Consuetudinis magna vis est.—Cicero
Der Undank ist immer sine Art Schwiiche. Ich habe nie gesehen, dasz tuchtige Menschen waren undankbar gewesen. —Goethe
En lontes compagnies il ya plus de folz que de sages, et la plus grande partie surmonte tousjours la meilleure.—Rabelais.
'Tis true we've money, th' only power
That all mankind falls down before.
Tho’ love be all the world's pretence,
Money's the mythologic sense.
"I grant,” quoth he, "wealth is a great
Provocative to amorous heat;
It is all philtres and high diet,
That makes love rampant, and to fly out;
'Tis beauty always in the flower.
That buds and blossoms at fourscore;
'Tis that by which the sun and moon,
At their own weapons are outdone;
That makes knight errant fall in trances,
And lay about 'em in romances;
‘Tis virtue, wit, and worth, and all
That men divine and sacred call;
For what is worth in anything,
But so much money as ‘twill bring?
Or what but riches is there known,
Which man can solely call his own,
In which no creature goes his half.
Unless it be to squint and laugh?
I do confess with goods and land,
I’d have a wife at second hand;
And such you are; not is't your person
My stomach's set so sharp and fierce on;
But 'tis (your better part) your riches,
That my enamour'd heart bewitches;
Let me your fortune but possess.
And settle your person how you please,
Or make it o'er in trust to th' devil.
You'll find me reasonable and civil." —Hudibras
In the occupation and settlement of America by Europeans, it is interesting to note the character and motives of different persons in different places. Thus in the West Indies, and indeed throughout all Spanish America, the dominant idea was territorial proprietorship, land and enforced labor. When the Indians were proved inadequate, Africans were caught and made to serve as slaves. It was so in Virginia, as well. The Scotch and English in Canada wanted the natives to hunt and bring in furs; the puritans of New England preferred doing their own work, and desired no more furs than they could easily capture; so they permitted the gentle savage to exterminate himself. But everywhere the actuating impulse was the same, gain. And gain meant always one of two things, temporal advantage or spiritual advantage, the one taking the form of gold or its equivalent, the other of soul-saving for a price to be paid in the world to come. Gold and glory! Gold, signifying land and labor as well as precious metals, and glory meaning spiritual no less than temporal conquest. And where the heathen were concerned, the end always justified the means. The violent seizure of savage lands was not robbery, nor the killing of the inhabitants murder. If in the fight the invaders prevailed it was called victory; if the Indians, a massacre.
Every man to his trade, was the maxim in the new world as in the old, the soldier to kill, the priest to save, the viceroy or governor to ape royalty, and the husbandman to work himself or find slaves to work for him. Yet, though lands were the central idea in one place, and furs in another, and fish it may be in another, gold had ever its superlative glitter. There is its own peculiar charm in the yellow metal which fascinates. Hence it was, when the man Marshall picked up pieces of gold in the footrace which he was digging for Sutter's sawmill, all the world were ready to rush thither for some of it. Men have been gold crazy before and since, but there never was a craze like this craze.
Gold-lovers are always ready to brave the wilds of any Australia, or South Africa, or the hardships of Alaska; but the world was younger then by half a century; it was a long way from the centers of civilization to the west coast of America, and both money and nerve were necessary for the journey. These were not lacking either, and the year 1849 saw 500 ships at anchor in San Francisco bay, and 50,000 gold-diggers encamped along the Sierra foothills for 100 miles on either side of Coloma.
And so it came about that with a few centuries of pruning and polishing which is called evolution, are found at this day in some one or another of the several states of the American union, examples of the more advanced types of European civilization. Thus in New England is intellectual culture, in New York commerce, in the South chivalry, in Philadelphia family, in Chicago progress. All these communities had an individual beginning, while the social structure of the present West Coast regime had for its origin an intermixture of all these elements.
In the Oregon country the fur-hunter first appears to break the stillness of savagism; after him comes the missionary to convert and kill. In California the Spanish friar is first; next the Mexican ranchero, and then the gold hunter, the grain grower, and the fruit raiser. Into wild Alaska comes the wild Russian to capture seals; later the whole world, no less wild in its greed for gold, rushes thither for riches; for there they say is the home of all precious substances, the metals uniting in the union of the mountains. But before these were the mythologic prowlings along the coast of European world-encompassers, pirates for the most part seeking prey, and also if peradventure they might find a short cut through the continent to India. There being no such cut, according to the custom of the times, particularly of Spanish navigators, they set themselves inventing straits of Anian and open seas, lining the banks with hobgoblins, and filling the blank spaces on their maps with monsters and imaginary cities. As these statements could not then be denied or verified for a century or so, lies regarding the Northwest Coast seemed to serve the purpose of navigators as well as the truth, such purpose being to set agape the wise men of the world, and lend importance to their discoveries. Or if inventions flagged, the same lies might serve for various places. Quivira, for example, and the Seven cities of Cibola being shifted all the way from Coronado's country beyond New Mexico to the strait of Juan de Fuca.
The Spaniards were a chivalrous race, and brave, and pious. Clad all in steel, with a sharp steel weapon, one of the conquistadores, particularly if mounted, was not afraid to meet in any number the naked savages who knew not steel and entertained a superstitious dread of horses; and so solicitous were the priest of souls, that they regarded lightly the vile body. The puritans, who were likewise brave and pious, fearing not to burn witches and hang Quakers for Christ's sake, cleared the land alike of forests and wild beasts and wild men, because they were all in the way. Colt's revolvers coming into use in California with the advent of gold, the miners, whose ever-present hip-ornaments were the gun and knife, delighted in shooting Diggers and Chinamen to keep in practice. These root-diggers the more refined cut-throats of Christendom would scarcely have deemed worth shooting, as they were very low in the scale of humanity, dwelling naked in brush huts, and eating grasshoppers and snakes when they could not have quail on toast or rabbit-pie. The Shoshones of Nevada, Idaho, and Montana were much the same. Nobler races were found in the north, as the Chinooks of the Columbia the Aleuts of Alaska, and the various tribes of the coast and the great interior. Their wealth was in skins and wives, and slaves; shells were their currency, while furs were used as money by the traders and their hunters, and mats, baskets, and abolones by the mission Indians of the two Californias and thence inland, as in the Portuguese possessions of Angolia. Now we have paper money, an invention of the Chinese, which is more convenient than the leather currency of some nations whether tanned or raw, and better than gold, inasmuch as it does not cost two dollars to print a one dollar bill. The Yakimas of Washington are but little behind their less dusky competitors in horticulture and agriculture.
The Navajos, who were assigned a reservation on the Colorado, cultivate their lands, raise herds of horses, cattle, sheep and goats, and weave cotton and wool, their best blankets selling from $80 to $150. The Pimas, of Arizona, live in towns of dome-shape earth-covered huts. They raise grain and cotton, make pottery and cloth, irrigate their fields, and have separate granaries. The Indian collection in Golden Gate park museum contains specimens from the Willamette and Columbia rivers, as well as from southern California.
As in Mexico, there are found remains in the valleys of the Mississippi and Missouri, and in Ohio of the works of a race anterior to any now living. This race may have become here extinct, or the unknown people may have proceeded southward through New Mexico and Arizona to the tableland of Anahuac, where long flourished the Nahua nations, the Aztecs, Toltecs and Chichimecs. The Pueblos, or townspeople, have some twenty of their several-storied communal houses in various parts, conspicuous among them being Taos, Isleta, Laguna, and Acoma. Here was the aboriginal civilization—some say, though there is no proof of it—whence the Aztecs sprung; in contact with a superior civilization they seem now to be relapsing into barbarism. Kindred to the Pueblos, yet differing from them in character and customs are the Moquis of Arizona, who live in cliff and cave villages surrounded by desert wastes. They are a people slightly superior, perhaps, to the Pueblos, making pottery and cloth, and pretending to some sort of decency. The houses of the Pueblos are of religious as well as domestic character, propitiatory services to intangible powers mingling with the needs of today. Thus from out the mists of antiquity come to us through the mummeries of men and the mythologies of nations the fear and reverence humanity has ever held for the unseen.
The so-called precious metals and precious stones, than which there are fewer things on earth less precious, have ever first attracted the eager interest of discoverers and explorers of new lands. And since the surrounding Seas of Darkness first began to be penetrated by Mediterranean navigators, wherever a land not yet visited was heard of, it was sure to be reputed rich in all men most prized. So it was in California long before the Coloma discovery. Many said gold was there; some fancied so, others knew they were speaking falsely. Among the latter was Francis Fletcher, chaplain to Francis Drake who wrote in his book about the naked natives of wild, California, "they used to come shivering to us in their warme furres;" "there came a man of large body and goodly aspect, bearing the Septer or royall mace, whereupon hanged two crownes, a bigger and a lesse, with three chains of maruellous length;" “there is no part of the earth here to be taken up wherein there is not a reasonable quantity of gold and silver." This of Marin County, where no particle of either has ever been found. Venegas, Shelvocke, and many others reported gold in California who never saw it there, meaning Lower California.
Cabeza de Vaca told some wonderful stories of the country through which he passed from ocean to ocean, and Friar Marcos de Niza had yet others to tell; so that when Coronado with his fine following visited Arizona and New Mexico he was greatly disappointed, particularly in not finding the Seven cities of Cibola. Although natives were seen living in fixed habitations,—pueblos or towns they were called,—and cultivating the soil and making cloth, they had not troubled themselves much about metals, which abounded in certain parts, lead, copper, silver, gold placers, dry washings, and quartz, and some coal, mica, and turquoise.
When the Tombstone bonanzas and some other great deposits were exploited, Arizona came forward and put forth treasure to the amount of some $70,000,000. Besides, there was here and in New Mexico much wealth in raising stock, and some agriculture. New Mexico has given in precious metals about $30,000,000.
The purchase by the United States from Mexico of the California country, and from Russia of Alaska, were good bargains, although the former was the result of an iniquitous scheme on the part of certain of Polk s politicians for the extension of slave territory. Fictitious claims against Mexico amounting to some $12,000,000 were made out, and the note of war sounded in 1846. The cost of this war to the United States was 25,000 lives and $166,500,000; but to give some color of right to the transaction fifteen millions in money, and the assumption of three and a quarter million of claims, to which sum the original twelve millions shrunk under arbitration, was the principal paid by the United States, according to the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, for the vast and invaluable territory extending from the Pacific seaboard of Alta California back to the mountains of Colorado. During the first decade following this transaction, California gold alone paid back the purchase money for the enforced sale five times over. A less brilliant, if more honorable, transaction was the Gadsden Purchase, which for $10,000,000 moved the boundary line south so as to give the United States a little more not altogether desirable land. The price paid for Alaska was $7,200,000, and between 1871 and 1883 $5,000,000 were returned to the government treasury for rent of the Prybilof islands and tax on seal-skins; and for one gold mine on Douglas island it is said that a French syndicate offered $14,000,000, not to mention the many steamboat loads of the precious metals yet to be brought down from the Yukon-Klondike country, where somewhere about is situated the mother-mountain of all metals .
Mining embodies in its characteristics the development of mind no less than the development of metal. The California diggings,—likewise those of, Australia, Fraser river South Africa, and Alaska,—turned some supposedly good men into bad ones, some previously strong men into weak ones and some who were bad, or weak they made good and strong. Some of the best and subsequently wealthiest men worked in the mines with nothing, to begin with; among these in California being D. O. Mills, who now owns high buildings in the metropolitan cities on both sides of the continent; Lloyd Tevis, perhaps the shrewdest financier in San Francisco; J. B. Haggin, greatest in many things, land, mines, stocks, and horses; John W. Mackay, long counted a fifty million dollar man, with his postal telegraph and electric building in New York and property in California and Europe; Baldwin, Hayward, Hearst, Fair and a host of others. James G. Fair was born in Ireland in 1831 and died in San Francisco in 1894, leaving some $20,000,000 for his heirs and the lawyers to wrangle over for a full decade.
He arrived in California in 1850, and engaged in gravel mining in Butte County, then in quartz mining in Calaveras County, then to Nevada where in 1865 he became superintendent of the Ophir and Hale and Norcross mines. While at Virginia City he became associated with John W. Mackay, and with Flood and O Brien of San Francisco all of whom became very wealthy by the bonanza developments on the Comstock Lode. Herman Oelrichs, agent in New York for the German line of steamships, married the daughter of Mr. Fair.
One of the best pre-auriferous California historical authorities was Charles Wilkes, commander of the United States exploring expedition round the world in 1838-1842, who became conspicuous also in the civil war, notably by taking by force from the British steamer Trent the two commissioners of the confederate states Mason and Slidell, later released by the government. There were four prominent Hispano-Californians, M. G. Vallejo M and Juan B. Alvarado in the north, and Pio Pico and Juan Bandini in the south, and possibly the names of Castro and Arguello might be added. William G. Moorhead, who with Waddington and Whitehead was one of the first in San Francisco in the Chili flour trade, made a fortune and retired from business before he failed, thus escaping the fate of so many. Joseph A. Donohoe, who was associated with Eugene Kelly in the banking business of Donohoe Kelly and company, was most highly esteemed by his associates who, as was also Mr. Kelly, made many bequests in California as well as in New York.
Gold was discovered in January 1848. It was a year before the world awaked to the knowledge and realization of the fact that the foothills of the California sierra were strewed by the delectable metal, which might be gathered by the bucket-full; but when it did, what a scramble! From all along the coast, from Mexico and Central and South America, from Japan, China, and Australia, from the eastern shores of America, from Europe India and Africa; from all the world,—and had the tidings reached other worlds, from those also—came every kind of humanity, who however differing on other points were of one mind and heart in their adoration of this omnipotent and universal god. What was the result? The subtle influence was felt to the uttermost ends of the earth, in commerce, in manufactures, and in finance. The world of business was revolutionized, prices readjusted from a new point of view, and new phases of society developed. The land was free to all; it was even without law, so that the wicked might come, and some who were wicked did come, such as cut-throats from Sydney, and professional and business gentlemen in tattered reputations from everywhere, but with good men enough to save the country. It was a garden spot of primeval wilderness whose gates were now opened to the entrance of human angels and human devils; for though the transfer from Mexico had been made, the United States government could not spread over the land its protecting wings until the question of human slavery in the new territory should be settled by the politicians at Washington.
Gold is found everywhere, scattered in fine or coarse dust throughout the earth, veined in quartz or diffused through solid rock, and associated with silver in the waters of the ocean—one grain of gold to every ton of seawater. But there is more gold on the western side of America than on the eastern, more in the Cascade-Nevada than in the Rocky range, though where these ranges come together, in Alaska, and tumble one over the other in wild confusion, some hold is the mother-mountain, the home of gold. Be that as it may, this frozen north-westernmost America, bought from Russia for a song and hitherto regarded as scarcely worth that, is just now drawing to it all the world, the gold-thirsty idiotic world, as appeared in the flush times of California. Why will not those thus doomed to death in the hyperborean gold-fields accept the advice given to Aesop’s miser, who was told to put a stone in the place of the stolen lump of gold which he went every day to worship, and it would answer every purpose?
Sutter and Marshall were unique types, the one a refined and intelligent Swiss seeking solitude, the other a half-crazed ever-growling fanatic. There was nothing grand or chivalrous in the discovery; Sutter did not want gold, and Marshall could not help but find it. And if he had not, someone else would have soon made the discovery. Sutter from the first feared the effect of a gold discovery, with its influx of diggers to rob him of land and cattle; he preferred empire, leagues of Mexican land grants and dusky henchmen and retainers. Marshall loved gold, as much as he loved anything, and thought because of his exploit in the mill-race that all the gold of the Sierra should be his, with men to dig it for him. Finally, Sutter died and was buried. Marshall died, and as near the Kronburg fortress, formerly the castle of Helsingor, in Denmark, is shown the grave of Hamlet and Ophelia’s brook, so even now is shown the tomb of Marshall with a marble finger, pointing toward the spot where was picked up that little piece of gold which so moved the world.
Samuel Brannan was a prominent figure in the early California gold-days. He was a Mormon preacher, and brought out a party of his people round Cape Horn in 1846, and set them at work, some in San Francisco, and some in the mines, religiously collecting tithes the while, not for the prophet Joseph but for the apostle Sam. In due time the elect saw through the little game and declared independence. "That's all right" said Sam, "and damned fools you were to pay it so long.” Like Solomon of old, Brannan brought hewn stone from China and erected on Montgomery street temples to Mammon which stood high among the wooden shanties for many years; he likewise cultivated a watering place and called it Calistoga, the name Sam Brannan meanwhile being synonymous with all that was 'powerful rich.’ But whiskey was finally king, whiskey and death, as is so often the case here and elsewhere.
"From nature's birth to Caesar's time" Ovid divides the period after chaos into the golden age, wherein was neither law nor prison, being, indeed, an age of reason rather than age of gold, while the teeming earth, all guiltless of the plough, gave forth her food. Under Jove the silver age appeared, in which was felt the influence of gold; and then the age of brass, and then of steel. California's golden age was not her age of gold, nor was her lotus-land improved by cultivation. To make one white man happy, a thousand of God's happy creatures are slain; to give one Mexican his ten-league grant, a thousand rightful owners of the soil must move back, and back, and finally out of the world. California's history presents an age of grass, an age of gold, and an age of grain; and after all, ages upon ages of fruit and flowers. During the epoch of California pastoral, grass sufficed, green in winter, self-curing uncut for summer. Millions of cattle ate it, and men ate the cattle. California gold overturned established set all the world agog, values, and gave impetus to industry and commerce. Many new social and political problems arose and were wrought out. For the first time was seen a so-called civilized people without a government, then with too much government, unwritten law quickly appearing in both instances .
In those days the country was scarcely considered from an agricultural point of view. No one came to stay, but only to gather gold and return as with Alaska, at a later day. When the surface pickings of the precious metal were thinned, a year or two after the discovery, the cry was raised, “It is over; the game is played; this is no place to live in; let us away!" As for cultivating the soil, "I would not give six bits an acre for the best land in California for agricultural purposes,” said a senator on the floor of congress. But not all could get away; people must eat; and when it was seen how the green grass and the self-made hay fattened cattle that industry came to the front. Presently seed was sown, and in due time there was a large acreage in wheat and barley, which continued in the lead until the land became to be regarded as too valuable for grain, and so large tracts were devoted to fruit-trees and vines, which would be profitable were it not for the iron heel of railway monopoly to which the people too tamely submit. Far better for California had no overland railroad ever been built.
The mining region, gold in placers and in quartz, in sands and gravels, in river beds and hillsides, extended all the way from San Diego to Shasta and on, through Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to Alaska, and back to the Rocky mountains. All the metals and all the minerals were here found in greater or less abundance. It is safe to say that in the precious metals alone California has given to the world $1,800,000,000. In regard to individual wealth, however, comparatively few reached the million point in mining, though many became rich in the manipulation of mines and in stock-gambling. A number of stock-raisers acquired wealth; certain railroad monopolists; some land speculators and city property holders, and a few merchants and bankers did well, but not many manufacturers or grain or fruit growers have as yet reached any high degree of prosperity. There were indeed rich pickings in places in 1848. At Hangtown, in July, were 300 men who got from three ounces to five pounds of gold daily to the man. At Knights ferry, with pick and knife alone each man gathered $200 or $300 a day. Some deserters from ships, of whom there were many, secured on Trinity River in a few days from $5,000 to $20,000 each. Five men obtained $75,000 on Feather River in three months. Two white men employed 1,000 Indians and got $50,000 from Weber creek. At Sonora, one man and two Indians gathered 45 ounces the first day. And so on along the whole line, more work being required to secure a given amount as the mines were overrun by new Marshall Monument comers. Chunks, or nuggets, were found in crevices or pockets or riverbeds varying in size from half an ounce to two or three hundred ounces. Gold in tin cans and pans and pots were left unguarded day and night in the miner’s huts. Pickle jars filled with gold-dust were stacked up in the hall of M. G. Vallejo's house at Sonoma like canned fruits at the grocer's. He was in the prime of glorious life, in those days, the Vallejo, caballero, general, and autocrat of the north, with thousands of native subjects and thousands of leagues of land to give away, yet dying poor, in debt,—all these frontier gentlemen of the Latin race were so improvident.
It was not until the year following that thieves came in and began to steal gold; it was hardly worth while at first; so long as it could be gathered so easily it were hardly wise risking one’s neck for it. Besides, was it worth stealing? If in the foothills it lay so thickly scattered, how was it back in the mountains where all this gold came from? "Find the source, find the home of gold, and doubtless we can load ships from the mountains of it there." So thought soberly many persons, and gold suddenly assumed small value in their eyes.
Nevada does some stock-raising and farming, but is most noted for her great bonanza silver mines, which with others have yielded at least $400,000,000. To Oregon next after the fur-hunters came missionaries to convert the natives, and closely following them settlers to secure lands and save the country from the clutches of Great Britain. Land they got, good land and cheap enough, 640 acres being given to every man and wife. Probably some of the natives would have been converted had they not all died. Thus agriculture developed the first wealth in Oregon, after which came coal and gold. In the Umpqua country and on Rogue River gold was found in 1850, then on Scott, Trinity, and Klamath rivers, and the region round about. There were placer, gravel, and quartz mining, and some silver. Oregon has given to the world probably $40,000,000 in precious metals.
Among the noble men of the Northwest Coast, none were more noble than John McLoughlin, who ruled as chief factor first of the Northwest company, and then of the Hudson's Bay company, while Comcomly was king of the Chinooks at Astoria; later James Douglas was governor of British Columbia at Victoria. In Alaska, Bering deserves the first mention, as it was he who found the country for Russia. Chirikof next, as it was he who upon the death of Bering continued the work. Then the colonizer Shelikof, the monopolizer Lebedef, and the governor Baranof, the last the greatest of all,—at least in drink and blasphemy—and besides these there are no more.
The Northwest Company of Montreal were the first in the Oregon country, and after them the Hudson’s Bay company held sway from the Columbia river to Alaska. Scores of posts were established, with hundreds of native hunters, and a great traffic was carried on, all in skins. Agriculture, mining, manufactures, or whatever tended to civilization and settlement were vigorously frowned down. Europe might surely have one great game preserve in America, kept undisturbed in all its primeval glories. And so it was until gold came, or rather the gold-finders, proving all-powerful above corporations and governments. Gold, as I have said, was the cause of the first disturbance of the fur-hunters; then developed coal, stock-raising, and agriculture, and with a railway across the continent the great northern end of America was open to civilized man. So virulent was the Fraser river mining excitement of 1858, that all the towns on the coast, San Francisco included, were nearly swept of their surface population, while business stagnated. The gold was fine, and it was found distributed in thin streaks of gravel and sand, and through the benches and terraces of the hills and valleys, running often far back from the river. In the Caribou country, later found near the source of the great rivers, the gold was coarser. The total output of gold up to 1898 was $65,000,000. Meanwhile, with the opening of the country to settlement, fisheries and manufactures rapidly developed. The fur business of Alaska was early monopolized by companies organized under the auspices of the Russian government, with capital stock of from 100,000 to 700,000 roubles each, as the Shelikof company, later the Shelikof-Golikof company; the United American company, and finally, into which all previously existing companies were merged, the Russian American company. Traffic under United States rule was opened by the Alaska Commercial company. Besides gold, besides seals and other furs, Alaska has much wealth in fisheries and timber, but little in agriculture. There are good coal deposits, petroleum, copper, lead, and indeed all the metals. Placer and quartz gold mines have been worked, some with great success; also silver mines. One of the easiest and most notable is that of the Alaska Mill and Mining company, on Douglas island under the direction of John Treadwell.
Oregon and Washington have good agricultural lands, with forests, mines, and abundance of moisture. Idaho is less wet, and Alaska less warm; but both have vast mineral resources and the former, good grazing and farming lands. Many companies are engaged in canning the salmon catch on the Columbia Fraser, Stikeen, and Yukon rivers. According to the population Portland is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, and Seattle and Tacoma are breeding their little nests of millionaires. The Ladd family is among the first and wealthiest in Portland, as are also the Corbetts, the Failings, the Dolphs, and a score of others.
Eureka! I have found it! As thus they cried in California in 1848 and on the Fraser, in 1858, so cried they in Alaska in 1898. The word itself is worshipped, let alone the god which it refers to, the Syracusian philosopher, Archimedes, saying Heureka! as he lay in his bath thinking how to detect a fraud perpetrated on Hiero by a craftsman who made the royal crown. Hiero had given a certain weight of gold to the man, who was suspected of mixing it with some other less precious metal. But how to know this was the question. On getting into his tub Archimedes noticed that the water overflowed the sides; in other words that his body displaced its bulk of water. Gold of course would do the same, and also silver. Notice the difference of water displaced by a pound of gold and a pound of silver, and heureka! You have it. How a philosopher looks running naked through the streets from his bath to the king’s palace the Syracusians thereupon learned.
It is well understood that gold mines tend to impoverish rather than to enrich a country, from the fact that mining labor is in economic phraseology unproductive labor. Directly, mining labor adds no wealth to the community. The country is made worse instead of better by it. It exhausts rather than enriches. The miner leaves no mill or farm house or railroad in his track, but in their stead a ghastly skeleton of disfigured nature. True, the gold which he takes out will buy railroads, mills, and farms; but as a rule mining labor is not remunerative. It costs more to take the metal from the earth than it is worth when mined. As the maxims run, "it takes a mine to work a mine;” "every dollar in gold taken from the earth costs to get it two dollars;” and the like. Gold has been of benefit to California indirectly, to bring thither population which, failing as miners, must become husbandmen and manufacturers or die. In Alaska, there being no husbandry to fall back upon, failing golden gate park as miners, and unable to get away, they have only to die. They say the world is growing wiser, but looking at the Klondike craze, the craziest craze of all, one can scarcely think so. Neither the experience of fools nor the maxims regarding riches have much weight with the mass of money-getters. Nor is it altogether true what they teach; nor believed in nor acted upon by themselves; though Bacon was not far out of the way when he said: "Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit.” Solomon scarcely practiced what he preached, either in morals or money matters; nor do I know of anyone who has so done. Mining by the masses differs little from gambling, that fascinating but ruinous vice which is so common in mining districts, as well as in new countries where money flows freely.
In all the early mining camps of California and other mining slates, the most pretentious structure in the town, whether of cloth, wood or brick, was usually the gambling saloon, which at night was warmed and well lighted, and thronged with visitors. If the room was large, three rows of tables covered with leather or green baize, on which were displayed heaps of gold and silver coin, nuggets and slugs, and bags of dust. There was in the game usually no limit; one might bet a dollar or twenty thousand, and the latter sum has been more than once staked in California on the turning of a card, while $100,000 has been won and lost at a single sitting. Faro, monte, roulette, and vingt-un, were the favorite California games, the fashion spreading thence to the mines of Montana and Alaska.
E. J. Baldwin, commonly called Lucky, has followed more kinds of business than any other man who made $18,000,000 in mines. Finally he became possessor of a San Francisco hotel and theater, a Lake Tahoe watering place, a Los Angeles fruit state university, Berkeley farm, and many other properties. W. C. Ralston was once the first financier on the Pacific coast, defaulting and suiciding at the last. James Lick brought with him to San Francisco some money, which he invested in real estate, and became worth $7,000,000, which he gave to different objects simply because he could not carry it away with him; he was in no sense a philanthropist, as he hated God and man. Magna servitus est magna fortuna. A great fortune is great slavery. Those lowest in the scale of money-getters find this maxim truest; those who hug to miserly hearts their ever-increasing accumulations until the burden becomes, indeed heavy to bear. To him alone who makes some good use of it are riches a blessing, some either for self or for use other than hoarding, posterity. "What shall I do with all this money?” burst forth Lick on his dying bed. Into the cold dark grave, to which narrow confines his belief restricted his hereafter he could not, carry it, and it broke his heart to part with it, most of all to do any one good with it. So the friend who sat by with pencil and paper distributed it, so much for a bath house, so much for a telescope; for the academy of science; for the pioneers; and then the man turned over and died, and the people praised him. For what do they praise him? What else could he have done? But Lick which is that came by his money honestly, much in his favor. Leland Stanford also died childless and gave to found a university the money which he with Mark Hopkins and the other railway monopolists wrung from the country to its almost utter ruin. A suit brought by the United States against the Stanford estate for the restitution of $15,237,000, being its proportion of the debt of the Central Pacific and other railroad corporations due to the United States was defeated. Some held that it was better to subordinate justice to policy, than disturb the financial relations of a large educational institution.
In the ethics of giving and receiving benefactions, too little attention is paid to the character of the giver and the sources of the gift. Perhaps it might appear prudish for a religious or educational institution to ask of one who brings an offering, "Who and are you, whence and how obtained you your gift?" The end sanctifies the means, they say; filthy money put to a good use becomes clean money. Yet there are those who deem it wrong to receive stolen goods; and there was once a man who stood upon the floor of congress and said in tones which range from the Atlantic to the Pacific "We do not want to educate our children with stolen money!"
Since Copernicus, four hundred years ago, settled the principles of astronomy, no aid to scientific study has made greater advance than the telescope. There are in the United States forty telescopes with apertures of from 7 to 15 inches in diameter. The telescope of the Van du Zee observatory, Buffalo NY, made by Henry Fitz, has an aperture of 16 inches; that of Warner observatory, Rochester, made by Alvin Clark, 16 inches; Dearborn observatory, Chicago, 18 ½ inches; Halstead observatory, Princeton, 23 inches; University of Virginia, 26 inches; Washington Naval observatory, 26 inches; Yale, 28 inches. All these are surpassed by the Lick and Lowe telescopes of California, and the Yerkes of Chicago, the glass for the lenses for the last named being brought from Paris, and one of them five feet in diameter.
The world had seven wonders when it was no bigger than California; cannot California with seven wonders match the seven wonders of the Grecian world? Let us see. Yes, but with a difference; nature does our work, not slaves; building Egyptian pyramids in the Sierra, carrying a Rhodian colossus in the gorge of the Yosemite, raising a temple to Diana amid the grove-trees of Calaveras and a statue of Jupiter on Tamualpais, a mausoleum in the missions, with the hanging gardens of Los Angeles and the pharos of San Diego. In her 850 miles of seaboard California has but three harbors, but these are the best in the world.—San Francisco bay, 60 miles long; San Diego bay, 14 miles long; and Humboldt Bay, 14 miles long. Through the Golden Gate pass the united waters of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, the two chief rivers of the great valley of California. There are 1,400,000 acres of redwood forests still uncut, and inexhaustible coast fisheries. The wealth of the state, which is 770 miles long, as ships sail, and 300 miles wide, is $1,500,000,000, being $1,000 per capita.
Upon a pinch these Pacific states could feed the world. Not a thousandth part of their resources has as yet been touched. All the animals and plants here flourish, except those belonging exclusively to torrid and frigid zones.
Side by side grow wheat corn and barley, and oranges lemons and figs; olives grapes and prunes, apricots nectarines and almonds. The California combined harvester and thresher cuts a swath from 16 to 50 feet wide, and throws out as many as 1,800 sacks of grain a day. Five ten-horse gang plows following each other will plow from 30 to 50 acres a day, which is frequently done in the valley of the San Joaquin. The Bidwell orchard of 98,000 acres at Chico is one of the largest, though there are 1,000 other large fruit farms. The San Diego Land and Town Company has 60,000 lemon trees; Los Gatos has 450 acres in prunes, and there is a fig orchard in Ventura County of 720 acres. The Stanford Vina vineyard comprises 3,500 acres. Much wine and brandy is made there, and though others may consume it to the support of the Stanford University, the students are not allowed to drink it on the premises. There is also a large brandy still at El Pinal, near Stockton. Fresno has one vineyard of 2,000 acres, and there are hundreds there and elsewhere of from 100 to 1,000 acres. Four beet sugar-mills crunch yearly 100,000 tons of beets, producing 26,000,000 pounds of sugar. Pests are common; but on the whole there are not so many here as elsewhere.
The skins of the jackrabbit, or hare, in America are not as good as are those of some other countries—at least, no good use of them is made. Australia sends 50,000,000 rabbit skins to England annually, one third of which go from England to New York for hatter's use principally. The best in commerce are the 5,000,000 skins sent from Russia every year. If left to breed they become a pest. For example, the damage they have caused in past years in Australia is $15,000,000, and in California, 55,000,000. The rabbit is not indigenous to Australia, but was introduced there from England. In California the farmers have occasional rabbit drives 2,000 horsemen, sometimes assembling and enclosing an area 20 miles square, and driving the gentle beasts into a pen and killing them by the scores, of thousands.
California and Nevada produce annually 10,000,000 pounds of borax, and send $2,000,000 worth of it to England. The dry climate here is favorable to this and like industries. The annual rainfall is heavy in the north, where the Japan current which sweeps round Bering strait first strikes the frozen mountains of Alaska, being 15 or 20 feet in places, but growing less as southward latitudes are reached until at the northern end of California the rainfall is 60 inches, while at the southern end it is 10 inches. In Lower California and, in Nevada and Arizona, it is in many places still less. Khassaya, India, had a rainfall in one year of 610 inches. Cherrapungi, S. W. Assam, had an average fall of rain for 15 years of 493 inches. Mining and agriculture are mostly carried on by Americans; manufactures by the Germans, with Chinese artisans; Hebrews of whom there are many wealthy and very respectable families, here as elsewhere, preferring trade.
To one of the wealthiest Jewish families of the east at the time Christ was born, belonged the Helenic philosopher Philo, of Alexandria. "Are not these laws." he says in his De Septenario, referring to the writings of Judaism, "worthy of reverence, teaching as they do the rich to give to the poor, who will not indeed be always poor, but receive their possession again, the widow orphan and disowned coming once again every seventh year into their wealth.” Few regain their wealth in California, when once it is lost, even in the mines.
San Francisco had her Shylocks as well as old Venice, men with souls so steeped in avarice as to be scarcely human. At one time the city miser lived in a hut under the chaparral among the suburban sand-hills at, another time he appeared on Montgomery Street arrived in fine linen, and fattening on five percent a month. Yet in the main, I will say, that never was there a more free-handed and chivalrous community of money-getters than that thus brought together in the early days of California. Seldom was any close cash account kept in 1849, especially among acquaintances; the merchant would often take a bag of dust without weighing, or sweep a hat full of mixed coins into the till without counting. But Michael Reese, the money lender, counted his small coins, as well as his large mortgages. Nicholas Luning, like New York’s Russell Sage, kept at his bankers the largest balance of ready cash of any one in town, and he knew how to make its power felt. Friedlander was king of grain, and Miller and Lux of cattle, the latter counting alike their herds and their acres by thousands. It was with difficulty that Alvinza Hayward obtained credit for a sack of flour and a side of bacon, which he carried out prospecting on his shoulder; when he was returned, the foundation of a fortune of several millions was laid. James C. Flood, with his partner O'Brien, at one time kept a saloon in San Francisco. One day a man to whom Flood gave a drink said, "buy Consolidated Virginia." Flood bought, and for a time was regarded the richest man on the coast. Desiring to be richer, he bought wheat, thinking to corner the world, but was himself cornered instead. This broke his heart, and he died, worth only a few millions, O Brien long before achieving celestial joys through champagne.
Isaac Lankershiem was rich and noble; he gave liberally, was open to every good and progressive work, yet hated iniquitous monopoly; had San Francisco been blessed with enough such men, the city would today be as large and prosperous as Chicago. Isaac Wormser was a conspicuous figure on Montgomery in early times. Thomas H. Blythe, keeper of a saloon and gambling shop, won from a man one night a lot on Market Street, worth at his death $5,000,000. Louis Sloss made some millions in the Alaska seal and fur trade. Joseph Macdonough married a sister of William S. O'Brien, and with the money his wife received at the death of O'Brien Macdonough made about a million. Among the earliest country residences were those of San Mateo, where lived the wealthy San Franciscans W. H. Howard, H. P. Bowie, Alvinza Hayward, John Parrott, and A. H. Payson. Cityward from this point many prominent men had places, W. C. Ralston at Belmont, L. Stanford at Palo Alto, and D. O. Mills at Millbrae.
Honest Harry Meiggs led a lively and adventurous life, beginning as contractor in Boston, then in New York in the lumber business making a fortune, and losing it in the crisis of 1837; in 1848 loading a vessel with lumber for San Francisco, where he sold it for twenty times its cost; building a wharf and sawmill on San Francisco bay, having at one time 500 men in the woods cutting trees and doing a rushing business,—meanwhile into everything as contractor, politician, educator, and the rest; finally off at sea for parts unknown, in a schooner said to carry $250,000 in money, its owner leaving unpaid debts of somewhere near a like amount, while all the city smiled a silly smile over the absurd pseudonym. Time passed by, and there came a rumor to California of an Honest Harry bridge-builder in Chili. Then in 1858 he made a contract with the Chilean government to complete the railroad from Valparaiso to Santiago in four years for $12,000 000. This he did in half of the agreed time, at a profit of $1,300,000. Next was the railway from Mallendo Arequipa, Peru, completed in 1871 at a large profit, of which he spent $200,000 in a dinner and, $550,000 for gold and silver medals which he distributed with a liberal hand. Having reached the summit of fortune and fame to which he who pursues honesty as the best policy ever attains, he contracted to build six railways in Peru for $125,000,000, and then asked forgiveness of the California legislature for his misdeeds, as he had repented while reveling in riches, and paid his debts, and wished to visit his old haunts before he died. But the lawmakers said no; such honesty as his could only be wiped out behind prison bars, and Harry felt that he possessed too many millions to enjoy that kind of life.
Among the many lawyers who acquired wealth manipulating Mexican land titles, it is pleasant to mention the name of Horace Carpentier, one of California’s most able and respected men, and a citizen of Oakland.
How do all the people live? There are a thousand ways to do this and to make, money also, in and around a large progressive city, every article eaten worn or used requiring an army of producers; for example florists in and around Greater New York, numbering 500 and having employed half a million dollars capital. This business in blossoms so profitable on the eastern seaboard would scarcely find support on the western where nature is always, in bloom. The traffic in the United States, in roses and rhododendrons, in azaleas orchids and palms, and like sweet merchandise employs 25,000 persons and yields returns of $25,000,000 per annum. This labor and expense is for the most part saved to Californians, who may still have such a profusion of beautiful open air flowers as would put to blush the hot-house plants of colder climes. The garden city, San Jose, is buried in blossoms. Likewise in the Santa Clara valley are many beautiful residences, but most charming of all are the thousands of happy homes of moderate proportions. Standing conspicuous in San Jose are the courthouse and the state normal school, while at Santa Clara is the catholic college. Here and in the vicinity have from earliest times lived many wealthy families, as the Murphys, the Clarks, and the Campbells, Charles Lux and J. C. Johnson and Josiah Belden. Stockton stands for the San Joaquin valley, as does Sacramento for the Sacramento valley and state capital. Los Angeles has oil wells and many manufactories, besides a large fruit business. At Santa Cruz are the California powder works, long since established, where is made a high grade of smokeless and other powders. These works take rank with the Du Pont factories in Delaware, which are among the first in the world.
San Francisco comes first in manufactories, then Alameda, San Joaquin, and Santa Cruz counties in the order named. Like imperial Rome, the metropolitan city of the Pacific stands on seven hills, or more or less in number according as you count them. City and county, ground and government, are one; the largest city and the smallest county in the state. There is a large Chinatown, and the hill of many nabobs, made such by mines, railways, and the happy faculty of inheritance.
But alas! where are the original great fellows? All gone, their millions scattered, their mansions of little use, being too large and luxurious to live in or to sell. Indeed, it is said of Searles, who inherited the Hopkins house that before the art association would receive it from him as a gift he was obliged to provide for the payment of the taxes. How few succeed and how many fail! How many in Paris, big trees, mariposa grove London, and New York who have been leaders on the exchange, rulers of markets, counting their wealth by millions, and yet who have died in a garret alone and in poverty! And of those who do not fail, but simply pass out of sight, their name is legion. Of the thousand business firms in California in 1849, not ten of them remain alive or unchanged to the end of the century. The city hall, that mill of the gods, still grinds, the building being the most imposing on the coast. Market Street, the broadest in the city, has on it some tall buildings, and property here is valuable, being worth $5,000 or $7,000 a front foot in places, as against $8,000 or $10,000 a foot in Chicago, and $12,000 to $15,000 in New York. The boulevard has become a necessary adjunct to all great cities, and to which a water view adds a great charm and value. Nature herein provides San Francisco an opportunity unsurpassed in the world; starting at the water front and skirting Telegraph hill, then on to the Golden Gate and along the ocean to and through the park, and back by the valley—a beyond the mission, drive as picturesque as New York's Riverside or Morningside with a marine, view as enchanting as any Bosphorus. The California academy of Natural Sciences was organized in 1853, and has from the first aided greatly in the development of the natural history of the Pacific coast.
Its usefulness was largely increased by the bequest of James Lick. Golden Gate Park, made from sand, is as pretty as New York Central Park, made from rocks. The cable railway was invented by A. S. Hallidie of San Francisco, and the first road built was over the steep grade of Clay street hill, in 1873; indeed, the first idea of it was as a hoist rather than as a haul.
Claus Spreckels became as the century was closing about the foremost man on the west coast, as he was both wealthy and public-spirited. He built the Valley railway from Stockton as a public benefaction rather than as an investment. His son, John D. has Spreckels, also wealthy and enterprising, large interests in San Diego. James Phelan is a man of wealth and political ability. Adolph Sutro constructed a tunnel to drain the Comstock mines, afterward establishing Sutro heights in San Francisco. Charles Crocker, of the overland railway, and his son and successor Charles F. Crocker, left, the former $40,000,000, and the latter $10,000,000. Woodward, of Woodward's garden, was prominent for his wealth and enterprise; as were also Samuel Merritt, A. J. Pope. Charles Main, William Dunphy, W. W. Hollister, Alexander Montgomery, H. M. Newhall, Annis Merrill, and Coggswell, who gave $1,000,000 to found a polytechnic school in San Francisco. Peter Donahue began as a blacksmith and ended in building a railway to Santa Rosa. James R. Keene was a prominent stock operator in San Francisco before going to New York. William Sharon made a fortune in Nevada, went to the United States senate, and completed the Palace hotel, begun by himself and Ralston, and which was ever his pride and the pride of the country. It is in itself a city of luxury, and in many respects the greatest hostelry in the United States or in the world. George Hearst made a large fortune in mines, and went to the United States senate.
Wheat was first grown in California at San Diego mission. Thence the culture, as well as that of corn and scores of other products, spread to other mission stations as they were established, and finally to the great ranchos, where indeed little grain was grown, immense herds finding ample pasture on native grasses, green, or cured by the sun without cutting. The beet-sugar industry was begun in California at Alvarado in 1880, the factories next in order being at Grand island and Norfolk, Nebraska; Lehi, Utah; Staunton, Virginia; and Watsonville and Chino, California; 20,000 acres being tributary and capital employed $2,000,000; cost of cultivation $500,000 for $900,000 worth of beets. Such at least are the reports. Oil and asphalt are found in plentiful quantity along and back of the coast from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Not to mention the minor sulfurous appearances, there are a thousand important mineral springs in western North America, like the California Geysers, Calistoga, Bartlett’s, and the fifty others in Lake and indeed all the coast counties.
There is great wealth in the wine industry, the California annual product of 1,000,000,000 gallons constantly growing in favor. The dried fruit industry has likewise developed into large proportions, pears and prunes being conspicuous. Among the many examples of what California soil can do I will cite only two, the Calaveras Mariposa and Tuolumne trees, from 109 feet in circumference down, and southern California grape vines, one near Carpentaria being 7 feet 8 inches in circumference. Among other marvels may be mentioned a Yosemite water fall of a perpendicular half mile, a Death's valley 400 feet below the sea, plenty of natural bridges, and a dead river bed 60 miles long from which $250,000,000 in gold has been taken. Vines will grow anywhere in California, but between the kinds, quantity, and quality of grapes produced in the several sections there are differences. Thus in the Coast range, while all vines thrive there, the high and sparkling wine, raisin, and champagne grapes do best, while in the Sierra foothills those flourish which produce sherry port and burgundy. Missouri manufactures white and red wine. Champagne has been made in Ohio since 1850, Nicholas Longworth of Cincinnati being a promoter of the industry there. After that came to the front the lake regions of Central New York. The California raisin product is about 100,000,000 pounds.
Oregon, Washington, and Idaho have good fertile Puget Sound timber well-watered lands with all the minerals and metals, and noble rivers and forests. So with British Columbia and Alaska; besides their vast mineral resources and seal fisheries, the rivers and sea swarm with food-fishes. Salmon in the south and white fish in the north, and along the coast oceans of herring. Canneries are established on all the large streams where salmon abound. Within two miles of the sea-coast in Alaska is a lake of petroleum, five miles long by three miles wide, and of unknown depth. Thereabout is coal in abundance, and asphalt.
He who records the successes of life has a small task indeed as compared with him who tells of reverses. A rough rollicking hard selfish man, but with perhaps some latent or unknown good qualities, was Ben Holliday sometime overland, stage proprietor, and later living in imperious and lordly state in Portland, finally to fall under an avalanche of his own greatness. A far better man was Henry W. Corbit, who, coming to Oregon with nothing, acquired with wealth high social and political distinction. William W Stewart, mining lawyer, was long conspicuous as the wealthy senator from Nevada. John P. Jones was another rich Nevada senator, who made his money in mines. It is not always and every where that money can buy a seat in the United States senate but as a rule it can do so. When you see in congress a rich politician of little or no ability, who is neither a statesman nor an orator, who is not an educated and certainly not an honest man, you may be pretty sure it was his money that placed him there.
Arizona is a land of mountain terraces, arid plains, and canyons, with oases of meadows fruits and flowers wherever water appears. There are minerals in abundance and alternating with, lava-beds and cones of volcanic cinder are natural parks and pine forests. Prescott and Phoenix are distributing points to the country around, particularly the copper mines. On the eastern side, near the pueblo Juni, is a salt lake, three miles across. So transparent is the hot palpitating air of the desert that it deludes the eye and fills the mind with mirage, all nature at times taking on forms fantastic and delighting in deceit. There are present wells of water, but no lakes; and for rivers, the Colorado itself, until better cleared, is not worth much for navigation, even aside from the Grand Canyon fissure, which is a series of chasms 300 miles in length and a mile deep. Agricultural lands are limited, though if water be poured out on the desert it is productive. Timber lands are still less abundant, but there are wider areas of grazing lands. The wealth of Arizona is in her minerals and metals, which seem to impregnate the entire country. There are 2,000 acres of petrified forests, in which huge trunks ten feet in diameter are thrown about as in a logging camp, and showing, where broken by natural or human agency, mosaics of onyx and amethyst, of jasper topaz carnelian and agate. In the Coast range of California near the geysers is a petrified forest, but without the beautiful stones found in Arizona.
Artesian wells began to be sunk in Santa Clara County, California, about the middle of the century, many being subsequently bored in all the central and southern districts, as well as in Nevada and the states adjacent. There is a remarkable artesian belt in San Bernardino County, where hundreds of wells from 100 to 300 feet deep pour forth perpetually their verdure- clothing streams. In the rivers of the Coast range, and along the Sierra foothills, is power for hundreds of machinery plants. The horsepower of rain is limitless, and there are natural watersheds and places for storage in the mountains of western America to furnish power to move the world. The rain-fall thus caught midway between the clouds and the ocean is made to turn many of the wheels of civilization on its level-seeking course, and manufacture lightning on its way to spread with fresh verdure the plains below. Likewise in the harnessing of the tides may be the utilization of great power, for which purpose several machines have been invented, one in California. During the 25 years electrical power has been in use, $1,000,000,000 have been invested in electrical machinery.
Mighty indeed are the powers that be, and mighty the power of man, whether overthrowing or overthrown, and death mightiest of all! Standing here upon the borderline between the latest west and the old east, on the line where west meets east, the old half civilizations of Asia either briskly astir or falling in pieces by their own weight; standing likewise between two centuries, wherein has been and will be more of progress than in any of the half-score of the past or the future, it is not difficult to prophesy, nor unsafe withal as to what will be a century hence. New York and Chicago then will each have a population of ten millions, San Francisco five million, and San Diego one million. Broadway will have all high buildings with elevated sidewalks and cross bridges above the tenth story. East and North rivers will have each three bridges and three tunnels. There will be seen no horses in the streets . Ship canals from lakes Erie Michigan and Superior to the rivers Hudson and Mississippi will bring the vast interior to the sea, while ocean navigation will cross the continent at Panama and Nicaragua. Attached to every public schoolhouse will be a first-class hotel and clothing shop, where pupils will receive every requirement free, capital from the county bank being given them to engage in business upon the completion of their education. Negroes and Irish policemen will run the government at reduced rates. As men have been occupied largely during the past century in studying the forces of nature and applying them to their requirements, so they will continue discovering and inventing through the next, until the end of it will find wonders heaped upon wonders.
It is a day of great and small inventions,—horseless carriages and bicycles propelled by petroleum; electrical and hot air railway cars, telephone talking, with no end of clubs, coming women and the rest. Certain very able men and, very good men doubtless at heart, if peradventure such an organ can be found, are perhaps a little greedy for gold, and with their trusts and corners, and monopolies here and impositions there, crushing mercilessly the life out of any and all who oppose them under the Juggernaut-wheels of their avarice, inclined to more than their share, if they can get it. But we must not quarrel with the way in which a kind providence has put up things. These men are as God made them, only, as Sancho Panza says, a little worse.
The past half-century has been conspicuous in this respect, in common with others,—that wealth has increased in as great or greater ratio than population. And we may confidently look forward for a continuance of the same state of things for another half-century. There are yet forests to be cleared away, orchards and vineyards to be planted, houses to be built, canals and railroads to be constructed, and many other industries to be extended which add fixed and permanent value to the land. Setting aside from our eighty millions of population the non-producers, children, women, professional men and the rest, and we have at least ten millions of men whose day’s labor leaves a permanent result. If this result is estimated at a dollar a day, then the increase of wealth in the United States, from this source alone, is not less than 3,000 millions of money, equal to the entire circulation of the globe.
Happy is he who on entering the world chooses for himself beneficent and wealthy father, and so inherits all the good things of life without the trouble of lifting a finger for them. Yet some would say that he who lives alone for self, lives for the least of God’s creatures; that he who has no other ambition while in this world than to spend the money another has earned, which life indeed is the life of the swine who eat sleep and sun themselves, is not to be envied. And the idle rich of America are more unhappy than the idle rich of Europe, where centuries of practice have brought the art of doing nothing to a state of greater perfection. Some would say, likewise, that the super-sensitive or self-sufficient woman of too much learning, or the appearance of it, might better come clown from her stilts, and deal more in pretty and pleasing things.
For example, with a straining at logic for which the female mind is conspicuous, particularly where her interests or prejudices are involved, sentiments intended to appear ultra humane are poured forth against the killing of birds for their ornamental feathers. This is well. If all birds and all animals were protected against the cruelty and rapacity of man it would be still better. The point here is whether it is more inhumane to kill a bird for its two wings to decorate a hat, than for its breasts to furnish a mouthful of delicate food to a fat gourmand. "But all must eat,” says the whale, as he swallows a thousand fishes for a breakfast. True, but were it not better to feed on swine than on birds of sweet song or bright plumage.
Though royalty is not held in as high esteem as formerly, money is still a power. Some exalt learning, some worship their dead ancestors, but love of learning and love of ancestry alike may reach the ridiculous. Gold, however, is always worshipped; and though religion and learning may sneer, they bow down before the yellow calf all the same. Some would have it in one breath that it is right to steal China from the Chinese, and that war is to cease even though they have to fight any who hold to the contrary. Some write profusely about a twentieth century outlook, who can see no further beyond their nose than is vouchsafed to the generality of mankind. The world for the most part takes its own course, and man follows along behind.
The Nicaragua canal will be finished early in the century, saving a voyage round Cape Horn of some 6,000 or 7,000 miles, or an expensive railway haul of 2,000 or 3 000 miles. China, will awaken to the herald notes of progress, or become dismembered by the European powers. And as the Pacific becomes more and more alive to traffic and trans-oceanic intercourse, all the states and seaports from Alaska to Patagonia will benefit by it. The growing greatness of the Pacific, which is inevitable, may be better understood when we consider that here is one of the world's chief sources of lumber supply, one of the world's great gold, grain, and fruit producing regions, a climate unequalled on earth, a land whose resources have as yet scarcely been touched. And in the throes of an universal unrest will be brought forth a higher intelligence, a nobler manhood, and yet more stupendous wealth.
While The Book of Wealth has been in course of publication, a change has come over the nation, brought about primarily by the war with Spain. By that war the commonwealth was baptized into a new and higher civilization. More especially was this change destined to affect the great South sea of Vasco Nunez, which was indeed to become a New Pacific, with the Anglo-Saxon race forever dominant.
Following the war, new life was given to the western shore of the United States. New lines of steamships arose at Tacoma and Seattle, at San Francisco and San Diego, and before the year 1899 had closed, there was scarcely a port of any considerable importance in or around the entire Pacific arena, islands or mainland, which had not steamship and sail communication with the rest of the world, and many of them railways coastwise and across continent. Commerce sprang up between points where it had never before existed, and traffic at the old marts was several times increased.
Nor was it so much the active development which took place at the time as the enlargement of ideas, which gave the richest promise in regard to the future. Already, before the naval battle at Manila bay, great changes had occurred. The better to realize the transformation, we have only to glance backward toward the early part of the century, when for the most part the ports of China were closed to commerce, and Japan was still enfolded in the clouds of barbarism. The Philippines were held in the merciless grasp of Spain, with South intercourse at intervals with Mexico and India, while the Australias were still occupied by the Bushmen. America held some slight intercourse with Europe, and the trade of Boston with California and the Northwest Coast consisted mainly in hides and furs. Such a thing as steam navigation upon this broad expanse of waters was not dreamed of until sometime in the forties or thereabout, when the Hudson's bay company got out from England two scrubby craft of the tug-boat type, called the Beaver and the Otter, to ply along shore between the company’s posts on the lower Columbia and the lower Fraser and Fort Simpson. And the century had more than half of it come and gone before a steam railway appeared, that across the isthmus of Panama beginning operations in 1852, and the Folsom and Sacramento, the first in California, some eight or ten years later.
The end of the century marks the general occupation of the tropics by Europeans. There are problems yet to be solved concerning these lands, as the kind of labor best to be employed, and the kind of society best to be established. The discussion is usually conducted on the hypothesis that it is possible for white men to live and labor under or near the equator, and to establish there homes and institutions, after the manner of those of old England, or of New England; but even if this could be done, it is not difficult to say what the result would be, that the race if it did not die would deteriorate, if for no other reason than that the climate makes for inactivity and inertness weakening to body and mind. A slight infection of civilization is enough, sometimes, to destroy multitudes of savages, particularly in hot climates, where clothing of any kind, to body or mind, is an infliction. It took but a small body of merchants, missionaries, and sailors to clear the Hawaiian islands of their original 300,000 inhabitants, or at least to reduce them to one tenth of their original number; so that of late years Japanese and Chinese had to be brought in to do the work on the plantations, the latter, on annexation of the islands, being denied further admission owing to the foolish fanaticism of the laboring class, aided by demagogues and that part of the public press which panders to whatever is popular, without regard to right or fairness, through whose influence the best tropical laborers the world affords are excluded from our shores. Since the acquisition of tropical lands of our own, the folly on the part of the United States government of excluding the Chinese becomes apparent, even to the most stupid. A continuance of the exclusion policy will at once drive cotton and other industries from America to Asia, and leave our tropical lands without those laborers which alone can make them profitable.
Our new possessions near the coast of Asia bring with them several problems, but concerning none of which we need feel alarm. As it seemed to some a hundred years ago, or fifty years, when the United States began and continued the expansion policy which extended our domain from the English plantations on the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific ocean, adding first the middle northwest, then Louisiana and Florida, and finally Oregon and California, the acquisition of tropical islands they feared would bring only loss and trouble, and an imperial policy which if continued would end in destruction. I see nothing to be frightened about, however. It will do no harm to spend a little of the public money on the islands and shores of the Pacific, rather than to have it all go to politicians and pensioners, even though it costs us $10,000 to kill a Filipino, which is about a thousand times more than the average expense of military slaughter in Europe, at the wholesale rate, the estimate based upon the statistics of the past century. What the people of the United States need now, even more than Filipino carcasses, though that of Aguinaldo might be worth a good price, is the expenditure of a few hundred millions in the reclamation of arid lands, and bridging the great American desert with one or two trunk lines of railways, which would bring into nearer relationship, commercially and politically, the two sides of the country.
On 1200 of the Philippine islands there are seventy tribes belonging to six distinct races, though ethnological differentiation is here difficult. In wealth and intelligence the Tagals and Visayans are the most highly favored, some of whom may fairly be placed in the category of civilized, while at the other extreme are the beastly Negritos, the true remaining aboriginal, the fierce Malays, and the bloodthirsty Igorrotes. Chinese indications are seen everywhere, just as among the natives of Mexico, Central, and South America, Spanish blood is seen. And as in Spanish America, so in Asia, owing to the interminable intermixture of scores of peoples on these islands and the mainland adjacent, there has become conspicuous a mongrel type which partakes of all tribes and races. On Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago are the Moros, who came originally from Borneo.
On some of the islands are savages of as low a quality as can be found anywhere, who on the approach of the poor civilization to which these islands are destined, will disappear of their own accord. The advice to the United States, of Li Hung Chang, though never asked, was, “Sell the Philippines." Li is a wise Chmaman, but his wisdom is the wisdom of Mencius and Confucius, the wisdom of old China, and not the wisdom of the New Pacific. In olden times, when pests became too troublesome, as coyotes, or rabbits, the people would come together and have a drive at them, cleaning them out. If a grand picnic for the isles of Asia could be got up in the United States, which would result in the smoking out of the bush-hiding Filipinos, and the strangulation of their leaders, the pest would be practically exterminated. Doubtless some of the prosperity enjoyed at present by the United States and the New Pacific, is due to recent events; but even before the war there were at hand unmistakable signs of great material advancement in the industrialism of this whole region. Says a late English writer on this subject: "In the past three years American institutions have undergone an all-round process of sudden and mysterious enlargement. Territorially the union has expanded, and in a still greater degree have the minds of the people. The nation as a whole has kept pace with the unexampled growth of its commerce and its industry. It has adopted broader views of its position in the world, and its relations to other states. The term ‘expansion,’ now so frequently in its mouth, has acquired a higher meaning than formerly. Previous to the war with Spain, the only expansion which the Americans understood or cared about was commercial. They wished to have nothing to do with other states except in the way of trade. But their sudden conversion into a colonial power has given a new stimulus to their industrial energy. It has kindled a higher ambition among them to measure themselves against the rest of the world, politically as well as industrially. So far from interfering with their commercial emulation, the imperialist sentiment seems to have quickened and strengthened it. Their keen eye to business has shown them that the war with Spain was a capital advertisement for them. It called the attention of the world to the superabundance of their resources, and to the wonderful elasticity of their organization. In the conduct of the campaign they may have sometimes owed more to luck than to skill, but in command of men and material they were marvelous. In rapidity of production they distanced all competitors, even the oldest and wealthiest; and this not by a fluke, but in a variety of hard fought tests. In 1896 a semi-famine in Europe gave the states an opportunity to show what they could do in the way of food growing and distribution. Their wheat crop that year, though under average, formed 20 percent of the whole world’s yield. Next year they increased their production by one hundred million bushels, and their proportion of the whole to 22 percent. Wheat being still comparatively dear, they made another effort in 1898, and achieved a further increase of from sixty to eighty million bushels. This raised their share of the whole world's crop to 25 percent, which, needless to say, outdistances that of any other wheat producer. The extra supply of wheat raised by the Americans in these two years would very nearly cover the consumption of the entire United Kingdom. No other country could so promptly have taken advantage of the emergency caused by the almost universal failure of the wheat crop outside of the states. If any other country—Russia, for example, or Argentina—could have raised an additional two hundred million bushels, how could it have been shipped in time to Europe? Neither Russia nor Argentina has the elevators, the railroads, the lake steamers and the shipping ports which enable the Americans to move grain from Duluth to Liverpool for less than our own railways charge for carrying it from Liverpool to Leicester. The cost of growing wheat is only one factor in the problem which the Americans are solving so successfully—of how the new world is to feed the old. No less important are the railroads, with which the western states are now grid ironed, the rolling stock, beside which our own is quite out of date, and the ubiquitous agencies that exist for collecting grain, grading it and hurrying it through to the seaboard in train loads of three or four hundred tons each. The financing of the crop requires a most extensive ramification of local bankers and grain-brokers, who have all to be bright men if they mean to fulfill their first duty as Americans and ‘get on top’. The elevator companies, who store grain at the railway centers, whence it can be shipped east at an hour's notice, are indispensable wheels in the machine. Even the speculators in the wheat pit, who buy and sell ‘futures,' have their legitimate use. Their dealings create a free market for grain such as exists nowhere else. Through them millions of bushels can be bought or sold any morning. Orders which might take days to execute at Liverpool or Mark Lane are the work of a moment in Chicago. In the case of a foreign purchase, the grain can be on the way to the port of shipment the same night. So on all the way through, in every branch of the wheat business, from growing it to making markets for it, the American is facile princeps. He handles millions of bushels where European dealers seldom get beyond thousands, and his methods are proportionately massive."
In international trade the huge geographical area of the United States must give the Americans a great advantage over European competitors. If there were nothing else, this might often turn the scale in their favor. But add to it a system of transportation unequaled for efficiency and cheapness, a commercial machinery which is being continually driven at high pressure, the fact that a large proportion of the American intellect is devoted entirely to business, and the other fact that, from storekeepers to ironmasters, all are possessed with a consuming ambition to be the biggest of their kind. Remember, too, the immense variety of natural wealth providence has heaped on the country. Its coal and iron mines are as marvelous in their way as its timber forests and wheat fields. During the present decade they have undergone enormous development, and today the mineral output of the states, taken altogether, leads the world. In metal work and machinery of the highest class even England seems no longer to hold her own. She has been slow compared with the Americans to adopt improvements, enlarge her workshops and plant, and to extend her operations.