The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California
Brevet Col. J.C. Fremont
Part 9 out of 9
MONTEREY, California, Aug. 29, 1848.
The gold discoveries still continue--every day brings some new deposit to
light. It has been found in large quantities on the Sacramento, Feather
River, Yerba River, the American fork--North and South branches--the
Cosamer, and in many dry ravines, and indeed on the tops of high hills The
tract of country in which it is ascertained to exist, extends some two
hundred miles North and South, and some sixty East and West; and these
limits are every day enlarging by new discoveries. On the streams where
the gold has been subjected to the action of water and sand, it exists in
fine grains; on the hills and among the clefts of the rocks it is found in
rough, jagged pieces of a quarter or half an ounce in weight, and
sometimes two or three ounces.
The gold is obtained in a variety of ways; some wash it out of the sand
with bowls, some with a machine made like a cradle, only longer and open
at the foot, while at the other end, instead of a squalling infant, there
is a grating upon which the earth is thrown, and then water; both pass
through the grating,--the cradle is rocked, and being on an inclined
plane, the water carries off the earth, and the gold is deposited in the
bottom of the cradle. So the two things most prized in this world, gold
and infant beauty, are both rocked out of their primitive stage, one to
pamper pride, and the other to pamper the worm. Some forego cradles and
bowls as too tame an occupation, and mounted on horses, half wild, dash up
the mountain gorges and over the steep hills, picking the gold from the
clefts of the rocks with their bowie knives,--a much better use to make of
these instruments than picking the life out of men's bodies; for what is a
man with that article picked out of him?
A larger party, well mounted, are following up the channel of the
Sacramento, to discover where this gold, found in its banks, comes from;
and imagine that near the river's fount they will find the great yellow
mass itself. But they might as well hunt the fleeting rainbow. The gold
was thrown up from the bed of the ocean with the rocks and sands in which
it is found; and still bears, where it has escaped the action of the
element, vivid traces of volcanic fire. It often encases a crystal of
quartz, in which the pebble lies as if it had slumbered there from
eternity; its beautiful repose sets human artifice at defiance. How
strange that this ore should have lain here, scattered about in all
directions, peeping everywhere out of the earth, and sparkling in the sun,
and been trod upon for ages by white men and savages, and by the
emissaries of every scientific association in the world, and never till
now have been discovered! What an ass man is, with all his learning! He
stupidly stumbles over hills of gold to reach a rare pepper pod, or rifle
a bird's nest!
The whole country is now moving on the mines. Monterey, San Francisco,
Sonoma, San Jose, and Santa Cruz, are emptied of their male population. A
stranger coming here would suppose he had arrived among a race of women,
who, by some anomalous provision of nature, multiplied their images
without the presence of the other sex. But not a few of the women have
gone too, especially those who had got out of tea--for what is women
without her tea pot--a pythoness without her shaking trypod--an angel that
has lost his lyre. Every bowl, tray, warming-pan, and piggin has gone to
the mines. Everything in short, that has a scoop in it that will hold sand
and water. All the iron has been worked up into crow-bars, pick-axes and
spades. And all these roll back upon us in the shape of gold. We have,
therefore, plenty of gold, but little to eat, and still less to wear. Our
supplies must come from Oregon, Chili and the United States. Our grain
gold, in exchange for coin, sells for nine and ten dollars the ounce,
though it is well known to be worth at the mint in Philadelphia eighteen
dollars the ounce at least. Such is the scarcity of coin here.
We want a mint. Let Congress send us one at once over the Isthmus; else
this grain gold goes to Mazatlan, to Chili and Peru--where it is lost to
our national currency. Over a million of gold, at the lowest computation,
is taken from these mines every month---and this quantity will be more
than doubled when the emigration from they States, from Oregon, the
Sandwich Islands, and the Southern republics arrives. Send us a mint! I
could give you forty more illustrations of the extent and productiveness
of these mines, but no one will believe what I _have_ said without my
name, and perhaps but few with it.
* * * * *
LETTER FROM CAPT. FOLSOM.
The latest and most authentic intelligence from the Gold Regions of
California, is the most interesting and the best. The following letter
from Capt. Folsom, it will be seen, is of recent date; and on perusal the
reader will find it is pregnant with valuable facts:
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, Oct. 8th, 1848.
MY DEAR SIR:--The prices of labor here will create surprise in the United
States. Kannakas, or Sandwich Islanders, the worst of laborers, are now
employed constantly about town in storing and landing merchandise at a
dollar an hour each; and the most indifferent laborers are hired by the
week together at six or eight dollars per day. Mechanics obtain, when
employed by the day, eight or ten dollars per day, and by the month about
six. In a few days, as the sickly season is over, I presume wages will
advance, for most of the laboring classes are returning to the mines.
I have just completed the repairs upon a government lighter, preparatory
to discharging the cargo of the transport ship Huntress. I attempted to
hire a lighter to effect this, but could not get one capable of containing
one hundred and twenty barrels manned by two men, short of fifty dollars
per day. I have had the master of the government lighter employed for
several days in getting a crew for her; and when he offers $80 per month
for sailors, he is laughed at, and told that a man can get that amount at
the mines in one day.
A few days since, I sent a wagon-master to employ some men to handle
stores in the public warehouse. After searching about the town in vain,
for several hours, he saw a man on the dock whom he felt sure of getting,
for the individual in question did not seem to be blessed with a
redundancy of this world's gear. He was wearing a slouched hat without a
crown, a dilapidated buckskin hunting shirt or frock, a very uncleanly red
woolen shirt, with pantaloons hanging in tatters, and his feet had an
apology for a covering in one old shoe, and one buckskin moccasin, sadly
the worse for wear and age. When asked if he wanted employment, he replied
in the affirmative; and as the young man was proceeding to tell him what
he wished to have him do, he was interrupted with "It is not that kind of
work, sir, that I want; (at the same time taking a bag containing about
_two quarts_ of gold dust from his buckskin shirt,) I want to work in
the mines, sir. Look here, stranger, do you see this? This bag contains
gold dust; and do you suppose I am to make a d----d nigger of myself,
handling boxes and barrels for _eight or ten dollars per day?_ I
should think not, stranger!" And our friend left in a most contemptuous
manner. Nor was this a solitary instance of like conduct; they occur daily
and hourly in this village.
All sorts of labor is got at enormous rates of compensation. Common clerks
and salesmen in the stores about town often receive as high as $2500 and
their board. The clerk now in my office is a young boy, who, until a few
weeks since, was a _private of volunteers_, and I am now paying him
$1500 per annum. This will not appear high, when I tell you that I have
just seen upon his table a wash bill, made out and paid, at the rate of
eight dollars per dozen; and that almost every thing else is at
corresponding prices. The principal waiter in the hotel where I board is
paid $1,700 per year, and several others from $1,200 to $1,500. I
fortunately have an Indian boy, or I should be forced to clean my own
boots, for I could not employ a good body servant for the full amount of
my salary as a government officer. It will be impossible for any army
officer to live here upon his pay without becoming rapidly impoverished,
for his time is not his own to enter upon business; and although he might
have money, his opportunities for making it useful to him are few, unless
he invests it in real estate. Unless something is done, I am unable to see
how it is possible for officers, living upon the salaries granted by law
to military men, to support themselves in this country.
I believe every army officer in California, with one or two exceptions,
would have resigned last summer, could they have done it and been free at
once to commence for themselves. But the war was not then terminated, and
no one could hope to communicate with Washington correspondents, to get an
answer in less than six, and perhaps ten months. For some time last
summer, (August and July,) the officers at Monterey were entirely without
servants; and the Governor (Col. Mason,) actually took his turn in cooking
for his mess. Unless some prompt action is taken to pay both officers and
men serving in this country, in proportion to the unavoidable expenses to
be incurred, the former will resign and the latter will desert, and it
will be impossible to maintain a military force in California.
I look upon California as perhaps the richest mineral country on the
globe. I have written you at great length as to the gold, and since the
date of that letter other and richer mines have been discovered. Rich
silver mines are known to exist in various parts of the country, but they
are not worked. Quicksilver mines are found at innumerable places, and
many of them afford the richest ores. The new Almadin mine at Santa Clara
gives the richest ore of which we have any accounts. With very imperfect
machinery, it yields upward of fifty per cent, and the proprietors are now
working it, and are preparing to quadruple their force. Iron, copper,
lead, tin, sulphur, zinc, platinum, cobalt, &c. are said to be found in
abundance, and most of them are known to exist in various sections of the
As an agricultural territory, its great disadvantage is a want of rain;
but this is by no means so great as has been represented. I believe
California can be made to produce as fine wheat, rye, oats, buckwheat,
barley, vegetables, and fruits, especially grapes, as any portion of the
world. Nothing that has been fairly tried has failed, and nearly every
thing has produced wonderfully. The portions of the soil which are capable
of cultivation are inconsiderable in comparison with the whole area of the
country; but the soil about this bay, and in many of the large valleys, is
equal to the wants of a dense population. It is proverbially healthy, and
with the exception of portions of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys,
no country ever had, at the same period of its settlement, a more
I think California affords means for the investment of capital such as few
other countries offer. Any person who could come in here now with ready
cash would be certain of doubling his money in a few months. Large
fortunes will be made here within the ensuing year, and I am told that
there are some hundreds of persons who have already made on an average
$25,000 each. Whole cargoes of goods are sold at an average of about 150
per cent. clear profit, and ready pay in gold dust.
When I came to this place I expended a few hundred dollars in waste lots,
covered with bushes and sand hills. The chapter of events which has
followed is likely to make this property quite valuable, if I am able to
look after it. What cost me less than $800, I suppose I could now sell for
$8,000 or perhaps $10,000. It is this consideration which makes me willing
to return to a country where my salary is insufficient for my support. If
Congress does not increase the pay of officers serving here, I should
still be willing to return, in the expectation that my private interests
would justify a measure which would otherwise be certain to impoverish me.
Something should be done here at once for the establishment of peace and
good order in the country. All law, both civil and military, is at an end.
Among the mines, and indeed in most parts of the country out of the
villages, no authority but that of the strongest exists, and outrages of
the most disgraceful nature are constantly occurring, and the offenders go
unpunished. There are now about twenty-five vessels in this port, and I
believe there is not one of them that has a crew to go to sea. Frequently
the sailors arm themselves, take the ship's boats, and leave in the most
open manner, defying both their officers and the civil magistrates. These
things are disgraceful to the country and the flag, and while vessels have
to pay port charges, duties, &c., their owners ought to be protected. The
tariff law of 1846 is now in force in California.
We have not had an American man-of-war in this port for more than a year,
and all the naval resources of the United States on this coast are
concentrated at Monterey, which is not a harbor but an open roadstead, and
which has not one-tenth of the business on its waters which is done in
this bay. During the whole year that I was collector of this port, there
was not a gun mounted for commanding the entrance of the port, and there
was not a United States man-of-war in the harbor. We were exacting a
"military contribution," and we possessed not the slightest means of
preventing vessels from leaving in defiance of our authority.
In a few months the line of ocean mail steamers will be in operation from
Panama to Oregon, and this port is to be a depot for coal, and of course a
stopping point in passing both ways. The starting of the line of steamers
on this coast is likely to be an undertaking of very great difficulty, and
at this time, such is its importance, with reference to both Oregon and
California, that its failure might be looked upon as a national calamity.
Still, unless some kind of protection is extended to the shipping of this
port, it is not at all improbable that it may fail for want of the
necessary laborers, as soon as the boats reach this harbor. Indeed, it is
altogether probable, unless some competent authority is found here at the
time to preserve order, that the crew will quit in a body as soon as the
first vessel arrives.
Every possible assistance should be extended to insure the success of this
company, and every reasonable latitude should be granted in the execution
of their contract. It is now uncertain if the steamers can enter Columbia
river at all times in the winter; and they may find it necessary to run up
to Paget's Sound. This would be a small inconvenience in comparison to the
loss of one of these vessels upon the very dangerous bar at the mouth of
the Columbia--an event not at all improbable, if they enter that river in
* * * * *
The following letters were communicated to the "Californian" newspaper,
and exhibit very graphically the state of excitement and the actual state
of things in the Gold Regions during last summer.
NEW HELVETIA, June 30, 1848.
I have just returned from Fort Sacramento, from the gold region, from
whence I write this; and in compliance with my promise, on leaving the sea
coast, I send you such items as I have gathered.
Our trip after leaving your city, by way of Pueblo, San Jose, and the San
Joaquin river, we found very agreeable. Passing over a lovely country,
with its valleys and hills covered with the richest verdure, intertwined
with flowers of every hue. The country from the San Joaquin river to this
place, is rich beyond comparison, and will admit of a dense population.
We found the fort a miniature Manchester, a young Lowell. The blacksmith's
hammer, the tinner, the carpenter, and the weaver's shuttle, plying by the
ingenuity of Indians, at which place there are several hundred in the
employ of Capt. J.A. Sutter. I was much pleased with a walk in a large and
beautiful garden attached to the fort. It contains about eight or ten
acres, laid out with great taste, under the supervision of a young Swiss.
Among the fruit trees I noticed the almond, fig, olive, pear, apple, and
peach. The grape vines are in the highest state of cultivation, and for
vegetables, I would refer you to a seedman's catalogue.
About three miles from the fort, on the east bank of the Sacramento, the
town of Suttersville is laid out. The location is one of the best in the
country, situated in the largest and most fertile district in California,
and being the depot for the extensive, gold, silver, platina, quicksilver,
and iron mines. A hotel is now building for the accomodation of the
travelling public, who are now obliged to impose on the kind hospitalities
of Capt. Sutter. A party of men who have been exploring a route to cross
the Sierra Nevada mountains, have just returned, and report that they have
found a good wagon road on the declivity ridge between the American fork
and the McCossamy rivers, the distance being much less than by the old
route. The road will pass through the gold district, and enter the valley
near the American fork.
A ferry is to be established at Suttersville, on the Sacramento, and the
road across the _tularie_ improved soon, which will shorten the
distance from this place to Sonoma and your city, about 60 miles.
After leaving the fort we passed up on the south bank of the American
fork, about twelve miles. This is a beautiful river, about three fathoms
deep the water being very cold and clear; and after leaving the river we
passed through a country rolling and timbered with oak. We soon commenced
ascending the hills at the base of the Sierra Nevada, which are thickly
set with oak and pine timber, and soon arrived at a small rivulet. One of
our party dipped up a cupful of sand from the bed of the creek, washed it,
and found five pieces of gold. This was our first attempt at gold digging.
About dark we arrived at the saw-mill of Captain Sutter, having ridden
over gold, silver, platina and iron mines, some twenty or thirty miles.
The past three days I have spent in exploring the mountains in this
district, and conversing with many men who have been at work here for some
weeks past. Should I attempt to relate to you all that I have seen, and
have been told, concerning the extent and productions of the mines, I am
fearful your readers would think me exaggerating too much, therefore I
will keep within bounds. I could fill your columns with the most
astonishing tales concerning the mines here, far excelling the Arabian
Nights, and all true to the letter.
As near as I can ascertain, there are now about 2,000 persons engaged, and
the roads leading to the mines are thronged with people and wagons. From
one to nine ounces of pure virgin gold per day is gathered by every man
who performs the requisite labor. The mountains have been explored for
about forty miles, and gold has been found in great abundance in almost
every part of them. A gentleman informed me that he had spent some time in
exploring the country, and had dug fifty-two holes with his butcher's
knife in different places, and found gold in every one.
Several extensive silver mines have been discovered, but very little
attention is paid to them now. Immense beds of iron ore, of superior
quality, yielding 85 to 90 per cent., have also been found near the
A grist mill is to be attached to the saw mill, for the purpose of
convenience of families and others settling at the mines. The water power
of the American Fork is equal to any upon this continent, and in a few
years large iron founderies, rolling, splitting and nail mills will be
The granite of the mountains is superior to the celebrated Quincy. A
quarry of beautiful marble has been discovered near the McCossanny river,
specimens of which you will see in a few years in the front of the Custom
House, Merchants' Exchange, City Hall, and other edifices in your
P. S.-"The cry is still, they come." Two men have just arrived for
provisions from the Abjuba river, who state that they have worked five
days, and gathered $950 in gold, the largest piece weighing nearly one
ounce. They report the quantity on that river to be immense, and in much
larger pieces than that taken in other parts.
SONOMA. Aug. 5, 1848.
The mining fever is raging here, as well as elsewhere. Not a mechanic or
laboring man can be obtained in town, and most of our male citizens have
"gone up" to the Sierra Nevada, and are now enjoying "golden moments."
Spades, shovels, pick-axes, hoes, bottles, vials, snuff-boxes, brass
tubes, earthern jars, and even barrels, have been put in requisition, and
have also abruptly left town.
I have heard from one of our citizens who has been at the Gold Placer a
few weeks, and he had collected $1,500 worth of the "root of evil," and
was still averaging $100 per day. Another gent, wife and boy collected
$500 worth in one day. Another still, who shut up his hotel here some five
or six weeks since, has returned with $2,200 in pure virgin gold,
collected by his own exertions, with no other aid than a spade, pick and
Three new and valuable lead mines have recently been discovered in this
vicinity, and one of our citizens, Mr. John Bowles, of Galena, Ill.--a
gent, who has been reported by the Boston press as having been murdered by
the Indians, on the Southern route to Oregon, from the States--informed me
that the ore would yield 90 per cent., and that it was his intention to
erect, as soon as practicable, six large smelting furnaces.
The Colonnade Theatre, at this place, has closed for the season; it was
well attended, however, from the time the Thespians made their debut till
they made their exit. The "Golden Farmer," the "Omnibus," and a Russian
comedy called "Feodora,' (translated from the German of Kotzebue, by Mr.
F. Linz, of Sonoma,) were their last attractions.
The military company under command of Capt. J. E. Brackett, are today
exchanging posts with Company H., under command of Captain Frisbie, both
of the New York Volunteers. Company C. has been stationed with us more
than a year, and much praise is due its members, not only for the military
and soldier-like manner in which they have acquitted themselves as a
corps, but for their gentlemanly and orderly deportment individually and
collectively. We regret to part with them, and cannot let them go without
expressing a hope that when peace shall have been declared, their regiment
disbanded, and their country no longer needs their services, they may have
fallen sufficiently in love with our healthy climate and our beautiful
valley to come back and settle.
* * * * *
The New York _Evening Post_ has an article upon this subject, from
which we take the following:
The places where it is found are much more numerous than we might at first
suppose. The mines of America, however, surpass those of all other
countries. Though of comparative newness, they have furnished three times
and a half more gold and twelve times more silver than those of the old
world. Silver and gold were, before the discovery of America, supposed to
bear to each other the relation of 55 to 1. In Europe the proportion is
now about 15 to 1.
The gold of Mexico is chiefly found in argentiferous veins, as at
Guanaxuato, where it is obtained one ounce in 360. The only auriferous
veins, worked as such, are at Oaxaca. The rivers in Caraccas flow over
auriferous sands. Peru is not reported rich in gold at present. The gold
of New Grenada is found in alluvial soil, and is washed out in the shape
of spangles and grains. The gold of Chili, is found under similar
circumstances. Brazil formerly brought the most gold to market, not even
excepting Russia, which now, however, surpasses her. All the rivers
running from the Brazilian mountains have gold, and the annual product of
fine metal is now rated at $5,000,000.
There are no very late tables of the products of the American mines. We
have ascertained, by accident purely, how the estimate is made at present.
From 1790 to 1830, forty years, the product of Mexico was:--
Add to this Russia--
And we have from four countries alone 1880 millions of pounds sterling, or
forty-seven millions per annum.
If we add the products of Europe and Asiatic Russia, of the East Indies
and Africa, which some estimate at thirty-six tons of gold per annum, we
perceive that a vast amount of the precious metal is unearthed and
somewhere in use. The relative value of gold has certainly changed very
much within a few hundred years, and it probably will change still more.
But we do not think it is likely to depreciate one-half in our time, for
many reasons, though some persons imagine it will.
The true secret of all this present excitement is this: the Anglo Saxon
race, for the first time in their history, own and occupy gold mines of
very great value. Hitherto Africans, Asiatic or Indians, have held them,
and they have never shown that ardor combined with perseverance which
belongs to us. England never had any mines of gold, or she would have
worked them as diligently as she has those of coal. The Americans have now
a golden chance, and they are the first of their blood that have ever had
it. They will be sure to turn the opportunity to account.
At our leisure we will refer to some other interesting facts, in relation
to the value of gold at different periods. We conclude with recalling one
singular circumstance to the recollection of our readers, that when the
Romans captured Jerusalem, they obtained so much gold, that the price of
it in Syria fell one half.
* * * * *
LIEUTENANT L. LOESER, of the Third Artillery, a graduate of West Point,
furnishes the following information respecting the gold region:
"We have been favored by Lieutenant Loeser, bearer of dispatches from
Governor Mason to the government at Washington (who also brought on about
$20,000 of gold dust, which he deposited at Washington,) with a general
description of the gold region, the climate, &c., of California. He says
the gold region is very large, and there is sufficient ore to profitably
employ one hundred thousand persons for generations to come. So far as
discovered, the gold is found in an extent of country four hundred miles
long, by one hundred and fifty wide, and no particular portion seems more
productive than another. In the river and on the flatlands the gold dust
is found; but among the rocks and in the highlands it is found in lumps,
from the size of a man's hand to the size of an ordinary duck-shot, all of
which is solid, and presents the appearance of having been thrown up by a
volcanic eruption. So plenty is the gold, that little care is paid to the
washing of it by those engaged when he left; the consequence of which is
great quantities are thrown away. In the highlands he was walking with a
man who found a piece weighing about thirty-five pennyweights, worth $29,
but which he purchased for $4. The piece is solid, and has the form of a
perfect acorn on the top of it. He has had it, just as it was found,
converted into a breastpin. A man, by ordinary labor, may procure from $50
to $200 per day. With regard to the climate, he says, it is salubrious, at
no time being so cold as to require more than a light blanket to sleep
under. When he left, the people were sleeping under the trees, without the
fear of sickness from exposure. The rainy season begins about the first of
November, and continues until March, though there are five clear days for
every rainy one. Provisions are generally high, at least such as cannot be
obtained in the country. Flour is worth $80 per barrel, though a fine
bullock may be obtained for $3. Clothing is very high, and the demand is
very great. The Indians, who have heretofore used no clothing whatever,
now endeavor to imitate the whites, and will give any price for garments.
The report relative to the Mormons requiring 30 per cent. of all the gold
found, he says, is a mistake. When the gold was first discovered, one of
the leaders of that people demanded that amount from all the Mormons, but
they remonstrated, and refused to pay it, which remonstrance caused not
the slightest difficulty among the people. He was in San Francisco when
the gold was first discovered, about forty miles from that place. The news
was received one day, and the following morning, out of the whole company
to which he was attached, every one deserted except two sergeants, and
took with them all the horses belonging to the officers. In a few days the
city was almost entirely deserted, and Col. Mason, the governor of the
territory, was, and has ever since been, obliged to prepare and cook his
own food. A servant cannot be had at any price; and the soldiers have not
sufficient pay for a month to subsist on for a week. The salary of the
governor is not sufficient to support him; and, like all others in the
more wealthy circles of life, he is obliged to be his own servant. He
speaks of the country as offering the greatest inducements to young men of
enterprise, and thinks there is ample room and gold for hundreds of
* * * * *
ADVICE TO THOSE GOING TO CALIFORNIA BY THE CAPES.
The following article, condensed from correspondence in a daily paper of
New York City, will be found to contain many valuable hints to the
California bound traveler. It came to hand too late to appear in its
proper place, where the four different routes are spoken of:
The first grand desideratum is, to secure comfort on the passage, by the
most efficient and economical means, thereby, as far as possible insuring
the arrival of the company at their destination in good health and
To insure the most perfect health and comfort attainable on so long a
voyage, a vessel should not be fitted up as our European passenger ships
are, with bunks for the passengers to sleep in, but the berth deck should
be free from bulkheads fore and aft. This arrangement would give plenty of
room for the company to swing their hammocks or cots, which could be
stowed on deck in pleasant weather, leaving the berth deck free from
encumbrance, for the company to amuse themselves with conversation or
exercise. Such an arrangement would secure a more perfect ventilation (a
very important consideration) than bunks could possibly admit of, as bunks
unavoidably harbor filth and vermin, besides leaving very little room for
the exercise so absolutely necessary in preventing the diseases incident
to a protracted voyage. Before the company proceeds on the voyage, each
member should subscribe to a code of regulations, and officers be
appointed to carry them into effect. This arrangement should be made in
order to obviate the vexation and annoyance which inevitably occur
wherever a large number of persons are promiscuously on shipboard. A
simple system, such as regularity of meals and cleansing the interior of
the ship, similar to the Navy regulations in that particular, are
indispensible and will contribute much to the pleasure, comfort, health,
and good fellowship of all on board.
The company should be composed of _practical persons_--
Agriculturists, Mechanics, and Artisans, as _nearly equal in pecuniary
condition and intelligence_ as circumstances will admit, and it would
be very important for the most useful and necessary arts to be well
represented. By such an organization, the company would be very efficient;
for by taking on board cloth, leather, iron, lumber, brick, &c. their
clothing, shoes, iron and wood work of a brick house might be made on
board. And would employ the various mechanics connected with those arts,
would tend to relieve the monotony of the ocean, and PRACTICALLY
_illustrate the benefits and many advantages_ of a true
_association_ of interests.
The agricultural implements of the most approved method, together with the
choicest varieties of young fruit trees and garden seeds, should be
provided. Instead of the usual ballast for the vessel, brick and lime, if
necessary, could be taken for that purpose, which might be used by the
company or disposed of to great advantage at San Francisco. The vessel
might be profitably employed in transporting passengers to and from the
Isthmus, with great profit to the company, of which the officers and
ship's company should be members. A _skillful surgeon_ should belong
to the association. Every member of the company should contribute all the
useful books he could, as a library on ship-board would be a constant
source of amusement and instruction.
Persons about embarking on so long a voyage should be very particular and
have their provisions carefully put up. The United States service rations
will be found to be very economical. The following is the weekly allowance
Sunday 14 oz. bread, 11/4 lb. beef, 1/2 lb. flour.
Monday 14 oz. bread, 1 lb. pork, 1/2 pint beans.
Tuesday 14 oz. bread, 2 oz. cheese, 1 lb. beef.
Wednesday 14 oz. bread, 1 lb. pork, 1/2 pint of rice.
Thursday 14 oz. bread, 11/4 lbs. beef, 1/2 lb. flour.
Friday 14 oz. bread, 4 oz. cheese, 2 oz. butter, 1/2 pint rice, 1/2
pint molasses, 1/2 pint vinegar.
Saturday 14 oz, bread, 1 lb. pork, 1/2 pint beans, 1/2 lb. raisins.
The spirit ration is omitted.
This is sufficient for the hardest-working seaman. The flour should be
kiln dried; any baker can do it. It is only necessary to evaporate all the
moisture, and pack it in air-tight casks. Pine-apple cheese is the best
and should be put up in water-tight boxes, saturated in alcohol. Sour
crout, pickles, &c. are excellent anti-scorbutics, and should be eaten
freely. Be careful and lay in a good store of "salt water soap."
N. B. The flour should be packed in casks that have contained distilled
A vessel bound for California by the way of Cape Horn by touching at Rio
Janeiro, Brazil and Callao, in Peru, would divide the voyage into three
periods, increasing its interest without much addition to its length of
time. Rio Janeiro has one of the most magnificent harbors on the globe,
far surpassing in natural grandeur the bay of Naples. The approach to the
stupendous mountain coast is inexpressibly grand. The entrance to the
capacious roadstead is through a narrow strait of great depth of water
unobstructed by rock or shoal, flanked on the North by the huge fortress
of Santa Cruz; on the South the "Sugar Loaf" rock proudly rears its lofty
cone near one thousand feet above the surface of the deep. The entire bay
is nearly surrounded by numerous mountain peaks of every conceivable form.
Leaving Rio we prepare to encounter the terrors of the "Horn," having
overcome its Westerly gales and "head-beat seas" debouching on the vast
Pacific, we career onward before the "trades" to Callao, the port of Lima
and capital of the Peruvian Republic. Here the refreshments peculiar to
the Tropics are plenty and of excellent quality. We ride at anchor over
the ancient City of Callao, (destroyed and sunk by an earthquake 1746,) in
sight of the lofty Andes, the mighty cones of Pichnia and Cotopaxi blazing
their volcanic fires far above the region of eternal snow, their ice-
frosted summits glittering in the sun, forming a dazzling contrast with
the clear deep azure of the tropical skies.
Waving adieu to Callao, our canvas spread to woo the "trades," we sweep
onward to Alta-California, and entering the "Golden Gate" of the
Cornucopia of the Pacific, drop our anchor in the bay of San Francisco.
Back to Full Books