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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 47


page 92


Notes for a Year respecting the Settlements at Sumass and Chilliwhack, British Columbia. (See page 50.)

A wearied traveller from Cariboo arrives. He says:—

"The express canoe landed us at Kinset, by the Sumass. What a noble landscape! the grass so green, the earth so cool, the flowers so beautiful, and the supper! such a treat! fresh eggs, fresh butter, real tea, and cream that smacked of mountain thyme. I wished to sleep outside; no! I warned to lie outside and watch the stars and the river and drink the pure air all night; but the farmer insisted on giving me a bed. I tumbled in, and was nearly lost in the mountains of down. I assure you I was astonished by the sleep I had here."

"January 8th.—The snow has all gone from this neighbourhood, except that which has drifted in low spots. The stock in general are looking splendid; farmers, having plenty of feed, lost none of their animals during the last cold snap."

"Two horses dead from some disease—public meeting about bridges and roads; removing driftwood from river; fences—the following resolution passed among others:—

"'That the Government make a survey during the coming summer of the Sumass Valley, for the purpose of making an estimate of the cost of building a dyke to prevent the flooding by the Fraser at high stages, of a large tract of valuable land supposed to contain from 15,000 to 25,000 acres fit for agricultural purposes.'

"February.—Bad weather—rains and snow—three calves eaten by wolves, and some lost in quagmires—some weak cattle died.

"March 11th.—Weather changeable; has been raining; cattle doing well; fall wheat looking well, though winter was bad; 80 additional acres to be sown in spring—farmers busy ploughing; fences and Improvements going on; two years ago a farm sold for 450 dollars (90l. English), three months ago, 1000 dollars (320l. English).

"New grist mill arranged for—school flourishing.

"April 15th.—Weather beautiful—a pinch of frost occasionally—new Tariff disliked—600 dollars (120l. English) subscribed for Wesleyan parsonage—camp meeting to be held before 'high water' this year—seeding not yet finished-had a visit from buyers of work cattle—potatoes shipped to Yale sold for 2 cents. (1d. English) a lb. at the landing.

"May 6th.—Another splendid tract of 'alder brush' land, 12,000 to 15,000 acres, found near Matsqui—soil very rich—new road will go near it—80 feet above highest water. A twin heifer, after a bad winter, when slaughtered, yielded 62½ lbs. loose fat. Stock well—new flouring-mill begun—seeding about finished—busy planting wheat—both spring and fall wheat forcing its way out, though the past weather has been bad—delightful weather—bright sun—cloudless sky-balmy air—unwelcome night visitor—a slight nip by Jack Frost—very unusual—mosquitoes not appeared.

"May 18th.—The Fraser rising fast.

"June 25th.—Dry—a few showers wanted—petition about Post-office, and against all liquor-licences—school teacher appointed—will bring his family—hotel to be built.

"June 28th.—Beautiful showery weather—crops well—haying will begin in a few days—the place now has a saw-mill, grist-mill, market, school, and church.

"July 3rd.—Too dry—woods seem on fire—water at its height some weeks ago—very few mosquitoes—a farmer 60 acres wheat in one block.

"July 20th.—Having about finished—harvesting commenced—root crops have suffered from want of rain—school opens next Thursday—bush fires raging—smoke annoying.

"August 12th.—Fine weather—crops very heavy—the prairies that were flooded at high water have splendid grass—harvesting drawing to close—good crops—forest burning on American side—annual Wesleyan Camp Meeting to be on 3rd September—new parsonage begun a farmer who sowed 5 bushels of wheat (Chili Club) got 100 bushels—the heads averaged 70 to 100 kernels each—grist-mill nearly finished—a fine dwelling-hous-being erected—mosquitoes disappeared—sent 35 dollars subscription to the Royal Columbia Hospital at New Westminster.

"September.—Some farmers not quite done harvest—some still cutting wild hay for wintering—one farmer has 50 stacks up—hay very good, owing to low overflow of Fraser River this year—a marriage—thrashing about to commence.

September 23rd.—Many farmers busy ploughing for fall wheat-thrashing will be finished soon—another teacher arrived-some frost on night of 19th—heavy rain 21st, and now a gale."

page 93

Abridged Newspaper Reports for one year respecting the Lillooet-Clinton Country, including Bonaparte, Williams Lake, and up to Quesnel Mouth. (See page 68.)

"Bonaparte Valley, January 17th.—Stock has not suffered, except a few cattle which slipped on the ice—fed on sage-brush on the side hills, not covered with snow.

"Clinton, February 4th.—Had been very cold about Christmas, mercury frozen—gradually moderated to freezing-point on 10th January—ranged since 10 above to 10 below zero—stock doing well-sleighing splendid from the Bonaparte up—one firm will have 100,000 lbs. of bacon and hams for Cariboo and Omineca markets.

"Cache Creek. February 20th.—Winter gone suddenly—sudden thaw—beef cattle rolling in fat—a few exhausted stock died during winter.

"Clinton, March. 9th.—Spring weather—all snow gone—a little frost at nights—clear sunshiny days—farmers on the Thompson and Bonaparte busy ploughing—cattle doing well.

"Williams Lake, April 10th.—All seed in ground—cattle quite fat—Cache Creek and Bonaparte mild spring weather.

"Lillooet, April 27th.—Wheat crops magnificent—cannot see the land from the road—green blades waving like a meadow in summer.

"Clinton, July 30th.—Busy haying and harvesting—had unusual rain for such a dry climate—might injure hay crop.

"Lillooet, August 10th.—Everything in the shape of a crop in the district abundant and in fine condition.

"August 20th.—Busy harvesting-some finished on the Fraser River, and now eating bread from this year's wheat.

"Clinton, October 11th.—Fine Cotswold rams arrived—flour-mill finished; lumber (sawn wood) cost 30 dollars (6l. English) per thousand feet superficial; shingles for the roof cost 8 dollars (32s. English) per thousand in number. The new thresher has threshed this month 5½ million pounds of oats in country about Williams Lake, Lake La Hache, and San Jose Valley.

"November 7th.—Snow fell on Lillooet flat (a bench of the Fraser River, 1000 feet above sea-level) severe frost—zero—river frozen (this was a very bad winter). In 1861, the severest winter known for twenty years at Lillooet begun on 27th November, and may be said to have lasted to end of March."

Trade in Tinned Meats.

Looking to the future, the facts stated at page 72 are important in view of one growing trade alone—namely, tinned meats. The following imports of this article into England are from distant Australia, though the consumption has been mainly hitherto among the middle classes:—
Cwts. £
1865 Nil. value Nil.
1866 91 value 321
1867 6,722 value 18,820
1868 16,316 value 45,688
1869 32,214 value 94,260
1870 80,636 value 231,860
1871 260,133 value 671,452
1872 352,023 value 906,680

The effect of this has, of course, been to raise the price of beef and mutton in the colonies very considerably.

The meat companies paid from 10 to 15 per cent, profit in 1871. In addition to the meat, they sell concentrated meat-juice, tallow, marrow, tongue, hide, bones, horns, hoofs, &c.,

There is probably more active speculation in the cattle business of the United States than in any other business, but I will here state last year's prices in two of the greatest markets, namely, Chicago and St. Louis, in order to assist the British Columbian cattle-farmer in estimating his own comparative position. The prices are paper money, not gold:—


"The prices of cattle steadily advanced in the Chicago market from February, 1867, from 3.50 dollars to 7.50 dollars per 100 lb. gross, to from 5.00 dollars to 9.00 dollars per 100 lbs. gross, by April 1st of that year, which was at a period to stimulate a very active drive of Texan cattle. The same market on May 1st, 1868, had established a decline of 1 cent all round per 100 1b. gross; but the market in February, 1868, continued into March, was good, the range of prices ran from 4 dollars to 8.50 dollars, which was at a period to influence an active drive for 1868. The late winter and spring market of 1869 was not so satisfactory. Prices started in February at from page 94 4.00 dollars to 8.30 dollars, steadily shrinking throughout that year, inducing a less proportionate supply going into the hands of feeders, and checking to some extent the drive of Texan cattle, resulting in a rapid advance, and reaching in April of 1870 from 4.50 dollars to 9 dollars per 100 lbs. gross—these values continued up to August 1st.

"The operation of feeders of cattle for the market of 1870, was, perhaps, the most profitable to them as a class in our history, and begat a partial insanity that did not stop to reason out the consequences."

St. Louis Market, March 1872 (per 100 lbs. gross).

Dols. Dols.
Choice native blood steers, av. 1300 to 1600 lbs 5.25 to 5.50
Prime second-class native blood, av. 1150 to 1400 lbs. 45.0 to 5.00
Good third-grade native blood, av. 1050 to 1300 lbs. 4.00 to 4.50
Fair butchers' steers, of 1000 to 1200 lbs. av. and over 4.00 to 4.50
Thrifty stock steers, av. 900 to 1300 lbs. 3.50 to 4.00
Light uneven stock steers, av. 500 to 850 lbs. 3.00 to 3.50
Inferior scrubby steers and heifers 2.00 to 3.00
Good heavy fat oxen, small boned and smooth 3.50 to 4.50
Coarse bony oxen, of all weights, fat 2.50 to 3.00
Choice cows and heifers, av. 900 to 1100 lbs. 2.00 to 2.50
Good cows and heifers, av. 850 to 1000 lbs. 3.50 to 4.05
Common cows and heifers, lean 3.00 to 3.50
Inferior mixed stock, including tailings 2.00 to 3.00
Choice corn-fattened Texans and Cherokees 3.50 to 4.50
Good Texan and Cherokees, corn-fattened 3.00 to 3.50
Inferior to common Texans 2.00 to 3.00
Veal calves, common to choice, per head 5.00 to 10.00
Cows with calves, per head 25.00 to 50.00