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treated with a familiarity hitherto unknown in these parts to such worshipful wealth. Among the comers was Samuel Brannan, the Mormon leader, who, holding up a bottle of dust in one hand, and swinging his hat with the other, passed along the street shouting, “Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!”5

This took place in the early part of May. The conversion of San Francisco was complete. Those who had hitherto denied a lurking faith now unblushingly proclaimed it; and others, who had refused to believe even in specimens exhibited before their eyes, hesitated no longer in accepting any reports, however exaggerated, and in speeding them onward duly magnified. Many were thrown into a fever of excitement,' and all yielded more or less to the subtle influence of

5.He took his hat off and swung it, shouting aloud in the streets.' Bigler's Diary, MS., 79. Evans in the Oregon Bulletin makes the date ‘about the 12th of May.' See also findla's Stat., MS., 4-6; Ross' Stat., MS., 12; N. Helv. Diury, passim. Gillespie, Vig. Com., MS., 4, refers to three samples seen by him, the third ‘was a whole quinine-bottle full, which set all the people wild.'

6 By the 10th of June the sapient sceptic, Kemble, turned completely around in expressing his opinion, denying that he had ever discouraged, not to say denounced, 'the employment in which over two thirds of the white population of this country are engaged.' But it was too late to save either his reputation or his journal, There were not wanting others still to denounce in vain and loudly all mines and miners. “I doubt, sir,' one exclaims, in the Californian, “if ever the sun shone upon such a farce as is now being enacted in California, though I fear it may prove a tragedy before the curtain drops. I consider it your duty, Mr Editor, as a conservator of the public morals and welfare, to raise your voice against the thing. It is to be hoped that General Mason will despatch the volunteers to the scene of action, and send these unfortunate people to their homes, and prevent others from going thither.' This man quickly enough belied a wisdom which led him unwittingly to perform the part of heavy simpleton in the drama. Dunbar, Romance of the Age, 102, with his usual accuracy, places this communication in the Alta California, May 24, 1818-impossible, from the fact that on that day no paper was issued in California, and the Alta never saw the light until the following January.

? Carson, Rec., 4, who for a long time had rejected all reports, was finally convinced by a returning digger, who opened his well-filled bag before him. 'I looked on for a moment;' he writes, “a frenzy seized my soul; unbidden my legs performed some entirely new movements of polka steps-I took several-honses were too small for me to stay in; I was soon in the street in search of necessary outfits; piles of gold rose up before me at every step; castles of marble, dazzling the eye with their rich appliances; thousands of slaves bowing to my beck and call; myriads of fair virgins contending with each other for my love-were among the fancies of my fevered imagination. The Rothschilds, Girards, and Astors appeared to me but poor people; in short, I had a very violent attack of the gold fever.' For further particulars, see Larkin's Doc., MS., iv. passim.



the malady. Men hastened to arrange their affairs, dissolving partnerships, disposing of real estate, and converting other effects into ready means for departure. Within a few days an exodus set in that startled those who had placed their hopes upon the peninsular metropolis. “Fleets of launches left this place on Sunday and Monday,” exclaims Editor Kemble, "closely stowed with human beings... Was there ever anything so superlatively silly?”10 But sneers, expostulations, and warnings availed not with a multitude so possessed.

The nearest route was naturally sought-by water up the Bay into the Sacramento, and thence where fortune beckoned. The few available sloops, lighters, and nondescript craft were quickly engaged and filled for the mines. Many who could not obtain passage in the larger vessels sold all their possessions, when necessary, and bought a small boat;'l every little rickety cockleshell was made to serve the purpose; and into these they bundled their effects, set up a sail, and steered for Carquines Strait. Then there were two routes by land: one across to Sauzalito by launch, and thence by mule, mustang, or on foot, by way of San Rafael and Sonoma, into the California Valley; and the other round the southern end of the Bay and through Livermore Pass.

8 Brooks writes in his diary, under date of May 10th: ‘Nothing has been talked of but the new gold placer, as people call it.' 'Several parties, we hear, are already made up to visit the diggings.' May 13th: “The gold excitement increases daily, as several fresh arrivals from the mines have been reported at San Francisco.' Four Months among the Gold-finders, 14-15.

* Several hundred people must have left here during the last few days,' writes Brooks in his diary, under date of May 20th. * In the month of May it was computed that at least 150 people had left S. F., and every day since was adding to their number.' Annals S. F., 203. The census taken the March previous showed 810, of whom 177 were women and 60 children; so that 150 would be over one fourth of the male population. See also letter of Bassham to Cooper, May 15th, in Vallejo, Doc., MS., XXXV. 47. Those without means have only to go to a merchant and borrow fri $1,000 to $2,000, and give him an order on the gold mines, is the way Coutts, Diary, MS., 113,

10 Cal. Star, May 20, 1848. Kemble, who is fast coming to grief, curses the whole business, and pronounces the mines ‘all sham, a supurb (sic) takein as was ever got up to guzzle the gullible.'

11.Little row-boats, that before were probably sold for $50, were sold for $400 or $500.’ Gillespie, Vig. Com., MS., 3.


puts it.

Roads there were none save the trails between larger settlements. With the sun for compass, and mountain peaks for finger-posts, new paths were marked across the trackless plains and through the untrodden woods. Most of the gold-seekers could afford a horse, and even a pack-animal, which was still to be had for fifteen dollars,12 and thus proceed with greater speed to the goal, to the envy of the number that had to content themselves with wagons, which, though whitecovered and snug, with perhaps a family inside, were cumbersome and slow, especially when drawn by oxen. Often a pedestrian was passed trudging along under his load, glad to get his effects carried across the stream by some team, although he himself might have to breast the current swimming, perchance holding to the tail of soine horse. There were ferries only at rare points. Charles L. Ross 13 had left for the mines the last of April, by way of Alviso, and crossed the strait of Carquines by Semple's ferry at Martinez. At this time he was the only person on the boat. When he returned, less than a fortnight after, there were 200 wagons on their way to the foothills, waiting their turn to cross at the ferry.!4

In the general eagerness personal comfort became

12 One rider rented his animals at the mines for $100 per week. Brooks crossed to Sauzalito with four companions who were attended by an Indian servant to drive their six horses laden with baggage and camp equipments. Vallejo, Hist. Cal., MS., iv., points out that Sonoma reaped benefit as a way. station.

13 Experiences of a Pioneer of 1847 in California, by Charles L. Ross, is the title of a manuscript written at the dictation of Mr Ross by my stenographer, Mr Leighton, in 1878. Mr Ross left New Jersey in Nov. 1846, passed round Cape Horn in the bark Whiton, arriving in Cal. in April 1847. The very interesting information contained in this manuscript is all embodied in the pages of this history.

14 They having collected there in that short time-men, women, and chil. dren, families who had left their homes, and gathered in there from down the coast. They had organized a committee, and each man was registered on his arrival, and each took his turn in crossing. The boat ran night and day, carrying each time two wagons and horses and the people connected with the i. Some of them had to camp there quite a while. After a time somebody else got a scow and started another ferry, and they got across faster.' Ross' Experiences, MS., 11-12. 'Semple obtains from passengers some $20 per day, and has not a single boatman to help him. Only one man has offered to remain, and he only for two weeks at $25 a week.' Letter of Larkin to Mason from San José, May 26, 1948, in Doc. Hist. Cal., MS.

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of secondary consideration. Some started without a dollar, or with insufficient supplies and covering, often to suffer severely in reaching the ground; but once there they expected quickly to fill their pockets with what would buy the services of their masters, and obtain for them abundance to eat. Many were fed while on the way as by the ravens of Midas; for there were few in California then or since who would see a fellowbeing starve. But if blankets and provisions were neglected, none overlooked the all-important shovel, the price for which jumped from one dollar to six, ten, or even more, and stores were rummaged for pickaxes, hoes, buttles, vials, snuff-boxes, and brass tubes, the latter for holding the prospective treasure 16

Through June the excitement continued, after which there were few left to be excited. Indeed, by the middle of this month the abandonment of San Francisco was complete; that is to say, three fourths of the male population had gone to the mines. It was as if an epidemic had swept the little town so lately bustling with business, or as if it was always early morning there. Since the presence of United States forces San Francisco had put on pretensions, and scores of buildings had been started. complains the Star, the 27th of May, “stores are closed and places of business vacated, a large number of houses tenantless, various kinds of mechanical labor suspended or given up entirely, and nowhere the pleasant hum of industry salutes the ear as of late; but as if a curse had arrested our onward course of enterprise, everything wears a desolate and sombre look, everywhere all is dull, monotonous, dead."17

15 “I am informed $50 has been offered for one,' writes Larkin on June 1st.

16 • Earthen jars and even barrels have been put in requisition,'observes the Californian of Aug. 5th.

11 The following advertisement appears in this issue: “The highest market price will be paid for gold, either cash or merchandise, by Mellus & Howard, Montgomery street.' Again, by the same firm goods were offered for sale for cash, hides and tallow, or placera gold.' Cil. Star, May 27, 1848. Of quite a different character was another notice in the same issue. «Pay up before you go-everybody knows where,' the editor cries. “Papers can be forwarded to Sutter's Fort with all regularity. But pay the printer, if you

« But now,


Real estate had dropped one half or more, and all merchandise not used in the mines declined, while labor rose tenfold in price.

Spreading their valedictions on fly-sheets, the only two journals now faint dead


the Californian on the 29th of May, and the Star on the 14th of June. “The whole country from San Francisco to Los Angeles,” exclaimed the former, “and from the seashore to the base of the Sierra Nevada, resounds to the sørdid

cry of gold! GOLD!! GOLDI!l while the field is left half planted, the house half built, and everything neglected but the manufacture of shovels and pickaxes, and the means of transportation to the spot where one man obtained $128 worth of the real stuff in one day's washing, and the average for all concerned is $20 per diem. Sadly spoke Kemble, he who visited the gold mines and saw nothing, he to whom within four weeks the whole thing was a sham, a superlatively silly sham, groaning within and without, but always in very bad English, informing the world that his paper “could not be made by magic, and the labor of mechanism was as essential to its existence as to all other arts;" and as neither men nor devils


please, all you in arrears.' See also Findla's Stat., MS., 4-6. After quite a busy life, during which he gained some prominence as editor of the Star anıl Californian and the Alta California, and later as government official and newspaper correspondent, Kemble died at the east the 10th of Feb. 1886. He was a man highly esteemed in certain circles.

Pay the cost of the house, and the lot would be thrown in. On the fifty-vara corner Pine and Kearny streets was a house which had cost $100 to build; both house and lot were offered for $350. Ross' Ex., MS., 12; Larkin's Doc., MS., vi., 144. On the door of a score of houses was posted the notice, ‘Gone to the Diggings!' From San José Larkin writes to the governor, . The improvement of Yerba Buena for the present is done.' Letter, May 26th, in Larkin's Doc, llist. Cal., MS., vi. 74. Even yet the name San Francisco has not become familiar to those accustomed to that of Yerba Buena. See also Brooks' Four Months, in which is written, under date of May 17th: ‘Workpeople have struck. Walking through the town to-day I observed that laborers were employed only upon half a dozen of the fifty new buildings which were in the course of being run up.'. May 20th: 'Sweating tells me that his negro waiter has demanded and receives ten dollars a day.' Larkin, writing from S. F. to Secretary Buchanan, June 1st, remarks that some parties of from five to fifteen men have sent to this town and offered cooks $10 to $15 a day for a few weeks. Mechanics and teamsters, earning the year past $5 to $8 per day, have struck and gone... A merchant lately from China has even lost his Chinese servant.'

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