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where the silver lies in the deep shafts—that is to say, outside the town, “in a flat, and not very pleasant district.” “I knew no one in the town ; I had no one to be my guide, so I accompanied the cows, and came to the churchyard. The cows went past, but I stepped over the stile, and stood amongst the graves, where the grass grew high, and almost all the tombstones lay with worn-out inscriptions. On a few only the date of the year was legible. “Anno,'—yes, what then? And who rested there? Everything on the stone was erased, blotted out like the earthly life of those mortals that here were earth in earth. What life's dream have ye dead played here in silent Sala? “The setting sun shone over the graves; not a leaf moved on the trees, all was still —still as death, in the city of the silvermines, of which this traveller's reminiscence is but a frame around the shop-boy who leaned over the counter.” One passage more, to show how Anderson paints scenery, and then we must terminate our pickings. It is a forest scene in midsummer, and, to our thinking, it is charmingly described. “Midsummer raises its leafy arbor everywhere, yet it is most flush in the forest, it extends for miles around. Our road goes for miles through that forest without seeing a house, or the possibility of meeting travellers, driving, riding, or walking. Come! the hostler puts fresh horses to the carriage; come with us into the large woody desert: we have a regular trodden way to travel, the air is clear, here is summer's warmth and the fragrance of birch and lime. It is an up and down hill road, always bending, and so, ever changing, but yet always forest scenery —the close thick forest. We pass small lakes, which lie so still and deep, as if they concealed night and sleep under their dark, glassy surfaces. “We are now on a forest plain, where only charred stumps of trees are to be seen; this long tract is black, burnt, and deserted, not a bird flies over it. Tall, hanging birches now greet us again ; a squirrel springs playfully across the road, and up into a tree; we cast our eye searchingly over the wood-grown mountain-side, which slopes so far, far forward; but not a trace of a house is to be seen; nowhere does that bluish smoke-cloud rise, that shows us here are fellow-men. “The sun shines warm, the flies dance around the horses, settle on them, fly off again, and dance, as though it were to qualify
themselves for resting and being still. They, perhaps, think ‘nothing is going on without us; there is no life while we are doing nothing.' They think as many persons think, and do not remember that Time's horses always fly onward with us! “How solitary it is here ! so delightfully solitary ! one is so entirely alone with God and one's self. As the sunlight streams over the earth and over the extensive solitary forests, so does God's spirit stream over and into mankind; ideas and thoughts unfold themselves, endless, inexhaustible as he is, as the magnet which apportions its powers to the steel, and itself loses nothing thereby. As our journey through the forest scenery here, along the extended solitary road, so, travelling on the great high-road of thought, ideas pass through our head. Strange, rich caravans pass by from the works of poets, from the home of memory, strange and novel, for capricious fancy gives birth to them at the moment. There comes a procession of pious children with waving flags and joyous songs; there come dancing Moenades, the blood's wild Bacchantes. The sun pours down hot in the open forest; it is as if the southern summer had laid itself up here to rest in Scandinavian forest-solitude, and sought itself out a glade where it might lie in the sun's hot beams and sleep; hence this stillness as if it were night. Not a bind is heard to twitter, not a pine-tree moves; of what does the southern summer dream here in the north, amongst pines and fragrant birches 2 In the writings of the olden time, from the classic soil of the South, are sagas of mighty fairies who, in the skins of swans, flew towards the North, to the Hyperborean's land, to the east of the north wind; up there, in the deep, still lakes, they bathed themselves, and acquired a renewed form. We are in the forest by these deep lakes; we see swans in flocks fly over us, and swim upon the rapid elv and on the still waters. The forests, we perceive, continue to extend further towards the west and the north, and are more dense as we proceed : the carriageroads cease, and one can only pursue one's way along the outskirts by the solitary path, and on horseback. . . . . “Woodland solitudes what images dost thou not present to one's thoughts Woodland solitude through thy vaulted halls people now pass in the summer-time with cattle and domestic utensils; children and old men go to the solitary pasture where echo dwells, where the national song springs forth with the wild mountain flowers' Dost thou see the procession? paint it if thou canst! The broad wooden cart laden high with chests and barrels, with jars and with crockery. The bright copper kettle and the tin dish shine in the sun. The old grandmother sits at the top of the load and holds her spinning-wheel, which completes the pyramid. The father drives the horse, the mother carries the youngest child on her back, sewed up in a skin, and the procession moves on step by step. The cattle are driven by the half-grown children: they have stuck a birch branch between one of the cow's horns, but she does not appear to be proud of her finery; she goes the same quiet pace as the others, and lashes the saucy flies with her tail. If the night becomes cold on this solitary pasture, there is fuel enough here, the tree falls of itself from old age, and lies and rots. “But take especial care of the fire, fear the fire-spirit in the forest desert! He comes from the unextinguishable pile, he comes from the thunder-cloud, riding on the blue lightning's flame, which kindles the thick, dry moss of the earth; trees and bushes are kindled, the flames run from tree to tree, it is like a snow-storm of fire; the flame leaps to the tops of the trees; what a crackling and roaring, as if it were the ocean in its courses! The birds fly upwards in flocks, and fall down suffocated by the smoke ; the animals flee, or, encircled by the fire, are consumed in it ! Hear their cries and roars of agony The howling of the wolf and the bear, dost thou know it 2 A calm, rainy day, and the forest-plains themselves, alone are able to confine the fiery sea, and the burnt forest stands charred, with black trunks and black stumps of trees, as we saw them here in the forest by the broad high-road. On this road we continue to travel, but it becomes worse and worse; it is, properly speaking, no road at all, but it is about to become one. Large stones lie half dug up, and we drive past them; large trees are cast down, and obstruct our way, and therefore we must descend from the carriage. The horses are taken out, and the peasants help to lift and Tush the carriage forward over ditches and opened paths. “The sun now ceases to shine; some few rain-drops fall, and now, it is a steady rain. But how it causes the birch to shed its frarance At a distance there are huts erected of loose trunks of trees and fresh green
boughs, and in each there is a large fire buriing. See where the blue smoke curls through the green leasy roof; peasants are within at work, hammering and forging; here they have their meals. They are now laying a mine in order to blast a rock, and the rain falls faster and faster, and the pine and birch emit a finer fragrance. It is delightful in the forest.”
From the extracts we have given, it will be seen what kind of book this is. We have nothing to offer in the way of criticism, further than to say, that the whole of it is writ. ten in the same picturesque and pleasant strain; that a cheerful and grateful feeling of enjoyment in the delights of nature and of existence is manifest in every sketch; and that the tone of the author's thoughts is eminently joyous, free, and humanizing. It is apparently his habit to make the best of everything; to look upon the world and its goings-on with calm eyes and a contented heart; and to use his poetic gifts for the purpose of illustrating and revealing the beauty and the goodness which are more or less in all things. A wise and genial philosophy pervades all his observations and reflections on human life and man's relations and destiny in the world; and we think it next to impos. sible for any one to read the book without deriving from it a measure of the mild and thankful spirit with which the author is in: spired. If there is one defect in the work, it is perhaps a too continuous prettiness of phraseology, which has a somewhat palling effect upon the reader when the book is read connectedly, an effect somewhat analogous to that of sweet confectionery on the palate when too liberally indulged in; but even this seems natural and not inappropriate to the author's style of treatment; and it is evident you are liable to just the same effect from running hastily over a gallery of paintings; whereas, if you steadily contemplate a single picture till you have taken in its entire beau: ty and intention, you get exactly what the artist desired to impart; and hence, perhaps, the way to use and enjoy such a book as this, is to read it at intervals, one or two sketches at a time, so that you may quietly and effectually realize the charm of each. Were it not that reading, like everything else, is now commonly gone through at rail. way speed, we should recommend to reade's having leisure, a trial of the plan thus indi. cated.
WHEN a new comet is described, we set ourselves to trace the path on which it is moving ; so that, if it seems likely to trespass on our own orbit, prudent men may have warning to make all smug aloft, and ready for action; authors, in particular, seeking to correct the proofs of any book they may be publishing, before the comet has had time with its tail to sweep all the types into “pi.” It is now becoming a duty to treat California as a comet; for she is going ahead at a rate that beats Sinbad and Gulliver, threatening (if we believe the star-gazers of our day) to throw universal commerce into “pi;” and other Californias are looming in her wake, such as Australia and the South Sea islands, now called Hawaii:* they are crowding all sail towards the same object of private gain and public confusion; anxieties are arising in various quarters; and it is daily becoming more a matter of public interest to assign the course upon which they are really advancing, and to measure the dangers (if any at all) with which they are practically charged.
In the case of California, the most painful feature at the outset of the termashaw was the torpor manifested by all the governments of Christendom as to a phenomenon that was leading their countrymen by wholesale into ruin. Helpless and ignorant as that army of children, which, in an early stage of the Crusades, set forward by land for Palestine; knowing as little as those children, of the horrors that besieged the road, or of the disappointments that would seal its terminus, supposing it ever to be reached; from every quarter of Europe rushed the excited ploughman and artisan, as vultures on a day of battle to the supper of carrion: and not a word of warning or advice from their government.
* i.e. by Missionaries in their dictionaries of the Sandwich language: but formerly better known to sailors as that Owhyhee, where Captain Cook was massacred.
On the continent this neglect had its palliation. Most governments were then too occupied by anxieties and agitations derived from the approaching future, or even by desperate convulsions derived from the present. But whither shall we look for the excuse of our own government? Some years ago, it was, by inconsiderate Radicals, made the duty of government to find work for the people. That was no part of their duty; nor could be; for it can be no duty to attempt impossibilities. But it was a part of their duty, officially, to publish remonstrances and cautions against general misapprehension of apparent openings, that too often were no real openings, for labor, and against a national delusion that for ninety-nine out of a hundred was sure to end in ruin. Two things government were bound to have done, viz., 1st., to have circulated a circumstantial account of the different routes to San Francisco, each with its separate distances assigned, and its separate varieties of inconceivable hardship; 2dly, to have sent out a party of surveyors and mineralogists, with instructions to report from time to time, at short intervals, upon the real condition of the prospects before the golddiggers, upon the comparative advantages of the several districts in California, as yet explored, with these mineral views, and upon the kind of labor, and the kind of tools or other apparatus, that had any reasonable chance of success. Had this been done, some myriads of energetic and enterprising men, that have long since perished miserably, would have been still available for the public service. California, be its real wealth what it may, was a “job;” a colossal job; and was worked as a job by a regular conspiracy of jobbers. The root of this conspiracy lay and lies so all senses lies) up and down the United States. It is no affront, nor intended as such, to the American Union nor to Mr. Barnum, if I say that this gigantic republic (which, by the seventh census, just now in the course of publication, has actually extended its territorial compass in a space of ten years from about two millions of square miles, which it had in 1840, to three and a quarter millions of square miles" which it had reached last midsummer) produces a race of Barnums on a preAdamite scale, corresponding in activity to its own enormous proportions. The idea of a Barnum does not at all presuppose an element of fraud. There are many honorable Barnums; but also there is a minority of fraudulent Barnums. All alike, good Barnums and bad Barnums, are characterized by Titanic energy, such as would tear into ribbons a little island like ours, but is able to pull fearlessly against a great hulk of a continent, that the very moon finds it fatiguing to cross. Now, it happens that the bad Barnums took charge of the California swindle. They stationed a first-rate liar in San Francisco, under whom, and accountable to whom, were several accomplished liars distributed all the way down to Panama, and thence to Chagres. All along the Atlantic sea-board, this gathering volley of lies and Californian “notions” raced with the speed of gunpowder trains up to New York, in which vast metropolis (confounded amongst its seven hundred thousand citizens) burrowed the central bureau of the swindle. Thence in ten days these poetic hoaxes crossed over to a line of repeating liars posted in Liverpool and London, from which cities, of course, the lies ran by telegraph in a few hours over the European continent, and thence by Tartar expresses overland to Indus and the Ganges. When the swindle got into regular working order, it was as good as a comedy to watch its mode of playing. The policy of the liars was to quarrel with each other, and cavil about straws, for the purpose of masking the subterraneous wires of their fraudulent concert. Liar No. 5, for instance, would observe carelessly in a Panama journal, that things were looking up at Sacramento, for (by the latest returns that could be depended on) the daily product of gold had now reached a million of dollars. Upon which No. 8 at Chagres would quote the paragraph into a local paper, and comment upon it thus with virtuous indignation:—
* I quote from an abstract of the census in the New York “Journal of Commerce,” for December 5, 1851, transmitted by an American friend before it had been published even in the Washington journals. This estimate does not include a vast extent of watery domains.
“Who or what this writer may be, with his daily million of dollars, we know not, and do not desire to know. But we warn the editor of that paper, that it is infamous to sport with the credulity of European emigrants. A million, indeed, daily We, on the contrary, assert that the produce for the last three months, though steadily increasing, has never exceeded an average of half a million —and even that not to be depended on for more than nine days out of ten.” To him succeeds No. 10, who, after quoting No. 8, goes on thus:– “Some people are never content. To our thinking, half a million of dollars daily, divided amongst about 1400 laborers, working only seven hours a day, is a fair enough remuneration, considering that no education is required, no training, and no capital. Two ounces of tobacco and a spade, with rather a large sack for bagging the gold, having a chain and padlock—such is the stock required for a beginner. In a week he will require more sacks and more pad. locks; and in two months a roomy ware. house, with suitable cellars, for storing the gold until the fall, when the stoutest steamers sail. But, as we observed, some people are never content. A friend of ours, not twelve miles from San Francisco, in digging for potatoes, stumbled upon a hamper of gold that netted 40,000 dollars. And, be: hold, the next comer to that locality went off in dudgeon because, after two days' dig. ging, he got nothing but excellent potatoes; whereas he ought to have reflected that our friend's golden discovery was a lucky chance, such as does not happen to the most hord. working man above once in three weeks." Then came furious controversies about blocks of gold embedded in quartz, and les at “our office” for twenty-four hours, with liberty for the whole town to weigh and measure them. One editor affirms that the blocks weighed six quintals, and the quarto, if pulverized, would hardly fill three snuff. boxes. “But,” says a second editor, “the bore of our friend's nostrils is preternaturally large; his pinch, being proportionable, ave: ages three ounces: and three of his snuff. boxes make one horse-bucket. Six tons, does he say? I don't believe, at the out, side, it reaches seven hundredweight. Thereupon rejoins editor No. 1—“The blockhead has mistaken a quintal for a ton; and thus makes us talk nonsense. Of course wo shall always talk nonsense, when we talk lm his words and not in our own. His wish was to undermine us: but, so far from doing that, the knowing reader will perceive that he confirms our report, and a little enlarges it.” Even in Scotland, as far north as Perth and Aberdeen, the incorporation of liars thought it might answer to subborn a youth, to all appearance an ingenuous youth, as repeating signalist in the guise of one writing home to his Scottish relations, with flourishing accounts of his success at the “diggins.” Apparently he might have saved his postage, since the body of his letter represented him as having returned to Scotland, so that he might have reported his adventures by word of mouth. This letter was doctored so as to leave intentionally a very slight impression that even in California the course of life was chequered with good and evil. It had been found, perhaps, that other letters in more romantic keys had overleaped their own swindling purpose. The vivacious youth admitted frankly that on some days he got nothing, except, perhaps, a touch of catarrh. Such things were actually possible —viz., the getting nothing except a soupçon of catarrh, even in California. Finally, however, with all his candor, the repeating signalist left one great mystery unsolved. He had been getting nothing on some days; but still, after all these cloudy seasons had been allowed for, his gains had averaged from three to four guineas a-day during the period of his stay. That being the case, one could not well understand what demon had led him ever to quit this garden of the Hesperides for Perth or Aberdeen, where no such golden apples grow either on the highroads, or even in gentlemen’s “policies,” beset with mastiff-dogs and policemen. But why, or for what ultimate purpose, do I direct these satiric glances at the infant records of California, and the frauds by which she prospered? No doubt the period of her childhood, and of the battle which she had to fight at starting with an insufficient population, was shortened exceedingly and alleviated by unlimited lying. An altar she ought to raise, dedicated to the goddess of insolent mendacity, as the tutelary power under which she herself emerged into importance; this altar should be emblazoned upon the shield of her heraldic honors; this altar should stand amongst the quarterings on her coins. And it cannot be denied, that a preliminary or heralding generation has perished in the process of clearing the way for that which is now in possession. What by perils of the sea, and the greater perils of the land route; what by “plague, pestilence, and famine; by battle, and murder,
and sudden death,” (to quote our English bability. 6
Litany,) within the precincts of the gold districts, probably not far from a quarter of a million are now sleeping in obscure graves, that might have been saved by the interference of surveyors, guides, monitors—such as a benign and Christian government in Europe would assuredly have authorized officially. But these things are not disputed; or only as a question of extent. The evil is confessed. But, small or great, it is now over. War, it is true, and war of that ferocious character which usually takes place with the vindictive Indians, apparently is now immiment; but this will be transitory, possibly favorable to peace and settlement, by absorbing the ruffianism of the state. And, in the meantime, the iniquity” of the Lynch law is
* “Iniquity.”—Naturally one might suppose that Lynch law would not ...'. to ...!!!. right injustice, unless through disproportionate severity in its punishments, considering how gross and palpable are the offences which fall within its juris. diction. But the fact is otherwise. If with us in Europe the law, that superintends civil rights, works continual injustice by its cruel delays, so often announcing a triumph over oppression to an ear that has long been asleep in the grave; on the other hand, the Lynch code is always trembling by the brink of bloody wrong through the very opposite cause of its rapturous precipitance. A remarkable case of this nature is reported in the Washington and New York journals of Christmas last. A man had been arrested on a charge of robbery in some obscure place two hundred miles from San Francisco, Reasons for doubt had arisen amongst the intelligent, and amongst consciences peculiarly tender, but not such reasons as would have much weight amongst an infuriated mob. Two gentlemen, a physician and a young lawyer, whose names should be glorified by history, made a sublime though fruitless effort, at great personal risk, to rescue the prisoner from the bigots who had prejudged him. Finally, however, he was rescued; but, as may be supposed, in a place so slenderly peopled, with no result beyond that of gaining a little additional time—i.e., so long as the hiding-place of the prisoner should remain undiscovered. Fortunately this time proved sufficient for the discovery of the real offender. He was taken at San Francisco, two hundred miles off. Luckily he confessed; and that took away all pretence for raising demurs. But so satisfied were some of the witnesses against the innocent prisoner with their own identification of the criminal—through his features, build of person, size, apparent age, and dress—that they resisted even the circumstantialities of the regular judicial confession. Some of these incredulous gentlemen mounted their horses, and rode off to San Francisco; where, upon visiting the pris. on, to their extreme astonishment, they found a man who presented a mere duplicate and fac-simile of the prisoner whom they had left behind. It is true that precipitancy would not often be misled into injustice by this specific error; but neither is this specific error the only one, by many a hundred, that might give a fatal turn to the sentence of a jury deciding by momentary and random gleams of pro