British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical Quarterly Jul 31, 1942

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JULY,  1942 We
Published by the A f British Columbia
in co-operation with tlie
British Columbia Historical
r to
Build i, B.C.    I nbers
to the magazine. BRITISH COLUMBIA
"Any country worthy of a future
should be interested in its past."
Vol. VI. Victoria, B.C., July, 1942. No. 3
Articles: Page.
The Introduction of Intoxicating Liquors amongst the Indians of
the Northwest Coast.
By F. W. Howay  157
The Klondike Rush.
By T. A. Rickard  171
Documents :
Four Letters relating to the Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53.
Edited with an introduction and notes by W. Kaye Lamb  189
Notes and Comments :
British Columbia Historical Association  207
Graduate Historical Society    207
Contributors to this Issue 208
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Howay: Voyages of the " Columbia."
By W. Kaye Lamb  209
Longstaff: Esquimalt Naval Base.
By Ronald Kenvyn  211
Carrothers: British Columbia Fisheries.
By G. Neil Perry. 213
Rome:  The First Two Years.
By Robie L. Reid 214
Wagner: Bullion to Books.
By F. W. Howay  215
The Relations of Canada and the United States.
One of the earliest proclamations of James Douglas dealing
with peace and order on the mainland of British Columbia was
issued at Fort Hope on September 6, 1858, immediately after
the Indian trouble of that summer and more than two months
before he became Governor of the Colony of British Columbia.
It recited that
It has been represented to me that Spirituous and other intoxicating Liquors
have been sold to the Native Indians of Fraser River and elsewhere, to the
great injury and demoralization of the said Indians; and also thereby endangering the Public Peace, and the lives and property of Her Majesty's subjects and others in the said Districts.
And then proceeded to make it
Known unto all men that the Sale or Gift of Spirituous or other Intoxicating drinks to the said Native Indians is contrary to Law, and is hereby
strictly prohibited, and that persons charged with such offences will be
proceeded against accordingly, and on conviction thereof before a Magistrate, will be mulcted in the penal sum of not more than Twenty Pounds,
nor less than Five Pounds.
Et cetera. In view of this stern enactment, based on the
protection of the Indian and the preservation of peace and order,
it is well to trace the steps whereby the Indian of the Coast
became acquainted with, and acquired a taste for, intoxicating
liquor—" fire-water."
The first European to see any part of the Pacific Coast north
of California was Vitus Bering, a Dane in command of a Russian exploring expedition. He records, under the date of September 5, 1741, that being anchored near one of the Schumagin
Islands, he sent an officer to interview the natives. On his
return the officer reported that he had offered one of the natives
" a glass of liquor, but as he tasted it he spat it out and returned
the glass."1 Other records of the incident are to the same effect.
We have no information as to the "drink" further than Bering's
* A paper read before Section II., The Royal Society of Canada, at
Toronto, May, 1942.
(1) F. A. Golder, Bering's Voyages, New York, 1922, I., pp. 147-148.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No. 3.
157 158 F. W. Howay. July
statement that before leaving Kamchatka, for lack of anything
better to take along on a sea voyage, they distilled liquor from
a sweet grass by a process known in that country. Steller's
Journal identifies the grass as Sladkaya trana. Probably we are
justified in assuming that liquor so obtained required at least an
educated taste.
This plain story was a bit embroidered by G. P. Muller in his
Collection of Historical Materials. The French translation of
Professor Muller's account runs as follows:—
Waxel [the officer] lui presenta une tasse d'eau-de-vie. Mais cette boisson
lui parut aussi desagreable qu'etrange. II cracha ce qu'il en avoit dans la
bouche, & se mit a crier, comme pour se plaindre aux siens qu'on en agissoit
mal avec lui. II n'y eut pas moyen l'appaiser. On lui offrit des eguilles,
des verres a collier, un chaudron de fer, des pipes; il refusa tout.2
When the great Captain James Cook reached Nootka Sound
in March, 1778, he, the first European to tread the soil of British
Columbia, found no intoxicating liquor, or any taste for it,
amongst the natives. He writes that the Indians required that
all of their food " should be of the bland or less acrid kind ";
they would eat neither the leek nor garlic, " and when offered
spirituous liquors, they rejected them as something unnatural
and disgusting to the palate."8 None of the other accounts contains any reference to the matter, although Ellis says, " Their
drink is water and train-oil."
Mozino, the Spanish botanist who was at Nootka in 1792,
gives similar evidence in his Noticias de Nutka.   He states:—
I doubt if they care for garlic, as although they come to sell it to us in their
canoes, it appears to cause them some disgust when they see it on our tables.
They had no fermented drink, and had satisfied their thirst with water only,
until they began to trade with the Europeans. Since then they have become
fond enough of wine, whiskey, and beer, to all of which they give themselves
to excess when some one provides it liberally. Until now the thought does
not seem to have occurred to them to procure these liquors through the
medium of commerce.   .   .   .   They love excessively tea and coffee.   .   .   .*
(2) Voyages et Decouvertes faites par les Russes . . . traduits de
l'allemand de G. P. Muller, Amsterdam, 1766, I., pp. 271-272. On this is
based the version in Burney's North-Eastern Voyages, London, 1819, p. 168.
(3) Captain James Cook, Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, 1776-1780 (Folio
ed.), London, 1784, IL, p. 323.    (Book IV., Chapter III.)
(4) Jose Mariano Mozino Su&rez de Figueroa, Noticias de Nutka,
Mexico, 1913, p. 18. A translation was made for the writer by V. D. Webb,
Esq. 1942 Liquor amongst the Indians. 159
This contemporary evidence establishes what later visitors
support: the Indian of the Northwest Coast had no inborn desire
for or knowledge of intoxicating liquor, and his first reaction
to it was one of disgust. A few years of the maritime trade
completely changed him: he became inordinately fond of such
liquor, indulging in it to excess and becoming under its influence
a perfect demon.    It reminds us of Pope's lines:—
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated, needs but to be seen;
But seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
The pioneer maritime fur-trader, James Hanna, arrived at
Nootka Sound in the year 1785, seven years after Captain Cook's
visit. In the interval Spanish exploring expeditions had ranged
along our coast, but none had landed. It appears that at first
the maritime traders did not use liquor as a trade medium. Sea-
otter skins were then very plentiful, and the trading goods were
of the simplest: bars of iron, sheets of copper, kettles, pots and
pans, besides blue cloth blankets, beads, buttons, and trinkets.
The aim of the trader then was to seek out some Indian village
not before known, where the display of his wares would be like
the casting of an attractive fly upon the surface of a trout-filled
lake. The avidity of the natives for European manufactures,
the absence of opposition, and the carrying-on of the trade with
the canoes alongside whilst the vessel was hove to, miles from
shore, combined to prevent the use of intoxicating liquor as an
article of trade or even as an inducement. Apparently the only
liquor that Hanna, Meares, Strange, Portlock and Dixon, Colnett
and Duncan—the earliest maritime traders—had on their ships
was for the personal use of the officers and crew, and it was
strictly confined to such purpose.
The Spaniards, who were settled at Nootka Sound from 1789
until 1795, to their credit be it said, offered the Indians only tea,
coffee, and chocolate. Martinez in his manuscript diary states
that when he was about to leave Nootka Sound, on August 25,
1789, Maquinna, the head chief, came aboard the Princesa and
begged for a drink of " Cha," that is tea, of which he had become
quite fond. Malaspina, on August 27, 1791, on the eve of
his departure from Nootka, had a visit from Maquinna, whom
Roquefeuil calls " an importunate beggar," and records that, 160 F. W. Howay. July
" He took some cups of tea aboard the Atrevida, a custom already
established amongst his relations and subordinates."5 Valdes,
when at Neah Bay, in June, 1792, was visited by Tetacus, the
head chief of the vicinity.    He writes:—
When they presented him with a cup of chocolate, he gave proof of the
affection which he had for his wife, since, having found at the first sips
which he took that the taste was pleasant, he immediately moistened a piece
of bread with it and was insistent that she should share in the treat.6
The first record of a change in the natives' attitude towards
intoxicating liquor that I have met is dated July, 1790. Manuel
Quimper, in the Princesa Real, the Spanish name of Meares's
captured sloop Princess Royal, was lying at anchor in Neah Bay
when to his surprise arrived one of his Indian friends from
Clayoquot, who had come all the way, about 80 or 90 miles, to
visit him. The Indian embraced Quimper with great joy, saying
that he had left home two days before, merely to see him. " I was
most obliging to him," says Quimper, " and to prove how true
was my former friendship, I entertained him with wine and
biscuit of which he is very fond, proving by this that he had
much intercourse with other nations."7
Marchand, in 1791, wrote:—
It is not known that the Tchinkitanayans [Tlingit] make use of any fermented drink or any strong liquor, and the brandy of which they were prevailed on to make a trial, appeared not to be to their liking.8
In 1805, Langsdorff met in the neighbourhood of Sitka some
Tlingit Indians, of whom he says:—
Though they would like brandy very much, they reject it because they see
the effect it produces, and are afraid that, if deprived of their senses, they
should fall into the power of the Russians.
And again:—
Brandy, which is sometimes offered them by the Russians, they reject as
a scandalous liquor, depriving them of their senses.9
(5) Alejandro Malaspina, La Vuelta al Mundo, Madrid, 1885, p. 193.
(6) Viaje hecho por las Goletas Sutil y Mexicana, Madrid, 1802, p. 33.
English translation by Cecil Jane: A Spanish Voyage to Vancouver and
the North-West Coast of America, London, 1930, p. 29.
(7) Quimper's diary, quoted in Henry R. Wagner, Spanish Explorations
in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Santa Ana, Calif., 1933, p. 124.
(8) Etienne Marchand, A Voyage Round the World (8 vo. ed.), London,
1801,1., p. 340.
(9) G. H. Von Langsdorff, Voyages and Travels, Carlisle, 1817, pp. 396,
412. 1942 Liquor amongst the Indians. 161
And Ross Cox said:—
All the Indians on the Columbia entertain a strong aversion to ardent
spirits, which they regard as poison. They allege that slaves only drink to
excess; that drunkenness is degrading to free men.10
It appears, however, that the Indian's natural dislike of strong
liquor very quickly broke down under the constant temptation
to accept a drink in the spirit of bonne camaraderie. Marchand
expressed the pious hope that the "fatal liquor" which had
made such ravages amongst the natives of the eastern part of
the continent might not find entry on its western shores; and
his countryman, La Perouse, declared that if to their own vices
the Indians of the Coast should add " a knowledge of the use of
any inebriating liquor " he feared that the race would be entirely
annihilated. Having become acquainted with liquor by gift from
a trader friend, the Indian at first regarded good fellowship as
its proper environment. In 1791, when John Hoskins, the clerk
of the ship Columbia, of Boston, visited Wickananish, the chief
at Clayoquot, the latter expressed regret that he could not
welcome Hoskins with liquor, and said that if he had been
forewarned of the visit the deficiency would have been met.11
Evidently the Spaniards followed the practice of the other Europeans and began to offer liquor, usually wine, to the chiefs.
Thus, Galiano, in 1792, says that Maquinna " drank wine with
pleasure and in order that his mind might not be fogged left
others to determine the amount which he should drink of that
which he called ' Spanish water.' "12
In 1792 we find the first vessel that brought intoxicating
liquor to the Coast as a part of her trading media. The discredit
belongs to the French nation. In that year the French ship
La Flavie arrived at Nootka Sound, loaded with brandy "with
design of disposing of it in Kamschatka, to trade in skins and
to search for the Count de la Perouse," as Quadra says in his
manuscript journal. In reference to the alleged intention to
search for La Perouse the Viage remarks that " It seemed to
(10) Ross Cox, The Columbia River, 3rd edition, London, 1832, I., pp.
(11) Hoskins' narrative in F. W. Howay, Voyages of the " Columbia,"
Boston, 1942, p. 260.
(12) Viage Hecho por las Goletas Sutil y Mexicana, p. 17;  A Spanish
Voyage   ...   p. 17. 162 F. W. Howay. July
us that this purpose was very secondary "—a very pertinent
remark, for La Perouse was last heard of at Sydney, Australia.
It may be that the brandy was intended to find its principal
market in Siberia, but Haswell tells us that at Nootka Sound
La Flavie " sold a considerable quantity of spirituous liquors and
clothing for sea-otter skins."13 This is the first recorded sale
of liquor by the maritime traders to our Indians, and it will be
observed that it was brandy—strong stuff. In the same year
the Boston ship Margaret anchored in Friendly Cove, Nootka
Sound, in front of the quaint Spanish settlement. Her captain,
James Magee, was very ill, and Quadra, the kind-hearted Coman-
dante, granted him the use of a house during his illness.
" But before we were here long we found," says Edward Bell, the clerk of
the Chatham, one of Vancouver's ships, " that ill-health was not Mr. Magee's
only motive for remaining on shore here, for he was carrying on a most
profitable trade with the Spaniards & Seamen in Spirituous Liquors, generously charging only four Dollars a gallon for Yankee Rum that cost him
most probably about 2/- or half a crown per gallon."
Bell then continues:—
Indeed, the ill effects of this shameful trade were soon too great to pass
without taking notice of it, and endeavouring to put a stop to it. Our Seamen were continually drunk which from the badness of the liquor threw
them into fits of sickness; and Captn. Vancouver was at last oblig'd to take
measures that prevented any further trade of that nature with our people.14
It will be noticed that the writer of the above journal is silent
regarding any sale of this awful liquor to the natives, for whom
it was undoubtedly intended; nevertheless, it is difficult to believe
that some part of it, at least, did not reach them. Frequent
indulgence had conquered the original and inherent aversion.
We are now at the headwaters of the liquor traffic; the Indian
is started on his downward path.
When Vancouver anchored in Friendly Cove, in August, 1792,
Maquinna came to pay him a formal visit, but his superior rank
not being known to the sentinel, he was refused admittance to
the Discovery. The mistake being discovered he was invited on
board, complaining angrily of the affront to his savage dignity.
Quadra, who was also on the ship as a visitor, obligingly took
(13) Haswell's Second Log, in Voyages of the " Columbia," p. 347.
(14) "A New Vancouver Journal," Washington Historical Quarterly, V.
(1914), p. 224. 1942 Liquor amongst the Indians. 163
upon himself the task of explaining the error and smoothing the
ruffled feathers of the chief. Suitable presents placated him and
he was at last satisfied of the friendly intentions of the British
. . . but no sooner had he drank a few glasses of wine, than he renewed
the subject, regretted the Spaniards were about to quit the place, and
asserted that we should presently give it up to some other nation; by which
means himself and his people would be constantly disturbed and harassed
by new masters.1^
This is one of the first recorded instances of the effect of liquor
on the Indian, arousing in him forgotten grievances and latent
The maritime traders did not, at first, realize the great hold
that liquor had obtained on the natives, and until about 1800 did
not include it in their trade goods, but only used it as a means
of encouraging trade. In 1793, Captain Roberts, of the Boston
ship Jefferson, says of the Haidas of Queen Charlotte Islands:—
Jusqu' ici les liqueurs fortes sent peu desirees par eux; le cuivre, le fer,
sont ce qu'ils recherchent davantage:  particulierement le cuivre en feuillcis
But six years later R. J. Cleveland says that when the Caroline
was lying at anchor near Rose Point, Queen Charlotte Islands,
the son-in-law of Conehaw, a Haida chief of Eaigani, approached
the cutter and at his earnest solicitation was invited on board.
We invited him into the cabin, and gave him a glass of wine, which pleased
him so much that he soon asked for another.17
The evidence shows that in the 1790's the Indian everywhere
on the coast had acquired a taste for intoxicating liquor. In
August, 1793, when Vancouver was near Cholmondeley Sound,
Clarence Strait, in southern Alaska, he gave the Haida chiefs
bread and molasses—always a great treat to the Indians. In
return they presented to him a bladder of whale-oil, extolling
its superior qualities and claiming that it was the equal of
treacle; but the odour was so obnoxious that Vancouver excused
himself from taking even a spoonful.    To clear himself from
(15) Captain George Vancouver, A Voyage of Discovery, 8vo. edition,
London, 1801, II., p. 337.
(16) Rochefoucald-Liancourt, Voyage dans les Etats-Unis,  Paris, An
VII. [1800], III., p. 25.
(17) Richard J. Cleveland, Voyages and Commercial Enterprises of the
Sons of New England, New York, 1855, p. 107. 164 F. W. Howay. July
this seeming impoliteness he offered them " a large glass of rum,
a luxury to which they seemed by no means strangers."18 Again,
in 1794, at Cook Inlet—a place long frequented by Russian and
other traders—Vancouver was visited by a young man and a
girl, in a skin canoe. Both showed by their conduct that they
were acquainted with European liquors and customs. They came
on board the Discovery without the least hesitation.
The man took his dinner without the least ceremony, drank brandy, and
accepted such presents as were made him, but seemed to prefer snuff and
silk handkerchiefs to everything else.19
A few days later, in the same vicinity, three natives paddled to
the ship, and on coming aboard made signs for snuff and tobacco;
on receiving them they expressed regret that they had nothing
to offer in return.
At dinner they did not make the least scruple of partaking of our repast,
with such wine and liquors as were offered to them; though of these they
drank very sparingly, seeming to be well aware of their powerful effect.20
In June, 1795, Captain Charles Bishop, in the Ruby, was at
Banks Island, where he met the chief Shakes, and regaled him,
as he informs us in his manuscript journal, with " biscuits and
butter, and a few glasses of wine, and the trade commenced."
Up to this point, with the exception of the French ship La
Flavie and the Boston ship Margaret, the maritime traders had
used liquor, not as a trade medium, but as a concomitant of trade,
and as a means of ingratiating themselves with the natives. By
about 1800 the keen competition for sea-otter skins had led to
the general introduction of intoxicating liquor as an article of
barter, for which the ground had been well prepared. In the
fifteen years that had intervened since Hanna's arrival in 1785
the whole system had changed: no longer was the trade carried
on while the ship lay-to anywhere from 3 to 6 miles offshore;
no longer was entry upon the vessel's deck confined to the chiefs
or prominent persons—every native had come to regard it as his
right to be on board when disposing of his skins; no longer was
trade confined to iron bars, sheets of copper, cloth, blankets,
beads, buttons, bangles, and trinkets.    The trading ships now
(18) Vancouver, op. cit., IV., p. 225.
(19) Ibid., V., p. 151.
(20) Ibid., V., p. 162. 1942 Liquor amongst the Indians. 165
carried an assorted cargo of European manufactures; they were
a combination of liquor store and modern department store, aiming to supply every need, every fancy, of the fickle native. They
even dealt in the products of the Coast itself: clamons (native
armour of tanned elk or moose hide), shrowton (grease extracted
by the natives of the Nass River from the small fish, oolachan),
haiqua (the dentalium shell), and slaves. All these the traders
obtained from tribes having them in quantity, and carried for
sale to distant tribes. On board every trading vessel as a part
of her goods for barter were arms and ammunition, and casks—
many casks—of New England and West Indian rum, whether
shown on her manifest or not. Dr. S. E. Morison, a very
accurate and reliable authority, fell into a sad error when he
New England rum, that ancient medium for savage barter, is curiously
absent from the Northwest fur trade. Molasses and ship-biscuit were used
instead of liquor to treat the natives.21
After 1800 the only vessels in the maritime trade were American,
usually from Boston; and so notorious was the fact that they
were carrying large stocks of liquor that as early as 1808 the
Russian Government complained of their traffic with the natives
in fire-arms and " fire-water "—certainly a dangerous combination. The Columbia, of Boston, on her second voyage had on
board three hogsheads (311 gallons) of New England rum, two
hogsheads (225 gallons) of West Indian rum, and, possibly, four
more hogsheads (451 gallons) of New England rum, together
with half a ton of powder and about 200 muskets. Jewitt
informs us that the Boston, at the time of her capture in 1803,
had as part of her trading-goods nearly twenty puncheons of
rum, about 2,000 gallons. Fortunately the Boston was burned
before the Indians had secured more than a case of gin and one
tierce (about 35 gallons) of rum, " with which," says he, " they
were highly delighted, as they have become very fond of spirituous liquors since their intercourse with the whites." And they
drank so freely of it
(21)  Samuel Eliot Morison, The Maritime History of Massachusetts,
1788-1860, Boston, 1921, p. 57. 166 F. W. Howay. July
. . . that in a short time they became so extremely wild and frantic that
Thompson and myself, apprehensive for our safety, thought it prudent to
retire privately into the woods, where we continued till past midnight.22
The Indian women, who he says then drank nothing but
water, concluding also that discretion was the better part of
valour, had fled before the orgy commenced. When Jewitt and
his companion returned they found the Indians stretched out on
the ground in a state of complete intoxication. Jewitt seized
the opportunity of protecting himself by boring a hole in the
cask, and in the morning it was empty. He had saved a case of
port wine, " which the Indians are not fond of," he says, probably because it was not ardent enough to produce intoxication
The Columbia River region, being infrequently visited by
the maritime fur-traders and thus free from any struggle for
trade, was the last part of the Coast to be reached by the traffic
in intoxicating liquor. James G. Swan, who came to Shoalwater
Bay in 1852, writes:—
They are all extravagantly fond of ardent spirits, and are not particular
what kind they have, provided it is strong, and gets them drunk quickly.
This habit they have acquired since the visit of Lewis and Clark in 1805,
for they state that they had not observed any liquors of an intoxicating
kind used among any of the Indians west of the Rocky Mountains.   .   .   .
An old woman told him that liquor was introduced amongst the
Chinooks by a person whom from her description Swan thought
to be Lieutenant Broughton, of H.M.S. Chatham, who was in the
Columbia River in 1793—sixty years before Swan arrived. The
old woman must have been but a small child at the time. However she said that
They drank some rum out of a wine-glass—how much she did not recollect;
but she did recollect that they got drunk, and were so scared at the strange
feeling that they ran into the woods and hid till they were sober.
This is just another example of the introduction of liquor in the
spirit of good comradeship; for if the person were Broughton
he had nothing to gain by the act, and nothing to sell to the
natives.    Swan continues:—
They have been apt learners since that time, and now will do any thing for
the sake of whisky.    Old Carcumcum [the old woman] said they had but
(22)  The Adventures of John Jewitt, edited by Robert Brown, London,
1896, pp. 84 ff. 1942 Liquor amongst the Indians. 167
a very little rum from the traders till the settlement of Astoria, when they
began to get a little more used to it.28
We have now traced the stream of liquor amongst the natives
of the Coast from its source in the friendly glass of wine given
by the explorer simply for good fellowship, or by the maritime
trader to ingratiate himself and enable him more easily to do
business with the Indian; we have seen the Indian's original
antipathy and disgust change rapidly to fondness for and intense
desire for intoxicants; and we have seen the casual friendly
glass replaced by thousands of gallons of liquor sent out as the
best trade medium. The deleterious and dangerous effects upon
the Indians are shown by Jewitt's description of the wild
debauch that followed the looting of the Boston. Everywhere
the effect was the same. But the unrestrained maritime traders,
seeking only present gains, utterly oblivious of the terrible
results, finding it a potent trade medium continued to bring the
" fire-water."
The land fur-traders on the contrary, having permanent
trading-posts and a continuing interest in the fur-harvest which
the ephemeral maritime traders lacked, saw the necessity of
refraining from the use of liquor in their relations with the
Indians. In 1812 the representatives of the North West Company and the Pacific Fur Company entered into a compact " to
abstain from giving the Indians any spirituous liquors, to which
both parties strictly adhered."24 And thirty years later the
Russian American Company and the Hudson's Bay Company
agreed not to use liquor in any way in the fur-trade with the
natives, unless made necessary by the presence of " opposition "
on the Coast, which meant in reality the trading vessels from
Boston, the " Boston pedlars," as they were sometimes deprecat-
ingly called.
To complete the circle with a contemporary picture of the
effect of intoxicating liquor on the Indian, I am reproducing,
with the kind permission of the Provincial Archivist, Dr. W. F.
Tolmie's eye-witness account of the wild debauch when in 1834
the Hudson's Bay Company, to ensure the safety of its people in
(23) James G. Swan, Three Years at Shoal-water Bay, New York, 1857,
pp. 155 ff.
(24) Cox, op. cit., I., p. 180. 168 F. W. HOWAY. July
abandoning the old Fort Simpson, gave rein to the Indian's
acquired taste for that liquor.25
On Saturday morning [August 30, 1834] rum had been sold to the
Indians & some of them getting intoxicated were very turbulent & from
noon till sunset when we embarked we were all under arms & in momentary
expectation of having to fight our way on board [the Dryad] or being
butchered on the spot. They attempted frequently to beat down the slight
barricade raised on the site of the bastions, but were deterred on seeing us
ready with firearms to send a volley among the intruders. About a dozen
or twenty indians with muskets were posted on a hill immediately behind
from whence they could fire with deadly effect into the Fort at any part.
Outside the pickets they were numerous & armed with guns, boarding pikes
& knives & endeavouring by their savage whoops & yells to intimidate us.
Remained quite in this state for sometime but owing to a temporary lull in
the clamor outside, ventured to send a few articles to the boats which were
waiting at the beach one or two had passed down with wooden utensils
unmolested—no indians appearing in sight—another man was proceeding
with a barrel, full of miscellaneous articles, & unheaded [sic] when [all] at
once several armed villains rushed out from amongst the bushes—& one
more inebriated & thence more daring than the rest, seized the barrel &
with drawn dagger drove the man from his charge—he returned to the fort
& first meeting me I went out but seeing the savage advancing with his
knife aloft in a menacing attitude I stepped slowly to the gate & procured
a cutlass from the doorkeeper. Thus armed I walked towards the Indian
who was surrounded by his friends persuading him to desist & at the same
time Kennedy issued & addressed the savages while the barrel was rolled to
the beach in the meantime without molestation. Soon after a gun was fired
from the woods at one of the people employed at the strand, the ball
whizzing past his ear. Every thing of value having been already embarked,
no further attempts were made to ship what remained. Red Shirt the
indian just mentioned, was, to prevent his doing mischief outside, admitted
into the Fort & was immediately assailed by Caxetan the chief with a volley
of abuse for his conduct. From words they soon came to blows. Red
Shirt's dagger was prevented from doing mischief by two sober indians
Jones & Couguele, but being a tough active fellow he still retained it in his
grasp & managed with the other hand most cruelly to abuse Caxetan's
visage who, on his part fought bravely tooth & nail, considerably damaging
his opponents visual organs. Mr Ogden at length got Caxetan & Jones to
accompany him on board & once, there retained them as hostages for our
safety. Now prepared to abandon the Fort & held a debate as to the propriety of leaving behind a cask containing 25 gallons Indian Rum. It was
left, Kennedy being the only person who wished to take it along with us.
Took the precaution of drawing the priming from all the superfluous muskets after each man had been provided with one.   As soon as the gate was
(25)  Quoted from the original Private Diary of William Fraser Tolmie,
August, 1833-December, 1835, MS., Archives of B.C. 1942 Liquor amongst the Indians. 169
opened, the armed natives collected around. I went out first & stood at the
threshold until the last person had issued. The natives then rushed in to
pillage & we reached the boats unmolested. Soon after to our astonishment,
Caxetan & Jones from the bank shouted to us, that they wished us to send
the boat for the Rum & on our refusing, offerred [sic] to bring it on board
themselves. They were then told to appropriate it to themselves & on this
intelligence they brought the rum on board the vessel to be divided by us.
This act proved them to be possessed of more prudence & foresight than
we would have given them credit for. Had the division been made amongst
themselves bloodshed would in all likelihood have ensued. All night a constant hammering was kept up in the deserted fort & dawn revealed several
gaps in the pickets made by those who were intent on procuring the iron
spikes which attached the pickets to the bars. It blew a NE We set sail sail
[sic] soon after daybreak bidding adieu without regret to the inhospitable
regions of Nass & in the evening after a pleasant sail, anchored in McLoughlin's Harbour at the new establishment.
F. W. Howay.
New Westminster, B.C. THE KLONDIKE RUSH.*
The river Yukon has its source only 15 miles inland from the
tidal waters of the Lynn Canal, in southeastern Alaska, and
flows from there in a great arc northwestward to St. Michael,
on Bering Sea. The Yukon was first made known by the exploration of Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka1 in 1883 and it was made
famous by the discoveries of gold in 1896.
Previously the upper watershed of the Yukon constituted a
part of the Northwest Territories. After the gold-rush, in 1898,
the region became a separate Territory. It covers 207,076 square
This northern land had been prospected and mined for gold
in a small way long before the days of the Klondike rush. More
than a century earlier the occurrence of gold was known to the
Russians, when they owned Alaska, but they discouraged the
search for the precious metal for fear that it might conflict with
their lucrative fur trade. The search for peltry likewise brought
the far-ranging trappers of the Hudson's Bay Company into
the region. In 1848 Robert Campbell established an outpost at
Fort Selkirk, at the junction of the Pelly and Lewes rivers, two
main tributaries of the upper Yukon. The fort, or stockade, was
burned in 1852 by Indians of the Chilkat tribe from southeastern
Alaska.2 These truculent aborigines controlled the trade with
the interior through the Lynn Canal and exacted tribute from
any incoming trapper or miner. They checked intrusion until
in 1878 a party of nineteen resolute Americans led by Edmund
Bean, and protected by a small American gunboat from Sitka,
forced their way ashore and compelled the Chilkats to make an
agreement allowing prospectors to proceed unmolested over the
Dyea Pass into the hinterland.3
* A paper read before the Victoria Section of the British Columbia Historical Association, April 28, 1942.
(1) Frederick Schwatka, Along Alaska's Great River, New York, 1885,
(2) George Bryce, " Sketch of the Life and Discoveries of Robert Campbell," Transactions of the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba, lii.,
1898, pp. 11-14.
(3) J. E. Spurr, Through the Yukon Gold Diggings, Boston, 1900, p. 37.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No. 3.
2 171 172 T. A. RICKARD. July
The first diggings in the Yukon valley were started on the
Stewart River, where some rich bars were discovered in 1885,
but news of coarse gold having been found by Howard Franklin
at Forty Mile drew the prospectors thither in 1886.4 Forty Mile
took its name from the fact that it was supposed to be that distance down the river from Fort Reliance, another Hudson's Bay
outpost established in 1873 on the Yukon, only 6 miles below the
later site of Dawson. For some time the Forty Mile mining
camp was believed to be on the Yukon-Alaska boundary, but it
is known now that the international line is 14 miles to the west.
These diggings produced gold on a small scale until 1893. Birch
Creek was the next locality to attract prospectors, and soon
afterward gold was found on Glacier, Miller, and Mission creeks,
all of them lower down the Yukon in Alaskan territory. A little
gold had been gathered also along streams tributary to the Thron
Duik, an Indian name meaning " plenty of fish," which later was
changed by the prospectors to Klondike. The vast wilderness
had been penetrated by a few intrepid gold-seekers, but their
findings had been insignificant and the world outside had ignored
their doings.
Then suddenly, and unexpectedly, came the astounding news
that a rich goldfield, a veritable Eldorado, had been discovered
in the North. A bugle-call to adventure was heard across the
The discovery that started the stampede was made by Carmack in 1896. George Washington Carmack, as his name suggests, was an American; he was a Californian by birth and had
spent thirteen years in Alaska before he went up the Yukon into
Canadian territory. In the early part of July, 1896, Carmack
came to the place, now the site of Dawson, where the Klondike
River enters the Yukon.5 With him were two Tagish Indians,
known as Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. He had been with
them for many years and together they had done some prospecting. They were now engaged in fishing. A month later,
Carmack decided to ascend the Klondike and explore the river-
(4) T. A. Rickard, A History of American Mining, New York and London, 1932, p. 46.
(5) T. A. Rickard, Through the Yukon and Alaska, San Francisco, 1909,
p. 189 ff. 1942 The Klondike Rush. 173
bed for gold. He was attracted by the schist debris that he saw
at the mouth of the river, because it reminded him of similar
conditions he had seen on Miller and Glacier creeks, where profitable diggings had been developed. Shortly before starting from
the fishing-camp, a man paddled to the shore in a canoe and
greeted him. It was Robert Henderson, whom he knew well.
This Nova Scotian prospector told him that he was going to
a creek on the other side of the Dome, a prominent hill that
separated the Klondike and Indian rivers, where he had found
some gold-bearing gravel. When Carmack asked if there was
any chance to locate a claim, Henderson replied that there was
for him, but not for any " damned Siwashes," looking askance
at the Indians. These heard, understood, and deeply resented
the insult. In his own account Carmack6 says that the two
Indians were fine fellows, but he does not refer to the fact that
at the time he was living with their sister, known as Kate.
Therefore he was a " squaw-man."
The next day Carmack and his Indian comrades poled their
boat 2 miles up the Klondike. Then they disembarked and shouldered their packs, proceeding on foot along the bank of the river
for a mile until they came to a creek that showed quartz and
schist. This was known then as Rabbit Creek. Soon they came
to a place where the stream made a bend, and below it was a bar
of gravel. It was a likely spot for gold. Dropping his load,
Carmack took a pan to the water's edge and tested the ground.
It yielded some nice " colours," or particles of gold. The party
of three went farther up the creek and detected gold in several
places. Then they camped for the night. Next morning they
continued their way up the creek, testing the gravel on the edge
of the stream as they proceeded. They passed the confluence of
Eldorado Creek and turned westward along the ridge. Here
Jim shot a small black bear. Then they went to the Dome, from
which they could see the smoke from Henderson's camp on Gold
Bottom, a branch of Hunker Creek. They went down thither,
and Henderson greeted Carmack in a friendly fashion. Four
men were at work. Carmack asked permission to pan the gravel,
and noted that it was relatively poor, whereupon he showed
(6)  George W. Carmack, My Experiences in the Yukon (edited by Marguerite P. Carmack), n.p., 1933, p. 7. 174 T. A. RICKARD. July
them the gold he had obtained on Rabbit Creek and invited them
to return with him to locate claims. They " did not seem to be
interested," Carmack says. His inference was that Henderson
declined to go because of his prejudice against the Indians. " So
his obstinacy," adds Carmack, " lost him a fortune."7
The Carmack party did not linger at Henderson's camp; they
returned to Rabbit Creek and resumed their prospecting. At
length they came to a place where a long strip of bed-rock, 10 or
12 feet wide, lay exposed. It looked promising. Throwing his
pack off his tired shoulders, Carmack walked to the rim, and
there, on the surface, he saw " a nugget about the size of a dime."
He put it between his teeth and bit it. This is a good test for
gold, which is malleable. Then he called for pick and shovel.
With the latter he turned over some of the loose bed-rock, and
saw more gold in crevices. " I could see the raw gold laying
thick between the flaky slabs, like cheese sandwiches,"8 is Car-
mack's graphic description. A further test by panning was
rewarded by the finding of more coarse gold.
The party of three thereupon performed a dance around the
pan. They were gloriously happy. Then they sat down and
had a smoke. " After resting a few minutes," Carmack says,
" I washed a few more pans and filled an empty shotgun cartridge shell full of coarse gold, after which we crossed the creek
and made camp on the flat."9 They started a fire and roasted
their bear meat. A pot of tea was brewed. Later they smoked
their pipes and slept the sleep of tired men.
Next morning, Carmack, with his axe, blazed a spruce-tree,
on which he wrote his location notice:
To Whom it May Concern:
I do, this day, locate and claim, by right of discovery, five hundred feet, running up stream from this notice.    Located this
17th day of August, 1896.
G. W. Carmack."
It will be remarked that he took his claim up-stream from the
place of discovery, because usually the gold is coarser in that
direction.   The three men then, with a 50-foot tape, measured
(7) ibid., p.11.
(8) Ibid.,p.lS.
(9) Ibid.,p. 13.
(10) Ibid., p. 13. 1942 The Klondike Rush. 175
the length of the claim, together with 500 feet more for Jim
up-stream. Going back to the discovery-point, they located
another similar claim down-stream for Carmack and beyond it
one for Charlie. Next Carmack tore a piece of bark from a
birch tree and wrote upon it the words: " I name this creek
' Bonanza.' George Carmack."11 This he fastened to the discovery-stake and thus Rabbit Creek was renamed. Then the
three happy prospectors shouldered their packs and returned
to their camp at the mouth of the Klondike, 11 miles distant.
Next day Carmack and Charlie went in a boat down the Yukon
to register their claims at Forty Mile, where Captain A. Con-
stantine, in command of nineteen men of the North-West
Mounted Police, was acting as Mining Recorder.
There has been much controversy concerning the first discovery of gold in the Klondike valley. William Ogilvie, Commissioner for the Yukon, and other Canadians that have written
on the subject exhibit some prejudice against Carmack, largely
because he was an American; whereas his rival for the honour,
Robert Henderson, was a Canadian. Ogilvie suggests that Carmack was disreputable and untruthful. This is rendered improbable by the fact that he was a member of the Masonic order at
Seattle. He was a man of fairly good education, as his pamphlet
shows. When he gained his fortune suddenly, he was only 36
years of age. Two years later he abandoned his Indian mate,
and married an attractive and intelligent American woman,
Marguerite Safteg, with whom he lived happily until his death
in 1922, at the age of 62. Money did not spoil him, which is
proof of character; he and his wife travelled widely and made
the most of their good luck in a sensible and temperate manner.
Ogilvie says that Carmack cannot properly be credited with
the discovery of the Klondike gold because he could not have
reached Forty Mile until August 21, and meanwhile others had
staked claims on Bonanza Creek without his knowledge.12 Carmack and Charlie went down the river in a boat, not on a raft,
as Ogilvie states. Before starting, Carmack told two men about
his discovery;   and when going down the river, he met four
(11) Ibid., p. 14.
(12) William Ogilvie, Early Days on the Yukon, Ottawa, 1913, pp. 115-
136. 176 T. A. Rickard. July
others towing a boat. To them also he gave the good news.
It was these men that located claims along Bonanza Creek on
August 19 and 20. As Carmack was a squaw-man, he was
depreciated by the diggers, although it is fair to say that a man
that was living with an Indian girl should not have lost caste
as much as one that bought a harlot for a wife in a dancing-
saloon at Dawson, as was done by many of the lucky diggers
during the boom days. Bob Henderson was liked by his fellows
and sympathy went to him when he made his claim as the discoverer. The Canadian Government was favourable to him and
awarded him a pension of $200 per month. Nevertheless it is
well known that gold was found in the tributary streams of the
Yukon, and even in the Klondike valley, before either Carmack
or Henderson came thither. The discovery made by Henderson
on Gold Bottom was of no consequence either then or thereafter.
The point is that the discovery that started the stampede, and
the intensive exploitation of the river-gravels in the Yukon basin,
was the one made by Carmack, because it was rich enough to
appeal to the imagination and to cause an excited migration as
soon as it became known.
The story of the discovery of gold in California is analogous.
The Indians picked up gold and gave it to the padres during the
Mexican regime; placer-diggings were worked at San Fernando,
near Los Angeles, for six years before James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's mill, near Coloma, on January 24, 1848.
The preceding discoveries were of no consequence, whereas
Marshall's discovery incited a great rush and started the intensive search for gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
To Columbus is given the credit of discovering the New
World, although it is known that the Norsemen had reached the
North American coast five centuries earlier. They found an
inhospitable land, and their discovery proved of little consequence; whereas the Spaniards, led by Columbus, found regions
rich in vegetal and mineral products. His exploration opened
the portals of the New World; therefore his was the discovery.
News concerning the gold discoveries on the edge of the
Arctic did not reach the outside world until many months had
elapsed. The first announcement appeared in the form of gold-
laden diggers arriving on a ship at San Francisco.   On July 14, 1942 The Klondike Rush. 177
1897, the little steamer Excelsior brought half a million dollars
in gold-dust and a number of miners, who told the tale of a fabulously rich goldfield in the Far North. Three days later the Portland reached Seattle with a richer freight in gold and diggers.
On board her was more than a million dollars in gold, the winnings of sixty-eight lucky men. At once the newspapers of the
Pacific Coast broke into hysteric descriptions; they magnified
the few facts available into sensational tales that spread across
the continent like a prairie fire. An irresponsible press was
abetted eagerly by the shipping companies and the merchants
that saw their chance for a feverish trade during the stampede
that was impending. The Klondike region was almost unknown
to the public; in London it was supposed to be in British Columbia;  in New York it was supposed to be in Alaska.
The hiatus of eleven months between the discovery of gold
and the announcement of the news to the outside world is a
remarkable feature of the Klondike rush. Late in November,
1896, a small party headed by Captain William Moore went from
the diggings to the coast at Juneau. They carried letters from
William Ogilvie, then in charge of the boundary survey. He was
stationed at Cudahy, a trading-post half a mile below Forty Mile.
In January, Thomas O'Brien started for the outside and reached
Juneau with more letters from Ogilvie to be forwarded to
Ottawa.13 These letters reached Ottawa probably in March. His
first reference to the discoveries appears under date of September
6, 1896. Three months later, on December 9, Ogilvie wrote:
"... now it is certain that millions will be taken out of the
district in the next few years."14 This information was not
made public until, in June, 1897, the Dominion Government
issued a pamphlet entitled Information respecting the Yukon
District.15   It contained Ogilvie's letters.
Until the summer of 1897 but little information was available
as to the extent of the new goldfields, for the simple reason that
the extraction of the gold from the gravel was impracticable
while the streams were frozen.    The seasonal frost came soon
(13) Ibid., pp. 212-213.
(14) Department of Interior, Information respecting the Yukon District,
Ottawa, 1897, p. 60.
(15) Ibid., passim.    A prefatory note is dated June 8, 1897. 178 T. A. RICKARD. July
after the first discoveries were made. The first tests by panning
proved the ground to be rich, but its extent could not be determined because no water was available. During the winter the
diggers could only excavate holes by aid of wood fires and then
accumulate the gravel in dumps ready for washing when the
thaw began, in the following May. Therefore no proper idea
of the importance of the discoveries on the creeks could be
formed until eight or nine months had passed. Thus the first
conclusive information came with the successful diggers on the
returning ships in July, 1897.
The arrival of the treasure-laden ships incited a tremendous
stampede to the Klondike diggings. The rush was at its maximum when the snows of winter had fallen on the intervening
wilderness. Some of the adventurers went by water, from Seattle or San Francisco, to the mouth of the Yukon, at St. Michael,
and thence by paddle-steamer up the river to Dawson. That
was a comparatively slow and easy journey, even if it was
marked by overcrowding and underfeeding. But most of the
men, in an urgent hurry to reach the diggings before all the
gold had been gathered, went by way of the passes over the Coast
Range and then down the upper Yukon. They travelled by
steamer to the head of Lynn Canal, which divides into two inlets,
one leading to Skagway and the other to Dyea, two petty hamlets
that soon grew into crowded camps. Each served as an entry
to a pass—from Dyea to the Chilkoot and from Skagway to the
White Pass. From Dyea the distance to Lake Bennett, at the
source of the Yukon was 30 miles; from Skagway, 42 miles.
The latter route was preferred because it was less steep than
the other.   The summit is 2,886 feet above tide-water.
Both Dyea and Skagway became dens of iniquity in which
gun-men of the American frontier type victimized and murdered many of the inexperienced gold-seekers. At Skagway
a ruffian named Soapy Smith, the leader of a gang of 150 desperadoes, dominated the town and did much as he pleased. The
law was held in derision. Nevertheless, and in sharp contrast,
on the other side of the pass, life and property were safe. Why?
Because the summit marked the boundary of Canada, and once
within the territory of the Dominion the adventurers found
themselves protected by an incorruptible police.   A detachment 1942 The Klondike Rush. 179
of the North-West Mounted Police was stationed there, to collect customs duties, and remained there despite the rigour of
the winter and the attacks of furious snowstorms. And when
the swarm of gold-seekers reached Dawson they found the same
police in control, ready to act with courage, intelligence, and
kindness, for among their duties was the care of those disabled
by illness or accident.16
During the winter of 1897 no less than 33,000 men and
women went over the passes. Owing to the difficulty of transferring their equipment across the range after the snow had
fallen, thousands of them were stalled at Dyea, Skagway, and
White Pass City. These mushroom camps became badly congested. The conditions of living were wretched; dissipation,
poor food, excitement, and inadequate clothing combined to decimate the throng. In April, 1898, sixty-three men were killed
by a snowslide on the Chilkoot trail. Other snowslides took their
toll of life. During the winter forty-six died of spinal meningitis, caused by overexertion and exposure. Many young men
from decent homes were victimized; they found themselves in
a " wide-open " town, with saloons, dance-halls, and gambling-
dens in full swing; they easily went wrong and spent all their
stake money. These never reached Eldorado; most of them
crossed that far range from which no traveller returns.
The ascent of the passes and the descent of the other side
was made arduous by the fact that the adventurer had to carry
his equipment, the total weight of which averaged 1 ton. The
loads belonging to parties of two or three men required many
trips up and down the pass. The first and last method of transport is human porterage. It is the load, as well as the pace, that
kills. Many men that had never carried more than a few pounds
on a good road felt heavily burdened with 80, 60, or even 50
pounds when trudging over a trail that was rocky, boggy, or
snow-covered.17 At first a few Indians were available as porters,
at the rate of 50 cents per pound. Later horses were employed,
and the carcasses of 3,000 of them were strewn along the trail,
spoiling the mountain-air with their stench.
(16) Colonel S. B. Steele, Forty Years in Canada, Toronto, 1914, pp.
(17) Angelo Heilprin, Alaska and the Klondike, London, 1899, p. 176. 180 T. A. RICKARD. July
The eager mob that climbed the passes during the first winter
and spring of the rush made a pathetic spectacle. With a harness
over his shoulder, carrying a pack or tugging a sled heavily
loaded, with eyes bulging, sweating, swearing, the " musher "
would advance a few miles and then deposit his load. While
he returned for more, his partner stood on guard. Usually the
Klondikers worked in parties of two or three, and even then it
might be weeks before they had carried all their belongings over
the summit. After a day of continuous toil, these men found
shelter in a bare shack or in a flimsy tent. This was dangerous,
although it was not unusually cold during the winter of the first
rush, the lowest temperature being only five degrees below zero
in February of 1898. Nevertheless, the incoming " tenderfeet "
suffered severely, while the seasoned " sourdoughs " returning,
from Dawson were mushing at a temperature much lower,
sleeping in tents, and travelling comfortably. The terms
" tenderfoot" and " sourdough," for newcomers and seasoned
men respectively, explain themselves. To " mush " is to walk;
the word being derived from the French marcher, brought into
the Northwest by the coureurs de bois from Quebec.
If the unholy pilgrimage to Dawson was marked by the horrors of privation and death, it was largely due to the inexperience of the pilgrims. Among them were old men and immature
boys; also women, both old and young. As a matter of fact,
the ascent of either pass would constitute a pleasant excursion
for a vigorous man accustomed to the mountains and unburdened
by the supplies needed by the prospector on his way to diggings
570 miles distant. Most of the men, and women, that faced the
trail were unfamiliar with snow and with mountain-climbing.
People from the cities, unused to open-air life, unaccustomed to
carrying loads, wholly ignorant of how to take care of themselves, in a frenzy to reach Eldorado, were sure to get into
trouble on a rough trail crowded with others like themselves.
In short, the stampede was composed largely of persons unfitted
by physique and temperament for the hardships of the northern
frontier; it was a mob mainly of inexperienced people, without
a directing hand, without any organization. If properly organized under competent leaders, the whole of the feverish migra- 1942 The Klondike Rush. 181
tion might have been effected with a fraction of the labour spent
and the hardships endured.
After surmounting the Coast Range and arriving at the lakes
—Bennett, Lindeman, and Tushai—at the head of the Yukon
watershed, the adventurers had to procure boats of some kind
for the transport of themselves and their equipment down 500
miles of river. A few of them had brought sectional boats or
canoes that could be put together without delay, but most of
them had to construct a craft of some kind. Rafts sufficed in
many cases. A large concourse was camped for a while in tents
and shacks on the lake-shores while the work was in progress.
Usually two men were sent ahead over the passes to cut timber
and prepare lumber for the boat-building. They had to go several
miles up the valleys to find the trees, spruce and pine, and then
float the logs down the stream. A saw-pit was prepared, and
with whip-saws they cut the planks, 9 or 10 inches wide. Later
a sawmill became available at Lake Bennett and boats were made
under contract at prices ranging from $250 to $500.18
When the vessel was completed, the seams were caulked
with oakum and pitch. As the lumber was green, the boats
leaked like sieves at first, but the load was placed on the cross-
ribs and thus was kept dry. As soon as the boats were ready
the parties of men started down the lake with salvoes of revolver-
shots to salute them. A spritsail was hoisted if the wind was
favourable. In the late summer of 1897 there was a race to get
to Eldorado; it was a race also against the oncoming winter,
which closes the Yukon and its tributaries for eight months in
the year.
The miners at Forty Mile were the first to reach the rich
diggings on the creeks tributary to the Klondike River. Then
those at Circle City and other camps on the lower Yukon came
up the river to peg their claims. Bonanza Creek was soon staked
into the 80's above and the 60's below discovery; that is to say,
more than 140 claims had been located. The other creeks, such
as Hunker and Eldorado, were likewise plastered with locations;
so that by the time the adventurers from the " outside " arrived
(18) Tappan Adney, The Klondike Stampede, New York and London,
1900, pp. 120-123. Adney was the special correspondent of Harper's Weekly
in the Klondike. 182 T. A. Rickard. July
on the scene, they found that most of the rich ground had passed
into the possession of the old-timers. Many of the newcomers
were bitterly disappointed, and it remained for most of them to
accept employment by those already at work.
Nevertheless, there were more discoveries to be made, even
by those inexperienced in placer-mining. Late in the summer
of 1897 a greenhorn went up Eldorado Creek in search of a
place to start work. He encountered a group of men on the
claim known as No. 18 Eldorado, and asked where he could stake
a claim for himself. They, as a joke, told him to go to the top
of the hill above Bonanza Creek. He did, and dug a pit in which
he struck bed-rock, where he found some coarse gold. Then he
started to drive a tunnel into the gravel and uncovered the alluvial channel that became celebrated as the White Drift. The
hill was named " Cheechako " or " greenhorn," now a famous
part of the Klondike goldfield.19 The bench claims on this deposit
proved almost uniformly rich.
Dawson was a rip-roaring town. Gold was gathered rapidly,
and spent recklessly. Payments were made in gold-dust, which
was poured from the miner's " poke," or leather bag, into the
pan of a pair of scales upon the counter of the store or the bar
of a saloon. Usually the dust was valued at $16 per ounce; that
is, it was rated at four-fifths pure. The saloon served as a
meeting-place for relaxation and for business transactions. It
was lighted with oil-lamps and kept warm with large stoves,
made of oil-drums into which logs were thrust. The doors of
the saloon were never closed. Vice and drunkenness were
rampant. Strong drinks and scantily clad women provided the
enjoyment the diggers desired. On the ground floor was the
bar and the gambling-room, where roulette and poker were
played. Upstairs were bedrooms, ready for orgies beyond belief.
The dancing women in these places received a salary and also
a commission on the drinks ordered by their male companions.
In the first rush only the worst kind of harlots came to Dawson;
they were the rejects of the nearest big cities, such as Seattle,
Portland, and San Francisco.   Some of the prostitutes were well
(19)  Major Neville A. D. Armstrong, Yukon Yesterdays, London, 1936,
pp. 62-86. 1942 The Klondike Rush. 183
educated and shrewd; they left the Klondike with lots of money;
others married lucky diggers; many died of disease; a few
committed suicide.
There was no romance in this hectic and sordid life. The
real glamour was in the gulches, where energetic men wrestled
with the forces of nature to win the gold from the frozen gravel.
At first, on the edge of the stream, the digger found gravel that
he could remove with pick and shovel, and then extract the gold
by washing in a rocker or sluice-box. But a little more digging
disclosed the fact that the gravel was frozen. The condition was
unfamiliar; it was wholly unlike that faced by the argonauts of
California and Australia. The Yukon valley was still in the grip
of a glacial period; that is to say, the summer heat failed to
overcome the winter cold, and the ground was frozen to an
unknown depth. Even drill-holes 200 feet deep did not penetrate below the frost. The surface was covered with moss, the
tundra of the Russians, and beneath this came a blanket of
frozen mould, which when thawed turned into black mud. Under
this was the gravel, also frozen solid, because it had contained
water. It was impracticable to reach bed-rock by aid of pick
and shovel, nor would ordinary explosives prove of any use.
What could the miner do?
One of the methods first adopted was to dig a narrow ditch
lengthwise along the centre of the claim. By means of a wing-
dam the water available in the creek was diverted into the ditch.
The running water deepened the ditch to the bottom of the
" muck," or frozen mould, on the top of the gravel. Then the
miners plied their picks to break the " muck " and ice from the
sides of the ditch into the running water, which dissolved some
of it and carried away the rest. As the ditch thereby became
wider, the water was directed against the sides by little dams
until eventually an area from 100 to 200 feet was freed from
the mantle of moss and the underlying gravel was laid bare, to
be thawed by the sun, the wind, and the rain of the summer
months. The top ground, being nearly barren of gold, was
shovelled into wheelbarrows and dumped aside, and thus all the
overburden was removed until the gold-bearing layer above bedrock was reached. A dam was then built across the stream at
some distance above the prepared ground, which was now con- 184 T. A. Rickard. July
siderably lower than the former surface. A flume conducted the
water from the dam into sluice-boxes into which the " pay-
dirt " was shovelled from the bottom of the cut. Such an operation was known as ground-sluicing.20
This was a slow and laborious process, but the gravel of
many claims was rich enough to justify it. When the overlying
material was too thick to permit the application of such a method,
the miner sank a shaft by thawing the ground. He laid bundles
of sticks on the surface and made a fire, which softened the
ground so that it could be loosened by the pick and then shovelled.
By repetition the hole became a shaft. Each fire thawed from
12 to 18 inches deep, and the thawed ground was then dug and
hoisted to the surface by means of a bucket and windlass.
By use of this method of thawing a shallow shaft was sunk,
and then a drift, or horizontal opening, was made in the gold-
bearing layer at the bottom of the creek. The product of excavation was stored at the surface until the spring, when water
became available for sluicing and the dump, thawed naturally,
could be washed for its gold. Owing to the difference of temperature, the noxious fumes made by the wood fires in the lower
workings rose to the surface quickly, and in this respect it was
much healthier to do such work in cold weather than in summer,
when the products of combustion lingered underground.21
The wood fire was a slow and laborious method of overcoming the frost. Soon a better way was devised. It was noticed
that the steam escaping from the exhaust of an engine made
a hole in the frozen ground. A rubber hose from a boiler was
attached to a piece of iron pipe and the " steam point" was
invented. The pipe was pointed at one end and had a solid head
at the other; the hose was inserted through a hole bored in the
side, and the blows of a hammer at one end could force the other
forward as the ground was thawed by the steam. Later hot
water was tried, successfully, and, finally, cold water was found
to serve just as well.
By aid of these devices the miner overcame the chief obstacle
that faced him in this sub-Arctic goldfield, and was enabled to
(20) J. B. Tyrrell, " The Yukon Territory," Canada and Its Provinces,
Toronto, 1914, vol. xxii., pp. 620-621.
(21) Ibid., p. 622. 1942 The Klondike Rush. 185
reach the bed-rock of the creeks on which the gold lay concentrated. This concentration seems to be more complete in Alaska
and the Yukon than in other regions; it may be due to the clean
character of the gravel, its freedom from clay, so that the descent
of the gold particles is not hindered. That descent of the gold
through gravel is aided by the seismic tremblings of the earth's
crust, the slight, but frequent, tremors serving to producing
a sieving action.
On the whole, it may be said that the frost proved to be the
miner's friend. It enabled him to sink a shaft even in the bed
of the creek; it permitted him to dispense with timbering; it
allowed him to burrow with safety and to follow the layer of
golden sediment with impunity under the ice-bound surface.
Moreover, the frost encouraged work on a small scale. One man
could, and sometimes did, work alone, descending the shaft,
filling the bucket, ascending to the surface, hoisting the load
and dumping it aside. No machinery was needed save the
simplest tools, no organization was required beyond a willing
partner; no capital, save muscle, aided by optimism.22
The gold-bearing gravel was collected at the surface, to remain
there until summer, when water became available for washing.
This might be done, on a small scale, by means of " rockers,"
which were like cradles provided with a box that had a bottom
of sheet-iron perforated with holes so as to serve as a sieve,
permitting the finer sediment to fall to the sloping floor of the
cradle, along which the light stuff ran off with the water, fed by
hand, while the particles of heavy gold remained. Usually a
wooden trough, or launder, was attached; on the bottom of this
were cleats, or riffles, nailed transversely, so as to arrest the gold.
This was known as a " long torn." Next, working on a larger
scale, and more expeditiously, the miner constructed a series of
sluice-boxes, wooden launders with riffles, linked in series, into
which the gravel was thrown by means of shovels and forks,
while a stream of water was directed upon it for the purpose
of disintegrating the material and aiding the separation of the
gold from the dirt. Here " dirt" is really equivalent to " ore ";
it contained the gold.
(22)  T. A. Rickard, " Mining Methods in the North," Mining and Scientific Press, xcviii., 1909, p. 86. 186 T. A. Rickard. July
Various methods of carrying the gravel were introduced,
notably a bucket running on a wire rope. Scrapers pulled by
horses or actuated by steam-power were used for removing the
overburden. Water was pumped for use on the bench claims,
and flumes were constructed, miles long, for bringing water from
tributary streams to the places of mining. Hydraulic mining
was employed on Hunker Creek and later on Bonanza, but these
operations were only partly successful owing to the high cost
of providing large amounts of water under the pressure required
for effective work.
In 1906 the Yukon Gold Company started the building of
a pipe-line to bring water from the head of the Twelve Mile
River, in the Tombstone Range. It provided 5,000 miners' inches
of water at a capital expenditure of over $3,000,000. The line
was 70 miles long and various parts consisted of ditch, flume,
wooden-stave pipe, and steel pipe. The water arrived under an
effective head of 375 feet.23
In 1899 a 3Vi-foot bucket-dredge was built on the Cassiar
Bar of the Lewes River, and in 1901 it was moved and rebuilt
at claim No. 42 below discovery on Bonanza Creek. Small as
the machine was, it proved that dredging was practicable on the
creeks of the Klondike. In 1905 a 7-foot bucket-dredge went to
work in the valley of the Klondike itself, and in 1907 the Yukon
Gold Company began dredging on a large scale, operating seven
dredges in 1908. Thawing cost 15 cents per cubic yard, about
three-quarters of the ground needing such treatment. In 1911
seventeen dredges were at work.24 This marked a new era in
the history of the district. The gold won by means of mechanical digging soon exceeded the winnings from the creeks. Most
of the dredging was done on ground, along the bed of the Klondike River, that had not been exploited by ordinary sluicing
operations, but eventually even the abandoned claims along the
famous creeks tributary to the Klondike were reworked successfully by bucket-dredges.
(23) T. A. Rickard, " The Yukon Ditch," Mining and Scientific Press,
xcviii., 1909, pp. 117-120, 148-152.
(24) O. B. Perry, " Development of Dredging in the Yukon Territory,"
Transactions of the Canadian Mining Institute, xviii., 1915, pp. 26-44. 1942 The Klondike Rush. 187
In 1901 the population of the Yukon was 27,219; in 1911 it
was 8,512; in 1941 it had diminished to 4,687. The output of
gold from the Yukon in 1897 was $2,500,000; this rose to
$10,000,000 in 1898 and reached its maximum of $22,275,000
in 1900. Up to the end of 1911 the total output was over
$140,000,000. After 1900 a decrease began, continuing until
the output in 1910 was only $4,570,000. In 1939, with the price
of gold at $35 per ounce, it was $3,171,000.
An idea of the richness of the ground is indicated by the fact
that a pan of gravel, weighing about 15 lb., taken from undisturbed ground on Bonanza Creek in 1906, and washed in the
presence of J. B. Tyrrell, yielded 40^ oz. of gold. Whole claims
averaged $60 to $100 per square yard of bed-rock. Miners with
a rocker won as much as $5,000 per day, or at a rate of $2,000
per cubic yard. The bottom of Eldorado Creek in a length of 4
miles yielded at the rate of $1,200 per running foot. At the
start the Dominion Government imposed a royalty of 10 per
cent.; this was reduced later to 5, and eventually replaced by
an export duty of 2% per cent.25
The Klondike rush and its sequel of mining operations are
not to be measured merely in terms of dollars. The finding of
gold in the North opened a fresh field to human industry; within
two years big paddle-steamers were ploughing the waters of the
Yukon, a railroad had been constructed over the Alaskan range
from the sea coast to the interior, the telegraph had linked the
Arctic frontier with the nerve centres of the world, and new
communities had arisen in the very heart of the vast solitude.
It was not long before agriculture was started in the wilderness,
and children played where but lately the moose and caribou had
roamed at will. Once more, the miner had established outposts
of civilization in the waste places of the earth and opened a new
domain to human endeavour.
T. A. Rickard.
Victoria, B.C.
(25) J. B. Tyrrell, loc. cit, p. 632. FOUR LETTERS RELATING TO THE CRUISE
OF THE " THETIS," 1852-53.
The visit of H.M.S. Thetis to the Northwest Coast in 1852
was occasioned by the discovery of gold in the Queen Charlotte
Islands. As early as August, 1850, rich ore specimens from a
quartz vein on Mitchell Inlet, Moresby Island, had been brought
to Victoria, and Governor Blanshard duly noted the fact in a
dispatch to the Colonial Office. In the spring of 1851 the officers
of the Hudson's Bay Company decided that the time had come
to investigate the source of these and other specimens. Chief
Factor John Work made a first and hazardous trip by canoe from
Fort Simpson to the Queen Charlotte Islands in May. Two
months later he returned to the islands in the brigantine Una,
and the workmen who accompanied him enabled him to make a
more thorough investigation of the quartz veins. Later in the
year the Una made a second voyage, with Chief Trader W. H.
McNeill on board. Upon his return to Fort Simpson, in November, Captain McNeill reported to James Douglas that the expedition had " discovered and proved . . . that gold is to be found
in [sufficient] quantities at Mitchell's Harbour alone to pay an
expedition to go there, and work it."
In his capacity as governing Chief Factor of the Hudson's
Bay Company, Douglas welcomed this news, and prepared to
exploit the goldfield in the interests of the Company. In his
capacity as Governor of Vancouver Island, however, the discoveries caused him acute anxiety. Word that gold had been
found in the Queen Charlotte Islands had travelled to Puget
Sound and to California, and by the end of 1851 it was known
in Victoria that several American vessels had sailed, or were
preparing to sail, for the islands. Bearing in mind the result
of American settlement in Old Oregon, Douglas feared for the
safety of British interests in the Queen Charlottes. Writing to
Lord Grey, the Colonial Secretary, on January 29, 1852, he
reported that it was said that if the American miners found gold
it was " their intention to colonise the island, and establish an
independent government, until, by force or fraud, they become
annexed to the United States."    The same day Douglas appealed
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No. 3.
189 190 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. July
for help to Rear-Admiral Fairfax Moresby, Commander-in-Chief
on the Pacific Station. "... From all accounts," Douglas
wrote, " I think there cannot be less than 500 Americans, well
armed and equipped, on the island." He added that he was
convinced that " if left unmolested " they would " attempt to
wrest that valuable possession from the British Crown." In
response to Douglas's appeal, Admiral Moresby in April, 1852,
ordered H.M.S. Thetis, a frigate of 1,450 tons, to proceed to the
Northwest Coast and take such steps as seemed necessary to
safeguard British interests there.
The Thetis was commanded by Captain Augustus Leopold
Kuper,1 who subsequently described the cruise in the three letters
to Admiral Moresby here printed. As these letters indicate, the
rush to the Queen Charlotte Islands failed to develop upon the
scale Douglas anticipated, and British sovereignty was never
endangered there. Ten or a dozen vessels from Puget Sound or
San Francisco did visit the islands, but the quartz veins proved
to be so limited in extent, and so difficult to work, that all
departed empty-handed. An expedition outfitted by the Hudson's
Bay Company and sent to Mitchell Inlet in the schooner Recovery
fared no better. The value of the gold secured was no more than
£90, and the loss to the Company (on paper, at least) was not
far short of £1,000.2
The most interesting service performed by the Thetis was an
unexpected one. On November 5, 1852, while she was lying in
Esquimalt Harbour, news came of the murder of Peter Brown,
a young shepherd employed by the Hudson's Bay Company. Two
Cowichan Indians were suspected of having committed the crime.
Douglas was determined to bring them to justice, yet he was
loath to resort to the old method of destroying canoes and bombarding and burning villages in order to secure their surrender.
He was anxious that only the guilty men themselves should suffer,
(1) Both before and after his brief stay on the Pacific Station, Captain
Kuper (1809-85) served with distinction in many parts of the world. He
became a Rear-Admiral in 1861, Vice-Admiral in 1866, and Admiral in 1872.
(2) On the gold excitement in the Queen Charlotte Islands see E. O. S.
Scholefield and F. W. Howay, British Columbia, Vancouver, 1914, II., pp.
1-9; and the two Parliamentary returns entitled Copies or Extracts of
Correspondence relative to the Discovery of Gold in Queen Charlotte's Island,
London, 1853 (usually referred to as the "Queen Charlotte Islands Papers"). 1942 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. 191
rather than the whole tribe; and he was hopeful that he might
gain his end by a display of force, rather than by its use.
Captain Kuper promised every assistance and the expedition was
planned accordingly. The tactics proposed involved grave personal danger, and it is evident that Douglas was fully aware of
this. Thus Dr. Helmcken, who at the time was engaged to
Douglas's daughter Cecilia, recalls in his reminiscences that
Douglas insisted that the wedding should take place before his
departure, in order that Helmcken might be in a position to look
after his family and affairs if he should not return.3 As it
happened, the expedition was a complete success, and Douglas
felt, with justice, that it marked a definite landmark in the
development of better relations between the whites and the
Indians on Vancouver Island. For this reason his own account
of the affair, as forwarded to the Hudson's Bay Company, has
been appended to Captain Kuper's letters.
The text of the letters themselves has been taken from a collection of original papers relating to the Pacific Station which
was transferred to the Provincial Archives many years ago.
Douglas's letter has been copied from the original Fort Victoria
outward letter-book, which is preserved in the Archives.
Another account of the cruise of the Thetis, written many
years after the event, will be found in the volume entitled Two
Admirals, by Admiral John Moresby.4 Admiral Moresby was
Gunnery Lieutenant of the Thetis in 1852.
W. Kaye Lamb.
The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C.
(3) J. S. Helmcken, Reminiscences, MS., III., p. 64.
(4) Admiral John Moresby, Two Admirals: Sir Fairfax Moresby, John
Moresby: A Record of a Hundred Years. Revised edition. London, 1913,
pp. 99-114. 192 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. July
H.M.S. Thetis,
San Francisco, 20th July 1852
I have the honor to Report my proceedings up to this date, since
I parted from your Flag at Callao on the 10th April last.
1. Having crossed the Line in 96° 30' W. fresh S.W. winds carried
us up to 11° north, where with very little interval of variables we fell
in with the N. E. trade which was very light throughout. We carried
Northerly and N. Westerly winds up to 38° N. and 135 W. Where we
got a fine breeze from the S. Eastwd which carried us up to within 150
miles of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, which we entered on the evening
of the 23d of May and anchored in Esquimalt Harbour on the morning
of the 24th.
2. As it was considered full early in the season to ensure fine
weather at Queen Charlottes Island,1 I completed the ship with wood
and water previous to starting and on the morning of the 5th June
I left Esquimalt harbour, but owing to calms and strong tides did not
succeed in getting fairly into the straits of Juan de Fuca until the
afternoon of the 7th where we met a very strong breeze from the
Westwd accompanied by a dense wet Fog, and we had a very disagreeable and anxious beat down the straits during the whole night, being
scarcely able to see a ships length ahead. It cleared off on the 8th
and we got out to sea in the afternoon, we made the Southern Point
of Queen Charlottes Island on the evening of the 13th but owing to
light and variable winds did not arrive off our Port until the morning
of the 16th June.
3. The only Person I could find at Fort Victoria who professed to
have any knowledge whatever of Queen Charlottes Island, was a
Mr. Nevin, a Gentleman now in the Hudson's Bay Company's surveying
service, who had formerly been chief Officer of the " Una " schooner
during her two visits to the Island, and whom, Mr. Douglas, the Governor kindly allowed to accompany me. Mr. Nevin declined taking any
responsibility as Pilot, but I naturally supposed from his having twice
visited the Island previously, he would possess some useful Knowledge
of the localities &c. He proved however of no service whatever, and
on arriving off the entrance of the straits leading to Port Mitchell,2
did not even recognize the head lands, therefore as we had had a thick
fog the whole of the previous day and were uncertain of our reckoning,
and the entrance appeared very much narrower that it had been
(1) This was the usual form of reference to the Queen Charlotte Islands
until 1853, when, in recognition of the existence of Skidegate Channel, which
divides the two main islands of the group, the latter were named Graham
Island and Moresby Island.
(2) Now Mitchell Inlet, and formerly known as Mitchell Harbour.
Named by Captain Kuper after Captain William Mitchell, of the Hudson's
Bay Company's brigantine Una. 1942 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. 193
described to me, I stood off and on and sent a boat in with an Officer to
ascertain whether it was the right place. On her return I hove up and
ran through a narrow strait of little more than half a mile in width,
with no soundings at 80 and 100 fathoms in most parts of it, and
entered Port Mitchell at 3 P. M. where I found the Hudson Bay Company's schooner " Recovery " the only vessel in the Port, anchored close
to the rocks near the spot where the Company were carrying on their
mining operations. I anchored near her with the Stream and sent
the Boats away to find a secure berth, and in the evening ran farther
up the Harbour with a snug anchorage, which I have called " Thetis "
Cove;3 where the Ship was safely moored in 22 fms., with barely room
to swing, and surrounded by precipitous hills of nearly 1000 feet in
4.4 It would appear that the information contained in the letter
addressed to you by Her Majesty's Consul at San Francisco, on the
1st Mch. last6 was substantially correct, but the amount of Gold as yet
procured from Queen Charlottes Island has I think been overrated.
The only place where Gold has as yet been found, is in Port Mitchell
and the Indians maintain that all they have procured came from the
same spot, and that they have not found it in any other part of the
Island, their reports however cannot be depended upon.
5. The Hudsons Bay Company's schooner " Recovery " arrived at
Port Mitchell from Fort Victoria on the 5th April last with a party of
men who had agreed to work on shares, the vein of Quartz which had
first been worked by those on board the " Una." The Hudson's Bay
Company finding all the materials, powder, mining tools &c, and receiving one half of the proceeds towards paying the expenses, the other half
being equally divided amongst those employed; who, although the regular servants of the Co. were to receive no wages during the time. This
Expedition is under the command of Doctor Kenneday,6 but from the
information I received from [him] as well as from some of the miners
it would appear that they have been much disappointed in their expectations. Several of the men had already deserted, and the rest all
expressed themselves as anxious to get away, as the amount of Gold
procured would not according to the account of Dr. Kenneday by any
means pay the expenses of Powder and Tools and would only give a
very trifling share to the men. The Gold they have got has been
procured by dint of very hard labor, the mere clearing the ground being
a matter of difficulty, and the stone contiguous to the vein of Quartz
(3) Still known by this name.
(4) Paragraphs 4 to 12, inclusive, are printed in Copies or Extracts of
Correspondence relative to the Discovery of Gold at Queen Charlotte's Island,
London, 1853, pp. 10-12.
(5) For this letter see ibid., p. 7.
(6) Dr. John Frederick Kennedy, surgeon and Chief Trader in the
service of the Hudson's Bay Company. He was stationed for many years
on the Northwest Coast, usually at Fort Simpson. 194 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. July
being exceedingly hard and difficult to blast. They told me that they
had been sometimes days without finding gold. The vein is close to
the waters edge and the portion opened about 20 feet in length, and
in the deepest part 6 or 8 feet below the surface.7
6. I have been unable to obtain any correct information as to what
amount of Gold has actually been taken from the Island, but the " Una "
previous to her being wrecked in Neah Bay in the straits of Juan de
Fuca, certainly got some, and I was informed by Mr. Mitchell who then
commanded the " Una " and is now in command of the Recovery that
when he left the Island in the " Una " there was a considerable quantity
of Gold visible in the vein, but not being in sufficient numbers on board
they were prevented from working it by the Indians, but that the place
had been visited subsequently by a vessel with a party of adventurers
from San Francisco, who are supposed to have met with some success.
Of the existence of Gold in considerable quantity upon the Island
there can be no doubt from the specimens of fine metal which have
been brought for barter by the Indians. The largest peice [sic] as
yet seen, weighs 22 ounces, and is in possession of one of the Chiefs,
who however places such an exorbitant a price upon it (I believe 1500
blankets) that nobody has been able to make a bargain with him.
The mountains as far as we were able to explore abound with veins
of Quartz, but the extremely rugged and impracticable nature of the
Country will present most serious obstacles to the success of any adventurers who may be disposed to visit the Island in search of Gold.
7. I enclose a List of the vessels8 which have visited port Mitchell
since April last for the purpose of seeking for Gold. I am told that they
had each from 40 to 50 Californian Adventurers on board but they
appear to have met with no success whatever and returned to San
Francisco after remaining only a short time, during which they appear
to have examined many of the Hills and water Courses in the vicinity
of the Port. The only persons left behind were a party of seven men
professing to be British Subjects, whom I found living on a small rocky
island close to the Thetis anchorage. They had been landed in the
beginning of May from the Schooner " Susan Sturges " which vessel
they expected daily to return to take them away again. They were preparing a boat in which they intended to return to San Francisco should
the schooner not arrive shortly. This party were also working a vein
of Quartz not far from that of the Hudsons Bay Company, but according to their own account had not found sufficient Gold to make it worth
their while to continue their operations and were anxiously looking
out for an opportunity to leave the Island.
(7) As noted in the introduction, supra, this expedition was a costly
(8) For this list see Correspondence relative to the Discovery of Gold
... p. 12. It gives the names of five vessels which had sailed from San
Francisco in April and May, 1852, and that of a sixth which had sailed in
May from the Columbia River. 1942 Cruise of the "Thetis," 1852-53. 195
8. I have purchased for Her Majesty's Government such specimens
as I could procure from Dr. Kennedy of the Gold, and Gold ore found
on Queen Charlottes Island. Those of pure metal were purchased by
him from the Indians. The specimens of Quartz all containing more
or less Gold were taken from the vein which the Compy are now working in Port Mitchell.
9. The Country around Port Mitchell is a series of rugged and
precipitous Rocky mountains in some parts perpendicular for 100 feet
or more, and thickly wooded wherever it is possible for a tree to take
root. The woods, particularly where exposed to the N. W. winds are
much blighted in many places. It is impossible anywhere to penetrate
more than a few yards into the country without extreme labour, the
ground being a mere mass of Rocks and fallen and decayed trees of
great size everywhere covered very thickly with moss. We found good
water abundant in many accessible streams, but I think it probable
that later in the season, when the snow is all melted on the Hills, that
it would be more scarce, as even during our short stay we found the
streams considerably diminished, and few were sufficiently large to
warrant the supposition that they would continue to flow during the
heat of the Summer Months.
We found the climate damp and very changeable, the thermometer
during the five days of our stay ranging from 56 to 80 in the shade.
Lieutenant Moresby9 after a fatiguing walk succeeded in reaching
a fresh water lake of some extent about a mile and a half from the
head of the Harbour and supposed to be about 400 feet above the level
of the sea, and Lieutenant Peel10 reached the summit of one of the
highest peaks, where he and his party walked for some distance over
snow of considerable depth. Mr. Peel describes having seen from
thence a large inlet or harbour to the Southward. From the information I received there would appear to be many good harbours in Queen
Charlottes Island. Not far to the northward of Port Mitchell is a
passage which completely intersects the Island,11 and which was navigated by the Hudsons Bay Company's Steamer " Beaver " from the
Eastward to within a few miles of its western entrance, where she was
stopped by dangerous rapids. The eastern coast of Queen Charlottes
■Island is said to be much more level and the neighbouring waters not
so deep. It is said that Antimony, Lead and Iron are plentiful in
that part.
10. The navigation of that part of the Island which I visited
appears to be very free from hidden dangers but is difficult and
dangerous for sailing vessels of any size, in consequence of the great
depth of water every where, there being no anchorages except in a
very few places, too close to the Rocks for a large ship and the moun-
(9) John Moresby, Gunnery Lieutenant, H.M.S. Thetis, and son of Rear-
Admiral Fairfax Moresby.
(10) Francis Peel, 3rd Lieutenant, H.M.S. Thetis.
(11) Skidegate Channel;  see note 1, supra. 196 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. July
tains are so high and abrupt that the winds are unsteady and partial!
Mr. George Moore, the Master of the " Thetis " has by my direction
made a plan of Port Mitchell and the channel leading to it, a tracing
of which I enclose herewith.
11. The Indians upon Queen Charlottes Island appear to be very
numerous, and are a finer and fairer race of men than those on Vancouvers Island. From our first arrival we were daily surrounded by
numbers of large canoes, full of men, women and children. All the
tribes within reach came to see what they called the mountain ship,
and we had at one time upwards of 100 canoes Round the ship, but the
Indians invariably behaved in the most friendly manner towards us,
and beyond the noise they made caused us no annoyance whatever.
They have almost all some portion of European Dress and many understand some words of English. They are considered to be generally
well disposed towards their white visitors, and I was informed by the
Officers of the Hudsons Bay Company that they rarely had any trouble
with them.
12. The Furs procured from Queen Charlottes Island by the Hudson's Bay Company are Sea and Land Otter, Bear and Martin.
13. On the 22nd June I got underweigh taking advantage of a light
brieze [sic] from the S. Eastward, which with the assistance of the
boats carried us down to the entrance of the straits, where it freshened
to a strong breeze with heavy and variable puffs off the Land,
enabling us barely to weather the Rocks to the Northward, and having
hoisted the boats in I was glad to get Her Majesty's Ship safely out
to sea.
14. Shortly after I weighed the American Schooner " Susan Sturges "
made her appearance round the point, but as I could not recover the
anchorage I had left, I sent an officer to board her, and finding that she
had only returned for the purpose of conveying the party landed on
the island in May back to San Francisco, and had nobody on board but
a' sufficient crew to navigate her, I proceeded, warning the master of
her, who together with most of his crew were Englishmen, that all
speculators on this coast, could be there only upon sufferance.
15. We had S. E. winds with a good deal of rain until off Cape St.
James's at noon on the 24th when after some hours calm a westerly
wind sprang up. Passed Scotts Islands on the afternoon of the 25th
entered the Newitty Canal or Goletas Channel on the morning of the
26th crossing the Bar in 9 fms. with very smooth water and anchored
in Beaver Harbour at 1 P. M.12
16. On the 28th I went in a Boat to visit the place where the Hudsons Bay Company are carrying on their operations in search of coal,
which is about 10 miles from Fort Rupert.    They have got boring
(12) The Thetis sailed from the southern tip of Moresby Island (Cape
St. James) to the Scott Islands, off Cape Scott, the northwestern tip of
Vancouver Island, and then followed the northern and eastern coast-lines
of Vancouver Island, through Goletas Channel, to Beaver Harbour. 1942 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. 197
apparatus at work in three different places and have reached the
several depths of 45, 35 and 27 fms. but hitherto nothing has been
brought up to indicate any probability of finding coal. I was informed
that it is their intention to continue boring to the depths of from 80
to 100 fms. after which no hope of success would be entertained of
finding coal in that part of Vancouvers Island. The surface [coal]
appears to be abundant in the neighbourhood and is good of its kind.
17. No alteration has taken place in the settlement of Fort Rupert
since the Daphne's visit in July 1851, nor has any vessel visited the
Port since, with the exception of the Hudson's Bay Company's Steamer
" Beaver " which called there some months ago in passing on one of her
trading voyages to the northward.
The only land cleared or under cultivation consists of 2 or 3 acres
of Potatoes and a Garden in the immediate vicinity of the Fort.
18. I received a most favorable report from Mr. Blenkinsopp,13 the
Gentleman in charge of the Establishment at Fort Rupert, of the
conduct of the Indians in that neighbourhood generally. I was informed by this Gentleman that the Newitty tribe had latterly been
perfectly quiet and peaceable and that shortly after the departure of
the " Daphne " last year, they had themselves shot three of the tribe
who had been guilty of the murder of the three white men, and brought
the bodies over to the Fort as a proof, when they were Recognized as
those of the real delinquents.14
19. I enclose herewith for your information the copy of a Letter
addressed to me at Fort Rupert from Mr. William Brotchie, who it
appears has been occupied for some time in cutting and preparing the
spars named in the accompanying list.16 I went with the Master to
examine the spars and can confidently bear testimony to their superior
quality. Mr. Brotchie deserves great credit for the patience and perseverance he has displayed in teaching the Indians to square and trim
spars of such large dimensions, and it is much to be regretted that
having exhausted all his means, he has not been left in a position to
enable to get them conveyed to England in completion of his contract
with the Admiralty, as I feel satisfied that the introduction of spars
from Vancouvers Island for the purposes of Her Majesty's Navy would
be most desirable.
20. I left Beaver Harbour at 10.30 A.M. of the 29th June and beat
down the Newitty canal against a strong breeze from the Westd making
(13) George Blenkinsop (1822-1904), at this time a clerk in the service
of the Hudson's Bay Company. He was second in command at Fort Rupert,
and was in charge only in the absence of Chief Trader W. H. McNeill.
(14) So ended the so-called " Fort Rupert affair," which looms so large
in the dispatches of Governor Blanshard.
(15) On Captain Brotchie's activities see W. Kaye Lamb, " Early Lumbering on Vancouver Island," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, II.
(1938), pp. 33-38. 198 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. July
56 Tacks in 13 hours.16 Crossed the Bar at the entrance at Midnight
in 7 fms on which there was a very high swell. At 1 A. M. when
nearly in mid-channel with the westernmost visible point of Galiano
Island bearing N. E. we shoaled the water suddenly from 14 to 5 fms
with Rocky bottom. As the ship was pitching very deeply I feared
she would have struck, but a strong ebb tide running, swept her over
the rock and into deep water again before she came round on the
other tack. We were becalmed off Cape Scott with a very heavy swell
setting on to the Point until the afternoon of the 30th when a breeze
sprang up from the Eastward which lasted 3 days, a most unusual
occurence I understand at this season of the year. We entered the
straits of Juan de Fuca at 4 P. M. on the 3d July but the Fog being
too thick to run during the night did not anchor in Esquimalt Harbour
until the afternoon of the 4th.
21. Very little change appears to have taken place in the settlement
at Victoria, which is in much the same state as when you visited it
in the " Portland " last year.17 There are no new colonists since then,
and the only arrival during the Year have been about thirty five
servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, who I understand are barely
sufficient to supply the vacancies caused by desertion or otherwise.
The few settlers occupying land in this part of Vancouvers Island,
complain much of the Hudson's Bay Company who so far from rendering them any assistance, appear by their account to throw every possible
obstacle in their way of the advancement or improvement of the Colony,
and all not actually in the service of the Company are anxiously looking
forward with the Hope that Her Majesty's Government may be induced
to take the colonization of this fine Island into their own hands, when
it would doubtless become a most valuable possession.
The Indians during my second visit to Esquimalt, were almost all
absent at the Salmon Fisheries—they have latterly been quiet and
peaceable, but there was some disturbance in March last which however was fortunately put down without bloodshed, since then everything
has gone on quietly.
Mr. Douglas the Governor was at Frayzers River in the service of
the Hudson's Bay Company and was not expected to return to Victoria
for some days.
22. I sailed from Esquimalt on the 9th July, got to sea on the 11th
after two days beating in the straits of Juan de Fuca with light winds
and very thick fogs, and anchored in this port on the 16th.
(16) The Thetis now sails back through Goletas Channel (here called
Newitty canal), in order to round Cape Scott and proceed down the west
coast of Vancouver Island to Esquimalt.
(17) Rear-Admiral Fairfax Moresby was the first Commander-in-Chief
to visit Esquimalt. He arrived in his flagship, H.M.S. Portland, in June,
1851. 1942 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. 199
23. Since my arrival at this port I have not after strict enquiry
been able to ascertain that it is the intention of any parties to renew
for the present the search after Gold on Queen Charlottes Island.
I have.
(signed)    Augustus L. Kuper
P. S. I send herewith through Her Majesty's Consul at San Francisco a part of the specimens of Gold and Gold ore from Queen
Charlottes Island. The Remainder I have forwarded direct to the
Admiralty together with a copy of this Letter.
(signed)    A. L. K.
Rear Admiral
Fairfax Moresby C. B.
Commander in Chief
&c    &c    &c
H. M. Ship " Thetis "
Esquimalt, 9th December 1852.
I take the opportunity of a Mail about to start from Victoria to
the Columbia overland, to Report my proceedings up to this date.
1. I sailed from Saucelito Bay, San Francisco, on the 5th October,
arrived in the straits of Juan de Fuca on the 15th and anchored in
this Port on the 17th.
2. All has gone on quietly in this Colony with the Exception of a
Robbery and Murder, which were committed by two Indians of the-
Cowitzen or Nanoimo Tribe, on the 5th November on a shepherd named
Peter Brown, in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, at a Sheep
station about Five miles from Victoria. The murderers escaped to
the Cowitzen river and the Governor sent a message to the Chiefs
demanding their surrender, but hitherto without effect. At this season
of the year it would be impossible to send an effective expedition in
open boats for the purpose of enforcing the apprehension of the
criminals and His Excellency has acquainted me that he is only awaiting the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company's steamer " Beaver " from
the North which is already much beyond her usual time, when it is his
intention to call upon me to embark a sufficient force from this ship
to ensure success.
3. Since our Return to Esquimalt the weather has been most
unfavourable, we have had a continuation of heavy rain, and occasional
snow, and several heavy gales from S. E. and S. W.
4. The Reports from the recently discovered coal mines at Nanaimo,
of which I informed you in my letter No. 10 of the 29th Septemr. 200 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. July
last18 continue to be most satisfactory. A Shaft has been sunk to a
vein of coal, six Feet, two inches in diameter, and there appears to
be every prospect of the mines yielding an abundant supply. The
" Recovery " and " Mary Dare " two of the Hudson's Bay Company's
Vessels, have just returned from San Francisco whither they sailed
early in October with coals from Nanaimo, and it is reported that their
quality is considered to be equal to the best English coals imported. The
miners and Machinery hitherto employed at Fort Rupert, are to be
landed at Nanaimo by the " Beaver " Steamer on her way down to
5. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a Packet by
the " Recovery " containing your letters No. 4. 1st Septemr. 1852, with
Enclosures relative to Queen Charlottes and Vancouvers Islands—No.
5. 15th Septemr. and one Letter bearing no number, dated 14 Septemr.
1852 with orders for my further proceedings.
6. With reference to the 3d Paragraph of your letter of the 14th
.Septemr 1852 I beg to enclose a copy of Mr. Douglas' reply to me.
7. I have heard nothing lately respecting any adventurers to Queen
Charlottes Island. The Schooner "Susan Sturges" belonging to British
owners at San Francisco which was one of the vessels that visited the
Island in the summer, is reported to have returned thither for a cargo
of spars and dried fish. Any research after Gold would be almost
impracticable in that region during the winter season.
I have, &c.
(signed)    Augustus L. Kuper.
Rear Admiral
Fairfax Moresby C. B.
Commander in Chief
&c   &c   &c
H. M. Ship " Thetis "
San Francisco, 4th Feby 1853.
I have the honour to Report my proceedings since the date of my
last letter to you from Esquimalt on the 9th December.
2. On the 23d December I received a requisition from Governor
Douglas to send a force from the " Thetis " to accompany him to the
Cowitzen Country for the purpose of compelling the chiefs of the tribes
to deliver up two Indians who were accused of the murder of Peter
Brown, a Shepherd in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company on the
5th November last, the Governor having demanded their surrender
from the Chiefs and offered a Reward for them without any result.
(18)  No copy of this letter is available. 1942 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. 201
In consequence of the very bad state of the weather at that time,
the Expedition was not able to leave until the 3rd January, when I dispatched Lieutenant Sansum Senior19 of this ship with 130 Officers,
seamen and Marines, who together with about 20 men from the Settlement at Victoria were embarked on board the Hudson's Bay Company's
Brigantine " Recovery " and steamer " Beaver," taking the " Thetis' "
Launch, Barge and Pinnace in tow.
I am happy to be able to report to you that the expedition was
perfectly successful in attaining the desired object, and although the
Indian Tribes appeared at first much inclined to be hostile, they were
awed by the force sent against them, and the two criminals were
ultimately given up, the one at the Cowitzen River and the other at
Nanaimo without the necessity of firing a shot. They were tried by
the Governor at Nanaimo and having been proved guilty were hung
on the same day at that place in the presence of the whole assembled
This summary measure will no doubt have a most beneficial effect
for the safety of the colonists against attacks from the Indians in
future, and it is most satisfactory that the object was gained without
bloodshed, as the Cowitzen Tribe is very numerous, and from their
proximity to Victoria would probably have caused much annoyance to
settlers, had it been found necessary to Resort to hostile measures,
and thereby excite their revenge.
The party were much exposed to cold and wet in performing this
service, but I am happy to say that only one or two trifling cases of
Rheumatism have resulted from it, and Governor Douglas speaks most
highly of the steady conduct of Lieutenant Sansum, and the Officers
and men under his command when in momentary expectation of an
attack from the excited Indians. The boats did not return on board
the " Thetis " until the 19th January.
3. I enclose herewith the copy of a letter from Mr. Matthew Rooney,
reporting the Capture and plunder of the American Schooner " Susan
Sturgess," by the Indians off the north coast of Queen Charlotte Isld
in September last. I sent for Mr. Rooney who arrived at Victoria in
the steamer " Beaver " for the purpose of obtaining any additional information that might lead to the recovery of the poor fellow he mentions
as being left amongst the Indians but could arrive at nothing beyond
what is stated in his letter.
Mr. Work who was the Chief Factor at the Hudson's Bay Company's
station at Fort Simpson at the time, arrived at Victoria, before I left,
and he had no doubt but that the man would be recovered from the
Indians and brought to Fort Simpson. Mr. Work as well as all those
who have seen much of the Indians was of opinion that Edensaw the
Chief mentioned by Mr. Rooney as having been instrumental in saving
the lives of himself and crew, was a party to the whole affair, and it
has been ascertained that he shared in the plunder.
(19)  Arthur Sansum, 1st Lieutenant, H.M.S. Thetis. 202 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. July
4. From all the information I have been able to obtain it would
appear that the weather in the vicinity of Queen Charlottes Island
would render it impossible to carry out any successful operation against
the Indians as a merited punishment for this piratical attack upon
the " Susan Sturges," until the spring is well advanced. The tribes on
the Island are numerous and warlike, Masset Harbor is about 30 miles
West or W. S. W. of the N. E. point of the Island, and is said to be
a good Harbour, and easy of access to a Steam vessel at all times.20
5. I have heard of no more Expeditions to Queen Charlottes Island,
in search of Gold either from San Francisco or Oregon, but it is
probable that the Island will again be visited for that purpose when
the winter is over.
6. The Hudson's Bay Company's Annual Ship " Norman Morison "
arrived at Vancouver Island from England a few days before I sailed,
bringing out a number of the servants of the company, with their wives
and families, amounting to 125, including women and children, but
there were no free settlers amongst them.
The winter at Vancouvers Island has been unusually severe, and
a great number of sheep and some cattle had died from cold and want
of food in consequence of the snow lying deeply on the ground for
several weeks.
But little or no improvement has taken place in the state of the
colony since my first visit in May last, much discontent prevails in
the Settlement from the want of proper Government Officers, the whole
management of affairs however trifling being exclusively in the hands
of the Governor, who has at the same time the entire management of
the affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company, and during his temporary,
absences there is no efficient person to act as his Representative.
Since Licenses for the sale of spirits have been granted, there has
been very much drunkenness and irregularity amongst the labouring
classes at Victoria, which there does not appear to be any sufficient
authority to check. There is not even a secure place of confinement
for offenders, and during the absence of the Governor I was applied
to by the senior member of Council21 who was acting for the time
being, to confine some of the crew of the Hudson's Bay Company's
schooner " Vancouver " who had been guilty of some misdemeanours,
on board the " Thetis," which I of course declined to do.
7. As I believe that there is much truth in the statements contained
in two letters addressed to me by Mr. James Cooper one of the few
(20) H.M.S. Virago, Commander James C. Prevost, visited Masset in
1853 in an effort to punish the culprits who attacked the Susan Sturges.
Prevost found it impossible to identify those responsible, and took no action.
The officers of the Virago were much impressed with Chief Edenshaw, and
formed a very favourable opinion of his character and friendliness towards
the whites.
(21) Hon. John Tod. 1942 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. 203
free settlers endeavouring to establish themselves upon the Island
I enclose copies of them for your information.22
8. I attempted to go to sea on the 22d January but a dead calm
detained me until the 23d when I succeeded in getting out of the straits
of Juan de Fuca. Having encountered much bad weather on the passage down I anchored off the Bar of San Francisco on the evening of
the 1st instant and entered the Harbour on the 2nd.
9. I shall sail for San Lucas as soon as wind and tide will permit
tomorrow morning.
I have &c
(signed)    Augustus L. Kuper.
Rear Admiral
Fairfax Moresby C. B.
Commander in Chief
&c    &c   &c
Fort Victoria
January 20th [18] 53
Archibald Barclay Esqre
I beg to communicate for the information of the Governor and
Committee, that I left this place on the 4th inst in the Honble Company's steam-vessel "Beaver," with the Recovery and the boats of H.M.S.
Thetis in tow, for the purpose of proceeding into the Cowegin and
Nanaimo districts to demand the surrender of the two Indians who
murdered Peter Brown, a servant of the Honble Company, near this
place, on the 5th of November last. The force for field operations
consisted of 130 seamen and marines under the command of Lieutnt
Sansum of H.M.S. Thetis, and a body of 11 half whites, enlisted in
the Colony for that service. The Expedition anchored off the mouth
of the Cowegin River on the 6th, and I immediately despatched
messengers to the several Native Tribes, who live on the banks of
that stream, with an invitation to meet me for the purpose of settling
(22) Unfortunately these letters are not available. Captain Cooper first
visited Vancouver Island as an officer on one of the annual supply ships of
the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1850 he resigned and determined to come
to the Island as an independent settler. He soon came to the conclusion that
the restrictions imposed by the Hudson's Bay Company were throttling the
Colony, and became an active opponent of its policy. He was appointed a
member of the first Council of Vancouver Island by Governor Blanshard.
He was in London in 1857, and testified before the Select Committee investigating the affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company.
(23) Secretary to the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay
Company, London. 204 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. July
the difference which had led to my present visit, and at the same
time to inform them, that, in the event of their refusal to do so,
I should be under the painful necessity of assuming a hostile attitude,
and marching the force under my command into their country.
I received their answer the same evening accepting the invitation and
expressing a wish to meet me the following day near the mouth of
the River. The disembarkation of the Force was made early the following morning, and we took post on a commanding position at the
appointed place fully armed and prepared for whatever might happen.
In the course of two hours the Indians began to drop down the River
in their war canoes, and landed a little above the position we occupied;
and last of all arrived two large canoes crowded with the relatives and
friends of the murderer, hideously painted, and evidently prepared to
defend him to the last extremity; the criminal himself being among
the number. On landing they made a furious rush towards the point
which I occupied, a little in advance of the Force and their demeanour
was altogether so hostile that the marines were with difficulty
restrained from opening a fire upon them. When the first excitement
had a little abated, the murderer was brought into my presence and
I succeeded after a good deal of trouble, in taking him quietly into
custody; and sent him a close prisoner on board the steam vessel.
This capture having removed all cause of dispute, I assembled the
Indians and spoke to them long and seriously on the subject of their
relations with the Colony, and the rules which must govern their
conduct in future. They expressed the utmost regret, for the misconduct of their countryman, and their desire to live on friendly terms
with the Colony; and appeared much intimidated by the imposing
Force before them. They left us in course of the afternoon in the
best possible temper, and the Forces were immediately afterwards
re-embarked, having fortunately concluded the days work, without
firing a shot in anger; though several times, on the very point of
coming to a serious rupture, which indeed could not have been prevented had the discipline of the troops been less perfect; and my
orders not been rigidly enforced by Lieutnt Sansum, who, on all
occasions, gave me the most hearty and cordial support.24
Having thus effected all that was desired at Cowegin, we proceeded
towards Nanaimo and arrived there on the evening of the 9th. I pursued the same course, as at Cowegin but found a decided reluctance
on the part of the Tribe to surrender the murderer; they however at
length consented to deliver him into our hands; but on the day
appointed they failed in their promise, and made an attempt to ransom
his life by a payment of Furs. In consequence of that breach of faith,
I took his father and another influential Indian into custody, in hopes
of inducing them by that means, to bring in the criminal;  my object
(24) These events at Cowichan were recorded by Douglas at length in
his diary. For the text see W. N. Sage, Sir James Douglas and British
Columbia, Toronto, 1930, pp. 178-180. 1942 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53. 205
being if possible to settle the difference without bloodshed and without
assailing the tribe at large. After two days of the most anxious
suspense, it was again arranged that they should bring the criminal
to the vessel, and he was accordingly brought to within half a mile
of the anchorage; but on seeing me repair to the spot, he was landed
and fled to the woods. There, being then no alternative except a
recourse to coercive measures, without a positive loss of character,
I ordered an immediate advance, towards the River, near the mouth
of which the Nanaimo villages are situated; We accordingly pushed
rapidly in that direction but from the shallowness of the water, the
boats grounded about three quarters of a mile below the first village
where the troops were immediately landed, and we pushed rapidly
towards it, and before the Indians had recovered from their first consternation we succeeded in carrying the stockade without fireing [sic]
a shot. We spent the night there, and the boats came up before
We then moved up the River, to the second village which we found
nearly deserted, by its inhabitants who had fled, with their property
to the woods. The murderers father was Chief of this last village;
consisting of many large houses and containing all their stock of
winter provisions.
They were now completely in our power, and as soon as I could
assemble a sufficient number of the inhabitants, I told them it was
my intention to treat them as enemies unless they submitted to the
demands of justice. We then learned that the murderer had left the
River, and was concealed in the woods, on the sea coast, about 3 miles
distant. The pinnace was immediately despatched with 16 seamen,
and 9 half whites, towards that point where his place of refuge was
soon discovered and after a long chase in the woods in which the half
whites, took a principal part, the wretched man, was captured, and
taken on board the Steamer " Beaver." The Force was withdrawn the
same day from the River, without molesting or doing any damage
whatever to the other Natives. The two criminals being now in our
possession were brought to trial, and found guilty of murder, by a
Jury composed of the officers present. They were sentenced to be
hanged, and the execution took place in the presence of the whole tribe,
the scene appearing to make a deep impression upon their minds, and
will I trust have the effect of restraining others from crime.
I am happy to report that I found both the Cowegins and Nanaimo
Tribes, more amenable to reason, than was supposed the objects of
the expedition having been brought to a satisfactory close under
providence, as much by the influence of the Company's name as by the
effect of intimidation. The surrender of a criminal, as in the case of
the Cowegin murderer, without bloodshed, by the most numerous and
warlike Tribe on Vancouver's Island, at the requisition of the civil
power, may be considered as an epoch in the history of our Indian
relations which augurs well for the future peace and prosperity of 206 Cruise of the " Thetis," 1852-53.
the Colony. This however could not have been effected without an
exhibition of force. I feel much indebted to Lieut Sansum for his
perfect arrangements and for the admirable temper and forbearance
exhibited by the force under his command in circumstances more
trying to brave men than actual conflict. The Officers and men have
won my thanks not only by their discipline and steadiness but also
for their promptitude and alacrity in the field, and the half whites
emulated their good example.
The reflection that our success has been unstained by a single act
of cruelty and that no blood has been shed except that of those who
paid the just penalty of their crimes, adds not a little to the satisfaction, which I have derived from the result of this expedition.
We returned here yesterday with the whole party safe and well.
I have the honour to be
Your obt Servt
Victoria Section.
The Victoria section of the Association held two meetings during the
spring months. On April 28 the Section met in the Provincial Library, the
speaker of the evening being Dr. T. A. Rickard, who had chosen as his
subject, The Klondike Rush. In his very interesting paper Dr. Rickard
dealt at some length with the perennial controversy as to who should rightfully rank as the discoverer of the fabulous riches of the Yukon goldfield.
In his opinion, and in the light of the evidence which he reviewed in detail,
the honour belonged to George Washington Carmack. Dr. Rickard went
on to explain the curious circumstance that a year passed before news of
Carmack's discovery, and the local rush within the Yukon which followed it,
reached the general public, and in conclusion described the peculiar methods
of mining which were developed to meet the difficult climatic conditions in
the region. Dr. Rickard's paper is printed elsewhere in this issue of the
On June 16 the members assembled in the Provincial Library to hear an
address by Miss Violet Wilson on Some Early Canadian Women. Those
present were delighted with her paper, which recalled Canada's earliest days
and described most graphically the part played by the pioneer women in
those strenuous times. The first white woman to arrive in Canada was
Marie Hebert, wife of Louis Hebert. That was in 1601. Other noted women
mentioned included Mrs. Simcoe, wife of the first Lieutenant-Governor of
Upper Canada, whose diary recalled the fact that Canada possessed a Navy
—the " Lake Ontario Armed Fleet "—in 1792; Laura Secord, whose daring
and bravery saved a Canadian force from certain defeat; Madame Champlain; Letitia McTavish; and Mrs. John McDougall, one of the early
heroines of the Prairie settlements. In conclusion, Miss Wilson told of the
experiences of her own grandparents, who lived in Edmonton in the days
when the city was only an outpost. A vote of thanks was moved by Mr. B. A.
McKelvie, who recalled some of the pioneer women of the Pacific Coast,
including Frances Barkley, the first white woman to visit the Pacific Northwest; Mrs. Catherine Schubert, who was a member of the famous Overland
Party of 1862;  and the early Sisters of St. Ann.
Mrs. Curtis Sampson, President of the Section, presided at both meetings.
The annual meeting of the Graduate Historical Society was held in June
at the home of Miss Rose Whelan, 3085 Tolmie Street, Vancouver.    Mr. John
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No. 3.
207 208 Notes and Comments.
Gibbard read a most interesting paper on Ireland's Position in World War
II., which gave rise to a lively discussion. The following officers were
elected for the year 1942-43:—
Honorary President Dr. W. Kaye Lamb.
Staff Representative  ...Dr. W. N. Sage.
President Miss Rose Whelan.
Vice-President Miss Elspeth Munro.
Recording Secretary Miss Lillian Cope.
Corresponding Secretary Miss Eleanor Mercer.
Treasurer Miss Patricia Campbell.
The Book Prize offered annually by the Society to the student in the
graduating class of the University who has done the most outstanding work
in History during the third and fourth years was awarded in May to
Mr. Robert J. D. Morris, of Nelson.
The annual Summer Meeting of the Society, at which visiting professors
of History are guests, was held at the home of Dr. W. N. Sage, Head of the
Department of History, on July 7. The principal speaker was Dr. Henry S.
Lucas, Professor of History in the University of Washington. His subject
was The Fall of the Low Countries. Dr. Lucas has talked with many
refugees from Belgium and Holland, and he gave an illuminating account of,
and commentary upon, the events of May and June, 1940. Brief addresses
were given by Dr. H. N. Fieldhouse, Head of the Department of History,
the University of Manitoba; and Dean G. S. Brett, of the School of Graduate Studies, the University of Toronto.
G. Neil Perry is Director of the Bureau of Economics and Statistics,
H. Ronald Kenvyn is a well-known authority on maritime and naval
affairs. Shiplovers long ago learned to watch for his articles in the Vancouver Province, and elsewhere. THE NORTHWEST BOOKSHELF.
Voyages of the "Columbia" to the Northwest Coast 1787-1790 and 1790-
1798. Edited by Frederic W. Howay. Boston: The Massachusetts
Historical Society, 1941 (Collections, v. 79).   Pp. xxxi., 518.    111.    $4.
This volume " aims to offer everything of value that is still extant "
relating to the historic American ship Columbia. Whether or not the
Columbia and her small consort, the Washington, were the first American
vessels to visit the Northwest Coast is now uncertain, but they were
undoubtedly the first of the many ships which sailed thither from New
England. The venture was not a success financially, largely because its
direction was entrusted to the unreliable and leisurely Captain Kendrick,
who kept the Columbia lying idly at anchor in Nootka Sound for months on
end. Before the Columbia sailed for home, however, Kendrick exchanged
commands with Captain Gray of the Washington. Gray was an able and
resourceful master, and the fortunes of the Columbia seem to have changed
when he stepped aboard. Returning home to Boston by way of China she
acquired a small measure of fame, for she was the first vessel to carry the
Stars and Stripes around the world. In spite of" the loss the expedition
had incurred, Gray had sufficient faith in his ship and her trading prospects
on the Coast to subscribe personally towards the cost of outfitting her for
another voyage. Within six weeks she was at sea again. That was in
September, 1790. So began the most important historically of all the
voyages by American trading-ships to the Northwest Coast; for in the
course of his cruise, in May, 1792, Gray was to win lasting fame for his
ship and himself by discovering and naming the Columbia River.
The only day-by-day record of the first voyage of the Columbia known
to exist is the journal kept by Robert Haswell, which is here printed in its
entirety for the first time. Even this narrative is incomplete, and breaks
off in June, 1789, shortly before the Columbia sailed for home. Haswell was
originally third mate, but was promoted to second officer a few months after
the ship left Boston. He and Kendrick could not get along, however, and
he was later transferred to the Washington. He returned to the Columbia
when Gray exchanged ships with Kendrick. He thus had a very complete
knowledge of the doings of the expedition, and this is reflected in his journal.
Three accounts of the second voyage of the Columbia have survived, and
Judge Howay presents the complete texts of them all. These include
Haswell's " Second Log" (which, like his earlier journal, does not cover
the entire voyage) ; the detailed and very interesting " Narrative " of John
Hoskins; and John Boit's well-known " Log." Glancing through Judge
Howay's admirable introduction one is struck with the youthfulness of all
three writers. Haswell was only 18 when the Columbia sailed on her first
voyage, and no more than 22 when she left Boston a second time. Hoskins
was the same age. Boit, on the other hand, was only 16 when he joined
the Columbia as fifth mate.    He was the son of a well-to-do merchant, and
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI., No.. 3.
209 210 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
had received a good education, which explains the presence of the numerous
quotations which give his narrative a literary flavour. Oddly enough, only
Boit records the historic visit to the Columbia River in May, 1792. Hoskins's
" Narrative " ceases abruptly in March, and at the time of the discovery
Haswell was cruising far to the north, in command of the tender Adventure.
Fortunately, a fragment of Captain Gray's official log, covering the fortnight
spent in the river, has been preserved and is here reproduced. This reviewer
happens to know that Judge Howay felt some hesitation in including Boit's
" Log " in his volume, because it had already been printed elsewhere twice,
but its inclusion is more than justified. A collection of documents relating
to the Columbia would have been incomplete without it, and students will
find both the revised notes and the cross-references to the other journals
In addition to the four journals, Judge Howay includes two collections of
miscellaneous papers, one relating to each voyage of the Columbia. These
run in all to more than 100 pages. In addition to such items as the instructions received by Kendrick and Gray, and the accounts of the ship, they
include correspondence, reports, official returns, and various oddments bearing upon one or other of the expeditions. The selection has been made with
care and judgment, and students will find that the documents throw light
upon many aspects of the voyages which are not touched upon in the longer
narratives. In sum, Judge Howay has given us a definitive and authoritative source-book that will immediately take its place as one of the standard
references on the history of the Pacific Northwest.
It is interesting to note that the mysteries surrounding the origin and
end of the Columbia herself have at last been cleared away. Careful searching has brought to light entries in the old registers preserved in the National
Archives of the United States which prove that she was built in Plymouth,
Massachusetts, in 1787, and was " ript to pieces " (or " broken up," in the
pomewhat gentler phrase of our own time) in 1801. Hers was probably
a longer-than-average life for a ship in those days of hasty construction
and green timber.
The appearance of this handsome volume emphasizes anew the progress
that has been made in an important field of historical research during the
last dozen years. In 1930 Judge Howay wrote: "The page of Northwest
Coast history which has yet to be written and which affords an ample field
for research is that which deals with the days of the maritime fur-trade,
from 1785 till 1825." Since that time our knowledge of the period has
increased immeasurably, thanks in great part to the work of two scholars—
Mr. Henry R. Wagner, and Judge Howay himself. The work of the one
has formed an almost perfect complement to that of the other. Mr. Wagner
is interested primarily in exploration and cartography. He has devoted
most attention to the official expeditions sponsored by the Spanish and
British Governments. Judge Howay, on the other hand, has studied the
movements and activities of the numerous trading-ships, of several nationalities, which arrived on the Northwest Coast in 1785 and succeeding years.
The extent of his research is suggested by the lists of vessels known to have 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 211
visited the Coast which he contributed to the Transactions of the Royal
Society of Canada in 1930-34. Although the entries are given in a most
compact form, these lists run to a total of no less than 179 closely printed
pages. The wealth of the material which has been unearthed is astonishing,
and Judge Howay has printed or described his choicest finds in a long series
of articles, papers, and books. Two of his major contributions in the field
have appeared within the last eighteen months. First came The Colnett
Journal, issued by the Champlain Society; now from the Massachusetts
Historical Society there comes the Voyages of the " Columbia."
Five years ago Mr. Wagner published The Cartography of the Northwest
Coast of America to the Year 1800, which in effect was a synthesis of a
large segment of his earlier research. Is it too much to hope that Judge
Howay may feel impelled to give us a corresponding work, dealing with the
history of the maritime fur-trade?
W. Kaye Lamb.
The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C.
Esquimalt Naval Base: A History of its Work and its Defences. By Major
F. V. Longstaff. Vancouver: Clarke & Stuart, 1942. Pp. 189. 111.
Paper, $1.75;  cloth, $3.75.
For many years Major F. V. Longstaff, of Victoria, a member of the
Society of Nautical Research, has been compiling information about Canada's
Pacific naval base at Esquimalt. The result of his investigations has now
been published in book form under the title of Esquimalt Naval Base:
A History of its Work and its Defences. The volume is printed by Clarke
& Stuart, Vancouver, and distributed by the Victoria Book and Stationery
Major Longstaff's publication should be required reading for all Canadians who take an interest in naval affairs, particularly on the Pacific.
It is a complete record of Esquimalt and its activities and carries the story
up to the outbreak of the present war. There are facts, figures, and dates;
names of ships and officers; and a series of most interesting photographs,
which show the various' types of warships which used the base from the
earliest days onward.
Esquimalt's connection with the navy goes back to 1837. In that year
Britain established the South American station with headquarters at Valparaiso. From this Chilian port frigates and corvettes and line-of-battle-
ships used to make a cruise north to give their crews the benefit of a change
of climate. In 1848 Esquimalt harbour was surveyed by Her Majesty's
surveying brig Pandora, and in that year the first British war vessel to
enter the harbour was the frigate Constance. The war between Britain and
France against Russia in 1854 was the cause of the first shore establishment
at Esquimalt. A British and French squadron sailed against Petropavlovsk,
on the coast of Kamchatka, and their sick and wounded were cared for at
Esquimalt on the return of the expedition. In 1865 an Order in Council was
6 212 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
passed in London creating a royal naval establishment at Esquimalt and
the naval base was put on a permanent footing.
The Russian war had made the colonists alive to the need of protection
and it was the Victoria British Colonist which led the fight for a dry-dock.
That was in 1861. Three British ships—the Plumper, Termagant, and
Hecate—had been forced to go to San Francisco for repairs, and this condition had the settlers feeling nervous. Plans for the dry-dock dallied on
from 1875. There was delay and political trouble, but in 1884 contracts for
its completion were let, and the last stone was laid on June 26, 1886, and
the water was first let into the dock on April 1, 1887. The dock was officially
opened on July 20, 1887, and the first ship to enter was the sloop-of-war
With the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway the " All-red Route "
to the Orient was established and there were a number of troop movements
between England and the Far East via Esquimalt. Major Longstaff gives
details of these movements, with the names of the units and the number of
men involved. In fact, he includes in his book a fair amount of military as
well as naval information. He has gone to considerable trouble to collect
biographical sketches of the naval officers who did commissions on the
Esquimalt station. Many of them who were on this coast as midshipmen
or junior officers distinguished themselves in later years in other oceans
and climes.
The story of Esquimalt is carried on through the days to the time when
Canada accepted responsibility for the defences at Halifax and Esquimalt.
The transfer of Esquimalt took place on November 9, 1910, and then the
base fell on idle days. The attempt to start a Canadian navy did not prove
a success. In this first year only fifty-six boys joined up. There were some
strenuous days around Esquimalt in 1914 after the Great War broke out.
The author gives some interesting facts about the limited naval dispositions
and the acquisition of two submarines from a Seattle firm. These vessels
had been constructed for the Chilian navy, but Sir Richard McBride, then
premier of British Columbia, stepped in and on his own initiative bought
the underwater boats for about a million dollars. The story of their arrival
off Esquimalt, when they were very nearly fired on, is one of the interesting
stories of those days.
After the Armistice there were sporadic attempts to foster a Canadian
naval service. In September, 1922, a new start was made. Destroyers were
built and acquired, establishments of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer
Reserve were set up across the Dominion, and when the present war crashed
upon a bewildered world Canada's little navy was ready and efficient. And
now the Royal Canadian Navy is a very potent factor in the war at sea.
Most interesting are the naval photographs incorporated in this volume.
They include the Hyacinth, 1888; the frigate Tribune, on the station as long
ago as 1855; the corvette Satellite, 1856; the Reindeer, 1866; the gunboat
Sparrowhawk, 1863; gunboat Rocket, 1874; the Zealous, armour-clad, 1866;
battleship Triumph (sail and steam), 1878; sloop Cormorant, 1885; cruiser,
Amphion, 1888, 1897, and 1900;   the last Imperial ships to be based there 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 213
as a squadron, the Bonaventure, Grafton, and Flora, 1904; and the sloop
Algerine, 1908 to 1919.
Included in the volume is a list of important dates in Pacific history
ranging from 1500 up to modern times, and including references to the visit
of Their Majesties the King and Queen to British Columbia in 1939.
Major Longstaff's work is thoroughly recommended as a concise record
of the base and also of many interesting phases in Canada's defence story.
„ „ Ronald Kenvyn.
Vancouver, B.C.
The British Columbia Fisheries. By W. A. Carrothers. (University of
Toronto, Political Economy Series, No. 10.) Toronto: University of
Toronto Press, 1941.    Pp. xv., 144.    $2.
Based on material largely drawn from official reports, this little book
provides a short summary of the economic development of the fishing
industry in British Columbia between 1858 and 1939. As one would expect
from an author of Dr. Carrothers's experience, it is a competent and
thoroughly objective study of a field which has not yet been fully explored.
It should be read with interest by specialists and those readers who are
seeking a factual account; there is little to suggest the romance of the
fisherman, or the aroma of the reduction plant, in this condensed, economic
In an eight-page foreword, which forms a valuable complement to the
book, Dr. H. A. Innis traces the question of divided jurisdiction from its
origin in the " British North America Act" to the 1928 decision of the Privy
Council, which limited the powers of the Dominion to control of fishing
operations. Foreshadowing matters which are examined in later chapters,
Dr. Innis outlines the governmental attempts to cope with Japanese infiltration, the growth of large-scale processing operations, the resulting trend
towards amalgamation, and the protracted International negotiations over
conservation measures.
The first seven chapters are devoted to a description of the important
salmon industry. Preceded by a short historical account, the author sets
forth an abbreviated description of the techniques employed, capital invested,
governmental regulations, tariff incidence, and the International agreements
affecting the salmon-fisheries. The prolonged negotiations between Canada
and the United States over the conservation of sockeye salmon are fully
discussed in chapter seven. The halibut industry, second in importance to
salmon, is studied in chapter eight; while the last two chapters contain
brief descriptions of the herring, pilchard, cod, sturgeon, dogfish, whaling,
and sealing industries.
The book is amply supplied with supporting statistics, which are not
always fully interpreted in the text, and includes a short index. Apart from
a slip on page 37, where it is stated that " British Columbia entered Confederation in 1872," the book is relatively free from minor errors.    Since it 214 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
was written, the outbreak of war has dislocated markets, displaced the
Japanese fishermen entirely, and created many new and difficult problems
for the fishing industry. In spite of the changed circumstances, it remains
a readable and authentic study of an important native resource.
G. Neil Perry.
Bureau of Economics and Statistics.
Victoria, B.C.
The First Two Years: A Record of the Jewish Pioneers on Canada's Pacific
Coast, 1858-1860. By David Rome. Montreal: H. M. Caiserman, 1942.
Pp. 120.    $1.25.
There has been little, if any, anti-Semitism in British Columbia. From
the earliest days of the Province members of the Jewish faith and race have
taken a prominent part in the life of the community. In business, in public
and in private life, they have done their share in the building-up of the
country, but little has heretofore been done to put on record their activities
and the part they have played in our history.
Within its chosen limits this book goes far to make good this deficiency.
The author is a Jew, a native of the City of Vancouver, educated in our
schools, and a graduate of the University of British Columbia. At present
he is editor of the English-language columns of the Daily Hebrew Journal
of the City of Toronto. During his days in the University he became
interested in the early history of British Columbia, and especially in the
story of the Jewish pioneers. With indefatigable zeal he made it his
business to gather all data obtainable about them. His book, which covers
the first two years of the colony, 1858 to 1860, is the result, and it is invaluable to all those interested in the story of early British Columbia.
It is crammed with references to the Jews of those days, whether favourable or otherwise. We hear of their good deeds, but we are given also the
unfavourable comments on their conduct. We meet such prominent business
men as Joseph Boscowitz; we hear of Kady Gambitz, who founded the
business later carried on by W. and J. Wilson; of the Joseph Brothers; of the
firm of Lewis & Lewis; of the Sutros, so prominent later in San Francisco;
of David Belasco, the famous actor and manager, who spent his boyhood
days in Victoria; of John Malowanski, the first man elected as assistant
engineer in the old volunteer fire company in Victoria, who died years later
in Siberia; and of Selim Franklin, who defeated the famous Amor de Cosmos
in the election of 1860, in Victoria District, the first Jew to sit as a member
of the Legislature of British Columbia;  and many others.
In short, Mr. Rome's book is a valuable addition to the historical literature of British Columbia, as it tells the story of an important factor in our
history which has never been told before.
Robie L. Reid.
Vancouver, B.C. 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 215
Bullion to Books:   Fifty Years of Business and Pleasure.    By Henry R.
Wagner.    Los Angeles:   The Zamorano Club, 1942.    Pp. 370.    111.
Readers of this Quarterly are familiar with the valuable historical work
of Mr. Henry R. Wagner, and will welcome his autobiography, Bullion to
Books: an apt title. Long have we known him as a fine historical scholar,
but many did not know him as the energetic, far-seeing, successful administrator of Big Business.
The volume is written in a chatty, free-and-easy, familiar style. Its title
might have been " Henry R. Wagner en Pantoufles." As we read we can
see Mr. Wagner, seated in a comfortable chair, with one of his favourite
Corona Coronas, reminiscing to his friends. The picture unfolds: a young
lawyer fresh from Yale University, with a bent for mining and metallurgy,
rising step by step until he becomes the confidential agent of the Guggenheim
interests in the Americas, and their superintendent in Mexico during the
troublous years 1907-14—years of revolutions, near-revolutions, and " small
revolutions," when Diaz, Madero, Orozco, Carranza, and Villa were playing
their parts. We see these men not as figures on the page of history but in
a personal and intimate way. Then a turn of the kaleidoscope and we are
with the book lover and book collector in the marts and auction rooms of
London and New York, " nosing " about in places well known to us by name
-—the Museum Bookstore, the Cadmus Book Shop, Edward Eberstadt.
Again, a turn of the kaleidoscope and we see the historian at work in his
chosen field, Spanish America. The bibliography of fourteen pages which
closes the book shows how completely he has filled his hours of " leisure "
for his own pleasure and the benefit of all students of Coast history.
The volume is more than a very readable story of a well-filled life. The
author keeps himself in the background, frankly evaluates many of the
prominent persons he meets, and interestingly portrays life in the London,
Chile, and Mexico of his day. F w Howay
New Westminster, B.C. 216 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
The Diplomatic History of the Canadian Boundary, 1749-1768.    By Max
Savelle.    Pp. xiv., 172.
The  United States, Great Britain and British North America from the
Revolution to the Establishment of Peace after the War of 1812.    By
A. L. Burt.    Pp. xv., 448.
The Crisis in Canadian-American Relations, 1830-1842.    By A. B. Corey.
Pp. xvii., 203.
Canadian-American Relations 1849-1874-    By Lester Burrell Shippee.    Pp.
Reciprocity 1911, A Study in Canadian-American Relations.    By L. Ethan
Ellis.    Pp. x., 207.
Toronto: The Ryerson Press; New Haven: Yale University Press;
London: Humphrey Milford: Oxford University Press, 1939, 1940,
The five volumes listed above form a notable addition to the evergrowing
series, The Relations of Canada and the United States, published for the
Division of Economics and History of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In spite of chronological gaps, they possess a certain
historical continuity stretching from colonial times to 1911. All five
> volumes may, on the whole, be commended for their objectivity and fairness
of treatment. Four of them are from the pens of American historians and
the fifth is the work of a Canadian, yet it would often be difficult to determine by internal evidence the nationality of the writer. In every case the
author has delved deep into the original sources, and the volumes are based
on thorough research.
Professor Max Savelle, of Stanford University, in The Diplomatic History of the Canadian Boundary, 1749-1768, has thrown new light on a
hitherto somewhat obscure subject. He shows that the Peace of Aix-la-
Chapelle in 1748 left the boundaries between New France and the British
Colonies still unsettled. The French advance into the heart of the continent threatened both the expansion of the English seaboard colonies and
the overland trade of the Hudson's Bay Company. The Seven Years War
in America was fought not only " to determine the question of what the
boundaries between the British colonies and the French should be," but it
was also, as the author makes clear, a " sociological conflict which was of
profound and fundamental importance to the history of the future United
States and Canada." The land-hungry English colonists were swarming
over the Alleghenies by 1750, were settling the Mohawk Valley in New York,
and were extending northward to Lake Champlain. In order to stop the
English advance the French fought a desperate struggle in North America
and lost. If France had triumphed the English colonies would probably
have been hived between the Atlantic and the Alleghenies, and Western
Canada might still be a fur preserve.
The Peace of Paris wiped out for the time being the uncertain boundary-
lines between New France, Acadia, and New England, and extended British
North America to the Mississippi.    In one sense it was not a real settlement 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 217
at all. No satisfactory lines were drawn between Canada, Acadia, and New
England. The attempt to define the boundaries of Quebec, and the setting-
up of the Indian Territory in 1763, merely led to disputes between Great
Britain and the American colonies which culminated in the American Revolution. Professor Savelle's volume indicates the importance of the Canadian
boundary before 1763, and forms the first chapter of a diplomatic study of
the intricate relationships between the scattered colonies in eastern North
America which were finally to coalesce into the two new nations which now
control the continent north of New Spain.
As yet no study in this series deals at any length with the period between
the Peace of Paris, 1763, and the Treaty of Versailles, 1783, but this gap
has been bridged to some extent by Professor A. L. Burt, of the University
of Minnesota, in the opening chapter of his important volume, The United
States, Great Britain, and British North America from the Revolution to the
Establishment of Peace after the War of 1812. Professor Burt has already
gone thoroughly into the problem of Canadian-American relations in a previous work, not included in this series, The Old Province of Quebec. The
present volume, which is really a continuation of the former, brings the
story down to the Convention of 1818.
As usual, Professor Burt is provocative. He often disagrees with previous writers and backs up his opinion with copious references to original
sources. Sir Guy Carleton, for example, is held responsible for the British
defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The War of 1812 was not the
result of the efforts of the " Expansionists of 1812." None the less Mr. Burt
has done a real service to historical scholarship, especially in his study of
the deterioration of Anglo-American relations before 1812 and their betterment after the Treaty of Ghent.
One of the most important chapters in the book, entitled " The Dividing
Line," deals with the settlement of the International Boundary in 1783. A
glance at the map on page 17 shows no less than nine possible boundary-
lines. In spite of the uncertainties over the St. Croix River, the New
Brunswick-Maine boundary, and the northwest angle of the Lake of the
Woods, the line chosen proved definitive and has never since been seriously
challenged. But many important British fur-trading posts were now within
American territory, and were not surrendered until after the conclusion of
Jay's Treaty in 1794. Mr. Burt has told the story of the struggle for the
retention of these posts at length, and has recounted the negotiations which
led to the settlement of the problem and the evacuation of the posts in 1796.
The effects of the Nootka Sound controversy on Anglo-American relations
are also fully discussed, and it is interesting in this connection to note that
the British as early as 1790 realized the necessity for a definition of the
International Boundary west of the Lake of the Woods.
The five chapters which deal with the War of 1812 and the Treaty of
Ghent constitute a re-examination into and re-estimate of the last great
conflict between the British Empire and the United States. In his " analysis
of issues," Mr. Burt upholds the traditional interpretation that the United
States attacked Canada because " Canada was the only part of the British 218 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
Empire vulnerable to American attack," and rejects the revisionist view that
the United States declared war on Britain " as an excuse for the attack
against Canada." " As Canada was caught between the United States and
Britain, so was the United States caught between Britain and France." The
United States wished to be neutral in the great struggle between Britain
and Napoleon, but she was unable to keep out of war. Because Britain
controlled the seas and interfered with American trade, and above all
insisted on the " right of search," the United States was forced to fight to
protect her neutrality. The War Hawks might, and did, clamour for the
invasion of Canada, but the real cause of the war, in the opinion of Professor
Burt, was the unwillingness of the United States to accept the Orders in
Council which Britain used as a weapon in her commercial war against
In his chapter on " The War of 1812: Its Operations," Mr. Burt has
carefully evaluated the strategy of the naval and land campaigns. He
points out that " most Canadians are prone to ignore the fact, which Americans can never forget, that the War of 1812 was oceanic as well as continental." The land campaigns were conditioned by the war at sea. The
United States Navy could not hope to risk a general engagement against
the Royal Navy, and the American campaign was conducted by United
States frigates and privateers. The heroic fights between the American
and British frigates have been remembered, but it is seldom realized that
the British, with comparatively little fighting, were victorious in the naval
war. By 1814 " American privateers as well as merchantmen were pretty
well swept from the ocean and the United States Navy had practically
ceased to exist." The British blockade of the American coast-line was
effective. Even before Napoleon's defeat in 1814 British sea power had
" strangled the ability of the American government to continue the war on
land." The Royal Navy was the " ultimate guarantee not called upon
because not needed, that British North America would survive the war."
At Ghent the American representatives outshone the British. Now that
the war in Europe seemed over, both sides tacitly agreed to ignore the issues
from which the conflict in America had sprung. The " right of search,"
" contraband," and " blockade " were practically ignored. The British, to
be sure, once more attempted to establish an Indian buffer state between the
United States and Canada and once more they failed. The chief problem
before the negotiators was to make peace and to leave the unsettled problems
to work themselves out. For both belligerents the Treaty of Ghent was a
face-saving device.
During the four years which followed the signing of the peace treaty the
United States and Great Britain quietly disposed of most of the outstanding
points at issue. The Rush-Bagot agreement provided for the mutual disarmament of the Great Lakes region. The Convention of 1818 settled the
boundary from the Lake of the Woods to the summit of the Rocky Mountains, provided for the joint occupation of Old Oregon, restored Astoria to
the United States, and made a provisional settlement of the vexed Atlantic 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 219
fisheries dispute. As Professor Burt has clearly shown, the convention
introduced a new era in Canadian-American relations.
This " era of good feeling," was, however, terminated by what Professor
Albert B. Corey, of the St. Lawrence University, has termed The Crisis of
1830—1842 in Canadian - American Relations.1 Expansionist sentiment,
which had been quiescent in the United States after 1815, awoke to new life
after 1825. In 1830 the North American Review " advocated the union of
Canada and the United States an an unmitigated blessing." An attempt
was made during the next few years to link up the acquisition of Canada
with the annexation of Texas. If Texas was admitted as one or more slave
states, then Canada could provide a balance of " free" states. As the
political struggle in the Canadas became more acute, American newspapers
began to predict separation from Great Britain and union with the United
States. The outbreak of rebellion in Upper and Lower Canada produced
a ferment along the American border. The escape of William Lyon Mackenzie to the United States led to the formation of the Patriot Volunteers.
The Caroline incident almost led to war. Fortunately, Major-General Wing-
field Scott, of the United States Army, took command on the Niagara
frontier, and his good sense prevented an outbreak then, as it was later to
■ do during the San Juan controversy. President Van Buren was also
opposed to war, and would not take action until after the burning of the
Caroline. Even then he counselled General Scott " to prevent excesses."
Sir John Colborne in Upper Canada was also anxious to avoid bloodshed,
and soon British and American authorities were co-operating to preserve
None the less the border was far from quiet. Secret societies sprang up,
the best known being the " Hunters Lodges," who swore " never to rest until
all tyrants of Britain cease to have any dominion or foothold in North
America." The Hunters attacks on Upper Canada failed, but they indicated
the tenseness of the situation.
The arrival of Lord Durham as High Commissioner and Governor-
General was most timely. His appointment was popular in the United
States and it was soon increased by his studious attempt to cultivate the
good-will of the Americans. He sent Colonel Grey, a member of his staff,
on a special mission to Washington. President Van Buren, although hampered by his political position and by the hotheads on the border, did what
he could publicly to maintain good relations with Lord Durham. Privately
he seems to have sympathized to some extent with the Patriots, but in his
public pronouncements he emphasized the obligation resting upon the United
States " to prevent raids and other attacks on the Canadas."   Although
(1) In his valuable review of this volume in the June, 1942, number of
the Canadian Historical Review XXIII., p. 206, Major C. P. Stacey, the
official military historian of Canada, dryly remarks: " The one really bad
thing about this useful book is its title. There was no ' crisis of 1830-1842 '
in Canadian-American relations, nor does the book treat of the whole of this
period. There was a crisis of 1837-1846, one distinct phase of which ended
in 1842, and Mr. Corey's volume, though not wholly exhaustive, is the best
study we have had of the five troubled years from Papineau's rebellion to
the Webster-Ashburton Treaty." 220 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
public feeling ran high in both countries, especially over the case of Alexander McLeod, a Canadian deputy sheriff who was seized by the Americans
and held on charges of arson and murder, neither Government allowed itself
to be stampeded into violence.
The final chapter in Mr. Corey's careful study deals with the Webster-
Ashburton Treaty of 1842. Changes of government in both Great Britain
and the United States in 1841 paved the way for the settlement of outstanding diplomatic problems. Daniel Webster was now American Secretary of State, and Lord Aberdeen, as British Foreign Secretary, was much
more conciliatory than his predecessor, Lord Palmerston. Alexander
Baring, Viscount Ashburton, was sent to Washington early in 1842 to
negotiate with Daniel Webster. The result was the well-known treaty
which bears their names. It was an achievement of friendly common sense.
The International Boundary was finally settled, and although New Brunswick has lamented the loss of most of the disputed territory, the compromise
seems to have been satisfactory. An extradition treaty which provided for
the surrender by either country when requested by the other of all persons
" charged with murder, assault with murderous intent, piracy, arson,
forgery or utterance of forged paper " was included in the final draft of
the agreement. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty was signed on August 9,
1842, and ratified by the United States Senate on August 20th. For British
North America, and in particular, for Canada, it meant the cession of border
difficulties, the removal of the dangers of war, and an immediate withdrawal
of a considerable proportion of the British military forces, who were needed
elsewhere. It meant that naval forces on the Great Lakes would again be
reduced to the strength provided for by the Rush-Bagot Agreement of 1817.
It meant that that phase of Canadian-American relations represented by
" incidents growing out of the Canadian rebellions and of Americans' hope
of freeing Canada from Great Britain had definitely come to an end."
The period from 1842 to 1849 still awaits treatment in the Canadian-
American Relations series, but it will be touched upon in two forthcoming
volumes. Professor L. B. Shippee, of the University of Minnesota, is the
author of Canadian-American Relations 1849-1874- It was during these
years, in the words of Professor Shotwell, that " the decision of the Canadian and American peoples to accept their separation and to make the most
of it was taken, half consciously, half unconsciously." The central events of
this quarter of a century were the Civil War and the formation of the
Dominion of Canada. The period begins with annexation movements and
the reciprocity treaty, and ends with the Treaty of Washington, the settlement of the San Juan boundary, and the Geneva Award which terminated
the long dispute over the Alabama claims.
The story of the annexation movements beginning in 1849 is closely interwoven with that of the reciprocity agreement of 1854. The repeal of the
British Corn Laws in 1846 and the loss by Canadians of their preference in
the British market, coupled with the repeal of the Navigation Acts, led in
1849 to the Annexationist Manifesto issued by prominent citizens of Montreal.
Those same merchants who before 1846 had been warm in their protests of 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 221
loyalty to Great Britain were now turning in their need to the United
States. Lord Elgin stated that three-quarters of the commercial men in
Canada were bankrupt, and that property values, especially in Montreal,
had fallen 50 per cent, within a few years. In addition, destitute Irish
immigrants, anti-English in feeling, the pathetic survivors of the great
famine, were arriving in large numbers. In the Maritimes the annexationists were also very vocal, but neither there nor in Canada did they form
a large proportion of the population. United States border opinion mildly
favoured the acquisition of the British Provinces, but in Congress and in
administrative circles " the ground of annexation was warily trod." The
South was already threatening secession unless the North would agree to
the extension of slavery, and the admission of the British North American
Provinces would still more overset the balance in favour of the free states.
Lord Elgin saw that reciprocity was the natural foil to annexation. In
this view he was supported by the Canadian Government. The Maritime
Provinces also desired reciprocity, and the British Government was benevolently disposed. Lord Elgin went to Washington to arrange the terms of
the treaty which Lawrence Oliphant stated Lord Elgin's enemies claimed
was " floated through on champagne." Elgin had been given a free hand
by the British Government, but his mission could not have succeeded if a
former American Consul in Canada, Isaac D. Andrews, had not carefully
prepared the way, and if Secretary of State Marcy had not been most sympathetic. The treaty provided for the free exchange of the natural products
of the mine, land, and sea, and gave to the Americans " the right to fish the
inshore waters of all the colonies on the Atlantic except Newfoundland,"
and to British subjects equal fishing rights along American shores north of
the thirty-sixth parallel.
The Americans wished to have the terms extend to the Pacific, and
especially to Vancouver Island. The British Government, however, did not
consider the plan feasible because, in their opinion, the rights already
granted to the Hudson's Bay Company seemed to prevent the admission of
Americans to the Coast fisheries. Secretary of State Marcy always raised
the fisheries issue whenever the British appeared willing to discuss the
project.   The result was stalemate.
The treaty was to remain in force for a period of ten years, and then
could be terminated if either side gave a year's notice. On the whole,
Canada gained more from the Reciprocity Treaty than did the Maritime
Provinces. The United States also felt it was not getting the best of the
bargain. The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 and the consequent necessity for the North to import supplies weighted the balance still more in
Canada's favour. Anglo-American relations became strained during the
Civil War, and the British North American Provinces were naturally adversely affected thereby. Anti-British feeling, inflamed by the activities of
the Alabama, rose to fever heat. Confederate agents in British North
America added fuel to the flames. The raid on St. Albans, Vermont, from
Canadian territory in 1864 brought matters to a head.    The Congress of the 222 The Northwest Bookshelf. July
United States decided to end the agreement. The required notice was given,
and reciprocity was doomed.
By this time the British Provinces were debating federation. It was a
critical period not only in the history of British Columbia but of all British
North America. The issue was " Confederation or Annexation?" Professor Shippee has carefully traced the annexation movements in the United
States during the late 1860's. The New York Herald, the organ of James
Gordon Bennett, preached annexation in season and out. W. H. Seward as
early as 1860 made a campaign speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, in which he
prophesied the admission to the American Union not only of Alaska but also
of Rupert's Land and Canada. If the South was determined to secede, the
North could compensate itself by building up a huge empire " to embrace
every acre of territory as far as the Arctic Ocean." After the Civil War
the Fenians undertook to free the unfortunate British Provinces from the
hated British tyranny which they were enduring. Unfortunately the British
Provinces did not respond! On the whole, the Americans were so obsessed
with the idea of annexation that they paid little attention to the Confederation movement which was sweeping Canada and the Maritimes.
In the House of Representatives General Nathaniel P. Banks, on July 2,
1866, introduced a Bill to admit " the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East and Canada West, and the Territories of Selkirk,
Saskatchewan and Columbia " to the Union. This Bill, Professor Shippee
tells us, " was a copy of one prepared by James W. Taylor, Special Agent of
the Treasury Department in the Northwest, and was incorporated in his
report transmitted to Congress, June 12, 1866." The Bill, which never
became law, apparently created some small stir in Canada. In Kingston,
Ontario, a meeting adopted resolutions " advising the Canadian people to
accept the terms of annexation proposed in Gen. Banks' bill."
Early in 1867 Sir Frederick Bruce, at Washington, reported to Lord
Stanley, at the Foreign Office, that Confederation was looked upon with
mixed feelings in the United States: " with favour by those who do not wish
the extension of the States, but who would gladly see the Provinces break
their connexion with Great Britain, to which result they think Confederation
tends; with disfavour, by the ambitious part of the population who desire
peaceful or forcible annexation, and who are averse to Confederation
because they think it will create the germ of a powerful nationality in
sympathy with, if not directly incorporated with, the Old World."
The Alaska Purchase of 1867 stimulated American interest in British
Columbia. The New York Herald stated that there was " a considerable
movement, both in British Columbia and California and Oregon, to annex
to the United States the territory of Great Britain in that part of America."
It claimed further that " the press and people of Victoria are outspoken in
favour of annexation." In December, 1867, Senator Alexander Ramsey, of
Minnesota, spoke in favour of the purchase by the United States of the
rights of the Hudson's Bay Company " including all claims of territory in
North America clear through to the Pacific Coast."   General Grant privately 1942 The Northwest Bookshelf. 223
hoped for the annexation of all Canada. In January, 1870, Henry W.
Cobbett, of Oregon, spoke in the House of Representatives in favour of a
transfer of British Columbia to the United States. The annexationist
petition from British Columbia created some favourable comment in
Professor Shippee has done a real service in tracing the American
movement towards annexation, but unfortunately he is rather weak on the
Canadian side of the question. True, his book was published before Mr.
W. E. Ireland's article on " The Annexation Petition of 1869 " had appeared,
but he does not seem to have read the earlier studies on the annexation movement in British Columbia. He has paid more attention to the situation in
Red River, but his treatment of the opposition to Confederation in Canada
and the Maritimes is scarcely adequate.
Other chapters in the book deal with the Fenians, the fisheries, further
attempts at reciprocity, and the San Juan water boundary. The remainder
of the volume is devoted to the Joint High Commission of 1871, the Washington Treaty and its ratification, the effects of the treaty on what the author
terms the " everlasting fisheries question," and on reciprocity. Mr. Shippee
has made good use of the official sources, American, British, and Canadian,
and has thrown new light on many obscure points. British Columbians will
note perhaps a lack of local colour in his treatment of the San Juan water
boundary issue, but the author has worked over his sources carefully.
On the whole this volume is one of the most useful in the diplomatic
series. It strikes one as being the most " American " in the narrower sense
of the word. But an unravelling of the tangled skein of Canadian-American
relations during this important quarter century was badly needed, and no
one could write such a volume unless he was familiar with the mass of
American source material. Canadian historians have not pursued their
studies of diplomatic history nearly so far as have the Americans, and it
was fitting that this task should be allotted to an American scholar.
From 1872 to 1911 there is a huge gap in this series. It is to be hoped
that it will be filled later in whole or in part. The last volume under consideration is by Professor L. Ethan Ellis, Reciprocity 1911. Mr. Ellis, who
is Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University, sets forth his
purpose as follows:—
" This study presents the results of an investigation into the forces
underlying and conditioning an experiment in the field of international
trade. It attempts to indicate the setting of uneasiness and multiple dissatisfactions on both sides of the Canadian-American border out of which
came William Howard Taft's offer and Sir Wilfrid Laurier's acceptance of
a reciprocity which as negotiated carried large possibilities of mutual advantage. It surveys the development of opinion and of legislative discussion
and action on both sides of the border, culminating in success to the south
and in an appeal to the country and failure to the north. An effort is made
to clarify the activities of interested parties, political and economic, and to
show their influence, through skillful manipulation of the organs of propaganda and public opinion, upon the issue in each country." 224 The Northwest Bookshelf.
In the United States " reciprocity became a battleground whereon was
fought a skirmish in the background of the 1912 presidential campaign and
whereon was won a battle for the advancement of the economic interest of
the newspaper press." In Canada, on the other hand, the economic advantages were " obscured by a smoke screen of national and Imperial patriotism
designed to induce repudiation of the agreement." The issue was confused
on both sides of the border, the defeat of reciprocity in Canada was based on
propaganda and sentiment rather than on sound economic reasoning.
Professor Ellis, having thus elaborated his thesis, expands it in his study
of approximately 200 pages. It is an illuminating discussion, based on contemporary sources, chiefly official, pamphlets and newspapers. The few
books on the subject have been carefully used. The period covered is short,
but the subject is sufficiently important to deserve such full treatment.
In conclusion, the reviewer wishes to commend once more the Division
of Economics and History of the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace for publishing these five volumes. No one who has perused them
carefully is likely to make the usual after-dinner speech on the subject of
the " undefended frontier." But he will have a much clearer idea of how
that frontier came into being, and of how it has figured in the intricate
diplomatic history of the two great English-speaking nations in North
America. It is to be hoped that before the series is completed that the gaps
in this important diplomatic history may be filled.
Walter N. Sage.
The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C.
Printed by Chaeles F. Banfield, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
600-642-8235 We
Organized October 31st, 1922.
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