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comparison of any other. The moisture from the sea cools the atmosphere; yet the chilling blasts never penetrate within the mountains, and neither oppressive heat nor severe cold are ever experienced. It is ten times larger than the vale of Tempe, celebrated by the ancient poets; and, while it boasts no Olympus to frown upon the one side, and no Ossa upon the other, with no terrible defile to awe while it attracts, it yet presents features of not less beauty, and of more utility to man, in its heavy forests and its virgin soil.
The region south of the Great Valley differs from the more northern in general appearance, in soil, and somewhat in climate. Being sheltered by low mountains from the chilling north-west winds, its climate is more mild and genial; the productions are more southern and more richly varied. The shortness of the wet season renders irrigation necessary to the successful growth of the grains and fruits. The streams that intersect the region are amply sufficient for the purpose, if judiciously directed; and experience has proved that when they have been turned upon the earth, it yields the plants adapted to it luxuriantly. The soil is lighter and more sandy generally—in some spots barren—in others very fertile. The country is rather bare of trees, and presents a naked appearance. Yet, on the mountains, and along their bases, are forests and rich valleys, and pasturage is found, when the grass is elsewhere withered by the drought. The olive, and most of the tropical fruits, grow in perfection, and, by selecting fields for them, since the clime varies with the elevation above the sea, all the grains may be produced. The grape seems to be peculiarly adapted to the culture here, and makes an extraordinary return for moderate attention, with irrigation. A single vine has been known to produce a barrel of wine! It will not be long before the general cultivation of the grape will prove a rich source of revenue to the inhabitants. The Mexico-Californians resided here through choice. Santa Barbara. on the coast, and San Gabriel, were two of their principal cities. Los Angelos was their capital. The country around San Diego is less inviting, save for the agreeable and healthful atmosphere. Its soil is less productive. Eastward, a desert stretches to the Colorado river, with only an oasis or two to relieve it. This region was traversed by Col. Emory, and is described in his Notes.
The portion of California lying "between the Sacramento valley and the coast, north of San Francisco bay, is broken into mountain ridges and rolling hills, with many fertile valleys, made by lakes and small streams. In the interior, it is wooded generally with oaks, and immediately along the coast presents open prairie lands, among heavily timbered forests, having a great variety of trees, and occasionally a larger growth than the timbered region of the Sierra Nevada. In some parts it is entirely covered in areas of many miles, with a clear growth of wild oats, to the exclusion of almost every other plant." The climate is moister and cooler near to the Sacramento. The winter months, about Bodega particularly, are the most agreeable, being exempt from the fogs and chilling blasts from the north-west, which prevail at other seasons. Flowers bloom in December—grass is in full growth in February. Wheat and fruits grow there likewise. The Russians had a wheat farm at Ross. But this region will be best adapted to pasturage, and. from its immense forests, and its bold streams, some of them emptying directly into the ocean, and affording innumerable mill seats, the timber and lumber business would make a handsome return.
The harbors, roadsteads and towns of California have been fully described by Capt. Wilkes. His information of the former is minute and accurate, having been drawn from careful observations by the exploring expedition. He gives three harbors to the country—San Diego. San Francisco, and Bodega—and several bays that may be anchored in, with safety, during the fine season, from March to October. He places a higher estimate on San Diego than we had before seen. He says, "it is of considerable extent— in fact, an arm of the sea—in length, 10 miles and width 4 miles; from being land-locked, it is perfectly secure from all winds. The entrance is narrow and easily defended, and has a sufficient depth of water—20 feet at lowest tide— for large vessels. The tide rises five feet." The want of water to supply vessels, &c., he urges as a drawback; but, at the Mission, a few miles distant, there is an abundance. He urges, as another objection, that the stream flowing into the harbor rises in the wet season, and carries much sand, which has already formed a bar; but he admits that this can be cleared away at slight cost. This port possesses some interest and importance as the possible terminus of a rail
road from some point in the Mississippi Valley. It would require an entire article to discuss this matter, and we pass it by. The town of San Diego, built of adobes, is on * a sand flat two miles wide, on the northern side of the bay. The country around is almost sterile, having the cacti for the principal growth.
The roadstead of Santa Barbara, the first of any note, is sheltered somewhat from the N W. winds by the island of Santa Cruz; but it is insecure. The town of a thousand inhabitants, and containing some of the most respectable families of the country, is near the beach. The mission is a short distance up the valley. This valley is fertile, and of sufficient extent to add much to the growth of the town.
The bay of Monterey in latitude 37° is "a segment of a circle 18 miles long," terminating at both extremities against high mountain bluffs. The anchorage is in the southern part, near the town of the same name. But being open to the North and N.W., when gales come from these quarters the roadstead is dangerous. The prevailing winds are, however, S.W. and S.E. and from these vessels are sheltered. The town is growing in importance, and when the adjacent valleys of Solidad and San Juan are peopled, it may rival the cities in the Bay of San Francisco. If subordinate, it will at least stand next to them in size and prosperity.
• The port of Bodega is 90 miles above San Francisco; is small and inconvenient, and only light draft boats can enter it; and the anchorage outside is dangerous. It was once a Russian post and will never be much more than a depot for timber and lumber.
The Bay of San Francisco, is considered not only the best harbor in California, but, very justly, one of the best in the world. Its accessory advantages of the dependent country around—the adjoining valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquim leading to it—the resources of ship timber and provisions,—add greatly to its value. It is destined to be the entrepbt of the larger portion of the commerce of that sea, and the resort*of the mass of emigrants to that country. In the following passages, Col. Fremont gives a summary of its physical features, and evinces admirable powers of description:
"Its latitudinal position is that of Lisbon: its climate that of southern Italy. Settlements upon it for more than half a century attest its healthiness—bold shores and mountains give it grandeur—the extent and fertility of its dependent country give it great resources for agriculture, commerce and population.
"The Bay of San Francisco is separated from the sea by low moun- • tain ranges. Looking from the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, the coast mountains present an apparently continuous line, with only a single gap resembling a mountain pass. This is the entrance to the great bay, and is the only water communication from the coast to the interior country. Approaching from the sea, the coast presents a bold outline. On the south, the bordering mountains come down in a narrow ridge of broken hills, terminating in a precipitous point, against which the sea breaks heavily. On the nortiiern tide, the mountain presents a bold promontory, rising in a few miles to a height of 2 or 3000 feet . Between these points is the strait—about one mile brond in the narrowest part—and five miles long from the sea to the bay. Passing through this gale (cilled on the map the Golden gate) the bay opens to the right and left, extending in each direction about 35 miles, having a total length of more than 70 miles, and a coast of about 275 miles. It is divided by straits and projecting points into three separate bays, of which the northern two are called San Pablo and Suision bays. Within, the view presented is of a maritime country, the bay resembling an interior lake of deep water, lying between parallel ranges of mountains. Islands, which have the bold character of the shores, some, mere masses of rock and others grass covered, rising to the height of 3 and 800 feet break its surface, and add to its picturesque appearance. Directly fronting the entrance, mountains a few miles from the shore, rise about 2000 feet above the water, crowned by a forest of the lofty cypress which is visible from the sea, and makes a conspicuous landmark for vessels entering the bay. Behind, the rugged peak of Mount Diabolo, nearly 4000 feet high, (3770) overlooks the surrounding country of the bay and San Joaquim. The intermediate shore of the bay derives, from its proximate and opposite relation to the sea, the name of Conlra Costa (counter coast or opposite coast). It presents a varied character of rugged and broken hills, rolling and undulating land, and rich alluvial shores, backed by fertile and wooded ranges, suitable for towns, villages and farms, with which it is beginning to be dotted." Memoir, pp. 32-33.
The bar at the entrance of the bay is four miles in length, and has upon it, at lowest water, 4^ fathoms. The bay of San Francisco is 36 miles long by an average of 6 miles wide; a large portion of its shores is bordered by wide mud flats, which prevent the landing, at low water, of even a boat, and render the eastern shore inaccessible for a distance of 30 miles. To render it at all useful, extensive artificial works will need to be constructed.
The bay of San Pablo is separated from the other by the straits of the same name. It is nearly circular, with a diameter of about 10 miles, and it lias, likewise, a considerable mud flat on its western side.
The Suisoon bay is still hearer to the mouths of the great rivers; is long and narrow and comparatively shallow. It is separated from San Pablo by the Straits of Karquines, a deep channel six miles long, and from one and a half to two miles broad. At their termination is the head of ship navigation. To this point the channels from the ocean are deep and wide, and there are no impediments to the navigation of large vessels. But here the shoals of the Suisoon bay obstruct all but moderate sized craft. The rivers empty into this bay, through many passes, which form a delta of 25 miles square.
The town of San Francisco lies on the southern shore of the entrance to this bay, four or five miles from the sea, in a cove opening to the N. E. Its site is much constricted by the mountains, which descend towards the water, and leave but a mile or so of space upon which to build. In front of the town is a large mud flat, that prevents the near approach of vessels, and occasions great inconvenience1 labor and expense, in loading and unloading. Besides, vessels at anchor off the town are entirely exposed to the W. and and N. W. gales, and to the heavy sea which these cause to set in, and which are more dangerous than the winds. The climate here, too, is perhaps the worst on the the bay. Being open to the sea, it is damp and chilly, and winter clothing is required to be worn pretty much the year round. These objections are fatal to its claims to the entire commerce of the bay, and will limit its destiny to the business of a mere depot. It occupies, in reference to the true site for the emporium of California, the relative position of Sandy Hook to New-York. Sausolito, on the opposite shore, is better protected. but it presents as few advantages for a city as San Francisco. The space for building purposes is as much limited as that of the other.
The city of Bernicia, recently laid off and rapidly filling up with enterprising people, promises to yield every essential requisite for the principal city of the bay. It is located on the north side of the straits of Karquines at the head of the ship navigation. It is fully sheltered from the high winds and the heavy sea, and has a depth of water