« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year, 1863, by A. ROMAN & Co., Proprietors, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Northern District of California.
M'OREA & MILLER, STEREOTYPERS.
0. A. ALVORD, PRINTER,
I UNDERTAKE to write the resources of a state, which, though young in years, small in population, and remote from the chief centres of civilization, is yet known to the furthest corners of the earth, and, during the last twelve years, has had an influence upon the course of human life, and the prosperity and trade of nations, more powerful than that exerted during the same period by kingdoms whose subjects are numbered by millions, whose history dates back through thousands of years, and whose present stock of wealth began to accumulate before our continent was discovered, or our language was formed. I write of a land of wonders. I write of California, which has astonished the world by the great migration that suddenly built up the first large Caucasian community on the shores of the North Pacific; by her vast yield of gold, amounting within thirteen years to $700,000,000, which has sensibly affected the markets of labor and money in all the leading nations of Christendom; by the rapid development and great extent of her commerce; by the greatness of her chief port, which at one time had more large ships at her anchorage than were ever seen together in the harbor of either Liverpool, New York, or London ; by the swift settlement of her remote districts; by the prompt organization of her government; by the liberality with which the mines were thrown open and made free to all comers; by the rush of adventurers of every color and of every tongue; by the prices of her labor, and the rates of her interest for money, double those of the other American states, and quadruple those of Europe; by the vast extent of her gold-fields, and the facility with which they could be worked; by the auriferous rivers in which fortunes could be made in a week; by antediluvian streams richer than those of the present era; by beds of lava, which, after filling up the beds of antediluvian rivers, were left, by the washing away of the banks and adjacent plains, to stand as mountains, marking the position of great treasures beneath ; by nuggets each worth a fortune; by the peculiar nature of her mining industry; by new and strange inventions; by the washing down of mountains; by filling the rivers of the Sacramento basin with thick mud throughout the year; by lifting a hundred mountains from their beds; by six thousand miles of mining ditches; by aqueducts less durable, but scarcely less wonderful than those of ancient Rome ; by silver mines that promise to rival those of Peru; by quicksilver mines surpassing those of Spain; by great deposits of sulphur and asphaltum; by lakes of borax; by mud volcanoes, geysers, and natural bridges; by a valley of romantic and sublime beauty, shut in by walls nearly perpendicular and more than threequarters of a mile high, with half a dozen great cascades, in one of which the water at two leaps falls more than the third of a mile; by a climate the most conducive to health, and the most favorable to mental and physical exertion-so temperate on the middle coast that ice is never seen and thin summer clothing never worn, and that January differs in average temperature only eight degrees of Fahrenheit from July; by a singular botany, including the most splendid known group of coniferous trees, of which half
dozen species grow to be more than two hundred and fifty feet high, and one species has reached a height of four hundred and fifty feet, and a diameter of forty feet in the trunk; by a peculiar zoology, composed almost of animals found only on this coast, and including the largest bird north of the equator, and the largest and most formidable quadruped of the continent; by the importation in early years of all articles of food, and then by the speedy development of agriculture, until her wheat and wine have gone to the furthest cities in search of buyers, and until her markets are unrivalled in the variety and magnificence of homegrown fruits; by the largest crop of grain, and the largest specimens of fruits and vegetables on record; by a society where for years there was not one woman to a score of men, and where all the men were in the bloom of manhood; by the first large migration of eastern Asiatics from their own continent; by the first settlement of Chinamen among white men ; by the entire lack of mendicants, paupers, and alms-houses; by the rapid fluctuations of trade; by the accumulation of wealth in the hands of men, most of whom came to the country poor; by the practice, universal in early years, of going armed; by the multitude of deadly affrays, and by extra-constitutional courts, which sometimes punished villains with immediate execution, and sometimes proceeded with a gravity and slow moderation that might become the most august tribunals. I write of California while she is still youthful, and full of marvels; while her population is still unsettled; while her business is still fluctuating, her wages high, her gold abundant, and her birth still fresh in the memory of men and women who have scarcely reached their majority; and I write of her while she still offers a wide field for the adventurous, the enterprising, and the young, who have life before them, and wish to commence it where they may have the freest career,
in full sight of the greatest rewards for success, and with the fewest chances of failure.
The general public are aware that California is a peculiar state, and their attention has often been called to certain prominent points of wonder, like those to which I have just referred ; but hitherto there has been no careful attempt to sum up all that is known of her resources and natural history. I have undertaken that task, and the result of my undertaking is in this book placed before the reader. I have been a Californian since 1849, and expect to be as long as I may live. All the most interesting associations of my life are connected with this state. I arrived in the country while it was still under a territorial government, and more than a year before it was organized as a state under act of Congress. I saw the land in its original wildness, and saw society, order, trade, industry and polity developed ; and I now see about me the beginnings and promises of science, art, literature, philosophy, and whatever can enrich or honor humanity. I have seen the state grow up, and its history is part of my life. The land-marks of its chorography, and the prominent events of its political, social, and industrial progress, mark epochs in my memory. Many of the happiest days of my life have been spent here, and here I hope to enjoy whatever blessings the future may have in store for me. If then I fail to do justice in my book to California, the failure will not be for any lack of love of her. Neither will it be for any lack of attention or industry. During the last nine years, I have assiduously collected every thing within my reach relative to the industry, resources, natural history and population of the state. I have looked through all the newspapers published between Crescent City and San Diego, and have examined all the books written about the country, Spanish, French and German, as well as English. I have