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So also came to an end for a time the sittings of the town council, and the services of the sanctuary, all having gone after other gods. All through the Sundays the little church on the plaza was silent, and all through the week days the door of Alcalde Townsend's office remained locked. As for the shipping, it was left to the anchor, even this dull metal sometimes being inconstant. The sailors departing, captain and officers could only follow their example. One commander, on observing the drift of affairs, gave promptly the order to put to sea. The crew refused to work, and that night gagged the watch, lowered the boat, and rowed away. In another instance the watch joined in absconding. Not long afterward a Peruvian brig entered the bay, the first within three weeks. The houses were there, but no one came out to welcome it. At length, hailing a Mexican who was passing, the captain learned that everybody had gone northward, where the valleys and mountains were of gold. On the instant the crew were off.19

19 So run these stories. Ferry, Cal., 306–13. The captain who sought to put to sea commanded the Flora, according to a letter in June of a merchant. Robinson's Gold Regions, 29–30; Revere's Tour of Duty, 254. One of the first vessels to be deserted was a ship of the Hudson's Bay Company lying at anchor in the bay; the sailors departing, the captain followed them, leaving the vessel in charge of his wife and daughter. McKinstry, in the Lancaster Examiner. Loud complaints appear in the Californian, Sept. 5, 1848; every ship loses most of her crew within forty-eight hours after arrival. See Bracketi, U. S. Cavalry, 125-7. The first steamship, the California, arriving Feb. 28, 1849, was immediately deserted by her crew; Forbes asked Jones of the U. S. squadron for men to take charge of the ship, but the poor commodore had none. Crosby's Stat., MS., 12; Annals S. F., 220; First Steamship Pioneers, 124. To prevent desertion, the plan was tried of giving sailors two months' furlough; whereby some few returned, but most of them preferred liberty, wealth, and dissipation to the tyranny of service. Swan's Trip to the Gold Mines, in Cal. Pioneers, MS., no. 49. Some Mexicans arriving, and finding the town depopulated of its natural defenders, broke into vacant houses aud took what they would. The Digger's Hand-Book, 53. See also the Californian, Aug. 4, 1848; George McKinstry, in Lancaster Examiner; Stockton Ind., Oct. 19, 1875; Barstow's Stat., MS., 3-4; Sac, III., 7; Forbes' Gold Region, 17-18; Tuthill's Cal., 233–44; Three Weeks in Gold Mines, 4; Canon's Early Rec., 3-4; Lants, Kal., 24-31; Hayes' ('ol. Cal. Notes, v. 85; Revue des Deux Mondes, Feb. 1, 1849, 469; Quarterly Review, no. 91, 1852, 508; Hittell’s Mining, 17; Brooks' Four Months, 18; Overland Monthly, xi. 12–13; Ryan's Judges and Crim., 72–7; Am. Quat. Reg., ii. 288-95, giving the reports of Larkin,

Other towns and settlements in California were no less slow than San Francisco to move under the new fermentation. Indeed, they were more apathetic, and were finally stirred into excitement less by the facts than by the example of the little metropolis. Yet the Mexicans were in madness no whit behind the Americans, nor the farmers less impetuous than townsmen when once the fury seized them. May had not wholly passed when at San José the merchant closed his store, or if the stock was perishable left open the doors that people might help themselves, and incontinently set out upon the pilgrimage. So the judge abandoned his bench and the doctor his patients; even the alcalde dropped the reins of government and went away with his subjects.20 Criminals slipped their fetters and Mason, Jones, and Paymaster Rich on gold excitement; Willey's Decade Ser. mons, 12–17; Gleason's Cath. Church, ii. 175-93; Sherman's Memoirs, i. 46-9; S. F. Directory, 1852-3, 8-9; S. I. News, ii. 142–8, giving the extract of a letter from S. F., May 27th; Vallejo Recorder, March 14, 1848; Cal. Past and Present, 77; Gillespie’s Vig. Com., MS., 3-4; Findla's Stat., M3., 4-6. The Californian newspaper revived shortly after its suspension in May.

20 The alguacil, Henry Bee, had ten Indian prisoners under his charge in the lock-up, two of them charged with murder. These he would have turned over to the alcalde, but that functionary had already taken his departure. Bee was puzzled how to dispose of his wards, for though he was determined to go to the mines, it would never do to let them loose upon a community of women and children. Finally he took all the prisoners with him to the diggings, where they worked contentedly for him until other inipers, jealous of Bee's success, incited them to revolt. By that time, however, the alguacil had maile his fortune. So goes the story. San José Pioneer, Jan. 27, 1877. Writing Mason the 26th of May from San José, Larkin says: 'Last night sereral of the most respectable American residents of this town arrived home from a visit to the gold regions; next week they with their families, and I think nine tenths of the foreign store-keepers, mechanics, and day-laborers of this place, and perhaps of San Francisco, leave for the Sacramento.' West, a stable-keeper, had two brothers in the mines, who urged him at once to hasten thither and bring his family. “Burn the barn if you cannot dispose of it otherwise,'they said. C. L. Ross writes from the mines in April, Experiences from 1847, MS.: 'I found John M. Horner, of the mission of San José, who told me he had left about 500 acres of splendid wheat for the cattle to roam over at will, he and his family having deserted their place entirely, and started off for the mines.' J. Belden, Nov. 6th, writes Larkin from San José: “The town is full people coming from and going to the gold mines. A man just from there told me he saw the governor and Squire Colton there, in rusty rig, scratching gravel for gold, but with little success.' Larkin's Doc., MS., vi. 219. And so in the north. Semple, writing Larkin May 19th, says that in three days there would not be two inen left in Benicia; and Cooper, two days later, declared that everybody was leaving except Brant and Seniple. Larkin's Doc., MS., vi. 111, 116; Vallejo, Doc., MS., xii. 344. From Sonoma some one wrote in the Californian, Aug. 5th, that the town was wellnigh depopulated. 'Not a laboring man


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hastened northward; their keepers followed in pursuit, if indeed they had not preceded, but they took care not to find them. Soldiers fled from their posts; others were sent for them, and none returned. Valuable land grants were surrendered, and farms left tenantless; waving fields of grain stood abandoned, perchance opened to the roaming cattle, and gardens were left to run to waste. The country seemed as if smitten by a plague.

All along down the coast from Monterey to Santa Bárbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego, it was the same. Towns and country were wellnigh depopulated. There the fever raged fiercest during the three summer months. At the capital a letter from Larkin gave the impulse, and about the same time, upon the statement of Swan, four Mormons called at Monterey en route for Los Angeles, who were reported to carry 100 pounds avoirdupois of gold gathered in less than a month at Mormon Island. This was in June. A fortnight after the town was depopulated, 1,000 starting from that vicinity within a week.22 At San Franmechanic can be obtained in town.' Vallejo says that the first notice of gold having been discovered was conveyed to Sonoma through a flask of gold-dust sent by Sutter to clear a boat-load of wheat which had been forwarded in part payment for the Ross property, but lay seized for debt at Sonoma.

'Gov. Boggs, then alcalde of Sonoma, and I,' says Vallejo, 'started at once for Sac. ramento to test the truth of the report, and found that Sutter, Marshall, and others had been taking out gold for some time at Coloma... We came back to Sonoma, and such was the enthusiasm of the people that the town and entire country was soon deserted.' Vallejo's Oration at Sonoma, July 4, 1876, in Sonoma Democrat, July 8, 1876. The general evidently forgets, or at all events ignores, the many rumors current prior to the reception of the flask, as well as the positive statement with proofs of friends and passers-by.

21 Such is Mason's report. María Antonia Pico de Castro, announcing from Monterey to her son Manuel in Mexico the grand discovery, says that everybody is crazy for the gold; meanwhile stock is comparatively safe from thieves, but on the other hand hides and tallow are worth nothing. Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., i, 505. At Santa Cruz A. A. Hecox and eleven others petitioned the alcalde the 30th of Dec. for a year's extension of time in comply. ing with the conditions of the grants of land obtained by them according to the usual form. Under the pressure of the gold excitement labor hail become so scarce and high that they found it impossible to have lumber drawn for houses and fences. The petition was granted. 22 Swan's Trip, 1-3; Buffum's Six Months, 68; Carson's Rec., 4.

One day,' says Carson, who was then at Monterey, 'I saw a form, bent and filthy, approaching me, and soon a cry of recognition was given between us.

He was an old acquaintance, and had been one of the first to visit the mines. Now be stood before me. His hair hung out of his hat; his chin with beard was

cisco commerce had been chiefly affected; here it was government that was stricken. Mason's small force was quickly thinned; and by the middle of July, if we may believe the Reverend Colton, who never was guilty of spoiling a story by too strict adherence to truth, the governor and general-in-chief of California was cooking his own dinner.23

In a proclamation of July 25th, Colonel Mason called on the people to assist in apprehending desert

He threatened the foothills with a dragoon force; but whence were to come the dragoons? The officers were as eager to be off as the men; many of them obtained leave to go, and liberal furloughs were granted to the soldiers, for those who could not obtain leave went without leave. As the officers who remained could no longer afford to live in their accustomed way, a cook’s wages being $300 a month, they were allowed to draw rations in kind, which they exchanged for board in private families. 24

But even


black, and his buckskins reached to his knees.' The man had a bag of gold on his back. The sight of its contents started Carson on his way at once. In May Larkin had prophesied that by June the town would be without inhabitants. June 1st Mason at Monterey wrote Larkin at S. F.: “The golden-yellow fever has not yet, I believe, assumed here its worst type, though the premonitory symptoms are beginning to exhibit themselves, and doubtless the epidemic wiil pass over Monterey, leaving the marks of its ravages, as it has done at S. F. and elsewhere. Take care you don't become so charged with its malaria as to inoculate and infect us all when you return.' Jackson McDuffee, addressing Larkin on the saine date, says: ‘Monterey is very dull, nothing doing, the gold fever is beginning to take a decided effect here, and a large party will leave for the Sacramento the last of the week. Shovels, spades, picks, and other articles wanted by these wild adventurers are in great demand. Schallenberger on the 8th of June tells Larkin that 'a great many are leaving Monterey. Times duller than when you left.' In Sept. there was not a doctor in the town, and Mrs Larkin who was lying ill with fever had to do without medical attendance.

23.Gen. Mason, Lieut Lanman, and myself form a mess... This morning for the fortieth time we had to take to the kitchen and cook our own breakfast. A general of the U. S. army, the commander of a man-of-war, and the alcalde of Monterey in a smoking kitchen grinding coffee, toasting a herring, and peeling onions!' Three Years in Cal., 247-8. Réduit à faire lui-même sa cuisine,' as one says of this incident in the Revue des Deux Mondes, Feb. 1849.

24 'I of course could not escape the infection,' says Sherman, Mem., i. 46, and at last convinced Colonel Mason that it was our duty to go up and see with our own eyes, that we might report the truth to our government.' Swan relates an anecdote of a party of sailors, including the master-at-arıns, belong. ing to the arren, who deserted in a boat. They hid themselves in the pine



then they grew restless, and soon disappeared, as Commodore Jones asserts in his report to the secretary of the navy the 25th of October.25 Threats and entreaties were alike of little avail. Jones claims to have checked desertion in his ranks by offering large rewards; but if the publication of such notices produced any marked effect, it was not until after there were few left to desert.26

In the midst of the excitement, however, there were men who remained calm, and here and there were those who regarded not the product of the Sierra foothills as the greatest good. Luis Peralta, who had lived near upon a century, called to him his sons, themselves approaching threescore years, and said: “My sons, God has given this gold to the Americans. Had he desired us to have it, he would have given it to us ere now. Therefore go not after it, but let

Plant your lands, and reap; these be your

others go.

woorls till dark, and then came into town for provisions, but got so drunk that on starting they lost the road, and went to sleep on the beach opposite their own ship. Just before daylight one of them awoke, and hearing the ship's bell strike, roused the others barely in time to make good their escape. Swan afterward met them in the mines. Trip to the Gold Mines, MS., 3. Certain volunteers from Lower California arriving in Monterey formed into companies, helped themselves to stores, and then started for the mives. Green's Lije and A Aventures, MS., 11; Californian, Aug. 14, 1848. The offer of $100 per month for sailors, made by Capt. Allyn of the Isaac Walton, brought forward no accepters. Frisbie's Remin., MS., 30–2; Ferry, Cal., 325–6; Sherman's Jem., i. 57; Bigler's Diary, MS., 78.

25 Nov. 2d he again writes: "For the present, and I fear for years to come, it will be impossible for the United States to maintain any naval or military establishment in California; as at the present no hope of reward nor fear of punishment is sufficient to make binding any contract between man and man upon the soil of California. To send troops out here would be needless, for they would immediately desert... Among the deserters from the squadron are some of the best petty officers and seamen, having but few months to serve, and large balances due them, amounting in the aggregate to over $10,000. William Rich, Oct. 23d, writes the paymaster-general that nearly all of Company F, 31 artillery, had deserted. The five men-of-war in port dared not land a man through fear of desertion. Two companies alone remained in Cal., one of the first dragoons and the other of the 3d artillery, 'the latter reduced to a mere skeleton by desertion, and the former in a fair way to share the same fate.' Revere's Tour of Duty, 252-6; Sherman's Mem., i. 56-7; Lants, Kal., 24–31.

26 In Nov. the commander gave notice through the Californian that $10,000 would be given for the capture of deserters from his squadron, in the fol. lowing sums: for the first four deserting since July, $500 each, and for any others, $200 each, the reward to be paid in silver dollars immediately on the delivery of any culprit.

Hist. (AL., VOL. VI. 5

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