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´╗┐Title: Handbook to the new Gold-fields
Author: Ballantyne, R. M. (Robert Michael), 1825-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Handbook to the new Gold-fields" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Handbook to the New Gold-Fields, by R.M. Ballantyne.


This book was one of several books written by Ballantyne in or about
1858, for Nelson, the publishers.  From a literary point of view it does
not rank very high, because it was a "pot-boiler", and not one of
Ballantyne's dashing and spirited books for teenagers.  There were three
other books in this category, and we do not rate very high our chances
of finding any of them and adding it to our collection.

Much of the book consists of long quotes from the Times correspondent.
I am not sure, but I think that should really be read as "the New York
Times correspondent".  There are also long letters from the Governor of
the area (a British colony), to the British Government, and their
answers.  Of course there were long intervals between these letters and
their replies, because they had to cross the North American continent,
and then the Atlantic by sailing vessel.

This book turned up in the Early Canadiana Online collection of early
books about Canada, and the scans of the pages to be found on the
Canadiana website were acquired using the very new (2005) screen
grabbing tool created by ABBYY.  Canadiana publish their scans at five
different scales, of which we used the middle one, except for the
Appendix, where we used the largest size, and OCRed it in the usual
manner.  The reason for this was that the font size used by Nelsons for
the Appendix was much smaller than that used for the bodytext of the
book.  The rest of the work was done using our Athelstane editing
programs, just as we do all other books.  So doing it was something of a
technical feat.





The problem of colonisation in the north-western portion of British
America is fast working itself out.  The same destiny which pushed
forward Anglo-Saxon energy and intelligence into the rich plains of
Mexico, and which has peopled Australia, is now turning the current of
emigration to another of the "waste-places of the earth."  The discovery
of extensive goldfields in the extreme west of the territories now
occupied by the Hudson's Bay Company, is a great fact.  It no longer
comes to us as the report of interested adventurers, or the exaggeration
of a few sanguine diggers, but with well-authenticated results--large
quantities of gold received at San Francisco, and a consequent rush of
all nations from the gold regions of California, as well as from the
United States and Canada.  The _thirst for Gold_ is, as it always has
been, the most attractive, the strongest, the most unappeasable of
appetites--the impulse that builds up, or pulls down empires, and floods
the wilderness with a sudden population.  In those wild regions of the
Far West men are pouring in one vast, gold-searching tide of thousands
and tens of thousands, into the comparatively unknown territory beyond
the Rocky Mountains, for which our Legislature has just manufactured a
government.  How strange is the comparison instituted by the _Times_
between the rush to Fraser River and the mediaeval crusades, which
carried so large a portion of the population of Europe to die on the
burning plains of Palestine!  At Clermont Ferrand, Peter the Hermit has
concluded his discourse; cries are heard in every quarter, "It is the
will of God!  It is the will of God!"; Every one assumes the cross, and
the crowd disperses to prepare for conquering under the walls of the
earthly, a sure passage to the heavenly, Jerusalem.  What elevation of
motive, what faith, what enthusiasm!  Compare with this the picture
presented by San Francisco Harbour.  A steamer calculated to carry 600
persons, is laden with 1600.  There is hardly standing room on the deck.
It is almost impossible to clear a passage from one part of the vessel
to the other.  The passengers are not knights and barons, but tradesmen,
"jobbers," tenants, and workmen of all the known varieties.  Their
object in of the earth, earthy--wealth in its rawest and rudest form--
gold, the one thing for which they bear to live, or dare to die.
Although in the comparison the crusades may have the superiority in many
points, yet so little have ideal, romantic, and sentimental
considerations to do with the current of human affairs, that while the
crusades remain a monument of abortive and objectless folly, fatal to
those who embarked in them, and leaving as their chief result a tinge of
Asiatic ferocity on European barbarism, the exodus of San Francisco,
notwithstanding the material end it has in view, is sure to work out the
progress of happiness and civilisation, and add another to the many
conquests over nature, which the present age has witnessed.

In a year more than ordinarily productive of remarkable events, one of
the most noteworthy, and that which is likely to leave a lasting
impression on the world, is this discovery of gold on the coasts of the
Pacific.  The importance of the new region as a centre for new
ramifications of English relations with the rest of the world cannot
well be exaggerated either in a political or a commercial point of view.
It will be the first really important point we shall have ever
commanded on that side of the Pacific Ocean, and it cannot but be of
inestimable value in developing our relations with America, China,
Japan, and Eastern Russia.

This new discovery must also tend to make the western shore of the
American continent increasingly attractive, from Fraser's River down to
Peru the rivers all bear down treasures of a wealth perfectly
inestimable.  Emigration must necessarily continue to flow and increase.
Gold digging is soon learned, and there will be an immense demand for
every kind of labour at almost fabulous prices.

It is further valuable as tending to open up a direct communication from
the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from Europe across the continent of
America to India and China.  This is a grand idea, and the colonial
minister who carries it out will accomplish a greater thing than any of
his predecessors, for he will open up the means of carrying English
civilisation to the whole of that vast continent and to the eastern

The pioneers in this movement will conquer the territory not with arms
in their hands, but with the gold-rocker, the plough, the loom, and the
anvil, the steam-boat, the railway, and the telegraph.  Commerce and
agriculture, disenthralled by the influences of free institutions, will
cause the new empire to spring into life, full armed, like Minerva from
the brain of Jupiter.  Its Pacific ports will be thronged with ships of
all nations, its rich valleys will blossom with nature's choicest
products, while its grand rivers will bear to the sea the fruits of free
and honest labour.  Great as have been our achievements in the planting
of colonies, we have never entered upon a more magnificent work than the
one now before us, in which the united energies of the two great
branches of the Anglo-Saxon race will be engaged, heart and hand.

While the present volume is intended chiefly for those desiring
information on the subject of the gold discoveries, it also addresses
itself to the general public, for the condition and character of the
country and its inhabitants cannot fail to be a subject of inquiry with
all who can appreciate the importance of its situation.  The book lays
claim to no merit but that of careful collation.  Little information is
given but what is derived from sources of general access; but it does
profess to set forth the truth as far as that could be obtained from the
conflicting statements of different parties.

While the following pages will be found to contain ample proof as to the
extent and richness of the gold fields; as well as the salubrity of the
climate, it is satisfactory to be able to state here that the country is
proved to be easily accessible both for English and American
merchandise.  The public have now certain, though unofficial news, of
the journey of the Governor of Vancouver's Island as far as Fort Hope,
about one hundred miles above the mouth of the Fraser River and seventy
above Fort Langley.  This voyage has established the extremely important
fact, that the river is navigable for steamers at least up to this
point, where the mines are now known to be of extraordinary wealth,
although it is reported that their yield regularly increases as the
stream is ascended.  It is now proved that these districts are actually
within from fifteen to twenty-three hours steam of Victoria, the
principal town of the Vancouver's Island colony.  It is difficult to
exaggerate the importance of this fact.  It is true that the same voyage
which the steamer carrying the Governor of Vancouver's Island
successfully performed, was attempted without success by another steamer
about the same time--a fact which probably indicates that the river will
be navigable only for vessels of small draught, and possibly, perhaps,
not equally navigable at all seasons; for we must remember that in the
early part of June, when this attempt was successfully made, the waters
of the river had already begun to rise, in consequence of the melting of
the snow from the Rocky Mountains, from which it springs.  But they were
then by no means at their full height; and even if the river be only
navigable by vessels of small draught, that is a fact of very little
importance as compared with the certainty that it is navigable at all to
so considerable a height.  Fort Hope is, as we have said, about one
hundred miles up the river--that is to say, about one hundred and ninety
from Victoria in Vancouver's Island, the voyage across the Gulf of
Georgia being about ninety miles.  The rich diggings between Fort Yale
and Fort Hope are, therefore, not so far from the fertile land of
Vancouver's Island as London from Hull and the distance from Victoria to
the mouth of the river, where gold is at present found inconsiderable
quantities, is not so great as the distance from Liverpool to Dublin.
Now, as almost all the importance of a mining district depends on easy
communication with a provision market--and the very richest will be
rendered comparatively insignificant if provisions can only be carried
thither at enormous cost and labour--no fact has yet been established of
more importance than the easy navigability of the Fraser River.
Immediately above Fort Yale, which is twelve miles higher up the river
than the point reached by the steamer, a succession of cataracts begin,
which, of course, interrupt all navigation, but thence even to "the
Forks," or junction between the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, there is
certainly not more than one hundred miles of road, which, as we learn
from the government map, are mostly practicable for loaded waggons.
Hence it is evident that the new gold district will be easily accessible
both for English merchandise from England, and for the provision market
of Vancouver's Island.

In explanation and refutation of the prejudice which almost universally
exists against the climate and soil of North America generally, but
especially of the divisions included in the Hudson's Bay Company's
Territories, we cannot do better than quote the following just remarks
from the Reverend Mr Nicolay's treatise on Oregon.  He says:--

"A predisposition towards one opinion, or bias to one side of an
argument, too often warps both the judgment and the understanding; and
one man in consequence sees fertile plains where another could see only
arid wastes on which even the lizards appear starving, while the other
looks forward to their being covered with countless flocks and herds at
no very distant period of time.  Both Cook and Vancouver, having
previously made up their minds against the existence of a river near
parallel 46 degrees, passed the Columbia without perceiving it, and the
former even declared most decidedly that the strait seen by Juan de Fuca
had its origin only in the fertility of the pilot's brain.  As they were
discovered to be in error, so it is not impossible that others not less
positive in their assertions may be convicted of the same carelessness
of examination as those navigators, so remarkable in all other respects
for their accuracy, and so indefatigable and minute in their researches,
that little has been left to their successors but to check their work.

"With respect, however, to the attributed barrenness of great part of
the territory, so peremptorily insisted on by many, there is some excuse
for the earlier travellers from whom that opinion is derived.  Ignorant
of the best routes, and frequently famishing in the immediate
neighbourhood of plenty, they most justly reflect back to others the
impressions they received; but in so doing, though they speak truth,
they give very erroneous ideas of the country they think themselves to
be describing most accurately, and of this very pregnant examples are
found in the travels of Lewis and Clarke, and the party who came
overland to Astoria: both struck the head waters of the Saptin, both
continued its course to its junction with the main stream, both
suffered--the latter party intensely; but had they, by the fertile
bottoms of Bear and Rosseaux Rivers, found access to the valley between
the Cascade and Blue Mountains--or, keeping still further west, crossed
the former range into that of the Wallamette, they would have found
game, been banished from their pages, and the Oregon would have appeared
in her holiday attire--

"A nymph of healthiest hue--"

and the depth of ravines and the elevation of rocks and precipices would
have been changed into the unerring evidences of fertility and
luxuriance of vegetation afforded by the dense forests and gigantic
pine-trees of the coast district.  We can scarce estimate the transition
of feeling and change which would have been produced in their estimate
of the country, if they could have been suddenly transported from their
meagre horse-steak--cut from an animal so jaded with travel as to be in
all probability only saved from death by starvation and fatigue, by
being put to death to save over-wearied men from famine, and this cooked
at a fire of _bois de vache_, with only the shelter of an overhanging
rock--to the fat venison and savoury wildfowl of the woods and lakes,
broiled on the glowing hardwood embers under the comfortable roof of
sheltering bark, or the leafy shade of the monarch of the forest; while
the cheerful whinny of their well-fed beasts would have given joyful
token that nature in her bounty had been forgetful of nothing which her
dependent children could desire.

"While such and so great is the power of circumstances to vary the
impressions made upon the senses, some hesitation must be used in their
reception until fully confirmed, or they must be limited by other
accounts, as unbiassed judgment may direct, especially as the
temperament of individuals may serve to heighten the colouring, whether
sombre or sunny, in which circumstances may have depicted the landscape.
It is not every traveller who can, with Mackenzie, expatiate on the
beauty of scenery while in fear of treachery from fickle and bloody
savages; or like Fremont, though dripping from the recent flood, and
uncertain of the means of existence even for the day, his arms, clothes,
provisions, instruments, deep in the whirlpools of the foaming Platte,
stop to gaze with admiration on the `fantastic ruins' Nature has `piled'
among her mountain fastnesses, while from his bare and bleeding feet he
draws the sharp spines of the hostile cacti.  Truth from travellers is
consequently for the most part relative.  Abstractedly, with reference
to any country, it must be derived from the combined accounts and
different phases of truth afforded by many."



"Destiny, which has lately riveted our attention on the burning plains
of the extreme East," says the _Times_ of 9th July, "now claims our
solicitude for the auriferous mountains and rushing rivers of the Far
West and the shores of the remote Pacific.  What most of us know of
these ultra-occidental regions may be summed up in a very few words.  We
have most of us read Washington Irving's charming narrative of
`Astoria,' sympathised with the untimely fate of Captain Thorn and his
crew, and read with breathless interest the wanderings of the pilgrims
to the head waters of the Columbia.  After thirty years, the curtain
rises again on the stormy period of the Ashburton Treaty, when the
`patriots' were bent upon `whipping the Britishers' out of every acre of
land on the western side of the Rocky Mountains.  And now, for the third
time, we are recalled to the same territory, no longer as the goal of
the adventurous trader or the battle ground of the political agitator,
but as a land of promise--a new El Dorado, to which men are rushing with
all the avidity that the presence of the one, thing which all men, in
all times and in all places, insatiably desire is sure to create."

This El Dorado lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific; it is
bounded on the south by the American frontier line, 49 degrees of
latitude, and may be considered to extend to the sources of Fraser
River, in latitude 55 degrees.  It is, therefore, about 420 miles long
in a straight line, its average breadth from 250 to 300 miles.  Taken
from corner to corner, its greatest length would be, however, 805
miles,--and its greatest breadth 400 miles, Mr Arrowsmith computes its
area of square miles, including Queen Charlotte's Island, at somewhat
more than 200,000 miles.  Of its two gold-bearing rivers, one, the
Fraser, rises in the northern boundary, and flowing south, falls into
the sea at the south-western extremity of the territory, opposite the
southern end of Vancouver's Island, and within a few miles of the
American boundary; the other, the Thompson River, which rises in the
Rocky Mountains, and flowing westward, joins the Fraser about 150 miles
from the coast.  It is on these two rivers, and chiefly at their
confluence, that the gold discoveries have been made.

Fraser River is about as famous a point as there is today on the earth's
surface--as famous as were the Californian diggings in 1848, or the
Australian gold mines in 1853.  It is now the centre of attraction for
the adventurous of all countries.  The excitement throughout the Canadas
and Northern States of America is universal.  In fact, the whole
interior of North America is quite in a ferment--the entire floating
population being either "on the move," or preparing to start; while
traders, cattle-dealers, contractors, and all the enterprising persons
in business who can manage to leave, are maturing arrangements to join
the general exodus.  Persons travelling in the mining regions reckon
that, in three months, 50,000 souls will have left the State of
California alone.  The rapidity and extent of this emigration has never
been paralleled.

It is now established that the district of British Columbia, holding a
relation to Puget's Sound similar to that of Sacramento Valley to the
Bay of San Francisco, contains rich and extensive gold beds.  The Fraser
River mines have already been mentioned in the British Parliament as not
less valuable and important than the gold fields in Australia,
Geologists have anticipated such a discovery; and Governor Stevens, in
his last message to the Legislative Assembly of Washington Territory,
claims that the district south of the international boundary is equally

The special correspondent of the _San Francisco Bulletin_, a reliable
authority, writes from Fort Langley, twenty-five miles up the Fraser,
under date the 25th May, that he had just come down from Fort Yale,
where he found sixty men and two hundred Indians, with their squaws, at
work on a "bar" of about five hundred yards in length--called "Hills
Bar," one mile below Fort Yale, and fifteen miles from Fort Hope, all
trading posts of the Hudson's Bay Company.  "The morning I arrived, two
men (Kerrison and Company) cleaned up five and a-half ounces from the
rocker, the product of half a day's work.  Kerrison and Company the next
day cleaned up ten and a-half ounces from two rockers, which I saw
myself weighed.  This bar is acknowledged to be one of the richest ever
seen, and well it may be, for here is a product of fifteen and a-half
ounces of gold, worth 247 and a half dollars, or 50 pounds sterling,
from it in a day and a-half to the labour of two rockers.  Old
Californian miners say they never saw such rich diggings.  The average
result per day to the man was fully 20 dollars, some much more.  The
gold is very fine; so much so, that it was impossible to save more than
two-thirds of what went through the rockers.  This defect in the rocker
must be remedied by the use of quicksilver to `amalgamate' the finer
particles of gold.  This remedy is at hand, for California produces
quicksilver sufficient for the consumption of the `whole' world in her
mountains of Cinnabar.  Supplies are going on by every vessel.  At
Sailor Diggings, above Fort Yale, they are doing very well, averaging
from 8 to 25 dollars per day to the man.  I am told that the gold is
much coarser on Thompson River than it is in Fraser River.  I saw
yesterday about 250 dollars of coarse gold from Thompson River, in
pieces averaging 5 dollars each.  Some of the pieces had quartz among
them.  Hill, who was the first miner on the bar bearing his name, just
above spoken of, with his partner, has made some 600 dollars on it in
almost sixteen days' work.  Three men just arrived from Sailor Diggings
have brought down 670 dollars in dust, the result of twelve days' work.
Gold very fine.  Rising of the river driving the miners off for a time."

Correspondents from several places on the Sound, both on the British and
American territories, men of various nationalities, have since written
that the country on the Fraser River is rich in gold, and "equal to any
discoveries ever made in California."  The _Times'_ correspondent,
writing from Vancouver's Island on 10th June, says, "The gold exists
from the mouth of Fraser River for at least 200 miles up, and most
likely much further, but it has not been explored; hitherto any one
working on its banks has been able to obtain gold in abundance and
without extraordinary labour; the gold at present obtained has been
within a foot of the surface, and is supposed to have averaged about ten
dollars per diem to each man engaged in mining.  Of course, some obtain
more, some less, but all get gold.  Thompson River is quite as rich in
gold as Fraser River.  The land about Thompson River consists of
extensive sandy prairies, which are loaded with gold also; in fact, the
whole country about Fraser and Thompson Rivers are mere beds of gold, so
abundant as to make it quite disgusting.  I have already seen pounds and
pounds of it, and hope before long to feast my eyes upon tons of the
precious metal."  And the same high authority writes on 17th
June,--"There is no longer room to doubt that all the country bordering
on Fraser River is one continuous gold bed.  Miners abandoning the
partially exhausted _placers_ of California, are thronging to this new
_Dorado_, and the heretofore tranquil precincts of Victoria are now the
scene of an excitement such as was witnessed at San Francisco in 1849,
or since in Melbourne.  Land has run up to prices fabulously high; and
patches that six months ago were, perhaps, grudgingly purchased at the
colonial price of 20 shillings the acre, are re-selling daily at a
hundred times that amount.  The small number of steam ships hitherto
found sufficient for the commerce between San Francisco and these
vicinities no longer suffices to convey a tithe of the eager applicants
for passage.  An opening for the enterprise of British capitalists such
as was not anticipated has thus suddenly arisen, and the opportunity
will, of course, be seized with alacrity.

"Lest I should appear too sanguine in my representations, I will cite
one instance to illustrate the richness of these newly discovered
diggings.  Three men returned for provisions lately, after an absence of
seven days; they had during this interval extracted 179 ounces of gold.
I state this fact on the authority of Governor Douglas, who has just
returned from the mining regions, whither he went with the view of
establishing certain regulations for the maintenance of order.  In
short, all who have visited the mines are impressed with the conviction
that their richness far excels that of California in its palmiest days."

And, again, the correspondent of the _New York Times_, in a letter dated
21st June, gives the following corroborative testimony:--"The gold is
found everywhere, and even during the extreme height of the river,
parties are averaging from ten to twenty dollars per day, digging in the
banks or on the upper edge of the bars, nearly all of which are
overflowed.  Big strikes of from fifty to two hundred and fifty dollars
are frequently reported.  Nearly all the work at present is carried on
between Forts Langley and Yale, and for some twenty or thirty miles
above the latter an entire distance along the river of about a hundred
miles.  Some few are digging on Harrison River, and other tributaries,
where the gold is found in larger particles.  Those who were engaged in
mining on the forks of Thompson River shew still richer yields, but have
been compelled to leave on account of the high stage of the water, the
want of provisions, and the opposition of the Indians.  The gold where
the most men are located (upon the bars of the river), is found in very
minute particles, like sand.  No quicksilver has been used as, yet, but
when that is attainable, their yield is sure to be greatly augmented.
At Hill's Bar those at work had averaged fifty dollars per day the whole
time they had been there.  The Indians all have gold, and are as much
excited as the whites.  It is of no use to cite various reports of
individual successes in this or that locality.  The impression of all
who have gone is unanimous and conclusive as to the great facts of new
gold fields now being explored equal to any ever yet developed in
California or elsewhere.  No steamer has yet returned with more than
twelve or fifteen passengers, and nearly every one of these had come
down to obtain supplies for himself or his party left behind in the
diggings.  They all say they are going back in a few weeks."

The following personal testimony may also be cited:--"On Sunday," says
the _San Francisco Globe_, "we received a visit from Messrs. Edward
Campbell and Joseph Blanch, both boatmen, well known in this city, who
have just returned from the mines on Fraser River.  They mined for ten
days on the bar, until compelled to desist from the rise in the river,
in which time they took out 1340 dollars.  They used but one rocker, and
have no doubt that they could have done much better with proper
appliances.  There were from sixty to seventy white men at work on
Hill's Bar, and from four to five hundred Indians, men, women, and
children.  The Indians are divided in opinion with regard to Americans;
the more numerous party, headed by Pollock, a chief, are disposed to
receive them favourably, because they obtain more money, for their
labour from the `Bostons' than from `King George's men', as they style
the English.  They have learned the full value of their labour, and,
instead of one dollar a-day, or an old shirt, for guiding and helping to
work a boat up the river, they now charge from five to eight dollars per
day.  Another portion of the Indians are in favour of driving off the
`Bostons,' being fearful of having their country overrun by them."

The proprietor of the San Francisco _News Letter_ had determined to be
at the centre of the present excitement in the El Dorado, and to judge
for himself, or, rather to solve the problem of how much gold, how many
Indians, and how much humbug, went on board the Pacific mail steam-ship
_Cortes_, Captain Horner, and made the passage to Victoria, 840 miles,
in five days.  Although nine hundred persons were on board, yet no
actual inconvenience was felt by the high-pressure packing; the greatest
good humour and accommodating spirit prevailing, controlled by the
gentlemanly conduct of Captain J.B. Horner and his officers.  On the day
of arrival, the operations of the Government Land Office at the fort in
Victoria was 26,000 dollars.  The importance of the amount can best be
realised by comparing it with the prices, viz. 100 dollars per lot, 60
by 100 feet, unsurveyed.  Some of these lots have been sold at 200 to
1000 dollars.  Lots at first sale, surveyed price, 50 dollars; lots,
second and last sale, 100 dollars each, are now being sold from 500 to
1000 dollars each.  Six lots together in the principal street are valued
at 10,000 dollars.  The figures at Esquimault Harbour and lots in that
vicinity assume a bolder character as to value, from the fact that the
harbour is a granite-bound basin, similar to Victoria, with an entrance
now wide and deep enough to admit the Leviathan.  Victoria has a bar
which must be dredged, dug, or blown away.  We noted at Victoria that
the most valuable lot, with a flat granite level, with thirty feet of
water, sufficient for any ship to unload without jetty, is now covered
by a large building constructed of logs, belonging to Samuel Price and
Company.  A ship was unloading lumber at this wharf at 35 dollars per M,
which was the ruling price.  At Victoria, on the 21st June, a Frenchman
landed from the steamer _Surprise_, who came on board at Fort Langley
with twenty-seven pounds weight of gold on his person, which we saw and
lifted.  Another passenger, whom we know, states that there are six
hundred persons within eight miles of Fort Hope, who are averaging per
man an ounce and a half of gold per day minimum to six and a half ounces
per day maximum.  The largest sums seem to be taken out at Sailor's Bar,
five miles above Fort Hope.  The lowest depth as yet reached by miners
is fifteen inches; these mere surface scratches producing often 200
dollars per day.  At Fort Hope, potatoes were selling at 6 dollars per
bag; bacon, 75 cents per pound; crackers, 30 cents.  From Fort Hope to
Fort Thompson the road is good, with the exception of twenty miles.  For
20 dollars, the steamers will take miners from Victoria to the diggings
at Fort Hope, and for three or four dollars more an Indian will
accompany you to Fort Yale.  Bowen, steward of the _Surprise_, says that
about a hundred Indians usually ran after him to obtain little sweet
cakes, which he traded off four or five for 1 dollar in gold dust.
Sugar at Fort Langley, 1 dollar 50 cents per pound; lumber, 1 dollar 50
cents per foot; tea and coffee, 1 dollar per pound; pierced iron for
rockers, 8 dollars; plain sheets, 2 dollars each; five pounds of
quicksilver sold for 40 dollars--10 dollars per pound was the ordinary
price.  The actual ground prospected and ascertained to be highly
auriferous extends to three hundred and fifty miles from the mouth of
Fraser River.  One hundred miles of Thompson River has been prospected,
and found to be rich, south-east of Fraser River.  The same will apply
to all the tributaries of Thompson River.  A large extent of auriferous
quartz has been discovered ten miles from Fort Hope.  Exceedingly rich
quartz veins have been found on Harrison River.

The most astounding facts have yet to be divulged.  A river emptying
into the Gulf of Georgia, not a hundred miles north of Fraser River
hitherto supposed to contain no gold, has proved fabulously rich.  An
Indian arrived at Victoria from this locality, having twenty-three
pounds weight of pure gold, obtained solely by his own labour, in less
than twenty days.  In confirmation of our figures, and being short of
space, we append the following statistics, derived from an official and
authentic source of the strictest reliability.  We deem the above facts
sufficient to cause an exodus of a far more alarming character, and of
higher proportions as to number, than any hitherto known in history.
Suffice it to say, that the present _furore_ is well founded; that it
holds out busy times, high prices, speculations, contracts, and
employments of a thousand kinds.

Fountain's Diggings (Fraser River, at 51 degrees 30 minutes north),
month of June 1858.

Five rockers worked by half-breed Canadians.

|June   |     1.|     2.|     3.|     4.|     5.|
|       |dollars|dollars|dollars|dollars|dollars|
|      1|     38|     50|     42|     40|     50|
|      2|     40|     51|     38|     29|     51|
|      3|     41|     53|     39|     51|     52|
|      4|     28|     55|     18|     33|     56|
|      5|     32|     60|     54|     54|     53|
|      6|     64|     62|     39|     58|     55|
|      7|     52|     58|     48|     52|     64|
|Total  |    295|    385|    268|    327|    381|
|Average|  42.14|  55.50|  38.70|  46.72|  54.40|

A highly reliable correspondent sends the following from San Francisco,
under date 5th July:--

The emigration for Fraser River has gone on for months with no signs of
growing less.  The best means of judging what grounds there are for the
belief in the existence of gold in large quantities on its banks, is by
letters received from persons who are engaged in mining.  It is worthy
of note that there is no discrepancy between the accounts given by
different individuals, all their statements agreeing.  The mines are
reported to be exceedingly rich, and yielding large returns to those
engaged in digging.  The river is very high, and miners have been driven
from several of the most lucrative bars until the water subsides.  Mr
Hill, from whom Hill's Bar took its name, is mining some distance above
that point.  He and six hands were making from an ounce to an ounce and
a-half of gold dust a day to each man.  For three weeks prior to the
freshet, Mr Hill and one man averaged one hundred to one hundred and
fifty dollars a day.  The freshet, however drove him off for the time
being.  Mr E.R. Collins, who has spent some time in the Fraser River
gold region, and who brought down last week a quantity of dust, has
communicated the following intelligence to the _Alta California_.  Mr
Collins is a trustworthy gentleman.  He left San Francisco in March
last, and was at Olympia when the excitement first broke out.  He then,
in company with three others, proceeded to Point Roberts, from whence
they proceeded up Fraser River to the mouth of Harrison River, about
twenty-five miles above Fort Langley.  This portion of the journey they
performed without guides or assistance from the natives.  The current
was moderate, and occasionally beautiful islands were discovered with
heavy timber, which presented a beautiful appearance.  From Fort Hope to
Fort Yale, a distance of fifteen miles, the river runs narrow, and the
current running about seven miles per hour, though, in some places, it
might be set down at ten or twelve.  At Fort Yale, the first mining bar
was reached.  It extended out from the left bank a distance of some
thirty yards, and was about half a mile long.  Twenty or thirty squaws
were at work with baskets and wooden trays, while, near by, large
numbers of male Indians stood listlessly looking on.  Here some of Mr
Collins' companions, who had now increased to twenty, proposed to stop
and try their luck, but the majority resolved to go on, having informed
themselves satisfactorily that further up the "big chunks" were in
abundance.  After resting a while, therefore, the party went ahead.  Two
miles from Fort Yale they entered upon the commencement of the real
difficulties and dangers of navigation on Fraser River, the water for a
distance of thirty-five or forty miles passing through deep gloomy
canons, and over high masses of rock.  At this time the river had
attained only a few feet above its usual height, so that by perseverance
and the skill of the native boatman they were enabled to make slow
progress.  Numerous portages were made--one of them, the last, being
four miles long.  These portages could not be avoided, the cliffs rising
perpendicularly on either side of the river, sometimes to a height of
fifty or sixty feet, affording not the slightest footpath on which to
tow.  At other places the whirls, and rocks partly submerged, rendered a
water passage utterly impracticable.  At every bar and shallow spot
prospected in these wild localities gold was obtained in paying
quantities, all of very fine quality--rather difficult to save without
the use of quicksilver.  From the head of the canons to the forks of
Thompson's River, thirty-five miles more, the current and general
appearance of the river seemed about the same as from Fort Hope to Fort
Yale, gold also being found where there was an opportunity for a fair
"prospect".  At the Forks the party were told by Travill, a French
trader, whom they met by accident, that the richest and best diggings
were up Thompson's; but that river being navigable but a few miles up,
it was thought best to keep on up Fraser, which they did for a distance
of forty miles, encountering no serious obstacles beyond a few rapids,
and they were passed by towing.  Five miles above the Forks some twenty
white men were at work, making with common rockers from ten to sixteen
dollars per day.  Arriving at a bar about ten miles below, where white
men were congregating in numbers considered sufficient for mutual
protection, they took up a claim and commenced digging.  They worked
here steady twenty-four days, averaging fifteen dollars per day to each
man.  The greatest day's work of one man was thirty-one dollars.  These
figures, it is thought, would apply to all the miners.

Our latest news from the new mines reach to the beginning of July.  At
that time there were immense numbers of miners on the banks of Fraser
River, waiting for the stream to fall and enable them to go to work on
the bars, which are said to be fabulously rich.  Some dry diggings had
also been discovered in the neighbourhood of the river; but owing to the
presence of a large number of Indians, not of the most friendly
disposition, the miners dared not then extend their researches far from
the stream, where the bulk of the whites were congregated.  The town of
Victoria, on Vancouver's Island, has sprung rapidly into importance.
Great advances have been made on real estate there.  Lots, which a few
months ago were sold by the Hudson's Bay Company at twelve pounds ten
shillings, are now selling at over 250 pounds.  A newspaper, called the
_Victoria Gazette_ has been started there; and an American steamer, _The
Surprise_, is also running regularly between Victoria and Fort Hope,
which is one hundred miles above the mouth of Fraser River.  In the last
week of June the arrivals by steamers and vessels at the various ports
of British Columbia reached the large daily average of one thousand,
while those who have lately travelled through the mountains say that the
principal roads in the interior present an appearance similar to the
retreat of a routed army.  Stages, express waggons, and vehicles of
every character, are called into requisition for the immediate
emergency, and all are crammed, while whole battalions are pressing
forward on horse or mule back, and on foot.  Of course, the shipments of
merchandise from San Francisco and other ports are very large, to keep
pace with this almost instantaneous emigration of thousands to a region
totally unsupplied with the commodities necessary for their use and
sustenance.  Up to the present no outbreak or disturbance has occurred,
and a certain degree of order has already been established in the mining
region, through the judicious measures adopted by the governor.
Justices of the peace and other officials have been appointed, and a
system protective of the territorial interests organised.  Licences, on
the principle of those granted in Australia, are issued; the price, five
dollars per month, to be exacted from every miner.  There was a good
deal of talk, as to the right or propriety of levying this tax when it
was first proposed, and some of the Francisco papers were load in their
denunciations; others took a calmer view.  It is satisfactory to add
that little difficulty has so far been experienced on this head.  As a
body, the miners are reported to be a steady set of men, well conducted,
and respectful of the law.



Next to the extent and richness of the gold mines, the most important
inquiry is as to the character of the climate and soil.  And in this
respect the Fraser River settlement does not lose any of its
attractions, for, though seven hundred miles north of San Francisco, it
is still one or two degrees south of the latitude of London, and
apparently with a climate of a mildness equal to that of the southern
shores of England, being free from all extremes, both of heat and cold.
One hundred and fifty miles back from the Pacific, indeed, there lies a
range of mountains reaching up to the regions of perpetual snow.  But
between that and the coast the average temperature is fifty-four degrees
for the year round.  Snow seldom lies more than three days.  Fruit trees
blossom early in April, and salad goes to head by the middle of May on
Vancouver's Island.  In parts of this region wheat yields twenty to
thirty bushels to the acre.  Apples, pears, pease, and grains of all
kinds do well.  The trees are of gigantic growth.  Iron and copper
abound, as does also coal in Vancouver's Island, so that altogether it
bids fair to realise in a short time the description applied to it by
the colonial secretary (Sir E.B. Lytton), of "a magnificent abode for
the human race."

When introducing the "Government of New Caledonia bill," on 9th July,
the Colonial Secretary said in his place in the House of Commons:--"The
Thompson River district is described as one of the finest countries in
the British dominions, with a climate far superior to that of countries
in the same latitude on the other side of the mountains.  Mr Cooper,
who gave valuable evidence before our committee on this district, with
which he is thoroughly acquainted, recently addressed to me a letter, in
which he states that `its fisheries are most valuable, its timber the
finest in the world for marine purposes; it abounds with bituminous
coal, well fitted for the generation of steam; from Thompson River and
Colville districts to the Rocky Mountains, and from the 49th parallel
some 350 miles north, a more beautiful country does not exist.  It is in
every way suitable for colonisation.'  Therefore, apart from the gold
fields, this country affords every promise of a flourishing and
important colony."

The _Times_ special correspondent, in a letter from Vancouver's Island,
published on 10th August, says, "Productive fisheries, prolific whaling
waters, extensive coalfields, a country well timbered in some parts,
susceptible of every agricultural improvement in ethers, with rich gold
fields on the very borders--these are some of the many advantages
enjoyed by the colony of Vancouver's Island and its fortunate
possessors.  When I add that the island boasts a climate of great
salubrity, with a winter temperature resembling that of England, and a
summer little inferior to that of Paris, I need say no more, lest my
picture be suspected of sharing too deeply of _couleur de rose_."

Of the southern part of this district Lieutenant Wilkes, who commanded
the late exploring expedition under the United States government, says,
"Few portions of the globe are so rich in soil, so diversified in
surface, or so capable of being rendered the happy homes of an
industrious and civilised community.  For beauty of scenery and
salubrity of climate it cannot be surpassed.  It is peculiarly adapted
for an agricultural and pastoral people, and no portion of the world
beyond the tropics can be found that will yield so readily with moderate
labour to the wants of man."

Perhaps the fullest account of the country yet given is that contained
in "The Narrative of a Residence of Six Years on the Western Slopes of
the Rocky Mountains," by Ross Cox, one of the earliest explorers of
British North America.  He says, "The district of New Caledonia extends
from 51 degrees 30 minutes north latitude to about 56 degrees.  Its
extreme western boundary is 124 degrees 10 minutes.  Its principal
trading post is called Alexandria, after the celebrated traveller Sir
Alexander Mackenzie.  It is built on the banks of Fraser River, in about
latitude 53 degrees north.  The country in its immediate vicinity
presents a beautiful and picturesque appearance.  The banks of the river
are rather low; but a little distance inland some rising grounds are
visible, partially diversified by groves of fir and poplar.  This
country is full of small lakes, rivers, and marshes.  It extends about
ten days' march in a north and north-east direction.  To the south and
south-east the Atnah, or Chin Indian country, extends about one hundred
miles; on the east there is a chain of lakes, and the mountains
bordering Thompson River; while to the westward and north-west lie the
lands of the Naskotins and Clinches.  The lakes are numerous, and some
of them tolerably large: one, two, and even three days are at times
required to cross some of them.  They abound in a plentiful variety of
fish, such as trout, sucker, etcetera; and the natives assert that white
fish is sometimes taken.  These lakes are generally fed by mountain
streams, and many of them spread out, and are lost in the surrounding
marshes.  On the banks of the river, and in the interior, the trees
consist of poplar, cypress, alder, cedar, birch, and different species
of fir, spruce, and willow.  There is not the same variety of wild fruit
as on the Columbia; and this year (1827) the berries generally failed.
Service berries, choke-cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, and red
whortleberries are gathered; but among the Indians the service-berry is
the great favourite.  There are various kinds of roots, which the
natives preserve and dry for periods of scarcity.  There is only one
kind which we can eat.  It is called _Tza-chin_, has a bitter taste, but
when eaten with salmon imparts an agreeable zest, and effectually
destroys the disagreeable smell of that fish when smoke-dried.  Saint
John's wort is very common, and has been successfully applied as a
fomentation in topical inflammations.  A kind of weed, which the natives
convert into a species of flax, is in general demand.  An evergreen,
similar to that we found at the mouth of the Columbia, with small
berries growing in clusters like grapes, also flourishes in this
district.  Sarsaparilla and bear-root are found in abundance.  White
earth abounds in the vicinity of the fort; and one description of it,
mixed with oil and lime, might be converted into excellent soap.  Coal
in considerable quantities has been discovered; and in many places we
observed a species of red earth, much resembling lava, and which
appeared to be of volcanic origin.  We also found in different parts of
New Caledonia quartz, rock crystal, cobalt, talc, iron, marcasites of a
gold colour, granite, fuller's earth, some beautiful specimens of black,
marble, and limestone in small quantities, which appeared to have been
forced down the beds of the rivers from the mountains.  The
jumping-deer, or chevreuil, together with the rein and red-deer,
frequent the vicinity of the mountains in considerable numbers, and in
the summer season they oftentimes descend to the banks of the rivers and
the adjacent flat country.  The marmot and wood-rat also abound: the
flesh of the former is exquisite, and capital robes are made out of its
skin; but the latter is a very destructive animal.  Their dogs are of
diminutive size, and strongly resemble those of the Esquimaux, with the
curled up tail, small ears, and pointed nose.  We purchased numbers of
them for the kettle, their flesh constituting the chief article of food
in our holiday feasts for Christmas and New Year.  The fur-bearing
animals consist of beavers; bears, black, brown, and grizzly; otters,
fishers, lynxes, martins; foxes, red, cross, and silver; minks,
musquash, wolverines, and ermines.  Rabbits also are so numerous that
the natives manage to subsist on them during the periods that salmon is
scarce.  Under the head of ornithology we have the bustard, or Canadian
_outarde_ (wild goose), swans, ducks of various descriptions, hawks,
plovers, cranes, white-headed eagles, magpies, crows, vultures,
wood-thrush, red-breasted thrush or robin, woodpeckers, gulls, pelicans,
hawks, partridges, pheasants, and snow-birds.  The spring commences in
April, when the wild flowers begin to bud, and from thence to the latter
end of May the weather is delightful.  In June it rains incessantly,
with strong southerly and easterly winds.  During the months of July and
August the heat is intolerable; and in September the fogs are so dense
that it is quite impossible to distinguish the opposite side of the
river any morning before ten o'clock.  Colds and rheumatisms are
prevalent among the natives during this period: nor are our people
exempt from them.  In October the falling of the leaves and occasional
frost announce the beginning of winter.  The lakes and parts of the
rivers are frozen in November.  The snow seldoms exceeds twenty-four
inches in depth.  The mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer falls in
January to 15 degrees below zero; but this does not continue many days.
In general, I may say, the climate is neither unhealthy nor unpleasant;
and if the natives used common prudence, they would undoubtedly live to
an advanced age.  The salmon fishery commences about the middle of July,
and ceases in October.  This is a busy period for the natives; for upon
their industry in saving a sufficiency of salmon for the winter depends
their chief support.  Jub, suckers, trout, and white-fish, are caught in
the lakes; and in the month of October, towards the close of the
salmon-fishery, we catch trout of a most exquisite flavour.  Large-sized
sturgeon are occasionally taken in the _vorveaux_, but they are not
relished by the natives."

Mr Dunn, in his valuable "History of the Oregon Territory," thus
describes the country and climate:--"After the Columbia, the river next
in importance is Fraser River.  It takes its rise in the Rocky
Mountains, near the source of Canoe River, taking a north-west course of
eighty miles.  It then turns to the southward, receiving Stuart's River,
which rises in a chain of lakes in the northern boundary of the
territory.  It then pursues a southerly course, and after receiving many
tributaries, breaks through the cascade range of hills in a series of
falls and rapids; and after a westerly course of seventy miles, empties
itself into the Gulf of Georgia, in latitude 49 degrees 7 minutes north.
This latter portion is navigable for vessels that can pass its bar
drawing ten feet of water.  Its whole length is 350 miles.  There are
numerous lakes scattered through the several sections.  The country is
all well watered; and there are but four places where an abundance of
water cannot be obtained, either from lakes, rivers, or springs.

"The climate of the western division is mild throughout the year,
neither the cold of winter, nor the heat of summer predominating.  The
mean temperature is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  The prevailing winds,
in summer, are from the northward and westward, and in winter, from the
west, south, and south-east.  The winter lasts from about November till
March, generally speaking.  During that time there are frequent falls of
rain, but not heavy.  Snow seldoms lies longer than a week on the
ground.  There are frosts so early as September, but they are not
severe, and do not continue long.  The easterly winds are the coldest,
as they come from across the mountains, but they are not frequent.
Fruit trees blossom early in April in the neighbourhood of Nasqually and
Vancouver; and in the middle of May pease are a foot high, and
strawberries in full blossom; indeed, all fruits and vegetables are as
early there as in England.  The hills, though of great declivity, have a
sward to their tops.  Lieutenant Wilkes says, that out of 106 days, 67
were fair, 19 cloudy, and 11 rainy.  The middle section is subject to
droughts.  During summer the atmosphere is drier and warmer, and in
winter colder than in the western section; its extremes of heat and cold
being greater and more frequent.  However, the air is fine and healthy;
the atmosphere in summer being cooled by the breezes that blow from the

"The soil of the western section varies from a deep black vegetable loam
to a light brown loamy earth.  The bills are generally basalt stone and
slate.  The surface is generally undulating, well watered, well wooded,
and well adapted for agriculture and pasturage.  The timber consists of
pine, fir, spruce, oaks (white and red), ash, arbutus, cedar,
arbor-vitae, poplar, maple, willow, cherry, tew, with underwoods of
hazel and roses.  All kinds of grain, wheat, rice, barley, oats, and
pease, can be procured there in abundance.  Various fruits, such as
pears, apples, etcetera, succeed there admirably; and the different
vegetables produced in England yield there most abundant crops.

"The middle section, which is about 1000 feet above the level of the
western, is not so well wooded or fertile; yet in the southern parts of
it, where the missionaries have established settlements, they have
raised excellent crops, and reared large stocks of cattle.
Notwithstanding the occasional cold, their cattle are not housed, nor is
provender laid in for them in any quantity, the country being
sufficiently supplied with fodder in the natural hay, that is everywhere
abundant in the prairies, which the cattle prefer."

Mr Wilkes says, "In comparison with the United States, I would say,
that the labour necessary in this territory to acquire wealth or
subsistence is in the proportion of one to three; or in other words, a
man must work throughout the year three times as much in the United
States to gain the like competency.  The care of stock, which requires
so much time with us, requires no attention there, and on the increase
only, a man might find support."  He further says, "There will be also a
demand for the timber of this country at high prices, throughout the
Pacific.  The oak is well adapted for ship timber, and abundance of ash,
cedar, cypress, and arbor-vitae may be had for other purposes, building,
fuel, fencing," etcetera.  He also adds, "No part of the world affords
finer inland sounds, or a greater number of harbours, than are found
within the Straits of Juan de Fuca, capable of receiving the highest
class of vessels, and without a danger in them which is not viable.
From the rise and fall of the tides (eighteen feet) every facility is
afforded for the erection of works for a great maritime nation.  The
country also affords as many sites for maritime power as any other."

On the northern coast there are a number of islands which belong to the
territory.  The largest are Vancouver's Island, and Queen Charlotte
Island, both of which enjoy a mild and salubrious climate, with a soil
well adapted to agriculture.  They have also an abundance of fine fish
in their waters.  Coal of a very good quality is found there close by
the surface, and they also contain numerous veins of valuable minerals.

All the rivers abound in salmon of the finest quality, which run twice a
year, beginning in May and October, and appear inexhaustible.  In Fraser
River, the salmon are very numerous.  The bays and inlets abound with
several kinds of salmon, sturgeon, cod, carp, sole, flounders, perch,
herring, and eels; also with shell-fish--crabs, oysters, etcetera.
Whales and sea otters in numbers are found along the coast, and are
frequently captured by Indians, in and at the mouth of the Straits of
Juan de Fuca.

Game abounds in the western section, such as elk, deer, antelopes,
bears, wolves, foxes, musk-rats, martins.  And in the spring and fall,
the rivers are covered with geese, ducks, and other water-fowl.  Towards
the Rocky Mountains buffaloes are found in great numbers.

From the advantages this country possesses, it bids fair to have an
extensive commerce, on advantageous terms, with most parts of the
Pacific.  It is well calculated to produce the following staple
commodities,--furs, salted beef and pork, grain, flour, wool, hides,
tallow, timber, and coals.  And in return for these--sugars, coffee, and
other tropical productions may be obtained at the Sandwich Islands.
Advantages that in time must become of immense importance.

Those districts of British America west of the lakes which by soil and
climate are suitable for settlement, may be thus enumerated:--

Vancouver's Island 16,200 square miles.

Fraser and Thomson Rivers 60,000 ditto

Sources of the Upper Columbia 20,000 ditto

Athabasca District 50,000 ditto

Saskatchewan, Red River, Assineboin, etcetera. 360,000 ditto


Under these geographical divisions we propose to give the results of a
parliamentary investigation (just published) into the affairs of the
Hudson's Bay Company, so far as they are descriptive of the foregoing


This island is fertile, well timbered, finely diversified by
intersecting mountain ranges, and small prairies, with extensive coal
fields, compared by one witness to the West Riding of Yorkshire coal,
and fortunate in its harbours.  Esquimault Harbour, on which Victoria is
situated, is equal to San Francisco.  The salmon and other fisheries are
excellent; but this advantage is shared by every stream and inlet of the
adjacent coast.  The climate is frequently compared with England, except
that it is even warmer.  The winter is stormy, with heavy rains in
November and December; frosts occur in the lowlands in January, but
seldom interrupt agriculture; vegetation starts in February, rapidly
progressing in March and fostered by alternate warm showers and sunshine
in April and May--while intense heat and drought are often experienced
during June, July, and August.  As already remarked, the island has an
area of 16,200 square miles.


Northward of Vancouver's Island the coast range of mountains trends so
near the Pacific as to obstruct intercourse with the interior, but
"inside," in the language of a witness, "it is a fine open country."
This is the valley of Fraser River.  Ascending this river, near Fort
Langley, "a large tract of land" is represented as "adapted to
colonists;" while of Thomson River, the same witness says that it is
"one of the most beautiful countries in the world"--"climate capable of
producing all the crops of England, and much milder than Canada."  The
sources of Fraser River, in latitude 55 degrees, are separated from
those of Peace River (which flows through the Rocky Mountains, eastward,
into the Athabasca) by the distance of only 317 yards.


A glance at the map will shew how considerable a district of British
Oregon is watered by the Upper Columbia and its tributary, the
McGillivray or Flat Bow river.  It is estimated above at 20,000 square
miles, and has been described in enthusiastic terms, by the Bishop of
Oregon--De Smet--in his "Oregon Missions."  The territory of the
Kootonais Indians would seem, from his glowing description, to be
divided in favourable proportion between forests and prairies.  Of
timber, he names birch, pine of different species, cedar, and cypress.
He remarked specimens of coal, and "great quantities of lead,"
apparently mixed with silver.  The source of the Columbia seemed to
impress him as "a very important point."  He observes that "the climate
is delightful"--that the extremes of heat and cold are seldom known, the
snow disappearing as it falls.  He reiterates the opinion "that the
advantages nature seemed to have bestowed on the Columbia, will render
its geographical position very important at some future day, and that
the hand of civilised man would transform it into a terrestrial

It is an interesting coincidence that Bishop De Smet published in a
Saint Louis paper, a few months since, a similar description of this
region, adding that it could be reached from Salt Lake City along the
western base of the Rocky Mountains with waggons, and that Brigham Young
proposed to lead his next Mormon exodus to the sources of the Columbia
River.  Such a movement is not improbable, and would exhibit far greater
sagacity than an emigration to Sonora.


The valleys of the Peace and Athabasca Rivers, which occupy the eastern
base of the Rocky Mountains from latitudes 55 degrees to 59 degrees
share the Pacific climate in a remarkable degree.  The Rocky Mountains
are greatly reduced in breadth and mean elevation, and through the
numerous passes between their lofty peaks the winds of the Pacific reach
the district in question.  Hence it is that Sir Alexander Mackenzie,
under date of 10th May, mentions the "exuberant verdure of the whole
country"--trees about to blossom, and buffalo attended by their young.
During the late parliamentary investigation, similar statements were
elicited.  Dr Richard King, who accompanied an expedition in search of
Sir John Ross, as "surgeon and naturalist," was asked what portion of
the country he saw was available for the purpose of settlement.  In
reply, he described as a "very fertile valley," a "square piece of
country," bounded on the south by Cumberland House, and by the Athabasca
Lake on the north.  His own words are as follows:--"The sources of the
Athabasca and the sources of the Saskatchewan include an enormous area
of country; it is, in fact, a vast piece of land surrounded by water.
When I heard Dr Livingstone's description of that splendid country
which he found in the interior of Africa within the equator, it appeared
to me to be precisely the kind of country which I am now describing. ...
It is a rich soil interspersed with well-wooded country, there being
growth of every kind and the whole vegetable kingdom alive."  When asked
concerning mineral productions, his reply was,--"I do not know of any
other mineral except limestone; this is apparent in all directions. ...
The birch, the beech, and the maple are in abundance, and there is every
sort of fruit."  When questioned further as to the growth of trees, Dr
King replied by a comparison "with the magnificent trees round
Kensington Park in London."  He described a farm near Cumberland House
under very successful cultivation--"luxuriant wheat"--potatoes, barley,
pigs, cows and horses.


The area of this continent, north-west of Minnesota, and known as the
Saskatchewan district, is estimated by English authorities to comprise
368,000 square miles.  North-west from Otter Tail Lake, the geographical
centre of Minnesota, extends a vast silurian formation, bounded on the
west along the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains by coal measures.
Such a predominance of limestone implies fertility of soil, as in the
north-western States, and the speedy colonisation of Saskatchewan would
be assured if the current objection to the severity of climate was
removed.  On this point a few facts will be presented.

The Sea of Azof, which empties into the Black Sea, forming the eastern
border of the Crimean peninsula, freezes about the beginning of
November, and is seldom open before the beginning of April.  A point
less than one hundred miles north, but far down in southern Russia,
namely, Catherineoslay, has been found, from the observation of many
years, to be identical in summer and winter climate with Fort Spelling.
Nine-tenths of European Russia, therefore, the main seat of population
and resources, is further north than Saint Paul.  In fact, Pembina is
the climatic equivalent of Moscow, and for that of Saint Petersburg,
(which is 60 degrees north), we may reasonably go to latitude 55 degrees
on the American continent.

Like European Russia, also, the Saskatchewan district has a climate of
extremes--the thermometer having a wide range; but it is well understood
that the growth of the cereals and of the most useful vegetables depends
chiefly on the intensity and duration of the summer heats, and is
comparatively little influenced by the severity of winter cold, or the
lowness of the mean temperature during the year.  Therefore it is
important to observe that the northern shore of Lake Huron has the mean
summer heat of Bordeaux, in southern France, or 70 degrees Fahrenheit;
while Cumberland House, in latitude 54 degrees, longitude 102 degrees,
on the Saskatchewan, exceeds in this respect Brussels and Paris.

The United States Army Meteorological Register has ascertained that the
line of 70 degrees mean summer heat crosses the Hudson River at West
Point, thence descends to the latitude of Pittsburg, but, westward, is
traced through Sandusky, Chicago, Fort Snelling, and Fort Union, near
latitude 49 degrees, into British America.  The average annual heat at
Quebec is experienced as far north as latitude 52 degrees in the
Saskatchewan country.

Mr Blodget states that not only all the vicinity of the south branch of
the Saskatchewan is as mild in climate as Saint Paul, but that the north
branch of that river is almost equally favourable, and that the
ameliorating influence of the Pacific, through the gorges of the Rocky
Mountains, is so far felt on Mackenzie's River, that wheat may be grown
in its valley nearly to the 65th parallel.

In the foregoing account of the districts of the _interior_, we have
given faithfully, as in duty bound, the _fact_ that have been elicited
in the various investigations, public and otherwise, that have taken
place.  At the same time, we think it but fair to state, that large
portions of these fine districts, especially the Athabasca and
Saskatchewan, are at present very far beyond the reach of any civilised
market, and overrun by hordes of warlike Indians.

We have thus given a brief survey of the position and resources, of the
territory surrounding the new El Dorado.  One observation we may be
permitted to hazard.  Perhaps there is no more striking illustration of
the wisdom of that Providence which presides over the management of our
affairs, than in the fact that emigration was first led to the eastern
coast, rather than to the slopes or plains of the west.  Had the latter
been first occupied, it is doubtful whether the rocks and lagoons of the
seaboard would ever have been settled.  No man would have turned from
the prairie sward of the Pacific to the seamed elopes of the Atlantic
edge.  As it is, we have the energy and patience which the difficult
soil of the east generates, with that magnificent sweep of western
territory, which, had it been opened to us first, might, from its very
luxuriousness, have generated among those occupying it, an ignoble love
of ease.



For some time to come, the great line of route to the new El Dorado will
likely be by water from the different settlements along the coast of the
Pacific.  Steam communication has long been established between Panama
and San Francisco, and a line of vessels is now regularly plying between
the latter port and Vancouver's Island, from whence easy access is had
to the diggings, by means of small steamers.  The steamers at present
running on the coast make the voyage from Panama to Vancouver's Island
in fourteen or fifteen days.  The following statistics of fares and
freights are supplied by the _Times'_ correspondent:--

"The rates of passage at present from San Francisco to New York are--
Steerage, 150 dollars; second cabin, 250 dollars; first cabin, 300
dollars per berth for each passenger.  An entire state-room is the price
of two passengers--600 dollars.  From New York to San Francisco the
fares are the same.  San Francisco to Panama, sometimes the same as to
New York, and sometimes one-third less.  Freight on specie, 1 per cent,
to New York;  and three quarters per cent to Panama with a slight
discount to shippers of large amounts.  Freight on merchandise from
Panama, 2 dollars 10 cents per foot.  The quantity of freight is
considerable in French silks, cloths, and light goods, but the bulk is
in Havannah cigars, nearly all the supply for this market coming _via_
Panama.  The fares up by the steamers from San Francisco to Victoria
are--Steerage, 30 dollars; cabin, 60 dollars."

This route, besides being at present the most direct and expeditious,
presents another great advantage.  Passing along the coast of
California, it gives passengers an opportunity of either settling there,
or continuing their journey to British Columbia.  That this is no
unimportant advantage, will be at once conceded when it is borne in mind
that it is not the gold-producing country on the Fraser River alone that
offers strong inducements to emigrants.

In a letter published on 4th August, the _Times'_ correspondent
remarks:--"In a few weeks, with a continuance of the present drain upon
our mining, mechanical, and labouring population generally, as good a
field for labour of every kind will again be open in California as there
was from 1849 to 1851, when the country became flooded with immigrants.
In fact, the openings now being made in the mines and in labour of all
sorts, and the rise of wages in consequence of the exodus hence, offer
greater inducements to emigrants than existed in the first years of our
organisation.  Then there was little besides mining that a man could
turn his hand to.  Now the gradual development of the resources of the
country has opened many avenues for labour of various kinds, and mining
claims, which pay well, and in which a competency would be realised in a
moderate space of time, are abandoned because they do not produce gold
in bushels, as their owners hope to find the new mines to yield."  And
in another letter, the same authority says:--"The excitement in the
interior is universal.  I was up the country this week, and returned
only last night; so that I had an opportunity of judging for myself.
From every point of the compass squads of miners were to be seen making
for San Francisco to ship themselves off; and I heard of arrangements
having been completed for driving stock overland to meet the demands of
the new population congregating in the Puget Sound country.  One man had
purchased a drove of mules, and another had speculated in 200
Californian horses, to supply the demand for `packing.'  These two
`ventures' were to proceed overland in two days hence.  The speculator
in horses had been at Fraser River, and returned convinced of the
judiciousness of his `spec.'  He spoke of the overland trip with
enthusiasm; plenty of game and of grass, a fine climate, and no
molestation from Indians.  As a natural result of all this emigration,
business in the interior is becoming much deranged.  The operations of
the country merchants are checked; rents and the value of property in
the interior towns are diminishing.  Some of the merchants are
`liquidating,' and some have already moved their business to San
Francisco, to take advantage of the business which must spring up
between that port and the north-west.  All the movements made in
consequence of the new gold discovery have tended to benefit San
Francisco, and she will, no doubt, continue to derive great advantages
from the change.  The increase of business will bring an increase of
immigration to the city, for there is every reason to believe, judging
from past experience, that a considerable proportion of the emigration
from Europe, the Atlantic States, and Australia, will rest here; that
the city will increase rapidly, and that an advance in the value of
property must ensue in consequence.  The fact is, that there is now in
California so extensive an association of capital and labour engaged in
mining successfully, that, happen what may in other countries, the
`yield' here most continue to be very great.  Companies of men who have
large amounts of money invested in mining of a variety of sorts, such as
`tunnelling,' `sluicing,' and `quartz crushing,' on a large scale, are
not going to abandon well-developed properties which produce profitable
returns.  We have no fear of having to suffer any inconvenience from a
scarcity of gold in California in consequence of the removal from the
country of so many miners.  I make these statements for the information
of parties abroad engaged in business with this country."

The following is the journal of a traveller who lately proceeded on this

"Left San Francisco on Thursday, the 24th of June, at 4 and a half p.m.,
and arrived in Esquimault Harbour, near Victoria, on the following
Tuesday, at six in the morning--distance, 800 miles.  The steamer was so
crowded with gold-hunters, speculators, merchants, tradesmen, and
adventurers of all sorts, that exercise even on the quarterdeck could
only be coaxed by the general forbearance and good-humour of the crowd.
Before starting there were stories to the prejudice of the steamer, the
Oregon, belonging to the Pacific Mail Company, rife enough to damp the
courage of the timid; but she behaved well, and beat another boat that
had five hours' start of her.  The fact is we had a model captain, a
well-educated, gentlemanly man, formerly a lieutenant in the United
States navy, whose intelligence, vigour, and conduct inspired full
confidence in all.  With Captain Patterson I would have gone to sea in a
tub.  Whatever may be the sins of the company as monopolists of the
carrying trade on this coast, justice must award them the merit of
having selected a staff of commanders who atone for many shortcomings.

"The voyage from San Francisco to Vancouver's Island, which in a steamer
is made all the way within sight of the coast, is one of the most
agreeable when the voyager is favoured with fine weather.  I know none
other so picturesque out of the Mediterranean.  The navigation is so
simple that a schoolboy could sail a steamer, for a series of eighteen
headlands, which jut out into the ocean all along the coasts of
California, Oregon, and Washington Territory, served as landmarks to
direct the mariner in his course.  All he has to do is to steer from one
to another; from Point Reyes outside the Golden Gate to Point Arena, the
next in succession, and so on till he comes to Cape Flattery, upon
rounding which he enters the Straits of Fuca, towards the end of his

"The northern portion of the coast of California and the whole length of
the coasts of Oregon and Washington are thickly wooded.  In fact, this
vast stretch of country is one continuous pine forest.  From the shore,
where the trees dip into the sea, back to the verge of the distant
horizon, over hills, down valleys, across ravines, and on and around the
sides and tops of mountains, it is one great waving panorama of forest
scenery.  Timber--enough to supply the wants of the world for ages, one
would think.  Yet the broken character of the country relieves the scene
from monotony, and it fully realises the idea of the grand and the
beautiful combined.  One spot in particular made an impression upon me
which I wish I had the power to convey by words.  Between Cape Mendocina
and Humboldt Bay, on the northern limits of California, a grand
collection of hills and mountains of every variety of size, shape, and
form occurs.  This grand group recedes in a gentle sweep from the coast
far inland, where it terminates in a high conical mountain, overtopping
the entire mass of pinnacles which cluster around it.  The whole is well
clothed with trees of that feathery and graceful foliage peculiar to the
spruce and larch, and interspersed with huge round clumps of evergreens,
with alternations of long glades and great open patches of lawn covered
with rich grass of that bright emerald green peculiar to California.
This woodland scene, viewed of an early morning, sparkling with
dew-drops under the rising sun which slowly lifted the veil of mist
hanging over it, surpassed in beauty anything I have seen on this
continent.  Here everything in nature is on a grand scale.  All her
works are magnificent to a degree unknown in Europe.  A trip to these
regions will pay the migratory Englishman in search of novelty to his
heart's content, and I will bear the blame if he is not well pleased
with his journey.  California alone should satisfy a traveller of
moderate desires.  Here he will find combined the beauty and loveliness
of English landscape with the bolder and grander features of the scenery
of the Western continent--a combination, perhaps, unequalled in any
other country.  On this, the northern coast, the bold and the
picturesque predominate over the tamer park-like scenery of the interior
valleys, which so nearly resemble the `fine old places' of England."

Another route, which it is proposed to open on the other side of the
country, from Minnesota to the Fraser River gold mines, would appear to
be very feasible.  From Saint Anthony the Mississippi is navigable for
large steamers as far as the Sauk Rapids.  Thence to Breckenridge, at
the head of the navigation of the Red River of the North, is a distance
of 125 miles.  This part of the journey must be made overland; but
already this district is being fast occupied by settlers, and a good
road may easily be constructed.  At Breckenridge a settlement has also
been established.  Here commences the fertile valley of the Red River,
and from this point, as appears from Captain Pope's survey, the river,
which runs due north, is navigable for steamers all the way to its
mouth, at the southern extremity of Lake Winnepeg.  It begins with four
feet of water, and gradually deepens to fifteen feet Lake Winnepeg,
which is long, narrow, and deep, receives near its northern end the
Saskatchewan, flowing from the west, and having its sources in the Rocky
Mountains.  The river, and the country on its banks, have recently
attracted attention as well fitted for colonisation.  Taking the climate
of the eastern portion of the continent, and of the region round
Hudson's Bay, as a standard, it was long supposed that all the interior
of North America, beyond the 48th or 49th degree of north latitude, was
too cold to produce grain crops; and unfit, therefore, for the
habitation of civilised men.  Recent investigations, however, have fully
established the curious and very important fact, that west of the
western end of Lake Superior, at about the 100th degree of west
longitude, a remarkable change begins to take place in the climate; to
such an extent, that as we proceed westward the limit of vegetable
growth, and of the production of grain, is extended far to the north, so
as to include the whole valley of the Saskatchewan, which is represented
as in other respects well fitted for settlement.  The Saskatchewan is a
river larger and longer than the Red River of the North; and, according
to Governor Simpson, of the Hudson's Bay Company's Service, in his notes
on its exploration, it is navigable by its northern branch, with only
one rapid to obstruct navigation, for seven hundred miles in a direct
line to the foot of the Rocky Mountains.  How serious an obstruction
this may be does not clearly appear.  It can hardly be a perpendicular
fall, since, according to Governor Simpson, canoes and flat-boats pass
over it in safety.  From the head of navigation it is only about two
hundred miles across the Rocky Mountains, of which the elevation here is
much less than in Oregon and California, to the Thompson and Fraser

The distance from Breckenridge to the mouth of the Red River is
estimated at 450 miles.  Thence through lake Winnepeg to the mouth of
Saskatchewan is 200 miles.  Allowing for windings, the navigation by
that river may be set down at 1000 miles.  Add 125 miles of land
carriage at one end of the route, and 200 at the other, making in the
whole a distance of about 2000 miles, from the starting point on the

So fully impressed are some enterprising people of Minnesota with the
practicability and advantage of this route, that measures have been
already taken for building a steamer at Breckenridge, designed to
navigate the waters of the Red River, Lake Winnepeg, and Saskatchewan,
and to be ready for that purpose by the opening of next spring.
Meantime as the greater part of the route is within the territories of
the Hudson's Bay Company, steps have been taken to open a communication
with the Governor of that Company, and with other persons likely to
assist in putting a line of steamers on these waters.

At present various measures are being taken by the Canadians to shorten
this last route, and apparently with much success.  They are making
arrangements for passing around the headwaters of Lake Superior, and
thus saving the detour in Minnesota.  In a very short time it is said
that an easy and inexpensive means of communication will be formed
between Canada and the gold-fields; but, for the present, the Panama
route is _decidedly_ the preferable one for British emigrants.



The Pacific coast extends from Panama westward and northward, without
any remarkable irregularity in its outline, to the tropic of Cancer,
almost immediately under which is the entrance of the great Gulf of
California, separating the Peninsula of California from the main
continent on the east.  From the southern extremity of this peninsula
the coast runs generally north-westward to Mount Saint Elias, a lofty
volcanic peak, rising from the shore of the ocean under the 60th
parallel, beyond which the continent stretches far westward, between the
Pacific on the south, and the Arctic Sea on the north, to its
termination at Cape Prince of Wales, in Behring's Straits, the passage
separating America from Asia.  The part of the coast south of the 49th
degree of latitude (the American boundary) presents few indentations,
and the islands in its vicinity are neither numerous nor large.  North
of the 49th degree, on the contrary, the mainland is everywhere
penetrated by inlets and bays; and near it are thousands of islands,
many of them extensive, lying singly or in groups, separated from each
other and from the continent by narrow channels.

From the mouth of the Columbia forty-five miles of unbroken coast
reaches Whidbey's Bay, called by the Americans Bulfinches Harbour, and
not unfrequently Gray's Bay, which, with an entrance of scarce two miles
and a-half, spreads seven miles long and nine broad, forming two deep
bays like the Columbia.  Here there is secure anchorage behind Point
Hanson to the south and Point Brown to the north, but the capacity of
the bay is lessened to one-third of its size by the sand banks which
encroach on it in every direction.  Like the Columbia, its mouth is
obstructed by a bar which has not more than four fathoms water, and as
it stretches some three miles to seaward, with breakers on each side,
extending the whole way to the shore, the difficulty of entrance is
increased.  It lies nearly east and west, and receives from the east the
waters of the river Chikelis, having its rise at the base of the
mountains, which, stretching from Mount Olympus in the north, divide the
coast from Puget's Sound.  From Whidbey's Bay to Cape Flattery, about
eighty miles, but two streams, and those unimportant, break the iron
wall of the coast, which rising gradually into lofty mountains is
crowned in hoary grandeur by the snow-clad peaks of Mount Olympus.  Cape
Flattery, called also Cape Classet, is a conspicuous promontory in
latitude 48 degrees 27 minutes; beyond it, distant one mile, lies
Tatouches Island, a large flat rock, with perpendicular sides, producing
a few trees, surrounded by rocky islets: it is one mile in length,
joined to the shore by a reef of rocks, and a mile further, leaving a
clear passage between them, is a reef named Ducan's Rock.  Here
commences, in latitude 48 degrees 30 minutes, that mighty arm of the
sea, which has been justly named from its first discoverer, the Strait
of Juan de Fuca, and which Captain Cook passed without perceiving.  The
entrance of this strait is about ten miles in width, and varies from
that to twenty with the indentations of its shores, of which the
northern, stretching to the north-west and south-east across the
entrance, gives an appearance of continuity to its line on the Pacific.
Running in a south-easterly direction for upwards of one hundred miles,
its further progress is suddenly stopped by a range of snow-clad
mountain, at the base of which, spreading abroad its mighty arms to the
north and south, it gives to the continent the appearance of a vast

Of the Straits of Fuca and surrounding shores, the latest and fullest
information we possess is that contained in the letter of the _Times'_
special correspondent, published on 27th August.  He says:--

"We have now rounded Cape Flattery, and are in the Straits of Fuca,
running up between two shores of great beauty.  On the left is the
long-looked-for Island of Vancouver, an irregular aggregation of hills,
shewing a sharp angular outline as they become visible in the early
dawn, covered with the eternal pines, saving only occasional sunny
patches of open greensward, very pretty and picturesque, but the hills
not lofty enough to be very striking.  The entire island, property
speaking, is a forest.  On the right we have a long massive chain of
lofty mountains covered with snow, called the Olympian range--very
grand, quite Alpine in aspect.  This is the peninsula, composed of a
series of mountains running for many miles in one unbroken line, which
divides the Straits of Fuca from Puget Sound.  It belongs to America, in
the territory of Washington, is uninhabited, and, like its opposite
neighbour, has a covering of pines far up towards the summit.  The tops
of these mountains are seldom free from snow.  The height is unknown,
perhaps 15,000 feet.  We ran up through this scenery early in the
morning, biting cold, for about forty miles to Esquimault Harbour--_the_
harbour--which confers upon Vancouver's Island its pre-eminence.

"From the information of old miners, who pointed out some of the
localities on the northern coast of California, and indicated the
position of places in Oregon in which they had dug for gold, I had a
strong corroboration of an opinion which I stated in one of my late
letters--that the Fraser River diggings were a continuation of the great
goldfield of California.  The same miners had a theory that these
northern mines would be richer than any yet discovered, because the more
northern portions of California are richer than the central and southern

"The harbour of Esquimault is a circular bay, or rather a basin,
hollowed by nature out of the solids rock.  We slid in through the
narrow entrance between two low, rocky promontories and found ourselves
suddenly transported from the open sea and its heavy roll and swell into
a Highland lake, placid as the face of a mirror, in the recesses of a
pine forest.  The transition was startling.  From the peculiar shape of
the bay and the deep indentations its various coves make into the shore,
one sees but a small portion of the harbour at a glance from the point
we brought up at.  We therefore thought it ridiculously small after our
expectations had been so highly wrought in San Francisco.

"The whole scenery is of the Highland character.  The rocky shores, the
pine trees running down to the edge of the lake, their dark foliage
trembling over the glittering surface which reflected them, the
surrounding hills, and the death-like silence.  I was both delighted and
disappointed--delighted with the richness of the scenery, but
disappointed at the smallness of the harbour.  Can this little loch,
imprisoned within natural ramparts of rocks, buried in the solitude of a
forest, be the place which I hoped would become so famous, the great
destiny of which has been prognosticated by statesmen and publicists,
and the possession of which is bitterly envied us by neighbouring
nations; this the place where England is to centre a naval force
hitherto unknown in the Pacific, whence her fleets are to issue for the
protection of her increasing interests in the Western world; this the
seaport of the Singapore of the Pacific; the modern Tyre into which the
riches of the East are to flow and be distributed to the Western
nations; the terminus of railway communication which is to connect the
Atlantic with the Pacific?

"Victoria is distant from Esquimault, by land, about three miles round
by sea, double the distance.  The intervening ground is an irregular
promontory, having the waters of the Straits of Fuca on the south, the
Bay of Victoria on the east, and the Victoria arm encircling: it on the
north.  The promontory contains three farms, reclaimed from the forest
of pines, oaks, alders, willows, and evergreens.  The soil is good, and
produces fair crops of the ordinary cereals, oats, barley, and wheat,
and good grass, turnips, and potatoes.

"I came the first time to Victoria round by water.  The rowing of our
boat was much impeded by kelp.  The shore is irregular; somewhat bold
and rocky--two more facts which confirmed the resemblance of the scenery
to that of the western coast of Scotland.

"The bay of Victoria runs in a zigzag shape--two long sharp promontories
on the southward hiding the town from view until we get quite close up
to it.  A long low sand-spit juts out into it, which makes the entrance
hazardous for large vessels at some little distance below the town, and
higher up the anchorage is shallow.  Twice at low tides I saw two or
three ugly islands revealed, where ships would have to anchor.  In
short, Victoria is not a good harbour for a fleet.  For small vessels
and traders on the coast, it will answer well enough.

"Victoria stands nobly on a fine eminence, a beautiful plateau, on the
rocky shore of the bay of the same name.  Generations yet to come will
pay grateful tribute to the sagacity and good taste of the man who
selected it.  There is no finer site for a city in the world.  The
plateau drains itself on every side by the natural depressions which
intersect it, and there is space enough to build a Paris on.  The views
are also good.  Across the straits you have the Olympian range washed by
the sea; towards the interior, picturesque views of wooded hills;
opposite, the fine woodland scenery of the country intervening between
it and Esquimault, the Victoria arm, glimpses of which, as seen through
the foliage, look like a series of inland lakes; while in front, just at
one's feet, is the bay itself and its tributaries, or arms rather--
James's Bay, etcetera, always beautiful; and behind, towards the
south-east end of the island, is a view of great beauty and grandeur--a
cluster of small islands, San Juan and others, water in different
channels, straits and creeks, and two enormous mountains in the far
distance, covered from base to summit with perpetual snow.  These are
Mounts Baker and Rainier, in Washington territory.  Such are a few--and
I am quite serious when I say only a few--of the beauties which surround

"As to the prospects of Vancouver's Island as a colony, I would say that
if it shall turn out that there is an extensive and rich gold-field on
the mainland in British territory, as there is every reason to believe,
the island will become a profitable field for all trades, industries,
and labour.  The population will soon increase from Canada, whence an
immigration of many thousands is already spoken of, from Australia,
South America, the Atlantic States,--and, no doubt, from Europe also.
If this happens, the tradesman and the labourer will find employment,
and the farmer will find a ready market, at good prices, for his

"Should the gold suddenly disappear, the island will have benefited by
the impulse just given to immigration, for, no doubt, many who came to
mine will remain to cultivate the soil and to engage in other pursuits.
If this be the termination of the present fever, then to the farmer who
is satisfied with a competency--full garners and good larder, who loves
retirement, is not ambitious of wealth, is fond of a mild, agreeable,
and healthy climate, and a most lovely country to live in--the island
offers every attraction.  Its resources are, plenty of timber, towards
the northern portion producing spars of unequalled quality, which are
becoming of great value in England, and will soon be demanded in France,
now that the forests of Norway and of Maine are becoming exhausted;
limestone in abundance, which burns into good lime for building and for
agricultural purposes; coal in plenty, now worked at Nanaimo, on the
northern side of the island, by the Hudson's Bay Company--the quality is
quite good, judging from the specimens I saw burning--it answers well
for steam purposes, and would have found a ready sale in San Francisco
were it not subject to a heavy duty (of 30 per cent, I think) under the
American tariff; iron, copper, gold, and potter's clay.  I have no doubt
that a gold-field will be discovered on the island as it gets opened up
to enterprising explorers.  A friend of mine brought down some sand from
the sea-beach near Victoria, and assayed it the other day.  It produced
gold in minute quantity, and I have heard of gold washings on the
island.  The copper is undeveloped.  The potter's clay has been tested
in England, and found to be very good.

"The character of the soil is favourable to agriculture.  It is composed
of a black vegetable mould of a foot to two feet in depth, overlaying a
hard yellow clay.  The surface earth is very fine, pulverised, and
sandy, quite black, and, no doubt, of good quality; when sharpened with
sheep-feeding it produces heavy crops.  The fallen trees, which are very
numerous, shew that the substratum of clay is too hard to produce
anything.  The roots of the pine never penetrate it.  In some places the
spontaneous vegetation testifies to the richness of the soil--such as
wild pease or vetches, and wild clover, which I--have seen reach up to
my horse's belly--and a most luxuriant growth of underwood, brambles,
fern, etcetera.

"I visited seven farms within short distances of Victoria.  The crops
were oats, barley, wheat, pease, potatoes, turnips, garden herbs and
vegetables, fruits, and flowers; no clover, the natural grass supplying
sufficient food for the cattle and sheep.  The crops were all healthy,
but not heavy.  The wheat was not thick on the ground, nor had it a
large head.  It was such a crop as would be an average only in a rich,
well-cultivated district of England or Scotland; far lighter than you
would see in the rich counties of England and in the Carse of Gowrie.  I
was informed that the ground was very badly prepared by Indian labour--
merely scratched over the surface.  I believe that with efficient labour
and skilful treatment, the crops could be nearly doubled.  The oats and
barley were very good crops, and the potatoes looked quite healthy, and
I doubt not will turn out the best crop of all.  The peas were decidedly
an abundant crop.  Vegetables thrive well, and all the ordinary fruits,
apples, currants, etcetera, are excessively abundant, some of the
currant-bushes breaking down with the weight of their fruit.  Flowers of
the ordinary sorts do well, but delicate plants don't thrive, owing to
the coldness of the nights.

"Sheep thrive admirably.  I saw some very fine pure Southdowns.  The
rams were selling at 100 dollars each (20 pounds) to California sheep
farmers.  Other breeds--hybrids of Southdowns, merinos, and other
stock--were also in good condition, and fair in size.  Black cattle do
well also.  The breed is a mixture of English and American, which makes
very good beef.  The horses are little Indian breeds, and some crosses
with American stock, all very clean limbed, sound, active, hardy, and
full of endurance and high spirit, until they get into livery-stables.

"During my stay, the climate was charming; the weather perfection--warm
during the day, but free of glare, and not oppressive; cool in the
evenings, with generally a gentle sea breeze.  The long days--the
protracted daylight eking out the day to nine o'clock at night--the
lingering sunset, and the ample `gloaming,' all so different from what I
had been accustomed to in more southern latitudes, again reminded me of
Scotland in the summer season.

"So far as I wandered--about ten miles round Victoria--the landscape is
totted with extensive croppings of rock, which interfere with the
labours of the husbandman.  Few corn-fields are without a lot of
boulders, or a ridge or two of rocks rising up above the surface of the
ground.  Consequently the cultivated fields are small, and were sneered
at by my Californian neighbours, who are accustomed to vast open
prairies under crop.  I have seen one field of 1000 acres all under
wheat in California.  But then no other country is so favoured as this
is for all the interests of agriculture.

"The scenery of the inland country around Victoria is a mixture of
English and Scotch.  Where the pine (they are all `Douglass' pines)
prevails, you have the good soil broken into patches by the croppings of
rock, producing ferns, rye-grass, and some thistles, but very few.  This
is the Scottish side of the picture.  Then you come to the oak region;
and here you have clumps, open glades, rows, single trees of umbrageous
form, presenting an exact copy of English park scenery.  There is no
running water, unfortunately, but the meadows and little prairies that
lie ensconced within the woods, shew no signs of suffering from lack of
water.  The nights bring heavy dews, and there are occasional rains,
which keep them fresh and green.  I am told that in September rains fall
which renew the face of nature so suddenly, that it assumes the garb of
spring, the flowers even coming out.  The winter is a little cold, but
never severe.  I have heard it complained of as being rather wet and
muggy.  Frost and snow fall, but do not endure long.

"The climate is usually represented as resembling that of England.  In
some respects the parallel may hold good; but there is no question that
Vancouver has more steady fine weather, is far less changeable, and is
on the whole milder.  Two marked differences I remarked--the heat was
never sweltering, as is sometimes the case in England, and the wind
never stings, as it too often does in the mother country.  The climate
is unquestionably superior in Vancouver."

To resume our description of the coast, the southern shore of the Strait
of Juan de Fuca is described by Vancouver as being composed of sandy
cliffs of moderate height, falling perpendicularly into the sea, from
the top of which the land takes a further gentle ascent, where it is
entirely covered with trees, chiefly of the pine tribe, until the forest
reaches a range of high craggy mountains which seem to rise from, the
woodland in a very abrupt manner, with a few scattered trees on their
sterile sides, and their tops covered with snow.  On the north the shore
is not so high, the ascent more gradual from thence to the tops of the
mountains, which are less covered with snow than those to the south.
They have from the strait the appearance of a compact range.  Proceeding
up the strait about seventy miles, a long low sandy point attracted
Vancouver's attention; from its resemblance to Dungeness, on the coast
of Kent, he named it New Dungeness, and found within it good anchorage
in from ten to three fathoms; beyond this the coast forms a deep bay
about nine miles across; and three miles from its eastern point lies
Protection Island, so named from the position it occupies at the
entrance of Port Discovery.  Vancouver landed on it on the 1st of May
1792, and thus describes its appearance:--"On landing on the west end,
and ascending its eminence, which was a nearly perpendicular cliff, our
attention was immediately called to a landscape almost as enchantingly
beautiful as the most elegantly finished pleasure-grounds in Europe.
The summit of this island presented nearly a horizontal surface,
interspersed with some inequalities of ground, which produced a
beautiful variety on an extensive lawn covered with luxuriant grass and
diversified with abundance of flowers.  To the north-westward was a
coppice of pine trees, and shrubs of various sorts, that seemed as if it
had been planted for the purpose of protecting from the north-west winds
this delightful meadow, over which were promiscuously scattered a few
clumps of trees that would have puzzled the most ingenious designer of
pleasure-grounds to have arranged more agreeably.  While we stopped to
contemplate these several beauties of nature in a prospect no less
pleasing than unexpected, we gathered some gooseberries and roses in a
state of considerable forwardness."

From this island, lying at the entrance of Port Discovery, commences the
maritime importance of the territory, with, says Vancouver, as fine a
harbour as any in the world, though subsequently he awards the palm to
its neighbour Port Hudson.  Its shores and scenery have been thus
described by Vancouver:--

"The delightful serenity of the weather greatly aided the beautiful
scenery that was now presented; the surface of the sea was perfectly
smooth, and the country before us presented all that bounteous nature
could be expected to draw into one point of view.  As we had no reason
to imagine that this country had ever been indebted for any of its
decorations to the hand of man, I could not possibly believe that any
uncultivated country had ever been discovered exhibiting so rich a
picture.  The land which interrupted the horizon below the north-west
and north quarters seemed to be much broken, from whence its eastern
extent round to south-east was bounded by a ridge of snowy mountains,
appearing to lie nearly in a north and south direction, on which Mount
Baker rose conspicuously, remarkable for its height and the snowy
mountains that stretch from its base to the north and south.  Between us
and this snowy range, the land, which on the sea-shore terminated like
that we had lately passed in low perpendicular cliffs, or on beaches of
sand or stone, rose here in a very gentle ascent, and was well covered
with a variety of stately forest trees; these, however, did not conceal
the whole face of the country in one uninterrupted wilderness, but
pleasantly clothed its eminences and chequered the valleys, presenting
in many directions extensive spaces that wore the appearance of having
been cleared by art, like the beautiful island we had visited the day
before.  A picture so pleasing could not fail to call to our remembrance
certain delightful and beloved situations in Old England."  Both the
approaches to this port, round the extremities of Protection Island, are
perfectly free from obstruction, and about a league in breadth.

Separated from Port Discovery only by a narrow slip of land from a mile
and a-half to two miles broad, which trending to the east protects it
from the north and west, is Port Hudson, having its entrance at the
extremity of the point on the east side, but little more than one mile
broad; from which the harbour extends, in a semicircular form, for about
four miles westward, and then trending for about six more, affords
excellent shelter and anchorage for vessels in from ten to twenty
fathoms, with an even bottom of mud.

In latitude 48 degrees 16 minutes the waters of the strait are divided
by a high white sandy cliff, with verdant lawns on each side; this was
named by Vancouver Point Partridge.  It forms the western extremity of
an island, long, low, verdant, and well-wooded, lying close to the
coast, and having its south end at the mouth of a river rising in those
mountains which here form a barrier to the further progress of the sea.
The snow-covered peak of the most lofty of these is visible soon after
entering the strait.  Vancouver named it Mount Baker, from the officer
of his ship by whom it was first seen.  This mountain, with Mount
Olympus, and another further to the south, named by the same navigator
Mount Rainier, form nearly an equilateral triangle, and tower over the
rest, the giant wardens of the land.  From Point Partridge he southern
branch extends about fifteen miles below the island before mentioned;
this Vancouver named Admiralty Inlet.  Here the tides begin to be
sufficiently rapid to afford obstruction to navigation; and hence it
parts in two arms, one named Hood's Canal, taking a south-west course,
and the other continuing a south course for forty miles, and then also
bending to the west, terminates in a broad sound studded with islands,
called by him Puget's Sound.

On the east coast of Admiralty Inlet, there is a broad sound with very
deep water and rapid tides, but affording good anchorage in the mouth of
the river.  Here Vancouver landed and took formal possession of the
country on Monday, the 4th of June, (with the usual _solemnities_, and
under a royal salute from the ships), in the name of his Britannic
Majesty King George the Third, and for his heirs and successors--that
day being His Majesty's birthday--from latitude 39 degrees 20 minutes to
the entrance of this inlet, supposed to be the Strait of Juan de Fuca,
as well the northern as the southern shores, together with those
situated in the interior sea, extending from the said strait in various
directions between the north-west, north-east, and south quarters.  This
interior sea he named the Gulf of Georgia, and the continent bounding
the said gulf, and extending southward to the 45th degree of north
latitude, New Georgia, in honour of His Majesty George the Third.  The
sound he named, from this incident, Possession Sound.  Of the country
round the sound he thus writes:--"Our eastern view was now bounded by
the range of snowy mountains from Mount Baker, bearing by compass north,
to Mount Rainier, bearing north 54 degrees east.  This mountain was hid
by the more elevated parts of the low land; and the intermediate snowy
mountains, in various rugged and grotesque shapes, were seen just to
rear their heads above the lofty pine trees, which appeared to compose
an uninterrupted forest between us and the snowy range, presenting a
most pleasing landscape; nor was our west view destitute of similar
diversification.  The ridge of mountains on which Mount Olympus is
situated, whose rugged summits were seen no less fancifully towering
over the forest than those of the east side, bounded to a considerable
extent our western horizon; on these, however, not one conspicuous
eminence arose, nor could we now distinguish that which on the sea-coast
appeared to be centrally situated, forming an elegant biforked mountain.
From the south extremity of these ridges of mountains there seemed to
be an extensive tract of land, moderately elevated and beautifully
diversified by pleasing inequalities of surface, enriched with every
appearance of fertility."

The narrow channel from Possession Sound, at the back of the long island
lying at its mouth, which Vancouver named Whidbey's Island, affords some
small but convenient harbours; its northern entrance is so choked with
rocks as to be scarcely practicable for vessels; but its southern is
wide, and the navigation unimpeded.

The northern arm of the straits commences in an archipelago of small
islands, well wooded and fertile, but generally without water; in one of
them, however, Vancouver found good anchorage, though exposed to the
south, having wood, water, and every necessary; this he named Strawberry
Cove, from that fruit having been found there in great abundance, and
the island, from the trees which covered it, Cypress Island.  About this
part the continental shore is high and rocky, though covered with wood;
and, it may be remarked generally, that the northern shore of the gulf
becomes more rocky and sterile, shewing gradually a less and less
variety of trees, until those of the pine tribe alone are found.

Above the archipelago the straits widen, swelling out to the east in a
double bay, affording good anchorage, beyond which the shores become low
and sandy, and a wide bank of sand extends along them about one or two
miles, closely approaching the opposite side of the gulf, leaving a
narrow but clear channel.  This bank, affording large sturgeon, was
named by Vancouver after that fish; and keeping to the south around it,
he did not observe that here the gulf receives the waters of Fraser
River from the north.  Here the gulf is open, and the navigation
unimpeded, except by a few islands on the north shore; one of them,
named by the Spaniards de Feveda, deserves notice; it is parallel with
the shore, narrow, and about thirty miles long.

Among the natural features of this part of the north shore of the gulf,
must not be omitted, on account of their singularity, the small
salt-water lakes, which are found divided from the sea only by a narrow
ledge of rock, having a depth over it of four feet at high-water.  They
are consequently replenished by the sea every tide, and form salt-water
cascades during the ebb and rise of of the tides; some of them, divided
into several branches, run through a low swampy woodland country.  Here
also are streams of water, so warm as to be unpleasant to the hand; and
every feature of this district evidences the violent effort of nature in
its production.  Except the coast and canals, nothing is known of it;
but its mineral riches are scarcely problematical.  The channels between
the several islands which here obstruct the gulf are narrow, deep, and
much impeded by the strength of the tide, which is sufficient in some
places to stop the progress of a steam-vessel, as has been frequently
experienced by the Hudson's Bay Company's steam-boat Beaver; yet
Vancouver found no difficulty in working his vessels through Johnstone's
Strait, the passage between these islands and the southern shore,
against a head-wind; being compelled, as he says, to perform a complete
traverse from shore to shore through its whole length, and without
meeting the least obstruction, from rocks or shoals.  He adds, "the
great depth of water, not only here, but that which is generally found
washing the shores of this very broken and divided country, must ever be
considered a peculiar circumstance, and a great inconvenience to its
navigation; we, however, found a sufficient number of stopping-places to
answer all our purposes, and in general without going far out of our
way."  From this, archipelago, extending about sixty miles, the strait
widens into a broad expanse, which swells to the north in a deep sound,
filled with islands, called Broughton's Archipelago.  This part was
named by Vancouver Queen Charlotte's Sound; and is here fifteen miles
broad, exclusive of the archipelago, but it contracts immediately to
less than ten, and sixty miles from Johnstone Straits joins the Pacific,
its northern boundary.  Cape Caution, being in latitude 51 degrees 10
minutes.  The entrance to the sound is choked with rocks and shoals.

Here, between Broughton's Archipelago and Cape Caution, another
mountain, called Mount Stephen, conspicuous from its irregular form and
great elevation, and worthy to be named with those to the south, seems
to mount guard over the northern entrance to the straits.

From Cape Caution, off which are several groups of rocks to latitude 54
degrees 40 minutes, where the Russian territory commences, the coast has
much the same character as that already described between the Gulf of
Georgia and the sea, but that its harsher features are occasionally much
softened, and its navigation less impeded.  Throughout its whole length
it is cut up by long and deep canals, which form various archipelagos of
islands, and penetrate deeply and circuitously into the land, which is
high, but not so precipitous as about Desolation Sound, and generally
covered with trees.

The islands lying close to the shore follow its sinuosities, and through
the narrow channels thus formed the currents are rapid; those more
detached are more fertile; they are all the resort of the natives during
the fishing season.  Their formation is granite, the prevailing rock
north of latitude 49 degrees.  Distant thirty miles at its nearest and
ninety at its furthest point from the line of islands which cover this
coast, and under parallels 52 degrees and 54 degrees, lies Queen
Charlotte's Island, called by the Americans Washington.  It is in form
triangular, about 150 miles long, and above sixty at its greatest
breadth, and contains upwards of 4000 square miles.  Possessed of an
excellent harbour on its east coast, in latitude 53 degrees 3 minutes,
and another on the north, at Hancock's River (the Port Entrada of the
Spaniards), it is a favourite resort of traders.  The climate and soil
are excellent, hills lofty and well wooded, and its coast, especially on
the west side, deeply indented by arms of the sea, among which may be
named Englefield Bay and Cartwright's Sound.  Coal and some metals are
said to have been found on this island.

On the whole the character of this coast seems to be well expressed by
Lieutenant Wilkes, when he says--"Nothing can exceed the beauty of these
waters, and their safety; not a shoal exists within the straits of Juan
de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, Puget's Sound, or Hood's Canal that can in any
way interrupt their navigation by a 74 gun ship.  I venture nothing in
saying there is no country in the world that possesses waters equal to



Mr Nicolay, in his treatise on the Oregon Territory, gives a minute and
graphic account of the aboriginal inhabitants of this district, from
which we purpose making some extracts to enrich our pages.

The principal Indian tribes, commencing from the south, are the
Callapuyas, Shaste, Klamet, Umqua, Rogues' River, and Chinooks, between
the Californian boundary and Columbia, to the west of the Cascade
Mountains; the Shoshones or Snake and Nezperces tribes about the
southern branch of the Columbia, and Cascade Indians on the river of
that name; between the Columbia and the Strait of Fuca, the Tatouche or
Classet tribe; and the Clalams about Port Discovery; the Sachet about
Possession Sound; the Walla-walla, Flat-head, Flat-bow Indians, and Cour
d'Aleine or Pointed Heart, about the rivers of the same names; the
Chunnapuns and Chanwappans between the Cascade range and the north
branch of the Columbia; the Kootanie to the east, between it and the
Rocky Mountains; and to the north about Okanagan, various branches of
the Carrier tribe.  Of those on the coast to the north and on Vancouver
Island not much is known.

Their numbers may be stated at a rough estimate as--

|On the coast below the Columbia           | 2,500|
|About the Cascades                        | 1,500|
|On the Snake River and its tributary      | 2,500|
|Between the Columbia and Strait of De Fuca| 3,000|
|About Fort Vancouver                      | 1,500|
|Walla-walla                               | 1,500|
|Flat-head, etcetera                       | 1,200|
|Okanagan                                  |   750|
|Northward                                 | 2,500|
|Vancouver's and Queen Charlotte's Island  | 5,000|
|Possession Sound                          |   650|
|Fraser River                              |   500|
|On the coast of the Gulf of Georgia       |   500|
|Total                                     |23,500|

This is, however, 6000 less than was reported to the Congress of the
United States, and 4000 more than Mr Wilkes' calculation.

That there are errors in this there can be no doubt; and it is probable
that some smaller tribes may be omitted in the above calculation; the
number, therefore, between parallels 42 degrees and 54 degrees 40
minutes may be roughly estimated at 30,000.

Through the care of the Hudson's Bay Company and the semi-civilised
habits they have adopted, the number of Indians to the north of the
Columbia is not on the decrease; to the south it is; and the total must
be very considerably less than it was before the settlement was made
among them.

The Indian nations in Oregon may be divided into three classes,
differing in habits and character according to their locality and means
of sustenance--the Indians of the coast, the mountains, and the plains.
The first feed mostly on fish, and weave cloth for clothing from the
wool or hair of the native sheep, having to a great extent settled
residences, though these last characteristics are rapidly disappearing;
the second, trappers and hunters, wandering for the most part in pursuit
of game; and the third, the equestrian tribes, who, on the great plains
about the waters of the rivers, chase on their fleet horses the gigantic
bison, whose flesh supplies them with food, and whose hide covers them.
The former bear some resemblance to the native inhabitants of the
islands of the Pacific.  The two latter are in every respect Red men.
Those on the coast were first known, and when visited by the early
voyagers had the characteristics which, from contiguity to White men,
have deteriorated in the south, but which have been retained in the
north--high courage, determination, and great ingenuity, but joined to
cruelty and faithlessness; and as in the south Destruction Island
obtained its name from their savage cruelty, so does the coast
throughout its length afford the same testimony.  Cook, who first
discovered them, says, "They were thieves in the strictest sense of the
word, for they pilfered nothing from us but what they knew could be
converted to the purposes of utility, and had a real value according to
their estimation of things."

Their form is thick and clumsy, but they are not deficient in strength
or activity; when young, their colour is not dark nor their features
hard, but exposure to the weather, want of mental culture, and their
dirty habits, soon reduce them all to the same dark complexion and dull
phlegmatic want of expression which is strongly marked in all of them.

In Cook's time, and till the White men settled among them, their dress
was a flaxen mantle, ornamented with fur above, and tassels and fringes,
which, passing under the left arm, is tied over the right shoulder,
leaving the right side open: this is fastened round the waist by a
girdle: above this, which reaches below the knee, a circular cape,
perforated in the centre to admit the head, made of the same substance,
and also fringed in the lower part, is worn: it covers the arms to the
elbows.  Their head is covered with a cap, conical but truncated, made
of fine matting, ornamented at the top with a knot or tassels.  Besides
the above dress, common to both sexes, the men frequently throw over
their garments the skin of a bear, wolf, or sea-otter, with the fur
outwards: they wear the hair loose, unless tied up in the scalping-lock:
they cover themselves with paint, and swarm with vermin; upon the paint
they strew mica to make it glitter.  They perforate the nose and ears,
and put various ornaments into them.

But besides these common habits, they have official and ceremonious
occasions, on which they wear beautiful furs and theatrical dresses and
disguises, including large masks; and their war-dress, formed of a thick
doubled leathern mantle of elk or buffalo skin, frequently with a cloak
over it, on which the hoofs of horses were strung, makes an almost
impervious cuirass.  Their love for music, general lively dispositions,
except from provocation, but determination in avenging insult or wrong,
is testified by all.

Cook also gives a full description of their houses and manner of life.
Of the former, he says they are made of split boards, and large enough
for several families, who occupy small pens on each side of the
interior.  They have benches and boxes, and many of their utensils, such
as pipes, etcetera, are frequently carved; as are also gigantic human
faces on large trunks of trees, which they set up for posts to their

In their persons and houses they were filthy in the extreme; in their
habits lazy; but the women were modest and industrious.  Their principal
food was fish, but they had edible roots and game from the land.  A
favourite article of food was also the roe of herrings, dried on pine
branches or sea-weed.  Their weapons were spears, arrows, slings, and
clubs, similar to the New Zealanders; also an axe, not dissimilar to the
North American tomahawk, the handle of which is usually carved.

They made garments of pine-bark beaten fine; these were made by hand
with plaited thread and woollen, so closely wove as to resemble cloth,
and frequently had worked on them figures of men and animals: on one was
the whole process of the whale fishery.  Their aptitude for the
imitative arts was very great.  Their canoes were rather elegantly
formed out of trees, with rising prow, frequently carved in figures.
They differ from those of the Pacific generally, in having neither sails
nor outriggers; they had harpoons and spears for whale-fishing.
Vancouver, when at Port Discovery, saw some long poles placed upright on
the beach at equal distances, the object of which he could not discover,
and it was not till the last voyage of discovery, despatched from the
United States under Commodore Wilkes, that they were ascertained to have
been used for hanging nets upon, to catch wild-fowl by night: their
ingenuity in this and in netting salmon is very remarkable.  They have
two nets, the drawing and casting net, made of a silky grass found on
the banks of the Columbia, or the fibres of the roots of trees, or of
the inner bark of the white cedar.  The salmon-fishing on the Columbia
commences in June, the main body, according to the habit of this fish,
dividing at the mouth of the tributary streams to ascend then to their
sources.  At the rapids and falls the work of destruction commences;
with a bag-net, not unlike to an European fisherman's landing-net, on a
pole thirty feet long, the Indians take their stand on the rocks, or on
platforms erected for the purpose, and throwing their nets into the
river above their standing-places, let them float down the rapids to
meet the fish as they ascend.  By this means many are caught; they have
also stake-nets and lines with stones for leads; they also catch many
with hook and line, and sometimes, now they have fire-arms, shoot them.
Their mode of fishing for sturgeon is also peculiar.  The line, made of
twisted fibres of the roots of trees, is attached to a large wooden hook
and let down over the side of a canoe; those used for this purpose are
small, having only one or two men at most in them: having hooked a fish,
they haul him gently up till he floats on the water, then, with a heavy
mallet, with one blow on the head they kill him; with singular dexterity
they contrive to jerk a fish of three hundred pounds over the lowered
side of the canoe by a single effort.  They catch whales also by means
of harpoons with bladders attached.  The oil is sold to the Hudson's Bay
Company.  It has been said that their houses were made of boards, but
some constructive art is displayed in their erection as was much
ingenuity in procuring the materials before axes were introduced among
them; for they contrived to fell trees with a rough chisel and mallet.
The houses are made of centre-posts about eighteen feet high, upon which
a long pole rests, forming the ridge of the roof, from whence rafters
descend to another like it, but not more than five feet from the ground;
to these again, cross poles are attached, and against these are placed
boards upright, and the lower end fixed in the ground; across these
again, poles are placed, and tied with cords of cedar bark to those
inside of the roof, which are similarly disposed: the planks are double.
These houses are divided on each side into stalls and pens, occupied as
sleeping places during the night, and the rafters serve to suspend the
fish, which are dried by the smoke in its lengthened course through the
interstices of the roof and walls.  In their superstitions, theatricals,
dances, and songs they have much similarity to the natives of Polynesia.
Debased now, and degraded even beneath their former portrait--fast
fading away before the more genial sun of the fortunes of the White
man--the Indians on the southern coast are no longer free and warlike,
and being in subjection to the Hudson's Bay Company, English
manufactures are substituted for the efforts of their native industry.

The mode of burial practised among the tribes on the coast is very
peculiar.  The corpse is placed sometimes in a canoe raised a few feet
from the ground, with arms and other necessaries beside it.  These are
not unfrequently spoiled beforehand, to prevent their being stolen, as
if they thought they might, like their owner, be restored to their
former state in the new world.  Sometimes they are put in upright boxes
like sentry-boxes--sometimes in small enclosures--but usually kept neat,
and those of the chiefs frequently painted.  Mount Coffin, at the mouth
of the Cowelitz, seems to have been appropriated to the burial of
persons of importance; it is about seven hundred feet high, and quite
isolated: on it were to be seen the canoe-coffins of the natives in
every stage of decay; they were hung between the trees about five feet
from the ground.  This cemetery of the Columbia is, however, destroyed,
for the American sailors under Wilkes, neglecting to put out their
cooking-fire, it spread over the whole mountain, and continued to rage
through the night, till all was burnt.  A few small presents appeased
the Indians, who but a few years before could only have drowned the
remembrance of such a national disgrace in the blood of those who caused

Among the tribes about the lower part of the Columbia the singular
custom of flattening the head still prevails, though not to the extent
it did formerly; Mr Dunn thus describes the operation:--

"Immediately after the birth, the infant is laid in an oblong wooden
trough, by way of cradle, with moss under the head; the end on which the
head reposes is raised higher than the rest; a padding is then placed on
the infant's forehead, with a piece of cedar-bark over it; it is pressed
down by cords, which pass through holes on each side of the trough.  As
the tightening of the padding and pressure of the head is gradual, the
process is said not to be attended with much pain.  The appearance of
the infant, however, while under it, is shocking,--its little black eyes
seem ready to start from their sockets; the mouth exhibits all the
appearance of internal convulsion; and it clearly appears that the face
is undergoing a process of unnatural configuration.  About a year's
pressure is sufficient to produce the desired effect; the head is ever
after completely flattened;" and as slaves are always left to nature,
this deformity is consequently a mark of free birth.  The Indians on the
north coast possess the characteristics of the southern, but harsher and
more boldly defined--they are of fiercer and more treacherous
dispositions.  Indeed, those of the south have a disposition to
merriment and light-hearted good humour.  Their mechanical ingenuity is
more remarkably displayed in the carving on their pipes, and especially
in working iron and steel.  The Indians of the coast are doubtless all
from the same stock, modified by circumstances and locality.  Those,
however, to the south of the Columbia, about the waters of the rivers
Klamet and Umqua, partake largely of the characteristics of the Indians
of the plains, their country having prairies, and themselves possessing
horses: they are remarkable for nothing but their determined hostility
towards the Whites.  Idleness and filth are inveterate among all three,
but among the Indians of the plains there is a marked difference; there,
their food consist of fish, indeed, and dried for winter, but not
entirely, being more varied by venison than on the coast, and in the
winter by roots, which they dig up and lay by in store.  They live more
in moveable tents, and to the south their great wealth is their horses.
They are not, like the coast Indians, of small stature and inelegantly
made, but remarkable for comeliness of person and elegance of carriage.
They are equestrian in their habits, and shew to great advantage on
horseback.  The principal tribes are the Shoshones and Walla-walla,
between whom, as between the former and the Blackfeet, there has been
continual war.  The Shoshones dwell between the Rocky and Blue Mountain
ranges, the Walla-walla about the river of that fame; the Blackfeet at
the foot of the Rocky Mountains, principally, but not entirely, on the
eastern side.  Warlike and independent, the Blackfeet had for a long
time the advantage, having been earlier introduced to the use of
fire-arms; but by the instrumentality of the Hudson's Bay Company, they
have been of late years more on an equality: they are friendly to the
Whites, but the Blackfeet, their mortal enemies, and their hill-forts
overhanging the passes of the Rocky Mountains, make the future safety of
the journey to the United States depend on the temper of this fickle and
bloodthirsty nation, who have been well termed the Arabs of the West,
for truly their hand is against every man, and every man's hand against
them; and though seriously lessened in number by war and disease, they
still dwell in the presence of all their brethren.  The Shoshones feed
frequently on horse-flesh, and have also large quantities of edible
roots, which stand them in great stead during the winter.  When the men
are fishing for salmon, the women are employed in digging and preserving
the roots.  There is, indeed, one tribe inhabiting the country of the
salt lakes and springs to the south of the head-waters of the Snake or
Saptin River, who have no wish, beyond these roots, living in the most
bestial manner possible: these, from their single occupation, have been
named Diggers.  Above the Walla-walla, also, there is a tribe called the
Basket people, from their using a basket in fishing for salmon.  The
apparatus consists of a large wicker basket, supported by long poles
inserted into it, and fixed in the rocks; to the basket is joined a long
frame, spreading above, against which the fish, in attempting to leap
the falls, strike and fall into the basket; it is taken up three times a
day, and at each haul not unfrequently contains three hundred fine fish.
The Flat-heads, dwelling about the river of that name, are the most
northern of the equestrian tribes: their characteristics are
intelligence and aptitude for civilisation; yet, in the early history of
the country, their fierceness and barbarity in war could not be
exceeded, especially in their retaliation on the Blackfeet, of which
Ross Cox gives a horrible account.  The usual dress of these tribes is a
shirt, leggings, and mocassins of deer-skin, frequently much ornamented
with fringes of beads, and formerly in the "braves" with scalps; a cap
of handkerchief generally covers the head, but the Shoshones twist their
long black hair into a natural helmet, more useful as a protection than
many artificial defences: in winter a buffalo robe is added to the usual
clothing.  Horses abound among them, and they are usually well armed.
Through the influence of the Hudson's Bay Company, these tribes are
beaming amalgamated by intermarriage, and will, doubtless, from their
pliability of disposition, readiness of perception, and capability for
improvement generally, no less than their friendship for the Whites and
devotion to the Company, gradually lose their identity in acquired
habits and knowledge, and become the peaceful proprietors of a country
rich in flocks and herds, even very much cattle.  The more northern
Indians inhabiting the mountainous country round the head-waters of
Oregon River and the branches of the Columbia, evidence an origin
similar to the Chippewayan tribes on the east of the Rocky Mountains.
Mackenzie found but little difference, when travelling from one to the
other, and his guides were generally well understood: like them, they
have exchanged their shirts and robes of skins for European
manufactures, and their bows and spears for fire-arms.  Among them the
greater part of the furs exported by the Hudson's Bay Company are
procured, and the return of the traffic supplies all their wants: they
differ, however, in manners and habits; for among them is found the
tribe of Carriers, whose filthiness and bestiality cannot be exceeded;
whose dainties are of putrid flesh, and are eaten up with disease;
nevertheless, they are a tall, well-formed, good-looking race, and not
wanting in ingenuity.  Their houses are well formed of logs of small
trees; buttressed up internally, frequently above seventy feet long and
fifteen high, but, unlike those of the coast, the roof is of bark: their
winter habitations are smaller, and often covered over with grass and
earth: some even dwell in excavations of the ground, which have only an
aperture at the top, and serves alike for door and chimney.  Salmon,
deer, bears, and wild-fowl are their principal food: of the latter they
procure large quantities.

Their mode of taking salmon is curious.  They build a weir across the
stream, having an opening only in one place, at which they fix a basket,
three feet in diameter, with the mouth made something like an eel-trap,
through which alone the fish can find a passage.  On the side of this
basket is a hole, to which is attached a smaller basket, into which the
fish pass from the large one, and cannot return or escape.  This, when
filled, is taken up without disturbing the larger one.

Of the religion and superstitions of the Indians little need be said;
the features of polytheism being everywhere as similar as its effects.
Impudent conjurers are their priests and teachers, and exerted once
unlimited sway; but under the satisfactory proofs of the value of
scientific medical practice and the tuition of the missionaries, it is
to be hoped both their claims to respect will be negatived; and as they
have evinced great aptitude to embrace and profit by instruction, it may
perhaps happen that secular knowledge may combine with religious to save
them from the apparent necessary result.

In closing this brief account of the gold-fields of New Caledonia, we
cannot avoid adverting to the great event which, has been, we may say,
contemporaneous with these discoveries--the laying down of the Atlantic
telegraph.  The sources of an apparently boundless and dazzling wealth
have been opened up in the Far West of America, and a mighty stream of
thought has begun its perpetual flow backwards and forwards between her
eastern shores and England.  We hail the coincidence as an assurance
that friendly communication, and peace, and good-will, shall go hand and
hand with the getting of gold in, and the civilising of, these far off
regions; and we believe that God will use both these new and mighty
engines for the advancement of the blessed gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ in the British possessions of North America.



Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty, July
2, 1858.


_Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P._

Victoria, Vancouver's Island, April 16, 1856.

Sir,--I hasten to communicate, for the information of Her Majesty's
Government, a discovery of much importance, made known to me by Mr
Angus McDonald, clerk in charge of Fort Colville, one of the Hudson's
Bay Company's trading posts on the Upper Columbia District.

That gentleman reports, in a letter dated on the 1st of March last, that
gold has been found in considerable quantities within the British
territory, on the Upper Columbia, and that he is, moreover, of opinion,
that valuable deposits of gold will be found in many other parts of that
country; he also states that the _daily earnings_ of person's then
employed in digging gold were ranging from 2 pounds to 8 pounds for each
man.  Such is the substance of his report on that subject, and I have
requested him to continue his communications in respect to any further
discoveries made.

I do not know if Her Majesty's Government will consider it expedient to
raise a revenue in that quarter, by taxing all persons engaged in gold
digging; but I may remark, that it will be impossible to levy such a tax
without the aid of a military force, and the expense in that case would
probably exceed the income derived from the mines.

I will not fail to keep you well informed in respect to the extent and
value of the gold discoveries made; and circumstances will probably be
the best indication of the course which it may be expedient to take,
that is, in respect to imposing a tax, or leaving the field free and
open to any persons who may choose to dig for gold.

Several interesting experiments in gold-washing have been lately made in
this colony, with a degree of success that will no doubt lead to further
attempts for the discovery of the precious metal.  The quantity of gold
found is sufficient to prove the existence of the metal, and the parties
engaged in, the enterprise entertain sanguine hopes of discovering rich
and productive beds.  I have, etcetera, (Signed) James Douglas,

The Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

NO.  II.

_The Right Hon. Henry Labouchere to Governor Douglas_.

Downing Street, August 4, 1856.

Sir,--I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch, Number 10, of
the 16th April last, reporting the discovery of gold within the British
territory of the Upper Columbia River district.

In the absence of all effective machinery of Government, I perceive that
it would be quite abortive to attempt to raise a revenue from licences
to dig for gold in that region.  Indeed, as Her Majesty's Government do
not at present look for a revenue from this distant quarter of the
British dominions, so neither are they prepared to incur any, expense on
account of it.  I must, therefore, leave it to your discretion to
determine the best means of preserving order in the event of any
considerable increase of population flocking into this new gold
district; and I shall rely on your furnishing me with full and regular
accounts of any event of interest or importance which may occur in
consequence of this discovery.  I have, etcetera, (Signed) H.

To Governor Douglas, etcetera, etcetera.


_Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P._

Victoria, Vancouver's Island, October 29, 1856.

Sir,--1.  I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch,
Number 14, of the 4th of August, communicating the arrival of my
despatch, Number 10, of the 16th April last, in which was reported the
discovery of gold within the British territory in the Upper Columbia
River district.

2.  I have, since the date of that letter, received several other
communications from my correspondent in that part of the country, who,
however, scarcely makes any allusion to the gold discovery; but I have
heard through other almost equally reliable sources of information, that
the number of persons engaged in gold digging is yet extremely limited,
in consequence of the threatening attitude of the native tribes, who,
being hostile to the Americans, have uniformly opposed the entrance of
American citizens into their country.

3.  The people from American Oregon are, therefore, excluded from the
gold district, except such, as resorting to the artifice of denying
their country, succeed in passing for British subjects.  The persons at
present engaged in the search of gold are chiefly of British origin, and
retired servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, who, being well acquainted
with the natives, and connected by old acquaintanceship and the ties of
friendship, are more disposed to aid and assist each other in their
common pursuits than to commit injuries against persons or property.

4.  They appear to pursue their toilsome occupation in peace, and
without molestation from the natives, and there is no reason to suppose
that any criminal act has been lately committed in that part of the

5.  It is reported that gold is found in considerable quantities, and
that several persons have accumulated large sums by their labour and
traffic, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports; though,
on the other hand, there is no reason to discredit them, as about 220
ounces of gold dust have been brought to Vancouver's Island direct from
the Upper Columbia, a proof that the country is at least auriferous.

From the successful result of experiments made in washing gold from the
sands of the tributary streams of Fraser River, there is reason to
suppose that the gold region is extensive, and I entertain sanguine
hopes that future researches will develop stores of wealth, perhaps
equal to the gold fields of California.  The geological formations
observed in the "Sierra Nevada" of California being similar in character
to the structure of the corresponding range of mountains in this
latitude, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the resemblance will be
found to include auriferous deposits.

6.  I shall not fail to furnish you with full and regular accounts of
every event of interest connected with the gold district, which may from
time to time occur.  I have, etcetera, (Signed) James Douglas, Governor.

The Right Hon. H. Labouchere; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

NO.  V.

_Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P._

Victoria, Vancouver's Island, July 15, 1857.

Received, September 18, 1857.

Sir,--1.  I have the honour of communicating for your information the
substance of advices which I have lately received from the interior of
the continent north of the 49th parallel of latitude, corroborating the
former accounts from that quarter respecting the auriferous character of
certain districts of the country on the right bank of the Columbia
River, and of the extensive table land which divides it from Fraser

2.  There is, however, as yet a degree of uncertainty respecting the
productiveness of those gold fields, for reports vary so much on that
point, some parties representing the deposits as exceedingly rich, while
others are of opinion that they will not repay the labour and outlay of
working, that I feel it would be premature for me to give a decided
opinion on the subject.

3.  It is, however, certain that gold has been found in many places by
washing the soil of the river beds, and also of the mountainsides; but,
on the other hand, the quantities hitherto collected are inconsiderable,
and do not lend much support to the opinion entertained of the richness
of these deposits; so that the question as to their ultimate value
remains thus undetermined, and will probably not be decided until more
extensive researches are made.

4.  A new element of difficulty in exploring the gold country has been
interposed through the opposition of the native Indian tribes of
Thompson River, who have lately taken the high-handed, though probably
not unwise course, of expelling all the parties of gold-diggers,
composed chiefly of persons from the American territories, who had
forced an entrance into their country.  They have also openly expressed
a determination to resist all attempts at working gold in any of the
streams flowing into Thompson River, both from a desire to monopolise
the precious metal for their own benefit, and from a well-founded
impression that the shoals of salmon which annually ascend those rivers,
and furnish the principal food of the inhabitants, will be driven off,
and prevented from making their annual migrations from the sea.

5.  The officers in command of the Hudson's Bay Company's posts in that
quarter, have received orders carefully to respect the feelings of the
natives in that matter, and not to employ any of the company's servants
in washing out gold, without their full approbation and consent.  There
is, therefore, nothing to apprehend on the part of the Hudson's Bay
Company's servants, but there is much reason to fear that serious
affrays may take place between the natives and the motley adventurers
who will be attracted by the reputed wealth of the country, from the
United States' possessions in Oregon, and may probably attempt to
overpower the opposition of the natives by force of arms, and thus
endanger the peace of the country.

6.  I beg to submit, if in that case, it: may not become a question
whether the natives are not entitled to the protection of Her Majesty's
Government, and if an officer invested with the requisite authority
should not, without delay, be appointed for that purpose.  I have,
etcetera, (Signed) James Douglas, Governor.

The Right Hon. H. Labouchere, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

NO.  VI.

_Extract of a Despatch from Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry
Labouchere, M.P., dated Victoria, Vancouver's Island, December_ 29,
1857.  (Received March 2, 1858.)

Since I had the honour of addressing you on the 15th July last,
concerning the gold fields in the interior of the country north of the
49th parallel of latitude, which, for the sake of brevity, I will
hereafter speak of as the "Couteau mines" (so named after the tribe of
Indians who inhabit the country), I have received farther intelligence
from my correspondents in that quarter.

It appears from their reports that the auriferous character of the
country is becoming daily more extensively developed, through the
exertions of the native Indian tribes, who, having tasted the sweets of
gold finding, are devoting much of their time and attention to that

They are, however, at present almost destitute of tools for moving the
soil, and of washing implements for separating the gold from the earthy
matrix, and have therefore to pick it out with their knives, or to use
their fingers for that purpose; a circumstance which in some measure
accounts for the small products of gold up to the present time, the
export being only about 300 ounces since the 6th of last October.

The same circumstance will also serve to reconcile the opinion now
generally entertained of the richness of the gold deposits by the few
experienced miners who have seen the Couteau country, with the present
paucity of production.

The reputed wealth of the Couteau mines is causing much excitement among
the population of the United States territories of Washington and
Oregon, and I have no doubt that a great number of people from those
territories will be attracted thither with the return of the fine
weather in spring.

In that case, difficulties between the natives and whites will be of
frequent occurrence, and unless measures of prevention are taken, the
country will soon become the scene of lawless misrule.

In my letter of the 15th of July, I took the liberty of suggesting the
appointment of an officer invested with authority to protect the natives
from violence, and generally, so far as possible, to maintain the peace
of the country.  Presuming that you will approve of that suggestion, I
have, as a preparatory step towards the proposed measure for the
preservation of peace and order, this day issued a proclamation
declaring the rights of the Crown in respect to gold found in its
natural place of deposit, within the limits of Fraser River and Thompson
River districts, within which are situated the Couteau mines; and
forbidding all persons to dig or disturb the soil in search of gold,
until authorised on that behalf by Her Majesty's Government.

I herewith forward a copy of that proclamation, and also of the
regulations since published, setting forth the terms on which licences
will be issued to legalise the search for gold, on payment of a fee of
ten shillings a-month, payable in advance.

When mining becomes a remunerative employment, and there is a proof of
the extent and productiveness of the gold deposits, I would propose that
the licence fee be gradually increased, in such a manner, however, as
not to be higher than the persons engaged in mining can readily pay.  My
authority for issuing that proclamation, seeing that it refers to
certain districts of continental America, which are not, strictly
speaking, within the jurisdiction of this Government, may, perhaps, be
called in question; but I trust that the motives which have influenced
me on this occasion, and the fact of my being invested with the
authority over the premises of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the only
authority commissioned by Her Majesty within reach, will plead my
excuse.  Moreover, should Her Majesty's Government not deem, it
advisable to enforce the rights of the Crown, as set forth in the
proclamation, it may be allowed to fall to the ground, and to become a
mere dead letter.

If you think it expedient that I should visit the Couteau Mines in
course of the coming spring or summer, for the purpose of inquiring into
the state of the country, and authorise me to do so, if I can for a time
conveniently leave this colony, I freely place my services at the
disposal of Her Majesty's Government.


_The Governor of Vancouver's Island to the Right Hon. H. Labouchere,

Victoria, Vancouver's Island, January 22, 1858.

[Received March 15, 1858.]

Sir,--1.  With reference to the proclamation and regulations legalising
the search for gold in the districts of Fraser River and Thompson River,
transmitted with my despatch, Number 35, of the 29th of December last, I
have now the honour to communicate for your information, that we have
since that date raised the licence fee from ten shillings to twenty-one
shillings a-month, payable in advance, which is the present charge for
gold licences.

2.  We are induced to make that change through a desire to place a large
amount of revenue at the disposal of Government to meet the expense of
giving protection to life and property in those countries, and at the
same time from a well-founded conviction that persons really bent upon
visiting the gold district will as readily pay the increased as the
lower rate of charge.

I have, etcetera, (Signed) James Douglas, Governor.

To the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.


_Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. H. Labouchere, M.P._

Victoria, Vancouver's Island, April 6, 1858.

Sir,--1.  Since I had last the honour of addressing you in my despatch,
Number 35, on the 29th of December last, in reference to the discovery
of gold in the Couteau, or Thompson River district, we have had much
communication with persons who have since visited that part of the

2.  The search for gold and "prospecting" of the country, had, up to the
last dates from the interior, been carried on almost exclusively by the
native Indian population, who have discovered the productive beds, and
put out almost all the gold, about eight hundred ounces, which has been
hitherto exported from the country, and who are, moreover, extremely
jealous of the whites, and strongly opposed to their digging the soil
for gold.

3.  The few white men who passed the winter at the diggings--chiefly
retired servants of the Hudson's Bay Company--though well acquainted
with Indian character, were obstructed by the natives in their attempts
to search for gold.  They were on all occasions narrowly watched, and in
every instance, when they did succeed in removing the surface and
excavating to the depth of the auriferous stratum, they were quietly
hustled and crowded by the natives, who having by that means obtained
possession of the spot, then proceeded to reap the fruits of their

4.  Such conduct was unwarrantable and exceedingly trying to the temper
of spirited men, but the savages were far too numerous for resistance,
and they had to submit to their dictation.  It is, however, worthy of
remark, and a circumstance highly honourable to the character of those
savages, that they have on all occasions scrupulously respected the
persons and property of their white visitors, at the same that they have
expressed a determination to reserve the gold for their own benefit.

5.  Such being the purpose of the natives, affrays and collisions with
the whites will surely follow the accession of numbers, which the latter
are now receiving by the influx of adventurers from Vancouver's Island
and the United States territories in Oregon; and there is no doubt in my
mind that sooner or later the intervention of Her Majesty's Government
will be required to restore and maintain the peace.  Up to the present
time, however, the country continues quiet, but simply, I believe,
because the whites have not attempted to resist the impositions of the
natives.  I will, however, make it a part of my duty to keep you well
informed in respect to the state of the gold country.

6.  The extent of the gold region is yet but imperfectly known, and I
have, therefore, not arrived at any decided opinion as to its ultimate
value as a gold-producing country.  The boundaries of the gold district
have been, however, greatly extended since ay former report.

7.  In addition to the diggings before known on Thompson River and its
tributary streams, a valuable deposit has been recently found by the
natives, on a bank of Fraser River, about fifty miles beyond its
confluence with the Thompson, and gold in small quantities has been
found in the possession of the natives as far as the great falls of
Fraser River, about eighty miles above the Forks.  The small quantity of
gold hitherto produced--about eight hundred ounces--by the large native
population of the country is, however, unaccountable in a rich
gold-producing country, unless we assume that the want of skill,
industry, and proper mining tools on the part of the natives
sufficiently account for the fact.

8.  On the contrary, the vein rocks and its other geological features,
as described by an experienced gold miner, encourage the belief that the
country is highly auriferous.

9.  The miner in question clearly described the older slate formations
thrown up and pierced by beds of quartz, granite, porphyry, and other
igneous rocks; the vast accumulations of sand, gravel, and shingle
extending from the roots of the mountains to the banks of Fraser River
and its affluents, which are peculiar characteristics of the gold
districts of California and other countries.  We therefore hope, and are
preparing for a rich harvest of trade, which will greatly redound to the
advantage of this colony.

10.  I have further to communicate for your information that the
proclamation issued by me, asserting the rights of the Crown to all gold
in its natural place of deposit, and forbidding all persons to dig for
gold without a licence, has been published in the newspapers of Oregon
and Washington territories, and that, notwithstanding, some seventy or
eighty adventurers from the American side have gone by the way of Fraser
River to the Couteau mines without taking out licences.

11.  I did not, as I might have done, attempt to enforce those rights by
means of a detachment of seamen and marines, from the "Satellite,"
without being assured that such a proceeding would meet with the
approval of Her Majesty's Government; but the moment your instructions
on the subject are received, I will take measures to carry them into

I have, etcetera, (Signed) James Douglas, Governor.

The Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P., etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

NO.  X.

_Governor Douglas to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, M.P._

Victoria, Vancouver's Island, May 8, 1858.

Since I had the honour of addressing you on the 6th of April last on the
subject of the "Couteau" gold mines, they have become more than ever a
source of attraction to the people of Washington and Oregon territories,
and it is evident from the accounts published in the latest San
Francisco papers, that intense excitement prevails among the inhabitants
of that stirring city on the same subject.

The "Couteau" country is there represented and supposed to be in point
of mineral wealth a second California or Australia, and those
impressions are sustained by the false and exaggerated statements of
steamboat owners and other interested parties, who benefit by the
current of emigration which is now setting strongly towards this

Boats, canoes, and every species of small craft, are continually
employed in pouring their cargoes of human beings into Fraser River, and
it is supposed that not less than one thousand whites are already at
work and on the way to the gold districts.  Many accidents have happened
in the dangerous rapids of that river; a great number of canoes have
been dashed to pieces, and their cargoes swept away by the impetuous
stream, while of the ill-fated adventurers who accompanied them many
have been swept into eternity.

The others, nothing daunted by the spectacle of ruin and buoyed up by
the hope of amassing wealth, still keep pressing onward towards the
coveted goal of their most ardent wishes.

On the 25th of last month, the American steamer "Commodore" arrived in
this port direct from San Francisco, with 450 passengers on board, the
chief part of whom are gold miners for the "Couteau" country.

Nearly 400 of those men were landed at this place, and have since left
in boats and canoes for Fraser River.

I ascertained from inquiries on the subject that those men are all well
provided with mining tools, and that there was no dearth of capital or
intelligence among them.  About sixty British subjects, with an equal
number of native born Americans, the rest being chiefly Germans, with a
smaller proportion of Frenchmen and Italians, composed this body of

They are represented as being, with some exceptions, a specimen of the
worst of the population of San Francisco; the very dregs, in fact, of
society.  Their conduct while here would have led me to form a very
different conclusion; as our little town, though crowded to excess with
this sudden influx of people, and though there was a temporary scarcity
of food, and dearth of house accommodation, the police few in number,
and many temptations to excess in the way of drink, yet quiet and order
prevailed, and there was not a single committal for rioting,
drunkenness, or other offences during their stay here.

The merchants and other business classes of Victoria are rejoicing in
the advent of so large a body of the people in the colony, and are
strongly in favour of making this port a stopping point between San
Francisco and the gold mines, converting the latter, as it were, into a
feeder and dependency of this colony.

Victoria would thus become a depot and centre of trade for the gold
districts, and the natural consequence would be an immediate increase in
the wealth and population of the colony.

To effect that object it will be requisite to facilitate by every
possible means the transport of passengers and goods to the furthest
navigable point on Fraser River; and the obvious means of accomplishing
that end is to employ light steamers in plying between, and connecting
this port (Victoria) with the Falls of Fraser River, distant 130 miles
from the discharge of that river, into the Gulf of Georgia; those falls
being generally believed to be at the commencement of the remunerative
gold diggings, and from thence the miners would readily make their, way
on foot, or, after the summer freshets, by the river into the interior
of the country.

By that means also the whole trade of the gold regions would pass
through Fraser River and be retained within the British territory,
forming a valuable outlet for British manufactured goods, and at once
creating a lucrative trade between the mother country and Vancouver's

Taking a view of the subject, simply in its relations to trade and
commerce, apart from considerations of national policy, such perhaps
would be the course most likely to promote the interests of this colony;
but, on the contrary, if the country be thrown open, to indiscriminate
immigration, the interests of the empire may suffer from the
introduction of a foreign population, whose sympathies may be decidedly

Taking this view of the question, it assumes an alarming aspect, and
suggests a doubt as to the policy of permitting the free entrance of
foreigners into the British territory for residence, without in the
first place requiring them to take the oath of allegiance, and otherwise
to give such security for their conduct as the Government of the country
may deem it proper and necessary to require at their hands.

The opinion which I have formed on the subject leads me to think that,
in the event of the diggings proving remunerative, it will now be found
impossible to check the course of immigration, even by closing Fraser
River, as the miners would then force a passage into the gold district
by way of the Columbia River, and the valuable trade of the country in
that case be driven from its natural course into a foreign channel, and
entirely lost to this country.

On the contrary, should the diggings prove to be unremunerative, a
question which as yet remains undecided, the existing excitement, we may
suppose, will die away of itself; and the miners, having no longer the
prospect of large gains, will naturally abandon a country which no
longer holds out any inducement for them to remain.

Until the value of the country as a gold-producing region be established
on clearer evidence than can now be adduced in its favour--and the point
will no doubt be decided before the close of the present year--I would
simply recommend that a small naval or military force should be placed
at the disposal of this Government, to enable us to maintain the peace,
and to enforce obedience to the laws.

The system of granting licences for digging gold has not yet come into

Perhaps a similar method of raising a revenue would be to impose a
customs' duty on imports, to be levied on all supplies brought into the
country, whether by Fraser or the Columbia River.

The export of gold from the country is still inconsiderable, not
exceeding 600 ounces since I last addressed you.  The principal diggings
are reported to be at present, and will probably continue, flooded for
several months to come, so that unless other diggings apart from the
river beds are discovered, the production of gold will not increase
until the summer freshets are over, which will probably happen about the
middle of August next.  In the meantime the ill-provided adventurers who
have gone hither and thither will consume their stock of provisions, and
probably have to retire from the country until a more favourable season.

I shall be most happy to receive your instructions on the subject in
this letter.


_Copy of a better from the Secretary of the Admiralty to Herman
Merivale, Esquire_.

Admiralty, June 26, 1858.

Sir,--I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send
you herewith, for the information of Secretary Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, a
copy of a letter from Captain Prevost, of H.M. Ship "Satellite," dated
at Vancouver's Island, 7th May 1858, respecting the discovery of gold on
Fraser and Thompson Rivers, near to the 51st parallel of north latitude,
in North America.

The newspaper and specimen of gold dust referred to in Captain Prevost's
letter are also enclosed.

I am, etcetera, (Signed) H. Corby.

Herman Merivale, Esquire, Colonial Office.

_Enclosures Number 12_.

H.M.S. "Satellite," Esquimault, Vancouver's Island, May 7, 1858.

I have the honour to report to you that considerable excitement has been
occasioned recently in this neighbourhood by the discovery of gold on
Fraser and Thompson Rivers, at about the position of the juncture of the
latter with the former river, near to 51st parallel of north latitude.

The reports concerning these new gold diggings are so contradictory that
I am unable to furnish you with any information upon which I can depend.
That gold exists is certain, and that it will be found in abundance
seems to be the opinion of all those who are capable of forming a
judgment upon the subject; but it is so obviously to the advantage of
the surrounding community to circulate exaggerated, if not altogether
false reports, for the purpose of stimulating trade, or creating
monopolies, that it is most difficult to arrive at any correct
conclusion, or to, obtain any reliable information.  I have every reason
to believe that the Indians have traded some quantity of gold with the
officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, and I am satisfied that
individuals from this immediate neighbourhood who started off to the
diggings upon the first intelligence of their existence, have come back
with gold dust in their possession, and which they assert was washed by
themselves; but whether such be really the case, or whether it was
traded from the Indians, I am unable to determine.  These persons all
declare that at the present moment, although the yield is good, yet
there is too much water in the rivers to admit of digging and washing to
be carried on with facility; but that when the water falls somewhat, as
the summer advances, that the yield will be abundant.  I am inclined to
think that this information is not far from the truth, for these
persons, after obtaining a fresh stock of provision, have all returned
to the diggings.

The excitement in Vancouver's Island itself is quite insignificant
compared to that in Washington and Oregon territories, and in
California, and which, of course, is increased by every possible means
by interested parties.  The result has been that several hundred persons
from American territory have already flocked to the newly reported
auriferous regions, and by the last accounts fresh steamers, and even
sailing vessels, were being chartered to convey passengers to Puget
Sound, or to Vancouver's Island, whence they have to find their way to
the diggings principally by canoes.

I have heard that all the crews of the ships in Puget Sound have
deserted, and have gone to the diggings; I am happy to say that as yet I
have not lost a single man from the "Satellite" since the information
was received, and I have every reason to hope that I may not be
unfortunate in this respect, although, doubtless, soon the temptations
to desert will be of no ordinary character.


_Secretary Sir E. Bulwer Lytton to Governor Douglas_.

Downing Street, July 1, 1858.

Sir,--I have to acknowledge your despatch of the 8th ult, in
continuation of former despatches, informing the Secretary of State from
time to time of the progress of the gold discoveries on Fraser River,
and the measures which you had taken in consequence.  I am anxious not
to let the opportunity of the present mail pass without informing you
that Her Majesty's Government have under their consideration the
pressing necessity for taking some steps to establish public order and
government in that locality, and that I hope very soon to be able to
communicate to you the result.

In the meantime, Her Majesty's Government approve of the course which
you have adopted in asserting both the dominion of the Crown over this
region, and the right of the Crown over the precious metals.  They
think, however, that you acted judiciously in waiting for further
instructions before you endeavoured to compel the taking out of
licences, by causing any force to be despatched for that purpose from
Vancouver's Island.

They wish you to continue your vigilance, and to apply for instructions
on any point on which you may require them.  They are, however, in
addition, particularly anxious to impress on you, that while Her
Majesty's Government are determined on preserving the rights, both of
government and of commerce, which belong to this country, and while they
have it in contemplation to furnish you with such a force as they may be
able to detach for your assistance and support in the preservation of
law and order, it is no part of their policy to exclude Americans and
other foreigners from the gold fields.  On the contrary, you are
distinctly instructed to oppose no obstacle whatever to their resort
thither for the purpose of digging in those fields, so long as they
submit themselves, in common with the subjects of Her Majesty, to the
recognition of her authority, and conform to such rules of police as you
may have thought proper to establish.  The national right to navigate
Fraser River is, of course, a separate question, and one which Her
Majesty's Government must reserve.

Under the circumstance of so large an immigration of Americans into
English territory, I need hardly impress upon you the importance of
caution and delicacy in dealing with those manifold cases of
international relationship and feeling which are certain to arise; and
which, but for the exercise of temper and discretion, might easily lead
to serious complications between two neighbouring and powerful states.

It is impossible by this mail to furnish you with any instructions of a
more definite character.  Her Majesty's Government must leave much to
your discretion on this most important subject; and they rely upon your
exercising whatever influence and powers you may possess in the manner
which from local knowledge and experience you conceive to be best
calculated to give development to the new country, and to advance
imperial interests.  I have, etcetera, (Signed) E. Bulwer Lytton.

Governor Douglas, etcetera, etcetera.


In 1670, a royal charter was granted by Charles the Second, for
incorporating the Hudson's Bay Company.  The grant to the company was of
"the sole trade and commerce of all those seas, straits, bays, rivers,
lakes, creeks, and sounds, in whatsoever latitude they shall be, that
lie within the entrance of the straits, commonly called Hudson's
Straits, together with all the lands and territories upon the countries,
coasts, and confines of the seas, bays, lakes, rivers, creeks and sounds
aforesaid, that are not already actually possessed by or granted to any
of our subjects, or possessed by the subjects of any other Christian
prince or State, with the fishing of all sorts of fish, whales,
sturgeons, and all other royal fishes in the seas, bays, inlets, and
rivers within the premises; and the fish therein taken, together with
the royalty of the sea upon the coasts within the limits aforesaid, and
all mines royal, as well discovered as not discovered, of gold, silver,
gems, and precious stones to be found or discovered within the
territories, limits, and places aforesaid;" and the charter declares
that "the said land be from henceforth reckoned as one of our
plantations or colonies in America, called Rupert's Land."


_From the Times' Correspondent_.

I take the wages in Australia from a Melbourne paper of 16th March,
which gives the wages current at that time!  I received it direct a few
days ago.  I reduce our American currency into sterling at 48 pence to
the dollar, that being about its current value here.

_Melbourne Wages_.

Married couples (servants), 60 pounds to 70 pounds per annum; female
servants, 25 pounds to 30 pounds per annum; gardeners, 55 pounds to 60
pounds per annum; grooms, 40 pounds to 50 pounds a-year; carpenters, 12
shillings to 14 shillings per day; ditto, rough, 25 shillings to 30
shillings per week; masons and bricklayers, 10 shillings to 15 shillings
per day; waiters, 20 shillings to 25 shillings per week; compositors, 1
shilling 4 pence per 1000; blacksmiths, 40 shillings per week; farm
labourers, 15 shillings to 20 shillings per week; shepherds, 20 pounds
to 25 pounds a-year.

_California Wages_.

Married couples (servants), 192 pounds per annum, and found; female
servants, 80 pounds to 96 pounds, and kept; gardeners, 120 pounds
a-year, and found; by the day, 3 dollars, now 4 dollars; young men in
stables as grooms, 120 pounds a-year, and found, 16 pounds a month and
find themselves; carpenters, with us till lately 1 pound a-day, now 28
shillings a-day; "rough" and smooth, I never knew any difference--and
all bad; masons and bricklayers at lowest time, 25 shillings a-day, here
at present 35 shillings a-day; waiters, 6 pounds to 8 pounds a-month in
San Francisco; compositors, 2 shillings 10 and a half pence per 1000
type, our types double size; blacksmiths, 3 pounds 12 shillings to 6
pounds a-week; general rate, 5 dollars a day; farm labourers, 6 pounds
a-month, and found, and only work from 7 o'clock to 6 o'clock, with two
hours for meals; shepherds, 144 pounds, 10 shillings a-year, and found;
a competent shepherd worth 240 pounds a-year, and found; or, to serve on
shares of increase of stock, on very liberal terms.

All provisions except animal food, are cheaper in San Francisco than in


Article 1.  From the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north
latitude, where the boundary laid down in existing treaties and
conventions between the United States and Great Britain, terminates, the
line of boundary between the territories of the United States and those
of her Britannic Majesty shall be continued westward along the said
forty-ninth parallel of north, latitude to the middle of the channel
which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island, and thence
southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of Fuca's Straits,
to the Pacific ocean: Provided, however, that the navigation of the
whole of the said channel and straits, south of the forty-ninth parallel
of north latitude, remain free and open to both parties.

Article 2.  From the point at which the forty-ninth parallel of north
latitude shall be found to intersect the great northern branch of the
Columbia River, the navigation of the said branch shall be free and open
to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to all British subjects trading with
the same, to the point where the said branch meets the main stream of
the Columbia, and thence down the said main stream to the ocean, with
free access into and through the said river or rivers, it being
understood that all the usual portages along the line thus described
shall, in like manner, be free and open.  In navigating the said river
or rivers, British subjects, with their goods and produce, shall be
treated on the same footing as citizens of the United States; it being,
however, always understood that nothing in this article shall be
construed as preventing or intended to prevent, the government of the
United States from making any regulations respecting the navigation of
the said river or rivers not inconsistent with the present treaty.

Article 3.  In the future appropriation of the territory south of the
forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, as provided in the first article
of this treaty, the possessory rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, and
of all British subjects who may be already in the occupation of land or
other property, lawfully acquired within the said territory, shall be

Article 4.  The farms, lands, and other property of every description,
belonging to the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company, on the north side
of the Columbia River, shall be confirmed to the said company.  In case,
however, the situation of those farms and lands should be considered by
the United States to be of public and political importance, and the
United States Government should signify a desire to obtain possession of
the whole, or of any part thereof, the property so required shall be
transferred to the said government, at a proper valuation, to be agreed
upon between the parties.


The bearer having paid to me the sum of twenty-one shillings on account
of the territorial revenue, I hereby license him to dig, search for, and
remove gold on and from any such crown land within the --- of --- as I
shall assign to him for that purpose during the month of ---, 185--.

This licence must be produced whenever demanded by me or any other
person acting under the authority of the Government.  A.B.,


On the 8th day of May 1858, Governor Douglas issued the following

By his Excellency James Douglas, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the
colony of Vancouver's Island and its dependencies, and Vice-Admiral of
the same, etcetera, etcetera.

Whereas it is commonly reported that certain boats and other vessels
have entered Fraser River for trade; and whereas there is reason to
apprehend that other persons are preparing and fitting out boats and
vessels for the same purpose.

Now, therefore, I have issued this my proclamation, warning all persona
that such acts are contrary to law, and infringements upon the rights of
the Hudson's Bay Company, who are legally entitled to trade with the
Indians in the British possessions on the north-west coast of America,
to the exclusion of all other persons, whether British or foreign.

And also, that after fourteen days from the date of this my
proclamation, all ships, boats, and vessels, together with the goods
laden on board found in Fraser River, or in any of the bays, rivers, or
creeks of the said British possessions on the north-west coast of
America, not having a licence, from the Hudson's Bay Company, and a
sufferance from the proper officer of the customs at Victoria, shall be
liable to forfeiture, and will be seized and condemned according to law.

Given under my hand and seal at Government House, Victoria, this eighth
day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
fifty-eight, and in the twenty-first year of Her Majesty's reign.

James Douglas, Governor.

By his Excellency's command, Richard Colledge, Secretary.

God save the Queen.


Port Victoria, Vancouver's Island.

These are to certify, to all whom it doth concern, that the sufferance
for the present voyage is granted on the condition annexed to ---,
master of the ---, burthen --- tons, mounted with --- guns, navigated
with --- men, to proceed on a voyage to Fort Langley with passengers,
their luggage, provisions, and mining tools.  The above-mentioned
--- register being deposited in the custom house at Victoria, hath here
entered and cleared his said --- according to law.

Roderick Finlayson, _Pro_ Hudson's Bay Company.

_Conditions of Sufferance_.

1.  That the owner of the boat does bind himself to receive no other
goods on board but such goods as belong to the Hudson's Bay Company.

2.  That the said owner also binds himself not to convey or import
gunpowder, ammunition, or utensils of war, except from the United

3.  That he also binds himself to receive no passengers, except the said
passengers do produce a gold mining licence and permit from the
Government at Vancouver's Island.

4.  That the said owner also binds himself not to trade with Indians.


_From the Times' Correspondent_.

From Australia, too, the emigration will be large.  In that country the
cream has already been skimmed off the "placers."  The efflorescence of
gold near the surface has been dug out, hence the results of individual
exertions are becoming less promising; and the miner is a restless,
excitable creature, whose love of freedom and independence indisposes
him to associate himself in enterprises requiring an aggregation of
capital and labour.  He prefers to work "on his own hook," or with one
or two "chums" at most.  This is the feeling in this country.  There is
another cause which will bring vast numbers of miners from Australia,
and that is the great scarcity of water--a desideratum of the first
importance.  This first necessary for mining, operations exists in
abundance at all seasons in the new El Dorado, and this fact alone will
attract additional miners to it from every mining country and locality
in which water is scarce.  Another great objection to Australia is the
impossibility of acquiring land in fee in small parcels at or near to
the mines.  Many men take to mining as a means of making sufficient
money to buy farming implements and stock with.  As soon as this object
is accomplished, they abandon mining for farming.  Did not California
afford the means of gratifying this wish, thousands of our miners would
have left the country.  As it is, with abundance of good land to be had
cheap, I have found that a large proportion of the farms in the interior
of this country are owned by farmers who bought them with the produce of
their labour in the mines.  The same advantages can be obtained in the
new gold country, there being plenty of good land in the British
territory in the neighbourhood and on Vancouver's Island.  It is to be
hoped the Government will make the price reasonable.


The following tariff of charges, collected by the _Times'_
correspondent, is now only valuable in a historical point of view, as,
under the healthy competition of the Californian merchants, prices have
already found their own level:--

"Canoes are very scarce; the price has risen from 50 dollars and 80
dollars to 100 dollars each.  Many parties have built light boats for
themselves, but they did not answer."

"We have got up, but we had a hard time coming."

"Jordan is a hard road to travel; lost all our outfit, except flour.
Our canoe was capsized in the falls, and was broken to pieces.  Six
other canoes capsized and smashed the same day near the same place.
Poor whites and two Indians belonging to these six canoes drowned."

Provisions high up the river are exorbitant of course, as they can only
be brought up in canoes requiring long "portages."  Here's the tariff at
Sailor's Bar and other Bars:--"Flour, 100 dollars a-barrel, worth in San
Francisco 11 to 12 dollars; molasses, 6 dollars a-gallon; pork, 1 dollar
per pound; ham, 1 dollar 25 cents per pound; tea at one place, 1 dollar
per pound, but at another, 4 dollars; sugar, 2 dollars per pound; beans,
1 dollar per pound; picks, 6 dollars; and shovels, 2 dollars each.
There were no fresh provisions."  I should have been greatly surprised
to hear that there had been.

"At Fort Hope there was nothing to be had but dried salmon."

"At Fort Langley plenty of black flour at 9 dollars a-hundred, and salt
salmon, four for 1 dollar."  What lively visions of scurvy these
provisions conjure up!  The acme of extravagance was not arrived at,
however, until the poor miner came to purchase auxiliaries to his
rocker.  At Sailor's Bar "rocker irons were at an ounce of gold each (16
dollars), and at Hill's Bar, 30 dollars each."  This "iron" is simply a
plate of thin sheet-iron, measuring 18 inches by 20 inches, perforated
with round holes to let the loose dirt pass through.  I priced one of
them, out of curiosity, at a carpenter's shop in San Francisco this
morning--2 and a half dollars.  In England this thing would be worth 2
shillings.  At Sailor's Bar it would be worth 3 pounds, 4 shillings, and
at Hill's Bar it would fetch 6 pounds.  Quicksilver was also
outrageously high, but not being of such prime necessity as "rocker
irons," didn't come up to their standard of value.  At one place it was
sold at 10 dollars per pound; but at Fort Langley a man bought one
pound, paying 15 dollars for it, and had to carry it a great distance.
The price in San Francisco is 60 cents the pound (half-a-crown), and on
Fraser's River, 3 pounds.  "Nails brought, from 1 dollar to 1 dollar 50
cents per pound.  One lot of a dozen pounds brought 3 dollars, or two
bits a-nail," which, being interpreted into Queen's English, means 1
shilling a-nail!  These are some of the outgoings which tax the miner's
earnings in a new unpeopled country; but these are not his only
drawbacks.  "There being no boards to be had, we had perforce to go in
the woods and fell and hew out our lumber to make a rocker," causing
much loss of time.  Then came the hunt for nails and for the
indispensable perforated "iron," which cost so much.  But worst of all
the ills of the miner's life in New Caledonia are the jealousy and
audacious thieving of the Indians, "who are nowise particular, in
seizing on the dirt of the miners."

"The whites" being in the minority, and the Indians being a fierce
athletic set of rascals, "suffered much annoyance and insult" without
retaliating.  What a trial to the temper of Oregon men who used to shoot
all Indians who came within range of their rifle as vermin in California
in 1848 and 1849!

The difficulties of access to the mines will soon be ameliorated, as
small steamers are to be put on the river, to ply as far up as the
rapids will permit them; but as to the Indian difficulties, it is much
to be feared they will increase until a military force is sent into the
country to overawe them.  The prices of provisions and of mining tools
and other necessaries will soon be regulated by the competition of the
San Francisco merchants, and the miners will not be long subjected to
exorbitant rates.  They have a vast advantage in the proximity of San
Francisco, abounding, as it does, in supplies for all their wants.  When
I recall our early troubles and victimisings, I almost cease to pity the
victims of the "rocker irons," at 6 pounds a-plate.  In 1849 I paid 1
dollar 50 cents for the simple luxury of a fresh egg.  I might have had
one laid on the Atlantic board, or in Chile or the Sandwich Islands, for
less, it is true; but these required French cookery to "disguise" their
true state and condition, and I being then "fresh" myself was somewhat
particular.  Even this did not cap the climax, for I paid a sum in
American currency equal to 16 pounds sterling for a pair of boots the
day I was burnt out by the first fire--in the same year.  And such a
pair!  They were navvy's boots, and worth in England about 15 shillings.
The New Caledonians must not complain, for we have endured more (and
survived it too) than they are likely to suffer.


The estimates may be relied upon as very nearly correct.

|                                                   |Miles.  |
|To mouth of Fraser River across the Gulf of Georgia|      90|
|To Fort Langley (HBC posts on Fraser River)        |25 to 30|
|To Fort Hope (HBC posts on Fraser River)           |      67|
|To Fort Yale (HBC posts on Fraser River)           |      12|

Steam navigation is established throughout.  The steamer _Surprise_
performed the trip from Victoria to Fort Hope in twenty-four hours; her
return trip occupied fifteen and a-half hours running time.


A Bill to provide, until the thirty-first day of December, one thousand
eight hundred and sixty-two, for the government of New Caledonia.

Whereas divers of Her Majesty's subjects and others have, by the licence
and consent of Her Majesty, resorted to and settled on certain wild and
unoccupied territories on the north-west coast of North America,
commonly known by the designation of New Caledonia, and the islands
adjacent, for mining and other purposes; and it is desirable to make
some temporary provision for the civil government of such territories
until permanent settlements shall be thereupon established, and the
number of colonists increased: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's
most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords
spiritual and temporal and Commons, in this present Parliament
assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:--

I.  New Caledonia shall, for the purposes of this Act, be held to
comprise all such territories within the dominions of Her Majesty as are
bounded to the south by the frontier of the United States of America, to
the east by the watershed between the streams which flow into the
Pacific Ocean, and those which flow into the Atlantic and icy oceans, to
the north by the 55th parallel of north latitude, and to the west by the
Pacific Ocean, and shall include Queen Charlotte's Island and all other
islands adjacent to the said territories, except as hereinafter

II.  It shall be lawful for Her Majesty, by any order or orders to be by
her from time to time made, with the advice of her Privy Council, to
make, ordain, or establish, and (subject to such conditions or
restrictions as to her shall seem meet) to authorise and empower such
officer as she may from time to time appoint to administer the
government of New Caledonia, to make provision for the administration of
justice therein, and generally to make, ordain, and establish all such
laws, institutions, and ordinances, as may be necessary for the peace,
order, and good government of Her Majesty's subjects and others therein;
provided that all such orders in council, and all laws and ordinances so
to be made as aforesaid, shall be laid before both houses of Parliament
as soon as conveniently may be after the making and enactment thereof

III.  Provided always, that it shall be lawful for Her Majesty, so soon
as she may deem it convenient by any such order in Council as aforesaid,
to constitute or authorise and empower such officer to constitute a
Legislature to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of
New Caledonia, such Legislature to consist of the Governor and a
Council, or Council and Assembly, to be composed of such and so many
persons, and to be appointed or elected such manner and in for such
periods, and subject to such regulations, as to Her Majesty may seem

IV.  And whereas an Act was passed in the forty-third year of King
George the Third, entitled "An Act for extending the jurisdiction of the
courts of justice in the Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada to the
trial and punishment of persons guilty of crimes and offences within
certain parts of North America adjoining to the said Provinces:" And
whereas by an Act passed in the second year of King George the Fourth,
entitled "An Act for regulating the fur trade, and establishing a
criminal and civil jurisdiction, within certain parts of North America,"
it was enacted, that from and after the passing of that Act the courts
of judicature then existing or which might be thereafter established in
the Province of Upper Canada, should have the same civil jurisdiction,
power, and authority, within the Indian territories and other parts of
America not within the limits of either of the Provinces of Lower or
Upper Canada or any civil government of the United States, as the said
courts had or were invested with within the limits of the said Provinces
of Upper or Lower Canada respectively, and that every contract,
agreement, debt liability, and demand made, entered into, incurred, or
arising within the said Indian territories and other parts of America,
and every wrong and injury to the person or to property committed or
done within the same, should be, and be deemed to be, of the same
nature, and be cognisable, and be tried in the same manner, and subject
to the same consequences in all respects, as if the same had been made,
entered into, incurred, arisen, committed, or done within the said
Province of Upper Canada; and in the same Acts are contained provisions
for giving force, authority, and effect within the said Indian
territories and other parts of America to the process and acts of the
said Courts of Upper Canada; and it was thereby also enacted, that it
should be lawful for His Majesty, if he should deem it convenient so to
do, to issue a commission, or commissions, to any person or persons to
be and act as justices of the peace within such parts of America as
aforesaid, as well within any territories theretofore granted to the
company of adventurers of England trading to the Hudson's Bay as within
the Indian territories of such other parts of America as aforesaid; and
it was further enacted, that it should be lawful for His Majesty, from
time to time, by any commission under the great seal, to authorise and
empower any such persons so appointed justices of the peace as aforesaid
to sit and hold courts of record for the trial of criminal offences and
misdemeanours, and also of civil causes, and it should be lawful for His
Majesty to order, direct, and authorise the appointment of proper
officers to act in aid of such courts and justices within the
jurisdiction assigned to such courts and justices in any such
commission, provided that such courts should not try any offender upon
any charge or indictment for any felony made the subject of capital
punishment, or for any offence, or passing sentence affecting the life
of any offender, or adjudge or cause any offender to suffer, capital
punishment or transportation, or take cognisance of or try any civil
action or suit in which the cause, of such suit or action should exceed
in value the amount or sum of two hundred pounds, and in every case of
any offence subjecting the person committing the same to capital
punishment or transportation, the court, or any judge of any such court,
or any justice or justices of the peace before whom any such offender
should be brought, should commit such offender to safe custody, and
cause such offender to be sent in such custody for trial in the court of
the Province of Upper Canada.

From and after the proclamation of this Act in New Caledonia the said
Act of the forty-third year of King George the Third, and the said
recited provisions of the said Act of the second year of King George the
Fourth, and the provisions contained in such Act for giving force,
authority, and effect within the Indian territories and other parts of
America to the process and acts of the said courts of Upper Canada,
shall cease to have force in and to be applicable to New Caledonia.

V.  Provided always, that all judgments given in any civil suit in New
Caledonia shall be subject to appeal to Her Majesty in Council, in the
manner, and subject to the regulations in and subject to which appeals
are now brought from the civil courts of Canada, and to such further or
other regulations as Her Majesty, with the advice of her Privy Council,
shall from time to time appoint.

VI.  No part of the colony of Vancouver's Island, as at present
established, shall be comprised within New Caledonia, for the purpose of
this Act; but it shall be lawful for Her Majesty, her heirs and
successors, on receiving at any time during the continuance of this Act,
a joint address from the two houses of the Legislature of Vancouver's
Island, praying for the incorporation of that island with New Caledonia,
by order to be made as aforesaid, with the advice of her Privy Council,
to annex the said island to New Caledonia, subject to such conditions
and regulations, as to Her Majesty shall seem expedient; and thereupon,
and from the date of the publication of such order, in the said island,
or such other date as may be fixed in such order, the provisions of this
Act shall be held to apply to Vancouver's Island.

VII.  In the construction of this Act the term "Governor" shall mean the
person for the time being lawfully administering the government of New

VIII.  This Act shall continue in force until the thirty-first day of
December, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and thenceforth to
the end of the then next session of Parliament.

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