A start in life
C. F. Dowsett
Produced by I M Me, Hilary Caws-Elwitt, and the Online Distributed
A START IN LIFE.
=A Journey Across America.=
FRUIT FARMING IN CALIFORNIA.
_Author of "Striking Events in Irish History," etc., etc_.
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LONDON: DOWSETT & Co., 3, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
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PRICE ONE SHILLING.
A START IN LIFE.
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_Plans, Maps, Views, Books, Samples of Fruits, Soils, etc., etc., of
Land at Merced, in California, may be seen at the Offices of
MESSRS. DOWSETT & CO.,
3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London,
where also further particulars and introductions to the owners at Merced
may be obtained._
A Suggestion to Persons Seeking a Start in Life
Comparison and Warning
London to Chicago
Chicago to San Francisco
San Francisco to Now Orleans
New Orleans to London
Information About California
Price of Land
Special Instruction Provided
Various Estimates as to what could be done with
Various Amounts of Capital
Price of Fruit Trees
When Fruit Trees Pay
Position of a Settler
Cost of Board and Lodging
Cost of Provisions, etc., at Merced
Cost of Journey by Sea and Land
Analysis of Merced Soils
Position of the Vendors
[Illustration: Map of North America with Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
_The dotted lines across America, indicate my journey, the Northern one
going, the Southern one returning. C.F.D._]
=A Start in Life.=
I have entitled this little book "A Start in Life," because it conveys
information which would enable any person possessing a small capital,
with some industry, patience, and steady habits, to make a start in life
which, humanly speaking, could not fail of success.
The old countries of Europe contain a superabundant population; every
branch of professional and commercial life is so overcrowded, that there
exists a competition so keen, as to reduce the incomes of the largest,
and, in many cases, to prevent the smallest workers, in whatever sphere,
from getting a remunerative return for the activities of brain, muscle,
To inform the public, therefore, how a young man may make a first start
in life, or an older man a fresh start in life, is offering an advantage
which, I doubt not, will be appreciated by many who read these pages.
I am prepared to hear the objection that, in the proposals set forth
herein, I am seeking a personal advantage as Agent for the sale of the
lands at Merced, in California, that I refer to, and I meet it with this
statement: Let the objector consider his prospects of success in the
place where he now is, and if they are reasonably good, let him stay
there; if they are not, then let him intelligently consider what his
capabilities are--whether he has any special or technical knowledge,
and, if so, in what place he can expect the best return for a full use
of his talents. If any opening appears probable in any of the old
countries, he will, perhaps, first consider that; but if he can see no
opening at home, then let him consider, by careful investigation, the
more distant fields; let him learn all he can about all the British
Colonies, and other countries, and especially Canada and the United
States, as being nearest to Great Britain. Having learnt something
generally of these distant places, then, having regard to his own
abilities and capital, and his personal desires as to distance from the
Old Country, climate, &c., he should make his choice as to which of the
places he has read of seems most likely to give him a fair prospect of
success; and then, having come to this decision, he should learn all he
can about that particular place. I admit that I shall receive a
personal benefit by persons settling at Merced, in California; but--I
say this with great confidence--if, after an intelligent consideration
of other places, any person, desiring a start in life, comes to the
conclusion that Fruit culture in California is an occupation, and a
country, that would suit him, then let him consider all the places in
California where openings for this occupation are presented, and let him
choose which of them he considers most suitable; and, at the risk of
appearing invidious, I would add that he should not believe all he
reads, but should make his examination and inquiries for himself, on the
spot. I do not ask him blindly to believe what is set forth in these
pages, but if he thinks that California is a suitable place of
settlement for him, then I do say, with great emphasis, that he should
not settle upon anything in California until he has been to Merced, and
proved for himself that the statements are credible. After he has been
to Merced, I have little doubt that he will be convinced that that place
presents an opening which would be worth his decision.
If he proceed to California by the Southern Pacific Railway, he could
break his journey at the various other places of Fruit culture
settlement, and inspect them, reaching Merced last, as the nearest to
the great centre of San Francisco.
A careful comparison of the various fields of Fruit culture enterprise
will, I am assured, show him that Merced possesses peculiar advantages.
It is well known that the great drawback of California is want of water;
and intending settlers must not be satisfied by the statements of
agents, or owners, that their lands have water advantages, but they must
satisfy themselves that they can have water by irrigation (not by the
expensive, laborious process of pumping it up from uncertain springs),
and in such a quantity as to be permanent.
At some places lands now supplied by irrigation will fall short
presently, when the owners carry the water on to thousands of adjoining
acres; therefore, a full and permanent supply of water is an essential.
THE SPECIAL ADVANTAGES
my clients offer settlers at Merced are:--
1. A permanent supply of Water, for a perpetual water right accompanies
every lot of land sold.
2. Contiguity to a Railway Station on the main line, and to a Town,
with commercial, professional, educational, social and religious
3. Instruction in Fruit culture gratis by a specialist, who is paid by
my clients to instruct settlers on their lands.
4. A rich Soil, of which, on another page, an analysis is given.
5. A ready Market for produce. Buyers come round the country and
purchase the crops as they are on the trees, taking upon themselves the
picking and packing. The Continent of North America is a sufficient
market in itself for all time especially considering that its population
increases nearly a million and a half a year.
6. The prices range from 75 dollars to 150 dollars per acre. At some
other places in California, land is offered at a less price, but I can
sell some land at even 10 dollars per acre; yet that at 100 dollars per
acre is far cheaper, having regard to its advantages. Our land at 150
dollars per acre will favourably compare with lands fetching much higher
7. Free Conveyances will be given, with a perfectly clear and
8. Two-thirds of the purchase-money may remain on
9. Merced is only 14 days from London.
10. A liberal competence may be secured by a reasonably industrious
11. Merced is a very healthy locality, and is nearer to San Francisco
than other Fruit growing centres.
12. My clients, the owners, are well-known gentlemen of wealth and
position in California, and not irresponsible land speculators, members
of a syndicate with an unknown personality.
COMPARISON AND WARNING.
I have already said that applicants should verify for themselves the
statements made by persons who, like myself, would be personally
benefited by their settling upon the lands offered for sale. Letters
sent to this country, and advertised by agents as a guarantee of
advantages, written by persons soon after arrival in California, and who
have not compared the place of their location with other places, can
scarcely be a sufficient recommendation. Some parts of California
advertised in this country for sale have not a permanent water supply;
are too hot; are swept by winds; are at a considerable distance from a
railway station; have a poor, sandy soil, some even mixed with alkali;
and some are so situated as to be "notoriously unhealthy," and produce
chills, fevers, and general malaria, and, in one case, I have heard of
an embarrassed title: therefore, I say that intending settlers should
remember there is a California and a California--that it is not all gold
which glitters, and that they should, personally and intelligently,
investigate for themselves, on the spot, the statements made by those
who, at a distance, offer the lands for sale.
It is recommended that settlers intending to establish Fruit farms,
should have a capital of from L600 upwards; but those who have a smaller
capital--say, L300, or even L100--may, in other ways, find some opening
for employing it, if accompanied with intelligent, industrious,
=A Start in Life.=
To ensure the stability of a building the foundation ought to be
substantial, so in like manner a good start in life goes a great way
towards ensuring a successful career. By success I do not mean the
making of a rapid fortune by leaps and bounds of prosperity, but I do
mean an ultimate prosperity, acquired through patient, persevering, and
intelligent labour. To make a large fortune quickly it is necessary to
have command of the requisite knowledge of the business in hand, the
requisite capital, untiring energy, and a trait of genius. Beyond these
it would be necessary to have the mind absorbed in the one thing, and
therefore, supposing one possessed the requisites, would it be worth
while to sacrifice all else to the mere accumulation of money? To live
for mere money making is a grovelling existence, and utterly unworthy
the aim of any man possessing the finer instincts of human nature and
the intelligence with which it is endowed.
No, I am not pretending to offer the means of making a rapid
fortune--such accidents fall to the lot of but few out of the millions
of our species--but I do claim to be able to offer to men willing to
live a steady industrious life, the opportunity of acquiring, on easy
terms, a small freehold estate, into which they can put the golden seed
of their own mental and physical effort with the certainty of reaping a
golden harvest proportionate to their area, their ability, and their
industry; for when once a Fruit farm is planted it increases in value
To own a freehold estate of 20, 40, or 100 acres, with a comfortable
house and buildings, and the land well stocked with choice Fruits, with
a ready market, presents a prospect, by the use of a small capital, with
the addition of muscle and brains, of future competence. When such a
property is fully matured, labour can be hired, and one's own personal
energies may be diverted, if preferred, into other channels, or
continued in the same with largely accumulating benefits.
I ask my readers requiring for themselves, or others in whom they are
interested, a start in life, to read these pages carefully, for I do not
know any calling, in the old or new world, where a small capitalist fond
of country life could find an occupation more congenial than the one I
offer at Merced, in California, and which is described herein.
Residence near to a young town, which will probably increase rapidly in
value, and which now possesses extensive commercial, locomotive, social
and religious advantages, a climate than which the surface of this globe
scarcely presents one more desirable, a fortnight's journey from London,
and a soil pregnant with inherent virtue, are amongst the considerations
of importance which will determine thoughtful investors to settle at
I am prepared to show to applicants samples of the soils and fruits, and
also views, books, maps, &c., and to answer questions, if they will call
personally upon me, at my offices--
3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London,
so that they may have every assistance in enabling them to come to a
decision as to whether the start in life I offer them at Merced, in
California, is one suitable in respect of their inclination, capital,
abilities, and energy.
WITHIN A FORTNIGHT OF LONDON.
To prove the convenient access of this land, called "British Colony"
from London, I may say that on November 22nd, 1890, I left Liverpool in
the Cunard steamer "Etruria," which reached New York on the following
Saturday evening, just too late for the Custom-house officers to examine
the luggage, so that we could not go on shore till the next morning. I
stayed over the Sunday (26 hours) in New York, leaving on Monday by the
first overland train, and after calling at innumerable stations, and
staying 14 hours at Chicago and Council Bluffs, to "make connections"
(_i.e._, catch other trains), and staying 52 hours at San Francisco, I
arrived at Merced at 10.23 on Monday night, December 8th, _i.e._, say 16
days 6 hours after leaving Liverpool. Had I have left Liverpool by the
Wednesday instead of the Saturday steamer, I should not have needed to
have stayed over Sunday in New York, and, of course, there would be no
necessity for a settler to stay at San Francisco (I had to meet my
clients there); therefore, deducting these two stoppages of 78 hours, or
3-1/4 days, it would give 13 days to Merced in the _winter_ season. In
fine weather the journey could be made in less time; some steamers, in
the summer and autumn months, have crossed from Liverpool to New York in
about six days, so that the journey _could_ be made, in favourable
circumstances, in say 12 to 13 days, but we may safely put it at 14
I went by the Northern Prairies and Rocky Mountains, and returned by the
longer route of Southern California, the Desert of Arizona, the Plains
of Texas, through the sugar and cotton districts of the Southern States,
and thence, via New Orleans and Washington, back to New York.
Thus, after remaining eight days at Merced, where I was fully engaged
each day in inspecting the lands for sale and the country around for
many miles, and after allowing for stoppages on the return journey over
Sundays, and waiting three days at New York for the Cunard steamer
"Servia," I reached Liverpool on January 4th, and was back again in my
office on Monday, January 5th, being six weeks, one day and 22 hours
from the time I rose from my chair in my office to the time I was
sitting in it again.
LONDON TO CHICAGO.
Travelling in generations past was an important event in one's life, but
now a journey across an ocean and a continent is a very commonplace
affair. Books of travel used to be read with avidity, but now that so
many persons travel, and the wires keep us in touch with all the world
every day, the history of a journey is a small event, and one which to
those not specially interested would scarcely perhaps be read;
nevertheless, as some of my readers may have to go over some of the
ground I have recently traversed, I have no doubt that a reference to my
journey to California and back would be of interest to them, and
therefore I will give up some time and space to the subject.
This little record of my journey may perhaps be better received if I
state that I am not a novice in travel, and that before I had turned
twenty-one years of age I had been to Australia (calling _en route_ at
Pernambuco in South America), and that while in Australia I visited
Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong, King George's Sound, besides various inland
towns and gold fields, including Bendigo, Castlemaine, Tarrangower,
Fryer's Creek, Forest Creek, Campbell's Creek, Tarradale, Maryborough,
etc., and various other places, and sheep and cattle stations. From
Australia I went to Aden (the inland town) and up the Red Sea to Suez,
returning to Australia, and thence to England. Since I commenced
business in England, in 1859, I went in 1862 to St. Thomas' in the West
Indies, thence to Aspinwall, across the Isthmus to Panama, thence to
Acapulco in Mexico, on to San Francisco in California, and thence to
Vancouver Island, returning by the same route as far as Aspinwall,
whence I went to New York. In 1865 I went on business to Russia.
Arriving at the ancient city of Pskov, I proceeded across country to the
estate of my client, the Count Bogouschefsky, at one time private
Secretary to the Emperor Nicholas (grandfather of the present Czar).
Some of these travels were attended with a good deal of adventure; but
my recent journey from England to California and back, 13,774 miles, in
six weeks (including all stoppages), was all work, for my time was
occupied continuously in reading up the country, learning from old
settlers, and making notes of what I saw, some of which I have found
room for in the following pages.
On November 22nd, 1890, I was at work in my office in Lincoln's Inn
Fields, whence a cab depositing me at Euston, the 10.10 express train
soon ran me down to Liverpool (201 miles), whence a steam "tender" took
me from the landing-stage to the Cunard steamship "Etruria," some two
miles off, where I was soon comfortably located in my "state room" (No.
It was nearly 5 o'clock before we got away, and the next day found us at
Queenstown Harbour, where we lost considerable time in waiting for the
mail. At length the mail, which was a heavy one, was safely on board,
and off we went, head on to the Atlantic. During that night of the 23rd
we experienced a heavy gale; big seas broke over the forecastle, and
flooded the decks below, through the ventilators. The A.B.'s declined
venturing on the forecastle to unship these great ventilators, and so
the engines had to be slowed down, and the ship stopped; the ventilators
were then unshipped, and we proceeded. The night was a bad one, and the
next morning we had not got through it, and as a consequence the decks
were like lagoons; but presently we had run through it, or it had run
away from us, or had expended its energy, and we were in comparatively
smooth waters, and had a comfortable run to New York. Nothing of
particular interest occurred during the passage. I sought and found the
old American settlers amongst the passengers, and obtained from them all
the information I could of the country, and especially the State to
which I was going. I read "General" Booth's "Darkest England," and wrote
a review of it, which duly appeared in the "Land Roll."
The "Etruria" is a fine ship. She has a commodious saloon, music and
reading room, plenty of deck space for exercise, comfortable cabins,
bath rooms, etc.
On the 29th we made Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which is about 20 miles from
New York Dock, but we got in too late for the Custom-house officers to
look at our baggage, so we lay all night in the harbour, and next
morning commenced the tedious process of creeping up, yard by yard, into
our berth at the dock. The run from Liverpool was thus:--Liverpool to
Queenstown, on the 22nd and 23rd, 240 miles; 24th, at noon, 330 miles;
25th, 454; 26th, 462; 27th, 475; 28th, 480; 29th, 471; distance to
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 130 miles; so that the run totals up to 3,042,
and with the 20 miles added, 3,062 miles.
I had been recommended by a passenger to go to the Hotel St. Stephen, 46
to 52, East Eleventh Street, New York, whence I drove in a cab perhaps a
mile and a half, for which the cabman wanted 2 dollars (equal to 8s.
4d.); he got 1-1/2, which was half-a-dollar too much. Passengers should
drive to their hotel, and then ask the proper fare before paying. New
York has many large hotels--this is comparatively a small one. All the
waiters are coloured men, and this seems pretty general throughout
I stayed over the 30th (Sunday) in New York, by which I secured a quiet
day and an opportunity to attend Divine service. In my bedroom was a
coil of stout Manilla rope screwed into the floor, near a window, so
that an escape might be secured in the event of fire. The towels
provided are a kind of compromise between a duster and a pocket
handkerchief--rather disappointing to one accustomed to his "tub." New
York is great in tram-cars, worked by horses, mules, and electricity,
also elevated railways--that is, railways running down the streets on
huge tressels or scaffolding--so that the vehicles go underneath them,
and the passengers in the train look straight into the first-floor
windows of the houses on the other side. There is an immense development
of electricity all over America, and in tram-cars, railway-cars, hotels,
houses, everything and everywhere, is the electric light prominent. Many
of the streets are unevenly paved. Blacking boots is a profession in
America--in many hotels a special charge is made for it, or else the
visitors are left to their own devices thereon--and boot-blacks have
shops and nooks fitted with high, huge easy chairs, elevated like
thrones, where their clients can comfortably repose during the operation
The next morning, December 1st, I was up early, and made enquiries at
the various offices representing the railway lines to Chicago, with the
result that I took a ticket by the Pennsylvania route, and left New York
at 10 o'clock a.m. The train service between New York and Chicago is one
of the best, if not _the_ best, in America. The cars are elegantly
fitted; they are about the length of the Pullman cars we have in
England. The best cars are those fitted with sleeping accommodation, and
travellers having tickets for a "sleeper" have the privilege of using
the sleeping car during the day. The sleeping cars are divided into
squares capable of seating four persons, but the space is accorded to
two only, as only two beds or berths can be made up in the space; the
lower berth (which is always the favourite) is formed of the two double
seats (the space for four seats), filled up in the centre by special
fittings and mattresses, hidden during the day inside the seats; the
upper berth is pulled down from the sloping roof of the car, and in the
receptacle between the slope and the square are contained the bedding
and the fittings. A curtain falls down over both the upper and lower
berths, and, so far as one can, the dressing has to be done with the
curtain hanging round one as one stands within it; and if on both sides
of the car passengers happen to stand behind their respective curtains
at the same time, they would touch one another and so block the
passage-way. The dressing accommodation is so inconvenient that only
partial undressing is adopted. The outside of the slope is polished
mahogany, and in the daytime bears no indication whatever of what it
really is, but looks like a handsome sloping polished mahogany roof.
These cars are luxuriously fitted. Another car on the train is a
handsome dining saloon, with kitchen attached, where you can order as
good a dinner as you could obtain at an hotel. The cars are also fitted
liberally with lavatories and water-closets, separate ones for ladies
and for gentlemen. On this train is also a bath-room and a barber's
shop. There are also one or two small private rooms, which can be hired
separately. This train has also a recent addition, being what is called
a drawing-room or observation car; this is the last on the train, and
the end is fitted with glass, so that in riding along passengers in this
car enjoy an uninterrupted view of the country they are leaving behind.
On this special train a ladies' maid is provided for the convenience of
ladies, and a stenographer, with his type-writing machine, occupies a
seat in the vestibule of the drawing-room car to take down any urgent
letters which business men may desire to post _en route_. The
observation car is supplied with a library for the use of passengers,
and is fitted with plate-glass windows and easy chairs. It has a
platform where one can breathe the fresh air outside if desired. There
is also a smoking-room car. On this special train the Stock Exchange
reports of the New York and Philadelphia Exchanges are received and
posted on the bulletin boards three times a day, and the weather reports
are also posted. The whole of the train is thoroughly well heated by
steam pipes, and lighted by electricity. The person in charge of a
"sleeper" car is called the "porter;" he occupies a position, not like a
porter on an English railway, but analagous to a steward on board ship.
On leaving New York I noticed that the suburbs contained many very small
wooden houses, and the country had the appearance of many Colonial
scenes I have witnessed--the land looked like reclaimed prairie, which
it probably is; and after passing many homesteads and villages we ran
into Philadelphia at 12.20. Philadelphia is the largest city, as to
area, in the United States. It is situate on the west bank of the
Delaware River. It is 22 miles long, and from 5 to 8 broad, comprising
an area of 1,294 square miles. It has over 900 miles of paved streets.
Philadelphia was founded by the celebrated William Penn, who went from
England to America in 1682 A.D., and purchased the site of this great
city from the Indians. William Penn's character was remarkable for his
high sense of honour, and if the same principle had obtained throughout
the history of the United States with the Indians, we should never have
heard of any "Indian Difficulty." Penn presented the city with a charter
in 1701. The city, built upon lands honestly and liberally bought from
the Indians, prospered greatly, and its population continued to increase
until it now reaches something approaching 900,000. Its chief source of
wealth is from its manufactures, which embrace locomotives, and all
kinds of ironware, ships, carpets, woollen and cotton goods, shoes,
umbrellas, and books. It has more buildings than any other city in that
country, and, in point of commerce, ranks fourth among the cities of the
United States. I noticed that the suburbs of Philadelphia contained many
handsome stone and brick residences. I felt much interested in the
connection with William Penn, because he is one of the ancestors of the
Penn-Gaskells of England, who for many years have been valuable and
much-respected clients of mine, and in numerous transactions I have
noticed in them that beautiful trait of strict honour which gave William
Penn a world-wide character, and has descended from him to them.
Passing by many farm homesteads, villages, and towns, all having a
prosperous kind of appearance, and described as "one of the richest
agricultural districts in America," we ran into Harrisburg, which is the
capital of Pennsylvania, and situate on the east bank of the Susquehanna
River. About five miles above Harrisburg we crossed the Susquehanna
River on a bridge 3,670 feet long, from the centre of which I am told
there is a fine view, but I lost it, as a snowstorm was raging while I
We stopped at Altoona, a large city lying at the foot of the
Alleghanies, and in ascending the Alleghanies fine scenery and great
engineering feats are discernible. From this we ran on to Pittsburg,
which claims to be the best lighted city in America, the streets being
brilliantly illuminated by arc and incandescent electric lights. Nine
bridges cross the Allegheny, and five the Monongahela rivers. Pittsburg
has been called the "iron city," and "smoky city"; it has immense glass,
steel and iron manufactures, and in these three interests alone employs
over 50,000 persons.
Then we proceed till, presently, we catch sight of Lake Michigan, and
know that Chicago is not far off. We skirt the shore of this busy water,
with its wharves, etc. On arrival (December 2nd) we drive through the
city from the Pennsylvania to the North-Western terminus.
Chicago is 912 miles from New York: it is the greatest city in Illinois,
and during the past 50 years has grown from a small Indian trading
station into a metropolis. Chicago extends some 20 miles along the
shores of Lake Michigan, and goes back from the lake to a depth of about
four miles, thus embracing about 80 square miles; beyond these confines
of the city proper the suburbs extend to some 6 to 10 miles in every
direction. It will be remembered that in 1871 Chicago had a great fire,
which burned an area of 3-1/8 square miles, destroyed 17,450 buildings,
made 98,500 persons homeless, and killed outright about 200 more. The
loss of property was estimated at 190,000,000 dollars, of which only
30,000,000 dollars were recovered from insurances, and this bankrupted
some of the insurance companies. In 1874 another fire consumed 5,000,000
dollars' worth of property. Chicago is the great central depot for
grain, lumber and live stock. In 1888 there were packed at Chicago
4,500,000 hogs, and about 1,600,000 cattle. Chicago has also extensive
iron, steel, wheel, car, flour, furniture, boot and shoe and tannery
manufactures. In driving through I noticed one long street, to the right
and left of the street I was traversing, thickly occupied with
tradesmen's carts, backed on the kerb in the usual fashion, being loaded
from the stores (or shops): there must have been a few hundred of them;
I never saw so many in one street at one time anywhere in any part of
the world. Chicago was cased in frozen snow, and thus was not very
attractive; but I noticed many very fine buildings, and was much struck
with the cosmopolitan character of the inhabitants. During the interval
of waiting for the train on the North-Western to start I was able to see
a little of the place, and found that some persons I spoke to could not
speak English. They came apparently from all parts of the continent of
CHICAGO TO SAN FRANCISCO.
The train was due at Chicago (December 2nd) at 9.45 a.m., being exactly
a 23 hours and 45 minutes' run from New York. Having crossed Chicago
from one terminus to another, I found that three trains left Chicago by
which I could travel to San Francisco--two were slow trains, and one a
fast train; but, by whichever train I went, it would make no difference
as to the time I left Omaha, and consequently no difference to the time
I should arrive at San Francisco, so I went on by one of the slow
trains, as I wanted to see Council Bluffs. This train was similarly
fitted to the other, except that it had no drawing-room car, nor
stenographer, etc., nor were the platforms connecting the carriages
enclosed; so that, in passing to the dining car, or any other car, the
sudden change from a hot car to a shower of snow was not pleasant. The
distance from Chicago to Omaha is 492 miles, and the country between the
two places formed a part of the great prairie region, which, 50 years
ago, had no other inhabitant than the Indian and the trapper, but now is
a succession of homesteads, villages, and towns, bearing evidence of
prosperity. At Creston, and many other stations, I noticed that there is
no protection whatever from the railway; the line is unfenced, and the
train runs through the town as openly as a coach would; there is
generally a rough board put up here and there with the words, crudely
painted on them, "Look out for the cars!" We were due at Council Bluffs
the next morning (December 3rd) at 7.23, but we arrived some half-hour
late. Council Bluffs Station is four miles from Omaha Station, but the
towns adjoin. The former has a population of over 35,000, and the latter
of over 110,000. They are divided by the great Missouri River, which is
crossed by two bridges, one being 2,750 feet long, and the other 2,920
feet long. Having had breakfast at the station, I went up to the town by
the "motor," that is, the electrical tram-car. The motor cars, like the
railway cars, are heated. I noticed a large number of detached wooden
cottages, "standing in their own grounds," of about one-eighth of an
acre, and I learned that these are owned by labourers. Mr. Day, an agent
there, told me that the cottage would cost 500 dollars, and the land 400
dollars, _i.e.,_ L100 for the house, and L80 for the land. An eighth of
an acre for L80 would be L640 per acre, and this quite out in the
suburbs; and I was told that good business blocks in the town itself
would fetch L32,000 (not dollars, but pounds) per acre. In the large
cities, such as New York, Chicago, etc., prices in the principal streets
would compare with prices in the City of London. Returning to the
station, I joined the express train, and crossing the Missouri River to
Omaha, we proceeded west. The river was frozen at its sides, and
presented no attractions worth notice. On we go through hundreds of
fields of maize, always called "corn" in America; other grain crops,
such as wheat, etc., are called by their own names, but the crop known
only as "corn" in America is maize. The rich clusters of corn are
gathered, and the stalks, something in appearance between a wheat stalk
and a sugar cane, are left standing for the cattle to pick over. Forty
years ago _this_ part was uninhabited by white men, and was the home of
countless buffaloes; now these animals are extirpated, and everywhere we
see nothing, for mile upon mile, but corn, corn, corn. One of my fellow
travellers was Mr. H.C. Jacobs, of Chicago, whose father-in-law was one
of the pioneers, and who gave me much information. The next day
(December 4th), we traverse the great rolling prairies of Nebraska, and
see many herds of horses and cattle, and here and there ranch homes and
Having run through Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, we commence the State
of Wyoming as we pull up at the City of Cheyenne, where, in the far
distance, we see, with its peaks well clothed in snow, the grand range
of the Rocky Mountains. Soon after leaving Cheyenne, we commence the
ascent of the Rockies--not, of course, the actual summit range itself,
but the foot hills and high lands stretching away from, and forming part
of it--and as we climb the ascent terminating at Sherman, where we have
gained an elevation of 8,247 feet, we pass through very wild, grand
scenery. At this altitude we look down upon floating clouds, and see in
the distance Long's Peak, 14,000 feet high, towering above them. All
along, at intervals, are portable fences, placed to catch the snow as it
drifts, to prevent it blocking the line; and also what are called snow
sheds, which are rough timber tunnels built up to protect the rails from
the great drifts arising out of heavy snowstorms. At the highest point
is a pyramid, commemorating a certain Mr. Oakes Ames, which looked 20
feet high and very near the line; it is however, 75 feet high and
half-a-mile off. The air is so rarefied that distances are most
As our descent proceeds, we catch sight, in the distance, of a herd of
wild elk, and where these rolling prairies have better herbage, we see
herds of horses with ranch buildings here and there. We pass the ranch
of William Cody, who, by virtue of his being a Senator of the State of
Nebraska, is called Honourable, but who was known in London, a short
time ago, at Mr. Whitley's "Wild West" show as "Buffalo Bill." As we
pass Fort Laraime, one of the forts erected by the United States
Government as a protection against the Indians, I was told some stories
of Cody's exploits against the Indians. In former days, emigrants
traversing these great prairies to found a home in this Wild West, were
often harassed by Indians, and the soldiers at the fort had to protect
them. Buffalo Bill has been in many a skirmish, and, if rumour is true,
many redskins have succumbed to him; the Government took counsel with
him in all Indian difficulties in that part of the country, and the day
before I passed his ranch he had been sent for by the authorities that
they might confer with him as to the outbreak which then existed, and
which cost "Sitting Bull" his life. We passed a house cut clean in two
by the wind, great herds of horses and cattle, beautiful specimens of
the bald and other eagles and vultures, some deer, and a very fine grey
wolf about the size of a Newfoundland dog. The distant mountain
scenery at times is very grand, and everywhere snow-capped. The air is
very pure and keen. I much enjoyed the society of two fellow travellers
over this part of my journey, Mr. Lee, of General Lee's family, of
Virginia, and Mr. Hurley, Solicitor to the Directors of the line we were
traversing. We passed the "Divide of the Continent" at an altitude of
7,100 feet, which is the dividing line of the running of water; that
running east empties into the North Platte River, thence into the
Missouri, thence into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean; that
running west empties into the Green River, thence into the Colorado,
thence into the Pacific Ocean.
In the early morning of December 5th we ran into Ogden, which is near
Salt Lake, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, which are snow-capped,
and have some very fine peaks. Salt Lake is 126 by 45 miles, and on it
is situate the great City of the Mormons. On the more fertile parts of
the prairies I gathered, at Humboldt Wells, some of the sage grass which
used to be the food of the buffaloes when they existed; at other places
I gathered samples of herbage on less favoured soils. As we proceed, we
see an encampment of Indians with red paint on their faces, which was
put on to show sympathy with, and, if necessary, take part with other
tribes of Indians, then commencing a "war" with the United States
soldiers. This district was not far, as distances go in America from the
scene of action. Presently we commence our run through the great barren
alkali plains, emerging from which we get into a more fertile country,
and, at Cedar Pass, notice the great ranch of Messrs. Sparks and Tinnin,
who are reputed to have 100,000 head of cattle. Mr. Byrne, of Elko,
Nevada, also the owner of a large ranch, was on board the cars, and gave
me some useful information. He said that cattle raising is very
profitable, as they double in number every four years, _i.e._, a profit
of 25 per cent.; thus, if a man start with a 1,000 head of stock cattle,
he will have 4,000 head in four years.
If a thousand head of stock cattle were purchased off a ranch, they
would be sold just as they run, without any selection whatever--steers,
heifers, cows, calves, bulls, yearlings, both sexes and all ages, but
calves which still suck their mothers are not counted, and go for
nothing. Many head of cattle perish in the winter, when the land is
covered with snow, as on many large ranches no food is given them. I
urged that it would pay to have stock-yards and give food during the
snow time, and Mr. Byrne said that he always did so himself, and that
the great ranch men were having their eyes opened to this necessity.
We passed various other encampments of Indians, and far from any
encampment or habitation saw an Indian on the track carrying a small
light bundle, and following him a long way behind was his squaw,
labouring under a very heavy burden.
During this day we ran through ranges of uneven mountains, rising one
above another in broken undulations and with ever-varying tops, such as
table lands, sharp conical peaks, rounded heads, and broken
The distant mountains are enveloped in snow, upon which gleams a
resplendent setting sun, presenting a prospect which only such a region
could produce. From the dazzling whiteness of one range we look upon the
dense darkness of another, as being out of the sun's influence. The
lights and shades, the gorges, the fissures, the striations in the range
upon range, with their intervals of plains and valleys, here and there
opening up peeps of great tracts of country, and then again shutting
all in to the circumference of their gigantic heads, interspersed with
the brilliance of rich gold, tingeing some tops and revealing dark
recesses, some ruby tints and fantastic shadows,--all combine to reflect
a glory which lifts the mind beyond the great heights of hills to a
height, greater still, whence originated all natural grandeur.
We had run through Utah and Nevada, and were now approaching the
northern part of California. In the very early morning of December 6th I
awoke and found that the train was at a standstill. Thinking that we
were at a station I tried to sleep again, but, finding that we continued
motionless, I went out on to the platform connecting our car with the
next and found all around was deep snow, and that another train on the
other metals had broken down, and that our men were apparently helping
to get it off. We were then two miles from Truckee, and at an elevation
of nearly 6,000 feet. After a long delay we got away and ran into
Truckee. The scenery on this day was also of a truly grand character:
precipices, declivities, chasms; and in one very romantic spot, of weird
and wild mountain sides, graduating to narrow gullies, with pine and
other trees, some perfect, others broken by the wind was one great
wreck of a forest monster--a tree rudely snapped asunder by wind or
lightning, about 40 feet from the ground, and stripped of every branch,
so that it looked like a broken column; on its top sat a great vulture
in the well-known attitude of its kind, as motionless as rock, and
apparently meditating on the incongruity of a noisy, vulgar bit of
machinery, with its train of cars, invading such a nook of Nature's
As we proceeded we came upon the succession of Placer gold diggings,
known as the hydraulic mines, which were then for the most part
abandoned, and these brought to my remembrance many similar spots I had
seen in Australia. The _debris_ of the mines had stopped up, or
diverted, or otherwise interfered with the Sacramento River, the Bear
River, and other rivers, to the great detriment of agriculture,
horticulture, stock rearing, etc., whereupon the State Legislature of
California passed an Act to prohibit all interference with the water,
for without water the miners could not wash their dirt, and so had to
abandon the diggings. All around this part, ravine followed ravine, with
beautiful vistas between, affording a continuous luxury of scenic
gratification. Presently we reached what is called by many the grandest
scenery on the American Continent, known as Cape Horn; it is where the
train winds round a mountain side, on a narrow ledge, and at such a
height, that to hold one's hand out of the window would be to hold it
over a sheer precipice of 2,500 feet. The train runs along the ledge or
narrow roadway cut in the face of the mountain rock, and all around is
presented a spectacle of the majesty of Nature, which only such a range
of mountains as the Sierra Nevada could produce.
About 14 miles from Truckee, we reach a station called "Summit," which
lies at an elevation of 7,017 feet, and is the highest point on the
Sierra Nevada Mountains reached by railroads, but the granite peaks rise
up to an altitude of over 10,000 feet. Grizzly bears, and other wild
creatures, find their homes in the recesses of these fastnesses. On
leaving these mountains we make a rapid descent, and in an hour feel
that we are in another country. At Colfax I bought fruit; at Arlington
the temperature was like summer. At Rockling Station I saw some very
fine orange trees, full of splendid fruit. Now we have entered the
fertile plains of North California, and run through cultivated lands,
till we reach Sacramento, the capital of the State. It is a great
change: from desert, alkaline plains, miles of snow sheds, snow-covered
mountains, a semi-civilization, and a freezing atmosphere, we find
ourselves in a warm, genial climate, cultivated farms, vineyards,
gardens, and orchards of nectarines, pears, apples, and the rest.
Arriving at Oakland, we crossed the Bay in the great ferry-ship, or
floating wharf, "Piedmont." The weather was charming--the bay dotted
about with islands and surrounded by hills. The temperature was the more
enjoyable from the fact that only a few hours before we were surrounded
by deep snow.
On arriving at San Francisco (on Saturday, December 6th), I went
straight to the Palace Hotel, and my first effort was to get a bath, for
a continuous day and night run from New York of 3,367 miles, makes one
who is accustomed to the use of plenty of water to look for a good
ablution as the first refresher. The Palace Hotel claims to be the
"model hotel of the world." Its architect visited the leading hotels of
Europe so as to produce a hotel superior to any. As to size, it occupies
a complete block--that is, it has a street traversing each side of it.
It rises to a height of 120 feet, and covers an area 350 feet by 275
feet--that is, 96,250 square feet, or nearly 2-3/4 acres, and, with
sub-sidewalk extensions, exceeds three acres. The lower story is 27 feet
high, the uppermost one 16 feet high. The foundation wall is 12 feet
thick, and the principal materials are stone, iron, brick, and marble.
Every partition wall throughout is stone and brick. It is fire and
earthquake proof, the walls being additionally tied by iron bands. It
has four artesian wells, yielding 28,000 gallons of water an hour, a
630,000 gallon reservoir, and tanks holding 130,000 gallons more. The
water is served by three large steam fire pumps, which throw the water
above the roof. There are five patent safety-catch hydraulic elevators
(or lifts). Immense precautions have been taken against fire. The
dining-rooms are 150 feet by 55 feet, and 100 feet by 50 feet. The
public rooms are very numerous, and are of immense size. The rooms for
guests are principally 20 feet by 20 feet; none are less than 16 feet by
16 feet; all are well furnished. The corridors are like streets--space,
elegance, solidity, and comfort are apparent everywhere; the whole being
lighted by gas and electricity. Each bedroom has a bath-room, with hot
and cold water services; w.c., coat-closet, and lavatory closet, with
hot and cold water services to itself, and which can only be used by the
occupant of the bed-room. The hotel, of course, has a barber's shop, and
as I expected my client to call I was anxious to get through my toilet
quickly; so I rang for one of the barber's assistants to come to my
bed-room to cut my hair preparatory to the bath. This did not take long,
and I asked the price, when, to my surprise, a dollar and a-half,
_i.e.,_ 6s. 3d., was required. I thought it was barbarism indeed!
I left San Francisco on Monday, December 8th, and during my short stay I
saw something of the town; but it was not the same place as I remembered
it from my two visits to it in 1862. It is full of life and activity,
has many wealthy men, 50 of whom, it is said, are millionaires. It has a
large number of grand buildings, fine shops, extensive markets,
beautiful private residences, and an immense development of electricity
for motion, light, sound, etc. The tram-cars run in constant succession
everywhere; but the most remarkable cars are those worked by an endless
cable. In the city are works with immense steam power, and from these
works endless cables revolve throughout the city, under the roads, in
various directions. In the bed of the tramway is a groove, under which
is the cable, revolving at a great speed. The driver of the car lets
down his grip, which tightly holds the cable, and, of course, the car
starts at full speed, and is carried along by the cable. When the driver
wants to stop, he lets go his grip on the cable and applies his brake.
Some of the hills in San Francisco are very steep, and the first
sensation in riding on the outside front seat, while going full speed
down a sharp declivity, is certainly novel, with no apparent motive
power, and no apparent means of stopping. The speed, of course, is
always the same, whether up or down hill, or on level ground. Telegraph
Hill is 394 feet high, Clay Street Hill 376 feet, and Russian Hill 360
feet. A San Francisco Sunday is painful to one accustomed to our English
ways; travelling in every form, and buying and selling are very
prevalent. The Y.M.C.A. have a large building there, and get large
meetings. I attended one gathering, which I addressed shortly.
San Francisco is described as having "the mildest and most equable
climate known to any large city in the world." January is the coldest
month, and the mean temperature then is stated to be 50 deg.. September is
the hottest month, and the mean temperature then is stated to be 58 deg..
Thus only 8 deg. difference between the coldest and warmest months, and the
average for the whole year is 54 deg..
San Francisco has a population of about 300,000 (including some 40,000
Chinese), is the principal city of the State of California, and the
principal commercial centre on the Pacific coast. I must not, however,
dwell longer on this part of my journey. On Monday, December 8th, I left
San Francisco with one of my clients, Mr. C.H. Huffman, for Merced, by
the 4 p.m train. The sun was shining gloriously, producing a charming
effect upon the placid waters of the Bay and its beautiful surrounding
SAN FRANCISCO TO NEW ORLEANS.
The train reached Merced at 10.23 on Monday night, December 8th, 1890,
where I was met, and in a spacious family buggy, drawn by a pair of good
horses, I was very soon at the residence of my client, Mr. C.H. Huffman.
The continuous day and night travelling by rail, and the taking of
voluminous notes all along, had caused a constant excitement which told
upon the nerves, and for two days I felt as though I needed absolute
rest, but, remembering that I had already been long absent from my
office, I commenced my work at Merced the next morning. The town of
Merced is the capital of the county of that name; it is not many years
old, but it has a striking difference to many new small towns I have
seen in the Colonies, in that it has several very good buildings and
residences. It has seven churches and chapels of various denominations,
some good shops, medical men, society, schools, gas, water, electricity,
and a station on the main Great Southern Pacific Railway. It is
undoubtedly a town which must rapidly increase in value, for this
reason: My clients, Messrs. Crocker and Huffman, at a cost of some two
million dollars, have tapped the Great Merced River 25 miles off, and
brought water down to the town and irrigated the country round. They
have formed a reservoir 640 acres in extent. Hitherto the rich lands
around the town of Merced have not been irrigated, and consequently were
not suitable for growing the Fruits for which California is so famous;
but, now that a system of canals, formed by my clients, has irrigated
their estate, extending over some 50,000 or 60,000 acres, the whole of
this great area is changed in value, and is available, and will
eventually be used, for the production of choice Fruits. Thus, Merced
will become a centre, like other parts of California, and, being so much
nearer than those other parts to San Francisco, will benefit
additionally by that advantage alone. Merced is only 152 miles from San
Francisco, while Fresno is 207, Bakersfield 314, and Los Angeles, 483
miles. It is rumoured that another line of railway will also be formed
in connection with the present main line, and Merced would then be an
important railway junction. I drove out every day with Mr. Huffman, and
inspected the country for some miles around the town, including the
Merced River, 25 miles off. The land designated British Colony, is, at
its commencement, only two miles from the Merced Railway Station, hotel,
and shops. Mr. Huffman has a most comfortable residence, and has
excellent stables, well filled with first-class buggy horses, so that
travelling was always an easy matter. Being a lay preacher in England, I
took advantage of offers made me, and preached on the Sunday I was at
Merced in two of the churches at the morning and evening services.
I left Merced on Tuesday night, December 16th, by the 10.23 train,
having stayed there eight days. I immediately "turned in," and next
morning (December 17th) was up as usual at 6.30, and much enjoyed the
splendid scenery through which we were passing--in a mountainous
country, grandly diversified with all the alternations of heights and
depths, lights and darks, rich and barren, including many evidences of
engineering skill--as we coursed along, now looking high up, now looking
low down, and presently winding along the celebrated "loop," described
as the "greatest engineering feat in the world," by which the train goes
through mountain passes, creeping along the tops of eminences, then
returning, crosses under itself at a low level, then, ascending, crosses
over itself at a higher level, so that in its meandering course you now
look down at your side on the line you have just traversed, and anon
look up at your side at the line you are about to traverse. We passed
through the Mojava (pronounced Moharvie) desert, where the yucca palm is
plentiful. A fellow passenger, and old settler, enlivened the time by
some relations of his experiences thus: He once shot a grizzly bear
which weighed 1,500 lbs. Some are much larger than this. Everything of
weight in America is generally reckoned by pounds, not cwts. or tons. On
another occasion he slew a Californian lion. He had killed a bullock,
and the carcase was hanging in his house at the back, where was an
aperture like a small window without glass, and under this opening
outside stood an empty case. The lion scenting the carcase, and hearing
no sound from within, approached the house, and was endeavouring to
creep through the aperture when, in its efforts to do so, it kicked the
case away, and the poor animal was stuck fast, having its head and
shoulders inside. My fellow traveller, on returning home, was surprised
to find his visitor, and so despatched him with an axe, and has for
years used the skin, which is 9 feet 8 inches long. The temperature was
charming, although in the distance we could see the snow-capped
mountains. We run through the antelope valley, gather some juniper
plant, see a skunk, see natural oil wells at Saugus, pass the head of
the Santa Clara Valley, see the San Fernando mountains, go through the
greatest tunnel in America--the San Fernando tunnel, 6,967 feet long,
go by Burbank, where there is a land boom, and arrive at Los Angeles,
where during the two hours of waiting I have a look at the town and a
pleasant chat with Mr. White Mortimer, the British Consul, whom I called
upon. The next day (December 18th) we were on the desert of Arizona,
where we saw Indian camps at places which were somewhat oases as to
plant life. Speaking generally, nothing grows on a great part of this
desert but cactus, of which I am told there are some 200 varieties, from
the dwarf kind to trees 40 feet high. This plant has a strange if not a
weird appearance. Here and there, like solitary sentinels, stands out a
tall cactus, with perhaps two or three heads or branches, growing
perpendicularly with itself. The mountains on either side look as if
they had their origin in volcanic eruptions.
Some parts of the desert are covered with a dwarf kind of evergreen
shrub. We see large numbers of prairie dogs, which are of a size between
a rat and a rabbit; they live in holes like rabbits. There are also
gophers, skunks, prairie rats, rattlesnakes, and hawks, which feed on
snakes and rats. We pass tribes of Yuma Indians, Aztec Indians and Gila
(pronounced Heela) Indians. On reaching a part where is some grass we
see some cattle, which are straying on the line; the engine whistle
shrieks, the cattle run, and some coyote wolves are startled from their
lairs and run, too; large numbers are here, and the preceding night
their yells aroused some passengers from sleep. As we proceed, quail are
seen, and wild cats something like a lynx. Arriving at Tucson
(pronounced Tewsohn), I enquired for a gentleman to whom I had an
introduction, but learned that he was up at his gold mine. This Tucson
is an ancient city, having been founded by the Jesuits in 1560 A.D. It
does a large business in exporting gold dust, wool, and hides. I expect
that these mountains of Arizona contain much value in minerals. The
Indians in this part of the country are the Apaches, and were described
to me as the most treacherous of all the American Indians, that they are
cowardly and will never fight in the open. A gentleman who entered the
train at Tucson gave me many instances of this. In the evening we saw
"cow-boys" round their fire camping out in the open, and also a camp of
freighters resting on their journey across the desert. The next morning
early (December 19th) we arrived at El Paso, a most interesting Mexican
town situate on the borders of Old Mexico, New Mexico and Texas, where I
bought the skin of a Mexican tiger, and other things.
In travelling for some days in a train continuously one feels the need
of exercise, and this I obtained by getting in and out of many of the
railway stations and walking up and down. Between San Francisco and New
Orleans there are 322 stations, and I should suppose the number of
stations on both the Northern and Southern routes I traversed would
probably amount to nearly 700.
We are now commencing to cross the great plains of Texas. At first the
plains are desert, with mountains skirting our view; the scenery is less
interesting than the Arizona desert, because there are no cacti. This
desert has probably been under salt water at some time. The rocky hills
appear to have a volcanic origin. As we go on, we reach a poor kind of
pasture, growing out of a scrubby kind of shrub, with some occasional
cacti, many hills and mountains like barren rocks, with not a bird or an
animal to be seen. The weather has been warm since leaving Merced, but
now, so far south as we are, it is hot on this December day. I had read
in the short telegrams given by American papers, that the winter was
very severe in England, and I pictured often to myself, friends and
clients in England muffled up amidst frost and snow, whilst I was
revelling in glorious sunshine, so warm that no greatcoat could be worn.
Had I returned by the route I went (the Northern Prairies), I might have
been delayed by snow drifts, but by this, the Southern route, there was
no snow, but a continuous, cheerful, delightful sunshine, not too hot
anywhere, but simply delightful. I should certainly recommend anyone
going from England to California in the winter season, to go by the
Southern route. Amongst the objects of interest, we notice in the
distance a small herd of 14 wild antelope trotting along; cattle, coyote
wolves, and, at many places, the well-picked bones of animals which had
dropped dead, or, when weak, had been killed or eaten by carnivora or
reptiles. We saw large numbers of prairie dogs; they sit outside their
holes like a squirrel, on their haunches, with their fore paws up; they
are very quick, and most difficult even to shoot. More antelopes and
coyotes. At a station called Alpine were several cowboys, all armed with
revolvers and cartridge belts, and some with dagger knives too; their
mustangs were hitched up close by. These cowboys are some old and some
young men, some wild and some cultivated, some never educated, some have
gone through Harvard, or Oxford, or Cambridge, some the sons of English
county gentlemen and noblemen--but all cowboys, _i.e.,_ men who live on
ranches where large herds of cattle or horses are bred, and whose duty
it is to ride over the wild rough country to know where the herds of
cattle and horses are feeding, so that if they need to be ridden up for
cutting or branding, or selling, they may be found. I was told that this
was one of the "hardest" places for a cowboy, _i.e.,_ one of the
wickedest, meaning that when they visit it, it is for a "spree," and
they get drunk, and fights and murders follow. I was pointed to a little
cemetery on a hill, enclosed by a white fence, and was told that it
contained 150 bodies, and that only 50 had died a natural death; the
others had been shot or otherwise murdered in drunken frays and other
ways. Many strange little histories were told me about these men, but
which I have no time to record here. In some parts of the country where
water was very scarce, there seemed to be no vegetation, and the cattle
seemed to wander solitarily along, a mere heap of hide and bone. At
many stations I had quite a considerable interval for running about,
such as when a wheel caught fire, which happened two or three times, or
some freight had to be taken in, or taken out, etc. When the train again
starts, the conductors shout "All aboard," and there is a general rush.
The next day (December 20th) was again a brilliant day of sunshine; we
see many buzzards, and breakfast at San Antonio. The railway stations
along this country have two roofs, one being two or three feet above the
other, so that air between should keep the building cool. At breakfast,
I read the San Antonio _Daily Express_, which informed me "severe storms
prevailed everywhere in Great Britain," and my thoughts were naturally
much occupied with the Old Country. The day was sultry, but sunshine is
always a great treat to me, and it was never too hot.
Now we are running into civilization again, and I catch sight of a man
ploughing; he has a pair of mules, and is holding the reins in his
teeth. As we proceed, it is a continuous succession of cotton fields,
cotton fields, cotton fields. We see many bales; these weigh from 475 to
600 lbs. each. At a station called Sequin, I obtained lots of cotton
seeds, and gathered some cotton in the fields as we went along. The
scavengers of this country are Turkey buzzards, which are protected by
law because of their usefulness.
I could not refrain from writing several times in my note-book,
"glorious sunshine." Hitherto we have had mountains continuously in
sight, but now they are out of vision. This being Saturday we see
markets at the towns we go through; at Habwood and Flatonia especially
was this noticeable. The population seemed almost altogether negro. I
observed a negro and his wife, well dressed, riding on horseback in the
old English pillion style; another negro and his wife, and about twelve
children, in a capacious kind of wagon-buggy, and many negroes and
negresses, the latter dressed in white and gay colours, standing at
their pretty verandahed cottages.
We now pass a spot where a train was stopped and the passengers robbed
some time ago, by Jesse and Frank Jeames and the Ford Brothers. The
_modus operandi_ is for all the men to be secreted but one, who stands
on the line holding up a red flag which indicates danger; the engineer
then stops and the men spring aboard; some hold revolvers to the heads
of the engineers, and others go through the train and rob the
passengers. The robbers shout out "hands up," and one man points his
weapon at the passenger's head, whilst another rifles his pockets. If a
passenger fails to hold up his hands he is shot down. A passenger on the
Northern Prairies told me of a fellow passenger, who under such
circumstances having a revolver, aimed at a robber and pulled the
trigger, but it missed fire, and he was instantly shot down. But these
attacks are now more rare, and the officials are more prepared for them.
Sometimes the robbers get on board the train as passengers, and act
suddenly in concert. All along the country now we pass the cabins of the
slaves, familiarised to us by "Uncle Tom's Cabin." These cabins are
pleasant little houses with verandahs, and I reflected how favourably
they compared with the "homes" of many of the London poor, and how happy
the slaves might have been but for the knowledge that at any time they
were liable to be sold like a mule or a bullock. Now we pass sugar,
cotton and rice plantations, and go through such cultivations all
through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, North and South Carolina,
Georgia, and Virginia. I gathered sugar and cotton going along at
places, saw a racoon in a stream fishing for crawfish, and go through a
country, in which are plenty of alligators.
On the early morning of Sunday (December 21st), we go through swamps,
such as we used to read of as the hiding-places of runaway slaves. All
through these Southern States we saw everywhere sugar and cotton, sugar
and cotton, sugar and cotton; these, with rice, are the principal
products; sugar mills, cotton yards, etc., etc. We soon reach Algiers,
and cross the grand Mississippi River, then land at New Orleans. The
actual city of New Orleans covers an area of about 41 square miles, but
the statutory limits of the city embrace nearly 150 square miles. It is
situate on both banks of the Mississippi River, and from 1,000 to 1,500
steamers and other vessels, from all parts of the world, may frequently
be seen lying there. New Orleans is the chief market in the world for
cotton. The site of the city was surveyed in 1717 by De la Tour, and it
was settled in 1718, but abandoned in consequence of overflows, storms,
and sickness; it was resettled in 1723, held by the French till 1729,
then by the Spaniards till 1801, by the French again till 1803, and
then, with the Province of Louisiana, was ceded to the United States.
The present population is about 250,000. There are 33 cemeteries, and
they are remarkable, inasmuch as the bodies are buried above ground, in
vaults like tiers of ovens; the ground is too wet for burial. I attended
Trinity Church in the morning, had some black bear for dinner at my
hotel, the "Hotel St. Charles," and then attended the Y.M.C.A., where I
gave the address in the afternoon, which was followed by a very solemn
after meeting. I went to bed very early, and was up very early the next
morning (Monday, December 22nd). I had to draw the mosquito curtains in
the night, but not till after some of these insects had left their mark.
The principal ground floor of the hotel was on the first floor level,
and the actual ground floor was of secondary importance; the front part
was occupied by stone steps and a colonnade, and the rear was a liquor
bar and a large hall. This hall used to be one of the principal auction
rooms of the city, where slaves were sold by auction; and as I entered
the now rather desolate-looking place, which is partly circular in
shape and constructed with many pillar supports, I pictured to myself
the emotional agonies, the tempests of passion, the lust of greed, the
calm, subdued, resistless attitude of despair which at times found
expression, as domestic circles were for ever broken, tenderest
sympathies for ever sundered, closest friendships for ever
separated--yea, even the most sacred relationships of life ruthlessly
shattered, by the sale of mothers or fathers, brothers or sisters, wives
or husbands, sweethearts or friends. Of this I will give just two
illustrations: Our porter on the train crossing the Northern Prairies
was a coloured man named Farrell; he told me that his mother had seven
boys, and that they were all sold away from her, and that it had been
his life-work to try to find his brothers. He had shipped to Australia
as a seaman, had worked in hotels, and on wharves and rivers, and now
was working on the railway cars endeavouring to find his brothers; he
had advertised for them in the newspapers, but he had never heard of one
of them. When this family was broken up, Farrell and his brothers were
only boys; for it will be remembered that the date of the official
announcement of the total abolition of slavery in the United States was
made on the 18th December, 1862, when upwards of 4,000,000 slaves were
legally declared free men. Another coloured man engaged at this hotel,
who was born a slave, remembered walking with his father, who was also a
slave, and his father's anxiety to get home before nine o'clock at
night, as no coloured man was allowed to be in the streets after that
hour unless he possessed a sufficient authority from his owner. This man
told me that at an auction of slaves at this hotel (auctions of slaves
were held in New Orleans at different places three times a week) a very
fine intelligent young man was sold by auction for 2,100 dollars to a
lawyer who was known to be a cruel man. My informant told me that his
name was--well, it sounded like Rumo, possibly Roumeaux, as most of the
wealthy settlers were of French origin, that he lived in St. James'
Ward, and that when he bought slaves and sent them down to his
plantations, they each received twenty-five lashes as they entered his
gates, as an example, of what they would receive if they did not please
him. Well, when the hammer fell and this slave knew that he belonged to
an owner whose cruelty was common talk, he exclaimed, "You have lost
your money." This slave was sent down with others to the steamer on the
Mississippi (which is only some ten minutes' walk from the hotel), for
shipment to this owner's plantations. The poor fellow was not even
allowed to say good-bye to his people, but was sent on board. When he
arrived there, he repeated to the man in charge of the slaves, "Mr. Rumo
will lose his money," and shortly after he took advantage of a
favourable moment, and, folding his arms, he threw himself backward into
the river, and was drowned.
A few minutes' walk from my hotel is the Henry Clay monument, where the
mob was addressed last month by Mr. Parkerson, who incited them to
proceed to the prison and force an entrance, and then to take the lives
of a number of Italian murderers by lynch law. On this monument some
memorable words are inscribed which Mr. Clay uttered, and which T
copied. They are as follows:--"If I could be instrumental in eradicating
this deep stain, slavery, from the character of our country, I would not
exchange the proud satisfaction which I should enjoy for the honour of
all the triumphs ever decreed to the most successful conqueror." That
deep stain was removed in 1862, and slaves were raised from the
condition of cattle to that of men, who could thenceforward rejoice in
the freedom of being masters of their own bodies.
NEW ORLEANS TO LONDON.
On leaving New Orleans we run through swamps, and presently skirt the
Gulf of Mexico and travel on. The next day (December 23rd), we feel it
perceptibly colder, for we are going north. The country is cultivated in
sugar, cotton, rice, grass, etc. We breakfast at Atlanta, and after
leaving that place, the scenery puts me more in mind of England. In
going through Georgia, I was told that the same black families which now
occupy many of the small wooden houses, or "cabins," which I see, are
the same families who occupied them before the abolition of slavery.
Although many slaves suffered cruelties through enforced separations and
hard treatment, yet very many had most comfortable homes, considerate
masters, and light work. I sat much during this day on the platform at
the end of the end car, observing the country. At one station some
little black urchins came to gaze, and I said to one boy, apparently
seven years old, "What is your name?" He said, "Willie Matthews." I
said, "How old are you? " He said, "I ain't old enough to know how old I
are." And his genuine simplicity delighted me.
We are now passing through cultivated lands, farms, and estates, and
these continue right on to New York. At Greers was a very large
collection of cotton. At Spartanville are large cotton mills, such as
one sees in Lancashire. The next day (December 24th), we notice ice on
the ponds. We cross the Potomac River, and near Washington, sight the
Capitol--or, as we should say in England, the Houses of Parliament.
Washington City is the political capital of the United States. Its size
is about 4-1/2 miles by 2-1/2 miles. The Capitol is described by the
Americans as the most magnificent public edifice in the world. It is 352
feet long and 121 feet deep, with two wings each 238 by 140 feet. Its
entire length is 751 feet 4 inches, and it covers an area of more than
3-1/2 acres. It is of costly construction, and stands in grounds of
about 50 acres.
We proceed, and stop at Baltimore, cross the Bush and Gunpowder Rivers,
again come near the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers, various smaller
rivers, and run on until we reach New York. On arrival, I immediately
went to the Cunard office and secured my berth in the "Servia." The next
morning (Christmas Day), it was very cold, and snowing. I had a fire lit
in my bed-room, and there wrote the article which appeared in the
January _Land Roll_. In the afternoon I walked in the Central Park, but
it was so bitterly cold, I was satisfied with less than two hours of
exercise, and returned to the hotel to dinner, and finished up the day
writing in my bed-room till midnight. The Central Park, in genial
weather, would be an attractive resort. I observed large natural rocks,
lawns, wide promenades, seats, lakes, menageries, swings, and various
such like attractions for juveniles, overground and underground roads--a
kind of "Rotten Row," &c., but being so cold scarcely a person was to be
On December 26th, New York was deep in snow. I visited a few shops for
some necessaries, and went on board the "Servia" during the afternoon,
thinking that I might have difficulty in getting a cabman to drive to
the docks after dark if the snow drifted deeply. New York City is the
metropolis of the United States. In 1880 its population was 1,206,590.
Its site was discovered in 1524. It was in 1609 that Hudson, an
Englishman, ascended the river which was named after him. In 1614 some
Dutchmen settled there. In 1648 its population was 1,000, and in 1700 it
had increased to 6,000. In 1684 it was captured by the Duke of York, and
was henceforth called "New York." In 1711 a slave market was established
in Wall Street.
On December 27th, about 5 o'clock in the morning, we began to clear out
of the dock, and in a few hours were again on the broad Atlantic. The
next day (Sunday, December 28th), we had service on board, conducted by
the doctor in the saloon: all on board not actually on duty may attend.
We left New York in a blizzard, and our decks were coated with frost and
snow, but after two days this was all cleared away, and we had a
splendid run in genial weather, so that one day I could comfortably walk
on deck without a greatcoat.
Our run was--from Sandy Hook Lighthouse (45 miles) to noon of December
28th, 373 miles; noon of December 29th, 379 miles; December 30th, 375
miles; December 31st, 878 miles; January 1st, 1891, 372 miles; January
2nd, 362 miles; January 3rd, 371 miles; thence, to Queenstown, 169
miles; and from Queenstown to Liverpool, 240 miles; making a total of
3,064 miles. The passage in the "Etruria," going out, was 3,062 miles.
The "Servia" is a fine ship, but much older than the "Etruria," and her
engines, consequently, are not capable of the speed of a newer vessel.
Her cargo capacity is 6,500 tons, with 1,800 tons of coal and 1,000 tons
of water ballast. Her horse-power is equal to 10,500. The saloon is 74
by 49 feet, and is capable of seating 350 persons. The "Servia" has
cabin accommodation for 500 saloon and 600 steerage passengers, besides
a crew of 200 officers and men. When there are more than 350 saloon
passengers, each meal has to be served in two relays.
An interesting incident occurred during the passage: I discovered that
our captain (now commanding the "Aurania") was a shipmate of mine in
1855, when I was a midshipman. I reached my office in Lincoln's Inn
Fields at 8 o'clock on the morning of January 5th, having been absent
just about six weeks. The distances were as follows:--
Liverpool to New York 3,062 miles.
New York to Chicago 913 "
Chicago to Council Bluffs 488 "
Council Bluffs to San Francisco 1,867 "
San Francisco to Merced 152 "
Merced to New Orleans 2,344 "
New Orleans to Washington 1,144 "
Washington to New York 228 "
New York to Liverpool 3,064 "
London to Liverpool 201 "
Liverpool to London 201 "
Journeys in buggies, tram-cars, &c. 110 "
I must conclude with some general remarks:--
The _Times_ recently published a series of ten articles on the "Negro
Question in the United States," and from them it appears that the
position of that country is very serious in this relation. These
articles commenced after I had started on my journey, so that I only saw
one or two of the concluding ones and the _Times_ leader upon the whole,
but I was not surprised to see them, because in passing through the
States which are principally peopled by negroes, I heard something
about the matter from a thoughtful man, who regarded the subject with
great gravity. The _Times_ has shown that the attitude of one race to
the other is that of "antagonism, discontent, and perpetual danger."
The negroes have the same constitutional privileges as the whites, and
their overpowering numbers in certain places give the power into their
hands, which, regarded in relation to racial hatred, renders them to be
an object of danger to the country. It is proposed to emigrate the
negroes to some part of Africa. It would be more consistent for certain
Americans to interest themselves in solving this problem of their own
rather than encouraging Irish agitators, and so assisting to prevent
England solving her dark problem across St. George's Channel.
The proportion of coloured people to white in the three states of
Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama, is about equal, that is, there are as
many coloured people as white. The population of coloured people
throughout the whole of the United States is about 7,000,000 of coloured
people to 59,000,000 of white people, but it is a sad fact, as stated in
the _Times_ of March 7th last, that a Government return, dated June
1st, 1890, showed that there were 45,233 convicts in the prisons of the
United States, and that of this number no less than 14,687, or one-third
were coloured people, and that out of these coloured people only 237
were Chinese, 3 Japanese, and 180 Indians, so that 14,267 were negroes.
As the whites, counting all the States, are eight times as numerous as
the coloured people, and yet the coloured convicts are one-third of the
whole, it speaks badly for the morals of the negro race in America.
I was much struck with the immense development of electricity. Steamers,
railway carriages, tramcars, hotels, shops, towns, villages, and railway
stations, even those in remote places, with scarcely a building near to
them, were all well lighted by electricity.
Railways run on scaffoldings down the centre of the streets, and horses
with their vehicles run underneath them. The railway trains are well
heated throughout by hot water pipes (every class), and reflect a grave
reproach on our country, where, in the severest weather, it is difficult
to get a foot warmer, except by certain main line trains, and, even
then, one is expected to "tip" the attendant. Poor persons travelling in
thin garments and poorly fed, in severe weather, scarcely ever dare to
ask for a foot warmer unless they are prepared to fee someone, and,
whether rich or poor, no one can get a foot warmer at any of our country
stations. When we consider that railways originated in this country, and
that some of the parts of America I passed through were, some 50, some
40, and some even 30 years ago, only known to the trapper and the
Indian, it shows the increase of enterprise exhibited by our cousins
over the Atlantic.
Tramcars are worked by electricity, by steam, by horses and mules, and
by revolving endless cables. Telephones are everywhere. The railway
journeys in America often occupying several days, the tickets are a kind
of succession of coupons, parts of which have to be given up at various
stages. Caution is exercised in selling railway tickets for long
journeys--thus, you are required to sign the ticket, and observations
are made of you, such as your height, probable age, colour of your eyes,
hair, etc. Some of the lines of railway are not fenced in, not even in
towns, so that the train runs through a town as openly as does an
omnibus. I may convey some idea of some of the large American systems
of agriculture, by referring to the estate of one of my clients, Mr.
C.H. Huffman, of Merced, California. This gentleman has fields ranging
from 1,000 to 15,000 acres each. He can plough 400 to 500 acres a day.
By his traction engine he can strike 12 furrows at a time. He can put 70
teams (of eight mules or horses each) to work at one time. Each
harvester will cut, thrash, and sack an average of 50 acres a day. The
front part of the machine faces the standing wheat in the field, in the
centre of the machine it is thrashed and winnowed, and at the rear it is
thrown out in sacks ready for market. Mr. Huffman can sit in his study
at home, and by his telephone talk to his clerks at Merced (he is the
banker there), as well as to the foremen at his various ranches for 25
miles round the country. I particularly noticed one of his fields of
wheat, comprising 2,000 acres, as level and clean as a well-kept lady's
flower garden in England.
The Americans have a greater variety of foods served at their meals than
we do, but I never got the flavour of meat cut from a joint to equal
that which, when really well roasted and served, we get in England. As
to bread, I never tasted bread worth the name, from the time I left
London to the time I returned to it. Alike on the Cunard steamers, cars,
hotels, etc., you can get no wholemeal bread. French and Vienna breads,
and other very white abortions of that kind are obtainable in abundance,
and even a kind of brown bread, and "Graham's" bread, but good honest
wholemeal bread, containing all the properties of the full kernel of the
wheat, it is impossible to get, and this to me was a very great
deprivation, as my _principal_ article of food is _real_ wholemeal
The system of the custody of letters at the large American hotels
appeared to me rather unsafe. A visitor asks for letters, whereupon
there are handed to him all the letters in the pigeon-hole marked with
the initial of which the visitor's name commences. The visitor then
proceeds to look through them, and takes what he chooses, and hands the
rest back. The official is too busy, or it is not customary for him, to
look through them for the visitor, or even to watch the visitor in his
process of selection. I noticed one gentleman with a packet of letters,
I should think considerably over a hundred, every now and then slip one
into his breast pocket and give a furtive glance, which did not inspire
confidence, but probably this is a well accustomed habit of the people,
and the letters, perhaps, are as safe as the newspapers I frequently saw
deposited on the tops of the street letter boxes (outside the boxes),
because they were too large to be put inside; of course anyone could
have taken them, but the custom not to touch them is probably honourably
recognized. The street letter boxes are quite small square boxes, not
large pillar boxes as are ours in this country.
I should like to have remarked more generally on America, but both time
and space fail me. Of course, as most people know, the (to us)
disgusting practice of spitting is common in America; spittoons are
universally provided in public and private places. At Merced Court House
is this notice: "Gentlemen will not, and others should not spit upon the
floors." Huge spittoons are provided there.
The awful guttural which precedes the constant expectoration of
Americans is most trying. It excites in persons near them and who are
unaccustomed to it, a sensation of necessity to vomit, as it conveys a
fear that your neighbour is about to vomit over you. It is not the
excusable expectoration arising from an accumalation in the air
passages, but a continuous fusilade of saliva. It is a disgusting
practice, and I believe will die out in America as its citizens travel
more in the old countries and become used to manners more refined than
such a one as this. I observed that my clients in California, who have
travelled in Europe, and other travelled Americans, are not guilty of
this odious practice.
I would say to Englishmen travelling in America, don't condescend to the
"guessing" and other loose styles of expression, and don't affect the
nasal twang. Americans, with all their boast of one man being as good as
another, are greatly pleased to entertain or travel with Englishmen
having a title, and they pay a marked respect to Britishers who speak in
a classical style, and who, while being devoid of foppishness, bounce,
or vulgarity, conduct themselves with a genial dignity.
I will now say something about California, and then proceed to describe
the lands for sale, and the prospects of those who will settle upon
California lies on the genial coast of the Pacific Ocean, midway between
the too cold regions of the North and the too hot regions of the South.
To be exact, the mean temperature in San Francisco in the month of
January, averages about 49 deg.. It has varied from 53 deg. to 39 deg.. The record
of 32 years shows that between sunrise and sunset it has not been so low
as 32 deg. on more than 10 days. Snow is sometimes seen to fall, but it
California has a bright, genial climate, and is described as
"pre-eminently a sunny land." The early spring, commencing about the
middle of February and lasting about six weeks, is a very pleasant part
of the year, but April is described as the "cheeriest." December and
January are the least pleasant, because it is the rainy and winter
Thunderstorms are rare, and no hurricane has ever been known there. The
rainfall of California is about twenty inches, and the rainy days number
about sixty in the year, or about half the number of rainy days
experienced in the Atlantic States or Central Europe.
Amongst the fruits grown in abundance are the orange, grape, peach,
apricot, plum, cherry, apple, nectarine, fig, lemon, lime, olive, date,
and all the berries of value.
Besides the immense growth of choice and luscious Fruits, for which
California is famous all over the globe, it claims to have the largest
milk, butter, and cheese dairies in the world. It is also renowned for
its mineral riches, its immense mercantile business, its manufacturing
industries, its production of wool, its gigantic timber, its wealth of
beauty in flowers, its fast horses, its grand scenery, embracing lofty
mountains, deep valleys, expansive fertile plains, and all the
variations of a beautiful country, with many rivers, and a magnificent
sea coast, whilst the "coast range" and the slopes of the "Sierra" offer
to the sportsman such game in abundance as grizzly and cinnamon bears
and Californian lions. There are also deer, hare, rabbit, quail, large
flocks of wild ducks and geese, and the rivers afford such fish as
salmon and trout, and the deep sea splendid fishing.
San Francisco has been called "a city of 100 hills." It has a population
of nearly 300,000 inhabitants, amongst whom are no less than 50
_millionaires_. Its harbour is known all over the globe as the "Golden
Gate," and it has answered well to its name, for an entrance to its vast
resources has made the fortune of multitudes of people, and many going
there now are laying the foundations for future wealth.
The lands of California have the two essentials for successful
culture--a rich soil and genial climate, with plenty of sun, yet never
too hot and never too cold for out-door work, and most of its domestic
animals are never housed, and require no food but wild herbage.
FRUIT CULTURE IN CALIFORNIA.
Our lands at Merced, in California, offer to gentlemen wishing to make a
first or a fresh start in life a really good opportunity. It is
difficult to conceive how men with energy, enterprise, and a little
capital, can be content to sit in an office in foggy, blocked-up
London, "quill driving" from year's end to year's end, when a prospect
is afforded them, such as we now offer, of establishing a pleasant home
in a luxurious land, with a sunny, genial climate, and within about a
fortnight's travel of England, and where they would have the liberty of
being their own masters, and lay the foundation of a future competency.
As the currency in California is dollars, not pounds, we must ask our
readers to accustom themselves to dollars. A dollar is 100 cents, and,
roughly speaking, a cent is equivalent to a halfpenny, so that a dollar
would be worth, of our money, four shillings and twopence. Its value,
however, varies a few cents according to the place where it is
exchanged. Bank of England notes or pounds are never worth less than
four shillings and twopence, _i.e.,_ 480 cents or halfpennies, which, of
course, is four dollars and 80 cents, there being 100 cents in a dollar.
The decimal currency is extremely simple when once understood. Never
less than 4.80 is given for an English pound, but sometimes 4.82 and
4.85 is obtained.
The lands I have for sale are situate in the County of Merced, in
California, about 150 miles by rail from the City of San Francisco, They
are designated "British Colony," and at the nearest point are just one
mile from the boundary of the town of Merced, and two miles from the
railway station, hotel, shops, etc. Merced town is lighted by gas and
electricity, has water laid on, telephones, telegraphs, Court House,
Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
Methodist Church, South Methodist Church, Baptist Church, and Catholic
Church, two schools, shops of various kinds; two railroads, the main one
running up to San Francisco, and down to Los Angeles and on to New
Orleans, etc., and the other, a branch line to Stockton, Sacramento,
etc. Merced is 175 feet above the level of the sea; it is a pleasant
little town, affords some congenial society, and I firmly believe will,
before many years have passed, become an important centre, because my
clients have brought water from the Merced River more than twenty miles
off, by a system of canals, and have formed a reservoir of 640 acres in
extent, with an average depth of 30 feet, and thus have given facilities
for irrigating the country round the town. It is certain to become a
great Fruit-growing district, as its soil is so fully adapted for the
purpose. It is much nearer to San Francisco than Los Angeles, and is
nearer also than Fresno and other districts which have already made
themselves a name for Fruit culture.
The country around Merced has a natural fall, and is drained by many
creeks, which are dry in summer, but contain more or less water in
THE LANDS FOR SALE.
Merced is situated in the celebrated San Joaquin Valley (pronounced San
Wharkeen), which is an immense level of fertile land, the soil generally
being of a rich sandy loam, but in some districts, such as that I am now
offering for sale, of a deep rich black loam of a highly productive
nature, in fact, it is the decomposed vegetation and alluvial deposits
of past ages, than which nothing could be more fertile. We have good
evidence that the land is especially suited for the production of
prunes, apricots, pears, peaches, olives, plums, small Fruit, such as
strawberries, blackberries, sweet and common potatoes, garden stuff, and
alfalfa. Alfalfa (or lucerne) is a great crop in America in places where
there are no old meadow lands for the cows. The land is, of course,
suited for all cereal crops, too. All the Fruits named can be dried in
the sun without artificial heat.
The lands are about 160 to 165 feet above the level of the sea, and, in
common with all the country round, they command a view on the one side
of the grand snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains, and on the other of
the mountains known as the Coast Range. Immense flocks of wild geese and
ducks (principally geese), are often on the land. There are also
"rabbits" on the land (so called), but they more resemble hares in their
size and habits and run.
There are some excellent Fruit orchards and gardens at Merced. In the
grounds around the Court House are some very fine orange trees, full of
fruit, and also in the gardens of private residents. One gentleman
kindly sent a bough of oranges, and other gentlemen sent other Fruits,
which may be seen at our offices. At the Buhach Colony, near the town
of Merced, are extensive orchards of Californian Fruits. Mr. Atwater's
gardens and orchard, a few miles from the town, are worth inspection. He
has two magnificent olive trees, nine or ten years' old, which bear
heavy crops, and which are used for the production of olive oil; his
vineyard and orange orchard, his lemon and persimmon trees, all look
very prosperous. He would gladly show any settler how he has cultivated
them. He has a corn and stock farm, and has only gradually cultivated
these Fruits, which occupy some eleven acres.
PRICE OF THE LAND.
The prices of the land for sale are 75, and 100, and 150 dollars per
acre, according to position. Two-thirds of the purchase-money may remain
on mortgage as long as the interest is paid at 8 per cent, per annum,
which is the lowest interest payable in California. The mortgagor is
liable to the Government for the taxes, which amount to 1-1/2 to 2 per
cent, per annum, so that he would really only receive 6 to 6-1/2 per
cent, interest. All mortgages are publicly recorded, and so the
property is vested in the mortgagor till he is paid off, and when that
is done it also is publicly recorded. These taxes embrace all known to
us in England as rates and taxes, except a road tax of 2 dollars a head
per annum, chargeable to every male over twenty-one years of age. This
tax may be paid for in labour on the road if desired. A free conveyance
will be given, but the cost of recording the transaction in the county
office (there is no stamp duty), about 1-1/2 dollars, must be paid by
the purchaser. The recording of a mortgage would probably be 3-1/4
dollars because it is longer. The record is a public acknowledgment of
the title of the owner to the land made in the county books.
Foreigners can hold freehold property in California, but they have no
right to vote--indeed, they would have no right to vote until they had
resided five years in the country, and had become naturalized; then a
resident has before him the possibility of becoming Governor of the
State to which he belongs, or, indeed, Secretary of the Interior, which
corresponds with the position of the Premier in England.
According to the American surveys the country is arranged in squares, as
shown on all the maps. A "section" is a square mile, or 640 acres. A
"township" is 36 sections, _i.e.,_ six miles on each of its four sides.
A quarter section is 160 acres, and the lands are so arranged that a
roadway is reserved around each quarter section 60 feet wide, and the
land for such roadway is taken from each side, so that each owner has to
contribute 30 feet to such road, and, of course, he has the benefit of
the frontage to it. A 20 acre lot would be an eighth of a quarter
section. On some of the lots for sale at "British Colony," are one or
two houses and some buildings. These may be purchased thus: One house
and buildings, 1,000 dollars; another house and buildings, 1,000
dollars; another house and buildings (N.E.), 600 dollars; but if one
purchaser bought four lots of 20 acres, each adjoining so that one house
and buildings should come near the centre, then such house and buildings
would be given in.
SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE OF FRUIT CULTURE.
Few settlers would have the requisite special knowledge of Fruit culture
without some instruction, and, therefore, the owners of the land have
engaged the services of Professor Eisen, at a fixed salary, so that all
settlers on their lands may have the benefit of the Professor's
instruction, _free of charge_. Professor Eisen is well known as a
specialist in horticulture in California. He has just published a book
on the raisin industry in California, which may be seen at our offices.
The culture of grapes for raisins, and plums for prunes, would be
remarkably successful on the lands for sale.
Wholesale buyers come round the country to buy the Fruit crops while on
the trees. An enormous trade is done in America in canned Fruits; the
hotels, steamers, railway cars, and private families use them largely at
all meals, and America itself seems to be a sufficient market for ages
to come for all the Fruit and vegetables its State of California can
How to start with a capital of 20,000 dols.
80 acres of land, 12,000 dols., half cost 6,000
Trees, such as orange, olive, fruit, etc. 2,000
House and barn 2,500
Furniture, etc. 600
Waggon, tools, etc. 400
Labour, per year, 3 men, etc., for, 3 years,
including living 4,000
Interest on 6,000 dols. at 8%--480 dols. per
year, 3 years 1,440
Leaving a balance of 2,585 dols. for first payment of land, or for other
improvements and unforeseen expenses.
Profit the fourth year should be about 4,000 to 5000 dols. at the
How to start with a capital of 10,000 dols., i.e., say L2,000.
40 acres of land .. .. .. .. 6,000
House and barn .. .. .. .. 1,200
Well and pump .. .. .. .. 100
Horses .. .. .. .. 200
Waggon and tools .. .. .. .. 350
Furniture, etc .. .. .. .. 500
Cow .. .. .. .. 50
Trees, etc. .. .. .. .. 1,200
Seed, etc. .. .. .. .. 100
.. .. .. .. ---- 9,700
Living one year, etc.; incidentals .. 300
.. .. .. .. -----
_First year_.--Land between the trees,
cultivated in potatoes, vegetables,
etc. .. .. .. .. 500
Poultry, eggs, etc. .. .. .. .. 150
(Eggs and poultry pay for groceries. Many families are doing this now.)
_Second year_.--The same as above .. 650
_Third year_.--The same as above .. 650
Yield from Fruit, 10 dols. per acre .. 400
_Fourth year_.--The same from poultry, etc. 650
From Fruit trees, 50 dols. per acre .. 2,000
_Fifth year_.--The orchard is now in good
bearing, and should pay from 100 to
250 dols. per acre; say the lowest .. 4,000
(No time to attend to any but Fruit trees unless a man is employed, so
only the return of Fruit trees is given).
_Sixth year_.--The orchard now pays, if properly
attended to, from 150 to 350 dols. per acre;
say the lowest .. 6,000
_Seventh year_.--The orchard pays, if properly
cared for, from 200 to 450 dols. per acre;
say the lowest .. 8,000
This clear after expenses have been deducted. The farmer can take care
of 20 acres himself, with occasional help. With 40 acres he requires one
man more, his son or hired help.
The first three years he will only make his living ordinarily so; after
that time he will make money. Poultry, and vegetables should, during
the first year pay for all expenses at least, and in many instances
leave a large surplus. All this depends upon the capacity of the
settler. With good land such as this 100 dollars or more could be made
from vegetables the first season by a capable and experienced man. At
least it has been done repeatedly.
If poultry is properly cared for, a family will make its living by
selling eggs and chickens until the trees come in bearing.
=How to start with a capital of 8,000 dols., i.e., say L1,600.=
Land, 40 acres, 6,000 dols., half cost.. .. 3,000
House and barn .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1,500
Horses .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 200
Cows and chickens .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 75
Waggon and tools .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 200
Sundries, tools, etc. .. .. .. .. .. .. 400
Trees, etc. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1,200
Well and pump .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 100
Or windmill and tank .. .. .. .. .. .. 250
Interest on 3,000 dols. at 8 % for three years .. 780
Sundries for living, etc. .. .. .. .. .. 295
The fourth and fifth years there should be a gross
profit of at least 2,650 dols. a year, enough to pay for
the balance due on land.
How to start with, a capital of 5,000 dols.,
i.e., say L1,000.
Land, 20 acres, 3,000 dols., half cost .. .. 1,500
House and barn, etc. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1,000
Trees .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 600
Horses .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 200
Cow .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 50
Household furniture .. .. .. .. .. .. 100
Waggon and tools .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 200
Well and pump .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 100
(If tank and windmill required, from 250 dols.
Seed, etc. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 50
Sundry expenses and chickens .. .. .. .. 300
Interest for three years on balance of land
at 8% .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 360
Capital on hand to pay for part of the land.. 840
What some people have started with, and
come out all right.
Land, 3,000 dols., cash, balance credit 1000
House and barn 500
Provisions, sundries, etc 100
Furniture and tools 150
Sundry expenses 100
Waggon and horses 150
But ordinarily, this is too little, as the planting of the land cannot
be proceeded with at once, and work must be procured among the
The estimates, were furnished us by Professor Eisen, who remarked that,
probably, in giving estimates all persons would vary somewhat, but
these, and other estimates which he gave, are really more than
estimates, because they are the actual results of past experiences.
PROFESSOR EISEN'S OPINION.
Received January 20th, 1891.
Professor Eisen writes:--"I am of opinion that these lands (British
Colony, Merced) are amongst the very best in the State for raisins;
still, as I explained to you, I do not advise any one to put his whole
interest in the raisin industry, as the market for this Fruit is
limited. For other dried fruit, especially for prunes (French plums),
apricots, peaches, and nectarines, the market is practically unlimited,
and as our population increases yearly 1,500,000 people, it will be seen
that our markets must extend as well, even after we have driven all
foreign Fruits out of our home markets. As regards the adaptability of
the land of British Colony for various Fruits, I can say that they are
especially adapted to the prune (French plums) and peaches for drying
and canning, olives for olive oil and pickling; also for oranges. You
can see how the orange thrives in the city of Merced and surroundings,
or in localities exactly like those of British Colony lands, and there
can be no doubt that oranges and lemons will prove very profitable in
British Colony. Olives will especially do well there. The British Colony
lands I consider as exceptionally rich and fertile, and there are few,
if any, equal to them in this State or anywhere else."
PRICE OF FRUIT TREES.
The prices in California of young Fruit trees for planting, for the
season 1890-91, are given as follows:--
Prunes (like French plums) 25 to 30 per 100
Plums and other prunes 15 "
Apricots 20 "
Peaches, from 15 to 17.50 "
Olives (layers) 20 "
Olives, grafted 40 to 60 "
Pears 18 "
Oranges, best kinds 70 to 100 "
Shade trees 50 "
Grape-vines (raisins) 12 "
Persimmons 15 "
Walnuts, from 15 to 35 "
WHEN FRUIT TREES PAY.
The Fruit trees enumerated above would begin to bear the second year,
but only the fourth year would they bear any considerable amount; the
fifth and sixth years they would come into good bearing, and should then
yield a profit of, say, from 100 to 350 dollars per acre. At seven years
the orchard should be in full bearing, and never yield less than 150,
and, possibly, 450 dollars per acre. Instances have been known when
prunes, peaches, and pears have produced from 750 to 1,500 dollars per
acre clear profit.
POSITION OF A SETTLER.
The position of a settler, then, is that for the first three years he
cannot depend upon his crop of Fruit to maintain him, but must either
have sufficient capital to support him during that time, or else earn
his living in some other way. To be idle, and live on capital, would
not, of course, suit any man who meant to succeed, and therefore he
would fill up his time in cultivating garden and poultry produce, for
which there is always a demand, or in getting some occasional
COST OF BOARD AND LODGING.
At Merced railway station is a very large hotel, and the cost of board
and lodging for emigrants is only 25 dollars, _i.e.,_ say, L5 per month;
to usual visitors it is 60 dollars a month.
The _Pacific Rural Press_, referring to the raisin vineyards in the San
Joaquin Valley, California, states:--
"What is especially interesting to the home-seeker in connection with
this information, is the fact that everyone of these vineyardists is
prosperous. No other horticultural industry is so profitable as the
culture of the raisin grape, in no other is the work so pleasant, and no
other yields a return so quickly."
An acre of Muscat vines in full bearing will yield from two to three
tons of grapes on good heavy soil. At 5-1/2 cents a pound in the
sweat-box, this means from 225 to 325 dollars per acre, gross. Numerous
instances are known, however, where the yield of an acre of Muscats
amounted to as much as 450 dollars, this being the result of careful
cultivation and favourable circumstances. Some grapes are borne on the
vines when they are one-year old, while two-year old's have been known
to bear a crop. At three years the vines pay the expenses and interest
on the money invested, and at four years from planting they bring the
first large paying crop.
The _Merced Argus_ says of raisin culture:--
"One of the great charms of raisin culture is the extreme simplicity of
its operations. WHAT CAN BE MORE SIMPLE than to pick a bunch of Muscat
grapes from the vine, and lay it on the ground. In six days the bunch of
grapes, without being meanwhile touched, has assumed the appearance of a
bunch of raisins, and has flattened out as if it had been pressed. It is
then carefully turned over, so as to expose the underside to the direct
action of the sun. In eight days more it is a perfect bunch of raisins,
and no act of man can improve it even in appearance. All the operations
of fancy packing are so simple, that a child may learn them in a day. A
single acre of raisin vines in a Merced Colony lot means handfuls of
bright, golden double eagles to the bright-eyed children of the Merced
farmer in the near future.
_Harper's Magazine_ for January, 1891, contains an article on
California, which all persons interested in that State would do well to
read. I extract a few statements:--
"A piece of land at Riverside, below the flow of water, was worth 300
dollars an acre. Contiguous to it was another piece not irrigated, which
would not sell for 50 dollars an acre. By bringing water to it, it would
quickly sell for 300 dollars, thus adding 250 dollars to its value. As
the estimate at River side is that one inch of water will irrigate five
acres of Fruit land, five times 250 dollars would be 1,250 dollars per
inch, at which price water for irrigation has actually been sold at
"The standard of measurement of water in Southern California is the
miner's inch under four inches pressure, or the amount that will flow
through an inch-square opening under a pressure of four inches measured
from the surface of the water in the conduit to the centre of the
opening through which it flows. This is nine gallons a minute, or, as it
is figured, 1,728 cubic feet or 12,960 gallons in 24 hours, and 1/50 of
a cubic foot a second. This flow would cover 10 acres about 18 inches
deep in a year; that is, it would give the land the equivalent of 18
inches of rain, distributed exactly when and where it was needed, none
being wasted, and more serviceable than 50 inches of rainfall as it
generally comes. This, with the natural rainfall, is sufficient for
citrous Fruits and for corn and alfalfa, in soil not too sandy, and it
is too much for grapes and all deciduous fruits.
"But irrigation, in order to be successful, must be intelligently
applied. In unskilful hands it may work more damage than benefit. Mr.
Theodore S. Van Dyke, who may always be quoted with confidence, says
that the ground should never he flooded; that water must not touch the
plant or tree, or come near enough to make the soil bake around it; and
that it should be let in in small streams for two or three days, and not
in large streams for a few hours.
"The growth of the olive is to be, it seems to me, one of the leading
and most permanent industries of Southern California. It will give us,
what it is nearly impossible to buy now, pure olive oil, in place of the
cotton seed and lard mixture in general use. It is a most wholesome and
palatable article of food. Those whose chief experience of the olive is
the large, coarse, and not agreeable Spanish variety, used only as an
appetizer, know little of the value of the best varieties as food,
nutritious as meat, and always delicious. Good bread and a dish of
pickled olives make an excellent meal. A mature olive grove in good
bearing is a fortune. I feel sure that within 25 years this will be one
of the most profitable industries of California, and that the demand for
pure oil and edible fruit in the United States will drive out the
adulterated and inferior present commercial products."
There are now at Merced special openings for a nurseryman and a
dairyman; the latter would be by growing alfalfa (lucerne) and raising
poultry for at present the Merced people often have to get poultry and
eggs from San Francisco, 150 miles off.
A settler might make a really good return out of potatoes while his
Fruit trees are maturing, which is a food more in use in America than in
England. Potatoes are not only served at luncheon and dinner, but also
at breakfast everywhere, and, if every settler planted his land with
potatoes, there would be no fear of overstocking the market.
Mr. Eisen states that potatoes yield from 50 to 400 sacks to the acre,
and sell at prices varying from 90 cents to 2 dollars per sack. If only
50 sacks were grown to the acre, it would show a scarce year, when
prices would range higher, but the crop is never a failure in
California. Two crops can be grown in a year; the first crop is planted
at the end of February, if warm, or else in March, or indeed any time
till the middle of May, and dug three months after; the second crop is
planted in August or September, and dug three months after.
To put in the potatoes a settler would need the help of a labourer, to
whom he would have to give one dollar per day and his board, or, if the
labourer be a Chinaman, one dollar and a quarter per day without his
board. If the potatoes occupied ten acres, and they produced say 200
sacks to the acre, and fetched 1 dollar per sack, that would yield 2,000
dollars, or for the two crops 4,000 dollars, or, say, L800. This sounds
a large sum, but the land is exceedingly rich, as may be seen from the
samples I have brought back, and large results may be expected from it
if properly worked, for, of course, in any undertaking the result
depends upon the way it is worked.
The following paragraph is from an important paper or periodical of 20
pages, known as the _Pacific Rural Press_, of December 13th, 1890, and
although the crop it mentions was not grown in California, it shows at
least what can be done on good ground:--
"Nearly 1,000 bushels of potatoes, or, to be exact, 974 bushels and 48
pounds, have been grown on one acre of land in Johnson County, Wyoming,
the past season. This crop wins the first prize of several hundred
dollars offered by the _American Agriculturist_ for the largest yield of
potatoes on one exact acre. It was grown on virgin soil without manure
or fertilizer, but the land was rich in potash, and the copious
irrigation was of water also rich in saline material. There were 22,800
hills on one acre, and 1,560 pounds of sets, containing one, two, and
three eyes, were planted of the early Vermont and Manhattan varieties.
The profit on the crop on this first prize acre was 714 dollars,
exclusive of 500 dollars in prizes."
Thus, this one acre would have produced L142 worth of potatoes. I do not
mention it as an example of what a settler may or may not do at Merced,
but as the land at Merced which I am offering for sale is of the richest
quality, rich results may certainly be expected.
COST OF GOODS, &c., AT MERCED.
Beef (to boil), 8 to 10 cents
Beef (steak), 10 cents
Beef (shoulder), 10 cents
Beef (choice), 12-1/2 cents
Beef (porterhouse and tenderloin), 15 cents
Veal, 10 to 15 cents
Mutton, 10 to 12-1/2 cents
Pork, 10 to 12-1/2 cents
Sausages, 12-1/ to 15 cents
Corned beef, 8 to 10 cents
Bacon, 12-1/2 cents
Hams, 15 cents
Tongues, 10 cents
Flour, 4-1/2 to 5 dollars for a barrel weighing 200 lbs.
Tea, 25 cents to 1 dollar
Coffee, 24 to 45 cents
Candles, 15 to 20 cents
Chocolate, 25 cents
Cod fish, 10 cents
Corn meal, 3 to 4 cents
Cocoa, 50 to 60 cents
Cracker biscuits, 8 to 10 cents
Graham flour, 3 to 5 cents
Macaroni, 15 cents
Oatmeal, 5 cents
Rolled oats, 6 cents
Rice, 5-1/2 to 8 cents
Salt, 1 to 2 cents
Soda, 4 cents
Starch, 10 cents
Sugar, 7 to 8 cents
Sugar (house), 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 cents
Butter, 25 to 40 cents
Eggs, 15 to 40 cents per dozen, according to season
Coal oil, 1.40 per 5-gallon can.
One of my clients recently visited England with his family, and says
that one can live cheaper at Merced than in England.
The cost of a twelve-roomed house is 3,000 to 4,000 dollars, according
to finish, _i.e.,_ from L600 to L800. Most of the houses are built of
wood, and such a house could be built in twenty to thirty days, if
Stabling for two horses, with room for buggy, wagon, harness, and hay,
would cost 250 dollars or L50.
A ten-roomed house would cost from 2,500 to 3,500 dollars, according to
An eight-roomed house would cost from 2,000 to 2,500 dollars.
A six roomed house would cost about 2,000 dollars.
A four-roomed house would cost about 1,200 dollars.
Live poultry cost about 6 dollars per dozen.
Cows, 25 to 50 dollars each. Horses, 75 to 150 dollars each. Sheep, 3 to
4 dollars each.
Cultivators cost from 7 to 15 dollars each. Ploughs and harrows about
the same price. A riding cultivator, 45 to 50 dollars. Pruning shears, 3
Day labour costs 1 dollar per day and board; but, in harvest time, 1-1/2
dollar per day and board.
Carpenters, 2-1/2 dollars per day, sometimes with and sometimes without
Fencing costs 500 dollars (_i.e_., L100) a mile. To fence a 20-acre lot
would cost 350 dollars (_i.e_., L70); but if the eight forming the
quarter section joined together, it would cost each about 130 dollars
(_i.e_., L26). The fence would be a 6-inch board at bottom, then 30
inches of wire netting to keep out rabbits, then another 6-inch board
and a barbed wire at top.
Firewood costs 6 to 7 dollars a cord of hard wood, or 5 to 6 dollars of
willow wood; a cord of wood is 4-ft. by 4-ft. by 8-ft.
TAKE CLOTHING AND BRIC-A-BRAC.
All kinds of clothing are dear. A good suit would cost L7 to L8, or, if
ready made, L5. Settlers should therefore take with them plenty of
clothes, sufficient, say, to last for five years, including boots,
blankets, linen, etc.; also _bric-a-brac,_ and anything to add
cheerfulness and refinement to the home, but they should not take
furniture nor animals. Guns they might take, but not tools nor
SEA PASSAGE FROM ENGLAND.
Steamships run from Liverpool and Southampton at the following rates:--
1.--Cunard Company's Line. Liverpool to New York. During the summer
1st class. 2nd class. 3rd class.
From L12 12s. to L26 5s. L7 L4.
During the winter months--
1st class. 2nd class. 3rd class.
L10 10s. to L25 L7 L4.
The third-class passengers are provided with a free ticket from London
2.--Inman Line. Liverpool to New York--
First class fares from L10 10s. to L25. Second class fares from L6 10s.
to L7 7s. Third class fares L4.
The third class includes a free ticket from London to Liverpool.
3.--The "White Star" Line. Liverpool to New York
1st class. 2nd class. 3rd class.
Summer season--L15 to L28 L7 to L9 L4.
Winter season--L10 10s. to L18 L6 10s. to L8 L4.
The third class passengers are provided with a free ticket from London
to Liverpool, and free tickets, if required, from New York to Boston or
4.--North German Lloyd Company. Southampton to New York--
First class, L14 to L23. Second class, L10.
5.--The American Line. Liverpool to New York--
Second class, L6. Third class, L3 16s.
Steamers leave Southampton, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Queenstown, thus
being convenient respectively for passengers from the north or south of
England, from Scotland, or from Ireland.
Steamers run from this country to New York, Philadelphia, Boston, or
Baltimore, but New York is the best port for Merced.
THE LAND JOURNEY FROM NEW YORK TO MERCED, CALIFORNIA.
_Copy of Letter from the Southern Pacific Railroad Company._
"Our fares from New York to Merced, _via_ New Orleans, are:--1st class,
unlimited, L19 19s. 0d.; limited, L18 4s. 7d.; 2nd class, L12 8s. 4d.;
3rd class, L12 2s. 9d., all rail; L11 1s. 11d. by steamer to New
Orleans, and thence rail, food, and sleeping berth on steamer included.
The charges for sleeping car berths are:--1st class, 22 dollars; 2nd
class from New Orleans, 3 dollars. There are no 2nd class sleepers to
New Orleans, except on the fortnightly excursion trains from Cincinnati,
leaving that city January 7th and 21st, February 4th and 18th; March 4th
and 18th; April 8th and 22nd, etc. The charge from Cincinnati is 4
dollars 50 cents. Third class passengers can travel in 2nd class
sleepers upon payment of the usual charge. The fares from New Orleans to
principal Californian points, including Merced, are:--1st class,
unlimited, L14. 1s. 3d.; 2nd class, L8. 17s. 1d.; 3rd class, none.
Sleeping cars--1st class, 13 dollars; 2nd class, 3 dollars.
Tickets may be obtained through Messrs, DOWSETT and Co., 3, Lincoln's
Inn Fields, London, direct from Liverpool to California, or any other
State _en route_.
ANALYSIS OF MERCED SOILS.
Having fitted up a portion of one of my offices with all the requisites
for carrying out quantitative analyses of surface soils, I requested
Professor Lobley, F.G.S., etc., to analyse the four samples of soils
which I brought with me from Merced.
A general analysis of four samples of soil from Merced, California, has
given the following results:--
Organic matter (Humus) 5.5
Soluble inorganic matter 11.75
Insoluble silica and silicates 82.75
Organic matter (Humus) 4.25
Soluble inorganic matter 14.45
Insoluble silica and silicates 81.30
Organic matter (Humus) 5.25
Soluble inorganic matter 16.75
Insoluble silica and silicates 78.00
Organic matter (Humus) 3.5
Soluble inorganic matter 12.0
Insoluble silica and silicates 84.5
The organic matter is available for plant growth.
The inorganic matter, soluble in dilute hydrochloric acid, is (with the
exception of the alumina it may contain) composed of fertilising
material. The substances found in the soluble inorganic matter of soils
are lime, magnesia, alumina, silica, phosphoric acid, oxide of iron,
oxide of manganese, potash and soda. The insoluble mineral matter is
nearly all silica. There is very little clayey matter in any of the
soils--not more than about five per cent. All the soils are remarkably
free from stones or pebbles, or even coarse sand.
From the above it will be seen that these soils, while possessing a
large amount of matter available for plant growth, are exceedingly
friable, and would be very easily worked. They would absorb heat
quickly, and from their porosity would require little drainage, and so
would be both warm and dry soils, and form fertile land suitable for
almost all kinds of agricultural and horticultural produce.
THE POSITION OF MY CLIENTS, THE VENDORS.
My clients, the owners of the land called "British Colony," at Merced,
are well-known persons--well-known as men of great wealth, and as
gentlemen of undoubted integrity, the Hon. Charles Crocker and Mr. C.H.
Huffman, whose enterprises in railway, canal, and other public works,
have been of gigantic proportions.
I have every confidence myself in dealing with these gentlemen, and I
submit that my friends, clients, and the general public, who may be
willing to take up any of this "British Colony" land at Merced, may have
full confidence, too, that they will at least be treated justly, and
more than that is not expected from strangers in business; but I believe
that I might add they would be treated liberally if necessity arose, and
I have ground for this statement from what I have heard of their
treatment of other persons who have settled in one of their other
I have for sale besides the estate designated "British Colony," a tract
of land belonging to a well-known merchant in the City of London, who
has owned it for 13 years. It comprises 5,084 acres, and has a
registered Government title. Price 30 dollars per acre, and 7 years'
credit would be given if 20 per cent. is paid down. Part of it is well
suited for Fruit growing, but as yet the water from the canals belonging
to my other clients has not been taken to it. It has, however, some
creeks upon it, but they are frequently dry. The land is of a rolling
prairie character, and is now let at a nominal rent of 25 cents per acre
for sheep farming. The soil is varied; some of it is a good loam, some
of a clayey nature, and some stony; there is a shepherd's house, with
barn and yard. The taxes upon it are about 15 to 20 cents per acre. One
half of the land would be sold separately, but it must be the half
farthest from the side where the canals are. The situation is an
attractive one as the undulations really form the first foothills of the
Sierra Nevada Mountains, of which there is a grand view. This land is
well worth buying, as when water is obtained, the price will then be
increased to that asked for other irrigated Fruit lands.
A plan may be seen at my offices, 3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.
* * * * *
Printed by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son, Gate Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
TO OWNERS OF LANDS AND HOUSES.
REQUIRED TO PURCHASE.
_Messrs. Dowsett & Co. have applications for Landed Estates, Country
Houses, Town Houses, Farms, Villa Farms, Building Lands, Cheap Sections
of Land for the People, Ground Rents, Colonial Lands, and General Land
and House Investments.
Messrs. Dowsett & Co, invite owners wishing to sell, and who have not
yet employed an Agent, to employ them: they do not appreciate
instructions which are sent to several Agents, but they are prepared to
give careful, intelligent, personal attention to the Sale of Property
which is placed in their hands. They prefer giving personal attention to
a few properties rather than having on their books a mass of particulars
of which they have no personal knowledge, and which are to be found in
many Agents' lists.
Messrs. Dowsett & Co., personally inspect Properties for Sale, because a
personal knowledge greatly facilitates success, and for this they make a
nominal charge of sixpence per mile; they then prepare careful
particulars so as to introduce the matter advantageously to the public.
Owners of Property may obtain a printed statement of charges for
Valuing, or for Selling by Auction, or privately, all kinds of Real and
Personal Estate, Furniture Live and Dead Stock, Stocks-in-Trade, Timber,
Growing Crops, etc.
Messrs. Dowsett & Co. are prepared to make Geological Reports of Soils
and Minerals, and give Quantitative Analyses of Soils. They are
assisted, when special needs require, by experts in Agricultural and
Architectural Science, and also in every branch of professional and
Messrs. Dowsett & Co., undertake any branch of these varied services in
London or any part of England, Scotland, Ireland, the Colonies, America,
or other Countries, and personally visit other countries on agreed
Messrs. Dowsett & Co, Auctioneers, Surveyors, Valuers, Estate Agents,
etc., 3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London._
LANDS AND RESIDENCES FOR SALE.
_Country Houses, Town Houses, Landed Estates, Farms, Building Lands,
Ground Rents, and Investments generally in Lands and Houses, See "The
Land Roll," which for one penny may be obtained of Messrs, Dowsett &
Co., 3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London._
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