16 July 1861
When addressing Your Grace from Lytton in my Separate Despatch
Just going to the printer.
of the 4th of June last, I communicated the information and impressions of the stateofManuscript image of the Country which I had received on my previous journey. I will now in this Despatch continue the subject subsequently to my departure from Lytton.
2. Leaving that place, I travelled for 35 miles along the banks of Thompson's River, by a good horse-road lately made at a trifling cost, and successively visited the Buonaparte and Hat Rivers, and the Pavillion,whereManuscript image where we fell upon the Fraser, and followed it downwards to Cayoosh. The District comprehended within those limits is exceedingly beautiful and picturesque, being composed of a succession of hills and valleys, exhibiting to the traveller accustomed to the endless forests of the Coast Districts, the unusual and grateful spectacle of miles of green hills, curving slopes, and level meadows,almostManuscript image almost without a bush or tree to obstruct the view, and even to the very hill-tops producing an abundant growth of grass. It is of great value as a grazing district, a circumstance which appears to be thoroughly understood and appreciated by the country Packers, who are in the habit of leaving their mules and Horses here when the regular work of packing goods to the Mines is suspended for the winter.TheManuscript image The animals even at that season, are said to improve in condition, though left to seek their own food, and to roam at large over the country, a fact which speaks volumes in favour of the climate and of the natural pastures. It has certainly never been my good fortune to visit a country more pleasing to the eye, or possessing a more healthy and agreeable climate, or a greater extent of finepastureManuscript image pasture land, and there is no doubt that with a smaller amount of labour and outlay than in almost any other Colony, the energetic settler may soon surround himself with all the elements of affluence and comfort.
3. Notwithstanding these advantages, such have hitherto been the difficulties of access, that the course of regular settlement has hardly yet commenced.
A. 4Manuscript image
4. A good deal of running stock has been brought in for sale but with the exception of eight or ten persons, there are no farmers in the District. One of those, Mr McLean, a native of Scotland, and lately of the Hudson's Bay Company's Service, has recently settled on a beautiful spot, near the debouch of Hat River, and is rapidly bringing his land into cultivation. He has a great number of horses andcattleManuscript image cattle of the finest American breeds, and from the appearance of the crops, there is every prospect that his labour and outlay will be well rewarded. He is full of courage, and as confident, as deserving of success. He entertains no doubt whatever of the capabilities of the soil, which he thinks will, under proper management, produce any kind of grain or root crops. The only evil he seriously apprehendsisManuscript image is the want of rain and the consequent droughts of summer, which has induced him to bring a supply of water from a neighbouring stream, by which he can at pleasure irrigate the whole of his fields.
5. I received an equally favourable report from Mr Reynolds, who commenced a farm at the Pavillion in the year 1859, and he has consequently had the advantage of two years experience.
HisManuscript image
His last crop, besides a profusion of garden vegetables, consisted of Oats, Barley, Turnips, and Potatoes, and the produce was most abundant. The land under potatoes yielded 375 bushels to the acre. The turnip crop was no less prolific, one of the roots weighed 26 lbs; and Swedes of 15 lbs and 16 lbs were commonly met with. He could not give the yield of Oats and Barley, the greater part having been sold in thesheafManuscript image sheaf for the use of the Mule Trains passing to and from the Mines; but the crop, as was manifest from the weight and length of the straw, which attained a height of fully four feet, was remarkably good. He generally allows his cattle to run at large, and they seldom require to be housed or fed in winter.
6. The cold is never severe, the greatest depth of snow in 1859 was 12 inches;andManuscript image and the following winter it did not exceed 6 inches. Ploughing commences about the middle of March. The summers are generally dry, and Mr Reynolds is of opinion that irrigation will be found an indispensable application in the process of husbandry in this District. In the dry summer of 1859 he kept water almost constantly running through his fields, but applied it only twice during the summer of 1860, when the moisture of theatmosphereManuscript image atmosphere proved otherwise sufficient for the crops.
7. The numerous streams which permeate the valleys of this District afford admirable facilities for inexpensive irrigation, so bountiful indeed has Nature been in this respect, that it is hardly an exaggeration to say that there is a water-course or rivulet for every moderate sized farm that will be opened in the District.
8. A few successfulexperimentsManuscript image experiments in husbandry will give confidence and add to the number of the farming class, which continues to be in a lamentable minority in every part of the Colony, even in Districts where one would suppose Mining to be a less profitable pursuit than the cultivation of the soil.
9. The Mining Districts of Thompson's River, and of the Fraser below the Pavillion, have been almost abandoned by the white Miners of theColonyManuscript image Colony, who have been generally carried away by the prevailing excitement to the Cariboo and Antler Creek Mines, and their claims are now occupied by Chinamen and Native Indians, the latter especially exhibiting an unwonted degree of activity in Mining—their daily earnings sometimes reach the large sum of Two pounds Sterling, and never, as they assured me, fall short of Eight Shillings, so that they are becoming exceedingly valuable to theColonyManuscript image Colony, both as producers, and as a tax-paying population. I, in fact, ascertained from the official Returns of Yale, that 30 per cent of the amount of Roads Tolls was levied directly on the goods of Indians leaving that place; and from their numbers and habits it may be fairly assumed that 40 per cent of the whole revenue collectively accruing from Tolls and Customs falls on them.
10. The Mines on TranquilleRiverManuscript image River have lately attracted much attention, in consequence of quantities of coarse gold having been found in pieces weighing as much as three quarters of an ounce, and the discovery of a Stratum of auriferous earth—in Mining phrase, "pay dirt"—from three to four feet in thickness, at a much higher level than the present bed of the river, which until then was supposed to be the exclusive depository of Gold. This circumstance has givenaManuscript image a new direction to the industry of the place, the Miners having less faith in surface diggings, and being generally impressed with the advantage of deeper sinkings, which may probably reveal, as was the case in the Gold Fields of Victoria, greater wealth than has yet been found, and this in my opinion is simply a question of time.
11. There are extensive flats or Holmes in the Valley of the Thompson that give alargeManuscript image large return of Gold, but being above the river, they cannot be worked to much advantage until water from a higher level that can be applied to sluicing is brought into play. Several smooth water-worn nuggets, weighing as much as two ounces, have been found on the Thompson below Lake Kamloops, and diggings have been lately discovered on three of the affluents of North River (North Branch of the Thompson). The Streams flowingfromManuscript image from the Eastward into Okanagan Lake are also reported to be highly productive of Gold—facts, which all tend to support the theory alluded to in my Despatch of the 4th of June last regarding the existence of a vast auriferous Ridge or Water-shed, extending from Rock Creek to Fort George, and dividing the Columbia from the waters of Fraser River.
12. I feel a deepinterestManuscript image interest in the exploration and development of that valuable and important division of the Colony, which is now so difficult of access as to be practically closed to the ordinary settler; and there is moreover, no convenient place where the Miner can replenish his exhausted stores. With the view of removing these drawbacks, I propose to lay out a Town Site, as a Mining Depôt, and centreofManuscript image of trade on Thompsons River about ten miles below Lake Kamloops, from whence the navigation is said to be practicable for Stern-Wheel Boats, through Lake Kamloops to the distance of 100 Miles up North River, and also by the South Branch of the Thompson to the further extremity of Shouswap Lake. As another part of the plan, I propose that Steam Boats of the same class should be employed in OkanaganLakeManuscript image Lake, connecting with the Caravans arriving by the way of Hope and Shimilkameen from Frasers River, and finally, a good road between the two Lakes Shouswap and Okanagan, and from the latter Lake continued in a Southerly direction to the Columbia River, will complete a line of communication connecting the Eastern Districts with Frasers River, and affording facilities for transport that will render Hope the channel of trade, andpreventManuscript image prevent it from seeking an outlet by the Columbia River, and which in other respects will be of inestimable advantage to the Colony.
13. The latest accounts from Cariboo confirm the former reports of its vast auriferous wealth. About 1500 men are supposed to be congregated in those Mines, and the number is continually augmented by the arrival of fresh bodies of Miners. It will be a work ofdifficultyManuscript image difficulty to keep them supplied with food, a service which now gives employment to about 1200 transport horses and mules, and I am in hopes that the large profits made in that business will lead to its extension.
14. To facilitate the transport to those Mines, I authorised a grant of Four Hundred Pounds to improve the River Trail from Cayoosh to Williams Lake;andManuscript image and Four Hundred Pounds to open a Trail from Quesnelle to Cariboo Lake, the charge, in both cases, to be defrayed out of the District Revenues.
15. The remoteness of the Cariboo Mines, and the large assemblage of people there, have rendered it necessary to establish a Gold Escort for the conveyance of treasure from Quesnelle to New Westminster, and more especially with the viewofManuscript image of strengthening the hands of the Magistrates in those distant localities by the periodical exhibition of a small Military Force. This will put the Colony to much expense, but I conceive it is an indispensable precaution that may prevent much future evil.
16. There is nothing of much importance to communicate respecting the Towns of Cayoosh and Douglas, except that they are both progressively improving.IManuscript image I authorised the grant of allotments of land to the Bishop of British Columbia, at those places, as sites for Churches, and Two Hundred Pounds at each, in aid of private contributions for the erection thereof. The latter measure was adopted at the instance of the inhabitants generally, who represented that they had no building where Divine Service could be properly held, that they had contributed liberally towards the fund, and that theirownManuscript image own means alone were not adequate to the erection of Churches. In those circumstances, and as no other denomination of Christians were in the field in that part of the Colony, I most cordially responded to the wishes of the public.
17. I returned to New Westminster on the 20th of June, and in conclusion it only remains for me to add the gratifying intelligencethatManuscript image that peace and good order prevail throughout the Colony.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
P.S. An Explanatory Map is transmitted with this Despatch. James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
I think that if this despatch is soon given to the Parly Clerk it may be included in the collection of B. Columbia correspondence now in the hands of the printer.
ABd 1 Oct
FR 2/10
To the Printer if in time.
N 8
I will reduce the map & lithograph it within the space of a fortnight from this date.
J. Harrowsmith 10 Octr 1861
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Map not in file. Published in Further Papers Relative to the Affairs of British Columbia, Part IV, ff p. 54.