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Not So Guttering

Not So Guttering image
Parent Issue
Day
10
Month
March
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Luther E. Campbell, a gradúate of the law department, who is now iu the Klondike, writes to Mr. and Mrs. E. S. Cushmau in this city from Dawson City under date of Dec. 27, a letter containing a very succinct state inent of the conditions there which coraing as it does from a man with naining experienee iu the west and in Mexico is entitled to considerable weigut and varies materially frora the rosy views of the Klondike sent out by promoters. Mr. Campbell says : "First, let me say that the riches of the Klondike district were vastly overrated by tüe press and private reports which went out last year. ïhe total output of gold so far from the entire Kloudike i.nd Indian River district is less thau 112,000,000 and and this was from five creeks, Bonanza, Eldorado, Hnnker, Bear and Last Chance. With perhaps half a million taken in the early summer from SuJphur and Dominion. These discoveries were all made and staked prior to 1898, but it was generally believed that the territory contiguous to these paying strearns was open to locatiou ana that there would be many new discoveries during the past summer. Lu this hope there was a rush of adventurons gold seekers from all parts of the world, and the passes leading over the Alaskan coast range were thronged by the thousands who thought they had but to reach Dawson, stake a claim, and begin shoveling out the nuggets, which lined the bcttom of all the stream about the Klondike. As an illustration of the trend of thought in the states ou this point, I cite you the various companies orgauized to dredge ';he Yukon river bed, to sluice with hydraulic pumps, and a multitude of other project which emauate from the fertile brain of the "promoter. " The ridiculousness of these proposition is apparent when I teil you that the river and streams freeze from the bottom up, and that a hole was burned down 65 feet on a bar of the Yukon this summer and frozen dirt found the entire distance to bed iock. The same is true of the Klondike and all the rivers uorth of Ft. Seliirk and the Pelly rivers. They freeze from both ways, np and down, from September on. So much for climatic conditions. There were, it is estimated, between 30,000 and 35,000 of men enroute to the gold flelds, over the tracts and via St. Michaels, and of the probable one half or two-thirds reached Dawson duriug the open season of 1898. Many turned back from the first steep climb at Dyea and Skaguay, but a large number came on in and are prospecting and exploring the upper Pelly, Millan, Stewart aud White rivers. Of those who kept on hoping to lócate in the Klondike district, there are more than 5,000 to day in and around Dawsou idle, discontented, and unless new strikes of importance are made within the next few months, soon to be starviug. Nothing of importance has been found during 1898, and after "wild-catting" everything arouud Dawson 50 miles and getting the "Chee'choko" (Indian for "a uew man to the country") to prospect the ground. the Yukoner is beginning to realize that about all the paying ground lies in the few small streams discovered in 1896 aud 1897. As if this of itself were not sufficient to discourage the newcomer, there was a still greater obstacle to surmouut iu the flagrant abuse of privilege and power iu high governmental aud official positious. It must be appareut that a thoroughly orgauized ring, headed by the governor general of the territory and exteuding through the various official positious, could so manipúlate the records as to exelude any undesirable person or persons from access to their books. I should first explaiu that the recording office is presided over by a gold commissioner, whose office is appointive, aud that appeal from his decisión, relative to a claim is taken to the governor general whose deoision is fiual, for all practical purposes, as no one can afford to spéud a year to oarry an appeal to Ottawa, the seat of goverument. Such a ring was organized aud its practical workiug effects have been feit ty every man who has attempted to put ground ou record for the past eight months. Bribery and corruption were rampaut aud it became impossible for any one unless backed by the official sanction, to place grannd of any kuowu valne on record. This state of affairs coutinued until late in July, the miners decided to take a hand aud endeavor to briug about a change. Iudignatiou meetings were held every eveniug for several weeks in which the territorial admiuistratiou was scored vigorously, and a petition signed by several thousand names, was forwarded to Ottawa, asking that a new staff be appointed. To the credit of the Dom iuion government this petition was promptly acted upon, and Oct. 1, the Hod. Win. Ogilvie reached Dawson to sneeeed Major Walsh as goveruor geueral. Since then txie okl gang has been stéadily weeded out and Jan. 1, the last leprous blot on the ex -official list, Mr. Fawcett, is superceded by a new gold cornmissoner. . A better, aml we hope, a fairer man. On American soil the miners wonld have riseu in arms and lynched the whole crew of them froni Walsh down, and there is a Jack of the proper spirit among the "Cheechokos here, or there wonld have been a hangirig long ago. "Perhaps yon would be iuterested in a brief outlne of ïny trip in. I reached Skaguay April 25 last, per Ste. Coquitlain, and was somethiiig less thau a month paeking and sledding my ontflt, consisting of 1,500 pounds of stores and provisions, to Lake Benuett. There I built my boat (on the model of the celebrated Peterboro Canoe), and embarked June 12, on the down trip. I ran the Canyon and White Horse rapids sueessfully ; made the lower lake, (La Barge,) and Thirty mile river without incident worthy of note; carne near swanipiug in the Five Fingers rapids, and iu eight days from leaving Bennett, was tied up at the Dawson water front, which for several miles was covered with lioats of every descriptiou. Early in August I went down to the Forty-Mile Country and lócate some ground on Alaskan soil. I have altogether about 14 claims in tnat rtistnct. On ruy returu here iu September I began snit for the privilege of recordiug a claim on Eldorado, which I learned to be vacant, au 3 wbieh I staked according to law. Mr. Fawcett promptly decided against me but ou Ogilvies accession to office, I carried the case up and wou it, getting 149 f eet of the upper half of section 9, Eldorado, left limit. I have a claim on Kentucky and another on Thistle Oreek, both being recent rich [strikes but covering uo considerable extent of gronud, the creeks beiug small. I am also the possessor of oue of the most comfortable little log shacks, or shanties, in or around Dawson, where I retire on cold frosty evonings to smoke my pipe and medítate on the hopeless state of the Yukon Cheechoko. A few days ago I met au ex-U. of M. man named Talyor, who is here with Vrooman's Chicago Co. aud from him beard sorue news of the Jd college dOwu. "