John Muir


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canneries yet established in the Territory; both have been established within the last three years and are doing well, the fish being found in great abundance and cost nearly nothing. The Indians furnish them for ½ a cent a pound and receive most of their pay in goods at a high rate. Many Indians are also employed in the cannery together with a few Chinamen. They receive a dollar a day. When the Chinamen came up on the steamer, the Indians at first raised a great outcry and refused to let them land, claiming that the work of right belonged to them; and it was only after being assured that no Chinamen would be employed as fishermen, and that after the Indians learned to make the cases they would all be sent back, that order prevailed. A more perfect specimen of the Chinese labor question on a small scale could not easily be found. The Alaska salmon are said to be inferior to those of the Columbia, but in some other places as at Chilcat they are claimed to be equally good in every respect, size, flavor, fatness and since the Columbia fisheries and those of the Fraser and other rivers of British Columbia are beginning to fail, while the demand is increasing as the market is expanding, this immense fountain of fish must surely be drawn upon to a grand extent in the future and create an extensive trade. Cod and halibut are also found in abundance and some little attention has been given to them, herring also, but with the exception of a few barrels of sated salmon and packages of dried and smoked codfish, the salmon produce of the canneries is all that has yet gone to market. The difficulty in the way of those who regard every uneaten and unsold fish and every unsawn tree in the woods, and ever dollar’s worth of mineral in the mountains as lost and worthless is that all of these may yet be found in more accessible portions of our big country. The time is coming when Alaska will seem nearer home, when her resources will be laid under contribution searching enough and intense enough for the most exacting of utilitarians. The real value of the country can only be called { Sketches: Half Dome; Half Dome near Chechan; Massive gray N. & S. sculptured mountains 20 miles from Wrangell – Chechan.}

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 13.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist