Mexico, California and Arizona/Chapter 22
|← XXI. Conversations by the Way with a Colonel|| Mexico, California and Arizona (1900) by
XXII. San Francisco
|XXIII. San Francisco (Continued) →|
THE LOST PROVINCES.
THE LOST PROVINCES.
It is the way of sea-coasts, as observed from the water, maintain a close reserve. If they allow us a cliff or two, a suggestion of green forests, or a mountain in the background, it is as much as they do. All their natural projections, from a steamer's deck, retire into a straight line. "You have chosen your element," they seem to say, and you shall not enjoy at once the pleasures of both. If you can do without me, so can I without you, and until you take the pains to disembark you shall know nothing of the attractions I purposely keep out of sight just over the surf-whitened margin."
The coast of California seems of even an especial moroseness in this respect. You pass some few islands, inlets at San Diego and Wilmington, the Santa Barbara Channel, and the bays of Santa Monica, San Luis, and Monterey; but for the most part the coast of the land of stretches on unbroken, low, brown, and bare. Search is vain for any suggestion of range-grove or palm. It is foreign-looking to one who arrives from the east of the United States. Lions might come prowling down such slopes. It might be Morocco, and we, on our travels,
- some new Crusoe escaped in the long-boat, with Xury, from the Rover of Sallee, and afraid to land for the howlings of wild creatures.
If, in our Pacific Mail steamer, we were discovering the country for the first time—as every traveller does discover a new country for the first time, no matter what accounts he may have heard of it—we should try along without finding a single good harbor for four hundred and fifty miles, from San Diego, at the Mexican frontier, to San Francisco.
Then all at once comes an opening through bold Coast Range at the water's edge, and we are in the far-famed "Golden Gate." It is a mere eyelet—a strait, giving access to a wide expanse of bay. So happy is the opening, and commodious the shelter afforded, that the reversal of the churlishness prevailing up to this point seems miraculous.
There is no doubt, when once the site is understood, as to why San Francisco is located just where it is. It has the only natural harbor between Astoria, Oregon, to the north, and San Diego, to the south. It bears, besides, with this advantage, such a relation to the resources of the back country, that it could not escape a destiny of greatness.
It is not simply a bay upon which we have entered, but an inland sea, with a great commerce of its own. Immediately in front rise round-backed Goat Island and Angel Island, resembling monsters asleep; and terraced Alcatraz, with its citadel, as picturesque as a bit of Malta. Vistas open beyond on many sides, with gleams of light falling on white cities under lowering atmospheres of smoke. San Francisco, close at hand, piles up impressively on steep hills, its bristling structures covering their undulations sharply from numerous hills. The water-
Craft of all shapes and sizes cross one another's wakes in the harbor. The lateen-sails of Genoese and Maltese fishermen and the junks of Chinese shrimp-catchers are among them. Large ferry-boats, superior, as a rule, to those we are familiar with at the East, ply to Oakland, the Brooklyn of the scene—a city already of fifty thousand people; Alameda, with its esplanade of bathing pavilions; Berkeley, with its handsome university and institution for blind, deaf, and dumb; San Quentin, with its prison; and rustic Saucelito and San Rafael, under the dark shadow of Mount Tamalpais.
From Oakland projects an interminable pier, built by the Central Pacific Railway. A mile in length as it is, it was to have gone on to a junction with vacant Goat Island, which would then have been made a city also, and become the terminus of all transcontinental journeys. This project was stopped by violent opposition from property-holders on shore.
Patches of yellow, under the Presidio, are taken by our novices on the steamer for the "Sand-lots," famous in the Kearneyite agitations. The Presidio is a barracks, which was a fort and mission in the time of the first settlement by the Spaniards—to what slight extent they ever settled the place—in the year 1776. The man who has "been here before" plants himself squarely on the deck, pulls down a silk cap over his eyes, and explains that the Sand-lots are not the Presidio, but nothing less than the large yard of the new, unfinished City-hall, in the centre of town. But Kearneyism is dead and buried, he says—as the case proved and there will be no chance to see one of these traditional assemblages.He names for us the various hills, and points out the
"NOB HILL" FROM THE BAY.
stir in their day and generation. Three or four of these latter top California, or "Nob," Hill, with a prominence in keeping with their owners' station. They are those of the railroad kings, Crocker, Stanford, and Hopkins—the mining kings having up to this time expended their principal building efforts in the country. "Nob" Hill is three hundred feet high, plebeian Telegraph Hill nearly as much, and Russian Hill, to the west—the latest precinct taken into favor for fine residences—three hundred and sixty. Murray Hill, New York, be it noted, is but seventy-eight. The riff-raff of Telegraph Hill climb, as is seen, by a multitude of wooden stairways; but how in the world do the Croesuses get up to their habitations, which cut the sky-line so imposingly? We shall see.
The city does not begin directly at the ocean, but a mile or two within. It follows the inner shore of a long, narrow peninsula which comes from the south to meet one coming from the north, and forms with it the strait and bay.
It is, indeed, an inland sea, this bay. You go south-ward upon it thirty miles, northward as far, and thirty miles north-eastward to the Straits of Carquinez—which has Benicia on one side, and Martinez, the point of departure for ascent of the peak of Mount Diablo, on the other. Through these straits you pass, again, into Suisun Bay, which receives the waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, and is itself some twenty miles in extent.
You are struck, on coming ashore from Mexico, with the excessive thinness of everything American. Our be- longings seem all of a piece with our light-running machinery, with the spider lines of you American buggy waiting for its owner. We evade Nature by a deft trick, and do not obstinately oppose her. There the old walls were as solid yet as the everlasting hills; here we seemed to be living in flying-machines.
How strange, arriving from the other side of the world, to find people lining the dock dressed in the common way, and chattering the common speech, even to the latest bits of slang! A China steamer, however, had come in along-side just before us, and supplied a novel element of foreignness. Almond-eyed Celestials, in blue blouses, swarmed her decks and poured down her sides. Groups were loaded into express-wagons, and driven away up-town in charge of friends come down to meet them. Others trudged stoutly on foot, with their effects deposited in a pair of wicker baskets, at the ends of a long bamboo on their shoulders. This way of carrying burdens is constantly met with. The vegetable dealers hawk thus their wares from house to house, and present the aspect of the figures in cuts of the tea-fields. It is poor travelling when the curiosity alone and not the imagination is gratified, and San Francisco promises ample material for both.
Had we come in the gold days of '49 we should have landed some half-dozen blocks farther inland than to-day. By so much has the water-front since been extended and built into a solid commercial quarter. The 'Forty-niners found but a scanty strip of sand at the base of the steep hills.
Why, then, did they stop here, and build their city at such infinite pains and expense, instead of seeking a more convenient site elsewhere? There is, or was, some even more serious objection to all other locations. At Oak-
- land, insufficient depth of water; at Saucelito, where whalers, Russian and other, had been accustomed to refit,
Tamalpais, 2700 feet high, as against Telegraph Hill, but 300. Distant Benicia and Vallejo the latter now the naval station of the Pacific Coast, and once briefly the capital of the State were much too far away. Steam was little in use. The greater part of the ships came under sail, and there were no tugs to pull them. They must be able to get in and out with the greatest attainable expedition.
Such ships as these were, according to the accounts we have of them! The most antiquated and dangerous hulks were furbished up once more for this last voyage. The eager humanity they carried took little heed of perils and discomforts so they were but on the way to the goal to which all adventurous spirits turned. When the port was still but a beggarly scattering of huts and tents it could muster two hundred sail, good and bad, at once. Many of them never got out again. It was not on account of nautical difficulties, but partly because they had no return cargoes, and principally because their crews ran away from them to the mines the moment foot touched shore. Certain craft were beached and converted into dwellings; others, utilized for a time as warehouses, rotted at their moorings, and to-day form "made ground." The remarkable city to which they came, which had eight hundred and fifty souls in 1848, and twenty thousand in '49, has now, in an existence of thirty-four years, three hundred thousand.
The buildings on the level made ground stand generally on foundations of piling. The practice prevails, too, of tying them well together with iron rods, against the jar of the occasional earthquake, which is among San Francisco's idiosyncrasies. It is proposed to improve the
- water-front with a continuous, massive sea-wall, and a portion of this is already built. Extensive yards of attractive redwood lumber, which resembles cedar, and warehouses for grain, are seen. The elevator system,
owing to lack of ships for properly carrying grain in bulk, is nowhere in use throughout California.
We reach next an area given up to heavy traffic in the fruits and produce of the country. Battery and Sansome streets succeeding are lined with large wholesale dry-goods houses similar to those in the greater Eastern cities. Montgomery Street shows stately office buildings, exchanges, and hotels. Kearney Street has been hitherto the chief site of the more elegant retail trade. Its prestige is passing, however, to Market Street, a wide thoroughfare which recalls State Street, Chicago. Having unlimited room for extension in the north and south direction of the peninsula, whereas the others named are contracted, Market Street is to be San Francisco's Broadway of the future.
The financial centre is contained in the area of two blocks, between California and Bush, Sansome and Montgomery Streets. Here are those institutions whose great transactions and singular history are unknown now to but few parts of the world.
The Nevada Bank, financial lever of the Bonanza kings, and point from which has been supposed to emanate all the weightiest influences connected with mining matters, is a four-story and Mansard iron building, with the usual classic "orders." The Bank of California, whence the brilliant Ralston rushed forth from his troubles to drown himself in the bay, is two stories, of "blue stone," of a pleasant color, and exceedingly sharp, agreeable cutting. The Merchants' Exchange, erected so long ago as 1867, is a very ornate, town-hall-looking
CALIFORNIA STREET - SAN FRANCISCO.
The large and agreeably proportioned Stock Exchange, on Pine Street, is of gray granite, with numerous polished columns. The board-room within is an amphitheatre, and a bronze railing protects the circle of seats. With its agreeable illumination and neat furniture, including Axminster rugs, it presents a much more home-like aspect than is the rule with such places. Mining stocks exclusively are dealt in.
It is quiet enough now. We have fallen upon evil days. Capitalists have withdrawn their millions to the East; ships come only in ballast, for grain, instead of with valuable exchange cargoes, and charge rates almost prohibitory; there is not one "turn-out" now on the Cliff House road where there were formerly a dozen; and real estate has shrunk fifty per cent.—if in some places it have any value at all.
This board was once the theatre of a speculative movement which took hold upon the community like madness. The aggregate value of the mining stocks on the list, at the period of highest prices, in the year 1875, was, in round numbers, $282,000,000. The aggregate value of the same stocks in the summer of 1881 was but $17,000,000. There had occurred a shrinkage of $265,000,000, or more than fifteen times the total value surviving.
What had happened? The "bottom had dropped out" of the famous "Comstocks," perhaps the richest mines known to history. "Consolidated Virginia," valued at $75,000,000, was now worth less than $1,000,000. "Sierra Nevada" fell from $27,000,000 to $825,000. But the greatest shrinkage of all was in "California." This unhappy stock shrank from $84,000,000 to $351,000.
These figures explain a depression the vestiges of which, though the ruinous crisis has long passed, still remain. The stock-gambling mania possessed the community without distinction of station, and hardly of age or sex, and when the bubble broke there was reason enough for gloom with all who had laid up their treasure in such unstable form.
Some of the earlier buildings, now flat, thin, and unornamental, were obtained at expense quite out of proportion. The stone for the old City Hall was brought expressly from Australia; that of the Wells-Fargo building, and the Union Club, from China. The granite of the Branch Mint, a fine, classic design, was dressed in Oregon. The newer structures exhibit all the varieties of form and color in which the modern decorative taste delights. The material for most is procured in the State itself.
The idea of being in a remote part of the world is kept before you in many ways. Here is a sign of the "New Zealand Insurance Company." Fancy New Zealand, where a cannibal population was lately eating missionaries, sending us over its insurance companies! Here is the Alaska Commercial Company, the Bank of British Columbia; and here, its inscription gilded in Chinese as well as English, the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Banking Company. An occasional building is without the usual entrance-doors, its staircase, in the comparative mildness of the climate, left as open as the street.
A system of alleys passes among the colossal structures, and these abound in refreshment resorts—"The Dividend Saloon," "Our Jacob," "The Comstock Exchange," and "The New Idea"—to which the hastening business men.
- repair in intervals of their labors. The San Francisco boot-blacks, a model to their class, are neatly uniformed men instead of ragged urchins. Favored by the climate, they establish their rows of easy-chairs on platforms under a canvas awning, have a newspaper and the gossip
for you while you wait, and somewhat usurp the place so long sacred to the barber.
The corner of California and Montgomery Streets may be considered one of two focal points in San Francisco; the "Lotta Fountain" is the other.
The Lotta Fountain—a tawdry, little, cast-iron affair, presented to the city by the actress after whom it is named—has been given a place of distinguished honor. Five important streets radiate from it. Its pedestal is
a place where the timid seek refuge when entangled in the throng of vehicles. Market Street extends to the Oakland Ferry one way, and past the Mechanics' Institute and pleasure resort of Woodward's Garden to the distant Mission Hills in the other. Geary Street takes you, by a "cable road," westward to Lone Mountain, around which all the cemeteries are grouped, and Golden Gate Park, stretching to the ocean. On the top of Lone Mountain stands up to view from far and wide a dark cross, which weirdly recalls that of Calvary. Third Street, a thoroughfare of working-people, abounding in small restaurants, markets, and "tin-type" galleries, leads to the water at a different angle from Market. Finally, Kearney Street debouches also at the Lotta Fountain, and Montgomery terminates but a few steps below.
The Palace Hotel, vast, drab-colored, of iron and stuccoed brick, looms up nine stories in height on Market Street, and closes the vista from Montgomery. Studded with bay-windows, it has the air of a mammoth bird-cage. The San Franciscan, wherever met with, never fails to boast of it as the most stupendous thing of its kind in the world. With the conviction that size is not always the particular in which our hotels, like some of our communities, most need improvement, I should say that perfection had hardly yet been reached.
Within it is more satisfactory. At night an electric light strikes upon many tiers of columns, as white as paint can make them, in a large glass-roofed court, with an effect quite fairy-like and Parisian. Twice a week a band plays there, and the guests promenade up and down their galleries or look over the balustrade. In the bottom there are flowers, people sitting in chairs, and carriages stand in a circular, asphalt-paved driveway.
Though the resident of San Francisco feels called upon to complain of its present stagnation, the bare existence of such a place strikes the new-comer with amazement.
Its air is not ephemeral, but of a fine, massive gravity. Its shops are filled with costly goods, its streets with comely, beautifully dressed women. It has an art and literature. Private galleries contain foreign modern pictures of the best class. Some local artists have made for themselves a more than local reputation. There is a well-attended "School of Design," which has already graduated several pupils whose talent has been recognized abroad. The "Mercantile Library" is handsome, and most complete in its appointments.
San Francisco "society," though a trifle bizarre in the use of its newly acquired wealth, has an under-stratum of unexceptionable refinement. Its most bizarre side, too, is certainly approved of in Europe, where its magnates entertain kings and give their daughters in marriage to lofty titles.
The European traveller who visits "the land of Barnum" and "of Washington" with literary intent must be cruelly broken up by what he will find here. Such a place should be a vast, motley camp, as it is known to European travellers that most American cities should be. With its thirty-three years, and its heterogeneous elements, it should exhibit a combination of squalor and mushroom splendor. The wretched shanty should elbow the vulgar palace, a democratic boorishness of manners, blazing in diamonds, the faint, refined natures that by any chance have ventured into such a Babel. But, alas! we live in an age of expedition, of labor-saving inventions. With unlimited means, such as here enjoyed, the work of years is condensed into months. Camp there is none, but a luxurious city, presenting all the ordinary characteristics of civilization.
- An association comprising in a genial way most of the best elements of San Francisco is the Bohemian Club. It is found taking a very creditable interest in literature and the arts—it numbering the professionals and amateurs in these branches in its membership—and entertains and welcomes distinguished strangers. A monthly entertainment of a light, composite character is held, known as a
"Jinks." The grand festival of the year, however, is a "High Jinks," which takes the form of an excursion into the country. The principal ceremonial of the High Jinks has sometimes been held at night, in masquerade costume, among the Big Trees, the enormous redwoods of Sonoma County, to the northward. It may well be believed that the doings on these occasions are as fantastic and amusing as the merry inventions of a couple of hundred bright social spirits can make them.
A population of three hundred thousand souls is not extraordinary now, as populations go, but there are certain things which make San Francisco cosmopolitan beyond its actual size. An entirely new commercial situation gives rise to a new milieu. San Francisco faces toward Asia, the great English-speaking colonies of Oceanica, and the islands of the sea, as New York faces Europe. It enjoys already a trade with the Orient amounting to ten millions per annum in imports and eight millions in exports. The possibilities of this trade, extended among the teeming populations in the cradle of the human race, seem almost limitless. A way will be found sooner or later out of the imbroglio into which our inexperience has plunged us on the Chinese question, and communication will flow unimpeded. In countries sepa-
"HIGH JINKS" OF THE BOHEMIAN CLUB AMONG THE BIG TREES.
cities arise at the places of transfer, and proportioned to its volume ; and for all this San Francisco has one of the lost remarkable of situations.
The Oriental trade is but a small item in the total. It las ships, besides those bound for the Eastern and European ports, going out to the British and Russian possessions in the North, Mexico, Central and South America, Tahiti, Feejee, Manila, the Sandwich and Friendly Islands-to all those far-off points in the South Pacific which now in their turn promise to shine with the light of civilization and become powers of the earth.
Coals are burned at firesides -not of the most desirable quality, it must be confessed- which come from the coast once characterized by the poet in the line-
"The wolf's long howl on Oonalaska's shore."
Seventy millions pounds of sugar a year are brought from those Sandwich Islands which slew Captain Cook, now a civilized, modern state. But it is particularly Australasia, and our coming relations with it, that awaken admiring speculations. Melbourne, Australia, has already more than 280,000 people, Sydney 225,000, while along the coasts of that once cannibal New Zealand, now sending us its insurance companies, scatter also a line of flourishing cities: Dunedin,with its 43,000 people; Auckland, with 40,000; Christchurch, 32,000; Wellington, 22,000; and I know not how many others.
Astoria and Portland, in Oregon, San Diego, and, no doubt, ports to be created in time along the Mexican shores, will receive a share of these new influences in the world, but at San Francisco they touch us first and nearest.
There is a definite fascination in coming to the " jump- ing-off place," the final verge of the latest of the continents. An excellent situation in which to feel it is to lie on the brown heather at the point above the Golden Gate-though it is a raw and gusty place in which to lie too long-or to look down from the parapeted road or piazza of the Cliff House.
Here practically nothing intervenes between you and Japan, except we make mention of the clump of Seal Rocks, upon which the grouty sea-lions are floundering and roaring, down there in the surf in front.
"Ah! when a man has travelled," says Thoreau, "when he has robbed the horizon of his native fields of its mystery, tarnished the blue of distant mountains with his feet, he may begin to think of another world."
Very well. Perhaps it may do a man no harm to think of another world now and then, if not upon one pretext, on another. At evening the Golden Gate is the way to the sunset. The orb of day settles into the sea at the end of the gleaming strait, precisely in that East where we always figure it to ourselves as rising in the morning. The great circle is at last complete; and, as the extremes of every kind, even of love and hate, are said to be identical, the old, quiescent East has become the bound of the new, impetuous West.
"What is a world to do," you idly ask, "when it has no longer a West? How is it to get on without that vague open region on its borders, always the safety-valve and outlet for surplus population and uneasy spirits?""But when the race has quite arrived at this farther shore, will it stop here? or will it possibly start round the world again? Will it go on yet many times more, always beginning with the highest perfection yet attained, weaker types dying out in front to make room, till it shall become in its march a dazzling army of light?
GOLDEN-GATE FROM GOAT ISLAND
way, as the power of a magnet is increased by the number of turns of the helix?"
"The sentiment of gain," I say, continuing these wise speculations," has been the leading factor in drawing the nations around the globe. Gold has been dangled as a bait: first, the hope of it by conquest; later, in mines of the precious metals. It has danced, Ariel-like, will-o'-the- wisp-like, before them. Tantalized, disappointed, after floundering on a ways, they have paused to develop the lands upon which they found themselves.
"But now at length, when the vacant spaces are full, and the need of subterfuge exhausted, the bait is cast down, to be gorged upon by those who find it. Never, till '49, had its followers been rewarded with such unstinted liberality. The treasure of the earth seemed piled up in the fastnesses of the far Pacific."
I recall that their yield since the year 1848 has reached the sum of $2,100,000,000, and is still going on at $80,000,000 a year. Gold, scattered at first in the very sands, was later washed out of the gravel-banks, by the hydraulic process, and later yet got by crushing the quartz rock. When gold began to diminish it was followed by silver. The great "Bonanza" mines of Nevada were discovered. "Consolidated Virginia" alone produced $65,000,000 in seven years.
What fabulous sums besides -to go back to town- the managers made by the ingenious process of "milking the market" I do not undertake to compute. The prices of this celebrated stock at successive dates, not far apart, were: first, $17 a share; then $1; $110; $42; $700; and then, in the final collapse, in 1875, little or nothing at all. I have seen a poor saloon called the "Auction Lunch," on Washington Street, near the Post-office, said to have been kept by the once barkeepers, Flood and O'Brien, who attained such a splendid prosperity. There is no historic tablet over the door, but one naturally looks with reverence at the place where the beginning of such things could be. The proprietors of the " Auction Lunch " were in the habit of taking gold-dust occasionally in a friendly way from miners, for safe-keeping while the owners were enjoying themselves about town. It was from such persons that they obtained the "points" which resulted in their getting possession first of "Hale and Norcross," and then of the greater part of the properties of the Comstock lode.
I fell in with a professed friend of theirs of early times, whose fortunes had not mended at all at the same pace. He descanted on the inequalities of fate, and what he termed " bull-dog " luck.
He could prove that Flood and O'Brien were not even good business men "though Jimmy Flood does go about with a wise air," he said, "and Billy O'Brien left, at his death, half a million dollars to each of eight or ten nieces."
There is hardly a limit to the exceptional characters and exceptional doings to be heard of in San Francisco. Though the city affect -or has been driven into- a quiescent air now, it has hardly ever done anything like any other place. It began with the wild Argonauts of '49, whom Bret Harte has so strikingly portrayed. It had had six great fires, which destroyed property to the amount of $23,000,000, when yet less than three years of age. It was ruled for months, in the year 1856, by a vigilance committee, which rid it of eight hundred evil-doers of one sort and another, the worst by summary execution, the rest by banishment. The politics of the State before the war were Democratic, with a rather strong Southern bias. There was a long feud between the two great Senatorial paladins, Broderick and Gwin, which resulted in the death of Broderick by the duelling-pistol of one of the partisans of the latter. There was the long fight and a final deliverance from an incubus of forged Spanish land titles, the manufacture of which "had become a business and a trade," and which covered the area of the city many times over. Then came the war, and the peculiarities growing out of the retention of a solid currency, while the rest of the country was deluged with a depreciated paper.
The brilliant period, later, when the Bonanza mines were pouring out their floods of riches, and the favorite stocks were running delightfully up and down the gamut from $1 to $700 a share, was followed, as I have said, by a depression of the deepest dye. In the unbearable disappointment of their losses, and the stagnation of trade, a part of the community snatched at a theory held out to them by demagogues, that it was their political institutions which were somehow to blame. Upon this basis a singular new party, wild and half-communistic in character, arose, and met with a brief success. The truckman, Denis Kearney, was its Caius Gracchus or Watt Tyler, and set it in motion with blasphemous mouthings from an improvised tribune in the Sand-lots. It elected a mayor who was at the same time a Baptist preacher. This mayor's son -preacher, too- rode up one day and assassinated at his own door an editor who had passed strictures on their course. The party voted a new constitution, which was thought to be a prelude to universal confiscation, and capitalists fled before it in alarm.
And, finally, this remarkable city, having become the recipient of a Chinese immigration which has given to a part of it the aspect of a portion of the Flowery Kingdom, has been agitated by fears of complete subversion under Orientalism, and has originated new problems for political economy and international law.
After but a tithe of such violent and novel experiences any city would be glad to rest awhile. San Francisco seems entering upon a new period, and likely to do things henceforth more in the normal way. There has been a time of contemplation, and the lessons of the past have struck in. As things have slowly improved the gloom of the reaction has disappeared after the unhealthy inflation that gave it birth. The new political craze was of but short, duration. I never saw anywhere so quietly conducted an election as that of the last autumn, which dismissed the Kearney-Kalloch faction from power. A special provision prevents the approach of any person but the voter immediately engaged within one hundred feet of a polling-place. I had rather expected to see dead and maimed Chinamen lying at every corner, or fleeing before infuriated crowds. But though San Franciscans entertain beliefs of their own as to the undesirability of a great Chinese immigration, during a long stay I neither saw nor heard of an attempt to molest any individual on account of it.
The new constitution itself proved a harmless bugaboo. It is a gratifying tribute, in fact, to native common-sense and Anglo-Saxon ideas that this instrument, produced in a time of great excitement, and, as was charged, with the most subversive intentions, should not only contain so little that is dangerous, but so much in a high degree commendable. It does not harm property. Frightened capital may return with entire safety. I profess myself so far a person of incendiary opinions as to hold that an honest directness of purpose in this new constitution, its effort to simplify legislation and sweep away embarrassments, often maintained much more in the interest of legislator and lawyer than the public good, is well worthy of imitation elsewhere.
Physical and commercial conditions are also changing. Life hereafter will depend less upon spasmodic "finds," and more on the humdrum and legitimate industries. Mining, though the supply of treasure, with improved machinery, still holds out in a uniform way, takes a lesser rank. Agriculture and manufactures come every day more to the front. California produces an annual wheat crop of $50,000,000, a wool crop of $10,000,000, wines to the amount of $4,000,000, and fruits worth as much more, though these last two branches are but in their infancy. Of the greater part of all this San Francisco is the entrepôt.
The smoke of the soft coals of Alaska, Oregon, and Australia too may be allowed to thicken the air to some purpose, since it produces manufactures to the amount of $75,000,000 per annum.