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Ocean to Ocean
The Coast, and Vancouver's Island


On the waters of the Pacific - Bute Inlet.-Valdes Island.-The Fiords of British Colum bia.—Waddington Harbor. — Glaciers.—Chilcoten Indians. —Massacre—PartyX.— Salmon.—Arran Rapids.—Seymour Narrows.—Menzies Bay—Party Y.—The Straits of Georgia.—New settlements on Vancouver's Island.—Nanaimo.—Coal mines.— Concert.—Mount Baker.—Pujet Sound.—San Juan Island.—The Olympian Mountains. —Victoria—Esquimalt Harbor—A Polyglot City.—The last of Terry—The Pacific Ocean—Barclay Sound— Alberni Inlet.—Sunset on the Pacific—Return to Victoria. —The Past, Present, and Future.—The Home-stretch.—The great American Desert.

October, 6th.—Before any of us came on deck this morning, the good Sir James Douglas had steamed out of Burrard's Inlet, and past the lofty mountains that enclose the deep fiords of Howe Sound and Jervis Inlet, into the middle of the Straits of Georgia. Our first sight was of the Island of Texada on our right, and the bold outline of Vancouver's Island farther away on our left.

After breakfast, divine service was held in the cabin. On those inland waters of the Pacific that, folding themselves round rocky mountain and wooded island, looked to us so lovely, we, who had come four thousand miles from the Atlantic, united our voices in common prayer with fellow subjects who call these shores of the vaster Ocean of the West, their home. Again, all found that prostration before Him, who is our Father, and also King of Nations, not only evokes the deepest feelings of the human heart, but also purifies them. The tie of a common nationality, especially if the nation has a great history, is holy. The aim of our work was to bind our country more firmly together, and this thought elevated the work; while worshipping together made us feel more powerfully than any amount of feasting and toasting the flag—that inhabitants of the same Dominion, subjects of the same Sovereign, and heirs of the same destinies, must ever be brothers.

Towards mid-day, our course took us out of the Straits of Georgia, north-easterly up into Bute Inlet, another of those wonderful fiords of unknown depth that seam this part of the Pacific coast. The chart makes it 40 fathoms deep, with a mark over the figures signifying that the naval surveyors had sounded to that depth without finding bottom.

The object of going up this Inlet, another of the proposed termini for the Railway, was to enable the Chief to get such a birds-eye view of it as he had already obtained of the prairie and the mountain country, and at the same time to meet two parties of the C. P. R. Survey, who had been at work in this quarter all summer.

On the question of which is the best western terminus, there are two great parties in British Columbia, one advocating the mainland, the other Vancouver's Island. On the mainland, New Westminster, Burrard's Inlet, and other points are proposed. If a harbor on Vancouver's Island be chosen, then the railway must cross to the shores of Bute Inlet, and follow the easiest possible route from its head through the Cascade Mountains. The advocates of the island termini, Victoria, Esquimalt, and Alberni, always asserted that it was a simple matter to cross the Straits of Georgia to the mouth of Bute Inlet by Valdes Island, which on the map does seem to block them up almost completely; then, that the line could be made along the shore of the Inlet to the mouth of the Homathco River, and up its course, through the Cascades, to the Chilcoten plains. Two main routes had therefore to be surveyed : one, from the mouth of the Fraser River, and up the Thompson ; the other, from Vancouver's Island across to Bute Inlet, and, up the Homathco to the Upper Fraser, from whence the line could be carried by the North Thompson valley, if no direct passage across the Gold-range to the Canoe River, or Tete Jaune Cache could be found.

A short time after the latter survey was commenced, the engineers reported that Valdes Island, although represented on the Charts as one, really consisted of a group of three islands. The naval surveyors had seen channels piercing into Valdes Island, but had not followed them up, their business being to lay down the soundings only along the through channels, and Valdes Island, not having been explored, had always been considered an unit. The discovery of the true state of the case complicated the question, and rendered a Hydrographic survey, of four or five, instead of two "Narrows," necessary. This was work for one party, the line up Bute Inlet being assigned to another, and up the Homathco through the Cascades to a third.

On board the Sir James Douglas we had the member for New Westminster a zealous advocate of Burrard's Inlet, and the member for Victoria—a true believer in an Island terminus. To a student of "human nature" it was amusing to notice with what different eyes each looked at or refused to look at the difficulties of the rival routes. The former gazed exultingly on the high bluffs and unbroken line of mountains, that rose sheer from the waters of Bute Inlet. But his sarcasms were invariably met by a counter reference to the cany6ns of the Fraser and the Thompson. The Senator from Cariboo acted the part of a free lance, now backing the one and next moment the other.

There was not one of us who had ever seen anything like the Inlet we steamed up this afternoon. The inlets which cut deep into this coast, from the straits of Fuca northward for twelve degrees of latitude, probably resemble the fiords of Norway, but none of our party could speak of those from personal observation.

It is a singular fact that, while there is not a single opening in the coast for seven hundred miles north of San Francisco, except the bad harbour of Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia river, the next seven or eight hundred miles should be broken by innumerable inlets. The case is paralleled on the Atlantic side of North America. From Florida to Maine there are very few good ports, while north of Maine, embracing the coast of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, there are scores. The openings in the ironbound coast of Nova Scotia are not unlike those on the Pacific side, except that on the Atlantic the indentations do not cut so deep into the land, and the shores are low.

Up into the very heart of the Cascade range through a natural passage, which could not have been formed by the Ocean, for the coast is protected here from its erosions by Vancouver's Island, we sailed to-day for forty miles, over water almost as deep under our keel as the snow-capped mountains that hemmed the passage were high above our heads. The Inlet varies in breadth from one to two-and-a-half miles, and so deep is it in every part that a ship may sail up and down close enough to the shore, in most places, for a man to jump to the rocks.

A mist, followed by a drizzling rain, came on early in the afternoon, and hid the summits of the mountains, but the gleam of scores of white cataracts could be seen; and, like furrows amid the dark spruce, the clean sides of the rocks in long straight lines showed where avalanches had swept every thing before them into the deep waters below. Half way up the Inlet, we saw a tent on the shore. A whistle brought it's tenant out to us in a canoe ; and he proved to be a commissary who had preceded X party a few miles, in order to make necessary arrangements for their advance. An hour after, we passed camp X., but, as the mist had thickened and our captain had never been in these waters before, he steamed on without stopping, for Waddington harbour at the head of the Inlet. This point he reached after dark, and at once sent a boat's crew ahead to sound for an anchoring place. After some delay, between seven and eight P.M., the boatswain held up a lantern in the boat to indicate where soundings had been found. Steaming up to the light the anchor was let go in twenty-five fathoms, quarter of a mile from the shore and from the head of the Inlet.

October 7th.—A magnificent view awaited those early on deck this morning. Nearly two hours were spent in weighing anchor, and then the steamer went round the harbour to enable us to see it on all sides. Rain had fallen steadily through the night, and now that it had ceased, mist clouds hung about the great masses of rock that on all sides rose perpendicularly into the region of eternal snow. Here and there, rifts in the mist, as it was broken by projecting peaks, revealed mountain sides curtained with glaciers. The only sound which broke the awful stillness was the muffled thunder of cataracts, multiplied by last night's rain, gleaming far up among the scanty pines, washing down the slippery rocks in broad white bands, or leaping from bluff to bluff an hundred feet at a time, for more than a thousand feet down to the sea. We were at the head of Bute Inlet. The salt sea water could cut no deeper into the range that guards the western side of our continent. The mountains stood firm except where the Homathco cuts its way through, in a deep gorge, sentinelled on each side by snow-clad warders.

By this water-highway of Bute Inlet, the late Mr. Waddington had urged the Government of British Columbia to make their road to Cariboo. On their adopting the Fraser River route, he organized a private company and began its construction, so convinced was he, that, its superiority would attract to it the travel between Cariboo and the outside world, and that a toll on goods earned over it would soon repay the cost of construction. His project was a steamer from Victoria to the head of Bute Inlet, and a waggon road thence up the Homathco to Cariboo; the distance being 175 miles less this way than by the Fraser. After spending $60,000 on surveys and on trail making, his men were murdered in 1864 by a tribe of Indians to whom provocation had been given. The Government secured the arrest of the murderers, and had them hung up at Quesnel mouth; but, from that day, the Coast and Chilcotin Indians have been regarded as dangerous and blood-thirsty. The C. P. R. parties, who travelled the country this year, had no trouble however; and Mr. Smith reports that the Chilcotins are the manliest and most intelligent Siwashes in the Province.

From the description that Mr. Smith gave us of the scenery on the Homathco, we would fain have landed and gone at least a few miles up the river: but time did not permit. He had worked up from the head of the Inlet through the Cascades in July last, overcoming by sheer determination not to be beaten—all difficulties of forest, canyons, torrents, and lazy treacherous Indians ; getting surveys at great risk of neck and limb, by felling trees across deep chasms from one to two hundred feet wide, and letting men down by ropes to the foot of high cliffs. The following extracts from one of his private letters to the Chief give more vivid pictures than any plate can, of scenes up the river. Here is what he says of the canyon, 31 miles from the head of the Inlet, and immediately above the rope ferry used by Mr. Wad-dington which is shown, as it then existed, in one of the plates.— "I commenced the survey of the canyon, following the river on the new trail commenced by Waddington, as far as it went,—| about half a mile,—when it terminated at an inaccessible bluff on which blasting had been commenced. The scene here is awfully sublime. The towering rocks, thousands of feet high; —far above these again the snow-clad peaks, connected by huge glaciers; and in a deep gorge beneath, a mountain torrent— whirling, boiling, roaring, and huge boulders always in motion-muttering, groaning like troubled spirits, and ever and anon striking on the rocks, making a report like the booming of distant artillery. But with all this wildness, there is the fresh beauty of vegetation. Wherever there is a crevice in the rocks large enough to hold a few inches of soil, trees are growing and wild flowers blooming."

After getting through "the core of the Cascade range," he came upon "the murderers' camp, where thirteen of Wadding-ton's men were murdered eight years ago. The spot looks as if it had never before been visited by man since the massacre The number of tents could be counted by the cedar bark forming the beds. Strewed around were various tools,—a blacksmith's anvil, sledge-hammers, crowbars, grindstone, vice, picks, and half a dozen shovels carefully placed against a tree ready for the morrow's work; also pieces of clothing, amongst which were at least one pair of woman's boots—too surely indicating the source of the trouble." This last clause suggests the origin of more than one "Indian atrocity." It's a fair question to ask always, "Who struck the first blow?" So much for the Homathco.

The forenoon was spent by us in coasting down the northerly side of the Inlet until we came to camp X. After inspecting their work we proceeded on our way down, Mr. Gamsby, the engineer in charge of party X. accompanying us. He reported that the Indians, far from giving any trouble, had been of material assistance in many ways, acting as servants or messengers, and selling deer, wildfowl, fish etc., at moderate prices. He pointed out a stream, running into the Inlet on the east side, at the mouth of which, on a recent visit, he had seen hundreds of thousands of dead salmon strewn along the shore; while thousands of crows, kites, vultures, and eagles filled the air. In similar places, such sights must have been common when white men first came to the country. These Pacific waters swarm with fish, that struggle up brawling streamlets to spawn, in spite of rapids, cascades, rocks, and shallows. No wonder that people, who have only eaten salmon caught inland, say that the Pacific varieties are inferior. They were good when they entered the river's mouth; but, when caught a few hundred miles up the Fraser, often the head is bruised by rocks and falls, and the scales, fins, and even the tail rubbed or worked off. No wonder that half of them perish by the way, and that none return to the sea. It is asserted as a fact, every where in British Columbia, that none of the salmon entering the Fraser river, and even the smaller streams, ever return to the sea.

We were struck with the beauty of Gamsby's canoe, and indeed of all the Indians canoes on this coast. Each is a model of architectural grace, although the lines reminded us of Chinese or Japaness rather than of British models. The canoes are generally made out of a single large log. After scooping out the log, they steam it in the following primitive manner.—Filling it with water, they throw in heated stones to make the water boil, and at the same time build a bark-fire round the outside. The wood "gives" several inches, until the central part of the canoe is made broader at the top, and the requisite curvature given to its sides. The proper shape is secured by putting in stretchers like a boat's thwarts: outside and inside are then painted; an ornamental figure-head set on, and the canoe is complete.

By midday the mouth of Bute Inlet was gained, but instead of returning in the direction of Burrard's Inlet, we ran through Arran Rapids in order to pass round the north side of Valdes' Island. At every turn, the beautiful views which an archipelago affords, met our eyes. The islands of every possible variety of form, were wooded from lofty summits to the brink of deep channels. At one time we were in cross-roads where four different channels opened out, north, south, east, and west; soon after in a narrow winding strait, or shooting swiftly through tidal rapids, or in a broad bay where snowy peaks could be seen behind the green foothills. After passing through Seymour Narrows, where, if there is to be a continuous line from an Island terminus, the bridge between Valdes' and Vancouver must be built, we rounded into a beautiful land-locked harbor, called Menzies Bay, and cast anchor for the night. Between the Narrows and the Bay, the tents of Y. party were picturesquely pitched, on an open easy slope, under the shadow of the forest. A whistle from the steamer brought Mr. Michaud, who is in charge of the party, on board, and, after dinner, all rowed off to his encampment, the Chief to inspect plans, the rest to see the camp. As compared with all the others, Y. party has been in clover from the beginning of their work. They were near Victoria, had a monthly mail, and could renew their supplies as they ran out. Their store-house filled with bags of flour, flitches of bacon, pork, molasses, split peas, beans, pickles, and a keg of beer, suggested good cheer; while any day, they could buy from the Indians a deer, weighing from 120 to 160 lbs., for one, or according to circumstances, two dollars; and salmon, trout, wild-geese, duck, or mallard, for trifling sums. They had no deer-meat in camp to-day, but they generously presented us with two wild-geese, each weighing ten or eleven lbs.

October 8th.—Our programme for the day was to reach Nanaimo Coal Mines as soon as possible, for the steamer's bunkers needed replenishing, and we all wished to see something of the mines, which promise to be of more benefit to British Columbia than all the gold-fields. Accordingly at 4 A.M. the auchor was weighed.

We were now getting into waters familiar to our captain; for strange as it may appear, not one on board with the exception of Mr. Smith, had ever been up Bute Inlet or round Valdes Island before this trip. Nothing shows more clearly the youthful and imperfectly developed condition of the Province than such a fact. Her representative men, those most likely to be best acquainted with her resources, know little beyond their own neighbourhood or the line of their one waggon-road. Distances re so great, the means of communication so limited, and the mountainous character of the country renders travelling so difficult, that the dwellers in the few towns and settlements have hitherto seen but little of the Province as a whole.

When we appeared on deck about 7 o'clock, the steamer was running down the Straits of Georgia, over a rippling, sun-lit sea. The lofty Beaufort range, on our right, rose grandly in the clear air, every snowy peak distinct from its neighbour, and the blue sky high above the highest. Victoria, and the twin peaks Albert Edward and Alexandra, ranging from 6,000 to over 7,000 feet in height, were the most prominent; but it was the noble serrated range as a whole, more than separate peaks, that caught the eye. The smaller Islands to the left were hidden by a fog-bank that gradually lifted. Then stood out, not only islet after islet in all their varied outline, but also the long line of the Cascade range behind. Yesterday had been charming from 10 o'clock, when the sun pierced through the mists; but to-day was "all white." A soft warm breeze fanned us, and every mile disclosed new features of scenery, to which snow-clad mountain ranges, wooded plains, and a summer sea enfolding countless promontories and islands, contributed their different forms of beauty. The islands are composed of strata of sandstone and conglomerate; the sandstone at the bottom worn at the water line into caves and hollows; the conglomerate above forming lofty cliffs, wooded to the summits, and overhanging winding inlets and straits most tempting to a yachtsman. From the southern point of Valdes Island down to Nanaimo, a considerable area of low lying and undulating land extends between the central mountain range of Vancouver's Island and the Straits of Georgia, well adapted for farming purposes. At two points, Comox and Nanoose, settlements have been formed within the last few years, and are prospering; but where there is one settlement there ought to be twenty, if the island is to raise its own grain and hay, and to cease sending out of the country all its wealth. There is little or no immigration to Vancouver's Island, and but little has been done to induce it, or to smooth the way for those who arrive. When an immigrant reaches the country, he finds it difficult to obtain information as to where there is good land to take up; and how is it possible for him to go out among a sea of mountains to search for a farm? The island should be thoroughly surveyed according to the simple system long practised in the United States and lately adopted in Manitoba; the amount of good land known, divided into sections and subsections, and numbered; so that, on arriving at Victoria, the immigrant could go into the Crown Land office, learn what land was pre-empted, and where it would be expedient for him to settle. There are many obstacles in the way of immigrants reaching this distant colony, and therefore special efforts are required to bring them, and to keep them when they come; for, until there is a large agricultural population, the wealth of the country must continue to be drained out of it, in order to buy the necessaries of life and every article of consumption, from Oregon, California, Great Britain, and elsewhere.

We were sorry at not being able to visit Comox. Our information about it is therefore second-hand ; but testimony was unanimous concerning the good quality of the land, the accessibility to markets, and the prosperity of the settlers, notwithstanding the short time they have been in the country.

By noon we had left the Beaufort range behind, and Mount Arrowsmith came into view ; while far ahead on the mainland, and south of the 49th parallel, what looked a dim white pyramid rising to the skies, or a white cloud resting upon the horizon, was pointed out to us by the Captain as Mount Baker. Soon after, we rounded into the northern horn of Nanaimo harbour, called Departure Bay, and drew alongside the pier where a lately organized Company is shipping coal from a new seam that has been opened, three miles back from the point of shipment.

Landing here, and leaving the steamer to coal, most of us walked by a trail to Nanaimo through the woods, along a channel that connects Departure Bay with the old mines. The channel, which is an excellent roadstead is between the mainland of Vancouver and a little Island called Newcastle, on the inner side of which another excellent coal mine, within ten feet of navigable water, has just been opened. There are two seams at Newcastle, averaging three feet each and separated by three feet of fire clay, which as the miners proceed becomes thinner, the coal seams becoming thicker. From this convergence it is supposed that the clay will soon give out, and the two seams of coal unite into one. Near this Newcastle mine, is a quarry of light colored freestone of excellent quality, from which the mint at San Fransisco has just been built, and which is sure to be of immense service and value in the near future. There is no such freestone quarried on the Pacific coast; and its convenience for shipping makes it doubly valuable.

At Nanaimo proper, is a population of seven or eight hundred souls,—all depending on the old or Douglas mine. The manager informed us that they would probably ship fifty thousand tons this season, while last year they shipped less than thirty thousand ; and that, next year, they would be in a position to ship an hundred thousand or more. They could give employment to fifty or sixty additional men at once, at wages averaging from two to three dollars a day. A new seam, nine feet thick, had lately been discovered, below the old one; and we went down the shaft three hundred feet to see it. The coal was of the same excellent quality as that of the old mine, which is the best for gas or steam purposes on the Pacific coast. But the miners had come upon "a fault" in the seam, caused by the dislocation of the strata, immediately above and below, intruding a tough conglomerate rock that they were now cutting away in the hope of its soon giving out. The coal measures which these few seams now worked represent, extend over the whole eastern coast of Vancouver Island, and like those on the east of the Rocky Mountains are cretaceous or of tertiary age. They are considered as valuable as if they were carboniferous and are certain to be fully developed before long.

It is provoking to know, however, that the agricultural settlements in the neighborhood, which, though small, are the most extensive on the island, are not able to supply the present population of Nanaimo with food; and that no steps are taken to bring in new settlers, though there is abundance of good land all round. If this state of things continues, even though the mining population of Vancouver's Island increase ten fold in as many years, most of the wealth will be sent out of the country, as was the gold of Cariboo, and the country in the end be as poor as ever.

Nanaimo does not look like a coal mining place. The houses are much above the average of miners' residences in Britain or in Nova Scotia. Scattered about, often in picturesque situations, with gardens, and not in long, mean, soot-covered rows, as if laid out with the idea that men who see nothing of beauty underground cannot be expected to appreciate it above. The view from the town, of the Cascades range, on the other side of the Straits is almost equal to the view of the long semi-circular line of the Alps from Milan. At sunset, when warmed with the roseate light, or, a little later, when a deep soft blue has displaced the couleur de rose, the beauty is almost inconsistent with the ash heaps and tenements of a mining village. Though not a believer in the "God made the country; man made the town" sentiment, the contrast irresistibly suggests the words.

In the evening a concert was held on behalf of the Episcopal Church of the place, and all our party went to see 'the beauty and fashion, the bone and sinew' of Nanaimo. The hall, which holds about two hundred was well filled, and the entertainment consisted of music, vocal and instrumental, and magic lantern views. The prologue by the Rector, the songs, the dresses of the ladies, reminded us of a world left behind three months ago. We had got back to civilization. The Ontario papers that reviled the constituency that returned Sir F. Hincks, should send reporters to Nanaimo; for only men who have been accustomed to describe such assemblages could do justice to the beauty of the women, the intelligence of the men, the musical taste of the Rector and the choir. If an impartial report concerning the Nanaimo concert were given, no further doubt would be entertained in the East, of the Vancouver districts' right to have a Cabinet Minister for their representative.

October, 9th.—Another day of glorious weather; such weather as Vancouver's Island has, almost without interruption, from March till October or November; warm enough for enjoyment and cool enough for exercise. Our course was down the Gulf of Georgia to Victoria; past the agricultural districts of Cowichan and Saanich on the Vancouver side, and the various islands that line the mainland on our left. Mount Baker was the great feature in the landscape all day. We could hardly help feeling envious that the United States instead of ourselves possessed so glorious a landmark; especially as it still bears the name of the British Naval Officer in Capt. Vancouver's ship who first saw it, and is in the country that was formally taken possession of, for the British Crown in 1792, and that had been, up to 1846, held by a British Company. Indeed, it is difficult even to conceive of any plausible excuse that the United States could have brought forward, in claiming the country round Puget's Sound. They knew its value, and the British Premier, not only did not, but his brother had assured him that the whole country wasn't worth talking about, much less the risk of war; for "the salmon wouldn't take a fly."

On the fourth of April 1792, the birthday of King George III, after whom he had named the Straits of Georgia, Captain Vancouver took formal possession of all the waters of Puget Sound, and of the coast north and south along which he had sailed, for His Majesty, whose commission he carried. All the prominent capes, points, harbours, straits, mountains, bear to this day, the names of his lieutenants or friends, just as he named them on his great voyage. He changed nothing. As the old Portuguese navigator, Juan de Fuca, had discovered the Straits of Fuca, his name was honorably preserved, and as Vancouver met a Spanish Squadron that had been sent out to give up Nootka and other Spanish claims on the coast to Great Britain, he adopted the names that the Dons had given to any channels or islands, such as Valdez, Texada, Straits of Melas-pina, etc. Puget Sound, he named from his second lieutenant; Mount Baker, from his third; Cape Mudge, from the first; Mount Rainier, from Rear Admiral Rainier; Capes Grey and Atkinson, Burrard, Jervis, and Bute Inlets, Fort Discovery, Johnstone's Channel, and a hundred others were all alike named by him ; and if Britain had no right to those south of the 49th parallel, she had no right to those farther north.

Still more astonishing: in 1846 when Britain yielded the Columbia River and the whole Pacific side of the continent up to the 49th parallel, not a single citizen of the United States had settled to the north of the Columbia. Swarms from the Western States had flocked into Oregon in the ten preceding years of joint occupation, and so the Government at Washington might plead the will of the settlers against the Imperial rights of Britain; but that plea could have carried them, at the farthest, only to Astoria. If Oregon had to be ceded, the Columbia River should have been the boundary.

It may be said that all this is a reviving of dead issues, out of place and useless now. But the history of the past throws light on the present, and is a beacon for the future. Had the San Juan difficulty been viewed, not merely in the light of the literal wording of the Treaty of 1846, but in the light of all the facts, the decision of the Emperor of Germany must have been different.

Before noon we entered the Haro Strait that separates San Juan (pronounced here "San Wan") from Vancouver's Island. Between the northern part of the Haro Channel and Vancouver's Island, are several islets and two narrow channels, that ships going to Victoria may take. South of these, there is nothing between San Juan and the southern extremity of Vancouver, but the Haro Strait, six or seven miles wide. It is therefore evident that while San Juan would be useless to Britain for military purposes, its possession by the United States is a menace to us; for it commands the entrance to British waters, British shores, a British river, and a British Province. There is a hill on San Juan about a thousand feet high, a battery on which would command the whole Strait.

There are many conjectures here as to the effect of the Emperor's judgment, should it be adverse, some think his decision would throw a heavy sword into the scale against New Westminster or Burrard's Inlet as a terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The sail down the Straits of Haro was all that a pleasure party on board a steam yacht could have desired. On the mainland, the long line of the Cascades or Coast range broken by the Delta of the Fraser extended to the south,—though dwarfed into comparative insignificance by the mighty mass of Mount Baker, rising up in the midst. Farther south, the line swept round the deep gulf of Puget Sound, then north-westerly and away as far west as the entrance of the Straits of Fuca, under the name of the Olympian range. When under the lee of San Juan the snowy pyramid of Mount Baker looked out on us over the Island, while far to the south, in the back ground of the Olympian range, the dim form of Mount Rainier was seen lifting itself up in the sky. Rounding the southern point of Vancouver's Island, we came to the spit of land that is cut into by the harbour of Victoria and four miles further west by the much superior harbour of Esquimalt. We steamed first into Victoria to get letters and telegrams, and proceeded immediately thereafter to Esquimalt, returning at 4 P.M., some of us by land, over a good macadamized road, and some in the Sir James Douglas.

The harbour of Victoria has a narrow entrance, is small, inconveniently shaped, and accommodates only vessels of eighteen feet draught of water ; but as Esquimalt is near enough to serve as an additional harbour, Vicioria does not suffer. Esquimalt harbour is a gem; not very large, but the anchorage is excellent, and it has all the other requisites of a first-class harbour; and In "the Royal Roads" outside, along the coast as far as Race Rocks, any number of slips can ride safely. In Esquimalt, one U. S. and four British men-of-war lay, two of the latter having been just paid off. We were astonished to find that the British Government had not constructed a dock at Esquimalt, and that now it is not even the headquarters of the Pacific squadron, the foreign port of Valparaiso having been selected instead. Esquimalt is our own, our interests are along the coast, coal is near, China and Japan only fifteen days distant, and the Admiral could be in daily communication when necessary with the Home authorities. The only reasons assigned on the other side are that British Commercial interests in South America are paramount, and that sailors desert at Esquimalt and get off easily to the States. The same reasons ought to be conclusive against Halifax as the head-quarters of the North American squadron, and in favour of adopting Rio or some other South American port in its stead.

The terms of confederation with the Dominion included a guarantee of the interest on £100,000 stg. for ten years from the completion of the work, for a first-class Graving Dock at Esquimalt, and the Provincial Government has accordingly taken steps to commence its construction.

On our return to Victoria in the afternoon, one of the first persons we met in the street was Terry. Having no further need of his services, we had parted with him last week at New Westminster. He had gone on to Victoria direct and had monopolized the lionizing intended for the whole party; had been interviewed about our marvellous north-west passage by land, with results as given in the newspapers, that spoke quite as much for Terry's imagination as for his memory. He had conjured up a Canyon on the Canoe River twenty miles long, where no Canyon is or ever had been; had described us as galloping down the Yellow Head Pass till arrested by the sight of quartz boulders gleaming with gold, and rocks so rich that Brown and Beaupré had deserted to go back and mine; and, with many another fact or fancy equally readable, made the hearts of reporters glad. "Drinks" had probably been the reward, and the consequences to Terry proved serious. For on the first day after being paid in full at the office in Victoria for his long trip, he had been plundered of every dollar. He was now looking round for work; and before we left Victoria, hired as general servant on board a ship going north. Thus disappeared Terry into space-Should any one in future wish to engage him, we hereby certify him as a good servant, a good tailor, a good cobbler, and indeed anything but a good cook, the post which, unfortunately for us, he filled. In his own words, "he never liked being boss; but could be understrapper to any any one," and, such a man is a treasure in America.

A walk through the streets of Victoria showed the little capital to be a small polyglot copy of the world. Its population is less than 5,000; but almost every nationality is represented. Greek fishermen, Kanaka sailors, Jewish and Scotch merchants, Chinese washerwomen or rather washermen, French, German and Yankee restaurant-keepers, English and Canadian officeholders and butchers, negro waiters and sweeps, Australian farmers and other varieties of the race, rub against each other, and apparently in the most friendly way. The sign-boards tell their own tale: "Own Shing, washing and ironing"; "Sam Hang," ditto; "Kwong Tai & Co., cigar store"; "Magasin Francais"; "Teutonic Hall, lager beer"; "Scotch House"; "Adelphic" and "San Francisco" saloons; "Oriental" and "New England" restaurants; "What Cheer Market," and "Play me off at tenpins," are all found within gunshot, interspersed with more common-place signs.

The senior member for the city had invited several gentlemen to dine with us at the Colonial Hotel at 5 o'clock. A better dinner could not be served in Montreal. We were only sorry that we had to leave at 7, to go on board the Sir James Douglas, and proceed to Alberni Channel, one of the proposed termini on the west coast of Vancouver's Island. But time was precious, as the San Francisco steamer was expected to be in every hour. Parting with Mr. Smith, and adding the second member for Victoria to our number, we went down to our little steamer and started on this, our last expedition, at 7.30 P.M.

October 10th.—The distance between Victoria and the Pacific by the Straits of Fuca is sixty miles. The Sir James Douglas made that by midnight, and then turned north for the spacious Archipelago of Barclay's Sound, from the head of which Alberni Canal, or to use the modern word Channel, a deep narrow fiord like those on the main land, cuts its way up into the interior of Vancouver's Island. Barclay Sound has three entrances, separated from each other by groups of islets and rocks, and as the nearest is the best for ships from the south, the Captain intended to run up by it into Alberni. The weather during the night was so favourable that he over-ran his distance, and never having been in the sound before, he waited for daylight to compare the coast with the charts. Those who came early on deck had thus an opportunity of seeing the Pacific breaking on the iron shores of Vancouver. Away behind us the great ocean stretched unbroken to Japan and China, sleeping peacefully—under the morning light that was shining over the mountains to the east—with no motion save a slow voluptuous roll of long billows that seemed gentle enough to be stayed by a child's hand. But to know their strength, even in a calm, turn and look where these Fame billows meet the headlands. Over the first they break with a heavy roar; and then, as if amazed to be resisted, they gather up their forces and rush with a long wild leap, like white-maned war-horses charging, among the inner breakers, to meet the fate that a gallant ship would meet if it mistook the entrance to the sound. When a gale is blowing from the west, the surf must be tremendous, for there is nothing to break the roll of the Pacific for 2,000 miles; but the entrances into the sound are wide, and one or two lighthouses would obviate all risk. The most prominent mark about the southern entrance at present is Ship Island probably so called from a number of bare trees on it like the masts of a ship. Beyond the coast line a bold range of serrated mountains runs along the centre of the island, like a backbone, north and south, into the heart of which Alberni Channel pierces. Passing up the sound, several canoes with from two to half-a-dozen Indians in each hailed us with friendly shouts. They are squat in shape, dirtier, more savage, with a more decided cross-eye than the Indians on the main land. In all probability this side of America was peopled from Asia, and not necessarily round by Behring's Straits and the Aleutian Islands. Even in this century Japanese junks, dismasted in a typhoon or otherwise disabled, after drifting for months about the North Pacific have stranded on the American continent or been encountered by whaling ships, and the survivors of the crews rescued, in those cases where all had not perished of hunger.

There are two or three trading posts and several Indian villages on Barclay Sound. The traders come to the posts in schooners at certain seasons of the year, and trade for peltries, seal-oil, and fish. The scenery along the sound and up the channel resembles Bute Inlet, except that the hills do not rise so sheer and high from the water and the wood is better. There are also larger extents of open alluvial ground at the mouths of streams that run into the sea, and along the valleys between the hills that they drain. At the head of Alberni, is the Sumass, a river of considerable size that drains large lakes in the interior and is said to be bordered by extensive tracts of fertile soil. At its mouth is enough good land for several farms, but there are no settlers. An English Company formerly worked saw-mills at this point, from which in 1862 over eight million feet of lumber were exported. The working of the mills has been abandoned, as the speculation did not pay, and the premises are now going to ruin. A walk round showed us one reason at least of the failure. Too much money had been sunk in house, orchard, outhouses, and other "fixtures" and improvements that yielded no return. No sane man would have started on such a scale with his own money. It was a sorry spectacle to see so many good buildings doorless and windowless, falling into decay or broken up by the Siwashes for wood to burn. In a country whose lumbering interests require development it is too bad that capitalists should be deterred by such an example.

Alberni harbour offers such decided advantages as a terminus that it may prove a formidable rival even to Esquimalt.

After a bathe in the harbour, the water being wonderfully warm for the time of year, we steamed out into the Ocean again, and got back in time to see a glorious sunset on the Pacific. The twilight continued for an hour after; a band of carmine that shaded into orange and, higher up, into mauve, lingering so long over the horizon that we ceased to look at it, and only when turning into our berths, noticed that it had given way to the universal deep blue of the night sky. The sea was smooth and the night calm and beautiful as the preceding; and in consequence we were at the wharf in Victoria harbour between four and five A. M., to the astonishment of the citizens who had not expected us back till the afternoon or next day.

October, 11th to 14th.—It had been assumed that the Prince Alfred steamer would leave Victoria for San Francisco on the twelfth; but her day was changed to the fourteenth as she had to go to Nanaimo to coal. We had thus three days to spend in Victoria instead of one, and so great was the hospitality of the people that three months might have been spent enjoyably. Various as are the nationalities and religions represented in Victoria ; the people are wonderfully fused in one, and there is a general spirit of mutual toleration, kindness, and active good will that makes it a pleasant town to live in. Like the whole colony it is a poor man's paradise. Everyone seems to have plenty of money; and every kind of labour receives enormous prices. There is no copper currency and the smallest silver piece is what is called 'a bit'; the ten cent and the English sixpence though of different values being alike called 'bits,' and given to children or put in church-door plates (there are no beggars) as cents or coppers are in all other countries. This absence of small coins has much to do with the general cost of living and the indifference to small profits characteristic of all classes here. The merest trifle costs 'a bit'; and though there are 25 and 50 cent pieces in currency, yet, if anything is worth more than a bit, with a lofty indifference to the intermediate coins, the price is generally made a dollar. Emigrants on landing and men with fixed incomes are the chief sufferers from this state of things ; for as mechanics, labourers, and servants are paid accordingly, they like it, and speak with intensest scorn of the unfortunates who would devide 'a bit' because they perhaps think it too much to give for a paper of pins or an apple. "John" who comes across the Pacific to make money and then return to the flowery land doesn't heed their scorn; and so, most of it was reserved before Confederation for canny Canadians who received the flattering appellation of North American Chinamen.. The Californians being as well supplied with gold and as lavish with it as the Victorians themselves.

All this was very well in the halcyon days of the young Province, when gold-dust was accounted as nothing; when miners who had been six months in Cariboo would come down to the capital and call for all the champagne in an hotel to wash their feet; eat £10 notes as pills, or as a sandwich with a slice of pork, or light their pipes with them; and when town lots commanded higher prices for the moment than in Frisco. But the tide turned; the gold flowed out of the country to buy the champagne, and more necessary articles, instead of being spread abroad among resident farmers, or manufacturers; Cariboo yielded less abundant harvests; and the inflated prosperity of Victoria collapsed. Lots that had been bought at from $10,000 to $25,000 have been sold since, it is said, for $500; the 15,000 people who lived around the city in tents have taken flight, like wild geese to more Southern climates; and the then reputed millionaires are now content with a modest business. The virus however is still in the blood of the Victorians. They half expect that the good old times, when every man got rich without effort on his part, will come again; that something will turn up; new mines, or the railway being now the chief objects of reliance, to make business brisk. This delusion which belongs to the gambling rather than the true trading spirit retards the growth of the city: for it makes men hold on to house and business lots, or demand sums for them far beyond their real value. A mere rumour last winter that Esquimart was to be the terminus of the railway, at once sent up real estate in its neighbourhood four or five fold. The balloon has been accustomed to gas, and is easily inflated again. Great part of the four miles between Esquimalt and Victoria is owned by a company called "the Puget Sound." This land is held at prices too high for settlers or gardeners to buy and improve, and thus it is that the suburbs do not present the cultivated appearance that might have been expected from the soil and fine climate. High prices for land and for everything else in and around the town, and extreme difficulty of obtaining information about good land elsewhere; what condition of affairs could be more discouraging for emigrants or intending settlers?

An infusion of new blood is required. At present the classes that ought to come are servant girls, labourers, mechanics, miners, farm-servants and such like, for these would get remunerative employment at once; and, gradually, land would be taken up, and money diffused in so many hands that there would be a healthy flow instead of the present comparative stagnation and universal waiting for "better times."

In looking at Victoria and the surrounding coast the situation is so commanding that it is difficult to avoid speculating a little as to its probable future. The Island is at the end of the west and the beginning of the east. Behind it, over the mountains, stretch the virgin plains of our North-west extending to the Great Lakes. Fronting it, are the most ancient civilizations and the densest masses of humanity on the surface of the globe. With such a position, the harbours, minerals, fish, and timber of this colony all become important. If the "golden gate" be one passage-way between the old world and the new, the straits of Fuca and its harbours, the channels of Vancouver's Island and the inlets of the mainland are many. To our railway terminus will converge the products of Australia and Polynesia as well as of China and Japan; and all that the busy millions of Great Britain need can be sent to them across their own territory, independently of the changing phases of the eastern question. Neither the Suez Canal nor the Euphrates Valley can ever belong to England. But let there be a line of communication from the Pacific to the St. Lawrence through a succession of loyal Provinces bound up with the Empire by ever-multiplying and tightening links, and the future of the Fatherland and of the Great Empire of which she will then be only the Chief part is secured. With such a consummation in view, should not he be considered an enemy to the Common-weal who would dissever the western or American portion of so great an Empire from its foundation, from its capital and centre, simply because a belt of Ocean intervenes; a belt too that is becoming less of an obstacle every year. For in a few years we shall have a Railway with but one break from the Pacific coast to the extreme easterly side of Newfoundland, and from thence daily steamers will cross the Atlantic in a hundred hours. Canada will be as near London then as Scotland and Ireland were forty years ago. It will then be easier to make the journey from Victoria to London than it was to make it from the North of Scotland at the beginning of the century. These results, however marvelous, will be due to steam alone. How much nearer to the core of the Empire may not Canada be considered with the means of instantaneous telegraphic communications extended to every part of the Dominion?

But it would be unworthy of our past to think in this connection only of material progress and national consolidation and security. Loftier have ever been the aims of our forefathers. It is not enough for us to allow Chinamen to come to our shores merely that, while living, they may do our rough work cheaply, repelled the while from us by systematic injustice and insult, and that when dead a Company may clear money by carrying their bodies back to their own land. A nation to be great must have great thoughts; must be inspired with lofty ideals ; must have men and women willing to work and wait and war 'for an idea.' To be a light to the dark places of the earth ; to rule inferior races mercifully and justly; to infuse into them a higher life; to give them 'the good news' that makes men blessed and free, believing that as the race is one, reason one, and conscience one, there is one Gospel for and unto all; nothing less than this was the thought—deeply felt if sometimes inarticulately expressed—of our great ancestors in the brave days of Old. And it is ours' also. By the possession of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island we look across into the very eyes of four hundred millions of heathen, a people eager to learn, acute to investigate, and whom the struggle for existence in thronged centres has made tolerant, patient, and hardy. Can we do nothing but trade with them?

October 14th.—To-day we left Esquimalt by the "Prince Alfred" on "the home stretch," friends on the wharf giving us kindly parting cheers. A delightful voyage of four days down the coast brought us to San Francisco; a wonderful city 'for its age,' though not equal to Melbourne, the only other city in the world it ought to be compared with. Doubtless it is a fine thing to escape frost and snow; but some people would endure all the snow-storms of Quebec or Winnipeg rather than one sand-storm in Frisco.

On Saturday morning Oct. 19th we breakfasted at the Lick House, San Francisco. On Saturday the 26th we breakfasted at home in Ottawa.

And how does the country crossed by the Union and Central Pacific Railways compare with our own north-west, has been asked us since our return? Comparisons are odious and therefore the answer shall be as brief as possible. The Pacific slope excepted, for there is nothing in British Columbia to compare with the fertile valleys of California, everything is so completely in our favour that there is really no comparison except the old racing one of "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere." California itself, though its yield of wheat in favourable years is marvellous, is not a country to rear a healthy and hardy race. There is no summer or autumn rain-fall; the air is without its due proportion of moisture; and the lack of moisture is supplied by dust. The people look enervated, weary, and used up. In the course of a generation or two, unless a constant infusion of fresh blood renews their strength, the influences of climate must tell disastrously not only on their physique but on their whole spirit and life. Are Anglo-Saxons secure from falling into the same sleepy and unprogressive state, that the energetic Spaniards, who first settled the country, soon sank into?

But when we leave California and travel from twelve to fifteen hundred miles, through Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and Eastern Nebraska, the contrast with our North-west is startling. Certainly population has been attracted to various points over this vast region. The Mormons with infinite toil and patience, have made the deserts of Utah bring forth food for man and beast, but they are deserts notwithstanding and yield nothing unless carefully irrigated; and the mean houses of logs or adobé—as sun dried clay bricks are called,—and the unintelligent careworn countenances of the people do not testify very eloquently in favour of Utah. The State of Nevada is rich in minerals, especially in silver; and the railway has been the means of developing these to a great extent, while the export of the bullion supplies to the railway a considerable local trafic. Along the Humboldt, and in side valleys, large herds of stock are fed ; and in parts of Wyoming, and Eastern Nebraska also, stock raising is carried on with profit. But what a country to live in ! Every where it has a uniform dry, dusty, or what an Australian writer would call "God-forsaken" look. For more than a thousand miles not a tree or shrub except sage-brush or grease-wood, relieves the desolation. And yet this is the country that guide books describe as if it were the garden of the Lord, and to which they summon the millions of Europe. As we sat in the railway train and read the description of the land we were passing through; read of boundless tracts of the finest pasturage in the world ; of free soil on which anything and everything could be raised, of slopes that would yet be clad with vines and bear the rarest fruits; and then looked out of the window and saw limitless stretches of desert or semi-desert, high, arid, alkaline plateaus, dotted scantily with miserable sage-brush, hundreds of miles without a blade of grass, a soil composed of disintegrated lava and hard clay, or disintegrated granite or sandstone, or a conglomerate of the two, we could hardly believe our eyes. The American desert is a great reality. It is utterly unfit for the growth of cereals or to support in any way a farming population, because of its elevation, its lack of rain, and the miserable quality, or to speak more correctly, the absence, of soil. The enterprise that ran "the pony express," that constructed telegraphs and a line of Railway across such a country is wonderful; but not half so wonderful as the faith that sees in such a desert an earthly paradise, or the assurance that publishes its visions of what ought to be, for pictures of what is, or the courage that volunteers the sacrifice of any number of foreigners to prove the sincerity of its faith.

In a word, after reaching the summit of the first range of mountains, from the Pacific, the railway in the United States has to cross more than a thousand miles of desert or semi-desert. According to the evidence of our senses, whatever guide-books may say to the contrary, we discovered on "the home stretch" that the great west of the United States, practically ceases with the valley of the Missouri and of its tributary the Platte.


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