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the dangers of the Fraser above Yale are avoided, and a distance of some one hundred and twenty miles of the most perilous travelling saved.
Hope, which is at the end of the steam navigation in the Fraser, is perhaps the prettiest town on the river. Indeed, until Cayoosh, or, as it is now called, Lilloett, is reached, there is no other settlement that will bear comparison with it. Yale, fifteen miles above Hope, is at the head of canoe or boat, as Hope is of the steam navigation. Above it are the rapids, known as the “Canons." These “ Canons," of which there are two between Yale and Lytton, are narrow passes, through which the river forces its way between steep, in some cases perpendicular, banks, from three or four hundred to one thousand feet high. "Miners will dare anything; and when Governor Douglas was at Yale, in 1859, he saw a man who had actually come down through the “ Canons” lashed on to a large log of timber! The trails which lead alongside of these Canons are sometimes stopped by bulging and overhanging cliffs, the trail coming up to them on one side, and continuing again on the other. The difficulty is, of course, to pass the intervening space. This is managed by the Indians thus : they suspend three poles by native rope, made of deerhide and fibre, from the top of the cliff, the inner end of the first and third resting on the trail, and the middle one crossing them in the front of the bluff. Of course there is nothing to lay hold of, and the only way is for the traveller to stretch out his arms and clasp the rock as much as possible, keeping his face close against it; if he gets dizzy, or makes a false step, the pole will, of course, swing away, and he will topple over into the torrent, which rolls hundreds of feet beneath! The landslips in the mountain crevices are also very dangerous. The Bishop of Columbia has, however, travelled in person by this perilous route. A road has since been begun from Hope to Boston Bar, at the mouth of the Anderson River, and forty miles above Yale, which will avoid the “Canons" altogether. At Boston Bar the Fraser valley opens out a little, and between it and Lytton several flats occur, which will some day, no doubt, be converted into pretty little farms. These flats, or benches, as they are called, are all covered with a long, sweet grass, of which cattle and horses are exceedingly fond, and which has a wonderful effect in fattening them.
Lytton consisted, at this epoch, of an irregular row of some dozen wooden huts, a drinking-saloon, an express-office, a large court-house, and two little buildings near the river. Commander Mayne turned off from this point up the Thompson River, by a succession of valleys sufficiently clear of timber to make settling easy, well watered, and covered with long, sweet grass. The scenery presented by this river and the Nicola is described as being most lovely, and as presenting a remarkable contrast with the coast, lined as it is with dense, almost impenetrable, forests. Here, also, they first met with the mounted Indians of the interior, who were very friendly. A small chain of lakes stretched from the Nicola to the Thompson River, which they joined at Kamloops, one of the forts of the Hudson Bay Company. The party started hence for Pavillon, on the Fraser, accompanied by St. Paul, the old chief of the Shuswap Indians. They had to ford several rapid rivers, and just before reaching Pavillon came to a small river which joins the Fraser some twenty miles above Lytton, the valley of which has become the high road from Lytton to the Cariboo diggings. Near Pavillon Lake was a farm
- the first that they had seen ploughed in British Columbia ; the land was good, and the owners-Yankees, by-the-by-were chiefly occupied in growing vegetables for the miners. Pavillon-so called from a large white flag having been kept Aying there, after the fashion of the Indians, over the grave of one of their chiefs—consisted at that time of a score or so of miners' huts, but it has since become a much more important place, forming a sort of head-quarters for the miners and the mule-trains, who, from Pavillon, branch north and south to the diggings at Alexandria, Cariboo, and Kamloops. At Pavillon, as at Lytton, the travellers were much tormented by the dust.
The party returned hence by the Harrison-Lilloett route to the mouth of the Fraser. The first station met with was Fountain, a much prettier site than Pavillon, and sheltered by the river-bend from the gusty north and south winds, which were so uncomfortable both at Lytton and Pavillon. Beyond this was a river, over which two enterprising “citizens" had constructed a bridge, for crossing which they charged the miners twenty-five cents. Sharp practice in a new country!
Lilloett, below this, is described as a very pretty site, decidedly the best, Commander Mayne says, that he saw on the Fraser River. It has now grown into a somewhat important town. On the opposite side of the river is another large plateau, on which the Hudson Bay Company were building a fort, to be named Fort Berens, after one of their directors. Hence there are “ restaurants” on the trail down. The places so designated are simply huts, where the traveller can obtain a meal of bacon, beans, bread, salt butter, and tea and coffee for a dollar; while if he has no tent with him, he can select the softest plank in the floor to sleep on. At those on the Lower Fraser, sometimes eggs, beef, and vegetables can be got. In the Lilloett valley, the level spots were covered with wild peas, vetches, lettuce, and several sorts of berries. Several agricultural settlers were already there, and it is described as a lovely spot for settlement. Port Pemberton consisted at this time of a couple of “ restaurants" and half a dozen huts, occupied by muleteers and boatmen. Eight miles from Port Lilloett is a hot spring, called St Agnes's Well, after one of the governor's daughters. The scenery on the Harrison Lake is described as much finer than on the upper lakes, and here were also many splendid cedars of the country, so called, as also in Japan, but in neither country are there true cedars. On the 19th of June the party rejoined the Plumper at Esquimalt.
It was at this epoch that, while the boundary commissioners were hard at their work, General Harney, who had lately been appointed to the command of Oregon and Washington Territories, suddenly landed soldiers on San Juan Island without any previous notice, and who still remain there. The island being at present held by equal bodies of troops (about one hundred men of each nation) of Great Britain and America. A grosser and more uncalled-for insult to another nation's honour can scarcely be imagined. If the Yankees wish to act by reason, the difficulty might be submitted to arbitration ; if they wish simply to establish their right by force, it will undoubtedly lead some day or other to an arbitrament of a more disagreeable character, and for which British Columbia and Vancouver are scarcely well prepared ; but neither are the Yankees in that remote quarter. There are, as we have before endeavoured to make clear, three channels: that of Rosario Strait (most in use, and the channel” par éminence) to the east; Haro Strait, with a devious course, between Moresby and Stuart Islands ; and Middle or Douglas Channel. It would be better, then, to make the boundary-line course along the middle of the latter, which gives all the large islands to the Yankees, with the exception of San Juan, than to fight about such unimportant territories, the possession of which has been disputed in so truly a Yankee fashion.
The inlets which stretch inland at comparatively small intervals along the coast of British Columbia possess certain general characteristics. They run up between steep mountains three or four thousand feet in height; the water is deep, and anchorages far from plentiful; while they terminate, almost without exception, in valleys-occasionally large and wide, at other times mere gorges-through which one or more rivers struggle into the sea. Burrard Inlet, the most southerly, is, however, remarkable for its good anchorage and for its coal mines. When the Fraser is frozen up, the only access to British Columbia is by Port Moody, in this inlet, and which is only five miles from New Wostminster. A right to construct a direct road to Alexandria by Bute Ivlet has also been conceded to a company. Two other routes have been proposed from Belhoula Inlet; but, considering the probable extension of the Cariboo diggings northward to the Peace River, Commander Mayne thinks that the line of route proposed by other adventurers, running from Dean's Canal to the Nachuten Lakes, and along the river of the same name to Fort Fraser, will still bear off the palm, particularly if, as is very probable, Stuart River be found navigable for steamers from that place to Fort George, where it meets the Fraser. In the summer of 1859, Mr. Downie explored a still more northward route from Port Essington, but this route is so far north as to be unavailable for the greater part of the year. Port Essington is not a Jucky name in the history of colonisation.
The Plumper received so much damage in these various and laborious surveys, that she was obliged to go to San Francisco in the spring of 1860 to refit, the British having, as we have before seen, no docks or repairing place in all Vancouver or British Columbia, the shores of which are covered with forest timber! This accomplished, the remainder of the summer was devoted to the survey of the north-east of Vancouver Island, and of Fort Rupert and Queen Charlotte Sound. There is more variety than would be imagined in the details of these surveys-overland expeditions to Nanaimo, ascents of mountains, shooting elk (wapiti) and deer, and, not least remarkable, the account of the earnest labours and successes of the Roman Catholic missionaries among the Indians. After an overland journey to Pemberton, during which they were nearly devoured by mosquitoes, the Plumper was joined by the Alert and Termagant in her labours.
The year 1861 opened by the crew of the Plumper being turned over to the Hecate, newly arrived, and in which they proceeded to explore the west coast, including Nootka, Barclay, and Clayoquot Sounds. These sounds are of the utmost importance, opening as they do a way to the interior of Vancouver Island, in a coast previously supposed to be ironbound and unapproachable. Barclay Sound is, like all the sounds of the west coast of Vancouver Island, subdivided into several smaller sounds or arms, some of which are very curious, running in a straight line, or very nearly so, five or six miles, between mountains three to four thousand feet high, with a breadth in many places of not more than fifty yards, and yet thirty or forty fathoms deep up to the head, which is invariably flat, with a river running through it. This surpasses anything yet met with even in Norway, the land of fiords and inlets, and holds out great promises to the future. Already a settlement called Alberni has sprung up at the head of this remarkable inlet, in which both coal and limestone are met with. Previous to the discovery of the latter, the colonists were dependent on clam-shells for lime. The soil is also very rich, and the timber magnificent--the Douglas pine, growing to an enormous size, and the white pine, oak, and yellow cypress also abounding.. Alberni itself is reached by a natural canal, twenty miles long, which opens out into a large harbour. It is utterly impossible, indeed, to describe all the natural advantages of these different places. Those interested must go to the fountain-head- the excellent work of Commander Mayne. A tract of country has been granted in this sound to the Saw-mill Company, who are carrying on a brisk trade in spars and lumber with America, China, and Australia. It was here that the flagstaff which is erected in Kew Gardens was cut.
On the 15th of August, the Hecate had the misfortune to run upon the rocks, in making the Strait of Fuca, in a dense fog ; but was luckily got off only with such damage as to necessitate the usual expedition to San Francisco-a. cruise which, in as far as Commander Mayne was concerned, he having received the welcome news of his promotion in Clayoquot Sound, terminated in Southampton docks. In summing up the resources of her Majesty's dominions in the Pacific, Commander Mayne begins by disposing of the Hudson's Bay Company, whose pretensions to any further tenure of such vast and important territories he says should be rightly unheeded. 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, he entertains, no doubt, and it may, he says, indeed be, that before long the whistle of the locomotive will be heard among them.
Besides gold, silver, lead, copper, iron, and plumbago have also been met with. . Coal, we have seen, abounds in various places. The natural resources of British Columbia are, however, such as to give to it the greatest importance, quite independent of its mineral wealth. After the Cascade, or coast range of hills, all forest-clad down to the shores, are passed, and 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. Several farms are now established in different parts of this upper and interior country. The position of the Cariboo diggings will soon lead to its settlement, as well as hasten the opening of a feasible road across the Rocky Mountains. 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 as 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 and boundaries as he is able to the nearest magistrate, paying, at the same time, a fee of eight shillings for its registration. These regulations extend, however, to one hundred and sixty 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 acrembecomes payable. In speaking of the resources of these colonies, the immense supplies of timber, fish, and game of many kinds, must not be omitted or lost sight of. There are also many wild fruits and edible roots and plants. Hops grow very well, and a species of tobacco and tea are indigenous in British Columbia, and are in common use among the natives. A more self-sufficing country it is difficult to imagine.
Lastly, the numerous tribes of natives are, thanks to the discriminating conduct of the Hudson's Bay and North-West Companies, friendly and well disposed. The missions among them have hitherto been most successful. Upon this subject we find the following interesting remarks made by Mr. Duncan, the most successful of all the missionaries : “During my conversation with Captain Richards, he said the business he had just had with the Indians convinced him that it was not our ships of war that were wanted up the coast, but missionaries. The Indian's ignorance of our power, and strong confidence in his own, in addition to his natural savage temper, render him unfit to be dealt with at present by stern and unyielding men of war, unless his destruction be contemplated, which of course is not. Then,' asked the captain, 'why do not more men come out, since your mission has been so successful? or, if the missionary societies cannot afford them, why does not government send out fifty, and place them up the coast at once? Surely it would not be diffi. cult to find fifty good men in England willing to engage in such a work? And their expenses would be almost nothing compared with the cost which the country must sustain to subdue the Indians by force of arms ! Such are the earnest sentiments of one of her Majesty's naval captains while among the Indians.” “And such," says Commander Mayne, “I may add, are the sentiments of myself—in common, I believe, with all my brother-officers-after nearly five years' constant and close intercourse with the natives of Vancouver Island and the coast of British Columbia.