Eldorado, Or, Adventures in the Path of Empire: Comprising a Voyage to California, Via Panama; Life in San Francisco and Monterey; Pictures of the Gold Region, and Experiences of Mexican Travel

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G. P. Putnam, 1850
Bayard Taylor (1825-1878) was already a well-established writer when he traveled to California as special correspondent for the New York Tribune in the summer of 1849. On his return to New York, Taylor established himself not only as one of America's great travel writers but as a true man of letters, producing distinguished novels and poems as well as nonfiction for the next quarter century. Eldorado (1850) consists of Taylor's rewritten dispatches to his paper. Volume 2 tells of the 1849 elections, horseback tours of the Sierras, gold camps on the Mokelumne River, analysis of the 1849 overland emigration, San Francisco social and cultural life, and a return to the East with stops in Guadalajara, Mazatlàn, Mexico City, Popcateptel, and Vera Cruz. Thomas Butler King's official report on California, 22 March 1850, is printed as an appendix.
 

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Stran 162 - The members met this morning at the usual hour, to perform the last duty that remained to them—that of signing the Constitution. They were all in the happiest humor, and the morning was so bright and balmy that no one seemed disposed to call an organization. Mr. Semple was sick, and Mr. Steuart, of San Francisco, therefore called the meeting to order by moving Capt. Sutter's appointment in his place. The Chair was. taken by the old pioneer, and the members took their seats around the sides of the...
Stran 103 - Abundance of gold does not always beget, as moralists tell us, a grasping and avaricious spirit. The principles of hospitality were as faithfully observed in the rude tents of the diggers as they could be by the thrifty farmers of the North and West. The cosmopolitan cast of society in California, resulting from the commingling of so many races and the primitive mode of life, gave a character of good-fellowship to all its members...
Stran 116 - Island squashes fills one corner, and several cabbage-heads, valued at $2 each, show themselves in the window. We enter a little door at the end of the building, ascend a dark, narrow flight of steps and find ourselves in a long, low room, with ceiling and walls of white muslin and a floor covered with oil-cloth There are about twenty tables disposed in two rows, all of them so well filled that we have some difficulty in finding places. Taking up the written bill of fare, we find such items as the...
Stran 118 - The stakes are generally small, though when the bettor gets into " a streak of luck," as it is called, they are allowed to double until all is lost or the bank breaks. Along the end of the room is a spacious bar, supplied with all kinds of bad liquors, and in a sort of gallery, suspended under the ceiling, a female violinist tasks her talent and strength of muscle d o to minister to the excitement of play.
Stran 47 - Taking them as the average experience of the thirty thousand emigrants who last year crossed the Plains, this California Crusade will more than equal the great military expeditions of the Middle Ages in magnitude, peril and adventure.
Stran 88 - ... expresses its meaning, without further definition. It denotes a mountain ravine, differing from ravines elsewhere as the mountains of California differ from all others — more steep, abrupt and inaccessible. The sound of gulch is like that of a sudden plunge into a deep hole, which is just the character of the thing itself. It bears the same relation to a ravine that a " cafion" does to a pass or gorge. About two months previous to our arrival, Dr. Gillette came down from the Upper Bar with...
Stran 13 - There is nothing in the world comparable to these forests. No description that I have ever read conveys an idea of the splendid overplus of vegetable life within the tropics. The river, broad, and with a swift current of the sweetest water I ever drank, winds between walls of foliage that rise from its very surface. All the gorgeous growths of an eternal Summer are so mingled in one impenetrable mass, that the eye is bewildered.
Stran 161 - The band consisted of two violins and two guitars, whose music made up in spirit what it lacked in skill. They played, as it seemed to me, but three pieces alternately, for waltz, contra-dance and quadrille. The latter dance was evidently an unfamiliar one, for once or twice the music ceased in the middle of a figure.
Stran 101 - When a new placer or gulch was discovered, the first thing done was to elect officers and extend the area of order. The result was that in a district 500 miles long, and inhabited by 100,000 people who had neither government, regular laws, rules, military or civil protection, nor even locks or bolts, and a great part of whom possessed wealth enough to tempt the vicious and depraved, there was as much security to life and property as in any part...
Stran 112 - cannot be given than by the description of a single day. Supposing the visitor to have been long enough in the place to sleep on a hard plank and in spite of the attacks of innumerable fleas, he will be awakened at daylight by the noises of building, with which the hills are all...

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