| 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 |


Settlement and improvement. Forts; description of. New Helvetia; description of; Capt. Sutter in charge of. Suspicions of Mexicans. Determination to expel Capt. Sutter from the country; that purpose abandoned. Pretended friendship of Mexicans. Character of Capt. Sutter; his military taste; his kindness and hospitality. Ross; description of. Military posts; number of; number of soldiers and cannon at each; inefficacy of. Military strength, deficiency of. Missionary stations; number of. How conducted; instruments of cruelty and oppression. Towns; description of. Poabalo below. Monterey; present seat of government. Poabalo above. Yerba Buena; trading establishment of he Hudson's Bay Company at. Mr. Ray in charge; his courtesy and hospitality. Sonoma; beautiful situation of. Settlements disconnected with the forts, missions and towns. Settlement upon the Sacramento; composed chiefly of Americans; prosperous conditions of. Improvements; buildings; fencing. Mills; number of. By whom owned. Steam saw-mill. Steam flouring-mill. Water powers; extent of. New era in improvements.

The settlements and improvements are, chiefly, in connection with the different forts, military posts, and missionary stations, and at the various towns, all of which are confined entirely, to the Western section. Of these, I shall first notice, the forts and military posts, of the former of which, there are but two, one of which, is called New Helvetia, and the other is called Ross. Both of these are now in the possession of, and owned by, Captain Sutter, the former of which he built, and the latter he purchased of the Russians. New Helvetia, the most important of these is situated in a well chosen position, on the south side of the Sacramento, about one mile from its south bank, 100 miles, east by north, from Yerba Buena, at latitude 38? 45' 42" north. In form, it is a sexangular oblong, its greatest length being 428 feet, and its greatest width, 178 feet; 233 feet of its length being 178 feet wide, and the residue but 129 feet wide. It is inclosed by permanent "adobie" walls which are 18 feet high, and three feet thick, with bastions at the corners, the walls of which, are five feet thick. It is entered by three large swinging gates, one of which, is on the north, another on the south side, and the third at the east end. --The first of these, is entirely inaccessible from without, because of a deep, and impassable ravine, which extends the whole length of the fort, on the north; on each side of the second, is a platform, upon each of which, a nine-pounder is planted, and the third is completely commanded, by one of the bastions. There are two bastions, each of which has four guns, two nine-pounders, and two six-pounders; and in all, there are twelve guns, of different caliber. The inner building, of this fort, consist of a large and commodious residence, for the various officers, in connection with which, is a large kitchen, a dining room, two large parlors, the necessary offices, shops and lodging apartments. Besides these, there is also a distillery, a horse-mill and a magazine, together with barracks, for the accommodation of, at least, one thousand soldiers. In connection with the fort, there are one thousand acres of land, under a good state of cultivation, and upon which are all the necessary building, together with an extensive tannery. Of this fort Captain Sutter has charge, in person; he has about one hundred men, constantly in his employment, who annually sow one thousand acres of wheat and have charge of his numerous herds, which, in all , amount to about twenty thousand head. Those, having charge of the various herds, are, generally, Indians, but his building and farming, are superintended chiefly by foreigners. He also has, a large number of experienced trappers, in his service, who have charge of about one thousand traps, and from whose services, he annually realizes several thousand dollars.

Besides the business thus carried on, by the Captain, he is also doing a very extensive business, in a military way. All the usual military formalities, are regularly observed; sentinels are always kept out, day and night, who invariably give the captain, timely notice of the approach of persons, during the day, or of the slightest movement of any thing, in the human form during the night. Here too, the natives are being instructed in the art of war; forty or fifty of them, are taken and instructed, for several months, and until they have acquired, a general knowledge, of military tactics; when they are turned off, and forty or fifty others are taken, who are drilled and trained, in the same manner, when they are also dismissed, and others taken in their stead, and so on continually.-- The Mexicans, not being able to divine the cause, of all this military parade, at one time, became very suspicious, that all was not right; and finally, their suspicions were increased to such an extent, that they determined to effect the captain's unceremonious expulsion, from the country, of which determination, he was duly advised. The captain took the matter under consideration, and soon determined, to resist any attempted encroachment, upon his rights, and accordingly, informed the government of his determination. The government, however, proceeded to make its preliminary arrangements, for his expulsion, preparatory to which, a spy was sent, in the disguise of a friend, to the captain's fort, in order to ascertain his true position, as to vulnerableness, and means of resistance.-- Upon the arrival of this mysterious visitor, an enemy in disguise, "a wolf in sheep's clothing," or a Mexican in man's clothing, the captain soon suspected his object, and informed him, that he must immediately depart, or he would, at once, order him to be put in irons, and, at the same time, informed him, that if the government, whose spy he was, thought proper to attempt his expulsion from the country, he was perfectly willing, at any time, to test its ability to accomplish that object. -- This hypocritical visitor, now made rather an irregular disappearance, amid the jeers, taunts and threats, of the captain's men, and if he was not prepared to report to his owners, that the captain was invincible, he was fully prepared to report that the captain thought himself invincible, which would be precisely the same thing, as far as Mexicans were concerned. The government finding, that the captain was not to be deterred, and that an attempt to effect his expulsion, would be attended with dangerous consequences, of course, abandoned the undertaking. Ever since that time, the government has treated the captain with extraordinary kindness, bestowing upon him, the office of alcalde, and other little governmental favors, designed to repair the cloak of hypocrisy, which had been so seriously lacerated, in the above transaction. The truth however, is, that the Mexicans look upon the captain, with much more than ordinary suspicion, notwithstanding their pretended friendship; but whether they are justified, in viewing the captain, with some little suspicion, I do not pretend to say, as to that, each will judge for himself. Having heard thus much, in reference to this gentleman, many might be led to inquire, more particularly, as to the captain; I will therefore remark, that he is a Swede by birth; he emigrated, at an early day, to the United States, where he resided for several years, residing most of the time, at St. Louis and St. Charles, in Missouri, and in 1839, he emigrated to California, where he has since remained. His military taste, as well as his military title, was derived from his service in Bonapart's army, to which he was attached, for several years. A more kind and hospitable gentleman, it has seldom been my fortune to meet. Such is his treatment of all foreigners, who visit him, that when, they leave him, they are compelled to do so, with much regret, and under many obligations, for his continued, untiring and gentlemanly attentions.

Ross is the other fort, to which I have alluded, as belonging to captain Sutter; it is situated on the, coast, near the bay of Bodaga, at latitude 38? 55' 42" north. It is about sixty rods square, and is inclosed by a strong, wooden wall, which is two feet thick, and eighteen feet high. The interior buildings consist of two large and commodious dwelling houses, for the officers, two magazines, store-houses, a prison, a chapel, shops for tile various mechanics, and barracks for several hundred soldiers. In connection with the fort, there is a large farm, about two hundred acres of which, are in a good state of cultivation, and upon which, there is a good orchard, a vineyard, a horse and wind-mill and several dwelling-houses, stables and barns. Agricultural pursuits, and, the rearing of herds of cattle, horses and sheep, are the chief objects of attention, at this establishment. Such persons are in charge, from time to time, as the captain designates for that purpose. Here as at New Helvetia, large numbers of Indians are also employed, who conduct the agricultural operations, and who have charge of the various herds. A great abundance of fruit, such as apples, pears, and peaches, is here, annually produced, and perhaps, in greater quantities, than in any other portion, of the country.

The military posts, which belong to the government, I will now merely enumerate, without giving a description of each, for to do which, would extend these pages far beyond their present limits, and would, perhaps, convey no very important additional information. All that is deemed necessary, then, will be merely to give the names, of each post, together with the number of soldiers and cannons at, and in connection with each. At Paobalo below, there are thirty soldiers, and twelve cannons; at St. Deigo, there are twelve soldiers, and two cannons; at Santa Barbara there are twenty soldiers, and six cannons; and at Monterey, there are two hundred soldiers, and twelve cannons; at Santa Cruz, six soldiers and, two cannons; at St. Joseph, six soldiers, and two cannons; at St. Francisco, fifteen soldiers, and six cannons; and at Sonoma, thirty soldiers and five cannons. None of these are forts, nor are they properly, military posts; they consist in nothing more, than a few men being stationed, at the different towns, and missions above enumerated, with a few guns as each, which, however, are never in order for use, nor are they designed for use. The object of these posts, as they are called, appears, merely to be, to awe the lower order of Mexicans, into submission to the law, and the observance of order, and all empty gun, answers that purpose, as well as a loaded one. As an instance of the inaptitude, of these posts, for the prosecution of successful warfare, either offensive, or defensive, I will relate an occurrence, which was narrated to me, by a gentleman at St. Francisco. Upon the arrival of an American man of war, into the. bay, of St. Francisco, a messenger was dispatched, from on board, to the military post at that place, for the purpose of ascertaining, whether the officer in command, would return a salute, if fired from the ship. The officer hesitated for a moment, but finally replied, that he was entirely out of powder, but that he would endeavor to get some, and return the salute. He made several unsuccessful efforts, at the different stores, where it appeared that neither himself, nor, his government, had any credit, but finally, my informant furnished him with the powder, upon a credit when the officer repaired to his post, and after working with an old, rusty cannon, a few hours, he informed the commander of the ship, that all was in readiness. But upon attempting to return the salute, the officer found that all was not quite ready, for it was with the greatest difficulty, that he could succeed in discharging the rusty gun, but he did finally succeed, and thus, the honor of the nation stands unimpaired, but, its credit is much impaired, for the powder was not paid for, up to the last accounts. From the foregoing, the actual military strength, of California, is seen to be, three hundred and nineteen Indian soldiers, forty-seven rusty cannons, and no ammunition. In addition to the military force, above enumerated, about six or seven hundred troops might, possibly, be raised in an extreme case, which would make the entire force of this country, at about one thousand Mexicans troops. The soldiery of this country, like that of all other parts of Mexico, consists of the very lowest order of Mexicans, who are, in fact, nothing more nor less, than the most degraded and wretched, of those, timid and inert aborigines.

The missionary stations will next, receive a passing notice, which will consist, merely of a statement, of their number, and a general description of them, collectively. In all, there are twenty missionary stations, ten of which, are very valuable in lands, horses, cattle and vineyards, the residue of which, are valuable only in lands and vineyards. These are all, extensive establishments, which are occupied by the catholic priests, and others, ostensibly for the purpose of christianizing the Indians, immense numbers of whom, are connected with each station, and who are under the absolute control, of the most despotic and inhuman priesthood. The practical effect of these establishments has, thus far, been, to crowd those vast plains and valleys, in their vicinity, with countless herds of large, fine cattle, horses and sheep, to plant and grow extensive vineyards, of those delicious grapes, and to erect spacious, and palace-like edifices, for the accommodation of those religious oppressors, who are there thought to be, the authorized keepers, not only of the consciences of men, but also of the keys of both heaven and hell. A further effect of these establishments has been, not only to enslave and oppress, thousands of these timid and unsuspecting aborigines, but also to reduce all the common, and lower orders, of the people, to a most abject state of vassalage, and to stamp indellible ignorance and superstition, upon their imbecile and uncultivated minds. In order to show more fully, the vast amount of menial servitude, which has been, from time to time, thus forcibly imposed upon, the various weak and inoffensive tribes of Indians, whom fortune, or rather misfortune, has thus exposed, to the absolute despotism, of a monarchal priesthood, I will here, give a brief exhibit of the extraordinary wealth and power, of these very devoted and praiseworthy religious instructors. At many of the different stations, they frequently have from five, to fifteen thousand head of horses, and from ten, to thirty thousand head of cattle, besides many thousands of sheep, and hundred of hogs, all of which, are reared by those Indians, most of whom, have been dragged forcibly into their service. So numerous are the herds, reared at many, of these stations, and so little do these profligate priests, regard the toil and labor, which their rearing has cost the poor, and oppressed natives, that they have, in many instances, required the Indians to kill many thousands of them, merely for their hides. I was informed by several resspectable foreigners that there was an instance, but a few years since, of one of those priests causing twenty thousand head, of large fine cattle to be killed for the hides only, leaving their tallow and beef, at the disposal of the various carnivorous animals, which there abound, in countless numbers. In connection with most of these stations, there are also, large vineyards, containing from five to fifteen acres of thrifty vines producing a superabundance of large and delicious grapes, from which vast quantities of the most excellent wine are extracted, and always kept on hand, for the use and benefit of the more than regal priesthood. Buildings of various kinds are, erected in connection with each of these stations, among which, are not only the magnificent residences of the priests, but also all other buildings, the erection of which, either the convenience or the pride of the priests, happens to suggest. Among those, the erection of which, is suggested by their pride, are of course, many magnificent, and vastly expensive churches, which are well supplied with golden images, which are held by many, as the mere insignia of the Divine presence, while many others, who are the more ignorant, view them not as mere images, but as so many Gods in reality. It is estimated, that the entire wealth, of all these missionary settlements, including the herds and lands, together with all the various improvements, amounts to about four hundred thousand dollars, which immense amount, has been extracted, either from the helpless and defenceless aborigines, in forced labor, or from the ignorant and superstitious Mexicans, in the exaction of unholy tithes.

There have been numerous instances, of those missionary general's, having armed companies, of Mexicans and subdued Indians, whom they have sent out, for the purpose of dragging the defenceless, naked natives to the missions, with no other view, than that of enslaving them, but ostensible with the laudible view of christianizing them, which, by the by, affords them a very plausible pretext, for the accomplishment of their inhuman purposes. These companies meeting with the least resistance, have, frequently, fired upon their unoffending victims, and slain them by scores, and thus, in the extreme anxiety of these priests, in reference to the future welfare, of these poor and benighted beings, and in their most divine and christian determination, to save human souls, they, as far as they have the power, destroy both soul and body. To quiet the consciences of these bloody tyrants, religion is brought to their aid. They insist, that, notwithstanding all the apparent oppression, outrage and death, which they are daily inflicting upon the natives, yet it is a great blessing to them, for the sooner the finally obstinate are cut off, the better for them, as their longer continuance on earth, only enhances their guilt here, and increases their punishment hereafter; and the converted are paid, more than a hundred fold, for all their sufferings and deprivations, by being permitted to share the never-ending joys of heaven, with their cruel oppressors. These are some of the many blessings, resulting to those whom they convert; and they do really convert: but not to christianity; they convert them to their own use; a clear case of trover and conversion. These flagrant oppressions are not confined to the Indians, but they are extended, in a greater or less extent, to all the Mexicans, which may be seen, from an occurrence which I will now relate. Upon the decease of a very elderly, and extremely wealthy farmer, in the northern part of California, the priests applied to the heirs, for an appropriate dividend of the property of the deceased, which was one tenth of the entire estate. The deceased had for several years, refused to pay tithes to the priest, and his heirs followed his example, and also refused to pay the tithes, because of which, the priests became so highly offended, that they refused absolutely, to perform the ordinary religious rites, or to permit the friends of the deceased, to inter the corpse within the consecrated grounds. According to the superstitions, of these people, to inter the corpse elsewhere, and especially, "without the benefit of the clergy," would be tantamount, not only to excluding the spirit of the deceased, from the joys of heaven, but also, to heaping upon it, all of the woes of hell. This thought, the friends of the deceased, could not, for a moment, endure, consequently, they at once, proposed to pay the tithes, and thereby, secure the immediate interment of the body, and ultimate happiness of the spirit of their deceased friend; but, as astonishing as it may appear, the priests now refused to receive a tenth, but demanded one fifth of all the property of the decedent. With this most unreasonable, and unjust demand, the heirs of the deceased, of course, refused to comply, but embalmed and preserved the body, as they best could, until they, could apply to the governor, who was then, about four hundred miles from that place. A courier was accordingly dispatched, to the residence of the governor, where he arrived in a few days, when all the facts, and attending circumstances, having been made known to the governor, he immediately, issued his edict, requiring the priest, who resided in the neighborhood of the deceased, not only to yield his assent, to the interment of the corpse, in the consecrated ground, but also, to perform the accustomed saving rites, and that too, in his own proper person. This edict reached the obstinate divine, in a very few days, who upon receiving which, immediately, though very reluctantly, proceeded to the discharge of the important duty, imposed upon him by the governor, not of the universe, but of California. Notwithstanding three weeks had elapsed, since the death of the deceased, the burial now took place, within the consecrated grounds, and under all the clerical pomp and parade, which are customary, upon such occasions. Thus the blessing of heaven were secured; the woes of hell averted; the heirs were permitted to retain their rightful property; and, for once, the priests in all their might, were subjected to an inglorious defeat, even in California. The Mexicans are now discovering that no good, but much evil is arising from, those missionary establishments, consequently, they have determined to convert them to their own use, which in truth, they have absolutely done, in one or two instances. A large majority, of all the Californians, are much opposed to the existence of these institutions, the consequence of which, will eventually be, that, as they are public property, they will be made available, and converted to the public good, golden images and all. This would, undoubtedly, be perfectly right, for they are now, nothing more nor less, than powerful engines, of high-handed oppression, relentless cruelty, and unremitting sinfulness.

There are but five towns in this country, all of which are situated upon or in the vicinity of the coast. The largest of these is called Poabalo, which is situated near latitude 33 deg. north, a few miles east from the coast. It contains a population, of about fifteen hundred, consisting chiefly of Mexicans and Indians. There are very few foreigners at this place, even fewer, than there are at several of the smaller towns. It contains about two hundred buildings, which are small, and otherwise inferior, the walls of which, are generally, constructed of "adobies;" which are dried brick, and the roofs chiefly of tiles; they are but one story, though many of them, are very convenient. Although this town is the largest found in this country, yet from the fact of its being, situated in the interior, it is of much less importance, than those which I shall subsequently describe. In point of population, Monterey is the second town but from its situation upon the bay of Monterey, and from its being seat of government it is a much more important town than any other in the country. It is situated on the south side, of the bay of Monterey, in full view of the ocean, and near latitude 37 deg. north, containing a population of about one thousand, which consists, principally, of Mexicans and Indians. Including those within its suburbs, it contains about one hundred buildings, the walls of which, are also chiefly constricted of "adobies," and the roofs of tile. These buildings, like those of Poabalo, are also very cheaply constructed, and are, generally, but one story high, yet the governor's house, and those of several of the foreigners, are exceptions to this; that of the governor, especially, is rather a spacious and convenient dwelling. There are many more foreigners at this place than at any other town in the country. They consist of Americans, Englishmen and Frenchmen, but they are chiefly Americans. This town is situated upon one of the most beautiful sites for a town, or even for a city , that I have ever beheld; being a gently undulating plain, with a single, small pine or oak, interspersed here and there, without any undergrowth, surrounded by a vast interior, of fertile plains and valleys, and in full view of rolling billows, and the lashing surf, of that unbounded ocean; it wears a most picturesque and grand appearance. This is, in all respects, a most delightful and favorable site, for a great commercial emporium, as which it is undoubtedly, destinated ultimately to be occupied. The third town, in point of population, is Poabalo, which is the same name as that given the first town mentioned; they are distinguished, however, by the addition of above and below, that being called Poabalo below, and this Poabalo above. It is situated about four leagues from the coast, north northeast from Monterey, and near latitude 37 deg,. and 20 min. north. Including Mexicans, Indians and foreigners, it has a population, of about five hundred, which consists, chiefly, of Mexicans and Indians. There are fewer foreigners at this town, than at any other in the country, in proportion to the population, unless, perhaps, there maybe fewer at Poabalo below. The buildings or this town, like those of Monterey and Poabalo below, are small, and cheaply constructed, the walls of which, are of "adobies," and the roofs of tiles. In all, there are about seventy buildings, among which, there are a few framed dwelling-houses, which are chiefly situated in the suburbs, and are principally owned by foreigners.

The only towns remaining to be noticed, are Yerba Buena and Sonoma, the former of which, is the fourth town in reference to its population, but it is the second, if not the first, in point of local positiou. Yerba Buena is the Spanish name, given this place, which signifies, in the English language, good herb, and which was given it, because of a certain herb's growing in great abundance, in its vicinity. This place, however, among the foreigners, has always borne the name of St. Francisco, which name, it will be most likely, to retain. It is located on the north side, of the bay of St. Francisco, about two miles from the entrance of that bay, near latitude 38 deg. north, containing a population of about two hundred ,which consists of Mexicans and Indians, but there are more foreigners at this place, than at any other town in the country, in proportion to the population. It contains about fifty buildings, which unlike those of the other towns enumerated, are, chiefly, wooden buildings, which is owing to the fact of their having been built, by the foreigners. This is a very delightful site for a town, but it is rather limited in extent, it being but about eighty rods, from the bay, to the base of the range of hills, which lie between it and the ocean. That portion of the site which lies between the bay and the hills, is a beautiful, gradually undulating plain, immediately in front of which, is an extensive and safe harbor, in which hundreds of ships, of the largest class, may ride in perfect safety. This situation, although limited, may very easily be extended, to a sufficient extent, with the trivial expense, of a few excavations and other improvements. The extensive and secure anchorage, in the vicinity of this situation, as well as its proximity to the entrance, and to the coast, has thus far, given it the preference, to the numerous other sites, which are found at various points, upon this great bay. The most extensive and secure anchorage, is to be found, in almost every portion of this bay, in connection with which, are numerous situations for towns and cities, which are of large extent, and extraordinary beauty. In view of these considerations, I am inclined to the belief, that some other point, which is more advantageously situated, and more extensive, will, eventually, be rejected as the situation, of that great commercial emporium, which is, beyond a doubt, destined, at no distant period, to be reared up, at some point upon that great inland sea. The importance of the site upon which Yerba Buena is situated, must readily be seen, for although, it is not the most eligible site, which may be found upon that bay, yet, as it is the first town commenced in that vicinity, it may, for that reason alone, acquire a lasting preference, over all other, even more favorable situations. The Hudson's Bay Company having seen, the superior importance, of that section of country, located at that place , at an early day, where it now has an extensive trading establishment, at which, a very extensive trade, is now carried on, both with the Mexicans and the foreigners. The gentleman in charge of that establishment, is Mr. Raye, who is not only a very intelligent business man but also an honorable kind and hospitable gentleman. He receives and entertains foreigners with the utmost kindness and attention and without regard to their national origin, his unremitting attentions are bestowed upon them, while they remain at Yerba Buena; and even when they take their departure, this gentleman is seen waving his hat, in tokens of kind remembrance, and lasting friendship. Sonoma is the only town, which remains unnoticed, and which is situated an the north side of the bay of St. Francisco, near latitude 38 deg. and 20 min. north.. It contains about twenty wooden and "adobie" buildings, with a population of about one hundred, consisting of Mexicans and Indians. The site occupied by this place, is a most beautiful and fertile, though small valley, in some part of which, there will most likely, eventually be a town of some considerable importance.

The principal settlements, which are disconnected with the forts, missions and towns, are chiefly within ten or twelve leagues of the coast, with the exception of those upon, and in the immediate vicinity, of the Sacramento, which are from ten to fifty leagues from the coast, and which are the most extensive of all the interior settlements of California. These settlements are made up, almost entirely, of foreigners, and chiefly, of Americans, consisting of about two hundred persons, thirty-three of whom, arrived with me, in that country, in the autumn of 1843, but the greater portion of them, had resided there for several years previous. They all have fine herds of cattle and horses, with farms, under a good state of cultivation, upon which, they grow a great abundance of wheat, corn, oats and flax, as well as a great variety and superabundance of vegetables, and that too, with very little labor or expense. Many of these settlers are in very prosperous circumstances, and they are all doing extremely well, considering the very short period, of their residence in that country. They usually sow annually, several hundred acres of wheat, from which they are not only able to supply themselves, but also to supply all the emigrants who are annually arriving, as well as to furnish much for exportation. All the farmers, throughout the different portions of the country, are succeeding extremely well; they all grow considerable grain, and especially wheat, but they devote their chief attention to the rearing of cattle, horses, and sheep. As has been before stated, many of them have, as many as fifteen or twenty, thousand head of cattle, and as many horses, and from five to fifteen hundred sheep. The foreigners here, conduct their agricultural labors, very much as they do in the states, but, their improvements are materially different; they seldom construct rail fences, as they find it is less expensive, to inclose their lands by ditches, or to employ a few Indians to guard their crops, until they are matured and harvested. Crops are thus very easily protected, as the country is but sparsedly settled, and as the plains and valleys, everywhere abound, with oats and clover, so that there is very little inducement, for the various herds to intrude upon the cultivated lands. In the present thinly settled state of the country, an Indian will effectually guard, a hundred acres; hence crops are protected, in this manner, with much less expense, than they could be by fencing. Fencing, by, ditching, is attended with much less expense, than fencing in the ordinary manner. not because timber cannot be obtained, but because the Indians perform all labor of that kind, with much expertness, and because they are entirely unacquainted with the business of making rails. The buildings upon the various farms, here and throughout all the interior, like those in the towns, are, chiefly, of "adobies," which are found, by experience, to make much the best buildings. These buildings are preferred for various reasons; they are much less expensive, and they are much cooler, and more pleasant in the summer, and warmer in winter, than either those made of stone, the ordinary brick, or of wood. But the chief circumstance, which gives them the preference, is that the Indians are able to perform all the labor, in their construction. The roofs are either of tiles or shingles, and the first floors are, generally, of "adobies," of the same size and kind, as those of which the walls are constructed. The farmers find all the materials, for this kind of buildings, wherever they wish to build, and by calling a few Indians to their aid, they are able, at any time, to complete a very comfortable building, of this kind, in a very few days. This species of building, is thought to be equally as permanent and durable, as either those constructed of brick or stone, especially in a climate of so very little rain, and of such extraordinary dryness and aridity. The same kinds of buildings, I find, are used, in all the southern portion of Mexico, where they are much preferred, and for the same reason, that they are here preferred.

All of these settlements, as well as those connected with the forts, missions and towns, are supplied with all the means of subsistence within themselves, they not only rear their own herds, grow their own grain and vegetables, but they also make their own cloth; and they are all supplied with flouring-mills, which answer all the purposes of each settlement. These mills are other horse-mills or wind-mills, yet they are found to answer all useful purposes, of all the different settlements, forts, missions and towns. These are the only kinds of flouring-mills, in the country, as yet, but a steam flouring-mill was in contemplation, and in truth, it was commenced, and in a forward state of progression when I left that country. Lumber is generally sawed by hand, as there are but few saw-mills, as yet, in the country. There were but two saw-mills in operation in the autumn of 1843, one of which was owned by a Mr. Graham, and the other by a Mr. Yunt, both of which gentlemen, are countrymen of ours. Besides these, there was also a steam saw-mill, which was then, recently commenced, by a Capt. Smith, who is the proprietor of the steam flouring-mill, before alluded to, and who is also a countryman of ours. Both of these mills were in a state of completion, when I left that country, the frames and other wooden work, were very nearly finished; the engine, and other machinery had been received, and were being erected. It was thought that both of these mills, would be fully completed, by the first of January 1843, at farthest. These mills are being erected at Bodaga which has been before described, and which is a very favorable position, for machinery of that kind, especially, for a saw-mill, as the whole surrounding country, abounds with the most admirable timber, for lumber and ship-building. Here I will take occasion to remark, that the reason of machineries' not being established, in this country, to a greater extent, is not that there is not a sufficient number of sites, favorable for that purpose, for there are very few portions of the country, but that abound with the most eligible sites, for extensive machinery of any kind. Many of those portions of the country, in the vicinity of the different bays, and of the coast generally, as well as those portions far in the interior, afford numerous favorable situations, for extensive machinery. The only cause of machineries' having been introduced to so limited an extent, are, that the very sparce settlement, and the general inattention to the industrial pursuits, would not, heretofore, have warranted such expensive enterprises, and that, foreigners of that sterling enterprise, requsite to develope the resources of that delightful country, have not, until quite recently, turned their attention to that remote region. But now, a different state of things exists; a new era in the improvements of Calafornia has commenced; here as in Oregon, foreigners from all countries, of the most enterprising and energetic character, are annually arriving,. selecting and improving the most favorable sites for towns, and selecting and securing extensive grants of land, in the most desirable portions of the country.

Chapter 10 Chapter 12

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