The Diary of George Hill
May 19, Saturday
Reached New Westminster at eight. Considerable increase in buildings was manifest over what existed at my former visit.
There were several steamboats & a bark, the Perkins of Francisco. We could not get near the wharf. It was raining hard.
I walked up to the Camp & found the Moodys & the Governor at breakfast. I was kindly & hospitably welcomed.
May 22, Tuesday
LAYING CORNERSTONE OF TRINITY CHURCH NEW WESTMINSTER
A lovely day. At quarter to twelve, His Excellency the Governor, Colonel Moody & officers walked towards the town from the Camp & were met by the [church] committee & Mr. Sheepshanks & proceeded to the ground.
The site of the new church is a very beautiful one in Victoria Gardens & commands an extensive view & will be a most prominent object from the river to steamers arriving from the sea. At present two deep ravines are on either side. Around it are huge stumps of trees & the ground is entirely unleveled. Here the frame of the flooring had been laid, being massive sills on thick short columns of wood. Under one of these pinnings, the south east outer corner of the porch, was laid the stone of granite. A bottle with [an] inscription & coins was inserted. The Governor was received by a guard of [Royal] Engineers. There were many persons assembled, about 300. Chinese, Indians & other nations [were] represented. The same service was used as at St. John's, Victoria. The service was commenced by Mr. Sheepshanks. The Bishop then proceeded. The Governor laid the stone. Addresses were delivered by the Governor, the Bishop & Colonel Moody, concluding with the doxology & blessing.
A RESTAURANT IN THE WOODS
Several of us lunched with the Governor at a capital restaurant, kept by a Frenchman. We had soup, salmon, lamb, green peas, omelet, preserved peaches, claret, champagne, etc. This was provided at a short notice.
May 24, Thursday
THE QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY
The Governor invited a large party to spend the day with him in celebration of the Queen's birthday. He chartered a steamer, the Maria for an excursion to the head of Pitt Lake by the river of that name. We started at eleven from the [Royal Engineers] Camp wharf. The day was dull. There was some rain but on the whole the weather was good.
The Maria is one of those extraordinary vessels, peculiar to America, which combines light draught, ample accommodation, power & speed. Two hundred people might be stowed in her & she would not be two feet in the water. Her wheel was behind.
We passed up the rich & beautiful banks of the Fraser about five miles when we came to several islands, one called Tree Island behind which flowed in the Coquitlam. We took up a settler here & his friend, Mr. Atkins, a fine old Irish gentleman, who driven away by the Incumbered Estates Act, had wandered from Ireland to Australia & from Australia here where he resides upon 400 acres of land with his two sons.
We turned back at four & sat down in the saloon to an excellent repast. There was salmon & beef & chicken & ham & all sorts of [pastries] & wines, champagne went about in abundance.
The Governor proposed the loyal toasts of the old country, which were drunk with all honours. The bishop & clergy of the diocese were named with much kindness & their healths drunk with, three times three & one cheer more.
Colonel Moody proposed [the toast to] the Governor.
Various other toasts were given. At the Governor's request I proposed the Press, coupling with it the name [of] the editor of the Westminster Times who responded. In returning thanks for my own health & that of the clergy I said among other points, we desired to forward, without being politicians, the institutions of the land. I rejoiced that a step toward self-government had been taken in the grant of a municipal council to New Westminster.
May 25, Friday
EXCURSION TO LANGLEY-INDIANS FISHING-THE FRASER
The Governor went away from the [Royal engineers] Camp to Langley. At one, Captain Parsons with a party of Sappers followed. Considering this is a good opportunity of seeing the river & that place, I accepted a place in his whale boat. Mr. Sheepshanks accompanied me.
The day was beautiful & the scenery pleasing. The river varied from half a mile to a mile & [a] quarter in width. We passed several large islands, Tree Island, Manson's [Island] (lately bought by the Governor) & Barriston's. Every now & then we met a canoe with Indians. One was fishing for salmon. We saw the method. There were three in the boat. Two paddled, one at the stem held a pole, at the end of which was a bag net stretched by a [loop]. This he kept down at a certain depth, going down the stream & meeting the fish in their ascent. As soon as he perceived, by the sensation, that a fish was inside, he quickly drew a string which closed the bag, & the fish was caught & brought into the boat. I understand they will catch salmon sometimes as fast as they can lower & pull the net.
We passed several villages of Indians but did not land. One village was called the Kaetzi [Katzi], these Indians are numerous. Poor creatures they stood on the edge of the water or rather sat or squatted in their peculiar manner watching us intently.
We found the Governor at the Fort. A large hall was the general room in the quaint wooden building which stood at the head of the enclosure of the store houses. Pipes & wine & spirits were on the table & we were hospitably received by the Hudson's Bay Company officials. A comfortable tea & cold beef & sardines gratified & satisfied our inner man & a blanket bed upon the floor of an empty room gave abundant opportunity for refreshing sleep.
May 26, Saturday
FAMILY WORSHIP AT FORT LANGLEY
I rose early. A little before eight the families & guests assembled in the hall & we had a family worship. I gave out one of my [cards containing] miners' hymns, read [a] portion of scripture, commented on it &[read] some prayers. Breakfast was then served. We had roast chicken, beef steaks, potatoes cooked thin ways, salmon, butter & cream in perfection amongst other good things.
THE KATZI INDIANS
After breakfast I had an interview with Michelle, the Chief of the Katzi Indians. I asked him of his people. He said they were fewer & fewer. Liquor especially was making sad havoc. He was grieved in heart to see them fading away. He would like to have his children educated. His people knew nothing about the future. They never thought about it. Nobody had come to tell them anything. He thought something himself, but did not know much & would mention to his people what I had said.
Michelle understands a good deal of English & is a well known friend to the white man.
An Indian chief from Harrison River named Seemium agreed to take me in his canoe to New Westminster. We kept him waiting rather longer than he liked & he disappeared. We had agreed for five dollars. These Indians are well paid. I understand at Hope they get four dollars a day (i.e. sixteen shillings). So they are becoming very independent. A couple of years ago they would do anything for a little tobacco. Unless you take them at the moment you want them you may after be disappointed.
LANGLEY TO THE [ROYAL ENGINEERS] CAMP IN A CANOE
We at length found another Indian canoe, paddled by two Indians who agreed for three dollars.
We reached the [Royal Engineers] Camp at a little before three-having come seventeen miles in rather less than three hours.
Our Indian in command would sometimes stop paddling & point to spots where he & his tribe once roamed in possession. Now a hostile tribe occupied the land of his fathers. He did not speak of the intrusion of the white man. The fact is these tribes have suffered far more from each other than they ever can from the whites.
This Indian belonged to the tribe opposite Langley, the Korlan or Cartlan [Kwantlen]. Once they dwelt where the [Royal] Engineers Camp is now situated, but had long left it, the spot they call Chastless.
May 28, Monday
COLONEL MOODY'S FARM
Walked with Colonel Moody & Captain Prevost to the farm or clearing belonging to the former, on the way to Burrard's Inlet, about two and a half miles from the [Royal Engineers] Camp. Up to that point all is dense forest. The trail is very rough & not suitable for even a horse, much less a wheel. At the place about seven acres are cleared & a garden made. Pears are growing. Apple trees are planted. The surrounding land has been burned. The forest trees are standing, but dead, the underbrush is gone. One burned & dead tree fell while we were [there]. Two men had been felling. The tree came down with a mighty crash. I measured it & found it 170 feet [long].
Dined today at the [Royal] Engineers mess.
May 30, Wednesday
At about half past ten this evening I embarked on board the Moody for Hope & Yale. Colonel Moody went at the same time. At half past one we reached Langley where we anchored.
May 31, Thursday
At half past four we left Langley & steamed on. A few miles on, the river changes its character & becomes bold with rocky heights on either side. [We] reached [the] mouth of [the] Harrison [at] half past twelve, several islands [are] at [the] entrance. The current at [the] junction of Harrison & Fraser [is] very strong. [The] steamer at one point [was] nearly driven on a rock. Her wheel [was] within three feet. [The] Indian village at [the] entrance to the Harrison called Scourlitz, [was] named by Governor [Douglas], Carnarvon. From this to Douglas is 40 miles. We reached the latter at six. The greater part of this lay through a magnificent lake, the Harrison. The water [was] a clear blue of great depth, soundings had not been taken of less than 100 fathoms. The mountains on either side, of considerable height, [were] covered with timber, very rocky, [with] no cultivatable land. Waterfalls & cascades [are] frequent. This lake in all its features is a ditto of the Pitt Lake, only on a double scale.
At the head of the lake through a winding channel is the harbour of Douglas with the town at its extremity. It consists at present of a few wooden buildings with an excellent quay.
MINERS AND THE CHURCH
On my way I was accosted by a miner, 'If you please Sir, how is the church getting on at [New] Westminster?' This was one of the five miners who gave their contribution in labour to clear the site of timber. These five men afterwards presented their log hut to Mr. Sheepshanks & in which he resides.
The other day, it was Sunday, the steamer arrived here bringing miners. Ten miners came in a body, at once, to church. They were Canadians. The Canadians in this matter are a contrast to the Americans. The latter, as a body, are not only indifferent but openly abusive of religion. At least their profanity is something horrible. Not so those who have come from our colonies. There is a marked difference. I attribute this respect for religion to the care with which our colonies have of late years been attended to & by the influence under God of the Church of England.
June 1, Friday
We left Douglas at half past four. Delightful weather. The river [is] very rapid & seems to force itself through a series of mountain gorges, the sides rising to a great height covered with timber. On either bank, however, land [is] available for cultivation, the valley varying in breadth from a mile to three our four, exclusive of the river which is from half a mile to three quarters. The Governor today is not well.
Towards the upper river the scenery became more beautiful. The mountains nearer, the river more rapid. About forty miles from the mouth of the Harrison we came upon the mining bars. Hudson's Bar, Last Chance Bar, Blue Nose, Man Hatten [sic], Cornish. Some are sand banks stretching out into the stream covered at the high seasons with the fresh [water], as at present, [and] dry from August to March. Some are the side banks of the river which they dig away, scoop out & extract gold. The upper earth is moved first, then about four feet down is a deposit of black sand in which is the gold. To get this upper earth away the miner brings a stream of water, a method he calls hydraulics, which he plies with a hose in a strong jet & washing away [a] vast quantity in a short time, till he gets to the 'pay dirt'.
The last four miles the stream was so strong that we were two hours in doing the distance.
At length, Hope was reached & the echoes were startled & long & kindly responded to the guns of the fort & the whistle of the steamer which greeted the Governor. It was ten o'clock 'ere we touched the pier. I went on shore & had a lovely stroll by the pale moonlight. The air was balmy & scenery entirely Swiss. You might have believed yourself in Chamouni [Chamonix] or by the upper Rhine, except there are no glaciers shining in the clouds.
STEAMBOATS ON THE FRASER
Some things in Columbia I was prepared for. But I certainly did not expect to see so good accommodation as afforded by the steamboats. The cost of Moody was 2000£. It pays the shareholders nearly fifty percent. It could accommodate 300 passengers. I had a cabin the three nights I was on board, superior to that I had on the La Plata or Silent, ships of the West India Mail Company. Provisions were good & abundant. Thus for dinner the first day, soup, sturgeon, mutton, beef, bacon, potatoes, beans, carrots, apple tart. For breakfast, there was fried sturgeon, bacon, mutton chops, hot rolls, bread, butter, tea, coffee, etc., [and] silver forks & spoons. Everything [was] very clean & well cooked. Prices are high, 4 shillings a meal, besides the passage money. The captain was a Scotchman, the purser an American citizen born in Ireland, the steward an African, the steward's boy a Chinaman, the pilot an American & etc. Such is a Fraser River steamboat.
June 2, Saturday
I slept on board last night as no provision had been made on shore. Early this morning I turned out & pitched my tent near Mr. Pringle's wooden house before breakfast.
Having done full justice to the cold ham Mrs. Bridgman had put in my basket & to some beef liver & marmalade Mr. Pringle produced, besides making large [inroads] into excellent bread & butter, I went forth to see the place.
I had a walk with the Governor & Chief Justice Begbie & Colonel Moody.
I then went to find out a spot for [a] burial ground with Mr. Pringle & Mr O'Reilly the Magistrate. Lunched with the Governor, walked with him & Mr. Begbie to the new bridge over the Quecquealla [Coquihalla] a mountain torrent about 200 feet wide, being the road to the Similkameen River where the country is very beautiful & suitable for agriculture, besides being auriferous.
A GENTLEMAN MINER
On returning I met Mr. Pitman in miner's dress with long shaggy hair & bearded face, a young man, some of whose friends I met in England. He had been working on Union Bar. I asked if it was not very rough. He said it was more pleasant than people thought.
This evening I walked out in the direction of Cornish Bar, down the river. I came to several miners huts. [In] one was a fine young man all the way from Tipperary. His companion boasted of being a Yankee & looked like one. Not much to be done. They were respectful & evidently liked being addressed.
Another miner was sitting with Indians & as an Indian. A fourth was sitting at the door of his log hut reading a Christian Knowledge Society tract [Society for Propagation of Christian Knowledge]. He came from Herefordshire & longed for the old country once more. He seemed intelligent & well disposed & spoke of the absence of the means of grace at the mining bars.
This day a child was buried, belonging to a miner.
June 3, Trinity Sunday
INDIAN BEAR HUNTER
I had a conversation today with Skiyou a noted bear hunter. He was sent on an expedition to explore a new pass to the Similkameen River. On his way he shot a bear. The animal fell. He went forward to skin it when suddenly it rose up & fought with him. For some time the engagement lasted, leaving Skiyou victor but dreadfully wounded. The bear seized him & mutilated many parts of his person. He bled profusely from his wounds. He nevertheless attempted to crawl home. For ten days he was almost without food. Yet strange to say, he reached Hope at last. Much interest has been felt for him. Today he came to Mr. Pringle's who gave him food. I saw the wounds in his hands & arms caused by the bear's teeth & he explained in a very significant manner how the bear had conducted the fight.
I told him in Chinook of the mercy of his heavenly Father & how much cause he had for thankfulness. He looked thoughtful when he nodded assent but soon passed to other topics. He was more affected when spoken to about his sick child now lying without much hope. He said he was sick, 'tum tum,' (i.e. heard sick-sad) & Mama also was sick, 'tum tum.'
THE SIMILKAMEEN ROUTE
This route to the Similkameen is important as it opens out to commence the southeastern portion of British Columbia, where are fine rural lands, also a vast region of the United States into which British commerce will find its way from this point on the Fraser. In a military point of view also the route from Hope is important, intercepting any movement of the Americans up into British Columbia gold mines.
This evening, service again was well attended. There could not be less than forty, a great number for Hope. The presence of Americans was evident from the unusual amount of spitting! I preached from Romans 10:13, etc., 'How beautiful,' etc.
Altogether I have enjoyed this Sunday. The fine weather, the exquisite scenery & the hearty services have combined to invigorate me.
Would that I had more of the power & life of the Holy Spirit within me. Alas, how far short do I come of the standard it is my duty to set before our congregations.
June 5, Tuesday
I heard strange noises in passing near an Indian hut. When I approached I found it to be that of Skiyou, the Indian bear hunter. His wife had her sick child in her lap. Before her was the medicine man practicing enchantments upon the child. He was a strong featured man of about forty. He repeated over & over a few words with considerable gesture. Occasionally he would stroke the head & stomach of the child. Beside him was a basin of water with some whitening mixture in it. This he would take & rub upon his hands, or he would blow into his hands & upon the child, then burst forth again into his lament & incantations. The mother held her infant towards him & evidently put considerable faith in the enchanter.
A YOUNG CHINESE MINER
I had a conversation with an intelligent young man nineteen years of age-Wong Chan Yun, the latter his personal name. Wong [is] his family or district, from the neighborhood of Canton. He has been away from China since 1957. [He] came here from California in 1858. He speaks English very fairly & acts as interpreter. I asked if the Chinese here have any worship, he said none, nor a priest. He could not tell if there would be a joss house. In Francisco they had a joss house but it was the wrong god. He could not remember the name, but the true god he worshipped was Shung Ti. He prayed to Shung Ti who was in heaven & would punish the wicked & reward the good. Shung Ti was once a man. He could not tell me all his thoughts about Shung Ti. He did not know enough English. I asked what they did in the joss house, he said they played on the knee with joss sticks.
Only a few of the Chinese thought about such things, the greatest part did not believe.
He had been in Hong Kong & had heard of the Bishop's schools. I asked if he longed to go back. 'Oh yes, I should like to go back.' 'Have you brothers & sisters?' 'Yes, a sister named Amoy & brothers.' Tears came into his eyes, 'but I have sent them my photograph'!
The Chinese here, he said, have come on their own hook. In California they are bound to some head men who receive part of their earnings.
They live principally upon rice & tea at their three meals, sometimes chicken & pork & potatoes. They send home the bones of their dead. They let the bodies putrefy & the flesh comes off. Then they send home the bones, for the comfort of friends. He knew no other reason. I was pleased with this youth. There is something engaging & simple & open in his manner.
Dined today with Mr. O'Reilly the Magistrate, a truly good man. Shortly before leaving Ireland he left the Roman Catholic religion & joined our church. After dinner we took a delightful walk.
June 7, Thursday
Had a pleasant ride with Mr. O'Reilly along the Brigade & Boston Bar trails. The path lay along Dallas Lake, to the Coquihalla, through mountain gorges & lovely valleys. Occasionally the ascents & descents were very steep, at other places the road was level & allowed a good gallop. These horses of the country are very sure footed. We had a good six hours spell & I greatly enjoyed both the scenery & the exercise.
June 9, Saturday
At eight a.m. I left Hope in a canoe paddled by three Indians for Yale. The day was fine. The scenery was grand. The mountain sides of the Fraser rose up in towering array. Here & there deep gorges & valleys pouring forth their streams, rushing, roaring down their rocky beds to swell the milky river, now many feet above its winter level, swollen to a mighty, seething, rapid torrent.
The skill of the Indians was tried to the utmost. We crept in close along the shore, even under the branches of trees to avoid the current. But here at times the rapids were strong. The Indians seemed to love danger & the sight of a breaking, foaming, roaring cascade, up which our frail bark was to ascend, inspired them with ardour. Every nerve was excited, they shouted & pressed the [,,,] [thing], presently it shot past the rocks or snags. Occasionally, so violent was the downward torrent that an eddy was formed which for some way went the contrary direction & drove us upwards. Several times we got out & walked & once the canoe itself was hauled out & carried on land past a dangerous rapid. I could easily understand the fact that in the rush to the mines in 1858 many miners were drowned in endeavouring unassisted to force their way. The difficulty of this portion of the river may be known when [I mention] it took us eight hours to ho fifteen miles. On Wednesday when the Governor & Colonel Moody came over the same ground with excellent canoe men they were eleven hours!
Nothing could exceed the picturesque beauty everywhere. The banks were frequently covered with flowers & we actually gathered roses as we went along.
THE MINING BARS
We passed many mining bars. Most of them are just now deserted on account of the rise of the water. A few miners were passed & they were quite ready for a chat. On Puget Sound Bar, on my remarking that the Chinese seemed to be coming into possession, a miner remarked, 'yes we call the country New China.' On Strawberry Island an elderly & respectable man came out & placed an easy chair outside his hut as though he wished us to stop & have a talk. He was reading a newspaper & had on spectacles.
At Hill's Bar two miners were gathering roses & other flowers. Perhaps to adorn their huts for Sunday. Butterflies were abundant. Particularly the [scarce] Swallow Tail & the Painted Lady.
At four o'clock we arrived at Yale & were hospitably received by Mr. Crickmer & his estimable lady.
June 10, Sunday
This was the opening of the temporary church here (at Yale). It is a small place, formerly a store, fitted up with taste by Mr. Crickmer. He has a melodeon which the people have purchased. The musical part of the service was very creditably performed, considering most present had never before heard chanting. About 40 persons were present, amongst others the Governor & Colonel Moody. The usual congregation is not above twelve or fifteen, so this was a large representation.
June 11, Monday
Rain most of the day. [I] went & looked at sites for [a] burial ground. A romantic ravine with rolling torrent borders the north part of the town. It is quite a study, a picturesque bridge crosses the stream at the town path.
MULES AND PACKHORSES
Near this were mules & horses preparing to pack for the upper country. I spoke to a man who had charge. He was a rough looking bearded young man about thirty. He had been to the mines & had evidently suffered privation.
June 12, Tuesday
I went today to see the works being carried on to from a road through the canyon, or a narrow gorge, of the mountain where the Fraser emerges. The object is to get a road for mules round the base of perpendicular rocks. A party of Royal Engineers, assisted by others, are at work blasting the rocks. The work is one of great magnitude, dangerous & arduous of execution. I walked over the narrow ledge round the place at present under the hands of the Sappers. Along this, Indians travel laden with merchandise, packed with 100 pounds [of] weight. The footing in some places was certainly not more than half an inch, in one spot a mere indentation for a naked Indian heel. A slip from this would precipitate a fall down into the abyss of the whirling torrent. It is said many miners lost their lives in forcing their way here. Some hardy men, when they arrived at these points, would cast away in fear all they had in their hands & about them, in order to escape any how with their lives.
One Sapper had been engaged two days in easing the path for the Indians at a point even more difficult than those described. Here the only way of passing had been to bend the back in a particular manner to preserve the balance. A rock was blasted by the Sapper to allow the pass to be made in a straight position. Over who chasms twenty or thirty feet across, a plank was placed in one case; in another, two slender rounded poles tied together. Beneath these bending, slender pathways nothing intervenes to the roaring waters below.
The only other way to pass the range is over the mountain by a dangerous, long & arduous trail. This, in winter, is closed by snow. It is of great moment, therefore, to open a road which shall be short, safe & accessible at all seasons.
TEA MEETING AT YALE
This evening a gathering took place of most of the inhabitants to give me an address of welcome. A dollar each (four shillings) was paid for admission so that the compliment was greater. The Chair was taken by Mr. Curtz [Kurtz], an American of German origin. Most of those present were Americans. There were three Romanists & others of various persuasions including Jews, the chairman being a Lutheran. The utmost Harmony & good feeling prevailed. I replied to the address. Colonel Moody followed & while speaking of various topics of interest connected with their town he urged forcibly & with tact, their adhesion to a religious life.
The chairman alluded to the varied nationalities before him, to the gathering of representatives of many sects & urged all to become a unified body & make the Church of England their religion.
The last visit of Colonel Moody had been with an armed force to capture the notorious Ned McGowan. All feeling of disaffection had now vanished. A change had come over Americans & they were valuing more the order & security & genuine freedom of British rule. One of them remarked this to me when I asked him if they all meant to remain & settle down.
One of the ringleaders of the McGowan disturbance was there. He is a fine young man of superior qualifications who had left his home in Boston for the gold mines. On Sunday I observed him in church, one of the most zealous of the choir. Tonight he rose & in a clear, short, well expressed speech proposed a vote of thanks to me for the way I had spoken of the American people & to Colonel Moody for bringing his Sappers, not for war, but for improvement. His name is Kelly. I told him I hope to visit him at the bar. He said, 'you shall have a welcome from all the miners.'
Altogether this occasion was one of deep interest & to be long remembered. In the morning the contract had been signed for making a road, to be the great road to the interior, perhaps to Canada & England. It was a great step in civilization & progress. Fitting was it to solemnize the occasion by expression of respect for religion & for advancing the cause of Christ's church.
June 13, Wednesday
The Chinese are coming up in great numbers & spreading themselves over the bars. They work over again the claims which have already been searched by the European. They are content with a dollar or two dollars a day & will frequently make much more. They have been buying up claims & paying as much as from 500 to 4000 dollars. In California they have not been liked. They are heavily taxed & recently a law has passed which prohibits the arrival of any more.
Whether here we shall find them troublesome remains to be seen. At present they are helping us to develop the land, they are consumers of manufactures, they are cultivating gardens out of barren wastes, & Mr. Perrier, a leading miner on Hill's Bar, told me today he employed them as labourers & preferred them greatly to white men. They worked longer & more obediently, so that their labour was a great saving.
I walked today with Mr. Crickmer in search of a burial ground. We selected a spot westward near two streams. Our ramble was pleasant amidst beautiful scenery & flowers in wondrous profusion. We gathered strawberries.
June 14, Thursday
I crossed the river opposite Yale & took the trail to Hill's Bar. We walked through groves of young pines. Much of the ground is cleared.
Hill's Bar, about a couple of miles below Yale, was the scene of great excitement in 1858. It was the richest of all the 'diggings'. Thousands flocked to it & thousands of pounds have been extracted from it. It was here that the McGowan riots took place when Colonel Moody marched up his men to capture the rioters, but when he came to the spot, [he] drank champagne with them instead.
The first gold diggings were upon the bank of the river, upon this bank grew giant trees. All these & acres of soil have been swept away, to the depth of some ten or twelve feet.
It is now found that the higher banks, or flats still further from the river, are highly auriferous. These are now being worked.
One of the most interesting things in connection with gold mining is the courage & enterprise of the miner. Water is absolutely necessary for two purposes, washing away the earth above the gold, and washing the earth or 'pay dirt' which contains the gold. For the former work an immense [power] of water is frequently necessary. This is brought from a distance in wooden canals, aqueducts, & courses excavated in the soil or rock & then is made to descend upon the workings & applied by a hose to work away vast masses of earth.
At Hill's Bar I visited today a flume two miles long which had cost 12,000 dollars or £2400. A company [...] it in twelve shares, eight of which are held by one man, Mr. Perrier. The miners of the various claims pay for a head of water, five dollars a day. Sometimes there will be forty claims & the flume will be making, to the proprietors, 200 dollars or £40 a day!
We visited spots where by rockers, without sluicing power, Chinese were making five dollars a day. The sluice is where the water is brought in a body from the flume & continual shoveling into the sluice boxes of earth produces a large return of gold, because more earth can be washed, and the more earth washed in a given time, the greater the yield. The rocker is by the river side. It is a sort of wheelbarrow on rollers, with a scuttle front. Within is a sieve, beneath which are two blankets, & at the bottom is a copper plate with quicksilver. The pay earth is cast into the sieve & the machine rocked with one hand while the other hand keeps pouring in water. The earth & water pass though the sieve & blankets. The sieve stops the stones & larger particles. The blankets catch other atoms, of gold, etc. & the quicksilver retains the golden dust.
MINERS ON HILL'S BAR
We first came upon a fine young Irishman, well spoken & glad of a chat. He was clearing away the trees from a piece of high ground ready for working. He came from Cork.
A Welshman next attracted our notice. He was in a deep cutting, had been two years on the bar.
I had conversation with many men as we passed through the extensive ground. But seldom could I introduce the subject of religion even indirectly.
On passing a hut we perceived a female inside.
THE MINER'S WIFE
There was an order & neatness. She came out & directed us to a house we sought. I asked a question or two further. She said, 'pray come in.' This young woman was from the North of Ireland. She was a Protestant. She had married in Australia & had been two years here. There was something simple & touching in her [manner]. I entered upon the subject of religion. She loved to attend church, had been piously brought up. Her father used always to have family prayers morning & night. He was still living. She was very lonely & had no female society. One other female there was, but her character was such that she could not associate with her. Her husband, named Bean, was an American. He came in, asked us to excuse him as he was very busy. He seemed a fine young man. When he went out she said, 'you must excuse him he is very rough here, so different from what he was in Melbourne, but this place makes people rough.' She had no Bible or Prayer Book. I read a portion of Scripture, explained it & prayed. She said, 'oh how I remember all that.' On going away she thanked us several times & said, 'I never thought here I should have a reverend gentleman to call upon me.'
I asked one sturdy miner how it was that those like himself who had been out in California & here for ten years had not realized a fortune. He said, 'because Sir the miner is always agitated by any news of richer diggings & frequently gives up good paying claims to follow out some hearsay report, thinking to better himself & frequently spends all & comes back poorer than he went. I myself, if I hear of anything better, cannot keep quiet, I must be off. I once had 6000 dollars, but it all went away.'
The excitement of gold mining is great. The miner never feels tired. There is an interest in the work which always sustains him. Mr. Perrier told me cards & whisky are their bane. They seldom play for money, but for drink, a dollar a game.
A man will go into Yale on Sunday & spend twenty-five to forty dollars in drink & treating others. He does not know any men on temperance principles. There are however many temperate men. He himself, though an old miner, never touches spirit, only porter & ale. He always has a dozen of English porter in his house (on the bar).
June 15, Friday
Fine day. Colonel Moody left. The Chinese had a grand affair with [fire] crackers in honour of his departure.
A WALK ON THE TRAIL-INDIANS LOADS
At eleven we left Yale for the trail towards the north. It lay over steep hills & rocky paths. We met many Indians whom we [discovered?]. All were pleased at the notice. One family were travelling the same way, [all were] heavily laden, the father, mother & two little girls. One little girl carried a very heavy load for a child. They were laden with flour & bread. They carry weights on their back aided by a strap over the forehead.
We met many Chinese. They were coming into the town for provisions. On our way back we met them loaded. They carry everything on two ends of a pole which rests on the shoulder. Their dress, for the most part, seems never to have been changed, for they are exact realizations of the pictures [of] old China to which one has been accustomed from one's youth to see.
A Chinese shop is exactly what is painted. Every Chinaman in it, every attitude is just that quaint reality. Some of the Chinese, after a time, adopt our customs & buy our clothing which improves their appearance. One of those I met today told me he had a wife & children at Canton. I asked why he did not bring [them] here. He said he had no means. Another Chinaman who stood by said, this country was no place for China ladies, their feet were too small, they were too fine for this place.
At the Four Mile House [?] we branched off by the river trail & presently came to a most lovely & most magnificent view. We were upon an eminence 1100 feet above the river which beneath our feet was winding its tumultuous way through mountain passes. The view was exactly similar to that from the Bastei in Saxon, Switzerland where the Elbe passes out of Bohemia into Saxony though the mountains. I have a most vivid recollection of that view & this was the very same, excepting that the mountains were higher & more grand & that the river flowed continuously in the mountains, whereas the view from the Bastei shows the Elbe emerging forth into country less rugged, with lower ranges.
We descended this height of 1100 feet by an almost perpendicular descent & came to a lovely walk along the river. At the foot was a garden, kept by an American, [and] of remarkable fertility. Some radishes we brought home. Further on about a mile & [a] half was a place of call, a wayside house, called Hodges. Here we got some fried bacon & potatoes & coffee. When I proffered payment, they would take none. A booth was erected where on the Fourth of July was to be a gathering of Americans. On our way back we met miners returning from Quesnelle [Quesnel] River. They had not met the success they expected though gold was abundant. They had walked from Quesnel in about fifteen days, 450 miles.
After our walk of some 13 miles over a rough trail we reached home surprised to find how little fatigued we were with our eight hours excursion.
The miners from the Quesnel were old hands. They had come away not for the lack of gold but because of the expense of provisions. They would have stayed if they could find a digging yielding twelve dollars a day. This was their aim, (viz. Nine months in the year about £500).
They said there was no doubt about the plenty of gold & some miners were doing extremely well. There was more gold than on the lower Fraser and, if provisions were cheaper, in every respect the Alexandria & Quesnel country was preferable, one exception alone being that the winters were more severe. Everywhere, they said, was a magnificent grazing country. You could go up on a hill top & see in all directions, far & near, fine grasslands. One of these men was named Clark. [He was] well known as an early & successful miner near Yale.
June 18, Monday
The traffic between Yale & the upper country, (i.e., to Lytton about 80 miles) is carried on the backs of Indians through the winter, and now also in the want of sufficient animals. I met a day or two ago a party of Indians, a family they seemed. They were all loaded [with packs]. I felt the weight of each [pack]. The woman's load must have been at least 80 pounds. A little girl was carrying 40 pounds. Today I was in the store of a tinman, Mr. Griffin, & saw packs made up for Indians to go off with in the morning. They weighed 100 pounds, 120 pounds & 130 pounds each. The Indians who were to carry them had been [in] & fitted them to their backs & had arranged them for starting. I could hardly lift them. One, a package of long handled mining shovels, was most awkward to carry. Yet these packs were to be carried along precipices, up almost perpendicular heights & for weary mile after mile.
June 21, Thursday
INDIAN NAME FOR HOPE
I asked the Indians who paddled me down from Yale the Indian name for Hope. They said Tsilzlitya.
In my ride today, by the western trail, I saw barley in several spots, in ear.