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The more prudent devoted a little time to erecting log cabins, and otherwise making themselves comfortable; but many who could not resist the fascinations of gold-hunting, and attempted, in ill-provided and cloth and brushwood shanties, to brave the inclemency of winter, suffered severely. From the beginning of October till the end of the rainy season men, disappointed and sick, kept coming down to San Francisco, cursing the country and their hard fate. Indeed, there were not many among the returning crowd, rich or poor, who could present a respectable appearance. They were a ragged, sun-burned lot, grimy and bespotted, with unshorn beards and long, tangled hair; some shoeless, with their feet blistered and bandaged. Many were now content to return home and enjoy their good fortune, but many more remained to squander their earnings during the winter, to begin the spring where they began the last one; yet as a body, the men of 1848 profited more by their gains than the men who came after them.22
21 There was greater mortality at the end of 1848 than ever before, says Grimshaw, Narr., MS., 15.
22 Among the noted visitors at the mines, upon whose testimony the last chapters are to a great extent based, I would first mention J. H. Carson, the discoverer of Carson Creek, as he subscribed himself in the title-page of his book, Early Recollections of the Mines, and a Description of the Great Tulare Valley, a small octavo of 64 pp., printed at Stockton in 1852, to accompany the steamer edition of the San Joaquin Republican. It is significant, certainly, of newspaper enterprise, when a country journal could print so important and expensive an accompaniment to its regular issue. It ranks also as the first book issued at Stockton. Note also the dedication: 'To the Hon. A. Randall, of Monterey, Cal., Professor of Geology and Botany, who has spared neither energy nor expense in the Historical Researches of California, this humble work is most respectfully dedicated by his obliged and obedient servant, The Author.' Let not his name perish. Mr Carson has made a very good book, an exceedingly valuable book. He sees well, thinks well, and writes well, though with some coloring. Already in 1852 he begins to talk with affection of the good old times, now past, when each day was big with the wonders and discoveries of rich diggings.' The first 16 pages are devoted to a description of the mines; then follow some very good anecdotes and etches; the whole concluding with a description of the Tulare Valley. Carson, a sergeant in the N. Y. reg., was residing at Monterey in the spring of 1848, when he was seized with this new western dance of St Vitus, and was carried on an old mule to the gold-diggings. He began work at Mormon Island by annihilating earth in his wash-basin, standing up to his knees in water, slashing and splashing as if resolving the universe to its original elements. Fifty pans of dirt thus pulverized gave the fevered pilgrim but fifty cents; whereupon a deep disgust filled his soul, and immediately with
HOW SOME WERE AFFECTED.
Obviously the effect for good and evil of finding gold was first felt by those nearest the point of dis
the departure of his malady the man departed. On passing through Weber's Indian trading camp, however, he saw such heaps of glittering gold as brought the ague on again more violent than ever, resulting in a prolonged stay at Kelsey's and Hangtown. Instead of fortune, however, came sickness, which drove him away to other pursuits, and brought him to the grave at Stockton in April 1853, shortly after his election to the legislature. His widow and daughter arrived from the east a month later, and being destitute, were assisted to return by a generous subscription.
Another member of the same regiment, Henry I. Simpson, who started the 18th of Aug., 1848, from Monterey to the mines, wrote a book chiefly remarkable from its publication in New York, in 1848, describing a trip to the mines which could not have been concluded much more than three months before that time. It was not impossible, though it was quick work, if true, and we will not place Mr Simpson, or his publishers, Joyce & Company, under suspicion unless we find them clearly guilty. The title is a long one for so thin a book, a pamphlet of thirty octavo pages, and somewhat pretentious, as the result of only three weeks' observation; but Mr Simpson is not the only one who has attempted to enlighten the world respecting this region after a ten or twenty days' ride through it, and to tell more of the country than the inhabitants had ever known, thinking that because things were new to themselves they were new to everybody. Such personages are your Todds and Richardsons, your Grace Greenwoods, Pfeifers, Mary Cones, and fifty others who cover their ignorance by brilliant flashes that gleam before the simple as superior knowledge. Nevertheless, I will be charitable, and print this title, which, indeed, gives more information than any other part of the book. It reads: The Emigrant's Guide to the Gold Mines. Three Weeks in the Gold Mines, or Adventures with the Gold-Diggers of California, in August, 1848, together with Advice to Emigrants, with full Instructions upon the best Methods of Getting There, Living, Expenses, etc., etc., and a Complete Description of the Country. With a Map and Illustrations. And such a map, and such illustrations! I should say that the draughtsman had taken the chart of Cortés, or Vizcaino, thrown in some modern names, and daubed yellow a strip north of San Francisco Bay to represent the_gold-fields. Indeed, there is very little of California about this map. The price of the book with the map was 25 cents; without the map, 12 cents. It is to be hoped that purchasers took it in the latter form, for the less they had of it the wiser they would be. As for illustrations, there are just four, whose only merit is their badness. Fourteen pages of the work are devoted to the narrative of a trip to the mines; nine pages to a description of the country and its inhabitants; the remainder being occupied by advice to emigrants concerning outfit and ways to reach the country. Mr Simpson's ideas are rambling and inflated, and his pictures of the country more gaudy than gorgeous. He certainly tells large stories-Bigler says wrong stories-of river-beds paved with gold to the thickness of a hand, of $20,000 or $50,000›› worth picked out almost in a moment, and so forth; but he printed a book on California gold in the year of its discovery, and this atones for many defects. Had all done as well as this soldier-adventurer, we should not lack material for the history of California.
J. Tyrwhitt Brooks, an Englisn physician lately from Oregon, started in May 1848 from S. F. for the gold-field, with a well-equipped party of five. After a fairly successful digging at Mormon Island they moved to Weber Creek, and thence to Bear River, where, despite Indian hostility, 115 pounds of gold were obtained, the greater part of which, however, was destined to fall into the hands of highwaymen. The scenes and experiences of the trip Brooks recorded in a diary, which, forwarded to his brother in London, was there pub. lished under title of Four Months among the Gold-Finders in Alta California.
HIST. CAL., VOL. VI. 7
covery. Upon the discoverer himself, in whose mind so suddenly arose visions of wealth and influence, it
two editions appearing in London in 1849, and one in America, followed by a translation at Paris. A map accompanies the English edition, with a yellow and dotted line round the gold district then extending from R. d L. Mukelemnes' to Bear River. The book is well written, and the author's observations are such as comniand respect.
After many sermons preached against money as the root of all evil, and after lamenting fervently the present dispensation for depriving him of his servant, temptation also seized upon the Rev. Walter Colton, at the time acting alcalde at Monterey, and formerly chaplain on board the U. S. ship Congress. With ive companions, including Lt Simmons, Wilkinson, son of a former U. S. minister to Russia, and Marcy, son of him who was once sec. of war, he started for the diggings in Sept. 1848, freighting a wagon with cooking utensils, mining tools, and articles for Indian traffic. He passed through the Livermore gap to the Stanislaus, meeting on the way a ragged but richly laden party, whose display of wealth gave activity to his movements. Two months saw him back again, rich in experience if not in gold, and primed with additional material for his Three Years in California, a book published in New York in 1850, and covering the prominent incidents coming under his observation during the important days between the summer of 1846 and the summer of 1849. Cal. life in mines and settlements, and among the Spanish race, receives special attention, in a manner well calculated to bring out quaint and characteristic features. Appearing as it did while the gold fever was still raging, the work received much attention, and passed quickly through several editions, later under the changed title, Land of Gold. It also assisted into notice his Deck and Fort, a diary like the preceding, issued the same year, and reaching the third edition, which treats of scenes and incidents during the voyage to Cal. in 1845, and constitutes a prelude to the other book. While the popularity of both rests mainly upon the time and topic, yet it owes much to the style, for Colton is a genial writer, jocose, with an easy, careless flow of language, but inclines to the exuberant, and is less exact in the use of words than we should expect from a professed dealer in unadulterated truth, natural and supernatural.
Six Months in the Gold Mines; being a Journal of Three Years' Residence in Upper and Lower California, 1847-9, is a small octavo of 172 pages by E. Gould Buffum, sometime lieut in the first reg., N. Y. Volunteers, and before that connected with the N. Y. press. It was published while the author remained in Cal., and constitutes one of the most important printed contributions to the history of Cal., no less by reason of the scarcity of material concerning the period it covers, 1848-9, than on account of the ability of the author. For he was an educated man, remarkably free from prejudice, a close observer, and possessing sound judgment. He is careful in his statements, conscientious, not given to exaggeration, and his words and ways are such as inspire confidence. The publishers' notice is dated May 1850. The author's introduction is dated at S. F. Jan. 1, 1850. Hence his book cannot treat of events happening later than 1849. First is given his visit to the mines, notably on the Bear, Yuba, and American rivers, with the attendant experiences and observations. Then follow a description of the gold region, the possibilities of the country in his opinion, movements toward government, descriptions of old and new towns, and a dissertation on Lower Cal. The style is pleasant-simple, terse, strong, yet graceful, and with no egoism or affecta
No less valuable than the preceding for the present subject are a number of manuscript journals and memoirs by pioneers, recording their personal experiences of matters connected with the mines, trade, and other features of early Cal. periods. Most of them are referred tɔ elsewhere, and I need here only instance two or three. A. F. Coronel, subsequently mayor of Los An
SUTTER AND MARSHALL.
fell like the gold of Nibelungen, in the Edda, which brought nothing but ill luck to the possessor. And to Sutter, his partner, being a greater man, it proved a greater curse. Yet this result was almost wholly the fault of the man, not of the event. What might have been is not my province to discuss; what was and is alone remain for me to relate. We all think that of the opportunity given these men we should have made better use; doubtless it is true. They were simple backwoods people; we have knocked our heads against each other until they have become hard; our tongues are sharpened by lying, and our brains made subtle by much cheating. Sutter and Marshall, though naturally no more honest than other men, were less astute and calculating; and while the former had often met trick with trick, it was against less skilled players than those now entering the game. their intercourse with the outside world, although
geles, and a prominent Californian, made a trip to the Stanislaus and found rich deposits, as related in his Cosas de Cal., a volume of 265 pp., which forms one of the best narratives, especially of happenings before the conquest. One of his fellow-miners in 1848 was Agustin Janssens, a Frenchman, who came to Cal. in 1834 as one of the colonists of that year. He left his rancho at Santa Inés in Sept. 1848, with several Indian servants, and remained at the Stanislaus till late in Dec. In his Vida y Aventuras en California de Don Agustin Janssens vecino de Santa Bárbara, Dictadas por él mismo á Thomas Savage, MS., 1878, he shows the beginning of the race aggressions from which the Latins were subsequently to suffer severely. Besides several hundred of such dictations in separate and voluminous form, I have minor accounts in letter and reports, bound with historic collections, such as Larkin, Docs, MS., i.-ix.; Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., i.-iv.; Vallejo, Docs, MS., i.-xxxvi. passim. Instance the observations of Charles B. Sterling and James Williams, both in the service of Larkin, and who mined and traded on the south and north branches of the American, with some success. The official report of Thomas O. Larkin to the sec. of state of June 28, 1848, was based on a personal visit to the central mining region early in that month. So was that of Col R. B. Mason, who left Monterey June 17th, attended by W. T. Sherman and Quartermaster Folsom, escorted by four soldiers. By way of Sonoma they reached Sutter's Fort, where the 4th of July was duly celebrated, and thence moved up the south branch of the American River to Weber Creek. Mason was summoned back to Monterey from this point, but had seen enough to enable him to write the famous report of Aug. 17th to the adj.-gen. at Washington, which started the gold fever abroad. A later visit during the autumn extended to the Stanislaus and Sonora diggings. Folsom also made a report, but gave little new information. He attempted to furnish the world, through Gen. Jesup, with a history and description of the country, in which effort he attained no signal success. He did not like the climate; he did not like the mines. Yet he was gracious enough to say, 'I went to them in the most sceptical frame of mind, and came away a believer.'
they were adventurers, they proved themselves little better than children, and as such they were grossly misused by the gold-thirsting rabble brought down upon them by their discovery.
Marshall and Sutter kept the Mormons at work on the saw-mill as best they were able, until it was completed and in operation, which was on the 11th of March. The Mormons merited and received the acknowledgments of their employers for faithfulness in holding to their agreements midst constantly increasing temptations. Both employers engaged also in mining, especially near the mill, claiming a right to the ground about it, which claim at first was gener ally respected. With the aid of their Indians they took out a quantity of gold; but this was quickly lost; and more was found and lost. Sutter mined elsewhere with Indians and Kanakas, and claims never to have derived any profit from these efforts. The mill could not be made to pay. Several issues before long arose between Marshall and the miners regarding their respective rights and the treatment of the natives.
Marshall was less fortunate than almost any of the miners. This ill success, combined with an exaggerated estimate of his merits as discoverer, left its impress on his mind, subjecting it more and more to his spiritualistic doctrines. In obedience to phantom beckonings, he flitted hither and thither about the foothills, but his supernatural friends failed him in every instance.23 He became petulant and querulous. Discouraged and soured, he grows restive under encroachments on his scanty property," and the abuse
23 'Should I go to new localities' says Marshall, and commence to open a new mine, before I could prospect the ground, numbers flocked in and commenced seeking all around me, and, as numbers tell, some one would find the lead before me and inform their party, and the ground was claimed. Then I would travel again.' Twice Sutter gave him a prospector's outfit and started him. He was no longer content with his former plodding industry. 'He was always after big things,' Sutter said. I have wondered that he did not in the first instance attribute his discovery to the direction of the spirits.
24 Early in 1849, after Winters and Bayley had purchased the half-interest of Sutter in the saw-mill, and one third of the half-interest of Marshall,