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Lecture on British Columbia and Vancouver's Island Macdonald, Duncan George Forbes, 1823?-1884 1863

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On March 27, 1863
D. G. 1 MACDONALD, C.E., F.R.G.S., M.R.S.L., J.P., Ac.
(Late of the Government Survey Staff of British Columbia, and of the International Boundary
Line of North America) Author of' What the Farmers may do with the Land,'
s The Paris Exhibition,'' Decimal Coinage,' &c.
Price One Shilling.
/', 3
The following Lecture  originated  in  the desire  of  the
gentlemen forming the Council of the Royal United Service
Institution to lay before its members trustworthy information regarding the capabilities of British Columbia and
Vancouver's Island as a field of emigration for Englishmen.
A few corroborative statements have since been introduced ; and some, which from their nature could not be
interwoven in the text, have been appended as foot-notes.
Mr. Pkesident, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
Ageeeablt to the wishes of the Council of
the Eoyal United Service Institution, I have the honour
of appearing before you to say a few words respecting the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver's
Island. I may be permitted to mention, however, that,
whilst I consider the request a high compliment, I
should nevertheless have declined the task, from a
consciousness of my inability to render a Lecture sufficiently interesting to such an audience as invariably
assembles in this theatre, had I not deemed it a positive
fluty to raise my voice, however feeble, at a time when
all Europe is perplexed by the conflicting statements
which have appeared in books, pamphlets, and newspapers, relative to these dependencies.
In lecturing I am utterly inexperienced, as I fear
you will soon discover; but I am urged forward by the
desire of spreading opinions which I have already explained more extensively elsewhere, and thus, by giving
the essence of what I have there written, enabling those
who have never seen, and may never see, my book to
judge for themselves.
It is surely no light matter for any person to advance
opinions on the resources and capabilities of our colonial
possessions, unless qualified by education, knowledge,
^nd experience. There is, to my apprehension, but
httle difference between the man who willfully deceives
and him who through ignorance deters our poor, who
exist in misery and wretchedness at home, from
emigrating to a place in which they may secure comparative independence and comfort, or induces young
Englishmen to throw up comfortable, if not lucrative,
posts in their native country to become penniless wanderers in a strange land. What value would the leader
of an army attach to my views as to the position to be
taken up for a battle, or as to the modes of attack
and defence ? What value would the commander of a
fleet attach to my report or opinions on a. naval engagement, or on the construction and management of a man
of war? None whatever. And justly — because I
have not been educated in either of those noble professions. But if the question be the resources and
capabilities of a country, — of land and pasture — of
hill and dale, — I venture to believe I possess the
qualifications which alone can enable a man to discern these important characteristics, and to arrive at a
just estimate of them, since the subject has formed the
education of my youth and the study of my maturer
years. I apprehend, therefore, that, before any weight
can with propriety be attached to the report, statements,
or opinions of an author or lecturer, it behoves him to
show that he is qualified by education, profession, and
experience, to write or lecture on the subject which
he undertakes; and, moreover, that his opinions are VANCOUVER'S  ISLAND.
shaken by no wind of self-interest, or gust of blinded
passion,—that his views are obscured by no mist of
prejudice or error. I therefore trust that you will not
attribute my giving some account of myself to any less
creditable motive than a desire to satisfy you that you
are not listening to a man who has never seen a blade
of grass grow, or slept under the impervious shades of
the eternal forests.
Erom my youth upwards, I have been occupied in
the study and practice of agriculture. I have, since
1848, prosecuted my calling as a civil and agricultural
engineer with perfect success; and under my immediate direction upwards of a million sterling has been
expended on the drainage and improvement of agricultural lands alone. I have been taught every branch of
farming, experimentally, practically, and scientifically ;
and I have farmed extensively on my own account for
many years. I have received, in short, a first class
agricultural education, without which no one is in a
condition to form a just opinion of the pastoral and
agricultural capabilities of any country, whether new or
old. And I may also add that I have been employed
professionally by the Chief Commissioner of Lands and
Works of British Columbia, and by the British North-
American Boundary Commission, as well as by private
•individuals in both colonies. In conclusion, I can
safely affirm that I have no possible inducement to
advance statements unwarranted by facts, or opinions
which are not well grounded. What I assert I have
seen wijah my own eyes, or know of my own knowledge,
and I have no interests to promote save those of truth,
and the prosperity of intending emigrants. 6 BRITISH  COLUMBIA  AND
Although details of the discovery and early history
of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island are interesting, they are unnecessary on the present occasion.
I shall therefore proceed at once to give accurate information as to the nature of these countries, the character of their climate, and the extent of their resources
and capabilities; and I shall also advert to some of
the drawbacks of British Columbia as a colony for
British Columbia lies on the western side of North
America, between the 49th and 55th parallels of north
latitude. The Eussian territory forms its northern
boundary, the Eocky Mountains close it in on the east,
the territory of the United States forms its southern
limit, whilst the North Pacific on the west washes 450
miles of its coast. Its area, including Queen Charlotte's Island; is computed to be 225,250 square miles,
or nearly three times that of Great Britain. It was previously known as New Caledonia, but has formed a
colony under its present name since August 1858.
The general appearance of the country is very picturesque, but gloomy in its grandeur, awful in its
solitude. No bubbling brooks, no soothing shades, no
softly swelling hills, as in pleasant England: but in
their stead streams white with  foam, rushing alone-
7 DO
between cliffs, down ravines, and over waterfalls, in
deafening thunder; tremendous precipices, yawning
gulfs, and naked towering rocks splintered with the
storms of countless years ; boundless forests, fearful in
their gloom, and fearful in their howling beasts of prey.
Yet, when the vast masses of foliage glitter in the sunlight ;  and above the overhanging cliffs and mountains, VANCOUVER S  ISLAND.
far up in the sky, glow pyramids of snow and ice; these
wilds furnish views of intense splendour. Inaccessible
mountain ranges traverse the land, many of their peaks
clothed with perpetual snow; and its general surface is
rocky and barren, except where covered with forest
trees and brushwood. The territory's literally studded
with long narrow lakes, some of them of great depth,
and varying from five to fifty miles in length, in
breadth from two to seven, with water extremely cold
and clear. However, there is one exception to this
clearness in the Liloost water, which is of a dirty
green. On the other hand, I never beheld anything
• more lovely than the Lake of Chilukeneyuke, as I once
looked down upon it by moonlight. Every star, in all
its brightness, was mirrored in the translucent waters.
The magnificent glacier of the lake resembled a mass
of gigantic emeralds partially covered by a mantle of
snowy whiteness; the green ice at every crevice shining
clearly in the sun, which year after year vainly strives
to melt it away.
The river Fraser is the great artery of the country,
and the only river affording any extensive facilities for
navigation. It takes its rise in the Eocky Mountains,
and after a course of 700 miles flows into the Gulf of
Georgia, six miles north of the boundary Hne. Its
current is broad and extremely rapid, and the melting
snows of summer raise it some fifty feet, at which
season it sweeps along with fearful velocity. During
this period the navigation is very dangerous, owing to
the great quantity of trees, stumps, roots, and logs
which float down upon its surface ; and at other times
the shallows and shifting sands, in which it abounds,
render voyaging on its waters, except for flat-bottomed
steamers, peculiarly hazardous.    The river is also diffi- ^
cult of entrance for large vessels, on account of its
tortuous channel, and the numerous banks and shoals
at its mouth, which change continually. It is navigable
for vessels of considerable draught for thirty-two miles
from its mouth, and flat-bottomed steamers have reached
sixty miles farther^ but the lower portion only can be
considered adapted for navigation, the upper portion
being broken by falls and rapids.
The forests are of vast extent, and sufficient to supply
the whole world with valuable timber for ages to come.
To the spectator, indeed, the whole territory appears to
be one mass of wood ; and as Commander Mayne writes,
page 50 of his book, ' some idea may be formed of it
if I state that I have travelled for days in this country,
where we scarcely advanced at the rate of one mile an
hour.' At times these forests are set on fire by some
straggling miner or packer; and those who have not
witnessed such a conflagration can scarcely conceive
an idea of the fury with which it rages in the dry
summer season, when the underwood, fallen branches,
bark, and withered leaves are all so inflammable, the
rarefied air all the while howling through the trees
hke a hurricane.
The coast is bold and rocky, exhibiting continuous
chains of mountains broken only by the Eraser, and
numerous and deep inlets, which drain the region
stretching eastward from the coast range to the Eocky
Mountains. No harbour exists north of the 49th
parallel, with the exception of Berrard's Inlet, which
lies about twelve miles up- the coast from the mouth of
the Eraser. This inlet is difficult of access, but is well
sheltered from the open sea, so as to afford ample safety
for vessels.
Warm springs are found in British Columbia, one of Vancouver's island. 9
which, about twenty-four miles northward from Douglas,
discharges a stream of three square inches in volume.
The -water is soft and agreeable to wash in, is perfectly
clear and colourless, and its temperature 132° Fahr.
A cursory examination into its composition detected
chloride and sulphate of sodium. The Indians resort
to this hot spring under the persuasion that it possesses
miraculous healing powers. They believe that in the
night a spirit comes down to impregnate its waters with
remedial properties; and it is to them a holy spring,
whilst to the white man who goes thither to slake his
thirst it is all but fatal.
Such, then, is the general appearance of British
Columbia. Let us now see what manner of men are
the aboriginal inhabitants,—what their nature and characteristics. The cradle of the red man will perhaps
never be discovered; philology alone could hope to do
this, and the chances are slender: but his present con- *
dition is fully before us.
The pubhc mind has long been disabused of the
pleasant fiction of the noble savage, a being who only
existed in the imagination of dreamers, and who has
received his most recent embodiment at the hands of
American story-tellers.   He has been drawn out of the
haze of the novelist, and examined in the hght of day,
and he turns out to be a compound of sensuality,
treachery, and cruelty the most revolting. Civilisation
may have much to answer for, but there is nothing it
has introduced at all to be compared to what it has
driven away. It would be more just to say that there
are evils which civiHsation cannot eradicate, and which
stiU remain amongst us, the residuum of the primal
J 10
The greater portion of British Columbia is occupied
by the Takalli, or Carrier Indians, who are divided
into eleven tribes, each numbering from 50 to 350
individuals, and all speaking the Athapascan language,
with a few dialectical differences. They are, Hke all
the savages of these regions, filthy in their habits,
and extremely debauched and sensual. They feed
chiefly on salmon, and the flesh of bears and other
wild animals, some of them burrowing in the earth and
Hving Hke badgers or ground-hogs. They are, moreover, very superstitious. To the southward of the
TakalH are the Atnahs, who Hve. in the region of the
Eraser and Thompson rivers; and below these are the
Flat-heads, numbering from 4,000 to 5,000, and occupying the country on the Columbia and about Eort
ColviUe, between the Cascade and Eocky Mountains.
These are the chief tribes of the interior.
Of the Coast tribes the most northern known to
EngHsh fur-traders is the Tun Ghaare, a smaU tribe
of expert hunters inhabiting the south-east corner of
the Prince of Wales's Archipelago.
The Haidah, or natives of Queen Charlotte's Island,
contrast favourably with the southern tribes; I have
seen some as fair as the people of the South of Europe;
and they are very warlike, strong, and dangerous.
The women invariably wear as an ornament a piece of
wood about half an inch long, fixed in the lower Hp by
means of an incision made paraHel to its length ; they
refrain, however, from flattening the heads of their
children. These Indians are remarkable for their ingenuity. They fabricate most of the curiosities met
with on the coast, and they raise potatoes for sale to
the inland tribes ; but they are a most treacherous
race.   The Nootka Columbian group includes a greater VANCOUVER S   ISLAND. 11
number of tribes than the Northern or Haidah family.
The flattening of the head is universal amongst them,
and prevails along the north-west coast from the 53rd
to the 46th degree of latitude. There are several
other tribes, but they need not be enumerated, as the
same description apphes to aH.
The wild man of British Columbia is as savage as
the scenes which surround him. The trunk of a tree
forms his canoe ; strings of sheUs and teeth of animals
form his ornaments, his record, and his coin 5. fern and
forest leaves furnish his couch ; bulrushes, Hehens, and
moss, his protection against the blasts of winter ; and
wolves and bears his rivals for the lordship of the soil.
They Hve chiefly upon salmon, deer, bears, dogs, and
such animals ; and prefer their meat putrid, which may
account for their abominable odour. Murder is no crime
amongst these ferocious beings, who stab, shoot, and
scalp, without pity, and are known to eat their enemies
with the voracity of their companion wolves. They
are revengeful, deceitful, and unrestrained Hars, and,
to crown all, get rid of their sick and aged by cruel
and willful neglect. They are by no means stupid, but
as inquisitive and observant as they are heartless.
Their dress in winter consists of the skins of wild
animals; in summer of a strip of bearskin or deerskin
round their loins, and in some districts even this is
dispensed with. They paint their bodies hideously
with every pigment they can lay their hands on, blood
colour being their favourite hue. When deeply stained
with vermihon it is a sign that war rages among them,
and it is then dangerous to approach them. In general
the different tribes entertain a bitter hatred against
each other, evinced by frequent feuds, which often end
in death. 12
They have some idea of a Supreme Being, whom
they fancy good-looking, always naked, weH painted,
and having pieces of fur round each leg and arm,
and dogskin round his shoulders; but they have no
religious rites. Yet they are very superstitious, and
are terrified by every unusual occurrence. I have
seen them fall upon their knees, or throw themselves
down upon the ground, and roll about, uttering the most
frantic yeHs, upon seeing an eagle hover over their
wigwam. • I have also seen an old Indian look pensively at the track of some wild animal, and then
return hastily to his cabin, where he would remain
for the rest of the day, and for the foUowing night,
and would not stir out if the whole world were offered
to him.
Polygamy, steaHng, lying, and gambling prevail to a
fearful extent, and female chastity is unknown. Yet
they seem very fond of each other and of their chUdren;
and sometimes women may be seen sitting by the skuU
of a child, a husband, or a brother, pouring forth the
anguish of their souls, and talking to it in the most
endearing tones. In matrimonial matters the squaws
propose to the men, and girls are contracted and paid
for years before the marriageable age. Their slaves
are horribly treated: they are made to do all the filthy
work, and are cruelly lashed. Doubtless these slaves
wiU one day rise against their masters, and avenge
themselves for the atrocious barbarities inflicted on
They seldom bury their dead, but either burn the
bodies or place them in ornamented wooden boxes
raised beyond the reacli of wolves and dogs, and
leave them to decay. When a married man is burned
his widow is placed on the pUe beside the corpse, and VANCOUVER S  ISLAND. 13
not suffered to remove tiU her flesh is one mass of
bhsters. After the body has been consumed she
coUects the ashes into a smaU basket, which she constantly carries about with her ; and when three years
have been spent in drudgery for her husband's relations
she is permitted to marry again.
The Indians hate the whites, because the whites
hate them. They invariably take Hfe for Hfe; and if
a white man has been the aggressor, they wUl kiU the
first white man they meet, utterly regardless as to
whether he knew anything about the murder or not;
and many a poor wanderer in British Columbia has thus
faUen. Such is their thirst for blood, that I have been
shown thirty scalps in one wigwam. Their modes of
torture are numerous and horrible : some prisoners
they scourge to death, others they roast at slow fires ;
and I have seen four fiends seize a wretched captive,
and, each taking a Hmb, swing him with all their force
against the ground tiU they left him a mangled corpse.
Contempt of pain is confined to the males ; the females
are timid, and meet their torture in paroxysms of
Their villages are generaUy built upon natural
slopes on the banks of rivers, or in sheltered nooks by
the sea-side, with a precipitous bank in front to preserve them from the attacks of hostUe tribes, while the
outskirts are overspread with pUes of fish, fish bones,
and the accumulated .filth of years. The wigwams
vary from 100 to 300 feet in length, by from 50 to
100 in breadth, and are constructed of thick plank
boarding and heavy logs; one wigwam generaUy contains twenty or thirty famiHes. . The smaller wigwams
or huts are formed of bark cut in lengths of from seven to
ten feet, on which stones are laid to prevent their warping 14
in drying. These are fastened with twisted twigs to a
framework of stakes driven into the ground; and the
roof is covered in the same manner, a hole being left to
let out the smoke. The fire is in the centre, and tree
stumps and large stones are placed round it to serve as
tables and seats, on which men, women, and chUdren
sit, generaUy as naked as they were born, and not unfrequently covered with a moving mass of vermin. The
fur-skins worn by day form their covering at night,
whUe their bed consists of a layer of deer- or bear-skins,
or a rush mat. The whole famUy, and sometimes two
or three families, live and sleep in this one unpartitioned
I should be sorry to chiU a single earnest feeling in
favour of these poor barbarians, but it is to be feared
that if any impression is ever to be made on them, it can
only be done by going into their midst, living their Hfe,
and feeding on the flesh of wild animals, on grubs, roots,
and grasses, Hke themselves. Their condition is the
most deplorable that can be imagined ; many of them
are* puny and stunted, whUe they are rapidly decreasing in number, and must soon disappear altogether.
The Indian, will recede before the white man, as his
fathers have done. The lovely vaUey in which the
warriors stood forth in their triumphant glory, in which
the young and sprightly Hstened with throbbing hearts
to the chants of other days, in which the mothers
fondly played with their tender offspring, wiU soon
know him no more. But, as he turns to take a last look
on the tombs of his race, he wiU shed no tear, he wiU
heave no groan; for there is in his heart that which
stifles such indications of emotion.    It is savage courage
absorbed in despair.
There is  in  the  fate of these unfortunate beings VANCOUVER S  ISLAND.
much to awaken our sympathy. What can be more
melancholy than their history ? They fade away at our
approach, and mournfully pass by us never to return.
We hear the rusthng of their footsteps, Hke that of the
withered leaves of autumn, and they are gone for ever.
In a few years the smoke wiU cease to rise from their
wigwams, and the ashes wiH be cold on their native
hearths. Poor human beings! if they have the vices of
savage life, they have the virtues likewise. If their
revenge and insatiable thirst for blood are terrible,
their fidehty to their kinsmen is unconquerable also.
Their love, like their hate, goes with them to the grave.
Although there are some handsome women to be
met with amongst the northern Indians of America,
there are none comparable to the tropical beUes. In
the native beauty of Panama, the grace which pervades
the whole figure is wonderfuUy brought out. There
the female form is fuU of ease, dehcacy, and beauty.
The day was sultry as I turned into one of those snug
retreats so frequent in the isthmus, and scarcely visible
through the luxuriant verdure, to get a mouthful of cold
water. The heads of the famUy had doubtless gone to
the trackless woods to gather the wild fruits so pleasing to the eye and so grateful to the taste, for no one
was visible but a young Indian maiden, who, fawn-Hke,
startled at my approach, and would have fled into the
thicket* had I not made signs of peace and friendship.
Eaising my hands in the form of a cup, the woodland
beauty was instantly reassured, and led the way to a
shady grotto where a crystal mountain spring flowed
gently from the rifted rock, whilst I foUowed in speechless admiration of the vision of lovehness which floated
onward in such bashful coyness. This charming nymph
was attired in a loose covering of the purest white, down 16
which her plenteous black hair hung to an almost incredible length. Her complexion was soft-tinted oHve,
so dehcate that the shghtest emotion gave a crimson
hue to her tender and simple cheeks. Her forehead
was exquisitely chiseUed, and her features Grecian in
their contour; but how shaU I describe those glorious
dreamy eyes, or those long drooping lashes which
ever and anon came gently down Hke silken curtains I
Could an artist place on canvas the picture there presented,— the shady dell, the tropical fruits and flowers,
the limpid spring and mossy rocks, the emerald skies
and purple mountain peaks, that sweet sad face and
faultless form,—he might lay down his pencil and Hve
upon his fame for ever. As she stepped on the shppery
rock, with a quaintly fashioned gourd, to dip up the
clear water, there was disclosed a foot whose polished
outline had never been warped by the rough shoe of
civilisation, and which her native innocence had never
been taught to hide. She was indeed exquisitely
beautiful, and recalled the lines of a great poet :
Art thou a thing of mortal birth,
Whose happy home is on the earth ?
Or art thou what thy form would seem —
The phantom of a fairy dream ?
But I must leave these sunny lands and their pleasant memories, and return to the snows and storms of
British Columbia.
Unquestionably a suitable climate is a consideration
of the greatest importance to the emigrant, as it has a
marked influence on production. A hot climate enervates the body and enfeebles the mind; and, by rendering houses and clothing less necessary, removes one '
great spur to industry and invention. In a very cold
one, on the other hand, the powers of nature are benumbed, and the difficulty of preserving Hfe leaves but
Httle time for rendering it comfortable. CHmate
exercises, also, a direct influence on the durability of
buUdings, and on everything connected with agricultural operations. Its vicissitudes are so variously
estimated by different persons, that it is difficult to
describe the atmospheric condition of any country so
as to avoid the imputation of undue praise or unwarranted reprobation. Doubtless, however, the most
ehgible climate is that under which one can Hve the
longest, work the hardest, be least dependent on artificial comforts, and have the fewest aUments. To anyone seeking a home at aU approaching this standard,
the climate of British Columbia would not be aUuring.
The winters are long and cold, the summers short and
hot, the spring sudden ; and the powers of animal and
vegetable nature seem to compensate themselves by
extraordinary vigour and activity in the short respite
aUowed them from the long torpor of winter.
Exaggerated accounts have been spread in Europe
regarding the cHmate of British Columbia. It has not
the clear skies and fine bracing atmosphere of Canada,
as snow, sleet, rain, and fog visit the settler in rapid
succession, and the winter takes up eight months out of
the twelve, commencing in September and lasting till
May, whUe the temperature is severe, the thermometer
at times falling 30° below zero. The summer heat
much resembles that of Canada, averaging, according to
report, 80° at mid-day; but all well-informed traveUers
agree in representing the weather as extremely variable
at this season, and the transitions as remarkably sudden
—the common characteristics of an Alpine country.    At
J 18
Stewart's Lake, in the month of July, every possible
change of weather was experienced within twelve
hours,— frost in the morning, scorching heat at noon,
and then rain, hail, and snow. The winter season is
subject to the same vicissitudes, though not in such extremes. Mr. Anderson, late chief trader in the Hudson's
Bay Company's service, a gentleman personaUy known
to me, and on whose evidence I would rely, states that
snow begins to faU in the mountains early in October ;
that the summer climate about the forks of the Thompson river is dry, and the heat great; that during winter
the thermometer indicates occasionally from 20° to 30°
below zero of Fahrenheit, but that such severe cold
seldom lasts on the upper parts of the Eraser river for
more than three days. The thermometer wUl then
continue to -fluctuate between zero and the freezing
point, untU, possibly, another interval of severe cold
During winter, a traveUer in the highlands of British
Columbia must envelope himself in furs to a most inconvenient degree. Horses have been suffocated from
ice forming in their nostrUs, and their hoofs have burst
from the effects of the cold, while the raven is the only
bird on the wing. Inanimate nature yields to the same
mighty power. Masses of rock are torn from their
ancient sites, and huge trees are rent asunder, becoming
ice-bound to the very heart, and splintering the axe of
the woodman Hke glass. The cold is something incredible northwards along the lofty mountain chains.
The sunless forests, too, shelter masses of snow, which
render the currents of air excessively cold and damp.
In these dreary lands, consumption and inflammatory
complaints are very common, and few escape rheumatism.     A long sickness in the backwoods brines VANCOUVER S  ISLAND. 19
famine and utter ruin. In the winters of 1860, 1861,
and 1862, the Fraser was frozen over, and many
persons perished from starvation and exposure. Early
in the September of 1859, we on the Boundary Commission were visited by a heavy snow-storm, the thermometer ranging from 82° in the day to 26° at night.
Even at Victoria in Vancouver's Island, in the vicinity
of the ocean," the snow feU several feet in depth, when
sledging became the only mode of out-door locomotion.
At New Westminster, which is only 54 feet above the
sea level and weU sheltered, the thermometer stood
in January 1862 at 15° below zero ; and at Eort Hope,
a Httle way up the country, at 18°. In confirmation of
my statements as to the severity of the climate of British
Columbia, I shall give a few extracts from the Weekly
British Colonist, .published in Victoria, Vancouver's
Island ; and we may rest assured, as the prosperity of
the editor of the paper depends on the peopling of both
colonies, that the true state of the weather has at least
not been exaggerated:—
British Columbia: September 16, 1862.— The weather is
execrable, raining or hailing daily. One hailstone, measured
by Mr. PhUfips on the 22nd of July, was an inch and a half
in circumference. Ice formed every night through summer
in the open air.
September 8.— There was a very heavy fall of snow.
October 21.— Snow feU sixteen inches deep two weeks ago,
and the cold has been intense.
October 28.— A heavy snow-storm had fallen, covering the
ground to a depth of three feet. Ice had formed in the
sluices, stopping all mining work. The snow-storm fell three
weeks earher this year than last, which accounts for the heavy
loss of pack animals. It is estimated that upwards of 400
animals, valued at about 50,000 dollars (10,000£.) have perished in the recent storms.
B  2 20
November 4.— Pack animals are perishing by whole trains
at once. One packer, who went in with thirty-seven horses,
has only saved seven out of the lot, being also obHged to
leave his goods along the trail in various places. Another
with fourteen animals lost every one of them. Dead and
dying horses were met with at almost every step, some of
them standing upright in the snow, just as they had been left
by their owners.
On the I lth, 12th, and 13th of Jcmuary last, it was so
intensely cold that the mercury was frozen Hke a rock in the
bulb of the thermometer: but that was a common test of
temperature. Jack Frost gave another illustration of his
freezing qualities. One day a blazing fire was doing its
best to neutralise the cold, when a tea-kettle filled with water
was put on to boil; but, before the fire could exercise any
effect on the bottom of the water, the top of it was frozen
over with a skin of ice.
In the Blue Book Papers on British Columbia, Part
HI. p. 37, Lieut. Mayne, now Commander, Eoyal Navy,
The changes of temperature are very remarkable in
British Columbia. I have seen the thermometer at 31° at
daylight, in the shade at noon the same day 85°, and 40°
again in the evening.
Again, p. 105 of his book, he says :—
However hot the day may have been, the night in British
Columbia, even in the months of summer, is always fresh
and cold.
And at p. 423 :—
At Cariboo, the winter of 1860-1 was even more severely
felt. On the night of the 1st December, the mercury of the
thermometer congealed, and on the 25th and 26th of January it is said to have stiffened before sun-down, with the sun
shining full upon it. Two thermometers at WilHam Lake are
reported in the Victoria papers to have burst from the effects of VANCOUVER'S ISLAND. 21
the cold, and many instances of severe frost-bites, &c, are
The meteorological observations taken at LiUoost
by Dr. Eeatherstone, and printed in the British Colonist
of January 20, 1863, prove beyond dispute the sudden
and remarkable changes of cHmate in British Columbia.*
* The following are the observations referred to in the text:—
January 1862. — Average temperature for 22 days, 14° above zero.
Average temperature,- 9th . .      9° below zero
Coldest day, 29th . . .22°        „
Second coldest day, 30th . .    20°        „
Hottest day, 22nd . . .    26° above zero.
Ten cold windy days, wind from NW. and NE. Amount of snow
fell during the month, 28 inches: 18th, 10 inches fell; 22nd,
11 inches fell.
February 1862. — Average temperature for 18 days, 25° above zero.
Average temperature, 10th . .      4° below zero
Coldest day, 1st . . 6°        „
Hottest day, 11th, heavy rain and thaw .    45° above zero.
Amount of snow fell during the month, 14 inches.    Four days'
heavy rain and thaw.    Three cold, windy days.
March 1862. — Average temperature for 31 days, 37°.
Coldest day, 10th, sharp frost . . .20°
Second coldest day, 11th     ....    20°
Hottest day, 31st    . . . . .50°
Three cold windy days in November, wind NW. Amount ot
snow fell, 10 inches.    Two rainy days, 14th and 23rd.
April 1862. — Average temperature for the month, 54°.
Coldest day, 4th      . . . . .31°
Second coldest, 9th . . . . .    32c
Hottest day, 30th    . . . . .84°
Seven cold, windy days; 14th, gale of wind from SE.
May 1862. — Average temperature for the month, 78°.
Coldest day, 6th      . . . • •    64°
Hottest day, 11th    . . • • .100°
Two windy days, 7th and 11th. Four rainy days; 5th, eight
hours heavy rain.
IO In further irrefragable proof that the cHmate of
British Columbia is variable, cold, and inclement, I
need only refer to the meteorological observations taken
at the MiHtary Camp, New Westminster, during 1862
June 1862. — Average temperature for the month, 81°
Coldest day ....
Hottest day ....
Three^ windy days.    Eain fell on four days.
July 1862. — Average temperature for 12 days, 97°.
Coldest day, 2nd
Hottest day, 5th      .
Left for Cariboo.
September 1862. — Average temperature for the month, 11°.
Coldest day, 30th    . . . . .60°
Hottest day, 2nd      . . . . .98°
Rain fell on six days; 25th, rain and snow.    Five windy days;
30th, cold SE. wind.
October 1862. — Average temperature for the month, 71°.
Coldest day .    . . . . .50°
Hottest day . . . . .81°
Eain fell on six days.    Six windy days.
November 1862.
Average   temperature   for   the
month, 48°.
Coldest day     .        .        .    30°
Hottest day     .        .        .56°
Eain   fell  on   two   days — 1st
and 3rd.
December 1862.
Average   temperature   for   the
month, 38°.
Coldest day, 6th      .        .    25°
Hottest day, 25th    .        .    50°
Eain  fell  on  four  days;.   9th,
eight hours' rain; 5 inches of
snow fell during the month.
November 1861.
Average temperature for 23
days, 36°.
Coldest day, 28th, 20° below zero.
Five coldest days, average temperature 13° below zero.
Eain fell on the 23rd for 24
hours, therm. 40; 40 inches
of snow fell during the month.
December 1861.
Average temperature for the
month, 26°.
Coldest day, 29th, 14° below zero.
Eain fell on the 5th, with sun
and thaw, therm. 42; 32 inches
of snow fell during the month. VANCOUVER'S  ISLAND. 23
under the directions of Colonel E. C. Moody, E.E., and
the immediate supervision of Captain E. M. Parsons,
E.E., an officer of remarkable scientific attainments,
on whose calculations I can, from actual personal
experience, place imphcit rehance. The spot selected
for taking these observations is greatly sheltered by
military braidings and by nature, and picturesquely
embosomed in the forest; moreover the cistern of the
barometer is only about 54 ft. above the level of the
sea. Nevertheless we find that, notwithstanding these
favourable conditions, the thermometer has indicated •
15° below zero! *
* The following are the observations referred to in the text:—
' Latitude 49° 12' 47"-5 N;  Longitude 122° 53' 19" W.
The highest reading of the barometer,
rected for temperature, was    .
Mean height at 9.30 a.m.
| at 3.30 p.m.
The lowest
, cor-
30-517    Feb. 9
29-071    Jan. 22
Maximum temperature in sun's rays (black
bulb)         • 104-0       Aug. 29
Maximum temperature of air in shade         . 88-5              „
|                       I                    9.30 a.m. 73-9        July 23
|                        „                    3.30 p.m. 86-0        Aug. 28
Mean temperature of air iD shade—9.30 a.m. 46*8
„               3.30 p.m. 51-5
Minimum temperature of air in shade—
9.30 a.m. 2-0 b.z. Jan. 15
1               3.30. p.m. 6-0       Jan. 15
Minimum temperature on the grass    .        . 15*0 b.z. Jan. 16
Greatest amount of humidity      .        .        • 1*000
Mean                    1                         9.30 a.m. -842
I                         3.30 p.m. -772
Lelst                    1                    ... -320    Jan. 3 24
Such is the climate of British Columbia. Of course,
in a region so extensive, variations are found; that is
to say, in some parts it is worse than in others, but in
no part is it like that of England. Yet an anonymous
writer in Blackwood's Magazine of last December, has
stigmatised my book on the Colonies as | thoroughly
Table showing the Depth of Rain, the Number of Bays on which it fell; the
Mean Humidity (9.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m.) / Mean Temperature of the Air
in shade, and the Lowest Temperature on the Grass in each month.
Days     Humidity
9.30 a.m.
3.30 P.M.
Min. on Grass
January .    .
March    .    .
April .    .    .
May  .    .    .
June .
July  .    .    .
August   .   .
September  .
October .   .
November   .
December   .
Total   .   .
Comparison of Mean Results for three years.
Minimum on
Mean height of
9.30 a.m.
3.30 p.m.
9.30 a.m.
3.30 p.m.
9.30 a.m.
3.30 p.m.
48-5 •
E ain was more equally distributed throughout all the months this
year, than in 1860 or 1861.
In the winter months, January to March, and October to December : 31,682 inches of rain fell in 1862; 41,230 in 1861;  and VANCOUVER'S  ISLAND. 25
unreliable,' because I have declared that snow, sleet,
and rain fall in British Columbia, and that the climate
is not Italian! The clever critic overlooked the important fact that Dr. Eattray's j statistics' do not apply
to British Columbia at all, but to the southern section
of Vancouver's Island, situated considerably to the
south of any part of British Columbia; whilst my
observations on climate apply to British Columbia
farther north. I would also remark that it is most
unfair and absurd to contrast the annual and monthly
barometric range at London for the years 1806-16
and Esquimault for the years 1860-61, with the object
of proving that the salubrity of the climate of Vancouver's Island comes near to that of England; since
in those years the temperature ranged extremely low
in this country. One might with equal justness contrast our unusually mild winter of this year, with the
most rigid ever known in Vancouver's Island, and so
prove the great superiority of the English cHmate.
In the lapse of ages the forests may be cleared, and
the swamps may be drained, and the rainfall and the
40,586 inches in 1860. In the remaining months: 15,785 inches
fell in 1862; 19,255 in 1861; and 13,834 in 1860.
The prevailing direction of the wind during rain in each year
was E and SE. The absolute limiting nights of frost in the three
years were nearly the same.
On the 9th of January, 1862, the river Fraser was completely
frozen over, and the ice attained a thickness of 13 inches on the
12th of February. Sleighs were running from Langley to several
miles below New Westminster, and persons walked from Hope to
the latter place, a distance of eighty miles, on the ice, at the end
of January.    Lake Harrison and the other lakes were all frozen
And this is the report of our Royal Engineers on this delightful
territory of j? Italian magnificence, of Italian temperature !' 26
fogs thus lessened; but a new Andes must cross its
northern frontier to beat back the Arctic blasts, and a
new gulf-stream must set in from the Tropics, to warm
its gelid shores, ere British Columbia can become a fit
habitation for Englishmen.
Again we find Dr. Eattray making the bold fallacious
statement at p. 53 of his book, that \ Epidemics, such
as smallpox, scarlet-fever, and other infectious diseases, are rare in these colonies, even among the
natives;' whilst recent files of the local Weekly Colonist
inform us that4 sore throats, coughs, and colds are quite
epidemic in Victoria this season, and smallpox rages
with unabated fury, committing great ravages among
the white population, but especially amongst the Indians. The terrible and loathsome disease is daily
seizing upon new victims. Indeed, whole tribes are fast
disappearing before this most fearful of epidemics.'
And in the Inverness Courier of March 26, this year,
the foUowing appears: ' In Victoria, Vancouver's Island,
there was last spring an Indian population of 2,500.
This number has been reduced to about 50 by the
ravages of smallpox.' Again, British Colonist, February
2, 1863 :—':Our advices from British Columbia are to
the effect that wherever the native population are
found, there the smallpox is fearfully prevalent, and
already many white men have died of the disease.'
So much for a work which Blackwood considers g thoroughly reliable.'
. Prairies are few, swampy, and of small extent, and
are overhung in summer by clouds of insects; while
pestilence exhales from the decaying vegetation, and
reptiles sport in the stagnant pools, or crawl over piles VANCOUVER'S  ISLAND. 27
of mouldering logs, brush, and rushes. These low
grounds, which indeed are little else than extended
marshes, are also infested by legions of vicious mosquitoes, which destroy comfort by day and sleep by
night, biting alike through socks and sheets, or settling
upon the nose or forehead; and woe betide the sleeper
who has a rent in his curtains. They have subjected
cow;s and horses to the torture of a lingering death,
and forced whole families to leave their homes for
months together. At the mouth of the Fraser are
extensive tracts, which have been termed prairie-land ;
but they are mere salt marshes, filled with cold stagnant water, and perfectly unproductive. Swampy
lands are met with along all the rivers, which are not
only unfit for cultivation, but prejudicial to health. I
have more than once been nearly thrown into a fever
by the pestilential vapours which the summer heat had
caused to float from the slimy sediment of these flats.
Such lands would, doubtless, be abundantly fertile,
were they drained and embanked from the sea and
river floods ; but these operations belong to engineering,
and require more skill and capital than are usually
possessed by the early settlers. From the annual
inundations many of the prairie-like patches will
always be unfit for husbandry. Even embankments
would not prevent the inroads of the water, as there
are quicksands in these flats through which it percolates ; and, owing to its low temperature, it would chill
and destroy the grain.
Commander Mayne states in his work on these
colonies, p. Ill:—' There are no prairies in British
Columbia, but it consists of what is called rolling
country; that is, long valleys from one to three or
four miles wide, divided one from the other by moun- 28
tain ridges. Through the centre of these runs usually
a river, and in some cases may be seen a chain of small
lakes. In summer, when the water is high, streams
and lakes meet, and the valleys become sheets of water,
dotted with large islands.' And again, p. 109 : j There is
very httle land fit for cultivation, except on some of
those benches which are found on all the rivers. . . .
The shores of the coast are fined with dense, almost
impenetrable, forests.'
Good land may yet be discovered in the unexplored
regions of British Columbia ; still it is hard to believe
that this dependency will ever be fully peopled, or that
its natural capabilities will render it a desirable home
for natives of Great Britain. Farming can never pay,
because of the abundance of agricultural produce and
its consequent cheapness in California and Oregon,
which enjoy a rich soil and fine climate, and are
only a few hundred miles distant; and because agricultural industry in the British possessions would
have no protection. The Hon. Malcolm Cameron,
delegate from this colony, gave it as his opinion, at
the meeting in January last in the London Tavern,
that i British Columbia, not being an alluvial flat, was
not so good an agricultural and cereal country as
Canada;' and my friend Captain Campbell of St. Andrews, now present, can, from an intimate acquaintance
with the honourable gentleman, bear testimony to his
thorough competency to form a correct opinion.
When the intending emigrant hears of the mellow
Italian softness of the chmate, the balmy fragrance of the
atmosphere, the serenity of the sky, and that the mere-
upturning of the plough is all that is wanted to convert
the whole territory into a fruitful garden, let him not
believe one word of it—it is all untrue. The country is
in reality a miserable one, adapted neither for grazing Vancouver's- island. 29
nor for corn. The larger portion is an inhospitable
wilderness, difficult of access, and inhabited only by
Indians, a few factors, and, with rare exceptions, the
rudest outcasts of society. The Attorney-General
of British Columbia, now of Vancouver's Island, has
characterised it as ' a barren and desolate land;' and it
cannot be said that he is wrong.
The mountains and hills in the interior are bold and
rugged, with many benches or terraces on their sides,
on which are found large boulders and fragments of
coarse-grained granite. The geological constitution of
the Eocky Mountains is very imperfectly known, but
granite and gneiss appear nearly throughout the entire
range. The Cascade Mountains are also chiefly composed of igneous rocks, and offer many indications of
recent eruptions, and much to lead to the supposition
that volcanoes still smoulder beneath. On one or two
occasions I have felt rather severe shocks while traversing this range. Gold is not the only valuable
metal in the country. Specimens of silver, copper,
and lead have been obtained, and also of iron, zinc,
and quicksilver. I have picked up several pieces of
almost pure copper. There are also various kinds of
stone, with coal, salt, and other minerals.
In British Columbia gold is usually found in mountain streams and rivers, and more abundantly towards
their sources, leading to the inference that vast wealth
is concealed in the bowels of the Eocky Mountains.
On the Fraser the river-claims are considered the
most valuable, because the gold-seeker looks to the
holes and crevices in the rocky bed of the stream for
the chief reward of his labour. To work dry diggings
successfully is expensive and toilsome, and none but
capitalists can venture to operate on an extensive scale. 30
Few of the discontented miners who return from the
Fraser Eiver mines deny that there is gold ; but in
many instances more money and labour are expended
to get it than it is worth, because of the want of means
of communication with, the diggings. All the passes
to these regions have been rendered extremely dangerous by the Indians, who plunder wayfarers with
impunity. Arrest is impossible, and the government
is unwilling to use force, fearing that it would lead to
a bloody and expensive war.
As may be supposed, the state of society at the
mines is low in the extreme, and life and property far
from secure. Night and day bands of murderous-
looking ruffians prowl about and commit the most
atrocious robberies. Indeed, no accounts of the discomfort and crime encountered at the gold-fields, however exaggerated, can come near the reality. No man
thinks of moving from his tent, by night or by day,
without every barrel of his revolver charged and ready
for use. He dare not lie down at night without a
deadly weapon at his side, and a companion on the
watch to guard him from murder and robbery; and
some have attached to their treasure-box dogs of the
fiercest description, to whom human blood is more
than palatable. Thus they work and watch, sleep and
hve, in constant dread of death.
The miner's employment is notoriously demoralising
much less certain than agriculture, and far less profit
able to the community at large. His day's earnings
are spent- as soon as got, and his recklessness is as great
as his cupidity. Many instances are narrated of his
folly. This no doubt arises from the precarious tenure
of his life, and the unexpected chances of his occupation.    Two parties of men may work with equal energy
within a few yards of each other, and go through the
same hardships and privations, and the one may get
twenty or thirty ounces a day, while the other may not
find a speck. It is in too many instances hke seeking
for silver spoons in a dusthole; there is nothing to
indicate where to work or when to leave off. I myself
knew a case in which a man, having dug for six weeks
in vain, and spent all his money in food, yielded in
despair, disheartened and penniless. A few hours afterwards a stranger tried the luckless hole, and, having
continued the excavation for a couple of days, was rewarded with 90/. worth of gold.
Yet these sums lose their importance when we learn
that the following was. the price of provisions at the
mines in the beginning of this year:—Flour 90c. per lb.
(nearly 4s.). Bacon $1 25c. per lb. (5s.). Beans 90c.
(nearly 4s.). Butter $3 25c. per lb. (or 13s.). Sugar
$1 50c. per lb. (6s.). Cheese #3 25c. per lb. (13s.).
Vegetables not to be had at any price. Candles $2 25c.
per lb. (9s.). Tobacco $4 per lb. (or 16s.). Truly at
such prices one would need to be a millionaire to keep
skin and bone together.
The waste of life, too, is extreme. The greater
number die prematurely through overtaxing their
powers ; and those who survive, if they, have acquired
wealth, have generally lost their health, and with it the
capability of enjoyment.
The gold-seeker is subject to numberless maladies.
Many a poor miner dies of consumption, contracted
through incessant toil and exposure. For months does
he painfully, but uncomplainingly, linger on, working
at intervals, until his sufferings become too great and
he sinks into the grave. Most begin in the full flush of
youthful health and hope : few harbour a thought that 32
their home is to be there, or that they will even make
a lengthened stay—none, perhaps, that they will there
find a last resting-place. Yet in the quiet httle spot on
the hill, where no sound of hammer or pick is heard
through the long day, gradually and surely the weary
wanderers from many lands are gathered, their struggle
with the world and fortune terminated for ever; their
hard luck, their rich strikes, the pulsations of hope or
the gloom of despair, which each in turn animated
their souls, ahke forgotten.
The following statistics of the produce of the mines
in British Columbia may be interesting: —
Produce of gold in 1858
.  $2,120,000
„ |       1859 . .     1,375,000
I I       1860 . .        950,000
(There are no authentic returns for 1861.)
It should be mentioned that the foregoing statement
has been made up from actual returns made by Wells,
Fargo, and Co., Freeman and Co., Ballow and Co.,
Macdonald and Co., local Bankers and Express Companies, and from the best information that could be
gained from miners and others.
Shipments of Californian Gold.
. $34,492,000
. $50,697,434
. 45,779,000
. 47,215,398
. 54,935,000
. 46,503,632
. 50,973,968
. 45,989,890
. 45,182,631
The yield of the Californian mines is now about
#50,000,000 annually —. upwards of 10,000,000/. It
is therefore a manifest exaggeration to say that the
British Columbian mines produce as much as those of
California : and if we look to Australia we find that the VANCOUVER'S  ISLAND. 33
two colonies of New South Wales and Victoria exported,
between May 1851 and June 1861, 25,081,468 ounces
of gold, the value being 96,399,844/.
To the student of natural history British Columbia
affords but a poor field : one may travel for days and
not see a hving thing. The buffalo, which furnishes
food and clothing to the Indian on the east of the Eocky
Mountains, has no place in the land. The principal
Quadrupeds are the black, brown, and grizzly bears ;
the panther, lynx, racoon, wild-cat, wolf, badger,
ermine, and marten; foxes of various kinds; bison,
red and moose deer; also beavers, otters, and other
amphibious animals. The seal is found on the coast,
and the ferocious walrus, often eighteen feet long, with
tusks three feet in length. Of the smaller animals, there
are skunks, mice, squirrels, and a singular kind of bush-
tailed rat.
The Deer are pursued by the savages with unrelenting barbarity. Even in spring* when starvation has
rendered them miserable skeletons, they are uselessly
butchered from mere love of bloodshed. The consequence is that they are disappearing from the woods
with wonderful rapidity, and have already become so
rare as to form household pets.
The Grizzly Bear is truly a dreadful enemy, and
many instances of his ferocity are on record. Three
men were out hunting, and unexpectedly roused a
grizzly, who instantly charged upon the party. Two of
the men were large and powerful, but, instead of using
their guns on the enemy, they sought safety in flight.
Their companion, though a small man, stood his ground,
and as the bear advanced he fired at him, wounding
him just  enough to add tenfold to his ferocity.    The
c 34
snow being deep, the man was soon buried in it, with
the monster, furious and open-mouthed, over him.
With great presence of mind he thrust his left hand
into the animal's mouth and grasped his tongue, holding it with the determination of despair, while he unsheathed his knife with his right. In making a thrust
at the bear, the point of the weapon struck the animal's
paw, broke off, and became useless. The tusks of the
infuriated monster had now met through the poor
man's arm, which fell helplessly from the brute's jaws
mangled and bleeding. The hunter then thought that
his only hope lay in counterfeiting death, which he
did, and fortunately succeeded in inducing the bear to
believe that he had won the victory. After licking the
blood from off his victim, the grizzly moved away some
distance, when he was attacked by a dog belonging to
the party ; but paying no attention to his canine enemy,
he again approached the man, who still lay motionless
in counterfeited death, and, having licked his face,
slowly retired. The two cowardly men, who had run
away and viewed the scene from a safe distance, now
came up to their half-dead companion, whom they
found greatly mutilated, with a part of his scalp torn
away. They carried him to a hut at a distance, where,
by careful attendance, he in a few weeks all but
entirely recovered from the horrible wounds he had
received. A strong party, armed to the teeth, went
early next morning in search of the grizzly, which,
being easily tracked by the spots of blood on the snow,
was soon discovered, and riddled with bullets.
Shortly before I left the territory, another encounter
occurred between a miner and a bear, upon which he
came suddenly in a small canon. He had dismounted
from his mule, his only chance of escape being  to VANCOUVER S  ISLAND. 35
chmb a tree, which he lost no time in doing. However, the grizzly soon followed him and seized him by
the leg. With the desperate strength only known in
danger, the miner had grasped a limb of the tree, and
held on with one hand whilst he fired at the bear with
the other. This caused the animal to let go the man's
leg, but not to give up the pursuit. Having paused
for a few moments to examine how matters stood, it
made another effort, and seized the rifle, dashing it
with violence to the ground. The miner kicked the
bear in the snout with his uninjured leg so violently
that she fell, turning a complete summersault. She now
gave vent to her fury on the man's hat, which lay at
the foot of the tree, tore it to shreds, and then coolly
retired. But alas! only to return when she could
make more sure of her victim. The miner descended,
thinking all danger over, when up came the bear
behind him, and, seizing him round the middle, pressed
him to death. The only witness of this sorrowful
scene was an unarmed pioneer, who unfortunately was
so panic-stricken that he did not venture in aid of the
poor miner.
The day foUowing, this homeless and friendless man
was committed to the earth in a spot selected for its
•quiet beauty and the security from desecration which
it promised. Thus departed the stranger miner, who
had come to these lands so recently, in the fullness of
hope and joy. The scene was beautiful and solemn,
the sky without a cloud, and the breeze, as it rustled
among the.leaves, brought refreshment to both soul
and body. I gazed upon the blue canopy, calm as the
unruffled ocean, beyond whose waveless azure lay the
beautiful fields of heaven, whither the immortal spirit
of the poor miner had gone to wander in eternal hap-
c 2 36
piness. But the sad narrative ends not here. A troop
of famishing wolves, in their midnight wanderings, discovered the newly turned sod, and, like hyenas of the
desert, rifled the tomb of its sacred trust, leaving the
dead man's bones stripped of the flesh, as a token of
their voracity.
The Musk Eat abounds, and is strictly aquatic ; its
stout tail, and its muscular hind legs provided with
broad feet and toes, furnish efficient means of locomotion in the water, while its thick fur protects it from
wet. It is a nocturnal animal, though often seen by
day; and it constructs its house in the water with
much skill. They also burrow in the bank, when
driven from their homes by the severity of the winter;
and these burrows, hke their houses, have the entrance invariably under water. Their skins once
formed a considerable item in the commerce of these
territories, but changes of fashion have caused the
trapping of them to fall off. The trappers and Indians
consider the tail roasted a great dehcacy. The Squirrel
also is abundant, and readily domesticated. A foolish
prejudice prevents many from eating them ; but I can
testify from experience that a young squirrel properly
cooked is a delicious morsel, and an old one is very
far from unpalatable. The skins are of httle or no
The birds of British Columbia are devoid of song.
A species of Grouse, rather larger than the Scottish, is
found there. His cry is hke that of an owl, and is
heard for three or four miles, guiding the creeping
savage to his victim, lie also makes a sort of bumping
noise with his wings, which can be heard nearly a mile
off, and resembles distant thunder. By imitating this
sound in the spring, the sportsman may shoot many a VANCOUVER S  ISLAND. 37
fine cock, who flies towards him, thinking it proceeds
from another of the same species. At a different season
they are hard to find, and one may travel the forest
for hours without being able to bag a single bird.
One other species of grouse and the drum partridge
complete the varieties of feathered game: these frequent the low and most sheltered grounds. There are
also a few blue jays, a species of lark, and a small
dusky brown bird, besides magpies, and two or three
kinds with very pretty plumage, such as the Mexican
woodpecker, which somewhat resembles a bullfinch.
Varieties of the eagle, falcon, and other ravenous birds
are met with ; and the wanderer may sometimes pick
up a solitary snipe, but these are migratory, and extremely rare. The surface of the dark mountain pool
is, at stated seasons, alive with water-fowl; and some
of the solitary marshes are frequented by a large
species of crane, which makes exceUent soup, but so
shy that I have stalked them for hours without success.
The coast abounds with aquatic birds in great
variety, such as swans, geese, ducks, guUs, and numerous others.
The Large-horned Owl may be met with everywhere;
aU-places are alike to it. At times it ghdes swiftly and
sUently near the earth, and faUs hke a bolt on its prey.
At other times it alights on a dead stump, and utters a
horrid shriek, which the wood echoes most dismaUy ;
and the traveUer turns off his track, fancying from the
gurgling noise which foUows, that some wretched man is
quitting the world with stifled groans. ' I have noticed in
the lofty mountains a large species measuring twenty-six
inches in length, with broad horns fuUy three inches
long, formed of fourteen feathers. It is when nature
is sunk in repose that this Nimrod of the feathered 38
tribes may be seen to most advantage, sailing in the
The White-headed Eagle may at all times be met
with on the lowlands by the sea-shore and on the
borders of rivers. From its loftiest elevation it perceives very minute objects on the ground, and darts
upon them with a loud rustling noise hke that occasioned by a violent gust of wind among the forest trees,
and with a rapidity which almost mocks the sight. It
is perfectly panic-stricken when surprised by man, and
is difficult of approach with a gun. I have seen one of
its nests which measured six feet in length, and eventually the same in depth, as it is added to every year.
A hissing snore, which may be heard a hundred yards
off, accompanies their sleep, and yet the crushing of a
twig awakens them.
The Bird of Liberty is often met with in the wUds of
British Columbia, and in no other country have I seen
finer specimens. Two of these magnificent creatures,
indisputably the grandest ever captured, were exhibited
in Victoria, and I shaU never forget the undaunted eye
of the noble animals as they looked on the inquisitive
bystanders. An enthusiastic mountaineer, who evidently entertained a fond affection for their race,
purchased them for two doUars and let them fly. I
should have been sorry to see them ignobly tamed and
skurrying about some back yard. It was weU to set
them free to battle for their prey among their native
The Condor is met with in the Pacific countries,
and is sometimes found to weigh over thirty pounds,
and to measure sixteen feet in stretch of wines.
The Black Eagle, which inhabits the ocean shores
and cliffs, is an extremely rare bird.    The plumage is Vancouver's island. 39
jet black, and the wings in some instances measure
thirty feet from tip to tip. It is very wUd, and difficult
to kill, except when gorged with food. Moreover, it
has the sense of smeU so acute, and the organ of hearing
7 D O
so perfect, that it wiU sniff the air for miles, and detect
the approach of man while still far distant.
Fish are caught upon the coast in extraordinary
variety and great abundance. Sturgeon of enormous
size are taken with the net, whUe salmon are taken with
the net and spear. Halibut, cod, bass, mackerel, perch,
flounder, skate, sole, carp, herrings, and eels—in short,
fish of almost all kinds—abound in incredible numbers ; as do also crabs, oysters, clams, cockles, and
other descriptions of sheU-fish. The salmon is reaUy
delicious, rich, and weU flavoured, equal to any we get
in England; whUst beautiful spotted trout of several
varieties, and of exceUent quahty, are plentiful in
every brook and stream in the country, but they
are shy of bait. Sardines also abound, and are fuUy
equal in flavour and size to those imported in the weU-
known tins.
In July the Salmon arrive in these regions in immense shoals; and so numerous are they that I have
often caught them by hand, or flung them out upon
the bank with a walking-stick. There are four varieties,
by no means of the same quahty, which arrive in rotation. One kind, the Hump-backed Salmon, deserves
notice, though ugly, soft, and flabby, and scarcely fit
to eat. The instinctive desire of these fish to reach
the upper waters is so strong that nothing can stop
them. The impetuous current is breasted, rapids are
passed, cascades leaped, the shallow waters are reached,
but stiU they press forward; while myriads are left
upon the strand, and die still struggling onwards.   The 40
fish on entering the river are in tolerably good order,
but after travelling up the stream a few hundred
mUes they become very lean and much injured.
None of these poor salmon ever return to the ocean,
but, having performed their natural duty, perish by
instinctive suicide, striving after they know not what.
In the foUowing spring the orphan fry descend to
the sea, where they are supposed to remain for four
years; after which they return on the track of their
forefathers to meet a similar fate. This seems a strange
dispensation; but were it not for this onward impulse
the country uninhabited, as these fish form
almost the only food of the Indians during the long
dreary winter season. Thousands upon thousands are
dried and stored away for future use.
Of Eeptiles and Insects there are but few, except
mosquitoes, which are intolerably numerous and virulent. There are a few harmless snakes and a few
lizards; but poisonous reptiles do not exist in this cold
wet climate.
British Columbia presents but a poor Flora: but.
what else could be expected in a region which so early
reaches the hne of eternal snow? In forcing a path
through the forest several varieties of campanula and
lupine may be seen, and two or three kinds of smaU
shrubs bearing dark-blue and light-red berries, which
are sweet and wholesome, and much sought after by
the natives. The strawberry, gooseberry, raspberry,
crab-apple, and cherry are met with on the more
sheltered slopes. The wUd rose, too, expands for a few
months in the blaze of day, but closes and droops in
the cold. The potato is universaUy cultivated; and
the camass, a smaU succulent root about the size of an
onion, is found in abundance, and stored for winter food Vancouver's island.
by the natives, who consider it a great delicacy. There
is also the Oregon grape, which grows on a low prickly
shrub, and is so sour as to be uneatable. The indigenous grasses are coarse, scant, and but httle nutritious.
There are swamp grasses of different kinds, nettles, and
wild clover; and the wUd timothy and bunch grasses,
which, although of coarse quahty, might, if abundant,
offer inducements to settlers to raise stock. In winter
the cattle have to be fed, as they cannot pick anything
during that season. Indeed, even throughout the
summer, we had to pack barley for our mules along
the 49th paraUel, there being scarcely a blade of grass
to feed them, which added enormously to the expenses
of the Boundary Commission.
The long list of furs and feathers, which form so
prominent a feature in the commerce of British Columbia, would naturaUy lead the lover of the chase to
fancy that he would find every description of animal
and bird in sufficient profusion to satiate his keenest
desires; but he would be disappointed. None but the
experienced native trapper and hunter can be successful.
He, with rifle and deer-skin pouch, penetrates the most
forlorn wastes, where httle is heard save the howling,
whining, and yelping of starved wolves and other
fierce beasts of prey; and alone can survive the hardships of these peregrinations. In the interior of the
country elk, deer, and bears of all kinds abound; with
wolves, foxes, beaver, otter, marten, and lynx, and also
grouse, geese, duck, and snipe. These, however, are
found only in places where it would be extremely
dangerous for a white man to travel. The bush has
been beat up and traversed by me for days, in the
vicinity of both Victoria and New Westminster, but
never by any chance have I had the good luck to 42
lio-ht unon game or animal of any kind; and not until
I had penetrated to the Cascade Mountain range did I
set eyes on a grizzly in his native wilds. Most of the
military and naval officers on duty in the colony have
perambulated the bush for days together, without
seeing a skin or a feather. They are universaUy ac-
knowledged to be crack sportsmen—indeed I happen
•to know that several of them are first-rate shots: and
yet I have seen them return to camp and ship, again
and again, chagrined and disappointed, loudly declaring that they never saw a tract less fruitful in
sport, and that they might as weU have left their guns
and rifles at home.    Commander Mayne, p. 368, says:
II have traveUed 600 nnles in British Columbia without seeing anything larger than grouse, or having the
chance of more than half a dozen shots at them.'
And at p. 407 : \ The absence of animal life has always
appeared to me remarkable.' The haunts of game are
only fuUy known to the aboriginal trapper: but let
the stranger beware of hiring one of these savages to
guide him, as there are many instances of their having
pfloted the unsuspecting sportsman for a short distance,
and then left him wandering away in the bush, until,
wearied and starved, he lay down to die, and be ruthlessly scalped by the first black fiend who tracked him
to his last resting-place.
I have now given you a faithful picture of British
Columbia such as it was when I left it. Since then I
have sedulously examined everything regarding it.
written or printed, that I could lay my hands upon,
and I have seen nothing to modify my opinions—no-
^J v w AA
thing to indicate the slightest improvement    But how
could there be any improvement ?   The climate cannot VANCOUVER'S  ISLAND. 43
change—the soU cannot change; many of the town and
suburban lots at New Westminster and elsewhere are
in the hands of jobbers, and the days of profitable
lumbering in these remote regions have not yet arrived.
Of the diggings I make no account. Health and peace
are not to be found there, where reckless men go with
their Uves in their hands, and risk a precarious existence for the slender chance of a speedy fortune. It is
only as a resting-place for our agricultural population—
a spot where the honest industrious husbandman may
hope to raise a happy homestead, and rear his famUy
in health and plenty, instead of vegetating in the penury
of an overstocked land—that a colony is worth a
thought; and British Columbia is certainly not one of
Vancouver's Island has the advantage of being
swept over by the winds of the west, and of being
protected from the cold winds of the north and east by
the mainland. The climate is therefore warmer, and
in many respects more agreeable, than that of British
Columbia. The island extends from 48° 17' to 50° 55'
north latitude, and from 123° 10' to 128° 30' west
longitude, and has an area of about 1,670 square miles,
or nearly one fourth of the size of England and Wales.
It is separated from the mainland by the Gulf of Georgia and Queen Charlotte's Sound, and is washed on the
remaining sides by the waters of the Pacific. North of
Queen Charlotte's Sound he Queen Charlotte's Islands,
a group of three, coUectively about one hundred and
forty-five miles in length by about fifty miles in breadth.
There are occasionaUy heavy faUs of snow, but it soon
melts away. The wild apple-trees are in full blossom
in June, and the native berries are ripe and abundant 44 BRITISH  COLUMBIA  AND
in July. The Flora is scanty, nevertheless. Its surface
is chiefly woodland, and it contains valuable coal-fields.
The soil, though rather light, is weU adapted to such
crops as are commonly raised in this country, and
many patches of good prairie-land are scattered' over
the island. There are no very high mountains; and
although dreary precipitous rocks characterise the
coast, there are several snug httle harbours indenting
the island, and happUy, too, penetrating some of the
most eligible sites for agricultural settlement. The
inland scenery is very fine, and presents many views
of surpassing grandeur and loveliness, reminding the
Scottish traveUer of his native land.
The most capacious harbour in the island is Esquimault. Its waters are smooth at aU seasons, and its
shores form natural wharves. It is weU sheltered, and
has good holding-ground, and the entrance is so easy
that the Great Eastern might go in at night. The
entrance to the harbour of Victoria, on the contrary, is
smaU, and contains several sunken rocks; and yet the
chief town was founded here, though Esquimault is but
three mUes distant. What is caUed the town of Esquimault consists of-half a dozen houses, three or four
grog-shops, two retail dealers, and a couple of stores ;
and yet there is httle doubt but it wiU, from its natural advantages, one day supplant Victoria. The inlets
from different sides sometimes approach each other
very closely, giving great facilities for internal traffic, if
such should ever exist. A jagged mountain ridge
divides the island from north to south, and indeed the
whole centre appears to be a mere mass of rock and
mountain, the httle available land lying in patches
along the coast, and being, withsmaU exception, densely
covered with timber trees.    The open iand, however,
though scanty, is in general good; but the forest land
would scarcely pay for the clearing.
The only town in the island is Victoria, which is
beautifuUy situated on undulating ground overlooking
the sea. The dwellings are buUt of wood ; but there
are a few brick stores, and one handsome stone structure, a branch of the Bank of British North America.
There are four churches, but they are devoid of architectural pretensions, and are never fiUed. One or two
government buudings, and a prison with the ceUs fully
tenanted, complete the cluster.
The entire colonial population amounts to about
5,000, and this includes British subjects, Mexicans,
Spaniards, French, Italians, citizens of the United
States, Chinese, and others. Of this number upwards
of 4,000 were concentrated in Victoria, which has
broughton appalling distress, owing to the impossibility
of obtaining employment of any kind. We learn from
the Weekly British Colonist of the 27th of January last
that many were absolutely starving from want of
food. In the same paper we find Governor Douglas
saying at a pubhc meeting caUed in aid of the Lancashire operatives : c I should not have appealed to your
benevolence this day in less urgent circumstances, for I
know the many caUs that have been made upon you
by. the hundreds of distressed persons who are now
resident in this colony, and who must still be dependent
on your bounty for their support.' The editor again
said : ' We regret to state that there are between one
and two hundred young men unemployed in the town,
and many of them, to our own knowledge, are suffering
the keenest privations in consequence.' The foUowing
extract from a letter addressed to the editor of the
Colonist speaks for itself:— 46
Victoria, V. I., November 25, 1862. —-I have seen and
conversed with at least 20 men per the Silistria, and from
them I find that they can get no work, and they likewise
inform me that the statement that 160 of their passengers
were employed upon public works, as appears in your issue
of this morning, is untrue. There are not above 50, if so
many. You may see men returning every day from the
Cedar Hill and Esquimault roads, who can get there no employment. The contractors wiU tell you the same tale. I
hope you will still keep our case prominently before the
We would direct the attention of the Immigration Committee to several female passengers by the Silistria, who we
understand are in much need of advice and shelter.—Editor,
I British Colonist.'
Victoria, Vancouver's Island, January 20, 1863.—
This country is an atrocious swindle. We who have arrived
from England by the ship Silistria cannot find anything to
do, not even the roughest manual labour. Many who have
no private means of subsistence are literally starving, and
women who left the good old mother country full of hope
and confidence have been obliged to adopt the most degrading of lives. A dreadful panic has come, and hundreds of
deluded individuals curse Mr. Donald Fraser of the London
Times for his entirely false statements. This special correspondent found the country too hot for him. To escape
* Lynching,' he hastily left for San Francisco in California,
where it is to be hoped for the good of mankind he may
reflect on the great evil he has done — on his very perilous
position — and keep his cruel wicked pen dry in future.
I got the foUowing information from a lady who has
just returned to England from Vancouver's Island :—
So great was the distress prevailing at Victoria when I
left, that numbers of persons were in a state of abject
wretchedness and want. Many women, too, who had been
assisted to leave England by misdirected philanthropy, have
alas ! fallen victims of misplaced confidence, and men may be
seen in hundreds patroling every inhabited spot in search of VANCOUVER S  ISLAND. 47
food. Work there is none, and bread there is but little without money; and the poor deluded immigrants have long since
spent their little means in purchasing this common necessary
of life. The British consul at Panama was very constantly
applied to by returning emigrants from British Columbia and
Vancouver's Island, imploring pecuniary aid to enable them
to continue their course to their old homes, and thirty of these
miserable disappointed persons arrived at Panama by the last
steamer from the Fraser.
We find the editor of the British Colonist makino" a
powerful appeal in his paper of tie 2nd of February
last, on behalf of whole bands | of young men who are
now wandering about idle, and suffering severe privation—who are starving from the fact of not being
able to get something to do to earn a living.' There
can be no doubt that matters are in an awful state
when the l<5cal journal, whose interest it is to conceal
such deplorable results, says half this much.
The aborigines number about 15,000. These form
a source of constant terror to the widely scattered
colonists; and no wonder, for they are a truculent and
treacherous race, quick in revenge, and caring httle on
whom they wreak their vengeance. The butcheries
going on among the tribes are increasing. But the
other day, two of the Stickeens travelling between
Esquimault and Victoria, with their women, were shot
down by the Haidahs from the bush ; and this at six
o'clock in the evening, and in the presence of a number
of white people who were passing at the moment. A
short time ago the people of Victoria were in great
fear from an expected immigration of vast numbers of
the Northern Indians. Several canoes reported that
Skedigate, the most powerful chief in the island, was
on his way down with a large body of savages. It
was also stated that 1,000 canoes full of Indians, num- 48 BRITISH  COLUMBIA AND
bering perhaps 8,000 or 10,000, were on their way to
Victoria. Every man was counselled to arm himself,
not because an attack was expected, but because a
drunken brawl might terminate in serious consequences.
This is the natural result of supplying the Indians with
arms, ammunition, and whisky. On several occasions
they have committed murders and other desperate out-
rao-es, which the government was either too supine or
too weak to chastise. The opinion of weU-informed
men is that they should be taught that they are the
weaker party, and that coming into collision with red
and blue coats is no trifling affair. No doubt an Indian
war is a thing to be dreaded; but it is very evident
that the longer the natives are temporised with, the
worse they wiU become. It is therefore better to
do now what must be done some day, and make a
severe example of them once for all.
The tribes which occupy Vancouver's Island are
caUed Nootka-Columbians. Though shorter than the
northern tribes, they are more muscular, and their complexion is more of a copper colour. They are lazier
and filthier than the Haidah tribes, and the legs of the
f. o
women are crooked, and of almost uniform thickness
from the ankle to the knee. The practice of flattening
the head is universal, and the method is very simple.
As soon as the chfld is born it is placed in a trough
scooped out of a log, flat at the bottom, and raised
where the nape of the neck rests. A flat stone is then
placed on the forehead, and is kept in its place by
means of twisted bark or other fastening tiU the chUd
is able to walk. Chiefs and free men alone possess the
privilege of thus disfiguring their offspring.
Before quitting the subject I may as weU mention a
touching instance of parental affection which occurred VANCOUVER'S  ISLAND. 49
here. An old Indian and his wife were seen bitterly
weeping in front of the prison at Victoria. When
asked the cause of their distress, they said that they
were crying for their son who was sick in prison, his
ailment being a spitting of blood. On being told that
they might see him in the court-house, they instantly
arose and went thither.    The scene was very affecting.
The weather-beaten and worn-out old warrior bent
over his unfortunate boy, his breast heaving with
sorrow, and streams rolling down his furrowed cheeks.
The sight quickly reached the lad's heart; he hid his
face and poured out a flood of tears. He was sentenced to twenty days' hard labour. In the afternoon
of the same day, the old man, his wife, and a middle-
aged Indian stood before the magistrate's house.    The
o O
father's plea was : ' Our hearts are filled with trouble
for our son. We cannot cease to weep continuaUy.
We cannot sleep. Our son is spitting blood. He wUl
die in prison. He cannot work.' The old man then
petitioned, pointing to his equaUy anxious friend: ' Let
this man take the place of our boy in prison. He is
strong. He can work. Our son wiU die.' The proposed
substitute then entreated that he might suffer instead of
the boy, asserting his own willingness and power to
work, and the boy's inability. It need scarcely be added
that the worthy magistrate commuted the sentence to a
few days' confinement without hard labour.
Victoria is by no means a desirable place of residence ; the population has been gathered from the ends
of the earth, and is accordingly of a very heterogeneous
character. There is no society for ladies, nor indeed
for cultivated persons of any description. Time wiU
doubtless alter aU this ; but at present the town, is, like
all towns near the gold mines, a perfect Babel.
D 50
Building and speculation occupy everybody in
Victoria, and very httle attention is bestowed on
agriculture — a sufficient proof of which is found in
the facts that the whole agricultural produce of the
country would not meet the demand of the capital for
one month in the year; and that (as Mr. Maclure,
delegate from Vancouver's Island, stated at the pubhc
meeting convened by the British North-American
Association, and held at the London Tavern on the
21st of January last) 'for mUes round Victoria the
land lay in a primitive condition, in the hands of
speculators, and, as far as the eye could range, there
was nothing like cultivation discernible.' *
There are extensive and valuable coal-fields at
Nanaimo, and a company has been formed for working
them, with every prospect of success. There are two
seams, one of which is in all parts about 6 feet in thickness ; the other averaging 3i to 4 feet.    The existence
* In proof of this statement I have extracted from the British
Colonist of January 13, 1863, the following ' Black List,' which
shows that large tracts of land were preempted in 1858 and 1859 by
landsharks and speculators who never intended to pay, hut simply to
get the land allotted to them in the hope of inducing new arrivals to
purchase at a price much enhanced. That they have failed to get
rid of these lands, and that such extensive ranges are still in the
market, speak volumes against the alleged prosperity of a colony,
which is, I am sorry to say, kept in existence hy borrowed capital,
and had on the 31st of December, 1862, a balance in the treasury
of but 663Z. 14s. 10d.
'Public Notice. — All persons holding land in any of the surveyed districts are notified that, unless the instalments due by them
are paid into the Land Office on or before the 1st day of February
next, such lands will on that day be forfeited and resold at pubhc
auction on the 2nd day of February, 1863. The sections of land in
respect of which instalments are due are stated in the schedule
hereto, with the names of the persons who are believed to be the VANCOUVER S  ISLAND.
of coal on the Pacific coast, of quahty fit for steamers,
is of great   commercial  importance ;  and  that from
owners.—J. Despard Pemberton, Surveyor General, Office of Lands
and Works, 2nd January, 1863.
Amount of Instalments, exclusive of Interest, due on Lands sold
previous to October 31, 1862.
Supposed Owner
Amount due
£    s. d.
IaV,   IaYI
P. Merriman.
64 16 8
J. and C Deans
22    0 0
Ditto     .
41    0 0
J. W. McKay
210    0 0
iaXxvm. Lxxrx
Robt. Anderson
90    0 0
P. Merriman.
37    7 0
W. R. Parson
7 10 0
O. Dutnall    .
10    0 0
xxxiy, cn
D. Cameron .
67 10 0
J. G-reig
6    0 0
P. W. Wallace
25    8 0
J. Simpson   .
9 10 0
W. Reid
13 12 6
G-. McKenzie
14 10 0
ixvn, iaXvm
W. Hunt
12    0 0
A. Peatt
48 10 0
H. Richards .
24 15 0
A. Peatt
25    0 0
M. Cary
4 10 0
G. R. Lawrence
18 15 0
C. Taylor
51 15 0
J. McGregor .
75 10 0
E. Vine
41    0 0
R. Weir
20    0 0
R. Weir
68    0 0
IalV,     LV
A. J. Chambers
90 18 4
L. Lowenberg
39 10 7
i, n, m
J. Muir.
250    5 0
v, vn
Michael Muir
39 12 6
Archd. Muir .
75    0 0
xxvn, xxtih,
\f. W. Hutchingson     .
72    7 6±
D. McTavish
92    2 9
R. Smith
22 19 2
Mason and Balls
30    0 0
R. Porter
8    0 0
W. Pook
75    0 0
S. Ricketts    .
75    0 0
J. Hovie
0 17 3
xxxn, xxxm
D. B. Ring   .
40    5 0
Ditto    .
37 10 0
J. J. Skinner
181 10 0 52
Nanaimo is admitted to be the best in the market.
"The village of Nanaimo is very picturesquely situated
of Instalments, fyc.—continued
District                Range
Section                      Supposed Owner
Amount due
W. Hillier    .
£4: 18 3
D. B. Ring   .
26    7 6
IaXI,    IaXXI
E. Lewis
93 10 0
S. Franklin   .
49    0 0
xcvi, xcvn
J. M. Yates .
188 10 0
J. Stevens
25    0 0
xmi, xxvn
H. Smith
49    0 0
N. Saanich
1 W
16, 17, 18
A. C. Anderson
131    3 0
3 W
21, 22
I John Miles (Executors)
53    5 0
13, 14, 15
Thos. Lowe   .
73 10 0
1 W
J. N. Thain .
24 10 0
S. Franklin   .
24 15 0
E. Green
36 10 0
S. Saanich -
11, 12, 5
>D. Fraser   .
85 10 0
N. Saanich <
3 E
m   1
13, 14
J. Irving
79 10 0
1 W
Thos. Lowe  .
13    5 0
1 2 3 W
Mark Coles (Thos. Harris)
128    5 0
S. Saanich
1 W '
5, 6
W. Thomson
49    0 0
A. McPhale .
16 17 6
i i
11, 12, 13
1 W
11, 12, 13
LW. G. Smith
122 11 3
2 W
11, 12
D. Lydgate   .
12 15 0
Mary Rothwell (Trustees)
24 10 0
1 W, 2W
3 W
>W. Simson .
J                                      i
56 10 0
1 E
9, 10
Geo. Deeks   .
98    0 0
9, 10, 11
G. Richardson
73 10 0
M. Tuite
24 10 0
J. Fronten
24 10 0
Ed. Scott
24 10 0
5, 6
W. A. Mouett
49    5 0
9, 10
J. I. A. Chambers.
98    0 0
4, 5
L. Trudell     .
49    0 0
Gough and Baker .
49    0 0
0. Sabiston   .        .
21 15 0
G. Baker
46    0 0
3, 4, 5
W. Isberter and A. G.
44 15 0
J. Randal and J. Sage .
31 10 0
E. Gough and J. Biggs .
5    5 0
E. Gough
50 10 0
G. St. George
on the north shore of an exceUent harbour, on the
east coast of the island, backed by a range of hills
some 3,000 feet high. It is a well-sheltered port
having a good entrance from the Gulf of Georgia, and
another from the south, which however is very narrow.
The village itself consists of from fifty to sixty houses,
with steam-engines, tramways, and piers ; and salmon
abound in the river and harbour.
Almost all the cattle consumed in Victoria, and
shipped thence to the mainland, come from Oregon
and Washington territory. Indeed it is doubtful whether the island will ever be able to produce enough
for its own consumption. It is questionable whether,
with all its advantages, corn could be grown exten-
sively. Potatoes are largely planted by the natives,
of whose food they form a very considerable portion;
•but here its farming capabilities end. According to
Dr. Eattray of the Eoyal Navy, p. 57 of his book,
i Neither the geological structure, nor the general topographical features of Vancouver's Island, adapt it for
developement as an agricultural or pastoral colony.'
Again, p. 162 : S The hilly nature of the island and its
scanty soil preclude the possibility of extensive farming ; its available land is hmited, and only adapted for
farming on a smaU scale.' The Doctor's statements in
reference to British Columbia are worthless, as he
never traversed that colony.
Then we have the official report of a journey across
Vancouver's Island by Lieut. Philip James Hawkins,
E.N., to Captain Eichards, as it appears in the Weekly
Colonist of December 16, 1862 :—' We saw no perfectly clear land anywhere. . . I observed 300 acres
of very good, quite park-like, land, not very thickly
wooded, and covered with fern.    This was the first
m 54
and only piece of good land, available for agricultural purposes, I saw.' Three hundred acres! Why,
not more than would make an isolated httle farm. Yet
the i special correspondent' of the Times assures us that
there are thousands upon thousands of arable acres,
which Lieut. Hawkins has never seen and does not
beheve to exist!
From the abundance and variety of fish in the surrounding seas, and from its numerous harbours, extensive and lucrative fisheries might be established; and
the export of coals would form an important element
of prosperity. Ship-building, too, for which, from its
numerous inlets and fine timber, it seems to be especially adapted, might be profitably carried on. But
these are matters, not for poor settlers, but for wealthy
capitalists, who will hve at home in England and work
them by means of agents.
Commander Mayne says, p. 408 : ' The great set-off
that Vancouver's Island has against the gold of British
Columbia is her timber; for, though timber abounds
in British Columbia, we came upon no place there
where such fine spars were to be found, and with such
facilities for shipping, as at Barclay Sound and the
neighbourhood of Fort Rupert.'
There is no opening for small farmers, the labour
market is overstocked, and mechanics are at a discount : for not one of those classes, in short—the
amelioration of whose miserable lot is the dearest aim
of the philanthropist—is there the slightest chance in
Vancouver's Island, any more than in the inhospitable
neighbouring region of British Columbia, where the
entire white population has dwindled down to 6,000
r 7,000, upwards of 10,000 having already left the
country. Indeed, the Hon. Malcolm Cameron, member of the Canadian Parliament, and delegate from
British Columbia, while urging, on the 21st of January last, at the pubhc meeting at the London Tavern,
the importance of enabling people to reach the colony
cheaply, admitted that 'it was not the place for the
man who had no money to go to, for without money
he could not stay there ;' and that 'it was a melancholy
fact that there were a large number of persons unemployed in Victoria, who hardly knew how to pass the
Beheving, as I do, that one fact is worth a thousand
unsupported assertions, I give the foUowing official
statement of the revenue of Vancouver's Island :—
Auditor's Report. Abstract of the Revenue, &c, received
during the year 1862. — Real estate tax, 6683/. lis. lid.;
Land sales, 3,050/. 7s. lid!.; Land revenue, 92/. 4s. Id.;
Liquor licenses, 3,653/. 5s.; Trading licenses, 2,840/. 10s.;
Victoria Street tax (arrears), 64/. 13s. 8d.; Harbour dues,
3,428Z. 2s. lOd ; Postages, 448/, 7s. 4d; Fines, forfeitures,
and fees of court, 1,6501. 5s.; Fees of office, 5061. 6s. 9c/.;
Reimbursements in aid of expenses, 237/. 16s. lid.; Miscellaneous receipts, 351. 3s. 2d.; Rent, 1151. 7s. 9d.; Deposits,
10/. 2s.; Light-houses, 978/. 8s. 9c/.; Interest, 82/. 3s. IOcZ, :
Loans in aid of revenue, 13,060/. 10s. 6cZ.; G-. T. Gordon's
defalcations, 289/. 14s. 10c/.—Total, 37,087/. 3s. 3c/. Advances accounted for, 8,745/. 14s. Id.
From the above it is evident to anyone familiar with
the revenues of young colonies, that when the Liquor
licenses exceed in amount the returns from the sale of
pubhc lands, the colony must be in a very rotten condition. Moreover, it is certainly most discouraging to
gather from this Government Eeport that the entire 56
proceeds of the sale of Crown lands for 1862 amount
to the paltry sum of 3,050/. only, notwithstanding the
immigration of that year ; and that the land tax figures
at 6,683, more than double the land sales. An important fact should also be noticed, that a loan of 13,000/.
has been classed as revenue, which is faUacious ; the
net revenue being but 24,000/. So that after paying the
meagre salaries of officials, there are not 10,000/. left
to meet the cost of the conveyance of maUs ; the construction of roads, pubhc buildings, and works; and the
usual demands on a colonial treasury. It is therefore
quite plain that if the borrowing system be extended
the colony must succumb and bankruptcy foUow.
I have now, Ladies and Gentlemen, endeavoured to
give you a just idea of these much vaunted colonies.
It is widely different from what you have received
from others, but it is nevertheless true. I have no
interest to serve but those of humanity: no feelings to
gratify, but such as must animate the breast of everyone who sees hard-working men drawn to their ruin
with all to lure and none to save. It is hard to attribute dishonest motives to any man, and some have put
forth misstatements who ought to be above suspicion :
but it requires the experience of a practical farmer to
form a correct estimate of the value of sods, and it
requires a lengthened residence, and extensive travel
through a country, to enable even the farmer, with all
his experience, to give an opinion at all. Now, none
of the gentlemen who have put forth such glowing
statements are possessed of either of these qualifications.
They appear to have visited the colonies at the most
favourable season, and to have rehed for the rest upon VANCOUVER'S  ISLAND. 57
the reports of residents—men, perhaps, who had spent
their whole lives in these regions, and had come to
think that extreme heat in summer and intense cold
in winter, varied by alternations of snow and rain and
sleet and fogs for eight months in the year, formed the
natural and universal course of the seasons. In no
other way can I account for the boldness with which
assertions have been made which a few months' residence must scatter to the winds. But there are men
who deserve no such merciful consideration—harpies
whenever meant to dweU in the colony—who invested
their capital in buying up aU the best aUotments in
order to reseU them at advanced prices to the real
settlers. They now find they have made a bad speculation, and are eager to dispose of their land; but
customers are not there, and they neither stick at any
falsehood to induce them to come, nor care what
becomes of them after they have fleeced them. These
are the parents of the jugghng paragraphs which appear
from time to time in the newspapers, and the no less
iuggling letters ; these are they who ruin colonies and
colonists; and it is in the hope of keeping the emigrant
out of their clutches that I have raised my voice, and
shall continue to raise it, as long as I think I can be of
any the poor feUows who have to fight this
world's hard battle with scanty means.   ,
I earnestly trust that no one will suppose that I am
adverse to emigration. It is indeed a lesson taught us
by nature herself. In the first year of their wonderful
existence the young ants are provided with wings, in
order to enable them to remove far from their parent
nest. The bees throw off their annual swarms, which
quit the hive or hoUow tree in which they have been 58 BRITISH  COLUMBIA AND
nurtured to seek for honey in other fields. £hese
fields are the Canadas, the Australias, the New Zea-
lands, and the Natals of their world—certainly not the
If I have at aU succeeded in conveying a knowledge
of the true character of these colonies, you wiU see
the absurdity of wasting a moment on the means of
arriving at them. It wiU be enough to say that the
ways are two. One a hazardous and tedious voyage
of five or six months round the stormy southern Cape,
and thus through the snows and fogs of the south
reaching the snows and fogs of the north. The other
by the Isthmus of Panama, considerably shorter, but
subject to detention in a sickly climate, with the chances
of yeUow fever. There is, indeed, through New York,
a third and better way to the shores of the Pacific, but
it is more expensive. In any case the cost is too great,
and the journey too dangerous to be undertaken by a
fannly. If Eden were at the end of it, it would be
another matter; but such a goal I A land in which
the only hope that sustains the emigrant is the hope of
leaving it! Even my friend, Mr. Fraser, the special
correspondent of the Times, has left the country and
taken up his residence in California; doubtless regretting the day that he set sad for the inhospitable
regions in which he had been so greatly deceived.
But why trouble ourselves about these dependencies
and their approaches, when other and more accessible
and far better invite us? There is Canada with her
clear bracing winters, frosty but kindly; long, it is true,
but joyous. There are Austraha and New Zealand in
the distance, with genial chmate and fruitful soil; and
there is Natal nearer home.    In. all these countries an VANCOUVER S  ISLAND. 59
industrious man may arrive at independence, certainly
at comfort — enjoying life whole he toils ; and, in all,
failure is the exception. When South Africa is fuU,
when New Zealand is overstocked, when Australia has
not room for another inhabitant, then may Enghshmen
turn their eyes to the inhospitable wilds of Northwestern America.
And so we bid adieu to British Columbia and Vancouver's Island.
One Vol. 8vo. with a Comprehensive Map, price 12*.
By D. G-. F. MACDONALD, C.E., M.R.S.L., F.B GhS., J.P., Ac.
(Late of the Government Survey Staff of British Columbia, and of the International Boundary
Line of North America), Author of ' What the Farmers may Do with the Land,
'TheParis Exhibition,'' Decimal Coinage,' &c.
' This work deserves attention.    It possesses interesting information, clear arrangement, and occasional warmth of description.' Invergordon Times.
' This is in every respect a most important work, and deserves the serious consideration of the Government and the country.' Observer.
'A very able, praiseworthy, and interesting work—boldly written—tingling of
truth throughout—and one that will doubtless be read with much avidity.'
I Mr. Macdonald writes down the land as one almost accursed by nature.'
' In short, there is information for all who desire to know anything about the
colony, but more especially for those who contemplate emigrating to that district.'
Liverpool Mercury.
IA most startling book, after the glowing articles which have issued from the
press.' Guardian.
' We have no reason to believe Mr. Macdonald other than an unprejudiced reporter
of what he heard and saw in the much-vaunted colony.' Critic.
4 An important and remarkable publication, which warns our countrymen from
rushing hoodwinked on their ruin.' Mirror.
' Whoever may be disposed to go on a venture to British Columbia can never say
that they were misled by Mr. Macdonald.' Bell's Weekly Messenger.
' This handsome volume cannot fail to interest all who have friends in the colony.
 The general account is dreary enough, except for those who are burning with the
aura sacra fames.' Era.
'This is an excellent literary production, affording much valuable information. In
the face of Mr. Macdonald's statements, it is surely a doubtful benevolence that ships
off poor governesses and seamstresses to this distant colony.' Albion.
' Of Vancouver's Island the author speaks in more favourable terms, and with
California he is in raptures Cannot do better than consult Mr. Macdonald's
hook.' Weekly Dispatch.
j The statements with which this book abounds are extremely important, inasmuch
os they present the strongest possible contrast to the popular belief on the subject in
this country. His appreciation of natural scenery is keen, and his descriptions are
vigorous and life-like.' London Review.
j Mr. Macdonald's practical knowledge of agriculture—his education, profession,
and experience—give a weight and importance to his opinions in respect to tne
productiveness or sterility of a country which members of other professions cannot
expect to command.' Spectator.
* This handsome volume will take its place as the best book published on the subject.
11 abounds with information on every topic in connection with the country, and
deserves the attention of every one.'
Kentish Chronicle. British Columbia and Vancouver's Island.
' This handsome volume, from the pen of a talented and distinguished countryman,
awakens interest alike from the importance of the subject and the thorough fidelity
with which it is treated. We unhesitatingly aver that no volume on a kindred
subject has ever issued from the press presenting a better prima facie claim to
implicit reliance. Mr. Macdonald obviously aims at a truthful and unvarnished statement of facts.' Northern Ensign.
I Mr. Macdonald furnishes a great deal of interesting information regarding tho
Indian tribes of British Columbia, the natural history and botany of the country, and
has made up altogether a goodly volume of facts, hints, and theories.'
Inverness Courier.
' This work demands the serious attention of every one intending to emigrate to
British Columbia or Vancouver's Island—of every one who would desire information
respecting those regions We are, moreover, disposed to believe Mr. Macdonald
writes in perfect good faith, and has no inducement to advance statements unwarranted by facts or opinions not well grounded. We regard the work as a most
valuable one.' The Eield.
' The geology, botany, and natural history of British Columbia are interestingly
discussed, to which are added numerous sketches of the aboriginal inhabitants, with
their habits of life and religious observances.    We specially recommend the volume.'
Edinburgh Witness.
* The fact of this work having reached a second edition in a comparatively short
period, indicates its claim to be considered of standard excellence, which it undoubtedly is.' Morning Advertiser.
c His book is practical, sensible, and well-informed on local matters.'
c This book contains ample details concerning the geography, natural history, and
productions of British Columbia—and to the author undoubtedly belongs the merit
of having written a large and interesting work upon a very important subject.'   Star.
'His description of the festive entertainments of the Red Indians are highly
amusing, and his hints to emigrants are most valuable. We cordially recommend the
volume as the work of an accomplished scholar, and an honest, truth-telling man.'
Morning Herald.
' Mr. Macdonald paints the country as a great barren ice-bound hungry waste.  No
doubt British Columbia is very severe in the winter season.    Cox's " Columbia River,"
Washington Irving's " Astoria," and various other books, go to prove this.'
The Englishman—' Atlas?
' The work commands respect, for it is well written and reliable.'
Manchester Courier.
' This instructive volume has been most opportunely published by a gentleman
worthy of all trust, and whose scientific attainments are varied and profound.'
' Undoubtedly the best work on the subject—full of interest, pith, and power.'
'So thorough a handling of the subject is a most valuable contribution to our
colonial literature.' Express.
' We earnestly recommend the book, which is full of interest and replete with
information.' Illustrated London News.
'We heartily welcome this volume, as hitherto all accounts have been couleur
de rose? DlAI"
* This is positively a remarkable, able, and truthful work, which should put writers
of fiction to the blush.    It verifies the old saying—magna est Veritas et pravalebit.'
' The most wretched and miserable country under the sun.    What we heard of it
in England was a gross fabrication of infamous lies concocted by interested persons.'
6 Star, Nov. 4,1862. British Columbia and Vancouver's Island.
' I have now read your book from end to end, and I can state very frankly, from
my personal knowledge of British Columbia, as well as from deductions formed from
accounts communicated to me by many persons who have traversed the country since
1853, that I give full confirmation to all you have said respecting the climate, soil,
and physical aspect of the colony.'
A Resident eor nearly Ten Tears.—Vide Standard, Nov. 6,1862.
' We cordially commend this volume as a most striking, comprehensive, and powerful
work of incalculable value to intending emigrants.' Sentinel.
'But the illusion of a Utopia is roughly Mr. Macdonald, who has
written with a bold and vigorous pen and in an agreeable style.'
Parthenon and Literary Gazette.
' Lord Bacon saith truly, there are three things which make a nation great and
prosperous—a fertile soil, busy workshops, and easy conveyance for man and commodities from one place to another; but these essentials are, according to our author,
altogether wanting in British Columbia.' Banner.
' This is a very able and useful work, scholarly and trustworthy, setting forth the
truth in a bold and fascinating style, blending information and entertainment agreeably
and successfully.   The work is altogether most attractive.' Warder.
' The author of this disenchantment tells us that British Columbia is a miserable
country—that it wants fine land, prairie, and climate.' Post.
' These are true statements, and no blame can be strong enough to be applied to
those who have ignorantly, carelessly, or wilfully misled, or have furbished up old
woodcuts, and dished up glowing paragraphs, to lead many families into misery, famine,
and death.' Family Herald.
Sir—The Editor of the Times having refused to insert the subjoined correspondence
in that journal, perhaps you will do me the favour to publish it in your journal.—
I am, &c. D. G. E. Macdonald.
18 Parliament Street, Nov. 5.
Sir—At a time when the whole country is perplexed by the contradictory statements which have appeared in books, pamphlets, and newspapers relative to British
Columbia and Vancouver's Island, you will not, I hope, hesitate to publish the
following correspondence in the Times.
Your readers will no doubt peruse Mr. Langford's letter with deep interest, and
attach importance to the opinions of a gentleman who has been engaged in extensive
farming operations in Vancouver's Island for upwards of nine years, and who had
been for many years, and until his departure from the colony in 1861, Chairman of the
Bench of Magistrates.—I am, sir, yours obediently,
D. G. E. Macdonald.
18 Parliament Street, Nov. 4.
London, Oct. 23, 1862.
Dear Sir—Seeing that you have returned to England, and that conflicting accounts
are disseminated day after day in this country respecting the climate, pastoral and
agricultural capabilities of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island, and that my
writings relative to these dependencies have been impugned, I am induced to solicit British Columbia and Vancouver's Island.
the favour of your kindly giving me your written opinion as to whether the book in
question (published by Messrs. Longman & Co., a copy of which I send to you) contains truth or exaggerated statements.
It can hardly be doubted that the sentiments of a gentleman so eminently qualified
as you are to give an opinion on a subject of such moment to the emigrating population of this country will be received by the pubhc with favour and thankfulness.
I am, dear sirx yours faithfully,
D. G. E. Macdonald, CE.
Late of the Government Survey Staff of British Columbia.
E. E. Langford, Esq., J.P., &c.
London, Nov. 4, 1862.
Dear Sir—I feel that I cannot well refuse to answer your letter of the 23rd ult.,
to which I would have rephed earlier had I not wished, before doing so, to have
perused your work on British Columbia and Vancouver's Island with care and
I have now read your book from end to end, and I can state very frankly, from my
personal knowledge of British Columbia, as well as from deductions formed from
accounts communicated to me by many persons who have traversed the country since
1858, that I give full confirmation to all you have said respecting the climate, soil,
and physical aspect of the colony.
As true as there is an extensive auriferous tract in British Columbia, equally true
is it that that territory can never become either agriculturally or pastorally a rich and
great province.
It is nothing short of reckless assertion to say that ' prairies' exist in these dependencies, from which winter provender might be easily procured. It is a matter of
notoriety on the Pacific coast' that the very pack-trains to the Columbian mines have
to carry Californian barley at an enormous cost, to keep skin and bone of horse and
mule together.
You are correct in stating that British Columbia wants fine land, prairie, and
genial climate, and that the country is neither adapted for cattle nor suited to cereals.
This is, indeed, the only conclusion that an experienced agriculturist could possibly
arrive at.
You have very justly drawn a more favourable picture of Vancouver's Island, which
possesses natural advantages not common to the sister colony. In climate and soil—
particularly the former—Vancouver's Island is much superior. But its agricultural
and pastoral capabilities have also been very greatly exaggerated by interested newspaper correspondents and other writers. There is, indeed, every reason to fear that
many of the emigrants of this country, who have been misled by flattering accounts,
and who have arrived on those distant shores with slender means at this inclement
season will be exposed to severe privation and possibly to actual want.
I would venture to draw your attention to what I presume is a typographical error
in your book, where you allude to the climate of Vancouver's Island. It should be
27° below freezing point, not zero. This is the only error which I have observed in
its many pages. I am quite aware, however, that the cold is very much more severe
in British Columbia.
You are welcome to make any use you please of this communication. It may
probably assist in dispelling the many erroneous impressions which prevail in England
as to the nature of the country, climate, and resources of these colonies, and in supporting what you have so clearly and forcibly expressed in your most valuable work.
I am, dear sir, faithfully yours,
Edward E. Langford,
A Resident for nearly Ten Years.
D. G. E. Macdonald, Esq., C.E., &c.
London: LONGMAN, GREEN, & CO. 14 Ludgate Hill. SECOND   EDITION.
' A sounder, better argued, or more thoroughly sensible practical pamphlet is not
often met with. Mr- Macdonald belongs to the go-ahead class of agriculturists, and
sees nothing in store for the farmer but prosperity, if he only goes the right way to
extract it from the land. The superior economy and efficiency, of the Scottish system
of agriculture is practically demonstrated from a variety of details, stated with great
clearness and much method of arrangement. Altogether, the pamphlet is one calculated
to do good and set the farmers thinking, and we hope that its rural circulation may
prove equal to its merits ' Atlas.
' A pamphlet abounding with information, such as cannot fail to recommend itself.'
' This is an excellent practical and well-timed pamphlet, stimulating the English
agriculturists to improvement. Mr. Macdonald writes like a man in earnest, and one
who is practically acquainted with the subject, and we hope that his pamphlet will be
well circulated among the far niente bucolic interest.' Morning Chronicle.
'Mr. Macdonald appeals to the English farmers to apply the most improved
Scottish system of cultivation to their lands; reminds them that the barren north
produces on an average—thanks to enterprise and skill—more than a third more corn
per acre than the genial south ; and reads our sluggishly-moving English friends a
sound lecture on their tendencies to retrograde rather than to go a-head—filling his
pamphlet with hard-hitting facts and excellent and sensible practical details.'
Inverness Courier,
'Of all the pamphlets which have recently been'published on agricultural improvements, none of them contain, more practical information in such small compass.'
Northern Ensign.
'It is a most sensible pamphlet—we would cordially recommend it.'      Examiner.
' If one of the greatest elements of success consists in speaking to the times, and
speaking in language not to be mistaken, then we say this pamphlet must obtain a
wide circulation, and be the means of doing a vast amount of good.'       Observer.
' Its pages convey a vivid and correct picture of the present state of agriculture.
The hints are most valuable.' Guardian.
' We recommend this pamphlet to our agricultural friends. It is the work of a
practical man, not a mere theorist.' Gloucester Journal.
' This work is clearly and concisely written, and is certainly by a master in farming.
It should be perused not only by the landed proprietors and farmers of England but
by every one who is in any way connected with the occupancy and cultivation of the
soil.' The Weekly Dispatch.
'A very able pamphlet.'—The Right Hon. Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, Bart., M.P. -
ADAMS, 9 Parliament Street. ^
Alaskan Boundary Question
Author of the History of British Columbia.
Re-printed from the June, July and   August   numbers  of the
British Columbia Mining Record for the year lqoo.
In writing a "review" of the Alaskan Boundary question,
it will be necessary, in order to arrive at an intelligent view of
the subject, to take a retrospective glance at the circumstances
connected with the passing of the Treaty, going back as far as
September, 1821, when the Emperor of Russia issued an edict
or ukase containing regulations relative to trade on the northwest coast of America; on the eastern coast of Siberia, and the
Aleutian, Kurile and other islands of the Pacific.
The treaty referred to, which defined the line of demarcation between that portion of the continent of North America
claimed by Great Britain and Russia, was passed at St. Petersburg in 1825. Its final location, however, has not as yet been
settled, although seventy-five years have elapsed since its passing, except that portion of the line of demarcation from the
Arctic Ocean running south along the 141st meridian to the
North Pacific Ocean. The balance of the international line,
which has now come to be required as the boundary between
the United States (Alaska) and Canada (British Columbia),
southeasterly to the southernmost point of Prince of Wales
Island (Cape Chacon), is the portion yet in dispute.
The ukase occupied nearly ten pages of a closely printed
pamphlet as laid before the President of the United States, and
contained sixty-three sections. The first section set out by stating that "the pursuits of commerce, whaling, fishing and other ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
industry, on all islands, ports and gulfs, including the whole
north-west coast of America to the 450 50' north latitude, are all
included in the edict for the purpose of granting the same
exclusively to Russian subjects." The second section "prohibits all foreign vessels not only from landing on the coasts
and islands belonging to Russia, but, also, does not permit
them to approach those coasts and islands within less than one
hundred Italian miles, without the vessels being subject to confiscation, along with the whole cargo." (An Italian mile measures 2,025 yards.)
A writer in the North American Review, (new series, number
37, printed in Boston, 1822,) remarks: "We doubt if pretensions so extravagant and unfounded—so utterly repugnant to
the established laws and usages of nations—have been set up by
any government claiming rank among civilized nations since the
dark ages of ignorance and superstition, when a bull of the Holy
See was supposed to convey the rights of sovereignty over
whole continents, even in anticipation of their discovery."
* * Even the attempts of Spain to usurp the exclusive navigation of the South Sea, in the vicinity of her American possessions, arbitrary as they were, and violating as they did the indisputable rights of other nations, must, when examined with
reference to the different periods when they were made, yield in
absurdity to the claims now before us."
President Adams, on receiving the Russian edict, along
with a note from the Russian Ambassador, M. de Poletica, expressed surprise at the extraordinary claim set forth, 'and
inquired if M. de Poletica "is authorized to give explanations of
the grounds of right upon principles generally recognized by the
laws and usages of nations, which can warrant the claim and
regulations contained in the edict?"
M. de Poletica, in reply, declared himself "happy to fulfil
the task," and wrote a lengthy letter to the Secretary of State,
from which it would appear that the edict chiefly related to, "as
he said, 'the new regulations adopted by the Russian American
Company, and sanctioned by His'Majesty the Emperor, relative
to foreign commerce, in the waters which border upon the establishments of the said company on the north-west coast of
The reply of M. de Poletica, which, according to his proposition of fulfilling the task, was to contain certain historical facts,
is, published in full in the Review, and is shown to be incorrect
and erroneous, in many of the important points which the ambassador undertook to establish.
In his criticisms, the writer in the Review goes on to say
"A few years afterwards, it (Norfolk Sound) was visited for com- ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW. 3
mercial purposes, and, abounding in valuable furs, soon became
the general resort of all those engaged in that trade. It was
frequented by the vessels of Great Britain, France, and the
United States several years before the Russians had extended
their excursions so far eastward, and it is, therefore, clear that
they had no claim on the ground of occupation. If, then, prior
to 1799, Russia possessed no rights on this part of the coast,
but such as were common to and enjoyed by other nations, we
confess," the reviewer conti-aues, "ourselves unable to perceive
why the establishing of a few hunters and mounting some cannon in the corner of Sitka Bay, should give her the right of
retaining an intercourse and interdicting a commerce which
had hitherto been as free as air, and prohibiting the approach of
vessels of other nations to shores which the navigators of such
nations first discovered and explored. The claim of Russia to
sovereignty over the Pacific Ocean, north of latitude 510, on the
pretence of its being 'a close sea,' is, if possible, more unwarrantable than territorial usurpations."
"We have," the Review writer continues, "the authority of
Humboldt for stating, that in 1802, the Russian government
limited their territorial claims to the north Of 550. They are now
extended to 510, and M. de Poletica informs us, that this is only
a moderate use of an incontestible right—intimating that the
just claims of Russia extend still further south. If these usurpations are submitted to, is it improbable that a further use may
be made of 'incontestible rights ?' With the ingenuity which that
gentleman has displayed, it would not be difficult to extend the
Russian claims quite to the borders of California, and establish
them there as satisfactorily as he has done to the 51st degree.
The Russians have already made a considerable settlement on
Spanish territory at Port Bodega in latitude 400,' and it is possible that, guided by the '.ame spirit of philanthropy which
prompted the dismemberment of Poland, the august Emperor
may choose to occupy the fertile but defenceless province of
California and annex it to his already extensive dominions.    *
* * * Great Britain, we apprehend, may see fit to advance
claims that will be found to conflict with those of Russia.    *    *
* * * In justice to the memory of her celebrated navigators, Cook and Vancouver, we must declare," continues the
reviewer, "that the world is more indebted to their indefatigable
labours for a correct knowledge of the coast than to those of all
ethers who have visited it. Her subjects were the first Europeans who engaged in the fur trade, and a free access to the
interdicted shores, is, at the present time, as important to them
as to those of any other power." ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW
A reference to "Captain George Vancouver's voyages of
Discovery"-in the years i79>'9I-'92-'93-'9+ and '95> shows that
during the summer of 1794, two of his boats in charge of officers
Whidbey and Johnstone had been engaged in exploring and
surveying the northwestern 2oast of North America, from Cape
Spencer to Port Conclusion. They had instructions from Captain Vancouver in concluding the survey, and in the event of the
two parties meeting, to put the finishing stroke on the examination of those shores, within the limits of Captain Vancouver's
commission, to take possession of the continent from New
Georgia northwestward to Cape Spencer, as also of all adjacent
islands which had been discovered within those limits, in the
name of and for His Britannic Majesty, his heirs and succes-
ors. These instructions were carried into effect to the full extent, for it is recorded in the "Voyages" referred to that the
parties met on the 17th of August, 1794, and on "
dine, the boat's colours were displayed; the boat's crews drawn
up under arms, and possession taken under the discharge of
three volleys of musketry, with all the other formalities usual on
such occasions; and a double allowance of grog was served
round to the respective crews for the purpose of drinking His
Majest3"'s health. The happy meeting of the two parties having
taken place on the birthday of His Royal Highness, Frederick,
Duke of York, the sound in which they met, Captain Vancouver
says: "I honoured with the name of Prince Frederick Sound,
and the adjacent continent, northwestward from New Cornwall
to Cross Sound, with that of New Norfolk." Thus by discovery,
survey and taking possession of the continent and islands as
specified, the title and sovereignty of the whole was unquestionably vested in Great Britain.
The British Government having learned of the promulgation of the Russian edict, lost no time in representing to the
court at St. Petersburg that His Britannic Majesty could not
admit or consent to the regulations contained in the ukase.
The Right Honourable George Canning, then Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs, nominated Sir Charles Bagot, British plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg; and instructed him to proceed to
the Russian court, to open a convention to have the ukase abrogated, and the _ territorial boundaries between Great Britain
and Russia defined and established upon the basis of the instruction forwarded to Sir Charles Bagot in 1822. The Russian
plenipotentiaries were Mons. de Poletica, the Imperial Chancellor of State, and Count de Nesselrode, Imperial Secretary of
Many conferences were held, and propositions and counter-
pi opositions  made  on   both   sides,  which  lasted   over  two ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW. 5
years. In a despatch from G. Canning to Sir C. Bagot, dated
20th January, 1824, a letter from Mr. Pelly, chairman of the
Hudson's Bay Co., is referred to. It represents that the most
southern estabHshment of Russia on the northwest coast of
America is Sitka, in latitude 570. Mr. Pelly positively affirms
that the Russians have no settlement on the mainland, nor any
commerce to the eastward of the coast. In the same despatch
Mr. G. Canning remarks: "The questions at issue between
Great Britain and Russia are short and simple. The Russian
ukase contains two objectionable objections: First, an extravagant assumption of maritime supremacy; secondly, an unwarranted claim of territorial dominions."    *    *    *
Sir Chas. Bagot, on 17th March, 1824, sent a despatch to G.
Canning stating "it is with feeling of considerable disappointment that after constant negotiations for more than six weeks,
after having gone to the utmost limit of your instructions, and
after having taken upon myself to go beyond them, I should,
nevertheless, have to acquaint you that I have entirely failed in
inducing the Russian Government to accede to what I consider
to be a fair and reasonable adjustment of our respective pretensions on the northwest coast of America, or the adoption of
any line of territorial demarcation which appears to me reconcilable under the spirit of your instructions, with our legitimate
interests in that quarter of the world."
"In order that I may put you in complete possession of the
whole course of my negotiations upon this subject, and may
explain the,precise grounds upon which I have felt myself compelled to suspend for the present all further proceedings in this
business, it will, I fear, be necessary that I should enter into
detail, and that I should load this dispatch with several papers
which are now become of importance. It was on the 16th of
last month that I had my first conference with the Russian plenipotentiaries. * *• * I laid before them Count Leiven's note
to you of January 31st, 1823, proposing that the question of
strict right should be provisionally waived on both sides, and
that the adjustment of our mutual pretentions should be made
upon the sole principle of the respective convenience of both
countries. *, * * This basis of negotiation was willingly
.accepted by all parties."
A proposal was verbally made by Sir Charles Bagot "to J
make as the boundary,* a line drawn through Chatham Strait to \
the head of Lynn Canal, thence northwest of the 140th degree J
of west longitude, and thence along that degree of longitude to
the Polar Seas."   This proposal was taken for consideration by
the Russian plenipotentiaries, who at the next conference offered
-a contra project, which was reduced to writing, and marked 6 ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
"A." It was, generally speaking, found to be inadmissible. Sir
Charles Bagot then submitted a modification of his original proposal—marked "B," to be submitted at the next meeting of conference. At the next meeting, paper "B" was met by objections, and a paper marked "C" brought in by the Russian plenipotentiaries, which was replied to by a paper from Sir Charles,
narked "D," which contained his ultimate proposition, and
stated that it never had been affirmed by the plenipotentiaries of
His Imperial Majesty, that Russia possessed any establishments
whatever on the mainland south of 60° or 590 north latitude.
Ten days after Sir Charles Bagot had presented paper "D"
he was invited to another conference, when he was informed that
the Imperial Government had, after anxious consideration taken
their final decision, and that they must insist upon the demarcation as described by them in the first paper marked "A." Finding this to be the case, Sir Charles stated to them that he had
already gone far beyond the utmost limit of his instructions,
and that he was sorry to say that he must "now consider the negotiations as necessarily suspended, so far, at least, as the question of territorial demarcation was concerned." "Such has been
the course of my last negotiations upon the question, and such
the grounds upon which I have thought it my duty to suspend
it for the present."
On the 12th of July, 1824, the Right Hon'. G. Canning
sent another despatch to Sir Charles Bagot stating—"After full
consideration of the motives which are alleged by the Russian
Government for adhering to their last propositions respecting
the line of demarcation to be drawn between the British and
Russian occupancy on the northwest coast of America, and of
the comparative inconvenience of admitting some relaxation in
the terms of Your Excellency's last instructions, or of leaving
the question between the two governments unsettled for an in-
definite time, His Majesty's government have resolved to authorize Your Excellency to include the south points of Prince of
Wales Island within the Russian frontiers , and to take as a line
of _ demarcation a line drawn from the southernmost point of
Prince of Wales Island, from south to north, through Portland
Channel, till it strikes the mainland in latitude 560; thence following the sinuosities of the coast along the base of the mountains, nearest to the sea to Mount Elias, and thence along the
139th degree of longitude to the Polar Sea" (The degree of
longitude was afterwards corrected to the 141st meridian.) The
despatch continues: "The advantages conceded to Russia by
the line of demarcation traced out in this convention, are so
obvious, as to render it quite impossible that any objection can reasonably be offered on the part of the Russian ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW. 7
government to any of the stipulations in our favour. There
are two points which are left to be settled by Your Excellency.
First, in fixing the course of the eastern boundary of the strip
of land to be occupied by Russia on the coast. * * * • * *
This is done by a process that that line shall in no case be carried further to the east than a specified number of leagues from
the sea." The distance specified in the treaty is ten marine
leagues from the ocean—and "shall never exceed the distance of
ten marine leagues therefrom."—(Article IV. of Treaty.)
Sir Charles Bagot was succeeded as British plenipotentiary
at St. Petersburg, by Mr. (afterwards Sir) Stratford Canning,
who was appointed under  instructions   dated December 8th,
1824, as follows:   "Sir,—His Majesty having been graciously
pleased to name you his plenipotentiary, for considering and
signing with the Russian Grovernment a convention for terminating the discussions which have arisen out of the promulgation
of the Russian ukase of 1821, and for settling the respective
territorial claims of Great Britain and Russia, on the northwest
coast of America, I have received His Majesty's commands to
direct you to repair to St. Petersburg for that purpose, and to
furnish you with the necessary instructions for terminating this
long protracted negotiation.    *****   iY\le whole negotiation'grows out of the ukase of 1821.    *   *    * So entirely and
absolutely true is this proposition, that the settlement of the
limits   of the respective possessions of Great Britain and Russia on the northwest coast of America was proposed by us, only
as a mode of facilitating the adjustment of the differences arising from the ukase, by enabling the Court of Russia, under
cover of the more comprehensive arrangement, to withdraw,
with less appearance of concession, the offensive pretensions of
that edict.   The rights of his subjects to navigate freely in the
Pacific cannot be held as a matter of indulgence from any power.
Having once been publicly questioned it must be publicly acknowledged."
'It is comparatively indifferent to us whether we hasten
or postpone all questions respecting the limits of territorial
possession on the Continent of America; but the pretensions
of the Russian ukase of 1821, to exclusive dominion over the
Pacific could not continue longer unrepealed without compelling, us to take some measure of public and effective remonstrance against it." * * * * The despatch from the Right
Hon. C. Canning, covering the appointment of Stratford Canning, concludes by stating: "It remains only in recapitulation
to remind you of the origin and principles of the whole negotiation. It is not, on our part, essentially a negotiation about limits.
It is the demand of the rep ial of an offensive and unjustifiable 8 ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW..
arrogation of exclusive jurisdiction over an ocean of unmeasured extent; but a demand qualified and mitigated m its man-
r;er in order that its justice may be acknowledged and satisfied
without soreness or humiliation on the part of Russia.
We negotiate about territory to cover the remonstrance upon
principle. But any attempt to take undue advantage of this
voluntary facility, we must oppose. If the present project is
agreeable to Russia we are ready to conclude and sign the
treaty. If the territorial arrangements are not satisfactory we
are ready to postpone them; and to consider and sign the essential part, that which relates to navigation alone, adding an article
stipulating to negotiate about territorial limits hereafter. But
we are not prepared to defer any longer the settlement of that
essential part of the question; and if Russia will nsither sign the
whole convention, nor that t ssential part of it, she must not
take it amiss that we resort to some mode of recording in the
face of the world our protest against the pretentions of the ukase
of 1821, and of effectually securing our interests against the
possibility of its future operations."
Mr. Stratford Canning, before proceeding to St. Petersburg, as plenipotentiary to succeed Sir G. Bagot, was furnished
with a royal diplomatic letter of introduction from His Britannic-Majesty, King George IV., which doubtless had a beneficial
effect on the success of his mission. The royal letter was as
"His Majesty King George to the Emperor of Russia:
"Sir: My Brother,—In pursuance of your Imperial Majesty's invitation to nominate a plenipotentiary to assist on my.
part in the conference which your Imperial Majesty is desirous
of holding at St. Petersburg for considering a plan of pacification
between the Ottoman Porte, and the Greek Provinces, I have
selected for that special commission, the Right Honourable
Stratford Canning, a member of the Privy Council, late-my envoy extraordinary to the United States of America, when circumstances which have no doubt been already stated to Your
Imperial Majesty, by Your Imperial Majesty''s ambassador at
my court, and which will be more fully explained to Your Imperial Majesty by Mr. Stratford Canning himself—oblige me to
hesitate in taking a part in those deliberations. Being, however, equally animated with a sincere desire to come to a. complete understanding with Your Imperial Majesty on the important subjects to which these conferences have related I have
still determined to direct Mr. Stratford Canning to proceed to
your court for the purpose of explaining to Your Imperial Majesty, with perfect frankness, my sentiments thereupon He is
authorized to conclude certain other negotiations which have ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW, 9
been, some time pending with Your Majesty's government, relating to the navigation of the Pacific and to the boundaries of
our possessions on the northwest coast of America; and the
experience I have had of his talents and zeal for my service, assure me that he will render himself agreeable to Your Imperial
"I request that Your Imperial Majesty will give credence
to all he shall say to you on my part, more especially when he
shall reiterate to Your Imperial Majesty the assurances of my
earnest desire to cement more and more the union and good
understanding which have so long and happily subsisted between our two crowns.
"With sentiments of invariable friendship, I am, sir, my
"Your Imperial Majesty's Good Brother,
Carlton Place, 8th December, 1824.
To My Good Brother, the Emperor of All the Russias.
Mr. Stratford Cannintg, on February 17th, 1825, forwarded a despatch to Mr. G. Canning containing the treaty
which had been concluded and signed on the 16th of February.
Very slight changes were made in the convention. The line
of demarcation along the strip of land'on the northwest coast
of America, assigned to Russia, Mr. Stratford Canning states,
"is laid down in the convention agreeably to your directions.
* * * * The instance in which you will perceive that I have
most availed myself of the latitude afforded by your instructions to bring the negotiations to a satisfactory and prompt
conclusion, is the division of the third article of the new project,
as it stood when I gave it in, into the 3rd, 4th and 5th articles of
the convention signed by the plenipotentiaries. *****
The second paragraph of the 4th article, had already appeared
parenthetically in the 3rd article, of the project, and the whole
of the 4th article is limited in its signification and connected with
the article immediately preceding it by the first paragraph."
Again, Mr. Stratford Canning states to George Canning: "You
aie aware, sir, that the articles of the convention which I conclude, depend for their force entirely on the general acceptance
of the terms in which they are expressed."
The 3rd, 4th and 5th articles of the treaty forwarded by Mr.
Stratford Canning are as follows:
"III. The line of demarcation between the possessions of
the high contracting parties upon the coast of the continent and
the islands of America to the northwest, shall be drawn in the
manner following:   Commencing from the southernmost point i0 ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
of the island called Prince of Wales Island, which point lies in
parallel of 54 degrees, 40 minutes north latitude, and between
the 131st and 133rd degree of west longitude (meridian of
Greenwich), the said line shall ascend to the north along the
channel called Portland Channel as far as the point of the continent where it strikes the 56th degree of north latitude; from
this last mentioned point, the line of demarcation shall follow
the summit of the mountains situated parallel to the coast, as far
as the point of intersection of the 141st degree of west longitude (of the same meridian); and finally from the said point oi
intersection, the said meridian line of the 141st degree, in its
prolongation as far as the frozen ocean, shall form the limit between the Russian and British possessions on the continent of
America to the northwest.
"IV. With reference to the line of demarcation laid down
in the preceding article, it is understood:
"First. That the island called Prince of Wales Island shall
belong wholly to Russia.
"Second'. That wherever the summit of the mountains
which extend in a direction parallel to the coast, from the 56th
degree of north latitude to the point of intersection of the 141st
degree of west longitude shall prove to be at the distance of
more than ten marine leagues from the ocean, the limit between
the British possessions and the line of coast which is to belong
to Russia, as above mentioned, shall be formed by a line parallel
to the windings of the coast, and which shall never exceed the
distance of ten marine leagues therefrom.
"V. It is moreover agreed that no establishment shall be
formed by either of the two parties within the limits assigned
by the two preceding articles to the possessions of the other;
consequently British subjects shall not form any establishment
either upon the coast or upon the border of the continent comprised [ within the limits of the Russian possessions, as designated in the two preceding articles ; and in like manner no establishment shall be formed by Russian subjects beyond the said
"IX. The liberty of commerce shall not apply to the trade
in spirituous liquors, in fire-arms or other arms, gunpowder or
other warlike stores, the high contracting parties, reciprocally
engaging not to permit the above mentioned articles to be sold
or delivered in any manner whatever, to the natives of the
I 1 9? % receiPt of the tresty duly executed from Mr Stratford Canning the Right Hon. G. Canning under date April 2nd
1825 acknowledged the same as follows: "Sir- Your dispatches were received on the 21st March.   Having laid them be- ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW. II
fore the King, I have received His Majesty's command to express His Majesty's particular satisfaction at the conclusion of
the treaty respecting the Pacific Ocean and northwest coast of
America, in a manner so exactly conformable to your instructions, and to direct you to express to the Russian Government
the pleasure which His Majesty derives from the amicable and
conciliatory spirit manifested by that government in the completion of that transaction."
The treaty having been completed and accepted as satisfactory by each of the high contracting parties, the occupancy
of the northwest coast of America was thenceforward between
the Hudson's Bay Company and the Russian Company—the
former with headquarters at Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia
River (transferred to Victoria, Vancouver Island, in 1843—its
original name, "Fort Camosun," was continued until 1846, when
it was named Victoria); the Ri^ssian Company had headquarters
at Sitka. The two compani >s managed their affairs without
much friction under the treaty. About the year 1838, for mutual
convenience, a lease was granted by the Russian governor at
Sitka, to the Hudson's Bay Company of all rights and privileges
possessed by Russia for an annual rental of two thousand land-
otter skins. This arrangement was continued between the fur
companies until about the time of the purchase of Russian America by the United States, in 1867.
As soon as Secretary of State Seward obtained possession
of the Russian territory, he had the Russian flag at Sitka lowered
and the United States "Stars and Stripes" hoisted in its stead.
For some time after the purchase of Alaska from Russia, public
affairs in British Columbia were in a state of transition, from
the Colonial government to that of Confederation; so that but
little attention was paid to what was going on in the remote and
almost unknown regions of Alaska. The federal government
did not show very much interest in having the international
boundary line defined and settled. British Columbia was not in
a position to take the initiative, and her leading men had to be
content with making representations to the Dominion Government.
In 1885, the late Mr. T. F. Bayard, then United States Secretary of State, revived public interest in the subject, by applying to Lord Salisbury, through the United States ambassador
at the London Legation, for concurrence in appointing a commission to define the Alaskan boundary, as had been recommended by President Grant in 1872. Lord Salisbury concurred in the appointment as requested. Colonel D. R. Cameron,
R.A., was requested in March, 1886, to report on the boundary
question.   His report was completed September, i£86. w
The communication to Lord Salisbury from Ambassador
Phelps was chiefly an echo of Mr. Bayard's letter, requestm
concurrence in the appointment of a commission to define the
Alaskan boundary. This document now becomes specially important, inasmuch as it embodies Mr. Bayard's views of the line
of demarcation from its commencement at the southernmost
point of Prince of Wales Island, and as those are the views
advocated by the United States as being the boundary line set
forth in the treaty, viz., via Portland Canal, to the 56th parallel
of north latitude.
On the other hand, British subjects in British Columbia
and elsewhere in the Dominion of Canada, base their views on
the wording, of the treaty, and on the line of direction stated
therein, as outlined by the Right Hon George Canning in his
despatch to Sir Charles Bagot, July, 12th, 1824, and enlarged in
accordance with Mr. Stratford Canning's instructions of December 8th, 1824, in connection with his letter to the Emperor of
Russia from His Britannic Majesty, George IV., which, undoubtedly, with the addition of the whole of Prince of Wales
Island being conceded to Russia, had a pacific influence in rendering the treaty acceptable to the Russian court.
Mr. Bayard probably expected that his route would pass
unchallenged, when he remarked that his conviction was "that
it was the intention of the negotiators that the boundary line
should directly follow the broad natural channel of Portland
Channel, midway between the shores, and extend, if need were,
inland in the same direction until the range of hills should be
reached at or near the 56th parallel." "It is not," he continues,
"therefore conceived that this water part of the boundary line
can ever be called in question between the two governments."
It may be remarked here that there was no such channel
marked on any of Captain George Vancouver's maps or charts.
Portland Canal was so named by him and referred to in his
"Voyages" published in 1798, under the authority of the British
government. Another edition of Vancouver's Voyages was published in 1801, and the change from Portland Canal to Portland Channel is made in that edition without any remark or authority. The substitution of Portland Canal for Portland Channel has caused the crucial difficulty in reconciling the description
of the line of demarcation as given in the treaty. According to
Mr. Bayard's interpretation, and also to that of Colonel Cameron, the line would proceed due east, instead of north from Cape
Chacon, to reach Portland Canal. The Right Hon. G. Canning
in his dispatch to Sir Charles Bagot, describes the lirfe, as "running from south to north, to the 56th parallel of north latitude;
so, therefore it appears, the description of the line of demarca- ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW. 13
tion from Cape Chacon to the 56th parallel, given by Sir Charles
Bagot in statement "D," together with the confirmation of the
same by G. Canning in his despatch of 12th July,. 1824, furnish
proof that the framers of the treaty applied the name Portland
Channel to Clarence Strait; but as the line of demarcation, according to Sir C. Bagot's lescription, had to leave Clarence
Strait, on reaching Duke of York Island, to meet the requirements of the treaty, and must proceed eastward and follow Ernest Sound until the coast of the continent was reached at 56 degrees; the combined Clarence Strait and Ernest Sound, therefore form the channel described in the treaty, which was called
Portland Channel—in conformity with the treaty, but which
would have been impracticable in connection with Mr. Bayard's
or Col. Cameron's line of demarcation.
Article IV. of the treaty modified and annulled several propositions made before the suspension of negotiations by Sir G.
Bagot, which were allowed to drop. Amongst those were the
zealous efforts of the Russim plenipotentiaries to obtain Portland Canal as a portion of the eastern boundary line. The diplomatic action of Mr. Stratford Canning in connection with the
letter of King George IV. foiled the expectations of the Russian plenipotentiaries, and left them no option but to sign the
treaty as made out in convention. This was accomplished by
the concession of the whole of Prince of Wales Island to Russia. It swept away many difficulties and left the terms of the
treaty clear and capable of reasonable interpretation. It also
pointed out a practicable water boundary from the 56th parallel
of latitude where the line of demarcation reached the continent
in accordance with the treaty, ten leagues from the ocean.
To continue the line of demarcation from the point on the
continent at the 56th degree,, towards the intersection of the
141st meridian near Mount Elias, it would be necessary to retrace westward through Ernest Sound, the former line from
Cape Chacon along the east coast of Prince of Wales Island,
and proceed along the extended line northward to the end of the
island, ten marine leagues from the ocean, and thence northerly
between islands Kuiu and Kupreanof to Prince Frederick
Sound, and on reaching the 57th degree of latitude proceed west
to Chatham Strut, which conld be followed to Icy Strait or to
Taylor Bay for convenience of landing on the strip of land provided on the continent within ten marine leagues from the ocean
to the intersection of the 141st meridian.
In an article on the Alaskan Boundary, which appeared in
November (1899) number of the National Geographic Magazine,
the Hon. John W. Foster, ex-Secretary of State for the United
States, is reported as stating that "much of the difficulty ■ on I
reaching an agreement on this point (the correct location of the
boundary) grew out of the imperfect geographic knowledge of
the period." That need not follow, for Mr. Foster admits and
writes that "in 1792-95, George Vancouver, under the direction
of the Admiralty, made the first accurate and scientific survey of
the northwest coast of America, and his charts were published
in 1798. These charts were for more than a. generation the basis
and source of information of all maps of that region."
Mr. Foster, delineating the first section of the treaty of
.•825, quotes Article III. and states, it provides that "commencing from the southernmost point of the island called Prince of
Wales Island- which lies in the parallel of 54 degrees 40 minutes
north latitude * * * the said ((boundary) line shall ascend
to the north along the channel called Portland Channel as far as
the point of the continent where it strikes the 56th degree of
north latitude."
The foregoing quotation from the treaty should be enough
to satisfy Mr. Foster, that as the treaty expressly and plainly
says, the boundary should commence at the southernmost point
of Prince of Wales Island and shall ascend to the north, etc., it
is impossible to reach the 56th degree on the continent by the
line indicated in the treaty by going east to Portland Canal,
which is not mentioned in the treaty; neither is there any authority in the treaty of 1825 .o commence the boundary line at
Cape Muzon as it has been drawn on the United States official
charts and maps. Although Cape Muzon is situated on Dall Island west of Prince of Wales Island it may yet be claimed by
Great Britain as belonging to Queen Charlotte Islands, immediately opposite across Dixon Entrance.
"The United States holds," Mr. Foster further states, "that
under this provision the line starting from the extremity of
Prince of Wales Island, shall enter the broad, deep, and usually
navigated opening of Portland Canal * * * and pass up to
its head, and thence on the continent to the 56th degree of latitude." There is nothing in the treaty to indicate such a course;
besides, the opening of Portland Canal (or channel as Mr, Foster
is pleased to name it) is seldom navigated, as there is no trade in
that direction. In the same paragraph Mr. Foster undertakes to
define "the present contention of Great Britain," which he savs
is understood to be "that the line from the extremity of Prince
of Wales Island should enter the tortuous and narrow channel
now known on the British Admiralty charts as Pearse Canal'
and thence up Portland Canal to the 56th degree; thus placing
Wales Pearse, and a few sm-ill islands in British territory "     1
No such contention has ever been published or advocated
by any party having authority in Canada or Great Britain to ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
adopt such a route,-which is entirely opposed to the wording of
the treaty; and the statement or contention said to be held by
the United States, that the line should "enter the broad, deep
and usually navigated opening of Portland Canal, etc' is entirely
fallacious. Neither have those who have examined the question
in an unbiased manner, ever thought of the boundary line going
east by way of Pearse Canal or by Portland Canal. The contention of British subjects who have studied and become acquainted
with this boundary question, is, that the line should from Cape
Chacon, follow Clarence Strait north, nearly along the 132nd
meridian, and in accordance with the description given in the
treaty, until opposite Ernest Sound, when it runs eastward
through Ernest Sound, until it reaches the coast of the conti-
nent at 56 degrees, as speciied in the treaty; thence returning
westward to the boundary already outlined from Cape Chacon,
along" the east coast of Prince of Wales Island, it follows the
coast of the island to its northern end; thence following a conventional water boundary, ten marine leagues from the ocean
as required by the treaty until the continental shore of the North
Pacific is reached, and then along that coast, ten marine leagues
from the ocean, to the 141st meridian, and thence along that
meridian to the Arctic Ocean.
This brings us to a late date in the review of this boundary
question. The Joint Commission which had been appointed to determine the line between Alaska and Canada met at Quebec and
discussed the question for weeks, without being able to agree on
a settlement, so they adjourned sine die. They next met at
Washington, D.C., in February, 1899; but found they were still
unable to agree on the question. The British commissioners
proposed it should be referred to arbitration and that an "arbitral tribunal" be immediately appointed to consist of three jurists of repute, one on the part of Great Britian, one on the part
of the United States, and of a third jurist to be selected by the
two persons so nominated, to be governed by the following
(a.) "Adverse holding or prescription during a period of
fifty years shall make a good title. The arbitrators may deem
exclusive political control of a district, as well as actual settlement thereof, sufficient to constitute adverse holding or make
title by prescription."
(b.) "The arbitrators may recognize and give effect to
rights and claims resting on any other ground whatever valid
according to international law, and on any principles of international law which the arbitrators may deem applicable to the case,
and which are not in contravention of the foregoing rule." 16
(c.) "In determining the boundary line, if territory of one
party shall be found by the tribunal to have been at the date of
this treaty in the occupation of the subjects or citizens of the
other party, such effect shall be given to such occupancy as reason, justice, the principles of international law, and the equities
of the case shall, in the opinion of the tribunal require."
The commissioners of the United States accepted the foregoing proposals made as the basis of adjustment, but desired the
rules modified as follows:
Rules (a) and (b) to stand as submitted, "But (c) to read, as
follows: "In considering the 'coast' referred to in said treaties,
mentioned in Article III, it is understood that the coast of the
continent is intended. In determining the boundary line, it territory of one party shall be found by the tribunal to have been at
the date of this treaty in the occupancy of the subjects or citizens
of the other party, such effect shall be given to such occupation
as reason, justice, and the principles of international law shall,
in the opinion of the tribunal, require; and all towns and settlements on tide water, settled under the authority of the United
States and under the jurisdiction of the United States at the date
of this treaty, shall remain within the territory and jurisdiction
of the United States."
In reply the British commissioners stated that they were
"absolutely unable" to accept the change in rule (c), and said:
"In considering the 'coast' leferred to, while it was probably
intended by this clause that the line should be drawn upon the
continent, the language used is open to misconception." They
also objected to the words added "that all towns or settlements"
on tide water, settled under the authority of the United States,
etc., as being a marked and important departure from the rules
of the Venezuela boundary reference, and could not be adopted.
Referring to the arbitral tribunal proposed by the United
States commissioners, which was to consist of six impartial
jurists, three on the part of Great Britain, and three on the part
of the United States—the United States comissioners were of
opinion that the selection of an umpire should be made from the
American continent. It was finally agreed by and between the
commissioners that all subjects before the Joint Commission
should be referred to their respective governments. The commission then adjourned and separated.
Since the appointment of the Joint Commission of the
Washington Convention of 1892, which was formed "with a view
m the ascertainment of the facts and data necessary to the permanent delineation of the boundary line from latitude 54 degrees
40 minutes^ northward to the 141st degree of longitude in accordance with the spirit and intent of the existing treaties in ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
regard to it between Great Britain and Russia, and between the
United States and Russia," great and important changes have
taken place in those northern regions. The valley of the Yukon
has been found to be one of tiie richest gold producing districts
in the world. Lynn Canal, as the most available route to the
Yukon country, has been adopted, with Skagway as the gateway
to the Klondike and Dawson. Hundreds of thousands of miners and others crowded there in 1897-8, in the face of extreme
danger and difficulty.
In the meantime another gold mining district was found in
the northern part of Cassiar, British Columbia, near Atlin and
Teslin Lakes. A prospecting party, by way of Juneau, came
through there in 1898 to Atlin Lake and discovered, in that
neighbourhood rich gold diggings. Other oarties soon followed, and before winter set in, over $100,000 had been mined. An
Act of the Legislature of British Columbia (the Alien Act) was
passed prohibiting miners not subjects of Great Britain
from gold mining in British Columbia under certain restrictions. This prevented a large number of intending
miners from taking up locations in the Atlin district, and limited
the output oi 1899; y*=t it is computed, to have reached fully one
and a half million dollars.
Intending miners, therefore, took up claims in the Porcupine district, within the boundary strip claimed by the United
States. The}'' made their headquarters at a small Indian village,
Klukwan, fifteen miles from tide water, at the head of Chilcat
Inlet, a branch of Lynn Canal. A modus vivendi has been passed
on the Tlchini River, as a temporary boundary, as claims do not
cross from one side of the. river to the other. Neither has this
temporary boundary any bearing on the main question of the
1825 boundary line proper, which must be left to future discussion and arrangement. A modus vivendi has also been passed at
Dyea Pass and White Pass, at the summit—for similar purposes.
So the matter rests at present, with the exception, however,
that United States subjects continue to squat on locations for
mining and fishing in and on the island Revilla Gigedo and other
islands in that locality, which seems to add to and intensify the
Complications and difficulties of a final settlement of the boundary dispute.
Although Hon. ex-Secretary of State Foster stated that
"much of the difficulty of reaching an agreement on the correct
boundary line grew out of the imperfect geographical knowledge
of the period," an investigation of the circumstances sho'ws by
reference to Capt. Vancouver's maps and charts, that Mr. Foster's assertion cannot be supported.   For instance, the descrip- mv- rA
tion of Admiralty Island and the neighbouring continental
shores point out most distinctly that along the precipices, inlets,
and glaciers, was no suitable place for a boundary line/ The
modern engineers and surveyors of the Joint Commission proved this clearly. They could not travel over those places, and
were obliged to call in the aid of photography to arrive at the
heights and distances of the region.
Sir Charles Bagot, and the Home Secretary had Vancouver's
maps, charts and descriptions before them, and so outlined the
line of demarcation between Russia and Great Britain, according
to the treaty, at the distance of ten marine leagues from the
ocean. To make their meaning clear, they indicated a land mark
on the continent at the 56th degree of latitude, and gave the
whole of Prince of Wales Island to Russia.
As shown in Vancouver's Atlas, sheet 7, the waters of the
Pacific Ocean washed Prince "of Wales Island, from Cape Chacon, the southernmost portion of that island, along its eastern
shore; following the northern shore and turning southward at
Point Baker, the name "Duke of Clarence Strait" is given along
the island from Cape Chacon until the 56th degree of latitude is
reached opposite Cape Decision. On the chart referred to it is
recorded that Captain Vancouver passed this point 22nd September, 1793, and 24th August, 1794.
But the treaty mentions that the boundary line is required
to reach latitude 56 degree at the coast of the continent. This
is accomplished by passing- along "Clarence Strait and Ernest
Sound to the coast. In Sir Charles Bagot's description (in statement "D") of the proposed line, to the Russian plenipotentiaries,
which is recorded in a despatch to Mr. G. Canning, he says : "It
would appear that a line traced from the southern extremity of
the Straits named Duke of Clarence Sound, by the middle of
those straits, to the middle of the straits that separate the islands
of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, and the islands
situate to the north of the said islands; thence toward the east
by the middle of the same strait to the continent, and thence prolonged in the same direction and manner already proposed by
His Majesty's plenipotentiary to Mount Elias, o'r to the intersection of the 140th (since changed to 141st degree of longitude)
would form a. line of demarcation which would conciliate, perhaps in a satisfactory manner, the reciprocal interests, present
and future, of both Empires in this part of the globe."
There is no mention of Portland Canal or going east in the
foregoing description. Further, Mr. Canning in his instructions
to Sir Charles, dated July 12th, 1824, distinctly says: "His
Majesty's government have resolved to authorize Your Excellency to consent to include the south points of Prince of Wales ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
Island within the Russian frontiers, and to take, as a line of demarcation, a line drawn from the southernmost point of Prince
of Wales Island, from south to north through Portland Channel,
till it strikes the mainland in latitude 56 degrees. The route was
named Portland Channel, presumably, as Clarence Strait, as we
have seen, was left opposite Ernest Sound. It would be necessary, therefore, at the point on the coast of the continent, that
a new departure should be made to reach the intersection of the
line with the 141st meridian, near Mount Elias.
It would appear from Article IV. of the treaty that Stratford Canning decided on the boundary from that point, being
drawn ten marine leagues from the ocean. The easiest, 'fairest
and most convenient plan to do that would be to retrace the line
of deviation back to that already run through Clarence Strait,
named Portland Channel in the treaty, and continue that line
along the eastern and northern shore of Prince of Wales Island,
as already outlined in this review. Such an arrangement would
obviate the attempt of forming a boundary line along the frontier of the continent, which would prove useless and impracticable. It would leave the frontier of British Columbia intact, and
furnish the United States (instead of Russia) with ample facilities to carry on any industry along the large islands fringing
the Pacific Ocean and along the strip of continent, extending
about five degrees of longitude from Glacier or Taylore Bay,
bey nd Icy Strait. It would give them any number of excellent
harbours, and the control of valuable fisheries and the timber
on Prince of Wales Island, and the other ocean frontier islands
north to the continent at Cross Sound The arrangement was
made between two" friendly powers, and after the treaty was
signed, was acknowledged to be satisfactory to each—and it
should be so to the present day, although many United States
sympathizers do not seem to interpret the treaty in that light.
Political feeling runs very high m the United States and it
may be that this boundary question is used'by the United States
press to influence parties pro or con as the case may be. It has
been discussed by their leading writers in the New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other papers. The Seattle papers, being our nearest neighbours have been the most lively. The
Seattle Chamber of Commerce has discussed very forcibly what
they call "the British Claims." They, of course, advocate that
the boundary line should be run along Portland Canal. The
Victoria Colonist, in 1895, referring to a report of the Seattle
Chamber of Commerce, says : "From the language of the treaty
it w'l! be seen that the boundary commences at the most southernmost poin; of Prince of Wales Island and then runs north
until it reaches a point on the mainland at the 56th degree of 20
north iaiitude. Now, if any member of the Seattle Chamber of
Commerce looks at the map drawn by Vancouver or anyone
else, and starting north from the most southern point of Prince
of Wales Island, and keeping on in that direction until he
reaches the 56th parallel of latitude, he will certainly trace along
a channel, but not what is called Portland Canal, nor will he go
near the Portland Canal, or the line which our good neighbours
contend is the true boundary line. It is easy to give a new name
to a channel, or to mistake one channel for another, but the
points of the compass have always the same name, and are always in the same direction. Our contemporary and those who
contend for the line now assumed to be the true one, must see
that they start in the wrong direction. What would be thought
of the surveyor who, when he was instructed to start from a
point clearly defined northwards, ran his line due east, and afterwards had the inpudence to contend that the line was right, and
according to his instructions? Let our American friends "stick
tc the point"—Point Chacon—and go north as the treaty enjoins from that point, and they will find they will not get near
the line they are trying to make the people believe is the right
one. Besides, Portland Canal is not mentioned in the treaty.
We trust we have been explicit enough in this article. We
contend that our American friends start in the wrong direction ;
and we need not tell them that in beginning to run a line it is of
the utmost importance that the compass points exactly in the
direction the description requires. The least variation the one
way or the othe^r vitiates the whole line and the work must be
done over again. In this Alaska line our friends are something
like 90 degrees astray."
The House of Representatives of the State of Washington,
in 1895, passed the following resolution, calculated to arouse
anything but peaceful feelings amongst the people, relative to
the fair settlement of the Alaskan boundary question. It reads:
"Whereas England, with |p usual cupidity and avarice, and
pursuant of her time-honoured custom of attempting, at all hazards, to get control of all newly developed sources of wealth,
m whatsoever country situated, and to appropriate to her own
benefit the present and prospective commerce of the seas,
whether rightfully or otherwise, has asserted claims to harbours
bays and inlets, through which the greater portion of the commerce and trade of and with the territory of Alaska must be
carried on, and which, of right, belongs to the United States.
"And whereas the United States will be robbed and despoiled of the trade and commerce of a veritable empire and
suffer a diminution of the  wealth  with  which nature has  en- ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW
dowed said territory, if the claims and policy of Great Britain as
aforesaid shall prevail:
"Therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives
of the State of Washington, the Senate concurring, that our
members of Congress be requested, and our Senators instructed,
to use all honourable means, that the rightful claims of the
United States relative to said harbours, bays and inlets, be
scrupulously maintained, and that an unequivocal policy on the
part of the United States government in relation thereto, be fully
carried out."
The editor of the Colonist, after   quoting   the   resolution,
quietly remarks:    "This should be preserved as a literary and
legislative curiosity.    It is amazing that men, supposed to fee
intelligent and sensible, should stultify themselves by voting for
such a resolution as the above.    Those- who supported it, we
suppose, thought it would tickle the ears of ignorant and anti-
British electors, for it seems there   is nothing too   absurd for
the average American legislator to do or say, in order to increase his popularity.    England, as far as we have heard, had
done nothing towards  rectifying the  boundary line between
British Columbia and Alaska.   The complaint in Canada is, that
Great Britain on these boundary questions is a good deal too
slack; that she has allowed wide-awake American diplomatists to
take advantage of her.   With respect to this matter of the Alaskan boundary she seems to be quite apathetic.   The matter has
been quietly discussed in this province lately, but all that has
been said is that Great Britain should take measures to ascertain the true boundary line, and not allow herself to lose territory through the carelessness or the ignorance of officials, either
British or United States.    The members of the legislature of
the State of Washington may make themselves easy about the
Alaskan boundary.   The British want no more territory than is
justly and legally theirs, and that they believe they will get without trouble when the two governments concerned, go about
settling the boundary question m earnest.    If the coasts, harbours, bays and inlets claimed by Great Britain do not belong to
her, they will be readily surrendered when the day of settlement
comes, let the State of Washington politicians resolute as they
may.   If they are not on the British side of the line British subjects are quite content that they should remain in the possession of the United States.   That is all there is about it."
The librarian of the Province of British Columbia in a paper
from him in the Canadian Magazine said: "Every circumstance
and reasonable assumption favoured the contention that the
Portland Canal of Vancouver's chart is not the Portland Channel
meant in the Treaty.   A line through Portland Canal is wholly
inconsistent with and contradictory of the general terms of the
clause in question. Its acceptance in determining the boundary
leads to an absurdity. Great Britain, therefore, is not bound to
accept it as the boundary line."
The Canadian Gazette, London, January 30th, 1896, has the
following editorial remarks: "We publish this week a memorandum by Mr. Alexander Begg, who has given careful study to
the records here in London, which seems to show that the meaning of the. treaty of 1825 is clear in determining that the boundary line, starting from the southernmost point of Prince of
Wales Island, shall run northward along the channel which we
now know as Clarence Strait, but which the treaty describes as
Portland Channel. To assume, as United States maps do, that
the channel meant is Portland Canal, an inlet into the British
mainland, is not only to contradict the plain meaning of the
treaty, but to make nonsense of the explanatory statements of
Sir Charles Bagot and Mr. Canning, at the time of the negotiation of the treaty. We know no reason why Canada should
hand over three million acres of land, and an all-important strategic position to the United States, when the treaty clearly stipulates that she should retain them."
On the .5th of March, following, the Canadian Gazette returned to the subject, and said: "General W. W. Duffield,
superintendent of the United States coast geodetic survey, replies to the statements in the Canadian Gazette of January 30th
above quoted." The editor says: "I propose to examine the
reply of General Duffield, for, as I shall show, it only strengthens the case for an immediate inquiry into the circumstances,
whereby United States maps claim as United States territory
three million acres of land in a position of high strategetic importance on the Pacific Coast; which the treaty of 1825 assigned
beyond doubt to British sovereignty."
General Duffield is stated to have said in his reply that he
attaches no importance to the dispatch which asserts that the
United States has no right under the Anglo-Russian treaty of
J825, to 3,000,000 acres of land opposite Prince of Wales Island.
The General is said to discredit the statement for several reasons : First, because, as he puts it. the language of the Anglo-
Russian treaty (and that used by Russia in the transfer to the
United States), are identical as far as the boundaries are concerned ; those treaties prescribe that the starting point shall be
the most southerly part of Prince of Wales Island, and that the
line shall then proceed north through Portland Canal until it
reaches the 56th parallel of latitude."
"We are at one with the General as to the accuracy of the
starting point as mentioned, but we must differ from him when ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
he says: 'The line shall then proceed through Portland Canal.' Here is where the difficulty comes in.
Portland Canal is not mentioned in the treaty; neither does Portland Canal reach the 56th degree of latitude. After referring to
the proposed boundary along the coast, north of
latitude 56 degrees General Duffield continues: "With this
description in the treaties, I do not see how it is possible that
there should be any difference between the two governments."
"Differences, however, do exist," the Gazette continues,
"and General Duffield will require to show 'how it is possible'
to reach the entrance to Portland Canal, by going north as required and described in the treaty, to the 56th degree of latitude,
where the line of demarcation strikes the coast of the continent,
before these differences can disappear. It may also be required
that the United States representatives shall produce evidence
to show why they have departed from the wording of the treaty
and substituted a new line south of the 56th degree. It is a matter of fact that from the initial point of the line of demarcation,
as mentioned in the treaty, the entrance to Portland Canal is
slightly south of the said initial point, and about fifty miles to the
east of it. It therefore follows, that to reach latitude 56 degrees,
the point of intersection mentioned in the treaty on the coast of
the continent, the line must run from south to north, and not
east, or from west to east as the United States maps assume.",
General Duffield further remarks: "Moreover, Portland
Canal is clearly designated on the charts of Captain Vancouver,
of the Royal Navy, which were in existence when the treaty between Russia and England was entered into, so there can be no
doubt as to where Portland Canal is."
"Perfectly true: there is not the slightest difficulty about
the locality of Portland Canal, neither is there any doubt that
the framers of the treaty did not consult Vancouver's maps and
charts and understood them thoroughly. They indicated very
clearly where the meridional line of 132 degrees west longitude
starting from Cape Chacon, should strike the coast of the continent at the 56th degree of latitude. This will be seen by examining the provincial maps of British Columbia, the Admiralty
charts, or the United States official charts of that region, which
show that the meridional line runs along the east coast of Prince
of Wales Island, through Clarence Strait and strikes the coast
of the continent in Ernest Sound, making a slight deflection to
the west around Cape Camuana, following the channel (called
Portland Channel) as described by Sir Charles Bagot and the
Right Hon. George Canning, in 1824."
"The root of the matter is this," continues the Gazette:
"Portland Canal is an inlet into the mainland, so named by Cap- 24 ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
tain Vancouver in 1793 or '94; Portland Channel is a coastal
water, so called by Canning in 1824-5. They are entirely distinct
waters, in different directions. The Portland Channel is named
in the treaty as a prolongation of Clarence Strait and Ernest
Sound—a natural boundary for British dominions. Portland
Canal is a purely inland water running into British territory; and
to assume that when the treaty spoke of- Portland Channel it
meant Portland Canal, is to run in the face of all delimitations
of the treaty, and of what an examination of the map shows to be
the common sense of the question."
The   strategetic    importance    of   that    portion    of   British    Columbia    now    under    review   should    be    evident    to
every    intelligent    student    of    the     map.      The     day     will
assuredly come, in the not very distant future, when new lines
of railway and telegraph will cross the Canadian half of the continent, and these lines which under the new Imperial policy will
make Canada the western highway of the Empire, must play a
large part in its consolidation.   Can we afford, therefore, to allow valuable strategetic and commercial points on the Pacific
coast to pass into the hands of a foreign nation, when by treaty
rights they are unquestionably British ?
The necessity for such a protective arrangement was seen
by the framers of the treaty; hence the stipulation to make the
line of demarcation from the 56th degree, at not more than ten
marine leagues from the ocean. This can easily be secured under international law, and what is the "ocean coast" can be
ascertained without any expensive survey, and will furnish a
just, practicable, convenient boundary line, in accordance with
the wording of the treaty and prove an accommodation to the
subjects of both nations, who may require to use it,—which
could not be said of the boundary contended for by the United
States, over glaciers and rocky promontories.
Since the appointment of the Joint Commission in 1892, the
writer has carefully noted their reported proceedings. The
United States commissioners have persistently contended for
the boundary via Portland Canal from Cape Chacon; indeed,
some of them have gone further west, to a neighbouring island,
and have made its southernmost point (Cape Muzon) the
initial of the boundary, as is shown on the United States official
maps and charts. It is stated on a large map of Canada,
from Ottawa to the Paris Exhibition (1900), that the Alaskan
boundary is delineated according to the United States contention, commencing at Cape Muzon, and thence due east to Portland Canal.
To arrive at as full an understanding as possible of the
treaty of 1825, and the Portland Canal contention the writer of ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
this review, in 1895-6 made a trip to London to consult the
archives there. The Colonial and Foreign Offices 'gave him
every opportunity to obtain information; but the researches
failed to disclose anything in the records of negotiations or despatches touching the Alaskan boundary question, which gave the
right of claim under the treaty to place the line of demarcation
along or through Portland Canal. The direction and route indicated was by Clarence Strait and Ernest Sound to the 56th degree. The difficulties alluded to. by General Duffield have arisen
from the United States starting the line from Cape Chacon, on
the wrong point of the compass—90 degrees astray.
In the House of Commons, Mr. Seton Karr (St. Helen's),
in reference to the Alaskan boundary, asked the Secretary of
State for the Colonies "whether his attention had been called to
the result of the inv^ti(rations of Mr. Alexander Begg, historiographer of British Columbia, regarding the boundary line between Alaska and British Columbia, south of the 56th parallel
of latitude, as detailed in the Canadian Gazette of April 16th;
whether it was a fact as contended by the British Columbia government, that 3,000,000 acres of land of high strategetic and commercial importance, on the Pacific Coast, opposite Prince of
Wales Island, which was assigned to Great Britain by the Anglo-
Russian treaty of 1825, was now marked upon United States
official maps and charts as United States territory; and whether
seeing that the Alaskan boundary south of the 56th parallel was
not reported upon by the recent Alaskan Boundary Commission, he would suggest to the Canadian government that an
early and independent investigation be made upon the subject."
The Right Hon. Mr. Chamberlain replied: "Mr. Begg has
communicated to this department, from time to time, various
memoranda, all of which have been duly transmitted to the Dominion government. * * * * When the question is ripe
for diplomatic discussion, the points raised by Mr. Begg will no
doubt receive due consideration for what they may be worth."
The Canadian Gazette of May 7th, 1896, referring to Mr.
Chamberlain's remarks in the House of Commons says: "We
gather that as soon as the final reports of the Survey Commission have been received, the most important aspect of the question will claim attention. Meanwhile it is enough to note Mr.
Chamberlain's admission that the area which Mr. Begg maintains was assigned to Great Britain by the Anglo-Russian treaty
of 1825, is marked on all United States maps as United States
territory. Mr. Chamberlain might have added, that it is so
marked even on some Can-idian maps, for a dependence on.
Washington chartography would seem, in this instance, to
have misled even the alert officials at Ottawa." 26 ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
From the facts and statements in the foregoing review of
the Alaskan boundary question, the following points may be
accepted as fully demonstrated:—
i. That in 1793-4 Captain Vancouver discovered and took
possession of all the islands of what he termed Prince of Wales
Archipelago, from Cross Sound south to Dixon Entrance, in
the name of and for the British sovereign.
2. That in 1799 'a charter was granted by the Russian Emperor Paul to an association of Siberian merchants to form the
Russian American Company to trade with the natives.' The
Russians extended their explorations to Baranoff Island and
founded Sitka.
3. In 1821 Emperor Alexander issued the notorious imperial edict or ukase against which Britain protested. It was
withdrawn under the united protest of Britain and the United
4. In 1825, the treaty which is now under discussion, as to
its interpretation, was passed, after considerable negotiation
between the British and Russian plenipotentiaries. The Hudson's Bay Company, being in possession of the British portion
of the North American continent at the time, represented Great
Britain under the treaty.
5. About the year 1838, the Russian possessions, south of
Cross Sound to Dixon Entrance was leased to the Hudson Bay
Company, as the Russians found they could not control the
natives, nor prevent them from breaking the treaty by dealing
with United States traders in intoxicating drink, fire arms, etc.,
in contravention of the treaty. The arrangements gave the Hudson's Bay Company entire control of the whole continent west
of the Rocky Mountains, including the western frontier and
islands of the Pacific fronting thereon.
6. The United States government in 1867 purchased the
Russian possessions under the treaty of 1825, with all its rights
and privileges.
7. Their interpretation of the treaty, according to Mr.
Bayard's letter to his ambassador in London in 1885-6 asking for
a joint commission to decide on a permanent location of the line
of demarcation between Alaska and British Columbia and the
Northwest Territories to the east of the 141st meridian of longitude, has led to great difficulties, in fact has been the stumbling
block in the way of the Joint Commission concluding a fair settlement of the line of demarcation, and it may further be said ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
that until the clear wording of the treaty of 1825 is followed, pure
and simple from Cape Chacon, and thence north—from south to
north, as the Right Hon. George Canning so clearly expressed
it in his despatch, dated July 12th 1824, to Sir Charles Bagot;
and until the course described in the treaty and in George Canning's despatches, and Sir Charles Bagot's negotiations with the
Russian plenipotentiaries are strictly adhered to, it is useless to
expect that Great Britain will, or can obtain justice in the settlement.    Mr. George Canning's despatch last referred to   reads
"His Majesty's government have resolved to authorize Your
Excellency to consent to include the south points of Prince of
Wales Island, from south to north, Portland Channel, till it
strikes the mainland in latitude 56th degrees; thence following
the sinuosities of the coast along the base of the mountains
nearest the sea to Mount Elias; and thence along the 139th degree of longitude to the Polar Sea.   ((The 139th degree was corrected in the treaty to 141st degree.)   Sir C. Bagot enclosed m
a despatch to Mr. George Canning, along with other statements,
one marked "D" in reference to which Sir Charles had previously informed the Russian- plenipotentiaries; it contained his
ultimate decision on that point.    The statement plainly says,
that the line of demarcation was to be drawn from the southern
extremity of the strait called Duke of Clarence, through the
middle of the strait, to the centre of the strait which separates
the islands Prince of  Wales and   Duke of  York from all the
islands to the north of said islands; thence toward the east by
the same strait (which must 1 ave meant Ernest Sound in Vancouver's map or chart) to the mainland, and afterwards along
the coast of Mount St. Elias."   There is no mention of Portland
Canal, nor of going east to reach it.   The name "Portland Channel" is not found on any of Vancouver's maps or charts nor any
other maps or charts extant in 1824 or 1825, but Portland Channel is described fully, as aforementioned.   The island "Duke of
York" on Vancouver's map, referred to in the treaty negotiations
has disappeared in United States maps and charts, and Etolin
Island occupies it place.   The authority for removing this landmark is not given.
8. This tampering with the treaty and changing the line of
boundary—its direction—initial point—the substitution of Cape
Muzon for Cape Chacon, the recognized initial point of the line
of demarcation, in the treaty—"the strip of land" claimed by the
United States on the continent immediately to the north of the
56th degree, should all be disallowed, as not in accordance with
the treaty. The deflection of the boundary line from Cape Chacon, the southernmost point of Prince of Wales Island, running
'east" instead of "north" along Portland Channel, and approxi- 28 ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
mately on the 132nd meridian of longitude, as signified in the
treaty, creates an impracticable and incorrect line entirely beyond the limits pointed out and defined in the treaty. Besides,
there is no authority for using Cape Muzon as an initial point,
as it is not situated on Prince of Wales Island—but being a separate island to the west of Prince of Wales Island, may or may
not be included in the final interpretation of the treaty as having belonged to Russia.
9. The water-boundary running north from Cape Chacon
to the 56th degree of north latitude, on the coast of the continent
is accepted by a large number of British Columbians as being
in accordance with the wording, spirit and sense of the treaty.
It forms a convenient, reasonable and practicable boundary to
accommodate both countries, which the line by way of Portland
Canal -isiSBSel is not, nor never can be.
10. As to the line from Cape Chacon, along Portland
Channel to the continent at the 56th degree, it is contended by
British Columbians that the correct line from that new point of
departure (the 56th degree) in accordance with the treaty, should
be retraced through Ernest Sound (a portion of Portland Channel) until the former line along the eastern coast of Prince of
Wales would be reached, and following that line to what is now
known as Sumner Strait (a portion of Clarence Strait on Vancouver's map and charts); thence crossing Sumner Strait, and
working under the ten marine leagues measurement from the
ocean coast, as a conventional boundary line, proceed northerly
between the islands Kuiu and Kopreanof to Frederick Sound as*
far as the 57th degree of north latitude; thence west along that
parallel to Chatham Strait, and thence to Icy Strait to the continental shore, at such point as might be deemed most convenient, to utilize "the strip of land" mentioned in the treaty; and
thence ten marine leagues from the ocean coast to the 141st
degree of longitude; and thence to the Arctic Ocean along the
141st meridian. It is but reasonable to conclude that Great Britain desired to protect the frontier of British Columbia, to the
» c ast of Prince of Wales Island and north to Cross Sound. This
was effectually accomplished by the deflection of a branch of the
main boundary through Ernest Sound to the continent at the
56th degree. Then by retracing the same line and joining the
Hne of demarcation from Cape Chacon,-continued along the east
side of Prince of Wales Island as formerly mentioned, completed the southern portion.
11. The latest infringement in connection with the Cape
Muzon extension line of boundary, is an imaginary line drawn ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
from Cape Muzon, east to the entrance of Portland Canal, thence
north to the head of the Canal, and then westward (forming an
elbow) to Burroughs Bay, where the line is supposed to cross
the 56th degree of latitude. Should the interpretation of the
treaty according to the contention and belief of many British
Columbians who have studied the question, together with not a
few of the citizens of the United States, (amongst others, Mr.
J. W. Treadwell, of San Francisco, who wrote a conclusive
article on the boundary question in 1897), be accepted, and the
common sense, just view be adopted according to their contention, the Portland Canal boundary line, and its continuation
along the frontier of the mainland must be abrogated, and the
Portland Channel water boundary along Clarence to Cross
Sound be accepted. The settlement—the just settlement of the
question to both the United States and Canada, hinges on the
diiection of the line of boundary from Cape Chacon.
12. The Edinburgh Review, April, 1900, has a comprehensive article on the Alaskan boundary difficulty. Amongst other
tlr'ngs it says: "It is commonly though erroneously supposed
that the United States have exercised control at Dyea and Skagway for a considerable period of time.   The facts are that Dyea
the influx of miners to the Klondike began. Thousands of them
arrived by steamer in the Lynn Canal, and congregated on its
n argin where Dyea and Skagway now stand. The necessities
of this migration caused considerable trade and commerce.
Without any survey or further diplomatic action respecting the
position of the boundary, the United States government assumed po'itical control of these points and established custom houses,
pest offices and other evidences of authority, with such reasonable diligence as the extreme difficulties of access to this territory and other circumstances permitted, Canada protested
against this cavalier mode of solving the difficulty, and urged
the desirability of establishing the boundary line as content-,
plated by the convention of 1892." The United States people
are continuing this summer to take possession of land in Clarence Strait, on Island Revilla Gigedo, and on locations along
Behm Canal—complications are increasing, and hence the
greater necessity for an early settlement of the boundary.
13. A few points in the Edinburgh Review article from a
British Columbian' point of view require amendation. For example on page 28y, last paragraph, it is stated that: "Having
ascertained the southernmost point of Prince of Wales Island,
and Skagway did not exist  prior to the spring  of 1897.
the    opening of   that   year   theie was   nothing   more
a   single   log   cabin or shanty   at   either   place.     In 30 ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
one is
„ suddenly confronted by the fact that between it and Port- i
kmVchannel sixty miles of ocean intervene. Furthermore,
Portland Channel lies almost due east from the southernmost
point. * * * * Again, the line is to ascend north along
Portland Channel, until it strikes the 56th degree of north.latitude. But Portland Channel does not attain to latitude 56 degrees, etc." The difficulty here is the substitution of the name
Portland Channel for Portland Canal. The name Portland
Channel was not used by Capt. Vancouver in his maps or charts
—only Portland Canal—and Portland Channel was only used ffl
the description of the line of treaty by George Canning and Sir
C. Bagot. The change of the name seems a small affair, but
when it applies to a different body of water and gives the bound
ary another line or direction t makes tne trearv r.\,practicable,
and unworkable. That the name "Portland Channel" should
have been written Portland Canal, appears evident from the explanations and the reference of 'sixty miles of open ocean" between Cape Chacon and Portland Canal, whereas Portland
Channel as named and described in the treaty is alongside
Prince of Wales Island, and furn,shes a water ixmudary, as mentioned by the framers of the treaty to lead to the 56th degree
on the coast of the continent. The paragraph quoted is therefore, incorrect, except where it says the line is to "ascend north-
along Portland Channel" to the 56th degree, and the erroi,
though apparently trivial, has been the cause of the principal misinterpretations of the treaty. It affects the whole continental
frontier of British Columbia from Cape Fox to Cross Sound.
Also on page 288, par. 4, a mistake occurs. It is' stated that
"both parties concur in holding Cape Muzon to be the southernmost point of Prince of Wales Island. * * * * atl(j both
acknowledge that the body of water to-day known as Portland
Canal, is, despite the erroneous description in the treaty, the
channel along which the line is to ascend." The foregoing extract does not state fact. There is no erroneous description in
the treaty; "both parties do not concur in holding Cape Muzon
to be the southernmost point of Prince of Wales Island:" whereas Cape Muzon is on Dall Island, which is over forty
miles long, and is situated to the westward of Cape Chacon. Again, the article quoted says: The British contention is
that the Portland Channel of the treaty is the channel as marked
on Vancouver's charts, and described in his narrative in terms
that leave no doubt as to the body of water which he intended
them to apply." There is no such British contention which'
would substitute Portland Channel as described in the treaty for
Portland Canal; neither does Portland Canal afford the "first
natural boundary on the continent, south of the 55th degree." ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
The natural boundary conceded by British Columbians is Clarence Strait, (the Portland Channel of the treaty.) There seems
to be a discrepancy on page 290, top paragraph, which says:
"Canada also contends that, having determined the point of departure (Cape Muzon) etc., the reference appears untenable,
and it may be that the word "Canada' has been substituted in
error by the printer, for "United States."
Numerous examples could be furnished to exhibit how unjust and unwarrantable many British Columbians consider the
action which their neighbours of the United States have taken
in occupying the lands claimed by them under the treaty of 1825,
but to. which until the subject is decided, one party has the same
right at the other. British Columbians blame their neighbours,
not only for the manner in which they take possession of the
land but for the tardiness they manifest in allowing the disputed
lands to come to a final settlement. British Columbia does not
wish a foot of land from the United States, beyond what the
treaty authorizes—but she expects to get the whole of that.
Neither country is badly off for room or scarcity of land: that,
however, does not affect the rights of either, nor the sovereignty
of the lands in dispute. Many able writers in Canada and Britain have expressed their views on the subject. Amongst others
the Toronto Globe, which in an editorial which appeared in that
paper in September, 1899, says: "When the Alaskan boundary
question comes to be settled, we hope it will be settled in a manner worthy of civilized nations, and not in the manner of dogs
fighting for a bone."
From the Victoria Time,, December 5th, 1900:
To the Editor: In his annual message to Congress, December 3rd inst., President McKinley refers to the settlement
of the Alaskan boundary qu »stion. The smooth working of the
nudus vivendi, passed in October, 1899, for the convenience of
miners near the head of Lynn Canal, belonging either to Canada
or to the United States called forth expressions of satisfaction;
but the President remarks, "however necessary such an expedient may have been to tide over the grave emergency of the
situation, it is at best an unsatisfactory makeshift, which should
not be suffered to delay the speedy and complete establishment
of a frontier line, to which we are entitled under the Russo-Am-
erican treaty for the cession of Alaska."
There need be no difficulty or delay in definitely marking
the boundary where it follows   the   141st meridian, nor after 32 ALASKAN BOUNDARY REVIEW.
leaving'the 141st meridian along the coast of the continent, as
far as Cross Sound. From that point, however, it becomes
necessary under international law, to have defined and established the position of the coast of the continent, as the treaty says:
"The limit between the British possessions and the line of coast
which is to belong to Russia, as above mentioned shall be formed by a line parallel to the windings of the coast, and which shall
never exceed the distance of ten marine leagues therefrom."
December 4th, 1900.  .--  LSii^IftSCEjw^sis  


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