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The Chung Collection

The Queen's highway from ocean to ocean Cumberland, Stuart C. 1887

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Array     / \  THE
JLiiJM    kJ
r«ATtON8  Queen's 1 Highway
Fro/vl   0
CEAN     T
(All   lights   reserved)  TO
M  ftrbicste fins IBook
s. c-  CONTENTS,
I.   The  Province  of   the   Midnight   Sun—The  Island
Portion 1
Victoria and Vancouver Island     .....      1
The Queen Charlotte Group      .        .       . ... 37
II.   The   Province   of   the   Midnight   Sun—The   Mainland  48
Vancouver, the ' Terminal City '       .        .        .        . . 48
New Westminster and the Fraser River District   . . 84
Port Moody, the Present Terminus   .        .        .        . . 91
The Climate and General Resources of the Province . 106
III. Esquimault   as   a   Naval Centre, and   tts  Bearing
upon Russia's Position in the Pacific   .       .   . 119
IV. On the Highway 136
From the Pacific to the Rockies       ,'      .       .       .    . 136
Across the Open Praul|l| 173
V.   The Halfway House 190
VI. Round the North Shore of Lake Superior       ..       . 275
VII.   Ottawa, the Dominion Capital 319
VIII. Montreal, the CommerciJI Capital     .... 340
IX. The City of the Narrowing Waters     .       .       .   . 363
X.   The Highway's last Stages   .       .       . .       . 380
From Point Levis to the Sea 380
The Atlantic Terminus 403
Mount Stephen and Kickinghorse River .       .   ,
Victoria, British Columbia      ....
Vancouver, the Pacific Terminus of ' The Queen'
.The Princess Louise's Pine      ....
New Westminster	
Mount Ross and Glacier     .       .       .
Fourth Bridge at Loop, Mount Ross
The Snow Range, Selkirks	
Gateway to Beaver Canon       ....
The Lower Kickinghorse Canon ....
Tunnel on Kickinghorse, looking West
The Lower Kicking Horse River
The Cathedral Mountain	
Fort Garry        	
The Great Northern Packet      ....
Ottawa        ........
Halifax, Nova Scotia	
Chart of the World, showing new Route through
Map of the Dominion of Canada.
to face p.
to face p.
From Her Majesty's dominions lyiDg under the soft
effulgence of the Southern Cross to those in the
North Pacific is a long cry ; but, with the opening
of the new line (the Canadian Pacific) across
Canada, connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific,
the Antipodes and the j Province of the Midnight
Sun'—British Columbia—will, in the immediate
future, be brought nearer together by many days.
At present there is no direct communication
between Australia and Canada, and we have to thank
American enterprise for carrying us over the 7,000
miles which separate British possessions in the North
and South Pacific. This consists of a monthly mail
service between Sydney, N.S.W., and San Francisco,
the steamers stopping at Auckland, N.Z., the Samoan
group (sometimes), and Honolulu en route.
The time occupied in making this trip is from
twenty-four to twenty-five days.
On arriving at San Francisco, a weekly steamer
—which, by the bye, you invariably miss by a day
or so—takes you on to Victoria, Vancouver Island.
There are two vessels, both of American build, running on this route : one, the Queen of the Pacific,
is a fair ship : whilst the other, the Mexico, is a
wooden tub, possessing neither speed nor comfort.
It was my misfortune to journey by the latter.
The transcontinental railway, I learned, would be
in working order in the early part of July ; so I took
the June mail from Sydney in order to be the first
passenger to make the through journey from the
Antipodes to England over the new route. I was
not only, however, the first through passenger, but, I
believe positively, the first person to go over the line
of rail between the Pacific and the Atlantic in a
journalistic sense, I having been commissioned by a
syndicate of Australasian, Indian, and English newspapers to give a description of the country through
which runs this new Queen's Highway.
In recording my travels I have earnestly sought
to make our kinsfolk in the South Pacific more fully
acquainted with the vast provinces and territories
comprised in the Dominion of Canada; for I am con- VICTORIA AND VANCOUVER ISLAND
vinced that with the bringing of the Australasian
colonies and Canada together not only will trade, to
their common advantage, spring up between them,
but the bonds of kinsmanship will be materially
strengthened—which in these days of disunion and
rumours of disunion must not be underrated.
I have also endeavoured to show India the.
advantages of this new line, which, failing the Suez
Canal route, may in time of necessity be the only safe
road by which she could have touch with Great
Britain. An increased trade between the East Indies
and Canada will, I also hope, arise from this closer
I have also, in my letters to China and Japan,
done all that I could to impress upon those countries
the advantages to be derived from the opening of the
Canadian Pacific Railway. Commerce between this
portion of Asia and the Dominion cannot fail to
materially increase. Canada's products, such as timber, coal, skins, and oil, are in ever-increasing demand
in those countries, whilst their teas are welcomed in
the Dominion for home consumption or reshipment.
Already traders have taken advantage of the new
route, and tea ships from Asia are constantly arriving
at Port Moody, the present terminus of the transcontinental railway.
' The Queen's Highway' is in no way a reprint
of any newspaper letters, as they only form the basis
of the present work ; and in order "to lend additional
interest to the descriptions contained herein I have
had the pages interspersed with numerous striking
illustrations. Many of the pictures are from photographs exhibited in the Canadian Court at the
Indian and Colonial Exhibition, and kindly given me
for the purpose of illustrating this book by Sir
Charles Tupper, High Commissioner for Canada, to
whom I am indebted for other kindnesses.
Many books have been written about Canada,
the Marquis of Lome and the Princess Louise
especially having with pen and pencil done much
towards making the country known ; but in \ The
Queen's Highway' I shall, I think, be the first person
to describe the country lying between the two oceans
in a connected form.
Coming north from the ' Golden City,' you sight
Vancouver Island as soon as you round Cape Flattery.
Victoria, its chief town, lies in the Strait of Juan
de Fuca, and it is some sixty miles from the point of
entrance. This strait divides the island from the
mainland of the United States, Washington Territory.
Further on it runs into an island-dotted sea, called
Puget Sound. North of it commences the Strait of
Georgia, and there ends the territory over which float
the Stars and Stripes, and there begins the mainland
of British Columbia, which, save where it is cut into VICTORIA AND VANCOUVER ISLAND 5
by Alaska—the land acquired by the United States
of Russia—has a stretch northward of close upon
760 miles, where it finally loses itself in the weird
loneliness of the Arctic Ocean.
This important province of British North America
has an estimated area of 390,344 square miles, containing about 250,000,000 acres, in which limits are included Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlotte group,
and about a thousand small islands adjacent thereto.
The southern boundary of the province is in the 49th
parallel, and its northern the 60th degree of north
latitude. British Columbia, it will thus be seen, is
greater than California, Oregon, and Washington
Territory combined.
Looking eastward from the Strait of Georgia, if
the eye could carry so far, it would rest upon nothing
but British land for close upon 4,000 miles. It is
through this vast tract of country, comprising timber
limits of inexhaustible extent, mineral belts of untold
wealth, and millions upon millions of corn-producing
acres and rich grazing lands, that this' new railway runs, serving to connect the Pacific with the
Atlantic, and giving us the only highway we have
to Asia and the Antipodes. From the moment the
traveller arrives in Victoria until Liverpool is reached
he will have been under no flag other than the
Victoria  is  not only the   capital of Vancouver 6 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
Island, but it is the centre of government of the entire
province. It contains a population of about 12,000,
of which upwards of 3,000 are Mongolians. There
is a tax upon the entrance of each Chinaman to the
extent of $50 ; yet this does not appear to have
a deterrent effect, as visitors from the Flowery Land
are constantly arriving, and they pay their entrance
fee with a bland resignation which is highly commendable. One and all of them appear to be doing
very well. They have a quarter to themselves, and
their houses are clean and well built. They are
engaged in all kinds of manual labour, and nothing
comes amiss to them, from tilling the soil or lumbering in the woods to doing the family washing or
waiting at table.
Opinions are divided here, as elsewhere, as to
whether the Chinese are a blessing or an injury ; but
at the present moment I, for my part, fail to see how
the Europeans could do without them.
The principal feature of the Chinese quarter is
the theatre, where are nightly performed portions of
plays which drag their wearisome way for months
before they are finally finished. With the plays of
the Celestials it seems to be all j act-drops ' without
'curtain.' The English have just erected a very
handsome theatre of their own, and it is by far the
largest and best equipped temple of the Muses that
I have seen in a town of its size in any part of the
world. But then Victoria is big in its ideas, and
promises to possess, ere long, imposing commercial
houses, banks, churches, and other public buildings;
and, in its general go-aheadness, it already has electricity to light up its streets. True, the Government
buildings are not much ; they are built in the Swiss
style of architecture, and seen from across the river
they look like so many dolls' houses. But very good
laws are passed inside of them, and the inhabitants
can get within their precincts all the justice they
want. In this matter they are better situated than
the people of the neighbouring State of California,
who erect costly buildings in which to administer
the law, only to find that the law is neither so well
nor so justly administered in their marble halls as it
is in Victoria's wooden courts.
In reference to the government of British
Columbia, whilst the Provincial Government—whose
head-quarters are in Victoria—has control over all
local affairs, the Canadian Government regulates all
matters connected with trade and navigation, the
customs and excise, the administration of justice,
militia and defence, and the postal service. The
province is, at present, represented in the Dominion
Parliament by three senators and six members of the
House of Commons. Its own Legislature consists
of a Lieutenant-Governor appointed by the Governor-
General of Canada, an Executive  Council  of four 8 THE QUEENS HIGHWAY
members, and a Legislative Assembly of twenty-five
members, elected by the people for a term of four
years. In practice the Executive Council holds
office at the will of the Assembly.
Victoria is not a bustling place, neither is it
sleepy ; but there is an air of old-worldism, of quiet
content about it, affording a striking contrast to
the active towns I left behind me in Australia. The
streets are neither very long nor very broad (the
principal ones are Government Street and Yate
Street), but the houses therein are in the main
substantially built, whilst in various parts buildings
of improved style and greater size are in the course
of erection. The shops are well supplied, and
London goods can be purchased for a slight advance
upon London prices. There is a first-class hotel
(Driard House), where, for twelve shillings a day,
one can get much better accommodation than is
afforded in many of the larger provincial towns in
England. Although everything is reckoned by
dollars, and the currency is American money, there
is little of the Yankee element in Victoria. It is
distinctly British, and the people are more in the
habit of looking towards England than to Canada;
indeed, many have never got over the bitterness
engendered within them by the incorporation of
British Columbia with the Dominion of Canada.
As in the case of the Great North-West, it was   \
the Hudson's Bay Company who first brought this
place in commercial touch with Europe. From a
mere fort of the Company's has sprung the present
city, which, with its railway and shipping connections, promises finally to become one of the most important ports in the North Pacific. The harbour of
Victoria, whilst it is of considerable extent, does not
in its natural state afford accommodation for vessels
drawing more than 18 feet of water ; but Esquimault
(which I shall deal specially within another chapter),
although it is some 3-g- miles distant, will ere long be
part and parcel of Victoria ; and it possesses a magnificent harbour, capable of containing vessels of almost
any draught. Esquimault, it is asserted, will in the
immediate future be a naval dep6t of the highest
importance, and already a scheme is in hand for the
fortifying and defending of the harbour and its approaches.    But of this in another place.
Victoria, from the time that the consolidated
Hudson's Bay Company founded its trading ports in
these regions, became the general supply point. This
was in 1843, and the Company named the stockade,
where stands the present block, Fort Victoria, in
honour of her Majesty the Queen. Then the trade
of the entire country was almost exclusively in furs,
and the route taken by the ships engaged in this
trade was round Cape Horn ; so that the island was
separated from the mother country by nearly 20,000 10
miles of water. The journey was then one of months,
now it is one of days. With the present connection,
and at the present rate of speed, the distance between
Liverpool and Victoria can be readily encompassed
within fourteen or fifteen days. Outside of the Hudson's Bay Company's ships very few vessels touched at
either Victoria or the mainland, and life for the early
settlers' must, under such circumstances, have been
dreary in the extreme. In 1856 a gold craze swept
over these parts, gold having been discovered on the
mainland, on the Columbia and Fraser Rivers.
Speculators and experts, vagabonds and idlers, rushed
in their thousands to Fort Victoria, as the centre
from which they could eventually depart in their
search for the precious metal. At one time it was
estimated that there were, consequent upon this rush,
not less than 30,000 people encamped in the neighbourhood. It was, I believe, chiefly owing to the
firmness displayed by Sir James Douglas, chief factor
of the Hudson's Bay Company at Victoria, that lawlessness was kept under, and the rabble did not
attempt to serve the fort as the Barbarians and mercenaries served ancient Carthage.
Whilst gold was discovered in considerable
quantities, it by no means panned out so well as
was expected, and the wave of excitement gradually
subsided. Of thousands who had rushed in search
of fortune, the  greater  part  returned  in  poverty. VICTORIA AND  VANCOUVER ISLAND
Several hundreds remained behind, some in possession
of wealth, others in the search for it. The craze,
however, was the chief means of making the colony
known, and it in a measure caused Victoria and other
towns on the Columbia and Fraser to be built up.
Gold is still found in the neighbourhood of these
rivers, some of the old claims being even yet worked
at a profit.
It was in 1849, some seven years previously to
this, that Vancouver Island was constituted a Crown
colony; whilst two years later, in 1858, the mainland, the paradise of the Indian fur-hunter, was also
made a colony with the name of British Columbia.
It had previously gone by several names, the chief
one being New Georgia, a title bestowed upon it by
the explorer, Captain George Vancouver. At that
time Vancouver and British Columbia were separate
colonies, but in 1866 they were united, and so they
remained till 1871, when they were incorporated in
the Dominion of Canada. In thus forfeiting its independence the colony received certain handsome
concessions' from the Dominion Government, one
of the chief conditions being that a railway should
be built opening up the country from the Rocky
Mountains to the sea. After several delays this
promise has been fulfilled, and British Columbia is
now as much an integral portion of Canada as are
the Upper and Lower Provinces. 12
The island of Vancouver is oblong in shape, extending north-westwardly parallel with the mainland,
from which it is separated by the island-dotted
channel of the Gulf of Georgia, a distance of close
upon 300 miles. It has a varying width of from
thirty to fifty miles, and its area is estimated at
12,000 square miles. Whilst being densely timbered,
much of this land is altogether unsuitable for cultivation, and would not pay for the clearing. The timber, however, is in places very large and sound, and
lumbering industries cannot fail to be remunerative
for many years to come. The interior of the island
is generally mountainous, some of the peaks attaining
an altitude of from 6,000 to 9,000 feet. There is but
very little level land in any part of the island, and, so
far as is yet known, the arable tracts are principally
confined to the extreme south-eastern portion. I am,
however, assured that there is some fairly level land at
the extreme north which would repay the agriculturist.
But the good land is in patches—here and there,
between the forks of rivers and between the mountains
and the water, and in no part is it sufficient to warrant
agricultural operations upon an extensive scale. A
great—the greater part, in fact, of the country is
unknown. The interior of the island is still a terra
incognita, and, save in and about the coast, there are
neither roads nor settlements. Victoria, Esquimault,
and Nanimo,  the great  coal  centre,  are the  only VICTORIA AND VANCOUVER ISLAND
places of note. About midway between Victoria
and Nanimo there is a small agricultural settlement
called Cowichan ; and on the same east coast, engaged
in similar undertakings, are Maple Bay, Chimainus,
and Somenos. Saanich is at the extreme south-east;
whilst Comox, a logging centre, is sixty miles further
north than Nanimo. What land there is is good, and
anything will grow on it. With the draining of the
marshes, of which there is no end, rich pasturage
will be afforded, and the island should have no equal
in the matter of hay-producing.
The climate of Vancouver Island is, to my
thinking, the most delightful in the world. There is
a certain balminess about the air which at once
creates contentment ; and one speedily arrives at the
laudable condition of being at peace with all mankind.
In summer—and I speak from experience—it is
never too hot; and the winters, I am assured, are
never too cold. True, rain falls somewhat heavily
in the autumn, but winter brings with it little frost
and less snow. Sometimes the inhabitants get a
fortnight's sleighing or an equal amount of skating,
but the winter in such case will have been exceptional.
Flowers bloom and flourish in the Victorian gardens
all the year round. The whole island is Flora's
Sweet old-fashioned English flowers abound in
profusion, keeping the settlers, in memory at least, 14
in touch with the mother country beyond the
There are beautiful drives around Victoria, and
the roads are excellent. There is the scent of wild
flowers about everywhere as the team spanks along
the macadamised roads. A few late dog-roses peep
from out of the hedges, exhaling a delicate perfume,
which eventually gets lost in the overpowering odours
of the trailing, honeysuckle, which is in extraordinary
abundance. Here there are natural hedges of it,
whilst there its waxen petals are beating out their
perfume on the trunk of an oak as the soft July wind
fans them up and down. I
Ferns are in countless profusion. The banks are
a quivering mass of them, whilst they nod like plumes
from the crests of moss-grown stones. In some
places they burst like tufts of waving hair from the
sides of monster trees, or hang like curling feathers
from the lower branches. There are water-ferns and
rock-ferns, wood-ferns and tree-ferns ; some coarse
and vulgar, others delicate and well-bred, all forming
one great family of healthy, flourishing, well-to-do
Most of the larger trees have already fallen by the
woodman's axe, but there are still a few left within
the city limits sufficient to give you an idea of the
timber wealth of the island. They are in great
variety—hemlocks, cedars, maples and firs, oaks and VICTORIA  AND VANCOUVER ISLAND
dogwood, and the evergreen arbutus, which is heavier
than oak, and resembles box in its grain. In the
copses grow the wild cherry and prickly raspberry,
and trailing over the rocky banks are the blueberry
and blackberry ; in the swamps is to be found a species
of gooseberry, and the hedges are often red with raspberries, or purple and white with varieties of wild
Singing birds are scarce, but game is plentiful.
O       O 7 O J.
Grouse rise up from beneath your feet at almost every
step you take in the woods, and not infrequently
cross the road just in front of your horse's nose when
you are out driving. Deer and mountain goats are
in plenty within a short distance of the town. Fish--
ing, for those who care for it, can be had anywhere.
The views afforded by a drive along the coast roads
are simply exquisite. Between the pines, little lakes
sparkle and ripple in the sun, whilst frogs croak
amongst the browning rushes, or a fish splashes suddenly upwards in chase of a gaudy fly which has been
temptingly skimming the surface of the water. A
duck, with shining blue wings, may whirl from out
of the lily leaves with a hoarse note of alarm, or a
water-fowl duck his black head in fear beneath the
water. To the right is an Indian camp, and the blue
smoke rises high above the top of the tallest cedar in
curling, lingering columns, whilst the air is odorous
with burning pine fumes.    As the team mounts a hill 16
higher than the others, one can look down in the
O y
valleys. A green expanse strikes the eye, although
here and there a streak of blue denotes the existence
of a stream, and the patches of red glowing in the
sunlight speak of habitations. At this point one
unconsciously draws in the pure air, and invigorated
thereby continues to open one's mouth the wider—
this consciously, of course. The resinous perfume of
the firs tickles one's nostrils, and one sniffs and sniffs
as if it were impossible to have enough. A feeling
of exhilaration creeps over one, and all the petty
troubles and worries of everyday existence are momentarily forgotten. As the horses descend, the way
leads through some scrubby timber, such as dwarf
spruce and bark-shedding arbutus ; we are approaching the shore. The stones rattle from the rocks on
either side, and the sand flies up in stinging clouds
from beneath the horses' hoofs. Round the racecourse we speed, and then down to the pebble-strewn
beach, where break the white-crested waves of the
Pacific. The gulls and other white and black plum-
aged, sea-birds are spreading their wings in the sun
or are diving after fish. An Indian is mending his
nets, and a Chinaman is collecting mussels from off
the rocks, the haunts of the ghastly octopi. Some
children are bathing close inshore ; the water is not
deep, but the bathers are fearful of venturing out too
far because of the devil-fish.     Some half-breeds are VICTORIA AND VANCOUVER ISLAND
propelling a canoe, which is fantastic with carved
emblems and gaudy with colour ; and spread over
the surface of the water are frail sail-boats.
There is no coast in the world which affords such
facilities for safe boating as does Vancouver Island.
Everywhere the land seems to run out in forks as if
to enfold the water 1 and the water, nothing loth,
rushes into the land's embrace and nestles • there,
wearing away the soil into placid blue basins. Some
waves more daring than the others rush still further
onward, piercing a way into the interior, creating
numerous little inner seas, which afford safe boating'
j * O
at all times. The same thing occurs on the main-
land, and there is no doubt of the coast-line being
the most wonderful in the world. It was this
peculiarity of bay-indented shores and tortuous inlets
which so struck the Earl of Dufferin when he paid a
visit to British Columbia in his capacity as Governor-
General. In a speech delivered in Victoria his
Excellency said, with regard to this matter, ' Such
a spectacle as its coast-line presents is not to be
paralleled by any country in the world. Day after
day, for a whole week, in a vessel of nearly 2,000
tons, we threaded an interminable labyrinth of watery
lanes and reaches that wound endlessly in and out
of a network of islands, promontories, and peninsulas
for thousands of miles, unruffled by the slightest
swell from the adjoining ocean,  and presenting  at
c 18
every turn an ever-shifting combination of rock,
verdure, forest, glacier, and snow-capped mountain
of unrivalled grandeur and beauty. When it is
remembered that this wonderful system of navigation,
equally, well adapted to the largest line-of-battle ship
and the frailest canoe, fringes the entire seaboard of
your province, and communicates at points, sometimes
more than a hundred miles from the coast, with a
multitude of valleys stretching eastward into the
interior, while at the same time it is furnished with
innumerable harbours on either hand, one is lost
' in admiration at the facilities for intercommunication
which are thus provided for the future inhabitants of
this wonderful region.'
For a long time Vancouver Island was thought
o o
to be part and parcel of the mainland, and the early
Spanish and English explorers designated it as such.
It was, I believe, Vancouver himself who, in 1792,
cleared up the matter by exploring Puget Sound and
the Gulf of Georgia. Just previously to this the
Spanish had taken possession of a small English
settlement at Nootka Sound, on the west coast of the
island, and held it in the name of their sovereign.
This act almost precipitated a war between the two
countries.    An understanding was, however, eventually arrived at;  and in a treaty, signed  in   1790
Spain undertook to vacate Nootka Sound, without
prejudice to what  she considered to be her general VICTORIA AND VANCOUVER ISLAND
rights in the region. On the arrival of Captain
Vancouver two years later, Don Bodega y Quadra,
acting commissioner for Spain under the treaty,
surrendered the post of Nootka Sound to him.
One can well understand how the early navigators
were united in the matter of imagining Vancouver
Island to be a part of the mainland, as in parts
chains of small islands almost connect the two ; and,
in the original survey of the transcontinental railway, it was intended to carry the railway over one
of these chains on to the island. This scheme being
found to be impracticable was eventually abandoned,
and the railwaywas built some distance further south,
with a terminus at Burrard's Inlet, distant upwards
of sixty miles from Victoria.
So that, instead of there being a complete line of
rail from the British Columbian capital to the far east,
there are these miles of sea to be got over before one
strikes the iron highway. It is in order to lessen
the water distance that Mr. Dunsmuir (the British
Columbian millionaire) has built a railroad along
the coast from Victoria to Nanimo, a distance of ninety
miles, leaving only some seventeen miles to be got
over by steamer. This will be a distinct advantage
to winter traffic. Mr. Dunsmuir—who, by the
bye, is not only absolutely without ' side,' but is the
most obliging millionaire I have ever had the pleasure
O       O A
of meeting—was good enough to place at my disposal 20 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
a special train, in order that I might go over the track
as far as it was then constructed. At that time no
portion of it was open to traffic ; but it is now, I
believe, in working order, and available for the public.
The line goes through some charming scenery. The
train glides in and out of the woods, giving you a
glimpse of the sea as you go along, or winds its way
wearily round the purple hills. At one moment you
are many feet above the sea, in another you are almost
on the same level as the waves. Up and down, in
and out vou go, vet the grading is never dangerous,
J O     '   J O O O
and the views are ever enchanting. I had a seat on
an open platform in front of the engine, and at first
a nervous shivering  came   over me  as the engine
o o
pushed us along. As we went downhill I thought
that the chair upon which I was sitting must slide
off, leaving a mass of unrecognisableness upon the
rocks below ; or that as we toiled uphill the stool
must fall backwards, passing me under the wheels of
the tender. The position was a novel one, but I
very soon got used to it, and from my point of vantage
I could take in everything there was to be seen.
Whilst there is a great deal of bridging on this
<—' O       O
line there is but very little tunnelling j indeed, I do
not think there is more than one tunnel of importance along its whole length. The country en route
was wild in the extreme, there being scarcely a sio-n
•/ o
of cultivation.     But   the  soil  was   anything   but
J O Ml
generous. Much of it was rank clay, whilst large
portions of the high ground consisted almost entirely of gravel. Here and there were patches of
ground with a thick topsoil of decayed vegetable
matter, but the country generally was nothing more
than picturesquely barren. Picturesque it was, without doubt:   and as one   ran along the  side  of   a
1 O
mountain, with the blue sea below sparkling and
gently foaming over its bed of many-coloured stones,
and the dark setting of firs behind, the scene was little
short of the sublime.
On several occasions startled deer dashed hastily
over the iron rails or watched us curiously from their
leafy fastnesses as we rushed past. Mingling with
the fresh salt breezes from the sea were the pungent
odours of resin-yielding pines, the fainter scents
of wild-flowers, and the somewhat sickly smells of
ripening berries. A supreme silence reigned, alone
broken by the puffing of the engine, or the dull
boom of the blasters at work in the distance. The
air was intoxicating, and, leaning back in my seat in
meditative peacefulness, I drank my fill.
In the fulness of time country residences of the
rich of Victoria will dot the valleys or nestle amongst
the hills along the line of rail, and the inhabitants of
the city will make these views common property with
their cheap excursions and picnic parties. As yet,
no part of the country through which I passed had 92
been vulgarised by man ; in fact, outside of those
engaged in the construction of the railway, neither
forest nor valley had known the presence of any
living person.
It is not for the purpose of affording pleasure
resorts for the people of Victoria that the line has
been built, although naturally its promoters are
anxious to secure sufficient public patronage to make
it a paying concern; but in order, firstly, that there
should be a direct highway to the coal mines at
Nanimo ; and secondly, that the agricultural country
—and there is, I understand, some very good land
further on towards Nanimo—should be opened up
for settlement. As Esquimault is to be developed
into a first-class naval station, this bringing of the
coal centres into direct connection with it will be of
the highest advantage to it.
Nanimo is a town of about 4,000 inhabitants, and
on account of the wealth of its coal deposits it is in a
flourishing condition. Mr. Dunsmuir is the great
man of the place; he. is the owner of the principal
coal mines in the district. Nanimo possesses in
Departure Bay a harbour capable of containing the
largest ships. Vessels trading in these waters
invariably coal there, as the coal is superior to any
other found on the Pacific coast. It is bituminous,
and very large quantities are shipped to San Francisco and other American ports, as well as to the VICTORIA AND  VANCOUVER ISLAND
Sandwich Islands and Asia. The value of such coal
supplies to the British squadron in the Pacific is
naturally incalculable. The coal-fields are said to be
of immense extent, reaching in one direction over
100 miles. Coal, I should add, is not confined to
Nanimo, as rocks of the tertiary age containing
lignite occur at Sooke, and at various points on the
south-east coast.
There are but very few Indians in the immediate
vicinity of Victoria, disease and the advance of civilisation having combined to dispose of them. A small
tribe of, I believe, Timpseans still occupy a reservation across an arm of the sea opposite the city.
Desiring to make their personal acquaintance, I hired
a boat of a half-caste, who pulled me to the opposite
From him I could gain no sort of information,
for whilst brown in skin he was, he said, white at
heart. It is curious how all half-castes renounce
their mother's folk and only claim- kindred with
their father's race. This stain of white blood to them
brings with it nothing of shame ; on the contrary,
they are proud of their bastardy, and they glory in
the extra readiness with which they pick up the
white man's vices. The red man, no matter how
pure-blooded he may be, is but a poor creature in
their eyes ; for to be quite red is to shiver in rags in
the forests or on a barren reservation, and in his 24
ignorance killing himself with poisonous fire-water,
all for the want of knowing what to take and how to
take it; whilst to have a dash of white blood in one's
veins is to live in the warmth of the cities, to wear
serviceable cast-off European clothes, and, above all,
to know how to mix drinks, and what spirits make
the best mixture.
On landing at the foot of the hill where stood the
native encampment, several lean and hungry dogs,
with wolfish heads and bushy tails, came out and
sniffed the air. Immediately after, they set up a
chorus, but whether of welcome or defiance I could
not at the moment determine. I am not at any time
particularly fond of strange dogs in out-of-the-way
places, especially when, such places are the legitimate
homes of the dogs ; and I invariably fight shy of
intruding myself on their privacy.
On this occasion I firmly grasped my stick, and
paused—I had almost written retreated—until I
should have assured myself as to the actual intentions
of the furry-coated brutes who held guard over the
reservation. Indian dogs are not benevolent-looking
animals, and their general appearance is not such as
to inspire confidence at first sight. They have a
horrid habit of hanging out their tongues and rolling
their eyes in a fine frenzy, as if their leading ambition
in life was to make a summary meal of the trembling
paleface.    Their wolfish origin betrays itself in every
movement; and, however much one likes to sit behind
them in a sledge whilst they wildly career over the
snow, one certainly has good reason for fighting shy
of them when they are out of harness and their appetites are keen.
After hesitating awhile I determined upon advancing. At this, a long, uncouth, yellow brute—yellow
dogs, by the bye, are always the worst—approached
several paces nearer me and commenced growling.
What a cold that dog appeared to have! and how
hoarse his growl seemed! never before do I remember
having fallen in with a canine with such a deep bass
voice. I shook my stick at him, and he, by way of
response, showed his big yellow fangs and coughed
out a growl. I picked up a stone and flung it with
all my force. My aim is generally good, but on this
occasion it fell wide of the mark. My foe was evidently used to this method of attack. During this
contest the rest of the dogs remained perfectly passive, as if awaiting events. The big yellow dog
was evidently the cock of the walk, and had been
told off to do duty for them. They seemed fearful of
exciting his wrath, and they yelped approval every time
he succeeded in dodging the stone, whilst they equally
showed admiration for my skill by indiscriminately
scattering every time I jerked a stone in their direction.
Whilst I was stooping to pick up a piece of rough 26
rock, with the avowed intention of smashing my
assailant at one desperate blow, a loud and terrific yell
sounded above me, and a moment later the big yellow
dog was speeding towards a shed with his tail between his legs, and a bend in his back as if something
heavy had fallen across it. Of the other dogs there
was not a vestige ; instead, smiling blandly from his
position, was a dusky-faced Indian. In his hand he
held a canoe paddle, which amply accounted for the
yellow dog's discomfiture.
' Him bad dog,' said the brave, with an emphatic
grunt : § him cost white man much fire-water.'
O '
I looked quickly at him, expecting to discover
some expression of humour, but his face was gravity
The feat of disposing of the said dog was certainly worth something, so I threw him a ' short-bit,'
and in a twinkling he had disappeared with it.
I am convinced that this dog was a source of
income to its owner, for on another occasion it
attacked me in a precisely similar manner ; but this
time I felt certain that its master was in hiding close
by, so I called out to him, and, on his approach, the
whole tribe of canines retreated as before.
The coast now being clear, I approached the
dwelling-houses of the ' noble red man.' For filth
and squalor commend me to the Indians of this
reservation.    Their houses were like so many cow- ^1
sheds, and the people were stalled off in compartments much after the fashion of cows. The
atmosphere of these rooms was by no means savoury,
and the general appearance of them was such as to
impress the casual visitor with the idea that insect
powders were in this encampment unknown quantities. These houses had neither the picturesqueness
of the wigwam nor its utility ; and the clothes they
wore were altogether unsuited for their requirements.
Most of the women were hideously ugly, whilst
the men looked' dirty and utterly debased.
In one shed I, however, came across a young
squaw of singular beauty. Her type, curiously
enough, was almost pure Grecian. It was a face
such as I had seen in Athens and in Alexandria.
Her eyes were very soft and large, and there was a
sweet shyness about them which made her doubly
She was very young, but in her arms she carried
a ' papoose'—her ' papoose.' It was a bright-eyed
little fellow, seemingly half starved, and his hunger
apparently gave additional shrillness to his voice.
A ' bit' silenced him.
The young squaw could not speak a word of
English, and all the time I was there she hung her
head in seeming shyness.
Presently we were joined by her father, a
noisy old ruffian.    He had  evidently been making 28
himself acquainted with ' fire-water' from an early
hour that day, for he reeled and danced in a manner
which, although not lacking in novelty, was certainly
wanting in decency.
It was he who did the honours of the house, and
after asking me to take a seat—where seat there
was none—he' tried his blandishments on me for
the purpose of obtaining two ' bits' with which to
purchase I fire-water.'
But I remained obdurate.
Then he sang in an unknown tongue, and danced
a frantic accompaniment. I did not understand a
word he said, but the burden of his song was
evidently'fire-water.' His breath whispered whisky,
and his glaring eye and the frenzied action of his
hands spoke it as clearly as words.
There was no mistaking his meaning.
I advised him to take a rest, but he professed
not to understand me. Suddenly he stopped in the
course of his double-shuffle, which did duty for a
war dance, and, resting his hand upon my shoulder,
pleaded in his native tongue for ' two bits.' This
was the only English he knew, and the knowledge
of what they would procure lent additional eloquence
to his expression of them. Thinking, however, that
he had had ' bits' enough for the one day, I declined
to administer to his wants,- and he eventually disappeared, consoling himself with an ancient black
pipe, looking, when I next saw him, the picture of
thirsty misery.
At this moment there came in the mother-in-law
and brother-in-law of the youthful wife. The former
was simply hideous. She was fat—very, and seemingly without proportion ; her hair, beyond being
greased, showed no signs of having been attended to
for goodness knows how long; whilst the natural
yellowness of her skin was almost hidden by incrustations of dirt. When young, many of the Indian
women are remarkably handsome—and I am not the
first traveller who has been struck by the classical
features of some of them—but they age very quickly;
at forty, and often at thirty, they not infrequently
are simply withered-up or shapeless hags. Under
better treatment, and under more favourable conditions, they would in great measure, I feel certain,
retain their good looks. The half-castes are, as a
rule, finer featured; and the women, when they do
not too readily adopt the paleface's vices, retain their
good looks much longer than do the pure-blooded
The brother-in-law spoke English, such as it was,
and what there was of it was chiefly made up of
Americanisms picked up whilst at work in Washington Territory.
' Is it usual,' I asked the young buck, \ for that
old chief to be in such a condition ? i 30
' I guess' (and the Yankee accent came out
strongly) ' him drink spirits every time him get 'em.'
' And you ? '
' I guess me drink too. Spirits him good—rum
him good—whisky him good—beer him good—him
all very fine, and I two bits " him buy plenty, lot,
good fire-water ;' and he checked off on his fingers
the various intoxicants enumerated.
Then he gave me the customary \ two bits ' look,
but I was blind to his suggestions and continued the
' And the squaw ? ' I asked, quite confident that
she in her bashful simplicity knew nothing of the
red man's curse.
j Them all drink. She' (indicating the lady with
the Greek profile) ' very good drinker. Before she
marry my brother she drink plenty much. Now my
brother he drink for her. Him very good drinker
too, and he beat squaw when she drink. Her very
much licked,' he continued as he beat time with his
hand upon a bench, as if he too would like some
female property to chastise.
I learnt from him that wives were acquired by
purchase, and that no religious ceremony accompanied
the transaction. When the contracting parties could
afford it they made it the occasion for a magnificent
v o
gorge, in which—so far as the funds would allow—
they  indiscriminately partook of  both solids   and VICTORIA AND VANCOUVER ISLAND
liquids. Your Indian loves a. big feast, and he will
eat in a single night a month's provisions, continuing
lean and hungry the remaining 27 days in blissful
remembrance of the feed he has had, and in joyful
anticipation of a similar one to come.
The bepainted brave does not woo the dusky
maiden of his choice after the fashion of Longfellow's
and Fenimore Cooper's mythical heroes. When he
wants a wife, he looks around him and makes his
selection. Perhaps he may honour her by informing
her of his choice, but her opinion is never asked.
Having made up his mind, he repairs to the wigwam
of the- parents of the 'intended,' and proceeds to
barter for her. If they come to terms, the lady is his ;
if they don't, she is for the man who will bid higher
than the original visitor.
The price paid for a wife—whose looks have, I
believe, no sort of monetary value—much depends
upon the wealth of the bridegroom and the neediness
of the bride's parents.
Some squaws, as a matter of course, go dirt cheap,
whilst others fetch high and even exorbitant prices.
When guns were first introduced into Canada,
the lucky possessor could procure with such a weapon
a wife for each barrel ; and the sternest parents,
before they became blase by the use of too much
alcohol, would gladly sell their daughters for a mere
sip .at a spirit-bottle. 32 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
The young squaw in front of me was, I understood, a high-priced one. She cost her proud possessor ninety dollars and two boxes of biscuits.
At that time her father was not addicted to drink, but
now that he has developed a taste for ' fire-water,' bad
blood has sprung up between him and his son-in-law,
as he feels that the latter ought to have anticipated
this development of taste, and have supplemented the
biscuits with a bottle of rum.
Later on, when I saw the husband himself, he
asked me what I would give him for his wife and
' papoose'—the two as a saleable commodity were
I assured him that I had no intention of robbing
him of such treasures.
' Give me two hundred dollars and one bottle
of whisky, and you have both.'
' Him very good, squaw, him very good papoose,'
he hastened to add as I shook my head depre-
Then he commenced to bargain, as he found I was
He would take a hundred and fifty dollars and
two bottles of whisky ; he would accept a hundred
and fifty and my trousers—payable at once, no credit
being allowed ; he would be content with a hundred
and twenty, a bottle of whisky, and one pound of
tobacco.    Finally, he came down to one hundred dol-
lars, a bottle of whisky, and a bottle of beer, where
he stopped.
I assured him over and over again that I had no
intention of carrying away either his squaw or her
' papoose ;' that I had no place for them, and that I
was a married man, and had no desire to acquire
another wife.
At this he commenced to upbraid me. Why had
I inquired about her if I did not want her ? Why
did I say she was beautiful if I had not meant it ?
And, finally, why did I give the ' papoose' a ' bit' if
I had not in mind the idea of gaining his affection ?
O <D
He was evidently much hurt, and, as I was proceeding to leave him, he asked me if I was blind,
that I could not see that his wife had improved
several dollars since he had purchased her.
I don't think he was particularly anxious to get
rid of his wife, but he thought he saw an opportunity of making a few dollars upon the original
transaction, and the temptation was too strong to
be resisted.
Although these people's marriages are not encumbered with social and religious preliminaries, they
are fairly moral, the stick being freely used as a deterrent ; and the wife or daughter who becomes unchaste
is very severely maltreated.
So far as I could judge, the majority of the tribe
possessed  no  religion.     Some  of them  had  been
D 34
taken in hand by Roman Catholic or Church of
England missionaries, but they appeared to have
practically lapsed into their original heathenism.
They mainly believed in nothing. The God of
the palefaces was unknown to them, and the ' Great
Spirit' which their forefathers worshipped seemed to
have no place in their thoughts. I don't think they
for a moment troubled themselves about a future
state, and I should say that they were not particularly anxious to join the shades of their ancestors
in those happy hunting-grounds where life was one
eternal holiday. To the great Hereafter they did not
give a moment's consideration. The present alone
exercised them. It was sufficient for them to secure
the daily meal, to grow their vegetables and corn,
and to cast their nets for fish. If religion could not
increase their provender in this world, and secure
them from labour in the next, then they would have
none of it. This, so far as I could glean, appeared
to be the view they held.
The new 'island railway' cuts through a portion
of this Indian reservation, but the land so occupied
will have to be paid for by the company. This
money, in order to avoid wanton waste and reckless
dissipation, does not, however, go direct to the tribe,
but it is paid over to what is called the ' Indian Fund,'
which fund now amounts to over three million dollars,
the Government taking charge of the members of the VICTORIA   AND VANCOUVER ISLAND
tribe the while. When a tribe show themselves
competent to manage their own affairs the Government release them as wards of the country, and give
into their own keeping the moneys obtained from the
sale of their lands.
Sir John Macdonald, Canada's veteran Premier,
arrived in Victoria whilst I was there, and he was
accorded a magnificent reception. The people turned
out in thousands, Indians and Mongolians swelling
the throng. There was a torchlight procession from
the landing-stage to the Driard House, a palatial
hotel where Sir John and Lady Macdonald put up,
and a band of music played inspiriting airs whilst
the mob shouted and added to the heartiness of the
welcome. This was the first time Sir John Macdonald
had visited the Pacific side of Canada.
' I shall only come,' he had said, ' when the
through railway Government has promised you shall
have been completed, so that I can myself tell you
that our promises have been fulfilled.'
At this his political enemies in British Columbia
had sneered, and, in their unbelief, mockingly pointed
out that the Premier wowld never visit Victoria, as the
promised railway would never be completed ; and
that it was a suicidal act for the Province of the
Midnight Sun to have entered into confederation
with the Dominion of Canada, which had misled them
with delusive promises—the through railway scheme
D 2 36
being one of them—which they had neither the wish
nor the ability to perform.
One can, considering these circumstances, understand the Canadian Premier's pride at the reception
accorded him by a thankful populace ; and when I
went down to welcome him on landing, he seemed to
me in his enthusiasm to be years younger than when
I had last seen him in Ottawa three years previously.
At one time the opponents of the national policy
inaugurated by Sir John Macdonald were strongly
opposed to the scheme which should connect Canada
with the Pacific by way of British Columbia. The
leader of the opposition picturesquely, but inaccurately, described the province as a useless ' sea
of mountains ;' and he and his party—for, strange
to say, in every country there can be found an
anti-national party—wished the proposed transcontinental railway to end, so far as Canada was
concerned, at the Rockies, there connecting with the
railway systems of the United States, and through
them reach the Pacific. In such case British
Columbia would have been almost as completely cut
off from the rest of Canada as she was in the Hudson's
Bay Company's days ; and we should have been
without the present Queen's Highway stretching
from ocean to ocean.
It was this isolation of the past which prevented
British Columbia  from becoming generally known VICTORIA AND  VANCOUVER ISLAND
to the mother-country, which persisted in looking
upon the province as an ice-bound, fog-begirt land,
given up to warlike Indians, and overrun with
savage animals. On the contrary, the climate
generally is admirable, and Vancouver's Isle is a
veritable Garden of Eden, only there is room in it
for more than one couple.
I have already pointed out that contained in the
estimated area of British Columbia are numerous
islands, and in the course of the following pages I
purpose giving a brief description of some of them.
As will be seen by the map, from the head of
Vancouver Island to the southern extremity of
Alaska, the British Columbian coast presents the
same indented and tortuous line, flanked by innumerable islands, though without the great outlying
land, except in the extreme north, where the Queen
Charlotte group shelters for several miles the minor
islands which fringe the coast.
The chief industry in this region is fishing, in
which Indians are almost solely engaged. Lumbering, as the forests are of great thickness, is also
carried on somewhat extensively.
Although so far north, the climate is remarkably
mild, the region being still within the warming in-
1 38
fluence of the Kuro-Siwo, or Japanese current. The
thermometer in the southern portion never, I believe,
falls below zero, and but seldom does so in the
extreme northern end.
On the other hand, the rainfall is very great, and
the climate is consequently extremely humid.
The first settlements one comes across in going
north are at Rivers Inlet. There is a small village,
called Weekeeno, at its head, and on the inlet itself
there are two salmon canneries and a saw-mill. Bella
Coola and Bella Bella are Hudson's Bay Company's
ports, and the former was the landing-place for the
once prosperous Cariboo mines. There is some very
good agricultural land on the Bella Coola River, and
the Indians who cultivate it seem to be doing very
well. Bella Bella is about 400 miles north of
Victoria. The Indians are somewhat numerous in
these parts, there being fully 500 of them contained
in the three villages one sees from the vessel.
Although Skeena River is not so prolific in salmon as
the Fraser, it supports three canneries, and the fishermen say that the shadows of the fish do not materially
Sixteen miles beyond the mouth of the Skeena is
the missionary settlement of Metlakahtla ; it lies on
the Tsimpsheean peninsula, and is the largest station
of the kind on the coast. Upwards of 1,000 Tsimpsheean Indians are there gathered within the folds of THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE GROUP
Christianity, being taught many useful mechanical
arts. The women weave woollen fabrics, and idleness with either sex is unknown. Here, at least, the
missionaries have done and are doing excellent work.
On the north-west end of the same peninsula, some
fifteen miles beyond Metlakahtla, is Fort Simpson,\
another Hudson's Bay port. It is separated from
Alaska territory by the channel of the Portland Inlet.
Fort Simpson possesses one of the finest harbours in
British Columbia. In addition to its importance as
a dep6t of the fur company, there is a Methodist
mission, and upwards of 800 Indians engaged in the
fisheries have a home there. The Nass River is a
perfect gold mine to the dusky fishermen, it being
the greatest known resort of the oolachan, a fish of
the sardine type. The mouth of this river is about
40 miles up the Portland Channel, and further up its
bed gold is, I understand, found in small quantities.
The Queen Charlotte group, situated between
52° and 54° north latitude, and 130° 25' and 134°
west longitude, are, next to Vancouver, the principal
islands appertaining to British Columbia. They are
three in number'—Graham, Moresby, and Provost—
and are about 170 miles long and 100 wide. The
upper end of this group lies nearly opposite the
southern extremity of Alaska. The interior of these
islands is very mountainous, and the quantity of
arable land is very limited.    No doubt many of the 40
marshes which they contain would, if drained, afford
excellent pasturage, but it is questionable if it would
be worth while to drain them. The soil is certainly
not rich, the surface of the earth being covered in
many places with sphagnous moss several feet in
depth, and saturated with water even on steep slopes.
I am told that the mineral resources of these islands
are considerable, although the exploring parties sent
out by the Government do not appear to have made
any striking finds of metals. As gold, however, is
being found in large quantities in Alaska, I see no
reason why the precious metal should be entirely
absent from the Queen Charlotte group.
At Skidegate, on Graham Island, a company is
extensively engaged in producing dog-fish oil. This
is about the only industry on the islands. The
Hydah Indians are skilful catchers of dog-fish ; and
long before the Skidegate Oil Company established
its works, they used, for their own purposes, to
extract oil from the livers of the fish. Their method
of extraction was crude and by no means cleanly.
It consisted of filling hollow logs with fish livers,
and piling hot stones on them. Dog-fish oil is principally used for lubricating purposes. From the
oolachan the natives not only extract food-grease,
but they use the fish when dried as candles, they
being extremely oily and well adapted for such
It is, in fact, somewhat difficult to tell, when a
Hydah takes up a handful of these small fish—they
are seldom longer than .seven inches—whether he
purposes using them for food or for lights. Sometimes
he will do both, and, after devouring the unlighted
ones, will turn with Unexpected eagerness upon the
lighted 'dips,' leaving you suddenly in utter darkness.    It is an amusing sight to watch the vagrant
o      o o
dogs gazing wistfully at the tasty food burning
brightly before their eyes, or to see them sidle up to
one of the candles, and, after knocking it down with
their tails, seize it boldly and make tracks for the open
air, followed by the anathemas of their irate master.
For medicinal purposes oolachan oil is said to be
vastly superior to cod liver oil. Personally I can
give no opinion on this matter, not having attempted
•to distinguish the difference, medicinally or otherwise, between the equally nauseating liquids. Such
oils are an acquired taste, and those who have succeeded in mastering their original repugnance in the
matter are quite at liberty to taste the rival oils and
give their decision thereon.
The Queen Charlotte Islands are inhabited solely by
Hydah Indians, of whom there are about seven hundred.
These Indians are undoubtedly of Asiatic origin.
Their features, tattooing, carvings, and legends indicate that they are castaways from Eastern Asia. They
are physically and intellectually superior to any of 42
the north coast Indians, and their language is different in its structure from that of the T'linkets, clearly
denoting a different origin. Their complexions are
lighter, and they have higher foreheads and altogether
finer features than any other North American Indians.
The Hydahs were at one time a great naval
power, and consequently the terror of all neighbouring tribes. In addition to being skilful in the management of canoes, they were a most warlike people,
and they made predatory excursions as far south as
the Fraser, sacking and burning river-side and coast-
7 O O
lying villages by the way. The more peaceful Timp-
seans of Vancouver Island were in constant dread
of them, and they, in order to make their houses safer
against the periodical attacks of the Queen Charlotte
Islanders, erected substantial stockades around their
villages. Even the Hudson's Bay authorities in these"
parts were in constant dread of them. But now their
power has departed ; contact with civilisation has
been too much for them, and those who do not
succumb to the white man's vices become the white
man's servants at a very reasonable sum per diem.
Massett, on the north shore of Graham Island, at
the entrance to Massett Inlet, is the ancient capital of
the Hydah nation.. It was from this port that the
fleet of war canoes—each canoe containing from forty
to fifty warriors—used to set out in the tribe's expeditions against the enemy.    It is said that Massett THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE GROUP
in the height of its glory contained upwards of one
thousand braves, but now there are not more than two
hundred and fifty people in the place, all told. Canoe
making is still actively carried on at Massett, and it
is there that the best canoes in the whole region are
made, the builders doing a brisk trade in them with
7 O
the various coast tribes. Massett has been described
as the ' abode of the aristocracy of Hydah land,' as
the leading chiefs—who have but little now remaining
except their titles—reside there.
The islands forming the Queen Charlotte group
are a veritable Indian paradise. Fish, otters, and seals
crowd the waters, whilst bears and minks and other
fur-bearing animals abound everywhere.
The natives, both men and women, as in Alaska,
paint their faces, urging—how our European ideas
do get upset!—that by so doing the complexion is
preserved. Without such a preparation the sun, they
say, would blister their faces ; and the women, who,
for Indians, are surprisingly fair, are remarkably
proud of their complexions. There is nothing harmful in this preparation, it being composed of pitch,
deer tallow, and charcoal. After being rubbed on
the face, streaks of cinnabar arelaid on. The women's
appearance is certainly not improved thereby; and
it is only when they consent to wash off the objectionable mass that the striking beauty of some of
them becomes apparent. 1
The houses of the Hydahs are substantially built
of cedar logs, those of the chiefs being distinguished
by their size. In front of the houses are the totem
poles, upon which are carved the pedigree and deeds
of the various families to whom they appertain. The
domestic life' is patriarchal, several families being
gathered under one roof, The chiefs are very proud
of their titles, and great care was taken in the past to
preserve genealogies. The native carving is rude, but
some of the older genealogical poles show considerable
skill. The carvers, long since gone to their rest, have
left behind them relics full of speculative curiosity.
In the gigantic representations of family emblems
appear the portraits of mythical animals, bearing a
remarkable family likeness to those mammoths which
almost every country in the world appears to believe
existed at some distant geological period or other.
Many of the figures and hieroglyphics are without
doubt Asiatic, and they are certainly deserving of the
attention of some savant who might be disposed to
trace them back over the ages to their source. Very
little elaborate symbolical carving is now done in
these parts, the natives evidently having no pride in
their work. They still pay considerable attention to
the carvings on their canoes, adding bright-coloured
dyes to such handiwork. But then carved and
painted canoes are marketable commodities ; and
totem poles, save to hunters of curios, are not readily THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE GROUP
saleable. In the days gone by it was a terrible
insult to a family to injure its genealogical pole,
whilst to cut it down altogether was sufficient to
cause a blood feud.
Now a Hydah or T'linket brave wTould, with the
utmost readiness,  sell a pole containing the ashes'
of his great-grandmother for the price of a glass of
Most of the totems one sees in Victoria, Sitka, and
other* civilised centres are of Yankee manufacture.
One frequently comes across such poles ' maturing'
on the sites of ruined Indian villages, and what the
O       ?
cautious tourist would pass over in disdain in a curiosity shop in the town he is often known to give
fancy prices for when he sees them in such respectable historic surroundings.
With the abandonment of national pride the
Hydahs quickly became debased. Sobriety is unknown to most of the men, whilst chastity amongst
the women is extremely rare. For such a. state of
things they have to thank the white man. He has
debauched and pillaged them, and left them to reap,
in misery and suffering, the crop of nameless vices he
has sown in their midst.
Truly, even the most distant, the most humble of
her Majesty's subjects are deserving of protection.
The Dominion Government has done much for the
Indians generally, and some of the missionary bodies 46
have done still more ; but there does not appear to
be any Christian hand ready to reclaim the once
valiant Hydah. The few healthy children should be
taken in hand and cared for; they, I think, would
be found tractable, and would be sure to repay the
trouble lavished upon them. At any rate, they would
be spared the degradation of drunkenness and the
awfulness of lingering and shameful diseases.
There is little in the Queen Charlotte Isles to
attract the capitalist, unless the veins of copper and
gold, to which I have already alluded, should be
found to be of any extent. The natural grazing land
is small, and the arable land still smaller, whilst the
timber generally is not of a character that would
repay felling, unless expensive roads were made into
the interior—where there are a few fine spruce—as
the trees along the coast are very stunted. By the
bye, the Douglas fir of the mainland does not find a
home on these islands, the timber being principally
composed of yellow cedar, cypress, and spruce.
It is, however, a tourist and sportsman's paradise.
Some of the mountains, clothed with dense forests of
cedar and spruce, are really very grand ; whilst the
numerous inlets, bays, and rushing streams present a
picture in keeping with one's dreams of fairyland.
The rivers are small and scarcely navigable even by
canoes, as they are practically choked by fallen trees.
The river Tlell, the largest of them, can, however, be
ascended  without   much   difficulty  or   danger   for
several miles.
For a wild life, full of novelty and adventure,
nothing can exceed a trip to the Queen Charlotte
Isles. Indians as guides can be readily procured,
and sport with both rod and gun is in abundance.
The tourist would have an opportunity of riding in
some of the most perfect canoes in the world, manned
by natives unsurpassed in ingenuity and skill. The
coast scenery is, with precipitous mountains fully
1,500 feet in height rising from out of the sea, remark-
' O O ?
ably bold ; whilst the gruesome caverns of unknown
depth which hollow out the rocks have enough mystery
about them to satisfy the most fastidious. In these
caverns, in which the salt waves foam and roar,
dwell, according to Indian legends, the remorseless
' storm spirits ;' and a native never passes by without making the demons a propitiatory offering. He
will, in his superstitious dread, go so far as to hand
into the caverns, on his paddle-blade, morsels of
jealously treasured-up tobacco. Nothing, it appears,
is too good for these ' spirits '; and, in moments of
unusual danger,  the islanders have been known to
O        /
even make offerings of ' fire-water.'    Such a sight
o O
would be enough to strike dismay into the hearts of
the Total Abstinence and Anti-Tobacco Leagues,
who, I presume, would not look upon unsophisticated
demons as being without the pale of their sympathies. 48
The mainland of British Columbia extends from the
Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, its extreme
breadth being about 500 miles. It stretches north
from the international line to the sixtieth parallel,
although, as I have already pointed out, a narrow
strip of the United States territory of Alaska, situated
on the extreme north of the province, interposes for
a distance of 300 miles between it and the Pacific
Ocean. The general surface of the country is
mountainous and broken, consisting of short ranges,
detached groups of mountains, elevated plateaus, and
many valleys of various extent. Running parallel
with the Rocky Mountains, and in many places
scarcely distinguishable from them, are masses of
mountains: and  along the coast lies a high range
' O O O
usually indicated as a continuation of the famed
American range—the Cascades, but, in fact, a northern
extension of the great coast range.    Lying between VANCOUVER, THE 'TERMINAL  CITY
these two, and extending as far north as latitude
55° 3', is an irregular belt of elevated plateau.
Beyond this the interior mountains decrease in height,
and the land has a gentle slope toward the Arctic Ocean.
Peace River and other streams of the Arctic watershed find their sources there.
Such are the general fe'atures of the interior :
high mountain ridges on the east and west enclosing
o o O
a high plateau, down the centre of which flows the
Fraser River, its general course being south, almost
to the international line, where it turns sharply to
the west and enters the Pacific.
The other great streams of the interior are
Thompson River, which enters the Fraser from the
east; the Okanagan, Kootenay, and Columbia. The
Columbia, which has a most eccentric course, rises
almost in the extreme south-eastern corner. For a
considerable distance it flows northward, around the
upper end of the Selkirk range, and then flows
directly south between the Selkirk and Gold Mountains into the United States, and thence into the
ocean. The loop thus formed is called the ' Big Bend
of the Columbia.'
The course of the Kootenay is scarcely less
eccentric. It has its source in the same region, and
it makes a long sweep south, crossing the boundary
line in so doing, returning again, and eventually
discharging its waters into the Columbia.
E 50
There is no lack of water in British Columbia,
lakes and rivers abounding from one end of the
province to the other, some of them being navigable
for a considerable distance by steamers of a light
To reach the mainland of British Columbia from
Victoria, in order to join the transcontinental railway &t its present terminus, Port Moody, the passenger has to take a local steamer. From Victoria
to Port Moody it is about ninety miles, the distance
from Nanimo being considerably shorter.
The first point stopped at, after leaving the capital
of the province, is Vancouver, a place destined to
be the future terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Vancouver, save in the log-hut form, had no
existence twelve months ago ; but when it became
known that the railway company had in mind the
idea of making the spot then called Coal Harbour—
where stood the saw-mill and log huts aforesaid—
the Pacific terminus, there was a quick rush of
speculators and prospectors, and a wooden town
suddenly sprang up. In a few weeks there were
upwards of 2,500 people in the place, and stores of
every variety and description carried on a brisk trade.
Then came the great fire, in June last, sweeping
everything before it. The whole town was destroyed,
and the forests round about ignited.    Many people <
O  -
U   o
—how many can never be known—lost their lives,
whilst the living lost not only all that they had on
the spot, but, in many cases, absolutely everything
they possessed. The Dominion and Provincial Governments at once came to their assistance, and prevented, as far as possible, any widespread distress.
I arrived in Vancouver exactly six weeks after
this catastrophe, and although the fire had (save in
two instances) not left a single house, hut, or store
standing, a new town had already begun to arise.
Streets were being laid out, and houses erected on all
sides ; stores were doing an active trade, and grimy
sharp-witted boys were busily hawking copies of a
daily newspaper, edited, by the bye, by a son of
the late Dr. Kenealy. I never saw such enterprise
amidst so much desolation. It was enough to make
one feel heartsick and sorrowful to note the effects
of the disaster. Where the brand-new houses had
once stood there were heaps of ashes or smouldering
logs.     The glow of fire and the fumes of burning
wood were about everywhere ; the air was thick- with
smoke, and hot with flames. Walking where the
tree stumps were burning was difficult and not
without danger ; and, at every step, one was in ashes
and the debris of burnt-up stores. The bones of
cremated animals frequently lay in one's path, and
may be I unknowingly trod on the dust of some
poor  soul, a victim to the Moloch who, on that
E -Z 52
momentous day in June, wrapped so many human
forms in his fiery embrace.
Everywhere I saw signs of enterprise. ' The old
hath gone ; let the new arise,' seemed to be the motto
of the people, who, instead of falling into lethargy
or bemoaning their fate, were one and all bestirring
themselves with an energy and a spirit that was
little short of heroic.
Such is British pluck, no matter where you
meet with it, be it on Afric's burning sands, in
India's tangled jungles, Russia's frozen steppes, or
Canada's pine forests.
The mayor—for Vancouver can boast of a mayor—
is most indefatigable. He is a man of many parts,
and for the time being he is, in the matter of office-
holding, a veritable Pooh-Bah ; only, unlike Gilbert's
Japanese official, each office entails no end of hard
work, and, outside that of mayor, brings with it little
or no remuneration.
The buildings in course of erection were mere
frame-houses, but they are simply temporary, as it is
intended to build up what is termed the future commercial capital of British Columbia upon very grand
lines, and the plans of streets and so forth are on
a most extensive scale. There are to be churches,
municipal offices, banks, and Dominion Government
buildings. The Hudson's Bay Company will put up
a store, and next door the Bank of Montreal pro- VANCOUVER, THE 'TERMINAL CITY
poses to erect a substantial edifice. Opposite there
will be a grand hotel, worked in connection with the
Canadian Pacific Railway, the foundations of which
are already laid. Lots in this prospective street fetch
as much as one thousand dollars, and even more,
according to position. I was offered two lots next
to the Hudson's Bay Company's block for two
thousand dollars, but speculation in building lands
not being in my line, I did not, as our American
cousins would say, ' catch on.'
Whether Vancouver will ever come up to the
grand ideas anticipated for it by the local authorities,
time alone can prove.
Its position as a port is unique. It is situated
at the mouth of Burrard Inlet, and possesses an
admirable harbour, and vessels of any tonnage can
readily anchor there. The view afforded from the
steamer on leaving the beautiful harbour of Victoria
is singularly lovely, and the panoramic scene of sea,
islands, and mountain spread out before one becomes
more enchanting as we proceed. Across the Straits
of Fuca to the south rise the snow-capped Olympian
peaks ; to the eastward are Mount Baker, white and
majestic, and the Cascades, green and broken ; whilst
all around one are fairy-like islands covered with
perpetual verdure. The water is placid and full of
varied colours ; and as the vessel threads its way
through the maze of green-coated isles, and splashes 54
up the rainbow-hued foam, it is difficult to imagine
that one is in this prosaic world at all. The colouring at the narrow mouth of Burrard Inlet is especially
rich. The stones on the beach are for the most part
covered with a thick coating of moss, and those that
are not verdant-coated are warm and sparkling in
their natural colours as the sun strikes them. There
is a warmth, too, about the foliage on the shore,
whilst the blueness of a summer sky lends an additional charm to the surroundings.
At the inlet's entrance stands, apart from the
shore, an immense shrub-clad rock called the Siwash
Rock. At first sight it looks like an Egyptian monolith, and you from the moment determine in your
own mind that there is something uncommon about
it. It has a decidedly weird appearance, standing
there in its sombre solitariness. Its base is splashed
by the playful waves, but its grey-cold sides are
verdureless and lifeless, the apex alone showing any
signs of life in the gnarled and fantastically twisted
dwarf trees which grow thereon. Black patches in
the clefts of the rock speak of fires having been
lighted therein—sacrificial fires, it turns out. For
it was on this rock that the Indians at one time
made their sacrifices and their offerings to the
Manitou of their superstition, in the hope and expectation of favours to come. The natives had
apparently great faith in the efficacy of such offer- VANCOUVER,  THE 'TERMINAL  CITY' 55
ings, the practice being common to all the tribes.
The Siwash sacrificed on his great ' medicine stone'
when the tribe were on the war-path against the
Timpseans, or when a big chase or fishing expedition was being undertaken. The Timpsean offered
up the fruits of the chase and the products of the
earth on certain chosen spots when the all-dreaded
Hydahs were seen off his villages in their famed war
canoes, in the hope that the Great Spirit would
confound his enemies and give the palm of victory to
his people. The Hydahs burnt their candle-fish, and
offered up skins and fish and oil in commemoration
of their victories; whilst the Alaska savages crawled
from out of their tunnelled, ill-ventilated huts in
order to sacrifice portions of their scanty stores when
the hated war-whoop of the Queen Charlotte Islanders
sounded on the air. This disposition to make offerings is still prevalent amongst the natives some
distance removed from the centres of civilisation.
Just beyond the Siwash Rock, as one enters the
neck of water called 'the Narrows,' opening into
Burrard Inlet, some' characteristic Indian graves are
sighted. They are the last resting-place of pagans ;
and the bodies, unlike those of their Christian
brethren lying in the graveyard at the Catholic
mission at Moodyville, on the opposite shore, are
preserved in salt, instead of being buried underground.     The  salted  remains   rest   in   ark-shaped
O 56
sepulchres, carved in fantastic shapes. One of these
tombs contains the preserved body of a notorious old
sinner, ' Supple Jack' by name. He was a far-famed
chief, and, according to local chroniclers, he is accre-
7 J O /
dited with no less than thirteen murders. It was, in
fact, whilst in prison awaiting his trial on the charge
of murder that he died, his corpse having, for the
purposes of burial, been eventually given up to his
people. Further north the salting-down process
with regard to the dead is not, I believe, carried
On. With the northern-coast Indians the custom
was to cremate the bodies, and to place the ashes in
the hollowed-out totem poles. Now the natives
who are not Christians have gathered just enough
from their contact with civilisation to make them
indifferent to their own religious customs and observ-
ances, and they do not as a rule lavish much
attention on their dead, or particularly bother themselves with time-honoured burial rites.
The portion  of the inlet where Vancouver is
situated is about two miles across, forming an ex-
' O
ceedingly handsome bay. The currents thereabouts
are somewhat swift, and the wind not infrequently
sweeps with considerable force from the mountains
over the surface of the water ; but the anchorage on
? O
the whole is good, and it is anticipated there will be
neither danger nor difficulty on that score. To give
the reader an idea of the force of the local currents, VANCOUVER,  THE  'TERMINAL CITY'
the steamer the Princess Louise, in which I journeyed
across from Victoria, was the best part of an hour
in rounding the Siwash Rock in order to enter the
■ Narrows' from English Bay. The inlet once
entered, the thing was all right; but the difficulty
was in entering. For some time we stood quite still
opposite the grave of ' Supple Jack,' although the
engines were working with increased energy. At
times we even lost ground with the force of the
current; eventually, however, the steamer made
headway—inch by inch, as it were—and at the end
of the struggle with the bubbling, rushing waters
Do O' O
we glided into the placid harbour of Vancouver.
1 have already described the surroundings of this
courageous little town, which, when I reached it,
was almost entirely hid in clouds of smoke arising
from the burning logs and smouldering brushwood.
O a O
Considering the disorder, want, and. despair consequent upon the conflagration, there was very little
to complain of on the score of lawlessness, offences
against the majesty of the law being almost entirely
confined to petty larcenies. When I was there the
court-house consisted of an old tent, in which the
magistrate and his clerk sat daily. Without fuss or
show, law was impartially administered therein with
a celerity unknown in our law courts in this country.
I had an opportunity of seeing the law administered
in this canvas temple of justice. 58
A man had been brought up to answer to the
charge of having stolen a quantity of old rope. The
magistrate sat at the head of the table fronting the
prisoner, and the tent was full—inconveniently so—
of people. It was a hot day, and the sun's rays
penetrated through the holes of the canvas, making
the interior of the tent practically unbearable.
The prisoner was a characteristic type of the
genus loafer. Never before in my travels had I fallen
in with such a dilapidated specimen of humanity. In
appearance he was a veritable ' scarecrow,' or rather
worse if anything, for the clothes he wore had
apparently been annexed after a ' scarecrow' had
flourished at least one season in them. His trousers
were remarkable for the way in which they bagged
at the knees and puffed out behind, as if some portion
of a year's high winds when the ' scarecrow' had been
on duty was still left in them. The ' scarecrow' to
whom they had the honour of belonging previously
to adorning the present owner had evidently been
a bigger man than the prisoner. How those pants
kept on the man was a mystery, for one could see at
a glance that they possessed neither buttons nor
suspenders. They were in some unfathomable way
attached to the front of what at one time had been
a much-beflowered and bebraided waistcoat, but
which  was now faded  and flowerless, ragged and
g OO
buttonless, whilst a frail piece of string held them VANCOUVER, THE 'TERMINAL CITY
up behind. One was fearful that with every movement of the prisoner the piece of string would snap,
for at a glance it could be seen that the man wore no
shirt. What a brave string it was, and how stoutly
it held its own, although the prisoner in his loafing
attitudes strained it to the utmost !
During the examination the prisoner assumed an
air of complete indifference. Now and then he would
pass his fingers, the nails of which were heavily laden
with real estate, through his matted hair, the colour
of which, from dirt and exposure, was absolutely unrecognisable. Then he would flick viciously with
his hat a fly settling on his bemottled nose, or fan
the perspiration off his face. His hat was quite in
keeping with the rest of his attire, although it apparently had not come with the baggy trousers and
puffy short-tailed coat. It had evidently been acquired
later, not showing so fully as these articles of apparel
signs of having borne the heat and burden of the day.
I should be sorry to do the vagabond an injustice
(for he was punished for his offence, and has by this
time served his term), but my impression at the time
was that the hat in question was a boy's hat, and had
been filched from some child whom he had come
across in the course of his predatory wanderings.
The hat had once been black and possibly jaunty, but
much of the blackness was faded, and all the jaunti-
ness knocked out of it;   yet it was  respectability 60
itself as compared with some of his garments. In
the course of flicking with increased savageness at
a too persistent fly, there was a creak, and the brim
of the hat was seriously split. It still, however, retained its hold of the crown by a sort of hinge, and
until it and the crown should definitely part company
some sign of its former glory would yet be left.
This view seemed to strike the prisoner, for he looked
sadly at the rent, and ceased to take further action
against the flies, for fear of increasing the breach.
This was the only emotion I saw him display during
his trial, the sentence of sixty days passed upon him on
his being found guilty of the charge making, so far
as I could observe, no sort of impression upon him.
As the man moved off in company with the law
officer, the tension upon the string which held up
his trousers behind became all the more apparent,
and I wondered why he had not augmented these
risky suspenders with some of the stolen rope. To
have stolen rope in order—for decency's sake—to
have rigged up some species of braces might have
told well with the magistrate, and have secured him
against punishment. Whereas he filched the rope
in order to purchase drink, inconsiderately leaving
the thin and much-tried string to bear the whole
strain, with a result which eventually could not fail
to be disastrous.
It was whilst the man was leaving the tent with X
the policeman that I noticed his boots, which in no
way matched. The left boot was smaller than the
right, and it had at one time possessed buttons as
fasteners, though pieces of string now supplied their
place. It was a heelless boot, and the sole, as could
be seen, had for some time past been imbued with
notions of separation. This natural desire to be free
had, however, been curbed by the tramp rujining a
piece.of wire through the sole and again through the
uppers, finally twisting the ends into a knot outside.
Whether it was because the wire hurt him, or whether
it was his natural gait, the man limped as he walked,
making his appearance all the more pitiful and disreputable. The last I saw of him was stooping to
pull on his right boot, which, being spacy and spring-
less, refused to keep on his foot. The hat was then
on his head, stuck jauntily on one side, the brim
flapping from its hinge with every movement of the
When the tramp had disappeared, I asked the
mayor, who stood by me, why a man like that preferred stealing rope, and getting sent to prison, to
working—when there was work to be done—and
being paid for his labour.
' There is no work in these dead-beats,' replied
the mayor.
' But, supposing he would work,' I asked, ' how
much would he get a day ? ' 62
' Oh, about a dollar.'
I Well, wouldn't it be more to his advantage to
work for a dollar a day than working sixty days for
the municipality for nothing?—for I presume you
intend making him do something useful whilst you
have him in keeping.'
' He evidently doesn't think so,' answered the
mayor. ' You see, whilst he is in our charge he will
be well fed and housed, and when his time is up we
shall give him a suit of clothes, a flannel shirt, and
may be a few dollars, and march him out of the town
—for we don't want any such "dead-beats" hanging
about here for ever. • The fellow just figures all this
out, and, by the time he has done, he reckons the
deal is about square, and after a few weeks' loafing
he gives another municipality the benefit of his company.'
Many labourers were at the time employed in
digging wells, the natural water supply being anything but good. This lack of water would be a
serious thing for Vancouver were it not easy to bring
the water into the town from the opposite mountains. The municipal authorities have two schemes
in hand for obtaining an efficient water supply, and
that one or both of them will be carried out there
can be no doubt, so that the difficulty on this score
will be readily overcome.
Moodyville, on the opposite  side  of the  inlet, VANCOUVER,  'THE TERMINAL CITY'
where there is a large and prosperous saw-mill, a
very clean and well-kept hotel, and a considerable
Indian village, enjoys a perfect water supply. At
one time it was expected to have taken the place of
Vancouver as the terminus of the transcontinental
railway; but Mr. Van Home, the general manager
and vice-president of the railway, told me that there
were engineering difficulties in the way of carryino-
on the line from Port Moody to Moodyville, so that
the line had to be built on the other side of the inlet
on to Vancouver instead. Moodyville is the more
picturesque location of the two. There it is warmer,
and the foliage is richer, whilst the soil generally is
better than that on the Vancouver side. In consideration, however, of Vancouver being an important
commercial centre in the near future, speculators are
snapping eagerly at town lots in that place at 81. per
foot, whilst land at Moodyville practically goes a-
begging at the same sum per acre. Much of the land
close in on the Moodyville shore belongs to the saw-mill
company aforesaid, and it is consequently locked up ;
but the unlocked-up land does not appear to tempt
the independent purchaser. Of course, if Vancouver
ever reaches the high position mapped out for her by
her friends, why then land in Moodyville cannot fail
to command high prices by-and-by as the sites of
suburban residences. It is a very lovely spot, and I
made a special trip across there from Vancouver in 64
order to observe the country, and to visit the Indian
village, where there is, as I have once before men-
tioned, a Catholic mission.
For this purpose I hired a I dug-out' of some
natives. This, I may tell the reader, is a canoe dug
out of a cedar or fir tree, and it differs entirely from
the birch-bark canoe of the Lake Indians in the
north-west, or the redskins of the St. Lawrence.
These' dug-outs' are, however, easily worked, and
what they lose in elegance they certainly make up in
gaudiness. The Indian of the Pacific coast dearly
loves colour, and he daubs it on everything he can.
His boats, after being grotesquely carved with
monsters quite unknown to natural history, are
coloured and brightened up in a manner wondrous
to behold. The canoe I went over in was supposed
to represent a bird, and the stem had been fashioned
into a beak-like point, painted red, with an eye,
entirely out of proportion, coloured light blue, with
a rim of orange round it. I regret to say I failed to
trace in the carving a likeness to any known bird,
and the native owners did not appear to be able to
enlighten me.
' Him very fast canoe,' said the chief as I got
into the boat, ' him fly like bird—see!' and with a
twist of the paddle we shot out from the bank into
the deep water. He and his son actively plied their
paddles, and we certainly, in our speed, did seem to VANCOUVER,  'THE TERMINAL CITY
almost  fly over   the turquoise-blue water   of  the
We landed at Moodyville wharf, and I went over
the saw-mill, which sends out millions of feet of
timber every year to all parts of the world. Two
small sailing vessels were at the moment in port
loading with lumber, one being bound for Honolulu
and the other for Australian ports.
There is no end of excellent timber quite close to
Moodyville, and were it not for the recurring fires
the timber supply of the district would be practically
To reach the Indian village one has either to
paddle along the shore or to follow an ancient trail
through the forest.    I chose the latter course.
What a tortuous way it was!
The mouth of the trail was all right, but I
speedily found it to be a snare and a delusion. The
promise it held out was in no way fulfilled, for the
easy passage I had anticipated did not extend far
beyond the opening. Not only did the path become
narrower and'more winding with every step, but, to
make matters worse, several minor trails would from,
time to time in a most unexpected manner branch
from out of the parent road. I was often sore perplexed what course to pursue, and repeatedly I went
wrong when I was most confident I was going right,
E 66
and "no end of time was taken up in retracing my
Those who have followed an Indian trail will at
once understand the situation; whilst those who
follow me through the woods in the course of this
description will, I trust, learn something of an unbeaten track in a forest's solitudes.
Let the reader imagine himself to be in a densely
timbered forest, in which silence reigns supreme, a
silence unbroken by the song of birds or the voice
of man. Nothing comes upon the profound stillness
but the soft swish, swish of the Douglas firs, or the
gentle flap, flap of the broad-leaved maple, as the
wind sweeps through their branches. All is in the
shade, and were it not for the faint patch of blue sky
just above the tall red cedar-tops the aspect would
be gloomy as well as solitary.
To the left, where you have just paused, runs the
faint outline of a path, and branching to the right is
1 o o
another trail; while straight ahead, on the main trail,
the trunk of an immense tree bars further progress.
You approach the tree, and see that it is moss-covered,
having lain there untouched maybe for years. In
this direction the trail, therefore, goes no further.
In your perplexity you halt and try to decide
whether you shall go to the left or to the right.
Finally you take a seat on the trunk of the fallen
tree—a spruce fir whose base is thirty feet in cir- VANCOUVER, THE  'TERMINAL CITY'
cumference—and recommence arguing the pros and
cons of the two paths.
It is a perfect paradise that you are now in. At
your feet feathery ferns crowd in rich profusion;
from the moss-clad trunk there grows a wild raspberry cane, the fruit of which is ripe and luscious ;
all about one is the fragrant odour of pines. You
are in a lotus-eater's heaven, only the situation is
more invigorating and healthful than anything the
East can supply. Ceylon's spicy groves and India's
sweet-scented gardens are, it is true, full of fragrance
and cool relief, but there is a heaviness about the
perfume and a dankness about the vegetation which
intoxicate whilst they enervate. In a Canadian pine
forest all is different. Everything is crisp and free
from noxious moisture. The air is dry and balmy,
and when you rest you feel soothed and free from
lassitude. It is astonishing the distance that even
an average walker can get over in these pine forests;
he feels an unaccountable springiness, and a capacity
to walk on until, dead tired, he is forced to pause.
No man—unless he wilfully courted such a disease—
could live in such an atmosphere and become consumptive ; and no consumptive could pass his time
therein without materially lengthening the number
of his days in this world. To know British
Columbia is to love its climate, and to feel a health-'
fulness unacquirable in any other country.
Whilst in the pleasant spot just described, you
light your cigarette and enjoy your repose to the
full; for the smell of good tobacco seems to go un-
7 O Cj
commonly well with the forest's odours. In such a
place even an anti-smoker would be sorely tempted
to cultivate an acquaintance with the noxious weed,
for in these parts everybody seems to smoke. The
red man takes in his nicotine, slowly and with philosophical calm, from his carved wooden pipe; the
woodman puffs vigorously at his short black clay ;
and the sportsman inhales an Old Judge cigarette, or
sends the smoke of a cigar in curling rings from him
o o o
with contented puffs.
The weed  over, and  the traveller still finding
' O
himself undecided as to the path to pursue, he takes
from his pocket a coin and proceeds to toss it, in
order to decide whether it shall be to the right or to
the left. The toss declares for the left, and leaving
his comfortable seat, he dashes boldly up that trail
only to find that the coin has lied—a coin so tossed
invariably does lie—the path leading in an entirely
opposite direction. The steps have therefore to be
retraced, and nothing remains but to take the
direction to the right. From the very first this path
winds in and out like a corkscrew, and you have no
end of difficulty in following it.
An Indian trail never seems to have any method
about it; yet I suppose, if the truth were known, it M
is full of method. To the uninitiated the Indian, like
the ants described by Mark Twain, seem to go by
roundabout ways simply because they are roundabout, and avoid taking the direct track on account
of its directness. I certainly failed to account on any
other grounds for the serpentine windings of this
particular trail.
It wound and twisted in everv direction, now
going up and anon going down hill, till I was completely out of breath. One moment I would slip up
on a concealed stone, or catch my foot in a gnarled
root, rendering a fall unavoidable.    Here the trail
' O
takes one over a fallen tree; there it twists sharply
to the right, bringing you face to face with an immense
O        ' O       O J
rock, round which you have to crawl by means of
the narrowest of narrow ledges. Beneath, there un-
invitingly lies a slimy pool. If the trail would but
go straight, one is found muttering to oneself at every
O O " C5 •/
step ; and yet, I suppose, every direction has its purpose. In a virgin forest there are so many natural
impediments that, as I afterwards found out, the
straightest route is often the longest.
On nearing the village fresh difficulties presented
themselves. Additional trails abounded everywhere.
One led further up into the forest; some to different
points in the village; one or two to the sea-shore ;
whilst others appeared to lead nowhere.
Here is the place to again pause, in order to take THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
your bearings ; for to inadvertently take a direction
in the dense forest beyond might not be unattended
with danger. Cougars abound in these pine solitudes, and the tawny brutes are of great strength,
and often of exceeding ferocity. Travellers through
the woods, in fear of both cougars and bears, seldom
go unarmed, and they take every precaution to guard
against surprise.
Just before I visited Vancouver a man had
mysteriously disappeared ; and, on the day of my
arrival, a top-boot, containing a foot and portion of
the leg, had been found in the forest at False Creek,
a place close by the town. This, it was surmised,
was all that remained of the missing man, a cougar
O * O
having disposed of the rest.
But to return to the halting-place. After carefully considering these multitudinous trails, I came
to the conclusion that the safest and readiest way
was to make for the sea-shore. I did so, and, after
scrambling over numerous rough stones and plunging
ankle-deep into salt pools, I eventually came out in
front of the village.
The village was in a higher state of civilisation
than any I had seen in the neighbourhood. There
were in all about fifty houses, each of one story. It
had a high street running in front of the church and
the principal houses, consisting of narrow planks
raised on piles.    The street was just broad enough VANCOUVER, THE 'TERMINAL CITY' 71
to allow of foot passengers parading it in single file ;
and, as the planks were exceedingly rickety, one
felt that there  was  considerable danger of leaving
O c3
the ' high street' for the hollow below.    In fact, at
about the middle of the street I was forced to pause,
a big gap in the planking yawning in front of me.
A bull, it appeared, had been trying his weight on
the boards, and had come to grief; for on looking
down I saw the said bull glaring angrily up at me.
The gap was too wide to leap, and I did not relish
the idea of missing my footing and impaling myself
on the uplifted horns of the angry beast below.   The
street on one side—naturally not the side where one
could fall off—had a handrail, so I elected to try my
luck on it in order to gain the opposite planking.
So hand over hand I went, the rail creaking under
my thirteen stone with every movement, whilst the
bull raged beneath me.    I never saw a bull so put
out;   He was evidently highly incensed at the success
of my undertaking, and seemed quite mad that the
idea had not struck him in the first instance, thus
saving  him a nasty fall  and the  inconvenience of
making a long journey round to the paddock whence
he had  come.      He  did   all he  could  to  induce
me to drop and try my weight on his finely pointed
horns, and his sense of annoyance at my persistent
refusal was only equalled by his chagrin when he
saw  me   safely land on  the  other   side.    Almost if
opposite the place where I landed stood the
church, a plain but comfortable structure, capable
of holding some two hundred people. The priest
who had charge of the mission was not in residence,
and the natives in their natural reserve seemed altogether loth to supply any kind of information in
connection with the village.
The natives were about everywhere ; some of the
men were  engaged  in fishing,  whilst  others  were
O    O CD7
mending their nets. The squaws, for the most part,
were indoors, occupied with household duties—
cooking, nursing, and such like. Children, like little
brown rabbits, were squatting about on the ground,
appearing to be, even at that early age, too solemn
and taciturn to romp or indulge in childlike games.
When they saw me approach they were off as quick
as rabbits to their holes, and now and then I could
catch them watching me with large black wondering
eyes from behind a boat, a tree stump, or a half-
closed door.
I went into some of the houses, about which
there were signs of civilisation far superior to anything I had yet seen on the coast. The women
looked modest and clean, and the men respectable
and sober. Scarcely one of them, however, either
spoke or understood a word of English, Chinook
being the language in which the white man converses
with them.    Babies appeared to be plentiful,  and, VANCOUVER,  THE  'TERMINAL  CITY' 73
unlike those in other places, they seemed to be both
healthy and well nourished. Their lungs were
certainly of the strongest, and their appetites were
truly prodigious. An Indian baby will yell at the
slightest provocation—and, for the matter of that,
without provocation at all—and his notes are always
fortissimo, and never by any chance piano or even
crescendo. It is also equally remarkable that a
' papoose' will eat, or endeavour to do so, anything he can lay his hands on. Once, whilst I
was endeavouring to make myself understood to a
wrinkled squaw, a velvet-eyed, unweaned youngster,
with deft fingers, snatched a cigarette out of my
hand and proceeded to devour it. At first he seemed
to like it, but he did not go on long with the job, for
with a mighty yell, which would have startled anybody except an Indian out of his boots, and which
drove me out of the room, he dispossessed himself
of his spoil, whilst the ancient dame aforesaid proceeded to fill her pipe with what remained.
Some of the children are very handsome, especially
in profile. Their eyes are large and lustrous, and
their colour is rich "and glowing. The only truly
ugly feature is the mouth, the lips being thick and .
wide apart. The ugliness of mouth is common to
both sexes ; indeed, after a certain age, the women's
mouths, unshaded as they are by moustache or
beard, become far worse than those of the male sex. vmm
When a woman becomes old—and in these parts she
is quite ancient at thirty—her mouth is positively
hideous ; at no time is it, according to a white man's
osculatory ideas, particularly kissable, but with age
the protruding lips are altogether revolting. Whether
it was the ancient custom of inserting objects into
the lips which, in accordance with the principles of
evolution, enlarged them, or whether the natives were
in the first instance born with lips calling for such
ornaments, I leave ethnological experts to explain.
The Pacific coast Indians are a mild lot now, all the
fighting apparently having gone out of them, although, for the matter of that, they never gave the
white strangers much trouble, principally concentrating their warlike energies upon each other. The
Hudson's Bay Company's rule was from the first a
just one; and if the natives did not thrive and prosper
under it, they had no cause to complain of either
unfair dealing or oppression. This, now the country
has passed out of the Hudson's Bay Company's hands
into those of the Dominion Government, has made the
Governmental dealings with the natives much easier,
and the Government has not found itself at variance
with any of the tribes, who, combined, would still be
sufficiently powerful to give no end of trouble. So
far as I could judge, the thirty thousand Indians of
British Columbia were in the main content, and many
of them were certainly swimming with the civilising VANCOUVER, THE  'TERMINAL CITY
tide which is sweeping over the whole province. If
the natives, as the Yankees term it, are caught young
they can be easily trained, and as a rule they turn
out industrious and competent workmen. They are
strong and quick, and many saw-mill proprietors and
railway contractors prefer them to the Chinese. But
they, unlike their Mongolian fellow-workmen, have
a great tendency to periodically go out on the spree,
on such occasions painting the place redder than
the loose-going whites who have set them the ex-
ample. To ' paint a town red' is, I ought to explain,
a Western expression, and signifies the height of
reckless debauch ; and when a cowboy, having drunk
his fill of whisky, has let daylight with revolver
shots through the hats of those who have ventured
to differ from him, and has smashed all the glasses in
the drinking saloon with his stock-whip, and galloped
with a wild whoop down the principal street to the
danger and consternation of the inhabitants, he may
fairly be said to have done his part towards painting
the town red. Like the Asiatics, the Indians of
North America know not moderation in the matter
of imbibing strong drinks. They are of opinion that
if they drink at all they must drink until the bottle
is empty, in order to show their appreciation of its
contents ; and if the bottle could be converted into
something drinkable they would, I believe, drink that
too, thereby showing their recognition of a vessel 76
which contained ha so convenient a form so much
good  'fire-water.'
The red man owes this bad habit solely to the
white man, whose first lesson in civilisation was to
make the ignorant savage beastly drunk. Later
civilisation has done much towards eradicating these
evil habits by sentencing unfortunate ' drunks ' to
various terms of imprisonment; whilst the wretched
native^ fails to understand why a later civilisation
punishes him for a vice which an earlier one taught
him, and in fact eTacouraged him to pursue.
In this particular village I, however, saw no sign
of drunkenness, the Catholic priests, so far, having
done excellent work amongst the inhabitants.
Opposite the church stands a flagstaff, and on
the day I was there a flag—a red and white mission
banner—was floating half-mast high, denoting that
o o o
some one in the village was dead, and on inquiry I
discovered that a child had died that morning. I was
directed to the churchyard where lie the bodies of
those who have gone to sleep in a belief in Jesus.
This burial-place is just outside the village, and it
contains many graves. One and all I found to be
ornamented with crosses, each cross having the name
of the (lead roughly carved thereon. One only of the
names was English, two were Spanish or Italian,
and the remainder were French. It would appear
that the defunct, when they embraced Christianity, VANCOUVER,  THE  'TERMINAL  CITY
dropped their barbaric appellations altogether, and
received Christian names in their place, and, so far as
I could see, the favourite name for the men was Pierre,
and for the women Marie. Taken altogether the
churchyard seemed to be well cared for, but I did
not observe any mourners whilst I was there. After
the first wild outburst of grief the Indians do not
continue to mourn their, dead, and although you .can
drive a species of Christianity into them you cannot altogether change their natures. In the next
generation it may, of course, be different.
The squaws, outside of the cooking arrangements,
did not appear to be very busy housewives ; but sitting at the fireside, stirring up some smoking mess or
other, they seemed to be quite at home. In one
house a young mother with her babe on her lap was
boiling down some jam, and, in her desire to be hospitable, she offered me a spoonful. I tasted it, and
found it to be like sugar itself. A careful Scotch
housewife might have told how many pounds of
sugar were used with the wild raspberries over and
above the prescribed quantity, but I did not bother
my head about the matter. All I know is, the
Indians have a very sweet tooth, and what will make
a white man sick will make them grunt with profound
I have often set myself down at an Indian's board,
sometimes at his invitation, but oftener without. Your 78
1 ; i
redskin is not profuse in his show of hospitality :
what is his is yours—provided there is enough to
satisfy his own appetite first—but you must help
yourself, and not expect to be asked twice, or to be
waited upon once.
Whilst at Moodyville I came across an aged dame
regaling herself on a species of shell-fish, and I stood
awhile watching her devour them, one after another,
with evident satisfaction. I took up a shell; it was
an empty one, and the squaw thereupon dug her
thumb with a squash into a full one, and offered me
its contents on her blackened nail. I bowed a refusal,
and, not in the least offended,, she immediately transferred the morsel to her own mouth. She did not
repeat her offer, but continued to dexterously transfer
the esculents to her mouth. I, however, elected to
help myself. I tasted the mess cautiously at first,
but, finding it far from unpleasant, I ate the whole
of it. This led me to another, and yet another—but
alas that ' other' ! It completely did for me. A
queer sensation came over me as it went the way of
the two previous ones, and I straightway commenced
to feel horribly sick. A blood feud between the
devoured fish seemed to be going on inside me, and I
suffered severely in consequence. I thereupon began
to regret all my past misdeeds, and had gloomy
thoughts about making my will, and being buried
amidst the Maries and Pierres in the cemetery close VANCOUVER, THE 'TERMINAL CITY
by. Later on the feud cooled down a bit, and for
a while I was freed from .the excruciating pain consequent upon this combat. The relief, however, was
but shortlived, and I went through renewed agonies
as soon as the contesting esculents had had breathing-
time, as it were. I am afraid that in my extremity
unprintable words rushed to my lips. It was very
wrong of me, I know, but then those fish were very
The old squaw watched me with evident satisfaction, and to my intense horror I caught her
repeating some of my exclamations with extraordinary glibness. They seemed to be a source of
delight to her, for she checked one adjective after
another on her fingers, whilst I groaned aloud. My
groans eventually excited her commiseration, for she
placed herself by my side with a series of grunts
expressive of sympathy. Then she took me in hand
before I really knew what was going to happen. I
was patted on the back, poked in the ribs, rolled on
the ground, and—although in my confusion I can't
swear to it—I believe jumped upon.
Then relief came, and I heartily thanked my
deliverer, and in my ecstasy I believe I could have
—had she desired it—embraced the old hag, hideous
though she was.
So far as I could gather from her remarks, which
were   principally  made up   of unprintable   excla- 80
mations—learnt, I suppose, of the loose-speaking
fishermen and naughty lumberers—the last fish I had
eaten was bad—poisonous, in fact. I rewarded her
with the customary ' two bits,' and with her fiendish
gibberish ringing in my ears I went my way.
After being nearly wrecked on a floating log I
reached the opposite shore, landing at the foot of a
pine tree, the only one which escaped the disastrous
fire already referred to.
It is called the Princess Louise's pine, and it is
j> <a surrounded with a halo of romance,
ftjp ^  pf   When the Princess, with the Marquis of Lome—
^Ay" P J* then Governor-General of Canada—was in this neigh-
yf a /     bourhood some five years ago, H.R.H. took a strong
fancy to this stately pine, growing on the edge of the
bay and towering high above its fellows,  and she
asked as a special favour that it might for all time
be spared the woodman's axe.    This was when the
place was called Coal Harbour, and long before it
was thought of calling it Vancouver, or turning it
into  the  Pacific  coast  terminus  of   the   Canadian
Pacific Railway.    With the sudden development of
the town trees were cut down right and left, but the
Princess's wishes were respected, and her pine remained as she had seen it.    Moreover, in order to
screen it from the winds, a tree was left standing on
either side.    Then came the great fire, and everything was burnt up, including the two companion
firs, but the royal pine remained. It is considerably
scorched, and its roots are loosened by the wind, but
it is still alive, and there are hopes—if it is protected—of its outliving the memory of the conflagration which reduced every tree and house within
its reach to charcoal and ashes. Sir George Stephen,
the president, and Mr. Van Home, the general
manager and vice-president of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, gave instructions in my hearing for arrangements to be made to protect the tree from
the high winds which blow in the autumn and
winter. .
It has a strange appearance this lonely tree,
running straight up for close upon 200 feet, whilst
all round is black and scorched, treeless and grass-
less. This striking instance of a miraculous escape
is not lost upon the matter-of-fact as well as the
The land about Vancouver is not very good, and
much cannot be expected of it agriculturally ; but it
has a rich backing in the Westminster district (which
O s
I shall describe next), a few miles off, and there will
never be any lack of agricultural supplies. But it is
not as a farming or corn-growing centre that Vancouver's ambition aims ; for, if the town is to be
anything, it is, according to local reckoning, to be a
great—the great shipping port of the North Pacific.
Of course,   the  Vancouverians   will   have  to  con-
siderably modify their views in this direction, but I
certainly see no reason why, when the railway
terminus is definitely located there, it should not
rapidly become a flourishing town. Its harbour
facilities are far in advance of those of Victoria, and
it has the distinct advantage of being on the mainland. Victoria will, I presume, in any case continue
to be the capital and seat of Government of British
Columbia, but Vancouver bids fair to become, in the
fulness of time, its commercial capital, as it would
be impossible to have the centre of shipping on an
island, as such a centre must be where the line of
rail terminates ; and there appears to be no possibility of carrying the railway across the Straits of
Georgia on to Vancouver Island, and so on to
Victoria. Had this been possible there would be
no question of Victoria, with Esquimault, being the
natural terminus of the great transcontinental system on the Pacific side.
The Canadian Pacific authorities are fully determined to abandon Port Moody and to adopt Vancouver as their terminus. There are legal diffi-
culties in the way of this being accomplished, but
I have no doubt of their being eventually overcome.
In the pages devoted to Port Moody I shall review
the situation there, both past and present.
With the decision to make Vancouver the terminus, it will be necessary to fortify both English VANCOUVER, THE  'TERMINAL  CITY'
Bay and the strip of sea called ' the Narrows.'
This could easily be done, and the cost would be
light. Under such conditions no ship, in a hostile
spirit, could possibly enter Burrard Inlet, close in
the mouth of which lies Vancouver, thus serving to
keep secure a direct line of communication. Of
course Esquimault will be the naval centre in these
seas ; but, for the protection of the mainland, it will
not be sufficient to merely make a stronghold of
Esquimault. Ships, it is affirmed, could, so far as
the defences alone of that station are concerned,
easily steam into the Straits of Georgia, and bombard
at will any of the mainland towns. By, however,
fortifying English Bay, the position of Vancouver,
even without the support of a naval squadron such
as Esquimault will have, would be rendered impregnable ; a complete protection would be given to the
whole coast, and the line of communication kept
I saw the ' Terminal City,' as the Vancouverians
proudly call their frame-built houses, under great
disadvantages, but the ambition, pluck, and perseverance of the people convinced me that they would
make the place ' boom,' and that nothing short of its
finally outrivalling 'Frisco and monopolising the
trade of the East and the Antipodes would content
u 2 84
From Vancouver to New Westminster the distance by road is thirteen miles. I went by special
stage in the cool of a July evening.    As the night
O *
fell, the lurid light of numerous forest fires made our
way as bright as day. Nothing can equal the awful
grandeur of pine trees on fire ; and although, after a
short stay in British Columbia, one in a measure gets
used to them, the first sight leaves an unfading
impression on the memory.
The town of New Westminster was an outgrowth
of the gold excitement inl857-58.  With the influx of
miners a government was rendered necessary
O •/
the seat of government for the mainland—Vancouver
Island being at that time a separate colony—was at
first located at a place called Lower Langley, or
Derby, but in 1859 it was removed to New Westminster. With the union of the two colonies, the
island and the mainland, nine years later, the capital
was finally located at Victoria. From this time
New Westminster ceased to have political importance, but the loss of the capital had no effect upon it
as a business point.
New Westminster is still in point of numbers
the largest settlement on the mainland, and second
only to Victoria in the whole  province,  although THE FRASER RIVER DISTRICT
Vancouver bids fair to quickly outstrip her. It
contains upwards of 3,000 inhabitants, and the
number is steadily increasing.
The New Westminster district consists of the
country lying on both sides of the Fraser River for
a distance, I believe, of 100 miles above its mouth,
extending on the south to the international line.
The town itself enjoys a most advantageous situation,
being built on ground rising gradually from the
river, affording perfect drainage and splendid building sites. The district embraces some of the most
extensive and valuable tracts of arable and grazing
land in the province; and New Westminster, from its
situation, is not only the natural centre of the district,
but the whole region of the Fraser River is in a
measure tributary to it.
The lumber and fishing interests are also very
great, and it is here that the principal salmon canneries are established, employing a good deal of
Indian and Chinese labour. I was informed that the
four canneries employ, all told, fully 1,200 people in
the fishing season.
New Westminster has, for so small a town, some
very imposing buildings, principally belonging to the
Dominion and Provincial Governments. The principal church is Episcopalian, viz. Holy Trinity ; it
is a handsome stone edifice, and possesses a fine
chime of bells presented to the parish by the Baroness 86 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
Burdett-Coutts. The edifices occupied by the Roman
Catholics, Presbyterians, and Methodists are built of
wood, but they are roomy and comfortable. The
Roman CathoHc Indians have a church to themselves,
built, it is said, exclusively by their own contributions. There are several educational establishments
for children of both sexes, and there are also a high
school and a girls' collegiate institution for instruction in the more advanced studies, so that intending
settlers from the old country need not hesitate to
bring their children out with them for fear of cutting
off their education.
New Westminster, like all towns in the New
World, no matter how small, has its newspapers—the
British Columbian and the Mainland Guardian ; and
the day that I arrived there the former paper, in
order to keep abreast with the times, had come out
as a daily; so that, sitting at breakfast over your
cup of tea, just arrived by the first direct tea ship
from Japan, and your sturgeon steak fresh from the
grill, you could that morning read what had taken
place the day before in the Old World, some 7,000
miles away.
The principal hotel in New Westminster is most
comfortable, and the table is excellent as well as
abundant. Salmon cutlets and sturgeon steaks
deliciously cooked, hot rolls with pats of guinea-gold
butter, and jugs of fresh, thick cream and well-made m
tea and coffee graced the breakfast-table; and the
midday dinner included oyster soup, marrow-bones,
roast and boiled joints, and fat tender chicken. The
vegetables were a treat in themselves, whilst luscious
fruits of various kinds were in abundance at every
meal. The charge per day was, I believe, from
$1*50 to $2*00, a considerable reduction being allowed
permanent boarders. Next to the Driard House at
Victoria, the hotel at New Westminster was decidedly
the best house I ' struck' from the Pacific to Manitoba.
It was at one time anticipated that New Westminster would be chosen as the terminus of the
railway system, but its distance from the mouth of
the river prevented its selection for such, a purpose ;
Vancouver, in its proximity to the sea, offering far
greater advantages, besides possessing a harbour in
which vessels of any draught could enter at all times.
New Westminster is, however, to be connected wil|l
Port Moody by a branch line, and the rails were
being laid when I was  out there ;   and it will, I
O ' *
anticipate, in due course be connected by rail with
There is direct steam communication between
Victoria and New Westminster, altogether independent
of the steamers which ply between the capital and
Port Moody. The Fraser, which is the great waterway of the province, is navigable only as far as
Yale, a town 110 miles from its mouth, and then 88
only for river boats. Vessels drawing about
eighteen feet can, however, ascend as far as New
Westminster, which is some fifteen miles from
the river's mouth. The scenery up the Fraser is
most charming, and the passenger to Vancouver
Island from the East would do well to take the
return journey from Victoria via New Westminster
and Yale, at which latter place he would strike the
main line.
The Fraser divides at its mouth into what are
called the 'North Arm' and the ' South Arm,' and
the delta thus formed contains many thousands of
acres of fertile and highly productive lowlands.
This region is already fairly well settled, and is
divided between the municipalities of Richmond and
Delta. The municipality of Richmond embraces the
land included in the North Arm. It possesses a
permanent settlement of some 300 people, whilst
in the packing season—there being two salmon
canneries there—employment is afforded to as many
as 500.
The Delta municipality takes in the South
Arm, embracing 40,000 acres of rich delta lands.
The settlers are engaged—profitably, I believe—in
salmon canning as well as in agriculture, which is
their principal industry. The chief outlet of the
settlement is a small port on the Fraser River called
Ladner's Landing, whence are shipped large quan- THE FRASER RIVER DISTRICT
tities of salmon and farm products. There are
churches, schools, and useful public buildings in
both settlements, and there is a post office at North
The municipality of Surrey, which embraces the
settlements of Hall's Prairie, Clover Valley, and
Mud Bay, is just east of the South Arm. It is a
fairly prosperous municipality, extending from the
Fraser to Boundary Bay and the international line.
Mud Bay is famous for its oysters, though much
cannot be said in favour of Pacific coast bivalves,
they being for the most part small and not very
The municipality of Maple Ridge is above New
Westminster on the north bank of the Fraser, between
Pitt and Stave Rivers. Port Hammond is its chief
outlet, it being a station on the Canadian Pacific
Railway, and a landing-point for all river steamers
plying beyond New Westminster.
Still following the Fraser, agricultural settlements
O 7      O
are met with on both sides, the chief of which are
Langley, Chilliwhack, Ferny Coombe, Harrison
Mouth, Nicoamen, and St. Mary's Mission.
Yale, where the navigation of the 'Fraser River
virtually ends, is a place of some 1,000 inhabitants. It is a town that has, I fear, seen its
best days. It was at one time a port of the Hudson's
Bay Company ; and later, when the Cariboo mines 90 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
were a ' booming concern,' it became the centre for
the despatch of stores, and so forth, for the mines.
At Yale a great highway branches north into the
interior, called the Yale-Cariboo Waggon Road, constructed by the Colonial Government in 1862-63 at
a cost of over #500,000. This road is the main
artery of the interior, and is 400 miles in length.
Twelve miles above Yale it crosses the Fraser River
by the Trutch Suspension Bridge, built at a cost of
#50,000. From this point nearly to Lytton (a
town named after the Earl of Lytton), fifty-seven
miles from Yale, the waggon road and the transcontinental railway run on opposite sides of the
stream, passing by the way through a splendid
The Yale district is a most extensive one, embracing, as it does, an area of 24,000 square miles,
and comprising more than one half the southern interior. It extends from the Fraser to the Columbia,
and from the international line to the fifty-first parallel. Through it run the Thompson, Nicola, and
Okanagan Rivers, and along either side flow the
Fraser and the Columbia. The south-west section
is occupied by the Cascade Mountains, and what is
called the Gold Range is along the eastern end. Between these lies a high platet .150 miles in width.
The land generally is not suitable for agriculture, but
in many parts it offers admirable grazing facilities. THE FRASER RIVER DISTRICT
Stock-raising already forms, I believe, the leading
occupation in the district. Timber is limited to belts
of red pine on the uplands, but there is, it is said,
considerable mineral land, which only needs developing
to yield handsome results.
The location of Yale is among some truly grand
and remarkable scenery, forming a fitting close to the
journey up the Fraser, where so much that is beautiful
and picturesque is to be seen.
The Fraser River district is the agricultural Eden
of the mainland, and now that the railway is fast
opening up markets for its produce settlers in the
neighbourhood will undoubtedly increase.
From New Westminster to Port Moody by road
it is six miles—six miles of, I verily believe, the worst
travelling in the whole world.
I occupied a seat on the morning ' stage,' which
took its departure from the hotel where I had spent
such an agreeable time.
The 'stage' was a most uncomfortable concern,
consisting of a rickety waggon drawn by a couple of
worn-out 'screws.' Uphill and downhill—principally the latter—we:;^ent at a jog-trot, clouds of
dust filling our eyes, and the summer sun broiling
hot above our heads.    The driver's hand appeared to 92
be ever on the brake, and the partly locked wheels
seemed to possess an extraordinary instinct in finding
out the deepest ruts into which to sink, or the largest
stones over which to jolt. It was a case of bumpI
bump! bump! until every bone ached in one's body
as the wheels glided off one stone on to another ; or
grind! grind! grind! till every tooth in one's head
was ajar as the loose sand was crushed under the
tires. How we escaped being overturned was a marvel. Every moment I expected to 'end my days on
the piles of ragged rocks, or to he with a broken arm
or a fractured skull in the half-cleared valleys below.
There was absolutely nothing worth seeing on the
journey. Clearings were few and far between, and
they one and all seemed to have been undertaken in
a spirit of half-heartedness. Truly the soil was in
appearance anything but generous, but no one appeared desirous of making the best of it. I was,
however, informed that a great portion of the land
along the road was owned by some one who did not
live in the place, and who, in anticipation of prosperous times for the district, declined to sell on
reasonable terms, holding out for extravagant prices,
such as he will, if I mistake not, never secure. Thus
early, it will be seen, the country is suffering from
the curse of absenteeism. The smaller holdings in
and about New Westminster are chiefly in the occupation of  Chinamen,  who  make  excellent  market PORT MOODY, THE PRESENT TERMINUS
gardeners, their little plots of vegetables ever looking
fresh and prosperous.
As the horses descend the last hill—which, by the
bye, is steeper and in worse condition than the preceding ones—a glimpse is caught of Port Moody. In
that glimpse the traveller has his fill, for there is not
enough in the place to warrant a good honest look
round.    One can see at sight that it is, in rough
O 7 O
Western parlance, a ' dead-sick' place. Some places
have lived and have died ; some have been born and
strangled almost at their birth ; whilst others, having
become discontented with the surroundings in which
they were originally cast, have ' gone on,' as it were,
to more suitable situations. But Port Moody was,
I should imagine, still-born, and the man who con-
O 7 7
ceived the idea of making such a place the terminus of the great railway system has much to answer
for.    I      wKL flHBJBBHBBB
It is a mere village of amphibious proclivities, one
half of the houses finding a foundation on the land
where best they can, and the other half—where the
houses are big enough to divide—being built over
the water. Port Moody is a weakling incapable of a
healthy present or a promising future, and the sooner
it passes out of existence, or ' goes on' to Vancouver,
the better it will be for all concerned. For the
inhabitants are buoying themselves up with the false
hope  that because  Port  Moody  was   at  one  time 94
selected in error as the parliamentary terminus it
must continue to be the terminus for all time, utterly
forgetting that it has not one single advantage to
offer in connection with so important a position.
The entrance to its bay is shallow and bad, and
it is fully nine miles further from the sea than is
Vancouver whilst its harbour facilities will bear no
comparison with those of that place.
There is no help for it; Port Moody must die in
order that Vancouver may live.
Vancouver is the natural terminus; and it would
be suicidal to pass over the distinct advantages it
possesses, in order that a wholly unsuitable place,
disadvantageously situated some eight or nine miles
further up Burrard Inlet, should be chosen for that
distinction simply because a member of the Canadian
Government inadvertently selected it as the parliamentary terminus before the si||erior claims of what
was then Coal Harbour had become known.
Of course it is very hard upon the unfortunate
people who speculated heavily in land in and about
Port Moody, in anticipation of the place—in virtue
of its original selection as the terminus—becoming
an active commercial centre. They very naturally
resent the ' going on' of Port Moody, and by leffal
injunction and otherwise they are striving hard to
prevent the rail being extended to Vancouver. When
I was there they had been partially successful in PORT MOODY, THE PRESENT TERMINUS
their efforts, and blocks of land, where the owners
had obtained injunctions restraining the railway company from building thereon, lay at various intervals
along the shore of the inlet between the rails
already laid down for the purpose of connecting the
two places.
These ' land blockers,' as they are called in these
parts, will be wise to come to terms with the company
in time, for there are means of getting from Port
| o O
Moody to Vancouver without going through their
land. The railway authorities are willing to give
them a fair price for their holdings, but they
emphatically decline to be 'bounced' ; for it is solely
owing to the railway being there that land in these
parts is worth anything at all.
I accompanied Sir George Stephen, Mr. Van
Home, and other C. P. R. officials, on a special
steamer, when they journeyed from Port Moody to
Vancouver and round English Bay j and Mr. Van
Home stated most emphatically—and any one who
knows this famous railway magnate knows how
emphatic he can be—that nothing would prevent the
construction of the line ; and that, unless the holders
were willing to come to terms, he should cause the
O '
line to be carried out into the inlet, round the
places where it was blocked, and so circumvent his
' I guess they'll be glad enough to come to terms 96 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
then;   but,'  he   added,  with   a grim  chuckle,   'I
reckon they'll find themselves badly left.'
Badly left they will be, there can be no manner
of doubt, unless they come to terms with those who
not only have the whip-hand of them, but have the
public with them.
People in England who have interested themselves in this great national railway are very much
mixed in their ideas as to which is the terminal town,
and where it is situated. It is therefore to make
matters clear to them that I am dealing so fully with
the subject.
I cannot expect qjij one in this country to enter
into the rivalries of Port Moody and Vancouver; but,
believe me, it is a matter of first, I might almost say
national, importance whether the terminus is fixed at
a place which, having no natural advantages, affords
no opportunities for development ; or whether the
choice is given to a port possessing every possible
natural advantage, and where the idea of making it a
commercial and shipping centre worthy of its position
is the ruling ambition.
I have already stated that the Canadian Pacific
Railway authorities have decided upon Vancouver and
that they purpose building extensive carriage works'
and engine sheds on English Bay ; but whether they
will be permitted to make a direct connection by
rail   between Vancouver and Port  Moody remains \
to be seen. In one instance the judges have decided
in their favour, and in another against them, it being
strongly urged by the Port Moodyites that the
charter does not allow of the line being extended
beyond their town. So far as the original charter
is concerned they are, I believe, in the right; but it
appears to me to be utterly monstrous that the company should have to be bound by it when the prosperity of the country and the welfare of the railway
would materially suffer in consequence.
Should the obstructionists refuse to fall in with
the company's views, and should the law, in virtue
of the original charter, uphold them, the company
will, as I have already pointed out, devise some scheme
by which the ' blockers' would be thwarted and the
law evaded.
To return to the ' stage.' We drew up at an
hotel with a high-sounding name. We have been
told that there is not much in a name, but I can
assure my readers there is a great deal in it when
it applies to an hotel. The innocent traveller is
invariably attracted by a hostelry flying a finely
painted signboard and possessing a fine-sounding
The hotel in question stood in its own grounds—
at least half of it did, the other half being built over
the water. These grounds were anything but attractive, comprising, as they did, nothing but  a small
H 3
patch of scrub land, a few heaps of stones, a plentiful crop of weeds, and a carriage drive, whose chief
claim to attention lay in the number of springs it
broke or dislocated in the course of a year.
As for the hotel itself, it was the very worst
house I had ever put foot in; but, failing other
accommodation, I was obliged to remain in it.
Firstly, I had to help carry in my own luggage and
to pay for the privilege, just as if I had employed
a man about the plac||for the purpose. Secondly,
I had to await the pleasure of the manager or proprietor, or whoever it was who ' ran' the hotel,
before I could secure a room. I think I had to wait
fully an hour before I got attended to, as the man
was, when I arrived, busy mixing himself and his
friends drinks ; and this finished, he took a hand in
a game at cards. Eventually he deigned to take
notice of me, and having been shown my room I
was left to drag up my own baggage, whilst mine
cj x •/ OO    O    *
host's ' helps' and mine host's friends drank their
' whisky straight' at a go, or delicately sipped their
' long drinks,' as became gentlemen of independence
and leisure.
My bedroom jutted out into the bay ; the tide
was out, and the scene was not inviting. Nothing
but black foul mud struck the eye, and black foul
odours filled the nostiils. So strong was the smell
that it seemed as  if you   could see  it ;   go  where PORT MOODY, THE PRESENT TERMINUS
you would, you could not escape it, and nothing
but constant smoking afforded any immunity from
its all-pervading presence. How in those moments
I thanked my lucky stars that I could smoke!
and how glad I was that I had not hearkened to the
protests of my anti-tobacco friends who had so
frequently vexed themselves—poor, honest, well-intentioned souls—at my persistence in this direction!
I was always smoking whilst in that hotel, and
although my whole system was permeated with
nicotine, and my nerves badly jarred, it was only
that, I believe, that saved me from fever. How
typhoidish everything smelt! and even in the sweet
fresh air outside some of the stench seemed to cling
to my nostrils.
With the ringing of the dinner-bell I went into
O       O
the dining-room and took a seat. The company was
numerous, but not particularly select. Some of them
were in their shirt-sleeves, fresh from their work on
the line, whilst others had apparently been too pressed
for time to allow of their taking off their hats or of
washing their hands. Most of them, being in a
hurry, ate with their knives—luckily these were not
Flies—attracted, I suppose, by the smells and the
general uncleanliness of the place—were in the room
in clouds. Do what one would, it was impossible to
drive them off.    They jumped like ravenous beasts
h2 100
into the soup, buried themselves in the vegetables,
quite heedless—so long as they had their fill—of
being eaten with the next mouthful; they drowned
themselves in your coffee, or, half drunk with immersion in your beer, they would drag their clammy
faltering legs over your nose, or, in a spirit of remorse,
commit suicide by plunging unexpectedly down your
Flies, under the most favoured conditions, are
not pleasant eating, but Port Moody flies, in virtue
of the happy hunting-grounds on which they loved
to disport, were positively revolting. I am grieved
to remember that I swallowed my share—maybe
more than my share—of these pests, and the remembrance makes me sick.
The food supplied at the hotel was quite bad
enough without the fly accompaniment, and, hungry
though I was, I had great difficulty in swallowing
more than a mouthful of any dish ; and before long a
circumstance occurred which determined me in my
resolve to drop the bill of fare entirely.
Sitting just opposite me was a half-caste nigger
with a broad freckled face, which face appeared to
have specig. charms for the flies. Any way, they
were attracted to it and settled on it, and amused
themselves now and then in swimming about in the
lakes of perspiration which formed thereon throuo-h
the intense heat of the room.    The nigger was either PORT MOODY, THE PRESENT TERMINUS       101
too busy eating or too indifferent to disturb them ;
and, as is well known, flies like to be taken notice of,
and resent inattention on the part of those whom
they have thought fit to honour with their attentions, by leaving them and seeking out people more
sympathetically inclined. They therefore left the
nigger and straightway went for me, knowing, I
suppose, that I heartily detest their presence. Whilst
I was busy flicking them off my nose and neck and
head, one half-starved brute thought he would take
advantage of the confusion by making a direct raid
on my food. So down he came straight from out of
one of the trickling perspiration pools on to a piece
of underdone beef on my plate. He dug his dripping
proboscis into the gravy, and did a war dance from
one end to the other of the undercut, drying his
wings by flapping them as he went along.
This was too much for me, and, seizing a knife, I
decapitated that fly in the moment of his triumph,
and getting up, I left the table never to return to it.
For twenty-four hours I lived upon smells and
inhaled tobacco smoke; but the following day there
came a special train from Montreal, bringing with it
Sir George and Lady Stephen, the Earl of Durham,
Mr. Van Home, and others, and that night I dined.
Merlatti may find pleasure in fasting fifty days, but
twenty-four hours amidst plenty—plenty of a certain
kind—were quite enough for me, and I believe that 102
my determination would not have stood the test
another hour, and that I should have gone back to
the niggers and coatless navvies, and have eaten the
raw beef regardless of flies, and, what is more,
perhaps have enjoyed the meal.
My bedroom was very small—I don't remember
how many square inches it contained, but I know it
was hardly big enough to be reckoned by feet. The
landlord had apparently been guided by its smallness
when furnishing it, for, besides a bed—much too
short for me—a solitary seatless chair, and a table
which was wash-hand-stand, dressing-table, and
wardrobe all in one, there was no superfluous furniture to encumber the limited space.
Lying on the table, however, were a comb, with
gaps in it like a hayrake after being dragged over
rough ground, and a blackened tooth-brush, both of
which were for general use. These interesting articles
of toilet were  chained  to the wall, visitors  being
reminded in a notice to observe the eighth command-
ment. The considerate landlord, inspired with the
laudable notion of meeting the requirements of his
guests, had, moreover, provided a box of paper
collars, which was temptingly left open between the
fettered comb and tooth-brush.
In the corner under the table there lay a box
of cherry tooth-paste, where it had presumably been
thrown by some disgusted traveller, who, mistaking PORT MOODY, THE  PRESENT TERMINUS       103
the paste for some sweetmeat, had tasted copiously
thereof, as a deep furrow, where his thumb had
ploughed out a goodly slice, distinctly showed.
This reminds me of an incident which happened
to me a few days before. After a day's dusty travel
I was, one morning, taking an alfresco bath, when, on
looking up, I saw an Indian standing on the bank
foaming at the mouth, and gesticulating violently.
Thinking the man was in pain, I hastened towards
' Him no good candy; him make me sick,' he
said, spluttering forth a quantity of foam.
At first I did not understand him ; but on looking
round I saw that he had half devoured the cake of
Pears's soap I had brought with me, having, in its
transparency, mistaken it for American candy.
But to hie back to my room. On going to bed I
put out my boots in the usual way, but morning
found them not only uncleaned, but dirtier than ever.
A ' drunk,' on going staggering to bed, had knocked
the ashes of his pipe into one of them, and the
boarders in the hotel, tickled at the idea of seeing a
pair of boots in the passage waiting to be cleaned,
had amused themselves by expectorating over them.
I remonstrated with the landlord, and he curtly
informed me that 'the gentlemen' about his house
couldn't be expected to fool away their time at boot-
cleaning. 104 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
'When people wants their boots cleaned,' he
added,' they generally in these parts cleans 'em their-
selves ; but most on 'em don't want 'em cleaned at
all;' and with this he ' engineered a spittle' through
the back of a chair, and turned his attention to his
bar customeri|§|
This man was rough and rude, but he was not, I
believe, a bad fellow at heart; anyhow, he could mix
good, long, cooling summer drinks, and in my sense
of gratitude for this mercy I readily forgave him,
before I left, all the inconveniences to which I had
been put whilst in his house.
' Mine's a Al hotel, and don't yer forget it,' he
said to me one day, pointing with pride to the
amphibious strucpLre which bore his name. ' I'll own
as my customers ain't quite the "tone ;'! but what's
that to you or to any man s'long as they pays their
reck'ning? Just yer mind that I don't cater fur
no city gents, with bran'-new store clothes on their
backs and shiny toothpick boots on their feet. No,
siree, them as wants extry attendance won't get it
v O
here, and there ain't no place fur the item on the
I, however, discovered that there were plenty of
places for other items, and that his charges were
higher than those of the New Westminster Hotel;
and I am of opinion that, although he affected to
despise what he terms the 'tone,' he would   not ■s
hesitate to apply a higher scale of charges to such
people when they visited his hotel.
The more one sees of Port Moody, the less
impressed is one with it; and, for my part, I have
never ceased to marvel how it came to be originally
selected as the terminus.
The offices of the Canadian Pacific Railway are
of the most primitive character. There is a wooden
building, in which are contained a ticket and tele-
graph office ; opposite is a fairly commodious goods
shed, with a wharf beyond. Consequently a traveller
arriving from Europe by the West-bound mailwould
be something more than human if he failed to express
his disappointment at the situation, for there is
absolutely nothing in the surroundings to favourably
impress him. But his stay in Port Moody would
necessarily be short; instead of having to seek the
hospitality of the local hotel, he would find himself,
within an hour of his arrival, on board a steamer
making for Victoria, where he would find a good
hotel and all the comforts of civilisation. The
steamers between Victoria and Port Moody stop at
Vancouver both going and returning. 106
No greater libel has ever been uttered upon a
country than the remark of an eminent English
statesman, that Canada was a 'huge ice-bound
desert.' It is possible that the statesman in question,
in making this statement, had in mind the remark
of the French monarch who, when signing the treaty
which transferred Canada to Great Britain, said, in
order to lessen the importance of the territory France
was called upon to sacrifice, ' After all, it's only a
few square miles of snow.'
This expression not only found acceptance in
official circles for many years after, but the school
geographies and encyclopaedias, in their references to
Canada, appear to have been considerably influenced
by it, so much so that the world at large looked upon
the country as being for the greater part eternally
doomed on account of the severity of its climate.
There are, of course, terribly cold spots in the
Dominion—parts, in fact, where the frost never
leaves the ground—but these are in the regions of
the ' Frozen Sea,' where no one is called upon or
expected to reside. It should not be forgotten that
the Dominion of Canada is of vast extent (altogether,
not including the area covered by the great lakes, it
contains 3,470,392 square  miles, or about 40 per CLIMATE AND GENERAL RESOURCES
cent, of the area of the whole British Empire), and
that whilst one part may be perpetually frostbound,
another basks in perennial sunshine.
That British Columbia possesses, of all the
provinces of the Dominion, the best all-round climate
no one will, I think, venture to deny. It—where it
lies in the perpetual cold of the Arctic Ocean—has
its uninhabitable quarter, but this is lost sight of
amongst the millions of acres which are habitable.
The Japanese current produces on the climate
along the Canadian littoral of the Pacific Ocean an
effect similar to that produced on England by the
Gulf Stream, thus giving to British Columbia,—Vancouver Island especially—a climate similar to that
of the south of England, save that it has a greater
O / O
summer heat with less humidity.
The ' current' flows northerly from the Japan
coast until it strikes the islands of the Aleutian
Archipelago, when it is deflected eastward, crossing
south of the Alaskan Sea, and striking the upper end
of the Queen Charlotte Islands, where its course is
again changed, and it passes south along the coast of
British Columbia. It is all summer and sunshine
wherever the full influence of this great volume of
warm water is felt. As a local authority puts it,
' even in the midst of winter, when hyperborean
blasts sweep the plains east of the Rocky Mountains,
the warm breezes from the sea steal over the islands 108
and mainland, and penetrate far into the interior
among the many valleys of the mountains, their
modifying influence gradually lessening as they
advance. In the regions fully subject to them
flowers bloom, vegetation remains green and bright,
and there is little save the almanac to inform the
stranger that winter is at hand, though the native
knows it from the increased rainfall. The warm
moisture-laden currents of air coming from the
south-west meet the colder' atmosphere from the
north, and the result is frequent and copious rains
during the winter season, the rainfall being much
O ' O
more abundant on the mainland coast than- on the
islands or in the interior.'
It must be clearly understood that the climate
of British Columbia, as a whole, varies considerably,
owing to atmospheric conditions and local causes.
The province is naturally divided into two districts,
insular and continental; and these, owing to the
vast area and mountainous surface, are  again  sub-
' O
divided into districts with more or less distinctly
defined boundaries. However, taken altogether, the
climate of the ' Province of the Midnight Sun j is,
as I have already intimated, much more moderate
and equable than that of any other portion of Canada,
each district enjoying cooler summers and milder
winters than any region of a corresponding altitude
lying east of the Rocky Mountains. CLIMATE AND  GENERAL RESOURCES
daily deg.
5 J
51*81 Fahrenheit.
In 1860 H.M.S. Topaz made meteorological-ob-
servations every day, with the following result:—
April .
May .
June .
July .
Mean heat of the year
It is also affirmed that in some years the gooseberry buds were opening in February ; that at the
beginning of March the native plants were coming
o o x o
into leaf in sheltered places ; that native hemp was
three inches high, and that by the 29th of the month
buttercups were in flower. Strawberries, we are
also told, have been in bloom on April 13 ; and
then, on May 1, the plains were covered with wild
flowers. By this time spring wheat and peas were
also rising, potatoes were above ground, strawberries
and wild gooseberries were ripening, and the hedges
blooming with wild roses.
The species and varieties of plants growing in
British Columbia are exceedingly numerous.    Those
109 110
growing on the meadow lands may be classed as
follows :—White pea, wild bean, ground-nuts, a
species of white clover, reed meadow-grass, bent
spear-grass, wild oat, wild Timothy, sweet-grass,
cowslip, crowfoot, winter-cress, partridge berry, wild
sunflower, marigold, wild lettuce, wild angelica, wild
/ O '
lily, brown-leaved rush, and so forth.
I mention this in order to show what an equable
climate the province really possesses, for where such
plants will grow wild there cannot by any chance
be anything wrong with the climate.
I have given the result of the observations taken
in 1860, but I think it well worth while to give the
result of observations taken at the meteorological
stations at Esquimault at a much later period, viz.
during 1874-5-6 (see opposite page).
In speaking of the climate of the mainland of
British Columbia no general description will serve
the purpose, for whilst the coast and islands are
liable to all-important variations, the differences in
the interior are still greater. The Provincial Government authorities in dealing with the matter divide
the country into three zones—the southern, the
middle, and the northern.
The southern zone is taken to be between the
international boundary line (49°) and 51° north
latitude, and east of the coast range beginning at
Yale ; and it comprises most of the country in which CLIMATE AND GENERAL RESOURCES
g -P
■ •—i
c 112
irrigation   is   essential  to   the  growth  of cereals.
This arises from the air losing moisture in crossing
the range.
It is however, in this zone that special advantages are offered for cattle and sheep raising, rich
bunch grass existing in great quantities. The mean
annual temperature of this zone differs, it is said,
little from that of the coast region ; a greater difference being, however, observable between the mean
summer and winter temperatures, and a still greater
contrast when the extremes of heat and cold are
compared. The winter is shorter and milder than
the districts further north ; and though snow falls,
the wind-swept slopes are, it is affirmed, unusually
thinly covered. Cattle as well as horses winter out,
the district thus having an advantage over the two
great western States of America, Dakota and Minnesota,
where, although horses do sometimes winter out,
cattle cannot do so, the snow lying too thick on
the ground to allow of their getting at the grass—
cattle, unlike horses, not scraping for their food.
The middle zone comprises the region between
51° and 53° north latitude, and contains much of the
mountainous parts of the province, including the
Cariboo Mountains, the locality of the principal gold-
fields yet discovered in British Columbia. The
rainfall is heavier here than in the southern zone,
and the forest growth therefore becomes more dense. CLIMATE AND GENERAL RESOURCES
The altitude of the settlements in this division varies
from 1,900 to 2,500 feet above the sea level ; at 3,000
feet wheat will ripen, and other grains at even a higher
altitude. From longitude 122° the land falls towards
the valley of the Fraser, the climate becomes milder
than in the' mountains, and bunch-grass grows in
the valleys and on the beaches.
The country embraced in the northern zone is
necessarily remote from the line of rail, the j Queen's
Highway' running through no portion of it. Except
for its supposed minerals, its fur-bearing animals, and
the fish in its waters, this district possesses no attraction for settlers.
British Columbia is stated to possess a greater
variety of climate than any other country of its size,
the lines of demarcation between one and the other
beine1 singularly abrupt and well defined. Van-
couver Island and the mainland coast supply an
equable genial climate, whilst within a few miles of
the border of this land is a territory in which rain
seldom falls, where the sky is invariably clear and
the air bracing, with sharper differences between
winter and summer temperatures, but with a mean
differino- but little from the adjoining region. Close
on this is a climate of almost constant rain, where
the vegetation is most luxuriant, and where timber
attains immense proportions. North of all these are
the frozen marvels of an arctic world. 114 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
The resources of British Columbia are very
numerous. The fishing industry is at present the
best developed, yielding the highest returns. The
value of salmon (canned and barrelled) exported in
1884 amounted to #813,655, whilst the value of fish
oil (the bulk of which is obtained from the dog-fish
at the Queen Charlotte Islands) was #15,017. Coal
followed salmon in the volume of 1884 trade, the
shipments (chiefly to the United States and the
Sandwich Islands) amounting to 218,856 tons, with
a value of #766,018.
Gold, the whole of which was exported to the
United States, amounted to #671,379, being third
on the list. The timber exports came fourth,
there having been exported lumber to the value of
#458,251 ; Australia, Chili, Peru, China, British
East Indies, Great Britain, and the United States
being buyers ; the first-named being the largest and
the last the smallest purchaser, whilst China took
#49,808 worth.
Coming to the fur exports, I find that furs
derived from land animals, the greater part of which-
are collected and exported by the Hudson's Bay
Company, were exported to the value of #209,163,
Great Britain and the United States being about
equal purchasers. The furs from marine animals,
mainly seal and sea-otter, had an export value of
#70,178.     Of these, Great Britain was by far the CLIMATE AND  GENERAL RESOURCES
largest buyer ; China's share amounted to #8,283,
the United States not requiring—in virtue of their
own seal fisheries in Alaska—more than #250 worth.
Hops are exported in small quantities; but, considering the facilities there are for growing them, they
will, I should imagine, be an increasing industry in
the future. British Columbian hops are said to be
fully equal, if not superior, to those of Washington
Territory, whence the exports have attained large
The growing of fruit is certainly a thing of
promise, Vancouver Island, the districts west of the
coast range, and that southern strip of the province
between parallels 49° and 50° being specially adapted
for the raising of fruits of all kinds. At present
Canada's great fruit-raising farms are in Ontario, but
the districts I have mentioned, having greater cli-
matic advantages, can produce fruits that will not
grow in the province further east.
Agriculturally considered British Columbia is
essentially a country of small holdings, and it will be
impossible—save in a few exceptionally favoured
parts—to farm on a large scale. It is true that the
climate is admirable, and that the soil is often very
good ; but the good spots do not lie close together, it
being only here and there that you come across lands
suitable for farming purposes. I certainly think
industrious families with a knowledge of farm work, 116
of moderate ambitions, and possessing a little capital,
might having made a proper selection of land, thrive
and prosper on farming.
Land is easy of acquirement in the province.
The regulations, however, concerning the tract of
land along the Canadian Pacific Railway, and within
twenty miles on each side of the line known as the
Railway Belt, differ slightly from those governing
other portions of the country. This belt is vested
in the Government of the Dominion as distinguished
from the Government of the province of British
Columbia, whose regulations are in force for all other
parts. Provincial Government lands are classified as
either surveyed or unsurveyed lands, and may be acquired either by record and pre-emption, or purchase.
Any person being a British subject may record
or pre-empt unoccupied, unreserved, and unrecorded
Crown lands, being the head of a family, a widow, or
a single man over eighteen years of age. Aliens may
also record such surveyed or unsurveyed lands on
making a declaration of intention to become a British
subject. The quantity of land which may be -recorded or pre-empted is not to exceed 320 acres
northward and eastward of the Cascade "or Coast
Mountains, or 160 acres in the rest of the province.
The price of Crown lands pre-empted is one
dollar per acre, payable in four equal instalments.
The first instalment must be paid two years from CLIMATE  AND  GENERAL  RESOURCES
date of record or pre-emption, and each other instalment yearly thereafter until the full amount is paid.
The Crown grant, it should be stated, excludes
gold and silver ore,  and  reserves to the Crown a
royalty  of  five   cents  per ton  on   every  ton   of ■
merchantable coal  raised or gotten from the land,
not including dross or slack.
Vacant surveyed lands, which are not the sites of
towns and not Indian settlements, may be purchased
at the rate of two dollars and fifty cents (about ten
shillings) per acre, payment in full having to be
made at the time of the purchase thereof.
Unreserved lands can be purchased at two dollars
and fifty cents per acre, payable as follows : 10 per
cent, at the time of application, and 90 per cent,
on completion and acceptance of survey, such survey
to be made at the expense of purchaser, and by a
surveyor approved of and acting under the instructions of the Chief Commissioner. The quantity of
land under this regulation must not be less than
160 acres nor more than 640 acres.
Under the Homestead Act, farm and buildings,
when registered, cannot be taken for debt incurred
after the registration; it is free from seizure up to
a value not greater than #2,500 (500£.) ; goods and
chattels are also free up to #500 (L00?.); cattle
J farmed on shares ' are also protected by an Exemption Act. 118
Greater attention is to be given in the future
to the production of wool and the raising of beef.
The exports under these heads are at present small.
Grazing lands are to be had on exceptionally favourable terms, and there is a fair prospect of the province
materially increasing its wool and beef exports in
the near future.
What British Columbia urgently requires is an
increased population to develop its latent resources.
It  undoubtedly  possesses   considerable   mineral
wealth;   its fisheries and forests are practically inexhaustible ; its grazing lands, in the main, are rich
and well located, whilst farming and fruit-growing
cannot fail to form profitable industries.    With an
increased population these natural resources will be
developed, and  now that a railway has been built
across Canada the country has been made easy of
access, and new markets for her produce have been
opened up.    These markets will extend far beyond
the  American  continent;   for  with the  promotion
of shipping  enterprise in both seas, in connection
with the great transcontinental railway, the ' Province
of the Midnight Sun' will  be  brought into direct
communication with the Old World on the one side,
and with Asia and the Antipodes on the other, so
that she, of  all the provinces of the Dominion, is
likely to be the most benefited by the construction
of the ' Queen's Highway.' 119
The determination *to fortify Esquimault, making it
a naval station of the first class, is undoubtedly a
wise one; for with such a position in the Pacific, and
with Halifax on the Atlantic, and a line of rail running through, her own territory directly connecting
the two stations, England occupies a position to-day
undreamt of by the wildest enthusiasts a few years
Hitherto the harbour of Esquimault has, states
Captain Edward Palliser, a well-known authority on
the subject of naval defences, been chiefly looked
upon as a ' repairing-shop useful to the North Pacific
squadron; but, in its isolation from the rest of her
Majesty's dominions, not considered of sufficient
importance to increase to the dimensions of an
arsenal.' With a railway (taken in conjunction with
the Intercolonial at Quebec) stretching in one continuous line from Atlantic to Pacific, this somewhat
obscure station has suddenly become of the first
importance;    and   the   Canadian   Government,   in 120
^deration of its being an imperial arsenal, have
decided to spend 20,000?. on earthworks for its defence,
whilst the English Government have voted 30,000/.
for the necessary armament of the fortifications which
the Canadian authorities will supply.
Esquimault possesses unimpeachable natural advantages, and there will be no difficulty in the way
of making the place absolutely impregnable. From
its position it will dominate the* Pacific, ' absolutely
commanding,' as Captain Palliser puts it, 'the rear
of any ring fence of islands others may set up round
Eastern Australia.'
Stores for Esquimault, which formerly took
months to deliver by the steam transports from
Plymouth, can by coming over ' the Queen's Highway ' now be delivered from Woolwich in about
fourteen days.
The Home and Colonial Governments are both
much to be commended in their decision with regard
to Esquimault, for a strategic want has been thus
Countries which are not in accord with us—
Russia especially—fully recognise the importance of
the step we have taken in this matter, and the
formidableness of the position we now occupy.
Esquimault being but three weeks' steam from
Sydney, we should be able in time of trouble to send
from that station speedy and effective assistance to 9QI  ESQUIMAULT AS A NAVAL CENTRE
the Australian colonies. These colonies, however,
must improve their own defences; and it is high time
that they set about creating an arsenal, similar to
Esquimault, at Melbourne or some equally available
point. When I was in Australia, Rear-Admiral
Tryon was actively engaged in promoting some
general scheme of coast defence in which each colony
should take part, but I have not yet heard the result
of these negotiations.
The first step towards what is termed Imperial
Federation should be the promotion of some practical
scheme of imperial naval defence. Such a scheme
would, I feel certain, if the subject were properly
approached, be quite feasible, as the colonies—
Australasia especially—would welcome any steps
which would give additional security to their sea-board.
Russian war-ships make periodical visits to
Australasian waters, and with the visit of each
cruiser a feeling of unrest comes over the colonists ;
not that they have the remotest dread of the
particular ship which is on hand, but because they
know that the object of the vessel is to collect information respecting the Colonies, and to generally spy
out the nakedness of the land with regard to its
defences. The colonists know only too well that
their coast is only too naked in the matter of
defences, and that an improved condition of protection is absolutely imperative. 122
i| t
The last I Russian scare' was on account of the
Vestnik, which, arriving at Melbourne in the early
summer of the year, stayed some time in Australian
waters, finally leaving to join the Russian squadron
in Japanese waters.
According to the Age, the great Victorian daily,
the officers were caught taking observations and
making sketches of the coast defences round about
Melbourne. The circulation of this information
created a sensation in the colony, and the Victorians
were highly indignant ; but it served to set them
thinking about putting their house in order in view
of future hostilities. I happened to be well acquainted with the officers of the Vestnik, and they,
as a matter of course, entirely repudiated the allegations made against them by the Age; but then who
can economise truth—for political purposes—like a
Russian ?
I have not the slightest doubt that the authorities
at St. Petersburg and at Cronstadt are perfectly
informed, as to how the land lies in Australasian
waters, and that the Vestnik has added its contribution
to the general information.
Australia's extended eastern coast is, as it were,
en I'air, and it is in a great measure at the mercy
of any hostile cruiser who may come along. It is,
therefore, sincerely to be trusted that local jealousies,
which have principally prevented the carrying  out ESQUIMAULT AS A NAVAL  CENTRE
of "a joint plan of local defence, will, in view of the
urgency of the situation, be entirely forgotten, and
that there may be a speedy consummation of Rear-
Admiral Tryon's scheme, which, by the bye, would
be a highly important- step towards the greater scheme
of imperial naval defence.
With the construction of Canada's strategic rail-
way and the establishment of a formidable arsenal at
Esquimault, to be, it is hoped, quickly followed by
one at Melbourne or Sydney, the bonds—now only
too loose—between the Dominion and Australasia
cannot fail to be tightened by the instinct of mutual
The harbour of Esquimault is, I should say,
capable of holding the whole of the British navy ;
but only one man-of-war was stationed there when I
was there. This was the flag-ship the Triumph, in
command of Sir Michael Seymour.
I had the honour of lunching with the admiral,
when I took occasion to speak with him respecting
Russia's position in the North Pacific. He was of
opinion that we had little to fear from Muscovite
aggression in these parts, whilst he took exception
to the exaggerated statements then finding currency
in the London press with regard to our exercising
a dominating influence over Russia in these waters
on account of the direct communication afforded by
the opening of the transcontinental railway. 124
Esquimault, in his opinion, was of no use as a
base of operations against the Russian outposts on
the Amoor. Vladivostock, for instance, was not
only a great way off, but the winds in the Okhotsk
Sea and in the vicinity of the Amoor are so severe
and contrary that steamers leaving Esquimault would
not only experience a difficulty in getting thither
quickly, but would probably find themselves without
coal by the time they arrived with the view of
commencing operations.
In the region just referred to, monsoons, I am told,
rage for the better part of the year, whilst Vladivostock for several months together is ice-bound and
practically inaccessible from the sea.
The fleet in Chinese waters is much nearer at
hand, and it would have a better opportunity of
dominating Russian influences in the North Pacific
than one stationed at Esquimault. The acquisition
of Port Hamilton,1 instead of materially improving
our position in this direction, is, it is stated, a questionable advantage.
As a set-off, the Russians will, however, I suppose,
sooner or later occupy Port Lazareff. This is a port
they have long coveted, and there can be no doubt as
to their actual intentions with regard to it.    China and
1 Since writing the above the British Government has decided to
evacuate Port Hamilton, but the actual intentions of the Russian
Government with regard to Port Lazareff are not as yet known. - ESQUIMAULT AS A NAVAL  CENTRE
Japan would, I dare say, object, and the English
Government diplomatically protest, but the acquisition will be made all the same ; and Russia will have
a station in the Pacific more advantageously situated
than Vladivostock, and one that will be open all the
year round.
It is a thousand pities that we, in our blundering
ignorance, lost the Aleutian Isles, for had we them
now our position in the North Pacific would be
so materially strengthened that there would be no
question of our being able to dominate Russia's
interests in this sea. These islands are within easy
steam of Esquimault, and about halfway between
Vancouver and Russia in Asia.
In case of a war with Russia it would, I presume,
be against Petropavlovski, the principal seaport of
Kamtschatka, that a fleet stationed at Esquimault
would probably operate. This outpost of Russia in
Asia cannot be more than about seven days' steam
from Vancouver Island. It is not, 1 think, generally
.known that the allied English and French squadrons
made an attack on this place during the Crimean
war, meeting with a severe repulse, in consequence
of which the admiral in command committed suicide.
The allies were, I believe, much blamed at the time
for attacking so unimportant a place, and one so
isolated from the real centre of the conflict $ and one
can understand with what enthusiasm the news of 126
the unexpected defeat of the storming party at the
hands of a few patriotic but badly armed Kamtschat-
dals was received not only in the Kamtschatkan
peninsula, but in all parts of the Russian Empire.
To this day the inhabitants of Petropavlovski
celebrate their victory on its anniversary with great
pomp. Headed by the priests, the people march in
solemn procession round the town and over the hill
from which the storming party was thrown, sprinkling holy water by the way.
At that time the Cossacks and peasants of
Kamtschatka had, probably, scarcely ever heard of
Turkey, and knew absolutely nothing of the Eastern
question ; but with Russia's continued advance into
Asia the people are getting alive to the fact that the
nation to which they belong aims at being not only
a great, but the great Asiatic power.
Petropavlovski is Russia's vulnerable point in
these parts, and if we possessed ourselves of it we
should be in a fair way of driving her out of the
Pacific altogether.
Besides, the Kamtschatkan peninsula—that is, the
southern portion—is not such a bad place after all;
although, to the European mind, it is associated with
everything that is dreary, bleak, and inhospitable.
The southern portion of the peninsula is anything
but sterile; for, in place of the mosses and lichens
associated with frozen climes, there are rich grg
and abundant pastures. Perfume-laden wild flowers
grow out in the open air in luxuriant profusion ; the
timber, consisting principally of silver birch, is
plentiful, and as a general thing well grown.
Petropavlovski—named, by the bye, after St Peter
and St. Paul—itself lies in a verdure-clad valley, in
which marsh-violets and fragrant honeysuckle find a
' Of course Petropavlovski has its fogs-—what place
on the North Pacific is at times without them ?—and
when the fogs do arise, houses, sea, mountains—
everything, is veiled from sight. Then the place is
dreary enough, and an 'enforced residence there in
the winter would not improve a man's opinion of it ;.
but in summer and early autumn Southern Kamts-
chatka is at its very best, nature then being fresh
and green, with a warm sun rendering life truly
Northern Kamtschatka is quite another thing,
consisting chiefly, I believe, of mossy barrens, over
which roam the wandering tribes and their herds of
Over these wanderers the Russian authorities
have little or no control ; but the aborigines who
have come under holy Russia's civilising influence
are either fast dying out, or becoming absorbed in the
growing Russian population.
Chookchees, Koraks, Gakoots, Tungoos, and the 128
swarthy southern Kamtschatdals are fast adopting—
more by force than persuasion—the religion, customs,
and habits of their conquerors.
Naturally honest and fearless, the Kamtschatkan
tribes have, under pressure of the civilising influences referred to, become treacherous and cringing lying and dishonest. Their own curious Ian-
o-uages they have lost ; but, as they have become
liars this is not so highly regrettable as it at first
si^ht appears, for they will doubtless find Russian an
excellent language in which to lie. Not content with
corrupting their morals, the Muscovite has robbed
them of their religion, forcing them to become Greek
The Russians never respect the religious convictions of those whom it may please them to conquer,
and this is one of the principal reasons why the
Indians would in the bulk be loyal to us in case of a
Russian invasion of India. They know that under
British rule they enjoy absolute religious liberty
which privilege would, under Russian rule, be denied
them ; and that Hindoo and Parsee, Mahommedan
and Buddhist, would have to renounce the religion of
their forefathers, and come within the fold of the
Greek Church.
Whilst Russia, with marked severity, presses
onward the conversion of the conquered, it is—or
was a short time back—for an infidel to convert a 1
Christian to so-called infidelity (a crime punishable
with death).
During the six months I was in India I was a
guest of many of the principal native rulers, and I had
ample opportunity of ascertaining the true feeling
existing amongst the people, in the native states
especially, with regard to a Russian invasion of
India. From the information I thus acquired I am
convinced that, in the main, the native princes are
loyal, and that even those who are not conspicuous
for their loyalty would, on rehgious grounds at least,
hesitate ere leaping out of (as they" might term it)
the frying-pan of British rule into the everlasting
fire of Muscovite despotism.
Since Peter the Great extended his dominions
across the snowy wastes of Siberia until his empire
included the peninsula of Kamtschatka, Russia has
been closely associated with the North Pacific.
Whilst the English were seeking for the fabulous
' Straits of Anian,' which were to provide them with a
passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Tzar Peter
was in search of a water passage into the Pacific
from the great Arctic Ocean which washed his do-
minions on the north. He did not live to see his
purpose realised, but under the Empress Catherine
and the Empress Anne his plans were faithfully
carried out, the result being the discovery of Behring's THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
Straits, in 1728, by the Danish navigator, Vitus
Behring, who had charge of the Russian expedition.
In 1732 another expedition discovered the mainland of Alaska, and, in 1741, Behring made further
explorations of that country, discovering that giant
mountain which rears its snowy crest nearly twenty
thousand feet above the sea, which he named Mount St.
EHas—the name it still bears.    It was on his return
age in the St. Peter that Behring was cast on a
practically barren island (now called Behring's Isle)
lying between the Aleutian Archipelago and Kamts-
chatka, where he and thirty of his companions died.
The survivors lived upon seal and otter whilst on
the island, and on returning to Avatscha the following
7 O O
spring (having made good their escape by constructing a small vessel from the wreck of the St. Peter)
they were clad in the skins of these animals, the value
of which excited great curiosity, and eventually led
to the despatch of several expeditions in search of
furs. The pioneers of the fur trade of the Pacific
were therefore the Russians.
Russian knowledge of the Alaskan coast was for
years confined to the Aleutian Islands, and, indeed,
they believed, and so represented on their maps, that
the region between Mount St. Elias and Kamtschatka
was one vast sea of islands, an idea which prevailed
after the memorable voyage of Captain Cook
This is easily accounted for  when it is
considered that the persons engaged in the traffic in
furs were unprovided with charts or scientific instruments of any kind, and their ideas of the relative
positions of the various stations, so far as latitude
and longitude were concerned, were of the most
vague description. Their system of navigation was
simply to sail eastward from the Bay of Avatscha,
on the Kamtschatkan coast, -until an island was
sighted, and use that as a landmark by which to
reach the next. By this means they passed from
island to island both on the outward and return
voyages. The principal depdts on the Siberian coast
for the reception of furs so collected were Avatscha and Okhotsk, whence they were despatched
on sledges to Irkutsk, a distance of 3,450 miles.
They were then divided, some being sent on to
St. Petersburg, a further journey of 3,760 miles,
whilst the greater portion were despatched to Kiakta,
a Russian town on the Chinese frontier, where they
were exchanged for tea, tobacco, rice, porcelain,
silk and cotton goods. China was then, and is
still, the greatest fur market in the world ; but the
Russians had not then discovered that there was an
easier and cheaper route to that country than the
overland one vid Irkutsk and Kiakta.
Under their primitive system of navigation they
were not aware that the ocean in which these fur-
producing islands lay was the same Pacific or South
k2 132
Sea which could be entered by Cape Horn and the
Cape of Good Hope, and it was an extraordinary
chance circumstance which revealed it to them.
In 1771 some Polish prisoners, who had been
exiled to Siberia, made their escape from a small
port on the coast of Kamtschatka, under the
leadership of a noted patriot, Count Maurice de
Benyowsky. After -a voyage of considerable vicissitude, during which they picked up a large quantity
of furs, they finally reached the port of Canton,
where their cargo sold for a high price. Then for
the first time was the magnitude of the Pacific
realised, and the spreading of the information that
the rich fur regions -of the North Pacific were access-
ible to Canton by sea gave a great impetus to the
fur trade of the American coast.
It was the uneasiness caused by Russia's advancement in the Pacific that induced the English Government in 1776 to despatch Captain James Cook, with
the Besolution and Discovery, on a voyage to the
Pacific coast of North America.
Ten years later private English enterprise embarked in the fur trade of the North Pacific, closely
followed by the operations of the famous ' South Sea
Company.' With the collapse of this commercial
bubble, and its protege the King George's Sound Company, EngHsh enterprise on an extended scale in
these regions languished for a while. —m
At this time Spain claimed dominion of the whole
American coast (in virtue of descent from Mexico,
then a Spanish colony) from Chili to Alaska ; whilst
a century before a royal decree had been issued commanding the seizure of foreign vessels of every nation
wherever found in Pacific waters, unless they possessed a trading licence from the Spanish authorities.
From this position taken in the seventeenth century
Spain had not in the least degree receded, and she determined, in view of the usurpation of her rights by
other countries, principally by English and American
trading vessels, to exert herself towards maintaining
her supremacy. Consequently, early in 1789 an
expedition was despatched by the Viceroy of Mexico
to Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island (then • called
Quadra Island by the Spanish, who claimed possession of it), which was fortified and garrisoned ;
and, on some vessels commanded by English officers
putting in an appearance, they were at once seized.
Their cargoes were, by order of Martinez, the Spanish
commandant, confiscated, and then crews sent as
prisoners to Mexico.
This act nearly brought about a war between
England and Spain ; the latter country, however,
gave way, and, after paying compensation, the
' Nootka Convention' was signed, by which the
port of Nootka was abandoned, and Captain George
Vancouver had surrendered to him by Quadra, the 134 THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
Castilian governor, the island which now bears his
The supremacy of Spain has finally departed from
the North Pacific, but the names given by her to
various islands and points along the coast still remain.
Until the war of 1812 the Americans took the
lead in the whaling and fur trade of the Pacific,
English independent traders being excluded from
Asiatic ports by the monopoly charter of the East
India Company, whilst Russia did not enjoy the
privilege of entering the few Chinese ports open to
the commerce of the more favoured nations, and continued to market their Alaskan furs overland from
Then came the consolidated Hudson's Bay Company, ruling the Pacific coast from California to
Alaska, which latter place, being the property of
Russia, was exempt from molestation.
With the selling of Alaska in 1867 to the United
States Russia dispossessed herself of a magnificent
possession for, as it turns out, a mere mess of pottage, the mineral wealth already discovered being
of greater value than the sum paid by America
for the whole country.
The British Columbians are naturally dissatisfied
with the acquisition by America of this territory,
cutting off as it does the whole of their northern seaboard.     During  the  Crimean  war  this   'Land  of ESQUIMAULT AS A NAVAL CENTRE
Promise ' could "have been readily acquired without
purchase, and—until it was exchanged for American
goldl—the colonists generally were inspired with the
idea that an occasion would arise when it could and
would be included in the ' Province of the Midnight
British Columbians must, however, be satisfied
with what they have, and rest content with the know-
ledge that, with an arsenal at Esquimault and a direct
communication with the mother country, they are in a
position to check any aggressive action on the part of
Russia in the Pacific, as well as possessing the connecting link of a strategic highway to our Asiatic and
Antipodean possessions.
1 Seven million dollars was, I believe, the sum paid to Russia for
the whole of Alaska ; and the United States Government has already
received from the Alaska Commercial Company (to whom it granted
exclusive rights in the matter of the seal-fisheries and traffic in furs),
since it commenced its operations in 1870, something like 111,000J. in
rent and 580,000Z. in tax on skins. THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
The 'Atlantic Express' leaves Port Moody at 13
o'clock (that is 1 p.m., the 24-hour system being in
vogue on the Canadian Pacific Railway), whilst the
f Pacific Express' arrives at the terminus at midday, being, as a rule, on time to the minute.
In the course of this and the following chapters I
purpose describing the various points of interest that
the railway presents between the Pacific and Atlantic
Oceans ; but I will first enumerate its advantages as
a highway between Great Britain and Asia, and her
Australasian colonies. As the following calculations
will show, the ' Queen's Highway' undoubtedly
forms the shortest and quickest route from England
to Japan, China, Australia, and New Zealand.
The general idea with regard to this transcontinental railway is that it is too far north for the airline distance to Japan or the East, and that the lines
running from New York to San Francisco are more
nearly in the direct route;  yet Yokohama is 250 m
geographical miles nearer to Vancouver than to San
Francisco. Again, contrary to the popular idea, the
distance from Montreal to Liverpool is 200 miles less
than it is from New York to Liverpool. It is close
upon 700 miles in an air line nearer from Yokohama
to Liverpool by way of Canada than it is by New
York. But the advantage in favour of the ' Queen's
Highway' over the American routes is even greater
still; for whilst the shortest railway route across the
United States from San Francisco to New York is
3,271 miles in length, that of the Canadian Pacific
from Vancouver to Montreal is but 2,906, or 3,053
miles to Quebec. At 35 miles an hour it would require 93-|- hours by the American line, and 87 by the
Canadian line—supposing, of course, the circumstances
to be the same in the two cases. But the circumstances are by no means the same. By the American
route there are many natural disadvantages to be
encountered which have no place on the Canadian
In the first place, there is a ferry of five miles
from San Francisco ; in the second, there are heavier
grades and greater altitudes up which the trains
have to be lifted ; and in the third, there are so
many important places to stop at en route, that
delays are unavoidable. Long lengths of the
American line (I am taking the shortest route, vid
Omaha and Chicago), aggregating fully one-half of OSES
the distance between Omaha and the Pacific, have
an elevation of 5,000 feet above the sea, 500 miles
are over 6,000 feet, and 400 miles over 7,000 feet.
The Canadian route is in one direct line from
Montreal to Vancouver, and the stops are few and
far between, making it possible to maintain a high
and uniform rate of speed. The summit of the
Queen's Highway' is nearly 3,000 feet lower than
that of the rival American line, and it is quickly
In winter, again, contrary to the general idea,
the advantage is still with the Canadian Pacific I for,
in addition to having a lower altitude, the snowfall
is greater south of the international line than it is
on the Canadian side along the line of rail.
The fastest time made on the American lines
between New York and San Francisco is 137 hours ;
and if the journey over the Canadian Pacific is to take
no more than 87 hours (Mr. Van Home says 86),
there is a clear balance of 50 hours in favour of the
latter by the land journey alone.
But coming to the sea portions the gain is still
The great circle air-line distance from Yokohama
to San Francisco is 4,470 geographical mUes, and to
Vancouver 4,232. At 15 knots per hour it would
require to steam these distances 298 and 282 hours
respectively, or 12 days and 10 hours against 11 days FROM THE PACIFIC TO THE ROCKIES
and 18 hours. But Mr. Van Home talks of putting
on at Vancouver fast improved steamers, with a speed
of 17 knots, in order to completely cut out the steamship lines now running between San Francisco and
Yokohama, which, instead of going 15 knots'per
hour, take from 14 to 15 days to make the trip.
With regard to the Atlantic portion, Quebec
from Liverpool is 2,661 geographical miles, whilst
New York is 3,130 miles, a difference of 469 ; which,
at the allowed speed of 15 knots, requires 31 hours.
It will thus be seen that there is a total saving
by means of the ' Queen's Highway,' by land and by
sea, of upwards of four days.
The Quebec route, however, can only be used in
summer, the St. Lawrence being ice-bound in winter.
7 O
The winter route is at present by way of Halifax or
Portland, Maine. The Canadian Pacific people, however, purpose constructing an air line from Montreal,
through Maine, with a port in the Atlantic at Louisburg, Cape Breton Island. This short cut across
would, as a passenger route, present special advantages over the roundabout intercolonial line, which,
joining the Grand Trunk and C. P. R. systems at
Quebec, runs into Halifax ; but it can at no time
serve as a highway, as Maine, which both morally
and geographically belongs to Canada, was, through
the stupid, I might almost say criminal, blundering
of English politicians, allowed to form a portion of THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
the United States. The strategic route in winter
must for the present be by way of Halifax, or in
the future via Louisburg and the Intercolonial.
The Louisburg route, as compared with the
summer route by Quebec, would be 600 miles longer
by rail and 310 less by water ; or, as compared with
New York, 250 miles more of railway and 750 miles
less on the Atlantic.
Fast vessels of the Etruria class should be able to
run from Liverpool to Louisburg in 5-| days, and the
land journey of 3,620, from Louisburg to Vancouver,
should be got over in 5 days. By the proposed fast
steamers connecting with Vancouver, the journey
across the Pacific to Yokohama would be got over
in about 10^ days, or say 3 weeks for the whole
journey from Liverpool to Yokohama.
Under existing arrangements it takes by the
American route 30, vid the Suez Canal 55, and by
Panama 56 days. The Panama route, even with
the opening of the canal, would not be able to successfully compete in point of time with the Canadian
line. The distance from Southampton to Colon or
Aspinwall is 4,820 miles, and steamers would
experience great difficulty in. maintaining a high
rate of speed so long a distance without re-coaling.
Allowing, however, 16 knots per hour, it would take
121 days to get over the 4,820 miles, and with a
day in the canal it would be 13^ days before the >N
steamer could possibly be on its way across the
Pacific, when the route to be taken would be three
days longer than that from Vancouver.
With regard to the Australasian traffic, the present
mail service to Australia is either by the Suez Canal,
Colombo, and King George's Sound, or by San Francisco, Honolulu, Auckland, and Sydney; whilst New
Zealand has a direct mail service from Plymouth.
via Cape of Good Hope on the outward, and Cape
Horn on the inward passage.
By the first-named route (allowing for the quick
overland transit via Brindisi) it takes on an average
39 days to Melbourne, and about 37 days to Adelaide
(whence the mails with the new connecting line of
rail just opened will be sent overland to Melbourne
and Sydney, instead of by sea as heretofore), but
during the monsoons a day or two longer must be
allowed. Sydney, the terminus as it were of these
mail steamers, is seldom reached under 42 days,
although it could easily be done in 40 days, the time
generally occupied by the direct mail steamers to
New Zealand via the Cape.
Via the American line, which secures a good deal
of the summer traffic, it takes about 36 days from
Liverpool to Auckland, and about 40 days to Sydney,
the service being unnecessarily slow, and one readily
By  the   Canadian  Pacific  route,  which  has   a THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
longer distance on the Pacific and a shorter one on
the Atlantic and across the continent, the journey
(at the previously estimated rate of speed1) to Sydney
direct would take 30 days ; by stopping, however, at
Fiji and Auckland the time would  be  increased  a
day or so.
Mails via Panama (another route), under existing
facilities, take 44 to 46 days to reach Sydney; but
with the opening of the canal—provided, of course,
that it is opened—quicker time will undoubtedly be
made. But the Panama route to Australia, as compared with the Canadian line, is about 2,150 miles
longer on the Atlantic and 1,100 more on the Pacific;
the total distance by the former being 12,500 as
against 12,300 (including the railway section) by
the latter ; the saving, as will be seen, being by railway instead of steamer speed. It therefore will not
be possible, even with the canal open, to go from
Southampton to Sydney under 35 days.
Another important fact in connection with the
Canadian route must not be overlooked, and that is
the abundance of coal at both termini.
From England to Colombo, Panama, Calcutta, or
I wish it to be clearly understood that I do not bind myself to
these figures. It is possible the passage will not be made within the
estimated time, although with through trains and fast connecting
steamers it is fully within the bounds of possibility. Everything
depends upon the rate of speed the C. P. R. will run their through
trains, and the character of the steamers employed. FROM THE PACIFIC TO  THE ROCKIES
even Hong-Kong, no coal is found available for the
steamers until the English coal comes within economical distance of the Australian fuel; and whether
the steamer carries it herself, or gets it carried for
her, every pound of the coal she uses has to be transported 1,150 miles to Gibraltar, 2,130 miles to Malta,
2,950 miles to Alexandria, 4,15,0 miles to Aden, or
6,650 miles to Colombo, at a rapidly increasing cost for
her consumption as she proceeds on her way from
England. This is one of the chief • reasons why the
East-going steamers are so slowly worked as compared
with those running on the Atlantic; for, strange though
it may seem, it entails the consumption of double the
quantity of coal, above a certain rate of speed, in order
to increase the rate two or three knots per hour.
1 The Queen's Highway' presents every advantage
with regard to coal, for at Louisburg, within 2,350
miles of Liverpool, the steamer reaches the port of
shipment of one of the largest coal deposits in the
world, whilst at Vancouver she starts again from a
point where coal can be obtained in abundance. I
have already spoken of the extent and excellence of
the coal-fields of Vancouver Island, whence large
shipments are made to San Francisco, Honolulu, and
to Asia.
It was in 1880 that a contract and agreement were
made between the Dominion and an incorporated
company, known as the ' Syndicate,' for the construe- 144
tion, operation, and ownership of the Canadian Pacific
Railway. Previously to this the Dominion Government had arranged to build and operate the first
transcontinental road, such an undertaking being
deemed too gigantic for private enterprise. With
this idea the Dominion began its construction, and, in
1871, surveying parties were sent out to explore the
comparatively unknown region through which, if
possible, it should pass, and report upon the most
favourable route. Over #3,508,000 were expended
upon these preliminary surveys, and from the Rocky
Mountains to the Pacific coast no less than eleven
lines, aggregating  upwards  of 10,000  miles,  were
/        DO       O O J- J '
surveyed before the terminal point and the route
thereto could be determined upon.
By the terms of the agreement with the Canadian
Government, the ' Syndicate' undertook to lay out,
construct, and equip, in running order, the eastern
and central sections of the line by May 1, 1891;
and the Government agreed to complete the unfinished
portion of the western section between Kamloops and
Yale by June 30, 1885, and also between Yale and
Port Moody on or before May 1, 1891, and the
Lake Superior section according to contract. In
chartering the Canadian Pacific Railway Company
the Dominion Government adopted a policy precisely
similar to the one carried into effect by the United
States Congress, with regard to the earlier transconti- FROM THE  PACIFIC  TO THE ROCKIES 145
nental roads, by giving both a money and land subsidy. The subsidy in money was #25,000,000, and
in land 25,000,000 acres, such land to be chosen by
the company along the route between Winnipeg and
the Rockies. The company, under the terms of the
agreement, also received authorisation to mortgage
its land grant for #25,000,000 at 5 per cent., and to,
in addition, issue a mortgage on the line on completion at the rate of #10,000 per mile.
The charter also gave the company very large additional powers, embracing the right to build branches,
open telegraph lines, and establish steamer lines from
its terminals. The lands required for the road-bed of
the railway, and for its stations, station grounds,
workshops, dock ground, water frontage, buildings,
yards, &c, were also granted free. Whilst granting
the company the right to construct branch lines from
any point within the territory of the Dominion, the
Dominion Parliament agreed that for twenty years no
railway should be constructed south of the Canadian
Pacific Railway, except such line as shall run southwest or to the westward of south-west, nor to within
fifteen miles of latitude 49 degrees. The properties
of the company were also made free for ever from
taxation, and all material necessary for the construction and equipment of the line was to be admitted
duty free; even the lands of the company in the North-
West Territories, until either sold or occupied, were
also made free from taxation for twenty years after
the grant thereof from the Crown.
By 1882 the company had issued #20,000,000
land grant bonds, depositing the proceeds with the
Government, which allowed 4 per cent, interest
thereon, and paid the principal back to the company
as the railway construction proceeded. The remaining #5,000,000 land grant bonds were held by the
Government as security that the company would
fulfil its agreements.
In 1884 the Government loaned the company
#22,500,000 for the purpose of aiding the construction of the line, which was being pushed through
with marvellous rapidity, the company undertaking
to complete the main line by May 31, 1886.
The tracks were finally ioined in the Eagle Pass
on November 7, 1885, and the great highway, which
had cost the enormous sum of #140,000,000, was
an accomplished fact. In the spring of this year
the line was being equipped, and on the evening of
June 28 the first through train left Montreal, arriving
at Port Moody on July 4, the journey occupying
exactly 136 hours. It will thus be seen that the
\ Syndicate,' by dint of almost superhuman efforts,
managed to complete this magnificent undertaking—
by far the greatest feat in railway construction that
the world has ever seen—in half the stipulated time,
having accomplished what was generally considered ——-
at first  to  be not  only impossible, but altogether
By finishing the railway in 1886 the Canadian
Pacific Company has given Canada five years' advantage, and with the running of the first through train
the benefit to the country, arising out of this new
' Queen's Highway,' commenced.
It should, I think, be added that not only did
the ' Syndicate' complete the railway in half the
time agreed upon, but it has honourably discharged
all its obligations to the Dominion Government five
years before the debt was due. Part of this Government indebtedness was paid in cash, and part in land,
the Government having agreed to take back portions
of the land granted in the original instance at #1'50
per acre.
This latter arrangement has aroused a storm of
protests from the Opposition in the Dominion Parliament, who accuse Sir John Macdonald of having
treated the company with excessive generosity, the
Government having given altogether, in cash subsidies and completed railways, something like
12,000,000?., whilst the land gift is equal, I suppose,
to about 5,000,000?. more.
But, as Sir John Macdonald said to me, ' when
we, in the first instance, gave the " Syndicate " the
25,000,000 acres according to the agreement entered
upon, our opponents accused us of giving land away
12 148
worth #2-50 an acre ; but now that we have taken
the land back again at #1*50 per acre, the cry is,
we have given #1*50 too much.'
Canadian politicians will, no doubt, be able to
thresh this matter out to their satisfaction in due
course, and in their hands I must entirely leave
the political and financial aspects of the question.
But Canadians, generally, cannot forget that very
much is owing to Sir John Macdonald's Govern-
ment for the spirited efforts and great sacrifices
they have made in order to help the j Syndicate'
through with an undertaking which has so distinctly
placed them abreast with the times, and through
which so much future prosperity will undoubtedly
The saloon car on the ' Atlantic Express' is a
marvel of elegance, as well as containing every convenience, even unto a bath-room. Travelling in it
is' very comfortable ; and as one lolls at ease on the
stamped plush sofas, sipping a cup of delicious coffee
—real Java—the scenery and general surroundings
can be taken in without an effort.
Mr. Van Home was good enough to give me a
general letter to the conductors and officials of the
railway, in which he strictly enjoined them to show
me everything there was to be seen en route, and to
otherwise show me attention.
The American black train-conductor is not, s
as a —
rule, overburdened with politeness, and he is not
given to putting himself out for anybody—unless, of
course, he sees dollars in it. Even then he is not a
particularly nice animal, and his very look, as he
handles the metallic consideration with which you
have sought to purchase his aid and good-will—
especially if he be a ' nig' with ' big ideas'—is one of
haughty condescension.
But a sight of the letter in my possession produced results little short of magical, and I had the
O 7
advantage of exceptional attention the whole of the
I was provided with a rosewood writing-table, at
which I sat hastily knocking off j copy ' for the newspapers with which I was corresponding; but I was.
scarcely allowed a moment's rest. The nigger conductor, in his anxiety to carry out the j boss's'
instructions, was at my elbow almost the whole time
pointing out something which he thought I might
like to see. Every now and then it was ' See here,
mister, there's a mighty big mountain | or, ' I guess
them trees 11 take a lot o' beating ;' or, ' Them
cusses ' (pointing to some Chinamen at work) ' ain't
no slouches at picking up the dollars.'
At last this I say, mister ' became so frequent that
I almost regretted the possession of Mr. Van Home's
'open sesame,' and I had to beg of my informant to
leave me in peace, and to only point out such things THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
as were of exceptional importance, leaving the rest
to my own observation.
From Port Moody to Yale the road passes
through a good deal of varied scenery, not particularly bold, but infinitely beautiful. Through
wild meadow lands and between low hills we wend
our way towards the rising sun, skirting in our
progress the great river which is such a source of
wealth to the province. Of cultivation there are
already some signs in the valleys, where small
farmers have pitched their tents, whilst fishing
villages here and there dot the Fraser's banks.
The warmth of a summer's day is full upon one,
but with the window open there comes in enough
cool air to make matters comfortable. Upon the
breeze there comes the smell of ripening grasses and
marsh flags, strong enough to be distinguished from
the scent of the pines, through forests of which we
pass again and again.
The coast range is just high enough to have a
sprinkling of white upon it; whilst on the other
side of the border Mount Baker, majestic and snow-
clad, scintillates and glows in the bright rays of the
With gladsome springiness the 'Atlantic Express' rushes through the broad river's valleys, or
laboriously climbs up the steep inclines overshadowed
by hanging rocks, from which burst sparkling water FROM THE PACIFIC TO  THE  ROCKIES 151
jets. Then the trees, how truly splendid they are!
With the exception of the bare rocks or mountain
heights large timber grows everywhere. They are a
sight in themselves. It is true they are neither so
distinctive nor so stupendously great as the ' bio-
trees ' of California, but in British Columbia big
trees are not only here and there in limited groups,
but they are in general abundance.
The Northern Pacific in its Yosemite Valley has
a show place to be proud of, but British Columbia
contains a series of Yosemite Valleys, each one
presenting additional charms.
At Yale the train approaches scenery on a
grander scale than that already passed.
Yale itself is so shut up by lofty peaks that it
seems at first sight to be absolutely impossible for a
train to make any further headway.
We are now in the Cascades, through the heart
of which rushes and surges the angry Fraser. For
nearly sixty miles we follow the great gorge, with
the beetling granite rocks hanging overhead, and the
turbulent waters rushing past us below with ever-
increasing velocity.
There is no method of climbing the Cascades by
gradual ascents, and a roadway has been cut out of
the solid rock parallel with the great canon of the
The train hugs the sides of these forbidding rocks, 152
leaping over the intervening spaces by means of
trestle bridges, or dashes through tunnels bored
through the granite peaks. It is an exciting time
as we speed on our way ; for, at every turn, solid
mountain walls appear to be in front of us, and, as
we dash through the outlets, bored at the cost of
hundreds of thousands of dollars, we come out in
front of yawning chasms, where the Cascades have
worn away the ledges of rock. As we go over them
by means of the bridges thrown across, it seems as
if the rocks will give way and send us headlong into
the foaming and raging gorge below, or that the
boulders which project hundreds of feet above us
will drop from their positions and crush us.
Six miles below Lytton a gulch, deeper and
broader than any of the preceding ones, presents
itself. To cross it by an ordinary bridge would be
impossible, and a cantilever bridge, 96 feet above
low-water mark, has been constructed at a great cost
for the purpose.
As one crosses the bridge a magnificent scene
presents itself in thus being suspended over the
surging, maddening river, increased in force by the
waters of the North Thompson River, and with a
full view of the gloomy canon through which we
have passed.
At Lytton, an early ' gold town,' which is reached
at 20.35  (7.35 p.m.),  the Thompson River enters FROM THE PACIFIC TO THE ROCKIES
the Fraser. The track then, follows the caiion of
the Thompson River, where similar wild scenery and
equally wonderful engineering feats are encountered.
By the time the express reaches Spence's Bridge,
where the waggon road to the gold mines crosses to
the opposite side of the river, night has fallen. Savona
Ferry, at the foot of Lake Kamloops, a beautiful
stretch of water, is reached a little after midnight,
so nothing of the chaster scenery which is said to
distinguish this point can be seen.
Following the south bank of the lake, the thriving
© / ©
town of Kamloops, which is 238 miles from Port
Moody, is reached at two o'clock. The town of Kamloops, meaning in the Indian language ' the meeting
JL     * O O O ©
of the waters,' is opposite the junction of the North
and South Thompson, and is the centre of a rich
ranching district; but at two a.m. the weary passengers
have occupied their ' sections,' or portions thereof,
and. are for the most part fast asleep. I cannot,
therefore, describe the surrounding country, which
I understand consists of valleys producing nutrf|ous
' bunch grass,' through which the rivers run and en-
twine, with a back and foreground of bordering hills.
Kamloops has a population of about 700, and,
with the exception of Yale, is the only station of
importance we have stopped at during our run of
238 miles from the sea ; for the majority of the
places at which we called were stations but in name, 154
no passengers, as a rule, either getting in or getting out
at them. There are twenty-two stations in all, each
one possessing an odd name, between Port Moody and
Kamloops; and it is to be hoped that they will in the
future furnish both passengers and goods, instead of,
as now, being chiefly places of call for the purpose
of taking in water and fuel.
The region from Savona to Shuswap Lake is the
great interior plateau lying between the Cascades and
the gold mountains, and it is, I believe, a fine
ranching country.
At five o'clock the ' nig' apprises me of the fact
that it is time to get up. I speedily dress, and take
in the charming scenery that ' Salmon Arm' as
seen in the early morning light affords. Bird life is
seen in abundance. The duck and teal are thick
upon the swamps, and the plovers take to flight with
a shrill pee-wit over the reeds as the train disturbs
them. Blood-seeking mosquitoes are already on. the
wing, and, as the morning advances, they fill the saloon
with their busy hum. Forest fires add to the red
glow of the new-born sun. In the district through
which we are now passing forest fires have been
very frequent, in some cases impeding, and in one
instance entirely stopping, the traffic.
Grand as is the sight—especially at night—of a
forest on fire, there is something truly saddening
I have seen these fires from their very commencement, and have been struck with the rapidity with
which they progress in their course of destruction
when once the timber has ignited.
There is, we will say, a glow of fire amongst the
brushwood and dried leaves at the foot of a gigantic
©  ©
pine ; then a slight breeze fans the embers, sparks
fly, and a jet of flame bursts forth. With a sharp
crackle the tender twigs of the undergrowth and the
© ©
dried fallen branches are immediately ablaze. A
moment later a circle of fire is round the tree's base,
burning  its bark  and devouring its roots.    Then,
© © /
like an electric flash, a tongue of flame darts up its
resinous sides, gathering ferocity as it advances,
until its topmost branches are reached. Crackle!
crackle! sounds upon the air as the dried spurs feed
the fire, or a shrill agonised hiss ! hiss ! as the
green wood writhes and splutters in the flame's
Now the pine is enveloped in fire, and it roars
and groans as the fiery tongues find their way into
the cracks in its bark. By this time the topmost spurs
and branches are reached, the rising wind scattering
them in clouds of ashes and burning embers over the
forest. The roots have almost succumbed, and, with
the force of the wind, the tree staggers and bends,
staggering and bending more and more as the roots
snap one after the other, and the increasing blasts ll
shake its foundations. See, it is toppling—ah! it is
down ; and, with a terrific crash, the tree measures
its length of 300 feet upon the charred and blazing
sward. With the fall billions of sparks fly upwards,
and the air is filled with dust and ashes.
A similar scene is enacted in "another spot, and
splendid pines, hemlocks, and cedars fall a quick prey
to the demon fire-king.
The destruction of animal life in these forest fires
is very great. Bears rush hither and thither, side by
side with the timid deer ; and the bloodthirsty
cougar, hanging out his tongue, runs in terror from
©       7 ©      © O        "
the flames, oblivious of the fact that his natural prey,
the moose-deer, is close at hand seized with a like
agony of dread. Birds fall blackened and dead upon
the ground. For them there is no safety in flight;
they either lose their way in the smoke, or rush
blindly into the devouring flames.
Creeping things and burrowing animals find no
shelter in their holes.    The ground is red-hot, and
O 7
they would bake where they lay within. So, creeping
out, they find themselves enveloped in a circle of
flame, and meet their fate accordingly.
In such fires there is but Httle hope for any living
thing that comes -within then range.
The smoke from the burning trees naturally
obscures, in a great measure, the view, and the fires
are continuous for a considerable distance along the FROM THE PACIFIC TO THE ROCKIES
line ; but by the time the Eagle Pass is reached the
smoke has disappeared.
There is a romance attached to the finding of
this pass, which will bear retelling.
In 1865 an expert named Walter Moberley had
been sent out by the Provincial Government to search
for a waggon route. After searching for some time
without success he was about to give up the search
in despair, when he one day noticed an eagle flying
up one of the narrow and unpromising valleys near
Lake Shuswap, and following the direction taken by
the bird he discovered the only pass leading through
the Gold range, which otherwise is an unknown
wall of mountains.    This he called the Eagle Pass,
© 1
and by that name it has been kno wn ever since.
The scenery in the Gold range is rugged and
broken, but it is by no means so grand as that in
the Selkirks and the Rockies.    Although the moun-
tains of this range are not very high, some of them
are snow-clad, and shine like burnished gold in the
rays of the sun. Nature could not have possibly
been more accommodating than it has in the matter
of providing a road-bed for the railway through these
mountains. The gradients through this natural pass
are not nearly so heavy as in other places ; and, by
following the rocky border of the Eagle River, many
a difficult engineering feat has been avoided.
© ©
Eagle Pass station is reached at 8.25, and Craiglea
or Craigellachie, where the last spike was driven by
Sir Donald A. Smith, on November 7 of last year,
has been passed an hour and a half before.
At Rivelstoke we cross over what is called the
' Second Crossing ' of the Columbia by a bridge close
upon a mile long.    Here, with its broad expanse of
water  and   curiously  notched   banks,   a  charming
picture is presented.
Twenty miles further on the train halts at Albert
Canon station. The canon itself is one of the most
fascinating sights along the line.    Picture  an  im-
© © CU
mense fissure in the rocks through which the river
suddenly bursts, forming a cataract 200 feet high, the
river eventually flowing between a narrow channel
of rocks, so narrow that the water churns and
foams, and rages and twists, in its vain endeavours
to be free.
Illicillewaet is the next station. Illicillewaet,
meaning ' raging waters,' is the name of the river
which dashes down the ravine through which the
railway runs. This ravine presents many rugged
scenes, and it has been a most difficult route to follow,
the torrent having to be crossed several times (I
forget how many) whilst, the train is fighting its way
upwards. At one o'clock the train is in the heart of
the glaciers, and the grandest scenery of all comes in
view. Here it is that the engineering feats, which
are the wonder of the railway world, have been accom- q4
plished, consisting of a series of loops by which the
mountains are ascended and descended.
As one ascends, the sweet pureness of the mountain air invigorates and inspires one. Glaciers are
about everywhere, rising one above the other, notched
and carved by the elements into weird and fantastic
shapes. So close are some of these glaciers that, as
the train groaningly proceeds higher and higher, it
seems as if you could reach out of the window and
touch the glassy surface of their frozen caps or
glistening sides.
The scenery for some time past had been preparing one for what was to come, but not. a single
person in the train for one moment anticipated anything one-hundredth part so chaste and lovely as the
view afforded from the halting-place in the midst of
the glaciers.
Towering 11,000 feet towards the sky is the
Syndicate Mountain, the birthplace of the turbulent
Illicillewaet, whilst alongside are other glaciers, equal
to it in grandeur if not in height. Below is a valley
fresh and green, with a rushing river cutting it in
O 9 © ©
twain.    There is  not  a house, not  a  single  sign
* © ©
of cultivation as yet in this valley, but in a very
little while villas will find shelter on its sloping
sides,  and cattle will meander amongst its waving
It is possible, however, the Government may turn 160
it into a national park, and save it from the desecrating hand of man.
There is already an hotel, consisting of a disused
saloon carriage, located in the glaciers; but the railway company purpose erecting a commodious house
on its site for the use of passengers, and Mr. Van
Home tells me that donkeys and guides will be
provided for those who wish to ascend the mountains.
As a summer resort there is no more charming
or perfect spot in the whole of North America than
this centre of the glacier district.
Mr. Lucius O'Brien, President of the Royal Canadian Academy, was staying at the ' Glacier Hotel'
when I was there, busily engaged on a set of pictures
of the district. He was, from an artist's point of
view, in raptures over the scenery ; but he" appeared
to be highly regretful at not having brought his rifle
with him, as bears were in sufficient numbers to
cause him uneasiness when going out on a lonely
sketching expedition. Mr. O'Brien is one of Canada's
greatest artists, and something special from his brush
may be safely expected.
A propos of bears, there is no end of sport in the
neighbourhood ; moose-deer and horned sheep are in
plenty, whilst small deer are to be met with in considerable numbers.
When the new Glacier Hotel has been built and   FROM THE PACIFIC TO THE ROCKIES 161
equipped, sportsmen as well as tourists will, I suppose, crowd thither, and one of. the loveliest spots
on God's earth will soon be in a fair way of being
completely vulgarised.
As the train leaves the Glacier valley, which is a
twenty-four hours' journey from the Pacific, it slowly
proceeds to make its entrance into the heart of the
Selkirks by means of what is called Rogers' Pass.
This pass through the great mountain range was
discovered by the veteran engineer A. B. Rogers in
1883, and it took two years of hardship and self-
denial before he was successful. The Indians, I
believe, denied the existence of any' such pass, and
Moberley, who, it will be remembered, discovered
the ' Eagle Pass,' gave up the matter after repeated
attempts as hopeless. The pass is apparently walled
in with giant snow peaks and ice-clad mountains,
and it is next to a marvel how Rogers found the
entrance after all.
Just as we enter the pass a magnificent view is
afforded of the glaciers behind, with their stately
peaks rising several thousand feet above the railway,
and their carved fronts and notched sides suggesting
©© ©
exaggerated shapes of known and unknown animals,
of saints and demons, and castellated walls and fairy
palaces. The ' Old Witch,' with her snow-white frills
and huge night-cap, glowers at the ' Hermit' and his
dog as they contemplatively gaze at the ' southdowns'
peacefully grazing on a ledge overhanging a glacier's precipitous side. Mount Hermit is the second
highest of the two great peaks between which the
train runs in following the gorge which forms the
pass, it being about 4,900 feet high.
In the Selkirks and in the Gold range when I
passed through armies of men were busily engaged
in erecting snow-sheds, in order to guard against
damage from the winter's inevitable snow slides.
Previous observation had informed the engineers of
the line where to erect these sheds, such sheds being
placed wherever a ' slide' presented itself on the face
of the mountain. The sheds as constructed would
afford complete immunity from danger or obstruction,
as the train would go under them as through a tun-
O ©
nel, the avalanche of snow shooting harmlessly over
the top of them.
Ihere are enough wonders to attract the attention
until evening falls, and long before the day is well
spent you are wearied with seeing so much.
I tried to see as much as I could, and to note
down my impressions of what I saw at the time of
seeing them ; but I have no doubt that I left unnoticed much that I ought to have noticed, and have
left unreported much that ought to have been re-
But I am sure the reader will pardon me if I
confess to having felt tired after thirty-two hours of
mm»mmmmm. M
travelling, out of which four-and-twenty hours were
occupied in being on the look-out. But there are
several important features still to be described before
the second day's record is closed.
Every rock as we proceed on our way, after entering Rogers' Pass, seems to have its own torrent, and
each torrent appears to have its own way of reaching
the river. Some do it methodically, and without fuss,
getting to their goal no doubt as quickly as those
which appear to be in such a tremendous hurry.
Others are all bustle and excitement, all froth and
foam; and the smaller they are, the more fussy and
desirous of attracting attention they seem to be.
Some of these mountain streams have not the faintest
notion of going straight, and they meander this way
and that way, dividing and subdividing, losing force
and character every yard they go ; whilst not a few
of them—especially the turbulent children of the icy
glaciers towering high above the* gulch—seem to go
out of their course out of pure ' cussedness.' Here they
leap to the right when they might have gone straight
on, simply because a boulder might be loosened, and
finally toppled over ; there they take a sharp curve
to the left when they might have kept on to the right,
all for the desire to sap the strength out of a feeble
dwarf spruce which a snow slide has spared.
Then there are the merry streams which sing as
they go, rippling and splashing in the vigour of their 164
joy, the sun striking their spray, filling them with
bright prismatic rays. Sad streams, too, which never
murmur or ripple, have place in these mountain wilds.
They appear to avoid the sun, and when his warmth
falls on them they apparently give no response, being
too wrapped up in their silent grief. They seem to
have about them all the chilliness of the glaciers to
which they owe their birth, going out into the world
with the determination to be sad, and seeking in
their courses the deepest clefts in which to glide unnoticed and unseen ; and so they join the river below,
where they get warmed into life, and where the turbulent and boisterous, the staid and the blithesome,
find a common level in the general churn of the on-
flowing waters towards the sea.
These torrents, especially in the Beaver Canon,
have created great difficulties for the engineers. One
of the great sights of the railway is the bridge crossing
the Stony Creek Canon. This is said to be the
highest timber railway bridge in the world. It is 296
feet high and 450 feet long, being supported upon
uprights built up from either side of the gulch over
which it is carried.
This structure is, to say the least, startling ; and
although it is perfectly safe, one breathes more freely
when the train reaches the other side ; the idea of
toppling over into the boiling cataract hundreds of
feet below is not a pleasant one.    There is yet another  1 FROM THE PACIFIC TO THE ROCKIES
bridge of a hke character, only not so high, to be got
over when Mountain Creek is reached. This bridge
is 176 feet high and 600 feet long.
© o
Having got safely through Rogers' Pass and over
Beaver Canon by means of a natural gateway, the
train approaches what is termed the First Crossing
of Columbia's  ' Big; Bend,' the river being crossed
© \ ©
opposite Donald, where ends the western section of
the ' Queen's Highway.' The bridge has an elevation of forty feet, and as the train winds over it
magnificent views of the river are to be had on both
sides. The river runs with great swiftness past this
point, fed by the numerous torrents which fall into
it. Parts of the Columbia remind me very much of
the Rhine and the Hudson, although the background
of mountains, if lacking the romantic associations
of the one and the purple warmth of the other, is
decidedly finer.
With the crossing of the Columbia we have put
two hours between us and the Selkirks, and the train
speeds along the valley towards the famous Kicking
Horse Pass, the road through the Rockies.
7 ©
We stop a few minutes at an unpretentious station
with a pretentious name, viz. ' Golden City.' I am
sorry to think it, and still sorrier to say so, but
Golden City appears to me to be on its last legs,
and how it has supported itself so long must, I should
imagine, be a complete mystery to all concerned. (R
At one time gold was found there, but so long
ago that no one in the place appears to know when ;
and some ambitious individual in consequence gave
it the name it now bears. Its fortunes are scarcely
ever likely to change, but its name in all probability
will for it cannot be agreeable to its inhabitants, few
though they are, to hear the town referred to in
terms of mirth, and often in irony, by every passer
by> 1
For downright rugged awfulness there is nothing
on the whole of the Canadian Pacific Railway to
equal the Kicking Horse Pass. In the narrow canon
which the train enters there hardly appears to be
room for the railway and the turbulent waters of the
' Kicking Horse,' and, as we groaningly ascend, it
seems almost impossible that the train, can for long
keep the track, but that in due course we must be
precipitated into the chasm below. Slow is the progress we make in going round the curves cut out of
the solid rock, and gingerly we feel our way across
the bridges spanning the narrow fissure in the rocky
bed, where surges the boiling water. The beetling
sides of the canon frown down upon us, casting dark
shadows in our track, whilst the tunnels through
which we slowly pass now and again completely
shut out the light. The towering mountains give
back with increased shrillness the oft-sounding whistle
of the engine, whilst the groanings and puffings of
v*     —
the straining locomotives reverberate with a strange
<-> o
All is sombre-hued and forbidding, the rugged
©' ©D
precipices not only shutting out light but warmth.
The roar of the water, as with increasing, impetuosity it rushes past us, is almost deafening. It is,
however, a grand sight, this foaming, roaring river
forcing its way through a channel much too narrow
for it, tearing down immense boulders and washing
© ©
off portions of the rock in its course. The crash of
falling boulders and the rattle of descending stones
are frequently heard high above the turmoil of the
surging torrent. It is just as if hell's flood were let
loose; and the torn character of some of the precipices, with the rugged mass of fallen rocks below,
increases the impression that some diabolic agency
has been at work.
Slowly the sun sinks behind us, blood-red in the
western sky, tinging the torrent with its setting hues,
causing the surroundings to appear more grandly
awful than before. The snowy tops of the highest
peaks catch some of the fire of the expiring sun, and
their pure whiteness seems as if streaked with blood.
As the sun gets shut out, a gruesome darkness
© 7 O
falls like a mantle over the scene. The grey-black
background only serves to increase the ghastly whiteness of the foaming water, which seems to rise with
© J
fiendish readiness to the occasion by splashing higher me&Bamm
and higher against the rocky walls, and plunging
with increased force forward over its boulder-strewn
It is as if there were a blight upon the region,
and as if the river were working out the conditions
of some terrible curse. Nature has apparently for
ages past done nothing but frown upon both river
and pass. She has revenged herself upon the former
by filling its bed with rocks, and upon the latter by
letting the river tear it and lash it on both sides in
its mad rage in being thus impeded in its race to the
The timber—where timber there is—is stunted
and scraggy, and for lack of nourishment and warmth
many of the trees have bid good-bye to this world,
whilst those that remain look consumptive and ghostlike, ready victims to the fierce blasts which in winter
sweep down the rocky sides. Even the scrub appears
ashamed to be seen, and will hide its dwarfed limbs
behind any boulder that offers itself. Flowers and
ferns seem to have no place there, it being apparently
a part of the curse that nothing should grow that
A O ©
would  afford  warmth, colour,  or freshness  to the
harsh grey crags.
The ' Kicking Horse Pass ' has a world of romance
in it, yet the origin of its name is anything' but
romantic. It occurred in this way : a member of one
of the surveying parties got kicked by a horse whilst   \m
surveying the route, and, in memory of the event,
gave the pass the name that it now bears.
I have never heard the Indian name of the pass,
although  the  Indians   attach,  I  understand,   some
© 7 7
mystic importance to the river, and, in order to
appease its wrath, will cast in sticks and stones and
sometimes provisions.
Trees float upon the stream as if attracted thither
by some fell magnetic influence. In one place a
huge pine had, after being carried some distance on
the flood, caught in the jagged rocks, holding on as
if nothing  could  dislodge  it.    The  waters  surged
© © ©
round it and over it, played with it and splashed it,
casting sprays of white foam high up in the air.
These were, however, only preliminary efforts conceived in a Puck-like spirit preparatory to gathering
strength for a final effort. Eventually it came ; with
an increased roar the gathering torrent dashed itself
© ©
against the tree. There was a creak, a splitting
sound, and the mighty trunk was lifted clean over
the boulders, and the last I saw of it was being
swiftly carried on towards the sea bruised and
splintered, shivering and shrinking, whilst tongues of
surging water kept side by side with it as if to jeer
at it and defy it.
Every storm has its calm, and the turbulent Kicking
Horse has its placid lake, which is passed in darkness, for by the time the train has got through the 170
pass all the colour has gone out of the sky, and night
is closing in, so that Mount Stephen, the summit of
the railway in the Rockies (this mountain, named
after Sir George Stephen, the president of the C. P. R.,
is supposed to be 10,800 feet high), and the spires
of Cathedral Mountain can only be seen by the light
of the moon, but the effect, as the soft rays play
upon the mountain's snowy peaks, is beautiful beyond
description. One seems to have ascended to fairyland after visiting the nethermost world.
Banff, the Yellowstone Park of Canada, is 564 miles
from the Pacific, and 2,342 miles west of Montreal, and
is reached at an early hour in the morning—too early
by far, in fact, to see anything of the scenery ; but the
passenger desirous of testing the medicinal qualities
of its sulphuric baths, or of roaming amongst the
natural beauties of the place, could get off at Banff
station by giving instructions to the conductor to
call him in time, and he would undoubtedly be highly
gratified at having done so. If he were not then
he would be less than human, for round about Banff
the views are perfectly delightful, whilst Banff itself
lies (or rather will lie, for at present there are only a
few log huts) in a romantic glen. From the mountain heights there stretches out a series of panoramic
views which have not their equal in point of colour
and diversity anywhere in the Rockies. Glaciers are
all around one, whilst winding along its pebbly bed, m
like a narrow green ribbon, goes the Bow River out
to the east, and so on to Hudson's Bay. Great
masses of distinctly stratified rock stand out in bold
relief, in some instances the carving by Nature's hand
suggesting the work, of the architect. In the distance rises Castle Mountain's pinnacled top, with the
sun  striking  its  castellated  walls,  suggesting that
o * ©© ©
what is marked on your map as a mountain is in
reality a mammoth castle 4,000 feet high, so perfect
is the representation. Following the Bow River
valley towards its source, the eye encounters an immense snow-peaked mountain standing sentinel-like
in gigantic relief as if guarding Hie pass through the
©  © © O I ©
range of which he is king. This is Mount Lefroy,
the highest point of the Rockies, being 6,600 feet
above the railway, and 11,658 feet above sea level,
and is a portion of the range which divides British
Columbia from the North-West Territories.
The Cascade Mountain, deathly white in shadow,
but glistening gold-like where the sun warms it, forms
© ©  © '
a striking picture by itself.
Cascades formed by the melting glaciers foam
and sparkle as they dash down the mountain-sides,
joining with the waters of the Devil's Creek and the
Ghost Stream in the general desire to swell the Bow
River's shallow depths.
From the Sulphur Mountain the healing waters
burst forth, and medicinal springs bubble from out '£Saaaa
of the earth at your feet, whilst there is a greenness
about the woods and a freshness in the air most
gratifying to the eye and invigorating to the body.
There are natural caves in the neighbourhood,
and in them are natural baths. The water in one of
them is about 75° of heat, and is so buoyant that
it is impossible for a human body to sink in it.
You may push a person under, it is true; but so
soon as the superimposed weight is removed, up he
comes again like a cork.
A short time back, so the story goes, Premier
Norquay of Manitoba was taking a dip in one of
nature's warm baths, when one of his political opponents saw in the occasion an excellent opportunity
of testing the vaunted buoyancy of the water ; so,
creeping upon the Premier unawares, he pushed him
down with all his force, political animosity lending
strength to his efforts. Down went Mr. Norquay
as far as his shoulders, when, with a wriggle, he was
/ 7 ©©      7
free, and up he came again, with that bland and
cheerful smile upon his face so much admired by the
Manitobans, striking dismay into the heart of his
assailant, who beat a hasty retreat.
Banff has a wonderful supply of water—hot, tepid,
cold, and icy. The Upper Springs supply, I believe,
the greatest volume of water, it being computed that
there flows from the orifice through which the sprin
bubble fully half a million gallons per hour.
The train descends the eastern slope by the Bow
River, and soon gets into the ranching country,
passing Canmore with its guardian ' witches' by the
way. These quaint figures are carved by the elements
out of the sand rocks, and, standing as they do quite
alone on the sandy plateau, they present a distinctly
weird and fantastic appearance.
Calgary, the capital of the district of Alberta, is
eighty miles from Banff, and is the head of the great
ranching country. Senator Cochrane is the biggest
rancher in the neighbourhood, and is alike famous for
© 7
the excellence of his cattle and the extensiveness of
his enterprises. To the senator I am indebted for
considerable information in connection with the
ranching districts.
It is a pity that Calgary is passed so early in
the morning, for it is one of the most—if not the
most—beautifully situated towns in the whole of the
British Columbia was left behind in the night on
passing through the Kicking Horse Pass, and it will
be days before the through passenger's eyes  alight
j ©       jr © J ©
upon mountains and forests, wood and lakes, in the
course of his journey further east.
The country round about Calgary is admirably
suited  for  ranching  purposes,   and  the   excellence THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
of the Canadian pastures over those on the American
side has induced many American ranchers to cross
the borders with their herds, so that the business is
in a fair way of becoming overdone.
The water is purer, the bunch grass is more
nutritious, and the country generally fresher in the
Alberta district than in the more eastern portions of
the vast North-west. The corn-growing districts
begin at Regina, the capital of the North-West Territory, and it is expected that with the influx of
ranchers with their cattle the grazing country will,
be considerably extended in the direction of the
As the passenger awakes in the morning he finds
himself on the open prairie, and the sight, after
coming through so much mountainous scenery, is
a strange one ; but after the first period of curiosity
the scene wearies him, and he finds little in practically
unvaried views to interest him the whole of the
journey across the plains.
A good deal of the country in the earlier stages
presented a most melancholy picture. The ground
seemed parched up or blackened with burnt grass.
Nothing was green, and but little apparently was
alive. I was told that the season this year had been
an exceptionally dry one, but, allowing for this, the
greater part of the region had the appearance of
being sour, barren, and unprofitable. ACROSS THE OPEN PRAIRIE
I am, however, assured that the soil is not
naturally sterile ; and Professor Macoun, who is an
authority on such matters, scientifically explains
away the causes of the baked aspect of the country.
We are to understand that evil influences have been
operating upon the surface of the land for ages past,
the ' chief of which was the heat of the Gulf of
.Mexico borne by the winds therefrom, and losing
their moisture while passing over the heated sand
plains lying between the Gulf and Canada.' Acting
upon this conclusion, the professor, we are informed,
made an experiment, and beneath the hardened
surface was found earth possessing in a high degree
X o © ©
the constituent elements of the best soil.
The Canadian Pacific Railway authorities also
made some experiments in connection therewith, and
I am told that it was abundantly proved that for
corn-growing purposes the soil was all that could be
This may be so, and it is possible that the Gulf of
Mexico and the Chinook winds have much to answer
for in thus hermetically sealing up the soil—taking
away its character, as it were ; but, with all deference
to the scientific experts and railway magnates, the
land would be none of mine so long as I could secure
a section of good land elsewhere.
It is perfectly correct that, as compared with the
United States, Canada has no really ' bad lands' to THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
speak of, but that she has a good deal of indifferent
land no one can deny ; and Canada's best friends
must admit that a great portion of such land lies
in the North-West Territories.
The prairie through which one is now passing
presents, as I have said, a dreary appearance. It
looks for all the world as if some omnipotent being
had taken whole sections of the Rocky Mountains,
and, after grinding them to pieces in savage fury,
had handed them to the Chinook winds to scatter
in cruel wantonness over the surrounding country.
Nothing seems to care to live on these plains, in
spite of the advantages afforded by the opportunities
of limitless selection. Perhaps it is that the Gulf of
Mexico's hot breath and the biting Chinook winds
are not appreciated ; anyhow, scarcely a living thing
of any kind is to be seen. The buffaloes, of course,
have long since disappeared, there not being one
single wild herd in the whole of the Dominion,
although there are heaps of whitened bones scattered
over the prairie in all directions telling of their wholesale destruction. Once the plains—and only a few
years back, too—were literally black with buffalo
herds, but they have been exterminated with a
savagery, by white man as well as by red, that
affords no sort of excuse.
Of bird life there was scarcely a vestige, although
*/ ©     7 £3
I did on one occasion see a solitary specimen.    It ACROSS THE  OPEN PRAIRIE
was a large white one, and had apparently lost its
way, or had purposely left more fertile quarters
possessed with the idea of committing suicide by a
process of slow starvation. It flew about most disconsolately, and it could be seen at a glance that the
bird in its utter loneliness was supremely unhappy.
The last I saw of it was distinctly courting death
at the hands of a man who had charge of a ' round-
house,' by flapping within easy gunshot of the
building, and it is to be hoped that the man satisfied
its longings and put it out of its mifery.
The only kind of animal life to be seen were some
hungry-looking gophers, and these were in abundance. But these gophers will thrive anywhere, their
one object in life being to live "and multiply in order
to maintain their character as an insufferable pest.
Gophers are to the Canadian farm what the rabbit is
to the Australian squatter and the squirrel rat to the
Indian ryot. They will devour everything devour-
able that comes within their reach, and in pure
wantonness destroy everything that comes between
them and the object of their hunger. With appetites
keenly set they never seem to know when they have
had enough, and it would puzzle all the poor law
guardians in the world to decide what quantity of
food would be sufficient for a gopher. In addition
to being mischievous they are supremely impudent,
and whilst the farmer is threshing his  corn  they
will, with consummate effrontery, devour the choicest
grains in full view of the irate tiller of the soil.
Gophers always live on the best, and their notions
of selection are as remarkable as they are disastrous.
Much of the bad language current in the North-west
is ascribable to the gophers, and I have known the
most exemplary farmers in a moment remember a
long list of long-forgotten ' cuss words ' at the very
sight of a gopher.
it one of the wayside stations I saw an amusing
scene between a gopher and an Indian.
The ' brave' had noticed a gopher go into a hole,
so creeping on his stomach along the ground, he
cautiously approached the hole, knife in hand.
But the cunning animal had two entrances to its
abode, and when the Indian held his knife over the
front door, as it were, it poked its nose out of what
served as the back door, preparatory to making a
dash for it. But the ' brave' was wary, and with
marvellous quickness he, with a turn of his wrist,
sent his knife flying in the direction of that nose.
He was not, however, quick enough, for the gopher
backed into its hole, emitting a squeak of discomfiture. In another moment it was cautiously looking
out of the other entrance, when the ' old buck' made
for him again.
By this time the scene had become quite exciting,
and it was evident that unless the gopher lay still ACROSS THE OPEN PRAIRIE
until the Indian dug it out, it had quite as good a
chance of effecting an escape as the Indian had of
transfixing it.
The ' brave' was undoubtedly hungry and impatient, and was apparently desirous of securing the
gopher for his breakfast. On the other hand, the
gopher was fat and prosperous, and evidently had no
desire to be made a meal of. But eventually human
skill got the best of it, and as I was leaving I saw
© 7 ©
the knife flash  through the air, there was a shrill
squeak, and the gopher lay pinned to the earth, and
with sundry grunts of supreme satisfaction the Indian
departed with his spoil.
The Indian had certainly earned his breakfast, but
whether the game was worth the candle I, not having
partaken of gopher, cannot say. The natives say he
is good eating if somewhat ' tasty '; but the white
man turns up his nose with severe displeasure if you
ask his opinion upon the subject.
I can understand gophers thriving and waxing
fat in the rich corn-fields further east, but how they
manage to live, much less put on fat, in these hard-'
baked, stone-strewn regions is a mystery to me. It
would be interesting to know whether the" hot air of
the Gulf of Mexico and the Chinook winds have a
fattening influence.
There are, of course, numerous fertile belts in the
North-West Territories, but they are in many instances
N 2 n
off the line of rail. The valley of the Qu'Appelle
is one of the best corn-growing districts within the
immediate vicinity of the ' Queen's Highway.' It is
in this district that the celebrated 'Bell Farm' is
located. This is, I understand, the largest farm under
one system in the whole of North America. Major
Bell, the manager, whom I have had the pleasure
of meeting, on several occasions, is a shrewd man of
business and a thoroughly experienced farmer. That
the concern which he so ably manages will eventually be a paying concern, no one who knows anything
of the matter will, I think, venture to deny. Profits
have, I believe, already been made; but the directors
have thought it wiser to re-invest profits, on account
of the heavy expenditure they have been called upon
to make in connection with developing the resources
of the farm, than declare dividends with the certainty
perhaps of having to call additional share payments.
The original capital of the company was 120,000^., of
which one-half has been paid up.
In the centre of this immense farming property,
which covers a surface of close upon 100 square
miles, a station, at a place called Indian Head, has
been built on the main line for its general convenience.
Major Bell and Mr. Eberts, the secretary of the
company, journeyed with me from this station, which
is about forty miles east of Regina, to Winnipeg, and —
I gathered from them a good deal of useful information.
The old saying that the ' Rockies passed on the
sunshine, but retained all the rain,' is virtually true
with regard to a very great portion of the North-West.
Even in what are called good farming districts the
© ©
heat and drought are severe drawbacks to successful
farming. Almost the whole territory was seriously
affected in this manner this year, and when I was
.there everything looked dusty and parched up, whilst
the heat—often 100°—was almost unbearable. Naturally all the farmers complained of ' bad seasons'
(farmers with one bad harvest facing them always
speak in the plural, entirely oblivious of the favours
that the past has shown, and that the future will for
a certainty repeat) ; and it was not possible to get
any information as to the prospects of corn-growing
generally which was not tinged with the bitterness
arising from their present disappointment.
Regina, named in honour of her Majesty, is at
present a ' one-horse town/ although, as the capital
of the North-West Territory, it expects to be spoken of
as a city. But, with all due respect to its laudable
ambition, I must persist in adhering to my original
Regina is 1,779 miles from Montreal; 1,127 miles
from Port Moody, and 365 miles from Winnipeg,
and it contains a population of 1,000 j but it is laid ,11
out on a scale—when built upon—capable of containing a hundred times that number. Regina is the
centre of government for the whole of the Territory, and
is the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor, an official
appointed in theory by the Governor-General, but in
reality by the Premier of the time being. The
mounted police also have their headquarters there.
They are a fine body of men, and do very effective
service. Of this constabulary, which numbers altogether close upon 1,000, about 180 only are at the
Regina barracks, the remainder being scattered over
the length and breadth of the vast territory which
they are called upon to keep in order. Their duties
are multifarious, for in addition to looking after cattle
7 ©
thieves and attending to duties in connection with
the Indian reservations, they have to enforce the excise
regulations, prohibitionary liquor laws being in force
in the Territory.
This is on account of the Indian population,
whom the Government seeks to protect from the
debasing and often fatal effects of strong drink. In
the old days cute Yankee dealers used to cross the
border and return laden with furs, which they had
received in exchange for a mess of ' fire-water.'
I am quite at one with the Government in their
aims at protecting the natives, who have not only
been debauched by drink, but shamefully defrauded
in addition; but it appears to me that some middle ACROSS  THE  OPEN PRAIRIE 183
course with regard to the admission and supply
of intoxicants might be arrived at by which the
Indians could be protected and the wants of the
white man supplied. As it is, one can only obtain
liquor stronger than water by express permit of
the Lieutenant-Governor.
Despite the efforts of the scarlet-coated police,
who have an observing eye and a keenly discriminating nose, there is a good deal of illicit traffic in
spirits going on in the Territory ; and I don't wonder
at the most law-respecting person running the risk
of fine, imprisonment, or even decapitation in seeking
to give a tone to his stomach by means of stimulants
after going through a course of the vile non-intoxi-
D © ©
cants which are allowed by law to be sold to
unsuspecting travellers.
These decoctions go by the names of 'spruce beer,'
' botanic ale,' and ' Moose-Jaw beer;' and, whilst each
of these bottled horrors is warranted not to intoxicate,
the unhappy purchaser receives no warranty as to
what other consequences may arise from the drinking
of them.
Some people thrive on these ' drinks,' I suppose,
otherwise there would be no sale for them ; whilst
I have seen travellers grow quite husky and weak
about the knees after drinking from a bottle labelled ' Botanic ale,' and grow cheerful and familiar
with sipping at a bottle resplendent in a label de- i1
scribing its contents as non-intoxicating ' Moose-Jaw
In a thirsty moment 1 ventured upon obtaining a
bottle of one of these harmless decoctions. I drank
some of it, but, strange to say, I felt neither merry nor
husky ; and thinking I had not taken enough of it, I
swallowed the remainder at a go. Then the trouble
began. My mind went immediately back to the shellfish on the banks of the Fraser, whilst in body I writhed
about on the sofa in the saloon carriage. Opposite to me
sat a sturdy rancher with a particularly fine glowing
• nose, and although he had a few moments before been
7 ©
drinking out of a ' botanic ale ' bottle, he seemed the
© 7
picture of jollity and ease. How I envied that man
. his evident peace of mind—and body! and I began
to calculate how many years it would take before one
got seasoned to the stuff so as to look and feel as he
By-and-by, noticing my distress, he spoke to me.
'Look here,' he   said,  'just  you take a nip of
this ; it will soon put you all right.'
But the very sight of the label turned me sick,
and I shook my head sadly but determinedly.
' No? Oh, I suppose it's t'other sort you want? '
and by way of increasing my horror he held out a
'spruce beer' bottle. This was too much for me,
and with a shudder I closed my eyes.
Presently I felt the cold rim of a bottle touch my
lips, and a smell stronger than that of either ' spruce
beer,' 'botanic ale,' or even 'Moose-Jaw beer' filled
my nostrils. With this my revival was immediate ;
but on looking up, the man, instead of offering me
his brandy flask, was still holding out the bottle
labelled ' Spruce beer—non-intoxicant.'
It did not take long to take in the situation, and
soon we were having a friendly chat, in which he told
me that his 'botanic ale' bottle contained good Scotch
whisky—' real Highland, and none of that Bourbon
rubbish.' He also gave me the signs by which I
might secure  similar strong  drinks when  visiting
O © O
wayside refreshment-rooms in the Territory. But
which eye you have to wink for Scotch and which for
Irish, and how many fingers you hold up for brandy,
I am not going to tell. Travellers in the Territory
will soon find all this out, as not even a Verdant
Green could be there long without being initiated.
At Regina, it will be remembered, Louis Riel and
his co-rebels were tried, and there it was he was
hanged in November of last year.
A good number of Indians frequent Regina for
the purpose of barter, but most of them loaf about
the place in order to see  what  they  can pick up.
There is  not  much  work in the ' noble red man,'
although the younger generation are showing a disci J        p     o o
position to work in the fields ; and in the harvesting
season many of them are employed on the Bell Farm, THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
and by farmers and ranchers in various parts of the
country. The district is perfectly orderly, and there
is, now that Louis Riel has been disposed of, no
chance of a recurrence of these half-breed rebellions.
These half-breeds are not particularly trustworthy,
and they are, as a general thing, idle and improvident ; but they had, their friends assure me,
before they broke into open rebellion, genuine
grievances, which might, it is said, have been adjusted had they been looked into in time, and thus
have prevented the second half-breed rebellion.
The rebellion was a lamentable occurrence, no
doubt, especially if, as it is sometimes asserted, it
might in a measure have been avoided ; but it served
to show most distinctly that the Dominion Government is powerful enough to promptly put down with
a strong arm any such risings, and that it does not
hesitate to exert its strength on occasion.    The firm-
ness and justness with which the Government acted
in connection with the affair was highly creditable,
and they deserve the highest praise for refusing to be
swayed by the pressure arising out of a false and
sickly sentimentality brought to bear upon them.
In a word, Louis Riel deserved hanging, and he
© © 7
was hanged. This is the honest opinion of every
person, unbiassed by race sympathies or political animosities, with whom I have conversed in the district,
who knows anything at all of the matter.    It is most ACROSS THE OPEN PRAIRIE
unlikely that another Louis Riel will arise, spreading
sedition over the land, and it is to be hoped that the
Indians and half-breeds will have no cause for
further grievance, and will elect to live in amity with
the white man, who is seeking to build up the prosperity of the country.
The east-going traveller, unless he arranged to get
© © O ©
off at Regina, would see absolutely nothing of the
place, as the train arrives at the station close upon
1 A.M.
Between Regina. and Winnipeg there are several
stops, the most important one being at Brandon,
a flourishing town of nearly 2,000 inhabitants, on
the Assiniboine River. Here the soil is rich, and
everything tends towards building up a highly prosperous corn-growing district, with a big central city
second only to Winnipeg. Some of the names of the
stations en route are very odd-sounding, and a few of
them, derived from the Indian, English-speaking
tongues have a difficulty in pronouncing ; and now
that Count Esterhazy is estabhshing a colony of Hungarians almost side by side with Lady Cathcart's
colony of crofters the strange mixture of names will
doubtless ere long become stranger still.
o ©
One of the queerest names given to a station is that
of ' Moose Jaw.' The Indians tell you it was so
named because a ' white brave' mended near the spot
the wheel of his cart with the jaw-bone of -a moose- THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
deer. This is perfectly true, the ' white brave' being
the Earl of Dunmore, who was one of the earliest unofficial pioneers in the North-West, then the ' Great
Lone Land.' Passionately fond of sport, he used to
go for extended shooting and fishing trips into the
interior, attended only by some Indian or half-breed
guides. In passing the creek, close to which ' Moose
Jaw' station now stands, he succeeded in shooting a
moose-deer, the flesh of which was taken away with
them, the head alone remaining. On their return the
Red River cart which the party used as a means of
locomotion broke down, close to the spot where the
deer had been shot. They had no hammer with
them, nor was a stone at hand with which to drive
in the pin fixing the wheel, when Lord Dunmore
espied the head of the moose, which had been picked
clean of flesh, and with the jaw-bone the pin was
driven home. From that day the place received the
name it now bears. A station called Dunmore, close
to ' Medicine Hat,' is, I might add, also named after
his lordship.
From Brandon there is an almost straight run
into Winnipeg, which is reached in the early evening,
the journey from Port Moody, 1,483 miles, occupying 76 hours.
Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba, and being
distant from Montreal 1,423 miles, it is the 'halfway house' on the 'Queen's Highway.' ACROSS THE OPEN PRAIRIE
In order to obtain information in connection with
the province, and to make certain desirable journeys
into the surrounding country, I not only broke my
journey at Winnipeg, but I made it my headquarters
for several days. THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
Winnipeg is not only the halfway house on the
Queen's Highway,' but is a railway and commercial
centre of the highest importance. From being a mere
trading port of the Hudson's Bay Company it sprang,
as soon as the real value of the surrounding country
became known, into immediate prominence. In 1870—
71, during the Red River rebellion, it was the head-
7 © '
quarters of Louis Riel. Then the place was known
as Fort Garry, and at that time its inhabitants consisted almost solely of the Hudson's Bay Company's
officials and half-breed hunters. There were, I should
add, two forts ; one was called the Upper and the
other the Lower. The former was the residence of the
Governor of the great fur trading company, and the
central fort of its northern department. Lower Fort
Garry was built of stone, and was the best sample of
the larger forts of the company. Mr. H. M. Robinson,
in his admirable work ' The Great Fur Land,' describes it as follows :—
' It is  situated  on  the  west bank of the Red
River of the north, about twenty miles from the foot ^  THE HALFWAY HOUSE
of Lake Winnipeg. The banks in this locality are
very high, and, in consequence, the fort is favourably
situated for the avoidance of floods during periods of
inundation, by no means of infrequent occurrence.
At this fort, during the summer months, boat brigades are outfitted for the trip to York Factory and
other forts inland. The buildings consist of offices
and servants' dwellings, shops and stores. These
are all inclosed within a stone wall embracing an area
of about one and a half acres, and pierced through
its entire circuit with a tier of loopholes.
' Entering through the huge gateway pierced in
the centre of the east wall, facing the river, the first
view is of the residence of the chief trader in command, and also of the clerks and upper class employes under his charge. It is a long two-story
stone building, with a broad piazza encircling it on
three sides. A square plot of greensward surrounding it is fenced in with neat railing, and kept in extremely good order. A broad gravel walk leads from
the gateway to the piazza. Huge shade trees border
it, and beds of waving and fragrant flowers load the
business air with their perfume With the exception of the residence of the chief trader in charge
the buildings of the fort follow the course of the
walls, and, facing inward, form a hollow square. . . .
The wall surrounding the fort is about twelve feet
, high, and flanked by two-story bastions or turrets at 192
each corner. In the centre of the inclosure rises an
immense double flagstaff bearing the flag of the
company, with its strange design, and still stranger
motto, I Pro pelle cutem "—Skin for skin.'
All this has entirely disappeared, the only portion
of the fort now remaining being its castellated gateway.
The little village, nestling in picturesque untidiness under the walls of the fort, has made way for
the bustling, well laid out city of to-day. It is
practically impossible to conceive that what is now
Winnipeg was but a few years back a cluster of huts,
outbuildings, and smoky wigwams, dominated by a
rude stone fort. The authentic sketches which I am
enabled to furnish will, however, at once show the
reader the glaring contrast between the two places.
The Winnipeggers are said to be proud and
ambitious ; but one can, on visiting their city, understand their pride and sympathise with their ambition.
Winnipeg is to the north-west of Canada what St.
Paul's is to the north-west of the United States ; and
had not the latter got the start of her, she would,
with her natural advantages, have run a close race
for place with the great American city. As it was,
Winnipeg started somewhat too late in the day ; and
although there was, when she did start, undoubtedly
every prospect of growing and prospering with remarkable celerity,  it was manifestly from the very THE   HALFWAY HOUSE
first impossible that she could catch up with her
already flourishing rival across the border. Overheated patriots and rash speculators did not, however,
take this view ; and in the wildness of their speculations they did much to discredit the city and retard
its progress. For there can be no doubt that if
instead of the ' magnificent boom' which signalled'
the birth of Winnipeg and the death of Fort Garry,
undertakings had been effected on a more moderate and cautious scale, the city would be both
larger and more prosperous than it is at the present
I was in Canada in 1882-83, at the height of the
' boom period,' and I saw much of the feverish excitement which then prevailed with regard to the North-
West in general and Winnipeg in particular. Young
men, middle-aged, and old men flocked to the
Manitoban capital, some without a cent, and several
with thousands of dollars, all bitten alike with the
demon of speculation. Nothing was done calmly,
whilst much was done madly. Real estate was
' boomed' up to entirely fictitious values, and even
the naturally cool and cautious lost their heads in
the universal craze. Scarcely any one thought of
building up a fortune steadily and soberly, the one
idea being to become millionaires in the shortest
possible time. But it is not every one who can become a millionaire, nice as it may be to some to do
0 mm
so ; and the result of these reckless speculations
was that Winnipeg speedily contained more beggars
than Vanderbilts. From Vanderbiltian dreams many a
foolish man had to come down to the commonplace
thought of how to provide a daily meal for himself
and his family. In the crash which ensued hundreds
were ruined and thousands were impoverished, causing
the outside world to lose confidence and the inside
world hope.
Before the crash it was the fond belief of every
Wlnnipegger that the city would not only knock out
St. Paul's, but that it would in a very little while
even surpass Chicago as a centre for corn, pork,
and flour. With the collapse of the bubble speculations more moderate views prevailed, and business
was henceforth conducted upon a more substantial
and less extensive scale. The wisdom of this is now
bearing good fruit, and although Winnipeg is not
what enthusiasts desired it, it is fast developing into
a city of substance and no little magnitude, the population already exceeding 25,OOO.1
Winnipeg is the natural entrepot of wholesale
supply for the Great North-West, and, in addition to
being a railway centre, radiating in all directions over
100,000 square miles of territory, it being situated at
the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, is
1 The population of Winnipeg in 1871 was 241 ; in 1881 it had
increased to 7,985 ; and in 1885 to 19,574. THE HALFWAY HOUSE
the head of a system of 3,000 miles of river and lake
navigation during the summer months.
Winnipeg possesses a street which, for length,
width, and general extensiveness, is not to be beaten
© 7
by any town of its size in the world. This is called
Main Street; it is 100 feet wide and close upon two
miles long, being lined from head to foot with more
©7 O
or less attractive buildings. The public buildings—
especially the Post Office and the City Hall, now in
course of construction—are very striking, and fully
in keeping with the city's aspirations. In place of
the fort, the Hudson's Bay Company have erected, at
a point lower down, a magnificent block of stores,
where can be purchased the latest Parisian and
London fashions, the delicate products of the East,
and the substantial manufactures of the West. For
the outer man one can be as well suited at the Company's dep6t as in Bond Street, whilst the cellars
contain matured wines and spirits unsurpassed anywhere.
In Manitoba the prohibitive regulations with
regard to the sale of liquors in force in the Territories
further west have no existence, the Indian population
being too insignificant to demand them.    But in the
© ©
old days, when Fort Garry -was the rendezvous of
both Indians and half-breeds, the company exercised
every precaution against the traffic in strong drinks.
Indeed, the sale of raw spirits was permitted only 1
• >
upon two days of the year, viz. on Christmas Day and
the Queen's birthday. Even then the quantity to be
purchased was limited to a pint to each head of a
family, who, before he could procure it, had to obtain
an order countersigned by the Governor. In case
spirits were required for medicinal purposes the signatures of both Governor and attending physician
were necessary. The demand of the natives and half-
breed voyageurs for \ fire-water' to be taken ' medicinally' was, it is needless to say, both frequent
and troublesome ; and some amusing stories are told
by the old hands about Winnipeg of the way in which
these wild sons of the plains attempted to cajole a
permit out of the Governor and the doctor. The
course adopted by the Hudson's Bay Company in
this direction afforded an agreeable contrast to the
methods pursued by American traders, who, in their
dealings with the natives, appeared to encourage
drunkenness and debauchery. This was especially
the case with regard to the Blackfeet, the most warlike and powerful of the tribes of the North-West.
The hate engendered amongst this tribe against
the whole white race in consequence of the unscrupulous conduct of the Yankee traders aforesaid rendered it difficult for the Hudson's Bay Company to
carry on business relations with them, although the
company, as has frequently been pointed out, dealt
with  unvarying  fairness   towards   the   natives    in 3. ilk
every portion of the vast territory over which they
so long held undivided sway.
Like Ishmael, the hand of the Blackfeet was
against every man, with every man's hand against
them ; and they waged war against each tribe that
touched the boundaries of their vast domain. Speaking a language different from that of all other native tribes, and with customs and ceremonies equally
distinct, there is nothing in common between them
and other nations, be it Cree or Flathead, Crow or
General Butler, in ' The Great Lone Land,' relates
the following curious legend of their origin :—
' Long years ago, when their great forefather
crossed the Mountains of the Setting Sun, and settled
along the sources of the Missouri and South Saskat-
chewan, it came to pass that a chief had three sons :
Kenna, or The Blood ; Peaginon, or The Wealth ;
and a third who was nameless. The first two were
great hunters. They brought to their father's lodge
rich store of moose and elk meat, and the buffalo fell
beneath their unerring arrows ; but the third or
nameless one ever returned empty-handed from the
chase, until his brothers mocked him for want of
skill. One day the old chief said to this unsuccessful
hunter, " My son, you cannot kill the moose, your
arrows shun the buffalo, the elk is too fleet for your
footsteps, and your brothers mock you because you THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
bring no meat into the lodge ; but see ! I will make
you a mighty hunter." And the old chief took from
his lodge fire a piece of burnt stick, and, wetting it,
rubbed the feet of his son with the blackened charcoal,
and named him Sat-sia-qua, or The Blackfeet ; and
evermore Sat-sia-qua was a mighty hunter, and his
arrows flew straight to the buffalo, and his feet moved
swift in the chase.'
From these sons, according to tradition, descended
the three tribes of Blood, Peaginon, and Blackfeet,
forming the confederacy of the great Blackfeet nation.
Previously to the small-pox epidemic in 1870,
which caused the death of so many of them, the
combined tribes numbered some 14,000 people, 4,000
of whom were Blackfeet proper. Although not
so numerous, the Bloods claim to be most comme-
il-faut,; and it is one of the boasts of the tribe that
they never condescend to rob an enemy, going for
his blood alone. The Blood Indian has, however,
yet to be discovered who would not, under suitable
temptation, steal a Cree pony, or run away with a
Beaver woman when the love fit was on him. Although
sadly diminished in point of numbers, the Blackfeet
are still the most numerous and powerful of the
Indian tribes of British North America.
Crowfoot, a redoubtable brave, is the head of the
confederation, and he resides on the Crowfoot reserve
on the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway below THE HALFWAY HOUSE
Calgary. The steam-engine with its civilising influence has not been without its effect upon these
wild, erring Blackfeet; and now that they are brought
daily in touch with civilisation by means of the
' Queen's Highway,' there is every hope of a permanent improvement taking place in their condition,
and that they will settle down as peaceful and progressive members of the Dominion.
But the Blackfeet do not take very kindly to
agricultural pursuits. They are for the most part
strong and active, and naturally averse to an indolent
life ; but their activity runs more in the direction of
horse-stealing, scalping, and woman-lifting than in
peaceful labour. No Blackfeet brave will do any
manner of work that can be done by his squaw ;
and I believe that the dominant idea in the mind of a
brave when he risks his life in lifting ' the maiden of
his choice' is not the pleasure, but the work he may
get out of her. Women are his slaves, creatures
predestined to minister to his wants, and to do everything that there is to be done in the shape of manual
labour. A Blackfeet brave rides his pony whilst his
faithful squaw trudges unmurmuringly by his side
laden with many burthens.
It is, I think, high time that my friend Mr. W.
Woodall looked to this, although he might, I fear,
run the risk of being scalped were he to try his persuasive eloquence upon some of the older warriors, 1- '
i     '!
who, whilst being proud of the privilege recently
allowed them by Sir John Macdonald in the matter
of voting, would without doubt resent the insinuation
that their women-folk were equally entitled to parliamentary consideration.
Now that the buffalo has disappeared from off the
face of the prairie nothing is left to the Blackfeet, who
took much pleasure in the chase, but dreary inaction ;
and their general appearance, which in the immediate
past was of the ' dignified and stately ' order, is, consequent upon the dearth of buffalo robes, slovenly in
the extreme.
The Blackfeet — especially the Bloods — were
amongst the best dressed of all the North American
tribes, and the robes of the women were things of
' beauty and a joy for ever.' Their dress consisted of a
long gown of buffalo-skin, dressed soft and dyed with
yellow ochre. It was confined at the waist by a
broad belt of the same material, thickly studded over
with round brass plates, the size of a florin, brightly
polished. The faces of both men and women were
painted with vermilion, which custom on state or
special occasions is still indulged in.
The Blackfeet are said to be mentally superior to
all other tribes, and, so far as I could judge, they appeared to have strong powers of perception, and to be
shrewd ■ observers.
They are for the most part great talkers, and take THE HALFWAY HOUSE
considerable pride in airing their eloquence. A well-
known writer, who had exceptional opportunities of
observing them, says, ' In their public councils and
debates they exhibit a genuine oratorical power, and
a keenness and closeness of reasoning quite remarkable. Eloquence in public speaking is a gift which
they earnestly cultivate, and the chiefs prepare themselves by previous reflection, and arrangement of topics
and methods of expression. Their scope of thought
is as boundless as the land over which they roam, and
their speech the echo of the beauty that lies spread
around them. Their expressions are as free and lofty
as those of any civilised man, and they speak the
voices of the things of earth and air amid which their
wild life is cast. Their language being too limited to
afford a wealth of diction, they make up in ideas, in
the shape of metaphor furnished by all nature around
them, and read from the great book which day, night,
and the desert unfold to them.'
With the extension of the franchise to the Indian
the future may see one of these natural born orators
take his seat in the Dominion Parliament at Ottawa.
Who knows ?
Although the Blackfeet nation is a confederacy
of three great and two small tribes, there never has
been the slightest semblance of a national government,
all political power being vested in the head chief of
each tribe, which, whilst he exercises it, is practically
' a 202
absolute. He is the executer of the people's will, as
determined in the council of the elders. The occupiers of this position are elected chiefly on account
of their prowess in battle, but many of them are men
of undoubted natural ability, and have won the esteem
of the tribe on account of their merits as politicians or
orators. Whilst, however, they owe their elevation
to public opinion, it is the uncompromising assertion
of their rights which alone sustains them. Therefore
where the chief leads the warriors are bound to
follow, and disobedience is punishable with death.
In addition to those elected by the popular vote
there are, 1 should add, a few hereditary leaders.1
The Blackfeet have not, however, any place in
Manitoba, their happy hunting-grounds lying between the forty-ninth parallel of latitude and the
North Saskatchewan ; but I have mentioned them in
this chapter because it was whilst in Winnipeg that
I gathered most of my information relative to the
red man east of the Rockies.
1 Great obscifity is thrown around the polity of the Indians who
inhabited the Atlantic sea-board. The early settlers, accustomed to
despotic governments, very naturally supposed that the chiefs whom
they found in power were monarohs by right of birth, and they consequently gave them the name of kings. This view was probably
erroneous, the form of government with the aborigines of the east
doubtless being very similar to that of the tribes of the west.
Whilst, however, the established regulations of each tribe acknowledged
no hereditary claim, it cer&tily often happened that the son, profitirig
by the advantages of his situation, succeeded to the authority of the
father. ■MH
One of the excursions I made from Winnipeg
was to a place called Stony Mountain, where is
situated the penitentiary, in which are confined some
of the chiefs who took part in the recent rising in the
North-West. The warden of the gaol, Mr. Bedson, who
had charge of the transport during the said rebellion,
and his boon companion, ' Sec,' are friends of mine,
and it was in their company that I made the trip.
It seemed but an hour since I had left them at a
little friendly game at 'poker' at the club, when they
were at the hotel telling me it was time to get up.
I got up and joined them, weary-eyed and heavy,
whilst they, who had gone to bed some time after I
did, were as ' fresh as paint.' But this freshness in
the early morning is peculiar to men in the North-
West, who can go to bed as late and get up as early
as you like without any perceptible inconvenience,
unless it be an intensified desire to sample ' long
drinks.' But then I never knew a Western man
who wasn't thirsty ; and yet, no matter what thirst
is on him, he ever possesses a fine perception of
taste, and never fails to discriminate between the
' dew off Ben Nevis ' and the adulterated whiskies of
his native land.
The sun was just rising when, ' tooled' by the
skilful ' Sec,' we passed down Main Street on our
way towards Stony Mountain. We were soon out
in the   open   prairie,  although  the stakings  to  be *XM«B
seen about on all sides told us that we were still
within the city limits. How far these ' limits'
actually extend I could never ascertain; for during
the boom period immense sections of wild land
adjacent to Winnipeg were bought up, with the
object of reselling them as town lots. With the
crash which followed upon the heels of these erratic
speculations building enterprise at once languished,
and the town lots, which had had a fabulous price
attached to them, reverted to their original prairie
Winnipeg in the flood of its excitement was a
place of 'big ideas,' and in no instance were these
ideas more strongly emphasised than in the space
allowed for the city's growth. In a couple of centuries, maybe, Winnipeg will have taken in a fair
portion of the staked-out lots ; but, allowing for its
growth on the most liberal scale, it could not hope
to build up to some of the outside stakings any
time prior to the end of the world. In the meantime, therefore, many of the locked-up building lots
must be converted into farms and pasturage, and
farmhouses will arise where enthusiasts had planned
out business blocks or rows of suburban villas.
Stony Mountain is about sixteen miles from Winnipeg. It is only by courtesy, I should add, that it is
called a mountain ; for, in reality, it is but a mere
ridge of rock.    But then it is the highest point in wn
the district, where the land is as even as a billiard-
table, and where the slightest eminence assumes
undue proportions in the eyes of the people round
The drive across the prairie in the early morn
was inexpressibly delightful. The fresh, strong air
at once swept the dust of drowsiness from my eyes,
and invigorated me thoroughly. How sweet, how
pure, and how intoxicatingly strong the prairie air
at the dawn of morn really is, only those who have
drunk it in can in any way understand.
Then the supreme stillness which reigns all around,
and the absence of human life, render the scene doubly
impressive. The sweet-scented wind plays upon the
long grass, rippling it and turning it over in uneven
green waves, just as the salt-laden sea breezes agitate
the waves of the ocean. Plovers, hke sea-gulls hovering over the rolling billows, flap their wings just
above the wealth of fragrant green, or skim the tops of
the grass with their feet. You can almost imagine
yourself at sea, and the white-faced cottage in the dim
distance looks for all the world like a becalmed sail.
Only, as the morning advances, there is the busy
hum of insects and the rush of colour, as broad-winged
butterflies and big striped bees pursue their course;
whilst, regardless of your presence, a rabbit squats
upon a moss-covered stone, or an early-rising gopher
warms himself in the spreading rays of the sun.    Of THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
bird life, too, there is no end, plover, prairie chicken,
and the ubiquitous crow ; and here and there, amidst
the grass clumps, twitter small songsters. Not a
tree is in sight, and nothing serves to break the unvarying distance.
The sixteen miles were soon got over, and with
keen appetites we took our places at the breakfast-
table in Mr. Bedson's private -house.     Before this
we went, I ought to say, into a certain little room
adjoining.     It was Mr. Bedson's   snuggery, but it
was the ingenuous ' Sec' who led the way.    ' Sec '
it was who did the honours of this little room, and
showed me where the three-starred bottle was kept,
and which bottle to patronise and which to avoid,
whilst my host looked on in silent admiration; for
1 Sec'—the kindest-hearted and best of good fellows
in the whole North-West—is such an authority upon
these   matters.     His knowledge   in   this  direction,
whether the drink be ' straight' or ' mixed,' is perfectly marvellous ; and the man has yet to be found
who could say nay to his insinuating yea.
I never met so good-natured a man, nor one so
solicitous over the comforts of others. He is, moreover, a man of tried courage and great natural ability,
both of which were put to the test in locating portions
of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and in the North-
West rebellion. During the campaign he seemed to
bear a charmed life,  and the Indian and half-breed THE HALFWAY =HOUSE
sharpshooters tried their skill upon him in vain.
But ' Sec' has one failing—but what good man has
not?—and that is the warmth of his temper, and his
utter obliviousness to the maxim that it is the soft
answer that turneth away wrath. The Indians aver
that his miraculous escape from their bullets was
principally due to the force of his language ; for, as
one of them   said,  'bullet, him go straight to big
7 © © ©
white chief; but chief, him cock his hat and damn
big heap ; and bullet, him turn away frightened.'
It is stated—but this I cannot vouch for—that
hardened old-time voyageurs have sat at his feet
in abject adoration, listening to his exclamations,
which for strength and imagery, when he is thoroughly put out, are said to have no equal west of
the Red River.
But hard drinking and strong language go hand
© © © ©       ©
in hand in the North-West, where men in the freedom
and roughness of their lives scorn the conventionalities which govern the people of the centres of culture.
Good-natured, manly, hospitable, and perfectly natural, these settlers present such lovable characteristics,
that any faults they, according to our superior city
notions, may have are readily condone.fl.
It is very sad, no doubt, but it is nevertheless
perfectly true, that much can be done in these regions
by the use of vigorous words when milder expressions would be unavailing. THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
Horses and dogs are taught the value of adjectives
from their infancy, and curious tales are told of how
utterly worthless such animals, in virtue of their
early training, really become in the hands of a man
of kindly spirit and Christian resignation.
In the old dog-train days a voyageur was valued for
the number of languages he could swear in, and the
©        © a
team for the variety of adjectives they could understand. For it would be fruitless to deny that, of all
the qualifications requisite to the successful driving
of dogs, none is more necessary than an ability to
imprecate freely and with considerable variety in
at least three different languages. No half-breed
voyageur considered his education complete unless
he could ' cuss ' in French, in English, and in his
native tongue ; but I am assured that it was his
proficiency in the first-named language in which he
prided himself most.
The author of ' The Great Fur Land,' who had
much experience of the voyageurs and their ways,
says in connection with this point,—
Whether the construction of that dulcet tongue
[French] enables the speaker to deliver profanity
with more bullet-like force and precision, or to attain
a greater degree of intensity than by other means, I
know not; but I do know that, while curses seem
useful adjuncts'in any language, curses delivered in
French will get a train of dogs through or over any- THE HALFWAY HOUSE
thing. For all dogs in the north it is the simplest
mode of persuasion. If the dog lies down, curse him
until he gets up. If he turns about in his harness,
curse him until he reverts to his original position ; if
he looks tired, curse him until he becomes animated ;
and when you get weary of cursing him get another
man to continue the process.'
Now that the French half-breeds have taken
themselves and their Frenchified imprecations further
west, the half-breeds who remain in and about Winnipeg content themselves with the milder expressions
that the English language affords.
© ©        ©
I am sorry to say that the education of several
of the Indians and half-breeds with whom I came in
contact was, so far as the English language was con-
7 o o       o
cerned, apparently conducted with the sole object of
acquiring an extensive stock of anathemas.
But to return to Stony Mountain.
After breakfast we went to the Penitentiary, in
which were confined about one hundred prisoners,
among whom, as I before stated, were several Indian
braves taken prisoners during the rebellion, and who,
for their alleged complicity in the Frog Lake massacre, were not included in the recent general amnesty.
Big Bear, the notorious Cree chief, was one of
them, and I found him at work in the compound.
He saluted us with considerable hesitancy, and
seemed  both sullen and ill at ease the whole time THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
we were there. Big Bear is about sixty years old,
tall and well built, although hi's figure is somewhat
bent. By nature he is taciturn and morose, and he
takes his confinement sadly. In his prison garb he
looked anything but picturesque, and there was an
air of slouchiness and general broken- downness about
him which rendered him, in appearance, anything but
interesting. But, in spite of that, the smothered
defiance which now and then expressed itself in his
eyes and the nervous twitching of his hands, and the
occasional haughtiness of his carriage when addressed,
showed that he did not consider himself an ordinary
criminal, although attired in convict dress.
7 O |
Big Bear is, from all I could hear, a great ruffian ;
but, for all that, I could not help feeling sorry for
him.    For I don't remember ever seeing a man so
supremely miserable, or one who so much resembled
a caged wild beast, fretful of restraint yet impotent to
free himself. He was, it is true, an ugly, morose old
man, unlovable enough in all conscience ; yet he, in
his dumb-like misery, appealed with irresistible directness to one's sympathies ; for at a glance it eould
be seen that the man's heart was slowly but surely
breaking, and I presume the process is as painful to a
redskin as it is to a white man. There can be no
doubt that if Big Bear had had his choice, he would
much rather have been despatched along with Riel to
the happy hunting-grounds of his imagination than THE HALFWAY HOUSE
have served a term, no matter how brief, in Manitoba's state prison.
Poundmaker, who was included in the amnesty,
had been released from prison a short time before my
arrival, and had died almost immediately afterwards.
He was by far the ablest and most influential of the
chiefs concerned in the rebellion; and, so far as I
could learn, had no hand in any of the massacres
which so disfigured the rising.
He was a magni-
ficent specimen of a mah, tall, dignified, and a
splendid warrior ; there was, too, an ease and grace
about him not often met with in the Indian of to-day.
He was a great favourite with his tribe, especially
amongst the women—and his wives were numerous.
On his release the squaws made merry ; and he owes
his death, it is said, to the extravagant feasting which
7 7 © ©
took place on that occasion, although there is little
doubt that his health was undermined by the incarceration he had undergone.
• In justice to Poundmaker, it should be added that
he from first to last professed to be loyal to the
' Great White Mother,' and that he never ceased to
declare that he was led into rebellion unwittingly.
There was possibly much truth in his protestations,
for it cannot be denied that on the occasion referred to
many of the reds took up arms against the authority of
the Dominion Government without clearly knowing
why.    The fact is, there was some fighting to be
done ; and, without troubling to inquire with whom
or against whom they should fight, the Indians
rushed into the mtlee, discovering too late that they
were waging war against the White Queen to whom
©      © o v
they owed allegiance. Others were cajoled into disloyalty by Riel's emissaries, who brought both religious fervour and drink to bear upon them.
&.11 Indians, and most half-breeds, are susceptible
to ' fire-water,' and if they have been converted to
Christianity, they are as a rule easily worked up in
connection with ultra-religious matters. The majority of them, especially half-breeds who are of
French descent on their father's side, have embraced
Roman Catholicism, that form of Christian belief
appealing more directly to them than any other.
Naturally intensely superstitious, and firm believers
in dreams, omens, and such like, they readily adopt the
doctrines of the Roman Catholic missionaries. But
their conversion is not, I fancy, a very lasting or
genuine one ; for, whilst outwardly observing the
forms of their religion, they are as a rule anything
but sincere, and readily resort to paganism.
A striking and terrible instance of the untrust-
worthiness of Indian converts was afforded by the
Frog Lake massacre, when red men professing the
white man's religion rose up and slaughtered those
who had been instrumental in converting them.
The converted heathen, whether he be a scalp- THE HALFWAY HOUSE
seeking redskin, a woolly-headed African, or a meek
and smiling Hindoo, is not, I fear, a triumphant
success, and, taken all in all, scarcely worth the
treasure, and certainly not the blood spent over his
In addition to Big Bear I made the acquaintance
of two other Indians—chiefs, I believe. Amongst
North American Indians, chiefs, by the bye, are as
common as ' Excellencies ' in Lisbon. Just as every
other Portuguese you meet expects to be called ' Your
Excellency,' most of the redskins you come in
contact with out West lead you to understand that
they are chiefs in their own right.
The two braves in question were quite young, and
they owed their incarceration to the part they had
taken in the late rising ;   and although it was not
©   ' ©
actually proved against them, it was believed that they
had a hand in the massacre at Frog Lake. They
were working in the'warden's house, and they appeared to go about their work in a cheerful and willing
spirit. I had several proofs of their handiness, and,
so far as I could judge, they seemed remarkably
Mr. Bedson, who has had a long experience of the
natives, and whose knowledge of Indian character is
both extensive and thorough, told me that if taught
whilst young they made excellent domestic servants,
such light work suiting them perfectly. 214
I was sorry not to be able to speak with the two
young Indians, who could only understand Cree, their
native tongue ; and all I could do was to make signs
to them, which they interpreted with marked quickness and correctness.
Neither of them was handsome, but there was a
certain attractiveness about them which made up for
their lack of good features ; and a peculiar look of
determination and resoluteness impressed upon their
faces at once stamped them as being something very
different from the common redskinned thieves who
worked similarly attired under ithe same roof.
At best, however, they cut but a sorry figure in
their convict garb—a jaundiced vision of dirty yellow
stamped with the broad arrow. In European attire,
no matter how well fitting, an Indian looks irretrievably common and uninteresting, and the reader can
imagine what sort of picture he would present clad in
rough clothes sizes too large or sizes too small for him.
One always associates the redskin with flowing
buffalo robes, rich in colour and picturesquely ornamented, with his feet in moccasins and his legs encased
in prepared deerskins jj but it is only on state occasions, that he cuts such a swell. En famille he
discards the feathered vertebra, and puts off his finery
generally, economically wearing nothing but his
oldest clothes; so that, after all, barbarism and civilisation have something akin.
As European immigration advances, the native
either retreats further into the forest wilds or hangs
about the settlements, singeing himself moth-like in
the fire, which he sees, but has neither the sense nor
the self-control to avoid. One of the first things he
does (after, of course, making the acquaintance of
fire-water, which always comes first) is to copy the
white man's style of dress ; and there is scarcely a
red man born who would not imperil his very soul in
gratifying his passion in this direction. It is wonderful to see how he craves after the latest thing in top
hats, or the oldest thing in bonnets, and how he will
give for a miserable mess of pottage in the shape of a
worn-out frock coat a bundle of skins which have
taken him weeks of labour and ingenuity to secure. His
tastes in this matter are, I need hardly add, not very
nice; and to see the way in which he blends the
various articles of apparel is highly ludicrous. Fancy
the noble red man attired in a ' swallow-tail' and a
' chimney-pot' ! Yet I have seen a chief so rigged
out; and just didn't he fancy himself !
When an Indian brave dies he likes to have his
best clothes buried with him, so that he may be able
to make a good show when he puts in an appearance
in shade-land; but the surprise of a latter-day
warrior's forefathers on seeing him chasing the buffalo
shades in the ghost of a silk hat or a tight-fitting
dress-coat cannot readily be imagined. 216
It is really curious how much the Indian affects
the top-hat, and how he is impressed with the idea
that it is the height of swell dressing. In fact, I
have known instances where natives have considered
themselves perfectly dressed with this and nothing
else on.
Not long ago I came across an old buck attired
in this manner, and the airs he gave himself as he
strutted in front of his tent, or admired his figure in
a pool of water, were excruciatingly amusing. Luckily
the weather was warm, or he must have caught cold,
for, apparently fearful of spoiling the effect of his
antiquated head-gear, he had avoided putting on
even a pair of leggings. There were, moreover, no
mosquitoes about, otherwise the man must have
severely suffered in his pride, for the Greek Slave
costume could not afford any great protection from
these insects. But, even so attired, the old brave
looked infinitely more respectable than his compatriots
in their convict dress.
It is enough to destroy all the romance in one to
see a chief shambling along in a loose-fitting jacket
and baggy pants stamped behind with a huge black
number ; or to come across a sinewy, well-knit form
bursting in a numbered garment made for a man half
his size ; and the disillusion is completed when you
hear Running Water described as ' No. 49,' or see
Setting Sun stop short when ' No. 30' is called out. THE HALFWAY HOUSE
I confess to naving been disillusionised and made
sorry at the sight, for I cannot help thinking that
some of them at least were unduly, not to say unjustly,
The Penitentiary, although it is situated on the
open prairie, is not walled in or in any way enclosed,
yet it is next to impossible for a prisoner to escape.
To attempt to do so would mean running the risk of
being shot down by the warders, who are ever on
guard, and who can see everything that moves over
the ground.    It is true there are instances where
prisoners have escaped during the night, and have
succeeded in reaching a copse about half a mile distant,
there to be caught later on. A few, however, have
managed to get clear off, and cross the border into
the United States ; but, on the whole, there are fewer
escapes from this prison than from any other in the
Mr. Bedson is in his spare moments an ardent
naturalist, and the corridors of the Penitentiary are
made interesting by the presence of stuffed birds and
animals peculiar to the North-West. He has also some
live pets in the shape of bears, wolves, and moose-
deer. The latter, fine young animals, were certainly
very tractable. They were just developing some
antlers, of which they seemed as conscious and proud
as a youth over the first hair on his upper Up. So
rapid is the growth of these antlers that you can
ii 218
almost fancy they are increasing in length as you
watch them.
I have often wondered whether the process of
cutting horns is as painful as that of cutting teeth;
if so, what a lot of additional agony an unfortunate
deer has to go through !    Suffering is said to chasten
© © o
all, so perhaps this accounts for the meekness and
gentleness of the deer species.
In addition to the pets aforesaid Mr. Bedson
is the owner of the only herd of tame buffaloes -in America, and the only buffaloes, whether
tame or wild, in the whole of the Canadian North-
West. jH ■.       ■ §Si|||.'^
One of my chief objects in visiting Stony
Mountain was to see this herd, with which Mr. Bedson
had been making some interesting experiments in the
matter of cross-breeding. Some years ago, when
buffaloes were plentiful, Mr. Bedson acquired of one
Joe, a half-breed scout, a few young bulls and cows,
and having in a measure domesticated them, he
commenced breeding   from  them.     But   when  the
wild buffaloes gave out, and he saw no opportunity of
replenishing his stock, he, in order to save them from
deterioration through in-breeding, tried the experiment of crossing them with the domestic cow. The
result has been eminently satisfactory. In the first
crossing a nondescript half-breed is the result, but this
crossed with a buffalo produces a three-quarter breed THE HALFWAY HOUSE
closely resembling its sire, whilst with the third
crossing a pure buffalo is the result.
Mr. Bedson's herd numbered, when I was there,'
fifty-nine all told, but by this time it will have considerably increased.
It is his intention, I believe, to form a company
for the purpose of developing the scheme which he
has in hand; and in such case there is, I am assured,
an excellent prospect of the concern paying. For
almost all parts of the buffalo have a market value.
The head is worth as much as IOL, and the robe,
according to quality, fetches 51. and upwards. The
meat would command a fair price, especially the
tongues and humps—perfect delicacies either fresh
or potted.
I think  the  crossing  of the buffalo with  the
domestic cow improves the colour of the robes, and
lends a variety to them at once pleasing and valuable.
Buffalo robes are almost indispensable in the
winter in North America, and it is difficult to find a
substitute for them ; and as the demand exhausts the
ever-diminishing supply, the Stony Mountain herd
will increase in importance and value.
Although buffaloes have entirely disappeared from
the Canadian plains, there are, I believe, still two or
three scattered herds in Montana, and some of a
smaller species in Texas, but they too will probably
disappear off the face of the earth, leaving nothing.
ll 220
but dressed skins and preserved heads to speak of
their having been.
In going over the prairie one frequently comes
across heaps of bones, showing where the animals had
been slaughtered; and at points near the railway the
bones are being carted away for fertilising purposes.
I am told there is not a single wild buffalo left in
the whole of the Great North-West, yet but a few years
back they were in considerable numbers, if not in
actual plenty. Repeating rifles have done their work
with marvellous rapidity, and the indiscriminate way
in which the monarchs of the plains have been
slaughtered is brutal and wanton in the extreme.
The buffalo ranges extended between the Saskat-
chewan Rivers and the Missouri, and old voyageurs
tell me they have seen the plains perfectly black
with their shaggy denizens. That was in the good
old times when regiments of Indians and half-breeds
swept over the prairie twice annually, dealing death
and destruction to the unfortunate beasts. These
hunts not only provided the hunters with food for
the remainder of the year, but they were a certain
source of income to all engaged ; so much so that the
earlier settlers refused to settle down to agriculture
as a livelihood, when a pursuit much less arduous and
infinitely more congenial offered such striking inducements.
After the animals had been shot they were skinned THE HALFWAY HOUSE 221
and cut up, the robes being stretched upon a framework of poles prior to being sent to the settlements
to receive their final dressing. Most of the meat was
converted into 'pemmican,' although of course a
good deal of it was consumed fresh.
' Pemmican' was at one time the indispensable
travelling provision of the North-West, and the following was a popular recipe for its composition :—
Cut the meat into thin slices and hang up in the
sun or over a fire to dry. W^hen thoroughly dried,
take down and beat into a pulp with stones upon raw
hides.    Make bags—each bag two feet long and one
© © ©
and a half feet wide—of the hides, and having half
7 ©
filled them with the powdered meat pour therein a
quantity of buffalo fat, and stir till cold ; then add
further fat, and sew up the bag for future use.
Each bag of ' pemmican' weighed as a rule about
one hundred pounds, and, besides forming a solid
food of unequalled nutrition, it was easy of transport.
Provided the compound was kept dry it would keep
for an unlimited period. I am speaking of ' pemmican ' in the past tense ; for, with the disappearance of
the buffalo, ' pemmican' has of course ceased to be
manufactured. The amount of it used in the service
of the Hudson's Bay Company was something enormous, and the quantity that a half-breed voyageur
could dispose of at a single meal was nothing short of
Startling. 222
Considering the fearful slaughter of the buffaloes
in these semi-annual hunts, when the animals were
chiefly killed for their hides, the wonder is not that
they have altogether disappeared, but that they lasted
so long as they did.
For countless centuries the red man found in the
buffalo not only his food but his clothing, and he
recognised the wise provision of nature by killing no
more than were demanded by his wants ; and had not
the white man put in an appearance there would have
been enough buffaloes for his requirements for all time.
But with the advent of the ' paleface' everything
underwent a change. The red man's natural clothing
was suddenly invested with a monetary value, and
the warriors of the plains were led to slaughter in
wanton waste their best friends, who had supplied
every want from infancy to old age, for the sake of
what their skins would fetch.
With the advance of civilisation the Indians have
been gradually driven towards the Rockies, and with
them the buffaloes. The latter have disappeared,
and at the present rate of extermination it appears to
be only a question of time when the last redskin in.
North America will, wrapped in his treasured-up
buffalo robe, close his eyes in that sleep which is to
waft his spirit to those who have gone before.
It is true a nobler race is arising in place of the
red man, and that the red man's disappearance or ab- THE HALFWAY HOUSE
sorption is rendered necessary by the events which are
taking place on the American continent; but, for all
that, the native is deserving of some sympathy. He,
it must be admitted, has been very hardly done by, for