« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
temperate climate of Britain, nearly corresponding in its insular situation and geographical position with Vancouver's Island, and I hope the latter will also enjoy an exemption from an evil at once disastrous and irremediable. We are certain that potatoes thrive, and grow to a large size, as the Indians have many small fields in cultivation which appear to repay the labour bestowed upon them, and I hope that other crops will do as well. The canal of Camosack is nearly six miles long, and its banks are well wooded throughout. The results of the Hudson's Bay Company's farming at Vancouver's Island have answered, it is understood, the most sanguine expectations.
Information respecting the coal obtainable in Vancouver's Island is contained in the following
Copy of a letter from the Board of Management of the Hudson's
Bay Company addressed to J. A. Duntze, Esq., Captain of H. M. S. Fisguard, dated Fort Vancouver, 7th September, 1846, which the Lords of the Admiralty have favoured me with for this publication.
“Sir,-Since we had last the pleasure of addressing you on the 11th ult. this settlement has not been disturbed by any repetition of the offences mentioned in that letter. A great number of Americans have been down from the Wallamette and made excursions into the country around this place with the view of discovering eligible situations for settlements, but they have committed no overt act of trespass on the rights of the prior occupants of the land.
· The Americans having never shewn any predilection for settling on the north side of the Columbia River until the United States' schooner, Shark, arrived at this port, and the excitement among them having greatly abated since her departure from hence, we cannot help thinking that the people were directly or indirectly encouraged by the officers of that vessel to encroach upon our settlements. This was, to speak of it in the mildest
terms, a most imprudent act on their part, which cannot possibly do any good, nor add one iota to the rights of the United States; but, on the contrary, must tend to much evil, by dragging the ignorant and over-exciteable population of the country into mischievous courses.
We beg to add, in justice to Captain Howison, the commander of the Shark, that he evinced much concern on observing the lengths to which his countrymen were disposed to carry their encroachments, and made some exertions to put a stop to their proceedings.
• The prevailing opinion among the Americans now appears to be, that Great Britain will give up the Columbia and accept the 49th parallel of latitude as a boundary, and, moreover, they firmly believe that the British subjects in this country will not be allowed to hold the lands they now occupy when the Government of the United States comes into possession; consequently, each and all are striving to establish pre-emption rights on our settlements, in hopes of coming into possession the moment we are, according to their views, obliged to surrender them.
'In your communication to the officer in charge of Fort Victoria, you request all the information in our power as to the coals on Vancouver's Island, and we will now do ourselves the pleasure of detailing all that is known to us on the subject.
From the indications of the strata, which have been carefully examined, it appears very probable that this mineral abounds over all the north-eastern part of Vancouver's Island, that is to say, from Cheslakers, latitude 50° 36', to Cape Scott, at its northern extremity, as traced by a dotted line in the accompanying sketch. The spot, however, familiarly known to us as the Coal Mine, and where the coal bed rises above the surface, is situated in McNeil's Harbour, on the line of coast designated, its position being about latitude 50° 39', longitude 127° 10' west, and is marked Coal Mine on the sketch. The coal beds, to the partial extent they have been explored, appear to be divided by intermediate layers of sandstone, and are seen most distinctly on the open beach, ex
tending over a space of about one mile in length, generally within the line of high water: the mineral having evidently been laid bare by the wash of the sea, which has in course of time frittered and worn away the incumbent mould and sandstone. A fresh water rivulet which runs across the bed in a direction perpendicular to the beach, has also laid bare a transverse section of the coal to the distance of three quarters of a mile from the sea, shewing that the bed runs in a nearly horizontal direction as far as that point, beyond which the depth of the strata has not been ascertained.
• It is, however, important to know that the coal can be worked with comparatively small expense over a field of such extent.
- We have not ascertained to what depth the surface bed extends, but we know it exceeds three feet; having explored to that depth without finding any interposing stratum of mould.
' A large quantity of coal may at any time be got there, by employing the Indians, who are numerous and active, to dig and transport them to the ship. They are by no means averse to such employment, and ask a very moderate remuneration for their labour.
On one occasion, when we employed them for that purpose, they brought in upwards of ninety tons in a few days, which they dug with hatchets and other inconvenient implements; and there is no doubt, that with proper excavating tools, they could have done the work much more expeditiously.
• Besides the loss of time, the want of tools is attended with another disadvantage, as it confines the workmen to the mere surface lumps, which is deprived of its bitumen by exposure to the weather, and does not burn so freely as the substrata.
• The coals burn remarkably well when exposed to a strong blast in the furnace of the steam vessel. Externally the coal is hard and brittle, interspersed with sulphuret of iron, and contains but little earthy or incombustible matter*.
* The Vancouver coal has been tried in England, and answers well for forge work,
• It requires rather a higher temparature to burn than the better kind of Newcastle coals, but is superior in this respect to some of the kinds sold in the London market. It contains sulphur, a pretty large proportion of bitumenous matter, and yields coke in the proportion of 52 per cent.
• If the British Government has any intention of making this coal available for the use of their steam navy, it will be necessary, in order to keep a constant supply on hand, to form an establishment on the spot, of sufficient force to protect it against the natives, who are numerous, bold, and treacherous, and also to carry on the mining operations. We would in such a case recommend that an application on the subject be made to the Directors of the Hudson's Bay Company in London, who could in a short time take measures to get the necessary means collected under the management of experienced persons, acquainted with Indian character, and capable of drawing the greatest possible advantage from their presence.
• We shall be most happy to do anything in our power to forward this object, but it will in the first place be necessary to enter into arrangements with the Directors of the Company in London, as we have not the means in the country, and we do not feel at liberty to undertake a measure of such importance without their sanction.
· We take the liberty of making this suggestion as to the proper mode of proceeding, in order that no time may be lost hereafter in carrying out the ulterior arrangements, should Government deem it an object of importance to form an establishment at M'Neill Harbour, or at some other point for the purpose of collecting coals for the regular supply of the steam navy in the Pacific.
We remain, Sir,
• Your most obedient servants,
A further description of the coal region in Vancouver's Island, and the mode of obtaining this valuable mineral, is given in the following statement from Captain George F. Gordon, of Her Majesty's steamer Cormorant. Admiral Sir George Seymour, Naval Commander-in-chief, says— In transmitting this report from Captain George Gordon, I consider it my duty to add, that during the service on which he has been employed on the very distant parts of this station from which he has returned, he has continued to display his merit as one of the best steam officers in Her Majesty's service.' Having served in early life as a brother officer with Captain Gordon in the arduous expedition of the Leven and Barracouta under Commodore W. F. W. Owen, I venture to add my testimony of the high character of this distinguished officer, who has expressed a decided opinion
in favour of the Hudson's Bay Company, with whose proceed-ings he was well acquainted.
H. M. Steam Sloop Cormorant, Nisqually,
October 7, 1846. Sir,-With reference to that part of your letter of the 15th September last, wherein you direct me to ascertain whether the coals which are said to abound on the northern part of Vancouver's Island, can be collected in a sufficient quantity to afford a supply for steam-fuel, I have the honour to inform you, that having arrived at McNeil's Harbour for that purpose, I made known to the natives through Mr. Sangster, my wish to obtain a supply, and the next day several canoes came laden with coal, and they continued to increase in number until our departure.
' At the advice of Mr. Sangster, I slung a tub, holding about six cwt. from the fore yard, which was lowered into a canoe and quickly filled : in this manner we received sixty-two tons from the 24th to the 26th, paying for each tub as it came up by articles of trifling value, which I procured at your suggestion from the officer in charge of Fort Victoria. The whole of the expenses incurred, including a few presents necessarily made to the Chiefs, will make the coals average not more than 4s. per ton.