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Four Years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island
Chapter XIII

In this chapter I propose to treat of the resources of Her Majesty’s dominions in the Pacific, comprising, as the reader already knows, the country between the 49° and 54° 40' north latitude and the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Ocean, Kith the islands of the coast comprised in those limits. In doing so, I shall speak of the general condition of the country and its probable future ; offering, at the same time, an account of the various routes by which emigrants may reach it, with the approximate cost of each. I shall also have occasion to speak of the routes that may hereafter be opened up to the great gold-fields of the Pacific. In so doing I shall not hesitate to avail myself of the information afforded by Parliamentary papers, the labours of others, and the press; selecting from these and more private sources such facts and suggestions as my own experience of the country may lead me to approve.

The claims of the Hudson Bay Company to the possession of the territory they have so long held by grants from the Crown, renewed from time to time through a couple of centuries, have been so fully discussed in and out of Parliament that it is needless for me now to enter upon this subject. I think, however, that those who blame the Company’s rule do not sufficiently consider the vast difficulties with which these traders have had to contend. Living, as their assailants do, under the protection of British law, they are little capable of appreciating the absolute necessity of many apparently cruel acts, which however were directly traceable to the instinct of self-preservation. I do not mean for a moment to deny that there were acts of cruelty committed by the Hudson Bay people, which even this consideration could not justify; hut I do maintain that a handful of white men, hundreds of miles away from the protection of their own flag, surrounded by a population, among whom were many both fierce and treacherous, should not, in common justice, be judged by the rules which apply to a more civilised state of existence. One of the main charges against the officers of the Hudson Bay Company in what was then Hew Caledonia is, that while their lease of the country specified that offences above a certain degree should be tried by the Courts of Canada, they, instead of sending criminals there, executed a species of retaliatory justice themselves. But it was simply ridiculous to expect any such slow and awkward machinery for the repression or punishment of crime to be used. As it was, the Company, under that instinct of self-preservation I have before put forward in their defence, appointed the best men they had to the charge of them posts, and left them to hold their own and maintain law and order among the Indians as best they could. No one who has travelled much among the natives of British Columbia can fail to be convinced that one result of the Company’s rule has been that the white man is respected by them everywhere. Even the missionaries —who complain of the little that has been done during these many years for the spiritual welfare of the Indian tribes— must admit that but for their familiarity with the traders, and the opinion they have thereby gained of the honesty and justice of the Englishman generally, their reception would be very different to what it now is.

Again; the abuse which has been showered upon the long and undisturbed monopoly of the trade of these regions enjoyed by the Hudson Bay Company would have been more deserved had their possession of them been valued or envied by others. As it was, the country was unheeded by emigrants, neglected by the Government, and but for the Company’s tenure of it, might have fallen into the hands of Russia, France, the United States, or any other nation that cared to take it.

The time has undoubtedly come when their pretensions to its longer possession should be rightly unheeded. But I think it should have been resumed by the English Government with thanks for the Company’s care of it, rather than with vague distrust and suspicion of their past occupation. I for one feel convinced that I should have found it impossible to travel about British Columbia with the ease and freedom from danger which I felt, but for the influence of the Hudson Bay Company exerted in my favour. The name of Mr. Douglas, as I have more than once said, proved to be a talisman, wherever it was mentioned, that secured me respect and help. The reports of Captain Palliser show also that the success of his three years’ exploration in the Rocky Mountains was owing, in no small degree, to the influence and assistance rendered him by the Company. The following extract from one of his despatches will, I think, serve to illustrate this sufficiently. One of a deputation of Indians who waited upon him, an old chief, spoke thus:—

“I do not ask for presents, although I am poor and my people are hungry. But I know that you have come straight from the great country, and we know that no man from that country ever came to us and lied. I want you to declare to us truthfully what the great Queen of your country intends to do to us when she takes the country from the Fur Company’s people. All around I see the smoke of the white men to arise. The Longknives (Americans) are trading with our neighbours for their land, and they are cheating and deceiving them.”

Who but the officers and men of this much-abused Company could have inspired this spokesman of the Indian people with the trust in the word of an Englishman which is here expressed?

Again; any one who knows the condition of the Indians in British Columbia, and will take the trouble to compare it with that of the tribes in American territory, must come to the conclusion that some salutary influences—wanting there —have been at work among them. Scarcely a paper reaches Victoria from Oregon or Washington states that docs not contain an account of some brutal murder of whites by the Indians, or some retaliatory deed of blood by the troops of the United States. So confirmed, indeed, has their enmity become, that what is little short of a policy of extermination is being pursued towards the Aborigines.

But in British Columbia troops have not once been called upon to oppose the Indians; and men of every class, from the Bishop on his visitation to the friendless miner, travel among them in confidence and unmolested.

While, therefore, quite prepared to admit that in their government of the country the Hudson Bay Company have been guilty of sins both of commission and omission, I cannot, in common justice, forbear from stating the good they have actually accomplished in British Columbia.

With respect to the routes to British Columbia, there are at present five open :—

1st. By the Royal West India mail-steamers to Aspinwall, across the Isthmus of Panama, and thence by American packets to San Francisco and Victoria.

2nd. By the Cunard steamers to New York, and thence by American steamer to Aspinwall; the rest of this route being by the same conveyance as the last.

3rd. Round Cape Horn, or through Magellan Straits, and thence direct to Victoria by the same ship all the way.

4th. Across the American continent, from Lake Superior or St. Paul’s to Red River, and thence over the Rocky Mountains. Or, perhaps, it would be better to say across the continent in British territory, as there are several ways by which this may be done. And—

5th. Across the continent in American territory to California, and thence by steamer to Victoria; or by land to Portland, in Oregon, and from there by steamer to Victoria.

By the first of these routes the total expense of the journey may be estimated at 90l. for first class, proportionately less of course for second and third; the time occupied, if there are no delays on the way, being under six weeks. Adopting this route, the traveller may embark at Southampton on the 1st or 16th of any month, and Proceed direct to St. Thomas, a passage of 12 or 14 days. At St. Thomas he takes an intercolonial steamer, and in four to six days reaches Aspin-wall, the port on this side of the Isthmus of Panama. Crossing the Isthmus by rail, in oh hours Panama is reached. Here the great drawback to this route is often experienced in the fact that there is no certainty of finding a Pacific steamer ready to sail, and that very often the traveller has to stop at Panama a week or ten days before one starts. This delay, of course, adds considerably to the expense of the journey, to say nothing of Panama being a most unhealthy place to stay in. Arrangements, however, are said to be making to remedy this inconvenience.

The passage to San Francisco occupies 14 or 15 days, and on the way the steamer calls at Acapulco for coal. Arrived at San Francisco a further delay takes place, and it is sometimes a week or ten days before the steamer for Victoria leaves. Some arrangement has, I believe, lately been entered into, however, which has made the line between San Francisco and Victoria more regular.

By the second route the latter half of the journey is the same as the first, the difference being that the traveller starts by the Cunard steamer from Liverpool for New York.

At New York the traveller may have to stay a few days, but this is better thau waiting at Panama, and then he goes to Aspinwall in a regular line of American packets: the great advantage of this line being that it is connected with the Pacific Mail Company’s steamers to San Francisco, and therefore there is no chance of being—unless, indeed, the Atlantic packet brings more passengers than the Pacific one can carry away—kept eight or ten days 011 the Isthmus.

The third route is, by the old way, round Cape Horn, or through the Straits of Magellan. The drawback to this is the length of the sea-voyage, which may be said to average five months, although it has been done in four. The Hudson Bay barque, ‘Princess Royal,’ has for years made a yearly trip out and home, leaving England in the autumn, reaching Victoria in January 01* February, and returning home again by the end of June. She still bears the palm for quick passages. Captain Trivett, who has commanded her for years, says his great object always is to get out well to westward after passing Cape Horn, not caring if he have to go somewhat to southward in doing so, by which he finds he gains greatly on those who fear getting too far westward, and hug the coast rather than stretch far out. His quickest passages have been 118 days out and 110 days home; his average of five passages out 133 days. This route is by far the cheapest yet open, and indeed may be said to be the only one within the reach of the poorer class of emigrants. The cost varies considerably, but will get cheaper as passengers become more numerous. The Hudson Bay Company’s charge has always been 70l, for first class and 30l. for second class. Their charges for freight also have always been high also, but vessels are constantly advertised to sail by first-rate firms; and a line of clipper ships of 1200 tons is announced to carry passengers at more moderate rates.

The fourth way lies across our own part of the continent. This route must be for some time virtually impassable. The. fate of those emigrants who, deluded by the misrepresentations of the bubble British Columbian Overland Transit Company, started to make a supposed easy journey from St. Paul’s across the Rocky Mountains, must still be fresh in the recollection of my readers. The inducements held out by the so-called Company, calculated as they undoubtedly were to deceive the public generally, could impose upon no one who had any practical experience of the country. For instance, one of their statements was, that above 1000 carts travelled annually along the line they proposed to follow. The impression conveyed by this is that these carts crossed the Rocky Mountains into British Columbia by the route proposed to be taken by the Company; whereas the truth is, that they simply trade to the Red River and the Saskatchewan country, and no further. That a waggon-road will some day be carried over the passes of the Rocky Mountains that lie beyond the Red River settlement, and between that point and British Columbia, I have no doubt. It may be, indeed, that before very long the whistle of the locomotive will be heard among them. But that as yet they are impassable for waggons, and that they present great, and at times almost insurmountable, difficulty to all save the experienced unincumbered traveller, the following quotations from the reports of Captains Palliser and Blakiston and Dr. Hector will, I think, be found to contain conclusive proof.

It will assist the reader in forming a judgment upon this matter if I first give, from the report of Captain Blakiston, an account of the passes of the Rocky Mountains by which British Columbia may be reached. “In anticipation,” writes Captain Blakiston, “of the establishment of a continuous route through British North America, it is proper here to refer to the passes of the Rocky Mountains north of latitude 49, or, in other words, in British territory. There are many points at which the chain of these mountains can be traversed; but omitting for the present that known as ‘ Peel’s River Pass,’ within the Arctic circle, and that from Fraser Lake to Pelly

Banks, at the head-waters of the Youkon in latitude 62°, as well as one from Cease’s House to Stickeen, and others only known to the hardy fur-traders of the far north, we come to three: one of which crosses from the Findlay branch of the Peace River to Babine River, the northern boundary of the province of Columbia; while the other two, at the very headwaters of Peace River, in latitude 55° north, connect with Fraser River at its most northern bend, one of which was described, as long ago as 1793, by that intrepid traveller, Sir Alexander Mackenzie. The connection with these being, however, by water, and rather far north on the east side, 1 shall pass on to enumerate the known passes more to the southward, and which may be called the passes to British Columbia. In commencing with the North, they stand thus:—

The first of these connects the head-waters of Athabasca River with the great fork of the Fraser, and has never been used except as a portage between these two rivers.

“2. The second is that which, until the last few years, was used regularly by the Hudson Bay Company for the conveyance of a few furs, as well as despatches and servants, from the east side to the Pacific, by the way of the Columbia River, and which, from the ‘ Boat Encampment,’ is navigable for small craft; but this, like the first, has not been used in connection with any laud-route on the west side.

“3. The third was probably first used by either Thompson or Howse (author of the Cree grammar), who, following up the north branch of the Saskatchewan, crossed the watershed of the mountains to the north fork of the Columbia, and thence to its source, the Columbia Lakes, where, striking the Kootonay River, he followed it down to the south of 49° north.

“4. The ‘Kicking-Horse Pass,’ so named by Dr. Hector, crosses the watershed from near the head-waters of the Dow Diver to those of the Kootonay, and may be reached by following up either the north or south branches of the Saskatchewan by land.

“5. While another (see Parliamentary Papers, June 1859), the ‘Vermilion Pass,’ likewise traversed and laid down by Dr. Hector during the summer of 1858, occurs also on Bow River so near the last-named one, that it is unfortunate that the western edge of the mountains was not reached, as it would then have proved whether these passes can be of value in connection with a continuous route across the country.

“6. The next pass which enters the mountains in common with the fifth on Dow Diver, has been named the 'Kananaskis Pass’ (see Parliamentary Papers, June 1859), and was laid down by latitude and longitude observations during the summer of 1858 by Captain Palliser. This also leads to the Kootonay River, passing near the Columbia Lakes. It is generally supposed that this pass was only discovered last year, but a description of it is to be found in £ An Overland Journey Round the World,’ by Sir George Simpson, who, together with a party of emigrants, 50 in number, under the late 5Ir. James Sinclair, passed through, but not with carts, as had been stated, to the lower part of the Columbia in 1841, besides which it has been used by other travellers. If we are to consider its western extremity to the south of the Columbia Lakes, it is a long and indirect route, but as yet it has only been used for following the valley of the Kootonay, and thence into American territory. In the event of the country west of the Columbia Lakes proving suitable for a land-road, this, as well as the previous three, would prove available for crossing from the Saskatchewan north of latitude 51°.

“For 100 geographical miles of the mountains south of Bow River no pass is at present known to exist until we come to the Mocowans, or Belly River, a tributary of the Saskatchewan, on the branches of winch four passes enter the mountains—the ‘Crow-nest,’ the ‘Kootonay,’ the ‘Boundary,’ and the ‘Flathead.’

“7. Of the first of these, we know only that its eastern entrance is on the river of the same name, and that it emerges in the vicinity of the Steeples, or Mount Deception, while neither of the two last are entirely in British territory— hence the name of ‘Boundary Pass' for that which has its culminating point north of 49°.

“8. The ‘Kootonay Pass,’ is the most southern, and, of those yet known, by far the shortest in British territory.

“These passes, of which the altitudes are known, do not differ greatly; and I refrain from commenting on their relative merits, because before any particular one can he selected for the construction of a road, the easiest land-route from Hope and the western bend of the Fraser River should be ascertained, which, considering the distance, would be no very great undertaking. In conclusion, I would only remark, that at present no pass in British territory is practicable for wheeled-carriages.”

It should be remembered that Captain Blakiston wrote this before an overland route was thought of. But he has since told me, that during his explorations he came upon the remains of the waggons of Mr. Sinclair’s party upon this side of the mountains, the idea of transporting them farther having been abandoned at that spot.

Dr. Hector, t he geologist accompanying Captain Palliser’s expedition, upon reaching the Rocky Mountain house, in the most northerly of the passes enumerated above, writes of it thus: “The mountain-house is at a distance of not less than 100 miles from the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, which are nevertheless distinctly seen from it as a chain of snow-clad peaks. The principal chain is, however, screened by a nearer range, distant about 45 miles......I made an attempt to reach this near range, but failed in forcing a road through the dense pine-wood with which the whole country is covered.’"

Of the Kananaskis Pass, the sixth of the above list, Captain Palliser writes thus: “On the 18th of August I started to seek for the new pass across the Rocky Mountains, proceeding up the north side of the Saskatchewan or Bow River, passing the mouth of the Kananaskis River; five miles higher lip we crossed the Bow River, and entered a ravine. We fell upon Kananaskis River, and travelled up in a southwesterly direction, and the following day reached the Kananaskis Prairie, known to the Indians as the place ‘where Kananaskis was skinned but not killed.’ On the 21st we passed two lakes about two miles long and one wide. We continued our course, winding through this gorge in the mountains among cliffs of a tremendous height, yet our onward progress was not impeded by obstacles of any consequence; the only difficulty we experienced was occasioned by quantities of fallen timber caused by fires......On the 22nd August we reached the height of land between the waters of Kananaskis River and a new river, a tributary of the Kootonay River. Our height above Bow Fort was now 1885 feet, or 5985 feet above the sea. Next morning we commenced our descent, and for the first time were obliged to get off and walk, leading our horses down a precipitous slope of 960 feet over loose angular fragments of rock. This portion of our route continued for several days through dense masses of fallen timber, destroyed by fire, where our progress was very slow—NOT owing to any difficulty of the mountains, but on account of the fallen timber, which we had first to climb over and then to chop through to enable our horses to step or jump over it. We continued at this work from daybreak till night, and even by moonlight, and reached the Columbia Portage on the 27tli of August.

“On September the 6th I started to recross these mountains by the Kootonay Pass (the eighth upon the above list). This is frequently used, but not the general pass of the Kootonay Indians, who have a preferable one in American territory.

“On the 7th of September we passed the height of land—a formidable ascent, where we had to walk and lead the horses for two hours. This is the height of land which constitutes the watershed. We encamped for the night in a small prairie after making a considerable descent.

“On the 8th of September our course continued through woods and swamps, for about 15 miles, till we reached another ascent. This was also a severe ascent, though not so formidable as that of the day previous; we reached its summit about four o’clock through a severe snow-storm (this in September), the snow falling so fast as to make me very apprehensive of losing the track. We descended that evening, and camped on the eastern side, and next day arrived at the eastern extremity of the pass. I regret that I cannot give the altitudes of this pass, as our barometer was broken by one of the horses. It is, however, far from being so favourable as the more northern, by which I entered on Kananaskis River, which has but one obstacle, in the height of land, to overcome, and where the whole line is free from swamps and marshes.”

Dr. Hector, accompanying the same expedition, in speaking of the Vermilion Pass (the fifth upon the list), says of it: “On the 20th I crossed Bow River without swimming the horses or unloading the packs, and, after six hours’ march through thick woods, reached the height of land the same afternoon. The ascent to the watershed from the Saskatchewan is hardly perceptible to the traveller who is prepared for a tremendous climb, by which to reach the dividing ridge of the Rocky Mountains; and no labour would be required, except that of hewing timber, to construct an easy road for carts, by which it might be attained.”

Of the Beaver or Kicking-Horse Pass (fourth upon our list), he says: “The bottom of the valley (that of the Koutanay River) is occupied by so much morass, that we were obliged to keep along the slope, although the fallen timber rendered it very tedious work, and severe for our poor horses, that now had their legs covered with cuts and bruises.

On the 31st of August we struck the valley of the Kicking-Horse River, travelling as fast as we could get our jaded horses to go and as I could bear the motion [he had been badly kicked by a horse]. On the 2nd Sept. we reached the height of land. In doing so we ascended 2021 feet. Unlike the Vermilion River, the Kicking-Horge River, although rapid, descends more by a succession of falls than by a gradual slope. Just before we attained the height of land, ive ascended more than 1000 feet in about a mile, down which the stream leaps in a succession of cascades.”

I cannot do better than conclude the consideration of this question of an overland passage to British Columbia with the following extract from the Report of Captain Palliser to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in 1859

“In answer to the third query contained in your Lordship’s letter, viz., ‘What means of access exist for British immigrants to reach this settlement?’ I think there are no means to be recommended save those via the United States. The direct route from England via York Factory (Hudson’s Bay), and also that from Canada via Lake Superior, are too tedious, difficult, and expensive for the generality of settlers. The manner in which natural obstacles have isolated the country from all other British possessions in the East is a matter of considerable weight; indeed it is the obstacle of the country, and one, I fear, almost beyond the remedies of art. The egress and ingress to the settlement from the east is obviously by the Bed Biver valley and through the States.”

Further on the same subject Captain Blakiston writes: “In answer to the fourth query contained in your Lordship’s letter, viz., ‘Whether, judging from the explorations you have already made, the country presents such facilities for the construction of a railway as would at some period, though possibly a remote one, encourage Her Majesty’s Government in the belief that such an undertaking, between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, could ever be accomplished?’ I have no hesitation in saying that no obstacles exist to the construction of a railway from Red River to the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains; and probably the best route would be found in the neighbourhood of the south branch of the Saskatchewan. An amount of capital very small in proportion to the territory to be crossed would be sufficient to accomplish the undertaking so far; but the continuation of a railway across the Rocky Mountains would doubtless require a considerable outlay.

“In my letter to Her Majesty’s Government, dated 7th Oct., 1858, I have referred to two passes examined by myself and Mr. Sullivan, my secretary, both of which I found practicable for horses right across the chain of the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River, and that a small outlay would render the more northern one practicable for carts, and even waggons.

“On the return of Dr. Hector from his branch expedition, I found he had also crossed the mountains as far as the valley of the Columbia River, by the Vermilion Pass, which leaves the valley of the Bow River nearer to its source than the pass I had myself traversed. In that pass he had observed a peculiarity which distinguishes it from the others we had examined, viz., the absence of any abrupt step at the commencement of the descent to the west, both ascent and descent being gradual. This, combined with the low altitude of the greatest elevation passed over, led him to report very favourably upon the facilities of this pass for the clearing of a waggon-road; and even that the project of a railroad by this route across the Rocky Mountains might be reasonably entertained.”

Before taking leave of this subject, I think it but right to correct another impression which appears likely to mislead the public. This is, that the quantity of buffalo on the route proposed to be taken by the bubble Overland Transit Company is so great as to render it impossible for a man with a gun in his hand to starve. Now, although enormous herds of buffaloes may be met with indeed Captain Palliser writes of them, “The whole region as far as the eye could reach was covered with buffaloes in bands varying from hundreds to thousands”—yet it is quite possible for the traveller to die of slow starvation and exhaustion without seeing one. Dr. Rae, the eminent Arctic traveller, informed me that he spent three weeks in these plains with a party of gentlemen, and that during that time they saw nothing larger than a beaver, and only shot two. martens!

Again we have seen that Dr. Hector was glad to travel 21 out of 24 hours for want of food; and in a letter of Captain Falliser, written in the midsummer of 1858, he says: “On my arrival at the Bow Fort, I found my hunters waiting for me. They had been out in every direction, but could not fall in with buffalo. They had also found elk and deer very scarce.” In the same letter we also find him writing: “Owing to the absence of buffalo during the winter, my hunters, as well as those belonging to the Fort, have had to go to great distances in order to get meat, which they obtained in such small quantities, that the Hudson Bay Company’s officer in charge of this post was obliged to scatter the men, with their families, all over the plains in search of food. Even Dr. Hector and Mr. Sullivan were obliged to leave this post and go to Forts Pitt and Edmonton in order to lessen the consumption of meat, of which the supply there was quite inadequate. Fortunately, however, the winter has been an unusually mild one, otherwise the consequences might have been very serious indeed.”

Speaking of the mountains on the west side, Captain Palliser also remarks: “The fact is, the knowledge the Indians possess of the mountains is very small; and even among those said to 'know the mountains,’ their knowledge is very limited indeed. This is easily accounted for by the scarcity of the game, which offers no inducement for the Indians to go there.”

Dr. Hector also writes: “While traversing this valley, since coming on the Kootanie River, we have had no trail to follow, and it did not seem to have been frequented by Indians for years. This makes the absence of game all the more extraordinary. The only animal which seemed to occur at all was the panther. The Indians saw one; and in the evening we heard them calling, as they skirted round our camp, attracted by the smell.”

To this testimony of others, I may add my own experience. I have travelled 600 miles in British Columbia without seeing anything larger than grouse, or having the chance of more than half-a-dozen shots at them. I have also had occasion to speak of death by starvation among the Indians. This has been by no means uncommon of late, since they have neglected the culture of their land for the more alluring search after gold. If, then, the native of these plains finds it impossible to support life upon the wild animals frequenting it, what chance, under similar circumstances, could the artisan or the peasant, fresh from the loom or plough, be expected to have?

The last of the routes which I have to consider is that across the continent in American territory. A way between New York and San Francisco has been for some time open, and so regular and speedy is the transmission of mails by it, that the American postal subsidy has been taken away from the Panama Steam Company, and given to the Overland. The traveller by this route proceeds by rail to St. Louis on the border of Illinois and Missouri. Thence by stage across Missouri to St. Joseph, by the Missouri River to Omaha city, and from there across Nebraska and Utah to the Great Salt Lake city. From Utah the route passes southward of the Humboldt Mountains to Carson city and into California. A telegraph now runs along the whole of this line, while a stage-coach goes three times and the pony-express twice a week—the latter making the journey in about seventeen days. The whole distance from New York to San Francisco is about 8000 miles, of which 900 are travelled over by rail.

From San Francisco the traveller can reach his destination by land through California and Oregon to Portland, and thence by steamer to Victoria: or via the Columbia River to Walla-Walla and thence through Okanagan across to the Thompson River, and so direct to the mines. This route across the continent is considered pretty safe, and I know a lady who crossed by it; but the mails are sometimes waylaid by Indians, and the passengers murdered or ill-treated.

Before treating of the mineral resources of British Columbia, I wall endeavour to describe its physical aspect. The coast of British Columbia is fringed with dense forest, sometimes growing on low ground, but generally covering mountain-ridges of all shapes, which terminate in numbers of irregular peaks shooting up in every possible form and in heights varying from 1000 to 10,000 feet. All these ridges and peaks have the same general appearance, being composed of trappean or granitic rocks and covered with pine-trees to the height of 3000 or 4000 feet, and sometimes higher. Here and there the constant fires caused by the carelessness of the Indians have stripped the branches from all the trees on a hill-side, leaving nothing but scorched trunks standing on the blackened rock; while in other places they appear stripped in the same way from top to bottom of a mountain, the whiteness of the trunk, however, forbidding the notion of fire. The reason of this phenomenon, which was of frequent occurrence in the inlets, caused us much speculation. The conclusion arrived at was, that it was caused by a slide of frozen snow from the mountain’s summit. These mountain-ridges are divided at intervals all along the coast by the long inlets of which I have before spoken.

Behind all these minor ranges and inland of the heads of the inlets, the Cascade Range rims nearly parallel with the coast, and at a distance of 60 to 100 miles from it, forming a barrier but too effectual to shut out intruders into the Eldorado that lies beyond it. The highest peak of this range is Mount Baker, situated hi latitude 48° 44' N. and consequently upon American territory. Its height is 10,700 feet, and it forms a prominent feature in the view from any part of the Strait of Fuca or Gulf of Georgia. Though, as I have mentioned when describing the inlets of the coast, there is usually a valley, sometimes of considerable extent, at the head of these sea-arms, the Cascade Mountains, as far as explorations have yet been carried, appear always to bar approach to the country beyond. Sometimes they recede from the coast so much that it is possible to steam 40 or 50 miles inland; but in time the mountains are sure to be found closing in and barring farther progress. The valley of the Fraser River forms the single exception to this rule. Here the river has certainly mastered the rocks, and, attacking them from the rear, cut itself a devious way to the sea. But it has done no more, the rocks so closing in upon its course that, as in the canons I have described, there is hardly footing left for a goat along the high precipitous banks.

These coast-mountains have as yet been imperfectly examined, and little therefore is known of their geological formation or mineral resources. Hr. Wood, who, it will be remembered, accompanied me on my excursion inland from Jervis Inlet, says of those we passed on that occasion, “On the right side of the upper arm of Jervis Inlet the mountains, against whose sides the sea washes, give indications of being composed of porphyritic granite; the granite rocks generally are deeply imbued with copper oxides; their veins of white quartz are frequently seen intersecting the granite. The rocks forming the sides of the second inlet, some six or eight miles distant, are more rugged and precipitous, and consist generally of a strongly micaceous quartzose granite. A mountain-stream which we crossed, presented in the granite and trap boulders, which formed its bed, singularly rich specimens of iron pyrites without any observable indications of other metals. Upon another mountainous stream which we crossed, I saw the largest boulder of quartz (transported) I ever witnessed; it must have been four or five tons’ weight, and was deeply stained on one side with oxides of iron.” During this journey, I perceived indications of nothing but trap and granite, with here and there thin veins of quartz. Indeed, I may say, that all the inlets surveyed by the ‘Plumper’ presented the same geological characteristics. Texhada Island, which lies off the entrance of Jervis Inlet, is, however, an exception: nearly the whole of the northern end being limestone, mostly blue, but some white and comparatively soft; the blue being very hard. I found a few small outcrops of limestone in the entrance of Jervis Inlet afterwards, but they were only thin veins, round which the igneous rock had hardened. Clay-slate frequently occurs in the inlets, but usually in very small outcrops. I have remarked its occurrence also in the canons of the Fraser River, and Lieut. Palmer, ILL. when in the same range (Cascade) on the Harrison-Lilloett route, says, “From the cursory view I was enabled to take of the general geological character of the country, trappean rocks appear to prevail, consisting principally of greenstone, dense clay-slate (here and there presenting a laminated structure), and compact hornblende. The exposed surfaces of the rocks are generally covered with felspar, and are occasionally stained red with iron, forming an agreeable contrast in the landscape. Quartz-veins permeate the clay-slate in many places, of an average thickness of one to twelve inches; the formation, in fact, would suggest the high probability of metalliferous deposits. The mountains rise bold, rugged, and abrupt, with occasional benches on their sides, on which are found quantities of worn rounded boulders, principally of coarse-grained granite, occasionally porphyritic. The granite contains golden-coloured and black mica in large quantities. The crystals of felspar in the porphyritic granite are very numerous, but small. The soil appears in many places to have been formed by the decomposition of granite, it being light and sandy and containing much mica.

“Below the soil is very generally found a white compact mass, very hard and approaching to a conglomerate, containing pebbles of every description in a matrix of decomposed clay-slate. Lime seems wanting even in the conglomerate, and I saw no traces of limestone or sandstone all along the route, though I understand there is plenty of the former at Pavilion.”

Along the coast, between Jervis Inlet and Desolation Sound, the appearance of the rocks changes somewhat, and quartz and slate predominate.

Speaking of Desolation Sound, Mr. Downie says, “This is the first time I have seen pure veins of sulphuret of iron, which looks very much like silver. I came across a number of seams of the same kind; it lies in quartz, the same as gold. I have no idea that the gold is confined to the Fraser River alone; and if it can only be found from the seaboard, or on the rivers at the head of some of these inlets, the country will soon be prospected.” At the head of the same inlet, he says, “ I have seen more black sand here in half a day than I did in California in nine years; it looks clear and bright, as if it came from quartz.” f Seeing it was out of the question to proceed farther, we put back, and came down along shore, breaking and trying the rocks, finding much iron pyrites and sulphuret of iron, but no gold.

In Knight’s Inlet I have mentioned plumbago as having been found; and on Queen Charlotte’s Island (which may be regarded, in common with the rest of these islands, as chips off the coast), gold-bearing quartz and coal.

Of the geological features of the interior little is yet known. Wherever I have been, the same trappean rocks predominate as on the coast, except at and around Pavilion, 220 miles up the Fraser, where limestone occurs in large quantities. In the Cariboo district Mr. Hind, the Gold Commissioner, says lie has observed “masses of quartz;” and when travelling near the Antler Creek, in the valley of which some of the richest diggings occur, he says, “The streams I passed were very numerous; and where it was possible, from the falling in of the ice and snow, to observe their beds, I noticed the same characteristics of large quartz boulders and a kind of slate-rock, covered with red gravel, said to bear a close resemblance to the rich auriferous beds of the streams of the southern mines of California.

Of the Semilkameen district, in the southern part of the colony, Lieutenant Palmer, R.E., in his Report quoted before, writes:—“The geological character of the several districts (Fort Hope and Fort Colville) is throughout very uniform, the rocks belonging principally to the igneous and metamorphic series. The bulk of Hanson Mountain appears to be granite, tipped with slate; here and there presenting particles of white indurated clay, found, on examination, to contain fragments of white quartz.

“This formation may be said to consist of granite, with its felspar decomposed and reduced to a state of indurated clay; it extends to the dividing ridge of the Cascades, and partly into the valley of the Tulameen. In the latter valley may be seen vast masses of white quartz; in all probability the exposed face of the rock, which, with granite, constitutes a large portion of the district, extending into the Semilkameen valley.

“On approaching the summit of the Tulameen range, the quartz partially disappears, and is replaced by a species of variegated sandstone, in which traces of iron occur. To what extent the sandstone prevailed I had no opportunity of judging, the weather being snowy while I was there, and the rocks, as a rule, imbedded in peaty turf.

“As we leave the Tulameen Mountains, and descend into the valley below, indurated clay appears to predominate to a considerable extent. This clay varies in character as we approach the Vermilion Forks; a portion I noticed near that point being a white silicate of alumina mixed with sand. On one specimen which I picked up were the fossil remains of the leaves of the hemlock.

“Further down, in the Semilkameen valley, the clay acquires a slaty texture, and becomes stained with iron, to a greater or less extent. Blue clay also exists, only, however, in small quantities.

“The mountains bordering the Semilkameen consist chiefly of granite, greenstone, and quartz, capped with blue and browui clay-slate. The beds of both the Tulameen and Semilkameen are covered with boulders of granite, of every description and colour; of greenstone and of trap, and vary in form and size.

“Boulders of the same character prevail on the river-bottoms, to a greater or less extent. Like that of most of the other explored parts of British Columbia, the geological character of this region appears to indicate the high probability of auriferous deposits. In the lower portion of the Semilkameen, and near the ‘Big Bend,’ gold was discovered shortly after I passed through, by some of the men attached to the United States Boundary Commission. Beport pronounced the discovery a valuable one, as much as 40 dollars to the hand being taken out in three hours, without proper mining-tools; but I cannot speak positively as to the truth of this statement, neither could I discover whether the place spoken of was in British or American possessions. Probability would suggest the former. Beyond Osoyoos Lake I did not deem it necessary to pay much attention to the geological character of the country, the route lying almost entirely in American possessions. Suffice it to say that but few features of interest presented themselves, and that in no place did I see any sign of stratified rocks.”

The only part of the country which can be said to have been geologically surveyed, is the neighbourhood of the Harrison Lake and the portage which lies between Port Douglas and Lilloett. In the summer of 1860, Dr. Forbes, of H.M.S. ‘Topaze,’ undertook this service; and his Report contains, among other things, much valuable information as to the existence of silver there. Of the Harrison Lake, he says: “At the mouth of the stream (on the east side of the lake) and extending on both sides along the shore of the lake, were water-worn boulders of granitic and quartzose rocks; gneiss, with garnets; mica-schist, with garnets; pieces of good roofing-slate, together with masses of a pure white quartz, containing excellent indications of metal. The mountain, the top of which is somewhat rounded in its outline, having a flat surface to the westward, and a remarkable pinnacle or finger-like rock at its immediate base, is composed of trap; having resting upon it, and tilted at a high angle, micaceous, talcose, and horn-blendic schists, all highly charged with iron, the oxidation of which has produced disintegration of these rocks. At a point 500 yards from the mouth of the stream, on its proper right bank, a mass of trachytic rock has been erupted, shattering the surrounding rocks, itself much shaken and shattered; great masses, dislodged by weather and other causes, having slipped and rolled to the bottom of the ravine.

“In this rock, of volcanic origin, was found a mass of quartz, of a beautiful white colour, containing good indications of silver and copper; which indications proved true, for, on assaying a specimen by the reducing process, a globule of each of these metals showed itself. The mass or vein of quartz dips northerly, beneath the overlying trachytic rocks. It is wedge-shaped, the thickness increasing with the depth. From it, in all directions, radiate veins of quartz; which, guarded on each side by a fissile rock, of a French-grey colour, permeate the mass of trachyte in all directions. Those only which run north and south are metalliferous; the east and west veins, or cross courses, are barren.

. . . . I proceeded to examine the veins, seriatim, as they radiated from the great central mass. Rising in a northwesterly direction is a quartz-vein, running through or along with the fissile rock above alluded to, containing ores of silver; and to the right, having the same north-west and south-east direction, about 200 yards above the ‘mother vein,’ a quartz-vein shows itself in the broken precipitous face of the continuing trachytic rock. It runs between two great bands of French-grey coloured rock, separated from it by masses of partially decomposed pyrites; which besides, in a band about three inches in thickness, accompanies the quartz-vein throughout its course.

“Besides these masses and bands of iron pyrites, masses of a dark-green chlorite rock occur; and nodules containing sulpkuret of silver are clearly discernible, both in the veir itself and the rock through which it passes.

“Following the ravine, and at the same time ascending, 1 found, at an elevation of about 600 or 700 feet, another quartz-vein, of the same character, dipping in the same direction, and belonging to the same system; and, from the numerous angular fragments of quartz and quartzose rocks everywhere scattered about, I believe there are numerous other veins, which I had not time to look for or explore. I worked into the quartz-matrix and its ramifying veins, and satisfied myself of the existence of silver at this spot, which, however, will require somewhat extensive mining-operations to procure in paying quantities. The geological character of this locality affords a good type of the general formation of the whole eastern side of the lake, and may here be briefly described as a region of primary, metamorphic, and volcanic rocks, crossed and recrossed by trappean dykes and veins, and seams of metalliferous quartz and quartzose rocks. The primary and igneous rocks, which form the central axis of the mountain-range, have on then* flanks transverse ridges and spurs of trappean rock, bedded and jointed; resting on which, at various angles, lie the metamorphic schistose rocks, which, again broken through, disturbed, and shattered by successive intrusions of volcanic rock, have in many instances undergone a second metamorphosis, and show an amorphous, crystalline structure, accompanied by segregation of metal into the permeating veins.”

Speaking of the country that lies farther up the lake, he says: “The great mass of debris in all the slips was composed of plutonic, trappean, and quartz rocks; all of them full of beautiful groups and strings of crystals of iron pyrites, both massive and in cubes, and all possessing good indications of the proximity of valuable mineral.”

Of the road between Douglas and Lilloett, he observes: “The argentiferous rock is of a pale-blue colour, with masses and strings of quartz running through it. Sulphuret of silver, argentiferous pyrites, and some specks of gold, were to be seen along with iron pyrites in cubes and masses. The vein runs through trap, which, when in contact with the vein, is of a trachytic character. Great volcanic disturbances have taken place, numerous faults existing in the trappean range, which runs in parallel ridges north and south, slips and slides having taken place in the planes of bedding; and the bluff in which this metalliferous rock is found appears to be the result of a great slip from the boundary range of the valley on its eastern side.” Of the whole way to the Hot Springs on the Douglas road, 23 miles from Port Douglas, lie says: “The geological formation is trap of various characters in reference to its crystallization and bedding; in some cases both these characteristics very perfect, in others less so. Metamorphic rock, altered and disturbed by its intrusion, permeating quartzose veins, in some cases metalliferous, in others not so, run through the whole formation. Near the Hot Springs an erupted granite-rock, having a highly crystalline trap on both flanks, occurs, which extending eastward has relation to the granitic rock developed in the argentiferous formation at Fort Hope, if indeed it be not the same.

“Trap rises in lofty precipices on the western side of the river (Lilloett River), and continues on the east, resting on a rocky range of white-coloured stone, which, on examination, proved to be a silicious rock, containing a few indications of copper. The formation on the western side of the river indicates that these veins (quartz) pass along a ravine which dips to the river-bed, under which they pass to rise again. The most promising vein is a quartzose mass, 6 feet in thickness, bedded in and running along with a silicious rock, having masses and fragments of talcose schist in the immediate vicinity. The quartz contained strings of sulphuret of silver, and is, I believe, the outcrop of a valuable mine.”

Summing up these indications, Dr. Forbes remarks : “ The elevation of all these ranges is due to the action of volcanic forces, causing, in the first place, in this north-west and south-east line, a slow and gradual upheaval of the primary and igneous rocks composing the crust of the earth. Then, as these forces increased in intensity, upheavals and disturbances of the mountain masses occurred, both generally and locally, until the geographical features of the country assumed their present aspect, viz. great mountain-chains, running north-west and south-east, having, at right-angles to their axis of elevation, trappean rocks running east and west in transverse spurs and ridges. Resting on these spurs, tilted by them at various angles, are detached and broken masses of metamorphic rock of various kinds, such as clay-slate, micaceous, hornblendic, talcose, and chlorite schists, all permeated by dykes and veins of erupted rock, which, in many instances, have changed the metamorphic rocks at the points of contact into 'amorphous semi-crystalline masses.”

I have before mentioned the discovery of coal at other places than Nanaimo, where it is now worked. All the north end of Vancouver Island, indeed, contains coal-measures, and some quantity has been taken out a little way to the northward of Fort Rupert. The specimens we had on board when we were there were considered quite equal to Nanaimo coal, and the Indians brought some from the mainland opposite, which was also very good. In 1859, coal was found in Coal Harbour, Burrard Inlet, and we took six bags from the outcrop there, upon the quality of which the engineer reported very favourably. It is no exaggeration, indeed, to say that coal exists all along the shores of both colonies; and, when any of the inlets become of sufficient importance to make the work remunerative, there is no doubt it will be found in working position and sufficient quantities. At Nanaimo the seams have lately been tested by bores with the most satisfactory result; and, quite lately, it has been found close to the water’s edge on one of the islands 40 or 50 miles north of that place. In the beginning of last year, Mr. Nicol, the manager of the coal-mines at Nanaimo writes: “We have got the coal in a bore nearly 5 feet thick. I have now fully proved 1,000,000 tons. A shaft 50 or 52 fathoms deep will reach the coal; dip, 1 in 7; a very good working seam. I have no doubt there is another seam underlying this one, of an inexhaustible extent. I have got the outcrop inland, and, from dip to strike, I am sure it is about 30 fathoms below; so that by continuing the same shaft, if necessary, another larger seam containing millions will be arrived at; but the first seam will last my life, even with very large works. With about 5000/. or 8000/. I could get along well, and start a business doing from 60,000 to 100,000 tons a year. The price is 25s. to 28s. alongside the ship.”

It will give a better idea of the comparative cheapness of this coal if I say that at San Francisco the Nanaimo coal sells from 12 to 15 dollars (21. 8s. to 3/.), while the cheapest good English coal cost, when I was there, 20 dollars, or 4/. a ton, and it had been worth more than that. At Panama the U. S. frigate ‘ Saranac ’ had to lay in some coal, and paid 35 dollars (7/.) a ton for it. I happened to be in San Francisco later, when the same vessel came there to be docked. The coal was taken out to lighten the ship, and it was so bad and dusty that it was not considered worth taking on board again.

Mr. Bauermann, the geologist of the Boundary Expedition, says of the Nanaimo coal: “Two seams of coal, averaging 6 or 8 feet each in thickness, occur in these beds, and are extensively worked for the supply of the steamers running between Victoria and Fraser River. The coal is a soft black lignite, of a dull earthy fracture, interspersed with small lenticular bands of bright crystalline coal, and resembles some of the duller varieties of coal produced in the South Derbyshire and other central coalfields in England.

“In some places it exhibits the peculiar jointed structure, causing it to split into long prisms, observable in the brown coal of Bohemia. For economic purposes these beds are very valuable. The coal burns freely, and yields a light pulverescent ash, giving a very small amount of slag and clinker.”

These beds were first brought to notice in 1850 by the Indians bringing some coal to one of the Hudson Bay Company’s agents. This was found on Newcastle Island, in the harbour, and they said they had seen the same on the mainland. It proved to come from the outcrop of the Douglas seam, which was afterwards found to cross the harbour to the island mentioned, where some of the best coal is now taken out. Since its discovery it has been worked by a Company known as the Nanaimo Coal Company, which, however, was really under the management of the Hudson Bay Company’s officials. Quite recently, however, a new Company has been formed, who have purchased good-will, stock and fixtures. It is to be hoped that better fortune will attend this enterprise. Strange enough, whatever else than furs the Hudson Bay Company meddle with appears almost invariably to prove a failure. They mismanaged affairs at Nanaimo, certainly. Good and expensive machinery was sent and fixed, but sufficient capital to work it was not forthcoming; so that the managers were impeded at the outset and, not enabled to develop the resources of the place.

The greatest objection to the Nanaimo coal is its dust and dirt. It burns well, however, and HAIS. ‘Satellite’ was able to get better steam with it than with any other coal. We used it constantly in the ‘Plumper’ for four years without having any other reason of complaint than the dirt arising from it. One of the originators of the new Company which has taken these mines assures me that one valuable quality of this coal is its adaptability for making gas. At San Francisco and in Oregon it is preferred for this purpose to any other coal, on account of its being so highly bituminous. It may be remarked, that the deeper the workings at Nanaimo are earned the better the quality of the coal becomes.

The natural resources of British Columbia, however, independently of its mineral wealth, are such as to make it well worthy of the consideration of agricultural settlers.

After the Cascade Range is passed, or from Lytton upwards, the country assumes an entirely different aspect from that of the coast. The dense pine-forests cease, and the land becomes open, clear, and in the spring and summer, time covered with bunch-grass, which affords excellent grazing for cattle. Although this country may rightly be called open, that word should not be understood in the sense in which an Australian settler, for instance, would accept it. There are no enormous prairies here, as there, without a hill or wood to break the monotony of the scene far as the eye can reach. It is rather what the Californians term “rolling country,” broken up into pleasant valleys and sheltered by mountain-ridges of various height. These hills are usually well clothed with timber, but with little, if any, undergrowth. The valleys are generally clear of wood, except along the banks of the streams which traverse them, on which there is ordinarily a sufficiency of willow, alder, &c., to form a shade for cattle. The timber upon the hills is very light, compared with its growth upon the coast; indeed, there is nothing more than the settler requires for building, fuel, and fencing. Several farms are now established in different parts of the country. I have mentioned one at Pavilion in the account of my journey there, and since there have been greater facilities for obtaining land many others have, I believe, been started. Mr. McLean, who was in charge of Fort Kamloops, when I visited it, has since left the Company’s service, and cultivates a farm near the Chapeau River. He has been many years in the country, and at Kamloops carried on considerable farming operations on behalf of the Company. Governor Douglas, speaking of this district, over which I travelled in 1859, viz. that of the Thompson, Buonaparte, and Chapeau rivers, says :—

“The district comprehended within those limits is exceedingly beautiful and picturesque, being composed of a succession of hills and valleys, lakes and rivers, exhibiting to the traveller accustomed to the endless forests of the coast districts the unusual and grateful spectacle of miles of green hills crowning slopes and level meadows, almost without a bush or tree to obstruct the view, and even to the very hilltops producing an abundant growth of grass. It is of great value as a grazing district,—a circumstance which appears to be thoroughly understood and appreciated by the country packers, who are in the habit of leaving their mules and horses here when the regular work of packing goods to the mines is suspended for the winter. The animals, even at that season are said to improve in condition, though left to seek their own food and to roam at large over the country: a fact which speaks volumes in favour of the climate and of the natural pastures. It has certainly never been my good fortune to visit a country more pleasing to the eye, or possessing a more healthy and agreeable climate, or a greater extent of fine pasture-land; and there is no doubt that, with a smaller amount of labour and outlay than in almost any other colony, the energetic settler may soon surround himself with all the elements of affluence and comfort. Notwithstanding these advantages, such have hitherto been the difficulties of access that the course of regular settlement has hardly yet commenced.

“A good deal of mining-stock has been brought in for sale, but, with the exception of eight or ten persons, there are no farmers in the district. One of those, Mr. McLean, a native of Scotland, and lately of the Hudson Bay Company’s service, has recently settled in a beautiful spot near the debouche of the Hat River, and is rapidly bringing his land into cultivation. He has a great number of horses and cattle of the finest American breeds; and, from the appearance of the crops, there is every prospect that his labour and outlay will be well rewarded. He is full of courage, and as confident as deserving of success. He entertains no doubt whatever of the capabilities of the soil, which he thinks will, under proper management, produce any kind of grain or root crops. The only evil be apprehends is the want of rain, and the consequent droughts of summer, which has induced him to bring a supply of water from a neighbouring stream, by which he can at pleasure irrigate the whole of his fields.”

Again; Mr. Douglas, in speaking of the farm at Pavilion, which I mentioned in my account of that place, says :—

“I received an equally favourable report from Mr. Reynolds, who commenced a farm at Pavilion in 1859, and has consequently had the benefit of two years’ experience. His last crop (1860), besides a profusion of garden vegetables, consisted of oats, barley, turnips, and potatoes, and the produce was most abundant. The land under potatoes yielded 375 bushels to the acre. The turnip-crop was no less prolific; one of the roots weighed 26 lbs., and swedes of 15 lbs. and 16 lbs. were commonly met with.4 He could not give the yield of oats and barley, the greater part having been sold in the sheaf for the mule-trains passing to and from the mines ; but the crop, as was manifest from the weight and length of the straw, which attained a height of fully four feet, was remarkably good. He generally allows his cattle to run at large, and they do not require to be housed or fed in winter. The cold is never severe; the greatest depth of snow in 1859 was 12 inches, and the following winter it did not exceed 6. Ploughing commences about the middle of March. The summers are generally dry, and Mr. Reynolds is of opinion that irrigation will be found an indispensable application in the process of husbandry in this district. In the dry summer of 1859 he kept water almost constantly running through his fields, but applied it only twice during the summer of 1860, when the moisture of the atmosphere proved otherwise sufficient for the crops.”

Although the irrigation spoken of as necessary may appear a great drawback, it is not so really; for so numerous are the streams all over the country, and in such a variety of directions do they run, that very little care will enable a man so to lay out his fields that he may always have plenty of water at his command. The Governor remarked this. “The numerous streams,” he says, “which permeate the valleys of this district afford admirable facilities for inexpensive irrigation. So bountiful, indeed, has Nature been in this respect, that it is hardly an exaggeration to say that there is a watercourse or rivulet for every moderate-sized farm that will be opened in the district.”

I think it will be found, however, that, as civilization advances, as the hill-tops are denuded of trees, and the soil of the valleys is broken up, artificial irrigation will not be so necessary as it now is. Experience elsewhere shows that the climate changes as a country becomes settled; and already this is felt in other parts of this colony. Last year the rain fell in the summer time much more abundantly than it had been known to do before ; while the winter, in which hitherto all the rain had fallen, was drier. I think that Victoria has seen the last of the regular wet and dry seasons that used to set in, and that henceforth there will be rain throughout the year as in England. The rain also becomes much less partial as settlement progresses. A few years ago we used to have rain at Victoria when not a drop fell at Esquimalt, three miles off; and I have seen it rain hard on shore on one side of the harbour, when there was none falling on the other. This, however, seldom happens now.

The country lying south-east of the district we have been considering, is perhaps even richer and more open. I have never visited it myself; but every one whom I have heard speak of it called it the best agricultural district in the colony. It is usually called the Semilkameen country, from the river of that name which runs through it; and it extends from the Nicola River and head-waters of the Thompson, at the Shuswap Lake, down by the Okanagan Lake and River to the boundary line. This region has lately been opened up by a trail cut from Fort Hope through a gorge in the Cascade range of hills, which at that point are called Manson Mountains; and thence descending upon the Semilkameen and Okanagan Rivers. Beneficial as this trail will be to that district, like most of the mountain-trails of the country, it will only be available from four to six months of the year from the depth of snow in the gorge through which it passes.

In September, 1859, Lieutenant Palmer, R.E., was sent to examine this trail and, the country adjoining it; and although he reports very favourably on the soil and general capabilities of it, he thinks the difficulty of obtaining provisions, &c., will deter settlers for some time. Of the soil he says: “The grass is generally of a good quality, the prickly-pyar and ground-cactus, the sore enemy to the moccassined traveller, being the surest indication of an approach to an inferior quality. Timber is for the most part scarce, but coppices appear at the sharp bends of the river tolerably well wooded, and abounding in an underbush of willow and wild cherry, while near the base of the mountains it exists in quantities easily procurable, and more than sufficient for the requirements of any settlers who might at some time populate the district. The soil is somewhat sandy and light, but free from stones, and generally pronounced excellent for grazing and farming; and though the drought in summer is great, and irrigation necessary, many large portions are already well watered by streams from the mountains, whose fall is so rapid as greatly to facilitate such further irrigation as might be required. In corroboration of my expressed opinion relative to the yielding properties of the soil, I may mention that in spots through which, perchance, some small rivulet or spring wound its way to the river, wild vegetation was most luxuriant, and grass, some blades of which I measured out of curiosity, as much as nine feet high, well rounded and firm, and a quarter of an inch in diameter at its lower end. The river throughout its course is confined to a natural bed, the banks being steep enough to prevent inundation during the freshets (a favourable omen for agriculture), and its margin is generally fringed with a considerable growth of wood of different kinds.”

In concluding his report he says: “The present undeveloped state of British Columbia, and the absence of any good roads of communication with the interior, would probably render futile the attempt to settle the Semilkameen and other valleys in the vicinity of the 49th parallel. Extensive crops, it is true, might probably be raised, but the immigrant would have to depend for other necessaries of life either on such few as might from time to time find their way into the country from Washington territory, or on such as might, during four months in the year, be obtained from Fort Hope and other points on the Fraser River, and either of which could not be obtained but at prices too exorbitant for the pocket of the poor man. It would seem, therefore, that the Buonaparte and Thompson River valleys are the natural starting-points for civilization and settlement. Starting from these points, civilization would gradually creep forward and extend finally to the valleys of the frontier.”

While quite agreeing with Lieutenant Palmer that the Buonaparte and Thompson valleys have at present the advantage of the Semilkameen, I think he overestimates some of the difficulties of settling the latter. The great advantage possessed by the former is in the fact of their lying on the road to the richest diggings now worked in the country (Cariboo). This, of course, enables the farmer to find a near and convenient, market for his produce; as, for instance, in one of the reports from which I have quoted, Mr. Reynolds, a farmer there, is said to have sold all or nearly all his oats and barley in the sheaf to the mule-trains trading to the mines. Just now the Semilkameen country, in which very rich diggings were discovered, has been deserted for the superior attractions of Cariboo; but a lucky find, which is likely to occur at any time, will bring the miners hurrying back again, to the profit, of course, of the settlers farming there. In proof of the probability of this occurring, it may be mentioned that in May 1861, Mr. Cox (the Gold Commissioner at Rock Creek) reports: “We prospected nine streams, all tributaries of the lake (Okanagan), and found gold in each, averaging from thirty to ninety cents a pan.” He then mentions other good prospects which have not been nude public, “as it would only lead to bad results just at present. The miners in this (Rock Creek) neighbourhood would be easily coaxed off, and the mines now in preparatory condition for being worked, abandoned; improvements going on in buildings or farms would be checked; town lots would be almost unsaleable; in fact, the expected revenue receipt would be seriously interfered with.”

As to the necessaries and even the luxuries of life, there is no doubt that the settlers in the Semilkameen districts could command them cheaper and more readily than those upon the Upper Fraser, obtaining them as they might across the boundary from Walla-Walla and Colville upon the Columbia River. I have before mentioned that this fact of the Americans carrying on a trade across the frontier was a great cause of complaint to the British merchants, who, having to take their goods up the Fraser River, found themselves undersold by their more fortunate rivals. To remedy this, in December I860, an order was issued prohibiting the transmission of goods across the frontier except at a high rate of duty, and then only “pending the completion of the communications in British Columbia.” This prohibitory proclamation was issued because when the Governor visited New Westminster in October 1860, “there was much depression in business circles, and a marked decrease of trade; .... a casualty generally attributed by business men to the growing overland trade with the possessions of the United States in Oregon and Washington territory, which now supply, on the southern frontier of the colony, a large proportion of the bulky articles, such as provisions and bread-stuffs, consumed in the eastern districts of British Columbia.” This clearly shows that the southern districts of the colony can be more easily supplied than any others: while, for agricultural purposes, the advantages of climate there will be a consideration of great weight.

In the northern part of the colony, from Alexandria upwards, although the soil, wherever it has been tried by the Hudson Bay Company’s people, has been found good, the country is too cold and liable to frost, in the early summer, to offer the attractions as a producing district possessed by the country farther south.

Mr. McLean, however, who lived many years at Alexandria, told me that he had known a bushel of wheat planted there yield forty bushels; but this was considerably more than an average produce. Of the Upper posts, Mr. Manson, who was seven years at Fort St. James, told me the soil is good, but the crops, except barley, are almost always nipped by frost. During the whole of his residence there, they only got two crops of potatoes. At Fraser Fort, which is in nearly the same latitude as Fort James, but considerably to the westward of it, vegetation thrives much better, and barley, peas, turnips, and potatoes, almost always yield good crops. The country southward of Fraser Fort and down to the Chilcotin River, I was told by Mr. McLean, as well as by a settler whom I met at Pavilion, contained very good farming-land, bnt on most of it there are two or three feet of snow every winter: so that these regions will not yet vie with those before spoken of; for at Pavilion, in the northern part of the Thompson River district, Mr. Reynolds, as I have before mentioned, said they had only twelve inches of snow in the winter of 1859-60, and only six inches in 1860-61. Moreover, in the north the cattle must always be stall-fed in winter.

Of the banks of the Lower Fraser, between the mouth of the river and Fort Hope, the Governor writes: “The banks of this river are almost everywhere covered with woods. Varieties of pine, and firs of prodigious size, and large poplar-trees, predominate. The vine and soft maple, the mid apple-tree, the white and black thorn, and deciduous bushes in great variety, form the massive undergrowth. The vegetation is luxuriant, almost beyond conception, and at this season of the year presents a peculiarly beautiful appearance. The eye never tires of ranging over the varied shades of the fresh green foliage, mingling with the clustering white flowers of the wild apple-tree, now in full blossom and filling the air with delicious fragrance. As our boat, gliding swiftly over the surface of the smooth waters, occasionally swept beneath the overhanging boughs that form a canopy of leaves impervious to the sun’s scorching rays, the effect was enchanting.”

Although I have said that the country seaward of the Cascade Range is, as a whole, unfit for agricultural purposes, there are some spots of very fine land near the coast quite sufficient to produce all that will for a long time be required by the population there. I have before spoken of the Lilloett meadows at Port Pemberton, and of the valley of the Squawmisht, at the head of Howe Sound, as containing much valuable laud. At the mouth of the Fraser, also, there is an extensive plain, which is covered in summer with most luxuriant hay, and which, although now flooded when the water is high, might, I think, easily be reclaimed. The hay from this plain has already become a source of considerable profit to some settlers, who cut and send it to Victoria.

Five miles above New Westminster, on the banks of tke Pitt Paver, are also found extensive clear plains called the Pitt meadows. These will no doubt soon be cultivated for the supply of New Westminster, their only drawback being that many parts are liable to overflow. In 1860 the Governor visited Pitt Lake, from which the river of that name flows, and, speaking of these meadows, he says: “The banks of the Pitt River are exceedingly beautiful: extensive meadows sweep gracefully from the very edge of the river towards the distant hue of forest and mountain. The rich alluvial soil produces a thick growth of grass, interspersed with the Michaelmas daisy, the wild rose, and scattered groups of willows. This fine district contains an area of 20,000 acres of good arable land, requiring no clearing from timber, and ready for the immediate operations of the plough. Many parts of it are, however, exposed to overflow through the periodical inundations of the Fraser, which commence about the first week in June, and generally subside before the middle of July. Owing to this circumstance, the Pitt meadows are not adapted for raising wheat or other cereals which require the entire season to mature; but it may be turned to good account in growing hay and every kind of root crop, and may also be used extensively for pasturing cattle, and for the purposes of dairy.”

In addition to these localities, there is a considerable quantity of clear land around, and opposite to, the deserted city of Derby. Land may now be obtained in British Columbia under the enactments of the new pre-emption system readily, and at a very low rate, in those parts of the country yet unsurveyed; which include indeed all but that immediately surrounding the settlements. An intending settler has merely to fix upon the site of his farm, and give such a description of its locality, boundaries, &c., as he is able to the nearest magistrate, paying at the same time a fee of 8s. for its registration. These regulations extend, however, to 160 acres only. A settler desiring to pre-empt a larger quantity than that, must pay down an instalment of 2s. 1d. per acre. This payment entitles him to possession of the land until it is surveyed by the Government, when the full value at which it may be assessed—which cannot, however, exceed 4s. 2d. an acre—becomes payable. To prevent speculators holding large tracts of country, and thus keeping out bond fide settlers, land held under the pre-emption system cannot be legally sold, mortgaged, or leased, unless the pre-emptor can prove to the magistrate that he has made permanent improvements on the land to the value of 10s. an acre. As this land-system is of great importance to the intending settler, the latest proclamations upon the subject are given in full in the Appendix.

On Vancouver Island, although the quantity of agricultural land is very small in comparison with that in British Columbia, there are many lovely spots for farms; and the soil, wherever it has been tried, is very fertile. To name all the clear spots on the island would take too much space, and would be of no advantage to the settler unacquainted with the country. I will, therefore, merely speak of the larger tracts which have been examined, and of the system by which these, or any portions of them, may be occupied.

The districts of Soke and Metchosin, at the south-east extreme of the island, contain a large quantity of good land, much of which is still unsettled. Of the capabilities of this tract, I cannot do better than quote the evidence of the late Colonel Grant, who was one of the first immigrants to Vancouver, and whose farm was in this district. He says that he found the soil produce abundantly, when cultivated, any crops that can be grown in Scotland or England. After describing Soke Harbour, he continues:—“Along the eastern shore there is little or no available land. Following the shore of the harbour, we come to no available land until half-way to the Indian village, which is situated at the bend above-mentioned; round it are a few hundred acres of available woodland. At this point the Soke River discharges itself, which takes its course in two lakes, one about 12 miles in a direct line to the north, and the other about 25 miles up. There are a few patches of open meadow-land near the mouth of the river, on which the Indians grow considerable quantities of potatoes. Small canoes can go up the river to a distance of three miles; there is a little level land along it at intervals for that distance, consisting of a rich alluvial soil, covered with a magnificent growth of timber. This land, however, where it exists at all, merely extends for a few yards back from the river, and beyond the whole country is utterly unavailable. From the mouth of the river all along the west coast of the harbour, the land is rich and level; and, though at present covered with woodland, may, doubtless, some day be brought into cultivation. Near the entrance of the harbour, and running from it across a peninsula to the Straits, is a small prairie of 315 acres. The soil in the prairie is a rich, black vegetable mould from three to four feet deep, with a stiff clay subsoil, resting on sandstone, and the surrounding woodland also consists of very rich soil.”

Colonel Grant then proceeds to state that “five square miles, of which 330 acres in all are open land, and the remainder tolerably level woodland, will certainly comprise the whole available land in the district.” In this estimate, however, there is no doubt that he is a good deal under the mark.

Immediately round Victoria, and in the Saanitch district, on the peninsula spoken of before, is much good land; but this is now all or nearly all settled and under cultivation. The Cowitchen Valley, which I mentioned in my journal as comprising a very large quantity of available land, was surveyed in 1860, and in the surveyor’s report will be found the following remarks:—“I am firmly persuaded that under a common judicious system of farming, as good returns can be obtained from these lands as in any part of the continent of America. The climate, it may be noted, is one especially adapted for the pursuits of agriculture, not being subject to the heats and droughts of California, or to the colds of the other British American provinces and the eastern United States. The loamy soils everywhere possessing a depth of two or three feet, and containing a large proportion of the calcareous principle, are especially eligible for fruit-culture; and the oak-plains around the Somenos and Quamichan lakes, with a sandy clay subsoil, are exceedingly, well adapted for fruit or garden purposes. Among the native fruits the blackberry, mulberry, raspberry, strawberry, gooseberry, currant, and high bush-cranberry, would require little pains or culture to produce luxuriantly. The varieties of plants are very numerous; a few only were noted growing on the plains or meadow lands, among which are the following:—Wild pea, wild beans, ground-nut, clover, field-strawberry, wild oat, cut grass, wild timothy, reed meadow-grass, long spear-grass, sweet grass, high ostrich-fern, cowslip, crowfoot, winter cress, partridge-berry, wild sunflower, marigold, wild lettuce, nettles, wild Angelica, wild lily, broad-leafed rush, and reed-bush. The ferns attain a height of six or eight feet, and the grasses all have a vigorous growth.

“The following are some of the trees or shrubs:—Oak, red or swamp maple, alder, trailing arbutus, bois de fleche, crab-apple, hazel-nut, red alder, willow, balsam-poplar, pitch-juice, and various other species; balsam-fir, cedar, barberry, wild red cherry, wild blackberry, yellow plum, choke-cherry, black and red raspberry, swamp-rose, bearberry, red elder, mooscberry, snowberry, blueberry, bilberry, whortleberry, cranberry, red and white mulberry.

“The whole area surveyed is 57,658 acres, of which 45,000 acres of plain and prairie land may be set down as superior agricultural lands, the remaining portion being woodland, either open or thick.”

Though I have not perfect confidence in all the details of the gentleman who was charged with this survey, and who was not one of the regular staff, the general outline may be trusted; and I have given the above extracts to show generally how rich the country is wherever it is free from the heavy timber. The luxuriance of the growth of wild fruits and flowers exceeds that of any country I have ever been in. I do not, of course, mean to compare it with the rank vegetation of the tropics, but I assert that it is more naturally fertile than any region I have ever visited.

Above the Cowitchen Valley come the Somenos Valley and the Nanaimo district. In each of these there is much good land.

Mr. Pearce, the assistant-colonial surveyor, who examined and reported on these districts, divides the land around Nanaimo into four divisions—the Mountain, Cranberry, and Cedar districts, and the Delta plains—estimating them to contain together 43,450 acres. He says of the second of these:—“The soil is sandy, but covered with the most luxuriant vegetation, fern, wild fruit-bushes, and trees, among which it may be noted the crab-apple and cherry are everywhere found. The woods are, for the most part, open, and free from bush and fallen timber, and present quite a tropical appearance. The principal timber is cedar, pine, maple, and poplar, all of which grow to gigantic size, the pines rising to 100 feet without a branch, and having many distinct and separate tops; the branches of the cedar grow to the very ground. Some of these trees measure 27 feet in circumference, and are perfectly sound. The maple and poplar-trees are very tall and straight, and average 10 feet in circumference.” Of the Cedar district, which contains 11,000 acres, he says:—“Nearly the whole of this is available for cultivation. The soil is very fertile, and of a good depth, with a clay subsoil, and abounds in springs of beautiful water, especially along the coast, which are probably caused by the drainage from the lakes in the interior. The south-eastern part is also filled with large lakes, though the land generally is poor and rocky around them, but the pine, cedar, and maple timber, is all of the finest kind. The lakes are perfectly full of trout, and the surrounding country abounds with all kind of game before mentioned; i. e., elk, deer, bear, grouse, partridge, wildfowl, crane, and pigeon.” Of the Delta plains, which contain about 1000 acres, he says:— “The southern portion consists of rich vegetable soil, of a great depth, with a subsoil of muddy clay or loam, the deposit of ages; the north portion is apparently subject at long intervals to floods, but is, nevertheless, admirably suited for a stock or grazing farm, or rather farms, bearing a long rich grass, which the Indians annually cut and sell to the settlers at Colville town (Nanaimo).”

Of the Komoux, Salmon River, and other clear places farther north on the island, I have spoken in the description of my visits to them. According to Hr. Pemberton, the colonial surveyor, there must be a good deal more clear land at Komoux, Courtenay River, than we saw, as he estimates it at 30 square miles.

At Fort Rupert, which is the most northern spot on the island where cultivation has been attempted, the produce of vegetables and flowers in the garden is yearly most luxuriant. Nor is this strange, when it is remembered that the northernmost point of the island is only in the same latitude as the Thompson River district.

I have given in a previous chapter some extracts from the Journal of Mr. Moffat, the only white man who has visited the interior of the island at the north end. In his summary he says:—

“The timber in the interior of the island is very fine; in fact the banks of both sides of the Nimpkish River, from the first lake almost to the Nootka Inlet, are lined with splendid red pines,6 large and long enough for the spars of the largest men-of-war. The water-communication is also a great consideration. Spars could be squared, rolled into the water, and floated down without difficulty to any depot, such as the anchorage at Illeece, or even Beaver Cove.

“The various berries of the country grow in great abundance, with the exception of the small dark berry resembling a beaver-shot; I am unacquainted with the name. It is plentiful down south and at Comoux. Salmon of various kinds, of splendid quality, are found in abundance on the coast, as well as halibut and other sea-fish.

“Rock-oysters of large size I procured to the north of Nootka, some 50 miles, but saw few other shell-fish, except the large sea-mussel and the barnacle. Crabs and sea-egg were plentiful, also the sea-cucumber, and the various species of star-fish and sea-anemones.

“The zoology is the same as other parts of Vancouver Island, except that the purple marmot is occasionally found at Koskimo, but not the common grey marmot. The white land-otters, which have at various times been forwarded from here, were killed near Kioquettuck.

“The depth of the Nimpkish Lake I have since sounded, and got no bottom at seventy-five fathoms from the stern of a canoe, her bow being aground ashore.”

Mr. Moffat also mentions having discovered at the Nimpkish Lake “a tree resembling a walnut, with a trunk about 4½ feet in circumference, and emitting a fine perfume.”

So rapid has been the commercial progress of the colony since the discovery of gold to the present time, and so necessarily fluctuating are all the tariffs of a country whose population doubles or trebles in a month or two, and then in a few months dwindles nearly to a cipher, that it is impossible to give anything like a satisfactory account of its commerce. The principal trade is with San Francisco, and from the custom-house books we can learn the tonnage which has arrived at, and cleared from, California during the past year. From these wre find a decrease in the trade of 1861 from that of 1860, which is owing, doubtless, to the increasing trade with England and the eastern states of America, and to the large stock left on hand from the preceding year. But of the export of gold we are unable to get any just estimate, on account of so large a proportion of it having been exported by private individuals, of which the Custom-house at Victoria takes no cognizance. We find from the colonial returns in January, 1862, that the number of vessels, including steamers, that arrived at San Francisco was 46 ; the tonnage, 29,597 tons; the total exports, not including gold, 48,905 dollars. Fifteen vessels, all steamers, left the colony in ballast, and consequently all the exports of the colony were carried in 31 vessels.

This shows that Nanaimo exceeds Victoria in exports fourfold, which is reasonable enough, when it is remembered that all the eoal exported from that port is known, while the gold sent from the other is not ascertainable. The comparison above-mentioned of the years 1860 and 1861 shows a decrease of 11 vessels and 14,291 tons arriving at San Francisco, and that the falling off in the number of vessels cleared for Victoria is greater than in the number entered. In 1860, 116 vessels, with a total tonnage of 62,998 tons, cleared for British Columbia and Vancouver Island. In 1861 there were only 84 vessels carrying 43,675 tons; showing a decrease of 32 vessels and 19,323 tons. If we did not know that more gold has been found in that than in any previous year, this would appear alarming; but the fact being that the supply of gold is increasing, it must be attributed to the overstocked markets of 1860. This, indeed, I know was the case, for merchants at Victoria, well aware that good news from the upper country might at anytime bring a rush of immigration, laid in a large supply of such stores as would not perish, so as to be ready in case of emergency.

The statistics of the treasure (coin) sent up from California show only two shipments: in January, 24,000 dollars, in September, 3500 dollars. This is doubtless true as regards the custom-house books, but that much more must have come in some way is certain from the amount of oust which was bought for cash in Victoria. Wells, Fargo, and Company, of whom I have before spoken, are stated to have sent down 1,339,895 dollars (279,145/.) in gold-dust during the year 1861, and another Company (Macdonald and Co.) to have shipped between June and December 296,895 dollars (62,269/. 15s. 10c/.), making a total of 1,636,790 dollars (342,414. 11s. 8d.) of which a large part is said to have been paid for in Victoria.

In the interior of the country the prices are never steady; not only do they rise and fall with summer and winter, but any delays on the route, the non-arrival of a pack-train when it is expected, or the influx of 100 or 200 men, will always run the prices up for a few days at least. The whole tendency, however, is doubtless towards cheapening the supplies as the communications become more complete and less liable to interruption from bad roads, &c. I have mentioned that the winter before I went up the country, i. e., 1858-59, bacon was selling at “Bigbar,” 100 miles below Cariboo, at 1 dollars (65.) per lb., and flour at 75 cents (3s.).

I now give the prices current in the summer of 1860. In September, 1860, the prices at Alexandria, 100 miles South of Cariboo, were—

At that time the rates of freight were very low, in consequence of excessive competition; only 37 per ton being charged from Victoria to Yale, while in the spring of 1860 10/. per ton was charged. Mr. Sanders, the Assistant Gold Commissioner at Yale, says:—“The miner and labouring man can live comfortably there on 3s. a day. Charge of restaurants is 21. a week. Bate of wages 10/. per month and keep.”

He estimates the probable yield of the road-toll between Yale and Lytton for the year at—

According to the list kept by him during the past season (1860), 2723 mules were packed to the interior from that town (Yale). The revenue of the district of Yale for 1860 was—

Since that time, however, some new roads have been completed and several begun, and each mile of these makes things cheaper. Writing at the same time, the Governor says: “The works we propose to execute this year are as follows:—

For these purposes he says the colony can find 25,000/., and asks for a loan of 50,000/.

If the routes which are now being tried between Bute Inlet and Bentinck Arm to Cariboo succeed, it will make a considerable change in the commercial position of the towns on the Fraser, and very probably some difference to Victoria. For Bute Inlet the traffic will still go in by the strait of Fuca and past Victoria, but if Bentinck Arm becomes a thoroughfare, vessels bound thither will do much better to keep outside the Vancouver Island rather than go up the inner channels, for the entrance to Bentinck Arm is 70 miles north of the north end of the island. It will be a considerable advantage to these routes if they are able to avail themselves of inland water-carriage, as it is always so much cheaper than land-carriage. I have mentioned in proof of this that on the Lilloett River in the winter of 1858-59, the Indians were taking goods up the river in their canoes for 5 cents (2Id.) per lb., while the packers on the trail wrere charging 15 cents (7Ad.).

Mr. Ninel, the magistrate of the Cariboo district, tells me that the Fraser Fiver between Alexandria and Fort George is navigable for steamers, and by the latest accounts a steamer is being placed on the river there. If the Stuart or West Road Rivers are found to be navigable also, it will shorten the coast routes both in time and expense immensely, and still more if the Bellhoula Fiver is navigable for any distance from the coast.

In speaking of the resources of these colonies, the immense supply of fish of all kinds must not be omitted. The quantity of salmon is almost beyond description; but it will give some idea of it to say that a Hudson Bay Company’s officer, who lived many years on the Columbia, told me that on a sudden falling of the water such numbers were left on the banks as to cause the river to stink for miles. The usual way of catching this fish is by spearing from the canoe; in salt-water the Indians do this as they paddle about the harbours, or, if it be at the mouth of a river, drive stakes in to keep the fish back, and then spear them while they are trying to get through. In the rivers a net is fixed into a frame; the fish run into this and are speared, or, when the water is still, are taken out with a small scoop-net fastened on the end of a pole. They use spindles of the Thuja plicata as corks for the upper part of these nets, and weight the lower part with stones. “The rope of the net is made of Salix or Thuja, and the cord of Apocymene piscatorium (A. hyperici-folium ?), a gigantic species peculiar to this country, whose fibre affords a great quantity of flax.” I have frequently watched this proceeding. Mr. David Douglas, the botanist, gives such a capital description of the way these nets are fitted, in his journal, that I cannot do better than transcribe it literally:—

“The quantity of salmon (Salmo scoulieris—Fichardson) taken in the Columbia, he says, is almost incredible ; and the Indians resort in great numbers to the best fishing-spots, often travelling several hundred miles for this purpose. The salmon are captured in the following manner:—Before the water rises, small channels are made among the rocks and stones, dividing the stream into branches, over which is erected a platform or stage on which a person can stand; these are made to be raised or let down as the water falls or rises. A scoop-net which is fastened round a hoop, and held by a pole 12 or 15 feet long, is then dropped into the channel, which it exactly fits ; and the current of the water carrying it down, the poor fish swims into it without being aware, when the individual who watches the net instantly draws it, and flings the fish on shore. The handle of the net is secured by a rope to the platform, lest the force of the current should drive it out of the fisher’s hands. The hoop is made of Acer circuiatum, thg net of the bark of an Apocymene, which is very durable and tough, and the pole of pine-wood.” He gives also the size of some fish, and an average weight rather higher than I should give; but he speaks of the Columbia River, where, perhaps, the fish are larger. He says they generally weigh 15 to 25 lbs. He measured two: one was 3 ft. 5 in. long, and 10 inches broad at the thickest part, weighing 35 lbs.; the other 3ft. 4 in., and 9 inches broad, weighing a little less. Both were purchased for 2 inches of tobacco (about half an ounce) value two-pence.

The mention I have before made of salmon being used as manure at Fort Rupert will also give an idea of their quantity. Since the influx of whites into the country, the Indians ask a much higher price for their fish than they used; but when I first wont there, in 1849, I remember the largest salmon bought on board weighed 50 lbs., and the price it fetched was two sticks of tobacco!

The sturgeon also is caught in very large numbers, and of great size in some parts, the month of the Fraser particularly. Mr. Douglas, the botanist, mentions one caught by one of my companions, which measured 12 feet 9 inches from the snout to the tip of the tail, and 7 feet round the thickest part, while its weight exceeded 500 pounds.

Hallibut also reach an immense size, and are caught in great numbers everywhere; but, as I have said, particularly off the entrance of the Strait of Fuca.

The herring literally swarm over the harbours in myriads; nothing can give a better idea of the number of these fish than the way they are caught. A dozen or so of sharp nails or spikes are driven into a flat piece of wood 1G or 18 feet long, and 2 or 3 inches broad, making an instrument like a rake; an Indian sits in the bows of his canoe, and dipping this down perpendicularly under water sweeps it along towards the after end of the canoe, pinning some six or eight fish on the nails each sweep he makes; every time he brings it up, he turns the nails points downwards, and gives the rake a tap on the gunwale, which knocks the fish off into the bottom of the canoe. In this way a man will often half fill his canoe in an hour or so.

There is much more game on Vancouver Island than in British Columbia; when travelling in the latter, the absence of animal life has always appeared to me remarkable, while on the former it is generally abundant. On Vancouver Island, when I went from Alberni to Nanaimo, I shot a wapiti and two deer, without going out of my way, and might have shot three or four more wapiti, if we had stopped to do so. This, it must be remembered, however, was in a part of the island before untrodden by man; and a settler must not expect to meet deer straying about his fields, or he will be grievously disappointed. In Columbia, on the other hand, there are large numbers of mountain-sheep, which are unknown on the island. This animal is only found on the mountains whose summits are covered with perpetual snow. I only saw one while I was in the country, and that was when in the snow crossing from Jervis Inlet to Howe Sound; instead of wool it has a short thick coarse hair, and from this circumstance is called by the Company’s servants mouton gris. I have never tasted it, but Mr. David Douglas says “the flesh is fine, quite equal to that of the domestic sheep.” He adds, “the horns of the male, weighing sometimes 18 to 24 lbs., are dingy white, and form a sort of volute; those of the female bend back, curving outwards toward the point.” I think Mr. Douglas is wrong as to the colour of the horns. I have seen many of them among the Indians, by whom they are made into spoons, and they are far more generally black than clingy white.

The great set-off that Vancouver Island has against the gold of British Columbia, is her timber; for though timber abounds in British Columbia, we came upon no place there where such fine spars were to be found, and with such facilities for shipping as at Barclay Sound and the neighbourhood of Fort Rupert.

The following is the list of trees found at Barclay Sound, as given by the woodsmen employed there by the Mill Company already spoken of. I give first the local names, the scientific being appended, so far as they are known, by Dr. Bindley:—

Yellow Fir, or Douglas Pine, sometimes misnamed Oregon Pine— Abies Douglasii.
White Fir—probably Abies alba.
Spruce Fir—probably Abies nigra.
Balsam Fir—Abies balsamea.
Willow Fir—Salix rostrata.
White Pine—Pinus monticola.
Yellow Pine.
Cedar—Possibly Juniperus oceidentalis.
Alder—Probably Alnus viridis.
Dogwood—Cornus alba.
Yew—Taxus baeeata.
Crab-apple—Pyrus rivularis.
Maple (two kinds)—Acer macrophyllnm and probably Acer rubrum.
Hemlock—Abies Canadiensis.
Cotton Wood—Popnlns balsamifera, or Populus monilifera.
Aspen —Populus tremuloides.
Arbutus—Arbutus procera.
Yellow Cypress—Thuja gigantea.

Foremost among them all stands the Douglas fir (Abies Douglasii), named after its discoverer, David Douglas, the botanist. As timber for spars or plank, this tree is unequalled. It grows to the height of 200 to 300 feet, and usually as straight as an arrow. This wood has been planted in several places in England, and should become one of the common trees of this country. The value of this wood for spars has been tested and reported on by the engineer of the French dockyard at Cherbourg, whose report was greatly in its favour. As plank, it is equally fine. Dr. Lindley tells me he has had two planks, about 20 feet long each, which have been in his house in a room where there is constantly a fire, since 1827, and that neither of them has warped or shrunk the least since they were first placed there.

The following extract relating to the Douglas fir is from the 'Gardeners’ Chronicle’:—“We now know that this most beautiful tree, the Douglas fir, is unsurpassable in the qualities which render timber most valuable. It is clean-grained, strong, elastic, light, and acquires large dimensions in ungenial climates. It thrives everywhere in the United Kingdom, except the extreme north, and is therefore of all trees that which most deserves the attention of planters for profit. To which we may add that no evergreen surpasses it as an ornament of scenery.

“Little or nothing was known of the Douglas fir until it was brought into notice by the Horticultural Society, which received its seeds from the hardy collector whose name it bears, and distributed some thousands of young plants among its Fellows. As this happened about five-and-thirty years ago, there must already be an abundance of good specimens in the country. The purpose of this notice is to increase them to the utmost, by inducing landed proprietors to substitute the Douglas fir for the very inferior spruce.

“The Douglas fir makes its first appearance on the mountains of Northern Mexico, in the country near the Beal del Monte mines. Thence it follows northwards the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, at least as high as the now celebrated but savage Cariboeuf, or Cariboo gold-field, in British Columbia. Douglas, the collector, who crossed the Rocky Mountains a little to the south, through the 'Committee’s Punchbowl Pass,’ reported that it formed vast forests there on the lower ranges, and struggled upwards till it became mere scrub. We ourselves had, till lately, bark of the tree from those desolate regions fully six inches thick.

A spar of this fir, more than 200 feet high, has been erected in the Eoyal Botanic Gardens at Kew; and sections, cut at intervals of 15 feet, of a tree 309 feet long, were sent to this country for the International Exhibition. A horizontal section of another tree having been sent for the same purpose, a careful examination of it was made to ascertain its age and rate of growth. The result of this examination, which has appeared in the ‘Gardeners’ Chronicle,’ will be found interesting.

"The diameter is (5 feet, viz., 34 inches on one side, 38 on the other. Its rate of growth on the 34-inch side has been

“It is as well to remark that tin's British Columbian fir, although three centuries and a-half old, and although for the last forty-two years it increased little more than l-10th of an inch in diameter yearly, is perfectly sound to the heart. Foresters will understand the importance of this fact.”

Mr. Sproat, the Barclay Sound Mill Company’s agent at Victoria, says of this wood:—“The bark of the tree is very like that of the Canadian hemlock. At its base, and for some distance up, the bark is often a foot thick; the sap is always thinner in proportion as the bark is thick, and vice versa. The sappiest trees are those that grow in the sunshine. The wood varies in colour; a yellowish colour predominates, though a good many are reddish. The colour appears to depend much on the age and situation of the tree, on its greater or less exposure to the sun.”

The cone of this tree can never be mistaken, as on the outside of each scale is a sort of claw, with three fingers to it, distinguishing it plainly from all other fir-cones.

The white fir (Abies alba) is poor, compared with the Douglas, though the trees are often a considerable size.

The white pine (Pinus monticola) makes very good plank for building purposes.

The yellow cypress (Thuja gigantea), which abounds more in the north than the south of the colony, is a very useful wood, light, tough, and elastic; it makes the best plank for boat-building that I have ever seen. Its leaf differs from that of the other and common cypress (Thuja occidentalis), in being convex on both sides.

For ornamental purposes the bird’s-eye maple (Acer macro-phyllum), dogwood (Cornus alba), cedar (Juniperus occidentalis), and arbutus (Arb. procera), are all valuable.

The maple and cedar are very plentiful, and the latter grows to a great size.

The fertility of the soil wherever it has been tested is, as I have before said, great; and the quantity of wild fruits and flowers which abound everywhere is very remarkable. In all swampy places cranberries of two or three sorts grow so plentifully that a flourishing trade is driven with them at San Francisco. Wild strawberries and raspberries, sallal, barberries, black and blue berries, salmon-berries, currants, and gooseberries abound. In the summer, when we were away surveying, the Indians brought such quantities of these alongside that the whole ship’s company were usually surfeited before the season was over.

There are also several kinds of bulbous roots, the commonest is the camass (Scilla esculenta), of which the Indians eat a great deal; it has a slight onion flavour, but is sweet.

I need not attempt a detailed account of the plants and shrubs of the colonies. Mr. David Douglas has described many; and a fuller account may be expected from Dr. D. Lyall, who has been attached to the Boundary party, and with them examined the country from the coast to the summit of the Rocky Mountains.

I may mention, however, that hops grow remarkably well, and that a species of tobacco and tea are to be found in Columbia. The former of these was first collected by Mr. Douglas, who says, “Among the most interesting of the plants which I gathered last year (1825) is a species of tobacco, the Nicotiana pulverulenta of Reush, correctly surmised by Nuttall to grow on this side of the Rocky Mountains; though whether this country, or the Eocky Mountains themselves, or the banks of the Missouri, be its original habitat, I am quite unable to say. I am inclined to think, however, that it is indigenous to the mountains, where the hunters say that it grows plentifully. The Nicotiana is never sown by the Indians near the villages, lest it should be pulled and used before it comes to perfect maturity. They select for its cultivation an open place in the wood, where they burn a dead tree or stump, and, strewing the ashes over the ground, plant the tobacco there. They say the wood-ashes invariably make it grow large.” I have smoked this at Fort Kamloops, and liked the flavour—which was similar to that of mild tobacco—very much.

The wild tea-leaf resembles that of China tea. I have never tasted it, but Mr. Pemberton says, “ its flavour is not bad and effect exhilarating.” He adds, “Some years ago the Hudson Bay Company imported a cargo, but it was stopped at the Custom-house and thrown overboard to avoid the duty.”t

I have been favoured by my friend Hr. Wood, of H.M.S. ‘Hecate,’ with the following remarks upon the natural history of the two colonies. I have much gratification in being able, by Dr. Wood’s friendly compliance with my request, to lay before the reader information so trustworthy and valuable.

“In the following remarks I do not assume to give more than a cursory sketch of those sections of the natural history of British Columbia and Vancouver Island which are of most interest to the general reader. Separated by a few miles of ocean, the Fauna and Flora of both colonies are the same—insular position and a less extensive area, however, causing one to bo sparse in many things which her larger neighbour possesses in profusion, while again the ocean-washed shores of the western side of Vancouver Island are rich in resources which British Columbia possesses less abundantly. As I am personally better acquainted with Vancouver Island, and as less is known of it than of British Columbia, I will in a great measure confine my remarks to the former, asking the reader to remember, however, that, unless the contrary is indicated when speaking of either colony, I include both.

“I pass over the First and Second Orders of Mammals (the first embracing the peculiar province of the Ethnologist; the second, or monkey-like animals, not being represented in these colonies), and commence with the Carnivora, the first and second families of which are also sparingly represented. Among them are

“Bears.—The Black Bear, Ursus Americanus, is often seen, and falls easily to the gun of the sportsman. Unless when wounded, it never attacks man. This hear is chiefly a vegetable feeder. The flesh is coarse, but good; and the skin, which is of little marketable value, makes a good rug.

“The Grizzly, Ursus horribilis, is not found on the Island: it is sometimes shot in British Columbia, but its chief home is the Rocky Mountains. It is wisest to leave him unmolested.

“The Racoon, Ursus lotor, is a harmless animal, easily tamed. It feeds mostly on wild fruits and, it is said, small birds. It is very numerous in some parts of the coast.

“Martens.—The yellow-breasted or Pine Marten, Mustela martes, and one of a whole colour, are very numerous. Their skins are in great request, and are collected in large numbers by the fur-traders. A good one is worth from 6s. to 8s. The Common Mink, Putorius vison, is also found in great numbers. The Skunk is also frequently seen.

“Otters.—The Land Otter, Mustela lutra, is frequently shot by the Indians. The skin is of little value. The Sea Otter, Enhydra marina, is found throughout the north-west coast of Vancouver. The skin is much sought after, being an extremely valuable fur. The skin, of a full-sized one, undressed, and measuring 6 feet, commands the price of thirty blankets—121. to 14Z. They are sent to England, and, when dressed, forwarded to China, where the finest sometimes fetch 100 dols. (American) apiece.

“Wolves.— Two species of wolf are known to the settlers, and are commonly spoken of as the Bed and Black Wolf. They do not much frequent the settled districts except in winter, when they are very destructive to sheep unless watched. They are cowardly, and I have not heard of their ever attacking men.

“Foxes.—There are two varieties of this animal, the ‘Red’ and ‘Silver Fox.’ The latter is found in British Columbia, not upon the Island.

“The American Panther or Puma, Felis concolor, is often shot upon Vancouver Island. They are destructive to sheep, and more particularly to pigs and poultry. When followed, they often take refuge in a tree, from whence they are easily shot by a common fowling-piece. Dogs will also attack them. They are quite harmless to men.

“Seals.—One variety of Seal frequents the mouth of the Fraser River, British Columbia, where it may constantly be seen by visitors in summer, seated on a log of wood drifting downwards with the current. Another is found on the sea-coasts of Vancouver Island, and is shot in some numbers by the Indians, who sell their skins to the fur-traders.

“The Squirrel, Sciurus ( Cuv.), is very numerous throughout the pine forests, feeding on the cones of the various fir or pine trees. They are shot in great numbers for the table, and are excellent eating. There are two or three varieties, smaller and otherwise characteristically different from the English species. Ground squirrels are also found.

“The Marmot, Arctomys moncicc, is kept by the settlers sometimes as a domestic pet. It is said that rats never stay in a house in which a marmot is a resident.

“The European Rat is very common on the Island in settled districts, as much a pest as it is at home. Both rats and mice indigenous to the Island and British Columbia exist, but they do not require separate mention.

“The Beaver, Castor Canacliensis, is found on the Island, and also in British Columbia. Very few are now trapped for the sake of their skins. They are sometimes shot by Europeans for the sake of their flesh, which is palatable. The tail, which is extremely fat, is considered a delicacy, and somewhat resembles the fat of the turtle. A few years ago 780 beaver-skins were traded in a twelvemonth at one establishment of the Hudson Bay Company on Vancouver Island. The Beaver, as also other fur-bearing animals, is said to be increasing in numbers since the partial settlement of the western shores of North America, from the fact of its being less molested, owing to the employment of the 'trapper’ in other pursuits.

“I have not seen a specimen of either a Hare or Rabbit obtained from Vancouver Island. Several varieties of both exist on the neighbouring continent and throughout British Columbia. They differ much, however, from the English varieties, both in habits and appearance.

“The Canadian Stag or Wapiti, and the Elk, Cervus Canadiensis, exist in numbers; they sometimes equal the horse in stature, and I have known them shot, weighing, when dressed, 600 lbs. The horns are very handsome. The Black-tailed Deer—the Fallow Deer of the Pacific, Cervus Columbianus — are found throughout both colonies, and are very numerous on the small islets, to which they swim, I believe, to escape the wolves. They become, in certain localities, very fat towards autumn, but, though excellent, want the flavour of English venison; from 60 to 80 lbs. is an ordinary weight. The district of Cariboo in British Columbia, now so noticeable for its produce of gold, is so called from a large deer which frequents its pasturage—probably the Rangifer caribou of Audubon. The ‘Mountain Goat’ and the ‘Mountain Sheep’ are found in the mountains of British Columbia. I am not aware of their existence on Vancouver Island.

“The American Buffalo, Bos Americanus—has lately found its way, it is said, through the Rocky Mountains to the upper plains of the Columbia.

“Cetacea.—With this order of mammals I am little acquainted. Whales, ‘Black-fish,’ and Porpoises are common off the coast of Vancouver and the inland sea separating it from British Columbia. Considerable ingenuity is shown by ’ the Indians in the capture of the whale. A seal-skin, prepared so as to be air-tight, is attached to a harpoon, the head of which, with a short rope made from cedar-bark, can be detached from the staff. With this attached to him, the whale is not long before he makes his appearance above water, when he is killed by spears, great numbers taking part in his destruction. The flesh is much esteemed by the natives as food.

“Birds of Prey, Raptores.—A frequent object met with on the coast-shores of both colonies is the White-headed Erne or Great Fish Eagle, Falco leucocephalus. Couples of these birds are frequently seen sailing majestically in air, descending occasionally in graceful circles to their abode in some tall pine-tree where their nest is placed. Another common object is the American Osprey or Fish Hawk, Pandion Carolinensis. The Harrier and the Sharp-shinned Hawk, with several others, are also constantly met with. The 'Great Snow Owl,’ Nyctea nivea, and the Pigmy Owl, Glaucydium gnoma—not so large as an English blackbird—are also found, with several others.

“Scaxsores.—In this order occur the Cuckoos. I have not seen a specimen on the island or in British Columbia, but their note has been heard by myself and others. The Woodpeckers are numerous: thus, I may name Picus Harrisii; Sphyrapicus ruber, or Bed-breasted Woodpecker; Colaptis Mexicanus, or Bed-shafted.

“Ixsessorks.—I have collected three varieties of Humming birds on Vancouver Island. These beautiful little creatures make their appearance early in spring, even before the snow has left the plains, buzzing their way from bush to bush in restless search of some half-opened blossom. The Indian boys snare them in numbers, and, fastening a dozen or more to a stick by one foot, bring them off alive to the ships for sale. A Night Hawk—known among settlers as the Mosquito Hawk—breeds upon the island, and makes its appearance on summer evenings. A common object along the sea-coast and the mouths of rivers is the Belted Kingfisher, Ceryle alcyon—a much larger, but not so handsome a bird as the English Kingfisher. The Flycatchers have several representatives. The Singing Birds are few. Amongst the Swallows may be named the Violet-green Swallow, lliraudo thalassina. Wrens, Creepers, Nut-hatches, Titmice, Shore Larks, Finches, the Bed Crossbill, Curvirostra Americana, the Snow Bunting, Sparrows, the Bed-winged Blackbird. Among the crows may be named the American Raven, the Fish Crow, the Common Crow. Jays, Cyanura stelleri.

“Basores.—Pigeons and Doves are represented in both colonies. A more numerous family exist in the Grouse: the Dusky Grouse, Petras obscurus; the Blue Grouse of settlers; the Ruffed Grouse, Bonasa umbus; and the Willow Grouse, Lagopus albus, are found on Vancouver Island in immense numbers, and also in British Columbia, which has several other varieties,—the Sage Cock, the Sharp-tailed Grouse, the Prairie Hen, and Ptarmigan : all of these are excellent eating, but are too easily shot to afford much amusement to an English sportsman. The Blue and the Buffed Grouse roost on trees during the day, when not sunning themselves on some hillock or prostrate trunk of a tree, where their ‘drum’ is loudly heard. The Blue Grouse reaches the weight of lbs.; it may often be seen perched on the topmost branch of some tall pine-tree, from whence he refuses to move for repeated charges from an ordinary fowling-piece, and is only to he brought down by a rifle. As the country becomes cleared, their habits will probably change, and Vancouver Island will be as noticeable for good sport as Scotland.

“Grallatores.—The Great Blue Heron or Crane, Ardea herodias, is frequently seen and shot. In the sub-order Grallcc may be enumerated Golden Plover; Kill-deer; King Plover; the Surf Bird, Aphrizci vinjata; Bachman’s Oyster-catcher,, Hcematojms nifjer, and Turnstone; "Wilson’s Snipe, or English Snipe; Grey Snipe; Jack Snipe; Sandpipers; and Sanderlings.

“Natatores.—Swans are often shot on the lakes of Vancouver Island and British Columbia; and on the approach of winter myriads of Geese arrive: among these may be named the Snow Goose, Anser hyperboreus; the White-fronted Goose, Anser gambelii; the Canada Goose, Bernida Canadiensis; the Brant Goose. The Canada Goose is often shot 17 lbs. in weight. The Ducks are innumerable. Amongst them are found the Mallard, Anas boschas; Black Duck, Anas obscura; Pintail, Dajila acuta; Green-winged Teal, Nettion Carolinensis; the Shoveller, or Spoonbill, Spatula dypeata; American "Widgeon, Mareca Americana; the Summer Duek, Aix sponsa; the Scaup Duck, Fulix marila; Canvas-back, Ay thy a vallisneria; the Golden Eye, Bucepliala Americana, and albeota or Buffle-kead ; the Harlequin Duek, Histrioniaus torquatus Amongst the Sea Dueks are the Velvet Duek, Melanetta velvetina; the Surf Duck, Belionetta perspicillata; the Scoter, Oidemia Americana. Among the Eishing Ducks is the Goosander, Mergus Americanus; the Red-breasted Merganser, Mergus serrator; the Hooded Merganser, Lophoclytes cucullatus; and I believe a fourth which is not named. In the sub-order Gavice, I may mention the Sooty Albatross, Diomedia fuliginosa; and two or three Petrels. Among the Gulls, the Glaueous-winged Gull, Larus glaucescens; the Herring Gull, Larus argentatus; the VTestem Gull, Larus occidentalis. Among the Cormorants, the Violet-green Cormorant, Graculus violaceus, is extremely common. In the family of Divers are the great Northern Diver, Colymbus glacialis; the Black-throated, Colymbus arcticus; the Pacific, Colymbus Pacificus; and the Red-throated, Colymbus septentrionalis. The tufted Puffin, Mormon cirrhata ; the Horn-billed Guillemot, Cerorhina monocerata, are numerous on the sea-eoasts of Vancouver and its adjacent islands, and the sea around them is often literally alive with the Sea Dove or Dovekie.

“The Reftilia do not require an extended notice. Several varieties of Snakes are met with, but they are not, I believe, venomous. Lizards and Frogs are numerous. The Bull-frog in summer is rather a nuisance by his loud croakings. The Indians are partial to snakes as an article of diet; immediately they are caught they are skinned and eaten by them, as a stick of celery is eaten by a schoolboy, and with as little cooking.

“Fishes.—The fish of Vancouver Island and British Columbia require a more extended experience than mine to do justice to them. I cannot, however, but think that, among the domestic resources of both colonies, few can equal their value. The seas and large inlets, the bays and rivers, are literally alive with fish. Salmon, Cod, Halibut, Sturgeon, Herring, Trout, Smelt, Sea Perch, Hake, Sardines, Anchovy, Flat Fish, Hog Fish (highly useful for oil), and the Houlakan, so called by the Indians ; the latter, the size of a herring, makes its appearance with unerring regularity in various parts of the coast for a few days only, and is taken in shoals; it is so fat on its arrival as to defy ordinary cooking, melting by the heat; it is pressed for oil by the natives, who trade with it in British Columbia with the inland tribes, and is also dried, in which state, lighted at one end, it makes a capital torch, and is constantly used as such by the Indians. The oil has been used medicinally in place of cod-liver oil, and I have seen the happiest effects from its administration. So numerous are the Salmon, that rivers become offensive from the putrid bodies of those who have failed to make their way up the ‘falls’ of the various rivers. Tons’ weight of Halibut may be caught in a day. The shores are thickly covered with Acorn-shells, Limpets, Muscles, Clams, &c. Crabs of many varieties are found everywhere, some edible, and of large size. The Shrimp is a constant visitor in the dredge, and Prawns are extensively caught in the neighbourhood of Victoria, Vancouver Island. Every pool is lined with brilliant Sea Anemones; and nearly throughout the year is the sea lightened with Medusae.

“Flora.—In the magnificent work of Sir W. J. Hooker, ‘Flora Boreali Americana,’ may be found an epitome of the botany of these colonies. I will confine my observations, therefore, to an enumeration of the Natural Orders, which contain most of the Flora of interest to the settler.

“Order 1. Nymphceacece, Water-lilies.

“ ,, 2. Ranunculacece, Crowfoots.

“ ,, 5. Cruci/erce, Cressworts.

“ Order 7. Berberidacecc, Berberry worts. Tlie ‘ Oregon Grape ’ of tbe settlers is a small shrub very common in the woods ; it bears a yellow flower, and produces a cluster of berries of a deep blue colour, of a pleasant acid, astringent taste. The root 3Tields one of the best known yellow dyes.

“ Order 8. Violacece, Violetworts.

“ ,, 16. Ceracece, Maples. The Maple grows to a large size, and is extensively found ; it produces by the changing hues of its foliage a handsome object in the somewhat monotonous landscape of the colonies : its wood is very inferior.

“ Order 17. Geraniacece, Cranesbills.

“ ,, 21. Rhamnacece, Rliamnads.

“ ,, 22. Fcibacece, Leguminous Plants. Representatives of their order are extensively found. The Blue Lupine, Purple Clover, and several varieties of Yetch are everywhere growing wild as large and strong as any I have seen cultivated in other places.

“Order 23. Rosacea, Roseworts. Species of this order are also very numerous: in the spring every plain is covered with the Wild Rose and Sweet Brier: in the sub-order are Wild Apples, the Mountain Ash (scarce), the Service Tree, Bird Cherry or Cluster Cherry.

“Order 28. Grossulariacece, CurrantworR. Wherever the ground is clear abound Currant and Gooseberry bushes of endless varieties ; the Flowering Currant, Ribes sanguinea, is a beautiful object in the ‘bush.’

“Order 30. Apiacecc, Umbellifers, the Conium.

“,, 32. Cornaccce, Cornels. The Dogwood tree is very common, and makes a handsome object for the shrubbery. In this order is the ‘La Broue’ plant of the Canadian voyageurs : it bears a small red berry which is dried and stored for use. Mixed in small portions with a little water it is after standing ivhished up with branches; it gradually expands and becomes converted into a substance resembling ‘ trifle,’ which is eaten with sugar sifted over it.

“ Order 33. Caprtfoliacecc, Caprifoils. Two varieties of Elder tree very common.

“Order 38. Campanulacece, Bellworts. The Campanula.

“,, 39. Ericacece, Heath worts. In a Sub-order are the Cranberries. These shrubs abound everywhere, and yield a most delicious berry ; there are many varieties—from one, the Oxycoccus palustris, 1 have known of 100 barrels being collected, the produce of one season. Tlie berries do not require putting down, keeping remarkably well simply immersed in water. The Gualtheria shallon, the ‘Salal’ of the Indians, is a common shrub : it bears a handsome blossom and a bunch of large deep purple berries, much used by the natives, who make it into cakes which they dry in the sun for winter use; it is also used in the households of settlers for pies and puddings, but is not equal to the Cranberries.

“Order 41. Gentianacece, Gentianworts.

“,, 56. Urticacece, Nettle worts. A wild Nettle, the Urtiea cannabina, is used by the Indians to make hemp; it is extremely strong, and is manufactured by them into twine, rope, and nets.

“Order 57. Corylacece, Mast worts. The Oak is abundant in the southern part of Vancouver Island; there is none in British Columbia, I am told by Mr. Anderson, of the Hudson Bay Company, except a few small specimens on the eastern borders of the Rapids above Fort Yale. The Hazel Nut is common in British Columbia. .

“Order 58. Saliacece, Willowworts. Willows grow on all low and swampy places; the ‘Cotton Wood’ Poplar and the Aspen tree. •>

“Order 59. Betulacece, Birchworts. The common Birch is of small size to the southward; in the northern parts of British Columbia it is known as the ‘Canoe Birch,’ is abundant and of large size, and is hard and durable (Mr. Anderson). The common Alder grows to a large size, and is a useful wood for turners.

“Order 61. Pinacece, Conifers. In this Order are found Yew trees, Juniper bush, the Scotch Fir, Spruce Fir, the Douglas Pine; the White Pine of commerce, Finns Weymouthii; Canada Pino, Balsam Pine, the ‘Red Cedar,’ and the ‘Yellow Cedar.’ The most remarkable point in the forest-trees of both colonies is the profusion of trees of this order, and the immense height and size they attain. The Douglas Pine can be obtained anywhere 200 ft. in length, and I have seen trees that would square 45 in. for 90 ft. This pine makes the best spars for ships. The ‘White Pine,’ I am told by those preparing it, is equal to that of the Eastern States of America. From the bark of the ‘Red’ and Yellow Cedar, articles of wearing apparel, ropes, &c., are made: the plank of the latter tree yields a close-grained beautiful wood; specimens of it made into boxes have been sent to the International Exhibition.

“Order 68. Liliacece, Lilyworts. The Gamassia esculenta, the Camass of the Indians, is very common: the bulbs, being placed in shallow pits, are covered with a thick layer of dried grass damped with water, a thin layer of earth is placed above it, and a fire made over the pit. A gradual process of steaming goes on, perhaps for several days: the bulbs when removed are found mellowed, their colour changed to a light brown, and they contain a large portion of saccharine matter. They are then dried and stored for winter food.

“Order 73. Graminacece, Grasses. Varieties of nearly every grass which grows in England, and many which do not, are found in these Colonies: the Wild Oat is as vigorous a plant here as the one cultivated at home. I have seen ‘Timothy Grass’ grown on the Island 8 ft. in height.

“I pass over the Ferns, Mosses, Lichens, the Fungi, and Seaweeds, with the brief remark that they abound everywhere, the first in quantities somewhat troublesome to the agriculturist.

“Charles Bigland Wood.

“H.M.S. ‘Hecate,’ Victoria, Vancouver Island,

“July, 1862.”

It would be useless for general purposes to give a mass of statistics with regard to the climate of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. In a country embracing so many hundred miles of latitude there is of course great difference of temperature. The climate of Vancouver Island may be said generally to be about the same as that of the south of England. During the last winter, 1861-2, it has been unusually severe. In the four winters that I passed at Esquimalt Harbour we had a great deal of rain, very little snow, while the ice on the ponds bore skaters for about a fortnight each year, the thermometer being hardly ever below 25° Fahr. The south part of British Columbia is, perhaps, a little colder. This winter the Lower Eraser has been frozen over so as entirely to impede navigation; but I believe this has never been known before, and it certainly has only occurred once since 1856. Steamers were able to go to Langley every winter I was in the country, and were only prevented ascending to Fort Hope by the shallowness of the stream. It will also be remembered that I ascended the river to Fort Yale in February, 1859, without being seriously impeded by ice.

The fall of snow even during the late extraordinarily severe winter appears to have been very partial. The thermometer at Westminster stood at 8°, 10°, and 12° below zero, and 17° or 18° at Forts Hope and Yale. The deep snow at these latter places, however, made them less cold than at Lilloett, where there was only an inch or two of snow, and where the cold is described as having been intensely severe.

Further north, at Cariboo, the winter of 1860-1 was even more severely felt. On the night of the 1st of December the mercury of the thermometer congealed, and on the 25th and 26th of January it is said to have stiffened before sundown, with the sun shining full upon it. Two thermometers at William Lake are reported in the Victoria papers to have burst from the effects of the cold, and many instances of severe frost-bites, &c., are given. In judging of the severity of the season from the reports of the miners, however, it must be remembered that their clothing and habitations would ill fit them to endure with patience the hardships of an ordinary winter even in England.

In a recent book on British Columbia one of the many objections urged against the country is said to arise from the danger of Indian aggression upon the colonists. I cannot conclude these remarks without giving this assertion an emphatic contradiction. My own experience—as the reader will have gathered—has led me to form an exactly opposite opinion of the temper and disposition of the Indians; and lest it should be thought that my official position gave me when travelling alone among them a protection which would be wanting to the ordinary colonist, I give the following quotation upon the subject from the letter of a young English clergyman whom I have lately had the pleasure of meeting. I withhold his name only because his letter was not intended for that public use which I venture to make of it. I should add that the writer had never visited an English colony until he went to British Columbia four years ago:—

“My experience leads me to say, what I find most persons confirm, that, so far as safety is concerned, there is far less risk in travelling in British Columbia than in many parts of England. Nothing can exceed the order of the country, and the marked absence of serious crime either on the part of the whites or Indians.”

This was written after a journey of more than 500 miles in the interior, alone or with some fellow-clergymen. Those who desire further evidence of the kindly disposition of the Indians will find it abundantly in the extracts of the Bishop’s Journal, published by the Columbian Missionary Society.

I have more than once spoken of Esquimalt as being admirably adapted for a naval station and dockyard. I wish to add that, important as this is for our squadron in the Pacific, I think it would be still more so for the squadron in the Chinese waters. Our ships there, which are sometimes almost disabled by sickness, could reach the healthy climate of Vancouver in six weeks, and might, if required, be relieved by vessels from the Pacific squadron. In 1859 the ‘Tribune’ and ‘Pylades’ were ordered across from China; they arrived at Esquimalt with crews greatly debilitated, and all hands a good deal below par. They remained about a year there, and left, I believe, with the crews of both ships in perfect health. I may also mention that the healthy appearance of our crew was a'subject of general remark to all ships arriving on the station.

The climate is said to be unfavourable for people who have previously been subject to rheumatism. The officers and men of the ‘Plumper,’ however, who lived constantly in camp, and were much exposed, never suffered seriously from this complaint.

In concluding this rough summary of the resources of the colonies, let me repeat, that in our North American possessions we have, independently of its mineral wealth, a country of immense extent and natural beauty, of—so far as it has been tested—invariable fertility, and with a climate closely resembling our own. Against these advantages, however, it must be remembered that all that is required to develop and utilise the many natural advantages of the colonies has yet to be done, and that for many years to come stout hearts and strong hands will find abundant occupation in accomplishing this work. He who is not possessed of these requisites of a bush-life is as unfit for British Columbia as for any other colony. But the man whose-heart does not fail him at the prospect of hard living and harder work, will find there welcome and plenty awaiting him.

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