News & Tall Tales. 1800s.
200 Vessels will Reach San Francisco
Tuesday, April 24, 1849, Alta California, San Francisco, California
THE GOLD EXCITEMENT
Last summer when our town was deserted by all its male inhabitants when more than one-half of its houses were tenantless when the ordinary avocations and amusements of the community were apparently at an end and when nothing but the engrossing pursuit of gold was followed, we thought that such a scene of excitement would never be looked upon by other eyes.
Yet, if we can believe the newspaper accounts, the spirit which has been awakened in the United States by the intelligence of the great mineral wealth of this country, is even more frightful and epidemic in its effects than it was in California.
We were prepared for a large emigration, but we were not prepared for such a sweeping wave of desire as seems to have rolled over the length and breadth of the Union we had calculated upon an excitement, but we thought that the Mexican war and the presidential election would have exhausted for a time the mercurial portion of our national character, and we rather feared that Anglo-Saxon sturdiness would prove too much even for the gold mania.
But no, the thirst for gold has rode the public mind like a nightmare. One impulse seems to have actuated the whole nation, and had the mines been within "a few minutes walk" of any railroad depot, there is not the slightest doubt that twenty out of the twenty-four millions of inhabitants would have been digging long ago.
Some weeks since we published a short list of vessels which were advertised for California. That probably did not comprise one-half the real number. In every part of the country from New Orleans to Bangor, vessels are about to sail, and it is probably that two-hundred vessels will reach this port from the United States within the coming year.
From England and the continent of Europe, also, vessels have already sailed, and many more are preparing to sail. From all the islands of the Pacific, and from all her shores, the same intelligence reaches us whilst the overland route is probably already alive with emigrants.
|Gold Washing in California|
This extraordinary excitement and emigration fills us with an undefinable area Not that we doubt the inexhaustibility of the mines, but that we fear the suffering and disappointment which so many of this vast crowd must undergo. Gold digging, like everything else, has its fortunate and unfortunate votaries, and like every other pursuit, it requires industry, prudence, good health and energy.
Thousands of those who arrive here will do well, but we cannot but believe that there will be hundreds who will have abandoned comfortable homes to seek for gold in a land where privations only will be their reward.
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