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Four Years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island
Chapter IV

January 10th, 1859.—The rumour of another outbreak, not at Victoria, but at Yale, up the Fraser River, arrived to disturb, not altogether unpleasantly, the monotony of our winter life in Esquimalt Harbour. Intelligence had been sent down the river to Victoria that some miners had made a disturbance at Yale, and that Colonel Moody had, immediately upon being informed of it, started from Langley for the scene of action with the Engineers stationed there, which, numbering 25 men, had just arrived in the colony. The Governor considered it desirable at once to strengthen his hands. Fort Yale, ninety miles up the Fraser, was one of the stations to which some of those miners who were anxious to remain near their claims on the upper bars, so as to commence work directly the season opened,—or to whom, for sundry delicate private reasons, the delights of San Francisco were not obtainable,—flocked to pass the winter. The climate at Yale was milder than that of the Upper Fraser, which induced a great number of the men having claims north of it to come down and pass some months there, while others working on the bars near Yale were wont to spend their Sundays and holidays in the town. Among them, pre-eminent for certain social qualities which had rendered him generally obnoxious to the laws of whatever country he had favoured with his presence, was a certain Edward M‘Gowan. This individual had spent some time in California, where he had become very notorious, and had been honoured with the especial enmity of the “Vigilance Committee” of San Francisco. Nor without good cause. He had, I believe, had the misfortune to kill several of his comrades in those little personal encounters which one sees reported so frequently in the American newspapers under the head of “shooting” or “cutting affairs.” The act for which the Vigilance Committee of San Francisco doomed him to the gallows was killing a man in cold blood in the streets of that city who knew too much of his antecedents. M‘Gowan of course denied this, and always asserted that he had shot his foe in self defence: but there is little doubt that the view which the Vigilance Committee took of the matter was the correct one. As an instance of the working of universal suffrage, it may be mentioned that this man at one time filled the office of a judge in California; and quite recently, when, after shooting at a man at Hill’s Bar, Avhom, luckily, he missed, he escaped across the frontier into American territory, he has been elected to the House of Representatives of one of the border states that lie east of the Rocky Mountains. This worthy has given his adventures to the world in the shape of an autobiography, published some five years since, and written with considerable spirit. The story told in it of his hairbreadth escape from the clutches of the Vigilance Committee is extremely exciting. Its agents pursued him with such rancour that, after with the greatest difficulty he had escaped to a steamer starting for Victoria, he was recognized, fired at, and a bullet sent through the lappel of his coat.

That such a man as this was known to be at Hill’s Bar, some two miles below Yale, where he had a very rich claim, and to have with him, and under his influence, a strong party of followers bold and lawless as himself, might well give the authorities serious concern. Upon the news, therefore, being sent down of M‘Gowan’s having created a disturbance, the Governor requested Capt. Prevost to send a party to aid the Colonel. The ‘Plumper’ was the only vessel available for this service, and accordingly we embarked a party of marines and blue-jackets, under Lieutenant Gooch, from the 'Satellite,’ and started at once for the scene of action.

Upon arriving at Langley we found that Colonel Moody had taken the ‘ Enterprise,’ the only steamer then on the river capable of going further up it than Langley, and had pushed on to Yale with twenty-five of the Engineers under the command of Captain Grant, R.E. As the field-piece we had brought with us must have been parted with had the men been sent on, there being no other way of despatching them except in canoes, it was considered advisable to keep them on board the ‘Plumper’ at Langley, and that a messenger should at once follow and overtake Colonel Moody. This service devolved upon me, and I received orders to proceed up the river with despatches from Captain Richards informing the Colonel of the presence of the force at Langley, and to bring back his instructions.

Mr. Yale, the Hudson Bay Company’s officer at Fort Langley, undertook to provide a canoe and crew for the journey, and my own preparations were soon made—a blanket, frock and trowsers, a couple of rugs, two or three pipes, plenty of tobacco, tea, coffee, some meat and bread, a frying-pan’ and saucepan, completing my outfit. At this time canoe-travelling was quite new to me, and, familiar as it has since become, I quite well remember the curious sensations with which this my first journey of the kind was commenced. It was midwinter, the snow lay several inches thick upon the ground; the latest reports from up the river spoke of much ice about and below Fort Hope, so that I was by no means sorry to avail myself of the offer of Mr. Lewis, of the Hudson Bay Company, who had accompanied the ‘Plumper’ to Langley as pilot, to be my companion. Mr. Yale had selected a good canoe and nine stout paddlers, four half-breeds and five Indians, and when 1 landed from the ship a few minutes before eleven they were waiting on the beach, dressed in their best blankets, with large streamers of bright red, blue, and yellow ribbons, in which they delight so much, flying from their caps. Mr. Yale had previously harangued them, and presented them with these streamers by way of impressing them with the importance of the service in which they were engaged. Seating ourselves in the canoe as comfortably as we could, away we started, the frail bark flying over the smooth water, and the crew singing at the top of their wild, shrill voices, their particoloured decorations streaming in the bitter winter wind.

The North American Indians, and, indeed, the Canadians as well, paddle much more steadily when they sing. They keep splendid time, and, by way of accompaniment, bring the handle of their paddles sharply against the gunwale of the canoe. In singing their custom is—and the greatest stickler for etiquette among us will find himself outdone by the Indian’s respect for whatever habit or fashion may have dictated—for the steersman to sing, the crew taking up the chorus. Although I have frequently tried to induce one of the others to start a song, with the view of testing the strength of their social habit in this respect, I have never succeeded unless supported in my request by the steersman. This post of honour is usually conferred upon the senior of the party, unless the owner of the canoe happens to form one of the crew, when he takes the seat by virtue of his interest in it. Nest in position and importance to the steersman are the pair of paddlers who sit immediately behind the passengers; then come the two forward hands, who have a great deal to do with the management of the canoe in keeping it clear of blocks of floating ice, or the snags which often appear suddenly under its bows, and preventing the current from spinning it round and swamping it, which, but for the keen look-out they keep and their dexterity in the use of the paddles, would often happen in such swift and treacherous currents as those of North American rivers.

We paddled along quickly until five o’clock, when we stopped for supper, and, landing, made tea. This meal over, we started again and held on steadily all night. If the journey by day was strange and somewhat exciting, how much more so did it become when night set in! Wet, cold, and tired, we rolled ourselves up in the rugs, and in time fell into a broken sleep, lulled by the monotonous rap of the paddles upon the gunwale of the canoe, the rippling sound of the water against its sides, the song of the men now rising loud and shrill, now sinking into a low, drowsy hum. Ever and anon roused by a louder shout from the paddlers in the bow, we started up to find the canoe sweeping by some boat moored to the shore, or a miner’s watch-fire, from which an indistinct figure would rise, gaze at us wonderingly as we passed howling by, and sometimes shout to us loudly in reply. We might well startle such of the miners as saw or heard us. Whenever we passed a fire, or a boat drawn up ashore, or moored to the trees by the beach, in which miners might be sleeping, the Indians would commence singing at the top of their voices ; and we often saw sleepers start up, in wonder no doubt, who could be travelling on the river at night at such a season,—and in some fear perhaps, for several murders had lately been committed, which were attributed rightly or wrongly to Indian agency. And, indeed, as we swept by a watch-fire near enough for its glare to light up the dark figures straining at then hard work, and their wild, swarthy faces, with the long, bright ribbons streaming behind them,—we might well give a shock to some wearied sleeper roused abruptly from dreams of home, or some rich claim which was to make his fortune, by the wild Indian boat-chant.. Most of our journey lay close along the shore, where, of course, the current was less rapid and advantage could be taken of the numerous eddies that set in near the banks. Our chief man was quite well acquainted with the river’s navigation, having been for years in the Hudson Bay Company’s employ.

When we came to a rapid, or it was necessary to cross the river from one bank to the other, by one consent the singing would cease, the paddlers’ breath be husbanded to better purpose, and every muscle strained to force the canoe over the present difficulty. At such times when any greater exertion was necessary, or a more formidable obstacle than usual seemed on the point of being mastered, the Indians would give a loud prolonged shout terminating in a shriller key, and dash their paddles into the boiling water with still fiercer vehemence. There can be few stranger sensations than that which we felt many times that night, when after paddling so steadily alongshore that we had fallen fast asleep, we were awoke suddenly by a heavy lurch of the canoe, and found the water rushing in over the gunwale, and the boat almost swamped by the fierce exertions of the paddlers, and tearing broadside down rather than across the rapid river, until with a shout it was run ashore on the opposite bank, and the excited rowers rested a few minutes to regain their breath before again paddling up the quieter water by the shore.

Next morning, about four o’clock, we landed for a short spell of rest, and, clearing away the snow, lit a fire and lay round it for a couple of hours. At the end of that time we picked ourselves up, stiff with cold, and breakfasted, and by half-past seven were under weigh again and paddling up the river, the Indians, to all appearance, as lively and unwearied as if they had slept the whole night through. I cannot say the same for their passengers. It was very cold, a sensation which we both tried in vain to get rid of by taking an occasional turn at the paddles; and the few snatches of short, disturbed sleep we had managed to obtain had left us very much fatigued. The novelty of the situation, too, in my case had worn away, and I confess that the second night of my journey was one of unmitigated discomfort and weariness. Upon the second morning we rested a little longer by our watchfire, Myhu-pu-pu, the head man of the party, assuring us that we had plenty of time to reach Hope before nightfall. But Myhu-pu-pu was wrong: night fell while we were still some miles below the fort. About three in the afternoon we had boarded the ‘ Enterprise ’ and learnt that she had been three days in the ice, had only got out of it indeed the previous morning, and that Colonel Moody had not, therefore, been able to reach Hope until that day; We had reason to congratulate ourselves upon our good fortune, as we had only met some floating ice and been nowhere in very serious danger from it, although once or twice we had narrowly escaped being swamped by floating blocks. But as we proceeded we found the river more and more swollen, the ice thicker and in greater quantities, and despite all the efforts of the crew, darkness set in while we were yet some miles short of our destination. On we pushed, however, and I had fallen asleep, when I was suddenly awakened by a sharp crack almost under my head. The canoe had struck a rock in crossing a rapid in the river, at a spot now known as Cornish Bar, but then called Murderer’s Bar, from a murder that had taken place there, and she was stove in unmistakeably.

Thanks to the courage and skill of the elder of the crew, we were extricated from our perilous predicament. Leaping on to the rock, against which the full force of the current was driving the canoe, they lifted her off without a moment’s hesitation, and the other rowers shooting her ashore, we all jumped out and ran her up upon the snow. Of course everything was wet, ourselves included; but wc were too grateful for our narrow escape to heed this trifling inconvenience. Meanwhile the men, whose courage and readiness had preserved us, were still upon the rock, the current sweeping by up to their knees and threatening to carry them away. The canoe being hastily repaired and veered down to them by a rope, they too were brought safely ashore. Then arose the question, how were we to be got to Fort Hope that night? It was a serious one, not admitting of a very easy solution.

To get the canoe afloat again was soon found impossible, as she was split fore and aft, and it was ultimately determined to leave two of the Indians in charge of it while the rest of us tried to make the trail, which was known to pass near this spot to the Fort. I have since that night walked that trail, when it was as pretty and pleasant a summer evening’s stroll as any one would wish to enjoy ; but on this occasion, with two or three feet of snow upon it, and three or four feet more ready to receive us on either side if a false step was made, that three-mile walk to Hope was very hard work while it lasted. It was worse for my companion (Hr. Lewis), for in crossing a river by a fallen tree, which served as a bridge, his foot gave way and he slipped in, drenching his frozen clothes and limbs" afresh. Fortunately, however, it was not very deep, and he was fished out, and we reached the Fort without further accident. •

Since the time of which I am now writing the old Hudson Bay Fort has been pulled down, and a more commodious one erected in its stead. Then the officer in charge of it had only one chamber to serve for both sitting and bed room; and late at night into this and the presence of Colonel Moody, Captain Grant, Mr. Begbie, and the Hudson Bay Company’s officers, gathered round the fire, we made our way, looking, I dare say, pitiable objects enough. With the ready kindness which I never failed to meet with from the Company’s officers in British Columbia, Mr. Ogilvy soon equipped both of us in suits of dry clothes, and seated us before a hot supper.

In a subsequent chapter I shall have occasion to speak more fully of bars but as the word will occur frequently in this book, I may here say that all those places where gold is found and worked on a river’s bank are called by that name. This term has become the recognised one, and is not mere miner’s slang; all proclamations referring to gold-extracting, &c., being addressed to the “mining bars” of such and such a district.

Bars are formed simply by a deposit of heaps of detritus at various bends of a river flowing through accumulations of irrupted rock, and between mountains whose sides have been broken down by former great convulsions. The rushing river tears away mass after mass of this rock and gravel, and, carrying on a natural combination of the “sluicing” and “crushing” processes, deposits the gold, with its ever-accompanying black metallic sand and a certain quantity of common earth, at intervals along its banks, carrying most of the lighter sand, &c., out to its mouth, there to form sandbanks and flats. It will be easily understood, therefore, that these bars are formed at every place where there is or has been anything to catch the drift as it comes down. But what is somewhat curious is the very different value of the deposit at various bars, or even parts of the same bar, some being very rich, others very poor, even where they are close together; and this happens not in the vertical section, which would be to some extent intelligible, but at an equal distance under the surface. One part of a bar may “give out,” while another part will be worth working 20 feet deeper.

Thus all bars are formed in the same way, even although the rivers which deposited some of them have long since ceased to flow, or been diverted into other channels, causing what are termed “dry diggings,” of which I shall speak hereafter. Very rich bars are often covered with sand, mud, &c., for, in some instances, several hundred feet. In California some of the richest diggings now worked are the beds of old rivers, quite dry, often running in very different directions to those of the present streams, and occurring from 100 to 300 feet below what is now the surface of the earth.

The Commissioner was, when I reported myself, rather surprised at the promptitude with which his requisition for troops had been met by the Governor, and perhaps a little embarrassed. His impression now was that the reports which had reached him at Yale and hurried him hither had been greatly exaggerated, and from the accounts which had since reached him he had the best reason to believe that the feeling of the mining population at Yale and elsewhere had been grossly misrepresented. However, he said that he had decided on proceeding next day to Yale with Mr. Begbie only, leaving Captain Grant and his party of Engineers at Hope; and he desired me to accompany him, so that if, upon his arrival at Yale, the presence of troops should be found necessary, I might return to Hope with orders to that effect; and it was also determined that Mr. Lewis should take the canoe back to Langley as soon as it was repaired, and tell Captain Richards of my arrival and detention.

Next morning, therefore, we started, and reached Yale at three. The town was perfectly quiet, and the Colonel was received upon his entrance with the most vociferous cheering and every sign of respect and loyalty. Upon the way up we stopped at several of the bars, and made inquiries which satisfied us that the miners were doing very well, although they complained that the snow had for some days past kept them from working. The river-scenery between these two ports was beautiful, even at this season of the year. The distance is only fifteen miles, but the strength of the current is so great that in the winter five or six hours are consumed in the journey, and in the summer—when the stream is swollen by the melting snow—double that time is often taken. The only streams of any size that feed the Fraser for this distance are the Swal-lach-Coom, which flows into it some five miles below Yale, and the Que-que-alla, which runs into it two miles above Hope. The Que-que-alla is a considerable stream, dividing into two branches further in, and contains numbers of trout. The mountains on either side are from three to four thousand, feet high, and are composed almost entirely of plutonic rocks, and at their base is found the “ drift” in which the gold is contained.

As I have already said, Fort Yale presented the most peaceful aspect imaginable. The day after our arrival happening to be Sunday, Colonel Moody performed service in the courthouse. It was the first time this had ever happened in Yale, and the thirty or forty miners who attended formed a most orderly and attentive congregation. After church, the difficulty which had brought us here was investigated, and the magistrate at Hill’s Bar, the principal bar on this part of the river, lying a mile below Yale, was suspended from his functions. A very few words will suffice to explain it. At Hill’s Bar there was a resident magistrate, who was one of the miners, though superior to most of them in position and acquirements; and at Yale two others—one who was shortly afterwards proved guilty of some rascality and discharged; the other, an honest man enough, but altogether unfit, from temperament and social position, for the discharge of his duties. These three dignitaries were not upon the best terms with one another, and two of them claimed a certain case and prisoner as belonging each to his own district, and disputed the right of adjudicating upon them to such a degree that, one having possession of the culprit’s body, and refusing to give it up to his colleague, the other went to the length of swearing in special constables to his aid, and removing the prisoner by force of arms to his jurisdiction at Hill’s Bar. Among these special constables, and very possibly among the instigators of the squabble, Mr. Edward McGowan figured conspicuously; and it was the outraged magistrate’s report, that this worthy had been prison-breaking in his district, that gave it to the authorities at Langley and Victoria so serious an aspect. However, upon investigating the matter, he was found to have acted, if with indiscreet zeal, yet not illegally, and no charge was preferred against him on that account. But the same afternoon, while Colonel Moody, representing the majesty of the law, was still at Yale, Mr. McGowan outraged it unmistakably by committing an unprovoked assault. This, coupled with sundry other suspicious circumstances, caused Colonel Moody to think that McGowan’s friends and admirers would, if provoked, break into serious insubordination; and he at once instructed me to drop down the river to Hope and Langley, and order up the Engineers, Marines, and bluejackets left at those places.

The utmost precaution was taken about my journey. Mr. Allard, the Hudson Bay Company’s officer at Yale, was instructed to have a small canoe launched unseen by the miners, who, it was thought, might endeavour to stop me, as they no doubt easily could have done. The darkness was waited for, and, the canoe being launched and dropped about half a mile down the river, Mr. Allard came to the house for me, and led me to it along the river’s bank. As we dropped down the stream I was Afraid even to light a pipe lest we should be stopped at Hill’s Bar. Absurd as all this now seems—especially as I heard on my return that the miners knew perfectly well of my starting—-it was not without its use at the time. The promptitude with which Captain Grant appeared on the spot with the Engineers at daylight next morning astonished the miners a good deal, and it need not be assumed that, because they apologised and paid their fines, they would have done so equally had coercion not been threatened.

Beaching Hope at half-past eight that night, I very much astonished Captain Grant by telling him that he was to start for Yale at once, and, landing his men below Hill’s Bar on the opposite side of the river, to march thence into Yale. Having given these instructions, I embarked in the canoe again, and about midnight—spinning down the Eraser being a very different matter to struggling up against its current—reached the ‘Enterprise,’ which was to convey me to Langley, and bring the men there up. Here a slight delay took place, as the steamer could not be got ready to start until daybreak ; but away we went the instant dawn broke, and reached Langley in the afternoon of the following day, where, the ‘ Enterprise ’ having wooded, every one was got aboard, and we were struggling up against the current by six p.m., reaching Smess River by nine or ten that night, and Cornish Bar by 8‘30 the following night.

There the ‘Enterprise’s’ further progress was effectually barred, and, taking a canoe again, I made my way to Hope, where I found that further instructions had come from the Colonel to the effect that the blue-jackets were to remain there, and only the Marines to go on to Yale. So things were looking less martial, and I was not surprised, on pushing forward to Yale next morning, to find that the short campaign was at an end, and the peace, which had hardly been disturbed, restored. Mr. McGowan, after enjoying the sensation he had caused, paid the Commissioner a formal visit, and, after making a very gentlemanlike apology for the hasty blow which had disturbed the peace of British Columbia, and entering into an elaborate and, I believe, successful defence of his previous conduct in the squabble of the rival judges, committed himself frankly into the hands of justice. What could be done with such a frank, entertaining rascal? Justice herself could not press hardly for her dues in such a case. He was fined for the assault, exonerated from all previous misdemeanours, and next day, upon Hill’s Bar being visited by Mr. Begbie (the Chief Justice) and myself, he conducted us over the diggings, washed some “ dirt ” to show us the process, and invited us to a collation in his hut, where we drank champagne with some twelve or fifteen of his Californian mining friends. And, whatever opinion the Vigilance Committee of San Francisco might entertain of these gentlemen, I, speaking as I found them, can only say that, all things considered, I have rarely lunched with a better-spoken, pleasanter party. The word “miner” to many unacquainted with the gold-fields conveys an impression similar, perhaps, to that of “navvy.” But among them may often be found men who, by birth and education, are well qualified to hold their own in the most civilised community of Europe. Here, for instance, I was entertained in the hut of a man who—by virtue of his rascality, no doubt—had been selected to fill the office of judge among his fellows in California; while one of my neighbours had taken his degree at an American University, and may since, for aught I know, have edited a Greek play and been made a bishop. I remember afterwards travelling with two men, who, meeting casually, recognised one another as old schoolfellows and class-men. Neither was in the least surprised at the other’s condition, although one was a well-to-do surgeon with a very remunerative practice, and the other was an “express” man, penniless, and carrying letters some 130 or 140 miles for a subsistence.

As I have several times mentioned “expresses” and “ex-press-men,” I may here explain that all over California and British Columbia letters or parcels are carried with perfect safety, and, all things considered, very cheaply, by means of them. The organisation of some of these companies is most elaborate. The principal one there is Wells Fargo’s, which has agencies all over the "world. Their office at Victoria is one of the finest buildings there; and their house in San Francisco is as large as our General Post-office. I have never known a letter sent by them miscarry. The charge for sending anywhere in California is only 10 cents (5d.), and so great is my faith in them that I would trust anything, in even that most insecure country, in an envelope bearing the stamp of Wells Fargo and Co.’s Express. There are several minor expresses in different parts of the country—Ballou’s Fraser River Express, Jeffray’s Express, Freeman’s Express—all of which appear to flourish; and so great is the trust reposed in them, and the speed with which they travel, that the miners, as yet, prefer sending their dust by them to the Government escort.

A few days later we dropped down the river to Hope where the blue-jackets were paraded, and our one field-piece fired the first salute ever heard at Fort Hope in honour of the Colonel. The men were then got safely on hoard the ‘Plumper' again, which proceeded to examine the river and its north bank a few miles below Langley, and report whether it would do for the site of the capital of British Columbia—it having been decided that Derby, or New Langley, the spot first selected, was not desirable. The site of New Westminster—or Queenborough, as it was first called —is, so far as its geographical position is concerned, very good indeed, as it is also in a strategical point of view; but the bush there was very thick, while at Derby there was a large space of clear ground. The work of clearing the bush has been the great drawback to the progress of New Westminster. Dr. Campbell and 1 went to examine a part a little north of where the town stands, and so thick was the bush that it took us two hours to force our way in rather less than a mile and a-half. Where we penetrated it was composed of very thick willow and alder, intertwined so closely that every step of the way had to be broken through, while the ground was cumbered with fallen timber of a larger growth. During this scramble I stumbled upon a large bear, which seemed to be as much surprised to see me as I was at sight of him, and I dare say equally discomposed. At any rate, he showed no disposition to cultivate my acquaintance; and, as I was some way ahead of my companion and had only one barrel of my gun loaded with small shot, I was not sorry to find that our ways seemed to lie in opposite directions.

The site hit upon by Colonel Moody was a little below this thick bush, where the ground was somewhat clearer. Regarded both in a military and commercial light, it was infinitely preferable to the spot which had previously been fixed upon for this purpose higher up and on the opposite side of the river. New Westminster has many natural advantages in which Derby is wanting, not the least being sufficient depth of water to allow the largest class of vessels capable of passing the sand-heads at the Fraser mouth to moor alongside of its wharves. I shall have occasion at a future time to speak at greater length of this and the other settlements upon the Fraser River.

Our time for some weeks after this was employed in cruising among the islands, creeks, and inlets, upon surveying work, which, however valuable to the future settlers and navigators of British Columbia, is but little likely to interest the general reader.

March, 1859.—Upon our return to Victoria a difficulty which had been felt for some time, arising from the growing immigration of Northern Indians, who came down from Queen Charlotte Island, Fort Simpson, and the inlets north of Vancouver Island, to see and trade with the white men, had reached such a pitch that it was necessary for the Government to take some steps in the matter. Numbers of these, with their families, came down Johnstone Strait in large canoes, carrying furs and skins which they expected to sell for fabulous prices. They were scarcely pleasant visitors— not likely to be welcomed by a young community with a newly-formed and small police, as, although quiet enough when sober, they got drunk as often as they had a chance, and then became quite unmanageable.

These Indians of the northern coast tribes of British Columbia and Vancouver Island are much finer and fiercer men than the Songhies, the tribe living at and in the neighbourhood of Victoria, or indeed than any of the southern tribes. They are constantly at war with one another, and were as likely as not to bring their feuds south with them, and could be as little trusted to keep from blows, if they met in Victoria, as the rival Highland clans in old times when they came into collision in the streets of Edinburgh. They all travelled armed; for in their journey to Victoria they had to pass the neighbourhood of several hostile tribes, by whom they were certain to be attacked if caught unprepared. One tribe especially, living at Cape Mudge, the south point of Yaldez Island, and known as the Ucle-ta, ar the Ishmaelites of the country, whose hands are literally against every man, and every man’s against them. There was a great fight between these and the men of a northern tribe coming south in 1858, in which a good many were killed on either side ; and they are always on the lookout for any one passing by their neighbourhood, and of course suffer in their turn whenever they are caught at a disadvantage. U] on one occasion, when I was camped for the Sunday in a pleasant little cove, just southward of Point Chatham, in Johnstone’s Strath. it happened that a party of some hundred Haida Indians from Queen Charlotte Island came past on their way to Victoria. 0n seeing our boats, they came alongside, as Indians always do, and began, after their fashion, chattering and exhibiting their furs and specimens of the gold they had collected in Queen Charlotte Island. In the middle of our talk the canoes which had been keeping watch outside iu the strait while the rest were with us raised an alarm. Two small canoes of another tribe, that had been near us all the morning fishing, just then hove in sight again, and immediately our companions pulled out and examined the muskets that lay under cover ready to their grasp. Although we were not in sufficient force to interfere between them, I have no doubt whatever that the poor fellows in the canoes, who had slept at our camp the night previously, would have been murdered or taken into slavery but for our presence.

Efforts have been made to put down this cruel system of predatory warfare, and occasionally a grand peace-making of the hostile tribes is held, at which eternal friendship is vowed. But it is not long before some fresh depredation is committed, or some solitary Indian is caught by a party of another tribe, and the temptation to murder or take him prisoner being too strong to be resisted, war breaks out again. The Ucle-ta are great offenders in this way. In the summer of 1860 a lesson was administered to them, which, it is to be hoped, may do them some good. A party of them had attacked and robbed some Chinamen, and escaped to their village at Cape Mudge, which, being stockaded for protection against the other tribes, they no doubt thought would be equally efficacious against white men. H.M. gunboat ‘Forward ’ was sent there to demand restitution ; and, on approaching the village, she was fired upon from the stockade with loud shouts of defiance. The gunboat first fired a shell or two over; but, Indian-like, they mistook this leniency for inability to hit them, and coming out in front of the stockade fired several volleys at her, which fortunately, however, fell harmless against her rifle-plates. She then opened fire upon their canoes on the beach, and lastly upon the stockade ; and it was not till several men were killed that they came to terms, and restored the stolen property.

One of the most fertile sources of quarrel among all the tribes on this coast with whom I am at all acquainted arises from the intrigues of the Indians with the squaws of neighbouring tribes. Indeed the breach of the Seventh Commandment is as fashionable in this out-of-the-way part of the world as it has been at times among European communities. A code of reprisals and compensation has been adopted among them which certainly has the merit of simplicity. The aggrieved husband whose wife has been misled troubles his head very little about her; and when she comes back to him, which she does very soon, shows no inclination to visit her offence at all hardly upon her. But although he receives her again, he to a certain extent discards her, and, if he can afford it, adds another wife to his establishment. Should number two go astray, as is very probable, he takes a third wife; but he keeps the sinners, penitent or not, with him still, and they all live together to all appearance contentedly enough. Meanwhile he is busy making reprisals upon his enemy; and the result, when they happen to be chiefs, is probably a war between two tribes, in which the members of both join with the greatest interest and zeal.

It is in such social habits that the missionaries find their greatest difficulties when working for the reformation of these people, more particularly as the white trader generally confirms by his practice all that the red man is warned against. If nothing else pleads for the introduction of Englishwomen into British Columbia, this fact surely does. In reference to the Indian disregard of marital obligations, I remember a noted Chief, named St. Paul, in the interior of the country —of whom I shall have more to say hereafter—telling me that the Roman Catholic priests had often remonstrated with him upon his life; and, among other social reformations that seemed to them desirable, had urged him to go through the marriage ceremony with his present wife. “To what avail?” argued St. Paul. “So long as she remains true to me, I will hold to her; but if she fails me—married or not—I shall discard her for another.”

I have said that it was partly curiosity to see the white man, and still more the hope of making larger sums for their furs than the Hudson Bay Company’s agents would give them, that led the Indians to make the journey to Victoria. In the latter hope they were often disappointed; but it must not, therefore, be inferred that the Indians are bad traders. On the contrary, they are some of the best hands at a bargain or deal I have ever met with; the squaws, as may be usual with their sex, having the most to say upon the matter, and being the harder to persuade. In buying of Indians, if the squaw be present, it is always advisable to win her favour. The man never concludes a bargain without consulting her; and I have frequently seen her put a veto upon some commercial arrangement that I had imagined settled, simply because she happened to be annoyed, and was sulky at something that had transpired while the bargain was being made. So, when the matter is settled, the shirts, blankets, or other articles taken in exchange are always passed to the woman for her inspection and approval; and she claims the right of declaring the deal at an end, even at the eleventh moment, if she disapproves of their make or material. It is, therefore, always advisable to win her to your side, if possible, when buying anything; and this can generally be done by a judicious present of beads, or perhaps a pair of gorgeous earrings.

The presence of these people in large and ..increasing numbers was felt as a serious inconvenience, and possible danger to Victoria. Several plans for checking their immigration were proposed, and at last it was determined—not, I think, with the judgment that ordinarily characterised the dealing of the Government with the Indians—to send them back to their own country. The impolicy of such a measure soon became apparent, to say nothing of the impossibility of carrying it into effect. No one who knew anything of the Indian character would believe that sending a few hundreds back would have the effect of deterring others from attempting the voyage down. Besides which, how could it be expected that men whom we had driven away or kept back forcibly from our towns would permit whites to “prospect” for gold or settle in their country ? An endeavour was, however, made to carry out this resolution; and upon their making the excuse that they were afraid of encountering the hostile Indians of Nanaimo and other places on their return, H.M.S. ‘Tribune’ was called upon to convoy them as far north as Cape Mudge. But, even while on their way, they met many others coming down; and it w^s evident that nothing but violent measures of repression, backed by a strong military and naval force, were likely to stem the tide of savage life that was setting southward. So at last it was considered useless to try ; and Mr. Duncan, the missionary, having fortunately arrived from the North, his advice was sought upon the subject, and it was decided to take measures to settle them upon their arrival in camps of their own, near Victoria, and to take away their muskets from them while they remained there. This latter measure was of the first importance, as for a long time past it had become positively unsafe to take the Esquimalt road after dark at night from the number of drunken Indians lying about, who were wont to discharge their muskets upon the slightest provocation; and as they occupied huts on either side of the road, they often fired across from one to the other, to the great inconvenience, to say no more, of the passer by.

The ordinance "with respect to disarming the Indians was not so well carried out as it might have been. The Indians complained, and with some reason, that they rarely if ever received their own guns back again. It was not to be expected, of course, that the police of Victoria should return to each man his own musket; but care might have been taken to keep the weapons of each party distinct, so that they could select their own.

The presence and influence of Mr. Duncan, of whom I shall have to speak at length hereafter, were, however, of much value in keeping these Northern Indians in order; a school was built for them, which was well attended, and they passed the summer quietly enough.

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