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Many will arrive destitute, and death will do his work among them. Houses cannot be obtained for one-half of this vast increase of people, nor will all provide themselves with a tent or even bush shed. The cold will not incom. mode the new comers, except those who may go to the mountainous parts of the Sacramento and Joaquin. In January and February, however, the rain will fall. As a general thing the climate is advantageous to the coming thou. sands, and in the course of time, with the immense and peculiar prospects before us, a large proportion, after some individual cases of suffering, will settle themselves, and subsequently obtain a gradual improvement of their state and situation. The want of schools must be felt for some time to come, at least within the vicinity of the placers. Monterey, Pueblo de San Jose, San Francisco, and Benicia have each a good school, paying the preceptor $1,800 to $2,000 a year. These towns have also each a Protestant clergy inan settled among them. The towns of Monterey, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Pueblo de los Angelos have each Catholic churches, with Mexican padres, and are well attended. The whole territory of California has scarcely a pube lic building, exclusive of the town of Monterey, which contains two that were built prior to 1846. This cown has also a wharf, built in 1845, and some buildings and a fortification, erected under the command of Colonel Mason in 1847 and 1848, and a fine stone building for a school and court-house, and state convention, built under the alcaldeship of Walter Colton, Esq.
The prospects of California are flattering in the prospective, more so than of any other new State in our rapidly, extending Union. The climate of most parts of it is mild and congenial, yet changeable. The Sacramento and San Joaquin are prolific of ague and fever of the worst forms, and rheumatic complaints on the coast are prevalent. The mornings are invariably the most pleasant on the sea coast, especially at Monterey and San Francisco —the nights throughout the country are cool. At Santa Barbara and the lower Pueblo there is experienced little or no fog. The town of San Diego, now without trade, is of little consequence; at that place the climate is the mildest and most salubrious in all Alta California.
The rivers throughout this territory are low most of the year, and can be passed. Rains in November increase until February—they then decrease until April. During the summer rain may fall once in the course of five or six years, but not sufficient to saturate the ground. In the months of December and January, rain is the most copious. From the drought in the summer months, vegetation becomes much parched. On some ranchos (farms) the grass fails for the cattle at the driest season. The farmers are always desirous that some rain should fall in April to moisten their land just previous to their planting beans, corn, and potatoes. A person not acquainted with the soil and climate of California, would doubt its capacity to produce any grain without summer showers; yet wheat produces abundanily. "Gardens in towns require wells, excepting at the two Pueblos and Sonoma, where there are good streams of water, the country adjacent to which is best adapted to grazing. The Government have here horses and mules, kept up and fed on harley and wild oats, cut in May and June; individuals will also do the same. Oats and clover grow spontaneously over the country, and within the reach of every man. Formerly horses and bullocks were worked but a few days and then turned out to graze as many weeks, when these animals sold for ten to fifteen dollars each, and breeding mares from two to three dollars. This plan 10 a Californian presented its advantages. The American farmer will do more work and to more advantage with four or five horses and twenty or thirty cows and steers ihan the natives do this day with hundreds or thousands of stock.
Eggs are from $1 to $2 a en; hens $2 to $1 each; turkeys $4 to $8 a piece; butter $1 to $1.50 a pound; potatoes, by the pound, 6 to 8 cents; tur. nips and cabbages, etc. still higher-opening other advantages to farmers than raising calile. But few or none have engaged in supplying towns with the
fruits of gardens, orchards, and the rich products of the dairy. This will all be done at less prices, but at very remunerating ones, even when the golden sands of California have been turned over and over again-washed and rewashed, and its soil delved deep into for the precious metal until nearly valueless. For some years, however, the labours of the hard-working and frugal gold-digger will yield him fair compensation, if he can avoid the chills and fever of July, August, and September.
The whites have, in several instances, destroyed Indians in the placer, who, in their turn, have retaliated. This warfare will continue until the wild man and owner of the placer is exterminated. This may cause the people to have more tame Indian servants, as they will seek the towns where many get constant employ. The real cause of the shedding of blood is the too common enmity of the white man towards the aboriginals of our country; while too many, caring only to get a good share of the riches of the placer, as free laborers, look tamely on the atrocities they may see perpetrated. Before 1850 the two very distinct races will be separated into parties in the placer by the Spanish and English languages, being the vernacular of each, and they will very likely be brought into fierce and deadly conflict. Those of Spanish extraction far outnumber the Americans, though this will not be considered worth a thought by the latter. Numbers opposed to them in battle array or in commerce are not counted, and when brought into collision with Yankee ingenuity are subverted or overthrown. However, the Americans in this country will in a short period outnumber the foreigners; and from the present time Mexican and South American emigration hitherward must decrease, and by 1851 the emigrants from Europe will not outnumber our own countrymen.
In all this astonishing influx of people we have a practical illustration of the fact that the absence of good laws cannot stagnate commerce or crush the energies of the people. Each alcalde of the different jurisdictions has some form, mode, and practice of administering law. There are Mexican laws in print, in theory, but in practice little is known of them by the judges or jusiices-of course less by the people. Yet peace and good order is fairly sus. tained, and murder and robbery is not of hourly occurrence. Where there is no known code of law lawyers can have but little business. By the time there is business for them the present attorneys who are in this country will, by having other means of making a fortune, be able to live like the mass of the people.
General Riley, as Governor of California, has, in a proclamation, requested or recommended the people of California to meet in all their respective towns the first day of August next, to choose for each different district a judge, prefect, two sub-prefects, and an alcalde, and a certain number of delegates, to meet in Monterey in September, 1849, to organize and frame some laws and a constitution for the country, with the expectation of sending a Delegate to Congress, and asking admission into the Union as a State. The opinion of the old and new inhabitants of California will be divided, the former bolding the belief that it properly comes under his lawful jurisdiction, and the latter that, on account of his holding one office, and that in a military capacity, he is no way constitutionally empowered to convene the inhabitants for the transaction of any civil affairs, much less in a business of such moment as is involved in the present exigency. In the sequel, however, I presume the majority of the people will acquiesce in his proclamation; and, if it is assented to by the people of California, will, by November, have fair prospects of pos. sessing, laws, judges, and requisite legal officers, and a form of civil government. The citizens of Monterey have, by their unanimous vote, agreed to support the proclamation of Governor Riley and carry out its provisions, re. commending others throughout California to do the same. The Pueblo of San Jose have passed the same resolution.*
The Convention above alluded to has been held.
A passage round Cape Horn, from an Atlantic to a Pacific port, occupies from four to six months. The shortest trip on record is that of the “Grey Eagle,” in one hundred and seventeen days to San Francisco; the “Col. Fremont" came in one hundred and twenty-seven days; one hundred and fifty is a fair calculation. This voyage is as safe and pleasant as those performed by sea and land; it occupies two, in some cases three, months more time. It has not the variety of a sea and land voyage, but a person has less risk of reaching his port of destination. The expense is $150 to $300, the passenger having to provide himself with bedding only. A trip via Chagres and Panama costs $250 to $600, the two steamers charging $175 and $200 to 400. The tiine occupied ought not to be more than forty days; in 1850 it will probably be less. At present but few reach here via Panama under sixty to seventy days from New York or New Orleans. Those who arrive here, as thousands have, in sail vessels from Panama, have been sixty to one hundred days in coming this distance. The passage to Vera Cruz is easy; and, if the Mexicans have mules and horses to sell at Vera Cruz, or in the vicinity, a traveller mounted may reach San Blas in twenty to forty days. At first he will be somewhat worn, perhaps nearly broken down, bat in a week his spirits will be on the ascendant, and he will be able to pursue his way tolerably pleasantly. The travelling expenses on the road from Vera Cruz to San Blas or Mazatlan, will be about $1 50 to $2 50 per diem for man and mule. A laughing, happy, and contented traveller can get along with the Mexicans in his own way, and at his own prices-if he but please the people, they will please him. At present, and I think hereafter, the supply of vessels for passengers from San Blas and Mazatlan to California will correspond to the demand. The charge for passage $75 to $200; the time occupied twentyfive to forty-five days.
The overland route from the frontier of Missouri to the Sacramento valley is now so well known that a very correct estimate may be made of the time re. quired, and the means necessary, to perform it with ease and safety. A family carrying with them only such things as are nece
ecessary for the road, may calcu. late on making it in four and a half months. About the 1st to the 10th of May is a suitable time for leaving the Missouri frontier, and this would bring them into California from the middle to the end of September. Light but strong wagons, with mules, especially in the present condition of the road, are the most reliable and convenient means of travelling. Grass is at its best during the season, which will be occupied by the journey, and the mules may always be kept picketed near the place of encampment, and consequently less risk will be incurred of their being stolen, and no time lost in hunting them up in the morning. The road being now well known the travelling may be regu. lated, and the animals never forced into extraordinary journeys, but make their average day's travel uniformly, and regularly have grass and water. The best way to travel is to start at sunrise and hali again, remaining at rest during the middle hours of the day, completing the day's march in the afternoon. This gives the animals abundant time to rest and eat, and in this way they will go through in good order.
House rooms in San Francisco, eight feet by ten to fifteen by twenty, are $30 to $500 per month each. Houses at present being over 100 per cent. on cost a year for rent. Board is $2 10 $3 a day, without a room. There is a new hotel, containing sixty rooms, now finished in the town of San Francisco. The owner has spared neither time, trouble, nor funds in making this building of a superior order, in all its parts and branches. The passage in a launch from San Francisco or Benicia to Stockton, or Sacramento city, is $15 to $30, and it occupies two to three days. Thence travellers take a horse, mule, or wagon, or go on foot, as they may prefer, to the placer. Freight in the launches is $4 to $6 per barrel; thence to the placer in wagons $10 to $50 has to be paid.
Although there are many advantages in California over some of our other territories, and a wide field of enterprise for a new beginner, I would earnestly advise all those who are well situated at their places of nativity or adoption to remain as they are. To a young man, not yet in business, with little or uncertain prospects in our Atlantic or Middle States, I would say, try Cali. fornia; more especially if he is bold, active, restless, and ambitious, and not inclined to dissipation. Sickness he will be liable to here as elsewhere, even without exposure in the placers. If he know one card or one wine from another where he was educated, raised, or brought up, in California he will soon know the whole pack, and become a perfect connoisseur of liquors. This will alter for the better as society becomes established. For a farmer, mechanic, or merchant, with ordinary prospects in any other State, to break up for the purpose of coming out, with the view of bettering his condition in California, is, I think, if not utopian, at least hazardous. My several official letters up to 1849, which have been published throughout the United States, were written for the use of the different Departments in Washington, to which I was at the time attached, and not for publication. On reception by the chiefs of those Departments they were at their disposal. When despatched from California to Washington I had no expectation of their being published, and no one in this country could then have had any idea that our “placers” so soon, or even in any length of time, were to affect our whole Union and a part of Europe. In June and July, 1848, the American residents in California, especially the land owners, were apprehensive that the placers would prove an injury to them; the value of town lots, it was supposed, were more depreciated thereby than any thing else, but the contrary effect on real estate in town and country is now experienced, and in fact in every class of property, and in every line of business throughout the Territory. The busy hum of incessant activity, and the enterprise of an industrious, go ahead, Yankee population, now reverberates throughout the northern part of Alta California, and will soon extend from latitude 49 to 32 on the Pacific, and embrace the whole length and breadth of the country—of Oregon and California.
POPULATION OF CALIFORNIA.
From the Alta California of November 29. In an article published in the Alta California of the 2d of July last, we stated the probable population of the country at that time at 30,000 souls. “As the recent election has failed to bring out more than one-quarter of the legal voters in the country, and as the hopes which that contest held out of approximating to the number of inhabitants, have failed, we have thought it proper and necessary to give the following statistics. They are made up, in some instances, from actual records, in others from the best estimates we have been able to procure.
The population of California on the first day of January, 1849, may be set down as follows, viz.: Californians, say
24,000 From that time down to the 11th of April, 1849, there were a great many ar. rivals by sea, and a few by land. If we set down the arrivals by sea in round numbers at 5.000, (of which one-half were Americans,) and the arrivals by land (principally from Sonora and Lower California) at 1,000, we shall then have the following result, viz.:
31,000 From the 12th of April down to the present time, (November 28, 1819.) we are enabled to give, through the politeness of Edward A. King, Harbour Master, reliable statistics of the arrivals by sea. They are as follows: Months.
Male. Female. Total. April, 3,944 1,942 5,677
19,000 6,500 24,833 667 25,500 In the article before alluded to, which we published in July last, we stated the then probable population at 30,000. Subsequent experience, and travel through the country, has convinced us we were then in error. We were anxious at that time not to go beyond the mark in our estimate, but in the extremity of our care we undoubtedly fell far below it.
Admitting, then, that, on the 11th day of April last, there were 31,000 inhabi. tants in the country, as above stated, if we add thereto the 25,500 arrived by spa, as shown by the table above, we have a total of 56,500.. To this must be added the sum of 6,000 Mexicans, who came into the country by land, and of which probably 2,000 still remain. Further than this, there have run away from the several vessels now in this port, at least 3,000 seamen; there have arrived at other ports in California 500 souls; and there have come into the country by the Santa Fe and southern route, at least 2,000. These figures give the following result as the present population of the country, derived from all sources except the emigration over the Rocky mountains. Californians, ,
-61,000 The number of the emigration by way of the "Plains," is variously estimated at from 30,000 to 40,000. Our own impression is, that it will not be found to vary much from 30,000. Adding that number to the figures above, and we have a total of 94,000 souls, as follows: Americans,
94,000 There cannot be a doubt that the figures given above are below the mark; and we have no hesitation in saying, and we think the figures will bear us out in the assertion, that the population of California now exceeds one hundred thousand.