Note: Ctrl and + increases the font size of the text below, Ctrl and - decreases it, and Ctrl and 0 resets it to default size.
STATES AND TERRITORIES. — CALIFORNIA. 33
providing for the temporary accommodation of residents in the principal settlements. No
railroads or canals of any importance have yet been constructed ; although projects have been
suggested for several improvements of this description. It is not probable that many years
will elapse before ample and convenient means of communication will be established between
the seaports and the mining districts; for the necessities of the people, and the nature of
their pursuits, must soon demand far greater facilities of intercourse than any now existing.
Minerals. — Besides the incredible quantities of gold, for which California has become
renowned above all other countries on the globe, sundry mineral products of much value are
found in different parts of the state. Silver, mercury, and lead have been obtained; and
indications of copper, tin, iron, and other ores have appeared, as is reported, in several places.1
No satisfactory signs, however, of any extensive coal fields have as yet been discovered,
although reports of their existence have from time to time been made. Some few small
veins of what was at first imagined to be pure coal have been met with; but, on investi-
gation, they have proved to be lignite, bitumen, or other material of tertiary formation.
Researches for other minerals than gold have not yet been prosecuted to any great extent;
nor is it likely that, during the prevailing attraction towards the more precious metal, the
coexistent mineral resources of the state will be fully developed, unless incidentally, and by
degrees, or through systematic explorations under authority of the government.
The wealth of the gold region" is almost, if not entirely, incalculable. This region
comprehends the territory occupied by the Sierra Nevada and the contiguous country, including
its rivers. Indeed, it is almost solely on account of its capacity to produce gold, that the
attention of the world has been directed to this extraordinary country. The universally
coveted metal is found in prodigious quantities along the western slopes of the great moun-
tain range, and especially in and around the streams that descend thence into the large valley
of California, at the bottom of which flow the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The gold
* is obtained in various forms, mostly in small, thin particles ; but not unfrequently in lumps,
some of which have weighed several pounds. The slate rocks of the mountains enclose
numerous veins of granite, in which gold is imbedded ; and it is from these sources, wrought
upon as they have been by volcanic action, that the metal finds its way into the ravines and
crevices upon the mountain sides, and into the streams below, carried thither by the constant
operation of powerful atmospheric agencies. The value of the auriferous product of Cali-
fornia can scarcely be computed. The yield of the mines for the year 1851, it is confidently
stated, may be estimated at some seventy millions of dollars. This is based on official state-
ments of the amounts procured, carried away by sea and land, stamped by various houses, or
manufactured into jewelry, &c., during the first quarter of that year ; the aggregate of which,
at the mint valuation, exceeded sixteen millions of dollars. New developments of rich deposits
are constantly occurring; and notwithstanding the vast additions to the population, which are
made daily, the average gains of miners do not seem in any degree to dimmish.
Manufactures. — The only manufacturing branches at present carried on in California are
such as chiefly pertain to the casual wants of the people; and these are confined to mechanical
operations connected with the construction and repairing of houses, vessels, furniture, &c.,
the making up of clothing, and the fabrication of various articles needed by miners. Some
considerable amount of gold is formed into jewelry, much of which is sent abroad; but no
other commodities, to any great extent, are manufactured for exportation.
Indians. — Few of the descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants remain within the present
limits of the state. These few consist of small and scattered tribes, who neither own, nor
pretend to claim, any portion of the soil beyond the boundaries of their small villages. To
* Cinnabar is found, in great quantities, within eight or ten miles of San Jose, the capital of the
state. Sulphur is obtained in the vicinity of Sonoma. Salt ponds exist in different parts of the state,
and limestone is not uncommon. In various spots, during the summer season, a peculiar sort of earth
may be gathered from the sites of certain dried-up ponds, which possesses strong alkaline properties,
and answers all the uses of ashes in the manufacture of soap.
A Gazetteer of the United States of America by John Hayward.
Hartford, CT: Case, Tiffany and Company. 1853. Public domain imaqe