(A letter from Jonathan Begg, from Salt Spring Island, to his brother-in-law in Iowa.
All spelling, punctuation and grammar as appear in letter.)

Salt Spring Island
Near Van Couver’s Island
June 3rd 1860

My Dear Friends
I take this opportunity of again writing to you. I have not up to this time heard from you since I arrived in the colony. In my last I related my experience on the Pacific Coast together with my views etc., so that it would be needless to repeat it. Suffice it to say that it, the country has shown proofs of lasting greatness this summer few have dreamed of and so far as the Fraser River is concerned it is now proved beyond a doubt that is contains inexhaustible supplies of the precious metal all along the river and its numerous tributaries through 6 or 7 miles of country.
I have taken a farm now and am hard at work putting in cabbages and turnips. I have 4 acres under fence and two acres already in potatoes and early vegetables. The balance will be in cabbage and turnips. I hope to have in 10,000 cabbages this summer which will bring in sometimes at 10 cents per pound, which I expect they will bring me in the spring. My farm contains 200 acres of the best land in the colony and is admirably situated midway between New Westminster and Victoria the respective capitals of British Columbia and Van Couvers Island. I am very well pleased with my prospects here and should the gold field of British Columbia prove of a lasting character, which I have every reason to believe I can not fail doing well here in a few years. The climate is excellent so far as I am able to judge as I have now just one years experience of it. The summer here is unrivalled and the country looks like a gentleman’s pleasure grounds, so splendid and variegated does it look in its summer vesture. Farming is not conducted here on grand principles. Any little that is done or has been done heretofore has been by old servants of the H.B.Co. who are more awkward than the animals they drive. One can see here the old carts, farm implements and mode of cultivation in vogue 30 years ago in Britain. A good practical farmer here with a little means would not fail to make rich in a few years; for instance turnips sell at 1 cent per lb by the quantity, hay 30 to 50 dollars per ton, butter 30 cts lb, eggs 75 cents doz. And every other thing of produce in proportion – and these prices must last so long as the gold fields are productive, and that is now a fixed fast fact for dry digging of boundless extent has been discovered this spring which averages from 5 to 10 dollars per day to the man.
We are not badly off for company here. There is already quite a number of Canadians and Co settlers on this Island as we lie on the highway to Naniamo, the coal fields and only 25 miles distant from that place. We have always as many as three or 4 schooners etc. calling on us weekly on the way from Vancouvers to Victoria and we have a mail about every ten days. And your humble servant has been appointed postmaster. We had an election of legislative assembly men and Salt Springs etc sent a member. I was appointed returning officer on this occasion. The members had to be worth $1800 so we had to appoint a man from Victoria as no settler could qualify. The member is elected for three years. By that time we hope to be represented by a local man. I had the honour of organizing the first agricultural society in the colony so we have the Salt Springs Island Agricultural Society and hope to have something good to show next fall. We are at present anxiously waiting to hear from home in order to have the land reduced to $125 per acre. A petition from the local legislature has gone home to obtain said reduction.
I like this better than any country I ever lived in and had we only a little good society it would be a perfect paradise. I may remark that society is daily improving by respectable families coming from England and the colonies
It costs little to live here. Our natives supply us with all luxury of the season for a trifle. Fancy a fine buck for $1 – Salmon weighing 20 lbs 12 ½ cents, brace of grouse 25 cents, etc
This is the country for an epicurist.
I am in excellent health and spirits hoping this may find you all the same. Hoping you will send me a long letter with all the news from there.

Yours truly
Jonathan Begg

Via Overland Route
J Begg
Post master
Salt Spring Island
Near Vancouvers Island

James and Elspet must be grown to be quite a size. I should be glad if James were here. He would be excellent company for me and would thrive here like the cedars of Lebanon in its native forest.