Open Collections

BC Sessional Papers

PAPERS RELATING TO THE CROFTER COLONIZATION SCHEME. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1888

Item Metadata

Download

Media
bcsessional-1.0062536.pdf
Metadata
JSON: bcsessional-1.0062536.json
JSON-LD: bcsessional-1.0062536-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcsessional-1.0062536-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcsessional-1.0062536-rdf.json
Turtle: bcsessional-1.0062536-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcsessional-1.0062536-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcsessional-1.0062536-source.json
Full Text
bcsessional-1.0062536-fulltext.txt
Citation
bcsessional-1.0062536.ris

Full Text

 Mr. Begg's Report.
Victoria, B.C., February 10th, 1888.
Sir,—With reference to your letter dated 16th September, 1887, appointing me a
Commissioner to organize a colonization scheme for the emigration of " crofters'-' from Scot-
land and settling them on the seaboard of this Province, I have the honour to report that,
having laid an outline of the scheme before the Imperial Government, and received the conditional offer of a loan of £150,000 @ 3-^ %, for the purpose of assisting those people to emigrate,
I proceeded north to Scotland, passing through the Highland counties of Inverness, Ross,
Sutherland, and Caithness, to ascertain the feeling amongst the people on the subject.
I found large numbers of small farmers, fishermen, and divers craftsmen, who would make
the Very best of settlers, eager to take advantage of the proposed assistance, and quite willing
to comply with the conditions of repayment of any advances which might be made to them.
They were in favour of the proposal of having representatives of their own people sent
out, with a view to inspect and report on the suitability of certain locations and harbours on
which to establish colonies—some of those would have come out with me if funds for passage
fares had been provided for them.
During the short time I was in Britain I received a large number of communications,
from all parts of the country, as far north as the Shetland Isles, from parties who were anxious
to emigrate to British Columbia. Nor were those inquiries confined to crofters and fishermen.
A lively interest and favourable feeling have sprung up towards British Columbia amongst
other classes. The information given in connection with the crofter question, spread throughout
the length and breadth of the land, as to the fine climate and the vast and varied resources of
this country, will, doubtless, have the effect of inducing many of the wealthier classes to settle
in this Province.
In reference to the financial part of the scheme—the £120 advance to each family of an
average of five persons, was based on calculations submitted to a Committee of the House of
Commons by the promoters of several emigration societies. It is about an average of the sums
proposed to be advanced by them, and is, I think, a very fair allowance, considering the cost
of passage, owing to the distance of British Columbia from Great Britain.
The object of asking for such a large sum was with the view of giving the Government of
British Columbia an opportunity of investing that portion of the loan not immediately paid out
to settlers, at a higher rate of interest than 3-J %, and thus affording a margin for management
and creating a fund to meet contingencies, as well as to provide for a large immigration to follow
the first settler's. I may state here that, before leaving Canada, I was considerably misled by
statements in the public press respecting aid from various sources to assist those people to
emigrate. On investigation, I found that such assistance was limited and uncertain. I was,
therefore, obliged to apply to the Imperial Government, with the result as above stated.
Should available locations be found to suit the representatives as above mentioned, and
the contemplated immigration be decided on, there will be a serious obstacle in the way, unless
the Canadian Pacific Railway Company change and reduce their through rate of colonist fares.
The European colonist rate from Quebec to Vancouver is given at $46.50—distance 3,078
miles. Rate from Quebec to Winnipeg, $12—distance 1,655 miles. Winnipeg to Vancouver,
1,423 miles, at the same rate or ratio as Quebec to Winnipeg, should be $10.32; which added
to $12 = $22.32. This, taken from the fare charged ($46.50), shows an excess of $24.18,
discriminating against every adult colonist from Great Britain to British Columbia, which
would very likely operate as an inducement equal to that amount to incline him to settle at a
point less expensive to reach. The Dominion Government, I think, might very fairly be
asked to grant £2 assisted passage, instead of £1, to through colonists for British Columbia.
My plan of settlement contemplates, at first, the planting of five colonies of forty
families each, viz.: 200 souls in a colony, making a total of 1,000, on locations affording to
each colony a good harbour, a town-site, and a fair area of surrounding land to enable ten or
twelve families to engage in agricultural pursuits.    The other families would belong to fisher- 51 Vic. Crofter Colonization Scheme. 465
men, fish curers, boat and ship carpenters, coopers, &c, <fec, ready to take up such trades or
occupations as are required to make a community complete and self-sustaining; they would
require smaller areas of land. Each colony to be separate, having its own local and municipal
management, under Government supervision. The same general rules and regulations would
apply to the several colonies.
The superiority and safety of this system of colonization consist in its being based on the
settlement in groups of families who are connected and bound by family ties and former
associations, as well as being conducted on the co-operative or mutual plan—which plan establishes and promotes system, strength, and economy. The colonists, as soon as they reach their
locations, are at once thrown on their own resources in the construction of buildings and all
other improvements. As soon as a colony is organized in the mother country, the leaders will
be chosen from amongst themselves, and the party placed under discipline from the commencement of their journey. Those leaders would thus become responsible for the good conduct of
the party, and see that the rules and regulations of the colony were properly observed.
This is a new feature in colonization, which, I claim, will prove successful when tried. It
should not be compared with or judged by the results of promiscuous assisted emigration,
which is greatly different from aided colonization, carefully organized and judiciously selected
from a good class of families.
Since my return here I have been making extensive and minute enquiries relative to the
prospects such colonists would have of becoming prosperous. I find those prospects very
encouraging. Products of the sea—Fish : fresh, salted, dried, smoked, or frozen ; fish oil, seal
fishing and whale fishing—all those industries can be engaged in most conveniently and at
highly remunerative prices, more especially in view of the abolition of the import duty on fish
and oil to the United States. Then there are timber industries, to which several would, no
doubt, turn their attention; at first to supply themselves with lumber to finish their dwellings, build their boats, <fec, and eventually to sell to their neighbours or ship to foreign ports.
Mining operations will also give employment to not a few. Everything seems favourable for
the prosperity of the new colonists, and the present seems a grand opportunity, if found practical financially, to develop the latent, rich resources of the Province and add largely to its
population.
Of the character and integrity of the settlers in view to form those colonies, I have no
doubt; neither do I doubt their ability to repay the advances, provided sufficient time is given
to enable them to earn enough to meet those obligations.
Referring to the financial responsibility connected with the proposed immigration, I
consider that, in equity, the responsibility should be shared with your Government by the
Dominion and Imperial Governments; but as the Dominion Government place so much stress
on their general system of irresponsible immigration, and as you claim the selection and management of your colonists, it is not likely that much may be expected from that quarter. The
Imperial Government, however, might grant "better terms"—say the loan five years without
interest; and as those colonists could not be expected to repay anything of consequence before
the third year, their advances should be allowed to run for three years without repayment.
As the season is advancing, an early decision as to the terms which would be accepted by your
Government will greatly expedite this affair.
I shall be happy to receive your instructions to submit those terms to the Imperial
Government, and be prepared, should they be accepted, to carry into effect the colonization
scheme as soon as the delegates have reported to you.
All which is respectfully submitted by
Your obedient servant,
ALEXANDER BEGG,
Emigration Commissioner (in Scotland) for British Columbia.
The Hon. John Robson,
Provincial Secretary, &c, Victoria. 466
Crofter Colonization Scheme.
1888
General Abstract.
Victoria, B. C,
13th February, 1888.
Sir.—In connection with my report of the  10th instant, I have the honour to submit the
following statements and details :—
No.   1.—Statement of interest on loan of £150,000 = $727,500 @ 3£ %, with sinking
fund required for repayment, at an investment of 4 % for different periods.
Time.
Amount of Interest.
Annual Sinking Fund.
Total Annual Payment.
15     ,,    	
20     „     	
25     ,,     	
$22,734 37
22,734 37
22,734 37
22,734 37
22,734 37
$58,265
34,934
23,491
16,967
12,472
$80,999 37
57,668 37
46,225 37
39,701 37
30     „     	
35,206 37
No.   2.—Statement of the amount required to repay  £120 or $582,  proposed  to be
advanced to each Colonist Family :—
Years.
Total Amount.
Each Family.
Annual Payment.
Per Cent.
15	
20	
25	
$865,025
924,507
992,534
 (If paid in 23
$692
740
794
845
$46
37
32
35
28
7, nearly.
6|    „
54   „
6     ,,
30	
$1,056,180
4f   „
No. 3.—Statement of advances made to assist 1,250 families, to emigrate, at a maximum
of $582 each family.    Loan $727,500 for 25 years, commencing in 1888 :—
Year.
Families
Amount advanced.
Balance on
Hand.
Advanced for
Outfit, &c.
Paid during the
Year.
Balance Invested.
Interest.
1888-89
1889-90
1890-91
1891-92
1892-93
1893-94
200
200
200
200
200
250
$116,400
116,400
116,400
116,400
116,400
145,500
$611,100
494,700
378,300
261,900
145,500
$58,200
58,200
58,200
58,200
58,200
72,750
$58,200
58,200
58,200
58,200
58,200
72,750
$669,300
" 552,900
436,500
320,100
203,700
72,750
$26,772
22,116
17,460
12,084
8,148
2,910 51 Vic.
Crofter Colonization Scheme.
467
No. 4.—Statement   showing the amount  of interest  accruing on the  transaction until
1897 :—
Date.
Invested at 4 per cent.
Date—Amount Realized.
Repaymentsfrom Colonists
June 30th, 1889	
$26,772
June 30, 1890... .$1,071
1890	
48,888
1891....  1,956
1891	
66,348
1892.... 2,654
(35 x  200) = $ 7,000
1892	
78,432
(35 x  400)=  14,000
1893	
86,580
1894.... 3,463
(35 x  600)= 21,000
1894	
89,490
1895.... 3,580
(35 x   800)= 28,000
1895	
89,490
1896....  3,580
(35x1000)= 35,000
1896	
89,490
1897....  3,580
(35x1250)= 43,750
No. 5.—Statement showing  total  interest  available from investments  and  repayments
from colonists to repay loan :—
Date.
Interest from Investments.
Repayments from Colonists
Total.
June 30th, 1890	
$1,071'
1,956
2,654
3,137
3,463
3,580
3,580
3,580
$ 1,071
„        1891 	
1,956
,,        1892	
$ 7,000
14,000
21,000
28,000
35,000
43,750
9,654
1893	
„        1894 	
1895    ...
1896	
1897	
17,137
24,463
31,580
38,580
47,330
No. 6.—Statement showing amounts required to make provision for Sinking Fund up to
1894, assuming the loan to be granted free of interest for the first five years, and on the basis
of 25 years repayment:—
Date.
Sinking Fund.
Deficit.
Surplus.
Interest.
Deficit.
Surplus.
June 30th, 1892   ....
$16,967
16,967
16,967
$12,681
17,137
24,463
$4,286
4,116
1893	
$4,286
4,116
1894	
$3,380
No. 7.—Statement showing interest on accumulated interest invested  from Jane 30,
1890, to June 30, 1893, inclusive :—
Date.
Interest
Invested.
Former
Balance.
Total.
Total
Interest.
June 30th, 1891    	
$ 1,071
1,956
9,654
17.137
$ 43
80
„          1892 	
$ 43
80
389
$ 1,999
9,734
17,526
1893	
389
„          1894      	
701 51 Vic. Crofter Colonization Scheme. 463
PAPERS
RELATING    to
THE  CROFTER  COLONIZATION  SCHEME.
Victoria, 16th September, 1887.
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you, that you have been appointed an Emigration
Commissioner, without salary, by the Government of British Columbia, for the purpose of
organizing a colonization scheme for settling Scotch crofters upon the seaboard of this Province.
A certified copy of the Minute of Council setting forth the terms of your appointment, &c, is
forwarded herewith.
I have &c,
(Signed)        Jno. Robson,
A. Begg, Esq., Provincial Secretary.
Care of the Honourable the Secretary of State,
Ottawa.
Copy oj a Report oj a Committee of the Honourable  the Executive  Council, approved by Hit
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the 9th day of September, 1887.
On a memorandum from the Honourable the Minister of Finance and Agriculture, dated
the 7th day of September, 1887, reporting that Mr. Alexander Begg, for some time Emigration
Commissioner for the Province of Ontario, and who comes well recommended, proposes
proceeding at once to Ottawa and Scotland, for the express purpose of organizing a colonization scheme for settling Scotch crofters upon the seaboard of this Province, with a view to
their engaging in fishing and agriculture.
The lines upon which Mr, Begg proposes working are similar to those adopted with so
much success by Professor Tanner, viz.: To obtain the assistance of philanthropic gentlemen
of means in Scotland to place the settlers upon homesteads and provide for their proper maintenance until such time as they can be fairly thrown upon their own resources—all of which
is to be done without involving any financial charge upon the Province.
The Minister recommends encouragement and promotion of this scheme to the following
extent:—
1. The Government to undertake to make free grants of homesteads to such settlers from
the public lands of the Province, the area to depend upon the location, quality of land, and
number of families, but not to be less than twenty (20) or more than a hundred (100) acres for
each family, and the fee to be given on compliance with pre-emption conditions of Land Act,
or such other reasonable conditions as may be fitting under the circumstances.
2. The Government to assist the commissioner or agent of the colonization association by
supplying guides or otherwise facilitating movements in finding and reaching suitable locations.
3. The Government to appoint and duly accredit the said Alexander Begg as Emigration
Commissioner, without salary, for the special purpose of organizing and carrying out the above
scheme.
The Committee concur in the report and recommendations of the Honourable the
Minister of Finance and Agriculture, and advise that this minute be approved and a copy
forwarded to the Honourable the Secretary of State for Canada.
Certified.
(Signed)        T. Elwyn,
Deputy Clerk Executive Council. 468
Crofter Colonization Scheme.
1888
No. 8.—Statement showing details from  1894, when repayment of interest requires to
be added to the Sinking Fund, up to 1898 :—
From the foregoing it appears that the investments, at the end of ten years show a balance
of $21,807—to which may be added the saving of five years'interest on the loan, viz., $22,734
per annum, equal to $135,477. This provides, not only a liberal margin for management and
contingencies, but is a bulwark of safety against any risk of the failure of individual colonist
families to pay the advances made to them ; and such accumulating balances may eventually
be applied for the benefit of the colonists in any way the Government may see tit.
I have the honour, <fec,
(Signed)        Alexander Begg.
The Hon. John Robson,
Provincial Secretary, &c, Victoria.
Memo, for the Hon. Jno. Robson.
Referring to my report and statements, re loan, I directed attention to the large amount
which the passage across the Atlantic and the continent would cost the colonists.
I have been considering the matter more fully, and have come to the conclusion that,
under the circumstances, the sums which would thus have to be paid out would far better be
invested in the purchase, or part purchase, of a vessel large enough to carry one colony of
forty families (200 young and old) direct to British Columbia. A vessel with auxilliary propeller
would be preferable, as being more speedy for the voyage, and afterwards more valuable for
any branch of trade in which it might be engaged.
The time required for the passage would, of course, be longer, but that would be more
than counterbalanced by the advantages which would be derived from such an arrangement.
Chief amongst those advantages would be—each family would become part owner of the
vessel to the extent of the share paid in for passage money. Their effects in much greater
variety and bulk would be conveyed with them intact, free of cost, without being more or less
destroyed by transhipment, or the proverbial carelessness of baggagemen. The vessel, by
agreement, would remain on the Pacific Coast and become an "implement of trade," manned
by a crew of owners, or joint owners, ready as soon as the party was landed at their location
to engage in sealing, whaling, or coasting,—in the latter trade, more especially, the auxilliary
screw would be very valuable to contend with the strong tides in the channels, and calms and
contrary winds, which often baffle and delay sailing vessels. A number of small boats could
also be brought out ready for immediate use. Extra supplies for the first year's maintenance,
as well as other goods, could form a part of the cargo without any additional cost for freight.
A lien on those vessels would afford additional security to the Government for the repayment
of advances.
During the voyage, under proper regulations, the women could be profitably engaged in
knitting, sewing, making nets, &c, and, after being a few days at sea, as there would be a
teacher along, the education of the children could be attended to. A number of the young
men would be required to work the vessel; others of them might do some cooper or carpenter
work. The extra time, therefore, required to make the voyage, instead of being wasted, could
be occupied advantageously. 51 Vic. Crofter Colonization Scheme. 469
My statements show that the proposed colonization scheme is based on a safe and sound
financial basis, and demonstrate that instead of being visionary, it can be carried into eflect
profitably from a commercial point of view, and more especially by having the fleet of vessels
alluded to connected with it. I did not specify any amount for management, as the
surplus shows a very large fund on which to draw for that purpose as may be required. By
way of elucidation, I may add, that, assuming $20 be required for the ordinary steerage ocean
passage, and $46.50 for railway fare for each colony of 200, amounting to $13,300; and as, by
Statement No. 3, the sum of $58,200 is set apart for the expense of outfit, &c, why might not a
larger sum, say $28,200, be invested in the purchase of transport vessels. There would
remain $30,000, of which $15,000 could be used to pay for ship's stores, expenses of the
voyage, and to procure supplies for the year. The balance, $15,000, could be applied towards
erecting buildings and other permanent improvements. Those permanent improvements and
the amount invested in the vessels would, together, represent a value of $43,200, and would
almost at once, be available as collateral security to the Government for the payment of the
amounts so advanced; and as the balance of the advances were paid over to the colonists and
expended by them in such permanent improvements, stock, boats, <fec, they, together with the
land occupied, would, within two years, more than represent the full value, of the advances
made, and become collateral security. It will thus be seen that they would not come in as
paupers, nor speculators, nor claim-jumpers, but well equipped with means and appliances,
ready to work their way steadily to earn a livelihood and develop the resources of the country.
Objections are taken, I understand, by some parties to the effect that the colonists cannot
be depended on to carry out their agreement to repay the advances; that being so near to the
United States they would cross over the boundary, leave the country, <fcc, &o. To this I can
only say, that all the probabilities are against such a result. The annual repayment required
by each family is so small ($35) that any able-bodied member of it, even a domestic servant,
should be able to pay that amount out of two or three months' earnings.
Those colonists accept the terms voluntarily; they wish to make permanent homes for
themselves; they choose suitable locations; they settle together with family ties and former
associations; they erect dwellings and make other permanent improvements; they engage in
various local industries; they are comfortable; they are contented; they begin to feel
prosperous; they have the prospect of becoming independent, even wealthy; they become an
important factor in the population of the country; they have gained position; they, have a
character to maintain, and no doubt from their former religious and moral training, and under
the model autonomy proposed for the management of the details of each colony, they will
maintain that character at a high standard. Now, under those circumstances, what is there
to induce any of the colonists to leave for the United States, or any other place?
Amongst the advantages which will accrue to the Province by the adoption of the proposed
scheme would be a large supply of female domestic servants, so much required; and as each
colony of forty families would likely have at least an average of one young woman to each
family available for domestic service, there would be forty young women, and in the five
colonies proposed to be brought out at first the number would be 200.
The value of the introduction of such a class of settlers into the Province, from a moral
point of view, cannot be placed on paper, yet the undefined value is there and will have its
elevating influence on all with whom they come in contact. Your government, therefore, by
giving the required aid, or rather countenance, to this self-supporting immigration scheme,
which I have shown can be done safely, without adding one cent to the existing taxes, or
burdening the ratepayers in that behalf in any way, will not only greatly add to the population,
development, and wealth of the country, but will place British Columbia in the front rank as
being the most philanthropic and progressive Province belonging to the British Empire.
Respectfully submitted,
Alexander Begg.
Victoria, B. C, 15th February, 1888. 470
Crofter Colonization Scheme.
1888
Victoria, B.C., 23rd February, 1888.
Sir,—As the responsibility of the proposed " Crofter Emigration Scheme " attaches itself
to your department, I beg to submit to you the following statement, being an extension of
Statement No. 8, in the "General Abstract," from 1898 to 1902, inclusive:—
Date.
Available Interest.
Former Balance.
Payment required.
Balance on hand.
1899	
$47,330 00
47,330 00
47,330 00
47,330 00
$21,807 15
29,435 78
37,064 41
44,693 04
$39,701 37
39,701 37
39,701 37
39,701 37
$29,435 78
1900	
1901	
1902	
37,064 41
44,693 04
52,321 67
Now, if the " Abstract Statement" shows a reserve fund in 1898 of $135,477, and in
1902 an amount of $165,991, extending over thirteen years, it would allow at the rate of
$12,768 a year for management and other assumed outlays, classified approximately as
follows:—$5,000 for management, $1,500 for commission, exchange, &c, $1,500 for insurance,
1,375, supposing 125 families, or 10%, fail to make their annual payments, and a balance of
for unforseen contingencies.
In my estimate I have not included the =£1 assisted passage allowance made to ordinary
immigrants by the Dominion Government, which in this case might be raised to £2 each
adult, and in the aggregate would amount to about £5,000, or $25,000 in round numbers at
£1 or $50,000 at £2, which would count to considerable advantage if placed against probable
losses.
The Provincial Government would, of course, hold collateral security on all permanent
improvements, as shown in my memo., dated 15th inst., to the Hon. the Provincial Secretary.
This would amount to about $43,200 on one-half the first advance to 200 families. When the
proportion of the balance ($58,200) would be paid over to the colonists during the second and
third years, to be invested in similar permanent improvements (not including sums paid for
provisions, clothing, household furniture, and such articles as would not be taken as collateral
security), the amount might be placed at $97,000, as the actual cash value of those improvements, to which 25 per cent, might safely be added for the value of the labour expended on
them, showing a total of $121,250, which divided by 200, gives over $600—a larger sum to
the credit of each family in collateral security than the whole advance ($582), and this without
rating the lands occupied at any value.
The whole responsibility lies in the probable failure of a number of the families to pay
the $35 per annum. It is shown, however, by the abstract statement and trial balances that
the scheme can carry 125 delinquent families, or even a larger number, without affecting its
ordinary working, or taking into account the value of the lands occupied, or the sum of
$47,330—the permanent fund invested in government securities. So that, in reality, the
responsibility is entirely cancelled by the collateral security given, or which may be further
taken to double the amount of the sum actually required.
The Province will also have to its credit, on account of this colonization scheme, an extra
population, in a very few years, of from six to ten thousand, as well as over $700,000 in cash
and property brought into the country along with the colonists.
Estimating the number of able-bodied male immigrants amongst them at 3,000, and that,
according to statisticians, each of those'would represent $1,000, the "crofter emigration
scheme," in this way alone, would add three million dollars ($3,000,000) to the wealth of the
Province, to say nothing about the statistical value of the women and children.
I have, &c,
(Signed)
Alexander Begg,
Commissioner.
The Honourable J. H. Turner,
Minister of Finance, &c, &c. 51 Vic. Crofter Colonization Scheme. 471
Victoria, B. C, 6th March, 1888.
Sir,—The expedition to Port San Juan, to ascertain whether that locality was suitable
for a colony, and to examine as to the practicability of removing the "jam" on San Juan River,
left Victoria Harbour on Friday, the 2nd inst., and returned on the evening of Monday the 5th.
The small steamer " Spitfire," which was chartered for the occasion, was behind time in
starting. The pump and condenser were out of order, so the Captain had to put into Sooke
Inlet for water. By the time water was procured, it was too late to reach Port San Juan before
nightfall; therefore as the Captain was not much acquainted with the coast, he decided to
remain at Sooke until early morning.     He reached San Juan about noon on Saturday.
Messrs. Sinclair, Halpenny, and myself procured an Indian guide, and at once proceeded
up the river to examine the "jam." The principal Indian guide being absent, the substitute
we got took a wrong channel, and had to return some distance to find the main channel.
The "jam" was eventually reached and carefully examined by Mr. Sinclair. He gave it
as his opinion that the debris could not be cleared to make the channel navigable or available
for running saw-logs for much less than $6,000.
Immense trees, interwoven with others of smaller size, had been accumulating, I understand, for forty or fifty years They are piled on each other for over 300 yards up the stream ;
in some places from ten to fifteen feet high. Sections of the largest of those trees will not
float down stream even when cut across, except at the very highest floods, so that the disposal
of the disintegrated "jam " is to be a task of great difficulty. However, Mr. Sinclair says it
can be clone. He is considered an expert at this sort of work, and it is only an experienced
man such as he is that can form anything like a correct estimate of the cost of such an undertaking. At the same time, it must be borne in mind that all the saw-mill timber in San Juan
valley is locked up and settlement retarded until this "jam " is removed.
There is a small "jam" near the mouth of Gordon River, which if removed before it has
time to accumulate, can be cut out for less than $100.
Mr. Halpenny estimates the area of the land fit for an agricultural settlement in San Juan
River valley at eight miles long by four miles wide, which would amount to over twenty
thousand acres. The soil is rich alluvial; timbered with pine and spruce. Giant trees rear
their lofty heads at irregular intervals, leaving spaces between, near the river, covered with
brush and alder; farther from the river comparatively open places are found.
Proceeding further up the river, about four miles, I am informed that a small stream about
two hundred yards long leads to a lake on the west side of the river. This lake, which is
slightly elliptical in form, is about a mile wide. It has a grassy margin, and the shore is lined
with white sand. It is deep and contains the clearest and purest of water. On the northwesterly side it extends close to the foot of a spur of the mountains, forming a cul de sac of
great beauty. The land surrounding the other sides of the lake is excellent. Ice of the best
quality, I judge, could be obtained at this lake and stored for summer use. As soon as the
San Juan is cleared of snags, Sic, and the side streams confined to the main channel, it will be
navigable for stern-wheel steamers much higher up than this point. Mr. Mowat, Inspector of
Fisheries, may find this pellucid basin just the place in which to deposit a few hundred thousand
salmon fry to re-stock the river.
I estimate the land on Beach Island at about 1,000 acres, and the land available for settlement near the mouth of Gordon River at over 1,500 acres.
Gordon River is a large stream of beautifully clear water. Trout fishing is said to be
good on both the Gordon and San Juan rivers, and salmon, so the Indians say, formerly ran up
the San Juan in great numbers; but since the "jam" has become so large they cannot well get
through.     Salmon trout are caught in the harbour near the mouth of San Juan.
Beach Island is an excellent site for a fishing town. It has a considerable elevation above
the beach, which, between the outlet of San Juan River on the east, to the outlet of the Gordon
on the west, has a frontage of about a mile and a half. The view down the bay, with the headlands and lofty thickly wooded hills on each side, and Cape Flattery in the distance, form a
delightful picture.
Now that attention has been called to this locality, I think it would be well to have a
reserve made of the Delta or Beach Island, to prevent squatters or speculators from interfering
with future plans. This reserve should begin, on the east, some distance to the seaward of
Snuggery Cove, and include the side-hill and river valley, except the Indian Reserve, as far as
may be deemed necessary. In the same way it should commence on the westward, some distance-
seaward from the entrance to the basin, and include the valley of the Gordon. 472 Crofter Colonization Scheme. 1888
The island, or delta, is chiefly timbered with spruce of such good quality, that if cut into
saw logs would about pay for clearing the land. The shore of the island opposite the mouth
of the Gordon, is suitable for saw-mill site, ship yard, &c, &c.; whilst the various inlets along
the "slough," which in high water surrounds the north-east portion of the island, afford ample
accommodation for logs and booms in perfect safety from all weathers.
The spit of sand and gravel at the western end of the beach, slopes abruptly into deep
water and allows a safe entrance of considerable width to the basin. The entrance and bar
outside could easily be dredged to any required size or distance along the west shore should
increased traffic require it for large vessels.
At comparatively small cost a breakwater could be built from the western shore, so as to
make the entrance to the basin perfectly safe and accessible in south-westerly or southerly
storms—in fact could be made a harbour of refuge, so much required on this otherwise exposed
coast at the entrance of "Juan de Fuca Strait."
It will thus be seen that the geographical position of Port San Juan, coupled with harbour
improvements and industries such as would spring up in connection with fishing, manufacturing
and saw-milling, carried on by a vigorous colony, supported by good agricultural settlements,
should make it one of the most important and prosperous places on Vancouver Island.
As a fishing station the position of the proposed colony is all that could be wished for.
The spacious harbour in front is well stocked with fish. Immediately outside the harbour are
banks where halibut and cod are caught. Should the fishermen desire the deep sea fishing the
open Pacific is before them. Should they wish to dispose of fresh fish, on ice, they may run
to San Francisco in a couple of days, where there is always a good market. In a few hours
they can connect with the United States railways, now in course of erection northward. Seal
fishing commences even further up the Strait than San Juan harbour. On my way there on
Saturday last I saw an Indian in his canoe spear one. Whales (small) may be seen by the
dozen " blowing" as they pass. Herring is plentiful at certain seasons ; and so are dog fish,
valuable for their oil.
The government of the United States have made Neeah Bay, on the opposite side of the
Strait, a harbour of safety, and provided a lifeboat, &c. Port San Juan, in my humble
opinion, should receive similar attention from the Dominion Government, as there is no place
of safety on the Pacific Coast between San Juan and Barclay Sound. It would also form a
place of call between Victoria and Barclay Sound, thus contributing to the early establishment
of regular steamboat service. A lighthouse is much required at San Juan Point, and a telegraph
line should be extended to that, at present, isolated point.
For export, all sorts of sawed lumber, including railroad ties, could be furnished in
abundance, and the expense of towage from saw-mills in the interior would be saved.
The new colonists would, therefore, require to have timber limits of liberal dimensions
set apart for their benefit; as the timber industry, carried on in a scale which the surrounding
supplies will warrant, would of itself do much towards sustaining the colony, and along with
the fishing, ship-building, boat-building, and other industries, would create a market for the
produce of the agricultural community up the valley.
The Indian population on the Island is very small, and is dwindling away year by year.
I think, therefore, they should not be disturbed in their occupation of Reserve No. 1 on the
east corner of the Island (230 acres, as marked on the tracing hereto attached, which I procured
from the Indian Department). They have abandoned Reserve No. 2 on the western point,
which is by far more valuable and necessary for the colony, and should be cancelled as an
Indian Reserve.
On the sketch referred to from the Indian Department, as well as on the Admiralty
charts, the slough connecting around the Island is apparently taken to be a branch of the
San Juan River. This, however, is not the case, as the slough at the north corner of the
Island can, during certain seasons, be crossed dry shod at low tide; neither is there any
current from San Juan River at such times.
Mr. Halpenny and myself explored the various outlets of the Gordon whilst the "Spitfire"
was securely at anchor in the sheltered basin, and proved the correctness of the above statement, as outlined on the rough sketch I have appended to this report.
We were ready to return on Sunday as proposed, but the Captain on reaching the mouth
of the harbour found the swell rather heavy for his small craft (only thirty feet keel) and put
back.    We persuaded him to try the west point of the beach.    On nearing the shore we took 51 Vic Crofter Colonization Scheme; 473
the precaution to sound, and to our great satisfaction found  over twelve feet at low water,
into a perfectly land-locked basin, twenty feet deep for some distance up.
Here we were obliged to remain all day; but this forced delay has enabled me to lay
before you additional, and I venture to hope, valuable information respecting the western
entrance, its safety, depth of water, ifec, &c.
I have, &c,
Alexander Begg.
The Hon. F. G. Vernon,
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Victoria, B.C., 12th March, 1888.
Sir,—I asked Mr. Huson, and he favoured me with an interview on Saturday evening
last. He seems to be in possession of the most extensive and practical knowledge of any of
the pioneers I have yet come across regarding the coast and the islands on the east side of
Vancouver. He appears to be well acquainted with all the channels and harbours around the
islands as far as Cape Scott, the most westerly point of the Island.
For the settlement of the fishing colonies in view, he gave it as his opinion that Malcolm
Island, being entirely unoccupied, would answer remarkably well. It contains a fair proportion
of good land; is not too heavily timbered, and inland has some marshy ground which could be
drained and made available for pasture, &c. There are also several good harbours on the
island, and its proximity to Queen Charlotte's Sound, as well as being surrounded by excellent
fishing grounds, he thinks, would make it a most desirable place for such settlements.
He thinks that Hanson and Harbledown Islands should also be reserved for those settlers,
the former as a stock-raising island; and the latter, although mountainous on the south, contains
good land on the northern side, and has good harbours.     Both are entirely waste at present.
Mr. Huson thinks that Hope Island should be made a reserve for one of those colonies.
Its greatest importance would consist in its position as a harbour of refuge and point of
departure and arrival to and from the Pacific. At present Hope Island is an Indian Reserve,
ostensibly for a sheep run, which Mr. Huson thinks preposterous, as he says Indians do not
care anything about sheep, and there are only a few camps in all now remaining on the S. E.
corner of the island. He thinks they could be easily induced to remove to the neighbouring
island if necessary; but I do not think their location there would be a great objection, more
especially as they do not make any use of Bull Harbour, which is the grand objective point
for the use of the fishermen. Hope Island has a good proportion of cypress amongst its
timber, valuable for ship and boat building. Black wolves are said to abound in the island,
and would require to be exterminated before sheep could be introduced by any party.
I found that Mr. Huson had also been up the San Juan River Valley, and knew something of the port and harbour. He is of opinion that if used up to its capabilities it cannot
fail to become a place of great importance.
I understood Mr. Huson to say that either you or the Hon. the Provincial Secretary are
acquainted with him, so you know what reliance should be placed on his statements.
I have, <fec,
Alexander Begg.
The Hon. F. G. Vernon,
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
/fa'ORIA: Printed by Richard Wolfendkn, Government l'rinxv
at the Government Printing Office, James' Bay.

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/cdm.bcsessional.1-0062536/manifest

Comment

Related Items