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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

The American Continent

The American Continent.

From Japan I crossed the Pacific Ocean once more, and this time in an American steamer, to San Francisco, a city which, within a period of about 50 years, has risen from a small Roman Catholic missionary establishment to become a handsome, populous city of fine public streets, elegant public buildings, churches, schools, and benevolent institutions, well-conducted places of amusement, and some of the best and most reasonable in prices of any hotels in the world, together with a very healthy and pleasant climate. I made ex- page 77 cursions from San Francisco to the renowned Yosemite Valley, or rather sunken chasm, about 3000 feet deep by nine miles long and two in breadth, the precipices and peaks on either side being from 4000 to 5000 feet in height, some grand cascades flowing over their steep sides into the wooded base of the chasm. I also went to see the gigantic pine trees in the same district, which are truly wonderful natural productions. I measured one and found it 90 feet in circumference; and I walked along a fallen tree measuring about 300 feet in length up to the forking of the branches. Through one of the trees, still flourishing, we drove at a trotting pace in a coach with four horses, which the cutting freely admitted; and on the stump of a hewn tree we found the polished floor of a pavilion with room for four couples of quadrille dancers. Leaving San Francisco, I went by steamer to Vancouver's Island, British Columbia, and for nearly 200 miles up the Fraser and Columbia Rivers, where there are large Salmon Fishing Companies' settlements, and during the season immense quantities of fish are caught to be preserved and exported to all parts of the world. At that time the railway from Canada to Vancouver was in the course of construction, entailing very heavy work in cutting the line through the mountain regions on the west coast of the British possessions in North America. The auriferous discoveries at Klondyke were not then dreamt of.