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the New Continent, (which includes the bor of San Francisco ;-containing measAtlantic coast from Boston to Savannah,) ureless water power, immense agricultural the frequent fogs give vigor to vegetation resources, and all the elements which naand fertilize the soil, which is covered with a black and spongy earth.”
ture can furnish of national wealth and
national consequence—it is yet shut out Although agriculture, throughout this from the influences of Christian civilizavast and fertile region, is of the rudest tion and abandoned to a people who neiand most unskillful character, nearly all ther know its capacities, nor feel the kinds of grain have been readily raised. pressure of any obligation to develop and In the immediate neighborhood of San expand them. The aggregate population Francisco Bay the most extraordinary is probably below 20,000; the harvested crops are easily produced. Dr. Marsh, crops in 1839 amounted to 69,000 bushlong a resident on the banks of the Sac- els of wheat, 22,000 of maize, and 15,000 ramento, informed Mr. Farnham that of barley; and the whole annual merfrom ten bushels of wheat he had known chantable production of the country, into be harvested a crop of 3652: though he cluding cattle and furs, its staple comsays that the average yield is from 30 to modities, is estimated by Capt. Wilkes 50 bushels from one that is sown.* The at less than a million of dollars. Nor is first part of this statement is incredible; there anything in the history of the but Commodore Wilkes mentions an in- country, to induce the hope that, under stance in which 3600 bushels were har- its present control, it will ever attain vested from 30 sown; and he places the that position, and serve those ends, in average cropat 80 fold. The most mod- the great scheme of the world's civilizaerate of these statements exhibits a degree tion, for which Providence has so clearly of fertility seldom found in the most fa- designed it. vored regions of the earth. Indian corn For more than three hundred years it is said to return about 150 fold. The has been under exclusive Spanish dopotato thrives; hemp, flax, oats, barley, minion. Yet up to the present time, notpeas, fruits of all kinds, and indeed all withstanding its immense advantages for the productions of the temperate zone, trade, it has no commerce; in spite of its are produced in great abundance, and fertility, it has no agriculture; its water with the greatest ease; while in the power and ability to yield a bountiful southern portion, cotton, tobacco, figs, supply of every raw material, have not lemons, olives, oranges, and especially erected a solitary manufacturing estagrapes, seem to find a native and most pro- blishment within its borders; and the pitious soil; and the marshes about the whole country is even now as far re. mouths of the San Joaquin and Sacra- moved from that high and palmy state of mento, may easily be turned into some of wealth, cultivation and power of which the richest and most beautiful rice fields it is susceptible, as it was before the in the world.
Spaniard Cobrillo, in 1542, first explored Here, then, lies upon the Pacific coast, its coast and landed upon its shore. We adjoining our western border, included have stated the probable population of between the parallels which embrace California at. 20,000. Captain Wilkes the southern sections of the United States, estimates it at but 15,000, of whom some and stretching northward to the southern 9000 are Indians, 3000 whites, and 2000 boundary of Oregon, a region of country of mixed blood. The whites, who are capable of sustaining a greater population the only persons of any political account, than now inhabits the entire Ainerican inherit all the vices, with none of the Union. Traversed, through its entire half-virtues, of their Spanish ancestry; length, and from its most remote corners, they are utterly ignorant, indolent and by noble rivers all concentrating their rapacious, cruel to their wives and dewaters, and forming at their common pendants, destitute of spirit, industry and mouth, the finest harbor perhaps in the courage, and perfectly incapable of the world ;-abounding in timber of the best slightestemotions of ambition, or the faintquality for ship-building and all naval est pulsation of energy and enterprise. I purposes, easily floated to a common point, No one who cherishes a faith in the and that the beautiful and capacious har. wisdom of an overruling Providence, and
Farnham's California, p. 343. † Exploring Expedition, Vol. v., p. 159.
Com. Wilkes' Exploring Expedition. Vol. v., p. 175.
who sees, in the national movements Yet in themselves are nothing ! One decree which convulse the world, the silent Spake laws to them, and said that by the
Soul operation of an invisible but omnipotent hand, can believe it to be for the interest Only, the Nations shall be great and free.” of humanity, for the well-being of the California, to become the seat of wealth world, that this vast and magnificent and power for which Nature has marked region should continue forever in its it, must pass into the hands of another present state. Capable of sustaining race. And who can conjecture what millions of people, of conferring upon would now have been its condition, had them all the physical comforts of life, its first colonists been of the stock which and of raising them to the highest point peopled the Atlantic coast? Compare its of mental and moral cultivation, if only adjacent seas, unruffled by winds, and they have the energy and the ability to use perfectly free from shoals and dangerous its resources--so long as desolation broods currents—the seas named pacific, from upon it, so long as the shadows of ig- their placid and ever quiet waters—with norance, indolence and moral degradation
“ New England's stern and rock-bound hang around it, the manifest designs of coast,” or the northern and western Providence are unfulfilled, and the para. shores of Europe. Its soil yields freely mount interests of the world lack due and lavishly, to the most ordinary cultivaadvancement. While California remains tion, an immense variety of the necessain possession of its present inhabitants, ries of Jife and the staples of commerce. and under control of its present govern. No portion of Europe is more richly erment, there is no hope of its regeneration. dowed with all the wealth of natureThis will demand a life, an impulse of the “dread magnificence” of earth and energy, a fiery ambition, of which no
heaven. Yet all these immense advanspark can ever be struck from the soft tages, in the language of Forbes, the sluggishness of the American Spaniard. English traveler, “ had not the power to Attempts have been occasionally made rouse the dormant energies of the Spanby Mexico to colonize the province; but iard. It appeared as if these extraordithey were marked by the most perfect nary bounties of nature had the effect ignorance of the nature of the enterprise of lulling them into apathy. The coasts as well as of the country, and ended in were without commerce or navigation; bringing misery upon the emigrants, and and a deathlike tranquillity reigned loss and ridicule upon the central gov- thronghout the province.” ernment.* In 1836, the people of the
We have already remarked that the province rebelled, and declared Upper inevitable course of events—which, in California independent of Mexico, and the end, will always be seen to coincide expelled the Mexican troops and officials perfectly with the highest wisdom and from the country. But according to expediency-which is, in fact, the silent, Commander Wilkes, the people were ex- resistless legislation of the Omnipotent cited to this by the acts of the foreigners Lawgiver-must, ere long, place Caliresident among them; and after the first fornia beneath other sovereignty than temporary ebullition of the borrowed that which now benumbs its powers and patriotism thus infused, they settled back stifles and stagnates its undeveloped into their old inaction, varied only by energy. And not only is this result insundry extempore acts of atrocious vil. evitable, but if the considerations we lany, and soon returned at least to the have adduced have any weight, it must nominal rule of the Mexican Republic. be regarded, upon every principle of a They have not the character required to wide expediency, as bighly desirable. redeem their country from its low estate. It is a consummation upon which every The boundless wealth of land and sea reflecting person must look with pleawhich has been lavished upon it, must sure and hope. So imperatively is this forever remain useless, till mental and conviction forced upon the mind of the moral powers are found to use it. For most disinterested observers--even of never were uttered, by poet or philoso- those whose interests and feelings are pher, truer words than those noble lines most hostile to the course the matter of Wordsworth
seems likely to take that a Mexican “ Winds blow, and waters roll correspondent of the London Times, Strength to THE BRAVE, and Power and while urging the British Government to Deity;
obtain possession of California, in order * Forbes' California,
to prevent its falling into the hands of this great continent, the dispensation of the United States, employs the following the English language and English feelings very emphatic language concerning the over an almost boundless territory. We general result to which we have alluded. must, in short, make up our minds to this His letter bears date,
result, and happy will it be for the com
mon interests of humanity-unless Great “Mexico, Sept. 29, 1845.
Britain should take the matter directly
into her own hands, alarmed at the grow“In the opinion of many, the existence, ing power of the United States, and their as a nation, of Mexico, is hastening to its dominion over the mining districts from termination; and, as far as I can see, no
which our inonetary circulation is furgreat man appears who is equal to the re
nished—when it is accomplished.” generation of the republic. The Government is powerless, even in the capital; the departments barely hold on the central
The writer of this passage attributes State ; there is no population to till the designs to the United States which are finest soil in the world'; and riches, above unsustained by any evidence, and must and below ground, remain unexplored, for therefore pass for simple assertions. want of intelligence and hands to work But he declares, very emphatically, that them. If England will not interfere, the the general good of humanity demands doom of Mexico is sealed, and in the course that the whole of Mexico should pass of a few years it must be incorporated with into the hands of some foreign power. the United States. The Government and If this be true of the whole, (and, for people of the United States entertain no doubt on this subject. They say that they admit or question this,) it must certainly
our purpose, it is not necessary either to do not interfere in the affairs of Europe, be true of California; and no one, we and that they are determined no European power shall interfere with them in the apprehend, will hesitate to admit that affairs of the new world. By aggression, that country would be immensely adannexation, or conquest, they are resolved vanced in wealth and power ; that a new on enticing all Mexico, down to the Isth- field for civilization and all the arts of mus, within the Union; and, come what Christian life would be opened; and may, that end must sooner or later be that “the general good of humanity accomplished. I am fully aware of the must be advanced” by the occupation of danger to which the monetary circulation that country by anotħer than the Spanish of Europe will be exposed, when the silver districts of Mexico are under the control of the American Congress, and of the remains only to inquire, into whose
This point, then, being conceded, it imprudence of our permitting a naval
What power, like that of the United States, to hands shall California pass? become the richest nation in the world; nation of the earth shall succeed to Mexbut I cannot help admitting, at the same
ico, whenever the sovereignty shall pass time, that if Great Britain will not inter- from her fere, the general good of humanity must There are, we believe, but two powers be advanced by the annexation of this to whom the design of acquiring Calicountry to the American Union. The fornia is ever ascribed. One of these is tide of emigration will, instead of flowing Great Britain; the other is the United directly, take the current of the United States. The German Allgemeine Zeitung, States, and even millions of English, Scotch and Irish emigrants can pass through the
a few months since, announced the estabAmerican ports to fix as settlers in this lishment by Russia of a post at Bodega, land of milk and honey. The wretched in California, and ascribed to that colosIndian race must give way before the in- sal power of the North the intention of flux of a white population, and myriads of obtaining a foothold, and ultimately acacres, now untilled, will teem with wealth quiring dominion, in that extensive proand abundance. The climate is magnifi- vince. The Zeitung was evidently ignocent, except on the coast, and in particular rant of the facts from which it sought to districts fever does not appear. Every draw so important conclusions. Bodega European production can be raised; and I
was first established by the Russian Fur may say there is room for all the emigra: Company, in 1812, with the permission tion that can be poured in a quarter of a
of the then Governor of Monterey, to century from the British Isles. The next gond to the British occupation of Mexico, erect a few small huts for salting their is its incorporation with the United States. beef. It gradually increased until it sucWe shall find, when it takes place, imme- cessfully resisted the attempt--feeble at diate employment of our poor, a consump- the best—of the Spanish authorities to tion of British manufactures spread over drive it away. But its maintenance be
came too expensive for the purposes of its lions (100,000,000) of acres of the vacant establishment, and, in 1839, it was trans
lands in the depariments of California, ferred, with all its property, for the sum
Chihuahua, New Mexico, . Sonora, and of $30,000 to Capt. Suter, an American Texas, with special guaranty to said conemigrant, who has noarly supreme com
solidated fund until the total extinction of
the bonds.' mand of a very large tract of land upon the eastern bank of the Sacramento. At their land warrants shall come to establish
10. That 'foreigners, who, in virtue of the time of the visit of Commander themselves on their properties, shall acWilkes, the guns had been removed, the quire from that date the title of colorists, stock transferred, the Russian occupants, and shall participate, they and their famia few hundreds in number, scattered, and lies, in all the privileges which the laws the post was entirely and forever aban- grant, or may grant, to any others of the doned.* Russia, then, it may safely be same origin, and under the same condi.
tions.' presumed, has no design of obtaining possession of any portion of California.
Other articles of this decree, namely, the By Great Britain, on the other hand, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th, regulate vasuch a purpose, we have no doubt, has rious questions of detail, in regard to the
new bonds and the land warrants. long been cherished.
It is generally II. On the 14th of September, 1837, in known that as long ago as in 1837, by pursuance of a previous meeting of the an arrangement with the English creditors holders of Mexican bonds, it was agreed, of the Mexican government, lands in that between them and the agents of the Mexicountry, to the amount of 125,000,000 of can government, to accept the offer of the acres, were set apart for the payment of latter, with twelve modifications proposed, the debts which Mexico had incurred in of which the most material to the present England. The precise terms on which purpose are the following, namely: this mortgage was effected are more clear 2. That (among other things), instead of ly and succinctly stated in the following bonds into land warrants, for that half
at once converting one-half of the old letter from the Hon. Mr. Cushing to the shall be issued deferred bonds, which writer of this sketch, than elsewhere deferred bonds shall be at all times receivwithin our knowledge. The letter bas able in payment of vacant lands in the dealready been published in the Courier and partments of Texas, Chihuahua, New MexEnquirer, from the columns of which ico and California, at the choice of the journal we copy it:
purchaser, at the rate of four acres for each
pound sterling.' “Newburyport, 24th October, 1945. 4. That the deferred bonds shall contain “ DEAR SIR :- I have before me sundry a clause stipulating that the Mexican documents, which appertain to the subject government, when thereto required, shall of your inquiry as to the interest of the grant to the bearer of the said bond full British holders of Mexican bonds in the right of property and complete possession territory of California.
in the number of acres of land correspondI. By decree of the President ad inte. ing to the amount of said bond, with the rim of the Mexican Republic, issued April accruing interest thereon, at the rate of 12th, 1837, under the authority of an Act four acres of land for each pound sterling, of Congress of the 4th of the same month, of which full and complete possession it is declared
shall be given, by the competent authori. 1. That the entire foreign debt of the ties, on the presentation of said deferred Republic may, if the public creditors see bond.' fit, be consolidated through the agency of 7. That the Mexican government, in Messrs. Lizardi & Co., and of the Mexican addition to the general hypothecation of Minister in London.
100,000,000 of acres, contained in the 7th 2. That the existing bonds may be ex. article of the decree, shall specially set changed, one half for new bonds of such apart twenty-five millions of acres consolidated fund, and the other half in of government lands in the departments land warrants on the vacant lands in the having the nearest communication with departments of Texas, Chihuahua, Sonora, the Atlantic, and which may appear best and California, at the rate of four acres suited for colonization from abroad; the for each pound sterling.'
said lands to be specifically and exclu. 7. That for further security in the sively held open for the location of depayment of the principal and interest of ferred bonds.' the national consolidated fund, the Mexi 14. That bonds of the first class may run can government specially hypothecates, in until the year 1866, and those of the secthe name of the nation, one hundred mil- ond class until the year 1876.
* See Narrative of Exploring Expedition, Vol. v., p. 178, et seq.
The other articles are not particularly should have a sort of SOVEREIGNTY over important to the subject of inquiry. the territory, somewhat IN THE MANNER
III. On the 1st of June, 1939, an act OF THE East INDIA COMPANY." was passed by the Mexican Congress,
This is, certainly, a most pregnant inwhich
timation-one which will not be deemed 1. Approves the above agreement made with the holders of Mexican bonds on the unworthy of notice by any who under14th of September, 1837.
stand the history, organization and cha2. Grants one year for the proposed con
racter of that gigantic engine of British version of the foreign debt.
power to which the company in Califor4. Requires the Executive to take heed nia is to be assimilated. Its origin was that no lands on the frontier shall be far more humble than that suggested for granted to the subjects of the border this new establishment. It began simStates, in the event of any bonds falling ply as a partnership of merchants. In into their hands, which they may be de- the early part of its career it considered sirous of exchanging for lands,' &c.
itself merely a trader in the territories of 6. Enjoins that the lands be so divided among the emigrants as to prevent their after its own pecuniary interest, and
a foreign potentate. It looked closely too great concentration on one point; they are, therefore, to be located at some dis- sought commercial influence and the pow. tance from each other, and as near to our
er of wealth, but did not dream of political towns as may be convenient.'
projects, or venture, in any way, to in. IV. On the 29th of July, 1839, there terfere with the independent' States, was issued by the President ad interim of among whom it had become a commercial the Mexican Republic, (Santa Anna,) an resident. Soon, however, its conception order in Council, of twenty-four articles, of its position began to change. Political which regulate, in detail, the issue of the ambition obtained control of it, and soon new bonds, and especially those of the first became its informing and shaping spirit. class, for which a certain portion of the Wealth was seen to follow power, and custom-house pledged; but this order in Council does the unbounded, unregulated, unprincipled not materially affect the present object.
thirst for gold, soon drove its devotees Please to observe that the hypothecation removed from the restraints of law and of 100,000,000 of acres of land in Cali- the fear of responsibility—into deeds of fornia, Texas, Chihuahua, New Mexico stupendous guilt. For a stipulated sum and Sonora, is permanent until the whole of money, the company engaged to exdebt be paid, and the right of locating the tirpate an innocent and independent nadeferred bonds in California, Texas, Chi- tion—the Rohillas. English troops were huahua and New Mexico, also continues until these are paid, it being a condition policy, throughout the magnificent pro
soon posted, first for pay and then from inserted in the bonds. Yours truly,
vince of Oude; and but a short time
elapsed before the revenues of all the This mortgage, of course, confers no adjacent countries were under the adright of sovereignty over the mortgaged ministration of British subjects. Thus, soil. But from the day of its date, nearly in the very recent language of the London ten years since, to the present time, it has Times
, they began humbly, as mer. been made the point d'appui for projects of chants and traders--they ended proudly, colonization, acquisition and final do
as kings and conquerors.” Availing minion over California. Thus, an Eng- itself gradually of the weakness and inlish work on California—that of Mr. ternal dissensions and generous confi. Forbes—published in 1839, and written dence of the Asiatic powers, it “ began at about the time when the arrangement
in commerce and closed in empire,” and noticed above was concluded, remarks became, what by Roman justice and reathat “ there have been some thoughts of son had been deemed impossible, eundem proposing to the Mexican government negotiatorem et dominum-or in BURKE's that it should endeavor to cancel the still more pointed phrase, a “ State in English debt which now exceeds fifty disguise of a merchant.” Thus it had millions of dollars, by a transfer of Cali- power to pass laws, to build forts, to fornia to the creditors.” And in pursuing maintain a force, to hoist a flag, to keep the suggestion, the author says:
vessels and govern territory--granted,
originally, for purposes of trade, but “ If California was ceded for the English equally available for purposes of empire. debt, the creditors might be formed into a Thus it has gone on, extending its poscompany, with the difference that they sessions over kingdom after kingdom,