British Columbia and Vancouver Island - 1858


Cat No.:   CA0398:

The title continues: “Comprising a Historical Sketch of the British Settlements in the North West Coast of North America; and a Survey of the Character, Capabilities, Climate, Topography, Natural History, Geology and Ethnology of that Region; Compiled from Official and other Authentic Sources, by William Carew Hazlitt .... With a Map.” Which provides a fairly comprehensive account of the book’s contents. The Preface explains that the book’s purpose is the dissemination of information about the region. However, when examined in relation to its 1858 publication date it can be concluded that it also had the purpose of attracting settlers into a very promising area with many available resources.

The book starts with chapters recalling the discovery, and reports, of this coast line provided by early explorers from Spain and Portugal, including Juan de Fuca. Continuing with the accounts of the early fur traders and proceeding to the more detailed investigation of various nationally sponsored expeditions attempting to discover a quicker route to the Orient (i.e., the North West Passage) including the British sponsored expeditions of Cook, Vancouver & Drake. The reader is introduced to a complex coast line abundant with wild life, mostly friendly native folk, and an undeveloped land with a strong potential for agriculture, hunting, fishing and other forms of exploitation.

Significant areas of the book are devoted to studies of the First Nations peoples, their culture, their language and lifestyles. These studies are valuable in that they provide early impressions made on the “civilized” European’s as well as recording some of the “pre-civilization” habits and practices that seem so unusual even today.

No account of the development of British Columbia can ignore the impact of the discovery of gold and several chapters are given over to a recounting of this experience, although - of course - it was still being lived when this book was published.

The book terminates with several chapters, the first providing a justification for the proposed union of the government of Vancouver Island with that of mainland British Columbia, the Island - up to this point - having been self governing. Then follows an account of a trip to Vancouver, illustrating the means and experience of such a trip while the final chapter reviews and compares some travel routes from various points in Europe and the East of the American continent. Also included are appendices providing a lexicon of “Chinook Jargon” claiming to allow simple conversation with natives of the various tribes on the Frazer (sp?) and Thompson rivers and a copy of an act of the British Parliament allowing British Columbia to become self governing.

From this list of contents it becomes clear that a large part of the reason for publishing this book is to fire the imaginations of potential immigrants be they settlers, merchants or simply souls seeking adventure.

This digital edition is made from an original copy of this very rare book, which is the long version, published in 1858 by G. Routledge & Co. of London, England. It has been reproduced with our usual care and attention to quality and includes a high resolution reproduction of the fold out map. We invite you to join us in thanking the Slocan Community Library, and particularly their librarian Joyce Johnson, for loaning us this book in the interest of ensuring the continued availability of its content and the preservation of the original. Fully computer searchable.

No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

FastFind:  Yes;  ISBN No.:   978-1-927503-14-0 ;