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black, fertile mould, supporting very luxuriant herbage, and an ample supply of timber.” Mr. Hind estimates the total quantity of available land included between the Red River and the south branch of the Saskatchewan at about 22,000,000 acres, half of which is arable land of the first quality.
The western boundary of this second level is the Côteau de Missouri, or “ Grande Prairie” of the hunters, which reaches from the elbow on the south Saskatchewan to the foot of the Rocky Mountains. This third plateau rises 500 feet above the second, and, with the exception of the Cyprès Hills, in latitude 49° 38' N., long. 110° W., which are covered with fine timber and rich pasturage, it presents a succession of dry sandy plains, clothed at best with a scanty herbage, and wholly destitute of wood and water, except on the northern slopes. To the north of this table-land, however, is a district which once formed part of the “Thickwoods.” Here the prairie-fires have been at work with very beneficial results. Captain Palliser thus describes the character and extent of these two classes of country:
“The extent of surface drained by the Saskatchewan and other tributaries to Lake Winipeg, which we had an opportunity of examining, amounts in round numbers to 150,000 square miles. This region is bounded to the north by what is known as the 'strong woods,' or the southern limit of the great circum-arctic zone of forest, which occupies these latitudes in the northern hemisphere. This line sweeps to the north-west from the shore of Lake Winipeg, and reaches its most northerly limit at about 54° 30' N., and long. 109° W., from where it again passes to south-west, meeting the Rocky Mountains in latitude 51° N. long. 115o W. Between this line of the strong woods' and the northern limit of the true prairie country, there is a belt of land, varying in width, which at one period must have been covered by an extension of the northern forests, but which has been gradually cleared by successive fires.
It is now a partially wooded country, abounding in lakes and rich natural pasturage, in some parts rivalling the finest park scenery of our own country. Throughout this region of country the climate seems to preserve the same character, although it passes through very different latitudes, its form being doubtless determined by the curves of the isothermal line. Its superficial extent embraces about 65,000 square miles, of which more than one-third may be considered as at once available for the purposes of the agriculturist. Its elevation increases from 700 to 4000 feet as we approach the Rocky Mountains ; consequently it is not equally adapted throughout to the cultivation of any one crop; nevertheless, at Fort Edmonton, which has an altitude of 3000 feet, even wheat is sometimes cultivated with success.
The least valuable portion of the prairie country has an extent of 80,000 square miles, and is that lying along the southern branch of the Saskatchewan, and southward from thence to the boundary-line; while
its northern limit is known in the Indian languages as 'the edge of the woods, the original line of the woods before invaded by fire.” Further Papers, pp. 22, 23.
It is quite possible that there may be a considerable tract of untry to the north of the Saskatchewan which is equally fitted
settlement with that to the south. Sir Alexander Mackenzie found the Peace River open as late as the month of December; and Dr. King, in his evidence before the House of Commons, eaks of the district between Fort Cumberland and Lake Athasça as equal, in the fertility of the soil and the size of the mber, to any thing he had seen in British America. But the istricts we have described, comprising an area of more than 200,000 square miles, will be fully enough to meet the utm
sands of colonisation for many years to come. That they
sake of the Woods to the passes of the Rocky Mountains were is a continuous belt of fertile land, rich in water, woods, and pasturage. The climate closely resembles that of the Red River, a little colder perhaps in the north-eastern districts, but probably milder in the west and south. Wheat has not hitherto been uniformly successful except at the Red River, but this may probably be laid to the charge of unskilful farming, and graincrops of one kind or another can be raised without difficulty over the whole area. Root-crops answer excellently, and the prairies afford good pasture. Cattle and horses can generally be
it out during the winter, especially in the more northern part, where the frequent clumps of poplar and willow supply a partial shelter to the animals, and the growth of underwood keeps the snow loose enough to enable them to penetrate to the herbage underneath. There seems to be no reason why the buffalo should not be domesticated; and if this were done, a cross would probably be obtained which would be better suited to the climate and pasture than the ordinary breeds of cattle. For building wood is as yet chiefly used; but limestone is found along the Red River and Lake Winipeg, and granite throughout the district be. tween the latter lake and Lake Superior. For some time to come wood will be wanted for fuel; and when the supply on the prairie and along the river-bottoms fails, recourse can be had to the forests which clothe the lower slopes of the Rocky Moun tains, from whence timber may be floated down to the level country by means of the rivers, and to the wooded region to the north and east of Lake Winipeg. Coal has not yet been discovered, but lignite coal has been found in several places, and is said to exist on the North Saskatchewan for 200 miles above Fort Edmonton. Iron-ore of great purity is widely distributed and salt appears at frequent intervals, and in vast quantities, ove
the whole of the low-lying country west of the Red River, from the boundary-line to the Saskatchewan.
We must not omit from this list of advantages the remarkable facilities for internal communication which will lie within the reach of the inhabitants. The extent of water-carriage must, under any circumstances, be very considerable. The Red River is navigable for steamers from its mouth as far as lat. 46o; while Lake Winipeg, Lake Manitoba, and Lake Winipegosis are navigable throughout their whole length. As to the Saskatchewan, there is a conflict of authorities. Captain Blakiston speaks of the whole stream as “ill adapted for steam navigation," and in many parts“ certainly impassable for large craft during low water." Captain Palliser, on the other hand, says that it “rivals the Missouri in size and volume," and that even at low water it is “navigable for craft of any size.” We are also told by a United States newspaper, that Captain Blakey, “the wellknown pioneer of steam-boating on the Upper Mississippi,” has made inquiries on the subject from persons familiar with the Saskatchewan, and that he considers the reports he has obtained “not half so discouraging as those he received from the trappers and traders respecting the navigability of the Upper Mississippi before he took the first boat up the latter river.” Certainly the stories told of the ease with which an American steamer adapts itself to conditions which would prove the destruction of any less go-ahead craft, dispose one to receive such an assurance with respect. Another line of water communication connects the Assiniboine with the South Saskatchewan at the elbow, by means of the Qu'Appelle River, and the “ River that turns.” The Qu'Appelle itself is not a stream of any importance, but it flows through a valley which is nowhere less than a mile broad, and 200 feet below the level of the prairie; and Mr. Hind suggests that, by erecting a dam across the South Saskatchewan at the elbow, the waters of that river might be brought down the Qu'Appelle valley, and through the Assiniboine into the Red River, thus supplying a water-route to the Rocky Mountains in a straight line from the settlement. Such an undertaking, however, will probably be rendered unnecessary by the existence of facilities for land carriage, greater even than for water. It is obvious that an almost level prairie affords the utmost scope for the construction of common roads in the first instance, and of railroads at no distant period. The difficulties, physical and political, which beset all the competing schemes for an Atlantic and Pacific railway in the territory of the United States, will not improbably result in leaving the task of uniting the two oceans to be performed, at least in part, by English enterprise. For nearly 1000 miles the route would lie across the prairies,
with 88 go-aher conditie case
und even the transit of the Rocky Mountains is said to offer fewer engineering difficulties than we might expect.
We have yet to inquire by what means the north - west territory may be best reached by emigrants from Canada or the mother country. Of the two routes at present available, the first, which has been recently adopted by the Hudson's Bay Company itself, passes over the level prairies which stretch southwards from the Red-River settlement to the head waters of the Mississippi. During the summer of 1860 fifteen fourhorse coaches and a hundred wagons were running between St. Paul's, Minnesota, and George Town, on the Red River, the transit thence to Fort Garry being made by steamer. Undoubtedly the natural outlet of the district is in this direction : but the establishment of a commercial connection of this kind between the United States and our north-western possessions
urdly fail to produce very grave political results. The onl means by which the evil can be prevented, is the improvement of the existing communication between the Red River and Lake Superior, the head of the Canadian system of inland navigation. The distance between these points is something over 500 miles. ut of this more than half presents no obstacle of importance the first hundred miles, from Fort Garry to the Lake of the Woods, is for the most part a level prairie, and the course of
ainy River, which connects the Lake of the Woods with Rain Lake, is only interrupted by the falls above Fort Francis. The construction of a lock at this point would give an unbroken water communication from the north-west angle of the Lake of the Woods to the eastern end of Rainy Lake, a distance of 160 miles. The British side of Rainy River offers considerable inducements to settlers. A strip of arable land, averaging sie miles in breadth, extends along the whole length of the stream and the goodness of the soil is attested by the presence of oaks and elms of large size.
The district between Rainy Lake and Lake Superior forma the southernmost portion of a belt of primitive rock which reached to the Arctic Sea. Its western limit nearly coincides with . line drawn from Rainy Lake to the south end of Lake Winipeo and continued thence in a north-westerly direction across the other great lakes, all of which lie, in part at least, within it. It the embraces the whole of the barren grounds and the wooded coun try below latitude 60°. Its main features are every where the same. It is a region of low dome-shaped hills, rising like islands out of the long winding lakes and lake-like rivers which fill the intervening valleys. These granite ranges are nowhere mor than 500 feet in height, but they offer a more formidable barri to communication than the Rocky Mountains themselves. Land
course of these this amphihindrance to the
and water seem to be contending for the possession of the surface, and land and water travelling are consequently alike difficult. The frequent rapids impede the one, the network of swamp, lake, and river is a hindrance to the other. Two canoeroutes traverse this amphibious territory, one following the course of the Pigeon River, and the chain of lakes and rivers which form the boundary between the possessions of Great Britain and the United States, the other commencing at Fort Williain, thirty miles to the north of the Pigeon River, and continued thence along the Kaministiquia River, Dog Lake, the Lake of a Thousand Lakes, and the lesser connecting waters. The former of these was the old route of the North-west Company ; the latter is still used by the Hudson's Bay Company in their trade with Canada. Neither of them offer, in their present state, any adequate means of transit; and the first step towards supplying the deficiency ought to be a thorough examination of the whole northern shore of Lake Superior. In the mean time, however, modifications of the Kaministiquia and PigeonRiver routes have been suggested, which seem to deserve attention. Mr. Dawson, the surveyor to the Red-River Exploring Expedition, proposes to make a land road from Thunder Bay, a little above Fort William, to Dog Lake, thus avoiding the difficult navigation of the Kaministiquia, and effecting a saving of twenty-five miles. The construction of a dam at the outlet of Dog Lake would give thirty-five miles of water carriage. A road five miles in length would then intervene, after which the Savanne River and the Lake of a Thousand Lakes would be navigable for sixty-five miles. From the western end of the latter lake to Rainy Lake there are sixty miles of broken navigation on the River Seine. Mr. Dickinson, who was attached to the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan Expedition, proposes to repair the old North-west Company's road from Fort William to Arrow Lake, a distance of forty-five miles, and to establish a water communication from thence to Rainy Lake, getting rid of some of the portages by dams, and laying down tramways over the remainder. The advantages of this route over the other are that it is shorter, and that most of the navigation is over lakes instead of rapid and winding rivers. We do not take its apparent cheapness into account, though Mr. Dickinson's estimate of the cost is only 12,0001. whilst Mr. Dawson's is 50,0001., because the works contemplated by the latter gentleman are probably of a more substantial and lasting kind. In both cases, however, some part of the outlay might be met by free grants of land along the more available portions of the route; and the interests of the Canadians are so deeply concerned in securing for themselves the future trade of the North-west, that they will probably be