British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical Quarterly Jul 31, 1941

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Published by the Archives of British Columbia
in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association.
W. Kaye L.-v
•:r, B.C.
lard E. Ireland.
;a, B.C.
J. C. Goodfellow, Princeton. F. W. Howay, New Westminster.
Robie L. Reid, Vancou T. A. Rickard, Victoria.
W. N. Sage,
nmunicat be addressed either to the Editor or to
the Asso
Subscriptions should be sent to the Provincial Archives, Parliament
Buildings, Victoria, B.C. Price, 50c. the copy, or $2 the year. Members
of the Bril ubia Historical Association in good standing receive the
.vithout further charge.
Neither the Provincial Archives nor the British Columbia Historical
Association assume ; onsibility for statements made by contributors
to the magazine. BRITISH COLUMBIA
" Any country worthy of a future
should be interested in its past."
Vol. V. Victoria, B.C., July, 1941. No. 3
Articles : Page.
The Strait of Anian.
By T. A. Rickard  161
The Case of the " Moneta ": An Incident in the Story of Burrard
By F. W. Howay  185
Early Flour-mills in British Columbia.   Part II.
By F. W. Laing  191
Pioneer Surveys and Surveyors in the Fraser Valley.
By W. N. Draper   215
Documents :
Two Narratives of the Fraser River Gold-rush.
I. Extracts from Friesach, Ein Ausflug nach Britisch-Colum-
bien im Jahre 1858.
With an introduction by Robie L. Reid  221
II. Letter from Charles G. Major, dated Fort Hope, September
20, 1859  228
Notes and Comments:
British Columbia Historical Association  233
Similkameen Historical Association  235
Graduate Historical Society  235
Contributors to this Issue  236
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Morrell:  The Gold Rushes.
By T. A. Rickard  237
Woods: History of the Agassiz-Harrison Valley.
By F. W. Howay     240
Lyons: Francis Norbert Blanchet and the Founding of the Oregon
Missions (1888-1848).
Magaret: Father De Smet: Pioneer Priest of the Rockies.
By Willard E. Ireland   240
Gates (ed.) : Messages of the Governors of the Territory of Washington, 1854-1889.
By Ronald Todd      242  THE STRAIT OF ANIAN.*
The Discovery of a NW Passage, has been a favourite
Object of Pursuit, from the remotest period of our Navigation; but the early idea of such a Passage has been
much misconceived, for it did not mean what has been in
modern Times understood by the NW Passage.
The idea, when that Passage was first attempted by
the English, was to reach the Coast of Cataya, or Tartary
by sailing to the Northward of America; This appears
clearly by the Maps, belonging to Sir Humfrey Gilbert's
Discourse, written in 1566, printed 1576; and to the
Voyages of Frobisher, published in 1578: The last having
found an Opening on the East of Groenland, named it
Frobisher's Strait, supposing it led Westward to the
Head of the Strait of Anian, and thenee Southward to
Japan. A very short Track, indeed, from this Country,
if The Sea had been navigable.
This Fact being incontestible, " that by the Strait of
Anian was then meant, The Strait, at the East Extremity
of Asia, now called Bhering's Strait," Every antecedent
Report of any Voyage having been made by a NW Passage, must have a reference to the alledged Passage, on
the North of America, by what may be called the Hypo-
borean Sea: and not to what is now meant by a NW
Passage, through America    ....
The Object of the English in the early attempts for
the discovery of a NW Passage, was not only to facilitate
the intercourse with the East, but to open a new branch
of Commerce, in the Countries thro' which the Passage
was expected to lead the adventurous Navigator.
Alexander Dalrymple, Plan for Promoting the Fur-
Trade and Securing it to this Country, by Uniting
the Operations of The East-India and Hudson's-Bay
Companys, London, 1789.
The importance of transoceanic transport for the importation
of commercial products from the Orient was due to the fact that
carriage by land in the sixteenth century, as to-day, was very
costly; and so slow as to impair the quality of these products,
chief of which were spices, while in transit.   Moreover, the trade
* Presidential address to the British Columbia Historical Association,
October 11, 1940.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. V., No. 3.
161 162 T. A. Rickard. July
was in the hands of Italian merchants, who in the thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries had established outposts on the Crimea,
the Caspian Sea, and the Sea of Azov. It was estimated at
Venice that products costing a ducat in the Far East became
worth from seventy to one hundred ducats when they arrived
there. By the time they reached the western extremities of
Europe the cost was still further increased; thus it is no wonder
that both the English and the French merchants were eager to
find an all-water route free from Spanish or Portuguese interference.1
The urge to reach the Spice Islands and the importance given
to the trade in spices require some explanation. Before farmers
had learned the need for a rotation of crops, or the cultivation
of turnips and carrots, it was customary in western Europe to
kill cattle in November and preserve the meat by salting. To
render this hard diet palatable, there was a demand for spices,
such as pepper and cloves. Moreover during the mediaeval
period and later, when tea, coffee, and cocoa were as yet unknown,
and sugar was an expensive luxury, there was an immense consumption of condiments to give pungency to thin beer, to improve
sour wine, and to season various home beverages.2 In days when
personal cleanliness was not appreciated and streets were
unsavoury with refuse, the demand for strong perfumes was
insistent. Most of the spices used for seasoning and preserving
the coarse and unwholesome food of those days was obtained
from the tropical regions of Asia, the use of them having started
with the flavouring of the simple rice food of the Oriental peoples.
In Elizabethan England every housekeeper dame had a spice-box
in which she might keep pepper, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, or
cinnamon. Fletcher says: " Here stands a bak'd meat, it wants
a little seasoning; my spice-box, Gentlemen." In a later day,
Cowper thanked a friend for " a tub of very fine spiced salmon."
Thus the small variety and poor flavour of food at that time
called for something to make it palatable; spices were needed
for preserving and pickling edibles to an extent we to-day cannot
(1) Nellis M. Crouse, In Quest of the Western Ocean, New York, 1928,
p. 8.
(2) F. A. Kirkpatrick, The Spanish Conquistadores, London, 1934, pp.
349-351. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 163
The commercial significance of the spice trade is aptly illustrated by reference to the Magellan expedition. Sebastian del
Cano, who took charge after the commander was killed on the
island of Mactan, one of the Philippine group, loaded two ships
with cloves obtained at the island of Tidore, in the Moluccas.
One of these ships, the Vittoria, survived the misadventures of
the world-round voyage and when she reached Spain her cargo
of cloves paid for all the expenses of the five ships with which
Magellan started and the entire cost of the expedition as well.
Likewise the contract made by Drake with the Sultan of Ternate
for the sale of cloves was " regarded as an achievement surpassing the capture of Spanish treasure."3
The maritime passage known as the Strait of Anian and
supposed, during the sixteenth century and afterward, to connect
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, was an historic myth and a geographic enigma. It was the product of imagination nourished
jn the minds of European navigators for the three centuries
during which the exploration of the unknown parts of the world
was most active in consequence of the discovery of a new continent by Christopher Columbus and antedated by some two
hundred years the conception of a Northwest Passage. Columbus
was not at all aware that he had discovered a new continent,
but believed that he had reached the outer parts of India. For
twenty years thereafter the Spaniards searched for a water-way
farther westward. When they ascertained that the American
coast was continuous and when, in 1513, Balboa crossed the
isthmus that makes that continuity, the question arose how best
to reach the Orient by sea. Balboa gave to the Pacific Ocean the
name of the South Sea—El Mar del Sur—because he crossed
the isthmus of Darien from north to south; he looked upon the
Pacific as Ptolemy's Sinus Magnus, or Great Gulf, and expected
to find the Spice Islands, or East Indies, not far from Panama.4
When this idea was disproved by Magellan, the initiative of
seamen was incited to the search for a direct passage from
Europe to Asia through the North American region. Thus the
geographic enigma of the Strait of Anian was born.
(3) James A. Williamson, The Age of Drake, London, 1938, p. 193.
(4) George E. Nunn, Origin of the Strait of Anian Concept, Philadelphia, 1929, p. 8. 164 T. A. Rickard. July
The origin of the name, like all else that concerns the illusive
strait, is obscure. Ania was a Chinese province mentioned in
Ramusio's text of Marco Polo's book,6 issued in 1559. The name
Ania appears first on a map issued by the Italian cartographer,
Giacomo Gastaldi, in 1561.6 Five years later Zaltieri, of Bologna,
known usually as Bolognino Zaltieri, issued a map on which the
Strait of Anian is shown, narrow and crooked, separating Asia
from America.7
The strait was supposed to give convenient maritime access
from Europe to Cathay, a romantic synonym for China. Cathay
was the name by which China—or, more precisely, northern
China—became known to mediaeval geographers. The Tartars
of central Asia knew China by that name, and the Russians by
contact with the Tartars brought the name into Europe. Marco
Polo said that the Great Khan resided in the capital city of
Cathay. Thus the northern position of Cathay caused it to
become associated with an undiscovered sea-route through the
northern parts of the American continent.
The voyage of John Cabot,8 a Venetian whose real name was
Zuan Caboto, in 1497, to the island of Cape Breton, and the
voyage of Gaspar de Cortereal,9 a Portuguese navigator, three
years later, to the coast of Labrador, had aroused the hope that
a direct route to Cathay might be found in this northern latitude.
(5) W. Marsden and T. Wright (eds.), The Travels of Marco Polo,
London, 1926, p. 330.
(6) Godfrey Sykes, " The Mythical Straits of Anian," Bulletin of the
American Geographical Society, xlvii. (1915), p. 165. Gastaldi also wrote
a pamphlet in 1562, La universale discrittione del mundo, in which " stretto
Anian " is mentioned. See Nunn, op. cit., p. 33. See also Henry R. Wagner,
The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the year 1800,
Berkeley, California, 1937, vol. I., p. 53.
(7) Grateful acknowledgement is made to the American Geographical
Society for kind permission to reproduce this map as published in their
Bulletin of March, 1915, by Godfrey Sykes. See also Henry R. Wagner,
Apocryphal Voyages to the Northwest Coast of America, Worcester, Mass.,
1931, p. 6 (reprinted from Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society,
n.s. xli., part 1, April, 1931).
(8) Henry Harrisse, John Cabot the Discoverer of North-America and
Sebastian his Son, London, 1896, passim.
(9) Henry Harrisse, The Discovery of North America, London, 1892, pp.
59-76. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 165
When Jacques Cartier, in 1534, landed on the Canadian shore,
he was seeking a passage to the Orient. Sir Humphrey Gilbert,
in 1576, commenting on Cartier's voyage, says that the mariner
of St. Malo " heard say at Hochelaga [Montreal] in Nova
Francia, how that there was a great Sea at Saguinay, whereof
the end was not knowen: which they presupposed to be the
passage to Cataia."10
Meanwhile Magellan in the course of his voyage round the
world had found the strait which bears his name and was thus
the first, in 1520, to sail from the Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean;
but his strait provided at best only a long and dangerous route
to the Orient. Moreover, the strait passed into the possession
of Spain, while the Cape of Good Hope, first rounded by Bar-
tholomeu Dias in 1486, was in the control of Portugal. Thus the
way westward and eastward to the Spice Islands, or Moluccas,
was barred to the English.    Another route had to be found.
Magellan regarded South America as a peninsula extending
from Asia. Even Las Casas retained the idea and expressed it
several times,11 although the separation of Asia from America
had been asserted by Verrazano in the report of his voyage in
1524.12 Zaltieri's map of 1566 showed otherwise, as already
mentioned. English seamen, such as Sebastian Cabot, Robert
Thome, and Humphrey Gilbert, had become convinced, by the
evidence of the oceanic currents, that America and Asia were
separate land masses. The absence of Asiatic fauna in North
America was confirmatory. The explorations of Cabot, Verrazano, and Cartier, as well as the voyages of sundry Spaniards,
such as Gomez, Ayllon, and Ponce de Leon, northward from the
Caribbean Sea had proved that the Atlantic coast of the new
world was continuous from the Isthmus of Darien to the Arctic,
and therefore that it was a continent, not merely an archipelago
(10) "A discourse written by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Knight, to prove a
passage by the Northwest to Cathaia, and the East Indies," in Richard
Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations Voyages Traffiques & Discoveries of
the English Nation, Glasgow, 1904, vol. vii., p. 171.
(11) Bartolome de las Casas, Historia de Las Indias, in M. F. de Navar-
rete, Coleccion de Documentos Ineditos, Madrid, 1875, vol. lxii., p. 315; vol.
Ixiii., pp. 204-5; vol. lxvi., pp. 371-4.
(12) " New Light on Verrazano's Voyage of 1524," Journal of the Royal
Geographical Society, xxxv. (1910), p. 429. 166 T. A. RICKARD. July
of islands, as was aforetime fancied. The discovery of a river
so large as the St. Lawrence should have been quite sufficient
to suggest a continental watershed, and, by inference, the probable remoteness of the South Sea, or Pacific Ocean, in that
latitude. Toward the middle of the sixteenth century therefore
a sea-route was sought farther north; we begin to hear about
a Northwest Passage to Cathay.
In 1513 Robert Thorne, a merchant of London and a man of
geographic vision, exhorted King Henry VII. to take in hand
the business of exploration. Thorne was a friend of John Cabot
and his son Sebastian. With them he had discussed the question
of a passage northwestward; there was, he claimed, a much
shorter way to the Spice Islands than the routes round the
extremities of Africa and America, neither of which was open
to English seamen. Fourteen years later, in 1527, he set forth
his ideas in print; his treatise is addressed to the English
Ambassador at Seville, where Thorne was then residing. " Now
then," he says " if from the sayd New found lands [Newfoundland] the Sea be navigable, there is no doubt, but sayling Northward and passing the Pole, descending to the Equinoctial line,
we shall hit these Islands [the Spice Islands or East Indies],
and it should be a much shorter way, then either the Spaniards
or the Portingals have."13 This route, he claims, would be more
than 2000 leagues shorter than those taken either by the Spaniards or the Portuguese round the southern ends of America and
Africa respectively. Thome's map fails to show the northern
parts of America; he refuses to guess needlessly. Cathayo
Orientalis is placed in northeastern Asia. Master Robert Thorne,
in his pamphlet, says that even though the North be cold and
the northern seas be blocked sometimes with ice, " there is no
land unhabitable, nor Sea innavigable."14 There speaks the true
As early as 1564 Abraham Ortelius, a Fleming, published a
map of Italian origin in which the water separating northwestern
America  from  northeastern  Asia  is  made  to   cover  twenty
(13) The Booke made by the right worshipful M. Robert Thorne in the
yeere 1527, Hakluyt, op. cit., vol. ii., pp. 176-7.
(14) Ibid., p. 178.   See also Walter Raleigh, The English Voyages of the
Sixteenth Century, Glasgow, 1906, p. 33. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 167
degrees of longitude.15   This map was used by several promoters
of northwestern exploration, including Gilbert.
In 1566 Sir Humphrey Gilbert wrote A discourse of a dis-
coverie for a new passage to Cataia,16 in which he sought to
demonstrate the existence of a Northwest passage. One of his
arguments is based upon " certaine Indians driven by tempest,
upon the coast of Germanie. . . ."" This is derived from
Pliny's story about the Indians that were driven by stress of
weather upon the coast of Germany sometime previous to 57 B.C.
Later they were presented by the king of the Suevi to Quintus
Metallus Celer, the Roman pro-consul in Gaul.18 Gilbert cites
other authorities that mention similar occurrences. Dominicus
Marius Niger mentions Indians driven " through the North Seas
from India, upon the coastes of Germany," which then included
what are now Holland and Denmark. The North Sea was Mare
Germanicum. Likewise Othon, in the story of the Goths,
affirmed that in the time of the German emperors there were
" certaine Indians cast by force of weather, upon the coast of
the said Countrey."19 Furthermore, Gomara, in his history of
the Indies, says that during the reign of Frederick Barbarossa
(circ. 1160), "certain Indians arrived at Lubeck in a boat."20
Other confirmatory evidence might be mentioned. A Dane,
named Swart, whose Latin name was Cladius Cavus, writing in
1409, mentions the skin-boats of the pygmies, or Eskimos, and
states that one of their boats was hanging in the cathedral at
Trondheim.21 A similar canoe, or kayak, was preserved in the
church of Burra, one of the Orkney Islands, in 1690. Finally,
a kayak occupied by " an Indian man " was found in the North
(15) Wagner, Apochryphal Voyages, p. 6.
, (16) David Beers Quinn, The Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, London, 1940, vol. i., pp. 129 ff. (Hakluyt Society,
n.s. lxxxiii.) The pamphlet, although written in 1566, was not published
until 1576. See also William Gilbert Gosling, The Life of Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, London, 1911, pp. 68, 72, 98.
(17) Ibid., vol. i., p. 148.
(18) Pliny, Naturalis Historia, book II., lxvii., 170.    (See translation
by H. Rockham, London, 1938, vol. i., p. 305.)
(19) Quinn, op. cit., vol. i., p. 148.
(20) Francisco Gomara, Histoire Generate des Indes Occidentals, Paris,
1569, p. 9.    (French translation by M. Fumee Sieur de Marley le Chastel.)
(21) Fridtjof Nansen, In Northern Mists, London, 1911, vol. ii., p. 249. 168 T. A. Rickard. July
Sea near Aberdeen, in northeastern Scotland, early in 1720. The
" Indian man " died soon after being brought to land, probably
in consequence of injudicious feeding. The kayak, together with
a paddle, spear, and harpoon, are preserved in the Anthropological Museum in Aberdeen University. The engravings reproduced herewith were made available by the courtesy of the
Director of the Museum, Mr. Harry Townend.
Gilbert argued that these Indians could not have come in
their little canoes around the Cape of Good Hope, because if they
had, " then must they . . . have fallen upon the South parts
of America."22 He remarks also: " And further it seemeth very
likely, that the inhabitants of the most part of those countries,
by which they must have come any other way besides by the
Northwest, being for the most part Anthropophagi, or men
eaters, would have devoured them, slaine them, or (at the least
wise) kept them as wonders for the gaze."23 Nor could they
have come from India through the Strait of Magellan, because
there a strongly adverse current would prevent their passage
eastward from the South Sea. Moreover, being Indians, that-
is to say, inhabitants of India, they could not survive the cold
of a northeastern route, round Siberia. Finally, the prevailing
winds favoured a voyage from the northwest. Thus Gilbert
accepted these Indian castaways as proof of the existence of a
Northwest Passage. Gilbert's map shows open water north of
Labrador and a clear passage to the strait, not named, between
America and Asia, the northernmost part of which is named
Who were these vagrant Indians of whose repeated fortuitous
arrivals we have such ample proof? They must have been either
Lapps or Eskimos. The question was discussed in an able
manner by Lewis Spence in an Aberdeen newspaper.25 He
argues that the wood of the kayak now in the museum at Aberdeen is Scottish fir (Pinus sylvestris) which grows in northern
Europe, and that therefore it originated in Finland. But this
argument is countered by the fact that the prevailing winds and
(22) Quinn, op. cit., vol. i., p. 154.
(23) Ibid., vol. i., p. 155.
(24) Ibid., vol. i., pp. 149-156, map follows p. 164.
(25) Aberdeen, Scotland, Press Journal, July 27, 1922. < f\)[   Terra-Se/ittnO'ioncttts                  "i\
_• .■
"','                                      .'L ***-
;' .•-V^a bTcognYu*
/                                                                                            £'a/tCM_- .'
*i//LtJslCU *
" *.,    ., - -,    ff(4/taMd.-~                                       0
&w6ij/tes.   /#/<?. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 169
ocean currents favour the drift of logs from the Arctic coast of
Europe to Greenland. Moreover, no such logs could come from
Newfoundland or Nova Scotia because the Labrador current is
adverse. It is written of Martin Frobisher's second voyage to
Baffin Land, in 1577, that when approaching Greenland " much
drift wodde, and whole bodyes of trees " were observed on the
sea.26 George Best, who accompanied Frobisher on his third
voyage to the Arctic, in 1578, records the fact that on the east
coast of Greenland he and his comrades saw " boordes of Fyrre
tree well cutte."27 It is evident, therefore, that the fir wood of
the kayak could have been obtained in Greenland.
The distance from Scotland to Lapland is greater than to
Greenland; and Iceland, a possible place of departure of the
Eskimo and his kayak, is less than half as far away. The prevailing winds in the North Atlantic are from the west, and
that is why the exploration of the North American mainland was
so long delayed. The strong westerly winds from Labrador and
Greenland change northward in their approach to Norway, so
as to make it extremely unlikely that small boats propelled by
paddles could come round the North Cape to Scotland.
Spence quotes from a book by Francis Douglas, A general
description of the east coast of Scotland, from Edinburgh to
Cullen, published at Paisley in 1782, the author of which saw
the unfortunate occupant of the kayak, who was supposed to have
come from the Labrador coast and to have lost his way at sea.
The paddle, spear, and harpoon are made of Scottish fir, with
bone and ivory mountings. In A description of the Isles of
Orkney, published in 1693, there is a reference to the Finn-men
that singly in their canoes had come in 1682 and 1684 to these
outposts of the British Isles. The author, James Wallace, a
minister of the kirk, said that these strange small dark men,
" these Finn-men seem to be some of those people that dwell
about the Fretum Davis," that is Davis Strait, between Greenland and Baffin Land. Thus Finn-men was used as a synonym
for Eskimos. The European people most nearly like the Eskimos
are the Lapps.    Both are small, dark, and hairy, in adaptation
(26) Vilhjalmur Stefansson  (ed.), The Three Voyages of Martin Frobisher, London, 1938, vol. i., p. 54.
(27) Ibid., vol. ii., p. 86. 170 T. A. Rickard. July
to their frigid habitat. The Lapps and Finns, however, had
plenty of timber and had no need to use skin-boats. Nansen
said that in the sixteenth century the boats of the Lapps were
entirely unlike those of the Eskimos; they were made of planks
fastened together with osiers.28 A confirmatory statement is
quoted by the French historian, Prevost, which states that the
Lapps made their sleds of thin boards closely joined and fastened
with reindeer sinews, without either bolts or nails.29 Dr. Erna
Gunther, Director of the Anthropological Museum in the University of Washington, states that the members of her staff agree
that the Aberdeen kayak is of the Greenland type.
It seems at first thought impossible for an Eskimo to come
in his kayak inadvertently from Greenland to Scotland or Denmark. As Mr. Vilhjalmur Stefansson remarks,30 he could no
more sleep when travelling in a kayak than a man while walking
on a tight-rope. However, this distinguished Arctic explorer
also suggests that the Eskimo in the kayak might be accompanying his family in a umiak, which is one of the most seaworthy
boats devised by man. From the umiak he could obtain his food.
If he left the umiak in pursuit of game or if both boats were
driven eastward by bad weather, it might happen that the separation of the two boats occurred when they had drifted so long
that the man in the kayak would find himself not far from the
coast of the Orkneys, Scotland, or Denmark.
John Davis also wrote a discourse on the Northwest Passage
under the title of The Worldes Hydrographical Discription, which
was issued in 1595. It resembles Gilbert's, but it is not a
plagiarism and offers different arguments. He proves America
to be an island. He argues that Pliny's Indian castaways came
through a Northwest Passage from the country reached by
Coronado in 1540, when he was exploring inland from the Gulf
of California and reached the region that is now Kansas. From
this one would infer that the castaways were American Indians,
although Davis argues for an Asiatic origin.31
(28) Nansen, op. cit., vol. i., p. 224.
(29) Antoine Francois Prevost (comp.), Histoire Ginirale des Voyages,
Paris, 1759, vol. xv., p. 303.
(30) In a letter to the author.
(31) Albert Hastings Markham (ed.), The Voyages and Works of John
Davis the Navigator, London, 1880, pp. 214-5 (Hakluyt Society publication). 1941 The Strait of Anian. 171
Next we learn that Martin Frobisher in 1575 thought the
finding of a northwestern passage to the Orient was " the onely
thing of the worlde that was left yet undone " and that it was
worthy of the best efforts of English seamen. Whereupon he
and his friend Michael Lok raised the money needed for an
exploring voyage to the American Arctic region in 1576.32
Frobisher reached Baffin Land and discovered a supposed gold
mine, which, although it proved a complete fiasco, sufficed to
divert him from his quest, the search for " a new and neerer
passage to Cataya." Two more expeditions were sent to Baffin
Land under Frobisher's leadership, in 1577 and 1578, with " the
captaine more specially directed by commission for the searching
of this golde ore than for the searching any further of the passage " to Cathay.38 The map accompanying George Best's account
of Frobisher's voyages, published in 1578, shows Frobushers
Straightes as a wide stretch of water between America and the
Terra Septentrionalis, or Polar region. The Straight of Anian
is shown separating northwestern America from northeastern
Asia, which is named Cathaia in Asia. This was a good guess
for Bering Strait.
Frobisher having failed to find a northwest passage, it fell
to a group of enterprising gentlemen to renew the attempt by
sending John Davis on the same quest. Three voyages by Davis,
in the years 1585-1587, found no way to China, although Greenland and adjoining parts were explored.34 These voyages, like
those of Frobisher, were diverted by expectations of gain, by
cod-fishing and fur-trading.    So Davis failed also.
Gilbert's essay on the passage to Cathay is not without
evident errors, but it is important in giving a useful compilation
of the knowledge then available on the subject. It is likely to
have influenced Michael Lok, if not Frobisher as well. The
discourse undoubtedly was read appreciatively by Gilbert's
cousin, Sir Richard Grenville, who planned an expedition himself
in 1572.    His preparations were made and submitted to Queen
(32) Richard Collinson (ed.), The Three Voyages of Martin Frobishe;
London, 1867, p. 70 (Hakluyt Society publication).
(33) Ibid., p. 76.
(34) Thomas Randall (ed.), Narratives of Voyages towards the North-
West in search of a passage to Cathay and India, 1496 to 1681, London, 1849,
pp. 35-51 (Hakluyt Society publication). 172 T. A. Rickard. July
Elizabeth and her Lord High Admiral in 1574, together with
a paper in which he argued the superiority of a southern voyage
in search of the Northwest Passage; that is to say, he proposed
to enter the Pacific through the Strait of Magellan and then sail
northward to the western entrance of the undiscovered passage.
This was supposed to lead from the Atlantic in latitude 62°
north, as Cabot claimed, and give access to the Pacific in about
latitude 45° north. A line drawn from Hudson Bay to the coast
of Oregon will represent the supposed course. Unfortunately
for Grenville, his hopes were frustrated because Queen Elizabeth
regarded the voyage as likely to interfere with her policy to
be at peace with Spain.35
The Queen's policy was vacillating, and three years later she
was in a mood to inflict damage on Philip of Spain. Whereupon
she gave to Francis Drake the permission she had withheld from
Richard Grenville. Drake set sail in 1577 with five ships, only
one of which survived the misadventures of the voyage. In the
Pelican, a ship of only 180 tons burden, which he re-christened
the Golden Hinde, he passed through the Strait of Magellan and
up the South American coast, destroying and looting the Spanish
settlements as he advanced northward. After capturing a well-
laden galleon and performing other piratic exploits, he followed
the Californian coast, evidently in search of the entry into the
Strait of Anian. He encountered rough weather and severe
cold. Whether he went as far north as 48° or only as far as 42°
is still a disputed question.86 In any event he found the land
at right angles to the direction he had expected and in it there
was no sign of an eastward waterway. After careening his
ship on the Californian coast and leaving a brass plate recording
his visit in a bay near the present site of San Francisco he took
the courageous course of going west-bound round the world.
Drake had ascertained one important fact: his course northwestward along the Californian coast had proved the great width
of the North American continent.
(35) A. L. Rowse, Sir Richard Grenville of the Revenge, London, 1937,
pp. 83-112.
(36) R. P. Bishop," Drake's Course in the North Pacific," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, III. (1939), pp. 151-182. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 173
Meanwhile the bold mariners of England, unable to find a
passage northwestward, decided to seek a way to the Spice
Islands of Cathay by a passage in the opposite direction, northeastward, through the mare glaciale of northern Russia. Under
the aegis of the Muscovy Company, which had been incorporated
in 1553 largely at the instigation of Sebastian Cabot, several
expeditions were sent in search of a Northeast passage.37 The
names of Hugh Willoughby, Richard Chancellor, Stephen Borough, and Arthur Pet are associated with this venture.88 The
Dutch also took up the search, for the government offered a prize
of 25,000 gulden for the discovery of a Northeast passage. The
expeditions of William Barentz from 1594 to 159689 and that of
Henry Hudson in 1607-8 were unsuccessful; in consequence,
further exploration in that direction ceased, and thereupon the
search northwestward was resumed.
Exploratory activity continued to centre about the Atlantic
approach. Between 1576 and 1632 no less than twenty voyages
were made by English seamen in quest of the Northwest passage.
They failed honourably. In little ships, with wretched crews,
poorly equipped, always menaced by scurvy, and often by
mutiny, they faced the bitter cold and the crashing ice-floes with
a stout heart and a cheerful mind; and they rested from their
heroic efforts only when it became evident that no such passage
as could be found would be of any commercial value, because
a continuous voyage through the Arctic in a sailing ship appeared
to be impracticable. In addition, in the seventeenth century,
there was a gradual shift of interest from exploration to the
establishment of settlements and development of trade.
In consequence, Drake's venture in the North Pacific remained an isolated event in the search for the Northwest passage
for nearly one hundred and fifty years. For it was not until
1728 that Vitus Bering, a Dane commanding a Russian ship,
sailed through the strait that bears his name and solved one-
half of the problem of a Northwest passage, although, to be sure,
eighty years previously, in 1648, Simon Deshenev had sailed
(37) Williamson, op. cit., pp. 191, 192.
(38) Captain James Burney, A Chronological History of North-eastern
Voyages of Discovery . . . , London, 1819, pp. 9, 12-14. See also Harrisse,
John Cabot, p. 353.
(39) Burney, op. cit., pp. 15-45. 174 T. A. RICKARD. July
along the Siberian coast from the mouth of the Kolima River
into Bering Strait.40 Sailing from Kamchatka, Bering penetrated Arctic waters as far as latitude 67° 18' north during an
exploratory voyage. As he saw that " no land was near the
Chukchi or East Cape " he considered that he had fulfilled the
instructions of his master, the Czar, Peter the Great.41 In 1741,
during his last voyage Bering discovered the American mainland.
Spanish explorations northward from Mexico were likewise
stimulated by the myth of Anian.42 Cortes sent ships to explore
the coast in search of the strait, and of gold, in 1533. Ulloa
sailed for the same purpose in 1539. Cabrillo reached Alta
California in latitude 41° north in 1542. The next to seek the
estrecho de Anian with its riquesas naturales y una cuidad mag-
nifica was Sebastian Vizcaino, who, in 1596, sailed from Acapulco
on a voyage that was frustrated by storms. In 1602 he tried
again, and reached Cape Mendocino. Martin de Rada is quoted
in a letter by Hernando de los Rios Coronel sent to the King of
Spain in 1597, as follows:—
A Basque named Juanes de Rivas, a good man and native of San Sebastian,
told me that while on a voyage to the whale fishery in Terra Nova [Newfoundland], he gained information that in the year 1545 some Bretons, after
sailing northwest a hundred leagues from the Punta de Breton [Cape
Breton], which is about eighty leagues west of the Punta de Bacallaos, in
49° or 50° (he said 52°), he fell in with a strait by which, according to the
story, some Portuguese had gone to India and China, and back again from
Ucheo [FooChoo?] to Lisbon, which they reached in forty-five days.43
This is but one of the numerous stories that were told by vagrant
mariners and helped from time to time to keep alive an interest
in the mythical strait.
James Lancaster made a voyage of discovery around the Cape
of Good Hope to Malacca in 1603; and in writing to his employers, the East India Company, he mentioned the fact, gleaned by
him probably from Portuguese seamen, that " the passage to the
(40) William H. Dall, " Notes on an original manuscript of Bering's
expedition of 1725-1730 . . . ," Report of the Superintendent of the U.S.
Coast and Geodetic Survey . . . 1890, Washington, 1891, p. 759. See also
Burney, op. cit., p. 68.
(41) F. A. Golder, Bering's Voyages, New York, 1922, vol. i., p. 19.
(42) Henry R. Wagner, Spanish Voyages to the Northwest Coast of
America, San Francisco, 1929, passim.
(43) Ibid., p. 177. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 175
East India lieth in 62 V_ degrees by the North-west on the
America side."44 His memory was honoured by William Baffin,
who, in 1615, named an inlet westward from Baffin Bay after
him and two and a half centuries later it was proved that Lancaster Sound, in latitude 74° 20' north, was the Arctic strait that
led deviously to the East Indies. In 1719 the Hudson's Bay
Company commissioned James Knight to find the Strait of Anian
" in order to discover gold and other valuable commodities."45
This expedition was lost, but it was rumoured for forty-eight
years that Knight and Barlow, the latter being one of his
captains, had found a way westward and had gone through a
passage into the South Sea. Nevertheless the Hudson's Bay
Company was charged repeatedly with lack of enterprise in
geographic exploration, and even with trying to hinder the efforts
to find a Northwest passage.46 Such a charge was well founded.
In 1744 Arthur Dobbs, in writing a book on the Hudson Bay
region, categorically asserts that the company had obstructed
efforts to find "a Passage to the Western Ocean."47 He suggested that Captain Middleton had been cajoled and bribed by
the company's officials to falsify the account of his voyage, during
which strong presumption of a passage was found beyond Marble
Island in the river or strait of Wager. This was, says Dobbs,
a salt-water strait or passage and not a fresh-water river as
Middleton said.48 We know now that the Wager entry was
neither a strait nor a river, but an inlet west of Southampton
Island, in the northwestern corner of Hudson Bay. In 1745,
partly in consequence of the charges made by Dobbs, an Act
of Parliament authorized the payment of a reward of £20,000
for the discovery of a Northwest passage.49
The mystery darkening the Strait of Anian invited the fabrications of imposters.   Apocryphal tales of a passage through
(44) Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumous or Purchas His Pilgrimes,
Glasgow, 1905, vol. ii., p. 435.
(45) H. H. Bancroft, California Inter Pocula, San Francisco, 1888, p. 30.
(46) Charles E. Chapman, A History of California:  The Spanish Period,
New York, 1925, p. 266.
(47) Arthur Dobbs, An Account of the Countries adjoining to Hudson's
Bay, London, 1744, p. 57.
(48) Ibid., p. 82.
(49) Wagner, Apocryphal Voyages, p. 28. 176 T. A. Rickard. July
North America had been current since 1560, and, on account of
their credibility among geographers ignorant of the geography
of the parts of the world in question, they had been treated with
undeserved respect.
In 1588 Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado asserted that he had sailed
through the Strait of Laborador [Hudson Strait] to latitude 75°
north and thence had proceeded westward to the Strait of Anian
in latitude 60° north, where he passed into the Pacific Ocean.
No particulars of this voyage were made known at the time,
but Garcia de Silva, a well-known Spanish writer of those days,
says that he met Maldonado at Madrid in 1609 and was then
informed of his voyage. In 1811 an account of the voyage by
Maldonado himself was found in the Ambrosian Library at
Milan. The discoverer of the manuscript, Carlos Amoretti, was
convinced of its authenticity and hastened to publish it. The
title is Account of the discovery of the Strait of Anian made by
me Captain Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado in the year 1588. Maldonado said that the Strait of Anian was fifteen leagues long,
running north to south, with many turnings and an entrance
only a quarter of a league wide. This suggests no similarity to
Bering Strait. Very high mountains were visible on the coast
of Asia and very high pine trees " grew even down to the sea."
It would be strange indeed to find such trees growing in the
Arctic region. In a harbour near the Pacific outlet of the strait
he encountered a ship of 800 tons burden that had come thither
from the South Sea. Conversation with the people on this ship
was practicable only in Latin. They seemed to be Hanseatic,
and he concluded that in religion they were Lutheran. By such
details he tried vainly to give verisimilitude to his unconvincing
narrative. As the author refers to the discoveries of Quiros in
the South Seas during the years 1595-1606, the account must
have been written many years after 1588, a fact that arouses
suspicion. It is noteworthy also that so little was thought of
Maldonado's voyage that his manuscript was not made public
until more than two centuries afterward. Nevertheless his tale
was well concocted. His map is based largely on Zaltieri's. He
says that from Hudson Strait he passed through Fox Channel
into Prince Regent Inlet, thence to Lancaster Sound, and then
westward  along  the  American  coast to   Bering  Strait.    No 1941 The Strait of Anian. 177
obstruction from ice is mentioned. Moreover, he claimed to have
returned in the same season, which means that he traversed the
Northwest Passage, as now known, twice in one year, a statement entirely incredible in view of the fact that Amundsen took
more than a year to go one way only, westward, and no navigator
has, as yet, made the same voyage eastward. Maldonado's
description of Bering Strait bears no likeness to actuality, and
includes sundry falsities that are glaring. He speaks of seeing
fruit-trees, such as apple, pear, and plum; he saw not only
rabbits and partridges, but also two kinds of wild pigs. Apparently he had no notion that the climate of the Arctic region was
much different from that of his native country, Spain.50
Next comes Juan de Fuca. He was a Greek pilot, whose real
name was Apostolos Valerianos, in the employ of the Spaniards
in Mexico. He met Michael Lok at Venice in 1596 and told him
then of his remarkable voyage of discovery four years previously.
The said Viceroy of Mexico sent him out againe Anno 1592, with a small
Carauela, and a Pinnace, armed with Mariners onely, to follow the said
Voyage, for discouery of the same Straits of Anian, and the passage thereof,
into the Sea which they call the North Sea, which is our North-west Sea
[the North Atlantic]. And that he followed his course in that Voyage West
and North-west in the South Sea [Pacific Ocean], all alongst the coast of
Nova Spania [Mexico], and California, and the Indies, now called North
America (all which Voyage hee signified to me in a great Map, and a Seacard [chart] of mine owne, which I laied before him) vntill hee came to the
Latitude of fortie seuen degrees, and that there finding that the Land
trended North and North-east, with a broad Inlet of Sea, betweene 47. and
48. degrees of Latitude: hee entered thereinto, sayling therein more than
twentie dayes, and found that Land trending still sometime North-west and
North-east, and North, and also East and South-eastward, and very much
broader Sea then was at the said entrance, and that hee passed by diuers
Islands in that sayling.Bi
.He proceeded to say that he entered the strait and came into
the North Sea. Why then did he not return to Spain southeastward? Instead, he says that he turned back and in due
course arrived at Acapulco, his Mexican port of departure. He
hoped for thanks and reward from the Viceroy, but received
(50) Ibid., pp. 42-58. For an earlier translation of Maldonado's account,
see John Barrow, A Chronological History of Voyages into the Arctic
Regions, London, 1818, appendix ii., pp. 23-45.
(51) Samuel Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimes, London, 1625, vol. iii.,
p. 850. 178 T. A. RICKARD. July
neither. Even when he went to Spain and was " welcomed at
the King's court," his feat obtained no recognition. Disconsolate, he went to Italy and thence to his Greek home on the island
of Cephalonia.
Lok was an enterprising merchant of London; he had promoted and organized Martin Frobisher's three expeditions to
Baffin Land, the original purpose of which was to find a new
way to Cathay. He had been Consul at Aleppo, and was, therefore, much interested in the story and appears to have believed
it true. The Greek pilot begged him to write to Queen Elizabeth
and tell her of his willingness to serve her in a voyage to demonstrate the passage. He would, he said, " perform it in thirty
days time, from one end to the other of the Strait." Lok submitted the proposal to Burleigh, Raleigh, and Hakluyt, but he
was informed that " the money was not ready." Nothing was
done, and when, in June, 1602, Lok wrote to Fuca, he learned
that the Greek pilot was dead or dying. His story to-day is not
believed; no record of such a voyage as he described has been
found in the Spanish archives, despite careful search.62 However, it must be noted that mariners familiar with the approach
to Puget Sound assert that Juan de Fuca's description of his
navigation is convincing. The strait that now bears his name
is in latitude 48° 30' north.
Bartholomew De Fonte was the next noteworthy pretender.63
He was a Spanish Admiral, of Portuguese birth, and in 1640
alleged the discovery of a passage from Hudson Bay to the Pacific
Ocean. The first account of the supposed voyage appeared in
a periodical published in London, The Monthly Miscellany or
Memoirs for the Curious, in April and June, 1708. Although
this was sixty-eight years after the alleged event and although
the description of the voyage was chaotic in style, it was accepted
as true by many responsible persons. J. N. Delisle thought so
well of it as to present a translation, with a chart, to the French
Academy. To-day it is surmised, not without reason, that the
story was a literary joke perpetrated by James Petiver, the editor
(52) H. H. Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast, San Francisco,
1890, vol. i., p. 76.
(53) William Goldson, Observations on the Passage between the Atlantic
and Pacific Oceans, Portsmouth, 1793, pp. 126-158. See also Wagner,
Apocryphal Voyages, pp. 14-23. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 179
or owner of The Monthly Miscellany. De Fonte claims to have
sailed from Lima with four ships northward along the Pacific
coast until he reached an archipelago in latitude 53° north. He
advanced amid the islands until he found a large river, and thence
continued eastward through lakes and rivers to tide-water, and
there met a ship from Boston. He gives the name of its captain
and of its owner. He then went back on his course, to his port
of departure, on the Peruvian coast.64 Attempts have been made
to identify his route on the assumption that he came into Hudson
Bay from the west, but they are more ingenious than convincing.
Charles Duncan went so far as to suggest that a recent volcanic
eruption may have made such topographic changes as to obscure
De Fonte's route.66 The fictitious voyages of Fuca, Fonte, and
Maldonado received no serious attention until Vitus Bering, in
1728, had found the strait that now bears his name.66
The ablest of all the resourceful navigators of the eighteenth
century, Captain James Cook, in 1776 was instructed by the Earl
of Sandwich, head of the Admiralty, to search for " a northern
passage by sea from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean."67 During
his exploration of the northwestern American coast in 1778
Captain Cook seemed once in an easterly waterway that promised
to be of some consequence. This was Cook's Inlet, which
appeared as Cook's River on his chart, because the freshness of
the water, caused by melting snow, made him think of it as an
estuary. His survey was disappointing and he had to conclude
that " a passage was not to be expected by this side river, any
more than by the main branch," although " a very extensive
inland communication lies open by means of this river and its
several branches."68 Later surveys proved that even this view
had to be modified. Captain Cook went through Bering Strait
as far as 70° 44' north, where the drifting ice and the lateness
of the season caused him to turn southward.
(54) Ibid., pp. 15-20.
(55) Goldson, op. cit., p. 156.
(56) Wagner, Apocryphal Voyages, p. 7.
(57) A Collection of Voyages round the World . . . containing a complete Historical Account of Captain Cook's first, second, third and last
Voyages, London, 1790, vol. iv., p. 1196.
(58) Ibid., vol. v., p. 1815. 180 T. A. Rickard. July
After the publication of the book recording Captain Cook's
last voyage, the idea of a passage connecting the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans was set aside for a while, but his charts, showing
the much-indented coast of northwestern America, served to
revive the old yarns, notably that of De Fuca. The reward of
£20,000 offered by the British government for the discovery of
such a passage was still good. Moreover, the printed account of
Cook's last voyage made known the fact that valuable furs,
notably sea-otter pelts, were available in the Pacific Northwest.
Among the many men attracted to this new field of commerce
was John Meares. In his book, describing his voyage and published in 1790, Meares had a good deal to say about the Northwest Passage, or Strait of Anian. He believed that the British
Columbian shores visited and surveyed by Cook were really a
chain of islands, east of which was the sea. This, he claimed,
was proved by the voyage of the American sloop Washington
under Captain Gray in 1788. He argued, further, that the icefloes in the channels amid this supposed archipelago had come
from " the Eastern Seas" or Atlantic waters, through his
imagined passage, because such ice " would never have been
formed on the Western side of America, which is a mild and
moderate climate."69 He suggested that Cook's River communicated with that part of the Polar Sea reached by Samuel Hearne
and possibly with the southern part of Baffin Bay.
The myth of the Strait of Anian, however, was gradually
being dissipated, for meanwhile another expedition had been
searching for the fabulous strait. An Italian navigator, Alexandro Malaspina, had been sent, in 1789, by the Spanish government on a scientific cruise along the Pacific coast of America.
While at Acapulco, in 1791, he received instructions to seek the
Strait of Anian, interest in which had been revived by Philippe
Buache's paper to the Academy of Sciences at Paris on Lorenzo
Maldonado's alleged discovery of the strait.60 To Malaspina was
sent a copy of Buache's paper and the text of Maldonado's narrative.   Although himself inclined to be contemptuous of the affair,
(59) Captain John Meares, Voyages   .   .   .  from China to the North
West Coast of America, London, 1790, p. xlvi.
(60) [J. N.] Bauche [sic], Disertaciones sabre la navegacion a las Indias
Orientales par el Norte de la Europa [Cadiz], 1798, passim. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 181
Malaspina forthwith sailed northward on his quest as ordered.
He skirted the coast as far as Alaska and made numerous excursions on shore. No opening was discovered in the coastal range
and Malaspina decided that none existed. He concluded his
report with the hope that modern navigators henceforth would
disdain to waste their time on a project so useless.61
Still later, in 1791, an expedition was sent to the northwest
coast in consequence of Spanish depredations at Nootka, on Vancouver Island. The commander, Captain George Vancouver, was
instructed to search for " the supposed straits of Juan de Fuca."62
Vancouver surveyed and charted the coast without finding any
transcontinental strait and in the spring of 1794 he examined
Cook's River carefully and proved that it was only a long tidal
inlet. Accordingly he named it Cook's Inlet and commented:
Thus terminated this very extensive opening on the coast of North West
America, to which, had the great and first discoverer of it, whose name it
bears, dedicated one day more to its further examination, he would have
spared the theoretical navigators, who have followed him in their closets,
the task of ingeniously ascribing to this arm of the ocean a channel, through
which a north-west passage existing according to their doctrines, might
ultimately be discovered.°3
Captain Vancouver's careful surveys demonstrated that the
northwestern coast of America extended in an indented but continuous line from California to Bering Strait.
Maritime navigators alone were not responsible for the
destruction of the myth, for the equally courageous overland
explorers were demonstrating the impossibility of the alleged
waterway. The two sons of Sieur de la Verendrye, Francois
and Louis Joseph, travelled far southwestward from Fort La
Reine, near Lake Winnipeg, and in 1743 reached the foothills of
the snow-clad Rocky Mountains, probably the Big Horn range
in what is now northern Wyoming. By their journey they had
proved that no channel or inlet crossed the middle of the continent.64   Later, in 1771, Samuel Hearne, accompanied by a few
(61) D. Alejandro Malaspina, Viaja Politico-Cientifico Alfrededor del
Mundo, Madrid, 1885, p. 190.
(62) Captain George Vancouver, A Voyage of Discovery to the North
Pacific Ocean   .   .   .   , London, 1798, vol. i., p. xx.
(63) Ibid., vol. iii., p. 125.
(64) L. J. Burpee  (ed.), Journals and Letters of Pierre Gaultier de
Varennes de la Verendrye and his sons, Toronto, 1927, passim. 182 T. A. Rickard. July
Indians, went northwestward from Fort Prince of Wales, on
Hudson Bay, to the Arctic sea, at the mouth of the Coppermine
River in latitude 68° north.66 Thus he demonstrated that no
waterway extended across the continent westward from Hudson
Bay, although Meares had the hardihood to deprecate this geographic evidence, making a feeble argument that the rivers
crossed by Hearne might have been channels of salt water.66
But the coup de grace to the supposed transcontinental waterway
was given by Alexander Mackenzie, who, in 1789, descended the
river that now bears his name to its mouth at 69° north. A range
of mountains, a continuation of the Rocky Mountains, to the west
of the river, and extending northwestward almost parallel with
the river, made it impossible that any inlet or strait could extend
across the northern part of what is now the Dominion of
The Northeast Passage was found finally and traversed successfully by Adolf Nordenskiold. In command of a well-equipped
Swedish expedition on the Vega he sailed from Copenhagen round
the Scandinavian peninsula, along the Russian and Siberian
coast, through the Kara Sea and Bering Strait, to Port Clarence,
on the Alaskan coast. The voyage was made from June 26,
1878, to July 22, 1879.68 The search for the Northwest Passage
was concluded in later days. In 1818 John Ross reached Lancaster Sound, the real entrance, but he insisted that it was only
a bay and went no farther. The following year Edward Parry
went through Lancaster Sound and wintered on Melville Island.
In 1829, in a paddle-steamer obviously not fit for a voyage amid
the ice-floes, Ross tried again and reached Boothia Felix. In
1845 the ill-fated expedition under Sir John Franklin left England and perished in the Arctic. The many expeditions that
went in search of Franklin added considerably to the knowledge
of the  northern  region.    Richard  Collinson,  in  1850,  sailed
(65) J. B. Tyrell (ed.), Journals of Samuel Hearne and Philip Turnor,
Toronto, 1934, passim.
(66) Meares, op. cit., pp. lvii.-lix.
(67) Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Voyages from Montreal   .   .   .   to the
frozen and Pacific Oceans, London, 1801, pp. 53-4.
(68) A.  E.  Nordenskiold,  The Voyage of the Vega round Asia and
Europe, London, 1881, 2 vols., passim. 1941 The Strait of Anian. 183
through Bering Strait to Coronation Gulf and Dease Strait. It
was he, rather than his second in command, McClure (who got
most of the glory), that found a link with previous explorations
that promised a practicable route from Lancaster Sound to
Bering Strait. Thus the way was prepared for Roald Amundsen,
who found and traversed the Northwest Passage. This expedition, consisting of Amundsen and six companions on the 47-ton
sloop Gyoa, sailed from Christiana, now Oslo, on June 16, 1903,
and reached Nome, on Bering Sea, on August 31, 1906. The
time spent on the actual passage was fourteen months, for a
considerable period of time was employed in explorations from
a base on King William Land.69
The successful voyages of Nordenskiold and Amundsen
proved that both the Northeast and the Northwest Passages had
a geographic existence, but that both of them were of no commercial use on account of the fact that the ice closed them except
for a brief and uncertain interval every year.
T. A. Rickard.
Victoria, B.C.
(69) Roald Amundsen, The North West Passage, London, 1908, 2 vols.,
On Tuesday morning, May 26, 1868, the beautiful British
barque Moneta, of 621 tons burthen, rated Al at Lloyd's, which
had arrived in Burrard Inlet to load lumber, was discovered to
have suddenly taken fire. At the time she was lying at the
wharf of the British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar Lumber and Sawmill Company (Limited) —commonly called, for
brevity, Stamp's Mill.*
While the captain, William Howlett Turpin, and his crew
were struggling to extinguish the flames and others were removing the ship's valuables to a place of safety, the steamer Isabel,
belonging to the mill company, reached the scene with the French
barque Deux Freres in tow. Hastily casting off her tow, the
Isabel made her lines fast to the burning vessel and towed her
to shallow water east of the mill, in front of the present abattoir
of P. Burns & Company. There the Moneta was scuttled to
extinguish the fire and save the barque—not scuttled to destroy
her, as the Germans do. And there the Moneta lay—at high
tide her topmasts showing above the water, at low tide seen on
her beam ends, to all appearance a veritable wreck.
On June 9 a survey of the charred, half-sunken remains was
held by Captain J. A. Raymur, J. W. Trahey, and Captain
Mitchell. They estimated the value of the wreck at $15,000,
and were of the opinion that to raise and recondition the Moneta
would cost more than she would then be worth. Captain Turpin
accordingly offered to abandon the hulk to the underwriters;
but Lloyd's agent in Victoria refused the abandonment and
insisted on its being raised, temporarily patched up, and taken
to San Francisco to be rebuilt:
* This account of the various events that followed is based upon news
items in the New Westminster British Columbian for May, June, and July,
1868. The editor of that paper, the Hon. John Robson, was always exact,
even meticulous, in his statements.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. V., No. 3.
185 186 F. W. HOWAY. July
The burned and blackened Moneta was accordingly raised
and repairs sufficient to enable her to proceed to that city made.
Then trouble began to brew: What was the character of the
services rendered to the Moneta by the Isabel on that eventful
May 26 ? Were they in the nature of salvage, or were they mere
towage? Salvage rewards are very flexible. They take into
consideration such factors as the value of the property saved,
the imminence of total loss, the value of the salvaging vessel,
the extent of the danger incurred, the time lost, and the skill
required by the salvors in the operation. They sometimes
amount to a quarter or even half of the value of the property
salvaged. Were the services of the Isabel in getting her lines
on the burning Moneta and towing her to a place where she
could be safely scuttled such a preservation of the vessel from
destruction by fire as entitled the mill company to claim salvage ?
On the one hand, there was no doubt that the burning vessel
was a menace to the safety of the mill which the company in its
own interests would remove; on the other hand it was equally
clear that what remained of the beautiful barque, now a charred
hulk though afloat, had been saved by the heroic action of Captain Pamphlet and the crew of the Isabel. Edward Stamp, the
manager of the mill, perhaps urged by the dire financial condition of his owners, perhaps with an honest belief that the risk
his $25,000 tow-boat had incurred in saving the Moneta entitled
the mill company to a large reward for salvage services, presented an account for $10,000. Captain Turpin, the master of
the Moneta, regarded this claim as exorbitant, but made a very
generous offer of $2,500.    This Stamp indignantly refused.
So matters stood in the latter part of June when at last, the
temporary repairs having been made, Captain Turpin began to
speak of his approaching departure for San Francisco. His
offer of what he considered a liberal reward had been rejected;
in his view the matter was therefore closed. But Edward Stamp,
the mill manager, had also been a master mariner—he was commonly called Captain Stamp; in his view it would be but little
short of piracy for the Moneta to sail away leaving his claim
for salvage unsettled and unpaid. He prepared to take drastic
measures. He sent the Isabel to Victoria to commence legal
proceedings in the Vice-Admiralty Court and obtain a warrant 1941 The Case of the " Moneta." 187
to arrest the Moneta to answer the mill's demand. But Captain
Turpin, suspecting the purpose of the steamer's departure, took
immediate action. He concluded that Burrard Inlet was becoming uncomfortably warm, and that it would be unwise to await
the return of the Isabel with the Marshal and the warrant.
The Isabel being the only tow-boat on the Inlet, Captain Stamp
had, probably, thought that in her absence the Moneta was as
safely immured as though she were still lying on the shoal. But
Captain Turpin was resourceful. On June 29, when the tide
was about full, he ordered his ship's boats out and taking advantage of the eddy that ran by the mill they towed the Moneta out
until the barque caught the outward draught of the ebb tide
through the First Narrows. Once clear of the Inlet the Moneta
spread her sails, caught the offshore breeze, and under the direction of the pilot, Captain Pamphlet (who in the meantime had
left the service of the mill company), steered an unusual course
for the west side of the Strait of Georgia.
In the interval the Isabel had reached Victoria and obtained
from Chief Justice Needham an order for the arrest of the
Moneta. Taking on board Mr. Elliott—the Marshal of the Vice-
Admiralty Court, armed with the warrant of arrest—his deputy
Mr. Austin, and two constables, McMillan and Stephens—such
a posse seems to indicate that trouble was expected—the Isabel
left Victoria on the night of June 29. Steaming along through
the darkness the Isabel saw nothing of her quarry, perhaps did
not look for her, and on the morning of the 30th reached the
mill, only to find that " the bird had flown." At once she started
in pursuit. Leaving the Inlet at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the
Isabel sighted the fleeing Moneta two hours later, close under
the land near Porlier Pass (Cowichan Gap). At a quarter to 5
that summer day she overtook the fugitive some 2V_ miles off
the eastern shore of Galiano Island. From the deck of the barque
Captain Turpin hailed the Isabel (presumably the steamer was
keeping abeam of his vessel) and heatedly inquired what she
wanted. Mr. Elliott bellowed in reply that he was the Marshal
of the Vice-Admiralty Court and had a warrant for the arrest
of the Moneta for non-payment of salvage charges. Captain
Turpin yelled back that the Marshal had no jurisdiction there,
and truculently declared that he could not come on board. 188 F. W. Howay. July
When the Isabel, in defiance of Captain Turpin's words, ran
up alongside the Moneta, prepared to send a boarding party
upon her, he excitedly called to his crew, " Now, boys, come on!
Defend the ship! Allow no man to come on board! " Then waving a sword defiantly in the air he gave the order, " Knock any
man down who attempts to come on board."
This command was received by the crew, who were armed
with handspikes, harpoons, swords, and other weapons, with
exultant shouts of defiance: " Down with the d - - d piratical
rascals!" Some blew horns, others danced about on the deck
above the Isabel; and when the Marshal and his posse, having
placed ladders in position, began to ascend them to board the
Moneta, they threw into the faces of the attackers handfuls of
ground pepper. A few of the crew had their weapons heated
red-hot, and with these they strenuously opposed the entry of
the law officers into the barque. The Marshal and one of the
constables were wounded in this part of the melee, but despite
all resistance they succeeded in entering the ship, followed by
officers McMillan and Stephens, Deputy Marshal Austin, and
officer Cox. Just as McMillan was crossing the barque's rail
one of her crew made a thrust at him with a weapon resembling
a hay-fork, heated red-hot, and burned him badly. He fell back
on Stephens, who aided him forward, and they followed the
Marshal. One of the outstanding defenders of the Moneta was
Susannah, a perfect Amazon, the negro maid in attendance on
the captain's wife; she brandished a pair of rusty tongs, loudly
exclaiming that she would brain any man who dared to come
on board their ship. And she carried out her threat; but fortunately her aim was poor, and missing his head, she brought the
tongs down with great force on the shins of the unlucky Marshal, who yelled with pain from the blow. Verily " The female
of the species is more deadly than the male."
The Marshal and his posse were all now on the deck of the
Moneta, but the battle still continued—a sort of rear-guard
action. The warrant was snatched from the poor Marshal's
hand, torn to ribbons, and' thrown into the sea. Finally, all
resistance having been overcome, the Marshal arrested the
Moneta, took possession, ordered her sails furled, and a line
passed to the Isabel.   Captor and captive were then headed for 1941 The Case of the " Moneta." 189
Esquimalt. Arriving there, the Marshal applied to Rear-Admiral
Hastings, of H.M.S. Zealous, for assistance. He sent an officer
and two marines on board the Moneta, who arrested Captain
Turpin, pilot Pamphlet, and the crew. Of this lawless incident
and defiance of constituted authority John Robson wrote in the
British Columbian of July 4, 1868:—
The Moneta Affair.—We publish elsewhere an account of the seizure of
this ill-fated ship. Without indulging in any remarks upon the merits of
a case which is before the tribunals of the country, we may be allowed to
express regret that such proceedings should ever have disgraced our waters.
This sort of thing cannot be done with impunity. A few more marine difficulties, and shipping will shun our shores. We may state that the Captain
and crew of the Moneta have been released, and the affair is the subject of
executive meetings.    It is thought that much litigation will grow out of it.
The fight was carried into the Courts: Mr. (later Mr. Justice) J. F. McCreight for the mill company, and T. L. Wood,
then a Member of the Legislative Council, for the Moneta. The
trial came on for hearing before Judge Needham in the Vice-
Admiralty Court on July 13 and 14. Judge Needham's notes,
which run to no less than thirty-three pages, are preserved in
the Provincial Archives. Sitting with him as assessors were
Captain Richard Dawkins of H.M.S. Zealous, and Captain Price
of H.M.S. Scout. Evidence was given as to the services of the
Isabel to the Moneta, the value of the two vessels, the condition
of the Moneta when scuttled and thereafter, and all the surrounding circumstances. The question boiled down to this: what
was a proper amount to allow the Isabel for her salvage services?
The Court took time to consider this matter and the proportions
in which any sum so allowed should be divided. In the meantime the Moneta was allowed to depart for San Francisco upon
depositing a bond of $3,500 to answer the amount of any judgment that should be given. The Court gave judgment for $1,000
and costs for salvage; but the division of the money was a difficult problem owing to the uncertainty as to the respective positions of Pamphlet and Captain Devereux on the Isabel on May 26,
as both claimed to be in command. Judge Needham's notes on
the division of the salvage are as follows:—
$750 to owner
75 to Capt. P. [Pamphlet]
50 to Capt. Dev. [Devereux] Commander
125 to crew in proportion to rate of pay. 190 F. W. Howay.
Then below:  " We all think that Capt. Pamphlet was the actual
Captain of Isabel."
The conclusion of this involved story is reminiscent of that
of the boy grasping the nuts in the jar.
As the miners advanced from creek to creek in the Cariboo,
in the early 1860's, the cost of transporting foodstuffs to the
diggings increased sharply. The building of the Cariboo Road,
though a remarkable achievement in so young a colony, only
partially solved the problem, for it was necessary to charge high
tolls to help defray the cost of its construction. Thus the road
made transportation easy rather than cheap. As a consequence,
prices generally remained relatively high throughout the Interior.
These circumstances had a most important influence upon
the flour-milling industry. Unlike his confrere at the Coast, the
upper-country miller had little to fear from the competition of
foreign producers, for they were handicapped by the high cost
of transportation to the mines. He possessed a ready market,
and his chief problem was to secure an adequate local supply
of grain. The combined effect of these conditions and of
increased home production of wheat was reflected in the price
of flour. Whereas, in the spring and summer of 1862, flour
sold at Williams Creek at prices ranging from $1.25 to $1.50
per pound,1 by 1865 the price had fallen to 30 to 40 cents per
pound.2 The general situation was admirably explained in an
article in the Cariboo Sentinel entitled, "Agricultural Prospects."
It is a matter of the highest importance to the progress and development
of this country that sufficient wheat and grain should be raised within its
boundaries to supply its own large consumption. The am't. of land this
year under cultivation is unprecedentedly large and from the fact of the
farmers having had several years experience in the country, we have no
doubt the yield this year will approximate to the demand for next year's
consumption.    From Lillooet to Soda Creek there is not a single ranch which
(1) New Westminster British Columbian, June 18, 28, 1862; July 2, 23,
(2) Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, June 6, 12, 1865.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. V., No. 3.
191 192 F. W. Laing. July
possesses an acre of good land that the farmer has not been engaged in its
cultivation. In the neighborhood of Lillooet alone upwards of 1200 acres
of wheat will be grown, and on the ranches at Williams Lake a great deal
of land has been laid down with the same crop. . . . Although flour in
Cariboo is at present lower than it has ever been before, should the crop of
wheat now in the ground turn out well, next year the staple of the mining
camp will be still further reduced in price. It is only by cheapening the
necessaries of the miner that we will be able to prospect this country thoroughly, and we look forward to the success of the present season's crop as
of the most vital importance to the progress and development of the country's resources hereafter. By reducing provisions to the lowest ebb a large
population of miners will be attracted and induced to come here and prospect. Let us hope that the time is not far distant when flour instead of
being 30 cents on Williams Creek will not exceed 10 cents.s
Mention has already been made of the early efforts at milling
undertaken by the Hudson's Bay Company at Alexandria in the
pre-colonial period. The company's records show that years
later a flour-mill was in use at Fort Kamloops. The Journal of
that post contains numerous entries during the period 1859 to
1862 concerning the grinding of wheat by means of a " steel
mill," which we are told was " much worn."4
The first flour-mill to be established by private enterprise in
the mainland colony of British Columbia was erected at Dog
Creek, in the Chilcotin district, by Samuel Leander Charles
Brown. The mill, though constructed in 1861, was not put into
operation until 1862.6 Associated with Brown, who was an expert
millwright, was his partner, Isadore Versepuche. In the spring
of 1861 the latter went to California and there purchased the
millstones. These were French burrs; the inside was a spherical stone, with two concave stones on each side. The price, at
San Francisco, was $175. The stones were shipped to New
Westminster and left at the Customs House until the spring of
1862, when they were transported to Dog Creek, by way of
Douglas and Lillooet.   This flour-mill was operated in conjunc-
(3) Ibid., June 17,1865.
(4) Fort Kamloops Journal, February 3, 7, 10, 26, 28, 1869; January
21,23,31,1860; February 6,1860; March 8,1861; February 1,10,1862.
(6) An excellent article on this mill, written by Mr. James N. J. Brown,
a son of the original owner, appeared in the Bridge River-Lillooet News,
January 6, 1938. Additional information has been provided by Mr. J. N. J.
Brown in private correspondence. 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 193
tion with a sawmill,6 but only for two seasons, as it was found
that the two mills could not be worked profitably together by
water-power. The mill-site selected was on the pre-emption of
Versepuche, whose record gave him the right to use the water in
Dog Creek.7
The partners had taken adequate precaution to assure a supply of wheat, for Versepuche had brought back to Dog Creek
1,000 lb. of wheat, 10 lb. of which were sown in June as an
experiment. Being late in the season the grain did not mature,
but it was demonstrated that grain could be grown successfully
and the balance of the grain, planted in 1862, gave a yield of
12,000 lb. of the very best quality wheat. In launching the
undertaking the partners incurred heavy expenses and by the
fall of 1863 they were $5,500 in debt, but with flour selling at
40 cents per pound and gristing charges of 2 cents per pound
they were soon able to retire their liabilities. By 1867 the burr-
stones were found to be inadequate for the amount of grain
available and larger stones were ordered. About this time the
partnership was dissolved. Versepuche acquired a pre-emption
about 3 miles up Dog Creek, where he grew grain on an extensive
scale, and Brown continued to operate the plant at the original
site. In 1869, when legislative provision was made for the issuance of water records for industrial purposes, Brown was granted
the authority to use 200 inches of water from Dog Creek above
" the Pioneer Mill for mill purposes."8 A reference to this mill
appeared in the Cariboo Sentinel of July 19, 1866, when a correspondent reported on Dog Creek valley, as follows:—
Dog Creek Valley. In which are located three ranches; the principal one
is owned by Messrs. Brown and Gaspard, who possess a grist and saw mill,
the former of which has proved a great benefit, not alone of the neighboring settlers but to the Colony at large, for thousands of dollars have been
retained in the country which, but for this mill would have gone abroad for
flour. This mill, so far as my knowledge extends, was the first that was
erected in the Colony; at first it got a bad name for making poor flour, but
experience and farther improvement have remedied this, and from my own
(6) Purchased at Victoria at a cost of $90.   Ibid.
(7) Lillooet Register, P/R 32, Isadore Versepuche, November 6, 1861.
(8) Lillooet, Water Record No. Ill, November 6, 1869.   This record was
signed by E. H. Saunders, Magistrate at Lillooet. 194 F. W. Laing. July
examination and use of bread made from the flour at different places, I can
testify to its being now an excellent articled
The burr-stones which were discarded at Dog Creek were moved
by Brown to Empire valley, where he had secured the pre-emption on China Creek. Here he erected the flour-mill which was
known as the " Excelsior Mill," but about which no further
information is available.10
The " Pioneer Mill " at Dog Creek antedates by two years the
mill erected in 1864 by the Cornwall brothers at Ashcroft Manor,
which for many years was believed to be the first mill to grind
flour in the colony of British Columbia. In 1863 a water-wheel
was erected to drive a sawmill11 and the following year a flour-
mill was added, the stones having been brought from the old
Millstream plant put up by the Hudson's Bay Company on Vancouver Island.12 The year following the installation of the stones
a water-power permit was issued by the Colonial Government
which gave the Cornwall brothers the right to use 200 inches of
water "for mill and irrigation purposes on Ashcroft Creek."18
The water was carried in a ditch 960 feet long, of which 90 feet
were a wooden flume. The water-wheel developed five horsepower. The diary of Clement F. Cornwall contains many references to the operation of this mill during the years 1866 to 1869,
of which the following are, perhaps, the most interesting:—
The little mill has ground since the middle of September something over
70,000 lbs. of wheat, about $1050 worth and has turned out some excellent
(9) Signed, " Peter Pullet," and dated at Clinton, June 28, 1866. Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, July 19,1866. Versepuche was frequently referred
to as Vespuios Gaspard.
(10) Bridge River-Lillooet News, January 6, 1938. In a private letter
from Mr. J. N. J. Brown reference is made to a flour-mill erected for Philip
Grinder on Big Bar Creek, but no contemporary material substantiates the
point, although it is known that Grinder did acquire a pre-emption on Big
Bar Creek on July 9, 1868.
(11) Clement F. Cornwall Diary, June 9, 21, 1863; October 30, 1863.
MS., Archives of B.C.
(12) This information is given in E. Davis, op. cit., vide supra, p. 92.
Unfortunately there is a break in the Cornwall Diary from July 10, 1864,
to November 17, 1866.
(13) Lytton, Water Record No. 12a, April 27,1865.
(14) Clement F. Cornwall Diary, December 10, 1866. 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 195
A man came up in the morning representing himself as a miller who had
been working for Bunster in Victoria and I made an arrangement with him
to stop and grind what wheat comes to hand if there shall be water enough."
In October, 1866, the British Columbia Tribune stated that this
mill was working exceedingly well, running night and day, and
making excellent flour.16 The Cariboo Sentinel, the following
year, offered additional information concerning this mill.
The Grist Mill owned by these gentlemen [Messrs. Cornwall] has been turning out an excellent quality of Flour lately, and although its grinding capacity is only equal to 200 lbs. per hour, we are informed that there is sufficient
grain in the neighborhood to keep it in constant employment for the next
three or four months.17
When it was proven by experience that wheat could be grown
in Cariboo, there was an appreciable impetus given to the flour-
milling industry. The British Columbian, in the fall of 1864,
estimated that during the past season 800 tons of grain had been
raised in the district between Douglas and Clinton, and suggested
that such a result called for the establishment of grist-mills. At
the same time it was announced that " no less than three such
mills are projected."18 The Government had long been aware of
the urgency of producing foodstuffs in the Cariboo but had done
little to encourage the building of flour-mills. In 1864 the Legislative Council had drawn attention to this matter by its offer of
a bonus,19 but the offer was never formally gazetted. In 1865
the first request for a subsidy was received and the Government
was forced to announce its policy. G. B. Wright, long associated with road-construction in the colony, proposed to erect at
Quesnelmouth a grist-mill,
capable of grinding 50 bbls. of flour in 24 hours, provided the Government
will offer a premium of £1,000, upon the completion of the mill and evidence
of its possessing the above capacity.20
(15) Ibid., April 23, 1869.
(16) Yale British Columbia Tribune, October 1, 1866.
"(17)  Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, May 9, 1867.
(18) Three projectors were mentioned, Messrs. Scott, Brady, and Flynn.
The latter was reported to have passed through New Westminster en route
to San Francisco to procure a plant. New Westminster British Columbian,
October 26,1864.
(19) Vide supra, p. 105.
(20) G. B. Wright to the Colonial Secretary, June 14,1865. MS., Archives
of B.C. Wright had discussed the proposition with J. D. Walker, the manager of the Bank of British Columbia, then making a tour of inspection of
their establishments in the colony.   Victoria British Colonist, June 3, 1865. 196 F. W. Laing. July
The Executive Council was unanimous in admitting the worthiness of the project of flour-mill construction but was divided
over the merits of the case in hand. The Governor requested
the opinions of the various officials of the colony. His own comment was to the following effect:—
There is an immense deal of wheat sown this year about Williams Lake &
a grist mill would be of great assistance to agriculturists. The reward, if
any, should be liberal. The mill should be erected to the northward of the
Thompson at all events.21
The Hon. Charlesi W. Frank, Colonial Treasurer, believed that
Government aid " ought not to be given to a private enterprise
for the benefit of a particular district" and instead suggested
smaller bonuses of £100 for the first " water-mills or wind mills
in each of several localities."22 The Collector of Customs, the
Hon. Wymond O. Hamley, considered " altogether inadmissable "
a proposal to assist a " private speculation," but did favour the
remission of tonnage dues and road tolls.28 The Hon. H. P. P.
Crease, Attorney-General, feared that unless the offer were made
in general terms it would have a bad effect and would be construed as " partiality."24 The Colonial Secretary, the Hon. Arthur
N. Birch, thought that the amount requested was rather high26
but considered a bonus a perfectly legitimate claim on the public
funds. His minute is particularly interesting, for it reported
the existence of other similar projects.
Since the receipt of Mr. Wright's letter I have seen Mr. Everard26 who tells
me that a Mr. Bates27 made a proposition through Mr. Moberley to erect
a Steam Mill on consideration of a free grant of 1000 acres of land in the
vicinity of Williams Lake. I have requested Mr. Everard to inform Mr.
Bates that his proposition has never been before the Govt, and to suggest
that he make his proposal direct. I am also informed that a Grist Mill is
in course of erection at Lillooet.28
(21) Minute, Governor F. Seymour, June 28, 1865.
(22) Minute, Charles W. Frank, June 29, 1865.
(23) Minute, W. Hamley, June 29, 1865.
(24) Minute, H. P. P. Crease, July 8, 1865.
(25) Minute, A. N. Birch, June 20, 1865.
(26) Louis F. Everard was at that time assistant jailer at New Westminster. He had formerly been Justice of the Peace and a resident of the
Deep Creek district.
(27) A. S. Bates held land on the Thompson River, about 75 miles from
Lillooet. In May, 1865, along with G. B. Wright he was interested in having a survey made of the land at Quesnelmouth.
(28) Minute, A. N. Birch, July 10, 1865. 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 197
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, the Hon. J. W.
Trutch, favoured the offer of a bonus for the construction of the
first grist-mill in working order having a specified capacity.
His opinion on the whole milling situation generally merits
It is very desirable that a grist mill be established in the neighborhood
of Williams Lake within a twelvemonth and I think it quite politic that
Government should encourage such an enterprise by the Public offer of a
Bonus on its completion if there be no reasonable prospect of its being initiated without such inducement.   .   .   .
Such a Grist Mill would doubtless be a profitable investment to the owner
as well as a public benefit, but is anyone possessed of the necessary capital
or credit likely to undertake the speculation at present? I am inclined to
think not, although I have been told that a person of the name of Bates is
talking of building a Flouring Mill near Lillooet.29
If the erection of a good grist mill somewhere between Clinton and Alexandria cannot be guaranteed by next summer without Govt, aid I am in favor
of paying a bonus of £500 to secure this result, and I cannot understand why
any one should regard such a fortuitous concession to the initiation of a new
manufacture as a precedent for similar grants on the construction of every
succeeding grist mill that may be called forth by the increasing requirements of the Colony.
As however there will be but little wheat to be ground until next September year any Govt, action in this matter may perhaps be deferred advantageously for some months during which period perhaps the construction of
the desired work may be undertaken by unassisted private
In the end this opinion prevailed and no action was taken by the
The much-hoped-for private initiative was forthcoming and
the Hon. A. N. Birch's information proved correct. The Lillooet
district had come to be regarded as a promising field for investment. In 1865 it was estimated that 700,000 lb. of wheat would
be harvested in that region.82   As early as August of that year
(29) Originally he had written " Williams Lake," but it was erased and
" Lillooet" substituted.
(30) Minute, J. W. Trutch, July 10, 1865.
(31) Draft, Colonial Secretary to G. B. Wright, July 14, 1865. MS.,
Archives of B.C. Wright was informed that the Government was not prepared at the time to enter into any private arrangements but, impressed
" with the expediency of encouraging such an undertaking," would at an
early period " offer a reward for the establishment of a grist mill in the
upper country."
(32) New Westminster British Columbian, August 24, 1865. 198 F. W. Laing. July
a flour-mill was under construction at " Cayoosh88 Creek," which
it was anticipated would be in working order by the middle of
November, although its completion was not called for until
March, 1866.84 The mill does not appear to have commenced
operations until April, 1866.86 The Cariboo Sentinel gives the
following interesting account of this mill.
Last fall a Joint Stock Company was formed for the purpose of erecting
a Grist Mill. The site was chosen on the banks of Cayoosh creek, so as to
have the waters of that creek as a motive power. No time was lost in commencing the works, which were carried out with commendable zeal and
energy until completed about three weeks ago. The whole of the works are
of a very substantial character and well calculated for carrying out the
objects of the proprietors; reflecting at the same time great credit on the
enterprise of the place. The mill is driven by two powerful turban [_sic]
wheels, sunk some seven or eight feet under ground in order to prevent
the possibility of a stoppage of the works by the winter frosts. The capital
invested by the company amounts to some $16,000. . . . The mill was
started about the 18th ult., and was steadily grinding at the rate of 700 lbs.
of flour an hour. The samples are good and will compare favorably with
any of the San Francisco mills.36
(33) A. C. Elliott to the Hon. A. N. Birch, August 9, 1865. MS.,
Archives of B.C. See also New Westminster British Columbian, August 24,
1865; and Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, September 2, 1865.
(34) A. C. Elliott to the Hon. J. W. Trutch, September 15, 1865; and
A. C. Elliott to the Hon. H. M. Ball, October 16, 1865. MS., Archives of
(35) In November, 1865, a Lillooet correspondent of the British Columbian spoke of the prospective completion of " our fine grist mill at a cost of
$15,000." New Westminster British Columbian, November 4, 1865. The
Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, July 16, 1866, reported: "The flour mill has
been steadily grinding since the 1st of May."   See also ibid., June 7, 1866.
(36) Ibid., May 7, 1866. A slightly different story about this mill is
told by Mr. J. Dunlop, of Lillooet. " Regarding ' Lillooet Grist Mill,' perhaps you refer to Lillooet Flour Mill Co. That Company came into being
in the fall of 1864. At a meeting convened at Lillooet, Governor Seymour
stressed the importance of establishing a Colony and to create that meant
a settlement of people giving every inducement and encouragement to the
itinerant miner to settle upon the land. Price of the flour per sack was
then $100.00, that commodity coming from Portland, Oregon. Someone at
the meeting in the audience commented [on] the futility of growing wheat
and packing grist to Portland. Governor Seymour suggested the formation
of a company and that a mill site would be granted by the Government with
water power privileges, free as long as the river flowed and grass growed."
Mr. J. Dunlop to J. N. J. Brown, May 26, 1928. (Made available through
the courtesy of Mr. J. N. J. Brown.) 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 199
The agent of this Lillooet Flour Mill Company, F. W. Foster,
furnished further details about the mill in a letter to the editor
of the Victoria British Colonist. French burr-stones were used
and the machinery and appliances had been made at the foundry
of Spratt & Kriemler, in Victoria.87 The mill was pronounced
by a correspondent of the Cariboo Sentinel to be " a finer piece
of work than could be expected in so young a colony " and its
capacity was reported as 10,000 lb. per day.38
The first flour from this mill reached Barkerville on July 15,
1866, consigned to Thomas Besozzi, and after trial by local
bakers was pronounced to be " little inferior in quality to the
Golden Gate Brand."39 The effect of the introduction of local
flour on the Cariboo market is made clear in a later letter by
F. W. Foster, dated October 24, 1866, at Lillooet:—
Flour is ruling here, extra brands, $7.75 per 100 lbs., far cheaper than ever
known before; all of this season's produce. About three hundred thousand
pounds is on hand which amount will be probably increased one-half by
Christmas. It may not be generally known that the quantity of flour produced by the two mills at this town, and that at Dog Creek, on the Fraser,
in this district, will, with a very little help from the outside markets, be
sufficient to support the wants of the whole upper country until wheat
comes in again.4**
In the 1868 season alone, this mill ground 500,000 lb. of wheat
and still had 100,000 lb. on hand.41
The Lillooet Flour Mill Company operated until 1881, when
the company was dissolved and the property sold to John Marshall, who had operated the Deep Creek flour-mill for Robert A.
Collins. Following Marshall's death in 1909 the mill was closed
and some years later the plant was demolished.42
The letter of F. W. Foster, of October 24, 1866, quoted above,
mentioned the existence of a second mill at Lillooet. This was
the property of Jonathan Hoiten Scott and was located at Parsonville, on the east side of the Fraser River, opposite the town
(37) Letter to the editor, signed F. W. Foster, dated August 16, 1866, at
Lillooet; Victoria British Colonist, August 23, 1866.
(38) " Peter Pullet."   Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, July 26, 1866.
(39) Ibid., July 16, 1866.   See also Victoria British Colonist, July 23,
(40) Ibid., November 2, 1866.
(41) New Westminster British Columbian, April 11, 1869.
(42) J. Dunlop to J. N. J. Brown, May 26, 1928. 200 F. W. Laing. July
of Lillooet.43    This mill was projected as early as February,
1865, when it was announced that:—
Mr. Scott, a gentleman who has for years been extensively engaged in the
carrying trade between Lillooet and Cariboo, is making preparations for
erecting a grist mill at Parsonville, in which it is anticipated not less than
8000 barrels of flour will be manufactured during the approaching season.44
This mill was to be driven by steam power. The machinery of
the steamer Champion was purchased for this purpose in the
summer of 1865,46 but the installation does not appear to have
been completed that year, as an item in a newspaper in June,
1866, expressed the hope that the " steam flour mill would be
completed in time for the season's crop."46 A month later the
mill was still not in operation. At that time a correspondent
of the Cariboo Sentinel expressed the fear that, when completed,
it would " materially affect the other mill" as transportation
across the Fraser River could now be avoided. In fact it was
suggested that it would have been more profitable for the owner
and to the greater benefit of the farmers had this mill been
erected farther up the river.47 By late September, 1866, the mill
was in running order.48 By May, 1867, in conjunction with the
Lillooet flour-mill it had ground 200,000 lb. of flour, which was
being offered for sale at 24 cents per pound.49 To this announcement the British Colonist added the information that the farmers
were complaining of the high tolls taken at these mills, for not
only did they have to provide their own sacking, but also allow
(43) Scott had acquired the property known as Parsonville by purchase
of the rights of the original pre-emptor, Alexander Kennedy. (Lillooet
Register, P/R 148, November 9, 1863.) The latter had been preceded in
occupation of the land by Otis Parsons who, with a partner named Nelson,
operated a forwarding station there before the construction of the Cariboo
Road through Clinton. Quite recently a monument was erected on this land
to honour Scott, who grew the first tobacco there and processed it for consumption in the Cariboo. (See British Columbia Historical Quarterly, III.
(1939), p. 70.)
(44) New Westminster British Columbian, February 23, 1865.
(45) Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, June 24, 1865.
(46) Ibid., June 7,1866.
(47) Ibid., July 26, 1866.
(48) Ibid., September 20, 1866.
(49) Ibid., May 9, 1867. 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 201
one-sixth for grinding.60   In 1868 the Parsonville mill was moved
to Clinton.61
It would seem appropriate to discuss the Clinton mill at this
time, although actually it postdates other Cariboo mills. The
first suggestion of the construction of a flour-mill in the Clinton
district appeared as early as August, 1865, when a fine power-
site " at the Junction " was pointed out.62 Moreover, the potentiality of the Bonaparte valley for grain cultivation was great,
as is evidenced by an advertisement in the British Columbian in
October, 1865, in which Messrs. Fisk and Greenbaum, of Clinton, offered for sale " Ten Tons of No. 1 Wheat, raised on one
of the best ranches in the country."63 There were rumours in
1867 that a mill was in contemplation for this district,64 and,
indeed, in December of that year Clement F. Cornwall noted in
his diary " On dit that Scott's mill is to be put up at Clinton by
In 1865 a notice had appeared in the Cariboo Sentinel over
the signature of " Harper and Wright," dated at Quesnelmouth,
June 20, 1865, announcing their desire to erect a " Flouring
Mill at Quesnelmouth " and offering for sale the machinery of
their steam sawmill which had been erected there in 1863.66
The flour-mill venture failed to materialize and presumably the
partnership was dissolved and Jerome Harper joined forces with
J. H. Scott to build the Clinton mill in 1868, although at the outset only Scott's name is associated with the undertaking.67 This
mill—" a very superior one"—was counted the fourth in the
upper country and was considered a great accommodation to
the grain-growers of the district, since in taking their grain to
Clinton instead of to Lillooet they were actually conveying it
towards their natural market—Cariboo.68
(50) Victoria British Colonist, April 25, 1867.
(51) Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, May 14,1868.
(52) Ibid., August 26, 1865.
(53) New Westminster British Columbian, October 14, 1865.
(54) Clement F. Cornwall, Diary, October 7, 1867.
(55) Ibid., December 11, 1867.
(56) Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, June 24, 1865.
(57) Ibid., May 14, 1868.
(58) Ibid., August 5, 1868.    See also Victoria British Colonist, August
14, 1868. 202 F. W. Laing. July
The Lillooet Flour Mill Company was not slow to recognize
the consequences of the construction of this mill. It is possible
to indicate to a degree the rivalry between the two concerns.
In June, 1868, F. W. Foster memorialized the Governor in behalf
of his company, in the following terms:—
The memorial of your petitioners respectfully showeth, That they carry on
the business of Millers at Lillooet. That a mill is in course of construction
by J. H. Scott, on a Creek about three miles above the Clinton toll bar,
according to the established rate of tolls, grain passing through Clinton,
pays tolls on the animals engaged in packing of 50 c, each only. Flour
manufactured at this new mill has consequently the advantage of being
comparatively free of tolls, whereas that manufactured by us pays ($1.00)
one dollar per (100) hundred pounds passing through Clinton, which may
probably have the effect of closing our mill, three fourths of our manufacture being for the Cariboo market.69
A new rate of tolls placing both mills on an equitable basis was
requested, but this the Government was not prepared to do as it
would have involved the alteration of the entire road toll provisions.60 Moreover, the rival company attempted to still further
enhance its natural advantage, as is revealed in the following
letter to the Colonial Secretary, in November, 1868:—
You are perhaps aware we have a Flouring Mill 3 miles north of Clinton and
there is a Toll collected at Clinton on all Colonial Grain hailed [sic] to the
Mill by way of Clinton and there is also Toll collected on all Flour Bran &
Shorts &c of the Farmers as they return to there [sic] homes via Clinton.
The object of this Letter is to ask you or through you to ask his excellency
the Governor as the farmers return to there Homes via Clinton to pass
there Flour &c necessary for family use free of Toll. The principal consumption of Flour &c is in the Cariboo vicinity north of said Mill. Suffice
that this little grivence [sic] is severely felt among the Farming community
and if his Excellency thinks proper to grant the favor above asked the
community will universally feel very gratified.61
The Governor's comment upon the request was unusually pointed.
It appears to me to be a cool application. He has secured an advantage in
the Cariboo market & now wants to evade toll in going South.62
In the season of 1868 " Harper and Scott's mill" ground
some 500,000 lb. of wheat into flour, the bulk of which went
(59) The Lillooet Flour Mill Company to His Excellency Frederick Seymour, June 25, 1868.    MS., Archives of B.C.
(60) Ibid., Minute by W. A. G. Young, July 1, 1868.
(61) Harper & Scott to the Hon. W. A. G. Young, November 24, 1868.
MS., Archives of B.C.
(62) Ibid., Minute signed " F.S. 14 Dec: 68." 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 203
immediately to market.68 During the following season some
question seems to have arisen as to the adequacy of wheat and
flour supplies in Cariboo but it was pointed out that " Messrs.
Harper Bros." had about 100 tons of wheat at Clinton which
they intended to convert into flour and forward to Williams
Creek.64 It is to be noted that evidently by this date J. H. Scott
had withdrawn from the firm. The quality of the flour produced is to be judged from the following statement:—
Heretofore the finest brands of California and Oregon wheat have been-
imported for mixing with the colonial flour, but we are now informed by
bakers in town that the new flour of Harper Bros, is all-sufficient for baking
No record can be found of either of the Harper brothers holding
title to any land on Clinton Creek at the site of the mill, nor is
there any indication of a water record having been issued for
milling purposes.66 According to Mr. J. B. Leighton, during
1877 the mill was moved from Clinton Creek to a location at the
mouth of the Bonaparte River. It has been suggested that the
prospective building of the Canadian Pacific Railway down the
North Thompson River and along the north side of the Thompson River from Kamloops accounts for this change. When the
railroad was eventually located on the south side of the river
the mill was doomed, and in 1890 operations were closed down.67
Mills at Lillooet and Clinton were still a long distance from
the main Cariboo market centred about the towns of Cottonwood, Keithley, Antler, and Barkerville. The capacity of the
Interior districts to produce grain had been demonstrated by
the success of the pioneer venture at Dog Creek, consequently it
is not surprising to find suggestions that a flour-mill should be
erected still farther up-country. In June, 1866, it was reported
that 1,720 acres had been planted to wheat in the Williams Lake
and Soda Creek districts and surprise was felt that " some enter-
(63) New Westminster British Columbian, May 9, 1869.
(64) Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, August 25, 1869. A large storehouse
had been erected to take care of grain until it could be milled.
(65) Ibid., September 25, 1869.
(66) On one map in the Water Rights Branch, Department of Lands,
Victoria, there is a point on the creek marked with a notation " Harper's
Mill " but the water record at that point was granted some years later for
irrigation of lands at some distance from the mill-site indicated.
(67) Suggested by Mr. R. D. Cumming, an old-timer of the Ashcroft
district.   See Ashcroft Journal and Lillooet District News, February 9,1939. 204 F. W. Laing. July
prising capitalist" had not erected a flour-mill in that region.68
The suggestion was soon acted upon, for a month later W. H.
Woodcock, whose promotional activities at New Westminster
and Victoria have already been noted, made application to the
Government for a " remission of the duties, tonnage dues and
road tolls, on the machinery and material" to be used in the
construction of a grist-mill he proposed erecting in the " Williams Lake district." In addition a grant of land for the mill-
site and for agricultural purposes was requested.69 In reply,
the Colonial Secretary, stated that as the Government considered
such an enterprise " of great advantage to the upper country "
it had been decided to allow the machinery and material " used
absolutely in the first construction of the mill" to pass free of
duties and tolls. Existing regulations made it impossible to
make a free grant of land but assurance was given of a long-
term lease at a nominal rental.70
Within a week of the receipt of this favourable reply, Woodcock was on his way to select a site for his mill at Soda Creek.71
The British Columbia Tribune reported that the necessary buildings would be erected immediately to house the machinery to be
brought from the New Westminster mill and that the plant would
be in operation when the harvest was over.72 The forecast
regarding the use of the New Westminster equipment proved
incorrect, for in September this same newspaper stated that
Woodcock had ordered the machinery which would be up " by
the next California steamer."78   Before the end of September the
(68) Reprint from the Yale British Columbia Tribune in the New Westminster British Columbian, June 13, 1866.
(69) W. H. Woodcock to A. N. Birch, July 13, 1866. MS., Archives of
(70) Draft. A. N. Birch to W. H. Woodcock, July 14, 1866. MS.,
Archives of B.C.
(71) New Westminster British Columbian, July 21, 1866. See also
Victoria British Colonist, July 23, 1866.
(72) Yale British Columbia Tribune, July 23, 1866. Reprinted also in
Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, July 30, 1866. The question was raised in the
latter journal whether Soda Creek was not too far up-country for the mill
and suggested Williams Lake as a better location.
(73) Yale British Columbia Tribune, September 3, 1866. The editor
also prophesied that the mill would be "flourishing this fall." It is to be
noted that had it been the old machinery there would have been no need to
remit tonnage dues and customs duties. 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 205
machinery had been received from California,74 and while the
" boiler and machinery " remained at New Westminster76 awaiting transportation to the Interior, construction at the mill-site
At this stage of the proceedings the promotional nature of
Woodcock's activity becomes more apparent. Early in November
a rumour had circulated in Victoria that the mill was to be erected
in that town.77 Two weeks later it was announced in the British
Colonist that J. R. Adams, of Victoria, had purchased " Mr.
Woodcock's interest in the grist mill machinery destined for Soda
Creek, Cariboo" and proposed to send it forward and erect it
immediately.78 In fact it was hoped that the mill would be in
operation by March, 1867.79 The promptness with which the new
proprietor acted is indicated by the following entry dated December 13,1866, in the diary of Clement F. Cornwall:—
In the evening one Adams who is going to put up a flour mill at Soda Creek
came with some of the machinery and two or three men.*0
Construction was rushed during the winter,81 and by March,
1867, the British Colonist was able to record that " steam had
been raised " and that the machinery " worked to a charm " in a
trial run.82 Regular operations were expected to start immediately and such was the case, for in April the Cariboo Sentinel
announced, " Mr. John R. Adams' Grist Mill is in running order
and doing very good work."83 This newspaper vouched for the
excellent quality of the flour produced by this mill.   By May
(74) Victoria British Colonist, September 24, 1866.
(75) Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, October 4, 1866.
(76) Yale British Columbia Tribune, October 1, 1866, and Barkerville
Cariboo Sentinel, October 8, 1866.
(77) Victoria British Colonist, November 5, 1866.    Vide supra, p. 97.
(78) Ibid., November 19, 1866.
(79) New Westminster British Columbian, December 19, 1866.
(80) Clement F. Cornwall, Diary, December 13, 1866. Two weeks later,
December 27, 1867, he noted: " Some of the machinery for the Soda Creek
Mill passed up." Nearly a year later, October 7, 1867, Cornwall wrote,
"... that swindling scoundrel Nelson trying to buy wheat down here
to take up to Soda Creek."
(81) Victoria British Colonist, February 23, 1867.
(82) Ibid., March 28, 1867. This information was from a private letter
dated twelve days previously at Soda Creek.
(83) Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, April 15, 1867. At this time flour
from this mill was on sale at Newfelder's store in Richfield. 206 F. W. LAING. July
about 70,000 lb. of flour had been milled, of which 15,000 lb. had
gone to Barkerville.84 In consequence of the inducement offered
by the erection of this mill larger areas were devoted to the cultivation of wheat around Williams Lake. Having ground all the
grain on the market, the mill closed down for the season early in
June, 1867. In its first season some 130,000 lb. of wheat had
been manufactured into flour, most of which had been sent to
Cariboo, where it was well spoken of by the bakers.86 A later
announcement indicated that the grinding of the 1867 crop would
commence late in September.86
Originally this mill was operated by steam-power but the
records suggest that it was transformed into a water-power mill,
probably in 1867. In November of that year a water right was
issued to Adams " to 400 inches of water to be diverted from
Soda Creek at a point about 500 yards from its mouth for the
purpose of driving a grist mill."87 Some difficulty was also encountered over the ownership of the mill-site. The original agreement with Woodcock had provided for a long-term lease. Evidently Adams hoped for a more permanent grant. In 1868 he
inquired of the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works by what
means he could be secured in the land required " for milling and
other purposes on and adjoining Soda Creek."88 The Government required him to show proof of the transfer from Woodcock
of any assurances of lease rights before taking any action.89 In
the end it was discovered that the land in question was part of a
long-established Indian reserve and consequently could not be
alienated, but the offer of a long-term lease was renewed.90   Of
(84) Ibid., May 9, 1867.
(85) Ibid., June 13, 1867.
(86) Ibid., September 12, 1867.
(87) E. Davis, " Water Power in the Okanagan Valley," Sixth Report of
the Okanagan Historical Society, 1935, p. 169.
(88) J. R. Adams to the Hon. the Chief Commissioner of Lands and
Works, April 13, 1868.    MS., Archives of B.C.
(89) Draft, J. W. T. to J. R. Adams, April 16, 1868. MS., Archives
of B.C.
(90) Draft, J. W. T. to J. R. Adams, June 22, 1868. MS., Archives of
B.C. The title to the mill-site was not conveyed until 1885 when a Crown
grant was issued to J. F. Hawks. (Cariboo, Crown Grant, D.L. 49, February 9, 1885.) Hawks was an extensive owner of land in the Deep Creek
district and a former business associate of G. B. Wright. 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 207
all the mills erected in the Interior during the colonial period, this
one alone continued to operate until recent years.91
In 1868 a mill was built by R. A. Collins at Deep Creek, a
short distance from Soda Creek. The first step in the establishment of this mill was the securing of a water record for " the use
of water flowing in Deep Creek for the purposes of running a
grist mill."92 With this right secured, application was made to
the Colonial Secretary for leave to pass the machinery over the
roads free of toll.93 In the meantime, Collins had gone down to
Victoria to purchase the plant but " as no foundry in the Colony
could make the castings required "94 recourse was had to California. The mill was brought up to Victoria by the steamer
Geo. S. Wright and kept on board in the hope that the Customs
duties might also be remitted.95 In the end it was decided to
collect the Customs duties but to permit a remission of the road
tolls.96 The mill was taken to the mainland on board the steamer
Enterprise. The British Columbian, in noting the arrival of the
mill at Yale, claimed it would be the largest grist-mill on the
Collins had obtained a pre-emption record for 160 acres of
land on " both north and south banks of Deep Creek 4^ miles
(91) Ashcroft Journal and Lillooet District News, February 9, 1939.
(92) Lillooet, Water Record, No. 45, May 21, 1868.
(93) R. A. Collins to W. A. G. Young, June 3, 1868. MS., Archives
of B.C.
(94) R. A. Collins to W. A. G. Young, June 9, 1868. MS., Archives
of B.C.
(95) R. A. Collins to W. A. G. Young, June 8, 1868. MS., Archives of
B.C.    See also appended minute by " W.Y. 9 June 1868."
(96) Minute by " W. Y. 22 June, 1868," appended to R. A. Collins to
W. A. G. Young, June 9, 1868. An interesting difference of opinion developed between the Colonial Secretary and the Governor. The former
favoured remission of the road tolls but not of the Customs duties. The
Governor, on the other hand, pointed out, " The introduction of machinery
does no possible harm to the Colony, whereas its conveyance over roads
like ours may put the Colony to considerable expense in the way of repairs
to the roads." (Minute, by " F.S. 19 June 68,.") In the end the Colonial
Secretary's opinion prevailed.
(97) New Westminster British Columbian, June 17, 1868.
4 208 F. W. LAING. July
below Soda Creek "98 and it was on this site that the mill, known
as the " Protection Mill," was located. Operations were begun in
the fall of 1868, for the British Columbian recorded that the first
flour from this mill reached the Cariboo mines on October 18,
1868.99 The first miller employed by Collins was John Marshall,
who subsequently became the owner of the Lillooet Flour Mill
Company. The ownership of the mill at some time passed to
L. W. Patten and was operated in connection with a sawmill, the
latter operating during the day and the flour-mill at night.
According to Mr. J. B. Leighton, the engine was later taken out
of the mill and shipped to Kamloops where it was put into the
small river-steamer Spallumacheen. When the water record was
cancelled in 1918 the engineer's report, dated October 3, 1916,
showed that the old mill and water installation were completely
dismantled at that date.
Still another mill came into existence in 1868. Built by James
Mcintosh and William Fortune,100 it was located on Tranquille
River. In April, 1868, a request was made of the Colonial Government for the remission of the road tolls on the machinery to
be used in a " Grist and Saw Mill on Tranquille River, about 12
miles above Savanas Ferry."101 Following the precedent set at
the time of the negotiation with W. H. Woodcock for the Soda
Creek mill, the Government acceded to this request.102 The
machinery had already been ordered and was expected almost
immediately.   The first press notice of this project appeared in
(98) Lillooet, Pre-emption Record 259, June 11, 1868. Subsequently,
April 17, 1869, a certificate of improvement was issued but no Crown Grant
was ever issued.
(99) Victoria British Colonist, October 29, 1869. The shipment consisted of 15,000 lb.
(100) Fortune was a member of the famous " Overlanders of 1862." He
was subsequently employed by the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Kamloops. (M. S. Wade, The Overlanders of '62, Archives Memoir No. IX.,
Victoria, 1931, p. 61.) Although the mill was generally spoken of as " Fortune's Mill," James Mcintosh actually operated the plant and William
Fortune was the " outside " man, transacting the business with the customers.
(101) A. Barlow to the Hon. Colonial Secretary, April 20, 1868. MS.,
Archives of British Columbia. Barlow, writing from Yale, was acting for
Messrs. Mcintosh and Fortune.
(102) Ibid., Minute by C. Good, April 29, 1868. 1941        Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 209
the British Columbian on April 23, 1868,108 but its construction
had been in contemplation for some time previously, as an entry
in the Journal of Fort Kamloops on March 10, 1868, reads: " J.
Mcintosh also arrived from Victoria he proposes building a
Grist Mill on the Tranquille River."104
Both men recorded pre-emptions in the neighbourhood,105 the
description of which would indicate that the site of the mill was
not at the mouth of Tranquille River but a short distance above.
By June, 1868, the sawmill was operating and the grist-mill plant
had arrived in good order.106 Judging by a further entry in the
Fort Kamloops Journal, the mill went into operation on December
4, 1868.107 In anticipation of this event it was claimed that several parties had taken up land in the Thompson River country.108
Such must have been the case, judging by an item in the British
Colonist in the fall of 1869.
The farm yield in the Thompson River Valley for the year is very great—
larger than ever before. The valley is fully supplied with flour ground from
its own wheat, and Big Bend and other mining camps also draw largely upon
the valley for supplies. Mr. Fortune's grist mill at Tranquille River is
running day and night.109
The following year the yield was estimated at 600,000 lb. of wheat
and in consequence " Mr. Fortune, the proprietor of the Tranquille Flour Mills, expected a busy time."110
At Lytton, the junction of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers,
a flour-mill was under construction in 1870, but did not come into
operation until the following year. As early as January, 1870,
the Cariboo Sentinel noted:—
Mr. Chas. Chapman is preparing for a grist mill. Machinery from the
steamer Lady of the Lake has been brought to Lytton for the mill.111
(103) New Westminster British Columbian, April 22, 1865.
(104) Fort Kamloops Journal, March 10, 1868. Transcript, Archives
of B.C.
(105) Fortune's claim: Lytton, Pre-emption Record 206, May 9, 1868;
Mcintosh claim:  Lytton, Pre-emption Record 210, June 8, 1868.
(106) New Westminster British Columbian, June 10, 1868.
(107) Fort Kamloops Journal, December 4, 1868. " Several parties
arrived from above taking wheat to the Mill (at Tranquille) which was to
run to-day."   See also entry dated December 8, 1868.
(108) New Westminster British Columbian, April 22, 1868.
(109) Victoria British Colonist, November 26, 1869.
(110) Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, September 3, 1870.
(111) Ibid., January 22, 1870. 210 F. W. Laing. July
The site appears to have been Lot 3, Block 1, in Lytton Town-
site.112 The actual operation of the mill began on January 25,
1871, judging by an item in the British Colonist under a Lytton
date line, to the following effect:—
The Lytton steam flour mills commenced operations today for the first time.
The machinery works well and turns out a very fine sample of flour. us
The subsequent history of this mill is in doubt, for the Lytton
district was not a large producer of wheat. It may ultimately
have passed to George Baillie, to whom a water record was issued
for milling purposes,114 although the original mill was operated
by steam.
In 1871, far to the interior, a mill was erected by Frederick
Brent on Kelowna Creek, then known as Mill Creek. The first
attempt at grinding grain in the Southern Okanagan Valley was
by means of a small steel mill—" a machine of the coffee mill
type "11B—which had been packed in over the trail from Hope by
Frederick Brent.116 While no definite date has been given for
this event, a series of entries from the Journal of Fort Kamloops
for 1862 are particularly interesting.
[February 25th] Old Larance from Ance de Sable [Kelowna] and Sillpahan
Larance was desirous of getting our old flour steel mill, and as it is abandoned by the Company I made a present of it to him on condition of his
trading all the Furs he can lay hands on at Ance de Sable and bringing
same to us which he very gladly did.
[February 26th] Made a few sales to Larance and others. I promised the
old man to get him here a Steel Mill by the latter end of June & beginning
of July, and he in the meantime promises to collect all the Furs he can and
to be here by the time appointed—my preasent [sic] of the old mill on
examination he concluded not worth the trouble of carrying to Ance de Sable.
[August 25th] Old Larance from Ance de Sable who arrived yesterday was
supplied his wants and started on his return this evening. I wrote by him
to Todd desireing [sic] him to deliver to him a Steel Corn Mill which was
ordered for him last spring.117
(112) Drake, Jackson, and Aickman to J. W. Trutch, January 20, 1871.
MS., Archives of B.C.
(113) Victoria British Colonist, January 26, 1871.
(114) Lytton, Water Record, November 5, 1893.
(115) F. M. Buckland, " Settlement at L'Anse au Sable," Second Report
of the Okanagan Historical Society, 1927, p. 18.
(116) Joseph Brent, " The First Stone Grist Mill," First Report of the
Okanagan Historical Society, 1926, p. 19.
(117) Fort Kamloops Journal, February 25, 26, 1862, and August 25,
1862. 1941        Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 211
It is quite possible that Brent made his trip to Hope in 1863 in
view of the failure of the attempt by " old Larance " at Fort
According to Joseph Brent, who accompanied his father to
bring the stone in, the mill erected in 1871 was purchased at San
Francisco and brought by steamer to Fort Yale, thence by freight
over the Cariboo Road to Savona's Ferry. From this point it
was transported by a small lake-steamer to Fortune's Landing,
near the present site of Enderby, from whence it was hauled by
wagon to Okanagan Landing and brought down the lake to
Okanagan Mission in a rowboat. The mill was erected on
Frederick Brent's property118 and was driven by water from Mill
Creek. The mill made three grades of flour and one-third of the
grist was the usual charge for grinding the grain. Its capacity
was about 1 ton of wheat in a run of twenty-four hours. Wheat
was brought from as far south as Keremeos and Osoyoos and as
far north as the head of the lake. If a plentiful supply of grain
was available the mill ran from the time the ice went out of the
creek in the spring until the freeze-up in November. Until about
1885, when a blacksmith's shop was built in Vernon, once a year
the mill-picks for dressing the stones were sent to San Francisco to be sharpened and tempered.119
In the course of this article120 frequent reference has been
made to the influence of the tariff policy on the milling industry.
Tariff adjustments were made from time to time121 having in
view the peculiar needs of the millers of the Lower Mainland and
Vancouver Island districts. The tariff played an unimportant
role in the history of the industry in the upper country. There,
wheat was produced in abundance, while in the lower country, as
(118) Brent received title for this property in 1883 (Osoyoos, Crown
Grant Register, Lot 125, May 1, 1883), at which time he made an affidavit
setting forth that he had been in possession of the land for thirteen years,
having purchased it from Calmetto Chapeaux. A previous pre-emption of
Brent's had been abandoned. (Osoyoos, Pre-emption Register, December 7,
(119) Joseph Brent, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 19.
(120) Passing mention only can be made of two other early post-colonial
mills. One was established at Pavilion in 1872 and the other at Keremeos
in 1876.
(121) The Ordinance to Amend Duties of Customs, March 25, 1867, had
put a duty of 35 cents per cwt. on wheat and $1.50 per bbl. of flour. 212 F. W. Laing. July
the Cariboo Sentinel pointed out, " the farmers ... do not
grow enough wheat to keep one grist mill going." Moreover the
problem of transportation effectively aided the Interior miller in
his competition with the foreign producer. The tariff was one of
the main issues in the struggle over Confederation. The argument advanced on the Coast was that the introduction of the
Canadian tariff, with its lower scale of duties, would be ruinous
to the farmer. Consequently, it was argued that Confederation
should be rejected unless provision were made for the retention
of the colonial tariff. The Cariboo Sentinel, reflecting the sentiment of the upper country, ridiculed this attitude.
A few years ago the government, melting with sympathy for the unprotected
plight of the farmers, allowed the tariff to be altered to suit their views. A
stiff protective rate on all foreign agricultural products was put in the tariff
for the especial benefit of the farmers. . . . The Colonist states that the
farmers themselves have yet to eat foreign flour, and pay the duty which
was intended to protect them against so unpalatable a condition. Of course
the Colonist refers only to the farmers in the lower Fraser and Vancouver
Island. The government alone have benefitted by the protective tariff. The
duty on flour during the past two years amounted to about $50,000! . . .
When it was decided to levy so high a duty on flour, it was thought of course
that the farmers in the lower country would make an effort to grow some
wheat, and a few enterprising and patriotic individuals put up a couple of
mills, one on the island and one in Westminster. But no wheat, or very little
—not enough for chicken feed—was grown, and the spirited mill owners
have been clamoring for two years for a reduction of the duty on wheat.
Now, if the disadvantageous condition of the farmers in the lower country
is such that they cannot compete against foreign producers, and that was
the main argument for their protection, it would be absurd to demand the
present tariff to be continued under Confederation, when it has been shown
that it does not produce the desired effect.122
While Confederation without the Canadian tariff carried the day,
the cogency of the argument put forward by the Cariboo Sentinel
became apparent and the old colonial tariff was soon replaced by
that of Canada.
The flour-mills of the upper country made a notable contribution to the economic life of the Province. They made possible the
development of agriculture by providing a market for grain, and
(122)  Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, August 27, 1870. 1941 Early Flour-mills in British Columbia. 213
in reducing the cost of living,123 largely in consequence of the
local production of flour, they made possible the onward advance
of the mining frontier.
F. W. Laing.
Victoria, B.C.
(123) Legh Harnett, writing in 1868, noted that during the winter of
1867-68, " the most severe ever known," Cariboo was abundantly supplied
with flour of its own production " at 20 cents a pound instead of 50 cents a
pound, when supplies were dependent upon California." Legh Harnett,
Two Lectures on British Columbia, Victoria, 1868, p. 41. 214
F. W. Laing.
SO bbl. per day.
Five flour-mills—
23 bbl. per day.
23 bbl. per day.
10 bbl. per day.
10 bbL per day.
10 bbl. per day.
One flour-mill—
S 2
8 §
in M
40 bbl. per day
One flour-mill—
2,000 lb. per day.
mill (combined)—
60 bbL per day.
One flour-mill—
50 bbl. per day
20 h.p., Williams
Creek (?)).
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The ordinary person travelling through the Fraser Valley
to-day, in an automobile over a paved road, has no idea of the
difficulties encountered by the first surveyors in the Valley.
Then there were no roads and the whole country was covered
by a dense forest of large fir, spruce, and cedar, with a thick
undergrowth of various kinds, including devil's-club. The flats
were covered with scrub and water, in places 3 feet deep.
A surveyor starting to mark out a line had not the slightest idea
of what difficulties he would encounter before he arrived at his
A number of different systems of survey have been used in
the Fraser Valley. The first was division into lots, in which each
lot was surveyed independently, with no base-line established.
The Royal Engineers did their work in this way. Lots were
numbered in the order in which they were surveyed, Groups
1 and 3 being on the north side of the river and Group 2 on the
south side. Through some unexplained reason Lots 326 and 329,
Group 2, are on the north side of the river. The first few numbers are along the North Road but some of the higher consecutive
numbers are miles apart.
On July 25, 1859, J. W. Trutch entered into a contract with
the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to survey a large
tract of land into 160-acre allotments by the block and range
system. Each block was to be 3 miles square and divided into
thirty-six sections of 160 acres each. A section would thus be
one-half mile square. The contract provided that the blazing of
lines, marking of bearing-trees, and the limit of error were to
be the same as were in use in the Oregon and Washington land
districts in the United States.
The bases for this survey were the Coast meridian, the International Boundary-line, and the first standard parallel, 12 miles
north of the boundary-line. The lands subdivided under this
system consisted of half a block at Halls Prairie; all the land
between the first standard parallel and the Fraser River, west
of the Coast meridian; the whole of Lulu Island west of Queens-
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. V., No. 3.
215 216 W. N. Draper. July
borough, and some land on Pitt Meadows east of the Coast
As Trutch entered into this contract on July 25, 1859, and
signed all the notes on September 30,1859, only two months later,
he must have had a number of parties under competent surveyors
in the field whose names have been lost.
On January 4, 1860, Governor Douglas issued a proclamation
giving any British subject the right to enter on and pre-empt
any quantity of land, not exceeding 160 acres, by planting a post
at one corner and giving a description of the land required to
the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. The only stipulation was that the shortest side was to be at least two-thirds
as long as the longest side. Nothing was said about the direction
of the lines. When the land was surveyed, the surveyor started
from the post and surveyed according to the record. He did
not make any " tie " unless another claim happened to be close by.
In the following year this regulation was amended, and it
was stipulated that the lines must run to the cardinal points of
the compass. Exceptions were permitted if natural features or
the limits of previously located claims were used as boundaries.
The result of the surveys carried out under these proclamations is that there are a number of irregularly shaped lots, such
as Lot 36, Group 1, and surrounding lots in the City of Vancouver; and Lots 15, 16, and 17, Group 2, which make Lot 25
a triangle.    These lots are between Annieville and St. Mungo.
In 1866 the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works was
empowered to accept surveys described by any meter and bounds
that he saw fit. An example of this is Lot 195, Group 1, surrounding Trout Lake, in the City of Vancouver. The " Land
Act" of 1873 stipulated that boundary-lines were to be run to
the cardinal points of the compass, and that the longest side was
to be 1,078 yards or thereabouts and the shortest side was to be
768 yards or thereabouts.
In 1874 the township system was introduced. In this system
the township was 6 miles square, and divided into thirty-six
sections 1 mile square. These in turn were divided into quarter-
sections by posts set every one-half mile along the outside boundaries of the sections. No post was set at the centre of the
section. 1941 Pioneer Surveys and Surveyors. 217
In the survey of the townships all the scattered lot surveys
were linked up. A few new lots were created in cases where
the settler had made improvements that proved to be on more
than one quarter-section, and also in a few cases to give settlers
access to navigable water. The bases of the township survey
were the International Boundary and the Coast meridian.
In this as in many other changes in the system of survey,
most of the work was done before the Act authorizing the change
was passed by the Legislature.
The earliest land surveyors in the Valley who have left a
record of their work were five or six members of the Royal
Engineers. Very soon after them came J. W. Trutch, D. G. F.
McDonald, and Edgar Dewdney.
In 1861 provision was made for the appointment and bonding
of seven surveyors, and in June, 1861, three were appointed—
Edward Stephens, Alexander Calder, and Walter Moberly. The
following were also sworn in, but as they did not furnish security
their appointments were held up: J. W. Trutch, I. I. Cochrane,
and R. Homfray. Governor Douglas then decided that no more
surveyors were required.
In 1864 there seems to have been an arrangement under
which surveyors were appointed to certain districts. Thus when
John A. Fraser, who was a nephew of the explorer Simon Fraser,
applied for appointment as a surveyor for the District of Cariboo,
the Colonial Secretary, when forwarding the application to
Chartres Brew, Acting Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works,
mentioned that E. Dewdney was acting in that district.
The first surveying done by the Royal Engineers was to lay
out a road from their camp at Sapperton to Port Moody. This
is now the North Road. After that they surveyed the suburban
blocks of the City of New Westminster and nearly all the lots
between the Fraser River and Burrard Inlet. These included
Stanley Park and Lots 181 to 185, Group 1, now part of the City
of Vancouver, which were surveyed by Lance-Corporal George
Turner. The Engineers also surveyed a few lots on the south
side of the river.
The city blocks of New Westminster were surveyed, from
Leopold Place to the corner of Arthur Terrace (i.e., from the
present Canada Place to the western end of Albert Crescent), 218 W. N. Draper. July
by the Royal Engineers. Blocks 7, 29, and 30 were surveyed by
E. Dewdney, and all the remainder of the city blocks by D. G. F.
McDonald, a Scottish Engineer.
On January 1, 1861, Captain R. M. Parsons wrote a long
memorandum to Colonel Moody, from which I quote the following extract:—
For the survey of preempted lands before all things I imagine it is necessary
that persons of strict integrity be employed as it will be very difficult to
check their work for a long time to come. They should be men of judgment
also and hold a position that will give weight to their opinions for they will
have to regulate the rude approximations to boundaries made by the pre-
emptors themselves, so as to accord with the existing laws and to endeavor
to prevent portions of land between preempted properties being rendered
valueless by inconvenient and irregular outlines.
He also mentioned the inconvenience caused by having to hire
axemen who, if they were Indians, received a rate of pay equal
to, and if they were white would receive a rate of pay greater
than, the Royal Engineer who was in charge of the party.
To-day a surveyor with modern means of transportation can
go out and retrace any of the lines run by the early surveyors
in the Lower Fraser Valley, do a day's work, and return home
at night. In early days, however, when there were no roads,
if they finished work at night more than a mile from camp it
took too much time walking to and from their work, so camp
had to be moved every day or two. Sometimes in good weather
a party would take provisions for two or three days with them,
and sleep in the open.
When the Royal Engineers were laying out the suburban
blocks of the City of New Westminster they could lay out the
first blocks from their camp at Sapperton, but after these were
laid out they had to have a small camp that they could move
every few days. For the lots around Burnaby Lake they probably established a camp on the north side of the lake, from
which they could by the aid of a boat or canoe survey quite a
number of lots. There was only one good camp-site close to the
water on Burnaby Lake, and I think that this was used as a
semi-permanent camp; for some years ago there were quite a
number of English flowers growing there of the same varieties
as those growing at the main camp and at Colonel Moody's farm.
When J. W. Trutch and Colonel Moody signed the contract
in July, 1859, they evidently thought that the distance from the 1941 Pioneer Surveys and Surveyors. 219
International Boundary to the Fraser River was 3 miles longer
than it proved to be, as the contract stipulated that the first
standard parallel was to be 15 miles north of the boundary-line.
As this distance came to the middle of the river, and when
extended west would have missed Lulu Island altogether, they
changed it to a point 12 miles north of the boundary.
J. W. Trutch began his survey of the Coast meridian from
the point where the International Boundary cut the shore-line
of Semiahmoo Bay, near the present town of Blaine, and ran
a line north. He probably had his camp at the mouth of Campbell Creek, as that was the camp of the American party who had
been locating the 49th parallel. There were twelve or fifteen
houses there that could be used and a road led thence to his
starting-point. There was also a trail from there to Langley
which would cross his line about a mile from the starting-point,
and would be convenient for the survey of Block 1 north, Ranges
1 east and west.*
J. W. Trutch ran the Coast meridian 18 miles north. On the
way he first met high land covered with a heavy growth of fir,
spruce, and cedar; then the Nicomekl Flats, covered with hard-
hack and water; then more high land; then the Serpentine
Flats, which had more water; then still more high land, and
finally the flats on both sides of the Fraser River.
In 1873 J. A. Mahood retraced the Coast meridian from the
International Boundary to the first standard parallel and, unlike
Trutch, he knew just what he was to encounter, as he had
Trutch's notes. After the first mile and a half he destroyed
all posts that had been set by Trutch and set new posts, making
each quarter-section larger than Trutch had made them, with
the result that when he arrived at the first standard parallel he
was some 4 chains short. This is accounted for by his keeping
his chain too long.
While a chain is theoretically 66 feet long, in practice the old
link-chain that was used in those days had a thousand wearing
surfaces, and the links would stretch; and unless it was checked
* See Trutch's Field Notes for the survey of Block 1 north, Range 1 west,
New Westminster District. I have seen the old trail to Langley at a number of points between the mouth of Campbell Creek and Langley. 220 W. N. Draper.
every day and corrected the sections would not measure the same
as they do now with a steel tape.
Mahood seems to have kept his chain consistently long in
order to give each quarter-section 160 acres after the roads were
taken off. Theoretically they should be 160 acres before the
roads are taken off. Some of the other early surveyors were
not as careful as Trutch and Mahood, so their chainage does not
prove as satisfactory to the modern surveyors.
The description of the difficulties met with in surveying the
Coast meridian are sufficient to show what was encountered by
the other surveyors. They never knew what they would meet
before they reached the end of their line, and transportation
presented the same troublesome problem.
And now, to conclude, I may note an amusing experience of
my own, which illustrates the way in which surveyors sometimes
face big and little difficulties. Some years ago, while working
on Pitt Meadows, when the Fraser was in flood, we had to wade
in water up to our waists all day long. When we left our camp,
which was on dry land, the men never hesitated for a moment
but plunged into the water as soon as they came to it. After
finishing our work there we moved to the Dry Belt, and the same
men would construct a bridge to cross a stream 3 inches deep
and 10 feet wide, in order to avoid getting their feet wet!
W. N. Draper.
I. Extracts from Ein Ausflug nach Britisch-Columbien im Jahre
1858, by Dr. Carl Friesach. [An Excursion through
British Columbia in the year 1858; reprinted from the
communications of the Philosophical Society, Gratz, 1875.]
I purchased this pamphlet some twenty-five years ago; not
that I could read it, for I have no knowledge of the German
language, but any one could see from the title-page that it had
something to do with the year of the first gold-rush to British
Columbia, and when translated might be of interest. My friend
E. E. Delavault, then Instructor of French at the University of
British Columbia, and now Juge de Paix at Grandvilliers, Oise,
France, who had a good knowledge of German, was good enough
to translate it for me. As I had expected, the translation revealed that the pamphlet contained an interesting sketch of life
in this Province at the time of Dr. Friesach's visit.
Dr. Isabel Maclnnes, Associate Professor of German at the
University of British Columbia, has been kind enough to revise
the translation, and has made many valuable suggestions.
Thanks to Mr. Stephen Raymer, formerly Vice-Consul for
Serbia in Vancouver, it has been possible to obtain some information about the author. Carl Friesach was born in Vienna in
1821. In 1846 he received the degree of Doctor of Laws. In
1848-50 he took part in the Austro-Italian war as a member of
the Austrian staff, with the rank of Captain. In 1852 he became
Professor of Mathematics in the Nautical School at Trieste. He
left Trieste in 1856 and travelled for five years, visiting England,
North and South America, and the South Seas. He was in the
United States in 1858, and hearing of the discovery of gold on the
Fraser River he decided to visit the mines. In 1867 he became
" Privat Docent" in the University of Gratz, in Styria, and in
1869 was appointed Professor Extraordinary for Astronomic
and Geographic Mathematics. In 1870 he became Chief of the
Observatory of Austria, a position he held for eighteen years,
retiring in 1888.    He died in Gratz on July 10, 1891.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. V., No. 3.
221 222 Gold-rush Narratives. July
Much of Dr. Friesach's narrative is devoted to a description
of matters he saw in Washington and Oregon, and to the general
history and geography of the Pacific Northwest. Little would
be gained by reprinting these pages, as the material is available
elsewhere. On the other hand, descriptions of life among the
miners on the Fraser River in 1858 are rare, and the highlights
of Friesach's account of his visit to the diggings will be of interest
and value to students.
Robie L. Reid.
Vancouver, B.C.
In the course of his travels around the world Dr. Friesach
reached the little city of Portland, Oregon, on August 26, 1858,
intending to proceed thence to California. Upon his arrival,
however, he " found the whole population in the greatest state of
excitement on account of the news of the discovery of goldfields
on the Fraser River; it was the only topic of conversation in the
whole town." Turning aside in his travels, Friesach determined
to " investigate the gold washings." From Portland he went
overland to Olympia, and from there to Victoria, by way of
Whatcom (now part of Bellingham) and Semiahmoo. The
crossing from Semiahmoo took about ten hours, although the distance was only some 34 nautical miles. He arrived in Victoria
in the early hours of the morning of September 6. His impression of the town follows:—
We put up at the Hotel de France, a building not yet completed, and
which provided so little accommodation that we had to leave the greater
part of our baggage in the neighbouring store. After an excellent
breakfast, which somewhat compensated for the poor accommodation,
I took a walk through the town. Victoria which had in the course of
the year 1858 sprung up like the aforenamed towns from a small
Hudson's Bay Post to the dignity of a small town, had a population of
about one thousand at this time. . . . The more active part of the
town lies in the neighbourhood of the harbour, to which three streets
lead. The houses, with one exception, are built of wood and in such a
flimsy manner that a hurricane would certainly carry the whole town
away. The streets are not paved and are very muddy in rainy weather.
At the South end of the town opposite the Hotel de France, lies the
Hudson's Bay Company's fort, which is surrounded by a palisade enclosing also a warehouse. Further inland the town is mostly made up
of tents. In the harbour were three wooden wharves built by merchants of the town who charge a toll to the ships which tie up to them. 1941 Gold-rush Narratives. 223
In Victoria Friesach met a French merchant, with whom he
had travelled from Panama to San Francisco, who was going to
Fort Yale the next morning, to establish a general store there.
He asked Friesach to go with him, and the invitation was
accepted. They sailed from Victoria at daybreak on September
7, in the ill-fated steamer Seabird, and Friesach gives a graphic
account of her destruction by fire:—
Just as the breakfast bell was sounding the cabin was suddenly
filled with choking smoke. Everybody rushed on deck in order to ascertain the cause; the smoke seemed to issue from the lower part of the
vessel, but when the crew raised a hatchway in the bow of the main
deck high flames and a cloud of thick black smoke suddenly burst forth.
The fire extinguishers proved themselves absolutely inadequate to cope
with the situation and in the first moments of panic it seemed that there
was no hope of saving the vessel. A number of the passengers made
a rush for the two lifeboats, of which only one was seaworthy, the other
showing a hole the size of a child's head. After a while, however, the
pilot was able to restore some order, partly by persuasion and partly
by threatening the crowd with his revolver. On the other hand the
proximity of land, only a few miles away, helped to revive the courage
of the terrified passengers.
As soon as I realized the danger, I hurried to my cabin to rescue my
belongings. It was high time to do this for the smoke was almost
unendurable and the burning wood crackled so threateningly that it
seemed as if the cabins and decks must collapse at any moment. I
hastily buckled on my arms, revolver, and hunting knife, and hung over
my shoulder my knapsack, which contained some linen, my diary, and
my two most precious possessions, a letter of credit and pocket chronometer. Then I endeavoured to get outside where I should not smother
in the smoke, which I did on a kind of gangway which was in the lee
of the wind. The boat was travelling at top speed. The engineer had
long ago been compelled to leave his post, and the engine left to itself
worked as frantically as if it were really concerned with our rescue.
It was most fortunate that the pilot was able to remain at his post
where he was protected by the pilot house, the glass panes of which,
although cracked by the heat, did not fall in. Finally, at half past
seven, pot quite fifteen minutes after the discovery of the fire, the
doomed ship ran upon a sand bar which saved it from being shattered
to pieces; as luck would have it she came broadside on against a natural
pier of rock which was as good as a landing stage. The spot was part
of a small uninhabited, rocky island [Discovery Island]. There were
two women and a child on board who were quickly rowed to land in the
lifeboat—the other passengers were supposed to look after themselves.
This was not without difficulty. As all the passengers stood on the
port side when she struck, it was no light matter to get to the starboard side through the flames and smoke, as the ship was lying with 224 Gold-rush Narratives. July
her starboard side to the land. A number jumped into the water and
tried to swim to the land. I saw my two friends climbing on the
hurricane deck in a part which had not yet been reached by the fire,
and I followed them. In this way we reached the lee side without
difficulty, and letting myself down with my hands from the railing I
reached the rock by a good-sized jump. It was high time that we did
so, as we could not have remained on board another three minutes. We
had barely reached a place of safety when the whole ship burst into
As the sides fell in we could see through the flames, the engines
still working and the red-hot boiler. A few ran away, fearing an
explosion of the boiler, but this did not occur. As the fire reached the
cabins a regular musketry fire was heard from the many rifles which
had been left there. At eight o'clock the whole ship was burned to the
water line.
It is a wonder that only two lives were lost in this disaster. It was
never known whether the missing men found their death in the flames
or in the waves. A horse which had been tied in the bow of the main
deck was also lost when the deck fell in. A quantity of provisions and
articles of furniture was saved, among these a mirror which had
already been through two wrecks; but the provisions and stores which
were on the lower decks were lost in the flames. Our one good lifeboat
was ordered to Victoria with the pilot and a few of the sailors in order
to provide the means of our returning to civilization. Fortunately the
weather was fine and it was possible the journey might be made in
six hours.
When I recovered from the joy of my escape, I saw that it was
inadvisable to spend a cold night in the open air in my thin summer
clothes. In my haste I had left a bundle behind me on a bench in the
dining room of the ship which contained warm winter clothing, but
I found consolation in the thought that the loss would be easy to replace
when we reached the Fraser. I was pleasantly surprised when I found
the missing bundle among other parcels which were heaped along the
shore. As it happened, I was the only one of the entire company who
had not suffered any loss.
Fortunately the smoke from the burning Seabird had been
sighted from the steamer Wilson G. Hunt, which hastened to the
scene and took most of the survivors on to Fort Langley. Friesach's narrative continues:—
We moved at once on board the S.S. Umatilla, which was due to sail
for Fort Hope in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately the
boat was not comfortably fitted up. It did not contain any cabins and
even mattresses and blankets were lacking; the floor of the saloon was
so covered with coal dust that it was impossible to lie down without
getting very dirty. Moreover the passengers, who were mostly miners,
were so numerous that it was difficult to find sleeping room.    Finally 1941 Gold-rush Narratives. 225
two of us lay down on the dining table, another under it. Another, too
fastidious in the matter of cleanliness, spent the whole night sitting
on a bench.  .  .  .
The next morning we were awakened early by the noise of the
machinery, but our departure was postponed until 8 a.m. by a thick
fog which perceptibly lowered the temperature. When the fog lifted
we had a wonderful panorama of the Cascade mountains [which
appeared to be] scarcely a half mile distant with their strange jagged
peaks and the ice-clad Mount Baker. We reached the mountains about
ten o'clock, and from that time on we travelled through the most
wonderful mountain landscape.
The river runs mostly through a double abrupt wall more than a
thousand feet high and follows a tortuous course through the rocks.
The mountains covered with tall forests frequently tower up above
snowline and on the higher peaks are glaciers, some of which run down
in ravines almost to the river. We covered only a small distance
during the afternoon on account of the swift current which got
stronger as we neared our goal. In the evening we landed at a point
where the river runs into a half circle, opposite a magnificent glacier,
and made fast for the night.
Some of the passengers had the gold fever so badly that they felt
they must search the sands on the shore, but were disappointed when
they did not find the smallest dust in their pan. They were still busy
washing the sand when a few Indians came down stream in canoes, and
in spite of the cold wind their only clothing was a woollen blanket which
sometimes fell from their shoulders with the exertion of paddling.
On September 9 we started at dawn. It was a cold and clear
morning. Unfortunately we were prevented from enjoying the beautiful landscape by a strong wind, which, blowing in the direction of our
course, caused the sparks from the smokestack to fall all about us,
burning holes in our hats and clothes.
The shores began to show some animation. Indian wigwams were
alternating with the tents of the miners, of whom we encountered quite
a number on the sand banks. At 8 a.m. we found ourselves only 200
feet distant from the landing at Fort Hope, but the current was so
strong that our ship took a full half hour to reach the landing.
Fort Hope is a tent city sheltering a few hundred oh the left bank
of the Fraser. . . . The valley is thickly wooded and is watered by
two creeks which flow into the Fraser near the village. There is a
Hudson Bay Company's Fort near the village. Sir James Douglas,
Governor of Vancouver Island, was staying there at the time, during
a tour of inspection of the upper Fraser Valley. Although neither the
Hunt nor the Umatilla belonged to the Company owning the ill-fated
Seabird, yet the shipwrecked passengers were all transported to Fort
Hope for the tickets bought in Victoria. In such things the travelling
public in America is very considerately treated. Near-by is an important Indian settlement. 226 Gold-rush Narratives. July
As soon as we landed we went to pay our respects to the Governor.
When he heard that we could only spend three or four days on our trip,
he recommended us to visit Fort Yale and, if possible, to go as far as
the Grand Canyon, and he gave us a letter of introduction to the officer
commanding at the Fort.
We immediately prepared to proceed on our trip. We had been
advised to use an Indian canoe going up-stream, because the Indians
were the most reliable guides on account of their knowledge of the
river and their experience in canoe work. We were, however, unable
to secure Indian guides and had to be satisfied with American rivermen.
The boat could comfortably seat 8-10 people, and there were, including the two boatmen, only six of us, but a forge-bellows, which had
to be taken to Fort Yale, took up most of the room in the boat.
At first we rowed along the left bank, where the current was not so
strong, and fair progress made during the first hour. . . . We soon
reached a bend of the river where the current was so strong that oars
were useless, and part of the company were compelled to disembark and
tow the canoe by a rope, while others stayed in the canoe to prevent it
from being damaged by the submerged rocks.   .   .   .
On arriving at Fort Yale ... we went to the village to call on
the officer in command . . . [who] after perusing the letter of introduction given us by the Governor, promised to let us have some Indian
guides as soon as possible who would take us up the river to the
Canyon.   .  .  .
Our urgent need for food induced us to cut the interview short. As
we wandered among the tents we noticed a large cabin, displaying the
sign, " American Kestaurant." The only table was occupied by three
wild-looking men, one of whom was recognized by one of my friends as
" Captain Pocahontas." In spite of our repugnance, we were compelled
to sit at the table, and while awaiting our food, they talked with us and
invited us to drink with them, but we refused on the pretext that we
drank nothing but water. They were quite insulted at our refusal, and
it looked as if we were going to be mixed up in a quarrel; but we
remained calm and casually showed our weapons, and perhaps, bocause
they had more enemies than friends among the bystanders, they
departed, swearing as they went.
The Gold Rush had attracted a large number of adventurers of the
worst kind, and a number of bad characters whom the vigilance committee of San Francisco had sent away were to be found at Fort Yale
in 1856 tsic;  1858].   .   .   .
Though our meal consisted only of old fish, dried salmon, and almost
undrinkable coffee, we had to pay several dollars for it; nevertheless
we enjoyed it after the hard day's work. We then took a stroll around
the camp, in the course of which we noticed a wonderful display of
insects which decorated the walls of the tents.    The place showed, at 1941 Gold-rush Narratives. 227
that time, great animation and might have contained three thousand
inhabitants. The majority of these lived in tents, a few only in frame
It would have been difficult to find in one place a greater mixture of
different nationalities. Americans were undoubtedly in the majority
—California, especially had sent a large contingent. Then followed
Germans, French, and Chinese. Next came Italians, Spaniards, Poles,
etc. The feminine population consisted of only six. Many Indians
lived in the neighbourhood, who on the whole were on friendly footing
with the Whites. In spite of the rough life and the privations arising
from such a life in a new land, almost all had a healthy and happy
appearance. The tents stood in groups, partly on the river bank and
partly in the bush. The river, which here flows between a double wall
of very high and rugged mountains, runs with many windings and
whirlpools and makes navigation very dangerous. Hardly a day passes
without some life being lost in the strong current. . . . As we waited
for the Indian guides we resolved to visit Hill's Bar. A canoe took us
across the river, and we reached the camp by a three-quarter hour walk
along the bank. We found the river bank covered with miners for the
distance of over a mile. Some of them were digging in the sand,
others working at their rockers, others at their sluices. A sluice is a
trough made of thin boards, a klafter* or so long, built on a slight
incline; the gold-bearing sand is piled up at the end of the trough and
is slowly washed down with the water, and the particles of gold contained in the sand are deposited in the bottom of the trough where they
are retained by various devices. These consist mostly of a number of
asperities and little hollows, amalgamated copper plates, and little
depressions filled with quicksilver. When a certain amount of sand
has been washed down the trough the bottom is carefully searched for
gold particles, the quicksilver is distilled in iron retorts, the gold
remaining in the vessel in the form of a shapeless mass called granulation. Experience has shown that this process derives a much larger
quantity of gold than the rocker. However, the establishment of a
sluice entails quite an expense; small partnerships, of six or eight
partners, being generally formed to put one up. I was astonished at
the enormous amount of gold which was found at Hill's Bar. Nearly
all of those we spoke to reported very satisfactory results. A large
number considered $30 per day an average production and assured us
that they had taken as much as $80 to $100 on exceptionally good days.
However, there are others who obtain only $4 to $5 a day, a few feet
away from the lucky ones. There is hardly a more hazardous form of
work than gold washing. The test of the pan often gives a good result
when the soil is later on found to be hardly worth working.   .   .   .
After we had watched the miners for about an hour we purchased a
small quantity of gold dust for a souvenir, and returned to Fort Yale,
* A German measure of 2.07 yards.
6 228 Gold-rush Narratives. July
pleased to have seen with our own eyes the wonderful gold mining
which was considered by many in San Francisco to be a fable.
At Yale, Friesach and his friend hired a canoe which took
them, after an exciting trip down the river, to Fort Hope. There
he boarded the steamer Maria for Fort Langley; and as she was
proceeding thence to Port Douglas, at the head of Harrison Lake,
he seized the opportunity to visit that settlement. From Langley
he returned to Victoria in the Wilson G. Hunt, arriving on September 25.    One last incident is of interest:—
Before leaving Victoria I once more had difficulty in getting the
necessary money for my return, for the reason that not one of the
merchants could spare me the sum of fifty dollars, and the gold dust
offered me was of no use to me. The secretary of the Governor came to
my rescue at last, and sent me to the Hudson's Bay Company.
The all-powerful Company having solved his financial difficulty, Friesach sailed in the Pacific for San Francisco on October
II. Letter from Charles Major, dated Fort Hope, September 20,
Some years ago Dr. W. N. Sage, Head of the Department of
History in the University of British Columbia, had occasion to
consult the file of the Toronto Daily Globe for the year 1860. In
the first issue he found the following letter, in which Charles
Major describes conditions in the Fraser River goldfields as they
existed in September, 1859. The account is interesting because
it pictures the state of affairs when the rush had fallen to a low
and discouraging level. Only a matter of weeks after the letter
was written, prospectors made promising discoveries in the Cariboo country, far to the north; and before many months had
passed it became evident that the tide of fortune had indeed
turned and that a new goldfieH of fabulous richness had been
The author's hearty denunciation of life and prospects in
British Columbia is amusing, for he was destined to become one
of the Province's leading citizens. Charles George Major was
born in Ontario in 1839. After a brief schooling he became an
apprentice in a dry-goods business conducted by one John Robson
(the future Premier of British Columbia) and his brother.
Attracted by the gold excitement of 1858, young Major set out 1941 Gold-rush Narratives. 229
for the mines, and arrived in New Westminster on June 1, 1859.
In 1860 he and John Robson, who had also found his way to
British Columbia, cleared a large part of the site of the city.
In 1862 Major went to Cariboo, where he was employed by an
express company. He drove the first four-horse stage through
the Fraser Canyon on the new road to Cariboo in March, 1864.
The same year he returned to New Westminster, where he
established a business and lived the remainder of his long life.
He died in 1929.
W. K. L.
[From The Daily Globe, Toronto, Canada West, January 2, I860.]
(From the Sarnia Observer.)
The following letter recently received by a person in this neighborhood, from the writer who is at present in British Columbia, was
handed to us for perusal. As it contains much valuable and reliable
information in reference to the country, we requested permission to
publish it, which was at once granted. We therefore lay the most
important portions of the letter before our readers, without further
apology, satisfied that it will be read with interest by all:—
Fort Hope, Frazer River
Sept. 20th, 1859
Dear Sir:—I am afraid you will think I had forgot my promise,—but
I wanted to know something about the country before writing to you.
In the first place, do not think that I have taken a dislike to the country
because I am not making money; the dislike is general all over the
country. To give you anything like a correct idea of it would take
more paper than I have small change to purchase, and more time than
I could spare, and then it would only be commenced.
The country is not what it was represented to be. There is no
farming land in British Columbia, as far as I can learn, except a very
small portion joining Washington Territory, and on Vancouver's Island,
where there is one valley of 20,000 acres; but that cannot be sold until
Col. Moody's friends come out from the old country, and get what they
It never can be a place, because there is nothing to support it, except
the mines, and just as soon as they are done the place goes down completely, for there is absolutely nothing to keep it up; and I tell you the
truth the mines are falling off very fast. There is nothing in this
country but mines—and very small pay for that; they are you may say,
used up. We have been making two, three and four dollars per day,
but it would not last more than two or three days;  and so you would 230 Gold-rush Narratives. July
spend that before you would find more. There has been great excitement about Fort Alexander, three hundred miles above this, and also
about Queen Charlotte's Island. They have both turned out another
humbug like this place. A party arrived here yesterday from Alexander, and they are a pitiful looking lot. They are what the Yankees
call dead broke. They have been six hundred miles up the river.
When they got down here they had no shoes to their feet. Some had
pieces of shirt and trowsers, but even these were pinned together with
small sharp sticks; and some had the rim of an old hat, and some the
crown. They had nothing to eat for one week, and not one cent in
money.    This is gold mining for you!
I expect the Frazer River fever has cooled down by this time, at
least I hope so; for I do pity the poor wretches that come out here to
beg. They can do that at home; as for making money, that is out of
the question. Since we came here (to use the miners' term,) we have
been making grub; and those who can do that, think they are doing
well. If there are any making arrangements to come to this place, let
them take a fool's advice and stay at home. I would just about as soon
hear that anyone belonging to me was dead, as to hear they had started
to come here. They say it wants a man with capital to make money
here; but a man with money in Canada will double it quicker than he
will here. And if I, or any other, was to work as hard and leave [live]
as meanly, I could make more money in Canada than I can here. Since
we have been on the River we have worked from half-past two and
three o'clock in the morning till nine and ten o'clock at night, (you can
see the sun twenty hours out of the twenty-four in the summer season.)
—and lived on beans! If that is not working, I don't know what it is.
Besides this you go home to your shanty at night, tired and wet, and
have to cook your beans before you can eat them. And what is this
all for? For gold of course; but when you wash up at night, you may
realize 50 cents, perhaps $1.
There have been some rich spots struck on this river, but they were
very scarce, and they are all worked out; and the miners are leaving
the river every day, satisfied there is nothing to be made. But now
that I am in the country I will remain for a year or so, and if nothing
better turns up by that time, I think I will be perfectly satisfied. I
have met with some that I was acquainted with, and it is amusing to
see those who felt themselves a little better than their neighbors at
home, come here and get out of money, and have to take the pick and
shovel, perhaps to drag firewood out of the woods and sell it, or make
pack-mules of themselves to get a living. I do not mean to say that it
is so all over the Colony, but it is from one end of Fraser River
to the other. I dare anyone to contradict what I say; and I have good
reason to believe it is as bad all over the country. I saw a patch of
oats here the other day. They were out in head, only four inches in
height, yellow as ochre, and not thick enough on the ground to be neighbours.    Vegetables and other things are as poor in the proportion; 1941 Gold-rush Narratives. 231
and as for the climate, it is just as changeable as in Canada, if not
more so. I can't say much about the climate on Vancouver's Island,
but I think it is rather better.
I met T.G., the carpenter, from Sarnia, who left there about a year
ago. He went round the Horn, and he was ten months and fifteen days
in coming here. He is cutting saw logs making a little over grub. He
says he is going to write to the Sarnia Observer, and give this place a
cutting up! There are a great many Canadians here, and they would
be glad to work for their board. A man could not hire out to work a
day if he was starving. I have seen some parties from California;
they say times are very hard there. There are just three in our party
now, H. H., J. R., and myself. There were two of the H's; one was
taken sick and had to leave the river; he is in Victoria, and is quite
recovered again; has been there two months, and has not got a day's
work yet. I was very sick myself when I just came here, but am quite
healthy now, and so fat I can hardly see to write. The rest are
quite well.
The Indians are not very troublesome at the mines; they are kept
down pretty well. They are very numerous here and on the Island,
the lowest degraded set of creatures I ever saw.
It is estimated that the number of miners who make over wages,
is one in five hundred; and the number that do well in the mines is one
in a thousand. So you see it is a very small proportion. If you know
anyone that wants to spend money, why, this is just the place. Anyone bringing a family here would require a small fortune to support
them in this horrible place, hemmed in by mountains on all sides, and
these covered with snow all the year.
I have lived in a tent since I came up the river, and I have to lie on
the ground before the fire and write; it gives a very poor light, so
excuse the writing. It has been raining here steady one week, and the
mountains are all covered with snow; for when it rains here it is
snowing upon the mountains. It is a wild looking place. You will
please tell our folks you hear from me, and that we are all well. I will
write to some of them in about two weeks or so. I have wrote five
letters already, but I have not heard from any of them; so many letters
go astray in coming here and going from this place, that perhaps they
do not get them at all. Give my respects to old friends, and tell them
to be contented and stay at home.
I remain, yours truly
A special general meeting of the Association was held in the Provincial
Library, Victoria, on the evening of May 9, 1941. The President, Mr. Kenneth A. Waites, presided. The principal business of the evening was the
consideration of the proposed amendments to the constitution, which had
been circulated previously to members. Each amendment was explained
and discussed in turn, and all were passed, with minor changes in phrasing.
For the information and convenience of members the constitution, as
amended and approved by the meeting, will be printed complete in the next
issue of the Quarterly.
Victoria Section.
Establishment of the salmon-canning industry on Rivers Inlet and the
Skeena fifty years ago was reviewed by Mr. George Simpson McTavish,
retired Hudson's Bay Company official and pioneer salmon-canner, in an
address delivered at the meeting of the Section held in the Provincial
Library on April 7.
Mr. McTavish was closely associated with the development of the industry
in its early stages. He described in detail the methods used when canning
was carried on largely by hand-labour, from the catching of the fish to the
hand-soldering of the cans. The first important change in methods was the
invention of the " iron chink " to clean the fish. Since then various other
machines have been introduced, and to-day the human hand hardly ever
touches the fish.
Modern fishing methods were depicted in an interesting motion picture
shown and explained by Mr. George J. Alexander, Deputy Commissioner of
Fisheries for British Columbia. The film covered the entire salmon-packing
industry, from the spawning-grounds to the completed pack, including various methods of catching the fish, and every phase of canning.
In the course of his address Mr. McTavish told how the old Hudson's
Bay traders practically lived on pemmican, a highly concentrated food; and
suggested that Canada might ship pemmican to England, as a last resort.
One ship loaded with pemmican would carry as much food value as twenty
ships with ordinary food products.
Yukon: The Ways In was the title of the interesting paper read to the
Section by Major H. T. Nation at the meeting held in the Provincial Library
on May 9. Major Nation described each of the travel routes leading to the
Yukon, and then traced in some detail the history of each, both before and
during the period of the great rush to the Klondike. Incidentally, he gave
much information about the Yukon of our own day. Mining, fur-trading,
and tourist travel are the chief activities of the area. Contrary to the
general impression, which pictures the Yukon as a frozen wilderness, a wide
variety of garden products and grains can be grown.    The country is well
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, VoL V., No. 3.
233 234 Notes and Comments. July
forested, although it is unusual to find trees over 20 inches in diameter.
Temperatures range from 60 degrees below to 110 degrees above zero. There
are 1,250 miles of connected waterways in the Yukon, navigable by stern-
wheel steamers, and the construction of a railway from Skagway to White-
horse has made the Yukon plateau easily accessible. Nevertheless, the
population is still so small that it amounts to only one seven-hundredth of
that of the Dominion, and hitherto it has not been tabulated in a separate
census return—a state of affairs which contrasts sharply with the territory's area of 207,000 square miles, which is twice that of the British Isles.
Major Nation paid a generous tribute to the work of Dr. G. M. Dawson,
of the Dominion Geological Survey, and to earlier explorers, notably men of
the Hudson's Bay Company, for their work in the Yukon.
Mrs. Curtis Sampson, President of the Section, presided and introduced
the speaker, who was thanked on behalf of the Association by the retired
Chief Justice of British Columbia, the Hon. Archer Martin.
On the evening of June 16, Mr. Willard E. Ireland, Provincial Archivist,
addressed a meeting of the Section on Pre-C on federation Defence Problems
of the Pacific Colonies. Mr. Ireland pointed out that British colonial
activity in the Pacific Northwest was the direct result of the Oregon " war
panic " of 1845-46. Prior to that time British interests in the region had
been maintained by the Hudson's Bay Company; but the influx of American
settlers and the arousing of American public opinion made more decisive
action necessary. In 1845, Lieutenant William Peel, R.N., son of Sir Robert
Peel, visited and reported upon the situation in the Columbia, and there met
Lieutenants Warre and Vavasour, of the Royal Engineers, who had been
sent overland from Canada on a military reconnaissance. Their reports
convinced the British Government of the impossibility of holding the Columbia River as a boundary-line.
The Indians were not the sole defence problem on the Pacific Coast.
The threat of American filibustering activity in the Queen Charlotte Islands
became acute in 1851-52. The Crimean War found the Colony of Vancouver
Island completely defenceless in 1854, and while no effort was made to raise
a militia the small screw steamer Otter was armed and manned.
The outbreak of the American Civil War temporarily increased British
interest in Pacific defence. Equipment was sent out from England and
volunteer forces were raised, but once the Trent crisis subsided the British
Government appeared to have lost interest, as was suggested by the withdrawal from British Columbia of the Royal Engineers in 1863.
From 1867 onward the whole defence issue became comparatively insignificant. British policy was formulated more with an eye to the future
status of the newly organized Canadian Confederation than to the purely
local issues.
Mr. Ireland's paper, which was prepared originally to be read before the
annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association in Kingston, in May,
will be printed in the forthcoming volume of the proceedings of that society. 1941 Notes and Comments. 235
Vancouver Section.
The many members who attended the meeting of the Section held in the
Hotel Grosvenor on April 28 enjoyed a most interesting address by Mr.
B. A. McKelvie on Facts and Fancies of British Columbia's Early History.
Mr. McKelvie believes that North America was discovered by castaways
and explorers from Asia, a thousand years before Columbus crossed the
Atlantic, and he devoted much of his fascinating talk to a discussion of some
of the manuscripts supporting this contention which have been discovered
in the Chinese archives. These indicate that the Chinese visited the Pacific
Coast frequently during the years A.D. 458-566. Mr. McKelvie has had new
translations made of certain passages and he feels that these new versions
clear up certain difficulties, and in so doing go far to establish the authenticity of the originals. He illustrated his point by describing one passage
in some detail. As previously translated it seemed to make no sense at all,
yet careful examination and interpretation of its idioms and phraseology
revealed that it was a description of one phase of the process by which the
Indians extracted oil from the oolachan.
Turning to a later period, Mr. McKelvie reviewed certain evidence which
suggests that Juan de Fuca may after all have been a real person. If not,
it would seem to be a singular coincidence that Juan de Fuca's account of
thcapproach to the strait which now bears his name agrees so completely
with the physical aspect of the entrance as it is seen from an approaching
The regular quarterly meeting of the Association was held on April 25.
After the routine business there was considerable discussion of the paper on
The Geographical and Geological Features of the Similkameen Valley, which
Mr. C. R. Mattice had read at the previous meeting. Another subject discussed was the desirability of keeping a record of the local war effort. In
addition to lists of men who had been accepted for active service it was felt
that account should be taken of the many local activities which, in sum,
make so important a contribution to the effort of the nation as a whole.
Rev. J. C. Goodfellow then read the late Robert Stevenson's account of
The Rose Expedition of 1862, and this was followed by a discussion in which
all present took part.    [J. C. Goodfellow, Secretary.]
The final meeting of the year was held at the home of Dr. W. Kaye
Lamb on the evening of May 22. The programme—which was interrupted
by Vancouver's first test " blackout "—took the form of a round-table discussion of the topic: " What hope is there for rational reconstruction after the
war? " Mr. Bob McKenzie, Mr. William Stirling, and Mr. Archie McCauley
were the discussion leaders. 236 Notes and Comments.
The following officers were elected for the year 1941-42:—
Honorary President Dr. W. Kaye Lamb.
Staff Representative Dr. W. N. Sage.
President Mr. Ludlow Beamish.
Vice-President Mr. John Meredith.
Treasurer  Mr. Vernon Hill.
Recording Secretary. Miss Patricia Campbell.
Corresponding Secretary. Mrs. P. Frith.
Past President    Mr. R. J. Boroughs.
The Book Prize offered by the Society and awarded annually to the
student leading the graduating class of the University of British Columbia
in history was won by Mr. Harry Laronde, in May, 1941.
T. A. Rickard, D.Sc, A.R.S.M., has had a distinguished career as a
mining engineer, editor, and writer. He is the author of Man and Metals
and many other books. He is a Past President of the British Columbia
Historical Association and a frequent contributor to this Quarterly.
Judge F. W. Howay, LL.D., F.R.S.C, is the author, with the late
E. O. S. Scholefield, of British Columbia from the Earliest Times to the
Present, the standard history of the Province. His many books and articles
are well known, and he is the acknowledged authority in the field.
William N. Draper, B.C.L.S., has lived in British Columbia since 1877,
and is one of the pioneer land surveyors of the Province. He is a member
of the Historical Committee of the Corporation of British Columbia Land
Surveyors, whose collection of records, historical memoranda, and photographs has been deposited in the Provincial Archives.
F. W. Laing was for many years Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture of British Columbia. Since his retirement he has compiled a monumental tabulation of early land pre-emptions and grants on the Mainland.
Noting that these contained numerous references to the location of flour-
mills, Mr. Laing listed the entries and then turned to other sources to
complete the story of the flour-milling industry. The present article is the
Ronald Todd, B.A., B.L.S., is Librarian in charge of the Northwest
Collection of the University of Washington Library, Seattle. THE NORTHWEST BOOKSHELF.
The Gold Rushes.   By W. P. Morrell.    (The Pioneer Histories.)    London:
Adam and Charles Black, 1940.   Pp. xi., 427.   Maps.   $3.
This is a scholarly book; the numerous references and the ample bibliography indicate a wide range of reading and careful research. It is also
an interesting book. To any mining engineer, and to the larger public
participating in mining speculation, the story of the gold-rushes is a tale
that they will read with sympathetic understanding. The author will
clarify their understanding of the subject
The first two chapters deal with regions not well known to most of us,
particularly Brazil. In that country the mining of gold began with a discovery in Sao Paulo in 1560, but no operations of more than local importance
are recorded until 1697, when negro slaves were employed at the alluvial
mines. There was a rush from Portugal to the mines in Sao Paulo. The
introduction of the batea, for washing gold-bearing gravel, is credited to the
West African negroes. The author traces the vicissitudes of the gold-
mining industry and recounts the troubles of the Government in its efforts
to collect the royalty of one-fifth claimed by the Portuguese king. Enforcement proved difficult, so a capitation tax was imposed. The gold-rushes,
however, failed to found any stable industrial centres within the interior of
Brazil. " The coastal cities," says our author, " and Rio de Janeiro in
particular, grew rich through the supply of the spendthrift mineiros: the
centre of gravity of Brazil shifted to the south and the seat of government
was moved from Bahia to Rio in 1763. The mines were largely responsible
for the increase of the population of Brazil from perhaps 300,000 at the
beginning to over two and a half million at the end of the eighteenth
century, for they had led to an influx of immigrants from Portugal and an
importation of hundreds of thousands of slaves from Africa—thereby however confirming the dependence of the Brazilian economy upon slave labour."
Next we come to Siberia. In that region, as in British Columbia, the
search for furs preceded the seeking for gold. Peter the Great sought to
encourage mining in Siberia, but not until 1829 was there much activity.
Alluvial deposits were discovered in the Ural range in 1823, and six years
later forty small mines were productive. The manual labour was done by
serfs and by criminals. In this respect the first Russian gold-mines
resembled those of Brazil. Ekaterinburg was the centre of the mining
Richer discoveries were made in the Altai Mountains in 1828, 1830, and
1832. The ground was frozen and the gravel had to be thawed, as in the
Klondike district, before it could be washed to extract the gold. The proprietors worked their men hard, fifteen hours per day; while themselves
indulging in riotous living. In a country so little organized, the effects of
gold-mining were local. The gold-workings of the Yenisei and the Lena
proved more important, especially in benefiting the finances of the Govern-
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. V., No. 8.
237 238 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
ment Life at the mines was hard and crude. Relations of employers with
the workmen were bad. Methods of operation were inefficient. Improvement came with the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the
introduction of foreign experts.
The author states that " Stalin's imagination was fired by reading about
the California rush " and that the Soviet Government since 1933 " inaugurated a whole series of new rushes, which have raised Siberia to the second
place in the world's gold production." He gives John D. Littlepage's book
In Search of Soviet Gold as his source of information, but he does not quote
him. I shall do so. Stalin became impressed with the fact that migrations
of population were caused by gold excitements, and he wanted to divert
Russian population into Siberia. Littlepage says (p. 26): " In some way
not publicly explained, he [Stalin] became interested in the subject of the
1849 gold rush to California and began to read every book he could get on
the subject. Among others, he read ' Sutter's Gold,' written a year or so
previously by a French writer named Blaise Cendrars, a book which draws
a vivid picture of the gold rush. He also read most of the writings of Bret
Harte, and a history of California during and after the period of the gold
rush by T. E. Rickard." This surely is a queer assortment of books for an
economist to read, and the reviewer, as the author of A History of American
Mining, is amused to find his own book mentioned in such a context. Joseph
Stalin will be able soon to decide whether wars or gold-rushes cause a
greater migration of peoples.
The greatest of all gold-rushes, in its extent and its immediate consequences, was that to California in 1849. The author precedes his account
by recording the earlier stampede to northern Georgia in 1829. This is
important historically because it involved a clash with Indian rights to the
land, and also because it gave useful experience to many of the men that
went to California soon after Marshall's discovery in 1848. That is an old
story, but the author revives our interest by his comment, recognizing the
democratic instincts of the adventurers, mostly Americans, and their successful efforts to organize their mining camps in the Sierra Nevada. " If
later," he says, " the courts, and the United States itself, recognized the
customs of the miners as valid, it was a recognition due to their effective
vindication of authority through the machinery of self-government." In
California the gold-mining that began as an adventure developed into an
The Fraser River rush in British Columbia was a sequel and a consequence of the Californian excitement. It lacked much of the disorder and
lawlessness of the American diggings, because the local Government on
Vancouver Island, although without full authority, did rise to meet the
difficulties created by the rush, in contrast with the laissez-faire attitude of
such American government as existed in California in 1848 and 1849. Our
author says advisedly: " Governor Douglas intended to make his authority
felt; and his physical strength, decision of character, and long experience
gave him confidence that he could handle the rough, honest miners and keep
the troublesome in order.   .   .   .   The miners, respecting the man and feeling 1941 The Northwest Bookshelf. 239
that he had their interests at heart, did not find it necessary to develop the
mining camp organization of California." There was a lack of the gun-play
and opera bouffe rowdyism that gave a spurious glamour to the Californian
diggings. The administration of justice was in vigorous hands. " The gold
transformed a fur-trading outpost into a true colony, which had the vision
to perceive that its destiny was Canadian."
Space forbids further detailed treatment; however, the passages quoted
will give a fair idea of the style and purpose of the book. It is to discuss
the economic and political consequences of the gold-rushes. The author
proceeds to describe the Comstock excitement and other silver, not gold,
rushes in Nevada. Then comes Pike's Peak and Colorado. Twelve pages
are given to Boise and the rushes first into Idaho and then into Montana,
where ruffianism was most violently rampant. His accounts of the Australian diggings, also of those in New Zealand, are excellent. " Circumstances,"
he says, " and deliberate policy had given the Government a far more active
role on the Victorian than on the Californian goldfields: it performed
services which were there performed by the express, and services like that
of police which there rested upon public opinion alone: but it was a long
time before its administration could claim to be more worthy of public
support than the rough-and-ready improvisations of California."
A chapter is devoted to the diamond- and gold-rushes of South Africa.
This, of course, is rich in historic interest. " Wealth and energy came to
South Africa in abounding measure as a result of the discoveries of
diamonds and gold, but democratising tendencies were evanescent in a
society founded upon caste and in an industry demanding large-scale operation. They withered away amid the dust-storms and shanties of Kimberley,
and the society of the rushes—of Kimberley first and then of the Rand—
took shape, progressive indeed, but dominated by a highly concentrated financial power, a new source of divisions in an already deeply riven community."
The last chapter deals with Alaska and the Klondike. At the end of his
book our author says: " In the gold rushes tens of thousands of men took
part, and though many faltered or fell by the wayside, the best of them
evolved a new type of self-reliant character, a new free, careless social life.
With all its faults it had a fine savour of the spirit of adventure, which is
the salt of history."
The book is well printed, and the author has had the good sense to provide the necessary maps. Mr. Morrell, Reader in History in the University
of London, is to be complimented for this excellent study of conditions
unlikely to recur.
T. A. Rickard.
Victoria, B.C. 240 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
History and Development of the Agassiz-Harrison Valley. By J. J. Woods.
Agassiz: Printed by the Agassiz-Harrison Advance, 1941. Pp. 68. 111.
Obtainable from W. A. Jones, Agassiz, B.C.; 80 cents, postpaid. [Proceeds for the benefit of Agassiz-Harrison Red Cross Society.]
This interesting booklet tells the story of Agassiz-Harrison Valley from
the exploration of A. C. Anderson in 1846, and the arrival of the first
settlers, T. B. Hicks and Captain L. N. Agassiz, down to the coming of the
Canadian Pacific Railway, the incorporation of Kent Municipality, and the
advent of modern utilities. Its preparation has plainly been a labour of
love; the materials have been gathered in many talks with "oldtimers"
during years of residence in the valley. The first chapter, dealing with
" Early Pre-emptions " is based on the careful, painstaking work of Mr.
F. W. Laing, of Victoria. Incidentally, a comparison between it and the
chapter on " Some Pioneer Families " shows the vast distance between the
entering " into possession " and " continuous occupation " required by the
Pre-emption Proclamation of January, 1860, and actual bona-fide settlement.
The commencement and development of hop-growing (an industry which
suggested the name Kent Municipality), the establishment and work of the
Dominion Experimental Station, and the discovery and establishment of
Harrison Hot Springs are naturally given prominence. Into the sketch of
those springs the author has incorporated many references to them found in
early books. Upon the vexed question of their discovery he has omitted to
mention that they were known as early as 1858 (see the Victoria Gazette,
August 17 and December 30, 1858). Through the whole story runs the
thread of intimate human contact, revealing clearly the trials and privations
of pioneer life.
There is a great dearth of such local histories in this Province, and it is
to be hoped that this pamphlet may prove an incentive to others to undertake similar sketches of their own localities. The Okanagan Historical
Society has set a high standard for such studies, and the British Columbia
Historical Association might well take steps to encourage similar efforts.
F. W. Howay.
New Westminster, B.C.
Francis Norbert Blanchet and the Founding of the Oregon Missions (1838-
1848). By Sister Letitia Mary Lyons. (Catholic University of America,
Studies in American Church History, vol. xxxi.). Washington, D.C:
Catholic University of America Press.    1940.    Pp. 200.    $2.
Father De Smet: Pioneer Priest of the Rockies. By Helene Magaret New
York:  Farrar and Rinehart, Inc.    1940.   Pp. 371.   $3.
The two books under review, quite apart from their historical content,
form an interesting study in historiography. Although they both have as
their subject the lives of pioneer priests of the Roman Catholic faith in the
Pacific Northwest, in method of presentation they represent the extremes
of current historical methods. 1941 The Northwest Bookshelf. 241
Miss Magaret, in relating the life-work of Pierre Jean De Smet from his
arrival at the Potawatami Mission on the Missouri River in 1839 until his
death at St Louis in 1873, makes no real contribution to our historical
knowledge of her subject and, in consequence, scholars must still refer to
the older Life, Letters, and Travels of Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, S.J., by
Chittenden and Richardson, for authoritative information. The author's
vivid—at times, almost lurid—imagination has had free play and the result
has been the production of what might more properly have been called an
historical novel of considerable interest and merit In interpretation of
motives and feelings and in setting the stage the author has been singularly
successful and has also exhibited considerable ingenuity in the reconstruction of direct conversation. But at best one feels that the author more
closely approximates the work of the novelist rather than that of the
historical biographer.
Sister Letitia Mary Lyons, on the other hand, has made a scholarly
contribution to American Church history and an admirable addition to the
series published by the Catholic University of America. It is obvious that
considerable research has preluded the writing of this book. Several sources,
inaccessible to the average student, have been utilized and many extracts
from new documents have been reproduced at length without impairing the
literary qualities of the text. To mention but a few—the instructions to
Blanchet and his co-worker, Modeste Demers, from Joseph Signay, Bishop
of Quebec, and the subsequent reports by the missionaries to their superior.
Into the broader story of the organization and propagation of Roman
Catholicism in Old Oregon has been woven the biography of Oregon's first
bishop. The part played by the Hudson's Bay Company in that story is
clearly set forth and authenticated by copious extracts from documentary
sources. It is unfortunate that minor errors have been allowed to obtrude
themselves into the text in connection with the functional organization of
the fur trade company. Careful consideration has also been given to the
conflict with the early Protestant missionaries on the Columbia. Generally
speaking, the subject-matter of this book relates to the territory south of the
present International Boundary, but references to the visit of Modeste
Demers to Fort Langley in 1841 and to New Caledonia in 1842 and to the
organization of the diocese of Vancouver Island make it of greater interest
to the student of British Columbia history. The volume is adequately
indexed and contains a critical essay on sources. A serious study of the
activity of the pioneer priests on the Columbia has been long overdue, and
in bridging the gap the publication of this study makes a noteworthy
contribution to our appreciation of an important pioneer undertaking.
Willard E. Ireland.
Provincial Archives,
Victoria, B.C. 242 The Northwest Bookshelf.
Messages of the Governors of the Territory of Washington to the Legislative Assembly, 1854-1889, edited by Charles M. Gates (University of
Washington Publications in the Social Sciences, vol. 12), University of
Washington Press, Seattle, 1940.    Pp. 297.    $3.
This important collection of territorial documents, originally published
as separates or as part of the journals of the Washington Legislative
Assembly, brings within comparatively easy reach of student and general
reader a compact body of information relating to pioneer life in Washington. The fourteen territorial Governors, in their annual messages to the
Legislative Assembly, wrote, often voluminously, on all phases of the social,
economic, and political life of the times—the opening-up of schools, asylums,
penitentiaries and other correctional institutions, the building of wagon-
roads, sale of public lands, development of the lumber, fishing, and mining
industries, the Indian wars, fortifications, territorial finances, divorce, and
immigration, to mention some of the topics discussed. Statistics and tables
have been generously employed by many of the Governors in illustrating
certain sections of their writings.
Charles M. Gates has prepared a fitting introduction to the volume, outlining in some detail the historical importance of Washington's territorial
era and indicating the value of the documents to any student attempting an
interpretation of the history of our state. He says: " When studied as
a continuous series, they afford the reader a single panoramic view of the
territorial period, in which specific data contribute to clarify the evolution
of a changing society."
A brief biographical sketch accompanies the messages of each of the
fourteen Governors and excellent full-page portraits are included for all but
two. Maps of the Indian nations and tribes of the Territory of Washington (1851), of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia (1860), and of
Washington Territory (1886) lend pictorial attractiveness, and a detailed
index of names, places, and subjects adds to the general usefulness of the
Local writers, teachers, and librarians surely will join with Solon J.
Buck when he says in the foreword: " It is to be hoped that this volume
will inaugurate a comprehensive series of documentary material for the
history of Washington that will ultimately be comparable to the published
collections of many of the older states."
Ronald Todd.
University of Washington Library.
Printed by Charles F. Banfield, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
Organized October 31st, 1922.
His Honour Eric W. Hamber, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.
OFFICERS, 1940-41.
Ho Honorary Preside:
Kenneth A. Waites       - resident.
B. A. McKelvie  - 'resident.
i Vice-Preside*
Whxahd E. Ireland   -
Helen R. Boutilier
Robie L. Red)     -----    Archivist.
Mrs. M. R. Cree. .op. F. W. Howay.
J. C. Go* Nation.
Mrs. Curtis S E. S. Robinson
(Victoria Section). (Vancouver Section).
E. M. Cottc Section).
To enc" orical research and stimulate public interest in history;
to promote the preservation and ■ sites, buildings, relics,
ta and places of historical interest, and to
cal sketches, studies, and docume
Or<' y a fee of ?2 annually in advance.    The fiscal year
:r charge.
to the Provincial  Archives,
Parliament Buildir ia, B.C.


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