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rock, but sufficiently deep to sustain grass assisted by the direct rays of the sun. These islands are particularly adapted to raising of sheep, as has been fully demonstrated by the Hudson's Bay Company on San Juan Island. The mutton of Vancouver's and San Juan Islands is remarkable for its delicacy of flavour, which may be accounted for by the peculiar properties of the grazing.

“The same favourable circumstances exist in the other islands : a mild climate, absence of beasts of prey (except on Lopez Island), and the abundance of sweet nutritious grass, even to the summits of the mountains, during the entire year. The deer on the islands are found in mid-winter in most excellent condition. On San Juan Island the sheep increased so rapidly, it was difficult to find fresh pasturage for them near the Hudson's Bay Company's establishment. The average net weight of the sheep, when full grown and fat, is fifty pounds; of the fleece, three and a half pounds. . “Coal and limestone are found on several of the islands.

“ Fisheries were formerly carried on at the several localities, and they could easily be made very productive and profitable.

“ Trees, of great value for their timber and resinous properties, grow on all the larger islands.

“Although much of the land is mountainous, and only adapted to grazing purposes, these islands are as valuable, agriculturally, as the settled portions of Vancouver's Island, which they resemble in general character. ()

“It might be mentioned, incidentally, that these islands, for the most part, belong to the Indians of the Washington Territory; the Lummies claiming Orcas, Blakely, Decatur, and part of Lopez; and the Clallams a part of San Juan. The whole inside of the north-eastern part of San Juan formerly belonged to a tribe kindred to the Lummies, and now extinct.

“It is in a military and naval point of view, however,

() It is clear that these islands are “natural appendages” of Vancouver's Island, which they so narrowly resemble.

that this Archipelago possesses the greatest value, embracing, as it does, some of the finest harbours in the territory; commanding Bellingham Bay and Adiniralty Inlet; and, in fact, forming the key to the whole of the Puget Sound district. The interior passages and bays are capable of being entirely closed by fortifications, which is not the case with our other possessions on the Sound; and the islands themselves command all the adjacent waters. They are, in fact, the only check upon the preponderance which the ownership of Vancouver's Island gives to Great Britain in this quarter.”

The island of San Juan (named by Capt. Wilkes during his survey Rodgers' Island; and sometimes also called Bellevue Island), the largest, and, from its geographical position, the most important, of the group, has been described by the same United States official as follows () :

“San Juan Island is the most western(?) of the Haro group, and has an area of about fifty-four square miles. Its greatest length is about fourteen and a half miles, its general shape being very irregular; the width varies at different localities, its widest part is about six and a half miles. Low ranges of hills trend along its eastern and western shores, those on the western side being the highest, Mount San Juan, in this range, having an elevation of about 1,000 feet. These ranges slope out towards the north, and there are no elevations of any consequence on the northern shore of the island. Between these hill ranges near the centre of the island, lies a basin-like country, gently undulating in its character. There are extensive prairies in several localities, and from the south end of the island to within a short distance of its northern extremity, flocks can feed on green grass almost throughout the year. The greatest amount of arable land is found within the southern third of the island.

(") American State Papers, p. 136.

(3) This is not strictly true; Henry Island and Stuart Island lie to the west or north-west of San Juan.

“ Bellevue Prairie, situated on the lower end of the island, is about two miles long, by half a mile wide. Oak Prairie, which takes its name from the groves of oak scattered over it, containing about 1,000 acres, is bounded on the north and west by the hills along the west shore that extend across the island at its greatest width. Some of these hills are grassy to their summits, while others are more or less timbered.

“ Immediately north and west of these hills lies a beautiful valley, stretching towards the north end of the island. The southern end of this valley contains several hundred acres of meadow land, but on the north it is heavily timbered. The land contained in it is all apparently fertile, and around it the hills are covered with a luxuriant growth of grass. This valley lies imme liately opposite to Henry Island, and adjacent to good harbours.

“ The north end of the island contains much good land, now covered by a heavy forest, but when divested of this, can be brought into profitable cultivation. In this region, there is a grove of large cedars, very valuable for timber.

“One third of the entire area of this island, or about 12,000 acres, is well adapted to cultivation, and nearly all the remainder to pastoral purposes. The soil of the arable portions is excellent, with the exception of Bellevue Prairie, which is somewhat gravelly.

6 Upon this island are at least four beautiful lakes. From some of these flow rivulets of sufficient size and force to produce good water power, but as yet there are no induce. ments for the erection of mills, as the timber of the adjacent stores of Puget Sound, is superior to that of the island, the latter having all more or less suffered from frequent conflagrations; but in a few years more, when the husbandman shall begin to receive returns for his labours in rich crops of grain, some of these sites may be selected for erecting mills to prepare the produce for distant markets. A circumstance of great importance in connection with this island is the existence upon it of extensive deposits of limestone. It is found near the southern end, in the vicinity of the Hudson's Bay Company's Station. On the western shore, near the base of Mount San Juan, inmense masses raised up into perpendicular walls, are seen at several localities, covering an area of many acres. The north-eastern corner of the island is coniposed of an extensive ledge of the same material. A very small island (O'Neal's), lying close to the north-east end of San Juan Island, containing only a few acres, is composed almost entirely of limestone. Tested by acid and burning, it proved to be of superior quality ; it exists in sufficient quantities not only for lime, but might be profitably quarried for building stone. The value of these deposits can better be appreciated from the fact, that up to the time of the discovery of limestone on this island, it was not known to exist at any point on Puget Sound, within United States territory, (") and for building purposes it was necessary to procure all the lime used from California or Vancouver's Island. In the vicinity of the southern end of the island, are, perhaps, the best fishing grounds on Puget Sound. Great quantities of halibut, cod-fish, and salmon, are taken by the numerous tribes of Indians, who, at proper seasons, resort to this vicinity for the purpose of fishing. The Hudson's Bay Company were formerly in the habit of putting up at this place from 2,000 to 3,000 barrels of salmon alone, which were bought from the natives. Persons supplied with the proper appliances for carrying on a fishery would find it a very profitable vocation.

“At the southern end of the island there is a large bay, known as Ontario Roads, where vessels are well protected from the prevailing storms of this region, the water near the shore is not deep, and should it ever be desirable to build a wharf at this point, it would require one several thousand feet in length to reach three fathoms in low water. The entrance to this roadstead, from the Straits of Fuca, is through a very deep channel, known as Little Belt Passage, (2) separating this island from Lopez Island. It is a very convenient and

(1) This may be noticed as evidence that these islands are “natural appendages” of Vancouver's Island, rather than of the mainland, their geological formation being identical with that of the former. (2) Through this passage the compromise boundary line would run.

favourite resort for vessels escaping from storms which often, in winter season, very suddenly arise in Fuca Straits. On the north-western end of the island are several bays, well protected by Henry Island, forming good harbours for vessels of light draught.”

I can fully endorse this admirable and picturesque description of the island of San Juan, having personally visited it, and, on more than one occasion, sailed through the channels which surround it. ,

The other islands of the group were described by the same authority as follows: (1)

" HENRY ISLAND. “ This is a small island, lying close to the north-western shore of San Juan Island, containing about a thousand acres. Its topographical features resemble that portion of San Juan adjacent to it, and it may be considered as a part of that island.

“STCART, JOHN'S, AND SPIEDEN ISLANDS. “ These islands and several islets lie immediately north of San Juan Island, to the south and east of the Canal de Haro, and west of President Passage. Spieden Channel separates them from San Juan Island, and they are separated from each other by several small and intricate passages. Their combined area is about six square miles.

“Stuart, the most northern of the group, is the largest ; it lies about midway between the southern end of Salmua and northern end of San Juan, and has an area of three and a half square miles. At its western end there is a mountain peak, 500 or 600 feet in height, from the summit of which there is a good view of the entire island, as well as of a large extent of surrounding country. It contains but a few hundred acres of arable land, the island being rough and hilly; it has two beautiful little harbours, one at its north side and the other at its south-eastern side, upon the shores of

(") American State Papers, p. 138.

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