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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 47

Lillooet-Clinton District. — Including Cache Creek, Bonaparte, also Williams Lake, and up to Quesnel Mouth

Lillooet-Clinton District.

Including Cache Creek, Bonaparte, also Williams Lake, and up to Quesnel Mouth.

The whole district is a very fine one, and at present shows what can be done by applying capital to the soil. It is farther to the north and generally more elevated than some sections already described. The risk to crops from summer night frosts may be said to be very considerable in the entire country on the waggon-road north of Pavilion Mountain, unless farms have a south aspect or are protected from north blasts. The remark applies, of course, more particularly to farms further north than Alexandria.

It is safe to have some winter provision for stock in much of the country through which the trunk-waggon road from Yale runs. The effect, however, of the above danger is merely to add somewhat to the amount of capital required in agriculture. Farming in this district is the direct child of the Cariboo mining region, and farmers with a market at their doors (which for some articles the waggon-road gives them), can afford risks that are not excessive. That the risks under the circumstances are not considered excessive is proved by the extension of farming every year in the district by men of capital. The extent to which this will take place will depend on the continued success of the Cariboo mines, or other mines that can be conveniently supplied from this district.

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The surface in so large a section of country is, of course, varied. It embraces within its area fertile river-benches (terraces), table-lands, large open valleys, immense plains, and green rolling hills.

The country near the Thompson, Bonaparte, and Hat rivers is very attractive to the eye; miles of green hills, crowning slopes, and level meadows; hardly a bush or tree; fine grass almost to the hill-tops. The climate very healthful and enjoyable; rather a want of timber in parts, also of rain generally, but there are many streams.

For grazing, the country cannot be surpassed, and its agricultural capabilities, so far as the soil is concerned, are in many parts very good. At Cache Creek and on the Bonaparte there is excellent arable land. The country through which the waggon-road passes to Williams Lake has some very good soil, with no more timber than is needed for farming purposes. The fanning land is bounded by low hills, beyond which there are prairies and valleys. These hills are undulating and brightly green, and their grassy carpet is daisied over with countless wild flowers.

The road occasionally crosses some fresh mountain-stream, whose cool clear waters invite the traveller to drink; now it winds by the bank of a lovely lake, in whose glassy depths the trees and shrubs along the margin seem to contemplate their own symmetry and face. The summer frosts, however, as above said, are rather against crop-farming in this section, except on farms favourably situated; but the frosts do not come regularly, nor with equal severity.

The great trunk-waggon road of the province goes through the district, and the farmers produce food for horses and mules largely, in addition to the flour, bacon, &c., required for the mining towns in Cariboo. The visitor here sees irrigation-flumes (water-courses) of great length, gang-ploughs, and threshing-machines; also several saw-mills, bacon and ham factories, and three flour-mills, which latter cost 60,000 dollars (12,000l. English). The farmers themselves, to start one flour-mill, subscribed 8000 dollars (1600l. English). There is a Farmers' Society at Clinton—the Northern British Columbia Agricultural Society. I believe there are in the Lillooet district about 12,000 horned cattle, 5000 sheep, 4000 pigs, and 400 horses. The average annual yield for the last five years has been about three million and a half pounds of wheat, with a large yield of other cereals, and beans, peas, onions, potatoes, &c. The above is not much to speak of; but it must be remembered that the supply has been limited by the demand. These fanning facts conclusively show the agricultural capabilities of the province, even in a section of it which in parts is liable to occasional summer frosts. Let but mining towns grow, or let a railway be made (as it will be soon) to carry surplus produce to a shipping port, and it will be seen that the agricultural capabilities of even the northern portion of the East Cascade region of British Columbia are very great.

I give in the Appendix abridged extracts from newspaper correspondence from this section during a whole year.