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THE lust of gold has been in all ages the chief incentive to daring enterprises, and the most magnificent of these was the attempt to discover a new world, supposed to abound in the desired object; yet the bold adventurers who undertook its exploration, were but partially rewarded for the perils and hardships they encountered. Nevertheless, but one opinion seems to have been entertained in relation to the existence of the metals upon this continent, and this opinion has been supported by the inadequate quantities that from time to time continued but parsimoniously to reward the toil and privation of its seekers. That Cortez, Pizarro, and De Soto were foiled in the object they so eagerly sought; and that the rich prize should at last have fallen to the lot of those who did not neglect industry in its search, is apparently one of those retributive dispensations which sometimes present themselves in the history of mankind. While the Spaniards, after a lingering and barren settlement upon this continent, are being driven back from the rich inheritance of which they have proved themselves unworthy, the Americo-Saxon race, having opened every resource of wealth, made active every means of production, overcome the wilderness and peopled the plains, have now opened, as it were, the national strong-box, and are prepared to fill every channel of trade with the "constitutional currency" in such quantities, as probably may elicit surprise from those who have held the opinion that there is "not coin enough in the world to transact its business." Gold will now come to the American people, not as it presented itself to the indolent Spaniards, viz.: as a means of indulging an inglorious ease, or pampering a voluptuous pride, but as the great instrument of that national progress so compatible with the genius of the people. It is the motive power which will put in operation the already-prepared vast machinery of American enterprise, and be but a means of accelerating the march to national supremacy.

* Official Reports to Congress-Memorial of the citizens of California to Congress.

The Mexican war, which was supposed to be the knell of the Union, has been scarcely concluded before the object of three centuries' search has been brought to light, and the conquered territory is found to be literally" made of gold." The richest mineral country in the world is that of which Daniel Webster spoke as follows, in his speech on the loan bill, March 23d, 1848 :—

"There are other things that seem to affect one's consciousness of being a reasonable man, and evince a disposition to impose on his common sense. And of this class of topics or pretensions I have never heard of anything, and cannot conceive of anything more ridiculous in itself, more absurd, and more affrontive to all sober judgment, than the cry that we are getting indemnity. Indemnity by the acquisition of New Mexico and California! I hold them not to be worth a dollar, and we pay for them a vast sum of money. We have expended, as every body knows, large treasures in the prosecution of the war, and now what is there to constitute indemnity?"

This was certainly said in that spirit of federal prophecy which uniformly is stultified in the event. While the honorable gentleman was yet denouncing the territory as "not worth a dollar," immense sums were being daily extracted from its bosom by American pioneers, and that "manifest destiny" being fulfilled of which the federal party have ever been skeptive.

The fact appears to be well-established, that gold of great purity, and in considerable abundance, exists in the newly acquired territory. Large sums have been already received on the Atlantic border, and being analysed, are found to be nearly of the purity of the United States gold coin; that is to say, the coin is 900-1000ths fine; and of three different lots received from different persons and assayed at the mint, the 1st was 897-1000th, the 2d 894-1000th, and the 3d 8944-1000th. This gold is produced in a quantity averaging $12 per day to the seekers, who have hitherto been destitute of all proper facilities for extracting the metal from the stones and earth in which it is found. The supply is supposed by all parties who have had an opportunity of inspecting the localities, to be almost inexhaustible; and the accounts have stimulated the greatest enterprise in all sections of the United States-so much so that probably 100,000 persons, with every proper instrument for thorough work, will be on the spot in the course of next summer; and from the accounts of the richness of the mines or deposits, very considerable sums, possibly not under $30,000,000 per month, may be expected to arrive in the United States.

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The course taken by the excitement is singularly illustrative of the American character, and of that great skill and promptness in applying the principles of association" to all the concerns of life, which attracts the attention, and awakens the admiration of foreign observers. When the news reached the Atlantic States of the vast mineral wealth of the countries of the Pacific, the first impulse caused a general movement of individuals, all desirous of reaching the spot as soon as possible, and very many vessels were put up to take passengers, as well to Chagres, to cross the peninsula, as to double the cape and reach the desired region, by the most tedious, but probably more sure method of a long sea voyage. The lapse of a few weeks brought reflection. The difficulties to be encountered and the dangers to be incurred, began to be considered, and the means of overcoming them to be devised. The gold regions, situated in a wilderness several hundred miles remote from the small settlements of San Francisco and Monterey, were not only without the protection of any government, but absolutely incapable of sustaining even the population already there. The neighboring countries

could furnish no supplies, nor could the government ensure the right of property. In such a state of affairs, to await the action of government was impossible; but association afforded the ready means of supplying its func tions and overcoming physical difficulties Thus, some 50 industrious and trustworthy men associate together, subscribing $500 each, with which is purchased a fast schooner, of light draft, suitable to ascend the rivers. She is then furnished with a frame-house, ready to be put together on landing, India-rubber tents, clothing, provisions, tools, and machinery of the best description for the working of the ores and extracting the metals. These men, then, fully armed for mutual protection, embark, independently and fearlessly, for a savage wilderness, carrying with them all the necessaries of life and many of the comforts of civilization; amply able to protect themselves and secure their own rights, and if need be, combine with other companies, and govern the country. Hundreds of disbanded Mexican soldiers and desperadoes of all sorts, and from all nations, will mingle doubtless with the adventurous throng, and many an isolated individual may fall a victim to their violence. The larger portion of the mines will, however, be occupied by these companies of the most energetic and enterprising of our citizens, accustomed to self-government, alike ready to administer law or assay metals, to dispense justice or dig gold, and in sufficient strength and numbers to secure the general interest.

It will not be the least curious among the many wonderful changes that take place on this continent, to witness the sudden appearance in the wilds of California, in regions where scarcely an abode or hut was ever before erected, of hundreds of comfortable houses raised as if by magic, and swarming with industrious men, who ransack every ravine, overhaul every rock, and turn every stream from its bed in search of mineral wealth, of the existence of which but vague suspicion has been entertained for centuries. Somewhat similar results, on a smaller scale, were exhibited a few years since on the remote islands of the ocean, which it was discovered abounded in guano; not unfrequently, small islands, never before visited by man, were surrounded with ships, the crews of which thronged the surface, and fiercely fought for the accumulated ordure of ages that constituted its soil, and which ultimately fertilized the fields of most civilized countries. The gold, like the guano, will stimulate production in all nations, and add to the rewards of industry. But the locality of its extraction will not, like the islands, be abandoned when denuded of its present attraction, but will have acquired in the population which that attraction has drawn thither, a far greater wealth than it will have lost by their means. With every element of a most extensive manufacturing and commercial country, the vast expanse of the Pacific and Indian oceans will be commanded by it's ships, the commerce of Asia opened to the American world, and civilized commerce, like the boastful" drums of England," will have encircled the world. It is not a little singular that the mineral treasures of California should have been reserved for centuries as a bait to lure at a fitting moment the AmericoSaxon race to its shores, and thus advance the progress of the country by at least fifty years.

This is, however, by no means the first gold fever which has affected the American mind, and it becomes the prudent to take counsel of experience. In fact, there is scarcely a state in which gold, in greater or less quantities, has not been discovered. The United States census for 1840, mentions seven states as producing gold, viz: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and

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