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those comparatively limited districts where there is any chance of their efforts being successful. Money and time uselessly expended in running, prospecting, tunnels, or in sinking shafts that can never be turned to any account, is so much loss of capital and labor taken from the productive industry of the country at large. It was estimated that in 1862–’63 there were some 30,000 persons in this state and on its immediate borders engaged in prospecting for gold, silver, and copper; and it is a notorious fact that not even one per cent. of the claims discovered by those persons have ever proved remunerative to those who invested money in their development. In 1861–’62 the excitement ran high on copper, induced by the discovery of the Union mine in Calaveras county, and in a few months the Sierra Nevada, from the foot-hills to their summits, were covered with miners fruitlessly occupied in attempting to discover new deposits which could be worked with a profit. A few months of scientific labor turned in this direction would have shown how utterly futile the efforts of most of them would prove, and how exceedingly limited in width is the copper-bearing belt of California.
The existence of gold in California was known long before the date commonly ascribed for its discovery. In several places along the Coast Range of mountains between Santa Cruz and Los Angeles there were small, inconsiderable 66
diggings” which were worked by the Mexicans, and some of them are said to have yielded as much as $6,000 per annum, which, at that period, was a considerable sum. The interest which is attached to these now is chiefly historical, and they were generally abandoned as soon as the more extensive deposits which lie in the Sierra Nevada were made known.
It was on the 19th of January, 1848,* that the first gold east of the Coast Range was discovered on the South Fork of the American river, at a place now called Coloma. It was the result of accident, and although attempts were made to preserve the fact a secret, the news soon spread far and wide, and by July of that year it is stated that the number of persons employed on the American river and its branches were as many as four thousand, who were obtaining from $30,000 to $40,000 a day, and by November it is thought that from four to five millions of dollars had been already extracted. It was not until a year subsequent to this discovery, or in the spring of 1849, that commenced the most extensive immigration that the world has ever seen. Adventurers poured into California from all quarters of the globe: first from Mexico, Chili, and Peru; then from the Sandwich Islands, China, and New Holland ; lastly from the United States and Europe. During the six months between the first of July, 1849, and the first of January, 1850, it is estimated that 90,000 persons arrived in California from the east by sea or across the plains, and that one-fifth of them perished by disease during the six months following their arrival, such were the hardships they had endured and the privations to which they were subjected.
The western slope of the Sierra Nevada was soon covered with explorers, who, with their "pans" upon their shoulders, penetrated every ravine or gulch,
prospecting" the sands and washing the gravel wherever there was chance of finding the precious metal. Mining towns sprang up with almost incredible rapidity, and for several years they presented a scene of busy life. But the shallow “diggings” soon became exhausted, and in 1851 the yield of gold was higher than it has ever been since, amounting to at least $65,000,000. During the last four years California has produced an average of about $30,000,000 per annum of gold from the mines situated within her borders. At least ninety per cent of the total production reaches San Francisco by public conveyance, and by some it is considered that even a larger proportion is transported in this manner. · In order to arrive at the present production, and compare it with what has been produced in former years, we must take the amount of uncoined bul
History of California by Franklin Tuthill, p. 226.
lion which is known to have arrived here from the various mining districts, and add say ten per cent. for that brought by private hands. At the same time that this means is far from affording all the accuracy desired, it will give a closer approximation to the truth than any other.
Referring to the San Francisco Mercantile Gazette, which obtains and publishes regularly the amount of coin and bullion received in San Francisco from all sources, we find that the receipts of uncoined treasure from the interior, inclusive of that from Nevada, have been as follows during the last four years :
Production of gold from California during the last four years.
Probable production for 1866, based upon the receipts of the first nine months
of the present year. Northern mines, exclusive, of Nevada bullion
$19,719,900 Southern mines.
Add 10 per cent. for arrivals in private hands....
If we compare this production with that of the Australian gold fields during the last three years, we find that these latter have produced as follows: 1863
1,545,450 ounces. 1865.,
1,556,088 ounces. The Australian gold is of remarkable fineness, averaging about 9200, and worth, consequently, $19 04 an ounce. This would be, in our currency, as follows: 1863.
29,627,916 The mineral statistics which are published annually by the colony of Victoria give much valuable information concerning the present situation of the gold mining interest in Australia, and from them the above information has been gathered. The average earnings of the miners in this colony have been as follows during the last three years :
$487 45 $596 24 per annum. 1864.,
632 44 per annum. 1865..
491 36 per annum.
We have for this coast no statistics which will enable us to arrive at the average earnings of the miners in California with the same degree of accuracy, but there does not seem any reason to suppose that they are greater here than in Australia,
During the year 1864, of 1,545,450 ounces of gold exported from this colony, about one-third, or 503,618 ounces, were supposed to have been derived from the quartz mines. This proportion of two to one must be very nearly the relation which the gold produced from the placer diggings of California bears to that from the quartz mines, which probably does not exceed $8,000,000 or $9,000,000 per annum.
2.-CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GOLD BELT. The auriferous belt of California extends from the Tejon pass, in latitude 35°, to the northern extremity of the State, or for a distance of about five hundred miles. The principal gold fields, however, and that portion of the State which has produced most largely, lies between about latitude 370 and the North Fork of the Feather river, or over a distance not exceeding two hundred and fifty miles. Towards the south this gold-bearing range is narrow, rarely exceeding twenty-five miles in width. As we proceed north, however, it widens rapidly, and along the Feather and Yuba rivers it reaches from the lower foot-hills of the Sierra Nevada to the central axis of the mountains, or over a width of fifty miles from east to west. There are other diggings in the more northern part of the State, bounded by the Trinity, Upper Sacramento, and Klamath rivers, which at one time were valuable, and yielded largely, but now the principal interest attaches to those deep placers lying between the forks of the Yuba, those deposits which underlie the volcanic formation in many places on the auriferous bestas far south as Tuolumne county-what are known as the cement diggingsand the quartz mines which are to be found between Tulare county on the south and Plumas county on the north. The “shallow diggings,” which were formerly so immensely rich, and which attracted the first attention of the miner, are now, for the inost part, hopelessly exhausted; but, notwithstanding this, by far the greater proportion of the total gold production of California is still derived from the “washings,” hydraulic and others; and this will undoubtedly continue to be the case until those immense auriferous deposits lying in the northern part of the State, principally in Nevada county, are exhausted. Nothing but an accurate survey will give anything like an approximation as to the length of time which will be required to work them out at the present rate. Now we have only the wildest conjectures and statements, the result of hasty examinations, as to their extent and the probable amount of gold contained in them. At the present time, about eighty per cent. of the gold produced from the mines of California is derived from those lying north of the Mokelumne river, and the production from the southern mines, or those situated between Mariposa and Calaveras counties, is decreasing every year.' Probably only about one-third of the gold productions of California comes from the quartz mines, leaving twothirds to be furnished by the placer and cement diggings, or those sources of supply other than veins. Unfortunately, too little of a reliable nature is now known with regard to these latter for me to venture upon an intelligent exposition of them; but enough is known concerning the former to predict that quartz mining will continue to be one of the most lasting, as well as profitable, interests of this State, and there now seems no reason to anticipate that California will cease to be one of the principal gold-producing countries of the world for many years to come. I will therefore confine myself entirely to a description of a few of the more noted quartz mines of the State, showing, when it is possible, the amount of profit realized from the working of the quartz, its average yield, the expenses attending the milling and mining, and giving such other facts as may be considered as illustrating the present condition of this industry. The principal quartz mining districts of California are in Tulare county, about Clear creek ; in Mariposa county, on the Mariposa estate and its immediate neighborhood, and also round about Centreville, north of the Merced river; in Tuolumne county, within a few miles of Sonora, at Soulesbeyville, and near Jamestown; in Calaveras county, at Angels; in Amador county, near Jackson and Sutter creek; in El Dorado county at Logtown and vicinity ; in Nevada county at Grass valley and Nevada; in Sierra county within a few miles of Downieville; in Plumas county at Indian valley and on Jamieson creek. These localities were nearly all centres of placer diggings before quartz mining became so important an industry. The width of this quartz-bearing range is, however, much narrower than that occupied by the placer workings, and while rarely more than twenty miles in width, is generally much less.
The number of veins in this belt is almost innumerable, but the proportion of those which contain gold in sufficient quantity to pay is exceedingly small.
The most reliable publication which has recently appeared with regard to the quartz veins of California was issued by the State geological survey in April, 1866. The statistics were compiled by Mr. A. Rémond, and give several important particulars with regard to the mills and mines in the region between the Merced and Stanislaus rivers. The district embraced by this report is about thirty miles long by from fifteen to twenty in width. Seventy-seven mines and sixty-five mills were examined and reported upon, and of these fifty-six mines and twenty-three mills were being worked at the time of Mr. Rémond's visit. So far as the mere number of the veins is concerned this region probably contains as many with features sufficiently promising to warrant exploration as any other district of equal size in California. The actual amount of capital invested in the erection of the mills examined has been $430,300, and in addition to this a considerable sum has been spent in the construction of roads, flumes, and ditches, and by far the larger proportion of this whole sum has been expended since 1862, particularly in the years 1864–65, and therefore several of the mills may be considered as experimental, and the veins upon which they are situated as not having been proved sufficiently to be able to state whether the yield as given to him by the proprietor will be lasting. It is certain that the gross production of this region from the quartz mines now being worked is not very large, nor does it as yet compare favorably with several other districts,not nearly so extensive. The greater number of these veins vary in width from about one foot to two feet six inches, while in one case there is a vein noted which is twenty-five feet in width and another fifteen feet. The average width of all the veins examined would appear to be about three feet. The “country rock," or the rock in which the quartz veins of California are incased, is for the most part either slate, granite, or greenstone, and it is not yet determined which of these three formations can be regarded as furnishing the most prolific mines, for we have in each of them veins which have produced largely, and still are continuing to do so, though several of them have attained a considerable depth.
In Mariposa county, and particularly upon the Mariposa estate, the most noted veins are in the slate and have a direction and dip nearly coincident with the general stratification of the enclosing rock. The principal mine in the district is the Princeton, which has produced between two and three millions of dollars. It was first worked in 1852, and the quartz is said to have yielded as high as seventy-five dollars per ton for a short time, but this large return was probably owing to the various sulphurets contained in the quartz and associated with the gold having been more or less decomposed near the surface by atmospheric agencies, and the gold liberated by this means, so that the outcrops of the vein were far above the average richness of the quartz. Since 1861, and until within the last year, the rock from this vein has yielded an average of $18 34 per ton, while the expenses of mining have been about $6, and the cost of milling $3 25. This would show a profit over and above the expenses of working of nearly 50
In the latter part of 1864 the yield of the quartz from this mine fell, almost without giving any warning, from $40 to $6 per, ton, and for some time ceased to pay expenses. During 1865 the yield was better, but it is still far from affording as satisfactory results as in former years. The depth of the main shaft is nearly 650 feet, and the length of the underground workings not far from 1,400 feet. It is by no means certain that this mine is exhausted, and that another sinking will not open up new bodies of valuable ore. There are too many examples throughout California of mines falling off rapidly in their yield, and meeting with barren zones of quartz, both in depth and on the longitudinal extension of the vein, for any one to state positively that a lode which
possesses so many characteristics of permanence as the Princeton should be abandoned, and that it will never again prove remunerative as in past years.
Near the northern end of the Mariposa estate are two mines known as the “Pine Tree" and "Josephine,” which have been worked for nearly sixteen years. When this property passed into the hands of General Frémont these mines were considered as being among the richest as well as most reliable in California, and it is perhaps to be regretted that the anticipations formed at that time have never been realized, for it is mainly owing to their failure that so much discredit has been cast upon the quartz mining interest both at home and abroad. These two mines are situated in close proximity to each other, and although they have never been connected by underground workings they probably are upon one and the same vein. The Pine Tree vein has a direction nearly the same as that of the slates in which it is encased, or about northwest and southeast, while the Josephine runs more nearly east and west, and the axes of these two veins would form at their junction an angle of about forty degrees. Work is just now abandoned upon this latter mine, but is being actively prosecuted on the former, and the quartz is said to be paying better than was formerly the case, owing to a more careful selection and thorough metallurgical treatment. The outcrops of these veins are at an elevation of about fifteen hundred feet above the Merced river, and can be observed from a long distance to the north. Neither of them can be followed or traced individually for any great distance upon the surface in such a manner as to preserve their identity, and in this respect they in nowise differ from the great majority of gold-bearing veins in California. In fact, the experience of mining in this State has all tended to prove the fact that the longitudinal extension of these veins is generally very limited, and that the metalliferous portion is always considerably less in length than that of the quartz itself. This remark applies equally to the numerous copper-bearing veins which have been recently discovered, some few of which are valuable, while their “extensions” are almost invariably worthless.
The outcrop of these mines is a very marked and noticeable feature in the landscape. They form part of what is known as the great quartz vein of California, which can be traced by its prominent outcrops about seventy miles north from Mariposa county, in nearly a straight line, continuing through Tuolumne, Calaveras, and Amador. It cannot be proved positively that this is one and the same vein, on account of the many breaks and interruptions which occur in its course, but certain it is that throughout this distance it preserves its distinguishing characteristics, both geologically and lithologically in a most remarkable manner. It furnishes some of the best gold mines in California, which are conspicuous for the great regularity of their yield, and the depth which they have attained. Along its course and in its immediate vicinity are some of the most extensive placers, which, although now for the most part exhausted, have in times gone by produced so largely that while worked they were regarded as being among the richest deposits in California. It must not be presumed that