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gled into Monterey with a specimen which he had hammered into a clasp for his bow. It fell into the hands of my secretary, W. R. Garner, who communicated the secret to me. The Indian described the locality in which it was found with so much accuracy that Mr Garner, on his recent excursion to the mines, readily identified the spot. It is now known as Carson's Diggings... It was the full intention of Mr Garner to trail this Indian at the first opportunity, and he was prevented from so doing only by the imperative duties of the office."
Both Parsons and Barstow affirm that previous to his discovery, Marshall had often expressed his belief in the existence of gold in the mountains; and Mrs Weimer goes so far as to assert that the discovery was not accidental. It is indeed somewhat remarkable that the secret remained so long unrevealed. The ground had been traversed these many years by natives, by servants of the fur-companies and free trappers, by emigrants, by explorers, and by professional scientists who observed nothing, notwithstanding that the tell-tale blush was there upon the foothills plainly visible to those who could read it. And yet it is no matter for surprise. Do not even the most gifted in this latter-day dispensation, with all the brilliant light revealed by science, walk as men blind or dreaming, while on every side, wrapped in the invisible, or latent in the earth and air and sky, are secrets as manifold, and as pregnant with meaning as any hitherto divulged, awaiting but the eternal march of mind ?
If Dana and Sandels, or any of those who have been heedlessly credited with the discovery, had really found gold as did Marshall, and had published it to the world as did the teamster, how different might have been the destiny of the Pacific coast nations. To England, or to France, either of which countries would have paid thrice over the paltry fifteen millions and the indemnity due the United States,
California might then have belonged; or even Mexico herself might have awakened from her lethargy, and gathered from this new-born El Dorado sufficient gold wherewith to satisfy her creditors. In such a case how different would have been the appearance, for better or worse, of the hills and valleys of the golden state.
Morever, without the gold of California to counterbalance that which England found in Australia, where would have been the commerce of the United States ? Where would have been our credit during the war for the union, when even with California gold, poured into New York at the rate of three or four millions a month, the federal promises to pay fell to one-third of their face? The vital sustenance of that war was California gold and Nevada silver, without which foreign occupation in the Pacific States was possible, and foreign domination, with abolition of Monroe doctrines and the like, extremely probable.
In conclusion, it is hardly necessary for me to state that there is as yet no sufficient evidence of any knowledge by white men of the existence of gold in the Sierra foothills, prior to the discovery at the Coloma saw-mill on the 24th of January, 1848. Even were it not so; if, for instance, as in the case of America and the Northmen, the existence of the continent had been once known, and the knowledge lost or forgotten, to Columbus, none the less, would belong the honor of discovery. So with Marshall. There may have been some who thought of gold, or talked of gold, or even handled gold before January 1848; but, none the less, to James Marshall belongs the honor of its discovery, if indeed, it can be called an honor. The difference in the merit of the two discoveries, not to mention their relative importance, as to which, of course, there can be no comparison, is that in the one case Columbus believed in a new world and sought it, while Marshall stumbled on his discovery by the merest accident.
AFFAIRS ABOUT THE COLOMA SAW-MILL DURING THE SPRING
Plutus. I shan't go near that fellow, Jupiter.
Plutus. No. He insulted me, turned me out of his house, and scattered me in all directions,-me, the old friend of the family, all but pitched nie out of doors, as if I burnt his fingers. What! go back to him, to be thrown to his parasites, and toadies, and harlots?. No; send me to those who value the gift, who will make much of me, who honor me, and desire my company, and let all these fools keep house still with Poverty who prefer her to me. Let them get her to give them a spade and an old sheepskin, and go dig for their two-pence a-day, after squandering thousands in gifts to their friends. Jupiter. Timon will never behave so to you again.
When at length civilization began to creep into the cañons of the Sierra foothills, and the cry of gold was raised, how was answered the mill-race digger's shout? Tamely enough, at first. Few heeded it, or imagined that it amounted to any more than a thousand other great or small discoveries made since Spaniards began their explorations northward from Mexico. Gold was thinly distributed over wide areas, with richer deposits at intervals, so that for one great discovery, there were a hundred which were hardly worth attention.
When bags and bottles of it were displayed at Benicia, at Sonoma, at San Francisco, and Monterer, the sleepy towns began to rub their eyes, and awake to the fact that here was gold, bright yellow hard gold, and in such quantities as might well and quickly claim their consideration. The quiet of pastoral California was disturbed; the pulses of the people quickened as with one accord they directed their eyes northward. Thence spread the news to Mexico, to Oregon, to the islands of the sea, to the eastern shore of the continent, to South America, and to the conti
MARSHALL, THE DISCOVERER.
nents of the so-called old world. White people heard of it, and black people; coppery, red, and yellow people, -came rushing in from every quarter, all eager for some of the delectable dirt.
Much has been written regarding the Coloma gold discovery. Much about it worth knowing remains unwritten. The choicest unpublished information to my knowledge is that contained in the manuscript of Henry W. Bigler, Diary of a Mormon in California, who was on the ground at the
time, with a remarkably clear head and ready pen.
The statement given me by Mr Sutter at Litiz, and contained in the manuscript entitled Personal Reminiscences of General John Augustus Sutter, is also exceedingly interesting and valuable. I will herewith present verbatim several of the more important accounts of the discovery.
Marshall was a queer genius. I speak with exactness, for he was both a genius and queer. I have in my possession an old daguerreotype which is unlike any other portrait that I have seen. Parson's Life of Marshall is the best book upon the subject extant. Naturally kind and humane, his mind dreamy while his faculties were in repose, but of cragged disposition and inclined to be a little fierce when roused, all along his later life he was made morose by what he deemed injustice and neglect on the part of the people, and of the government. “The enterprising energy of which the orators and editors of California's early golden days boasted so much as belonging to Yankeedom,” he writes bitterly in 1857, “was not national but individual. Of the profits derived from the enterprise it stands thus, Yankeedom $600,000,000; myself individually $000,000,000. Ask the records of the country for the reason why? They will answer, I need not. Were 1 an Englishman, and had made my discovery on English soil, the case would have been different." Mr Hittell visited him at Coloma in his retirement, where he alone remained of all those early discoverers. “No photograph of him has ever been obtained ” he said. "I requested him to let me get a negative, from which I would have pictures taken and sold in San Francisco for his benefit, but he refused indignantly. The thought of the injustice that had been done him made him unhappy. He wanted no allusion made to the debt due by California to him. Others have been loaded with wealth and honor, and he has been left to struggle along in poverty and obscurity, he who discovered the gold that made California what it is.” Poor Marshall! Too simple and sensitive by half! Had he made the gold, and it had been stolen from him by an ungrateful republic, he would not have been in his own opinion more cruelly wronged than by this neglect to reward him forwhat? Yet we can but feel kindly toward the man who, though mistaken in what constitutes greatness, and merit worthy of public reward, was nevertheless well-meaning, honest, and industrious. His name will forever be conspicuous in the annals of the country, howsoever accidentally it became so.
Yet far more than in picking from the historic tailrace the first particle of the divine dirt found there, Marshall had often played the hero. The world knows its impudent men, its brassy, bellowing fellows; but how few of its real noblemen! Many generous deeds are recorded of Marshall while in the war; and it was not an unmanly act, the saving his saw-mill, in the way he did, from a freshet which threatened it just before the discovery of gold. The dam was built of brush with the butts laid down stream. The rains coming on, the river rose, and fears were entertained that the works would all be swept away. Side by side with his men, Marshall worked day and night, and received therefor the praise of his partner, and the respect and admiration of his associates. Up to his waist in water, in constant peril of his life, for many hours he worked, and finally succeeded in anchoring the mill in safety.
Marshall claimed to have bcen the cause of the dis