Two Years Before The Mast A Personal Narrative Of Life At Sea By Richard Henry Dana, Jr.





























































































































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These visits were so full of interest, with grandeurs and humors
of all sorts, that I am strongly tempted to - Page 600
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These Visits Were So Full Of Interest, With Grandeurs And Humors Of All Sorts, That I Am Strongly Tempted To Describe Them.

But I remember that I am not to write a journal of a visit over the new California, but to sketch briefly the contrasts with the old spots of 1835-6, and I forbear.

How strange and eventful has been the brief history of this marvellous city, San Francisco! In 1835 there was one board shanty. In 1836, one adobe house on the same spot. In 1847, a population of four hundred and fifty persons, who organized a town government. Then came the auri sacra fames, the flocking together of many of the worst spirits of Christendom; a sudden birth of a city of canvas and boards, entirely destroyed by fire five times in eighteen months, with a loss of sixteen millions of dollars, and as often rebuilt, until it became a solid city of brick and stone, of nearly one hundred thousand inhabitants, with all the accompaniments of wealth and culture, and now (in 1859) the most quiet and well-governed city of its size in the United States. But it has been through its season of Heaven-defying crime, violence, and blood, from which it was rescued and handed back to soberness, morality, and good government, by that peculiar invention of Anglo-Saxon Republican America, the solemn, awe-inspiring Vigilance Committee of the most grave and responsible citizens, the last resort of the thinking and the good, taken to only when vice, fraud, and ruffianism have intrenched themselves behind the forms of law, suffrage, and ballot, and there is no hope but in organized force, whose action must be instant and thorough, or its state will be worse than before.

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