| Hastings Cutoff | Title Page | Preface | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 |
| Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 |


Stock; innumerable herds of. Horses; vast herds of; size of; durability of; variety of colors of; method of catching; great destruction of. Cattle; countless numbers of; superiority of; method of taking; method of branding. Destructive prodigality of Mexicans. Cattle and horses driven to Oregon. Sheep; large numbers of; size of; quality of. Four-horned sheep. Young produced twice annually. Sheep driven to Oregon. Hogs; aversion of Mexicans to; peculiar adaptation to the rearing of. Herdsmen. Adaptation of Eastern section, to grazing purposes. Game of Western section; variety of. Elk; numbers of. A California hunter. Elk valuable for their beef; with what facility killed; largest on the west side of the mountains; easy of domestication. Antelope; great numbers of; peculiarities of; method of killing. Deer; varieties of; comparative numbers of. Bear; different kinds of; numbers of; size of; rapaciousness of; how taken; for what purpose taken. Black and grizzly bear, less numerous. Wolves; different kinds of; great numbers of; troublesome to settlers. Fur-bearing animals; abundance of; proper regard to their preservation. Game of the Eastern section; similar to that of the Western section. Feathered animals; variety of; numbers of. Fish; variety of; abundance of; size of; quality of; how taken; how cured. Shell-fish; abundance of; quality of. Whales; numbers of. Fish of Eastern section. Fisheries; numbers of; inexhaustibleness of; not surpassed by those of Newfoundland.

Stock of all kinds, succeed most admirably, in all portions of the Western section, which, however, would be inferred, from what has been previously adduced. Immense herds, of all the various domestic animals are reared with little, or no expense. They require neither feeding nor housing, and, are always sufficiently fattened, for the slaughter-house. Instead of becoming lean and meager, during the winter, as our herds do, they are always much the fattest, and in the best condition, during that season. Horses are here found, in herds almost innumerable, and they are always in the best condition, for active and laborious service. Although they are rather smaller than ours, they are much more hardy and fleet, and equally as well, if not better proportioned. They endure fatigue much better, than any horses with which I am acquainted; it is not uncommon to ride or drive them, for several days in succession, without either food or rest. It is the practice of the Mexicans to tie them up without food or water, for several days previous to using them; this course, however, is only pursued, when some extraordinary feat is to be performed; as that of riding the same horse a hundred miles in ten hours, which is not unfrequently done. For a Mexican to ride a hundred miles in one day, is not uncommon, nor does it appear to require any extraordinary effort. One hundred miles a day, are as frequently driven by the Mexicans as fifty are by our people, in truth, with them, it is but an ordinary day's ride, which, however, is generally performed with two or three horses, which are alternately ridden, as circumstances require. The usual gait at which those horses are driven, is a fast gallop, at which frequently kept, for many hours in succession, with very slight intervals of rest, of five or ten minutes and that too, without food. I have ridden those horses, over the plains of California, upon six consecutive hours, without the least intermission. This will enable the reader to arrive at a tolerably correct conclusion, in reference to the hardiness, and durability of the California horses, which, although they are rather smaller, are, I think, in many respects superior to our own. They are, generally, better formed, and much more fleet, than our common horses. Among them you will see every variety of color, imaginable, from a jet black, to a snow white. All the varieties of colors found among our horses, are found among them, besides many varieties which are never found among ours. Many are roan, with the exception of their manes, tails and ears, which are black, brown or bay; others are white, with the exception of their manes, tails and ears, which are cream-colored, tipped with bay or black; and others are lead, copper or cream colored, with bay, black or brown ears manes and tails. Perhaps the description given of Jacob's cattle, would be as expressive of the variety of colors, of the California horses, as any that can well be given. They are much better trained for the saddle, than ours, and generally, much better gaited, and more gentle and kindly disposed when broken.

The different farmers always keep a number of herdsmen, whose business it is to drive the horses, from place to place, as it becomes necessary, to seek additional pasturage and who are, usually, Indians or Mexicans of the lowest grade. One of these herdsmen, wishing to catch any horse which he may desire, mounts one of his most fleet horses, which he always keeps under the saddle, for that purpose, and rushes into a band with a "lasso," which, when he has approached within twenty or thirty yards, of the designated steed, he throws, with surprising accuracy, around his neck, and thus he is noosed and secured. They are either taken in the above manner, or they are driven into a "caral," where they are taken, in the manner just described. The "lasso," is a very strong rope, usually made of raw hide, and is about sixty feet in length, at one end of which, there is a noose, which is thrown upon the neck of the horse, as before stated, while the other end, is firmly attached, to the pommel of the saddle. As soon as the "lasso" is thus thrown upon the neck of the horse, designed to be taken, the saddle horse, being, properly trained, immediately braces firmly, in order to guard against the frightful efforts, of the plunging and snorting steed; and from the decided advantage which he has, in pulling by the girth of the saddle, while the other pulls by his neck only, he invariably succeeds in resisting every effort, of the wildest and most powerful. These horses are but slightly smaller than ours, which may, perhaps, be attributed to the entire inattention, to their rearing, which may be seen from the following facts. Many of the farmers have as many as fifteen or twenty thousand head, which are all permitted to range together, with, very little notice or attention, other than that of branding them when young. So numerous are they, that they have frequently been killed by thousands, in order to preserve the vegetation for the cattle, which are considered much the most valuable. Instead of this inhuman and destructive practice, how easily could those indolent beings, drive their horses into the interior, which extends almost a terra incognita, and which everywhere, abounds with spontaneous and inexhaustible vegetation? By this course, they would preserve and increase their stock, but they would also preserve a character, for propriety and humanity; but inherent indolence forbids any course which requires any active exertion. A Mexican always pursues that method of does things, which requires the least physical or mental exorcise, unless it involves some danger, in which case, he always adopts some other method.

The cattle are much more numerous than the horses, herds of countless numbers are everywhere seen, upon all the different valleys and plains, throughout this entire section. It is said that many of the farmers have, from twenty to thirty thousand head. In whatever district you travel, you see many thousands of large fine cattle, which, in herds innumerable are traversing those unbounded plains, of oats, clover and flax, of unparalleled growth. These cattle are undoubtedly superior to ours, especially for the yoke, as they are much larger, and they are equally as valuable for their milk, and much more valuable for their beef, which is always much fatter and more tender, than that of our cattle. When domesticated, they are equally as gentle and as tractable as ours, but before they are domesticate, they are as wild, as the deer or elk. Each farmer however, usually has a many of both oxen and cows, as are required upon his farm which are fully domesticated, but as a general thing, they are not only as wild as the deer and elk, but they are as ferocious as tigers. Such is their ferocity, that it is extremely unsafe, to venture among them otherwise than on horse back, in which manner, persons not only go among them with perfect safety, but a few persons may thus drive and herd them, with the same facility, that they could our cattle. Should a person venture among them on foot when, they are collected in large herds, he would be instantly, attacked and slain, unless he should find refuge, in some position which would prove inaccessible by them. As a general thing, the farmers herd them regularly, and occasionally drive them into a "caral," or enclosure, when their timidity is so increased, and their ferocity is so diminished, that they are caught and branded, with much facility. They are taken, when driven into these "carals," in a manner, similar to that in which, the horses are taken, as before described, but with a slight difference, which I will here notice. The "lasso," instead of being thrown upon their necks, is thrown upon their hindmost legs, when the other end of the "lasso" being firmly attached to the pommel of the saddle, the rider plies the spur, to his horse, and in the twinkling of an eye, the captured bullock, is prostrated upon the ground, plunging and 1eaping, with desperate effort, to acquire an upright position, but all to no purpose. Now the red-hot iron is applied, as the owner direct, giving such impress as he may have selected as his brand, when the "lasso," is detached from his legs, by an Indian, who is very cautious to secure a safe retreat before the infuriated animal again obtains footing. There are stated times, at which the different farmers, thus collect their cattle, for the purpose of branding them, when the various farmers in the same neighborhood, always convene, at each point designated, for the purpose of ascertaining, whether their cattle are intermingled with those of their neighbors. Cattle were reared, formerly, for their hides only, but latterly, they are reared for their hides, tallow and beef. Several respectable gentlemen informed me, that formerly, it was very common for persons to kill, hundreds and thousands, of their cattle merely for their hides leaving the beef of innumerable, fine, fat cattle to the wolves and buzzards. The same gentlemen also informed me, that, in traveling through the plains of the interior, they had often seen the ground strewed, with many hundreds, of large, fat cattle, which had been killed, merely for the hides, and that the bodies being thus exposed to the rays of the sun, the tallow was actually exuding from them, to such an extent, that the surface of the ground was actually saturated with it, for several feet, around each. This affords another instance, of the destructive prodigality of the Mexicans, which, however, is not latterly pursued, but the course pursued by them now, would not be considered sufficiently frugal by an American, as many of them weekly kill, three or four beeves, which are either used or thrown away, by themselves, or their servants. As has been before remarked, both cattle and horses are now driven, in large numbers, to Oregon, and the presumption is, that the increasing emigration, to that country, will render it an extensive market, for the various herds of this country, for many years to come.

Much attention is latterly paid to the rearing of sheep, which are now found in great numbers, and which are of a very superior kind. They thrive extremely well, in all the various portions of the country, but more particularly, in the more elevated and mountainous regions. They are equally as large, and produce quite as much wool as ours, but it is of rather a coarser quality; which fact is, perhaps, partly attributable to the climate, but mostly to a total neglect in reference to their improvement. They produce their young, twice annually, and many of the males have two distinct pairs of horns, or four horns, two upon each side of their heads, each coiling repeatedly around, as do those of the ordinary sheep. Many of the farmers have as many as ten or twelve thousand, of the wool of which, various kinds of coarse cloths and blankets, are manufactured. Sheep are also now driven to Oregon, in numbers sufficient to supply all the different settlers. The Hudson's Bay Company has, latterly, driven many to that country, with which, all its various forts, and settlements are supplied. Hogs are now reared, by the Mexicans, in all the different settlements, but not with a view of making pork; for, from some religious scruple, or some other scruple, or perhaps, from a dislike to eat his kind, a Mexican will not eat pork. Hogs are, therefore, reared by them, merely for the purpose of making soap, of which, by the by, they require large quantities. From the extraordinary abundance of mast here found, the hogs are always fat, so that they require no feeding, at any season of the year. Besides the various fruits upon which they subsist, there are also, very great quantities of edible roots, upon which, as well as upon the oats, clover and the like, they subsist, previous to the falling of the mast. Hogs, like all other animals here, increase to an extent, almost unparalleled, but they are rather inferior to ours, yet they are equally as large, weighing, usually, from one hundred, to six hundred pounds. Herdsmen are always employed, by the different farmers, to take charge, not only of the herds of horses, but also of the cattle, sheep and hogs. These herdsmen always remain with, or in the immediate vicinity, of the different herds, driving them from place to place as circumstances may require, with a view of protecting them from the incursions of the Indians and wolves. The herdsmen thus employed are either, Indians, or the lower order of Mexicans, who are skilled in their particular business, to which, they are very attentive, and in which, they appear to enjoy, almost infinite delight. The Eastern section is also, well adapted to the rearing of herds of all kinds, though as before remarked, it is not as eminently suited to this purpose as the Western section. That this section is suited in more than an ordinary degree, to grazing purposes, will be readily collected from what has been said, upon the former pages, in reference to its climate and productions, but as no experiments have made, in this respect, nothing can be said with definite exactness; however, has been said to enable each, to draw his own conclusions, with some degree of correctness.

The game of the Western section, consists, for the most part, of elk, deer, antelope, bear, wolves, goats, foxes, squirrels, racoons, martens muskrats, beavers, otters and seals. The most numerous of these, are the elk and antelope, which are found in immense numbers in all the various plains and valleys, and upon the hills and mountains. It is very common to see herds, of five or six hundred elk, ranging from vale to vale, amid the oats, clover and flax, with which, the plains and valleys everywhere abound. I remember to have been riding through these plains, with a countryman of ours, when, just as we passed a point of timbered country, near the river, about four or five hundred elk emerged from the woods. As they were passing, score after score, in quick succession, I suggested to my companion, the propriety of shooting one of them, to which he replied, that he "intended to do so," but made no other arrangements, than to dismount. Now, fearing that he would not shoot, until they had all passed, I inquired why he did not shoot. He replied, that he "would in a moment," but he permitted them all to pass, excepting the very last, which he shot, as soon as it came opposite to him, when it ran a short distance, but soon fell. We were instantly at the spot, when the California hunter commenced to divest our victim, of its outer garment. During this process, I inquired of him, why he did not shoot before, when they were much nearer him, and the opportunity was so much more favorable. He replied, that he saw I was no hunter. "The one behind," said he, "I selected because it was the fattest, and I knew it was the fattest because it was behind, for the fat ones cannot run as fast as the lean ones." This view I found to be correct, for a fatter animal, I never saw, in California or elsewhere. In every part of the country, through which I passed, I found them equally abundant. Many of the farmers, instead of killing their cattle, go, or send their servants out, whenever they wish to secure a supply of meat, and kill as many as they may require, for their families, and the Indians in their service. Several of these gentlemen informed me, that they had, very frequently , killed seven or eight each morning, and in less time than one hour. The elk here, are always very fat, and they make the very best of beef, which is, in fact, much tenderer and sweeter, than that of our common cattle. They are much larger than those which are found on this side of the mountains, weighing usually from three to six hundred pounds. They can be as certainly relied upon, for their meat, as the common cattle, for they are very nearly as domestic. They are very easily domesticated, in which state, they are even now found, in various portions of this section, and are seen intermingling with other domestic animals upon the farms.

The antelope are equally as numerous as the elk, and are much more domestic. In whatever direction you travel, you will see many hundreds of them, either grazing upon the plains, or collecting in large flocks, in the shades of the scattering pines, throughout the plains. They are beautiful animals, but neither their skin nor flesh, is as valuable as that of the elk. Their skins are much less valuable, because of their thinness, and hence, inadaptation to the making of leather. In this respect, they very much resemble the skin of the deer, as which, they are equally thick and valuable. Their flesh is much tenderer, than that of either, the elk or deer, but it is also much leaner, and consequently, much less nutritious. These animals have many peculiarities, some of which are, perhaps, worthy of a partial notice. They are extremely domestic, so much so, that they will, at times, remain in the shades of the trees, until you approach within a very few rods of them, when they will bound off slowly, occasionally stopping, and turning towards you, then again, leaping slowly away. Large numbers of them, will very often, trot directly towards you, and gazing intensely at you, they will thus approach, within eight or ten rods of you, when they will leap frightfully away, a distance of several rods, then turning towards you again, they will, with a fast pace, approach very near to you, as before, then standing and looking eagerly at you, they remain until their timidity is again aroused, when they again bound swiftly away. They thus approach, and re-approach, very frequently, and until their curiosity is satisfied, or their fears are aroused, when they leap and bound away, with the velocity of light, and are soon lost in the stallworth vegetation, of the vast valleys. Their curiosity is evidently excited, which is the cause of their thus, approaching and re-approaching. Those who are acquainted with their peculiarity, in this respect, are frequently, able to kill many of them, merely by distending a red handkerchief, or any red cloth, which will so attract their attention, that they will immediately advance, within a few rods of them, where they will stand, gazing upon the cloth, until they are fired upon, when those which are not affected by the fire, gallop slowly away a few rods, when they again advance as before. This is frequently repeated, until dozens of them have fallen victims, to their inherent curiosity. The deer are much less numerous, than either the elk, or antelope, but they are much more plentiful, than they are in the States. There are various kinds of the deer, found in this section, such, for instance, as the white tailed, the black tailed and the moose deer. All of these abound in every part of this section, but because of their comparative wildness, and the great abundance of preferable game, they are very seldom hunted.

Several kinds of bear are also found, such as the black, brown and grizzly bear, all of which, are found in great abundance, especially, the brown bear, which are, frequently seen in herds, of fifteen or twenty in number. Their flesh is much admired by the Mexicans, as food, consequently, they are much hunted; and those are often found, that weigh twelve or fifteen hundred pounds. It is very difficult to distinguish them from the buffalo, when at a distance, for they very much resemble them, both in color and size. They are ferocious, only when attacked, when they will readily give battle, which they conduct with almost unparalleled fury and success. Upon being attacked, they stop a few moments, and until they have successfully repelled every assault, of either man or dog, when they again move swingingly on, until they have secured a safe retreat. The rifle and the "lasso" are, the only weapons, against which, they can not successfully contend. When a foreigner, with a good rifle, carrying about eighteen balls to the pound, happens to come in contact with one of them the contest is soon over; the king of the forest is slain. The "lasso " of the Mexicans, is a weapon, which is also found, too formidable for his majesty, under the repeated assaults of which, he is very readily made to recoil. The process by which, the Mexicans thus take them, is very interesting, especially to those who are unacquainted with Mexican manners and customs. When they wish to capture one of these formidable animals, five or six or them, with chosen, and trained horses, sally forth, to his usual haunts, where, at any time, large numbers are found. Each being supplied with a strong "lasso," and an abundant supply of knives, swords and the like, the battle now commences; one party having a decided advantage, in the multiplicity of weapons, and speed, and the other, having vastly the advantage, in physical strength and courage. The assault, is generally, first made by the Mexicans, who commence a most furious; running charge, both from the front and rear. Seeing his precarious predicament, the bear meets the charge from the front, with such accumulating ferocity and violence, that his assailants are soon put to flight, when he shakes his ponderous head, utters a most terrific growl, and commences a hot pursuit; but soon, the Mexican forces, are brought to bear upon his rear; his hindmost legs are entangled in the :"lasso;" and he is prostrated upon his back, uttering most -piteous, growling cries. The forces of the assailants, are now united, and a lasso is also thrown upon his neck, when the spurs are rapidly plied to the horses, which now exert every energy, every nerve, and soon, the powerful victim is distended upon the ground, in an entirely defenceless condition. As their victim is now completely in their power, they proceed to attach a "lasso " to almost every limb, which being done, they move off, either rapidly or slowly, as their preference and the weight, of their victim, may happen to suggest. Bear are taken in this manner, only when it is desired to take them alive, for the purpose of bear-baiting. The black and grizzly bear, are not as numerous as the brown bear, yet when compared with those of any other country, with which I am acquainted, they may be said to be very numerous. In almost every direction, in which you travel, through the plains and mountains, you will very frequently see, herds of ten or fifteen in number, many of which, are equally as large as the brown bear, but they are generally much smaller, weighing from five, to twelve hundred pounds. These are also taken by the Mexicans, in the manner above stated, but in much less numbers, than the brown bear. Capturing the bear, in this manner, is one of the chief amusements of the Mexicans, and they really evince an energy and bravery, in this kind of conflict, to which they are entire strangers, when in conflict with men, and especially Texians.

Wolves are very numerous in all portions of this section, among which, are the black, gray, and the prairie wolves; the latter of which are very small, but they are much the most numerous and troublesome, Of the former, the gray wolf is much the most numerous, but the black wolf is much the largest, being generally about the size of our common large mastiffs. All the different kinds of wolves, are very troublesome in all the various settlements, into which they make very frequent inroads, not only destroying the hogs and sheep, but also, frequently attacking and destroying even the grown cattle. The cause of there being such, an abundance of all the different kinds of wolves, is, perhaps, that they are , never killed, either by the Mexicans or foreigners. They do not kill them, because they are entirely worthless, and because the people in that country, have not a superabundance of ammunition. In traveling through the valleys of this section, you will pass many hundreds of them during the day, which appear to evince no timidity, but with heads and tails down, in their natural crouching manner, they pass within a very few rods of you. As shooting them would be a waste of so much ammunition, you allow them to pass unmolested, and thus, their timidity is diminished, and their familiarity and numbers are increased. The fur-bearing animals are much more numerous in this section , than in any other portion of the country, west of the Rocky mountains, especially the beavers, otters, muskrats and seals. Besides these, there are all those, enumerated upon another page, which, however, are much less numerous. There are many persons here who follow trapping as a business, and who succeed extremely well. The Hudson's Bay Company extends its operations, to this country also, where in fact, it obtains a greater portion, of its annual collections of peltries. An edict was recently issued by the government of California, which required that company to discontinue the business of trapping in that country; so far, however, it had proved entirely inoperative. The trappers, of that company, were still trapping, in that country when I left, and their labors were attended with extraordinary success. Much more regard is here had, to the preservation of the fur-bearing animals; a governmental regulation exists, which requires the trappers to take them, with strict reference to the proper season, which has tended very much, to prevent their diminution. The game, of the Eastern section, is very much the same, as that in the Western section, with very few exceptions, all the different species found in that, are also found in this section. In addition, however, to the game found in that section, the white bear, the mountain sheep and the buffalo, are also found, in this section. The latter of which, are here found in much greater numbers, than in any other portion of the country, west of the Rocky mountains. In many portions of the country, the plains and hills are literally covered with them. Several tribes of the Indians here, as in Oregon, subsist almost entirely upon the beef of the buffalo, which they are enabled to obtain, in any desired quantities.

The feathered animals, of the Western section, consist chiefly, of geese, ducks, brants, cranes, gulls, pelicans, plovers, eagles, hawks, ravens, woodpeckers, pheasants, partridges, grouse, snow-birds, blue-birds, black-birds, and robins, with a great variety of other birds, common in the States. The former of these, and especially the water-fowls, are vastly numerous, particularly upon the coast, and in the vicinity of the rivers, bays and harbors. During the winter and spring seasons, all the various lakes, bays and rivers, as will as the low lands; and wheat fields, throughout the whole country, are literally covered with the various water-fowls, which appear to have convened here from all the northern world. In many portions of the country, during these seasons, they congregate in such immense numbers, that their unceasing confusion proves noisome in the extreme, to the settlers. The wheat fields and the low lands are their usual haunts, during the winter, when hundreds of them, may be killed, in a few hours. I was informed that one man, could at any time during, the winter, obtain feathers sufficient for a feather-bed, from those which he could kill in a very few hours. When passing down the Sacramento river, and crossing the bay of St. Francisco, I have frequently been greatly annoyed, by the almost deafening, tumultuous and confused noises, of the innumerable flocks, of geese and ducks, which were continually flying to and fro, and at times, blackening the very heavens with their increasing numbers, and making the aerial region ring, with their tumultuous croaking and vehement squeaking. During the winter season, California is truly, a noisy, turbulent region; all the northern world, seems to have given up, its millions of the feathered tribes, which are here in universal convention, having complete possession, of the entire country. However noisome the increasing numbers and the confused noise of these multifarious proprietors of California, may be to the settlers, there- is no prospect of any diminution of either, for they are assembled here, by millions, merely to propagate their kind, and to teach their squeaking young, the art of noisy clamor. The fowls of the Eastern section, are, with very few exceptions, the same as those of the Western section; yet found in much less abundance in this, especially the various water-fowls, but compared to any portion of the States, they would be called very abundant. As they congregate in this region, merely to enjoy its delightful climate, and propagate their kind, it is said, that there are numerous places, where many bushels of their eggs, may be obtained in a few hours. This, however, is the case only in the Western section, where I have no doubt, but that it occurs, for to my own knowledge, as before remarked, there are many places, where the ground is literally covered, and the whole heavens completely blackened, with innumerable flocks, of countless numbers, of geese, ducks, brants, cranes and all the various noisy tribes, of all the feathered creation.

The fish and fisheries, of this country, will next, receive a passing notice, the former of which, are unusually plentiful, in the Western section consisting, cheifly, of salmon, salmon-trout, cod, sturgeon, flounders, carp, perch, ray, lampreys, smelt and eels. A very great variety of shell fish, such as clams, oysters, crabs and muscles, abound, in all the various bays and inlets in the greatest profusion. Whales are also very numerous, everywhere upon the coast, and even in many of the different bays. There are various kinds of the salmon, which are the most numerous, and much the best fish, found in this country, or perhaps in any other country, for I am of the opinion, that they are much the finest fish, any where taken. They are much superior to the salmon of the States, both in flavor and size. Their usual weight is from ten, to fifty pounds, and their length from eighteen inches, to four feet. These, as well as the various other kinds enumerated, abound in all the various rivers of the interior, and in all the different inlets and bays, where they are taken at any season of the year, but they are much more abundant, during the spring and autumn, at which seasons, all the waters are literally full of them, which is evinced by their incessant leaping and plunging. They commence to run in April and October, of each year, each run continuing about two months, during, all which seasons, both Indians and whites are more or less employed, in securing their supplies for the residue of the year, but they are taken chiefly, by the Indians , who here, as in Oregon, take them by a great variety of methods. They take them chiefly, however with seines, which they manufacture, and which are of a very good kind, answering all the purposes of the ordinary seines used by our people. With these they are able, at certain times, to take fifteen or twenty barrels, at a single drought, which they repeat with surprising rapidity. Many of the Mexicans subsist almost entirely upon them while many of the Indians, live wholly upon them, especially during the seasons of their greatest abundance. They are used by the whites in their fresh, dried, or pickled state, while the Indians use them, in their fresh or dried state only. They are dried and prepared here, as in Oregon, merely by exposing them to the rays of the sun, without the aid of salt or any preservative, as ample preservative properties are found in the extreme purity of the atmosphere. The oysters are rather smaller, than those found upon the Atlantic side, but they are of a very excellent kind, being inferior in flavor and in deliciousness to none. They also, as well as the clams and muscles, are taken both by the Mexicans and Indians, in very great quantities, which also form a principal item of their food. Whales are also vastly numerous, not only in the ocean, but also in most of the bays and inlets, and especially, in the bay of Monterey, where many are very frequently seen, even from the streets, alternately leaping and plunging, in the different portions of the bay; first exhibiting their ponderous heads, throwing up vast torrents of water, which are falling in misty spray, then plunging and sinking slowly. away, displaying their protracted backs, and flirting their tails, amid the convulsed waters, they disappear. While some are plunging, others are leaping, as some appear, others disappear, and thus, is the otherwise calm and Pacific ocean, kept in incessant commotion. What adds the greatest importance to these scenes, is the fact, that they are constantly being enacted, and that too, in the very midst of the ships, barques and brigs, in harbor, and in full view of the gentlemen in their offices, and the ladies in their parlors. A strange commingling of oceanic and terrestrial beings! The fish of the Eastern section are not as numerous as those of the Western section nor is there the same variety in that section, yet, all the rivers of that section, also abound with several kinds of the salmon, salmon trout carp, herring. perch, ray and flounders. The great salt lake, of that section, is also said to abound with a great variety of excellent fish. The fisheries of the Western section, are innumerable, and inexhaustible, and they are found in every portion of the country, both upon the coast, and in the interior, but from the very partial demand for the fish, the various fisheries, have not been brought into requisition. The principal fisheries which are now used, to much extent, are those upon the different rivers, and which are usually possessed, by the various tribes of Indians. It is thought that the fisheries of this country, will not be found inferior to those of Newfoundland, and they certainly will not, in reference to their numbers, the quality of their fish, or their inexhaustibleness.

Chapter 9 Chapter 11

contact us - copyright & disclaimer - search - what's new