« ElőzőTovább »
remedy; for in the only country in in every age has demonstrated, were which a remedy could be effectually passionately desirous of gold ; and applied, the moneyed interests had be- from the days of Columbus they had come so powerful, that Government been familiar with a tradition or report was set chiefly on measures which, for among the native Indians, that there the sake of private profit, most griev- existed beyond the mountains in the onsly aggravated it. But Providence far west a country in which gold was is wiser than man: Nature is seldom as plentiful as the sand on the sea- ! awanting in the end to those who are shore, and was to be had simply for suffering from the faults of others. the trouble of taking it. It was all A few bands of American squatters true it was there, mixed in large quanwandered into Texas-awar of aggres- tities with the alluvial deposit of the sion on the part of the United States mountains ; yet during three hundred succeeded to make good the settle. years that they held the country, they ment-a serious contest took place never found it out! A single ditch with Mexico-the Anglo-Saxon race in any part of the flat region, which asserted their wonted snperiority over is above three hundred miles long and the Castilian — CALIFORNIA was forty or fifty broad, would have rewrested from them—and by the ulti- vealed the treasure, but they never mate effects of that conquest some took the trouble to cut it. Before the of the greatest evils inflicted by Anglo-Saxons had been there three human selfishness or folly were alle- months, they had discovered the riches viated, and the destinies of the world lying below their feet. Such is the were changed!
difference of races! It is easy to see It is a striking proof how much the to which is destined the sceptre of the fortunes of men are in their own globe. bands, and how vain are the choicest It is impossible as yet to say with gifts of nature if not seconded by the positive certainty what is the amount vigour and industry of those for whom of gold which may be obtained for a they are intended, that the rich auri. long period from this auriferous referous veins, the discovery of which gion ; but it is already evident that it has been attended with such important will be very great-much greater than effects, and is destined to avert so was at first anticipated. The followmany evils arising from the absurd ing extract, from the great and able legislation or selfish desires of men Free-Trade organ, the Times, of Nov. in recent times, had been for three 19, 1850, will show what amount bas hundred years in the possession of the been realised and exported from San Spaniards, but they had never found Francisco last year, and what may be them out! The gold was there, under anticipated in the next :their feet, in such quantities that its excavation, as will immediately ap
“ Some estimates have lately been pear, is adequate to double the annual
formed of the shipments of gold received
in Europe from California to the present supply of the precious metals for the use of man over the wbole world; but
time, which, we believe, may be regarded
as tolerably accurate, and according to they never took the trouble to turn it
which the amount is about £3,300,000. up! It was so near the surface, and On the other side, up to the end of Sepso accessible, being mixed with the tember, the receipts at the two mints of alluvial sand and gravel of the coun- the United States had been about try, that it was first discovered in the 31,000,000 dols., or £6,200,000. Since cutting a common mill-course through that time we have had advices of farther a garden, and has siuce been obtained arrivals at New York and New Orleans almost entirely by common labourers amounting to £500,000. An aggregate digging holes not deeper than ordinary
is consequently formed of exactly graves through the level surface of the
£10,000,000. To this must be added, in alluvial deposit of the mountains.
order to estimate the total production,
not only the amounts which have found They had never attempted agricul
their way to China, Manilla, Australia, tural operations, nor thought of an
Oregon, the Sandwich Islands, the States improvement which would have led to of Spanish America, &c., but also the total its detection. The Spaniards, as all which has been retained in California for the world knows, and as their history the purposes of currency. The population in that country now ranges some- far from a limit having yet been found, where between 200,000 and 300,000, and each fresh exploration seems to develope although a considerable amount of silver new and more favourable localities, and dollars have been imported, the bulk of an extended discovery of dry diggings the circulation is believed still to be in lately alleged to have been made, together the form of gold-dust or of gold tokens. with the steps in progress elsewhere to If the 250,000 persons possess, on an crush the mountain ore by machinery, apaverage, £10 a-piece, we have a sum of pears to hold out the prospect that, even £2,500,000; and, looking at the expense with the approach of winter, there will of a week's maintenance in the country, scarcely be a suspension of the prevailing as well as the large quantities constantly activity.”—Times, Not. 19, 1850. in transit, as well as the reserves, which, as was shown by the last advices, the va
By the last accounts there was rious deposit-houses are compelled to re
no less than a million sterling extain to meet sudden runs, it is probable ported from California in six days. that this is under the real total. Taking This amount of gold, great as it is, all points into consideration, it may, there. however, is by no means the whole of fore, be assumed that the whole which the supply which has been obtained. has been raised is equal to at least It is the regular measured amount £13,000,000 sterling. Of this production, only—what entered the custom-house according to recent official returns
books, and was exported in the entered from the United States, nearly four-fifths
traders. But who can estimate the have taken place during the present year.
amount which in those vast and desoOf 25,966,817 dol3. received in the United States Mint at Philadelphia, up to the
late regions has been amassed by inend of September last, only 44,177 dols. divuudis, and made its way out of the had arrived in 1848, and 5,481,430 dols. country in their private possession, or in 1849, while the quantity in 1850 had secretly in shipments of which no acbeen 20,441,210 dols. The same propor. count was kept? It is incalculable : tions would probably prevail with regard like the plunder amassed during the to the sums distributed to other places; sack of a capital or province, it may and we are, therefore, led to the suppo- be guessed at, but cannot be ascersition that the export this year has already tained with anything approaching to actually reached upwards of £10,000,000, accuracy. Probably the amount thus. although the results of two additional
acquired, but not entering any public months have yet to be known. It will be
records, may equal all that is ascerobserved, consequently, that the unex. pected feature which has hitherto attended
tained from the custom-house books. the progress of this new region-namely,
But call it only a half, or fifty per that almost all the accounts from it, al
cent, it will follow that last year though deemed exaggerations at first, have the amount raised was upwards of proved ultimately to have been under £15,000,000, and this year (1851) may statements—is still presented. At the be expected to reach £17,000,000 or commencement of 1850 the most sanguine £18,000,000! If so, it will nearly expectations that were formed in any double the annual supply of the predirection fixed its probable yield at
cious metals for the use of the globe, £10,000,000 ; and not only has this been
which at present, from all sources, is exceeded, but each quarter of the year
between £16,000,000 and £17,000,000.. has thus far shown an increase of nearly half upon the amount gathered in the
It may with confidence be anticipated, preceding one. Thus the receipts at that how secretly soever great part of Philadelphia, for the first three months, this treasure may be smuggled or conwere 4,370,714 dols., while they were veyed out of California, none, or at least 6,920,496 dols. for the second, and again very little of it, will be lost. It will 9,250,000 dols. for the third. This rate all be carefully preserved, and sooner of augmentation coincides with the influx or later find its way into the circulaof population, and, as the emigration to
tion of the world, or be manufactured
tion of the world the country is certain to be continued
into the gold ornaments and vessels until the remuneration it affords for la
which minister to its luxury or magbour is brought to a level with the advan
nificence. Nothing more is required tages offered elsewhere, there is no reason,
to show the prodigious influence of this so long as we are without accounts of an apparent limit to the field of operations, great change; beyond all qnestion it to anticipate anything else than a steady will, in its ultimate effects, alter the continuance of an improving ratio. So face of the globe.
Mr M'Culloch observes in his Come to be made from the rocks and mounmercial Dictionary_ Should eight or tains in which the veins are embedded, ten millions yearly, in addition to the it will cease to be profitable, from the present supply, be obtained from any hardness of the strata of rock in which other source, it will produce a gradual the veins are found. * The pleain abatealteration of prices, similar to that ment of the supply of gold thus likely which took place three centuries ago to be obtained is very remarkable. on the discovery of the mines of The fact of its appearing in the highly Mexico and Peru." No one can respectable journal where it first was doubt that this observation is well ushered to the world, and from the founded; but if the effect of eight or pen of the eminent geologist from ten millions annually added to the whom it is said to have proceeded, are treasures of the world would be so alike ominous. It shows at once how considerable, what must the effect of marvellously strong has been the hold the addition of sixteen or eighteen which the mania for raising the value millions ? Yet this addition is just of gold and cheapening that of everynow going on. In the month of thing else prevailing during the last August last, the gold shipped at San thirty years, from the influence of the Francisco alone was 2,984,000 dol. holders of realised wealth, has got of lars, or about £800,000; and suppos. the most influential classes in this ing a half more was raised, of which country; and how deep is their alarm no account is kept, this is £1,200,000 at the prospect of all their measures in a single month! In five weeks being at once blown into the air by from September 1, the quantity the augmented supply of this very shipped was 5,000,000 dollars, or gold from the shores of California ! above £1,200,000; which implies at A “ Currency Restriction Act of Naleast £1,800,000 altogether obtained. ture!" What a commentary on the This is from the labour of 40,000 or measures of Sir R. Peel, so vehemently 50,000 persons only, who are at pre- landed and strenuously supported by sent engaged in the diggings; but it all the capitalists whose fortunes, from is known that from 80,000 to 90,000 the Currency Restriction Act of the will be engaged in them next year, right hon. baronet, were every day inso that the supply raised may be ex- creasing in value! They would fain enpected to be nearly doubled. There list Nature in the same crusade against is great inequality in the amount labour and in favour of riches; but obtained by individual persons em- they may save themselves the trouble. ployed in that laborious occupation; There is no Currency Restriction Act but taking the average, it is about of Nature : her beneficence, unlike four and a half dollars a day. Call it that of man, is equally distributed four only, and suppose they work 250 over all her children. The CURRENCY days in the year, each person at this EXTENSION ACT of Nature will only rate will raise 1000 dollars' worth of stand forth in brighter relief from bavgold, or nearly £250. At that rate, ing been immediately preceded by the 50,000 persons would raise £12,500,000 Currency Restriction Act of Man. in a year; and 75,000, £18,750,000;- To show how chimerical are the which coincides very nearly with the hopes of a Currency Restriction Act result derived as above from other of Nature, which is to limit and intersources of information.
rupt the blessings with which an inThe bullionists, struck with terror creased supply of the precious metals at so prodigious an addition annually for the general service of the world to their darling gold, and consequent cannot fail to be attended, it is suffidimination in its exchangeable value, cient to observe that the auriferous are beginning to exert themselves to region where the gold is found in alluvial decry it. They say that there is a deposit, is said to be a tract of country - Currency Restriction Act of Nature;" between three and four hundred miles that the supply of gold from the allu- long, and from thirty to forty miles vial washings will soon be exhausted; broad. It is therefore as long as from and that when the excavation comes London to Berwick, and as broad as
• Quarterly Review, October 1850.
the average breadth of the plains of along their whole course. If you find Yorkshire. What is the scraping or granite or mica slate particles in the excavations of sixty or eighty thou- beds of rivers and the level fields they sand men on so immense a surface ? overflow near the sea, you are sure Conceive every one of these persons of finding the same deposits up to the daily digging his own grave in this mountain regions from which they auriferous region : how long will it are brought down. take them to go over the whole sur. But what is the alluvial gold region face and exhaust its treasures ? Only to the mountain region from which the apply to it the test of the rudest cal precious metals with which it abounds culation. A square mile contains have been torn down by the storms above 3,000,000 square yards. Sup- and wintry torrents of thousands of posing each digging occupies two years! If you find a detritus of a cersquare yards, there will be 1,500,000 tain description in the mixed sand and diggings in a square mile; and if each gravel of a plain, you may predicate person excavates a digging a-day, with perfect certainty the existence of which is probably as much as can be mountains and rocks of the same forcalculated upon at an average, as the mation in the higher regions from operation is so much impeded by which it has been brought down. water, 100,000 persons will take Granite or mica-slate debris in the fifteen days to turn up and exhaust beds of rivers or the level fields which one square mile. In the gold region, they occasionally overflow, imply however, there are at least 9000 granite or mica-slate in the hilly resquare miles. Supposing that the giod from which they take their rise. 100,000 persons work 300 days in the Whence has all the gold come which year, which is more than can be cal in the alluvial plains of California is culated upon, they will only turn producing such treasures, and changover and thoroughly search twenty ing prices over the whole world ? It square miles in a year. At this rate, has come down from the mountains. it would take above four hundred And what must be the metallic riches years for even that large army of with which they are charged, when the labourers to exhaust the alluvial gold washed-down gravel at their feet is region. We are aware the diggings 80 prolific of mineral wealth! The do not go on regularly as is now sup- bullionists, influenced by dread of a posed ; that one man tries his fortune general rise of prices, and depreciation here, and another there ; and that the of the exchangeable value of their earth is perforated at the same time realised fortunes from this rise, say in a great variety of places, many of there is a “Currency Restriction Act them at a considerable distance from of Nature ;" that gold at any depth each other. We know, too, that the is unworkable at a profit; that Provireal extent of the gold region is hitherto dence is niggardly of its bounty; and the object of speculation and hope, they in secret indulge the hope that rather than actual survey or know- it will continue permanently that conledge. It is quite probable, too, traction of the currency which they that our calculation, which is a mere have contrived to force upon mankind, rough guess, may be above the mark and which, while it lasted, has proved in some particulars, and below it in so eminently profitable to themselves. others. Still, enough, inaking allow. But a little consideration must show ance for all such errors, remains to that their hopes in this respect are show that, in the alluvial gold region entirely fallacious. Granting that the alone, if the accounts of its extent veins of gold, when they go deep, are and riches are at all to be relied on, embedded in very bard rock, what is there is ample room for a vast annual to be said to the cropping out of the addition to the treasures of the earth veins over the vast extent of the aurifor a great many generations to come. ferous Rocky Mountains ? If the The circumstance which makes it all wasting away of wintry storms on the but certain that the gold region must tops and sides of these mountains be very extensive, is its being found brings down such quantities of gold in the alluvial deposits of the moun- with the streams which furrow their tain rivers, such as the Sacramento, sides, must not the laborious hand of industry prove equally efficacious in now reached five or six millions sterremoving it? If the expansive force ling annually; and, like the Califorof a rapid thaw, following severe frost, nian gold, it is susceptible of an indecan rend the rocks in which the gold finite increase, in the event of the inis embedded, is not the power of gun- flux of that metal from America not powder or steam equally great ? Al- lowering its value so as to render it ready a company, composed of Eng- unworkable in Asia at a profit. lish capitalists, has been formed to Assuming it, then, as certain that explore the mountain treasures; and for a very long period, and for many without sopposing that they are to successive generations, a vast adfind an El Dorado in every hill, and dition is to be made to the annual admitting that there may be several supply of the metallic treasures of the failures before the right one is hit on, earth, it becomes of the highest imit is morally certain that in the end portance to the interests of industry the mountain reserves of treasure must in all its branches, agricultural, combe discovered.
mercial, and manufacturing, to conThe additions to the currency of the sider what the effects of the change earth, hitherto considered, have been thus induced must be- what benefits those coming from these auriferous re- it will confer upon mankind-what gions of North America, now for the first dangers, if any, it will remove, espetime brought into view only ; but this cially in the great commercial commuis by no means the whole of the pro- nity in which we are placed. And a vision made by nature for the extended little consideration must be sufficient wants of mankind in this age of tran- to demonstrate to every impartial and sition, vehement excitement, extended disinterested mind what these effects transactions, and rapidly-increasing will be—and to prevent, on tbe one numbers. The URAL AND ALTAI hand, chimerical or unfounded hopes MOUNTAINS have brought forth their being formed, and, on the other, untreasures at the same time, and pro- due or unmanly depression from the vided as amply for the wants of the effects of recent calamities being felt. Sclavonic race in the Old, as the Ca- Fortunately we are not driven to lifornian hills have done for the growth theory or speculation to ascertain what of the Anglo-Saxon in the New World. these effects will be-experience, the Gradually, for twenty years past, the only sure guide in political science, Russian treasures have been brought points to them with unerring certainty: to light; and their progressive increase the great monetary revolution of the has done more to alleviate the distress sixteenth century is the precursor and and sustain the industry of western the monitor of that of the nineteenth. Europe than all the wisdom of man The first effect of a great addition in her aged monarchies has been being made to the annual supply of a able to effect. Grievous as have particular metal in general use and been the calamities which the con- high estimation all over the world, is traction of the currency of the world that the exchangeable value of that by the reduction of paper in Great metal, in comparison with other metals Britain, simultaneously with the ruin or articles of consumption, will undergo of the South American mines by an immediate alteration, which will the revolutions of its vast regions, prove lasting and considerable if the which we laboured so assiduously to increased supply turns out to be great promote, have produced, they would and permanent. This is no more than have been doubly severe if the Ural takes place every day with all the and Altai Mountains had not provided articles of commerce. According as treasures at the very time when the the crop of wheat, or oats, or barley, other supplies were failing, which in or cotton proves abundant, so surely part at least supplied their place. does the price of these articles rise or Their influence was long felt in Europe fall in the market. If gold is produced before their amount was suspected, in much greater quantities than hereand even now the wisdom or terrors tofore, its price, as compared with of the Russian Government have pre- everything else, and in particular with vented it from being accurately known; the precious metal in common use, but it is generally understood to have next to it in value, silver, must