The soil is extremely varied, not only in the two sections, but also in the different portions of each section; the hills and mountains being entirely sterile, and valleys and plains extremely fertile. That of the valleys is vastly rich and productive, so much so in fact, that I think, I venture nothing when I say, that it is not only not surpassed, but that it is not even equaled. The deep, rich, alluvial soil of the Nile, in Egypt, does not afford a parallel. Remarks like these, I am aware, are apt to be considered as mere gratuitous assumptions; but to ascertain how far they are sustained by fact, the reader is referred to the sequel, especially that part of it, which treats of the productions, which it is believed , will not only convince him of their truth, but may, perhaps, induce him to indulge in assumptions and speculations, even more enlarged. The soil of the various valleys of the Western section, varies from a rich, alluvial, to a deep, vegetable loam, upon strata of sand, gravel, clay or trap rock. That of the plains, is, principally, a deep, brown vegetable loam, or decomposed basalt, with a substratum, of stiff clay, or gravel and sand. And that of the hills, is chiefly, a brown, sandy loam, or a loose, gravelly soil. The mountains, and most of the more elevated hills, are generally entirely barren, and consist principally of primitive rocks, such as talcon slate, and other argillaceous stone, with hornblend and granite. The less elevated hills consist chiefly, of basalt, slate and marble. Gypsum and a kind of white clay, are also found, in many places; the latter of which, is very abundant, and which is used extensively by the inhabitants, for the purpose of whitewashing their dwelling houses, both externally and internally. It is also used for the purpose of cleansing, as a substitute for soap, and for this purpose, it is found to be most admirably adapted. It may be estimated, that about two thirds, of all the Western section, are cultivable lands, and that three fourths of it, including the arable lands, are pasturable lands, to each of which purposes, the whole section, to the extent, and in the proportions stated, is peculiarly suited. The remaining part of this section, which is the extremely mountainous portion, is noted for its extraordinary barrenness and sterility. The soil of the valleys of the Eastern section, is in all respects, similar to that of the valleys, of the Western section; that of the plains is a deep brown loam, with a subsoil, of sand or clay; and that of the hills, is usually a light, brown, vegetable earth, having a substratum of gravel, sand or clay. The mountains, and hills, like those of the Western section, are or the most part, entirely sterile, yet as before remarked, there are many portions of the hills and mountains even, that are tolerably productive. There is a much greater variety of soil in this, than in the Western section; in one days ride, may pass over every possible variety of soil, from the most fertile, to the most barren and unproductive. The mountains are, generally, composed of talcon slate, granite, hornblend and other primitive rock, and the hills are, principally, composed of marble, limestone, basalt and slate. The white clay before spoken of, is also found in this section, in great abundance. The proportion of barren land, is much greater in this, than in the Western section. As nearly as I could ascertain, about one third, of the whole section, is susceptible of cultivation, while about two thirds, including, the arable lands, are well suited to grazing purposes, and the remaining third, for extraordinary unfruitfulness, and entire destitution, of all fecundity, can be surpassed, only by some portions of Oregon, which are seldom, if ever surpassed, in worthlessness.
The information which I was able to acquire, does not afford me sufficient data, upon which to predicate any very accurate conclusions, in. reference to the mineral resources of California; but sufficient investigations have been made, to determine that many portions. of the mountainous regions, abound with several kinds of minerals, such as gold, silver, iron, lead and coal, but to what extent, the extreme newness and unexplored state of the country, utterly preclude all accurate determination. It is, however, reported in the city of Mexico, that some Mexicans have, recently discovered a section of country, in the extreme interior of California, which affords ample evidences, of the existence of both gold and silver ore, in greater or less quantities, for thirty leagues in extent. Since this report is so very extraordinary, and since it originated as above stated, the safest course would be, to believe but about half of it, and then, perhaps, we should believe too much. Dr. Sandels, a very able mineralogist, who had for some time been employed in his profession, by the government of Mexico, spent four or five months, in mineralogical investigation, in upper California. It was from this gentleman, that the above information was derived, hence it is entitled to implicit reliance.
The climate of the Western section, is that of perpetual spring, having no excess of heat or cold, it is the most uniform and delightful . The mean temperature, during the year, is about 61? Fahrenheit; that of the spring is 66?; that of the summer 70?; that of the autumn 67?; and of the winter is 61? Fahrenheit. The mean temperature of the warmest month is 74?, and that of the coldest month, is 48? Fahrenheit. This statement is not designed to apply to the entire Western section, for in the extreme northern portion, it is rather colder than would appear from this, while in the extreme southern portion, it is rather warmer. It is applicable particularly, to the latitude of 37? north, though very little difference will be found, in all the various portions of this section, which will be seen from the following statement. In the extreme northern portion snow sometimes falls, but it very seldom lies more than two or three hours, always disappearing at the rising of the sun; but even here, running water never freezes, nor does standing water ever freeze, thicker than common window glass. In the southern portion, and even as far north as latitude 38? north, snow, frost and ice are unknown. An equability of temperature is found, in all portions of this section, which very few portions of the world afford, none, perhaps, unless it be some portions of Italy. In many portions of this section, immediately upon the coast, it is warmer in the winter season, than in the summer. This is attributable to the fact, of the winds blowing regularly from the north or northwest, during the summer, and from the south, southwest or southeast during the winter, which also accounts for the extraordinary mildness of the climate, during all seasons of the year. Compared with the climate, in the same latitude, on the east side of the Rocky mountains, the difference is almost incredible. It is milder on the Pacific coast, in latitude 42? north, than it is in 32? north on the Atlantic coast, being a difference of more than ten degrees of temperature, in the same latitude. No fires are required, at any season of the year, in parlors, offices or shops, hence fuel is never required, for any other than culinary purposes. Many kinds of vegetables are planted and gathered, at any and every season of the year, and of several kinds of grain, two crops are grown annually. Even in the months of December and January, vegetation is in full bloom, and all nature wears a most cheering, and enclivening aspect. It may be truly said of this country, that "December is as pleasant as May." The remarks here made, in reference to the mildness, and uniformity of the climate, are applicable only to the valleys and plains, for the mountains present but one eternal winter. Hence it is seen, that you may here enjoy perennial spring, or perpetual winter at your option. You may in a very few days, at any season of the year, pass from regions of eternal verdure, to those of perpetual ice and snow, in doing which, you pass through almost every possible variety of climate, from that of the temperate, to that of the frigid zone.
The rainy season is, generally, confined to the winter months, during which time, rains fall very frequently, though not incessantly. During all this season, the weather is alternately rainy and clear; one third, perhaps, of the whole season is rainy, and the residue is clear and delightful weather. The rainy season here, although it is confined to a portion of the same season of the year, as that in Oregon, yet it differs, in many respects, from the rainy season, in that country. There, the rains are almost incessant, but slight, while here they are much less frequent, but pour down in torrents. The only rain, which falls in this country is during the rainy season, during, the residue of the year, scarcely a drop of rain ever falls; but there have been a few instances of its falling, late as April and May, though, this is very seldom. In addition to the moisture accumulated by the earth, during the winter season, the vegetation always receives additional moisture from the dews, during the summer. It would seem that the inhabitants of a country, watered only by the rains of three months, and the dews of the residue of the year, must suffer intensely, from the effects of such continued drought, but such is not the case in this country. The extraordinary mildness of the climate, together with the falling, of the rains, causes the vegetation to put forth early in the month of December, and to mature in the spring, or very early in the summer. So it is of wheat, and other grains, being sown in November or December, they are matured in the spring, or early in the Summer, and before they are affected by the drought. In many portions of the country, the vegetation, so far from being injuriously affected by the drought, is seen in full bloom, during every month of the year. This remark, however, only applies to a certain species of vegetation, which, perhaps, derives a sufficiency of moisture from the dews. It is true, that crops of wheat, corn, and the like, are much effected by the drought whenever there has been a deficiency of rain, during the previous rainy season. When rains fall in abundance during the winter, it is held as a sure prelude, and in fact, an assurance, of an abundant crop, the ensuing summer; but, if there is an insufficiency of rain, crops are less abundant. Seasons which are preceded by a rainy season, which produces a deficiency of rain, are called dry seasons. These are said to occur, generally, once in four or five years, yet latterly, two dry seasons have occurred, in succession. Although the crops of the dry seasons, are much less abundant than those of the ordinary season, yet as will more fully appear, upon a subsequent page, the crops even of a dry season. are much better here, than they are at any time, in. Oregon, or even in most of the States.
The climate of the Eastern section is much more variable, than that of the Western Section and is subject to much greater excesses, of both heat and cold. This is attributed to its contiguity to, and its being surrounded almost entirely by, the various mountains, many of which are covered with perpetual snows. A further reason is found, in the fact of its being cut off, almost entirely, from the pacific influence of the ocean. The mean temperature of this section, is about 58 deg. Fahrenheit, judging from such facts as I was able to collect, upon this subject, for we have not the same data, in reference to the climate of this section. Snow sometimes falls in some portions of this section, especially in the vicinity of the mountains, but it very seldom lies, more. than two or three days. Running water never freezes, only in the immediate neighborhood of the mountains, nor does standing water ever freeze, in portions remote from the mountains, more than the eighth of one inch in thickness. There are numerous valleys in this section, which have as mild winters, as do any portions of the Western section. Many portions are also found here, as in the Western section, where snow, frost, and ice, have never been known. These facts are ascertained, from the Indians and trappers, who inhabit those regions. This section is also, subject to the influence of the southern winds, which prevail during, the winter, as its southern extremity, is not entirely walled in by mountains, as it is elsewhere, but it is much less affected by either, the southern or northern winds, than the Western section. The excessive heat, which would otherwise prevail here, is vastly diminished, by the strong north and north westerly breezes, which pour in the cold atmosphere from those regions, and thereby supplying the vacuum, which is created by the heated prairies and plains below. The snowy mountains also, have a great tendency to diminish the heat of summer, and they also, vastly increase the cold of the winter. The rainy season of this section, is not unlike, that of the Western section in any other respect, than perhaps, that of its being of longer continuance. During this season, however, it rains much more frequently here, than in the Western section. It is true, that this section does not possess as mild and uniform a climate, as the Western section, but it possesses a much greater variety of climates and temperatures. In the lower valleys is summer, in the more elevated valleys is spring; upon the elevated plains and prairies is autumn; and upon the mountains is winter. There are many portions in which, at any season of the year, you may travel in one day, through every degree of temperature, from 120 deg. to minus 18 deg. Fahrenheit. Here, perpetual summer, is in the midst of unceasing winter; perennial spring and never failing autumn, stand side by side; and towering snow-clad mountains forever look down upon eternal verdure.
From what has been said, in reference to the climate, very correct conclusions may be readily drawn in reference to the adaptation of this country, to the promotion of health. There are few portions of the world, if any, which are so entirely exempt from all febrifacient causes. There being no low, marshy regions, the noxious miasmatic effluvia, so common in such regions, is here, nowhere found. The purity of the atmosphere, is most extraordinary, and almost incredible. So pure is it, in fact, that flesh of any kind may be hung for weeks together, in the open air, and that, too, in the summer season, without undergoing putrefaction. The Californians prepare their meat for food, as a general thing, in this manner; in doing which, no salt is required, yet it is sometimes used, as a matter of preference. The best evidence, however, that can be adduced, in reference to the superior health of this country, is the fact, that disease of any kind is very seldom known in any portion of the country. Cases of fever, of any kind, have seldom been known, any where on the coast, but bilious intermittent fevers, prevail to a very small extent, in some portions of the interior, yet they are of so extremely mild a type, that it is very seldom found necessary, to resort to medical aid. Persons attacked with these fevers, seldom adopt any other remedy, than that of abstaining a short time, from food, or going to the coast. The latter remedy is said to be infallible, and I am inclined to that opinion, from the fact that fevers are so seldom known, any where on the coast, and from one or two cases, that came under my own observation. The extraordinary health upon the coast, is, perhaps, attributable, in a great measure, to the effect of the exhilerating and refreshing sea-breezes, which, at all times, prevail in that vicinity. All foreigners, with whom I conversed, upon this subject, and who reside in that country, are unanimous and confident in the expression of the belief, that it is one of the most healthy portions of the world. From my own experience, and knowledge of the country especially, of its entire exemption from all the ordinary causes of disease, and the extraordinary purity of its atmosphere, I am clearly of the opinion, that there are very few portions of the world, which are superior, or even equal to this, in point of healthfulness, and salubrity of climate. While all this region, especially on the coast, is entirely exempt, from all febrific causes, it is also entirely free, from all sudden changes, and extreme variableness of climate, or other causes of catarrhal, or consumptive affections; hence, I cannot but think, that it is among the most favorable resorts in the known world, for invalids.
The productions will next engage our attention; and, here, such facts will be adduced, as will, to some extent, at least, sustain the view taken upon another page, in reference to the extraordinary fertility of the soil. The productions of the Western section, will be found to differ very materially, from those of the Eastern. I shall first notice those of the Western section, at some length. The timber of this section is, generally, confined to the coast, the rivers and mountains; but there are many portions of the different valleys, off the rivers, which are well supplied with good timber. The largest and most valuable timber is found, upon the coast, where dense forests, in many places, are found, consisting of fir, pine, cedar, "red wood," (a species of cedar,) spruce, oak, ash and poplar. Much of this timber grows to an enormous size, especially, the "redwood," fir and pine, which are frequently seen two hundred, and even, two hundred and fifty feet in height, and fifteen or twenty feet in diameter. This timber makes excellent lumber, but its vast size. renders it extremely difficult, either to chop or saw it, with any degree of facility. The timber in the interior, both on the- rivers, and from the rivers, consists chiefly, of oak, of almost every variety, including red, white and live oak ash, poplar, cherry and willow. It consists chiefly, however, of the different varieties of oak and ash. The timber of the mountains consist of pine, fir, arbor vitae, cedar and spruce. Besides the varieties of timber, here mentioned, in many portions of the country, there is a dense undergrowth of thorns, hazels, briers, roses and grape vines, both upon the coast, and in the interior. The timber of the Eastern section, is much the same, as that of the Western section. Here, as in that section, it is chiefly, confined to the mountains and rivers, but it is, generally, of a much smaller growth, than the same species found in that section. It consists, principally, of pine, fir, spruce, cedar, ash, poplar, cherry and willow. The oak, ash, cherry, poplar, and willow, are generally, found upon, and in the vicinity of the streams, while the fir, pine, spruce and cedar, are found mostly, upon, and in the neighborhood of the mountain, and the more elevated regions. The undergrowth of this section, also, consists, principally, of hazels, thorns, briers and grape vines. As before remarked, there are some portions of this section, which produce scarcely any vegetation, besides the wormwood, or properly, artimesia, and the prickly pear. It is frequently asserted that there is a very great deficiency of timber in this country, but such truly is not the case; there is ample timber, in both sections, and in all the various portions of each, for all useful purposes. It is true that there is not the same quantities of timber here, as are found in some portions of Oregon, or in some parts of the States, yet, the same quantity is not required in a climate of such extraordinary mildness and uniformity.
Both the climate and the soil, are, eminently adapted to the growing of wheat, rye, oats, barley, beans and peas, hemp, flax, tobacco, cotton, rice, coffee, corn and cane, as well as all kinds of vegetables, and especially such as potatoes, turnips, beets, carrots, onions and the like. And, both the soil and climate are no less adapted to the growing of the greatest variety of fruits; among which are apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries and grapes, as well as most of the tropical fruits, particularly such as oranges, lemons, citrons, dates, figs, and pomegranates. It is rather surprising, that almost all of the tropical and northern grains and fruits, should be, produced here, in conjunction, in the same latitude; but it is no more surprising, than it is to find a southern climate, in a northern latitude, as is the case, everywhere upon the Pacific coast, and which is clearly attributable to the causes stated upon a previous page. There are other mediate causes which might be assigned, but the above is, manifestly, the proximate cause; yet, accounting for a northern latitude's possessing a southern climate is; after all, much like accounting for a northern man's possessing southern principles; many circumstances, in either case, must be taken into the account. Without attempting to assign any further reasons, however, I will proceed, for, perhaps, it is sufficient for the present purpose, to show that such is the fact, for which each can account, at his leisure, and in his own way. Many kinds of the grains and fruits above enumerated, are indigenous for instance, the oats, wheat, rye; many of the tropical fruits, and a great variety of grapes; flax, a kind of hemp, and red and white clover, are also indigenous productions. The oats alluded to, have precisely the external appearance of our common oats; but, upon examination, it will be seen that the grain differs slightly from that of ours. It is rather smaller, and is covered with a kind of furzy integument; otherwise, it is precisely similar to that of our common oats. They generally, grow much higher than ours and the stalk is much larger, but this is attributable to the superior fertility of the soil, and the greater generative influence of the climate, and not to the difference of the species. Their usual height is about two or three feet and the stalk is, commonly, about the site of that of our ordinary oats; but they are frequently found, even eight feet high, having a stalk half an inch in diameter. Several of the farmers here, informed me, that they had often seen many thousands of acres in a body, which were higher than they could reach, when on horseback. They only grow, to this enormous height during, those seasons which have been preceeded by the failing of an abundance of rain, during the rainy season. The season, which I spent in this region, was , a dry season, that is, comparatively little rain fell during the previous rainy season; but, upon several occasions, I measured the stalks of oats, which were six feet long, and nearly half of an inch in diameter. In traveling through the various sections of the country, I have passed through thousands of acres, which were from two to five feet in height, and as dense as they could possibly stand; when at the same time, I almost hourly saw the old stalks, of years previous, which were seven or eight feet in length, and sufficiently large and strong, for walking sticks. It is not uncommon, either in a dry or wet season, to see continuous plains and valleys, of thousands of acres in extent, which are thickly, and almost entirely clad, with oats of two or three feet in height, which would produce much more abundant crops, than our cultivated oats. In many portions of the country, in the interior, the Indians subsist almost wholly upon them, and in other portions, if a farmer wishes to grow a crop of oats, he has nothing to do, but to designate a certain tract as his oat field, and either fence it, or employ a few Indians to prevent the herds from grazing upon it; which being done, in May or June, he reaps a much larger crop, than we are able to do, in any of the States, with all the labor expense of cultivation.
The clover, of which I speak, is in all respects, like our ordinary red, and white clover, grown in the different States, with the exception of its growing much larger. Its usual height is about two or three feet, but vast bodies of it are frequently found, four or five feet in height, and as dense as it can possibly grow. It is chiefly confined to the valleys, contiguous, to the rivers, but it is also; sometimes found, in large bodies, in many of the plains, and upon the hills. All of the bottoms and valleys, as well as many of the plains and hills, abound with this clover, which, when matured, affords a most excellent natural hay, of which, all kinds of stock, are extremely fond. The flax found among the spontaneous productions, is in all respects, like that grown in the States. Its general height is two or three feet, though it is frequently found much larger. Unlike the oats and clover, it is chiefly confined, to the northern portion of the country, and is seldom found in larger tracts than five or six hundred acres in a body, but wherever it is found, it grows very densely and luxuriantly, even more so than that grown in the east. The fibers appear to be equally as strong, as those of the ordinary flax , and it is, in truth, the same species. It is used by the Indians, to a very large extent, for the purpose of making seines and ropes, to which purposes it is found to be admirably suited. The hemp here found, does not resemble ours, nor is it properly hemp, although so called; it is properly a species of the spurge, commonly called milk-weed, but there called hemp. Like the spurge, it emits a milky juice when wounded; grows about three feet high, and has a tough fibrous bark, which is used by the Mexicans and Indians, in large quantities, for making ropes, seines, and for various other purposes. Comparatively, it grows in very small quantities, as you very seldom see more than fifty, or a hundred acres of it together. Wheat and rye are also, said to be, indigenous growths, but I am not of that opinion, although I have seen wheat, rye, oats, clover and flax, all growing together, more than three hundred miles, from any settlement. But upon a close observance, I perceived, that the wheat and rye, were found only, in the immediate vicinity of the encampments, of the traders and trappers, who have, for years, traversed that country. Upon inquiring of those, who have resided in that country, for many years, I ascertained, that the traders and trappers, in passing through the interior, frequently take both wheat and rye with them, as food for themselves and their horses. These facts, were fully convincing, to my mind, that the wheat and rye had been introduced, into the interior, in that manner. Other persons informed me, that they had, very frequently seen, both wheat and rye, far in the interior, and in portions of the country never visited by the traders and trappers, but still, I am of the opinion, that if not introduced in the above manner, they must have been introduced by the Indians, or fowls, and hence, that although they are spontaneous, yet, they are not indigenous productions. The various grasses found here, are much like those found in Oregon, and in many of the States. That common to the lower valleys and bottoms, is much larger and coarser, than that which grows upon the more elevated valleys, plains and hills. The former, usually grows, about two or three feet high, while the latter grows, but about six inches or a foot high. The short grass is much the finest and sweetest, and is always sought after, in preference by all herbivorous animals. Both kinds here alluded to, form a very excellent quality of natural hay, during the summer, of which, the herds are very fond, and which, is , sought by many grazing animals, in preference to the green herbage, which is found at every season of the year. Thus, it is seen, that the various grasses, the oats and clover, all of which, are undigenous productions, not only afford inexhausted pasturage, during the growing season, but also, inexhaustible provender, during all the residue of the year.
Thus far, I have only spoken of the indigenous productions, those which are produced by tillage, will next be considered. The wheat will receive our first, and most particular attention, as it is the principal grain grown in this country, as yet, and as it will undoubtedly, always constitute one of the principal staples of the country. There are several kinds of wheat grown here, among which, are all the common varieties, grown in the States, as well as several varieties, which are unknown in the States. The wheat most commonly grown, however, is that which is called the wheat of Taos, which grows here, about three or four feet high and bears seven distinct heads or ears, each of which, is equally as large, as those of the common variety. One head is situated upon the stalk, precisely as that of the ordinary wheat, and upon each side of this head, there are three others, putting out from the main stock, about three fourths of an inch, below each other. The berry is equally as large, as that of the ordinary kind, and it is said to weigh, about four pounds to the bushel heavier. This wheat produces very abundantly, as also, do the various other kinds, as far as they have been tried. The average crop is from thirty to forty bushels to the acre, or to one of sowing; but an average crop of fifty, sixty, and even seventy bushels, to the acre, is frequently received. Several very respectable and credible gentlemen, informed me, that there had been an instance, within their own knowledge, of a farmer's having received one hundred and twenty bushels to the acre; and that, the next year, from a spontaneous growth, upon the same ground, he received sixty-one bushels, to the acre. To many it will appear impossible, that one acre of ground, should produce that quantity of wheat, and hence, to them, the above statement will appear incredible; but I have not the least doubt, of its entire correctness. This is no more extraordinary, than it would be to see oats growing spontaneously, four, or even five or six feet high, over thousands of acres; nor is it farther removed from the common order of things, than it would be to see spontaneous growths of flax and clover, of three or four feet in height, covering vast plains and valleys, as far as vision extends, yet these things are true. Wheat is generally sown, from the first of November, to the first of March, and is harvested in May or June, depending upon the time of its being sown, which is usually deferred, until the commencement of the rainy season. This course is pursued, because of the greater ease with which the lands are ploughed, after the falling of the rains. Rye, barley, the cultivated oats, hemp and flax, have not, as yet, been tried, but they will all, undoubtedly, produce extremely well, judging from what has been previously said, in reference to their spontaneous productions. Corn is not grown to much extent, but wherever it is grown, it yields extremely well, giving an average crop, of about fifty or sixty bushels to the acre. It is proper, however, here to remark, that the corn grown here, at this time is what is called the Spanish corn, which is a much smaller kind, than our common Indian corn, and produces much less abundantly; and that after it is planted, no further attention is paid to it, until it is matured. With ordinary cultivation, even this kind would, undoubtedly give a much more plentiful return. It is commonly planted, in February and March, and is harvested, any time after the last of June, by which time, it always matures. The climate and the soil are both, peculiarly adapted, to the growing of tobacco, cotton, rice and cane. Tobacco has already been tested, with eminent success; it is said to grow with as much luxuriance, and to yield as plentifully, as it does in Cuba; and the quality is thought not to be inferior, to that grown in Cuba, or elsewhere. Rice, cotton and cane, have not, as yet, been tested, but the probability is, that they will succeed admirably. It is said, by some, that cotton, can not be grown, even with ordinary success, where there is no rain during the summer; but experience controverts this view; for it is grown with eminent success, in other portions of Mexico, which have a similar climate, and which have not a drop of rain during the entire summer. All kinds of garden vegetables, are grown here, with extraordinary success, many kinds of which, are planted and gathered, at any, and every season of the year. Melons of all kinds, produce extremely well, in all portions of this section, much better, in fact, than they do in any portion of the States.
The various fruits which are here produced, have been enumerated upon a former page, including both those which are indigenous, and those which are cultivated, as well as all of the northern and the tropical fruits. The latter are chiefly, confined to the southern portions of this section, while the northern fruits abound, in all the different portions, both in the north and the south. The same variety, of the ordinary cultivated fruits, of the north, is not found here, as exists in many of the states, but several varieties have been introduced, and they have been found to yield most plentifully. Even in the most northern part, of this section, the peach trees, and various other fruit trees, bloom in January and February, and in the southern part, as early as December. The cultivated grape grows most luxuriantly, and produces very abundantly; and when ripe, it is among the most delicious and grateful fruits, that ever grace the festival board. There are many vineyards here, of ten or fifteen acres in extent, where the grape is grown in large quantities; and prepared and preserved, in all the various manners, know elsewhere. At these vineyards, raisins are made in sufficient quantities, for home consumption, and may, undoubtedly, be made in large quantities, for exportation. They are, usually, prepared, either by partially cutting the stalks, of the branches, before the grapes are entirely ripe, and allowing them to remain upon the vine, until they are perfectly dry; or by gathering them, in their matured state, and steeping them, for a short time, in an alkaline lye, previous to their being dried. Those which are cured by the first method, are the most delicious, and are much preferred; and they are, prehaps, not inferior to the Malaga raisins, which are imported from Spain. Besides the delicious fruits, which they afford for the table, they also afford a most generous wine, which always constitutes, one of the grand essentials of a California dinner. Here I must confess, that my temperance pledge, although formerly including all alcoholic, intoxicating and vinous liquors, did not extend to the latter, in California; and I am inclined to believe that old father Mathew himself, however far he might be from doing so in the north, would drink wine in California; I know old Bacchus would.
A great variety of wild fruits, also abound, in all the different portions, of this section, among which, are crab-apples, thorn-apples, plums, grapes, strawberries, cranberries, whortleberries, and a variety of cherries. The strawberries are extremely abundant and they are the largest, and most delicious, that I have ever seen; much larger, than the largest, which we see in the various States. They bloom in January, and ripen in March when they are gathered and dried, in large quantities, by the settlers and the Indians. The grapes are also unusually plentiful, especially, in the vicinity of the rivers, creeks and lakes, where the greatest variety is found. They are gathered in great quantities, by the various tribes of Indians, not only for their own consumption, but for that of the white settlers. I have not unfrequently seen the Indians, arrive at Capt. Sutder's fort, with thirty or forty bushels at a time, which being measured, the Capt. would pay them, some trivial compensation, when they would depart for their villages, with the view of returning the next, and every, succeeding day, while the grapes were to be obtained. The grapes thus obtained by the Capt. were designed either for the table sauce, or distillation. The mast of this section, is also extremely plentiful, in all the different valleys, and other timbered lands, especially the acorns, which I have observed here, in much greater abundance, than I have ever seen them elsewhere. All the common varieties, found in the States, are also found here, and in quantities sufficient for all the swine, and all the other animals, which subsist upon mast, as well as the various tribes of Indians, many of whom, subsist almost entirely upon them, the greater part of the year. Large, spreading, white oaks, are often seen, which produce thirty or forty, bushels, to the tree; under many of which, the ground is literally covered with them, several inches in thickness.
The grain and fruits, of the Eastern section, differ somewhat, from those of the Western section, which is attributable, to the great difference of soil and climate. Many of the spontaneous productions are, however, the same in many portions of this section, for instance, the oats, clover, flax and hemp, many of the wild fruits, and various, grapes, all of which, grow here also, with the greatest luxuriance, and in the largest quantities. The cultivated productions will, from the peculiarity of the soil, and climate be confined to wheat, rye, oats, flax, hemp, tobacco, corn, rice, beans, peas, the various vegetables, apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes and cherries. Cotton and corn, can not, perhaps, be grown with any degree of success, in any portion of this section, nor can many, if any, of the tropical fruits. Nothing can be said with certainty, in relation to the yield of the various cultivated grains and fruits, which may be produced in this section, as all agricultural experiments, have, thus far, been confined, entirely to the Western section; but judging from the peculiar adaptation, of the soil and climate, to their production, there is no doubt, but that, many of the various productions, above enumerated, may be produced here, with the same cultivation, equally as abundantly, as they can be in the Western section. This view is strengthened, when we reflect, that all the various indigenous grains and fruits grow equally as luxuriantly, and produce, with equal profusions, here, as in that section.
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