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HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA.
CALIFORNIA JUST PRIOR TO THE GOLD DISCOVERY.
THE VALLEY OF CALIFORNIA--QUALITY OF POPULATION—The LATER INCOM.
ERS-HISPANO-AMERICAN, ANGLO-AMERICAN, AND OTHERS-SETTLERS AROUND SAN FRANCISCO BAY-SAN JOSÉ-THE PENINSULA-SAN FRAN. CISCO-ACROSS THE BAY-ALAMEDA AND CONTRA Costa VALLEYS-VALLEYS OF THE SAN JOAQUIN AND SACRAMENTO—SUTTER'S FORT-GRANTS AND RANCHOS-ABOUT CARQUINES STRAIT-NAPA, SONOMA, AND SANTA Rosa VALLEYS-SAN RAFAEL, BODEGA, AND THE NORTHERN COAST NATURAL WEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT,
Although the California seaboard, from San Diego to San Francisco bays, had been explored by Europeans for three hundred years, and had been occupied by missionary and military bands, with a sprinkling of settlers, for three quarters of a century, the great valley of the interior, at the opening of the year 1848, remained practically undisturbed by civilization.
The whole of Alta California comprises a seaboard strip eight hundred miles in length by one or two hundred in width, marked off from the western earth's end of the temperate zone; it was the last to be occupied by civilized man, and, to say the least, as full of fair conditions as any along the belt. The whole area is rimmed on either side, the Coast Range rolling up in stony waves along the outer edge, and for
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background the lofty Sierra, upheaved in crumpled folds from primeval ocean.
The intervening space
is somewhere overspread with hills and vales, but for the most part comprises an oblong plain, the Valley of California, the northern portion being called the Sacramento Valley, and the southern the San Joaquin Valley, from the names of the streams that water the respective parts. The prospect thus presented opens toward the setting sun.
Humanity here is varied. There is already round San Francisco Bay raw material enough of divers types to develop a new race, howsoever inferior the quality might be. It is a kind of refuse lot, blown in partly from the ocean, and in part having percolated through the mountains; yet there is amidst the chaff good seed that time and events might winnow. But time and events are destined here to be employed for higher purpose, in the fashioning of nobler metal.
Of the condition of the aborigines I have spoken elsewhere, and shall presently speak again. So far the withering influence of a strange civilization upon the true proprietors of the soil had emanated from Mexican incomers. Now a stronger phase of it is appearing in another influx, which is to overwhelm both of the existing races, and which, like the original invasion of Mexico, of America, is to consist of a fairhued people from toward the rising sun. They come not as their predecessors came, slowly, in the shadow of the cross, or aggressively, with sword and firelock. Quietly, with deferential air, they drop in asking hospitality; first as way-worn stragglers from trapping expeditions, or as deserting sailors from vessels prowling along the coast in quest of trade and secrets. Then compact bands of restless frontier settlers slip over the border, followed by the firmer tread of determined pioneers, who wait for strength and opportunity. Not being as yet formally ceded, the land remains under a mingled military-civil government, wherein Hispano-Californians still control local
MATERIALS FOR SOCIETY.
management in the south, while in the north men · from the United States predominate.
These later arrivals are already nearly equal numerically to the former, numbering somewhat over 6,000, while the Hispano-Californians may be placed at 1,000 more. The ex-neophyte natives in and about the ranchos and towns are estimated at from 3,000 to 4,000, with twice as many among the gentile tribes. The new element, classed as foreign before the conquest of 1846, had from 150 in 1830 grown slowly till 1845, after which it took a bound, assisted by over 2,000 who came as soldiers in the regular and volunteer corps, not including the naval muster-rolls. These troops served to check another sudden influx contemplated by the migrating Mormons, whose economic value as colonists cannot be questioned, in view of their honesty and thrift. An advance column of about 200 had come in 1846, followed by the Mormon battalion in the United States service, 350 strong, of which a portion remained. The first steady stream of immigrants is composed of stalwart, restless backwoodsmen from the western frontier of the United States; self-reliant, and of ready resource in building homes, even if less enterprising and broadly utilitarian than those who followed them from the eastern states; the latter full of latent vivacity; of strong intellect, here quickening under electric air and new environment; high-strung, attenuated, grave, shrewd, and practical, and with impressive positiveness.
By the side of the Americanized Anglo-Saxon, elevated by vitalizing freedom of thought and intercourse with nature, we find the English representative, burly of mind and body, full of animal energy, marked by aggressive stubbornness, tinctured with brusqueness and conceit. More sympathetic and selfadaptive than the arrogant and prejudiced Englishman, or the coldly calculating Scot, is the omnipresent, quick-witted Celt, and the easy-going, plodding German, with his love of knowledge and deep solidity of
mind. Intermediate between these races and the native Californian stands the pure-blooded Spaniard, wrapped in the reflection of ancestral preëminence, and using his superior excellence as a means to affirm his foothold among humbler race connections. An approximate affinity of blood and language here paves the way for the imaginative though superficial Frenchman and Italian, no less polite than insincere, yet cheerful and ästhetic. A few Hawaiian Islanders have been brought over, and are tolerated until prouder people press them back and under.
Even now events are giving a decisive predominance to the lately inflowing migration, by reason of the energy displayed in the rapid extension of industrial arts, notably
agriculture, with improved methods and machinery, and growing traffic with such standardbearers of civilization as the public press and a steamboat. So far this influx has confined itself to the • central part of the state, round San Francisco Bay and northward, because the gateway for the immigration across the plains opens into this section, which moreover presents equal if not superior agricultural features, and greater commercial prospects. The occupation of the south by a different race serves naturally to point out and affirm the limits.
San José, founded as a pueblo within the first decade of Spanish occupation, and now grown into a respectable town of about 700 inhabitants, is the most prominent of the northern settlements wherein the Hispano-Californian element still predominates. Notwithstanding the incipient greatness of the city at the Gate, San José holds high pretensions as a central inland town, on the border line between the settled south and the growing north, with aspirations to supplant Monterey as the capital. This accounts in a measure for the large inflowing of foreigners, who have lately acquired sufficient influence to elect the alcalde from among themselves, the present incumbent being James W. Weeks. The fertile valley around counts