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THE LUCKLESS DISCOVERER.
and butchery of his aboriginal protégés. Forced by the now enraged miners to flee from his home and property, he shoulders his pack of forty pounds and tramps the mountains and ravines, living on rice. on rice. He seeks employment and is refused. "We employ you!" they cry ironically. "You must find gold for us. You found it once, and you can again. And it is told for a fact, and sworn to by his former partner, that they "threatened to hang him to a tree, mob him, etc., unless he would go with them and point out the rich diggings.""
There is something unaccountable in all this. Marshall must have rendered himself exceedingly obnoxious to the miners, who, though capable of fiendish acts, were not fiends. While badly treated in some respects, he was undoubtedly to blame in others. Impelled by the restlessness which had driven him west, and overcome by morbid reflections, he allowed many of his good qualities to drift. In his dull, unimaginative way he out-Timoned Timon in misanthropy. He fancied himself followed by a merciless fate, and this was equivalent to courting such a destiny. It is to be regretted
miners and others came in and squatted on the ground claimed by Marshall, regardless of the posted notices warning them off. "Thirteen of Sutter & Marshall's oxen soon went down into the cañon,' says Marshall, and thence down hungry men's throats. These cost $400 per yoke to replace. Seven of my horses went to carry weary men's packs. ́ ́The mill hands deserted, and before the mill could be started again certain white men at Murderer's Bar butchered some Indians and ravished their women. The Indians retaliated and killed four or five white men. So far it was an even thing; the white men had met only their just deserts. But the excuse to shoot natives was too good to be lost. A mob gathered, and failing to find the hostile tribe, attacked the Culumas, who were wholly innocent and friendly, and many of them at work about the mill. Of these they shot down seven; and when Marshall interfered to defend his people, the mob threatened him, so that he was obliged to fly for his life. After a time he returned to Coloma only to find the place claimed by others, who had laid out a town there. Completely bankrupt, Marshall was obliged to leave the place in search of food, and soon he was informed that the miners had destroyed the dam, and stolen the mill timbers, and that was the end of the saw mill. Neither Marshall, Winters, nor Bayley ever received a dollar for their property. Parsons' Life of Marshall, 188.
25 To save him, I procured and secreted a horse, and with this he escaped.' Affidavit of John Winters, in Parsons Life of Marshall, 178. See also Marshall's statement, in Dunbar's Romance of the Aye, 117-23.
26 I wandered for more than four years, he continues,...'feeling myself under some fatal influence, a curse, or at least some bad circumstances.'
that he sank also into poverty, passing the last twentyeight years of his life near Coloma, the centre of his dreams, sustained by scanty fare and shadowy hopes of recognition.27
Finally he breaks forth: 'I see no reason why the government should give to others and not to me. In God's name, can the circumstance of my being the first to find the gold regions of California be a cause to deprive me of every right pertaining to a citizen from under the flag?' These, say, are not the sentiments of a healthy mind. The government was not giving more to others than to him. One great trouble was, that he early conceived the idea, wholly erroneous, that the government and the world owed him a great debt; that but for him gold in California never would have been found. In some way Marshall became mixed up with that delectable association, the Hounds. Of course he denies having been one of them, but his knowledge of their watchword and other secrets looks suspicious. Judging entirely by his own statements, particularly by his denials, I deem it more than probable that he was a member of the band.
27 Returning to Coloma in the spring of 1857, he obtained some odd jobs of work sawing wood, making gardens, and cleaning wells. Then for $15 he purchased some land of little value on the hill-side adjacent and planted a vineyard. He obtained for some years a small pension from the state. object of charity on the part of the state,' says Barstow, Stat., MS., 14. Sutter, Pers. Rem., MS., 205, says the same. The Elko Independent, Jan. 15, 1870, states that he was then living at Kelsey's Diggings. He is upward of fifty years of age, and though feeble, is obliged to work for his board and clothes, not being able to earn more.' Mr E. Weller writes me in Aug. 1881 from Coloma: 'Mr Marshall is living at Kelsey, about three miles from this place. He has a small orchard in this place which he rents out for $25 per year. He was never married. He is trying a little at mining, but it is rather up-hill work, for he is now a feeble old man. He died in August 1885, aged 73. Among authorities referring to him are Barstow's Stat., MS., 14; Burnett's Rec., MS., ii. 10; Crosby's Events in Cal., MS., 17; Annals of S. F., 767, where may be found a poor portrait; Sutter's Pers. Rec., MS., 160 and 205-6; Powers' Afoot, 292-3; Schlagintweit, Cal., 216. The Sac. Record-Union, Jan. 20, 1872, states that he was 'forced in his old age to eke out a scanty subsistence by delivering rough lectures based upon his wretched career.' Further references, Grass Valley Union, April 19, 1870; Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 17, 1875; Folsom Telegraph, Sept. 17, 1871; Solano Republican, Sept. 29, 1870; Napa Register, Aug. 1, 1874; Vallejo Chron., Oct. 10, 1874; Truckee Tribune, Jan. 8, 1870; S. F. Alta Cal., May 5, 1872, and Aug. 17, 1874; S. F. News Letter, July 19, 1879; History of Nevada, 78; S. F. Bulletin, Dec. 6, 1855; Aug. 10-14, 1885; Yolo Co. Hist., 86; Tinkham's Hist. Stockton, 108; Lancey's Cruise of the Dale, MS., 66; San Joaquin County Hist., 20; Sutter Co. Hist., 21. The Romance of the Age, or the Discovery of Gold in California, by Edward E. Dunbar, New York, 1867, was written with the view of securing government relief for Sutter. Dunbar writes graphically, and begins his book with these words: 'Somebody has said that history is an incorrigible liar.' If all history` were written as Mr Dunbar writes, I should fully agree with him. Little that is reliable has been printed on Marshall and the gold discovery, eyewitnesses, even, seemingly forgetting more than they remember. The most important work upon the subject is the Life and Adventures of James W. Marshall, by George Frederic Parsons, published in Sacramento by James W. Marshall and W. Burke, in 1870. The facts here brought out with the utmost clearness and discrimination were taken from those best knowing them. George Frederic Parsons was born at Brighton, England, June 15, 1840. He was educated at private schools. Having spent five years at sea, during which he several times visited the East Indies, he was attracted by the
THE UNHAPPY SWISS.
With regard to Sutter, his position and possibilities, there was within reach boundless wealth for him, could he have seized it; his fall was as great though not so rapid as Marshall's. Out of the saw-mill scheme he came well enough, gathering gold below Coloma, and selling his half-interest in the mill for $6,000. His troubles began at the flour-mill. After he had expended not less than $30,000 in a vain attempt to complete it, it went to decay.28 The men in the
reports of the gold-fields of Cariboo in 1862, and made an expedition thither. Returning from the mines unsuccessful, he entered journalism in Victoria, V. I. In 1863 he started a paper called the North Pacific Times, at New Westminster, B. C. The population was too small to support it, and it was abandoned in a few months. He then went to San Francisco, and joined the staff of the Examiner. In 1867 he left that paper to take a position on the S. F. Times. Entering the local staff, he finally became the chief editorial writer of the paper, and occupied that post when it was merged in the Alta. This occurred at the end of 1869, and the same winter Mr Parsons assumed editorial control of the Sacramento Record, a republican journal. He continued to edit the Record until it was consolidated with the Sacramento Union as the Record-Union, and subsequently to that until 1882, when he left California and accepted a position on the editorial staff of the New York Tribune. Mr Parsons was married in 1869, and had one daughter, Melami, who died in 1881 of typhoid fever. He was a contributor to the Overland Monthly during the editorship of Bret Harte, and has written several short items besides magazine articles, ordinary press work, reviews, and his life of Marshall. Mr Parsons' life has been notable for its quietness and evenness. I have not known a journalist in the field of my history superior, if equal, to him in philosophic insight, knowledge of men and things, critical familiarity with literature, or power and charm of style. He is not a man, however, who would ever parade his name before the public. Personal notoriety is repellant to him. Considering his capacity and character, the people of the whole country are to be congratulated that he has taken an editorial place on the Tribune, a journal of splendid talent and national influence, as the sphere of his influence is thus greatly enlarged. Mr Parsons is a man of solid accomplishments and sterling integrity. He is preeminently a hater of shams in politics or society. It would be to the advantage of the people of the United States if editors like him were more numerous.
'My grist-mill never was finished. Everything was stolen, even the stones. There is a saying that men will steal everything but a mile-stone and a mill-stone. They stole my mill-stones. They stole the bells from the fort, and gate-weights; the hides they stole, and salmon-barrels. I had 200 barrels which I had made for salmon. I was just beginning to cure salmon then. I had put up some before, enough to try it, and to ascertain that it would be a good business. Some of the cannon at the fort were stolen, and some I gave to neighbors that they might fire them on the 4th of July. My property was all left exposed, and at the mercy of the rabble, when gold was discovered. My men all deserted me. I could not shut the gates of my fort and keep out the rabble. They would have broken them down. The country swarmed with lawless men. Emigrants drove their stock into my yard, and used my grain with impunity. Expostulation did no good. I was alone. There was no law. If one felt one's self insulted, one might shoot the offender. One man shot another for a slight provocation in the fort under my very nose. Philosopher Pickett shot a very good man who differed with him on some ques
fields asked for more and more pay, until a demand for ten dollars a day compelled Sutter to let them go. These were the first to leave him; then his clerk went, then his cook, and finally his mechanics.29 At the tannery, which was now for the first time becoming profitable, leather was left to rot in the vats, and a large quantity of collected hides were rendered valueless. So in all the manufactories, shoe-shop, saddle-shop, hat and blacksmith shops, the men deserted, leaving their work in a half-finished state. Where others succeeded he failed; he tried merchandising at Coloma, but in vain, and retired in January 1849. The noise of interlopers and the bustle of business about the fort discomfited the owner, and with his Indians he moved to Hock Farm, then in charge of a majordomo. Sutter evidently could not cope with the world, particularly with the sharp and noisy Yankee world.30
Tenfold greater were Sutter's advantages to profit by this discovery than were those of his neighbors, who secured rich results. With a well-provisioned fortress adjacent to the mines, a large grant of land tion.' Sutter's Pers. Rem., MS., 195-6. All Sutter's pains in establishing industries went for nothing. Burnett's Rec., MS., ii. 13; Thornton's Or. and Cal., ii. 270; Sac. Ill., 7; Browne's Res., 15; Gold Hill News, April 16, 1872; Larkin's Docs, MS., vi. 63.
29 The Mormons did not like to leave my mill unfinished,' Sutter remarks, 'but they got the gold fever like everybody else.' Hutchings' Mag., ii. 197. See also Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 17, 1875.
30 As a matter of fact, the Swiss had nothing whatever to complain of. He was his own greatest enemy. His representations of the disastrous effect upon him of the gold discovery were greatly exaggerated. They were by no means so bad as he wished them to appear. During harvest-time in the year of discovery he was much better off than his neighbors, who never asked indemnification from the government. Says Col Mason, who was there in July: I before mentioned that the greater part of the farmers and rancheros had abandoned their fields to go to the mines; this is not the case with Capt. Sutter, who was carefully gathering his wheat, estimated at 40,000 bushels. Flour is already worth at Sutter's $36 a barrel, and soon will be $50. It was reported that Capt. Sutter's crop of wheat for 1846 would be 75,000 bushels.' Sherwood's Pocket Guide to Cal., 18. He had received liberally from the Mexican government what was liberally ratified by the American government. Far more manly, not to say respectable, would it have been had he lived modestly on some small portion of the fruit of his labors, or of good fortune, instead of spending his old age complaining, and importuning the government for alms. Everything had been given him, fertile lands, and golden opportunity. With these he should have been content. In return—I gladly record it he gave aid to suffering emigrants, and nobly exercised a bounteous hospitality, and that to many who afterward treated him vilely.
CLAIMS FOR RECOMPENSE
stocked with cattle and horses-land on which shortly after began to be built the second city in the state— and with broad fields under cultivation; with a market, at fabulous prices, for everything he could supplyhe should have barrelled a schooner-load of gold-dust, even though the emigrants did encroach on his claims, settle on his land, steal his horses and other effects, and butcher some of his cattle and hogs. Further than this, it was not until more than a year after the discovery, during which time the owner of New Helvetia abandoned his duties and let things drift, that any serious inroads were made on his droves of wild and uncared-for cattle. The truth is, had the grand discovery been less, Sutter's loss would have been less; had the discovery been quite small, Sutter's profit from it would have been great. In other words, Sutter was not man enough to grasp and master his good fortune.
There are those who have deemed it their duty to censure California for not doing more for Sutter and Marshall. Such censure is not only unjust, but silly and absurd. There was no particular harm in flinging to these men a gratuity out of the public purse, and something of the kind was done. It was wholly proper to hang a portrait of Sutter in the hall of the state capitol beside that of Vallejo and others.
If there are any who wish to worship the memory of Marshall, let his likeness be also placed in the pantheon. It is all a matter of taste. But when outside critics begin to talk of duty and decency on the part of the state, it is well enough to inquire more closely into the matter, and determine just what, if anything, is due to these men.
When a member of the commonwealth by his genius or efforts renders the state a great service, it is proper that such service should be publicly acknowledged, and if the person or his family become poor and need