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The new El Dorado; or British Columbia. Cornwallis, Kinahan, 1839-1917 1858

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Array       THE NEW EL DORADO;
OR
BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
BY
fclNAHAN COKNWALLIS,
AUTHOR OF  "YARRA YARRA,"  " HOWARD PLUNKETl,"  &C,  &C.
To the clime of Columbia, Britain's new born,
Where the rays of the sun gladly usher the morn,
And the landscape deck out with a smile ;
"Where the hearts of the countless beat hopefully high,
And gold doth the moments beguile ;
Where the frown of the mountains, the blue of the sky,
Contrast in their beauty with forest and plain ;
Where the green perfumed prairie rolls in the breeze,
And mankind ever struggle for gain ;
Where the sight of the ore even fails to appease
Man's inordinate yearning for gold,—
Still making each eagerly struggle the more
For the treasure ungather'd—untold.
To that clime go, ye people, ye sons of the west,
"Tis a land of exuberant plenty aud joy;
Go, ye children of cities, by fortune opprest,
Where gold may be gathered which knows no alloy ;
Far and wide doth it lie on that beautiful shore ;
May it gladden and laurel the pathway of time
Left the wanderer to traverse who reaps from its mine.
'Tis the bauble of earth ;—'tis the gift of the clime,
Of millions the spoil,—It is mine—It is thine.
SECOND EDITION.
WITH A MAP  AND  ILLUSTRATION BY THE  AUTHOR.
LONDON:
THOMAS CAUTLEY NEWBY, PUBLISHER,
30, WELBECK STREET.
1858.  

BY PERMISSION.
TO   THE   RIGHT  HONORABLE
SIR EDW. G. EARLE LYTTON BULWER LITTON,
BART., D.C.L., &c,
HER MAJESTY'S SECRETARY OF STATE  FOR  THE   COLONIES,
WITH   THE   HIGHEST  ADMIRATION   FOR  HIS
BRILLIANT    GENIUS,
AND    AS    A    SLIGHT    BUT   -REFLECTED    EVIDENCE
OF   THE   UNIVERSAL   POPULARITY
OF    HIS   ABLE    POLITICAL   ADMINISTRATION,
MORE   ESPECIALLY   IN   THE
FOUNDING    AND    CONSTITUTION    OF
BRITISH COLUMBIA,
IS   MOST    RESPECTFULLY    DEDICATED,
BY THE AUTHOR.  
PREFACE.
After being long tossed upon the billows of the
world, and buffeting with the contending winds
of fortune, it is a refreshing season in which the
wearied wanderer enters the haven of repose,
there to beguile the unconscious moments in a
happy contemplation of the past; of dangers
braved and hoped for ends achieved. Delicious
must be the retrospection of him who can look
back upon a career, however short, in which
the finger-posts of time point to deeds upon
which he can reflect and look upon again without experiencing a shadow of remorse; where
the mile-stones of his backward path denote the VI
PREFACE.
manful deeds of heroism and generosity; where
the practice of true religion and philanthropy, the
upholding of the weak and the. repelling of the
aggressive, are associated with the never-to-be recalled events of his manhood, from the contemplation of which he will never have cause to
shrink, when the cold hand of death is stealing
silently yet relentlessly upon him. Happy, I say,
is such a man. But thrice happier is he who,
beyond all this, can look forward and see in his
ideal future a welcome reward in some treasured
object of his affection, with whom he may build
up to himself a habitation and found a name;
for how much more noble is it to be a founder
than a parasite, and with her to sail buoyantly
along over the sea of his ambition, and in his
children to see his own life perpetuated, and his
name and fame handed down to generations of
their posterity.
I do not alone speak of the bauble fame of
public life—I speak of the richer fame of worthy
deeds;   for worth and  heroism dwell in ob- 
PREFACE.
Vll
scurity  and   the   cottage,  as   noble   as   ever
consecrated kings and riches.
It is these prophetic feelings and objects of
a happy future that actuate men in their ardent
pursuit of wealth, that impel and sustain them
through arduous enterprises, and so lead them
to achieve successes which otherwise would never
have been. It is the influence of woman that
more or less fills the mind of every man with a
latent and holy fire, which arms, emboldens,
and cheers him through all the great vicissitudes
of life; and it is these impulses and these feelings
which will send forth to the New El Dorado of
'Fifty-Eight a valorous throng, fresh, eager, and
impetuous, to gather gold and plant intelligence
in the newly-awakened wilderness of British
Columbia. May the light of heaven smile
continually upon them from without, and their
highest hopes be crowned with the success which
enterprise deserves, is my mosj fervent benediction; and may they, on an ultimate survey
of their career, find that the finger-posts and
/  HHIMi
CONTENTS.
Page
si
11
20
INTRODUCTION.
Social and Political.....
CHAPTER I.
A Starting Glimpse.        .....
CHAPTER II.
The Rush from California ....
CHAPTER III.
Dazzling Prospects .....
CHAPTER IV.
The England of the Pacific       ....
CHAPTER Y.
. The Grand Area	
CHAPTER VI.
^Historical Sketches .        .        ...
CHAPTER VII.
'The Oasis in the Wilderness    ....
CHAPTER VHI.
Overland Railway and other Communication between Canada, the United States, and British
Columbia   .......
CHAPTER IX.
Sketches of IndianLife—Invasion and extermination—the Glorious Future of British Columbia       97
36
56
66
J CONTENTS.
CHAPTER X.
Page
Aboriginal and Descriptive       ....
113
CHAPTER XI.
The Future Government of British Columbia
138
CHAPTER XII.
The Magic Spell     ...                 •
141
CHAPTER XLIL
The Finger-post      ......
152
CHAPTER XIV.
Useful and Pictorial	
157
CHAPTER XV.
The Diggings          ......
170
CHAPTER XVI.
From London to San Francisco
176
CHAPTER XVII.
I embark for Vancouver, and subsequently make
use of my Geological Shovel....
182
CHAPTER XVm.
Our Ascent of the Frazer         ....
208
CHAPTER XIX.
Our Bivouac beyond the " Forks "
216
CHAPTER XX.
The El Dorado        .'	
227
CHAPTER XXI.
A Cold Chop and a Hot Steak .
244
CHAPTER XXII.
Back to the Island .
257
CHAPTER XXIII.
Prodigious Doings   .
281 CONTENTS. XI
Page
APPENDIX.
No. I.
An Act to provide for the government of British
Columbia.    2d August, 1858        .        .       .      317
No. II.
Letter from Gov. Stevens, Congressional Delegate
from Washington, to Mr. Cass—Protest against
the Tax on Miners — History of the affair—
The form of license—Alleged Extortions of the
Hudson's Bay Company—The Legal Aspect of
the Questions involved.....      322
Treaty made between the United States and Great
Britain in regard to limits Westward of the
Rocky Mountains, June 15, 1846 .        .        .      337
No. III.
Despatch from Washington      ....      338 -
No. IV.
Copies or Extracts of Correspondence relative to
the Discovery of Gold in the Frazer's River district, in British North America     .        .        .341
No. V.
Report of'a Canoe Expedition along the East
Coast of Vancouver Island. Communicated by
Governor Douglas to the Colonial Office.        .      369
No. VI.
Copy of the original Charter for incorporating the
Hudson's Bay Company, granted by his Majesty
King Charles the Second, in the twenty-third
year of his reign, a.d. 1670 ....      374  INTRODUCTION
SOCIAL  AND   POLITICAL.
The history, brief as yet and marvellous, of the
country of our El Dorado, by the wash of the
North Pacific, stands alone and unparalleled in
the long annals of the world. It has eclipsed
California and outshone Australia; it has attracted, by an almost magical influence, tens of
thousands to its shores, and flashed upon the
universe in alluring fascination. It has sprung
into life full armed, as Minerva from the brain
of Jove. That which, but a brief period gone,
reposed a solitary yet riant wilderness, is now
alive with the clamours of a rushing sea of men, XIV
INTRODUCTION.
and the foundations of cities are already laid far
down from the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver,
that hilly and forest-clad isle of a thousand beauties and a nation's promise—the England of its
ocean.
Gold is the mighty magnet which attracts
them—the guiding talisman of their career.
For gold has been the absorbing object of then-
search in the country from which they came,
and from which their fellow-men are still rushing
in palpitating gladness—a vast and headlong
tide—towards its favoured clime. The magic
spell of the discovery is being felt throughout
the world, and nations have been awakened to
the knowledge of another—a new—El Dorado,
outvying all beside. And this land, upon which
nature has so lavished her treasures, in inviting
prodigality, rests beneath the sway of the British
sceptre, and its riches are open to all.
Apart from gold, the other resources with
which it is endowed are in every way equally
bountiful and boundless; while its geographical position with regard to China and the
great islands lying to the northward is destined
to make it a grand emporium of trade with HHHH
INTRODUCTION. XV
those countries.* Thus, when such of the restless, thirsty souls as are now amassing the earthy
lucre of their ambition and their greed, may
choose to embark in a more steady and less
exciting career than that of " digging," they will
find around them an equally extensive and illimitable field, in which their talents and their
industry may be successfully exerted in the
building up of an empire, which is destined to
be the chief—the ruling power of the southern
hemisphere.
It is already, in future promise, the brightest
star in the constellation of Her Majesty's colonial
dominions ; and the giant march of its progress,
swift as the flight of time, is fast out-blazoning
even the rapid growth of that once wondrous
country of the Sacramento.     These men, al-
Miles.
* From Victoria to San Francisco the distance is     800
„ Honolula 7 2 37()
>J    ■
Sandwich Islands
Japan    4,400
;>
>>
„             Shanghai  5,800
„              Canton  6,900
„             Sidney (Australia)  7,230
Singapore  8,200
1 XVI
INTRODUCTION.
though possessing an affinity of race and language with ourselves, are, however, alien to us in
constitutional government. They are republicans
and democrats—we are supporters of a monarchy
and an aristocracy; and, therefore, it is desirable
that the latter element should be at once infused
into the disorderly mass of the Americans now
populating the regions alluded to, by emigration
from the British islands.
An exodus of this kind would both benefit
imperial, social, and individual interests. Firstly,
in fortifying our power in these colonies, which
are at present so thinly peopled with British-
born subjects; and, secondly, in relieving the
population of England of a superabundant number of the educated classes, amongst which so
much struggling and competition exists, as well
as benefiting those individuals by a transplantation into a field where energy and enterprise will
be more amply and universally rewarded than
are they in these, the crowded walks of the
mother country, where, alas ! in too many cases,
the intellectual labourer may unceasingly toil in
the vineyard of professional and daily life, and INTRODUCTION. xvii
scarce eke out for himself the means of a bare
subsistence.
Moreover, the higher the social element implanted in a new country, the better does it
augur for the future welfare, stability, and greatness of that country. Neither the Phoenicians
nor the Romans of old, nor the colonizing nations
of more modern times, were regardless of the
elements which composed the society first founding a new colony. Thus it was that Spain sent
her dignified clergy, and her noblest families their
sons, to settle in Mexico and Peru. With ourselves, Raleigh retired from the brilliant court of
Elizabeth and the highest sphere of political ambition and laid the foundation of Virginia, while
Maryland was founded by Lord Baltimore and the
highest Catholic families; and Pennsylvania was
the home of Penn, after he had been a courtier.
Carolina was similarly occupied, the framing of
its constitution being intrusted to John Locke.
In connection with Nova Scotia, the title of
baronet was first introduced and conferred; while
Cromwell and Hampden both fostered the prospect of a colonial career.
Colonies, to remain long integral portions of
I XVU1
INTRODUCTION.
to a
the parent empire, should be composed, to
great extent, of the elements which govern society there. This gives strength and insures
congeniality; it reflects back, to a great extent,
and in an improved form, the habits and civilization of that nation; and this is exactly what
is wanted in British Columbia and Vancouver,
to counteract the effect of opposite principles and
political tendencies to our own, which exist and
preponderate amongst the mixed and desperate
men who are now, in swelling tide, flocking
over and exploring that country, from the Rocky
Mountains to the Pacific, as well as the neighbouring islands. For the country, so far as its
established laws, customs, and population are
concerned, is still to us a Virginia in the time
of Raleigh, a Massachusetts in the days of the
Pilgrim Fathers; and although society, under
such circumstances, inevitably forms and regulates itself, adapting its uses to its necessities,
still the political helmsman over this newly-
awakened country has a mighty charge in hand j
for he can guide its ultimate destiny, while one
false move might leave nothing but a shattered
wreck to view. gffTffBBSH
INTRODUCTION. xix
Such is the critical nature of the emergency.
The voice of the country is, however, unanimous
in its approval of the prompt and liberal policy
pursued by the Colonial Minister in the matter;
and its successful issue will be sufficient to confer
upon him a political immortality as great as that
which he has already so deservedly earned in the
lofty walks of literature and of learning.
The wisdom of dispatching to British Columbia f. a powerful force of the corps of Royal Engineers, provided with everything necessary for the
formation of roads and bridges, to open up the
resources of the colony; also to erect blockhouses
for the reception and safe custody of the gold
which may be disposed of by the miners, and
at the same time to form an organised force for
the maintenance of law and order," is deserving of
the highest praise. This force is under the command of Colonel Moody, a gentleman who, from
his tried talents and his past experience in superintending the formation of the small colony which
has existed during the last eighteen years at the
Falkland Islands, is in every way adapted for the
important service. Great firmness and discretion
will be required of him in the performance of the XX
INTRODUCTION.
arduous duties he will, without doubt, be called
upon to take part in and perform until the ordinary machinery of government, municipal and
imperial, is so far introduced and set in motion,
as to dispense with the arbitrary rule which he
may find himself compelled in the mean time
to adopt. Prudent and lenient measures will,
however, alone be successful—the rule of equity
must be strictly adhered to, else the result
might be fatal; for what is a troop of armed, disciplined men in a country where the entire population consists of men equally well armed and
disciplined, and infinitely more desperate when
opposed, although generous and peaceful when
their " rights " are not infringed upon, and the
obstacles of nature, which it is their lot to contend against, are not multiplied by the fiscal and
other exactions of a too arbitrary and moribund
government—I allude to that of the Hudson's
Bay Company. And while I so speak I must not
omit allusion to the peculiar position and highly
commendable personal conduct of Governor
Douglas.
Never was man placed in a more awkward
position than he was, in having to deal with con- INTRODUCTION.
XXI
flicting interests, to serve two masters, as it were,
the Imperial Government and the Hudson's Bay
Company, and yet to have to please his new and
foreign population rushing down upon him like
a whirlwind, and that while the criticising eyes
of England and America were upon him, to give,
or at any rate be expected to give, satisfaction to
both and to all.
Now in forming a correct estimate of the
policy which he has and is adopting with regard
to the internal regulation of the two colonies
of which he is now Governor, this his peculiar
and difficult position must be taken into careful
consideration; and when such is done, it cannot
fail to be said that Governor Douglas has acted,
in so far as he judged right, ably and energetically,"
and moreover has, by his urbanity and liberal
feeling, rendered himself popular with the very
men who had the first right to complain, when
complaint was necessary. The Hudson's Bay
Company were fortunate in having so efficient
an officer to attend to their interests, for he certainly seems to have done his best in that respect
so far as was at all compatible with justice
to others.    Thus it is that, however much the XX11
INTRODUCTION.
world may disapprove of the monopoly which
he represents, it cannot but be acknowledged
that he has, so far as he was personally concerned,
acted in a manner as agreeable and conciliatory
as any Governor of a Colony could have done
under the circumstances. Still a Company s
officer is in a wrong position as Governor of its
Imperial and consequently social interests, and so
the Colonists themselves feel it, as was testified
in a memorial presented by them to the first
Governor, Blanchard, on his retirement, against
the anticipated appointment of the present
Governor, then chief factor of the Hudson's Bay
Company, and in this important respect it is that
Governor Douglas has been, and is, singularly
unfortunate. He was like the country schoolmaster, who because he felt himself master of
his boys, thought himself master of everybody
else also, and who did not find out his mistake
till he came to London. This was just the
case with Governor Douglas: long accustomed to
absolute control and discipline over the servants
of the all-powerful, half-venerated Company,
stationed over the territory; he thought he
could, or  perhaps  took  it  for  granted  as  a INTRODUCTION. XXiii
matter of principle, that the same thing could
be done with a free and independent population,—but when tens of thousands of armed
diggers became arrayed before his   vision,   his
restrictive policy, or rather that of the Company,
seems to have recoiled back upon him;   he became at once an experienced man, and saw that
the diggers, instead of entertaining the anticipated awe and respect for the edicts of the Fur
Company, took upon themselves the power of
questioning the authority under which they issued proclamations of right and  control, entire
and universal, over certain  territories, and all
the inhabitants  of such, and is now partly by
force of actual circumstances, and partlyunder the
calming influence of Home dispatches, wisely refraining from  " enforcing "   anything opposed
to the interests   of the new population.     But,
notwithstanding his having thus altered his tack,
if I may use the expression, he is just as zealous
and energetic in behalf of all, as he was when proposing to stop their supplies.
He is an active, talented, and good-intentioned
man; and had he not been harassed by having to
defend and sustain the rights, real and supposed, XXIV
INTRODUCTION.
of the Hudson's Bay Company, under the new
and unprecedented order of things, he would have
been greeted with that unalloyed praise to which
his many excellencies would have so well entitled
him. As it is, let the monopoly be blamed,
and not their individual representative.
Situated, however, as the crown is, with regard to the Hudson's Bay Company, there was no
alternative for all this, and therefore we can only
remain on guard and wait patiently till the expiration of the term of license in May next, when we
may hail the institution of a new and more fitting
order of things under the superintendence of
a new governor and legislature, and of an
organized and distributed force, magisterial and
police, to be dispatched from England.
With respect to the levying a license fee and
other conditions relating to the mainland, it is
certain that Governor Douglas had no Imperial
right whatever to do so, having at that time no
official control over the mainland, unless as an
officer of the Hudson's Bay Company, neither
have such exactions been confirmed or acquiesced in by the Home Government; but as
they have not been negatived, and as control *\
INTRODUCTION. XXV
over the mainland has been since vested in the
Governor of Vancouver's Island, and still will
continue to be so, Colonel Moody being for the
present merely surveyor of crown lands or Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, it is left
to the power and discretion of that officer (vide
Sir E. B. Lytton's despatch of July 1st, in
Appendix) as to whether the license-fees may or
can be collected. If the diggers rebel against
it, instead of as they now do, in many cases,
I shirk it," then there is no authority to support
him in its enforcement, neither in the prohibition of a free trade,—and very rightly. Ulterior
results will be much more safely brought about
to British interests and advantage in consequence of the provision of this outlet, and the
satisfaction which the liberality and wisdom of its
policy has given to the government and people
of the United States, from whom a diplomatic
agent was promptly sent to the New Gold Region,
than would the egregious error of " enforcing'"
| rights " militating against the prosperity of the
country, and especially when placed as we are with
regard to defences in those regions. It would have
been something like tilting against a pyramid.
h
J INTRODUCTION.
As it is, with much good feeling, more than
thirteen hundred miners, nearly all Americans,
had paid the tax up to the 25th of June. One
measure there was of the Governor of Vancouver which justly deserved the unpopularity
which it met with, and that was the prohibition
of promiscuous trading and the seizing of goods
imported contrary to the terms of his proclamation, claiming, for the Company, the right of
exclusive trade. This was about as preposterous
and injurious an act as any man in his ignorance
of right and wrong ever committed, and quite
illegal, the Company being unempowered to monopolize any trade, save that " with the Indians"
■—(vide Crown licenses of 1838 and August,
1849). But this imposition has, no doubt, by this
time been relinquished by sheer force of necessity,
which there would be no resisting. Again, the
navigation of the Frazer ought to be free to all
nations; but Governor Douglas had issued a
proclamation limiting such to " British bottoms" only. However, it is to be hoped that
this also will remain a dead letter, and that
the would-be tyranny of the Hudson's Bay
Company will be reined in by the wiser policy
of the Home Government. INTRODUCTION. xxvii
As respects the treatment of the aborigines,
the universal feeling of friendship which is entertained by the latter towards the servants of
the Hudson's JBay Company, is in itself a sufficient criterion of the^ kindness practised by
them, the greatest part of that kindness being
in their having left them alone, and in maintaining their trade with them, without infringing
upon their aboriginal habits of life, during the
course of more than a century and a half, so
that up to the present time there was little or
no decrease in the Indian population with which
they trafficked. This in itself is sufficient to
atone for nearly all the past evils of the monopoly, and presents a highly favourable and
striking contrast to the regime and conduct of
the United States Government and people in
dealing with the Indians on their territory, where
the Red Man was uncared-for, and slaughtered
with impunity. It is a melancholy reflection.
Even now there is a war going on in Oregon
between the United States army and the Indians,
a recent result of which was, that the former
were defeated. But of course the attack will
be renewed with a reinforced number of troops,
and the aborigines will inevitably be mowed and
) xxvm
INTRODUCTION.
shot down in as relentless and barbarous a manner as ever disgraced California after the gold
discoveries.    It is highly probable that on the
resumption by the Crown of Vancouver, that
the Hudson's Bay Company, with their accustomed shrewdness, will put forward their claim
for forts and effects, as also expenses incurred
in colonising the island; and it is already mooted
that the sum is nearly eighty thousand pounds.
Now this is simply preposterous, so far as the
amount is concerned, a twentieth part of that sum
being sufficient to compensate them under any
circumstances ; and, moreover, after the unprecedented harvest which the  Company are now
reaping,   they  will  be  amply  repaid  without
receiving any retiring grant from the Crown.
It is therefore to be hoped that they will forego
the application for such; but that if it is made,
the eyes of Mr. Roebuck may be employed in
the scrutiny.-   The ordeal would be a severe
out nevertheless a highly equitable one.
And now to my narrative.   IL.I_U.LJUM
THE NEW EL DOftADO;
OK,
BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
CHAPTER   I.
A   STARTING   GLIMPSE.
Nearly three years ago—how eventful have
those three years been—and on a certain murky
day in the month of October, I, then a passenger from San Francisco, was emptied out of
a conspicuously huge and clumsy-looking American "stage" into the flimsy township of Sonora,
situate in the heart of a populous mining district of California.
Amongst my fellow-passengers was an indi-
I
J THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
vidual whose legs terminated in a pair of eagle-
topped leather boots, that stretched outside his
striped " pants" half-way up to the knee. His
head was encased in a white felt wide-awake-
shaped hat, encircled by an eagle-buckled band,
while a red serge shirt answered the joint purpose
of coat and waistcoat. To the maroon-coloured
eagle-buckled leather belt which he wore, was also
slung a Colt's revolver, and this completed his attire and the appurtenances thereof, as my learned
friend Parson Baggs would have said of yore.
His countenance was of a sallow, weather-beaten
ribston-pippin aspect; his hair sandy; his eye
keen and piercing; while, by the nasal twang
of his voice, as well as his evident partiality for
eagles, he was recognisably and unmistakably
Yankee. This man was a miner, and his costume
was the common and orthodox one of his class.
During the journey by stage, for the first
part of the distance was travelled by steamer, it
might have been observed that he found frequent occasion for twisting his body round and
jerking something out of his mouth through
the window of the vehicle. The reader will
understand   from   this,   that   my   companion mmmmmmmm
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA. 3
" chawed," as unfortunately somebody else was
given to understand during this same trip, who
happening to be lounging near where the "stage"
passed, received a deluge of the "juice" in the
right eye. We all looked back and laughed
at the accident, while the thing on wheels rolled
up "the main street of the town, and shortly
pulled up at " Sacramento House," where we
alighted. Apropos of the tobacco juice, I had witnessed an exactly similar accident from a railway
car, twelve months before, in Pensylvania. It
was on a Saturday, and during the dry season.
The consequence was, that Sonora was flooded
with miners from the adjacent diggings, anxious
to spend Sunday and their money amidst the
attractions of the gambling-houses and hotels,
with which the town thickly abounded. The
population was chiefly made up of mongrel
Mexicans, Frenchmen, and Americans, although
Italians, Germans, and a few " Britishers," as
my companion termed them, were also to be
found. As my object is to introduce territories
of more absorbing present interest than this
region of California, I shall not enter into its
descriptive detail, my intention in selecting this
B 2
JA. THE  NEW  EL  DORADO
time and place for my opening chapter being
merely to familiarize the reader, to some extent,
with the men—the reckless but praiseworthy
adventurers whose exodus to the rocky but
diversified shores of New Caledonia, now British
Columbia, has attracted the attention of the world,
and opened to the view another El Dorado, a
second Australia, which bids fair to outvie in
natural treasures even that glittering land.
After dusk, the chief street of the town, in fact,
the town itself, for it is principally made up of
this one street, presented an almost perfect blaze
of light. The "bar" of every hotel and gambling-
O J © ©
house, and almost every house was such, was
brilliantly illuminated. Attractively dressed girls
flaunted behind the counters,and the entire aspect
of the place was one of seductive allurement.
Bands of music, negro and otherwise, played
and resounded in almost every house, and all
was revelry and delight. My companion in the
eagle topped-boots played " Monte" at one of the
gambling-tables, and won; I did likewise, but
lost. Such is life, such is matrimony—a lottery. After gambling; we repaired to Sacramento House, drank each a flash of lightning mm
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
and a gum tickler, drinks of Yankee concoction,
and having paid for our beds, received talleys,
denoting their numbers.
A little before midnight I set out on a voyage
of discovery towards my apportioned bed. After
ascending a ladder-like flight of stairs, I found
myself emerging, head first, into a sort of hayloft, faintly lighted by a sickly-looking candle, that sputtered in an apology for a stick,
fastened against the wall, and which light, so
painfully contrasting with the glitter and the
glare below, revealed to the eye about forty
stretchers, that lay in unpicturesque lines right,
left, and crosswise, leaving a tangled passage
about a foot wide for the purpose of navigating
from the trap-door to the respective beds.
Snoring, loud and furious, proclaimed it a dormitory. I was perplexed to find number 23,
but after considerable groping, shin-striking,
and miscellaneous stumbling, I achieved that
success. Then, however, to my great discomfiture, I found my appointed stretcher minus
both blankets and pillow; in other words, bare
of everything but a scanty mattrass; sheets,
apparently,   not being  there  in  vogue.     The 6
THE NEW  EL  DORADO ;
reason of this I soon perceived ; the weather
being cold, those who had preceded me had
helped themselves to additional blankets at the
expense of those who were to follow, so in self-
defence I was compelled to do likewise, and,
moreover, thought myself very lucky in being
able to do so. Thus it was with but little
compunction that I stripped a stretcher a few
yards higher up in the room than my own, and
in addition helped myself to an extra blanket
from another. After that, I followed the example of my snoring chamber-mates, and with
my revolver under my pillow, sank to slumber
as happily and contentedly as I had ever done
in regions of elegance and luxury. At about
three in the morning, however, I awoke, feeling
©' ' ©
very chilly, a natural consequence, indeed, of
sleeping uncovered. It was dark, and I could
hear nothings save the snoring of those around
me. I felt that my only alternative was to
dress myself; accordingly I adopted it without
delay, and after that dozed till morning. Of
course I comprehended that the cause of this
midnight interference was the scarcity of blankets amongst those who came last, and who mm
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
determined not to be done, pulled them off
others, and so established themselves, as their
saying went. It was prompt retribution; but
Americans are the people, and California is the
place for it.
On the Monday morning following, I accompanied my " chawing," twanging, but nevertheless good-hearted companion to his " hole"
and tent at the neighbouring mines, for he had
two mates, and they had been working while he
was away, banking the " dust," and doing " a
little on his own hook," at San Francisco.
He was now ready to rejoin them. The
history of this man was, that he had been a
performer in a circus, a workman in a pegged
boot manufactory, a clerk in a store, a barman
at an oyster saloon, and several other things
respectively in the United States, before setting
out for California. This he had done together
with six others across the Rocky Mountains, an
arduous and perilous undertaking, four years
antecedent to this period of my meeting with
him. Four only of their number reached San
Francisco, three having died through the hardships of the road.     These four  set to work 8
THE  NEW  EL DORADO;
digging at " Hell Gate," and their labours were
attended with such success, that in eight months
they amassed sixty thousand dollars. "With
this they returned together to San Francisco,
where one of their number was shot in a gambling saloon, and the rest were, to use popular
phraseology, left without a cent, having gambled and extravagantly wasted away their wealth.
After this, the three separated; one went down
to Sacramento,—a city in which during half the
year one-half of the population good humouredly
supports the other half, by reason of the latter
being out of luck,—and was never heard of afterwards ; another, who remained in San Francisco,
was lynched, which means that he was hanged for
an attempt at highway robbery; while the third,
my companion, joined a party for the Sonora
Mines, and commenced digging again.
After ten months' hard work his share came
to four thousand dollars, and with this sum he
revisited San Francisco and " started" a store.
Unfortunately he was burnt out " flat"—flat as
a d—d pancake, to use his own expression,
alike with all San Francisco three months afterwards.    On this he resolved to return to gold- OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA. 9
digging, and with this view again joined a party
for the same mines, and to this party he still
belonged.
We arrived at the tent; two lanky, black-
haired, long-bearded men welcomed my companion, and guessed he was serene, and guessed
the I stranger," meaning myself, w7as a Britisher, and hoped I'd " liquor," which I assented
to, and so on—all warmth and inquiry. These
men had been digging with but indifferent
success for sixteen months, that is, they had
only paid expenses and put by a thousand dollars a-piece.
They had often stood and worked for days
together, as a matter of course, up to the knees
in water at the bottom of a hole, and endured
wet beds, a windy tent, and rheumatism half
the winter round. But the excitement of their
free and independent occupation sustained them
through all this, and they dug on from day to
day with all the undiminished ardour and speculative perseverance of their hopeful nature, for
nil desperandum is, and ever ought to be,
the motto of the unsuccessful and unsatisfied
gold-digger—if he but work long enough, he is
b 3 10
THE  NEW  Et  DOSADO J
sure to succeed. It is such men as these that
are now flocking over to the New El Dorado.
Intent upon speedy gain, they are ready to
brave every risk, face every danger, and bear
with every hardship and privation. Dauntless,
fearless, and restless, they will brook no opposition nor restraint, but with a wild self-dependence of character, plunge, wherever gold
attracts them, defying everything, and surmounting all obstacles.
There is a savage heroism in this, which the
pampered conservative may denounce, but which,
nevertheless, all must admire. It is such men
as these that are now populating the new colony
on the banks of Frazer River; they have
strength, courage, and enterprise; and although
chiefly Americans, they enjoy an affinity of race
and language with ourselves, and will no doubt
endeavour to preserve those friendly relations
with us in British Columbia which ever ought
to subsist between two great nations, the one
the Offspring of the other, and each emulous of
higher advancement and the maintenance of a
growing prosperity. *^WI
ma
pp
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
11
CHAPTER  II.
THE   RUSH   FROM   CALIFORNIA.
It was on the 20th of April of the present
year, that the first rush by steamer of four hundred and fifty adventurers took place from San
Francisco to the gold mines on Frazer's River,
and between that time and June the 9th, two
thousand five hundred people, mostly miners
from the interior of California, had taken their
departure from San Francisco. It was estimated
then that an additional number of five thousand
were collected in Puget Sound en route.
The exodus continued.    All  California was
in a ferment;   the excitement was  universal. THE  NEW EL  DORADO;
Hundreds that would not. wait for the steamer,
and if they had, could not have been taken by
her, set out on the journey overland, starting
from Shasta and from Yreka in the north,
and travelling through Oregon to the New El
Dorado. This is a perfectly practicable route,
and the time necessary to the performance of
the journey is about eighteen days. From all
points squads of miners were to be seen making
for San Francisco, and to ship themselves off,
or taking the direction towards Oregon. Stock
was being driven overland, horses, mules, and
cattle through the Puget Sound country.    It
O © v
was calculated that fifty thousand souls would
leave  California  before  the  end   of   August.
©
Business in the interior, as a natural consequence, was deranged, suspended, or broken up,
rents were diminishing, and all, save San
Francisco, was being deserted; the latter city
was rejoicing at the great influx of the miners,
and still more at the prospect of the new trade
with the Frazer River settlement. Storekeepers
from the interior were hurrying down to set up
as merchants in San Francisco, and all was
uproar and delight.
MM OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
13
It was on July the 8th that on the order for
its second reading, Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer
Lytton, Secretary of State for the Colonies,
brought prominently, in an able speech, before
the House of Commons a Bill for the Government of New Caledonia; of that extensive
region, which extends from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, a region which has
hitherto been alone trodden by the Red Indian,
or the traders of the Hudson's Bay Company
in the pursuit of peltries.
The bill proposed to constitute the district of
"New Caledonia," on the northx-west coast of
America, a British colony, saying, " Whereas
divers of her Majesty's subjects and others have,
by the license and consent of her Majesty,
resorted and settled there for mining and other
purposes, and it being desirable to provide for
the civil government of such territories, it is
proposed to enact that her Majesty shall be
enabled, by order in Council, to provide for the
-making of laws for the government of j| the
colony; her Majesty is, as soon as she may
deem it expedient, to constitute a local council
and assembly, to be appointed or selected, sub- ject to such regulations as may be considered
suitable to the requirements of the colony.'
The bill does not empower the crown to annex Vancouver's Island to the mainland, but
there is a clause conferring that authority at a
future date, should the legislature of Vancouver
pray for such incorporation, the present object
being simply to provide some form of government, deferring a fuller measure until the colony
is more advanced, and its character and circumstances are more decided than they can be for
some time to come.
The solution of the question, which had from
time to time been raised, as to what should be
•done with the territories which the Hudson's
Bay Company have held under royal license
during the last forty years, was forced upon the
cabinet by the gold discoveries.
It is a difficult thing to form any kind of go-
vernment for such men, desperate, heedless, un-
* This measure was to empower the crown for a period
of five years to make laws for the district by orders in
council, and to establish a legislature, such legislature to
be appointed in the.first instance by the Governor alone,
but subsequently it would be open to establish a representative assembly. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
15
accustomed to any kind of restraint, and regardless of every consequence, as those, schooled in
California, who now people the newly-disturbed
wilderness of British Columbia; yet it seemed
necessary to be done, and the co-operation of men
of all parties shewed a laudable feeling towards
that end. The territory to be regulated and protected is bounded on the south by the American
frontier line, forty-nine degrees of latitude, and
extends to the sources of the Frazer River, in latitude fifty-five degrees. It is about four hundred
and twenty miles long in a straight line, and its
average breadth is from two hundred and fifty
to three hundred miles; taken from corner to
corner, its greatest length would be, however,
eight hundred and five miles, and its greatest
breadth four hundred miles. Its area is computed at, including Queen Charlotte's Island,
two hundred thousand square miles. Of its
two gold-bearing rivers, one, the Frazer, rises
in the northern boundary, and flowing south,
falls into the sea, on the south-western extremity, opposite the south end of Vancouver's
Island, and within a few miles of the American
boundary;   the   other,   the  Thompson  River, THE   NEW  EL  DORADO J
which rises in the Rocky Mountains, and flowing westward, joins the Frazer, at the " Forks."
(See Appendix.) It is on these two rivers,
and chiefly at their confluence, that the gold discoveries have been made.
The land on the lower part of the Frazer
River is good, but the Thompson's River district is one of the finest countries in the British
dominions, possessing a climate far superior to
that of countries in the same latitude on the
other side of the mountains. 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's River and Colville
districts to the Rocky Mountains, and from the
forty-ninth parallel, some three hundred and
fifty miles north, a more beautiful region does
not exist. It is in every way suitable for
colonization. Therefore, apart from the gold
fields, this country affords the highest promise
of becoming a flourishing and important colony.
When the bill referred to was introduced to
the House, the colonial Secretary, who is entitled
to  the fullest  praise  of  his country  for  his OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
17
talented exertions, and expeditious tact in this
matter, mentioned that Government had already
received overtures from Messrs. Cunard for a
line of postal steam vessels, for letters, goods,
and passengers, by which it was calculated that
the colony might be reached in about thirty-five
days from Liverpool, by way of New York, and
the Isthmus of Panama.
It is said that there are two sides to every
picture; be it so, but the one side is but a shade
darker than the other, as respects the country
we are dealing with. There are reports which
advert to the almost total absence of food supplies, and to the sufferings of the Indian tribes
from want and starvation ; that those wild tribes
roam over the country, disputing, fighting, and
robbing the Americans who venture there, and
are at peace only with the free-traders of the
Hudson's Bay Company, who furnish them
with much of their food. But these reports
are not to deter stout hearts, and were only applicable to the first thousand that crossed the
frontier. The rivers which run into the Pacific
are navigable for some distance into the interior,
but then terrific rapids and fearful gorges occur THE NEW EL  DORADO ;
to deter the traveller from further progress.
The adventurer in search of gold has to make
a path along the mountains, carrying his meagre
sustenance with him on a starveing horse, which,
food failing, he might have to kill and devour.
But such are, and always were, the exceptional
experiences of life in a new and mountainous
country.
Still when gold allures, what obstacles will
not man surmount, what hardships will he not
bear. These terrors will not discourage gold-
seekers. The men who are rushing to the
region to establish " new diggings," are as fierce
as the Indians themselves, and will have no
hesitation in declaring war to the knife against
natives who obstruct their progress.
It is a matter of present doubt whether Vancouver's Island, which is off the mainland, will
become an active gold district in itself; but
apart from that, its mere commerce will sufficiently enrich it. It is proposed to be made
the principal station of our naval force in the
Pacific.
It has the best harbour,—Esquimault—in fact
the only good one, northward of San Francisco^ OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
19
as far northward as Sitka,the Russian settlement;
there is fine timber in every direction, and coal
enough for a dozen navies. It has been said that
the Americans will scarcely like the establishment
of the new colony, and that we can readily imagine
the feeling with which some of the braves among
them will contemplate the 1 location" of Britishers on part of the American continent, which
they would like to consider it their exclusive right
to possess, while one of the London morning
papers accounted for a decline in the funds by
referring to an apprehension that the occupation
of I New Caledonia " might be considered offensive by the United States.
But all this is idle talk, as the good sense and
right feeling of the Americans is sure to be
found paramount in the. consideration of this
question, and that the two nations individually
will cheerfully and cordially support each other
in the work of colonization. THE  NEW   EL  DORADO:
CHAPTER   III.
DAZZLING  PROSPECTS.
It is not my province to endeavour to divert
emigration from its present channels, in favour
of the newlv-discovered gold regions of British
Columbia. But it behoves me as a writer, to
describe accurately and impartially the country
with which I have to deal, as well as to express
mv own candid and unbiassed belief in the de-
sirability of that country as a place of settlement
for those who, emulous of gain, and intent upon
doing something for themselves, which in England may be of doubtful promise, are willing
to go forth and brave the world amongst a class OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
21
of society, which, although crude and unsettled,
in its unsophisticated roughness may be found
all the more hospitable, and encouraging than
in England, where starched and hollow conventionalism curbs, and fetters, and repels, and
narrows the souls of men to a methodical routine and a humiliating code, which destroys self-
dependence and magnanimity, and, like the
desert traveller, lost amid the dust of the sirocco, makes the spirit of enterprize pant for the
fresher air of unshackled freedom. In giving
this opinion I cannot do otherwise than pronounce Vancouver's Island, and the territory of
the neighbouring mainland, as the most desirable
fields for the exercise of that talent, and that
industry, which the still over-burdened population
of this country may send forth.
Although the climate and other natural advantages of British Columbia are not everywhere so
great as those which favour the island, still the
proximity of both is so close, that each can be
made to conduce to the general comfort of man.
The climate of Vancouver's Island, although in
many respects closely resembling that of England,
is very much to be preferred to it.    The face of THE   NEW  EL   DORADO ;
the country is more radiant—the vegetation is
by far more luxuriant, and during the summer
months, that is from April to September, the
vivifying rays of an unclouded sun, shining
through a tinted but half shadowy sky, gladdens
the earth, and while decking all nature in a
festive array, makes joyful the hearts of men,
and merry indeed the carol of feathered throngs.
Rich and bounteous in its superficial treasures,
it offers to man the solid wealth of gold : here
can be achieved the sudden gain of what elsewhere millions strive for in vain.
Commerce always follows in the footsteps of
emigration and colonization, and rare will be
the advantages reaped from an influx of people
so great as the countries referred to are now
experiencing, and which tide of immigration
will continue to flow on in augmented greatness
and impetuosity, till the favoured territories
blaze out upon the world in dazzling attractiveness and importance, and British American gold
circulates in uncounted millions through the
coffers of civilization. And while I so speak of
these lands, I cannot but extol the spirit which has
actuated that grand mouth-piece of the British OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
23
nation, the Times newspaper, in its endeavours
to induce emigration generally, as well as the
publicity which it has given to the new gold
regions of our observation. The ample resources
which it commands, as well as the magnanimous
feeling of impartiality and philanthropy which
guides its conduct, and which has long placed it
on the highest pinnacle of journalistic fame, have
conduced to the dissemination of more good
throughout Great Britain and her dependencies,
and to an establishment of more thorough and
correct information, than all the other newspapers
of the United Kingdom joined together, and perhaps than all the emanations of the press for 'the
last fifty years throughout the world.
To some this possibly may seem an exaggerated statement, but can they refute it ? It is
beyond individual power to measure the extent
of good which has resulted from its able advocacy. Reforms may not have sprung up on the
instant of its. bidding, neither have abuses been
always as quickly corrected, but still the effect,
however latent—has been nevertheless as assuredly potent—has worked a marvellous change
in our government, our institutions, and our social THE  NEW  EL   DORADO;
the nineteenth century ; and by virtue
of the permanence of such effect in shaping
and influencing the destiny of future ages, and
not onlv of its own nation, but of the world.
It has gained the ear of humanity, which is
power; while by the laudable and judicious use
of that power it has contributed to the advancement of civilization, the ends of justice, and the
inculcation of everything calculated to exalt and
fortify; a power whose sceptre no other journal
was able to wield. This is public approbation,
and it is that public approbation and confidence
which still keeps it, and promises ever to keep
it, on a pillar of its own, the shining sun of
enlightenment and intelligence, the monitor as
well as the trumpet voice of Britannia, which is
felt and echoed throughout the length and
breadth of civilisation.
Well, indeed, may emigration from the mother country be advocated, while millions of able
and intelligent men and women drag out a feeble
existence, vegetating on the merest pittance
necessary for actual subsistence, and when to
attain that is too frequently a difficult struggle.
Well may emigration be encouraged when thou- OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
25
sands are every day being ushered into our jails
for petty thefts for bread. When millions prey
upon each other by the force of sheer hungry
necessity, and are hurried swiftly down the tide
of life and crime into* premature graves. When
the widow may wail, and her breadless, homeless children die on her breast without any helping hand being extended until it is too late.
When monopoly is tyranny sucking the life
blood of the people, and of trade, and men's
hearts are as callous as stones. When the thirst
and the struggle for gold is a work of life or
DO O
death amongst the mass of our population, and
the ever unsatisfied yearning and aim of the
wealthy—the moneyed monopolist. When the
weak man strong in gold, crushes the strong
man weak in gold, and all the world worship
money. In such an age, and in such a state of
society, is it not the best thing possible to induce
as many of the needy as can procure the means
df emigration to do so with as little delay as is
compatible with their own good interests ? Yes.
The beckoning hand of another El Dorado invites them from their squalid homes and resorts
of wretchedness to participate in the plenteous-
c  HMH
OR. BRITISH COLUMBIA.
27
CHAPTER  IV.
THE   ENGLAND   OF  THE   PACIFIC.
Vancouver, or Quadra and Vancouver, is an
island on the west coast of British America,
extending from latitude 48 deg. 19 min. to 50
deg. 53 min. north, and longitude 123 deg. 17
min. to 128 deg. 28 min. west. Its length,
measured from N.W. to S.E., is 278 miles, its
extreme length 290 miles, and in breadth it
varies from 50 to 65 miles. On the east and
north-eastern side it is separated from the mainland of British America by the Gulf of Georgia
and Queen Charlotte's Sound, and on the south
from that of the United States by the Strait of
Juan-de-Fuca, while on the north and western
c 2 THE  NEW  EL   DORADO;
side it lies open to the north Pacific. The interior is highly fertile, well timbered with cedar,
pine, maple, oak, and ash, and picturesquely
diversified by intersecting mountain ranges and
extensive prairies ; the shores are bold, precipitous, and rocky, nearly unbroken on the northeastern side, but presenting in other directions
numerous indentations, many of which are so
completely land-locked either by projecting promontories or minor islands stretching across their
mouths as to form excellent natural harbours.
Of these may be mentioned Nootka Sound on
the west, and Camosack, or Victoria Harbour
on the southern side.
The only navigable river hitherto known, is
that of Nimkis in the north east. In the same
part of the coast, and stretching to a considerable extent inland, an excellent field of coal exists,
and lies so near to the surface that by the aid of
the Indians it has been obtained at an average
cost of four shillings per ton ; the seams, however, although in some places three feet, are
in general only from ten to eighteen inches
thick. Fogs, remarkable both for their density
and duration, are of frequent occurrence.    The ■■■I
OR, BRITISH COLUMBIA.
29
winter is stormy, and heavy rains fall, particularly during November and December. Frost
occurs on the lowlands in January, but is
rarely of long duration, and can hardly be said
to interrupt agricultural operations.
Vegetation begins to advance in February,
makes rapid progress in March, and continues
to be fostered by alternately warm showers and
sunshine in April and May. The summer heats
are excessive, particularly during June and July,
and by the end of August the long grass becomes
so thoroughly parched as to be easily ignited-
Long before the period of the present gold discoveries, the agricultural and farming operations,
for the encouragement of which the country is
endowed with the most boundless resources, carried on chiefly at Victoria, exceeded in their
successful results the most sanguine expectations,
and are now being conducted with even greater
returns than before. The principal products, in
addition to those of the soil, are furs, chiefly those
of the bear, beaver, fox, racoon, deer, ermine,
squirrel, land otter, and sea otter, while fish,
including the sperm whale, abound plentifully
on all parts of the coasts. The Indian population numbers about ten
thousand five hundred,* and is divided into
twelve tribes; of these the Kawitchen, Quaquidts,
and Nootka; are the largest. They are a fine
stalwart race, and have since the establishment
of the Hudson Bay Company traded with their
civilised brethren on the most friendly terms.
The property of the whole island was granted
to the latter company in 1849, on the express
condition of their colonising it, but up to the
present time comparatively little progress has
been made towards that object.
Vancouver's Island was supposed to form a
part of the mainland till  the year  1789, when
an  American   vessel  sailed   through the   east
channel which separates it.    In  1792 it was
visited  by Vancouver, who named it Quadra
Vancouver, the former out of compliment to the
Spanish Commandant of Nootka Sound, which,
however, has now become obsolete.    The agents
of the Hudson's Bay Company had long been in
the habit of visiting it periodically before the
*_Before a parliamentary committee in 1857, Mr.
Cooper, an ex-resident on the island, in his evidence,
estimated the aboriginal population at from eighteen to
twenty thousand. mm
OR, BRITISH COLUMBIA.
31
date of its cedure to them, for the sake of the
trade in furs and other commodities supplied by
the Indians ; it attracted, however, but little
attention till the discussion of the Oregon question brought it prominently into notice. By the
boundary treaty with the United States, the
entire possession of it was then formally fixed
in Great Britain.
Fort Victoria, erected by the Hudson's Bay
Company, is situated on the southern extremity
of the island, in the small harbour of Cammusan,
the entrance to which is rather intricate. The
fort is a square enclosure of one hundred yards,
surrounded by cedar pickets twenty feet in height,
and having octagonal bastions containing each
six-pounder iron guns at the north-east and
south-west angles; the buildings are made of
squared timber; they are eight in number, and
so constructed as to form three sides of an oblong. This fort is badly situated with regard to
water position, the site having been chosen for
its agricultural advantages only. Distant from
this about three miles, and nearly connected by
a small inlet, is the Squimal Harbour, which is
very  commodious and easily  accessible   at all 32
THE  NEW EL  DORADO;
times, offering a much better position, and having
also an abundant supply of fresh water in its
vicinity. Fields of limestone also abound in the
neighbourhood, admirably suited for buildiDg
purposes.
The Straits of Juan de Fuca, which separate
Vancouver's Island from the mainland, are safe
and easy of navigation ; the shores are straight
and bold \ on the south composed of perpendicular cliffs that run backward in high
and ragged peaks, while on the north they are
bold and rocky, and in some places formed of
reddish granite. The port of Camosack is the
most eligible within the latter straits; it is
hemmed in by a range of plains nearly six miles
square, containing a great extent of valuable
tillage and pasture land, sprinkled here and
there with pine and oak, and intersected by a
canal six miles long, and rivulets well adapted
for the ordinary water-power purposes of flour
and saw mill driving. The aspect of the country is most picturesque, the climate highly
salubrious, while cattle and the necessaries of
life are abundant. Clover grows wild with a
rank and luxurious compactness more resem-
mm ^memmmmm
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
33
bling the close sward of a well-managed lea than
the produce of an uncultivated waste.
The following is the synopsis of the basis
of the constitution of the Vancouver Island
Colony:—
'" The Governor is appointed by the Crown,
with a council of seven members likewise so
appointed.
I The Governor is authorised to call assemblies to be elected by the inhabitants holding
twenty acres of freehold land.
I For this purpose it is left to the discretion
of the Governor to fix the number of representatives; and to divide the island into electoral
districts, if he shall think such division necessary.
" The Governor has the usual power of proroguing or dissolving such assembly.
" The legislature thus constituted will have
full power to impose taxes and regulate the
affairs of the island, and to modify its institutions, subject to the usual control of the crown.
| Laws will be passed by the Governor, council, and assembly."
There is little to object in the above, but
c 3 THE NEW  EL DORADO ;
when we come to the following we plainly recognise the cause which has hitherto militated
against the colonisation of the island:—
1. That no grant of land shall contain less
than twenty acres.
2. That purchasers of land shall pay to the
Hudson's Bay Company, at their house in London, the sum of £1 per acre for the land sold to
them, and to be held in free and common
soccage.
3. That purchasers of land shall provide a
passage to Vancouver's Island for themselves and
families if they have any; or be provided, if
they prefer it, with a passage on paying for the
same at a reasonable rate.
4. That purchasers of a larger quantity of land
shall pay the same price per acre, viz. £1, and
shall take out with them five single men or three
married couples for every hundred acres.
5. That all minerals, wherever found, shall
belong to the company, who shall have the
right of digging for the same, compensation
being made to the owner of the soil for any
injury done to the surface; but that the said
owner shall have the privilege of working for his OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
35
own benefit any coal mine that may be on his
land on payment of a royalty of 2s. 6d. per ton.
It is needless to offer comment on these impolitic and suicidal regulations, when at the
same time, in both Oregon and California, where
gold was abundant, land was purchasable at 6s.
per acre. The fact was, the Hudson's Bay
Company wanted to keep back emigration, for
the sake of the furs and other petty traffic with
the natives; and so far, as anti-civilisers, they
succeeded. By right of charter their territory
extends from 49 deg. to 70 deg. north latitude,
and from 55 deg. to 135 deg. west longitude,
and contains more than three millions of square
miles, over which they maintain one hundred
and sixty distinct establishments where the fur
trade is carried on. In 1838, the charter
granted by Charles II. was renewed for twenty-:
one years, and will consequently expire in 1859,
as also that granted in 1848 for Vancouver's
Island, when it is to be hoped there will be a
dissolution of that monopoly which has since
1670 kept back civilisation for the mere sake of
gratifying the wants of the few. British Columbia is a rugged but highly
diversified tract of country in Oregon, west of
the Rocky Mountains, stretching between latitude 48 and 57 deg. north, extending about
500 miles north to south, and nearly 400 miles
east to west. It is mountainous, and abounds
in lakes and rivers, the largest of the latter
being the auriferous Frazer. Agriculture has
not been prosecuted with so much zeal or
success here as on Vancouver's Island, but
the natural advantages of the country are in
many parts fully equal, if not superior, to it;
potatoes, turnips, wheat, and barley, have been
long cultivated at the principal posts or stations
■9 OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
37
of the Hudson's Bay Company in the territory,
and with much success, especially at Nisqually,
where they have fifteen miles of land under tillage,
besides large flocks of cattle on pasturage.
The. soil varies from a deep black vegetable
loam to a light brown loamy earth. The hills are
generally basalt, stone, and slate.    The surface
is generally undulating, well watered, well wooded,
and well adapted for agriculture and pasturage.
The   timber   consists  principally  of pine,   fir,
spruce, oak (white and red), ash, yew, arbutus,
cedar, arborvitse, poplar,  maple, willow, cherry,
and tea.   All kinds of grain, including wheat, rye,
barley, oats,  and peas,  may be raised in abundance.   Fruits, particularly apples and pears, together with every kind  of vegetable grown in
England, flourish admirably, and produce most
abundant crops.    The winters are more humid
than cold, as from the middle of October to
March the rains are almost incessant, and frequently accompanied with  heavy thunder and
lightning. The winds which prevail at this season
are from the south and southeast, and these
usually bring rain, while" those from the north
and north-west bring fair weather and a clear 38
THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
sky. From the middle of March to the middle
of October, the weather is serene and delightful;
only a few gentle showers fall, but in the morn-
ing the dews and fogs are frequent and heavy.
The middle and eastern regions have, from their
elevation, a severer climate.
Nearly at the southern extremity of Puget's
Sound stands Fort Nisqually, where the Hudson's Bay Company have extensive farms and
granaries.* Some of the natives here live in
the plains, and others on the banks of the
Sound. Each of the tribes observe a marked
aversion to mutual incorporation, and confine
themselves to tljeir distinct localities, the plain
tribes  not  approaching  the  Sound,   and   the
* The anchorage off Nisqually is very contracted, in
consequence of the rapid shelving of the bank, that soon
drops itself into deep water. The shore rises abraptly
to a height of about two hundred feet, and on the top of
the ascent is an extended plain covered with pine, oak,
and ash trees scattered here and there, so as to form a
park-like scene. The hill-side is mounted by a well-
constructed road, easy of ascent. From the summit of
the road the view is beautiful, over Puget's Sound and
its many islands, with Mount Olympus covered with
snow for a back-ground. Fort Nisqually, with its outbuildings and enclosures, stands back about half a mile
froin the edge of the table land. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
39
tribes bordering on the Sound not extending
their rovings into the plains. Their habits and
food are in conformity with their condition;
the one are fishers, the other hunters, living
principally on roots dried, pounded, and kneaded
into cakes, and on deer's flesh. All this country, both maritime and inland, abounds in all
sorts of game, — geese, ducks, plovers, partridges, &c. These are not only used by them
for food, but are bartered with the Company's
servants for articles of use and ornament, such
as blankets, tobacco, ammunition, and trinkets.
From this fjrt, to obviate the necessity of
passing up the Sound, then westward up the
Fuca Straits, and thence southward to the
mouth of the Columbia, and crossing the bar
in a vessel, there is a portage-way across the
land, the distance being about ninety miles from
this to the banks of the Cowlitz River. This
river runs from the northern interior into the
Columbia, about forty-nine miles below Fort
Vancouver, in a south-westerly direction. At
the end of tb;s portage, on the river's banks,
there is a British settlement, principally composed of retired Hudson's Bay traders. Frazer's River rises in the Rocky Mountains, between latitudes 55 and 56 deg. north,
near the source of Canoe River (which is the
first large tributary of the Columbia after the
latter issues from its source), and at first runs
about north-west for a distance of about eighty
miles. It then takes a southerly direction, receiving the waters of Stuart's River, which rises
in one of the chains of lakes that abound in all
Columbia. It continues its southern course by
west, receiving the waters of the Chilcotin,
Pinklitsa, and several other minor rivers flowing
from the lakes or hills of the west, and also the
waters of Thompson's River, Quisnell's River,
and others which flow into it from the east.
In parallel 49 deg. it breaks through the cascade range of mountains, a continuation of the
Sierra Nevada, in a succession of falls and rapids,
and running westward is emptied into the Gulf
of Georgia in 49 deg. 7 min. north. During
this latter part of its course, as far up as Fort
Yale, it is navigable for vessels, after passing its
bar, that draw not more than twelve feet of water.
Its direct length across country is about four
hundred miles.    But taking its irregular winding OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
41
course into consideration it is nearly nine hundred miles long. The country along its lower
section is hilly, and covered with forests of white
pine, cedar, and other evergreens, while the soil
is generally well fitted for pasturage, and in
many places for tillage. But along the other and
more southern sections the country is more un-
genial and unproductive, being cut up by mountains, ravines, torrents, lakes, and marshes. Yet
it is well wooded, yielding all the varieties of trees
growing in that region, fir, spruce, willow, cedar,
cypress, birch, and alder. The climate is very
variable, and the transitions, though periodically
regular, are remarkably sudden, if not violent.
During the spring, which lasts from April
till June, the weather and the face of the country are delightful. In June there are occasional
rains, drifted along by a strong south wind ;
and in July and August the heat is intense,
while the ground, previously saturated with
moisture, produces myriads of flies and other
insects.
This heat and glaring sunshine are sometimes
succeeded in September by fogs of such palpable
darkness, that until noon it is seldom possible to I
distinguish objects at a longer distance than one
hundred yards. In November the winter sets in,
mildly freezing the lakes and smaller rivers.
The cold, however, is not so intense as might
be imagined in such a country and climate, being
far less severe than that of any part of Canada.
The country is easy of access from Nisqually
to the Chetreels River, when the soil changes
from gravelly loam to a stiff clay; and numerous little rivers which overflow their banks and
flood the country for an immense distance
during the winter and spring freshets, render
the land journey to the Cowlitz River difficult;
and during that season, to all, save gold diggers,
who are undauntable, almost impracticable.
A few settlers have lately been located on
this route, and the Americans had formed a
village as far north as Puget's Sound ten years
ago. Simultaneously with the latter, a settlement of Canadians was formed on the Cowlitz
River, where the Puget's Sound Company had
about one thousand acres of land under cultivation. The course of the Cowlitz is irregular
and rapid, and at high-water dangerous, but the
obstacles are such as the Canadian boatmen can r
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
43
0
guard against and overcome. An establishment
has been formed by the Hudson's Bay Company
at the mouth of this river, in which wheat and
ther produce is stored and shipped in large
quantities to the Russian settlement at Sitka,
and to the Sandwich Islands.
Coal abounds over the whole of the northeastern territory f that is to say, from Cheslaker's,
latitude 50 deg. 36 min., to Cape Scott at its
southern extremity.
On the borders of M'Neil's Harbour the coal
juts out above the surface. The beds are divided by intermediate layers of sandstone, and are
seen most distinctly on the open beach, extending over about a mile in length, generally within
the line of high water; the mineral having evidently been laid bare by the wash of the sea,
which has frittered and worn away the incumbent mould and sandstone.,
A fresh-water rivulet which runs across the*
bed, in a direction perpendicular to the beach,
has also laid bare a transverse section of the coal
to the distance of nearly a mile from the sea;
shewing that the bed runs in a nearly horizontal
direction as far as that .point, beyond which the depth of the strata has not been reliably ascertained.
The coal can be worked at a comparatively
small expense over a field of such extent. Some
of it has been brought to England, and an-
swered exceedingly well in forges. Externally
it is hard and brittle, interspersed with sulphuret
of iron, and it contains but little earthy or incombustible matter; it, however, burns better in
furnaces than elsewhere, and in small quantities.
In the upper and consequently colder regions
of British Columbia, the most fertile spots flank
the rivers, the thermometer sometimes falls
22 deg. below zero; but the seasons are milder
than in the same parallel east of the Rocky Mountains.
The summer is there never very hot, although
fires can be dispensed with from the end of May
till the beginning of September.    Snow covers*
the ground from December to April, and at an
average depth of two feet.
This elevated part of the North American
continent is inhabited by the two great Indian
nations of the north—the Takali or Carrier Indians, and the Atnalis or Shouswaps. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
45
The Carriers live principally upon salmon, and
prefer their meat putrid; for which end they
bury it for months under ground, till it becomes
a mass of corruption, when it is eaten and esteemed a delicacy. They are quick tempered,
but neither sullen nor revengeful, and are singularly susceptible of ridicule. Their heads present
a somewhat oval appearance, owing to the practice amongst them of flattening, during infancy,
by artificial means, the craniums of their children.
The Hudson's Bay Company have several river
posts, or stations in this upper .territory.
The country is too humid for the growth of
the finest wool; but much of a coarser nature,
and well adapted for commerce, has and may be
cultivated with profit.
In Quen Charlotte's Island, which is included
in the new colony, gold was discovered in 1850,
-but only in small quantities.
The discovery of gold on the mainland was
first reported to the Colonial Office by a dispatch
from the Governor of Vancouver's Island, dated
April the 16th, 1856. His words were,—
I From experiments made in the Frazer River,
there is reason to believe that the gold region is THE NEW  EL  DORADO;
extensive." In that year he granted licenses to
dig in the Frazer and Thompson Rivers.
In 1857 the license fees were raised from 10s.
to 20s. per month, and persons were prohibited
from digging without- authority from the colonial
goverment. But the prohibition remained a
dead letter, as it was found that the Governor
had no authority to issue such proclamations, he
having no commission as Governor on the main
land.
In 1858 the'Governor wrote to the Hudson's
Bay Company, expressing a hope that her Majesty's government would take measures to protect life and property, otherwise there would be
many difficulties.; as a large number of Americans had entered the territory, and others were
about to follow in rapid succession.
Those who were now hastening to that land
only went in search of sudden gain, and it was
therefore proposed at home to establish only a
temporary government.
On the 29th of July, the bill as originally
proposed, for the future government of British
Columbia, was read a third time and passed ; by
this measure the Governor of Vancouver's Island
is conditionally empowered, for the period of five OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
47
years, to appoint such legislature as he may
think fit for the due administration of the terms
of the new bill (for copy, see Appendix); the two
colonies in the meantime to remain entirely
distinct, unless it should be otherwise enacted by
the home government.
Goods may be shipped in London, and carried
without transhipment to the western shores of
Lake Superior. This has been effected by rendering, among other things, the St. Lawrence
navigable by ships of high tonnage. The English
are now further across the great continent of
America than the Americans themselves.
The line of route from Halifax to Lake Superior exceeds in extent any possessed by the United
States ; and it is proposed to carry a railway completely across the continent, so that direct communication would be established between England and Vancouver's Island by way of Halifax.
With the view of opening a communication
by railway or canal between Lake Superior and
the Pacific, it has been suggested that the system
adopted by the United States in the formation
of a certain ship canal, might be resorted to by
the British government with every likelihood of
success.     One hundred  and eighty  thousand 48
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO J
acres of land were set aside in the State of Michigan, and were given in trust for those who
made the canal, on condition that they finished
it; and as the work advanced and money was
required, part of the land was sold, and supplied
funds for continuing the undertaking.
It was found that the sale of these lands,
made infinitely more valuable by the proximity
of the canal itself, fully remunerated the shareholders for their task and outlay of construction ;
and it would not be at all difficult to set aside
reserves of land along the line, from Lake Superior to the Pacific, and apply that to complete
the communication between those two points.
With the exception of a single rapid (which
might be avoided by a canal), the navigation of
the Saskatchewan river offers no impediment.
With this one exception, a vessel of considerable
size could be taken up to the foot of the Rocky
Mountains; and at this point there is a gap in the
mountains, which would interpose no great obstacle in the way of a junction between the Columbia and the Saskatchewan, whose sources are
but a little distance apart. Thus a communication with the Pacific would be established. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
49
This colossal design, with the aid of skill and
capital, will be, without doubt, eventually achieved
unless, indeed, we should become a race of aeronauts, and sail about in balloons, or fly with talismans instead of being drawn over land and
ocean by steam.
It is hard to say where the march of improvement may carry us to; but even calculating by
our present standard of inventions, the feasibility
of the suggestion just made is complete.
With respect to the territory embraced in our El
Dorado, over which the authority of the Hudson's
Bay Company extends, it is a somewhat peculiar
historical circumstance that England herself did
not acquire exclusive possession of it until the
treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, yet it was given away
by Charles the Second, under charter, in 1670.
Glancing over the vast regions devoted to the
fur trade, the area of which is as large" as that of
all Europe, the first idea is that of amazement,
that so large a portion of the earth's surface, and
that under the British sceptre, should have been
so long abandoned as a mere hunting ground.
Government, however, will not renew the license
of the Hudson's Bay Company over any part of
D THE NEW EL DORADO ;
the North American territory, which promises
early colonization; but it is reserved for further"
deliberation, whether they will renew it for a
limited period over the more remote and northern
regions, taking care that the government shall
have always the power to withdraw from that
license any land that may be required for the
purposes of civilization; that they shall retain
all imperial rights to fisheries, and to mines, and
whatever may call forth human industry and enterprise, in pursuits more congenial to our tastes
and wants, than the barren trade in skins, which
carries us back to times without a history.
Already in the large territory which extends
west of the Rocky Mountains, from the Ameri-
can frontier up to the skirts of the Russian domains, Great Britain is laying the mighty foundation of what will become a magnificent abode
for the human race. And now, eastward of the
Rocky Mountains, we are invited to see in the
settlement of the Red River the nucleus of a
new colony, a rampart against any hostile inroads from the American frontier, and an essential arch, as it were, to that great viaduct, by
which it is to be hoped we may one day, and that mmmmumt
mtm
OR, BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
not very remote, connect the harbours of Vancouver with the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
With regard to the safety of the Red River
settlement from an attack from the United
States quarter, the population numbers about
eight thousand five hundred, of which two thousand are English, Irish, and Scotch, the remainder
consisting of half breeds. They are good shots,
and capital horsemen. A local militia of at
least one thousand men could he readily embodied at any time. The post is easy of defence,
unless against heavy ordnance, which it would be
difficult to bring up against it jj but the position
might be rendered impregnable.
I have thus made allusion to the Red River
settlement,owing to the probability of its becoming
an intermediate station, and city of high importance in our future overland traffic between Canada
and British Columbia ; as, from its geographical
position, it is well adapted for, being without a
rival; and as we have before said, the solitary
oasis in the wilderness east of the Rocky
Mountains.
D 2
m.  OR BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
53
they founded a colony. After that, the wildest
and most seemingly inaccessible country was
explored, and a trade at once sprung up between
the Indians and the whites.
In 1610, the English, in the person of John
Hudson, explored the so-named Hudson's Bay,
nine hundred miles in length,- by six hundred
in greatest breadth. Both nations soon joined in
the traffic with the natives for skins and furs, the
trade rapidly grew, and immense profits accrued
to those engaged in it. The white man plunged
into the as yet unknown wilderness, and by the
gift of trifling baubles procured all that the Red
man could give. Montreal became the chief
mart of this traffic.
Hordes of Indians came down periodically in
their canoes, laden with the spoils of the hunting
season—unloaded their primitive crafts, which
they drew up on the beach, and formed encampments outside the town, where, with much
show of native ceremony, they held fairs for
the disposal of their produce. They would
ask an audience of the Governor-General, who
would respond to their application, and hold the
conference with some pomp, seated in an arm THE NEW EL  DORADO J
chair—which for the time being he felt a throne
—while the Indians would squat round him in
a semicircle, smoking pipes. Speeches and
presents would be exchanged, and then the
meeting would break up. When the work of
barter, in which knives, axes, kettles, and blankets took the place of money, was over, the
aborigines would strike their tents, launch their
canoes, and ply their way back into the interior.
At this primitive period a class of men called
Coureurs des Bois, or Rangers of the Woods,
sprung up. These would set out well stocked
with wares suited to the Indian tastes and
wants, and make their way along the rivers far
into the primeval wilderness, and by the attraction of their goods create new wants and habitudes among the natives, assimilating themselves
meanwhile for months to the habits and customs
of the various tribes. They would often clothe
themselves in skins, and travel with Indian
wives. As, however, civilization leaves behind nothing but its vices amongst an aboriginal people,
so these men did not fail in their intercourse
with the red men to contaminate and vitiate
both physically and morally.    Subsequently the
•>■ OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
55
French issued orders prohibiting all persons, on
pain of death, from trading in the interior of the
country without a license; this, however, failed
to abolish the traffic referred to, and it therefore
continued long after, to the great detriment of
the native population, who revelled away in
unsightly drunkenness, pitiable victims of 1 Old
Tom," supplied by these outlaws of civilization.
Sixty years later, the Hudson's Bay Company,
in the person of Prince Rupert, obtained their
charter. In 1794, the United States and Great
Britain signed a treaty of commerce and navigation, when an extensive and regular trade,
solely in furs, set in with redoubled force between
the Americans and the Indian tribes of the
Mississippi and Lake Superior. About this
period the great North West Fur Company, and
subsequently the Pacific Russian-American Fur
Company, the latter originated by a wealthy New
Yorker, one John Jacob Astor, commenced
operations, when fearful rivalry, often involving
bloodshed, ensued between them and the established Hudson's Bay Company ; the three companies, however, became amalgamated by the
intervention of the British government in 1819.  OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
57
CHAPTER VII.
THE   OASIS  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
As it is not improbable that the influx of population at one part of the coast will extend its
influence to the other settlements of that region,
a brief sketch of the Red River settlement, which
I visited some years back, may not be unacceptable. Originally established by the Scotch of
the Hudson's Bay Company in 1812, it, from
its singularity of character and position, lies as
an oasis in the vast wilderness of a savage region. It is situated in the fiftieth degree of
north latitude, and the ninety-seventh of west
longitude, and at an elevation of about a thousand feet above the level of the sea, and near
D 3 58
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
the confluence of the Red and Assinfjboine
Rivers, whose united waters run northward about
thirty miles into lake Winnipeg, which also receives many other tributary streams. Those two
rivers flow through a vast extent of country,
fertile, and redundant of vegetation, and of salubrious climate. The Red River rises in the
United States, near the sources of the Mississippi,
and runs northward; the Assinaboine flows
from the north-west. The cold season lasts
about five months, from November till April;
but the ice on lake Winnipeg does not break up
till May. The range of the settlement stretches
upwards of fifty miles along the romantic and
woody banks of those rivers. Their borders
are cultivated to the breadth of more than a
mile; all the back country remaining to a great
extent in its original state—a vast natural pasture, covered during the greater part of the year
with cattle, and furnishing the colonists with a
considerable quantity of hay for the support of
their herds during the winter.
Horses, horned cattle, hogs, and poultry, are
exceedingly numerous. Sheep introduced from
England  and  the United States   speckle  the '"■"• ""'■
(■i
OR BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
59
landscape, and are reared with great success.
Wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, maise, potatoes,
turnips, and culinary vegetables thrive well.
Pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers arrive at
maturity in the open air. Hops, as also flax and
hemp, grow luxuriously. The most common
sorts of wood are oak, poplar, elm, and maple ;
pines are found towards lake Winnipeg. On
this lake vessels ply in summer between the
colony and the Hudson's Bay Company's entrepot of Norway House, which is situated at its
northern extremity, where the river navigation
to Hudson's Bay commences, the lake emptying itself into the latter by the Nelson River.
There are two principal churches, the Protestant and Roman Catholic, the latter a bishopric,
and these, together with the jail, the bishop's
residence, the offices of the Hudson's Bay Company, and many of the houses of those retired
officers of the fur trade w7ho prefer remaining
here to returning to their native country, are
built of stone. The generality of the settlers,
however, live in frame or log houses roofed with
wooden slabs, bark, or shingles, which are for the
most part whitewashed, or painted externally. THE  NEJtf  EL DORADO ;
Every man, however low his condition, possesses
a horse, and each vies with the other in gay
curricles, harness, saddle, and fine clothes.
Labour is dear, and produce of every kind
sells at a higher price than could be expected in
a place so remote and secluded. Domestic
manufactures are now lessening the demand
for imported goods, and a trade in grain and
cattle has sprung up between the colonists and
the Americans of the level plains leading to the
Mississippi and the St. Peter's; while hides,tallow,
wool, hemp, and flax, have already been exported to England. Wind and water mills are
as common as in Holland, and Crees and Chip-
peway Indians have settlements at the lower
extremity of the colony.
The Red River Settlement is situated partly
on the banks of the Red River and partly on
the banks of a smaller stream called the Assina-
boine, in latitude 50 deg. and extends upwards
of fifty miles along the banks of these two
streams. The country around it is a vast treeless prairie, upon which scarcely a shrub is to
be seen, but a thick coat of grass covers it
throughout its entire extent, with the exception OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
61
of a few spots, where the hollowness of the
ground has collected a little moisture, or the
meandering of some small stream or rivulet enriches the soil and covers the banks with verdant
shrubs and trees. The banks of the Red and
Assinaboine Rivers are covered with a thick belt
of woodland, which does not, however, extend
far back into the plains. It is composed of oak,
poplar, willows, and pine, the first of which is
much used for firewood by the settlers. The
larger timber in the adjacent woods is thus
being rapidly thinned, and very soon the inhabitants will have to raft their firewood down the
rivers from a considerable distance. The settlers
are a mixture of French, Canadians, Scotchmen,
and Indians.
In the year 1826, Red River overflowed its
banks and flooded the whole settlement, obliging
the settlers to forsake their houses and drive
their horses and cattle to the hilly eminences in
the immediate vicinity. These eminences are
few and small, so that during the flood they
presented a curious appearance, being crowded
with men, women, and children, horses, cattle,
sheep, and poultry.    The houses being made 62
THE   NEW  EL  DORADO;
of wood, and only built on the ground, not sunk
into it, were carried away by dozens, and great
numbers of horses and cattle were drowned.
During the time it lasted, the settlers sailed and
paddled among their houses in boats and canoes;
and they now point out grassy and bushy spots
where they dwelt in their tents, or paddled about
the deep waters in their canoes in the year of
the flood. This sounds very antediluvian ; and
when you hear a hale, middle-aged colonist tell
you with a ludicrously grave countenance that
so-and-so occurred, or that his house stood in
such a place a year before the flood, it is hard
to refrain from grinning—pardon the expression.
Fort Garry, the principal establishment of the
Hudson's Bay Company, stands on the banks
of the Assinaboine River, at about two hundred
yards from the junction with Red River. It is
a square, stone building, with bastions pierced
for cannon at the corners. The principal dwelling-houses, stores, and offices are built within
the walls, and the stables at a short distance from
the fort. The situation is pretty and quiet;
but the surrounding country is too flat for the
lover of the grand and picturesque.    Just in OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
63
front of the lake glides the peaceful Assinsu
boine, where, on a fine day in autumn, may be
seen thousands of fish (gold eyes) playing in its
waters. On the left extends the woodland,
fringing the river, with here and there a clump
of smaller trees and willows, surrounding the
swamps formed by the melting snows of spring,
where flocks of wild ducks and noisy plovers
give animation to the scene, while through the
openings in the forest are seen glimpses of the
rolling prairie. Down in the hollow, where the
stables stand, a few horses and cows are always
to be seen, feeding or lazily chewing their cud
in the rich pasturage, giving an air of repose
to the landscape which contrasts forcibly with
the view of the wide plains that spread out
like a sea of green from the back of the fort,
studded here and there with little islets and
hillocks, around which may be seen hovering a
watchful hawk or solitary raven.
The climate of Red River is salubrious and
agreeable. Winter commences about the middle of November, and spring begins in April.
Although the winter is very long and extremely
cold (the thermometer usually varying between THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
ten and thirty degrees below zero), yet from its
being always  a  dry frost,  it is  much  more
agreeable than those accustomed to the damp,
hazy weather of Great Britain might suppose.
Winter is here the liveliest season of the yearj
as it is in Canada.    It is then that the wild,
demi-savage colonist leads the blushing, ' half-
breed ' girl to the altar, and the country surrounding his house rings with the joyful music of the
sleigh bells.    It is at this season that the hardy
voyajeurs rest from their toil, and circling round
the blazing fire, recount .many a tale of danger,
and paint many a wild, romantic scene of their
long and tedious voyages among" the lakes and
rapids of the far interior, while their wives and
children gaze with breathless interest upon their
swarthy, sun-burnt faces, lighted up with animation as they recall the scenes of other days,
or with low and solemn voice relate the death
of a friend and fellow-voyajeur, who perished
among the foaming cataracts of the wilderness.
Generally speaking, the weather is serene
and calm, particularly in autumn, and during
that delicious season "peculiar to America, called
the Indian summer, which precedes the com- OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
65
mencement of winter. The scenery of Red
River is neither grand nor picturesque, yet when
the sun shines brightly on the waving grass, and
glitters on the silver stream, and when the distant and varied cries of wildfowl break in plaintive cadence on the ear, a sweet, exulting feeling
of happiness steals upon the mind, comforting,
grateful, and refreshing, making the beholder
feel that even the so-called oasis in the wilderness of North America is not without its charms,
and that life may be enjoyed wherever contentment prevails, and hope-buoyed enterprise holds
sway. CHAPTER   VIII.
OVERLAND RAILWAY AND OTHER COMMUNICATION BETWEEN CANADA, THE UNITED STATES,
AND  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
As to the probability of a railway being constructed from Canada to some point of British
Columbia, through the natural gap in the Rocky
Mountains between Mount Hooker and Mount
Brown, or elsewhere, there can be but little
doubt. The commerce of the two countries
demands that such a communication should be
established, and that with the least possible
delay. Various suggestions have been made,
having reference  to  the hne  of route;   that OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
67
through the Red River settlement being the
most feasible as well as the most desirable, both
on account of the termini being in British
territory, as well as on account of the ulterior
advantages likely to accrue to us from its being
constructed by means of British capital, and
under the auspices of the British Government.
It is necessary, however, that a company should
be forthwith organized for the undertaking,
otherwise it is not only likely, but certain, that
American enterprise will be usurping the privilege, and we shall have an iron way stretching
across the mighty wilderness, not from Canada,
but from the territory of the United States.
With respect to present overland communication between the latter and British Columbia,
St. Paul, Minnesota, near the Canadian border,
appears to be the most desirable starting point;
it has also the advantage of being situated on
the chosen highway between England and the
Red River settlement. But as to whether it
will become the seat of the proposed railway, in
the event of the Americans taking the lead of
us in that respect, is a matter for future deliberation.    In the meantime, the following par- THE  NEW  EL  DORADO
ticulars of the line of waggon route and natural
features of the country may. not prove uninteresting :—
As we are all aware, it is now established that
a district of British Oregon, holding a relation
to Puget's Sound similar to that of the Sacramento Valley to the Bay of San Francisco, contains rich and extensive gold placers.
The upper waters of Frazer River, including
its principal tributary, Thompson River, are
eagerly sought by adventurers from Oregon and
California, and all accounts concur that the
surface minings are as successful as those of
California and Australia have been. Geologists
have anticipated such a discovery, and Governor
Stevens, in his last message to the Legislative
Assembly of Washington Territory, claims that
a district south of the international boundarv is
w
equally auriferous.
The southern boundary of Minnesota is in
latitude 43^ deg. north. St. Paul and the
Falls of St. Anthony are about 45 deg., and
the northern boundary, coterminous with the
international line, is partly on the parallel of
49 deg.    The Frazer River mines will probably OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
69
be explored from latitude 49 to 55 deg. ;
therefore, if an overland emigrant route thither
is practicable from Minnesota, it *will be an
important consideration in favour of such a
route, that the valleys of the upper Mississippi
and the Red River of the north are on the most
direct line of communication from Canada and
the States north of latitude 40 deg. to the
Frazer River district.
An overland route through Minnesota, ascending the course of the Saskatchewan, and
crossing the Rocky Mountains in latitude 54
deg. to British Oregon, would traverse a region
of North America hitherto withheld from colonization, but soon to be surrendered by the
Hudson's Bay Company for civilized settlements. West of the Rocky Mountains that
company claim no chartered rights, and their
license of Indian trade will expire in May, 1859.
The British Parliament have published a | Report of a Select Committee of the House of
Commons," which exhibits a disposition on the
part of the company to withdraw from an immense district, reaching west of Lake Winnepeg
to the Pacific, if thereby a recognition of the 70
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
exclusive privileges hitherto enjoyed by them
within the remainder of their chartered limits
can be obtained. Even such a compromise is
vigorously opposed by the people of Canada,
but the citizens of Minnesota would have reason
to be satisfied if their north-western connection
with Assimboia, Saskatchewan, and British
Oregon should be placed on the footing of such
an adjustment. Henceforth no other relation
than "reciprocity" is possible between British
America and the adjacent States of the American Union. The latter especially welcome
the assurance that Victoria, the capital of Vancouver's Island, is to be selected as the naval
station of England in the Pacific, perhaps to
become, under the influence of an international
railroad, the Liverpool of the Pacific coast.
As to the " adventurers of England trading
into Hudson's Bay" (so the stockholders of the
company are technically called in the charter of
incorporation), they can with the, as yet doubtful, consent of Parliament, turn their partial defeat
into a victory. The map of Arrowsmith exhibits their posts at every advantageous locality
iin m*
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
71
between the lakes and the Pacific, and between
latitudes 49 and 56 deg. Open that immense
belt of country to European and American
colonization — extend over it the benefits of
reciprocity—adopt the American system of land-
survevs and land-bounties to settlers, and the
members of the Hudson's Bay Company if they
are to have another lease of life over the upper
territories not yet discovered to be auriferous,
would receive more advantage in ten years as
proprietors of cities and towns, than would be
possible for them as fur traders in a century.
But if they do get a partial renewal of their
charter, let it be granted on the absolute condition of their adopting measures calculated to
foster, and not as hitherto, to repel and keep
back colonization.
Encouraged by the London Geographical
Society, if not by the government, Capt. Palliser
has led an exploring party to the sources
of the South Saskatchewan, and the passes
westward through the Rocky Mountains. Colonel Elliott, at the head of fifty engineers and
as many soldiers, has recently arrived at Van- 72
THE   NEW  EL  DORADO;
couver Island, and, accompanied by a hundred
voyagers, will thence move eastward through
British territory, definitely locating a railroad
route as he advances. Simultaneously, a joint
commission of the American and English governments are engaged in running the international boundary from Puget's Sound to Lake
Superior, commencing at the Pacific terminus.
And now comes the gold discovery of the
north west, which will probably renew, if not
outvie, in that direction, the wonderful history
of California and Australia.
An overland route from St. Paul, on American territory, to Puget's Sound, or through the
Saskatchewan basin to Frazer River and Vancouver's Island, is central to an immense and
fertile area, which, at no remote day, must
connect with the channels of the Mississippi
and the St. Lawrence, within the limits of
Minnesota. From lat. 44 to 54 deg., and from
longitude 92 to 112 deg. (west of Greenwich),
or between Lake Superior and Winnepeg on
the east, and the Rocky Mountains, there is
comprised an area of 631,050   square  miles. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA. 73
Extend these lines of latitude to the Pacific, in
longitude 124, and we have a further area of
378,636 square miles, or an aggregate of
1,009,686 square miles, equal in extent to
France, Germany, Prussia, Austria, and that
portion of Russia which lies south of St.
Petersburg and west of Moscow. A district
10 degrees of latitude wide by 32 of longitude
in length, would comprise twenty-four states of
the size of Ohio.
Our present inquiry, however, is confined to
the upper half of this vast region, or exclusively
north of the boundary of forty-nine degrees;
and since an emigrant route to Frazer River is
under consideration, a general view of the districts to be traversed by such a route", or closely '
connected with it, will first be presented. Those
districts of British America west of the lakes,
which by soil and climate are suitable for settlement, may be thus enumerated :—
square miles.
Vancouver's Island       16,000
Frazer and Thompson Rivers       60,000
Sources of the Upper Columbia       20,000
Athabaska District       50,000
Saskatchewan, Red River, Assineboin, &c. 360,000
506,200
E Under these geographical divisions—whose
area would constitute twelve States of the size
of Ohio—I propose to give the results of a
parliamentary investigation, recently 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 bv intersecting1 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 Hi
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
75
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
sixteen thousand two hundred square miles, and
is as large as Vermont and New Hampshire.
FRAZER AND THOMPSON RIVERS.
Northward of Vancouver's Island, the coast
range of mountains trends so near the Pacific as
to- obstruct intercourse with the interior, but
it is a fine open country. This is the valley of
Frazer River. Ascending this river, near Fort
Langley, a large tract of land is excellently
adapted to colonists; while of Thompson River,
it is one of the most beautiful countries in the
world, with a climate capable of producing all
the crops of England, and much milder than
Canada. The sources of Frazer River, in latitude
fifty-five degrees, are separated from those of
Peace River, (which flows through the Rocky
Mountains eastwardly, into the Athabasca,) by
the distance of only three hundred and seventeen yards.
e 2 SOURCES OF THE COLUMBIA.
A glance at the map will show how considerable a district of British Oregon is watered by
the Upper Columbia and its tributary, the
McGillivray or Flat-bow River. It is estimated
above as twenty thousand square miles, and has
been described in enthusiastic terms by the Catholic Bishop of Oregon—De Smet— in his " Oregon Missions." The territory of the Kootonais
Indians would seem, from his glowing description, to be divided into 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 civi- m
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
77
lized man would transform it into a terrestrial
paradise."
It is an interesting coincidence that Father De
Smet published in a St. Louis (American) 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
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.
Already the Mormons — obnoxious though
they be—have established a flourishing half-way
post on the Salmon River, (a branch of the
Columbia); and as De Smet has had. many
opportunities for ascertaining the designs of the
Mormon hierarchy, the next scene of their zeal
and industry—should they still exist—may be
under the protection of the British crown.
THE   ATHABASCA   DISTRICT.
The valley of the Peace and Athabasca Rivers,
which occupy the eastern base of the Rocky
Mountains from lat.  55 to 59 deg., share the THE  NEW  EL DORADO;
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
May 10, mentions the " exuberant verdure of the
whole country," trees about to blossom, and buffaloes 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 follow: " 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. Living-
ston's description of that splendid country which
he found in  the interior  of Africa within the OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
79
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, 11 do not know of any other mineral except
limestone; this is apparent in all directions. . . .
The birch, the  beech,   and the  maple  are in
abundance, and there is every sort  of fruit."
When questioned further is 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—
I luxuriant  wheat " — potatoes,   barley,  pigs,
cows, and horses.
THE SASKATCHEWAN, ASSINEBOIN AND RED
RIVER DISTRICT.
The area of this continent, north-west of Minnesota, and known as the Saskatchewan district,
is estimated by English authorities to comprise
three hundred and sixty-eight thousand square
miles.     North-west from Otter-fall  Lake, the 80
THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
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 colonization of Saskatchewan would be assured, if the current objection
to the severity of the climate was removed. On
this point I shall offer a few illustrative facts.
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 climate equivalent of Moscow,
and for that of St. Petersburg, (which is sixty
degrees north) we may reasonably go to latitude
fifty-five degrees on the American continent. OR   BRITISH   COLUMBIA-.
81
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
Bourdeaux,in southern France, or seventy degrees
Fahrenheit, while Cumberland-house, in latitude
fifty-four degrees, longitude one hundred and
two degrees, on the Saskatchewan, exceeds in
this respect Brussels and Paris.
The United States' Army Meterological Register has ascertained that the line of 70 deg. 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 deg., into British America. The
average annual heat at Quebec is experienced as
e 3 82
THE  NEW   EL  DORADO;
far north as latitude 52 deg. in the Saskatchewan
country.
It is jrfstly claimed 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 M'Kenzie's riven
that wheat may be grown in its valley nearly
to the 65 th parallel.
I have quoted the foregoing details in order to
exhibit the general features and advantages of the
country which extends between Minnesota and
the gold regions of the North Pacific. It now
remains for me to arrange the facts relative to the
journey thither by the route of Pembina and the
Saskatchewan
The journey from St. Paul to Pembina is
familiarly known and easy of travel. From
Pembina to the junction of Moose river with the
Assineboin there is a well-defined track over
a plain, such as Sir George Simpson describes
on the way to the same point from Fort Garry.
Under date of July 3d, he says :—" On the east, OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
83
north, and south there was not a mound or a tree
to vary the vast expanse of the greensward,
while to the west (it would be to the north of
our advancing party) were the gleaming bays
of the Assineboin, separated from each other by
wooded points of considerable depth."
Gov. Simpson, with relays of horses, made
the journey to Carlton-house in thirteen days,
about forty-six miles per day. Commencing
with his diary of the third day from Fort Garry
(at the point where a party from Pombina would
intersect his trail), such extracts I shall make as
seem to embody useful information.
July 5.—On resuming our journey we passed
among tolerably well-wooded hills, while on either
side of us lay a constant succession of small lakes
—some of them salt—which abounded in wild
fowl. In the neighbourhood of these waters the
pastures were rich and luxuriant; and we traversed two fields (for so they might be termed)
of the rose and the sweet briar. On reaching
the summit of the hills that bounded the pretty
valley of the Rapid River, we descried an encampment, which proved lodges of Saulteaux Indians.
We spent an hour in fording the stream.    No THE  MEW   EL  DORADO;
assistance from the Indians, but unmolested by
them.
July 6.—A good supper of wild fowl, which
were very numerous in the small lakes still along
the route—a large salt lake — hilly and well
wooded district—complaints of mosquitoes.
July 7.—Passed Bird's Tail Creek, a rapid
flowing tributary of the Assineboin—beyond this
stream an undulating prairie of vast extent—
bands of antelopes—ferried over the Assineboin
to Fort Ellice in the batteau, swimming the
horses — leaving the fort, passed through a
swampy wood, forded the Qu Appelle or Culling
River, and surmounting a steep hill, encamped on
a level meadow of several thousand acres in
extent.
July 8. —Extensive prairies, studded with
clumps of trees — considerable inconvenience
with regard to provisions, from heat of the weather — antelopes in sight — in the afternoon
the country swampy and beset with underwood.
July 9.—Prairie harder and more open—
grass withering under recent drought—more antelopes—circuit of a swamp near Broken Arm
River, losing a few hours. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
' ■££-?-
85
July 10.—Forded White Sand River with the
mud up to the bellies of the [horses—hitherto
weather dry, clear, and warm, but a cool rain fell
afternoon and night—saw a red deer.
July 11.—During the night a serenade by
wolves and foxes—an early start and a glimpse
of an object eagerly looked for—the Butteaux
Chiens, towering with a height of about four
hundred feet over a boundless prairie as level
and smooth as a pond — evidently once the bed
of a lake, with the Dog Knoll as an islet in the
centre—and which was covered with an alluvial
soil of great fertility.
On leaving the Dog Knoll, the party traversed
about twenty miles of prairie among several large
and beautiful lakes. The cavalcade now consisted
in all, of nineteen persons, fifty horses, and six
carts, with the following order of march :—the
guide was followed by four or five horsemen to
beat a track; then came the carts, each with a
driver, and lastly followed unmounted animals
under the charge of the rest of the party.
July 12. —Followed for twenty miles the
shores of " Lac Sale," having water as briny as
the Atlantic.    The most curious circumstance 86
THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
with respect to these saline lakes is, that they are
often separated from the fresh water only by a
narrow belt of land. For three or four days
the soil had been absolutely manured with the
dung of the buffalo, but the animal had not been
met.
July 13.—Marched until ten o'clock in a
soaking rain. In the afternoon travelled a long
distance through a picturesque country, crossing1
the end of an extensive lake, whose gently
sloping banks of green sward were covered with
thick woods.
Here the party fell upon the trail of emigrants
from Red River to Columbia, and thence followed
the well-beaten track made by them for both
horses and carts.
July 14.—In this part of the country we saw
many sorts of birds, geese, loons, pelicans, ducks,
cranes, two kinds of snipe, hawks, owls, and
gulls; but they were all so remarkably shy, that
we were constrained to admire them at a distance.
In the afternoon we traversed a beautiful country, with lofty hills and long valley full of sylvan
lakes, while the bright green of the surface, as OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
87
far as the eye could reach, assumed a foreign
tinge under an uninterrupted profusion of roses
and blue bells. On the summit of one of these
hills we commanded one of the few extensive
prospects we had enjoyed. One range of heights
rose behind another, each becoming fainter as it
receded from the eye, till the farthest was blended
in almost indistinguishable confusion with the
clouds, while the softest vales spread a panorama
of hanging copses and glittering lakes at our
feet.
July 15.—The travellers had now reached the
Bow River, on the south branch of the Saskatchewan, " which," says Simpson, " takes its rise
in the Rocky Mountains near the international
frontier, and is of considerable size, without any
physical impediment of any moment	
At the crossing place the Bow7 River was about a
third of a mile in width, with a strong current,
and some twenty miles below, falls into the main
Saskatchewan, whence the united streams flow
towards Lake Winnepeg, forming at their mouth
the Grand Rapids, of about three miles in
length."
A smart ride of four or five hours from the THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
Bow River, through a country very much resembling an English park, brought the party to Fort
Carlton, on the Saskatchewan—latitude 53 deg.,
longitude about 108.
The Saskatchewan, Governor Simpson remarks,
is here upwards of a quarter of a mile wide, presenting, as its name implies, a swift current. It
is navigable for boats from Rocky Mountain
House, in longitude 116 deg., to Lake Winnepeg,
upwards of seven hundred miles in a direct line,
but by the actual course of the stream nearly
double that distance. Though above Edmonton
the river is much obstructed by rapids, yet from
that Fort to Lake Winnepeg it is descended
without a portage alike by boats and canoes,
while even on the upward voyage the only break
in the navigation is the grand rapid already
mentioned.
July 17. — After forty-eight hours at Fort
Carlton, Governor Simpson's party resumed its
journey along the north or left bank of the Saskatchewan. The first day's route lay over a
hilly country, so picturesque in its character that
almost every commanding position presented the
elements of a picturesque panorama. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
89
July 18.—The hottest day; inconvenience
from thirst—encamped at 9 P. m. on a large
lake.
July 19.—Overtook the emigrants to the
Columbia. In this connection so many particulars of interest are given that I make a liberal
extract: — These emigrants consisted of agriculturists and others, principally natives of Red
River Settlement. There were twenty-three
families, the heads generally being young and
active, though a few of them were advanced in
life—more particularly one poor woman, upwards
of seventy-five years of age, who was tottering
after her son to his new home. This venerable
wanderer was a native of the Saskatchewan, of
which, in fact, she bore the name. She had
been absent from this, the land of her birth,
for eighteen years; and on catching the first
glimpse of the river from the hill near Carlton,
she burst, under the influence of old recollections, into a violent flood of tears. During the
two days that the party spent at the fort, she
scarcely ever left the bank of the stream,
appearing to regard it with as much veneration
as  the  Hindoo  regards   the  Ganges.     As   a §
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
contrast to this superannuated daughter of the
Saskatchewan, the band contained several very
young travellers, who had, in fact, made theirl
appearance in this world since the commencement of the journey.
Each family had two or three carts, together
with bands of horses, cattle, and dogs. The
men and lads travelled in the saddle, while the
vehicles, which were covered with awnings
against the sun and rain, carried the women and
the young children. As they marched in single
file their cavalcade extended above a mile in
length, and Simpson's party increased the length
of the column by marching in company. The
emigrants were all healthy and happy, living in
the greatest abundance, and enjoying the journey with the highest relish. Before coming up
to these people, evidence had been seen of the
comfortable state of their commissariat, in the
shape of two or three still warm buffaloes, from
which only the tongues and a few other choice bits
had been taken. This spectacle gave the explorers
hopes of soon seeing the animal themselves, and
accordingly it was not long before they saw their
game on either side of the road, grazing or OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
91
stalking about in bands of between twenty and
a hundred, to the number of about five thousand
in all.
July 20.—The first complaint of the scarcity
of water—only one supply, from Turtle River,
during thirty-six hours. Game abundant —
buffalo, beaver, and deer, besides wolves, badgers,
and foxes. Returned to the immediate valley
of the Saskatchewan, reached Fort Pitt about
dark.
July 21.—Crossed to the south bank of the
Saskatchewan, and travelled about thirty miles
through bolder scenery than formerly. At
night, first apprehensions of Indians, expressed
by hoppling horses and mounting guard.
July 22.—No water till eleven o'clock, and
again in the afternoon ; passed over a perfectly
arid plain of about twenty-five miles in length,
encamping for the night at the commencement
of the Chaine des Lacs, a succession of small
lakes stretching over a distance of twenty or
thirty miles. The journal adds, " During the
afternoon we saw our first raspberries ; they
proved to be of large size and fine flavour.
Two days previously we had  feasted on   the service-berry or misasquitomis, a sort of cross
between the cranberry and black currant, and
before leaving Red River we had found wild
strawberries ripe."
July 23.—Encamped on the confines of an
extensive forest, a tongue of which, stretching
away to the northward, is known as Le Grande
Pointe.    In the afternoon we had come upon a
large bed of the eyeberry, or cos quisikoomina,
very nearly resembling the strawberry in taste
and appearance.   It grows abundantly in Russia,
and flourishing as it does in the same soils and
situations as the strawberry, it would doubtless
thrive in England.    Nights chilly, dews heavy.
July 24.— Reached Edmonton  House.    In
the vicinity is an extensive plain, covered with
a luxuriant  crop  of the vetch,  or wild  pea,
almost as nutritious a food for cattle and horses
as oats.    The Saskatchewan here is nearly as
wide as the Carlton, while the immediate banks
are well wooded, and the country beyond consists of rolling prairies.    Coal also is found on
its banks.
Governor Simpson's further route was along
the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, to OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA,
93
the sources of the Bow River, or South Saskatchewan, whence he crossed to the head
waters of the McGillivray, or Flat Bow River.
He left his carts at Edmonton, making the
journey to Fort Colville with pack-horses; but
a party destined to Frazer and Thompson
Rivers would find a direct route, but not for
waggons, through the Athabasca Portage to the
Boat Encampment on the Upper Columbia.
This pass is between Mount Hooker and Mount
Brown, and on its divide a small lake, called on
some maps " Committee's Punch-Bowl," sends
its tribute from one end to the Columbia, and
i from the other to the Mackenzie.
A witness before  the   Parliamentary  Committee, Mr. John  Miles, states that from the
I Boat Encampment it is " two days' level walk"
I on   the head waters   of  the   Columbia  before
K reaching the mountain—" a  good day's walk,
I and hard work, too," to reach its summit, and
■ three days' before getting out of the mountain
I ridge altogether.    It seems reasonable to suppose from this testimony that a party might
traverse the Rocky Mountains from Edmonton 94 THE  NEW  EL   DORADO;
House to the head waters of Thompson River
in about twelve days.
The distance from St. Paul to the eastern
border of the gold mines is computed to be
1,650 miles, as follows:—
Miles.
St. Paul to Pembina          450
Pembina to Carlton House      600
Carlton to Edmonton       400
Edmonton to Thompson River          200
Total      1,650
In view of the facilities afforded by the face
of the country, and a continuous line of Hudson
Bay Company's posts, this journey can be
accomplished in seventy days.
The distance from St. Paul to the gold mines
of Frazer and Thompson Rivers may be put
down as follows :—
Miles.
St. Paul to Pembina      450
Pembina to Carlton House      600
Carlton to Edmonton   '.      400
Edmonton to Boat Encampment       150
Boat Encampment to Thompson River ....       50
Making a total distance from St. Paul of    1,650 OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
95
Estimate of the expense necessary to equip
and fit out a party of ten from St. Paul for six
months:—
10 bbls. flour, cost 4 dols. per bbl	
5 bbls. pork, cost 18 dols. per bbl	
450 lbs. sugar	
40 lbs. tea, cost 60c. per lb	
Sundries   	
Powder and lead	
10 pairs blankets      100
Goods and implements         100
Teams and vehicles   1,200
Dollars.
40
90
54
24
100
100
Total cost  1,808
St. Paul, Minnesota, has the advantage of
three distinct routes, and those more easy and
direct than any south of its latitude, viz.: 1. By
Pembina, Carlton, Edmonton, Athabasca portage, and the Boat Encampment of the Columbia,
2. By the South Saskatchewan and the Koota-
nar's Pass to Fort Colville • and 3. By Governor
Steven's well-known route on the American side
of the international boundary. Each of these
routes is more alive with game, better timbered,
and bettered watered, as well as being less
difficult of travel, than either of those leading THE   NEW  EL  DORADO;
from the Missouri River. Faithful guides are:
to be had easily over the entire distance, and|
there is no danger of molestation from thef
Indians. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
97
CHAPTER   IX.
SKETCHES    OP    INDIAN    LIFE INVASION    AND
EXTERMINATION THE     GLORIOUS    FUTURE
OF  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
The natives inhabiting the district of Cape
Flattery, the southern entrance to the Straits of
San Juan de Fuca, are the Clatset tribe. They
are numerous, tall of stature, and finely formed.
Their food consists principally of salmon and
wild fowl, of which there is always an abundance. They manufacture their blankets from
the wool of the wild goat, which they weave
with great skill. The sea otter abounds on
this coast, and great numbers are captured by
the natives, who pursue them in their canoes. THE  NEW   EL  DORADO;
They have a habit, similar to the members
of many tribes of Australia, which is that of
thrusting fish bones, bone rings, and other ornaments through the lower division of the nose,
and they flatten their heads in a manner similar
to the Chinooks and the Indians of the lower;
Columbia.     They build their huts under the
shadow of pine-trees, frowned upon  by high]
and   craggy   mountains,   whose   summits   arej
crowned with perennial snow, and they besmear!
their bodies with salmon-oil and vermilion clay.
Further along the straits, and on the north-east
side of Vancouver's Island, are to be found the
Coquilths.    Further on still, and at the north!
em extremity of the island, the Newette tribe, a
miserable remnant of their former number, hold
dominion. , They have been principally reduced
in consequence of the inroads of the Indians from
the mainland, who, when on their fishing excursions, kidnapped and subsequently enslaved them.
Many years ago, an American vessel was
driven ashore at this part of the island by stress
of weather, when all hands were murdered, wifji
the exception of the armourer and sail-maker.
These the Indians  spared,  and  compelled to OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
99
join in their war parties. Some months afterwards, one of them died, but the other continued to live on with them for several years
before he succeeded in making his condition
known to one of the American ship captains
who came in to trade. The latter then, fortunately for the other, succeeded in enticing
several of the native chiefs on board, where
he detained and threatened them with death
unless the white man was given up to him.
Thus intimidated, they soon had the poor
fellow sent on board, to the great delight of
the ship's company, who heartily greeted and
sympathised with him.
The chiefs often, in the winter months, give
feasts to their people; the food consists of dogs
flesh, seal, and whale blubber, with berries and
various roots, including potatoes, which they
cultivate.
They manufacture blankets from the inside
bark of the cedar tree. This is soaked in the
water for several days, and then beaten between
two pieces of bone. They then set the thigh
bone of a deer, or a bone of similar size and
strength, firmly in a stand, the position being
f 2
--*- 100
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
horizontal.   On this they lay a large piece of the
bark, and keep beating it until it becomes soft
like hemp.    It is then woven together and dyed
with various figures; the colours being extracted
from various roots.    Each blanket  takes two
women ten days to complete.
Three distinct tribes occupy the coast opposite
Vancouver's Island.    They have prominent and
regular features, and are each equally well-made
and valiant.     They have the same partiality for
daubing their hair with fish-oil, and their bodies
with vermilion clay, as all the tribes of   this"
region.    They also paint and otherwise adorn
their  children, who run  about like  miniature
clowns
 in dazzling gorgeousness.
The fish spawn which they gather is dried
by them on sea leaves, and stored for winter
provision. They also take the tender rind from
the inside bark of the hemlock tree, and pound
it into cakes, which they dry in the sun. Salmon they split down the back, and then smoke
and dry it for the same provident purpose.
Blankets are made by the women from cedar
bark, in the same way as those made by the OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
101
Coquilths. They have several villages that they
shift to, at various seasons of the year. Their
winter villages are strong-built houses, particularly those belonging to the chiefs. Here, as
well as in Johnson's Straits, the chiefs entertain
at a public feast the members of their several
tribes. On these occasions the men sit on
•benches ranged on one side, while the women
are ranged opposite them. They also give
entertainments to the chiefs of more inland
tribes.
In their marriages, the Indian taking a wife
generally makes her friends presents; a war canoe,
dressed elk skins, beaver skins, and English goods,
such as blankets, ammunition, and trinkets; being
the principal articles, receiving presents in return.
On the wedding day they have a public feast, at
which they dance and sing; sometimes in separate groups, but generally altogether men and
women. In their singing, which is a sort of
irregular chant, they all keep to the same key,
and therefore it is not easy to distinguish any
individual excellence amongst them. In their
dances they throw their bodies into a variety of
fantastic attitudes, and move their hands, keep- THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
ing time to the music On these occasions
they are decked off in their best dresses and
ornaments.
They have one curious custom in their dances,
which is, that, at stated periods, they keep puffing from a painted tube, one end of which is
inserted in the mouth, the other pointed
upwards, quantities of fine down which flies
about their heads, presenting the imitation of a
snow shower.
During the winter months, these as well
as the neighbouring tribes assemble in great
numbers in the chief's house, for the purpose of
witnessing his personification of various spirits.
He puts on at intervals different dresses, and
large masks entirely covering his head and neck.
The masks are made to open at the mouth
and eyes, by means of secret springs invisible to
the spectators. He dresses for each character
behind a large curtain, drawn quite across the
hut like the drop in a theatre, and then comes
forth and stands on a sort of stage in front of it,
uttering strange noises, and moving the eyes and
mouth horribly, while the spectators, ranged on
benches along the side walls, gaze in alternate OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
103
awe and merriment. In one *of his characters
the rising sun is personated, which the natives
describe as a shining man, wearing a radiated
crown, and continually walking round the earth,
which is stationary. He wears on this occasion
a splendid dress of ermine and other valuable
furs, and a curiously-constructed mask, set round
with seals' whiskers, and feathers, which gradually expand like a fan, and rise and fall like the
quills of the porcupine; while from the top of
the mask, swans'-down is shaken out in numerous
and varied flakes, according to the movement of
his head. The expanding seals' bristles and
feathers represent the sun's rays ; and the
showers of swans'-down, rain and snow; meanwhile the gathered Indians chant, in measured
order and subdued tone, a song of reverence,
awe, and devotion.
There is one very remarkable peculiarity
of their religious customs, which deserves
notice. The chief who is supposed to possess
the " right divine" of governing, and to be
the intermediate agent between some vague
Spirit and his creatures below, retires at
times, whenever he fancies himself summoned, THE.NEW  EL  DORADO;
from the tribe, without giving them any previous
intimation of his mission, and takes up his abode
in the lonely woods and mountains, bearing with
him clandestinely a small stock of dried salmon
for sustenance. When he is missed, the report is
soon spread abroad, and it becomes known that
he is gone to hold communion with the
Spirit. The Indian who saw him last on the
day of his departure gives his testimony as to
the direction which he took, and by that it is
judged as to the district to which he has repaired;
a boundary line is then drawn, beyond which it
would be heinous to venture, as the region in
which the chief is supposed to be, is held sacred
till the period of his return; any violation of this
Jaw is death, at the hand of the chief himself or
of the tribe.
The duration of his absence on this mission
is irregular—often three weeks, and in general
he selects the most barren and dreary region for
his pilgrimage. He returns at last to the village, the most hideous object in nature, with
matted hair, shrunken cheeks, blood-shot eyes,
and parched lips—his blanket, which is his sole
covering, hanging in shreds about him, torn by OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
105
boughs and brambles—his face begrimed with
filth, and himself animated with all the unnatural ferocity of a* demoniac. His return is by
night, and as uncertain as his departure. In
general he does not repair first to his own house,
but rushes to some other, according to the
blind caprice of his wildness, and instead of
entering it by the door, he ascends the roof,
tears off one of the cedar-board coverings, and
plunges down into the centre of the family
circle; he then springs on one of the full-grown
inmates like a famished wolf, and wrenches with
his teeth a mouthful of the flesh from his limbs
or body, which he convulsively bolts down without any process of mastication, but barely chopping the lump once or twice for the purpose of
easier deglutition.
No resistance is made, for the sufferer thinks
that he has been ordered by the Spirit to
yield up a certain portion of his anatomy in
sacrifice to the chief. The latter then runs to
another hut, and makes the same sort of hurried
repast. He continues this process into other
houses, until in a few hours he becomes exhausted from the quantity of human living flesh
F 3 THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
which he has devoured. He is then taken
home in a state of torpor, and thus remains like
an overgorged beast of prey for a day or two
afterwards.
So much importance and pride do the Indians
attach to these lacerations, that the young men
who have not experienced the luck of being thus
fed upon, apply lighted gunpowder to their
limbs, and use other means to produce the effect
of a bite.
In the neighbourhood of Seal Harbour dwell
the Sebassa tribe. They daub themselves entirely over with vermilion, and wear large rings
through the nose. When a relative or parent
dies, they put themselves in mourning by cutting the hair quite close, and blacking the face
and neck for some months. Both sexes have
large holes bored through their ears, from which
they suspend plaited red worsted, hanging down
about eight inches. They also wear bracelets of
brass wire. The old women disfigure themselves by having a slit cut right through their
lower lip crosswise from one end to the other.
They then have a piece of hard^wood or bone
made the length of the cut, rounded at the end, OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
107
about two inches long, half an inch broad, and a
quarter of an inch thick. This is inserted in the
slit inside, between the Up and gum, making the
lower lip project about an inch beyond the
upper, which of course is hideous.
The Nass tribe adjoin the latter, and much
resemble each other in many respects. They,
the Nass, however, burn their dead, and deposit
the ashes in a box in a secluded spot in the woods
When a chief dies, he is, before the roasting
takes place, dressed up in his ermine—his face
painted—and placed in a sitting posture in a
canoe, and paddled round the maritime village
looking almost alive again. The magicians, or
doctors, wear very long hair; they carry images
of their gods in a box, which is kept sacred
from the eyes of the multitude. The natives
stand in great awe of them, as they think them
endowed with the power of charming away life.
The natives along the entire coast speak, to
some extent, broken English, owing to their
traffic with Americans and Europeans.
There can be no doubt but that civilised man
is the worst enemy of the savage. Vice and
extermination invariably and eventually attend si   1
108
THE   NEW   EL  DORADO ;
his  presence  amongst  the  primitive  children
of the wilderness, and the remaining tribes of
North American Indians are as surely fated to
extinction  as were the'Mohicans who peopled
the banks of the Hudson, as are the Choctaws,
the  Poncas, the  Pawnees,  and the   Pottowat-
taines of the same continent, whose remnants
still drag out a fettered and miserable existence
on the usurped lands of their primogenial inheritance.     The discordant din  of civilization
is now heard  far   and   wide   over  the   grand
extent of the land of the prairie and the lake;
and where the song and the war-cry of the red
man alone resounded through the mighty solitude of forest and of plain, now the busy clamour of a million tongues strike harshly upon
the ear from the midst of a city of bricks, and
alas ! the red man is no more.    But is society
in a healthier state than when nature reigned in
undisturbed, unmolested sovereignty; when the
savage was  lord of all,  and he rang out in
strains triumphant the thrilling whoop of victory, the enchanting and unsophisticated song
of freedom, unconscious of a blighting future;
when his native glee was boundless, and the OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
109
thought of a world beyond his own never broke
through the sunlight of his imagination, nor
darkened the horizon of his happiness. No;
civilization "preys upon itself. It creates wants,
and it supplies them ; but in that creation
and supply we have involved an amount of
strife, contention, and infamy which, in a more
primitive state of society, would never have had
existence.
A mixture of vice and effeminacy, it has
given us an inheritance of woe, and built up
around us a complex network ever destined to
thwart and repel, struggle and toil as we may
in our passage through the chequered labyrinth
of life. It has made human nature base and
sordid, and rendered the whole world one vast
vortex of sin and iniquity. It has extinguished
the spark of more than brotherly love which
nature and nature's God primevally ordained,
and has made callous the heart of man. This
is an age, however, corrupted though it be,
when might is right, and all the world worships
Mammon ; when gold is more fascinating
than wisdom or virtue, and money is indispensable to power.    Thus it is that invasion is THE- NEW   EL   DORADO \
nothing worse than the other crafts and wiles of
our complicated machinery, in which the stronger
tyrannize over the weaker, and every deed and
word is shackled by the hollow mockery—the
giant hypocrisy—of conventionalism. It is in
England that humanity is most shackled, and
curbed, and oppressed by the offspring codes of a
narrow civilization, rather than to endure which
it would be a happier lot to sniff the woodland
perfume of the primeval wilderness, and make
nature alone tributary to our individual wants,
far away from the pale of civilization, where the
white man as yet hath never trodden. Fain
would I echo the words of the last of Wau-
waurrong, and exclaim—■
Give me the fierce wild wassailry of vore,
Now but remember'd in my country's lore j
Give me a gunya, I should spurn a throne,
And cheiish more a boomerang my own,
Than all the pomp conventionalism I see
Gather'd around from which I long to flee,
(E'en as the eagle doth in search of prey),
And plough the distance lone and far away,
Far as the desert by gay Kordofan,
Or farther still, where never yet trod man.
Give me a free, wild, boundless solitude,
With panthers for companions and food, OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
Ill
Where lions and hyaenas prowl awide,
And stealthy tigers spring and leopards hide,
For I would rule them with an eye of fire,
And tame them with the music of my lyre.
Give me the quick Red Indian's thrilling whoop,
The hungry vulture's swift unerring swoop.
These are the things I love to hear and see,
But better still to be alone and free
On some wild cragland where the ocean's roar
Blends up with wind-mouth'd caverns and the shore
Is desolate of man, there would I dwell,
And build my gunya in some covert dell.
That, however,' which next approaches such a
state is the enterprise which impels a man into
a strange and distant country, there to combat
with the rude hand of nature, and build up to
himself a habitation, become a founder of a
new nation, the basis of whose social structure
may rest on more independent ground than
does the tinsel fabric of his mother country, and
whose children may deck his memory with
laurels. Such a career, gilded with wealth and
attended by all the excitement and pleasures of
dazzling promise, is open to any and every son
of enterprise, who, discontented with his present
lot and endowed with physical energy, may
go   forth   to   the   New  El  Dorado   of   the I
ii
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
North Pacific, where the banner of England
flaunts in the breeze, and Hope ever smiling,
| leads on to fortune;" where millions may
revel away in luxurious delight, and the sun of
liberty will ever shine..  - OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
113
CHAPTER X.
ABORIGINAL   AND   DESCRIPTIVE.
Fort St. James, the dep6t of British Columbia,
erected by the Hudson's Bay Company, stands
near the outlet of Stuart's Lake, and commands
a magnificent view of the surrounding country.
The lake is about fifty miles in length, and from
three to four miles in breadth, stretching away to
the north and north-east for about twenty miles;
the view from the Fort embraces nearly the
whole of this section of it, which is studded
with beautiful islets, that repose like bouquets of
flowers upon the bright and smiling face of the
living waters. The western shore is low, and
indented by a number of small bays formed by THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
wooded points projecting into the lake, the
background rising abruptly into a ridge of hills
of varied height and magnitude.
On the east the view is limited to a range of
two or three miles by the intervention of a high
promontory, from which the eye glances to the
snow-clad  summits  of the Rocky Mountains,
that  loom  far  in   the  distance,  an  imposing
panorama of the bold and beautiful, hewn out
in  rugged  grandeur,   stern   and   picturesque.
There is an Indian village, situated in a lovely
spot, at the outlet of this lake.    The houses,
however, are few, and of very slight and simple
construction; they are formed of stakes driven
into the ground, a squareslab of wood being placed
horizontally along the top of the wall made by
the stakes, to which the latter are fastened by
strips of willow back.    This enclosure,  which
is of a square form, is roofed in by placing two
strong posts at each gable, which support the
ridge-pole on which the roof-sticks  are placed,
one end resting on the ridge-pole and the other
on the wall, the whole being covered with pine-
tree bark.    There is, in general, a door at each
end, which is cut in the wall after the structure
in waieaaa
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
115
is erected : these apertures are of a circular
form, and about two and a half feet in diameter,
so that a stranger finds it very awkward to pass
through them. In effecting an entrance you
first introduce a leg, then bending low the body,
you press in head and shoulders; in this position you will have some difficulty in maintaining
your equilibrium, for if you draw in the rest of
your body too quickly, it is but a chance that
you will find yourself head undermost. The
natives, however, glide through them with the
agility of a weasel. A little further on, over a
somewhat flat country, and in latitude 53 deg.
north, stands Fort Alexandria, on the banks of
Frazer's River, so called after the celebrated
traveller, Sir Alexander Mackenzie. The timber in this district is chiefly poplar, alder, and
birch; there is also some wild fruit scrub in
the neighbourhood, furnishing abundant and
grateful crops of berries to the natives. Rock
crystal, cobalt, talc, iron, marcosites of a gold
colour, granite, fullers' earth, black marble, and
limestone have been found about here, probably
owing to -their having been forced down the
beds of rivers from the mountains. THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
The tribe of the Talkotins inhabit this imme~
diate region. They are, however, alike with the
Slowercuss, Dinais, Nascud, and Dinnee tribes,
inhabiting the upper part of Frazer's River,
as also, the entire tribes of British Columbia,
merely divisions of the great Carrier tribe, and
speak ostensibly the one language, although
broken up into various dialects. They entertain great affection for their dogs, which are
of diminutive size, resembling those of the Esquimaux, with the curled-up tail, small ears
and pointed nose. The natives here are very
friendly and hospitable, and on the most peaceful
terms with the whites.
The salmon, the so-called British Columbian
staff of life, ascend Frazer's River and its tributaries from the Pacific, in immense shoals, proceeding towards the sources of the streams, until
stopped by shallow water. Having deposited their spawn, their dead bodies are to be
seen floating down the current in thousands;
few of them ever return to the sea jj thus it is
that in consequence of the old fish perishing in
this manner, they fail in this quarter every fourth
year.    The natives display a good deal of inge- OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
117
"nuity in catching them. Where the current
and depth of water permits, they bar the stream
across by means of stakes driven into the bottom
wjth much labour, and standing about six inches
apart; these are strongly bound to a piece of
timber or plate running along the top, stays or
supporters being placed at intervals of ten or
twelve feet, and the upper end bearing against the
plate so as to form an angle with the stream.
Gaps are left in the works of sufficient size to
admit the baskets in which the fish are taken.
After the whole is finished, square frames of
wicker work, called keys, are let down against
the upper side, to prevent the fish from ascending,
and at the same time to allow the water a free
passage.
The keys require to be kept entirely free from
obstruction, such as branches and leaves, otherwise the whole works would soon be swept away
from the force of the current. The baskets are
of a cylindrical form, about two and a half feet
in diameter at the mouth, terminating in a point
of four or five inches. When the fishing is over,
all the materials are removed, and replaced the
ensuing year with equal labour. 118
THE   NEW   EL  DORADO ;
In order to preserve the fish for future consumption, the back is split up, and the back bone
extracted; it is then hung up by the tail for a
few days, when it is taken down and distended
on splinters of wood; these are attached to a sort
of scaffold erected for the purpose, where the fish
remains till sufficiently dry for preservation. It
is rather a singular circumstance that at each
periodical failing of the salmon, rabbits should
swarm over the country in far greater numbers
than at the other, and plentiful seasons; but
such is the case; without which the natives
would experience little short of famine.
When the salmon return, the rabbits disappear, being destroyed or driven away by their
greatest enemy, the lynx, which gradually swarm,
also retiring, however, with the rabbits.
The primitive custom amongst the natives
here, as well as of the other unsettled tribes, is
to burn their dead. The process is rather revolting than anything else; so I shall not enter into
its minute detail. If a male, the relatives of the
deceased as well as of the widow are present, and
stand up armed while a funeral pile is erected.
On this the body is placed, after which the widow OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
119
immediately sets fire to the pile, and stands by
it during the entire process of blazing demolition,
which lasts several days. After the burnins:, the
bones and ashes are collected in a box and given
in charge to the widow, who carries them about
on her back until the time of the appointed
feast day to his memory, when they are taken
from her and deposited in a small hut, or placed
on the top of a wooden pillar neatly carved, as
their final resting place.
These people have no idea, primitively, of a
deity, nor of a future state; it is therefore a
popular error amongst Christians, promulgated
chiefly by missionaries, that of supposing that
there exists no nation on earth who are entirely
strangers to the belief in a Supreme Being, or a
resurrection of the dead.
This opinion has been disseminated and
strengthened by the representations of superficial,
hearsay travellers, who have but imperfectly
conversed with the aborigines of a country,
and that after their intercourse with disciples of
Christianity.
The Indian, as well as the untutored mind
generally, is too ready to catch at novelty to 120
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
allow anything to pass unnoticed, or even without enlarging upon it, and making it applicable
and tributary to himself; and so it was and is
that the savage, in whom poetry is innate, has
conjured up to himself superficial images of
Divine agency, without knowing why or wherefore, but simply at the prompting of missionaries,
and just as readily as a parrot may be taught to
speak and the monkey to mimic, with this
exception, that the Indian, having a keen intelligence and perception, readily fastens upon and
comprehends a new idea; he delights in the ideal
—he is a creature of imagination, and so far as
his thinking faculties go, he strives for emulation ;
for anything else save the chase, and absolutely
aboriginal occupations,he is disinclined, and hence
his inadaptability for civilisation, and the certain
destruction that succeeds to it.
" Sees God in clouds, and hears him in the storm,"
is a poetical phantasy — true he hears the thunder and he sees the lightning, but with the same,
only keener, effect as the buffalo and the deer.
The God, which the poet mentions, is with him
vague and undefined;   the commotion of the OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
121
elements he considers, and rightly, to be the effect
of natural causes. He never ponders over the
creation of these things. He considers himself
aloof, as he really is, entirely disconnected from
their great workings. He accepts the moon and
the stars as a part of this vast system, but he
never associates himself with these things, and
he never hopes for anything beyond the grave.
I have conversed with New Zealanders, Australians, Kaffirs, Esquimaux, and other aborigines, but could never deduce from their testimony that before they were submitted to the
indoctrinating influence of Christianity in the
persons of the missionaries, they ever pictured
to themselves a resurrection or a life hereafter;
and even now their belief, if such be at all entertained, is too vague and empty to influence their
hopes or actions.
Even at the present day the Takelly or Carrier
Indians never allude to the deity; in fact the
Takelly language has not a term in it expressive
of either deity, spirit, or soul—heaven or hell,—
or anything approaching such.
The Takelly says, "TJie toad hears me."
When a Takelly is asked what becomes of him THE   NEW   EL  DORADO ;
after death, he replies, " My life shall be extinct,
and I shall be dead." Not an idea has he of
the soul, or of a future state of rewards and
punishments.
Fort   Alexander  is   agreeably  situated,   as
before mentioned,   on the  banks  of Frazer's
River, on the outskirts of the great prairies.
The surrounding country is beautifully diversified by hill and dale, grove and plain;   the
soil is rich, yielding abundant successive crops
of  grain   and   vegetable,   unmanured.     The
charming locality, the friendly disposition of the
Indians, and the prolific abundance of vegetable
and animal life, render this settlement one of
the most pleasing  in  British Columbia.     In
spring the country swarms with game, pheasants
and curlew, ducks and geese.    Fort  George,
an outpost of Alexandria, stands higher up on
the right bank of the same river.    Its situation
is exceedingly dreary, having in front a high
hill that shades the summit late in the morning,
while the forest, deep and far, hems it in and
clothes it in a somewhat melancholy gloom; yet
the soil is as prolific, and the other products of
the farm and the dairy are as abundant as at
Alexandria. OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
123
The Takelly, or Carrier language, is a dialect
of the Chippewayan; and it is rather a singular
fact that the two intervening dialects of the
Beaver Indians and Tsekanies, kindred nations,
should differ more from the Chippewayan than
the Carrier; the two latter natrons being perfectly intelligible to each other, while the former
are but very imperfecliy understood by their
1mmediate neighbours, the Chippewayans.
I may here mention that a popular error is
extant relative to the number and variety of
languages spoken by the North American Indians. There are, in reality, only four radically
distinct languages from the shores of Labrador
to the Pacific: Sauteux, Chippewayan, Atna,
and Chinook. The Cree language is evidently
a dialect of the SauteuXj siirnilar in construction,
and differing only in the modification of a few
words. The Nascopies, or mountaineers of
Labrador, speak a mixture of Cree and Sauteux,
the former predominating.
Along the communication from Montreal to
the foot of the Rocky Mountains, following the
Peace River route, the Sauteux are first met
with ; their region extends from the lake of the
G 2 THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
Two Mountains to Lake Winnipeg; then come
the Crees as far as the Isle a la Crosse; after
them Crees and Chippewayans as far as Athabasca; and along the banks of Peace River
the Beaver Indians occupy the lower, and the
Tsekanies the upper part. The Chippewayan
is evidently the root of the Beaver, Tsekany,
and Carrier dialects. On the west side of the
Rocky Mountains, the Carrier language is succeeded by the Atna, which extends along the
Columbia as far down as the Chinooks, who
inhabit the coast. The Atna language, in its
variety of dialects, seems to have as wide a
scope as either the Sauteux or Chippewayan.
The climate of British Columbia is exceedingly variable at all seasons of the year. During some winters the weather continues mild
throughout. These vicissitudes of temperature
are owing to local causes,—proximity to, or
distance from, the glaciers of the Rocky Mountains, the direction of the winds, the aspect of
the place, and such other causes.
Fort St. James is so situated as to be completely exposed to the north-east wind, which
wafts on its wings the freezing vapours of the OR, BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
glaciers. The instant the wind shifts to this
quarter, a change of temperature is felt; and
when it continues to blow for a few hours, it
becomes so cold, that even in summer small
ponds are frozen over.
The surrounding country is mountainous and
rocky. Frazer's Lake is only about thirty miles
distant from Fort St. James (on Stuart's Lake),
yet there the climate is beautiful. But then
the Fort stands in a valley open to the southwest, a fine champaign country, of a sandy soil,
and is protected from the north-east winds by
a high ridge of hills. The winter consequently
seldom sets in before December, and the navigation is generally open at the end of April.
Few countries present a more bold and beautiful variety of scenery than British Columbia,
where towering mountains, hill and dale, valley
and plain, forest and lake, all blend together in
picturesque antitheses, and can be taken in at
one meandering glance.
There is nothing, I think, better calculated
to awaken the more solemn feelings of our
nature than these noble lakes, studded with
innumerable islets, suddenly bursting upon the THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
traveller's view as he emerges from the sombre
forests of the American wilderness. The clear,
unruffled waters stretching out to the horizon,
here embracing the heavy and luxuriant foliage
of a hundred wooded isles, or reflecting the
wood-clad mountains on its margin, clothed in
all the variegated hues of autumn; and there
glittering with dazzling brilliancy in the bright
rays of the evening sun, or rippling among the
reeds and rushes of some shallow bay, wmere
hundreds of wild fowl chatter as they feed, with
varied cry, rendering more apparent, rather than
disturbing, the solemn stillness of the scene.
This region is still rich in fur-bearing animals,
especially beavers and martens, owing to their
finding a safe retreat among the fastnesses of the
Rocky Mountains, where they multiply undisturbed ; there are also others, chiefly musk rats,
minxes, and lynxes. Of the larger quadrupeds,
bears only are numerous; they are, however, to
be met with in all their varieties, black, brown,
chocolate, and grizzled. When I write the
word grizzled, I am led to a vivid remembrance
of a very narrow escape that I once had from
one that I   had wounded when  out shooting
ILJ OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
127
alone in California. On that occasion I had to
run a considerable distance, with the bear in
close pursuit, before reaching a tree, my only
chance of preservation. No sooner, however,
had I sprung and clambered up to the second
branches, than I perceived Bruin had reached
its base, and moreover, was on the point of
climbing up after me. Fortunately the tree
was an awkward one for him on account of its
slender trunk, but was nevertheless climbable
and strong enough to bear his weight. Without a
moment's hesitation, and with all the deliberate
impetuosity of desperation, I commenced loading my double-barrel piece, balancing myself
meanwhile astride a branch, with legs depending and my left shoulder leaning against
.the trunk. I had not a moment to lose, the
tree shook violently with the efforts of my
grizzly enemy to ascend ; and no sooner had I
capped my charge, than up he came with
Stealthy but savage strides. He was within
two feet only of me when I fired straight into
his skull, upon which he fell half reelingly to
the ground, and died within five minutes.—
However, back to our El Dorado.     A most 128
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
destructive little animal, the wood rat, infests
the country, and generally nestles in the rocks,
but prefers still more human habitations.   They
domicile under the floors  of outbuildings, and
not content with this, force their way into the
inside, where they destroy and carry off everything they can.    There is no way of securing
the property in the  stores from their  depredations but by placing it in strong boxes.    When
fairly located, it is almost impossible to root them
out.    They are of a grey colour, and of nearly
the same form and size as the common rat, the
tail excepted, which resembles that of the ground
squirrel.    The birds of British Columbia are the
same as in Canada, excepting that more frequently
than in the latter country, immense flocks of
cranes are to be seen in autumn and spring flying
high in the air; in autumn directing their flight towards the south, and in spring towards the north.
Most of the lakes abound in fish; the principal varieties are trout, carp, white fish, and pike.
Sturgeon weighing from  one hundred to five
hundred pounds, are sometimes caught.  A beautiful small fish of the size of an anchovy, and
shaped like a salmon, is found in a river that wmmnm
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
129
falls into Stuart's Lake ; it is said they pass the
winter in the lake, and ascend their favourite
stream in the month of June, where they deposit their spawn. They have the silvery scales
of the large salmon, and are exceedingly rich,
but the natives preserve them almost exclusively
for their own use. There are four varieties of
salmon, distinguished from each other by the
peculiar form of their head ; the largest species
seems to be the same as abounds in the rivers of
Britain, and weighs from ten to twenty pounds ;
the others do not exceed half that weight.
The Takellies, or Carriers, do not use canoes on
their hunting excursions, so that they are necessitated to carry all their conveniences on their
backs; and it is astonishing to see what heavy
loads they can carry, especially the women, on
whom the transport duty generally devolves.
Amongst this nation, however, the women are
held in much higher consideration than amongst
other Indians; they assist at the councils, and
some are even admitted to the feasts. This consideration they doubtless owe to the efficient aid
they afford in procuring the means of subsistence.
G 3 130
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO ;
The one sex is as actively exployed as the
other during the fishing season. The men construct the weirs, repair them when necessary, and
capture the fish; the women split them up, a
most laborious occupation when salmon is plentiful, suspend them on the scaffolds, attend to the
drying, and other processes connected with their
preservation. They also collect berries, and dig
up the edible roots that are found in the country,
and which are of great service during the years
of scarcity. Thus the labour of the women
contributes as much to the support of the community as that of the men. The latter are
passionately addicted to gambling, staking everj>
thing they may possess, and continuing at it
night and day until compelled to desist by sheer
hunger. Their games are played with a few
small sticks neatly carved with a certain varying
number of marks upon them, which being, tied
up in a small bundle of hay, the players draw
out successively, throw up and catch in theic
hands until all are drawn, when they are taken
up one by one and dashed against a piece of skin
parchment and rolled up again in the hay; the
process being repeated after the manner of our
card dealing. mm
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
131
They sing in chorus during the play, and
manifest much merriment.
The Takelhes are a sedentary people, remaining shut up in their huts during the more severe
part of the winter. A native encampment
may then be approached without any sign
being perceived of its vicinity, until their well
or one of the salmon catches is arrived at.
They are very social, congregating at each
other's huts, and passing their time either in
talking or sleeping. When awake their tongues
are ever in motion, all bawling out at the same
time, and creating a babbling uproar highly
ludicrous to hear.
There is much variety and melody in the airs
they sing. They dance in cycles, men and women promiscuously, and while holding each other
by the hand, and keeping both feet together, they
hop sideways with a sudden jerk of the body ;
this movement is difficult of execution, excellent
time is, however, kept, while the blending together
of the voices—male and female—in symphony,
has an effect which cannot be called other than
delightful.
They are  extremely  hospitable,   cheerfully THE  NEW  EL  DORADO J
sharing their last morsel with the stranger who
may be in want. Hospitality, however, is a
virtue which civilisation never improves.
British Columbia has hitherto been the richest district in the vast domain of the Hudson's
Bay Company: its annual returns averaged
about 8,000 beavers, with a fair proportion of
other valuable furs.
When first settled, the goods required for
trade were brought in by the winterers from
Lac la Pluie, which was their depot. The
people left the district as early in spring as
navigation permitted, and returned so late that
they were frequently overtaken by winter ere they
reached their destination. Cold, hunger, and
fatigue were the unavoidable consequences experienced ; but the enterprising spirit of the
men of those days—the intrepid and indefatigable
adventurers of the North-west Company—was
undauntable, and vanquished over every difficulty.
It was that spirit that opened a communication across the broad continent of America;
that penetrated to the frost-bound regions of the
Arctic circle j and that established a trade with
the  natives in  this  remote   land,   when   the OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
133
merchandize required for it was in one season
transported from Montreal across the wilderness,
to within a short distance from the Pacific.
Such enterprise is now dead so far as the fur trade
is concerned. The Hudson's Bay Company's
outfit stores have been hitherto sent out from
England, via Cape Horn, usually to Fort Vancouver ; thence they are conveyed in boats to
Okanagan, tl en transported on horses' backs to
Alexandria, the lower post of the district on
Frazer's River, whence they are conveyed in boats
onward to Fort St. James.
Over these tracts of country once ranged the
hardy mountaineers,—the trading trappers who
scaled the vast mountain chains of North
America, and pursued their hazardous vocations
amidst their wild recesses—moving from place
to place on horseback, piercing the rugged defiles
and threading the narrow gorges of the mountains, bounding across plains and valleys, whose
pure and exhilarating atmosphere seemed to
make them both physically and mentally a more
lively and mercurial race than their fellow men—
lithe, vigorous, and active; extravagant in word,
deed, and thought; heedless of hardship, daring rT
134
THE  NEW   EL  DORADO;
of danger, prodigal of the present, and thoughtless of the future; hardy, self-dependent, and
game-spirited, they pursued a career whose
romantic wildness was only surpassed by its vicissitudes.
Accustomed to live in tents, or to bivouac
in the open air, the mountaineer despised even
the comforts of the log hut, and preferred
shooting his own game, lighting his own fire,
and cooking his own repast alfresco. With his
horse and his rifle he felt himself independent
of the world, and spurned all its restraints.
There was a nobility in this, more sterling than
the peerage, which could not but command
admiration.
No class of men on the face of the earth led
a life of more continued peril, exertion, and
excitement, and were more enamoured of their
occupation than these free trappers of the west.
No toil, no privation, no danger, could turn the
trapper from his pursuit. His passionate excitement at times resembled a mania. In vain
might the most vigilant and cruel savages beset
his path; in vain might rocks, and precipices,
and wintry torrents  oppose his progress;   let OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
but a single track of the beaver meet his eye,
all thoughts of danger were banished, all difficulties defied. At times he might be seen
with his traps slung over his shoulder, buffeting
his way across rapid streams, amidst floating
blocks of ice; at other" times, with his traps
swung on his back, clambering the most rugged
mountains, scaling or descending the most
frightful precipices, searching by routes inaccessible to the horse, and never before trodden
by white man, for springs and lakes unknown
to his comrades, and where he might meet with
his favourite game. Such was the mountaineer,
and such he still may be; but he has changed
his field of enterprise, he has gone still higher,
and still further from the haunts of civilization,
and he is but seldom seen, and few indeed is
the number of his once wild band. There was
a fascination in savage.life for these men—
many of them shunned the haunts of civilization, ever after plunging beyond its pale,
and so marrying native women, whom they
became as attached to as they could ha%re
been to women of their own English, French,
Canadian,   or American  race,  transmitted   to THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
posterity the "half-breeds" who so plentifully
abound over the northern continent. It was
a matter of emulation with them to adopt the
manners, habits, dress, gesture, and even
walk of the Indian. Their hair, suffered to
attain a great length, was carefully combed
out, and either left to fall carelessly over
the shoulders, or plaited neatly, and tied up
in otter skins or parti-coloured ribbons. A
hunting shirt of ruffled calico of bright dyes, or
of ornamented leather, fell as far down as the
knee, below which curiously-fashioned leggings,
ornamented with strings, fringes, and a profusion of hawks' bells, reached to a costly pair
of mocassins of the finest Indian fabric, richly
embroidered with beads. A blanket of scarlet
or some other bright colour hung from the
shoulders, and was girt round the waist with a
red sash, which held the customary pistols,
knife, and the stem of an Indian pipe. His gun
would be lavishly decorated with brass tacks
and vermilion, and provided with a fringe
cover, occasionally of buckskin, ornamented with
' feathers. His horse, the noble minister to his
pride, pleasure, and profit, was selected for his OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
137
speed, spirit, and prancing carriage, and held a
place in his estimation second only to himself,
sharing largely of his bounty and of his pride
and prowess of trapping, caparisoned in the
most dashing and fantastic style; the bridles
and crupper weightily embossed with beads and
cockades, with the head, mane, and tail interwoven with an abundance of eagles' plumes,
that fluttered in the wind; while, to complete
his grotesque equipment, the proud animal was
bestreaked and bespotted with vermilion or
white clay, whichever presented the most
glaring contrast to his real colour. These
tastes were and are still exactly those of the
Indian, who prides himself as much upon his
horse as upon his wife, and when thus gaudily
caparisoned, is in his highest glory. CHAPTER XI.
THE   FUTURE   GOVERNMENT   OF  BRITISH
COLUMBIA.
Let the colony of British Columbia be constituted on the same basis as was New South
Wales. Why talk of ever annexing it to Canada ?
The plan did not answer with regard to Victoria, whose geographical position with respect
to New South Wales was far more favourable
than is that of British Columbia with Canada;
and if worse did not befall it, the yoke would
be even sooner thrown off by the settlement
under consideration, than was that of the colony
alluded to.
Let a provisional government be formed, and
sent out, if necessary, to administer the affairs OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
139
of the colony until such time as a fitting legislature might be provided, but by all means let
it remain independent, and tributary alone to
the mother country.
For Canada to exercise surveillance over it
would be at once fettering and obnoxious;
moreover, the work would be but inefficiently
performed with so wide a distance between the
seat of government and the local staff. For a
rapidly rising country such as British Columbia,
which has spruag into giant manhood, as it were,
in a day, the ruling power must be on the spot;
the time which would necessarily elapse in communicating from the one country to the other
would be too great to suit the exigencies and
requirements of a community and a territory so
peculiarly situated as this.
It must have a special governor and legislature of its own; it would be a dangerous
experiment to try to dispense with such;
whereas their presence will contribute more to
the safety, stability, and good order of the place
amongst the sea of aliens for whom we have to
legislate, than any other measure which the British Government might organize.    To make it THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
a mere undignified parasite of Canada would be
the greatest blunder of statesmanship ever committed ; the probable consequences of such a
course I shall not presume to mention; suffice
it to say, that the representatives of the elder
colony would be as little respected by the heedless population who are now swarming from
Puget's Sound to Thompson's River, as the
laws they might be instructed to enforce. It is
therefore to be sincerely hoped that the result
of present and future deliberations upon this
important subject which has so prominently
engaged the minds of our politicians, and in
which our present colonial secretary, Sir Edward
Bulwer Lytton, has taken so leading and praiseworthy a part, will be such as to obviate the
hazardous evils which would inevitably arise
from a union at any time of Canada with British
Columbia, and to ensure the safe keeping of
a land so extensive and bountifully supplied with
the requirements of man, and upon which Nature
has lavished her treasures with so inviting a
prodigality. ■m
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA
CHAPTER XII
THE   MAGIC   SPELL.
It would be hard to describe in colours and
language sufficiently vivid, the tremendous
excitement which is now raging, and the exodus
that is now going forward from California to
the new El Dorado of the North Pacific. Since
the middle of the month of April the fever has
been increasing with an almost maddened pulse,
and its climax is far from reached. The San
Francisconians are rejoicing; the halcyon days
of 1849 were supposed to have gone by for
ever; but suddenly they have awoke again—
with their rush, their clamour, and their gold. 142
TH e new el dorado ;
As she looked ten years ago in the first flush
of her prosperity, now looks she again. Red
and blue woollen shirted men, rough and stalwart, now throng and lend renewed animation to her streets, ranging about in squads,
with picks, shovels, pans, blankets, and primitive
looking rockers on their shoulders. It is
nearly nine years since such scenes were
witnessed there before. Shopkeepers are overrun with customers they never dreamt of
seeing at their counters. This is owing to
San Francisco being the grand rendezvous for
miners from all parts of the interior, en route
for Frazer's River. They, of course, require to
replete their " kit" before starting, with the
substantial addition also of a second revolver.
Thus, it will be seen, that although anticipating
it, they are not to be deterred by danger; although it is to be hoped that order will prevail,
and the sacrifice of human life be avoided. So
far as this refers to the Indians, it is sincerely
to be desired; unfortunately, however, a chief
and another were shot, during a disturbance
in the vicinity of Fort Hope, on Frazer River, OR, BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
143
when the whole tribe was with great difficulty
appeased by the agent of the Hudson's Bay
Company.
It is said, that men who have worked for
years in the mountains of California, know
how to manage the red men better than any
regulars in the world ; but it is to be deplored,
that their management is conducted too much
at the revolver's mouth to be in accordance with
true philanthropy, or yet the views of the Aborigines' Protection Society. Civilisation, however, is a pestilence, and aboriginalism is as
fated to fall before its inroads as, to use a
scriptural simile, the sparks fly upward. Alas,
that it should be so ! but. we are driven, in self-
defence, to seek sustenance in lands hitherto
alone roamed over by the primitive rulers of the
earth. Even in civilised society each preys
upon the other—the stronger upon the weaker—
and in this crushing of barbarism under the foot
of civilisation, we have nothing worse than is
being despotically enacted every moment of our
lives in our cities and our homes.
No longer is it doubted, or disputed, that a new 144
THE  NEW   EL   DORADO;
gold country awaits development in the North as
rich, or even richer, in its resources as was California or Australia. The magic spell of the
discovery is now being experienced throughout
America, and its influence cannot fail to spread far
and wide over the whole dominion of civilisation.
Even up to the 20th of June, 14,800 souls
had embarked from San Francisco alone, by
steam and sailing vessels, for the new El Dorado ; and it was fully anticipated that during
the ensuing two months an equal or greater
number would depart, and that the entire
exodus from California, during the first six
months of the Frazer's River fever would reach
the enormous figure of 50,000. The rapidity
and extent of the emigration now going forwTard
has never been paralleled. On the 19th of
June, when the steamer Republic, from Frazer's
River, was telegraphed as coming up the bay
about half-past two o'clock, the town was quite
taken by surprise, as she w7as not expected till
the 21st. The sensation which swayed the city
was tremendous. Excitement and anticipation
had been at a high pitch for two entire weeks,
as no steamer had come down in the interim OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
145
with later news than the Panama brought on
the  5th of the same month; the Pacific had
arrived on the 8 th, but her dates only corresponded with those of the Panama.    This was
a long period of suspense ; but faith in Frazer
River had never once flagged among the great
body of the people of California, although more
than one of the leading San Francisco journals
had seemingly wavered, and striven to check
the swelling tide of the northward bound.    In
less than an hour after the Republic had reached
the wharf, several extras, i.e.  evening editions
of newspapers, were issued, as also the Evening
Bulletin   flooding   the   city   with   the   eagerly
sought intelligence.    The result was, that confidence and assurance became doubly sure, and
those who had hitherto hesitated and held back,
hauled down their colours,  and went in  pell
mell with the enthusiasm common to fresh converts.
The question was no longer, "Are you
going ?" but " When do you get off ?"
All was animation and florid excitement,
while gin slings and cocktails were in greater
demand  than  ever.    All  the letters  received
H from the various ports on Puget's Sound (American territory) and the diggings furnished corroborative testimony as to the extent and
richness of the new placers.
The impression of all who have gone is, alike
with my own, unanimous and conclusive as to
the grand fact of the new El Dorado being the
seat of even greater treasures than have made
famous the name of California.
Up to the 22 nd of June no steamer had
returned with more than a dozen passengers,
and these had come down to obtain supplies
either for themselves or party, with the intention
of returning by the next steamer; saying, however,
that nothing would be lost by not reaching there
before the beginning of August, as the rivers
will remain flooded till that time. But this
information has no effect in retarding the
people of California; on they rush, making
every sacrifice, and caring for nothing save a
passage to the glittering land.
Impatient of the day, they rush on with
resistless speed and palpitating gladness—attracted as the magnet to the steel, they fly to
the demon of gold. Between the 5 th and the 20th of June the
following vessels sailed from San Francisco for
Victoria (Vancouver's Island) and ports on
Puget's Sound:
June   5, Barque, Gold Hunter.
— 7, Steamer, Republic.
——    9,        „      Commodore.
— 10, Schooner, Giulietta.
— J. 2, Steamer, Panama.
— —, Ship, Georgiana.
— —, Barque, Adelaide.
— —, Sloop, Curlew.
— 14, Ship, William Berry.
— 15, Barque, Live Yankee.
—'17, Steamer, Cortez.
— ■—, Schooner, Kossuth.
— 18, „ Osprey.
— —, Barque, Madonna.
— 19, Steamer, Santa Cruz.
The above is one fortnight's list, according to
the clearances at the Custom-house, besides
which several vessels in the regular coasting
trade to those ports left, each taking a full complement of passengers; about 6,000 took their
departure between the dates named.
h 2 148
THE  NEW EL  DORADO;
On the 22nd of June the steamer Republic
took her departure for the north again; the
Oregon on the 23rd, and the Commodore on
the 24 th; while, at least, twenty vessels were
on the berths announced for immediate despatch ; some of the smaller vessels to take passengers through to Fort Langley, stopping at
Victoria to obtain permits to pass up Frazer's
River, at the- mouth of which the British
steamer, Satellite, is stationed to guard against
unlicensed egress. The price of a first-class
cabin passage to Victoria by steamer is sixty-
five dollars, and thirty-five dollars in the steerage. The sailing craft charge from sixty down
to twenty-five dollars. Nearly all the Califor-
nian emigration has hitherto landed at Victoria,
owing to Governor Douglas not granting licenses
elsewhere.
From the 1st of May to the 15 th of June,
9,500 passengers left Sacramento for San Francisco, against 5,800 during a previous period
of six weeks. The excess of travel over the
different stage routes to Sacramento and Folsom
since the fever set in was 3,674. What the
emigration by the San Joaquin has been was OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
149
not computed; but the rush from the southern
mines was even more general than from the
middle and northern sections. The arrivals by
up-river steamers in San Francisco during the
week ending the 20th of June averaged 500
nightly of those bound to the New El Dorado,
while the departures for the latter were of about
the same daily average.
The roads in the interior and across the mountains presented, meanwhile, an appearance similar to the retreat of a routed army. Stages,
express waggons, and vehicles of every character,
were called into requisition for the immediate
emergency, and all rolled along crowded, while
whole battalions were pressing forward before,
behind, and alongside, either on horse or mule-
back, or on foot, all eager for the fray. New
life has been infused into the blood of the vast
mining population of North America, and on
they roll in one resistless tide,
To gather gold where ghastly hunger hies.
However, plenty will follow in their train,
And  gold will   gild what  nought  but wealth could
build. 150
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
May happiness crown their hopes is my most
enthusiastic wish.
Of course, the shipments of merchandise from
San Francisco were very large to keep pace with
this sudden transmigration of thousands to a
region totally unsupplied with the commodities
necessary for their use and subsistence, but the
supply was still unequal to the demand.
Recurring again to San Francisco, the rush
and excitement are by no means confined to
miners, but seem to have operated on all
classes alike. Even newspaper men, the most
inveterate and pertinacious of all, were about
leaving in considerable numbers. A lively
business—very lively it is to be presumed—was
reported to be doing in the hardware and
clothing lines as well as in provisions—very
indispensable, we guess. Nearly all those from
the interior require a new fit out in whole or in
part. Revolvers, rifles, shot, guns, and knives;
pickaxes, shovels, and hoes, rocker iron drills
and rifle boxes, flannel shirts, thick coats and
pants, waterproofs, oilcloths, and water-boots—
eagle-topped ones, of course—were all in high
demand.    So great is the rush, that hundreds OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
151
are unable to procure an immediate passage,
while thousands were waiting their turn at
Sacramento and Stockton for conveyance to
San Francisco. Scarcely one leaves the latter
city without disbursing more or less money, and
more than a million dollars were calculated to
have been added to the daily circulation of the
place since the rage set in. Such is the unparalleled effect of the discovery of our New El
Dorado—the golden realm of thrice ten thousand
hopes. CHAPTER  XIII.
THE   FINGER-POST.
The difficulties which present themsemselves at
first sight in the way of reaching our El Dorado,
are obviously greater than those attending a
transmigration direct to the shores of the
Australasian isles; these, however, upon examination, will be found either easy of obviation
or such as may be readily surmounted by those
endowed with the spirit of enterprise, and possessed of that subordinate but necessary qualification, their passage-money.
The readiest mode which the traveller can
pursue is to take passage to New York, from OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
153
which city he can travel with a through ticket
to San Francisco via the Isthmus.
From San Francisco steamers ply to Frazer's
River, up which he can proceed without delay in
boats and canoes. California may be reached at
a minimum expense of twenty-five or thirty
pounds only from England, from which the adventurer can either proceed overland on foot and
horse via Puget's Sound, or by steamer,at a chance
fare, to the nearest navigable point of the new gold
diggings. Frazer's River lies seven hundred miles
north of San Francisco, yet it is still one or two
degrees south of the latitude of London; and
although at a distance of one hundred and fifty
miles from the shores of the Pacific, there stands
a barrier of mountains, whose rugged and lofty
summits are ever snow-capped; still the average temperature throughout the year between
that and the coast is fifty-four degrees Fahrenheit, while snow is seldom lodged on the ground
for more than three days throughout the entire
winter. Fruit-trees blossom in April, and salad
goes to seed early in May. Wheat yields from
twenty-five to thirty bushels per acre. The trees
are gigantic,  while   iron,   copper,   and  other
h 3 154
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
'minerals intersect the rich and flowery pasture
lands.    From Frazer's River down to Peru the
rivers all bear down treasures of a natural wealth
perfectly inestimable;   thus  demonstrating  the
vast resources, collateral and direct, of that land
where Fortune stands beckoning, and lavishes
her bounteous gifts upon all who come.    There
is a strong and growing demand for all kinds of
labour at almost fabulous rates of remuneration.
There are the finest openings for trade speculations that ever existed.    Credit, of course, as in
all new countries, is,  and will continue to be
abundant, thus dispensing with the necessity for
capital;  all that  is required being the  wideawake faculty,—a stout heart and a strong arm.
Men who have been groping in the hazy squalor
of poverty for years in this country, and might
remain so for ever, may at once make a plunge
into the arena of wealth and all its attendant
glory, by embarking for the golden shores of
our dazzling El Dorado.
There are 500,000 square miles of the richest
and most splendid country in the world, even
looking at it in an agricultural point of view
only, spread out before him, when he stands on OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
155
the auriferous region of which we speak.    The
salubrity   of the  climate  sustains  health  and
prolongs life, as is universally testified by those
who have resided there, and who have displayed
and  borne  out  their  good opinion  of it by
making it their final  home—this is especially
applicable to the retired officers of the Hudson's
Bay Company.     Of course, it  is  the  grand
object and interest of the latter monopoly to
make the world believe the territory which they
hold is a barren and rocky wilderness, unfit for
anything   but fur-bearing   animals   and   those
red warriors of the soil with whom they have so
long trafficked in toys; but the Hudson's Bay
Company must remember that geographers and
the world know to the contrary of what they
would  make  believe,  and  that   at  least   the
500,000   square  miles   already   mentioned  of
their three millions of square miles   of territory are highly fertile and cultivable, and that the
new and unprecedentedly rich gold fields which
have just eclipsed Australia, and made California
look pale, form the central gem of this vast
and wealthy domain, where the Red Indian is
now being driven before the rush of civilization, THE  NEW   EL  DORADO;
which in its influence, alas! cannot fail to be
otherwise than blasting and exterminating to
him, but which will build up cities in the wilderness where the waving of the prairie and the
solitude of the mighty forest before only inspired
the explorer with awe—regions of Indian romance—unchronicled—forgotten. CHAPTER XIV.
USEFUL   AND   PICTORIAL
Taking steamer from Liverpool or Southampton, the passenger will find himself in all probability the cabin-chum of some trading German,
or Yankee, returning home after his travels,
he should have the misfortune to come in such
close proximity with the former, I can only wish
him married,—anywhere but berthed under or
over a Dutch-bottomed lager beer-drinker.
Yankees themselves are usually pretty smart
agreeable sort of fellows ; although when a
revolver has been pointed at a man's head by
one, as was the case with myself, I might be
expected to speak differently.    However, if the THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
adventurer—I use the term in its most ennobled
dignity—keeps clear of the alloy of " loafers" and
card sharpers, which so plentifully abound
amongst the American community, he stands a
good chance of being fairly dealt with.
The American character, on the whole, is
highly to be commended ; they are extremely
good-hearted, frank and obliging, and their faults,
if in our egotism we so denote them, are
rendered more conspicuous owing to their
freedom from cant and treachery.
A set of empty-headed, starched, conventionalists have gone to the United States and written
books about a people of whom and their institutions they were all but entirely ignorant, and
so have impressed John Bull with some odd
notions of Jonathan, which, however, the latter is
well able to defend and repudiate, were it worth
the trouble; the Yankee, however, is too magnanimous to heed or to retaliate—he can afford
to stand the brunt of a few stray shots from
such nurselings of vanity as have wasted their
feeble strength in still more feeble satire and
malignation. So much for the nation which
report tells us has threatened to lick all creation, OR,   BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
159
and something else—but I forget what—into
the bargain.
From the foot of Canal Street, where the
principal steam wharf lies, in the city of New
York, the passenger may proceed to any of the
hotels—I prefer the Metropolitan—in the carriages of the latter, which he will find in attendance. He had better do this if he wishes to
avoid exorbitant cab fare, and is unwilling to trust
his luggage to hand porters and himself to his legs.
His first duty after arrival should be to
repair to the Aspinwall and Pacific Steam Company's offices, and engage his passage through
to San Francisco. Afterwards, and up to the
time of his departure, he can amuse himself to his
perfect satisfaction ; for what with the continual
eating and drinking going forward at the hotels,
the most magnificent in the worlds which charge
at the uniform rate of two dollars and a half a
day—the bustle of Broadway, and the thousands
of pretty—I should say lovely—women that are
there to be seen—the morning and evening
amusements at Niblo's and other theatres and
places, —he cannot fail in making matters agreeable to himself.    The life and animation of the THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
Broadway is unparalleled in any other city of
the world ; there is an excitement in merely
looking at it. Moreover, there is a frankness
and hospitality of manner and feeling about the
people, that tcany, save a narrowed and prejudiced
mind, is pleasing and comforting. For my own
part I should prefer living in New York to any
other place I have ever seen, both on account of
its society, liberality of opinion, which I term
general magnanimity, and the beauties of the
island city itself, as well as its contiguity to
Brooklyn, the most delightful place of residence
in the new world.
After embarking, the passenger will find
himself one of a thousand as regards the number
on board, and in order to enjoy the voyage, he
must blend in with the multitude, and guess and
talk with them. This is an easy and congenial
task, and one from which he may derive much
information of the country to which he is bound,
that is so far as California is concerned, there
always being miners and traders on board, who
have made the voyage there and back more than
once before.
When he gets to Panama, after crossing the OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
161
Isthmus from Aspinwall, it will well repay him
to make a visit to the island of Taboga, which
lies at a distance of five miles from the city. It
is highly picturesque, as well as being the old
resort of the Gulf pirates, and the present
dock-yard of the Pacific. The exuberant density
of the foliage is presented to the eye in every
direction, and the island having a hilly and
undulating surface, the effect is very fine and
imposing, mountain rising on mountain, as it
were, of luxuriant forest and mangrove trees,
whose unfading and perennial green ever invites
the eye of the traveller down the lovely Bay of
Panama. When I was there, three years ago, a
much-to-be-deplored tragedy was enacted. A
carpenter by trade, who resided with his wife in
a cottage near the beach, was known to have
amassed some money, and he was about to leave
the island. This was also known,—his cottage
was broken into at two o'clock on one morning
in June ; his throat was gashed at the hand of a
rude assassin as he slept. His wife, who was in
bed with him at the time, miraculously escaped
from the house in her night dress, with her
throat also half dissevered.    She ran through 162
THE  NEW EL  DORADO
the forest and the night to the nearest habitation — the " Verandah Hotel;" an alarm was
given, but the murderers had fled when the
scene of bloodshed was reached. During the
day, however, two suspected men were captured
and hanged by the populace; one from the
bowsprit of an old ship, stranded on the beach,
the other from the bough of a tree.
This was Lynch law with a vengeance. Then-
bodies were afterwards thrown into the bay,
where they were quickly devoured by sharks,
which there abound in large numbers. A short
period after that, a melancholy catastrophe
occurred, by the upsetting of a boat on her way
from Panama to Taboga, which resulted in the
loss of six lives, and of which the following lines
offer a more graphic description than any other
I can afford:—
Returning to that island yet once more,
The breeze-impelled swift-coursing cutter flew
On o'er the rock-strewn waters tow'rds the shore
Of high Taboga, picturesque to view.
The wind blew fresher, and the rampant waves
Lash'd the bare breakers as we passed them by
In plunging haste.    Here ocean often raves,
And sharks disport and winds blow fierce and high j OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
163
The blue above turns black with sudden change,
And all is wild commotion, till the squall
Passes away, and then with lengthy range
The eye can mark the mountains dark and tall,
That flank the main five thousand miles along,
From this the Gulf of Islands, to that strait
Cours'd by Magellan once.     But to my song.
On plunged the boat, she bounded to her fate—
One moment more a sunken reef was struck,
(The sailors cursed their own and vessel's luck);
She filled, she sank, and left eight struggling souls
To battle with the elements or die—
To flee the sharks which now swam up in shoals,
Or be devoured.    But whither could they fly ?
An island lay not far from where she sank,
So all dashed forward, madly, tow'rds its bank,
But of the eight, two only gain'd the shore,
The rest were gorged or mangled as they swam.
And on those waters, save some crimson gore,
No sign of those who'd peopled the "Wig-wam"*
Was left.    Woeful their fate ! sad, thrilling, yea,
Too wild to tell.    Alas that island bay !
From Panama to San Francisco across smooth
water, and with the balmiest of sea breezes, the
passenger will observe nothing unusual to strike
his attention, or mark the voyage with more than
ordinary incident; on nearing the Gulf Strait of
San Francisco, however, the bold and picturesque
* The name of the sunken boat. | II
THE  NEW EL  DORADO;
scenery of mountains and coast cannot fail to
excite his admiration.
The Bay is separated from the sea by low
mountain ranges, looking from the peaks of the
Sierra Nevada. The coast mountains present
an apparently continuous line with only a single
gap, and that resembling an Alpine pass. This
is the only water communication from the coast
to the interior country. Approaching from the
sea, the coast presents a bold and declivitous
outline, with undulating shade, here sharp and
rugged, there almost smokelike in its softness.
On the south the bordering mountains come
down in a narrow ridge of broken hills, terminating in a precipitous point, against which the
sea breaks heavily. On the northern side the
mountains present a stern and imposing promontory, rising, in a few miles, to a height of
two or three thousand feet. Between these
points lies the strait, about a mile broad in the
narrowest part, and five miles long from the
sea to the bay.
Passing through this so-called Golden Gate,
the bay opens to the right and left, extending
in each direction about thirty-five miles, having OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
165
a total length of more than seventy miles, and
a coast of two hundred and seventy-five miles.
It is divided by straits and projecting points
into three separate bays, of which the northern
two are called San Pablo, and Luisoon bays.
Within the view presented lies a mountainous
country, the bay resembling an interior lake of
large extent, lying between parallel ranges of
mountains.
Islands, which have the bold aspect of the
shores, some mere masses of rock, others verdant and moss clad, rising to the height of
from three to eight hundred feet, break its
surface, and enhance its picturesqueness
Directly fronting the entrance, and a few
miles back from the shore, are to be seen a
lofty range of mountains, rising about two
thousand feet above the water level, and crowned
by forests of gigantic cypress trees. Behind,
the rugged peak of Mount Diavola, nearly four
thousand feet high, overlooks the surrounding
country of the bay, and the San Joaquim.
The immediate shore of the bay derives, from
its proximate and opposite relation to the sea,
the name of Contra Costa, or Counter Coast. 166
THE  NEW EL DORADO;
It presents a varied character of rugged and
broken hills, rolling and undulating land, and
rich alluvial shores, backed by fertile and
wooded ranges, here and there marked with
villages and farms.
A low alluvial bottom land, several miles in
breadth, with occasional open woods of oak,
borders the base of the mountains around the
southern arm of the bay, terminating in a
breadth of twenty miles in the beautiful valley
of San Joseph; a narrow plain of rich alluvial
soil, lying between, ranges from two to three
thousand feet high. The valley is thinly
wooded with groves of oak, free from underbrush, and after the spring rains is covered
with grass. . Takes in connection with the
valley of San Juan, with which it forms a continuous plain, it is fifty-five miles long, and
from one to twenty broad, opening into
smaller valleys amongst the hills. At the head
of the bay it is twenty miles broad, and about
the same at the southern end; where the soil
is beautifully fertile, covered in the summer
with four or five varieties of wild clover. In
many places it is overgrown with wild mustard, OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
167
growing ten or twelve feet high, in almost impenetrable fields, through which roads are made
like lanes.
On both   sides, the  mountains are  fertile,
wooded, or  covered with  grass  and scattered.
trees.     On the west it is protected from the
chilly influence of the north-west winds by the
Wild Cat ridge which separates it from the coast.
This is a grassy timbered mountain, watered
with small streams, and wooded on both sides
with   many varieties  of  trees   and shrubbery,
the heavier forest pine and cypress occupying
the western slope.    This range  terminates in
the south in the Anno Nuevo point of Monterey
Bay ; and in the north declines into a broken
ridge of hills about five miles wide, between the
bay and the sea ; and having the city of San
Francisco  on the bay shore near its northern
extremity, sheltered from the cold winds and
sea fog.
The slope of alluvial land continues around
the eastern shores of the bays, intersected with
small streams, with good landing-places and deep
water.
The Strait of Carquines, about a mile broad, 168
THE  NEW  EL DORADO;
connects the San Pablo and Suisoon Bays. The
latter is connected with an expansion of the
river, formed by the junction of the Sacramento
and the San Joaquim, which enter San Francisco Bay at the same latitude nearly as the
Tagus at Lisbon. A delta of twenty-five
miles in length, divided into islands by channels,
connects the bay with the valleys of the Sacramento and the San Joaquim, into the mouth of
which the tide flows, and which water the bay
together as one river.
Such is the bay of San Francisco and its
bounding coast land. It lies as a sea in itself,
connected only with the ocean by a defensible
neck, or gate, opening out, between seventy
and eighty miles to the right and left, upon a
breadth of fifteen, deep enough for the largest
ships. The head of the bay is about forty
miles from the sea, and there connects it with
the noble valleys of the Sacramento and the
San Joaquim.
Fascinating as is the scenery just described,
it is, however, more probable that the traveller
will have his thoughts more engrossed by the
land he is nearing,  and the wealth it has in
1 OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
store for him, than in the contemplation of
forest and mountain, flood and plain; and he
will more eagerly canvass the pilot's news, and
join in the clamour of enquiry and conversation
about the latest from the diggings on Frazer
River, than he will about the geographical
prospect within his view.
However that may be, it is to be hoped, that
he will not omit the survey on his return, when
his mind has been rendered more calm by the
realization of his hopes: for there is no excuse
for a man who has wealth in gold, and consequently entertains no fear of sheriff's officers,
not enjoying the beauties of Nature wherever he
be.    So much for the picturesque. ""ii ; * i
170
THE  NEW EL  DORADO;
CHAPTER   XV.
THE   DIGGINGS.
It is a pleasing sight to stand on the here
rocky and there moss-clad banks of that picturesque but unpoetically-named river, the Frazer,
and watch canoe after canoe glide past at regatta
speed, laden with the gold-thirsty adventurers
of eclipsed California. There is a romance in
the lot and career of each of those weather-
beaten daring sons of enterprise who launch
forth into the wilderness to brave danger and
endure hardships far away from the homes
of their childhood, to which many of them are
assuredly never destined to return.    There is OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
something noble in the self-dependence they
manifest, and the hope and perseverance which
fires and actuates them in their arduous struggle
for the necessary bauble of earth. But those
who have felt the pains of poverty and the
insults of debt, will at least in spirit join with
them in their quest for gain, for this is an age
and a world in which we must have money or
sink; an<^ if we die in its pursuit, we scarcely
share a worse fate than would have awaited us
had we remained passive. All the world worship Mammon, and woe unto him who does
not gain and lives ; better to perish; to be unsuccessful is to be socially damned. Such is the
barren code of English life and opinion. Get
me out of it, say I, and may millions echo my
words and sentiment.
The Frazer was navigated as far as Fort Hope,
one hundred and fifty miles from its mouth, on
the 4 th of June, by the steamer Surprise, and for
the first time, Fort Langley having hitherto been
considered the highest navigable point. It is
now known that Fort Yale, which is still higher,
may be reached by sea-going vessels. The Surprise, together with others, was regularly steam-
I 2 172
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
ing between Victoria (Vancouver's Island) and
Fort Hope, in connection with the Pacific Mail
Steam Packet Company's steamers from San
Francisco to the former port.
The Hudson's Bay Company's steamer the
Otter, together with the. Seabird, owned by
a private party, were also engaged in the same
traffic, each charging the same fare, viz. twenty
dollars from the island, or any of the sound
ports, to Fort Langley, and the ports beyond.
Between the 27th of May and the 5th of
June, fifty canoes had reached the latter-named
fort, each containing an average of six persons.
The governor of the Hudson's Bay Company,'
together with four directors, and the captain of
the British steamer Satellite, proceeded to Fort
Yale on the 22nd of May, where they appointed
Custom House officers. They were cordially
received by the miners on the various bars
along the river, and appointed magistrates from
among them. After the 1st of August Governor Douglas will, to the best of his ability,
enforce strictly the terms of his late proclamation, requiring every man to take out
a license, for which he is  to pay five dollars OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
173
per month. The edict that no freight shall
be taken into the interior on the steamers
or otherwise, except that shipped by and
belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, is
hardly likely to be strictly enforced for the time
being. Miners were, being allowed to carry full
supplies for themselves, but none for trade.
The up-river steamers were prohibited carrying
any male passenger without his having a digging
license. The sale of ardent spirits to the Indians
was also prohibited. Already some have violated these regulations, and are to be severely
dealt with in consequence.
One American trader from Bellingham Bay
had two thousand dollars' worth of goods confiscated by the Hudson's Bay Company for
trading near Fort Langley. It will be well,
however, when such exasperating tyranny as
this is done away with, and when that monopoly and impediment, the Company referred to,
are dispossessed of the territory on which at
present they form the grand stumbling-block of
civilization. They would fain make each of
their skin-buyers an autocrat, and constitute
each digging community a serfdom; but they THE  NEW   EL   DORADO;
will find the strong arm of rebellion lifted up
against them, if they persist in too arbitrary a
mode of government during their small remaining reign in that region. The American and
the gold-digger will brook no infringement of
the law of right and equity; with him it is
justice or death.
Gold is found everywhere along Frazer's
River; and even during its extreme height parties were averaging fifteen to thirty dollars per
t day digging in the bank or on the upper edge
of the bars, nearly all of which were overflowed.
Big strikes of from fifty to two hundred and
fifty dollars were common. The miners were
chiefly congregated between Forts Langley and
Yale, and for some twenty or thirty miles above
the latter, stretching along a distance of more
than one hundred miles. A few were digging
on Harrison River and other tributaries, where
the gold abounds in larger particles. Those
who were mining on the forks of Thompson's
River showed still richer yields, but were compelled to leave, owing to the absence of provisions and the high stage of the water. The
go d upon the bars of the river, where the great OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
175
body of the miners are at work, is found in
little particles like sand. No quicksilver had
been used; but when that is attainable, the yield
will be greatly augmented.
At Hill's Bar, those at work averaged fifty
dollars per day during the whole time they had
been there. The Indians are as rich in gold
and as excited as the whites.
While the river remains at its height, trails
have to be resorted to above Fort Hope, and
these are difficult. When the water falls, the
river is navigable for canoes almost to its source,
with the interruption of a few short portages. THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
CHAPTER XVI.
FROM  LONDON  TO   SAN  FRANCISCO.
It is well to keep to facts—bald facts in a work of
this kind — and therefore the reader will fix his
reliance more upon what is said than turn over
the leaves, seeking the amusement of a romance,
or the fun of comedy. This book may shape the
destiny of hundreds, pardon my egotism, therefore
it behoves me to consider of the responsibility of
my task, and, however sprightly may be my step,
not to stumble into the ditch of error. Let us
then proceed, reader, arm in arm—that is to say
—with our spades and pickaxes, up the golden
river of our hopes.     Anything for money; we OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
177
cannot do without it, and that is the reason we
pay our sixty per cent, for money, and half that
swallowed up in gilt jewelry, and—deliver us, ye
gods—a picture. However, Moses must suffer a
postponement; if the diggings pay, he's sure to
be glad to see us again—in the mean time creditors' proceedings must be adjourned till our
return to town—next year but one. Moses will
like that. Unanimously resolved that we go to
the diggings, and take our petty cash with us
instead of into the Queen's Bench. Let us
fancy ourselves off, whizzing across country,
under arches and over bridges, past the brightly
gleaming light — the red flare of the Lancashire
furnaces, bang into the Lime Street station at
Liverpool. Then far away over the dancing
waves of the merry Atlantic to the Parian spires
and the islet-strewed bay of New York—the
city of bricks and marble, of beautiful women
and fried oysters—of gorgeous hotels and flirtations. Then away with the rabble, nine hundred at least, to the Isthmus, where Aspinwall
lies as flat as a pancake half hid in a swamp,
and looking most blistered and brown. By the
way at Jamaica, the steamer may call to take
i 3 THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
in her dinner of coals, when women alone to the
feeding are set, while the lords of creation sit by,
and bamboo-faced Englishmen tear about town
as though they were treading Dundee, when of
course all the time it is as hot as Bombay, and
as dusty as Melbourne in May. From Aspinwall, starting by railway, you go with a mountain
of forest in view, built up on each side in impervious growth, rank and gigantic and wild.
Ten to one but we shall have to get out before
we are half way across, to give the engine a push
along.    Such is travelling across the Isthmus.
Panama is an old tumble-down city, with
ancient and defenceless walls and narrow streets,
but^ possessing, however rocky and treacherous
it may be, a picturesque and lovely bay, decked
out with flower-clad isles, and overlooked by the
mighty Andes, that loom far and high in the
enchanting distance.
After the arrival of the train all Panama will
be tramped over and blockaded by the eight
hundred live Yankees; all the cafes and barrooms will be overcrowded, and Panama will
seem to writhe under the din and weight of the
sacrilegious strangers.    A gun is fired—all rush OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
179
down to the beach—a tender takes us off batch
after batch to the steamer yonder; away we go.
A sudden squall springs up, we career gaily over,
and sing and drink amidst the clamour of nearly
a thousand voices.    There is scarcely moving
room on board, yet there is a life-belt slung up
for every soul of us—happy consolation—where's
mine ?     It is all eating, drinking, and anticipation till we reach San Francisco.    They don't
care so much about our arrival now as they do
of the El Dorado ships, but still they are very
glad to see us in their way.     It is the twenty-
ninth of May.    On shore we go, leaping like
so many frogs from the whole  side-length of
the steamer.    Here we are; what a hubbub !
We drink cocktails and gum-ticklers to amuse
ourselves.     We go with the crowd to " book "
for the next steamer  to Victoria — we   have
to  wait   our   turn—there   are   at   least   five
hundred before us, and just as many coming up
behind.    Glorious country !    We have reached
it at last.
Once more I stand on the shores of California,
and the bay of San Francisco.
It is the rosy month of Juue.    On three THE NEW EL DORADO;
sides  the glorious  waters  are  spread  out  to
the view, bounded by shores beautifully diversified  with bold  headlands,  verdant  promontories, and shaded islets, where the streamlets
stealing   down   from   the   sloping   hills  commingle with the blue waters  of the Pacific,
while towering above are lofty mountain ranges,
amongst which the half shadowy crest of Mount
Diavola stands in towering pre-eminence, forming a striking background, holding the bay and
its contiguous shores in their embrace, like a
large inland lake;   the broad  expanse of its
rippling bosom picturesquely relieved  by the
sight of many a sail-spread craft, with here and
there a steamer, and the naked rigging of the
anchorage ground.
San Francisco itself is all life and animation,
full of revelry and delight; the very streets and
wharves seem to groan beneath the weight, and
the hotels and saloons swarm with the daring
O
adventurers destined for the El Dorado, hardy
sons of toil and enterprise, ready to penetrate
even to the North Pole, in their eager, fevered
pursuit of gold. Down the Sacramento pours
night after night a torrent of future British r
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
181
Columbians. It is useless to attempt to stem
the tide: in the rush, the words of advice and
the voice of reason are equally unheeded. The
fever rages with a virulence that defies descrip-
tiqn, and those who have become infected with
it will hear nothing, listen to nothing, think of
nothing, dream of nothing but Frazer River
and its golden sands. Even newspaper men,
the last and least credulous in the world, are
making off, — all seem determined upon exploring for themselves. They cannot be stopped
even for a moment in their excited career; and
although those who are now there, from whom
letters have been received, advise intending
emigrants not to start for a month till the river
falls, yet every steamer, clipper ship, or barque,
which sets sail for the north, is filled with passengers, and hundreds have to be left behind for
want of accommodation-room for them. For
the rest—to my narrative. mm
182
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
CHAPTER XVII.
I EMBARK FOR VANCOUVER, AND SUBSEQUENTLY
MAKE USE OF MY GEOLOGICAL SHOVEL.
It was a bright and beaming morning in early
June on which I embarked on board the steamer
Cortes for Victoria, Vancouver's Island; all
things to me wore a riant and festive aspect, for
my spirit wTas elate with hope and buoyed up
with the pleasures of anticipation; to my eyes
all was gold and glitter, and all that glittered
gold. Ardent and impetuous, with a daring
love of enterprise, danger, and excitement, I felt
ready to plunge wherever the hand of fate or
fortune beckoned, and, being reckless of consequences, wherever destiny determined.
I stood upon the deck of that vessel as she
slowly moved from her place at San Francisco OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
183
wharf, one of nearly fifteen hundred passengers,
and I Mended up my voice with the farewell of
that mighty crowd in a hearty, hopeful cheer to
those collected on shore, although I had no
friend there to respond. I was alone—I had
been alone in life before—but I make friends
with all mankind, and I never expect to find
one more true to me than another till I am
smiled upon in Holy —, my friend Parson Baggs
will fill up the blank, by her whose love and
every pleasure may be mine.
The cheers of those on shore died faintly
away in the distance, as the paddle-wheels flew
round; the waving of hats ceased, and the
broad bay, with its bounding and picturesque
coast-lands, lay out before our view. The bright
glare of the sun lent a golden tinge to the
rippling waters, and all nature seemed clad in
her most brilliant array. The majority of those
on board were, like myself, alone in California,
and had forsaken the city we were so fastly
receding from, without compunction or regret,
without a shade of sorrow at parting from any
beloved object, or a qualm of conscience for the
past; but some there were whose anxious, •
lingering looks proclaimed the inner working THE   NEW  EL  DORADO;
of the heart, and as the wharf became entirely
hidden from the view, seemed to utter within
themselves a benediction on those whom they
had left behind—wives and children dear to
them—for the gold-digger is a man of deep
and generous feelings; his avocations foster
affection and endear the remembrance of home,
and as he rocks away at his cradle-rocker,
and gathers the glittering treasure presented
to his eye, he thinks of those to whom he is
endeared, and contemplates it more for the
sake of the good it will be productive of to
those whom he loves, than he does for the mere
sake of gratifying his taste for gain. Away
sped the ship, her sails pouting in the gentle
breeze; soon we cleared the strait, and the
ocean, calm and expansive, lay spread out before
us, with here and there a sail coursing along
the horizon, not | small by degrees and beautifully less," but
Slowly expanding as we nearer drew,
'Neath and ahove the ever-rolling blue.
There were several companies on board, numbering from three to six men each. Some of these
had brought whaleboats with them, in which
they intended making the voyage up-river from OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
185
Victoria, and all were tolerably well stocked with
mining tools and provisions. Swarthy, restless
fellows, they walked backwards and forwards,
and guessed and calculated, either on deek or in
the cabins, from early morning till midnight.
The same restlessness of tongue and manner
manifested itself during the consumption of
their usual meals, when pork and beans, pickles
and molasses, were thrown together on the one
plate, and hurried into obscurity with all the.
impetuosity of an ardent gusto and excitement
peculiar to themselves.
At length, and on the morning of the sixth
day from San Francisco, the bold shore of the
destined island was presented to our longing
view, and in two hours afterwards we anchored
within the harbour of Esquimault, Victoria.
We all went ashore immediately, that is as fast
as boats could be had to carry us, so that very
shortly the streets of the island town presented
an appearance of human traffic not dissimilar to
that of Panama after receiving a similar freight.
We lost no time in repairing to the government
gold license office, where we tendered our five
dollars each, in exchange for a monthly voucher,
privileging us to dig, which also was our neces- THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
sary passport to travel up river, for without it
we could not have proceeded along the mainland.    This tax was frankly paid, but heartily
denounced.    The town wore a highly flourishing
and pleasing  appearance, the  most noticeable
feature in the shop and trading line being the
scarcity of anything like hotels ; there were five
places, however, where liquor was sold, the proprietor of each having to pay the Hudson's Bay
Company a license fee of no less than £120 per
annum for the privilege.    For my own part, I
strolled a little way inland along green Jamaica-
looking lanes, running like channels through a
continent of cultivation; acres of potatoes, wheat,
maize, barley, and gently-waving rye, were successively presented to my admiring view.    The
fertility  of the soil  was   everywhere  apparent.
Limestone-built villas here and there decked the
suburbs, and cottages festooned with a profusion
of blossoming creeping plants flanked the road a
little to the westward of Government House,
which from its elevated position seemed to hold
presidence over all the lesser architecture around.
The sun with his golden radiance was shedding floods of light over the varied landscape,
casting the shadow of the Indian on the placid OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
water of a lagoon, which wound like a river
in a gently-shelving valley beyond, and giving
a glow of life and animation to the bending corn-fields and the parian habitations of
men. The birds were joyfully caroling away in
sweet and hope-inspiring unison; the herds at
pasture lowed plaintively, and the bleating of
sheep and lambkin broke audibly to life as I
passed by natural hedges of wild rose and blackberry bushes, and fields redundant of grass and/
clover, whose aroma was borne on the breeze far
away to the uplands, where the wild man still
holds sway, and civilization hath scarce or never
trodden.
At five o'clock on the same day I embarked
on board the American steamer Surprize,—(which
had just returned from Fort Hope with Governor
Douglas and suite. He is a fine old, jolly looking
Scotchman, very gentlemanly and agreeable |
his wife is a half breed lady, and he has issue a
daughter, recently married, as beautiful and
valiant as ever sprang to life in North America)
—for the highest navigable point of the Frazer
River; the passage-money being twenty dollars
without distinction, whereas the San Francisco
steamers' fares varied   from thirty to sixty-five m
188
THE   NEW  EL  DORADO;
dollars. We passed and saluted the steamer
Satellite, as we entered the mouth of the river,
after crossing, or rather rounding, the Strait of
San Juan de Fuca, which separates the island
from the mainland, and after that, threaded our
way amongst the canoes past Fort Langley and
the mouth of the Harrison River, towards Fort
Hope, which we reached early on the morning
of the second day afterwards ; having sailed a
hundred and sixty miles in all from Victoria.
The slowness of our progress was owing to the
strong down-river current; had the supply of coal
not been limited, she would have advanced as
far as Fort Yale.    Here I disembarked.
The weather was delightful, and tended to
enhance the merry excitement of the gold-
hunters. The right bank of the river on either
side of the Fort and the Que-Que-alla River,
was dotted with miners, each stooping and
busy, rocking, digging, or scooping up the gold.
Gold glittered amongst the sands on the beach;
I stooped down and gathered a few grains, and
finding the bait too tempting to resist, I set
manfully to work, turning over the sand with a
geological shovel I had brought with me from
San Francisco.   I was but an amateur, and had OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
189
entered on the Frazer River journey more for
the sake of seeing a young nation spring into life
than anything else, although I do not disclaim
having turned digger for the time being, an
avocation too remunerative and independent to
be considered infra dig. True, I had dug for
gold at the Sonora mines and at Ballaarat,
on two respective occasions of half-an-hour each,
and found a little, but still, as the Yankees would
say, I was green at the business ; yet, in spite of
my greenness and geological shovel, I realized,
to use another of their expressions, in the space
of three hours, no less than fifteen dollars and
sixty cents.' worth of particles. I thought myself in for a run of luck, and resolved to set to
work on the next morning in the same place;
in the meantime, however, I met with several of
the red-shirted community, who rather made
small of my day's earnings and geological shovel
than otherwise, and guessed if they hadn't realized more than that 'ere they'd be looking
tarnation down flat on their rockers.
1 I guess, I calculate pretty correctly when I
say that I've realized three hundred and seventy-
three dollars and fifty-eight cents this ar week,"
said a gaunt, sleek-haired man with a black beard 190
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
and restless eyes, and with two revolvers slung
to his belt. He stood in front of a large tent
used as a boarding house, the only concern of the
kind nearer than Fort Langley, and in which I
had engaged residence at a charge of three dollars
a day, being half a dollar in excess of the charge
at the hotel-palaces of New York. It was
supper time and seven o'clock, so I sat down
with my successful double-revolvered friend, and
commenced with considerable gusto the work of
tea-drinking, mutton-chop eating, and speculation as to the probable yield of gold both during
and after the freshets. There were fifteen of us
in all, including our German host, who had only
just set up his canvas hotel, having run down
from San Francisco on the previous steamer to
the Cortes, for the purpose of boarding and lodging the miners in the octagonal tent he brought
for the occasion.
" I guess he's realizing a pretty considerable
sum," remarked a party with only one revolver,
but a terrific pair of moustachios. I nodded
assent, guessing at the same time- that We
should have to sleep on the ground. My companion guessed likewise, but accompanied it
with the ejaculation | skins" and a significant OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
191
point of the head and the eye towards the tent
wall; seeing nothing there, I guessed the skins
alluded to were outside for the time being. I
was right; they were lying alfresco, and were
destined to constitute our only beds. After dark,
the skins were brought in and spread along
either side of the tent, leaving a space of about
half a foot for the purposes of navigation. They
were soon covered with the lounging and recumbent bodies of the miners, who kept on talking
and medicinal-brandy drinking till about ten
o'clock, when silence supervened or rather snoring
was substituted for talking. All slept with their
revolvers and gold under their variously improvised
pillows, and I did not form an exception to the rule.
The host slept in the middle of his pantry, surrounded and almost hidden by pots and pans, and
occasionally making commotion amongst his
scanty supply of crockery ware. I did not very
readily yield to the embrace of slumber, for the
novelty and excitement of my new life kept my
thinking powers awake. It was a little past midnight, and the sickly oil lamp which swung from
the tent roof still shed its hazy light. Suddenly I
heard a rustle and a hissing noise, something
between  that of a hostler  curry combing  and THE   NEW   EL   DORADO ;
stifled laughter. I lifted my head, and directing
my eyes towards the tent's opening, beheld a
Red Indian, more than six feet in height, holding
the canvas drop up, and grinning with evident
delight, while the heads and eyes of two or three
of his fellows were to be seen peering in the back
ground.
| Hillo !" I involuntarily exclaimed : two or
three awoke at the signal, and sprang upon their
legs as they heard the glee shouts and tramp of
the Indians, who bounded off at the instant. At
least a dozen awoke and asked " What's up ?"
but after ascertaining that it was all over, went
to sleep again, including our host, who upset a
mustard pot over his whiskers, in his sudden
endeavour to attain the perpendicular, and
dropped flat on a gridiron when he proceeded
to resume the horizontal. At about five o'clock,
several began yawning, and recommended " the
bolt upright."
I I guess, mate, you've had a pretty good
hiding ?" said one jocularly, in allusion to a
good night's rest on the skins.
I Guess I have, it's done me a tarnation deal
more good than a cow-hiding," was the response.
" What was that about Indians ?" some one OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
193
asked; and so they talked, meanwhile assuming
the bolt upright, and adjourning outside the tent
to make their slight and hasty toilet. After that,
gold was the sole and absorbing theme, the great
order of the day.
Already miners were at work along the river's
banks, and the lurid sun shot out his rays of fire
in dazzling brightness, and hope-inspiring effulgence far and wide, over the river and over the
grass land, lighting up the mountains in beauty
of many shades, and displaying the mighty foliage of the forest in gilded loveliness—giving
gaiety and animation to everything; and while
buoying up the hearts of men, making all nature
glad and rosy. It was such a morning—the
first after my arrival—when I again set to work
with my geological shovel, not half a mile from
the tent, and about three miles above Fort Hope.
The river was a little lower than on the
previous day, and miners were busy, either singly
or in twos, rocking the washing stuff; it requires
two to work a rocker well, one to dig and the
other to wash and collect the " bits." Some who
had not brought rockers with them, were engaged
in making them out of green timber; the bot- 194
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO ;
torn, however, a thin metal plate punctured with
holes, had to be purchased, and at an exorbitant
price—one of my fellow boarders have given
forty dollars for one; a thing that in England
would cost about eighteen pence, and in San
Francisco two dollars and a half. But the
necessity for a rocker in wet diggings is all but absolute. For my own part, I gave four dollars for a
pan, and worked that in lieu of a rocker, making,
about four bits each washing, equivalent to two
shillings sterling : this continued throughout the
day, so that by nightfall I had realized | pretty
considerable," which means more than two
ounces of clean gold. In spite of the proverb
of a rolling stone gathering no moss, I was
impelled by force of reports coming down river
of great yields nearer the mountains, as well as
by seeing the canoes making their way past me
for a higher part of the river, to join in the
purchase of a canoe for eighty dollars, with five
others; and accordingly, everything connected
with the Yankee-California and gold-hunting
element being done with a rush, we set off at
seven o'clock on the next morning for Fort Yale,
afterwards to advance as we deemed best.    Two OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
!95
or three miles below the latter, however, at a point
called Hill's Bar, a sandy flat about five hundred
yards in length, we went ashore, having heard
reports before starting, of good returns there.
We found the place crowded with Indians, at
least five hundred of them, men, squaws, and
children; with about eighty miners at work on
the bar. These- were averaging from fifteen to
twenty-five dollars a day each man. Provisions
were exceedingly dear and scarce, flour selling
at eighty dollars the barrel, bacon at seventy-five
cents per pound, and butter at a dollar per pound.
A party of twenty miners had set out on the
previous day to prospect for dry diggings in the
interior, under the guidance of a batch of Indians,
who said there was plenty (hihew) of gold to be
found, but no tidings of their success had yet
been heard of. The population were subsisting
chiefly upon deer's flesh and salmon, both of
which were abundant. My companions went
J" in for a dig " as they termed it, at this place,
but being anxious to explore new spots, did not
remain beyond noon on the day following, during
which time I ate a " green bear " steak—the
first of the kind  I had ever partaken of, and
K. 2 THE   NEW   EL   DORADO ;
worthy of being ranked with the shark cutlets,
and pieces of a whale's tail, not omitting the
morsel of horse-flesh, which I had previously
demolished in other regions of land and water.
About half-a-mile higher up than Fort Yale
the river rushes between huge and naked rocks,
► belonging to the Cascade range, the sides being
almost perpendicular. Here a portage has to be
made along an Indian track-way, and over
rugged ground ; the scenery on either side, however, is highly picturesque and mountainous.
We ascended the river under the pilotage of
an Indian, whom we had engaged at eight
dollars a day wages, about sixty miles above
this fort, passing the " Forks," the junction of
the Thompson and Frazer, on our way, and
making about a hundred and seventy miles
in all from the river's mouth. During the
journey we had to stem and round a rapid
where the water fell and swilled rather heavily
over rocky shoals; this was about five miles
below | Sailors' Diggings," and twenty above
Fort Yale, consequently about forty miles from
where we now found ourselves.
There   were   not   more   than   half-a-dozen OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
197
miners to be seen along the shore in either
direction; and these were stragglers, or rather
prospecting explorers from the Thompson and
Sailors' Diggings lower down, and reported to
be very rich, but which our party were eager to
I beat," and outvie by fresh discoveries.
On shore we jumped, pell mell and excited,
for there is ever an excitement about gold
digging; and blunted must be the susceptibility, and torpid the soul of that man who
can gather naked gold and not feel a throb of
delight and an ever unsatisfied longing for more,
which keeps alive every faculty of the human
mind, and makes imagination picture joys and
comforts to be bought, and perhaps castles to
be built, with that same lucre. Thus, practical
as is the labour of the " digger," it is the
strongest incentive to romance of thought, as
well as the most ambition firing of any of the
manual occupations of the age.
My companions of the canoe were soon hard
at work: three were single-handed, that is, without partners; the other two were in partnership}
and had a rocker between them, one filling, the
other rocking.    I set to work, after a salmon
n. ii i 198
THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
1
dinner, with my geological shovel and my tin
pan, and washed away with all the gusto of a
veritable digger. At about sunset I was interrupted by a hoarse " Hillo, mate!" from one
of my canoe brethren, an Anglo-Saxon Cali-
fornianized pick and shovel handler.
| The yellow fever's pretty high with you, I
guess," he observed.
Of course I comprehended his metallic joke,
and retorted by the ready calculation that it
was the same with him.
I Sartinly," was his reply, | it's raging up
here awful strong."
After this interesting exchange of feverish
ideas we joined the rest of our party, and found
that each man, during the six hours we had
been working, had realized from three to five
ounces, or in other words, from forty-eight
to eighty dollars; the market value of gold
being sixteen dollars the ounce.
These were good earnings, and as satisfactory as any we had heard of lower down the
river; but still the mania was for advancing
further still, by making a land portage with the
canoe to avoid the rapids a few miles higher N3
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
199
up, as the miners had the impression, and truly
so, that whatever the yield here might be, it
was sure to be still greater higher up; for it
was evident that the grains became more plentiful and larger the more we advanced; thus
demonstrating that such, during the course of
time, had been washed down from the mountains,
or other^ highly auriferous regions adjacent,
which, when reached, would far outvie the most
sanguine expectations. We looked forward
to fields of gold; and our imaginations transformed the very mountains into gold, which we
should find in unportable abundance. We
thought of gold as a collier does of coal; but
still we treasured every grain we gathered, and
would have defended it at the revolver's point
as desperately as life itself. Such is Mammon.
As for provisions and habitations, at this
stage, they were both equally scarce. We had
to run down river three miles, towards Sailors'
Bar, before we arrived at a newly constructed
store of green timber, where flour was selling
at a hundred dollars the barrel; molasses, seven
dollars, a gallon; pork, a dollar per pound;
tea, four dollars per pound; sugar, two dollars THE  NEW  EL   DORADO;
per pound ; beans, one dollar per pound ; picks
at six dollars each, and shovels three dollars
each; and where we were taken in for the night
at three dollars a head.
For the benefit of the unsophisticated, who
know as much about dollars and cents as those
who live in Buffalo do about the falls of Niagara,
I may as well mention that five go to the
sovereign; the dollar Yankee being here worth
forty-eight pence British currency.
The Indians at this spot were straggling in
their numbers, but were as well stocked with
gold as the white men. They carried it about
with them in skin pouches and bags containing
from one to five hundred dollars' worth, and
manifested the most friendly feelings towards
us, frolicing about in the highest glee imaginable ; and giving ejaculatory utterance to a
more complicated amount of Chinook than I
could possibly comprehend. They " absquatulated " as the evening closed in, and sought
rest, or revelry, as the case might be, in their
encampment, which lay at the distance of a
mile or so inland.
As for myself, I " turned in," or rather on ■I
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
201
to a wooden bench covered over with a bear
skin, at about ten o'clock, and so passed the night
together with about twenty others, who were
variously located about the store, which, of
course, consisted of one room only; most of
them occupying positions on the tops of boxes
of merchandize, surrounded by varieties, raw
and manufactured, in a manner similar to the
German boarding-house keeper amongst his
crockery; and constituting in all a perfect
chaos of legs, arms, provisions, and hardware.
No Red Indian disturbed our slumbers
during this night, which, to speak poetically, was
beautifully radiant with moonbeams that penetrated with welcome light (through the place
where the windows " ought to be") into our
chaotic dormitory, where molasses and butter
were the silent witnesses of our unconscious
repose, and where nails were our sharpest bedfellows. By-the.bye, speaking of nails, they
were here selling at a rate equivalent to a
shilling each, thus placing their famous brethren,
the so-called Ninepennys, completely in the
shade.
We were up and at work by six o'clock, and
K 3 THE   NEW   EL   DORADO jj
on one of the most lovely mornings that the
month of June ever ushered into existence—the
air at once warm and fragrant of the forest and
wild clover, was just sufficiently stirring to prevent
the heat feeling oppressive, while the enchanting
rays of the rising sun decked out the prospect in
magnificent array, brightening the more prominent parts of the mountains hundreds of miles
away, and leaving the recesses lost in a deeply contrasting shade, while far and high in the background the lofty snow-capped summits shone in
crystal purity, white and dazzling in the midst
of a sky of tranquil blue; further down, the picturesque shores of the river enhanced the beauty
of the scene, and as the eye ranged far and wide
over the landscape of forest and prairie, gentle hill
and sloping valley, admiration could not fail in
taking possession of the beholder, and imbuing
the most imaginative with feelings of delight
and making even the most practical of gold
diggers feel that he stood up within view of a
perfect paradise of scenery—a land as rich and
as beautiful, a clime as golden and luxurious
as any upon which Nature ever lavished her
inviting treasures.
pUai-H OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
203
CHAPTER XVIII.
OUR ASCENT OP THE FRAZER.
Not finding the yield equal to expectation, and
being myself equally, or even more, anxious
than my partners in the canoe to press on
higher up the river, we set out with a newly-
engaged Indian, with the view of passing the
upper falls, either by land portage or skilful
steersmanship; the latter, however, we were
warned against trusting to, as two miners and
an Indian had been drowned in the attempt to
pass through, their canoe being also smashed
to pieces, five days previously. 204
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
While speaking of calamities, I may as well
mention that, on the 12th of May a miner
from this place, who had followed his mate
down river, under the impression that the latter
meant to | absquatulate " on French leave with
their joint earnings which he had in his possession, met him not far from the mouth of the
river, and shot him dead. He was subsequently
arrested, and imprisoned at Whatcom under
government order.
In the vicinity of Fort Hope an American ill-
treated an Indian chief, which resulted in a
return of hostilities, the former drawing his
revolver and shooting the chief through the left
side, from the effects of which he died almost
instantly. This aroused the wrath of the
Indians standing near; one of whom being
also armed, returned the fire, and shot a
miner through the heart, from which he fell
dead. The murderer of the chief then made his
escape; and some days of commotion and
anger elapsed before the Indians were pacified
by the agent of the Hudson's Bay Company,
who very laudably exerted himself in the re-
establishment of peace, and the work of con- OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
205
dolence, after so diabolical an injury received at
the hands of a rude assassin.
On reaching the falls we disembarked, each
man carrying his own " kit," and our Indian
pilot the canoe. Had it not been for the unusually high state of the river at this particular
time and season, we could have easily avoided
making the portage, but as the river ran, it
was the wisest thing we could do to abstain
from trying it. Still the American character—
and four out of the five were Americans—is
more apt to study dispatch than safety ; as for
instance, a go-a-head Yankee would sooner travel
by a train that was likely to take him to his
destination an hour quicker than another one,
although the chances were in favour of his
having his neck broken on the journey. The
American is eager, pushing, and impetuous;
he is fond of risk, if there is the remotest
chance of gaining anything by it; and in undertakings of a hazardous and uncertain nature he
is without a rival in his achievements. He will
I drive a trade," and explore, in the hope of
gain, farther and quicker into the heart of a
country,  no  matter what  the  hardships  and obstacles to be contended against, than any
other; not even his Anglo-Saxon cousins excepted.
Civilization follows more briskly in his wake
than with any other nation; he has scarcely " set
up" in the wilderness, before he finds materials
for a newspaper arriving, and a " spick span'
editor heralding the events of the hour, and that
on a spot where the red man dances and the
wild animals of the forest are still to be seen.
However, to our portage : after proceeding nearly a mile, the canoes were again laid
on the water, and our oars plashed away with
feathered spray towards—where we knew not,
nearer than the mountains. We seemed
hemmed in by mountains, and we positively
talked of nothing but the mountains and the
probability of our making | big strikes," as we
drew nearer them. At dusk, feeling hot and
tired, we drew up in a small natural cove on
the right bank of the river, partly overhung by
a species of water-willow, which for beauty of
position might have had the advantages and
labour of art and cultivation devoted to its
planting and bestowed upon its growth.    We OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
207
stepped ashore with the feelings of pioneers, and
the reliant self-confidence which steals upon us
when alone in the wilderness and far away from
the haunts of civilization. - We felt morally
armed, and sledged against danger and foreign
foes. We expected to meet with unaccustomed
things, and hardships we had hitherto escaped;
but fortitude gives strength, and we stood up
each as a pillar to brave and to defy.
It is under such circumstances as these that
. men unite in one common and solid friendship,
and are ever ready to join together in the cause
of self-defence, and mutual protection, and well-
being. All conventionalism is quickly banished
or thrown aside, and generosity and the better
feelings of the human heart preside and unite
men in one honest brotherhood.
The singing of a bird, shrill, long, and
musical, and the half-seething murmuring of
the flowing waters of the river, alone disturbed
the solitude of the seemingly primeval wilderness
into whieh we had plunged, and which the
rustling sound gently wafted from the giant
forest, only tended to enhance and to render our
loneliness  the more impressive.     But for us 208
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
solemnity of scene had fewer charms than for
those who, fresh from the lap of luxury, may
contemplate Nature's beauties in idle peace, and
smoke a nargileh beneath a fig-tree, or wander
by the rivers of Damascus; for us there was
the excitement of danger and uncertainty, the
hope of gold and the risk of starvation. True
all these were powerful incentives to hard work
and enterprise; but they, in their sharpening
influence, tended to disturb that calm and happy
contemplation of the beautiful which, under less
adventurous circumstances, could not have failed
to soothe and to inspire. We were eager, impatient, and restless; and, as a matter of necessity, our thoughts were more engrossed by the
consideration of where our camping-ground
should be, and where and when we might be
able to renew our stock of provisions, than by
the scenery which met our gaze, and which
promised soon to be shrouded in the embrace of
night, setting aside the anxiety of the miners as
to the "yield" and "big strikes" which were to
accrue to them in return for their enterprise and
toil; however, I must say, in justice to my own
good taste, that, in spite of hope and danger, I OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
209
dwelt with something like rhapsody on the
picturesque region of mountain and forest which
delighted my admiring, not to say astonished, gaze. No doubt the brilliant and
changing hues of the sky, which were reflected
upon the landscape, and threw out the irregular
outline and undulations of the mountains, contributed greatly to the fascination of the view;
but still I became enamoured of it, and I
thought it the loveliest clime it had ever been
my changeful lot to wander in.
Not an Indian was to be seen, the woodland
was deserted. We began, of course, with our
usual avidity, to explore and prospect, from the
instant of our mooring the canoe, while our
native pilot collected faggots for a fire. I soon
saw that the country was not so thickly wooded
as at first sight I had been led to suppose; a
belt of trees merely flanked the water-side,
beyond which deeply-grassed rich prairie land
stretched for several miles, bounded to the westward by lofty forest trees, and to the north by
the overtowering mountains, but open to the
south, and reaching further than the eye could
carry.     We returned to  our camping-ground THE   NEW   EL   DORADO ;
near the beach, and a few yards only from
the canoe, before darkness set in, and very soon
the crackling of the pile of leaves and branches
which our Indian pilot had collected, was heard
amid the lively flames of an al fresco fire. The
weather was warm, so that we would have
readily dispensed with such, had it not been for
the sake of cooking some dried salmon, and
making a decoction of tea—glorious beverage—■
it reminded me of Australia, where we cannot
do without it. The " Bushman" has his tea
three times a day; and although the Chinese
only favour him with the big-leaved quality of
the commodity, it makes, nevertheless, a pleasant, cheering beverage, and with a cake of
damper, is highly comforting, both " now and
hereafter," which is more than can be said of
alcohol, or the more complex and sophisticated
food and cookery of Paris and of New York;
as for London, it need not be mentioned, the
orthodox sole, and roast beef of the hotels,
with variations of fresh mustard, and a steak
for a year together, being too harmless for complaint.
The fire crackled as if rejoicing;   merrily, OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
211
laughingly curled the flames, and the pleasant
smoke wriggling out of their embrace, sailed up
peacefully over our heads and wasted itself away
in the pure atmosphere of the forest. We
sat ourselves down on the cool turf and partook
of the repast prepared with all the gusto of a
healthy appetite and relish, and then sat round
the cheering fire, which we plied with faggots
from time to time, talking of our hopes and
fears, but chiefly of the successes that awaited
us,—for the miner is constitutionally sanguine,
—and hard, indeed, must have been his luck
when he is bowed down and despairing.
Each man had blankets with him, and for
myself I had an opossum rug in addition, which
I found highly serviceable; it was one that had
served me during a "bush" excursion in Australia, and was now doubly prized by me on
that account. I spread it at the base of a large
tree not far from the fire, and there I prostrated
myself, the rest of the party following my example, one by one, within a radius of twenty
yards. As the night fell in, the stars shone out
like jets of fire, and the moon again, with steady
light, silvered the landscape: once through an THE NEW EL DORADO;
opening in the forest above me I caught a
glimpse of her radiant face, and felt glad in the
contemplation of such heavenly beauty, which,
although a common sight, was nevertheless to
me, under the circumstances in which I then
lay, peculiarly grateful and soothing ; for I am
an admirer of the great and beautiful, and a
sunny clime to me is earthly paradise.
The howling of a wolf and the cries of other
animals of the wilderness were heard from time
to time coming faintly from the distance, but
did not excite our fears; at any rate, our revolvers were ready, and our Indian pilot was as
quick of hearing, whether asleep or awake, as
Paddy might say, as he was sure and composed
as to our safety and his own.
We were up and " hard at it" soon after
daybreak on the following morning. We found
gold everywhere; and my only surprise was, that
a region so palpably auriferous should have
remained so long unproclaimed and hidden from
the gaze of civilization. I found a very choice
quartz " specimen," six ounces in weight, half
jutting out of the sand on the river's bank,
which contained at least four  ounces  of the OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
213
precious metal,—in fact, the larger half of the
piece was solid gold, and could have been broken
off from the quartz to which it was attached ;
this was a sure sign to us that large masses of
gold must lie somewhere higher up the river
than we had yet proceeded, most probably in
the recesses, and at the foot of the mountains
themselves, and that the gold found on the
banks, and which is no doubt equally abundant
in the bed of the river, was merely the off-
scouring and broken fragments of the great gold
region lying further inland. During this day's
work seven " nuggets," varying from about half
an ounce to five ounces in weight, were picked
up, while the average yield of " dust" was no
less than four ounces each man, equal to about
sixty-four dollars (£12 16s.), besides the nuggets. This was glorious; but still the Yankees
were anything but satisfied; it seemed as if the
more they got the more they expected to get;
and if they could only find out and reach this
"source," of which we talked so much, they
would have nothing to do but use their picks
and shovels in gathering as much gold as they
could get  horses and canoes to  carry.     We 214
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
appeared to be the first who  had  tried  this
" spot;" but it was known that another party of
six had ascended the river higher than we were,
but they were reported to have diverged into
the interior, and found diggings at the foot of
the Cascade Mountains, many miles in a south-
westernly direction, and away from the river altogether.    We therefore entertained strong hopes
of being ourselves the sole discoverers of this
prime   mine  of wealth, and leaving the rich
diggings behind us, pushed on for richer diggings and "bigger strikes" still, on the very
day following the yield last quoted, assured in
our own minds, and moreover with experience
in our favour, that we could not but be gainers
by the movement, and perhaps—as, indeed, we
sanguinely hoped, and I  as reliantly as any of
them—solve the grand problem as to where the
gold came from.    So with this hope impelling
us, and this achievement strongly before us, we
moved away from the newly-baptized Willow
Bank, which, by-the-bye,  had been and   still
promised, if we could do no better elsewhere, to
be a very good bank for us;   and while the
word " Excelsior" rang out from the lips of one
II OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
215
on board, rowed swiftly along a somewhat rapid
and now shoaly river, the navigation of which
was both intricate and dangerous, towards—the
mountains now transformed into — visionary
gold. 216
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
CHARTER XIX.
OUR   BIVOUAC   BEYOND   THE   " FORKS."
As we advanced, low, umbrageous shrubs met
our view from time to time, skirting the river,
amongst which rank weeds and grasses grew up
luxuriantly, and where startled water-fowl rose
in the air or flew half-paddling along the surface of the water before us. I made ready
my revolver, determined to bring down one of
these birds of the Upper Frazer, but it was some
time before I could find one sufficiently near for
a certain shot; moreover they were the wildest
birds I had ever seen, and scudded with flurried
and rapid flight into the scrub, or far out of reach,
the instant the canoe was seen approaching along
the various bends of the river. OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
217
However one rash bird suddenly flew from
under cover of the weeds, a few yards only a-head
of us; I had my revolver levelled in a second,
when flash—bang—the bullet whizzed forward,
and down for an instant went the duck, which
lay disabled on the water when we came up to
it; the bullet had pierced the back, and the bird
died as we lifted it into the canoe. This was
legitimate sport, and moreover very welcome provision, as of the latter our stock was becoming
very attenuated, owing to the absence of natives ;
we, however, expected to meet with them every
hour, when we should be able to negociate for
the purchase of bears' flesh, wild vegetables, and
fresh salmon, which we were too much disinclined
to catch in sufficient quantities ourselves, owing
to the loss of time which it entailed. I watched
along the right bank of the river with the view
of having a shot at one near the surface, but
nothing presented itself, so I was baffled in this my
endeavour after destruction. We had to make
another portage at about four o'clock in the
afternoon, in order to keep clear of the rapids,
and proceeded in the same order as on the last
similar occasion, carrying our own | kit," while THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
the Indian walked along with the canoe on his
back ; he was a fine, intelligent fellow, about six
feet in height, and as kind-hearted a guide as I
ever had the pleasure of being associated with in
any enterprize. We only gave him four dollars
a-day for his services, as he had the advantage of
making a " pile " on the journey, if luck threw it
in his way—a pile being, in digger parlance, a
small fortune in " dust " or " nuggets." We
had scarcely got the canoe into water again on
the other side the rapids, when I caught sight of
an ordinary-sized brown bear, standing with one
paw bent forward on a shelving part of the river's
bank, about twenty yards a-head. His eye was
fixed in evident curiosity, and I saw by his undecided position that his movements were uncertain.
J. directed the attention of the Indian and my
companions to him, and quietly levelling my
revolver, while the others did likewise, fired
straight into his skull before he had time to
move. He uttered a loud hoarse yell and rolled,
struggling, down the bank into the water, tearing
the ground heavily with his paws. We did not
advance upon him instantly, well knowing that
this kind of bear, and in fact all bears, the polar OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
excepted, will instinctively feign death till the near
approach of his assailant, when he will spring upon
and gnaw and crush him horribly to death.
However, in order to -ascertain the extent of his
liveliness, and to dispatch him the quicker, one of
our party sent another bullet into his carcass; this
seemed effectually to send the remaining life out
of him, for he gave a kick and stretched himself
immediately on its receipt, remaining there
without further movement flat on his side, his
face fronting the river. We then drew up and
examined him; he was quite dead, and in ten
minutes afterwards our Indian had successfully
" hided" him, and amputated his fore hams and
some steaks from off the hind-quarter—cut the
tongue out of his mouth and otherwise mangled
him. In the course of an hour from the time of his
being shot, he was unconsciously undergoing the
process of digestion in our respective stomachs,
the Red Indian's included.    Such is life.
Still no natives — we were surprized. Our
guide, however, assured us, in a torrent of
Chinook, with the smallest perplexing admixture
of broken English, which he had acquired from
association with the Hudson's Bay traders, that
l 2 220
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
we should meet with plenty of them shortly;—•
it appeared that their encampments lay at some
miles' distance from the  shores of  the river,
generally near a creek or lagoon.    Gold was just
as abundant here as at Willow Bank, but still
the grand object of our wild expectations remained unrealized—the mountain of gold was not
yet reached.    We had very little time to dig before nightfall, but what labour was expended was
well repaid in the shape of sundry | specimens "
and large grains of the shining metal which we
noticed at this place;  it wore a brown, crusty
look, which was attributed to the action of the
soil, air, and water upon particles long separated
from the chief mass.    However, it was gold, and
that was enough for us; we gathered it, and only
wished we had more of it, for the digger is never
satisfied; and if he could make a fortune in a
day, his next wish would be to make one in five
minutes.
We camped beneath the shadow of trees
within sight of the river, in the same manner as
on the previous night, having previously regaled
ourselves with tea and a quantum of brandy, good
neutralizers of the effect of bear's-flesh and dried
- OR, BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
221
salmon; we also tore the duck, before spoken of,
after a cannibal fashion, and devoured it with all
the rude appetite of explorers.
The weather had been throughout beautiful;
but a little after dusk it began to rain heavily,
accompanied with thunder and with lightning,
but it only lasted about two hours, and after that
all was calm; while the coolness which it produced was refreshing, after the heat of the previous few days. I noticed, however, that flies and
other insects seemed to spring into life immediately after the storm, for they flew about in great
numbers, and were almost as annoying as the
mosquitoes in Australia; but of course in this
respect the Frazer River country was no worse
than any other, and not half so bad as by an
English road-side, where the gnats sting and
whirl round, biting poison into every passer-by—
the pestilence of ditches. I have always found
myself as free from mosquito-bites as from seasickness—a happy deliverance for me I own—
but I candidly say, that I would sooner take my
chance amongst all the mosquitoes in Asia, and
all their varieties in British Columbia, than I
would amongst a swarm of British gnats. I was delighted with the country, and this
sudden abundance of harmless insect-life did
not mar my first feeling and enjoyment of it.
The trees sheltered us almost completely from
the rain; the upper foliage being dense, and the
branches in some places interlaced. The reader
has been already led to understand that the
river freshets which occur between June and
not caused by rains, but by the
melting of the snow high up on the Rocky Mountains, which pours down through all the streams
and rivers leading from them; thus the Thompson, the Harrison, and the Chilcotin rush into the
Frazer, and the same is repeated, but to a lesser
extent, along the Columbia.
A little after breakfast, and at about eight
o'clock on the following morning, we were
suddenly startled by the appearance of Indians,
who came down to the river-side in a bevy of
about a hundred, the number consisting chiefly
of men wearing an aspect at once fierce and
warlike: these were rapidly followed by about
twenty on horseback, evidently men of the same
tribe, who came galloping furiously along, and
pranced about us in the most humorously despotic style, the whole moving multitude uttering
 : OR, BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
223
vociferous yells, and brandishing their arms in
authoritative delight and savage glee. Here was
revelry. What was to be done? I at once
ascertained from our native pilot, unpoetically
called by us Jack, that although Carriers, they
were not of his tribe; this I had anticipated, as we
had advanced into other Indian territory since
picking him up. Courage is a grand thing in
first confronting the savage; it inspires immediate respect, whereas the slightest faltering or
manifestation of fear leaves the traveller at the
mercy of those who can entertain contempt, and
detect a want of bravery as readily as any vassal
of civilisation, and who hold as valueless that
which they are not awed by. The best way
therefore is to meet the aborigine with a bold,
fearless front, a steady eye and a defiant look and
posture; such self-possession is the white man's
only moral defence against the hostility of the
Indian, and the safest line of procedure he can
adopt when friendly, and especially at a first
meeting. With such a look and such a front
did I face the rampant Red Indians of the as yet
untraversed wilderness of British Columbia. I
made signs of friendship to them in the best way THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
I could, and put forward our Indian guide to
make proclamations of peace and good will, and
advancing myself to one more gaily caparisoned
than the rest, who sat on a pawing steed, and
whom I rightly judged to be a chief, I held out
my hand in token of friendship, and remembering that I had a knife in my pocket, drew it
forth and gave it to him with every gesture of
delight at our meeting. The Indian received
the gift, and after scrutinising it with evident
pleasure, thanked me, and shook my proffered
hand; a ceremony that he had no doubt witnessed and experienced before amongst the
whites at the stations of the Hudson's Bay
Company, with whom all the Indians had long
been in the habit of trading. During these
movements the crowd assembled round us and
looked on in silence and evident admiration. I
saw that the knife had turned out a talisman, and
that we need apprehend no danger at their hands.
After this they indicated their intention of trading
with us in provisions; which we gladly acceded
to, a detachment of the younger men and
squaws being sent off to their villages for the
necessary produce; in the meantime they dis- MRMa
OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
225
played a curiosity quite unsatisfiable, ransacking
everything belonging to us, eating up the remains of Bruin's carcase with evident satisfaction,
and making temporary use of everything not
actually in hand or on our backs, and all this
in the most perfect good humour and friendship. The chief in particular seemed highly
fascinated by my opossum skin rug, and wound
it round his body and across his shoulders, and
in various other ways, as if to see how it would
look and suit him, strutting about meanwhile to
excite the admiration of his people, who loudly
applauded and violently gesticulated on each
occasion of his altering the mode of wearing it.
Our blankets were simultaneously doing similar
service on the backs of half-a-dozen others, and
my shirts — two red flannel ones — I had only
three in all, and quite enough too—were to be
seen dancing about like drunken soldiers in the
midst of a street fight. Of course this was very
well to look at, and the fun of the thing was
worth more than the shirts ; but still—well, perhaps my "particular" friend, Sir Buckram
Starch,    will   say   whether    he   would    have
liked it.
l 3
sum 226
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO
But—tut—all these things are well in their
way, and I congratulated myself on my successful diplomacy, and had a hearty laugh
at these wild appropriators of my travelling
wardrobe. CHAPTER   XX
THE   EL   DORADO
The detachment returned with provisions, the
opossum rug and the shirts were restored, the
natives sat down and fed, and we filled our
pouches with gold. Such is the summary of
events—the striking incidents of an hour. Excitement with us was at a high pitch, for the
banks of the river were literally strewed with
gold; the natives rooted it up with sticks, and
the heart of the El Dorado seemed already
reached; we had only to expend a larger amount
of labour in the gathering of that wealth which
we had looked forward to in our most sanguine 228
THE NEW  EL DORADO
moments. All was riant as the noonday sun,
and festive as the morn.
Away we dug \ it was a day of eager expectation and success. One of our party made
twenty-two ounces, and the others followed
deeply in his wake. I, myself, with the assistance of my geological shovel, turned up sixteen
small nuggets, some of them mixed with quartz,
worth about two hundred and fifty dollars, and
this with an amount of labour which could only
be called an amusement.
The Indians were rooting up the ground for
a mile on either side of us along the beach,
working, to quote popular phraseology, by
fits and starts, and not caring to pick up more
than would purchase for them some unprohibited
luxuries—spirits being very properly disallowed
to them. Night at length set in, to afford rest
to our exhausted frames, bringing with it a
batch of canoes from the lower river, each laden
with its half-dozen hardy, enterprising miners,
who landed immediately in the vicinity of our
canoe. We all hailed the arrival; there was no
envy, no rivalry; we knew there was plenty of
gold for us all, and we were glad to find our OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA. 229
numbers swelled, and a community of men
having affinity with ourselves, springing up
around us. All was riot and revelry until a
late hour on that night, as we became convivial
under the influence of some excellent brandy,
which the new arrivals had brought with them,
and which they dealt out with a liberal hand,
pro bono publico.
The natives had, before this, retired to their
own encampment, and the silent night alone
witnessed our corrobberri. We were now, at a
guessing calculation, about two hundred and
eighty miles from the river's mouth, and one
hundred and forty from the mountains.
Early on the succeeding morning we were
disturbed by a fleet of canoes coming down
river, and manned, judging at a bird's-eye view,
by about two hundred Indian warriors, all armed;
we, however, rightly supposed them to belong
to the same tribe as those with whom we had
made acquaintance on the previous day, and
who had so unceremoniously paraded my shirts
before the admiring gaze of the multitude.
They greeted us with a wild and flexible
whooping,—a  thrilling chorus  of shouts and THE   NEW  EL   DORADO ;
ringing cries, and landed immediately in the
vicinity of our encampment. We soon saw
that their intentions were pacific, notwithstanding their boisterous display of feeling, and the
overwhelming manner in which they gathered
or rather rushed round us after leaving their
canoes. Their inquisitiveness was just as great
as that which had been manifested by their
brethren of yesterday ; and once more every rag
and implement we possessed was being paraded
and hustled about. They were, however, more
respectful towards our provisions than had been
their brethren of the previous day, probably on
account of there being no novelty attached to
them; but in all probability had there been
anything in our " pantry" with which they were
unacquainted—roast pig, for instance—it would
have been just as promptly seized upon, and
passed from hand to hand, as were my companion shirts, and that unlucky opossum skin
rug, the evident delight of all. I suspect the
fascination lay in its great size, square shape,
and the stitching which held the skins together.
However, whatever the cause might have been, it
did not alter the fact of their being in love with
it, and moreover, by the grimaces and signs of OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
invitation which they made for me to give it
them, I very much despaired of being able to
claim it for another night's covering. My
only chance of preserving it as my own was by
the exercise of moral force, and the law of kindness, which is everything, however, with the
savage, for our numbers did not permit of the
thought of physical resistance of their spirit of
caprice; and if it had, I should have been the
last in the universe to contend physically against
a peaceful and aboriginal people, on whose
empire we had encroached, impelled by the
hope of gain, and on whose golden territory we
stood as sheer usurpers, the forerunners of a
civilization, which, alas ! cannot fail to blast and
eventually to exterminate their valiant race from
off the face of the earth.
I knew that this was not the theory entertained by my brethren of the white skin, half of
whom, by their own confession, were murderers
and assassins, and that too, of a more diabolical
type than were the conspirators of Paris, because
they inflicted death upon the helpless and defenceless Indian, whose dwindling race bore out too
melancholy an attestation of the moral wrongs
BBS THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ',
which civilization had hurled relentlessly upon
him; whereas the others were secretly, but hazardously, contending against a mightier power than
their own, and by which they were deservedly
vanquished on the scaffold, when the heads of
the guillotined feE dissevered into the basket of
the executioner.
I allude to the reckless and indiscriminate
slaughter of the Indians in California, which
took place from the time of the first rush
there in 1849, and which cold-blooded and
heartless sport is even now persisted in where
the red man is not altogether swept away and
extinct. It is only the superior numbers of the
Indian over the rude outpourings of civilization
in these regions, which at present deters the
Californian—but will not always—from as cruel
and reckless a use of his revolver as stained
the early annals of the country of the Sacramento with the direst bloodshed of modern
times. True, the same, to some extent, may
be said of the early squatters of Australia in
their intercourse with the aborigines as well as
the early settlers and conquerors of most other
countries; but it does not tend to mitigate the OR, BRITISH COLUMBIA.
233
crime of indiscriminate murder, merely showing
that inhumanity and infamy hold more rampant
and ignoble dominion in the breast of the too
often morally-debased scion of so-called civilization and enlightenment, than ever loomed on
the mental horizon—the unsophisticated mind
of primitive man.
Adventurers from out the pale of society
never look upon themselves as the real usurpers
and invaders, nor pause to consider that every
encroachment of theirs is but hurrying destruction the more swiftly to the savage, ousting
him of his birthright, and strewing with thorns
and calamity the remaining length of his short
passage to the grave.
To return to the banks of the Frazer. The
river was no longer navigable, save after a portage of some half mile in length, being choked up
with rocks; and the waters whirling heavily as
they rushed past with all the force of a torrent.
The natives, however, indicated that higher up
the river was smooth and deep. As yet we had
only ascended, as the reader is aware, about two
hundred and eighty miles from the river's
mouth;   we should have had to   travel  hun- THE  NEW EL  DORADO;
dreds of miles further up, following the river's
course, before reaching its source in the Rocky
Mountains.    Gold, however, will allure as far as
man can travel or human hopes can reach, and
ere long I have every expectation of hearing a report of "dry diggings," "hill diggings," and monster nuggets having been found at the base and in
the ravines of the Rocky Mountains themselves.
We  were  a sun-burnt,   motley  group,   as,
camped together by the banks of the noisy river,
we talked on many a diverse thing; of gold, of
home, of murder, of love and enterprise;   of
bygone dangers braved, of fallen comrades and
defiant foes.    There was something, I thought,
of the hungry beast of prey in the eager, yearning flash of each other's restless eyes, in which
the fire of hardened desperation and unflinching
physical bravery ever glowed, and which seemed
to feed upon continual excitement.    There was
something embodying all the wildness  of the
savage and all the ghastliness of civilization in
the hair-grown swarthy faces of the men, as now
and again the flickering blaze of the fire round
which we sat was reflected upon them, giving a
look  of ferocity even to  repose ;   while   the OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
135
boundless waste of universal  space—the void
of night—
Hung o'er and round in solemn silent reign,
Obscuring deep the mountain and the plain,
The sea-like prairie rolling in the breeze,
The giant forms of yonder rustling trees;
The rocky river's rugged, winding way,
The bird, the blossom, all that deck'd the day.
Occasionally the hoarse laughter of the whole
party disturbed the natural solitude,—the half-
startling tones of jocose revelry rose up in the
virgin air, and were wafted on the breeze over a
landscape which had hitherto reposed primeval.
We were all merry on the strength of nuggets
found and " dust" gathered, for the yield of today had been with some of us considerably
in excess of the previous day's average, one man
of the new comers having realized, with  the
w
assistance of a rocker, nearly five hundred dollars in dust and nuggets. His | belt" was full
of the former, and two leather bags had grown
pleasingly bulky under the latter. For myself,
I made about ten ounces in nuggets alone—I
did not dig for dust—my geological shovel and
pan being my only artificial machinery employed. THE   NEW   EL  DORADO;
The  five hundred-dollar man was   a  hard,
gaunt,   stringy,   dried-up looking   Kentuckian,
with  a  gutta-percha-coloured  face, sunk into
which, on either side of his nose, twinkled two'
all alive and piercing grey eyes.    His hair was
long and  light, and crisped up with the dry
heat of the weather, so much so that it gave me
the idea of extreme fragility and brittleness.    He
carried a couple of revolvers, and a bowie knife,
with the point of which he took the opportunity
of picking his teeth immediately after supper,
following which he gave us a long yarn about
an old " claim " of his at Hangtown,* which
yielded sixteen hundred dollars the  first day,
and about an Indian whom he shot " in the
white of the eye " the next day afterwards for
stealing his blanket.    He seemed  to glory in
his crime, and was, on the whole, as brutalised,
a specimen  of humanity and the digger, California and the world had ever presented to my
individual   inspection.     However,   his   dollars
were as good as any one else's, and that is the
* In California, so called from an execution which took
place there at the instance of Judge Lynch; hence Lynch
law. OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
237
grand criterion in a new gold country. We
were all more or less leathery-looking, but this
wretch was, to quote popular phraseology, regularly tanned and dried, and such, that if it came
to a matter of casting lots at sea, and he turned
out to be the victim, the unfortunate crew
would have something very like a mummy to
carve. Then there were four long, slop-built,
semi-civilized-looking Western States men, with
heavy rifles nearly as long as themselves. High
shouldered, narrow-chested, sleek-haired gentiles,
with hunger seemingly personified in each
other's countenances, with a paucity of pale
wiry beard and moustache, they moved awkwardly about, the rifle always in the way, and
bore evidence of their being better adapted to
the felling of trees, and the building of log
cabins, than even gold digging.
These men had respectively journeyed overland from Missouri to California, and, moreover, had done the same thing from that again
through Oregon, since the Frazer River
fever set in; and were clever enough to
I shirk the license " on the way. They were exactly the men for such laborious and hazardous *
undertakings, having always dwelt on, or beyond,
the borders of civilisation in their own country;
never having seen half-a-dozen houses together
till after they came to California," and being
trained to rough it in every sense of the term.
They were each provided with an axe, with
which they promised to do severe execution in
chopping down trees, and building up log huts
on the next day, so that we looked forward to
a village at once.
For the rest, our party was composed of an
English " old chaw," as he once humorously
called himself; a Jack tar, and consequently
a Jack of all trades, let loose among the mountains. He gave us his history; miners are
very free and candid in that respect, as indeed
in every thing else, for there is less humbug
both about them and their profession than is
the case with any other class extant.
This history was a long, round-about affair,
the most prominent parts of which appeared to
be his running away to sea from his grandmother at Bristol; his subsequent loves and
disasters, both by sea and land. On the latter
he was thrown off various horses on five dis-
sssa OR, BRITISH COLUMBIA.
09
39
tinct occasions during his perilous career, all of
which took place in California, the country in
which he first made acquaintance with horseflesh, and that, after clearing out of, or rather
deserting, his ship, which was subsequently
turned into a boarding-house, in which capacity
she gained more money than she could have
made .in voyaging. After this he had experienced a succession of " good strikes " at various diggings, which, however, were just as
often followed by what he termed " a jolly
spree," and so the money went. He had
travelled by steamer from California, as indeed
all of us had done, the party of Missouri men
excepted.
Then we had three Frenchmen, partners; as
also two Germans ; after which the balance was
made up of thorough bred, long, straight, black-
haired Yankees; a surgeon, a lawyer, a conjuror, and a photographic artist; all, of course,
divested of their tools, and shorn of " practice,"
being amongst their wide-awake number.
The reader may perhaps feel interested in
learning the fate of my opossum skin rug and
vermilion shirts; know then, that, failing to be- 240
THE   NEW EL DORADO]
stow them on the native rulers of the soil, the
former still constituted my bed, and the latter
my pillow, for they were faithfully replaced by
the Indians after they had fully satisfied their
curiosity. I attributed this to their amiability,
and not to any dread of punishment they might
have entertained, as their numbers were altogether overpowering, and I judged truly; although I should have considered them quite
justified in appropriating them as rightful spoil
had they chosen to have done so ; for I am
egotist enough to believe that I had sufficient
magnanimity of mind and character to know and
to feel that I stood up in the, till now, almost
primeval territory of aboriginal dominion an
usurper, and was, together with the motley crew
by which I was surrounded, but too painfully
emblematic, in my own mind, of the coming
misery and eventual, yea, rapid extermination
of the race of the Red Man—the valiant children
of the riant wilderness.
The natives had quitted the neighbourhood
of our encampment before dusk, and we were
thus left alone to beguile the flying hours of
night as best we could.    Our fire well fed with
==- OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA;
241
faggots burn gaily, and every crackle was a
sound of welcome companionship. There is
nothing like a good log fire for making a man
feel at home in the woods.
Although the day had been  agreeably hot,
we felt the warmth which our " log burner"
emitted very comforting, and knowing its effect
in scaring off  grizzly and other bears, we sunk
into  the unconscious embrace of slumber with
our boots, our  revolvers—and with   me,   my"
vermilion shirts—under our heads, in the happy
confidence of safety. _  And this was two hundred
and eighty miles up the shelving banks of the
Frazer River, and adjoining a camp of reported
warlike Indians.     As for the latter, I would
thus as readily trust myself into their power as
I would to humanity  of the white skin ; it is
only when the savage becomes morally vitiated
by his intercourse with civilisation that his unsophisticated   honesty   and   generosity  become
obscured or perverted; and when he is driven
relentlessly to the brink of death by idee of
vice  and  starvation  engendered  by his  association with the white man.
It is a preposterous thing for ignorant con*
M ill
242
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
Ventional old women, and domesticated men to
match, who have never wandered beyond the
regions of lamp posts, rant about savages, and
pray for the conversion of the heathen, and look
down upon them as degraded beings, lost in
the darkness of sin and iniquity; when the fact
is, that they themselves are the sinful and iniquitous, compared with which the rover of the
woods is very often a personification of mag-r
nanimity and virtue, while he is never degraded
till he has succumbed to the blasting, withering
power of a perverted and vicious civilisation,
when his valiant courage and sovereign heroism
forsakes him, and very soon he is no more.
Ashes to ashes.
How much more noble was he than those
vassals of civilisation by whom he was overrun,
■who would cringe into servility, and lick the
dust of a petty despotism equally contemptible
with themselves.
Give.me a free, wild, boundless solitude,
rises to my lips as I write, for I enjoy about
as supreme a contempt for anything like ser- OR. BRITISH COLUMBIA.
243
vility and social snobbism as any man that ever
sniffed the desert air, or ever tasted the sweets
of triumphant liberty remote from the haunts
of civilized man.
M 2
mm 244
THE  NEW EL  DORADO ;
CHAPTER XXI.
A  COLD   CHOP  AND  A   HOT   STEAK.
We were up and moving soon after day-break ;
several went off prospecting up river, and for
a mile or two inland, if the term may be used
to denote an opposite direction to the river.
The five-hundred dollar Kentuckian went "hard
at it " on a small " bar " of the river, about
five hundred yards higher up than where stood
the tree under whose shelter he had been delighted with happy dreams, full of delicious
prospects, and, to judge by his own vulgar
account, perfectly heavenly and inspiring. The
Western  men set to work cutting down pine OR,   BRITISH   COLOMBIA.
trees, and for the first time in that primitive region
the sound of the axe was heard resounding
through the forest, and the work of aboriginal
destruction had commenced. I compared it
with the foundation stone laying of some new
building in the old world, with the difference of
an augmented feeling of its being a great event,
and instead of its being a mere solitary edifice,
here was, perhaps, the foundation of a mighty city
destined to flourish into a rapid existence, and
live when those of Europe and to-day have
crumbled into a second Pompeii, an Herculaneum,
or a Bagdad. So much for my feelings on the
subject of what one of the Yankees called " a
cold chop "—an old joke — saying, that he
should much prefer "a hot steak," or stake,
it does not matter which, in accordance with
which he gashed away with his bowie knife at
some of the bear's flesh which we had purchased
from the Indians, and throwing it gridiron
fashion across a burning faggot, soon had it in
convulsions, blubbering out an amount of bear's
grease sufficient to have anointed the heads of
the whole party. However, no one uses Macassar, nor yet any substitute therefore at the 246
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO ;
mines, so that it did not in its effect cause them
to conjure up the same visions of pomatum pots
and barbers' shops as possibly might have been.
We breakfasted promiscuously between six
and seven o'clock, by which time the Indians were
flocking down to us like so many geese to their
pond. I enjoyed a refreshing bath in the river
before taking that meal, the best part of which was
the tea; a beverage which I felt almost as necessary
to my existence as the Lascar does to opium.
We also made some damper after the Australian
mode, which was pronounced " fust rate. '
After breakfast the work of trimming the logs
and washing the gold proceeded briskly till noon,
when we assembled to dinner, which, instead of
raw materials, consisted of a savoury dish of stewed
squirrels,a "pan" half full of transmogrified deer's
and bear's flesh, converted into a harjicot with the
assistance of wild vegetables, and some yam-like
cereal called potatoes, grown and supplied by the
Indians; all this had been dished up and manoeuvred by one of the Frenchmen, who, as it
turned out, had been a ranch, or restaurant keeper
near Downieville,in California. We appointed him
forthwith to be inspector and purveyor-general of OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
247
our commissariat, and entrusted him with all
the duties and responsibilities of the cuisine, at a
salary to be made up amongst us of ten dollars
a-day, which, strange to say, he agreed to. So
much for French enterprize—the fact is, that
Frenchmen love the comfortable, and consequently make bad pioneers — they are better
adapted for following in the wake of explorers-
than of constituting such themselves, and more
often, like this hero, prefer cooking for them to
sharing the risk, and more arduous undertakings
which the English and Americans- plunge after
and rejoice in. I can compare them only, in the
wilderness, to so many cats in a storm—they are
never happy till they get within doors. To-day
I left my shirt and opossum rug tied up for safety
from aboriginal touch in a deer skin, and in
immediate proximity to the legs of our French
cook, who sacre'd the Red men freely, and with
all the gesticulations of his country tried to
convince them that they were in his way, but in
vain; the climax was only reached when they
demolished a squirrel fricasse'e which he had been
preparing, when, afraid to use his revolver against
them, he sat down and wept desparingly.    The 248
THE   NEW  EL   DORADO;
Indians grinned and enjoyed this amazingly well,
and just as much as I did myself, for I laughed
at him to his face for the space of forty-five
seconds without stopping, by the end of which
time he looked as foolish as he felt savage. However, in addition to what I have before mentioned>
he gave us bear a-la-mode, a newly prepared fricassee of the same animal, and a sort of grill of
ditto, with grasshopper sauce, so that it was nearly
all bear together, the prairie greens and yam potatoes excepted, as also a pudding stuffed with wild
raspberries, and half-a-dozen other wild things
which we did not at all expect, but which turned
out very well, taking into consideration the Nebuchadnezzar-like quality of the fruit of which it
was composed. 1 believe that if we had been
I dead broke," as the term is, for provisions, that
this said cook would have dished us up a very
palatable pottage of landscape herbage, and made
soup out of the few knife handles we were possessed of, or, better still, out of my persecuted
opossum-skin rug. However, I am glad to say
that we were not driven to any such extremities
so that his utmost skill in making something
out of nothing was not called into requisition^ OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
24!)
He was an active, but pale, long-faced, emaciated-
jooking man, of slight frame, with a scanty supply
of nearly black hair and a very weak moustache,
covering, but not concealing his thin, restless lips,
which denoted every passing sensation, and
moved as expressively as the small black eyes
which peered on either side of his sharp and
well-defined nose. He spoke with great rapidity
of utterance, and made it his study to anticipate
every want of those about him during meal times.
He was, moreover, nimble and highly excitable;
in politics, of course, democratic, and on some
points entertained such original views, that if he
had branched out and suggested the conversion of
a Red Indian into a new species of fricasse'e, or
the giving us a feast of squaw a-la-mode, or
devilled, I should have considered it quite in
keeping with his character, and have laughed
accordingly.
After dinner,which occupied about ten minutes,
digging, or rather gold seeking, was actively resumed by all, the Missouri men and our French
cook excepted, who merely interspersed their
other avocations of log-hut building and bear-
roasting with an occasional scrape for nuggets.
m 3 THE   NEW   EL  DORADO ;
All were ardent and impetuous in their eager pursuit of gold, save this our denominated " parleyvoo," who displayed no excitement whatever, but
went about his work calmly, and as cool as what is
commonly called a cucumber ; even the western
men worked with almost superhuman energy;
they threw their* whole strength into the work of
the house-building, in which the newly-cut timber
of the forest, and a few nails which they had
brought overland, were the only materials employed, and endeavoured by their unceasing toil
to dispatch the " business "as quickly as possible.
The yield on this day was equally satisfactory
with that of the previous day, but the novelty
had died away, so that the men talked less about
it, and | realized" their hundreds of dollars
without making particular mention of the sum.
There was plenty for us all, and tens of thousands beside, so that we had each equally good
chances of making a " pile," and moreover a
rather bulky one too. We slept, as usual, in the
open air, and recommenced mining one by one,
very early; the five-hundred dollar man whom
I have already sketched being up and rousing
the whole camp at three o'clock, just after dayr
I
iV    Jfi OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
251
break. I wished him to unmentionable places
for breaking my slumber at such an unseasonable hour; but as under cover of the forest,
he was in nobody's bedroom in particular, he
had the privilege of making as much noise as
he chose to trouble himself with. By noon our
log house was built, which afforded sleeping room
for us all on the ground floor that night.
The yield of gold still kept up, with no probability, as far as we could see, of its ever diminishing. The Indians still continued friendly, but
we saw less of them than at first; they, however,
furnished us with plenty of wild comestibles,
which our so-called " parleyvoo " made it his
chief study to transmogrify into various unrecognisable substances for the gratification of our
universal appetites.
We had plenty of salmon, and a few small fish,
so that we were not compelled to confine ourselves
to squirrels and bears'-flesh unless our epicurean
tastes—query—had induced us to prefer as food
the wild animals of the wilderness to the more
sober salmon
" That once did dart and dive,
But now were split and dried."- THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
I was now becoming rather'impatient of this
mode of life, and moreover felt a " desperate
inclination " to breathe the air of more populous
districts. Here there was just a sufficient
amount of civilization to spoil the charm of
aboriginalism, and no more. Besides, I had
seen enough of the upper country to satisfy me
as to its richness, and now felt a longing to
observe life elsewhere. Accordingly, to be brief,
I sold my share in the canoe, and set out alone,
with two painted Indians, in a canoe belonging
to their tribe, on the second day following the
completion of the log-hut. I wished to reach
Victoria as quickly as possible, to see what was
to be done; and being myself of a highly speculative turn of mind, was as much disposed to
I invest" a few thousand dollars of the " dust"
found, which, indeed, I felt it agreeably oppressive to carry, in anything "likely"—land,
for instance—as I was to keep it under my own
personal surveillance. We shot down the river
like an arrow, passing by the rugged and the
picturesque, and the respective bars of Canoe,
La Fontaine, and Foster, and bivouacing for the
night on the right bank of the river, where we OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
253
made a portage, reached the " Forks," distant
about one hundred and sixty miles from the
river's mouth, and six miles below Mormon Bar,
an hour before noon on the second day out. The
mouth of the Thompson bears every sign of
having been formed by volcanic agency, and
traces of such abound all over the country. The
cactus, also, grows plentifully, a sure sign that
the winters are not severe. Here the canoe and
I parted, the Indians, according to our figurative understanding, being disinclined to descend
further ; I, however, succeeded in buying one
for a hundred and twenty dollars from a party
of Frenchmen at the Thompson River junction,
in which I proceeded with another Indian down
the river as far as Fort Yale, (which was then
undergoing repairs) making a portage along the
Cascade Mountains on the way, the river here
running very narrow and rocky. There I had a
bed made up for me of all manner of strange
things, in a square tent-store kept by an Illinois
man, measuring six feet three inches, from the
crown of his Panama hat to the under soles of
his pegged boots, which were stamped with a
pair of flaming red eagles.
" Eagles  again!."   I   ejaculated   to   myself, 254
THE  NEW   EL   DORADO;
"they outflap the stars." These boots are
made by steam at large manufactories throughout the States, all of which are stamped with
an impression of the national eagle, and an ace
filled up with stars and stripes, hence their
number; the peculiar distinctive mark being
merely to please the Yankee taste. The yield
here was very high, averaging a hundred, and
in some cases two hundred dollars to the man
per day, but rockers were required.
Tents were numerous, and wooden houses
and stores were going up every day. The " dry
diggings" being worked on a creek parallel with
Hunter's Bar, a few miles further down on
this side Fort Hope, were turning out very rich.
I set out the next morning on my journey down
river as far as Fort Hope, passing hundreds of
boats and canoes on the way. This is a splendid
site for a town, being at the head of steam
navigation ; and a land trail stretches direct from
it to Thompson's River and the Forks, so avoiding the canon two miles above Fort Yale as well
as the other dangers of the upper river navigation. Here I sold my canoe for a little more than
half the amount I had given for it, which was h o .. . S  i
S
OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA. 255
i PI *
\ \ ^nevertheless profitable enough in its way, seeing
^5 ?l    Hhat it had carried me down from the Forks,
^,   ,   £ which was all that I had bought it for.     Here
m 1 human life was more dense, and habitations more
abundant than at Fort Yale.     I paid twenty
m
.3 ^
<5 W dollars, passage money, and left on the same day
O. *that I had arrived there, by the steamer.
j    i 1    Twelve  miles below the fort we passed the
5 ;* steamer Sea-bird grounded on a bar.    She had
■r V been there a couple of days,  and consequently
o I all her passengers had been landed. She looked
i cj£ i very forsaken, and her captain, who " showed
^j   1 up,"  as we  passed, looked just as   extremely
■*• ^disgusted. He was calculating, no doubt, upon
i ,. i ithe awful loss of her services. When I left
I s ^Victoria she was reported to be still-in the same
(    v    place,  but as her stern was in deep water she
Li
i tw
twas expected to be got off on the next day.
| We had very few passengers on board, so that
| things were a little better than I had found
Uhem during the up-trip by the Surprise. We
Estopped at Fort Langley, and took in two or
Jthree passengers, and passing by two  or three
£ x heavily timbered islets, on the next day, at noon,
-f grounded  the  straits  of  Juan   De  Fuca,  and
1   IS. II
256
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
came to an anchor in the placid and baylike
harbour of Esquimault, surrounded by a panorama of rocks and pine trees.
I 'Squimalt at last, I guess," exclaimed an
Oregon man.
" Yes," said I.
We all took boat together for Victoria.
" Let's liquor," he ejaculated, as he made a
plunge into the first store we came to.
We were bound in politeness to agree, and
we did I liquor"—a batch of thirty or so—our
Oregon friend standing treat all round. And
so ran the custom of the country, while all
around was bustle and excitement. CHAPTER  XXII.
BACK  TO   THE   ISLAND
On reaching Victoria, which is situated on
beautiful level ground, on a narrow arm of
the Sound, stretching about two miles inland,
and gradually sloping towards the water, which
at once saves all grading, and affords a splendid
natural drainage, I found the now augmented
multitude in a wilder state of excitement than
on my first arrival there, in the early part
of the month. The first sign of the rapid
progress going forward on the island that met
my eye, was a large store and wharf, both made
of logs, at the landing-place of Esquimault,
which latter ought decidedly to be included in
the town of Victoria; as from the depth and
extent of the bar at the mouth of the latter har- THE   NEW   EL  DORADO ;
bour, as well as its general inferiority in point of
size and shape to that of Esquimault, a beautifully formed natural granite basin, very much
resembling- Acapulco harbour save in its superior
size, and distant about three miles on water and
two on land, it can never be ranked the port proper
of the Vancouver metropolis. The harbour,—
Esquimault—which, picturesquely rock-bound, is
from six to eight fathoms deep to the shore, and
about a mile in length by the same in breadth,
was crowded with gracefully peaked canoes and
boats of all shapes and sizes, scudding from the
various vessels in shore, and vice versa. Some of
the canoes were guided by girls, sometimes one,
sometimes two, and occasionally a family of four
or five would be seen hovering about. They
were all more or less striped with vermilion clay
—the women haying a line drawn down the
centre of the head where the hair parted, and
from.which it fell gracefully over the shoulders.
They were all sufficiently clothed; the men who
are tall, broad-shouldered, and full-chested,
wearing a mushroom-shaped hat of twisted
cedar bark, and a deep girdle ; the women a short
petticoat made of strips of cedar bark, bordered
■■ OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
259
with seaweed; in addition to which they had
sashes of cotton or woollen material bartered
to them by the Hudson's Bay Company, as
also various bracelets, while in some cases both
men and women were clothed a la Anglais, in
which, however, they, with their tawny, coppery
complexion, looked anything but picturesque.
There were also Italian fishermen from San Francisco acting as boatmen here. Niggers, Chinese,
and Sandwich Islanders, I found had been added
to the population of Europeans and Yankees.
There was a government, that is to say, a
Company's land sale going on at the office at
Victoria Fort, on the day of my arrival; the
scramble for lots was of course tremendous, one
hundred dollars being the fixed price per lot,
but lucky indeed were the purchasers, for they
were subsequently, in most cases, passed from
hand to hand at an advanced price of thousands
of dollars. Judge of the case of a man that I saw
in a liquor store at Victoria: | Ye—es, sir," said
he, I six thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars
I calculate to be the profit of that ar fifty-dollar
lot." This he had invested in when he first
arrived from San Francisco, two months prtvi- 260
THE   NEW   EL  DORADO ;
ously, when the fixed price of land was a hundred per cent, lower than at present, and which
lot he had sold on this very day for seven thousand dollars. This sort of speculation just hit
my taste, so I hurried off to the land office, but
found it so difficult of approach, owing to the
eager crowd of intending purchasers, that the
sale was over before I reached it. I had never
been in such a crowd since the year 'fifty-five,
when I waited my turn for letters in front of
the San Francisco post-office after the arrival of
the United States mail. However, I resolved to
renew the attack on the morning following,
when I succeeded in purchasing three lots already located, and that at the standard price of
one hundred dollars, and of the standard dimensions of sixty feet by a hundred and twenty.
My money was taken by a sandy-haired Scotchman, who handed me a voucher in return, with a
barren and cautious composure, which struck me
as contrasting remarkably with the excited, clamorous crowd who were contending for the
first purchase of " City allotments." " You
may depend upon it he's had porridge for break-
face," remarked an Englishman who had been
M OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
261
struggling next behind me, and with whom I
made a sort of crushing acquaintance, which
resulted in the exchange of sundry " drinks."
' I guess he has," was all the reply I made j for
while amongst the Yankees, I sometimes adopt
their phraseology, and can guess and calculate
as readily as the smartest of them. I thought
myself very lucky in having been able to enter
thus cheaply into a landed proprietorship, which
promised to be about the best paying thing even
in a gold country.
I resolved to renew the attack on the land
office on the morning following, and in fact to
continue buying as far as my purse and pushing
powers would allow me. In the meantime I
revelled away in riotous disorder, together with
a floating population of about fifty, in a wo7den
boarding house, built for the present proprietor
during the early part of the month, and which
promised to yield him quite as big a " pile " as
any made on this side of Fort Hope ; the charge
being five dollars a-day, and the supply of provision, as well as its quality being anything but
satisfactory to either palate or appetite. However, matters will improve, as the Americans say, 262
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
and therefore it is to be hoped that by this time
either the said proprietor has been improved out
of the house, or that he has improved his table in
the house, for it was anything but good for the
money when I was there. Here I met a late
companion of the unfortunate fellow who was
shot by an Indian during the affray near Fort
Hope, when a native chief was killed. He gave
me a narrative of the whole affair, and spoke
with much feeling of the deceased man, as well
as his own narrow escape, as he termed it, from
a similar fate. However, I did not fail to tell
him it was all and deservedly brought upon them
by the ruthless conduct of their barbarous countryman, who fired the first shot, and in the most
rash and uncalled-for manner, hurried death
upon the unsophisticated chieftain.
" We left Fort Langley," said he, " on the
2nd of June, and took two Indians in our canoe
to pilot us up. We got along as well as any,
until the fourth day out from Fort Langley.
We were then within four miles of Fort Hope.
There was a canoe ahead of us, about thirty or
forty yards, with which we had kept company
for several days.     This canoe stopped on shore, OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
263
and we saw an Indian speaking with them.
We thought they were waiting for us to come
up, but when we got within fifteen yards of
them, they got into a difficulty with the Indians.
The Indian wanted a shovel, which they would
not give to him. He (the Indian) then made
a grab at the shovel, and wrenched it from the
man in the canoe, and struck the man several
times over the head with it. The men in the
canoe all got up to defend themselves, and the
Indians came rushing out of the bushes with
long knives and clubs, and some had muskets.
One of the men in their canoe fired his pistol
at the Indian with the shovel, and shot him
through the heart. The Indian made two more
strokes, and then fell down. The men next
got in their canoe and fled across the river.
None of them were killed, but one was badly
hurt on the head. They now laid hold of our
canoe, and pulled it close to the shore. I told
the Indian who had hold of the canoe to let go,
that we were not in the fight and didn't want to
fight. He drew a big knife, and was about to
run it into me, but his squaw, who stood behind
him, drew him back, and at the same moment a I
264
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO j
shot was fired from the bushes, which hit Henry
Wedeken in the side. He fell out of the canoe
into the water. I • got hold of his arm and
raised him up and tried to get him in the canoe
again, but I could not. He tried to speak, but
he could not. He then made a motion with his
hands that he was dying, and he closed his eyes
and fell back dead. Oh, how I felt at this moment
I cannot tell! Not that I had to die, for I did not
expect to live five minutes longer."
" Pleasant," said I, " happy idea."
My companion stared wondrously as if he
doubted it, but after seemingly satisfying him-
self that I could not mean it, went ahead with
his narrative.
" I expected a ball would pierce me through
at every moment—but to see him shot who.
never raised a hand against them! But an
Indian is bound to have the life of a white man
if one of them gets killed—no matter whether
he is guilty or innocent. We could not then do
even as much for him as to make him a grave,
for when he fell, the current caught the canoe,
and I could not hold on to him.
" After much difficulty we got across the river, OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
265
where we met the other canoe. We then held
council, and decided to go to Fort Hope by land,
and leave our canoes; but we failed in this attempt, for the rocks were too steep, and several
thousand feet high." At this point my eyebrows
rose up as if instinctively. " We then went back
to our canoes. Our only chance of escape was
now to make a desperate effort. It was about five
o'clock in the afternoon, but when we counted
our number, we missed three of our party.
We called for them ; but got no answer, and we
had not a moment to lose, the danger was increasing every moment—the Indians were giving
their war-whoop up and down the river. We
then got into the canoe which belonged to the
other party, for ours had drifted a little ways
down. We threw the most part of the provisions overboard, and then darted like an arrow
down the river. This surprised the Indians,
and they did not give chase as we expected,
for the Indian that had been shot was their
chief, and as they had no commander, they didn't
know how to act. This circumstance alone
saved our lives. Night soon covered us, and we
paddled as hard as we could, hungry, wet, and
N 266
THE   NEW  EL  DORADO;
tired as we were, until next morning, when
about five o'clock we reached the mouth of the
river, and here we were out of danger."
"And a lucky thing for you, too," said I.
I My greatest regret is, that the assassin was
not the recipient of the bullet instead of your
unfortunate friend.    However, such is life."
" Yes," said he, " it is ;" and in the gravest
possible manner he breathed forth in solemn
accents, sad and slow, those momentous words,
I Let's liquor." The effect was magical; we
were off in an instant to a bar-room, not twenty
yards from our boarding-house. " Will you
liquor?" asked he, of a group of half-a-dozen
standing in the bar-room, to whom he introduced
me one by one, and with whom, after the custom
of the country, I exchanged a shake of the hand.
Nobody refuses to " liquor" in America, that
is, among the Yankees, unless immediately after
dinner, so of course the half-dozen responded,
when, after drinking our glasses together, and
giving each a nod of the head, we swallowed
our respective "drinks" slick, and after that
proceeded, one by one, to return the compliment
and stand drinks all round likewise, the treater OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
26',
saying, " My respects," as he nodded his head
and at one quaff sent his julep out of sight.
Thus, a flash of lightning was no sooner seen
than it was gone, and so with the thunderbolts
and hailstones, other favourite drinks of my
slivery friends. They were all bound for the
up-river diggings, and had taken passage by
the morrow's steamer. In the course of conversation I was made acquainted with the unhappy fate of Captain Frazer, the employe of
the Hudson's Bay Company, from whom the
river derived its name.
" Some half-dozen years ago," said a weather-
beaten old julep drinker, " they were excavating
in San Francisco, down there in Commercial
Street, and they turned up a coffin—it was
pretty much the worse for wear, and had a tin
label with Captain Frazer on it; and this,
gentlemen, was the coffin of the identical Frazer
who committed suicide in that city fourteen
years before, and I guess warn't considered any
the better for't.—Let's liquor," were his next
words, and so we liquored.
Our party was just then augmented by a
rough,  stalwart, and  amphibious-looking per-
N 2 268
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO ;
sonage, who came up with a buoyant swagger,
and was greeted with applause as he went. He
was evidently being lionised a little, so I began
to wonder what it was all about. This man
was introduced to me as " Mr. Reuben Davis,"
and I did not fail to shake the hard, rusty hand
of the said Mr. Reuben Davis, in recognition of
such introduction.
I This, sir," spoke the introducer, whose
eloquence waxed high, | is the gentleman who,
in conjunction with his partner, saved the lives
of twenty-three of his fellow men and women,
who had been precipitated, together with eleven
others, who, I regret to say, were drowned, into
the water, in consequence of the capsizing of
the sloop Alcatraz, while rounding McCauley's
Point on her way with passengers," — very
redundant, thought I,—"from the steamship
Panama, in Esquimault Harbour; and, gentlemen, who on being offered a bag of dollars
by them in gratitude, refused to receive it."
(Cheers.) " This is the gentleman, gentlemen;
he's a true-born Yankee, and, I guess, as tran-
scendant a hero as ever swilled a cocktail. We'll
liquor." laughter, and a perfect enthusiasm of OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
269
applause, during which everybody invited him
to drink.
Here, again, we were regaled with juleps,
brandy pawnees, and neck-twisters, mixed by a
real live Yankee, got up between a pair of shiny
collars, and set off with a flaming crimson silk
sash, quite in keeping, however, with a retailer
of flashes of lightning and thunderbolts.
The accident alluded to had taken place two
days previous to my return, and was supposed
to have been caused by the carelessness of the
helmsman jibbing the sail, and not taking the
precaution of hauling the sheet up in doing so.
There was a heavy sea running at the time, so
that the bodies of three only of the drowned
were recovered; these had been brought to
Victoria, and after some inquisitorial examination, were buried.
On the morning following I repaired to the fort
at an early hour, that is, between three and four
o'clock, and took up my place, post-office fashion,
to await the opening of the land-office at ten.
The excitement which swayed the multitude
was even more frantic than on the previous day.
Lots in private hands were resold several times THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
at enormous advances amongst the crowd before
the office opened. I succeeded in buying three
additional lots, making six in all, such being
the number limited to each individual; but these
were unspecified,—in fact, not yet surveyed or
denoted, and were just as likely to turn up at
Esquimault as at any part of Victoria. However, I had purchased, as per voucher, those lots
of 60 by 120, lying somewhere, and with this
vague knowledge I was satisfied, and concluded
that I had already made twenty thousand dollars by my speculation and investment.
The town of Victoria is very picturesquely
situated on high sloping ground. Its harbour,
although perplexingly crooked in the eyes of
navigators, and high barred, is nevertheless very
prettily located, and forms a beautiful granite
basin like that of Esquimault.
There is a bridge, erected by the Hudson's
Bay Company at a cost of one thousand pounds,
which spans the harbour from the town site on
the Victoria side to the opposite or north side,
and leading to the trunk road to the interior,
which passes by the Company's extensive farm,
(the Esquimault,) the settlement at Herbert Head, OR, BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
271
at Metchosen, and at Sooke, all thriving agricultural districts.
At the present time Victoria consisted of
about one hundred and fifty houses and stores,
one-third of which had been recently erected.
Almost every house or shanty in the town proper
was a restaurant or coffee stand, fitted up in the
most primitive manner. They were all, however,
I doing a good business," in spite of a scarcity
of everything necessary for the comfort and well
being of man. Mutton chops and the bread
formed the only palatable food; as for cutlery
and crockery there was a scantier proportionate
allowance per dozen men than the Frenchmen
brought with them, including our cook, beyond the " Forks," and that we had at our joint
disposal there, far beyond the pale of civilised
society, although that indeed was sorry enough.
However, things were improving every day.
Besides these, there were numerous tents scattered about the outskirts, some choking up
ravines with their number; others spread out on
the broad open plain that surrounds the town,
and further off their fleecy summits were to be
seen along the shores of the bay, while through 272
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
the woods, still further from the dust and
clamour of the streets, here and there an isolated specimen tenanted by some individual
enamoured of " a lodge in the wilderness " was
to be seen. These temporary habitations varied
considerably in size and construction. In fixing
them a ground space was cleared and cleaned ;
two uprights were then fixed in the ground, their
tops being joined by a ridge pole, over which the
regular canvas covering, or a substitute of
blankets was hung, and the tent was then made,
leaving the interior to be fitted up according to
the taste and resources of the occupant. Outside
was arranged a simple fire-place. From some
of these after nightfall the sound of music, vocal
and instrumental, broke forth in cheering resonance ; while by the fires, and at the doors of
others, groups of men, pipe in mouth, were
collected, each discussing the chances of the
golden future, or recalling memories of the
golden past. Order was the ruling feature of
these communities, and of riot and unseemly
noise there was an utter but agreeable absence.
Such are the suburbs of Victoria in 1858. Who
or what will be their occupants in 1859 imagi- OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
273
nation may picture, but how truthfully time can
alone tell. There was also a small wooden palisaded encampment of Indians standing aloof
not far from the town.
The Company have two chief stations on
the island, besides Victoria, viz.: at Nanaimo,
where they have been working, in an imperfect manner, however, extensive coal-mines,
which there extend over two thousand acres,
the surface seams being from one to three feet
thick ; the other station is Fort Rupert, situated
at the extreme north end of the island.
It was here rumoured, and I have since heard
it verified, that the Company had made an offer
of their entire property, stations, and stock,
situated in the territory of the United States, of
course, to the Government of that country,
through Lord Napier, our ambassador at Washington, for the sum of six hundred thousand
dollars, which was correctly considered to be
very cheap.
Property lots in central parts of the town
were readily sold at from two thousand to seven
thousand dollars, although originally sold for
fifty dollars, and that but a few weeks before. at the same extravagantly high prices. Rents for
wooden buildings were higher than they were for
brick ones at San Francisco. In spite, however, of
the difficulty of getting carpenters and such like
to work, wooden houses were to be seen rising
up everywhere and every day, and the sound of
the hammer might have been heard amid the
clamour of the busy and excited multitude—the
din of daily life on all sides—the wages of the
workmen ranging from ten to fifteen dollars a
day. There is an abundance of various kinds
of fish, including salmon, in the bay, and both
large and small I have seen caught from the
bridge. There are numerous pleasant—I may
say delightful—walks in the neighbourhood of
the town site. I strolled out as far as the
Sound Shore, distant about six miles. It is a
curious beach, covered over with millions of
tons of pebbles, varying in size from that of an
^gg to that of a small bean. These pebbles are
used largely in Victoria for the streets and in
road-making, as also garden walks, and wherever
there is much traffic. OR, BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
275
The more I experienced of the climate and
the country, the more I liked them. ~The temperature was equable and deliriously warm,
and day by day there came a gentle breeze,
which, wafted from Mount Olympus and the
coast range that loomed far away through the
circumambient space, was at once balmy and
refreshing. Within two minutes' walk of Fort
Victoria, miles of fields, rich in clover, are presented to the eye, bordered or intersected by
bushes of the blackberry and wild rose. Strawberry plants also fiowish there, and I had the
pleasure of gathering a little of the unlimited
quantity of the fruit which ripened there in
uncultivated luxuriance. These berries, as also
oranges, are sold by the Indians about the
streets. Groves of oak, aspen, and pine-trees
grew up, stretching far as the eye could reach,
and forming regions of delicious shade, through
which it was delightful to walk. However, the
tens of thousands of keen gold-hunting Cali-
fornians, flocking over the island, were already
making a visible impression upon its timbered
coast, alike with the forests and the adjacent
mainland. Ill
These rapidly-growing towns, some of which
dated their existence by marks, even now claim
the designation of cities. The rise and progress
of California from the eventful year of forty-
nine, was without a parallel in the world's
history; but I felt that I saw going on around
me what is destined to eclipse even the glorious
national career of that richly-endowed land.
Hundreds of brick and stone buildings were
being projected, and all this in spite of a popular
feeling of uncertainty as to which place would
turn out the city of the gold regions, upon which
subject a perfect babel of confusion prevailed.
Each favourite selected locality was announced
as certain to be the San Francisco of Puget
Sound; so that a new comer, wide awake though
he might be, would soon have been bewildered
had he believed half of what was told him.
Whatcom and Sehome were prominently put
forward for public favour equally with Victoria,
and each had numberless advocates who would
undertake to prove to anybody and everybody,
that his or their favourite was The Place.
An ordinary mortal would suppose that these
three would have afforded a sufficiently ample OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
277
field for the speculators. But no. A party
had just set off in frantic haste to Point Roberts,
on Semiamoo Bay, for the purpose of laying out
another city. Thus merchants seeking a " location " for business, and others seeking an investment, had, and still have, a wide and fertile field
to choose from—to say nothing of the weaker
rivals, Seattle and Steilacoom, which think " awful strong" of themselves. Victoria controls
the trade of the main river, but not entirely, as
a large number of canoes and boats were being
fitted out at Bellingham Bay, and took their way
up Frazer River from that point. The main
hopes of Sehome and Whatcom were based upon
their trail to Thompson River, which report said
bad just been completed beyond the Lake. So
confident were those concerned as to its success
that a large ferry boat was being built for the
purpose of plying across it, a distance of two
miles.
After reaching the summit of the trail, the
remaining road to be traversed before reaching
Thompson River is through an open country.
Those who had tried the trail spoke favourably
of it, and some had gone to California to procure THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
mules to pack on it. If their expectations are
realized, and the trail is practicable, they will inevitably, to a great extent, monopolise the trade
of Thompson River, so that there appeared to be
good chances for each of these places becoming
flourishing townships; as there is no doubt
but that there are thousands of square miles of
British Columbian territory, not to speak of treasures beyond the boundary fine, incalculably rich
in as yet undiscovered gold.
Already " dry diggings " were announced,
miles away from the rivers, in various places,
while along the ravines and gulches of the country, wherever found, quartz specimens of astonishing richness, evident signs of large beds,
were as frequently met with as nuggets. The
field open to gold mining enterprise will be
limitless, so that all the world — at least all
who come—may dig and feast, and at length
abandon the gold field heavily laden with its
spoils.
Then, again, there is the group of Queen
Charlotte's Islands, also indisputably rich in
gold as well as copper and other minerals, and,
like all gold countries, just as bourrtifully en- OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
279
dowed with the gifts of Ceres and of Flora, as
they are beautiful to look upon, and as their
clime is balmy. These islands, of which there
are three, lying close together, although popularly
confounded as one, possess an area but little less
than Vancouver, and are furnished with excellent
harbours; of these, Port Estrada on the north
coast, and Croft's Sound, a little to the westward
of it; Skitekis and Cummashawon on the north,
and Port Sturges farther south; Magee's Sound,
on the west or Pacific coast, and Port Ingram
on the north-west coast, are the principal. However, the light of British Columbia must needs
be dimmed before these islands can be seen to
shine.
Still the rush of civilisation to these hitherto but scarce or thinly-trodden lands will
develope resources hitherto unknown—will extend the empire of British domination, and the
spread of the Anglo-Saxon tongue, over regions
where the Indian is still a mighty family—over
territories hitherto unfrequented and scarce
known to civilisation and the world, but where
a motley yet a mighty throng now contend and
yearn for gold.    It is the giant infancy of a na- 280
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO ;
tion which has risen in a day, over which the
British banner proudly floats, the symbol of
strength and safety, of progress and enlightenment borne on the flying wings of time, and
which nation will one day,—and that not far
removed—glitter in the wealth and splendour
meet for the sovereign cities of the North Pacific.
The extensive gold fields which in all probability
will be found within the neighbouring American
territory, will, in their influence, both tend to
swell their triumph and enhance their greatness
by augmented wealth. I really felt it quite worth the passage-money
from New York, to see the rampant excitement,
and to watch the eager speculation going on
amongst the disordered community assembled
together at Victoria. There were individuals
who but two weeks previously had been plodding their way in San Francisco, tolerably well
satisfied with the profits of a small and legitimate
business, who now looked upon themselves, and
were looked upon by others, as millionaires.
They would tell you that they owned a thousand
or twelve hundred lots in the town of Esquimault—or Squimalt as  it was  pronounced— the new el dorado ;
which cost them but five dollars an acre but a
few days since — and which they now sold at as
many thousands per acre; and had any doubt
been expressed as to their being able to " realize"
as much for the remainder, they would favour you
with a smile of pity at your ignorance and want of
foresight. This sort of thing was highly amusing,
and afforded me considerable entertainment.
When I awoke on the fourth morning after
my return, I found an ex habitue of St. James's,
who slept in the same room with me, very busily
occupied at the table in drawing the plan of a
house which he proposed to erect forthwith on
one of the lots in whose ownership he rejoiced.
I asked him how much his lots had advanced
since he bought. " Two hundred and fifty
thousand," was the prompt reply, meaning so
many dollars—fifty thousand pounds. I thought
him luckier than I had been, and began to
regret "most awfully" my absence up river
during the best buying times.
However, I had six lots, three of which were
first class,—that is, well situated and worth any
amount of money, and the other three, yet to
be surveyed, might turn out equally well.    I OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
283
did not hope for much beyond, as land in
private hands was held at too high a price to
speculate in. The time for getting it cheap, as
I have already mentioned, had gone by, the half-
dozen lots, at a hundred dollars each, allowed
per man by the Company excepted. The real
estate panic was, however, higher than it had
ever been, and promised to become still more
mad and desperate with each succeeding week.
The individual who occupied the next bed to
me was " raising a brick windmill on the hill,"
and considered himself to be, taking into consideration that and other " specs," the richest
man in Victoria, and worth about a million and
a half of dollars.
I observed that the coloured people, i. e.
" niggers," collected here, many of whom
were " real estate" owners, conducted themselves in a manner rather bellicose than otherwise, which of course excited derision ; and
one of their number I heard attempted to
take his seat with white people at a boarding-
house table in town, but was expelled in a
manner as prompt and merciless as the style of
doing the thing was ludicrous.    The newly ap- mm
284
THE  NEW EL DORADO ;
pointed police of the place were   negroes, and
consequently heartily despised by the Americans.
Some enterprising individual opened a
butcher's shop in a canvas house on the open
space in front of the fort, and, as a reasonable
consequence, several others followed his example,—some, even, building houses, and the
whole space was very soon staked off into
claims. One morning, however, a notice made
its appearance on the gate-post of the Fort,
warning, or rather calling upon these appropriated of the land to quit it by noon on the
day following, by which time most of the tenements had disappeared, having been removed to
the outskirts.
I heard but little inquiry made as to the
richness of the " mines," as everybody took it
for granted that they were the richest ever
heard of; and that being a settled fact, they
were too much whirled in the maze of their
own exciting speculations to dwell long at a
time on the subject of the diggings. But diggers from California, who intended to become
diggers on the Frazer, arrived in half frantic
haste to ascend that river, and were only the
I OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
285
more madly impelled by the almost bewildering
reports of their prodigious yields and extent,
which came from every quarter. The news of
the dry diggings, discovered up a small stream
near Hunter's Bar, seven miles below Fort
Yale, as also of the Thompson and its tributaries, having been " prospected" for a distance
of a hundred miles from its mouth, and found
to be highly auriferous, seemed to fill them,
even these veterans of California, with the
wildest hopes of anticipated gain, and on they
rushed, pell mell, and eager after gold, by the
first vessel that had room for them.
It is not, however, as the reader is aware,
alone on Frazer River that gold exists, but
throughout the entire Cascade Mountains—a
fact demonstrated by actual discovery. Captain
McClelland, in 1853, while surveying the military road from Fort Walla Walla, on the Columbia River, to Fort Steilacoom, on Puget
Sound, through the Nachess Pass, found gold
in considerable quantities, his men making two
dollars a day, sometimes, with a pan. Still
later, gold was found in the vicinity of Mount
St. Helens, south of the Nachess Pass, by a Ill
286
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
small prospecting party from Oregon, but, from
some cause or other, nothing resulted from the
discovery. As early as 1850, information was
received from Indians that there was plenty of
gold on the Catlapoodle River, which reaches
the Columbia River some fifteen or twenty
miles below Fort Vancouver. In 1853, the
story was heard from the same Indians, that
there were three white men then on the
river making " hiyu" (much gold). About the
same time, there was a man who occasionally
"dropped in" at Fort Vancouver for a mule
load of provisions, mysteriously arriving and
departing in the night time, and so effectually
concealing his trail that it was impossible to
follow him. He might have been a trapper,
engaged in his pursuit; but he always had gold-
dust with which to pay for his supplies. There
was also at the town of Seattle, on Puget Sound,
well up twards Bellingham Bay, an old dissipated mountaineer, who used to talk confidentially to his immediate acquaintances of a
place near by, where he could get gold by the
pound. Nobody paid any attention to his yarns \
but that man used to make occasional hunting OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
287
excursions with his squaw—and he always returned with gold enough to pay for a " big
drunk"—a spree that would last for months.
So much for the country and the man.
In many respects British Columbia is not
unlike Northern California; and but little more
than a year since, auriferous deposits found in
pretty large quantities made the resemblance
still more marked, and created the wildest excitement among all the adventurers on the western
slope of the mountains from San Diego to the
mouth of the Columbia. The richest placers
seemed to He in the table land between the
Frazer and Columbia Rivers. For nearly two
centuries, as the reader is aware, the navigation
of these rivers, together with their tributaries,
and the bays, straits, or sounds into which they
flow, has been monopolised by the Hudson's
Bay Company; in addition to this, the company holds, under a tripartite tenure, all the
territory extending from the northern American
frontier to the Arctic Sea. Firstly, they hold
under license from the Crown the island of
Vancouver; secondly, the magnificent territory
extending from the Pacific to the Rocky Moun- THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
tains, now called British Columbia; and thirdly,
under their original Charles the Second's charter, the vast territories extending from the
Rocky Mountains to Hudson's Bay. The
Crown, of course, will resume occupation of
the land held under license expiring in May '59,
but the charter is a rather more difficult matter.
Mr. Roebuck, as one of the deputation to the
premier on the subject, represented that such a
policy should be pursued as would develop the
British possessions, and make a continuous fine
of populated and improved country from the
Atlantic to the Pacific as a counterpoise to the
rapidly-increasing preponderance of the United
States on the American continent. While,
he said, the Americans had increased from thirteen to thirty-six independent states, and from
a population of three millions to one of thirty
millions, the English had achieved nothing on that
continent; and while the border states, Minnesota
and Iowa, were filling up to the frontier, the
British had, on the other side, nothing but a
little colony on the Red River. This primitive
state of things he with justice attributed to the
monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company.    He OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
289
proposed that they should be dismissed at once.
If it was decided that they had a legal right to
remain, they should be paid for relinquishing their
right; if not, they should be dispossessed with*
out compensation.
Certain it is that the Hudson's Bay Company
have exercised an anti-civilizing influence in the
countries over which they presided. They have
also manifested, with regard to the enlightenment of the Indians, an apathy rarely to be met
with in this age of the world. I do not blame
them for this, as the result has been good. Still
it cannot be attributed to philanthropy on their
part, although unconsciously, in thus leaving the
aborigines to themselves, they were treating
them as well as was compatible with their own
presence amongst them. I ascertained at Victoria that no school, or means of instruction and
civilization, had ever been devised on the island,
and that even the chaplain of the island cannot
speak the native language. The result, however, is, that a Roman Catholic bishopric has
been there established, and that three or four
priests are actively engaged in puzzling these
primitive people into what they call a conversion BBS
290
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO;
to their faith. There are two schoolmasters on
the island, whose salaries are paid out of the
fund arising from the sale of land; but what,
and who, and where these gentlemen taught, I
was unable to ascertain during my short stay.
Still, at the present time, the Hudson's Bay
Company have proved themselves, although expensive, very useful agents in the establishment
both of the colonies of Vancouver and British
Columbia. They have, however, since the date
of their charter, reaped a harvest quite sufficient
to amply repay them for any service they may
have done the crown; and if, as appears to be
the case, according to law and license, the vast
proceeds of the present land sales at Victoria
are to entirely accrue to them, they will certainly
be rewarded beyond complaint at having to surrender those colonies, on the expiration of their
license in the month of May next.
On the 21st of the month, the day of the
boat accident, the first number of the Victoria
Gazette had been issued, the first newspaper
printed on the island. It is a Government organ,
and temporarily edited by the proprietor of the
San Francisco News Letter, who has been ap- OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
29
pointed printer, " by authority," to the Imperial
Government of her Majesty Queen Victoria in
Vancouver's Island, and who had already put
proclamations into type for the edification of the
Yankees, with the orthodox " God save the
Queen!" like a flourish of trumpets at the end.
In an edition of this paper, the first regular one,
published on the 25th, a return of the number
of miners' licenses issued up to that date was
given, viz. 1,000 at Victoria, and 300 at Fort
Langley; a remarkably small number, when
compared with the number of immigrants.
The issue of the Gazette woke up many of
the old Vancouver fogies, some of whom had not
seen a printing press in operation for years, and
others had never witnessed its performances even
on the limited scale of the journal in question.
They could not be expected, however, to take
in all the features of the new system in a day;
consequently, all the government announcements
and many private business notions of the attache's thereof were still only given to the public
in the shape of written placards on the Fort's
doors.
The trade of Victoria, if such it could be
o 2 202
THE   NEW   EL  DORADO;
called, was in a very curious condition, as perplexing   as   it was   unsettled   and   disordered.
Sometimes the Company's prices were slightly
above those of the few traders in the place, but
more often far below them.    When, for instance,
flour was selling at thirty-five and forty dollars
per barrel, large loaves of bread were furnished
at the Company's bakery at twenty-five cents
each.    I may observe that, although trade with
the interior of British Columbia was prohibited
by them, that no restriction upon such existed
on the island.    The company, however, being
out of supplies at the Frazer River Forts, and
nearly out of flour here,  it was expected that
they would be compelled to throw open the trade
very shortly, by sheer force of a pending famine
andconsequent clamour amongst the miners. Two
hundred pounds' weight only was now allowed to
be taken by each man going up river, and this included everything, so that miners were precluded
from taking a supply of more than two months'
provision with them.    In purchasing from the
company the buyers formed in a line, as at the
land sale, only presenting a more composed aspect, in front of one of the whitewashed buildings OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
293
of the Fort, which I have described in an earlier
portion of the work ; while in an office at the
upper end of it, an order was written by one of
the clerks, with a slow and serious certainty,
authorizing the store-keeper to deliver the required amount of pork or beans, sugar or tea, as
the case might be. On receiving this, the
favoured recipient rushed off to another building of the Fort, of the same size and shape as
the other, having a door and two windows on
the ground floor, and there took up his place
in the line, as at the first building. At length
the door would be reached. The party would
then present his order to a ruminating-look-
ing individual, opening it to the extent of
five inches, after which he would quietly shut
it again. After time had elapsed sufficient to
discharge a schooner, the desired articles would
be as quietly handed out through one of the
windows appointed for that purpose, and so the
methodical door opening would be repeated till
four o'clock, when the company's stores and
offices were closed, to be opened at ten a.m. on
the ensuing morning.
It was now the 27th of the month, and THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
June was in her pride, for more delicious weather
I had never experienced in any country. The
San Francisco steamer Republic had just arrived,
and the town was thronged with an additional thirteen hundred Californians. Most of them walked
across from Esquimault in preference to waiting
for boats to bring them round. I had a sight
of them on the road, and a curious and exciting
sight it was. The entire length of the road was
lined with them. They were all "packed," thatisj
they all carried more or less baggage across
their shoulders, and were all equipped with the
universal revolver, many of them carrying a
brace of such, as well as a bowie-knife. One
of the many curious sights visible in town after
the arrival was the spectacle of the Danish consul at San Francisco marching wearily up one
of the streets—Johnson Street—under the burthen of his blankets, and followed by a batch of
Chinese; but as to whether their efforts were to
be devoted to the washing of gold or of shirts,
I could not ascertain. I also recognised the
arrival of some notorious San Francisco "sharps,"
whose coming was by no means grateful to the
well-disposed.      Bellingham Bay had hitherto OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
295
been the point of destination for these gentry,
and, but for the uncharitableness of the wish, I
might have desired that it should have remained
so. I am afraid some of them will be almost a
" poser " for the worthy governor.
By the way, I heard a good story told of him
and a noted steamboat man of San Francisco,
who recently paid this region a visit. The
latter had been purchasing coal for his vessel of
the Company for eight dollars-a ton,and was about
proceeding to Nanaimo to obtain a supply. Just
before his departure, Governor Douglas, placed a
letter in his hands requesting him to see as a
particular favour that it be delivered to the
superintendent of the coal depot immediately on
the arrival of the steamer. The steamboat man
courteously agreed, and promptly delivered the
document. The contents turned out to be an
order to increase the price of coal to eleven dollars a ton, and as it was delivered before the
steamer coaled, the Governor had the steamboat
man " in the door."   Rather a sharp trick that !
This was the first occasion of the entire " cargo" of San Francisco passengers landing here,
and s,eemed to act as fuel to the burning fire THE   NEW  EL  DORADO ;
of popular excitement. Moreover, the steamer
Surprize had also just arrived from Fort Hope,
bringing reports of the most dazzling description.
The river was rapidly falling, and the yield was,
as a natural consequence, increasing, and was
expected to be prodigious; the present average
in some places being fifty dollars to the man
per day, and in others double that amount.
There was a Vancouver Indian, a passenger by
her, who had brought twenty-seven pounds*
weighff of " dust" and nuggets, slung round his
body in bags and belts, the produce of his own
digging, and there were several Americans and
Frenchmen also by her with even larger amounts
in their possession. The Surprize was to leave
again for Fort Hope on the day following—
people lived as much in a day here as they do
in a month elsewhere—and would take about
four hundred passengers, the balance of the number by the Republic having either to wait for the
steamer following, or to take boats and canoes,
that is, as many as could get them.
There was a popular impression afloat, that
it was unsafe for miners to leave this port in
their own boats,   (some of which were punty* OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
297
awkward-looking things of their own building,
and about as good imitations of coffins as of anything else), for the diggings, owing to the risk of
their being attacked by the Indians at points
where they might require to stop on the way, but
I rather think that the report originally emanated from the steamboat owners, who had perhaps looked forward to a paucity of traffic; men
were even reported to have been murdered at
these points; but I must say that, in spite of my
endeavours to refute or establish the veracity
of such, I was still left in doubt. I heard now
for the first time that the Surprize was boarded
off Point Roberts, near Fort Hunter, on her last
uptrip, by an armed boat's crew from the Satellite
stationed there, the vessel, however, being now
at Esquimault; when each passenger was compelled to show or to purchase a license, on
pain of being put ashore. This brought-to
the recusants, of whom there were many on
board, with something like a jerk; those who
had not the money accepted the loan of such,
for the miners will never see a man " dead
broke" without offering him assistance; the
others paid and  went ahead, with five dollars
o 3 THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
less in their respective pockets than on first confronting the " Man-o'war's-men."
The Republic was unexpectedly announced to
leave the next morning for Bellingham Bay,
just opposite the southern extremity of the island,
on American territory, from thence to proceed to
San Francisco, without returning as usual to
Victoria. At the latter place there were no
gambling houses; but on the American territory
at Bellingham Bay, Whatcom, and Sehome,gam-
blers and monte tables were in full play, and as
publicly as at San Francisco during the glorious
days of 'forty-nine, and until their nefarious
traffic was forbidden.
Now the real estate panic was at a high pitch,
and I was just as impatient to get to Europe as
the majority of the people were to get to the diggings, for I had a certain defined speculative
object in view, which I was anxious to realize. I
therefore resolved " instanter " to put my three
first lots into market and sell, and sell them I did
within three hours; one, a corner allotment, for
five thousand eight hundred dollars, the other
two, adjoining, to another party, a speculator,
for eight thousand dollars, who put them into
■Ml OR,  BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
299
the market at seven thousand dollars a lot immediately afterwards. The other three not being
yet located, I could not have sold save at a great
disadvantage. I therefore decided, and no doubt
wisely, to hold them over till after my return
from Europe, en route for which I how intended
proceeding by the Republic.
Accordingly, between eight and nine o'clock on
the following morning, I took boat for the steamer
lying at Esquimault, with a single valise, and my
opossum skin rug; the former I had left at a
liquor store on my first arrival, where it had
remained till my return from the mines ; it was
now heavy with gold dust and " big chunks"
of ditto, in making room for which I had to
" fling away " a pair of boots and sundry other
things appertaining to my travelling wardrobe.
Ten minutes after I had boarded her, the Republic was off with half-a-dozen cabin passengers
only, and these composed of San Francisco
merchants and miners returning for supplies.
The scenery around was highly picturesque.
Far away in the distance, and within the Washington territory, loomed loftily the giant forms
of Mount Baker and Mount  Rainer ;  white 300
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
nearer, the beautiful cluster of the San Juan
islands diversified the straits which rippled in the
glare of the noon-day sun, beneath the bold and
declivious shores of both Vancouver and the
main land.
On reaching Bellingham Bay,  the steamer
dropped anchor opposite Se'home, with What-
com lying a mile and a half to the right.   They
both wore a miserable, God-forsaken look.    As
a particular favour, I procured a place in the
purser's boat, and went ashore, landing beneath
the frown of an almost perpendicular hill, which
rising from the water, reaches to a considerable
altitude, being nearly as high as the well-known
Telegraph  Hill,   San   Francisco.      A jutting
. wharf had  been recently   built, at the extremity of   which,  there  is  a  water  depth   of
fifteen feet at low tide.    There were a dozen or
twenty wooden shanties only, on the site of the
proposed city, and I must say that the prospects
of the place appeared to be anything but bright.
In  fact, to   use  the  phraseology of the land
speculators, this place had   " gone in"   alike
with  Whatcom  and  several   other   " sound"
ports, which had been puffed by Bogus  (i.e. OR, BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
301
sham) News into a momentary blaze, and then
died out.
I went up on a waggon as far as Whatcom,
which I found to present a much more animated
appearance than at a bird's eye view I had been
led to suppose; the entire population, however,
wore an idle, drunken, and dissolute aspect, and
were as noisy and expectant of good things as
any set of eagle-topped boot wearers I had ever
seen. They all appeared to be waiting for something ; it was for the city to grow up, and with
it to swell their fortunes. I am afraid, however,
that they have since become wearied of the result.     Whatcom  lies under a bluff fifty feet
if
in height. From this bluff there stretches a
sand-flat for the distance of about two miles
before reaching deep water. This flat is dry at
low water, and on it they propose to build a
city. There will be an immense amount of
piling to do, and it will take years to improve
the place. The town consisted of about a hundred houses, chiefly wooden, and mostly occupied as stores, restaurants, and gambling houses.
There is a lake and river adjoining; the river
perpetually pouring a sheet of clear, soft water, 302
THE   NEW   EL  DORADO ;
into the bay, within the limits of the town.
This water is said to be cool and fresh during
the whole year. Millions of speckled and mountain trout dart to and fro in the waters of both
lake and river, some of them weighing eight,
but in general from one to four pounds. The
river or stream, which is the outlet of the lake,
is about five miles in length; the lake being
twelve miles long by a width of a mile and a
half. From the latter to the bay, there is a fall
of about a hundred and fifty feet, one hundred
feet of which consists of perpendicular cascades,
and the other fifty of rapids. Forty-two feet of
this fall is within one-fourth of a mile of the
town; and within half a mile from the latter,
sufficient fall can be obtained to water the whole
district. The scenery surrounding the lake is
highly picturesque and varied. To the northward is seen a mountain rising abruptly from
the water, something like the hill at Sehome,
and presenting a series of indentations and irregularities which contrast pleasantly with the gentle
sloping country to the westward, leading towards
the bay, and the diversified hills and valleys
which extend east and south, far as the eye can OR,  BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
303
carry, here and there sprinkled with cedar,
fir, and pine trees, which in giant form stand
with extended arms the seeming guardians of
the wilderness, and but to enhance its beauty.
There was a saw-mill, with two saws in
operation, near the town, driven by the " fall"
current of the river, which will furnish water
power sufficient to drive any amount of machinery which may be planted along its
course.
" Yes, sir," spoke a Yankee, addressing me
between two stray shots of "juice"—I speak
regardfully—and evidently in one of his most
transcendant moments of cocktail and julep inspiration. " The time is not remote when the
hum of machinery and the buzz of active
business life will resound along the river's lengthy
and awake the startled echoes which now slumber in the solitudes of Whatcom lake."
" You speak like a book, Mr.  ," observed some one standing by. The orator did
not deign to reply ; he had achieved a success,
and placing his back against the bar-room wall,
near Which he stood, turned over his quid with
a solemn look of majesty.     He felt that he had 304
THE  NEW  EL  DORADO;
uttered an oracle, and that was enough for him;
—he had triumphed over language and imagination ; and it was not until after he had unbound himself in a prodigious jet of—the reader
knows what—that   he consented to " liquor."
I could write a volume about this one man,
but I must return to Sehome and the steamer. I
ascertained here that the report which I had heard
at Victoria, as to the trail to the Thompson River
being completed, was false—a little more of the
bogus news. But it is no less likely that it will be
made practicable in the course of time, although
perhaps not to be much used. I returned with
some fellow passengers and the purser, by waggon
again to Sehome, within two hours of my having
landed there, and soon after getting aboard again,
the steamer drew anchor and was off.
From Bellingham Bay we took up half-a-
dozen more cabin and two steerage passengers; there were fourteen in all. After this,
we went ahead as fast as we could, hugging the
broken, rugged, and pine-clad shores, past the
eighteen beautiful headlands from Cape Flattery
to Point Reyes, towards the Golden Gate of
San   Francisco Bay, reaching the wharf at that OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
305
city at seven o'clock on the evening of the 3rd
of July.
The city of people were of course half-mad for
news; and when they heard the news, were still
more mad that no steamer was leaving that night
that would take them to the El Dorado. Extras
were at once issued from the newspaper offices,
and the whole place was in even a greater ferment than when I had left it, more than a month
before—all was bustle, tumult, and disorder, even
greater and more frantic than that which characterised Victoria. There was some slight murmur expressed when the amount of treasure
brought by the steamer was found to be so small,
twenty-five thousand dollars only, but this was
easily accounted for. In the first place the
miners had mostly carried with them from San
Francisco supplies of provisions and other necessaries sufficient to last from three to six months.
Consequently they would have no immediate
occasion to barter their dust for supplies — and
should they require to make small purchases,
would naturally prefer using the coin which they
took with them. In the next place the business of the country being exclusively in the hands 306
THE  NEW   EL  DORADO;
of the Hudson's Bay Company, all the gold
dust that was sold was purchased by that rich
monopoly, giving in exchange therefore goods,
which if bought in the San Francisco market,
were paid for not by gold dust, but by bills
drawn on London.
These bills are more convenient to the San
Francisco merchants than gold-dust, and in
the meantime the company quietly store up
the metal at Fort Victoria, shipping it from
time to time to England. Witness the arrival
in London, since my return, of the Princess
Royal, on the ninth of June, with an unspecified
amount of the company's gold from Victoria.
Thus it was that the newly-dug gold had been
kept out of circulation. In this respect the
British Columbian mines differ from those of
California, where everybody was unprovided with
" stock," and where everything bought was paid
for in -dust. Still, as the New El Dorado, in
spite of thus having, to use a scriptural simile*
its candle hid under a bushel, has blazed out so
vividly upon the world, it augurs well of its
surpassing richness and permanent wealth, for
gold, like merit, will, sooner or later, make itself OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
307
known, and both are sufficiently rich in their
own resources to emerge from and shine forth
as luminaries through any depth of cloud that
may for a time be heaped upon and obscure
them, for worth is but seldom left unappreciated.
The one is base, and " of the earth—earthy;"
the other is divine; for gold is a bauble, but the
spirit of intellect is sublime, and looketh down
upon Mammon and the children of Mammon
with an eye of pity—soaring beyond. Never-
theless, as the respective possessors of intellect
are living creatures, eating, drinking, and
sleeping, they have to invoke the aid of their
butchers and their grocers in the provision of
sustenance; and as these said butchers and
grocers have a due regard for money—witness
Jones's landlady—why, then it becomes a matter
of great convenience, — Experience whispers
absolute necessity—to have a little of the other
worth besides and beyond the intellectual. Consequently it is the happiest thing in the world,
next to love, when there is no mistake about it,
—and matrimony, when it is merely the seal of
such,—for a needy man suddenly to feel his
pockets full of money, and to know that there THE  NEW EL  DORADO J
is plenty more coming. How he can laugh and
enjoy himself, to be sure. All this has been
said to show that the two worths, gold and
genius, go much better together than alone, and
that it is much better and healthier for them to
shine in unison, than it is for the man of genius
to scorn gold, and the man of gold to mock
at the evils of disdainful genius.
I am becoming discursive; the chink of gold
brings me back again to San Francisco.
The next day being the anniversary of the
disunion of the United States from England,—
Independence Day, as it is familiarly called,
— there was much talking, feasting, and
rejoicing. Speeches were as plentiful as strawberries, but still all these things were subordinate to, and swallowed up by, the gold excitement. In the midst of everything, everybody
was dealing in Frazer River, either for goods
or passage; and so the Yankees delighted
themselves. On the next day I embarked on
board the steamer, Golden Gate, for Panama,
after renewing acquaintance with which dilapidated city I was jolted across the isthmus by
railway, and took steamer from Colon, or As- OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
309
pinwall, as the Americans call it, to the island
of St. Thomas ; after undergoing a transhipment at which place, and escaping the yellow
fever—let this not be confounded with the other
yellow fever—I was again
" O'er ocean onward borne,"
towards Southampton, at which port, to quote
commercial phraseology, I duly arrived in the
month of August.
I may here make allusion to the subject of
communication with our El Dorado. The Canadians, it is gratifying to observe, are already
alive to the necessity of direct communication
with the new gold regions. - They have a regular line of steamships from Toronto to
Fort William on the north-west coast of Lake
Superior, and a bill has been introduced in the
Canadian legislature for the construction of a
route from Fort William to the settlement at
Red River. This route will be nearly all by
water, and will avoid the round-about way by
St. Paul, thus saving eight hundred miles of
distance. Again; to another route. England
has but one secure  harbour accessible  at  all THE   NEW   EL DORADO ',
seasons of the year, on the Atlantic seaboard
of British North America, and that is Halifax
in Nova Scotia. But its natural resources and
advantages cannot be too highly estimated.
It is situated nearer to the British Isles by 400
miles than any other port on the continent, and,
whereas our Canadian harbours^ are blocked up
by ice during half the year, it is always open,
and moreover is the finest along the entire coast.
From Halifax to Quebec, through British territory, the distance is about 600 miles. There is
a railway, now making, over 170 miles of the
extent. From the latter place there is a direct
line of railway, stretching over five hundred
miles of Canadian territory to the shores of
Lake Huron. A short ship canal there connects Lake Huron with Lake Superior, and from
the railway terminus on the former lake to the
head of Lake Superior it is 500 miles distance.
From that on, via the Red River Settlement and
the valley of the Saskatchewan, which is navigable for a considerable length, to the head waters
of the Columbia River, in our new colony, is
about 1,200 miles further, and thence to the
mouth of the Frazer an additional 300 miles, OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
311
making in all, from Halifax to the heart of our
El Dorado, a little more than 8,100 miles, and
allowing 2,466 miles, the distance from Liverpool to Halifax, makes the entire journey about
5,600 miles. This, as the reader may judge
from the foregoing facts, appears to be a very
desirable line of route, being shorter even than
that by way of Panama; but whether, till the
construction of an overland railway across the
Rocky Mountains, it will take precedence of the
route from Canada direct, depends upon which
offers the earliest and best faculties for the conveyance of passengers. As for the regular
mails, it is likely that they will be sent by way of
Panama, vid the West India steamers, for some
time to come, although a large number of the
letters will no doubt be specially directed by their
respective writers to be sent by the other routes,
so that every steamer leaving for North America
will be likely to take British Columbia and Vancouver letters, as well as the vessels sailing direct
to those places.
As the reader is aware, Sir Edward Bulwer
Lytton announced that an offer had been made
by Messrs. Cunard to convey the mails, toge- 312
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO ;
ther with goods and passengers, from Liverpool,
through to Vancouver Island, within the space
of thirty-five days; most probably this was
meant to be vid New York. Now the only
great line of ocean way unoccupied by British
mail steamers is that between New York and As-
pinwall and Panama and San Francisco. This
route the Americans considered as peculiarly
their own, there being no British settlements
along its entire length. The discoveries of gold
in British Columbia, however, and the consequent rush that is taking place in that direction,
have entirely altered the aspect of the case in our
favour. It is not, therefore, likely that English
mails will be conveyed to British Columbia
in American bottoms. Mail packets must
be put on between Panama and Vancouver,
and as a matter of course other British packets
may run between New York and Aspinwall to
meet those packets. Glancing at another line
of route, from Southampton to Aspinwall, the
distance is 4,400 miles. As everybody knows,
it is only a forty-mile railway ride from the
latter to Panama, across the isthmus. From
thence to Frazer River is 3,800 miles, so that OR,   BRITISH   COLUMBIA.
QiO
the entire distance from Southampton to British
Columbia is but a little more than 8,200 miles.
Now the distance of Panama from New York is
2,300 miles, so that the latter city is 6,100
miles from the new colony.
If the steamers of the West India Company
were to proceed direct to Aspinwall instead of to
St. Thomas', and thence by inter-colonial steamer,
the voyage would be performed in sixteen instead of twenty-two days, as at present. The
whole of the mails along the south-western
coast of America, as a consequence, would be
accelerated. British steamers might run from
Panama to Vancouver in conjunction with
them, calling at Acapulco, Mazanilla, and San
Francisco on the way. The speculation would
certainly be remunerative. Two hundred thousand passengers, and forty millions of pounds
sterling in gold dust, were conveyed by the
American mail steamers between California and
Panama in nine years. This will give the uninitiated an idea of the enormous traffic between
these places, and which is now undergoing considerable augmentation.
The great trunk mail packet line between THE NEW EL  DORADO ;
England and Aspinwall has become one of great
and increasing importance, and no means should
be neglected to improve it. Not only is it our
only medium of communication from England
with the silver-mining districts of Chili and
Peru, but now with the great gold regions of
British Columbia. In all probability it will
very soon carry the monster Australian mails;
thus, with the line of British steamers already
traversing three thousand miles of coast as far
down as Valparaiso, it will have three immense
feeders.
This one to the left, the other to Vancouver
to the right, and the third straight ahead, will
extend nearly eight thousand miles to Tahiti,*
New Zealand, and the ports of Australia.
Submarine cables will ensure to us instantaneous communication with the cities at the Antipodes, and, for that matter, with the other great
places of the earth, as readily as now exists
between England and New England, thus comparatively annihilating the effect of distance.
How elevating and sublime is this victory of
man over the obstacles of Nature! We live
in an age of revolution; the things of our in- OR,   BRITISH  COLUMBIA.
315
fancy are being superseded by the superior
inventions, discoveries, and improvements of our
manhood; and ere the nightfall of age shall
have clouded our maturity, the giant Progress
will have entered upon a new and surpassing
era of enlightenment and civilization ! Truly
man is but of the dust; but how great are his
conceptions and achievements ! how massive his
handiwork! and how bold and courageous his
undertakings ! In his hands lieth the destiny of
the world !
The greater the march of discovery and improvement, the higher shall we ascend in the
scale of civilization and refinement. Superior
tastes will supersede our present ones; and the
squalid barbarism, vice, and infamy which now
lurk, revolting in their sin and hideousness, in
the hearts of our cities, will be swept away by
the purer morals, better organization, and higher
intelligence and refinement of the masses.
Then, also, will self-respect scorn hypocrisy, and
our social institutions and conventional barriers
become more suited to our mutual welfare. The
time is not far off for all this; the trumpet-call
p 2 316
THE   NEW   EL   DORADO.
has been already heard, and the march is just
begun.    Let us on !
Having thus spoken, my task is ended; and
British Columbia shines out upon the world—
another gem in the British crown—a land of
gold, and still more dazzling promise. AN   ACT  TO    PROVIDE    FOB.   THE   GOVERNMENT
Columbia.     2d August, 1858.
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 from
and after the passing of this Act to be named British
Columbia, 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 eolonists increased: be it
therefore enacted by the Queen's most excellent Majesty,
by and with the advice and consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, in this present parliament assembled and by the authority of the same, as
follows;
Boundaries of British Columbia.
I. British Columbia 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 "Cnited States of America, to the east by 318
APPENDIX.
the main chain of the Eocky Mountains, to the north by
Simpson's .River and the Pinlay branch of the Peace
River, 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 herein-after
excepted.
Her Majesty by order in council may make or provide for
the making of Laws for the government of her Majesty's
subjects and others in British Columbia.
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 and establish,
and (subject to such conditions or restrictions as to her
shall seem meet) to authorize and empower such oflicer
as she may from time to time appoint as Governor of
British Columbia, 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 ^nd enactment thereof respectively.
Her Majesty may establish a local legislature in British
Columbia.
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 to
authorize and empower such oflicer to constitute a legislature to make laws for the peace, order, and good go
vernnient of British Columbia, 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 in such manner and in for such pe
nods, and subject to such regulations, as to her Maiestv
may seem expedient. J    ^ APPENDIX.
319
Certain provisions of 40 G. 3, c. 138, and 1 and 2 G. 4,
c. 66, as regards British Columbia repealed.
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 of any civil
government of the United States, as the said courts had
or were invested with within the limits of the said provinces of Lower or Upper 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 the property committed or done within the same, should be and be deemed
to be of the same nature, and be cognizable 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 Act 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 APPENDIX.
o'the peace within such parts of America as aforesaid,
a * well within any territories thereto granted to the
company of adventurers of England trading to 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 authorize 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 authorize 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 fop
any felony made the subject of capital pnnishment, 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 cognizance
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, in every case of any offence
subjecting the person 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 such 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 British
Columbia 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 British Columbia, APPENDIX.
321
Appeals from judgments in Civil Suits to the Privy Council.
V. Provided always, that all judgments given in any
civil suit in British Columbia 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.
Vancouver's Island, as at present established, not to be included in British Columbia.
VI. No part of the colony of Vancouver's Island, as
at present established, shall be comprised within British
Columbia 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 legislature of Vancouver's Island, praying for the incorporation of that
island with British Columbia, by order to be made as
aforesaid, with the advice of her privy council, to annex
the said island to British Columbia, 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 Vancouver's Island.
Governor.
VII. In the construction of this Act the term " Governor," shall mean the person for the time being lawfully administering the government of British Columbia.
Act to continue in force until Dec. 81, 1862.    Expiration
of Act not to affect boundaries, Sfc
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: Provided always, that
the expiration of this Act shall not affect the boundaries 322
APPENDIX.
hereby defined, or the right of appeal hereby given, or
any act done or right or title acquired under or by virtue
of this Act, nor shall the expiration of this Act revive
the Acts or parts of Acts hereby repealed.
No. II.
letter from gov. stevens, congressional delegate from
washington, to mr. cass protest against the tax
on  miners history of the affair the form of
license extortions of the hudson's bat company	
the legal aspect of the qoestions involved.
Washington City, July 21, 1858.
Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State :
Sir,—I had the honour to inform you by my communication of May 18 and June 29, of the extensive immigration of American citizens into the British possessions
of New Caledonia, in consequence of the discoveries of
"gold placers" on Frazer and Thompson Pavers, and of
the obstructions which had been placed upon this immigration by Governor Douglas, acting as chief factor of
the Hudson's Bay Company, and as Governor of Vancouver's Island and its dependencies, and assuming
authority over the region in which the new "placers"
have been found.
The object of the present communication is to exhibit
to the government of the United States the enormity
and absolute illegality of the impositions placed upon
the citizens of the United States by the British authorities assuming to exercise jurisdiction over the whole
territory in which the late gold discoveries have been
made, and to ask the interposition of the government in
behalf of our citizens seeking to enter that territorv.
On the 28th of December, 1857, his Excellency James
Douglas, styling himself Governor of Vancouver's Island
and its dependencies, issued a proclamation declaring
that all mines of gold in its natural place of deposit
within the districts of Frazer River and of Thompson APPENDIX.
323;
Biver, belong to the crown of Great Britain, and that
no person will be permitted to dig, search for, or remove
gold on or from any lands, public or private (within said
district), without first taking out and paying for a license
in the form annexed.
The form of license annexed is as follows :
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 license must be produced whenever demanded
by me or any other person acting under the authority
of the government.
A. B., Commissioner.
On the 8th of May, 1858, Governor Douglas issued
the following proclamation:
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 Frazer 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 Frazer
River, or in any of the bays, rivers, or creeks of the said
British possessions on the north-west coast of America,. APPENDIX..
not having a license from the Hudson's Bay Company,
and a sufferance from the proper oflicer 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 of her Majesty's reign.
JAMES DOUGLAS, Governor.
By his excellency's command, Richard Golledge,
Secretary.
God save the Queen.
A copy of the sufferance referred to in the Governor's
proclamation follows:
GENERAL  SUFFERANCE.
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
 , 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.
RODK. FINLATSON.
Pro Hudson's Bay Company.
CONDITIONS OF SUFFERANCE.
1. That the owner of the boat does bind himself to
receive no other goods 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 APPENDIX.
322
license and permit from the government at Vancouver's
Island.
4. That the said owner also binds himself not to trade
with Indians.*
The first consideration presented is the effect of these
proclamations, provided they should be submitted to,
upon the enterprise of the citizens of the United States.
It is estimated by the most intelligent gentlemen of
the Pacific coast that not less than forty thousand persons will enter the " gold placers" of New Caledonia
within the present year. Nearly all these persons will
be citizens of the United States. The tax of twenty-one
shillings (sayfive dollars) per month upon these fortythou-
sand persons will amount in one year to two millions four
hundred thousand dollars. The consumption of provisions,
clothing, &c. of these men cannot be estimated at less
than thirty dollars per month, at the fair cost of the
supplies. If the Hudson's Bay Company should have
the exclusive right of furnishing supplies, they will receive from these miners the sum of fourteen millions
four hundred thousand dollars. But it is shown by evidence taken before the British Parliament, that this
company has been in the habit of charging for supplies
furnished to persons outside the company a profit of
from two hundred to three hundred per cent. These
supplies cannot be drawn from the present resources of
the Hudson's Bay Company, but must be obtained from
the state of California and the territories of Oregon and
Washington. So that in fact these states are compelled
to make the Hudson's Bay Company their factor for the
* The sufferance costs twelve dollars for a decked vessel, and
six dollars for an open boat. All vessels of every nationality
must take out this permit and pay these fees. No exceptions of
any kind are made in favour of British bottoms. The British
man-of-war, Satellite, is stationed to enforce the conditions of the
sufferance, the instructions to her commander, Captain Prevost,
being " to stop all vessels or boats of any description from entering (Frazer's River) without a permit." 326
APPENDIX.
Bale of their produce, and allow them all the profit from
the sale of goods to their own citizens.
This simple statement is suflicient to show that a
state of things exists in the newly-discovered gold regions which cannot be submitted to by American citizens, unless imposed by positive and imperative law.
I have no hesitation in declaring this opinion, that
these proclamations have been made without any legal
or binding authority which should be respected by the
citizens or government of the United Stfltes.
The two important questions presented are, the authority of the Governor of Vancouver's Island to impose a
tax of twenty-one shillings per month Upon every person
searching for gold on Frazer or Thompson Rivers, and
the right to compel all persons in those territories to
purchase their supplies from the Hudson's Bay Company. The first question which I propose to consider
is the right to impose the tax, and demand a license. -
It is well known that the right of the British crown
to all those mines which are properly royal, namely,
those of gold and silver, was anciently claimed as one of
its prerogatives. This had its origin, as Blackstone says,
"from the king's prerogative of coinage, in order to
supply him with materials." The reason for this prerogative mentioned by Blackstone is suflicient to show that
it can no longer exist. The materials for coinage have
not for centuries, and probably never will be furnished
by the working of mines by the crown. The foundation
for the prerogative no longer exists, " cessante ratione
cessat lex." This prerogative has been obsolete from
non use. It has never been exercised in the United
Kingdom. It has not been called in force in Ireland,
although considerable " placer washings" have been
worked there of late years. It has never been applied
on this continent.
The late discoveries in Siberia, California, and Australia, have shown that the most extensive deposits of
gold are not in mines proper, but are diffused through
the soil. Mines proper, in which it was anciently supposed gold was to be found, being entered by simple APPENDIX.
327
shafts, and developed by adits and levels beneath the -
ground, could be worked without disturbing the superficial soil. The enjoyment of the ancient prerogative of
the crown in the " gold placers" would be totally inconsistent with private rights in the soil, and from consideration of public policy cannot be exercised in such
" placers."
The crown undoubtedly possesses the right to prohibit
or regulate by law the digging for gold in its possessions,
just as it might prohibit or regulate by law the cutting'
of timber or using the soil; but in the absence of positive
law prohibiting such occupation and use, it is believed
to be the natural right of every man who enters a totally
unoccupied country, to cut timber and wood, to consume
the fruits of the earth, and gather all the products of the
soil, which have not before been appropriated. It is
believed that, while the jurisdiction simply of the British
crown over the territory of Frazer and Thompson Rivers
is not questioned, the crown has made no appropriation
of that territory by law, and has exercised no acts restricting the natural rights of man in a wild and unoccupied country.. Until the passage of such positive laws
by proper authority, every man possesses the right to dig
gold in that country, just as much as he has the right
to cut timber or appropriate the fruits of the earth.
It is further believed that the acts of Governor Douglas, before referred to, in no respect constitute a legal
and authorized prohibition to enter the gold-bearing
country of New Caledonia, and that his demand of payment of money for a license to dig gold is a high-handed
usurpation of power. •
Vancouver's Island belongs to a class of colonies called
Provincial Establishments. As Blackstone says : —
" Their constitution depend upon the respective commissions issued by the crown to the governors, and the
instructions which usually accompany those commissions,
under the authority of which provincial assemblies are
constituted with the power of making local ordinances,
not repugnant to the crown of England." I have been
unable to obtain a copy of the commission of Governor
p2 3;
28
APPENDIX.
Douglas,- or the instructions to the first governor. It is
clear that he could exercise no power which was not
conferred upon him by his commission and instructions.
But it is hardly conceivable that his commission and instructions should authorize him to regulate or license
the digging of gold in New Caledonia, a region far distant from his own territory, and especially when the
existence of gold in that country was not even suspected.
It is not pretended that any law regulating the gold-
digging of New Caledonia had ever been passed by the
General Assembly of the colony. Indeed, that assembly
had a mere nominal existence, so that the power to issue
these proclamations was not derived from them. Governor Douglas, it seems, had formerly claimed, under
his commission, the power, with the advice of his council
only, to pass such laws as he considered required by the
exigency of the time. I have before me a copy of a
despatch from the Right Honourable H. Labouchere,
Secretary of State of the imperial government, to Gover
nor Douglas, in which the Secretary sayi
It has
been doubted by authorities conversant in the principles
of colonial law, whether the crown can legally convey
authority to make laws, in a settlement founded by
Englishmen, even for a temporary and special purpose,
to any legislature not elected wholly or in part by the
settlers themselves. If this be the case, the clause in
your commission, on which you relied, would appear to
be unwarranted and invalid."
Granting the authority of Governor Douglas over
Vancouver's Island proper, there are strong reasons for
believing that his authority does not extend to the regions where the "gold placers" are situated. As I
stated to you in a former communication, he has always
declined to exercise authority over Indians on the main
land in British territory in his capacity of governor,
while he has consented to treat with them as chief factor
of the Hudson's Bay Company. A further reason for
believing that his authority does not extend to the main
land is the fact that the committee appointed by Parliament to consider the state of the British possessions in APPENDIX.
329
aw upon which
leloner to the
North America which are under the administration of
the Hudson's Bay Company, recommended that means
should be provided for the ultimate extension of the
colony of Vancouver's Island over any portion of the
adjoining country to the west of the Rocky Mountains
on which permanent settlement may be found practicable.
Assuming that the governor in his position as general
agent of the crown had the right to prohibit trespass
upon the property of the crown, it cannot for a moment
be pretended that, without express authority, he had the
right to demand money for licenses to appropriate the
crown's property.
The declaration of his proclamation is, that all mines
of gold belong to the crown. But the
he founds that doctrine states that thej
crown, not for general purposes of revenue, but for the
specific purpose of furnishing materials for coinage. No
agent of the crown has a right to authorize the diversion
of gold, the material of coinage, from the specific purpose to which the law appropriates it. In receiving
money for licenses to dig gold, he sells that which is not
his, and the crown, if it be the owner of the gold, as the
governor alleges, may legally confiscate every ounce of
gold dug under the governor's license.
The most aggravating circumstance connected with
this extortion is the fact, that the name and authority of
the crown are invoked, not for its benefit, but to fill the
coffers of the Hudson's Bay Company. The form of
license above quoted declares that the license-fee is paid
on account of territorial revenue. Governor Douglas is
not only the territorial governor of Vancouver's Island,
but the chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company.
In 1848, Vancouver's Island was granted to the Hudson's Bay Company, and that company assumed the
expenses of the possession of the island, and appropiated
all the revenues of the island. The territorial revenue
enters into the treasury of the company. The tax imposed upon our mines goes not to the crown, as is pre- APPENDIX.
tended, but to the company, who have not the shadow
of a claim to the territory where the gold is situated.
The next question which I propose to consider is the
more important one, of the right of the British autho-
to compel our miners and citizens entering the
gold regions in New Caledonia, to purchase their supplies solely of the Hudson's Bay Company, and to prohibit the passage of vessels except upon certain onerous
conditions.
The right to enter a foreign territory for lawful purposes' is claimed by all civilized nations. As Chancellor
Kent says:—" Every nation is bound to grant a passage
for lawful purposes over their lands, rivers, and seas, to
the people of other states, whenever it can be permitted
without inconvenience, and burthensome conditions
ought not to be annexed to the transit of persons and
property." He also says :—" As the end of the law of
nations is the happiness and perfection of the general
society of mankind, it enjoins upon every nation the
punctual observance of benevolence and good will as well
as justice towards its neighbours. This is equally the
policy and duty of nations. They ought to cultivate a
free intercourse for commercial purposes in order to
supply each other's wants and promote each other's prosperity. The variety.of climates and productions on the
surface of the globe, and the facility of communication
by means of rivers, lakes, and oceans, invite to a liberal
commerce as agreeable to the law of nature, and extremely conducive to national amity, industry, and happiness." I need not point out to you how utterly inconsistent with these principles are the vexatious
restrictions imposed by_the proclamations above referred to.
The right of trade with and entry into a foreign country, is called by lawyers one of imperfect obligation, and
is subject to the discretion of the government which
tolerates it. But it exists until forbidden or restrained
by positive and binding law.
I maintain that no positive law exists of binding
authority which forbids the free entry of persons and
HI APPENDIX.
33
goods into the British possessions on th
rth-west
coast.
Very vague and inaccurate notions popularly prevail
with respect to the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company
on the north- west coast. The company itself has given
currency to the opinion that it possesses by charter absolute territorial rights over the whole British possessions
NoU
can be further from
on the north-west coast,
the fact.
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 whole trade and com -
merce of all those seas, straits, baj's, 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 and 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 lands be
from henceforth reckoned as one of our plantations or
colonies in America, called Rupert's Land."
By reference to the best maps it will be seen that
" Rupert's Land" extends on the west only to the eastern
base of the Rocky Mountains. It includes none of the
North-west Pacific possessions.
The validity, even, of this charter has been seriously
questioned. Eminent lawyers have asserted that the
sovereign in the exercise of the prerogatives of the
crown may grant a charter, but that it has always been
held that no sovereign can grant to any of his,subjects 332
APPENDIX.
exclnsive rights and privileges without the consent of
Parliament,; and this charter having been so granted,-
the powers and privileges sought to be exercised under
it are illegal.
This was evidently the opinion of the Hudson's Bay
Company themselves as early as 1690, viz. twenty years
after the date of this charter. At that period they petitioned for an act to be passed for the confirmation of
those rights and privileges which had been sought to be
granted to them by charter. The act of the first of
William and Mary did legalize and confirm them, but
only for the period of seven years, and no longer. That
act of Parliament has never been renewed since it expired
in 1697 ; consequently the charter is left where it originally stood, and wholly unaffected by any conformity
act of Parliament.
The very foundation for the charter is a grant of territory presumed to have been made in the year 1670. It
las been maintained that as Charles the Second could not
grant away what the crown of England did not possess,
much less could he grant away the possessions of another
power, the very words of the charter excluding from the
operation of the' grant those identical territories which
the Hudson's Bay Company now claim. For at the date
of the charter, these territories were then actually in
possession of the crown of France, and held and occupied
by the Company of New France, under a charter granted
by Louis the Thirteenth of France, bearing date 1626.
These facts are presented not as bearing directly upon
the questions I have in view, otherwise than as showing a characteristic feature of the company in its illegal
and unwarranted assumption of privilege and power.
A controversy having arisen between the North-west
Company and the Hudson's Bay Company, and the difficulties having been adjusted, the former company was
merged in the latter, and on the 30th day of May, 1838,
the crown issued a grant or license to the Hudson's Bay
Company of the exclusive trade with the Indians in certain parts of North America for the term of twenty-one
yeais ;   the terms of the grant being as follows : —" We APPENDIX.
333
do grant and" give our license under the hand and seal
of one of our principal Secretaries of State, to the said
Governor and Company, the Hudson's Bay Company,
and their successors, for the exclusive privilege of trading
with the Indians in all such parts to the northward and
westward of the lands and territories belonging to the United States of America as shall not form part of any of our
provinces in North America, or of any lands or territories belonging to the said United States of America, or to
any European government, State or Power, but subject
nevertheless as hereinafter mentioned; and we do by
these presents give, grant, and secure to the said Governor and company and their successors, the sole and
exclusive privilege for the full period of twenty-one
years from the date of this our grant of trading with the
Indians in all such parts of North America as aforesaid.
On the 5th day of February, 1857, a select committee
was appointed by the British Parliament " to consider
the state of those British possessions in North America
which are under the administration of the Hudson's
Bay Company, or over which they have a license to
trade."
This committee having taken voluminous evidence,
reported on the 31st of July, 1857. In their report they
carefully waive all considerations as to the validity of
the charter, or the right to the monopoly of trade, and
confine themselves to the declaration of an opinion as to
the expediency of allowing the Hudson's Bay Company the privileges of exclusive trade which they now
possess.
The question as to the rights of the Hudson's Bay
Company, before the British Parliament, resolved itself,
as I have said, into one purely of expediency. That is
a question with which the American government has no
concern. But when the pretended rights of the Hudson's Bay Company are set up against American citizens, the government of the United States has solely
to consider the validity and legality of these pretended
rights.
p 3 APPENDIX.
Upon examination it will be seen that the only colour
of right of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Pacific
British possessions is that of exclusive trade with the
Indians. It is evident that the possibility of this country being opened to colonization or the enterprize of
civilized settlers was never contemplated by the British
government. The report of the committee of Parliament
declares this. They say, " that as to those extensive
regions, whether in Rupert's Land or in the Indian territory, for the present, at least, there can be no prospect of
permanent settlement to any extent by the European
race for the purpose of colonization. The granting of the
license had regard to such a supposed state of things.
Thore is nothing in the letter or spirit of the license for
exclusive trade with the Indians which justifies the exclusion of goods for the supply of European or American
miners and settlers.
It may, however, be urged that the free admission of
goods may indirectly interfere with the monopoly of the
Hudson's Bay Company.
It becomes, therefore, an important question to determine whether, by the laws of the British realm, such a
monopoly as has been granted to the Hudson's Bay Company can legally exist.
This question, it seems to me, has been absolutely determined by the famous statutes of monopolies passed in
the 21st of James First.
The provisions of this statute are mainly as follow:—
Be it declared and enacted by authority of this present
Parliament, That all monopolies and all commissions,
grants, licenses, charters, and letters patent heretofore
made and granted or hereafter to be made and granted
to any person or persons, bodies politic or corporate whatsoever, or for the sole buying, selling, mating, working,
or using of anything within this realm, &c, are altogether contrary to the laws of this realm, and, &c, are and
shall be utterly void and of no effect, &c.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, that all person and
persons, bodies politic and corporate whatsoever, which
now are, or hereafter' shall be, shall stand and be disabled APPENDIX.
3Q
oo
and incapable to have, use, exercise, or put in use, any
monopoly or any such commission, grant, license, charter, letters patent, proclamation, &c, or any liberty,
power or faculty, grounded or pretended to be grounded
upon them or any of them.
This statute has never been repealed or annulled. It
stands as a part of the common law of England, and
there can be no question that it renders totally void and
inoperative the license for exclusive trade granted to the
Hudson's Bay Company. This question would have been
undoubtedly determined by the courts of law if individuals had been found powerful enough to contend with
this wealthy company.
Chief Justice Draper, of Canada, in his evidence before
the committee of Parliament, says : — " With regard to
the exclusive license to trade (perhaps with the prejudice
which lawyers have in favour of their particular views),
I never could understand how it could be contended for
in a court of law for an instant. The exclusive license
to trade appears to me to be diametrically contrary to the
statute of James the First." (Referring undoubtedly to
the statute before quoted, although he does not cite it.)
" The only question, I think, which could arise upon it,
speaking always individually, would be whether or not
that statute applied to a colony, or was confined to a monopoly within the mother country. Assuming that it
was confined to a monopoly within the mother country,
it still, I think, would be open to a very fair argument
that it did apply to this company, because their charter
makes the seat of their government in England."
He further says, in answer to a question from Lord
JohnRussell—"Iunderstand youtogive a decided opinion
as to the monopoly of trade ?" " Upon that point I
have never entertained a doubt."
The simple question presented to the Department of
State, in view of the facts above presented, is this:—
Will the government of the United States suffer the natural rights of its citizens to labour and trade to be
'controlled and restrained by a company of merchants, the
legal existence.of whose rightB is hardly recognised by \3C>
APPENDIX.
the British government, and only so far upheld as they
are, from considerations of political expediency, but not
of law.
I beg leave to submit to the Department of State that
this is a question of no trifling importance to the Pacific
States and Territories of the United States. One quarter
part of the labouring element of the State of California
and the Territories of Oregon and Washington will be
diverted to .these new regions. The product of gold in
California and'the agricultural produce of Oregon and
Washington Territories will be materially diminished.
If the present restrictions are allowed, the gold of the
new regions, after paying enormous profits to the
British monopolists, will pass through their hands to
England without benefitting our own country or people,
The countries of California, Oregon, and Washington,
although furnishing all the supplies for the new gold
region, will be impoverished by the abstraction of their
own labourers, while the profits from the sale of supplies
produced in these American territories will be absorbed
by foreign monopolists.
The government of the United States must determine
whether it is consistent with its own self-respect and
its duty to its citizens, that this state of things should
continue.
In behalf of the citizens of Washington Territory,
whom I immediately represent, and further in behalf ot
the citizens of our whole Pacific coast, I would request
that the government of the United States should interpose with the British authorities for the removal of the
restrictions above referred to. And I further request
that this government demand the repayment of all sums
collected by the Governor of Vancouver's Island for
licenses to dig gold, and that it make reclamation for
the value of all vessels and cargoes confiscated in consequence of the proclamations of Governor Douglas, before
referred to.
In conclusion, I would say that I have no hesitation in.
expressing my opinion upon the legal questions involved
in this paper, as I have been aided in their investigation
Jl APPENDIX.
33^
by the professional advice of my friend, John L. Hayes,
Esq., counsellor at law of this city, to whom I am happy
to express my obligation.
I have the honour to be,
Very respectfully, &c.
ISAAC J. STEVENS,
Delegate to Congress from Washington Territory i
TREATr MADE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT
BRITAIN IN BEQABD TO LIMITS WE8TWABD OP THE
BOCKY  MOUNTAINS,   JUNE   15,   1846.
Art. 1. From the point on the forty-ninth parallel of
north latitude, where the boundary laid down in existing
treaties and 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 shaR 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
Q 338
APPENDIX.
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 settled
upon between the parties.
No. III.
DESPATCH   FBOM   WASHINGTON.
The " New York Times" has the following despatch
from Washington :—
The Government is perfectly satisfied that the steps
taken by Great Britain will prevent any collision or
misunderstanding- between the miners and the Government authorities at the newly-discovered gold-diggings
in New Caledonia. It is an interesting fact, never yet
made public, that the Hudson's Bay Company have for
some time been anxious to sell to the United States all
their rights  and interests under the treaty of 1845. APPENDIX.
339
Under the provisions of this treaty this company own
and hold a number of forts, posts, and trading-houses
situated in the territory of the United States; also large
stocks of horses, sheep, and cattle. Lord Napier, the
British Minister, was authorized by the company to sell
them to the United States for the sum of six hundred
thousand dollars. Several meetings wore held at the
State Department on the subject, but without a sale
being effected. According to the testimony of General
Lane and Governor Stevens, the sum named was very
low for the property proposed to be transferred. The
stock alone, they stated, would bring at auction one-half
the price named. The Secretary of State was favourable to the purchase, but he much doubted the disposition of Congress to make the necessary appropriation.
As things now stand, in order to avoid a complication
of our matters with the Hudson's Bay Company, the
Secretary of State may close the contract, provided the
offer is still open, and provided, further, Congress wil
make the appropriation to meet the payment. It is
essential to the peace and good understanding of the two
Governments that this interest of the Hudson's Bay
Company on our side of the line be extinguished. The
popular impression, however, that this company is unfriendly in its feelings towards our people is entirely
erroneous. In 1855, when the people of Oregon were
engaged in a bloody Indian war, and could not obtain
supplies from any other quarter, this company furnished
them with provisions and ammunition at a low price
and on time. They have always endeavoured to keep
down Indian disturbances, and have frequently furnished
important information to the Government authorities.
Another Washington correspondent writes:—
At the instance of Governor Stevens, of Washington
Territory, our country, through Mr. Dallas, called the
attention of the British Government to the apprehended
difllculties with the Governor of Vancouver's Island in
arresting the passage of our citizens into the gold regions.     The British Secretary of  State for Foreign
a 2 APPENDIX.
Affairs, Lord Malmesbury, promptly responded, and I
am permitted to lay his lordship's reply before the
readere of the " Times:"—
"Foreign Office, June 17, 1858.
" The undersigned, her Majesty's Principal Secretary
of State for Foreign Affairs, has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note which Mr. Dallas, Envoy
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United
States of America, addressed to him on the 13th inst.,
calling the attention of her Majesty's Government to the
obstructions which it is apprehended may be offered by
the Governor of Vancouver's Island to the passage of
citizens of the United States to the districts of British
Oregon, where gold is reported to have been found.
"The undersigned begs leave to assure Mr. Dallas
that the subject of his note shall receive immediate
attention, and that her Majesty's Government are, on
their part, disposed, as far as they can properly do so,
to deal liberally with any citizens of the United States
who may desire to proceed to that quarter of the British
possessions. But her Majesty's Government must necessarily ascertain, in the first place, how far the charter of
the Hudson's Bay Company bears upon the question,
and then generally from the law officers of the crown
whether any legal considerations require attention on
the part of her Majesty's Government in connection with
this question.
The undersigned has the honour to renew to Mr.
Dallas the assurances of his highest consideration.
" Malmesbubt.
I G. M. Dallas, Esq., &c." #c
APPENDIX. . 341
No. IV.
COPIES OB EXTBACTS OP 0OBBESP0NDKNCE BELATTVE TO THE
DI8COVEBY OP GOLD IN THE FBAZEB's BIVEB DISTRICT, IN
BBITISH NOBTH AMEBICA.
No. 1.
Copy of a Despatch from Governor Douglas to the Right
Son. Henry Labouchere, M.P.
(No. 10.) Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
April 16, 1856.
(Received June 30, 1856.)
(Answered. No. 14, August 4, 1856.)
Sib,
I hasten to communicate for the information of
her Majesty's Government a discovery of much importance, made known to me by Mr. Angus McDonald,
clerk in charge of Fort Colville, one of the Hudson's
Bay Company's trading posts on the Upper Caledonian
District.
That gentleman reports, in a letter dated on the 1st
of March last, that gold had 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 21. to SI. 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 military 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 APPENDIX.
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 leaving the field free
and open to any persons who may choose to dig for
Id.
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 Bight Hon. Hen. Governor.
Labouchere, &c. &c.
No. 2.
Copy of a Despatch from the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere
to Governor Douglas.
(No. 14.)
Sib, Downing Street, August 4, 1856.
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 conceive 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 APPENDIX.
343
with full and regular accounts of any event of interest
or importance which may occur in consequenee of this
discovery.
I have, &c.
(Signed)       H. LABOUCHERE.
To Governor Douglas,
&c. &c.
No. 3.
Copy of a Despatoh from Governor Douglas to the Right
Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P.
(No. 28») Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
Oct. 19, 1856.
(Received January 14, 1857.)
(Answered, No. 5, January 24, 1857.)
Sib,
1. I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt
of your Despatoh, 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 subject of 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 APPENDIX;
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
lately taken place 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 those reports ; though, on the other
hand, there is no reason to discredit them, as'about 220
ounces of gold-dust have been brought to Vancouver's
Island direct from the Upper Columbia, a proof that the
country is at least auriferous.
Erom the successful result of experiments made in
washing gold from the sands of the tributary streams of
Fraser's River, there is reason to suppose that the gold
region is extensive, and I entertain sanguine hopes that
future researches will develop 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, Governor.
The Right Hon. H. Labouchere, &c.
No. 4.
Copy of a Despatch from the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere
to Governor Douglas.
(No. 5.)
Sir, Downing Street, January 24, 1857.
I have to acknowledge your despatch (No. 28) of APPENDIX.
345
the 29th October, 1856, relative to the discovery of gold
in the Upper Columbia River district.
I have, &c.
(Signed) H. LABOUCHERE.
Governor Douglas, &c.
No. 5.
Copy of a Despatch from Governor Douglas to the Right
Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P.
(No. 21.)
Victoria,
Sib,
Vancouver's Island, July 15, 1857.
(Received, September 18,1857.)
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
49th 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 Frazer's 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 those 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 has been interposed through the opposition of
Q 3 346
APPENDIX.
the native Indian tribes of Thompson's 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's River, both from a desire to monopolize 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 Uuited 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, Governor.
The Right Hon. H. Labouchere. &c. APPENDIX.
347
No. 6.    I
Extract of a Despatch from Governor Douglas to the Right
Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P., dated Victoria, Vancouver's Island, December 29, 1857. (Received March 2,
1858.)
(No. 35.)
Since I had the honour of addressing you on the
15 th of July last, concerning the gold fields in the interior of the country north of the 49th parallel of latitude,
which, for the sake of 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 findings
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 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
6th 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 whc
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 be attracted thither with the return of
the fine weather in spring. 348
APPENDIX.
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 misrule.
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 measures 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 Frazer's River and Thompson's River
districts, within which are situated the Couteau mines j
and forbidding all persons to dig or disturb the soil in
search of gold
her
until authorized on that behalf by
Majesty's Government.
I herewith forward a copy of that proclamation, and
also of the regulations since published, setting forth the
terms on which licences will be issued to legalize 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
radually 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 en- APPENDIX.
349
force 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 the course of the coming spring or summer,
for the purpose of enquiring into the state of the country, and authorize 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.
Enclosure 1 in No. 6.
Proclamation by his Excellency James Douglas, Governor
of Vancouver's Island and its Dependencies, Sfc.
Whereas by law all mines of gold, and all gold in its
natural place of deposit, within the districts of Frazer's
River and of Thompson's River, commonly known as the
" Quaatlan," " Couteau," and " Shuswap " countries,
whether on the lands of the Queen OT of any of her
Majesty's subjects belong to the crown.
And whereas information has been received by the
government that gold exists upon and in the soil of the
said districts, and that certain persons have commenced, or are about to commence, searching and digging for the same for their own use, without leave or
other authority from her Majesty.
Now, I, James Douglas, the Governor aforesaid, on
behalf of her Majesty, do hereby publicly notify and
declare that all persons who shall take from any lands
within the said districts any gold, metal, or ore containing gold, or who shall dig for and disturb the soil in
search of gold, metal, or ore, without having been duly
anthorized in that behalf by her Majesty's Colonial
government, will be prosecuted, both criminally and
civilly, aB the law allows.
And 1 further notify and declare that such regulations
as may be found expedient will be prepared and published, setting forth the terms on which licenses will be
issued for this purpose on the payment of a reasonable
fee. 350
APPENDIX.
Given under my hand and seal at Government Office,
Victoria, this 28th day of December, in the year of our
Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven, and in
the twenty-first year of her Majesty's reign.
(Signed)       JAMES DOUGLAS, Governor.
By his Excellency's command,
(Signed)       Richabb Goiledge, Secretary.
God save the Queen.
Enclosure 2 in No. 6.
Government House, Victoria, December 29, 1857.
With reference to the proclamation issued on the 28th
of December, declaring the rights of the crown in respect
to gold found in its natural state of deposit within the
districts of Frazer's River and of Thompson's River, commonly known as the Qua&tlan, Couteau, and Shuswap
countries, his Excellency the Governor, has been pleased
to establish the following provisional regulations, under
which licences may be obtained to dig, search for, and
remove the same.
1st. From and after the first day of February next,
no person will be permitted to dig, search for, or remove
gold, on or from any lands, public or private, without
first taking out and paying for a license in the form
annexed.
2nd. For the present, and pending further proof of
the extent and productiveness of the gold deposits, the
licence fee has been fixed at 10s. per month, to be
paid in advance ; but it is to be understood that the rate
is subject to future adjustment, as circumstances may
render expedient.
3rd. The licences can be obtained at Victoria, Vancouver's Island, until a Commissioner is appointed by
his Excellency the Governor to carry those regulations
into effect, and who will be authorized to receive the fee
payable thereon.
4th. Rules adjusting the extent and position of land,
to be covered by each licence, and for the prevention APPENDIX.
351
of confusion, and the interference of one licence with
another, will be regulated by the said Commissioner.
(Signed)       JAMES DOUGLAS, Governor.
By his Excellency's command,
(Signed)        Rick abb Golledqe, Secretary.
No. 7.
Copy of a Despatch from the Governor of Vancouver's
Island to the Right Hon. H. Labouchere, M.P.
H
(No. 1.)
Victoria, Vancouver's Island, January, 22, 1858.
(Received March 15, 1858.)
IB,
1. With reference to the Proclamation and Regulations legalizing the search for gold in the districts of
Frazer's River and Thompson's 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