Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

Straws from the Gold Coast. {From a Correspondent of the Polynesian.) San Francisco, June 26, 1849.

My Deai* Pol m—lm —I djslikp to write on stilts. Let me speak out —free as water — with no cramping, freezing, stiffening for courtesy's sake —but warm, fresh, and light-hearted, as if your own most secret ear, not the huge, auricular corn-basget of the public ; leave me to soliloquize, to dream aloud, on paper, apd I will write you now and then, from this re-discovered Ophir —the rial Ophir, some have thought it —and let you know the status in quo of the grand movements here —moral, religious, social, political, and auriJJc, as welj as movements horrific, impolitic, uncivil, and immoral. Here's San Francisco —the oddest little square mile of sand hills and shrub oaks, tent houses and tabernacle stores, Yankees, Chinese, Datch, Africans, French and Kanakas, the sun ever strove to look down upon through flying banks of Nova Zembla fog, driven furiously inland by polar-hur-ricanes. In fact, a meteorological paradox spft and summer-like in winter, raw and winter-like in summer —a maiden city, sit-, ting in the dust, with teeth chattering and limbs shivering, locks streaming in the wind, and eyes (eyes red with dust and brandy), weeping forth cold, salt spray from "morn till^dewy eve." Such a place, my dear Pol., so unique and sui generis you might hunt the world over to find. Nor less an enigma is it morally and civilly, than physically. Walk around the public square. Portsmouthsquare they call it, —see those cloth houses, half timber, half canvas ; those mushroom tenements of wood, shut up at night, with billiard and card tables, and all the machinery and appliances of gambling in full blast/and with a group—motley as mosaiac —of all colours, coats and classes, gloating over piles of silver and gold, like crows over carrion —hot and reeking with liquor, wild with unnatural mirth and frenzy, and belching, volcano-like, huge, sweltering, terrific streams of blasphemous profanity ; see them in those hells —so fitly christened —bent on mutual robbery, lost.to docency,! glorying in their shame, and say if you don't think rum and gold a death mixture, potent hell-broth, worthy the witches' cauldron or the alchemy of Pluto ? Those few half bold, half timid youth —whence came tliej ? from Yicksburg ? From Natchea! Ah, — with their Yankee air »nd accent, —never. The maternal eye that wept sad, fond tears, as they took leave of their New England thresholds, does not see them now. The heart that with love unalterable swells to heaven for heaven'a bouison on the son far away, feels not the agony that would be felt were the truth realized, Oh, shame on those sons, vecreant to the ,g}ory aad fame of th&ir birth-land, oblivious of home sympathies of mother, father, sister, wife, of the sweet, holy influences that ennoble man, and illustrate the virtues of which his nature is capable. Oh! parent, parent J send no son to California except he be rock —solid adamant to all vice. Be her mountains pure gold, let them stand ; send no kith or kin of thine to dig them, nor thyself turn towards them, unless armed like an old knight, cap-a-pie, for a desperate conflict, not with revolver and bowie knife, — }cad and steel are of small worth, —but with manly principle, a moral coat of mail, light atid easy, but impervious. But is San Francisco a sinner above all the rest of the land i Sorry lam to say she is only "primus inter parts." I wouldn't slander her. The lust of gain is everywhere ; money is flush. The brute in man fears little of law ; riot laughs order to scorn ; and all over the territory,

with no sheriff to growl, vice holds up his head with the assurance of strict honesty, and men do things which they would publish on a sign-post, much less chronicle for the eye of parent or wife at home. But, perhaps, you want news — not homilies, Shall I tell you of the hundred fine vessels in tho harbour ? the thousand passengers that land weekly? the scores of houses and stores rising with every seven days circuit — the mountains of goods landing — the revolutions going on — changes taking place — men rushing to an d fro — j steamers arriving and departing — speculations on stilts — schemes, excitements, humbugs, and disappointments — the throe different murders in town last week — the rows and .fights — et id omne genus. I cannot do it. Our wheel buzzes so swiftly, you can't count the spokes. Better daguerreotype a lightning flash, or drop a flitting meteor with a rifle, than attempt tortry California. What was yesterday, to-day is not, and to-day is no index of to-morrow. We read papers and letters — learn that people at home are crazed — that town and country, seaboard, upland, and backwoods, are alike infected, and rushing, crusade like, to rescue the golden city — the new promised land — from the Saracen grasp of old mother earth. What a world of ships,~300 and over,— perhaps 500, now tossing on the deep. What an immense armada of gold-hunters, armed to the teeth with bowie knife and pistol, pick, shovel and pan, bed, bread and bacon. Our eyes stand out in wonder ; we only half believe what vre know. It needs imagination — and not much either— to see a 1 mighty state spring up here, full grown, like Minerva from Jove's cranium. Yet so it is to be. You see the Yankee throng here, and think of bees around a honeycomb, or vultures around a carcass. Who is not coining ? Here's my cousin Nathan, and sisfcer-in law's cousin, Jchabod, and Squire Bluffum, from Bluffumtown, York State, Four Corners, and Doctor Panacea, from Saint Nebuchadnezzar Hospital ; and every other body's cousin, first, second, and on to sixteenth ; and every other trade and profession from law-making to lawbreaking, and from pocket-picking and hard swearing up to honest men, and true speakers of English. We are to have a state constitution, at least, a government. The word has gone forth ; General Riley, quasi Governor of California, names August 1st for the day to vote, and vote we shall, and set up the timbers of a stanch government. Congress may dose till doomsday, or sit all night quarreling' orer slavery — like dogs over a bone — if she likes. Our tub can stand on its own bottom ; and we will not only govern ourselves, but decide the slavery question to boot, Congress may as well open her eyes, and own she has been nodding, Her Rip Van Winkle gaping betrays her ; she's a day too late for California. Sober men here laugh at the idea of permitting slavery, or of introducing it. Plant a rose, will you, on the top of Manua Loa, or drivo a clay pipe stem into a block of adamant, or make slavery flourish in the Old Bay State, or change the leopard's spots, or the negro's skin. Do these things, will you! Yea ! . you will, ere Congress, or President, or South or North will establish slavery this side the Sieiva Nevada. There is too much Puritan blood ; too many free hands, and free heads and free hearts. There's too much gold here too. If one or two hundred dollars a month will not keep ssilors on ship boasd, or the terrors of military laws and punishments keep soldiers loafing at their barracks, will toiling for nought, think you, attract and bifid a slave to his condition ? Those five hundred Georgians, valiant with divers weapons, and five hundred or two thousand slaves, don't stand in their way. Wait till they come, and next . day see them blacking their own boots and roasting their bacon. Oh, no ; this soft, sunny territory — this fresh, invigorating, breath-impart-ing land — this mother of beef and gold, is not for the cloven hoof of bondage to tread on. Life, art, knowledge, freedom, virtue, and faith— all that nurture power, good ness, and glory, must ultimately prevail here, and a potent state spring up, to enlighten, move, and bless the world, in spite of gold and of all gold's hireling myrmidons — in spite of slavery and of all her hard-hearted hard reasoning champions. But how soon? " Quien sabe?" Who knows ? as the natives say. Dear Pol., you'll want to rest your eyes, and I must attend to a client, or lose my fee ; so good bye for this time. Have patience, and I'll talk of gold soon. Panorama.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18491106.2.13

Bibliographic details

Straws from the Gold Coast. {From a Correspondent of the Polynesian.) San Francisco, June 26,1849., Daily Southern Cross, Volume V, Issue 246, 6 November 1849

Word Count
1,410

Straws from the Gold Coast. {From a Correspondent of the Polynesian.) San Francisco, June 26,1849. Daily Southern Cross, Volume V, Issue 246, 6 November 1849

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.

Working