British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical Quarterly Apr 30, 1944

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APRIL.  1944 T3fc
Published by the Archives of British Columbia
in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association.
W. Kaye Lamb.
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, P-
Willard E. Ireland.
Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.
(On active service, R.C.A.F.)
;oodfellow, P Robie L. Reid, Vancouver.
T. A. Rickard, Victor W. N. Sage, Vancouver.
Editorial communications should be addressed to the Editor.
Subscriptions should be sent to the Provincial Archives, Parliament
Buildings, Victoria, B.C. Price, 50c. the copy, or $2 the year. Members
of the British Columbia Historical Association in good standing receive the
Quarterly without further charge.
Neither the Provincial Archives nor the British Columbia Historical
Association assumes any responsibility entente made by contributors
to the magazine.
The Quarterly is indexed in Faxon's Annual Magazine Subject-Index. We
" Any country worthy of a future
should be interested in its past."
Vol. VIII. Victoria, B.C., April, 1944. No. 2
William Wallace Gibson: A Canadian Pioneer of the Air.
By Frank H. Ellis      93
The Eight "Rainbows."
By F. V. Longstaff    107
My Father: Joseph Despard Pemberton.
By Harriet Susan Sampson  111
The Journal of John Work, 1885.
Being an account of his voyage northward from the Columbia River
to Fort Simpson and return in the brig " Lama," January-
October, 1885.
Part I. Edited with an introduction and notes by Henry Drummond Dee  127
Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry in British
Columbia.   A Checklist.
Part I.:   1872-1900.
By Marjorie C. Holmes  147
Notes and Comments.
British Columbia Historical Association.    163
Contributors to this Issue  167 WILLIAM WALLACE GIBSON:  A CANADIAN
This story begins some fifty years ago. If we could go back
to the early nineties and visit a certain farm on the Canadian
prairies, we would sooner or later see a young lad indulging in
the ancient art of kite-flying. The boy would lie for hours on
the prairie grass as he held the taut string, watching and wondering. Often kept home from school to herd his father's cattle, his
main hobby at such times was flying kites. He became very
adept at making them, and learned to keep them aloft when
hardly a breath of wind was blowing. On windless days he would
gallop his pony for miles over the open prairie in order to create
a breeze, and tow his kite behind, just to see it fly. It was then
that the thought came to him that if his pony could supply the
energy to keep a kite aloft, why could not some way be devised
of applying the power directly to the kite itself ?
The young lad was William Wallace Gibson, who had been
born in Ayrshire, Scotland, and had come to Canada with his
parents when they decided to cut the old home ties, cross the
ocean, and settle on the prairies. Amongst other things, he
learned quickly that a kite with a backward sweep on either side
of its centre stick would fly much more steadily than one with a
flat surface. So for a number of years the boy experimented,
making innumerable kites and thinking deeply as to why they
The years slipped by and young Gibson grew to manhood. He
moved to the village of Balgonie, 15 miles east of Regina, where
he bought a general store.   Balgonie was then a tiny hamlet in
* Editor's Note.—In October, 1939, Mr. Frank H. Ellis contributed to
the Quarterly an article entitled " Pioneer Flying in British Columbia,
1910-1914" (III., pp. 227-61). This included some account of the experiments conducted by William Wallace Gibson, but the information then available was very incomplete. Moreover, there seemed to be little hope of filling
in the picture, as Mr. Ellis had been informed, on what appeared to be good
authority, that Mr. Gibson had died some years before. Happily this was
not so. Mr. Gibson is still very much alive, and the present article is based
largely upon data and photographs that he himself has kindly placed at Mr.
Ellis's disposal.—W.K.L.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VIII., No. 2.
93 94 Frank H. Ellis. April
the district of Assiniboia, a part of the Northwest Territories.
It was not until September, 1905, that the area became Saskatchewan and a Province of the Dominion.
When the Wright brothers made their first flight in December, 1903, William Gibson read of it in the newspapers. It was
then that he made up his mind to start experimenting with a
man-sized craft of his own design. His first preliminary models,
made during the winter of 1903-04, were simply of paper. They
were based entirely upon ideas gleaned from his kite-flying days,
for it was not until three years later that he first saw a picture
of an airplane.
The wing-tips of his models were given a sharp upward angle,
similar to those of his early kites, as he had learned that this
gave them greater stability in flight. The front wing was adjustable, so that the degree of lift could be regulated, in order to
control the model in flight. In his search for the motive power
required to fly his models Gibson displayed great ingenuity. He
used the spring end of a window-blind roller, cutting it off three-
quarters of an inch beyond the spring; and into the wooden end
he drilled a hole, inserting a length of bamboo to form the rest of
the " fuselage." The wooden part of the roller around the spring
was lightened by whittling it down to a thickness of less than
one-sixteenth of an inch. The metal part which protruded was
also filed down to reduce weight, and a suitable screw was soldered to the end of it. To this in turn was attached a pusher propellor, carved from Spanish mahogany. The propellor was at the
rear and rotated between two rudders. For launching the model
a chute was fashioned, made from a 9-foot board, 10 inches in
width. Along the centre of the chute was a guide. Skids were
fitted to the model that kept it clear of the chute. They were used
also for landing purposes. The surface of the chute was varnished and highly polished; it was built on four legs, the two in
front being 3 feet in height, the rear ones but 12 inches. This,
then, was the starting device.
In addition to the store at Balgonie, Gibson by this time
owned a hardware store at Craven and another branch at Cupar.
As a respected citizen of those communities, he realized that if
the residents in general, and his banker in particular, came to
hear of his experiments they might well think that he was some- 1944 A Pioneer of the Air. 95
what unbalanced mentally. As gossip travelled in Balgonie with
the speed of a prairie fire, Gibson deemed it in his best interests
to keep his experiments to himself.
At dawn on a Sunday in the middle of June, 1904, Gibson
made the initial test of his first powered model. His store was in
the building owned by a Billy Hyde. Up on the flat-topped roof
Gibson set up his launching device. Then, having wound up the
spring of the model, he placed it on the chute and released it.
It took the air half way up the chute, and sped swiftly across the
street. There it struck a box car standing on a siding, damaging
one wing. But Gibson had satisfied himself, beyond all doubt,
that his model could fly.
Many other models of a similar type were constructed at Balgonie, and flown with varying success from the roof of the store,
always during the early hours, just before dawn. Gibson kept
his secret well, but one or two people saw the models in flight.
Dr. Kaulbfleisch, who is thought still to be a resident of Balgonie, returned home very early one morning, after attending a
patient in the country, and came into the village unnoticed by the
inventor. When the store opened later in the day he called in
and said: " Billy, that was a funny looking bird you were trying
to catch on your roof this morning. I never saw a bird like that
in my life. It flew right over my buggy, and lit on the grass over
by the station."
Jimmy Hicks, who was an early riser and lived close by, was
another. One day he was heard telling a neighbour that he had
seen a funny looking bird fly off Bill Hyde's building, and that
he thought maybe it had a nest up there.
Gibson was so well pleased with his experiments that he
decided to design and build a man-carrying craft. For the sake
of privacy the work was to be done on his farm, some 4 miles
south of the village. The first step was to build a 4-cylinder,
4-cycle air-cooled engine of his own design; but when it was
partly constructed the railroad boom struck the vicinity. Gibson
was influenced into contracting to build a 20-mile stretch of
right-of-way for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, then being
pushed through 100 miles north of Balgonie. Later he took
another contract for a further 22 miles, west to the Touchwood
Hills.   Instead of returning a profit, these two contracts cost him 96 Frank H. Ellis. April
$40,000—the first financial loss he had ever experienced. He was
27 at the time, and, in his own words: " When I had the banks
cleaned up, or rather they had cleaned me, I had no stores, nor
farm, so with what capital I had left, I decided to go west, and
start anew."
Gibson arrived in Victoria, British Columbia, in the fall of
1906, taking along what personal effects he had retained, together
with the partly-completed engine, to which he pinned his hopes
and plans to fly.
In the spring of 1907 he met a miner named Locky Grant,
who, like most prospectors, was broke. However, he did have a
good prospect at Elk River, on the west coast of Vancouver
Island, and Locky offered it to Gibson for $500. The day Locky
sailed for Clayoquot in the steamer Tees, Gibson decided to look
the claim over. Having been brought up on the prairies he knew
nothing about boats, and less about the ocean. But being an
adventurous soul, he scraped together $300 in cash, bought a
17-foot launch, provisioned it, and set off northward. He had
looked at his course on a map and, as he himself recalls, it
" looked so calm and peaceful" that he expected no difficulties;
but the journey is a story unto itself. He was eight days getting
to his destination, and he lost 25 lb. on the way. The Pacific off
the west coast of Vancouver Island is noted for its violence on
occasion, and apparently it duly resented a landlubber's intrusion.
He met Locky and was shown the mine. It was the first hole
in a rock he had ever seen. Some of the decomposed quartz was
picked out into a pan, and washed in a near-by creek. It showed
a string of gold, 3 inches long. That was enough for Gibson; he
made a deal forthwith. He gave Locky his launch, a camera, his
field glasses, a rifle, and $100 to boot. The two men shook hands,
and the mine had a new owner.
Gibson returned to Victoria, procured a small stamp-mill and
a water-wheel to run it, and hurried back on the Tees. Locky
stayed and worked with him at the mine until he brought out a
gold brick worth $1,200. This Gibson believes may have been
the first of its kind from a quartz deposit on the west coast
of Vancouver Island. It enabled him to sell the property for
$10,000, and with this cash in hand he immediately set about
making plans to resume construction of his first man-carrying
airplane. William Wallace Gibson. Courtesy Canadian Aviation.
Gibson's first engine. Construction commenced
at Balgonie and was completed in Victoria. This
engine was never fitted in an aircraft.
Gibson's second engine, completed in Victoria in 1910—the first of
its type fabricated in Canada. Mr. Gibson recently presented this
engine to the National Research Council, and it will be placed in the
aeronautical collection of the National Museum of Canada, in Ottawa. 1944 A Pioneer of the Air. 97
The work began in 1908. It was a heart-breaking struggle.
Gibson frankly admits that had he not learned the blacksmithing
trade as a boy he could never have accomplished the things he
did, for he had to make every one of the parts himself, by hand.
Nor were financial difficulties absent. He had formed a partnership with another man, whom I am allowed to name only as Dave.
This, he thought, assured him that sufficient working capital
would be forthcoming; but his partner got into difficulties, and
actually contributed only $500.*
It was then usual to keep to one's self the knowledge that a
" flying-machine" was being constructed, but the news got
• around Victoria that Gibson was building an airplane.2 He was
working eighteen hours out of every twenty-four, week after
week, and people who knew him openly ridiculed him. Many, on
passing him on a down-town street, would hold out their arms
and start flapping them. Even the parson came to him and tried
to dissuade him from going on with his work.
Victoria at that time was about the last place on earth in
which to expect to find the materials required to build an airplane. Nor was there any one to whom Gibson could go for
advice. Aviation publications were not available there, and he
had to start from scratch, gaining information from experiments
as he progressed. Delays were innumerable, and his capital
diminished at a frightening rate. Numerous tests were conducted with large models, usually from the hill-top in Beacon
Hill Park.
The 4-cylinder engine to which he had pinned his hopes was
found to be of little use when completed. The 6-inch stroke was
far too long. This, coupled with its light construction, caused it,
in Gibson's words, " to jump around like a chicken with its head
chopped off," so he set to work to design and build a better
(1) In his narrative poem, The Bird Men, to which reference will be
made later, Gibson states that Dave was to have contributed $5,000. He
was a baker by trade, and made a wager with a baker friend in Vancouver
that Gibson's airplane would fly across the Strait of Georgia before Christmas, 1910.    He lost the bet, which was for $1,000.
(2) An interview with Gibson was printed in the Victoria Colonist for
July 7, 1909. Excerpts from it are printed in Frank H. Ellis, " Pioneer
Flying in British Columbia," in this Quarterly, III. (1939), p. 232. 98 Frank H. Ellis. April
Having decided to construct a 6-cylinder, air-cooled motor, he
went to Hutchinson Brothers, in Victoria, to learn what the cost
would be. The engineer in charge, Dan Hutchinson, looked the
drawings over and expressed the opinion that the design would
probably be a complete failure, as an air-cooled engine would be
sure to overheat, and that six cylinders would not work as a two-
cycle engine. However, Gibson insisted that that was what he
wanted, and the firm undertook to build the motor—the first
aircraft engine of the type ever fabricated in Canada.
The crank-shaft was made by Gill Brothers, of New York,
and the crank-case was cast in Seattle. Assembly of the engine
was completed in March, 1910. The cylinders had a bore of 4^
inches; the stroke was 4*4 inches. Ignition was by battery, coil,
and distributor. Oil was mixed with gasoline for lubrication.
Self-feeding pressure grease-cups were fitted for the crank-shaft
and connecting-rod bearings.
Great originality was shown by Gibson, both in the design of
this engine and in the method adopted to operate the air-screws.
Two were fitted, one at the front of the engine and one at the
rear. Both were two-bladed and 6 feet in length. The front one,
which had a 6-foot pitch, was attached directly to the end of the
crankshaft, but the one at the rear was geared to the shaft,
revolved at twice the speed of the front one, and had only a 4-foot
pitch. Gibson's object in fitting and designing the air-screws in
this manner was to overcome torque, which remains a bugbear
to aircraft designers, even to-day. In tackling the problem he
showed skill and forethought, and it is almost certain that he was
the first engine designer to incorporate this idea in a full-sized
aircraft, where two air-screws revolved one directly behind the
other. A number of the world's most modern aircraft have this
same principle incorporated in their design to-day.
When tested, the engine fulfilled the inventor's greatest expectations. It ran as smoothly as an electric motor, and developed
between 40 and 60 horse-power. Complete it weighed only
210 lb.
The aircraft itself, which its builder designated the " Gibson
Twin-plane," had many unique features incorporated in its
design. It had two wings, one behind the other, each measuring
20 feet from tip to tip, and 8 feet in width at its widest point. 1944 A Pioneer of the Air. 99
They had a framework of spruce, and were covered with blue
waterproof silk material, obtained from Jeune Brothers, tent
manufacturers, of Victoria. Steel sockets were fitted to the
framework of the wings at the point of contact with the " fuselage " of the machine, and clamps, applied at these points,
enabled the wings as a whole to be moved backwards and forwards to obtain a correct balance, or, as it would be expressed
to-day, to establish a correct centre of gravity. The design of the
wings, which Gibson originated, gave great stability. A basically
similar design, in use in some aircraft to-day, is known as the
" gull wing " type. Numerous ribs were fitted between the wing-
spars to keep the covering rigid, and a large main spar, 14 inches
in width, and of proportional thickness, extended from wing-tip
to wing-tip. This spar was carefully streamlined, a matter to
which few designers of that day paid much attention.
To enable the wing-covering to be kept taut at all times, a
particularly necessary requirement in the damp climate of the
British Columbia coastal area, Gibson designed another ingenious
device. Each rib was encased in a pocket of material, which was
itself sewn to the covering of the wing, with an opening at the
centre, and every rib had a metal tube at its centre, fitted with
turnbuckles which could be adjusted so as to tighten up or slacken
off the wing covering at will.
Two streamlined metal fuel-tanks, each with a capacity of 10
gallons, were fitted, one on either side of the engine, and well
above it, so as to give gravity feed to the carburettor. These
tanks were fitted with baffle-plates to prevent the fuel from surging, exactly as the tanks in modern aircraft are to-day.
It is also well worth noting that wherever Gibson used wooden
cross-members, they were carefully designed to give added lift to
the machine in flight. They were cambered, and wooden strips,
which Gibson termed " webs," were glued to their under-sides to
help preserve their proper shape.
The undercarriage, then termed the " running-gear," was
fashioned from metal tubing, attached to the main frame-bearers.
Bicycle wheels were suitably attached to axles at their lower ends.
There were four of these wheels, one at either end of each frame
bearer; and although well braced with piano wire, they were
undoubtedly the weak spot of the machine. 100 Frank H. Ellis. April
The fuselage consisted of two frame-beams, 8 feet apart, each
approximately 35 feet in length. They were of Douglas fir, and
on each were twenty-five cast aluminium " collars," fitted with
four steel arms. Through holes in the outside ends of these arms
ran a wire that stretched from end to end of the beam. Strong
turnbuckles kept each structure rigid.
The engine, wings, running-gear, etc., were all suitably
attached to these frame-beams to complete the craft. The front
elevator, 8 by 4 feet, was of laminated cedar and was controlled
by a lever in the hands of the pilot. The two rudders, also of
laminated cedar, were operated by a shoulder yoke. There were
no ailerons.3
At last the momentous day arrived when the machine was in
readiness for testing. It was dismantled at the workshop in
Victoria, and moved as secretly as possible, by horse and wagon,
to a large grassy meadow on the farm of Mr. Dean, near Mount
Tolmie, several miles north of the city. (Fittingly enough, the
meadow in question is now part of the Lansdowne Airport.)
There Gibson and his two helpers erected the craft, and on the
early morning of September 8, 1910, a successful short flight
was made; but unfortunately, in landing, the running-gear was
damaged, necessitating repairs.4
Once again, on September 24, everything was in readiness
for a further test, and at 4 o'clock in the morning the machine
was wheeled from the shed and the engine set in motion.
Gibson took his seat, and after the motor had been warmed
up he signalled to his helpers to let go. A light cross-breeze was
blowing towards the craft, and aided by this and by a slight
incline down the field, the twin-plane lifted quickly into the air,
after a run of only 50 feet. As it picked up speed and soared
away from the ground it began to drift sideways. Not being
familiar with the operation of the controls, Gibson made an
unfortunate error. He leaned to the wrong side in an effort to
overcome the drift with the rudders, and this caused the machine
to swing farther around and head directly for a fine stand of
(3) A few additional details will be found in the newspaper reports
quoted in Ellis, " Pioneer Flying," British Columbia Historical Quarterly,
III. (1939), pp. 233-34.
(4) See Victoria Colonist, September 10, 1910. The Gibson twin-plane, built in Victoria and flown on the site of the
Lansdowne Airport in September, 1910.
Courtesy Canadian Aviation.
Another view of the twin-plane. The design of the winss gave the
machine great stability, a quality conspicuously lacking in many early
aircraft. be
H 1944 A Pioneer of the Air. 101
oak trees, well down the field. Gibson immediately shut off the
motor, and made a landing, after a flight estimated at some 200
feet. The momentum of the machine carried it with considerable
force into a particularly sturdy oak, which it struck at a speed
of about 25 miles an hour. Gibson was hurled clear, sustaining
only minor injuries and a severe shaking up, but the machine
itself was badly smashed.5 As winter was coming on, further
experiments were abandoned for that year.
It should not be overlooked that, in those days, a flight of even
a hundred feet, with a machine of entirely new design, was an
accomplishment of the first magnitude. The initial hop made by
Wilbur Wright on his first powered flight at Kitty Hawk was
only 120 feet, and the first hop in England, made by A. V. Roe
in June, 1908, was less than 100 feet. The original flight of the
Canadian Aerial Experiment Association, in which Casey F. W.
Baldwin flew the " Redwing " at Lake Keuka, N.Y., in March,
1908, was 319 feet. Santos Dumont flew less than 200 feet in
1906, when he accomplished the first flight officially credited to
an airplane in Europe. When compared with these and similar
early flying endeavours by other airmen who later became
famous, the initial flights of William Wallace Gibson take their
rightful place as outstanding pioneer efforts, which should be
fittingly recorded and remembered for all time. It is greatly to
be regretted that Canadians passed over these events so lightly,
and that no effort was made to have Gibson's accomplishments
officially recorded at the time.
In the fall of 1910 Gibson obtained a copy of Artificial and
Natural Flight, by Sir Hiram Maxim.6 This was the first authoritative work on the subject that he had ever read. Sir Hiram was
a firm believer in the possibilities of using wings with a narrow
chord, rather than of great width, and he claimed that such
designs could lift more per square foot of wing surface than
wider ones. The book included many cuts and drawings
illustrating the different wing structures with which he had
Influenced by Maxim's work, Gibson decided to redesign completely the wings of his machine, and he chose the shape which
(5) Victoria Colonist, September 25, 1910. This account is quoted in
Ellis, " Pioneer Flying," p. 235.
(6) London and New York, 1908; second edition, 1909. 102 Frank H. Ellis. April
Sir Hiram claimed gave the most efficient lift. By the spring of
1911 the new craft, now named the " Gibson Multi-plane," had
taken shape. The original silk-covered wings had been replaced
with a number of narrow ones, made entirely of thin spruce,
properly cambered, and beautifully finished.
At this point financial difficulties threatened once again. The
last of the $10,000 was fast disappearing, and the inventor had
a wife and three children to support. Like most inventors, however, Gibson had unlimited faith in his ideas, so he sold his home
in Victoria, situated at the corner of Simcoe and Clarence streets,
and continued to devote all his energies to the rebuilt machine.
The " Multi-plane " had the same frame-beams that had been
used in the " Twin-plane," and the same running-gear, but the
latter had been strengthened and made more rigid. Gibson had
learned, too, that it was very necessary to have some sort of
lateral control, and ailerons were made and fitted to the machine,
the hinges being of leather. The ailerons, or wing flaps, were of
spruce, and were operated by turning a wheel to right or left.
The same wheel was fitted with a sliding groove on a keyed shaft,
and pushing it forward or drawing it backward operated the
elevators. Of these there were two, one at the rear and the other
at the front of the machine. Like the ailerons they were of
spruce. The single rudder, made of laminated cedar, was operated by ropes controlled by the pilot's feet.
In the multi-plane Gibson did away with the front air-screw,
and used a single new 8-foot pusher propellor, with a 6-foot
pitch, which he later found to be far more efficient than the two
previously fitted.
Gibson confesses that in view of his experience at Dean Farm
he " was anxious to get away from the oak trees," and Thomas
Paterson, then Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, granted
him permission to carry on further experiments on his farm at
Ladner. Gibson spent over six weeks there in April and May,
1911, testing and adjusting his machine, but weather conditions
were extremely bad, and it rained almost continuously. He managed to get the plane in perfect balance, but the soggy ground
and the small area, coupled with the downpours, prevented any 1944 A Pioneer of the Air. 103
actual flights, although numerous attempts were made.7 The wet
weather was beginning to affect many of the glued parts of the
craft, so Gibson decided to conduct his experiments elsewhere.
He went first to Kamloops, and there set his machine up in
readiness for further tests; but difficulties with a crooked promoter, who tried to inveigle Gibson into contracting to make a
flight, decided him to leave Kamloops before making any experiments. Gibson was an inventor, not an exhibition flyer, so he
packed up and went on to Calgary. During the summer of 1911
exhaustive tests were conducted at a farm on the outskirts of
that city, and numerous adjustments made, some of which were
necessitated by the change to an altitude of over 3,000 feet.
Amongst other things the engine was fitted with three carburettors instead of one, a change which markedly increased its efficiency. When all was ready success was fully achieved and a
number of satisfactory flights made.
By this time Mrs. Gibson had become alarmed at the risks her
husband was taking, and during a visit to Eastern Canada she
made him promise not to attempt flights himself during her
absence. Gibson thereupon obtained the assistance of a friend,
Alex. Japp, a native of Forest, Ontario. Japp served as helper
and " test pilot," and proved himself fully worthy of the trust.
Bad luck finally caught up with Gibson and his plane. On
August 12, 1911, Japp took the machine off the ground for a test,
and through unfortunate circumstances, smashed up in making a
landing.   The accident was reported in the press as follows:—
When attempting to make a landing from a height of over 100 feet in
the air during a flight the airman working with Gibson to make tests, the
latter being the inventor of the multiplane, crashed down into a swampy
coulee near this city [Calgary], and narrowly escaped death.
Aviator Japp had flown about a mile and miscalculated the ground on
which he proposed to descend and when within 50 feet of the ground noticed
the turf was honeycombed with hundreds of badger holes. He attempted to
ascend and elevated the machine, but was too late. His engine stopped and
refused to start again. The wheels struck the uneven surface of the ground,
and were torn off, and the machine literally torn to pieces.
For six weeks back, Gibson and Japp have been experimenting with their
machine at a ranch a few miles from this city, making short flights with
great success.
(7) See Victoria Colonist, May 2, June 2, 1911; Vancouver Province,
June 1, 1911; also a letter from A. D. Paterson, of Ladner, who witnessed
the trials, to Frank H. Ellis, dated June 1, 1939. 104 Frank H. Ellis. April
Gibson intends rebuilding his damaged machine with pressed steel planes
and intends going to Toronto, where they have factories for that sort of
work.   .   .   .8
The machine was in reality badly wrecked, and the season
was getting late. Most important of all, the inventor's funds
were again running low. It was then that he decided to abandon
his experiments with aircraft, and to get back to making money,
instead of spending it.
Had Gibson been able to continue his work he might well have
become one of Canada's outstanding aircraft designers, but on
the other hand, as he himself has remarked, he "might just
as easily have gone to an early grave." In recent letters he
expressed regret that he did not continue with his original
" twin-plane," as its basic design was sound and, if it had been
developed further, far-reaching success might perhaps have been
From the time he started his experiments at Balgonie, to the
date of the final smash at Calgary, $20,000 had been expended,
to say nothing of many many months of hard toil. But, like most
pioneers, Gibson has no regrets. At present he is the owner of
a flourishing business in California, turning out gold-mining
machinery, all of which is constructed to his own designs.
In 1942 Gibson published privately a narrative poem entitled
The Bird Men, which comprises a humorously written but accurate account of his early endeavours and experiences in the realm
of aviation. The opening lines are a reminder to those who, in
the early years of the century, were confident that man could
never fly:—
When we rejoice and gaze with pride
On metal wings that safely glide
And proudly laud each record flight
That span wide ocean's over night
Or in life's brief relentless race
We wing our way from place to place
And measure miles at greater speed
Than fairy tales of flight we read
Yet printed proof on record show
And proof penned not so long ago
Reveal men swore by day and night
Man could never conquer flight.
(8)  Calgary Herald, August 12, 1911. 1944 A Pioneer of the Air. 105
The concluding lines are also worth quoting, because they
contain a plea to those who live in the present not to forget
the past:—
You generations, yet here to come
And sweep the sky with scarce a hum
When in life's race you play your part
On birds of grace bedecked with art
Borne by power and strange you'll ride
On wings that span a full mile wide
Remember once that pleasure sought
Was by your forebears dearly bought
Just bear in mind that doubtful day
When bird men nobly paved the way.
Although he believes his days of flying experiments are over,
Gibson's interest in aviation is still as keen as it was half a
century ago, when, as a small boy, he rode his pony at the gallop
over the prairie, looking in rapture at the high-flying kite he
was towing behind and dreaming of the time when he might
become the pilot of a full-sized man-carrying aircraft. Unfortunately that dream was never completely realized, for, as we have
seen, with success almost within his grasp this Canadian pioneer
of the air was forced to abandon his experiments, although he
had proved beyond all doubt that he was on the brink of definite
Frank H. Ellis.
West Vancouver, B.C. Hand steering-wheels of H.M.C.S. Rainbow. The
officer is Gunner E. Haines, R.C.N, (now Lieutenant-
Commander E. Haines, M.B.E.).
From a photograph taken by Major F. V. Longstaff
in the spring of 1914. THE EIGHT " RAINBOWS."*
In the article on The Career of H.M.C.S. " Rainbow " which
he contributed last year to this Quarterly, Dr. Gilbert N. Tucker
noted that on the Rainbow's hand steering-wheels were inscribed
the names and dates of actions in which earlier Rainbows had
taken part: " Spanish Armada 1588—Cadiz 1596—Brest 1599—
Lowestoft 1665—North Foreland 1666—Lagos Bay 1759—Frigate Hancock 1777—Frigate Hebe 1782." It seems worth while
to pursue this interesting topic a little further, and present a
few notes on the eight Rainbows that, over a period of almost
four centuries, have served in the Royal Navy.
As the inscription on the steering-wheels indicate, the name
Rainbow goes back to the time of Queen Elizabeth and Sir
Francis Drake. In those days ship-names were chosen to express ideas and to inspire the people to great deeds. It was
Queen Elizabeth's way to give her ships " telling " names. It
has been said that the choice of energetic names for the ships
of the Royal Navy was one of the means employed by the heroic
Elizabeth to infuse something of her own dauntless spirit into
the hearts of her subjects, and to show Europe at large how
little she dreaded the mightiest armaments of her enemies. As
a rule, in the case of her bigger ships, the Queen chose names
that, in addition, carried an underlying meaning, or bore direct
allusion to some national event of the hour. Contemporary
names include Revenge, Repulse (originally Dieu Repulse), Defiance, Warspite, Swiftsure (originally Swift-Suer, or Swift-Pursuer), and Dreadnought.
The first Rainbow, a galleon of 480 tons, 54 guns, was built
at Deptford in 1586. She formed part of the fleet under Drake
in 1587, when he " singed the King of Spain's beard " at Cadiz.
In the Armada fight the following year she bore a distinguished
part. The Rainbow also took part in the expedition against
Cadiz in 1596. She was rebuilt in 1608, emerging as a 40-gun
ship of 650 tons.    In the Algiers expedition of 1621 she carried
* Compiled from William G. Gates, Ships of the British Navy, Portsmouth, 1905; and Cecil King, H.M.S. His Majesty's Ships and their Forbears, London, 1940.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VIII., No. 2.
2 108 F. V. Longstaff. April
the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Button, and in the Cadiz
expedition of 1625 (her third foray against that port), the flag
of Lord Cromwell. She also took part in the expedition to
La Rochelle, in 1627.
In the battle with the Dutch fleet in August, 1652, the original Rainbow served as flagship of Sir George Ayscue. She was
also in the battle off the Kentish Knock, September 28. In the
great fight off Portland on February 18, 1653, she bore the flag
of Vice-Admiral James Peacock. Her losses on the latter occasion were fifteen killed and thirty-one wounded. She took part
in the action off the coast of Essex on June 3, and shared in the
decisive defeat of the Dutch on July 31, 1653. In both these
engagements she carried the flag of Rear-Admiral William
The Rainbow next fought in the battle off Lowestoft in 1665.
In 1666 she took part in the three days' fight off the North Foreland, and in the famous St. James's Day fight off the Galloper
Sand, her casualties in the latter being eighteen killed and forty
wounded. In the third Dutch war she fought at Solebay, in
1672, and in the three drawn battles of the following year. She
had then been in active service for eighty-seven years, and was
sold in 1680.
The second Rainbow, a ship of 32 guns, was captured, possibly
from the French, in 1697, and was also sold, in 1698.
The third Rainbow, of 40 guns, was built in 1747 and was
present at the fight of Lagos Bay in 1759. On September 4;
1782, she captured the French 40-gun frigate Hebe, off the Isle
of Bas (Batz).    She was sold out of the service in 1802.
On January 2, 1809, the French corvette Iris was captured
off Texel by H.M.S. Aimable, and added to the Royal Navy as
the Rainbow. On February 13, 1810, this Rainbow made a daring attack on the French 50-gun ship Nereide. She continued
the fight until she was dismasted and then the Nereide made off.
This fourth Rainbow was sold out of the service in 1815.
The next Rainbow, a 28-gun frigate, was launched in 1823.
She continued in service until 1838 when she, too, was sold.
The sixth Rainbow—and the first driven by steam—was a
screw gunboat of 235 tons, 60 horse-power, mounting two guns,
built in 1856 for the Russian war in the Baltic.    She served as 1944 The Eight Rainbows. 109
tender to the Ajax at Kingston in 1863, to the Wivern at Hull
in 1870; was laid up at Chatham in 1873, and eventually sold
out of service in 1888.
This brings us to the seventh ship of the name, the Rainbow
that was eventually acquired by the Royal Canadian Navy.
So-called " Navy scares," caused by fear of foreign attack,
or uneasiness about the strength of the Royal Navy, or both,
exercised an important influence on construction programmes in
the last half of the nineteenth century. One of these scares,
developing in 1888, resulted in the " Naval Defence Act" of
1889. This Act provided for the addition of no less than seventy
ships to the Navy, of which ten were to be battleships and thirty-
eight were to be cruisers. Of the cruisers, twenty-one were vessels of the Apollo class. This class in turn was designed in two
groups, the later vessels being slightly larger than the earlier
ones. It was to this improved Apollo class that the Rainbow
belonged. For purposes of record it may be interesting to list
her nine sister-ships: Aeolus, Brilliant, Indefatigable, Intrepid,
Iphigenia, Retribution, Pique, Sirius, and Spartan.
The Rainbow and her sisters were designed by Sir William
White. She was a second-class cruiser with a length of 360 feet
and a displacement of 3,600 tons. She had twin screws, driven
by reciprocating engines designed to develop 9,000 horse-power
and to drive her at a speed of 19% knots. Her main armament
consisted of two 6-inch and six 4.7-inch guns. Her crew numbered 273. She was built by Palmer's Shipbuilding Company,
at Jarrow, and launched on March 25, 1891. Her total cost was
The Rainbow was completed in time to participate in the
naval manoeuvres of 1893, and she again took part in the manoeuvres in 1894. She became a Devonport ship, and on May 5,
1895, was commissioned for the China Station by Captain William C. C. Forsyth. In May, 1898, she had returned home to
Devonport. Her next commission was on December 17, 1901,
to the Cruiser Squadron, by Captain Thomas Y. Grant. In 1904
she was again back at Devonport.
The Rainbow belonged to a type of " protected " cruiser
about which there was much controversy. The term designated
a cruiser which, though lacking in side armour, had a horizontal 110 F. V. Longstaff.
armoured deck with sloping sides in the vicinity of the water-
line'. Coal was usually carried on these sides in small compartments, and the combination of deck, coal, and subdivision was
intended to protect the vessel's vitals. Whether or not it would
do so in action was hotly debated, and in addition there were
many who contended that the Apollos were too small and too
slow to be of much service if war broke out.
Some of the most slashing criticisms of Sir William White's
cruiser designs had come from Admiral Sir John Fisher (later
Lord Fisher of Kilverstone). On Trafalgar Day, 1904, Fisher
became First Sea Lord of the Admiralty. One of his first actions
was to strike off the effective list no less than 154 ships. Ten of
the Apollo class cruisers were included, amongst them being the
Rainbow. True, they were not to be scrapped immediately, but
they were listed as " Ships of comparatively small fighting
value," which would retain their armaments for the present,
and it was obvious that their days were numbered. From 1906
until 1909 the Rainbow was on the sale list. In July, 1910, she
is shown in the Navy List as refitting at Portsmouth, preparatory for sale to the Canadian Government. The officers appointed
to her were shown on the books of H.M.S. Victory.
From that point her story has been told by Dr. Tucker.
The latest Rainbow to join the Royal Navy was a craft of
a very different type—a submarine, launched at Chatham Dockyard in May, 1930. Her displacement was 1,475 on the surface
and 2,015 tons submerged. Her sister-ships were the Regent,
Regulus, and Rover. Unfortunately this Rainbow was posted
as missing in November, 1940, and no further word of her has
been released officially.
When the war is over perhaps we shall hear something of
her gallant story.
F. V. Longstaff.
PEMBERTON:   1821-93.*
Joseph was evidently a favourite name in the Pemberton
family, for my father was the fourth consecutive generation to
bear it. His grandfather, the Rt. Hon. Joseph Pemberton, was
Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1806, and lived in Clontarf Crescent,
then a fashionable residential quarter of the city. His Lordship
was blessed with a very numerous family, having no less than
eighteen sons and three daughters. The sons included Joseph
(my father's father), Augustus Frederick, who came to this
country in 1855 and had a notable career as magistrate and
judge of the County Court of Victoria, and the Rev. Arthur
Pemberton, whose daughter became the wife of the late Hon.
Clement Cornwall, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.
My father, Joseph Despard Pemberton, was born in Dublin
on July 23, 1821. He had one brother, George, of the 94th
Regiment, Madras Infantry, and one sister, Susan Frances, who,
as we shall see, joined him in the Colony of Vancouver Island.
Joseph was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, which he
entered October 13, 1837. He studied engineering under Sir
John McNeill, and showed great promise in his chosen profession. He was afterwards pupil to G. E. (later Sir George)
Hemans, principal engineer of the Midland Railway of Ireland.
Young Pemberton's ability was quickly recognized, and after
being assistant engineer of the Great Southern & Western Railway for a time he served successively as chief engineer of the
Dublin & Drogheda Railway, the Exeter & Crediton Railway,
and part of the East Lancashire Railway.
It will be noticed that the later appointments had taken him
to England. In 1850 he entered the competition for the design
of the vast building to be erected in London to house the International Exhibition of 1851. As every one knows, the winning
entry was submitted by Sir Joseph Paxton, architect of the
Crystal Palace;   but Pemberton was awarded Prince Albert's
* The revised text of a paper read before the Victoria Section of the
British Columbia Historical Association on June 14, 1938.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VIII., No. 2.
Ill 112 H. S. Sampson. April
bronze medal for his design. He was an excellent draftsman,
as is shown by the sketches, maps, and plans from his pen that
are to be found in the Provincial Archives and elsewhere.
By this time he had turned from practical railroading to
teaching, and had been appointed Professor of Surveying, Civil
Engineering, and Mathematics in the Royal Agricultural College, which had been founded a few years before at Cirencester,
in Gloucestershire. This post he held for the last two years he
remained in England. Instruction apparently did not appeal to
him, for we know that he was soon looking for an opportunity
to resume professional practice. One project he had in mind
was the construction of a railway across the Isthmus of Suez.
The following letter speaks for itself:—
November 13, 1850.
To His Excellency Ker Eddin Pasha
Director General of the Egyptian Transit Administration,
May it please your Excellency.
I have the honor to address to you the following views on the subject of
traffic across the Isthmus.
The introduction of railways into this country has been found to increase
passenger and goods traffic forty per cent on an average, but much more in
those places where competing lines do not exist. They increase the revenue,
raise the value of land and form a protection to the country. A good opportunity now offers for executing such a railway from Alexandria to Suez,
or a part of the way at first. As an Engineer of much experience in Railway matters I would undertake to raise in England the necessary funds,
provided your Government guarantee a sufficient share of profits and protection to an English Company. Iron has generally included one tenth of
the cost of Railways here, but in your country where few stations, embankments, cuttings, culverts, bridges are required, iron would form one third
at least of the cost, perhaps one half; this material never was so cheap as
it now is, affording you therefore an excellent opportunity of making the
I propose a single track, with proper sidings for passing and guarantee
it cheaper than any line in Europe. Such a course would not prevent the
foundation of a Canal, if afterwards thought advisable, nor interrupt present traffic. Let your Government pay mere travelling expenses (perhaps
the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company would grant free
passage) and I would readily go over and examine the ground, and afford
further suggestions, as to how the undertaking might be successfully and
speedily carried into execution, but in the event of my accepting any engage- 1944 Joseph Despard Pemberton. 113
ment different from the offer I now file, shall consider myself exempt from
the above offer.
I have the honor to be
Your Excellency's obedient servant,
J. D. Pemberton C.E.
Professor of Engineering.
Royal Agricultural College,
Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Evidently this offer was not accepted; but it is interesting,
for it was made over eight years before work started on the
Suez Canal.
Instead of going to Egypt, Pemberton chose to go to what
was then a far distant and undeveloped land. The Hudson's
Bay Company had recently undertaken the colonization of Vancouver Island, and required for the colony some one who could
make surveys, prepare maps, take charge of land transfers, and
supervise the construction of public works. My father was
selected for the position, and signed a contract with the Company on February 15, 1851. Under its terms he undertook to
serve as Colonial Surveyor and Engineer for a period of three
years, to date from his arrival in Vancouver Island. In addition to his salary he was to receive his passage-money both outward and homeward; and if he gave satisfaction the Company
might award him a premium of £500 when the agreement
His instructions, dated at Hudson's Bay House, February 15,
1851, read in part as follows:—
It is the opinion of the Governor and Committee that the first objects
of survey should be the district round and westward of Fort Victoria. . . .
In making your surveys you will keep in view that they will form the
materials or ground work out of which an accurate map of the Island is
afterwards to be constructed . . . and as the main object for which these
surveys are undertaken is the Colonization of the Island, you will be careful to note the external features and geological formation of the several
localities which you examine, mentioning the nature and qualities of the
soil and subsoil, the different kinds of timber and other vegetable productions, and in short all such particulars as it may be useful for settlers to
be informed of.1
(1) Archibald Barclay (Secretary to the Governor and Committee of
the Hudson's Bay Company) to J. D. Pemberton, February 15,1851. Original
in Provincial Archives. 114 H. S. Sampson. April
How well these instructions were carried out is to be seen in
Pemberton's reports to Governor Douglas after his various expeditions.
My father was instructed to proceed to Vancouver Island by
way of Chagres, San Francisco, and Fort Vancouver. Presumably he sailed in the regular packet of the Royal Mail Steam
Packet Company, which left Southampton on February 17, only
two days after his appointment. The ocean journey was comfortable enough, but crossing the Isthmus of Panama in pre-
railway days was a trying and even perilous ordeal. Years later
my father had this to say of the journey:—
Who that crossed it then can forget the heat and filth of Chagres, the
packs of curs and flocks of buzzards, the struggle in bungos and with boatmen up the river, the scenes of riot and debauchery at the villages, jungle
fever, and the bones that marked the mule tracks through the plains of
Panama, and stamped the short but fatal route of fifty miles, as the
Golgotha of the West?2
This description sprang from personal experience, for during the transit Pemberton himself contracted malaria, and was
forced to pause in his travels until he recovered health and
A register of his letters shows that on April 25, 1851, he was
in San Francisco. A month later, on May 30, 1851, he was at
Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River. The earliest letter
written from Fort Victoria was dated June 25. This was probably the date of his arrival, as old records show that his salary
commenced from that day. It is interesting to note that the
cost of the journey from England was £172/3/-, or considerably
more than a passage by Pullman and luxury liner cost almost
a century later.3
The only surveying done on Vancouver Island before my
father arrived was the work of Captain W. Colquhoun Grant,
who is known to history as the Island's first independent settler.
Grant's intentions were of the best, but his qualifications were
slender, he was much preoccupied with his own affairs, and the
only helpers he could secure were completely inexperienced.
As a result he had been able to give Douglas nothing but a few
(2) J. Despard Pemberton, Facts and Figures relating to Vancouver
Island and British Columbia, London, 1860, p. 86.
(3) Papers relating to Vancouver's Island, London, 1852, p. 3. 1944 Joseph Despard Pemberton. 115
rough sketches of lands in the immediate vicinity of Fort
Accurate maps and surveys were sorely needed, both locally
and in London, and Pemberton set out to make good the
deficiency. He was fortunate in having a qualified surveyor to
assist him. This was B. W. Pearse, who worked with him for
many years and remained his close friend for life.
The progress of my father's work may be traced in the frequent reports that Chief Factor James Douglas forwarded to
the Hudson's Bay Company on the affairs of the Colony of Vancouver Island. He seems to have first made a preliminary survey of the coast of the island from Victoria eastward, and then
northward along the Saanich Peninsula. He next surveyed and
mapped the " fur trade reserve "—in other words, the property
in and around the present city of Victoria that the Company
proposed to retain for its own purposes. This work was completed by November 1851.5 In December, Douglas received
word that the Hudson's Bay Company was willing that town-
sites should be laid out beside Fort Victoria and on Esquimalt
Harbour. Pemberton immediately set to work, and Douglas reported on January 16, 1852, that he was forwarding by the
Norman Morison " a Tin Canister . . . containing a plan of
the Town of Victoria . . .6 Pemberton next surveyed what
is now Saanich, and made a venturesome journey to the Cowichan country, which was then virtually unknown territory and
infested with none too friendly Indians. In March, Douglas was
able to forward another tin canister full of maps to London.
His comment on one of these is interesting:—
The Map of the Sanitch Inlet, and entrance of Cowetchin River, though
in great part a mere eye sketch and therefore not absolutely correct, gives
a good idea of both places and particularly of the extraordinary direction
of the Sanitch Inlet which extends to within five miles of Esquimalt nearly
insolating [sic] the south east angle of Vancouver's Island.7
(4) On Grant's work as surveyor, see his letter to Douglas, September
10, 1850 (original in Provincial Archives), and Governor Blanshard's dispatch to Grey dated April 28, 1851.
(5) Douglas to Barclay, November 24, 1851.
(6) Ibid., January 16, 1852.
(7) Ibid., March 18, 1852. 116 H. S. Sampson. April
Attention was next directed to Esquimalt, and a tracing of
the country round the harbour was ready to go to London in
May, 1852.8 Pemberton then turned to Sooke and Metchosin,
and completed a survey that extended as far as Sooke Harbour.
In August, Douglas journeyed to Wentuhuysen Inlet, as Nanaimo
Harbour was then called, to examine the coal-beds there. He
took Pemberton with him, and when it was decided to develop
the mines, sent him back to survey the region. The work was
carried out with all dispatch, and early in October Douglas forwarded to London " Mr. Pembertons Chart of Wentuhuysen
Inlet, and the neighbouring coast," which he described as being
" the fruits of a very careful survey, embracing the greater part
of the Coal District, together with an elaborate and interesting
report, on the physical character of the District . . . "9 On
this chart my father ventured to replace the name Wentuhuysen
Inlet with the Indian name, Nanaimo, and this was soon adopted
for the town as well.
There is no need to continue this chronicle of his activities.
What has been said is sufficient to show how extraordinary was
his activity, and the ability with which he served his adopted
Pemberton's contract with the Hudson's Bay Company was
due to expire in June, 1854, and in February, in anticipation of
this, Douglas strongly recommended that his services be retained.
The Governor wrote in part:—
He has given perfect satisfaction during his residence here, and I may
observe that the Compy have made a fortunate selection, and I think it will
be difficult to find a person so well adapted for the situation he now so
creditably fills, or who will discharge its duties with equal zeal and untiring
energy. 10
The Governor and Committee shared this view, and in July
Archibald Barclay, Secretary of the Hudson's Bay Company, so
informed Pemberton:—
I am directed by the Governor and Committee . . . with reference to
your engagement with the Company ... to inform you they are so much
satisfied with the zeal and talent which you have shewn during the time
(8) Ibid., May 27, 1852.
(9) Ibid., October 5, 1852.
(10) Ibid., February 11, 1854. 1944 Joseph Despard Pemberton. 117
you have been connected with the Company, that they will be happy to
retain your services:   .   .   .n
The letter went on to say that Pemberton might make a trip
to London for purposes of consultation, and as a result he spent
the summer and early autumn of 1855 in England. One result
of this sojourn was the publication of a map of the southeast
portion of Vancouver Island, based on my father's surveys.12
It was printed by the celebrated English cartographer, John
Arrowsmith, and remains to-day an historic document of the
first importance. In preparation for this map Pemberton had
made a trigonometrical survey of the Island from Sooke to
Nanaimo in 1853-55. The work was one of great difficulty and
hardship, and attended at all times by considerable danger. The
stations were often tree-tops, from which the angles were taken,
sometimes with a sextant only. The difficulties of transport and
the natural obstacles of bush, timber, and rocks all combined to
make this a formidable undertaking. His undaunted energy and
single eye to duty enabled him to bring it to a successful issue.
In 1857 the same coast-line was surveyed by Captain G. H.
(afterwards Admiral Sir George) Richards, and a comparison
of his work with my father's showed very close agreement, the
difference being only 50 feet in 200 miles.
By July of 1855 the Governor and Committee had decided
the terms of the new contract they proposed to offer to Pemberton. They resolved, first, to grant him a " premium " (in other
words a bonus) of £500, because of the highly satisfactory way
in which he had carried out his previous agreement with the
Company. Secondly, they proposed to continue his services for
another three years at a salary of £400 per annum, dating, as
before, from the time of his arrival in Vancouver Island. The
sum of £230 was granted him in addition, to cover his travelling
expenses to and from England. Doubtless at his own request,
Pemberton was to receive a living allowance of £100 per annum
instead of free board and lodging at Fort Victoria, as theretofore.
(11) Barclay to Pemberton, July 28, 1854. Original in Provincial
(12) " The South Eastern Districts of Vancouver Island, From a Trigonometrical Survey made by Order of the Honble. Hudsons Bay Company,
by J. D. Pemberton Engr. & Survr. to the Company. London Published 2d
Oct'. 1855 by John Arrowsmith, 10 Soho Square." 118 H. S. Sampson. April
Pemberton accepted these terms and signed his new agreement on October 8, 1855.13 He must have left for home immediately, as he was back at Fort Victoria by the middle of December.
On many occasions my father's occupation might better have
been described as that of an explorer rather than, or in addition
to, that of a surveyor. Thus in October, 1856, he was instructed
by Governor Douglas to explore the country between Quallchum
(Qualicum) and the Alberni Canal. Crossing the Island by way
of Horne Lake (which had been discovered some months before
by Adam Horne, storekeeper at Nanaimo for the Hudson's Bay
Company), he explored both the Canal and Barkley Sound.14
The following September he crossed the Island a second time.
Accompanied by Lieutenant T. S. Gooch, of H.M.S. Satellite, and
a party of seven, he left Cowichan Harbour on September 4, and
reached Nitinat, on the West Coast, on the 19th.1B Each man
carried a 60-lb. pack, in addition to arms and ammunition,
through the dense forest and undergrowth. Ammunition and
food both gave out, and when they arrived at their destination,
weak and exhausted, they were received by the Chief of the
fierce Nitinat Indians, who had just gained a victory over his
enemies. The bloody heads of the vanquished, mounted on poles,
with long hair waving in the wind, was not an encouraging sight
for exhausted men. Pemberton stepped boldly forward, and in
the name of the Great White Queen demanded food and canoes
to convey him and his party back to Victoria. Receipts were
given in the form of leaves torn from his note-book, and these
were later duly honoured by the Hudson's Bay Company.
Pemberton had ample opportunity to apply his training and
experience as a civil engineer. He not only surveyed roads, but
supervised their construction. In addition, he designed and
built bridges and a considerable variety of public buildings,
including the first schoolhouse in Victoria, and the original Victoria District Church. The gold-rush to the Fraser River temporarily extended these activities and responsibilities to the
Mainland, for when Douglas decided to build a town at Derby,
(13) An official copy of this agreement in the Provincial Archives.
(14) For a brief report on this expedition, dated December 15, 1856, see
Pemberton, Vancouver Island and British Columbia, pp. 147-8.
(15) For a brief report on this expedition, dated November 12, 1857,
see ibid., pp. 149-50. 1944 Joseph Despard Pemberton. 119
on the site of Old Fort Langley, it was to Pemberton that he
turned for the expert assistance needed in surveying the town-
site. Pemberton himself summarized thus the extent of the
Here 3000 building lots were laid out, of which 342 were sold in two days,
for £13,000., on which a deposit of ten per cent, was paid. A court-house,
jail, parsonage, and church were built, and 400 or 500 people were about to
commence operations, when another capital was announced.1^
It was in 1858 that my father, like James Douglas, severed
his connection with the Hudson's Bay Company. His contract
expired on December 16, and as the Company was surrendering
the Colony of Vancouver Island to the British Government
within a few months, it had no further need for his services.
Douglas, however, was happy to retain him on behalf of the
Colony, and after serving for a time as Colonial Surveyor, he
was appointed Surveyor-General of Vancouver Island in July,
1860, a post he held until October, 1864. His new duties were
many and varied. He laid out the roads in Sooke and Saanich.
In 1859 he was one of a committee of six (the other members
being two officers of the Royal Navy and three ship-captains)
who selected the sites for the lighthouses on Race Rocks and on
Fisgard Island, Esquimalt Harbour.17 Subsequently he supervised the construction of (though he did not actually design)
both lighthouses, which were completed and in operation by
December, 1860. Later he was a member of a committee of
seven appointed to consider the question of the improvement of
Victoria Harbour. The other members included Captain G. H.
Richards, R.N., and Captain W. A. Mouat, of the Hudson's Bay
Company. The committee's report is dated February 28, 1862.
Careful drawings were made of the harbour and suggested improvements. When the House of Assembly voted money for
dredging the spit, Pemberton went to England to purchase machinery for a dredge and tug. There he found that the diving
suit had replaced the diving bell, and in order to be able to
instruct the workers in the use of the former he took diving lessons in the Victoria Dock, London.
(16) Ibid., pp. 51-2.
(17) See John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names, Ottawa,
1909, pp. 179, 412. 120 H. S. Sampson. April
For a time my father served the old Crown Colony in a political as well as in a professional capacity. He was a Member of
the original House of Assembly of Vancouver Island, elected in
1856 and dissolved in 1859. Looking over the minutes of the
House, it is evident that there was frequently an element of
comedy in its proceedings. Adjournments for lack of a quorum
or for lack of business were not infrequent, yet the Assembly
sat almost continuously. One motion passed provided that any
Member being fifteen minutes late after the hour of meeting
should be fined the sum of $20. Upon another occasion petition
was brought forward written in French, but was rejected because the House declined to receive petitions written in a foreign
Pemberton, while serving as Surveyor-General, became a
Member of the Executive Council of Vancouver Island in September, 1863, and of the Legislative Council in April, 1864.
He resigned all his appointments in October, 1864, following his
marriage, as his duties as Surveyor-General took him from home
very frequently.
After the Union of the Colonies of Vancouver Island and
British Columbia in 1866, he returned briefly to the political
scene. On January 14, 1867, he was appointed member of the
Legislative Council, representing Victoria District, for the session 1867, and he served again in 1868.
In conclusion, a few more personal notes may be permitted.
It would be interesting to know just when my father decided
to settle permanently in Vancouver Island. We do know that
his first glimpse of the Gonzales estate—a gentle slope, with a
glorious view of the Olympics; a lake-covered bottom, with an
Indian stalking deer—decided him to make it his future home.
The first portion of the property was purchased in 1855. The
improvements then in existence were described some years later
in a memorandum by Dr. W. F. Tolmie:—
These consisted of a log dwelling house 30x20 [feet], a barn, some small
outhouses, a calf park, and a log park, wherein to lasso cattle, besides about
five acres of enclosed tilled land.18
(18)  W. F. Tolmie to Thomas Fraser, Secretary of the Hudson's Bay
Company, November 13, 1861.    Transcript in the Provincial Archives. 1944 Joseph Despard Pemberton. 121
In 1856 Pemberton was joined by his sister, Susan Frances
Pemberton, who came out in the same vessel as Miss Emmeline
Tod (afterwards Mrs. Newton and later still Mrs. Mohun). Miss
Pemberton lived in the fort for a time, and then moved to the
Gonzales estate, where, with true Irish hospitality, she and her
brother welcomed all and sundry. Dances were given in the old
log-house, the rooms being lighted by candles with potatoes serving as sconces, and in every available corner would be a shakedown for those coming from a distance. At other times a picnic
would be decided upon, the farm-horses commandeered, a hearty
meal prepared, and a day of merriment spent in one of the beautiful glades or seaside spots surrounding Victoria, at which
archery was the favourite pastime. Private theatricals and concerts made the winter evenings pass pleasantly. Good plays
were produced, amongst them The Rivals, in which my father
took the part of Sir Lucius 0'Trigger.
After twelve years in Victoria, Miss Pemberton returned to
Europe in 1868. She had been for some years Lady Principal
of Angela College, and the following testimonial evidences the
esteem in which she was held in the little city of those days:—
Dear Madam:
We cannot allow the occasion of your resigning the position of Lady
Principal of Angela College to pass without expressing our very sincere
regret that in consequence of failing health the most valuable and important of our local institutions is about to be deprived of a headship that has
been so watchfully and efficiently exercised.
The present condition of the Ladies College in point of numbers is an
evident and satisfactory proof, not only that the educational privileges of
that establishment are of a character to evoke the grateful support of the
parents in this Colony, but also, of the high esteem in which you have been
deservedly held and the perfect confidence that has been felt with the
healthy tone imparted by our superintendent.
Accept our grateful thanks for the able and conscientious manner in
which you have fulfilled your many and serious responsibilities, our repeated
expressions of sincere regret for the cause which has led to your resignation
and our earnest prayer that Almighty God who has hitherto strengthened
you in the past may still have you in his holy keeping and bless you with
that degree of health and spiritual blessing as may best enable you to fulfill 122 H. S. Sampson. April
those  duties which  He  in  His  wise  Providence may call upon  you  to
We remain Dear Madam,
Yours faithfully,
J. Needham Chief Justice
Edward Cridge, Dean of Christ Church
Charles Woods, Archdeacon of Columbia
Archdeacon Reece
Percival Jenns, Rector of St. John's
E. Graham Alston, Registrar General V.I.
Rodk Finlayson, Chief Factor, Hudson's Bay Co.
Committee of
the Diocese of
British Columbia
and Board of
Management of
Angela College.
An even more touching testimonial was that from the pupils
themselves — a charming picture surrounded by native wild
flowers painted by Miss Needham, the daughter of Judge Needham, and bearing their names and expressions of regret.
Unfortunately the wishes expressed by the Board of Management of Angela College as to Miss Pemberton's return to health
were not to be realized. She died at St. Germain, near Paris,
on April 13, 1870.
My father made several trips to England, and while in London in 1860 he completed arrangements for the publication of
the well-known volume entitled Facts and Figures relating to
Vancouver Island and British Columbia.19 This was intended to
serve as a handbook of information for " intending emigrants,
merchants, or capitalists," and its primary purpose was to supply correct information, instead of leaving inquirers at the mercy
of rumour, and the numerous uninformed writers who had
rushed hastily into print to profit by the popular interest in this
country that resulted from the gold-rush. The book may perhaps best be described as the earliest account of conditions of
the time in book form that remains of importance to the student
of to-day. It includes a frank account of the crudities and shortcomings of the country, as well as its attractions and great promise for the future. Certain of the chapters express views that
were remarkably farsighted, the most striking being that in
which Pemberton anticipated the "All-Red-Route" of later days.
In the dedicatory letter to Dr. John Rae, the Arctic explorer, he
(19) Published in London by Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts
(now Longmans, Green & Company), in 1860; pp. ix., 171. The dedicatory
letter is dated London, August 20, 1860. 1944 Joseph Despard Pemberton. 123
.expressed the hope that the book might direct both Rae's attention and that of the Old Country to " an enterprise of great
national importance,—that of connecting England, via the Canadas, Red River Colony, Sascatchewan [sic], British Columbia,
and Vancouver Island, with Australia, by one unbroken chain
of commercial and postal communication."20 The scheme doubtless seemed a wild venture of fancy at the time, but, as we know,
the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed only a quarter of
a century later, and steamship connections with the Orient and
Australia soon followed.
The late Lindley Crease made this interesting comment upon
Pemberton's volume:
We are fortunate in having a book of his own writing, for unconsciously
the spirit of a writer will appear between the lines of his own work. This
book indicates what one so often found among the early pioneers, a literary
taste and delicacy which is not as familiar in the present day, and which
perhaps those who did not know those outstanding figures would be surprised to find in them in these wild and rugged surroundings. Take the
preface to Mr. Pemberton's book Vancouver Island and British Columbia,
published in 1860—it is a literary gem. In this book we find how his mind
grasps the vision of the future. He sees the position which this part of the
Continent will take in an Empire which was then in course of formation,
and for the preservation and building up of which we are in our day likewise responsible.
My father was again in London in 1864, this time for his
wedding. His bride was Teresa Jane, daughter of Harriet Mary
(nee Despard)21 and Bernard Grautoff. She was born in England, but the family came from Lubeck, in Germany. She was
a great-granddaughter of Justinius Andreas Ritze, of Baireuth,
who served the Princess Wilhelmina, Margravine of Baireuth,
as Grand Chamberlain.22
(20) Pemberton, Vancouver Island and British Columbia, p. vi.
(21) Mr. and Mrs. Pemberton were not related, though by a strange
coincidence the name Despard was common to both families.
(22) For a further account of Mrs. Pemberton see N. de Bertrand
Lugrin, The Pioneer Women of Vancouver Island 1848-1866, Victoria, 1928,
pp. 284-88. Six children were born of this marriage, namely: Frederick
Bernard, Joseph Despard, jr. (who died in 1916), William P. D., Ada G.
(Mrs. H. R. Beaven), Sophia Theresa (widow of the late Canon Beanlands,
for twenty-five years rector of Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria; now Mrs.
Deane-Drummond, of London, England), and Harriet Susan (Mrs. W. Curtis Sampson). 124 H. S. Sampson. April
My father and mother travelled from England in company
with His Excellency Arthur Edward Kennedy, newly appointed
Governor of Vancouver Island, and Mrs. Kennedy. They arrived
in Victoria on Good Friday, March 25, 1864. At that time Pemberton was still Surveyor-General of the Colony, but, as already
noted, he resigned his appointments in October to devote his
time to his own affairs and the Gonzales estate.
He was a good judge of horses, a bold and judicious rider,
and did much to improve the breed of horses in the Colony. He
imported a well-known Clydesdale, " Glengarry," as well as Per-
cherons.    He was also interested in Shorthorn cattle.
His love of horses was inherited by his son Joseph, who, like
his father, trained and rode his own hunters in steeplechases at
the spring and autumn meets at Colwood, when all the " sports "
of Victoria drove gaily out with the colours of their favourite
riders floating in the breeze. The presence of the Lieutenant-
Governor and party and many military and naval officers gave
zest to the proceedings. The course was a long one and the
riders passed out of sight for awhile, which gave rise to intense
excitement as to which candidate would emerge in the lead, after
which followed the prize-giving, and the inevitable picnic tea,
for which Victoria is still noted. These were, of course, of later
date, but I mention them to show that the spirit of early Victoria
was still present in the succeeding generation.
In 1885 my father built a large new home at Gonzales, at
a cost of $10,000—a considerable sum in those days. It was
occupied by the family until my mother's death in 1916. The
staunch old house is still standing, and now serves as the residence building of Norfolk House School.
In 1887 the firm of Pemberton & Son was founded by my
father and his son Frederick. It is interesting to find that the
partners are described in old directories as surveyors, civil engineers, real estate, and financial agents, indicating that the activities of the firm were intended to cover a wide and varied field.
Joseph Despard Pemberton died suddenly on November 11,
1893. His funeral was attended by the Executive Council in
a body, as well as the Mayor of Victoria, the Board of Aldermen,
and all the professional and business men of the city. His public
spirit found expression after his death in a bequest whereby 1944 Joseph Despard Pemberton. 125
Pemberton Gymnasium was erected and presented to the city.
Another of his benefactions was the operating theatre of the
Royal Jubilee Hospital, to which land had been given at an earlier
My father is commemorated by a variety of place-names.
These include Pemberton Point and Despard Cove, on Broughton Island. Both names were bestowed about 1864 by his friend
Captain Pender, of the Royal Navy. The town of Pemberton,
Pemberton Meadows, and Pemberton Portage recall his memory
in another district of the Province, in which he made some of
the first surveys. Finally, in the city of Victoria, Pemberton
Road and Mountjoy and Despard avenues run through or bound
property that was originally part of the Gonzales estate.23
I cannot do better than close with this tribute of his friend,
assistant, and successor, the late B. W. Pearse:—
During all the years I have known him, I never recollect his being
depressed. He was always cheery, bright, and sanguine. He was affectionate without ostentation, [and] of a most amiable nature. To me he was
a faithful mentor, and during forty-two years our friendship was never
strained or disturbed by a word or thought of difference. Respect for ourselves and mutual respect for each other, perhaps, gives the explanation of
Harriet Susan Sampson.
Victoria, B.C.
(23) J. D. Pemberton's father lived in Mountjoy Square, Dublin. Years
later the name Mountjoy was adopted by F. B. Pemberton for his residence
on Foul Bay Road. When the adjoining property was subdivided the name
was perpetuated in Mountjoy Avenue. THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK, 1835:
OCTOBER, 1835,
The original manuscripts of fifteen journals by John Work
are preserved in the Provincial Archives, in Victoria. The
earliest of the series commences in July, 1823, when, as a young
clerk, Work left York Factory for the Pacific Coast; the last
ends in October, 1835, when he had completed his first trading
expedition to Fort Simpson. Most of the earlier journals have
appeared in print in one version or another, usually in the
Washington Historical Quarterly or the Oregon Historical Quarterly, since they are concerned primarily with the area now comprising the states of Washington and Oregon. Two of the later
journals, which chronicle Work's expedition to the Sacramento
valley in 1832-33, are now being edited by Mrs. Alice Bay
Maloney in the California Historical Society Quarterly.1
The narrative which follows is drawn from the last two
journals of the series. The text, which has been transcribed
directly from the manuscripts in Work's own handwriting, now
appears in print for the first time. In its way the story here
presented is unique, for, unlike Work's other journals, and the
celebrated Snake River journals of Peter Skene Ogden, it deals
with an expedition that was primarily maritime. Circumstances
had compelled the Hudson's Bay Company to take to the sea.
For a time the overland fur-traders and the maritime traders
had interfered relatively little with one another. The former
were interested chiefly in beaver-skins and other land furs. The
traders afloat sought the sea-otter to the virtual exclusion of
everything else. But the great days of the old-style maritime
fur trade had passed by 1825. The sea-otter had been hunted
almost to extermination, and the vessels that persisted in the
(1) For a checklist of the Work journals and a tabulation of the printed
versions see British Columbia Historical Quarterly, VII. (1943), pp. 269-70.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VITI., No. 2.
127 128 H. D. Dee. April
trade—almost all of which were American—turned to beaver-
skins as an alternative source of revenue. The trader by sea
having thus invaded the preserves of the trader on land, the latter had perforce to retaliate by taking to the sea. The contest
lasted from about 1825 until 1840, and rivalry was still intense
when John Work made his trading cruise in the brig Lama in
1835. His journal gives a first-hand account of the cut-throat
competition between the American traders and the servants of
the Hudson's Bay Company, and the liquor traffic amongst the
Indians in which it resulted. In addition, it gives a vivid impression of the daily life of a fur-trader of the time. In particular it shows the dangers which the traders faced on the Northwest Coast from the savage Haida Indians, and the phlegmatic
and prosaic fashion in which these dangers were met and overcome.
The role of the Russians in the struggle between the American trading vessels and the Hudson's Bay Company deserves
a word of explanation. The Russians were themselves fur-
traders, and as such competed for furs on the northern reaches
of the Northwest Coast. Actually, however, their competition
was felt much more by the Hudson's Bay Company than by the
Americans, for the trading relations between the Russians and
the latter were very close. Russian America was remote from
Russian sources of supplies, and large quantities of goods were
therefore secured from the United States. Most of these were
delivered by the identical trading vessels which, after unloading
at Sitka, sailed south and competed for furs with the ships and
posts of the Hudson's Bay Company. They were thus in effect
subsidized by their freighting activities and traffic in supplies,
and this enabled them to pay the high prices for furs that added
so greatly to Work's difficulties. This state of affairs continued
only until 1839, when it was brought to an end by an agreement
between the Hudson's Bay Company and the Russian American
Company. Thereafter the companies ceased to compete for furs,
and the Hudson's Bay Company undertook to furnish the supplies required in Russian America. This deprived the American
vessels of their trading advantages, and they soon disappeared
from the Northwest Coast. 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 129
The first few pages of Work's journal2 deal with little else
but wind and weather, and it has therefore seemed unnecessary
to include them in the text as printed. The narrative itself is
in great measure self-explanatory, but a few notes upon the
state of affairs existing at the time the story opens may be
Work's superior officer, Chief Factor John McLoughlin, general superintendent for the Hudson's Bay Company west of the
Rocky Mountains, planned to build a whole chain of trading-
posts, stretching from the Columbia River northward to Russian America. The scheme included a post on the Stikine River,
and in the fall of 1833 Peter Skene Ogden3 ascended the river
to a point beyond the Russian ten-league territorial limit (the
mouth of the Stikine being in Russian waters) and took possession of a site upon which it was proposed to erect a post the next
year. The expedition to build this post left the Columbia, under
Ogden's command, in the brig Dryad4' in the spring of 1834.
During the winter, however, the Russians, realizing that the
proposed Hudson's Bay post would tap the hinterland which
was the primary source of the furs traded on the Coast, had
hastily erected a fort of their own at the mouth of the Stikine.
When Ogden appeared they refused to permit his expedition to
proceed up-stream. He protested vigorously but to no effect, and
in the end was forced to return to the Columbia with nothing
(2) Journal 14, according to the classification of the Provincial Archives,
covering the period December 11, 1834-June 30, 1835. It is continued in
Journal IS, the last of the series, which commences July 1, 1835, and ends
on October 27, 1835.
(3) Peter Skene Ogden, one of the great figures of the fur trade, was
a former Nor'Wester who had been admitted to the Hudson's Bay Company
as Chief Trader in 1824. He first gained prominence as leader of the
celebrated trading and trapping expeditions to the Snake River country.
In 1830 he was placed in charge of the coastal trade, and in 1834 was
appointed Chief Factor.
(4) The Dryad was a brig of about 200 tons. At first under charter to
the Company, she was purchased by them in 1829. She remained on the
Pacific Coast until 1835, when she carried the returns to London, where she
was sold in 1836.
(5) See E. E. Rich (ed.) The Letters of John McLoughlin, First Series,
1825-38, Toronto and London, 1942, pp. ciii.-cvi. for a general account of
the affair, and pp. 317-22 for Ogden's report;   also D. C. Davidson, " The 130 H. D. Dee. April
John Work left Fort Vancouver in the brig Lama* on December 11, 1834, a few days before Ogden's return. As news of
Ogden's failure had not yet been received, the Lama carried men
and supplies intended for the new post on the Stikine, as well
as for the other establishments on the Northwest Coast. On the
15th Work reached Fort George (Astoria), at the mouth of the
Columbia, and there he found the Dryad, newly arrived from
the north. He had missed Ogden, who had hurried off to Fort
Vancouver to report; but he heard the story of the expedition
from Captain Kipling, of the Dryad. He learned, too, that
Kipling's former command, the schooner Vancouver,1 had been
driven ashore and wrecked on Point Rose, Queen Charlotte
Islands, the previous March.
Realizing that McLoughlin would wish to revise his instructions in the light of these events, Work left the Lama at Fort
George and himself returned to Fort Vancouver, where he arrived on December 17. On the 20th he received new instructions,8 and the next day once more left For Vancouver.    He
Relations of the Hudson's Bay Company with the Russian American Company on the Northwest Coast, 1829-1867," British Columbia Historical
Quarterly, V. (1941), pp. 39-46.
(6) The Lama, of 145 tons, was purchased by Chief Factor Duncan
Finlayson at Honolulu for £1,250 in 1832, to replace the schooner Vancouver,
which had been badly damaged at the entrance to the Portland Canal in
(7) The 60-ton schooner Vanoouver was the second vessel built on the
Columbia River. She does not seem to have been ready for service before
1828. Too small for successful service on the Coast, she was damaged in
1831, as already noted, and wrecked on Point Rose on March 3, 1834. Work
refers several times in his journal to the loss of the Vancouver; see, for
example, the entry for February 23, 1835.
(8) These instructions read as follows:—
Fort Vancouver 20th Deer. 1834
John Work Esqr
Dear Sir
You will proceed in the Lama to the North West
Coast and assume the charge of that Department.—It is impossible
for me to give you any particular instructions nor is it necessary
with one so well acquainted as you are with the Indian trade—
except that it will be necessary for you to leave the Coast to come
here with the vessel about the 1st September and on her way here
she must touch at Nisqually and Fort Langley to bring the returns
of those places. I think that Fort McLoughlin could be kept up
with a gentleman an assistant and twelve men or at the utmost 15 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 131
joined the Lama at Fort George on Christmas Eve. Nine days
were required to unload and reload the Lama, and it was not
until Friday, January 2, 1835, that the little brig dropped down
to Cape Disappointment, at the mouth of the river, and there
anchored to await a favourable opportunity to cross the dreaded
Columbia bar. The vessel was under the command of Captain
W. H. McNeill,9 and he and Work landed and ascended the Cape,
from which the bar could be clearly seen. The prospect was
promising, but by the next morning the weather was too rough
to venture out. This proved to be the beginning of a long and
wearisome detention that lasted no less than twenty days. The
experience was not unusual, and it will be recalled that a similar
delay suffered by Sir George Simpson in 1841 was one of the
factors in causing the removal of the Company's headquarters
in the region from Fort Vancouver to Fort Victoria.10 At last
on Thursday, January 22, the Lama reached the open sea. Work's
account of her cruise from the eve of this happy event is printed
in full in the pages that follow.
Since a somewhat detailed biography of Work appeared
recently in this Quarterly11 it is unnecessary to give any extensive account of his career here. Suffice it to say that Work was
born in Ireland about 1792; entered the service of the Hudson's
men and Fort Simpson on the same scale.   You will therefore bring
all the surplus men with you.
Wishing you a safe and Successful Voyage
I am Dear Sir
Yours truly
(Sigd) John McLoughlin
Reed. 20th Deer. 34
(Quoted from Work's inward letter-book, in the F. W. Howay Collection,
The University of British Columbia.)
(9.) Captain William Henry McNeill came to the Pacific Coast in 1831
as master of the American brig Lama. He sold the vessel to the Hudson's
Bay Company in 1832, and, although an American citizen, remained in
command, becoming a servant of the Company. He became a Chief Trader
in 1840 and a Chief Factor in 1856. He retired in 1863. See John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names, Ottawa, 1909, pp. 391-3.
(10) See W. Kaye Lamb, "The Founding of Fort Victoria," British
Columbia Historical Quarterly, VII. (1943), p. 81.
(11) See Henry Drummond Dee, " An Irishman in the Fur Trade: The
Life and Journals of John Work," British Columbia Historical Quarterly,
VII. (1943), pp. 229-70. 132 H. D. Dee. April
Bay Company in 1814; was transferred to the Columbia District in 1823, and appointed a Chief Trader in 1830. He was
thus 42 years of age when his expedition northward to Fort
Simpson began.   He died in Victoria in 1861, at the age of 69.
Certain liberties have been taken with the original text of
the journals when transcribing them for printing. Names of
all ships have been italicized. Uniformity has been introduced
in the spelling of well-known names. Variations in Work's date
entries have been eliminated and a standard form adopted. For
ease in reading, many small changes have been made in punctuation. Apart from these superficial changes, however, spelling,
abbreviations, and phraseology have been left untouched so as
to preserve the full flavour of Work's original and somewhat
Pepysian style.
Special thanks are extended to Mr. Isaac Burpee, of Portland,
Oregon, who has most generously supplied many details relating
to Work's family. The untiring assistance of Miss Madge Wolfenden, Acting Provincial Archivist, is greatly appreciated. To
Mrs. Garnet Fay, of the staff of the Provincial Archives, sincere
thanks are due for her unflagging efforts to decipher the crabbed
writing and faded words of the century-old Work journals.
Henry Drummond Dee.
Victoria, B.C. 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 133
[At Anchor, mouth of the Columbia River.}
Tuesday, January 20. Stormy, Wind Southerly, with rain. It blew so
hard towards evening that the vessel dragged her anchor, so that another
anchor had to be put out, and the yards taken down to prevent her from
going ashore. The sea ran very high. The Mate1 was ashore on the Cape2
in the forenoon examining the bar & reports that it was breaking very high
all across. It will take some days to lower it so that we can venture out,
even should the wind be favourable.
Wednesday, January 21. Blew hard the forepart of the night. Wind
light and variable during the day, fine weather with light showers. The
bar is not so rough as was expected after such a heavy gale as blew
yesterday. The yards were all got up, and the sails dried a little, of which
they were in much need. They are becoming all mildewed and rotting,
indeed both them and the ropes cannot be otherwise, continually wet, and
scarcely a chance of getting them dried a little. Voyaging in the winter
here is ruinous to the sails and rigging of vessels.
[Voyage from the Columbia River to Fort McLoughlin.']
Thursday, January 22. Rather stormy in the morning. Wind E., yet
the wind being favourable we crossed the bar, which was pretty rough but
did not break. We were about an hour of crossing it. When we were 12
miles from the cape at noon the wind shifted round to the Southward and
we went on with a fine breeze at 6 to 7 knots all the afternoon.s
Friday, January 23. Showry weather. The wind continued favourable
untill the afternoon when it changed round to the westward and began to
blow a gale and rise a heavy swell. From Noon yesterday until noon today,
we ran 160 Miles.
Saturday, January 24. Stormy from the Westward with a heavy sea
which caused the vessel to pitch very much and rendered myself & several
others sea sick. The heavy sea & [word indecipherable] wind prevented
us from making much way we made only 111 Miles from Noon yesterday
till noon today.
Sunday, January 25. Continued stormy part of the night. This gale
has lasted 36 hours. Towards morning the weather became moderate, and
during the" day the wind was light and baffling & squally—and variable.
In the morning we passed Scots Island.4 Only 69 miles were made these
last 24 hours.
(1) James Allan Scarborough was employed in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company on the Pacific coast from 1830 to 1850. He served as
first mate of the steamer Beaver, and was later in command of the Cadboro
and the Mary Dare.   See H.B.S., IV., pp. 355-6.
(2) Cape Disappointment, at the north side of the entrance to the
Columbia River.
(3) The Lama was now sailing northward, bound for Fort McLoughlin,
on Milbanke Sound. Her course would take her past Cape Flattery and up
the west coast of Vancouver Island.
(4) The Scott Island group, off the northern extremity of Vancouver
Island. 134 H. D. Dee. April
Monday, January 26. During the night and through the day the weather
was squally, wind changeable. We came in sight of Cape SwaineB and proceeded up with a light wind towards it and were within 3 or 4 miles in the
evening.    These last 24 hours made 72 Miles.
Tuesday, January 27. Fine weather in the night and during the day.
Wind light and variable. Continued under way off and on during the night,
and working up but with little progress all day in the evening we were only
abreast of Cape Swaine, all day we made only [blank in MS.] Miles. Four
Indian canoes came out of the Sounds and paid us a visit. The Indians in
one of them said they were going to the fort? and I sent a note by them to
Mr. MansonS apprising him that we were here.
Wednesday, January 28. Fine weather during the night with little wind,
a good breeze during the [word omitted in MS.] from N.E. which was nearly
a head. Kept under way in the night and continued beating up the sound
till afternoon when the weather became thick and squally with snow when
we had to put about and run down the sound till within a mile of Cape
Swaine where we anchored a short distance from the shore. Stony bottom.
We are little farther advanced now than we were in the morning. From
here we are only 17 or 18 miles from the fort. During the day we have
made only [blank in MS.] Miles.
Thursday, January 29. Heavy rain in the night and all day. The wind
blowing pretty fresh, got under way in the morning and anchored in the
afternoon in Actives Cove9 about 6 Miles from the fort. This day we made
about 11 Miles. There are a number of Indians encamped on the opposite
side of the Sound. Some of them visited us in the evening. Dr. Tolmie10
in a canoe accompanied by two men and some Indians came aboard in the
forenoon.    He left the fort yesterday and was in sight of us when the snow
(5) At the southern entrance to Milbanke Sound.
(6) The name " Milbanke Sound " applied in 1835 not merely to the
area as defined to-day, but also to the then unnamed ramifications that
extended far inland. In modern parlance the Lama proceeded from Milbanke Sound into Seaforth Channel, finally turning south into Lama
Passage, which separates Campbell and Denny islands.
(7) Fort McLoughlin, built in 1833 on McLoughlin Bay, a small harbour
on the east coast of Campbell Island.
(8) Donald Manson entered the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company
in 1817. He became a clerk in the Columbia District and was with James
McMillan when the latter founded Fort Langley in 1827. In 1829, Manson
went to Fort Vancouver, and thence to Fort Simpson on the Nass River.
He was in charge of Fort McLoughlin in 1834—39. He became Chief Trader
in 1837 and never rose above that rank.
(9) Now Kynumpt Harbour, at the extreme north of Campbell Island.
See Report of Geographic Board of Canada, 1924, pp. 14, 152.
(10) Dr. William Fraser Tolmie, who married Work's eldest daughter
Jane, entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company as physician and
surgeon in 1832. He was first stationed at Nisqually, and left for Fort
McLoughlin in 1833. See S. F. Tolmie, "My Father: William Fraser
Tolmie. 1812-1886," in British Columbia Historical Quarterly, I. (1937),
pp. 227-240. The arrival of the Lama is reported as follows in Dr. Tolmie's
diary, under date Sunday, February 1, 1835: " On Wednesday, Indians
brought intelligence of the approach of the Llama & soon after Qunnacha-
noot appeared & brought a letter dated off Cape Swaine from Captain
McNeil & another from Mr. Work who was on board." (Original and
transcript in Provincial Archives.) 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 135
storm obliged us to put about and the weather being so thick that he could
not follow us he had to put ashore and passed a miserable night in the rain
without any covering.    Mr. Manson and the people at the fort are all well.
Friday, January SO. Heavy rain, with little wind all day. The vessel
not being able to move, I left her in a boat accompanied by Dr. Tolmie and
arrived at the Ft. McLoughlin a little past noon. The men returned to the
vessel with the boat immediately. I find Mr. Manson and the people all
well.    The Indians are becoming quiet and more peacably disposed.
Saturday. January 81. Overcast showry weather. We hear from the
Natives that the vessel has come up to the Narrows a little below the fort.
Sunday, February 1. Fine mild fair weather, but no wind. A Number
of Indians about the place. Mr. Manson went down to the vessel and
brought up Capt. McNeill to dinner.
The fort is now nearly finished11 and in excellent order. The men are
now busy clearing ground for gardens, and a tedious laborious job it is.
The stumps are very thick and difficult to root out. The soil is a black peat
moss and apparently not of a good quality but perhaps draining and tillage
may improve it. The ground is clear, or the wood all felled for 100 yards
round the fort so that it is not easy for the Indians to approach should
they be again hostilely disposed. The men are now principally fed on dry
salmon of which an abundance is easily obtained at a very cheap rate from
the Natives but very little venison or fresh fish can be procured from the
Indians. The most of their time has been occupied for the last three Months
conjuring, so that they have exerted themselves but little hunting and even
those who did go had not much success. Owing to the mildness of the
season the deer keep up in the mountains and come but little down to the
waterside and the Indians are too lazy to go far into the woods after them.
The trade since the Dryad left in the beginning of Nov. amounts to [blank
in MS.] Beaver & otters which is more than in the corresponding time last
year. But the Tariff keeps still at a blanket per large beaver skin which
is very high, but the Indians will rather keep their beaver in expectation
of American vessels coming, than sell them lower.
Monday, February 2. Fine weather. The vessel had a little breeze of
wind and came up to the fort in the forenoon, and commenced unloading
the cargo. Great numbers of Indians were about the place. They brought
some fresh provisions, part of which was given to the sailors.
Tuesday, February 8. Overcast but fine weather. The remainder of
the cargo was landed, and afterwards some ballast taken in. Several
Indians about the place
Wednesday, February 4- Overcast, Mild weather. The vessel took in
the rest of her ballast. Stated the mens accounts to them, and proposed to
them to reengage but not one of them would agree or consent to remain.
The only reason they assign is that they wish to go home & that they have
been long enough here.12
(11) Dr. Tolmie, whose diary was consulted to see if its author gave
any picture of the fort at this time, makes only a casual mention of its
(12) Work was to find this same reluctance to re-engage on the part of
the people at Fort McLoughlin, when he returned southward in the fall.
No definite reason for it has been found, beyond a reference to the fact that
they did not like the way in which salmon, their chief food, was cured.
The fort was always pictured as an extremely damp and dreary spot. 136 H. D. Dee. April
Thursday, February 5. Fine mild summer like weather. Some things
more to be arranged on board, deterred us from sailing, but everything is
now ready to move tomorrow.
[Voyage from Fort McLoughlin to Fort Simpson.]
Friday, February 6. Remarkably fine mild weather, very little wind.
Got under weigh at 10 A.M. but wind being ahead and so light we got only
about two miles below the fort where Mr. Manson has the men busily
employed clearing ground for a garden. And a tedious laborious job it is,
the ground is full of stumps and roots many of them so large that it is very
difficult and great labour to get them out. The soil is very wet and composed of black peat moss on a bed of rocks, and appears not well adapted
for yielding good crops without much labour and a mixture of clayey gravel
or manure which is difficult to be obtained. From the wetness of the soil
draining will also be required. Still with labour in some time it may be
made sufficiently productive to yield enough of potatoes & other garden
vegetables for the maintenance of the people at the fort.
In a small stream about 100 yards from the fort, tho' not much larger
than a mill stream, abundance of salmon are caught in the fall, but they
are then of an indifferent quality. But had they a seine or even common
fishing nets great numbers might be caught out in the bay at a much earlier
season when they are of an excellent quality. [Gap in manuscript as if
Work had intended a further entry.] We had to anchor some distance from
the Indian village^ on the island.
Saturday, February 7. Weather the same as yesterday. Wind light
and variable. Got under weigh in the morning but the wind was so light
that we were only abreast of Cape Swaine in the evening,!* beating the
most of the way down the Sound. Some Indians came off to us with a small
deer some wild fowl and fish.
Sunday, February 8. Overcast gloomy weather. Wind N.E. Kept
under way all night. In the course of the night the wind freshened up
a little and continued a nice breeze all day which carried us along at 4 to
6 miles an hour. We lay along in sight of the land and in the evening were
off Banks island^ N. end. From point Day16 which we left at 10. Oclock
last night till noon today we made [blank in MS.] miles.
Monday, February 9. Fell calm last night and continued calm all day.
During the day & night we have not made 3 miles. We are off Bonilla
island.1?    Fine mild cloudy weather.
Tuesday, February 10. Fine weather. A little breeze sprang up in the
night but was light and baffling occasionally during the day.    We continued
(13) Probably refers to Bella Bella Island, a small island north and
west of Fort McLoughlin, on which the Bella Bella Indians had a summer
(14) The Lama was now leaving Milbanke Sound, and was about to
turn northward, bound for Fort Simpson.
(15) A large island in Hecate Strait, between Caamano Sound on the
south and Browning Entrance on the north. The Lama logged about 120
miles that day.
(16) The south end of Price Island, at the north-west entrance to Milbanke Sound.
(17) A small island off the north-west coast of Banks Island. 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 137
beating after passing inside of Isle de Zayas18 and anchored at the Ft.
Simpson at 1 Oclock in the morning, when I went ashore with Dr. Kenedy,19
who had come off to us in a canoe. I found Mr. Birnie20 who had been
ailing some days, unwell. Some of the people have also been unwell, the
others are all well. The sick are only ailing with casual sickness. It is
a liver complaint, that troubles Mr. Birnie.
Wednesday, February 11. Fine mild weather. The people employed
landing part of the cargo. There are a great many Indians about the place,
principally Chymsians or Pearl harbour Indians.21 They are now assembled
to proceed up Nass Straits, to the little fish fishery.22 At present they are
pretty quiet, but some time ago they manifested symptoms of being troublesome and made use of threats and it is probable they will not be thoroughly
quiet until they be chastised and be made feel the strength and power of
the Whites. Beaver and some small furs have been traded since Mr. Ogden
left at the rate of 1 beaver large per blanket & a little tobacco, a good many
of these were got for liquor. At this rate, high as it is, the natives appear
not very keen to trade, no doubt in expectation of the arrival of the American vessels, when they anticipate realising high prices. A considerable
quantity of provisions has been procured since Mr. Ogden's departure,
a good deal of Venison was salted in the fall, and a good deal procured
fresh during the winter besides fish.    All traded at a moderate rate.
The fort23 is not yet finished. The dwelling house is not yet up. A general store, Indian shop two dwelling houses for the gentlemen, a range of
houses for the men, a forge, kitchen, and the block houses, are up and occupied; but some of them only temporarily roofed with bark. The area inside
the fort is still unfinished.    The timber for about a gunshot round the fort
(18) The Lama sailed through Caamano Pass, between Zayas Island
and Dundas Island, just south of the present international boundary-line
in Dixon Entrance. Zayas Island was named after Jacinto Caamaiio's
second pilot, Don Juan Zayas.    See Wagner, Cartography, II., p. 422.
(19) John Frederick Kennedy, like Dr. Tolmie, had been educated as
a physician and surgeon and had joined the Company in the dual capacity
of doctor and clerk. From Fort Vancouver he had been transferred in
1831-32 to the Nass. Kennedy's service in the Company was spent mostly
at and in charge of Fort Simpson. He was appointed a Chief Trader in
1847, and in 1856 retired to Victoria, where he died in 1859.
(20) James Birnie entered the employ of the North West Company in
1818 and joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. He kept the Spokane
Journal in the season of 1822-23, and was stationed at Fort Simpson in
(21) These are the Tsimpsean Indians from the present peninsula of
that name. Pearl Harbour is a bay just south of the site of Fort Simpson
and is also on the Tsimpsean Peninsula.
(22) The Indians were assembled to proceed to Fishery Bay, about 14
miles from the mouth of the Nass River, to catch oolachans or candle-fish.
The oolachan, not as big as a herring, but rich in oil, was used for its
grease, which the Indians ate, or burned, when dried, for light and heat.
See H. A. Collison, " The Oolachan Fishery," in British Columbia Historical
Quarterly, V. (1941), pp. 25-31.
(23) It will be recalled that the fort had been removed from its old site
on the Nass to this new position in the summer of the previous year, 1834.
The original fort had been established on the Nass River by Peter Skene
Ogden and Captain ^Imilius Simpson in the summer of 1831. This first
site was found to be difficult of access to the sailing vessels of the time,
hence change of its location. 138 H. D. Dee. April
has been felled, but the most of it still lays on the ground, and will require
much labour and time to clear it of [sic] particularly the roots which are
many of them very large. The gallery2* is also up but no railing round it
nor a head piece on the stockades. Two boats were directed to be built, one
of them is finished and the other under way.
Thursday, February 12. Still fine weather. The remainder of the cargo
was landed. Also [blank in MS.] bushels of potatoes and some garden seeds
were put on shore. In pursuance of instructions some ground is being
cleared for a garden, and a most tedious, laborious, and difficult job it will
be, the ground is so thickly wooded and so full of stumps, fallen timber
and roots, and though it is on the declivity of a rising ground it is so wet
that it will require a good deal of draining. The soil on the surface is
composed of black peat and moss with decayed roots wood and other vegetable substance and does not appear well adapted for tillage, but may
answer this purpose well when mixed with the under strata which is composed of sandy gravel and some shells. But stirring this up and mixing it
will require much time and labour. The situation has also a Northern
aspect, which is not in its favour. Mr. Birnie is apprehensive that the
propensity of the Indians to theft may lead to quarrels but as the guns
command the situation, I think the Natives may be deterred from stealing.
The Indians traded a few beaver, and some venison and fish, which enabled
some fresh provisions to be supplied the Lama's crew.
Friday, February IS. Fine weather forenoon some light rain afterwards. The Lama's people employed taking in balast, repairing boarding
netting2^ &c. Had an outfit selected26 and got ready to put on board the
Lama. The Indians still numerous about the place tho' some canoes went
off yesterday & today.
Saturday, February 14. Very heavy rain all day. It has been mostly
heavy rain all winter. The people of the vessel employed as yesterday.
Mr. Birnie is much worse today, than some time past, he is confined to bed.
Sunday, February 15. Very heavy rain all day. The Natives stirring
about very little.
Monday, February 16. Showry weather. The people of the vessel employed as on Saturday.
Tuesday, February 17. Very heavy rain and some sleet, in the night
and all day. The people on board taking in water and other jobs, but the
weather was so bad that very little could be done. The Men at the fort,
also making but slow progress owing to the excessive bad weather. They
are now employed, part preparing some timber that is wanted for the
dwelling house, and part clearing ground for a garden. This is a tedious
job.    Two sawyers are also employed sawing boards to roof the dwelling
(24) The gallery was a platform built on the inside of the stockade
about halfway up, so that the defenders of the fort could repel any attacks
by gun fire over the top of the logs which formed this stockade. Diagrams
of old Fort Victoria show that such galleries were placed on alternate corners to the bastions.
(25) A stout netting was placed around the bulwarks of the ship to
guard against any attempt on the part of Indians to surprise and massacre
the crew and plunder the ship.
(26) Such an outfit would include guns, ammunition, blankets, rum,
molasses, rice, and the like, which were used in trade with the Indians. 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 139
house. Having no files to keep their saw in proper order, they make but
slow progress. They cut about 10 planks 1 foot wide & 12 feet long, per
Wednesday, February 18. Slight frost in the morning, fine weather
during the day. All the goods for a trading cruise were put on board the
vessel, the boarding nets were also spread.
Mr. Birnie who has been ailing some days is getting a little better, but
still part of the day confined to bed.
The Indians brought in some deer & traded a few beaver. They seem
not much inclined to part with their beaver anticipating the arrival of
Americans when they expect to get a higher price. Our Tariff is now
a blanket per large beaver and other dry goods in proportion, besides a little Tobacco, and extravagant as this Tariff is, and notwithstanding our
anxiety to lower it, it is deemed not prudent to do so at present, as it is of
importance to draw as many of the furs as possible out of the hands of the
Indians so that few may remain to fall into the hands of our opponents,
and thereby discourage them. Should we lower the Tariff now, the Indians
would keep up their furs, till the arrival of Opponents, when we would be
obliged either to make no returns, or give a higher price than that now
paid, and then probably get but a small share of the trade. Under these
circumstances it is deemed advisable to continue for the present trading at
the present scale, at least till we see whether an opposition will come or not.
Thursday, February 19. Frost in the morning snow showers part of
the day. The people on board. Took in some more water, stowed the boats
upon deck and got every thing ready for sea. The Indians brought 7 or
8 deer, and some halibut, 3 very fine ones. Fresh provisions are obtained
in abundance, [blank in MS.] deer have been traded since [blank in MS.]-
October last.
[Trading cruise from Fort Simpson to Kaigani.]
Friday, February 20. Frost in the morning. Overcast but fair weather
during the day. At 10 Oclock in the morning, sailed from Ft. Simpson.
The wind was favourable, but light till we got out opposite Nass Straits27
when we had a strong breeze. Towards evening it became calm but still
favourable.    In the evening we were getting near Cape Murray.28
Mr. Birnie was a little better and it is expected he will soon be well.
A young man Son of Elgigh, the Ft. Simpson Chief, accompanies us to
deliver a message from his father to the Kygarny Indians29 relative to making peace between the two tribes, which have had a misunderstanding for
some time. Though we dont wish to appear to have any desire to this
effect, but we would be desirous that it would take place as it might be of
advantage, for were they at peace these would also frequent the fort and
some trade might be obtained from them.
Saturday, February 21. Frost in the night and cold weather during the
day.    Had to lay to part of the night as we were close in with the land.
(27) Entrance to Portland Inlet.
(28) Point Nunez, on Bean Island near Cape Chacon, on the north side
of Dixon Entrance. Jacinto Caamano placed it farther west in the position
of the present Point Marsh. See H. R. Wagner and W. A. Newcombe
(eds.), "The Journal of Jacinto Caamano," in British Columbia Historical
Quarterly, II. (1938), p. 265, n. 33.
(29) These are the Kaigani Indians, a branch of the Haidas. 140 H. D. Dee. April
By 10 A.M. got into Kygarny30 and anchored in the second harbour with
a village a piece below & another a piece above us. Several Indians shortly
came off to us, and during the afternoon examined our goods and had a good
deal of conversation about our prices which dont seem to please them.
Many of these people have been on different Otter hunting [expeditions]
to California and came round by the Sandwich islands and are well
acquainted with trafic,81 and expect the high prices which they have obtained
from the Americans and from our people lately.
Sunday, February 22. Weather as yesterday. A considerable number
of Indians on board and about the vessel all day. They have got a few
beaver and some Sea Otters among them, but will not accept our prices.
We were induced to offer a blanket 1 gall: Ind: Rum32 & a head Tobacco
per beaver but at this rate only 5 beaver and 1 Otter were traded. They
ask 10 blankets with rum, Molasses, & Rice a gallon each. These terms We
consider too high. Even at these prices the Indians seem not very anxious
to trade as they are in expectation of American vessels arriving very soon.
We consider it not advisable to urge them, in hopes that by a little delay
they may become easier dealt with. They are very difficult to bargain with.
5 deer, some halibut and a few potatoes were traded from them.
Monday, February 23. Sharp frost in the night, clear cold weather
[to] day. The boat with a party was sent ashore to cut firewood, and get
timber for Sweeps.33 Several of the Natives visited us and examined all
our goods, and had a good deal of talk about our prices which the[y] seem
not inclined to accept of but stand out for the extravagant prices of these
years past which their expectation of Americans arriving induces them to
hope they will be able to obtain. Indeed they appear not at all anxious to
trade, as they say they have abundance of goods of every kind, and ridicule
our paltry assortment, and not without some reason for though we have
a good stock of some of the principal articles yet we are very short or
entirely without a great many goods of minor description. The quality of
our goods particularly blankets and other woolens are also complained of3*
and said to be far inferior to those that Capt. Allan35 had, and also to those
which they get from the Russians.    With much reluctance we offered them
(30) Kaigani Harbour, on the southern end of Dall Island, Alaska.
Named by the Russian governor Etolin in 1833. Admiralty charts in the
Archives at Victoria show the Indian villages. The area was much frequented by the maritime traders of the last century.
(31) The maritime sea-otter trade in the early 19th century was carried on off the coast of California by vessels which usually had their winter
headquarters in Honolulu. Their practice was to sail from the Sandwich
Islands (now the Hawaiian Islands) in the spring, proceeding to Kaigani,
where they gathered a crew of native hunters. They then set sail for the
hunting grounds off California, and returned late in the autumn to Honolulu. See Adele Ogden, The California Sea Otter Trade, 1784-1848, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1941.
(32) " Indian rum " was rum diluted by water.
(33) Crude oars, which could be used aboard the Lama to supplement
the efforts of her boats in towing her out of the harbour against a head
(34) Some complaint about quality must have been sent to Dr. John
McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver, since he mentions it in his report of November 15, 1836, to the Governor and Committee in London. See H.B.S., IV.,
p. 162.
(35) Captain Allan, of the American brig Europa. 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 141
a gallon of Ind: Rum per beaver higher than is given at the fort but they
will not accept of it, for they say that even should the Americans not come,
they can obtain more from the Russians. They were also offered 7 blankets
or 5 blankets and a gun, with the usual present of rum, Molasses, rice &c,
which we consider high, for a Sea Otter, but they will not take it. These
are all California Otters and they say they refused 10 blankets each for
them at Woahoo.36 They brought some inferior bears and some other small
indifferent skins but we would not purchase them. They traded only 14
beaver and 1 small land Otter & 3 Black Bears.—They are a complete set
of hunters, and reckoned the most difficult Indians on the coast to deal with.
Among the other Indians who visited us, was a half breed named George
Whitemore dressed in a fashionable velvet caped surtout white shirt flashy
waistcoat, beaver hat, fine trousers white stockings and pumps. This individual handed us a letter from Capt. Duncan37 to Capt. McNeill dated at
this place 27th Feby. last, when he was going to depart a few days before
he lost the vessel,38 he complains that he could not trade but a very few
skins, notwithstanding the high prices he offered. Whiteworth [sic] has
also two certificates, one of his good conduct when on the Otter hunting
parties, the other stating that a chief here had stopped one of Picken's
boats39 and Crew on shore and that it was only by the interference of the
other Indians they were got off. From this man we also learn, that Capt.
Pickens on hearing of the loss of the Vancouver from the Indians, very
laudably proceeded to the place to render every assistance in his power
accompanied by Whitemore & other Indians. But on arrival at the place
nobody was to be seen and the vessel was broke up. From what these
people learned from the Indians, it was most unfortunate that they abandoned the vessel so soon as they did, for the next tide she floated off to her
anchor & might easily have been saved. It also appears that a great deal
of the danger they apprehended from the Indians was imaginary for the
Natives themselves affirm that only 8 were on the ground, and that in order
to intimidate the Crew, they kindled a great number of fires in the night to
make it be believed that their numbers were greater than they really were.
Since the wreck the Indians who obtained the property have enriched themselves buying slaves &c. It is a pity there were not means of compelling
them to give back the property or something in lieu of it and at the same
time of punishing them effectually for what they have been guilty of. But
were we to go there we would not be able to do any thing by force, and
until we [can] do so it is deemed better to say nothing on the subject,
(36) Common spelling used by the fur-traders on the coast for Oahu,
the most important of the Hawaiian Islands, on which Honolulu is situated.
(37) Captain Alexander Duncan rose from the position of seaman to
that of master in the marine department of the Hudson's Bay Company.
He was the captain of the schooner Vancouver when she was wrecked on
the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1834. Exonerated from all blame, he was
placed in command of the Cadboro. After commanding other vessels for
the Hudson's Bay Company, he retired in 1848.
(38) The schooner Vancouver, wrecked on March 3, 1834.
(39) Probably Captain Benjamin Pickens, who was a frequent visitor to
the Coast. He was engaged primarily in the sea-otter trade. He visited
the Coast in the brig Convoy in 1831, and again in 1832 in the brig Crusader,
but no reference has been found to a visit in 1834. 142 H. D. Dee. April
further than that it will not be dropped.    Should the Steam boat40 come,
they might probably be punished effectually.
Tuesday, February 24. Frost in the night cloudy cold weather during
the day. A number of Indians again visited us during the day, and had
another examination of the goods, but seem not inclined to trade as they
think the prices are too low, and insist upon having more, which on our
part we will not agree to give. It is even with reluctance we offer the price
above stated for though it is only a gallon of mixed liquor higher than the
fort tariff it may induce the Natives there to insist upon getting the same.
But it is said that these are the most difficult Indians on the coast to deal
with, and that the others will be easier induced. Besides as this is alway[s]
the first part [port] the opposition makes on reaching the Coast it is of
importance to secure the Skins before they arrive. Notwithstanding this
we will not give a higher price than that offered, And it appears doubtful
whether it will be accepted.    No trade today.
Wednesday, February 25. About 5 or 6 Inches of snow fell in the night.
Overcast cold weather during the day. The Natives visited us again, and
again used their utmost endeavours to get a higher price for their furs,
but without effect, they again state that they can obtain more from the
American vessels which may be expected soon, and that even should the
Americans not come they can obtain more from the Russians, which it is
understood is the case. In the evening they traded 4 Sea Otters 5 Beaver
& 2 land Otters.
Thursday, February 26. Overcast rather mild weather. The Natives
were off again to day and traded 21 Sea Otters 5 Beaver & 4 Land Otters
at the prices offered. I almost regret getting their furs, as none of our
goods are in demand with them but blankets which I am apprehensive we
will fall short of. Cotton, Strouds, Capots41 and several other articles, they
will not accept unless a quantity beyond reason be given.
Friday, February 27. Overcast cold weather. Frost in the night. Several
more of the Natives were off on board today and traded [blank in MS.] Sea
Otters [blank in MS.] Beavers & [blank in MS.] Land Otters, at the usual
prices except Some of the smaller Sea Otters which were got cheaper, but
still except what is given in presents nothing but prime goods go. The
Indians expect other vessels which will give them a higher price and in
consequence appear not at all Anxious to sell their furs.
Saturday, February 28. Weather as yesterday. Some more of the
Indians came off today and traded 6 Sea Otters & 1 Land Otter. It appears
they [have] not got many beaver or land Otter, but from all accounts they
have a good many Sea Otter yet, but seem not inclined to dispose of them
notwithstanding the high price given them. For a large Otter they get to
the amount of about 4£ which I look upon as very high.
Sunday, March 1. Very bad weather. Snow sleet & rain all day. An
Indian called Musket paid us a visit.    He states that last summer he was
(40) So early a reference to the steamer Beaver is interesting, since she
was only ordered in 1834 and did not arrive on the Coast until 1836. See
W. Kaye Lamb, " The Advent of the Beaver," British Columbia Historical
Quarterly, II. (1938), pp. 163-179.
(41) Strouds were bolts of different coloured blanket cloth which was
traded to the Indians.    Capots were hooded cloaks made of similar material. 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 143
at Chilkath42 at the head of Clarences Straits on a trading excursion, that
a Russian vessel was there trading with the Natives who were amply
supplied with arms both Muskets & blunderbusses, and Ammunition, and
rum, that they give the Indians a blanket but nothing else for a beaver,
some Ammunition & other Articles in proportion. From this man it also
appears that the Indians at Stikeen are laying a plan to cut off the Russian
establishment there,43 and that both men and women even providing themselves with knives daggers and other arms for the purpose. Cutting off
the establishment they consider will not be a difficult task. It seems the
Russians have not a very strong force there and that they have no stockades
but merely houses. The Natives' plan is to by various pretexts to assemble
in force and when they get to close quarters to close with the whites and
overpower them by numbers. They dont seem to apprehend the vengeance
of the Russians hereafter. The cause of the Indians' discontent is their
not getting such high prices for their furs as usual or as they would wish.
The Natives have also been frequently enquiring whether we dont mean
to take some measures against the Indians who plundered the wrecked
Vancouver, and enforce a restitution of the property or value for it. To
this they have been returned evasive answers. From their conversation it
appears that from the transactions at Stikeen last summer and the affair
of the Vancouver being overlooked we are much lessened in their estimation
and our power looked upon with very little respect. In order to remove this
impression it would be highly desirable to take notice of the Vancouver
affair, even should but little profit derive from it. But as we are situated at
present, notwithstanding we have a crew of 20 Able hands, except a very
favourable opportunity, indeed, would offer, we would be able to make no
impression on those plunderers, as we could not approach their village
without much risk and exposure and even then they could fly into the woods
and evade us. Besides the goods are long since all dispersed, and even
should a favourable chance offer we could gain but little. We might recover
the guns and chains but even that would be doubtful without paying for
them. It is therefore probably the best plan to not notice the affair for the
present, but wait for the arrival of the steamboat,44 which with another
vessel in company might perhaps do the thing effectually and be able to
compell the Indians to make restitution of the property or value for it if
they had any, but this tribe the Massets45 though powerful in numbers are
very poor in furs of any kind.    2 Sea Otters were traded today.
Monday, March 2. Rained the most of the day, wind from the S.E., and
though there is not much wind here, it probably blows hard outside as
as [sic] there is a considerable swell where we lie. But very few of the
Natives visited us today. The men employed getting in wood and water.
And as we have little or nothing more to expect from the Indians in the
way of trade it is unnecessary to remain longer here and we will be off
tomorrow or next day, weather permitting. Some of the Indians have not
been to visit us yet and even those who have been here have yet some furs,
(42) This may refer to the Chilkat area at the head of Lynn Canal.
No such place has been located on Clarence Straits.
(43) Redoubt St. Dionysius, the fort built to keep the Hudson's Bay
Company out of the Stikine area in 1834.   See introduction.
(44) The steamer Beaver.
(45) A branch of the Haida Indians from Masset, near Rose Spit, on
Graham Island, in the Queen Charlotte group. 144 H. D. Dee. April
but are not inclined to dispose of them at our prices. Those whom we have
not seen are no doubt disposed the same way or they would have been here,
as they have had sufficient time to have had inteligence of our being here.
We will therefore return to the fort & thence to Nass, where the Indians
are about this time beginning to assemble to fish small fish and make oil.46
We obtain a sufficiency of fish, principally halibut for the use of the people;
a few potatoes have also been obtained.
Tuesday, March 8. Rained the most of the day, thick weather and blowing fresh into the harbour. No attempt could be made to move today.
Very few of the Natives came aboard, they are mostly all gone off to their
Wednesday, March 4. Blowing squally weather in the night. Mild in
the morning, cloudy weather & blowing occasionally afterwards. The wind
S. E. blowing right into the harbour, so that we could not get out. Some
of the Natives came off and traded 4 Sea Otters & 4 beaver. They had
some more Sea Otters & beaver but would not accept the price offered and
took them away again.    A deer and some halibut were also traded.
I regret being delayed by this unfavorable wind, as I am anxious to
get to Nass lest some opponents might come on, and yet we have still plenty
of time to be there before the Indians are assembled.
Thursday, March 5. Stormy from the S. E. in the night. Moderate
forepart of the day with heavy rain and hail showers, which continued
during the day but in the afternoon the wind shifted to the S.W. when it
blew fresh with squalls. We are in hopes if the wind continues favorable
that the weather will admit of our getting out tomorrow. On account of
the unfavorable weather but few of the Natives visited us today. One
Sea Otter was traded from the Chief.
Friday, March 6. Stormy with rain & hail in the night. In the morning
it was moderate, when we expected to get out & the boats were taken aboard,
but the wind shifted round and continued to blow fresh with squalls right
into the harbour all day with rain and hail and towards evening was very
stormy. No chance of getting out. Several of the Natives visited us but
traded only one beaver. They had some more beaver and Sea Otters but
would not accept our price. On being told that they would not get so much
when we returned again, they said that rather than take less they would
cut up their skins and make blankets of them. This however I look upon
as only a bravo, yet I think there is a great likelihood that when our tariff
shall be reduced that even should there be no opposition little trade will
be obtained for at least a year, as the Indians are well supplied with goods
of every kind and that they will hold out in expectation of the arrival of
other traders. And even when the tariff shall have been reduced, it will
have to be raised again should opponents cast up or we will lose all the
trade; and undoubtedly a part of it even should we then lower our prices.
The prices we now pay I consider extravagantly high, and yet high as they
are the Indians would not accept of them, were they not anxious to get an
additional supply of goods to go off to trade to the Northward.47
(46) A further reference to the oolachan fishery.   See footnote 22 above.
(47) A reference to the extensive slave trade that was carried on
between the Indian tribes and to the fact that the coastal tribes acted as
middlemen in the fur trade between the Indians of the interior and the
white maritime traders. 1944 John Work's Journal, 1835. 145
Saturday, March 7. Rain and hail during the day. The wind still
unfavorable, till towards evening when it shifted to the S.W. but it was
then considered too late to go out.
Several of the Natives came off & traded 2 Sea Otters. A few potatoes
were also bought from them for seed at the Fort.
Sunday, March 8. Showry weather. Very little wind and that little
right in to the harbour in the morning. In the afternoon the wind shifted
round to the S.W. Yet the Capt. was deterred from starting by some Indians
who were aboard to sell a couple of Sea Otters. The weather, tho' the
wind was fair appeared unfavourable and squally.
Monday, March 9. Blew fresh from the S.E. with squally showery
weather during the night. Rain forenoon, little wind from the S.E. during
the day. In the afternoon the weather cleared up, the wind being still
unfavourable, so that we are detained here still, which I regret as I am
anxious to get off, there being little chance of getting any thing more here
at present, for though the Indians have still some skins yet they will not
accept of our prices extravagantly high as they are, and indeed at this
high price I am little anxious to get any more of the Sea Otters, in hopes
that should no opposition cast up they might be obtained at a lower rate.
Yet one is in doubt how to act, for should an opposition appear the furs
will doubtless cost a good deal higher. I regret to see so many of our
blankets (which are the only articles in demand) go as we may fall short
of them, and it would be much more advantageous to dispose of them for
beaver than Sea Otters, particularly of the quality of those we get here.
Several Indians came off today and traded 1 Sea Otter, also 2 deer and
some fish which is a seasonable supply as what we had were out.
Tuesday, March 10. Thick fog in the morning with very little wind,
but afterwards it sprung up a fresh breeze from E to S.E. which towards
evening increased to a stiff gale. Got under weigh about 9 Oclock and swept
and towed out of the harbour and continued beating against the wind and
now in the evening have not got up with Cape Murray tho' the distance is
only about [blank in MS.] Miles.48 The fog cleared off towards noon. The
weather has now a threatening appearance. Should a strong S. Easter
come on it is expected we can run back to Kygarny or get into Tongass
Several of the Indians came alongside as we were coming off in the
morning and traded two Sea Otters and some Halibut.
Wednesday, March 11. The gale increased during the night that towards
morning the vessel was obliged to be hove too. The wind still increased
with a very heavy sea and the weather so thick accompanied with rain so
that nothing could be seen, the vessel pitching heavily and shipping a good
deal of water.    About noon we were drawn in upon the land as was supposed
(48) 25-30 miles.
(49) There are two harbours by this name mentioned in Marcus Baker,
Geographic Dictionary of Alaska, 1906, pp. 614, 632. One is on Annette
Island, just behind Point Percy, which forms the south-east entrance to
Clarence Strait. The other is on Tongass Island, 3 or 4 miles east of
Cape Fox. 146 H. D. Dee.
about point Percy60 but the weather was so thick that no one could tell
exactly where. Our situation now was for some time very critical as we
were drawn on by a violent wind and surrounded by rocks & breakers on
a lee shore where no safe place could be discovered to run into and anchor.
As a last effort more sail was put on the vessel notwithstanding the violence
of the wind, and by God's Mercy she worked out clear of the land, and we
escaped the imminent danger in which we were. The gale continued
unabated till late in the evening when it moderated a little and the wind
shifted a little more to the southward, but the sea still runing very high and
the vessel pitching heavily. This is of little consequence as we have sea
room but there are dangerous rocks in our way. We are still plying to
Windward.    The Captain and several of the people are sea sick.
Thursday, March 12. The gale continued, but more moderate the greater
part of the night; towards morning it had moderated a good deal, and the
sea fallen proportionably, the wind also changed round to from S to S.W.
At day light we were approaching Isle de Zaya,6i and by 2 P.M. had
anchored at Ft. Simpson the wind having died away so much that there was
barely enough to take us in. It was my intention to have put into Tongass
harbour, but understanding that the Indians about this season are generally
off on their way to Nass, and that the only likely plan to find them would
be Clemencitty62 which is not over 8 or 10 Miles from this place, where
they will most likely call in passing, we did not put in there either as it
is difficult to get out of again. Although we expected all the Ft. Simpson
Indians would have been off to Nass before now, a considerable number of
them are here still.    Mr. Birnie has got nearly well.
[To be continued.]
(50) The south-eastern entrance to Clarence Strait. The mention of
this Point seems to confirm the first-mentioned place in the above note as
the one meant by Work.
(51) Zayas Island, as previously identified.
(52) Clemencitty or Clement's City is identified as Tlehonsiti (also
called Tlechopcity), on Tongass Island, just east of Cape Fox, a place which
the Tongass Indians were wont to visit on their way to the Nass. See
Geographic Dictionary of Alaska, p. 632. The diary of Dr. W. F. Tolmie,
entry for August 1, 1834, made while at Fort Simpson, contains this reference to the place: " From the window of the garret Close to my bed there
is a fine prospect of the bay & across the Straits to Clemencitty Harbor."
See also British Columbia Pilot, 1888, p. 439, which speaks of it as one of the
south-eastern approaches to Tongass from Chatham Sound. ROYAL COMMISSIONS AND COMMISSIONS
For some time the writer has felt the need for an adequate
guide to the Royal Commissions which have been held in British
Columbia since Confederation, as the only one which she has
seen is the incomplete bibliography contained in Arthur Harrison Cole's A Finding-List of Royal Commission Reports in the
British Dominions (Harvard University Press, 1939).
For the purpose of this checklist, the popularly-used term
" Royal Commission" is taken to mean a Commission issued
by the representative of the Crown—in the case of British
Columbia, the Lieutenant-Governor—on the advice of his Ministers or by an Act of the Legislature, to a person or persons
to investigate and report on certain matters. Such a Commission is signed by the Lieutenant-Governor under the Great Seal
of the Province and issued under the authority of the " Public
Inquiries Act."1 The term " Royal" may, or may not, occur
in the Commission. Nowadays, a Royal Commission is entirely
distinct from an inquiry which a Minister may direct to be taken
under the " Departmental Inquiries Act," although the Commissioner in that case is also appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor
in Council. Previous to the passing of the " Departmental Inquiries Act" in 1927, all Commissions in British Columbia must,
perforce, be considered as " Royal Commissions" since they
follow the procedure adopted by the above definition.2
The usual procedure after the Commission is issued is for the
Commissioner to advertise in the British Columbia Gazette the
time and place of taking evidence of witnesses;   to hold ses-
(1) First passed 1872;  amended 1873:  revised 1897, amended 1935.
(2) In the following list, however, no cognizance has been taken of
Commissions appointed under Acts other than the " Public Inquiries Act,"
however designated.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. Vni., No. 2.
147 148 Marjorie C. Holmes. April
sions, and, after digesting the evidence presented, to issue a
report to the Lieutenant-Governor. From then on the procedure
has varied. Usually, the report is presented to the Legislature,
which may then decide to include it in the Sessional Papers for
that year. Many reports are to be found in these volumes.
However, this procedure has not always been followed. For
instance, we find three cases, in the period 1872-1900, in which
the report of a Commission was first printed in the British
Columbia Gazette: Texada Island (1874), the Kootenay Royal
Commission (1878), and the Nakusp and Slocan Railway inquiry
(1894), which are to be found in the Gazette, October 17, 1874,
pp. 243-44; November 16,1878, p. 306; and May 17, 1894, p. 43,
The report of the Kootenay Royal Commission was brought
down to the Legislature by means of a request for a Return, and
appears in the Sessional Papers of 1880, two years after the
report was submitted to the Lieutenant-Governor, while that of
the Nakusp and Slocan Railway does not appear in the Sessional
Papers at all, although certain correspondence in connection with
the subject does. This report is found, however, in a pamphlet
printed by the " Colonist Steam Presses " in 1894, and is so listed
in the following bibliography. In the period 1900-1920, of some
sixty-nine Commissions, only twenty-two are to be found in the
Sessional Papers; many reports are missing altogether, at the
time of writing, while others are in the vaults of the Provincial
Secretary's Office in Victoria. The latter usually consist of
original reports, evidence, and exhibits.
Although the correct procedure is that a copy of a report be
placed in the hands of the Provincial Secretary for safe-keeping, in earlier years this was not followed consistently, which
accounts, to some extent, for the gaps in the files. It is, however, possible that in the future more of these reports may be
discovered in the vaults of some other department of the Government.
For the purpose of this checklist, where a copy of the report
is not available the title of the Commission follows as closely as
possible the wording of the Order in Council appointing the
Commissioners. 1944 Commissions of Inquiry. 149
It is interesting to note that the greater number of Commissioners appointed were either Judges or members of the legal
profession, except in the case of such Commissions as the Smallpox inquiry (1893), and that on Milk-supply (1913), when practical and technical knowledge was essential.
The subjects of the inquiries are many and varied and the
study of them throws interesting light on the development of the
Province. They range from the investigation of a complaint
into the conduct of an individual Civil Servant, or the management of a Government department or institution, to far-reaching
inquiries affecting future legislation. A few contain information which perhaps does not come within the scope of the Commission, but which shows the interest of the Commissioner in
his subject. Such a one is that on the Porcupine District (1901).
Although he was sent to the district to settle certain mining
disputes, a task which he completed, the Commissioner took the
opportunity to write a short history of the district, make observations on the flora, fauna, and population, and also included in
his report a bibliography of books and pamphlets.
The modern tendency is for a Royal Commission to be a factfinding body to determine a policy with a view to subsequent
legislation, rather than an investigation into something which
has already happened. Of course, such inquiries are held, as
for example, the John L. Barge inquiry (1929), but more often
Commissions of to-day are comprehensive surveys of their subject, such as the Workmen's Compensation Commission (1942),
leaving investigations of a more personal character to the " Departmental Inquiries Act."
Reports of inquiries should be carefully preserved, as old
reports throw a good deal of light on events of to-day. For
instance, statistics on forestry matters, previous to the formation of the Forest Branch in 1912, are difficult to obtain except
in the Final Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Timber and Forestry, 1909-1910; consequently this report is constantly being consulted by those interested. The 1913 report on
the Sect of Doukhobors throws a good deal of light on the present
behaviour of these people, and so on. In spite of this, many
of the reports have been forgotten or are comparatively little
known. 150 Marjorie C. Holmes. April
Indeed, the chief purpose of this bibliography is to make
it possible to ascertain easily and quickly what matters have
already been investigated and where the reports of the various
inquiries are to be found.
Marjorie C. Holmes.
Provincial Library,
Victoria, B.C. 1944 Commissions of Inquiry. 151
PART I.:   1872-1900.
1. [Report of a Committee of the Executive Council . . . on the sub
ject of a report from Alexander Rocke Robertson, Robert Ker,
and Francis James Roscoe, Commissioners appointed to inquire
into and report upon a deficiency appearing in the accounts
of Warner Reeve Spalding—Manager of the Savings Bank
2 pp.
MS. Form A attached to Order in Council #41, 1872, on file in the
Provincial Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioners: Alexander Rocke Robertson, Robert Ker, and
Francis James Roscoe.
Appointed June 29, 1872;  report dated July 2, 1872.
Spalding was short in his accounts by $276.68. The commission
investigated, and he was ordered to make good the amount forthwith.
2. Papers relating to the appointment and proceedings of the Royal
Commission for instituting enquiries into the acquisition of
Texada Island. Presented to the Legislative Assembly by command of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor. Victoria:
Printed by Kichard Wolfenden, government printer, at the
Government Printing Office, James' Bay, 1874.
Cover-title, 66 pp.
Also in Journals of the Legislative Assembly . . . Session 1875,
Appendix, Sessional Papers, pp. 181-246; and in British Columbia
Gazette, October 17, 1874, pp. 243-244 (report only).
Commissioners: Chief Justice Matthew Baillie Begbie, Mr. Justice
Henry Pering Pellew Crease, and Mr. Justice John Hamilton Gray; all
of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Charles F. Pooley, Secretary.
Appointed March 13, 1874;  report dated October 8, 1874.
The commission investigated charges made by John Robson " That
prominent members of the late [De Cosmos] and present [Walkem]
Government were in a ring to acquire possession of Texada Island, in
a manner prejudicial to the interests of the public; ..." Large
deposits of iron ore had been found on the island. Suspicion was
directed chiefly against Amor De Cosmos, and George A. Walkem,
Premier and Attorney-General.    Those giving evidence or submitting 152 Marjorie C. Holmes. April
statements included Sir John A. Macdonald, Gilbert Malcolm Sproat,
and Sewell Prescott Moody. The commission found that there was
" no sufficient ground " to substantiate the charges.
3. Proceedings of the Kootenay Royal Commission.
15 pp.
In Sessional Papers . . . Session 1880, pp. 141-156; also in British
Columbia Gazette, November 16, 1878, p. 306 (report only). The report
was printed in its entirety in the Victoria Daily Colonist, November 17,
1878, p. 2.
Commissioners: Chief Justice Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, Mr.
Justice Henry Pering Pellew Crease, and Mr. Justice John Hamilton
Gray; all of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. G. Richard Lay-
ton, Secretary.
Appointed April 8, 1878;  report dated November 14, 1878.
Charges had been made that a former Attorney-General, A. C.
Elliott, had made offers through a store-keeper at Wild Horse Creek to
bribe Charles Gallagher, M.P.P.1 for Kootenay, not to run in the forthcoming election. Robert Leslie Galbraith, M.P.P.* for Kootenay, also
made the same charges. Witnesses in the inquiry were A. C. Elliott,
James Trimble, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and Forbes
Vernon, Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. The commissioners
found the accused " not guilty."
Reference should also be made to the Correspondence regarding the
appointment of a Royal Commission to enquire into the statements made
by members for Kootenay 1878, Sessional Papers . . . 1878, p. 611;
Further correspondence ... in ibid., p. 685; and Return . . . of
correspondence that has not already been printed ... in Sessional
Papers  .  .  .  1879, p. 351.
4. British Columbia.   Metlakatlah inquiry, 1884.   Report of the Com
missioners, together with the evidence. Victoria: Printed by
Richard Wolfenden, government printer, at the Government
Printing Office, James' Bay, 1885.
Cover-title, pp. 6, lxxxii.
Also in Sessional Papers . . . Session 1885. pp. 131-136, i.-lxxxii.
The original MS. evidence is on file in the Provincial Secretary's Office,
Commissioners: Alexander Edmund Batson Davie, Attorney-General,
Henry Maynard Ball, and Andrew Charles Elliott. S. Fletcher, Secretary.
Appointed October 28, 1884;  report dated December 9, 1884.
The commission investigated reports of disturbances and breaches
of the peace at the Indian settlement of Metlakatlah, and was empowered
(1)  As " M.P.P." is used in the report of the commission, it is also used
here, instead of the correct abbreviation, " M.L.A." 1944 Commissions of Inquiry. 153
to " inquire into the causes and sources of such disturbances and disquietudes in Our said Province, so far as the same refer to the good
Government of Our said Province, or reflect upon the conduct of any
part of the public business thereof."
The disturbances at Metlakatlah were caused mainly by the disputes
between the missionary, William Duncan, and the Church Missionary
Society, and the claim of the Indians that their title to the land be
recognized. The settlement of Metlakatlah had been founded by William Duncan, a lay missionary connected with the Church Missionary
Society, in 1862, and under his guidance had become a model village.
Later, disputes arose between Duncan and Bishop Ridley, of Caledonia,
regarding uniformity in ritual and practice, which culminated in the
missionary's dismissal in 1881. He then proposed to move the mission
to Alaska. The unrest among the Indians which the unfortunate disputes caused resulted in the destruction of the store and the Kitkatlah
church, and other disorders.
Much of the evidence was furnished by the two missionaries, William Duncan and William Henry Collison, and Bishop William Ridley,
of Caledonia, in Metlakatlah, and by P. J. O'Reilly, Indian land commissioner, in Victoria. The commissioners found that the disturbances
were due to four main causes': the claims of the Indians to have their
title to all the land recognized; the withdrawal of William Duncan from
the Church Missionary Society; the fact that the two acres at Metlakatlah, known as Mission Point were not part of the Tsimpsean Indian
Reserve, and that Bishop Ridley, as temporary agent of the Church
Missionary Society, was in occupation thereof; and the conduct of the
Indian council at Metlakatlah.
5. Report of Commission of enquiry concerning the genuineness of an
alleged transfer, dated the 23rd day of June, 1884, from certain
Indians to one J. M. M. Spinks.
22 pp.
In Sessional Papers .  . . Session 1886.   pp. 217-239.
Commissioner: Chief Justice Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, of the
Supreme Court.
Appointed March 20, 1885;  report dated May 1, 1885.
This was an inquiry into the ownership of certain lands on Coal
Harbour, and was the outcome of an act passed by the Legislature " to
authorize the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry concerning the
genuineness of an alleged transfer . . . from certain Indians to one
J. M. M. Spinks, after reciting that during the investigation by a Select
•Committee of the Legislative Assembly of claims to lands in the vicinity
of Coal Harbour, a document had been produced purporting to be a
transfer of the alleged rights of two Indians to certain lands and improvements at False Creek to one J. M. M. Spinks . . . And that the
genuineness of such document had been impugned ..." The principal
witness was J. M. M. Spinks, a store-keeper, and a new-comer to British
Columbia; others were Samuel Greer, and Patrick McTiernan, Indian
agent.    The document was held to be a forgery.
This commission is popularly known as the " Greer case," and is so
referred to in the Sessional Papers. 154 Marjorie C. Holmes. April
6. Return to an Order of the House for copies of the Report of the
Commissioner appointed to investigate the claims of Dry Dock
creditors, and the amounts paid to each; also the names of
those whose claims were rejected, and the reason assigned for
such rejection.
4 pp.
In Sessional Papers . . . Session 1886. pp. 445-448.
Commissioner: Edwin Johnson, barrister of Victoria.
Appointed April 21,1885; reports dated April 27 and June 30,1885.
The commissioner dealt with the claims for wages against F. B.
McNamee & Co., contractors for the Esquimalt Graving Dock. Certain
claims were admitted by the Commissioner and recommended to be paid;
a few were rejected as being without the scope of the inquiry. Claims
amounting to $5,542.79 were admitted.
7. British Columbia.   Papers relating to the commission appointed to
enquire into the condition of the Indians of the North-West
Coast. Victoria: Printed by Richard Wolfenden, government
printer, at the Government Printing Office, James' Bay.
Cover-title, 59 pp.
Also in Sessional Papers . . . Session 1888.   pp. 415—462L.
Commissioners: Clement F. Cornwall, former Lieutenant-Governor
of British Columbia, for the Dominion Government, and Joseph Prhys
Planta, for the Provincial Government.
Appointed September 30, 1887;  report dated November 30, 1887.
This was a joint commission of the Dominion and Provincial governments, appointed to meet the Indians of the Nass River and those
of Fort Simpson, for the purpose of hearing the expression of their
wishes and any complaints. The commissioners were warned by the
Hon. A. E. B. Davie, Attorney-General, "not to give undertakings or
make promises, and in particular you will be careful to discountenance,
should it arise, any claim of Indian title to Provincial lands." Many
subjects were discussed by the Indians, including their title to lands,
fishing reserves, and the operation of the Indian Act. The commissioners commented on the state of the Indian village of Metlakatlah
since the departure of William Duncan and certain Indians of his following, to a new settlement in Alaska. The report throws light on the
occupations and customs of the Indians, and makes recommendations
regarding disputes among the Indians themselves.
8. Report .  . . of commissioners appointed to examine, classify and
revise and consolidate the statute law of British Columbia.
2 reports. MS. original reports on file in the Provincial Secretary's
Office, Victoria. 1944 Commissions of Inquiry. 155
Commissioners: Edwin Johnson and Charles Wilson, barristers of
Appointed July 29, 1886; reports dated January, 1889, and March
2, 1889.
The commissioners reported that they had revised the statutes and
submitted a draft volume.
9. Report.   Victoria gaol investigation.
In Sessional Papers .  .  . Session 1890.   p. 463.
Original report is on file in the Provincial Secretary's Office,
Commissioner: Mr. Justice M. W. Tyrwhitt Drake, of the Supreme
Appointed October 29, 1889;  report dated November 19, 1889.
The commissioner investigated charges concerning the operation of
the Victoria city gaol, in respect to drunkenness and improper discipline
on the part of the warders, and also of the serving of improper food.
Two charges were sustained, but the food charge was dismissed as
" frivolous."
10. [Special commission composed of undermentioned to be appointed
for the purpose of revising and consolidating the mining laws
of the province.]
No report found.
Commissioners: George Cowan, of Barkerville, William Wilson, of
Victoria, Gustavus B. Wright, of Hot Springs, James M. Kellie, of
Appointed November 28, 1890.
It is presumed that the commissioners presented a report to the
proper authorities, as the mining laws of the province were revised and
consolidated at the Session of 1891.
11. Report.    Commission of enquiry into the conduct of the Police
Magistrate of Victoria.   Victoria, B.C.:   Printed by Richard
Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.
Cover-title, pp. 7, xcvi.
Also in Sessional Papers  .  .  . Session 1892.   pp. 265-272, i.-xcvi.
Commissioner:   Mr. Justice Henry Pering Pellew Crease, of the
Supreme Court.
Appointed November 4, 1891; report dated January 28, 1892.
Mr. Justice H. P. P. Crease investigated charges made by August
May, of Seattle, regarding the conduct of the police magistrate of
Victoria, Arthur Louis Belyea, of the firm of Belyea and Gregory. 156 Marjorie C. Holmes. April
The case involved a complaint by the father, August May, of a 15-year-
old girl who had left her home in Seattle, and who was being "harboured in the house of one Fried, of Victoria, a barber," and the conduct of the case by the police magistrate of Victoria, A. L. Belyea, to
whom the complaint had been made. The commissioner found that in
the matter of the conduct of the magistrate there had been no appearance of criminality, but there had been an error of judgment in more
respects than one.
12. Report of the Royal Commissioners appointed to enquire into the
conduct of the affairs of the Municipal Council of Victoria.
Victoria, B.C.: Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Printer to the
Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.
Cover-title, pp. 31, cxli.
Also in Sessional Papers  .  .  .  Session 1892.   pp. 481-512, i.-cxli.
Commissioners:   Chief Justice Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie and Mr.
Justice M. W. Tyrwhitt Drake, both of the Supreme Court.
Appointed October 17, 1891;  report dated February 25, 1892.
Charges had been made against the municipal council of Victoria
of mismanagement of the city's affairs in regard to financial arrangements and expenditures. The municipal council admitted most of the
charges except in some matters of detail. The commission found that
the charges were substantiated.
13. Report of the Commissioner appointed to enquire into certain
charges against Isaac H. Hallett, Esq., a Stipendiary Magistrate
for the County of Westminster.
13 pp.
In Sessional Papers . . . Session 1892.   pp. 691-703.
Commissioner:   Mr. Justice Henry Pering Pellew Crease, of the
Supreme Court.
Appointed November 4, 1891;  report dated March 14, 1892.
The commissioner investigated charges against Isaac Hoyt Hallett,
stipendiary magistrate of New Westminster, that he had received fees
not warranted by law. These charges were held to be fully substantiated.
Mr. Justice Crease, however, drew attention to the anomaly of the law
providing for a stipendiary magistrate without stipend, and the fact
that the magistrate in question was " peculiarly ill-adapted to fill a
responsible position which he never sought."
14. Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the late
epidemic outbreak of Small-pox in the Province of British
Columbia, under Order-in-Council, dated the 6th October, 1892.
12 pp.
In Sessional Papers .  .  .  Session 1898.   pp. 507-518.
Commissioners:   Chief Justice Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, of the
Supreme Court, and Emil A. Praeger, M.D., of Nanaimo.
Appointed October 6, 1892;  report dated February 20, 1893. 1944 Commissions of Inquiry. 157
The commission was charged with the inquiry as to the " channel
and means through which the said epidemic of small-pox was introduced into the Province, referring to the outbreak which occurred in the
beginning of July last, which led to the Order in Council of 11th July
1892," and also " the spread and dissemination of the said epidemic in
the Province." After examining many witnesses, the commission advised
that more care should be taken in quarantine matters affecting both
quarantine in regard to ships and in regard to cases already developed
on shore.
15. Royal commission and full information regarding the Nakusp and
Slocan Railway. Victoria, B.C.: " The Colonist" Steam Presses,
Cover-title, 16 pp.
The original typewritten report, evidence, and exhibits are on file
in the Provincial Secretary's Office, Victoria. Also in British Columbia
Gazette, May 17, 1894, p. 430 (report only).
Commissioners: Chief Justice Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, of the
Supreme Court, and George W. Burbidge, Judge of the Exchequer
Court of Canada.
Appointed April 20, 1894;  report dated May 15, 1894.
Accusations were made, but no witnesses appeared before the commission in support of the accusations, despite the fact that due notice
of the inquiry had been given in the newspapers and the British Columbia Gazette. The charges made against the Premier [Theodore Davie]
of corruption, and " of working for the Company " were found to be
Reference should also be made to Papers relating to the Nakusp and
Slocan Railway, in Sessional Papers . . . 1893, pp. 1109-1115; Additional papers relating to the Nakusp and Slocan Railway, in Sessional
Papers . . . 1894, pp. 1117-1128; and Return . . . additional information with reference to the construction of the Nakusp and Slocan
Railway, in ibid., pp. 1197-1207.
16. Report of Royal Commission on charges preferred against Captain
N. Fitzstubbs.
2 pp.
In Sessional Papers . . . Session 1894-95. pp. 497-8. The original
MS. report is on file in the Provincial Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioner: Mr. Justice Henry Pering Pellew Crease, of the
Supreme Court.
Appointed September 4, 1894;  report dated September 29, 1894.
Charges were made by the foreman on the Government trail between
Nakusp and Slocan, against Capt. Fitzstubbs, Assistant Commissioner
of Lands and Works, involving a dispute in regard to the work. The
commissioner found that while there was irregularity in the manner of
charging the account in question, " that the work it represented was
honestly done and paid for on Government account and for Government 158 Marjoree C. Holmes. April
work.   There was consequently no culpability on the officer impugned,
from which, in my opinion, he should be exonerated."
17. Return to an address of the Legislative Assembly requesting His
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor to cause to be laid before the
House all the papers in connection with the late enquiry into
the management of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, together
with the letter of instructions to the Commissioners appointed
to make the enquiry.
In Sessional Papers . . . Session 1894-95. pp. 503-574. The
original typewritten report and enclosures are on file in the Provincial
Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioners: Edward Hasell and Charles Frederick Newcombe,
doctors of medicine of the city of Victoria.
Appointed October 23, 1894;  report dated November 27, 1894.
The commission was charged with the inquiry into the " sanitary and
professional treatment of inmates, the sanitary arrangements, number
and duties of the officers and employees of the Asylum and their conduct, the cost of maintenance, and, generally, all matters concerning
the management of the Asylum, or relating to the welfare of the
inmates or the public interests." The report showed a condition of
welfare and cleanliness in the Asylum, but uncovered a long list of
cruelties and abuses in the treatment of the patients. The result of
this investigation was that two male attendants were at once discharged, and Dr. Bentley, the superintendent, was relieved from office.
Reference should also be made to Correspondence, Re Royal Commission [on] Lunatic Asylum in Sessional Papers . . . 1894—95, pp.
18. Commission under the Public Inquiries Act appointing His Honour
Judge Harrison to enquire into certain charges against Mr.
J. P. Planta, police magistrate of the city of Nanaimo and into
his general conduct as a police magistrate.
20 pp.
The original typewritten report is on file in the Provincial Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioner: Eli Harrison, Judge of the County Court of
Appointed December 15, 1894;  report dated February 26, 1895.
It was charged that Planta entered into an agreement with the city
of Nanaimo to waive salary, and in lieu, to accept such costs as might
be collected in cases tried by him, or otherwise as the agreement might
prescribe. Planta denied this agreement, which was illegal under the
" Municipal Act." He was found guilty on a total of twenty-one
charges. 1944 Commissions of Inquiry. 159
19. [Commission  .   .   .   by an order of His Honour the Lieutenant-
Governor in Council . . . that an enquiry be made into the
conduct of the public business by the Council of the City of
Victoria in relation to the institution there established under
the name of the " Old Men's Home," and generally into the
management by the Council or its employees of said institution.]
No report found.
Commissioners: Theodore Davie, Attorney-General; John Braden,
James McGregor, Thomas Kitchen, and Donald Graham, Members of
the Provincial Legislature.
Appointed December 1, 1894.
This commission was issued under the authority of the " Municipal
Act," 1892, section 313, which provided that the Lieutenant-Governor
in Council might at any time cause an inquiry to be made into or concerning the good government of any Municipality, and for the purposes
of such an inquiry the provisions of the " Public Inquiries Act" should
20. [Commission appointing Rt. Rev. John Nicholas Lemmens, Roman
Catholic Bishop of Vancouver, to enquire into and ascertain the
market to be obtained in the Republic of Guatemala for the
kinds and qualities of lumber and fish produced and exported
from British Columbia and into the state of trade for those
articles generally  .   .   .]
No report found.
Commissioner: Rt. Rev. John Nicholas Lemmens, Roman Catholic
Bishop of Vancouver.
Appointed September 28, 1896.
21. [In the matter of the " Public Inquiries Act"...  Commission
to enquire into certain matters relating to agricultural interests in the province of British Columbia.]
Commissioners: T. A. Sharpe, Superintendent of Agricultural Station at Agassiz, Gaylord H. Hadwen, of Duncan, and R. E. Gosnell, of
Appointed June 18, 1898; commission annulled October 13, 1898.
22. Commission  .  .   .  in the matter of the " Public Inquiries Act"
and of an investigation under the said act as to the truth of
certain allegations of mal-administration in the Department of
Lands and Works.
2 pp. 160 Marjorie C. Holmes. April
Original typewritten report and evidence on file in the Provincial
Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioner: Mr. Justice George A. Walkem, of the Supreme
Appointed May 13, 1898;  report dated July 23, 1898.
Inquiry was made into certain allegations by T. L. Grahame, editor
of the Victoria Daily Times, in an editorial in the paper in which he
stated that the Lands and Works Department was not properly managed, and that money had passed into the hands of the Surveyor-
General from persons who had business with the Department. The
commissioner found that the charges were not substantiated.
23. Commission appointed under the " Public Inquiries Act" to hold an
inquiry into matters affecting the Provincial Gaol, Kamloops.
4 pp.
Original typewritten report and evidence on file in the Provincial
Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioner:  Albert Edward Beck, of Vancouver.
Appointed September 10, 1898;  report dated September 29, 1898.
Charges of neglect of duty were made against a gaoler, who in
return made charges of laxity on the part of the warden. Those
charges preferred against the gaoler were found to be partly substantiated, but not those against the warden. The commissioner made
certain recommendations for the conduct of the gaol.
24. Commission appointed under the " Public Inquiries Act" to hold
an enquiry for the purpose of ascertaining the truth of matter
alleged in a letter from Mrs. Harry Thompson . . . regarding
the conduct of Warden Armstrong or Guard Calbick of the
Provincial Gaol at New Westminster.
5 pp.
Original typewritten report, evidence, and exhibits are on file in
the Provincial Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioner: Eli Harrison the Younger, Judge of the County
Court of Nanaimo.   W. H. Bullock-Webster, Secretary.
Appointed January 15, 1898;  report dated March 2, 1898.
It was found that the letter on which charges were based was written by a prisoner. Certain charges against the guard regarding appropriation of prisoners' money were substantiated.
25. Return to an Order of the House for a Return of all papers, cor
respondence, evidence, and finding of the Judge, in connection
with the Royal Commission of Inquiry appointed under the
" Public Inquiries Act," September 15th, 1898.
4 pp.
In Sessional Papers . . . Session 1899.   pp. 1351-1354. 1944 COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY. 161
Original report, evidence, and exhibits are on file in the Provincial
Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioner: Chief Justice Angus John McColl, of the Supreme
Court.    Harvey Combe, Secretary.
Appointed September 15, 1898; report dated November 22, 1898.
This commission was appointed to inquire into the circumstances
of the payment of two sums of $30,000.00 and $3,414.87 under contracts
entered into with Frederick Adams and Richard Drake for the performance of certain work in connection with the construction of the new
Parliament Buildings, and also into circumstances connected with the
submission to arbitration (dated June 29, 1898) of differences between
the Government and Messrs. Baker, McGregor and Jeeves, arising out
of the contract with Frederick Adams. The situation was complicated
owing to the fact that the contractor died before completing his contract.
The commission was fact-finding as all claims were settled.
26. Record of proceedings under the " Public Inquiries Act" to inves
tigate certain charges made against A. R. Green by James J.
Currie, respecting the conduct of the said A. R. Green while in
the employment of the Inspector of Dykes.
44 pp.
Original MS. report and evidence on file in the Provincial Secretary's Office, Victoria.
Commissioner:  W. Myers Gray, barrister, of New Westminster.
Appointed September 11, 1899;  report dated September 20, 1899.
Currie, employed on the dyke at Pitt Meadows, charged Green with
drunkenness, neglect, incompetency, waste of government funds, and
falsifying returns to hide carelessness and mistakes. Certain evidence
was brought out to support the charges, especially that of drunkenness,
but most of the evidence was conflicting. The commissioner reported
the evidence, but arrived at no specific conclusion.
27. Commission of enquiry " into the management of the Fire and
Water departments of the Corporation of the City of New
Westminster more especially with reference to the fire which
occurred on the night of the 10th and the morning of the 11th
of September 1898."
15 pp.
Original typewritten report on file in the Provincial Secretary's
Office, Victoria.
Commissioner: Eli Harrison the Younger, Judge of the County
Court of Nanaimo.
Appointed October 26, 1898; report dated January 31, 1899.
The commissioner investigated the condition of the waterworks and
reservoir, and the water supply to the city of New Westminster. He
found that the reservoir was not kept completely filled, and that lack of 162 Marjorie C. Holmes.
funds, efforts to economize, and the " desire not to lessen the supply of
water to the consumer induced the council to experiment with the water
works system, contrary to the advice of the construction engineer, without finding out from some compitant [sic] source whether he was right
or not." As a consequence the city found itself without adequate fire
28. Return under sub-section (2) of section 10 of the "Public Inquiries
2 pp.
In Sessional Papers  .  .  .  Session 1900.    pp. 495-496.
Commissioner:  Mr. Justice Paulus Aemilius Irving, of the Supreme
Court.    Oscar C. Bass, Secretary.
Appointed June 7, 1899;  report dated December 30, 1899.
This commission was appointed under the provisions of the " Ben-
nett-Atlin Commission Act, 1899," to deal with certain " disputes and
difficulties with regard to matters arising under ' Mineral Act' and
' Placer Mining Act,' in connection with the Lake Bennett and Lake
Atlin Mining Divisions." These difficulties were over-lapping and conflicting boundaries, claim-jumping, and the like. The commissioner had
full power to act, and his report showed that he exercised this authority
and settled the disputes. NOTES AND COMMENTS.
The annual meeting of the Association was held in the Provincial Library,
Victoria, on the evening of Friday, January 14. The reports presented
showed that in spite of the war, and its insistent demands on time and
attention, the society had had a remarkably successful year. Paid-up membership at the end of 1943 was 425, as compared with 410 at the end of 1942.
The only disappointment was the continued inactivity of the Section in New
Westminster, where there were at the moment no more than four members.
For his presidential address Mr. B. A. McKelvie had chosen the subject
The Founding of Nanaimo. The topic proved to be of unusual interest, and
material was so abundant that Mr. McKelvie confined his attention almost
exclusively to the events of the first year of Nanaimo's existence—1852.
An expanded version of his paper will be printed in the July number of the
Previous to his address, Mr. McKelvie reported that tentative plans were
being made for an international celebration in 1946 in honour of the centenary of the boundary settlement of 1846, and the century of good-neighbourliness that followed it. The Washington State Historical Society and
the Oregon Historical Society had expressed interest in the plan, and, if
world conditions permit, there is reason to hope that the anniversary will
be suitably observed.
The result of the election for the Council was announced, and at the
conclusion of the general meeting the new Council met to choose the officers
for the coming year.    The executive for 1944 is composed as follows:—
Honorary President -       -       -       -    Hon. H. G. T. Perry.
President -----    Mr. B. A. McKelvie.
Past President -----    Rev. J. C. Goodfellow.
1st Vice-President    -       -       -       -    Mr. A. G. Harvey.
2nd Vice-President  -       -       -       -    Mrs. Curtis Sampson.
Honorary Secretary -       -       -       -    Major H. T. Nation.
Honorary Treasurer-       - Miss Madge Wolfenden.
Members of the Council—
Mr. E. G. Baynes.   Miss Helen Boutilier.   Mrs. M. R. Cree.
Mr. F. C. Green.    Dr. W. Kaye Lamb.    Dr. Robie L. Reid.
Dr. T. A. Rickard.     Hon. Mr. Justice Robertson.
Dr. W. N. Sage.
Victoria Section.
The annual meeting of the Section was held in the Provincial Library
on the evening of Monday, January 10. The Chairman, the Hon. Mr. Justice
H. B. Robertson, presided. The report of the Honorary Secretary, Mrs.
Cree, dealt at length with the celebration of the centenary of Victoria, in
which the Section had taken a very active part, and stressed the increased
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VM., No. 2.
163 164 Notes and Comments. April
interest in historical matters to which the events of the year had given rise.
Miss Alma Russell, Convener of the Necrology Committee, reported that no
less than 160 persons who had lived fifty or more years in Victoria had
died in 1943. Of this number fifty-two had been born in the city. Mr.
E. G. Rowebottom, Convener of the Historic Landmarks Committee, reported
on the plaques that had been erected during the year. He hoped that further
sites might be marked in the near future, in co-operation with the Government Travel Bureau.
Mr. Justice Robertson delivered his presidential address on The Early
Legal History of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Official administration of the law commenced with the arrival of Governor Blanshard in
the spring of 1850. Blanshard administered it himself, and so, for a time,
did his successor, Governor Douglas. It soon became evident, however, that
this rather rough and ready handling of legal affairs could not continue,
for important cases were being dealt with by men with no training in the
law whatsoever. When a sudden crisis developed, Douglas coped with it
by establishing a Supreme Court and appointing his brother-in-law, David
Cameron, Judge. Strictly speaking, Douglas had no authority to do this,
and his action gave rise to much criticism, particularly as Cameron had no
more legal training than the local Justices whose inexperience had led to
difficulties. But the need was urgent, and reference to London would have
meant a delay of many months. In the end the Colonial Office endorsed
Douglas's action. As for Cameron, he proved to be both honest and capable,
and his administration gave general satisfaction. An emergency of a different sort faced Douglas in 1858, when the discovery of gold led to a sudden
influx of population and the establishment of the Crown Colony of British
Columbia on the Mainland. Here the pioneer of legal administration was
Judge Begbie, who arrived from England in the last days of the year. Mr.
Justice Robertson dealt with his career and character at some length, stressing his mental strength and steadfastness, and his great tenacity of purpose.
The stormy days of the gold-rush were vividly described by the speaker,
who recalled the crowded court-rooms and fevered atmosphere in which justice was dispensed. It required a strong and determined Judge to handle
the situation, and British Columbia was fortunate in possessing in Begbie
a man with precisely those qualities.
The election for the Council had taken place by mail, and the result was
announced at the annual meeting. The new Council met on Friday, January
21, and elected the officers for 1944.   The new executive is as follows:—
Chairman -----   Hon. Mr. Justice Robertson.
Vice-Chairman -       -       -       -   Mr. F. C. Green.
Honorary Secretary - Mrs. M. R. Cree.
Honorary Treasurer -        -       -   Miss Madge Wolfenden.
Members of the Council—
Mrs. Curtis Sampson.     Miss M. Gait.     Dr. T. A. Rickard.
Dr. J. A. Pearce.    Miss Alma Russell.    Major H. C. Holmes.
Major H. T. Nation.       Mr. B. A. McKelvie.
Mr. George H. Gowan. 1944 Notes and Comments. 165
The Section met on Saturday, March 11, at the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Harty Morden, Belleville Street, to celebrate Blanshard Day. More than
eighty members and friends attended, and enjoyed the varied and interesting programme. Miss Madge Wolfenden read a paper on Richard Blanshard, prepared by Mr. Willard Ireland, Provincial Archivist, which threw
much light on the career of the unhappy pioneer Governor, and placed his
achievements and shortcomings in clearer perspective. The paper was preceded by a group of piano solos, played by Mrs. Harty Morden, and followed
by old-fashioned songs, sung by Miss Eva Hart. Mr. Hugh Wetherby then
showed a beautiful coloured film of Vancouver Island and the Mainland,
after which Mrs. Ross Palmer, who had come specially from Comox for the
occasion, showed the films (also in colour) taken in March, 1943, during the
motor tour of the city of Victoria arranged by the Section as part of the
centenary celebration. Still another film included glimpses of many well-
known Vancouver Island pioneers.
Vancouver Section.
Early Vancouver Newspapers was the title of the most interesting
address delivered before the Section by Miss Bessie Lamb at the meeting
held in the Grosvenor Hotel on February 1. Miss Lamb noted that the first
paper printed on the shores of Burrard Inlet was the short-lived Tickler,
published in Moodyville; but the first paper to appear in what is now the
city of Vancouver was the Vancouver Weekly Herald and North Pacific
News, the first issue of which was dated January 15, 1886. The editor and
publisher was William Brown. Competition soon appeared, and two other
newspapers commenced publication within a few months. These were the
Advertiser, of which W. B. Macdougall was editor and manager, and the
News, published by James H. Ross. The great fire of June, 1886, destroyed
all three printing-offices. Although the papers survived, the financial losses
caused by the fire, and the depression that followed it, ultimately proved
fatal. The Herald ceased publication, and the Advertiser and News might
well have followed had not a new and larger figure appeared on the scene
in the person of Mr. F. L. Carter Cotton. Although not himself a newspaper-man, he possessed both capital and ability. Early in 1887 he purchased both the News and the Advertiser and launched the Daily News-
Advertiser, to use the name that was soon after adopted and under which
the paper became a power in the Province. Cotton remained its publisher
for twenty-three years. A morning paper, it held the field against all comers
for a generation. In 1888, however, the World was founded as an evening-
daily. It proved a successful venture, and continued an independent existence until 1924, when it was amalgamated with the Evening Sun. Miss
Lamb's address was based upon research carried out in preparation for the
writing of a thesis on the development of Vancouver's newspapers, and it is
hoped that some chapters from her thesis may later be printed in the
The Section met again on February 29, when the speaker of the evening
was Dr. M. Y. Williams, Head of the Department of Geology in the Uni- 166 Notes and Comments. April
versity of British Columbia. His subject was The Historic Development of
our Northland. Commencing with the early explorations of Alexander Mackenzie on the Peace River in 1792, Dr. Williams outlined the fascinating
story of the region during the century and a half that separated Mackenzie's
travels and the construction of the Alaska Highway. Rocky Mountain House,
built at the mouth of the South Pine River and visited by David Thompson
in 1804, was probably the earliest post established in what is now British
Columbia. Fort McLeod was founded by Simon Fraser in 1805. The same
year Hudson's Hope was built on the south bank of the Peace River, opposite the location of the present settlement of the name. Fort St. James
followed in 1806 and Fort George in 1807. Some years later, in 1824,
Samuel Black pushed up the Finlay River. Two years later Fort Halkett
was established. From this post John McLeod went up the Dease River to
Dease Lake. In 1836 a major figure appears on the scene—Robert Campbell,
who in 1836 left " Fort de Liard " and wintered at Fort Halkett. The next
spring he went on to Dease Lake, and from there crossed to the upper
Stikine. Campbell established a fort on Dease Lake, but this was abandoned in 1839. In 1840 Campbell was off on another great journey. That
year he ascended the Liard River to Frances Lake, and crossed to the headwaters of the Pelly River. Two years later he built a fort at Pelly Banks.
Leaving this post in June, 1843, Campbell descended the MacMillan River
to the junction with the Lewes, and at this junction Fort Selkirk was built
in 1848. In 1851 Campbell travelled from Fort Selkirk to Fort " Yucon,*'
which had been built three years before. His return journey was made by
way of the Porcupine, Peel, and Mackenzie Rivers. A gold excitement following discoveries on the Liard and Dease Rivers in the seventies introduced
a new age. Dawson and other celebrated pioneers of the Geological Surveys
appeared on the scene in the eighties, and the Klondike rush was the great
event of the nineties. All these developments and many others were described
by Dr. Williams, down to and including the Pacific Great Eastern Survey of
Resources (1929-30), and such ultra-modern events as the establishment of
the Yukon-Southern air-line in 1937 and the Alaska Highway and airfields
of 1942—43. The lecture was illustrated with kodachrome slides, prepared
from photographs taken by Dr. Williams himself.
A third meeting of the Section was held on Wednesday, March 22, when
Mr. Gerald E. Wellburn, of Duncan, gave an illustrated lecture on The
Postal System of the Colony of British Columbia. Mr. Wellburn is recognized as an authority in this field, and both his address and the remarkable
slides with which it was illustrated were greatly enjoyed by the large number of members who attended. The speaker ranged somewhat beyond the
announced scope of his lecture, and was able, with the aid of exhibits from
his own collection of stamps and covers, to describe and illustrate virtually
the whole course of postal development in this region. Letters and covers
shown included many dating back to the days of the fur trade. Some of
these had travelled between different posts of the Hudson's Bay Company,
while others had journeyed to and from England by way of Cape Horn.
In many instances the letters were written by or addressed to well-known 1944 Notes and Comments. 167
pioneers, and the text as well as the covers is of great interest. Coming
down to the period of the gold-rush, Mr. Wellburn exhibited many letters
that had been carried by Wells Fargo and other express companies. In
order to reach Victoria some of these had passed through the hands of the
British Post Office, the United States Post Office, and several private companies. Lastly, Mr. Wellburn dealt with the various stamps issued for use
in the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. One of these
had been surcharged so often and so variously that the speaker hazarded
the opinion that no other stamp had ever been sold for so many different
Frank H. Ellis, author of Duration Flying Models (London, 1936), is one
of six living Canadian aviators who flew before the first World War. In
October, 1920, he was a member of the crew of the first aeroplane to fly into
Northern Canada. He is widely recognized as an authority on the early
history of flying in this country.
Major F. V. Longstaff, author of Esquimalt Naval Base (Victoria, 1942)
and many articles in periodicals, has long been a student of naval history.
He is a Member of the Society for Nautical Research.
Mrs. W. Curtis Sampson, who contributes a sketch of the life of her
father, the late Joseph Despard Pemberton, is one of Victoria's best-known
native daughters. She is prominent in I.O.D.E. and other activities, and
is a Past President of the Victoria Section of the British Columbia Historical Association.
Henry Drummond Dee, M.A., is Vice-Principal of Victoria High School.
Readers of the Quarterly will recall the biography of John Work that he
contributed to the issue for October, 1943.
Marjorie C. Holmes is Assistant Librarian of the Provincial Library,
Victoria. Her long experience in Legislative Reference work has given her
a unique knowledge of the Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry
about which she writes in this number of the Quarterly.
victoria, B.C. :
Printed by Charles F. Banfield, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
Organized October 31st, 1922.
His Honour W. C. Woodward, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.
Hon. H. G. T. PERRY     -       -       - Honorary President.
B. A. McKelvie  Preside
J. C. Goodfellow  Past President.
A. G. Harvey 1st Vice-President.
Mrs. Curtis Sampson    - 2nd Vice-President.
Madge Wolfenden     ...       - Honorary Treasurer.
H. T. Nation ------ Honorary Secretary.
Mrs. M. R. Cree.      Helen R. Boutilier. F. C. Green.      Robie L. Reid.
T. A. Rickard.       E. G. Baynes.       W. N. Sage.
Willard E. Iheland W. Kaye Lamb
(Provincial Archivist.) (Editor, Quarterly).
A. G. Harvey H. B. Robertson
(Vancouver Section). (Victoria Section.)
To encourage historical research and stimulate public interest in history;
to promote the preservation and marking of historic sites, buildings, relics,
natural features, and other objects and places of historical interest, and to
publish historical sketches, studies, and documents.
Ordinary members pay a fee of $2 annually in advance.    The fiscal year
commences on the first day of January.    All members in goad standing
ve the British iy without further thai
>despondence and fees may be addressed to the Provincial Archives,
Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C.


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