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position to discriminate between these two classes; nor indeed to say whether the extravagant anticipations may, or may not, be the correct ones. We had a notable illustration of this a short time ago, during our own railway delirium; in the evil consequences of which both the innocent and the guilty are now alike involved. And more particularly in connection with an individual-"O breathe not his name!"-who carried, not only confidence, but apparent success, wherever he went; every property with which he connected himself immediately rising in value. That success was subsequently found to be delusive; but for a considerable time there existed absolutely no data upon which any judgment as to its reality, or otherwise, could be founded. Particular facts were then apparently against those who, judging from general principles only, deemed that this sudden increase of wealth was unreal, and must therefore sink under the general law of unsound speculation.
We have, as we have said, widely differing opinions and statements tendered to us. One voice from the West assures us that the reduction of the attenuated, yet brilliant fabric, to that little disappointing spit of soap and water which every bubble-blower must remember falling on his up-turned face, as the glittering sphere dissolved in mid-air, is just on the point of taking place. Another does not see why it ever should. A third, Mr. Taylor, holds a middle course, and thinks two or three years may pass before the collapse, inevitable on such over-inflated speculation as has been indulged in, in connection with Californian matters, shall ensue; and that then it will not be so complete as some people fear.
Had an idea which was talked about some fifteen years ago, that of making over California to Great Britain in payment of the Mexican debt, ever been carried out, we should not have been able to take these conflicting statements so coolly as we now permit ourselves to do, being simply lookers on. We do not, however, regret that the Americans have got the gold region, instead of ourselves. We feel not the slightest emotions of envy stirring within us, as we read their glowing anticipations of the wealth that is to accrue to them from the development of its capabilities of its inexhaustible mines of gold and other metals, its widely-spread commerce, its rich wines, its beeves innumerable, that are to be fed to fatness on its fertile plains, which grow grass and oats for nothing. For, as it is discreetly remarked in an
official report upon the subject, cattle that have walked into California from the Western States, will not be fit for eating immediately upon their arrival thither. Of all this we read unmoved, save to wish, as was the wont of Goldsmith's immortal Vicar, that our cousins in the States may be "the better" for their new acquisition, not exactly "this day three months," but rather when the excessive speculation to which it has given rise, together with its long train of subsequent and inevitable evils, shall have passed away, leaving the country to a legitimate development of its natural resources.
We trust that no hasty person will hereupon assert that we have called California a bubble; because in that case we shall be under the disagreeable necessity of telling him that he has run away with only half an idea. We do say that there has been bubble-blowing in connection with it; and this, in its results, is as injurious to the morals of a community as it possibly can be to its pecuniary interests. It is a thing not to be tolerated.
The volumes before us are, we imagine, the first literary results of the extraordinary events that have been taking place on the shores of the Pacific, within the last two years; and a very entertaining and interesting view do they give of them. Both publications are derived from personal acquaintance with the scenes depicted Mr. Taylor is an American. By the way, why does no one devise a more discriminating name for one born in the United States? We might as well call a Frenchman, simply a European. Statesman would be the correct term, but it is preoccupied. However, American let it be, till something less vague is found out. he tells us that he did not visit California with the intention of writing a book; though one naturally arose out of his engagements there, and all his observations were made with that purpose in view. We presume that he went out as our own correspondent" to the New York Tribune, in which paper the germ of these volumes appeared in the form of letters; for he neither traded, nor speculated, nor dug gold, save one day, when by way of experiment, taking a “butcher-knife," he went into one of the forsaken holes, in the diggings, and lying on his back, as he had seen others do, attempted, in vain, to pick out some grains from the crevices of the rock. His visit was later than Mr. Ryan's: indeed, his arrival at San Francisco would about coincide with the departure of the latter from that city; so that his narra
tive brings us nearer to the present date by four months, the time of his stay in the country. His volumes do him credit as a spirited, intelligent, good-humored writer, and traveler; and just such a determined looking at the bright side of things as might be expected from one so constituted, and especially from an American, who is delighted with the bargain" Uncle Sam" has got, in the acquisition of the gold regions.
Mr. Ryan is, we presume, a naturalized subject of the States, English or Irish by birth; who proceeded to California as a volunteer during that war with Mexico which ended in the cession of the upper province to the Americans, in May, 1848, one month before the important discovery of her metallic treasures! When peace was concluded, his corps was disbanded, and he, not particularly pleased with either the pay or treatment which he had received from his adopted country, tried gold-hunting on a small scale, unsuccessfully; then house-painting to rather better purpose; and finally, not being of robust constitution, left the country, debilitated with hardships and climate, after a residence in the upper province, which is all we are now concerned with, of six months.
The two works are tinctured by the characters and circumstances of their writers. Mr. Taylor could afford to take a cheerful view of men and things. Mr. Ryan has, occasionally, perhaps somewhat of the tone of the disappointed, frame-shaken man. And yet we have the impression that his has been, and will be, a true type of the experience of hundreds who have flocked to the land of promise, under the delusion that in that lottery there were no blanks.
quence of one of those attacks of revolutionary fever to which Mexico is constitutionally liable. How everbody rushed thither, when gold was first talked of, is too well known to require comment. How soldiers and sailors deserted, when they got within the charmed circle, and how parties sent to apprehend the deserters, only ran after them to the mines, to begin business on their own account; and how even the governor himself, tempted beyond endurance, at last joined the chase through the abandoned fields and deserted towns, is fresh in every one's remembrance. In 1849, the influx of Americans alone was eighty thousand, forming an addition to the population of one hundred thousand, within a twelvemonth.
The immediate advent of a golden age was looked for. Hints were thrown out, even here, in all seriousness, as to the probable depreciation of our currency in consequence of the anticipated influx of gold. Our cash, like fairy-money, was to turn to slate-stones in our pockets; and, for once in their lives, even the "holders" of sovereigns thought that shares were "looking down." We must own that we never felt inclined to treat ours any less respectfully on this account.
Two years have now elapsed and the official estimate of the amount of gold obtained from the mines in 1848 and 1849, is 40,000,000 dollars, about £8,000,000; one half of which, in the general scramble, is supposed to have fallen to the share of foreigners. This has for some time been a grievance; but is now to be amended. Mr. Butler King, in his official report on Californian affairs, addressed to the home government, (U. S.) in March, this year, among other regulations which he suggests for adoption in the new states, proposes that of excluding foreigners from the privilege of purchasing permission to work the mines on the ground that they belong to, and in his judgment should be preserved for the use and benefit of the American people"-meaning, "all citizens, native and adopted." In 1849, also, General Smith made an attempt to expel foreigners; but his prohibition was not much heeded.
For about ten years before the accidental discovery (on the south fork of the American River, forty-five miles from Sacramento City,) that gold was one of its products, the tide of emigration had been tending to Cal-" ifornia from the States. Bands of emigrants had, from time to time, crossed the Rocky Mountains, and the Salt Plains, enduring hardships innumerable, and even horrors unmentionable, in that slow pilgrimage of two thousand miles to the "far west;" a point towards which, the American, if he be but an out-lyer on the borders of civilization, seems irresistibly drawn. At the close of the war with Mexico, it was supposed there were from ten to fifteen thousand Americans and Californians in the province, exclusive of the converted Indians, formerly living under the protection of the Romish missions planted there; but which were dispersed, in 1836, in conse
In giving us an estimate of the gold sent from California, Mr. King might perhaps have contributed to the furnishing us with the means of forming a more accurate judgment of the present value of the province, if he could have stated how much had been sent to it. "The progress of San Francisco," says Mr. Ryan, "might be said to be, in some degree, paid for by foreign capital actually brought into the country.'
its continuity, an immense bank, which forms an admirable natural protection against the fierce winds that frequently sweep the coast with unmitigated fury.
second entrance to the bay barred by an enormous Proceeding up the strait, we found the real or rock, which offers a capital site for a fort."
That part of California known as the gold region, is a tract four or five hundred miles long, and from forty to fifty broad, following the course of the Snowy Mountains, between which and the low coast range it lies. This comprehends the valley of the Sacramento and San Joaquin; the one flowing north, the other south of the Bay of San Francisco, into which they empty themselves. It was in the northern portion of this tract, which is also considered to afford the greatest amount of fertile land, so far as the country has been yet explored, that the first discoveries were made. Subsequent ones, however, have very greatly extended the sphere of mining opera-harbor! tions, both north and south; till the modest
limits originally assigned to it, a square of about seventy miles, have expanded to those we have just given. The central land is desert-like; the only signs of human visitation. in the Great Desert, west of the Colorado,
are" the bones of animals and men scattered along the trails that cross it."
San Francisco, the "great commercial metropolis on the Pacific coast," with its fine bay, seems naturally to claim our first attention. Mr. Ryan gives us a good sketch of the bay, which he entered in April, 1849. Its entrance is through a strait three or four
miles in width.
"This opening, as seen from the ocean, presents the complete appearance of a mountain pass-abruptly cutting in two the continuous line of the coast range-and is the only water-communication hence to the interior country. The coast itself is of the boldest character, and of singular beauty in respect
Here lay a flag-ship, with other vessels, anchored at this inconvenient distance from the town, which is six miles off, in order to prevent the men deserting: no easy matter. On one occasion, eighteen from one vessel seized a boat, and went ashore to make their fortunes, under fire from every vessel in the It is said, that on the 1st of January, this year, two hundred and fifty ships were lying in the bay, all deserted by their
The rock, rising sheer out of the water, to self was gained :— a considerable height, being past, the bay it
"Its first aspect is that of a long lake, lying embosomed between parallel ranges of mountains, in the midst of a country of alpine character; but the eye soon perceives that the monotony of its glassy surface is broken, and varied, and rendered eminently picturesque, by the several islands with which it is studded, and which rise to the height of 300 to 400 feet; preserving in the main, the bold and rugged character of their parent shores, some being mere masses of rock, while others are luxuriantly clad with a mantle of the very richest verdure, bespotted with flowers of the gaudiest hues.
and forming a back-ground of unsurpassed ma"Immediately opposite the entrance to the bay, jesty of appearance, rises, at a few miles' disof distinctness of outline. The mountains boundtance from the shore, a chain of mountains, which ing it on the south extend in the form of a narrow shoot aloft to an elevation of two thousand feet range of broken hills, terminating in a precipitous above the level of the water, and whose summits headland, against which the surges break angrily, are crowned by a splendid forest-growth of ancasting up millions of briny spangles, which glis- cient cypress, distinctly visible from the Pacific, ten in the sunbeams with all the colors of the and presenting a conspicuous land-mark for vesrainbow. To the north these mountains rear their sels entering the bay. Towering behind these huge crests, like so many granitic Titans, in a again, like the master-sentinel of the golden resuccession of varying altitudes, until, at the dis-gions which it overlooks, is the rugged peak of tance of a few miles, they attain an elevation of from two to three thousand feet, the seaward point presenting a bold promontory, between which and the lower headland lies the strait I have already mentioned, and which, although appearing so narrow, on account of the immense bulk of mountain forming its shoulders, is nevertheless one mile broad in the narrowest part.
Having passed through this gap, or I might more properly call it a gate, (it is named the Golden Gate,) we found the strait extend about five miles from the sea to the bay itself, which then opens right and left, extending in each direction about thirty-six miles, its total length being more than seventy miles, with a coast line of about 275.
The land on each side of the strait is irregular and picturesque, resembling, on account of
Mount Diablo, (O what a name !) rearing its antediluvian granite head, hoar with unmelted snows, to the height of 3770 feet above the level of the sea."
The immediate shores of the Bay pre
"A front of broken and rugged hills, rolling and undulating lands, and rich alluvial shores, having in their rear fertile and wooded ranges, admirably adapted as a site for towns, villages, and farms; with which latter they were already dotted. The foot of the mountains around the southern arm of the bay, is a low alluvial bottom-land, extending several miles in breadth, being inter
spersed with and relieved by occasional open woods of oak, and terminating, on a breadth of twenty miles, in the fertile valley of San Josef."
clothing were sent to China and the Sandwich Islands for the necessary "purification."
Towards the end of August in this same To the town of this name the seat of gov-year, 1849, San Francisco had a population ernment is transferred. The military gover- of about six thousand souls, lodged in tents nor of the province resides at San Francisco. and canvass houses, with a few frame buildThe Bay is " a little Mediterranean in itself," ings. Three weeks later, Mr. Taylor says:with an average breadth of at least from ten to fifteen, some say twenty miles. Its head is nearly forty miles from the sea; and at this point is connected with the valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin. Its waters are of a depth to admit the largest vessels.
The town stands at the south side entrance of the Bay, in a "sort of irregular valley," surrounded by the lofty hills already mentioned.
It was in the streets of San Francisco that Mr. Taylor had his first view of what is now the staple business of the country-gold hunting:
"The town had not only greatly extended its limits, but seemed actually to have doubled its number of dwellings since I left. High up on the hills, where I had seen only sand and chapparal, stood clusters of houses; streets which had been merely laid out, were hemmed in with buildings and thronged with people; new warehouses had sprung up on the water-side, and new piers were creeping out towards the shipping; the noise, motion, and bustle of business and lathe forests of masts had greatly thickened; and bor on all sides were incessant. Verily, the place was in itself a marvel. To say that it was daily enlarged by from twenty to thirty houses may not sound very remarkable after all the stories that have been told; yet this, for a country that imported both lumber and houses, and where labor was then ten dollars a day, is an extraordinary growth. The rapidity with which a ready-made house is put up and inhabited in San Francisco,
"Walking through the town, I was amazed to find a dozen persons busily employed in the street before the United States Hotel digging up the earth with knives and crumbling it in their hands. They were actually gold hunters, who obtained in this way about five dollars a day. After blow-strikes the stranger as little short of magic. He ing the fine dirt carefully in their hands, a few specks of gold were left, which they placed in a peice of white paper. A number of children were engaged in the same business, picking out the fine grains by applying to them the head of a pin moistened in the mouth. I was told of a small boy having taken home fourteen dollars as the result of one day's labor."
He considers this was chiefly produced by leakings from the miners' bags, and the sweepings of stores.
Seeing these two gentlemen have done us the honor of coming to England to find a publisher for their books, we wish they had paid us the further compliment of expressing money value in terms more familiar to the generality of English readers than are American ones. Sums computed by dollars really convey a very indefinite idea at first sight. Thus, among various instances of the fabulous prices that have been current in this wonderful region, that of washinglaundress's washing, not gold-washingbeing from eight to twelve dollars the dozen, bad as it sounds, does not sound half so bad as if "done into English;" some 27. 12s. the dozen or, as Mr. Ryan phrases it, by way of making it more startingly apparent, "six shillings for a shirt." The consequence of cleanliness being thus converted into so expensive a virtue was, that large quantities of
walks over an open lot in his before-breakfast stroll; the next morning a house complete, with a family inside blocks up his way. He goes down to the bay and looks out on the shipping; two or three days afterwards a row of storehouses, staring him in the face, intercepts his view."
Six weeks later, about the beginning of November, the population was about 15,000.
"A year before it was about five hundred," says Mr. Taylor. "The increase since that time had been made in the face of the greatest disadvantages under which a city ever labored; an uncultivated country, an ungenial climate, exorbitant rates of labor, want of building materials, imperfect civil organization-lacking everything in short, but gold dust and enterprise. The same expense on the Atlantic coast would have established a city of a hundred thousand inhabitants."
Its great want was society.
"Think of a city of thirty thousand inhabitants, peopled by men alone. The like of this was never seen before. Every man was his own housekeeper, doing in many instances, his own Many home arts, learned rather by observation sweeping, cooking, washing, and mending.than experience, came conveniently into play. He who cannot make a bed, cook a beefsteak, or sew up his own rips or rents, is unfit to be a citizen of California."
On this visit he found rents had risen rather than fallen." On his arrival he had paid twenty-five dollars the week for a wretched garret with two cots in it. One of the hotels, a frame-house of sixty feet front, was rented at one hundred and ten thousand dollars yearly; of which sixty thousand12,000l. was paid by gamblers, who had the second story; while a cellar, twelve feet square and six deep, was offered, for an office, at two hundred and fifty dollars a month.
The wages of labor had fallen a little. Money, (currency, from a variety of causes, has been very scarce) was fourteen per cent. monthly. The climate he found vastly improved. "The temperature was more equable and genial, and the daily hurricanes of the summer had almost entirely ceased."
During that season a high, cold wind from the sea blows constantly, from noon to midnight; and this, together with the fogs, renders San Francisco, Mr. King says, "probably more uncomfortable, to those not accustomed to it, in summer than in winter, when the atmosphere is tolerably mild," To add to the annoyance of these sweeping blasts, the dust there is something almost preternatural. In the valley of San Joaquin, Mr. Taylor, having some mules in his charge, could only see whether they were in order, as they trotted in file before him, by "counting the tails that occasionally whisked through the cloud." Mr. Ryan's experience was worse. In a café at San Francisco, he tells us—
There was dust on the counter, on the
shelves, on the seats, on the decanters, and in them, on the tables, in the salt, on my beefsteak, and in my coffee. There was dust on my polite landlord's cheeks, and in his amiable wife's eyes, which she was wiping with the corner of a dusty apron. I hurried my meal, and was paying my score, when I caught a sight of my own face in a dusty-looking and dust-covered glass near the bar, and saw that I, too, had become covered with it, my entire person being literally encrusted with a coat of powder, from which I experienced considerable difficulty in cleansing myself."
In the rainy season, which lasts from the middle of November to that of May, all this dust, of course, undergoes a conversion; and then the lower parts of the town "stand in a huge basin of mud."
At the time of Mr. Taylor's departure, the town had increased greatly, both in size and in the substantiality of its buildings. Four months previously,
"The gold-seeking sojourner lodged in muslin rooms and canvas garrets with a philosophic lack
of furniture, and ate his simple, though substantial" (he might of added, extravagantly dear,) "fare from pine boards. Now lofty hotels were met with in all quarters, furnished with home luxury, and aristocratic restaurants presented daily their long bills of fare, rich with the choicest technicalities of the Parisian cuisine."
At one of these hotels, board and lodging were a hundred and fifty dollars a month: considered unusually cheap. At another of them, a room alone was two hundred and fifty dollars the month. But, he observes, "the greatest gains were still made by the gambling-tables and eating-houses. Every device that art could suggest was used to swell the custom of the former."
Gambling, indeed, and drinking-not drunkenness, Mr. Taylor saw little of thatare the two leading vices of the country. In Stockton, the halting-place to the southern, as Sacramento is to the northern mines, Mr. Ryan found "every other hut either a groggery or a gambling-place." And Mr. Taylor's more recent account is full of allusions to this former propensity. The native inhabitants were addicted to it; but the present peculiar circumstances of the country have given great impetus as well as scope to the spirit of gambling. "Wherever there is gold, there are gamblers." The steamer which carried Mr. Taylor from Panama to San Francisco had on board "a choice gang of blacklegs from the States," going thither on a professional visit. And such gather in large harvests.
Mr. Ryan, we have said, was a practical gold-hunter, and made nothing of it. Gold is not altogether to be had for the picking up, even in California. Mr. Taylor, the looker-on, gives us a very entertaining view both of the process, and scene, of operations, in his visit to the "diggings" which had been discovered about two months previously, on the Mokelumne River, in the southern district. After a ride through some country, of which he speaks in terms of the highest admiration for its richness and beauty, though the heat was intense, in the glens and canadas, 110°, he arrived at the little town, three weeks old, which had "sprung up" for the accommodation of the miners, and which already boasted at least a dozen gaming-tables. The "hotel" was "an open space under a branch roof; the appliances meals, and one for monte," (the universal were two tables of rough plank, one for gambling game,) "with logs resting on forked limbs, as seats, and a bar of similar materials, behind which was ranged a goodly