Puslapio vaizdai


spersed with and relieved by occasional open clothing were sent to China and the Sandwoods of oak, and terminating, on a breadth of wich Islands for the necessary “purificatwenty miles, in the fertile valley of San Josef.”

tion.” To the town of this name the seat of gov- year, 1849, San Francisco had a population

Towards the end of August in this same 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

“ The town had not only greatly extended its this point is connected with the valleys of the limits, but seemed actually to have doubled its

number of dwellings since I left. High up on Sacramento and San Joaquin. Its waters are

the hills, where I had seen only sand and chapof a depth to admit the largest vessels. paral, stood clusters of houses; streets which

The town stands at the south side entrance had been merely laid out, were hemmed in with of the Bay, in " sort of irregular valley,” buildings and thronged with people; new waresurrounded by the lofty hills already men

houses had sprung up on the water-side, and new tioned.

piers were creeping out towards the shipping; It was in the streets of San Francisco that the noise, motion, and bustle of business and la

the forests of masts had greatly thickened; and Mr. Taylor had his first view of what is now

bor on all sides were incessant. Verily, the place the staple business of the country-gold was in itself a marvel. To say that it was daily hunting :

enlarged by from twenty to thirty houses may not

sound very remarkable after all the stories that "Walking through the town, I was amazed to have been told; yet this, for a country that imfind a dozen persons busily employed in the street ported both lumber and houses, and where labor before the United States Hotel digging up the was then ten dollars a day, is an extraordinary earth with knives and crumbling it in their hands. growth. The rapidity with which a ready-made They were actually gold hunters, who obtained house is put up and inhabited in San Francisco, 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 lew walks over an open lot in his before-breakfast specks of gold were left, which they placed in a stroll; the next morning a house complete, with peice of white paper. A number of children a family inside blocks up his way. He goes were engaged in the same business, picking out down to the bay and looks out on the shipping ; the fine grains by applying to them the head of a two or three days afterwards a row of storepin moistened in the mouth. I was told of a houses, staring him in the face, intercepts his small boy having taken home fourteen dollars as view." the result of one day's labor."

Six weeks later, about the beginning of He considers this was chiefly produced by November, the population was about 15,000. leakings from the miners' bags, and the sweepings of stores.

“A year before it was about five hundred," Seeing these two gentlemen have done us says Mr. Taylor. “ The increase since that time the honor of coming to England to find a had been made in the face of the greatest disadvanpublisher for their books, we wish they had tages under which a city ever labored; an unculpaid us the further compliment of express tivated country, an ungenial climate, exorbitant ing money value in terms more familiar to rates of labor, want of building materials, imthe generality of English readers than are perfect civil organization--lacking everything in American ones.

short, but gold dust and enterprise. T'he same Sums computed by dollars

expense on the Atlantic coast would have estabreally convey a very indefinite idea at first lished a city of a hundred thousand inhabitants." sight. Thus, among various instances of the fabulous prices that have been current Its great want was society. in this wonderful region, that of washinglaundress's washing, not gold-washing- “Think of a city of thirty thousand inhabbeing from eight to twelve dollars the dozen, itants, peopled by men alone. The like of this bad as it sounds, does not sound half so bad was never seen before. Every man was his own as if “done into English;” some 21. 12s. the housekeeper, doing in many instances, his own dozen: or, as Mr. Řyan phrases it, by way sweeping, cooking, washing, and mending: of making it more startingly apparent, “ six Many home arts, learned rather by observation shillings for a shirt.” The consequence of He who cannot make a bed, cook a beefsteak, or

than experience, came conveniently into play. cleanliness being thus converted into so ex

sew up his own rips or rents, is unfit to be a citipensive a virtue was, that large quantities of | zen of California. ,



On this visit he found rents bad risen, of furniture, and ate his simple, though substan“ rather than fallen.” On his arrival he had tial” (he might of added, extravagantly dear,) paid twenty-five dollars the week for a “ fare from pine boards. Now lofty hotels were wretched garret with two cots in it. One of met with in all quarters, furnished with home

luxury, and aristocratic restaurants presented the hotels, a frame-house of sixty feet front, daily iheir long bills of fare, rich with the choicest was rented at one hundred and ten thousand technicalities of the Parisian cuisine." dollars yearly; of which sixty thousand12,0001. Iwas paid by gamblers, who had At one of these hotels, board and lodging the second story; while a cellar, twelve feet were a hundred and fifty dollars a month : square and six deep, was offered, for an office, considered unusually cheap. At another of at two hundred and fifty dollars a month. them, a room alone was two hundred and

The wages of labor had fallen a little. fifty dollars the month. But, he observes, Money, (currency, from a variety of causes, “ the greatest gains were still made by the has been very scarce) was fourteen per cent. gambling-tables and eating-houses. Every monthly. The climate he found vastly im- device that art could suggest was used to proved. " The temperature was more equa- swell the custom of the former." ble and genial, and the daily hurricanes of Gambling, indeed, and drinking—not the summer had almost entirely ceased.” drunkenness, Mr. Taylor saw little of that

During that season a high, cold wind from are the two leading vices of the country. the sea blows constantly, from noon to mid- In Stockton, the halting-place to the southern, night; and this, together with the fogs, ren- as Sacramento is to the northern mines, Mr. ders San Francisco, Mr. King says, “ pro- Ryan found“ every other hut either a grogbably more uncomfortable, to those not gery or a gambling-place.” And Mr. Tay. accustomed to it, in summer than in winter, lor's more recent account is full of allusions when the atmosphere is tolerably mild," to this former propensity. The native inTo add to the annoyance of these sweeping habitants were addicted to it; but the preblasts, the dust there is something almost sent peculiar circumstances of the country preternatural. In the valley of San Joaquin, have given great impetus as well as scope to Mr. Taylor, having some mules in his charge, the spirit of gambling. “ Wherever there is could only see whether they were in order, as gold, there are gamblers.” The steamer they trotted in file before him, by “counting which carried Mr. Taylor from Panama to the tails that occasionally whisked through the San Francisco had on board “a choice gang cloud.” Mr. Ryan's experience was worse. of blacklegs from the States,” going thither In a café at San Francisco, he tells us- on a professional visit. And such gather in

large harvests. * There was dust on the counter, on the Mr. Ryan, we have said, was a practical shelves, on the seats, on the decanters, and in gold-hunter, and made nothing of it. Gold them, on the tables, in the salt

, on my beefsteak, is not altogether to be had for the picking and in my coffee. There was dust on my polite landlord's cheeks, and in his ainiable wife's eyes, up, even in California. Mr. Taylor, the wbich she was wiping with the corner of a dusty looker-on, gives us a very entertaining view apron. I hurried my meal, and was paying my both of the process, and scene, of operations, score, when I caught a siglit of my own face in in his visit to the “diggings” which had been a dusty-looking and dust-covered glass near the discovered about two months previously, on bar, and saw that I, too, had become covered with the Mokelumne River, in the southern disit, iny entire person being literally encrusted wiih trict. After a ride through some country, a coat of powder, from which I experienced considerable difficulty in cleansing myself.”

of which he speaks in terms of the highest

admiration for its richness and beauty, though In the rainy season, which lasts from the the heat was intense, -in the glens and middle of November to that of May, all this canadas, 110°,-he arrived at the little dust, of course, undergoes a conversion ;

town, three weeks old, which had “

sprung and then the lower parts of the town stand up” for the accommodation of the miners, in a huge basin of mud."

and which already boasted at least a dozen At the time of Mr. Taylor's departure, gaming-tables. The “ hotel” was “ an open the town had increased greatly, both in size space under a branch roof; the appliances and in the substantiality of its buildings. meals

, and one for monte,”* (the universal

were two tables of rough plank, one for Four months previously,


gambling game,) “with logs resting on forked " The gold-seeking sojourner lodged in muslin limbs, as ats, and a bar of similar marooms and canvas garrets with a philosophic lack | terials, behind which was ranged a goodly


[ocr errors]

stock of liquors and preserved provisions." | pense, taking half the gold obtained for their Their

expenses at this “ hotel,” it should be remuneration. Many of the Americans emnamed, were eleven dollars a day, for man ployed Indians and others to work for them, and mule, exclusive of lodgings. They are, giving them balf the produce of their labor, oddly enough, divided into four dollars for in addition to finding them provisions, which the man, and seven for the mule ! barley would cost about a dollar a day. Rather being a dollar the quart, and grass a dollar poorly kept, either in quantity or quality, we the handful.

should suppose they would be at this price,

provisions of all kinds being "enormously “ Our first move was for the river bottom, dear.” On their journey to the place, a little where a number of Americans, Sonorians, and Kanakas” (Sandwich Islanders,) “ were at work had cost them five dollars. Mr. Taylor and

more than a bushel of wheat, for the mules, in the hot sun. The bar as it was called, was nothing more or less than a level space at the his friends were hospitably entertained by junction of the river with a dry arroyo, or

the miners; and were not a little surprised at ** gulch,” which winds for about eight miles the “ table in the wilderness,” spread for among the hills."

them in the airy hotel we have mentioned.

Jerked beef, (they had, en roule, bought The “gulch” denotes a mountain ravine of about six yards, for half a dollar) and bread a very abrupt character.

was the best they had expected : and, oh,

omnipotent power of gold! they saw on the. “ It was hard and rocky, with no loose sand ex

table “green corn, green peas, and beans, cept such as had lodged between the large masses of stone, which must of course be thrown aside fresh oysters, roast turkey, Goshen butter, to get at the gold. The whole space, containing and excellent coffee. I will not pretend, about four acres, appeared to have been turned he adds, “to say what they cost, but I beover with great labor, and all the holes slanting gan to think the fable of Aladdin was nothing down between the broken strata of slate to have very remarkable after all. The genie will been explored to the bottom. No spot could ap- come—but the rubbing of the lamp! There pear more unpromising to the inexperienced gold- is nothing so hard on the hands.” hunter. Yet the Sonorians, washing out the loose dust, or dirt , which they scraped up among table ;” and next morning found the party,

He slept that night soundly on the “dining the rocks, obtained from ten dollars to two ounces daily. The first party we saw had just succeeded at work, in the sunshine, with two hours' in cutting a new channel for the shrunken waters hard labor at baling out the water before of the Mokelumre, and were commencing opera- they could begin to wash. Again : tions on abcut twenty yards of the river bed, which they had laid bare. They were ten in number; and their only implements were shovels,

“ The prospect looked uninviting, but when I a rude cradle for the top layer of earth, and flat

went there again, towards noon, one of them was wooden bowls for washing out the sands. Bap- scraping up the sand from the bed with his knife, tiste took one of the bowls, which was full of and throwing it into a basin, the bottom of which sand, and in five minutes showed us a dozen glittered with gold. Every knife-full brought out grains of bright gold. The company had made

a quantity of grains and scales, some of which in the forenoon about three pounds; we watched

were as large as the finger-nail. At last a twothem at their work till the evening, when three

ounce lump fell plump into the pan. Their fore. pounds more were produced, making an average is only by such operations as these, through asso

noon's work amounted to nearly six pounds. It of seven ounces for each man. The gold was of ciated labor, that great profits are to be made in the purest quality and most beautiful color.- those districts which have been visited by the first When I first saw the men carrying heavy stones in the sun, standing nearly waist-deep in water; casily reached are soon exhausted by the crowd,

eager horde of gold-hunters. The deposits most and grubbing with their hands in the gravel and and the labor required to carry on further work clay, there seemed to me little virtue in resisting successfully deters single individuals from attemptthe temptation to gold-digging; but when the ing it. Those who, retaining their health, return shining particles were poured out lavishly from a tin basin, 1 confess there was a sudden itching in about the gold, when in fact they have humbugged

home disappointed, say they have been humbugged my fingers to seize the heaviest crowbar and the themselves about the work. If any one expects biggest shovel.”

to dig treasures out of the earth in California A company of thirty, further down the all classes of men, those who pave streets and

without severe labor, he is wofully mistaken. Of river, had cleared a hundred yards of its bed, quarry limestone are best adapted for gold-digand begun washing very successfully. But gers." they quarrelled, " as most companies do;" and finally arranged with two of their num- People's notions of what are hardships ber, to have all the work done at their ex- ! differ.On this same journey, a disheartened,


you may think

returning emigrant strongly advised Mr. I have not attempted. This breathing the fine dust Taylor to turn back; telling him “ you'll have from day to day, under a more than torrid sun. to sleep on the ground every night, and take would soon impair the strongest lungs." care of your own animals, and yourself lucky if you get your regular

Killing a few Sonorians is, we suppose, of meals.”

comparatively little consequence. This was certainly one of the “slow"

The tools used here were the crowbar, men, for which, together with the cautious pick, and knife, the miners being sometimes and desponding ones, our sensible traveler obliged to use them, “lying flat on their remarks, “California is no place. The

backs, in cramped and narrow holes”—like grumbler and idler had better stay at home.”

our coal miners ! Where, we are sure, they are not wanted.

And here Mr. Taylor says, “ There is more From 11 A.M., to 4 P.M.,

mercury here

gold in California than ever was said or "ranged between 98 and 110."

imagined : ages will not exhaust the supThe discovery of this gulch was accidental. ply.' The calm, official, Mr. King-all offiDr. Gillette, in company with a friend, was

cials are supposed to be calm-expresses a “ "prospecting" for gold'; and as he rested similar opinion.

. one day under a tree, struck bis pick care

The labor, however, is admitted to be exlessly into the ground, and presently threw cessive; and from a variety of causes--one out a lump of about two pounds weight.

of them, the want of a mint, is to be removed They at once set to work ::

-the miners, as a rule, are not the gainers.

“ Those who purchase and ship gold to the “ Laboring all that day and the next, and even

Atlantic States make large profits; but those using part of the night to quarry out the heavy who dig, lose what others make." High prices pieces of rock. At the end of the second day they and gambling will, to a great extent, account went to the village on the Upper Bar, and weighed for this. "Only traders, speculators, and their profits, which amounted to fourteen pounds.” gamblers make large fortunes," says also the

more desponding Mr. Ryan. The largest piece found here was said to It is, however, not easy to ascertain the weigh eleven pounds. Mr. Taylor says he amount of the miners' gains. Like people makes "due allowance for the size which at home, they are apt to complain when doing gold lumps attain the farther they roll;" but very well; and are unwilling to confess disof this he was told on the spot.

appointment. "Climbing up the rocky bottom of the The use of chemical agents, instead of gulch, as by a staircase, for four miles,” the mere mechanical means, in separating the “dry-diggings” were visited.

metal, will lessen both the labor and expense

of the process, as well as add greatly to its Deep holes sunk between the solid strata, or

remunerative returns. On revisiting this into the precipitous sides of the mountains, showed mine, Mr. Taylor found that the use of where veins of the metal had been struck, and quicksilver had been introduced with great followed as long as they yielded lumps large success :-enough to pay for the labor. The loose earth which they had excavated was full of fine gold,

“ The black sand which was formerly rejected and only needed washing out. A number of So- was washed in a bowl containing a little quicknoria nz were engaged in dry washing this refuse silver in the bottom, and the amalgam formed by sand--a work which requires no little skill, and the gold yielded four dollars to every pound of would soon kill any other men than these lank sand. Mr. James who had washed out a great and skinny Arabs of the west. Their mode of deal of this sand, evaporated the quicksilver in a work is as follows:--Gathering the loose dry sand retort, and produced a cake of fine gold worth in bowls, they raise it to their heads, and slowly nearly five hundred dollars. A heap of pour it upon a blanket spread at their feet. Re- refuse earth, left by the common rocker, after ten peating this several times, and throwing out the thousand dollars had been washed, yielded another worthless piece of rock, they reduce the dust to thousand to the new machine,” with quicksilver. about half its bulk; then balancing the bowl in one hand, by a quick dextrous motion of the Its scarcity and high price have hitherto other they cause it to revolve, at the same time interfered with its more extended employthrowing its contents into the air, and catching ment. them as they fall . In this manner, everything is nia ; and Mr. King proposes to depart from

But mines of it are found in Califorfinally winnowed away, except the heavier grains his exclusive policy with respect to them, in of sand mixed with gold, which is carefully separated by the breath. It is a laborious occupation, order to encourage their more extensive and one which, fortunately, the American diggers working.



The character of the gold deposits does " The city,” Mr. Taylor continues, “was one not vary materially.. In dust

, flakes, grains, place by day and another by night; and of the and pieces, weighing from one grain to two its night side was the most peculiar. As the several pounds, it is found in the bars and day went down dull and cloudy, a thin fog gath

ered in the humid atmosphere, through which the shoals of rivers, in ravines, and places where

canvas houses, lighted from within, shone with a quartz containing gold has cropped out and broad obscure gieam, that confused the eye, and been disintegrated.

made the streets most familiar by daylight look We have already given an account of a strangely different. The town, regular mine and its diggings; still in writing of as it was, became a bewildering labyrinth of halfCalifornia, to omit all notice of the Sacra- light and deep darkness, and the perils of traversmento, and its city, would be very like play

ing it were greatly increased by the mire and freing Hamlet with the part of the Prince left quent pools left by the rain.

“ To one venturing out after dark for the first out.

time, these perils were by no means imaginary. The city, a hundred and thirty miles by Each man wore boots reaching to the knees--or water from San Francisco, stands at the higher, if he could get them—with the pantaloons junction of what is called the American tucked inside; but there were pitfalls, into which Fork, and the “ beautiful stream” whence it had he fallen, even these would have availed littakes its name, and which is not navigable ing and gambling had full swing, there was a

tle. In the more frequented streets, where drinkbeyond it.

partial light streaming out through doors and

crimson window-curtains to guide his steps. “ The aspect of the place on landing was deci- Sometimes a platform of plank received his feet; dedly more novel and picturesque than that of any sometimes he slipped from one loose barrel-stave other town in the country.” Boughs and spars to another, laid with the convex side upward; and were mingled together in striking contrast; the sometimes, deceived by a scanty piece of scantcables were fastened to the trunks and sinewy ling, he walked off its further end into a puddle roots; sign-boards and figure-heads were set up of liquid mud. Now floundering in the stiff mire on shore ; and galleys and deck cabins were of the mid-street, he plunged down into a gulley, turned out to grass, leased as shops, or occupied and was brought up' by a pool of water ; now as dwellings." Taylor.

venturing near the houses, a scaffold pole, or stray

beam, lent him an unexpected blow. If he wanIt forms a square of one mile and a half— dered into the outskirts of the town, where the the streets laid out at right angles; those tent-city of the emigrants was built, his case was running east and west named alphabetically, forest had not been cleared away, and the stumps,

still worse. The briery thickets of the original and those north and south, arithmetically.

trunks, and branches of felled trees were distribu

ted over the soil with delightful uncertainty. If 6: The original forest trees, standing in all parts he escaped these, the lariats of picketed mules of the town, give it a very picturesque appearance. spread iheir toils for his feet, threatening him with Many of the streets are lined with oaks and syca- entanglement, and a kick from one of the vicious mores, six feet in diameter, and spreading ample animals; tent-ropes and pins took him across the boughs on every side. The emigrants have shins, and the horned heads of cattle, left where ruined the finest of them by kindling camp-fires at they were slaughtered, lay ready to gore him at their bases, which in some instances have burned every step.” completely through, leaving a charred and blackened arch for the superb tree to rest upon.”

“ Ah me! what perils do environ

The man who"Taylor.

goes to seek his fortune in California ! This has brought about the destruction of At the time of Mr. Taylor's visit, the city several of them; a thing the more to be re- was thronged with overland emigrants, who gretted, as in summer, when the mercury bore striking traces of the hardships to be enstands at 120, shade is a thing to be desired. dured in that six or even seven months jour

Lands, rents, living, were much on the ney over the salt deserts of the Great Basin, same scale as at San Francisco. “ The value the rugged passes of the Sierra Nevada, and of all the houses in the city could not have the arid plains of California. Their very beasts been less than two million of dollars." “had an expression of patient experience

But, “in summer the place is a furnace, which plainly showed that no roads yet to in winter little better than a swamp, and the be traveled would astonish them in the influx of emigrants and discouraged miners least.” To the credit of the sisterhood, we generally exceeds the demand for labor.” must record that the women who had accomFurther, three-fourths of those who settle plished this terrible transit were not half there are visited by agues and other debili- so loud as the men in their complaints." tating complaints.

Mr. Taylor gives us a pretty view of Sa


« AnkstesnisTęsti »