« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
In the centre stands the Roman Catholic chapel, and near by the flag-staff; beyond these again are the stores, magazines of powder, warerooms, and offices.
* We went immediately to Dr. MʻLaughlin's quarters. He was not within ; but we were kindly invited to enter, with the assurance that he would soon return. Only a few minutes elapsed before Dr. MʻLaughlin came galloping up, having understood that we had preceded him. He is a tall, fine-looking person, of a very robust frame, with a frank, manly open countenance, and a florid complexion : his hair is perfectly white. He gave us that kind reception we had been led to expect from his well-known hospitality. He is of Scotch parentage, but by birth a Canadian, enthusiastic in disp sition, possessing great energy of character, and extremely well suited for the situation he occupies, which requires great talent and industry. He at once ordered dinner for us, and we soon felt ourselves at home, having comfortable rooms assigned us, and being treated as part of the establishment.
The situation of Vancouver is favourable for agricultural purposes, and it may be said to be the head of navigation for sea-going vessels. A vessel of fourteen feet draft of water may reach it in the lowest state of the river. The Columbia at this point makes a considerable angle, and is divided by two islands, which extend upwards about three miles, to where the upper branch of the Willamette joins it.
The Company's establishment at Vancouver is upon an extensive scale, and is worthy of the vast interest of which it is the centre. The residents mess at several tables; one for the chief factor and his clerks; one for their wives (it being against the regulations of the Company for their officers and their wives to take their meals together); another for the Missionaries; and another for the sick and the Catholic Missionaries. All is arranged in the best order, and, I should think, with great economy. Everything may be had within the Fort; they have an extensive apothecary’s shop, a bakery, blacksmiths' and coopers' shops, trade offices for buying, others for selling, others again for keeping accounts and transacting business ; shops for retail, where English manufactured articles may be purchased at as low a price, if not cheaper, than in the United States, consisting of cotton and woollen goods, ready-made clothing, ship
chandlery, earthen and ironware, and fancy articles ; in short, everything, and of every kind and description, including all sorts of groceries, at an advance of 80 per cent. on the London prime cost. This is the established price at Vancouver, but at the other posts it is 100 per cent., to cover the extra expenses of transportation. All these articles are of good quality, and suitable for the servants, settlers, and visitors. Of the quantity on hand some idea may be formed from the fact that all the posts west of the Rocky Mountains get their annual supplies from this depôt.
'Vancouver is the head quarters of the North-West or Columbian Department, which also includes New Caledonia ; all the returns of furs are received here, and hither all accounts are transmitted for settlement. These operations occasion a large mass of business to be transacted at this establishment. Mr. Douglass, a chief factor, and the associate of Dr. McLaughlin, assists in this department, and takes sole charge in his absence.
' Dr. McLaughlin showed us our rooms, and told us that the bell was the signal for meals.
* Towards sun-set, tea-time arrived, and we obeyed the summons of the bell, when we were introduced to several of the gentlemen of the establishment; we met in a large hall, with a long table spread with abundance of good fare. Dr. McLaughlin took the head of the table, with myself on his right, Messrs. Douglass and Drayton on his left, and the others apparently according to their rank. I mention this, as every one appears to have a relative rank, privilege, and station assigned bim, and military etiquette prevails. The meal lasts no longer than is necessary to satisfy hunger. With the officers, who are clerks, business is the sole object of their life, and one is entirely at a loss here who has nothing to do. Fortunately I found myself much engaged, and therefore it suited me. The agreeable company of Dr. McLaughlin and Mr. Douglass made the time at meals pass delightfully. Both of these gentlemen were kind enough to give up a large portion of their time to us, and I felt occasionally that we must be trespassing on their business hours. After meals, it is the custom to introduce pipes and tobacco. It was said that this practice was getting into disuse, but I should have concluded, from what I saw, that it was at its height.
‘Canadian French is generally spoken to the servants; even those who come out from England, after a while, adopt it, and it is not a little amusing to hear the words they use, and the manner in which they pronounce them.
The routine of a day at Vancouver is perhaps the same throughout the year. At early dawn the bell is rung for the working parties, who soon after go to work; the sound of the hammers, click of the anvils, the rumbling of the carts, with tinkling of bells, render it difficult to sleep after this hour. The bell rings again at eight, for breakfast; at nine they resume their work, which continues till one; then an hour is allowed for dinner, after which they work till six, when the labours of the day close. At five o'clock on Saturday afternoon the work is stopped, when the servants receive their weekly rations.
• Vancouver is a large manufacturing, agricultural, and commercial depôt, and there are few, if any idlers, except the sick. Everybody seems to be in a hurry, whilst there appears to be no obvious reason for it
* There are two large entrance gates to the Fort for waggons and carts, and one in the rear, leading to the granaries and the garden ; the latter is quite extensive, occupying four or five acres, and contains all kinds of vegetables and many kinds of fruit, with which the tables are abundantly supplied by the gardener, 'Billy Bruce.' After William Bruce's first term of service had expired, he was desirous of returning to England, and was accordingly sent. This happened during the visit of Dr. McLaughlin to England. day, an accidental meeting took place in a crowded street of London, where he begged Dr. McLaughlin to send him back to Vancouver. William Bruce was accordingly taken again into employ, and sent back in the next ship. In the meantime, however, he was sent to Chiswick, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, to get a little more knowledge of his duties, and remained till the vessel sailed : but no place was like Vancouver to him; and all his success continues to be compared with Chiswick, which he endeavours to surpass : this is alike creditable to both.
* Besides the storehouses, there is also a granary, which is a frame building of two stories, and the only one, the rest being built of logs.
Mr. Douglass was kind enough to take me into the granary,
which contained wheat, flour, barley, and buckwheat. The wheat averaged sixty-three pounds to the bushel; barley yields twenty bushels to the acre; buckwheat, in some seasons, gives a good crop, but it is by no means certain, owing to the early frosts ; oats do not thrive well ; peas, beans, and potatoes yield abundantly; little or no hay is made, the cattle being able to feed all the year round on the natural hay, which they find very nutritious, and fatten upon it. The grass grows up rapidly in the beginning of summer; and the subsequent heat and drought convert it into hay, in which all the juices are preserved. Besides this, they have, on the prairies along the river, two luxuriant growths of grass, the first in the spring, and the second soon after the flowing of the river subsides, which is generally in July and August. The last crop lasts the remainder of the season. Neither do they require shelter, although they are penned in at night. The pens are moveable ; and the use of them is not only for security against the wolves, but to manure the ground.
· The farm at Vancouver is about nine miles square. On this they have two dairies, and milk upwards of one hundred cows. There also two other dairies, situated on the Wapanto Island, on the Willamette, where they have one hundred and fifty cows, whose milk is employed, under the direction of imported dairymen, in making butter and cheese for the Russian settlements.
They have likewise a grist and saw mill, both well constructed, about six miles above Vancouver, on the Columbia River.
One afternoon we rode with Mr. Douglass to visit the dairyfarm, which lies to the west of Vancouver, on the Callepuya. This was one of the most beautiful rides I had yet taken, through fine prairies, adorned with large oak, ash, and pines. The large herds of cattle feeding and reposing under the trees, gave an air of civilization to the scene : that is the only thing wanting in the other parts of the territory. The water was quite high ; and many of the little knolls were surrounded by it, which had the appearance of small islets breaking through the wide expanse of overflowing water.
* This dairy is removed every year, which is found advantageous to the ground, and affords the cattle better pasturage. The stock on the Vancouver farm is about three thousand head of cattle, two thousand five hundred sheep, and about three hundred brood mares.
At the dairy we were regaled with most excellent milk; and found the whole establishment well managed by a Canadian and his wife. They churn in barrel machines, of which there are several. All the cattle look extremely well, and are rapidly increasing in numbers. The cows give milk at the age of eighteen months. Those of the California breed give a very small quantity of milk, but when crossed with those from the United States and England, do
very well. I saw two or three very fine bulls that had been imported from England. The sheep have lambs twice a-year; those of the California breed yield a very inferior kind of wool, which is inclined to be hairy near the hide, and is much matted. This breed has been crossed with the Leicester, Bakewell, and other breeds, which has much improved it. The fleeces of the mixed breed are very heavy, weighing generally eight pounds, and some as much as twelve. Merinos have been tried, but they are not found to thrive.
* The Californian horses are not equal to those raised in Oregon: those bred near Walla-Walla are in the most repute.
'In one of our rides we visited the site of the first fort at Vancouver; it is less than a mile from the present position, and is just on the brow of the upper prairie. The view from this place is truly beautiful; the noble river can be traced in all its windings for a long distance through the cultivated prairie, with its groves and clumps of trees; beyond, the eye sweeps over an interminable forest, melting into a blue haze, from which Mount Hood, capped with its eternal snows, rises in great beauty. The tints of purple which appear in the atmosphere are, so far as I am aware, peculiar to this country. This site was abandoned in consequence of the difficulty of obtaining water, and its distance from the river, which compelled them to transport every article up a high and rugged road. The latter difficulty was encountered in the first location on the upper prairie, because it was said that the lower one was occasionally flooded; but, although this may have happened formerly, it is not found to occur at present.
' I also visited the grist mill, which is situated on a small stream, but owing to the height of the river, which threw a quantity of backwater on the wheel, it was not in action. The mill has one run of stones, and is a well-built edifice. Annexed to it is the house of the