British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical Quarterly Jan 1, 1937

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JANUARY, 1937 We
Published by the Archives of British Columbia
in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association,
W. Kaye Lamb.
John Goodfellow, Pria F. W. Howay. New Westmim-
T. A. RlCKARD, Victoria.
Editorial communications should be addressed to the Editor, Provincial
Archives, Parliament Buildings, Vieto
Subscriptions should be sent to the Provincial Archives, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C. Price, 50c. I lumbers of the
British Columbia Historic;; ceive the
Quo                hout further char.-
Neither the Provincial  Archh i  Columbia  Historical
Association assumes any ide by contributors
to the magazine. THE
Published by the Archives of British Columbia in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association. EDITOR.
W. Kaye Lamb.
J. C. Goodfellow, Princeton. P. W. Howay, New Westminster.
Robie L. Reid, Vancouver. T. A. Richard, Victoria.
W. N. Sage, Vancouver.
All communications should be addressed to the Editor, Provincial
Archives, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C. CONTENTS OP VOLUME I.
Articles: Page.
Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet:  1863-1870.
By P. W. Howay.      3
Gilbert Malcolm Sproat.
By T. A. Rickard    21
Letters to Martha.
By W. Kaye Lamb    33
Early Days at Old Fort Langley.
By Robie L. Reid    71
Columbia River Chronicles.
By James Fitzsimmons    87
Early Settlement on Burrard Inlet.
By F. W. Howay. 101
The Pioneer Days of the Trans-Pacific Service.
By W. Kaye Lamb 143
Billy Barker of Barkerville.
By Louis LeBourdais 165
Fur-trading Days at Kamloops.
By F. Henry Johnson 171
The Mystery of Mount Robson.
By A. G. Harvey 207
My Father: William Fraser Tolmie.
By S. P. Tolmie 227
Documents :
Peter Skene Ogden's Notes on Western Caledonia.
Edited by W. N. Sage    45
Three Simpson Letters: 1815-1820.
With an introduction by Muriel R. Cree 115
Fort Langley Correspondence: 1881-1858 187
Simpson to Tolmie, January 28, 1856 241
To the Fraser River Mines in 1858.
A letter from C. C. Gardiner, edited with an introduction by
Robie L. Reid 243
Notes and Comments 57, 123, 195, 255
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Alexander Begg versus Alexander Begg.
By Madge Wolfenden 133
A Checklist of Crown Colony Imprints 263
Halliday:   Potlatch and  Totem and the recollections of an
Indian Agent.    By R. L. Reid     61
MacKay:   The Honourable Company:  A History of the Hudson's Bay Company.    By F. W. Howay    62
Sixth Report of the Okanagan Historical Society.
By W. N. Sage , 63 The Northwest Bookshelf—Continued. Page.
Allen:   North Pacific;  Japan, Siberia, Alaska, Canada.
By G. Neil Perry 199
Seventh Report of the Okanagan Historical Society.
By W. Kaye Lamb 200
Morton:   Under Western Skies.
By Robie L. Reid  201
Campbell:  Arctic Trails;  Steele:  Policing the Arctic.
By Madge Wolfenden 202
The Mitchell Library, Sydney, Historical and Descriptive Notes.
By W. Kaye Lamb 203
Shorter Notices 65
Vol. I. January, 1937. No. 1
Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet: 1863-1870.
By F. W. Howay	
Gilbert Malcolm Sproat.
By T. A. Rickard  21
Letters to Martha.
By W. Kaye Lamb  33
Documents :
Peter Skene Ogden's Notes on Western Caledonia.
Edited by W. N. Sage  45
Notes and Comments  57
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Halliday: Potlatch and Totem and the recollections of an Indian
Agent.    By R. L. Reid 61
MacKay: The Honourable Company: A History of the Hudson's
Bay Company.    By F. W. Howay 62
Sixth Report of the Okanagan Historical Society.    By W. N. Sage._. 63
Shorter Notices _ „  65 "Any country worthy of a future
should be interested in its past." EARLY SHIPPING IN BURRARD INLET
Last year many eyes were turned to Vancouver's magnificent
harbour, and it may therefore be of interest to sketch the economic development of the port—the roots from which its present
importance has sprung—and its steady and gradual growth in
the years between 1863 and 1870.
The very first land access to Burrard Inlet, as Vancouver
Harbour was then called, was a trail built in 1859 from New
Westminster to Port Moody, at the head of the inlet, by the Royal
Engineers, then located in that city. This was a purely military
move, for the purpose of affording an outlet in the rear of their
camp and a second means of approach. When Admiral Baynes
was in Burrard Inlet on H.M.S. Plumper, in October, 1859, he
bethought himself to pay a friendly visit to Colonel Moody, the
commanding officer of the Royal Engineers. Writing of the
occasion, he speaks of Port Moody as " a fine harbour from which
there is a trail cut to New Westminster, the future capital of
British Columbia." He then proceeds: "A trail is a rough path
cut through the woods, the distance about six miles which I had
nearly accomplished when a horse sent by Col. Moody met me.
I was not too conceited to mount and save myself the last half
mile. These trails are rough walking with stumps and inequalities liable to trip one up every moment; so that it is necessary
to look at your steps." In 1861 the trail was transformed into
a road, the North Road as it has ever since been called. There
was not at that time a single white person living on the inlet.
The wealth of the sea and the forest drew attention to the
commercial possibilities of the inlet. As early as April, 1863,
G. Tranfield, a fish and game dealer in New Westminster, sent
several men to the inlet to fish for cod to supply the markets
of the mainland. John Robson, the owner and editor of the
British Columbian, ever alert for openings for expansion, urged
capitalists to canvass carefully the possibilities of this industry.
In that connection he stressed the necessity for a road from
New Westminster that should reach the inlet near the First
Narrows.    He had already pointed to the timber wealth and 4 F. W. Howay. January
directed the attention of the lumbermen of Canada and New
Brunswick to the great opportunity it offered and the fine harbour
on which it was situated. Burrard Inlet at that time was indeed
a veritable lumberman's paradise. It had one of the finest
stands of easily accessible timber in the colony; from the First
Narrows to Port Moody on both sides the land was covered with
the finest fir and cedar.
The first step to utilize the latent timber wealth of the inlet
was taken in the winter of 1862. T. W. Graham & Company,
contractors and builders, of New Westminster, had secured preemptions on 480 acres of timber on the north shore of the inlet
at the spot later, and for many years, known as Moodyville, now
a part of the City of North Vancouver. They began the construction there of a sawmill which was completed and in operation by the end of June, 1863. This mill, known as " The
Pioneer Mills "—the first industrial plant of any kind on the
inlet—was operated by water-power. It had two centre-discharge
water-wheels, driven by a water-head of estimated 50-horse
power, two circular saws, a 22-inch planing-machine, and other
auxiliary equipment. Its capacity was 40,000 feet in twenty-
four hours. The logs were cut on the pre-emptions adjoining
and hauled by oxen to the mill. The proprietors did not seek
foreign trade, but found their market in New Westminster,
Nanaimo, and Victoria; the superior quality of the Burrard
Inlet timber would, they thought, enable them to overcome the
handicap of distance and compete with the local mills. The first
cargo was shipped to New Westminster on Captain William
Moore's steamer the Flying Dutchman in August, 1863. It consisted of 25,000 feet of 3-inch plank for the levee along the waterfront of that city.
To advertise the mill, Mr. P. Hicks, its agent in New Westminster, organized an excursion on the Flying Dutchman on the
occasion of her visit to the mill to obtain that shipment. This
was the first pleasure party to Burrard Inlet. Some of the excursionists instead of returning to New Westminster by water were
taken up to Port Moody and returned overland by way of the
North Road. Later in August a second excursion party arranged
by the genial Colonel J. T. Scott, and consisting of 150 persons
on the steamer Governor Douglas, visited the inlet.    The attrac- 1937     Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet : 1863-1870. 5
tion was not only the novelty of a water-power sawmill, but also
the hope of seeing H.M.S. Sutlej, Admiral Kingcombe, which was
said to be there for the purpose of examining and reporting upon
the suitability of Burrard Inlet as a naval base and station.
Despite the excellence of its product, the competition of the
mills in New Westminster, the isolated situation, and the difficulties, delays, and expense of transport were too much and too
many for the little Pioneer Mills. Graham & Co. determined to
abandon the venture. In December, 1863, they advertised for
sale at public auction the whole undertaking with about 1,000,000
feet of logs lying in the woods of North Vancouver. On the
16th of that month John Oscar Smith, who had been a grocer in
New Westminster and later an employee on Captain William
Irving's steamer Reliance, became the owner of the Pioneer Mills.
Strangely enough, Sewell P. Moody, affectionately known to all
pioneers as " Sue Moody " and whose name is prominently associated with the establishment of lumbering on the inlet, was the
only other bidder at the auction. After $6,000 had been offered,
Moody and Smith raised the price by $100 bids until it reached
$8,000, at which figure it was knocked down to Smith. But
Moody bided his time, perhaps believing that experience in the
grocery business and on steamers on Fraser River was scarcely
an apprenticeship to sawmilling.
The new owner changed the name to " The Burrard Inlet
Mills." He went to work with a will. Victoria, then in the
separate colony of Vancouver Island, was his principal market.
All through the summer of 1864 he was steadily manufacturing
and shipping lumber to Victoria, Nanaimo, and other local points.
In November Smith made his first (and last) venture into the
foreign export trade: the earliest export of lumber from Burrard
Inlet to foreign ports. This was shipped on the barque Ellen
Lewis, Captain Hellon. As the inlet was not then a port of
entry the vessel actually entered and cleared at New Westminster. She took a cargo of 277,500 feet of lumber and 16,000
pickets, and sailed for Adelaide, Australia, on November 9,
1864. J. A. R. Homer's mill in New Westminster furnished a
portion of the shipment. Naturally this pioneer ship in the
export trade of the inlet was a long time in loading. The little
mill did not have facilities for quick dispatch.   The result was 6 F. W. Howay. January
that the Ellen Lewis was in Burrard Inlet from September 16
till November 9—nearly two months.
Smith did not make a success of his attempt to operate the
sawmill. In December, 1864, after an effort lasting twelve
months, the mortgagee took proceedings and offered the water-
power mill and the 480 acres of timber for sale. It was purchased by S. P. Moody & Co., of New Westminster. Burrard
Inlet now came into its own and the mill under Moody's management rose steadily in importance. But as John Oscar Smith
passes off the scene we must place to his credit the honour of
being the first man to dispatch a cargo of lumber from Burrard
Inlet to foreign parts.
Moody altered and improved the mill, which was still operated
by water-power, and in February, 1865, had the wheels turning
once more. He renamed it " The Burrard Inlet Lumber Mills."
He established an agency in New Westminster, as his predecessors had done, to compete for the local trade; but, knowing the
excellent quality of the Burrard Inlet timber, he resolved to
capture a share of world markets. His first export cargo of
lumber was shipped by the barque Glimpse to Sydney, Australia,
in May, 1865. This barque had been wrecked at Clover Point in
March, 1860, but had been sold and repaired. It took Moody
about six weeks to load her. As yet there was no port of entry
on the inlet and the British Columbian records that Mr. Moody
and the barque's captain, Seth Hall, walked over to New Westminster by the Hastings or Douglas Road, which had just been
completed. His second vessel was the ship Envoy, which arrived
in May, 1865, and loaded 300,000 feet of lumber for Adelaide,
Australia. Moody was not, however, overlooking the local trade.
In June, 1865, he sent to New Westminster a number of " sticks "
70 feet long and 20 inches square, without a knot in them. These
were to be used in the erection of the bell-tower of Holy Trinity
Church, to support the chime of bells donated by the Baroness
Burdett-Coutts. His third export cargo was sent to Mexico in
the ship Metropolis, Captain Howard, which reached his mill on
June 29. She got quicker dispatch than her predecessors-, being
loaded and ready to sail on 29th July. In the meantime the
importance and possibilities of the inlet had been recognized in
the appointment of a deputy collector of customs to enable vessels 1937     Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet : 1863-1870. 7
to enter and clear more easily. The Metropolis had brought
freight for New Westminster—the beginning of return cargoes
for Burrard Inlet. Moody's fourth vessel was the British barque
Kent, which had brought from Glasgow, Scotland, the machinery
for the British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber,
and Sawmill Company's mill—commonly called Stamp's mill.
The Kent arrived in Burrard Inlet on December 20, 1865; and
after discharging the machinery at Stamp's mill, which was then
a-building, was towed across to Moody's mill, where she loaded
lumber for Mexico.
Early in January, 1866, the Hudson's Bay Company's barque
Princess Royal, so prominent in the story of Vancouver Island,
came to Burrard Inlet with cargo. After transferring her lading
to the steamer Enterprise she returned to Victoria. In April she
cleared from Victoria laden with spars, but they appear to have
been obtained at Port Madison, in the Territory of Washington.
During 1866 Moody's export business expanded. The quality
of Burrard Inlet lumber was becoming known, though slowly.
In August the American ship John Jay and the British barque
Jeddo arrived, both to load lumber for Australia. The captain of
the Jeddo was loud in his praise of the lumber, which he declared
was the best on the coast. The Burrard Inlet spars, he said,
were immensely superior to those he had purchased in England,
not only in dimensions but also in quality. And as for Burrard
Inlet itself: " This is without exception," said he, " one of the
finest harbours I ever saw." Moody's water-power mill had so
improved that both vessels were loaded in less than a month.
The ship Mackay and the barque Brazilla followed in October.
The latter loaded 400,000 feet of lumber for Callao, Peru. Her
captain, S. MacLean, informed Moody that the shipping men of
San Francisco claimed that the navigation to Burrard Inlet was
dangerous; he urged that an energetic effort be made to overcome this mistaken opinion. The fifth and last ship for 1866 was
the Evelyn Wood, which sailed on 28th December with a cargo of
lumber for Shanghai, China.
In 1867 Moody's mill showed a small improvement in export
trade. The record for his first year—1865—was four vessels;
for 1866, five vessels; for 1867, seven vessels. Some details
follow. 8 F. W. Howay. January
In February the Hawaiian barque Lono took a cargo of
lumber for Honolulu. This vessel was in the regular trade
between " the islands " and the North-west Coast. The British
ship Parisian, Captain Ross, which had reached Victoria, April
18, with passengers and freight from New Zealand, came to
Moody's about a week later to load a return cargo of lumber for
Otago. The third vessel for 1867 was the Hudson's Bay Company's barque Princess Royal, which arrived early in June to load
400,000 feet of lumber for Valparaiso, Chili. Cargo was supplied to her at the rate of 30,000 feet a day, and by 29th June she
was ready for sea, laden with lumber " superior to any yet
exported," said the British Columbian. To overcome the feeling in San Francisco that the navigation to Burrard Inlet was
dangerous, Moody in June visited that city. His mission was
successful; on the 22nd of that month he telegraphed therefrom
ordering 1,400,000 feet to be cut immediately for two ships he
had chartered, and which would shortly arrive. It was not, however, until 22nd August that the British ship Anna Dorothea
arrived in ballast from China, to load 600,000 feet for Melbourne,
Australia; on 21st September the other chartered vessel, the
French brig Josephine Marie, Captain Bertin, was towed in to
load, presumably about 800,000 feet, one-half of which was to be
tongued-and-grooved flooring, for Iquique, Chili. Her lading was
completed and she was towed to sea on 24th October. On 30th
October another French ship, the Nantaise et Creole, arrived in
ballast from San Francisco for a cargo of lumber for Iquique.
She was completely loaded and towed out on 27th November, less
than a month after her arrival. Plainly the water-power mill
was improving its facilities for cutting and loading cargoes.
Moody's seventh and last vessel in 1867 was the Marmeluke,
which tied up at the mill on 30th November to load lumber for
Captain Stamp and Stamp's Mill.
As Stamp's mill only began to operate in 1867 the story of his
activities on Burrard Inlet will now be told. Though commonly
called " Stamp's mill," it was owned by the British Columbia and
Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber, and Sawmill Company, of which
Captain Stamp was manager. In deference to usage it will be
referred to as Stamp's mill.   It was the first sawmill on the 1937     Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet: 1863-1870. 9
southern shore of Burrard Inlet, and occupied the site now known
as the Hastings mill.
Captain Edward Stamp had been in the commission and importing business in Victoria from 1858; in 1859 he began to export
spars, principally from Puget Sound; in 1860 he built for Scottish
owners a large sawmill at Alberni; owing to disputes he, in 1862,
retired from its management. But two years later his interest
in the timber of British Columbia revived, and in June, 1864, he
sent a party of men to Port Neville to cut spars. It was rumoured
that he would build a mill at that northern spot. However,
by April, 1865, he had incorporated the B.C. and V.I. Spar,
Lumber, and Sawmill Company, in England, with a capital of
£100,000. The Port Neville scheme was abandoned, and it was
announced that Stamp's company would locate on Burrard Inlet.
The site selected for the mill was a prominent point on its southern
shore. In July, 1865, Stamp commenced the construction of the
mill buildings and of a steamer to be used in the business. Moody
had managed to get along without a steamer; his ships either
came in under sail or were towed by one of the Victoria tug-boats.
The machinery for the mill and the steamer was ordered in
Glasgow, Scotland. One of those curious errors so frequently
found in our history identifies the machinery in Stamp's mill on
Burrard Inlet with that of the mill at Alberni, alleging that it
was merely transferred from the one mill to the other. Perhaps
this error originated in the fact that Stamp began to build on
Burrard Inlet in 1865, the very year in which the Alberni mill
was closed.
Pending the commencement of lumber manufacture, Stamp
chartered vessels to carry cargoes of spars from the inlet. His
first spar ship was the Aquila, a British bottom of 1,400 tons,
Captain Sayward, which dropped anchor at his mill, August 17,
1865. The spars, 251 in all, were cut by Jeremiah Rogers at
" Jericho " on English Bay, near Kitsilano; of them the British
Columbian said: " This may be considered the first shipment of
spars from here, but from what we have heard respecting the
quality of those taken out, it is not likely to be the last." The
remainder of the Aquila's cargo was an assortment of British
Columbian products; it consisted of 138,705 feet of fir lumber
supplied by Moody's mill on the opposite side of the inlet, 435 10 F. W. Howay. January
hides, 57 bales of wool, 12 boxes of coal—surely " carrying coals
to Newcastle "—one barrel of salt salmon, and three barrels of
cranberries. With this miscellaneous cargo the Aquila cleared
for Cork, Ireland, on November 4, 1865. Stamp's second spar
ship, the Egeria, Captain Evans, was towed in on 17th October.
She took 257 spars, valued at $59,000, and 100,000 feet of
lumber supplied by Moody's mill, and sailed for Glasgow late in
January, 1866.
In the meantime the mill buildings were being pressed to completion, and the British barque Kent had arrived from Glasgow
with the machinery. Unfortunately one box had been left
behind; some of the missing parts arrived in November, 1866,
and the remainder in April, 1867; the result was that Stamp's
mill did not begin to cut lumber until the following June. These
blunders resulted in a lawsuit in which Stamp's company succeeded in obtaining damages for the loss they had sustained. The
machinery for his steamer, the Isabel, was brought out from
Scotland in May, 1866. This steamer, the first owned by any
sawmill on the mainland, was built in Victoria at a cost of $50,000,
and launched on July 25, 1866. She was a side-wheel vessel, 146
feet long, 24 feet beam, and 9 feet hold; commanded successively,
while owned by Stamp's mill company, by Captains Chambers,
Pamphlet, and Devereux. It may be added that, after the failure
of Stamp's company, she was for many years a passenger-steamer
and tow-boat in our waters and on Puget Sound; in 1894 she was
dismantled and used as a barge.
During 1866, so far as available records show, Stamp loaded
no spar ships. But on May 14, 1867, the British ship Astarte,
1,574 tons, Captain Dodd, consigned to the British Columbia and
Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber, and Sawmill Company—Stamp's
company—reached New Westminster, 164 days from Aden. The
Isabel towed her around to the inlet, where Stamp loaded her with
a cargo of spars for the French Government. Every one claims
that these spars were probably the best ever shipped from any
part of the world. Captain Dodd, speaking at a public banquet
in New Westminster, eulogized them and complimented Jeremiah
Rogers, the cutter, and Stamp, the shipper, upon their fine quality.
It may here be interjected, parenthetically, that Rogers, who was
a New Brunswicker, had been logging for Captain Stamp at 1937     Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet : 1863-1870.        11
Alberni for some years. The Astarte appears to be the largest
trading-vessel which up to that time had passed through the First
Narrows. She was loaded and ready for sea by 30th July.
Following her came in June, 1867, the ship Eunice Nicholas, of
1,100 tons, to load a cargo of spars for England—Stamp's fourth
spar ship.
By this time Stamp had at long last completed his (or, rather,
his company's) mill and was offering cargoes of spars and sawn
lumber. Thus, in June, 1867, two mills were in operation on
Burrard Inlet: Moody's water-power mill on the north shore
and Stamp's steam-sawmill on the south shore. Jeremiah Rogers'
camp at " Jericho " was producing " some magnificent logs " for
Stamp's mill; and a number of smaller camps were getting out
logs on the inlet.
In June, 1867, arrived Stamp's first lumber ship, the Siam.
She was to take 600,000 or 700,000 feet for Australia. Stamp
began cutting her cargo on 18th June, and on 25th July the Isabel
towed her out to sea, fully loaded. For a pioneer cargo of that
size this appears quick dispatch. Then came the British ship
Australind, which the Isabel towed in to the mill about 20th
August to load lumber. On 11th September arrived the American barque General Cobb, Captain A. F. Spear, from San Francisco—Stamp's third lumber vessel; and on the 14th the large
ship Nation's Hope, Captain Blix, from San Francisco, was towed
in by the Isabel, to load for Java a cargo of spars consigned to
the Dutch Government. The spars were all ready, having been
cut and hewn by Jeremiah Rogers in the preceding year. Her
arrival made a record of four deep-water vessels in Burrard Inlet
at the same time: Australind, General Cobb, and Nation's Hope
at Stamp's mill, and Anna Dorothea at Moody's. It took Stamp
over a month to load the Nation's Hope with 932 spars, valued at
$150,000. She cleared for Batavia on 25th October, and on the
following day the Isabel towed her to sea. The ship Day Dawn
was Stamp's next lumber-export vessel. She arrived from San
Francisco on 16th September. Burrard Inlet had become such a
lively port that on 23rd October Governor Seymour roused himself sufficiently from his lethargy to pay a visit on the Government
yacht, the Leviathan, accompanied by the Hon. Mr. Trutch,
Charles  Good,  Clerk of the Legislative  Council,  and D.  C. 12 F. W. Howay. January
Maunsell, the Governor's private secretary. Stamp's last ship
for 1867 was the Trebolgan, 1,200 tons, in ballast from China, to
load lumber, spars, and shingles for the Chinese market. Her
advent was hailed as a direct result of the fine lumber cargo that
Moody's mill had shipped on the Evelyn Wood to Shanghai in
December, 1866. It gave basis for the conviction that the darkest
days were over, that Burrard Inlet lumber had won its place in
the markets of the world, and that a great demand for it must
soon arise.
Moody's and Stamp's Lumber Exports in 1868.
The incomplete returns culled from the newspapers of 1868
show eighteen vessels loading at Moody's mill. Early in January
the British barque Mercara, 300 tons, an iron vessel—believed to
be the first iron ship to enter Burrard Inlet—arrived from
England to load lumber for Valparaiso. Then followed, in
quick succession, the Hawaiian barque Rosalia, Captain Juan
Endeiza, which loaded 150,000 feet for China, but never reached
the Orient, as she was totally wrecked on Discovery Island; the
American brig Orient, Captain Lennan, taking a cargo for San
Francisco, which, despite high tariff, was one of the principal
markets; the American ship Simoda, Captain S. F. Crowell,
loading for China. The Rosalia was the first loss in the lumber
ships from the inlet. She was in tow of the Isabel and all went
well until near San Juan Island. There a gale was blowing and
the Rosalia's hawser parted or was cut. At any rate, she drifted
astern, ultimately stranded on Discovery Island, and was soon a
total loss. Her wreck was sold for $430. In March the inlet
made another record in deep-sea shipping: three vessels at
Moody's and four at Stamp's. In April the American barque
Zephyr, Captain Trask, loaded a cargo for San Francisco, but
went ashore at Point Roberts on her way to sea; she apparently
was successfully floated. May, too, was a busy month at
Moody's: the American ship Samoset, Captain Greenlief, loading
for San Francisco; the British barque Eastham—the second iron
vessel—Captain Wiseman, for Callao; and Swedish brig Sidon,
Captain Albert Morik, for Foo Choo, China. These three vessels
took in all 1,200,000 feet of lumber. In that month another
record was established: ten ships loaded on the inlet.   The 1937     Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet: 1863-1870.        13
American barque Nestor, Captain Bearse, and the British barque
Chelsea, Captain William J. Looe, arrived in June; the former to
load for San Francisco and the latter for Australia. The Chelsea
is described as a " very fine ship of 1,000 tons "; she took 650,000
feet of lumber. Her captain had nice things to say of Burrard
Inlet. The ship's expenses did not amount to one-third of what
they were at Puget Sound in the preceding year, " and, further,
the crews here (at Moody's mill) are free from the temptations
of the grog-shop and no idlers are allowed about the place." In
September the Hudson's Bay Company's barque Princess Royal
returned on her third visit to the inlet, and in two days was completely loaded with lumber for Valparaiso. The next month saw
two ships at Moody's: the Industry and the Spirit of the Age,
both loading lumber for South America. The latter ship was
delayed in sailing owing to fog, and even after she was out of the
Narrows she grounded off San Juan Island, but was got off without damage. In November the ships Guayaquil and Topgallant
were loading; both were bound for Callao. The last vessels of
the year were the Leonide and the Knowsley, both for Callao—
the latter taking 430,000 feet. It will be observed that South
America was becoming an important and increasing market for
Burrard Inlet lumber. This list does not include the cargoes of
coasting vessels to Victoria, Nanaimo, and New Westminster.
It is manifestly not complete, for the British Columbian states
that between January, 1867, and June 17,1868, Moody had loaded
thirty-three vessels of an aggregate tonnage of 8,169 tons, with
cargoes amounting to 5,832,000 feet and 800,000 shingles—the
latter, of course, hand-made. The list that has been given above,
which includes all that are named in the newspapers, shows only
seventeen in the same period.
Under the pressure of this expanding business, Moody, in
June, 1868, began the construction of a second mill—a large
steam-mill—about 300 yards west of the water-power mill. The
new building was 200 feet long, with saws, planing-machine, lath-
splitting machine, and a lathe capable of turning shafts and cylinders of ample dimensions for mill and steamboat trade. It was
completed in September, and Moody claimed to be able to produce
100,000 feet of lumber a day. The wharves of the two mills were
connected, giving ample dockage for a dozen ships.    With this 14 F. W. How AY. January
expansion Moodyville became a considerable village. Its sunny
southern-sloping hillside was covered with neat, though small,
dwellings;  on the water-front, a few shops.
Turning now to the operations of Stamp's mill in 1868 the
same improvement is found. In 1867 he had loaded eight vessels
with spars and sawn lumber, but in 1868 the number increased to
fifteen at least, even according to the incomplete notices in the
newspapers. His ladings, as so given, were as follows: The
first was the schooner Superior, so named from having been built
on that lake. She took 200,000 feet of lumber for Callao. Next
came the British ship Dorchester and the American brig Levi
Stevens to load for Australia. The Levi Stevens is described as
" a really beautiful brig " and said to be " the handsomest vessel
that ever entered our harbour." In March, 1868, arrived the
American brig Commodore, Captain Robertson, to load for Australia ; the British barque Marmora for China; and the British
brig Robert Cowan for the Hawaiian Islands. The American
barque Oakland, Captain Batchelder, loaded in May, for an
unusual destination—Tongas Island, in Southern Alaska. Perhaps the lumber was for the first United States military post in
that recently acquired territory. In May also came two American barques, the Gem of the Ocean, Captain Mitchell, to load
450,000 feet for Valparaiso, and the Vidette, Captain Frank W.
Gatter, to load 650,000 feet. While the Vidette was being towed
out about 11th July she ran aground near the First Narrows;
after 50,000 feet had been lightered she floated and was towed
off. The beautiful British barque Monita, Captain W. H. Turpin,
was at Stamp's mill in May loading lumber, when she caught fire.
By good fortune just at that time the Isabel was approaching
with the French ship Deux Freres, Captain l'Otelier, in tow, to
load lumber. The Isabel at once put lines on the burning barque
and took her to the beach eastward of the mill, where she was
scuttled. The remainder of the story of the Monita's experiences
is an interesting page in the history of Burrard Inlet, but this is
not the place to tell it. In May, too, the wharf at Stamp's mill
broke down with the loss of 300,000 feet of lumber that was carried away by the tide. Stamp's next vessel was the ship Nazarene,
which arrived from China to load lumber, but her destination is
not given.    In December, 1868, four vessels were loading lumber 1937     Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet: 1863-1870.        15
at Stamp's mill: the barque Prince Victor, Captain Jones, for
Peru; the schooner Mary Belle, Captain Roberts, 320,000 feet,
for San Francisco; the schooner Frederick Townsend, loading
250,000 feet for San Francisco; and the barque Maria J. Smith,
taking 450,000 feet for Sydney, Australia. The latter vessel
never reached her intended destination. She was towed to sea
in February, 1869, and some time later was wrecked near Barkley
Sound. In the following November the ship and cargo were sold
at auction in Victoria for $1,500. Then the Maria J. Smith
seems to have taken it into her mind to resume her wanderings.
Drifting away from Barkley Sound she became a derelict, even
a " lost derelict," but in March, 1870, she turned up at Bella Bella
and Mr. Morris Moss, finding her, made her fast to the shore.
The last news of the ill-fated barque came a week later—the sea
was pounding her to pieces against the rocky side of Milbanke
Between January 1, 1867, and June 17, 1868, Stamp's mill,
according to the British Columbian, had loaded fourteen vessels,
representing 6,675 tons, with 4,101,000 feet of lumber, 100,000
shingles, and 2,000 spars. The probability, however, is that the
newspaper list is incomplete. Further research might enable
the presentation of the full-size picture, but my purpose is merely
to give some impression of the manufacturing and commercial
life on Burrard Inlet two decades before William Evans brought
the first transcontinental train to Coal Harbour. By 1868
Burrard Inlet was a very busy place. Moody's two mills and
Stamp's mill were running steadily. On both sides of the harbour were to be seen many evidences of improvement. There
were three incipient towns: Moodyville, Brighton, later Hastings
(at the " end of the road " from New Westminster), and Stamp's
mill, later colloquially called " Gastown." The two latter are
now a part of the City of Vancouver. In addition, there were six
logging camps taking out spars and logs, and some smaller establishments specializing in ship's knees and hand-made shingles.
These camps, with Stamp's mill and Moody's mills, furnished
employment for some 300 men. Amongst the loggers of the
sixties the name of Jeremiah (" Jerry") Rogers occupies the
foremost position. 16 F. W. Howay. January
Let us continue the story through the year 1869. The trade
on Burrard Inlet has now become so great that it seems wise to
place its details in tabular form, showing vessels, cargoes, ports
of destination, and other available information, and to make
special mention only of those vessels that for some reason call for
individual attention.    (See Tables 1 and 2.)
In 1869, according to the items in the newspapers, Moody
loaded about twenty-four ships; and Stamp's mill about twenty-
one. On 2nd January, 1869, Captain Stamp retired from the
management of the so-called Stamp's mill. He was then succeeded by Captain James A. Raymur. The mill continued to be
known as " Stamp's mill." Then followed a series of lawsuits
between Captain Stamp and the British Columbia and Vancouver
Island Spar, Lumber, and Sawmill Company, which in August,
1869, were settled by a judgment for $14,000.
But in the interval the British Columbia and Vancouver Island
Spar, Lumber, and Sawmill Company had gone into liquidation in
England. The mill, with its land claims and all its equipment
and property, including the steamer Isabel, was offered for sale
at auction, and finally, after many delays and adjournments, sold
February 23, 1870, to J. C. Nicholson, representing Dickson,
DeWolf and Co., of San Francisco, for $20,000—the merest fraction of its value. The newspaper notices refer to it in the early
part of 1869 as " Stamp's mill," but later they use the name
" B. C. and V. I. mill." In August, 1870, the name of the British
Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber, and Sawmill Company was changed to that of the Hastings Saw Mill Company,
and about the same time came the end of the litigation between
Stamp and the company when he obtained a judgment for $150
damages for use of the Lot No. 181 for water transit. As early
as October 20, 1869, the " end of the road " was being called
Hastings and the hotel there " Hasting's hotel."
Of the twenty-four vessels loaded by Moody's mills in 1869,
the British barque Vigil, Captain Prince Gilpin, took 361,133
feet to Callao. She sailed in April and reached her destination in
July. Her port charges on Burrard Inlet were about $44 and
pilotage dues $7 a foot, showing that she was piloted from Royal
Roads and drew more than 10 feet. She was the third iron vessel
to enter the inlet.   The Byzantium, which loaded in June for 1937     Early Shipping in Burrard Inlet: 1863-1870.
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Hawaii, had been on the coast for a couple of years and was in
the regular trade between the coast and the Hawaiian Islands.
The American barque Delaware, which loaded in July for San
Francisco, had also been in the northern trade for some years.
On December 31, 1868, returning from Sitka, she ran ashore on
Fisgard Island. In March, 1869, the wreck was bought for a few
dollars by Moody and Co., who decided to repair her at Esquimalt.
The repairs were completed in June and from that time she was
in the regular lumber trade to San Francisco. The British ship
Golden Age took a cargo of spars for London from Moody's in
April. This appears to have been Moody's first spar ship. The
difficulties of Stamp's mill show in connection with the barque
Mary Ellen, or Maud Ellen. This vessel was under contract to
load at that mill, but when she arrived—November 21—it was
still closed down, owing to the financial troubles; in consequence
her cargo was supplied by Moody's mill. Quite a number of the
ships sailed into and out of the First Narrows; for example,
barque Ava, October 6; barque Gem of the Ocean, October 23;
barquentine Adele, November 11; barque Mary Ellen, November 21.
The Ruby was towed from Moody's after long delay in securing a crew, but went ashore and after some of her cargo was
removed, floated and reached Esquimalt for examination and
repairs. The American ship Martha Rideout, which sailed from
Stamp's mill in October, carried " one of the finest cargoes of
lumber ever sent from these waters, some of the ' sticks' being
101 feet long 24" x 24"."
Governor Musgrave, who had only reached Victoria on 23rd
August, 1869, visited New Westminster on 8th September and
the following day, accompanied by his suite, drove to Hastings;
thence on the Government yacht Leviathan they went to the
British Columbia and Vancouver Island mills. Captain Raymur,
the manager, showed them over the plant. After a visit to
" Gastown " the party re-embarked on the Leviathan for English
Bay, where Mr. Jeremiah Rogers took them through his logging
camp and its workings. Thence the party proceeded to Moody's,
mills and, after examining the undertaking, returned to Hastings
and on to New Westminster. The operations of both Stamp's
(or Hastings) and Moody's mills were much hampered in the 20 F. W. Howay. January
latter part of the year owing to an accident to the steamer Isabel.
In October this fine steamer, during a dense fog, ran ashore about
500 yards south of Nine-pin Rock (the early name of what is now
called Siwash Rock). She lay head on to the beach, in a dangerous position, resting upon a rock amidships. She was, however,
got off without serious damage, and in a month or so was as
active as ever in the work on the inlet.
From an analysis of the destination of these cargoes it would
appear that Australia, San Francisco, and South America were
the largest customers—taking in themselves fully 80 per cent, of
the number of vessels and presumably about the same percentage
of export lumber. Mexico, China, England, and the Hawaiian
Islands are represented, but only in a small way. Unfortunately,
in some instances the destination is not shown nor can it now be
ascertained; and still mere unfortunately no records are presently
■available to indicate the quantities or values of the lumber
exported. Indeed, the record of the vessels is most meagre,
depending almost entirely upon the newspapers. Nevertheless,
making every allowance for such deficiencies, the incomplete
record of Burrard Inlet from 1864 to 1870 is really remarkable:
1864, 1 vessel; 1865, 6; 1866, 5; 1867, 15;  1868, 33; 1869, 45.
The fight for recognition of Burrard Inlet lumber had been
made and won—Graham and Smith and Stamp had played their
parts and passed off the stage, leaving to Moody's and the Hastings mill the proud duty of carrying the trade of Burrard Inlet
to still greater heights. This in outline is the story of pioneer
export lumbering days on Vancouver Harbour.
F. W. Howay.
Gilbert Malcolm Sproat was born at Brighouse Farm, on the
Solway Firth, in the County of Kircudbright, in Southern Scotland, on April 19,1834. His father, Alexander S. Sproat, was a
farmer with a large family and but little money. His education
was obtained at the Borgue Grammar School and at Haddon Hall
in Dumfries. In 1855 he was an occasional student in commercial law at King's College, London. The records of the Colonial
Office show that he was trained for the Indian Civil Service,
which is indicative of his excellent mental equipment, the quality
of which was exhibited in many and diverse public services during
a long and useful career.
He was diverted from going to India by an opportunity to
come to Vancouver Island in 1860 in the employ of Anderson
and Company. This London firm of ship-owners and ship-
brokers took the advice of Captain Edward Stamp, their agent at
Victoria, to establish a sawmill on Vancouver Island. The intention was to export ship-spars and other forms of timber, which
at that time promised to be a profitable trade, because the blockade
of the Southern American States during the Civil War had put
a stop to the shipment of pitch-pine timber from that part of the
United States. The company in England sent Sproat with the
men and equipment necessary for the enterprise. These arrived
at Victoria in April of 1860 on board two armed vessels, the
Woodpecker and Meg Merrilies.
In a letter from the Duke of Newcastle introducing Sproat
to Governor Douglas, he is described as of the firm of James
Thomson & Co., of 6 Billiter Square. This letter of introduction
was obtained for him at the instance of S. Laing, a relative. In
the course of time, with successive changes in the membership of
the firm, Thomson & Co. became Anderson, Thomson & Co., and
later Anderson, Anderson & Co.
Stamp had already selected a site for the sawmill at Alberni,
which is at the head of the Alberni Canal where the Somass
River delivers the overflow of Sproat Lake. This lake was named
after the subject of this sketch by the explorer Dr. Robert Brown
in 1864. His association with the region is further commemorated by the Sproat River, which links Sproat Lake and the 22 T. A. Rickard. January
Somass River, and by Sproat Bay, on the coast of Tzartus Island,
in Barkley Sound.
Soon after Sproat's arrival, he and Captain Stamp obtained
grants of land on the Alberni Canal and Barkley Sound from the
Colonial Government, through the Governor, James Douglas.
Their purpose was not only to erect a sawmill, but also to establish a fishing settlement at Alberni. The sawmill started to work
in August of 1861, at which time also the first shipment of cured
fish was made to Callao, in Peru. The shipments of lumber
reached the amount of 1,000,000 board-feet in the year 1863.
Unfortunately, as the start of the enterprise was favoured by
the American Civil War, so also it was brought to an end when
that war ceased in 1865.
When Stamp resigned in 1862, Sproat succeeded him as
local manager for Anderson and Company. The same year, on
December 23rd, he married Catherine Anne Wigham.1 In addition to managing the affairs of the company at Alberni, Sproat
established an importing, commission, and insurance business in
Victoria. His employees in early days included R. P. Rithet, who
later acquired the business, and from it sprang the well-known
corporation that still bears Rithet's name. Sproat took a lively
interest in community affairs, and the Victoria Colonist recalled
in later years his " connection between 1860 and 1866 with various
public matters, such as the enrolment and organization of the
first regiment of volunteers formed in this country; the vindication, in connection therewith, of the social rights of our colored
citizens; the winter evening lectures, in which . . . the Mechanics'
Institute had its origin, and with other similar matters."
Soon after Sproat arrived in the colony, Governor Douglas
offered him a seat in the Legislative Council, but he declined the
appointment, on the ground that he had resolved to keep aloof
from local politics. He did consent, however, to succeed Stamp
in 1863 as Justice of the Peace and Magistrate, and in what in
practice amounted to an unofficial Government Agency for the
(1) Three children were born of this marriage—one daughter, Agnes
Mary, and two sons, Alexander and Gilbert Hector. Hector served as an
engineer on the B.C. coast and Arrow Lake steamers, and was superintendent engineer of the White Pass & Yukon Co. at the time of his sudden
death in 1906.    Alexander resides at Kleecoot, Sproat Lake. 1937 Gilbert Malcolm Sproat. 23
west coast district. Moreover, his resolve to keep clear of politics
was due chiefly to a conviction that much more could be accomplished by working behind the scenes. In Crown Colony days,
ultimate decisions rested with the Colonial Office; that meant, in
England. " The Colonial Office," in Sproat's own words, " did
not care two straws for any popular movements here: the battle
was in London." When he returned to England, in 1865, Sproat
therefore set about organizing a " London Committee for watching the affairs of British Columbia," the composition and activities of which deserve some attention. The members included
Donald Fraser, who had been Pacific Coast correspondent of the
London Times for some years, and A. T. Dallas. " Mr. Fraser,"
Sproat recalled long after, " linked us with the press; Mr. Dallas
was a power in the Hudson's Bay Company, which, in view of its
Rupert Land and North West claims, (blocking Canada's extension) the heads of the Colonial Office—even at that early date—
wished to be well with." The committee could also count upon
the support of the Navy, and in particular of Captain G. H.
Richards," one of the best friends the Pacific Seaboard ever had."
Sproat and his associates made a vigorous effort to modify the
terms upon which it was proposed to unite the two colonies of
Vancouver Island and British Columbia, but plans were too far
advanced to make modification possible. Many years after,
Sproat was still of the opinion that if the committee had been
organized earlier it could have won its point, in which case the
mainland would have been " joined politically to the Island with
its comparatively free institutions, instead of the unwise reverse
course that was followed."
The London Committee survived this defeat, and took part in
the successful campaign to secure the transfer of the capital of
the united colonies, which at first was at New Westminster, to
Victoria. In passing, it may be noted that Sproat was keenly
interested in a second controversy which grew out of the union
of the colonies—the question as to whether Victoria had or had
not lost the status of a " free port," which it had enjoyed since
1846. As late as 1908 Sproat considered it " an interesting question whether this Victoria free port [which included Esquimalt]
has ever been abrogated by lawful authority." He contended
that no specific action had been taken to annul it.    " Had the 24 T. A. RlCKARD. January
free port, according to the conception of the Home government,
been conserved," in Sproat's opinion, " it would have been the
means of creating a large city—a commercial and money centre,
radiating energy throughout the whole colony, and subsequent
province—a city, probably, only second to San Francisco on the
Pacific seaboard."
Sproat's committee evidently devoted its attention to wider
issues, for he himself described it as " a fighting organization,
and—true it is, though strange—a nucleus of general colonial
opinion, in London, for half a dozen years. ..." It took a lively
interest in the San Juan boundary dispute, and Sproat wrote a
number of letters to the London Times on the question in 1870-71.
When so doing he was assisted by Captain Richards, Hydro-
grapher of the Navy, who had surveyed a large part of the
area in dispute, yet had never been consulted by the British
In 1871 British Columbia joined the Dominion, and Sproat
paid a visit to the new province. Shortly after his return to
London he became British Columbia's first Agent-General—a
post that it is clear was of his own creation, and that he declares
was, at the start, at any rate, only another name for the chairmanship of the London Committee, which he had held since 1865.
The Government only proposed to designate him Emigration
Agent; but Sproat, having a wider conception of his functions,
assumed the title Agent-General on his own responsibility, and
his action in so doing was later endorsed. He proved to be an
energetic and able representative, and engaged frequently in
newspaper correspondence for the purpose of advertising British
Columbia and defending the good fame of the Province. His
services were highly appreciated and elicited praise in the official
reports of delegates sent to England on railway and dock matters.
Though unwilling to confine his activities to emigration, he did
his utmost to attract suitable settlers, and in 1873 published a
useful handbook for emigrants, which remains one of the most
valuable early accounts of the Province.
While resident in London, Sproat was acquiring a reputation in another field, that of anthropology. My own interest in
his career was aroused by finding two papers by him in the 1937 Gilbert Malcolm Sproat. 25
Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London.2 He was
not a Fellow, but it was the custom occasionally to accept papers
from scientific observers that were outside the society. His
contributions described the culture and character of the Indians
on the west coast of Vancouver Island, more particularly the parts
with which Sproat was familiar, near Nootka and Alberni. The
first paper, read before the Society on July 10, 1866,3 described
the Aht tribes; that is to say, a number of tribes whose names
ended in that affix, which means " house." He refers to the fact
that he had spent five years among them " as a magistrate, and
a proprietor of the settlement at Alberni," and that he had
" sufficiently gained the confidence of the Indians to obtain from
them a knowledge of their religious opinions and practices."
The part of Sproat's paper that arrested my attention was
his reference to the extremely primitive culture of these Indians.
Culture I shall define as a reasoned way of living; in this context
it does not mean refinement, but a characteristic mode of existence. Sproat recognized the fact that the Indians used bone and
wood, not stone, and, of course, not metal. They represented
a primordial culture earlier even than the Stone Age.
Signs of deterioration were already observable among the
Indians. The blight of what we call " civilization " was beginning to destroy them. " Twenty years ago," Sproat says, " when
few trading vessels visited the coast, the Ahts probably were
restricted to a diet of fish, wild berries, and roots; but they
now use also for food flour, potatoes, rice, and molasses. This,
change of food, from what I saw of its effect on the tribes with
whom I lived, has proved to be very injurious to their health.
Geese, ducks, and deer are also used as food, but are not so well
liked as fish, and are seldom kept in stock. . . . Water is the
only drink of the natives." This last remark is significant, for
it is notorious that soon afterward the sale of rum to the Indians
not only made them unruly but also undermined their health,
which was further affected by new foods, as Sproat says, and
also by the wearing of unnecessary clothing.
He describes their implements, which were made not of stone
or of metal, but of wood, bone, and shell.    After referring to
(2) The Society was absorbed by the Royal Anthropological Institute of
Great Britain and Ireland in 1871.
(3) Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London, V. (1867), 243. 26 T. A. Richard. January
their canoes, made out of tree-trunks, he says: " The axe used
formerly in felling the largest tree, which they did without the
use of fire, was made of elk horn [wapiti], and was shaped like
a chisel. The natives held it as we use the chisel, and struck the
handle with a stone not unlike a dumb-bell, and weighing about
two pounds." It will be noted that a stone was used as a
hammer; they used other stones, or pebbles, to crack nuts and
grind tubers, but these stones were not artifacts; that is to say,
they were not shaped artificially but used in their natural state
so that they are no evidence of a Stone Age.
Sproat proceeds: " The other instruments used in canoe
making were the gimlet and hand-adze, both of which, indeed,
are now generally used. The hand-adze was a large mussel-
shell strapped firmly to a wooden handle. In working with the.
hand-adze the back of the workman's hand was turned downward,
and the blow struck lightly inwards towards the workman's
body, whose thumb was pressed into a hollow in the handle made
to receive it. The gimlet, made of bird's bone, and having
a wooden handle, was not used like ours; the shaft was placed
between the workman's open hands brought close together, and
moved briskly backwards and forwards, as on hearing good
news." In passing, I may remark that the adze was probably
the earliest hafted tool made by man; a contrary idea might be
inferred from the fact that the navigators of the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries spoke often of savages that used
" hatchets." This was an error; the " hatchet " was an adze.
It was used like a hoe, with a movement toward the operator.
Many of the adzes of the Indians on this coast are known as D
adzes because they have that shape.
Sproat notes further that " the Indians on the Aht coast,
if asked as to the implements they possessed before they learnt
the use of iron always produce old bone instruments and weapons
for every purpose. Their own canoes and other work is sufficient proof of what these bone-workers can do with soft suitable
wood to work upon."
The following year, in 1867, Sproat contributed his second
paper, entitled " On the Probability of a Bone Age,"4 in which
he develops the idea that was incipient the year before.    " Though
(4) Op. cit., VI. (1868), 253. 1937 Gilbert Malcolm Sproat. 27
probably there never was a time in which either bone, or stone,
or iron, was universally and exclusively used, yet, I think, a
' bone age,' in some parts of the world, and perhaps over a great
part of it, must naturally have preceded an age of stone. Savages
can get bones everywhere—bones, too, of diverse sizes and shapes
facilitating their manufacture—but they cannot obtain flint or
obsidian in all places. ... As long as he [the savage] could
get bones, and they answered his purposes, he would not be
likely to use instruments of stone. From a careful observation
of the arts among these savages, I am tolerably certain that no
other materials than bone and shell were required by them for
making their tools and weapons down to the time when iron was
brought amongst them—say, within the last one hundred and
fifty years." That means since the beginning of the eighteenth
" They used bone and shell tools," Sproat continues, " and
bone fishing and hunting instruments, long after they had a
knowledge of iron—as lately indeed as a few years ago—and at
the present time the mussel-shell adze used in canoe-making is
preferred, even by the young men, to one of any other material,
and to the best English and American chisels. So in felling
large cedar trees, and in other heavy work, until I took among
the people the admirable woodman's axe used in America, they
found their bone chisels more useful than any small handled
instrument of stone or iron, as the bone tool had the requisite
toughness, bluntness, and penetrating power for such work, and
indeed generally for working cedar wood for their special purposes." Here he touches upon one of the factors that determined
the use of bone and shell—namely, the soft wood, cedar, that
was available to them.
Sproat was well aware that the Indians had had a few copper
implements when first visited by Cook, in 1778, and was right
in assuming that they possessed them at a still earlier date.
For copper was used long before that, the metal being obtained
by intertribal trade from South-eastern Alaska, where it is found
at the surface of the ground in a free state. They also had a
little iron, which came to them in driftwood, the wreckage of
ships. Sproat was convinced that the ground-stone chisels
possessed by the Ahts were neither made nor used by them. 28 T. A. Rickard. January
" Those found among them by Cook and other travellers," he
says, " were probably obtained by the Ahts in trade, or as
curiosities from the Indians inhabiting the coast of the mainland
further north, who originally or anciently themselves perhaps
a ' bone-using' people, had been forced by the comparative
scarcity of cedar in their district to make stone instruments-
for cutting harder trees."
This paper by Sproat is, in my opinion, a most valuable
contribution to anthropology. Apparently it has been overlooked, and for that reason I have not hesitated to quote freely.
Incidentally, before I read Sproat's papers, my own studies had
already led me to a similar conclusion regarding the use of wood,
bone, and shell before stone.
As a sequel to these two papers, Sproat published his book,
Scenes and Studies of Savage Life, in 1868. A review of it
appeared in The Anthropological Review in October, but the
reviewer failed to note the outstanding feature of the volume—
namely, the description of the use of wood and bone, not stone,
by the Indians. He remarks correctly, however, that " it is
really refreshing to meet with a book sensibly and modestly
written, and dealing with the tact of a close observer, with
facts, to the entire exclusion of grandiose theory." After seventy
years it remains the best available description of Indian life and
character on Vancouver Island.
In 1876, by which time he had returned once more to British
Columbia, Sproat was appointed a member of the Indian Land
Commission, a position for which he was well qualified, both
by knowledge and experience. The Commission, in his own
words, consisted of " a Provincial representative, A. McKinley,
and a Dominion representative, A. C. Anderson, ex-H.B. Co. Chief
Traders, both well acquainted with the country and the Indian
tribes. I was Joint Commissioner representing both governments and the Secretary of State for the Colonies." In the
spring of 1878 Sproat became sole commissioner, and so remained
until his retirement in 1880. The dispossession of the natives
by the invading white men made the delimitation of reserves
essential, and Sproat endeavoured to adjust matters so as to
' cause the least suffering and irritation. The work took him to
most of the inhabited parts of the Province, including Vancouver 1937 Gilbert Malcolm Sproat. 29
Island and the districts of New Westminster, Lytton, Nicola,
Kamloops, and Okanagan. Unfortunately, he could do no more
than inspect and assign lands. Accurate surveys did not follow
in all cases, with the result that trouble recurred at a later date.
In 1883 Sproat paid his first visit to the Kootenay region,
with which he was to be associated for many years. It was
then practically an unknown land, accessible only by pack-train,
and, to use Sproat's own picturesque phrase, had not " reached
the humble level of a bull-team country." He went thither,
accompanied by his friend, A. S. Farwell, as a special agent of
the Government, to report upon the Ainsworth and Baillie-
Grohman land and railway schemes. Two years later he became
Stipendiary Magistrate at Farwell [Revelstoke], in Canadian
Pacific construction days, and in 1886 became Gold Commissioner
and Assistant Commissioner of Lands and Works as well. His
duties took him all over the country, and in time he became
known as " the Judge " and " the Father of the Kootenay." He
was much respected, and I am told that he was kind and affable,
as well as tall and dignified in his bearing. His son, Alexander,
now living at Sproat Lake, remarked to me: " Certainly he
was kind and affable; his wants were few; he gave away a lot
of money to friends who needed it. Only the recipients knew
of it. He was known widely as Judge Sproat; and I think he
must have studied law, because he had many arguments over
questions of law with younger men, and he generally had the
best of it. Many came to him for advice, and he was always
willing to help."
Sproat left the Government service in 1889, but remained in
the Kootenay for the next nine years. He and his friend
Farwell were interested in real estate, and both as a private
individual and as an official he played a part in the early history
of many towns in the district. He is generally regarded as the
founder of Revelstoke, Sandon, New Denver, and Nelson. On
this last point there has been considerable controversy; but it
seems clear that if Sproat did not actually found Nelson, he at
least placed the first reserve upon the townsite, in 1883; conducted the first auction sale of lots, in 1888; and named the
principal streets of the city. As in the Alberni region, Sproat's
association with the Kootenay country is commemorated in several
place-names.    There is a town of Sproat on the Columbia River, 30 T. A. Rickard. January
near Sidmouth; and Mount Sproat towers to a height of over
8,000 feet not far from Arrowhead. Sproat Landing has vanished
from the official gazetteer, but Sproat's own account of its
momentary existence is worth preserving, especially as it illustrates the lively sense of humour characteristic of the man.
"... I have never been able to discover," he wrote in 1897, " what or
where Sproat's Landing was. . . . All that I know about the matter is
that, according to my diary, on the 23rd of October, 1888, I saw from my
canoe a towel attached to a pole on the Columbia river bank somewhere
about the mouth of the Kootenay river. The object attracted one who
had not enjoyed a good wash for several months. On landing I found also
on the pole, an yeast powder can containing a letter addressed to me from
Kootenay lake. The incident and perhaps my pranks with the towel, amused
the Indian crew, and they, I suppose, spoke and continued to speak of the
place where ' Mr. Sproat landed.' I was a notable personage among the
Indians in those days. Such is history. Men from the far east, on being
introduced to me now, often say, ' Judge Sproat! yes, of Sproat's Landing.
I've heard of you.' Whereat I grin. It might surprise a grave easterner
if on such a salutation, I pulled out a handkerchief in lieu of a towel, and
repeated the scene on the river bank with a whoop and a leap."
In 1898 Sproat became a resident of Victoria. He wrote
several historical sketches and biographies, some of which are
now in the Archives. His intention was to write a book on
The Rise of British Dominion in the North Pacific, and while
preparing his material he consulted with the Provincial Librarian,
first Edward Gosnell and then Ethelbert Scholefield. He assisted
in collecting documents of historic value for the Archives. In
1910 he and Scholefield discussed the project of a joint writing
of a history of Vancouver Island, but his poor health and the
Librarian's official position proved obstacles to this useful work.
He had, however, made a good start, and after his death Samuel
Matson, owner of the Victoria Colonist, offered Alexander Sproat
the sum of $1,000 for as much as his father had written. The
manuscript unfortunately was found to be in an illegible state,
as it had been put away in a wooden chest and mice had eaten
so much of the paper as to spoil it for all practical purposes.
It is most regrettable that Sproat failed to complete his book,
for in some respects his knowledge of the early history of the
Province was unique. Moreover, he had unusual literary ability,
and had published a number of books and pamphlets, of which
the Scenes and Studies of Savage Life has already been mentioned. 1937 Gilbert Malcolm Sproat. 31
The others included a translation of some of Horace's odes into
English verse, an essay On the Poetry of Sir Walter Scott, and
a large work upon The Education of the Rural Poor in England.
Each was well received at the time of publication. In 1875 a
prize of $1,000 for the best essay on British Opium Policy in
India and China was won by Sproat; he was first out of seventy-
five competitors, and it was remarked as a singular fact that
the award should go to a place so remote as Victoria, on the distant
island of Vancouver. He wrote frequent letters to the newspapers, and from 1875 to 1877 turned journalist in earnest, acting
as local correspondent for the London Times. He also wrote
many editorials for the Victoria Times and political speeches
for William Templeman, Federal Senator and a member of
Laurier's Cabinet. Alexander Sproat is my informant; he
recalls that he himself " had the job of copying them in long
hand." Theodore Davie, when planning to start a paper in
opposition to the Colonist, asked Sproat to be managing director,
but he declined.
His views upon history, as expressed in a letter written to
Mr. Scholefield in July, 1910, are of interest: " No history can
be really impartial," he wrote, " though the writers may be
honest; the student or reader has to compare the different
accounts; that necessity arises from the limitations of human
nature. It being difficult to get men to study the past at all,
the historian tries to make the retrospect attractive, which,
sometimes, tends to mislead both the writer and the reader.
Difficult is it, in these circumstances, to secure really good work,
but experience has shown one thing, namely, speaking of history
proper, as distinguished from chronicle, that, with all its faults,
individualism is the paramount quality: we have to compare
what individuals write, notwithstanding the disqualifications
attaching naturally to the best of them. We have to take human
nature as it is. History compiled, say by a committee, as a rule
cannot be attractive or instructive." This is true. History is
the distillation of rumour. It is subjective in treatment. That
is why we receive such diversity of interpretation of facts from
historians. Moreover, it is difficult, much more difficult than
is generally supposed, to ascertain the facts. As Greville says
in his celebrated memoirs, " there is no absolute truth in history; 32 T. A. Rickard. January
mankind arrives at probable results and conclusions in the best
way it can, and by collecting and comparing evidence it settles
down its ideas and its belief to a certain chain and course of
events which it accepts as certain, and deals with as if it were,
because it must settle somewhere and on something, and because
a tolerable prima facie and probable case is presented. But
one sees how the actors in and spectators of the same events
differ in narrating and describing them; how continually complete contradictions are discovered to facts the most generally
believed; there is no preserving the mind from a state of scepticism, nor is it possible to read or hear anything with entire
satisfaction and faith." Greville makes these remarks apropos
of the irreconcilable statements made to him regarding the
events that precipitated the French Revolution of 1848. He had
the versions of Louis Philippe himself and of Guizot, not only
his minister but later a celebrated historian. They contradicted
each other flatly, and honestly, in describing the words and
actions of the French King at the critical moment when the
National Guard demanded reform. " Thus occur historical perplexities," Greville observes, " and the errors and untruths which
crowd all history."
During later years, Sproat's life was clouded and saddened
by a separation from his wife, who remained in England. In
his old age he lived on Menzies Street, Victoria, in a house
opposite that of Captain John Irving and next to the James
Bay Methodist Church. Unhappy, and invalided by heart-
trouble, he was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, but soon moved
to the home of Miss Brenda Peers, the granddaughter of James
Murray Yale, once Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company.
There he died on June 4, 1913, at the age of 79.
Glancing back upon his long career, one hopes that something will survive by which his many years of useful service
will be remembered. Carefully edited, his surviving notes and
sketches might prove of perpetual interest to future historians.
Meanwhile anthropologists will turn again and again to his
Scenes and Studies of Savage Life. All else failing, it will keep
alive the memory of one of British Columbia's most worthy and
distinguished pioneers, Gilbert Malcolm Sproat.
victoria, b.c. T. A. Rickard. LETTERS TO MARTHA.
The life of a man is not his public life, which is always alloyed
with some necessary diplomacy and which is sometimes only a mask;
it is made up of a thousand touches, a multitude of lights and
shadows, most of which are invisible behind the austere presentment
of statecraft. . . . We want to know how a master man talked,
and, if possible, what he thought; what was his standpoint with
regard to the grave issues of life; what he was in his hours of ease,
what he enjoyed, how he unbent; in a word, what he was without
his wig and bag and sword, in his dressing-gown and slippers, with
a friend, a novel, or a pipe.
Lord Rosebery,
Preface to Life of Chatham.
Martha Douglas, youngest child of Sir James and Lady
Douglas, was born in old Fort Victoria on June 8, 1854. She
seems to have been Douglas's favourite daughter; and we may
surmise that circumstances, as well as her own attractive and
vivacious personality, contributed to this end. For Martha was
only 10 years old when Douglas retired from public life, and
in the quiet years which followed, he naturally had more time
to devote to her than he had been able to spend with her elder
sisters. A rare confidence and friendship developed between
them; and it was with a heavy heart that Douglas came to the
conclusion that they must part for a time. When Martha was
18, it was arranged that she should go to England to complete
her education; and on August 13, 1872, she sailed from Victoria
for San Francisco, bound for New York and London.1
The steamer was scarcely out of Victoria Harbour before
Douglas was seated at his desk, writing the first of what proved
to be a long series of letters to his beloved Martha. Preserved
and treasured by her for half a century, some seventy of these
letters have now been deposited by her daughters in the Provincial Archives.   Although, as one would expect, they deal
(1) In March, 1878, Martha Douglas married Dennis Reginald Harris,
a native of Winchester, England, and son of William Charles Harris, C.B.,
Chief Constable of Hampshire and Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, London. The couple lived to celebrate their fifty-fourth
wedding anniversary in 1932. Mr. Harris died on November 2nd of that
year, and Mrs. Harris passed away only a few months later, on January
31st, 1933, in her seventy-ninth year.
3 34 W. Kaye Lamb. January
mostly with family affairs, they contain many passages of
historical interest, which throw light upon Douglas's opinions
and activities after his retirement. More important still, they
abound in intimate paragraphs which give us glimpses of the
inner nature of the man himself. We are all familiar with the
cold and formal personality of the Douglas known to history.
We can admire his strength of character, strong convictions,
and strict sense of duty. We can understand readily enough
the circumstances which made him aloof and solitary—the long,
difficult years of personal authority and responsibility, during
which it became second nature to appear stern and unbending;
but to gain any sense of intimacy with Douglas is another matter.
Even when he put pen to paper he remained remote and formal;
and, though we have letters and documents by the hundred
from his hand, we know remarkably little about Douglas the
man, as distinct from Douglas the Chief Factor and Governor.
It is because these letters to his daughter disclose, at long last,
something of the warm and sensitive nature of the man behind
the official mask that so much interest attaches to them.
Martha's departure plunged the Douglas household into grief
from which it never fully recovered until she was home again.
" There is in truth," Sir James wrote, ten days after she had
left Victoria, " a void in the house, where you were born and
have been cherished for so many long years. Accustomed to
your society, everything about the house, recalls your image,
so vividly, at times, that I almost fancy I see you popping in
upon me." Time and again he wrote in similar vein; for
Douglas was getting old, and had come to depend upon Martha
for many things. Often his remarks were prompted by some
incident which reminded him afresh that she was no longer
there to do some small service for him. " I wish you were here
to read them over to me," he wrote in the autumn of 1873, when
some one loaned him two novels, " as there is no one here reads
half so well, or with a spark of your taste and intelligence."2
" I sadly miss your pretty tasteful bouquets," he noted a month
later, " and hope you will soon appoint a deputy to attend to
these duties in your absence."8    " I have placed a large beautiful
(2) September 15, 1873.
(3) October 6, 1873. 1937 Letters to Martha. 35
apple on the toilet table in your bed room of the early strawberry
variety," he wrote upon a third occasion. " It makes me fancy
you are here; though a mere delusion, it alleviates the pain of
Sorely tried as he was by her absence, Douglas was nevertheless happy to be able to give Martha an opportunity to enjoy
the riches Europe had to offer. A letter written to Mr. J. W.
Bushby, of London,5 who was making arrangements for her
schooling in England, gives us an idea of what he hoped she
would gain overseas. " Martha is 18 years of age," his letter
reads in part, " and so far as literature goes, is fairly educated.
She plays well, sings, has a taste for drawing, is well read,
writes a good hand, and a nice letter. What should now engage
her attention is elocution and English Composition, the French
language, which she has studied for several years, larger and
broader views of life, and that expansion of mind, which may
be called the education of the eye, and cannot be acquired out
here. She is also fond of music and drawing, and may improve
in both arts."6 All this would take time, as Douglas was well
aware. " I never meant that you should be away for less than
two years," he remarked to Martha in June of 1873. " It will
take that time to get rid of the cobwebs of colonial training,
and give you a proper finish."7
Though homesick at first, Martha was soon happily settled
in England. It was even proposed that she should spend a third
year abroad, and to this Douglas made no objection. " I do not
mind the cost," he wrote, " provided it be for your good."8
A little later Martha suggested that she should spend a term
in Paris. Douglas at first made no demur, but a few weeks
later abruptly vetoed the plan, as if he had just awakened to the
enormity of the proposal. " There is one strong objection however, which I cannot overcome," he explained to Martha; " that
is the dread of French morals and sentiment, which I believe
(4) September 18, 1873.
(5) Father of the Hon. Arthur T. Bushby, successively postmaster,
registrar, and county court judge in British Columbia, who had married
Martha's sister, Agnes Douglas.
(6) August 10, 1872.
(7) June 11, 1873.
(8) February 9, 1874. 36 W. Kaye Lamb. January
to be so different from our own. It may be bigotry on my part,
their moral sentiments may be as pure as our own, but still
the impression, remains unchanged in my mind."9 As he
expressed it when he returned to the subject a little later, he
felt " a reluctance to my lamb being committed to the care of
Douglas asked only two things of Martha—that she should
take advantage of her opportunities, and that she should write
frequently to those at home. Suggestions and instructions, together with words of criticism or commendation, are scattered
throughout his letters. He was anxious that even her sightseeing should be systematized; and one passage on this point
in an early letter is worth quoting. " I hope you will make
a point of seeing Broadway, the great street of New York,"
he wrote on August 24, 1872. " Inspect it closely, so as to be
capable of talking about, and giving an opinion of its architecture, and general appearance. The Americans are proud of
it—and the first question asked of any person, who has been
to New York, generally is—What do you think of Broadway.
Follow the same plan, with respect to every other celebrated
place you may see. Regent Street is for example the boast and
pride of London, the Rue de Rivoli of Paris, Princes Street of
Edinburgh and so on with other places. Find out which is the
admired thoroughfare or object, and then inspect it closely."11
Himself a most systematic and meticulous correspondent,
Douglas expected Martha to be the same. His own letters were
usually in diary form; and over long periods scarcely a day
passed without the addition of a paragraph or a page, as events
or leisure dictated. A new letter was commenced as soon as
one was mailed. Indeed, upon one occasion at least, Douglas
seems to have gone straight to his desk the moment he returned
from the post-office. To him, a letter was a matter of consequence ; and he urges Martha repeatedly to practise and improve
her composition. " Writing is a most important part of education," he wrote upon one occasion. " I wish you to devote a great
deal of time and care to its attainment."    He did not hesitate
(9) March 19, 1874.
(10) April 24, 1874.
(11) August 24, 1872. 1937 Letters to Martha. 37
to give her a lesson in style, as two sentences later in the same
letter prove. " I enclose a part of your last letter, pruned of
redundancies, as a study. Observe how it is improved by the
process."12 Penmanship was as important as composition.
" Your letters are less carefully written, than I could wish,"
Douglas noted early in 1873; " the style is not bad, tho' there are
many inaccuracies. The writing is rapidly degenerating into
a sprawling hand, looking for all the world, as if the letters
were trying to run away from each other."13 Though sharp in
reproof, Douglas was equally generous in praise when Martha's
letters came up to expectations. " How neatly your letter is
written," he remarked a month later, " with no blots and no
omissions, this is as letters should be.    Pray always write so."14
Many of the passages dealing with style and diction are both
amusing and revealing. Martha commenced some of her first
letters, " Dear Parents "—a form of address which annoyed
Douglas profoundly, and which he declared " means nobody."
" When you write to Mamma," he continued, " write and speak
to her, as you know how, and when you write to Papa, write
and speak to him, as if he was before you; and then you will
write well, and entirely to my taste."15 Upon another occasion
he was distressed to find Martha using slang expressions. "Above
all things," he cautioned her, " avoid ' slang' phrases, such as
' chaff,' &c. ... A lady never uses slang phrases, which are
essentially vulgar and to me unbearable."16 The offending word
has, of course, long since won admission to colloquial English
and the Oxford Dictionary.
Letter after letter reveals that what Douglas craved was
news, and yet more news, of his beloved Martha. " There is
nothing to reply to, in your letter," he complained upon one
occasion; " tell me all about yourself, your studies, your pursuits,
your thoughts, state of mind; in short a complete full length
portrait of my daughter."17    His longing for news caused Martha
(12) March 3, 1874.
(13) February 9, 1873.
(14) March 10, 1873.
(15) December 10, 1872.
(16) October 10, 1873.
(17) September 22, 1873. 38 W. Kaye Lamb. January
to invade his dreams. " I was dreaming of you the other night,"
he tells her. " You came running into the house and with open
arms towards Papa, exclaiming ' O! Papa I am so sorry.' More
I did not hear. I suppose you were sorry for not writing
oftener?"18 Martha's letters, as this query would imply, were
for a time few and far between. Four long months after her
departure Douglas noted sadly that his " Foreign Correspondent,"
as he called her, had favoured him with only two letters. Later
it became apparent that the postal service, and not Martha, had
been most at fault; but in the interval Douglas had felt the
matter keenly.
Political paragraphs of considerable interest appear in some
of the letters. The earliest of these concern the collapse of
the first government formed after British Columbia joined the
Dominion, which was headed by J. F. McCreight, whom Martha
knew well. " Party spirit as usual runs high," Douglas wrote
in December, 1872, " and a fearful crash of the Ministry is
expected when the meeting of Parliament takes place next week.
I tremble for poor McCreight and Co-adjutors. They will surely
go to the wall, unless they shew a bold front, and make a good.
fight."19 But McCreight, who was not a politician and was
weary of politics, made no determined stand, and accepted defeat
by a single vote. " I know you will sympathize with your friend
McCreight," Douglas wrote to Martha; " so do I, and sincerely
wish they had made a better fight with the opposition instead
of going to the wall at once." Three days later he reported
the personnel of the new government. " New Ministry formed.
De Cosmos Premier, Walkem Attorney General, Dr. Ash Provincial Secretary, Robt. Beaven Comr. of Lands and Works.
A bright constellation is it not?"20
No one who recalls the long and bitter battles which had
taken place between Amor De Cosmos and Governor Douglas
will be surprised by this last remark; but they may well find
the sequel unexpected. For in spite of his opinion of De Cosmos,
Douglas proved sufficiently broad and generous to commend
the policy of his old opponent.    " The Legislative Assembly was
(18) November 26, 1872.
(19) December 10, 1872.
(20) December 24, 1872. 1937 Letters to Martha. 39
prorogued the other day," he reported to Martha the following
February, " and people begin to breathe freely again. ... On
the whole there is no reason to complain of the legislation of
this year, less so, I fancy, than if McCreight had been in power."21
" The new Ministry," he added later, " are not so bad after all:
they have made a bold attempt to be frugal, and have past some
really good measures."22
The first entry regarding Dominion politics refers to the
general election of 1872. " Elections for the House of Commons
are approaching — great excitement. Bunster, Beaven and
Wallace all in the field. They are most amiable, promise to get
every thing imaginable for the electors."23 Most of the succeeding references are linked in some way with the Canadian Pacific
Railway, in which Douglas was keenly interested. For those
eager to see construction commenced, 1873 was a year filled with
contrasting emotions. To begin with, all seemed to be well.
" It is announced in this days [sic'] telegrams from Ontario,"
Douglas wrote on January 31st, " that all arrangements have
been completed for the construction of [the] Canada Pacific
Railway; so that we are all in the highest spirits and looking
forward with confidence to the rise of dear Victoria, and the
replenishing of her well drained coffers."24 As late as May 6th,
no reason to expect delay had yet developed. " Ground is to be
broken on the 1st July next, when the terminus will be fixed,"
Douglas informed Martha. " Every one is hoping that Esquimalt
will be the point, where you know we have large interests; and
I am selfish enough to wish the station to be on my ground."25
In due course the happy announcement was made that Esquimalt,
as anticipated, would be the terminus, and construction actually
commenced. " The first sod of the Pacific Canadian Railway
was turned on Saturday [July 19th], by M. Smith, in a quiet
way, without any public demonstration," Douglas reported. " The
terminus is at the Admiral's House, Maple Bay, Esquimalt, the
(21) February 24, 1873.
(22) March 10, 1873.
(23) August 17, 1872.
(24) January 31, 1873.
(25) May 6, 1873. 40 W. Kaye Lamb. January
line running from thence, towards the Indian village near or
opposite Craigflower."26
It was at this point that the blow fell, and the hopes of the
railway advocates were shattered. It quickly became evident
that the turning of the first sod had been a mere formality,
and that the preliminary surveys which must be completed
before the line could be located definitely would take several
seasons to complete. On top of these practical difficulties came
the Pacific scandal, simmering since April, and in full eruption
by October. Douglas believed, rightly enough, that the hope of
rapid progress with the railway was wrapped up with the life
of the Macdonald government, of which he was a staunch
supporter. " We are now in hourly expectation of hearing how
Sir John McDonalds [sic] Ministry are faring at Ottawa, if the
want of confidence vote is carried against them by the Grits,"
he wrote the day Macdonald resigned; " Sir John will have to
resign, and there will be no end of trouble and delay, about the
construction of the Railway. The Grits, as the opposition faction
is termed are a low set, and nothing good is to be expected
from them."27
Two glimpses of the turbulent election which followed, early
in 1874, are found in the letters. Both concern Amor De Cosmos,
who was at the time both Premier of the Province and a member
of the House of Commons. " There is a prodigious excitement
just now, in the Colony, respecting the conduct of the Cabinet,"
Douglas reported to Martha. " It is suspected De Cosmos, is
betraying the Country—compromising its best interests, and
bartering the Railway for a money payment from the Dominion
Government. This has excited all classes against him, as you
will see by the two Papers—the Colonist of today and yesterday,
which details the particulars of these stirring events."28 " The
elections are over," he added on February 20th. " De Cosmos
and Roscoe are returned for the Commons. It was a hard fight
for De Cosmos but he stood bravely to his colors and won the
prize.    Politics are still rampant here;  the great questions of
(26) July 21, 1873.
(27) November 5, 1873.
(28) February 10, 1874. 1937 Letters to Martha. 41
the day are closely debated, with reference to the future well
being of the Colony.    I hope that good will be the result."29
Comments upon many topics show the keen attention with
which Douglas, though long in retirement, followed events in
British Columbia. Reports of the discovery of new mineral
wealth seem to have been of special interest to him, and he kept
Martha informed of the progress of the gold-rush to Cassiar.
In November, 1873, he recorded an event of some interest in the
maritime history of the Province. " A ship has just sailed with
a full cargo, of Vancouver Island produce, the first direct shipment of the kind to England, except the H. B. Co. ships," he
wrote to Martha. " This is a subject of gratulation to the whole
Colony. The good ship was followed from the wharf, by loud
cheers from the spectators."30 The vessel in question was the
English barque Charlotte Clarke, which cleared from Victoria
on November 21st, bound for London. Special interest attaches
to his reaction to the San Juan arbitration decision, in view of
the determined stand he had taken in the early stages of the
controversy. " We have just heard, that the San Juan question
has been decided against England, and we have lost the Island,"
he wrote to Martha. " I cannot help thinking that our case
has not been fully or clearly represented, to the Emperor of
Germany, or he could not have arrived at so unjust a decision
which is utterly at variance with the rights of the relative parties.
Well there is no help for it now, we have lost the stakes, and
must just take it easy."31 When the time came for the actual
evacuation of San Juan by the British troops, however, Douglas
could no longer take the matter philosophically. " The Island
of San Juan is gone at last," he noted. " I cannot trust myself
to speak about it and will be silent."32
Interesting as these comments upon public affairs may be,
the peculiar value of the letters to Martha lies in their revelation
of personal characteristics of Douglas which were never permitted to appear in his official correspondence, voluminous though
it was.    We learn, for example, that Douglas was keenly sensitive
(29) February 20, 1874.
(30) November 23, 1873.
(31) October 28, 1872.
(32) December 12, 1872. 42 W. Kaye Lamb. January
to his natural surroundings. The first blossom in spring and
the last in autumn drew his attention and comment. " The
Daisies are coming into flower; saw the first today," is a typical
entry.33 " I could still make you a bouquet from the flowers in
the garden still in bloom, if you were within reach," he wrote
to Martha one November.34 Riding or driving through the
country was a daily source of pleasure to him. " The enjoyment
was perfect, pure, unalloyed happiness," he concluded a description of one such expedition.35 In October, 1873, he attended
the consecration of the church at Metchosin, and after the service
wandered to the edge of the cliffs near by. " Metchosen looked
its best," he wrote to Martha, " the beautiful slopes, the richly
tinted foliage, the bright clear sky, the warm sunshine, the glassy
smooth sea, and the grand mountains in the distance, formed
a combination of indescribable beauty. I felt an exhilaration
of mind, which led me to wander away through the woods
towards the ' white cliffs' bordering the sea, from whence
I contemplated its placid waters with delight."36
It will be recalled that Martha sailed from Victoria on August
13th, and that Douglas commenced the first of his letters to her
the same day. Two days later he added a sentence which revives
the old uncertainty about the date of his birth. " My birthday,"
it reads, " kept it quiet to avoid fuss."37 An entry in an early
personal account-book states that he was born on June 5, 1803;
and as the note is in Douglas's own handwriting it has naturally
been taken as authoritative. Evidence of equal strength, though
later date, now supports the claim of August 15th as his birth
date.38 Whichever date is correct, Douglas celebrated his sixty-
ninth birthday in 1872, a fact which causes one to read with
surprise an entry dated October 2nd: "Had a good jumping
on the verandah with the skipping rope for exercise."39    It is
(33) February 12, 1873.
(34) November 24, 1873.
(35) September 23, 1873.
(36) October 24, 1873.
(37) August 15, 1872.
(38) Upon this point see W. N. Sage;   Sir James Douglas and British
Columbia, Toronto, 1930, pp. 14, 363.
(39) October 2, 1872. 1937 Letters to Martha. 43
scarcely necessary to add that his health appears to have been
excellent. He comments upon the fact from time to time, and
an occasional touch of gout is his only recorded ailment. For
this we find him planning an unusual cure in the early spring
of 1873. " I am also going largely into Raspberry Culture,"
he reported to Martha, " which has the reputation of being
a most wholesome fruit, especially recommended in cases of
Gout; so I shall make it a rule to make a very free use of them."40
It is refreshing to find that the letters contain clear evidence
that Douglas possessed a sense of humour. Upon one occasion,
for example, he regaled Martha with the following account of
Lady Douglas, most loving of mothers, who, it seems, was never
completely happy unless she fancied herself slightly indisposed.
" Mamma is in excellent health," Douglas wrote, " though she
will not think so, Up every morning at 6 o'clock she bustles
about till breakfast time. The chickens now fill her mind with
anxious care, and we all look grave and appear to sympathize,
if mishaps occur. To laugh, would be a serious offence."41
Another incident suggests that Douglas did not take himself
as seriously as many would have us suppose. " Ellen attends
the Nuns school," he wrote with reference to a child whom
Martha knew; " she is very quick and is the most restless child
I ever saw. It is impossible to keep her quiet for ten minutes
together even in my stern presence."42
A third passage illustrates the same point, and at the same
time recalls a critical moment in Douglas's early career. The
reference is to a copy of the Victoria Standard which was forwarded with the letter. " In another column," Douglas wrote,
" you will find a letter from the ' Ottawa Free Press,' do read
it, and see how it treats me, they wish to make of me, who am
as you know a quiet old gentleman enough, a sort of Dare devil,
fearing nothing. True I seized the Indian, a noted murderer,
as stated, and secured him after a desperate struggle, but I did
not shoot him with my own hands; he was afterwards executed
for his crimes.    It was a desperate adventure, which nothing but
(40) March 5, 1873.
(41) April 17, 1874.
(42) November 17, 1873. 44 W. Kaye Lamb. January
a high sense of duty could have induced me to undertake."43
It is noteworthy that this is one of only two references to
his fur-trading days to be found in the entire series of seventy
letters. The second, which is dated May 30, 1873, indicates
that Douglas felt keenly the passing of old Hudson's Bay officers
with whom he had worked years before. " My old friend
Dr. Barclay died lately at Oregon City," he remarks. " The
enclosed clipping relates his history. Truly the world is becoming a desert."44
Douglas had long toyed with the idea of going to England
and escorting Martha home, and the project was discussed in
his letters from time to time. When Martha was planning a
third year abroad, the plan was seemingly abandoned, only to
be suddenly revived and carried swiftly into execution when it
was decided finally that she should return home instead. The
last of the letters to Martha is dated May 27, 1874; but a diary
kept by Sir James enables us to complete the story. Leaving
Victoria on June 25th, Douglas travelled to San Francisco by
steamer, and thence overland to New York, where he took ship
for England. He arrived at Southampton on July 21st, and
three days later was at Lowestoft, where, to his infinite joy,
he " found Martha well." A brief month was spent visiting
friends and relatives in England and Scotland, and on August
27th Sir James and Martha sailed from Liverpool. On September 6th they reached Quebec, and on the 21st arrived in San
Francisco. Five days later Douglas recorded the conclusion of
the journey in his diary. " Arrived Victoria at 4 A.M. found
all well."
All was, indeed, well.    Martha was home again.
Provincial Library and Archives,
(43) February 25, 1873. This passage is of historical importance, for
it is the only known comment by Douglas himself upon a clash with the
Indians which took place at Fort St. James on August 6, 1828. His conduct
upon that occasion has been censured by most writers, and it may have been
the cause of his transfer to Fort Vancouver. What actually happened still
remains obscure and controversial. For details and discussion see Morice:
History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia, Chapter IX. (" An
Episode and its Consequences "); and Sage: Sir James Douglas and British
Columbia, 45-48. (44) June 3, 1873. PETER SKENE OGDEN'S NOTES ON
The following memorandum from the pen of Peter Skene
Ogden comes from a collection of the Ogden family papers which
have been in the Provincial Archives of British Columbia for
many years. The document, which has never been printed
previously, throws light on the fur trade in New Caledonia in
the 1830's and 1840's.
Peter Skene Ogden was one of the great figures in the Canadian fur trade. He was born in Quebec City in 1794, the son
of Judge Isaac Ogden and Sarah Hanson Ogden. Isaac Ogden
was a United Empire Loyalist who was appointed Judge of
Admiralty of Quebec in 1788 and in 1794 one of the Puisne
Judges of the District of Montreal. Judge Ogden had probably
intended that his son should follow him in his profession, but
Peter Skene Ogden was a rover by nature and could not endure
the trammels of civilization. He entered the service of the North
West Company as a clerk in 1811, and according to Mr. T. C.
Elliott1 probably spent the next seven years at Isle a la Crosse
in what is now North-western Saskatchewan. In 1818 he came
to the Columbia River and two years later became a partner or
bourgeois of the North West Company.
Ogden was not one of those fortunate Nor-Westers who secured
a commission in 1821 at the union of the North West and Hudson's
Bay Companies, but three years later he obtained his parchment
as chief trader. In 1822 he went to Lower Canada and thence
to England, and on his return in 1823 accompanied the express
from York Factory to the Columbia. He wintered at Spokane
House with John Work,2 and in November, 1824, after the
arrival of Governor Simpson and Dr. McLoughlin on the Columbia, proceeded to the Snake country, where he conducted successful expeditions until 1829.3    In the early fall of 1829 he left
(1) T. C. Elliott: "Peter Skene Ogden, Fur Trader," in the Oregon
Historical Quarterly, XI. (1910), 229-278—the most complete study of Ogden
which has yet appeared.
(2) Cf. " John Work's First Journal 1823-24." MS. in the Archives of
British Columbia.
(3) The journals of these expeditions have been edited by T. C. Elliott in
the Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vols. X. and XI. (1909 and 1910). 46 W. N. Sage. January
Fort Nez Perces and visited California, returning in the summer
of 1830. But, as Mr. Elliott points out, the name California was
then applied to all the regions belonging to Mexico south of the
42nd parallel.
Ogden was sent north to the Nass River in 1831 to construct
a post for the Hudson's Bay Company. He was successful in
that mission, although he encountered keen opposition from the
American traders on the coast. In 1834 he attempted to found
a post on the Stikine River, but failed, since this was on Russian
territory and he was unable to bluff his way past the Russian-
American Company's officials.
In 1835 Peter Skene Ogden received the coveted commission
of chief factor and was sent to take charge of New Caledonia.
After seven years' term of office he was prepared to give over
this task to his successor. It was at this time that, in all probability, he penned the memorandum on Western Caledonia. Ogden
went on leave in 1844 and the next year returned west of the
mountains to the Columbia, where he became one of the Board of
Management for the Columbia Department. When news of the
Whitman massacre arrived in 1857 Ogden set out to rescue the
survivors. Such was the esteem in which he was held by the
Indians that he was completely successful and ransomed the
captives. In December, 1851, he left Fort Vancouver to visit
Montreal and returned to the Columbia in 1853. His death
occurred in 1854 and he was buried at Oregon City.
The " Notes en Western Caledonia " are probably a rough
draft. In places the meaning is obscure and throughout the
punctuation is difficult. As few emendations as possible have
been made in the text, and the spelling of the original has been
retained throughout. In a few places a word or so has been
added to make sense. The document is valuable because it gives
details on the trade in that " Siberia of the fur-traders," New
Caledonia. Life was hard in that district and Ogden does not
minimize its difficulties. Throughout the document, however,
the generosity and kindliness of Peter Skene Ogden is evident.
He was a keen and experienced fur-trader but he was never
lacking in humanitarian feelings.
University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C. 1937 Ogden's Notes on Western Caledonia. 47
As I am now on the eve of taking my departure from this
district1 I trust my successor2 will not consider it presumptious
in me to offer a few remarks but having found those left by Mr.
C. F. Dease3 useful being a stranger in this quarter and as the
Gentleman who may be appointed to succeed me may be similarly
situated I consider it my duty to follow the example leaving
it optional with himself to make [what] use of them he may
think proper as it is far from my wish to dictate to him or any
other man living God forbid.
Having now been stationed seven4 years in this District
I cannot say much in favour of the Carriers5 a brutish, ignorant,
(1) Peter Skene Ogden had been appointed to take charge of the New
Caledonia district in 1835. Cf. E. H. Oliver (editor), The Canadian North-
West; its early development and legislative records (Publications of the
Canadian Archives, No. 9), Ottawa, 1914-15, II., 710, 720; and T. C Elliott:
" Peter Skene Ogden, Fur Trader," Oregon Historical Quarterly, XI. (1910),
(2) Ogden's successor was Donald Manson. Cf. Morice, Rev. A. G.:
History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia, Toronto, 1904, 237.
" On the 15th of June, 1844, Donald Manson, who had crossed the Rocky
Mountains with Connolly in the fall of 1825, was assigned to the command
of New Caledonia."
(3) Ogden's predecessor, Chief Factor Peter Warren Dease (1788-1863),
a former Nor-Wester, became a chief trader in 1821 at the union of the
Hudson's Bay and North West Companies. He received his commission as
chief factor in 1828 and in 1831 was sent to take charge of the New Caledonia
district. Cf. Wallace, W. S.: Documents relating to the North West
Company (The Champlain Society, XXVI.), Toronto, 1934, 436.
(4) This statement would go to prove that this memorandum was written
in 1842, when Ogden was contemplating taking his furlough in 1843. The
Minutes of Council, 1842, record that Ogden was granted furlough, but the
Minutes for 1843 state that he did not avail himself of the privilege. The
Minutes continue:—
" 62.  That C. F. Ogden having expressed a desire to obtain leave
of absence or an exchange of Furlough next year, it is resolved that the
same be afforded him, but this cannot be assured him beyond the ensuing
(The Canadian North-West, II., 836, 852, 862.)    Elliott prints a testimonial
presented to Ogden on behalf of the gentlemen of New Caledonia upon the
occasion of his departure from the district.   It is dated April 28, 1844, and 48 W. N. Sage. January
superstitious beggarly sett of beings, lavish of promises and
should it so happen have no feast to make for departed relatives
take precious good care like all rascals to loose sight off. The
debt system6 was introduced in to this District many years since
and it is the opinion of some it would not be good policy to do
away with it at present as independent of other considerations
the evil has taken too deep root, this could be overcome but again
it is said it acts as a hold on them from the great temptations of
low prices which the Coast traders7 who now are annually in the
habit of resorting to the frontiers of the District in quest of
Furs, it may have this effect on some altho I have my doubts,
still with many at this [place] in debt of occasionally clandestinely
trading their furs. My predecessor led me to expect that it
would be absolutely necessary to lower the tariff on account of
the Coast traders and if I did not [I] would find the Indians
troublesome, they attacked me as a matter of course on my
arrival but on my giving them free permission to go provided
they paid their debts they have been since silent on the subject
and should they commence again adopt the same plan as if they
are so inclined you can scarcely prevent them. The Fall is the
usual season for giving debt but you
f-2. will find it to your interest to delay doing this as long as you
possibly can for no sooner do they secure the goods altho they
Elliott states that Ogden " crossed the Rocky Mountains under a year's leave
of absence " in the spring of that year.    Cf. Elliott, op. cit., 259-260.
(5) The Carriers who inhabited the Stuart Lake region were a branch of
the Western Denes and belonged to the Athapascan language group. They
owed their name to the barbarous custom of forcing the widow to pick out
the charred bones of her late husband from his funeral pyre and to carry
them in a leather wallet or satchel upon her back. Shortly before Ogden's
arrival in New Caledonia burial was substituted for cremation and the poor
widows were no longer forced to be nearly scorched to death at the funeral
pyre. Cf. John McLean: Notes of a Twenty-Five Years Service in the
Hudson's Bay Territory, London, 1849, I., 254-57.
(6) Ogden's remarks here are enlightening. It was a stock charge
against the fur-traders that they kept the Indians perpetually in debt so
that they would continue to trade at the forts. The lending system, referred
to on page 2, infra, was another evil of the fur trade.
(7) American competition was still severely felt, although the Hudson's
Bay Company was building up a coasting trade. The well-known S.S. Beaver
had arrived in 1836 and was employed on the coast. 1937 Ogden's Notes on Western Caledonia. 49
will promise you to return to their hunting grounds not one in
ten will absent himself from his Village and in winter in lieu
of employing themselves trapping will lounge and idle their time
in gambling feasting and sleeping, their usual season for hunting
is in the Fall and Spring and so long as you can keep them
hunting in the Fall your returns will encrease and you will also
find it to your interest to persuade them to make their feasts in
the month of June which does not interfere with their hunts
altho in some cases you may succeed still you will find it rather
a difficult task, however it is from the object to be gain'd by it
worth a trial. When I first assumed charge of this District I
found the gratuities given to the Indians very great in the
article of Leather8 particularly so, the latter and nearly all I have
abolished and no diminution in our returns has resulted from
it and our expenditure decreased, it now remains with you to
lessen them and in doing so gradually you will rest assured
find no bad effects resulting from it. The lending system I have
entirely abolished it was customary formerly to loan Guns, Axes,
Tranches,9 Moose Skins and Traps to the Indians to such an
extent that no one on reflection would view it in any other light
than an abuse, the Carriers scarcely ever returned an article
Ioan'd them but always have some plausible excuse ready when
called on, in Traps alone from the lending system having so
long prevailed as it is only three years since I abolished it,10
are now most abundantly supplied as regards this place and the
same has been adopted all over the District and the returns have
not diminished and our Indent on the last article has been
decreased one half, they are now sold to the Natives at 4 skins
each formerly they were valued at 6 but this was merely nominal
as not ten out of 100 were ever sold. Salmon are bartered at
the rate of 90 for one Beaver and are paid for in the most valuable goods11 the Carriers know too well their own interest to
(8) Leather seems to have been scarce in New Caledonia. The Hudson's
Bay obtained its supply from east of the Rocky Mountains, a sure sign that
there was no local supply available.
(9) Some sort of edged tool.
(10) Ogden had done well in abolishing this pernicious system in four
(11) The beaver-skin was the standard of value in the fur trade. The
Made Beaver or M.B. became after 1837 the accepted standard.   Its cash
4 50 W. N. Sage. January
take any other, formerly at this place 60
p. s. were equal to a skin as an inducement to them to track more
and to save transportation in the winter with dogs no doubt
then a good plan but as the cause no longer exists as the introduction of Carts in the Babine Portage12 and Boats have removed
it consequently the facility of transport being so great and finding
we can obtain our supplys independant of them, they now
willingly when [they have] any to dispose off part with them
at 90 per made Beaver, at Frasers Lake, the West end of this
Lake and the Babine Posts the tariff is the same, a difference
in a tariff when the Natives are constantly in the habit of meeting
causes discontent and this also was another cause of my altering
it here, these in regard to Traps and Salmon are the only
changes I have made in the Indian tariff, or have authorized to
be made in the District. In Waccan13 the linguist you will find
most useful in settling with the Indians none more capable than
himself morover [?] from his long experience in this quarter
now forty years better acquainted with all good, bad and indifferent Indians I shall now make no further remarks in regard
to the Carriers, as from the Linguist the Journal and Indian
debt book you can obtain any information you may require. On
your arrival here in the Fall no time should be lost in despatching
the different Outfits to the out Posts, there is so little dependance
to be placed on the Men when without a Gent[leman] in fact
now I have generally requested the Gent[lemen] in charge of
Posts should it not cause any derangement in their affairs to be
here from the 12th to 15th Septr—about the usual period of the
value was not fixed but varied from 25 to 50 cents. Cf. Innis: The Fur
Trade in Canada, New Haven, 1930, 323-24. Even though the Carriers
seem to have been astute traders the price of salmon can hardly be said to
have been very high.
(12) Babine Portage, from Babine Lake to Stuart Lake.
(13) Waccan was Jean Baptiste Boucher, interpreter at Fort St. James.
Father Morice tells us that he was a French-Cree half-breed who came to
Stuart Lake with Simon Fraser in 1806. He was " the Company's gendarme
and chief executioner in New Caledonia; he was the official avenger of the
killed, the policeman who was dispatched to the villages in order to stir up
the natives and send them hunting, or to put a stop to the endless gambling
parties, which prevented them exerting themselves on behalf of the white
traders."    Morice, op. cit., 249. 1937 Ogden's Notes on Western Caledonia. 51
arrival of the Brigade.14 Seven men and one Gent[leman] are
the number required to proceed to Dunvegan13 to procure our
supplys of Leather, when no other at your disposal then in that
case the Gent[leman] in charge of McLeods Lake must accompany the leather party three men at the same time with one of
the two stationed at McLeods Lake are required to proceed to
Finlays Forks to collect the Furs of the Indians in that quarter
and settle with them for the winter the Horses after transporting the McLeods Lake Outfit across should be again sent
back loaded with Salmon and on their return will transport
across the Furs as less transport in winter by far less expense
and waste incurred as we have always a supply of Leather on
hand for one year in advance the supply for following year is
left en depot at McLeods Lake and transported across with Horses
in June, every exertion must be made before the navigation closes
to secure a stock of Salmon not less than 30M are required to
meet all demands, from the Babine two thirds of this quantity
is supplied two men and four Horses with carts transport it
across the Portage and from thence three men in the Salmon
(14) All commissioned officers and clerks of the Hudson's Bay Company
were referred to as " Gentlemen," the lower ranks as " Men." The New
Caledonia brigade left Fort St. James in the spring, usually late in April or
early in May, and proceeded in boats to Fort Alexandria on Fraser River.
There a horse brigade was formed which followed a well-defined trail to
Kamloops and thence by way of the Okanagan Valley to Fort Okanagan
at the confluence of the Okanagan and the Columbia. At this post the goods
from New Caledonia were loaded on the boats' of the Fort Colvile brigade
and conveyed to Fort Vancouver. Early in July the brigades for the interior
left the depot, and, as the text indicates, the New Caledonia brigade arrived
back at Fort St. James about the middle of September. Cf. Sage, W. N.:
Sir James Douglas and British Columbia, Toronto, 1930, 37-42; Brown,
William C.: "Old Fort Okanogan and the Okanogan Trail," in Oregon
Historical Quarterly, XV., 1-38; and Buckland, F. M.: " The Hudson's Bay
Brigade Trail," in the Sixth Report of the Okanagan Historical Society,
1935, 11-22.
(15) Before 1831 leather and other similar supplies for New Caledonia
had been brought from the Saskatchewan district by way of Edmonton, Fort
Assiniboine on the Athabaska River, and the Yellowhead or Leather Pass.
After that date the Peace River route via Dunvegan and Finlay Forks was
preferred. From the passage which follows it is evident that Fort McLeod
on McLeod's Lake was becoming the depot for leather in New Caledonia.
Innis, op. cit., 307, deals with this leather trade. 52 W. N. Sage. January
Boat in two trips land it here, but when Salmon are abundant
in this Lake16 secure them without delay and afterwards send
the Boat to the Portage some years Salmon fail at the Babines
not often but in this Lake frequently so whenever you can procure a supply loose not sight off it and Instructions should be
forwarded in the Fall to Frasers Lake to trade not less than
twenty thousand as a reserve in case of accidents. Salmon with
care keep well for two or three years altho not so palatable as
those of the present still as last year when a general failure takes
place we are glad to have them, when one years staff of life is
secured for the year your mind is relieved from a heavy load
of anxiety.17
Regarding our farming operations I have done all in my power
with the slender means at my disposal to encourage them and I
would strongly advise you to follow the example, two years following from the scarcity of Salmon that prevailed over the District we had convincing proofs of the benefit arising from farming,
at Ft. George ten men were solely supported on grain and at
Alexandria even more in proportion, independant of these advantages which are not of minor importance.18 I have within
the last year reduced our demand on Colvile twenty five bags of
flour less in itself again no small object when we take into consideration the long transport with Horses and so long as we
do not encrease by augmenting the present number of Servants
which are fully sufficient for the dutys of the District nor prove
injurious to the returns which
(16) I.e., Stuart Lake.   " Here " of course refers to Fort St. James.
(17) Salmon was literally " the staff of life " in New Caledonia. Father
Morice, op. cit., 174, tells us that " dried salmon and cold water " were the
chief diet of the company's servants. Thomas Dears, a clerk in New Caledonia, writing to Edward Ermatinger from Fraser Lake on March 5, 1831,
complains: " Many a night I go to bed hungry and craving something better
than this horrid dried Salmon we are obliged to live upon." Ermatinger
Papers, Public Archives of Canada, 288. (Transcript in the University of
British Columbia Library.)
(18) Daniel Williams Harmon, of the North West Company, on May 22,
1811, planted potatoes and " sowed barley, turnips &c," the first ever sowed
on the west side of the Rockies in what is now British Columbia. Harmon,
D. W.: A Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interiour of North America,
Andover, 1820, 202. 1937 Ogden's Notes on Western Caledonia. 53
ought never to be lost sight off as on them depends our Salary
and as the latter encreases so do our hopes in like proportion
of soon returning to our homes. The Servants were formerly
allowed three moose skins per man for their winter supply forming a total of upwards 160 Skins and were in the habit of trading
and wasting more than half of it with the Natives, the plan I
adopted to stop this waste and also most injurious to the trade
was in allowing them one pr. of shoes for fifteen days by adopting
[such a plan] you will find it not only a saving of more than a
hundred skins per annum but also a gain on the trade. In
renewing the Servants contracts I have had so far little or no
trouble towards the Spring of the year tobacco is a scarce article
amongst them and I have always made it a rule on condition of
renewing their Contracts to assist them also a few supplys, and
in lieu of Liquor19 now only known by name which was formerly
given allow them 1 lb gratuity and if no better description of
men than these emported from Canada of late years the refuse
of brothels and Gaols you will find it to your interest to secure
this. You have, two Orkneymen fishermen and a Blacksmith
most particularly the latter not only on account of our Boats
but also Farms and Mills is much required in the District, but
if your request on the Gov[ernor] & Councile be not more
attended to than mine has been for last years you will find it not
only useless to apply but also not subject yourself to be slighted.
The Servants of this District have almost from the first year
the Country was established been represented as most worthless
dishonest disolute sett of beings having been now some years
with them with few exceptions they are by no means so bad as
represented and when we seriously take into consideration the
hard duty imposed on them food of an indifferent quality and no
variety, temptations great it is not surprising that they should
occasionally deviate from the right path and under all these cir-
(19) This is an interesting proof that the use of liquor was being discouraged by the company. On the question of the use of liquor in the fur
trade a long controversy has been waged by historians. Standing Rules and
Regulations, XIII., issued at Norway House on June 23, 1836, contain the
statement " that the use of spirituous Liquors be gradually discontinued in
the few Districts in which it is yet indispensable" (The Canadian North-
West, II., 754).   New Caledonia was evidently not in this latter class. p.«.
54 W. N. Sage. January
cumstances some allowance ought to be made for them.    Relative
to the
transport of Outfit from Okanagan to Alexandria should Greguin
re engage will relieve you from considerable anxiety and trouble
but should he not the fittest person to succeed him is C Chartier
having been employed with Horses for the last four years and
having accompanied the Brigade is well acquainted with the
routine. The Servants attached to the brigade receive their
usual allowance of Flour at Okanagan in the following proportions married men 100 lbs each bachelors 50. Servants inland
married or single 25 lbs each charged to their accounts. Interpreters 50 lbs each, 25 lb only chargeable the remainder with
15 lb Sugar are given to each of the latter as gratuity20 Old
Waccan the Interpreter (J. Be. Boucher) is an exception to the
last his allowance being Va Keg Sugar gratuity and y% Keg on
account with 1 Bag Flour gratuity and messes at the table.21
A boat from Frasers Lake instructions being left to that effect
in the Spring comes down to meet the Brigade at Alexandria
on or about the 15th August in charge of the Gent [leman] superintending at Frasers Lake, the crew consists of 6 men Canadians
& Indians the latter engaged for the trip at the rate of 20 Skins
each at Alexandria, then the Outfits for the latter place, Ft..
George Frasers Lake are made up and at Chin Lac Forks22 the
Frasers Lake boat separates from the Brigade and proceeds to
the latter place with its Outfit, five men and an Indian is the crew
of each boat and cargo from 50 to 56 pieces, there are only two
places in the river that more than usual precautions are necessary
the Grant & Stony Island Rapids, old Bern acts in capacity of
(20) These allowances of flour are important as showing that an attempt
was being made to vary the dried-salmon and cold-water diet. Probably
this was due to the salmon shortage referred to above, but one feels that
Ogden's generosity may also have had something to do with it. The men
of the brigade get more liberal allowances than those who remain " inland "
at the posts. Interpreters were always ranked as superior to ordinary
company's servants.
(21) I.e., the gentlemen's table.   Old Waccan was a privileged personage.
(22) Chin Lac Forks, also known as Chinlac, was the old name for the
confluence of the Stuart and the Nechako Rivers. 1937 Ogden's Notes on Western Caledonia. 55
Guide an apology having no authority23 it is therefore necessary
[for] you [to] keep your eyes open on all occasions.
Should the superintendance of Thompsons River be attached
as it is this year or not to Caledonia241 would strongly recommend
to you that both Brigades come in together as it not only adds
to our respectability amongst the Natives who collect in numbers
at the Forks25 but also a greater security for the property, particularly the T [hompson] River party when coming in alone and
a preventative from insult and quarrels. The Provisions required
from Colvile for the latter place can as was done last season
be transported across land by the Man who remains in charge
of the horses at Okanagan without encurring any extra expense
whatever and should there be any pieces for Colvile can be
transported across land at the same time thereby doing away
with the services of the T [hompson] River men going up with
the craft in the Summer. I generally take my departure from
this place the 22d April so as to join the T [hompson] R[iver]
brigade about the 12th May and this early starting has enabled
me on my arrival at Okanagan to send the Men to assist in
bringing down the Boats from Colvile which plan I consider
for all interested you should adopt as with strong crews are less
liable to accidents in that most dangerous part of the river and
with our weak bowmen for the safety of life and property too
many precautions cannot be taken. I would now beg leave to
call your attention to the propriety of abandoning the Chilcotin
Post but as this cannot be carried into effect without the approbation of the Gov[ernor] & Councile I shall merely state my
opinion of the propriety of the measure. When first established
the Coast traders were not then in the habit of coming with in
two days journey of the Fort and was then most valuable for
its returns but within the last two years from the above cause
it has been the reverse not paying its expences and still less
trouble and anxiety it causes the returns not averaging 100 Beaver
(23) The meaning of this passage is far from clear.
(24) Thompson's River, better known as Fort Kamloops, was in some
years reckoned in with the New Caledonia posts and in others with the posts
belonging to the Columbia district.
(25) Evidently the forks of the North and South Thompson at Kamloops
is here meant. 56 W. N. Sage. January
per annum and the very few small furs collected are of a most
inferior quallity it is said by retaining the Post it acts as a check
on the Indians of Alexandria from assisting to trade with the
Coast traders in this I cannot coincide as I am fully of opinion
from as little intercourse existing and enmity between the two
Septs and one skin would be lost and by sending twice a year in
that direction on trading excursions would answer any purpose
of the present Post and cause a saving of the services of a
Gent[leman] and three Servants and transportation of Provisions
to that quarter.
Peter Skeen Ogden.26
(26) Ogden's spelling of his second name was by no means uniform. NOTES AND COMMENTS.
Those well qualified to judge have upon many occasions emphasized the
value of the great store of books, manuscripts, pictures, and relics which are
preserved in the Provincial Archives. White men first landed upon what
is now the coast of British Columbia only a little more than 150 years ago;
and the tremendous transition from savagery to modern civilization, which
has taken place in that comparatively short period, is recorded and illustrated,
in a remarkable way, by the Archives collection. Research students, and
others able to visit the Archives in person, have long been aware of this;
but the department has lacked any means of making its resources known
to a wider circle. It is hoped that the British Columbia Historical Quarterly
will go far to make good this deficiency. Important manuscripts, hitherto
unpublished, will appear regularly in its pages; and it is hoped that the
prospect of publication in permanent form, which the Quarterly is able to
offer, will encourage the writing of worth-while articles upon many aspects
of British Columbia's history.
It may be well to add that the Quarterly aims to supplement, but in no
sense to rival, the Canadian Historical Review. A periodical which deals
with the history of the entire Dominion cannot possibly concern itself with
subjects, however interesting, which are primarily of regional concern; and
it is to the latter that the British Columbia Historical Quarterly will devote
a large proportion of its space.
British Columbia Historical Association.
The co-operation of the British Columbia Historical Association has
made the publication of the Quarterly possible, and its appearance promises
to be a landmark in the -society's history. The Association was organized,
in October, 1922, and published its First Report and Proceedings in 1924.
The Fourth Report and Proceedings, the last in the series to appear, was
issued in 1929. The Association, like most organizations, had a difficult
time during the worst of the depression, but has been very active during
the last two or three years. A series of evening meetings is held each season
in the Provincial Archives, and these are supplemented in the summer by a
field-day, usually held in August. In 1935, members of the society spent
the field-day at Sooke, visiting the old Grant and Muir estates, and various
other historic spots in the vicinity. In 1936, the members visited the former
estate of Chief Trader James Murray Yale, now owned by his granddaughter,
Mrs. J. A. Grant, and " Cloverdale," built in 1859 by the late Dr. W. F. Tolmie,
and now the home of his son, the Hon. S. F. Tolmie, M.P., former Premier of
British Columbia.
Though much interest was taken in these activities, the Association has
been conscious of two serious limitations. In the first place, it has been
unable to publish its report and proceedings- since 1929. In the second
place, since no provision was made in its constitution for branches, force
of geographical circumstances confined the membership almost entirely to 58 Notes and Comments. January
the City of Victoria and surrounding districts. Both these difficulties have
now been overcome. All members of the Association will receive the British
Columbia Historical Quarterly, which is the Association's official organ, and
the annual membership fee of $2 includes a subscription to the magazine.
Outstanding papers read before the society will appear in the Quarterly
from time to time, the article in this issue entitled " Gilbert Malcolm Sproat,"
by Dr. T. A. Rickard, being the first of the series. The geographical difficulty
has been overcome by the adoption of revised by-laws, which authorize the
formation of branch societies. Five or more members in good standing may
petition the Council for authority to form a local section in any part of the
Province, and these local sections enjoy full autonomy, so far as the management of their local affairs is concerned. Section No. 1, in Victoria, ranks
as the senior section of the Association, as it is virtually the successor of the
old society. Section No. 2, in Vancouver, has already reported a membership
of 130, with 150 members as its immediate objective.
Local Historical Societies.
Though the Historical Association aims to have sections throughout the
Province, it recognizes that the local historical society has a distinct place
and function in the scheme of things. Many persons are willing to join a
local society, which uses its funds exclusively for local projects, who do not
care to subscribe to a magazine or organization which is Province-wide in
character. To this there can be no objection, particularly if the local society
shows its good-will toward the central association by paying an affiliation
fee, as most of the local societies have already done, or expressed their
intention of doing. It is also to be hoped that at least a few of the members
of every local society will be sufficiently interested to join the British Columbia
Historical Association individually, in order to assist the latter to attain the
Province-wide membership which is its objective.
The Cowichan Historical Society is the only local society on Vancouver
Island. One of its members, Mr. John Evans, who has spent a lifetime in
Cowichan, recently compiled a most valuable manuscript history of the
district for the Provincial Archives, and has also deposited there the first
two instalments of his reminiscences. Mr. Kenneth Duncan, of Duncan, is
president of the society.
The Okanagan Historical Society, organized in 1925, recently published
its Sixth Report, which is reviewed at length on another page. The publication of a well-printed volume of over 300 pages is a notable achievement on
the part of a regional society; and only one familiar with the difficulties
which beset the local historian can appreciate fully the patience and labour
which it represents. Readers will be interested to learn that the report is
already out of print. Mr. Leonard Norris, of Vernon, president of the
society, deserves a large share of the credit, both for the appearance of the
report and for the fact that it has been a success financially. A short
Seventh Report is to be published in the spring.
The Penticton Historical Society was organized in 1935, and held an
exhibition of Indian curios and historical relics in July of that year.    As in 1937 Notes and Comments. 59
several of the local societies, some of the members are particularly interested
in the Indians of the region and their history. Others are gathering records
and pictures regarding the careers of outstanding pioneers.
The North Kootenay Pioneers' Association, with headquarters at Revelstoke, was organized in October, 1933. It features an annual public event,
and to date the series has been an outstanding success, both financially and
otherwise. In 1935 a monster barbecue, lasting two days, was held in Revelstoke Park. In 1936 a Pioneer Trail celebration was arranged. The motion
picture based upon Alan Sullivan's novel of Canadian Pacific construction-
days, The Great Divide, was being made at the time, and the co-operation
of the Gaumont-British Corporation's staff and players made possible many
unique features and effects. The membership of the association is now 112,
and it is planning to set to work seriously to gather historical documents,
relics, and data. It is interesting to note that each year the Association
confers a life-membership upon an outstanding and deserving pioneer of
the community. Dr. W. H. Sutherland, M.L.A., is honorary president;
Mr. C. B. Hume, president;   and Mr. David Orr, secretary.
The Thompson Valley District Historical and Museum Association was
organized in Kamloops in the fall of 1936. Mr. J. J. Morse is president, and
the association is looking forward to a busy year. Kamloops will observe
its 125th anniversary in 1937, and an elaborate programme of celebrations,
which are to commence on Coronation Day, May 12, and last until the Fall
Fair, is being arranged. A committee of the Historical and Museum Association is to co-operate with the official celebrations committee in planning
the various events. Mr. David Power, who has a remarkable knowledge of
the history of the region, recently located an old building which originally
formed part of old Fort Kamloops. He has had the building carefully
dismantled and placed in storage, and it is hoped that its re-erection in
Riverside Park will be a feature of the 125th anniversary programme.
The Similkameen Historical Association was organized in Princeton on
April 27,1932, when the following officers were elected: Honorary president,
Mrs. S. L. Allison; president, Mr. S. R. Gibson; vice-president, Mr. A. E.
Howse; secretary, Rev. J. C. Goodfellow. These same officers have since
been annually re-elected. A constitution was adopted in May, 1932, which
listed the following objectives: to stimulate interest in local history; to
promote the preservation and marking of historic sites, relics, etc.; to secure,
preserve, and make available records of the early history of the valley,
photographs, and life-sketches of pioneers. The area to be covered was
defined as " west of Penticton, east of Hope, south of Merritt and Nicola,
and north of the International Boundary." Quarterly and annual meetings
have been held regularly, many relics and records have been gathered, and
papers on local history read. The meetings have been fully reported in the
Princeton Star. In 1933 The Geology of Princeton District (4 pp.), by Miss
Jessie Ewart, B.A., was printed for distribution. The annual meetings have
coincided with the birthday of Mrs. Allison, the honorary president, who was
the first white woman to settle in the Similkameen Valley. They have taken
the form of an Old-timers' Banquet, at which the average attendance has 60 Notes and Comments. January
been 150. The guest speaker at the first banquet was the late Mr. John
Hosie, then Provincial Librarian and Archivist. At the fifth annual gathering, held last August, His Honour Judge Howay gave a masterly address on
the " Historic Sites and Monuments of British Columbia."
The Fraser Canyon Historical Association was organized at a meeting
held at Yale on May 24, 1935, at which Dr. W. N. Sage was the principal
speaker. Its members are scattered throughout the district from Popcum
to as far north at Lytton. Regular meetings have been held, and the
members are gathering documents and data relating to the district. Their
most ambitious project is a photographic survey, the aim of which is to
obtain photographs of all buildings and other evidence of human activity
in the area, with the idea of using these photographs as the nuclei around
which local history can be built up. The progress of the experiment will
be watched with interest. Over one hundred pictures have already been
secured, and many more are known to be available. Mr. T. L. Thacker, of
Hope, is president of the association, and Rev. Heber H. K. Greene, of
Agassiz, secretary.
A number of other local societies, or sections of the British Columbia
Historical Association, are in immediate prospect. It is hoped that one of
these will be at Lillooet, where the Bridge River-Lillooet News, edited by
Mrs. M. L. Murray, published a 24-page special historical number of unusual
interest on October 29. Mrs. Murray and her staff made use of records
preserved at Lillooet, Kamloops, and Victoria, and in addition drew upon
the memories of pioneers of the district. The recollections of Alphonse
Hautier, son of Louis Hautier, a pioneer of 1858, are of special value.
No local societies or sections have yet been organized either in the Cariboo
or Southern Kootenay. Both are vast regions, rich in historical associations;
and every effort will be made to see that they are represented before the end
Potlatch and Totem and the Recollections of an Indian Agent.   By W. M.
Halliday.   London and Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.   1935.   Pp. xvi.,
240.   $3.75.
A " potlatch " was a meeting of a tribe or tribes at which, after much
feasting and many savage ceremonies, a large amount of goods and other
valuables were given to the guests by some one or more of the prominent men
of the inviting tribe, upon the tacit understanding that the recipients would
in due course return to the donor gifts of one hundredfold or more. If this
were not done, it would reflect great discredit upon the receivers.
This book is to a great extent a study of the potlatch. Mr. Halliday has
for thirty-eight years been an Indian Agent in the northern part of Vancouver Island. As such, he has had the opportunity, vouchsafed to few in an
equal degree, to observe at close range the life of the Indian, his customs' and
his ideas. There has been much controversy on this question of the potlatch
between anthropologists and the officials of the Indian Department at Ottawa.
The former regret the ban placed upon it by the Government, claiming that
it is an old custom of the race, picturesque, and in many ways beneficial.
The latter, admitting its picturesqueness, nevertheless think it necessary,
in the interest of the Indian himself, to forbid it being in any way carried on,
as being a relic of barbarism, imposing heavy burdens on the people and
being accompanied by many vicious practices.
Instead of describing the potlatch in the usual way, Mr. Halliday has
endeavoured to make it clearer to his readers by placing it before them in
fictional form. He describes the invitation to the guests, their arrival, the
ceremonies which take place, the dances, and the distribution of gifts. A
great part appears in the first person, especially the speeches. From
addresses supposed to be made by members of the tribe who have been
educated in the Government schools, we get Mr. Halliday's personal views.
He agrees with the Department that the custom is one which should not
be encouraged, both on account of the circumstances which surround it
and the load of debt which it imposes on the individual Indians.
The latter part of the book is devoted to his personal recollections
generally. It covers many other matters relating to the Indians, their
ancient customs, arts, and crafts; their morals, creeds, and superstitions.
Those who believe that the Indians have been corrupted by the advent of
the white men should read this book. Some time, it is to be hoped, the Fort
Langley Journal, 1927-1830, a copy of which is in the Provincial Archives,
will be published, possibly in this Quarterly; and, if so, it will fully corroborate Mr. Halliday's views on the subject.
He shows the progress that has been made by the Indians in modern days,
and pays a compliment to such men as Dr. R. W. Large and Dr. George H.
Darby, who have laboured among them as medical missionaries; the Columbia
Coast Mission, under Rev. John Antle in modern days, and Mr. William
Duncan in the past.   It is worthy of note that the latter, in dealing with the 62 The Northwest Bookshelf. January
Indians of the Skeena, was as strong an opponent of the potlatch as
Mr. Halliday.
The book is in an attractive form and is a worthy addition to the literature
of the North-west Coast. It is to be regretted that one serious error appears
on page 225, where Sir Wilfred Grenfell is referred to as Dr. Richard
Robie L. Reid.
The Honourable Company: A History of the Hudson's Bay Company. By
Douglas MacKay. Indianapolis: The Bobbs^Merrill Company. 1936.
Pp. xii., 396.   $3.75.
No one can read a chapter of this book without realizing that Mr. Douglas
MacKay, the popular editor of the Hudson's Bay Company's magazine,
The Beaver, has essayed what is plainly a labour of love. The work falls
into two clean-cut sections: the history itself and the appendices. The
history is plainly intended for the general reader and, especially, for the
Company's employees. It is written in easy and graphic style, though now
and again one detects a slight straining for effect. To attempt within the
straight-jacket of 318 pages to tell coherently, completely, and correctly the
story of The Great Chartered Company—a story of more than two centuries
and a half in time, of a domain, imperial in extent, and of empire-building
in reality—is1 to attempt the impossible. George Bryce in 1900 required
479 pages; Beckles Wilson in the same year required 646 pages; and
Miss Agnes Laut in 1908 required 824 pages; and not one of their efforts
was satisfactory. Mr. MacKay has treated his subject topically; his
nineteen headings touch the high spots and tell a thrilling story of romantic
reality; yet these nineteen topics are a series of pictures rather than one
coherent whole. Some of the chapters, notably that in which, under the
title of " The Little Emperor," he gives a sketch of Sir George Simpson,
are fine pastels; and no one connected with the Company can rise from the
perusal of that chapter or the subsequent one on " Some Commissioned
Gentlemen " without a deepened feeling of pride in the association.
The author has left gaps of considerable magnitude: The period between
1749 and 1815, which has been neglected by previous writers, has again not
been adequately dealt with; the story told is rather the advance of the
enemy—the Nor'westers—than the Company's own moves of offence or
defence. The work of the Company on the Pacific Coast is left untold; as
is its alleged attempt to colonize Vancouver Island. The interval between
1857 and 1869 is untouched so far as the work on the ground is concerned.
The last four chapters are biography rather than history; and that on
" Smith and the Insurrection," interesting as it is, might well have been
omitted for one germane to the Company's story.
Our author takes a little flight of imagination when he speaks of young
George Simpson, fresh from London, administering " final blows " to old and
trained Nor'westers. His references to the struggle between the companies
are scarcely fair at any time to the Nor'westers. If they were carrying on
at a loss, so were their opponents:   from 1809 to 1815 the Hudson's Bay 1937 The Northwest Bookshelf. 63
Company paid no dividend; and it seems contradictory to speak of the North
West Company as an " empty shell" (p. 163), and yet to admit that but for
Williams they would have driven their opponents out of the trade—a surprising result from an " empty shell." Nor can it be said (p. 177) that the
Athabaska country was " the very storm centre of the fur-trade battle and
the last stronghold of the enemy," when the upper waters of the Peace, the
Athabaska, and the North Saskatchewan and all the region west of the
Rockies had not even felt the footprint of a. Hudson's Bay trader, save for
the hasty trip of Howse in 1810. The author's outspoken admiration of
Sir George Simpson leads him to a view of Dr. John McLoughlin which will
not be accepted by the many who believe that the disagreement long antedated
the arrival of the first covered wagon.
The seemingly dry appendices will greatly interest the intensive student.
The rota of governors and deputy governors, the fluctuations in the prices of
the Company's stocks, and the dividends paid during the whole period from
1670 to 1936 give the first complete and reliable information on these important economic matters.
A number of omissions and doubtful statements are noted: though New
Caledonia existed from 1805, it is not included in the list on p. 159 until after
1825; having Fort McLeod in mind, the remark that Fort St. James is " the
oldest permanent settlement in British Columbia " may require reconsideration; the claim that the Hudson's Bay Company built, in 1799, Jasper or
Rocky Mountain House (p. 130) is novel; it is believed by this reviewer
that William Wales accompanied Captain Cook only on the second voyage,
and not on two voyages as stated on p. 98; John McLoughlin came to the
Columbia River not in 1823 (p. 232) but in 1824; his son was murdered not
by Indians (p. 233) but by his own men; Douglas's proclamations in the
gold-rush of 1858 were not made " as an officer of the Company " but as the
nearest representative of the Crown (p, 235); and on the same page the
date 1867 has inadvertently been written for 1871.
Notwithstanding these defects and doubtful statements, the volume is,
beyond all question, the most complete, accurate, and readable attempt at a
history of The Honourable Company that has, as yet, appeared.
F. W. Howay.
Sixth Report of the  Okanagan Historical Society.   Vancouver,  William
Wrigley Printing Company.    1936.    Pp. 309.    $2.
The Okanagan Historical Society, under the able presidency of Mr.
Leonard Norris, has added one more to its valuable series of reports.
Miss Margaret Ormsby, M.A., has edited the volume with the assistance
of Mr. J. C. Agnew, Mr. C. E. Pope, and Mrs. Judith N. Pope.
The society was organized in Vernon in 1925 as the Okanagan Historical
and Natural History Society, but its name was later changed to the Okanagan
Historical Society. Its object has been to record the history of the Okanagan
Valley, although it has never ceased to be interested in the history of the
Province as a whole. The present Report shows how the society is accomplishing its purpose.    It is a storehouse of information. 64 The Northwest Bookshelf. January
The articles presented are on a variety of subjects, historical, biographical,
and scientific. Perhaps the most valuable are the old-timers' narratives.
Mr. B. F. Young in his " Early Days in British Columbia " dates back to
1865, when Abraham Lincoln was shot. At that time he was serving in a
volunteer regiment in Philadelphia and he with others of his corps mounted
guard over the martyred president's body when it was lying in state there.
Times were hard in the United States after the war and in 1870 Mr. Young
started for California. From San Francisco he came north to British
Columbia and after many adventures became a stage-driver on the Cariboo
Road. In 1866 he hauled the Mary Victoria Greenhow, " the first steamboat
on Okanagan Lake from Lansdowne to the head of Okanagan Lake for
Captain Shorts."
Mr. Leon Lequime has written a brief but valuable account of his parents,
Mr. and Mrs. Eli Lequime, who walked in to Rock Creek in 1860 over the
Hope Trail. Mr. David Lloyd-Jones in his " Over the Hope Trail" records
his adventures on that historic route in 1880. Mr. Robert Lambly in his
" Early Days at Enderby " tells how he walked in to the Okanagan Valley
over the Hope Trail in the summer of 1876 and in the same year pre-empted
what is now the site of the City of Enderby. Mrs. Crestenza Kruger writes
a fascinating article on " Early Days at Osoyoos " tracing the history of that
settlement from 1861. Her reminiscences of General William Tecumseh
Sherman, who was in charge of the United States fort at Oroville in 1883,
are extremely interesting. Mr. R. D. Kerr tells of " Early Days in Priest's
Valley," where he arrived in November, 1885. " Society in Priest's Valley
in those days," he records, " was raw, rude and democratic. The men usually
wore long-legged boots with pant legs stuffed into the tops of them, and
chewed tobacco, but they were a fine lot of fellows for all that."
Mr. Leonard Norris has contributed a series of historical articles on
various subjects connected with the early development of the Province.
Perhaps his most interesting is on " Robson and Begbie," in which he gives
reasons for doubting whether the pioneer judge is quite entitled to the halo
with which tradition has surrounded his memory. Mr. F. M. Buckland's
" The Hudson's Bay Brigade Trail " is useful, as is also his note on " Kelowna,
Its Name." Mrs. William Brent also gives valuable information on the
origin of this historic place-name. Dr. Arthur T. Lang has contributed
several brief articles on scientific subjects. The " Okanagan Arc " is dealt
with in papers by Mr. Leonard Norris and Mr. J. C. Agnew. " The Camels
in British Columbia," by W. T. Hayhurst, sheds new light on that most
interesting but rather obscure subject.
A word should be added regarding the poems which are placed at the
beginning and end of the Report. They breathe the spirit of the frontier
and portray those characters of the cattle-range, the cowboy and the tenderfoot.   Most old-timers will agree that
" On the range
There's magic in the tinkle of a bell."
W. N. Sage. 1937 The Northwest Bookshelf. 65
Two of the papers published in the new Report of the Canadian Historical
Association (University of Toronto Press, 132 pp., $1), are of particular
interest to British Columbians. The first of these is " An Unsolved Problem
of Canadian History," by F. G. Roe. The title refers "to the somewhat
sudden and highly spectacular change in the route of the first Canadian
railway to the Pacific Ocean, from the previously adopted survey through
Battleford, Edmonton, and the Yellowhead Pass; to the existing route of
the Canadian Pacific through Calgary and Kicking-Horse Pass, some two
hundred miles further south." After a careful examination of the various
explanations which have been advanced, Mr. Roe reaches the conclusion that
the rerouting was due to a desire to avoid crossing the privately owned lands
and townsites which were scattered along the line as previously located.
" The plain truth is," in Mr. Roe's opinion, " that railways west of the
Mississippi, whether in the United States or in Canada, have never been
very favourable toward the idea of increasing the value of other folks' town-
site properties.    They have much preferred to own and develop their own."
The second paper is " Some Aspects of the Komagata Maru Affair, 1914,"
by Eric W. Morse. It is much the best account which has appeared, even
though attention is directed chiefly to "the way in which the affair was
handled in Vancouver, more particularly as regards the cause of the vessel's
eight weeks' delay in harbour and the final negotiations that made its
departure possible." The paper is part of a forthcoming study of The
Immigration and Status of British East Indians in Canada, in which Mr.
Morse will deal with the broader aspects of the Komagata Maru crisis. In
passing, it may be noted that Mr. Morse considers that the charge of German
complicity is groundless; and publication of the evidence on this and other
points will be awaited with interest.
Major Nevill A. D. Armstrong, author of Yukon Yesterdays (London,
John Long, 287 pp., 18 shillings), is well known in British Columbia, as he
lived for some years at Shawnigan Lake. His book makes exciting reading,
and consists, as the sub-title indicates, of " Personal memories of the famous
Klondike Gold Rush, first-hand accounts of lucky strikes, stories of Dawson
in the wild 'Nineties, together with adventures in mining, exploring and
big game hunting in the unknown sub-Arctic." Though frankly popular in
appeal, the book contains much of interest to serious readers. Some of the
descriptions of mining conditions and methods are noteworthy, especially as
they are based upon the writer's diaries, and in some instances give details
absent from other accounts. Armstrong knew George Carmack well, and
his version of the story of how Carmack and his Indian wife made the original
discovery which revealed the riches of the Klondike is an interesting contribution to an old controversy. The last third of the book is devoted to a
prospecting expedition which spent sixteen months on Russel Creek, a remote
tributary of the McMillan River, in 1905-06. The hardships and dangers
encountered, as well as the character of the country itself, are vividly
described. The party consisted of Major Armstrong, a friend, and their
wives.    One or two  errors should be corrected  in future editions.    The 66 The Northwest Bookshelf. January
Princess Sophia, for instance, was lost in 1918, not 1917.    A remarkable
series of over fifty illustrations adds much to the value of the volume.
Pay Dirt; a Panorama of American Gold-Rushes, by Glenn Chesney
Quiett (New York, Apple ton-Century, xxv., 506 pp., $4.50), relates the story
of the search for gold on this continent from the time of Marshall's discovery
in California in January, 1848, to a date as recent as August, 1936, when
news of a rich strike came from Nevada. It is a story crammed with
colourful characters and dramatic incidents, and to these Mr. Quiett has
added an immense and orderly array of facts and dates, which give the
book considerable value as a work of ready reference. Some twenty pages
are devoted to a sketch of the Fraser River and Cariboo rushes, and fifty
pages to the rush to the Klondike. Possibly the most interesting chapter
to Canadians will be the last, which describes recent gold-mining activities
in north-eastern and central Canada, with special reference to the career
of Jack Hammell. It is a subject about which the general public, in the
West at least, seems to know little. On the other hand, Mr. Quiett seems
unaware of the extensive revival of gold-mining, in the Cariboo and elsewhere, which has taken place in British Columbia during the last five or
six years. Pay Dirt is illustrated with nearly one hundred well-selected
photographs, maps, and reproductions of old prints and drawings. A critical
bibliography indicates the chief sources upon which the author has drawn,
chapter by chapter. It is surprising to find neither British Columbia, by
Howay and Scholefield, nor Sir James Douglas and British Columbia, by
W. N. Sage, included in the note referring to Chapter VIII. On both page
196 and page 486, the date of publication of Waddington's Fraser Mines
Vindicated is given as 1861 instead of 1858.
The Alaskan Melodrama, by J. A. Hellenthal (New York, Liveright,
xiii., 312 pp., $3), gives a relatively short yet comprehensive account of the
history and resources of Alaska. The first half of the book consists of an
interesting description of the country, the natives, early exploration, and
the period of Russian rule. The latter half covers the period from the
American occupation in 1867 until the present day, and deals with this recent
history largely in terms of the development of natural resources. It is highly
critical, both of the Alaskan government—which the author describes as
" the worst possible under the American flag"—and of the attitude of
Congress. Alaska and British Columbia are not only neighbours, but have
many resources in common; and Mr. Hellenthal's discussion of the proper
policy to pursue in exploiting them, and in particular his attack upon the
policy of conservation, will prove of interest and profit to British Columbians.
Interesting details of missionary life and work in Old Oregon are given
in the Life and Letters of Mrs. Jason Lee, by Theressa Gay (Portland,
Metropolitan Press, 224 pp., $2.50), which has just been published. Miss Gay
has had access to a large store of hitherto unpublished letters and records,
and these enable her to give a fairly complete account of Mrs. Lee's early 1937 The Northwest Bookshelf. 67
life and brief career in Oregon. Anna Maria Pittman was born in New York
in 1803. It is interesting to learn that her father was proprietor of the
ropewalk which supplied ropes for the rigging of the ships owned by John
Jacob Astor, founder of the Pacific Fur Company. In 1836 she was selected
as a teacher for the Oregon Mission by the Board of the Methodist Missionary
Society; and presently it became apparent that they regarded her as the
prospective bride of the Rev. Jason Lee as well. She sailed from Boston in
July, and after wintering at Honolulu finally reached Fort Vancouver in
May, 1837. There she met Jason Lee, and the couple were married two
months later. The marriage was a happy one, and all went well until
March, 1838, when Jason Lee left for the East, in an effort to secure further
support for the Oregon Mission. Three months later Mrs. Lee gave birth
to a son, and died a few days later, on June, 1838, at the early age of 35.
Miss Gay has supplemented her biography with an appendix of a hundred
pages in which she reprints a selection of the letters of Mrs. Lee, together
with a few by her husband. The book is well produced, and is complete with
illustrations, index, and bibliography. Professor H. E. Bolton contributes
a foreword.
Printed by Chablks F. IUnfield, Printer to tbe King's Most Excellent Majesty.
Organized October 31st, 1922.
His Honour ElUC W. Hamber, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.
OFFICERS, 1936-37.
Hon. G. M. Weir       - Honorary President.
W. Kaye Lamb  President.
W. N. Sage 1st Vice-President.
J. S. Plaskett  8nd Vice-President.
E. W. McMULLEN - - - - Honorary Treasurer.
MURIEL R. Cree ----- Honorary Secretary.
Robie L. Reid  Archivist.
F. W. Howay S. F. Tolmie Victor W. Odlum
J. C. Goodfellow B, A. McKelvie
To encourage historical research and stimulate public interest in history;
to promote the preservation and marking uf historic sites, buildings, relics,
natural features, and other objects and places of historical interest, and to
publish historical sketches, studies, and documei
Ordinary members pay a fee of $2 annually in advatu: year
commence ay of October.    All members in good standing receive
the Britisi: al Quarterly without further charge.
All correspondence and fees sh dressed in care of the Secretary.
Provincial Archives, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C.


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