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struction, and they were left to the superintendence of individuals who plundered them of all that was desirable or capable of removal. Thus, the government commenced the robbery, and its hirelings carried it out to the letter, destroying and laying waste wherever they were placed. In order to give the inhabitants a share of the spoils, some of them were permitted to slaugliter the cattle by contract, which was an equal division of the proceeds, and the contractors were careful when they delivered one hide to a mission, to reserve two for themselves, in this way following up the example of their superiors.
This important revolution in the systematic order of the monastic institutions took place in 1836, at which period the most important of them possessed property, exclusive of their lands and tenements, to the value of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. At the present day they have but a little more than dilapidated walls and restricted boundaries of territory. Notwithstanding this wanton devastation of property, contrary to the opinion of many who were strongly in favor of supporting these religious institutions, the result proveel beneficial to the country at large. Individual enterprise succeeded as the lands became distributed, so that the Californian beheld himself no longer dependent on the bounty of his spiritual directors, but, on the contrary, he was enabled to give support to them, from the increase and abundance of his own possessions.
Subsequent to the expulsion of the Mexicans, numbers of new farms were created, and hundreds of Americans were scattered over the country. Previous to 1830, the actual possessions of horned cattle by the rancheros did not exceed one hundred thousand ; but in 1842, according to a fair estimate, made by one on the spot, the number had increased to four hundred thousand ; so that the aggregate is equal to that held by the missions when in their most flourishing condition. The present number is not much, if any, short of one million. The value of the hides and tallow derived from the annual matanzas
be estimated at $372,000. These two commodities, with the exception of some beaver, sca-otter, and other furs, comprise the most important part of the exportations, which, in addition, would augment the value of exports to $400,000.
The permanent population of that portion of Upper California, situated between the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific, Í estimate at 25,000. Of this number, 8,000 are Hispano-Americans, 5,000 foreigners, chiefly from the United States, and 12,000 christianized Indians. There are considerable numbers of wild or Gentile Indians inhabiting the valley of the San Joaquin, and the gorges of the Sierra, not included in this estimate. They are probably as numerous as the Christian Indians. The Indian population inhabiting the region of the Great Salt Lake, Mary's river, the oases of the Great Desert Basin, and the country bordering the Rio Colorado and its tributaries, being spread over a vast extent of territory, are scarcely seen, although the aggregate number is considerable.
The Californians do not differ materially from the Mexicans, from whom they are descended, in other provinces of that country. Physically and intellectually, the men, probably, are superior to the same race farther south, and inhabiting the countries contiguous to the city of Mexico. The intermixture of blood with the Indian and negro races has been less, although it is very perceptible.
The men, as a general fact, are well made, with pleasing, sprightly countenances, and possessing much grace and ease of manners, and vivacity of conversation. But hitherto they have had little knowledge of the world and of events, beyond what they have heard through Mexico, and derived from the supercargoes of merchant-ships, and whalemen touching upon the coast. There are no public schools in the country-at least I never heard of one. There are but few books. General Valléjo has a library with many valuable books, and this is the only one I saw, although there are others; but they are rare, and confined to a few families.
The men are almost constantly on horseback, and as horsemen excel any I have seen in other parts of the world. From the nature of their pursuits and amusements, they have brought horsemanship to a perfection challenging admiration and exciting astoniskment. They are trained to the horse and the use of the lasso (riata, as it is here called,) from their infancy. The first act of a child, when he is able to stand alone, is to throw his toy-lasso around the neck of a kitten; his next feat is performed on the dog; his next upon a goat or calf; and so on, until he monts the horse, and demonstrates his skill upon horses and cattle. The crowning feat of dexterity with the riata, and of horsemanship, combined with daring
courage, is the lassoing of the grisly bear. This feat is performed frequently upon this large and ferocious animal, but it is sometimes fatal to the performer and his horse. Well drilled, with experienced military leaders, such as would inspire them with confidence in their skill and prowess, the Californians ought to be ihe finest cavalry in the world. The Californian saddle is, I venture to assert, the best that has been invented, for the horse and the rider. Seated in one of these, it is scarcely possible to be unseated by any ordinary casualty. The bridle-bit is clumsily made, but so constructed that the horse is compelled to obey the rider upon the slightest intimation. The spurs are of immense size, but they answer to an experienced horseman the double purpose of exercising the horse, and of maintaining the rider in his seat under difficult circumstances.
For the pleasures of the table they care but little. With his horse and trap. pings, his sarape and blanket, a piece of beef and a tortilla, the Californian is content, so far as his personal comforts are concerned. But he is ardent in his pursuit of amusement and pleasure, and these consist chiefly in the fandango, the game of monte, horse-racing, and bull and bear baiting. They gamble freely and desperately, but pay their losses with the most strict punctuality, at any and every sacrifice, and manifest but little concern about them. They are obedient to their magistrates; and in all disputed cases decided by them, acquiesce without uttering a word of complaint. They have been accused of treachery and insincerity. Whatever may have been the grounds for these accusations in particular instances, I know not; but judging from my own observation and experience, they are as free from these qualities as our own people.
While the men are employed in attending to the herds of cattle and horses, and engaged in their other amusements, the women (I speak of the middle classes on the ranchos) superintend and perform most of the drudgery appertaining to housekeeping, and the cultivation of the gardens, from whence are drawn such vegetables as are consumed at the table. These are few, consisting of frijoles, potatoes, onions, and chiles. The assistants in these labors are the Indian men and women, legally reduced to servitude.
The soil of that portion of California between the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific, will compare, in point of fertility, with any that I have seen elsewhere. As I have already described such portions of it as have come under my observation, it is unnecessary for me here to descend to particulars. Wheat, barley, and other small grains, with hemp, flax, and tobacco, can be produced in all the valleys, without irrigation. To produce maize, potatoes, and other garden vegetables, irrigation is necessary. Oats and mustard grow spontaneously, withsuch rankness as to be considered nuisances upon the soil. I have forced my way through thousands of acres of these, higher than my head when mounted on a horse. The oats grow to the summits of the hills, but they are not here so tall and rank as in the valleys.
The varieties of grasses are greater than on the Atlantic side of the Continent, and far more nutritious. I have seen seven different kinds of clover, several of them in a dry state, depositing a seed upon the ground so abundunt as to cover it, which is lapped up by the cattle and horses and other animals, as corn or oats, when threshed, would be with us. All the grasses, and they cover the entire country, are heavily seeded, and when ripe, are as fattening to stock as the grains which we feed to our beef, horses and hogs. Hence it is unnecessary to the sustenance or fattening of stock, to raise corn for their consumption.
Agriculture is in its rudest state. The farming implements which have been used by the Californians, with few exceptions, are the same as were used three hundred years ago, when Mexico was conquered by Cortez. A description of them would be tedious. The plough, however, which merely scratches the ground, is the fork of a small tree. It is the same pattern as the Roman plough, two thousand years ago. Other agricultural implements are of the same description. The Americans, and other foreigners, are, however, introducing the American plough, and other American farming tools, the consequence of which has already been, to some extent, to produce a revolution in agriculture. The crops of wheat and barley, which I saw about the 1st of June, while passing through ihe country on my journey to the United States, exceeded in promise any which I have seen in the United States. It was reported to me that Captain Sutter's crop of wheat, for 1847, would amount to 75,000 bushels.
The principal product of the country has been its cattle and horses. The cattle are, I think, the largest and finest I ever saw, and the beef is more delicious. There are immense herds of these, to which I have previously referred; and their hides and tallow, when slaughtered, have hitherto composed the principal exports from the country. If I were to hazard an estimate of the number of hides annually exported, it would be conjectural, and not worth much. I would suppose, however, at this time, (1847,) that the number would not fall much short of 150,000, and a corresponding number of arrobas (25 pounds) of tallow. The average value of cattle is about five dollars per head.
The horses and mules are correspondingly numerous with the cattle ; and although the most of them are used in the country, considerable numbers are driven to Sonora, New Mexico, and other southern provinces, and some of them to the United States, for a market. They are smaller than the American horses, and I do not think them equal for continuous hard service; but on short trips, for riding, their speed and endurance are not often, if ever, equalled by our breed of horses. The value of good horses is from $10 to $25; of mares, $5. The prices have, however, since the Americans came into the country, become fluctuating, and the value of both horses and cattle is increasing rapidly.
The wild animals of California are the wild-horse, the elk, the black-tailed deer, antelope, grisly bear, all in large numbers. Added to these are the beaver, otter, coyote, hare, squirrel, and the usual variety of other small animals. There is not so great a variety of small birds as I have seen elsewhere. I do not consider that the country presents strong attractions for the ornithologist. But what is wanting in variety is made up in numbers. The bays and indentations on the coast, as well as the rivers and lakes in the interior, swarm with myriads of wild-geese, ducks, swans, and other water birds. The geese and ducks are a mongrel race, their plumage being variegated, the same as our barnyard fowls. Some of the islands in the harbor, near San Francisco, are white with the guano deposited by these birds; and boatloads of eggs are taken from them. The pheasant and partridge are abundant in the mountains.
In regard to the minerals of California, not much is yet known. It has been the policy of the owners of land upon which there existed minerals, to conceal them as much as possible. A reason for this has been, that the law of Mexico is such, that if one man discovers a mine of any kind upon another man's land, and the proprietor does not work it, the former may denounce the mine and take possession of it, and hold it so long as he continues to work it. Hence the proprietors of land upon which there are valuable mineral ores, conceal their existence as much as possible. While in California I saw quicksilver, silver, lead and iron ores, and the specimens were taken from mines said to be inexhaustible. From good authority I learned the existence of gold and copper mines, the metals being combined; and I saw specimens of coal taken from two or three different points, but I do not know what the indications were as to quality. Brimstone, salt petre, muriate and carbonate of soda, and bitumen, are abundant. There is little doubt that California is as rich in minerals of all kinds as any portion of Mexico.
I have taken much pains to describe to the reader, from day to day, and at different points during my travels in California, the temperature and weather. It is rarely so cold in the settled portions of California as to congeal water. But twice only while here I saw ice; and then not thicker than window-glass. I saw no snow resting upon the ground. The annual rains commence in November, and continue, with intervals of pleasant, spring-like weather, until May. From May to November, usually, no rain falls. There are, however, exceptions. Rain sometimes falls in August. The thermometer, at any season of the year, rarely sinks below 50° or rises above 80°. In certain positions on the coast, and especially at San Francisco, the winds rise diurnally, and blowing fresh upon the shore render the temperature cool in midsummer. In the winter the wind blows from the land, and the temperature at these points is warmer. These local peculiarities of climate are not descriptive of the general climate of the interior.
For salubrity, I do not think there is any climate in the world superior to that of the coast of California. I was in the country nearly a year, exposed much of the time to great hardships and privations, sleeping, for the most part, in the open air, and I never felt while there the first pang of disease, or the slightest indication of bad health. On some portions of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers,
where vegetation is rank, and decays in the autumn, the malaria produces chills and fever, but generally the attacks are slight and yield easily to medicine. The atmosphere is so pure and preservative along the coast, that I never saw putrified flesh, although I have seen, in midsummer, dead carcasses lying exposed to the sun and weather for months. They emitted no offensive smell. There is but . little disease in the country arising from the climate.
The botany and flora of California are rich, and will hereafter form a fruitful field of discovery to the naturalist. There are numerous plants reported to possess extraordinary medical virtues. The "soap-plant (amóle) is one which appears to be among the most serviceable. The root, which is the saponaceous portion of the plant, resembles the onion, but possesses the quality of cleansing linen equal to any “oleic soap” manufactured by my friends Cornwall & Brother, of Louisville, Ky.
There is another plant in high estimation with the Californians, called canchalagua, which is held by them as an antidote to all the diseases to which they are subject; but in particular, for cases of fever and ague. For purifying the blood, and regulating the system, I think it surpasses all the medicinal herbs that have been brought into notice, and it must become, in due time, one of the most important articles in the practice of medicine. In the season for flowers, which is generally during the months of May and June, its pretty pink-colored blossoms form a conspicuous display in the great variety which adorn the fields of California.
The water-power in California is ample for any required mill purposes. Timber for lumber is not so convenient as is desirable. There is, however, a sufficiency of it, which, when improvements are made, will be more accessible. The timber on the Sierra Nevada, the most magnificent in the world, cannot be, at present, available. The evergreen oak, that grows generally in the valleys, is not valuable, except for fuel
, But in the cañadas of the hills, aud at several places on the coast, particularly at Santa Cruz and Bodega, there is an amount of pine and fir, adapted for lumber, that will not be consumed for a long time."
FINANCIAL AND COMMERCIIL RETIEW.
The affairs of commerce have continued to be greatly influenced by the conree of political events in Europe. As far as contraction of mercantile credits throughout the coumercial world, abundance of raw material, low prices, and plenteousness of food go, there exist all the elements of a most prosperous commercial season; but they are all held in abeyance, not only by the political commotions that have broken forih, but from the direction which governmental reforms have taken-more particularly in France. In our number for May we sketched briefly the financial views of those socialist leaders whose councils predominated in the new government; that the revolution was declared to be in favor of those without capital, against those possessed of it, and that ihe result was, great timidity of capitalists, impossibility of realizing property, and utter prostration of commercial enterprise. We then remarked as follows in reference to the decree suspeuding the Bauk of France:
“The suspension, nnder the circumstances, is clearly a nefarious trick of the Commnnist leaders to enable them to make indefinite advauces to meet the boundless demands from the people, which the principles they have enoucinied have already called into existeuce. M. Louis Blauc, in addi essing the people on the 17th March, used the following expressions :
* The peril would he great for the holders of capital and the instruments of labor, if they refuses the concessions, which the natural progress of ideas, and the great act of emancipatiou just accomplished, con: mavded.'
"What concessions' he requires of capital he does not clearly state in words, but it is evident, is the people' are to be supported by governmeut, the means must be derived from capital. The proposition thus simplifies itself into a general robbery of the riih for the benefit of the mass of the people. This is, in fact, the genins of the provisional goverumeut. This theory it is, with which the most villainous demagogues are leading the people, while themselves are pluiering the natiou's treasury."
The perils which holders of capital were to undergo was made partly apparent in the demonstration of May 15, but in a more awful degree in the events of the last week of Juue.
That the people of France, after centnries of oppression, should be poor and miserable, is matter of course. That they should not comprehend all the duties, privileges, and obligations of self-goverument is not to be wondered at; and the transitivn from mouarchial oppression to republican iucli pendence should be gradual. When power falis from the hands of a despot, ils abole in the hands of an aristocracy for a lime prep res the way for its successful exercise by the middle classes, or bourgeoise, by whom il is gradually transmitted into the lands of the whole people, where it alone rightfully bt lougs. In France, in the progress of popular rights, power on its way from the des. potic hands of Louis XIV, had reached the hands of the bourgeoise and was gradually seeking those of the people. At this stage of national progress, the class of Socialists, bad men, and traitoronis demagognes, have stirred up a civil war between the " people" and the bourgeoise,” the effect of which must be to retard the progress of power lowards its final resting place, in the hands of the people. The Socialist plan of supporting large uumbers of people in idleness at the expense of the properly.lolders and industrious, however apparently necessary it may have been as a state necessity, was an impossibility. Those persons were to be fed and employed. For 'se state to undertake it was simply ridiculous. The duty of the government was to mainlaiu oriler, preserve by all meaus credit and confidence, and fuster private enterprise by reilucing expenses, renariug taxes, abolishing restrictions, and by every mode encouraging private enterprise, which alone could give employment to the masses of poor. The course of the gove ernment was the reverse of this. It undertook to employ people at wages to do uothing, VOL. XXIII. -NO, CXXII.