British North America
British Columbia


By W. S. SEBRIGHT GREEN, F.R.C.I., F.R.S.L.
(Late of British Columbia)

In attempting to give some description of this important Province of the Dominion I purpose, in the first place, to sketch rapidly the history of the discovery of what is now known as Vancouver Island, and other parts of the Province situate on the mainland, showing how it came into the possession of the British nation.

I then propose to treat of these lands and their status and condition when subject to the regime of the old fur-trading companies; secondly, when subject to the Hudson Bay Company under their monopoly of trade on the mainland granted in 1821, and under their charter by which the Island of Vancouver was absolutely granted to the Hudson Bay Company for the purposes of colonisation; and passing on to show their gradual rise and progress from the time of the first gold discoveries, and the consequent advancement of Vancouver Island and British Columbia from Hudson Bay settlements to Crown colonies, their growth and increased importance under the altered circumstances, until at length, after being to a limited extent self-governing colonies, they were first united as one colony under the title of British Columbia, and subsequently of their own free-will entered the great Dominion of Canada.

It will also be my duty to point out what are the principal inducements to those belonging to the mother country, who desire to seek a new field in which to earn a living, to turn their attention to British Columbia, which is by no means the cold and inhospitable country that it is sometimes depicted to be.

The riches of British Columbia, and its vast resources for the employment of labour and capital, will also be treated of as we progress.

There is no doubt that the Spaniards were the first to discover land in the Northern Pacific in the early part of the sixteenth century, and subsequently Spain, by virtue of a Papal bull, claimed possession of all land in the Pacific north of California. This pretended title of Spain was never recognised by the English Government. In 1577 Sir Francis Drake obtained the sanction of Queen Elizabeth to an expedition to the Pacific Ocean.

Starting from Plymouth in 1577 with five small vessels, he brought his small fleet safely through the Strait of Magellan, when a storm attacked them, and four of his ships were wrecked. But even with one small schooner and sixty men he seems to have realised a considerable amount of booty from the capture of Spanish ships, and apprehensive of the Spaniards attacking him if he attempted to return through the Strait of Magellan, he made diligent search for a north-west passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic, but failed to discover that which never existed, although he undoubtedly planted the English flag in the neighbourhood of Nootka Sound.

In 1592 a Greek, Juan de Fuca by name, who had been one of the crew of a Spanish vessel which was captured by Captain Cavendish in 1587, was sent out with two small vessels by the Ariceroy of Mexico. De Fuca followed the coast of North America until he came to the latitude of 47°, and there he found a broad inlet of the sea, through which he sailed for more than twenty days, passing many islands, and finding a much broader sea than at the entrance, and according to the legend finally emerged into the North Sea, when, thinking that he had undoubtedly discovered the North-West passage, he returned home well satisfied. It is very doubtful, however, whether this voyage was in reality ever made; but there remains evidence of a navigator having the name having been in these parts, and giving the name to San Juan Island and to the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.

Subsequent explorations took place, principally by the Spaniards, notably one expedition commanded by one Bodega y Quadra, who undoubtedly took possession of a part of the island now called Vancouver, and to which he gave the name of Quadra.

In 1776 the great navigator Captain Cook was sent out by the English Government on an expedition to discover a practicable sea route between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. He carefully examined the coast, but found no indication of any such channel as had been represented by Juan de Fuca to be there, and pronounced the story told by that navigator to be a myth. Captain Cook passed by the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, but does not seem to have entered it. He gave the name of Cape Flattery to the promontory still known under that name, and anchored for a time near Nootka Sound. About ten years after Cook’s visit we find that Captain Mcares commanded an expedition fitted out by the Bengal Mercantile Association, giving his name to the strait which is still known as Mcares Strait, and taking possession of the adjacent country in the name of George III. Next we come to Captain Vancouver, who was sent out by the English Government to meet a Spanish Commission at Nootka Sound, and to complete the survey of the coast commenced by Captain Cook, with the view of finding the mueh-talked-of North-West passage. Although he failed in making any such discovery, he entered into joint occupation of Nootka with the Spaniards, who afterwards abandoned the possession. Vancouver, having given his name to the island, after completing his surveys returned to England in 1795.

But little was known of Vancouver Island or the mainland of British Columbia from the time of Vancouver’s visit until about 1821, except that a very extensive fur-trade was carried on by vessels of various nations.

Three great corporations occupied an immense tract of country for trading purposes—the North-West Fur Company, the Hudson Bay Company, and the Quebec Fur Company. The first white man who traversed the Rockies and entered British Columbia was Sir Alexander Mackenzie, who in 1790 followed the Fraser River and Peace River to their sources. He crave his name to the Mackenzie River and called the country New Caledonia. In 1806 the first fur-trading post was established by a then factor of the Hudson Bay Company, who gave his name to the Fraser River.

In 1821 the fur-trading companies amalgamated under the title of the Hudson Bay Company, and a number of trading posts were established on the mainland, and the whole country was ruled by the Hudson Bay traders. It was not, however, until about. 1843 that these enterprising traders established trading posts on Vancouver, the first being at Camosun, which was soon after renamed Victoria.

In 1847 the Hudson Bay Company, through their then chairman, Sir T. H. Pelly, expressed to Earl Grey, then Secretary for the Colonies, their willingness to undertake the government and colonisation of all the territories belonging to the Crown in North America. This was rather too large an order for Lord Grey’s acceptance, but in 1848 a deed was executed which constituted the Company absolute lords and proprietors of the soil of Vancouver Island, with the provision that the Company should at once establish upon the island settlements of British subjects. It soon became evident that the Company had no intention of colonising the country. A nominal sub-company was formed which consisted of Hudson Bay shareholders and nominees, who took up large tracts of land in the neighbourhood of Victoria, and brought out farm bailiffs and labourers from England to cultivate these lands, so that the very best land in the island became the absolute property of members of the Hudson Bay Company. No settlers were allowed to take up land in the island unless they came in under the auspices of the Company.

Simultaneously with this grant Mr. Blanchard was appointed by the Crown first Governor of the Colony, but without salary, arrangements being made with the Hudson Bay Company that governor Blanchard was to have a free passage out, that a government residence should be provided for him, with a free grant of 1000 acres of land. Not one of these pledges was redeemed by the Company, and after endeavouring to do his duty conscientiously, subject to every sort of annoyance by the Hudson Bay factors, Mr. Blanchard resigned his position, and Mr. Douglas (afterwards Sir James) was appointed in his stead, retaining at the same time his position as chief factor of the Hudson Bay Company.

This was a great mistake on the part of her Majesty’s Government, for it placed the whole control again in the Hudson Bay Company, to the great detriment of those few colonists who had taken up land without any connection with the Hudson Bay Company. No doubt in many respects Mr. Douglas was an able man. but many of his acts in the early part of his governorship were unwise and very unpopular. Nepotism was a great weakness with him; his brother-in-law, Mr. David Cameron, a layman with no knowledge of law except in one particular branch, with which his business misfortunes in another part of her Majesty’s possessions had made him familiar, was appointed Chief-Justice. Mr. Cameron was a painstaking judge and very careful and prudent, but when a new governor came to Vancouver Island, and the population increased, it became desirable to have a judge with a thorough legal training. The first Chief-Justice narrowly escaped being suspended for some irregularities which would have been, indeed had been, passed over under Mr. Douglas’s regime. However, through a timely warning conveyed to him through two members of the Executive Council this peril was averted, and Cameron subsequently retired on a pension. Several other near connections of Mr. Douglas received Government appointments, and last, but not least, he himself was enabled to acquire a quantity of land by purchase, which in a few years became very valuable.

In point of fact the two colonies were practically controlled by Mr. Douglas until 1858, when a new era set in. Gold had been discovered by some prospectors from California in 1857, which speedily brought a vast number of gold-seekers to Victoria. Soon after this the regime of the Hudson Bay Company ceased.

In 1859 Mr. Douglas was appointed Governor of British Columbia, over which he had formerly only exercised a sort of protectorate. The mainland was formed into a separate colony, its capital being New Westminster. When Mr. Douglas became governor of the two colonies, he resigned his position in the Hudson Bay Company.

Mr. J. D. Pemberton, the first Surveyor-General of Vancouver Island, had laid out the town site of Victoria some years before, but town sites had not sold. The Hudson Bay Company had acquired all the central and best sites, and held them for a rise in prices.

In the spring and early summer of 1858 steamers arrived from San Francisco crowded with speculators and gold-seekers two or three times a week, and between the beginning of February and the end of June it was estimated that close upon 20,000 people landed in Victoria, which, from being a little village with only two or three hundred inhabitants, became for the time being a city of tents and a scene of bustle and excitement ; town sites went up to fabulous prices; town lots 60 feet by 1 20 feet, which had been bought from the Company at from £10 to £20, were frequently split into halves and sold at prices varying from £300 to £600. Of course a large proportion of the new arrivals went immediately to the mainland to prospect for gold on the Fraser River, but prospecting in these early days was carried on under great difficulties. Gold there was, but the great trouble was to get to it. The first great rush in 1858 was to the neighbourhood of Fort Hope, a Hudson Bay fort on the Fraser River; gold was found in considerable quantities in the bars, which, in fact, were accumulations of sand and particles of quartz which covered the ancient channel of the river, having been in past ages washed down and deposited by the water of the stream when flowing in its old bed. The average earnings of the miners in this district were from £1 to £2 a day. The Fort Yale diggings were higher up the Fraser River, and many of the miners in this part and on the Thompson River made from £400 to £800 during the season of 1858. The more experienced miners, however, were not content with these alluvial diutfinys, and made their way higher up the river, believing that the fine gold of the Lower Fraser was to be accounted for by the disintegration of quartz veins from which coarse gold was separated by the abrasion of water. This correct theory led the practical miners to prospect the Fraser and its tributaries north of Alexandra, and late in 1859 gold was found on the Quesnelle River. In i860 some of the bars in the Quesnelle yielded as much as £12 to the hand per day; but this was not lasting, and the Quesnelle River was practically abandoned for the time. In 1860, in the fall of the year, Antler Creek, the first of the Cariboo mining districts, was discovered. In 1861 enormous quantities of gold were taken out of Antler Creek. During that summer the estimated yield of this creek was over £2000 per day. Close upon the finding of Antler Creek followed the finding of other rich creeks, Lightning, Keithley’s, Cunningham’s, and, richest of all, William’s Creek, where the town of Barkerville now stands. About this time were published in the Times the famous letters of their Victoria correspondent (Mr. Donald Fraser), which led so many to go out to British Columbia to seek their fortunes.

In the meantime the whole aspect of Victoria and New Westminster was changed ; after the first rush to Victoria, of which I have spoken, in 1858 there came a reaction, and the population dwindled down again to something like 1 200,and the business became stagnant till the close of i860, when those who returned successful from Quesnelle brought good reports of the upper country, when there was again some speculation in land and prices went up.

In 1859 Bishop Hills came out to Victoria as Bishop of Columbia, and the staff of clergy was considerably increased. The episcopal see was founded principally by the munificence of the Baroness Burdett Coutts. Bishop Hills was most enthusiastic and indefatigable in his work, and by establishing schools and missions in Vancouver Island and on the mainland he added much to the social advancement of the colony. It was easy for those of other denominations, and even of so-called churchmen, to find fault with the work of an energetic churchman, and it was the fashion at one time to slander the excellent bishop for lending out money which was entrusted to him for investment for the benefit of the diocese, at rates of interest which seemed to be high as compared with English rates of interest, but the bishop was bound to do the best that he could for the trust whose funds he administered. Few who knew Bishop Hills in the early days of British Columbia realised how much he did for the benefit of the Church in the colony, and what sacrifices of income and comfort he made for the benefit of others.

Prior to the arrival of the first bishop, the English Church in Vancouver Island had been under the charge of the Rev. E. Cridge, who went out in early days as chaplain to the Hudson Bay Company. Mr. Cridge was highly esteemed by all classes, and was made first Dean of the Cathedral after the establishment of the bishopric ; unfortunately there was a breach a few years afterwards, and Dean Cridge seceded from the Anglican Church and became bishop of what was called the Reformed Church of England in Vancouver Island.

In New Westminster, the capital of British Columbia, Dr. Wright, an army chaplain, was, until the arrival of Bishop Hills, the only resident clergyman of the Church of England.

Amongst, other clergymen who came out with Bishop Hills was the present Bishop of Norwich, who was the first Rector of New Westminster, and with the Rev. L. Brown, Rector of Lilloett, was one of the first to conduct a Church of England service in Cariboo. The Rev. Charles Garrett, and Archdeacon Woods, the Principal of the Collegiate School in Victoria, were amongst the early English clergy in the island. Air. Garrett, about 186S, went down to San Francisco, where he was a very popular preacher, and subsequently became Bishop of Texas.

The Roman Catholic clergy in Vancouver Island were an excellent, hard-working body, unremitting in their work amongst the Indians. Bishop De Mers, their first bishop, was held in high esteem.

There were excellent clergy of many other denominations; amongst the Hudson Bay Company the Scotch predominated, and the ministers of the Scotch Church were ably represented and well supported.

About the same period another great personality arrived in British Columbia, for in 1859 the Law Courts were first established on the mainland, and Mr. Begbie arrived from England to take up the position of Chief-Justice. A Chancery barrister of great culture, a scholar of no mean ability, some of the old residents of the Hudson Bay school prophesied his failure as a judge in the mixed and unruly crowd of adventurers amongst whom he was called upon to administer the law; but these soon found out their mistake. A polished gentleman, fond of field-sports, an expert with his gun and his rod, the new Chief-Justice speedily fell into the ways of this rough country and accommodated himself to the life. He might be seen on his way up to Cariboo, to hold the Assizes, with his pack train carrying his tents, provisions, cooking utensils, and bath, sometimes riding and sometimes on foot, with his gun or his rod in his hand, and seldom during the 500-mile journey would he be without trout and game. The rough miners were inclined to jeer at this judge, of whose scholarship they had heard so much ; but they very soon found out that a judge had come amongst them who was well able to hold his own, and although throughout his career he was a terror to evil-doers, he was not only thoroughly respected but also beloved by all who knew him, especially by the lawyers who practised in his Court. The Gold Commissioners and Magistrates, who were most of them appointed in 1859, were of a very high class, and the law throughout the colony was well administered: when the two colonies were united, Mr. Begbie became Chief-Justice of the two colonies and took up bis residence at Victoria. Soon after British Columbia entered the Dominion of Canada the Chief-Justice was knighted, and when Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie died, after a very short illness, his death was mourned by every grade of society.

As I have stated, the population of Victoria decreased again very much after the first rush in 1858, and it was not until the celebrated letters of the 'Times correspondent caused something like a second rush to Victoria in 1862 that town lots rose again in value. The large finds of gold in Cariboo in 1863-64 brought prosperity again to the capital, and there was a large increase of business of every sort, with great hope of some years of prosperity; but again there came a period of stagnation, although gold - mining was going on steadily, and the trade of Victoria was kept up through its being an absolutely free port.

The next material change that occurred in the government of the two colonies was when a governor for each colony was sent out from England. The first to arrive was Captain Kennedy, who landed in Esquimalt Harbour in March 1864, and was received with great manifestations of loyalty and respect. Governor Kennedy had had some experience as a colonial governor, and coming as he did from Western Australia, where at that time there was a convict establishment, his manner was at first thought somewhat too peremptory for the very independent population of Victoria: but this gore off when the colonists came to know their new governor better, and he became very popular. Mr. Seymour arrived in the autumn of the same year as Governor of British Columbia, and the rule of these two gentlemen was a striking contrast to the regime of the Hudson Bay factor. On the advent of the new governors, Mr. Douglas retired into private life and received the honour of knight hood. The next material change that took place in Vancouver Island was the abolition of the free port, which was a very serious blow to the trade of Victoria. This chance was brought about through the instrumentality of Amos de Cosmos, a gentleman of considerable ability, the proprietor of the first newspaper of the colony, and one of the first representatives of the city of Victoria. In the House of Assembly the free port and tariff party were somewhat equally divided, and Mr. De Cosmos challenged the free-port member for the city to resign; the challenge was accepted, and the free port was a lost cause.

The next change was the union of the two colonies in 1867 under Mr. Seymour as governor, and the capital was established at Victoria. Upon the death of Mr. Seymour, Mr. afterwards Sir Anthony Musgrave became governor until Confederation in 1871, when British Columbia became a province of the Dominion of Canada, Mr. Musgrave was probably the ablest governor that British Columbia ever had.

Confederation with the Dominion was not carried without considerable opposition. A few years previously Confederation was the main question at a general election for members of the House of Assembly; those on the island who advocated Confederation, led by Mr. De Cosmos, were all thrown out. Annexation to the States was boldly spoken of, but in the election of 1871 Confederation became a Government measure and was carried, after about a fortnight’s debate, by a substantial majority. The nominal leader for Government was the then Attorney-General, Mr. Crease, who afterwards became a Puisne Judge, and on his retirement from the Bench was knighted; but the real leader of the debate was Mr. Joseph Trutch, then Chief Commissioner of Works. Mr. Trutch was one of the pioneers who had done much for the colony in planning the roads to the mines and in bridge-building. Mr Trutch was one of the Commissioners sent ty Ottawa to arrange the terms upon which British Columbia was to enter the Dominion, and became the first Lieutenant-Governor of the province. He had a difficult part to play, but his business habits and great administrative ability fitted him for the post, and he discharged his duties to the satisfaction of the British Columbians generally. Sir Joseph Trutch, although he now resides chiefly in Cornwall, retains a considerable property in British Columbia, and keeps up his interest in the colony for which he has done so much, and in which the best years of his life were spent.

One word about the society in the colony. In my humble opinion there was no pleasanter society to be found in any part of the British Empire than we had in Victoria in the sixties. We had always ships of her Majesty’s Navy at Esquimalt, and as the flagship of the admiral in the Pacific was always stationed at Esquimalt during a portion of every year, we had the advantage of a number of naval officers to assist us in our various sports and entertainments. A number of retired army officers were settled in our midst; a baronet carried on a dairy and garden farm, and his lady might be seen carrying her butter and eggs to market any day. There was no formality, no conventionality, but geniality, friendliness, and equality were the characteristics of our society.

The condition of the two colonies gradually improved after they were united, and more attention was paid to other industries, notably, the coal-trade increased very materially. Established originally by the Vancouver Coal Company, of London, at Nanaimo, the exportation of coal to San Francisco steadily increased. In 1865 Mr. Robert Dunsmuir discovered another very valuable coal seam, and, aided with capital by Captain Horace Douglas Lascelles. the commander of the gunboat Formant, established the Harewood Coal-Mine, which proved a source of great wealth to its discoverer and increased the trade of Nanaimo enormously.

Farming, also, and fruit-growing wore specially attended to after the gold excitement liad waned; man}7 of those who had come to Victoria to seek their fortunes, either in the gold-fields or in the trade that sprung up in consequence of the mines, remained to cultivate the land. The Hudson Bay Company and their tenant farmers had established man}7' excellent gardens in the country districts in the early fifties, and even in the forties, but it was not until the sixties that any large tracts of land came under cultivation. Vancouver Island took the lead in agriculture and fruit-growing, in the Saanich Peninsula farming settlements were established very early, and at the present day there are in this neighbourhood many splendid orchards and homesteads as good as can be found in Kent or Devonshire. Maple Bay, Cowichan, and Com ox can also boast of some excellent farms. Nanaimo, also, in addition to its coal has some tolerably good garden land, and in Salt Spring Island excellent crops arc produced. The timber of Vancouver Island is perhaps one of its most valuable products. It has been said, by those whose judgment can hardly be disputed, that Vancouver Island and British Columbia produce the best qualities of timber to be found in the world. The Douglas pine is probably the most valuable for building purposes, but the pitch-pine and cedar must not be forgotten. The Douglas pine is highly prized for spars. One of these was sent some years ago by Captain Stamp from his estate at Alberni to Kew Gardens. Perhaps this spar is one of the most perfect that ever was cut—as straight as an arrow, and tapering gradually until it seems to finish off in a point. When shipped from Vancouver Island it was upwards of 220 feet in height, but it is not so high as it stands in Kew Gardens by many feet.

There are several lumber-mills on the island as well as on the mainland, and there is a growing trade with China and Australia,

On the mainland, along the valleys of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, cattle ranches were early established, and have very much increased in the last twenty-five years. The Okanagan Valley now boasts of the most extensive farms and the largest cattle ranches in the whole province. The Kootenay district also contains some excellent farming land, although at present, perhaps, its gold-mines attract more attention than its grazing land. The Canadian Pacific Railway has opened up this Kootenay district very much, and the large population which has been attracted to this district by the gold stimulates the farming and dairying interests considerably.

Another very important industry in the Province arises from the fisheries, Salmon of excellent quality abound in the Fraser and Columbia Rivers, and a large number of canneries are now established at New Westminster and Vancouver, and others have been recently established farther north.

The canneries give employment to a great many hands, for it must be remembered that the tins in which the fish are packed are all manufactured on the spot. A considerable quantity of salmon also sent across the continent in ice by rail. It was thought at one time that it would be a profitable business to pack salmon in this w#y for Australia, and even for London, but this cannot be said to have assumed large proportions as a trade at present. In addition to salmon there are abundance of herring; halibut of very large size are also plentiful. Sturgeon up to 1000 lb. weight are numerous in the Fraser, and delicious trout are taken in the lakes both in Vancouver Island and on the mainland.

The climate of the Province of British Columbia, of course, varies considerably. Vancouver Island is one of the most charming climates which a native of Great Britain or Ireland can find in any part of the Empire. “Genial, productive, and salubrious,” as Macfie, the first historian of British Columbia, puts it very forcibly. The winters at Victoria are usually mild, with some frost and suoav, but cattle can generally find food enough in the fields without any special provision being made for them; and occasionally, such as in the winter of 1861-62, long frosts with snow on the ground for a month or six weeks are experienced. On the mainland, even in Vancouver City and New Westminster, the winters are more severe, and farther north long winters prevail; but it is well known that the Pacific coast is not so cold as the Atlantic. The summers are splendid, with little or no rain from May till November, and yet the earth never seems to become parched.

The capital of the Province, Victoria, with a population of about 20,000, is pleasantly situated on a small arm of the sea, commanding a splendid view of the Strait of Georgia, with Mount Baker, always snow-capped, in the distance. Victoria also possesses a splendid natural park, with a high knoll in the centre, and fringed with pines and oaks. Part of Beacon Hill is used as a racecourse, and here also are the cricket and football grounds, and a fine cycle track. Some of the finest private residences, with magnificent sea views, are on the immediate outskirts of the park.

Victoria possesses a good harbour, with steamers running daily to and from Vancouver City on the mainland. Victoria harbour is good for vessels drawing up to eighteen feet. About three miles from Victoria is the harbour of Esquimalt, about three miles long, and more than a mile and a half broad, with an average depth of about seven fathoms.

The Dominion Government have built a dry dock at Esquimalt, in which vessels of large size can be docked.

The mainland possesses Coal Harbour, at the entrance to Burrard Inlet. A few miles north of the Fraser River, between Coal Harbour and English Bay, is situated Vancouver City, the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, whence the ocean steamers for China and Australia start.

Undoubtedly much of the best land in the Province is already taken up, nevertheless there is still abundance left for sturdy British families who desire a new outlet for their enemies and wish to remain under the old flag ; and with its good climate and vast mineral resources it is probably one of the most promising places for British settlers. Land can still be acquired on very easy terms. As the output of gold in the province increases, so will agriculture, cattle-raising, and other industries develop. It seems extraordinary that the surplus population of the mother country do not more readily avail themselves of the opportunity of transplanting themselves to the England of the Pacific coast, where they would enjoy the same freedom as in Great Britain, and where their children would be taught in schools as good as—I will not say superior to—the modern schools of the old country.

Long may the distant province of the Pacific coast enjoy her prosperity, and as her population grows may her wealth increase.

APPENDIX

THE YUKON GOLD-FIELDS

Since the above lecture on British Columbia was delivered, there have been vast new discoveries of gold in British Columbia and the North-West Territories of the Dominion, which seem likely to bring a large increase of trade and population to British Columbia, and I have been asked to add to this sketch some particulars which I have been able to obtain respecting the marvellous discoveries of gold in the North-West Territories of Canada, on the Yukon River and its tributary streams, more particularly on what is popularly called the Klondyke, but which, to describe it correctly, is the Throndnic Creek.

There is no doubt whatever of the richness of the Yukon gold-fields. The existence of gold reefs in the extreme north of British Columbia, as well as in the United States territory of Alaska, has been long known, and the Canadian Government surveyors have for some years been aware that the quartz mountains of the North-West Territories would, when the difficulties of reaching them were overcome, yield a rich harvest to gold-seekers. It cannot be said that these difficulties are materially diminished at present, but it is hoped that the arrangements in progress in the autumn of 1S97 will result in making the Yukon as accessible as those districts of British Columbia which only a few years ago were deemed inaccessible, but are now served by competing railways.

It is probable that there will be a great rush to the Yukon gold-fields this year, much too large a rush in point of fact, for there will not be proper travelling facilities this year. Three companies have obtained charters to build railways from the coast to the head of inland navigable waters, but it is unlikely that the connection will be made in time for those who desire to work at the mines next summer.

I have just seen a friend who only arrived a few days ago from British Columbia. He gives me a more promising account of the prospects on the Yukon than I had expected to hear. He tells me, and I have perfect confidence in what he says, that the Dominion Government are not seeking to give too much prominence or publicity to the very favourable reports that they have received of the rich prospects; there is abundance of gold for all, but it is very undesirable that either prospectors or those seeking employment in the gold-fields should arrive in large numbers before there is sufficient supply of food available; late in the summer there will be plentiful supplies of provisions, and the gold will not be exhausted this season, nor for many years to come. There is an immense extent of gold-bearing rock in the district, which will take some years to prospect; but the Yukon gold-fields never will be poor man’s diggings, companies will be formed in abundance for working claims this year. I trust that British speculators will not be too eager to invest in such mines until they have been able to ascertain that they are. being directed and carried on by trustworthy people. The exposure of the frauds in connection with the Central Klondyke Gold Mining and Trading Company, Limited, which is now in liquidation, will not, it is to be feared, deter other individuals with fraudulent intentions and designs upon the pockets of simple English investors or speculators, from putting forward schemes of an equally fraudulent character if they find an opportunity.

Those wishing to go out to the Yukon district must well consider the cost, and they must also think whether they are likely to be able to endure the climate, and whether they can exist upon the food which they get in such mining districts. I have been in the Cariboo myself, and I know what the sufferings are to those not inured to such a climate; what is called mountain fever is a terrible ordeal to go through.

One ought to start for Yukon River without ample means ; in estimating expenses a considerable amount must be added for contingencies over and above railway and steamer fares, and the cost of food for at least six months must be taken into account. I know' very well what I should consider sufficient myself, but then I should not be tempted to take such a journey unless I could do it in comfort and have something left for investment when I reached the Yukon. Information should be sought at the office of the High Commissioner for Canada, 17 Victoria Street, in preference to any other source, for the all-sufficient reason that more is known in that office than can be known by private individuals, and inquirers may rely upon having good practical advice given them, not only as to the way to reach the gold-fields by those who have knowledge and are ready and willing to impart it, but they will also be shown where there are desirable places for settlement if the search for gold does not yield them the satisfaction which they expected it would.

This appendix was written in February 1S9S. Much more is now known about Yukon than was at that time. 1 would recommend those who desire to know more about the Yukon River and how to get there to read the admirable paper on “Klondyke,” read before the Royal Colonial Institute on 31st January last by Miss Flora Shaw, and the discussion which followed.


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