ETC. ETC. ETC.
LIBRARIAN OF KING'S COLLEGE, LONDON.
SAUNDERS AND STANFORD,
6, CHARING CROSS,
To no one could I address myself with more propriety on any subject connected with the North West Coast of British America than to you; your knowledge of everything relating to the country and its inhabitants will enable you to correct or confirm whatever statements may be made respecting them--the ready access you have always accorded to myself and others, when desirous to communicate with you on the subject, assures me that you will not be inattentive to it--your bold and uncompromising advocacy of the cause of the natives of that coast, and the Hudson's Bay Company's territories generally, in conjunction with the present Secretary of State for the Colonies, when five years since it was brought before the Imperial Parliament, renders it due to you that nothing should be attempted with respect to the country or people without your knowledge, if not without your sanction and cooperation--while your present position seems to suggest the propriety of a public rather than a private application to you.
I may assume without hesitation the following facts, which indeed are patent to all in the pages of Parliamentary papers, the works of Mr. Montgomery Martin and my friend Mr. Edward Fitzgerald.
That when, in consequence of the claims of the United States of America, attention had been generally directed to the North West Coast, and subsequently a boundary fixed between their territories and those of Great Britain, it was acknowledged by all that the establishment of a British Colony there was a matter of the greatest importance; and, in consequence of its position and natural capabilities, Vancouver's Island was generally selected as the best situation for it.
That the island was ultimately given by charter to the Hudson's Bay Company for that purpose, Lord Grey, then Colonial Minister, considering the Company as more wealthy and responsible than other parties who had made previous application, and therefore more fitted to undertake the charge.
That, during the four years the Company had had possession, up to the time of making the last report in 1852, 271 males, who appear from the report to be hired servants of the Company or of its offshoot, the Puget's Sound Company, had emigrated, to a settlement formed round Fort Victoria, situated at the south-eastern angle of the island, and now the principal depot of the fur-trade, with 80 women and 84 children; 11 persons had purchased 1478.5 acres of land; about 2500 more were under survey for sale; 3,084 had been appropriated by the fur-trade branch of the Company, of which some had been sold to its retired servants; but of these sales, no account has been given; the Company had spent £1986. 4s 9d for emigration purposes, i.e. as their account shews for the cost of Charter, salaries and transit expenses for Governors and Surveyors, for already there had been more than one of each; while the money received for land sales had been, at £l per acre, £1478 10s, from which deducting one-tenth, allowed to the Company as its profit on the speculation, we have a balance, expended for emigration, of £655 11s 9d; besides this 1315 tons of coal raised in the island had been sold, the royalty of which at 2s 6d per ton, deducting as before one-tenth, amounts to £147 18s 9d which further reduces the expenditure to £507 13s.
It is not my present business to inquire how far the conditions expressed or implied in the Charter, or Lord Grey's expectations respecting the outlay to be made for emigration have been fulfilled, or whether the placing 191 unmarried men on an island many thousand miles from any of their countrywomen is a desirable thing in itself, or may be called colonisation, these questions will come naturally under your consideration and that of the Legislature generally, when, next January, at the expiration of five years from its date, the Charter may be revoked if its provisions have not been fulfilled. It is sufficient for me to shew that the Company has hitherto attempted nothing beyond placing a few settlers at the southeastern extremity of the island--that nothing has, so far as can be ascertained, been done to civilize or educate the natives, or instruct them in the principles and doctrines of Christianity, and that therefore it remains that this should be undertaken by some one else.
But as the Charter of Colonization has given Vancouver's Island in possession to the Company, and as by the Grant of exclusive trade renewed to it in 1838, British subjects are excluded from other parts of the Northwest coast, though other nations obtain free access there; it is necessary that some modifications of the Charter and Grant, by which the whole coast is now monopolized, be effected before anything can be done for the natives--and therefore it is that I desire to put forward a plea on their behalf, before the time comes when such modifications may be made. It is true that the Crown might, at any time, according to the terms of the Grant to which I have referred, take any portion of the coast, Vancouver's Island excepted, from under its jurisdiction, by declaring it a Colony, but I shall presently shew that island to be the most fitting place for my purpose, and though the establishment of a Colony might result from it, that is not my first object in the proposition I am about to make.
But it may be asked, why not incite the Company to this good work? Without entering more fully into the fitness of the Company for it, I may reply that it is most apparent from its own account, either that it has not attempted or attempting has not succeeded in any such endeavour, at least, on the North-west coast, and therefore those who desire the success of such an effort, will wish to sec it commenced under other auspices. Of this, the following facts may be sufficient evidence.
The Company has been paramount in the Valley of the Columbia for above thirty years; under its government the natives in that locality have decreased with fearful rapidity, and now the local Governor of the Company, Sir George Simpson, in removing its chief depot from Fort Vancouver on the Columbia to Fort Victoria on Vancouver's Island, congratulates himself in escaping from the disorderly population of the Columbia (see Despatch, 18 June, 1846). If it be said that by this expression he means the emigrants from the United States, pursuing the inquiry about the spot selected by him, the result will be the same; although the operations of the Company have never been interfered with on the continental coast, Chief Factor Douglas, now I presume, his Excellency the Governor and Vice-Admiral of Vancouver's Island deprecates the establishment of mills there "until we have gained the confidence and respect of the natives."--See his report to Mr. McLoughlin, June 12, 1842. Moreover, in my opinion, the state of concubinage in which so many of the servants of the Company have lived, must form a serious impediment to the preaching or progress of Christianity in the neighbourhood of its forts.
To these I add two more facts which shew how little influence the Company has over the natives and how little, even in the neighbourhood of its chief post, it has done to instruct them, if only to develop the natural resources of the island.
1. That on the 26th September last the United States schooner, Susan Sturges, was taken and plundered by the natives of Queen Charlotte's Islands.
2. That the 1315 tons of coal of which account has been taken were traded from the natives by the Company, and raised by them from surface seams, without the aid of European skill or science to enable them to reach those of a more valuable quality below, or to raise a greater quantity.
You are aware that this coal is the only deposit of that mineral northward of Panama, of which we have any satisfactory knowledge, and that it offered one of the chief incentives to all parties desiring to colonize the island, all looking to supply from it the steam communication between San Francisco and the Isthmus, and this coal has been altogether abandoned by the Company to the natives; great expense, as we are told, having been incurred in the endeavour to find seams of coal further south. (See Governor Colville's Report, Nov. 24th, 1852.)
From what cause this has proceeded I am not careful now to enquire. It is evident the quantity raised must be very much below the quantity in demand. More than six years ago a contract for 20,000 tons annually was offered; it has been quoted at 17 dollars per ton, in the Market at San Francisco, and complaint made that more is not to be had; 5000 tons having arrived during the previous month round Cape Horn (see Times, 28 Dec. 1852.) Captain Gordon considered the locality in which it was found most favourable for its working and exportation, and its quality equal to the best Scotch; he, indeed, recommended that it should be carried round the north and not to the east of the Island; but it appears evident that, from whatever reason, the Company does not object to abandon the north part of the island, inclusive of the coal, to the natives, and confine its operations to the southern extremity. Whether, therefore, the Charter be revoked in January next, or whether the Company be allowed to continue the operations it has commenced with so large a spirit and so liberal an outlay, there can I presume be no objection on its part to the establishment of a settlement on the north of the island, for the special benefit of those whom it abandons to their own devices--whom it cannot, or at any rate it does not, either govern or instruct.
I need not add that, as the Company has not, so neither has any one else attempted to civilize or Christianize the natives. Under the circumstances it was almost impossible; to the South, indeed, the American missionaries were the pioneers of emigration in Oregon; the Roman Catholics have established themselves in Puget's Inlet, and elsewhere, and have baptized and given tickets of churchmanship to the natives by thousands, though of instruction by them we can learn nothing; but in the territory where the Company reigns supreme, to the north of De Fucas Strait, nothing has been done. I am sure you will agree with me that this neglect should be remedied as soon as possible--I hope you will think, with me. the present time propitious for the attempt. I may remind you that this is the only British colony or territory, on which British subjects reside, and over which they rule, in which no attempt is made to preach the Gospel to the natives. Over all other British colonial dominions, British missions are spread; almost every other has its bishop to look after its spiritual wants; but here we have no reason to suppose that even a solitary clergyman is placed to minister to the emigrants who have been transported thither; that one was formerly maintained at Fort Vancouver by the Company, all acquainted with the history of the Corporation and its operations on the North-west coast, have good cause to remember; but beyond this, we are at present in ignorance.
[Of these Father Smet, in his "Missions de L'Oregon," gives the following account:--"Ce fut en 1840 que la propagande Méthodiste de 1'Oregon recut le plus grande renfort, Cette même année, un M. Lee y arriva avec un vaisseau, il avec lui pleusieurs ministres accompagnés de leurs femmes, et des leurs enfants; il avait aussi des fermiers, des forgerons et autres artisans, Cétait un veritable colonie." Before this the Methodists and Presbyterians had each two missions. He estimates the Roman Catholic establishments as at that time amounting to 1 college, 2 religious houses, 1 convent, and 15 chapels; these, however, all in the Valley of the Columbia, or within what is called the Cascade Range of Mountains, none in the Coast District to which I have referred, though we read that a church was being built on Vancouver's Island, of which Mgr Demers was named bishop. These establishments are conducted by 10 Jesuits, 6 "frères Jesuites," 4 Canadian Missionaries, and 6 "religieuses" of our Lady of Namur; and to this number, 26 in all, he adds "les bestiaux tels que les bêtes à cornes, le moutons, lee cochons et surtout les chevaux, y sont en tres grand nombre. Les premiers animaux domestiques furent amenés en 1837 de la Californie, au nombre de 600." Against this efficient staff we can only quote, "Un Ministre Anglican se trouvait à Vancouver."]
It is my purpose to shew that a promising field for missionary labour is here presented, and that its cultivation may be effected without much risk or outlay. For this purpose I must give some account of the nature and resources of the country and the condition and character of the natives. The statement must be brief, as our means of information are, as you know, scanty, though I believe fully sufficient for my purpose.
The British territories on the North-west coast of America are now situated between those of the United States to the south, and of Russia to the north, and between the parallels of 48° and 54° north latitude; they consist of the valleys of Frazer's river and the northern sources of the Columbia, and a long line of coast deeply intersected by a labyrinth of canals, as they are called, much resembling the Scottish lochs, or even more the fiords of Norway, into which to the north fall some other small rivers; of these we only know from his account, that the Salmon river of Alexander Mackenzie flows through fertile and beautiful country. The whole of this territory is separated from the rest of America by the Rocky Mountains, through which, however, easy access is obtained by the head waters of the rivers; and to the south, by De Fucas Inlet and Puget's Sound, direct communication is open with the valley of the Columbia and the Oregon district, without any risk from a coast navigation, or the dangerous bar at the mouth of the river Columbia. Off the coast to the north there is a net work of islands, and about fifty miles to sea, Queen Charlotte's Islands, a group of considerable importance, being fertile, and possessing gold, copper, and it is said, other minerals; and to the south lies Vancouver's Island, originally denominated of Vancouver, and Quadra, from the English and Spanish naval officers who surveyed its coasts. This is undoubtedly at present the most valuable portion of the whole, and here the plan which I have to propose may, I think, with the greatest prospect of success, be attempted.
There are, it is true, other places not unsuited to it, as on Queen Charlotte's Islands, and at the mouths of Frazer's river and of Mackenzie's Salmon river, one of which, probably the latter, will be the western terminus of the main line of communication which will no doubt ere long be established from the Great Lakes to the Pacific; but of these we know less, and any establishment near them would interfere as much with the Company's monopoly of trade as one on Vancouver's Island would with its monopoly of colonization; in any case, therefore, its present rights would be infringed, and I am led to believe from what I have read, as well as from the accounts of those who have been there, that a harbour on the northwest coast of that island, called by the natives Quatsinough, is on the whole the most desirable locality that can be selected. This is apparently the Port St. Louis of La Perouse, the San Josef of the Spaniards, and the Sea Otter harbour of Hanna, the draught of which, as given by Meares, corresponds sufficiently well with more recent accounts which I have received.
Vancouver's Island lies between the 48th and 51st parallels of north latitude, and Fort Victoria in 123° 23' west longitude, being therefore only 4078 miles distant from England. It may be estimated at from 250 to 290 miles long, and from 55 td 65 broad. Capt. Gordon's impressions of it were very favourable, and Sir George Simpson says, "the country and climate are fine, means of living abundant, say fish, venison, domestic cattle, agricultural produce," and with this general, more particular statements correspond; of its agricultural capabilities it is noted, in his despatch already referred to, that in the year 1845 the farm at Fort Victoria "produced 1000 bushels of wheat over and above the expenditure of that post;" we know also from several sources that the Company's farms at Fort Vancouver and Nisqually on Puget's Sound are most productive.
Capt. Wilkes of the United States' Navy, speaking of the country generally, estimates the produce whether from farm or garden of the finest character; he tells us, the wheat produced weighs 63 lbs, to the bushel, and 600 acres produced 7000 bushels; that barley yields 20 bushels to the acre, though oats do not thrive well; peas, beans, and potatoes, yield abundantly; strawberries and gooseberries, the former nearly ripe, and salad gone to seed, were seen by him at Nisqually on the 15th May; he considers it three times more fertile than the United States; cattle he says find natural hay all the year round, and multiply with astonishing rapidity. Sir George Simpson, speaking of Vancouver's Island says, it is superior to any portion of America for agricultural settlement; it is however, in all probability not so generally fertile as the valley of the Columbia below the Dalles, although its climate is more favourable; to the south the heat is extreme, even at Puget's Inlet to the north of the Columbia the thermometer often ranges 107° in the shade, and severe drought is frequently experienced in summer; on the island the temperature is rendered more equal by the surrounding water.
The seasons may be thus described. In November and December south-east winds prevail with rain and storms; in January there is often frost in the low grounds but never sufficient to interrupt agricultural operations or oblige the cattle to be housed; spring commences in March, which as well as April and May, is warm, showers and sunshine alternating; during these months the thermometer rises to 60° and does not fall below 42°. Meares indeed makes the winter longer, snow, he says, is seen till March; June and July are hot and dry, the thermometer ranging 70° in the shade, August and September very dry with occasional fogs, which about the sounds and narrow channels between the island and the main are frequently of extreme density; October is rainy but warm; in this month the second crop of natural grass is very abundant; throughout the summer westerly winds prevail above latitude 30°, and, according to Meares, south-east winds in May and September, when the weather is raw and cold. The north-west winds bring-clear and fine weather.
Of the natural productions of the Island the first in importance is coal. Lieut. Vavasour reports it to be both abundant and excellent; it has been tried in her Majesty's steamers and works well; the Hudson's Bay Company reports it excellent for the purposes of the forge; it is found principally on the north west extremity of the Island. The early navigators speak of Copper, but this is probably to be referred to Queen Charlotte's Islands, and other places further north; yet Meares tells us, the Spaniards opened a mine on Hog Island in Nootka Sound, but of what mineral he was ignorant. Granite and limestone, according to the report of Lieuts. Warre and Vavasour abound north of De Fucas Strait; and the latter, with slate, is found in abundance on Feveda's Island between Vancouver's Island and the main.
Timber is next in importance; the same report tells us it is most luxuriant and valuable, enumerating pine, spruce, red and white oak, ash, cedar, arbutus, poplar, maple, wallow, yew, the cedar and pine of enormous size, all most valuable to the north of the 50° parallel. Sir G. Simpson tells us of a canoe 60 feet long, and capable of containing 100 persons, cut out of a single log. Cook notes that the pine trees at Friendly Cove in Nootka Sound were the largest he ever had seen; and Meares esteems the timber of the Island well adapted for dockyard uses, and the pines fit for the largest sized masts and spars. To the vegetable productions may be added berries of many kinds in extreme plenty, especially most excellent raspberries, strawberries and gooseberries; sweetbriar, roses and other flowers.
Of animal life we have from Lieutenants Warre and Vavasour, as well as Sir G. Simpson, the report, "game in plenty;" to particularize, of venison, moose, and deer; of fur-hearing animals, the bear, both grizzly and brown, racoon, fox, marten, beaver, land and sea otter, seal, sea cow, sea lion; of fish, the whale, both bone and sperm, sturgeon and salmon, (the same authorities say inexhaustible), halibut, skate, flounders and cod, while sardines and several kinds of herrings visit the coast in the months of July and August in incredible numbers; aquatic fowls are numerous, and the character of the climate will appear, from Sir G. Simpson's statement that five kinds of humming birds are found between the Columbia river and the Russian settlement of Sitka. From this it is clear that the inhabitants of the island, can have no difficulty in obtaining sustenance, and it may be concluded that both land and water offer the means of establishing an important export trade. Sir G. Simpson, indeed, looks forward to making the island a depôt for the refreshment and supply of the whaling fleet of the Pacific, in which trade the American ships alone are 700 in number; but although nearer the whaling grounds than the Sandwich Islands, those and other islands of the Pacific present temptations to sailors, absent from home not unfrequently for four years, which I am glad to say the North-west Coast never can, and therefore I should be more concerned to locate the fishing on the coast than to attempt to supply it from thence.
All writers, as might be expected, represent the natives as well fed and clothed. Those to the south were so, those on Vancouver's Island and to the North still are.
The number of the native inhabitants of the Northwest coast has been so variously calculated, that we may safely conclude that it has not been accurately ascertained; even the Hudson's Bay Company, although it may estimate with much truth the number of the tribes dwelling near its forts, has no means of obtaining more than a distant approximation to those of the more remote; of Queen Charlotte's Islands, and Vancouver's Island little in truth is known, the regular course of trade seldom if ever taking the Company's vessels to the former, or to the Western coast of the latter.
Lieutenants Warre and Vavasour estimate the natives on British territory west of the Rocky mountains at 72,000. Of these they give to Queen Charlotte's Island's about 10,000, and to Vancouver's Island, if anything, less; but the means of accurate calculation are evidently wanting; the former are not above half the size of the latter; and as this estimate is entirely disproportionate to those of the earlier writers, we are forced to the same conclusion as Captain Wilkes, that to the southward the decrease, from whatever cause, has been considerable. Cook estimated the village of Nootka alone to contain 2000; Meares thought there were as many in his time, and calculated the subjects of the Chief of Nootka, whose dominion did not extend far either to the north or south, as 15,000; but, from the accounts of Dunn, Wilkes, and others, I cannot think that the entire population of the coasts of De Fucas Strait now exceeds 5000; while, if the early navigators are to be believed, in their time it must have exceeded 30,000.--Mr. Findlay estimates the native inhabitants of Vancouver's Island at, in all, 11,463, and particularizes the tribes to the North thus:--
Friendly Tribes, Neweegt or Newettrees 500
Quaktoe at North-West or Woody County 1 000
Nootka 1 600
Nimkis, on navigable river of that name, on Eastern Coast, near the Coal 500
Quaquiolths 1 500
Total: 5 100
The Quaktoe are those about the harbour of Quatsinough or probably Quaktsinoh, already alluded to.
Of the character of the natives but little can be said, yet that little is satisfactory, excepting in one particular, personal cleanliness; they are, like most savages, expert thieves, more expert probably than most; but this is partly in their favour as evidence of what is testified of them, that they are most ingenious and skilful in all kinds of handiwork; their weaving and carving, their fishing implements, wiers, houses, and especially their canoes have been the theme of general admiration: these latter Sir G. Simpson praises, not only for their elegance, but for their speed and sea-worthy qualities, whether under canvass or with paddles. Mr. Dunn, as an example of the ingenuity of these people, records, that when the Company's steamer, Beaver, first appeared in their waters, one of them made a boat with paddle wheels to imitate it. They are represented as friendly, tractable, good natured, and industrious: to the north, indeed, they are said to be fierce and cruel, and since they have acquired the use of fire-arms they are, as the loss of the Susan Sturges proves, not a little dangerous, it must be remembered however that even their contact with Europeans has taught them no law but that might makes right in person they are represented as, though generally under the middle height, well proportioned, active, and strong, and when their natural appearance is not obscured by dirt, particularly well and intelligent looking. With such a people there can be no natural obstacle to civilization or instruction, and accordingly we learn from Captain Wilkes that a few boys who were educated at Fort Vancouver not only earned their own living, but were profitable to the establishment. Of course, a people who can obtain the necessaries of life, without difficulty, from the abundant supplies with which nature has surrounded them, and can gratify their acquired tastes and habits by bartering the proceeds of the chase or fishery with the servants of the Company for European manufactures, requires some inducement to labour. It appears to me that this inducement can only be found in the power of availing themselves of European science and civilization for their own benefit, and not merely for that of those who instruct them, and that the prospect of being able to do so will at once attach them to any teachers who come among them with this single-hearted and unselfish purpose. At present the European and Native American, on the North-west coast, must stand in the relation of master and slave, or of open or concealed enmity, either case opposed to the principles and practice of Christianity.
What is wanted for this purpose, on this coast, and possibly nearer home, appears to me to be some centre, round which the people can congregate, and where they may find the means of civilization by bodily and mental culture, and of instruction in the principles and doctrines of the Christian religion: I believe this can only be done by transporting English social life there as well as English science; our missionaries must be women and children, laymen, mechanics and labourers as well as clergy.
The importance of the social element can hardly be overrated. We have not now the kind of instruments for missionary enterprises, nor the sources for the supply of them which the Roman Catholic Church has--we have neither the order nor the vow; but it is my belief that we have far bettor--the means of shewing the influence of Christianity on domestic life.
By way of explaining my ideas on the subject I will sketch a plan, roughly, in outline, premising that the filling in of the details must be left, in a great measure, to those who are to work them out. If a Missionary College consisting of a Superior or Principal, and five fellows or brethren, to whom and their successors, under certain statutes made and provided beforehand, the future conduct of the mission might be committed, and in whom its property might be vested, it might be sufficient, provided they were all married men, if with families, so much the better. Of these, two should be priests, to secure a continuance of sacramental administration; two might be medical men, who might also be in deacon's orders, which would enable them to assist better in missionary work, and need not at all interfere with their professional labours; the two others might be laymen.
The application of a missionary force of two priests and two deacons, being medical men, is sufficiently obvious under any circumstances, but I feel that which I have to propose for the laymen will at first appear strange to many, and possibly even to you. All will, however, agree that the specialty of these men must be determined by the circumstances of the case, the character of the people among whom, and the country in which they are to labour. In the present case I propose that one, at least, should be, in the first instance, a sailor. For the reasons already stated, the college must of necessity be isolated, and at present--although we have been recently told by the Minister of the United States, that four lines of railway are in process of survey to the Pacific Ocean, although the brigades of the Hudson's Bay Company traverse the interior of the continent without difficulty, and I at least look forward to seeing that path opened to all before long--there is no available communication with the North-west coast but by sea.
To place a small community, including women and children, most of them accustomed to the comforts, many to the luxuries of our most comfortable, not to say luxurious mode of life in England, thus cut off from all communication with civilized men, without even power to obtain news of their friends, for they could scarcely depend on the transmission of letters by the Company, and in that case must send to Fort Victoria for them, is, to say the least, if it may be avoided, an unnecessary cruelty. By the Company's mail news could only be received once a year, and very probably no answer returned until the next, and for nothing else could communication with Canada be made available for many years to come; while if means of communication with California were afforded, it might be made every three months. It will appear from the locality I have named, that the nearest point from which supplies could be obtained--Fort Victoria--would be, say two days' sail; Puget's Inlet settlement, three or four; the Columbia river, say four, probably more, on account of its difficult entrance; Fort Vancouver, say seven, San Francisco five or six; the Sandwich Islands, fifteen or twenty: all, indeed, less under favourable circumstances, but these may be assumed as fair averages. Now, although it is intended that the College shall be self-supporting, yet provision must be made against contingencies. Fort Victoria, the nearest at hand, cannot be depended on for supplies, the Company providing there, as it may be presumed, only sufficient for its own purposes; Puget's Inlet, Fort Vancouver, the Willamette and the Sandwich islands are therefore the available points, and at one, if not all of them, every thing necessary for a young settlement may be procured; for such distances a good vessel and good sailors to command and man her are indispensable. Besides, if the missionaries, as I should hope they will; are to itinerate beyond their own immediate locality, it must be by sea; if, in short, they are any of them to go among the natives, and attract them to their settlement, they must travel as the natives do, by water, and the intricacies of the navigation and strength of the currents are well known to you. Moreover, the Corporation, its belongings and dependants, must be conveyed to its locality, and as the voyage there by any existing means would be almost as expensive as the purchase, I would make a vessel--say a clipper schooner of about 200 tons burden--a part of its outfit. This would, as will be seen in the issue, add not only much to the comfort and speed of the voyage, but contribute effectually to the efficiency and security of the College when established.
We have, then, our priests, medical men and sailors; to these must be added a schoolmaster, an engineer, a gardener and agriculturist, a carpenter, a mason, with say four sailors, a boatswain or petty officer, a ship carpenter, a blacksmith and armourer, and sail maker--in all fifteen men, at the least; to these add fifteen women, and at an average, say thirty children, in all sixty persons, who, with the requisite stores, supplies, and materiel, might be comfortably conveyed in such a vessel as I have indicated, and, I think, would not be more than three months on the voyage. I would supply them with food for the voyage, and vegetable food for one year; stock may be purchased at Victoria or Puget's Inlet, at a great saving on home cost and risk of transit; seeds and plants should be taken in abundance; agricultural and other implements, a saw and grist mill, a lathe, all of which might be worked eventually by the same power, whether water or steam; a printing press; astronomical and other scientific instruments; and, I believe, with these, they would find themselves when landed thoroughly independent. A little further explanation of the modus operandi will shew this sufficiently.
I suppose that, in such a plan, civilization and religion must go hand in hand, if permanent benefit is to be effected. Such a Corporation would, after the fashion of the monks of old and the successful American missionaries in Oregon and elsewhere in the Pacific, endeavour first to surround itself with the comforts of European social life; to build, to sow, to plant, and to teach the natives, especially the children, to do the same, and thus open the way for religious instruction; and I think this is fully justified, not by experience only, as the true missionary method among uncivilized people, but by the example of our Lord himself, who "went about doing good, and healing all manner of disease among the people;" and generally by the application given to precepts of charity by himself and his apostles, especially St. John. All, therefore, even the priests would be working with their hands like St. Paul, and in that country, as the timber, though magnificent in size, is not of close growth,--indeed it could not attain the size it does, which, especially to the south, often seems almost fabulous, if it were,--but is disposed for the most part over the ground in park-like order, clearing is not a necessary preliminary to agricultural operations, but the soil at once admits the plough, and cattle obtain their natural food in abundance; [This is true of the Oregon and the south part of Vancouver's Island, but not of the south-west. If my information is correct, it la characteristic of the district about Quatsinough.] if therefore they arrived in the spring, and commenced cultivation at once, supplies for the second year could be obtained during the first, and before those taken out were exhausted; and this is to me a most important feature in the scheme. Missionary efforts, as at present carried on, require constant bolstering up from home, and consequently are seldom capable of extension; and if application is made for the establishment of new stations, we are told that the old can scarcely be maintained. Now, if right-minded men go out, and train their children to follow in their steps, it can scarcely be that in such a case sufficient men and means will be wanting to supply new stations, and as gradually great abbeys established cells, and by them extended their influence to remote districts, so would the islands and coast of North West America soon be dotted with little nuclei of Christianity and civilization, differing in this from their prototypes, that they will contain within themselves the elements of their own permanence and extension, and require neither supplies of men nor money from home; while their influence will be social, as well as ecclesiastical. There will then be no looking to England as the retreat in the decline of life, no turning back after having put the hand to the plough, but the missionaries will die in the land of their choice, and be buried in the Church which they founded, and identifying themselves with the people of their adoption, give the best proof of their honesty and singleness of purpose.
With respect to the cost of such a scheme, I have made calculations which place its minimum at £5000, a sum which I conceive there would be no difficulty in raising, when the greatness of the work, the efficiency of the staff, its self-supporting power, or the ultimate result, are considered; for under any ordinary circumstances it must have recreative power enough to supply any department with fresh labourers, either from the children or the natives, before those who go out shall be taken away; and what was at first a Missionary College, must become at last the Colonial University, which, for the first time in the history of, at least, English Colonies, the Colonists will find ready to educate their children the moment they arrive.
It would, of course, be easy to present an estimate not exceeding the amount above specified, but all practical colonizers know well how impossible it is to anticipate necessities which grow in the working, not so much from the nature of the thing itself, as the manner in which it is done, and which must therefore depend on those to whose direction it is committed; the sum I have named would, I believe, be sufficient, as my calculations have been based on inquiries made from officers of the Hudson Bay Company who have been resident on the coast, my own experience in British North America, and in the agricultural mining and fishing districts of England; but whatever the amount of capital ultimately found necessary, a tract of land, say a minimum quantity of 1000 acres, would be essential; they should be held in trust by the corporation, as indeed should all its property for certain uses. The objects proposed are, first, the education, in the largest sense, of the children of the natives; and, secondly, of the colonists, whom such a settlement must infallibly attract to the coast. Care must therefore be taken that such a grant does not interfere with the necessities of a future settlement, as the wants of the College would be fully met, if land of a good agricultural character were given, and the title should not therefore be confirmed by the Government at home, until surveys sufficiently in detail were received to enable a judgment to be formed on this point.
It may be asked how the most important element of all is to be supplied--I mean the human. I have yet to learn that men are ever wanting for a good work; and, I have no doubt, that the social bond will prove stronger and more enduring than the ascetic; but if not, there will be means at hand to enable those who desire it to change this mode of life and retreat from its labours and responsibilities. Still, as I said to the late Sir Henry Pelly when some years since I proposed to him apian, not dissimilar to this, for the benefit of the natives, I can myself conceive no happier state of existence in this world than one in which all bodily wants will be easily supplied, and high and noble occupation for the mind, added to healthy and invigorating employment for the body; while absence from England its society and science, will be, in some measure, compensated by the presence of wife, children and friends, and the means of extending science in an important degree. The occupations natural to such a community will I think justify this opinion. First, there will be the services of the Church, in which all who may be able will of course take part in a corporation founded on a religious basis. The Superior or Principal will be fully employed in general superintendence, in the chapel and in the school, for even before natives can be collected for instruction the children of the fellows and household of the college will supply occupation in teaching. In this teaching all must take their part, not indeed in the school, but in the workshops and the fields, in the woods and on the water, and thus the specialty of every man will be transmitted to the children; and not the men only but the women, would find this congenial occupation, and with such an end in view I apprehend that to English gentlewomen it will not be thought derogatory to superintend and to share the labours of the dairy, the laundry, the needle, and the loom. [I may note here, that a home for the children of the natives, whether orphans or others, who may be committed to the care of the community, would be an essential part of the scheme.] All then would not only be workers but industrial teachers, of children therefore the more the better; and the merrier the forge would blaze and the lathe hum, and the light shuttle fly from hand to hand, while above those engaged in the woods and fields, the birds, even if the shrill carol of our own skylark was not heard, would pour out floods of joyous song, while out of the mouths of babes and sucklings the praises of God were perfected; and when after the labours of the day the worship of the fraternity had ascended to heaven in the rich harmonies of our church--for harmony of voice is ever the best exponent of harmony of soul--sufficient leisure would be found for social converse, mental cultivation, and the study of the wisdom of the elders, whether of our own or other times; and here then we may hope to perpetuate in domestic relations the simple virtues, the industry, if not the talents, and the learning which have adorned even the monastic life.
The industrial occupations of such a community must depend of course on the resources of the country, and these as well as its position, and the necessities of the case must direct its attention to commerce; to be self-supporting it must condescend to barter, and in this relation the principal use of the vessel appropriated to its service will appear. Exchange of commodities may be made with Fort Victoria, Puget's Sound settlement, the Columbia river, San Francisco, the Sandwich Islands, aye, and with Japan, and China! the distance is comparatively short, say 3700 and 4700 miles, or 30 and 40 days' sail respectively, and the winds and currents are favourable to the navigation. Indeed, to any port north of the Isthmus of Panama, the return voyage must of necessity be by Vancouvers Island. It must also be remembered that Hong Kong is, if not the nearest, the most accessible, diocese from thence.
The character of the North Pacific Ocean, makes it particularly suitable for navigation, by such craft as I have selected, for which with, say, four boys, two training for officers and two before the mast, the crew I have enumerated would be fully sufficient; and the commanding position occupied by the British dominions on the North-west Coast with reference to the Japan and China trade, and that of the North Pacific generally, must not be overlooked. Although I myself do not apprehend that this trade will pass through a canal, even if one suitable for the passage of the largest vessels be cut through the Isthmus of Central America at Darien, Panama, or elsewhere, yet it should be noted that whether, as Asa Whitney supposes it infallibly must, the North-west Coast monopolize this trade or it pass through the canal, that coast and its inhabitants must benefit greatly from it, as they must supply the vessels employed with provisions and coal. The route by it is near 1000 miles shorter, and other evidence much in its favour. I may add, that while four routes for a railway to the Pacific are under survey in the territories of the United States; the best line, Asa Whitney himself the projector being witness, would pass from the Great Lakes to Frazer's river or Mackenzie's Salmon River through British territory. [See Major R. Carmichael Smith's Letter to Lord Grey.--Great Britain one Empire, by Capt. H. M. Synge, R.E., and a Paper in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society by Asa Whitney.]
The superiority of Vancouver's Island and the South coast of Juan de Fuca's Strait for shipbuilding and a naval arsenal, has long since been noticed by myself and others: and I am free to confess my great surprise that we should be content to purchase spars and supplies for our vessels, requiring a refit in those seas, elsewhere, when our own territories afford every possible accommodation for the purpose.
There is also one great branch of commercial industry carried on at unnecessary expense to the merchant and cost to the consumer, now monopolized by, I might say, one town in New England, to which I have already referred, and which I should gladly be instrumental in locating on the North-west coast of British America; I mean the whale fishery of the Pacific; of its profits, it may be sufficient to say that the Behrings Strait fishery, which, with that of the Sandwich Islands and Japan could be carried on most easily from the North-west coast, realized not only a fair profit on the outlay, but in the first two years repaid it. Above 700 vessels are employed in this fishery in the Pacific; of its consequences to the inhabitants, no one moderately conversant with the history of that ocean can be ignorant,--the demoralization of the natives, the power obtained over them by vagabond deserters from whale ships, especially in remote situations; insomuch, that it may be fairly assumed that the inhabitants of Pitcairn's Island are at present highly favoured in the want of a harbour, and the consequent impossibility of any vessel remaining long on its coast.
If this trade were located on the North-west coast, as it might be at little cost, affording as it docs timber for shipbuilding, abundant and most excellent harbours to choose, and plentiful supplies, with a healthy climate and beautiful country for the residence of the families of the crews engaged in it, who then need never be more than three or four months absent from home, these great evils might be altogether avoided; but whether the fishery be established on the coast or not, it would afford to such a community as I have been describing, an admirable opportunity for developing the industrial and commercial capabilities of the natives who, like those of the Sandwich Islands, are already very skilful in it.
There is moreover a mean of usefulness, which such a community so placed and constituted would have, which would be great as regards the interests of science in general, and would go far to repay the cost of its establishment--I refer to scientific observations and collections. It must be remembered that our knowledge of this portion of the world is extremely limited; as yet there is not one observatory on the Western coast of North America, and probably scarce one position accurately ascertained: our botanical, zoological, meteorological, and particularly our geographical, ethnological and philological information is very imperfect.
The instruments necessary for such observations, might, I am persuaded, be procured without taking from the funds of the College. Since the great Exhibition of 1851, if there was not, as I well believe, before, a large and liberal spirit, far beyond that of the mere tradesman, has been apparent in the dealings of our manufacturers and mechanicians; and, independent of the great societies, almost every, branch of constructive art in connexion with science, is now represented by some well known scientific man, whose influence may be fairly calculated upon to assist in this particular; we might appeal with entire confidence to Sir F. Herschel, Sir Snow Harris, Professor Wheatstone, Colonel Sabine, Captain Smyth, Mr. E. Becket Denison, and others, too numerous to name; besides those who form the connecting links between scientific and general society, as Lord Ross, Lord Ellesmere, Sir R. Murchison, Mr. Talbot, and others; and last, but not least, in acceptance as in position, the Prince Consort himself.
The formation of a corporative library on the coast of the Pacific might also it may be thought, well call forth the liberality of many, and in this especially, as generally for the whole undertaking, I should look to assistance from such societies as those for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and the Propagation of the Gospel, the Bible Society, and others whose objects are similar; scientific societies would doubtless give their transactions and journals, and continue them, publishing societies their serials; publishers and authors I believe would contribute freely, and indeed every one who has books, not to say a library, has duplicates and others occupying space uselessly to him, that would be well bestowed for such a purpose; even I, though by no means useless to me, would contribute a collection of books, maps, &c., relating generally to North America, and the Pacific, but more especially to the North-west Coast; and I suppose the industrial portions of the work might also receive much assistance in material as well as money, for to such a community everything would be useful; a child who could give nothing else might interest itself in the work by the gift of a favourite dog--a most welcome companion--and those who would give nothing for nothing, might give in the hope and under the promise of receiving; the horticulturist might give seeds and plants, to be replaced by seeds and plants from that to him almost unexplored region; a Rocky mountain sheep might balance one from the South Downs; a bison, a Durham bull; tufted partridges, Dorking fowls; and thus plentiful means be afforded for the development of the industry of the community as well as of the resources of the country and people.
In conclusion, having, I fear, wearied you with my importunity, I will only add that if the primary object of the undertaking shall be missed, and, in spite of all endeavours to the contrary, the civilization which must shed its light and heat on that coast before long, whether we aid it or no, prove a consuming fire to the natives, a consequence we have no right to assume as necessary until every means has been taken to prevent it; at least those who encourage it will have the satisfaction to know that they have not laboured for nought, or spent their money in vain. They will, in any case, it may be presumed, have founded a College for the instruction in science, humanity, and the religion of their fathers, of the descendants of Englishmen on that coast of the Pacific, and completed the chain of English learning and social life which will then, without metaphor, encircle the globe; and whatever the fate of our political power may be in those regions at least we shall have established the authority of Christian religion and her handmaids civilization and science.
Commending to your consideration this proposal, which I trust will appear to be for the benefit of my fellow creatures and the glory of God,
I am, dear Sir,
C. G. NICOLAY.
The Right Hon. W.E. Gladstone, M.P.
&c. &c. &c.