British Columbia Chronicle 1778-1846, Adventurers by Sea and Land by G.P.V. Akrigg and Helen B
Book Reviews 69 used to castigate anti-Communists, non-Communists and ex-Communists in his column in the Pacific Tribune. The result is a series of vignettes varying in interest and accuracy, interspersed with the kind of moralizing to which the Communists are prone in print and on the platform. University of British Columbia IVAN AVAKUMOVIC British Columbia Chronicle 1778-1846: Adventurers by Sea and Land, by G. P. V. Akrigg and Helen B. Akrigg. Vancouver: Discovery Press, 1975. xv, 429 pp.,
... 4.95. This handsome volume is just what the title implies -a year-to-year chronicle extending from 1778, when Captain Cook and his crew became the first white men known with certainty to have set foot in what is now British Columbia, and 1846, when the Oregon Boundary Treaty made the 49th parallel the dividing line between British and American territory west of the Rocky Mountains. The unusual arrangement invites browsing as well as sustained reading. Entries vary in length from a few lines to a dozen pages, according to the interest and importance of the happenings in individual years. There is no padding for the sake of uniformity, and the overall course of events emerges clearly. The cutoff date of 1846 offers several advantages. This early period is often dealt with in somewhat summary fashion in the first chapters of more comprehensive studies; separate treatment serves to highlight its distinctive character. In particular, it emphasizes the fact that until 1846 the fur trade was for practical purposes the only economic activity in the region. Settlement in the ordinary sense was non-existent. A few hundred fur traders were the sole white inhabitants. The earlier chapters illustrate interesting contrasts between activities by sea and by land. The maritime fur trade, which centred upon the sea otter, began in 1785 and had largely run its course and virtually exterminated its quarry by 1825. I* did not resu lt in the building of forts or the founding of settlements. For the most part it was conducted on a hit and run basis; immediate profit, not a long trading relationship, was the object in view. Furs were secured by foul means if fair means failed, and the inevitable result was violence and massacre. Some exploring was done, incidental to trading voyages, but serious exploration was the work of official government-financed Spanish and British expeditions, with Vancouver's superb and detailed survey of 1792-94 much the most important.