« ZurückWeiter »
ing up with all their municipal necessities | beacon, a light-house, or a fortification on of police, of taxation, and the protection of the whole coast." life and property. At the custom-house, “There are no docks for the repair of duties were exacted by the general govern- mercantile vessels nearer than New York, ment, to a large amount, in return for a distance of some 20,000 miles by sea." which, the people themselves received none “ All these things, together with the proof the benefits of the government which per regulation of the gold region, the quickexacted them.“ In obedience, therefore, silver mines, the survey and disposition of to the extraordinary exigencies of their the public lands, the adjustment of land condition, the people of the city of San titles,--the establishment of a mint, and of Francisco and of other communities elected marine hospitals, required the immediate members to form a legislature, and clothed formation of a more perfect civil governthem with full powers to pass laws." ment than California then had, and the
Their laws and liberties they did not fostering care of Congress and the execuderive from charters, they had them in tive. their minds and in their hearts; they were In a single year California had become trained citizens; they knew how to orga- a state of great commercial importance ; nize a State. They were already, de facto, of equal, if not superior importance to any members of a State ; they had no grada- of those which have recently been admitted tions to pass through, they were not pioneers, into the Union as States. Her citizens, backwoodsmen, or barbarians. " Other therefore, with unexampled unanimity and territories had been, at first, slowly and promptitude, resolved upon the only course, sparsely peopled, by a few hunters and which lay open to them the immediate farmers who penetrated the wilderness or formation of a State Government. To traversed the prairies in search of game or have waited the action of a Congress paa new home, and when thus gradually ralyzed by a balance of factions, would have their population warranted it, a govern- shown a degree of patience and pusillaniment was provided for them. They, how- mity on their part unworthy of a people ever, had no foreign commerce, nor any- whose greatest glory, in the eyes of the thing beyond the ordinary pursuits of ag- world, is, the capacity which they exhibit for riculture and the various branches of prompt, and efficient, and permanent, civil business which usually accompany it, to organization. They did not do this howinduce immigration within their borders. ever, until they perceived that they would Several years were required to give them be subjected to ruinous delays had they sufficient population and wealth to place to wait on the action of Congress. them in a condition to require, or enable In regard to that question which was, them to support a State government.” shaking the Union to its centre," and
“Not so with California ; the discovery had thus far deprived them of a regularly of the vast metallic and mineral wealth in organized civil government, " they believher mountains, had already attracted to ed that they had an undefeasible right to her in the space of twelve months, more decide for themselves, if not as a chartered than 100,000 people. An extensive com- State, then, as individual citizens, and in meree had sprung up with China, the ports maintenance of that very doctrine which is of Mexioo on the Pacific, Chili and Aus- so jealously maintained by the South. Was trillia. Hundreds of vessels from the At- it for them to suppress any portion of their lantie ports of the Union, freighted with Constitution ? To sneak it out and make a our manufaeturers and agricultural pro- secret of it, with the intention of sneaking it ducts, and filled with our fellow-citizens in, after their reception into the brotherhood had arrived, or were on their passage round of States? It had been argued and estabCape Horn ; so that, in the month of June lished, say the friends of Mr. Calhoun, in last, there were more than 300 sea-going the celebrated resolutions of 1847, concoctTessels in the port of San Francisco." ed by that much lamented statesman,
California has a border on the Pacific " that it is a fundamental principle in our of more than 10 degrees of latitude, and political creed, that a people in forming a several important harbors which have ne- Constitution, have the unconditional right ver been surveyed; nor is there a buoy, a to form and adopt the government which
they think best calculated to secure their even, we have only the testimony of newsliberty, prosperity and happiness." papers.
President Polk, in his message of 1848, A very large portion of this lucid and declares that “whether Congress shall important report consists of a geogralegislate or not, the people of the acquired phical and economical description of Caliterritories, when assembled in Convention fornia. It may be interesting to the reader to form State Constitutions, will possess the to learn, from this authority, that the sole and exclusive power to determine for population of California in 1802 did not themselves, whether slavery shall or shall reach a total of 17,000; and that in 1839 not exist within their limits. "*
it fell short of 24,000; of which 18,000 Mr. King states that the date of his ar- were converted Indians. rival at San Francisco was on the morn- In 1838 began the emigration from the ing of the fourth of June. General Riley's United States, and in 1846, Colonel proclamation, calling a convention to form Fremont found it not difficult to raise an å State Government, was dated the day army of 500 fighting men. At the close previous to his arrival. Mr. King declares of the war with Mexico there were estithat he had no secret instructions, verbal mated from ten to fifteen thousand Mexior written, from the President, or any one cans and Californians, exclusive of Indians. else, what to say to the people of Califor- The emigration of American citizens in nia on the subject of slavery. There was 1849 was estimated at 80,000 ; of foreignno party organization; there could be no ers, 20,000. Thus, it appears that Calisecret influences : the people were ripe for fornia is, strictly, an American State; the formation of a Constitution, and when more so, than several other States of the the question of slavery was submitted to Union. them by those who were opposed to It is impossible to ascertain the number it, a vast majority was found to be ini- of Indians who occupy the surrounding mical to its admission. All the influence territory. Of these, the remains of their of which we find any testimony that it villages at the feet of the mountains, show was exerted by Mr. King, was such as his that they were once a numerous population. age and experience, as a practical legisla- | Americans who penetrate too far into the tor, entitled and compelled him to exert, interior, not unfrequently fall in with hoswith or without executive instructions; tile tribes; and a number have been killed that is, to advise a reduction to order of by them. Emigration parties have been the chaotic Society of California, and to frequently attacked. These hostile tribes begin that work, which it was the first chiefly occupy the mountains, and range and paramount duty of the people to per- over the deserts of the interior. form,—the organization of their society for Mr. King says that the small parties of the protection of life and property,—to Indians which he met, scattered through show their capacity for self-government, the lower portions of the footholds of the and to test themselves in that particular, Sierra Nevada, seem to be almost of the before they should apply for admission into lowest grade of human beings, living on the Union. “ The Convention,” says roots and acorns, with occasional fish and Mr. King, “ was sitting 130 miles from game. These, he says, have never pretendthe place where I was; my illness was a ed to hold any interest in the soil, and have sufficient proof that I did not, and could not the slightest inclination to cultivate not, had I been disposed, exercise any in- it. They were too indolent to be profitafluence on the Convention ; nor had I bly employed. He supposes that they anything to do with selecting or bringing will disappear from the face of the earth, out candidates.” In a word, it is under as the settlements of the whites extend stood that Mr. King did not exercise any over the country; but that, at present, a political or party influence : all that he very considerable military force will be did exert was advisatory, and for this, necessary to protect the emigrants in the
northern and southern portions of the ter
ritory. * All the quotations thus far given, are from the Report, either quoted by Mr. King, or in his own
Mr. King's description of the geograwords.
phical peculiarities of California and the sea which borders it, are extremely inter- | the whole length of the gold region between esting ; but to give even an abstract of it and the Sierra Neva, some twenty them would expand this article beyond the miles in width, but it has not been surveylimits which are assigned to it: a few par- ed, nor accurately described. ticulars is all that we are able to extract. Mr. King represents that he considers
The forests of California, west of the the plain of Sacramento and San Joaquin Sierra Nevada, and below latitude 49, covers an area of between fifty and sixty consist only of some scattering, groves of thousand square miles; and capable, unoak on the vallies and along the borders der a proper system of cultivation, of supof the streams; and of “red-wood,” on porting a population equal to that of Ohio the ridges, and in the gorges of the hills. or New York at the present time. It is, With these exceptions, and a dwarfish of course, to be understood that a system shrubbery upon the hills, which can be of irrigation would have to be adopted for used as fuel, the whole territory presents this region, during the hot months. a grassy surface, varied with wild oaks, Under the head of products, the report which grow in the valleys most luxuriantly observes that the Californians were a pasAs the summer advances, this slender toral people, and that grains enough for vegetation perishes, and the country be- home consumption only, were obtained by comes hot and desert-like. About the the cultivation of the soil. Formerly there middle of each day, a cold, cutting wind was a very great exportation of hides, but begins to blow from the mountains, loaded the destruction of cattle for their skins and with vapor;which, with the dry heats, render tallow has now ceased, in consequence of the the climate at San Francisco, more uncom- demand for beef; and the increase of fortable in summer than in winter. A few | population, and consequent demand for miles inland, however, the climate is mode- food, is so rapid, it is computed that the rate and delightful. The best climate of Cali- entire stock of cattle, supposed to be about fornia prevails in the vallies, along the coast half a million head, will be absorbed before range. On the vast plain of the Sacra- 1854. The supply of beef will then be mento and San Joaquin, the sea breeze of necessity from the Atlantic States of the loses its influence, and the alternations of Union. "No other country," says Mr. heat and cold are intense and afflictive King, “ has the means of supplying so great to the stranger, the thermometer frequent- a demand. By the regular increase of her ly ranging much higher than is known on population, at the present rate, California the Atlantic coast of the same latitude. will require 100,000 head of beef cattle
A few months of acclimation, however, per annum from some quarter, to supply reconciles the stranger to the climate of the wants of her people.” This demand. California, and he pronounces that of the cannot be met by the salt provision comvallies which are situated between the monly put up for mariners. It is found great plain of Sacramento and the coast that the use of this food during the dry range of hill, “ as healthful and pleasant, season produces destructive diseases. as it is possible for any climate to be, There is no climate, says the Report, where which possesses sufficient heat to mature filesh meat and vegetables are more essenthe cereal grains and edible roots of the tial to human health. temperate zone."
To meet this vast demand for live-stock, The seasons, as in tropical latitudes, sheep and cattle will be driven from Neware divided into wet and dry, and will ex- Mexico, and from the western states, and cite no surprise in the inhabitant of a after grazing for a time upon the rich passouthern State : the winters being extreme- tures of California, after their journey, they ly mild.
will become acceptable food. The soil of the vallies which are situ- In regard to the cultivation of grains, ated parallel to the coast-range, and those Mr. King argues from evidence which he which extend eastward, in all directions considers sufficient, that in the rich alluvial among the hills, is deep and black, and of vallies of California, every species of vegeunsurpassed fertility.
table food may be produced, excepting There is said to be a rich belt of well perhaps, the maize, or Indian Corn ; and timbered and watered country extending' without that irrigation which is essential upon plains subject to the continued heats of the United States purchased all the rights summer. There is no species nor amount of Mexico to and in California ;” a purof vegetable production, however, which chase which includes not only the land, cannot be obtained from the soils of Cali- but the rights of mining, and all that might fornia by attention to drainage and irriga- accrue from the forfeiture of grants of tion.
which the conditions were not fulfilled, or As long, however, says the Report, as through imperfection in the grants. laborers can earn 15 dollars or more per For the adjustment of these complicated diem, in collecting gold, they can very well | affairs Mr. King suggests the appointment afford to import their supplies from coun- of competent Commissioners, with a power tries where the wages of labor are only 50 to confirm all rightful titles. The gold cents, or one dollar ; and this brings us to region, which is the same with the foot hills the most important part of the report, of the Sierra Nevada, some 500 miles long namely the commercial considerations and and 60 broad, requires also to be brought prospects suggested by a view of the under a general system for use and settlepresent and future aspects of California, as ment. The report suggests the necessity a country to be supplied by the products of a new survey as a matter of very great and manufactures of the Atlantic States. importance, both to the miners and agricul
The cultivatible land, south of latitude turalists, and, in general, to all land owners 39°, and west of the valley of Sacramento and purchasers. The public are not and San Joaquin, is claimed by such per- generally aware, that in the interior, even sons as are reputed proprietors of it, under of the Atlantic States, millions of property what purport to be grants from the Mexi- and years of litigation are lost through the can government. The boundaries of some uncertainty of boundaries. We venture of these properties, contain two or three to say that an expenditure of $10,000,000 times as much land as the grant conveys. upon an accurate trigonometrical survey of
In most of the grants the minerals and the entire Union, would, in a very few metals are reserved to the government, which years, save the expenditure of much more will perhaps explain the reason why larger than that amount in law suits, and the discoveries of the metallic riches of the bungling work of county surveyors. Much country were not made previous to its pos- more then, is a complete and thorough session by Americans, and gives a hint of scientific survey needed of a country like the true policy to be pursued by the gov- California, where the entire value of proernment of the United States. It will perty is in land. be necessary to depart in some measure In this part of the Report Mr. King from the old established customs of govern- suggests the employment of a system of ment in regard to precious substances found drainage and irrigation for the great plain in the earth.
of Sacramento and San Joaquin, which, he The Mexican law requires that grants says, when agriculture shall have become made by a provincial government shall a pursuit in California, will make this be confirmed by the supreme authority in valley one of the most beautifuland productMexico. Very naturally this requisition ive portions of the Union; but while the has been disregarded; not only because of hire of a day laborer is 3 dollars per diem, the distance from California to the Capitol and grain can be procured from Oregon at of Mexico, but because the claimants or 50 cents the bushel, there is no likelihood proprietors, having no particular value for that the people of California will expend the soil except for grazing purposes, did any capital in drainage or irrigation. not think it worth their while to examine Under the head of " commercial resourinto their land titles. There was room ces,” Mr. King takes notice that the preenough, says Mr. King, for all. These cious metals are the only products of Caligrants are enormously extensive; bounded fornia ; a state of things that must remain by mountains, bays, and promontories, and as long as the pursuit of gold continues since the discovery of the precious metals, profitable. The gold, as it is taken from they have become consequently, of enor- the earth, weighed in ounces, is the memous value.
dium of domestic and foreign exchange “By the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo | Vessels departing from all other ports
bring food and manufactures to the Cali- | mitted by the India merchant to New York. fornians, who pay for them in gold. These It cannot be sent to China, gold in China vessels, says the Report, will estimate the being not used as currency, and valued at profits of their voyages by the sale of their only $14 the ounce by the silver standard. cargoes in California. On the arrival and The China trade will, therefore, still centre discharge of cargoes, they will be in New York. Manufactures and procome willing carriers of goods sent from ducts of India, carried to San Francisco California, at very moderate freights. Mr. for the supply of South America and the King supposes that these tendencies will Islands, will be paid for in gold; the gold make San Francisco a ware-house for the will be sent to New York, (according to supply, to a certain extent, of all the ports our report, which is founded on the best of the Pacific American and Asiatic, mercantile authority,) and, with it, there and for the Islands. He adds that the es- will be purchased sterling bills, payable in tablishment of a mint in California will London. “These bills, sent to London, bring thither more than ten millions of sil- will be placed to the credit of the firm in ver bullion, from other parts of the Pacific China, from whom the merchandise had coast, to be assayed and coined.
been received, and who, on learning of the Gold is worth a dollar more the ounce remittance having gone forward to their measured by the standard of silver, in New agents, will draw a six months' sight bill for York than in San Francisco ; if, therefore, the amount, which will sell, in China, at a merchant of Valparaiso receives in pay- the rate of four shillings and three pence, ment for lumber, or other produce, ten or two pence, the dollar.” thousand ounces of gold in San Francisco, The reader unacquainted with mercanand desires to purchase goods from the tile transactions need only understand that United States or Europe, he will gain by an imperative necessity of trade, found$10,000 by sending this gold to New ed on permanent differences of prices in the York, and purchasing with it there. To precious metals, the greater part of the carry this illustration farther than it is car- gold of California employed in striking the ried in the Report, let us suppose that goods balance of the Chinese and India trade, are sent from New York to California, to will flow through New York, and from that the value of $17,000,000 of gold, paid for port to Europe; saving what remains, them at San Francisco. This $17,000,000 through superiority of demand, in the Uniof California gold will purchase in New ted States. If the reasonings of Mr. York $18,000,000 worth of goods in that King and the experience of the New York market; a process to be repeated indefi- merchants are here correctly given, the nitely in favor of the exporters, so long as harbor of San Francisco will have the conthe abundance of gold in California shall trol of the commerce of the Pacific, and continue to reduce its price, and the rapid the merchants of New York will become increase of population keep up the demand in future the principal operators between for foreign products.
Europe and Asia. A full examination of Our Report shows conclusively what we this part of the Report would have to be have always contended for, that it is not accompanied with a treatise on the laws the gold diggers of California who reap the of trade. advantage of the mines. “Those who The Report dwells, especially, upon the purchase and ship gold to the United importance of that commerce which is States,” says Mr King, “make large growing up between California and the profits; but those who dig lose what others older States of the Union. Every necesmake."
sary and luxury has to be imported into The Report argues that San Francisco California, a country which produces nothwill become the mart of all exports from ing but gold. The ports of the Pacific can the countries on the west coast of America ; supply only a small portion of these. Every these finding no markets in China or other species of manufacture that requires an exports of Asia. The products and the man- penditure of capital and ingenuity must ufactures of India, which are required in come to California from the older States of exchange for them, bave to be paid for, the Union. The great distances over chiefly, in gold; but this gold must be re- which they have to be carried already