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The settlers of Vancouver Island: a story for emigrants Ellison, W.G.H. 1908

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Array  The Native Indian Canoe.
The  Prospectors Crossing a Rivi THE  SETTLERS
REV.   W.   G.   H.   ELLISON. THIS story is written with the object of encouragement
and instruction to emigrants who are proposing to
settle in Canada. The writer has experienced all the vicissitudes of a settler's career, and his sketches and heroes are
taken from life, such as he has seen them in the Far West, during
eighteen years of residence in Canada. Hitherto the Government of Canada, have admitted freely all who desired to
become citizens. But recently Alien and Immigration Laws,
have placed restrictions, which it is expected may from time
to time be increased. These restrictions were a matter of
necessity, to prevent Canada becoming the dumping ground
for the undesirable people from Europe. They should
deter none who are willing and able, and are determined to
succeed. Assuredly there is no better opportunity than the
present time for the youthful of both men and women and all
classes, who desire to improve their conditions, or enter upon
new conditions of life; and have the courage and grit "to go
West," to the land of the future, and the home of the free.
The Canadian Continent will in the next decade be finding
increasing work in Agriculture, Timber, Mining and Manufactures for numbers of her own people, and for many from other
nations, and she has room in her vast domain for 200,000,000
people, who are active workers and adaptable citizens of the
New World. The prophetic words of Canada's Premier, Sir
Wilfred Laurier, are already beginning to see their fulfilment:
"The Twentieth Century is Canada Century, as the
nineteenth was that of the United States." It seems probable
that the eldest daughter of the Imperial Empire may become
the most populous, virile, and loyal section of the Federated
* States of the British Realm. To have a share in that epoch-
making period of the world's history in a new Continent, to
enjoy its blessings and promote its interests, is worthy of our
highest effort.
;. Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate,
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait." THE
By Rev. W. G. H. Ellison.
/^^N board an outgoing steamer from Liverpool, bound for
^-^ a Canadian port in the year 1890 were four young men
who were emigrating to the new world in the search of a fortune, or at all events a livelihood. These boys had no particular
prospect in -remaining at home and their relations had wisely
not stood in the way of their going to the colonies. Their
parents had encouraged them with the idea of making a home
for themselves in a British colony across the seas.
It is the purpose of this book to record what befell these
young sons of the Empire, to describe the conditions of their
colonial life, and to give the details of how success can best
be achieved by those who go to the colonies in search of a
li/ing, and a home. It is not every one who is imbued with the
ambition or indeed are all fitted for a rough colonial life, which
needs all the grit and determination that a man is capable of to
face both the hardship and lonesomeness which such a life
frequently entails. A man's courage is often tested to the utmost
as to whether he will endure what Providence sees fit to
send, especially in the first stages of a settler's life. The broad
bosom of the Canadian Continent affords ample room, both in
city and country life, for all the opportunities that a man
requires to advance himself; it is also the scene of numerous
adventures such as we describe in these pages. The land is
still for the most part open and free, and much of it unexplored.
For those who find life in civilised centres or in the older
country too slow and conventional, or offering but little
prospect of advancement, who feel themselves actuated by the
desire to be free and get out of the crowd, and are looking for 4 THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
a living in closer contact with mother nature, or in a simpler
life, there is no better field for their energy than the emigration
to one of the colonies under the British flag, of which the
British Empire offers so large a choice. The Dominion of
Canada, as being the nearest and most extensive both in area,
and the amount of its raw productions, for some years at all
events will continue to be the chief field for emigration of people
from the United Kingdom and Europe. The spirit of the British
race to go and conquer and to settle, has in these recent years,
and particularly so in North America, shown itself capable of
developing itself into the peaceful paths of agriculture, in which
most of the people of the Dominion are now engaged. New fields
of commercial enterprise are continually coming to the front, as
the country developes, and we may look for a still greater
migration of suitable people from the old worked out countries
to the new virgin lands of the West. The British colonies
may be looked upon as the great outlet for the superfluous
population, stagnating amidst the congested conditions of the
United Kingdom, as such the colonies are becoming more
important every year, as they develop and expand. It will not
be long before the colonies of Greater Britain will vie in
numbers, and correspondingly in importance by reason of their
natural wealth, with the mother land of Britain. Another
century at all events will probably see Canada exceeding in
population in numbers the United Kingdom, and sharing with
her the sphere and importance of Empire Rule. There may
still be a vast field left for future development in these lands
across the sea, when the old country either remains stagnant,
has reached her zenith, or is on the decline. In that case it
will be a consideration what Greater Britain shall say in the
Imperial Parliament of a Confederated Empire, which may
affect the interests of the British Empire and the world, provided only that she remains as at present, one people with a
United Front.
At present there is no signs of divergence, a loyal feeling
beats both at the heart of the Empire and throughout the
colonies and especially so in Canada. In the mean while there
is ample opportunity for all at the present time, in these lands THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 5
beyond the sea; and those who are youthful and vigorous, and
do not shirk hard work, with the prospect of a successful
issue, should look well into the matter, and see whether they
have not the call to go forth, and do or die, as settlers as
well as soldiers in behalf of their country, and as citizens in
behalf of themselves and their families, in the Greater Britain
Over-the-sea. In lands which are but Provinces of the Empire
—and which commercial enterprise has brought so near.
The nation should be proud of the fact, that during the last five
years, over five million of British-born subjects, mostly in the
prime and vigour of life, have gone forth from the United
Kingdom to settle in British colonies : that during 1907, Canada
received over three hundred thousand emigrants, one hundred
and fifty thousand of whom came from the United Kingdom.
A large proportion of these people are making permanent
homes for themselves in this new Continent; are helping
to build up the British Empire abroad, which will eventually
strengthen the Empire at its heart. A Confederated group of
nations, linked together by the bond of unity, founded on
British justice and order, and bound together by the ties of
political commercial union, as well as those of patriotic feeling
and loyalty, may mean the salvation of the British Empire
when the hour of trial comes. Let it be clearly stated, that
when a person, British born, emigrates to another section of
the British realm, in a new Continent, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, he does not lose his heritage as a British subject, but
becomes a citizen of the Empire, and as such his responsibility
is increased, and the sentiment of patriotism and loyal feeling
is as strong in Canada, as it is in any other part of the British
Empire. And it is a heritage with traditions worth holding
and sealed in blood.
The young men who formed a party of emigrants, bound
for Canada, were a good sample of those who go abroad
to the colonies, and who help to build the Empire. George
the eldest, was twenty-five years of age, Edward, who was
nearing twenty-two, and two brothers, Charlie and Jack aged
respectively eighteen and nineteen years. They had all been
friends at school, and more or less understood each other's 6 THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
tempers and ways. After reading much literature on emigration now so industriously distributed by agents and others, and
much discussion amongst themselves, these youths had agreed
to form a co-operative company, with a view to taking up a
prospect in the Far West. They were fired with the ambition
to do something for themselves and others who might be
dependant on them, and felt that what others had succeeded
in doing, might fall also to their share. A whole winter
had been spent in discussing ways and means, and the
prospect in different colonies, and when the selection was made
for the Pacific coast of Canada, British Columbia, which was
to be the scene of their future labours, they felt happy in the
choice. After the tickets by sea and rail had been taken, their
cash in hand amounted to a hundred pounds a piece, in which
they might have considered themselves so much a head of many
others, many of whom go to the colonies with only a ticket and
a £5 note in summer and £10 in winter, without which the
Dominion Immigration authorities in Canada do not allow
emigrants to land.
There is always strength in numbers, and when they
are governed by harmonious feelings, each considering the
interest of the others, this is the first prospect of success.
That our party of four were men of this type, and early
realised their responsibility to each other and remained loyal
to their party, was perhaps the secret of their success, as it is
the purpose of these pages to show.
The first experiences in crossing the Atlantic are not happy
ones, for those who are making a fresh start there is a feeling
of lonesomeness. Apart from the feeling of parting from the
friends we have been associated with, and the land which will
always have a soft spot in our memory, it is our heritage, our
native home, to which we are saying "farewell." In our wanderings we shall look back upon it from time to time as the green
spot in our lives, and shall in later years return to visit, perhaps
under more prosperous circumstances, with deepened emotion.
At no time does the emigrant feel the parting so much as when
in a crowded ship, and amid the sea sickness of the first few
days out, he begins to feel regret that he ever left his native - THE  SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 7
shore- It is at such times that companionship even in suffering helps the association of friendship, and the strength of a
co-operative party is felt, and friendship does her kindly work.
It will be much more a source of comfort and strength, when
perhaps home sickness comes upon the wanderers, a disease
indeed that will strike all emigrants, in the oft lonesome conditions, misfortunes and troubles that -they must meet with in
their sojourn in a new land, when at first as new arrivals
they are known as green hands, or " chicha9oes," a term
applied to pew comers in Canada. It will not be long,
however, before the fresh experience, the new life, the fresh
invigorating sea air enthuses the traveller with real life.
The surroundings of even a crowded emigrant ship become a
matter of discussion, in which the merits of each line of
steamers crossing the Atlantic are made the subject of comment amongst those who are old campaigners. When later on
a concert or athletic sports begin to fill up the vacant days,
§ Life on the Ocean Wave " leaves a memory of a happy time,
in which the traveller met with happy associations not easily
forgotten, and perhaps friendships are formed that may last a
life time. The wise youth is he who uses this opportunity to
obtain information from those he meets with, who may know
something of the land of his adoption, and are willing to give
of their knowledge to help the new comer on his way.
It is always a problem to decide who among a mixed crowd
of emigrants that throng the decks of a steamer, are likely to
be successful ones—the winners. We may be certain that those
who show willingness and adaptability stand the best chance in
this new world, which in many respects differs widely from the
older countries of Europe. Merit and character will tell—for
all the people are on equal footing. They stand at the foot of
the tree. The ne'er-do-well, the careless, and the man about
town, sometimes the remittance man, are often the source of
disaster, both to themselves and others, usually due to intemperance, a fatal vice in a mixed community. Such stand a good
chance of being returned, either at once or later on, by the
Immigration Officer, who investigates the antecedents of each
individual   on   landing.     The   Immigration   Laws   are   now 8 THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
thoroughly enforced and frequent temporary restrictions are
imposed. No emigrant is allowed to land on Canadian soil
unless he can show a clean bill of health, which applies as much
to his character as to his physical health, and in addition can
show means enough which will enable him to hold out until he
can find work. During the winter months the work is very
uncertain and limited, and a new comer who arrives in the
autumn may probably have to wait to spring before he strikes
his first work—hence the disirability of enforcing the Immigration Acts which empower the Commissioner to deal with all
cases, as he thinks fit, and he has supreme control in these
The parties who desire to emigrate to Canada would do
well to apply to the Dominion Commissioner in London, and
get his signature before starting out on their travels, and then
they will meet with no disappointment, and probably be placed
in good standing as citizens of their adopted country. There
are also local Government Agents in all parts of Canada, whose
work it is to aid new comers and report on their cases.
Great interest is attached to the first sight of land, as the
vessel nears the coast. The journey of a thousand miles from
Cape Race, and up the St. Lawrence river has long been looked
upon as one of the most entrancing and interesting journeys
in the whole world. The Canadian may well be proud of this
entrance to the new world, and the beauty of its scenery which
greets the visitor to the unknown land which he is about to
enter. If it should prove a bright sunny day in spring when
the warmth of the genial sunshine makes the " dolce far
niente " on deck a pleasure, the view along the banks of this
longest navigable river in the world is one of the most enchanting. One desires to know what lies beyond that line of low
mountains that borders the coast and river, and its great
possibilities are hid from our eyes. The French Canadian
villages, each with its church, dome or spire pointing heavenwards teaches the lesson of a religious people, who have made
this country what it is. The French Canadians are the best
and proudest alien people who are content to be loyal under a
British flag, which has left them the free use of their language, «c THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 9
religion, and customs, as is the policy and the secret of the
successful issue of our British Government all over the world.
One cannot forget that the Empire of France once held
the proud position at this gateway of Quebec, the entrance to
the new world, and relinquished it one hundred and fifty years
ago to the hands of English conquest, and to-day it is the union
of two peoples and races that is most sought for, and is
demanded, in this development of Eastern Canada. This
twentieth century will see the amalgamation, not only of the
British and French entente cordiale at home and in the colonies,
but also that large mass of mixed races and tongues and
peoples, who are at present pouring into the North West
territories, who are content to use one common English
language, and submit in loyal devotion to the British flag,
which stands for freedom, justice, and righteousness!
The origin of the word Canada, by which the northern half
of the continent of America is known, is uncertain. In explanation it is said that the Spanish who were the first explorers
who are known to have landed in the valley of the St. Lawrence
called that part " Aca Nada," which in their language means
nothing here.
There is also an Indian word Kanatha, meaning a collection
of huts, that was used by the Quebec Indians, for the purposes
of description, when conversing with early settlers, which
appears to have been applied to the country. A more likely
explanation appears to be the old Spanish word for a valley or
gorge. The well-known term which is used for the Valley of
the St. Lawrence, Tiera de la Canada, which is made to apply
to the great valley of the Atlantic coast, and hence to the
continent known as " The Dominion of Canada." A vast lone
land, but to-day sparsely scattered with a mixed people
budding into a nation.
Our travellers landed in Montreal in the early spring of
the year, the snow still lay on the ground, as they commenced
their long seven days' journey across the continent by the
Canadian Pacific Railway, which links the Atlantic and Pacific
coast (3,000 miles by rail). And what a journey it is of wild
country, rolling  plains,  rocky  mountains,   rivers,  lakes,  and m
forest! This journey alone is calculated to do more to open
the mind, and the intelligence, than any amount of study from
books. It is well called the grand voyage. In such a journey
we have a panorama impressed upon the mind of the youthful
emigrant which he can never forget. Contrasting it with the
old country, and its thousand years of civilization and development, its present congested conditions, in the midst of its poverty
and wealth; and then this great lone land with its possibilities
of development in this twentieth century, who does not feel the
spirit of emulation arise in the heart, when as a youth for the
first time starting out in life one sees so vast a field for enterprise, offering so great a return on honest labour; standing
on the fringe of a mighty crowd just beginning to make a
nation, yet young and youthful, and possibly an Empire in the
making—known as " The Dominion of Canada."
I Fair is our lot, O goodly is our heritage,
For the Lord our God most high,
He hath made the sea as dry,
He hath smote for us a pathway to the ends of all the earth.
Such were somewhat the feelings that filled the minds of our
party as travelling in the colonist car, across the vast continent of
the New World, they made the first eventful journey of their lives*
The first warmth of the spring month of April had begun
to melt the snows on the great prairies. But for the most part
the East and Central States remain bound in winter's grasp
till very suddenly the change comes early in May. Then rapid,
active work is started even before the snow is off the ground
in the agricultural regions, for there is no time to spare. If
the ploughing and seeding are not done in time, the crop will
be poor, hence the marked activity that characterises the
actions of the Canadian agriculturist. He has had his slack
time in winter, with plenty of amusement, and makes up for it
by an extra hard spell of work, as soon as the nature of the
climate will allow him to work on the land.
Further west, however, the Chinook wind blows across the
mountains and up the valleys, that wonderful balmy wind from
the Ocean which, wherever it touches the deep snow, will melt
a twelve foot bank in a few hours producing a marvellous effect
on the mountains, where sometimes one valley may be icebound, while another close by is basking in the warm
sunshine, and spring verdure shows a marvellous contrast.
The most striking and interesting part of the journey west
is the crossing of the Rocky Mountains, here the lofty mountain
peaks, the snow-clad ranges, well termed " the Sea of Mountains," are a revelation to the new comer, and are more
impressive than word can tell.! Of this vast Province of
British Columbia, seven times greater in area than the United
Kingdom, a large proportion consists of mountains with wide
fertile valleys between; in these fertile watersheds have been
produced the richest returns for labour on the virgin soil that
the world can show. It is well said that one acre of cultivated
river bottom soil in B.C. is equal to ten acres on the prairies,
and it is natural to suppose that when the reports of these
things get spread abroad it will draw a large population to so
rich a country. But the mountains, wrapt in continual solitude,
and in parts with perpetual snow, are the great attractions of
the tourists who visit these regions of a new Switzerland, in
annually increasing numbers. That it is possible that this
section of the new North West may become what Switzerland is
to Europe, seems probable. For as the wealth and prosperity
of the North West and the people dwelling in the towns increase
there will be a continual inclination of those who can afford it
to pay a visit or make a settlement across " the Great Divide,"
in bracing air of the mountains, or the more genial and salubrious climate of the Pacific coast. The mystery of crossing this
great mountain range must ever exercise a mystic attraction,
and the poet well expresses it when he says:—
Oh the mystery of the mountains
With their caves, and moss rimmed springs
Where no trespasser has ventured
Save soft footed wild wood things.
There are heights no man can conquer,
And delights no soul has found,
Treasure land of joy and romance,
In that high enchanted ground.—E. A. Lente.
The Canadian Pacific Railway, which is the only Canadian
line at present that crosses the entire continent from East to 12 THE   SETTLERS   OF  VANCOUVER   ISLAND.
West, and has branches of its line in different directions
throughout the West, aggregates some nine thousand miles of
railway. In addition it has steamers known as the Empress
Liners on the Atlantic and Pacific, and on all the lakes, rivers,
and local coast lines, connecting with its railways. It employs
over seventy-four thousand hands, seventy thousand in Canada
alone. Its pay roll of monthly payments is 3,700,000 dollars. At
the basis of five to the family this would represent 350,000 souls
or more than one twentieth of the entire population of Canada.
In one way and another, in supplying material and manufactures used by the railway, probably one fifteenth, perhaps
one twelve of the people of the country directly or indirectly
receive their income from this source. Its shares are held
mainly by small investors, resident in Canada, 14,000 of whose
individual holdings do not exceed fifty shares. This great
company, through its money and holdings may be said to have
been the means of laying open the largest and most fertile, and
richest raw producing region of the world; it has opened a
continent, and created a nation, and it is still only in the
infancy of its development.
This impression grows upon one as one travels day after
day across this continent, that the C.P.R. line which unites
Canada with the Empire, with its steamers on each ocean, are
as links in the chain which unite the world in one common
object, the advancement and progress of the human race, and
its future destiny in peace and harmony through the channels
of trade and commerce, of which that journey offers so large
an evidence.
The Rocky Mountain ranges divide the continent into two
sections, which must to a certain degree and for some time
to come mark two sections of the people who form one nation.
The Great Divide as it is called, i* the old days would have
been the marked physical barrier between two distinct nations;
to-day with the aid of one single line of railway which at present
crosses with many branches into other sections of the mountains
it helps to unite the East and the West as one united nation
and people. Until this great barrier was overcome in .1879 by
the completion of the line to Vancouver, there was no connec- THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 13
tion between the East and West of Canada except by the route
via San Francisco, and previous to that by Gape Horn 14,000
miles by sea. British Columbia, mainly held by the Hudson Bay
Company as a hunting ground under the Crown Colony Government remained both unknown and unexplored, and its vast
resources even to-day are for the most part unknown to the
world. Its chief settlement around Victoria the capital was so
sparse, that it was a question whether it was worth retaining
for anything more than the Pacific naval station at Esquimalt
near Victoria at the south end of Vancouver Island. In 1856
Vancouver'Island as a crown colony was granted a representative Government, and a little later formed a union with New
Caledonia, and they were welded into one Province known as
British Columbia- In 1871 it joined the Confederation of the
Dominion of Canada. Since the opening of the C.P. Railway in
1879 it has continued to progress by leaps and bounds, as its rich
resources in agricultural, particularly horticultural production,
and mineral wealth and fisheries have become known. It bids
fair, though the most distant province in the Dominion, to
become the richest and most prosperous, if not the most populous province in Canada.
These pages would not be complete without giving also a
short description of the Grand Trunk Railway, the oldest line
in the Dominion, which will complete its Trans-Continental
connection to the Pacific coast by 1914. The line is now
in process of construction, and has reached as far as
Edmonton, and the last and hardest section across the
mountains is being worked at from both sides. It will make
Port Rupert its Western terminus, five hundred miles north of
Vancouver, and will bring Asia two days nearer postal connection with Europe. The Grand Trunk system, with more knowledge of the Canadian continent, has built its line through a far
richer and more fertile section of country than the C.P.R., but
it will take many years to develop the rich lands that lie close
to the railway. Over its 4,800 miles of completed railway will
pass the richest productions of the North West from the land,
the forest, and the mines of probably the richest raw producing
section of country in the world.    There is ample room for two THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
competing lines, whose metals, while meeting at the great cities,
Montreal and Winnipeg, are often five hundred miles apart in
their transit across the continent. The construction of the
line alone will employ for several years thousands of hands,
over 800 miles was built during 1907, giving increasing employment as the line opens out the country, and development
follows the track. Any person capable of any kind of manual
work can find work at present in that direction, and should
apply to the head offices in Montreal. It offers a splendid
opportunity for young men, to get accustomed to work, as well
as learning the manners and ways of the country. It is also a
chance not to be lost sight of, for those who wish to take up
land and become settlers in a new country which is bound to
go ahead and become prosperous in a very few years.
The most striking sight that can be witnessed, is to see the
ocean steamers from Europe landing their passengers at
Quebec and Montreal, sometimes three and four thousand
people in a day, and 280,000 in the season, as was the case in
1907, and all this number of people finding work and homes
for themselves, mainly along the line of these two transcontinental railways and their branches. It is possible that if
double the number of people were to come in the right season
of spring and summer, work would still be found for them.
The fact that many of them in the past have been people totally
unfit for the country and unwilling in many cases to work or
leave the precincts of the city in which they have been bred
is no criterion that no work can be found even for the city waif
in Canada- The question is mainly the willingness to work
and their adaptability- The people who complain most of the
conditions are those who have been aided by charity often to
a fresh start in life, and have been given an opportunity by the
Dominion Government Immigration Agents on landing, such
as they are never likely to have again, and have been returned
to Europe, as either physically or mentally unfit, or incorrigible
ne'er-do-wells. And of such there are quite a few stranded in
Montreal and other cities, which as soon as they can be dealt
with are deported. These are the men who give Canada a bad
name, to hide their own delinquences.    For the rest we can say THE  SETTLERS OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 15
no better opportunity exists or has existed in the history of the
world for men and women to make a home and prospect for
themselves along the lines of these two lines of railway and
their numerous tributaries, lines, and settlements, on the plains
or mountains, by lakes and islands, or by rivers and streams of
this well-watered continent. The circumstances are unique
and possibly may never occur again on so large a scale in so
rich a country- Canada is only one week's journey or so from
the heart of the congested centres of the world's great hive of
humanity, suffering as it now does from lack of opportunity to
find work ahd over-production and want of employment-
Here is a country, in which the following story is true:
Three young fellows from London, who were hardy and well
brought up, and belonged to the middle class in society,
emigrated to this new region of the N.W. The first year they
made money as hands on the railway, by the second year they
had pre-empted land and completed their improvements, the
third year they had'sold in city lots half of their combined
sections, and retained the other as farms close by the city.
They then took turns about each winter to go and visit their
friends in England. These boys from the East end of London
told me some of their friends thought they must have com-.
mitted some murder abroad to have got rich so quickly, for the
people in the East end of London from whence they came
steadfastly refused to believe they had come by their prosperity
honestly. They are now in the way to become what they could
never have expected to be in the old country, amongst the
prosperous and successful citizens of a Canadian city, and yet
maintain their British customs and allegiance in a new province
of the Empire as British subjects ! In Canada, a Scotch girl,
in domestic service, whose work had been to manage the house
for seven men (relations) on the prairies; her work included
washing and cooking. She was going home to marry the man
of her choice and to bring him out. She confided the fact that
she had three hundred pounds to start house with and earned
honestly by hard work. Perhaps domestic service is better
paid than any other kind of work for women, and nowhere is
there higher wage, more freedom, and greater opportunities 16 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
both for marriage and settlement than in these new regions of
the recently opened countries of Canada ; nor are the prospects
likely to grow less as the country developes. But it requires
courage and determination in the first start in both men and
women to believe and to act upon their convictions and to
bear the burden of a settler's life in the great lonesome West.
The Island of Vancouver is three hundred miles long, with
an average breadth of eighty miles. Situated on the Pacific
coast, its position would appear to be very similar in circumstances to what the Isle of Wight is to the British Isles, with
Portsmouth taking the place of Vancouver on the mainland. In
same longitude with the North of France its climate and agriculture and wooded slopes make the conditions similar. Its
position on Puget Sound, through which the commerce of Asia
is now beginning to flow, with an ever increasing volume, is
bringing the island into close contact with the world's markets.
Vancouver, with its capital Victoria, and Vancouver on the mainland may become the commercial centre of western civilization
on the Canadian continent, and its gateway on the Pacific
coast* Victoria is beautifully situated. It was long known as
a secluded village, with old world ideas and inhabitants- It has
now woke up to its destiny, and with a population bordering on
100,000 people mostly of English stock, it bids fair to develop
very rapidly. The island about the size of Wales, is capable
of sustaining a large population, and its climate the softest
and most genial in Canada makes it the specially selected spot
for people of means who are in search of healthy surroundings,
not far removed from all the means of civilization. Its fisheries
along the coast, agriculture and mineral wealth, at present
hardly developed, are known to exceed that of many other
regions where capital has gone for a less showing. As a natural
feature the island is covered with a dense mass of timber
except where occasional openings of rich meadow land make
one of those rich farming sections that attract the settler.
It is acknowledged that an acre of this meadow land, sometimes obtained at great cost of clearing or draining is one of
the richest pieces of ground known, will produce sixty bushels
of grain to the acre, and is equal to ten acres of prairie land.
The value of this island land apart from its beauty, its
climate, and the near proximity of markets, has determined the
C.P.R. after purchasing half the island at a cost of four million
dollars, in its wild primitive state from the Provincial Government, to spend a large sum in experimental clearing of land on a
large scale, and with plenty of capital to aid in the work for
which an assured return in large profits will be made, if things
are properly managed.
This work of clearing ground, which in most cases has to
be accomplished by the ordinary settler single handed by his
own efforts is one of the most disheartening features of
Western life. At best it is a slow process and one in which'
the Chinaman finds his chief employment. With the aid of
modern machinery adapted for the purpose, and carried on on
a large scale, great economy is attained, and the work is more
easily and less expensively accomplished. The ground which
is at present being cleared is in close proximity to the railway,
and is offered to the public at reasonable figures. It also serves
to give employment to a large number of men, who during the
winter months can find no regular employment, while during
the summer months they are employed chiefly in the fields
and orchards where they have their homes and settlements,
and are thus kept on the soil and become fixed tenants often
owning their own farms.
Every facility of social intercourse and education and
amusement are afforded in these settlements and places now
coming within the reach of the railway and civilized life.
Vancouver Island, said Lord Milner recently, offers an ideal
home life, and it is the garden of Canada. For families of
private means, and pensioners of the Civil Service, all those who
are seeking a simple life, and desire to live in close contact
with nature, and yet not far removed from the amenities of
existence in its highest ideal will find in Vancouver Island the
'place they are looking for. It is moreover a sportsman's paradise. Game, deer, elk, pheasant, grouse, ducks, all strictly
preserved under the game laws, and the followers of Isaack
Walton will find in its fisheries, both in river, lake, and sea a
variety not found in any other place. THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
Of the possibilities of this island, still in great measure in
its primitive state, there can be no question. In mineral wealth
the island possesses at Nanimo the richest coal mine on the
Pacific coast. Of other minerals it is impossible to speak except
that there is at present a sufficient supply of native iron to keep
a smelter going. The dense forest that covers the island even
up to the loftest hills makes it impossible to find out what is
hidden in the earth. Its mineral wealth may one day rival that
of Engiand. But a good deal of the island still remains unexplored. At the time that our party landed on the coast line such
developments as are here recorded were not even thought of,
nor had the C.P.R. advanced beyond Vancouver City on the
mainland. And these modern developments are considered
still in their infancy, and the land is still in great measure
destined to wait for its increased population who shall make
this island like a well watered garden, which is the name it
bears in the native language of the aborigines.
Like the United States Census Bureau, the Canadian
Census Office has tried its hand at an estimate of national
population. It figures that Canada had 6,504,900 inhabitants
on April 1, 1907, an increase of 1,133,585, or 21.1 per cent, in
the six years since the census of 1901. This is more than twice
the absolute, and nearly twice the relative, increase in the ten
years between the census of 1891 and 1901, and it is a much
greater relative increase than that in any decade since Confederation.
There is a curious parellel between Canada's present
position and that of the United States a hundred years ago.
In 1901 Canada had 5,371,315 inhabitants. In 1800 the United
States had 5,308,483. Before 1901 the Canadian growth had
been very slow—only 11.1 per cent, in the ten years from 1891
to 1901 against 35.1 for the United States in the ten years from
1790 to 1800. But since 1901 there has been a sudden leap
forward. The increase in the past six years is equivalent to a*
growth of 35.1 per cent, in a decade—exactly what the United
States had in the ten years preceding the census of 1800. It is
true that in the ten years succeeding that census the United
States grew a little faster, gaining 36.4 between 1800 and 1810. mm
Still, for all practical purposes Canada may be said to stand
to-day precisely where the Republic stood a century ago, with
a fair prospect that the United States census for 1810 and the
succeeding periods may serve for the Canadian censuses from
1911 on.
On this basis Canada may expect to have nearly seven and
a quarter millions of people in 1911, nearly ten millions in 1921,
almost thirteen millions in 1931, over seventeen millions in
1941, and more than twenty-three millions in 1951. There is
one circumstance, however, which impairs the value of all such
comparisons/ The growth of the United States in the first half
of the nineteenth century was almost entirely by natural
increase, and so proceeded at a regular geometrical ratio,
never varying from a mean of 34.5 per cent, by as much as two
per cent- either way. Canada's present spurt is the result of a
wave of immigration. It may keep on at its present rate ; it
may swell to an even greater volume, or it may decline.
In looking back over the journey from the shores of the
Atlantic to the Pacific, and its changing scenery and panorama
with its obvious signs of progress and development, standing
in the silence of the great Western forest of the Pacific slopes
or on the lofty mountains, one tries to conjure up the future by
the signs of the present. What are we waiting for? One
listens for the tramp of those millions of people of all languages
and tongues and races which at the present time and during
the present century are destined to come and settle in this the
largest and broadest area of the kingdoms of the earth. The
like of it perhaps has never been seen, and its nearest equivalent is what has taken place in the United States during the
nineteenth century. The Dominion of Canada is repeating in
the twentieth century the advance of the United States in the
The   First   Start   in   Life   in   New   Conditions.
W7HEN our party of travellers landed at Vancouver after
* * their eventful journey they were naturally at a loss as
to what they should do to start life to earn a living. Finding
themselves in a comfortable and inexpensive hotel, they
economised their means as far as possible. In such cases an
agreement is made with an hotel-keeper to board by the week
or month. If a long stay is contemplated, and the customs are
on the American plan of regular meals at certain hours, which
is cheaper than the English plan, and more satisfactory.
Where wages are high, and they usually are in the West, prices
at stores and hotels are correspondingly increased, but the
staple needs of life (not its luxuries), such as bread, meat, tea,
the standard drink at every meal, are, if anything, cheaper than
in Europe. For Canada is a protected country and in spite of
Free Trade fallacies versus Protection, the national food
supply of the people is cheaper than elsewhere, and there are
high wages to pay for it. The average wages are as follows at
the present time, and have seldom shown much signs of
altering, for the unions have a strong hold of the working class
in all its sections, and indeed sometimes are unwise enough
to drive capital out of a district only to find that the work will
be done elsewhere in the province or in Canada by the hands
of new people, sometimes of an alien race.
The average rate for unskilled labour is two and a half
dollars a day, and for skilled labour the union rate is five
dollars per day. Capacity and skill as shown in piece work—
which is the usual means of contract work—meet with their
full reward in Canada.
Both capacity, ability and willingness are at a high
premium and, from the nature of the country, are expected. It
is in this matter that the new comers from the conventional
countries of Europe, and especially the United Kingdom, so
often prove failures. THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 21
Regular work on a farm, the most varied employment, is
paid from twenty to thirty dollars a month and board, or by
special day-work two and a half dollars. This is probably the
first job that a new comer strikes, and he would do well to try
it, and not be too particular as to the circumstances or remuneration while he is serving his apprenticeship. And the terms
should usually stand good for the winter as well as the
summer, during which in a year's service a youth will have
learned all that is required, and from a green hand become
more or less an expert at alj he may be called upon to do around
a farm. Agriculture is the chief occupation of most of the
people in Canada at present.
In all these matters the boys found they had much to
learn, and went around picking up their information from many
sources. Perhaps their best friend proved to be the hotel-
keeper, who to many men down in their luck proves to be a
philosopher, guide and friend, for, as is often the case, he is
the agent, perhaps the buffer, between Labour and Capital.
He knows his particular district like a book. He directs the
wayfarer on his road, and when stone-broke settlers through
misfortune are cast at his door, he is, as a rule, the only friend
in need who may prove a friend indeed. Though hospitality is
the rule of the country, and none need suffer want, in the out-
of-the-way parts of British Columbia and Canada the general
form of hospitality amounts to a free meal for a day or two to a
perfect stranger, and if a man has his blankets with him, as is
usually the case when travelling in Canada, there is always
room by the fireside, or in the barn in summer—a rough
reception but a hearty welcome to all who show a sufficient
guarantee of respectability.
The Scripture motto about entertaining strangers finds its
fulfilment in the West to a greater degree than elsewhere.
The traveller who comes from afar, especially from the old
country, is welcomed as heartily as nearer neighbours, and
should he adapt himself to his surroundings, will gain much
information, especially should he declare his desire to become
a settler in the district.
It was not the intention of our party to work as labourers 22 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
for others. They had some small means of their own, and
proposed to settle down at the earliest opportunity on their
own ground, and attempt farming on a small scale, which is the
desire of so many new comers, under the idea that the free
gift of land from the Government is like a section of their
own home countryside. They had much yet to learn about
these matters, which it is the purpose of our story to show.
There was not the grand opportunity which is now offered
by the advent of the C.P.R. in the country and Vancouver
Island. None the less the prospect was good enough for these
young men to make a.success in life, but not by the easier
methods now in use, but in ways which are common in new
countries such as the Pacific Coast offers and does still in
lessening degree.
Our party of settlers were ambitious to become owners of
farms themselves, and had determined in their settlement to
act in company, and the co-operation in their plans was
perhaps the reason of their success. As to their qualifications they were well fitted to succeed. Each one of them had
had some training such as is required in a settler. Edward
had passed in the Technical Schools of the County Council in
England as a carpenter; Jack had been for two years on a
farm ; while Charlie was supposed to be versed in engineering
and mechanical work, for which he appeared to have a
particular bent; George, the head and leader of the expedition, the one who had fired the others with the ambition and
enthusiasm to emigrate, appeared to be a " Jack of all trades,"
an all-round fellow who, after receiving a good education at
school, in which also he had been head and leader at all
athletic sports, was as good-natured and willing a specimen of
a youth as could be found. Needless to say what he suggested
the others would undoubtedly comply with. A visit of the
party to the Dominion and Provincial Land Office soon
supplied them with information as to where land could be
got and what sections of country were open for pre-emption
and other information. The question arose which section of
country, in a province seven times the size in area of the
United Kingdom, they should select from.    Most of the coast THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 23
line appeared to be open for pre-emption to those who would
risk a journey by sea in an open boat to take up the ground.
Or they might go on land, mining or prospecting for suitable land, or join a survey camp. A week's discussion followed over ways and means. The delay was not without its
uses. It gave opportunity to look around the neighbourhood of
the rising city of Vancouver, still in its infancy.
Vancouver had only recently arisen from its ruins after the
devastating fire that had burnt up the greater part of the city,
and large numbers of people were then residing in tents and
shacks, though the temperature at night was cold. There was
ample of work if any of the party had been willing to take it up.
But all of them were eager to take up land—the earth-hunger
was upon them. After many discussions and much enquiry, it
was determined to travel up the Coast in a boat as the cheapest
and handiest means of getting about. But it would not do to
j go alone, as the Land Commissioner indicated it would be best
to take some one with them who knew the country. A prospector might be got to direct them what to do and how to do it.
And here the enquiries and the week's delay had come in useful.
The boys, always eager for sport and athletic exercise,
had almost daily hired a boat and made migrations up the wide
area of the Fraser River and estuary around Vancouver, which
enabled them to see the nature of the country they would have
to prospect, and some of the dangers they would have to
encounter, and they knew now what to expect in the rough
jungle of " Further West,"  as it is called.
On inquiry at the boat-house where they hired the boat,
for some prospector who would be willing for a consideration
to direct the party of young men eager for adventures, they
were introduced to an old sailor who was known all along
the sea front as " Old Alec."
Perhaps it was lucky for the party that they fell in with
such a man, for to him mainly, as it will appear, the success of
the expedition from this time appears to have been due. Such
prospectors are found in old settlers, many of whom rightly
deserve a good living by teaching younger settlers how to
direct operations in the first settlement of a rough country. 24 THE   SETTLERS   GF  VANCOUVER   ISLAND.
Alec was one of those old sea salts who belonged to a race
that is fast dying out—a type of man indeed that belongs to a
past generation, but whose powers of endurance are probably
beyond anything which the present generation are capable
of. A short, thick-set man, verging on seventy years of age,
and beginning to be querulous, but always open to reason j
independent of action, trusty and sure on any occasion. He
was nevertheless just the kind of man required to lead the
present expedition, to restrain the ardour of youth," and direct
under his fatherly hand the rising aspirations of our future
settlers. He knew the neighbourhood of the Coast line
probably as few others knew it. For several years he had
resided on the coast around Vancouver, after increasing years
had made him too old for service as a deep sea sailor,
which occupation he had followed ever since he ran away to
sea when he was ten years of age. We propose to relate
the history of his life as recorded by himself in the stories he
has told us by the fireside while travelling on a prospecting
journey, or later on by the stove in the log cabin mainly raised
by his own hands, where he is often still an honoured guest.
As the years of his pilgrimage increase, and his sight is now
failing, he takes more and more to the land, and has settled
down in a small cottage with a garden, which, with an
occasional day's work when he feels up to it, supplies his
simple wants.
The thrift and economy of an old settler can manage to
make ends meet in a new country like that of the Pacific
Coast of Canada with comparative ease, and there is no
need of old age pensions at present.
When we first knew Old Alec he was as he is depicted in
these pages, and the incidents of the story are true, and the
biography of his life's history are mainly in his own words drawn
from the log-book in which he had regularly recorded events.
Terms of agreement were accordingly settled on by the
party with old Alec, who was to direct the expedition in future
and lead them to the land suitable for settlement, which he
knew of some hundred miles or so up the coast. In those
early days there were very few steamers, for the transport of THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 25
passengers and freight—and those very irregular. It was
customary for settlers to build or buy some row-boat by
which they transported themselves. The voyage amid
unknown rocks and reefs, currents, tide rips and islands to
a stranger was very hazardous. Many a life has been
sacrificed owing to carelessness and ignorance of the waters
around the islands that line the Pacific Coast for many*
hundreds of miles north of Vancouver. To-day the journey
we are about to describe is easily done in a comfortable
steamer without risk or danger. But in 1890 everything
was in a chaotic state. Things were very different. It was,
in fact, primitive to a degree, and our party must have considered themselves lucky that they found so able a navigator,
and one who knew the ways of a settler's life so well as old
Alec, to whom, by George's advice, they entrusted the
expedition, and agreed to abide by what the old man said. It
took quite a little time to hunt out and fit a Columbia River
boat which was considered big and safe enough to carry the
party on the uncertain expedition, but by the aid of an old
sailor who knew the ropes this was done in a manner and with
an economy which the boys could have accomplished in no
other way.
The major portion of the heavy belongings of the party
packed in boxes was left behind at Vancouver, for it would not
do to overload the small boat, and some of them would have to
return in any case to record their sections in compliance with
the law, after having roughly surveyed and located them.
Thus it was that one fine morning towards the end of May,
with necessary provisions, clothes and tools, the expedition
started, and it proved an eventful journey.
A fair wind and an outflowing tide enabled them to make
use of the sail, but the arms of four lusty young men, all of
whom were accustomed to handle oars, though mostly on quiet
home waters, were ready enough to propel the boat when,
conditions called for it. They were well supplied with a chart
both of the coast and the adjoining country in which they
intended to select their pre-emption. The voyage was to be
one of prospecting for land suitable for a settler's homestead. In a country so wild and wooded, amid the rough tangle of
what is known as the lowlands, it is a hard matter to select
a locality, and a section, suitable for cultivation, or to find out
at first sight what will be worth clearing. Even old Alec could
not say for certain what locality would be worth taking up, and
all they could do as a party would be to take up four quarter
sections in partnership, the major portion of which would be
forest, some might be a marsh, and the whole of it a matter of
uncertainty as to its value in the future. It would not do to go
too far away from the scenes of civilization—viz., Vancouver—
on the line of coast along which the steamers would in a little
while undoubtedly run.
The expedition was therefore in the dark as to its future
selection of land, or the conditions that would surround it.
Old Alec was the only one who had a hazy idea as to what was
to be sought for or where the location had to be made. But
the party felt themselves in safe hands, and the first few days
served to give them entire confidence in the old man who,
though at times uncertain in temper, was confident enough in
his suggestions, which every one felt were for the best.
The land wind that had helped them in the early morning
to sail out of the estuary and harbour fell off later on, and
a good long spell with the oars followed which tried the arms
and muscles of the youths, which had grown soft by reason
of the length of their journey from England. As one
remarked, "it made one feel how weak human nature was,
physically, under the conventions of civilization, when brought
up against the simple life as it really is in the jungle of
the Far West." Alec, who steered and directed the navigation
of the boat, was eager himself to take a hand at the oars, but
the party insisted he should remain at the helm. About
midday they drew towards the shore, and after lighting a fire
with the dry chips of drift wood which are found on every
coast line and river in British Columbia, they had their usual
meal, the first prepared by their own hands. And here the
prospector's hand was manifest. The rapidity with which old
Alec collected and chopped a few chips from logs and built
up a fire was the first lesson of the backwoods the youngsters THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 27
had to learn. It was the first of many that they were destined
to acquire from an old settler before they became well-
seasoned backwoodsmen.
And how much there is to learn by those who come from
the civilized centres of city life regarding the simpler needs of
humanity! and how to live the simple life.
Most people have heard of the ship sailing up the mouth
of the Amazon river, while still out of sight of land, hoisting
the signal of distress: "In want of water," only to be
reminded by a passing steamer, " Put down your bucket and
drink." In much the same way there are some new arrivals
who have been so habituated to the use of conventionalities of
society, a public bar at every street corner and a glass to
drink out of, that they have never realised that to stoop down
and drink out of a wayside stream was the oldest method
of assuaging thirst and still prevails in some parts of the
world. A certain youth in his first wild rush to the West was
dying of thirst, and sat by the wayside stream meditating how
he should get a drink without a glass. Calling at a settler's
house, he asked for the desired information, and was told by
the lady, " We always di inks out of the river the same as the
cattle." From early youth every native-born Canadian or
Cannuck is accustomed to the use of the axe, and can usually
cut his firewood from the nearest timber at the same time he
fetches his water from the nearest stream or well, which are
free to all.
Anywhere outside a city, this ancient custom prevails, and
it is usually the duty of the last new comer in camp or settlement to undertake this task in a country where no servants are
available, or each man acts as his own boss. The master, if
there is one, is generally known as "the Boss," and more than
likely he is not above fetching water or carrying wood for the
fire if required. In hotel life no Canadian would think of putting his boots to be cleaned outside the door, for they are sure
to be stolen or otherwise lost. No! he goes down to the
nearest hair-cutter of the street, who is also a boot-cleaner,
and gets a five-cents shine when he thinks the boots need it.
A  so-called   menial  servant,  unless    it   be   the   homely 28 THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
Chink "-Chinaman, is an unknown quantity especially in the
West, where to a greater degree than elsewhere Jack is as good
as his master, and yet maintains his respect for the Boss
worthy of merit. In camp life none is greater or less than
another, for all are needed.
In the West perhaps more than elsewhere it is holden that
each one take his share of the common duties of life and look
after himself. It was Alec who first instructed these youths
how to rig their camp in comfort and ease to themselves, how
and what to do, for at this kind of work all were novices, but
all were willing to learn. So harmony prevailed. : So far they
learned the value of Co-operation—which is next to Brotherhood in the common walk of life, and the social duties of
Humanity common to all.
The    Evening    Camp.
HpHE sun was failing to the West, dazzling the waves in
A golden streaks, and our travellers, weary and sore
from long spells of rowing, with short rests between, which
had employed the whole of the afternoon, were only too
glad to welcome the suggestion of Alec to camp for the
night on the beach, and become beachcombers for awhile
like the Indians.
A comfortable little harbour or cove was found, and Alec
went ashore to search for water, and to make sure the site was
suitable and safe.
"Yah ho!" There was the welcome sound which then,
and many a time afterwards, announced that the old man had
found what he wanted: a camping ground. Quickly the boys
made one last effort to drag the boat upon the shore out of
the reach of the high night tide, and the old man showed his
activity in arranging the camp, lighting a fire, and chopping a
supply of wood for the night (for it would be cold later on,
though warm enough at sunset). THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 29
A good meal refreshed everyone, and the first lesson
in making flap-jacks was not the least important lesson on
this, the first night out. Mixing the flour and water, but
tossing the flap-jack in the fry-pan, was a novelty yet to be
acquired. Another important piece of business for those who
wished a soft bed on a hard ground was the collecting and
preparation of the fir tips from branches of trees. This formed
part of the after-supper work that the " father of the camp," as
the youths called him, thought indispensable to a night's lodging
in the wilderness when it could be got handy. For Alec, rough
sailor though he was, and prepared to rough it with any man
as he had often done before, was not above making use of
nature's gifts when she supplied him with a soft bed for the
making, in the shape of brouse, as it is commonly termed by
prospectors. Next to this comes the hard shingle on the sea
shore, on which, with a good blanket, a comfortable couch
may be made.
The night darkened, and the fire glowed, and the gentle
soft wind blew lightly the wreaths of smoke around, while each
one settled himself in blankets with the rubber sheet underneath, around the fire, and the pipe of peace and comfort was
smoked. Alec lighted an ancient-looking short black cuddy
pipe, almost as old as himself, while a discussion about
next day's prospects arose. " It looks," says he, " as if we are
going to have a storm, and if so we might as well camp here in
a safe place as risk a worse." And sure enough when next
morning dawned it was blowing half a gale, which in the
opinion of Alec would not blow itself out for a day or two. An
extra spell in bed and the appreciation of the soft furze couch
were indulged in by the youths, who still felt sore from the
previous day's hard rowing.
Alec was never happy unless he was doing something and
that was usually of a useful nature. The boat needed caulking,
and a few new splicings in ropes and gear. The opportunity
was not lost on our party who got their first lesson in splicing,
an ancient art, from a master hand. It is to be regretted that
it appears fast to be going into disuse now that cable chains
and  shackles have replaced the old rope tackle.    But in the 30 THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
life of the settler, and the variety of occupations in the Far
West, it is ever a most useful accomplishment and one every
youth should learn. For life sometimes depends on a good
rope or splice.
A trudge around in the bush during the afternoon in
search of game was rewarded with several grouse, and the
trail of a deer was followed, but it was out of season for
such larger game. There are few places, however, where
grouse cannot be found, though often hard to find when shot
without the aid of a dog, and ducks in spring and autumn are
found in abundance everywhere, and form a tasty food.
Time began to hang heavy on their hands as for two days
the wind was too boisterous to think of making any progress in
the direction they wished to go. They had explored the immediate vicinity of the rough rocky promontory under which they
were sheltered. The forest was comparatively open in the
vicinity of the sea in the spring time of the year, but later,
owing to the almost tropical vegetation which grows along the
low lands of the coast, it makes progress almost impossible to
those unaccustomed to the wild tangle of the forest.
That is the reason why it is important for prospectors for
new lands to make their investigations as early in the spring as
It was the intention of the party to make a location at
a place known to Alec about a hundred miles up the coast,
but owing! to boisterous and often very sudden winds which
prevail on the West Coast in the spring of the year, it might
take a week or more to reach it. Time was not lost, for there
was much to learn about the nature of the country, and in
Alec, who in his fishing expeditions had wandered up and
down the coast line, they found a never-failing source of
knowledge and intelligence. In the long leisure hours of
waiting, and later on wet days, and by the quiet camp fire of
an evening, he was an unfailing source of interest to the new
settlers. Indeed the lessons gathered in the first few weeks of
their settlement were of vital importance, and could not be
dispensed with by anyone who really meant to make a settler
in British Columbia, where both the dangers and conditions THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 31
are different from other parts of Canada. The philosophical
saying of Alec was proved true made on this first camp: "The
farther West you go, the more life you see, and the harder the
conditions, but the greater the reward."
It is a wild and woody condition of things indeed that
prevails on the Pacific Coast, and requires more than the
common intelligence and patience of men to handle it.
By the morning of the third day out the wind had
subsided, though the sea was still boisterous. The party
were eager to go ahead, but Alec was doubtful and said,
"You'll have a hard pull, for we have to round the headland
facing the open sea, and if the wind should get up on us, God
help us! we'll have all we can do to save the boat and ourselves !"
Youth is often more eager to face unknown dangers
than age, so they started. After a long row against a
boisterous wind and choppy sea, which gave two of the party
sea-sickness, they began to round the headland of which Alec
had warned them, and then their troubles began. The tide
had aided them in three hours' row, but now turned against
them* and the wind was ahead. Could they make the next
headland ? they might safely get on their way, in quiet waters.
The custom of the Indians is always followed by those
who know these treacherous seas, to keep close to the land as
far as possible, and so avoid the treacherous tide rips and
sudden windstorms caused by breaks in the land. " Keep
steady at it, boys," said the old man, who held the helm; " we
must keep close to the land; it is not safe to land here, we
shall swamp the boat if we do, and perhaps be drawn under by
the undertow." The great rolling waves coming direct over
thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean, dash themselves on the
shore in all their fury at such open places. A narrow streak of
calmer water just outside the breakers, where possibly the seaweed, which often grows hundreds of feet in length from the
bottom, serves to break the waves, renders navigation with the
aid of oars possible. Such places are alike the safeguard and
the treachery for novices in these waters.
Many a life has been lost in risking a landing on a rock- 32 THE   SETTLERS   OF  VANCOUVER   ISLAND.
bound coast where the breakers roll in with a force which will
sometimes dash the boat in safety upon the shore high and
dry, while the undertow drags the unfortunate occupant who
may possibly have an upset or been washed out of the boat,
to a watery grave, and the bodies are seldom found. The
Indians, who make their wonderful cedar log canoes, always
place a large sharp bowsprit, usually with the figure of a
bird with a beak, which in the open sea breaks the waves
ahead and literally cuts them in two; and, when landing, turn
the bow to the sea to break these great rollers and steer to the
land in safety, and thus prevent the swamping of their canoes.
The light cedar canoe is sure to be washed ashore, and a
landing may be made from the stern. In this way for
centuries has developed the hereditary instinct of their race,
for most of their life is spent on the water, and they are
to-day, with the aid of their canoes, the only safe navigators
of these uncertain waters. In these matters their canoes are
like lifeboats, and many shipwrecked crews have been rescued
by them. Alec had lived amongst them and knew their ways,
but by long habit preferred to handle a white man's sea boat
rather than a canoe, though he acknowledged a well-balanced
canoe was safer. He knew, by hard experience, that to land
anywhere with a boat of modern build meant a certainty
of being swamped, loss of life, and provisions possibly, in a
sea with which they were then contending. Not wishing to
return, he determined to push on; they might weather \he
gale, but the risk was great. It was a new experience for
the boys—would they weather the gale and land safe!
For hours they rowed between the surf rolling in on
the shore, and the kelp, at times resting by holding on to
the kelp as a kind of anchor; but the sea and wind were
increasing without a doubt, and with it the danger of being
swamped in the heavily-ladened boat. The shore must be
made somehow. Was it possible that along that rocky coast
there might be some narrow cove scarce visible on the outside
where the boat might find quiet water even in a raging storm ?
Closely the old man scanned every little crevice and cave, and
just as they were beginning to feel utterly exhausted and worn ■    M
^i^JA-^l^'i^Sr^^r      MK    •
H Jl'fcl
^3^*1^^^^"^^* ~«ftiM
1 W'Y u^
mm mmmmmrn^
' tl
"^SBH^ j£vJc ^ < _    .. *«.v fi.^%Ji
Primeval  Forest as it was.
The Settlement as it now is.  THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 33
out with rowing he said: "Nothing for it but to land. We'll
have to risk it by running into one of these small bays in
between the rocks. Do as I say, keep your oars from fouling,
and row only when I tell you." Such were the orders issued by
Alec, as if he had been on the quarter-deck of a ship. He made
for what appeared to be a narrow entrance into the heart of a
rocky cave. It is the nature of these seas that every sixth or
seventh roller in a heavy swell is a dangerous one which breaks
with terrific violence on the shore. Between them are a
number of smaller rollers which are comparatively harmless.
To strike the right one is the main object, and requires great
judgment, for a mistake at such a time means the almost
certain upset or swamping of the boat. Alec had not yet lost
his nerve for such work, though he had been wrecked seven
times in the course of his sailor's career, and it was remarkable
that the old man could face danger with such cool courage..
For awhile he studied the position at the edge of the great
rolling waves, carefully counting them so as to strike the right
one which would carry them on its crest through the dangerous
part towards the shore. Suddenly he said, " Pull as hard as
you can ! " For a few moments it seemed a calm, then a huge
roller slowly arose out of the sea, and lifting the bow of the
boat in its relentless grasp carried it swiftly on its crest
towards the shore. A slant on the boat or the foul of an oar
at such a moment wTould have meant their destruction ; their
lives depended on the helmsman. " Hold ! " cried he. " Keep
your oars ready! " he shouted, as the wave slowly spent itself,
and they dropped into the trough of broken waters. A few
steady strokes and they were clear of danger, the trouble was
behind them. The following waves helped to carry the boat
within the rocky cove where they sought and might hope to
find some shelter from the storm.
"God!" ejaculated the old man, as if a great weight
had been removed from his mind, " Pull for all you're worth !"
And they put all the strength of their young muscles into the
oars, to take the boat out of reach of a second roller which
might not be so kind as the first. It came the same as before,
but not with such violence, and it carried them between the 34 THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
two sides of a narrow entrance, a veritable defile in the rocks
which Nature in some freak of her moulding in the past ages
had made. " A way of salvation to the heart of the rock,"
which was to shelter the party till the storm was over. A third
wave spent itself harmlessly in driving them into the cove on
which was a soft sandy shore, a very ideal spot, calm, sheltered
and safe even in the worst storm that might rage on this
coast. So close is safety to danger to those who know and are
acquainted with such localities, so strangely sudden are the
winds that blow in these regions, that five minutes—especially
in the spring season:—will often change from calm to wind, and
dangerous conditions, wmich may mean death to those who are
unacquainted with life on the Pacific Ocean and Coast. That
is the reason why the Indians in their coast journeys seldom go
very far out to sea, but travel round the bays instead of across
them, making use often of well-known currents that run close
to the shore, and are safe if they know how to land amid
dangers such as are here described.
Our party felt thankful indeed that they had employed so
able a man as Old Alec, and that the safety of the expedition,
as far as human aid could make it, was sure in the old sailor's
The   Hermit  Settler.
THE excitement of the morning had been very great, and it
was with thankful hearts they landed on the sandy beach
and left their boat at anchor in the calm water a few feet from
a huge log, which was stranded and made a convenient pier.
Plenty of water and firewood were to be found close at hand.
Perhaps nowhere is it possible to find such ideal camping
places and sufficient supplies of all that Nature can provide for
the service of man as on the coast line of British Columbia and
in the immediate vicinity of its lakes and rivers. For four or
five months in the year the weather is certain and all conditions THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 35
favourable, so that here we have the best camping-out country
in the world. With the aid of a few hooks and lines, and a gun,
many settlers have found it possible to provide for all their
needs in a simple life of the woods. From spring, when the
wild strawberries grow, to late in the autumn there is a
continual variety of wild fruit, easily picked, which provides a
healthful change. Salmon of five or six varieties in their
season, salmon trout in all the lakes and brooks, and many
other varieties of fish are easily caught. Game in the fall of
the year; grouse and ducks and geese; deer and bear's meat
give a variety on which the changes can be rung the year
round. It is the custom of many Indian natives, and not a few
white wanderers who have taken to a similar life, to live on the
sea coast or amid the valleys, lakes and rivers, for most of the
year, except in the very cold months of winter, when they can
retire to some rough log house, or to city life, till the inclement
season is over. Some in these days desire to live like their
fathers of old time used to do, before the world became too
civilized or congested in numbers as in great cities which,
while they are the pride of our civilization, yet appear in many
cases to offer a hopeless outlook and a sad state of existence
for the masses of the people.
Is it to be wondered at that some few seek and find a
change more congenial ? Of such perhaps was the man who
greeted the party at this place. He was long known to us as
" The Hermit." When the boys landed on the shore they found
a well-built boat drawn upon the beach, and in the background
a rough-looking shack built mainly of drift wood, and yet not
without skill and ingenuity, to which Nature had added her
charm by a covering of Wild honeysuckle. The occupant was
out when they arrived, but he returned shortly carrying with
him a load of bark of the wild cherry-tree which he deposited
under the dry roof of his abode.
" What! you here! " says Alec ; " thought you had gone
for good when the police got after you at Trial Island."
The story of this man can be told in brief. He was known
as the Hermit of Trial Island. An Irishman by birth, he had
lived for many years alone on  an island near Victoria, the 36 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
capital of British Columbia. Whence he came and what was
his history will never be known. But that he was a man of
remarkable ability and ingenuity and some talent the following
remarks will show.
His little house was fitted up with every convenience which
the skill of a carpenter could produce, and with the exception
of a few household necessities in the shape of iron crockery
and a kettle, there was not a thing in the house or in the well-
built boat—the only means of access the hermit had to the
outer world—that had not been produced by the man's own
hands, with the help of the natural productions of the place.
The boat itself might have been turned out of a factory so
perfect was it. It was built of small inch strips of wood which
had been cut from drift cedar trees on the shore, with the aid
of a wind sawrmill (also an ingenious native production). The
cost of the boat had worked out into three shillings worth of
nails, obtained at a store, and five shillings the cost of sailcloth for the single mast and sail. All the rest was home
or bush-made, and a wonderful achievement of its kind.
The seams of the boat were so close they needed no
caulking; the paint, drawn from some native root, seemed
impervious to water; and in a sea such as was afforded by the
spot at which the hermit resided the boat acted as a perfect
model. The walls of the hermit's house were adorned with
pictures, drawn with skill and art, chiefly descriptive of native
life, and with paints made from chalk and sand, a secret
preparation, as also a brush made from trie fibres of some
root. This man would occasionally visit the haunts of civilization and, expending a copper or two on a piece of parchment
paper, would in an hour or so produce a coloured picture,
which he would sell for a few dollars at a gentleman's house
near by. With the money thus honestly obtained he would
purchase a sack of flour and a little tea, which with economy
would last him for months. With these he would retire again
to his wild hermit existence in the cove which recently he had
made his habitation. He had lived for some years on Trial
Island, but was driven out by people who were inquisitive
enough to investigate his hut by breaking into it during his
absence in order to see what report had told them of the hermit's
ingenuity, for he spent much time in the forest away from his
abode, He had invented a spring trap to guard his premises,
and someone had got shot in breaking open the door, and
had informed the pdlice, who investigated the case and were
equally surprised by the ingenuity with which this man guarded
his premises.
But he took offence at the ill-treatment by his neighbour and retired to a new and apparently inaccessible spot,
where our party had unwittingly intruded on him and his
castle in the rock—a truly hermit-like abode-
Naturally of a kind and generous disposition, he invited his
guests to use his house and, like the true gentleman as indeed
nature had made him, did all he could for his visitors, who
spent an interesting time at the house investigating the many
inventions of an ingenious character, of which the house was
There were native fruits dried, made into jam and otherwise
preserved ; for preservation there were herbal extractions
from bark, a supply of which the hermit was preparing to
take to a chemist in town; there were coloured paints made
from coloured sand or chalk found in the locality, and brushes
made of root fibres—for all of which he could find a ready sale
in town. There was a wind organ on a new principle, on which
the hermit solaced himself, producing music of his own native
Irish songs. Dried and smoked salmon, and fresh salmon in
season, were his chief food, but he was by no means averse to
smoked venison, of which he gave our party a supply, for he
was a good shot with the gun. This man appeared never
to want for anything, providing for all his own wants with
but little resort to the town. His garden at the back would
produce anything he might require in the way of vegetables or
fruits, and doubtless his flour for the excellent bread with
which he supplied the party, baked in the Dutch oven outside the house, could easily have been grown near by to
supply his simple wants. So simple was this man's humble
life that it might be said of him as of the prophet of old—
" His meat was locusts and wild honey,"  of  which  he also 38 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
had a supply, drawn from the hive in the rock. Such is an
instance, and there are many like him in the Far West, of those
who prefer to live the simple life in its reality and have learned
to love it and be happy. It was a matter of regret that this
remarkable man met with his death by drowning just at the
very spot where our party had so narrowly escaped. Miscalculating his waves doubtless on some occasion when landing or
leaving his home—probably after a journey outside on a visit to
civilization, which did not occur often—his boat was found
washed up a wreck on the shore close by, but the Hermit was
not, for God took him.
The party rested for two days, windbound in the cove,
where they were safe from the storm, the waves, which beat
with all their fury on the rocks without, sending no more
than a gentle ripple into the quiet waters of the secret cover
into which they had so fortunately been driven. On the
third day, the wind having ceased overnight, and the waters
having quieted down by morning, Alec declared it was safe to
start forth on another stage of the journey.
The Hermit directed them on their way, for his wanderings
in the forest and by boat, on many lonesome journeys, when
he was wont to be out for days together, made him well
acquainted with the country. He had selected the present
situation mainly because it was unknown and inaccessible.
Few would have suspected that the barren-looking rock, under
the shelter of a headland which presented no sign of a cove,
would have had so safe a harbour and anchorage in deep water
sufficient to hold a good-sized sloop during the stormiest season
of the year. The hermit told them that in winter, for weeks
together, it was impossible to make or leave the shelter, owing
* to the stormy and troubled waters at its mouth, which was due
mainly to the formation of the rocks and the currents, which
were subject to continual change, owing to the tide rips that
changed every month, and were never the same. In other
words it was a kind of maelstrom that guarded the entrance,
and even the Indians kept outside of it in their journeys to and
fro on the coast. The small patch of cultivated land in the
warm and sheltered ridge of virgin soil supplied all the humble THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 39
wants of a single individual, but would not be sufficient for a
family. He might have been safe from intrusion for years had
not our party found him.
In winter it rained in torrents for ten days at a time at this
place. But the warm breezes of the Japanese current warmed
the lonesome eyrie in the Rock. Truly it was just such a place
as an anchorite would choose to lead a prolonged existence
away from the world, and close to nature and nature's God.
And there are human beings that seek such a life, and shun the
society of their fellow men. Of such was the Hermit of the
Pacific Coast.
*T^HE day proved fine and quiet, as our party pursued their
-*■ way with long steady sweep of the oars, across the
gently rolling surf, which in moments of calm rolls in great
curves on the shore, to fall with a silent thud on the iron-bound
coast. Away on the horizon was another cape, which after a
few hours' rowing they would reach, and where possibly they
would have to shelter for the night. Alec informed them the
next spell of fifty miles would have to be accomplished without
a landing, for beyond it there was no place to land safely, even
in calm weather. It was the worst part of the coast and known
as the Grave-yard of ships.
They reached the desired haven, and found another convenient shelter, a spot well known to the Indians, for they had
some rough houses constructed here, and it was one of their
regular resting places in their journeys during the summer
months, and there are many such which are now marked off for
that purpose as Indian Reserves. For generations there have
been places, sometimes inhabited by a tribe of Indians, which
have been select spots for camping, having a safe anchorage.
To all appearances the place was not very advantageous, for it lay 40 THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
open to the sea. But Alec told them that a desirable spot in the
eyes of an Indian native must have first water and dry drift
wood of which this place had an ample supply, and secondly a
coast that could be approached at every condition of the tide,
and wind, and free from sand bank or river mouth, which
would cause an undertow in winter rains. An underlying
reef of rocks shaped like a huge horse shoe made it possible to
land here whatever the state of the weather might be outside,
and a number of canoes were drawn up on the shore, showing
that the Indians had already begun their annual migrations
towards the fish canneries and later on the hop picking where
they find employment in the summer months and make good
wages. These Indians, locally known as Flatheads, belong to
the fishing tribe, and are adepts at fishing with lines and bait
chiefly for salmon, which forms their chief food, fresh—smoked
—or salt dried, the year round. They appear to be a strong and
hearty race as long as they do not fall into the white man's vices,
or are swept away by stich diseases as small pox and measles,
which have frequently carried off a whole tribe in a few weeks.
The use of spirits appear to be hell fire, or fire water, the term
given it, by these natives, an overdose of which will act
upon them quite differently from what it does on other people,
and many cases are known where an otherwise quiet and sedate
Indian has been known to kill his own nearest relations and
friends, as if they were his feudal enemies under the influence
of liquor, and start a never-ending quarrel with people who
for generations had lived in peace. The Government has
endeavoured to put a stop to the use of liquor amongst these
Indians under any circumstances by a heavy fine of three
hundred dollars on anyone who should, even in time of necessity, give an Indian a dose of spirits as medicine, and by
imprisonment to any Indian found with a bottle of liquor in his
The Indians were friendly enough with our party on landing, and supplied them with a freshly caught spring salmon for
their evening meal. It may be taken that if trouble arises
between a white man and an Indian, the cause is usually with
the superior white race.    The encroachment of the white races
on the coloured race is a record of blood and war, perhaps the
saddest in history. As a rule the native Indians of Canada
are always friendly, and, dealt with honestly and justly, will
never give trouble, and to-day are harmless whatever may have
been said of them in the past, and they have been much
At daylight next day, Alec was up " bright and early," as
he called it, and roused the camp. " The Indians were going
out," he said, " and that was a good sign," they always know
the signs of the weather better than the white man. They
might accomplish the fifty miles by rowing all day or they
might have to sail back to this sheltered cove. He had often
done so before he said. " One must take things as they come,"
was the philosophical sailor's remark, and he never worried
over matters above his control such as the weather. A wise
consolation in time of trouble. In course of the morning they
crept along this rock-bound coast, which is without a break,
except where an occasional rig: in the rocks make an entrance
to some unknown cave, many of which are as large as a church
inside, and the haunt of numerous seals. This volcanic section
of country extends for fifty miles or more up the West Coast
of Vancouver Island, and has for its background a large plateau
of country at present unexplored. " Here," said Alec, 1 is the
most dangerous spot on all this weather-bound coast." No
ship will stand the pounding on these rocks, and in proof he
told them of a large three-masted steel ship which he had seen
break up and not leave a vestige behind her in less than twenty-
four hours. High up on the shore also at one place lay a full
masted schooner intact, where she had been washed by the
waves high and dry on the shore, and her owners finding it
impossible to bring her back to her native element, had left her
there as an evidence of the terrible power of the waters and
the height of the waves in a storm.
" We shall round the Lighthouse this afternoon," said Alec,
as during the midday hour the party partook of a hasty meal
on board, " and then we shall be on the safe side." A favourable wind getting up in the afternoon, they were wafted along
in  comfort and ease, and well on  their journey.    Towards 42 THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
evening they entered a broad and open harbour, up which they
travelled till crossing a sand bar they entered a river, which
was to be the destination of their sea travels. Inside a sheltered
cove at the mouth of the river stands a Rancherie, of the
Indian tribe which for generations has inhabited this place,
being known as the Pachina Indians. The tribe have forsaken
their old Rancherie or Hall of their ancestors still standing
built of large timbers in a square building, with side shelves
for sleeping on all round, and with a great log fire in the centre
of the building with the smoke going out through a hole in the
roof. Such a building would accommodate a couple of hundred
natives, and was used for safety from attacks of enemies by
a whole tribe. Modern civilization has so far touched these
races that they have for the most part built themselves modern
houses of cut lumber, where each family separately resides,
and supplies its own wants. And the Rancherie is no longer
used. While acknowledging the rule of their tribal chief, and
generally working in harmony with the rest of the tribe, some
members of which, under modern conditions of peace, may
now join other tribes if they did not find satisfaction in their
own. Their Feudal system has ceased, and with it their war
and bloodshed. The Government has placed all these native
people on their respective reservations, and confines them to
these sections of land as their home, which in many cases are
large enough for all the needs of the tribe, and for each
member to find a suitable holding. The Government looks
upon the native races as heirs or wards of the State, and
having taken their lands from them, has become responsible,
with certain limitations, to supply their needs in time of sickness or want, which is often necessary, especially in the winter
months when either the fisheries or work has been a failure.
Another great industry by which the Indians make a good
living is the hop and fruit picking during the autumn, and for
this they are in the habit of travelling along the coast in families
sometimes comprising the whole or remnant of a tribe, each
family in a large canoe, which they so ably handle in these
waters. The Indians are free to go where they like and find
work especially in fish canneries. THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 43
At the time our party landed most of the Pachina tribe
were at home, and engaged in the spring salmon fishery on
their own account. A large number of small canoes were busy
at the mouth of the harbour, each Indian with a spinning bait
spending long hours paddling too and fro, and occasionally
catching a large salmon weighing from six up to thirty pounds.
It was an enlivening sight to see the strangely variegated
clothing of the Indians, each in his canoe, or perhaps a man
and his wife together, under the light of the setting sun,
engaged in their time honoured occupation, which had become
so much a part of their life that they appeared to be fit for no
other. They are also a fast vanishing race, and another fifty
years will see their extinction as a people. Landing at the side
of the stream, Alec went up to the chief's house, which appeared
to be the best in the village, and with a friendly How do ye do
—" Kle-Hough-yer "—found him standing at his door. He was
the hereditary chief of a fast diminishing tribe of Indians, who
a few years previously had numbered five hundred strong, but
now, owing to an inroad of small-pox which had devastated the
tribe, was reduced to about a hundred souls all told."
Over the door of Peter's house was written on a board in
clear type " The White Man is Welcome." And no one had
reason to doubt it. For this native chief treated all who came
to his lodge with generosity and kindness, even though at times
he had been badly deceived, and mean things had been done
by men of the white race. More than once he had aided shipwrecked crews to safety, and placed his house at their service,
and had received no acknowledgment.
To accept hospitality or aid of any kind from an Indian
without acknowledgment or payment because they are a
weaker race is a mistake that leads to much trouble, and reluctance on the part of the native race to have anything to do with
the white race. Strict honesty and hard dealing bargains at
times are in accordance with the code of Indian honour, and
considering their ignorance they are remarkably shrewd in
business transactions. Alec was always careful to pay down
cash for everything he had from the natives, and attributed
many of his remarkable escapes to the fact, that it was by fF
gaining the good will of the native races he had escaped so
many dangers amongst native tribes. And certainly all the
time we have known him there has never been any trouble
with the natives in this locality, with whom there was much
palaver, and successful business transactions.
An Indian's Ranch in Canada is his castle. The reserve
as it is known to the Government and people is the unalienable
right of the tribe granted by treaty from the Imperial Government and acknowledged by the Dominion Government of
Canada. Strange to say the law of entail appears to apply to
these lands in as great a degree as it does to the entailed titled
estates of the Lords of the realm in England.
A section of land known as an Indian Reserve was granted
a century back by the Governor of the Hudson Bay, the then
representative of the crown, to the Indians and their descendants, who are at present residing on it in the centre of the
City of Victoria, the capital of B.C- It remains much as it
was, facing the magnificent block of stone and marble buildings
of the Provincial House of Commons, and surrounded by many
fine buildings of business and the private gentry, and likely in
the near future to be the business centre of the Province.
Only about forty of the tribe to whom it was granted, which
originally numbered over a thousand, are left, but all efforts of
the Legislature, including the Privy Council, have been unavailing in removing the remnant of this tribe to more suitable
quarters, or to buy out or alter the original agreement made a
century ago when the natives were strong enough to control
the situation. The Reserve remains an eye sore in the midst
of the most go ahead community in the West, and a proof of
the standing justice with which native races have been dealt
with by the Imperial Government of Great Britain.
A word of commendation cannot be withheld from the
treatment the native Indians receive from the Department
which controls and looks after the welfare of the native races of
Canada. The three million aboroginal races are now all located
on their respective reserves, and live in peace and quietness
with their own people and the white races by which they are
surrounded.   As wards of the State they are looked after by THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 45
the Indian agents, who look after their wants in time of need,
which is becoming more and more the case as they are deprived
of their hunting and fishing grounds. Schools and instruction in civilized employment, especially farming, are being
encouraged amongst them, and many of them are fully equal to
the ordinary white man in work and knowledge; indeed many
of them might well be entrusted with the franchise.
Treated with kindness and taught the civilized way of
living, what is left in the next generation of this fast dwindling
red man of Canada, the native aborigines, will be absorbed into
the white races, in whose blood their virtues, as well as their
vices, will be incorporated.
In strange contrast in this, as in many other things, the
native races on the United States side of the line have been
swept away by every indignity that can be offered to a
conquered race. Organised systems of slaughter, begun by
exciting the Indians to war by wrong and injustice, was the
common expedient of gettisg rid of the native races whose
lands it was intended should be taken- The saying " A dead
Indian is the only safe one" had its origin in these
organised systems of slaughter which contributed greatly in
sweeping away what was left of the native races after
disease, famine, plague and pestilence had done their worst
in the Western States. There none, or but a remnant, were
left to tell the tale. But the story of Indian wrongs will not be
forgotten in history.
I may here quote a striking testimony of an American
Bishop, Bishop Whipple of Minnesota, who thus contrasts the
relations of the United States and of Great Britain with the
Indians in their respective territories. " On one side of the
line," he says, " is a nation that has spent 500,000,000 dollars
in Indian wars—a people that have not a hundred miles
between the Atlantic and the Pacific which has not been the
scene of an Indian massacre, a Government which has not
passed twenty years without an Indian war, not an Indian
tribe to whom it has given Christian civilization, and
celebrates its Centenary by another bloody Indian war. On
the other side  of  the  line  are the  same Anglo-Saxon race, 46 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
and the same heathen. They have not spent one dollar on
Indian wars, and have had no massacres. Why ? In Canada
the Indian Treaties call these men * the Indian subjects of the
Crown.' When civilization approaches them they are placed
on ample reservations, receive aid in civilization, have personal
right in property, are amenable to law and protected by law, have
schools, and Christian people send them the best teachers."
The situation of the Indian ranch at which our travellers
had landed was at the mouth of the river, on a sand bank,
which, according to Peter, had been the habitation of his tribe
from time immemorial. It was safe from any enemies who
might come in from the sea side,, as there was a full view of the
harbour, while on each side there was an open space to the
forest jungle that lay beyond, and the situation was virtually an
island in the river, and had evidently been chosen with a view
to the general safety of the community.
In the immediate background of the chief's modern-built
house stood Peter's totem pole, in other words his family crest.
It was a pole about twenty feet in height, and on it were carved
various known and unknown forms of beasts, birds and fishes,
painted in bright colours, not unlike those seen on the family
shields and crests of the aristocracy of other nations.
According to Peter, his ancestry dated back to the period
when the real or imaginary animals of antiquity which science
has revealed inhabited the earth. For Peter's crest started
with the enlarged beak of a bird such as would be unknown to
the modern naturalist, and through a long process of development, in which the origin of species might be traced, it ended
in a spreading eagle on the back of a bear, showing Peter's
more modern ancestrj^ to be allied with a tribe whose crest was
thus represented.
That Peter was as proud of this trophy as any gentleman
who could trace his ancestry to archaic times goes without
saying. If the wood of the totem pole was old, the paint was
fresh, for it glowed in gaudy colours of brightest hue and it
stood in the centre of the Rancherie or hall of his ancestors.
On the further side away from the sea and close to the
residential part was the family graveyard, in which was a miscel- THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 47
laneous collection of every conceivable article of furniture and
bric-a-brac, including a modern bicycle, a sewing machine, and
the whole outfit of household utensils.
It was the custom whenever a death occurred in the tribe
for all the belongings of the deceased to be either destroyed or
heaped on the grave of the departed. Formerly it had been the
custom to kill the wives or the slaves of the greater chiefs, but
the Government had stopped that, and they now showed their
sorrow by paroxysms of grief and tears, with wild mournful
notes of wailing in which they were supposed to address the
deceased in'the spiritual regions beyond. These solemn cries
once heard are never forgotten, and must date back to a very
distant antiquity.
Whatever of value the dead Indian may have possessed—
no matter how valuable—was destroyed or heaped on the grave
of the deceased. It often amounted to thousands of dollars
worth. The shadow of it would follow him into the next world.
The nearer relatives were turned out destitute on the world,
with only the family crest to cover their nakedness and the
honour of their tribe. The totum pole alone escaped these
indignities: it alone was safe.
A chief of the neighbouring tribe being unfortunately
caught by a storm at sea, with his wife and child in a canoe,
was upset and, losing his hold of the canoe, bravely battled with
the elements for seven hours, supporting his wife and child in
the ice-cold waters of the winter sea. Landing at length on
the shore, his wife and child died of exhaustion, while he
himself recovered. This noble effort and remarkable endurance did not prevent the destruction of all that the chief owned,
and to show his grief for his loss on his return to his tribe
it included the burning of two thousand dollars in notes, the
result of his season's work. All that was left to him was
his family crest, the totem pole, and the inestimable credit
of his tribe, who upheld him in his traditions and recognised
him as a great chief.
Surely these native races have a respect for their traditions
which would place them high amongst the orthodox races of the
world.   Those who believe what is right and true, and act up to IL
their belief, deservedly live in the estimation of their fellows.
Another very extraordinary custom, generally known as a
Potlatch, characterises these tribes of the coast. When a chief
or private person has accumulated a large amount of property
and money, which has come to him as the result of hard work,
shrewd dealing in trade, capture in war or some lucky adventure, he sends a message round to all the neighbouring friendly
tribes that he intends to give a potlatch at a certain date, which
is usually at the full of the moon.
There is a feast in which the consumption of food, both
native and civilised, is extraordinary. No stomach but that of
an Indian could possibly stand what is consumed on these
occasions. It commences usually with fish, fresh smoked and
salted clams and crabs and shell fish, and there are interludes
of canned beef, crackers, and biscuits and jam, followed by
haunches of venison and bears hams and bacon. Tea and soda-
water form the drink when spirits can't be obtained. More
often than not there is a secret supply of liquor kept in a canoe
apart, for those who are initiated where to find it, for it cannot
be used in public. The feasting continues for days together.
Towards the end of the debauch the giver distributes everything he possesses in the way of goods, chiefly blankets and old
clothes, and when he has given away everything, including the
clothes he stands up in, he has fulfilled the law of hospitality,
according to the etiquette of an Indian, and is considered a
great chief. It is true every chief does in turn the same thing,
so somehow things are balanced up in the long run, or it is
possible the potlatch might not be so popular, or be carried out
on such a liberal scale. But the time to strike an Indian camp
is when a potlatch is on, one is safe to get all one wants, and a
good deal more than is ordinarily expected, for it is the only
time that an Indian shows a kindly and generous spirit, which
he also expects will be reciprocated later on by his friend the
white man. The Government have endeavoured to put an end
to these potlatch feasts as destructive to morals and thrift, but
so far without success. The potlatch is an ancient institution
and dies hard, and will linger on till the last Indian has gone to
the happy-hunting ground. THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 49
Amongst the Indians, who lived on the outskirts of the
Reserve and fed by the generous gifts of others never withheld
as long as the food is to be got, was a very old Indian, who
appeared to have seen over a century in years. He had known
the first King George's men who came to the country, which
placed him at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In
appearance he might have resembled Methuselah at the end of
his life, for he appeared like a skeleton covered with a leather
hide, and was blind. And yet this man might have been seen
handling a canoe and actively fishing in the summer time,
guided alone »by the aid of a boy who accompanied him in his
fishing expeditions.
A tribe higher up the coast had for ages been noted for their
ability in capturing whales. Before venturing out on these whaling expeditions, which amounted to the capture of two or three
leviathans in the season, a great deal of medicine or religious
worship had to be gone through, of which the medicine man of
the tribe performed the chief ritual, and without which no
whales could be captured. As a rule the capture of so large a
fish with the aid of twenty canoes, manned by twenty or more
natives, was a very serious business, and few whales had been
captured without loss of life and sometimes seriously curtailing
the numbers of the tribe, which had to be augmented by men
from other tribes from time to time. An attack by a whole
tribe of yelling warriors on a whale in the open sea must have
been a heroic scene according to the discription given of it by
Peter. But it belonged to the times long ago, indeed was
classical history in which heroes and leviathans got badly
mixed up.
Recently the white man had come on the scene, and is
making a very lucrative business capturing whales with modern
weapons and a steamer, and cutting up the bodies of these
valuable fish at a station on the shore. Where every part of
the whale's body is now made use of, and little waste, for
even the waste parts are used as a fertilizer. On first
starting this station for the whale fishing, the natives were
propitiated, as it was in their neighbourhood, by being told
that they would be employed in the fishery.    They naturally 50 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
supposed that their share would be in aiding in the capture
of the whale according to their time honoured custom
and tradition. While they were employed in their religious duties preparatory to going out to capture a whale for
the station that had been built conveniently in their locality on
the shore, the whaling steamer arrived towing three big
leviathans to the station which had been captured that morning.
The natives were invited to come and aid in the cutting up of
the whale. But it is said they were so astounded at the thought
that they should have been done out of the honour of the
capture of so great a fish without their aid, that none of them
have been able to lift up their heads again or indeed to speak
of the event without tears mingled with much other broken
language. Like many other people they have lost heart, they
realize they have been done out of their ancient occupation.
That the whaling steamer in the first year caught four hundred
whales without loss of life, to their odd whale or two in a season,
which jeopardised the lives of the whole tribe is beyond their
comprehension and they cannot attain unto it. How greatly
has civilised man outstripped the native races of this and other
lands, until as it is said there is no more spirit left in the native
red Indian of America, and soon he will not be found for there
is no place for those who do not march with the ages in civilization, progress, enlightenment, and co-operative labour.
Our   Settlers   Pre-empt their  Ground.
'TpHE future plans of the party were the subject of serious
-■- discussion over the camp fire that night, after full justice
had been done to the succulent salmon steaks that so often
form the food of a travelling prospector in British Columbia.
The Land Laws of the Province of British Columbia call for
a rough survey of the pre-emptor's claim, usually done by
himself, and completed later on by a Governmeat surveyor. THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 51
And this had been the purpose of their journey when the
party started, as well as to seek out a suitable location,
commonly called prospecting. Alec had an idea that the part
of the country which might prove suitable could be found in
the valley, adjacent to where the tribe of Indians resided who
lived on the reserve. The country was a new section recently
opened by Government, who were desirous of getting settlers
into that part.
A night's rest in the quiet precincts of the forest had
set the boys up for further adventures. It would not do to
take Peter with them; he might resent the close proximity
of white men ; they had best prospect alone, and Alec
knew sufficient of the land not to get entirely lost. So
the party started with sufficient supplies for the day or two
they might have to spend in the bush, leaving the boat drawn
up on the shore, where in the hands of the chief it would be
safe. Peter showed them the bounds of the reservation,
eagerly asking what they wexe after, for inquisitiveness is
proverbial in the nature of an Indian, and cunning is quite a
second nature. None the less it would not do in the present
emergency to tell him that the party were engaged in search of
land in the neighbourhood of the reserve, for the whole
country from time immemorial had been looked upon by the
Indians as the heritage of the tribe, and they might resent
Each of the party was laden with either axe or gun, a
small pack containing food, and blankets, as they intended to
stop out a night or two surveying the country, leaving their
main supplies in charge of the chief. The weather was warm
and genial. Plunging into the tangle of the jungle of forest in
the lowlands of the Pacific Coast is a new experience for a
novice, and one which does more to teach a man to control his
temper and his nerve than any other occupation. And such
our party found it. To learn to walk over fallen timber and
across deep canyons on narrow logs, to find oneself buried in
bushes of a prickly or stinging kind in a swamp or morass,
bitten by mosquitoes and flies or gnats at every turn, are
amongst the experiences a prospector becomes hardened to. 52 THE  SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
The line of progress is necessarily slow, and the novice
sees little — perhaps after awhile cares less — about the
nature of the country he has come to prospect. When at
nightfall he casts himself down at the foot of some tree, and
attempts to seek a few hours' rest, he feels sore indeed, and
attends to his wounds which the struggle in the wild and
woody forest has inflicted on him. Should he by chance lose
his bearings (which the best men are apt to do) he believes
himself lost, and so he is for awhile. Best for him if he should
not lose his head or his courage. He will stop, light a fire, and
discuss with himself, or others, over a cup of tea, the situation.
Then is the time when he feels the benefit of a party, for it's
best and safest to be lost in a company rather than to be lost
alone. Under such circumstances it might prove fatal to a
single man and a novice to venture alone in a wild bush
country. The question under discussion frequently arose.
Could it be possible that such a wild tangle of a bush as the
party passed through in the course of the day could be worth
anything except for the forest trees which grew upon the
ground in such giant sizes that it would take the efforts of a
Hercules to move them? It was the primeval forest as nature
made it. And what could be done with such trees, three
hundred feet in height and ten feet in diameter, some of
which our party had measured that day in the forest ? They
were chiefly spruce, cedar and hemlock trees which grow in
such profusion along the coast line and in the valleys of the
coast, and their quantity measures often fifty thousand feet to
the acre of serviceable timber exclusive of the top and branches.
In one instance in this country 5,000,000 feet were taken from
ten acres. At first sight, in the opinion of some, such land
appears to be worthless, except for the timber, and that is not
at present within reach of the market- Could it be possible
that our party could make for themselves a home in this inaccessible out-of-the-way jungle in the midst of a primeval
forest ?
Such were the thoughts of the younger of the party as
they lay under the spreading branches of a Douglas fir, one of
the few they had seen that day.   With the aid of the compass THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 53
in the hands of Alec, who directed the party as only an old
woodsman and prospector is able to do in this vast wilderness,
they had covered some three or four miles in a half-circle and
prospected the country. They had come across one spot where
the Indians had been building one of their large sixty-foot
canoes—built out of a single cedar log, whose original dimension might have been eight feet diameter at the butt-end.
Half-finished, it stood in the forest perhaps a mile away from
the harbour. It seemed probable that when half way through
with the work, which must have taken several months of
arduous labour with the aid of axe, chisel and fire to burn out
the inside trunk, and then shape the outside, the men had discontinued the work.
Perhaps they were doubtful if they could get such a heavy
war canoe to the water; but an Indian seldom begins a
work without serious consideration and carries it through
successfully. Or the tribe had been cut short in their labours
by an attack from some foreign invader who had caught them
unarmed at their work, or smallpox may have cut off the
strength of their manhood, making the prospect of an attack
on some neighbouring tribe impossible, and so causing peace,
even the peace of extinction such as the tribe was then
Whatever it was, there it stood, in an unfinished state, in
the midst of the forest, still sound after fifty years or more had
covered up the massive piece of woodwork with the wild and
tropical growth of the jungle. Alec said that there was a time
on this coast when no Indian or native would dare to go a mile
away from his native camp without running the risk of being
captured and slain by some other tribe. A journey of a hundred
miles along the coast previous to the advent of white men
could not be taken by an Indian without the certainty of being
killed. Such was the state of things before the Government of
the British Crown took hold of the native race question and
stopped the feudal fights and quarrels which seemed to sweep
the major portion of the inhabitants away before they reached
old age. It was equally dangerous for white men to travel,
and many ships' crews have been murdered. 54 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
The youths of the party were eagerly asking Alec what
he thought of the prospect of the day's survey. He was
silent for a time. Then he said: " You bet your boots, this
timber is going to be valuable; the land in the valley and the
swamp is good deep soil and will give a living to those who will
clear it. It's well Worth the dollar an acre the Government
asks for it on pre-emption. One acre of that valley land,
cleared, when the sun gets on it, is worth ten on the prairie.
But it's going to be hard work to clear, and it's the work for
young men to handle. The timber alone will pay you to take
up. A little house built of logs, with an acre or two of cleared
land, is going to supply anyone with all the fruit and vegetables
they require; a pig or two to run wild will pay the taxes, a
few cows in the bush will pay for beef, and something over;
and a team of horses will come in handy for logging on a small
scale, for those who fancy that work in a lumber camp. The
land all slopes to the water too," he remarked, " on the river
side; it's not going to be so hard to log for them as knows how
to do it. It'll pay, sirs, though it don't look like it to those as
doesn't know. I'd take up a pre-emption myself if I had
nothing to do. And now I come to think of it them Indians
ain't a bad lot. You might be alongside a worse class of
people than them. I know that Peter, he's a good Indian,
that's what he is. I mind him, one winter's day, when none of
us would face a storm to go and save a party that appeared to
be wrecked on some rocks outside Victoria Harbour, he and four
other Indians took a canoe and went out and saved them when
we dare not risk it in a boat. He's a chip of the old sort Indian
in him, and he will treat you well if you deal square. But we'll
take another turn to-morrow and see what is on the sea side."
After this long statement, voluntarily given, Alec relapsed
into his usual silence over his evening pipe.
The laws of the Pre-emption scheme require that a
party should take their sections in a square block. This would
include six hundred acres. To select the quality of the land
was the main point, and to drive in a survey post in accordance
with the law was the present object of the expedition. The
party spent the next day in prospecting the remainder of the THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 55
land comprised in what appeared to be a kind of cape running
out to the part where they had entered the harbour.
If they could lay claim to a place running from river to
sea it would be easier to handle, and they might hold the whole
headland if circumstances were propitious, for there was no
reason, after having obtained one section of country from the
Government, they should not apply for another afterwards, and
at present the whole country was new, and open for preemption.
The land on the next day's journey proved better than they
expected, and was not so heavily timbered, being nearer the sea,
enabling them after a clear survey to get back to the Indian
cove towards evening.
A private discussion then arose amongst the young men
whether they could not retain the services of the old man,
Alec, who appeared in their present circumstances indispensable to the success of their undertaking. "Suggest to him,"
said George, " that he take uep a pre-emption alongside us, and
we will pay him so much a month to work for us and with us."
They were all attracted by the old man, his ways and
manner of talk. George, the eldest, was deputed to ask him
whether he would undertake the direction of operations, take
up a quarter section, and for a few pounds a month serve the
party to the best of his ability.
He said he would consider it for a night, and in silence
continued to smoke his cuddy pipe by the side of the fire till he
fell asleep. Next morning at breakfast he said he had thought
. over the plan, and would take up a section with them providing
all were agreeable to his joining. This happy solution of the
difficulty gave courage to the youthful members, some of whom
were inclined to give up when they saw how hard and severe
the prospect appeared to be, under the light of the previous
day's experience- Surely if an old man of years and experience
thought it worth while as a prospect, they were not the youths
to back out because there was hard work in view. A day's rest
and an afternoon spent in salmon fishing with an Indian canoe
served to interest the party. Jack, always more ambitious than
the rest, had hired a canoe on his own account, but he was not 56 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
long inside it; the first push from the shore and he was over
and floundering in the water. One will learn to respect an
Indian canoe only when one has tried it and got accustomed to
it one's self. For of all the cranky and ungainly crafts afloat
to the man who is a stranger to it, an Indian canoe of the
Pacific Coast is the worst, and most uncertain-
And yet it is without exception the safest boat that floats.
It will support a man when full of water, and a whole family
will hang on to its sides without sinking it, while one will
scramble inside and proceed to empty it of its liquid contents
without the aid of a bucket by simply tilting it from side to
side. When emptied of water the rest of the family may
successfully be rolled into it, and all this has been done in a
stormy sea by Indians when the water was at freezing point.
A whole family has been upset at sea, owing to several of
the party being drunk, and the fat kluchman, the wife and
mother of the family, an ungainly body who would float like a
cork, owing to the greasy nature of her skin (due to fifty years
of a salmon fish diet) has accomplished the feat of rolling herself into a canoe, emptying it in the manner described, and
finally saving the remainder of her intemperate brood, who
were sobered by the cold waters in which they were plunged.
One will know that all this is true when one begins and after
many attempts discovers that the centre of gravity and balance
is preserved by keeping one's feet in the bottom of the boat and
on an imaginary keel. Frequently a fat squaw will walk the
whole length of a small canoe to her seat in the end without
losing balance by a hair's breadth. She will handle her paddle
both as a means of propulsion and for steering her canoe with
head to the wind, without a sign of a rudder, keeping up a
regular speed for hours together, often alone in a strong sea.
That same light single paddle, made of cedar wood and
neatly carved, will be used as a scoop to empty the canoe, if
necessary, of water, or it comes handy to kill a salmon in
the water. After the fish has been caught by the line and
hook and drawn to the side, it receives a stunning blow on
the back of the neck before it is hauled over the side into the
boat; otherwise, owing to its violent struggles, it would upset
the canoe. It has been said also, that as a weapon of defence
in time of war the paddle is the woman's weapon, and on its
flat side comes in handy to correct the younger members of
the family, whose introduction to the paddle and its partner
the canoe, begins early in life.
A native cedar canoe is alike the cradle, the coffin, and the
home of the greater number of those native races who for
countless ages have inhabited the shores of the North Pacific
coast. The family cedar canoe is the heirloom of numerous
races of Indians, by whom it is handled to perfection amounting
to an instinct.
It requires both skill and endurance, especially in the
spring of the year, to catch salmon in the sea, and unless
our party had learned their first lessons from the Indians, as
they did on this occasion, there would have been no salmon
cutlets for supper that night. As it was, when they came
ashore with two fine silvery salmon at the bottom of the canoe
there was joy in the camp, for there was plenty of grub in the
pot, and that of their own catching. The cooking had to be
taken by turns, but here Alec, who was an adept, showed
them all the ways in which salmon could be boned and dealt
with—smoked and salted—for future use. The healthy
appetites, increased by solid work since their life in the bush
had commenced, made any kind of food acceptable to the
young men.
As an instance of what a wonderful craft this ancient form
of boat cut from a single log and chiselled out by slow degrees,
with the aid of half an axe-head, and carved by the aid of a
hand knife or mussel shells. The writer was acquainted with a
certain captain who fitted up a 45-foot Indian canoe with a
water-tight cabin. With this vessel he navigated his journey
across the Pacific to the Sandwich Islands and Australia—a
three months' journey—without visiting land, and from thence
circumnavigated the world. And his canoe is still sound, after
that stupendous journey, and when I last knew the captain
he was on a lecturing tour describing his journey on board an
'TpHE future plans having been agreed upon, it became
■*■ necessary to make a rough survey of the ground, in
order to put in a plan of it in the Land Commissioner's
office. It was thought advisable to tell Peter, the chief, of
their intention. To their surprise, Peter gladly acquiesced,
and for a consideration undertook to help and show them over
the ground, which he had known from childhood.
"You good man! I know you! Old man he help me in
town once, I no forget," was the way in which Peter expressed
himself as to the arrangement by which our party acquired
peaceable possession of a square mile of territory which until
recently, and by past inheritance of countless generations,
Peter might have looked upon as the heritage of his tribe, or
part of a patrimony for his children, who to the number of seven
boys and one girl inhabited his royal camp. This same chief,
as he subsequently told the party, was half Spaniard, and his
grandfather had been a full-blooded Indian chief of the tribe.
It appears that a Spanish ship had been wrecked on the coast
in the early days of the last century, when the land on the west
coast of Vancouver was claimed by the Spaniards. The men
had been killed, and some Spanish women had been made
slaves by the Indians, and one became wife of the chief, from
whom Peter was descended. His grandmother was a Spaniard.
He combined all the best points of the two races; but his
uncertain temper reminded one at times of the passionate
nature of the children of the South, while his more stolid
powers of endurance were the inheritance from his father,
combining qualities as remarkable as they were useful. For
Peter was a bold, courageous fellow, and as long as his
passionate temper was not aroused, and he kept clear of
whisky (his one failing) he was the best of Indians to engage
in bush work, or indeed work of any kind.
The party started out in a sunny day in Spring, in company
with Peter, who first showed them the line of reserve, which
he had been employed by Government   to   keep  open,  and THB  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 59^
within which no white man had any right to remain. A post
was placed solidly in the ground marking the west corner
of the ground the party intended to take up. With the aid
of a line compass, and a long measuring tape, a rough
survey was made. Two of the boys went on ahead to clear
away the bush with their axes, while the old man (Alec) and
Peter, whose eyesight was such that he could see in the bush
where the rest of the party were unable to distinguish anything,
were employed to line up the course. A difference of a foot or
two in the length of a mile makes a vast difference in the sum
total at the'end, as our party were destined eventually to
discover, in measuring up the land by a rough survey with
the aid of a compass. But Alec could be trusted to do his
best, and it was not his fault that at one place there was a lead
of iron metal which threw his compass out, causing big trouble
later on. Three days were spent at this kind of work, and by
the time the party had measured out a square mile of 600
acres, which brought them out to the sea coast on the other
side of the headland, a post was placed at each of the four
corners, and the additional quarter section was taken up by
Alec, who, with the consent of the party, took in the headland,
at the mouth of the harbour, a spot well suited for an old sailor
the best part of whose life had been spent on the troubled
water of the Pacific Ocean. Each night the party returned to
camp, and Peter, to show his goodwill, supplied them with
a haunch of venison the result of his last hunting expedition,
when he had shot two elk, whose magnificent horned heads he
was about to take to town to sell, and were worth twenty-five
dollars apiece.
The next step was to start building a log house, as. part of
the improvement required by law to retain the property. A
spot had been selected by the riverside, with a partially cleared
section of ground at the back, which Alec considered would do
as a garden when drained and cultivated. A long double-
handed saw, and axes, with spade and mattock, were produced
by Alec from the boat, and three days were spent by the party
in cutting down suitable logs and shaping them [to fit on each
other.   The whole party put in about fourteen hours a day at
this work, and by the end of the week a log house thirty by
twenty feet square was raised Alec, who worked more like a
youth seemed to gain in energy and enthusiasm as the work
continued and directed the whole operation, which was of
course entirely new to our party. They would never have been
able to accomplish this work without the aid of such a man as
Alec, who in addition to his other accomplishments was as
skilled a backwoodsman as could be found.
Several of the Indians were employed for a day to help to
roll the logs into position, for the house when completed was as
solid as a fort and calculated to stand any siege, short of a
forest fire, which is possibly the only danger such buildings are
apt to suffer from. Such a building is good for fifty years, and
if the logs are barked will be sound for a century.
Alec, with his wedge, spent most of his time in riving out
shacks for the roof which could be put on at leisure, but was
greatly hastened by the altered state, of the weather. A heavy
rain set in, and camping in the open was wet and uncomfortable ; but by dint of working as long as it was possible to
see, up till ten o'clock at night, the covering of the roof was
got on, and the party took up their habitation in the first log
cabin raised by their own united, efforts in the valley, which
later on became a large and populated centre.
It became necessary now for two of the party to go back
to town first to record their pre-emption, and secondly to bring
up supplies of food and the boxes which had been left behind,
containing their kit and belongings. For life in the Far West
had now begun in earnest, and the next best thing would be to
clear the ground in the course of the summer, before the rains
came, with the object of having something to depend upon the
next year. After consultation, it was agreed to employ Peter
with his two sons to take his large canoe to aid in the transfer
of goods. Alec, with George and Edward, as the eldest and
strongest of the party, were deputed to run the risk of a journey
to town, which, now that the weather was more settled, was not
so dangerous as it was earlier in the season, and would improve
each week as the season progressed till late in the fall, when in
the month of October the heavy rain might be expected.
At daylight one morning, when in the opinion of Peter the
wind was favourable, the canoe with the Indians, and Alec and
the other two in the boat, set out for a hundred mile sail or
pull as the conditions might require. Needless to say that, as
the wind was favourable, the Indians arrived in town a day
earlier than the boat, with the unhappy result that Peter,
having obtained liquor by some means which he would not
reveal, had got into trouble with the police and was liable for
a fine. By revealing who had supplied him with liquor,
however, he was discharged, and the delinquent liquor seller
was fined thrqe hundred dollars. But where the profits are
so large, it would not deter him from continuing the trade.
The profits on this trade with the Indian cannot be less than 75
per cent., and the quality of the liquor is such that it is calculated to kill at fifty yards.
Registration of land having been accomplished, supplies
and boxes were loaded on to the boat and canoe, together with
two pigs, some chickens, and a couple of nanny goats, and
a billy. The former, in full milk, were taken to supply the
household, and it was thought they might survive the attacks
of wild animals in the bush, as indeed has proved to be the
case. For these were the first of a flock of goats which
were profitable in more senses than one, and paid better than
any investment made by our party in their wild bush life.
The canoe and the boat took nearly ten days accomplishing the return journey, owing to adverse winds, and it
became necessary to make progress by travelling at night,
when the sea was quieter than during the day. Frequent rests
were called for, as the boat and canoe travelled in company up
the coast. But eventually the harbour was reached, without
loss or shipwreck, and it was with satisfaction our party carried
their belongings into their new abode. During the interval,
Charlie and Jack had plastered with mud all the holes and
interstices between the logs, making it both warm and watertight.
A Canadian stove, with a good supply of smoke-stack
piping, which was part of the acquired property from town,
was now set  up,  and   cooking   and   baking   of   bread,   the 62 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
mysteries of which Alec took in hand, made a condition of
home comfort, " solid comfort," as one of the party put it, that
would go far to settle matters on a home basis.
The   Log   Cabin   and   Clearing   Ground.
OUR party had now acquired territory, and might consider
themselves permanent settlers, with a prospect in view.
They had done this at a cost which, considering the prospective
value, was a trifle compared with what the return might be in a
few years time. Economy was the point that had been looked
at, but with the help of Alec efficiency had also been attained-
And we doubt whether any party could have done better or got
more for their money. There seemed to be mutual agreement
to help each other, and to continue in partnership at all events
till their two years were up, and they could each acquire their
title deeds from Government for the lands they had preempted. " Would the party hold together for so long ? " has
always been the question under such an arrangement.
Alas! there are frequent disagreements amongst parties thus
taking up land in partnership. If they can agree to co-operate
a successful result is almost assured as in the story we have
shown. The question usually arises as to which quarter
section of land is to have the improvements placed upon it
such as the law requires for the pre-emption, the deeds of
which are finally given to the company. It was found best
to turn the company into a corporation to be run as a
whole, in the interest of the party, for as long as the
majority held together, Alec's section of land was to remain
out of it, and the party agreed to pay him so much a month for
as long as he would work and remain with them until the two
years were up. In order to do this Alec would have to build
a house on his own property. The party willingly agreed to
help him in the house-building, for their respect for the old
man was great.    He was the friend of the family. THE  SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 63
Such v/as the arrangement upon which our party based
their future success, and the next step was to spend a few days
in aiding Alec to build his shack in the forest on his own
ground. Unlike the log cabin which he had aided in building
for the family use as he called it, Alec selected a spot on the
point of a rock with a magnificent view overlooking the
harbour and the open sea. It was called Alexander Point out
of respect for the owner. The house, instead of being of
logs, was built entirely of shakes, in the cutting of which
Alec was an adept. They were nailed on to a framework of
small trees cut as poles from the forest. The rapidity of construction of such a house was marvellous, for the place was
cleared and the house completed in a week, and the major
portion of the work was done by the old man himself, who only
needed aid in carrying the shakes from the place where he had
cut them. They were from blocks cut out of a single cedar
tree, which he was careful to select according to the grain for
the purpose. When the little place was packed with moss and
the roof finished according to design, and a window cut in the
side of the house, with a door, and a shed at the back, it
presented both a respectable and homelike appearance, and
forms the cheapest and most economical kind of house that a
settler in British Columbia can construct. But it is probable
it cannot be produced except where cedar trees grow, from
which, with the aid of a tool called a frou, a skilled man can
produce smooth, even-rived planks ten to twelve feet long
and without a knot in them, known as shakes or shingles. It
was necessary for Alec to put in a residence at Alexander
Point for a few days in each month in order to secure his
land, and one or other of the party were always glad to
accompany the old man on this expedition, when the time was
spent in clearing the land for a future garden alongside the
The next work in which the party employed their time was
in clearing and burning up the logs on their estate around the
house. A box of stumping powder had been part of the cargo
on the last voyage, providentially thought of by Alec, and the
whole party were interested in the manner in which stumps of 64 THE   SETTLERS   OF  VANCOUVER   ISLAND.
trees were blasted, and the way in which they were taught by
Alec to use this expensive means with the best effect in
clearing the ground. From time to time a giant report would
be heard, of solid roots being burst with the force of the explosion, or a crash of branches followed by a great thud would
mark the fall of some monarch of the forest, to be cut up into
cordwood for winter use, or burnt in great fires which were
kept up continually in order to clear the ground of waste
In this manner the summer months were spent, and the
autumn season, with its dews and quiet days of the falling leaf,
There were long hours spent in canoes on the harbour,
patching salmon, which in the months of July, August and
September came in great quantities, making it possible to catch
a dozen or more in an hour with hook and line. These were
salted down, in a great barrel, which had been picked up on the
shore from some wreck, and others were hung up in the smokehouse until a sufficient supply had been taken in for the winter's
use. The grouse and deer season coming on, Jack, who proved
himself to be the hunter of the party, went forth and.secured
several deer, which were likewise smoked. A bear, which
approached too near the house, was shot and proved to be the
best kind of mutton that the party had ever tasted.
Then followed the wild fruits, of which there were four
different kinds, that made excellent jam. One of the party was
always kept in the house cooking food for the rest, and looking
after the jam-making business, until a sufficient supply had
been laid aside as a rejish to the hard tack and salt fish with
which the party hoped to survive the winter.
In a climate so fresh and healthful, amid the pine air of
the forest and seabreezes, there was never any question as to
what they should eat or drink. Tea was the only favourite
beverage—the national drink of Canada, and a sound appetite
for any kind of food was never wanting in so healthful a
climate. The main question was the supply and the cooking;
and this is where the need of a lady help, a mother, sister or
wife comes in so handy, and is so valued in the settlements and THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 65
amongst the backwoodsmen of the Far West. There is so
much with which a woman of energy can employ herself, and
there is never any lack of work. It is the secret of many a
man's failure or success in life, and our young bachelor crowd,
who batched it for the next two years, were not long in finding
this out. They had to take each their turn at cooking and
baking, with the help of old Alec, to whom nothing came amiss.
Always at it, the first to rise and the last to retire at night, he
was a model example to the younger men, whose respect and
goodwill he had won by his consistent conduct and kind-
hearted ways.
The animals on the farm consisted of the chickens, which
mainly hunted for their own living in the bush, but had to be
safely looked after at night for fear of the mink and other wild
animals; the goats, which became so tame that they were
looked upon as part of the family as night and morning they
walked into the house to receive a handful of grain or a biscuit,
while they were being milked to supply the household with the
strengthening and refreshing beverage, otherwise supplied by
condensed milk. They fed themselves almost entirely in the
wild bush, living chiefly on leaves and young shoots, and aided
in no inconsiderable degree towards keeping down the rapid
vegetation which grew in such profusion all around the house.
The pigs too roved around the opening, and behaved more
like dogs, as they followed the party about, often for miles
away from home, and it became a heartrending case when
" Huzz " and "Buzz," his brother, as they were called, had to
be slaughtered when the winter season came on.
Twice in the course of the summer it became necessary to
pay a visit to town to get in supplies, when the party took it in
turns to visit the scenes of civilization, returning with all the
more interest to the wild forest home, in which they found
themselves so much interested that none of them thought of
leaving it.
Such indeed is the simple everyday life of the settler in
the Far West, those who are making homes for themselves,
varied only occasionally by the visit of some distant settler,
who finds the lonesomeness of his situation, or is constrained 66 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
to visit his neighbour often with the object of finding out what
day of the month or week it is—which is invariably the first
question asked on meeting a neighbour after a month's absence
in the bush,
TT was Sunday morning in the fall of the year, and the party
'-*- were engaged in their usual operations, which consisted
of a a long morning in bed, to which a hard working settler
feels himself entitled. The labours of the previous week
in clearing ground and rolling up great logs to the fires which
were kept continually burning and enwrapped the clearing in a
cloud of smoke. It smells pleasant in a true settler's nose, for
he knows the land is being cleared for cultivation, and that
means progress. Sunday, as all the world in the fringe of
newly settled countries knows, means washing day for the man
who is batching it. Each member of the party washed his own
clothes on that day, drying them in the sun if possible, or over
the stove if the day was wet. The rest of the day, after the
midday meal, as there was no place of worship within a hundred
miles, was devoted either to a fishing expedition, or an interview with Peter who would often tell them some of the old
tales of his tribal history. Some of these are more like the
stories of the Old Testament History, including the story of
the Flood, which all races seem to have in common.
In Peter's narrative, the Ark was represented as a huge
war canoe, somewhat like the one found lying up in the forest,
in which the tribe, which was the only one that escaped, seemed
to have taken refuge, and thus transported the necessary livestock, from which local creation started. Another new and
original story was often repeated by Peter, and had roused
much discussion amongst the boys. It was on these occasions
that Peter threw in all the energy of his native character, as
he recorded the scenes of his youth when the world was young.
But he always concluded with the lament, " No more Indian THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 67
now, all gone ; white man take him. Soon white man take all."
A sad but certain prophecy, for these races cannot survive
another fifty years.
Another story founded on fact and enlarged in fiction was
often repeated. " Away back many moons," Peter would begin
the story and rehearse as follows: " You see that gap in the
mountains," to which the Indian would point as he lay sunning
himself on the sandy shore of the Cove, the natural position of
all Indian tribes when enjoying the dolce far niente and
telling a stojry, in which all hunting and fishing races like to
indulge their leisure, " a tribe of Indians come from a long
way the other side, and make an attack on my tribe, and kill
many men, so many, they always remember that time. My
tribe always live on this place at mouth of river, so they think
themselves safe behind, and could always see the men who
fight come in on the sea, which war they never fear. One
time five hundred men figjit in war canoes in this bay, and we
kill many men. My grandfather, great man in those times, he
give one big potlatch after that, and become one great man on
this coast." From which we gather that this was the prime
period of the Pachina tribe, of which Peter was now the
hereditary chief, and would probably be the last of his race.
The last of the Pachinas, and no mean man or chieftain at
that, for he had done the best he could for his tribe that had
fallen on troublous times, due to the intrusion of the white
race, depriving him of his hunting grounds, and before long
likely to greatly curtail his fishing, great and bountiful as the
production of the sea and salmon fishing still remains, the
fisheries are first being depleted by our fishing.
" Tell us about the Indians who came through the mountain
gap," says Jack, always eager for historical fables.,
" The tribe were building the big canoe you see up in the
forest, one day, suspecting nothing, still less that they would
be attacked from the quarter behind, which, on account of the
mountains and forest, was considered an inaccessible point.
The foes appear to have killed most of the men engaged on the
canoe, but one or two escaped to the Ranchere and called the
balance to arms; they fought in  those days with  bow and 6*8 THE  SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
arrow, stone hammers, and hardwood spears. The arrows
were tipped with flint similar to the flints of Anglo-Saxon
times, which are still made by the older Indians on the coast.
A few iron spears and knives obtained by trading were then in
use. But it proved a bloody fight, and several of the women of
the tribe were carried off as slaves, the rest escaping in the
bush. The power of the Pachina tribe was broken from that
time, and appeared, from Peter's account, to have been on the
downward grade ever since, for they only numbered, all told,
seventy men and women, and but few strong men amongst
them, in Peter's time.
Amongst those carried off was a young girl who lived and
married amongst her conquerors. When her eldest son was
grown to manhood she persuaded him to make a journey with
her in more peaceable times, back across the mountains to her
tribe, of which from time to time she had heard. In this
journey of many days, and through a wild and desolate region,
amidst heavily-wooded valleys and swamps, one moonlight
night, at the place where they were camped she saw the
ground shining around her, and picking up the gold ore she
took a quantity of it with her and brought it to the home
camp, where she was received with joy by her parents, who
thought her lost and dead.
The heavily-weighted gold ore proved to be nuggets of
gold. The tribe went searching for the hidden treasure for
many days, but were unable to trace it. This latter part of
the story is probably true, for there are many stories current
of a similar nature where the lost lode of a gold vein has been
found, full of rich treasure, and afterwards lost, and all efforts
on the part of those who found it to retrace their steps to the
right place have proved a failure, leaving only a tradition,
This story was entrancing if it was true, and doubtless it was
founded On fact, but had been exaggerated by repetition.
Another story of more modern date will bear telling
from the same locality. Every year during the dry summer
season a miner came to Peter's lodge from the far-away Salt
Lake city of Utah. He would engage Peter to take him up
the river, and would regularly discharge him at a point about
as far as a canoe would travel in the rapidly-falling river
Alone the prospector would travel into the wilderness of the
mountains, and after some three weeks' absence he would
return bringing with him a heavy and carefully-handled sack,
which fhe would never allow out of his sight, Nor would he
open it or explain what was in it. " Gold," said Peter,
"nothing but gold," was Peter's oft-repeated answer to the
query as to what the sack contained.
There had once been three miners who thus came each
season, but two had died and then only one came in the annual
search for gold, and he had also recently died, without revealing
the secret of the lost treasure. The Spaniards, said Peter,
once had a mule track up the valley, and he had often seen the
signs of their workings in the canyons of the hills in earlier
years when he went hunting with his father. But as the
waters of the rapid-flowing stream were a perfect torrent in
the winter, they often altered the nature of the country, when
the river made a fresh track for itself, which accounted for the
numerous sandy gullies in its course, which were covered
with vegetation in the summer. So the traces of the gold vein
were lost and broken, and it was impossible to find any great
quantity of ore; gold nuggets, of which he had seen several,
were scarce and uncertain. " These things," he said,
" occurred many moons back; but," he added, " I always
speak true."
These stories served to fire the ambition of the boys to go
as prospectors on a gold-hunting expedition. By the advice
of old Alec, however, they stuck to their work in order to clear
as much ground as possible before the rain set in.
Much discussion followed amongst the young settlers as
to their plans, and at last it was settled that Charlie and Jack
should go with Peter up the valley on a prospecting expedition
when he went up the river on his annual migration to obtain
his autumn supply of salmon, which were more easily obtained
higher up the river than near its mouth. George and Alec
were to go to town for more supplies, which they could do
easily now the weather was calm in the autumn, and Edward
was to remain and look after the ranch for now the settlement 70 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
had grown to the dimensions of possessing not only a piece of
cleared ground suitable for next year's cultivation, but a well-
built log barn, filled with freshly-smelling hay cut from the
wild meadow grass by the riverside, and brought to the ranch
by boat, in the place of a waggon. A more primitive
state of things than the management of this farm could
scarcely have been found. And such is the beginning of every
new settlement.
The  Boys  go   Prospecting.
"PREPARATIONS were made for a fourteen days' absence
•*• after the first autumn rains had fallen, so that there
was sufficient water to enable the party to pull their canoe up
the rapids and riffles of the river, which for about fifteen miles
up its winding course would bring them into the heart of the
Early one morning, with the tide to help them up a few
miles, the party travelled in Peter's light river canoe. It was
necessary for them in one place to pull the canoe over a jam
of logs twenty feet in height which for years had made the
river impassable. This jam afforded an insight into the
extreme power of the waters during the winter season.
Great logs, six or seven feet in diameter, and whole trees
which had fallen into the river by washing away of its banks,
had jammed up in one place for a hundred yards, making a
perfect fortress, around which it was necessary to portage
the canoe. It took the best part of a day to accomplish
this and carry their goods around. Our party were glad
that they had been fortunate enough to select their settlement below this jam, for those who would settle above it
would have a hard time, and already some settlers had come in
that season, shortly after our party had taken up their land.
Another two days travelling in the canoe, up stream and across THE  SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 71
riffles and small rapids, brought the party to the place where
Peter and his Indian subjects caught their winter supply of
salmon, a wide, open pool beneath some falls, up which the
salmon fruitlessly attempted to leap, and were therefore congregated for spawning in vast numbers at the foot and in the
smaller streams around,—a delightful camping ground, in the
cooler air of the autumn.
Charlie, making a tour of inspection around, was surprised
to see a bear standing up to its haunches in the water beneath
the falls, where the salmon were very numerous. With the
fore part of his paw high in the air he awaited the salmon, and
with a sudden and very violent stroke whipped up a salmon
from the water up on to the land. Nor was bruin satisfied
until he had four or five of these fish kicking about on the bank
at one time, and only then retired to eat them. Charlie watched
his opportunity, the bear being very tame and unsuspecting at
this season of the year, and with a well aimed shot laid him
dead. The Indians came and cut up the body for food, which
came in handy, and the meat was excellent, the bear having fed
mostly on berries which were very numerous around this
locality. Game of every description appeared very abundant
in this neighbourhood, and one morning a herd of elk, with a
great antlered leader, stood in the stream and enabled the party
to watch them from a short distance undisturbed. There was
no need for meat, so our party would not destroy so valuable
an animal which is fast becoming extinct through over-shooting. Indeed to shoot one is not sport, for these animals are
almost as tame as cows, and are now carefully preserved, as far
as possible, by the game laws. The next question was, could our
youthful party, Charlie and Jack, be trusted to go into the bush
alone. They had learned much about bush life and how to
direct their way, but hitherto had always been accompanied
either by Alec or Peter, whose long experience enabled them
to direct a course almost by instinct. It was decided they
should go, and trust to providence.
With gun, compass, and a few supplies packed up in a
blanket on their shoulders, our youthful prospectors started on
a journey which was not to be more than a fortnight in search Iff
of a mining proposition, which, ever since Peter had told his
story about the gold reef, had filled the thoughts of these young
men, and hope of re-discovery of a long lost claim was strong
within them. They would make for the gap in the mountains
in front of them a few miles and prospect the mountain for
minerals. These two members of our party had had the advantage of a training in geology and minerals when at school,
so they were no novices, and would know minerals when they
saw them in the rocks. It was a hard, tough scramble through
the forest, and the low intervening ground until they mounted
the higher ranges, when the country became comparatively clear
of underbrush and it was possible to proceed with comparative
ease- For two days they travelled eastwards, sleeping under
trees at night, and camping in the lonesome forest, where
during the night the howl of the wood wolf frequently kept
them awake. They had reached the higher altitudes of the
mountains, amid canyons and declivities, in a wild country
such as they could scarcely have imagined. Fortunately they
were bold and courageous youths and the settlers life had
hardened their muscles, so that they were ready for any labour
which a journey of this kind entails. They had reached a more
open table land by the fourth day, and struck a trail which
brought them out to a cultivated piece of land with a large and
well built log house in sight. Such a scene of civilization was
a welcome sight to our young travellers, and they were not slow
in making for the door, which stood wide open, when the bark
of a dog made their presence known to the inhabitants. The
family proved to be a settler, his wife, two daughters and two
sons, who had come up from the other side of the island and
had made their home up in the wild mountain district, where
on account of the deep snow in winter they were cut off from
the world for half the year, and only very occasionally had an
opportunity of seeing visitors in summer. The table land grew
abundance of wild hay, and a herd of cattle running semi-wild
in the forest, was the chief means of making money for the
settlers, who appeared nevertheless to be in prosperous circumstances, with ample supplies for their long winter season of
lonesomeness..    They gladly welcomed the boys, and expressed
^t I
amazement that they should have travelled the wild and broken
country which divided them from the sea, a matter of nearly
forty miles, over a country which few white men had ever
travelled before. Charlie and Jack had a good time of it with
this family, who were only too glad to welcome visitors to the
wild upland farm, which as it was a matter of twenty miles over
a rough trail to the East, before they could find any other
settlement, was seldom traversed- Once a year, the men of the
family took a herd of wild cattle down to the coast, where they
found a ready sale, and brought back supplies. The girls of the
family had lived their lonesome life like flowers, wasting their
sweetness on the desert air, but were vigorous and strong and
shared the wild life of their brothers, accustomed to hunt and
shoot, or to go fishing in the lake close by for trout. The two
days which Jack and Charlie spent resting ere they started
back, were a happy recollection, and the opportunity of
pleasant social intercourse was a happy omen of what was
to follow.
Time was pressing, and the weather might break at any
time; it was the Indian summer, they must not delay, for at
such a season it would be dangerous to return, when the rivers
and streams were in flood. So on the third morning, they
started on the return journey, and struck out another district,
which, if possible, was more difficult to travel in than the one
they had first attempted. Four days they wandered amidst the
crags and crannies of the mountains, prospecting for the mystic
lead of mineral that had first attracted them to that region.
On the fifth day they struck the river which would lead them
down to the Indian camp. It was in travelling down this river
and its rough banks that, camping one night in a shallow dried-
up tributary of the main stream, Jack was shovelling away the
sand in a corner of what had been a whirlpool of the river, and
came across some small pot holes, as they are called, in the
bottom of which he unearthed what appeared to be some rough
but heavy small stones. On closer inspection, after being
washed, they looked like metal. A further search revealed
another handful, and, strange as it may seem, they proved to
be genuine gold nuggets, the value of which proved to be later 74 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
on over a thousand dollars. A day was spent in further search,
but no more could be found. To mark the spot they blazed the
trees all round, and continued their journey, keen on the scent
for further developments. Weary and footsore, with clothes in
rags, yet sound in body, they arrived at the camp of the Indians -
Such was the history of the adventures of these young men in
the bush-
They did not not inform Peter of what they had found,
and kept it dark until they could discuss it with their
On the return of Alec and George from town with the
winter supplies, together with two young calves, the first of a
stock of cows to be raised in the valley, the news of the discovery of the gold nuggets was discussed with much animation.
According to Alec, it was sheer luck. He said : " Gold is where
you find it, and that might be anywhere." It was a " will-o'-the-
wisp," and he preferred hard honest work to seeking after lost
Not so the others; they were for going forth at once
on what might prove a wild-goose chase. They were
advised both by Alec and Peter, who told them that
when the rains had once started in the country was
impassable and the river dangerous. And they had good
reason to know that this was true in the course of the winter
The boys, with some grumbling, stuck to their work in
clearing, but not with the alacrity of the first months. Long
wet days and cold storms followed, when it was almost impossible to go far from the ranch. It had been raining in torrents
for nearly ten days, and things were very gloomy and sad
around, as there was little that could engage the occupation of
the boys. Literature was scant, and the few books had all been
read. " Tell us some of your early history, Alec," said George,
as they sat around the stove one winter's night. It required a
little persuasion to start the old man on his narrative, and it
helped to fill many evenings of that first winter in the bush.
To make it consecutive the writer has thought fit to repeat it
directly as it was given by the old man himself.   The truthful- THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER ISLAND
ness of the narrative is acknowledged, for the facts are drawn
from the old log-book which this worthy sailor had kept in his
treasured jewel box, which, we are thankful to say, always
remained ashore when its owner went to sea.
Alec's Story will be found at end of the Book.
The   Squatter.
TT was the custom on making a journey to town in the boat,
-*- towards nightfall to put in to one of the numerous coves
that line the Western coast of British Columbia. On one of
these occasions they put in for the night, and were hailed from
the shore by the very gruff voice of a settler. He demanded to
know what they were doing in landing on his shore. A closer
interview showed him to be a wild, rough looking individual, of
the squatter type. This race of man is found on all border
settlements. They are amenable to no law except their own.
Having taken up their holdings before the era of a recognised
Government or any kind of Land Survey, the Provincial
Government have always had difficulty in dealing with them,
and usually have to await the death of the individual before
they are able to handle his land, or place his hereditary heirs
under the system of Taxation. For a new comer to live in the
immediate vicinity of such a squatter, is to court disaster. A
tribe of wild Indians would be preferable to these white settlers,
who^have braved the terrors of a lonesome life, before the
advances of their white brothers, and seem in many cases to
have combined all the worst vices of the Indian race and the
white. They usually claim an hereditary right to the whole
country, and are in the habit of keeping herds of wild and unfed
cattle, which roam over the country and break down the fences
of new settlers, causing havoc and endless trouble and strife 76 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
amongst new comers. This style of borderland fury, like the
marauders of the county borderland in old times, will only
cease at the death of the individual, or the timely intervention
of the law, a matter which it is hard to bring to bear in a newly
settled country. Most settlers who have lived on the fringe of
civilisation are acquainted with incidents like these, which they
do not care to look back on, and seldom record. The squatter,
who thus roughly accosted our party on landing, appeared to be
satisfied after some discussion, that they were not bent on
interfering with his domain, and thereupon cordially invited
them to his abode. Alec was never keen on accepting these
invitations, for he had reason to know that, while they are
probably given in good will, and in certain conditions may be
accepted with advantage, it were better for our party, who were
well provided, to camp on the shore and look after themselves.
He promised therefore, to come up after supper to " chew the
rag," as the saying is, when wishing to have a friendly discussion. After supper was well disposed of, therefore, our party
went up to the old settler's abode, which was charmingly
situated in a glade in the forest, with a convenient stream of
water running close beside the house. It was a rough log
house, with an enormously large stone chimney at one corner of
it. This fortress like abode inside had an open hearth as a fire
place, on which a huge log was burning, at which most of the
cooking was done, and a large iron kettle hung from a hook
fixed in the stove up the chimney. It would certainly warm
the whole house in winter, and was somewhat like we should
imagine our ancestors, centuries back used, when England was
a forest clothed land, and its inhabitants one step removed from
the uncivilized life of the Indians. When the squatter desired to
replenish his fire, he took a team of oxen and drew in a log
from the forest; there was a door on each side of the chimney,
and passing the chain through, he was thus enabled to drag the
log into position, where it would provide fire for a month or
more and the fire was kept continually smouldering.
The squatter told them he owned a large herd of cows,
which fed over the surrounding country, and always came back
in the fall with a calf for each cow, and by that means he was THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 77
enabled to make a good living without any need of cultivation,
as owing to the mildness of the winter the cattle could feed out
most of the time; and a quarter of a ton of hay would carry a
beast through the winter, and it was necessary to give it then
in order to keep them around the place. Sometimes, indeed,
in mild winters, some of his cattle had never come home and
he thought he had lost them, but they would return the second
year with two calves instead of one. The price of beef was
high in the town, and he made plenty of money this way. He
had lived forty years at this place, and considered himself well-
off, but, he added, the country appears to be settling up; things
were not what they were in the good old Crown Colony times.
He had one small patch of cleared ground on which he grew
hay for his horses and cows, but the horses, two rough looking
nags, also fed out most of the time, and got but little attention.
Beef and bread were the staple food of this settler who had no
garden, and said he did not worry about green food. Indeed,
there was nothing grown around the rough looking ranch
except the hay. The old man excused his neglected farm by
saying that in the early days he had been much troubled
by the Indians, who had often attacked his place, the
bullet marks of their shots were shown in the logs, and he
could not prevent thieving of his goods. It was not then safe
to plant anything except what was absolutely required, and he
had, all his life, gone about armed with a gun, and had killed
quite a few Indians in his time. They had now, however,
grown so few and defenceless that there was no longer any
danger. He had had two Indian wives but they had died, and his
half-breed children had also gone, so he lived a lonesome kind
of existence.
He remembered the time when deer were so numerous in
the surrounding country, that he could often shoot them from
his door. They were also very destructive on gardens and
fruit trees. But they had grown scarce, and required some
hunting to obtain the winter's supply of venison, which together
with smoked salmon formed the necessary supply of food. In
the course of the evening the inevitable supply of native spirits
was forthcoming and under the influence of the cup which 78 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
cements and breaks every union here below, we heard the
history of the old squatter's life. He had been a labourer in the
old country, and had been brought out, he did not quite know
how, in the early Crown Colony's days. He had had two hundred
acres of land granted him, free of charge, by right of being one
of the first settlers. But from his language he claimed to own
the country, and had apparently had some disastrous conflicts
with his neighbours in the immediate vicinity, in which shooting
each other's cattle formed no small part of the cause of war
and trouble. Unable to read and write himself, he seldom
went to law, but threatened much and usually managed to keep
well within the margin of the law until a stronger man met
him on his own ground, when the disaster had fallen, which
had enforced people to mark their cattle, and keep their herds
within reasonable limits. The old man had been fined by the
magistrate for allowing his pigs to run free to the disaster of
the agriculture of the district. Unable himself to read and
write, he had to trust to others, and the lawyers had got hold of
him, and apparently fleeced him out of his living. The story
might be true or false, but one would have liked to hear the
other man's version of the same.
Yet as one saw this otherwise kindly disposed man, who
had lived the wild bush life of forty years, uneducated, and yet
not unintelligent, there were marked features by which he
made up for a deficiency which was not his own fault. For he
came of that class that have been long kept in bondage in the
old country, and in the old days to which he belonged seldom
got more than bare food and the workhouse to end their days
in. Here was this man, who after forty years had his forest
farm equal in size, and probably in quality of soil, to the
squire's farmj on which! he was raised in the old country, no
better off than when he started forty years ago in a new
country amid new surroundings, and one would have thought
with the world at his feet. The bottle had been his failing no
doubt, but it had not prevented him attaining a hale and hearty
old age.
The apparent lonesomeness of the situation was sad,
without  chit  or  child or   any   relation  in whom  he   could THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 79
confide, at war with the world around him, one could not
help but pity both the man and his surroundings that pointed
to such an ignominious old age.
He sat in the old arm-chair before the log fire, in an ingle-
nook of the stove, very much as the old folk used to do in times
long ago. On the wall beside him were a few notched sticks
on which he kept his accounts. One was notched to mark
the credit and debit accounts, and chalk marks on the wall
denoted the day and month, which were chalked up each
evening, very much like a ledger account in hieroglyphics of
his own, peculiar to those who have had no education. The old
gun, which always stood close handy as in the old days of war
with the local tribes, had notches cut on one side of the number
of Indians killed and on the other of the deer and bears that
had fallen to his gun.
On the shelf close to the fire, to keep it in moderate
warmth, was the old yeast bottle which for forty years had
never been allowed to fall, and was second only to the whisky
bottle which, whenever it showed signs of giving out, was the
sole motive power that drew him to civilization, with the object
of getting in a fresh supply, on which occasion it was mainly
thanks to his old horses that he reached home in safety. And
the wonder was that this failing had not cut him off earlier in
life, as later on in a squabble with one of his sons-in-law who had
married one of his numerous half-breed children, it was the cause
of his death by violence, which a coroner's jury brought in as
death by misadventure.
The old man was soon overcome by the liquor and rolled
over on the floor, where our party were perforce content to
leave him, as they retired to their own quarters in camp on the
He would doubtless wake up in the morning, and, shaking
himself like a dog, would go about his ordinary avocations
apparently none the worse for his previous night's debauch.
Thanks to a good constitution, and the healthy surroundings of
a rancher's life, the usual result of excessive drinking did not
appear to have affected or impaired the vital forces of this old
squatter, for he seemed as hale arid hearty as any man of his 80 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
years could have expected to be. As such characters are fast
disappearing before the advance of civilising influences, it
seems a pity that some of their reminiscences are not recorded,
for their sometimes romantic history would afford interesting
reading, and show the conditions of the early history of a
colonial settlement.
The Chinaman—Adrift on a Log.
VTETHEN our party of settlers first went forth to make a home
* " for themselves in the bush, there was no regular means;
of communication with the chief city, Vancouver, from whence
they obtained their supplies. Local passenger traffic had not
commenced, and what steamers ran up the West Coast, to
connect the more distant settlements, were not available for
the transfer of freight in the immediate vicinity, wmere the
party had made their home. It was necessary, therefore, for
two of the party to accompany Alec to the city, in a monthly
visit to town to obtain the supplies for their stoie, and their
own family party, who necessarily consumed a large amount
of food which, until they could provide for themselves, must be
all imported. These expeditions in summer were looked upon
with pleasure in spite of the hard work in rowing which it
often entailed. Apart from the pleasure of a visit to the
haunts of civilisation, the party who were often away a week
or more, might encounter some adventure, which gave interest
to the outing. It was on one of these journeys to town that
the following incident occurred, when they were enabled to
save the life of a Chinaman, who through some misadventure
had got afloat on a log, and was floating out to sea at the certain
risk of his life.
Alec, who always steered the boat, was the first to sight
him, seated in stolid indifference to his fate, upon a large log
which   floated   high   out  the   of water,   adrift   on the   sea. M
As long as the weather was calm, he appeared to be in no
particular danger. It was Alec's opinion that he had probably
been placed there by some smuggler who had tried to smuggle
him across the line into the United States, from which country,
had he been found and unable to give an account of himself he
would have been repatriated to China, under the Exclusion Act.
More probably the Chinaman had been deceived by the
appearance of the distance between the Canadian and United
States shores, which looks to a stranger to be only a mile or
so across, but is in reality a distance of nine miles, and had
put to sea oh a log, hoping to cross. The tide rip in this
immediate channel runs at the rate of nine miles an hour, and
even a row boat cannot pull against it, so he stood but little
chance of reaching the opposite shore alive. Fortunately our
party found him, and so saved his life. When questioned on the
point as to how he came to be placed in such a strange position,
he would give no definite account of himself, and answered
•every question with, "Yes" or" No," as he fancied, if he did not
agree to anything the response stolidly given, | No savey,"
which is pigeon English for " Not understand," was all that
could be extracted from this adventurous Oriental.
He made himself extremely useful to the party on their
journey back to the settlement, and was active and willing,
so much so, that as there was no means of sending him to
town, he was offered fifteen dollars a month in wages to remain
as a servant to the settlers in the backwoods, and was taken
on in the capacity of cook, washerman, and general man of all
works, for nothing came amiss to him. In a little while, " Ling
On," as he was called, became part of the family, as if he had
heen born and reared amongst the party, and much as all were
against the idea of employing Chinamen in the place of white
labour, they all had to concede " Ling On " more than earned
his wages, and was more of a willing companion than a servant.
He became the friend of the family in his indefatigable efforts
to promote their interests as if they were his own, and this
quite got over the question of colour and race.
Our party came to the conclusion that much of the talk
against the  Oriental,  known  as  the "Yellow  Peril  on  the THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
Pacific Coast," is a got up scare story, and has no existence in
fact. It is the talk of the inferior type of white man, the malingerer and the loafer, who find their dishonest methods of work
interfered with by the presence of the Chinaman, and his more
honest ways and work, and who are, therefore, jealous of his
intrusion. A certain section of society wish to exclude him
altogether from the domain of labour, much of which could
never be done without the aid of this humble Asiatic, who
works more honestly than the average European domestic,
and at a lower wage. In order to do this, at the present time
he pays a head tax of over a hundred pounds into the
Government exchequer, for the privilege of working and
earning an honest living in a white man's country.
The question is still an open one, but will probably end in
entire exclusion of the Asiatic from the new world, called for
by the Labour Party.
There are at the present time, about twenty thousand
Chinese employed in various manual occupations in Canada,
chiefly in B.C., mainly those which do not interfere with the
work of the ordinary white labourer, or work which from its
arduous nature the European is unwilling himself to engage
in, even at a good wage. The Chinese, or Oriental as he is
called, was originally introduced by the Contractors, who built
the C.P.R., and it is stated without contradiction, that the
section of line across the Rocky Mountains, the hardest manual
work on the line, could never in those early days have been
accomplished without the aid of Oriental labour. The ox-like
labours of the Chinaman have to be seen to be appreciated,
and anyone who has seen a gang of Chinamen at work at some
arduous employment, such as in the nature of things, is found
in such abundance in a new and unsettled country, must admit,
if the Chinaman was not there to do it, it would never be done
al all. For there is no other race that appears to work so
systematically, continuously, harmoniously amongst themselves, at hard manual toil of a kind such as the white races
are unwilling to face.
The clearing of ground, the grading of roads, the first
cultivation of the soil are amongst their occupations.    They I
are also the chief, and to a certain extent the only house
servants to be found, who are willing to work in domestic
service on the Pacific Coast of Canada at the present time.
In this they are superior to the ordinary maidservant. To
clean and dust a house, to chop wood, and carry it for the fires,
to cook and do the entire washing for a whole family or a
settler in the backwoods, and often to become the camp cook
for twenty or thirty men living away from civilisation, are
their chief employments, and one seldom hears a word against
the Oriental, even from the working white man whom he is
supposed to oust, in the places where the Oriental is thus
employed, and shows his superior abilities.
No class of the community appear to be so law-abiding, or
give so little trouble to the police authorities, the honesty and
integrity of the Orientals are seen and acknowledged by all who
have employed them, and are often in striking contrast to the
inferior conditions which the worst type of white men show, in
this land of freedom, highN wages and often licence, which
characterises the Pacific coast on both sides of the line. Even
the heavy head tax of a hundred pounds, five hundred dollars*
on every Chinaman entering Canada, has not failed to keep
him out, though it has limited the numbers. In the United
States, for various racial reasons, he has been excluded
altogether. Many Chinese, however, managed to be smuggled
into the United States from Canada, but the numbers that
have already entered, and live in segregated colonies, in the
neighbourhood of all the great cities of the Pacific coast, are
still supplying the best of servants and workers, and of the
type which is most needed in this new world, and they are
there to stay.
It is a mistake to suppose that the Chinaman, who often
works for lower wages than a white man, will work for a
sweater's wage. There is no human being more independent
- than a Chinaman, or better able to be so, for he has the ability
to understand his position. As a rule, he works honestly for
an honest wage, and always manages to live within his income,
has no vices that interfere with his work, and this enables him
to live at what appears, from the white man's standard, to be a THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
small cost. His simple, economical manner of life, with rice
as his staple food, has long ensured him to what appears to be
hardship, but according to the Oriental ideas, his present
condition in British Columbia is one of comfort and success.
To all outward appearances the Chinaman does not
interfere with, but is rather a help to the white man in a
country, at the present time so wide and open, and affording
such a field for all workers who are willing to engage in manual
employment. Even his vices—opium and gambling—appear
to be under strict restraint, if he keeps a gambling shop it is
usually with the white man's consent and under police surveillance.
If our party had listened to the talk of the average wise
man of the loafing element on the Pacific coast, they would
never have employed a Chinaman, who was introduced to them
Under such remarkable circumstances. They would have lost
as the result, to an incalculable degree, their comfort and
success in their domestic comforts. Later on when things
prospered still more with them, they saw greater reason to
employ Chinese labour in improving their surroundings in the
rough bush, to come up with the standard of their requirements,
and to maintain the progress and development of the location*
and the settlement which they had started.
" Ling On," remained a faithful servant to the party, he
introduced a number of his fellow countrymen later, and
became surety for their good work, and honesty, Many years
after, when he had made his honest pile, which none of the
party grudged him, he retired to the Celestial Empire, from
whence he came, to his wife and family in China, leaving the
residue of good work, and honest name, and a happy remembrance to those who had employed him.
It appears to be the accepted opinion, that a certain
number of Chinese are a necessity in every country, of which
British Columbia is the last and most recently introduced to the
white races. It is also, in the nature of its surroundings, the
scene of the hardest of manual labour to those who desire to
make a settlement in this richest of raw-producing regions of
the world.   And one has reason to doubt whether any great THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 85
development would have taken place without the introduction
of the Asiatic labour, which, up to the present, has' been the
only available labour for capitalists of small means, who have
risked their all in settlements, mines, fisheries, farms, orchards
and lumber industries, that are still in the infancy of their
development, in this last new region of the unoccupied lands
of the world.
The    Naturalist.
T^TOT unfrequently, owing to the uncertainty of the wind,
■*- ^ and in the autumn season the heavy fogs that make this
coast so dangerous to navigation, our boating party were driven
out of their course. On one such occasion they suddenly came
up alongside a boat which loomed out of the fog and were
hailed by the occupants to come and aid them. They were
engaged in pulling or rather attempting to haul a large buoy
floating, which the occupants averred had gone adrift in the
channel, and which they premised the marine department
would give a good deal to have salved. It was almost impossible to see in the fog what was the nature of the haul, or the
position of the buoy, which in the gloom appeared to be carried
along by the waters of the tide rip in which they were floating.
Alec, to satisfy himself that he was not going to be fooled,
insisted on finding out himself that the buoy was really adrift
before he joined company in what he believed to be a fool's
errand, in which a native landsman might have been deceived.
Fortunately the fog lifted shortly after, when it was discovered
the buoy was a fixture, having recently been placed there by the
marine department, in the absence of the fishermen. The men
had been pulling for some hours at a buoy already anchored
for the warning of ships. A point of rock barely covered at
low tide standing in the middle of a deep channel, which had
long been a danger to navigation, was thus charted and located. 86 THE  SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
The settlers on the shore, not having seen the new addition
before they discovered it by chance in the fog close to shore,
had taken it for a derelict buoy and hoped to recover the
salvage for the same. The chagrin of the men in the boat was
great when they discovered how they had been deceived- For
they were local fishermen, who thought they were well
acquainted with the coast, who had thus been deceived in the
vicinity of their own habitation, owing to the density of the fog,
which, because of drifts and tide rips, very frequently causes
the best of pilots to mistake their bearings, with sad consequences to the shipping.
The fishermen invited the youths to their small clearing on
the shore, distant about a mile or two from the place, to which
our party assented intending to camp for the night. Perched
on a high cliff was a small log hut, in the midst of the heaviest
kind of timber and jungle. It had however an outlook which
enabled the occupants to overlook a wide stretch of sea, and
had been selected because it was close to the edge of the fishing
bank, on which at certain seasons it was possible with an hour
or two's fishing to fill a large boat with halibut fish. The fishermen, being unable to take it fresh to town, smoked it in large
quantities, and made a lucrative business out of it. It was also
the place where salmon, which came from the open sea during
the months of July and August, first struck the land and came
in such quantities that they could almost be grasped by the
hand out of the water, so thick were they, and at other seasons
a similar supply of herrings could be also captured. It is
probably one of the finest stations in the world for a fish
station, and would in years to come be valuable for the site
alone. This place some years after was selected by a fish
company for a large cannery, and the fishermen wrho first settled
here have long since retired in comfort and ease from their
otherwise hard life in which our party found them. But when
the boys first landed it was in the earliest stage of its development, which was but one remove from the primeval forest, in
which Nature had created the locality, with its wondrous rich
fishery on the sea and its raw forest production on the Jand in
its primitive state.   The timber alone, on this three hundred THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 87
acres of land which the fishermen had pre-empted, was recently
sold for over two thousand dollars, leaving a profit of many
thousands to the parties who bought it.
A few miles along the coast stands the whaling station,
which in the first season's work captured five hundred whales,
and at the present time, after paying all expenses for its
upkeep, pays a dividend of twelve per cent, per annum to its
lucky shareholders.
But all these works were in their infancy at this time, or
non-existent, nor would our party have thought it possible that
a few years later some twenty salmon fish traps, costing on an
average two thousand dollars a year each to build and keep in
repair, and employing a large number of men in canneries on
the shore, would make it the scene of a most active and
successful business centre of the salmon fish trade in the
world. Such is said to be its condition at the present time-
There is also close by the largest halibut bank in the! world, at
certain seasons choked with halibut and single fish weighing
over 100 pounds very frequently.
We are safe in asserting that in no region of the world
so close to the line of trade and commerce is there to be found
so bountiful a supply of fish as along the southern-west side of
Vancouver Island and its adjacent waters. The Indians, who
for countless centuries have lived by fishing and have dwelt in
seclusion on this island retreat, have named the locality
Camosun or the Garden, as the spot above other regions of the
world, where, owing to the climate and the abundance of the
general productions of nature in their raw state, it appears-
easier for them to survive than upon any other locality on the
Pacific coast. In modern times, and in the vicinity, ever since
its selection as a Crown colony by Great Britain, it is known as
Victoria the Beautiful, and will undoubtedly maintain its
reputation in the future as the site of a great and important
city, the capital of British Columbia, the seat of its local
Government, whose Houses of Parliament, built entirely
from local productions, are as fine a specimen of architecture as any in Canada, and splendidly situated in the garden
island of Vancouver. THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
The fishermen offered our party the use of their house in
humble hospitality, which, as it came on to rain, was accepted.
"You had better take everything out of the boat," was the
advice of the fishermen, " for we have a number of wild
animals around here and some tame ones." It was thought a
box of canned meat was safe and it was therefore left in the boat.
Next morning, however, the cans were found all chewed up and
scattered about the boat and shore as if some animal had been
very hungry and used his powerful teeth to open the cans.
I Wild pigs ? " says Alec. " No," says the fishermen, " Wild
dogs. There's a man who keeps a lot of staghounds along the
coast yonder, and when he's at home, and we always knows
when he is, the dogs scour the country for food, and when hard
pushed will chaw up a can of meat to get at what is inside.
You had better not go and visit him, for he keeps rattlesnakes
in his bed, and it ain't safe to go round the place if he's away,
and not always safe when he's there either. He's what they
call a naturalist, some call him a ' bug hunter.'" The description
given by the fishermen was not beyond the truth, for when our
party visited the place on another occasion when the naturalist
was at home they more than proved the truth of the statement.
In a rough log hut a gentleman, who to-day is amongst the best
known and best qualified naturalists in the world, had his
habitation. He lived alone in this wilderness, surrounded by
his happy family of famed denizens of the forest.
His wonderful ability and courage are amongst his best-
known qualities, and his eloquence as a writer and a poet
is also known to the world. A tough character some would call
him, and physically he is known to be so, but he is also a gentleman of Nature's making, and one would call him a born genius
for understanding wild animals. He had recently travelled
across the continent of Canada on foot accompanied by his two
dogs, and had camped out on the whole of the journey, making
a study of the wild animals he met with on his long 3,000 mile
tramp across the Canadian continent, and living almost entirely
by his gun. He had latterly located in this wild out-of-the-way
corner of the world, for the express purpose of studying the wild
creatures and fauna of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. THE SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 89
When our party visited his abode they were immediately
attacked by the stag-hounds, which appeared to be the close
companions of the naturalist in his wild home in the forest
close to the seashore. The dogswere quickly called off by their
master. There was a kind of menagerie of wild animals, all of
them loose, around the ranch, but which appeared, however wild
they may have been in the native state, to be submissive to the
naturalist, who understood each one of his pets as if they were
A pet bear inhabited one section of the corral outside, and
a large panther bounded around like a dog. An antelope, or
native deer, was on playful terms with all its otherwise terrible
assailants of the forest. A wolf limped around the house like a
dog. Other birds and beasts were located inside, and it was
not long before a rattlesnake made its appearance out of a
blanket that lay in the corner of the room. This snake the
naturalist quietly took up and deposited for safe keeping in a
box while our party were present, remarking it was generally
harmless, but might not be safe with strangers. Such were
the nature and surroundings of the naturalist's abode, who
greeted them with a friendly welcome in the midst of his Wild
West Show.
The boys did not seem inclined to remain long in the
vicinity of the menagerie, however, having an uncomfortable
feeling that they might unawares run across some animal
which would resent the intrusion of a stranger in the Happy
Family that, to all appearances, lived in peace and harmony
under the friendly eye of the naturalist who understood their
peculiar natures. A veritable menagerie living in peace and
harmony with man and amid the natural surroundings of the
The Bush Parson—The Story of Jonah and the Whale.
\ MONGST visitors who from time to time put into the bay
**^* for shelter and were welcomed at our rough abode, was
a travelling clergyman. He was making a tour round the
coast, and handled his own small sail-boat accompanied by one
man for whom he was seeking a suitable settlement. He held
a short service amongst the few settlers whom we managed to
call in for the occasion, and gave us a very interesting address,
reminding us of our moral duties and responsibilities, as men
and Christians, which many are liable to forget amid the
hardships and trials of a settler's life. It served to remind us
of the Church at home. We found this man a very good
companion and friend, as he was skilled as a surgeon and
dentist, several of the natives came to have teeth extracted,
and the various wounds and ailments amongst the community
were attended to, in a business-like way, which showed that
our parson was a physician of the body as well as the soul.
It was while we were seated round the fire after supper
resting after the day's work, that Alec, who was a constant
reader of the Bible, and always carried a weather-stained
volume of the sacred book with him in his travels, asked the
question, "What about Jonah and the Whale?" The following
was the lucid answer that our parson gave in explanation of
that marvellous story, which we think worth repeating.
The story of Jonah and the Whale is probably of Jewish
origin, and was used by the old Rabbis of the temple to
instruct youth in the great virtues of the value of prayer, and
the duties of fortitude and patience, in obedience to the word
of God. It is true that the story is probably fabulous, or
mythical, the method usually applied by the Old Testament in
its system of teaching. It is remarkable, jporeover, that the
story emanates from the locality of Joppa, the port of Palestine,
where in a similar form, the Roman mythology had its story
of   Andromeda,   the  maiden who was chained to the rock, THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
whom Perseus, the hero, so valiantly saved. The other famous
story of St. George and the Dragon came from the same place,
brought over in the time of the crusades, and has been an
historic myth in English history, and one wjhich no Britisher
would willingly let die, for it frequently adorns the flag crests
and shields of our army and navy. The underlying truths of
which these venerated stories are told, are things which have
become traditional, and because some people in their ignorance
are incapable of understanding such things, is no reason why
they should be considered untrue, or should be raised as
objections to the truth of the sacred scriptures, as is too
frequently the case. The story serves as a striking moral
lesson. There is also another explanation. The word Neneveh,
the city to which Jonah was sent, means the city of the great
fish or whale. And it might be when Jonah was sent to preach
to the citizens of the city, which took three days to travel
round, thereby showing its size, which Layard, the explorer,
has since proved was true, Jonah instead of being buried in
the fish's stomach, merely hid himself in the slums of the city,
in the hidden parts into which he was cast as a stranger by the
people of the city who had become acquainted with his mission,
and wanted to get rid of him as a disturber of the peace.
But, lest it be thought that it is a fact that a whale or great
fish is unable to swallow a man, let the following story speak
for itself. After all, it may be found that the sacred scriptures
are in some things ahead of even the science of the present
century. He then told us the following remarkable story,
which greatly elucidates the meaning, that there is nothing
impossible with God, and that Oriental myths may have a
foundation of truth:—
"The * Journal des Debats,' of Paris, one of the most
conservative publications in the world, has become convinced
that the experience of the prophet Jonah in the belly of a whale
has been duplicated by an adventure that recently befell
James Bartley, an English seamen, one of the crew of the
whaler, " Star of the East." M. Henri de Parville, the scientific
editor of the * Journal des Debats,' is a man who is accustomed
to weighing evidence with painstaking care and of reaching 92 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
conclusions only when they have been approached with the
utmost conservatism.
" Says M. de Parville: ' I have already had cause to remark
in these columns that gigantic stomachs over two metres in
diameter have been found in whales of thirteen metres in
length. The whale belonging to the Prince of Monaco which
died the other day was found to have in its intestines many
hundred kilogrammes of fishes in various stages of decomposition. Even Goliath in his time could not have weighed more
than that, to say nothing of Jonah.'
| The scientific editor of the ' Journal des Debats,' having
carefully considered the details of the following story, remarks
that the accounts given * by the captain and crew of the English
whaler are worthy of belief. There are many cases reported
where whales in the fury of their dying agony have swallowed
human beings, but this is the first modern case where the
victim has come forth safe and sound.' ... 'After this
modern illustration I end by believing that Jonah really did
come out from the whale alive.'
"The story which has received the support of one of
the most careful and painstaking scientists in Europe is as
" On the 25th of August, 1895, the man in the 'crow's nest'
at the masthead of the Star of the East sighted two enormous
sperm whales. The steamer immediately gave chase and soon
came within half a mile of one of them, a huge male. Two
boats, fully equipped in the usual way, were lowered and rowed
towards the animal. James Bartley's boat was the nearer,
and from its bows was fired a bomb lance which struck the
whale in a vital part. The sailors backed water with all their
might, but were not quick enough, for the monster in the
agony of the ' flury' seized the boat in his jaws, smashing it
like kindling wood.
" The sailors leapt into the water in all direction. James
Bartley who had been steering the boat, was thrown up with
the stern, which for the moment was almost perpendicular.
His comrades in the other boat saw him leap, but, unfortunately,
in the instant the whale threw himself forward, and the luckless
seaman in falling  struck within the ponderous jaws, which
immediately closed over him.
" The men in the water were picked up by the other boat
and the whale was in due time killed and brought alongside the
steamer, and work was begun removing the blubber. A day
and a night were consumed in the operation. Finally they
opened the stomach. There to their great astonishment they
found Bartley peacefully reclining as in a bath-tub. He was
unconscious, but still living. He had been in the whale's
stomach for nearly thirty-six hours.
" They hauled him out, laid him upon the deck and began
to rub his limbs, which were purple and besmeared with the
blood of his late host. They gave him brandy to drink and at
length he regained consciousness, but his reason was gone.
For three weeks he remained in this condition, raving about
the deck and calling upon heaven to save him from the horrible
furnace in which he imagine^ himself being consumed. After
a while all hallucinations wore away and he had lucid intervals,
and then his recovery became permanent.
" Naturally, the first questions that his comrades asked him
were what had been his emotions and impressions while in the
stomach of the whale.
;<' I remember very well,' he said, \ from the moment that
I jumped from the boat and felt my feet strike some soft
substance, I looked up and saw a big-ribbed canopy of light
pink and white descending over me, and the next moment I
felt myself drawn downward, feet first, and I realised that I was
being swallowed by a whale. I was drawn lower and lower, a
wall of soft flesh surrounded me and hemmed me in on every
side, yet the pressure easily gave way like soft India rubber
before my slightest movement.
Suddenly I found myself in a sack much larger than my
body, but completely dark. I felt about me and my hand came
in contact with some fishes, some of which seemed to be still
alive, for they squirmed in my fingers and slipped back to my
feet. Soon I felt a great pain in my head and my breathing
became more and more difficult; at the same time I felt a
terrible heat; it seemed to consume me, growing hotter and 94 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
hotter; my eyes became coals of fire in my head and I believed
every moment that I was going to be broiled alive.'
The horrible thought that I was condemned to perish in
the belly of a whale tormented me beyond endurance, while at
the same time the awful silence of the terrible prison weighed
me down. I tried to rise to move my arms and legs, to cry
out. All action was now impossible, my brain seemed abnormally clear and with a full comprehension of my awful fate
I finally lost consciousness.'
"The truth of this extraordinary adventure is vouched
for by the sailors and the captain of the Star of the East. It
appears that James Bartley is a man of thirty-five years of age
of strong physique and wonderful powers of endurance, as have
been attested by many incidents in the voyage just ended.
Since the steamer has been in Liverpool Bartley has on two
or three occasions suffered from the old hallucinations, and
has imagined that he was being consumed in a fiery furnace.
It became necessary to send him to a hospital in London.
" His general health seems good but his skin still retains
a peculiar bluish tinge, which seems indelible, and which was
doubtless caused by the action of the gastric juice of the
whale's stomach."
Alec who had listened with wrapt attention, as indeed we
all did to this strange tale, remarked, "Well sir I always
thought as the Bible was not far wrong, and I wish I had
known this meaning before. When I come to think of my own
marvellous escapes from danger, in the life which Providence
has preserved me, the story of Jonah is far easier to accept."
It evidently impressed the old man for he frequently alluded to
it on other occasions.
We all thought much of the parson, who had travelled
with an observant eye in many parts of the world and made
his visit both instructive and interesting to us wild follows in
the bush. He continued his journey with a favourable wind,
handling his boat as if he had been a sailor, and we frequently
heard of him as the Sky Pilot, leading a life of exposure and
hardship in a cause which could only be helpful to others,
which is the true service of religion.
Christmas Day and a Storm.—A Lumber Mill.
THE winter, with its weary days of wind and rain, and long
nights, drew its fcourse, enlivened al Christmas time by
the usual festivities, such as British people the world over,
whether living alone or in company, are wont to celebrate.
Two other settlers had come into the settlement the previous
fall, and to the*m was sent a message that they should come to
the first and oldest house in the place and have as good a time
as they could make of it.
The table was loaded with freshly-killed game, venison,
grouse and ducks, for the hunters had been out the previous
days, and there was never any lack of meat in the larder. A
large and solid plum pudding had been sent out from home. A
bottle or two of stronger liquor than tea is excusable at such a
season, but there was not more than would make people jolly
and that little had been packed in a boat, marked " With Care "
and " Poison," on the label, from the nearest saloon two hundred
miles away. It was a magnificent sunny day almost like spring
when the party assembled, and as the other two settlers had
come quite a distance they preferred to stop the night.
It was well that they did so, for suddenly at midnight on
this first Christmas Day such a storm of wind came up from
the sea as swept the forest before it„ All but one sleeper was
aroused and all of them thought their last moments had come.
The shriek of the wind and the noise of falling trees, with
breaking branches, was such that for awhile they could not hear
themselves speak. " Lie close to the floor, and near to the
corners of the house," was Alec's warning : " if a tree falls on
the house we may escape that way." Should they wake the
one man who through all this storm slept ? " No; let him die
in his sleep," was Alec's laconic reply, and all felt the danger of
the moment.
The hurricane passed in about two hours, but it was to©
dark to see the havoc the storm had done.     Fortunately most 96 THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
of the trees had been cut down in the neighbourhood of the
house, but there was one very large one which, fortunately, fell
slanting-wise, and only missed the house by a few inches.
1 What an escape!" was the remark as the next morning they
viewed the havoc the storm had made. The wind had entered
into the opening made by the clearing and had swept the great
trees down, as if they were were sticks. Such a storm, according to Peter, had not been experienced within the memory of
the oldest native inhabitant of the district.
Peter's own camp, commonly known as the Rancherie,
sheltered by the sandbank at the mouth of the river, and clear
of the trees, had escaped.
1 But," said Peter, "there must be some shipwrecks on the
coast," and as soon as the sea went down he fared forth with
his canoe. Two of the boys went with him. About three miles
up the coast a wrecked schooner was seen piled up on the
rocks, with not a soul on board of her.
They searched the shore in the immediate vicinity and
found a dozen bodies of sailors all drowned. There was
nothing for it but to bury them on the sandy sea beach.
Leaving the two boys to watch the shore and the wreck, Peter
went back to fetch the others to help in the search. It was
after their return that a most pathetic sight met them. On the
shore amongst the rocks the body of a comparatively young
woman was found, with two children washed up on each side
of her.
When first discovered, so bright was the colour of the face,
and limp the arms, that all thought she was alive ; but a closer
inspection showed that the neck was broken. There was not
one of the party who did not shed tears at this pathetic sight—
so young, so beautiful and yet so sad an end. 9 In the midst of
life we are in death."
She had been the young wife of the Captain, who had his
family with him on board, as was afterwards discovered, when
a report was made of the wreck. The whole ship's crew of the
lumber carrier were drowned, and as most of the bodies were
thrown up on the shore it became a work of charity to bury
them, in which sad task the boys then engaged. A lot of wreckage THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 97
came ashore, consisting of cut timber and other goods from
the wrecked ship, which the boys with the aid of the Indians
piled up on the shore ; this work occupied them several days.
Peter told them that salvage could be claimed on all that was
saved, and Alec, who was equally keen on the work, said that it
was a valuable cargo to any one who had a use for it. After
many days a Lloyd's surveyor came down to view the wreck
and assess salvage. There was no one who would buy a wreck
on such a wild coast, with the knowledge that they could not
get the cargo away. So the resident white men and Indians
had it their oWn way, and dividing the lot equally among all
who had taken part in saving the cargo, each one had his share
to do what he liked with. The portion of our youthful party
consisted of a large pile of lumber, which anywhere but where
it was would have been valued at many hundreds of dollars.
It was safe, however, on the shore, and they would await a calmer
season in the year, and float it in large rafts to the harbour
and into the river, where pdssibly a sale might be got for it
later on. This was Alec's suggestion, and his calculations
proved to be correct. In the course of the spring and summer
months, whenever the day seemed safe, the party would make
an expedition to the wreck, sometimes accompanied by the
Indians, and bring back a large raft of cut timber, which was
piled up in the cove at the mouth of the river, where a small
lumber yard was started on a co-operative scale, and settlers,
travelling Indians, and others who wanted a few boards of
lumber for building, would come and purchase a supply. The
justice of old Alec, who dealt in this matter between the white
settlers and the Indians, was probably the secret of the successful issue, for on former occasions as wrecks had been
frequent great trouble had arisen between the Indians and
others interested in the matter who acted dishonestly, insomuch
that a wreck in that locality was looked upon as a misfortune
from the amount of trouble and quarrelling it caused amongst
the Indians. Such was not the case on this occasion, and the
successful result of the sale induced the boys to think of
starting a small lumber mill of their own in the immediate
vicinity of their property. 98 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
To clear more land than the three acres they had at present
meant the destruction of timber which might prove valuable
later on. So it was agreed that their labour might be applied
in another direction. As the spring came on a good garden
for vegetables was prepared, and the rest of the ground laid
down in wheat to provide grain for the chickens, goats, and
other animals on the farm.
Charlie and Jack were eager to be off on another mining
prospect, the last having proved so satisfactory. But the
spring season with its heavy rain and cold was not encouraging
to youths unaccustomed to roughing it. The warnings of both
Peter and Alec kept the boys at home, and the comforts of a
log cabin were worth more than sleeping out in the wet and
wandering amidst the dripping conditions of the forest or the
snow-clad mountains, where wild animals at that season of the
year were numerous and dangerous, especially the wolves
which in gangs infested the interior of the island.
By making use of the tides and wind, well known to Peter
and with his aid, on fine days they had rafted quite a lot of
timber from the wreck, and as there seemed a prospect of quite
a number of settlers taking up land in the valley, the sale for
house building lumber seemed certain. The consideration of
building a water wheel and saw mill was fully considered and
measurements taken. On the property a stream of water
which, owing to last season being a very dry one, they had
overlooked as of small importance, during the rainy season
swelled to a considerable size, and at one place had quite a fall,
which Alec suggested with the aid of a flume might be concerted into a powerful water power. The suggestion was a
happy one, because it gave the prospect of work for the whole
season, rather than wasting their energy and the timber in
clearing land. A flume of a couple of hundred yards would
have to be constructed, and here the timber from the wreck
came in useful, without which indeed it would have been
impossible to have constructed such a lumber mill. Accurate
measurements were taken by Alec, who could be safely trusted
with such work as the construction of a small lumber mill,
which often forms part of a backwoods man's work.    So what I
with rafting timber, cutting and getting it into place, three
months of arduous work were spent in the construction of the
flume, in which also some aid was obtained from the Indians,
who were glad to see such a work going on in their immediate
neighbourhood. They knew full well that they would be
benefited by it, both in the purchase of floating logs to be
cut at the mill and by other work which they would gladly
undertake, such as the transport of lumber in their canoes,
and by supplying it to other Indians up the coast. All native
Indian races are appreciative of trade, and Peter was doubly
appreciative * of the honour of a lumber mill near his rancherie.
The flume, the most important part, having been completed, it became necessary for two of the party to visit town
and obtain some machinery. Alec, George, and Edward went
to Vancouver to purchase a large circular saw and some small
machinery with which to complete the rough lumber mill
which it was proposed to run as a small co-operative concern
amongst the five of them, with Alec the president of the company, to whose initiative the whole work had been due. Without this man's foresight and knowledge these boys knew well
they could never have succeeded, as they now felt certain they
would, in becoming prosperous settlers. Thanks to the small
amount of money which each one had, and the lucky find of the
gold nuggets, their resources had been husbanded with care
and every dollar had been stretched to its furthest in value got
for the money. They found that to buy things wholesale in
large amounts, which as a party they could well do, proved a
great saving. The Indians and others who came to trade in
skins and Indian baskets, in which the Indian women were
mostly engaged during the winter months, were glad to be paid -
in groceries, out of which a large profit could be made, for the
baskets sold well in town. It seemed feasible to start a small
store in conjunction with the ranch and mill. But in order to
do this it would be necessary to have a small schooner to
transport goods, said Alec, who knew more about ships than
anything else, though it was hard to find any kind of work or
occupation that this remarkable man did not know something 100 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
about, and what he did know he could apply with advantage
to himself and those with whom he was friendly.
The two younger boys were left at home to continue work
in the construction of the mill, in which they were greatly aided
by Peter and several of the Indians, who were paid a regular
wage for all the work they did.
During the spring and winter season, when it is nearly
impossible to engage in fishing, which hitherto had been their
chief employment, they now gladly turned to work on the land.
No liquor was ever kept by the boys, so there was no inducement to tempt the Indians to work by their great weakness—
the promise of 1 fire-water," which has been the ruin of so
many, and the cause of such disaster to both white settlers and
Indians. Indeed on one occasion a schooner had put into
the harbour with the object of selling liquor to the ^Indians.
Fortunately, Alec, whose eyes were everywhere, discovered the
plan and asked the aid of Peter, who, while at times tempted to
drink, which he always did to excess when the opportunity
occurred, and to his own ruin, had sense enough to side with
total abstinence when he was persuaded that way. The two
went off in a canoe and warned the trader in illicit spirits that
they would inform against him, which caused him to make
a rapid move from the neighbourhood.
Thus the work went on satisfactorily, and no kind of
trouble had arisen between the new settlers and the Indian
Alec and the boys remained in town nearly a month, and
fortunately at a Custom House auction sale managed to pick
up a first-class schooner at a low figure. With the exception of
a circular saw, which they got new, as the most important part
of the mill, they succeeded in obtaining a lot of scrap machinery
cheap, which would come in useful in the rough water-power
lumber mill they were constructing.
The schooner, which was called " The Dreadnought," with
the aid of her sails, could face any ordinary sea, and in the
hands of so able a navigator as Alec made a rapid passage and
with considerably less labour than the row boat. When she first
put into harbour the whole tribe turned out to   meet the new THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 101
comer, and were both surprised and interested that now they
would have a regular sailing schooner of 100 tons that would
lie in the harbour safely at the Cove.
To celebrate the event Peter gave a kind of " potlatch," to
which our party contributed a sufficient supply of eatables, in
the shape of sweet biscuits, crackers, tea and other luxuries,
which pleased all parties, as natives in all places where they
have not been ruined are, like children of nature, easily pleased,
and more easily deceived.
The work went merrily on, and it was not long before the
first log was*t>eing drawn up from the water into the mill, and
in the presence of all who were interested Alec cut the first
boards, which proved the capacity -and power of the mill and
the success of their new undertaking. For a couple of months,
when the spring freshets were on, there was ample work for all
the four youths in the mill cutting lumber ; for the Indians had
quite a lot of logs that each winter they were in the habit of
accumulating at the ranch. Large trees would be carried down
the river in the floods and thrown up on the shore, where it was
easy enough to handle and secure them. The Indians were
glad enough to sell them at a small figure or take the price out
in cut lumber from the company, and Peter proved himself an
admirable tradesman in this respect, and settled many difficulties with the natives, whose language he was conversant with.
Such work proved the beginning of a new settlement, which was
now firmly established.
Mining and Prospecting Ends in a Love Scene.
'TPHUS the second season of our settlers wore on; and as
■*■ the water grew less in the summer the mill had to close
down during the hot months, which was the period when both
the natives and our young men could find ample opportunity
for their work elsewhere. Charlie and- Jack were keen on
another prospecting expedition.    Elaborate preparations were 102 THE   SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
made this time, for they intended to be out for a month or
more, and took with them supplies in the canoe with which
they travelled up the river, first to the Indian encampment
which they intended to make their headquarters. They were
now well-seasoned woodsmen and there was no fear that
they would not be able to look after themselves provided no
accidents happened.
They took very much the same course as before, intending
to prospect the country more closely, and for that purpose and
to be better acquainted with their work, the two boys had read
books on mining and assay work which would greatly aid them
in their search for minerals. There seemed also to be an
inclination on the part of both to pay a visit to the solitary
farm up in the heart of the island, which apparently had
formed such a pleasant episode in their first prospecting
journey. We need not follow our travellers in their jungle
experience, which forms so hard a life for many who take to
this way of making a living. To those who once get into the
way of it it has a fascination which remains with them, and
each season the desire to hunt for new prospects seems to
grow stronger,* until it proves the main attraction in life, till
either old age or incapacity forces them to remain at home,
when they continue to dream of what they may have missed,
even when their quest has been successful, as it often is.
Such is the life of the gold prospector.
The youths made their way by a circuitous route which
took them over a fortnight to the heart of the island, prospecting as they travelled over the rough mountains. The central
chain of mountains is fully six thousand feet above the level
of the sea. During the winter months it is wrapt in deep
snows, and is inaccessible for ordinary travelling from the
coast. When the spring opens out in May the grandeur of
vegetation and the singing of the birds of migration makes it
quite an Eden in warmth and sunshine till late in the fall.
Like Switzerland, it is one of the most healthful regions on
earth. The family who for years had made their home in this
wild out-of-the-way spot were only too glad of visitors,
especially so as the two brothers had gone away with a herd of THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 103
cattle down to the coast and only the father, mother and two
girls were left at home.
Each morning the girls went forth to hunt up the cows
from the wild pasture; the making of butter and cheese was
part of the daily work. It required no small amount of
courage to handle these semi-wild cattle, and needed some skill
in milking them. To milk a kicking cow with the aid of a stick
held between the arm and the near hind leg of the cow was no
work of delight. And yet these girls were up to all these
dodges and seem to delight in the hard work of a ranch which
was run mainly by their hands, for the boys were more fond of
hunting or exploring than looking after chores around the
mountain farm. The house of cedar logs had been built by
the father, who was a carpenter by trade when he first came
with his young family, years ago, as the first settler. He
himself was a native of Scotland, and had met with hard
times in the old country which had induced him to emigrate
with his young family, who were grown up, and still hung
by the old home, and dutifully supported their parents,
who had grown almost too old for such a strenuous
life. Population and settlement had not increased around
them as had been hoped, and they seemed to be cut off
from the outer world. Yet their lives were happy and healthy,
and might be called the simple life in its sincerity and truth.
At all events, our youthful adventurers found pleasure in the
company of the two girls, and were loath to leave the place.
To hunt, shoot and fish from a canoe in the mountain lake, in
the autumn months of the year, when the weather is warm and
soft with the gentle westerly breezes that blow from the ocean
across this lovely scene, would be an attraction to any lover of
sport; but to do so in company with a companion who is
equally accustomed to it of the opposite sex, enhances the
opportunity of pleasure, of a healthy and enduring kind. The
boys had many such opportunities, and the chances of love-
making in the old fashioned style was not lost. Out in the
canoe fishing for mountain trout while the other two were
picking berries on the shore Jack seized the opportunity to ask
Polly perhaps the most momentous question of their lives. 104 THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
He did so in a judicious way, by asking, " Do you like this kind
of life, living out in the bush with your parents?" "Like it,
what's wrong with it?" said Polly, apparently unawares.
"We've got to put up with it. What's the use of worrying? I
guess I and Jessie can paddle our own canoes if we likes. But
there, father and mother here we've got to look after them now
they are getting old. Our brothers are mostly away, and
who's to look after the farm except we girls ? It's rather hard
to see so few people up here, that's all, and not much prospect
for us."
The two boys were the only people who had visited the
place since last fall; and it must have required some courage
to stand the lonesomeness of such a life.
" Would you like to live a town life ? " said Jack. " Got no
use for a town life," was Polly's rejoinder. " Them city folks
are a weedy lot, they seem to have no grit in them. We had
some girls up here a year back, and gave us more trouble than
enough to look after them. If they went berry picking they
were scared of snakes. They could neither fish nor shoot;
and we were down right glad when they went. Such folk
didn't ought to have earned here," was the quaint remark.
" Glad of the men, though," she added, " they give us a
good time, least ways, when they are willing to help in the
chores.    There's no trouble with them."
"You don't understand what I mean," said Jack, blurting
out the question of questions, that appears so easy to ask till
one is up against it. " Say j would you exchange this life for
one alongside me," said Jack more boldly, " If I promise to
make a home for you in the bush, would you be happy there."
This appeared straight enough to the point, and both
blushed to own that they were lovers. It took quite a while to
answer that question; but as Jack pushed towards the shore,
for an Indian canoe is not a very safe place for love-making,
even in an adept's hands, Polly said, in a business-like way
"We'd better go and ask father and mother about this matter."
The boys had settled to start next morning, for the autumn
was coming on and it would not do to be caught in the
rains.     Next  morning,  after  the  cattle were  herded,  Jack THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 105
mustered courage enough in company with Polly, who explained
matters, to ask her parents. There could be no refusal to this,
and it would not be much good if there had been; for people who
live the wild, independent life of the far West are more likely
to do as they please in marriage matters than they do in other
parts of the world. But Polly was a dutiful daughter; she told
Jack she would never leave her parents without their consent.
And she felt it her duty to look after them, as well as she was
able to do, by running the farm on her own account, with the
aid of her sister; for it was these two who were the mainstay
of the farm in the absence of their brothers. " When you wish
to settle," said Polly, " You will have to make a home for us in
the bush; but I guess you'll have to wait a year for that.
Father proposes to sell the farm if he can this year." "We'll
wait," said Jack, whose own plans were uncertain. " It's a
long way we are parted," added Jack, as he looked across the
wild, rough country, over which the brothers had travelled,
"And there's no postal communication, save from the other
side, and then only once in three months, when one of us goes
down to the post—four days' journey." Such long partings are
not uncommon in places on the fringe of civilization. But
such want of communication does not seem to interfere with
the ordinary course of love affairs. Perhaps absence and
want of communication makes the heart grow fonder. Certain
it is that amid the trying life and adventures of the far West,
love is as strong, and true, and faithful; marriages are as
happy, and lovers as true to their betrothal vow, in spite of this
want of communication, as they are amid the scenes of
civilized life, where the post brings a daily missive, or the
railway makes frequent meetings possible.
Love, with its termination in honorable marriage, lays the
foundation of the only real home which finds any permanency
in a nation. It is the aim of those who have the future of a
new and growing nation at heart to make the future of Canada
a nation of happy homes, and to encourage each family,
whether in the bush or the city, to abide under its own vine and
fig tree; or, in other words, spreading out the people on the
land, and prohibiting the congestion of the population—the 106 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
curse of the cities of the world. In order to facilitate this
state of things every site in Canada is laid out in blocks and
lots, and overcrowding is prohibited. For those who have
families every facility is given for education, and whenever a
settlement which has a dozen children in it is found, the Government will supply a teacher and a school-house. While a good
high school is to be found in every city of reasonable size.
There is reason to suppose that the Canadian Government have
done all that the State could do to encourage family life, both
in the unsettled sections of the country as well as the cities.
The Forest Fires—And Ways of Escape.
nr^HE return to work next day of the two boys was a happy
■*■ one in the prospect of the future, which to them seemed
so happy and promising. But life is not always a happy
dream, as the next week would show. They worked hard and
strenuously at the mine, and the deeper they got into the heart
of the rock—running a tunnel slanting-wise into the hill—revealed the rich possibilities of the mine. " Would a syndicate
buy it ? " was the subject discussed by the camp fire at night;
for without large capital it would be impossible to develop the
mine, in that out-of-the-way place. Vancouver Island had only
recently come to the front as a mining proposition in the
world's market. But there were buyers at a certain figure,
and it were better to sell when the chance came, and
the price received would enable both the brothers to marry
and settle. It need not be wondered at that they threw
all the energy of their youth and strength into the remaining days of fine weather with such happy prospects in
view. The air throughout the autumn season is, as a rule,
filled with the smoke of forest fires. This smoke increased in
intensity as the season continued hot and dry. From time to
time, as the wind got up on fine sunny afternoons, it blew the L
clouds of smoke inland, and increased the fierceness of the fire
around the foot of the hills. It had been a hot afternoon while
the boys had been working at the mine, and clouds of smoke
came up from a valley below, where a fire had been raging in
more or less degree for two months. Gradually creeping up
the hill, the wind had fanned it into a blaze, till it seemed that
it wrapped the whole hill in a furnace. The boys were
unaware of its progress while engaged in their mining work.
Coming outside for a breath of fresh air, they found the hot
air like a blast from a furnace, scorching the very rocks.
What were they to do ? Their camp was lower down, near
the river, and apparently already eaten up by the fire. " Should
they fly to the upper heights and perhaps be overtaken by the
flames?" They cowered into the tunnel they had made in the
rocks, as their only hope of escape. More fiercely the roar of
the fiery furnace was heard, and the air in the mine became
hotter and hotter, as the afternoon heat of the sun and the
heat from the fire around them was driven in on them. What
were they to do? Even lying on the ground they could hardly
breathe. Could they but escape to the river down below,
they might stand up to their necks in the ice cold water and so
escape; it appeared to be their only chance. Fortunately,
towards evening the wind changed, and as night approached
they would make for the river at all hazard, for they could not
survive such another heat wave.
Holding a wet cloth to their mouths they essayed to
escape. " Let's stick close to each another; we'll live or die
together," said Jack, as he led the way. Jack was always
ahead in everything, although the younger of the two. Quick
and sharp of mind and body, he appeared a born leader; and it
was he, who, after striking around in the fiery furnace of
seething smoke and flame, amid falling trees and branches,
saw their only chance was to face the jungle fire at the risk of
life. Rushing through the burning forest, they eventually
dropped into the stream, more dead than alive, and felt the
cool water on their burning skin, and were able to breathe the
cooler air close to the top of the water. Either in it or lying
on the smoky bank the brothers spent the night, wondering 108 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
what they should do next day, for they had neither food nor
clothing, as they usually worked half nude in the mine. To
walk down the stream in the water seemed the only feasible
plan. How far had the fire extended? was the question on
which their lives mainly depended. For four miles in this
condition they swam the holes or forded the shallows the next
day, without a bite of food, and then fortunately they struck
the edge of the burning district, and threw themselves down to
rest on a grassy bank; sound indeed, but destitute and fifteen
miles from home.
They must rest the night there, and recover strength. No
need of fire, they had had enough of that, and there was
nothing to cook. They were both suffering from bad burns,
which snags in the fiery forest they had covered the night
before, had caused, and now gave them pain. Jack appeared
to have escaped best, for Charlie was almost too exhausted to
speak, and his feet were swollen from the long tramp on the
shingly bottom of the stream. Was it likely that one of the
Indians might by chance come up the stream to fish ? They
might survive on berries, but in the present plight, without
clothes, shoes, or a canoe, all of which had been burned in the
fire, they could only travel slow. The next day was spent in
resting and picking berries, on which, for the next two days,
they lived and grew fat, for in quantities wild berries are very
fattening and wholesome. The third day there was a terrific
thunderstorm and rain, which would put out the fires, and the
river might highten enough to encourage the Indians to come
up for their salmon fishing. It was about midday when a shout
or Indian whoop was heard down the river, and Peter in his
canoe hove in sight, and never was a man more welcome.
Quickly he took them on board and fed them on some boiled
salmon, and they started for home. " A welcome return and a
narrow escape," remarked Alec, as he heard the story of their
It was a lesson too to watch against forest fires, which are
often caused by carelessness in leaving fires burning, or even
a stray lighted match carelessly thrown aside. Such small,
unnoticed acts, have often caused a conflagration  in these THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 109
Western lands, meaning a loss of millions of dollars. So
frequent are these disasters, that throughout the dry season
they are expected. It is the greatest dread of our Western
settlers during the hot summer months, and one that the
Government is doing its best to handle, by appointing fire
wardens in every district, whose duty it is to summon the
inhabitants to fight the flames whenever possible, and so save
themselves and their country.
That fall, the telegraph being completed as far as the
settlement along the coast, the Snuggery cove store was
selected by »the manager of the line as a suitable place for a
Telegraph office. George as Linesman, with Edward as Telegraph Operator, duly employed to look after the line. The
main object of this costly work was to furnish information in
case of shipwrecks on that dangerous coast, which owing to
increased shipping was well known as the Graveyard of Ships.
Many dangerous wrecks, including much loss of life, as had
been evidenced the previous fall, would make the place a likely
spot for a life preserving station later on.
This work necessarily detained these two boys much at
the store, but left them ample time to improve their surroundings. The two younger boys had to take their share with Alec
in running the Dreadnought schooner to town, a journey they
usually accomplished once every month. Since their last
experience at the mine they had had enough of prospecting
and they lived in hopes of selling the prospect, having placed
it in an agent's hands in town. In this matter they were fairly
successful, for an engineer and assayer were sent up, who had
given a favourable account of the mine, and they were
awaiting a decision from a mining syndicate, who go in for
these thing on a large scale if they feel assured of the prospect
in the future. A small sum to the prospector who discovers
these mines, and contracts to do the necessary Government
work on a claim, is of more value to a single and perhaps
hard-up settler, than a rich mine in the bush which he may
never have money enough to fully develop. So our young
prospectors were willing to let the mine go cheap, in view of
the happy event they were looking forward to in the spring. 110 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
A   False   Survey.
HE rest of the company at home had been busily employed
in getting in supplies from the town to start the small
store. Two journeys had been successfully made to Vancouver,
and the store which had been built alongside the log cabin in
what was known as Snuggery Cove had already started business
in supplying the new settlers as well as travelling natives with
necessaries of life.
Alec was chief storekeeper and general factotum, as he
knew how to deal with the natives better than any of the
The two elder boys had gone to work on the telegraph line
which the Government had undertaken to build in order to
connect the Wild West coast with Vancouver City. The wrecks
during the last winter had been so serious that it was quite
time something was done to save life if that were possible on
that stormy coast.
The line had now come within a few miles of the farm,
which it was understood would be used as a local telegraph
station, and one of the boys stood a good chance of becoming
telegraph operator and linesman, which was a well paid post
under the Dominion Government. It would also come in
extremely handy with the mill and store which the boys had so
judiciously and successfully started. The whole company felt
highly elated at the prospect, for things appeared to be prospering for them all round as the result of their energy and
The time was approaching when they could purchase their
pre-emptions from Government and secure their deeds, and
then they felt they would be safe. But not until their land had
been legally surveyed could they be sure of their position.
It was the intention to have the whole country surveyed by
the Government surveyors, and a party were already in the
field employed at that work. The question of importance to
our party was would the rough survey of the settlers coincide THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. Ill
with that of the more accurate one of the Government regulation survey. The last Government post of a recent survey was
thirty miles away, and as each settler along the coast had taken
his line from the next one, it might occur that some of them
had made inaccurate measurements, and our party being the
last on the line would be the sufferers by loss of ground. The
Government surveyors finished their work that autumn, but
when the figures were worked out the two back lots of our
party, who had taken up a quarter section in a square block,
were surveyed off the face of the earth. This was a serious
loss of half tfreir property, and especially that facing the sea,
which was considered valuable. Fortunately no improvements
had been done on that part of the property that adjoined Alec's
section, which as a single quarter was reckoned as safe. The
mistake had occurred owing to each settler taking in a larger
measure of land than was allowed and to other inaccuracies,
the blame for which could not be traced to any one individual
in so large a section of country. Their next-door neighbours
therefore had the right to come and take up a section which
had rightfully belonged to our party. But the Commissioner
would settle matters, and for that they would have to wait six
months. In the meanwhile the other four men who had also
taken up sections similar to our party started to build a house
and make improvements on the land which George and Edward
claimed as being the first squatters, and there was a great deal
of ill-feeling, but Alec told them not to trouble about it
as the Commissioner was a fair-minded man and would do
what was just. The parties who started to build a house and
clear the ground were told that the matter was not settled and
if things turned out against them no indemnity would be paid.
In the spring the Commissioner decided that as the next four
men had taken up their quarter sections of land irregularly
instead of in a block as the law demanded George and Edward
had the first claim to it, so the men who had so unwarrantably
intruded were turned out of the house and clearing they had
made, and George and Edward took up the claim, getting as a
result a substantial log house and clearing for nothing. This
happy  state  of things secured the   company  their full   six 112 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
hundred acres of land and a good sea front, together wjth a
house for each member of the party, and when the time was
up a clear title for Crown-deeded property was handed over to
them by the Commissioner on payment of one dollar the acre.
It was a happy day for the boys when they felt themselves thus
secured in the property which was thereupon turned into a cooperative concern. The Registered Company's asset consisted
of six hundred acres of land with a fine show of timber averaging fifty thousand feet to the acre, together with the mill and
store now doing a good business in the locality, which combined
a post office and telegraph station, and would shortly have a
Government wharf. A weekly mail steamer would call, which
the Government owing to increased settlement had subsidised,
to carry passengers and post^mail weekly up the coast. The
boys could not themselves have believed that their venture,
now only in its third year of settlement, could have developed
so successfully.
As settlers they might be accounted successful men. In
addition to the successful prospects of the " Jack and Charlie 1
mine, as it was called, which it seemed likely a rich mining
syndicate would take up and develop, the Government assessment work on the mine would still have to be done, but could
be accomplished at such times when other work was slack,
especially during the winter months. It was for Charlie and
Jack to arrange for this, and they were not slow in doing so.
A set of miners' tools and powder were taken up the river, and
two months were spent in uncovering the ledge and running a
hole into the hard rock, which was sufficient to prove that they
had a good paying claim. If all turned out well the mine would
give a good return to the young prospectors. All these many
projects tended to make our co-operative company happy and
contented in the work which prospered so amazingly. Indeed,
the youths were already looked upon as the most successful all-
round men in that part of the country, due, it was said, to being
the first settlers—but also to their own grit and energy. Needless to say that as the mine was within a day's journey of the
Alpine farm where Polly and Jessie resided it was not much of a
tramp at the end of the week of arduous work in the mine for
these two young fellows to go and visit the farm, where they
were always welcomed, on the Sunday rest-day. Nor was it
very long before Charlie found himself enamoured with Jessie,
the quiet and sedate girl of the family, who, while not as wild a
specimen of womanhood as her sister, was none the less as
capable of looking after herself and her own interests as her
more vigorous sister. When Charlie proposed to Jessie, on
one of those Sundays which the boys spent in the secluded
spot on the far-away hills of Vancouver island, just as the
Indian summer was drawing to its close and the heavy rains
would preclude further visitations across those dangerous
valleys and canyons, the answer was discussed with great
dignity, for the independence of womanhood in the West is
perhaps more pronounced than in the older countries. The
pros and cons lie mainly with the individuals interested.
I What," said Jessie, " do you and your brother find in us
girls living a lonesome life up here in the hills ? We know
nothing, we see nothing; we can't be as amusing as our city
sisters who live in the midst of civilization." " That's just it,
Jessie. I want to take you out of this and make you happy,
and your happiness will be mine. You are all the world to me;
I cannot live without you. Both Jack and I are fairly successful men. We stand a chance to sell our mine, and then
Jack says he will make a home for Polly, and I want to make a
home for you. We may not have a chance to meet again for
quite awhile when the rains are on. Tell me now, Jessie, say,
do you love me, and send me away happy, and by next spring
I'll have a home ready for you." " Charlie, I love you, but I
can't leave father and mother in this out-of-the-way place.
They are getting old. Seven long years have they struggled
on here and done the best they can for us, and we are not much
better off than when we came. We are too far off from anywhere to make the farm pay, and no settlers near. Our brothers
want to go away to the Klondyke for gold, and it's been a
question whether we should not clear out of this place and go
to town, or, at all events, somewhere nearer civilization. Polly
says she'll run the farm alone if the boys clear out as they
threaten to do this fall, and you bet she'll do what she says; 114 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
but perhaps they may remain till the spring and try and sell out
in the meanwhile. But who will buy a place so far out of the
world like this ? It wants a man to run it as a summer
resort for hunters and prospectors." "Well, we'll think it
over," said Charlie. " And trust in God," said Jessie, for she
was a religious-minded girl. " Providence helps those who
help themselves." So these two in that out-of-the-way place
were betrothed lovers. Nor could you have found a happier
family than on that Sunday evening in the far-away West.
Two lonesome girls found in the only men-folk that had come
their way the lovers of their choice, and they were happy to
have found such trustworthy men. Life in the bush is not
without its happy memories.
The Successful Prospecting Journey.
CHARLIE and Jack having by this time got accustomed to
the life of the country, and the rough bush and jungle
through which they had been prospecting, felt far more confident of their position, and spent a longer time in more closely
surveying the wild canyons and mountains through which they
had to pass. They were looking for the parent lead of the gold
mine which they, in common with many others, had endeavoured
to trace into the mountains. That such a lode line existed somewhere away back in the mountains is the general belief in all
mineral countries, where broken fragments of the metal ore
are found in the rivers and valleys. Not only does tradition
jike that of Peter's story, but the investigations of prospectors
lead the miner to the supposition that if he can but find that
ledge his fortune is made. It often means a fortune to find the
first trace of it, hence the enthusiasm of the prospectors. In
a country so wild and broken as Vancouver Island, with its
wild jagged canyons and precipitous heights, for the most part
covered in forest and thick vegetation, it is almost impossible THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 115
to discover or trace such leads. And so the boys found it.
Each night when they had leisure to roughly assay the scraps
of rocks they had picked up in their wanderings by day they
were surprised to find how varied were the returns. It was on
one of these evenings that Jack, who had picked up a bit of
quartz that assayed very highly, determined to go back to the
place at which he had knocked it off the parent rock. In vain
the brothers searched for the place a whole day, but found it
impossible to re-discover the precise locality. They were
camped for the night, and Jack had gone round the neighbourhood of a canyon overlooking the river in search of a shot at a
deer whose trail he found on the ground.
The deer started up suddenly out of a bush where it had
been lying, and Jack with a rapid movement got into position
to get a shot as it passed over a small open piece of ground
on the side of the mountain. The deer fell shot through the
shoulder. While skinning it and cutting off some ribs for
supper Jack accidentally uncovered some of the dry grass and
light soil, was struck with the dark colour of the rock, and broke
off a sample to examine it later, as it felt very heavy. A closer
inspection and assay proved it to be a fine sample of native iron
rock magnetic. The next morning was spent in uncovering the
ground to see how far it went. From the look of it it appeared
to run along the edge of the mountain, and might possibly on
further investigation run into the mountain. If so, the ledge
was undoubtedly a claim worth recording. They measured off
four claims, one for each of the brothers, each of whom had a
ten dollars miner's license enabling them to hold claims,
together with one for old Alec, five in all.
Content with their discovery they now made tracks for
home down the river, by.the canoe which they kept at the
Indian camp, with the intention of recording the same in the
Government land office. They would have to obtain powder
and tools and come in force to do their annual work in order
to retain the claim, and this was their intention during the fall
and winter months, when there was comparatively little to do
at the ranch. The enthusiasm excited by this find Was not
destined to die out, for it is said  " once a miner always a 116        THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
miner." The thirst for what lies hidden is the miners' ljare,
and it has the effect of being more lasting than any other of
the passions that form part of human nature. When it attacks
the individual early in life it ceases only with death.
The Storm, and How Alec Saved the Crew.
nr^HE winter seemed long indeed to these two young men,
-■• but discretion was the better part of valour. Both Peter
and Alec knew the dangers of travelling amid the wild conditions
of the mountains inland—dangers not only of flood and storm,
together with heavy snow on the uplands, but of wild animals,
such as panthers and wolves in packs, which are things not to
be sneered at, and many a single man has lost his life by these
causes in these early days of settlement. The bears sometimes
have been known to attack and break into a lone settler's shack
in search of food, during his absence. One such case occurred
where the settler on his return from a visit to town found the
bears inhabiting his abode, which he fortunately discovered
before he approached the building, and by hiding himself in the
neighbourhood of the house succeeded in shooting four of them
as they came out of the door. A welcome haul of meat and
skins indeed, but had the bears discovered him first he could
not well have hoped to escape alive, alone and unarmed, had he
entered his abode before discovering who was within. There
was plenty to do however as long as the weather permitted it
around the ranch, and George and Edward were out sometimes
for days together repairing the telegraph line, which was
continually subject to a breakdown owing to falling trees and
the rough nature of the country through which the line passed.
In the summer season, when they could use a canoe to travel
along the coast in fine weather, this was more like a summer
picnic when camping out in the beautiful forest or on the seashore ; but in winter, travelling along a heavy trail and crossing
swollen streams, was a risk to life that only those acquainted THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 117
with the conditions would undertake, and was alike trying to
the health and temper.   They well earned their month's pay.
Winter was nearly over, but the spring of the year is
always the most dangerous on this coast. The barometer had
been lower than usual and the sounding surf on the shore, ever
the forerunner of a pending storm, had been bad for some
days. A spell lof bad weather, and heavy rain would follow.
The line was badly grounded, and George and Edward, for the
two men had been ordered to go in company in the winter
months owing to the danger of the trail, were preparing to go
out for a day or two to watch for wrecks. A telephone was at
such times used on the line, though it was known as a telegraph
line, and this enabled anyone to attend to messages, and indeed
the line was the greatest convenience and companion, keeping
the community in touch with the events going on in town. The
Western world is far better connected with telephone lines,
which connect large districts of country to-day, than many
places close to civilization in Europe. So that bush life, except
in certain uninhabited districts, is by no means outside the
range of what goes on in the world. Many farms in Canada
have their private lines to the next house, and so keep up
constant communication with each other, and those again
connect with the main lines across the Continent.
When George and Edward were away, they, night and
morning, communicated with the ranch, so that they could
know what was required, and if in great danger the line would
be broken, other men would be sent out.
They had been gone two days on their usual journey along
the coast, when one morning Alec received a message over the telephone to " Send Jack and Charlie with all
the rope they can carry, as there's a wreck and it was hoped
they might reach it with a line; and bring all the grub you
can in blankets " was the order.
With alacrity the boys collected all the rope they could, and
Peter coming in at that moment went with them, and Alec
could not be restrained from joining in the journey, which
would take them at least a day, over a rough trail, and some
rushing swollen streams.    It rained in torrents, but supplies of 118 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
food were packed in overalls and each man carried his share of
the burden. By nightfall they arrived at the scene of the
wreck. It appeared that a large steamer, which through an
error in calculation on the part of the captain, together with
the currents that run along the coast, must have gone out of its
course in foggy weather, and was now stranded in one of the
worst places on the coast, which in stormy weather forms a
very maelstrom of waters, and was commonly called " The
Cauldron." It seemed as if no human aid could save the ship,
which lay battering on the rocks in the midst of the terrible
surf not a hundred yards away from the shore. The storm was
still on the increase : vast masses of water, which nothing could
withstand, were rolling across the decks of the steamer, and
those passengers and sailors who were able to do so were
holding on to the masts of the steamer, which still stood firm
above the raging waves which were fast breaking up the vessel.
Throughout the night the boys had watched from the high
bluff of the shore that overlooked the wreck, helpless to do
anything, and having no means wherewith to reach the crowd
of human beings who hung on to the last stay between them
and eternity, only a shivering mainmast, and affording but little
chance of rescue unless a rope could be got to them, and rope
they had none.
All through that terrible night the watchers on shore could
hear the little crowd of perishing souls singing at intervals
—between the noise of the gale and sound of the waters—that
well-known hymn, " Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee."
It was a most pathetic sight to see so many creatures so near
and yet so far from safety, and yet it appeared nothing could be
done.   The vessel was doomed.
There was no possibility of sending a rope from the ship.
If a rocket apparatus were procurable one might easily be sent
from the land to that trembling mast; but how would it be
possible to obtain such a means of salvation ? The steam tug
that had been telegraphed for could not possibly reach the spot
for another few hours, and then would never venture within a
quarter of a mile of such a raging cauldron of waters. Nor
could the boys on shore communicate with her, as for several THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 119
miles of coast the place could not be approached by reason of
the surf. The livelong night the party, who had now assembled
at the spot, watched and waited around the fire which was kept
burning on the shore, and the rain still came down in torrential
showers at intervals during the gale. Fortunately it was a
warm west wind, or no one could have survived the cold air
and colder waters of those seas. For, strange as it may seem,
owing'to the ice and snow from the mountains, even in summer
the temperature of the water is such that no living creatures
can stand it for long.
Old Alec iiad his wits about him, however, and when in the
morning it was seen the mast with its human freight still held,
he turned his active mind into action on what he had meditated
on throughout the night. From the bottom of one of the bags
the boys had brought he produced two sticks of stumping
powder—a combination of black powder and dynamite —which
at the last moment he thought might be useful as a signah
With the aid of an axe he had cut from a cedar block some
straight slabs of wood somewhat of the size of a barrel stave,
and with a jackknife carefully edged them. There happened to
be a coil of heavy wire near the spot where the telegraph line
ran, used to repair the line. Calling all hands to his aid, he
carefully coiled wire around the battens, and made what he
called a mortar gun, which, with its primitive wrapper, he
proposed should take the place of a regular harpoon gun,
such as he was well acquainted with on board the whaling
ships on which he had served. The powder from the two
cartridges was mixed with some additional wood charcoal, as it
was thought its sudden force might burst this primitive and
novel cannon. The gun was laid in a hole in the ground, well
stamped down around, in the direction of the wreck, and by a
sighting which he carefully took. He then placed a well-
ballasted stick with a coil of rope attached to it in the mouth of
the gun, with the object of sending it over the wreck, after the
manner of a rocket apparatus. Could that point be attained
there was no doubt they might rig up a rope pulley over the
short distance of fifty yards which separated the still standing
mast from the shore, for it fortunately leaned shoreward, and 120 THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER   ISLAND.
some poor souls could be saved, of the few who still clung to
this last vestige of the wreck that remained above water.
All parties held their breath as the old man made ready to
fire this wonderful weapon of his own construction. For on it
depended the lives of men and as it appeared one or two
women who had been tied to the mast as high out of the reach
of the waves as was possible.
A thundering report reverberated around the adjoining
rocks as the gun was fired with the aid of a fuse, and it was
seen the rope had fetched the wreck and lay across it; luckily
it was grasped by one of the sailors.
A stronger rope was then pulled over the stretch of waters
and communication was complete. A rough sling and pulley
were attached, and ran out to the wreck. Fortunately, when
attached to the upper part of the mast, the sling was a little
higher, enabling the heavy lifting pressure to run more easily
loaded, towards the shore, and could then be hauled back to
the ship's mast with greater ease for another passage.
One by one the individuals who had clung on to the mast
placed themselves into the sling, the first to be hauled over this
novel device was a young girl who was tied into the life-buoy
sling, and was received in the open arms of Edward, who carried
her to the rough shed that had been constructed under the
trees, more dead than alive. Two others followed, and then
about a dozen of the crew, fifteen in all out of a crew and
passenger list that numbered a hundred and fifty souls, the only
remnant left. The others had been swallowed up and dashed
to pieces on the rocks and amidst the waves of that awful
whirlpool, in which no living thing could live or escape. Some
dozen more had, almost by an accident, been swept out on a
raft to sea, and were saved by a steamer which waited and
watched around that fatal spot during the two days that the
Wreck held together. By the end of three days not a vestige,
except a lot of scrap iron, was to be found of the American
built mail steamer that perished in that terrible storm on the
Vancouver coast.
It was thought best to send a party back for supplies to the
store at Snuggery Cove, for all saved from the wreck were in THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 121
a terrible condition from cold and exposure, and none of them
could have survived so heavy a strain as a walk along that
arduous trail of twelve miles through the rough forest. All
that could be done by the boys was done, and most of the party
were eventually brought to the friendly shelter in the log house
built by the boys, as the first settlement in this remote district
on the Vancouver coast, which proved of such service to the
shipwrecked folks. The Board of Trade and the American
Government amply rewarded this noble effort on the part of
Alec and his companions, as the result of which in the following
spring there was a permanent establishment, not only of a road,
but a life-saving station on the coast, at Government cost, and
with the use of a modern motor life boat for service on the
coast, in which the youths of our party take their share. Their
knowledge of conditions, currents, and dangers of the coast,
obtained by years of experience, have made these boys strong,
healthy self-reliant men, whose service in time of need is sought
by the Marine Department, in whose service they are now
employed. Old Alec is still capable of looking after the Light
House that guards the entrance to the straits, and keeps a continual lookout upon that ocean on which so much of his life has
been spent. Jack and Charlie have their share in the ranch
and shore, and are ready for any emergency work when the
call of duty takes them. When we last knew them they were
raising a contented family of boys and girls hardened to bush
life amid the healthy surroundings of a settlement on the West
As an instance of how rapidly things develop in this part of
the world, where our party were the first settlers of the English
speaking race. There has recently been established a branch
or summer resort of the Minneapolis University from the
United States.
Some sixty students annually visit this locality, and reside
in a large log building during the summer vacation, and carry
on field work in their respective sciences. Lectures in all
branches of science are given by professors, and a laboratory
is connected with the building. Already several valuable books
have   been   printed as   the   result of   valuable   information 122 THE  SBTTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
obtained in observation at this distant station. Its position due
to the Japan currents, and proved by the wonderful shoals of
fish and other sea curiosities found at this particular section
of coast, will one day make it a resort of the fashionable folk
who will seek health and strength amidst the beauties of the
locality, which was within the memory of those now living, a
primitive forest untrodden by the foot of the white man.
The sound of the axe and the saw, and the snort of the
donkey logging engine drawing its immense load of logs to the
water is heard in the vicinity of the harbour, which is filled with
booms of logs ready to be towed to the great lumber mills that
are beginning to line the coast line. A salmon cannery and a
whaling station are situated not far off; and twenty large
salmon traps employing many hands are at work throughout
the season on the coast line- What was once a silent waste of
waters, unbroken except by the Indian canoe, and the fast
vanishing race of the Red Man, the Flat-head Indian squaw,
and their prolific brood of sun brown children, is now the scene
of commercial enterprise, in whose steamships are carried the
trade of the Orient, and of the new world across the Sea of
Peace the Pacific ocean, the entrance to which is through the
straits of Fuca, along the south-west coast of Vancouver
Island. Recently a company is being organised to construct a
line of railway from.Victoria to Barkley Sound by way of the
south-west coast of Vancouver Island. The line will be about
sixty miles long, and will open one of the finest timbered areas
in the world. A moderate estimate is that there are 20,000,000,000
superficial feet of timber standing in the 1,000 square miles
which the railway will open, that the area of arable land is
50,000 acres, and that the mineral deposits will be found to be
very valuable. The country can only be opened by a railway
because of the rugged character of the coast.
A little higher up the coast, and overlooking this graveyard of ships is the station of Nootka, famous as the first landing place of the Spaniards now two centuries back, and marked
with the memorial stone of the event. In its immediate vicinity
stands the native Christian Church. When we visit it on a
Sunday morning we shall find the last remnant of the native THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 123
tribe, the descendants of the most bloodthirsty Indians of the
Pacific coast, worshipping as other Christians worship all over
the world. The first missionary came amongst them fifty years
back, at the risk of his life, and he is still there. Alone and
unaided, the noble father has converted this tribe, has translated the sacred book into the native language, has baptised,
legalised in Christian marriage, and will probably live to bury
the remnant of the race under the shadow of the church raised
by his own hand, in which he has ministered to the spiritual
needs and the material wants of his converts. The Father is
respected and'beloved by all the dwellers on this coast, and his
memory will remain green. With tears in his eyes he laments:
" My work appears to be lost among this people, because before
I lay my grey hairs in the dust I shall see the last of the race
into the shadowy land of eternity."
A completed work indeed, one would say. Sentinel of the
Cross on this distant outpost of the Empire, dost thou not
realize to have saved and converted a race from the error of
their ways, to have given light for darkness, and to have elevated
humanity in the paths of peace, even to the gate way of life
and eternity is the greatest work that human ambition can
attain unto, and that it will have its reward here and hereafter.
Thank God that under the shadow of that Christian faith, the
future of Canada rests in peace and prosperity from Cape Race
to Nootka Sound. The maple leaf, Canada's national emblem,
is entwined with the cross, the sign of the faith of ages.
The maple leaf, our emblem dear,
The maple leaf for ever.
God save our King,
And heaven bless the maple leaf for ever. 124 THE  SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
By Captain Alexander Wybrow.
[Captain Alexander Wybrow, chapters from whose history are recorded
in these pages, has been seven times wrecked at sea, on three of these
occasions he was the only man saved. He has been three times captured
by the cannibals of the Fiji islands, and seen his fellow mates killed and
eaten before his eyes, and has escaped unharmed. He served through the
Civil War in America, and was wounded in battle. For years he has been
known on the Pacific coast as an honest, trustworthy prospector and
settler, and he is still active and vigorous.—Edited by Rev. W. C. H. Ellison}
TpHE son of an old sailor, and raised on the coast of Nova
■*-     Scotia, at ten years of age I ran away to sea.    My first
experiences were amongst the fishing boats of the Newfoundland
banks, where still the hardiest race of sailors are to be found.
When I had gained my first lessons of a seafaring life as a
cabin-boy, I shipped on board one of the slavers that still in
my early days were employed in carrying slaves from the
Liberian coast in Africa to the plantations in Cuba, then under
the Spanish Government. I do not recall much of these earlier
experiences, for I have now been over sixty years at sea, and
time has blotted out these earlier impressions. But I am
inclined to think the cruelties of the middle passage were very
much exaggerated, for slaves in those days were too hard to
obtain from Africa's sunny plains, and every care was used to
prolong and save the lives of those who were brought to the
coast, taken as passengers on the Atlantic Ocean. Their value
increased the better their condition when landed. They were
handed over to the merchant on the island of Cuba, who dealt
in slaves in much the same way as they dealt with other
The slaves were certainly much better off in their plantation homes, than many free men in factories, under the sweating
conditions of modern times. The capture of slaves by Arabs
was no doubt associated with cruelty, but we saw little of that. THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 125
The slave trade had, however, begun to be a discreditable one
when I was a boy, but was fast dying out. Employed as a
sailor on board a foreign slaver, I was easily persuaded to leave
it and take to a more creditable ship under the English flag.
Finding a relation of my mother's at Liverpool, who was
engaged in the whaling business, I shipped on board one of my
uncle's ships, bound for the Southern Seas on a whaling
expedition. Now as an A.B. I considered my real sea life
commenced, especially when I was ordered aloft, and took my
share with the rest of the crew in my watch at sea. Long
before this I nad mastered every intricacy of sailing ships, and
knew every rope, and how to work. Many a time I had been
sent to the masthead, as a boy, with my slate and book, and
holding on to the shrouds, had worked out sums aloft, holding
on in a stiff gale; for my education was by no means neglected,
or I would never have attained my captain's certificate as I
did later in life. My first sight of a whale, and the experience
that followed, was not calculated to encourage a youth of
eighteen. I was not amongst the crew sent out to tackle the
whale, or this story might not have been written. The monster
on being harpooned, leapt completely out of the water, a sight
which I shall never forget, and attacked the mate's boat,
crushing it like an egg shell, and leaving the crew swimming
in the water; fortunately, not far from the ship. Three of the
crew lost the numbers of their mess by this encounter, which
threw a gloom over the ship for some days. But in the whaling
industry in those days, losses were quickly forgotten, and life
was held far more cheaply then, than now.
In the next call from the masthead, " Whale ahoy!" I was
one of the men called out to take my turn in the boats, which
I did with alacrity, eager for the chase. We pursued the whale
some distance from the ship before we got a chance to launch
the harpoon against its giant sides. When the Muli did
succeed in harpooning the monster, the whale made a dash for
our boat, and shall I ever forget the terrible mouth wide open
as it came towards us. We managed to turn the boat aside,
and were sent spinning with an upturned boat twenty feet
ahead, by the wash of its mighty tail.    We were scattered
around in the water, and a couple of sharks close by made us
hurry in our movements to right the boat and scramble in.
The whale died shortly after, and we anchored ourselves to its
huge body. We had lost direction of the ship, and in our
disabled condition had no means of returning. The weather
also had changed and there were unmistakeable signs of a
storm. Our condition was indeed hopeless. No provisions,
water, or compass, all had been lost. The nearest land was
known to be inhabited by cannibals of the worst type, whom it
would be better to avoid. The night was upon us as we left
the whale, our hard earned trophy, marked with flags stuck in
the body, in the hope that our ship might see it, and follow in
our wake. In our shattered boat, with broken oars, alone and
helpless on a stormy sea, our prospects of escape seemed small.
The gale came on and we made no progress, so we simply
drove before it. Where were we going ? was the question as
we flew over the curling waves, which from time to time broke
in on us. On we went, death threatening us on every side,
especially amidst the darkness of the night. It was the hardest
experience of my life; for I was but a youth. We had been for
two days driven by the wind, worn ont with hunger and
watching, when just about nightfall one of the men called
out "Breakers ahead!" A thrill of fear ran through each of
us, for we dreaded the land almost more than the sea, with its
storm and hunger.
We could see the breakers right before us ; to attempt to
haul off was impossible. Against such sea we could do
nothing but trust in Providence, and surely a miracle was
worked in our case, for we struck the breakers just where a
narrow passage between some rocks made it possible for us to
escape without being upset. Had we been a little later we
could not have seen the place or directed our boat through it,
and would probably have been drowned or become food for
sharks which haunt such places.
We got safely through and landed on the shore in the
dark, thanking God for our deliverance, but with unknown
dangers ahead. The following account will show that it is
better to fall into the hands of Providence than into the hands THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 127
of man, especially amid the cannibal islands of the Pacific.
There were six of us who landed from the boat on this
South Pacific island, the name of which was unknown to us, as
we had no means of knowing how far we had travelled in the
We hoped the island might be uninhabited as we lay down
to rest on the beach and slept soundly on the warm sandy
Next morning I was the first to awake and went to look
out for something to eat. The first thing I noticed was some
savages coming towards us along the shore. Their leader was
a fine, tall man, and had a full beard and frizzled hair ; he had
a kilt of matting around his waist and was armed with a spear
and a club. He was followed by about twenty others similarly
armed, some of whom had bows and arrows. Before I could
arouse my companions a shower of spears and arrows fell
amongst us. The mate was killed outright; the others, except
my companion, who was known as " Scotty," were all badly
wounded. We were seized by the savages and tied hand and
foot, and our wounded companions were all killed on the spot.
I had now no doubt that we had landed amongst the Fiji
islanders—the worst kind of cannibals.
The custom of these islanders is to kill the wounded and to
feast on their bodies. They were not long in carrying out this
horrible custom, and I had the horror of seeing the bodies of
my late companions prepared for the feast, cut up and consumed
by the savages amidst much demonstrative shouting, in the immediate vicinity of where lay as a prisoner bound hand and foot.
I was naturally in horrible dread that " Scotty " and I would be
the next victims, and I can scarcely describe the feelings that
took possession of my mind- Perhaps a callousness came over
me as I watched the proceedings, for I remember that I tried
to think that it did not matter so much as to what became of
the body after the life was gone. I was still watchful for a
chance of escape and considered how I could pacify the wild
savages around me. We were kept in suspense for several
hours, but at last the savages were through with their feasting,
over which they appeared to fight and squabble like so many 128 THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
dogs over a bone, which left a terrible impression on my mind
such as I dislike to recall.
We were taken to the village and I was handed over to the
chief and separated from my friend, whom I never saw again.
Strict watch was kept over me by one of the wives of the chief.
I was well treated and fed with anything that was going;
indeed, I was allowed to go freely around the village and do
much as I pleased. I used to amuse myself by practising
shooting at pigeons with a sling and stones, at which I became
an adept. I spent much time bathing in the surf, and soon
became as clever a swimmer and diver as the natives themselves, who spend a good portion of the day bathing in the sea.
In a little while I was able to understand much of what
was said by the natives and to take a part in their social life.
Frequently the old chief, with whom I became very friendly,
would take me out in his canoe on visits he made to neighbouring chieftains with whom he was friendly. On these occasions
he would make me drink, often to excess, the bitter cava spirit,
made by chewing the root of the cassiva, which appeared to
be the national drink of the savages.
Every chief keeps a number of young girls, whose chief
occupation in life is on special occasions to chew the root out
of which this spirit is made. After chewing this bitter root
into a dry ball mixed with the saliva of the mouth it is placed
in a bowl, stirred with water, passed through a sieve, when it
rapidly ferments, and drunk to excess creates mirth and amusement amongst the savages and forms the chief part in their
feasts and hospitalities.
Under the influence of this liquor I used to amuse the
savages by making contortions of the face or mimicking some
members of the tribe, which I found was a great way to amuse
these innocent children of nature. I believe that is one of
the reasons why my life was spared. I became an important
member of the tribe by reason of my antics, and might be
reckoned as the Court Jester of the King of the Cannibal
Islands. Becoming more conversant with the language I often
used to crack jokes, make amusing remarks and faces until I
had the whole  court laughing.     I added to  my  position  by
inventing new head-dresses and ornaments for the women, who
treated me kindly. Under these circumstances I felt myself
safe from being killed and eaten at their regular feasts of
human flesh. When such an event was impending, which I
always knew beforehand by preparations which were being
made, I carefully absented myself and wandered away from the
scene. With this one _ exception I felt myself safe, and had in
other respects a happy time amongst the savages of this
beautiful island, who seemed provided by nature with everything in the shape of food they could wish for.
It was while wandering in the forest one day that I came
across the clothing of my friend " Scotty," as well as some
charred bones, which assured me that my friend had been eaten
by the savages. I became almost frenzy with grief at this loss,
and it took me every effort that I could muster to recover my
equanimity when I got back to the village, but I did not dare
mention it or ask any questions regarding the fate of my friend.
I suppose he had endeavoured to escape and been captured, and
in a spasmodic moment killed and eaten. Such might be my
fate also, I thought, so I carefully watched, and made no effort
to escape, knowing full well the hopelessness of the chance,
and the certainty of the consequences of failure. Sometimes
the tribe, headed by the chief and some three-hundred warriors,
would start out on a fighting expedition against some other
tribe, and come back with some prisoners of war, men, women
and children, who were then shut up in a corral and fed like
cattle, to be fattened for a feast, while from time to time some
of them were killed and eaten, amid great excitement, and
sometimes excessive drinking* of Cava. I was never allowed to
accompany these expeditions of warfare, though the old chief
gave me some vivid descriptions of what he had been doing,
on his return, as he lay on his mat attended by his wives, of
which he had a dozen, whose chief occupation was to wait on
him, and look after me and his household.
The chief kept strict order in his tribe, and any offences
against morals was visited with instant death on the women,
who were not allowed to marry without his consent. A warrior
with the consent of the chief might have one or two wives, if
he could afford to keep them. The girls, as they grew up, were
attached to a chief's house as cava girls, and were safe under
his charge till marriage was decided on by the will of the chief,
whose consent seemed necessary in everything pertaining to
the law and order of the tribe- In many respects this despotism appeared to be a model system of Government.
In the warm climate of these islands clothes for warmth
were unnecessary, and none of the savages wore any except for
ornament. Their ornaments consisted of festoons in the hair,
which men and women cut short alike, and frizzed out with
greazy paper. Flowers, shells, and sharks' teeth were worn at
all times, as ornaments to the person, according as they could
afford them.
Both men and women were splendid forms of humanity,
and seldom bore any marks of malformation, save those which
were caused by accident, or in the numerous attacks in wars
in which they appeared to be continually engaged. The women
did not appear to grow prematurely old, but grew fat and
unwieldly later on in life. Even in old age they appeared to
exercise quite an influence in the tribal affairs, and I had reason
to know it, for I was placed under the surveillance of the
elderly wife of the chief, who took a maternal interest in me,
seeing that I was well fed and looked after.
I was on equally good terms with the young chief of the
tribe as I had been with his father, for I often went out fishing
with him, indeed, I made it a matter of interest to cultivate a
friendly spirit all round, knowing by this means I should escape
the fate of my companions, and when a convenient time should
come I might hope to escape. My ingenuity in invention,
especially in ornaments, was often put to the test, and it was
easy for me to suggest some simple device that would please
both men and women, amongst people who were almost children
in their amusements.
In the year which I calculate I had lived amongst these
savages I had secured a good footing in the tribe, and had
become an important person owing to my utility in inventions.
I was out fishing with the young chief, when on the horizon I
descried the sail of a schooner, which I saw was approaching our THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 131
island. I said nothing to the chief about it, and pretended not
to have seen anything, for I feared he might think I wanted to
escape, which would lead to my being shut up in the corral with
the other prisoners of war, and possibly to my being killed at
once, for the moods and actions of these savages are very
I watched the approach of the Trader, as I supposed the
ship to be, hiding myself in a bush when I gained the shore,
but finding no possible means of escape without exciting the
attention of the savages, I was forced to go back to my night's
lodgings at nightfall, and place myself under the usual guardianship of those in charge of the chief's house. I slept on a mat,
in a hut inhabited by the chief's mother, a fat old lady, and
three of the chief's daughters, who guarded me on every side,
and not only looked after me, but kept a very watchful eye on
my proceedings, knowing that their own lives would be held
responsible should I escape.
I thought when all were asleep, I might in the silence of
the night escape to the ship which was anchored by nightfall in
the bay. I watched and waited for a chance, pretending all
the while to be asleep, and about midnight when all was silent
I quietly arose to make the attempt, but as I was leaving the
hut the old chief placed a hand on my shoulder and said, " You
wish to escape ? You cannot do so to-night," which forced me
back to my sleeping quarters again. The next morning the
chief took me with him to trade with the schooner, and my
hopes arose that I should obtain the long expected chance.
When we arrived at the ship's side we found it was King George
of Tonga Tabu who had visited the place. There appeared to
be only a few savage men like our own on board, and I found
it impossible to communicate with them, not being allowed to
leave the canoe, and indeed very little trading was done.
It appeared afterwards that it was the intention of King
George to encourage an attack upon the ship, for he was quite
prepared for it with about three-hundred warriors down below
deck. My chief, thinking the ship unguarded, made preparations to attack it that night, and in the melee that followed
about a hundred and fifty of our tribe were  killed.   Next 132 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
morning King George's schooner sailed away, and my chance
of escape was gone.
Shortly after this event, in which my hopes of escape were
disappointed, I heard the chief summon his son to his presence
and tell him in confidential language that he thought the time
had come when he would hand over the chieftainship to him
and retire from the scene. They discussed the matter for a
considerable time, and on separating the old chief saluted his
son in a manner I had never seen him do previously. On the
following morning the tribe was assembled, and the old chief
made a long speech to his warriors.
At the conclusion of this speech he went and lay down in
an open grave which had previously been prepared, and a
tappa cloth was laid over his body. The nearest relations then
shovelled earth on his body and stamped it down with their
feet till the grave was filled up. A great feast followed the
election of the son in the father's place, during the course of
which all the wives and nearer female relations of the late
chief were brought out and killed "by the side of the late chief's
grave, and buried near by. Altogether about sixteen women
were thus dealt with, and some of the young and handsome
girls who had belonged to the old chief's household. Thus the
old chief died and the young chief reigned in his stead.
The whole process was followed out with such order and
regularity as if it were an ordinary affair of life. Personally I
missed the old chief, who had treated me kindly, and to him I
undoubtedly owed my life; but as I was even more friendly
with the young chief, and associated more with him, I felt I was
equally safe in his hands.
The principal event by which the young chief celebrated his
accession to power followed shortly after.
A vessel came into the bay flying the French colours,
rather unexpectedly one afternoon, which greatly excited me.
But before I could lay a plan for escape she was captured by a
big attack of the savages, and the entire crew slain. I found
their bodies piled up on the beach ready for a feast, one
morning shortly after their arrival, and again my hopes were
The schooner was stranded on the shore, and a quantity of
loot, including some powder, was packed away in a hut in the
The house by some chance caught fire and exploded the
gunpowder, and several of the tribe were killed. Until that
event none of them seemed to be acquainted with gunpowder,
and I now had to explain its use to the chief and his tribe. The
chief told me he had captured the crew of the schooner by
sending an invitation to them to come and trade on the shore.
He had then killed the crew in the boat, and by a night attack
had captured the vessel. The vessel was afterwards burnt as
she lay on the shore, so as to destroy all traces of the crime.
The chief made frequent expeditions to attack neighbouring
tribes, and brought back many prisoners, so I came to the conclusion his was the most important tribe in those parts. I was
never allowed to accompany these expeditions and was left in
charge of the women, who had strict orders to watch me.
I used to spend a good deal of my time in picking up
shells and corals on the shore, with which I made the ornamental dresses to please the savages.
While thus engaged one morning I saw in the distance a
ship under full sail approaching the island. As she came closer
I recognised King George's schooner; and as she anchored
near the shore I hid myself in the brush, intending if possible to
make an effort to escape.
I knew I should be watched if I returned to the village
while a vessel was anywhere near, so I kept in hiding, waiting
for the night to come. I did not, however, dare to face the sea
by swimming, on account of the numerous sharks that infest
the water, but thought I could manage to get hold of a canoe.
While waiting and watching my opportunity, as the vessel
came nearer I came across a log of banana wood, which floats
high in the water, and with a paddle hastily cut out of a piece
of stick I put off from the shore.
For a while I was not seen by the savages, as a corner of
the land hid me, but shortly after they saw me from the shore
and put off in pursuit of me, as I paddled with all my might for
They gained rapidly on me, but I was now so near that I
could hail the ship, and they sent a boat's crew to my rescue.
I just managed to get alongside the boat when a shower of
arrows and spears fell around and wounded some in the boat.
But I escaped and was taken on board King George's ship,
where I related my story. He was the only man on board who
could speak English, and he treated me very kindly and allowed
me to sleep in his cabin.
King George of Tonga Tabu was a strong, well-built man
six feet in height. He had a splendid crew of some three
hundred warriors, all of them above six feet and well-built,
courageous men.
They were nearly all nude, and King George alone wore a
red coat and cocked hat, together with a big sword buckled on
to his waist, and a white shirt which stuck out between his legs
in a most ludicrous fashion, while he directed operations either
in attack or in navigating his vessel. He told me he had come
out to " preach missionary " to the people who had destroyed
ships and refused to become Christians, and I strongly
suspected he had come to punish the tribe for destroying
the French ship that had been looted and the crew of which
had been destroyed.
He asked me whether I would help him in the night attack
he intended to make, and would pilot him into the bay, and
show him the most suitable place for capturing the village,
which I promised to do.
The cabin of the royal yacht was not quite after the style
of a white man's saloon, but there was plenty of food to eat,
and of a kind that was new to me, and more approaching
civilized diet.
When I went on board I had only got a piece of Tappa
cloth for clothing, which I had manufactured for myself with
the aid of the women, and this was more picturesque than
useful; I did not feel myself out of place here, especially as
my skin from long exposure had grown to an olive tint like the
At night King George lowered his boats and filled them
with about sixty warriors armed with muskets, and himself took THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 135
command. I accompanied them and showed them where to
land and the best place to attack the village. But the village
was prepared to receive us, and about two hundred warriors
faced us on the beach. King George struck in amongst them,
regardless of a shower of arrows which fell around us while
landing. We made a counter attack on the savages and with
the aid of our guns killed about sixty of them in an open fight
on the shore and captured the village. Six of our men were
killed and some wounded.
In the morning King George called the village together and
started to talk missionary to them ; but they would not listen
and again showed fight. We had another encounter on the
shore, in which a number of the enemy were killed, and the
village was looted. After burying the dead on our side, and
taking a lot of plunder to the ship, we sailed out of the harbour.
I felt very thankful next day when I saw the island where I
had lived for two years fading in the distance, and felt a good
ship under me bearing me back once more towards more
civilized regions and, as I hoped, to my own countrymen.
King George was the head chief in the Friendly Group
where, on the Island of Tonga Tabu, he ruled over a tribe of
savages almost as wild as those amongst whom I had been
living, but not given to cannibalism. Having recently come in
contact with civilized nations, the traders had found him an
honest-dealing chieftain, and in ability equal to any ruler in the
South Seas. The United States Consul had presented him with
a ship and encouraged him to take in hand the punishment of
evil-doers, especially amongst the cannibal tribes. Being a
strong, courageous man, with a good following of able-bodied
natives, whom he had trained to warfare, he was nothing loth
to take up the work of reforming the native races by the power
of the sword, which, as he expressed it, was " talking missionary" to those who disagreed with his methods of rule or
against whom he had a personal antagonism. He continued in
this occupation for many years and made his name a terror
throughout the South Sea Islands, and it was only in his later
years he became the reformed character that missionaries and
others make him out to be. 136 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
On our arrival at Tonga Tabu we were received with
rejoicing at our success by crowds on the shore, where a distribution of the plunder we had taken took place. A great feast
followed, and the girls were continually employed in making
cava, which was freely distributed to celebrate the return of
the victorious warriors. I remained two months as King
George's guest, and was treated with every kindness by him.
A trader put into the bay and I persuaded the captain to
let me ship as a hand, which he was not loth to do. King
George urged me strongly to remain with him on hearing of
my desire to leave, but I was eager to take advantage of an
opportunity that would bring me back to civilized life again.
I little thought that I was not yet done with the South
Seas; indeed, my experience may be said to have only begun.
We sailed out of harbour with a fair wind and continued trading
for some weeks amongst the islands.
One morning I saw a schooner in a dismantled condition
with signals of distress, and managed in spite of rather
boisterous weather to drop down on her and rescue the crew.
I was one sent with a boat to investigate. I managed with
the aid of a rope to scramble on board, and there a miserable
sight met my eyes. " There are fourteen men and two women
on board," said a man who looked like a living skeleton. I
could only find five men alive and one woman. These I succeeded in hoisting over the side of the boat, and we left the
ship a derelict.
The people whom we saved from the schooner told us they
had been six weeks floating about in a helpless condition,
having been dismantled in a storm. They had eaten, as a last
resource, the captain's dog, and if we had not discovered them
when we did would most assuredly have been lost or have died
of starvation.
Putting into Honolulu in the course of the journey I was
strongly minded to leave the ship, but the captain persuaded
me to stay. Honolulu at that time was but a small place under
the rule of King Kahamegar, who lived on an island in
seclusion away from^his capital. The few Europeans dwelt in
houses  along the beach surrounded  by native huts, and the THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 137
chief amusement of the people appeared to be bathing in the
surf or to go to a bath two miles out of town where water fell
over a large rock into a hole in the ground.
Driven south by a gale we again got into the neighbourhood of Tonga Taba and put in to water the ship. King
George was glad to see me and hoped I would again join his
island community. However, I thought it best to stop with
the vessel I was in, as I would sooner reach a country or
harbour where I could renew acquaintance with conditions such
as I should prefer.
Our ship now sailed towards the Fiji Islands, and amongst
other places ran into Roda Tonga. Finding ourselves amongst
cannibals when in harbour we had to put out netting to prevent
a surprise at night and only allow a few natives on board at
one time. We dared not venture on shore by day for fear of
an attack by the natives. We had a fat cook on board the
ship, and the natives had an eye on him, to his great horror.
They offered the captain ten fat hogs if he would trade him off.
The captain to gain time said he would think about it, and as a
result did a good trade with the natives, who had hoped to
secure the fat cook for a feast. The cook did all he could to
keep out of sight below deck when the natives were around, for
he feared being suddenly seized and thrown overboard, and he
was glad when the vessel cleared out of harbour.
As we did not dare approach the shore by day we had to
get our water supply by night. There was a little river of
fresh water which ran into the sea near us, and in order to fill
our barrels we had to roll them across the shore- In doing
this we were separated from our boat. Sent in the early
morning to fill the barrels, and while absent from our boat
engaged in rolling the barrels, the natives succeeded in
removing the boat and suddenly set upon us attacking us with
clubs and spears.
We had our revolvers with us, and let fly amongst the
forty who surrounded us. Slowly retreating and firing, we
endeavoured to regain our boat. Four of our number were
killed and others severely wounded. I was myself badly
wounded in the foot by a spear, and though I had killed four of 138 THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
my pursuers with the six shots out of my revolver I was unable
to reload. A big native followed close behind me and with his
big club struck me on the head and rendered me unconscious.
When I came to an armed savage was sitting over me, and I
could see none of my companions, and concluded that they
had either been killed or taken prisoners. I was in great pain
from my wounded leg and bruised all over from blows I had
My hands were tied behind my back and my wounded leg
was nearly double its usual size. I felt as if death were preferable to the pain and torture as well as the suspense I was
in. But recollection of past experiences did not leave me.
Once before I had been in a similar position and escaped. I
took courage at the thought. Near me was an old woman,
sitting by the fire singing, and somehow this reminded me of
my mother. One thing was in my favour, I could talk with
these savages and understand what they said. Thinking this
might help me I entered into conversation with the old lady,
but made very little progress at the start. ?8|
After a time some of the savages came to feel me to see if
I was fit to roast. From their conversation I gathered that,
they were on a hunting expedition, and some distance from
their village. Some of them were for killing me at once, and
others wished to take me to their village. After a great deal
of discussion these latter prevailed, and the men of the expedition left the camp, leaving me in charge of the women to tend
and watch, and with strict orders to keep me bound. I shortly
made an attempt to get on my knees to look around, and so far
succeeded that I could see my dead companions lying near.
Some of the women and girls were singing and dancing around
the dead bodies. I felt very down-hearted at the sight, and
verily thought my time was come. I also gathered that it was
only a matter of time when I should be killed and eaten, from
the conversation of the natives. In other words, they had too
much human flesh to deal with in the bodies of my companions,
and I was to be reserved for another occasion. After a while a
warrior who had been left in camp, came and raised his spear to
throw at me, but at this moment the old woman to whom I had THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 139
spoken stopped him from proceeding further with his intention.
I cannot begin to tell you my feelings at this time, I felt choked
with a feeling of dread, while I yet desired to be relieved of my
pain and misery; but the warrior delayed so long that I took
courage again, and started to plan some way of escape. I
knew that the schooner was not far off, and that our capture
was probably known on board bv this time.
When the natives went to trade with the ship next day,
the Captain captured five of the chiefs, and threatened to hang
them to the yard-arm if the sailors were not returned to the ship.
Word of this was repeated to all the people on shore. As
I was lying bound the second night on shore, a young girl came
to me and pulled my arm, put her finger to her mouth by way
of silence, and told me to get up quietly, at the same time
cutting the lines that bound me. I was unable to rise, however,
on account of the pain in my wounded leg, for I had been two
days bound and in agony.
The girl, who was a strong, lusty, young women, took me
on her back, carried me down to the canoe and paddled me out
to the ship, without rousing the camp. When we arrived on
board she asked the Captain to take her with him on board the
ship, for she was afraid to go back, knowing she would be
killed. She appealed so pitifully and cried so much, that I felt
overcome myself in spite of my sufferings. But the Captain, a
hard man, would not give in, so she was hustled overboard.
The regret of my life has been that I may have been the
unwitting cause of this girl's death, who so nobly aided in my
escape from the savages. The strange circumstances of my
life full of marvellous escapes, from wild savages as well as
shipwrecks at sea—for I have been shipwrecked seven times—
makes me think there is a Divine Providence that guides our
destinies, " Rough hew them how we may."
The Captain made the savages pay dearly for the lives of
his sailors before he would release their chiefs, and when we
left the harbour we were loaded up with a cargo of copra, and
oil. A strange way of making up the freight out of the murder
of his crew, but one by no means uncommon in those early days
of trading in the South Seas. 140 THE SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
Sailing in the direction of the Navigator Islands, we landed
at Apia. There were then only two white residents at that
place, and these were away at the time of our visit. The
islanders are peaceable, but we watched them closely. It was
on this island that John Williams, the missionary, was killed
and eaten, shortly after our visit. He is known as the martyr
of Erromanga.
The natives, in the absence of the missionary, brought us
bamboos, from a gallon to three gallons of cocoanut oil, for
which they were paid fifty cents per gallon, sometimes in cloth
or cash; but the cash always came back to us, there was no
circulation of money in the island. The missionaries collect
the oil from the natives as a rule, and deal with the traders to
far better advantage, keeping it in barrels for transportation,
when it is usually floated out to the ship, a sailor having to
swim alongside, in great danger of being seized by sharks, who
infest the harbour.
The next island we called at was Tutobae, and on leaving
this place, some of the chiefs wanted to accompany us back to
Apia, and offered us good pay. While making this passage we
were driven by a very heavy swell on to a reef. The chiefs, on
seeing the danger of the ship, immediately jumped overboard,
urging us all to do the same. I and another sailor followed
them, and were picked up by the canoes which followed us,
escaping almost by a miracle the sharks which we could see
The ship rolled over on the surf, on the reef, and sank
with all hands, There is so much suction on one side of this
reef, with four fathoms of water one side and only two or three
on the o*her, the reef extending all down the island, that
nothing can escape being sucked down, and not a vestige of the
ship or her cargo remained. Having lost everj^thing we had
in the ship, I and my mate were taken charge of by a chief,
who took us to the north end of the island, where I again
found myself a captive on the cannibal islands, and amongst a
people who spoke a similar language to those whom I had
before been subject to. THE  SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 141
The chief at the south end of the island, hearing of the
good luck of the Northern Chief in capturing two white men,
came with two hundred warriors to fight against his neighbour,
and make him give up one of us. Terms were come to after a
great palaver, and I was sent away with the Southern Chief,
and my mate remained with the Northern Chief. So I was
taken away in a war canoe to a place called Sangsater.
Amidst great rejoicings I landed, and took up my abode with
my new master.
At a feast that followed our arrival the chief announced
that I was his companion, and was to be treated with every
respect by his followers. If I wanted an arm or a leg at the
cannibal feast I was to have the choice, and I could command
anything I desired from him.
The name of the chief was Maypowder. He was a very
large and powerful man, over six feet in stature, and most of
his warriors equalled him in size and manly appearance. I
myself, being a short man, felt like a Gulliver or dwarf amongst
these giants, any one of whom could pick me up and carry me
across his shoulder.
The chief had no tattoo marks on his body, as is the custom
amongst the savages, but all of his warriors were heavily
tattooed from head to foot, and as they were all nude the tattoo
markings were very ornamental. The missionaries have taught
the islanders to wear clothes, and will not allow them around
the settlement without clothing. Should the missionary absent
himself, they usually remove their clothing and return to their
old habits. The natural inclination of South Sea Islanders is
to go nude, and as long as they did so, and followed their
regular bathing customs, and lived after their old way in food
which is so abundant in many of the islands, they appeared
immune to diseases, such as in recent years carried off such
numbers as to have almost depopulated some islands.
Where no sense of shame is felt, as was the case in all the
islands, which might have been likened to a garden of Eden, it
seems a pity to have destroyed their most innocent habits,
under the idea that Christian civilization consists in wearing
clothes, and usually clothes of the most awkward and least
ornamental description. Having myself often been reduced to
a single tappa cloth for clothing while living amongst these
savages, I can say my health was always of the best under
these circumstances, even though my food was often only of
the native description.
I had lived in friendly association with these savages for
three months, and had got accustomed to their simple habits
and ways, and, as on a former occasion, amused them
by manufacturing ornamental toilets, both for men and
The chief one morning called me, and told me he was
going/to build a hut for my use, for hitherto I had resided in
his large matted house. He himself superintended the structure
and when it was completed sent me a girl, whom he said was
to be my wife, and chew cava for me. He also sent me daily a
supply of food from his own table. I could not eat the meats
as cooked by the natives, which were full of blood, and only
half done; and had to educate my girl to cook food for my
palate, which she soon showed herself able to do. When my
wife came to me she had her hair all done up in pig tails, and
plastered with clay. I taught her to let her hair grow, and how
to plait it, and tie it with grass. I made an ornamental dress
of tappa cloth, and induced her to wear it as an ornament at
first, and to please me.
I further instructed her in house-keeping, till she became
the model girl of the village, and took a pride in her surroundings as the wife of a white stranger.
It might be supposed I was happy and contented amidst
such surroundings of this Eden-like island, with the simple
habits of its innocent children of nature, with whom I was now
so thoroughly acquainted as to have become a member of the
tribe. I tried indeed to settle down and keep quiet; but a secret
longing constantly came over me to find some way of escape,
or at all events to hunt up my companion, who had gone to the
north end of the island.
Intent on this purpose, I took a canoe one day from the
landing, and starting to paddle across the bay, and after a five
miles row landed on the other side.    I started to make my way THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 143
through the bush, with a vague intention of finding my friend,
little thinking what might follow such an adventure.
While thus pursuing my way, and while crossing a brook,
by a trail I had chanced on, I was discovered by some wild-
jooking savages who came after me with clubs in their hands.
I stopped, seeing escape was impossible, and turned
and asked them what they wanted. They said they
wanted to take me to their village and to their chief. They
seized me and bound me hand and foot, and carried me along
with them. Finally we arrived at their small but beautiful
village.    It lay in a cocoanut grove close to the beach.
They placed me in a large hut known as the council
chamber, which was soon filled with natives who came to see
me, and many of them went through the usual ceremony I was
so well acquainted with to see how fat and plump I was for
a feast.
As I lay, so tightly bound that the cords were eating into
my flesh, one of the chiefs cut the thongs, and handed me over
to the women to be rubbed with cocoanut oil to reduce the
In the meantime my fate was under discussion, and this
continued till evening, when I was left to be tended and fed by
the women. They all fell asleep after a little while, even the
young one who was strictly enjoined to keep awake. The hut
was close to the beach on which were stranded a number of
canoes. Could I get into one of them without disturbing the
camp I might escape. I crawled on all fours, as quietly as I
could, and got into one of the smaller canoes to paddle out into
the bay, with the intention of crossing the harbour back
home again.
The water in the bay was a shallow lagoon. All went well
for awhile, and I was beginning to congratulate myself on
escape when I heard a great shouting behind me, and I was
aware that several canoes were in full chase. I knew that they
were bound to overtake me. I thought and planned that I would
leave the canoe and take to swimming, at which I was a master
hand, and by diving11 might deceive the enemy as to my whereabouts.    I therefore dropped over the side of the canoe into 144 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER   ISLAND.
shallow water, and gave the canoe a shove in a different direction, at the same time dipping and diving for some distance.
This action in the gathering twilight disconcerted the
savages, who on coming up with the canoe were unable to
account for my sudden disappearance. They travelled around
and searched in every direction, and twice they crossed right
over me while I was diving and crawling along the bottom of
the shallow water, occasionally coming to the surface to
breathe. I was glad to see the canoes returning, as they
evidently thought me drowned. So I was left in the middle of
a bay some three miles from my destination across the harbour,
and with the likelihood of meeting with a shark, which I most
However, after resting awhile by the side of some rocks,
I took courage and by swimming when the water was deep and
wading in the shallow reefs, I landed after a great struggle on
the other side, with my feet swollen and almost cut to pieces.
In the dark I crawled up on the shore, and slept amidst
dreams such as I never before experienced. At daylight I
found I was not far from my own village, and a little later
hailed a friendly savage who carried me back to my home and
wife, who nursed and tended me for many days until my
wounds were healed.
I determined after this adventure I had better stay at
home, and not risk my life in search of friends and freedom.
While I was recovering from my last adventure, the chief,
who had been absent for some time on a war cruise, or to settle
some grievance he had with a neighbouring tribe, returned
bringing a number of captives. I hobbled down to meet him
on the shore, and when he saw me he greeted me as an equal.
In the feast which followed, as a matter of honour, he made
me drink the first cup of cava, held out by the girls, and gave
me the name of Mulley Shackey, by which I was now to be
known in the tribe.
On this occasion I asked him for permission to go and see
my companion; but he was unwilling on this or any other
occasion to let me leave the tribe in search of my friend, who,
however, was quite safe he told me, and indeed I heard after- THE  SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 145
wards he had been well treated by the chief who had possession
of him.
The chief, as a matter of favour, sent me another girl to
live with my wife, indeed her sister; but I told the chief I
disapproved of two women in the house as they were likely to
disagree. He said that such was not the case, but I carried
my point and send the second girl back. Later on he still
insisted on my taking the girl to live with me. " So great
a chief as I should have two wives." And finally I had
to consent. I found these two sisters lived amicably together
in the hous£, and were proud of their position, owing to the
honour I was held in by the tribe.
However, I was eager to get away, and continually planned
means of escape. It was on one of the occasions when the
chief was away that I heard a ship had visited and anchored at
a place about twelve miles up the coast. As the natives had
orders from the chief which they dare not disobey, to do whatever I told them, I ordered out a canoe with six men to take me
to the ship, saying I wanted to trade, taking as a blind a
number of articles with me. We reached the vessel that
night, and she proved to be an English trader. I told my tale
to the captain, and my story was fully corroborated by my
appearance, dressed in a tappa skirt, and as brown as a native.
Immense merriment aboard was caused by my grotesque
appearance; but when the captain heard my story he was glad
to ship me as one of his crew, for he was bound on a whaling
expedition to the Northern seas. So ends my story of life
amongst the savages. Needless to say, with the help of the
captain, I rewarded the crew with numerous presents for
aiding in my escape, and how they settled it with the chief
when they got back I am unable to say, for I have thought it
best and safest to keep out of these Southern seas, and my
future sea experiences were found in Northern waters.
The next chapter of my life takes me into the Arctic regions,
for the ship on which I had escaped from the South Sea
Islanders was on a whaling expedition up through Behring
Sea to the Arctic Circle. We had a good passage for many
days across the Pacific into colder waters.    When we struck 146 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
into the fields of the floes we had gales of wind which rendered
navigation dangerous. At last we were so surrounded with ice
floes, that we had to anchor to one, while a boat was sent out
to the land to learn what was our position, in order to find our
winter quarters, as we should remain for a winter season in
that region. We discovered that the locality was known as
Shanty Bay, a place not often visited by ships- On landing on
an island the first discovery we made was a schooner with her
decks all covered in with canvas, and a covered passage which
connected them with the shore.
We were surprised at not seeing any life on board, and on
further investigation we discovered the whole ship's crew
sitting at the table or lying in their bunks, in all attitudes of
natural rest, and all save one stiff and dead. In this one man
alone did we discover any life, and he was the ship's carpenter,
who told us that the ship had wintered there, and the crew had
all been frozen to death by the intense cold. We took the poor
fellow on board and did all we could for him, but he died in a
few days.
We were very successful in the capture of whales in these
waters. The whale known as the Bowhead, which differs from
the Sperm whale in many respects, is foundi in these colder
Its most striking feature is its great mouth, with the lapping
over gums, also the fine mesh-like net in which the whale
catches its prey of small fish; the enormous quantity of food it
must take to satisfy such a monster, in these cold regions, is
bej^ond conception. We frequently left the ship for days
together to hunt for whales, and took provisions with us for
nine days' absence. Sometimes we sheltered on the shore
while wraiting and watching. Our ship would be anchored to
an ice floe for days together, and would then break away from
the floe in a gale of wind, and we were in constant danger of
losing her whereabouts, in which case our chances of escape
were well nigh hopeless.
The whales during the spring season come near the shore
to scratch themselves against the rocks, in order to rid their
bodies of the shell fish which become incrusted on them.    They THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 147
also approach the shore in order to shelter their young, and at
this season become very dangerous to tackle.
When a whale is captured a flag is placed on it as a mark
to denote its position and ownership, while the crew pursue
their occupation awaiting the arrival of the ship. One of the
whales we captured produced three hundred barrels of oil.
This is known as the Right whale, and is without doubt the
largest sea monster to be found in the ocean. As we were
leaving the Siberian coast we sighted a very big whale, to which
both our boats got attached, but the whale carried us so far
from the ship, and finally dived under the ice field, that we had
to cut our cables in order to escape from being drawn under
the ice. We then took to the land to shelter from a rising gale.
We quickly collected brush and drift wood, and made ourselves
snug. We kept the fire burning all night for fear of wild
animals; there were plenty of bears and wolves in the neighbourhood, as was evidenced by their tracks. We had to take
turns in watching, for by their howls they were both numerous
and savage. Towards the morning our watcher fell asleep
while on duty, and allowed the fire to get low.
A black bear promptly came in and seized him by the leg,
dragged him through the hut across the fire, and almost out
into the open before the rest of us were awake and could get a
gun to shoot the animal. The cries of the man awoke the
camp, and we succeeded in shooting the bear. He was fat and
in good condition, and we had fresh meat for breakfast, and took
the balance of the carcase and pelt on board with us. The poor
fellow had his leg ripped up by the bear, and was some time in
recovering. It was a wonder indeed that he was not killed, for
these animals are exceedingly ferocious, and it was only our
timely interference that saved him.
We caught a number of whales in the course of the season,
one of which gave us two hundred barrels of oil and a ton of
whalebone. This bone forms the teeth of the whale, and is
covered by the lips. The first rows of teeth are about two feet
in length, and the rows increase in length till they reach half
way to the middle of the mouth, some sixteen feet in length.
It is in this mesh of teeth that the squid and bacteria on which 148 THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
the whales feed are caught. Some ten barrels of oil are taken
out of the tongue, which looks like a huge spotted plum pudding,
when lying in the mouth.
Turning our ship in a southern direction we got into
warmer waters; a glad exchange for me, for I felt the terrible
cold of the arctic region even in summer. We had some
terrific storms, one of which nearly did for the ship, in which I
had the narrowest escape I ever remember. I had been
ordered out on the jibboom to make the sail fast, when a heavy
sea struck the vessel and buried the bow right into the wave.
I clung to the boom for dear life, but I was washed away by
the strength of the wave. As the ship arose on the wave I was
lifted high up and swept into the main sheet; fortunately, with
one leg over the boom, to which I held on with all my remaining
strength, and was rescued and taken below more dead than
alive. I recovered in a day or two; but always consider this
as my most remarkable escape from being lost at sea.
When the weather cleared we had a long spell of calm
weather, and were able to rest from our labours, which up to
that time had been very heavy. Our ship was the most unlucky
vessel I was ever on for losing her crew. During the calm
spell, one of the men was pulling at a rope, which broke in his
grasp, and he fell overboard into quiet waters and disappeared,
leaving only his hat to mark the spot on the surface. Later on
when a storm struck the vessel, the cook, who was in the
cook-house, busy with his work, was carried away by a wave
which took the cook-house bodily from the ship. What the
feelings of the man must have been when he saw us sailing
away, from the top of the cook-house on which he had climbed,
without any effort of rescue—this being impossible owing to
the gale—one can scarcely imagine. It was all we could do to
save the ship, and he had to be left to his fate. When the
wind went down we were three hundred miles away from the
spot, which we had travelled with bare poles in twenty hours.
In these waters we caught a number of sharks, nine feet
long, which gave us fresh steaks. Dolphins and other fresh
fish were a great treat after our long period of feeding on salt
pork and dry biscuit, our constant fare in the north. THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. 149
We reached Honolulu, and with plenty of cash in my
pocket I went to hunt up my friends. But I soon lost my cash
in drinking and gambling, and got arrested for raising a riot,
and had to do a time of stone-breaking in the gaol. A long
spell of hard life at sea unfits a man to face the temptations of
a town life, when he has plenty of cash in his pocket; and I
have to regret many a lost opportunity from those two evils that
beset my early life; but I was taken in hand by a kind friend,
a lady who brought me to my senses again, and I started to
reform, and by the grace of God I kept straight. Such is the
influence of* a good woman on a sailor's life. What should we
sailors be if it were not now and again an angel from heaven
picks us up and starts us towards the Heavenly Jerusalem
where we all hope to go ?
The next ship I embarked on was a trading vessel bound
for Calcutta. Shortly after starting one of the sailors fell ill,
and was persuaded in his own mind that he was about to die.
I was the only man on board who owned a Bible : he asked me
to read some chapters to him, as he said he would like to be
reminded of the old days when he went to Sunday-school. I
told him it was no use reading the Scriptures to him as he had
said he did not believe in the Bible, and had been the leader of
a gang in laughing at me when I read the Bible on my own
account. He told me to read it anyway, for it was his last
chance of hearing it; he was going on a long journey and
would like to know something of the future. So I read a
few chapters to him suitable to the occasion, and he died about
two o'clock that same night.
While I was asleep the sailors took the body and covered
it up with a sail and laid it on the carpenter's bench outside^
We used to lay studding sails on this bench, and sometimes
during my watch, when there was nothing to do, I lay on it. I
found next morning I had been resting on the top of my
friend's body, an uncomfortable position indeed.
I was fond of practical jokes in those days, and at this
time carried out a humorous ghost story I have since heard
repeated by others, but it sprang from myself. After the burial
of our late shipmate at sea, we were most of us on the lookout 150 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
for some vision of the departed. Sailors are naturally a superstitious crowd and easily worked on by the supernatural—
dreams, ghosts and visions-
It was a stormy night when we got the order to put the ship
under short-reefed sail; later, when the wind failed, we were
sent up to run out the topgallant sails. I was always very active
in carrying out orders up aloft whenever I heard the call of duty.
On this occasion I was not on duty, but woke rather
suddenly and mistook the order as applying to our watch. I
immediatety jumped up and was up aloft before anyone
could see me. I sang out to hoist away to those down below.
Then I awoke to the fact that I was not on duty and could not
be expected to be aloft. I skidded down as quickly as possible
and, unseen by anybody, went to my berth, as I knew I should
be chaffed by my companions if discovered. The officer was
astonished at the rapidity with which his order had been
carried out, and not being able to account for it sang out
"Who's aloft? " to which there was no answer. I had slipped
away to my couch and was to all appearances asleep.
The officer then called his watch and counted them, and
then came along and counted the other watch and found them
all asleep. He declared it must have been the ghost of our late
shipmate whose voice he had heard and whose hands had
loosened the sails up aloft.
For the next few days the crew went about in fear,
expecting to meet with the wraith of their late shipmate.
I, for my part, kept my counsel, with regard to the facts,
for fear of being chaffed, but I am ready to believe there
was a ghost around that night, only it was a very material one
in the person of myself.
With regard to superstitions amongst sailors, most of
which have now died out, especially that one about a ship
setting out on a voyage on a Friday, I might say there was
good reason for believing in the truth of some of them when
they were connected with some natural law which in olden
days through being unexplainable was thought miraculous.
But science has dispersed many of these so-called
miracles which astonished people in ancient   days, but are THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 15l
easily accounted for now. I will, however, here record one
connected with my own life. I was born in a superstitious
age, and with a superstitious symbol. For many years I carried
to sea with me a skin caul, with which unusual appendage I
came into the world. It was a tradition from past ages that a
child born in a caul would never meet death by drowning, and
was also safe from other accidents. Whether this is true or
not I cannot say; but it seems strange that amid all the shipwrecks and accidents it has been my lot to pass through, even
when all my companions perished, I alone have escaped and
have since refnained immune, for I am sound in mind and body
to-day. I might say that not unfrequently this tradition has
become a matter of faith to me in moments of danger, thus
enabling me to keep a cool courage and often undaunted in the
midst of overwhelming misfortune.
I have often heard of sea captains in those early days pay
upwards of a hundred pounds for the possession of a child's
caul, which they believed would safeguard them from drowning;
but this, like many other superstitions, has now passed into
oblivion. I mention it as showing how great has been the
change that has come over men's minds with regard to these
Our voyage was one of continued disaster and misfortune
A week later the captain took sick and died: the mate took
command of the ship. He did not hold it long. A fog sprang
up, followed by a strong breeze, and at three o'clock one
morning we were run into by another ship on the weather bow,
which cut us clean down to the water's edge. Some of the crew
managed to climb on board as she struck us, and so escaped;
but as the vessel slid clear she was lost in the fog and we saw
her no more. We had to take to the boats at once as our
vessel was sinking fast; and we had not even time to obtain
clothes, provisions or water. There were seven of us in a boat
a thousand miles away from land, and on a stormy sea, without
a compass.
For three days we survived, eating only a few flying fish
which flew on board at night, and were divided equally amongst
us.    We chewed up our boots bit by bit.   At last the steward 152 THE   SETTLERS  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
gave in and died, and we threw his body overboard. The fifth
day we saw a ship running before the wind, and hoisted a signal
of distress, which was fortunately seen, and we saw with joy
she had altered her course towards us.
I had strength enough to climb on board, but then fell down
on the deck unconscious, and for many hours knew nothing.
When I came to, I found myself in a comfortable cabin with a
fire burning on the hearth. She was a New York packet ship,
and we were treated very kindly by the captain and crew.
I landed in New York dead broke; but a sailor can always
find help amongst his chums in a home port. It was not long
before I found myself in a boarding house, my chums having
made a collection for me. I kept straight, and soon found
a ship bound for China and Japan. We put into Formosa
and took a number of Chinese passengers on board. A storm
sprang up when we got to sea; the Chinamen became frightened
and, after propitiating their deities by throwing large quantities
of rice into the sea, they spent their time prostrating themselves on the deck, bumping their foreheads on the hard wood
until they had raised bumps as large as hen's eggs. When the
storm was over they spent quite a lot of time hunting for
remedies to reduce these bumps, and a certain kind of oil
proved to be very efficacious.
Bangkok was our next port of call, and we were ordered to
leave our arms and powder at the mouth of the river before we
entered harbour. We got leave of absence for twenty-four
hours, and I went with a mate to view the sights ; but my friend
took cholera while ashore and died in twelve hours, and had just
time to give me the address of his mother and asked me to call
and see her if I survived. Four of the rest of the crew died the
same night, and by the end of the week there were only four
men left out of twenty. The captain, mate and myself buried
the whole crew before we left. Such attacks of cholera are not
infrequent in these ports, and sometimes sweep the whole
crew away.
While at Yokohama I saw a man who had killed another in
cold blood led to execution. His condemnation was to have a
joint cut off from each section of his body every day, till only THE   SETTLERS  OF  VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 153
his trunk and head were left, which was the cruellest sight
I have ever witnessed, and made an impression on me I never
Leaving Yokohama, we took passage past the Catalina
Islands. Here, in the open sea, we were attacked by a host of
armed natives in canoes, who endeavoured to board us, and
threw numbers of spears and arrows at us. Had they attacked
us by night they might have succeeded; but as it was we
attempted to pacify them by throwing presents of tobacco on
board their canoe, as they came alongside. They grew more
venturesome, however, and we had to fire blank cartridges over
them; and later, to shoot some in order to keep them from
climbing up the sides of the ship. These savages are known
as pirates of the China seas, and are very dangerous, many
ships' crews having been captured by them. The gale
freshened into a heavy sea, and we were able to outsail and
get clear of this savage and dangerous crowd of Chinese
pirates. In the storm that followed I got my leg badly jammed
in the wheel, and was laid up for three weeks.
After a five months' passage I landed in London, and the
ship was paid off; I managed to get a ship for New York, and
returned to my home port; having gone through nearly twenty
years of my adventurous career, the record of which I have
dotted down from time to time in this log book. The days of
sailing vessels appear to be nearly ended, and whaling as an
occupation is now no longer carried on in the dangerous
manner I have represented. Steam is supplanting every occupation on the sea. In my early days a sailor was expected to go
through a long apprenticeship, such as is now no longer
required or needed.
The old sailor was in the habit of reading sections of his
life's story from his log book of an evening when the work was
done, or life was felt to be slow, and thus greatly encouraged
us; for it gave rise to numerous discussions about savages—
their ways and customs, and proved a mine of information on
many subjects connected with our life in the bush.
This man had apparently a knack of ruling savages in a
manner which few men could do.   We had quite sufficient 154 THE  SETTLERS OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
evidence, by the manner in which he was respected and held
by Peter and the local native tribe, in the short time he had
resided in the neighbourhood, that his gifts were peculiar in
that direction. We never, then or afterwards, had any trouble
with Peter or his tribe of Indians, and whenever any trouble
seemed likely to arise Alec usually saw his way through the
difficulty and settled it for us. His forethought, and the able
manner in which he dealt with every detail, never hurried or
disturbed, however dark things might appear to be, had made
him an unfailing source of comfort and help to us. And as we
listened at night-time, around the stove, to the story of his life
as he read it from his old log book, which was always carefully
returned to his box, we were thankful our party had met with
so able a man to direct our lives in the first years of our
settlement in the Far West.
The sailors who are at the present time going down to the
sea in ships are a very different class of men compared with
those whom I remember. Foreigners appear to have taken
the place of British sailors in British ships—more's the pity!
for what will England do when her naval and mercantile
marine are in the hands of foreigners who, on the first occasion
of war, will either desert or capture ships under the British
As I look out on the wide Pacific Ocean, on which so
much of my life has been spent, I realize that even there
impending changes are at hand which may alter the whole
condition of the world; and on that ocean the future of the
East and the West, the European and the Asiatic, will have
to be settled.
I was employed as a sailor on the first steamer, 'The Beaver,'
that entered the Pacific Ocean on her own steam, in 1859; and
to-day I see that ocean crossed by the greyhounds of the
Pacific in every direction. I think my time is short, but I have
no fears as to the future, for I have faced death so often that
I look upon it as the gateway to a higher life, and when the
Master calls me to cross the Harbour Bar to Eternity, I trust
I shall be able to say: " Ready, aye, ready ! " A   PRACTICAL   TRAINING   SCHOOL
The Rev. W. G. H. ELLISON has had twenty years' experience
of life in Canada, and has himself engaged in all manual
employments of a colonial life. He is prepared to take a
limited number of pupils and apprentices on his Farm, Lumber
Mill and Camp, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
The season's training consists of six months from May to
October, the open season for work in which Mr. Ellison
will direct the training of young men from England in active
As an emigrant chaplain Mr. Ellison has observed that
many youths of the middle classes newly arrived in the country
fail from want of knowledge to adapt themselves to their surroundings. A six month's training amid suitable surroundings
and under wise direction would enable them to succeed. It is
with this object that this school has been started, and individual
attention will be given to each case. The Summer College of
the Minneapolis University is in the same locality, where those
interested in science can attend the lectures. The Camp for
work is situated in an ideal place for fishing, shooting, and
boating, and the home life is on the Canadian plan.
During the winter months arrangements can be made to
attend lectures at the Victoria University. Mr. Ellison is willing
to communicate with any one desiring information, who are
thinking of settling in Canada.
Rev. W. G. H. ELLISON,
Port Renfrew,
West Coast Vancouver Island,
British Columbia, CANADA.
or refer to      Secretary, Emigration Offices,
272, Birkbeck Bank Chambers, Holborn,
LONDON, W.C. Your Outfit
or wherever you may be Emigrating should
possess those wearing qualities which will
relieve you of all anxiety as to how long it
will last you	
A good outfit, must outwear many so called
cheap ones and will be the CHEAPEST in
the LONG RUN. ........
We are specialists in good strong serviceable suits etc., and it would be well for you
to consult us before placing your order
elsewhere.    .    .    Note   our   only  address
BerKemeyer & Company,
(Colonial  bailors   an&  Outfitters.
22   GRAY'S   INN   ROAD,
f^ft.-  IK
Neaves Food
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reltevgg infantile jj&ristipation» and iised ^y^ftffoilfcs**, 1
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l^^lf^^^iffiwiffi Krti. M»4 awarded tke^ certificate for Purity and Quality. !
v£^^»^'^P'^S®.1 ■■*' 3?W^*yr. v4jv 'iiwci^1 ■" j£gj


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