introduced
among them;  for they contrived to fell trees with a
rough chisel and mallet.   The houses are made of centre-
posts about eighteen feet high, upon which a long pole
rests, forming the ridge of the roof, from whence rafters
descend to another like it, but not more than five feet
from the ground;   to these again, cross poles are attached, and against these are placed boards upright, and
the lower end fixed in the ground; across these again,
poles are placed, and tied with cords of cedar bark to
those inside of the roof, which are similarly disposed: NATIVE TRIBES.
the planks are double. These houses are divided on
each side into stalls and pens, occupied as sleeping places
during the night, and the rafters serve to suspend the
fish, which "are dried by the smoke in its lengthened
course through the interstices of the roof and walls. In
their superstitions, theatricals, dances, and songs they
have much similarity to the natives of Polynesia. Debased now, and degraded even beneath their former
portrait—fast fading away before the more genial sun
of the fortunes of the White man—the Indians on the
southern coast are no longer free and warlike, and being
in subjection to the Hudson's Bay Company, English
manufactures are substituted for the efforts of their native
The mode of burial practised among the tribes on the
coast is very peculiar. The corpse is placed sometimes
in a canoe raised a few feet from the ground, with arms
and other necessaries beside it. These are not unfre-
quently spoiled beforehand, to prevent their being stolen,
as if they thought they might, like their owner, be
restored to their former state in the new world. Sometimes they are put in upright boxes like sentry-boxes—
sometimes in small enclosures—but usually kept neat,
and those of the chiefs frequently painted. Mount
Coffin, at the mouth of the Cowelitz, seems to have been
appropriated to the burial of persons of importance; it
is about seven hundred feet high, and quite isolated: on
it were to be seen the canoe-coffins of the natives in every
stage of decay; they were hung between.the trees about 84-
five feet from the ground. This cemetery of the Columbia is, however, destroyed, for the American sailors
under Wilkes, neglecting to put out their cooking-fire, it
spread over the whole mountain, and continued to rage
through the night, till all was burnt. A few small presents appeased the Indians, who but a few years before
could only have drowned the remembrance of such a
national disgrace in the blood of those who caused it.
Among the tribes about the lower part of the Columbia the singular custom of flattening the head still prevails, though not to the extent it did formerly; Mr Dunn
thus describes the operation :—
" Immediately after the birth, the infant is laid in an
oblong wooden trough, by way of cradle, with moss
under the head ; the end on which the head reposes is
raised higher than the rest; a padding is then placed on
the infant's forehead, with a piece of cedar-bark over
it; it is pressed down by cords, which pass through
holes on each side of the trough. As the tightening of
the padding and pressure of the head is gradual, the
process is said not to be attended with much pain.
The appearance of the infant, however, while under it,
is shocking,—its little black eyes seem ready to start
from their sockets; the mouth exhibits all the appearance of internal convulsion ; and it clearly appears that the face is undergoing a process of unnatural configuration. About a year's pressure is sufficient to produce the desired effect, the head is ever
after completely flattened;"  and as slaves are always
left to nature, this deformity is consequently a mark
of free birth. The Indians on the north coast possess
the characteristics of the southern, but harsher and
more boldly defined — they are of fiercer and more
treacherous dispositions. Indeed, those of the south
have a disposition to merriment and light-hearted
good humour. Their mechanical ingenuity is more remarkably displayed in the carving on their pipes, and
especially in working iron and steel. The Indians of the
coast are .doubtless all from the same stock, modified by
circumstances and locality. Those, however, to the south
of the Columbia, about the waters of the rivers Klamet
and Umqua, partake largely of the characteristics of the
Indians of the plains, their country having prairies, and
themselves possessing horses: they are remarkable for
nothing but their determined hostility towards the Whites.
Idleness and filth are inveterate among all three, but
among the Indians of the plains there is a marked difference ; there, their food consist of fish, indeed, and dried
for winter, but not entirely, being more varied by venison
than on the coast, and in the winter by roots, which they
dig up and lay by in store. They live more in moveable
tents, and to the south their great wealth is their horses.
They are not, like the coast Indians, of small stature and
inelegantly made, but remarkable for comeliness of person
and elegance of carriage. They are equestrian in their
habits, and shew to great advantage on horseback. The
principal tribes are the Shoshones and Walla-walla, between whom, as between the former and the Blackfeet, 86
there has been continual war. The Shoshones dwell
between the Rocky and Blue Mountain ranges, the Walla-
walla about the river of that name; the Blackfeet at
the foot of the Rocky Mountains, principally, but not
entirely, on the eastern side. Warlike and independent,
the Blackfeet had for a long time the advantage, having
been earlier introduced to the use of fire-arms; but by
the instrumentality of the Hudson's Bay Company, they
have been of late years more on an equality: they are
friendly to the Whites, but the Blackfeet, their mortal
enemies, and their hill-forts overhanging the passes of the
Rocky Mountains, make the future safety of the journey
to the United States depend on the temper of this fickle
and bloodthirsty nation, who have been well termed the
Arabs of the West, for truly their hand is -against every
man, and every man's hand against them; and though
seriously lessened in number by war and disease, they
still dwell in the presence of all their brethren. The
Shoshones feed frequently on horse-flesh, and have also
large quantities of edible roots, which stand them in great
stead during the winter. When the men are fishing for
salmon, the women are employed in digging and preserving the roots. There is, indeed, one tribe inhabiting the
country of the salt lakes and springs to the south of the
head-waters of the Snake or Saptin River, who have no
wish, beyond these roots, living in the most bestial manner possible: these, from their single occupation, have
been named Diggers. Above the Walla-walla, also, there
is a tribe called the Basket people, from their using a NATIVE TRIBES.
basket in fishing for salmon. The apparatus consists of
a large wicker basket, supported by long poles inserted
into it, and fixed in the rocks; to the basket is joined a
long frame, spreading above, against which the fish, in
attempting to leap the falls, strike and fall into the basket;
it is taken up three times a day, and at each haul not
unfrequently contains three hundred fine fish. The Flat-
heads, dwelling about the river of that name, are the most
northern of the equestrian tribes: their characteristics are
intelligence and aptitude for civilisation; yet, in the early
history of the country, their fierceness and barbarity in
war could not be exceeded, especially in their retaliation
on the Blackfeet, of which Ross Cox gives a horrible
account. The usual dress of these tribes is a shirt,
leggings, and mocassins of deer-skin, frequently much
ornamented with fringes of beads, and formerly in the
"braves" with scalps; a cap or handkerchief generally
covers the head, but the Shoshones twist their long black
hair into a natural helmet, more useful as a protection
than many artificial defences : in winter a buffalo robe is
added to the usual clothing. Horses abound among them,
and they are usually well armed. Through the influence
of the Hudson's Bay Company, these tribes are becoming
amalgamated by intermarriage, and will, doubtless, from
their pnability of disposition, readiness of perception, and
capability for improvement generally, no less than their
friendship for the Whites and devotion to the Company,
gradually lose their identity in acquired habits and knowledge, and become the peaceful proprietors of a country I
rich in flocks and herds, even very much cattle. The
more northern Indians inhabiting the mountainous
country round the head-waters of Oregon River and the
branches of the Columbia, evidence an origin similar to
the Chippewayan tribes on the east of the Rocky Mountains. Mackenzie found but little difference, when travelling from one to the other, and his guides were generally
well understood: like them, they have exchanged their
shirts and robes of skins for European manufactures, and
their bows and spears for fire-arms. Among them the
greater part of the furs exported by the Hudson's Bay
Company are procured, and the return of the traffic supplies all their wants: they differ, however, in manners
and habits; for among them is found the tribe of Car*
riers, whose filthmess and bestiality cannot be exceeded;
whose dainties are of putrid flesh, and are eaten up with
disease; nevertheless, they are a tall, well-formed, good-
looking race, and not wanting in ingenuity. Their houses
are well formed of logs of small trees, buttressed up internally, frequently above seventy feet long and fifteen
high, but, unlike those of the coast, the roof is of bark ;
their winter habitations are smaller, and often covered
over with grass and earth: some even dwell in excavations of the ground, which have only an aperture at the
top, and serves alike for door and chimney. Salmon,
deer, bears, and wild-fowl are their principal'food: of the
latter they procure large quantities.
Their mode of taking salmon is curious.   They build a
weir across the stream, having an opening only in one
place, at which they fix a basket, three feet in diameter,
with the mouth made something like an eel-trap, through
which alone the fish can find a passage. On the side of
this basket is a hole, to which is attached a smaller
basket, into which the fish pass from the large one, and
cannot return or escape. This, when filled, is taken up
without disturbing the larger one.    .
Of the religion and superstitions of the Indians little
need be said; the features of polytheism being everywhere as similar as its effects. Impudent conjurers are
their priests and teachers, and exerted once unlimited
sway; but under the satisfactory proofs of the value of
scientific medical practice and the tuition of the missionaries, it is to be hoped both their claims to respect will
be negatived; and as they have evinced great aptitude
to embrace and profit by instruction, it may perhaps
happen that secular knowledge may combine with religious to save them from the apparent necessary result.
In closing this brief account of the gold-fields of New
Caledonia, we cannot avoid adverting to the great event
which has been, we may say, contemporaneous with these
discoveries—the laying down of the Atlantic telegraph.
The sources of an apparently boundless and dazzling
wealth have been opened up in the Far West of America,
and a mighty stream of thought has begun its perpetual
-?i 90
flow backwards and forwards between her eastern shores
and England. We hail the coincidence as an assurance
that friendly communication, and peace, and good-will,
shall go hand and hand with the getting of gold in, and
the civilismg of, these far off regions; and we believe that
God will use both these new and mighty engines for the
advancement of the blessed gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ in the British possessions of North America **C~:
Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her
Majesty, July 2,1858.
No. I.
Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P.
Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
April 16, 1856.
Sir,—I hasten to communicate, for the information of Her
Majesty's Government, a discovery of much importance, made
known to me by Mr Angus M'Donald, clerk in charge of Fort
Colville, one of the Hudson's Bay Company's trading posts
on the Upper Columbia District.
That gentleman reports, in a letter dated on the 1st of
March last, that gold has been found in considerable quantities
within the British territory, on the Upper Columbia, and that
he is, moreover, of opinion, that valuable deposits of gold will
be found in many other parts of that country; he also states
that the daily earnings of persons then employed in digging
gold were ranging from .£2 to £8 for each man. Such is the
substance of his report on that subject, and I have requested
him to continue his communications in respect to any further
discoveries made.
I do not know if Her Majesty's Government will consider it
expedient to raise a revenue in that quarter, by taxing all
persons engaged in gold digging; but I may remark, that it
will be impossible to levy such a tax without the aid of a mili-
!i f
tary force, and the expense in that case would probably exceed
the income derived from the mines.
I will not fail to keep you well informed in respect to the
extent and value of the gold discoveries made; and circumstances will probably be the best indication of the course which
it may be expedient to take, that is, in respect to imposing a
tax, or leading the field free and open to any persons who may
choose to dig for gold.
Several interesting experiments in gold-washing have been
lately made in this colony, with a degree of success that will
no doubt lead to further attempts for the discovery of the precious metal. The quantity of gold found is sufficient to prove
the existence of the metal, and the parties engaged in the enterprise entertain sanguine hopes of discovering rich and productive beds. I have, &c,
(Signed) James Douglas,
The Right Hon. Henry Labouchere,
&c. &c. &c.
No. II.
The Right Hon. Henry Labouchere to Governor Douglas.
Downing Street, August 4, 1856.
Sir,—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch,
No. 10, of the 16th April last, reporting the discovery of gold
within the British territory on the Upper Columbia River district.
In the absence of all effective machinery of Government, I
perceive that it would be quite abortive to attempt to raise a
revenue from licences to dig for gold in that region. Indeed,
as Her Majesty's Government do not at present look for a
revenue from this distant quarter of the British dominions, so
neither are they prepared to incur any expense on account of
it. I must, therefore, leave it to your discretion to determine
the best means of preserving order in the event of any considerable increase of population flocking into this new gold
district; and I shall rely on your furnishing me with full and
regular accounts of any event of interest or importance which
may occur in consequence of this discovery.
I have, &c,
(Signed) H. Labouchere.
To Governor Douglas,
&C.   &C, af~'
No. III.
Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P.
Victoria, "Vancouver's Island,
October 29, 1856.
Sir,—1. I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of
your despatch, No. 14, of the 4th of August, communicating
the arrival of my despatch, No. 10, of the 16th April last, in
which was reported the discovery of gold within the British
territory in the Upper Columbia River district.
2. I have, since the date of that letter, received several
other communications from my correspondent in that part of
the country, who, however, scarcely makes any allusion to the
gold discovery; but I have heard through other almost equally
reliable sources of information, that the number of persons
engaged in gold digging is yet extremely limited, in consequence of the threatening attitude of the native tribes, who,
being hostile to the Americans, have uniformly opposed the
entrance of American citizens into their country.
3. The people from American Oregon are, therefore, excluded
from the gold district, except such, as resorting to the artifice
of denying their country, succeed in passing for British subjects.
The persons at present engaged in the search of gold are chiefly
of British origin, and retired servants of the Hudson's Bay
Company, who, being well acquainted with the natives, and
connected by old acquaintanceship and the ties of friendship, are
more disposed to aid and assist each other in their common
pursuits than to commit injuries against persons or property.
4. They appear to pursue their toilsome occupation in
peace, and without molestation from the natives, and there is
no reason to suppose that any criminal act has been lately committed in that part of the country.
5. It is reported that gold is found in considerable quantities,
and that several persons have accumulated large sums by their
labour and traffic, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these
reports; though, on the other hand, there is no reason to discredit them, as about 220 ounces of gold dust have been brought
to Yancouver's Island direct from the Upper Columbia, a proof
that the country is at least auriferous.
From the successful result of experiments made in washing
gold from the sands of the tributary streams of Fraser River,
there is reason to suppose that the gold region is extensive, and
I entertain sanguine hopes that future researches will develop I
stores of wealth, perhaps equal to the gold fields of California.
The geological formations observed in the " Sierra Nevada" of
California being similar in character to the structure of the
corresponding range of mountains in this latitude, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the resemblance will be found to
include auriferous deposits.
6. I shall not fail to furnish you with full and regular accounts of every event of interest connected with the gold district, which may from time to time occur.
I have, &c,
(Signed) James Douglas,
The Right Hon. H. Labouchere,
&c. &c. &c.
No. V.
Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P.
Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
July 15, 1857.
(Received, September 18,1857).
Sir,—1. I have the honour of communicating for your information the substance of advices which I have lately received
from the interior of the continent north of the 49 th parallel of
latitude, corroborating the former accounts from that quarter
respecting the auriferous character of certain districts of the
country on the right bank of the Columbia River, and of the
extensive table land which divides it from Fraser River.
2. There is, however, as yet a degree of uncertainty respecting
the productiveness of those gold fields, for reports vary so much
on that point, some parties representing the deposits as exceedingly rich, while others are of opinion that they will not repay
the labour and outlay of working, that I feel it would be premature for me to give a decided opinion on the subject.
3. It is, however, certain that gold has been found in many
places by washing the soil of the river beds, and also of the
mountain sides; but, on the other hand, the quantities hitherto
collected are inconsiderable, and do not lend much support to
the opinion entertained of the richness of these deposits; so
that the question as to their ultimate value remains thus undetermined, and will probably not be decided until more extensive researches are made.
4. A new element of difficulty in exploring the gold country APPENDIX.
has been interposed through the opposition of the native.
Indian tribes of Thompson River, who have lately taken the
high-handed, though probably not unwise course, of expelling
all the parties of gold diggers, composed chiefly of persons
from the American territories, who had forced an entrance into
their country. They have also openly expressed a determination to resist all attempts at working gold in any of the streams
flowing into Thompson River, both from a desire to monopolise
the precious metal for their own benefit, and from a well-
founded impression that the shoals of salmon which annually
ascend those rivers, and furnish the principal food of the inhabitants, will be driven off, and prevented from making their
annual migrations from the sea.
5. The -officers in command of the Hudson's Bay Company's
posts in that quarter, have received orders carefully to respect
the feelings of the natives in that matter, and not to employ
any of the company's servants in washing out gold, without
their full approbation and consent. There is, therefore, nothing
to apprehend on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company's
servants, but there is much reason to fear that serious affrays
may take place between the natives and the motley adventurers
who will be attracted by the reputed wealth of the country,
from the United States' possessions in Oregon, and may probably attempt to overpower the opposition of the natives by
force of arms, and thus endanger the peace of the country.
6. I beg to submit, if in that case, it may not become a
question whether the natives are not entitled to the protection
of Her Majesty's Government, and if an officer invested with
the requisite authority should not, without delay, be appointed
for that purpose. I have, &c,
(Signed) James Douglas,
The Right Hon. H. Labouchere,
&c. &c. &c.
No. VI.
Extract of ja Despatch from Governor Douglas to the Right
Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P., dated Victoria, Vancouver's Island, December29,1857. {Received March 2,1858.)
Since I had the honour of addressing you on the 15th July
last, concerning the gold fields in the interior of the country
north of the 49th parallel of latitude, which, for the sake of 96
brevity, I will hereafter speak of as the | Couteau mines " (so
named after the tribe of Indians who inhabit the country),
I have received further intelligence from my correspondents in
that quarter.
It appears from their reports that the auriferous character of
the country is becoming daily more extensively developed,
through the exertions of the native Indian tribes, who, having
tasted the sweets of gold finding, are devoting much of their
time and attention to that pursuit.
They are, however, at present almost destitute of tools for
moving the soil, and of washing implements for separating the.
gold from the earthy matrix, and have therefore to pick it out
with their knives, or to use their fingers for that purpose; a
circumstance which in some measure accounts for the small
products of gold up to the present time, the export being only
about 300 ounces since the 6ih of last October.
The same circumstance will also serve to  reconcile the
opinion now generally entertained of the richness of the gold
deposits by the few experienced miners who have seen the
• Couteau country, with the present paucity of production.
The reputed wealth of the Couteau mines is causing much
excitement among the population of the United States territories of Washington and Oregon, and I have no doubt that a
great number of people from those territories will he attracted
thither with the return of the fine weather in spring.
In that case, difficulties between the natives and whites will
be of frequent occurrence, and unless measures of prevention
are taken, the country will soon become the scene of lawless
In my letter of the 15th of July, I took the liberty of suggesting the appointment of an officer invested with authority
to protect the natives from violence, and generally, so far as
possible, to maintain the peace of the country.
Presuming that you will approve of that suggestion, I have,
as a preparatory step towards the proposed measure for the
preservation of peace and order, this day issued a proclamation
declaring the rights of the Crown in respect to gold found in
its natural place of deposit, within the limits of Fraser River
and Thompson River districts, within which are situated the
Couteau mines; and forbidding all persons to dig or disturb the
soil in search of gold, until authorised on that behalf by Her
Majesty's Government.
I herewith forward a copy of that proclamation, and also of
the regulations since published, setting forth the terms on APPENDIX.
which licences will be issued to legalise the search for gold, on
payment of a fee of ten shillings a-month, payable in advance.
When mining becomes a remunerative employment, and
there is a proof of the extent and productiveness of the gold
deposits, I would propose that the licence fee be gradually increased, in such a manner, however, as not to be higher than
the persons engaged in mining can readily pay.
My authority for issuing that proclamation, seeing that it
refers to certain districts of continental America, which are not,
strictly speaking, within the jurisdiction of this Government,
may, perhaps, be called in question; but I trust that the motives which have influenced me on this occasion, and the fact of
my being invested with the authority over the premises of the
Hudson's Bay Company, and the only authority commissioned
by Her Majesty within reach, will plead my excuse. Moreover,
should Her Majesty's Government not deem it advisable to
enforce the rights of the Crown, as set forth in the proclamation, it may be allowed to fall to the ground, and to become a
mere dead letter.
If you think it expedient that I should visit the Couteau
Mines in course of the coming spring or summer, for the purpose
of inquiring into the state of the country, and authorise me to
do so, if I can for a time conveniently leave this colony, I freely
place my services at the disposal of Her Majesty's Government.
No. VII.
The Governor of Vancouver's Island, to the Right Hon. H.
Labouchere, M.P.
Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
January 22, 1858.
[Received March 15, 1858.]
Sir,—1. With reference to the proclamation and regulations
legalising the search for gold in the districts of Fraser River
and Thompson River, transmitted with my despatch, No. 35,
of the 29th of December last, I have now the honour to communicate for your information, that we have since that date
raised the licence fee from ten shillings to twenty-one shillings
a-month, payable in advance, which is the present charge for
gold licences.
2. We are induced to make that change through a desire to
place a large amount of revenue at the disposal of Government
W 98
to meet the expense of giving protection to life and property in
those countries, and at the same time from a well-founded conviction that persons really bent upon visiting the gold district
will as readily pay the increased as the lower rate of charge.
I have, &c,
• (Signed) James Douglas,
To the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere,
&c, &c, &c.
Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. H. Labouchere, If.P.
Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
April 6, 1858. ■
Sir,—1. Since I had last the honour of addressing you in my
despatch, No. 35, on the 29th of December last, in reference to
the discovery of gold in the Couteau, or Thompson River district, we have had much communication with persons who have
since visited that part of the country.
2. The search for gold and p prospecting" of the country,
had, up to the last dates from the interior, been carried on
almost exclusively by the native Indian population, who have
discovered the productive beds, and put out almost all the gold,
about eight hundred ounces, which has been hitherto exported
from the country, and who are, moreover, extremely jealous of
the whites, and strongly opposed to their digfing the soil for gold.
3. The few white men who passed the winter at the diggings
—chiefly retired servants of the Hudson's Bay Company—i
though well acquainted with Indian character, were obstructed
by the natives in their attempts to search for gold. They were
on all occasions narrowly watched, and in every instance, when
they did succeed in removing the surface and excavating to the
depth of the auriferous stratum, they were quietly hustled and
crowded by the natives, who, having by that means obtained
possession of the spot, then proceeded to reap, the fruits of their
4. Such conduct was unwarrantable and exceedingly trying
to the temper of spirited men, but the savages were far too
numerous for resistance, and they had to submit to their dictation. It is, however, worthy of remark, and a circumstance
highly honourable to the character of those savages, that they
have on all occasions scrupulously respected the persons and[
property of their white visitors, at the same that they have expressed a determination to reserve the gold for their own benefit.
5. Such being the purpose of the natives, affrays and collisions with the whites will surely follow the accession of numbers,
which the latter are now receiving by the influx of adventurers
from Vancouver's - Island and the United States territories in
Oregon; and there is no doubt in my mind that sooner or
later the intervention of Her Majesty's Government will be required to restore and maintain the peace. Up to the present
time, however, the country continues quiet, but simply, I believe, because the whites have not attempted to resist the impositions of the natives. I will, however, make i t a part of my
duty to keep you well informed in respect to the state of the
gold country.
6. The extent of the gold region is yet but imperfectly known,
and I have, therefore, not arrived at any decided opinion as
to its ultimate value as a gold-producing country. The boundaries of the gold district have been, however, greatly extended
since my former report.
7. In addition to the diggings before known on Thompson
River and its tributary streams, a valuable deposit has been
recently found by the natives on a bank of Fraser River,
about fifty miles beyond its confluence with the Thompson,
and gold in small quantities has been found in the possession
of the natives as far as the great falls of Fraser River, about
eighty miles above the Forks. The small quantity of gold
hitherto produced—about eight hundred ounces—by the large
native population of the country is, however, unaccountable in
a rich gold-producing country, unless we assume that the want
of skill, industry, and proper mining tools on the part of the
natives sufficiently account for the fact.
8. On the contrary, the vein rocks and its other geological
features, as described by an experienced gold miner, encourage
the belief that the country is highly auriferous.
9. The miner in question clearly described the older slate formations thrown. up and pierced by beds of quartz, granite,
porphyry, and other igneous rocks; the vast accumulations of
sand, gravel, and shingle extending from the roots of the
mountains to the banks of Fraser River and its affluents, which
are peculiar characteristics of the gold districts of California
and other countries. We therefore hope, and are preparing for
a rich harvest of trade, which will greatly redound to the advantage of this colony.
10. I have farther to communicate for your information that 100
the proclamation issued by me, asserting the rights of the
Crown to all gold in its natural place of deposit, and forbidding
all persons to dig for gold without a licence, has been published in the newspapers of Oregon and Washington territories,
and that, notwithstanding, some seventy or eighty adventurers
from the American side have gone by the way of Fraser
River to the Couteau mines without taking out licences.
11. I did not, as I might have done, attempt to enforce
those rights by means of a detachment of seamen and marines,
from the " Satellite," without being assured that such a proceeding would meet with the approval of Her Majesty's Government;
but the moment your instructions on the subject are received,
I will take measures to carry them into effect.
• • • • •
I have, &c,
(Signed) James Douglas,
The Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P.
&c. &c. &c.
No. X.
Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P.
Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
May 8, 1858.
Since I had the honour of addressing you on the 6th of
April last on the subject of the " Couteau" gold mines, they
have become more than ever a source of attraction to the people
of Washington and Oregon territories, and it is evident from
the accounts published in the latest San Francisco papers, that
intense excitement prevails among the inhabitants of that stirring city on the same subject.
The " Couteau " country is there represented and supposed
to be in point of mineral wealth a second California or Australia,
and those impressions are sustained by the false and exaggerated statements of steamboat owners and other interested
parties, who benefit by the current of emigration which is now
setting strongly towards this quarter.
Boats, canoes, and every species of small craft, are continually employed in pouring their cargoes of human beings into
Fraser River, and it is supposed that not less than one thousand whites are already at work and on the way to the gold
Many accidents have happened in the dangerous rapids of APPENDIX.
that river; a great number of canoes have been dashed to
pieces, and their cargoes swept away by the impetuous stream,
while of the ill-fated adventurers who accompanied them many
have been* swept into eternity.
The others, nothing daunted by the spectacle of ruin and
buoyed up by the hope of amassing wealth, still keep pressing
onward towards the coveted goal of their most ardent wishes.
On the 25th of last month, the American steamer " Commodore " arrived in this port direct from San Francisco, with
450 passengers on board, the chief part of whom are gold
miners for the " Couteau " country.
Nearly 400 of those men were landed at this place, and
have since left in boats and canoes for Fraser River.
I ascertained from inquiries on the subject that those men
are all well provided with mining tools, and that there was no
dearth of capital or intelligence among them. About sixty
British subjects, with an equal number of native born Americans, the rest being chiefly Germans, with a smaller proportion
of Frenchmen and Italians, composed this body of adventurers.
They are represented as being, with some exceptions, a
specimen of the worst of the population of San Francisco; the
very dregs, in fact, of society. Their conduct while here would
have led me to form a very different conclusion; as our little
town, though crowded to excess with this sudden influx of people,
and though there was a temporary scarcity of food, and dearth
of house accommodation, the police few in number, and many
temptations to excess in the way of drink, yet quiet and order
prevailed, and there was not a single committal for rioting,
drunkenness, or other offences during their stay here.
The merchants and other business classes of Victoria are
rejoicing in the advent of so large a body of the people in the
colony, and are strongly in favour of making this port a
stopping point between San Francisco and the gold mines, converting the latter, as it were, into a feeder and dependency of
this colony.
Victoria would thus become a depot and centre of trade for
the gold districts, and the natural consequence would be an
immediate increase in the wealth and population of the
To effect that object it will be requisite to facilitate by every
possible means the transport of passengers and goods to the
furthest navigable point on Fraser River; and the obvious
means of accomplishing that end is to employ light steamers
in plying between, and connecting this port (Victoria) with 102
the Falls of Fraser River, distant 130 miles from the discharge of that river, into the Gulf of Georgia; those falls
being generally believed to be at the commencement of the
remunerative gold diggings, and from thence'the miners would
readily make their way on foot, or, after the summer freshets, by
the river into the interior of the country.
By that means also the whole trade of the gold regions
would pass through Fraser River and be retained within the
British territory, forming a valuable outlet for British manufactured goods, and at once creating a lucrative trade between
the mother country and Vancouver's Island.
Taking a view of the subject, simply in its relations to
trade and commerce, apart from considerations of national
policy, such perhaps would be the course most likely to promote the interests of this colony; but, on the contrary, if the
country be thrown open to indiscriminate immigration, the interests of the empire may suffer from the introduction of a
foreign population, whose sympathies may be decidedly anti-
Taking this view of the question, it assumes an alarming
aspect, and suggests a doubt as to the policy of permitting the
free entrance of foreigners into the British territory for residence, without in the first place requiring them to take the
oath of allegiance, and otherwise to give such security for their
conduct as the Government of the country may deem it proper
and necessary to require at their hands.
The opinion which I have formed on the subject leads me to
think that, in the event of the diggings proving remunerative,
it will now be found impossible to check the course of immigration, even by closing Fraser River, as the miners would
then force a passage into the gold district by way of the Columbia River, and the valuable trade of the country in that case be
driven from its natural course into a foreign channel, and entirely lost to this country.
On the contrary, should the diggings prove to be unremune-
rative, a question which as yet remains undecided, the existing
excitement, we may suppose, will die away of itself; and the
miners, having no longer the prospect of large gains, will naturally abandon a country which no longer holds out any inducement for them to remain.
Until the value of the country as a gold-producing region
be established on clearer evidence than can now be adduced in
its favour—and the point will no doubt be decided before the
close of the preseivt year —I would simply recommend that a APPENDIX.
small naval or military force should be placed at the disposal
of this Government, to enable us to maintain the peace, and to
enforce obedience to the laws.
The system of granting licences for digging gold has not yet
come into operation.
Perhaps a similar method of raising a revenue would be to
impose a customs'- duty on imports, to be levied on all supplies
brought into the country, whether by Fraser or the Columbia
The export of gold from the country is still inconsiderable,
not exceeding 600 ounces since I last addressed you. The
principal diggings are reported to be at present, and will probably continue, flooded for several months to come, so that
unless .other diggings apart from the river beds are discovered,
the production of gold will not increase until the summer
freshets are over, which will probably happen about the middle
of August next. In the meantime the ill-provide^adventurers
who have gone hither and thither will consume their stock of
provisions, and probably have to retire from the country until
a more favourable season.
I shall be most happy to receive your instructions on the
subject in this letter.
No. XII.
Copy of a Letter from the Secretary of the A dmiralty to
Herman Merivale, Esq.
Admiralty, June 26, 1858.
Sir,—I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the
Admiralty to send you herewith, for the information of Secretary Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, a copy of a letter from Captain
Prevost, of H. M. Ship " Satellite," dated at Vancouver's
Island, 7th May 1858, respecting the discovery of gold on
Fraser and Thompson Rivers, near to the 51st parallel of
north latitude, in North America.
The newspaper and specimen of gold dust referred to in
Captain Prevost's letter are also enclosed.
I am, &c,
(Signed) H. Corrt.
Herman Merivale, Esq., Colonial Office, 104
Enclosures No. 12.
H. M. S. I Satellite," Esquimalt, Vancouver's Island,
May 7, 1858.
I have the honour to report to you that considerable excitement has been occasioned recently in this neighbourhood by
the discovery of gold on Fraser and Thompson Rivers, at
about the position of the juncture of the latter with the former
river, near to* 51st parallel of north latitude.
The reports concerning these new gold diggings are so contradictory that I am unable to furnish you with any information
upon which I can depend. That gold exists is certain, and
that it will be found in abundance seems to be the opinion of
all those who are capable of forming a judgment upon the
subject; but it is so, obviously to the advantage of the
surrounding community to circulate exaggerated, if not
altogether false reports, for the purpose of stimulating trade,
or creating monopolies, that it is most difficult to arrive at
any correct conclusion, or to obtain any reliable information.
I have every reason to believe that the Indians have traded
some quantity of gold with the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, and I am satisfied that individuals from this immediate
neighbourhood who started off to the diggings upon the first
intelligence of their existence, have come back with gold dust
in their possession, and which they assert was washed by themselves; but whether such be really the case, or whether it was
traded from the Indians, I am unable to determine. These
persons all declare that at the present moment, although the
yield is good, yet there is too much water in the rivers to admit
of digging and washing to be carried on with facility; but that
when the water falls somewhat, as the summer advances, that
the yield will be abundant. I am iuclined to think that this information is not far from the truth, for these persons, after obtaining a fresh stock of provision, have all returned to the diggings.
The excitement in Vancouver's Island itself is quite insignificant compared to that in Washington and Oregon territories,
and in California, and which, of course, is increased by every
possible means by interested parties. The result has been that
several hundred persons from American territory have already
flocked to the newly reported auriferous regions, and by the
last accounts fresh steamers, and even sailing vessels, were
being chartered to convey passengers to Puget Sound, or to
Vancouver's Island, whence they have to find their way to the
diggings principally by canoes. APPENDIX.
I have heard that all the crews of the ships in Puget Sound
have deserted, and have gone to the diggings; I am happy to
say that as yet I have not lost a single man from the " Satellite" since the information was received, and I have every
reason to hope that I may not be unfortunate in this respect,
although, doubtless, soon the temptations to desert will be of
no ordinary character. pjf
;||jj      No. xiii. J|'
Secretary Sir E. Bulwer Lytton to Governor Douglas.
Downing Street, July 1, 1858.
Sir,—I have to acknowledge your despatch of the 8th ult.,
in continuation of former despatches, informing the Secretary
of State from time to time of the progress of the gold discoveries
on Fraser River, and the measures which you had taken in
consequence. I am anxious not to let the opportunity of the
present mail pass without informing you that Her Majesty's Government have under their consideration the pressing necessity
for taking some steps to establish public order and government
in that locality, and that I hope very soon to be able to communicate to you the result.
In the meantime, Her Majesty's Government approve of the
course which you have adopted in asserting both the dominion
of the Crown over this region, and the right of the Crown over
the precious metals. They think, however, that you acted
judiciously in waiting for further instructions before you endeavoured to compel the taking out of licences, by causing any
force to be despatched for that purpose from Vancouver's Island.
They wish you to continue your vigilance, and to apply for
instructions on any point on which you may require them.
They are, however, in addition, particularly anxious to impress
on you, that while Her Majesty's Government are determined on
preserving the rights, both of government and of commerce, which
belong to this country, and while they have it in contemplation
to furnish you with such a force as they may be able to detach
for your assistance and support in the preservation of law and
order, it is no part of their policy to exclude Americans and
other foreigners from the gold fields. On the contrary, you are
distinctly instructed to oppose no obstacle whatever to their
resort thither for the purpose of digging in those fields, so long
as they submit themselves, in common with the subjects of Her
Majesty, to the recognition of her authority, and conform to
a 106
such rules of police as you may have thought proper to establish. The national right to navigate Fraser River is, of course,
a separate question, and one which Her Majesty's Government
must reserve.
Under the circumstance of so large an immigration of Americans into English territory, I need hardly impress upon you
the importance of caution and delicacy in dealing with those
manifold eases of international relationship and feeling which
are certain to arise, and which, but for the exercise of temper
and discretion, might easily lead to serious complications between two neighbouring and powerful states.
It is impossible by this mail to furnish you with anyinstruc-,
tions of a more definite character. Her Majesty's Government
must leave much to your discretion on this most important
subject; and they rely upon your exercising whatever influence
and powers you may possess in the manner which from local
knowledge and experience you conceive to be best calculated to
give development to the new country, and to advance imperial
interests. I have, &c,
(Signed) E. Bulwer Lytton.
Governor Douglas,
&c. &c.
In 1670, a royal charter was granted by Charles II., for incorporating the Hudson's Bay Company. The grant to the
company was of " the sole trade and commerce of all those seas,
straits, bays, rivers, lakes, creeks, and sounds, in whatsoever
latitude they shall be, that lie within the entrance of the straits,
commonly called Hudson's Straits, together with all the lands
and territories upon the countries, coasts, and confines of the
seas, bays, lakes, rivers, creeks and sounds aforesaid, that are
not already actually possessed by or granted to any of our
subjects, or possessed by the subjects of any other Christian
prince or State, with the fishing of all sorts of fish, whales,
sturgeons, and all other royal fishes in the seas, bays, inlets, and
rivers within the premises; and the fish therein taken, together
with the royalty of the sea upon the coasts within the limits
aforesaid, and all mines royal, as well discovered as not discovered, of gold, silver, gems, and precious stones to be found or
discovered within the territories, limits, and places aforesaid ;"
and the charter declares that " the said land be from henceforth
reckoned as one of our plantations or colonies in America, called
Rupert's Land," jfe,
From the Times' Correspondent.
I take the wages in Australia from a Melbourne paper of
16th March, which gives the wages current at that time. I
received it direct a.few days ago. I reduce our American currency into sterling at 48d. to the dollar, that being about its
current value here:—-.
Melbourne Wages.
Married couples (servants), £60 to £70 per annum; female
servants, £25 to £30 per annum; gardeners, £55 to £60 per
annum; grooms, £40 to £50 a-year; carpenters, 12s. to 14s.
per day; ditto, rough, 25s. to 30s. per week; masons and bricklayers, 10s. to 15s. per day; waiters, 20s. to 25s. per week;
compositors, Is. 4d. per 1000; blacksmiths, 40s. per week;
farm labourers, lt>s. to 20s. per week; shepherds, £20 to £25
California Wages,
Married couples (servants), £192 per annum, and found;
female servants, £80 to £96, and kept; gardeners, £120 a-year,
and found; by the day, 3 dols., now 4 dols.; young men in
stables as grooms, £120 a-year, and found, £16 a month and
find themselves; carpenters, with us till lately £1 a-day, now
28s. a-day; | rough" and smooth, I never knew any difference
—and all bad; masons and bricklayers at lowest time, 25s. a-
day, here at present 35s. a-day; waiters, £6 to £8 a-month in
San Francisco ; compositors, 2s. 10|d. per 1000 type, our types
double size; blacksmiths, £3, 12s. to £6 a-week; general rate,
5 dols. a day; farm labourers, £6 a-month, and found, and only
work from 7 o'clock to 6 o'clock, with two hours for meals;
shepherds, £144, 10s. a-year, and found; a competent shepherd
worth £240 a-year, and found; or, to serve on snares of increase
of stock, on very liberal terms.
All provisions except animal food, are cheaper in San Francisco than in Melbourne.
JUNE 15, 1346-
Art. 1. From the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north
latitude, where the boundary laid down in existing treaties and 108
conventions between the United States and Great Britain
terminates, the line of boundary between the territories of the
United States and those of her Britannic Majesty shall be continued westward along the said forty-ninth parallel of north
latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island, and thence southerly through
the middle of the said channel, and of Fuca's Straits, to the
Pacific ocean: Provided, however, that the navigation of the
whole of the said channel and straits, south of the forty-ninth
parallel of north latitude, remain free and open to both parties.
Art. 2. From the point at which the forty-ninth parallel of
north latitude shall be found to intersect the great northern'
branch of the Columbia River, the navigation of the said
branch shall be free and open to the Hudson's Bay Company,
and to all British subjects trading with the same, to the point
where the said branch meets the main stream of the Columbia,
and thence down the said main stream to the ocean, with free
access into and through the said river or rivers, it being understood that all the usual portages along the line thus described
shall, in like manner, be free and open. In navigating the
said river or rivers, British subjects, with their goods and produce, shall be treated on the same footing as citizens of the
United States; it being, however, always understood that nothing
in this article shall be construed as preventing or intended to
prevent,, the government of the United States from making any
regulations respecting the navigation of the said river or rivers
not inconsistent with the present treaty.
. Art. 3. In the future appropriation of the territory south of
the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, as provided in the first
article of this treaty, the possessory rights of the Hudson's Bay
Company, and of all British subjects who may be already in the
occupation of land or other property, lawfully acquired within
the said territory, shall be respected.
Art. 4. The farms, lands, and other property of every description, belonging to the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company, on
the north side of the Columbia River, shall be confirmed to the
said company. In case, however, the situation of those farms
and lands should be considered by the United States to be of
public and political importance, and the United States Government should signify a desire to obtain possession of the whole,
or of any part thereof, the property so required shall be transferred to the said government, at a proper valuation, to be
agreed upon between the parties. APPENDIX.
The bearer having paid to me the sum of twenty-one shillings on account of the territorial revenue, I hereby license
him to dig, search for, and remove gold on and from any such
crown land within the of  as I shall assign to him
for that purpose during the month of , 185—.
This licence must be produced whenever demanded by me
or any other person acting under the authority of the Government. A. B., Commissioner.
On the 8th day of May 1858, Governor Douglas issued the
following proclamation:—
By his Excellency James Douglas, Governor and Commander-
in-Chief of the colony of Vancouver's Island and its dependencies, and Vice-Admiral of the same, &c, &c.
Whereas it is commonly reported that certain boats and
other vessels have entered Fraser River for trade; and whereas
there is reason to apprehend that other persons are preparing
and fitting out boats and vessels for the same purpose,
Now, therefore, I have issued this my proclamation, warning
all persons that such acts are contrary to law, and infringements upon the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, who are
legally entitled to trade with the Indians in the British possessions on the north-west coast of America, to the exclusion of
all other persons, whether British or foreign.
And also, that after fourteen days from the date of this my
proclamation, all ships, boats, and vessels, together with the
goods laden on board found in Fraser River, or in any of the
bays, rivers, or creeks of the said British possessions on the
north-west coast of America, not having a licence from the
Hudson's Bay Company, and a sufferance from the proper
officer of the customs at Victoria, shall be liable to forfeiture,
and will be seized and condemned according to law.
Given under my hand and seal at Government House, Victoria, this eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight, and in the twenty-first
year of Her Majesty's reign.
James Douglas, Governor.
By his Excellency's command, Richard Colledge, Secretary.
God save the Queen. 110
Port Victoria, Vancouver's Island.
These are to certify, to all whom it doth concern, that the
sufferance for the present voyage is granted on the condition
annexed to  ,  master of the  , burthen   tons,
mounted with
guns, navigated with
men, to proceed
on a voyage to Fort Langley with passengers, their luggage,
provisions, and mining tools. The above-mentioned register being deposited in the custom house at Victoria, hath
here entered and cleared his said according to law.
Pro Hudson's Bay Company.
Conditions of Sufferance.
1. That the owner of the boat does bind himself to receive
no other goods on board but such goods as belong to the Hudson's Bay Company.
2. That the said owner also binds himself not to convey or
import gunpowder, ammunition, or utensils of war, except from
the United Kingdom.
3. That he also binds himself to receive no passengers,
except the said passengers do produce a gold mining licence
and permit from the Government at Vancouver's Island.
4. That the said owner also binds himself not to trade with
From the Times* Correspondent.
From Australia, too, the emigration will be large. In that
country the cream has already been skimmed off the " placers."
The efflorescence of gold near the surface has been dug out,
hence the results of individual exertions are becoming less
promising; and the miner is a restless, excitable creature,
whose love of freedom and independence indisposes him to
associate himself in enterprises requiring an aggregation of
capital and labour. He prefers to work " on his own hook,"
or with one or two " chums " at most. This is the feeling in
this country. There is another cause which will bring vast
numbers of miners from Australia, and that is the great scarcity
of water—a desideratum of the first importance. This first
necessary for mining operations exists in abundance at all
seasons in the new El Dorado, and this fact alone will attract APPENDIX.
additional miners to it from every mining country and locality
in which water is scarce. Another great objection to Australia
is the impossibility of acquiring land in fee in small parcels at
or near to the mines. Many men take to mining as a means
of making, sufficient money to buy farming implements and
stock with. As soon as this object is accomplished, they
abandon mining for farming. Did not California afford the
means of gratifying this wish, thousands of our miners would
have left the country. As it is, with abundance of good land
to be had cheap, I have found that a large proportion of the
farms in the interior of this country are owned by farmers who
bought them.with the produce of their labour in the mines.
The same advantages can be obtained in the new gold country,
there being plenty of good land in the British territory in the
neighbourhood and on Vancouver's Island. It is to be hoped
the Government will make the price reasonable.
The following tariff of charges, collected by the Times' correspondent, is now only valuable in a historical point of view,
as, under the healthy competition of the Californian merchants
prices have already found their own level:—
% Canoes are very scarce; the price has risen from 50 dollars
and 80 dollars to 100 dollars each. Many parties have built
light boats for themselves, but they did not answer." | We have
got up, but we had a hard time coming." "Jordan is a hard
road to travel; lost all our outfit, except flour. Our canoe
was capsized in the Falls, and was broken to pieces. Six other
canoes capsized and smashed the same day near the same
place. Four whites and two Indians belonging to these six
canoes drowned." Provisions high up the river are exorbitant
of course, as they can only be brought up in canoes requiring
long 1 portages." Here 's the tariff at Sailor's Bar and other
Bars:—"Flour, 100 dollars a-barrel, worth in San Francisco
11 to 12 dols.; molasses, 6 dols. a-gallon; pork, 1 dol. per
lb.; ham, 1 dol. 25c. per lb.; tea at one place, 1 dol. per lb.,
but at another, 4 dols.; sugar, 2 dols. per lb.; beans, 1 dol. per
lb.; picks, 6 dols.; and shovels, 2 dols. each. There were no
fresh provisions." I should have been greatly surprised to hear
that there had been. " At Fort Hope there was nothing to be
had but dried salmon." "At Fort Langley plenty of black
flour at 9 dols. a-hundred, and salt salmon, four for 1 dol."
What lively visions of scurvy these provisions conjure up ! The 112
acme of extravagance was not arrived at, however, until the
poor miner came to purchase auxiliaries to his rocker. At
Sailor's Bar "rocker irons were at an ounce of gold each (16
dols.),and at Hill's Bar, 30 dols. each." This "iron"is simply
a plate of thin sheet-iron, measuring 18. inches by 20 inches,
perforated with round holes to let the loose dirt pass through. I
priced one of them, out of curiosity, at a carpenter's shop in
San Francisco this morning—2^ dols. In England this thing
would be worth 2s. At Sailor's Bar it would be worth £3, 4s.,
and at Hill's Bar it would fetch £6. Quicksilver was also outrageously high, but not being of such prime necessity as
" rocker irons," didn't come up to their standard of value. At
one place it was sold at 10 dols. per lb.; but at Fort Langley a
man bought one pound, paying 15 dols. for it, and had to carry it'
a great distance. The price in San Francisco is 60c. the pound
(half-a-crown), and on Fraser's River, £3. " Nails brought
from 1 dol. to 1 dol. 50c. per lb. One lot of a dozen pounds
brought 3 dols., or two bits a-nail," which, being interpreted
into Queen's English, means Is. a-nail! These are some of
the outgoings which tax the miner's earnings in a new unpeopled country; but these are not his only drawbacks.
" There being no boards to be had, we had per force to go in
the woods and fell and hew out our lumber to make a rocker,"
causing much loss of time. Then came the hunt for nails and
for the indispensable perforated "iron," which cost so much.
But worst of all the ills of the miner's life in New Caledonia
are the jealousy and audacious thieving of the Indians, "who
are nowise particular in seizing on the dirt of the miners."
" The whites" being in the minority, and the Indians being a
fierce athletic set of rascals, "suffered much annoyance and
insult" without retaliating. What a trial to the temper of
Oregon men who used to shoot all Indians who came within
range of their rifle as vermin in California in 1848 and
1849 !
The difficulties of access to the mines will soon be ame*
liorated, as small steamers are to be put on the river, to ply
as far up as the rapids will permit them; but as to the Indian
" difficulties," it is much to be feared they will increase until
a military force is sent into the country to overawe them.
The prices of provisions and of mining tools and other necessaries will soon be regulated by the competition of the San
Francisco merchants, and the miners will not be long subjected to exorbitant rates. They have a vast advantage in the
proximity of San Francisco, abounding, as it does, in supplies
=a *^*FT
for all their wants. When I recall our early troubles and
victimisings, I almost cease to pity the victims of the " rocker
irons," at £6 a-plate. In 18491 paid 1 dol. 50c. for the simple
luxury of a fresh egg. I might have had one laid on the
Atlantic board, or in Chilhi or the Sandwich Islands, for less,
it is true; but these required French cookery to "disguise"
their true state and condition, and I being then "fresh" myself was somewhat particular. Even this did not cap the
climax, for I paid a sum in American currency equal to £16
sterling for a pair of boots the day I was burnt out by the first
fire in the same year. And such a pair! They were
" navvy's" boots, and worth in England about 15s. The New
Caledonians must not complain, for we have endured more
(and survived it too) than they are likely to suffer.
The estimates may be relied upon as very nearly correct.
To mouth of Fraser River across the Gulf of Georgia, 90
To Fort Langley (H. B. C. posts on Fraser River),        25 to 30
To Fort Hope (H. B. C. posts on Fraser River),      . 67
To Fort Yale (H. B. C. posts on Fraser River),      . 12
Steam navigation is established throughout. The steamer
Surprise performed the trip from Victoria to Fort Hope in
twenty-four hours; her return trip occupied fifteen and a-half
hours—running time.
A Bill to provide, until the thirty-first day of December, one
thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, for the government
of New Caledonia.
Whereas divers of Her Majesty's subjects and others have, by
the licence and consent of Her Majesty, resorted to and settled on
certain wild and unoccupied territories on the north-west coast
of North America, commonly known by the designation of New
Caledonia, and the islands adjacent, for mining and other purposes; and it is desirable to make some temporary provision
for the civil government of such territories until permanent
settlements shall be thereupon established, and the number of
colonists increased: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most
excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the
H 114
Lords spiritual and temporal and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as
I. New Caledonia shall, for the purposes of this Act, be held
to comprise all such territories within the' dominions of Her
Majesty as are bounded to the south by the frontier of the United
States of America, to the east by the watershed between the
streams which flow into the Pacific Ocean, and those which flow
into the Atlantic and icy oceans, to the north by the 55th
parallel of north latitude, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean,
and shall include Queen Charlotte's Island and all other islands
adjacent to the said territories, except as hereinafter excepted.
II. It shall be lawful for Her Majesty, by any order or orders
to be by her from time to time made, with the advice of her
Privy Council, to make, ordain, or establish, and (subject to
such conditions or restrictions as to her shall seem meet) to
authorise and empower such officer as she may from time to time
appoint to administer the government of New Caledonia, to make
provision for the administration of justice therein, and generally
to make, ordain, and establish all such laws, institutions, and
ordinances, as may be necessary for the peace, order, and good
government of Her Majesty's subjects and others therein; provided that all such orders in council, and all laws and ordinances so to be made as aforesaid, shall be laid before both
houses of Parliament as soon as conveniently may be after the
making and enactment thereof respectively.
III. Provided always, that it shall be lawful for Her Majesty,
so soon as she may deem it convenient by any such order in
Council as aforesaid, to constitute or authorise and empower
such officer to constitute a Legislature to make laws for the
peace, order, and good government of New Caledonia, such
Legislature to consist of the Governor and a Council, or Council
and Assembly, to be composed of such and so many persons,
and to be appointed or elected such manner and' in for such
periods, and subject to such regulations, as to Her Majesty
may seem expedient.
IV. And whereas an Act was passed in the forty-third year of
King George the Third, intituled "An Act for extending the
jurisdiction of the courts of justice in the Provinces of Lower
and Upper Canada to the trial and punishment of persons guilty
of crimes and offences within certain parts of North America
adjoining to the said Provinces:" And whereas by an Act
passed in the second year of King George the Fourth, intituled
"An Act for regulating the fur trade, and establishing a criminal
and civil jurisdiction, within certain parts of North America," «
it was enacted, that from and after the passing of that Act the
courts of judicature then existing or which might be thereafter
established in the Province of Upper Canada, should have the
same civil jurisdiction, power, and authority, within the Indian
territories and other parts of America not within the limits of
either of the Provinces of Lower or Upper Canada or any civil
goverment of the United States, as the said courts had or were
invested with within the limits of the said Provinces of Upper
or Lower Canada respectively, and that every contract, agreement, debt liability, and demand made, entered into, incurred,
or arising within the said Indian territories and other parts of
America, and every wrong and injury to the person or to property committed or done within the same, should be, and be
deemed to be, of the same nature, and be cognisable, and be tried
in the same manner, and subject to the same consequences in all
respects, as if the same had been made, entered into, incurred,
arisen, committed, or done within the said Province of Upper
Canada; and in the same Acts are contained provisions for giving
force, authority, and effect within the said Indian territories
and other parts of America to the process and acts of the said
Courts of Upper Canada; and it was thereby also enacted, that
it should be lawful for His Majesty, if he should deem it convenient so to do, to issue a commission, or commissions, to any
person or persons to be and act as justices of the peace within
such parts of America as aforesaid, as well within any territories
theretofore granted to the company of adventurers of England
trading to the Hudson's Bay as within the Indian territories of
such other parts of America as aforesaid; and it was further
enacted, that it should be lawful for His Majesty, from time to
time> by any commission under the great seal, to authorise and
empower any such persons so appointed justices of the peace as
aforesaid to sit and hold courts of record for the trial of criminal
offences and misdemeanours, and also of civil causes, and it
should be lawful for His Majesty to order, direct, and authorise
the appointment of proper officers to act in aid of such courts
and justices within the jurisdiction assigned to such courts and
justices in any such commission, provided that such courts
should not try any offender upon any charge or indictment
for any felony made the subject of capital punishment, or
for any offence, or passing sentence affecting the life of any
offender, or adjudge or cause any offender to suffer capital
punishment or transportation, or take cognisance of or try any
civil action or suit in which the cause of such suit or action
should exceed in value the amount or sum of two hundred
pounds, and in every case of any offence subjecting the person
1 116
committing the same to capital punishment or transportation,
the court, or any judge of any such court, or any justice or
justices of the peace before whom any snch offender should be
brought, should commit such offender to safe, custody, and cause
such offender to be sent in such custody for trial in the court of
the Province of Upper Canada.
From and after the proclamation of this Act in New Caledonia
the said Act? of the forty-third year of King George the Third,
and the said recited provisions of the said Act of the second year
of King. George the Fourth, and the provisions contained in such
Act for giving force, authority, and effect within the Indian territories and other parts of America to the process and acts of the
said courts of Upper Canada, shall cease to have force in and to'
be applicable to New Caledonia.
V. Provided always, that all judgments given in any civil
suit in New Caledonia shall be subject to appeal to Her Majesty
in Council, in the manner, and subject to the regulations in and
subject to which appeals are now brought from the civil courts
of Canada, and to such further or other regulations as Her Majesty, with the advice of her Privy Council, shall from time to
time appoint.
VI. No part of the colony of Vancouver's Island, as at present
established, shall be comprised within New Caledonia, for the
purpose of this Act; but it shall be lawful for Her Majesty, her
heirs and successors, on receiving at any time during the continuance of this Act, a joint address from the two houses of the
Legislature of Vancouver's Island, praying for the incorporation
of that island with New Caledonia, by order to be made as
aforesaid, with the advice of her Privy Council, to annex the
said island to New Caledonia, subject to such conditions and
regulations, as to Her Majesty shall seem expedient; and
thereupon, and from the date of the publication of such order,
in the said island, or such other date as may be fixed in such
order, the provisions of this Act shall be. held to apply to Van- •
couver's Island.
VII. In the construction of this Act the term " Governor"
shall mean the person for the time being lawfully administering
the government of New Caledonia.
VIII. This Act shall continue in force until the thirty-first
day of December, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two,
and thenceforth to the end of the then next session of Parliament.


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