A START IN LIFE.
A Journey Across America.
FRUIT FARMING IN CALIFORNIA.
Author of "Striking Events in Irish History," etc., etc.
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LONDON: DOWSETT & Co., 3, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
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PRICE ONE SHILLING.
A START IN LIFE.
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_Plans, Maps, Views, Books, Samples of Fruits, Soils, etc., etc., of Land at Merced, in California, may be seen at the Offices of
MESSRS. DOWSETT & CO.,
3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London,
where also further particulars and introductions to the owners at Merced may be obtained._
A Suggestion to Persons Seeking a Start in Life Special Advantages Comparison and Warning Across America— London to Chicago Chicago to San Francisco San Francisco to Now Orleans New Orleans to London Information About California Currency Merced Price of Land American Surveys Special Instruction Provided Various Estimates as to what could be done with Various Amounts of Capital Price of Fruit Trees When Fruit Trees Pay Position of a Settler Cost of Board and Lodging Raisin Culture Irrigation Olive Culture Special Openings Potato Growing Cost of Provisions, etc., at Merced Cost of Journey by Sea and Land Analysis of Merced Soils Position of the Vendors
A Start in Life.
I have entitled this little book "A Start in Life," because it conveys information which would enable any person possessing a small capital, with some industry, patience, and steady habits, to make a start in life which, humanly speaking, could not fail of success.
The old countries of Europe contain a superabundant population; every branch of professional and commercial life is so overcrowded, that there exists a competition so keen, as to reduce the incomes of the largest, and, in many cases, to prevent the smallest workers, in whatever sphere, from getting a remunerative return for the activities of brain, muscle, and money.
To inform the public, therefore, how a young man may make a first start in life, or an older man a fresh start in life, is offering an advantage which, I doubt not, will be appreciated by many who read these pages.
I am prepared to hear the objection that, in the proposals set forth herein, I am seeking a personal advantage as Agent for the sale of the lands at Merced, in California, that I refer to, and I meet it with this statement: Let the objector consider his prospects of success in the place where he now is, and if they are reasonably good, let him stay there; if they are not, then let him intelligently consider what his capabilities are—whether he has any special or technical knowledge, and, if so, in what place he can expect the best return for a full use of his talents. If any opening appears probable in any of the old countries, he will, perhaps, first consider that; but if he can see no opening at home, then let him consider, by careful investigation, the more distant fields; let him learn all he can about all the British Colonies, and other countries, and especially Canada and the United States, as being nearest to Great Britain. Having learnt something generally of these distant places, then, having regard to his own abilities and capital, and his personal desires as to distance from the Old Country, climate, &c., he should make his choice as to which of the places he has read of seems most likely to give him a fair prospect of success; and then, having come to this decision, he should learn all he can about that particular place. I admit that I shall receive a personal benefit by persons settling at Merced, in California; but—I say this with great confidence—if, after an intelligent consideration of other places, any person, desiring a start in life, comes to the conclusion that Fruit culture in California is an occupation, and a country, that would suit him, then let him consider all the places in California where openings for this occupation are presented, and let him choose which of them he considers most suitable; and, at the risk of appearing invidious, I would add that he should not believe all he reads, but should make his examination and inquiries for himself, on the spot. I do not ask him blindly to believe what is set forth in these pages, but if he thinks that California is a suitable place of settlement for him, then I do say, with great emphasis, that he should not settle upon anything in California until he has been to Merced, and proved for himself that the statements are credible. After he has been to Merced, I have little doubt that he will be convinced that that place presents an opening which would be worth his decision.
If he proceed to California by the Southern Pacific Railway, he could break his journey at the various other places of Fruit culture settlement, and inspect them, reaching Merced last, as the nearest to the great centre of San Francisco.
A careful comparison of the various fields of Fruit culture enterprise will, I am assured, show him that Merced possesses peculiar advantages.
It is well known that the great drawback of California is want of water; and intending settlers must not be satisfied by the statements of agents, or owners, that their lands have water advantages, but they must satisfy themselves that they can have water by irrigation (not by the expensive, laborious process of pumping it up from uncertain springs), and in such a quantity as to be permanent.
At some places lands now supplied by irrigation will fall short presently, when the owners carry the water on to thousands of adjoining acres; therefore, a full and permanent supply of water is an essential.
THE SPECIAL ADVANTAGES
my clients offer settlers at Merced are:—
1. A permanent supply of Water, for a perpetual water right accompanies every lot of land sold.
2. Contiguity to a Railway Station on the main line, and to a Town, with commercial, professional, educational, social and religious advantages.
3. Instruction in Fruit culture gratis by a specialist, who is paid by my clients to instruct settlers on their lands.
4. A rich Soil, of which, on another page, an analysis is given.
5. A ready Market for produce. Buyers come round the country and purchase the crops as they are on the trees, taking upon themselves the picking and packing. The Continent of North America is a sufficient market in itself for all time especially considering that its population increases nearly a million and a half a year.
6. The prices range from 75 dollars to 150 dollars per acre. At some other places in California, land is offered at a less price, but I can sell some land at even 10 dollars per acre; yet that at 100 dollars per acre is far cheaper, having regard to its advantages. Our land at 150 dollars per acre will favourably compare with lands fetching much higher prices.
7. Free Conveyances will be given, with a perfectly clear and satisfactory title.
8. Two-thirds of the purchase-money may remain on mortgage.
9. Merced is only 14 days from London.
10. A liberal competence may be secured by a reasonably industrious settler.
11. Merced is a very healthy locality, and is nearer to San Francisco than other Fruit growing centres.
12. My clients, the owners, are well-known gentlemen of wealth and position in California, and not irresponsible land speculators, members of a syndicate with an unknown personality.
COMPARISON AND WARNING.
I have already said that applicants should verify for themselves the statements made by persons who, like myself, would be personally benefited by their settling upon the lands offered for sale. Letters sent to this country, and advertised by agents as a guarantee of advantages, written by persons soon after arrival in California, and who have not compared the place of their location with other places, can scarcely be a sufficient recommendation. Some parts of California advertised in this country for sale have not a permanent water supply; are too hot; are swept by winds; are at a considerable distance from a railway station; have a poor, sandy soil, some even mixed with alkali; and some are so situated as to be "notoriously unhealthy," and produce chills, fevers, and general malaria, and, in one case, I have heard of an embarrassed title: therefore, I say that intending settlers should remember there is a California and a California—that it is not all gold which glitters, and that they should, personally and intelligently, investigate for themselves, on the spot, the statements made by those who, at a distance, offer the lands for sale.
It is recommended that settlers intending to establish Fruit farms, should have a capital of from L600 upwards; but those who have a smaller capital—say, L300, or even L100—may, in other ways, find some opening for employing it, if accompanied with intelligent, industrious, persevering work.
A Start in Life.
To ensure the stability of a building the foundation ought to be substantial, so in like manner a good start in life goes a great way towards ensuring a successful career. By success I do not mean the making of a rapid fortune by leaps and bounds of prosperity, but I do mean an ultimate prosperity, acquired through patient, persevering, and intelligent labour. To make a large fortune quickly it is necessary to have command of the requisite knowledge of the business in hand, the requisite capital, untiring energy, and a trait of genius. Beyond these it would be necessary to have the mind absorbed in the one thing, and therefore, supposing one possessed the requisites, would it be worth while to sacrifice all else to the mere accumulation of money? To live for mere money making is a grovelling existence, and utterly unworthy the aim of any man possessing the finer instincts of human nature and the intelligence with which it is endowed.
No, I am not pretending to offer the means of making a rapid fortune—such accidents fall to the lot of but few out of the millions of our species—but I do claim to be able to offer to men willing to live a steady industrious life, the opportunity of acquiring, on easy terms, a small freehold estate, into which they can put the golden seed of their own mental and physical effort with the certainty of reaping a golden harvest proportionate to their area, their ability, and their industry; for when once a Fruit farm is planted it increases in value every year.
To own a freehold estate of 20, 40, or 100 acres, with a comfortable house and buildings, and the land well stocked with choice Fruits, with a ready market, presents a prospect, by the use of a small capital, with the addition of muscle and brains, of future competence. When such a property is fully matured, labour can be hired, and one's own personal energies may be diverted, if preferred, into other channels, or continued in the same with largely accumulating benefits.
I ask my readers requiring for themselves, or others in whom they are interested, a start in life, to read these pages carefully, for I do not know any calling, in the old or new world, where a small capitalist fond of country life could find an occupation more congenial than the one I offer at Merced, in California, and which is described herein.
Residence near to a young town, which will probably increase rapidly in value, and which now possesses extensive commercial, locomotive, social and religious advantages, a climate than which the surface of this globe scarcely presents one more desirable, a fortnight's journey from London, and a soil pregnant with inherent virtue, are amongst the considerations of importance which will determine thoughtful investors to settle at Merced.
I am prepared to show to applicants samples of the soils and fruits, and also views, books, maps, &c., and to answer questions, if they will call personally upon me, at my offices—
3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London,
so that they may have every assistance in enabling them to come to a decision as to whether the start in life I offer them at Merced, in California, is one suitable in respect of their inclination, capital, abilities, and energy.
WITHIN A FORTNIGHT OF LONDON.
To prove the convenient access of this land, called "British Colony" from London, I may say that on November 22nd, 1890, I left Liverpool in the Cunard steamer "Etruria," which reached New York on the following Saturday evening, just too late for the Custom-house officers to examine the luggage, so that we could not go on shore till the next morning. I stayed over the Sunday (26 hours) in New York, leaving on Monday by the first overland train, and after calling at innumerable stations, and staying 14 hours at Chicago and Council Bluffs, to "make connections" (i.e., catch other trains), and staying 52 hours at San Francisco, I arrived at Merced at 10.23 on Monday night, December 8th, i.e., say 16 days 6 hours after leaving Liverpool. Had I have left Liverpool by the Wednesday instead of the Saturday steamer, I should not have needed to have stayed over Sunday in New York, and, of course, there would be no necessity for a settler to stay at San Francisco (I had to meet my clients there); therefore, deducting these two stoppages of 78 hours, or 3-1/4 days, it would give 13 days to Merced in the winter season. In fine weather the journey could be made in less time; some steamers, in the summer and autumn months, have crossed from Liverpool to New York in about six days, so that the journey could be made, in favourable circumstances, in say 12 to 13 days, but we may safely put it at 14 days.
I went by the Northern Prairies and Rocky Mountains, and returned by the longer route of Southern California, the Desert of Arizona, the Plains of Texas, through the sugar and cotton districts of the Southern States, and thence, via New Orleans and Washington, back to New York.
Thus, after remaining eight days at Merced, where I was fully engaged each day in inspecting the lands for sale and the country around for many miles, and after allowing for stoppages on the return journey over Sundays, and waiting three days at New York for the Cunard steamer "Servia," I reached Liverpool on January 4th, and was back again in my office on Monday, January 5th, being six weeks, one day and 22 hours from the time I rose from my chair in my office to the time I was sitting in it again.
LONDON TO CHICAGO.
Travelling in generations past was an important event in one's life, but now a journey across an ocean and a continent is a very commonplace affair. Books of travel used to be read with avidity, but now that so many persons travel, and the wires keep us in touch with all the world every day, the history of a journey is a small event, and one which to those not specially interested would scarcely perhaps be read; nevertheless, as some of my readers may have to go over some of the ground I have recently traversed, I have no doubt that a reference to my journey to California and back would be of interest to them, and therefore I will give up some time and space to the subject.
This little record of my journey may perhaps be better received if I state that I am not a novice in travel, and that before I had turned twenty-one years of age I had been to Australia (calling en route at Pernambuco in South America), and that while in Australia I visited Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong, King George's Sound, besides various inland towns and gold fields, including Bendigo, Castlemaine, Tarrangower, Fryer's Creek, Forest Creek, Campbell's Creek, Tarradale, Maryborough, etc., and various other places, and sheep and cattle stations. From Australia I went to Aden (the inland town) and up the Red Sea to Suez, returning to Australia, and thence to England. Since I commenced business in England, in 1859, I went in 1862 to St. Thomas' in the West Indies, thence to Aspinwall, across the Isthmus to Panama, thence to Acapulco in Mexico, on to San Francisco in California, and thence to Vancouver Island, returning by the same route as far as Aspinwall, whence I went to New York. In 1865 I went on business to Russia. Arriving at the ancient city of Pskov, I proceeded across country to the estate of my client, the Count Bogouschefsky, at one time private Secretary to the Emperor Nicholas (grandfather of the present Czar). Some of these travels were attended with a good deal of adventure; but my recent journey from England to California and back, 13,774 miles, in six weeks (including all stoppages), was all work, for my time was occupied continuously in reading up the country, learning from old settlers, and making notes of what I saw, some of which I have found room for in the following pages.
On November 22nd, 1890, I was at work in my office in Lincoln's Inn Fields, whence a cab depositing me at Euston, the 10.10 express train soon ran me down to Liverpool (201 miles), whence a steam "tender" took me from the landing-stage to the Cunard steamship "Etruria," some two miles off, where I was soon comfortably located in my "state room" (No. 42).
It was nearly 5 o'clock before we got away, and the next day found us at Queenstown Harbour, where we lost considerable time in waiting for the mail. At length the mail, which was a heavy one, was safely on board, and off we went, head on to the Atlantic. During that night of the 23rd we experienced a heavy gale; big seas broke over the forecastle, and flooded the decks below, through the ventilators. The A.B.'s declined venturing on the forecastle to unship these great ventilators, and so the engines had to be slowed down, and the ship stopped; the ventilators were then unshipped, and we proceeded. The night was a bad one, and the next morning we had not got through it, and as a consequence the decks were like lagoons; but presently we had run through it, or it had run away from us, or had expended its energy, and we were in comparatively smooth waters, and had a comfortable run to New York. Nothing of particular interest occurred during the passage. I sought and found the old American settlers amongst the passengers, and obtained from them all the information I could of the country, and especially the State to which I was going. I read "General" Booth's "Darkest England," and wrote a review of it, which duly appeared in the "Land Roll."
The "Etruria" is a fine ship. She has a commodious saloon, music and reading room, plenty of deck space for exercise, comfortable cabins, bath rooms, etc.
On the 29th we made Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which is about 20 miles from New York Dock, but we got in too late for the Custom-house officers to look at our baggage, so we lay all night in the harbour, and next morning commenced the tedious process of creeping up, yard by yard, into our berth at the dock. The run from Liverpool was thus:—Liverpool to Queenstown, on the 22nd and 23rd, 240 miles; 24th, at noon, 330 miles; 25th, 454; 26th, 462; 27th, 475; 28th, 480; 29th, 471; distance to Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 130 miles; so that the run totals up to 3,042, and with the 20 miles added, 3,062 miles.
I had been recommended by a passenger to go to the Hotel St. Stephen, 46 to 52, East Eleventh Street, New York, whence I drove in a cab perhaps a mile and a half, for which the cabman wanted 2 dollars (equal to 8s. 4d.); he got 1-1/2, which was half-a-dollar too much. Passengers should drive to their hotel, and then ask the proper fare before paying. New York has many large hotels—this is comparatively a small one. All the waiters are coloured men, and this seems pretty general throughout America.
I stayed over the 30th (Sunday) in New York, by which I secured a quiet day and an opportunity to attend Divine service. In my bedroom was a coil of stout Manilla rope screwed into the floor, near a window, so that an escape might be secured in the event of fire. The towels provided are a kind of compromise between a duster and a pocket handkerchief—rather disappointing to one accustomed to his "tub." New York is great in tram-cars, worked by horses, mules, and electricity, also elevated railways—that is, railways running down the streets on huge tressels or scaffolding—so that the vehicles go underneath them, and the passengers in the train look straight into the first-floor windows of the houses on the other side. There is an immense development of electricity all over America, and in tram-cars, railway-cars, hotels, houses, everything and everywhere, is the electric light prominent. Many of the streets are unevenly paved. Blacking boots is a profession in America—in many hotels a special charge is made for it, or else the visitors are left to their own devices thereon—and boot-blacks have shops and nooks fitted with high, huge easy chairs, elevated like thrones, where their clients can comfortably repose during the operation of polish.
The next morning, December 1st, I was up early, and made enquiries at the various offices representing the railway lines to Chicago, with the result that I took a ticket by the Pennsylvania route, and left New York at 10 o'clock a.m. The train service between New York and Chicago is one of the best, if not the best, in America. The cars are elegantly fitted; they are about the length of the Pullman cars we have in England. The best cars are those fitted with sleeping accommodation, and travellers having tickets for a "sleeper" have the privilege of using the sleeping car during the day. The sleeping cars are divided into squares capable of seating four persons, but the space is accorded to two only, as only two beds or berths can be made up in the space; the lower berth (which is always the favourite) is formed of the two double seats (the space for four seats), filled up in the centre by special fittings and mattresses, hidden during the day inside the seats; the upper berth is pulled down from the sloping roof of the car, and in the receptacle between the slope and the square are contained the bedding and the fittings. A curtain falls down over both the upper and lower berths, and, so far as one can, the dressing has to be done with the curtain hanging round one as one stands within it; and if on both sides of the car passengers happen to stand behind their respective curtains at the same time, they would touch one another and so block the passage-way. The dressing accommodation is so inconvenient that only partial undressing is adopted. The outside of the slope is polished mahogany, and in the daytime bears no indication whatever of what it really is, but looks like a handsome sloping polished mahogany roof. These cars are luxuriously fitted. Another car on the train is a handsome dining saloon, with kitchen attached, where you can order as good a dinner as you could obtain at an hotel. The cars are also fitted liberally with lavatories and water-closets, separate ones for ladies and for gentlemen. On this train is also a bath-room and a barber's shop. There are also one or two small private rooms, which can be hired separately. This train has also a recent addition, being what is called a drawing-room or observation car; this is the last on the train, and the end is fitted with glass, so that in riding along passengers in this car enjoy an uninterrupted view of the country they are leaving behind. On this special train a ladies' maid is provided for the convenience of ladies, and a stenographer, with his type-writing machine, occupies a seat in the vestibule of the drawing-room car to take down any urgent letters which business men may desire to post en route. The observation car is supplied with a library for the use of passengers, and is fitted with plate-glass windows and easy chairs. It has a platform where one can breathe the fresh air outside if desired. There is also a smoking-room car. On this special train the Stock Exchange reports of the New York and Philadelphia Exchanges are received and posted on the bulletin boards three times a day, and the weather reports are also posted. The whole of the train is thoroughly well heated by steam pipes, and lighted by electricity. The person in charge of a "sleeper" car is called the "porter;" he occupies a position, not like a porter on an English railway, but analagous to a steward on board ship.
On leaving New York I noticed that the suburbs contained many very small wooden houses, and the country had the appearance of many Colonial scenes I have witnessed—the land looked like reclaimed prairie, which it probably is; and after passing many homesteads and villages we ran into Philadelphia at 12.20. Philadelphia is the largest city, as to area, in the United States. It is situate on the west bank of the Delaware River. It is 22 miles long, and from 5 to 8 broad, comprising an area of 1,294 square miles. It has over 900 miles of paved streets. Philadelphia was founded by the celebrated William Penn, who went from England to America in 1682 A.D., and purchased the site of this great city from the Indians. William Penn's character was remarkable for his high sense of honour, and if the same principle had obtained throughout the history of the United States with the Indians, we should never have heard of any "Indian Difficulty." Penn presented the city with a charter in 1701. The city, built upon lands honestly and liberally bought from the Indians, prospered greatly, and its population continued to increase until it now reaches something approaching 900,000. Its chief source of wealth is from its manufactures, which embrace locomotives, and all kinds of ironware, ships, carpets, woollen and cotton goods, shoes, umbrellas, and books. It has more buildings than any other city in that country, and, in point of commerce, ranks fourth among the cities of the United States. I noticed that the suburbs of Philadelphia contained many handsome stone and brick residences. I felt much interested in the connection with William Penn, because he is one of the ancestors of the Penn-Gaskells of England, who for many years have been valuable and much-respected clients of mine, and in numerous transactions I have noticed in them that beautiful trait of strict honour which gave William Penn a world-wide character, and has descended from him to them.
Passing by many farm homesteads, villages, and towns, all having a prosperous kind of appearance, and described as "one of the richest agricultural districts in America," we ran into Harrisburg, which is the capital of Pennsylvania, and situate on the east bank of the Susquehanna River. About five miles above Harrisburg we crossed the Susquehanna River on a bridge 3,670 feet long, from the centre of which I am told there is a fine view, but I lost it, as a snowstorm was raging while I was crossing.
We stopped at Altoona, a large city lying at the foot of the Alleghanies, and in ascending the Alleghanies fine scenery and great engineering feats are discernible. From this we ran on to Pittsburg, which claims to be the best lighted city in America, the streets being brilliantly illuminated by arc and incandescent electric lights. Nine bridges cross the Allegheny, and five the Monongahela rivers. Pittsburg has been called the "iron city," and "smoky city"; it has immense glass, steel and iron manufactures, and in these three interests alone employs over 50,000 persons.
Then we proceed till, presently, we catch sight of Lake Michigan, and know that Chicago is not far off. We skirt the shore of this busy water, with its wharves, etc. On arrival (December 2nd) we drive through the city from the Pennsylvania to the North-Western terminus.
Chicago is 912 miles from New York: it is the greatest city in Illinois, and during the past 50 years has grown from a small Indian trading station into a metropolis. Chicago extends some 20 miles along the shores of Lake Michigan, and goes back from the lake to a depth of about four miles, thus embracing about 80 square miles; beyond these confines of the city proper the suburbs extend to some 6 to 10 miles in every direction. It will be remembered that in 1871 Chicago had a great fire, which burned an area of 3-1/8 square miles, destroyed 17,450 buildings, made 98,500 persons homeless, and killed outright about 200 more. The loss of property was estimated at 190,000,000 dollars, of which only 30,000,000 dollars were recovered from insurances, and this bankrupted some of the insurance companies. In 1874 another fire consumed 5,000,000 dollars' worth of property. Chicago is the great central depot for grain, lumber and live stock. In 1888 there were packed at Chicago 4,500,000 hogs, and about 1,600,000 cattle. Chicago has also extensive iron, steel, wheel, car, flour, furniture, boot and shoe and tannery manufactures. In driving through I noticed one long street, to the right and left of the street I was traversing, thickly occupied with tradesmen's carts, backed on the kerb in the usual fashion, being loaded from the stores (or shops): there must have been a few hundred of them; I never saw so many in one street at one time anywhere in any part of the world. Chicago was cased in frozen snow, and thus was not very attractive; but I noticed many very fine buildings, and was much struck with the cosmopolitan character of the inhabitants. During the interval of waiting for the train on the North-Western to start I was able to see a little of the place, and found that some persons I spoke to could not speak English. They came apparently from all parts of the continent of Europe.
CHICAGO TO SAN FRANCISCO.
The train was due at Chicago (December 2nd) at 9.45 a.m., being exactly a 23 hours and 45 minutes' run from New York. Having crossed Chicago from one terminus to another, I found that three trains left Chicago by which I could travel to San Francisco—two were slow trains, and one a fast train; but, by whichever train I went, it would make no difference as to the time I left Omaha, and consequently no difference to the time I should arrive at San Francisco, so I went on by one of the slow trains, as I wanted to see Council Bluffs. This train was similarly fitted to the other, except that it had no drawing-room car, nor stenographer, etc., nor were the platforms connecting the carriages enclosed; so that, in passing to the dining car, or any other car, the sudden change from a hot car to a shower of snow was not pleasant. The distance from Chicago to Omaha is 492 miles, and the country between the two places formed a part of the great prairie region, which, 50 years ago, had no other inhabitant than the Indian and the trapper, but now is a succession of homesteads, villages, and towns, bearing evidence of prosperity. At Creston, and many other stations, I noticed that there is no protection whatever from the railway; the line is unfenced, and the train runs through the town as openly as a coach would; there is generally a rough board put up here and there with the words, crudely painted on them, "Look out for the cars!" We were due at Council Bluffs the next morning (December 3rd) at 7.23, but we arrived some half-hour late. Council Bluffs Station is four miles from Omaha Station, but the towns adjoin. The former has a population of over 35,000, and the latter of over 110,000. They are divided by the great Missouri River, which is crossed by two bridges, one being 2,750 feet long, and the other 2,920 feet long. Having had breakfast at the station, I went up to the town by the "motor," that is, the electrical tram-car. The motor cars, like the railway cars, are heated. I noticed a large number of detached wooden cottages, "standing in their own grounds," of about one-eighth of an acre, and I learned that these are owned by labourers. Mr. Day, an agent there, told me that the cottage would cost 500 dollars, and the land 400 dollars, i.e., L100 for the house, and L80 for the land. An eighth of an acre for L80 would be L640 per acre, and this quite out in the suburbs; and I was told that good business blocks in the town itself would fetch L32,000 (not dollars, but pounds) per acre. In the large cities, such as New York, Chicago, etc., prices in the principal streets would compare with prices in the City of London. Returning to the station, I joined the express train, and crossing the Missouri River to Omaha, we proceeded west. The river was frozen at its sides, and presented no attractions worth notice. On we go through hundreds of fields of maize, always called "corn" in America; other grain crops, such as wheat, etc., are called by their own names, but the crop known only as "corn" in America is maize. The rich clusters of corn are gathered, and the stalks, something in appearance between a wheat stalk and a sugar cane, are left standing for the cattle to pick over. Forty years ago this part was uninhabited by white men, and was the home of countless buffaloes; now these animals are extirpated, and everywhere we see nothing, for mile upon mile, but corn, corn, corn. One of my fellow travellers was Mr. H.C. Jacobs, of Chicago, whose father-in-law was one of the pioneers, and who gave me much information. The next day (December 4th), we traverse the great rolling prairies of Nebraska, and see many herds of horses and cattle, and here and there ranch homes and cowboys.
Having run through Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, we commence the State of Wyoming as we pull up at the City of Cheyenne, where, in the far distance, we see, with its peaks well clothed in snow, the grand range of the Rocky Mountains. Soon after leaving Cheyenne, we commence the ascent of the Rockies—not, of course, the actual summit range itself, but the foot hills and high lands stretching away from, and forming part of it—and as we climb the ascent terminating at Sherman, where we have gained an elevation of 8,247 feet, we pass through very wild, grand scenery. At this altitude we look down upon floating clouds, and see in the distance Long's Peak, 14,000 feet high, towering above them. All along, at intervals, are portable fences, placed to catch the snow as it drifts, to prevent it blocking the line; and also what are called snow sheds, which are rough timber tunnels built up to protect the rails from the great drifts arising out of heavy snowstorms. At the highest point is a pyramid, commemorating a certain Mr. Oakes Ames, which looked 20 feet high and very near the line; it is however, 75 feet high and half-a-mile off. The air is so rarefied that distances are most deceiving.
As our descent proceeds, we catch sight, in the distance, of a herd of wild elk, and where these rolling prairies have better herbage, we see herds of horses with ranch buildings here and there. We pass the ranch of William Cody, who, by virtue of his being a Senator of the State of Nebraska, is called Honourable, but who was known in London, a short time ago, at Mr. Whitley's "Wild West" show as "Buffalo Bill." As we pass Fort Laraime, one of the forts erected by the United States Government as a protection against the Indians, I was told some stories of Cody's exploits against the Indians. In former days, emigrants traversing these great prairies to found a home in this Wild West, were often harassed by Indians, and the soldiers at the fort had to protect them. Buffalo Bill has been in many a skirmish, and, if rumour is true, many redskins have succumbed to him; the Government took counsel with him in all Indian difficulties in that part of the country, and the day before I passed his ranch he had been sent for by the authorities that they might confer with him as to the outbreak which then existed, and which cost "Sitting Bull" his life. We passed a house cut clean in two by the wind, great herds of horses and cattle, beautiful specimens of the bald and other eagles and vultures, some deer, and a very fine grey wolf about the size of a Newfoundland dog. The distant mountain scenery at times is very grand, and everywhere snow-capped. The air is very pure and keen. I much enjoyed the society of two fellow travellers over this part of my journey, Mr. Lee, of General Lee's family, of Virginia, and Mr. Hurley, Solicitor to the Directors of the line we were traversing. We passed the "Divide of the Continent" at an altitude of 7,100 feet, which is the dividing line of the running of water; that running east empties into the North Platte River, thence into the Missouri, thence into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean; that running west empties into the Green River, thence into the Colorado, thence into the Pacific Ocean.
In the early morning of December 5th we ran into Ogden, which is near Salt Lake, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, which are snow-capped, and have some very fine peaks. Salt Lake is 126 by 45 miles, and on it is situate the great City of the Mormons. On the more fertile parts of the prairies I gathered, at Humboldt Wells, some of the sage grass which used to be the food of the buffaloes when they existed; at other places I gathered samples of herbage on less favoured soils. As we proceed, we see an encampment of Indians with red paint on their faces, which was put on to show sympathy with, and, if necessary, take part with other tribes of Indians, then commencing a "war" with the United States soldiers. This district was not far, as distances go in America from the scene of action. Presently we commence our run through the great barren alkali plains, emerging from which we get into a more fertile country, and, at Cedar Pass, notice the great ranch of Messrs. Sparks and Tinnin, who are reputed to have 100,000 head of cattle. Mr. Byrne, of Elko, Nevada, also the owner of a large ranch, was on board the cars, and gave me some useful information. He said that cattle raising is very profitable, as they double in number every four years, i.e., a profit of 25 per cent.; thus, if a man start with a 1,000 head of stock cattle, he will have 4,000 head in four years.
If a thousand head of stock cattle were purchased off a ranch, they would be sold just as they run, without any selection whatever—steers, heifers, cows, calves, bulls, yearlings, both sexes and all ages, but calves which still suck their mothers are not counted, and go for nothing. Many head of cattle perish in the winter, when the land is covered with snow, as on many large ranches no food is given them. I urged that it would pay to have stock-yards and give food during the snow time, and Mr. Byrne said that he always did so himself, and that the great ranch men were having their eyes opened to this necessity.
We passed various other encampments of Indians, and far from any encampment or habitation saw an Indian on the track carrying a small light bundle, and following him a long way behind was his squaw, labouring under a very heavy burden.
During this day we ran through ranges of uneven mountains, rising one above another in broken undulations and with ever-varying tops, such as table lands, sharp conical peaks, rounded heads, and broken indentations.
The distant mountains are enveloped in snow, upon which gleams a resplendent setting sun, presenting a prospect which only such a region could produce. From the dazzling whiteness of one range we look upon the dense darkness of another, as being out of the sun's influence. The lights and shades, the gorges, the fissures, the striations in the range upon range, with their intervals of plains and valleys, here and there opening up peeps of great tracts of country, and then again shutting all in to the circumference of their gigantic heads, interspersed with the brilliance of rich gold, tingeing some tops and revealing dark recesses, some ruby tints and fantastic shadows,—all combine to reflect a glory which lifts the mind beyond the great heights of hills to a height, greater still, whence originated all natural grandeur.
We had run through Utah and Nevada, and were now approaching the northern part of California. In the very early morning of December 6th I awoke and found that the train was at a standstill. Thinking that we were at a station I tried to sleep again, but, finding that we continued motionless, I went out on to the platform connecting our car with the next and found all around was deep snow, and that another train on the other metals had broken down, and that our men were apparently helping to get it off. We were then two miles from Truckee, and at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet. After a long delay we got away and ran into Truckee. The scenery on this day was also of a truly grand character: precipices, declivities, chasms; and in one very romantic spot, of weird and wild mountain sides, graduating to narrow gullies, with pine and other trees, some perfect, others broken by the wind was one great wreck of a forest monster—a tree rudely snapped asunder by wind or lightning, about 40 feet from the ground, and stripped of every branch, so that it looked like a broken column; on its top sat a great vulture in the well-known attitude of its kind, as motionless as rock, and apparently meditating on the incongruity of a noisy, vulgar bit of machinery, with its train of cars, invading such a nook of Nature's solitudes.
As we proceeded we came upon the succession of Placer gold diggings, known as the hydraulic mines, which were then for the most part abandoned, and these brought to my remembrance many similar spots I had seen in Australia. The debris of the mines had stopped up, or diverted, or otherwise interfered with the Sacramento River, the Bear River, and other rivers, to the great detriment of agriculture, horticulture, stock rearing, etc., whereupon the State Legislature of California passed an Act to prohibit all interference with the water, for without water the miners could not wash their dirt, and so had to abandon the diggings. All around this part, ravine followed ravine, with beautiful vistas between, affording a continuous luxury of scenic gratification. Presently we reached what is called by many the grandest scenery on the American Continent, known as Cape Horn; it is where the train winds round a mountain side, on a narrow ledge, and at such a height, that to hold one's hand out of the window would be to hold it over a sheer precipice of 2,500 feet. The train runs along the ledge or narrow roadway cut in the face of the mountain rock, and all around is presented a spectacle of the majesty of Nature, which only such a range of mountains as the Sierra Nevada could produce.
About 14 miles from Truckee, we reach a station called "Summit," which lies at an elevation of 7,017 feet, and is the highest point on the Sierra Nevada Mountains reached by railroads, but the granite peaks rise up to an altitude of over 10,000 feet. Grizzly bears, and other wild creatures, find their homes in the recesses of these fastnesses. On leaving these mountains we make a rapid descent, and in an hour feel that we are in another country. At Colfax I bought fruit; at Arlington the temperature was like summer. At Rockling Station I saw some very fine orange trees, full of splendid fruit. Now we have entered the fertile plains of North California, and run through cultivated lands, till we reach Sacramento, the capital of the State. It is a great change: from desert, alkaline plains, miles of snow sheds, snow-covered mountains, a semi-civilization, and a freezing atmosphere, we find ourselves in a warm, genial climate, cultivated farms, vineyards, gardens, and orchards of nectarines, pears, apples, and the rest.
Arriving at Oakland, we crossed the Bay in the great ferry-ship, or floating wharf, "Piedmont." The weather was charming—the bay dotted about with islands and surrounded by hills. The temperature was the more enjoyable from the fact that only a few hours before we were surrounded by deep snow.
On arriving at San Francisco (on Saturday, December 6th), I went straight to the Palace Hotel, and my first effort was to get a bath, for a continuous day and night run from New York of 3,367 miles, makes one who is accustomed to the use of plenty of water to look for a good ablution as the first refresher. The Palace Hotel claims to be the "model hotel of the world." Its architect visited the leading hotels of Europe so as to produce a hotel superior to any. As to size, it occupies a complete block—that is, it has a street traversing each side of it. It rises to a height of 120 feet, and covers an area 350 feet by 275 feet—that is, 96,250 square feet, or nearly 2-3/4 acres, and, with sub-sidewalk extensions, exceeds three acres. The lower story is 27 feet high, the uppermost one 16 feet high. The foundation wall is 12 feet thick, and the principal materials are stone, iron, brick, and marble. Every partition wall throughout is stone and brick. It is fire and earthquake proof, the walls being additionally tied by iron bands. It has four artesian wells, yielding 28,000 gallons of water an hour, a 630,000 gallon reservoir, and tanks holding 130,000 gallons more. The water is served by three large steam fire pumps, which throw the water above the roof. There are five patent safety-catch hydraulic elevators (or lifts). Immense precautions have been taken against fire. The dining-rooms are 150 feet by 55 feet, and 100 feet by 50 feet. The public rooms are very numerous, and are of immense size. The rooms for guests are principally 20 feet by 20 feet; none are less than 16 feet by 16 feet; all are well furnished. The corridors are like streets—space, elegance, solidity, and comfort are apparent everywhere; the whole being lighted by gas and electricity. Each bedroom has a bath-room, with hot and cold water services; w.c., coat-closet, and lavatory closet, with hot and cold water services to itself, and which can only be used by the occupant of the bed-room. The hotel, of course, has a barber's shop, and as I expected my client to call I was anxious to get through my toilet quickly; so I rang for one of the barber's assistants to come to my bed-room to cut my hair preparatory to the bath. This did not take long, and I asked the price, when, to my surprise, a dollar and a-half, i.e., 6s. 3d., was required. I thought it was barbarism indeed!
I left San Francisco on Monday, December 8th, and during my short stay I saw something of the town; but it was not the same place as I remembered it from my two visits to it in 1862. It is full of life and activity, has many wealthy men, 50 of whom, it is said, are millionaires. It has a large number of grand buildings, fine shops, extensive markets, beautiful private residences, and an immense development of electricity for motion, light, sound, etc. The tram-cars run in constant succession everywhere; but the most remarkable cars are those worked by an endless cable. In the city are works with immense steam power, and from these works endless cables revolve throughout the city, under the roads, in various directions. In the bed of the tramway is a groove, under which is the cable, revolving at a great speed. The driver of the car lets down his grip, which tightly holds the cable, and, of course, the car starts at full speed, and is carried along by the cable. When the driver wants to stop, he lets go his grip on the cable and applies his brake. Some of the hills in San Francisco are very steep, and the first sensation in riding on the outside front seat, while going full speed down a sharp declivity, is certainly novel, with no apparent motive power, and no apparent means of stopping. The speed, of course, is always the same, whether up or down hill, or on level ground. Telegraph Hill is 394 feet high, Clay Street Hill 376 feet, and Russian Hill 360 feet. A San Francisco Sunday is painful to one accustomed to our English ways; travelling in every form, and buying and selling are very prevalent. The Y.M.C.A. have a large building there, and get large meetings. I attended one gathering, which I addressed shortly.
San Francisco is described as having "the mildest and most equable climate known to any large city in the world." January is the coldest month, and the mean temperature then is stated to be 50 deg.. September is the hottest month, and the mean temperature then is stated to be 58 deg.. Thus only 8 deg. difference between the coldest and warmest months, and the average for the whole year is 54 deg..
San Francisco has a population of about 300,000 (including some 40,000 Chinese), is the principal city of the State of California, and the principal commercial centre on the Pacific coast. I must not, however, dwell longer on this part of my journey. On Monday, December 8th, I left San Francisco with one of my clients, Mr. C.H. Huffman, for Merced, by the 4 p.m train. The sun was shining gloriously, producing a charming effect upon the placid waters of the Bay and its beautiful surrounding hills.
SAN FRANCISCO TO NEW ORLEANS.
The train reached Merced at 10.23 on Monday night, December 8th, 1890, where I was met, and in a spacious family buggy, drawn by a pair of good horses, I was very soon at the residence of my client, Mr. C.H. Huffman. The continuous day and night travelling by rail, and the taking of voluminous notes all along, had caused a constant excitement which told upon the nerves, and for two days I felt as though I needed absolute rest, but, remembering that I had already been long absent from my office, I commenced my work at Merced the next morning. The town of Merced is the capital of the county of that name; it is not many years old, but it has a striking difference to many new small towns I have seen in the Colonies, in that it has several very good buildings and residences. It has seven churches and chapels of various denominations, some good shops, medical men, society, schools, gas, water, electricity, and a station on the main Great Southern Pacific Railway. It is undoubtedly a town which must rapidly increase in value, for this reason: My clients, Messrs. Crocker and Huffman, at a cost of some two million dollars, have tapped the Great Merced River 25 miles off, and brought water down to the town and irrigated the country round. They have formed a reservoir 640 acres in extent. Hitherto the rich lands around the town of Merced have not been irrigated, and consequently were not suitable for growing the Fruits for which California is so famous; but, now that a system of canals, formed by my clients, has irrigated their estate, extending over some 50,000 or 60,000 acres, the whole of this great area is changed in value, and is available, and will eventually be used, for the production of choice Fruits. Thus, Merced will become a centre, like other parts of California, and, being so much nearer than those other parts to San Francisco, will benefit additionally by that advantage alone. Merced is only 152 miles from San Francisco, while Fresno is 207, Bakersfield 314, and Los Angeles, 483 miles. It is rumoured that another line of railway will also be formed in connection with the present main line, and Merced would then be an important railway junction. I drove out every day with Mr. Huffman, and inspected the country for some miles around the town, including the Merced River, 25 miles off. The land designated British Colony, is, at its commencement, only two miles from the Merced Railway Station, hotel, and shops. Mr. Huffman has a most comfortable residence, and has excellent stables, well filled with first-class buggy horses, so that travelling was always an easy matter. Being a lay preacher in England, I took advantage of offers made me, and preached on the Sunday I was at Merced in two of the churches at the morning and evening services.
I left Merced on Tuesday night, December 16th, by the 10.23 train, having stayed there eight days. I immediately "turned in," and next morning (December 17th) was up as usual at 6.30, and much enjoyed the splendid scenery through which we were passing—in a mountainous country, grandly diversified with all the alternations of heights and depths, lights and darks, rich and barren, including many evidences of engineering skill—as we coursed along, now looking high up, now looking low down, and presently winding along the celebrated "loop," described as the "greatest engineering feat in the world," by which the train goes through mountain passes, creeping along the tops of eminences, then returning, crosses under itself at a low level, then, ascending, crosses over itself at a higher level, so that in its meandering course you now look down at your side on the line you have just traversed, and anon look up at your side at the line you are about to traverse. We passed through the Mojava (pronounced Moharvie) desert, where the yucca palm is plentiful. A fellow passenger, and old settler, enlivened the time by some relations of his experiences thus: He once shot a grizzly bear which weighed 1,500 lbs. Some are much larger than this. Everything of weight in America is generally reckoned by pounds, not cwts. or tons. On another occasion he slew a Californian lion. He had killed a bullock, and the carcase was hanging in his house at the back, where was an aperture like a small window without glass, and under this opening outside stood an empty case. The lion scenting the carcase, and hearing no sound from within, approached the house, and was endeavouring to creep through the aperture when, in its efforts to do so, it kicked the case away, and the poor animal was stuck fast, having its head and shoulders inside. My fellow traveller, on returning home, was surprised to find his visitor, and so despatched him with an axe, and has for years used the skin, which is 9 feet 8 inches long. The temperature was charming, although in the distance we could see the snow-capped mountains. We run through the antelope valley, gather some juniper plant, see a skunk, see natural oil wells at Saugus, pass the head of the Santa Clara Valley, see the San Fernando mountains, go through the greatest tunnel in America—the San Fernando tunnel, 6,967 feet long, go by Burbank, where there is a land boom, and arrive at Los Angeles, where during the two hours of waiting I have a look at the town and a pleasant chat with Mr. White Mortimer, the British Consul, whom I called upon. The next day (December 18th) we were on the desert of Arizona, where we saw Indian camps at places which were somewhat oases as to plant life. Speaking generally, nothing grows on a great part of this desert but cactus, of which I am told there are some 200 varieties, from the dwarf kind to trees 40 feet high. This plant has a strange if not a weird appearance. Here and there, like solitary sentinels, stands out a tall cactus, with perhaps two or three heads or branches, growing perpendicularly with itself. The mountains on either side look as if they had their origin in volcanic eruptions.
Some parts of the desert are covered with a dwarf kind of evergreen shrub. We see large numbers of prairie dogs, which are of a size between a rat and a rabbit; they live in holes like rabbits. There are also gophers, skunks, prairie rats, rattlesnakes, and hawks, which feed on snakes and rats. We pass tribes of Yuma Indians, Aztec Indians and Gila (pronounced Heela) Indians. On reaching a part where is some grass we see some cattle, which are straying on the line; the engine whistle shrieks, the cattle run, and some coyote wolves are startled from their lairs and run, too; large numbers are here, and the preceding night their yells aroused some passengers from sleep. As we proceed, quail are seen, and wild cats something like a lynx. Arriving at Tucson (pronounced Tewsohn), I enquired for a gentleman to whom I had an introduction, but learned that he was up at his gold mine. This Tucson is an ancient city, having been founded by the Jesuits in 1560 A.D. It does a large business in exporting gold dust, wool, and hides. I expect that these mountains of Arizona contain much value in minerals. The Indians in this part of the country are the Apaches, and were described to me as the most treacherous of all the American Indians, that they are cowardly and will never fight in the open. A gentleman who entered the train at Tucson gave me many instances of this. In the evening we saw "cow-boys" round their fire camping out in the open, and also a camp of freighters resting on their journey across the desert. The next morning early (December 19th) we arrived at El Paso, a most interesting Mexican town situate on the borders of Old Mexico, New Mexico and Texas, where I bought the skin of a Mexican tiger, and other things.
In travelling for some days in a train continuously one feels the need of exercise, and this I obtained by getting in and out of many of the railway stations and walking up and down. Between San Francisco and New Orleans there are 322 stations, and I should suppose the number of stations on both the Northern and Southern routes I traversed would probably amount to nearly 700.
We are now commencing to cross the great plains of Texas. At first the plains are desert, with mountains skirting our view; the scenery is less interesting than the Arizona desert, because there are no cacti. This desert has probably been under salt water at some time. The rocky hills appear to have a volcanic origin. As we go on, we reach a poor kind of pasture, growing out of a scrubby kind of shrub, with some occasional cacti, many hills and mountains like barren rocks, with not a bird or an animal to be seen. The weather has been warm since leaving Merced, but now, so far south as we are, it is hot on this December day. I had read in the short telegrams given by American papers, that the winter was very severe in England, and I pictured often to myself, friends and clients in England muffled up amidst frost and snow, whilst I was revelling in glorious sunshine, so warm that no greatcoat could be worn. Had I returned by the route I went (the Northern Prairies), I might have been delayed by snow drifts, but by this, the Southern route, there was no snow, but a continuous, cheerful, delightful sunshine, not too hot anywhere, but simply delightful. I should certainly recommend anyone going from England to California in the winter season, to go by the Southern route. Amongst the objects of interest, we notice in the distance a small herd of 14 wild antelope trotting along; cattle, coyote wolves, and, at many places, the well-picked bones of animals which had dropped dead, or, when weak, had been killed or eaten by carnivora or reptiles. We saw large numbers of prairie dogs; they sit outside their holes like a squirrel, on their haunches, with their fore paws up; they are very quick, and most difficult even to shoot. More antelopes and coyotes. At a station called Alpine were several cowboys, all armed with revolvers and cartridge belts, and some with dagger knives too; their mustangs were hitched up close by. These cowboys are some old and some young men, some wild and some cultivated, some never educated, some have gone through Harvard, or Oxford, or Cambridge, some the sons of English county gentlemen and noblemen—but all cowboys, i.e., men who live on ranches where large herds of cattle or horses are bred, and whose duty it is to ride over the wild rough country to know where the herds of cattle and horses are feeding, so that if they need to be ridden up for cutting or branding, or selling, they may be found. I was told that this was one of the "hardest" places for a cowboy, i.e., one of the wickedest, meaning that when they visit it, it is for a "spree," and they get drunk, and fights and murders follow. I was pointed to a little cemetery on a hill, enclosed by a white fence, and was told that it contained 150 bodies, and that only 50 had died a natural death; the others had been shot or otherwise murdered in drunken frays and other ways. Many strange little histories were told me about these men, but which I have no time to record here. In some parts of the country where water was very scarce, there seemed to be no vegetation, and the cattle seemed to wander solitarily along, a mere heap of hide and bone. At many stations I had quite a considerable interval for running about, such as when a wheel caught fire, which happened two or three times, or some freight had to be taken in, or taken out, etc. When the train again starts, the conductors shout "All aboard," and there is a general rush.
The next day (December 20th) was again a brilliant day of sunshine; we see many buzzards, and breakfast at San Antonio. The railway stations along this country have two roofs, one being two or three feet above the other, so that air between should keep the building cool. At breakfast, I read the San Antonio Daily Express, which informed me "severe storms prevailed everywhere in Great Britain," and my thoughts were naturally much occupied with the Old Country. The day was sultry, but sunshine is always a great treat to me, and it was never too hot.
Now we are running into civilization again, and I catch sight of a man ploughing; he has a pair of mules, and is holding the reins in his teeth. As we proceed, it is a continuous succession of cotton fields, cotton fields, cotton fields. We see many bales; these weigh from 475 to 600 lbs. each. At a station called Sequin, I obtained lots of cotton seeds, and gathered some cotton in the fields as we went along. The scavengers of this country are Turkey buzzards, which are protected by law because of their usefulness.
I could not refrain from writing several times in my note-book, "glorious sunshine." Hitherto we have had mountains continuously in sight, but now they are out of vision. This being Saturday we see markets at the towns we go through; at Habwood and Flatonia especially was this noticeable. The population seemed almost altogether negro. I observed a negro and his wife, well dressed, riding on horseback in the old English pillion style; another negro and his wife, and about twelve children, in a capacious kind of wagon-buggy, and many negroes and negresses, the latter dressed in white and gay colours, standing at their pretty verandahed cottages.
We now pass a spot where a train was stopped and the passengers robbed some time ago, by Jesse and Frank Jeames and the Ford Brothers. The modus operandi is for all the men to be secreted but one, who stands on the line holding up a red flag which indicates danger; the engineer then stops and the men spring aboard; some hold revolvers to the heads of the engineers, and others go through the train and rob the passengers. The robbers shout out "hands up," and one man points his weapon at the passenger's head, whilst another rifles his pockets. If a passenger fails to hold up his hands he is shot down. A passenger on the Northern Prairies told me of a fellow passenger, who under such circumstances having a revolver, aimed at a robber and pulled the trigger, but it missed fire, and he was instantly shot down. But these attacks are now more rare, and the officials are more prepared for them. Sometimes the robbers get on board the train as passengers, and act suddenly in concert. All along the country now we pass the cabins of the slaves, familiarised to us by "Uncle Tom's Cabin." These cabins are pleasant little houses with verandahs, and I reflected how favourably they compared with the "homes" of many of the London poor, and how happy the slaves might have been but for the knowledge that at any time they were liable to be sold like a mule or a bullock. Now we pass sugar, cotton and rice plantations, and go through such cultivations all through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. I gathered sugar and cotton going along at places, saw a racoon in a stream fishing for crawfish, and go through a country, in which are plenty of alligators.
On the early morning of Sunday (December 21st), we go through swamps, such as we used to read of as the hiding-places of runaway slaves. All through these Southern States we saw everywhere sugar and cotton, sugar and cotton, sugar and cotton; these, with rice, are the principal products; sugar mills, cotton yards, etc., etc. We soon reach Algiers, and cross the grand Mississippi River, then land at New Orleans. The actual city of New Orleans covers an area of about 41 square miles, but the statutory limits of the city embrace nearly 150 square miles. It is situate on both banks of the Mississippi River, and from 1,000 to 1,500 steamers and other vessels, from all parts of the world, may frequently be seen lying there. New Orleans is the chief market in the world for cotton. The site of the city was surveyed in 1717 by De la Tour, and it was settled in 1718, but abandoned in consequence of overflows, storms, and sickness; it was resettled in 1723, held by the French till 1729, then by the Spaniards till 1801, by the French again till 1803, and then, with the Province of Louisiana, was ceded to the United States. The present population is about 250,000. There are 33 cemeteries, and they are remarkable, inasmuch as the bodies are buried above ground, in vaults like tiers of ovens; the ground is too wet for burial. I attended Trinity Church in the morning, had some black bear for dinner at my hotel, the "Hotel St. Charles," and then attended the Y.M.C.A., where I gave the address in the afternoon, which was followed by a very solemn after meeting. I went to bed very early, and was up very early the next morning (Monday, December 22nd). I had to draw the mosquito curtains in the night, but not till after some of these insects had left their mark. The principal ground floor of the hotel was on the first floor level, and the actual ground floor was of secondary importance; the front part was occupied by stone steps and a colonnade, and the rear was a liquor bar and a large hall. This hall used to be one of the principal auction rooms of the city, where slaves were sold by auction; and as I entered the now rather desolate-looking place, which is partly circular in shape and constructed with many pillar supports, I pictured to myself the emotional agonies, the tempests of passion, the lust of greed, the calm, subdued, resistless attitude of despair which at times found expression, as domestic circles were for ever broken, tenderest sympathies for ever sundered, closest friendships for ever separated—yea, even the most sacred relationships of life ruthlessly shattered, by the sale of mothers or fathers, brothers or sisters, wives or husbands, sweethearts or friends. Of this I will give just two illustrations: Our porter on the train crossing the Northern Prairies was a coloured man named Farrell; he told me that his mother had seven boys, and that they were all sold away from her, and that it had been his life-work to try to find his brothers. He had shipped to Australia as a seaman, had worked in hotels, and on wharves and rivers, and now was working on the railway cars endeavouring to find his brothers; he had advertised for them in the newspapers, but he had never heard of one of them. When this family was broken up, Farrell and his brothers were only boys; for it will be remembered that the date of the official announcement of the total abolition of slavery in the United States was made on the 18th December, 1862, when upwards of 4,000,000 slaves were legally declared free men. Another coloured man engaged at this hotel, who was born a slave, remembered walking with his father, who was also a slave, and his father's anxiety to get home before nine o'clock at night, as no coloured man was allowed to be in the streets after that hour unless he possessed a sufficient authority from his owner. This man told me that at an auction of slaves at this hotel (auctions of slaves were held in New Orleans at different places three times a week) a very fine intelligent young man was sold by auction for 2,100 dollars to a lawyer who was known to be a cruel man. My informant told me that his name was—well, it sounded like Rumo, possibly Roumeaux, as most of the wealthy settlers were of French origin, that he lived in St. James' Ward, and that when he bought slaves and sent them down to his plantations, they each received twenty-five lashes as they entered his gates, as an example, of what they would receive if they did not please him. Well, when the hammer fell and this slave knew that he belonged to an owner whose cruelty was common talk, he exclaimed, "You have lost your money." This slave was sent down with others to the steamer on the Mississippi (which is only some ten minutes' walk from the hotel), for shipment to this owner's plantations. The poor fellow was not even allowed to say good-bye to his people, but was sent on board. When he arrived there, he repeated to the man in charge of the slaves, "Mr. Rumo will lose his money," and shortly after he took advantage of a favourable moment, and, folding his arms, he threw himself backward into the river, and was drowned.
A few minutes' walk from my hotel is the Henry Clay monument, where the mob was addressed last month by Mr. Parkerson, who incited them to proceed to the prison and force an entrance, and then to take the lives of a number of Italian murderers by lynch law. On this monument some memorable words are inscribed which Mr. Clay uttered, and which T copied. They are as follows:—"If I could be instrumental in eradicating this deep stain, slavery, from the character of our country, I would not exchange the proud satisfaction which I should enjoy for the honour of all the triumphs ever decreed to the most successful conqueror." That deep stain was removed in 1862, and slaves were raised from the condition of cattle to that of men, who could thenceforward rejoice in the freedom of being masters of their own bodies.
NEW ORLEANS TO LONDON.
On leaving New Orleans we run through swamps, and presently skirt the Gulf of Mexico and travel on. The next day (December 23rd), we feel it perceptibly colder, for we are going north. The country is cultivated in sugar, cotton, rice, grass, etc. We breakfast at Atlanta, and after leaving that place, the scenery puts me more in mind of England. In going through Georgia, I was told that the same black families which now occupy many of the small wooden houses, or "cabins," which I see, are the same families who occupied them before the abolition of slavery. Although many slaves suffered cruelties through enforced separations and hard treatment, yet very many had most comfortable homes, considerate masters, and light work. I sat much during this day on the platform at the end of the end car, observing the country. At one station some little black urchins came to gaze, and I said to one boy, apparently seven years old, "What is your name?" He said, "Willie Matthews." I said, "How old are you? " He said, "I ain't old enough to know how old I are." And his genuine simplicity delighted me.
We are now passing through cultivated lands, farms, and estates, and these continue right on to New York. At Greers was a very large collection of cotton. At Spartanville are large cotton mills, such as one sees in Lancashire. The next day (December 24th), we notice ice on the ponds. We cross the Potomac River, and near Washington, sight the Capitol—or, as we should say in England, the Houses of Parliament. Washington City is the political capital of the United States. Its size is about 4-1/2 miles by 2-1/2 miles. The Capitol is described by the Americans as the most magnificent public edifice in the world. It is 352 feet long and 121 feet deep, with two wings each 238 by 140 feet. Its entire length is 751 feet 4 inches, and it covers an area of more than 3-1/2 acres. It is of costly construction, and stands in grounds of about 50 acres.
We proceed, and stop at Baltimore, cross the Bush and Gunpowder Rivers, again come near the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers, various smaller rivers, and run on until we reach New York. On arrival, I immediately went to the Cunard office and secured my berth in the "Servia." The next morning (Christmas Day), it was very cold, and snowing. I had a fire lit in my bed-room, and there wrote the article which appeared in the January Land Roll. In the afternoon I walked in the Central Park, but it was so bitterly cold, I was satisfied with less than two hours of exercise, and returned to the hotel to dinner, and finished up the day writing in my bed-room till midnight. The Central Park, in genial weather, would be an attractive resort. I observed large natural rocks, lawns, wide promenades, seats, lakes, menageries, swings, and various such like attractions for juveniles, overground and underground roads—a kind of "Rotten Row," &c., but being so cold scarcely a person was to be seen.
On December 26th, New York was deep in snow. I visited a few shops for some necessaries, and went on board the "Servia" during the afternoon, thinking that I might have difficulty in getting a cabman to drive to the docks after dark if the snow drifted deeply. New York City is the metropolis of the United States. In 1880 its population was 1,206,590. Its site was discovered in 1524. It was in 1609 that Hudson, an Englishman, ascended the river which was named after him. In 1614 some Dutchmen settled there. In 1648 its population was 1,000, and in 1700 it had increased to 6,000. In 1684 it was captured by the Duke of York, and was henceforth called "New York." In 1711 a slave market was established in Wall Street.
On December 27th, about 5 o'clock in the morning, we began to clear out of the dock, and in a few hours were again on the broad Atlantic. The next day (Sunday, December 28th), we had service on board, conducted by the doctor in the saloon: all on board not actually on duty may attend. We left New York in a blizzard, and our decks were coated with frost and snow, but after two days this was all cleared away, and we had a splendid run in genial weather, so that one day I could comfortably walk on deck without a greatcoat.
Our run was—from Sandy Hook Lighthouse (45 miles) to noon of December 28th, 373 miles; noon of December 29th, 379 miles; December 30th, 375 miles; December 31st, 878 miles; January 1st, 1891, 372 miles; January 2nd, 362 miles; January 3rd, 371 miles; thence, to Queenstown, 169 miles; and from Queenstown to Liverpool, 240 miles; making a total of 3,064 miles. The passage in the "Etruria," going out, was 3,062 miles. The "Servia" is a fine ship, but much older than the "Etruria," and her engines, consequently, are not capable of the speed of a newer vessel. Her cargo capacity is 6,500 tons, with 1,800 tons of coal and 1,000 tons of water ballast. Her horse-power is equal to 10,500. The saloon is 74 by 49 feet, and is capable of seating 350 persons. The "Servia" has cabin accommodation for 500 saloon and 600 steerage passengers, besides a crew of 200 officers and men. When there are more than 350 saloon passengers, each meal has to be served in two relays.
An interesting incident occurred during the passage: I discovered that our captain (now commanding the "Aurania") was a shipmate of mine in 1855, when I was a midshipman. I reached my office in Lincoln's Inn Fields at 8 o'clock on the morning of January 5th, having been absent just about six weeks. The distances were as follows:—
Liverpool to New York 3,062 miles. New York to Chicago 913 " Chicago to Council Bluffs 488 " Council Bluffs to San Francisco 1,867 " San Francisco to Merced 152 " Merced to New Orleans 2,344 " New Orleans to Washington 1,144 " Washington to New York 228 " New York to Liverpool 3,064 " London to Liverpool 201 " Liverpool to London 201 " Journeys in buggies, tram-cars, &c. 110 " ———— 13,774 "
I must conclude with some general remarks:—
The Times recently published a series of ten articles on the "Negro Question in the United States," and from them it appears that the position of that country is very serious in this relation. These articles commenced after I had started on my journey, so that I only saw one or two of the concluding ones and the Times leader upon the whole, but I was not surprised to see them, because in passing through the States which are principally peopled by negroes, I heard something about the matter from a thoughtful man, who regarded the subject with great gravity. The Times has shown that the attitude of one race to the other is that of "antagonism, discontent, and perpetual danger."
The negroes have the same constitutional privileges as the whites, and their overpowering numbers in certain places give the power into their hands, which, regarded in relation to racial hatred, renders them to be an object of danger to the country. It is proposed to emigrate the negroes to some part of Africa. It would be more consistent for certain Americans to interest themselves in solving this problem of their own rather than encouraging Irish agitators, and so assisting to prevent England solving her dark problem across St. George's Channel.
The proportion of coloured people to white in the three states of Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama, is about equal, that is, there are as many coloured people as white. The population of coloured people throughout the whole of the United States is about 7,000,000 of coloured people to 59,000,000 of white people, but it is a sad fact, as stated in the Times of March 7th last, that a Government return, dated June 1st, 1890, showed that there were 45,233 convicts in the prisons of the United States, and that of this number no less than 14,687, or one-third were coloured people, and that out of these coloured people only 237 were Chinese, 3 Japanese, and 180 Indians, so that 14,267 were negroes. As the whites, counting all the States, are eight times as numerous as the coloured people, and yet the coloured convicts are one-third of the whole, it speaks badly for the morals of the negro race in America.
I was much struck with the immense development of electricity. Steamers, railway carriages, tramcars, hotels, shops, towns, villages, and railway stations, even those in remote places, with scarcely a building near to them, were all well lighted by electricity.
Railways run on scaffoldings down the centre of the streets, and horses with their vehicles run underneath them. The railway trains are well heated throughout by hot water pipes (every class), and reflect a grave reproach on our country, where, in the severest weather, it is difficult to get a foot warmer, except by certain main line trains, and, even then, one is expected to "tip" the attendant. Poor persons travelling in thin garments and poorly fed, in severe weather, scarcely ever dare to ask for a foot warmer unless they are prepared to fee someone, and, whether rich or poor, no one can get a foot warmer at any of our country stations. When we consider that railways originated in this country, and that some of the parts of America I passed through were, some 50, some 40, and some even 30 years ago, only known to the trapper and the Indian, it shows the increase of enterprise exhibited by our cousins over the Atlantic.
Tramcars are worked by electricity, by steam, by horses and mules, and by revolving endless cables. Telephones are everywhere. The railway journeys in America often occupying several days, the tickets are a kind of succession of coupons, parts of which have to be given up at various stages. Caution is exercised in selling railway tickets for long journeys—thus, you are required to sign the ticket, and observations are made of you, such as your height, probable age, colour of your eyes, hair, etc. Some of the lines of railway are not fenced in, not even in towns, so that the train runs through a town as openly as does an omnibus. I may convey some idea of some of the large American systems of agriculture, by referring to the estate of one of my clients, Mr. C.H. Huffman, of Merced, California. This gentleman has fields ranging from 1,000 to 15,000 acres each. He can plough 400 to 500 acres a day. By his traction engine he can strike 12 furrows at a time. He can put 70 teams (of eight mules or horses each) to work at one time. Each harvester will cut, thrash, and sack an average of 50 acres a day. The front part of the machine faces the standing wheat in the field, in the centre of the machine it is thrashed and winnowed, and at the rear it is thrown out in sacks ready for market. Mr. Huffman can sit in his study at home, and by his telephone talk to his clerks at Merced (he is the banker there), as well as to the foremen at his various ranches for 25 miles round the country. I particularly noticed one of his fields of wheat, comprising 2,000 acres, as level and clean as a well-kept lady's flower garden in England.
The Americans have a greater variety of foods served at their meals than we do, but I never got the flavour of meat cut from a joint to equal that which, when really well roasted and served, we get in England. As to bread, I never tasted bread worth the name, from the time I left London to the time I returned to it. Alike on the Cunard steamers, cars, hotels, etc., you can get no wholemeal bread. French and Vienna breads, and other very white abortions of that kind are obtainable in abundance, and even a kind of brown bread, and "Graham's" bread, but good honest wholemeal bread, containing all the properties of the full kernel of the wheat, it is impossible to get, and this to me was a very great deprivation, as my principal article of food is real wholemeal bread.
The system of the custody of letters at the large American hotels appeared to me rather unsafe. A visitor asks for letters, whereupon there are handed to him all the letters in the pigeon-hole marked with the initial of which the visitor's name commences. The visitor then proceeds to look through them, and takes what he chooses, and hands the rest back. The official is too busy, or it is not customary for him, to look through them for the visitor, or even to watch the visitor in his process of selection. I noticed one gentleman with a packet of letters, I should think considerably over a hundred, every now and then slip one into his breast pocket and give a furtive glance, which did not inspire confidence, but probably this is a well accustomed habit of the people, and the letters, perhaps, are as safe as the newspapers I frequently saw deposited on the tops of the street letter boxes (outside the boxes), because they were too large to be put inside; of course anyone could have taken them, but the custom not to touch them is probably honourably recognized. The street letter boxes are quite small square boxes, not large pillar boxes as are ours in this country.
I should like to have remarked more generally on America, but both time and space fail me. Of course, as most people know, the (to us) disgusting practice of spitting is common in America; spittoons are universally provided in public and private places. At Merced Court House is this notice: "Gentlemen will not, and others should not spit upon the floors." Huge spittoons are provided there.
The awful guttural which precedes the constant expectoration of Americans is most trying. It excites in persons near them and who are unaccustomed to it, a sensation of necessity to vomit, as it conveys a fear that your neighbour is about to vomit over you. It is not the excusable expectoration arising from an accumalation in the air passages, but a continuous fusilade of saliva. It is a disgusting practice, and I believe will die out in America as its citizens travel more in the old countries and become used to manners more refined than such a one as this. I observed that my clients in California, who have travelled in Europe, and other travelled Americans, are not guilty of this odious practice.
I would say to Englishmen travelling in America, don't condescend to the "guessing" and other loose styles of expression, and don't affect the nasal twang. Americans, with all their boast of one man being as good as another, are greatly pleased to entertain or travel with Englishmen having a title, and they pay a marked respect to Britishers who speak in a classical style, and who, while being devoid of foppishness, bounce, or vulgarity, conduct themselves with a genial dignity.
I will now say something about California, and then proceed to describe the lands for sale, and the prospects of those who will settle upon them.
California lies on the genial coast of the Pacific Ocean, midway between the too cold regions of the North and the too hot regions of the South. To be exact, the mean temperature in San Francisco in the month of January, averages about 49 deg.. It has varied from 53 deg. to 39 deg.. The record of 32 years shows that between sunrise and sunset it has not been so low as 32 deg. on more than 10 days. Snow is sometimes seen to fall, but it melts immediately.
California has a bright, genial climate, and is described as "pre-eminently a sunny land." The early spring, commencing about the middle of February and lasting about six weeks, is a very pleasant part of the year, but April is described as the "cheeriest." December and January are the least pleasant, because it is the rainy and winter season.