Four Years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island - 1862


Cat No.:   CA0400:

The title continues: “An account of their Forests, Rivers, Coasts, Gold Fields and Resources for Colonization. By: Cdr. R. C. Mayne, R.N., F.R.G.S. With Map and Illustrations.

I have enjoyed reading snatches from this book and had taken it to be another of the sponsored publications intended to induce potential settlers to emigrate, and enjoy a bountiful and pristine land full of possibility and riches for the taking. It was not until I came to prepare this summary that I realized it didn’t seem to be well organized for this purpose.

I therefore examined the range of topics captured in each of the chapters and realized that this was actually a personal Journal written by the author, to record his experiences as a junior officer on a British Naval vessel, H.M.S. Plumper, while engaged on a missions into the barely explored territories of mainland British Columbia and the, then separate, Island of Vancouver.

The author was not shy about retelling, and borrowing, the stories of others engaged in similar duties, frequently using these stories to illustrate and emphasize his own experiences. Most of the adventures occurred while journeying into the inlets and sounds of the complicated BC coast and up the many rivers to visit inland “centres” of European settlement which occurred mostly in the form of Trading Posts and gold fields. It seemed that the many of these journeys were guided (and usually powered) by full blood and Métis Indians in native canoes, and the author took advantage of their enforce community to explore their customs and lifestyles. The reader will gain a lot of knowledge of the tribes, lives, customs and even some of the “faiths” of these native people’s. There are even chapters fully devoted to identifying and enumerating the tribes and populations at the time of his activities.

In addition to his journeys of exploration, the author was also required to represent the British Government on occasions, particularly during border disputes over the demarkation of Canadian and US territories, but more frequently as law enforcement. Some of these incidents evolved from lifestyle differences between the Indians and the European newcomers, but many also broke out where the miners of gold and other minerals congregated. During these latter explorations the author took the opportunity to learn all he could about the techniques and economics of mining, recording many interesting facts.

In fact the book contains a good deal of factual information about the available resources and economics of subjects such as the natural flora, fauna, roads and routes, religion and education, as well as reprinting some of the important legal papers concerning land ownership and local government.

This is an excellent book from which to obtain a solid background in the early development of this territory, and at the same time, to enjoy a well written and interesting text which also contains 18 hand engraved illustrations and 2 contemporary maps.

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

FastFind:  Yes;  ISBN No.:   978-1-927503-21-8 ;