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CALIFORNIA AND ITS
THE REV. JOHN TODD, D.D.
CAREFULLY REVISED AND BROUGHT DOWN TO THE PRESENT TIME.
WITH 17 ILLUSTRATIONS
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW.
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
I. THE CLIMATE, SOIL, AND NATURAL PRODUCTIONS WHICH
MAKE CALIFORNIA WHAT IT IS, ... ... ... 9
II. MINES, MINING, AND THEIR EFFECTS ON THE WORLD, ... 33
III. THE BIG TREES, THE CAVES, AND NATURAL BRIDGES OF
CALAVERAS, ... ... ... ... ... 61
IV. THE YOSEMITE VALLEY, ... ... ... ... 86
V. NATURAL PRODUCTIONS OF CALIFORNIA, INCLUDING A VISIT
TO THE GEYSERS, ... ... ... ... ... 125
VI. THE HIGHWAY OF NATIONS, OR THE CONTINENTAL RAIL-
.ROADS, .. ..... ... ... 158
VII. LIFE ON THE PACIFIC SLOPE, ... ... ... ... 184
Fbist jof TIIstratians.
NEVADA FALLS, .. .. .. F
DONNER LAKE, ..
"BIG TREE" OF CALIFORNIA, ..
BLOCK CUT FROM ONE OF THE BIG TREES OF CALAVERAS,
THE "FATHER OF THE FOREST," CALAVERAS GROVE, CALIFORNIA,
MAP OF THE YOSEMITE VALLEY, ..
VIEW IN YOSEMITE VALLEY, .
BRIDAL VEIL WATERFALL, ..
SENTINEL ROCK, YOSEMITE VALLEY,
VERNAL FALLS, YOSEMITE VALLEY,
NORTH AND SOUTH DOME, YOSEMITE VALLEY,
GENERAL VIEW OF YOSEMITE VALLEY, ..
FARM IN CALIFORNIA, .. .
BULLOCK TEAM CROSSING THE PLAINS,
SNOW-SHEDS ON THE SIERRA NEVADA, ..
SAN FRANCISCO BAY, ..
SEAL ROCKS NEAR GOLDEN GATE, SAN FRANCISCO,
THE CLIMATE, SOIL, AND NATURAL PRODUCTIONS WHICH
MAKE CALIFORNIA WHAT IT IS.
ALIFORNIA is a study. On visiting it
the stranger is at first utterly bewil-
dered, finding. everything so entirely
different from anything he expected or ever saw
before. He seems to have alighted on some new
planet; the points of the compass seem to have
swung wrong; and the winds, the trees, the shrub-
bery, the hills and valleys, all conspire to confound
and mock him and to enjoy his confusion.
It is on account of what I deem the great FUTURE
before California, and the vast problems there to be
solved, that I desire to have my reader understand
what nature has done to make this state so peculiar,
10 ENGLAND AND CALIFORNIA CONTRASTED.
and to give her a position of so much importance.
How different in all respects from our own England!
Here the winds hurry, and scurry, and change, often
many times a day; there they unchangingly blow
in one direction for six months, and then the oppo-
site for six months. Here the earth rests in winter;
there they have no winter, and her rest is in the
summer. Here we have storm, and heat, and cold;
there they have no storms or rain in summer, and
only rain in winter. Here our trees shed their
leaves; there they wear their varnished covering all
the year round, while some of them, like the bronzed
madrona, shed their barcr annually, and keep on
their bright green waxen leaves. Here the wood-
pecker goes to the old tree and knocks and wakes
up the worm, and then pecks in and gets him;
there the woodpecker bores a thousand holes in the
great pine tree, into each of which he thrusts an
acorn, into which the insect deposits her egg, and
which the woodpecker calls for and takes after it has
become a good-sized worm. The blue jay is arrayed
in a strange dress, and chatters in notes equally
strange. The lark sings in sweeter notes, but they
are all new. Here the owl lives in the hollow tree;
there he burrows in the ground with the strange
ENGLAND AND CALIFORNIA CONTRASTED.
gray ground-squirrel, or in the hole of the rattle-
snake, or in that of the prairie dog.
Here the elder is a bush; there I have seen it a
tree with a trunk a foot in diameter. Here the
lemon-verbena is a flower-pot plant; there it is a
bush nine feet high. Here the mustard-seed yields
a small plant; there it is a tree, often seventeen feet
high. Here we have a few vines in a vinery;
there you will find five thousand acres in a single
vineyard. Here we have the thick green turf on
our soil; there they have no turf, and not a dande-
lion, daughter of the turf, grows in all California.
Here the sun paints the grass green; there he turns
it brown. Here you see the farmer carefully hous-
ing his hay and little patch of wheat; there he cuts
no hay except to supply the cities, and reaps and
threshes his wheat in the fields, and throws the bags
down to lie all summer, sure that neither rain nor
dew will hurt it. Here everything is small; there
the trees and all the vegetable world are so large
that you are tempted to doubt your own eyes.
Now, what makes the climate, the creator of all
these strange things, so peculiar ? Be patient a
few minutes and I will try to tell you.
California is a little over eight hundred miles long
THE NEVADA MOUNTAINS.
and over two hundred wide. Full two-thirds of all
this is mountain. For our purpose at the present
time we may say the state lies north and south.
As you go from the valley of the Mississippi west,
you rise till you cross the Rocky Mountains, over
eight thousand feet above the ocean at the point of
crossing. This is the backbone of the continent.
You then come to a desert of some four hundred
miles. Then you meet the Wahsatch Range of
mountains, parallel with the Rocky Mountains; then
another vast desert, much larger than the first; and
then the Nevada Mountains-the eastern boundary
of California. This is the Sierra Nevada, running
the whole length of the state, nowhere less than
four thousand feet high, up to fifteen thousand feet,
with a hundred peaks, each of which is over thirteen
thousand feet. For two hundred miles along its
northern part there is no spot where it could be
passed under eleven thousand feet altitude. The
width of this range is eighty or one hundred miles,
running nearly in a straight line, and the whole
ridge is covered with snow over eight months in the
On the west side of the state, holding the old
Pacific in its place, is the Coast Range of mountains,
SACRAMENTO AND SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY.
still parallel with the Sierra Nevada; or, rather,
several ranges of these mountains, parallel with one
another, as well as the Nevadas. This Coast Range,
or ocean-barrier, is from twelve hundred to ten
thousand feet high, and about forty miles wide.
Between these two great ranges of mountains lies a
great valley, made by two rivers, the Sacramento
and San Joaquin,-the first running south, and the
other north,-meeting and emptying in a bay in
about the middle of the state, and forming a great
valley-though usually called two-about five hun-
dred miles long and fifty miles wide. This great basin
was evidently once a vast inland sea, which, by
some convulsion of nature, broke through the Coast
Range of mountains, in the centre of the state, by
wearing a channel into the ocean about a mile and
a third wide. This outbreak is the Golden Gate."
Out of this great valley there were little bays and
coves between the spurs of the Coast Range. These
are now beautiful little valleys, about fifty in num-
ber, and from five to a hundred miles long. Among
the most beautiful of these-and upon more beau-
tiful the sun never shone-are the Napa, the
Sanoma, the Russian, and the Santa Clara valleys.
As you stand on the mountains, and look down into
14 THE PACIFIC EQUATORIAL CURRENT.
these valleys, they look like lakes turned into
land. Now, leave the land a moment, and look at
Near the equator, in the Pacific as well as the
Atlantic, starts a stream or a river in the ocean. It
runs along up the coast of China till it reaches
Behring Strait. Into this strait it rushes, meets and
melts the icebergs, so that there are no icebergs
in the Pacific. In doing this it gets immensely
chilled, and turns down towards our coast. It
strikes the Aleutian Islands, and a part is deflected
and makes towards the Sandwich Islands, carrying
cool waters to make temperate what would other-
wise be uninhabitable. A part of this now cold
river comes down along the coasts of Oregon and
California-the cold water, of course, down on the
bottom, wherever the water is blue.
As the waters come near the shores they become
shallow and green, and the cold waters are forced
up to the surface; these chill the vapours hanging
in the air, condense them, and in the night create a
heavy fog, which hangs along the whole coast of
California. Now, why does not this sea-fog roll
over all the land and cover it ? I reply, it never
rises over one thousand feet high; and as the Coast
ITS INFLUENCE ON THE CLIMATE.
Range of mountains is higher than this, they shut
it out. But at the Golden Gate, where it has a
chance, it does pour in every day, and envelops the
city of San Francisco from about four o'clock in the
afternoon till about nine in the morning. There is
another reason why the fog does not cover the land.
The great valley of which I have spoken is the great
laboratory of the state. There the sun pours down
his strength, and the heated, rarefied air ascends,
and drinks up all the vapour: which the ocean
can send inward long before it can become a cloud.
Owing to the position and the rotation of the earth,
the winds from the Pacific blow from the west one
half of the year towards the east, and the other way
the other half. The heat of the Sacramento and
San Joaquin valley, often 1100 to 120, would be
intolerable, were it not for these unseen mists that
flow over them from the ocean. These meet the
cool streams of air which every night pour over the
snowy Nevadas, and they drop down, not in rains
or dews, but in coolness; so that the nights through
the state are always cool, requiring the same
amount of bed-clothing in summer and in winter,
Man and beast are refreshed by the cool night.
The atmosphere is so dry during the day that
A SALUBRIOUS REGION.
the moisture which would otherwise be perspiration
on the body is at once dried up, and both man and
beast can endure more and do more work than in
any other climate I ever knew.
I saw a team which had been driven over lofty
mountains a distance of twelve miles three times,
or thirty-six miles, in a single day, and not appar-
ently especially fatigued; and I saw a man (Foss,
near the Geysers) who drove a stage one hundred
and sixty miles in a single day-with relays of
horses, of course-one summer. The horses have a
speed and an endurance that amaze a stranger.
You would think these rich, deep-soiled, fertile
valleys would abound in fevers. Nothing of the
kind. I doubt whether on the face of the globe
there is a healthier region. On inquiry as to the
healthiness of a particular village, they said it was
so healthy that when they had finished laying out
their new cemetery they had to kill a man to put
In the summer these valleys are so turned up to
the sun that everything matures and ripens quickly
and early. The crops are gathered in about the
latter part of May. But the gentle winds that
climb over the Coast Range of mountains go over
the valley, and fan the foot-hills of the Sierra
Nevada. From May to November there is no
rain or dew in California. The wheat, the barley,
and everything has ripened. The grass has dried
up, all seeded, and still making rich pasture for the
cattle,-and there is no part of the year when the
flocks fatten so fast as when they eat what we
should call the dried-up grass in the fields, good for
nothing here, but full of seed and nourishment
there,-and the ground on the surface parches, and
cracks, and wrinkles, and rests till the autumn rains.
The beautiful green of field and meadow, of land-
scape, hill, and dale, which makes England so lovely,
is all gone. You must wait till next winter, when
we are covered with snow, to see their creation all
fresh and green. February is their month of
beauty and of glory, as June is ours.
I have spoken of the great ranges of mountains.
At the base of these are smaller mountains, called
foot-hills, in all shapes and of all sizes, mingled and
joined together by spurs, very much as the bars of
pig-iron are in the furnace. As you stand on one
of these, you see "gulches" scooped out on all sides,
and the spurs running in every direction. It is
easy to see that from these gulches came the soil
THE GOLDEN GATE.
which has been washed down and made the valleys
which everywhere push up among the foot-hills
and spurs. You cannot climb a mountain by a
railroad, as you would one of our mountains, by
gradually going up its side; for you would find
that you would have to go round one spur and
gulch, and far in round another, only to meet, per-
haps, a dozen more, jutting out or drawing in, in all
directions. In one instance I noticed the Central
Pacific Railroad went six miles to get round a
gulch, in order to gain one mile.
As there are no clouds, so, of course, there is no
thunder in California,-at least none above ground.
In the midst of this great valley or land-lake, the
Bay of San Francisco points directly east as it passes
through the Golden Gate, and then turns south round
the peninsula at the end of which the city is built,
thus making a harbour of sixty-five miles in extent,
and deep enough to receive all the ships of the
It was a long study before I could make out
why the narrow gorge from the bay to the ocean
was called the Golden Gate." It had nothing to
do with the gold of the land, for the name was
given before the discovery of gold. The theory I
adopt is this: as you approach the coast from the
ocean the entrance seems to open like a gate; and
as you look in through the fog you see the yellow
sunlight resting upon this fog, bright and golden,
just about the narrowest part of the channel. Here
the fort stands; and hence the name Golden Gate."
It often looks like a pillar of fire hanging over
I have said that the summer is so long and dry
that the wheat, the finest the world ever saw, is
left in sacks in the fields for weeks. As a fact, it
becomes like kiln-dried wheat, and the only diffi-
culty with it is that it is too dry to grind. The
English millers carry it to England, and mix it
with their damp wheat, and it grinds admirably.
In California they damp it, either by passing it
through a kind of screw, like the perpetual screw
of a propeller, letting in a little stream of water
as the wheat enters the screw, or they let a
small stream into the hopper when grinding.
If you ask how big the stream should be, the
answer is, that must be decided by the judgment of
the miller. But as every pound of water he uses
adds just so much weight to the flour, it is to be
hoped his judgment and conscience will both be good.
As to the natural scenery of California, it is so
peculiar that art injures it. If you want to see it
in its beauty, look at it before man touches it. In
no spot in the state can you stand without seeing
mountains, near or remote, and very few where
you cannot see the long, snow-capped ridge of the
Now, let us once more take our stand on the
Nevadas and look around. To the east lie the
great alkali deserts, once the bottom of a great
inland salt sea, but at some remote period heaved
up by volcanoes with this range of mountains. As
you look north or south you see the ridge and the
jagged peaks along which a hundred volcanoes
once blazed. Here are twenty thousand square
miles evidently of volcanic origin. These mountains
bear up great forests, without which the railroad
could never have been built. East of this ridge
lies Silver Belt, beginning far up, perhaps in Alaska,
and running down into Mexico and South America.
It is as much as three hundred miles wide certainly
at times. Now let the eye turn west. You see a
narrow strip under the brow of the Sierra, of not
much account. Then comes a strip, or belt, twenty
miles wide, of most magnificent pine forests. Here,
in this belt, stand the sugar-pines, often full three
hundred feet high, and the Sequoia gigantea, or
" Big Trees," still loftier. No finer pine timber than
that which grows on this belt need be desired.
Then comes a belt about forty miles wide, beginning
far north of Oregon, even in British Columbia,
which may be denominated the auriferous or golden
belt. It has gold under the soil, and the most
wonderful fruit-bearing power above the soil. Here
the fig yields her three crops a year; here the pome-
granate and the almond, the nectarine, the peach,
the cherry, the apple, the pear, and, above all, the
grape, have their home, and grow with a rapidity
and bear with a profusion that are almost beyond
belief. I do not believe a more wonderful belt of
the same extent can be found on the face of the
globe. I shall of necessity have to touch upon
this topic again when I come to speak of mining.
As you pass through these belts, you see the
mountains and hills dotted and spotted with pines,
with cattle-paths on their sides, just far enough
apart to let these natural engineers crop every
handful of wild oats; or if you look into the valley,
the bright-green live-oaks stand just near enough
to look like the park of a very tasteful gentleman.
On these hills grows that peculiar bush, the man-
zanita (or little apple), whose fruit the Indians have
for generations gathered, to give a kind of zest to
their poor acorns. The winds that come over the
mountains, leaving the fogs behind them, fan and
Then come the great valley of the Sacramento
(you are moving westward, remember), and the
little valleys, and the Coast Range of mountains.
Pass over them, and you find the ocean kissing
their base, save now and then a little clipping out
of the mountain to create a little valley. On that
western side of the mountains, amid the fogs, grows
that remarkable tree the "redwood," often yielding
boards six feet wide. It is a species of cedar, and
is more used in building houses than all other
woods put together. Still south is the other half,
or Lower California,-Los Angeles (the Land of
the Angels),-where are the fertility, the beauty,
the fruits of the tropics; where enterprise will find
a thousand sources of wealth; where wealth may
sleep in the lap of beauty,-a vast region hardly
yet taken into account, but which in resources is
inferior to no part of the state.
Still beyond are quite a number of islands, some
covered with birds, from which millions of eggs
have been brought to the city; others inhabited by
the sea-lion, a species of seal, weighing, when grown,
from two thousand to five thousand pounds. On
the rocks near the shore we saw perhaps a hundred
of these awkward tawny creatures, very pugnacious,
very arbitrary, very noisy, and making a great
splashing when they dived. On some of the islands
thousands of sheep are kept, yielding the choicestwool.
One man has a flock of two hundred thousand.
There is one great fact, not hitherto noticed,
and which is yet to have a great influence on Cali-
fornia, and that is the want, the need, and the use
of water. During the long dry summer, without
water, the gardens, the flowers, and all vegetation
die. With water, you have a fertility, a beauty,
and an abundance hardly to be conceived. Hence
a rancho, with a stream of water running through
it, is of great value; hence the windmills every-
where, near almost every house, drawing up water
for the family, for the cattle, and for the garden.
It should be noted, however, that all vegetables
and trees have a long taproot, which pierces the
soil deep to find moisture, and also that it is the
top of the soil that is so dry. But, after all,
irrigation must and will come into use more and
Now, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Moun-
tains God has provided for all this. There are
over two hundred lakes and ponds, natural re-
servoirs, where the waters are stored up-enough
to turn a vast territory into a garden fair as Eden.
These waters have hitherto been used almost solely
in mining; but in time they will be led, in little
channels, far and wide, and be a source of wealth
far greater than what the mines yield. The power
of water as a fertilizer is beyond anything that we,
in this land of clouds and showers, have ever wit-
nessed. For thousands of years this power has
made Egypt the garden of the world. But in these
reservoirs there sleeps a power which will one day
drive mills and factories, and then spread over the
soil, and create plenty and beauty of which this
generation little dreams.
The high mountains of California probably re-
ceive the whole of their moisture in the form of
snow, which accumulates in immense masses on the
mountain slopes and in the cautions. Sixty feet of
it has thus been known to fall in a single season
at Donner Lake. It is the gradual melting of the
great bulk of this frozen moisture-for it is only
the higher summits of the Sierra that preserve their
snow-cap intact all the year-which fills these reser-
voirs from which the miner draws his indispensable
supplies of water. Were the moisture to fall on
those mountains in the form of rain, it would
quickly disappear in destructive floods; and thus it
is not too much to say that without its mountain
snows this veritable garden of Eden would soon
become a perfect desert.
In looking at the scenery of California we must
not forget the cautions. When a gorge is so deep
and so steep that you cannot climb up the mountain
on either side, it is called a cation. If you can
climb up on one side, and not the other, the impass-
able side is called a bluff. If you can climb up
both sides, it is called a gorge. Sometimes the
English word "valley" has superseded that of cation.
Thus the wonderful Yosemite cation bears the name
Before the railroad was opened, the course of the
emigrants was over the arid deserts for months;
and then, when over the Nevada heights, through
some one or more of these cautions. Death's Valley,
whose bottom is nothing but soft alkali mingled
with sulphur,-whose bottom is also one hundred
and fifty feet below the level of the sea, and its
length from forty to one hundred miles-is one
of these canons. It received its name from the
fact that no living thing is to be found in it; and
also because, a few years since, a party of emigrants
got into it, and from which not a man or a beast
ever came out. Their waggons and kettles were
found strewn along the sides of the cafion, as were
also their bones where they fell in their vain en-
deavours to get out.
The highest pass through which the emigrant
went is ten thousand seven hundred and sixty-five
feet above the ocean; and there are several small
lakes also, not less than seven thousand feet above
the ocean. Such is Lake Mono, fourteen miles long
and nine miles wide, slumbering among the tokens
of volcanoes, and inhabited only by myriads of the
most noisome flies.
Lake Tahoe, fifteen miles from the railroad, is
already becoming a favourite resort of the Cali-
fornians in the summer. It is twenty-three miles
long, fifteen wide, six thousand two hundred and
eighteen feet above the sea, walled in by mountains
from one to four thousand feet, and in places the
lake is sixteen hundred feet deep. Its waters are
pure as crystal, and it is a place of unsurpassed
As the traveller emerges from the tunnel on the
Sierra Nevada, looking from the cars, in their
ascent eastward, on the left hand, he will see a
charming little lake, fifteen hundred feet or more
below him, calm, blue, and beautiful. It is about five
miles long and one mile wide. It is "Donner Lake."
And who has not heard of Donner Lake ? It lies
sunk in a narrow caion, which was probably cut
through the granite by an ancient glacier.
The view from the abrupt and rugged peaks at
the west end of the lake is one of stern grandeur.
At the base of the cliffs lies the lake, in form an
irregular oval, set in a frame of sloping forests of
spear-headed pines. No scene could be more sug-
gestive of solitude and unruffled repose. When the
sun does not flash from its placid face, or when the
mists of the morning do not hang over it like a
silver canopy, its steel-gray or dark lead colour is
apt to call up dismal associations. Perhaps this is
due to the terrible incident whence the lake derived
A little over twenty years since, an emigrant train
of fifty men and thirty women and children en-
camped on the borders of this lake, late in the
season, under the leadership of a Captain Donner.
A heavy snow, of twenty feet in depth, shut them
in the cation, and prevented their advance or their
retreat. Their cattle died, and they ate them to the
very last string of their skins. Then famine came
upon them, and hunger and starvation stared them in
the face-nay, pressed upon them with maddening
power. They would kindle their night-fires in their
several little huts, crouch around them, creep towards
each other, and gaze into each other's eyes with a
maddened glare, like that of starving wild beasts.
The horrible truth cannot be concealed that in their
utter despair the survivors did not scruple to resort
to the only food that lay, and that lay too tempt-
ingly, within their reach. Let us pass over the
revolting details, and hasten to tell how at length
the living were rescued from a fate infinitely more
dreadful than that of those who had died.
There lived in the Napa Valley, not far from San
Francisco, an old hunter, by the name of Blount.
He dreamed that there was such a party, suffering
and dying in the mountains. So deeply was he im-
pressed with the dream that, in the morning, he went
A CLERGYMAN'S EXPERIENCE.
twenty-three miles to see another old hunter. In
describing his dream, he drew a picture of the cation
so plain that the hunter recognized it as the caiion
of Donner Lake. Immediately they set out, organ-
ized a party, waded through the deep snows, found
the Donner party, and ultimately thirty out of the
eighty were rescued, though many of them were
frost-bitten and crippled for life. I have seen one
who was in that terrible company.
Among the foot-hills of the Nevadas I found a
minister labouring among the scattered sheep, who
was eleven months in getting over from Illinois.
Having lost their cattle, and all the rest of the party
having left them, he and his wife, and a little child
four years old, actually walked five hundred miles
before they came to a human habitation. They are
all now living.
I have attempted, thus far, to help you to look
over the landscape, and see California as God made
it. I have thought that this introduction was neces-
sary, in order to show you, in filling up the picture,
where and how everything has its place. In the
vast and lofty mountains, in their round, beautiful
foot-hills, in the bewitching valleys that sleep in
beauty through the country, in the peculiarity of
32 A MOMENTOUS FUTURE.
climates, in the gorgeous drapery of trees and
flowers, in the sleeping gold and silver yet unfound,
in the fertility of soil and the great wealth yet to
come from it, in its relations to the Orient-not yet
touched upon-I see a future for this part of
America great in results, wide in their reach, fearful
for good or for evil to the human family, but all
under the orderings of a God infinite in wisdom.
MINES, MINING, AND THEIR EFFECTS ON THE WORLD.
EFORE the Mexican war, California was
an unknown land -terra incognita.
The various tribes of filthy Indians
occupied, but neither improved nor enjoyed, her
beautiful valleys; the wild horse and cattle, the
elk, the deer, and the bear, roamed unmolested.
The mountain quail called to his mate, and the val-
ley quail heard no gun; the mourning dove cooed
in his loneliness, and the rattlesnake basked in the
sun without fear. The forests stood as if listening
to coming footsteps, and beauty and plenty seemed
to be waiting for the tread of destiny. The indo-
lent Mexican had his rancho of almost unlimited
extent, his cattle, which he killed only for their
skins, and a few beans for his soup.
The missions established by the monks had par-
tially tamed a few of the savages. These missions
were strong in cattle, in the labour of the Indians,
and in the rude abundance of a very rude state of
society. But a stronger race was on its way, whose
indomitable energy was to sweep off imbecility and
drive out everything that could not compete with
it. After Mexico became independent of Spain, she
plundered these missions, took their property, and
destroyed them for ever; and, for evil or for good,
Mexico alone is answerable for the wreck of all the
Catholic missions in California.
While the Spaniards held possession of the country,
wanderers on the ocean, weary of wandering, fur-
traders, trappers, and adventurers, gradually came
in; and though the Mexicans made repeated attempts
to drive and keep them out, they might as well
have attempted to drive away bees from the honey
which they could not cover up.
Captain Sutter had a large Spanish grant on the
Sacramento River, and there he planted himself,
built a fort, and called it New Helvetia. The fruit
was ripening, and was ready to fall into the hands
of those who were ready to catch it. In 1845,
Congress declared (Mexico owing the United States
some millions of dollars, which she could neither pay
nor repudiate) Texas to be annexed to the Union.
The war which followed clinched the nail, and the
American flag was planted in California. But not
until terrible battles had been fought, and vast
wisdom and courage had been shown by John C.
Fremont and Commodore Stockton, did the land
have rest. No novel could be more thrilling than
the history of the fearful struggles to decide the
question who should own California.
In 1845, it was estimated that the population of
California was eight thousand whites, perhaps ten
thousand domesticated Indians, and from one to
three hundred thousand wild Indians. In 1847, the
emigrating waggons over the mountains had.poured
in a great stream, while confidence in the safety
which the American flag gave had drawn people
from all nations, till the population had increased
to twelve or fifteen thousand in the whole state.
But now an event was to take place which, beyond
all others unparalleled, was suddenly to change the
face of a country, electrify the world, and jerk for-
ward the progress of civilization at the rate of a
century in a few years.
In the winter of 1847-8, Sutter was building a
saw-mill on the south branch of the American
River, a branch of the Sacramento. Mr. James W.
DISCOVERY OF GOLD.
Marshall, the contractor to build the mill, one day
let water into the tail-race in order to deepen the
channel. The water carried sand and mud, which
it soon deposited. On looking down, Marshall dis-
covered something bright among the sand. At
once, on feeling of its weight, he was convinced
that it was gold. Eager with excitement, he
hastened to tell Sutter. On seeing his excitement,
and hearing his story, Sutter thought he had gone
mad, and kept his eye on his loaded rifle. Marshall
tossed an ounce of gold on the table, and they were
equally excited: they hastened to the spot, vowing
secrecy. But as they continued to search under an
excitement they could not conceal, a Mormon soldier
watched them, and soon possessed the secret. He
told his companions, who had been with him in the
Mexican war; and now the cat was fairly out of the
bag. Rumours flew in every direction,-exagger-
ated, of course. Gold-gold was to be had for the
picking up, on the "Rio de los Americanos." The
population rushed in a swarm. In a few days
more than twelve hundred people were at the saw-
mill, digging with shovels, spades, knives, sticks,
wooden bowls, and everything else. Infants were
turned out of cradles, that the cradles might be
A UNIVERSAL RUSH.
used for washing gold. The husband left his wife;
American, Spaniard, and all rushed, helter-skelter,
to the diggings. Towns were depopulated, ships
left sailorless,-everything thrown away; all feeling
sure, if they could only reach the diggings, they
would return millionaires. In the meantime,
other streams and gulches were found to contain
gold. It seemed as if the whole Nevadas might be
only a thin crust over mountains of gold. A few
ships got away, and letters and gold-dust went with
them: the excitement widened its circle. On
rushed the nearest people, the Mexicans; then all
the nooks and corners of California poured out their
population. Oregon on the north, the Sandwich
Islands on the west, Peru and Chili on the south,
poured in their eager diggers. Then China felt the
thrill, and her people flocked over. Australia sent
her convicts; and adventurers from all parts of the
earth, having nothing to lose, flew to California.
The Mexican war had just been closed, and thousands
of young men from the soldiery went to the land of
gold. The east caught the fever, and emigrant
waggons uncounted hastened over the deserts,
leaving the bones of men and of animals to bleach
along their path.
AT THE DIGGINGS.
On-on to the land of gold! Ho! for California!
Ships went tossing round Cape Horn full of young
men. England, Germany, France, and Italy sent
multitudes. At once the east was aroused, and sent
fifty thousand a year, for five successive years,
and invested ninety-two million dollars before any
return was made. In a time incredibly short there
were at least a quarter of a million of the wildest,
bravest, most daring, and most intelligent young
men digging gold. There was no female society,
there were no homes to soften or restrain, no laws,
and no magistrates. From the Lakes of the north
to the Gulf of Mexico, from the lumber-mills of
Maine to the settler on the Indian territories, the
whole land was moved.
It was a far-off land, where there were neither
houses, nor clothing, nor food. As a rare luxury, a
saloon, composed of cloth only, could now and then
hang out the sign, Potatoes this day;" and it was
crowded. Apples sold at five dollars apiece in gold.
Everybody had a flush of gold. Fortunes were
made in a day, and lost in gambling at night. It
was mean not to spend all as it came. Every man
was loaded with gold, revolvers, and bowie-knives.
Nothing was valued; nothing was sacred. It will
be readily seen how it was that this mining population
could be so easily excited by rumours of new and
rich diggings. Tell them that at such diggings every
man can obtain, at the lowest mark, five hundred
dollars a day, and all would rush thither.
At one time gold was discovered up near Oregon,
in the black sand on the sea-shore. Letters came
saying that every pound of sand would yield from
three to ten dollars. One gentleman, who had been
sent to view it, wrote that their claim would yield
them forty-three million each In two days eight
vessels were advertised from San Francisco to the
Gold Bluffs. But the excitement died at once when
thousands had been disappointed.
At one time, led by false reports, a great current
set down to Peru-to find nothing. At another
time the report declared that wonderful deposits had
been found on Kern River, and at once five thousand
were on the spot, and five thousand more were ready
to follow. It lasted a few weeks-but long enough
to ruin hundreds.
Who has not heard of the Fraser River excite-
ment ? This river was more than a thousand miles
away, up in British Columbia. No matter. The
miners were eager for further excitement. In
THE FRASER RIVER EXCITEMENT.
March the account of the mines was published: by
the 20th of April five hundred were on their way,
two thousand in May,.nine thousand five hundred
in June; and in three months from the first notice,
eighteen thousand had arrived, by the aid of nine
steamers and twenty sailing vessels. Every sixth
voter in the state had gone. Real estate fell from
twenty-five to seventy-five per cent. Lots that
had been sold for fifteen hundred dollars could be
bought for one hundred. After one steamer had
been wrecked, and millions of money lost, the
miners, too late, found nothing worth staying for,
and so, in the course of the season, nearly all
found their way back to "God's land," as they
called it. In 1860 the mania for silver mines
began. On one mine,-the Washoe,-buying rights
with no titles, sending out men who knew noth-
ing about the business, jumping to conclusions by
seeing a small sample of ore, hearing great stories
of the richness of the mine, led the population
to be almost crazy. Thirty million dollars were
sunk and lost in this one excitement. Thousands
of families were reduced to poverty; but as a few
were made rich, and the city which furnished the
supplies was, on the whole, a gainer, I do not see
why the same experiment may not be repeated again
In mining, the first requisite and essential, after
finding evidences of gold, is water-water to wash
out the soil and sand, leaving the gold behind.
When they first began, they carried the earth on
their backs, or on pack-horses, two or three miles to
the nearest water.
You are a miner, we will suppose, of the poorest
and simplest working power. In that case, you
have a pan in which you shovel the earth, and then
wash it till the soil is out and the gold left on the
bottom. But the gold, for the most part, is very
fine. It is mere dust. Then you put quicksilver
in the bottom of your pan; that attracts the gold,
and forms what is called an amalgam. If you have
got beyond the simple pan, you have the rocker-
a larger vessel, round on the bottom, and long, like
a hollow log split lengthwise; this you put under
running water, and while one shovels in the earth,
you rock and wash it. Or you make a trough,
with little slats nailed across the bottom inside.
Here, above the slats, you put your quicksilver, and
let in a stream of running water, while you shovel
in the earth. All day long you do this, and at night
gather out your amalgam. Now, the gold is scat-
tered through all the gulches of the foot-hills, and
the necessity of running water has created water
companies, who bring it along on the sides of the
mountains in ditches, and across ravines in troughs
held up on trestle-work. Sometimes this water is
brought one hundred and forty miles, and the right
to use it is sold to the miner by the square inch.
A more productive way is what is called the hydraulic
method. This is now the most expensive, and for
the placer mining the most profitable.
Suppose you are to get the gold out of a hill or
flat where the soil is sixteen or twenty feet deep
before you come to the bed-rock which underlies all
the hills. You bring water from any distance, how-
ever great, and let it fall, say fifty feet, through a
hose six inches in diameter. This hose must be en-
cased in iron rings,-rings, so that you can bend it,
-and very near each other, to prevent its bursting.
Or, better still, in place of the hose you have iron
pipes, through which the water rushes, and which is
safer than the hose, which is apt to buck," as they
call it,-that is, twitch and jerk as would a live
buck if held by the hind leg. Let a stream from
your pipe, as big as your wrist, play upon the bank,
and it washes it down with amazing rapidity. Being
dissolved, it flows through the long trough, where
the quicksilver lies in wait to court and embrace
and retain it. The more soil you can thoroughly
dissolve, the more gold you get. After all, with
your utmost skill, you lose at least thirty-three per
cent. of all the gold you move in the soil.
At some remote period, when all the rock under
the soil was molten, the gold seems to have been
melted and mingled with the quartz. Some of this
quartz is very hard, some very soft. From the soft
or "rotten quartz," as it is called, this detached
gold comes sometimes in nuggets worth from twenty
dollars to fifteen hundred, but more generally in
very fine particles. It is the fine dust that escapes
in the water running through the trough, and is
lost. I have seen nuggets worth from fifty to one
hundred dollars each. These pieces of gold are
found in the sands and beds of ancient rivers, and
are as plainly washed and rounded by the action of
running water for ages as were the five smooth
stones which David took out of the brook for his
Follow up one of these beds of an ancient river,
and very likely you will find a mountain heaved up
ASPECT OF ABANDONED DIGGINGS.
and thrown directly upon it. Then, up and over
that mountain, very likely, you will find the river-
bed running at right angles with its old channel.
Although it seems as if every gulch and ravine
had been explored, yet doubtless a multitude of un-
known deposits remain yet to be found. As thirty-
three per cent. of all the washings is lost, the Chinese,
indefatigable gleaners, come after all other miners
have left, and make it a profitable business to gather
Nothing can be more dreary than a territory
where the soil has been washed out as low as the
water will run off. Ten thousand rocks of all shapes,
and forms, and sizes are left; acres and acres, and
even miles, of the skeletons of beauty, with the flesh
all gone, and nothing but hideousness remaining.
It is pleasant, however, to observe how nature is
slowly but surely healing the wounds inflicted by
man; how she is re-creating soil, renewing vegetation,
and covering the ugly scars of twenty years with a
fresh mantle of verdure and bloom. Extensive
groves of young pines and cedars are flourishing on
the sites of the old forests, along the course of water-
ditches, and even in the chasms of decaying granite
and piled-up boulders left by the miners. Valleys
A PLEASANT CHANGE.
once covered with mining litter are gradually coating
over with grass. and grain, and in some instances
have been converted into garden spots. Indeed,
many of the old mining camps are now more noted
and valuable for their orchards and vineyards than
for their gold product. Coloma, where gold was
first discovered in 1848, and where five thousand
men dug for it at once, is now a sleepy little village
of horticulturists and vintners, embosomed in sloping
hill-side vineyards, its "saloons" abandoned to the
rats, and its jail converted into a wine-cellar. On
the very verge of deep hydraulic diggings cling
thrifty orchards. Ditches cut at great expense to
bring water to the diggings now serve to irrigate
gardens, orchards, and vineyards. Even the rapidly
passing railway traveller catches suggestive glimpses
of all these changes betokening the new era of per-
manent settlement and culture which is coming to
the rude places of old.
I have heard it asserted that the placer mines are
about exhausted, and that hereafter none but the
rich companies who have great mills to crush the
quartz rock can gain a living. I do not believe
this is true. While capital and skill are rewarded
much faster in quartz-mining, I have no doubt that
it will take generations, if not a thousand years,
before the gold is so washed out of the soil of Cali-
fornia that mining will not be a paying business.
In the quartz mines, a very huge water-wheel, made
to turn by the smallest amount of water possible,
pumps the water from the mine as fast as it accumu-
lates; the ore is then dug or blasted out, broken
into pieces about as large as the fist, then put into
an iron mortar, and stamped with iron pestles till it
is so reduced to powder that water will wash it out
in the trough, where the quicksilver lies in wait to
catch the gold. This amalgam, quicksilver and gold,
is next put into a covered retort of iron, with a pipe
allowing the fumes of the quicksilver to escape-
which pipe is cooled by passing through cold water
till the quicksilver fumes are condensed, and it drops
down, the pure metal it was, leaving the gold in the
retort. In this process about twenty-five per cent.
of the quicksilver is lost. There are about four
hundred and fifty quartz mills already in operation
in the state, and the number is constantly increasing.
In the placer mines the poorest man may go to work,
only paying for the use of water. In the quartz-
mining vast capital can and must be employed.
When the little claims on mining land have been
THE ALMADEN QUICKSILVER MINES.
staked out, the spirit of speculation comes in to buy
and sell these claims. I have seen many houses
bought for the sake of the soil that might be dug
out under them. The useless house is left standing
As I have mentioned quicksilver, this will be the
proper place to lead you to its source. Leaving San
Francisco, and going south in the Santa Clara Valley
nearly seventy miles, you come to the Almaden
Mines, the largest quicksilver mines in the world.
It is a wild, weird-looking place. Up the round
hills, three miles from the gorge, are the mines, nine
hundred and forty feet in perpendicular height.
The history of these mines is curious. In 1845
a Mexican officer met a tribe of Indians with their
faces painted with vermilion, which they had ob-
tained from the cinnabar or quicksilver ore. By
bribery he induced the Indians to show him the
place. The mines are on a spur of the Coast Range
of mountains. The Indians had dug fifty or sixty feet
into the mountain, when first discovered by Captain
Castellero, with their hard-wood sticks. Probably
they had known the mines for many generations.
A quantity of skeletons were found in a passage,
where life had undoubtedly been lost by the sinking
of the earth. Up the mountain, and near the mouth
of the mines, are the cabins of the miners, all Mexi
cans. For a time after the discovery it was sup-
posed the ore contained gold, or at least silver; but
a gentleman who procured a retort, and applied fire
to the bottom, soon found by the pernicious effects of
the fumes on his system that he had caught a tiger.
A company was organized, but up'to 1850 they
had expended three hundred and eighty-seven thou-
sand eight hundred dollars over all receipts. It was
then that a blacksmith named Baker introduced a
new process of separating the metal from the hard
stone in which it is embedded.
Suppose you want to get the quicksilver out of
your ore. You will build a brick building two
hundred feet long, the rooms of which are divided
by thick walls, each room eighteen feet high and
fifteen wide, and thirteen in number. In the first
room you pile in your ore, fifty little car loads, of
three hundred pounds each, or six and a half tons.
Outside of the ore you have your furnace, with
holes, many in number, through which the flames
are drawn, so as to heat every pound of ore. The
fumes, which are quicksilver, rise to the top of the
room. There they find an opening of about a foot,
PROCESS OF SEPARATION.
the whole length of the partition. They then drop
down into the second room, to find an opening at
the bottom of the next wall. Through this they
rush alternately, going over one wall and under the
next, through all the thirteen compartments. By
this time the fumes are cool, and drop on the bottom
of the room, out of which, on the floor, a little in-
clined to one side, the metal rolls, through holes,
into a trough, which conveys it into a great iron
kettle, holding probably a ton. Out of this it is
dipped into strong iron flasks, containing seventy-six
and a half pounds each, and the flasks weighing
thirty-six pounds each. Each flask must have an
iron cap or stopper strongly screwed on; and the
flask must not be full, else, on exposure to the sun
or heat, the quicksilver will ooze through the iron.
It is now ready for market, and you send it all
over the world. Much of it goes to China, and
comes out again in vermilion paint. While you
have this furnace and set of chambers cooling off,
which it has taken you ninety hours, without ceas-
ing, to burn, you must have a second set of chambers
in the process of burning. The chimneys must be
two hundred feet high. After all, the fumes will
be so penetrating and pervading that your men
INCOME AND EXPENDITURE.
often sicken, and must stop, and new men take
their places. With four hundred men, at three
dollars each a day, to mine and run the ore down
to the valley on a little railway, and to burn and
bottle, you make two and a half million pounds of
quicksilver, at forty cents a pound wholesale. This
gives you an income of one million dollars annually.
The ore contains from fourteen to forty per cent. of
metal Your monthly payments are forty thousand
dollars. As the ore bed is two miles wide, you
have no fear of exhaustion. In the dark chambers
of the mines, running in all directions like the streets
of a city, you want sixty pounds of candles daily
for your workmen; that is, for twenty-four hours,
for so you keep the work going, and it is always
night there. A pair of trousers, a felt hat or cap,
and leather sandals tied about the ankles, consti-
tute the clothing of your miners. Each man makes
about thirty trips a day down into the deep chambers
of the mines, bringing up about two hundred pounds
of ore on his shoulders, held there by a strap over
the forehead, whilst his hands grasp the ladders
that he must climb or descend, in order to get his
ore to the little cars that go rattling down to the
THE SILVER BELT.
From this greatest of quicksilver mines comes the
metal that enables the miners to gather the silver
and gold all through California and Nevada. There
are several other quicksilver mines in California,
the united produce of which was, previous to 1868,
six hundred thousand flasks of seventy-six and a
half pounds each, and in the aggregate worth over
eighteen million dollars at wholesale.
Silver-mining is of more recent date in these
parts than gold-mining. The silver belt lies on the
east side of the Nevadas, commencing probably up
in Alaska, and running south, down through Mexico,
and into South America. This belt is about three
hundred miles wide, and may be two thousand, and
even more, in length. It is quarried, broken, and
crushed very much as the gold quartz. Like all the
precious metals, it is very uncertain. You may
have a claim to-day that is rich and promises well,
and you could sell it for a hundred thousand dollars;
but to-morrow the rock may stop, or you lose the
lode. You may find it again after you have exca-
vated your mine one hundred or three hundred feet
and you may never find it. In seeking for it you
may expend all you have in the world, and never
find it, and you are a poor man. You rush to find
another claim, but you may try twenty and not find
silver. So you buy claims, and probably not one in
hundreds is of any possible worth. Indeed, those
who understand the thing-and there is scarcely a
man in California who does not understand it by
bitter experience, first or last-say that it is like
a lottery where there is one prize to about five
As to the amount of precious metals that have
already been dug out of the soil of California, it is
difficult to form an estimate on which you can rely.
As near as I can judge, I should put the gold at
one thousand million dollars. This, if all brought
together, would weigh just about two hundred
tons. Silver-mining is now in its infancy, but the
yield is enormous. You go into the express office
on the arrival of the daily steamer, and you are
amazed at the enormous amount of huge silver bars
that have just come in,-sometimes three tons of
these in a single day! These are almost all sent
off in the bars to China and other parts of the
The amount yet to be obtained will be, I have
no doubt, prodigious; and yet I would advise every
one to let mines alone, unless he is thoroughly
LIFE AT THE MINES.
acquainted with the business, unless he is on the
ground, and also, unless he can stay and watch it,
with a great capital to invest, and has a faith that
makes him willing to run great risks. The first
opening of the silver mines, and the haste with
which the Californians plunged into the excitement,
cost them thirty million dollars before they had
learned the business. Of course, disappointment,
and poverty, and suffering, wide and deep, were in
the path of such a sinking of property.
The effects of mining are most sad on the miners.
In their commencement they had to associate with
the greatest number of vagabonds, hardened villains,
and consummate rascals that were ever assembled
together. They had to associate with such away in
a new land, away from all the restraints of home
and of civilized life,-where they had no induce-
ments to save their money, where comforts and
luxuries were rare, and all combined to make them
esteem money as of no consequence beyond the pre-
sent hour, and hence they recklessly threw it away
in gambling and drinking. They were mean in
each other's eyes unless they spent all. Hence they,
as a class, are poor, and I fear will always be poor.
In the period of the greatest excitement it seemed
EFFECTS OF MINING.
foolish to value money when you had to pay three
dollars apiece for eggs; for poor sugar, adulterated
tea or coffee, four dollars a cup; for laudanum one
dollar a drop, and forty dollars for enough to put
you to sleep; ten dollars for a single pill, and from
thirty up to one hundred dollars if swallowed by
the advice of a physician. Even toothache was ex-
pensive, when the luxury of having the tooth taken
out cost you fifty dollars at least. Shovels were
fifteen dollars each, and a common tin pan eight
dollars. No man would help another for ten min-
utes under five dollars, and a day's work was valued
at thirty dollars. Is it any wonder that the poor
miner made little effort to save anything ?
They can have no homes, because, as they ex-
haust one mine, they must move off to another.
In Nevada the county town and place of holding
the courts may be here to-day, and next year this
town may be deserted, and the county town be a
hundred miles off. The county officers and lawyers
all follow. It is not strange, then, that the miner
has little inducement to lay aside any part of his
One of the greatest blessings that could be con-
ferred on the miners would be to have a kind of
missionary, in whom they could confide, to reside
among them, and induce them to put their money
in a savings-bank.
It is a curious indication of the state of society,
to look over the names which the miners give to
their towns and mining camps, some of which have
been abandoned, and some still occupied. I select a
few specimens of the names actually given to min-
ing towns,-namely, Yankee Jim, Red Dog, Loafer
Hill, Gouge Eye, Garotta, Last Chance, Ragtown,
Git-up-and-git, Puppytown, Nary Red, Paintpot
Hill, You Bet.
If I be asked, Has not all the gold cost, in time,
labour, and tools, all that it amounts to, dollar for
dollar ? I reply, Not unlikely; but suppose it has,
the time and toil of these tens of thousands have
been turned into permanent property. It is all in
existence; the world is just so much richer for the
mines. .I might say here that though the miners
are usually, or too often, awfully profane, yet I
received nothing but most respectful and kind treat-
ment in my intercourse with them.
Nor is it to be disguised that the natural result
of an unnatural state of society, the unnatural crea-
tion of property, is to make a people nervous, active,
56 EVIDENCES OF AN OVERRULING PROVIDENCE.
excited, wanting and determined to make money
fast, ready to speculate, to run risks, and expect to
fall and rise, and rise and fall. If they don't specu-
late in mines, they are tempted to do so in stocks,
in real estate, and in anything that gives them an
opportunity. At the same time, it naturally creates
a generation of men whose activity is a marvel,
whose impulses are all generous and noble, who
share their last dollar with distress, and who, rightly
directed, will give way to nothing short of the
noblest emotions of the human heart.
Now, then, let us look at the opening of these
great golden deposits in the light of an overruling
The quicksilver mines were discovered and
worked just in time to be ready for the opening of
the gold mines. Without this, the gathering of
gold and silver had been vastly retarded, and the
percentage secured very small.
Then came the news of the discovery of gold,
and what had been called the Golden Gate was now
really the entrance to untold treasures. The news
stirred the continent. The rush for the mines was
without a parallel. In self-defence, to protect their
own lives, they formed a provisional government;
and before the infant had time to pass through
childhood or youth, it stood up a full-grown man,
and knocked at the door of Congress for admission.
It had not had time to be a territory. California
came, the daughter of the sunset, with her garments
bright and heavy with gold, and asked to be
admitted into the sisterhood of states; and who
could refuse her? The first result, then, was to
create a new, strong, noble state, and to stretch the
dominion of the Republic from the Atlantic to the
Again: that railroad which has climbed and laid
the Rocky Mountains under its feet, that spans the
continent, that brings China and Asia to be door
neighbours, of whose influence I am yet to speak,
could never have been built, would never have been
built, had it not been for these mines. The people
had not been there, the energy and mind had not
been there, nor had the means with which to
achieve that stupendous work. That is not to be a
pleasure path for the summer tourist, nor a highway
for enterprise and commerce, merely, but a pioneer
for inaugurating a system of influences whose great-
ness we cannot yet begin to comprehend.
The discovery of gold, and the amount obtained,
EFFECTS ON SOCIETY.
have given a stimulus to commerce, to agriculture,
to every department of life. They have created
impulses that have advanced civilization, and shaken
up nations, and poured one country into another,
till we hardly know what will be next. The arts
have advanced, architecture has made new dis-
coveries in applying its skill, manufactures have
been called upon to supply more people, and with
better garments; and if a few have played the fool by
sudden riches, the great mass of the people have been
greatly benefited. If it be said that the silver and
the gold have made us extravagant and vain,-and
it undoubtedly is true,-yet things will come right
of themselves in a little time; and when silver dishes
in our-houses become as common as pewter were in
the days of our fathers, we probably shall be no
more vain of them than were our fathers and
mothers of their pewter. It is already vulgar to
consider these things as marks of gentility or
wealth. Since this outpouring of silver and gold
from these and other mines we are every way
improved; we have better clothing, better houses,
better carriages, better school-houses and churches,
and schools and colleges, better books and libraries,
better ships and steamboats, better goods manufac-
NEW ORDER OF THINGS.
tured, and everything better. Not only so, but
where one used to have these good things ten have
them now. The whole plane of human comforts
and enjoyments has been raised up many degrees.
The last twenty years have seen the world moved
ahead in Christian civilization further than in any
century before. Whether all this is for the good or
for the injury of this and coming generations, we
can't help it. The world has at once advanced a
full century; but I am not to sit down and mourn
over the departure of old ways and things, so long
as I feel confident that all this is under the divine
direction, and that the wires are all held in his hand,
and will vibrate to God's glory. There will be no
going back to old prices-and for the simple reason
there is so much more gold and silver in the world.
You cannot bury it in the mines again; and thus
money will be. more plentiful and everything else
dearer. There is not a child in the land, nor a
woman with her increasing wardrobe, who is not far
better dressed to-day than at any former period.
We may talk of the good old times, but all times
are good if we use our mercies feeling our account-
ability to God and to our brethren, the human
A NEW POWER FOR GOOD OR EVIL.
Can we not see now that the discovery of gold
on the Pacific slope evinces a strong evidence of an
overruling Providence ? There the precious metals
were created and laid away in the dark, till the
human family had migrated westward from their
starting-point in Mesopotamia, till they had a new
continent in their hands; till human civilization had
advanced, till there was not a circulating medium to
move its property and supply its wants; till the
world was ready to leap up for a new race in
human improvement. Then the gold on which the
savage foot had trodden for ages, which his taste
valued less than the fish-bone ornaments which he
strung around his neck, flashed out of its dark
hiding-place; and this continent has a new and an
awful power for good or for evil-a power with
which it may roll down woes on unborn generations,
or by which it may bless all the families of the
THE BIG TREES, THE CAVES, AND NATURAL BRIDGES
HERE is a natural tendency to disbelieve
the traveller who comes back and reports
things which he has seen that are very
unlike our own experience. We think he must
have been in a kind of mental fog, in which every-
thing looked large; or he must have been credulous
and easily imposed upon; or that he comes home
wishing to be a hero, and is therefore tempted to
exaggerate. It is also an acknowledgment of our
own ignorance and want of enlargement to own
that another has seen what we never saw, and can
tell us of things which we cannot deny, but which
we can doubt.
I am about to speak of things which, according
to what we have seen and known, cannot be true;
and all we can do, in such cases, is to shake the
head gravely, look wise, and feel that we know it
all. Now, I shall not, probably, state a fact which
has not been stated before, and which will not be
tested hereafter by many of my readers; and yet I
shall not be surprised if what I say shall be doubted.
But we have no time for moralizing. Who has not
heard of "the Big Trees" of California? In 1830
we heard of trees in that land whose height was
nearly three hundred feet. These, however, were
the common sugar pines of the region; they were
not the big trees since discovered, and which no
visitor to California should fail to see. Though the
name of "I. M. Wooster, 185 0," is carved on one of
these trees, it was not till 1852 that a hunter, by
the name of Dowd, having wounded a bear, which
he followed till he came to a group of these huge
trees, made them known. Forgetting his bear, he
gazed in astonishment, and finally returned to the
camp, where men were constructing water-works.
His tale was received with shouts of laughter and
derision. A few days afterwards, having, as he
said, wounded a huge grizzly bear, he induced the
whole company to go and help him to get the beast.
Thus he led them over hill and gorge till they stood
among "the big trees," and were convinced that if
BIG TREE" OF CALIFORNIA.
THE BIG TREES.
Dowd had deceived them in regard to the bear, he
had not in regard to the trees. If, then, "Woos-
ter," whoever he may be, first saw them, Dowd was
the first to make them known to the world. "The
big tree" is evidently a species of cedar, though it
has cones like a pine. It also seems to have leaves
like the cedar. Its wood is hard and brittle; the
heart is red and fine-grained, like the red cedar.
These trees have drawn pilgrims from every part of
the world, and their fame is all over the globe.
Noblemen and titled ladies have gazed on them with
There are several groves of them, such as the
Calaveras, the Mariposa, the South Grove, the Frezno
Grove, and probably many not yet discovered.
About eight miles south of the Calaveras is a
grove five miles long, and containing a great num-
ber. I have heard seven different groves mentioned
by name. In one grove over six hundred of these
trees have been counted. I visited two different
groves, in each finding the same huge, century-look-
ing minarets, towering up in unconscious grandeur,
and impressing upon the beholder the feeling that
they must be the relics of some former world.
Among all the groves (and only two or three can
yet be visited without great discomfort) that of
Calaveras is the most beautiful. It is about two
hundred miles east of San Francisco, and the last
fifteen miles is a ride over mountains, amid scenery
exceedingly beautiful. On reaching the spot, you
find a charming valley four thousand three hundred
and seventy feet above the level of the sea. You
rise over two thousand feet in the last fifteen miles.
The grove is a spot of unrivalled beauty, containing
a grand old forest of sugar pines, scattered among
which, on an area of fifty acres, you find one hun-
dred and three of these Sequoia gigantea of the
Taxodiumr family. But now you are disappointed;
the trees do not look as you expected; they are not
as large; their bark is unlike what you imagined;
they look as if somebody had stripped off their
clothing and left them in their night dress. You
wonder what the matter is, and you soon discover
that the whole forest is gigantic. The sugar pines
shoot up nearly or quite three hundred feet, with
trunks in proportion. You see a yellow pine cut
down near by, out of which, the last winter, they
wrought thirty-five thousand feet of boards, clear
stuff, and stopped when the tree got down to only
four feet in diameter. Thus you find you have no
AGE OF THE TREES.
means of comparing. It is like comparing a man
six feet six with men six feet five and four. You
must walk among them, and around them, and take
out your marked tape-line and measure them again
and again, before you can begin to get the right im-
pression. It was a matter of amazement to us that
they could grow so much in a single night. But
the height of enjoyment is to lie down on your
back in the twilight of evening or under the full
moon, and look up, say ten feet at a look, till the
eye has travelled all the way up to the top-over
three hundred feet. We forget, too, when looking
at a tree thirty feet in diameter, and wonder why
it is not larger, that a pine tree with us which is
five feet in diameter is a monster.
Let us now walk into the grove: the first impres-
sion you receive is, that these giants must be very old;
how old you cannot possibly say. By counting the
concentric circles in the tree, some will count thirteen
hundred, and some near three thousand-making the
tree as many years old. For my own part, though
I have heard it claimed that they are four thousand
years old, yet I should not be willing to certify for
more than half that age. You are struck unplea-
santly that the names of men, such as modern
NAMES OF THE GIANTS.
generals and colonels, should be screwed to trees
that have been living and bearing the storms of
earth centuries before these men were ever heard of.
Why should such a name as "Phlil Sheridan" be
attached to a tree that perhaps saw light before the
star arose over Bethlehem, or Titus besieged Jeru-
salem ? But there they are, and you may speak to
" George Washington," Abraham Lincoln," "Daniel
Webster," W. H. Seward," and even "Andrew
Johnson," and a host of other names; or, if you
want to address whole states, there is the Granite
State," "Vermont," "Old Dominion," "Old Ken-
tucky," and many others.
Now for measurements. Some of these trees, pro-
bably one-fourth in all the groves, are over twenty-
five feet in diameter, scores that are thirty feet, and
I know of at least half-a-dozen that are thirty-two
or thirty-three feet in diameter. You see that huge
log lying near the hotel, whose stump, close by, has
a house built over it; that tree was perfectly sound,
thirty-two feet in diameter. Five men worked
twenty-five days with pump-augers before they
could cut it down. The stump is cut five feet from
the ground, and a cotillon party of thirty-two have
danced four sets of cotillons on it at once, not
BLOCK CUT FROM ONE OF THE BIG TREES OF CALAVERAS.
THE MOTHER OF THE FOREST."
counting musicians and spectators, who were also on
it. Twenty feet in length of this log, which you
can mount only by wood steps, twenty-eight in
number, and long ones too, would make forty-nine
thousand feet of boards, worth over 400 sterling.
But to get an idea of the diameter of one of these
trees, take a cord and measure off thirty-two feet,
and see who has a parlour as large as the diameter
of that tree. "Abraham Lincoln is three hundred
and twenty feet high. The "Mother of the Forest,"
three hundred and twenty-seven feet high, has had
the bark stripped for one hundred and sixteen feet.
The bark, in places, was two feet thick. I have
before me a piece of it, two feet long and a little
over one wide, or deep. The diameter of this tree
at the base was thirty feet. Thus one tree, it has
been computed, would have made five hundred and
thirty-seven thousand feet of one-inch lumber.
This, as lumber is selling in the States, would
amount to the modest sum of 5000 sterling.
Near by is the "Father of the Forest," prostrated
for generations, half buried in the soil, yet a mighty
wreck. His circumference was one hundred and
twelve feet at the base, his diameter thirty-seven
and one-third feet. The first limb was two hundred
72 THE FATHER OF THE FOREST."
feet from the ground. This is now a knot-hole,
through which I easily crept, and after me my
friend,-far more of a man than I am, though I am
not sure that he is aware that it was my hand that
placed the ladder at the hole, without which neither
he nor I could have reached it. This tree was
broken by the fall three hundred feet from its roots,
and was eighteen feet in diameter at the breach. It
is estimated that this tree could not have been less
than four hundred and fifty feet high! Truly he
deserves the name of the "Father of the Forest."
Around this fallen monarch stand many other grace-
ful trees of his species, as if they were his children,
as they probably are, watching over the great
sleeper. I should love to describe to you the Hus-
band and Wife," each twenty feet in diameter,
most gracefully leaning towards each other, as if in
their age they felt the need of mutual sympathy
Then there are the "Pride of-the Forest," and the
"Three Graces," and the "Two Sentinels," under
whose dome you want to linger. The largest tree
yet found in all these groves is a noble old hero,-
charred, bark and limbs gone, yet its upturned base
measuring thirty-three feet without the bark. In
THE FATHER QF THE FOREST," CALAVERAS GROVE, CALIFORNIA.
BIG TREES OF THE FUTURE.
its vigour, with its heavy bark all on, it must have
measured forty feet in diameter, and one hundred
and twenty in circumference, and at least four
hundred feet high. I have before me a picture of
the Grizzly Giant," at least thirty feet in diameter.
Straggling hunters report groves where the trees
are even of still larger dimensions. I would add
that among these groves are a multitude of young
trees, not more than five hundred or a thousand
years old, and which promise, if nothing happens,
some fifteen hundred years hence, to become very
respectable trees. Many now standing have been
sadly injured by the fires which the Indians in
former years built against them. It makes one
feel almost indignant at a stupidity which could
see nothing in these trees but a good back-log for
a' fire. Nothing in the future is so much to be
dreaded in regard to them as forest fires.
These trees are the only living things that con-
nect us back to ages that are gone. Perhaps before
Rome was ever named, and long certainly before
men dreamed of this continent, these minarets of the
solitudes, unchecked in their growth by cloudy days
or deep frosts, were lifting up their young heads,
to be ready and waiting for eyes that could appreci-
MINARETS OF THE SOLITUDES.
ate them, when the men of the nineteenth century
should gather around them.
These giant trees, in silent majesty,
Like pillars stand neathh heaven's mighty dome.
'Twould seem that, perched upon their topmost branch,
With outstretched finger man might touch the stars;
Yet, could he gain that height, the boundless sky
Were still as far beyond his utmost reach,
As from the burrowing toilers in a mine.
Their age unknown, into what depths of time
Might Fancy wander sportively, and deem
Some monarch-father of this grove set forth
His tiny shoot, when the primeval flood
Receded from the old and changed earth?
Perhaps coeval with Assyrian kings,
His branches in dominion spread; from age
To age his sapling heirs with empires grew,
When Time those patriarchs' leafy tresses strewed
Upon the earth, when Art and Science slept,
And ruthless hordes drove back Improvement's stream,
Their sturdy head-tops throve, and in their turn
Rose when Columbus gave to Spain a world.
How many races, savage and refined,
Have dwelt beneath their shelter? Who shall say
(If hands irreverent molest them not)
But they may shadow mighty cities, reared
E'en at their roots, in centuries to come,
Till with the everlasting hills they bow,
When time shall be no longer."
Groves of Mariposa and Calaveras, farewell! We
never before saw ages of time stamped upon a tree;
never conceived in what forms greatness that awes
and grandeur that humbles could be thus embodied;
never before stood in presence of living age so mar-
CAVES OF .CALAVERAS.
vellous that one wanted to take off the hat, and
look solemnly around, to see if the mighty Hand
that has so long upheld these wonders is not now
visibly upon them!
About fourteen miles to the west of these mam-
moth trees, on a tributary of the Calaveras River,
the famous caves of that county are situated. They
were discovered accidentally in 1850 by a miner,
who, having finished his mid-day repast, was amus-
ing himself before resuming his afternoon's work by
shooting at a mark near the back of his cabin. In
seeking a suitable spot for his target, he saw a hole
among the rocks, and on examining it more closely,
he found that the aperture extended for some dis-
tance into the mountain, which, along with his com-
panions, he immediately began to explore.
The caves have now become a favourite resort of
the tourist, who, provided with adamantine candles,
enters through a small doorway which has been
blasted out to a sufficient size; thence creeping along
twenty-five or thirty feet through a somewhat diffi-
cult passage, sometimes forced to stoop, at other
times to bend the body in accordance with the
seam of the rocks through which the passage lies, he
suddenly emerges into a large vault or room about
sixty feet in length by twenty in breadth, with an
irregular roof, in some places thirty feet high. This
room is called the Couficil Chamber." The walls
are dark, rough, and solid, rather than beautiful.
Descending somewhat, a long, low passage leads to
another room about half the size of the Council
Chamber; rising from the floor of which, by another
narrow passage, a third large room of irregular con-
struction is reached. Its roof ascends until lost to
sight in perfect darkness; here, as far up as the eye,
assisted by the dim taper, can reach, the deposits of
carbonate of lime present a perfect resemblance to a
vast cataract of waters rushing from an inconceivable
height in a perfect sheet of foam, leaping from one
great shelf of jutting rock down to others, widening
as they get nearer, in exact perspective. This room
is called the Cataract," and well does it deserve
the name. Descending a short distance by another
passage, a small round room is entered, in the centre
of whose roof a lofty opening of sixty feet high and
of very singular appearance is seen. This apartment
is called "the Cathedral." Turning back by the
Cataract, and passing a deep well of water on the
left, and some curious pools or reservoirs on the
right, a spacious room, fully one hundred feet square
THE BRIDAL CHAMBER."
and of fair proportionate height is entered; and
through another low opening, yet another great
room, near the centre of which stands a large dark
structure, the perfect likeness of a full-robed Roman
bishop; hence the chamber is named the "Bishop's
Palace." Passing from this, a chamber is come
upon beautifully ornamented with pendants from
the roof, white as the whitest feldspar, and of every
possible form,- some like garments hung in a
wardrobe, every fold and seam complete; others like
curtains, with portions of columns half way to the
floor, fluted and scalloped for unknown purposes;
while innumerable spear-shaped stalactites of differ-
ent sizes and lengths hang from all parts, giving a
beauty and splendour to the whole appearance sur-
passing description. Sometimes, as the light is
borne up a glorious fairy stairway, and back behind
solid pillars of clear deposits, and the reflected rays
glance through the myriads of varying forms, the
whole-pillars, curtains, pendants, and carved work,
white as snow, and translucent as crystal-glistens
and shines and sparkles with a glory surpassing in
splendour anything ever seen in art or even conceived
in fable. This is called the "Bridal Chamber."
Immediately behind, and connected with it by
THE MUSIC HALL."
Different openings, is another room known as the
" Music Hall," from the fact that on one side, sus-
pended from a singular rock, which has the properties
of a musical sounding-board, a large number of
stalactites hang, arranged in a line small at one end,
and gradually increasing in size towards the other;
so that if with a rod you strike the pendant pro-
perly, all the musical tones, from a common bass to
a very high key, can be produced in perfection, ring-
ing loud and clear through the halls, as from a well-
toned instrument. Here the cave, so far as at pre-
sent explored, terminates, at the distance of about a
sixth of a mile from the entrance.
Limestone rock is the predominant formation in
Calaveras county, and to the action of running water
upon this soluble material is no doubt due the pre-
sence of those picturesque caves and grottoes. To
the same cause is also to be attributed the famous
natural bridges which give to this locality, otherwise
so remarkable, an additional interest. They are
situated on Cayote River, or Creek, as it is called,
the entire water of which runs beneath these bridges.
There are two of them-an upper and a lower.
Approaching the former from the east, the entrance
beneath presents the appearance of a noble Gothic
NATURAL BRIDGES OF CALAVERAS.
arch of massive stone-work, thirty-two feet in height
above the water, and twenty-five in width at the
abutments; while the rock and earth above, sup-
ported by the arch, are over thirty feet in thickness,
and overgrown to some extent with trees and shrub-
bery. Passing under the arch, the walls extend
upward to an almost perfectly formed and pointed
arch, maintaining their width and elevation, but
with here and there an irregularity which merely
serves to heighten the interest of the beautiful scene
presented. Along the roof or arch hang innumer-
able stalactites, like opaque icicles, but solid as the
limestone or marble of which they are formed. As
we advance, the width of the arch increases to nearly
forty feet; and here it really seems as though Nature
in her playful moments had determined for once,
in her own rude way, to mock the more elaborately
worked objects of art. Here the spacious roof, one
can imagine, is made to resemble an immense cathe-
dral, with its vaulted arches supported by innumer-
able columns along the sides, with here and there a
jutting portion, as though an attempt had been made
to rough-hew an altar; while stalactites, springing
from the bottom and sides, appear like waxen candles
ready to be lit, but for the muddy sediment which
has formed upon them. Nor is this all, for near
the foot of the altar is a natural basin of pure water,
clear as crystal, as though purposely for a baptismal
font. Many other shapes, some of them grotesque,
and others beautiful, adorn the sides and roof of this
truly magnificent subterranean temple; one of these,
the '" well cascade," is a specially charming feature,
bearing a striking resemblance to what would result
from the instantaneous freezing to perfect solidity
of a stream of water rolling down the rocky sides of
the cavernous formation. Others resemble urns and
basins, all formed from the action of, and ever filled
to their brims with, clear cold water as it trickles
from the rocks above. Approaching the lower
section of this immense arch, its form becomes mate-
rially changed, increasing in width, while the roof,
becoming more flattened, is brought down to within
five feet of the water of the stream. The entire
distance through this vast natural bridge is about
Nearly half a mile farther down the other bridge
occurs, differing but little from the former in size
but having the arch more flattened, and broader
at the top. Advancing beneath its wide-spread-
ing arch, and passing a beautiful fount of water,
issuing from a low, broad basin wrought by Nature's
own hand, a point is reached where a roof and
supporting walls present the appearance of a mag-
nificent rotunda or arched dome, sixty feet in width,
but with a height of only fifteen feet. Here,
too, are numberless stalactites, hanging like icicles
from above; while the rocky floor, where the stream
does not receive the trickling water from above, is
studded thick with stalagmites of curious and beau-
These bridges form the most remarkable natural
tunnels in the world, serving as they do for the
passage of a considerable stream of water; and
in conjunction with its grotesque caves and mam-
moth trees, they render Calaveras one of the most
interesting spots on the American Continent.
THE YOSEMITE VALLEY.
BOUT the middle of the State of California
S stands her loftiest mountain, Mount
Whitney, fifteen thousand feet above the
ocean, and only seven hundred feet lower than
Mont Blanc in Switzerland. Near this central
region also are some of the most remarkable depres-
sions, gorges, caiions, or valleys ever found. About
one hundred and fifty miles in an easterly direction
from San Francisco, and about thirty miles from the
summit of the snow-covered Nevada Mountains, four
thousand and sixty feet above the sea, is the "Yo-
semite Valley," unlike anything else you ever saw,
and so peculiar that probably no attempts to make
it understood, without seeing it, can be successful.
Other valleys you expect to enter and pass through.
To get into this you must climb down three thousand
feet, and when you have seen it, climb up out of it
', I'l, ,,, '" "' .... Il
A WEARY RIDE.
again. We will suppose you have come from the
Big Trees, have crossed the most curious ferries of
the Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers, passed through
the Chinese Camp, ascended and descended moun-
tains, till you have come to Harding's ranch, where
you must take the saddle. You will mount a lean,
hard-going, but most sure-footed animal, and if you
can fortunately have Hutchings*-one of Nature's
noblemen-for guide, you enter the forests, ascend
vast mountains, go down long ridges, gaze at myriads
of the most glorious pines the eye ever saw, pass
over snow-drifts on the mountain for perhaps a
couple of miles, and which you are ready to take
your oath are at least four miles-the trail some-
times plain and sometimes lost; baiting your poor
horse at a little green spot on the top of the moun-
tain, taking a lunch out of Hutchings' capacious
saddle-bags, which he took care to provide at Har-
ding's; laughing as the Old Bachelor from New York
takes out his little flask of brandy, insinuating that
it is very superior, and Hutchings, wearying the
poor flask, declaring that if ever he "did allow
It is well to state that Mr. Hutchings, who acted as guide to the Rev. Dr.
Todd when he visited the Yosemite Valley, has left that part of the world. He
gave up lately the hotel which he had carried on in the valley for a number of
years, known as "Hutchings' Hotel;" and he now lives in retirement.
himself to touch a drop, that was just the very
So we move on, seldom out of a walk, till, at the
end of the twenty-five weary miles' ride, we look
down from the brow of the hill three thousand feet
into a valley. You pause and hold your breath.
You are looking down a caiion, whose opening at
your right hand is only wide enough for a fierce,
foaming, roaring river to rush out. You are looking
east. The valley looks like the opening made by the
parting of the mountains, and you almost expect to
see them snap together again. Far up between the
rock-walls on either side hangs a thin mist, as if the
falling waters had hung the thinnest possible veil
over the valley. This, then, is the Yosemite Valley.*
You begin to descend the bridle-path, so steep
that it must be zigzag, and so fearful that you must
get off and walk most of the way; the path now
crossing a mountain torrent, and now on the very
Since the author's visit in 1869 much has been done to render the beauties
of the Yosemite Valley more accessible to the visitor. Should the latter start
from San Francisco he can now, by means of the South Pacific Railway, reach
Merced in about six hours. Here a considerable town, with one of the finest
hotels in the state, now stands, where eight years ago there was not a single house.
Its rapid growth is due to the fact that it forms the point of departure of the stage-
coaches for the Yosemite Valley. The bridle-path," by which alone that valley
could be entered ten years ago, is now superseded by no less than four waggon
roads -all of them good, considering the nature of the country through which they
pass. They differ, however, considerably in elevation-the highest being about
7000 feet, and the lowest 4750 feet, above the bottom of the valley.--EDITOR.
brink of a precipice, where, should you go over-and
I think a foot out of the way would often do it-
you will fall fifteen hundred or two thousand feet
before stopping. Add to this-if your experience is
like mine-you have, in going down, to pass a great
number of the hideous, naked, horrible Pono Indians,
frightening the very horses you are leading.
In two and a half miles you have come down
three thousand feet, over rocks, and ledges, and
water, and where you wanted the poor horses' legs
insured. You are now in the valley-eight miles
long, and from half a mile to a mile wide. Through
it runs a river seventy feet wide, pure and clear, and
about twelve feet deep. It is the Merced, daughter
of the snows, and falling about fifty feet during its
course in the valley.
Now, how can I give you any idea of what we
see ? You will just forget our valley, come back to
the place where you now sit, and turn your face to
the east. Now, draw a line at your right hand, a
quarter of a mile off, from east to west, eight miles
long. Then, a quarter of a mile at your left, draw
another line of the same length. Now, go a mile
north and south of these two lines, and draw two
more lines. You have thus three spaces-one, the
VIEW IN YOSEMITE VALLEY.
centre, half a mile wide, and the outer spaces a mile
wide each, and all eight miles long. Now, turn all
this into rock, solid rock. Next, lift up the two
outside spaces perpendicular, a mile high, and also a
rock at the east end equally high. You have now
a basin eight miles long, and about half a mile wide,
and a mile deep. Now, raise all the country out-
side of these walls as high as they are. Now, let
this great, solid rocky basin lie for ages, and slowly
form. At the head of the basin, on the mountains
around, snows annually fall and melt. The waters
wind and wear a channel till they find the head of
our basin, and then hurl themselves down into it.
On the sides of this great basin other rivers are
formed, and also push away the barriers and leap
over. Then the rains and the frosts work with the
water, and wear away the rocks on all sides of our
basin, till the hardest parts are left perpendicular,
or are rounded off into domes, or left standing up in
pinnacles, like those of a cathedral.
In the course of time this debris of the rocks
washes down, leaving a pile at their base some four
hundred feet high, and making a soil at the bottom
of the basin. The basin is gradually filled up; the
river is raised up; trees are sown and grow up; and
so in 1869 we find it the walled, beautiful valley,
whose sides are all rock, averaging not less than
three thousand five hundred feet high-three quarters
of a mile-while some of the domes and pinnacles
are much higher than this.
And now comes the trial. There is no way by
which you can make yourself realize the wonders on
your right hand and on your left. You are told
that if these rocks should fall, they would reach
across and cover the valley; but you cannot realize
it. You are told that if they should fall at the
same moment, and meet in the middle, there would
be an arch over your head half a mile high; but
you cannot realize it. There is nothing but air and
the dome of heaven with which to make comparison
or measurement. If you look at the trees, on an
average two hundred feet high, they look like mere
shrubs. You have no measure by which you can tell
a thousand feet from four thousand. This is the only
disappointment you feel, and this you feel bitterly.
We are now in the valley, just having descended
the mountain, and we are looking towards the east.
The river is on our right, the waters meeting us.
We find eight or ten high summits on the sides,
prominent, dissimilar, and peculiar. We find also
A MIGHTY BUTTRESS.
five or six rivers or streams pouring down in different
places, besides smaller streams that come down like
ribbons. It is the first of June, when the snows are
melting, the streams the fullest and the falls the
largest and the grandest of any part of the year.
As you now move east, the first thing you notice
is Lung-oo-too-koo-ya, "Tall and Slender Fall," or
"Ribbon Fall," which pours, and creeps, and rushes
over the face of rocks to which it seems to cling,
three thousand three hundred feet. You look at
the ribbon on the rock and then at the brook you
cross, and are amazed at the quantity of water that
came down as that ribbon. As you go along up the
valley you see a mighty buttress rising up on your
left. You are close to it, and yet you do not reach
it. That is Tu-toch-ah-nu-lah, Great Chief of the
Valley,"-English, The Captain,"-three thousand
three hundred feet high; its top nearly flat and
bare. You stand at its foot and look up, and the
last fifteen hundred or two thousand feet are per-
pendicular, and you feel that the great mass is fall-
ing on you. You gaze upon it,-so great, so high,
so bare, so solid and hard, that you feel it might be
the corner-stone of a world. Nearly opposite, on
the other side of the river, and on the south side,
you see the Po-ho-no Falls, "Spirit of the Evil
Wind,"-English, "Bridal Veil,"-a sheet of water
most exquisitely beautiful, falling nine hundred and
forty feet, thundering and foaming, waving and
shooting out great showers of snowy rockets, as it
falls into a great caldron surrounded by huge
boulders. Well may it be called the Bridal Veil,
from its waving, feathery, gauze-like veil, as if try-
ing to conceal the face and form of beauty. The
stream is forty feet wide; and out of the mighty
spray that rises upon the boulders on which it is
dashed, the sun constantly weaves and hangs rain-
bows over the abyss. The river that ends in
Po-ho-no Falls rises from a lake about thirteen
miles off; and as the winds there draw around the
great rock that rises out of the lake, thus making
it rough, and having caused several Indians to lose
their lives there, and as an Indian woman, in gather-
ing herbs on the bank of the river, fell in and was
carried over these falls, and never seen again, so the
Indians have a superstitious dread of them. The
"Spirit of the Evil Wind" resides there; and they
will never pitch their camp, nor could they be
induced to sleep, within sound of its waters. To
point the finger at these falls is certain death, as
BRIDAL VEIL WATERFALL.
IN THE CENTRE OF THE VALLEY.
they believe. They hear the voices of those who
have been drowned there whenever they hear the
sound of these falls.
A little to the west of Po-ho-no are the rocks
called Wah-wah-le-na, the Three Graces," huge
masses shooting up far into the sky; and still
further on, the Cathedral Spires," that, albeit they
stand up naked hundreds of feet, look not much
larger than men. Then come the "Great Cathedral
Rocks,"-Poo-re-nah, "large acorn cache," that is,
"hiding-place for acorns,"-looking like the ruined
spires of some vast edifice.
Further east still, and you come to Pom-pom-pa-
sus, "Mountains playing Leap-frog,"-English, the
" Three Brothers,"-three remarkable summits, which
cannot be described, but which will never be for-
gotten if once seen. Directly opposite are the
"Three Sisters," graceful in beauty.
You are now in the centre of the valley. Still
looking east, on your left are the Yosemite Falls, or
rather three falls; the first sixteen hundred and
fifty feet perpendicular, the second -four hundred
and thirty, and the third six hundred and fifty feet.
Yosemite is the Indian name, now given to these falls
and to the valley. Yosemite means "Grizzly Bear."