Why raise his head above the plough at the cry of "Gold!"
finally some particles of this gold were exhibited, gold that had come
from the American fork. But Captain Folsom, to whom these were shown,
merely shrugged his shoulders saying "That's mica!" In the meantime,
two or three messengers, accompanied by a dozen Indians, came in from
Sutter's Fort. They had come for implements suitable for washing sands.
With their pockets bulging with gold-dust they told marvellous tales of
this discovery which was changing the Sacramento into a second Pactolus.
few citizens now followed them back, intending to enter the employ of
Mr. Sutter who was calling for workers. But eight days later they were
back again, searching for equipment for themselves and giving out
reports about these mines that were even more fabulous than those of
the first-comers. What resembled a kind of fever then seized the
inhabitants of the settlements, the workmen at the ports, the sailors
on board ship.
is what, on July twenty-ninth, was written by Mr. Colton, alcalde of
Sonoma. "The mining-fever has completely disrupted everything here, as
it has everywhere; laborers and harvesters can no longer be found; all
the men in town have left for the Sierra Nevada. Spades, pick-axes,
sauce-pans, earthen porringers, bottles, phials, snuff-boxes, hoes,
barrels and even the stills have all been requisitioned and have left
the village with them."* Simultaneously Mr. Larkin, the American
consul, observed that the exodus was reaching such proportions that he
felt impelled to make Mr. Buchanan, Secretary of State, a report in
which occurs this passage: "All the landlords, lawyers, store-keepers,
mechanics, and laborers have started for the mines with their families;
workmen earning from five to eight dollars a day have left the city.
The local newspaper has ceased to appear, lacking editors. A large
number of volunteers have deserted from the New York regiment. A
government vessel from the Sandwich Islands, actually at anchor, has
lost its entire crew. If this situation continues, the capital and all
the other cities will be depopulated; whaling-vessels coming into the
* Walter Colton was alcalde at Monterey, not Sonoma. He subsequently joined the gold-rush.
to Colton's report, Thomas O. Larkin had sent in an official report
dated June 1, 1848, to Washington. The substance of this report appears
in this quotation. This report was published with the President's
annual message of December 5, 1848, in House Executive Documents, 30 Congress, 2 Session, Washington, 1848-1849.