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FRANZ LF.COUVRFTTR IN APRIL, 1851. 
Copied from Oil-painting. 



From East Prussia 
to the Golden Gate 

BY 

Frank Lecouvreur 



LETTERS AND DIARY OF THE CALIFORNIA PIONEER, 

EDITED IN MEMORY OF HER NOBLE HUSBAND, 

BY MRS. JOSEPHINE ROSANA LECOUVREUR 



TRANSLATED AND COMPILED BY 

JULIUS C. BEHNKE 

Professor of Modern Languages, Occidental College, Los Angeles, Cal. 



NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES, CAL. 

ANGELINA ROOK CONCERN 



GENERAL AGENCY FOR EUROPE 

LEIPZIG 

BUCHHANDLUNG GuSTAV FoCK 
G. m. 1). H. 

1906 






LIBKA3Y of CONGRESS 
Two Gooies R( 

FF* 11 1907 

Copyrlghl Entry 

®zt. I, rqod, 

GLASS a, XXc, No, 

COrY b. I 



Copyright, 1906, 

BY 

MRS. JOSEPHINE ROSANA LECOUVREUR 



MANUFACTURED 

BY G. T. ROWLAND 

258-60 FIFTH AVE. 

NEW YORK 



TO THE READER. 



Many a book seems worth while reading, 
Though you give it but one call. 

Mark! Unless it bears re-reading 
It should not be read at all. 

Lives of self-made men are ever 
Full of healthy food for minds 
Of ambitious, honest toilers: 

"He who seeks is he who finds!" 

May this book go forth and cheer you, 

And when courage ebbs away, 
Take the noble author's motto: 

"Try again! Be firm and stay." 

J. C. B. 

L ^ A '' May, 1906. 



CONTEXTS 



PAGE 

Preface xi 

LETTER I 

Voyage from Konigsberg to Berlin in 1851. — Berlin: Its custom- 
house, Principal Thoroughfares and Passing Impressions 15 

LETTER II 

(Dated Hamburg, 1851). — The Author's Early Activity. — March Rev- 
olution Described by Prince Frederic William, later Emperor of 
Germany. — Berlin: More Impressions. — Visit to the Captain of the 
March Revolution in 1848. — Friedrichshain, the Resting-place of 
Fallen Revolutionists. — Voyage from Berlin to Hamburg. — Ham- 
burg and the Hamburg People. — The Harbor. — The Exchange. — 
Suburb St. Tauli. — Stintfang. — Churches. — General Architecture. — 
City Walls. — The Alster and the Jungfernstieg. — Extract from an 
Interesting San Francisco Letter 29 

LETTER III 

The "Victoria." — Shipping of Emigrants. — Embarking of German 
Soldiers for Brazil. — The "Hamburger Berg." — Altona. — The 
Celebrated Graves at Ottensen. — Rainville. — Places of Amusement. 
— Blankenese, the Gate-keeper of the Elbe. — Tenement Fires. — 
Primitive Fire Department. — The Conflagration of 1842 and the 
Hero of St. Nicolas. — Annual Floods. — Sewer System.' — A Ham- 
burg Funeral Procession. — Humorous Criticism. — The "Citizens' 
Guard" of Precious Memory. — •Hamburg Legends. — The Visit of 
the Wandering Jew in 1547. — Cosmopolitan Life. — Gomez de 
Mier. — The "Glass Arcades." 50 

LETTER IV 

On Board of Bark "Victoria," off Hamburg. — First Impressions of new 
Surroundings. — Slow Progress. — Pentecost. — Life on Board 73 

LETTER V 

The Ocean Voyage. — First Effects upon Steerage Passengers. — Bill 
of Fare. — The British Coast. — The Channel. — Bay of Biscaya. — 
Gibraltar. — Madeira. — Flying Fish. — Whales — Northern Tropic 
Circle. — Between Two Heavens. — The Calm. — Thunderstorm on 

V 



vi CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Mid-ocean. — Ships that Passed. — The "Neptune" Farce. — An 
Ocean Burial. — The Brazilian Coast. — Meditations of a Passen- 
ger. — Cape-doves and Other Birds. — Birth of a Boy. — Heavy 
Storms Around the Cape follow the Approach of "Mother Carey's 
Chickens." — The Coast of Fireland. — Picturesque Views. — Bay of 
Good Success. — Marvelous Sceneries. — Six Sketches. — Strait Le 
Maire. — Narrow Escape. — Shipwreck. — Cape Deceit. — Hermit Is- 
lands. — Ramirez Islands. — The Archipelago of the South Sea. — 
Scant Meals. — Another Disappointment. — Cape San Carlos. — Fort 
Corral. — Chile. — Valdivia. — A Tramp through Virgin Forests. — 
Bare-footed Militia. — Fortifications. — Indians. — Volcanos 81 

LETTER VI 

The Valley of Paradise. — People and Politics. — On Board the "Au- 
rora." — Better Bill of Fare. — A Leak. — Undesirable Ship-mates. — 
Loads of Gunpowder. — Trade Winds. — Long Calms. — Air-castles. — 
Minute Nautical Record 154 

LETTER VII 

The Farallones Cliffs. — Punta Clara. — San Francisco. — American Soil! 
An American City. — Everything for a "Purpose." — Strange Archi- 
tectural Mixtures. — Cosmopolitan People.' — Road Building. — Sand 
Hills. — Progress Everywhere. — Wharf Building. — Water-front 
Scenes. — Strange Bridge-building. — Possibilities. — Shipping. — The 
People of the Western Mertopolis. — Erroneous Impressions 
Abroad. — The Work of the Vigilance Committee in 1851. — First 
Hanging. — Municipal Inactivity. — The Rope Route. — Exile of For- 
eign Criminals. — Struggles with Legal Authorities.' — Kidnapping 
of Condemned Criminals. — Recapture. — End of a Reign of Ter- 
ror. — Western Business Methods. — Americans Like the Industrious 
Germans. — Gambling Houses. — The American Press. — Prospects. — 
Living. — Miners, as I Meet Them. — Strolls in the Vicinity. — 
Mexican Herders 170 

LETTER VIII* 

Mining Experiences near Long Bar on the Yuba River. — California. — 
Description of Virgin Lands and Forests, Primitive Mining Im- 
plements. — Life in Mining Camps. — Outfit of the Typical Miner. — 
Indians and Their Habits in These Regions. — Mexican Muleros. — 
Strange Tourists. — Ox-team Journey. — Snakes. — Newly-made 
Friends. — The Snow-line. — Hard Traveling. — A Wet Camping 



*This letter was translated years ago by the late Dr. Theodor Wollweber, an intimate 
friend of the author. 



CONTENTS vii 

PAGE 

Ground. — Grass Valley at Last.' — A Deserted Tavern. — Our Log 
House on Nelson Creek. — Up Hill and Down Hill. — A Family 
Memorial Day. — Animal Life in the Mountains. — Actual Work. — 
Independence Bar. — The Transformation. — Prices of Eatables 204 

LETTER IX 

Inclemency of Weather in the Mining Districts and Its Effects. — 
Various Experiences. — Game. — American River-steamers. — Trip to 
Sacramento. — The Capital. — Back to San Francisco. — Wonderful 
Improvements. — The Wharves and the Daily Happenings. — A Re- 
markable Incident, Showing the Superiority of American Ship- 
building. — Cholera Cases. — Something More About the Indians. — 
Resolutions. — Diary Notes. — Struggles for the Daily Bread. — Ex- 
pressman No. 107. — Hotel Waiter 258 

LETTER X 

The First Alameda Boom in 1853. — A Typical Western Real Estate 
Deal of Early Days. — Philanthropist Chipman. — An Honest 
Man. — Superiority of the American Press. — Americans Ahead. — 
San Francisco's Upbuilding. — Great Shipping Facilities. — Troud 
of America. — Ups and Downs. — Strange Things Happen. — Success 
for the Worker Assured. — Current Coins in 1853. — Godcfroy's 
Secret. — Baron von Schroedcr's Gulden. — Tit for Tat 279 

LETTER XI 

Christmas in Childhood Days. — Dreams. — Etoubleau Sells Out. — The 
Journeyman Painter. — Diary Notes. — Sylvester Dreams. — Mexican 
Settlers. — Missions. — Medieval Architecture. — Watsonville. — A 
Berlin Dragon. — Shipwreck. — A Narrow Escape. — Cape Bonita, 
a Dangerous Rock. — Help 293 

LETTER XII 

Meditations. — A Treat. — An Orange Speculation. — German-American 
Press. — Diary Notes : Trip to San Pedro. — The "City of Angels." — 
Distasteful Employment. — Assaulted for Righteous Opposition. — 
The Carriage Painter. — Debts Paid. — Flagman. — Compass-man. — 
Assistant Deputy County Surveyor. — Desert Survey. — Catalina 
Island in 1856. — San Pedro. — Anaheim, a Settlement of Stock- 
holders. — Wilmington. — Clerkship. — Politics. — The Quarrel. — Lion- 
ized in Los Angeles. — Appointed Deputy County Clerk. — The Ex- 
plosion of the S. S. "Ada Hancock." — Horrors at Wilmington. — 
Local Coal Oil Wells Discovered in 1865. — Back to San Fran- 
cisco. — At Wertheimer's. — A Friend's Transition. — Friendly Turns. 
— Off for Europe. — Farewell Parade at Los Angeles 303 



viii CONTENTS 

LETTER XIII 

PAGE 

The Trip via Panama. — Unpleasant Crossing. — Cuba. — New York. — 
Baxter-street. — Chinatown. — Churches and Seats of Learning. — 
Newark. — Valley of the Delaware. — Buffalo. — Niagara Falls. — The 
Lakes. — Goat Island. — Three Sisters. — Nature's Divine Revela- 
tion. — Return Trip to New York. — Cheap Traveling. — The "Cim- 
bria." — Transatlantic Scenes. — Hamburg. — Home Again. — In Time 
for the Father's Funeral. — Return to America. — Grabow. — Ham- 
burg Once More ! — Excursions. — Claudius. — Circus Renz. — Neil's. — 
Rudecindo Roche 322 

LETTER XIV 

Back in New York. — Earthquakes in San Francisco. — Western News. — 
Motthaven. — Tremont. — Blackwell's Island. — Manhattan College. — 
Return to California. — Harbor Scenes in Romantic Panama. — 
Human Sardines. — Coast Scenes. — Acapulco and Its People. — 
Lower California. — Stars and Stripes Welcomed. — San Francisco 
Once More. — Bound for Los Angeles. — Laura Bevan. — Survey- 
ing. — Wedding Bells. — Politics. — County Surveyor 336 

Diary and Notes 

Los Angeles Vigilance Committee. — Chinese Massacre. — Notes on the 
Franco-German War. — Education. — New Era. — Sudden Illness. — 
Long Suffering. — The End 339 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Pcnskctchcd by the Author in Passing. 

PAGE 

Portrait of the Author in 1851 Frontispiece 

The French Coast of Calais 75 

Hamburg Bark "Victoria," Captain J. Meyer 83 ^ 

Coast of Fireland near Cape St. Vincent 115- 

Snow-capped Northern Coast of Fireland 11" 

Another Scene near the Cape 119 

A Long Mountain Chain Including Cape St. Vincent 121 

Cape San Diego 123 

Cape Good Success 125 

San Diego, Ramirez Islands 129 

The Storm-beaten Bark "Victoria" 129 

Harbor Beach of Corral 131 ■' 

Village of Corral in Chile 133 ' 

The Old Fort Corral 135 

Landing in Corral 137 

Map of the Feather and Yuba River Mining Districts 20G- 

Log Cabin at Nelson Creek 243 

"La Soledad" 309 

Mohave Swamp 31 1 

Scene in the Mohave River 313 

Scene from the River of the Plains 315 

The Author in Manhood 339 

Mrs. Lecouvreur 349 






IX 



' 



PREFACE 



When the late Frank Lecouvreur left his native land in 
1851 for California, leaving behind him his parents and 
the dear friends of his youth, following the promptings of 
his large heart he kept a careful journal of the sights and 
the unusual experiences that were his in travel, and in 
the new land he had chosen as a field for his activities. 
After his death, which occurred January 17, 1901, in Los 
Angeles, California, it was found that this journal and 
the letters covering the period of absence from, his native 
home had been carefully preserved by members of his 
family to whom they were addressed and it seemed to his 
wife and friends, that while these letters were often of a 
nature such as would be written only to one's intimates, 
and were frequently expressions of the innermost feel- 
ings of the man, yet because the record of such a life 
could not but be helpful to others, and especially to young 
men in whose training and development Mr. Lecouv- 
reur was ever deeply interested, his widow has consented 
to the publication of these letters and the journal in a 
form that could be distributed among his friends. Iden- 
tified from the beginning with the public life of Los An- 
geles, it is fitting that a brief sketch of his activities and 
accomplishments should preface these letters. 

Frank Lecouvreur was born in Ortelsburg, Prussia, 
June 7, 1829, and was christened Theodor Maximilian 
Ferdinand Franz Lecouvreur, his father being of French 
nativity, while his mother was the accomplished daugh- 
ter of Mayor Minuth of Bartenstein, East Prussia. 

Happily born, and of an ancestry that combined na- 
tional as well as personal characteristics, young Lecouv- 
reur's childhood was spent in an environment that could 

xi 



Xll 



PREFACE 



but develop an exceptional character. He received a 
thorough education as a civil engineer, and became as 
well a fine linguist. Acquiring liberal ideas and having 
inherited a predilection for a larger liberty he resolved, 
upon attaining his majority, to migrate to the great re- 
public of the New "World and to visit California, going 
by way of Cape Horn. His letters cover this period of 
his life very fully, and detail his voyage and experiences 
in the then undeveloped country. 

A man of culture and refinement, artistic sensibilities, 
and a keen observer, of warm-hearted and religious tem- 
perament, it was not remarkable that he became at once 
closely identified with the best life of the New California. 
Arriving in Los Angeles in 1855 he was made deputy 
county clerk for three years and thus at once became of 
public service to his chosen country. Later he served as 
a deputy of Major Henry Hancock, the county surveyor, 
under whom the celebrated "Hancock's Survey" was 
made. 

Subsequently he served two terms, of two years each, 
as county surveyor, during which he made many very 
important surveys for the county. It fell to him to par- 
tition for the Verdugo family, one of the oldest and 
wealthiest of Spanish-Calif ornia, the rancho "San 
Bafael" of 44,000 acres, or eleven Spanish leagues, being 
one of four of the oldest grants from the King of Spain, 
in Alta California. 

Declining the offer of a third term as county surveyor 
he retired from public office and assumed the responsible 
position of cashier of the Farmers' and Merchants' Bank, 
in which corporation he was also a director. 

In June of 1877 he was married to Miss Josephine 
Eosana Smith, and after a trip to Europe to visit his fam- 
ily, Mr. and Mrs. Lecouvreur returned to Los Angeles to 
make here their permanent home. In 1886 a serious ill- 
ness caused a general decline in Mr. Lecouvreur 's health 
and he retired from active business. 

This eminent civil engineer, accomplished scholar, de- 
voted husband and man of exalted ideals, gave to his 



PREFACE 



xin 



adopted city the best years of his life, and was, in every 
respect, a useful and esteemed citizen. The esteem in 
which he was held by his fellow citizens was manifested 
by the great concourse which attended his funeral, among 
whom were the most eminent men of the city. ^Ir. Lecou- 
vreur left no children, but was survived by his wife, who 
had co-operated with him in all the later benevolences of 
his life, and who has edited this book in the hope that it 
might inspire and help the young men of the present 
day.* 



*This preface is a welcome contribution from the able pen of 
Henry D. Barrows, the veteran pioneer, whose name is insep- 
arable from the History of Southern California. — Translator. 



FROM EAST PRUSSIA TO THE 
GOLDEN GATE 



LETTER NO. I 



Berlin, April 28, 1851. 
My Dear Parents: You will know by this time that 
my first voyage terminated as expected. Hardly a breath 
of air curled the surface of the Baltic Sea, which 
stretched before us like a mirror when we set sail on our 
long voyage, about six o'clock in the morning, on board 
the steamer ' ' Konigsberg, " Capt. Eybe. The air was 
not clear enough yet, to distinguish any attractions of 
the coast from Pillau to Bruesterort, which place we 
lost sight of by eleven o'clock. Slowly but surely the 
outlines of our native coast disappeared from our view, 
until even the last visible strip of the continent, the high- 
land near Elbing had sunk below our horizon like a faint, 
blue cloud. I realized that we were on the high sea. 
Softly rocking the ''Konigsberg" went on her way, while 
the long drawn and slowly departing clouds of smoke 
carried with them my last greetings toward home! It 
was a strange, indescribable feeling which took hold of 
me, when, for the first time in my life, I saw nothing 
around me but sky and water. Yet, I felt so well, my 
heart felt so at ease, and at that very moment, it seemed 
as if the following words were clearly written upon my 
soul: "Thy resolution was well taken, thou hast done 
the proper thing." And, perhaps for the first time in my 
life, I felt happy and contented. About half-past twelve, 
the lighthouse of Stela came in sight. We overtook a 
whole fleet of ships coming from Pillau, and as they were 

15 



16 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

mostly within speaking distance, it gave me quite an en- 
tertainment. I counted two brigs, eleven schooners, two 
sloops, four yachts, all under full sail, when we overtook 
them, one by one. Though we were but three German 
miles from Stela, we could recognize but very little, as 
most points of that vicinity are very low. The coast does 
not rise until one reaches Eieserhoft, the high tower of 
which we passed about four o'clock in the afternoon at 
a distance of nearly four miles and a half. Fortunately 
the air cleared toward six o'clock, so that we were able 
to distinguish houses, trees and shrubberies along the 
coast of Eieserhoft with the naked eye. What a treat 
for one unaccustomed to be on the open sea for any 
length of time. We were now about a mile and a half 
from the coast and did not widen the distance until sun- 
set, when we went a few miles further from land without 
losing sight of it entirely. During the evening we passed 
five or six more vessels, all sea-bound. The sky was cov- 
ered with broken clouds ; dark and silent was the sea, the 
broad waves of which kept us swinging to and fro; the 
air was mild and all the passengers were on deck, in 
eluding a few who, for hours, had paid nature's tribute 
to the sea. We remained up and passed the evening 
joking, laughing, rejoicing and singing until long after 
the red and green signal lanterns had been set out. To- 
wards ten o'clock, one after the other retired. Capt. 
Eybe turned the command over to his mate, with whom 
I walked up and down the deck for quite a while, watch- 
ing the coast of Pomerania, which we passed at a dis- 
tance of perhaps two German miles. As the wind favored 
us from the Northeast, Nebendahl, the mate, ordered all 
available sails set, and when I retired, about eleven 
o'clock, we had made such headway that the lonely light 
of Eieserhoft looked like a speck on the farthest edge of 
the horizon. Having reached my bunk, I soon fell sound 
asleep in spite of the unaccustomed manner of lodging 
and notwithstanding the steady groaning of the machine 
and the noise of the immense wheels, now louder, now 
less noticeable, according to the movements of the ves- 



KONIGSBERG TO BERLIN 17 

sel, as it shuffled through the waves of the ocean. I 
awakened shortly after five o'clock, and the quick and 
heavy motions of the ship at once made me aware that 
the wind had grown stronger during the night. When 
I reached the deck about six a. m. my expectation was 
verified by the good Northeast breeze which rilled our 
sails. The foam danced around our ship, reminding one 
of flocks of sheep. In about half an hour we perceived 
the church steeples of Colberg, which we passed three 
miles off coast about half-past eight under full sail. By 
nine o'clock we were able to recognize the high towers 
of Treptow. The wind became stronger and the ship 
danced merrily upon the foam-crowned waves of the Bal- 
tic sea. Meanwhile rain set in and continued more or 
less during the day and the constant rocking of the ship 
caused many of those who had withstood the experience 
so far, to become sea-sick. Even Olias looked as white as 
chalk and did not seem to relish the breakfast at all; 
what he could not eat served Griinhagen and me quite 
well. 

The sky remained clouded during the day, and though 
but three miles away, we were hardly able to recognize 
the coast. The wind blew so hard at noon that several 
sails had to be laid by and we retained none but the fore- 
mast. At twelve we found ourselves opposite Swiner- 
hoft. The bluff must here be about three hundred feet 
high. It is the highest point on the Pomeranian coast; 
resembling the shore between little "Warnicken and 
Kuhren. The wind increased its velocity from minute 
to minute; it rained in torrents; the waves went higher 
and higher, and the mighty N. N. E. wind tossed our 
vessel to and fro right merrily. Whenever one of the 
waves, which invariably caught the side of our ship, slid 
underneath, its white crown of foam would splash over 
the whole length of the deck and often threatened to roll 
us over and over. Righting again, our ship would cut 
some immense wave in two, to be lost during the next 
minute in mountains of foam, until some new-comer 
would break against our bow with a force that made ev- 

2 



18 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

ery joint creak. Our progress was slow, as was to have 
been expected under such circumstances, so that we had 
scarcely covered a quarter of a German mile by one 
o'clock, when we noticed the beautiful broad belt, which 
the foam of the downs had spread in front of the high 
coast forests of Swinerhoft. Capt. Eybe was kind enough 
to lend me an oil suit, which enabled me to remain on deck, 
notwithstanding the pouring rain. As it was absolutely 
impossible even for sailors to stand up straight without 
holding on to something, I took position alongside of the 
wheel. By this time every living soul was sick, even 
Grunhagen complained of indisposition and looked like 
a corpse. I, on the contrary, did not feel the slightest 
annoyance and even enjoyed my cigar as if I had been 
sitting in Conradshof drinking a cup of coffee. 

The cabins offered a sight to behold : tables, chairs, sea- 
sick passengers, men, women and children, everybody 
and everything in utter confusion. It mocked descrip- 
tion. At last we caught sight of Swinemunde, about 
three p. m. Three-quarters of an hour later we took a 
pilot on board and shortly after anchored in the Swine* 
(pron. d "Sweenay"), between an English schooner and 
a Prussian Man-of-War, the "Nix," which had arrived 
from London about an hour ahead of us. The roughness 
of the weather prevented our landing, and we set out 
anew after taking a few more passengers aboard and fol- 
lowing the course of the battleship which, like ourselves, 
was bound for Stettin. The raging storm caused the ship 
to almost become unmanageable. It had just struck seven 
o'clock when, while entering the mouth of the river 
"Oder," we experienced a terrific gust of wind which 
tore the foremast completely out of its holdings. The 
sails were beating frightfully, while torn fragments blew 
off, to be carried far into the Bay. But a few minutes 
had elapsed when of the once beautiful sail there re- 
mained only a collection of tattered rags. This was, how- 
ever, the only mishap that befell us during the voyage- 
not counting a few little damages near Swinemunde. 

At last we reached Stettin, about ten o'clock p. m. It 



KONIGSBERG TO BERLIN 19 

was very dark when we anchored alongside of the steam- 
er "Carninius"; of course we remained on board till 
morning. It was Sunday, the 12th of April. The weather 
was clear and pleasant, which permitted us to land early, 
and enabled us to gain a good view of the few streets; we 
also examined a small war vessel, which was under con- 
struction in the large ship-yard. It happened that the 
great man-of-war "Salamander" was at anchor, where- 
fore we proceeded to take a good look at her, though no 
ptermission could be obtained by any stranger to visit the 
ship. 

One observation interested me greatly, namely: the 
difference in vegetation about the place, which struck me 
at once. The walls of the fortress were already covered 
with green and most of the trees in this vicinity had 
donned their fresh spring garb, the new leaves of the 
chestnut trees, for instance, being fully an inch long. 
How beautiful is our northern springtime! 

But just now Greenhagen and his brother have come 
for the purpose of taking me out for a walk, consequently 
I shall have to postpone the continuation of this letter 
till my return. 

At eight p, m. 

As you will readily understand, it has been impossible 
for me to make any purchases in Stettin on account of 
my very limited stay in the fortress. My impression of 
the latter has not been a very flattering one. Though the 
streets cannot really be called narrow, the tall buildings, 
most of which are five or six stories high, darken these 
thoroughfares considerably. 

About eleven o'clock we took our baggage to the sta- 
tion. My ticket to Berlin cost me two thalers (one thaler- 
seventy-five cents), and besides I had to pay nearly two 
more for overweight of baggage. The rapidity of dis- 
patching travelers at the station is truly remarkable. Si- 
lence and a marvelous order reign everywhere, due prob- 
ably to the fact that none but ex-army men can enter our 
railroad service or that of our custom houses. About a 



20 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

hundred people with more or less baggage were dis- 
patched and provided with tickets in less than twenty 
minutes. Ten minutes before our departure there was 
not a train in sight, though the whole crowd of passen- 
gers was ready to board it. Then began the switching, 
the lining up of cars, the loading of freight cars, the seat- 
ing of passengers, examining of tickets by the conductor, 
who politely answers all reasonable questions as he goes 
from one to the other; all this was done in the twinkling 
of an eye and when the signal for departure was given, 
the steam whistle blew and the train pulled out to the 
very minute, at 11:45 a. m., as scheduled. To one who 
has never been on a railroad train, the feeling which he 
experiences is decidedly strange. Most people imagine 
the speed of the train to resemble a flash of lightning, 
but this is very exaggerated, as one can plainly recognize 
all objects which the train passes, even those which are 
closest to the rails. The strange noise of the rolling, the 
whizzing and hissing of engine and cars as they cut the 
air at high speed, the whistling at the approach of road 
stations, all this may annoy less sensitive ears than mine, 
particularly during the first trip.* 

The country between Stettin and Berlin offers very 
little change of scenery; only a few hills, but mostly low 
plains, whose well-laid-out farms give ample proof of the 
hard toil which the horny-handed peasant has already 
accomplished so early in the year; but, with all that, this 
monotonous sameness does not rest the eye of the trav- 
eler, as there are neither forests nor large bodies of water 
to vary the appearance of the landscape. Here and there 
may be some variety apparent, but that is all. The train 
stopped at Tanton, Passon, Angermunde, Neustadt, 
Eberswalde, and other little stations, three or five min- 
utes at a time. The stations are all well built, and in 
some instances even they are magnificent structures, 
which result is one of the benefits of government owner- 



*These are the natural observations one would have made when 
railroad travel was first introduced.- — Transl. 



KONIGSBERG TO BERLIN 21 

ship. As our number of passengers increased at every 
station, it became necessary to add another locomotive at 
Angermiinde. Our train had eighteen passenger coaches, 
holding in all about eight hundred people, i. e., nearly 
fifty in each car. We reached Berlin at last. It was just 
four o'clock in the afternoon when we steamed into 
Grande Station near the Oranienburg gate (named after 
Prince William of Orange). Xo sooner had the train come 
to a standstill than a sentry from the Second Guard's 
Regiment stationed himself at every car, while some 
twenty constables started to examine the passes, which 
took much less time than I had thought. This done, ev- 
ery one of us received a stamped ticket, which we handed 
to the gate keeper.* 

To identify and obtain our baggage took about half an 
hour, after which we started for our respective lodgings. 
Grtinhagen has a brother living in Kochstrasse and Olias 
and I went to find the ''German House" in Kloster- 
strasse, which we reached about five o'clock. As neither 
of us was acquainted with the city, we were at a loss to 
devise a plan for the evening, therefore I resolved to de- 
liver a letter, which Johanna Kuhnast asked me to take 
to Rudolph Wilzeck — Kommandantenstrasse. 

Olias accompanied me to that place. Utterly ignorant 
of the location of the streets of Berlin, we went bravely 
out to discover the place of our destination. We 
tramped through Spandauer and Konigsstrasse, Molken- 
markt, Gertrudenstr., Spittelmarkt, Leipzigerstr., Don- 
hofsplatz until we finally drifted into Kommandantenstr., 
at the extreme end of which said dwelling was to be 
found. When we reached the place, the bird had flown, 
having left the city, bound for East Prussia, a few days 
previously. As soon as we had recovered from our disap- 
pointment Olias coaxed me to take a stroll through the 
"Thiergarten." The straight-laid streets of this part of 
Berlin, called Frederic's town, make it easy for a stranger 
to find his way. We returned partly by the same route 



*Remember. kind reader, that this took place more than fifty 
years ago. Times have changed since then. — Transl. 



23 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

we had passed before until we reached the endless Fred- 
erickstr., which led us into the celebrated avenue ' ' Unter 
den Linden," with its historical edifices. Thence we en- 
tered the Thiergarten through the ''Gate Brandenburg." 
This park is the most celebrated place of recreation in all 
Prussia. By nine o'clock we were home again without 
having lost our way or even asking anyone for the direc- 
tion. I describe the trip at such length that you may, by 
looking up your map of Berlin, form some idea of the 
length of our tramp, which surely entitled us to a good 
night's rest. I assure you that I slept more soundly than 
during many a night before. 

As I already have mentioned, Griinhagen's brother 
took us out for a walk this forenoon. We visited the 
museums and passed through many streets and squares, 
which I had not known of before. During the afternoon 
our course took in the Konigsstrasse, Donhofsplatz, Jeru- 
salem, Frederic's and Leipzigerstrasse, then to the Leip- 
ziger Gate, Bellevue avenue— a beautiful thoroughfare— 
when at last we reached the Zoological Garden, where we 
staid till six o'clock, returning home through the "Thier- 
garten," "Unter den Linden, "and "Schlossgarten." But 
of what use is this minute description of our walks. Ber- 
lin, notwithstanding its magnificent streets, its imposing 
edifices, its immense palaces, its beautiful statues and 
rare collections of art, does not touch the heart. The day 
after tomorrow I shall continue my trip to Hamburg, as 
the very paving of these streets is burning under my feet. 
Tomorrow I shall visit "Friedrichshain" in order to pay 
my silent respects to the March Enthusiasts. Poor fel- 
lows!* 



*Noble Lecouvreur, his very soul was already filled with that 
intense love of freedom which brings so many Europeans ro our 
American shores and his youthful heart, while he was yet scarcely 
out of his teens, could not and would not leave the old soil with- 
out uncovering his head in silent prayer at the graves of the 
German Martyrs of Freedom. They suffered death while he, 
their youthful sympathizer, left home and hearth to seek true 
Freedom under the protection of the Stars and Stripes, rather 



KOXIGSBERG TO BERLIN 23 

During my short stay in Berlin I have not failed to 
visit some historical places such as the Royal Palaces, 
the Breitestrasse, where the first shots of '48 were fired; 
the Art Academy, Armory and other places which I may 
have unconsciously passed by, bear witness to the days 
of horror. The immense mass of stone of the BO-called 
"Castle" made a very sad impression upon me, more so 
perhaps as, coining from Konigstr., my eye caught at 
once the iron fence, on every single gate of which there 
stood sometimes one, sometimes two sentries and another 
one, wherever the space between two> gates happened to 
be a foot or two wider than usual. These fellows, well 
armed, walk up and down the short space they are to 
guard; besides these, there are crowds of policemen do- 
ing duty by moving about the inner court. A chill ran 
through my veins. He, who has already inhaled Free- 
dom's air at sea, cannot really care for Berlin— cannot 
harmonize with Berlin people. It is not an uncommon 
thing to see well-dressed men take off their hats in pass- 
ing the empty carriage of some royal personage or to 
show the same respect to a passing stable boy who hap- 
pens to wear royal livery. 

Mother Nature has favored the country surrounding 
Berlin more than that of Stettin. The fruit trees are al- 
ready dropping their blossoms, and tulips, lilies and 
other flowers appear in full bloom. 

My next letter will be dated from Hamburg, where I 
hope to receive one from home. Please do not address 
any more letters in care of Knohr and Burchard, but 
rather in care of Heinrich Bartsch. 

How I long to be on the open sea once more. To-mor- 
row, as I mentioned before, I shall visit the cemetery 
which harbors the March heroes, and then— good-bye. 
Berlin; good-bye forever, I hope! 

To tlio few, whom T love, and to those who love me, to 
every one of you, a hearty farewell. 

(Signed) FRANZ LECOUVPETJB. 



than to sec his growing manhood crushed by Order of the King. — 
Transl. 



24 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

*Before proceeding with the description of Berlin in the 
beginning of the Hamburg letter, which I am convinced 
will impress the reader from more than one point of view, 
let it be remembered that our young author, as is quite 
common with young, wide-awake students, had inhaled 
the teachings of political world-saviors, so-called. In his 
particular case it was Karl Marx, the shrewd German 
socialist, whose doctrines were being expounded by able 
agitators throughout the Fatherland and the dangerous 
effects of which had clearly manifested themselves in the 
March Revolution of 1848. 

While the Prussian government seemed quite well in- 
formed as to the progress of the brewing trouble in the 
provinces, and prepared to meet it, the probability of an 
early outbreak in the very heart of Berlin seemed not to 
have been given any credence in highest circles. How- 
ever, they soon realized their mistake, when it was dis- 
covered that, notwithstanding the great vigilance of their 
police, a number of political offenders, who had been ex- 
iled from the kingdom, had re-entered the Capital and 
systematically agitated the working classes and student 
bodies, sowing discontent wherever they found a chance. 
Young people, particularly in sentimental Germany, are 
always quick in accepting a method offered which has for 
its seeming purpose the redemption of all ills, the 
''wronged classes" are said to be heir to. Is it then so 
surprising that such brilliant minds, as that of young Le- 
couvreur, should have become greatly enthused over the 
teachings of men like Karl Marx, the Moses of Socialism, 
Etienne Cabet, the French pedagogue and communist, 
and his followers, Louis Blanc and Buchez, whose motto: 
"Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" had electrified even 
the "German Michel?" One who had learned to admire 
such writers as Borne, Heine and Freiligrath, could not 
fold his hands in idleness during this history-making pe- 
riod. Notwithstanding the fact that King Frederick Wil- 
liam IV. tried his utmost to pacify the people, there oc- 



*Remarks by translator. 



KONIGSBERG TO BERLIN 25 

curred fierce fights in the streets between the masses and 
the royal troops, in which on the eighteenth of March, 
eighteen hundred and forty-eight, no less than one hun- 
dred and eighty-three civilians and twenty soldiers were 
killed. Though the troops had gained a sad victory, the 
King, who loved peace with his people above everything 
else, in the spirit of his lamented mother, the great Queen 
Louisa, granted the very next day, among other royal 
favors, the total amnesty of all political offenders, and 
witnessed in person the funeral of the fallen civilians, 
whose remains were given solemn burial at Friedrichs- 
hain, a cemetery described elsewhere. 

The following letter from H. E. H. Prince Frederic 
"William, son of the reigning King's brother, William, 
and later father of the present Emperor of Germany, to 
Eduard Baeyer, an intimate of his youth, was recently 
published by the ever well-informed ' ' Konigsberger Har- 
tungsche Zeitung." This letter is a part of the communi- 
cations concerning this friendship, as appeared in an ar- 
ticle by Mrs. Emma Ribbeck, nee Baeyer, in the 
" Deutsche Rundschau," a periodical of great influence. 
What to the translator seems to emphasize the weight of 
the following lines is the fact, which no German reader 
will overlook, that they were written on the very birth- 
day anniversary of the Prince's illustrious father, the 
great William the First. During his reign, which fol- 
lowed that of Frederick William IV., all Germany cele- 
brated the twenty-second of March. But let us read the 
letter, which bears rhetorical proof of great excitement 
under which the august writer labored: 

Potsdam, March 22, 1848. 
My Dear, Good Baeyer:— This very moment I received 
your dear letter, the first one since I left Berlin. You will 
easily imagine how I feel. What I have experienced since 
last Saturday has aged me many a year, and I am moved 
to confess that everything seems to have been but a bad 
dream— a nightmare. The terrible scenes of last Sunday, 
the heroic deeds of our troops on Saturday, all that I wit- 



26 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

nessed from the windows of the castle— but there is no 
need of telling you. You are- probably as well informed, 
if not better than I. But when I left Berlin on Sunday 
night about seven o'clock, passing the citizen's guard, 
my heart bled. Fortunately, I met soldiers in most of the 
halls, which fact had a soothing influence upon me. Many 
were the proofs of devotion which the officers showed me 
until I reached the carriage that drove me along the 
"Linden" to the residence of Major Oelrichs in the Pots- 
damerstreet. My sister, the Princess Louise,* was with 
me, while my parents remained with the King. We after- 
wards drove to Potsdam and are safe at present. I 
thought to dream that night of the awful, horrifying 
sight of that funeral procession. The departure of the 
troops, which left the castle virtually without power of 
defense, was dreadful indeed. And! what ai humiliation 
for our dear King and the poor, sick Queen, to be forced 
by the people to view the horrible corpses from the bal- 
cony amongst the howling, shouting threats of the multi- 
tude. This is terrible to me and never shall I care to en- 
ter the court-yard again. Really, I am disgusted with 
Berlin forever! I was present on Saturday from four 
o'clock till midnight and witnessed the struggles of our 
brave soldiers. Words do not suffice to describe the valor 
with which they fought. God be praised that, compared 
with the loss sustained by the mob, but few of our sol- 
diers fell ; every report of a wounded soldier was terrible 
to me. This was the first murderous encounter at which 
I have ever been present ; I am now prepared to go upon 
the battlefield, the sight will no more be new to me. Last 
Sunday was the most ill-fated day of my life, up to now. 
When I left the house in the morning to drive to the cas- 
tle, a voice told me: "You will not return for some time!" 
And, how it stands! My effects were then already and 
are now in safety, many even are in my possession at 
present. From the moment I entered the castle, where 



*Later Grand Duchess of Baden and then only ten years of 
age ; the prince was seventeen at the time, — Tr. 



KONIGSBERG TO BERLIN 27 

many officers of my regiment vied to kiss my hand in 
deepest emotion until the time when I drove away again 
in the evening, the awful howling never ceased, but con- 
tinued in my ears long through the night. My poor par- 
ents are well and in safety. Papa will go to England, but 
he does not run away; he received a mission from the 
King. I have seen both of them. Everything is in per- 
fect quiet and safety here in Potsdam. The local protec- 
tion committee is uncommonly well organized. My other 
younger relatives, with the exception of cousin Freder- 
ick Karl, and my sister, are all in safety, but not with us. 
The poor Charlotte is nearly beside herself, having es- 
caped almost miraculously. When will her confirmation* 
take place and mine? God alone knows. 

But I have not lost courage. I trust in God! He will 
do all things well. Now it is time for me to close. I have 
given you as many particulars as possible, whatever 
passed through my heart. 

But I have scrawled terribly. I hope you will be able 
to read it all. That you are rejoicing now and able to 
forget the past, seems quite probable to me, in considera- 
tion of the present excitement. I, for my part, cannot be 
happy, but bow in obedience to the new measures, taken 
by the King, which will prove beneficial with the help of 
God. It will be a long time before I shall be really happy 
again! You will not see me very soon in Berlin. Fare- 
well. Pardon the poor handwriting and convey my most 
sincere greetings to all friends. Tell them, as well as our 
teachers, that I always remember them, that I am in 
safety and ready to trust God in all things, and that I am 
well prepared to bear, with courage and fortitude, the 
great misfortune which has befallen us, and which I look 
upon as sent by God. Tell all friends from the contents 
of this letter, whatever you may doom proper for thorn 
to know, nothing or all; I leave that to your judgment. 



*The royal family is Lutheran, and the confirmation here men- 
tioned refers to the church ceremony, during which a promise of 
perseverance in the Lutheran faith is made. — Trans. 



28 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Pray for us, all of you, as I do for you. May God bless 
all of us and may He grant us an early reunion ! 
Your ever faithful friend, 

FRIEDRICH WILHELM. 

P. S.— I beg you, for God's sake, be careful with this 
letter and do not show it to anyone. Just tell them what- 
ever may be of consoling interest as regards our fate, but 
not the thoughts which I may have expressed. If you 
do not think that you will be able to hide the letter, burn 
it instantly. Nobody is to read it, except perhaps it be 
Schellbach, whom I have already seen and spoken to, 
tete a tete, for, believe me, this region is full of spies and 
emissaries; so one has to weigh every word carefully. I 
am only too well aware of it. Be very careful in your 
own behalf. 

Now, farewell, and be prudent in all things. F. W. 

The foregoing will serve the reader to better under- 
stand the feeling of our author, who was but three years 
older than H. E. Highness, and who represented at the 
time— the other side. He visits the very battle-field upon 
which his fellow-endeavorers had paid the penalty for 
the folly of their ignorance or misdirected sentimentality. 
With the Berlin letter closes that period of his life; in it 
we find the last expressions of the author's sympathy for 
the cause he espoused in his youth. He was bound for 
the New World and he determined to free himself from 
the drawbacks of the old. (Translator.) 



LETTER NO. II 



My Last Hours in Berlin— Voyage from Berlin to Ham- 
burg— Hamburg and the Hamburg People. 

Hamburg, May 6th, 1851. 

"When I arose from my feather-bed on the morning of 
April the 29th, my resolution to leave Berlin on the fol- 
lowing day was unshaken. I had spent already twenty- 
four hours to watch this cradle of vanity and splendor, 
and thought it sufficient ; indeed, it did suffice, for another 
twenty-four hours filled me with so much disgust that it 
would have been a torture for me to spend the rest of my 
life in Berlin. Still, let there be justice, where justice is 
due. The city itself is beautiful, that is, for him who can 
see something beautiful in a mass of houses, if I may use 
the expression: "in Sunday-go-to-meeting attire." The 
weather was bright; trees and lawns were in full spring 
dress; clean streets, shining window-panes everywhere, 
door steps and everything admirably clean, whether I 
examined the most imposing or the simplest, the colossal 
or the most humble sights; everything was intended to be 
artistically impressive, and would have undoubtedly been 
so in my regard— had it not been for the people — such a 
people! 

Whosoever doubts the veracity of my words may take 
a leisurely walk on any bright afternoon from Donhofts- 
platz through Louisenstrasse (named after the immortal 
Queen Louisa of Prussia), Friedrichstr., Unter den Lin- 
den, to the Brandenburger thor, taking precaution to 
avoid in his attire anything that would or could attract 
attention. I went without cuffs or necktie, dressed very 
plainly. Thus you will have the best opportunity to ob- 
serve the thousands and thousands who pas< you with or 

29 



30 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

without a purpose. The rnain feature which the visitor 
of this metropolis will at once recognize is the spirit of 
servility, often followed by or combined with undeniable 
traits of depravity, which are mirrored in the very faces 
of numberless men and women. From the coachman to 
the prince in the showy carriage, from the servant girl to 
the countess, from the private of the Grenadiers to the 
General, from the cash boy to the King's counselor— ev- 
erybody brags, everybody tries to impress everybody else 
in word and action, yes, in his very walk, that he is ever 
so much superior to anyone else until— one higher in so- 
cial standing happens along, then 0! how small, how very 
humble the hero of a minute before has suddenly be- 
come. It was Monday evening on Leipziger Platz, that 1 
witnessed the gentleman, mentioned in my last letter, 
who wore a decoration of rank in his button-hole pro- 
foundly saluting the coachman or— the empty carriage 
he was driving, which bore the coat of arms of its royal 
owner— I had to refrain from giving this old hypocrite 
a piece of my angered mind. How true is the much criti- 
cised description of the immortal Heine, contained in 
these words: "It really takes several barrels of poetry 
to find anything else in Berlin but dead houses and dead 
people." It is seldom you see a real man. Everything 
though new, everybody, even the young, is so old, so 
withered— so dead! After I had dressed myself on Tues- 
day morning I found myself so disappointed, so ill-hu- 
mored, that I did not care to leave the house all the fore- 
noon, and not until four o'clock in the afternoon did I 
decide to visit Hasenkamp, which meant a long walk, as 
he is staying with Dorn, the lawyer, in Anhaltstr. I was 
fortunate in finding him at home, but he had changed so 
much that I scarcely recognized him. Sickness had dis- 
figured him terribly and compelled the growth of a beard. 
I spent two very pleasant hours with him, as he was in 
an excellent frame of mind. He showed me his wounds, 
one of which was caused by a chance shot, two inches 
long, on the calf of the right leg, while the other proved 
to be of a serious nature, the bullet having entered the 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 31 

right side of the abdomen and gone clear through, leav- 
ing the body hardly a finger's width from the spinal cord, 
just below the false ribs. The scars are as big as a dol- 
lar. He described the skirmish near Friedriclistadt in 
vivid colors, up to the time when, being about forty feet 
from the enemy, the bullet struck him. At first he left 
the wound unnoticed, as the feeling resembled that of 
an electric shock, but dizziness soon overtook him, fol- 
lowed by chills and fever, which slowly deprived him of 
consciousness, not soon enough, however, to prevent the 
frightening realization that he was mortally wounded. 
The last words which his fading senses caught were: 
' ' Der Hauptmann ist todt ! " ( The captain is dead ! ) Pic- 
ture to yourself the excruciating pains when he awoke 
from his first fainting spell to find himself lifted upon 
two rifles and carried away from the scene of battle- 
even without emergency bandages. They next put him 
on a stretcher and drove him in a pouring rain through 
badly paved streets and market places to the lazareth 
(soldiers' hospital) which was fully eight English miles 
away from the first place. He recovered very slowly and 
even yet bears the burden of a martyr's life. The two 
very pleasant hours had flown rapidly and I truly regret- 
ted to take leave of this honest, sterling man, whose heart 
and mind evinced qualities too rarely met. There re- 
mained on my program but one more part to fulfil— my 
intended visit to Friedrichshain to honor the graves of 
those who have already honored us. I now hastened to 
accomplish this purpose. 

Passing the Landsberger street and gate, one observes 
to the left of the avenue a small hill, upon the top of 
which there are two windmills. Between these and the 
city there lies the cemetery of Friedrichshain, well laid 
out with young trees and flowers. At the foot of the hill 
which is nearest the city, T found the resting-place of the 
heroes of the eighteenth of March, eighteen hundred and 
forty-eight. It is a square of between seventy-five and 
one hundred feet, hedged in by a low, wooden fence. Ev- 
ery corner has an open entrance. Parallel with the fence 



32 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

run the graves, leaving a walk of about five feet in width 
between them. The whole offers the thoughtful visitor 
a fit subject for meditation. The two rows of graves have 
been converted into beautiful flower-beds, while the cen- 
ter of this sad, silent spot has been laid out for a lawn. 
Words cannot describe the impression which this ever 
sorrow-inspiring place left upon me. Step by step I wan- 
dered from grave to grave, from cross to cross, every one 
of which was covered with fresh wreaths. Beautiful ivy 
bowers, as thickly grown as I had never seen them be- 
fore, had risen from the graves of those whose noble deeds 
will ever live in the hearts of freedom-loving men. Be it 
then said to the honor and credit of the Berlin people 
that they have set a monument to the memory of those 
who died for their convictions, which is likewise a tribute 
to the piety of the living. They cared for these, their 
dead, so beautifully, that this act alone has reconciled 
me to a great extent with Berlin-at-large. The evening 
was very mild. I sat long upon one of those graves and 
saw the sun slowly disappear from my horizon. Strange 
were the visions which entranced me. It seemed to me 
that the departing rays of the sun were only too anxious 
to hasten away from the mass of cold houses of Berlin, 
while they hovered gladly over the silent crosses along- 
side of me in apparent search of a moment's rest. 

My dreams and my feelings of that hour I am unable to 
describe; they were undefinable. At last I arose. The 
bluish fog had already commenced to overspread the end- 
less plain, and the approaching darkness reminded me 
that it was time to seek my temporary quarters. Of all 
the beautiful tombstone inscriptions I remember but one: 
"Peace be to his spirit!" I shall never forget it. How 
many thousands have visited this spot without reading 
these inspiring words and how many, reading them, un- 
derstood their significance ? I shall never wish for a more 
beautiful, more spiritual, more soulful epitaph!* 



*Consider, that you are reading - the letter of a youth, addressed 
to his parents and admire with me the purity of a heart and a 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 33 

Wednesday, the thirtieth of April, found me an early 
riser. Olias preferred to stay a few more days in Ber- 
lin, but he and I had already sent the heavier baggage to 
the station the day before, so that it could be forwarded 
by freight and still reach Hamburg in time. Each of us 
kept about fifty pounds which are allowed every passen- 
ger on the railroad. My fare— third class— amounted to 
four thaler and five Silbergroschen (about three dollars). 
The train pulled out of Berlin at 7:30 a. m. Our first 
stop occurred at Spandau, the well-known and much- 
dreaded fortress, where many a brave man serves time 
for political offenses, for having a mind of his own and 
the courage to express it. The road leads along the banks 
of the Havel with its little inlets, bridges and miniature 
bays. The picturesque changes of water, fields, hidden 
villages, now and then a farm house or fisherman's hut, 
were materially heightened by a fabulous number of 
boats, large lumber boats, boats carrying grain and other 
field products to the larger cities and seaports, or return- 
ing home with merchandise of every description, such as 
coffee, rice, staple goods of every kind, dry goods, furni- 
ture, etc. The shining white sails of these boats which 
by the way are the floating homes of their owners, in- 
crease the attractiveness of the pretty scenery under the 
mild rays of the early morning sun. Everything looked 
charmingly fresh. x\fter leaving Spandau, there was a 
decided change for the worse. As far as the eye could 
see, there were fields and fields and nothing but fields 
and prairie-like monotony. The crops, too, looked poor- 
ly, as the soil is too sandy to give much encouragement. 
The low hills here and there resemble the stretches of the 
far-away ocean so much that I was tempted more than 
once to look round for the missing waves. Notwithstand- 
ing the apparent scarcity of vegetation, the neighborhood 



soul, filled with the love of Freedom, which caused him to leave 
an unsympathizing country in order to seek liberty of body and 
mind in free America. — Transl. 



34 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

seems to be pretty well inhabited and somehow or in 
some way the people must make a living.* 

Here and there a little forest of fir-trees made a wel- 
come change during the monotonous trip. We passed 
Nauen, Paulinenaue, Friesack, Neustadt an der Dosse, 
Zernitz, Wilsnack, until we reached Wittenberge, which 
has a branch custom-home, where all passengers and 
goods coming from Prussia were requested to undergo 
slight formalities without the annoyance of revision, how- 
ever. After Wittenberge, the desert— for no other name 
is applicable to this barren, desolate country, where the 
eye can feast on nothing but shrubbery, mostly withered, 
from which now and then you see a stunted fir-tree arise, 
which casts its forlorn glance about for companionship, 
for the old adage, "Misery loves company," seems to 
find its echo even in the vegetable kingdom. 

As if we were to drink the cup to overflowing, it began 
to rain in torrents right after we left Wittenberge and 
nothing could have made this desert look sadder. When 
we reached Boitzenburg, having passed Grabow, Lud- 
wigslust, Hagenow in quick succession, the weather for- 
tunately cleared up and gave us a chance to view this 
pretty little town and its refreshing surroundings. Here 
one obtains a good view of the low lands of the river 
"Elbe," which is quite an agreeable change for the eye 
of the lonely traveler. 

After Boitzenburg— another desert, until one reaches 
Schwarzenbeck, which is situated on a hill. The moment 
one arrives at this station everything seems to change as 
if by magic. One may here behold a most picturesque 
rural scene. Here and there a village with its friendly 
church steeple, brooks winding in zig-zag lines through 
the little valley. Little forests here and there, proud to 
show off in their new spring coats, all of which combines 



*They do, by raising potatoes and grain for starch mills and 
distilleries, and in later years, by raising sugar beets for export, 
which is encouraged by a government premium, of which young 
Lecouvreur had no knowledge at the time. — Transl. 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 35 

to offer the traveler a refreshing change. These pleasant 
scenes continue all the way to Hamburg. We passed 
Friedrichsruh, Reinbeck, Bergedorf and reached our des- 
tination at three-fifty p. m. 

Hamburg and the Hamburg People. 

To take a much needed rest I went to the hotel "City 
of Kiel," near the station; but changed quarters the next 
morning, and am presently located in the "New City of 
Berlin" on the Monkedamm, near the great "Merchant's 
Exchange." Hugo arrived Friday morning from Berlin 
and since then we have been rooming together. We get 
along quite well and have laid our plans so as to make 
our stay as inexpensive as possible, for there are in mi 
merable channels by which our little money can be spent. 
For breakfast and supper we bought bread, butter, cheese 
and sausage. I may say, wholesale, so as to save the high 
charges in local restaurants; for our daily noon meal, 
which is the only square, warm meal of the day, we have 
discovered a plain but very respectable inn, where we 
are well served for eight Hamburg shillings (about twen- 
ty cents). Once in a while, when we feel particularly 
hilarious, we buy a bottle of wine, which costs but six or 
eight shillings, and very good for the money. 

Though I am exceedingly disappointed to have to 
waste a whole month doing absolutely nothing, it cannot 
be helped and the best thing one can do is to follow the 
advice of a great modern philosopher: "Under all cir- 
cumstances keep an even mind."* 

The time between the twentieth and thirtieth may be 
legally charged to the local shipping agents, Knohr and 
Burchard; for it is stipulated in the legal provision, re- 
ferred to, that a sum of twelve shillings a day be paid 
during the time of delay, where date of departure has 



*Young Lecouvreur seems to have taken this motto through 
life as his magic staff, leaning upon which, he overcame difficul- 
ties which to others appeared insuperable. — Transl. 



36 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

been agreed upon and said delay caused unwarranted 
expense for the person concerned, provided berth shall 
ha,ve been engaged under such conditions. In my case it 
only amounts to about three German thaler, but I shall 
surely not let Knohr and Burchard be the gainers. What 
is good for them is still better for me. You will readily 
understand that Hugo and I live as economically as snails 
— faute d' argent. Yv T e seldom venture out during the 
forenoon, but are generally at the great "Exchange" by 
one o'clock, about two we have our dinner, after which 
the daily pleasure walk, which mostly starts or ends at 
the Harbor. Between seven and eight o'clock we return 
home, where we at once proceed to bed in order to save 
candles. Thus we spend day after day. I have every 
reason to be grateful to Kosenstock for his letter of rec- 
ommendation to Heinrich Bartsch; this gentleman assists 
me in many ways and shows general interest in me; but 
of this I shall write later. Now a few words about Ham- 
burg and the Hamburger people, in as much as I have 
had opportunity to judge of them during my short stay. 

If someone were to ask me to personify Berlin I should 
not hesitate in comparing her to a vain, coquettish, yet 
well-mannered, middle aged but still attractive Lady of 
the Court; but Hamburg— that is quite a difficult propo- 
sition. 

Hamburg, seen from different sides, impresses one dif- 
ferently. The magnificent harbor, the beautiful Jung- 
fernstieg (Maiden-Promenade), the Alster, the great Ex- 
change, the Old-Town, the suburbs St. Pauli and St. 
George— each represents a type of its own, and still 
through them all winds its way like a red thread, the 
Merchant Prince.* You find him everywhere, on the 
promenades, in the Opera as well as in the many lesser 
theaters, concert halls, beer gardens, wine cellars, restau- 
rants — mostly subterranean— everywhere the merchant 
prince. All Hamburg breathes commerce. As the "Ex- 

*Commercienrath, a mere title, given by sovereigns to favorite 
bankers and merchants. 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 37 

change" is situated in the very center of this Metropolis, 
one need not be surprised that it has become the soul of 
all material and intellectual lift' here; he who doubts it 
will easily become convinced if he pays a visit to the said 
place about "Exchange time," i. e., from one to two in the 
afternoon. The Exchange opens promptly at one o'clock; 
at ten minutes past the gates close and every late-comer 
has to deposit a small fine except, I am told, if he is an 
active member of the Board of Commerce, to which, how- 
ever, only a limited number of the most influential mer- 
chants are eligible. The inner hall measures about two 
hundred feet square, but a few minutes suffice to fill ev- 
ery inch with humanity, so that, viewing from the gal- 
leries, the spectator can see nothing bnt one black mov- 
ing mass, head on head, mostly adorned with the indis- 
l^ensable headgear of a Hamburg merchant, the tall, 
black silk hat. A double row of arcades, supported by 
immense pillars, surround the inner hall. The Exchange 
reading rooms, the assembly rooms of the Board of Com- 
merce and the reception parlors are right above the ar- 
cades, while the main hall has an immense skylight for 
its roof. The galleries, whence one can watch the whole 
jyroceedings, are about thirty-live feet above the ground 
floor, and entrance to the different library and committee 
rooms is effected from there. 

All those rooms even are so filled with people during 
exchange hours that one can scarcely pass. And yet, 
there is a system governing this immense busy bulk of 
humanity or merchant body. Every branch of commerce 
has its circle and every member of that circle has his 
place, elbowing his sharpest competitor in the most har- 
monious manner. The polished floor itself is marked 
with well-measured squares, circles, triangles and the 
like figures, whereby the respective members may know 
and remember their stand. There is the banker's, the 
exporters', the commissioners', the dry goods merchant, 
the ship-brokers', the stock-brokers', the cotton mer- 
chants' and numberless other circles. Harmony reigns 
supreme and the old Hamburg motto: "The keener the 



38 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

competition, the greater the fun," seems to pervade ev- 
erybody and everything. What a sight for the onlooker 
from one of the galleries, where every stranger, who has 
not come on a business mission, goes to watch the world 's 
marketing. ♦ 

Many a foreign potentate of civilized and uncivilized 
domains visits the Hamburg Exchange and marvels at 
this industrial bee-hive of the old Hansatown, which was 
founded by Charlemagne in the year 811 A. D. It was he 
who granted the city free trade and a special legislature. 
But my thoughts return to the Exchange. What a con- 
course of nationalities. Within the space of half an hour 
one may converse with natives from every corner of the 
globe. You hear German, French, English, Dutch, Span- 
ish, Danish, Flemish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Sla- 
vonian, Persian and many other tongues, which I heard 
spoken during my few visits. The whole has something 
fascinating and yet stupifying. I have been there three 
times without being able to give an exact description of 
this truly overwhelming experience. No stranger should 
leave Hamburg without having visited this center of com- 
merce, this soul of the commonwealth, for Hamburg is at 
the Exchange, as the Exchange is Hamburg in bulk. 

No wonder, then, that the galleries are adorned with 
representatives of the beautiful sex from all parts of the 
world. 

While the building itself is not particularly remarka- 
ble for its architectural beauty, there is certainly some- 
thing imposing about it which tells the new-comer almost 
instantaneously: "This is the Exchange of the world's 
market." I felt impressed that way when crossing the 
Adolph's platz for the first time, facing the main en- 
trance. 

Hamburg, May 7th, 1851. 

I commenced this letter yesterday and will endeavor to 
continue it now at my leisure until it will be long enough 
to send to my beloved ones at home. 

Having tried to picture the Exchange in the few lines 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 39 

above, I shall now proceed to give you a short description 
of the harbor, where I am a daily visitor. 

Hamburg and the suburb of Saint Paul extend about 
three English miles along the eastern bank of the "Elbe;" 
one-half of this distance is generally known as the "In- 
ner Harbor," where mostly smaller vessels congregate, 
such as carry freight up and down the river as far as 
Bodenbach Tetschen-Bohemia., and of which I have made 
mention in one of my previous letters. The seaport 
proper is at the mouth of the ' ' Elbe ; " it is about half a 
mile long and takes in the whole width of the river which 
measures about seventeen hundred and fifty feet. The 
so-called "Gate of the Habor," which divides the city 
line from St. Pauli, is sharp on the bank of the river and 
about one hundred feet wide, reaching to a small hill, 
called Stintfang, the top of which is flattened and fenced 
in by cast-iron railings. I went there last evening for the 
first time. The weather was beautiful and I ascended the 
hill with a certain amount of reverence. Do you, my be- 
loved ones, still remember the beautiful scene which was 
one of the main attractions of the "Konigsberg" picture 
gallery: "Hamburg, as seen from the Stintfang?" How 
often, during my childhood days, did I look admiringly 
upon that scene, while my thoughts earned me to the 
Elbe and the many, many ships of all nations and to the 
immense mass of houses of the old Hansatown. It was 
one of my favorite dreams. But yesterday, I did not 
stand admiringly in front of the picture; I stood, behold- 
ing in fact that ocean of moving vessels on one side, and 
the innumerable buildings on the other. Really and 
truly, it was no dream, but rather a more impressive real- 
ization. My feelings are difficult to explain. I drew all 
kinds of comparisons between the painting in the Home 
Gallery and the original, the magnificent living picture 
now before me; again, I compared the sentiments which 
enlivened my mind in childhood days to those of early 
manhood; in other words, between the time when, filled 
with a child's pure, happy confidence, I dnred to laugh 
at the future probabilities of life and the present, when, 



40 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

having perhaps the happiest and most instructive time 
of my life behind me and entering upon an uncertain 
future not altogether without distrust in my own inward 
strength, though full of faith in the wisdom and goodness 
of God. The school of life is not altogether new to me, 
I have had some very severe experiences and am only one 
among the many who will have to find means of existence 
in it. However, confidence in Providence, and in our 
own inner self, and an earnest persevering will, have done 
great things at all times, and I propose to do my share. 

There is nothing more attractive in Hamburg than the 
harbor-site, as seen from the Stmtfang, at the foot of 
which the visitor beholds a panorama never to be forgot- 
ten. One observes three rows of piles along the bank. 
The large ocean vessels are chained to these piles and 
between the rows which form perfect water avenues, one 
observes small and large freight boats, lighters, which 
carry the merchandise to and fro. This is necessary, as 
the hundreds of steamers and large sailing vessels can- 
not all anchor conveniently without being seriously in- 
commodated by the tides. Vessels, which cannot find 
proper accommodation on entering the immense harbor, 
have to anchor in the middle of the Elbe until some out- 
going boats make room for the newcomer, which pro- 
cedure is well regulated by the harbor commission and 
carefully watched by the harbor police, who patrol the 
waterways with painful regularity.* 

Looking about, the searching eye cannot penetrate the 
acreages of sails, masts and riggings, which are appa- 
rently made the more solid by the constant smoke and 
coal-dust arising either from the many ship-galleys or 



*During the last twenty years about one hundred and fifty 
million marks, i. e. something like thirty-eight million dollars, 
have been spent in rebuilding the docks and enlarging facilities 
for transient-storage, which fact has made this harbor superior 
to the old rivals, Liverpool, Amsterdam and Antwerp. And all 
but ten million dollars were raised by subscription-bonds among 
local merchants and bankers, which will give the reader an idea 
of the immense wealth of that city. — Transl. 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 41 

from the chimneys of the numberless lighters and little 
steamers, which are running up and down the river by 
day and night, for work never stops. Vessels load and 
unload constantly, as the saving of time as well as the 
nature of the cargo very often demands immediate at- 
tendance. The inclemency of the weather in winter-time 
is particularly the cause of many hardships. On one 
occasion, I am told, that the non-shipment of forty thou- 
sand bags of potatoes cost the shipper a small fortune, 
as his goods were destroyed by the intense frost which 
set in, while awaiting storage in an English vessel. 

There are four unbroken lines of vessels from all na- 
tions, of all shapes and build, four seemingly endless 
chains of merchant fleets; all along St. Pauli and the 
neighboring town Altona and far beyond it, one can see 
them busily engaged in loading and reloading their car- 
goes. As one hears at the Exchange languages of all 
civilized countries, so does one perceive in this metro- 
politan harbor flags of all nations of the earth, even Bra- 
zilian and Chilean colors. And what beautiful vessels 
one sees! They often resemble men-of-war rather than 
merchant vessels, bent upon their peaceful and harmoni- 
ous missions. There is, for instance, the "Gutenberg," 
one of the Hamburg- American passenger liners near the 
"Baumthor," which carries immense freights, besides 
being one of the best fitted passenger steamers, recently 
built after the most approved plans. It is named after 
our "Johannes Gutenberg," the inventor of the first 
printing press. There are many such beautiful vessels 
in plain sight, though they are not all as large as the one 
mentioned. 

Let us return to the "Stintfang View." One can only 
see a. comparatively small part of the older city and the 
quaint old buildings, which have little attraction for the 
ordinary sight-seer. The other parts of the city are gen- 
erally hidden from view at this time of the year, as the 
prevailing fog obscures the so-called "new city," i. e., 
that part which has been rebuilt after the fearful con- 
flagration in 1S42; though the early spring sun may try 



42 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

for days to clear the view, it seldom succeeds until later 
in the season. But the view of the Elbe up stream, and 
of the little green islands here and there, is truly delight- 
ful. One can see the Hanoverian coast with its forests 
and coated hills lining the blue-trimmed horizon for 
miles. I shall visit the Stintfang as often as possible, for 
there more than elsewhere the familiar scenes of home 
and longings of the past are brought before my mind. 
No matter whether in company or not, I shall never feel 
lonesome in that place. The sun had long sent its fare- 
well rays, when I finally made up my mind to seek my 
temporary abode. During the night following I dreamt 
of our "Exchange Garden," probably because I had 
thought of it on my way to the hotel from the Stintfang, 
Just at this moment, being earnestly at work to famil- 
iarize you with Hamburg scenes, I am pleasantly inter- 
rupted by the arrival of your welcome letters, dated the 
second of May, a. c, and containing messages of love 
and cheer from you, dear father, my darling mother and 
my beloved sister, Marie. Nothing will prevent me from 
reading, enjoying and re-reading them, after which I 
shall set to work answering these love-whisperings at 
once, and Hamburg and the Hamburgers, however inter- 
esting they may be, will have to wait. 

Hamburg, May 8th, 1851. 
First of all let me thank you a thousand times for the 
comforting messages contained in your letters. I am 
really and truly happy, because you all have written so 
lovingly and given proof thereby that your thoughts are 
much more in sympathy with my doings than they were 
before, or immediately after my departure. I person- 
ally have come to the conclusion that it avails little or 
nothing to worry 7 about things which cannot be altered. 
And there I seem to hear the well-known air of Flotow's 
latest production, "Martha, or the Market of Rich- 
mond:" "Happy he who can forget that which worried 
heart and head."* No matter how much pain it may 



*Flotorr's opera, "Martha," appeared in 1846. — Transl. 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 43 

give us, let us be stronger than pain, the deepest wounds 
of which will heal under the soothing influence of Father 
Time. It was easy for Lessing to suggest in his immor- 
tal "Nathan the Wise" that: "No man is ever compelled 
to accept dictation" (Kein Mensch muss miissen). Hap- 
py he who never experiences the contrary, but pity him 
who is not only forced to accept, but who has to dictate 
his own sentence. I have been one of the latter; I was 
compelled to leave Konigsberg. (As mentioned in the 
preface, the author had to leave his home for political 
reasons.) You wished to know, dear father, who had 
supplied me with recommendations. I had three for 
Hamburg, two of which have already done their good 
work, i. e., the one from Kosenstock to Heinrich Bartsch, 
whom I have already mentioned, and one from Malmros 
to the Prussian Consul-General,* Wilhelm O'Swald, who 
in turn sent me two very good recommendations, one for 
Franz Hallmann, Valparaiso, and the other to Gent, 
Schott, Duncker and Bottcher in San Francisco, Califor- 
nia. Both letters are written in most flattering terms, 
owing to the warm recommendations Malmros had given 
me; this is a great point gained, as the firm William 
O'Swald & Co. ranks very high in commercial circles, in 
fact, its world-wide reputation is such that the signature, 
if attached to a young man's introductory letter, carries 
great weight. My third recommendation was from the 
Exchange broker Kalan to Louis Dubois, who contem- 
plates going to San Francisco himself, where he hopes to 
get settled by the end of next summer. He is a cousin of 
Bartsch and as I have only had one slight opportunity of 
speaking to him, there is little to be said at this time, but 
that my first impression left me hopeful. Besides the 
above mentioned there is a letter from Markwald, 
Konigsberg, to his brother in San Francisco, who now 
happens to be in Bremen and may arrive here any day. 



*Before 1871, each one of the separated principalities of the 
Fatherland, had an accredited representative near the seat of the 
government of the other. — Transl. 



44 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Of course, I shall lay in wait for him, to surprise him with 
his brother's letter, when the time comes. Finally there 
are two more letters from Eosenstock, one to Emil Bott- 
eher, junior partner of Gent, Schott, Dunker and Bott- 
cher, and the other to his brother, Eugen Eosenstock, in 
which he praised my talents and good qualities in an al- 
most impudent manner. He has often proved to be a true 
friend and no matter how fate may deal with me in fu- 
ture, I shall always bear him and his many kind deeds in 
grateful remembrance. W. O'Swald has requested Franz 
Hallmann to further aid me with recommendations. 
Aside from these, I may be able to obtain one here and 
there, as I shall be on the lookout, wherever opportunity 
may present itself, so as to be well provided when I leave, 
the "Konigsberger Zeitung" is apparently not to be had 
around here and your clippings and quotations will there- 
fore be greatly appreciated, the further away I shall find 
myself from home. 

You mention that the "Nix" stranded at Mauenhaken 
on the Swin6 river (to be pronounced Sween'ay), which 
occurrence is not new to me, as I saw it with my own 
eyes; how it happened, nobody on board seemed to be 
able to explain. As I told you in one of my first letters, 
we were almost alongside of the "Nix" and exactly op- 
posite the pilot's house, weighing anchor about the same 
time as the great steamer, which had two splendid ma- 
chines of about 240 horse power, enabling her to speed 
along rapidly until the time of the accident, which hap- 
pened while I was standing near the capstan watching 
the course of the fast moving vessel in whose wake we 
were cruising, when behold, she turned to right angle 
course, and, as the Swine near Mauenhaken is not very 
broad, it took but very few seconds to see her stranded 
upon the low, shoal-like shore. The assertion that the 
length of the "Nix" checked the power of the rudder is 
laughable, as even the largest vessel will obey the steer- 
ing, provided the mate attends to business and holds 
tight; the man at the helm of the "Nix" did his best in 
this respect. Many thanks for Meyhoffer's and Yogt's 
messages. 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 45 

Now let us return to the description of Hamburg and 
its inhabitants: 

The architecture of the city, taking it all iu all, is 
rather old-fashioned as may well be imagined, when one 
considers that this old Ilansatown celebrated its millen- 
nial existence half a century ago (1811). I have even 
seen mediaeval facades on many buildings which have 
arisen from the ashes after the great fire of 1842, which 
wiped nearly one hundred and forty streets and two gi- 
gantic church edifices, St. Nicholas' and St. Peter's, out 
of existence. From May 8th to the 11th, the disastrous 
flames raged, demanding many a human sacrifice and the 
loss of millions of property. The newly laid streets are 
wide and straight but many of the old ones which were 
spared during the fire are decidedly crooked and narrow, 
while the squares arc small. Berlin, in this respect, is 
ahead, liven the sidewalks are poorly paved and only 
such great and fashionable thoroughfares as the Jung- 
fernstieg, Alsterdamm, Grosse und Hohe Bleichen, Alter 
and Neuerwall, Herrmann and Ferdinandstrasse, Speer- 
sort, Schauenburgerstrasse, etc., etc., are exceptions. The 
grading and plastering otherwise is decidedly a credit to 
the municipal government and the street department in 
particular. The cleanliness is greatly aided by the many 
channels, broad and narrow, which cross the city in every 
direction. All streets, as well as the public buildings, 
have ample gas supply.* 

Follow me and I shall take you in imagination to the 
Esplanade, thence to the Alster, after which I shall close 
this letter, else you may be tempted to apply the yard- 
measure to it. But, Hamburg is interesting enough to 
engage one in writing letters of this length every day. 

One has to visit the "Esplanade" either early in the 
morning or late at night. Hamburg is encircled by what 



*Remember, kind reader, that this, as well as all the following 
descriptions were written long ago. Progress has since wrought 
wonders, for the public-spirited people of Hamburg spare no ex- 
pense nor trouble to make their city as attractive as possible. — 
Transl. 



46 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

was formerly known as the ' * Def enseditch. " As this 
ditch had to be well planned in order to fit the difference 
of height between the Alster and Elbe waters, the level 
of the latter being much lower than that of the former, it 
is trnly astonishing that both depth and width of this 
' ' defense ditch ' ' vary according to the height of the part 
of town it cuts into; and measures, in places, from forty 
to one hundred and twenty, at others from sixty to two 
hundred feet, thus resembling a river of some importance. 
Where the waters of this belt wash the city proper, a 
more or less high wall has been erected, which keeps in 
exact parallel with the zigzag of the ditch itself. In 
later years this wall has been utilized in beautifying the 
city. In many cases, parks of considerable beauty have 
thus been created. As such a picturesque chain of im- 
provements from Berlin Station, to the Upper Harbor, 
thence to the Harbor Gate, measures nearly three English 
miles, and appears with a width of two to seven hundred 
feet, you will easily imagine the impression such a sight 
affords to visitors. Hamburg is indeed to be envied, for, 
as a. matter of fact, not a city in Northern Germany can 
boast of such a promenade, such artistic improvements, 
botanical and otherwise. True, Berlin has its "Thier- 
garten," larger, perhaps, but it is, after all, but a tame 
comparison with these promenades, which end at the 
' ' Stintfang, " with which I have already attempted to 
acquaint you. The fact*that I loiter every day in the 
"Esplanade" does not require special mention," as every- 
thing is so fresh, so green, and the happy birds sing 
merry spring songs; why should not man, both young and 
old, inhale the balmy air in long draughts? Does it sur- 
prise you that I roam about for hours during my en- 
forced stay? This is the very time of the year which our 
only Heine describes in his beautiful lines: 

"Im wunderschonen Monat Mai 
Als alle Knospen sprangen 
Da ist in meinem Herzen 
Die Liebe aufgegangen." 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 47 

(In the wonderfully beautiful month of May 

When all the buds are unfolding, 

Then Love arises in my innermost Heart.) 

The Jungfernstieg and Alster basins with surrounding 
promenades and villas have been so often described and 
pictured that it does not need my attempt. But one scene 
has not been included by traveling reporters, the fairy- 
like appearance at night when thousands of gaslights 
convert darkness into day, and envelop the crowds which 
take their evening strolls along the magnificent prom- 
enades while thousands of illuminated palaces along the 
Jungfernstieg and Alsterdamm are reflected upon the 
mirror-like dark blue waters of the Alster. This is hardly 
describable and 1 willingly desist from further attempts. 
You will probably have to burn midnight candles to fin- 
ish reading this letter, though you may have started 
early enough in the day. Next time, more. 

Good bye! Love, my heart's love, to all who love me! 
I write no names, but I have forgotten none. However, 
before anyone else, I kiss you, my father and mother, a 
thousand times, knowing full well that no one loves me 
like the dear ones at home. 

(Signed) FRANZ LECOUVREUR. 

Herewith an extract from a San Francisco letter: 

Extract. 

from the letter of a young merchant, E. B., dated San 
Francisco, January 29th, 1851: 

Among the papers which I lately received, there are two con- 
taining articles al>out California. These articles are so full of 
untruths that I should surely send in rejoinders, if my time would 
permit it. As it is, this short communication of a private nature, 
will have to do. The exaggerated description of the horrible 
attack upon Sacramento City was nothing more or less than the 
ordinary assembling and dispersing of a common mob. The 
murders and incendiary attempts mentioned are purely imaginary. 

As far as San Francisco is concerned the writer was not alto- 



48 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

gether wrong. But if "Hell," with which the same person com- 
pares it, has no worse features, nor greater horrors, the poor 
souls of the damned will have a comparatively good time. Dante, 
the immortal Italian poet, describes that part of the Hereafter 
with quite different colorings, and, as he is said to have been 
there, in a trance, I suppose he is an authority in that particular, 
as I claim my own right to describe San Francisco as I find it. 

The timid author of the letters afore mentioned should also 
have considered the fact that it takes fully two months before 
the public over there sees or hears of it and that such a space of 
time alone is sufficient to bring about the most wonderful effects 
and changes, in a country like this. We have strong breezes in 
summer-time, yes, and occasional sand-storms but, that people 
are actually in danger of being enveloped by sand beyond recog- 
nition, is a myth. Since last October, the streets have been 
planked and this has therefore put almost an end to local sand- 
storms. The climate itself is healthy and strengthening and only 
he who ignores the most ordinary precautions, which every cli- 
mate requires, particularly of a stranger, will suffer sickness, and 
very -often blame the country or the people in the long run, rather 
than his own carelessness. As to crimes, robberies, murders, we 
find them the world over, even where the best organized police 
forces try to prevent them, why then should not a new country 
like this have them, where there is so much of the tough element 
and no pasport-revision or other means of banishment ? Gambling 
houses are running, it is true but, is it not likewise true that they 
are carrying on their nefarious work in the best regulated cities 
abroad? Is it only very recently that the Paris authorities re- 
vised the ordinances against gambling and are not our German 
Watering resorts afflicted with evils of a very similar nature? 
Or does the fact that the latter cases provide an annual income 
for certain princes change the criminal aspect? Well, in this 
country the people are the sovereign power and the profit derived 
from such establishments fills the pockets of the citizens who have 
just as much right to it as the "Princes *by the Grace of God." 

"Progressive education," continues the San Francisco cor- 
respondent, "helps to wipe out this evil and as public opinion 
is decidedly against it, the time is close at hand when the people 
will bring about a welcome change. In fact, I just read in to- 



*The translator wishes to remind the reader that this letter had 
been written in San Francisco, even before Mr. Lecouvreur's de- 
parture from home, and merely had been enclosed in his May 
letter to the latter's parents, as it contained a refutation of former 
publications in provincial organs, which had prejudiced the fam- 
ily very much against young Frank's desire to choose San Fran- 
cisco for his future home. 



BERLIN TO HAMBURG 49 

day's paper that a number of citizens from 'Central Sharp Dis- 
trict' have signed a petition for the removal of gambling dens. 
If a murder occurs in such places, we need not be astonished, 
that the people take little notice of it, as the American does not 
waste many words, where he feels that it cannot mend matters. 
Every one knows what he has to face in such places, particularly 
if the luck should come his way and, if he nevertheless visits 
them, he will have to take his medicine in case of trouble. If I 
choose to enter certain establishments along the Hamburg Water- 
front or in any other large city, I may run the same danger, 
though I be in the midst of European civilization. 

There is quite a good deal of building going on here and solid 
brick structures find universal favor. Sidewalks too, are being 
laid ; carriages for hire are to be had at the market place and a 
drive about town costs five dollars. Erench shoe-blacks will give 
your shoes an immaculate "shine" for a suitable compensation. 
French and English theaters, concert halls, balls, Olympic games 
and circus companies offer quite a variety of amusements. There 
is actually talk of a gas plant, which some enterprising men ex- 
pect to erect before very long. Does not such a progress give us 
a hopeful outlook for next year? Agriculture too has its tri- 
umphs. We are enjoying the finest cauliflower, the best of pota- 
toes, turnips, cabbage and many other vegetables. But flour and 
butter are still imported as there is not yet enough of the local 
product, though it will not be long before that too, will be a part 
of our 'Home Industry.' " 



LETTER NO. Ill 



Hamburg, May 16, 1851. 
I have always maintained and, still more, have always 
found my convictions continued, that ships as well as 
human beings, often reveal their character by their out- 
ward appearance. To the initiated they are just like 
men, at times light-headed and frivolous; again serious 
and solemn, pleasant, sullen, melancholy, easy going, 
swift, clumsy, top-heavy, some, lacking in character, and 
other solid as a rock. In the last named category I count 
the "Victoria." Having ascertained at Knohr and Bur- 
chard's, the sbipbrokers, that this vessel, which is to carry 
us to the New World, was still in dock at the well-known 
Godefroy's Wharf, which is located on the Hanoverian 
side, in the village "Reiherstieg," island of Steinwerder, 
our curiosity became duly aroused. We hired a little sail- 
boat and went to examine the vessel, which was to be 
our floating home for many a day. The "Victoria" is a 
fine bark, carrying about three hundred tons; but owing 
to the fact that she was heavily laden and consequently 
deep in the water, we saw but very little of her hull. 
Shape and frame are just as I like to see them, well cut, 
broad overleaning bow, notwithstanding which the ves- 
sel is graceful in build, and has an evenly-running deck, 
without quarter. As a few planks had been temporarily 
removed from one of the sides, I was able to obtain a 
glimpse through the solid, closely set ribs. The Victoria 
is painted, as is customary with ocean vessels of its kind, 
black, with broad white trimming around the waist, in- 
cluding eight bulls-eyes for small cannon use on either 
side. The riggings are very strong and heavy, well pro- 
portioned, too; the sail-yards are unusually broad and 
give the ship almost the appearance of a man-of-war. To 

50 • 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 51 

be brief, I am extremely well pleased with my explora- 
tion. Unless appearances are absolutely deceiving, I 
venture to say we shall have as good a vessel during our 
voyage as could possibly be desired. There seems to be 
a scarcit} 7 of transatlantic passengers, at least to South 
America. So far, we three are the only ones, according 
to Knohr and Burchard. In mentioning the "Victoria" 
I cannot omit describing some harbor sights. Yesterday 
I saw four vessels, bound for New York, take on board 
their human cargo— the "Gutenberg," the "Leibnitz," 
the "Oder" and— the name of the fourth vessel escaped 
my memory. All were immense, three-masters, of at least 
six hundred tons each. The sight of wholesale shipment 
of emigrants is truly amazing and no one described it bet- 
ter, in fewer words, than our noble Ferdinand Freiligrath 
in his poem "Die Ausivanderer" (The Emigrants"*). 

One has only to walk along the shore for half an hour 
to see representatives of all German Principalities (this 
was fifty years ago.— Tr.) ; here he may listen to the many 
dialects and look wonderingly at the gay costumes, pecul- 
iar to the various sections of our beloved Fatherland. 
Men, women and children were lying, standing or loung- 
ing upon boxes, bundles or mattresses, waiting for the 
wherry-boat, which was to take them and their belong- 
ings on board the ship. These Hamburg wherry-boats are 
very numerous on the lower Elbe and serve in forwarding 
immense cargoes to and fro. They are indispensable for 
the wholesaler; and an occasional strike among the 
"Ewerfiihrer" or wherrymen is as much dreaded as that 
of the longshoremen, though they are two very distinct 
sets of workingmen. One ran witness such emigration 
scenes several times every week, though not always in 
as great a measure as I saw it yesterday. The reason for 
this is that the influx of emigrants is the largest about the 
beginning and middle of the month. There were at least 
eight or nine hundred people shipped yesterday, as it 



*This poet is the Longfellow of Germany, whose "Hiawatha" 

and other poems he so beautifull} translated'. — J. C. B, 



52 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

was said that all four vessels were well crowded, not only 
with German people, but with large numbers of Slavoni- 
ans, Austrians and Scandinavians in their picturesque at- 
tire. 

During the first days of this week, there embarked a 
large number of Schleswig-Holstein soldiers, who had 
been enlisted for Brazil; they sailed for Rio de Janeiro 
on the Hamburg bark "The Colonist." What a tribe! 
I would not have trusted my corpse to be shipped with 
them. Such specimens of humanity !— ragged, drunk, day 
after day, with but a very few honorable exceptions. 
With two hundred and ten of these fellows on board of 
the "Colonist," which, at the most, can hold but three 
hundred tons of cargo (sixty English tons), you may 
fancy how those poor fellows were crowded together. 
This first expedition is soon to be followed by another 
one from Altona on Godefroy's "Caesar," a vessel of 
about twice the capacity of the "Colonist," and which 
is to take four hundred ' ' impressed soldiers. " It is said 
that the government has put a stop to foreign enlistments 
and, indeed, one does not see quite as many of these fel- 
lows, who are easily recognized by their ragged appear- 
ance, with the Brazilian colors, red, yellow and green, 
displayed on their straw hats, and the loud noise they 
make in roaming about the streets. 

I have just returned from a walk along the harbor. 
At the "Baumthor" I witnessed the departure of a bark, 
which was likewise filled with the same class of "Brazil- 
ians." All were joyful and apparently contented, while 
I felt overcome by sadness. When the sails began to fill 
the vessel slowly glided down the river; all joined in the 
familiar German folksong: " When I come, when I come, 
when I come home again, I shall call, sweetheart, on 
thee!" Poor fellows, will any of you ever return to see 
your sweethearts? True, nobody who goes out in search 
of a new home, can answer that question. Happy he who 
does it in a joyful frame of mind. Toward evening there 
arrived the German man-of-war "Ernest August" from 
Bremen, a magnificent vessel of unusual size. Both 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMTRESSIONS 53 

masts, being rigged like schooners, overtowered many a 
handsome three-master. The German flag, with the eagle 
in golden field, waved bravely in the air. May it be hon- 
ored everywhere as on this proud steamer! Unfortunate- 
ly I received bad news on the arrival of the " Ernest Au- 
gust," news which had a depressing effect upon me. Re- 
membering that Fritz Benefeld had served on board of 
this vessel, I inquired after him and heard from one of 
the cadets that he has contracted dropsy in the chest, and 
little hope is entertained for his recovery. He was left 
in good care at Bremen. Too bad, he was a brave, good 
fellow! However, I, too, am said to be a brave good fel- 
low, and shall have to die some day, nevertheless! 

May 17, 1851. 
During the whole of last week we have enjoyed unin- 
terruptedly the most beautiful weather, which added 
greatly to our pleasure during a number of little excur- 
sions into the outskirts of Hamburg. Unfortunately one 
1 is to limit one's time as the closing of the city gates at 
stated hours of night prevents the enjoyment of an ex- 
tended recreation.* Last Sunday, for instance, we walked 
across the so-called "Hamburg Mountain" to Altona 
and thence to Ottensen. When leaving the inner 
city by the Millerngate, one is confronted by an im- 
mense lawn, the walks of which are lined with beautiful 
trees on either side; the center is cut by a fine, broad 
avenue, which, as you approach Saint Pauli, is adorned 
with nice new residences, and leads directly into the main 
thoroughfare of the above mentioned suburb. This street 
is called the Eeeperbahn, which name is the Low German 
for rope-makers' alley, said tradesmen having formerly 
occupied these parts and some of their long narrow work- 
shops, which resemble modern bowling alleys, are still 
shown in the neighborhood. This avenue, which, as I 
said before, runs from the Millernthor to the Eeeper- 
bahn, is called "Hamburger Berg," though one can hard- 



*The wall and the gates are no more in existence, though the 
old names still mark the respective places, — Transl, 



54 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

ly distinguish it on a week day from any ordinary large 
square in other cities. But the "Hamburger Berg" on 
Sundays is well worth seeing. Fancy to yourself the 
wildest noise, such as you hear in county fairs in small 
towns, only twenty or thirty times worse, with crowds 
corresponding to the noise and you will obtain a fairly 
good picture of the scene, which enlivens the "Hambur- 
ger Berg" on Sunday afternoons. Everything to be seen 
and heard, as long as there is money in circulation. There 
are: Penny museums, acrobats, menageries, dancing bears, 
monkeys on hand-organs, manipulated by Italians, who 
have trained the little animals to present a cup for col- s 
lection of stray pennies; organs of all kinds, dimensions 
and sounds; harp players of either sex, and in their re- 
spective national garbs; merry-go-rounds; wild men from 
Borneo and close-by realms; Punch and Judy shows, and 
thousands of other things. Between the tents there are 
tables, filled with southern fruits and sweets, at astonish- 
ingly low prices. Italian oranges are exhibited on these 
occasions in marvelous quantities. Thousands and thou- 
sands of people, representing all nations and classes of 
humanity crowd the walks, eating, drinking, smoking, 
merry-making. Most sight-seers are seafaring men, sol- 
diers, servant girls in their odd Hamburg style of dress- 
ing; the ever present, ever shouting, ever drumming, 
trumpeting, whistling, happy Hamburger boys are not to 
be forgotten; their number is legion, their watchword: 
fun. After one has taken in all the sights and side-show 
wonders of the "Hamburger Berg" one arrives at St. 
Pauli proper, which is the most notorious suburb of the 
metropolis. This notoriety, however, fits only that part 
of the locality where sailors, ferry-men (Ewerftihrer) 
and the rougher shore and saloon element have their 
abodes and stamping grounds. The upper St. Pauli has 
nice, respectable, well populated streets, which show lit- 
tle life on work days, a strange fact, which all suburbs of 
Hamburg seem to have in common, as the only parts 
which are populated during working hours are the busi- 
ness quarters, the exchange and the water front, where 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 55 

the world's commerce is enacted par excellence. The 
border line between St. Pauli and the adjoining city of 
Altona is marked by a ditch six to eight feet wide, the 
odor of which suggested a change to the least sensitive. 
Unless one pays special attention, the entry into Hostein 
territory is scarcely noticeable; the streets run right 
through, and the style of building seems to indicate no 
special change, so that the aforementioned ditch and, per- 
haps, the change of names of the thoroughfares, consti- 
tute the only landmark. Altona, meaning " too-near-by, ' ' 
is built in the same style as the old Hansatown. Its exist- 
ence is the outcome of a bet between rival merchants of 
Hamburg. The streets are mostly crooked and narrow, 
the houses old-fashioned, tall, gloomy, each one of them 
brings to my mind the ghost of some petrified mayor or 
burgomaster, or senator, caused, I presume, by the abun- 
dance of rare old sculpture and relief work which adorns 
the facades. There are, of course, a few real nice streets 
and places, the Pallmaille, being the most noteworthy on 
accoimt of its width, which admits of four avenues, 
adorned with linden trees. Magnificent residences at- 
tract the eye on either side of this beautiful thoroughfare 
and remind one of the celebrated "Unter den Linden" 
in Berlin. The monument of Conrad von Bliicher, sec- 
end cousin to the immortal General Blucher-Wahlstadt, 
is another ornament of Pallmaille; in him the inhab- 
itants have honored one of their noblest citizens. The 
immense steam levers at the freight section of the large 
station of the Altona-Kiel Kail road aroused my interest 
greatly. The station is well located on the high bank of 
the river Elbe and the aforementioned steam levers lift 
from a hundred and fifty to two hundred weight with 
an ease and a. rapidity that is truly astonishing. It takes 
but two minutes to raise such loads and place them 
wherever wanted. These levers are constantly at work 
and well worth watching; they operate even at night 
when business is brisk. Passing the railroad station, one 
immediately enters the village of Ottensen, just as un- 
suspectingly as is the crossing of the Hamburg-Altona 



56 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

border. In the middle of this village stands the church, 
surrounded as is customary in our own villages of East 
Prussia, by the churchyard. Ottensen has three cele- 
brated graves, beautifully described in Friedrich Ruck- 
ert's poem: "The Graves at Ottensen." The first one is 
marked by a simple stone; it is located close to the church 
and seldom without flowers, which his countrymen and 
foreign pilgrims lovingly place upon the last resting place 
of one of Germany's greatest poets, F. G. Klopstock, the 
author of the "Messiah." The second grave of note, 
much larger, but just as unpretentious, is a sad reminder 
of the cruelties of war. In 1813, when Napoleon's most 
heartless general, Marshal Louis Nicolas Davoust, Duke 
of Auerstadt, Prince of Eckmuhl compelled General 
Tettenborn (a German commander in temporary service 
of Eussia) to vacate Hamburg, he imposed a fine of forty- 
eight million marks upon the city and crowned his god- 
less work by driving thirty thousand poor from their 
homes and out of the city during the ice cold Christmas 
night, while some of his hordes set fire to that quarter 
of the town, just vacated, after appropriating the little 
they could use. A holocaust of eleven hundred persons, 
mostly aged or very young, who were unable to with- 
stand starvation, cold and sickness, were found dead or 
dying on Christmas day in the fields near Ottensen, while 
the church bells were announcing the coming of the Sa- 
vior! And the remains of these victims are mostly bur- 
ied in this simple spot of gentle, all-embracing mother 
earth.* 



*A recent article stated that the descendants of Marshal Da- 
voust were endeavoring to fasten the responsibility for the above- 
mentioned crime upon subordinates, and circumstances beyond his 
control. To them and such as they, the prophecy of Ruckert is 
addressed in words like these : 

"In this grave lie buried a generation nigh, 

"Who from their silent chamber to the God of Justice 

cry, 
"They call for help from Heaven, 
"Out of their humble grave, 
"To Him, Who loves the lowly 
"And frowns upon the knave." — Transl, 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 57 

Close to the wall of the little church one finds the third 
grave. Little is left of the humble tablet which once bore 
the name of the silent dweller, Charles William Ferdi- 
nand, Duke of Brunswick, who had been a true successor 
of the long line of noble rulers, and who had proven his 
great valor and love of country by laying down his life 
in the battle of Auerstadt, in which the infamous Davoust 
won for himself the title of "Duke." Strange coinci- 
dent! The noble Brunswick, wounded unto death, was 
taken to Ottensen, to find his future resting place, in the 
same village graveyard, where the victims of Davoust 's 
Christinas holocaust were to share his fate, seven years 
later. 

Leaving this memorable spot, we do not find much time 
for meditation as the close-by "Rainville" soon con- 
vinces the stroller, that things are yet very much alive 
in Ottensen. Rainville is a favorite pleasure resort for 
Hamburg and Altona working people. It is built in ter- 
races on the high bank of the Elbe, and consequently of- 
fers a beautiful view of the Hanoverian mountains, which 
adorn the opposite shore. Eainville is particularly well 
patronized on Sundays, on account of the delightful con- 
certs, which draw the music-loving middle class. Last 
Sunday, for instance, a band of fifty musicians from the 
Italian Infantry Regiment, Wellington, enraptured the 
hearers. "What music! Not until then did I realize how 
dances, especially waltzes, ought to be played. The Aus- 
trian bands, for instance, play hardly anything else, 
though occasionally they give a march and more rarely 
an easy selection from some favorite opera. However, no 
matter what their program may call for, they play their 
parts well. Difficult compositions are not chosen, pre- 
sumably because the musicians realize that their audience 
here would not fully appreciate such efforts. This is true 
in most cases, where, as in Rainville, the audience is ex- 
ceptionally large. Everybody seems to give the Italians 
the preference over their rivals. "We remained last Sun- 
day several hours in Rainville, as I could neither sat- 
isfy my longing for the beautiful views which it offers, 



58 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEX GATE 

nor did I tire of listening to the beautiful, lively music, 
notwithstanding that the Austrians had their turn this 
time. Toward evening we returned to our dwelling place 
by the way of the picturesque suburb of Eimsbiittel. 

Hamburg, May 18th, 1851. 
Such a walk as I took a week ago and which I endeav- 
ored to describe to you in my letter of the day before yes- 
terday, offers much diversion and much food for thought- 
ful minds. Whenever the Hamburg weather is favorable 
on Sunday afternoons, one can see all Hamburg on foot, 
to inhale a breath of fresh, country air, or of the sea 
breeze, in one or another resort. Of course, one has to 
be a good sprinter to get the full benefit, as it includes 
often miles of walking upon stony sidewalks before he 
reaches the country roads. Those who have carriages 
at their disposal are, of course, at an advantage. All 
hotels, inns, coffee gardens, beer gardens, from the most 
select to the poor man's resorts, are crowded with hu- 
manity, though the number of such country resorts is 
truly amazing. Everywhere is music, from grand or- 
chestra concerts, to plain dancing hall music, and the 
Hamburg people do love to dance, so much so, that I be- 
lieve they would feel very much out of place where music 
and dancing are not at least a part of the program. The 
dances are the ever present, unavoidable gallop and the 
so-called Ehinelander or Polish Radowaczka, in which the 
merry-makers constantly change position from right to 
left— which is certainly very amusing to look upon, as 
most of these people know quite well how to dance. Let 
it be understood, however, that the dancing public varies 
in the matter of etiquette and manners, according to the 
resort they frequent, though it struck me very peculiarly 
that the women dancers seem to be less particular 
whether they dressed in silks and satin, or in the plain 
cotton of the farm hand: girls as well as boys are em- 
ployed on German farms and work in harmony; they are 
simply all out for a good time, caring little for ceremony 
and etiquette. The fact that most of them address each 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 59 

other with the familiar "thou" characterizes the free 
and easy spirit which prevails during these Sunday after- 
noons. One thing has surprised me especially: the ele- 
gance and luxury with which places of public amuse- 
ments are fitted up; I am at a loss to describe them, as 
what I witnessed in Berlin does not begin to approach 
them. This is not only true of the larger establishments, 
such as the Tonhalle, Appollo-Saal and many others, but 
even ordinary beer and wine resorts everywhere abound 
in luxury. The gardens have generally long rows of 
beautiful arbors of choicest climbers, often costly impor- 
tations from foreign lands. These arbors are so arranged 
that each division has its table around which green 
benches complete the furniture, inviting the visitors and 
their friends to a pleasant rendezvous, be it en famille 
or otherwise. And it is in just such places where the 
tired clerks and storekeepers, as well as others, meet to 
talk shop, or more likely to divert themselves in various 
ways as inclination may suggest. These beer gardens 
are seldom peopled in day time— except Sundays— but by 
eight o'clock in the evening you will find every one of 
them crowded, and merry laughter fills the air. The 
inner halls of these resorts are mostly well frescoed or 
elegantly draped and papered. Be it said to the credit 
of the Hamburg people that they are very moderate in 
the use of alcoholic drinks. One may sit for hours with 
the same glass of beer and a cigar, while enjoying a pleas 
ant chat with a neighbor. Though there happen to be 
nearly thirty thousand Austrian soldiers in and near tin' 
city, one seldom sees them mix with citizens or partici- 
pate in public frolics; if they do, their presence always 
marks modesty and politeness and twenty Austrian offi- 
cers do not make nearly as much noise as four Prussian 
ensigns. It consequently does not surprise me that the 
Austrians enjoy a better reputation in Hamburg than the 
Prussians, who are not at all liked here.* 



*This statement is absolutely true, for the reason that the 
plain, cosmopolitan-spirited Hamburger cannot and will not bar- 



GO EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

May 19th, 1851. 

The most beautiful flower in the wreath of villages and 
beauty spots which surround this eity of many attrac- 
tions, is Blankenese, whither I went a week ago to-day. 
The banks of the Elbe from and below Altona resemble 
in character the ocean beaches, and if I were to make a 
comparison with our home coast I should choose a spot 
near Neukuren, where the little birch forest runs seem- 
ingly into the ocean, including the sea-bordered land- 
scape near AVanger-Spitze. 

At the end of two hours of walk below Altona, the 
beach forms a small bay, more picturesque and higher 
than I have ever seen, in the midst of which a sharp eye 
may discover a miniature valley, from the middle of 
which arises, on terrace-shaped walls, the beautiful vil- 
lage of Blankenese. Every house, every hut and barn 
lies either in the midst of pretty floral display, or is al- 
most hidden by aged, wide-spreading trees. The terraces 
make the laying out of streets superfluous, but here and 
there one finds stairways facilitating access to the dwell- 
ings. No matter whether one approaches Blankenese 
from the shore or from the inland road, the same over- 
powering scene awaits the visitor; and strange, indeed, 
is the variation that greets the eye on every step. Here 
nature is powerfully fascinating; one moment the view of 
the village is completely hidden by a chestnut grove, 
while in the next linden, acom or fir trees barely permit 
a glimpse of the sun-kissed waters of the Elbe and the 
mountain chain beyond, which appear to guard the king- 
dom of Hanover. Blankenese has the appearance of a 
mighty gatekeeper or sentinel at the mouth of the Elbe. 
On the top of the elevation is the famous old Inn sur- 
rounded by a beautifully laid out garden, from which 
point one can view the rich Holstein farm lands for miles, 
and watch the peaceful herds enjoying the fresh green 



monize with anyone, who assumes to be "better than thou" on 
every occasion. It is, however, truly surprising that the young 
traveller should have been keen enough to observe it during his 
very short stay in the Hansatown. — Transl. 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 61 

pastures. A turn upon your heel and the scene has 
changed from Nature's own garden to the ship-laden 
waters of the Elbe with another view upon Hanoverian 
plains, dimly visible in the "Far West." The road from 
Ottensen to Blankenese, in itself is worth a good tramp. 
The long line of magnificent residences, with their finely- 
planned gardens, of wealthy Hamburg merchants, de- 
light the eye on either side of the Boulevard, for such it 
is in reality. The stately carriages, with their uniformed 
attendants, ever ready to do the bidding of their aristo- 
cratic masters, are part of the scene, which is particularly 
enchanting wherever a glimpse upon the waves of the 
river is to be had, or where the high hedge of hawthorn, 
which hems in the greater part of the Eastern side of the 
road, permits a glance upon the afore-described rural 
scenes of Holstein. Though I have tramped considerably 
through these parts, I have not discovered any portion 
of land on which grain had been raised. One only finds 
squares of twelve to fifteen hundred feet of pasture, each 
square marked by a formidable hedge. I passed several 
hours upon the Sullberg watching the ebb tide, which 
slowly compelled every vessel upon the river to stop its 
course for a certain time. One by one, schooners, ferry- 
boats, fishing smacks, even little pleasure seekers, which 
but a few minutes ago enjoyed the gentle rocking of the 
waves, were compelled to obey the law of Nature, which 
makes it almost possible for a man to wade through the 
river bottom, i. e., near the shore. Not the slightest 
breeze could be felt. Here and there, from more or less 
distant chimneys arose small columns of smoke; now and 
then it conveyed the odor of fried fish and potatoes, which 
reminded me of the approaching night. The moist sand 
along the bank was too inviting to be overlooked, and so I 
chose it for my return route to the city. Deeper and 
deeper went the setting sun with its brilliant colors, beau- 
tifying the small clouds on the azure sky, and recalling 
to my mind the words of Galileo: "And yet it move-." 
After a while T seated myself upon a large stone, watch- 
ing tiny waves disappearing in the sand; the windows of 



63 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the little fishermen's huts shone reddish from across the 
river, until one after the other apparently lost its bril- 
liancy and slowly disappeared entirely from my horizon. 
The shadows grew until the last glimmer of the setting 
sun kissed the tree tops a hearty farewell — altogether a 
scene beautiful to behold. Soon all had become a thing 
of the past, a mere remembrance. The opposite hills 
grew darker and difficult to recognize. The air was pure 
and refreshing and so quiet that I sometimes fancied I 
heard the ringing of bells such as cows carry when out in 
pasture. Everything was quiet and peaceful around me, 
while I was writing in the ocean-sand the names of my 
beloved ones in the far away home. First yours, father, 
then mother's, then the name of my beloved Marie, not 
forgetting Maurice close by. When I had finished my 
dream, I continued my tramp homeward, my pathway 
being illumined by the silvery moonlight, while a thin 
white fog commenced to veil the rural scenes across the 
river. It was late. "When I reached ,the gate it was 
closed, which meant a fine of four Hamburg shillings! 
That was certainly a damper to my sentimental cogita- 
tions. What business does a reputable merchant's clerk 
have to sit dreaming upon a stone and write names in the 
sands of the Elbe, making thereby a fool of himself? 
Fine: four shillings in Hamburg currency! 

May 19th, p. m. 

During the three weeks which I have been compelled 

to spend here there has been a fire and a flood. The fire 

occurred one night last week and devoured four or five 

houses on "Kehrwieder.'.'* * Such fires are not consid- 



*Translator's "note.— The old Kehrwieder was a typical tene- 
ment district on the waterfront, inhabited exclusively by long- 
shoremen and water-rats, as the thousands of wherry-men are 
called in Hamburg dialect. This neighborhood is now part of 
the magnificent "bonded ware-house district" called "Freihafen," 
where foreign importations may be stored as "transient," escap- 
ing thereby whatever duty they may be subject to, provided the 
transfer to other parts occurs within a given time. 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 63 

ered very important, though it generally means a loss of 
one or two houses, notwithstanding the excellent working 
of the local fire department, and the fact that there is 
an abundance of water everywhere in the numberless 
channels which are winding their often crooked way 
through the thoroughfares of the Hansatown. As for 
the relief work of the fire department, it is done most con- 
scientiously. I counted no less than twenty-two hose 
services, supplied by as many pumps, which were well 
handled by strong men and not as at home, by half-grown 
hoys. Taking all that into consideration, the cause for 
the rapid spread of the fire can only be found in the mis- 
erable construction of the tenements themselves, which 
are mostly so crooked, so high, and in the meantime so 
given to decay, that the term "fire-traps" would never 
be more appropriately applied.* A real fire alarm, such 
as causes the whole population of Konigsberg to turn out 
at the burning of a barn, is unknown here. The first 
alarm signal in this city is given by more or less shots 
from an artillery cannon on the Dammthorwall gate; the 
number of shots fired indicates the degree of seriousness. 
The immediate neighborhood in which a fire occurs re- 
ceives warning from the permanent tower guard of the 
church in the vicinity or parish, in which it happens. 
These guards reside in the church steeples, two or three 
hundred feet from the ground. During the conflagration 
of May 5, 6, 7 and 8, 1S42, there occurred a remarkable 
incident: The large church of St. Nicholas (Nicolai- 
kii'che), one of the five gigantic Lutheran edifices, had 
taken fire and no possible aid could prevent its doom. 
While the flames were approaching the magnificent 



*The translator remembers having seen tenement houses in 
that very district, which harbored one hundred and twenty to one 
hundred and fifty families each, on a lot of about 45 by 125 feet. 
Jacob A. Liis in his world-famous books "The Making of an 
American," "Giildren of Tenements," and "Battle with the 
Slum," as well as, "1 low the < Hher Half Lives," has not exagger- 
ated the deplorable state of affairs, which originated in Europe 
and of which rich old Hamburg has unfortunatelv her share. 



64 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

tower, all eyes were riveted upon the well-known balcony 
from which the faithful guard (Thurmhiiter) had sound- 
ed the tocsin, or, at nine o 'clock, played nightly the mel- 
ody of some well-known hymn for many a year. Word 
had been sent up that his life was in danger, but to no 
avail. He watched the progress of the destructive ele- 
ment and when the heat of the flames and the smoke 
became too intense, in other words, when the falling of 
the tower and his certain death were but a question of 
minutes, he once more raised his trumpet to his mouth 
and sounded the famous old hymn: "Em' feste Burg ist 
unser Gott!" (A solid tower is our God!) Hardly had 
he finished when the earthly tower, which had given him 
shelter for so many years, fell with a crash, burying its 
last and noblest guard under its ruins, a martyr to duty. 
No Hamburg native speaks of that conflagration without 
honoring the memory of the greatest hero of that disas- 
ter, by relating these facts. To return to our thread: 
Tolling the district fire-bell in daytime is supplemented 
at night by the patrolman's horn and his very measured 
shouts of: Fire! fire! fire!— "Kehrwedder," or announc- 
ing whatever neighborhood of the district may be endan- 
gered. As mostly natives apply for the positions of 
patrolmen, these notices are generally given in low Ger- 
man, a typical "Hamburger Plattdutsch." The more 
unruly the element, the oftener one hears the tolling and 
the announcements. During the Kehrwieder fire, for in- 
stance, I counted fifteen of those much dreaded alarms. 
There is as little commotion noticeable among the inhab- 
itants during a storm flood, as in time of fire, three can- 
non shots, in rapid succession, announce the impending- 
danger. As long as the flood does not rise too high the 
numerous water gates (being closed at the sound of 
alarm) protect the city from invasion, which threatens 
especially the inhabitants of the cellars, who are mostly 
small dealers in vegetables, liquors or small goods, with 
here and there a cheap restaurant. The real danger 
arises when the water rushes over the tops of the water- 
gates, which is said to be a rare occurrence; when it does 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSION'S 65 

happen, however, most cellars of the old city become 
uninhabitable, and one sees every portable piece of prop- 
erty piled up along the sidewalks, all of which is but the 
work of a few minutes, as the second and third alarm, 
suffices to put the cellar-dwellers on their guard. The 
Bight, particularly when it happens at night time, is often 
heartrending; imagine distracted citizens, sick or well, 
old or young, with babies in arms, driven into the street 
during an icy winter night. Fortunately, even this con- 
dition is looked upon by the long-suffering people as an 
unavoidable evil, and is therefore taken philosophically. 
These floods, aside from the great inconveniences just 
described, leave always an army of rats and other unwel- 
come guests behind, with which all seaports are more 
or less infested. 

Fire and water remind me of an extremely practical 
though very expensive arrangement. Here and there the 
visitor observes in the middle of the street a funnel- 
shaped opening about three feet in diameter, which leads 
into an immense out-fall sewer, the building of which 
has cost the city millions of marks. These sewer chan- 
nels are six feet deep and four feet wide and form a well- 
laid sewer system, extending throughout the city, having 
for its only object the removal of sewage from the houses 
and streets to the Elbe. This system was introduced by 
an English engineer shortly after the conflagration of 
1842. An obstruction of this sewer has never occurred 
so far, and strange as it may seem, the city has never had 
a cent's worth of repairs on this sewer since the opening 
nearly ten years ago. The cause may be found in the 
spacious and solidly built channels, which are thoroughly 
cleaned by flushing, at least once a month. This clean- 
ing is done by opening a single water gate of the Outer- 
Alster, whereupon the water rushes with a thundering 
roar into the subterraneous tunnel-like conduits, remov- 
ing thereby every particle of garbage and refuse in a 
very few hours, as if thousands of shovels and brooms 
had been at work. To give you a more exact estimate of 
the power with which the water removes all sewage, the 

5 



66 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

final triumphal experiment of the engineer may be 
related: When his last inspection had satisfied his own 
expectations, he invited the Senators of Hamburg to wit- 
ness a public exhibition of his magnificent success. 
Marked rocks of about three hundredweight each were 
thrown into the sewer at different points, to test the force 
of the rushing water, and behold every one of those rocks 
disappeared and was afterwards discovered at the outlets 
of the respective conduits; not one had remained in its 
place. At stated times visitors may inspect the system, 
and even royal visitors are counted among the eager spec- 
tators. But let this be enough for to-night. The evening 
is so beautiful that I am tempted to go out for a walk 
through the city. 

May 21st, 1851. 
Somehow I cannot tear myself away from this letter 
and no matter how often I decide to take it to the post- 
office I change my mind to add one or the other thought 
which just happens to cross it. It gives me such inex- 
pressible pleasure to chat with my beloved ones for half 
an hour, when and wherever I feel like it, to tell them 
whatever I may have seen, heard or experienced. Yes- 
terday I took a walk along the famous Jungfernstieg 
(Old Maid's Path) toward the Alster-Arcades, after hav- 
ing enjoyed a cup of coffee at the Pavilion. When I was 
about to turn into the Grosse Bleichen there appeared 
suddenly a strange procession of still stranger figures, 
clothed in the costumes of buried centuries. I thought 
I was dreaming until I became convinced that it was a 
reality, that I had a living, though mediaeval picture 
before me. Two by two, with measured step, they turn 
around the corner, where Grote-Ipmato's cigar store is 
located. Solemn as their walk was their whole appear- 
ance, reminding one of Heinrich Heine's 

"Men of darkened mien and mantle 
Spanish ruffles 'round their necks, 
Dangling sabers, long drawn faces," etc. 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 67 

Tliey looked just as the great lyric poet described them. 
Well! I thought the king's down had bitten me ( a Ger- 
man idiom reminding one of Charles Dickens': "I'll eat 
my head"), when the whole proved to be a— funeral pro- 
cession! These strangely attired figures which passed be- 
fore me were Hamburg coffin-bearers, who, as I after- 
wards learned, form a very select guild. Their costumes 
are too uncommon to omit, as you will surely appreciate 
the description. These men, to begin with, wear highly 
polished shoes with satin rosettes about as large as a 
medium sized saucer, their nether extremities are hidden 
in velvet knee breeches, and long black silk stockings, 
attached to the former by immense silver buckles, all of 
which, if intended to hide the crooked limbs— for all 
those coffin-bearers had crooked limbs and no calves— 4 
fail in their purpose. Next comes the waistcoat of black 
broad-cloth, with ungainly but snow-white cuffs, cover- 
ing part of the hands, while broad ruffled collars of spot- 
less linen encircle the long necks of the bony wearer, 
making the head appear like that of St. John the Bap- 
tist, presented upon a plate or like a ball of nine-pins 
placed upon a mill-stone. From their shoulders falls a 
short Spanish cloak, and the hair— if they have any— 
is carefully hidden under a snow-white wig, the principal 
ornament of which, consists of two well tallowed and 
twisted curls on either side of the lengthy face. But I 
must not forget the sword which fits this professional 
pall-bearer as a cat's tail would fit a duck. 

Having read this true description of a Hamburg coffin- 
bearer, place yourself in my position, and tell me if it is 
not enough to make one's hair stand up straight, when, 
being a stranger, after reading the "National Gazette" 
or the "Fliegende Blatter" (Flying Leaves, Germany's 
best humoristic paper), while enjoying a cup of coffee at 
the Pavilion, one strolls aimlessly along the Jungfern- 
stieg, meaning no harm but glancing admiringly, or other- 
wise, at the latest Parisian styles for fashionable folks, 
one is suddenly confronted by such an apparition. One 
is carried bark — nolens volens— to the sixteenth century. 
It actually stunned me. 



68 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Aiiotlier body of men curious to look upon is the local 
militia or "citizens' guard," as they are commonly called. 
It would do your heart good to see them. They are most- 
ly tradesmen and artisans, tailors, glove-makers, etc. 
They are indeed comical figures ; conspicuous among them 
are the officers of this self-appointed soldiery. The uni- 
forms, too, are as odd as their wearers, and funny; to look 
upon. Long blue coats with blue velvet collars and cuffs, 
white leather belts and helmets (rather "czakos," pro- 
nounced tshaccoes, a semi-Russian head-gear), both such 
as our Prussian army were wont to wear in by-gone years. 
The genuine Hamburg soldier, however, is uniformed 
after the new Prussian army outfit with the exception 
of the dark green coats, while the helmets bear the Ham- 
burg coat-of-arms— three towers— instead of the Prus- 
sian eagle. These militiamen exercise regularly in a 
large field called the "Biirgerweide" (i. e., citizen's pas- 
ture), which is located just outside of the Dammthor. 
The whole is looked upon by progressive Hamburgers as 
a relic of the past, which like many others will soon van- 
ish entirely. 

The history of Hamburg, called Hamburgensien, is 
said to be full of remarkably interesting incidents, and 
has been made the subject of special study by several 
renowned scholars, among whom, Dr. Otto Beneke, the 
author of Hamburgische Geschichten und Sagen (Ham- 
burg Tales and Legends), and the lecturer, Dr. Rudiger, 
have endeared themselves particularly to the native 
Ilanseatic. The most remarkable one of the first named 
tales and legends is the "authentic visit" of Ahasuerus, 
the wandering Jew, who is said to have visited Hamburg 
during the winter of 1547, which was his very first ap- 
pearance in Europe. The chronicle describes him as of 
tall, bony figure, poorly clad and of decidedly foreign 
look and mien; he wore a long white beard, and though 
apparently not more than fifty years of age, his long hair, 
too, was snowy white. He was exemplary in his de- 
meanor and edified the worshippers in the house of God. 
A young theologian, Paul von Eitzen, undertook to in- 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 69 

terview this strange man, and obtained the following ac- 
count: Ahasuems by name, and shoemaker by profes- 
sion, he had already been living at the time of Christ in 
the city of Jerusalem, his native place. Like most of his 
fellow-men, he had mistaken Jesus for a sectarian and 
a revolutionist and, in unison with many others, had de- 
manded the crucifixion of the Master. AVhen the proces- 
sion, headed for Calvary, passed his house, he, Ahasuerus, 
refused the suffering Savior even a moment's rest, driv- 
ing him off in a rude manner so as to be esteemed for his 
cruelty by the Pharisees. Then the Christ, lookly sadly 
at the infuriated Jew, spake these words: "I only wished 
to rest a while, but thou hast refused me, wherefore thou 
shalt wander upon earth until the day of judgment com- 
eth." After hearing these words, he felt an indescribable 
longing to witness the crucifixion, during which he ex- 
perienced so great a change of heart that, repenting his 
deed, he left Jerusalem to do penance for his sins and 
has been homeless ever since, a living warning to all 
unbelievers and scoffers and destined to become a living 
witness against the Jews on the last day. He suddenly 
disappeared and visited this city but once more, says the 
chronicle, and that was in A. D. 1606. 



May 22nd, 1851. 

Yesterday afternoon I met Vogt from Konigsberg and 
Rudolph Ehlert as well as one Kullack, ex-lieutenant of 
the Schleswig-Holstein army, with whom I spent a very 
pleasant evening in the Walhalla, a delightful resort on 
the Outer-Alster-Basin, where good concerts and moder- 
ately reasonable priced refreshments help one to forget 
the time. Sommerfeld is rooming at the same hotel that 
I am, just two rooms from me. He is awaiting money, 
like so many other Schleswig-Holstein officers, every one 
of whom expects to emigrate to America sooner or later. 
Many of these poor fellows are really stranded bnt man- 
age in some way to take life easy, true to the oM Saxo- 
nian saying: 



70 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

"Man muss das Leben eben nehmen, 
Wie's Leben eben ist." 

(One should take life just, as life just is.) 

Tlie local beer-gardens and saloons have attractions 
for the new-comer which are not to be found in Konigs- 
berg. Nobody seems to be surprised to hear English, 
Danish or Spanish spoken at one and the same table. 
Not even a head turns unless it be that of a stranger, 
like myself. I mostly spend my evenings at Diedrichs, 
townsman from Elbing, who has done Olias and me many 
a favor. It was there where I met a Turk the other night, 
who only spoke a few words of broken English outside 
of his mother tongue, but he got his beefsteak, played 
a game of billiards and went away again without re- 
ceiving any more attention than other guests. People 
who have travelled for years in foreign lands, in America, 
Africa, etc., speak of their experiences as if they were 
every-day occurrences, and if any guest within hearing 
distance tries to listen, depend upon it he is not a Ham- 
burger. It has already happened to me on different occa- 
sions to speak German to one and English to another 
table companion, an easy matter when you become used 
to it. 

There are quite a number of Konigsberg and other 
East-Prussians in this city. I meet many old acquain- 
tances, most of whom will leave sooner or later for for- 
eign lands. And rnarvelously good it seems to a fellow 
to shake hands once more with one you have known — 
back home — sometimes only a mere sight acquaintance. 
Thus I met Grafe, son of the book-dealer, who intends 
going to Venice in a few weeks. Voss, who is bound for 
Liverpool in search of a living. Both were schoolmates 
of mine. Briihl also is about to set out for America, i. e., 
Milwaukee via New York. One thing more that you will 
appreciate. Seeing my prospective needs, I shall now 
begin in earnest with the study of the Spanish language 
and have consequently purchased Franceson's Dictionary 



HAMBURG: GENERAL IMPRESSIONS 71 

and an excelleni grammar by Jos.' Eusebio Gomez de 
Mier, both upon friend Grafe's recommendation, who is 

now employed in a local hook-store.* 

Grafe and others assure me that the 1 Spanish Language 
is very easily mastered by one who is studying not mere- 
ly for pastime but Tor a purpose. The whole construc- 
tion resembles the French and the irregularities are said 
to be much better classified and less subject to excep- 
tions. Thus I hope to make good headway, though self- 
instruction is said to be of slow progress. Where there is 
a will there is a way. Time will surely not fail me during 
my long trip. 

It just occurs to me that there still remains a bit of 
Bertha's curiosity to be satisfied. Tell her that the 
"glass-street" which she has heard others mention is not 
altogether a myth, but looks different from what the 
sound of the word would suggest. One finds here out- 
side of regular thoroughfares -by land and water— quite 
a number of passages for pedestrians only. These are 
intended to facilitate communications in large blocks and 
are, in reality, tunnels within said blocks, having the ap- 
pearances of streets, with stores, cafe's, etc., which gener- 
ally receive their light through immense arched transoms 
which top the sides of these tunnels. They are called 
passages, for instance, the Exchange, Arcade, Praetz- 
nian's and many other passages. The Hotel de liussie 
on the Jungfernstieg is thus tunneled, having a glass 
bridge transom that measures ninety by three hundred 
and fifty or more feet, so that this immense opening in 
the five-story building looks at the first glance like a 
large hall, the sides of which with their finely polished 
plate-glass windows give the whole — particularly when 



*The memory of Gomez de Mier is still cherished by many who 
have been benefited by his teachings as has the translator. A 
noble soul, who devoted his busy life to the service of his own 
native land by increasing its foreign commercial interests and 
thereby cementing the union between two -'"eat nations, yea hem- 
ispheres. Prof. De Mier spent many of his best years in I lam- 
burg, where, as he expressed it, every foreigner feels at home. 



n EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

lighted— the appearance of a glass-arcade. This, then, 
must be the street referred to. It is called "Alster 
Arcade. ' ' 

I close right here, in order not to run the risk of tiring 
you, my beloved ones, with this almost endless letter. 
Before going on board I shall doubtless write once more. 

Meantime I send thousands of most heartfelt greetings 
to all who bear me love. 

Most affectionately 

(Signed) FRANZ. 

Pardon the translator a few words in defence of his native 
place, i. e., as far as St. Pauli and its manifold pleasures are con- 
cerned, which some American readers may want to criticise. The 
grand old Hansatown is a cosmopolitan seaport — eleven hundred 
years old — of a set character ; St. Pauli is, as the author already 
stated, the center of pleasure-seeking foreigners, mostly sailors 
and visiting farm-hands. There the native Hamburger is very 
much in the minority. — Germans drink their beverage as such, 
but never otherwise. If therefore you think or hear of excesses, 
treat them as exceptions if — which is rarely true — they can be 
laid to the door of a native. The Northern German especially, 
despises intemperance, though very few are total abstainers. — 
J. C. B. 
Transl. 



LETTER NO. IV 



On Board of Bark Victoria, off Hamburg, near Gliick- 

stadt. 

June 6th, 1851. 
My Beloved Ones:— Floating at last! I have been on 
board the " Victoria" since the second of this month, 
though we did not leave the Hamburg harbor until a 
quarter to six yesterday afternoon. I am informed that 
there are fifty-seven steerage passengers and six cabin 
passengers on board; of all these only ten are bound for 
San Francisco, the others will stop at Valdivia or Val- 
paraiso. My first impression of my fellow-passengers 
leads me to believe that I struck a very companionable 
crowd. There are some from Wiirtemberg, Baden, Hesse, 
Saxony and comparatively few from Prussia. As I ex- 
pected they are mostly good middle-class men of some 
education. "We have also a few women and children on 
board. There is already a certain spirit of harmony 
among the passengers, which seems to increase as the 
hours roll by. Among the cabin passengers we count a 
Dr. Donner— member of one of the oldest and most re- 
spected of Hamburg families— who is booked for Val- 
divia. Of course we do not know each other by name 
just yet, but it strikes me that the way to mutual appre- 
ciation is being paved rapidly, as every one on board is 
seemingly bont upon studying how he can contribute to 
that harmony and happy condition, which are so desira- 
ble on a long and uncertain voyage like ours. As our 
staunch vessel had previously attracted my attention, so 
now do the passengers seem to add to the contentment 
T feel on board the ship. The crew also is well chosen. 
There are seventeen of them: The captain, first and sec- 
ond mate, carpenter, cook, eight experienced and two 
younger tars; also two apprentices. A fine body. 

73 



U EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Our table arrangement is very simple About half- 
past six in the morning each one of us steerage-passen- 
gers gets two quarts of coffee; at twelve o'clock, dinner, 
and at six in the evening, tea, about as much as coffee. At 
present fresh bread and butter is given morning and 
evening, which will later be substituted by so-called 
" ship's zweiback" and butter, as much as we care to eat. 
We agreed to take our turns, i. e., one person for every 
two cabins undertakes to go after the supply for a week, 
divides and distributes the portions and does the dish- 
washing for the time being — one week. The steerage 
cabins are really arranged for four persons, but have 
hardly more than half the number of occupants this trip. 
As previously mentioned, we left the Hamburg harbor at 
about six o'clock last evening from the neighborhood of 
the English Reformed Church, a large but very plain 
edifice. A few friends— old and new — spent the evening 
on board with us, and I assure you their visit will ever 
be remembered, as a few kind wishes, a live hand-shake, 
a "God be with you" on the eve of a long voyage to an 
unknown land and an uncertain fate, go far to overcome 
that awful feeling of loneliness which even the bravest 
of us would otherwise have experienced. Bartsch, Kirsch- 
stein, Diedrich and Fritz Griinhagen, I thank them for 
this favor. 

You will probably have received my letter of the first, 
which was wholly personal. Sister will be interested to 
know how I fitted myself for the trip. Last Friday I went 
to one of the many ship-chandlers where one can buy 
from a. stick-pin to a complete sea-faring outfit, and 
where I purchased the following goods for the price men- 
tioned: One oil-cloth jacket and Southwester for five 
Hamburg marks (about one dollar and a half) ; one plain 
mattress with pillow, for four marks and eight shillings; 
one double woollen blanket for nine marks. Further, but 
do not laugh: Cooking-utensils, one soup plate, spoon, 
butter dish, bottle and mug, together, one mark and eight 
shillings. This completed my outfit. I now considered 
myself in ''ship-shape" for the long voyage. 



ON BOARD BARK "VICTORIA" 75 

"We started with light south wind and within about a 
quarter of an hour we had left the myriads of vessels and 
commenced to set our sails. Our beautiful ship with all 
canvas set and flying flags passed St. Pauli and Altona. 
Nearly all passengers were on deck to enjoy the magnifi- 
cent sight of the terrace-shaped banks of the Elbe, with 
their country residences of Hamburg merchant princes, 
surrounded by well-laid-out gardens, while on the other 
side are large fruit farms on the so-called "Warders," 
little islands, a description of which I have already given. 

We passed Blankenese shortly after seven. The wind 
grew lighter, while the sun sent his parting rays across 
the beautiful scenery. The water scarcely curled around 
our vessel and the mirror-like surface of the Elbe was 
soon covered with innumerable white sails of all sizes, 
surrounding the magnificent three-master, whose im- 
mense pyramid-sails cast a broad, dark shadow upon the 
waters and passed along just as noiselessly as did the 
small, easy-going fisher-boat, which was rocking toward 
tiie owner's homestead that lay hidden amidst shrubbery 
on one of the green islands of the river. The wind be- 
came so light that it was impossible for us to reach 
Stade; but we were compelled by the approaching dark- 
ness to anchor temporarily on the Hanoverian coast and 
a mile and a half from the town mentioned. That hap- 
pened about ten o'clock last night. This morning about 
four we started again and reached Stade by seven, where 
another passenger joined our ranks, after he had delayed 
us for two hours more. Thus we passed Gliickstadt at 
eleven a. m. and anchored half an hour later to await 
another turn of the tide before entering the wide ocean. 
Here we are now, right in the middle of the beautiful 
Elbe, which measures something like a mile and a half 
from shore to shore (i. e., about five English miles). As 
I intend to send this letter via Cuxhaven, I shall have to 
break off that the pilot may take it ashore. You will 
know by this the exact day, almost to the hour, when we 
put to sea. Olias asks as a favor to have the enclosed 
note forwarded to his mother. 



76 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

I shall endeavor to send you one more message of love 
and good cheer. 

Sunday, June 8th, 1851. 

We are still in the same place exactly where we an- 
chored the day before yesterday, i. e., between the Han- 
overian town Fryburg and the Holstein village Brook- 
dorf. Yesterday I had the misfortune to break the rim 
of my spectacles. While washing myself I had laid them 
in what I considered a safe place, but one of our cabin 
boys managed to break them, unintentionally, of course. 
I have succeeded, however, in fixing them after a fash- 
ion, so that they will probably stand the trip. 

While the river did not show much life yesterday, 
there was more of it on board. We had our first day of 
" distribution," which means the laying in of the weekly 
supply of bread, butter and sugar, which necessarily 
caused much noise and racket, which was increased by 
the carpenter's task of the day of driving nails through 
the strap iron bands of the boxes; this is done in order to 
fasten them together for the purpose of preventing the 
otherwise unavoidable swinging and breaking when out 
on the open sea. These were really the first intimations 
that we had not merely gone on a pleasure trip, but on a 
serious sea voyage. Other preparations, such as the secure 
corking of the water barrels, fastening of life-boats, while 
new to most of us, were nevertheless very tiresome and 
noisy, thus making the day one of the dreariest we have 
so far spent on board of the "Victoria." Toward evening 
we rested from the annoyances of the day. Absolute calm 
set in toward seven o'clock, and as a consequence the 
river became as smooth as a mirror, while the shores 
seemed to float in a mist of fog. The tolling of bells from 
the Fryburg church could be plainly heard on board, and 
they reminded us of the approaching Feast of Pentecost.* 



*This feast of the Holy Ghost is much more observed in Luth- 
eran countries than elsewhere and has become the herald of a 
season of excursions and summer festivities, particularly in 
northern climes. The approach of the "summer vacation," called 



ON BOARD BARK "VICTORIA" 77 

We all sat on deck until nearly eleven o'clock, and men 
and women alike enjoyed the pleasant evening', enter- 
taining each other with jokes, songs and general merry- 
making. 

Today it is raining— pouring, I should call it— as if 
the water were emptied upon us by the bucketful. While 
I am penning these lines the clouds seem to grow thinner 
and here and there are indications of a -clear sky for the 
afternoon— due perhaps to the ardent supplications of 
Hamburg maidens who have set their hearts on airing a 
new bonnet or even a brand-new dress on this, the open- 
ing day of the season. And woman is the same the world 
over. The wind is blowing from the west which gives us 
little hope for an early start. We have been surrounded 
by thirty or more larger or smaller vessels, in course of 
time, all like ourselves are waiting for favorable wind to 
speed along. Nothing is more discouraging than to be 
nailed to one spot and to feel a breeze overhead without 
being able to utilize it, as the Elbe, though very wide to 
the naked eye, is but a narrow water in which ships like 
the Victoria cannot course about to great advantage. 
There remains nothing but to patiently await a favorable 
turn of the wind. Meanwhile there is plenty of time to 
plan and execute our preparations for the long trip which 
is before us. 

Tuesday, June 10th, 1851. 
At 9 a. m. 
My hope that the weather might clear up during the 
afternoon of Pentecost Sunday was only realized in part 
to allow us an evening recreation on deck, which oc- 
currence brings the individuals closer to each other, and 
shows a variety of amusing intellects which would sur- 
prise you. Yesterday we encountered a genuine North- 
sea storm. Of course, there was no possibility of sailing 
on Sunday, and all the vessels which had come down the 



"clog's days," which lasts four long weeks and not as we have it, 
threw whole months, is joyfully welcomed by the young. — Transl. 



78 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

river were obliged to anchor in our vicinity, as the Elbe 
changes its course near Fryburg and thus neutralizes 
the breeze that has helped them thus far. Yesterday's 
storm raged with an intensity I never witnessed before; 
and the rain came down in torrents. Our vessel, though 
at anchor, was thrown on one side and rocked so terribly 
that most of our passengers became sea-sick. I should 
never have thought the Elbe capable of raising such im- 
mense waves at this point. About eight o'clock in the 
morning two> barks which were a little ahead of us 
weighed anchor to go back to greater safety, an example 
which was soon followed by four or five brigs and a few 
schooners, so that we were actually left alone to hold the 
fort— a circumstance which I thought rather amusing. 
But about half-past ten we, too, began to get busy and, 
though the whole crew and ten or twelve passengers were 
working at the capstan and winding tackle, it took a full 
hour to haul in the big chain, which measures in bulk 
about twenty cords. We returned to Gliickstadt, where 
we re-anchored at one o'clock in the midst of the vessels 
which had left Fryburg before us. Besides, there were 
many others which had come down from Hamburg, and, 
like ourselves, were compelled to wait. As we were now 
sheltered from the rough weather the water calmed and 
our sick people soon recovered from their seasickness, 
which in most cases baffled all description. During the 
evening nearly all of them appeared on deck to enjoy the 
fresh breeze, intermitted with slight showers. Our 
evenings, as I have said before, are looked for with spe- 
cial pleasure. Everybody seems gay and full of fun. Two 
fellows especially, one Fabricius from Berlin, and a 
Suabian by the name of Stolle, seem inexhaustible and 
untiring in finding ways to amuse the crowd— a worthy 
aim which is heartily supported by almost everybody; 
though one always finds a few cranks in a large body of 
peojjle. Aside from the two commissaries of good cheer 
— Fabricius and Stolle— we have some very talented mu- 
sical amateurs on board. There is likewise a raconteur, 
who has seemingly a supply of anecdotes and Hamburg 



UN BOARD BARK "VICTORIA" 79 

legends that will last and amuse us for quite a while to 
coine. Among our musicians there is a Tliuringian paper- 
hanger, who is a veritable master of the Jews'- harp; in 
this way we enjoy vocal and instrumental concerts and 
timely after-dinner speeches, which are by no means to 
be undervalued. 

Our steerage has now a more respectable appearance, 
everything being definitely placed, boxes fastened and 
nailed together, so as not to disturb our rest by day or 
night. The upper berths are so close to the ceiling that 
1 can touch it when lying fiat on my back, yet the lower 
berths do not have as much room. Yesterday we re- 
ceived ship's fare for the first time: "White peas with 
potatoes and pork. It was excellent; I ate two portions 
of it, my own and that of a sea-sick companion, while my 
thoughts drifted all the time to you, my dear father, who 
delight in such a plain, healthful meal. Now if the com- 
panionship continues in this harmonious and pleasing 
maimer, if the rations of our daily supply do not grow 
smaller, I, for my part, shall be well satisfied, knowing 
that the quality of our food may undergo changes such 
as outward conditions force upon us, and which we have 
to accept be they to our special liking or not. 

The red cap which Marie crocheted as a farewell gift 
ornaments the head of a Schleswig-Holstein exile, the 
well-known lawyer, Meyer, from Cappeln, who is like- 
wise bound for San Francisco and whose headgear took 
(light during yesterday's storm. I loaned him my cap 
temporarily. Today it is raining again and the sky is 
covered with grayish clouds. There is just a breath of air, 
which seems to come from the East; should it grow 
stronger by noon there may be a possibility of an early 
departure. As matters look now we cannot get away 
before the afternoon tide. AYe find patience to be the 
ruling virtue at ixresent. 

3 p. m., off Cuxhaven. 
About a quarter to eleven this morning we started to 
weigh anchor and, making use of a fresh northern breeze, 



80 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

we succeeded in reaching Cuxhaven, a little sea town 
within the jurisdiction of Hamburg. •■ This place is known 
to all sea-faring men for its lighthouse, its old castle and 
its fine beach, which also has become a point of pilgrim- 
age for the neighboring populace; it likewise serves as a 
military outpost and has fully, ten thousand inhabitants, 
mostly engaged in ship-building and forwarding of car- 
goes. Should the wind continue favorable, we shall sure- 
ly reach the open sea before night. The weather is cold 
and rainy and my oil-cloth suit proves a valuable acqui- 
sition. My fingers are somewhat benumbed, which may 
be attributed to the cold or other causes. A quick fare- 
well is the best, therefore once more and quickly: Adieu! 
Farewell ! To all you loved ones at home, whose love goes 
out to me! 

With filial devotion, 

FRANZ. 
P. S.— Griinhagen asks to forward his note. 



LETTER NO. V 



On board the Hamburg bark "Victoria," Captain Meyer 
Between Valdivia and Valparaiso. 

The 20th and 21st of October, 1851. 

My Beloved Parents: — As has so often happened with 
many others, so must this one begin with an excuse for 
not having written from Valdivia, after an interruption 
of nearly five months. Do not call it idleness on my part. 
The blame is to be attributed to the government of Chile, 
as the constant rebellions have been the cause of a com- 
plete interruption in the mail-service between Valdivia 
and Valparaiso. If I had therefore carried out my former 
intention of at least notifying you of my safe arrival, the 
probability is that my letter would never have reached 
you. I shall, however, make amends by giving you a 
very minute account of my voyage; but pray do not ex- 
pect to hear of wonderful adventures or of hair-raising 
accounts of narrow escapes and danger to life. "While 
it is true that I had a long and disagreeable trip, particu- 
larly in the last month, the voyage was not at all terri- 
ble; even the disagreeable storms around the Cape were 
no worse than other storms, though they used our ship 
badly; there is less danger when one has plenty of space 
and no land close by. You may read therefore without 
worry; and especially you, dear mother, take my advice 
and do not commence the letter at the end to get assur- 
ance that I have still the use of my limbs. I am in as 
good a humor as one can possibly be when— after a four- 
months' trip— one has had a chance of enjoying the ro- 
mantic sceneries of the impenetrable, virgin-forests of 
the Chilean coast— las Cordilleras. 

As I do not know whether my letter No. 4; which I 
sent ashore at Cuxhaven on the loth of June, has reached 
6 81 



82 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

you, my beloved ones, I will now proceed to give a short 
resume of its contents and, in reality, begin at the very 
beginning. 

It was a magnificent early summer evening, June 5th, 
of the present year, about a quarter to six, when the 
Mars-yards went squeaking up the masts of our "Vic- 
toria"; a mild south-wind filled the sails; slowly, and 
graciously the vessel careened lightly to the side and we 
slid along the mirror-like Elbe. The customary volley 
of salute was fired to bid farewell to St. Pauli (suburb 
of Hamburg), and to the city of Altona; then gliding 
noiselessly past the beautiful parks and villas which, 
chain-like, present themselves along the banks of the 
Elbe as far as Nienstadten; that charming little Blanke- 
nese, became the object of the parting sun's rays, and 
darker and darker grew the night, and about ten o'clock 
we heard the lowering of the anchor near Stade on the 
Elbe. After weighing anchor again at daybreak, we re- 
mained an hour or more to take another passenger and, 
passing Gliickstadt, were compelled by contrary wind to 
anchor once more, about a mile below, in the middle of 
the Elite between the Hanoverian town Fryburg and the 
Eolstein P>rookdorf; it was then about eleven in the fore- 
noon. The wind being S. W. and W. S. W., we could 
not move and were compelled to remain here on the 6th, 
7th and 8th. On the 7th we were treated to some great 
noise. The carpenter nailed boxes of all kinds more se- 
curely, principally in the steerage, and besides that there 
were many other preparations, though not as necessary, 
yet fully as noisy, which made the whole day a very un- 
comfortable one. But the evening recompensed us for 
the disagreeable day. The air was mild and absolutely 
quiet. The waters of the Elbe surrounded the ship 
like a shining mirror; the banks of the river seemed to 
float in the bluish evening-fog; and bells of Fryburg 
tolled softly and solemnly through the air— announcing 
the Eve of Pentecost. Never has an evening like this stim- 
ulated the mood of a dreamy mind more. I followed si- 
lently the dictates of Nature and choosing the most se- 




■^ q 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 83 

eluded spot, I allowed my thoughts to run as they would, 
and there i ; no need of telling you of their course: you 
are quite aware of it, beloved ones. 
The first day of Pentecost, as you already know, was 

spent on the same spot; the weather was cold, it stoi; 
and then it rained hard. Many vessels passed during the 
day, bound outward, but all had to cast anchor near us. 
On Monday we had a hurricane from the West, of such 
severity that one ship after the oilier was compelled to 
weigh anchor and return up the river, seeking- shelter. 
We, too, had to follow suit soon after twelve o'clock and 
reached Gliickstadt about one, where we anchored again. 
The waves rose so high that the rapid rolling of the ves- 
sel caused many of our passengers to become seasick. 
The following day was not much more agreeable, as the 
rain came down in torrents. The wind veered fortunate- 
ly to the North, so that it became possible for us to weigh 
anchor during the forenoon, and to proceed toward Cux- 
haven in company with about twenty other vessels which 
were, like ourselves, sea-bound. We reached the light- 
house at three o'clock p. m. and anchored about a quar- 
ter of a mile off the coast. Being in hopes that we would 
continue our trip right away, I sent the afore mentioned 
letter ashore at once. In this, to my great chagrin, I was 
disappointed, as the wind changed to the Northwest, 
which compelled us to cultivate patience for another day, 
as we were unable to move. To make it worse, this day, 
too, was a rainy one and nobody will blame me for being 
in ill-humor when evening came. Being compelled to 
spend a whole week in rainy weather on the Elbe, when 
one is conscious of having about four thousand miles of 
travel ahead, is not the thing to improve one's temper. 
Angry with the weather, with Hamburg and Cuxhaven, 
with the I and North-Sea, with myself and fellow- 
passengers, I crawled very early into my berth and soon 
fell asleep, notwithstanding the pouring of the rain and 
the splashing of the waters against the rolling ship. About 
three o'clock In the morning of dune the 12th, I was 
aroused by the rattling of the anchor-chain. I hastened 



84 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

on deck. The morning was beautiful and the fresh W. S. 
W. breeze filled every inch of our sails in a short time. 
About five o'clock we reached the light-house of Neu- 
werk, built upon a barren island, which is most of the 
time under water. Within half an hour more the pilot 
left us near the inner light-boat and about seven o'clock 
we passed the outer light-boat in company with a large 
Hamburg steamer, after which we went swinging up and 
down the blue, foam-crowned waves of the North-Sea, 
which had a gruesome effect on the health of our passen- 
gers. Before we had caught sight of the reddish, glitter- 
ing rock of Heligoland— about 7:45— our ship became the 
scene of general seasickness. The steerage in particular 
had become a real den of misery, which I entered but 
once or twice during the day. There were six other pas- 
sengers— Griinhagen among them— who escaped seasick- 
ness altogether. Though we did not approach Heligo- 
land closer than about two miles, we kept sight of it un- 
til four o'clock in the afternoon. During the day we had 
met numerous vessels sailing toward the Elbe and Weser, 
but in the evening we passed right between a fleet of 
eighteen Dutch, herring-fishing, boats, a fact which ap- 
prised us of the short distance from the Coast of Holland. 
While we had made considerable headway during this 
day, it proved to be the only one during which we could 
boast of fair wind as long as we remained in the North- 
Sea; for we awakened the next morning to observe a 
fresh western wind with cloudy sky. We approached 
the channel by short tacks, with many ships in sight. On 
Saturday, the 14th, we had beautiful weather but hardly 
any wind; about nine o'clock we sighted twenty-two ships 
which were surrounding us in the sun-kissed waters of 
the North-Sea. About noon we were accosted by a Dutch 
fishing-boat. The wind changed during the afternoon to 
S. W., remaining the same till the following Sunday, 
when— about four o'clock in the afternoon— we sighted 
the English coast for the first time; the land sighted be- 
ing the high sand-hills of Ramsgate. The sea ran high, 
and the contrast between the grayish vellow color near 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 85 

the shore and the transparent blue-green of the high sea 
was very striking. We noticed the air thickening near 
by, but before it began to rain we could distinguish a 
large number of English fishing-boats at anchor. Being 
compelled to turn aside, we lost sight of land within half 
an hour. The breeze grew stronger every minute and 
one sail after the other was taken in; when darkness over- 
took us we had only the doubly-fitted Mars and storm- 
bridge-sails up. Of course nobody slept during that 
night. The groaning and lamenting of the steerage pas- 
sengers and various other noises from the different parts 
of the shit), together with the creaking of the vessel, com- 
bined to produce a turmoil, compared with which the de- 
struction of Sodom and Gomorrah was evidently a mild 
affair. This confusion and noise continued during the 
whole night. 

The long looked-for morning dawned at last and, as the 
rain was not as heavy as before, we— that is, the few who 
remained well— went on deck to breathe the fresh air. 
Though 1 have since lived through many a storm, among 
which this one was in reality not to be counted, yet there 
has not been one that caused as much sickening and un- 
bearable commotion in the steerage as was experienced 
during that night; it baffled one's powers of description. 

The wind changed suddenly to Northwest about seven 
o'clock in the morning, which had the effect of moder- 
ating the weather and clearing the sky. Then came a 
busy time of setting sails, when we made great speed un- 
der good wind. We saw again many vessels and at one 
o'clock there came an English fishing-sloop alongside to 
sell fish. Soon after the color of the water changed into 
a dirty, greyish green, giving evidence that we were ap- 
proaching land, which we sighted at 5:30 o'clock. There 
were in sight the low English Dunes of Gallopers at about 
three miles' distance. We kept sailing alongside of them 
until eight o'clock when they vanished from sight, we 
having taken a more southern course When night came 
the West wind blew anew, so that the Mars-sail* had to be 

*Or top-sail, 



86 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

lowered again. The next morning found the weather 
very disagreeable and rough, and the air thick. It was 
the 17th of June; we steered toward the channel and had 
the satisfaction of seeing the high coast of Calais about 
one o'clock, though at a distance of many miles. The 
wind commenced to lessen and changed more toward 
the North. At half-past two we sighted the coast of Eng- 
land near Dover, when we realized to our great relief that 
we had entered the Pas de Calais, leaving behind us the 
North-Sea with all its storms and dangers. 

"While, my beloved ones, I have taken you clear to the 
English channel, you have not heard anything of my 
mode of life, how I am lodged, what I do, or eat or drink. 
I therefore hasten to give an account of all that which 
in reality does not undergo much change during the 
whole voyage. During our trip through the North-Sea 
and channel, we were not well settled on account of the 
sea-sickness which had to be considered. 

The steerage of the Victoria is a room about seven feet 
high, forty feet long and taking in the whole width of 
the ship. Light and air are admitted through the two 
entrances, the large middle-hatch, near the main-mast 
and the steerage-way near the cabin. The bunks of the 
passengers are to the right and left, arranged four in a 
cell, two by two, one above another. As we were only 
fifty-seven passengers, having twenty cabins at our dis- 
posal, we managed to make things as comfortable as pos- 
sible by placing two or three in a cabin. The walks 
were narrow as the boxes and other effects had been 
piled up in the middle of the steerage alongside of the 
cabins; we utilized them, however, as tables, benches and 
chairs. The illumination at night was produced by two 
lanterns which sufficed to make correct estimate of the 
dimness and the thickness of the air, which might at times 
have been cut with knives. My laundry-articles and other 
necessities for the trip were in a small bag and a still 
smaller box of about 1% cubic feet. One learns to be 
satisfied with little on trips like my present one. Thus 
much of our common lodging place: our mode of life is, 
of course, similarly monotonous. 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 87 

AVe generally arise before six o'clock, make toilet, 
which consists of washing and combing, as there is little 
dressing done. The necessary adroitness required in 
washing is soon learned, as one profits by the mistakes 
of others, who had towels and tin-pans blown overboard 
or who suffered other tricks played on them by the wind. 
I soon learned that short hair is a gre il blessing as it 
facilitates combing and prevents the wind from playing 
havoc on one's head. The wardrobe is unusually simple, 
consisting in my case, as in that of most of the others, 
of a woollen shirt, linen trousers, and slices without stock- 
ings; a cap completed the outfit ordinarily. A coat is 
only worn on cold days and I wore my stockings only at 
the beginning of the vovage and later on woollen ones 
near Cape Horn. About half-past six each one of us re- 
ceived two quarts of coffee in his mug, which was given 
us at the kitchen. The time till noon w T as spent in any 
way the individual passenger would choose, for better 
or worse. At twelve o'clock, dinner was served. Every 
two bunks were entitled to one mess, which, one of the 
two occupants had to fetch in large wooden bowl from 
the cook. Though our bill of fare was exceedingly plain, 
as is natural, it consisted of nutritious and very digesti- 
ble food, the preparation of which was not to be com- 
plained of, although one must bear in mind that we were 
only steerage passengers. We had: Mondays, white peas 
and pork; Tuesdays, rice-soup and beef; Wednesdays, 
sauer-kraut and pork; Thursdays, rice-soup and beef; 
Fridays, lentils with pork; Saturdays, peeled barley 
with prunes and herring; Sunday, pudding with prune- 
sauce and beef. Outside of that we were treated to pota- 
toes every day until July. Sauer-kraut and lentils were 
in time replaced by peas. By meat, of course, salted meat 
is meant. We likewise received every week: Five 
pounds of wheat-crackers, which satisfied the appetite of 
the most greedy. Rye-crackers were considered a deli- 
cacy, as only a small quantity had found its way on board. 
Again- one-half pound of butter; a quarter of a pound of 
yellow farina-sugar (so-called), mustard, salt and vine- 



88 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

gar for every passenger. Each one, of course, had to 
clean his tinware, etc., and was then at liberty to do as he 
chose until tea-time, which was about half-past six or 
earlier, according to the approach of darkness; it was 
distributed like the coffee, and everybody was af liberty 
to add sugar or brandy to suit himself. I preferred to 
drink both tea and coffee without any addition.. Bed- 
time was not set. 

This -way of living appears very monotonous, as every 
day is the precise renewal of the preceding one; and con- 
sequently most passengers were more annoyed by ennui 
than they had previously been by seasickness. As to 
myself I have not given up my old belief that a man is 
to a great extent the arbiter or maker of his own experi- 
ences—the cause of the effects. I never suffered for want 
of something to do or think about, and I have stood as 
much and perhaps more chance of becoming lonesome 
than any one else on board. Of course I looked around 
for some agreeable work to kill time with, and thus I 
took to painting, of which there is always plenty to be 
done on board a vessel. If it really happened that I could 
not find anything to do, I enjoyed a rest as well, particu- 
larly in the evening about tea-time. Sitting on the rear 
end, my feet dangling over the rail, I watched the ever- 
changing course of waves and clouds for hours, and en- 
joying my cigar. Wondrously beautiful were the pic- 
tures of nature at sun-set, when waves and clouds ap- 
peared in magnificent colors, especially in the tropics of 
the Atlantic; later in the evening, when the play of col- 
ors ceased, the soft light of the moon played strange 
tricks, outlining all kinds of fantastic forms and shapes, 
and enveloping them with a silvery halo. 

Thus were the clouds distributed on the horizon of the 
dark blue Heavens, bestrewn with millions of shining 
lights, large and small, and separated from the rising and 
falling waves of the ocean, the ever-swinging surface of 
which reproduces in magnificence the thousands of little 
white stars, throwing them, as it seems, about and reflect- 
ing the glittering rays of the moon, which is resting on 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 89 

the summit of yonder cloud. But I do not want to enter 
the realm of dreams, and therefore will return to the 
diary of my voyage. 

We had arrived in the channel on June the 17th about 
two o'clock in the afternoon. The wind blew from the 
North and we turned our course toward the West. We 
soon came so close to Calais that it was not only possible 
for us to distinguish the steeples and houses of this quaint 
little town, but even the masts of the ships in the harbor, 
notwithstanding the unfavorable weather, which only 
permitted us to recognize that part of the English coast 
which stretches from North Foreland to Dover Castle. The 
wind did not permit us to approach it any closer than two 
miles, so that one could see no more than the gigantic 
outline of its rocky walls. At sun-set the wind calmed 
down completely and the evening was so beautiful that 
even the victims of seasickness crawled out of their cells 
to enjoy the splendid view. From starboard one could 
observe the English coast, whose bluish rocks were a fit 
part in the unusual scenery of the evening, while the set- 
ting sun shed its golden rays over the terraces of the 
chalk rocks of Cape Grisnez. About us was the channel, 
smooth and silent as the mirror of a lake upon which 
the soft gliding of the vessel could hardly be heard. The 
night covered the scene by and by with her star-spangled 
heavens, and when we at last turned toward our berths 
we had reached Dungeness, the red lights of which were 
plainly visible to our view. From the Northeast shone 
the bright fires of Dover, which towers upon the high 
coast; behind us, toward the East, we saw the brilliant 
fires of Grisnez and further South sparkled the blaze of 
Boulogne. The greater part of the following day we had 
contrary Western winds which compelled us to make 
short cruises. The cold and foggy air did not make our 
trip through the channel much more agreeable than that 
of the Elbe and North Sea, though we had occasion to 
see some very interesting sights. 

Early the next morning, Wednesday, the 18th, on which 
the beauty of the night before had still left its imprint, 



90 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

we found ourselves surrounded by a great many vessels, 
increasing in number as the forenoon passed, so that I 
counted toward noon about sixty-four of them with full 
sails, which offered a magnificent spectacle, the splendor 
of which was heightened by the noonday sun. Until sev- 
en o'clock we were unable to see anything but the im- 
mense chalk-rocks of Beachy-head, which we observed 
from the star-board. The breeze increased during the 
day to such an extent that top-sails had to be fastened 
about four o'clock in the afternoon, when we just found 
ourselves opposite the pretty city of Brighton, half a mile 
away. We were able to distinguish not only the houses, 
trees, etc., of this charming little town, but could even 
watch the outgoing train, speeding along the green, 
mountainous coast, bound for London. By means of tel- 
escopes we distinguished several pedestrians, especially 
on the Grande terrace, which I recognized at once, as well 
as the royal pavilion, built in Chinese style, which are 
so well pictured in Myer's Universal Lexicon (Cyclo- 
pedia). The coast of Cowes was reached and passed dur- 
ing the night. Our cruise on Thursday was hindered by 
stormy West-wind and such a rain-storm that we could 
hardly see a ship's length ahead. The fog cleared about 
one o'clock and then, the Isle of Wight, with its high 
rocks, came to view. While the raging waves were break- 
ing on stony shore, a passing sun-ray dimly lightened its 
crumbling walls. Within a minute's time the fog thick- 
ened again and deprived us of the sight which had caused 
a surprise, as we had found ourselves within a thousand 
yards of the breakers. Good care was taken to> steer at 
once toward the French coast. Four smaller vessels, 
which were between us and the breakers, did likewise, 
and it is to be hoped that they, too, escaped the danger, 
though the immediate thickening of the fog prevented us 
from watching them. On Friday, the 20th, we remained 
almost without wind and not until evening could we sight 
any land, when the island of Portsmouth with its pic- 
turesque chalk rocks appeared at a distance of about four 
miles and later in the night I caught a glimpse of the 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 91 

French coast near Cherbourg in the southern horizon. 
The English coast came plainly to view on Saturday 
forenoon, when we enjoyed clear weather which, how- 
ever, did not enable us to see much more of it than we 
had seen of the French coast, as our last glimpse of Eng- 
land or Europe was taken about three o'clock in the after- 
noon, when we reached within a mile the cliff of Eddy- 
stone. The fresh sea-breeze and customary fog did not 
permit us to tarry and we soon lost sight of the island, 
which consists of two black cliffs, separated by a small 
canal, the larger one of which projects about twenty feet 
and is made noticeable by its celebrated lighthouse. 

Landsend, as it is called, was reached about eight 
o'clock Sunday morning under stormy N. N. W. wind, 
with no land in sight. Thus commenced a new turn in 
my voyage, not wholly agreeable. When we entered the 
Atlantic Ocean or rather the Bay of Biscaya, the weather 
was so cold that I felt compelled to wear my heavy sack 
coat whenever I intended to stay on deck. 

As long as we remained in the Spanish sea, passing- 
Cape' Finisterre (Spain) on Thursday, the 26th, wind 
and weather were rather favorable, though the fori no- 
blew but lightly, while the latter continued cold. From 
the day we had left the Channel I noticed a remarkable 
change in the color of the water. While the North sea 
and Channel differ little from the Baltic, being all dark 
blue green in color, the two former are considerably clear- 
er than our native sea, which is the case of the Atlantic 
waters. I cannot find a suitable expression to describe 
the clear, transparent, carmine blue of the Atlantic ocean. 
The color remains everywhere the same, as I have been 
unable to see any difference, neither in the tropics nor 
in the southern hemisphere is it more beautiful than at 
the entrance into the Bay of Biscaya. It almost seemed 
as if the transparency of the water was more noticeable 
when we approached the Equator and lessened as we went 
more southward bnt in that I may have been mistaken; 
at all events the difference would be very slight. To give 
you a correct idea I will say that we could distinguish 



92 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the nails and dents in the copper sheathings of our keel, 
which was fully fifteen feet under water, and as plainly 
as if the Victoria were in dock, and we were looking 
through blue colored glass. Moreover, we could tell the 
color and size of the fishes and describe their shapes 
though they went far below the keel. The color of the 
water at the turning jDoint from the Channel into the At- 
lantic was, strangely enough of a beautiful grass green. 

Another phenomenon which one has opportunity to 
observe in the Biscayan Bay, is the well-known much de- 
scribed and talked of ocean phosphorescence. It was 
Tuesday, the 24th of June. The wind had been mild all 
day and the sun did its work ; about eight in the evening 
a light southeast wind arose which grew stronger with 
the coming darkness, so that the ship soon went flying 
through the quiet ocean, which reflected the innumerable 
stars of the firmament upon its dark, billowy surface. 

Wherever the bow of the vessel caused a broad foamy 
wave, it would resemble a bluish white moon ray repro- 
duction in the dusty cascade, created by a turning mill 
wheel. From the long and narrow strips of dark colored 
water, which were visible between the flakes of foam, as 
they passed the sides of the ship, there sprang forth in- 
numerable dark red sparks, like burning coal, in shapes 
of stars, rings and fire balls, forming a beautiful contrast 
to the foamy cascade already described. 

I scarcely believe that you will be able to get a correct 
conception of the remarkable phenomenon from my de- 
scription, as one cannot possibly relate it intelligently to 
those who have never seen it. Whenever I witnessed 
such a spectacle it invariably impressed me deeply and 
when I saw it the first time I remained on deck till after 
midnight. 

On the following Sunday, in a heavy thunderstorm, 
accompanied by lightning, we saw the ocean covered with 
fiery sparks and a procession of mackerel, splashing along 
our boat side, which made the spectacle really worth see- 
ing. Each one of these fishes glittered golden red and 
drew, as it were, a long sparkling trail behind him, which 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 93 

enabled us to watch the fiery procession long after they 
had passed our ship. Another beautiful sight was caused 
by the wake of our ship which resembled the passing 

smoke of a bright fire and could be observed at a distance 
of fully a hundred and fifty yards. However, it is an 
erroneous supposition that the ocean produces such lights 
on every dark night. Even in the tropics these phenom- 
ena are rare occurrences. A week would pass at times 
during which we hardly noticed a spark, and only then 
when a procession of fish or a passing vessel would cause 
a sudden break in the water. The most magnificent dis- 
play of this phenomenon I ever witnessed occurred on 
the 15th of duly, under the eighth degree of northern 
latitude, a description of which I shall give you later 
on— south of the La Plata, one can only see a few sparks 
now and then and only on unusually dark nights; below 
( ape Horn nothing at all. I am told, on the other hand, 
that during severe stormy winters there are phosphores- 
cent displays in this latitude which outrank in splendor 
anything ever witnessed in other parts. I have had no 
opportunity of verifying this, however. 

As previously mentioned, we left the Bay of Biscaya 
on Thursday, June 26th. ( >n Saturday we communicated 
with an Austrian bark, "Nero," which was north-bound 
and sailing under 14 36m. of Greenwich W. longitude, 
and 41° 20m. X. lat.; it was taking freight from Odessa 
to Antwerp. The same evening we observed a little bird, 
homeward bound. The wind continued to be light and 
contrary, often entirely absent. We again had a chance 
to speak an English vessel, the brig "Eupheinia," which 
earned freight from London to the Cape of Good Hope 
and had been on her trip from Doverress about a fort- 
night, now, like ourselves, taking a southern course. We 
sighted the first dolphins on Tuesday, when twenty of 
them were playing around our ship and the next morn- 
ing, Wednesday, the 2d, we were surprised beyond de- 
scription to be caught by a X. E. monsoon or trade wind 
which rarely goes beyond Madeira, while we had only 
reached the latitude of Gibraltar. As we now went along 



94 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

with extraordinary speed, making as many as eleven 
knots an hour, it was not astonishing- that we caught 
sight of Madeira about three o'clock the following after- 
noon. We passed within a distance of four (German) 
miles and even then it was hardly possible for us to dis- 
tinguish anything but a bare outline of the island, which 
appeared east of us; the northern part of the island lost 
itself in the blue fog of the evening, which covered the 
horizon as usual and which enveloped everything, thus 
depriving us of a good view. The sun fortunately broke 
through for a few minutes, as late as seven o 'clock in the 
evening, when we caught sight of the high, rocky coast, 
which appeared as steep as a wall in the reddish light 
of the setting sun. Madeira is built upon this wall and 
rises about 2,500 feet in conic sections. It was a beauti- 
ful sight, when the top of this island mountain glittered 
above the clouds in the slowly disappearing coloring of 
the evening, while the lower clouds seemed to separate 
the peak from its body. The approaching darkness made 
it impossible to see anything more until about eight 
o'clock, when the moon had gained strength enough to 
draw fantastic sketches of Madeira upon the dark clouds 
of the night. The monsoon filled our sails and having 
the larboard sails up on either side, we went along at 
rapid speed. The sea went high, but the whitecaps which 
it threw up did not cause phosphorescent light, though 
they surrounded the ship like a mighty girdle; only now 
and then appeared a single spark. 

When I awoke the next morning, Friday, July 4th, I 
went on deck, but Madeira had already disappeared from 
our horizon and the ship went with full sails into the im- 
mense desert of water, which had often been the theme 
of my childhood dreams and the subject for fruitful med- 
itations of later years. For sixty-two days I saw around 
me nothing but sky and water, clouds and waves; no rest- 
ing place for the searching eye but, maybe, a lonely sail 
at great distance; the tired wings of a rare bird or the 
dumb inhabitants of that unreliable but beautiful, that 
terrible and yet so charming, that restless, haunted and 






THE OCEAN VOYAGE 95 

yet to me so infinitely attractive element which we were 
now speeding through. 

It was not until the 4th of September that we caught 
sight of land; the desolate wilderness of the snowy moun- 
tains of the Fireland (terra dol fuego). Saturday, the 
5th of July, I saw flying fish for the iirst time; it appears 
to be the most common among the inhabitants of the trop- 
ical waters, for hardly a day passed in which we did 
not see one or more processions of them. They are gen- 
erally seen in very large numbers, often as many as a 
hundred or more, rarely alone. The flying fish resem- 
bles the trout to some extent but reaches hardly three 
or four inches in length. By means of breast fins, which 
are unusually well developed and reaching from head to 
tail, it raises itself above the water and appears in purest 
silvery light. The rapidity of its motion ma}' be com- 
pared to that of our ocean swallows. It jumps about ten 
feet above the water and then manages to sail a dis- 
tance of ten to fifteen yards through the air; I have even 
watched some of them that covered fully two or three 
times the distance. Another fish which is very often 
met with in the tropics is the tumbler or porpoise. It 
measures about three or four feet in length and nearly 
one foot in diameter, brown on top and white at the belly; 
it generally keeps close to the surface and travels in 
company of four or five; now and then it jumps a few 
Peel above the water and is rather lively for its size. 
Among those that resemble the tumbler is the jumper or 
hog fish. "When we saw these animals for the first time, 
on July 22d, they approached us in immense numbers 
—by thousands — and the sight of their bodies and mo- 
tions were so comical that every mother's son of us had 
to laugh until he was completely exhausted. The shape, 
as the name of the animal indicates, resembles that of a 
clumsy pig; on its back is a large, strong fin about six 
inches long and bent backward. The motion consists of 
a big jump forward by which it raises itself several 
above the water in a half circle, returning bead first into 
its former element. Like the tumbler, the hog fish very 



96 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

often weighs close to five hundred pounds, though only 
three or four feet in length. 

Another fish, which is not quite as common, however, 
is the bonito, about one and a half to two feet long and 
closely resembling our pike. I never remember having 
seen him deeper than ten to fifteen feet from the surface, 
where it appeared in beautiful golden and emerald col- 
ors, but I dare not say that such is in reality its make-up, 
as one is often deceived by the bluish transparency of 
the water in tropical climates, which gives a lustre to 
the color of the fishes which they lose as soon as they 
are taken out of their element. 

These are the four kinds which one meets most fre- 
quently, as other species are rarely seen and never in 
great numbers. For instance, it happened on the 14th of 
July, toward evening, that we observed two ores (a small 
sort of whale) which passed close by our ship and we 
were able to see their protruding backs, which easily 
measured twelve feet in length and two or three feet vis- 
ible width. But you will ask in astonishment: "Where 
is the much dreaded shark?" Strangely enough, I have 
seen but one during my whole voyage. This said shark 
was seen by us all on Wednesday, July the 9th, in the 
afternoon and there is no need of telling you that our 
whole ship became alarmed, while it did not bother itself 
at all about us, following its course in crossing our keel. 
Whales were more numerous, especially in more southern 
regions, where the jumping fish and other species afore- 
mentioned came no more in sight. All counted, I may 
have seen twenty of them, mostly at a distance. 

Thus much about the fishes and now back to my trip. 

For ten successive days we had the North East Mon- 
soon filling our sails, and experienced but one short inter- 
ruption on the fourth of July, when a fresh East wind 
set in; the remaining time till the eleventh of July there 
was absolutely no change, not even in the wind's force. 
Our lar sails were up day and night, which increased our 
rapidity considerably. 

The weather remained cool and agreeable and every- 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 97 

thing possible was done to make our voyage as pleasant 
as could be expected, and this period in particular will 
always be pleasantly remembered. The only privation 
was caused by the bad drinking water, in regard to which 
I find the first notice in my diary of July 4th. I wrote 
it in the spirit of real depression and in the meantime 
in the consciousness of such weakness as one experiences 
when the pangs of real thirst are torturing body and 
mind. 

I formerly often thought myself thirsty, but it is my 
present conviction that I never knew what real thirst 
meant until I experienced it on this voyage, in the days 
when I hesitated to the last moment before I dared to 
take a few swallows of the black, yellowish, disgustingly 
warm water, which emitted an odor that was equal only to 
its putridity, and yet it was not that which made me 
hesitate, no indeed! The real thirst does not know of 
such foolish notions; it was only because my ration would 
thus grow smaller! Fortunately, this privation lasted 
only a fortnight or so, when we enjoyed better water, 
though our Fregel (river) at home would have been a 
dispenser of delicacy in comparison with the quality of 
the ship's supply. During that period I had ample 
opportunity to meditate upon the rare enjoyment which 
is derived from a glass of clear, cold, fresh well-water 
and I would have derived great pleasure in treating to 
my daily refreshments some of those fools who will pour 
a glass of delicious well water upon the sand on account 
of a little dust or perhaps only a gnat which has fallen 
into it. Our drinking water contained other things than 
dust or dead gnats. 

We passed the northern tropic circle on July the 7th, 
about half past four in the afternoon. The temperature 
was cool and agreeable, while the air was "flabby," to 
use a sailor's expression, which means dull, without 
being foggy or cloudy, ? peculiarity of the latitudes of 
the northern as well as sor+hern tropic circles, where, 
with the exception of the noon hour, one cannot count 
upon clearnes : and brightness of the air. 

7 



98 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

On the following day we had the sun almost vertically 
over our heads, the angle from our vessel to the Northern 
horizon measuring 89 degrees. The day before the sun 
stood on the Southern heavens at an angle measuring 8 7 Ms 
degrees. The ship would only throw shadow when it 
bent to one side or the other and my own shadow could 
be measured by putting my feet slightly apart, thereby 
having even the tips of my shoes and the calves out of 
the shade. The air was slightly clouded, but not at all 
oppressive. When evening arrived we enjoyed the prox- 
imity of another vessel; it was moonlight and about nine 
o 'clock when we noticed a large bark coming from nortn- 
east, while our course was S. W. V2 S. Though within 
a short distance neither a lantern nor any other signal 
appeared, consequently we continued our course without 
noticing the strange vessel any further, which followed 
for a while in our wake. When morning came we had 
lost sight of it entirely. 

Until the eleventh of July nothing noteworthy oc- 
curred. On this day, at one o 'clock, a magnificent, pow- 
erful osprey had taken a temporary rest on our wedge 
yard, when Capt. Meyer took a shot at him. The beau- 
tiful animal measured about six feet from tip to tip. 
This deed of useless cruelty was immediately avenged, 
for, scarcely did the dying bird lay in his last agony, 
when the favorable wind suddenly changed to a deadly 
calm, the first one we had really experienced during our 
whole voyage. We therefore were glad when, about four 
o'clock, a mild Southeastern breeze set in, followed by a 
slight rain; the sea rose considerably as a last farewell 
of the departed Northeast Monsoon. 

The evening of this day offered one of the rare spec- 
tacles which is seen only in the tropics, and though I am 
well convinced that not even the most enthusiastic de- 
scription could give a clear conception of the gorgeous 
magnificence to one who has never been an eye witness 
of it, I will nevertheless try to describe the phenomenon 
in the best manner of which I am capable. 

We had sunset about six o'clock and it seemed as if 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 99 

the parting rays intended to make the best of the few 
minutes' time assigned to them. The clouds of the heav- 
ens were their objects and the wide horizon their play 
yard, which soon appeared in the most exquisite color- 
ings, from the deepest violet to the lightest carnation, 
and shining golden yellow; the wonderful shapes of colors 
and clouds were such that it really did not require an 
enthusiast to recognize the most charming mountain 
scenes, forests, valleys, snow-caps, ruins of the middle 
ages, whole cities and villages in those fantastic shapes. 
Every second brought new changes, not only in the forms, 
but in colors ; when one would fade another would appear 
in its brightest hue, and so en. 

The surface of the ocean appeared like a mirror with 
the exception of the slow waves which measured about 
a hundred feet in width, and the reproduction of the 
burning colors of the horizon upon the quiet waters was 
almost as marvelous as the scene above. Turning to the 
east, one would be struck by a different but not less beau- 
tiful spectacle. The full moon had arisen and shone 
through the foggy evening atmosphere, its full light was 
cast upon dark grey figures, no less strange than those 
of the western part of the horizon and throwing upon the 
water the floating silvery bridge which I had often 
watched with longing, dreaming glance while sitting on 
the banks of our little lake or river at home. Thus we 
were placed between two beautiful heavens, representing 
evening and night, purer and more marvelously beautiful 
than I had ever seen them before. 

The light Southeast wind blew hardly enough to fill the 
upper sails, while the lower ones struck constantly 
against masts and spars, creating the only noise in the 
prevailing sultry silence. 

Everybody was on deck, lounging quietly during the 
oppressive heat. The man at the wheel had just rung 
his seven bells when my curiosity was aroused by a 
strange, raven black cloud of unusual shape, which ap- 
peared upon the Southwestern horizon. At first it ap- 
proached slowly, then quicker and quicker, taking larger 



100 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

proportions and reflecting* its gloom upon the quiet At- 
lantic, for the lustre of the heaven had vanished quite 
a while before. Soon I noticed in the cloud a white-yel- 
lowish spot, which grew likewise to uncomfortable dimen- 
sions until it was over our heads. I watched the phenom- 
enon breathlessly and, as I had often before heard of it 
as indicating a windstorm, I notified the pilot, who had 
just come out of his cabin. He gave a quick glance at the 
cloud, and then came the command to fasten the jib, 
wedge and topsails and so on. No sooner were the prep- 
arations completed than it grew quite dark, a few heavy 
raindrops commenced to fall, whilst everything was still 
as death. I nervously awaited the things to come. Soon 
I heard a peculiar roar in the air and our ship was 
shortly after tossed over on one side with, such terrific 
force of the gale that those who had not taken the precau- 
tion of steadying themselves in some manner would surely 
have fallen to the floor. The sails commenced to fill and 
the Victoria gained slowly but surely, cutting a mighty 
wave in two with its broad bow, thereby pushing 
aside the unruly waters. Then came the flight! 
What speed! We went along like lightning, but in the 
meantime there was a rush for shelter, as the rain came 
down in such torrents that it resembled the outpouring of 
one ocean into another. All this lasted about half an 
hour, after which rain and wind slowly subsided, and we 
fell as soundly asleep as if we had been ashore. 

From the following day until Wednesday, the 16th, 
there was complete calm. How all this affects the mind 
can only be appreciated by one who has lived through 
similar experiences. We were sailing at this time be- 
tween the tenth and eleventh degree of Northern latitude. 

The intense heat of the sun burns one's brain, the per- 
spiration opens all pores and, notwithstanding the great 
exhaustion, one can hardly find a moment's sleep on ac- 
count of the depressing heat. In addition to that, we 
had to endure a burning thirst, which our daily allowance 
of a pint of stale, warrn water was unable to quench. A 
good rain fortunately changed the atmosphere and we 



THE OCEAX VOYAGE 101 

■were able to refresh ourselves, if only for a short while. 
Our eyes also were henceforth treated to daily changes, 
as we could now observe many passing vessels. 

To him who has never made a sea voyage it seems to 
be almost impossible for ships to change position in time 
of complete calm. But so it is and it does not take much 
mental effort to account for it. One can plainly see ves- 
sels on a bright day at a distance of about six German 
miles and even further away if they lie within the observ- 
er's clear horizon, turning the shady side of their sails 
toward him or, the contrary, if they show the sunny side 
of their sails on a darker horizon. However, a given 
vessel will remain invisible to the eye of a keen observer 
if even on a bright day and at half the distance men- 
tioned nothing be offered but the narrow edge of its 
sails. Now as at the time of a complete calm the vessels 
keep revolving very slowly but constantly, which, in sea- 
inan's parlance, is often called a "falling off," it will 
become plain that one can speak truly of seeing and 
losing sight of a vessel at comparatively short intervals, 
according to their position relatively to the sun's rays. 
Aside from all this it will sometimes really happen that 
ships which have not been within one's horizon will ap- 
pear and disappear. Even a "dead calm" on the Atlan- 
tic must not be thought of as indicating that one cannot 
notice the least little breeze; such an occurrence is Aery 
rare, however, and of short duration. One generally 
notices a slight breath of wind, now from one, then from 
another direction, lasting sometimes a quarter of an hour, 
at other times longer, even for hours, before it dies away. 
These little currents are, of course, utilized as much as 
possible, though the actual progress may be exceedingly 
slow T , as was for instance the case from noon of the 13th 
to the evening of the 14th, during which time our ship 
gained only five miles, it nevertheless shows that the 
distance between the different vessels will vary from 
time to time. The current of the waters cuts likewise a 
great figure, which was particularly the case during the 
calm just, mentioned, when the currenl was so strong that 



102 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

it caused quite an unheaval, during which one could notice 
a lively curling of the surface. It was likewise during 
this calm that we experienced the greatest heat of the 
voyage ; thus, for instance, on July 13th about two o'clock 
in the afternoon we registered no less than twenty-nine 
degrees Reaumur in the shade, though the air was 
clouded. It was a rare pleasure when the temperature 
fell below twenty degrees either morning or evening. 

Though I have repeatedly tried to picture an evening 
in the tropics, nothing can be compared to the imposing 
majesty of Nature during a thunderstorm, of which I have 
seen a number; and I shall never forget the wonderful 
sight of the first one, which left such a deeply-rooted im- 
pression upon me that nothing will ever erase it from my 
memory as long as I breathe. 

To the great joy of everybody the prevailing calm was 
interrupted during the forenoon of July the fifteenth by 
a light Eastern breeze, while the air was not oppressive. 
We had all sails laid-to and our course was S. V2 W. The 
wind grew less again toward eleven o'clock and complete 
calm had returned by two in the afternoon. The air was 
burning hot, as the glowing sun-rays were right above 
our heads and not a cloud on the sky. The horizon was 
hemmed in by a light violet-colored fog. We made the 
best of the situation and passed the time by examining 
the surrouuding ships, no less than thirteen in number, 
the movements of which we observed through telescopes. 
The vessels which were close enough to each other had 
hoisted their flags and the captain of a Dutch bark was 
seen to take a boat for the purpose of visiting a large full- 
masted vessel which was only a very short distance away 
and belonged to the same nation. The dark-blue Atlantic 
was as smooth as a mirror and numberless flying fish were 
jumping here and there out of its glassy surface, and you 
will form an idea of the calm when I say that it was im- 
possible for us to decide the nationality of one ship — a 
black, heavy-laden bark, which was only a mile from us— 
because there was not enough breeze to unfold its flag. 
Until about five o'clock everything remained unchanged 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 103 

but we soon after noticed small white feathery clouds 
arising on the far end of the horizon; by six o'clock they 
had grown into large, threatening ones, which covered the 
heavens. It is astonishing how quickly they will gather 
and disappear. 

The sun had just set, giving the atmosphere a rather 
disagreeable yellowish-red coloring, as if it were the re- 
flection of an immense fire. Not a breath of air was notice- 
able; a dull oppressive sultriness was spread over the dark 
silent ocean, while the night grew darker every minute. 
Soon we saw Hashes of lightning, followed by the heavy 
rumbling of distant thunder, and these approached nearer 
and nearer, and the thunder grew louder and louder. Half 
an hour after sun-set every color-play of the clouds had 
completely disappeared, though it was only half-past six, 
and the darkness grew so dense that one could not see 
three feet ahead. Then began the rain— and what a rain! 
The most severe thunderstorm at home will hardly give 
you a correct idea of that fearful storm; in a few seconds 
everybody was wet to the skin and the splashing rain 
could at times be heard above the deafening roar of the 
thunder. The gale, which accompanied the rain, filled 
our storm and topsails and sent us rapidly over the wild 
water-mountains, which were covered with white, whiz- 
zing foam. Such was the change which had been wrought 
in a few minutes and the color of the sea had become as 
black as the sky. 

The thundering roar of the waves, that threatened ev- 
ery moment to swamp our trembling vessel, while it was 
sailing down a mighty wave with lightning speed to slow- 
ly and laboriously ascend the next one, the torrents of 
splashing rain, the whistling and blustering of the storm 
in the squeaking and rattling rigging of the ship, together 
with the continual rolling of the thunder, formed a con- 
cert so terrible and imposing that I feel absolutely unable 
to give you an adequate description of the powerful, last- 
ing impression which it has made upon me. 

The eye, too, was treated to sights of impressive mag- 
nificence. The lightning, with the beautiful diversity of 



104 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

its gay colors and the sparkling of the ocean, were never 
more exquisitely gorgeous during my whole voyage than 
I saw it on this memorable night. "We had not had a 
chance of watching this phenomenon since we left the 
Bay of Biscaya, where I had seen it the first time, but not 
in the same splendor to which we were treated this night. 
Every one of the millions of rain-drops which fell into 
the endless ocean, glowed dark-red like a fiery coal; ev- 
ery flake of foam in the white crown of the waves ap- 
peared in purest silver-light, reflecting beautifully in the 
black sides of our ship. The storm raged, the rain con- 
tinued with undiminished force until midnight, when the 
wind changed to South West so that we could steer S. S. 
E. to South. By daybreak all sails were set again and 
our progress was rapid though the sea was still somewhat 
tempestuous. The rain continued all day uninterrupt- 
edly and we were unable to discover any of the many ves- 
sels which had surrounded us the night before. During 
the days following the calm, we had mostly stormy South 
wind, which drove us close to the coast of Sierra Leone, 
thereby compelling us to approach the African coast con- 
trary to our intention. Capt. Meyer told us that hardly 
one out of a hundred vessels, bound for a destination simi- 
lar to our own, would have to go so far East. However, 
these South winds must have been raging for several days, 
as we met a number of vessels every day which were 
cruising southward like ourselves. 

Thursday, the 17th, we passed a pretty, black brig, fly- 
ing the British flag. Everybody took her to be our old 
acquaintance from Madeira, the "Euphemia," although 
we could not make sure of it, as she followed a different 
course and did not come near enough for us to make her 
out. Toward evening we caught sight of a bark which, 
being hardly a quarter of a mile away, had put up the 
lanterns without taking further notice of us. The Friday 
following we sighted a beautiful three-masted English 
vessel, which we, at first glance, took to be a frigate, be- 
cause of its unusual size, appearance and the superiority 
of its sails. Great was therefore my astonishment when, 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 105 

toward evening, at closer range we recognized a whaler 
with no less than fourteen row-boats on board. I never 
saw a more handsome vessel in my life. 

Saturday, the 19th, there was a Light Western breeze. 
That afternoon at about four o'clock we came within 
speaking distance of a brig from Apenrade, sailing from 
Hamburg to Valparaiso like ourselves. We enjoyed the 
company of this Danish vessel for several hours. Toward 
evening still another Schleswig-Holsteiner came within 
sight; it was the Flensburg three-masted "Helen Lou- 
ise." We were unable to communicate with the latter 
vessel on account of the approaching darkness. The 
"Apenrader" had informed us that it had already spent 
fifty-seven days at sea, i. e., since leaving Cnxhaven' 

On Sunday, the 20th, we had quite a breeze and appar- 
ently rain in the air; the "Helen Louise" was on the 
Western, and the Apenrade brig became barely visible on 
the Northwestern horizon, though it was yet early in the 
morning. We sighted the latter once more on the follow- 
ing day, when she crossed our stern with stormy South- 
wind and thick cold air. Ou Tuesday, July the 22d, about 
half-past nine in the forenoon, we caught sight of two 
barks, which followed the same Southern direction; these 
proved to be the last vessels which came within our hori- 
zon for a long, long time. 

From now on our voyage became exceedingly monot- 
onous, as we did not see another vessel for fully fifty days; 
when we first caught sight of one again, it was between 
Fireland (terra del fuego) and New South Shetland. 
Until we reached the Southern latitudes, where flocks of 
wild sea-birds would pass over our heads, onr eyes were 
not treated to the sight of any other living things except 
fishes. Our voyage has been marked from the very he- 
ginning by contrary and unfavorable winds. The North- 
eastern Monsoon had left us much sooaor than we antici- 
pated and we had very little of the Southeastern Mon- 
soon if the somewhat lively South Southeast wind, that 
came to us from the twenty-fourth to the thirty-first of 
July, is to be considered as such. 



106 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

We passed the "line" on Friday, the twenty-fifth of 
July, at half-past ten in the evening (22 J 5i' W. L. Green- 
wich). The day had been agreeably cool; after sun-set, 
about six o'clock, the air became quite rough and a rain 
set in. Notwithstanding the unfavorable weather, the 
sailors were determined to have the customary Neptune- 
farce. About nine o 'clock there appeared one of them, a 
funny old fellow by the name of Rainer Splitgen, who 
was lame of one leg. He wore a mask which converted 
his face into a veritable caricature; a coarse woollen 
blanket enveloped his body, while beard and hair of un- 
conscionable length had been manufactured for the pur- 
pose out of oakum. A gaily-colored crown of sail-cloth 
rather disfigured than ornamented the head of the actor, 
who went along the stern upon the water-stay. He then 
addressed the ship in the proper manner through a speak- 
ing-tube with the customary "Bark ahoy!" The Cap- 
tain himself answered in the usual manner, after which 
the supposed Neptune inquired as to the name of the ves- 
sel, the port of embarkment and of destination, all of 
which were duly answered by the Captain. He then de- 
clared that he would come on board to investigate, 
whether everything was in proper order, which he did. 
He appeared, however, to be of a very ungracious dispo- 
sition, finding fault with everything and everybody, scold- 
ing here and there, whereby the man at the wheel re- 
ceived particularly a full share of Neptune's ill-will. He, 
of course, gave orders, in a voice which corresponded very 
well to his exterior appearance. In order to pacify him 
the Captain invited him at last to take a drink of whisky 
with him in the cabin, an invitation which he could not 
decline in such cold and wet weather. Soon after he re- 
turned with a full bottle of the same beverage, which had 
been given to him for his "family." With triumphant 
air he returned whence he had come and disappeared over 
the bow after assuring us that he would honor us once 
more with his visit if we would enter his realms by the 
following night. 

The subsequent Saturday favored the farce of the 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 107 

mariners more than the day before, as the weather was 
more suitable for their purpose of merry- making. We 
were making good time and enjoyed a cool breeze; flying 
fish, bonitos and tumblers were visible everywhere, en- 
joying the pleasant bright day like ourselves. 

The continued tolling of the ship's bell announced the 
re-appearance of Neptune about one o'clock in the after- 
noon. This time, however, he arrived with his whole 
court, consisting of his wife, who carried an immense rag- 
doll in her arms, two body-guards wearing red coats and 
otherwise provided with long wooden swords; three or 
four personalities in strange fantastic make-up completed 
the procession. All of them wore ridiculous masks. Im- 
mediately after arrival Neptune and his pilot commenced 
the measurements of the vessel, having been provided 
with an immense octant, built for the purpose by the 
skilful carpenter, and they then made quite a correct 
sketch upon a map, which our ingenious sail-maker had 
provided for them. This map was made of sail-cloth and 
was, as regards neatness and dimensions, by no means 
inferior to the carpenter's creation. The equator had 
been marked by a heavy stroke of the tar-brush. After 
this part of the program had been accomplished, Nep- 
tune's secretary delivered a solemn address to the Cap- 
tain, at the end of which he requested those of the crew 
to approach, who now passed the equator for the first 
time. Thus called, two sailor boys appeared who were 
taken to the front and, after being thoroughly lathered, 
they received a good shaving with a wooden razor, about 
two feet in length. After the scraping, which had been 
done with great ceremony, both boys were given a shower- 
bath by pouring a bucket of water over the head of each. 
The onlooking passengers could only escape the fate of 
the boys by contributing to the drink-funds. The remain- 
der of the day was a holiday by permission and all work, 
which could possibly be delayed, was suspended. The 
crew, as well as the passengers, enjoyed themselves dur- 
ing the afternoon by all kinds of gymnastic exercises, 
followed later on by the bowl. The latter example, set by 



108 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the sailors, was followed even by those who had not been 
active in the gymnastics, I being one of them. We seated 
ourselves comfortably in the deck-cabin and chatted 
around the wine and cognac bowl. Notwithstanding the 
rather mixed elements out of which this original ''hedge- 
ale-house" assembly consisted, it was happy and har- 
monious, though there would perhaps have been more 
hilarity if it had not been for the sufferings of one of our 
fellow-passengers, a certain Nabholz from Khenish Bava- 
ria, who had been taken sick about a week before with 
nervous prostration; this dampened the general merri- 
ment and gave the whole proceeding a somewhat strained 
aspect. No one realized at that time that we would be 
witnesses of a depressing, almost terrible solemnity, with- 
in two days thereafter. 

Nabholz passed away about noon on Sunday, the 20th 
of July. Most of the passengers had the comforting rec- 
ollection of having done their utmost to relieve him. To 
do more or even to give material aid was beyond their 
power— beyond all human strength. Even the physician 
who had accompanied us hither, could assist the patient 
very little, as the supply of medicine was so scant that 
one hardly could get the most common home-remedies, 
notwithstanding the boasting announcements of the ship- 
broker. Thus all depended upon the good constitution 
of the patient, which in this case failed even to respond 
to the earnest endeavors of the physician. Nabholz be- 
longed to those unfortunates who are ignorant of the fact 
that the hot zone is an open grave for Europeans who 
have previously suffered from a certain class of diseases. 
These ills will re-appear, though very often under differ- 
ent form, and death is the unavoidable consequence in 
ninety-nine out of every hundred cases. 

Though we all felt quite depressed at the death of 
Nabholz, we were comforted by the fact that his loss of 
consciousness at the very beginning of his sickness re- 
lieved him of that dreadful feeling of loneliness and help- 
lessness which he would otherwise have felt. His burial 
took place on the same day, about six o'clock in the 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 109 

evening. It was a simple, plain, but very solemn affair, 
which affected us deeply. The remains were enveloped 
in a woollen blanket, laid upon his mattress and then, true 
to old custom, sewed up in sail-cloth, after padding the 
sides with pillows and covering the top with the clothing 
of the dead man. "When this was accomplished the whole 
was tied upon a thick board, to the foot-end of which 
there were attached four pieces of anchor-chain, for the 
purpose of giving it the required weight. When all prep- 
arations had been made, the main-top-sails were lowered 
in order to prevent speed, after which the flags were 
hoisted half mast, as a sign of mourning. Everybody un- 
covered his head to say a silent prayer— so it seemed, 
at least— while the body was lifted upon the quarter- 
deck-rail. It was a sad solemn moment, when the re- 
mains were slowly lowered into the bottomless ocean, 
whose blue billows continued to ripple quite a while after. 
The whole ceremony had left a gloomy, depressing atmos- 
phere, when Heaven itself opened its grey, threatening 
clouds to send a fine, drizzling rain upon the watery 
grave. The waves rose high, and as far as the keenest eye 
could note, nothing was discovered which bore life but 
our lone vessel, tossed about by the roaring waves, while 
the mourning flags told the sad, sorrowful tale of the 
day. AVe rested another quarter of an hour as a mark of 
respect; we then went forward under full sail, parting the 
foam-crowned waves at great speed and leaving behind 
us the locality which serves poor Nabholz as a resting- 
place. No sign by which it may be recognized, as no hu- 
man foot will ever approach his watery grave. Nabholz 
had not yet completed his twentieth year when he passed 
away. 

On July the 31st we had reached 31° 33' West Longitude 
and 10° 42' South Latitude. The Brazilian coast between 
Pernambuco and Sergipe del Rey was the nearest land, 
and that was about eighty (German) miles away. A 
wondrously beautiful sunrise— followed by splendid, clear 
v i ather — made this one of the brightest days we had dur- 
ing the whole of our voyage. The tropical sun shone in 



110 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the pure, blue heaven above where only here and there 
a shining snow-white summer-cloud would make a marked 
contrast ; and notwithstanding the fact that the rays had 
full sway, the air was cool and pleasant, somewhat like 
our warm spring-days at home. With all that, we made 
unusually quick time through the deep, carmine-blue sea, 
which I never saw as calm as on this day, not even in 
close proximity of land. Schools of silvery flying fish 
were playing around us and four nautilus came right 
alongside our ship; the pretty rose-colored wings of the 
largest one reaching about three inches above the water. 
The sun-set following resembled the magnificent sunrise 
and I saw, what thousands of people who cross the At- 
lantic will never have a chance of viewing, and what only 
occurred once during our whole trip, the rare spectacle 
of the apparent dropping of the sun into water, and not, 
as is generally the case, setting behind, or surrounded 
by, fog or clouds. The air remained pure and mild after 
the sun-set. The soft, beautiful shades of colors faded 
on the darkening sky, and when night had closed down, 
I noticed for the first time the brilliant star-pictures of 
the Southern Hemisphere, developing their splendor on 
the blue velvety background of the firmament. The stars 
seemed to compete harmoniously with one another, in 
which rivalry they succeeded so well that even the small- 
est of them displayed a brightness which we do not wit- 
ness on our coldest winter nights at home. The Milky 
Way particularly attracted the attention of the observer's 
gaze and the Dipper, the Twins and the beautiful picture 
of the Southern Cross filled one with wonder. Except- 
ing Venus— which, though barely within our horizon, dis- 
plays a brilliancy which compares almost with that of 
the moon itself— and Jupiter, the brightest star on the 
Southern Hemisphere; none are more lustrous than those 
of the Cross. I watched the celestial spectacle from my 
usual place until very late in the night, unable to take 
my eyes from the millions of sparkling jewels of the firma- 
ment; it was particularly the sight of the little Cross 
which kept my attention and which even the most care- 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 111 

less observer could not have overlooked. Though small 
enough to be hidden behind the four smallest stars of the 
"Great Bear," it shone forth with matchless evenness and 
splendor. The moon, too, though yet only a crescent at 
the further edge of the northern horizon, threw out such 
intense light that the different objects on board would 
throw their shadow. To give you a correct estimate of 
the transparent atmosphere in this latitude, I will men- 
tion the fact that one could actually see the dark part of 
the disk of the moon with the naked eye; even the differ- 
ent spots were visible to a keen observer. My description 
of the thirty-first has been very long-drawn; ought I to 
apologize for it, my beloved ones? 

This date brought forth to my memory many a cher- 
ished recollection of the far away home; is it a wonder 
that I made this day as well as a few others, a sort of 
holiday of obligation, holding what may be justly termed 
a Divine Service, in honor of the past? Man needs such 
moments to gather strength from the recollections of the 
past, to meet the requirements of a perhaps stormy fu- 
ture. If one allows one's mind to dwell on similar sub- 
jects of meditation but twice in three months, is there 
reason for being placed in the category of dreamers and 
illusionists? In imagination I dwelt with you on these 
two days, from early morning till late at night, though 
I made also a few visits to others. It is a sad privilege, 
which the great distance from home, however, permits. 
I can gather around me all those to whom T am drawn in 
love, and enjoy their company at the same time. But 
enough of this! 

All that is beautiful comes to an end. 

The 31st of July experienced the same fate and great 
was our surprise when we awoke the next morning to 
find a complete calm which had set in after a heavy rain. 
"We had a little breeze from South Southeast once but it 
soon changed to South and then slightly West so that, 
toward nine o'clock in the evening, we could hardly make 
any headway. The same unfavorable weather, which 
greeted us on the first day of August, continued almost 



112 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

throughout this, as well as part of the next month. It 
was a hard trial for our patience, our good humor and, I 
may add, our state of health. Fortunately, I did not suf- 
fer, but managed to keep myself well, as I assured you at 
the very beginning of my letter; of course I suffered from 
tooth-ache once in a while, but that hardly counts for 
much, or is worth mentioning. 

After we had reached the South-Western ocean current, 
which runs along the Brazilian coast from Cape Frio to 
Cape St. Eoque, which took place on the third of August, 
the unfavorable weather continued and could have been 
compared to our disagreeable, damp, fall weather at 
home. Even the inhabitants of the sea left us, though the 
water remained clear and transparent; further South we 
would meet a North-Caper or whaler once in a long while. 
On the other hand, we now found ourselves daily in the 
company of sea-birds, sometimes thousands of them. We 
observed the first arrivals on the fourth of August, when 
about half a dozen of Cape-Doves put in an appearance. 
This is a species, which remained with us, following the 
ship day after day, whether we were close to the shore 
or not, until we reached Valparaiso. These pretty white 
birds which accompanied us in large flocks resembled 
our geese in size and shape but they had very strong, 
crooked beaks and sharp black claws; their long wings 
and head as well as tail were speckled with black. The 
wind was unusually changeable and blew at times from 
four directions in one day, now light, then again so strong 
that even the top-sails seemed to be more than sufficient. 
The breeze was mostly Southern or Western and if it 
happened once in a while that a more favorable change 
took place, we were not benefited enough by it to help 
us very materially in our onward progress. On the con- 
trary, it often happened that such a change brought with 
it a roughness which was not agreeable. 

Notwithstanding the fact that these Northern air-cur- 
rents caused many disagreeable movements on board, 
they were welcomed as dispensers of moments of recrea- 
tion. 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 113 

On Saturday, the 9th of August, we had quite a heavy 
thunderstorm accompanied by lightning as early as half- 
past seven in the morning; on the 10th, 11th and 12th 
the winds blew at intervals from all directions, with great 
force, particularly on the first-named day. That kind of 
weather causes the sailors a great deal of work, as they 
have to adjust the sails and rigging constantly, now 
changing them from one side to the other, then repairing 
this or that one, now setting and then again laying them 
to. During the whole voyage we had not had as much 
rolling and cruising as in these few days, although the 
sea did not go so very high. 

The first albatross reached our ship on Monday, the 
eleventh of August, shortly after sun-set. At first we saw 
but little of these web-footed birds, but the further we 
went South, the more numerous they became. Flying, the 
albatross resembles the stork, on account of its snowy 
plumage and black tipped wings, though there is in re- 
ality very little resemblance if one looks at it close by. 
It is generally as large as a swan but has a short, thick 
neck; its beak is extraordinarily strong, often more than 
three inches long and crooked like that of a hawk. 
Mamuris made their appearance next; they closely re- 
semble the albatross witli the exception that their 
plumage is quite dark-grey. AYe caught one which meas- 
ured seven feet from tip to tip. The further we went 
South the more numerous became the birds; and many 
beautiful species surrounded our vessel. They are all ex- 
ceedingly handsome, with an unusually fine and soft, 
thick plumage. Being exceedingly greedy, one can catch 
thorn without much trouble with a strong fish-hook baited 
with bacon. YYe had generally several lines out, if the 
weather was favorable; and it was by no means an un- 
common occurrence to see a dozen or more of these pretty 
birds run about our deck; the peculiar fact is, that these 
birds can only raise themselves out of the water or man- 
age to fly from high points. Whenever we got tired play- 
ing with them we would wind gay ribbons around their 
necks and retain tliem to freedom. 



114 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Valparaiso-Harbor, 
October the 23d, 24th and 25th, 1851. 

Having arrived here yesterday (the 22d), I hasten to 
continue this letter; the pen burns in my hand, for I wish 
that the message of good cheer, which I now write down, 
could at this moment be in your hands, assuring you that 
the hardest part of our voyage is now ended. 

On August the 15th we caught sight of an immense 
' ' Northcaper, " which came close to our ship early 
in the morning, while we had a momentary calm 
and bright, pleasant weather. This large fish emerged 
now and then so that we were able to see its greenish- 
black back, which measured about twenty feet in length. 

The next day, August the 16th, at half-past six o'clock 
in the evening, there was born a son to a former citizen of 
Berlin, Elwanger by name, an event which was celebrated 
on the following Monday by raising the flag on that beau- 
tiful, bright day. 

Following the light winds on Monday, August the 18th, 
we were unexpectedly compelled to make the acquain- 
tance of a storm, such as the Southern Atlantic produces. 
It struck us during the night, and differed much from 
previous ones which we had experienced. In our opinion 
it was so severe that we coulc not imagine anything 
worse. Now, every one of us has become wiser— as the 
terrific tornadoes which we experienced dno, left us to 
believe that the first one, South of the Equator, was, after 
all, not of so awful a nature, though it was violent enough 
to un-roof houses and up-root trees on the shore. This 
storm came from Southwest and was accompanied by a 
heavy rain; about noon following it had subsided suf- 
ficiently to permit the setting of sails. On Tuesday, Au- 
gust the 19th, we had to meet another loss in the death of 
a passenger, Odin by name, a Saxon, who passed away 
during the forenoon, having suffered long and intensely 
from gout and scurvy. There was already the foot-print 
of the "reaper" upon him when he came on board our 
vessel, and it is hardly probable that his life would have 
been prolonged even if he had remained on land. His 




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THE OCEAN VOYAGE 115 

remains were turned over to the Atlantic about seven 
o'clock in the evening, the ceremonies being conducted in 
the same manner as were those which marked the burial 
of Nabholz. 

It was during this hour that the first storm-birds or 
"Mother Carey's Chickens," as they are generally called, 
put in their appearance on board. It is evidently more 
than a Bailor's superstition to connect the coming of these 
animals with an approaching storm. The mariners take 
it to be an infallible omen and not without some reason. 
I made it a special point to observe this strange occur- 
rence and can testify to the fact that whenever two or 
three of these rare birds became visible we could reckon 
upon a heavy storm, which would invariably follow with- 
in a few hours. So it happened that we had a heavy 
storm from W. N. W. during the night, which was par- 
ticularly tempestuous at sun-rise. "We had fastened near- 
ly all sails and the ship went with great difficulty until 
the subsidence of the gale about noon-time, made it pos- 
sible to have more sails set. 

"Wednesday night, after a short interval, the weather 
looked again so gloomy and threatening that the rather 
timely precaution of changing or reducing sails proved to 
be an exceedingly wise one, as we were witnesses of an- 
other gale from S. S. W., which made the wind much 
rougher than the previous one. It did not change until 
Thursday, the 21st, after it had been raging without the 
slightest interruption for fifteen long hours. 

The night between Thursday and Friday passed com- 
paratively quiet, though the air was cold and disagree- 
able and the ship worked hard in the hollow of the waves. 
About noon we noticed some short ends of old ship's-rope 
driving close to our ship, followed later on by a row-boat, 
which had evidently belonged to a larger vessel; it was 
full of water and did not seem to have been in the position 
very long, but had evidently broken adrift. The air was 
gloomy and an ice-cold rain fell now and then. About 
two o'clock another S. S. W. gale struck us, so that we 
had to change sails again. W^e now followed W. to S. 



116 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

until evening, when we again made a change to W. N. "W. 
This gale reached its greatest fury on Saturday, the 23d, 
and did not cease until Sunday noon, by which time it 
had raged full forty hours. From now on we had an oc- 
casional hailstorm, and between two and three in the 
afternoon w« had the first, pretty thick snow-fall. The 
few sails, which were set, had been well reefed. 

This week— during which we had experienced unusual- 
ly stormy weather— was but a preparatory foretaste of 
the experiences which were to be ours when we passed 
the Cape. 

The period between Sunday, the 24th of August, and 
the 3d of September can be covered in a very few words. 
Encouraged by fresh Western and Southwestern breezes, 
which were not very stormy in their nature, we made 
pretty good speed and were sailing closer and closer along 
the Patagonian coast, follovv T ed by flocks of Cape pigeons 
and albatrosses. Owing to the fact that we kept close to 
the coast, the current remained rather quiet and this pe- 
riod of our voyage would undoubtedly have been one of 
the most agreeable of the whole trip if the weather had 
not been so rough and cold, notwithstanding the bright 
sunshine. What was to have been a pleasant trip was 
thus spoiled; and though we had not ice enough on board 
to go skating, there were daily hail and snow-storms, 
which compelled us to use shovels more than once. We 
also had quite heavy fogs at times. 

The day after the last storm there floated reeds and 
sea-weed in large quantities all around us. On Tuesday, 
the 26th, we took a new kind of visitors on board in the 
shape of a hitherto unseen species of sea-birds. As the 
air was unusually calm, we were able to catch quite a 
number of them in the previously described manner and 
had at one time no less than fifteen of them running round 
the deck; we threw the whole flock overboard as soon as 
evening came and how they seemed to enjoy the swim- 
ming again. These animals were somewhat larger than 
big geese and distinguished themselves by their blue 
beaks and pale-red swimming webs; their plumage was 




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THE OCEAN VOYAGE 117 

beautifully silver-grey on the back, while head, neck and 
breast were snow white; the long grey wings ended in 
black tips. They were undoubtedly the most beautiful 
swimming fowls we had thus far seen; though dreadfully 
stupid and greedy, and therefore easy to catch. We only 
came across this species once more during our voyage 
and that was on the other side of Patagonia, in nearly the 
same latitude. 

Saturday, the 30th, we discovered what the sailors call 
"fat geese," which, though yet at a great distance, dis- 
closed to us the proximity of the Falkland Islands; and 
the 3d of September we were surprised by seeing a tre- 
mendous whale. Toward evening of the same day we 
caught a little land-bird, which, tired from its long flight, 
had fallen on our fore-deck. We all enjoyed the wonder- 
fully clear moon-light and unusual quiet, and remained 
on deck till late in the night. 

Thursday, the fourth of September, was destined to 
mark another epoch in our voyage. 

Under a lively West-wind we were able to approach the 
high coast-mountains of the Fireland (terra del fuego) 
towards four o'clock in the morning. It forms a large 
bay between the 66th and 67th degree West longitude. 
When at last the sun arose it was half-past six. We were 
within four German miles of land and, as the morning 
was really beautiful, we greatly enjoyed the sight. The 
ship now changed its course to the East, following the 
coast-line. The sight was one of the most beautiful that 
had ever been presented to my view, and it made upon me 
a deeper impression than it perhaps would have done, had 
this not been the first land we had seen in fully two 
months, or since we left Madeira. 

The coast of Fireland arises out of the ocean with un- 
usual steepness, resembling a two to three-hundred foot 
wall, at the base of which the mighty breakers were roar- 
ing. Further upward its perpendicular aspect appears 
to modify slightly, though losing little of its former ab- 
ruptness. Slowly it seems to join the wild, rooky e<>ast- 
mountams, the horn-like peaks of which often are prob- 



118 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

ably more than fifteen-hundred feet in height. The zig- 
zag of the many wide cracks, the caves and protruding- 
rocks, all coated with eternal snow, presented a view most 
picturesque, and never to he forgotten; and the magnifi- 
cence of the scene which the early morning sun illumined 
can only find its equal in the Alps. But, notwithstanding 
the imposing sight, which I have described, the view is a 
strangely desolate one, with the absolute absence of vege- 
tation. Nothing was visible but wildly torn rocks of a 
reddish brown color, which were inhabited by innumera- 
ble water-fowl, whose screeching alone would be echoed 
in the cold, cavernous mountains, where even the native 
nomad dared to set his foot but rarely. • 

The surface of the ocean had a dark gray-green color 
and was comparatively quiet; a Western wind hastened 
our speed considerably, which naturally brought us new 
scenery from minute to minute. 

"We reached Cape St. Vincent soon after ten o'clock 
and passed it. We had approached shore slowly and were 
able to distinguish the ever breaking billows at the foot 
of the Cape. 

Beginning with this point, we find the chain of coast 
mountains recedes somewhat into a deep-cut picturesque 
bay, which enables the eye to enjoy the panorama of the 
endless snow-fields and ferns of the interior. This bay 
ends in the east at the point where the noted Cape San 
Diego appears as a gigantic corner stone of the Strait of 
Le Maire. This cape protrudes considerably into the sea, 
almost pointed like a needle and ends in a rock of about 
three hundred feet high, which hangs most threatening- 
ly over the breakers, that roar amidst fallen fragments, 
which, reaching almost a quarter of a mile into the sea, 
may easily be taken for a dam of gigantic construction. 
We sailed around this dangerous place at about a mile 
distant and entered the Strait Le Maire at eleven o'clock. 
This strait divides Fireland and Staten Island. 

We kept close to the coast of Fireland, or less than half 
a mile from the shore. Though the northern coast had 
offered already a beautiful view, it could not be compared 




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THE OCEAN \< >YAGE 119 

to the wild, torn character which presented itself step by 
step in the strait of Le Maire. It was truly picturesque. 
The most imposing spectacle in this region undoubtedly 
caused by the many little inlets which form a crescent, 
opening toward the ocean. This spot is called "Bay of 
Good Success," and seemed to be half a mile wide and 
deej), marked at its Eastern end by some large mountains 
of Fireland; and on the South by the Cape of Good Suc- 
cess. The whole looks like a black, jagged wall of rocks, 
perpendicular, and often more than a thousand feet high, 
frequently protruding toward the everlasting breakers 
of the raging sea. This wall is crowned with immense 
masses of snow which do not entirely melt away during 
the summer months; and now, in the spring season of the 
Southern Hemisphere, • we see immense stalactites of 
frozen snow hanging everywhere and reaching at times 
such proportions that they almost kiss the breaking bil- 
lows. No human foot ever reached this region and not 
the least vegetation could be discovered by the searching 
eye. Nothing but a dark volcanic rock, covered by the 
icy blanket of perpetual snow. 

The Cape of Good Success itself formed the culminating 
point, which is the Eastern outlet of the snow-capped 
mountain-chain with its wild coast-scenery, which make 
the interior of Fireland so unexplorable. It appears to 
be about fifteen hundred feet high, a dark, wild and grue- 
some sight to behold, on the few protruding points of 
which even the snow seems to have failed to obtain a last- 
ing hold; the sea is at this point unfathomable. It was 
on this cape that a Danish bark with many emigrants 
wrecked, in full view of two other vessels; this occurred 
during last January. Capt. Meyer told me that the bail; 
was tin-own but once against the mighty rocks, which 
proved enough to convert its beams and planks into splin- 
ters and the one hundred and thirty-six people, who were 
on board, lost their lives right there. The captain showed 
me the spot as we sailed past at a distance of about half 
a mile. 

\\c left the Strait Le Maire about two o'clock in the 



120 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

afternoon and re-entered the wide ocean, soon losing sight 
of Staten Island, whose inaccessible rocky peaks could 
only be seen as an indistinct outline above the clouds, 
while the lower part of the Island, though but four miles 
away, had been completely obliterated from view by 
heavy fog. The breeze was quite refreshing but not very 
strong, and as the weather seemed to be pleasant and 
quiet, we set full sails and went with South-Southwest 
wind. Though the coast disappeared more and more from 
our horizon, it remained picturesque, as before. It was 
now that the numerous small islands and the rough cliffs, 
which projected out of the water, forming all kinds of 
strange figures, would impress one with a peculiar long- 
ing. The back-ground of this grand panorama was, of 
course, the mighty chain of snowy mountains. 

As you may well imagine, I did not allow this rare and 
favorable opportunity to pass by without making a few 
sketches, of which I have six, taken from the most inter- 
esting points of the coast. The magic beauty of the scen- 
eries was so attractive that I continued my sketching 
with fingers, stiffened by cold, for which the favorable 
light and general quiet seemed to recompense me. The 
opportunity is seldom offered and few will have ever 
thought of making this use of it. 

We continued on our quiet journey, somewhat protect- 
ed by the projecting land, and assisted by more favorable 
ocean currents, which had hitherto been rather against 
us, especially in the Strait Le Maire, where the waves 
reach at times a height of thirty feet, i. e., under ordinary 
conditions, while it exceeds this greatly in times of 
storms. During the afternoon the air became heavier 
and by eight o'clock in the evening the sky was quite 
cloudy, though the wind remained steady and the sea 
quiet. We expected to reach the Cape within the next 
six or eight hours. Nobody of our merry crowd, that 
passed the evening hours laughing and joking, thought 
that it would take us yet fully a fortnight to reach the 
long looked-for Cape. Nor did we realize that we would 
have to suffer more on every single one of these days than 
we had during our whole three months' voyage. 




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THE OCEAN VOYAGE 121 

By mid-night il was said to have been possible to rec- 
ognize the Barnavelt Island, which is some six miles 
from Cape Horn, wheD suddenly a heavy storm broke out 
of the West. About five o'clock iu the morning of Fri- 
day, the fifth of September, the gale blew so dreadfully 
that our jib was lifted out of its encasings and the top- 
mast-sail tore loose soon after, on which occasion the 
ship's carpenter, sail-maker and the Chilian apprentice, 
Lastico, came within an ace of being" thrown overboard. 
Not until about nine o'clock were we able to loosen the 
sail of the foremast from its yard and to set it securely. 
During all the time required for the most necessary re- 
pairing we were floating at the mercy of the hourly-rising 
sea. 

This kind of weather continued all day long, so that it 
was barely possible to steer South-Southwest. As night 
approached the storm increased and became so violent 
about midnight that it fell little short of a hurricane, the 
waters constantly washing over our deck. The force of 
the billows grew so powerful toward day-break that it 
knocked the heavy iron ridges asunder, under which the 
quarter-boat hung, which, in consequence, rolled upon 
the deck between the deck-cabin and the mizzen-mast and 
it took several hours before it was possible to secure it 
properly again. At another time the storm struck us and 
tore off the mouldings of the star-board, carrying them 
away; then again, it went tearing between the fore and 
main masts. The keen, cutting cold had frozen the rig- 
ging and glazed the deck and the water-barrels were 
heavily iced. AVas it a wonder that we made absolutely 
no headway under the circumstances? For fully twenty- 
four hours we were compelled to remain with main-top- 
Bail, mizzen-sail and storm-jib tightly hove to, drifting 
all the while. Such was our reception at the Cape. 

Sunday, the seventh, about noon, we were glad that, 
after the storm had raged for fully fifty-five hours, its 
force was abated sufficiently to allow us to set the lower 
sails again, though the wind remained unsteady between 
Southwest and West. Instead of the sails, we had already 



122 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

lost, our men substituted reserve-sails and, as the weather 
brightened during the afternoon, we heaved out the top- 
sail, set it and took the course North West to West. The 
air was cold and large pieces of ice floated on our water- 
barrels. The weather continued fair on Monday, the 
eighth, and as it was tolerably bright, we were satisfied 
though the wind had neither changed in violence nor di- 
rection, remaining S. W. and W., as during the day be- 
fore. We kept S. to S. W. and S. W., making the best of 
our chances. 

Suddenly there arose another powerful gale from the 
South, about two o'clock in the afternoon, carrying with 
it a cutting cold, and much snow and hail; notwithstand- 
ing which we managed to keep our course West to South 
until about midnight. From this hour on the storm 
changed gradually to North-Northwest and assumed such 
proportions that we were again compelled to take in all 
sail except the smallest; again we drifted hopelessly while 
our vessel was constantly under water. To complete our 
misery, the clouds kept sending us snow and hail— dark, 
sharp, cutting hail. This continued till Wednesday, the 
tenth of September. While it is true that the wind con- 
tinued, even on this day, W. to N. W., accompanied by 
constant snow, it became possible about noon to again 
bring our vessel under more sail and its course was 
changed to Southwest. We then had a chance about 
three o'clock in the afternoon to see another vessel 
through the fog. It was a freight-bark, which cruised 
East-ward, probably bound for Europe ; none but the fore- 
mast-sail was set out. 

Soon after this we experienced another ' 'rough sea," 
which destroyed the pigeon-house that we had standing 
on deck and washed away a few things, without causing 
much damage. The sky was thickly clouded when night 
came and the storm increased but it did not reach its 
greatest violence until Thursday, the eleventh, in broad 
daylight; the severe cold again caused plenty of ice to 
form on board. Early in the morning there was another 
Joss to be registered, another sail gone which compelled 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 123 

us to drift all day with but one small bark sail and the 
well reefed mizzen in a sea truly mountainous and con- 
stantly breaking over our deck. Another heavy wave 
broke our mizzen mast about eleven o'clock in the fore- 
noon and the water came rushing down the steerage in 
such quantities that our lower bunks on our starboard 
side were completely under water. The violence of the 
waves was terrible and the ship suffered to such an ex- 
tent, causing so much water to come in my own bunk, that 
mattress and blanket were thoroughly saturated, our 
deck being sadly in need of repairs. 

One can only obtain a faint idea of the terrific force 
of this hurricane, for such I can call it, without scruple, 
when iTelate the fact of our having on board an iron bar, 
four inches thick and twelve feet in length, which, as it 
was lying flat on deck, was suddenly carried away as if it 
had been nothing but a feather. 

Our barometer stood all day 5'" below storm, or at 25" 
7'". At last, toward sunset, the storm abated so that we 
were able to set topsail again. The next day— Friday— 
we found ourselves in a snow-bod, which had fallen during 
the night, and even at noon there was plenty of it; the 
sun, though bright, had been powerless to melt it as the 
cold remained piercing all day with a S. S. W. wind. We 
kept West by South under well reefed sails. I can very 
well make a division and call this the second Cape storm, 
which had so far subsided that we were able to slightly 
loosen the sails by five o'clock of the same afternoon. We 
had in all ninety-nine hours of storm which though vary- 
ing in severity, had actually raged all this time, a fact 
which is even a rare occurrence in this storm-beaten lati- 
tude. Saturday, the thirteenth, we had quite a severe 
North wind and rain, the air, however, being less cold 
than on the previous day. The sea was still exceedingly 
rough and the waves broke over our deck as before. We 
continued Southwest to Southwest by West as the wind 
would permit us. 

The weather remained thus somewhat bearable until 
about half-past ten in the evening when, without the least 



124 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

warning or sign, another tornado struck us, coming from 
South-Southwest with such violence that even the most 
inexperienced of our passengers marveled that our masts 
were not carried away; even the captain himself had ex- 
pected it. 

As already mentioned this storm caught us at a time 
when there was absolutely no preparation made to meet 
it as it came unexpectedly; the barometer did not even 
fall until we were in the midst of it, when it went down 
to 25" 2'".— No wonder then that all our sails were set 
at the time the storm so suddenly broke on us. It was 
only possible to fasten and secure the sails by the most 
strenuous efforts of the captain and crew which were 
greatly hindered by the thick snowstorm and constant 
motion of the ship. But they succeeded in fastening the 
top-jib and foremast-sails, though every one of them 
was more or less damaged or torn. The main sail, how- 
ever, was doomed. While it still stood the tornado grew 
fiercer and fiercer and there was danger in every mo- 
ment's delay; but our captain dared not give the 
order which was to have saved the beautiful sail made 
of nearly fifteen hundred square feet of heaviest, 
strongest sail cloth. All remonstration, all begging 
proved fruitless. Nobody was willing to risk his life 
to the imminent danger — for such it seemed. At last 
there came forth three volunteers in the persons of our 
sail maker, cook and ship's carpenter— three men, every 
one of whom had already passed his thirty-fifth year and 
was a true specimen of a South Sea sailor— these men 
were ready to risk the hazardous undertaking. They 
were just going along the main yard, slowly and cau- 
tiously, when we heard a terrific noise, something like 
the firing of a cannon. The storm had torn the brand 
new sail. The carpenter retired, but the cook and the 
sail maker undertook courageously to save at least part 
of the cloth; but what could have been accomplished even 
by the fist of a Hercules under such circumstances? Rag 
after rag tore away from the beautiful sail and in a quar- 
ter of an hour there was nothing left except a few tatters, 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 125 

beaten by the wind. This happened about one o'clock at 
night. The next thing was another billow of unusual 
height and momentum, which came dashing over the 
helm, throwing two sailors from the wheel, one of whom 
had his left hand crushed; again the mizzen mast broke 
and with it the rigging, the whole coming down greatly 
damaged, hat we managed to place it securely. At four 
o'clock, having raged for fully live hours, the storm sub- 
sided, taking along about thirty feet of our backboard 
trimming as a trophy. The wind calmed down quickly 
about seven o'clock, giving way to the Sunday sun, which 
shone bright and warm, while we had only a pleasant 
Southwestern breeze. 

I hardly ever witnessed a sadder scene than that which 
oar vessel presented on this morning. It was very cold. 
The rigging hung in a most dilapidated condition, torn 
here and there, and again knotted; some of it was lying 
on deck, which was coated with ice more than an inch 
thick with the exception of a few spots where the snow- 
had gathered. Bowsprit, anchor, capstan, in one word, 
the whole bow of the ship was thickly covered with ice 
and snow. The masts and tackling were likewise cov- 
<. red with ice. at least as high. as the spray of the waves 
had reached, which represented a height at least of 
twenty to thirty feet. Under the yards, on the ropes and 
other protruding parts of the running rigging, there were 
long icicles hanging everywhere. One piece of the broken 
mizzen mast was lying on deck, while another one fas- 
tened to the vessel, was trailing along in the water; the 
sail of the mizzen was on the cabin roof, partly frozen 
ami partly covered with snow, one end of it reaching con- 
siderably over hoar-!. Of all the sails there remained 
only the little bark sail, which was almost useless under 
the slight breeze and the raging sea. The snow coy 
deck was seldom crossed by any one this morning, as tie- 
whole crew was sadly in need of rest after that terrible 
night's work; everybody was therefore trying to obtain 
as much comfort in his bunk as was possible under the 
circum tances. 



126 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

The condition of our vessel was a pitiful one indeed 
and I must really confess that on this day at least I was 
not free from worries as to our immediate future. Four 
of our sailors had become disabled, among whom were 
three who had become seriously injured externally; our 
brand new sheet iron side coatings had given way and 
could not be repaired on account of the prevailing frost. 
Our running rigging was torn or, if not completely so, it 
was worn out beyond remedy and in this case too the cold 
forbade any attempt at repairs or renewal. The worst 
feature of the situation was the condition of our sails, 
it being truly distressing. Until we reached La Plata 
the old sails had been in constant use, after which the 
two topsails, fore and mainsails were replaced by new 
ones, which had never been in service. But even these 
new sails had suffered terribly, especially the big topsail, 
which showed no less than eleven holes, large and small ; 
that of the fore mast had become so threadbare that one 
could have easily outlined the sun or the moon from be- 
hind it. The only consolation in this hour of general dis- 
tress was to be found in the fact that the body of our 
vessel had suffered comparatively little, so that the water 
at the pumps did not amount to much. 

Thus were we compelled to float till about two o'clock 
in the afternoon on this lonely Sunday. 

The vessel was then put in repairs, first by replacing 
top and jibsails which were set to the light Southwestern 
wind; after this was accomplished, all hands were ready 
to fix up the mizzen again, in which we succeeded by 
seven o'clock; the breeze blew towards the North-North- 
west. 

The night between Sunday and Monday, the 15th, was 
the first one which passed somewhat quietly since we 
passed the Strait Le Maire. We succeeded in making 
good time during the forenoon and were even encouraged 
to set the topsail to West by South. However, when two 
o'clock came we were again overtaken by a severe storm, 
accompanied by snow, coming from the South ; the former 
cutting cold prevailed and this state of affairs continued 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 127 

till the following forenoon. On Tuesday, the sixteenth, 
the wind turned again to Southwest. We had bright 
weather, though it was icy cold and the deck remained 
thickly glazed with ice all day long. During the night 
we reefed the big topsail, gaff top, etc., and steered West- 
Northwest. 

On Monday, the 17th of September, we again had a 
change of wind after a calm of short duration. Ve had 
the great satisfaction of finding the air mild and agree- 
able, and by six o'clock in the morning the snow and ice, 
which had covered our ship for days, began to thaw and 
soon disappeared from the deck as well as from the rig- 
ging. The dark green coloring of the ocean and the calm 
of the waves announced again the close vicinity of land. 
We kept Southwest by South, and made a very satisfac- 
tory run. 

Toward eight o'clock we caught sight of a little island 
rock, Cape Deceit, which is about two German miles from 
Cape Horn, and in our estimation we must have seen it 
at a distance of eleven miles. Hardly a quarter of an 
hour had passed when we beheld the insurmountable peak 
of the celebrated and much feared Cape itself. YVe kept 
Cape Horn in view till about four o'clock in the after- 
noon, after which the thickening air commenced to hin- 
der observation. "When we had approached the Cape 
within eight Gorman miles, its immense mass of rocks 
was plainly outlined on the darkening horizon. At the 
same time and distance there came a number of promi- 
nently projecting points of the Hermites Islands plainly 
within our view. The wind was rather refreshing during 
the day and turned gradually toward North. We soon 
shortened sails and about four o'clock we came within 
a short distance of the Diego Ramirez Islands, a little 
archipelago consisting of thirty-six large and small 
islands, which are close together and look like black per- 
pendicular rocks in the unfathomable sea. The highest 
points of these islands roughly estimated may be a thou- 
sand feet above the ocean level; they show clearly the 
volcano type, are completely barren and covered with 



128 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

perpetual snow. The sight of these cliffs, on which the 
most terrific storms and breakers had beaten during 
thousands of years past, created a feeling of indescrib- 
able gloom, uneasiness and sadness, which was rather 
increased by the immense swarms of screeching alba- 
trosses, ocean geese and cape doves, which find shelter 
here by millions. As we were lucky enough to reach 
these Ramirez Isles by half past six o'clock, i. e., just 
before dark, at a distance of about four German miles, 
I could not forego the pleasure of drawing a few sketches, 
though, upon my word, my fingers became as stiff as the 
horns of a billy goat. 

The approaching night made it gradually impossible 
for us to distinguish the disappearing of the archipelago 
from our horizon, and the strong breeze drove our ship 
quickly through the calm waters in a Southwest direc- 
tion. We had by this time crossed the Atlantic in its 
wildest dimension and entered upon the waters of the 
South Sea. 

I shall now take a short respite and then make a re- 
view for your benefit of the last few days, to complete 
this report. 

Now, since everything is a matter of the past, I am glad 
to have gone through it. The trials were indeed over- 
whelming and injurious to the health of every one, but, 
notwithstanding all privations, I had the good fortune 
of coming out hale and hearty. 

It creates quite a sensation while one is sitting in the 
circle of loved ones around the aromatic tea table 
and close by the old-fashioned fireplace, to read a well 
written description of some thrilling sea novel, with its 
snowstorms, its creaking and breaking of masts, its rat- 
tling of frozen rigging; and one thus by contrast feels a 
glow of satisfaction in the warm and cosy homestead. 
But you will believe me, that to read a description of a 
tornado, and to actually live through it, are decidedly 
two very different things, particularly when the scene 
takes place amidst real snow and ice around Cape Horn. 
One may experience a profound feeling for all that is 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 129 

imposing and grand on the wild waves of the ocean or 
during a storm just below the Equator, but when one has 
reached the sixtieth degree of South latitude, one is not 
likely to indulge in mere sentimental or emotional im- 
pressions. On the contrary, he is more forcibly reminded 
of the gnawings of an empty stomach, the freezing hands, 
the ice cold feet and the wet, frozen clothes! It is really 
not a fable if I tell you that we were actually endangering 
our lives in our attempts to fetch our scant meals ; they 
were scant, because it was impossible for the cook to fill 
the kettles more than half full on account of the terrible 
rocking of the vessel. The biting frost, the ice coated, 
slippery deck, strewn with fragments of rope and rig- 
gings, which were treacherously hidden under half-frozen 
snow, now and then a rushing billow which saturated 
one's clothes to the skin— all this having been successfully 
overcome on the way to the kitchen, we received there 
the prize of our undertaking— half a cup of tea or coffee ; 
and then we had to return with it in the same dangerous 
maimer, and happy was he when the storm only spilled 
half the contents of his cherished bowl, and it is needless 
to state that tea and coffee were completely cold by the 
time we had reached the steerage again. Similar were 
our experiences at dinner time. The food was invariably 
cold and too little to satisfy one's craving. In addition 
to this you may consider the wet clothes, wet feet and 
hands, the cutting, cold draught of the steerage in which 
the water would at times be splashing as much as on 
deck; then figure to yourself the soaking wet mattresses 
and woollen blankets, which were kept in this state by 
every new shower wave, the water of which would find 
its way through the cracks of the deck. Imagine that, 
whether one sits or lies down, there is absolutely no com- 
fort, no rest, as the constant motion of the vessel requires 
as much Btrength to keep these positions as would walk- 
ing or standing under the same circumstances. You will 
thus gain a slight conception of our frame of mind during 
these unhappy days and of our great joy when we had 
( Jape Horn behind us. 

9 



130 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

With all our misfortunes we still have reason to re- 
joice. As much as we had to suffer, we had at least the 
satisfaction of seeing some extraordinary sights, which 
recompensed me at least abundantly for the hardships 
we had met. 

There are hundreds of ships sailing around the cape 
that do not even see land at a distance, while we had the 
advantage of obtaining a broad day view of the cape as 
well as of the Diego Eamirez Islands, when we had al- 
ready made up our mind that it would be our unavoidable 
fate to cruise the South Sea for weeks only amidst ice and 
snowstorms. We, too, had sailed a whole day along the 
romantic coast of the "Fireland" (tierra del fuego) and 
passed the Strait Le Maire on a bright day, which is in 
itself an unusual occurrence, as only very experienced 
sea faring men who know the cape and its surroundings 
well and who have passed it often will dare to pass 
through this narrow strait. The only conditions which 
can tempt them to risk this trip are bright weather and 
light, favorable wind (by which I mean West and North- 
West wind) which will enable them to make the run in 
daylight; otherwise they prefer to sail around Staten 
Island, foregoing thereby the pleasure of seeing the inter- 
esting points I have mentioned. Everything seemed to 
come my way during this long voyage so that, notwith- 
standing the many hardships and privations, I cannot 
find much reason for complaint, but rather see good cause 
for satisfaction. 

Let us therefore be thankful that my voyage around 
the cape terminated so satisfactorily. 

One can safely consider the dangers of Cape Horn over- 
come as soon as the Eamirez Islands are passed, for the 
difference between the South Sea and the Atlantic is 
pronounced in many respects, and it rarely occurs that a 
vessel which has once reached this point is buffeted back 
again over the meridian of Cape Horn. 

The Northwest and West-Northwest winds, which blew 
during the next few days, compelled us again to take a 
Southwestern direction till we had reached the sixty-first 




§1 






8* 



THE OCEAN VOYAC.I". 131 

degree of southern latitude. Tlie weather compared to 
that of the same degree in the Atlantic was far less cold, 
though more foggy and the stonns were not as severe. 

The waves were still rolling high, though much more 
regular than was experienced in the strait which lies be- 
tween the archipelago off the New South Shetland coast 
and the Fireland; this strait is hardly ninety miles in 
width. We must, however, take into consideration the 
fact that the powerful northern ocean current, which 
runs along the coast of Patagonia, adds materially to the 
turbulence of the sea in that region. 

I remember the picture in Meyer's Universal Encyclo- 
pedia, well, quite well; it is a perfect representation of 
facts and even the portraiture of the ocean has not at all 
been exaggerated. The waves reach an almost incredible 
height; I have seen them roll up many a day, reaching 
a fluctuating line that would easily measure twenty-five 
or thirty feet from the foot to their highest curve. The 
''lambkins," as the sailors often call the splashing crowns 
of foam, are frequently from sixty to seventy-five feet 
long and twenty to thirty feet wide. Just such little 
"lambkins" knocked in our ship's waist and broke our 
mizzen mast. 

When we tried to set our main sail on Friday, the 19th, 
the yard broke right off, probably in consequence of dam- 
age which it had sustained before because the prevailing 
breeze, though strong, did by no means blow hard enough 
to warrant such an occurrence. The loss was soon re- 
placed by the fore yard; of course we had to do without 
sail on the fore mast. "We kept the southwestern course 
without much interruption until Monday, the 22d, when 
an immense whale came within a quarter of a mile of 
our starboard; it. measured at least eighty to ninety feet 
in length. It had become necessary for us to seek the 
wide ocean, partly on account of the storm, partly on 
account of the close proximity of dangerous trap cliffs, 
which are quite numerous on this coast. What retarded 
our progress most at the present stage was the extremely 
poor condition of our sails and rigging, which, as already 



132 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

mentioned, needed, under the circumstances, the greatest 
care in their handling. 

Commencing the twenty-second we steered Northward. 
The weather continued to be somewhat rough and the 
wind blew from the North and Northwest, bringing with 
it a good deal of rain; and these northerly winds did not 
leave us until the twenty-sixth. About noon on this last 
named date the air clouded visibly and soon after we took 
occasion to rejoice in a heavy snow fall which in these 
regions is taken as a good omen for favorable wind, as 
the North wind brings warmth and rain but no snow 
with it. 

Our hope had not deceived us as a good South wind 
came up toward five o 'clock, enabling us to turn N. N. W. 
This favorable change continued throughout the night 
and well along Monday morning, thus helping us con- 
siderably as we had kept full sail all the while. We had 
also occasion to hail a South Sea hunter but could not 
understand each other. A snowfall, probably the last 
one on this journey, changed the atmosphere slightly. 
Monday, September 29th, was a playday for the winds 
which seemed to chase each other from and into all direc- 
tions. The crew made good use of the leisure hours by 
mending torn sails and replacing the ones that had be- 
come dangerously storm-beaten. The large mainsail had 
suffered much and our men worked diligently to make it 
sea and ship shape. After dark the wind settled once 
more in the "West and a heavy storm came up. How 
thankful we were to have repaired our sails, as the wind 
gave us more and more concern. 

It broke the fore yard (which was fully sixty feet long 
and eighteen inches thick) in two like a match; this hap- 
pened about four o'clock in the morning of Tuesday, the 
thirtieth. The rejiairs thus made imperatively necessary 
took all day and delayed our progress considerably. We 
fortunately found in the reserve hatch an old damaged 
but large yard, which was put into service after having 
been placed in proper condition by attaching small se- 
curity planks and winding a strong rope around the weak 




■J. = 
O ,,, 



o I 
9 2 

5 d 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 133 

parts. As the vessel was laboring' heavily through the 
hollow sea, and the rain being much in evidence, it was 
quite a difficult task to bring this heavy yard in place and 
in ship shape condition for sendee, aud night had already 
set iu when the last finishing touches permitted its re- 
newed use. The fore topsail was set once more. On 
Wednesday, the first of October, as early as one o'clock in 
the morning, there came a heavy rainstorm which de- 
stroyed our jib for the second time; as soon as the sun 
had risen this was replaced by a brand new sail and 
again set agoing. Toward evening "we again made our 
bill without consulting the host" and this happened quite 
often during our voyage. We were steering toward the 
coast, thinking that the next morning would find us close 
to the Bay of Corral, which in reality is the harbor of 
Valdivia. But we were once more to be disappointed as 
the wind turned North and continued thus with steady 
showers until about noon of Saturday, the fourth, which 
compelled us to cruise once more. We were so thor- 
oughly disappointed at not seeing the Harbor of Corral 
as we expected, that neither the sight of three immense 
whales nor the reappearance of a few flying fish were 
able to dissipate our bad humor. But we had not seen 
the worst. About one o'clock we were once more in the 
midst of a heavy Northwest storm, bringing with it hail, 
thunder and lightning. As quickly as possible the jib, 
main, top and mizzen sails were secured and the vessel 
went West-Southwest. 

Hardly had we changed the course when lightning 
struck the water about 150 to 200 feet from our ship side, 
followed by heavy thunder bolts. In the evening we had 
lightning in the West. Though the storm abated during 
Sunday, there was little change in the air until Tuesday, 
the seventh. We were all in bad humor. It was really 
enough to vex anyone. During a whole week we had 
been close to our destination, and yet we had never made 
more than a day's journey and had even seen land Men- 
day morning at nine o'clock, some three miles away. 
About five miles from Cape Carlos there was a high 



134 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

pointed elevation which prevented our entry at the time, 
but we had to be thankful to God for being permitted to 
sail in close proximity to the coast. 

The weather became more favorable on Wednesday, 
the eighth, when the wind settled in the West, blowing 
more regularly, while the sea calmed considerably and 
the air brightened. We pressed the sails hard all day 
long so that our larboard was constantly under water. 
We had yet a few showers during the afternoon, which 
ended about six o'clock, followed by a magnificent, com- 
plete double rainbow, which exhibited a beautiful variety 
of harmonious colors, the like of which I have never be- 
fore witnessed. The air became bright and mild, the 
wind turning Southwest, which made it comparatively 
easy to set full sails for land. The night, enlivened by 
beautiful moonlight, aided our purpose greatly. In order 
to avoid an untimely arrival we made another little trip, 
just enough to fill out the time from eleven in the evening 
to two o'clock in the morning. The horizon was clear 
until daybreak, when a light fog set in. When five 
o 'clock came it was sufficiently bright and clear to recog- 
nize the high coast of Chile, which was about four miles 
from our vessel in East-Northeastern direction. We now 
sailed slowly along the high and rocky coast, which was 
covered with an impenetrable primitive forest down to 
the sea level, until we reached Cape San Carlos by one 
o 'clock. While it is generally necessary to give the cape 
a wide berth, we were fortunate enough to pass right 
around it, and half an hour later we were at anchor, a 
quarter of a mile from Fort Corral, in one of the most 
beautiful and picturesque harbors of the world. One 
hundred and twenty days and ten hours and a half had 
passed since we weighed anchor in Cuxhaven. 

It was with a strange, indescribable feeling that I first 
trod upon American soil. I slowly ascended the narrow 
path among the steep rocks, which led from the beach 
into the Chilean village Corral, but while my comrades 
dispersed to find wine, bread and cheese in the cottages I 
continued my way into the forest covered mountains. 




Q 
> 2 






— 
- 

2q 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 135 

My path with the dried-up bed of a mountain or forest 
stream, a deep cavity between mossy walls, on which 
wild climbers would run up and down, swinging their 
gay flowers back and forth in the evening air. Every 
step in this rocky wall gave me indescribable delight, so 
that I made for myself a path through weeds and bushes 
of fuschias, which were seemingly determined to oppose 
my progress the higher I went. 

When I had reached a height of about four hundred 
feet above the sea I stopped and sat down upon the stump 
of an old laurel tree, which was covered with moss. 
There at my feet lay the harbor in which I counted ten 
barks and one three-masted vessel, all Chileans; all were 
at anchor and further away was our "Victoria." To my 
right there reflected the beautiful evening sky in the mir- 
ror-like mouth of the Rio Valdivia, between the high 
Fort of Niebla and the charming island Mansera, the tree 
covered mountain peak of which was only surpassed in 
height by the snow-capped peak of the Volcano of Villa 
Rica, which showed light smoke; to my left was the open- 
ing of the harbor; between mountain forests and the 
rocky coast of the South Sea could be plainly seen as 
far as Cape "El Molino." The coast mountains, some 
six hundred feet high and covered with thickly set trees, 
were under the spell of profound silence, as even the 
screeching of the parrot could but rarely be heard. 
Everything was solemn and qniet. Had it not been for 
the approaching darkness I surely would not have 
thought of returning; even then 1 did so reluctantly, by 
the way through the arroyo bed. 

While Criinhagen and I were awaiting the boat of the 
"Victoria," we accidentally met Don Rafael Asenco, the 
port master, who drew us into an English conversation. 
The man must have takes a liking to us as lie asked as !■> 
he his guests the same evening, an invitation which we 
thankfully accepted. We appeared at the proper time 
to find five or six Chilean sea captains and two French- 
men. The ladies present, among whom the three daugh- 
ters of Sefior Asenco, spoke only Spanish. Notwithstand- 



136 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

ing this I spent a very pleasant evening as I could any- 
how talk to some of the captains either in French or 
English. There was dancing and singing with guitar ac- 
companiment, all with doors and windows open, which 
are only closed in times when people do not wish to 
receive visitors. 

The night was mild and when I returned about mid- 
night to Capt. Sanlar's gig my whole voyage with all its 
disagreeableness seemed but a past dream. While we 
were gliding along the mirror-like bay, the beautiful, 
silvery, full moon dipped its shining light into the silent 
waters and the dark forest threw its quiet shadow about, 
while we returned on board the "Victoria." 

Such were the first few hours which I spent upon 
American soil. The kind hospitality which I found upon 
my arrival in a foreign land left a lasting impression and 
served as a good omen. 

During the following two days we had many visits 
from Germans of Valdivia, which did not interest me 
particularly. I preferred to tramp and climb on the 
beach and in the mountains, notwithstanding the fre- 
quent showers. The weather became pleasant and steady 
about the Sunday following. The night before was 
marked by the departure of those passengers who desired 
to remain in Valdivia and as I was very anxious to see 
that city I joined the travelers, among whom was Griin- 
hagen. We rented a boat and the five of us, accompanied 
by a young merchant named Uhtemann, who had been in 
Valdivia about a year, left the "Victoria" at nine o'clock 
in the morning of Sunday, the twelfth. Our way led up 
the broad and deep Rio Valdivia, which bears the name 
Calla-calle after passing the city. The high rocky banks 
are covered with impenetrable forests which rarely show 
a mark of ax or fire. Here and there in caves we saw 
scattered a few huts and block-houses, the dwellings of 
Chilean wood choppers (peones) or of newly immigrated 
German colonists. Further up and particularly begin- 
ning where the Rio Graces empties its waters into the 
Valdivia, about three-fourths of a mile below the city, 




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THE OCEAN VOYAGE 137 

the country becomes more level, while the coast cordillera 

seemingly runs aside from the river bed; however, one 
sees neither here nor in the immediate vicinity of the city 
cultivated ground worth mentioning, as in most places 
nothing has been done but rough tree cutting, whereof 
the stumps remained standing. 

About one o'clock in the afternoon we arrived in Val- 
divia. The town did not impress me as being particularly 
foreign in its build. There were about two hundred and 
fifty to three hundred one-story wooden houses scattered 
in disorder, mostly covered with shingles, rarely with 
straw; few had glass windows. The streets were all with- 
out paving or grading and ran up and down, owing to 
the fact that the town is built upon uneven ground. Most 
houses have some kind of a nursery attached, which like- 
wise contains a few vegetable and flower beds; rose 
bushes and apple trees were already in full bloom. The 
whole place bore the appearance of a large primitive 
village. 

We remained in Valdivia until Monday and met great 
hospitality among the German residents. While they do 
not put themselves to any particular trouble for one's 
sake, their hearty welcome makes you feel quite at home. 
There are a great many Germans in Valdivia, who show 
signs of wealth in a comparatively short time, particu- 
larly the artisans. However, they do not live altogether 
in harmony with their Chilean neighbors, whose truly 
Spanish tenderness and ease is often met by characteris- 
tic German' severity and firmness. Politically they re- 
main non-partisan, but they have established a so-called 
citizens' guard of their own in order to maintain neces- 
sary watchfulness and secure to themselves protection 
in these days of unrest. They have even succeeded in 
maintaining a guard in the government building. The 
militia of the natives, which is at present in arms 
throughout Chile, is as comical looking a sight as you 
can possibly see. The whole company goes bare-footed, 
their uniforms which are made after the old Prussian 
pattern, are blue, trimmed with red, over which they 



138 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

wear the " poncho," the national garment, which con- 
sists of a square, gay colored woolen blanket. This 
blanket has a slit in the middle, through which one puts 
his head. The "poncho" is considered by Germans and 
natives alike a very useful article, particularly when 
on horseback, as it is not only comfortable and warm, 
but of so closely woven material that the rain does not 
penetrate it. We left Valdivia on Monday, the 13th, 
after having explored every point of interest; it only 
took us about two hours to reach our vessel again, as we 
had four able native rowers. 

The weather remained favorable, as I have already 
stated, and it seems almost unnecessary to assure you 
that I made good use of my limbs, as you are perfectly 
aware of my love for excursions, particularly when trips 
into a mountainous, region are so easily accomplished 
as they are here. Whenever we wanted to visit some 
point of interest, unapproachable by land, we would row 
along the shore of the bay, and thereby attain our object. 
At other times I would just take it easy by lying down 
in the boat and, like a ferry man, await a chance to take 
a, parcel ashore, which often took me across the bay to 
the islands Niebla or Mansera, which, though about half 
a German mile distant, did not even tire me, when T 
had to make my way against flood and wind. 

The harbor was originally well fortified by the Span- 
iards but now both forts and batteries are very much 
neglected and I doubt if one would be able to find a 
dozen old iron guns which could be pressed into service. 
The buildings are, for the greater part, neglected and 
covered with moss and climbers ; they are in many in- 
stances mere ruins of which one sees quite a number 
all around the bay. The little isle Mansera, which is 
exclusively inhabited by Chileans, has the ruins of a 
monastery, which are indeed very picturesque. 

Corral is a poor mountain village with only two Ger- 
man residents, the Klix brothers, one of whom has a 
little store in the village, while the other one owns a 
saw mill on the road to the fort. Outside of the few 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 139 

village streets there is only one single road which may 
be called practicable; it leads along the bank of the 
bay toward the old Fort San Carlos. All communica- 
tions are sent either by water or over the narrow trails 
of dried up mountain creek beds, such as I described 
before. The climbing in these mountain paths is by no 
means an easy matter for the uninitiated, as the rolling 
pebbles cause one to slip, if not steadied by climbers, 
which, in turn, have to be cut or cleared to make prog- 
ress possible. Every now and then one has to crawl 
along over and sometimes even under rocks or fallen 
trees, wade through wild mountain streams or cross a 
primitive bridge of joining branches, below which a 
chasm or cave of unknown depth may be hiding. Often 
these places are covered with fuschias of all kinds, below 
which one sometimes hears the falling of the waters 
from rock to rock. No matter where I went the sur- 
roundings presented about the same picturesque char- 
acter, though scarcely two places were alike; the change 
of scenery was truly magnificent. 

The excursions by water were no less entertaining 
than those by land, particularly those undertaken on the 
brilliant moonlight nights, when we rowed along the 
grayish coast rocks, from which the bushes often 
touched our boat, while the splashing of the oars was 
the only sound that disturbed the universal and pro- 
found silence of the southern night. 

During my stay in Corral I had little desire to enter 
the habitations of men and it is for that very reason that 
I have learned very little of either. The Chileans, i. e., 
the men, have well shaped features, dark or black, thick 
beards, curly hair and beautiful black eyes, which har- 
monize well with their dark complexion. The women, 
on the contrary, are rather homely, almost all short and 
stout, and old matrons at thirty. Even 1 1 1 * * young girls 
are not to my taste, though it cannot be denied that 
their fresh, round faces, their burning eyes and beau- 
tiful black hair are great attractions. I have had the 
opportunity of seeing a girl of slender build but once, 



140 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

though I can say of her without endangering my con- 
science—she was pretty. My meeting with her in the 
ruins of Mansera was of short duration but nevertheless 
romantic, if not adventurous. 

The Indians are easily distinguished from the Chile- 
ans, and they are mostly to be found among the work- 
ingmen. They belong to the nation of the Araucans, 
are of small stature, reddish-brown; their faces are flat 
and homely, and their hair is straight and black, hang- 
ing disorderly upon the shoulders. Their garments do 
not differ much from the others. 

The houses in Corral are all built of wood, except the 
halls of the fort, which are of adobe brick, but like 
everything here— lacking in cleanliness. One generally 
steps from the street right into the sitting room, which 
in many instances is only partly floored. Windows are 
only found in two houses, Asenco's being one of them. 
Even the more pretentious ones have a very plain selec- 
tion of furniture and rarely anything but tables and 
chairs; cupboards, dressers, bureaus and the like are 
nowhere in sight. One-half of the room, nearest to the 
window, has a more or less elegant carpet, reserved for 
the women, who cower upon it all day without the least 
occupation, unless it be to keep the fire going in cold 
weather. 

Alongside of our vessel is anchored the bark "Joven 
Julia" from Valparaiso, whose captain, Rickmess, a 
native of Hamburg, visited us quite often. "Whenever 
we went on an excursion he would go with us; and the 
remembrance of this kind old man will not be effaced as 
long as I live. 

Whenever there was an opportunity I inquired about 
conditions in Chile, and especially in regard to foreign 
settlers and shall complete, my investigation as I go 
along. 

On Friday, October the 17th, we received on board 
eight new passengers for Valparaiso, three of whom 
went in the steerage, the others being cabin passengers. 
Among the latter was a Chilean artillery captain, a for- 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 141 

mer commander of Osomo, who, being a state prisoner, 
was escorted on board by soldiers. 

After a rest of nine days in this magnificent harbor, 
we weighed anchor on Saturday, the 18th of October. 
No matter how destiny may shape my future in Amer- 
ica, I shall always cherish a happy remembrance of 
Corral and its paradisiacal surroundings. 

We started at nine o'clock with a light "West-South- 
"West wind and passed Cape El Molino about half-past 
twelve, and were once again in open sea. It was our 
good fortune to have a brisk South wind which filled 
our sails and hurried us along the coast, which we did 
not lose sight of during the entire day. Toward even- 
ing we observed the snow-capped volcanos of Villa Eica 
and Osorno. 

There is hardly anything to be told of our journey 
to Valparaiso, as the mild, warm weather and the quiet 
ocean with an agreeable Southern breeze afforded very 
little variety; in fact, one might almost as well have 
made this trip while asleep. On "Wednesday, the 22d, 
we reached the Bay of Valparaiso about daybreak. We 
then steered under full sails right into the bay, but re- 
ceived a setback at nine o'clock, when overtaken by a 
complete calm which compelled us to call for tow boats 
as we were still a mile from the place where anchoring 
seemed desirable. 

The weather was warm and pleasant and while we 
moved along at snail's pace one could follow the magnif- 
icent panorama presented to our view which gradually 
became more and more distant. The center of this splen- 
did scene was the city of Valparaiso itself, which is 
bnilt on a terrace; and it appears the more picturesque 
as the sky-high, snow-capped Andes form an incompara- 
bly beautiful background. 

"We anchored about one o'clock in the afternoon, a 
quarter of a German mile from shore, and in the midst 
of about three hundred merchant vessels and men-of- 
war, which surrounded us very closely. 

At present I am unable to write much about Valpa- 



142 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

raiso as I went ashore yesterday, the 24th, to present my 
letters of recommendation, spending the remainder of 
my time in writing letters, as the mail is going out to- 
morrow and all letters are to be handed in today. They 
will go with the Royal Mail Steamer to Panama and 
from thence to Europe. I can see that boat right close 
by; the next mail will go within another month's time. 

The main thing has been accomplished; you will know 
on receipt of this that I have arrived here in good 
health. It will be my lot and is my determination (as 
I am ready and filled with courage) to meet in America 
whatever the future may have in store for me. I have 
made many inquiries about San Francisco, both here 
and in Valdivia and strange to say the reports are very 
contradictory even from people who have come from 
there but a short while ago. I have therefore decided 
to investigate for myself, caring little for favorable or 
contrary information. There is, unfortunately, little 
chance of continuing the voyage to San Francisco on 
board of this vessel and we — i. e., seven other passengers 
and myself— will have to embark in a strange boat. 
Probably we shall have to remain here a few weeks and 
if this proves to be the case, I shall write again for the 
next mail. Should we, however, get a chance to set out 
sooner, which would be a surprise indeed, then you will 
receive my next letter from San Francisco. Do not 
therefore set your heart upon another letter before four 
months. You will in all probability have heard that San 
Francisco has been visited by two conflagrations, one 
in May and another one in July, destroying a greater 
part of the city. I now hasten to close this letter, as 
the time is growing rather short. 

How much I would have liked to know that this letter 
will be in your hands at the time of your birthday, my 
dearest, most beloved mother, but this will be an abso- 
lute impossibility. I would have been so happy in giv- 
ing you this pleasure, knowing that you who love me 
so tenderly and unceasingly, would have rejoiced in 
nothing more than in the thought that your boy is well 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 143 

and in good spirits. You will know it a few days later 
and the joyous tidings which I intended for your birth- 
day will reach you by New Year's or on the birthday 
of my darling sister Mary. If the truthful assurance 
that I am filled with happy courage and confidence in 
my future success as well as in possession of as great a 
mental and physical strength as I ever enjoyed or would 
have enjoyed at home, can have the guiding and sooth- 
ing effect upon you that it ought to have, I will give it 
from the bottom of my heart. 

Now, farewell! All my dear ones at home! I would 
have liked to add a few words of love and friendship to 
many a one, but it was not possible. You, my dear 
father, will find a few words of special nature in the 
inclosure. 

It is hard for me to tear myself from this letter but— 
it must— it must be! Good bye, all you who love me 
and who think of me in kindness! 

Good bye! 
(signed) Frank Lecouvreur. 

The Apenrnde Brig entered just after I closed this 
letter; it is the same which we met on July the 19th. I 
reopened the letter quickly to mention this. I am unable 
to send the sketch which I promised you, as the time is 
too limited. Fr. L. C. 



Valparaiso Harbor, the 12th of November, 1851, on 
board of the Hamburg Bark "Victoria," (/apt. Meyer. 

My Dear Parents: You will have received my last 
letter, No. 9, measuring so-and-so many yards, which I 
forwarded by the Panama steamer on the 26th of Octo- 
ber through caTe of Bartsch in Hamburg, and today I 
seat myself again, pen in hand, in order to spend the 
last day which I shall probably stay on board of the 
"Victoria" by writing to my dear ones. I see already 
that it will be my greatest pleasure here in America to 
chat with you. 



144 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

But before I go into details about my sojourn here, I 
must thank you most heartily for the great pleasure 
which your letter No. 7, of July 19th has afforded me. I 
cried like a child when Capt. Meyer brought it to me in 
the afternoon of the 30th of October. Since then I have 
always carried it around in my pocket; I read it daily, 
at least once until I know it by heart. 

It quiets, it pleases me greatly that you all have kept 
well, especially that the health of my dear Mary is im- 
proving. May Providence grant that she recover com- 
pletely and that I may not be able to recognize on my 
return in later years, in the healthy, robust " Madam 
Moritz" the pale, delicate girl I left— my sister— my 
darling sister, she will remain forever! The letter, which 
bore on the outside a greeting from Louis Dubois, Ham- 
burg, August 12th, I received through Franz Hallmann, 
to whom it had been sent by Wachowski from Santiago. 
Thus may the delay be explained, as it has made the 
voyage from here to the capital and back. As you know, 
we are here since the 22d of October, during which time 
I have uninterruptedly boarded and roomed on board. 
As Capt. Meyer has kindly offered free use of his boat 
to the passengers, in order to ferry us ashore and back 
as often as we desired to make use of it, I have had little 
chance of spending money, though I quite often strolled 
round on shore a whole day at a time. If we had not 
had the use of the boat I would probably have been able 
to take but few trips ashore, as the ferrying across is a 
very costly operation ; if one has to depend upon the lit- 
tle ferry boats, which are rowing around the harbor 
for that purpose; each of such trips costs two reales 
(10 Silbergroschen), back and forth, therefore more than 
20 Slbgr. in Prussian money. All other prices here are 
in proportion. In the eating houses no smaller coin than 
a real is known. A glass of ordinary Chilean wine, a 
cup of tea, chocolate or coffee, a glass of cognac-punch, 
yes, even a glass of ordinary corn brandy costs one real 
(5 Slbgr.). If one wants to have a somewhat respectable 
meal, one is compelled to pay at least three reales. A 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE US 

game of billiard costs two reales; an hour of bowling in 
a fairly good alley means one peso (8 reales) and so on. 
Even the ordinary bread— none but wheat bread is 
known here— is enormously high, twelve little loaves, 
the size of 2 pfennig ( ' -e) biscuits cost one real. 

If (as I wrote to you) Valdivia has absolutely failed 
to leave a foreign impression upon me, Valparaiso has 
abundantly made up for it. The city extends about half 
a German (1 '/& Eng.) mile in a northerly direction, along 
a deep bay, is crescent, shaped and built upon the narrow 
beach, which is often less than 50 yards in width, lying 
between the steep, majestic coast mountains, the Cor- 
dilleras, and the niveau of the ocean, partly in the moun- 
tains, so that, observed from the bay, the whole looks 
like a ten-ace, built along the foothills and sides of the 
mountain range. Thus even nature divides Valparaiso 
into two parts: the lower and the upper city: (1) the 
city of wealth and (2) the city of poverty; of extreme 
luxury and pomp, of wide, well paved streets with mag- 
nificent stores and residences and steep, crooked, rocky 
mountain alleys between low, miserable huts; below, the 
splendid carriages and the glittering of silk dresses; 
above, the climbing of half-fed donkeys and mules, and 
half-naked women and children, tramping in mud. The 
only things which the upper and lower Valparaiso have 
in common are the mud during the rainy season, and 
the endless dust in summer time; innumerable barking 
dogs, fleas of immense size and bedbugs during all 

sen SOUS. 

The lower city is built in Italian stylo, light but ele- 
gant. The houses are mostly two-story, built with large 1 
adobe bricks, as more solid construction is inadvisable 
on account of the many earthquakes, which have left 
their marks on nearly every building, by large and small 
cracks. The upper story is generally provided with an 
extensive balcony, running the full length of the house 
and having elegantly stained-glass windows; and on the 
east side of the city, where the beach fonns a beautiful 
valley, we find the houses built like squares and the in- 

10 



146 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

side court converted into pretty little gardens which 
look like jewel boxes. The streets— this term is only 
applicable to the lower city— are partly paved with 
stones, though the sidewalks have cement paving, and 
others are badly or not at all graded, as is the only plaza 
in Valparaiso. Only the most important business streets 
have lights. 

When the Spaniards founded Valparaiso amidst green 
mountains, the name " Valley of Paradise" was prob- 
ably well chosen, but now— it is called thus inappropri- 
ately. The surrounding hills at present merely show 
naked, red rocks, covered here and there with desert 
weeds, intermixed with large cacti, presenting an un- 
usually sad view, as the eye can nowhere rest upon a 
spot of agricultural beauty, nay, not even a tree. Trees 
are only to be found in the scattered gardens of the east 
side. Of fruit trees we see mostly olives, figs, peaches 
and apricots but rarely apple and plum trees. All of 
them bear already pretty large fruits, which are ripen- 
ing rapidly. There are many beautiful summer-houses 
of roses and vines, together with those of passion flow- 
ers and other climbers, which are now in full bloom. 
One can pick roses all the year round, fresh from the 
bushes. 

As far as amusements are concerned one finds Val- 
paraiso to be an American city, i. e., the like is not 
known here. The first glance upon the topography of 
the place shows clearly that whoever goes about in these 
streets is not seeking pleasure but hard cash. There- 
fore Valparaiso has only one theater and one large pub- 
lic garden (Apolanco) where they have concerts on Sim- 
days; this resort, however, has not nearly the size of the 
"Exchange Garden" in Konigsberg. 

The busy life in the harbor affords me more pleasure 
than that on shore. I therefore have remained most of 
my time of late on board, in order to watch the fun. 
Particularly beautiful is the sight on Sundays of the 
many merchant and other vessels when all masts carry 
their gay flags— English, Brazilian, immense Dutch 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 147 

three-mast vessels, small Chilean schooners, Hamburg, 
Peruvian, Italian, North American, Spanish, French, 
Bolivian, Danish, Swedish, Liibeck and Prussian vessels 
are there in gayest mixture. The farthest from shore 
are the warships, a North American, an English, a 
Chilean and a Spanish Fregatta, two Chilean and a 
French gunboat, all stationed here; besides these I have 
seen in port during our stay a French 24-gun man-of- 
war, an English fregatta with 56 cannon and a steam 
corvette of the same flag. The American man-of-war is 
a magnificent new vessel with 62 guns. On board of the 
latter and of the English boat are bands of music which 
delight us every night with really fine concerts; they 
play mostly well known airs, European dances, among 
which 1 heard to my great surprise the ''Flora Gallop." 
These melodies can be heard far away in the pure, calm 
night air of the quiet harbor until the thundering of the 
batteries from the war vessels and the returns from the 
beach announce the ninth hour. Suddenly everything 
stops, silence reigns; not a boat glides over the waters 
of the bay, which plainly shows the outlines of the dark, 
silent ships resting upon its mirrored, placid bosom. 
Only here and there, may be seen a lonely light, which 
throws its ray through a narrow window of some cabin. 
Fairy-like is the appearance of the city after dark— a 
sea of lights ascending in terraces and zigzags along the 
dark, bare mountains. 

During our stay we have had so far two earthquakes 
and one revolution. The first earthquake was so insig- 
nificant that I never noticed it, while I became quite 
conscious of the second one. It took place on Sunday, 
October 26th, at 6:15 p. m. I was on board, sitting on a 
bench in the deck tent. The shock raised me a few 
inches from the bench and its noise may be likened to 
the rattling of a dropping anchor chain of a large ves- 
sel. Our ship actually trembled for several minutes. 

The revolution was more serious. You will probably 
have received news of it in Europe and I do not doubt 
that the details of causes of the outbreak of October 28th 



148 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

have been given better than I could if I attempted the 
task. As usual, the day was warm, bright and pleas- 
ant, and there was absolutely nothing that could forbode 
an extraordinary occurrence, until the rumor gained 
credence that insurgents had surprised the regulars and 
taken possession of about one thousand guns, a few 
light weapons and ammunition. This occurred at four 
o'clock. Regulars and militia were at once called in, and 
the lively street fight began at half past four in the lower 
city. Small firing was commenced in all seriousness on 
either side and continued until six o'clock, when the 
"crusaderos"* had to vacate the barracks which they had 
previously taken and they slowly retired into their caves 
and hiding-places of the upper-town. The fight grew 
now very serious as larger fire-arms had to be put into 
use on either side, which, however, enabled the regulars 
to gain but little territory. Meanwhile it became evident 
that the "crusaderos" had few or no leaders, as they re- 
tired slowly toward the fortress which protects the har- 
bor-entrance, thereby coming, about eight o'clock, within 
reach of the big guns, which caused them to disband rap- 
idly. 

The men-of-war remained absolutely quiet, only send- 
ing a few boats full of armed men ashore for the protec- 
tion of their respective consulates. About five o'clock 
the English man-of-war got up steam, and weighed one 
of its anchors and the other English vessel towed in or- 
der to turn its batteries to face the city. Lanterns ap- 
peared in the evening along the deck-side, where the can- 
non stood. The night passed quietly with the exception 
of the plundering of a small arsenal on the east-side of 
the city. 

My private opinion is, that peace will not be of long 
duration even if La Monte would be able to defeat the 
"crusaderos" completely, which, according to some, is 
already an accomplished fact. The hatred of the lower 
classes is too great. 

*"Los Crusados," followers of Crnces, the rebel candidate for 
President. 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 119 

Since we are at anchor in this harbor, already three 
vessels with state-prisoners have left for the Strait of 
Magellan, where Chile possesses a colony for criminals, 
called "Fort Famine," and the rumor has gained cre- 
dence, that the insurgent-prisoners, who arc mostly sen- 
tenced to five or ten years of deportation, have simply 
been shot as soon as the vessel reached high seas. Neither 
do I consider this charge unreasonable, as I have been 
an involuntary witness of a transport of eight corpses, 
which fishermen found last Monday (day before yester- 
day) in the Bay not far from shore, all with stones, at- 
tached to the neck by ropes. These were recognized as 
members of the band of insurgents who had evidently 
been drowned to make short process with the prisoners. 

Such deeds are enough to arouse the cooler blooded: 
how much more the hot-headed Chilean. If, however, 
the excitement were only headed against La Monte and 
the ruling party, the foreigners could watch the whole 
matter quietly, but that is not the case. The lower classes 
hate the English and the Germans unto death, and I am 
convinced that they are only awaiting an opportunity in 
order to give vent to their hatred. It has come to the 
point that no foreigner dares to go after dark to the up- 
per-town, except in company and well armed; even the 
less frequented streets of the lower-town are not consid- 
ered safe. This state of affairs cannot possibly last long 
and, until complete order will have been restored, I shall 
advise nobody to emigrate to Chile, particularly if it be 
hiB intention to settle in the interior. Matters will un- 
doubtedly be carried to a very dangerous point. The 
hatred against the English (and the natives seem unable 
to distinguish between English and Germans) has been 
fanned anew by a very queer incident. A few weeks ago 
it occurred that a partisan of Cruces of Coquimbo took 
possession of a small steamer, belonging to La Monte. 
As the latter could not possibly s^ot hold of it again, he de- 
clared it outlawed. The English frigate ''Thesis" hap- 
pened to be stationed in Coquimbo and undertook to profit 
by the announcement by forcibly taking possession of 



150 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the steamer, and after forcibly taking it from the "Cru- 
cists" they, the English, brought it hither to Valparaiso 
under protection of the English flag and cannon. 

Under existing circumstances there is no possibility of 
obtaining employment here in the near future, as busi- 
ness and traffic in general are as dull as we experienced 
them at home in the year 1848. I shall therefore go to 
San Francisco, contenting myself for a while with steer- 
age-meals and tea, quietly awaiting what the future may 
have in store for me. It is true that one does not hear 
California affairs well spoken of, but almost every Ger- 
man here who has spent more or less time in San Fran- 
cisco assures me from his own observation that perse- 
verance, thrift and luck will still enable one to lay some- 
thing aside. The circumstances in which my informants 
are living bear witness to the truth of these assertions. 
Not one of them has returned from there empty-handed 
and many of them did not hesitate to say that they had 
wasted time and spent much money foolishly. 

Thus I ask you not to believe for one moment that I 
have lost my courage; on the contrary, I feel quite well, 
and ready to bear all the burdens of a life of work, as I 
have it undoubtedly before me. More than ever before do 
I understand the value of health and work; as I re- 
gained possession of the former after waiting a long, long 
time and have missed the latter for nearly half a year. 
Do not worry; I shall make my way. America is a coun- 
try after my taste. 

The ''Aurora," on board of which I shall continue my 
voyage, is a small, low, black brig, which goes under the 
flag of Hamburg. With the exception of the meals, to 
which I become quite accustomed, we shall make a change 
for the better, which will be specially true of the quarters 
on the "Aurora" as compared with those of the Victoria. 
The Aurora has no steerage and we shall therefore be 
lodged in one of the large and cosy quarters on deck, 
where the accommodations will be just as elegant and 
Comfortable and even cooler and more airy than the cab- 
ins. 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 151 

It has cost us quite a fight to manage the continuance 
of our voyage on the "Aurora." Poppe, the agent of 
Godefroy (Hamburg) had flatly refused me the privilege 
of sailing with this vessel and declared in an insolent 
manner that he would ship us when and in whatever 
class of vessel he might see fit ; and that we were not to 
have any say in the matter. That was a little too much 
for me, moreover, as I had found out that it was his inten- 
tion to place us on board of a small Chilean vessel, which 
was to go to San Francisco at the beginning of Decem- 
ber; it carries steerage passengers and is said to have 
engaged already eighty berths. I then gave Poppe a 
piece of my mind and complained at once to Hallmann 
(the Consul of Bremen, to whom Oswald had recommend- 
ed me), to Uhde and Hunecken (the Hamburg Consul, 
upon Bartsch's suggestion), and to the Prussian Consul. 
This caused some noise, which evidently scared Poppe to 
some extent, as I received the announcement of our pas- 
sage on the "Aurora" two days later. I now hasten to 
the close of my letter by giving you an idea of the 
weather which we found in sailing around the Cape. We 
received news from Terra del Fuego since we came here 
and the report refers to several vessels which we met 
there in September last, and is rather sad. An English 
three-master and a bark are in San Carlos, the former 
minus masts and leaking, and the latter without sails and 
fore-mast. A Danish bark is at anchor in Ancud on ac- 
count of damage on palisades and rigging; both ports 
mentioned are on the Chiloe islands. A large Dutch ves- 
sel is in dock at Corral on account of severe leakage and 
loss of bowsprit, boats and rigging. In Coquimbo and 
Copiapo are likewise ships awaiting repairs, which have 
suffered considerably. Nearly all ships which arrived 
later than we in Valparaiso have suffered more or less 
damage, with the single exception of the Hamburg brig 
"Sarah," which passed the Cape at the beginning of < Oc- 
tober with good weather in three days. The brig of 
"Apenrade" has not yet arrived. It was owing to a mis- 
understanding on my part that I announced her arrival 



152 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

in my last letter; it is said that she has lost bowsprit, fore- 
mast, etc., and is now in Copiapo. 

Good bye! Do not worry about me. It is unnecessary 
to tell you that I send many, many hearty greetings to all 
my loved ones. All who love me will forever and ever be 
dear to me! 

The enclosure is for you, dear Father. As this letter 
will only leave on the 26th, I shall keep it until the last 
moment in order to be able to add a P. S. in case some- 
thing of interest should turn up, and to let you know when 
we shall be ready to sail. The promised sketch is en- 
closed. 

With sincere love, 
Your 

(Signed) FRANZ LECOUVREUR. 

P. S.— On board of the Hamburg Brig "Aurora," Capt. 
Mildenstein. 

Port Valparaiso, November 15th, 1851. 

Since the transfer of our baggage on the 12th inst. we 
lived partly on the "Aurora," partly on the "Victoria." 
Beginning with to-day we are completely installed on the 
"Aurora." The vessel is heavy laden according to Amer- 
ican ideas, but 1 hope that we may have a quick voyage, 
as the "Aurora" is said to be an unusually fleet sail-boat; 
we also expect to have good winds. We are to take some 
more freight to-day and set sail to-morrow— Sunday. 
Franz Hallmann has given me two letters of recommenda- 
tion, one to Wm. Meyer & Co. and the other to Heymann 
Fingshorn & Co., San Francisco. Ulide and Tlunecken 
likewise promised me one, which I hope to receive to-day. 

There will be several fellow-passengers, outside of my 
seven acquaintances from the "Victoria," and a lady 
passenger, Mrs. Mutzenbecher, from Hamburg; some of 
the former will occupy cabins and some deck-quarters. 
Up to this hour I have seen none of them. There are said 
to be two Chilean senoras, mother and daughter, likewise 
an American (Yankee) and wife. I am glad of that, as I 
shall thereby have a chance to perfect my knowledge of 



THE OCEAN VOYAGE 

English and Spanish. The latter language is not hard, 
neither the grammar nor the vocabulary, and 1 hope to 
master it fairly well by the time we reacli San Francisco. 

It will be necessary to draw the enclosed sketch upon 
a card. I did it, too, and was enabled to get a real and 
correct view of our voyage. By it yon will sec our route 
has been very crooked. Our course has been very eccenl ric. 
Our trip around the Cape looks almost like a chess-puzzle. 
If you desire to get a sailor's view of the sketch, you will 
have to mark upon the map every point mentioned and 
then join these points by straight lines. I hope that this 
letter may reacli you by the middle of January of the 
coming year (1852), perhaps even before grandfather's 
birthday, whom it may find in the old, happy frame of 
mind and the old indestructible health. However, I am 
somewhat worried as to the fate of this letter, as it will 
have to remain here till the 2Gth inst. I shall take it to 
Hallmann and shall use all my fluency of speech so as to 
make sure that it will not be forgotten when mail-time 
comes. 

If everything goes well you may expect my next letter 
within eight or ten weeks, from San Francisco. 

Am I to hope for a letter from you on my arrival there ? 

Your 

FKANZ. 



LETTEB NO. VI 



Sunday, January 11th, 1852. 
On Board the Hamburg Brigg "Aurora," 
Capt. Mildenstein, 36° 11' N. Latitude, 126° 
1 W. Longitude, coast of California. 

My Beloved Ones:— This is the birth-day anniversary 
of my own dear sister Marie, and could it possibly be cel- 
ebrated by me more worthily than by entertaining you 
all with an account of my last voyage? 

I presume that you have come into possession of my 
letters dated the twenty-sixth of October and twenty- 
sixth of November a. p., which I mailed by the respective 
Panama steamers long ago. 

One cannot imagine anything more })leasant than my 
trip from Valparaiso hither. The weather favored us 
so remarkably that my diary contains but three records 
of slight inclemencies, whilst at the same time it describes 
the magnificent effect which the tropical sun had upon 
the quiet, cooling waters, which were scarcely interrupt- 
ed by disturbing winds. We really could have made the 
trip in an open boat, without running any more risk to 
our safety than in one of the largest vessels. But this 
was not the only agreeable side of our trip, which in re- 
ality proved by far preferable to that made on board the 
Victoria. Intentionally I avoided saying to you in my 
early letters that our meals on the last named vessel were 
— to put it mildly — abominable. The quantity was just 
sufficient to keep a fellow alive, particularly during the 
last few weeks, when the inclemency of the weather made 
the want of nutritious food the more perceptible. Indeed 
the preparation of our food corresponded to its miserable 
quality. Not a thimbleful of fat ever found its way into 
the meals, and the hard, old peas and beans, with occa- 

154 



ON BOARD THE "AURORA" 155 

sionally a grain of rice or barley, were often swimming 
in clear water— half-cooked. However, I never com- 
plained about the miserable grub, and would, if it had 
been necessary, have taken it without grumbling all the 
way to San Francisco, as I have neither been a great 
eater, nor a Lucullus, at any time. Quantity and quality 
never worry me, as, thanks to my early training, my taste 
has never been spoiled. With all that, however, I could 
not help noticing and acknowledging the great difference 
in treatment there and here. Indeed, I do not believe 
that many ocean travellers can boast of such a spread as 
we have on board the "Aurora." Our dinner consists of 
potatoes and good meat in abundance : and coffee and tea 
are likewise of very good quality. Instead of bad, rancid 
butter for cooking purposes, we receive as much good 
lard as we care to use. During the fore-noon, at about 
ten o'clock, and again at half-past two in the afternoon, 
each of us receives a drink of cognac to stimulate the ap- 
petite for the regular meals. Another most agreeable 
feature is the daily distribution of large loaves of wheat 
bread about tea-time, the product of our good cook's in- 
dustry. As the flour has given out, we receive now po- 
tatoes instead, all of which are additional items which the 
Captain is by no means obliged by the prescribed bill of 
fare to furnish, and, though seemingly secondary, they 
are greatly appreciated on the open sea. Aside from 
this, we may drink as much fresh water as we have a mind 
to. As I told you in my last letter, there is also as marked 
a difference in our sleeping accommodations as in the 
food. If my present frame of mind would harmonize bet- 
ter with the better surroundings and accommodations, I 
should surely be spoiled; but, as it is, all these circum- 
stances, which in the end are only pleasing to the body, 
have little effect upon my mind in general. I mention 
these external improvements only to give yon pleasure, 
knowing full well how you will regard the information 
that I am well cared for. 

As expected, we left Valparaiso on Sunday, the six- 
teenth of November, a. p, At about five o'clock in the 



156 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

morning we began to weigh anchor, while the church- 
bells were inviting the faithful to early mass. There are 
many magnificent churches in all South-American cities, 
and Valparaiso is also well supplied. By half-past ten we 
started on our voyage, passing the light-house half-an- 
hour later, with a light South wind, while the weather 
was perfectly beautiful. A Chilean three-master and the 
large Hamburg "Johannis Marie" left the harbor at the 
same time. It is truly astonishing how many Hamburg 
vessels one encounters everywhere: the merchant-marine 
of the old Hansa-town is evidently as well represented 
on the Pacific as on the Atlantic ocean. Toward one 
o'clock we set lee-sails and made no change whatever 
until the nineteenth of the month, when the bram and 
lee-sails had to be laid by. Think of it, nine days with- 
out changing sails! This will serve you as evidence of 
the magnificent weather and favorable winds which we 
enjoyed. Hardly had we gone to sea, however, when 
someone discovered that the old "Aurora" had sprung 
a leak, which caused an inflow of about fourteen inches 
of water per watch. "One watch," in sailor parlance, 
means four hours of duty, or one shift. Of course, we 
passengers began to worry a little, but the uneasiness 
was soon overcome, when we became convinced that the 
leakage did not increase. There was not, however, any 
additional influx of water near the pumps. Though the 
danger from the leak seemed very small, it nevertheless 
became the cause of two very disagreeable features, which 
we did not meet with on board of the "Victoria." The 
pumping to' begin with, caused a barbaric noise, which, 
being repeated every two hours, day and night, became 
a constant bar to the sleep of nervously inclined passen- 
gers. Much more troublesome than the pumping were, 
in my estimation, the countless bed-bugs and rats, which 
latter, in particular, paid us nightly visits in our bunks. 
Imagine our joy ! 

There was consternation among our passengers when 
it became known shortly after leaving the port of Val- 
paraiso that we had a goodly load of gun-powder on 



ON HOARD THE "AURORA" 151 

hoard; it made some of us foci rather uncomfortable. 
This powder, in all one hundred and sixty-two kegs of 
twenty-five pounds each, was enough to blow ten liners 
into splinters. It was part of the freight which I men- 
tioned in letter No. 10, as being ready for shipment. 
Though 1 knew the nature of the cargo then as well as I 
do today, I withheld the information from you hecause 
you would otherwise have had powder-dreams day and 
night, and would, perhaps, have pictured to yourselves 
my fiery ascension into Heaven, somewhat alter the meth- 
od of the prophet Elias, of Holy Writ. The worst of it 
is that these kegs of powder were knocked about wherev- 
er there appeared a little space between the other freight, 
principally under the cabin and front-steerage— two 
places where light and smoking is a constant menace, 
particularly on account of the cracks and holes in the 
flooring, through which the kegs may be seen, and, in 
places, even lie felt. As you may fancy, this challenged, 
at first, a good deal of my courage and caused me to think 
of Bontekoe, Cook and the Flying Dutchman, especially 
when the sailors commenced to throw those kegs around 
carelessly, whenever they were looking for tools, iron, 
chains, or whatever they happened to be in immediate 
need of, and that generally finds its way into the cable- 
hatch. Even right near the fire-place one can see ten to 
fifteen barrels piled up at times, simply to temporarily 
facilitate the search of something or other in the hatch 
below. Fortunately for the sensitive looker-on this pro- 
verbial carelessness of the tars has a contagious and 
soothing effect upon the many, as one hardly thinks of 
disastrous possibilities after a while, though we might 
have been sent on a flight through space more than once, 
and without the least warning or preparation for the 
journey. There would not have been as much as a de- 
tailed report, though the facts, if known, might have 
caused more excitement than did the appearance of the 
Lord in the burning bush, in the ancient Hebrew days. 
It is well-known thai the apprentices on our men-of-war 
handle the powder-kegs, which caused those hoys to he 



158 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

nick-named * ' powder-monkeys. ' ' In the end, our old Ger- 
man proverb: "Everything is a matter of digestion," 
plays the trump in this case especially. 

The immense surface of the South-sea is rarely visited 
by any but so-called trade-winds, Monsoons, which blow 
with an unsurpassed evenness and always in the same 
direction, no matter what zone they happen to strike, only 
being here and there interrupted by playful coursing 
breezes. One is thus enabled to make pretty close calcu- 
lations as to the probable duration of the trip through 
these regions, provided the ship is in experienced hands, 
who know how to utilize the Monsoon realms to greatest 
advantage. We left these regions on Wednesday, the 
nineteenth of November, and placed ourselves therefore 
out of reach of those winds, which, if you recollect, had 
also been our companions during the trip from Valdivia 
to Valparaiso. We soon experienced changes after bid- 
ding farewell to the Cape-pigeons, which had been our 
faithful followers since the time when we passed the Rio 
de la Plata. A strong Southeast breeze made us realize 
the change very quickly. Our deck was covered with 
gulf-swallows, little greyish-brown birds about as large 
as our crows; they have white breasts and black tails and 
wing-tips. Toward five o'clock on Thursday afternoon, 
sailing West half-North, we caught sight of the islands 
Ombrosio and San Feliz which disappeared from our 
horizon again in less than half an hour. Though the day 
happened to be exceedingly clear these islands appeared 
and disappeared like small blue clouds. Sunday, the 
twenty-third, we felt a mild East Monsoon with light rain, 
but not until the twenty-fifth could the wind be utilized, 
as we experienced on Monday, the twenty-fourth, our 
first complete calm. I suppose this announcement will 
give you the third fright during this reading. I count 
this the third because I fancy that the word "leak" has 
caused the first scare and the "powder-shipment" must 
have given you the second fright; am I not right? But 
it is in reality a much less serious matter than people are 
ordinarily led to believe. Many fables have been told us 



ON BOARD THE "AURORA" 159 

about the dreadful calms on the Pacific Ocean. My de- 
scription of the trade winds will already have informed 
you that things arc not as bad as the writers of sensa- 
tional stories would have you to believe. Prolonged, and 
actually death- like calms are only noticeable along the 
coast and particularly between Callao (sea-port of Lima) 
and Mazatlan; the islands between Panama and the Gal- 
lopagos, too, are frequently visited by these calms, which, 
on occasions, will last for weeks, a good reason why sail- 
ing vessels are seldom seen in those waters; they are 
slimmed by all who do not have business in those regions. 
The afore-mentioned calm happened on one of my per- 
sonal holidays and lasted till evening. A strong East 
Monsoon enabled us thereafter to continue our voyage 
uninterruptedly until the nineteenth of December, which 
means fully twenty-four days, accompanied by the most 
delightful, mild weather. Though the air is much purer 
and clearer here than under the same degrees of tropical 
latitude in the Atlantic, the heat is not nearly as over- 
powering, and hardly ever exceeds our ordinary sum- 
mer's heat at home. The reason for this may be found in 
the fact that we are sailing along the coast, which, being 
very mountainous, protects the ocean for miles from the 
approaching sun while on the Atlantic the unprotected 
vessel is exposed to the tropical heat from which even 
the coast, being West of the traveller, cannot possibly 
offer any amelioration. We seldom noticed cloudy at- 
mosphere until after sun-set, which latter was ordinarily 
beautifully clear. And yet we must not lose sight of the 
fact that, at the time indicated, the proper advent of win- 
ter had, according to the dictates of "Grandma's calen- 
dar," still three days of grace. I hardly remember hav- 
ing had such marvelously clear nights at any time dur- 
ing the crossing of the Atlantic, though I find among my 
notes a similar mention on the thirty-first of July a. p. 

Nothing can be compared to Nature's Panorama in the 
South-Sea; no human description can faithfully portray 
the magnificence of the scene which the immense, purple, 
rayless fire-ball— the sun — offers to the naked eye as it 



ICO EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

slowly glides down the horizon of the un-measurable 
waters, the bottomless depth of which appears still more 
awe-inspiring on account of the profound silence, which 
everywhere prevails. Even the fleetest-winged powers of 
imagination— such as only truly poetical souls possess— 
cannot fully do justice to so grand, and yet so melancholy 
a spectacle. I often felt the tears come into my eyes, 
without knowing the cause. Even the wind seems to pay 
his last respects before the majesty of the setting sun as 
it invariably stops its course for just a few minutes, the 
moment the last spark of the immense fire-disk has dis- 
appeared in the ocean. This unusually clear sun-set, how- 
ever, is not the only proof of the extraordinary transpar- 
ency of the air in these regions, for the circumstance 
which enables the naked eye to observe the moon along- 
side of the noon-day sun, is assuredly another not less to 
be underrated. As the light breeze was unable to ruffle 
the ocean, we seldom observed foam-crowned waves and, 
had it not been for the occasional upheaving, or swell, as 
it rolled from the South, and only disappears altogether 
as we approached the Equator, we could, in reality, have 
mistaken the bottomless sea for a vast pond. The up- 
heaving I just mentioned, reaches a height of from six to 
eight feet and a width of about eight hundred feet, while 
it is often several miles long, dimensions which, by far, 
out-measure the swells of the Atlantic, which, at the 
time, surprised me greatly. While the South Sea appears 
more imposing as regards the immensity of the waves, 
it cannot compare with the beauties of the Atlantic as 
far as the coloring of the water is concerned. As I have 
mentioned in an earlier letter, the Atlantic Ocean has a 
magnificent dark blue color, while the South Sea, though 
clear as crystal, is of a much paler and more greenish 
hue. The brilliancy of the surface shines forth more 
beautifully in the Pacific than on the other side of the 
American continent and what has particularly attracted 
my attention is a certain lightning in the water which 
often causes a momentary flash-light of bluish or reddish 
shade, covering at times a space of many feet in dimen- 
sion. 



OX BOARD THE "AURORA" 161 

On the twentieth of December, we passed an immense 
school of fin-fish, the whole surface, as far as the eye 
could reach, was literally covered with them; again, now 
and then a shark or a dolphin would break the monotony, 
but beyond that we met no different species from those I 
described as inhabiting the Atlantic Ocean, namely: boni- 
tos, porpoises, and numberless flying-fish— of which we 
kept one or two dead ones on deck for quite a while. Soon 
after leaving Valparaiso we saw two whales at a great 
distance, but not one has since come within our view. 
Birds have been our constant companions. The faithful 
cape-pigeons had been replaced by the gulf-swallows, 
which, in turn, had been succeeded by so-called tropical 
birds, which are now followed by California wild-geese, 
large, dark-brown birds, in shape resembling the alba- 
tross, but much larger and stronger in build— probably 
Pelicans. After several fruitless trials we managed to 
catch a few, one of which measured no less than eight feet 
ten inches from tip to tip, and whose dark blue beak 
proved to be over five inches wide, while the claws were 
fully six inches in length. 

Ships have been rather scarce on our trip, as we have 
met only four so far, which makes one feel rather lone- 
some on the wide, wide ocean. Saturday, the twenty- 
ninth of November, we sighted a large Danish schooner, 
heavy laden and South-bound; the Tuesday following, we 
passed within two miles of an empty full-master, under 
short sails, steering in Northeastern direction. Seeing 
only top-sails, three (mars, cleaver and lee), we con- 
cluded that this mysterious vessel must be a coursing 
whaler. I passed the Equator the second time during 
the night of the fourteenth-fifteenth of December a. p. 
The night was clear and beautiful, the wind steady but 
mild, so that we passed the line with lee-sails laid-by. 
And then came Tuesday, the sixteenth, your ever remem- 
bered birthday, beloved mother, and in chronological 
succession, my second holiday since leaving Valparaiso. 
You will be wondering how I celebrated it. .hist like the 
other holiday during my trip; 1 smoked one cigar more 
11 



162 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

than usual and observed strict silence all day in order to 
enjoy a visit— if only in imagination— to the beloved ones 
at home, and to you, blessed mother, in particular. About 
sun-rise I was walking up and down in the deck-house, 
with shirt-sleeves rolled-up, a light straw-hat, and my 
bare feet modestly hidden in slippers, while the slowly ap- 
pearing sun's-rays glistened in the mirror-like water. I 
could not help thinking how you would have enjoyed 
watching me through a magic mirror, if such a thing were 
possible. On such days, during such moments, I feel 
happy and contented ; home seems nearer and I fancy my- 
self present in the circle of those whom I love so dearly! 
and among my few true friends! Yes, there seems to be 
an inner voice calling out to me every now and then: 
' ' Fear not ! you will be happy, happy in your home. ' ' In 
such moments I feel untold joy. But I suppose I must 
say: away with such delusions, the old enemy will have 
many a chance to put stumbling-blocks in my way when- 
ever he may have a mind to do so.* 

On the nineteenth of December we had Eastwind with 
rain, which the experienced sailor regards as a sure sign 
that the trade-winds will soon cease. The sea showed 
heavy swells from the Northeast, so that the lee-sails 
were set during the evening, which was, in reality, the 
first material change made since we left Valparaiso. 
Later in the evening we had brilliant lightning in the 
northeast, which made the Heavens appear as though 
on fire, though not the least sound was heard. Saturday, 
the twentieth, was the first day with northern trade- 
winds, but, notwithstanding the increasing severity, the 
weather remained otherwise unchanged. Toward seven 
o'clock in the evening, top-sails had to be set, and they 
remained that way until Monday, the twenty-second, as 
no material change in weather occurred. That night, 

*And yet, how true was this presentiment ; though many were 
the hardships, which our young traveller had to overcome, the 
reward for his ever onward struggle was attained at last. The 
"Happy Home," for which he longed, was to be his in due time, 
as Providence measures it. — Translator. 



ON BOARD THE "AURORA" 163 

however, the wind turned toward North and grew strong- 
er. The days which followed this change brought us 
considerable work on board, as sai.ls had to be changed 
back and forth on account of the variable winds. But 
Wednesday, the twenty-fourth of December, Christmas 
Eve., a severe N. N. E. wind set in and compelled us to 
strengthen the mars-sails. The sea rose high, but our ves- 
sel was too well laden and too well built to be in any way 
greatly disturbed by the whistling, whirling winds; and 
the hot punch and pancakes with which our good ( laptain 
treated us, in due commemoration of the day, were so 
well received that we scarcely thought of our watery 
road-bed, but enjoyed the celebration as if we bad been on 
shore. Was I happy? No! Not I. Notwithstanding the 
general merriment, I could not enter into the spirit of the 
hour, and was glad when everybody had retired, as it en- 
abled me to spend an hour undisturbed, promenading up 
and down the deck, accompanied only by the faithful 
friend — my cigar. Watching the floating wave-forms 
carry the glittering lights which appeared and disap- 
peared like ghostly jack-o-lanterns upon the black roar- 
ing sea, had such a soothing effect upon my mind that I 
sought the mattress sooner than I had anticipated. My 
dreams, however, did the work, for they carried me home, 
where holiday-bells were inviting the God-fearing peo- 
ple to Divine Service. 

The weather during the two Christmas holidays was 
as beautiful and warm as one could possibly desire. Even 
the sea behaved well, with the one exception, that a heavy 
down-pour which came from the North, was permitted to 
disturb our equanimity for a few minutes. One experi- 
ences these down-pours throughout the Pacific from the 
twelfth to the fifteenth degree of Northern latitude to 
Behring-Strait all the year round, 1 am told. Until the 
last day of the year we sailed with good steady North- 
Eastern winds and we had nice, clear weather and nothing 
extraordinary to relate. The thirty-first— Sylvester day 
—brought us another complete calm, while the air was 
rather sultry. We amused ourselves most of the day by 



164 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

fishing for so-called ' ' boatsmen. " These little animals 
resemble the Nautilus; they have an oval flat body, gelat- 
inous in substance, and are more than two inches in 
diameter; they carry what appears at a distance to be a 
sail, transparent like glass and shaped like the wing of a 
butterfly. This sail, their only means of locomotion, is 
placed exactly like the yard-sail of a ship and indeed 
these strange mollusks will never be found heading the 
wind, but always gliding alongside. We have seen these 
animals at times in enormous numbers, almost covering 
the surface of the sea as far as the naked eye could reach. 
Birds of prey and fish do not seem to harm them, for they 
are protected by a poisonous, slimy substance, the very 
touch of which will cause a painful swelling of the fingers. 

About noon, we had a light breeze from the South-South- 
East, which disappeared with the sun, and a deathlike 
calm prevailed throughout the night. The -air became 
as quiet as the breath of a sleeping child. It was my 
"Sylvester night," during which I could give audience 
to my thoughts till three o'clock in the morning without 
being disturbed. Head and heart ran the race, now tak- 
ing past, now future subjects, for their temporary med- 
itation. Meanwhile I found delightful and yet cynical 
pleasure, when a breath of reasoning would blow to ashes 
the frail, yet beautiful air-castles which the heart and an 
imaginative mind had luxuriously erected in the sandy 
desert of an uncertain future. However, they generally 
were quickly rebuilt and joyfully accepted by their san- 
guine architects, while old reason planned another dis- 
aster for them. Thus it went on and would have gone 
on indefinitely had not all three grown sleepy in the long- 
vigil. But no sooner had I closed my eyes than I com- 
menced dreaming of Home. Dear, joyous pictures pass 
in review, and again I recognized the play of my evening- 
companions, those merry goblins, but especially the un- 
avoidable, un-tiring teaser, my own heart. 

Beginning with the first of this month we have had 
quite a change of wind, at times very brisk Southwest 
or Southeast breezes, which continued till the fourth, and 



ON BOARD THE "AURORA" 165 

caused the weather to be at times bright; at other times 
cool and cloudy. On Saturday, the third, we passed the 
American steamer, "Constitution," within speaking dis- 
tance. She was sailing Westward, coming from San Fran- 
cisco and bound for the Sandwich Islands. During the 
night following there happened a little accident on board 
our ship which could easily have caused serious trouble. 
A sudden squall of wind accompanied by heavy rain, 
which surprised us about midnight, broke the rudder- 
tackle. Fortunately the squall, which had not come very 
forcibly upon us, grew slowly weaker, or we otherwise 
might have lost several sails and masts, owing to the cir- 
cumstances which made it impossible to handle the rud- 
der until the damage could be repaired. You may be sure 
that we spent a very anxious hour of uncertainty. Sun- 
day, the fourth, brought us another calm, which lasted 
from one o'clock in the afternoon until noon of the 
Wednesday following, when a light breeze arose from the 
Northwest. During all this time the air was warm; we 
drifted along, while everything around us remained in 
death-like silence, which was only interrupted by an oc- 
casional breath of air from the South or Southeast, hardly 
causing any motion of our ship. The sixth of January, at 
about nine p. m., we observed a complete eclipse of the 
moon, which was made very clear by the cloudless sky. 
The night was so mild that I patroled the deck in shirt- 
sleeves. Pretty good for January, is it not? As before 
mentioned, we enjoyed a delightful Northwest breeze 
during the afternoon of the seventh and had already made 
up our minds that we were soon to greet the Northwest- 
ern trade wind, but fancy our dismay, as it turned North- 
northwest; and when evening came we found ourselves 
under a strong North breeze. The air grew rough and 
decidedly unpleasant and a real cold fog limited our view 
considerably so that we were almost unable to look ahead 
more than shipslength. To our great delight we expe- 
rienced another, more favorable change the following 
evening, even though it was but another calm. We have 
since then more or less warm weather with light South 



166 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

West winds and calms. The day before yesterday we no- 
ticed during the afternoon several sharks in our wake 
and within an hour's time, we had succeeded in catching 
no less than three of them, two of which were about four 
feet in length, while one measured fully seven feet. They 
were of the less dangerous kind, so-called, blue-sharks. 
Though these are fully as greedy as their relatives, the 
ground and shuffle-sharks, they are much lazier and dis- 
like fast swimming; though they are well able to move 
slowly, a good swimmer can easily out-do them, pro- 
vided, he has no more than one at his heels. One of the 
little fellows was fried for supper. The taste is somewhat 
similar to that of the laddock (shellfish), though one 
cannot eat as much of it, and he must be very careful in 
partaking of fish at sea, I am told, on account of the seri- 
ous stomach troubles and vomiting which generally fol- 
low, no matter what kind of fish he indulges in. This 
forenoon we had another calm and were enveloped in a 
heavy fog which reminded me of the familiar Baltic sum- 
mer fogs. Since noon the air has cleared considerably 
and at present we enjoy a light Northern breeze, which 
sends us slowly toward our destination. I am in the best 
of hopes that my travels may terminate in a few days, 
and dare say that, considering all, it has been a lucky voy- 
age, of which the last part has proved particularly agree- 
able, though as a whole ours has not been a very fast 
trip. More from San Francisco. Good bye for the pres- 
ent. Your 

FRANZ. 



Note by Translator. — The reader will probably remember that 
young Mr. Lecouvreur mentioned in one of his former letters the 
enclosure of an exact nautical record, covering the voyage to 
Valparaiso. Whether this document was lost or mislaid, the 
translator is unable to say, and he has had to content himself with 
a reproduction of a few notes, found in one of the neatly-kept 
diaries which, like everything else that the noble pioneer under- 
took, are a lasting proof of his uncommon exactness, as well as 
an enduring record of a useful life. Here is a transcription of 
the notes found : 



NAUTICAL REPORT 167 

c 

Days 

Left Konigsberg, Baltic Sea, April 25-6 2 

Stettin, Sunda) , April 27th 1 

Berlin, April 28-9 2 

Berlin-I [amburg, April 30th 1 

Hamburg from May 1st to June 1st 32 

Altogether 38 

On board of the "Victoria" — 

Hamburg Harbor, June 2d, to 4th 3 

On the River Elbe, June 5th to nth 7 

In the North Sea, June 12th t< 1 1 7th 6 

In the Canal, June 18th to 21st 4 

In the Bay of Biscaya, June 22(1 to 26th 5 

63 
In the Atlantic from June 27th to Wednesday, Sept. 17th, 

1851 • 83 

In the South Sea from Sept. [8th to Oct 8th 20 

In the Harbor of Corral, Chile, Oct. 9~i8th 10 

From Corral to Valparaiso Oct. 19-2 1 st 3 

In Valparaiso Harbor, from October 22d to Nov. 15th ,24 

On board of the "Aurora" — 

From Valparaiso, to San Francisco, Sunday, Nov. if>th to 

Thursday. Jan. 15th, 1852 60 

According to which record the whole trip from Konigsberg, East 
Prussia to San Francisco, California, was made in two hundred 
and sixty-three days. 

At the end of the letter, dated January the 1 ith, I find the fol- 
lowing nautical record, covering the trip from Valparaiso to 
California, lacking but a few days, to make it complete; the next 
letter, however, contains the detailed description of that missing 
period. The existence of a record covering the second half of 
his trip, leaves no doubt that the methodical author had previously 
drawn up the now missing document. But let us peruse, what we 
have before us : 

Nautical Record of the trip made on board of the Hamburg 
Brigg "Aurora," Capt. Mildenstein, from Valparaiso, Chile, to 
San Francisco, California. November 185 1 to January, 1852, A. D. 
185 T. 

Nov. 16 — Leave Harbor of Valparaiso at eleven A. M. Beau- 
tiful weather and light south wind prevailing. 

Nov. 17 — South wind, mild, little cloudv. 

Nov. 18— 75 4' W. L. 28 33' Lat. Fresh south wind. Good 
weather. 



163 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Nov. 19 — South wind, fine weather. 

Nov. 20 — At 5 P. M. Ambrosio and Felix isles, to the right, 
southward at about five miles distant. Wind S. E. — fine. 

Nov. 21 — Very light southeast, nice weather. 

Nov. 22— 84 ° 11' \V. L. 22 57' Lat.— Continued light S. E. 

Nov. 23 — Light east wind, cool, rainy. 

Nov. 24 — 87 43' W. L. 22 34' Lat. Calm, warm but moist. 

Nov. 2S — Very light E. S. E., fine weather. 

Nov. 26— 91 ° 26' W. L. 20 43' Br. Wind E. S. E. Beautiful 
weather. 

Nov. 27 — Wind E. S. E., fine weather. 

Nov. 28 — 95 21' W. L. 19 53'. Wind E. S. E., no change in 
weather. 

Nov. 29 — Wind and weather continue. 

Nov. 30 — 98 1' W. L. 17 32' Lat, no change. 

Dec. 1 — Wind and weather continue. 

Dec. 2 — The same again. 101 9' W. L. 14 40' Lat. E. S. E. 

Dec. 3 — No change in wind and weather. 

Dec. 4— 104 14' W. L. ii° 5' Lat. Wind E. S. E., beautiful 
weather. 

Dec. 5 — Wind and weather continue without change. 

Dec. 6 — Again the same. 107 27' W. L. 8° 33' Lat. 

Dec. 7 — No change. 

Dec. 8 — Again, no chance. no° 19' W. L. 5 11' Lat. 

Dec. 9 — Wind E. S. E., weather very warm and sultry. 

Dec. 10 — 113 22' W. L. 2° 30' Lat. E. S. E. wind and fine 
weather. 

Dec. II — No change in wind, air sultry. 

Dec. 12 — 116 49' W. L. i° 54' Lat. E. S. E. wind and pleas- 
ant weather. 

Dec. 13 — Very light E. S. E., most beautiful weather. 

Dec. 14 — 119 2' W. L. o° 41' Lat. Wind and weather the 
same. 

Dec. 15 — East wind, most delightful weather. 

Dec. 16 — 120 23' W. L. 2 26' Lat., E. S. E. wind; fresh and 
fair. 

Dec. 17 — Wind and weather continue the same. 

Dec. 18— 121 30' W. L. 5 19' N. Lat., E. S. E. very light. 

Dec. 19 — East wind with rain ; warm. 

Dec. 20—124° 4' W. L. 8° 8' N. Lat. east to N. N. E. ; air 
sultry. 

Dec. 21 — N. E. wind; agreeable weather. 

Dec. 22 — 125° 58' W. L. 12° ii' N. Lat. N. E. wind, breezy; 
fine. 

Dec. 23 — N. N. E. wind; stormy, but beautiful. 

Dec. 24— Continued. 128° 8' W. L. 16 6' N. Lat. 

Dec. 25 — Same wind and weather. 



NAUTICAL REPORT 1G9 

Dec. 26— 132 o' W. L. 18 54' N. Lat. N. E. wind; fine 
weather. 

Dec. 2j — N. E. wind, beautiful but cool. 

Dec. 28—133° "' W. L. 22° 33' N. Lat. N. E. wind, nice 
weather. 

Dec. 29 — Light N. E. nice, cool weather. 

Dec. 30 — [34° 37' W. L. 25° 34' N. Lat., calm, fine weather. 

Dec. 31 — Wind south and S. S. east, light, warm air. 
1852. 

Jan. 1— 135° 6' W. L. 27 38' N. Lat. Light S. E. to S., beau- 
tiful. 

Jan. 2 — South wind, vcrv brisk, beautiful weather. 

Jan. 3— 1 33° 9' W. L. '31° 2%' N. Lat. S. S. W., cool and 
cloudv. 

Jan. 4— 130° 24' W. L. 32° 50' N. Lat. S. and S. W., cloudy 
with rain. 

Tan. s — Calm. Weather, beautiful and warm. 

Tan. 6— 128 44' W. L. 33° 45' X. Lat. Calm; fine weather. 

Jan. 7— 128° 10' W. L. 33° 53' N. Lat. Calm; P. M., north- 
ern breeze. 

Jan. 8—126- 58' W. L. 33 51' N. Lat., N. N. E. followed by 
calm ; cold. 

Jan. 9— 127 11' W. L. 34 4' N. Lat. Calm; later S. W.— 
breezy. 

Jan. 10 — Very light S. W.. then calm. Nice weather. 

Jan. 11 — T26 1' W. L. 36 n' N. Lat. Light circling wind 
from south and west; air, pleasant. 



LETTER NO. VII 



San Francisco, Jan. 29th, 1852. 

At last I am at my destination and, if I may be per- 
mitted to judge from the impression which the short stay 
has given me, I shall have reason to congratulate myself 
upon the choice of my second fatherland. 

But before I enter into details about San Francisco— 
details which will make you burn mid-night oil to read— 
I beg your indulgence for a brief space while continuing 
my last description— with the help of my faithful diary 
—the thread of which you followed to the eleventh day 
of this month. 

The twelfth brought various indications of near-by 
land, such as the dark-green color of the water, diving 
ducks (duckers, as the sailors commonly call them), gray 
birds about the size of our geese. There also appeared 
floating alongside of our boat the limb of a tree, covered 
with leaves, a most convincing and welcome proof that 
the days of our journey were numbered. At about a quar- 
ter to one, the same afternoon, the joyous shout of land 
rang out from the fore top, whence the high coast could 
be observed, both in a Northern and Eastern direction. 
Soon after we commenced to notice the outlines with the 
naked eye, as they appeared at considerable length on 
the Eastern horizon. The sea grew calmer and the air 
warmer. As darkness set in we, of course, lost sight of 
the situation. By four o'clock the next morning we found 
ourselves close to the Farallones Cliffs and had hard work 
to keep the ship away from them, in which attempt we 
were particularly fortunate, as the moon shone brightly 
during that beautiful night. However, we were com- 
pelled to reverse our course, and as the wind changed 
considerably back and forth during the early morning, 

170 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 171 

we had quite a lively time on board. Though the sun- 
rise was simply magnificent, the wind blew severely. The 
high coast of California appeared to he hut twelve miles 
away, while the Farallones cliffs were now almost as far 
distant, when looking from our backboard-quarter. 
Though maneuvering the sails carefully, we had little 
control of our ship and hy about eight o'clock found our- 
selves again (to the dismay of every one), close to the 
largest of the Farallon Islands. Just when our troubles 
were at their height there appeared a San Francisco 
coasting pilot-boat on the scene, which sent a man on 
hoard, who immediately ordered the changing of sails. 
Unfortunately there is a vast difference between the Ger- 
man mode of rigging and the American way, in conse- 
quence of which an American mariner seldom finds him- 
self at home on a German sailing-vessel. In our particu- 
lar case the pilot's aid cost us a main yard and endan- 
gered the lives of several men of our crew. After ridding 
ourselves of this undesirable help, we had the visit of an- 
other coasting-pilot. We also sighted a strange bark and 
a brigg, both coasting Eastward. 

At four ]>. m. Sea and wind grew calmer. Toward 
eleven o'clock we reached the Cape "de los Reyes"; after- 
wards we coursed in short tacks near the coast. Our sails 
were in poor condition, some of the yards being too short, 
others as crooked as fiddle-sticks, which proved a great 
hindrance in stemming the tide near ' k de los Reyes 
Point." The air is unusually bright and agreeable. The 
coast pilot-boat which reached us this morning has made 
the trip from Boston around Cape Horn in one hundred 
and four days; its name is "Emily." Since the hitter's 
arrival we have had two other pilots offer their assist- 
ance. The aforementioned bark and brigg are approach- 
ing us rapidly, though yet beyond recognition. 

Wednesday, the fourteenth of January, 1852, at nine 
a. m. The wind turned N. E. last night, enabling us 
thereby to sail along the coast; but when we approached 
the "Golden Gate" about ten o'clock, ready to enter the 
long-sought Bay, an East-Northeast storm broke out 



172 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

which spoiled our fond hopes, notwithstanding the en- 
deavor of our brave men to fight the difficulties success- 
fully by shifting the sails diligently. You will readily 
imagine our thorough disappointment when finding our- 
selves about three o'clock near the "Punta del Alio 
Nuevo" — which means about sixteen miles from shore. 
At last the storm subsided, the air became mild, even 
warm, and the sea very quiet. By seven o 'clock we man- 
aged to approach the shore anew and at present we are 
slowly making our way Northward, rigged as yesterday. 
The bark is now cruising some four miles from us, while 
the brigg has anchored at Cape "Bonita" alongside of a 
fullmaster. One can likewise observe a threemaster 
cruising in the neighborhood of the Farallones. Poor 
fellows! May they escape the danger-mark, as we did. 

At ten o'clock the bark had advanced sufficiently for us 
to distinguish the Hamburg flag, and a little later we 
recognized the "Sophie," Captain Decker, an old ac- 
quaintance from Valparaiso, where she arrived coming 
from Sydney, three days before we left that port. 

At high noon: Complete calm set in. The air is de- 
lightfully warm. The three-master "Spray" from San 
Francisco is now within close calling distance; she like- 
wise has come from Valparaiso, which trip she made in 
thirty-five days. We are now near Punta "Clara." At 
three p. m. we have a slight Western breeze. The "So- 
phie" is now within a mile of us. A large Peruvian bark 
laden with ballast passed us a little while ago. The full- 
masted ship which had anchored near Cape Bonita lias 
set sail again; she evidently lost her fore-top-mast and is 
now heading for the Bay. At seven p. m. We have taken 
a Northern course since three o'clock; the air is warm and 
the sky is cloudless. By half-past five we sailed around 
"Punta de los Lobos Marinos" (seal rocks), passing the 
Fort right after sun-set. At five minutes past six we an- 
chored close to the American Revenue Cutter and just 
outside of North Beach, in the outer harbor of San Fran- 
cisco. 

Thursday, the fifteenth of January, 1852, at high noon: 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 173 

We weighed anchor once more, about nine this morning, 
and sailed slowly under light Westwind into the inner- 
harbor of the Western Metropolis. The weather is beau- 
tiful. We reached the California wharf at twelve and 
anchored opposite. 

Thus ended my trip in Tiro hundred sixty-five days, 
five hours and fifty-five minutes since my departure from 
KonigsbeTg, on board of the steamer "Ki'migsberg," Cap- 
tain Lybe. 

Two hundred twenty-three days, eighteen hours and 
ten minutes since my departure from Hamburg in the 
bark "Victoria," Capt. Meyer, Fifty-nine days, one hour 
and twenty-five minutes since my departure from Valpa- 
raiso in the brig "Aurora," Capt. Mihlenstein. 

On American Soil! 

No sooner had we anchored than T at once went ashore 
to visit Boettcher, who received me very kindly. It was 
from his place that 1 dispatched my letter Xo. 11 (includ- 
ing strictly persona] notes), which informed you in few 
words of my safe arrival and well-being. 

You will now doubtless be exceedingly curious as to the 
impression which San Francisco has made upon me; and 
therefore a description of the city and its people will be 
in order. San Francisco is, to begin with, an American 
city. "Every third grade pupil can tell us that," will 
be your impatient suggestion, "but what is in reality 
an American city?"* Let me explain, what I mean by a 
typical American city. 

The American uses the very practical and characteris- 
tic expression "for a purpose" on nearly every occasion, 
so much in fact that it may almost be called his life's 
motto: "Working for a purpose." He eats and drinks 
for a purpose; he works for a purpose; he builds his 



* The third grade of a German grammar school corresponds 
witli the sixth grade °f an American public school, as the highest 
grade is named the "Prima." — Tr. 



174 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

house, his town, his cities for a purpose, and San Fran- 
cisco, above all others, I judge, is built for a purpose, 
through and through. You will understand this phrase 
better as you read along. The streets are straight and 
wide, because crooked, narrow lanes would not suit the 
commercial purpose; they are all cut at right angles, run- 
ning North, West, East and South — for a purpose. How 
could a stranger possibly familiarize himself quickly with 
the location of a place in which he is interested in so 
large and mountainous a city, the houses of which, par- 
ticularly in the outskirts, resemble anything but a contin- 
uous line and where the many vacant lots make it almost 
impossible to use numbers effectively? You commence to 
realize that the founders and early city fathers laid their 
plans for a purpose and, moreover, for a good one. Hav- 
ing read so far you will now reason thus: If San Fran- 
cisco has wide, straight streets and large squares, it must 
be a beautiful city. Slowly, I pray you! Do not judge 
too hastily. This is a new country and San Francisco 
is of the latest birth, in what is commonly known as the 
"Wild Western" region. Everything consequently is 
yet done for a commercial purpose, and beauty, so far, 
counts for little. And still one has to admit San Fran- 
cisco has its attractions. Though the appearance of the 
city, were I to describe a bird's-eye view from one of the 
hill tops is not a very symmetrical one, nor does it pre- 
sent to us the beautiful architecture of ancient Greece, 
but one finds therein a rare liveliness and an ever chang- 
ing aspect. San Francisco compares with Berlin as a 
bright, rosy-cheeked maiden might be compared with a 
marble Juno. No two houses have a similar front; not ten 
are alike in general architecture. Each house has its pe^ 
culiarity, indicating the taste and nationality of its Owner 
and is built in accordance with the requirements of the 
respective material used. One naturally finds the strang- 
est contrasts of architectural products, mostly imitations 
of foreign ideas, brought hither from every civilized and 
uncivilized nation of the world. Buildings, representing 
the styles of Holland, Australia, East India, Germany, 



OX AMERICAN SOIL 175 

China, Belgium, North America, England, France, Chile, 
Switzerland and many other countries stand peacefully 
alongside of each other. The materials used differ as 
much as do the countries which their styles represent. 
Most buildings are of wooden material, many others of 
brick, iron, zinc and copper. Brick houses with metal 
roofs, iron doors and window casings are very much the 
style here and those who are able to afford the great out- 
lay generally favor the latter, because they offer better 
resistance in case of fire than any of wholly metal struc- 
ture, which have proven impracticable during great con- 
flagrations. It is said that the intense heat of some big- 
fires has softened the metal built houses to such an extent 
that they became almost useless. There is no way of 
repairing such damage to metal built houses as the wages 
for building mechanics, no matter what metal they work 
in, are so enormously high that the repairs would cost 
much more than the importation of a new structure from 
England or the Eastern States. 

The streets which run through this gay appearing map 
of edifices are still very hilly, but time will change that 
easily and soon enough. As soon as the American finds 
out that hills do not suit his purpose, he will find means 
of moving them without much ado. lie will not try to 
bring that about, like Mohammed, by faith, but by ma- 
chines of the most varied and unheard-of construction, 
which, however, have or seem to have all one common 
feature, that of being very much ' ' for the purpose. ' ' One 
of said machines is at present, working at leveling a sand 
hill, about one hundred feet high, near Rincon point, the 
Southern cud of the harbor. This machine consists of a 
high pressure steam engine, which runs immense shovels 
into the sand, then raises them and empties the contents 
into a cart of special make. Each one of these carts holds 
a box two feet deep, ten long and seven wide. Two of 
the aforementioned shovels suffice to fill this cart, which 
at once rolls off on rails to a certain point at the harbor, 
where a single man awaits its coming and by touching 
some simple mechanical device, manages to tilt the whole 



176 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

box over, whereupon, after emptying itself, it is replaced 
as easily, after which a single old horse hauls it back to 
the machine where the performance is repeated. While I 
pen these lines the cars glide along the railroad tracks, 
crossing and running through busy streets, traversing, for 
instance, nearly a mile of Battery street, one of the most 
populated thoroughfares of this city, where thousands of 
people and hundreds of freight wagons, carts and vehicles 
of all description pass hourly. What would you say to 
all that! What would the Honorable City Council or the 
worshipful Board of Police Commissioners of the grand 
old city of Konigsberg say if a private citizen should con- 
ceive the idea of rolling heavy freight cars in the above 
mentioned manner, from the Haberberger Church, for 
instance, to the Green Bridge? They would surely be 
amazed at the audacity of the man who should even pro- 
pose such a thing. But here! Why, the American would 
be very much surprised indeed at the impudence of a 
municipal body that would dare to interfere with an 
undertaking which could be proven to be so eminently for 
the purpose he had in view. Danger for the passer-by is 
not considered by the American, who judges rightly that 
every man should have sense enough to keep his eyes 
open and be watchful to keep out of the way of danger 
of being run over. 

I explained to you one method employed in reducing 
the local elevations or hills, but there is still another by 
which the city is leveled and this latter is typically Amer- 
ican. The plan for the location and building of the city 
of San Francisco as drawn by the government presup- 
poses level ground and is calculated upon filling up of a 
large portion of the bay. The building squares or so- 
called lots, are cut exactly square and all of the same size 
and whosoever intends to build, is obliged by law to keep 
strictly within the boundary of his lot. Whether he pro- 
poses to put up a match factory in a wooden shack, a 
tamale factory in a tent, a cottage or a brick structure, 
is nobody's concern but his own. No building restric- 
tions here. A goodly number of these lots extend thus 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 177 

partlj into the water of the bay and the builder has nec- 
essarily, in building on his square, to use some old vessel 
or undertake the tedious work of filling up the allotted 
space; if he is fortunate enough to obtain a real lot on 
dry land, there are ninety-nine chances out of a hundred 
that he has to level it one way or the other. However, 
this again is left to the pleasure of the owner, who may 
build on a hill or in the valley if he chooses or he may take 
pains to level it before beginning to erect whatsoever the 
plan may call for. Thus it occurs here and there that 
they who have built their houses upon natural ground 
find their neighbor digging twenty feet deep into the 
elevation to place his own house right into that newly 
dug hole, which is a frequent occurrence where the street 
is either planned or already laid out. As the soil is gen- 
erally light or pure sand, the neighboring houses where 
such digging has occurred soon tumble into the hole, as 
may be witnessed quite often nowadays. In this manner 
one need not be surprised at the rapidity with which the 
leveling of the city progresses. In fact, the work is done 
much quicker than in localities where the authorities 
impose building restrictions of various kinds — which 
would cause many inconveniences here in America. I 
have already mentioned that the streets are wide and 
straight but as yet without stone pavement. Only the 
oldest and most frequented thoroughfares in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the harbor show some improvement in 
this line, consisting of wooden pavement; while all of 
them have broad wooden sidewalks which in some in- 
stances are being replaced by flag-stones (usually slate) 
or bricks. Every house is occupied by tradesmen of some 
kind and is literally covered with advertising signs and 
posters. Though the only ornaments of the buildings, 
these signs show much originality, as it is every man's 
endeavor to make the letters, coloring and wording of his 
advertising board as attractive to the passer-by as pos- 
sible. Thus it is that the whole represents a typical 
Rococo, the reality of which baffles any description. In 
solid Kdnigsberg, T would perhaps be accused of telling 

12 



178 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

"globe trotters' yams," were I to assure the good people 
that all the signs and inscriptions of the whole French 
street (Franzosische Strasse) would, in some instances, 
not suffice to cover the display of three houses in Com- 
mercial or Montgomery street, as they appear at present. 
If the streets and houses of San Francisco make a strange 
impression upon the European immigrant, the magnifi- 
cent harbor and its gigantic improvements fill him with 
amazement. The wharves and docks are such immense 
structures that one can hardly find words to describe 
their extent and importance. These wharves, of which 
there may be ten or twelve, are seldom less than one hun- 
dred feet in width, while the California street wharf, 
Long wharf, Pacific, Broadway and Cunningham wharf, 
which are among the largest, measured three-quarters 
of a mile (one-quarter of a German mile in length). You 
will readily understand that it took milliards of piles, 
beams and planks to complete these structures, while 
available means at hand are often limited, as may well 
be imagined, if one considers the comparative newness 
of the country, and, in many respects, the primitive means 
of communication. 

As the people fill up the waters along the shore of the 
bay in the manner I have described, the long piers grow 
shorter in places, as the so-called water front extends fur- 
ther and further into the bay. When one considers that 
the wage scale at the time of the construction of these 
enormous wharves demanded no less than six or eight 
dollars for the common day laborer, while carpenters, for 
instance, received from ten to twelve dollars a day, a 
faint estimate of the original cost may be obtained. It 
is well indeed to marvel at the great spirit which con- 
ceived and executed the plans for this unique American 
undertaking; it fills one with a degree of respect, which 
no other nation in the wide world can command.* 



*And this from a youth of twenty! What a lesson for the 
multitudes of foreigners who land on these shores and, having 
found the individual liberty which was denied them in their own 



OX AMERICAN SOIL 179 

In strange contrast to the^e just described public struc- 
tures are others, the sight of which transports in imagina- 
tion the newcomer to different parts of the world. Far 
instance, that part of San Francisco which is built upon 
props, just above the water on the edge of the bay, and 
which, like Venice, has water avenues instead of streets. 
with occasionally a so-called "running bridge," the struc- 
ture of which I deem more dangerous than anything I 
have ever seen in my life. I shall tiy to describe the 
sight. Piles or props have been driven into the ground in 
straight lines, about ten feet apart; the upper ends are 
then connected with cross beams, to which in turn are 
spiked planks, joining the opposite rows of piles or props. 
The bridge thus constructed is just about wide enough to 
permit two persons to pass each other, while it is fully 
from eighty to a hundred feet long. As the gnawing 
tooth of time loosens the piles or wears them out, the 
passer of the bridge experiences a queer sensation when 
the planks creak under his weight in consequence of the 
unsteady support below. If I add to this description the 
fact that this very bridge is located in the most thickly 
inhabited part of town and serves as a means of daily 
communication to thousands of people, you will undoubt- 
edly asks: "How does that harmonize with the gigantic 
structures at the wharves?" But anybody who bears 
in mind that everything here in America is done for a 
purpose will soon find the clue. The bridge is. to begin 
with, for foot passengers only. The American would 
consider every dollar money tin-own away were he to put, 
for instance, a railing on either side of said bridge, as 
he Teasons that people who desire to make use of this 
short cut should have sense enough to look out that they 
do not fall into the water, just as before mentioned, thai 
they are expected to steer clear of the quickly moving 
sand cars on Battery street, lest they be run over and 



native principality, abuse the government which protects them 
from personal harm, be it of a religious or political nature- 
Translator. 



180 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

crushed. Whoever deems this bridge too dangerous is 
entirely at liberty to choose a roundabout and much 
longer way to reach his destination. Just imagine our 
typical German philistine in Sunday attire coming across 
such a bridge ! How he would give vent to his righteous 
indignation and growl at the seemingly inexcusable neg- 
ligence and niggardly parsimoniousness of the munic- 
ipality, while carefully looking about, fearing that some 
one might have overheard his unguarded words. But, I 
assure you, I never have admired the practical side of 
the American character during my short acquaintance 
with their means and methods, more than in this very 
comparison. There is on one side of this strangely orig- 
inal structure just described, filling its temporary pur- 
pose, and right alongside of it, the splendidly built Long 
wharf, which also is there for a purpose, different, of 
course, from that of its neighbor. 

Should the practical eye of San Francisco's city gov- 
ernment become officially convinced today that this 
swinging bridge ought to be replaced by one of fifty feet 
in width and of more solid frame, thousands of men 
would be found at work tomorrow and in about a week's 
time all would be done and nobody would be very much 
surprised. This, of course, is so different from the good 
old way of the Fatherland, where, after long and careful 
debating and consideration, an Honorable City Council 
would perhaps permit repairs of said bridge, even a rail- 
ing, while the execution of the municipal edict might 
drag along for a year. Yes, our people are thorough 
whenever they undertook a thing, but so slow! 

It is impossible for me to leave the harbor without due 
mention of the many magnificent vessels, which are here 
in plain sight. Some of the models before my daily gaze 
overshadow everything I have seen anywhere thus far. 
The American clipper has particularly attracted my at- 
tention; it is a production of the last few years and has 
not been very long in practical use. The chief object 
of the ship builders has evidently been to make a record 
with these new vessels for unequaled rapidity. Every 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 181 

part of the structure indicates this purpose. In course 
of a short time this new line of vessels has reached such 
a marvelous degree of superiority that clippers of two 
thousand tons and more sail faster than many of our 
justly famed steamers, thus breaking the record by cov- 
ering fourteen to fifteen knots (nearly four German 
miles) an hour, which is not even taken to be a very 
remarkable accomplishment by our American brethren. 
There is, for instance, at anchor in this harbor, the New 
Year Clipper "Fleeing Cloud," a fine vessel of nineteen 
hundred tons, which has made the trip from New York 
with full freight in eighty-nine days and which is the 
record breaker, as far as hitherto known. Another one, 
the smaller clipper "Challenge," has made the trip from 
Valparaiso to this port in twenty-seven days, including 
four days of calm, while we spent fifty-nine days in mak- 
ing the passage between the same ports. These clippers 
aTe, notwithstanding their large freight capacity, the 
most handsome, easy going and elegant models one can 
possibly imagine. Special care has been taken to avoid 
whatever might cause the least resistance to the welcome 
wind. The whole is in appearance sharp, narrow and 
long, beautiful to behold. While these well shaped ves- 
sels are rigged like full-masters, every spare space be- 
tween the masts is utilized for another smaller sail. 

There need hardly be any mention of the many steam- 
ers in this great harbor. Ten or twelve a day leave for 
inland points or seaward, while as many incoming vessels 
anchor daily, among which may be seen the smallest fish- 
ing boats and the largest merchant-men often more than 
two hundred and fifty feet long. The number of steam- 
ers regularly running between this and foreign ports is 
given by harbor officials as from one hundred and forty to 
one hundred and sixty. 

Thus far the city and its harbor. Let us now describe 
the people. 



182 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

The People of San Francisco. 

It was in Valparaiso where a young Frenchman— one 
of the satirical kind, who ridicule everybody and every- 
thing that does not strike their particular fancy at any 
particular hour— for the French, as a nation as well as 
individuals, are very much subject to the impulse of the 
moment— expressed himself about San Francisco and its 
inhabitants as follows: 

"Vous n' y trouverez pas des hommes, seulement des 
sacs a 1 'argent, ou remplis ou vides." "You will not find 
any human beings there, only money bags, either filled or 
empty." 

I have not been here sufficiently long to know exactly 
how far this man's sarcastic saying may be justified but, 
judging from the kind welcome I have received every- 
where so far, I am rather* inclined to take his words at 
a discount as an intended bon-mot rather than as ab- 
solute truth. 

Variegated as is this metropolis of the West itself, are 
the many people who crowd the streets, be they afoot, in 
carriages or on horseback. I do not think that there is a 
nation, representatives of which are not to be found in 
every sphere of local society : Yankees, Mexicanos, Peru- 
vians, Chileans, Firelanders, Italians, Malays, Siamese, 
Creoles, Mulattoes, Negroes, Chinese, Indians— in short, 
Jews and Gentiles of all nations people the ever-crowded 
streets in their respective national costumes. No matter 
where the stranger may hail from, he is sure to find 
sooner or later some congenial countryman with whom 
he can chat in his mother tongue. Of course, English 
being the language of this country is the most spoken, 
but German, French and Spanish are heard almost as 
often, so that one ought to be able to converse fluently in 
four languages in order to move with ease among all 
classes of local society, and there is no doubt in my mind 
that every retail merchant of this city is daily or even 
hourly called upon to answer in at least three of the above 
named languages. No wonder therefore that almost 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 183 

every one of them— though he may be often unable to go 
beyond "yes" or "no" and to count (on his fingers) — 
has a very conspicuous sign in his show window an- 
nouncing his linguistic ability in words like: "Aqui se 
habla espanol; " "Ici on parle franc;ais," and "Hier 
spricht man Deutsch." In this respect most seaports 
are alike. Considering the great mixture of elements, 
each one representing different modes of living, thinking, 
acting, each individual educated and raised in different 
zones from those of his neighbors, impressed from child- 
hood with different principles, different ideas of right 
and wrong; they are united only in one purpose, namely, 
a desire to become rich as quickly as possible. Does it 
or should it astonish you that one's personal safety and 
that of his property are not as yet as firmly assured as 
in other civilized states? Notwithstanding all this, I can 
truly say that the average opinion in this respect of the 
folks at home is a very erroneous one, even exaggerated. 
Our daily communications and means thereof are now no 
more endangered by criminals and actual crimes than in 
any other city which has so large an influx of foreign 
elements. 

In order to explain to you the circumstances which 
brought about a radical change in the social conditions, 
changing the most disreputable state of disorder and law- 
lessness into one of absolute safety, I shall have to take 
you back in spirit over a period of about nine months, to 
a time when lawlessness was at its very height. This re- 
quires likewise a detailed account of lyneh-law ami its 
executions during the last year. As these events which 
I am about to relate have very likely been reported in 
fragments or in such distorted fashion that you will not 
have been able to get correct impressions of the matter, I 
have taken particular pains to get at the very truth of 
this history making epoch of San Francisco. I conse- 
quently vouch for the reliability of the following descrip- 
tion, as it has been told me by Boettcher, a man who had 
been one of the prime factors of the movement and in 
whose veracity I have the utmost confidence. 



184 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Until May 3d of last year the danger to person and 
property had reached a height surpassing belief, both in 
the city and in the interior, where the worst imaginable 
conditions are said to have prevailed. It had come to the 
point that no one dared to venture upon the street with- 
out a pistol or dagger, even in broad daylight. In out- 
lying parts of the city, precaution was taken after dark 
to call for signals of recognition; and even then one per- 
son meeting another would be ready for an emergency by 
keeping his weapon in hand, so that at the first suspicious 
movement on the part of the stranger, he might be able 
to defend himself on the instant. Every issue of the daily 
papers would contain two or three columns of sensational 
reports of criminal assaults, highway robberies, break- 
ing into stores, thieving in every conceivable way, etc. 
Among these short accounts one often reads of the most 
daring broad-day crimes, executed in crowded thorough- 
fares with such boldness and absolute insolence as to 
baffle all description. No wonder therefore that the local 
authorities became practically helpless and unable to put 
down the growing lawlessness; and the punishment of 
guilty parties became more and more difficult; while law- 
abiding citizens openly accused officials of accepting 
bribes. The work hating, hoodlum classes seemed to feel 
licensed to prey upon the public like so many human vul- 
tures. Lawyers and even judges of police and superior 
courts had become corrupt, and it became known that 
large sums of money had gone into their pockets in order 
to facilitate the escape of criminals through loopholes 
and technicalities which the minions of the law knew so 
well how to manipulate in behalf of their clients. The 
natural consequence was that the indignation of all right- 
minded people rose in proportion to the evergrowing 
number of criminals; and it finally reached a climax at 
the time of the May conflagration which impoverished 
thousands of honest, hard working inhabitants, and which, 
being the work of incendiaries, was accompanied by a 
large number of lesser crimes. All classes of society 
would have dissolved under similar conditions in any 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 185 

part of the wide world, and a more or less revolutionary 
uprising would have been the necessary and unavoidable 
consequence of similar events in Europe; but the Ameri- 
can imbibes with his mother's milk not only a certain 
respect for law and order but an undeniable talent for 
self-government, which saved him in this instance from 
mob violence, notwithstanding the fact that the munic- 
ipal authorities showed a woeful lack of power, yea worse, 
a great weakness for ill-gotten gains. Thus every indi- 
vidual suspected his next door neighbor and was ever 
on his guard to protect his own belongings against the 
fancied or real covetousness of the other; each one kept 
a watchful eye by day and night. People went about 
troubled in mind and ghastly in mien, for they never 
knew what news the homecoming might have in store for 
them. In order to meet this ever growing distrust and 
worry, the citizens had to determine upon some very de- 
cided course of action in order to protect home and prop- 
erty. Thus it happened that toward the end of May, six 
of the most respected citizens inaugurated a movement 
which was destined to bring about a radical change for 
the better. These aforementioned men, having quietly 
invited their most trustworthy acquaintances to join them 
in secret in a well known hall on Sansom street, succeeded 
in calling a gathering of about sixty picked men of the 
most reliable merchants and tradesmen, all residents, both 
Americans and foreigners. Each one appeared well 
armed and bound to secrecy. This assemblage knew that 
they were called for a purpose and proceeded at once to 
select from among their number temporary president and 
secretaries, after which they decided upon a constitution 
and by-laws, laying down some sort of program for the 
newly created secret society, the purpose of which was 
given out in the following condensed announcement: 

"The undersigned citizens realize that if the present 
state of affairs should be allowed to continue, a total up- 
heaval of all that right and order call for would have to 
be expected, as the action or inaction of the local munic- 
ipal authorities has given convincing proof of their lack 



186 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

of power and even of good will, failing, too, in protecting 
the working citizen, wherefore they have decided to take 
this duty upon themselves and thus to adopt a self-pro- 
tecting law, vowing to stand all for one and one for all." 

After all present had affirmed the above by a solemn 
oath, the next step was to increase the membership by 
inviting men who were recommended and vouched for 
by those present, who were looked upon as the charter 
members of this young organization. In three days the 
society counted no less than two hundred and eighty 
members, all of them picked and sworn; this number 
was considered sufficient to make an energetic start. Dur- 
ing the second meeting, likewise armed, the members 
were divided into committees and sections. At first a per- 
manent watch was established at the meeting place on 
Sansom street ; then a number of small patrols, well armed 
but bearing no outward sign of any but the peaceful mis- 
sion of their respective vocation or leisure's pursuits. 
Thus hundreds of eager eyes kept watch by day and 
night, enveloping the city like a network of vigilance. 
And all this without the slightest knowledge of anybody 
except the chosen few. They thus constituted a well or- 
ganized secret police, acting without the knowledge or 
aid of the municipal authorities. 

The second day after the vigilance committee had com- 
menced its active and effective work, one of its patrols 
succeeded in catching a thief, who had stolen a bag of 
money from an office and, while trying to escape with his 
plunder in rowing across the bay, fell into the hands of 
the patrol. A meeting was called hurriedly at Sansom 
street headquarters, the culprit brought before the presi- 
dent and identified as one Jenkins, ex-Sydney convict. 
The witnesses proved the correctness of the charge and 
the president picked a jury of twelve persons, who, duly 
sworn, returned a unanimous verdict of guilty. As not 
one of those present voiced an objection, the president 
condemned the defendant amidst profound silence to ex- 
piate his crime on the scaffold, the hanging to take place 
within half an hour. Meanwhile it had been ordered that 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 187 

the occurrence should be partly made known in the city, 
in older to prepare the citizens for an extraordinary 
event, without giving exact details as to what to expect. 
Tims no one outside the sworn members of the organiza- 
tion knew anything definite, but even the late hour did 
not prevent the gathering of an enormous crowd at the 
plaza— a large square in the most frequented part of the 
city. 

Expectancy was at its height. About half past eleven 
there appeared the criminal Jenkins, surrounded by 
twenty-four armed men, members of the lynching com- 
mittee. A scaffold had been erected and was now the des- 
tination of the culprit, though an unsuccessful attempt 
had been made by a few regular policemen to break the 
cordon; the order to stand back and the significant dis- 
play of pistols had its wholesome effect upon these so- 
called agents of public safety. AVhen the place of hang- 
ing had been reached the chosen leader of the band of 
lynchers, climbing upon a table and in the torchlight, ad- 
dressed the multitude, which had reached a number of at 
least twelve thousand people. He dwelt eloquently upon 
the present state of affairs and this particular event, end- 
ing his fiery speech with these words: "Citizens of San 
Francisco! Is it your will that this criminal Jenkins, 
who has been found guilty of robbery, shall lose his life 
by the rope?" A thundering "yes" from thousands of 
voices was the answer and when the sound began to die 
away the lifeless body of Jenkins was already swinging 
in midnight air! 

This daring deed had given publicity to the existence 
and purpose of the society and the crisis was overcome. 
Everybody indorsed the action of the lynchers and the 
demand for admission to membership reached such pro- 
portions that the names of nearly every honest and armed 
man in the city appeared on the membership roll within 
the next few weeks. Of course, it became necessary to 
reconstruct the by-laws and reorganize committees, sub- 
divide patrols and plan the whole working on a larger 
and more effective scale. It was therefore decided to 



188 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

select an Executive Body of two hundred men, known 
henceforth as "Vigilance Committee" which would take 
upon itself the authoritative patroling and general man- 
agement of this protective policy. The city was divided 
into districts, harbor, water front, city and suburban dis- 
tricts; all had their vigilance patrols, while those mem- 
bers of society who had not been detailed to duty formed 
a sort of secret agency, which in all probability has never 
been known to work with greater precision, greater har- 
mony and consequently to better effect. So-called 
"fences," that is, houses of people who harbor stolen 
goods, were searched and a great many arrests were made 
without giving newspaper publicity. In a short time 
branch committees of the vigilance organization were 
established throughout the state and many a criminal 
fugitive from justice was caught in a far away hiding 
place of the mining districts in the Sierras. Even steam- 
ers were pressed into service to follow the tracks of 
escaped culprits, to Mazatlan and Panama, in order to 
return them to San Francisco jurisdiction. Naturally, 
enormous sums of money were needed for such extensive 
prosecution but that did not hinder the progress of the 
movement, which had set for its purpose the complete 
suppression of the lawless element and whenever the 
monthly contributions of the members, five dollars a head, 
proved insufficient, calls for public contributions were so 
well responded to that whatever sums were needed could 
be raised in a few hours. I suppose you will be shocked 
to hear that but one form of punishment was dealt out— 
the rope. Under these circumstances the state of affairs 
improved hourly and the safety of the lives and property 
of citizens became more and more evident. Any person 
whose conscience accused him of misdeeds sought safety 
in flight; for, to be caught, to be convicted and to be hung 
was but the experience of a few hours. The former pos- 
sibilities, yea probabilities of escape through legal loop- 
holes were things of the past, as the lynch committee 
would acknowledge no other testimony and deal out jus- 
tice through no other channels but that of the conscience 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 189 

of honest men, whose final judgment bore the stamp oi 
sound sense. 

However, the committee had set its ambition higher 
than merely to clear the city and surrounding country of 
vagabonds of every description, who had openly sinned 
against law, life and property. It directed its energies 
likewise against those wdio had helped or hidden the 
criminals in their respective positions as lawyers, judges, 
receivers of stolen goods or as den or dive keepers of 
more or less importance. It was naturally 7iot very easy 
to bring this class of malefactors to justice, to convict and 
condemn them to the well earned rope, but they were nev- 
ertheless dealt with most effectively. The judges and 
lawyers were practically ruined by the arousing of public 
opinion against them by publishing in the most popular 
dailies the trials of noted criminals in the course of which 
these men had proven themselves unworthy of their call- 
ing by manipulating evidence in favor of this or the other 
law breaker, giving full particulars of the tricks used in 
such cases. By this and similar means they became ex- 
posed to the wrath of the people, and not only lost their 
patronage among the honest citizens but generally earned 
their well deserved public contempt; and whenever they 
appeared in the streets they were greeted with hisses, 
shouts and other degrading expressions. As this class of 
men had accumulated more or less wealth they disap- 
peared one by one, without noise and without special 
farewell services. Thus San Francisco was effectually 
freed from this most undesirable gentry. 

Next in order were the keepers of " fences" and dens, 
called "cribs," the number, exact list of names and 
biographies of which had been secured by the vigilance 
committee by means of secret service men. With these 
another process was enacted. Most of these fellows were 
ex-convicts from Sydney, Australia, and, according to 
information obtained, either exiled, escaped or discharged 
from there. They were dealt with very effectually and 
by rather short methods. The vigilance committee paid 
passage on an outgoing vessel, bound for Sydney, for the 



190 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

whole outfit, numbering more than thirty, and sent every 
one of them the following notice on the same day: "Five 
days after date you will have to leave the city of San 
Francisco and Upper California forever. Passage has 
been paid for you on board of the vessel 'N,' Captain 
l N,' in this harbor, bound for Sydney. Ticket herewith 
enclosed. "The Vigilance Committee." 

No further signature was attached to this laconic noti- 
fication of their banishment but so panic stricken were 
the recipients by the order of the all-powerful committee 
that all but one hastened to comply without making an at- 
tempt at delay by contradiction. One, however, thought 
himself immune, pretending that nobody would be able to 
prove his actual guilt and— he remained. To his amaze- 
ment he found his house one fine morning surrounded by 
two hundred well armed men. Every particle of his be- 
longings were packed on a wagon, whereupon he himself 
was given a free ride to the building of the vigilance com- 
mittee on Battery street, where he was held prisoner for 
eight days, i. e., until the departure of another Sydney 
bound vessel, when he and his belongings were taken on 
board and he was bidden farewell. This man had suf- 
fered veritable death agony during the eight days of his 
involuntary imprisonment in the Battery street jail, 
which inmates in those days were seldom known to have 
left— except to ascend the scaffold. No wonder that he 
was happy to have saved his neck, even in this manner. 
The municipal authorities, for weighty reasons of their 
own, dared not interfere, and thus the vigilance commit- 
tee held full sway until the former commenced to feel 
the sting of public disdain, as well as chagrined that their 
presence and offices cut so small a figure in public opin- 
ion. They then planned to regain the power which, in 
their opinion, the vigilance committee had usurped. An 
opportunity for their intended action seemed to have 
come. With the beginning of August the arduous work 
of the purification by the vigilance committee seemed 
to have been nearly completed. There remained, how- 
ever, among a few others a band of very dangerous 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 191 

criminals, all of whom were Sydney men, who had 
been sought in vain for many months. They were 
five: Robinson, Hamilton, Thompson, Whittaker and 
MacKenzie. At last the three first named were caught 
in the neighborhood of Sacramento, while about to 
add a new crime to their already heavy list. To the 
sleuths of the Sacramento branch committee belonged the 
credit of catching Thompson and Hamilton, while Rob- 
inson was caught by the regular authorities of San Fran- 
cisco. All three were incendiaries or highway robbers, 
but owing to the mixed associations in their many mis- 
deeds the trial lasted considerably longer than it other- 
wise would have done. The fact that their crimes had 
been committed in different parts of the state had also 
delayed matters, as it was the purpose of the committee 
to lift the veil from all their misdeeds before sentencing 
them. Finally, toward the middle of August, the other 
two miscreants, Whittaker and MacKenzie, were caught 
and taken to the headquarters of the vigilance commit- 
tee in San Francisco, after which the trial took a quicker 
turn. As you will have observed, the fact was that the 
trial against these five malefactors had to be divided 
into three parts and, still worse, it had to be carried on 
in different cities and under distinct authorities, virtually 
on bad footing with each other, which surely did not help 
nor hasten matters. Robinson was tried in the regular 
criminal court of San Francisco, Thompson and Hamil- 
ton stood before the vigilance committee, Sacramento 
branch, while Whittaker and MacKenzie had to face the 
main committee in this city. It was on the eighteenth 
of August when Whittaker and MacKenzie were ad- 
judged guilty and condemned to be hung the next morn- 
ing. During the night the unexpected happened. It had 
not been thought necessary to keep an unusually numer- 
ous guard on the occasion and it was therefore an easy 
matter for the sheriff and a few well armed officers to 
take possession of the two criminal-', whom they led to 
the prison on Telegraph TTill. Meanwhile the trial against 
Robinson before the criminal court in Sacramento had 



192 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

come to an end on the twentieth of August, resulting in 
death sentence for the defendant. The execution was to 
have taken place on the twenty-first of August, instead of 
which the authorities proclaimed the governor's pardon 
of said Robinson who had actually confessed to murder 
and incendiarism. This gubernatorial act of injustice 
naturally caused an outburst of wrath from the justly 
embittered populace, who arose and loudly demanded 
the execution of the other two law breakers. Meanwhile 
the vigilance branch committee, forewarned by the kid- 
naping experience of the other prisoners by the San 
Francisco sheriff, hastened to hang the two companions 
of Robinson, Thompson and Hamilton on the twenty- 
second of August in the public square of Sacramento. 
And now happened the incredible. Robinson, already 
freed, had the unprecedented nerve and morbid curiosity 
to watch the execution from among the many witnesses. 
As he had taken no precaution whatever to avoid being 
recognized he was caught anew and the leaders of 
the committee ordered at once a third scaffold to be 
erected. This was done in a moment, boards being 
roughly nailed together— for the purpose — and before his 
two companions in crime had breathed their last this 
bandit, too, notwithstanding the governor's pardon, was 
swinging in mid air, suspended at the end of a rope. 

Though the central committee of the vigilance organ- 
ization in San Francisco had been greatly exasperated 
by the kidnaping of the two condemned criminals by the 
municipal authorities, it took all possible means to calm 
the great excitement of the general populace, in order 
to prevent an open rupture with the legal heads of the 
city government, such as any revolt on the part of over- 
zealous citizens would undoubtedly have brought about. 
This, however, did not mean that the committee would 
willingly stand by to see the previously condemned men 
escape execution of their sentence, after so much time, 
effort and money had been spent to reach the ends of 
justice. It was therefore secretly decided that the pris- 
oners should be re-taken by means similar to those used 



OX AMERICAN SOIL 193 

by order of the regular authorities, that is, by finesse. It 
came therefore to pass on Sunday, the twenty-fourth of 
August, that one of the initiated obtained permission to 
enter the city prison, while the prisoners were assembled 
in the chapel to attend Divine Service. When the door 
was partly opened to receive him this man took such a 
position that it became impossible for the doorkeeper to 
close the gate without using force. Before he had a 
chance to call for aid the visitor had given a signal in 
answer to which forty heavily armed strangers appeared 
upon the scene to give the first visitor their aid. Whit- 
taker and MacKenzie were then overpowered without any 
trouble, placed in a waiting vehicle, which drove them 
at full speed to the Battery street branch of the vigilance 
committee, where they were made to expiate their crimes 
by means of a rope, which was fastened to the window 
casements, whilst an enormous crowd cheered lustily 
without. 

This was the last public act of the vigilance committee 
during the past year, as it slowly yielded its power to the 
proper municipal authorities, not, however, without a 
very plain, explicit understanding that its services could 
again be relied upon should public safety require them. 

San Francisco owes this body of clean, tried men a 
great deal more than the world will ever know. As al- 
ready mentioned, safety to life on our streets is at pres- 
ent as effectually assured as it is anywhere in large cit- 
ies; and although the majority of citizens continue to 
go about armed, it is more from the force of habit ac- 
quired than by reason of fear. It is true, however, that 
one has to be on one's guard and avoid quarrel, as the 
least word-duel is apt to end in a pistolade, as there seems 
yet to be much inclination to meet an insult with a bullet. 
But all peaceably minded persons who go quietly about 
their daily occupation, avoiding everything that is not 
part of their legitimate line of work, but who seek only to 
earn daily bread will seldom be annoyed by ruffians. 

It cannot naturally be expected of me to have gained 
a reliable insight into the business affairs of this great 



194 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Western city during my short stay of a fortnight. Mer- 
chants, however, are heard to complain at present of con- 
siderable pressure brought about by overproduction and 
scarcity in the money market. It thus happened that 
my many efforts, aided by most excellent recommenda- 
tions and personal endeavors of newly found friends, 
failed to secure for me a position as clerk. But there are 
thousands of ways and means of support in x\merica, 
which, if they do not serve for anything better, will at 
least surely keep the wolf from the door. 

Mercantile establishments are mostly in the hands of 
either North Americans, Englishmen or Germans, while 
there are likewise some very rich and respected Chilean 
firms, but very few French and Mexican business houses. 
The Chinese, too, go into business ventures once in a 
while, but rarely on a large scale, though many of them 
are very rich and could easily have the largest establish- 
ments in the city, if money were the sole factor. Each na- 
tionality tries to preserve its own peculiar character and, 
as will be readily understood, the general hunt for money 
and riches does not always bring out the better qualities 
of men to advantage, but rather tends to bring the weak 
ones into daily display. While it cannot be denied that 
some acquire riches in comparatively few years, most 
foreigners remain but a short time, only to return home 
with disappointed hopes and shattered expectations; they, 
however, make room for newcomers; new elements take 
the vacant places, and the merry war for earthly posses- 
sions continues. The sooner the European realizes that 
the only safe way toward accumulating money is to work 
for it, the better for him. There is not one out of a hun- 
dred who grows rich rapidly, and here as elsewhere the 
old adage: "Honesty is the best paying policy,' * is in 
reality the only "golden rule" one should follow in 
business as well as in private life. Though we generally 
believe that time is all-powerful in smoothing conditions 
and harmonizing difficulties and national peculiarities, 
there seems to be astonishingly little assimilation be- 
tween the different nations; they seem to remain inten- 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 195 

tionally and distinctly foreign to each other. Of all for- 
eigners, the German seems to command the highest re- 
spect in public opinion. The American respects him, and 
— please do not laugh at the comparison — the Chinaman 
seems to honor him above all foreigners. Both of these 
nations have obtained the good will of the natives by 
their soberness, honesty and industry, which qualities 
the real Yankee the more admires, as he sees in them the 
fundamental principles of a great nation. Englishmen 
and Americans seem to get along fairly well, but a close 
observer will be very much amused at times, and unin- 
tentionally think of long forgotten mother goose stories 
of cat and dog. When the Englishman goes with hands 
in his wide trousers, whistling his "Rule Britannia" or 
some other of his national songs, the genuine Yankee (if 
one happens to be walking behind him) cannot refrain 
from humming "Yankee Doodle," a by no means com- 
plimentary song to the Briton. 

Frenchmen find no favor in the eye of the native Amer- 
ican, who cares little for them. "All French humbug" 
is a saying frequently heard in American circles. The 
fact is that, though present in large numbers, they sel- 
dom show visible means of support. Most of them are 
waiters, restaurant keepers or professional gamblers, 
though, here as everywhere else, one finds noble excep- 
tions. 

Women are scarce in this part of the New World, 
though I am told that they are much more numerous now 
than a few years ago. 

Having mentioned before that the French population 
in this city consists to a certain extent of professional 
gamblers, I am led to say a few words about the gambling 
houses, of which so many strange stories have been told 
abroad. The fact is, they long ago outlived their noto- 
riety. The magnificent, gorgeously decorated halls of 
such places as the "Veranda," "Eldorado," "Union 
Hotel," "Oregon House" and a few others, the pomp and 
fascinating attractiveness of which are certainly not out- 
done even by public resorts of Hamburg or Berlin, are 



196 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

now mostly deserted in daytime, and frequented at night 
by sailors or lucky miners, who cannot rid themselves 
quickly enough of their hard-earned money. The for- 
merly rich display of gold by the bank holders of the 
green table has diminished to such an extent that one 
rarely sees a few pieces exhibited and even in the largest 
establishments, where formerly hundreds of twenty dol- 
lar gold pieces tempted the gaping crowds to try their 
chances, today the smallest current coin— one bit— (or 
Spanish "real," one-eighth of a dollar) will not be re- 
fused by the keeper or bookmaker. This rapidly decreas- 
ing popularity of gambling houses is a most convincing 
proof of the immeasurable success of the Vigilance-Ke- 
form movement, as well as of all-powerful "public opin- 
ion" in America. And Jean Galbert de Campistron, the 
great French playwright, who indignantly asked: "The 
public! the public! how many fools are required to make 
up a public?" would indeed be ill at ease in this country. 

A few well worded newspaper articles proved sufficient 
to incense the people against these academies of vice and 
breathing places of immorality. Had not our greatest 
living poet, Ferdinand Freiligrath, whom Americans 
honor as the most beloved German friend of their own 
Longfellow, blasted all hopes of speculating gamblers to 
establish their nefarious bank in the ruins of the old his- 
toric castle Ebernburg, by a single poem: "The Monu- 
ment," which appeared a few years ago in the "Cologne 
Gazette," the San Francisco newspaper success would 
have won an unprecedented victory, which, however, is 
great and praiseworthy enough in itself. Thanks to this 
noble effort of the press, to be a gambler, has since be- 
come the worst thing that can be said of a man. 

The American press differs from that of our methodical 
home periodicals. It is very much more alive and awake 
to the fact that it has to serve purposes of which the solid 
' ' Old World ' ' has little or no conception. It may have its 
faults but then it has greater responsibilities, greater 
aims and is consequently more heeded by the reading 
musses than its pompous contemporaries abroad. Its edi- 



( ).\ AMERICAN SOIL 197 

torials are the expressions of free men, who say what is 
uppermost in their mind, without fear of government cen- 
sure or imprisonment. No wonder then that the press is 
one of the pillars of this country. It fully deserves rec- 
ognition. 

As to myself, I cannot tell you just yet what I may 
chose to do in case my endeavors to obtain a paying posi- 
tion in this city should not be crowned with success 
within the next few days, though I shall very likely take 
the next best chance to try my luck in the mines. To do 
this will be, if nothing else, an educating experiment, and 
without overworking one's self, one can easily make the 
necessary expenses of daily life and in the meantime gain 
an opportunity of making a wholesome study of the nat- 
ural conditions of the country. There is, of course, no 
more hope for immense riches for miners, as in days gone 
by, when a globe trotter would accidentally stumble over 
a lump of pure gold. Still, by industry, persevering and 
saving, one can yet accumulate a moderate sum in a 
longer or shorter time, as fortune may permit. I board at 
present with Griinhagen and Olias in Boettcher's resi- 
dence, about a (German) mile from San Francisco, in a 
charming place, which is well named "Pleasant Valley." 
There are several young clerks from the city, all Ger- 
mans, rooming in the same house, so that we number a 
round dozen at the dinner table. The walk to town is very 
agreeable and takes but half an hour. My expenditure 
amounts to twelve dollars a week for room and board, 
which will prove to you that living expenses are not 
nearly as high as in days gone by. I live well at that, 
and, as far as eating and drinking goes, far better than 
at home. Life in hotels and saloons, however, is very ex- 
pensive; so are the three best theaters of this city — the 
American Theater, the "Jenny Lind" and the Theatre 
Francais— where tickets for seats in the loges or dress 
circles arc three dollars apiece. Wine seems to be cheaper 
here than in the large vineyards. For instance, a gallon 
— abont five bottles and a half of good table wine— costs 
but four bits or one-hall* dollar, and the best champagne 



198 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

no more than four dollars a gallon, which makes it pos- 
sible for the poorest day laborer who shoves a hand cart 
or carries a hod to include half a bottle of wine in his 
bill of fare. And the California wine is fully as good as 
the French wines, so-called, which we purchase at home; 
at any rate you get what you pay for. Business men, as a 
rule, eat after what is called the American plan, and 
which is a very sensible one, in my estimation. About 
eight o'clock in the morning one starts with a good warm 
breakfast, consisting of beefsteak, chops, roast beef or 
something of that sort, winding up with a cup of good 
coffee. About noon one indulges in a so-called lunch, that 
means a glass or two of wine, bread and cheese or cold 
viands, and enjoys the principal meal at six o'clock, after 
the cares and worries of the day are over and the office 
is closed. This mode of living suits me exceedingly well, 
yes, even better than our home method with its five meals. 
By this method the day is not much divided, and one 
can follow one 's pursuits without being interrupted every 
two or three hours, and the natural consequence is that 
the American accomplishes more in a day than his Euro- 
pean competitor. 

Though we are said to live in the midst of the rainy 
season, I confess that so far I have not seen a drop. The 
air is warm and most agreeable in daytime, the sky clear 
and of a tropical blue, and Mother Nature is clad in a 
pretty green; the nights, however, are decidedly cold and 
remind me quite often of the dear ones at the fireside at 
home. The mines, too, are said to lack rain, particularly 
in the more southern region. A few days ago I had a 
very interesting chat with a miner from the San Joaquin 
country, who complained greatly about the lack of water 
in the "diggings." He claimed to have worked four long 
months without being able to wash a handful of the earth. 
Having thus spent his money for necessities of life, he 
found himself compelled to look for work in San Fran- 
cisco until the long-looked-for rain would give him a 
chance to sift the proceeds of his months of hard labor. 
And there are hundreds of men sharing the same fate 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 199 

and consequently very dejected and compelled to look for 
temporary employment that may stay the tide till St. 
Peter opens the channels of relief. The Northern mines, 
on the contrary, are filled with snow and ice, which makes 
the working of them impossible, though many of the min- 
ers, who have spent the winter here, are preparing al- 
ready for another season of hard work and uncertain 
results. Such is life in the Wild "West. 

Meanwhile, I have made the best of the beautiful 
weather by taking little excursions into the surrounding 
country, which, though picturesque in places, cannot be 
called beautiful. The surface is hilly and sandy, covered 
with shrubbery and here and there interspersed with 
marshes, which are mostly to be found along the bay; 
weeds and impenetrable shrubbery grow in abundance 
and harbor large numbers of snakes and other reptiles, 
as well as wolves and even bears. Sea fowls nest there 
in fabulous quantities. The closer to the city, the more 
the clearing of the creeks for the purpose of draining has 
progressed. 

One of the finest spots just outside the city is Monte 
Dolores, a hill of about twelve to eighteen hundred feet 
in height; from its summit, which it is not difficult to 
reach, the visitor has a beautiful panorama before him: 
San Francisco with its fine harbor and the Golden Gate; 
the bay with its attractive islands on one side and the 
Pacific Ocean, in all its majesty, on the other. There is 
a boulevard, laid out with planks, which leads from the 
Mission Dolores to the foot of the hill and is frequented 
on Sundays by pleasure seekers, promenading families, 
ladies in elegant carriages, people on horseback, all bent 
upon enjoying the sights which Mother Nature presents. 
"Were it not for an occasional redman (Indian) or the ever 
present yellow Mongolian with his long, coal black queue, 
one would fancy one's self transported to one of the much 
sought promenades of a German city, for instance, the 
ever memorable Hamburg boulevard leading to Blank - 
enese (which I have described elsewhere) instead of being 
on the far away "Western coast of North America. I won- 



200 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

der whether I am safe from your criticism in mentioning 
that one may tramp through corn fields and meadows 
without being fined, as is customary elsewhere. It is ad- 
visable, however, to avoid bands of cattle, which is not 
always a safe thing to do. At the foothills especially the 
cattle are very plentiful, and they roam about uncared- 
for, looking for food, wherever it may be found. Most of 
these animals are uncommonly large, powerfully strong 
and often decidedly hostile in disposition; they have 
large, sharp pointed horns, and an attack upon man is 
not at all an unfrequent occurrence. Only a few days 
ago it happened that a Kentuckian was attacked in a 
neighboring creek by two cows and though he managed 
to kill one of them outright with his gun, he was mis- 
erably harpooned by the sharp horns of the other and 
finally lost his life in the struggle. Still wilder and 
consequently more dangerous are the cattle in the in- 
land on the other side of the bay, known as " Contra 
Costa." To give you a more correct idea of the situa- 
tion, I may add that even the Mexican rancheros, known 
for their daring and unsurpassed horsemanship, who 
are almost born in the saddle and raised among herds of 
wild cattle, who never throw their lasso in vain, nor fire 
a pistol without hitting the mark, even they, I say, 
though provided with tried horses and reliable weapons, 
will never venture alone into those herds to catch an ox 
for slaughter. The interior of the country is said to be 
uncommonly romantic and decidedly picturesque and of 
so changeable a character that even the most experi- 
enced world-trotters have been surprised at the manifold 
grandeur of California scenery. While one may enjoy 
for a few moments a typically Dutch rural scene, there 
appears suddenly a magnificent mountain view, with its 
wild, noisy waters, and impenetrable virgin forests. 
While it is perfectly true that the high mountains of 
which I gained a very satisfactory view from the neigh- 
boring hill-tops, are indeed promising, I shall not art- 
tempt to give you the descriptions of other people, but 
prefer to wait until I can judge and tell from personal 
experience and observation. 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 201 

San Francisco, California, 
the 31st of January, 1852. 

As there remain but a few more minutes until the 
closing of the European mail, I shall make use of them 
by adding a few more words to those, who I know, will 
enjoy them. It is so difficult to tear one's self from a 
letter, which is homeward bound, across the many thou- 
sands of miles, that I cannot let go until "time sets my 
nails afire" (German idiom). I am at this hour quite 
determined to try my luck in the mines and shall leave 
for the interior next Tuesday, the third of February, via 
Benicia and Stockton, in order to continue along the 
Stanislaus, a branch of the San Joaquin River, then pass- 
ing Sonora City, enter the Sierra Nevada as far as I pos- 
sibly can. In all probability I shall not return to civili- 
zation very soon and, as 3 r ou will easily comprehend, pos- 
tal facilities are absolutely unknown in those regions, 
many of which have never been visited by a pale-face be- 
fore. Of course, it remains an open question how soon 
you will receive my next letter, while this one, I trust, 
will keep you busy reading and re-reading for many 
a day. Do not worry about me, dear parents, and do not 
forget that California has ceased to be a nest of robbers 
and highwaymen. The severe laws, which the miners 
have enacted in their own behalf and for the preserva- 
tion of order in their own camps, and which they exe- 
cute with unrelenting vigor, frighten away criminals 
from the most remote camps. Even the petty thief, if 
caught in the act, is sent into eternity by the "rope- 
route." As the miners— rough and ready— are in the 
habit of doing those things quickly, we should not be sur- 
prised that their method has a wholesome effect upon 
the long-fingered gentry, most of whom are cowards by 
nature, and the miner, though he generally carries a 
warm, yea, philanthropically-disposed heart under a 
rough exterior, cordially detests cowardice. 

The next Panama steamer is due since yesterday and 
is expected to arrive ;it almost any moment. I await her 
with impatience, hoping sincerely for long-missed news 



202 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

from you, which would expel the feeling of uncertainty 
as to the personal welfare of every one of my loved ones 
at home. 

I have openly to confess my great disappointment at 
the strange fact of not receiving a single letter from you 
upon landing here and cannot deny that it has depressed 
and discouraged me for many an hour, and to a great 
extent emphasized my disappointment at not obtaining 
employment. Please make up for it by writing long let- 
ters and real often. It will be advisable to direct the 
outer envelope as follows: 

Messrs. Gent, Schott, Boettcher & Co., 

San Francisco, 
Upper California. 

And then put the closed letter into it. The mail will 
thus receive quicker attention at the post-office than if it 
were directed to me in care of Boettcher. Please give 
my very best regards and many thousand greetings to all 
the loved ones. Do not worry if you do not hear from 
me within the next few months, but write diligently that 
I may have plenty to read. I embrace and kiss you all. 
God be with vou! 

FRANZ LECOUVREUR. 



Translator's note: 

The following pages contain a few timely quotations 
and thoughts, which the young author enclosed in the 
above letter, but which had been written on the eve of 
his departure from Bartenstein. His well-known ad- 
miration for the exiled poet Heine, who was slowly dying 
on his mattress-grave, while our friend set foot on Amer- 
ican soil, led to the first quotation, which refers to the 
unexpected marriage of the poet's fiancee, Amalie, 
daughter of Solomon Heine, his multi-millionaire uncle, 
a fact which the great lyric bemourned in many songs, 
of which the following is one of the shortest: 



ON AMERICAN SOIL 203 

"Anfangs wollt icli fast verzagen 
"Und ich glaubt', ich triig es nie— 

"Und ich hab' es doch ertragen, 
"Aber fragt' mich nur nicbt wie!" 

(Translated: 

"First I almost died despairing 

"Doubting, that I stand the strain, 
"Still, I've borne it without yielding 
"How? You ask of me in vain!" 

-J. C. B.) 

Then follows our young author's own composition: 

"When, in the battle of life, the heart of man is seem- 
"ingly burning to ashes, in consequence of a stroke of 
"fate's own lightning, when he sees drop by drop of his 
"heart's blood trickle into dust, let him not despair, but 
"rather revive his drooping spirits, as well as his pride, 
"both of which, aided by perseverance and self-reliance, 
"will help him to victory in all struggles which the fu- 
"ture may have in store for him. Help thyself and God 
il i<iU help thee.'''' 

Then follows Riickert's: "Dem Liebesanger," which 
translated would read somewhat like this: 

TO THE EROTIC SINGER: 

If you wish to touch the heart-strings 
Of all human kind alike 
You should strike the note of sorrow. 
Not the melodies of joy. 
Many a one finds no enjoyment 
During earth-life, and methinks 
There is none, who does not carry 
Buried troubles in his breast. 

-(J.C.B.) 



LETTER NO. VIII 



Long Bar on the Yuba River, Cal., 

Sunday, February 8th, 1852. 

My Beloved Ones: — I hope you will not take it amiss 
if I write only a few words to-day; I merely want you to 
know where I am at present. As I wrote to you before, 
my intention at first was to go to the Southern mines; 
unfavorable reports from there, however, made me sud- 
denly change my mind, the more so as on the 2nd inst. 
(Monday) the younger of the Boettchers made up his 
mind to accompany us and share our fate. 

The same day at 4 o'clock p. m. we four, that is 
Boettcher, Griinhagen, Olias and myself, taking with 
us only our blankets, arms and such clothing as was in- 
dispensable, started on the steamer "I. Bragdon" for 
Sacramento, on the river of the same name, where we 
arrived on Tuesday morning at 5 o'clock. At 8 o'clock 
we continued our trip up the river on board the "Fash- 
ion" and reached Marysville at the junction of the Yuba 
with the Feather river, a tributary of the Sacramento, 
at 5 p. m. At Marysville we remained over night, and 
on Wednesday morning we started upon our journey, of 
course afoot. In the evening we arrived here. We found 
the bar already taken possession of; not a place left open 
that offered a tolerable "prospect," but on the follow- 
ing day, in the evening, an American offered to sell us 
his claim. We bought it for 75 Dollars, and since noon 
of day before yesterday we have been hard at work. Up 
to the evening yesterday we had taken out only 10 Dol- 
lars; but considering that none of us four are used to 



*This Long Bar and Yuba Mining letter is the late Dr. Theo- 
dor Wollweber's translation. — J.C.B. 

204 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 205 

hard labor, that we have never handled the tools, much 
less acquired any knack in handling them, and that aside 
from this, Olias has been unwell since yesterday and un- 
able to work — considering all this it seems to me that 
the result is not very bad. The former owner took out 
from this claim from 5 to 7 Dollars a day, all by him- 
self. 

The weather is very clear and pleasant, at noon even 
oppressively warm, so that the miners have to suspend 
work. Of course during the summer it is much hotter 
here; for this reason we do not intend to pass it on this 
bar; but will go further up in the mountains, which are 
now inaccessible on account of snow. 

The work of a miner is now-a-days anything but easy. 
To move heavy stones under a burning sun at mid-day, 
to loosen the ground with the pick, to shovel it then into 
the rocker, to cany 50 or 60 buckets of water a day from 
a distance of several hundred yards over a rough, stony 
path up and down hill, is no child's play. But then, we 
lead a life as free as the bird in the air. The miner is 
nobody's master and nobody's slave; there is no law for 
him except that which he makes for himself. 

In the course of time I shall get used to this work 
which as yet causes my back somewhat to ache. If I re- 
main well I shall not soon return to San Francisco. This 
wild free life, the sweat of the brow, the pistol in the 
belt, the pick in hand— this is just what suits me— it dis- 
perses thoughts which at times make me feel very heavy 
at heart. 

Continue to write to me to San Francisco; I have made 
arrangements for the prompt and safe delivery of your 
letters. It distresses me very much that as yet I have 
not received any letters from you. Can it be possible 
that they have been lost? I am awaiting your answer 
to four letters of mine; Nos. 9 and 10 from Valparaiso, 
Xos. 11 and 12 from San Francisco. Yesterday Emil 
Boettcher received a letter from Konigsberg; how I en- 
vied him! Emil will inclose these lines in his letter to 
hi i mother and so T hope that yon will receive them; but 



206 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

to say when I shall write again, is more than I can do 
now. Do not feel uneasy about me; I am in good health, 
and yes, I am in good spirits. 

Many thousand kisses to you, my dear mother, and to 
you, my beloved, my only sister ; remember me to all. 

I must close this, because I must put a new sieve into 
our rocker, and it must be done to-day, so that to-mor- 
row's sunrise shall find us promptly at work. 

To you, my father, a hearty squeeze of the hand from 
your true son. F. 

Long Bar on the Yuba River, Gal., 

May 6th to 15th, 1852. 

My Beloved Ones:— I can well imagine how anxiously 
you await news from me, and especially news about the 
mines, the much-talked of, often-described and— often 
vilified mines. So far I have not found time to describe 
them to you, and though I wrote to you twice from here 
on February 8th and on April 5th— I could then only in- 
timate in a few words that I was physically well. 

But now I will not delay my report any longer from 
you, and shall use the evenings to write in detail— and 
I shall not mail this letter until it has reached quite a 
respectable length. To do that will not be a difficult task, 
since I have much, very much, to tell you. Ere I pro- 
ceed, however, I have to thank you, to thank you with 
my whole heart, for the delight which your letters (No. 
8) of February 5th have caused me. Boettcher, from 
San Francisco, brought them to me in person on the 24th 
of April, a little after 10 o'clock a. m. He found me at 
work, but not for all the gold in the world could I have 
washed another shovelful of dirt. I ran to my tent like 
one possessed, and read the letters, and read them over 
again until the tears obscured my sight and I could not 
distinguish the characters any more. I cannot express 
how glad I was. Every word, nay every single letter, 
was a treasure to me. If I knew that my letters would 
give you the same pleasure I should write from morning 
till evening, hard as writing in itself is for me. I hope 
to have soon another festival of the same kind. 



^ 5 U* *«K^ "I -1 ll I 




* 




IN THE MINING DISTRICT 207 

The mines are not any longer what they have been, 
even as late as a j r ear ago, and with all my heart do I 
pity those poor fellows who come here with the illusion 
that they can make a fortune in a short time, and that 
with little work, too. They look exceedingly blue when 
they see the daily increasing pile of rocks, and us at work 
about them, with the perspiration streaming down under 
a burning sun, and that to make only poor wages, which 
often stand in no comparison with the amount of work 
done. 

Nobody with you seems to have a correct idea of 
how the gold is found here. The erroneous idea pre- 
vails that it is found in pieces of different sizes. By far 
the largest quantity of gold found here in California is 
washed out by machines of widely different construction 
of which more anon. 

As there is a difference in the machines used in wash- 
ing out the gold, so there is a difference in the Diggings, 
or the mines proper. They are divided into the so called 
Dry Diggings and Water or Wet Diggings. The former 
you will find almost everywhere in this part of California, 
gold being— strange to say— to such a degree diffused 
throughout the whole soil in many localities that wher- 
ever you may wash a pan of dirt, be it in the woods or 
in a meadow, on the top of a hill, or in the valley, you 
will at least find one or two small "scales" of gold, or to 
use the common expression of the miners, you will find 
"the color." At first it will not pay you wages, because 
dirt that docs not pay at least V/2 cents to the bucketful 
is not worth working. But the further you go from the 
low laud into the Sierra Nevada, the richer you find the 
soil; and dirt that pays 6, 8 or 10 cents or even a dollar 
to the bucket is even now no rarity in California. Un- 
fortunately such localities are generally so far away from 
water that they cannot be worked. Grounds which are 
often exceedingly profitable, but which can be worked 
only during the rainy season, or with water brought 
there in an artificial way, are called Dry Diggings. 

Gold is not so much found in the upper region as fur- 



208 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

tlier below on the rock— the ''bedrock"— and to reach 
that, the miner has often to dig down a hundred feet and 
even more; it is, however, by no means certain that he 
will find gold there, or in sufficient quantity to pay him 
for the hard labor and the time spent in getting there. 
Often 3 or 4 men will work for a whole month on such a 
hole, and when they reach the bedrock they find perhaps 
30 or 40 Dollars, which means that they have thrown 
away hard labor, time and money. The sinking of these 
shafts in the valleys and ravines is a lottery; but it offers 
the only chance here in California to become wealthy 
with one stroke; because out of such a shaft (they gener- 
ally are 6 or 8 feet square), have been often taken forty 
or fifty thousand dollars. Gold at the bottom of such a 
hole, on the bedrock, is always found in coarse pieces of 
from one dollar to five or six hundred dollars each, and 
it lays there in the crevices and on the rock, so that all 
you have to do is to scrape it together with a knife. 

It is this prospect which, during the summer, draws 
every one up to the mountains; and so— should I succeed 
during that time in saving a few hundred dollars either 
on this or on any other bar— I, too, shall go up to the Dry 
Diggings and try my luck there. It is possible that I 
may work for several months for nothing; yea, I may 
work — and it is hard work I assure you — and lose my 
money besides, but it might just be that I may return 
with several thousand Dollars. Being a miner now, I 
shall try all my chances to make money. 

One kind of Dry Diggings are the quartz mines. You 
know that often quartz is found containing free gold. 
To get that out the rock is reduced to powder in the so- 
called quartz mill, and out of that powder the gold is 
afterwards extracted. You can imagine that such a 
quartz mill is expensive; the outlay for a small one is 
about twenty thousand dollars. They can only be estab- 
lished where the quartz is rich. Quartz which pays less 
than 5 cents per pound will not pay for crushing. 

The connecting link between the Diy Diggings and 
the Wet Diggings are the Ravine Diggings. The ravines 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 209 

which drain the water from the springs to the river are 
often found to be rich in gold, and so it pays well at 
times to work them; but this also can only be done during 
the rainy season, because in the summer and even in the 
spring, they are perfectly dry. The gold found there is 
generally in fine scales, or in small pieces of the size of a 
pin-head, and is only found in the uppermost region, 
about 1 or 2 feet below the surface. The more rocky and 
the harder the ground, the more gold it usually contains; 
light soil with but few rocks in it will not pay wages, not 
once in a hundred times. 

And now to the Water Diggings or to the so-called 
River Bars. 

You can get the best idea what a bar is, if you think 
of the bleaching ground in Bartenstein; but instead of 
the grass, there are at the bar only sand and rocks, simi- 
lar to the sea shore. Such bars, alternately larger and 
smaller, are found one after the other, on either one or 
the other side of the river, just as it changes its course, 
and they are on nearly all the rivers of North America 
wherever they emerge from the mountains, when they 
begin to flow .less swiftly and consequently can deposit 
the sand and the stones which the rapid current has torn 
loose in the mountains. The higher up in the mountains, 
the smaller and the more rocky are the bars, and the 
more coarse and heavy is the gold found there— the fur- 
ther down the stream, the broader and the more sandy is 
the bar, and the finer and lighter the gold. 

You are aware that I have as yet not seen much of the 
different mining districts of California; but I feel confi- 
dent that, if I succeed in giving you a good description 
of Long Bar, where I am working now, and of a miner's 
life and work, you can form a correct idea of the 
bars in general, because in the main they all resemble 
each other, and the life of a miner is the same on all of 
them. 

Long Bar is one of the lowest bars on the right bank 
of the Yuba river, a tributary to the Feather river, and 
is distant from Marysville a' tout 20 English miles; a very 



210 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

good and much frequented country road leads to that 
place. Long Bar extends for about a mile up the river 
and is divided into three parts, viz.: "Big Bar," so- 
called on account of its former richness, miners making 
even as late as the last year from 12 to 20 Dollars per 
day; then ''the Flat," a level sandy piece of ground 200 
or 300 yards wide, covered with a growth of short grass 
on such places as are not worked by miners, and where 
these find but little gold, seldom more than 2 cents to the 
bucket; and lastly the lower end of the bar— "Island 
Bar" — evidently formerly an island, since between it and 
the higher ground one can yet plainly see the old river 
bed, even now in autumn, winter and spring full of water. 
This old river bed is called "the slough." The banks 
of this slough are covered with brush, just as the some- 
what more elevated center of it, which, however, also 
shows a few stunted oaks and pines. Elsewhere on the 
island one will not notice anything but naked piles of 
rocks— desolation itself. 

The tents of the miners, the stores and boarding houses, 
are not put up on the bar itself, but upon higher ground, 
on the bank of the river, which is about as high as the 
"Veilchenberge" (Violet Hills) on the "Neue Bleiche" 
near Konigsberg— and where they form a continuous 
irregular line, so that the whole looks like a village of 
tents— about 300 of them— picturesquely scattered and 
partly hidden among brushwood and trees. 

Behind the tents the ground rises again to a second 
terrace, about as high as the first, thus forming a gently 
sloping elevation covered with short grass, and here and 
there a bit of brushwood; the ridge itself being a con- 
stant change of gently undulating hills and dales, and the 
whole forming the outermost link between the Sierra 
Nevada and the vast, boundless savanna, where the 
mighty Sacramento— a stream as broad as the Elbe— in 
its slow course absorbs its numerous tributaries. 

One can hardly imagine such a variety of lovely land- 
scapes as are shown in this part of the country, especially 
now, in the spring of the year, when numerous rivulets 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 211 

rush through the ravines between overhanging boughs, 
and the gigantic evergreen California oaks and aged 
pines show in their aromatic twigs the brightest verdure. 
The country is not what we call woody; the trees stand 
about 30 or 40 feet apart, so that their outer branches 
hardly touch each other. The ground between them is 
entirely free from underbrush, but is covered with a 
dense growth of soft grass, forming a carpet which is in- 
terwoven with the brightest and most fragrant flowers. 
These flowers which rival the flowers in your gardens in 
the splendor of their colors, but surpass them in fra- 
grance, often cover the ground so completely that they 
even hide the grass; and in the cooling shade of these 
oaks one often walks for hundreds of yards, and walks 
literally on a carpet of flowers. This belt of undulating 
country, never losing its character, is crossed by beauti- 
ful rivulets, here meandering between low brushwood 
over a gravelly bed, or there rushing in cascades over 
moss grown rocks towards the Yuba. For miles and 
miles around us the country shows these charming fea- 
tures, which though on the whole always the same, con- 
stantly present themselves to the eye in a different and 
—if possible— more enchanting form. If I had to select 
some scenery near my old home, in order to give you an 
idea about the country surrounding Long Bar, I should 
select the Simser Valley near Meilsberg, where the 
"holy" lindentree stands; in looking at that scene there, 
think of gigantic oaks here, and of the indescribable 
aroma of millions of flowers, so strong that at times it 
almost overcomes you. But come with me ; it is Saturday 
evening, and I wish to take my usual walk. 

We ascend to the second terrace above Long Bar, which 
I mentioned before, and follow a serpentine trail which, 
running through the most charming natural park, brings 
us in about fifteen minutes to the top of a high hill, a 
somewhat higher point than the surrounding country. 
It is covered with brushwood, through which we have to 
find our way ere we reach the summit; through this the 
bed-rock has forced its way in the shape of two mighty 



212 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

bowlders of granite, wonderfully resembling in shape 
and size the Borstenstein at Neu-Kuhren, only that they 
tower higher above you by about 15 feet. We climb up 
to the top of the larger of the two, and from here we have 
a good view of the surrounding country. 

Our view towards the North does not extend very far. 
Near us a small rivulet passes in its winding course on 
towards the Yuba,, now in plain view falling over gray 
rocks, then disappearing among brush, to come to light 
again as a lakelet, bedded in banks of flowers, its crystal 
surface reflecting the purple clouds above. Another 
curve and it is again out of sight. This is "Dry Creek." 
Its steep bank on yonder side bars your view in that di- 
rection, and so we turn towards the East. 

Here, terrace upon terrace, rise the hills, higher and 
higher, steeper and steeper, and more and more densely 
wooded, until we gaze in the far distance upon the peaks 
of the Sierra Nevada, covered with eternal snow and ice, 
and now bathed in violet tints of the setting sun. The 
character of the landscape in this direction is melancholy, 
almost sad; nothing animate, no human habitation in 
sight; mountains upon mountains, and only high above 
in the air you may at times see an eagle, hardly visible 
to the naked eye, slowly sailing in circles in the clear at- 
mosphere; or perhaps from yonder tree the shrill screech 
of a raven may at times reach your ear. 

Towards the South we have the whole bar before us 
from end to end. Among the gloomy, desolate-looking 
piles of rocks, which, however, at this moment, bathed in 
a rosy tint of the evening sun, appear in their best light, 
we see yet here and there an exceptionally industrious 
miner. The most of them, however, are at this moment 
climbing up to their tents, carrying in their arms the tin 
pans with the gold, which they have taken out during the 
day— their wages gained by hard labor. Nearer to us, 
on this side of the bar and glistening white among the 
green foliage, you see the tents; and out of the chimneys 
here and there you will notice the smoke curling up, a 
sign that the occupant is busy preparing his frugal eve- 



IX THE MINING DISTRICT 213 

ning meal. Yonder the Yuba— a river now in the spring 
fully as broad as the Pregel — lines the bar as with a band 
of silver, and its bank beyond with the same character- 
istics you observe on this side, ends the panorama in 
that direction. 

And now a look toward the West over the broad, level 
savanna, where the Yuba empties into the Feather river, 
and this again further on into the Sacramento. This im- 
mense plain extends almost without any interruption up 
to the chain of mountains, which line the Pacific coast, 
far beyond our horizon. The vista, is broken by the 
"Butes" only— eight or ten conical mountains, six or 
eight hundred feet high, rising abruptly out of the plain 
between the Sacramento and Feather rivers, and close to 
one another, but separated by deep ravines, whose bot- 
toms are densely wooded — the abode of numberless griz- 
zly bears. 

I feel, nay I am convinced, that my description of the 
scenery here cannot impress you in such a manner as to 
do it justice. If, however, you were to read it on a mild, 
fair evening in summer, somewhere in the quiet, pleasant 
Simserthal, you might conceive a better idea of what it 
really is. Now let us return to the Bar. 

I told you before that gold is washed out by different 
kinds of machines. Here at the bar there are four dif- 
ferent kinds in use. The Rocker or Cradle, the Bull- 
rocker, the simple and the double Long Tom. 

Anyone who prefers to remain by himself and wants 
to do without a partner, has to use the rocker, because 
the last named three machines cannot be worked by one 
man alone, but require more hands. The rocker or cra- 
dle, as some call it, with which I, too, have worked, is a 
box 18 inches wide and l 1 /^ or 5 feet long. It rests slight- 
ly inclining forward on two runners, or rockers, so that 
by means of a handle (a), which is fastened to its left 
side, it may easily be rocked ju^t like a cradle. On top 
of the rear end, i. e., the higher end of the rocker, is a 
sieve (b), made of sheet iron about two feet long and of 
the same width as the rocker, which can be removed. 



214 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Below this sieve and slanting toward the rear end, is 
placed the so-called "apron" (c), made of strong cot- 
ton cloth and fastened to a frame. The object of this is 
to conduct everything that goes through the sieve to the 

rear end of the rocker. 
* The drawing here will 

I ^ help to make you under- 

j/^j . *^r. rq^ stand that. The for- 
^^]p '-v^c 'A ward or lower end of 

^ — r\- ~rt^ZT ^ ie k° x i s open, only a 

^Q^jb^ c_^~~— -- narrow lath — li/4 or 

" °* v - -^ l 1 /-? inches wide — is 

nailed across it at the 
bottom; this is called the "riffle." The modus op- 
erandi is very simple. A bucketful of dirt, with stones 
and all, just as you have loosened it with the pick, is 
thrown on the sieve, and then while you set the 
rocker in motion with the left hand, with a dipper in your 
right you pour water over the dirt on the sieve. As soon 
as the soil is washed off the stones these are thrown out 
and a second bucket of dirt is thrown on the sieve, and 
this again is treated like the first, and so on until you 
have washed about 20 or 25 bucketfuls. By the motion of 
the rocker the gold and heavy sand are collected on its 
bottom, while the lighter stuff is washed off over the rif- 
fle; this lighter stuff we call "tailings." The residue 
which has collected on the bottom of the rocker is now 
very carefully scraped together at the rear end of it, is 
then treated again to three or four washings, and now 
we have the gold mixed only with some black ferruginous 
sand, but free from all other matter; it is now taken up 
and thrown into a tin or sheet-iron pan— a pan about 4 
inches deep, in diameter about 16 inches on top and 12 
inches at the bottom. The last work before evening is 
then to wash in this pan the black sand off the gold, a 
procedure requiring much dexterity, the sand being al- 
most as heavy as the gold itself, so that one not used to 
the work, is apt to wash away gold and sand together. 
Any grains of sand which, on account of their being too 






IN THE MINING DISTRICT 215 

heavy, we cannot separate from the gold by washing, 
we get rid of by first drying the whole thoroughly; then 
we put it on a small tray and blow the sand away. 

In reading this description you will not think that our 
labor is as heavy as it really is. Believe me, it is as ex- 
acting, mechanical labor as can be done; and is intensely 
so to one not accustomed to manual labor. The hard 
stony soil has first to be loosened with a pick; then the 
larger stones— often so heavy that they can hardly be 
moved, have to be Tolled aside; next the dirt must be 
shoveled together, and must then be carried to the rock- 
er. Now consider that we have to remove the top dirt 
before we reach the soil in which we find the gold; (on 
the place where I am at work now I have to remove 5 or 
6 feet of rocks — at times even more) that I have to carry 
daily 40 or 50 pails of water a distance of from 200 to 
300 yards over rough, loose rocks, that we have to work 
in narrow holes or shafts from 6 to 10 feet deep, where 
one never feels a draught of air, but where he is exposed 
to a sun so hot that he can hardly touch the stones with 
his hand; if you think of that you will concede that to 
chop wood is in comparison with this, justly considered 
to be light work. But one gets used to everything, and 
so have I got used to this work, which now is not half as 
hard on me as it was at first, though I am able to do al- 
most as much again as I did at first. But I have made 
it a rule not to over-exert myself; whenever I am tired or 
do not feel like working I stop; I always bear in mind 
that my health is my only capital, which I have to hus- 
band most carefully. Yet I am making more money than 
many others, because I attend to my work in an even 
way without hurrying or exerting myself too much. 

Almost of the same construction as the rocker above 
described is the "bull rocker," only with this difference 
that it is larger, generally 2 feet wide and about 6 feet 
long, and that the iron sieve which covers the whole 
length of it is open at the lower end, so that the rocks 
after being washed will by the motion of the rocker drop 
off by themselves, and the sieve needs not to be emptied, 
by hand, as with the small rocker. 



210 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

The single "Long Tom" consists of a wooden box, open 
at the lower end, 12 or 15 feet long and about 12 inches 
wide — the so-called "sluice box." The lower end of this 
is placed on a sieve, which is usually 6 feet long and 2% 
feet wide. About 15 inches below this sieve is placed the 
riffle box, which is of the same width, but about 8 feet 
long, and divided into two parts by nailing a piece of lath 
about IV2 or 1% inches wide across it; the rear portion is 
about 5 feet, the front portion about 3 feet long. It re- 
quires 3 men to work a Long Tom. Two of them loosen 
the ground and throw it into the sluice box, into which a 
stream of water is conducted which in washing the rocks 
carries them also forward and on the sieve. On this sieve 




the stones collect, and from here the third man removes 
them with a shovel; everything else goes through the 
sieve and into the riffle box, where the gold and the black 
sand are deposited, while the lighter stuff is carried off 
as tailings. With these machines you have the advan- 
tage that you are able to wash a great deal of soil with 
them. While one man alone can with a rocker, under 
the most favorable conditions, when water is close by and 
the dirt easily picked, wash at best only about 250 bucket - 
fuls, 3 men with a Long Tom can easily handle from 12 
to 15 hundred bucketfuls. 

The Double Long Tom differs from the single only in 
that it has two sieves instead of one— a second and finer 
sieve being placed about 6 or 8 inches below the first, 
and that the riffle box, instead of two is divided into 3 or 
4 parts, the two at the rear end being placed about 6 
inches higher than those in front. The Double Long Tom 
is mostly used where very fine gold is found, which it 
more effectually saves than do the other machines. 



IN THE .MINING DISTRICT 217 

Such are Hie tools we work with; they arc rather rough 

and primitive; and rough and primitive is the life we 
lead. (The theory on which they work is based on the 
fact that gold is heavier than sand or rocks.) 

Up to the beginning of last month I took board and 
lodging at one of the boarding houses here, for which 
I had to pay eight dollars per week. Since then I live by 
myself and do my own cooking, and that costs me hardly 
four dollars a week. I am certain mother and Marie will 
ask here together: but what does he cook? Answer: the 
same things that every one else here in the mines cooks. 
Pancakes (here called slapjacks) made of flour, water and 
lard; dumplings, beans, gruel, rice and dry fruits are 
about all we can have here. Beefsteaks are too expensive, 
and for this reason I eat them but seldom, and so arc 
potatoes at 10 cents a pound; bread I use only occasion- 
ally, for instance, when I have a visitor. 

I live in a tent which, however, does not belong to me 
but to a Southern German, an elderly man, who, while out 
hunting in November last, had the misfortune to wound 
himself so severely in the right foot — the gun going off 
accidentally— that even now he can use it but very little, 
and is still unable to work. He occupies the tent with 
me. In front of my tent and close by the road is a store 
and boarding house, kept by a young American of Ger- 
man descent. My other neighbors are a ship carpenter 
from Hamburg and Carl Kamke, a sailor from Dantzig, 
with his partner, an old Hollander. But though I live 
here in a "German corner" you would not hear any more 
Gennan spoken around us than anywhere else on the bar, 
because strange as it may seem it is nevertheless true that 
the Germans here, even when among themselves, give 
preference to the "American" language. There are men 
here with whom I have been in daily intercourse for 
months before I found out that they are Germans. 

I think that nowhere in the world are the characteris- 
tics of a man so fully developed as here in the mines. 
Everyone lives according to his own fashion or liking 
without paying any attention to the ways of his neigh- 



218 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

bor, and that is just what makes life in the mines so free 
and pleasant. There is no distinction of rank ; everybody 
is his own boss; I do not meddle with anybody's affairs 
just as nobody else would dare to interfere with mine. 
The manner in which one man approaches another is 
characteristic of the life here. The usual way of address- 
ing a young man is to call him "boy;" or one man calls 
another in a joking way ' ' Captain ' ' or ' ' Boots. ' ' The lat- 
ter nickname they here give to one another on account 
of the high boots which everybody wears. Generally, 
however, people address one another by their first names, 
and you may be acquainted with a man for years without 
ever learning his family name or anything about his pri- 
vate affairs. But since many men have the same first 
name they are distinguished from one another by cer- 
tain epithets, and by these they are known at the bar. 
There is, for instance, a "long Johnny" and a "little 
Johnny," a "Swedish Johnny" and a "Johnny Snakes." 
The latter received his nickname on account of his being 
often drunk; and when a man gets drunk they say that 
he is "looking for snakes." Then there is a "red 
Johnny" and a "blue Johnny," according to the color 
of their shirts. I myself — to distinguish me from 
another namesake, am called "Doctor Frank" or 
"Colonel Frank." Corresponding to this free mode of 
addressing one another is the ordinary daily intercourse; 
nothing is easier than to get acquainted with one 
another, yet without ever becoming intimate, in one word 
—"sailor-like" well describes the whole situation. 
Everywhere you hear people laugh, joke or sing, and if 
you ask anybody: "how goes it?"— ninety-nine times out 
of a hundred he will answer you: "First rate," that is, 
excellently. 

Though most of the miners have been sailors or are 
men used to manual labor, there is no lack of represent- 
atives of the educated class. I am acquainted here with 
several former clerks and supercargoes, one lawyer, a 
Greek, formerly an officer of engineers, a professor from 
the University of Strassburg, etc. My best friend, how- 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 219 

ever, and lie has proved himself to be such indeed, is and 
always will be that sailor from Dantzig, whom I men- 
tioned before, Charley , commonly called Charley 

Long Tom, because he works with me on such a machine; 
a square shouldered fellow, face and mustache a brownish 
red; "an old miner," which is to say, that in his whole 
appearance he resembles more a highwayman than any- 
thing else. I am certain that if ten or twelve of us were 
to show ourselves on the road anywhere in Prussia, 
dressed and equipped as we are here, with blankets rolled 
up and rifles on our shoulders, the military would be 
called out at once to place the dangerous vagabonds be- 
hind locks and bars. 

Our dress is sailor-like, suitable to the hot climate; a 
red or blue flannel shirt, gray corduroy trousers fastened 
above the hips with a leather belt or silk scarf, wherein 
also a long knife is carried, or— when away from home— 
a revolver; high waterproof boots, and either a broad- 
brimmed brown felt or a straw hat. Now think of such a 
suit being tattered and patched up everywhere, for in- 
stance on a blue shirt a red patch, or on gray pantaloons 
a black and next to that a light green patch; the whole 
person from head to foot bespattered with mud, and you 
have the miner in his nevertheless highly picturesque 
costume. 

Notwithstanding all this, I am satisfied, more than sat- 
isfied, with my lot. This free life, so full of charm be- 
cause free, and without the slightest restraint, the sur- 
rounding country a perfect paradise, the work heavy, but 
in a manner voluntary— as one day's labor gives me 
enough to satisfy my wants for a whole week— this same 
free life refreshes me physically and mentally! Day by 
day I feel more vigorous, more easy and more cheerful, 
and if this is to continue I shall within a year be as 
healthy a man as there is in God's world! Even tooth- 
ache I have not had since I put my foot on California's 
soil. And indeed how strong have I become! You ought 
to see the rocks I have to move or lift every day; some 
of them are large enough to scare the devil — if he were 
compelled to lift them! 



220 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

It looks now as if we were going to have continued fair 
weather. If this should be so, I shall soon again have 
some money in my pocket. Since my last letter (April 
5th) I have paid all my debts,* and have about thirty 
dollars left— not much, but it is something— at any rate 
better than nothing. 

I do not know yet if I shall remain all summer on this 
bar; to be honest I must confess that the delight of travel- 
ing makes me restless again; I shall be guided by circum- 
stances. To determine here upon a trip of — say — three, 
four or five hundred miles, and to start upon it is usually 
all done within an hour; all a man has to do is to roll up 
his blankets, and with a couple of shirts and an ax, and 
his rifle on his shoulder he is ready to rove through Cali- 
fornia in any direction. I am thinking of going to the 
Trinity river, a tributary to the Klamath in Oregon. The 
river is rich and has been mined but little ; a great many 
are afraid of the climate; the winter there brings snow 
and ice. 

Ere I finish this I glance again at your letter. You 
ask me, my dear father, if the sun has not bronzed me 
considerably and add that that would form a nice con- 
trast with my blond hair. Yes— I am bronzed consid- 
erably, but— I am sorry to say— the contrast is not 
very pleasing, because the color of my sunburnt skin 
is of such an infernal dirty yellowish hue that anywhere 
in Europe I would be suspected of not having touched 
soap and water for at least six months, and that is any- 
thing but pleasant. 

Thanks for the latest news from papers. How glad I 



Through an inundation caused by a rapid rising of the river 
(the Yuba rose about 15 feet) the writer lost all he had, and 
was even in danger of losing his life during several hours. To 
supply himself again with the most indispensable things at exorbi- 
tant prices however, a rocker at 24 dollars, a shovel at six, a pick 
at four and one-half dollars, and everything else at the same 
rate ; and having been severely hurt on his right foot and thereby 
confined to bed for several weeks, the writer of the letter was 
compelled to borrow some money. 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 221 

am that I can drink deep from nature here in my Cali- 
i'ornian paradise, and that I can turn my back on politics. 

Poor * * is really to be pitied, though I am not 

surprised at her fate. It is well for her that she has 
found a home, and perhaps assistance with her sisters; 
yet it is hard, after having been independent, to become 
dependent again upon others, and to have to live on 
charity; for charity it is, though it be the charity of lov- 
ing relatives. 

Marie's friends are going off rapidly, I see. And so 

* * * got married? Girls are said to be desirous of 
marrying, and Heine says: "* * married just out 
of sheer spite the first man she came across." But this 
time it seems the desire has been with one of our own 
sex. How could a man marry * * *f Why, he must 
be an imbecile! With my whole heart do I congratulate 

* * * however. It is true she had her faults, but they 
were few, and who of us is entirely free from them? I 
have no doubt by this time she has become more sensible. 
Usually no pretty girl becomes endurable before her 
18th year, or sensible before her 22d. Ugly girls be- 
come so before that time. Her intended, it seems to me, 
is one of those young men of whom it takes just twelve 
to make a dozen. I believe, however, that he is just of 
the sort that furnishes the best husbands. Of all the girls 
poor * * * has chosen the better part. Death has 
summoned her just at the right time; ere she had to face 
the troubles and distress which would surely have sent 
her to an early grave, after having chosen such a com- 
panion for life. 3,1 any a poor wife— now slowly wasting 
away in anguish— will envy * * *'s lot which appears 
sad only at first. 

I am glad to hear that Carl is doing well as an agricul- 
turist. If he were not married yet and out of business 
1 should advise him to come out here at once. Strong 
and active as he is, he would do well here, especially if 
lie hail some ready money. As yet there is little farm- 
ing done, hut fanners here have it mnch easier than in 
the eastern states, since tli»> ground is easier worked, and 



222 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

it is less difficult to find a market for their produce, and 
at better prices too; and all that with scarcely any heavier 
expenses than there. With ten or twelve hundred dol- 
lars one can start a farm, because the most splendid soil 
will not cost him anything, and he can take as much land 
as he pleases ; all the law requires is that he should put 
a fence around it and that proves possession. 

Speaking about fanning reminds me of a subject I 
came near forgetting, though I know you wish to 
hear about it, namely, the Indians. They roam about 
the country in large bands, steal like ravens, but are 
otherwise peaceable, and if a man be alone and should 
happen to fall in with them, he need not be uneasy as long 
as their greediness does not get the better of them. The 
Indians here dress in a half civilized way; they wear flan- 
nel shirts and at times even pantaloons and boots. The 
squaws, that is, the Indian women, wear short striped 
petticoats, and around the shoulders they throw a large 
shawl of the brightest colors, in the same manner as the 
Mexican women. I can not say that they are a handsome 
race. They are of small stature, and their broad, flat 
faces are void of expression. Men and women alike wear 
their long, coarse, black hair tied behind into a thick 
knot, and ornament it in an odd manner with gaudy 
feathers, silver and gold tinsel, red rags, etc. 

A few days ago I happened to get amongst a whole 
tribe of them. I had taken a walk to Independence Flat, 
about six miles below here, to see Boettcher and Griin- 
hagen, who are at work there. On returning in the even- 
ing and taking a straight cut through the woods I met 
about thirty of them, all armed with long knives and with 
bows and arrows. They were very friendly, invited me to 
sit down near their fire and to have a drink and a smoke 
with them. My spectacles became an object of especial 
interest to them, and caused many an "Ugh" and "Oh." 
Several of them even put them on their noses, and then 
very gravely shook their heads and returned them to me. 

In parenthesis, I would like to ask a certain young lady 
a question, supposing that she should see this letter, and 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 223 

that she should remember the young man and his toilet, 
who had the honor to open the last ball with her at the 
"Clerks' Club" in 1851. I wonder if in that sunburnt 
fellow, looking somewhat like a gipsy with his boots cov- 
ered with mud, his coarse flannel shirt, knife and revolver 
in his belt, as he stretched himself under that old oak 
tree, the short black clay pipe between his teeth, and in 
front of him a blazing fire of brushwood sending up its 
flames and throwing a flickering light on him and on the 
wild, shaggy figures of the red men around him, I won- 
der if she would have recognized in him her former part- 
ner in evening dress? I asked myself that question on 
that evening, and I had a good laugh to myself about the 
difference in my outward appearance then and now. 

Well, this will do for the present. Boettcher is here 
and asks me to close, so that we may send our letters to- 
gether to San Francisco, and from there onward to our 
beloved ones at home. Believe me— considering circum- 
stances—I am happy and contented and perfectly well. I 
would feel entirely comfortable here if I had not left my 
heart at home. 

Write often to me; even about the most insignificant 
daily occurrences and trifles. You have no idea how 
they all interest me. From Rosenstock and from Carl I 
hope soon to receive full reports about my acquaintances 
in Konigsberg. 

As a curiosity I inclose a few more scales of gold; I 
doubt if they will keep but I will try anyhow. Should 
they be lost, it would not matter much; and should you 
receive them, I know that they will give you pleasure. 
So let us try it. I have, however, selected the largest 
scales I had. The gold here is generally finer than the 
samples I send. 

And now farewell; a thousand "herzliche Gruesse" to 
all my beloved ones! 

With love as ever, your 

F. 



224 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Long Bar, Yuba River, Cal., 

(Begun) Sept. 1st, 1852. 
Though I only the other day mailed my letter No. 16, 
I shall now begin to make good my promise to give you 
a detailed account of events; and since my letter written 
on Nelson Creek, of which I made mention in my last, has 
become almost illegible by wear and tear, I will begin 
this letter by first copying the former. 

On Nelson Creek Near Hopkinsville, 

In the beginning of July, 1852. 

And so I am here at last, far up in the Sierra Nevada, 
on the line of the eternal snow. 

When I wrote my last letter at Long Bar I not only 
scarcely knew this place by name, but I certainly never 
thought of passing the summer up here in the wilderness. 
But that is the way here in California, no one can predict 
at any given time either where he will be or what will be- 
come of him, say, within the next eight days. In my last 
letter I told you how few preparations it requires here for 
any kind of a trip, and how little time it takes a man to 
make up his mind about it, and to start on it; that is ex- 
actly how it came about with me. 

On "Wednesday, June 2d, at about 3 o'clock in the aft- 
ernoon, as I was at work, Charles Kamke came to me and 
asked me if I would go with him to Nelson Creek; a Ger- 
man from there had come to Long Bar to hire some men, 
and that we might find him on the next day in the fore- 
noon at the "Wisconsin House," about ten miles from 
Long Bar, and there make our arrangements with him. 
You will see that I did not have much time to make up 
my mind; I went to my tent, packed up my bundle and 
put rifle and revolver in order; then I brought my rocker 
and other tools from the bar and placed them where they 
would be safe during my absence; and on the following 
morning I was ready to start on a trip of about 150 miles. 

On Thursday, June 3d, at sunrise I ate my last pancake 
at Long Bar, and then turned ni} 7 back on the place, 
where I had made my debut as a. miner, accompanied by 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 225 

three other Germans, who also wanted to go up into the 
mountains, and by some friends who wished to accom- 
pany us to the " Wisconsin House" to see us off. We all 
carried rather heavy loads. Each one had about thirty 
pounds in his pack besides two or three blankets, pick, 
shovel, gun, pistol and hatchet. The morning was de- 
lightful; birds sang merrily in the old oak trees, the air 
was cool and balmy; we were all in good humor and good 
spirits, and so as we stepped forth on our way over the 
green velvety turf, all of our worldly goods on our backs 
or in our pockets, we did not deem the loads we carried 
to be too heavy, and many a merry sailor song awoke the 
echoes among the green sunclad hills. 

As we did not hurry over much, it was about 9 o'clock 
when we reached the edge of the prairie, along which 
our road now led us and at 11 o'clock we came to the 
"Wisconsin House," our place of rendezvous. AVe threw 
our bundles down in the shade of an old oak tree, and, 
stretching ourselves at full length on the grass, we 
awaited the arrival of our man from Marysville. From 
our resting place we had a good view of the prairie as it 
stretched before us, unbounded, cheerless, bare of bush 
and tree, covered only with short, coarse grass. For 
miles the eye could follow the serpentine course of the 
wagon road, running like a fine red thread over the 
plain. From a cloudless sky the sun poured down 
its fiery heat, and over the prairie the air quivered 
as it does over a raging fire. Away from the road 
no sign of life; on the road itself, however, it was 
different. Trains of pack-mules would pass us every now 
and then, led by "mulcros" (mule drivers) in gay old 
Spanish costumes, their dark, sunburnt faces shaded by 
broad brimmed felt hats, the long rifle in front on the 
saddle, and knife and pistol in their belt. They reminded 
me of Italian bandits as they galloped past us on their 
small, half-tamed horses, now in front and n<>\\- behind the 
long line of heavily burdened mules; now keeping them 
hack and now urging them on by tin 1 use of their lassoes, 
their most dangerous weapon, which every one of them 

15 



226 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

carries on the pommel of his saddle. They are a wild, 
dangerous set, these "muleros." Mostly Mexicans, they 
have very little love for the foreign intruder in— what 
they still consider— their own country; and when a man 
is alone on the road, he does well to keep out of their way 
— for they are exceedingly handy with their long knives, 
and a murder will not weigh heavily on their consciences. 

More peaceful were the so-called teamsters to look at, 
mostly Americans or Germans, who passed us with their 
wagons, each drawn by six or eight oxen. Urging on 
their slow, powerful animals with an incessant "hi-ho- 
ah," and with their enormous 20 feet long leather whips, 
which to swing requires strength and dexterity, they all 
had a "good morning" or some other kind word for us 
as they passed by. 

"Gentlemen," too, passed us, mounted on fine horses 
or mules. They were merchants or their clerks, going 
perhaps to the nearest postoffice or visiting the mines on 
business. Some abominable tourists we saw, too; these 
fellows go about the country and stare at the mines and 
miners as they would at wild beasts in a menagerie. 

The most pleasant to encounter, often without any 
arms whatever and their bundles reduced to a minimum, 
were traveling miners like ourselves, who either were 
going up to the mountains full of hope or returning from 
them. Thep stopped with us, chatted for a few minutes 
and then went on again wishing us "good luck." 

Such was the procession that passed us as we lay that 
day at noontime in the cooling shade of that old oak- 
tree, smoking old black clay pipes, and chatting with our 
friends from Long Bar, who had come to see us off. 

At last at 2 o'clock Kothrock, our man from Nelson 
Creek, arrived with his team drawn by eight powerful 
oxen. "We presented ourselves and were accepted at once, 
with the understanding that our wages should be the 
same as those paid by others on Nelson Creek at the 
time of our arrival there. After we had sealed the con- 
tract by a drink at the "Wisconsin House," we loaded 
our baggage on the wagon with the exception of our 



IN THE MINI\ T G DISTRICT 227 

arms, and then our little company started on its march. 
We were: Rothrock, the teamster; Fritz Giinther, bis 
brother-in-law, both German- Americans, and lately from 
Jefferson City; Charles Kamke from Dantzig; August 
Braun from Memel ; a young man named Reinhard, and 
Fritz Schmetzer, whom Rothrock had brought from 
Marysville, and myself. 

As I mentioned before, the "Wisconsin House" is at 
the edge of the Sacramento valley, about 14 miles North- 
east from Marysville, about midway between the Yuba 
and the Feather rivers. The country which we crossed 
on that hot afternoon of our first traveling day, offered a 
perfect parallel to the lovely landscape around Long Bar, 
which I have tried to describe in my former letter. 
Among the softly undulating hills lay the valleys with 
their carpet of flowers and their old oak trees, and here 
and there a cozy farm house. Of these we encountered 
six or seven during that afternoon. Situated as they are 
on the only road that runs at present between the Yuba 
and the Feather rivers to the Sierra Nevada, they are 
kept as inns, and the board we get there is good. Espe- 
cially one of these houses pleased me very much— the 
"Galena House"— as well on account of its picturesque 
situation as of the toute ensemble, the owner a German- 
American— having built it in the style of a Swiss cot- 
tage, probably as a compliment to his young wife, a na- 
tive of Switzerland. 

AMi en you travel with an ox team, you do not get over 
the ground as fast as you would on the wim:;s of Pega- 
sus. Sauntering slowly along we took a good view of 
all we encountered on the road— teams, horsemen and 
mule trains, who from afar announced themselves 
through the bells of their leaders; but what pleased us 
most were the constantly changing, charming landscapes, 
which the now setting sun covered with a purple tint. 
It was after sundown when we came to a halt on a mea- 
dow in a valley near the "Tennessee House," about 20 
miles from the "Wisconsin." On the bank of a small 
laughing stream, under an oak tree heavy with age, on 



228 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

a spot covered with the softest and greenest grass, we 
kindled a blazing fire, and soon had a large coffee pot 
humming. Two frying pans were at once set agoing, and 
so, while the bells of the cattle furnished the music, we 
disposed of our plain miners' supper in even less time 
than it had taken to prepare it. Then every one of us 
pulled out his short clay pipe, and yarns were in order 
until the fire getting smaller and feebler, finally sank 
down in embers and ashes. One after another we spread 
our blankets on the ground; each one placed his arms 
alongside, and shoved a rock, a piece of wood or some 
such thing under his head, so as to rest more comfort- 
ably; the conversation at first lively, became by degrees 
more and more dull, and the answers came faint and in 
monosyllables, until at last the eyelids dropped and we 
became silent. 

On the following morning when the first rays of the 
rising sun lighted the tops of the trees in our valley our 
breakfast was already disposed of, our oxen were yoked 
up, and we started again upon our journey. The coun- 
try through which we now passed had the same char- 
acter as on the day before, only it showed less cultiva- 
tion; the hills became steeper and steeper, so steep in 
fact that our oxen often had hard work to pull the wagon 
with its heavy load up to the summit, and in going down 
again, we had to put the drag chain on both hind wheels. 
Among the oaks we noticed more and more firs and pines, 
and the foliage became at last so dense that only at rare 
intervals could we get a good view of the surrounding 
country. Towards noon we reached a beautiful large 
valley, entirely open, with a Mexican ranch on it, the 
' 'Indiana Ranch," which, however, had not a very good 
reputation. Here we rested ourselves for about an hour, 
and then continued our journey. Just behind the "In- 
diana Ranch" we passed a pleasant little mining camp, 
Toll's New Diggings, and then began the ascent. That 
was a pretty tough piece of work! From here the road 
leads upward continuously and is very steep for about 3 
miles; but not only that, the road is here also much less 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 229 

traveled than below and is not covered with rocks, but 
with veritable boulders in such a way that in places a 
pedestrian has trouble to get over them. Here it was 
where I got my first idea of a California mountain road. 
About a mile beyond Toll's Diggings we became satisfied 
that neither the oxen would be able to draw the load any 
further, nor that the wheels would stand any longer the 
terrible jolting they constantly received by slipping off 
the rocks into holes 2 and 2V2 feet deep. So there was no 
help for it— we had to take half the load off the wagon, 
pile the things up on the side of the road, and leaving 
myself and Reinhard in charge, the others continued on 
their way. Towards sundown our teamster returned for 
the rest of the load; but our oxen came near giving out, 
consequently we did not reach camp until long after sun- 
down. I was very glad that our friends had supper ready 
for us. Our canrping place was on top of a big hill, 
densely covered with firs and pines— oaks not appearing 
any more here— and about a hundred yards away from 
a deserted Indian village whose half-round mud huts, or 
the so-called "wigwams," were yet in a fair condition. 
On account of the many poisonous snakes which, infest 
just such places as deserted huts or hollow trees, we pre- 
ferred to spread our blankets under the blue canopy of 
heaven, though the air was rather chilly, and the huts 
would have offered us good protection against the cold— 
I must say the snakes here are not to be trifled with. I 
alone killed no less than five of them on that afternoon, 
two of thorn being rattlesnakes — one about five feet long; 
and one a whipsnake, a snake about as thick as a finger, 
of brilliant colors, whose bite is said to be absolutely fatal. 
The smaller one of the two rattlesnakes I clubbed with 
the butt of my pistol not five yards away from the place 
where I afterwards spread my blankets for the night. I 
must confess that I felt a little uncomfortable on retiring 
on that evening, and I felt nervous whenever I heard a 
ground squirrel or anything else move. At last fatigue 
got the better of me, and 1 slept soundly till morning, 
dreaming that a large rattlesnake had the pious intention 
of devouring mo, skin and hair— and then I awoke, 



230 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

On Saturday, June 5th, our progress began to be diffi- 
cult. Constantly up and down steep mountains, through 
a dense gloomy forest of firs and pines, showing but sel- 
dom an open space, the road was a genuine mountain 
trail, rocky and narrow. It led along the edges of fright- 
ful precipices, and at times in going down the ravines it 
was SO' steep that not only did we have to clog three of 
the wheels, but we had to cut down some of the small fir 
trees and fasten them to the wagon, so as to help in hold- 
ing it back. In spite of all these precautions it would 
at times shoot forward with such a velocity that for a mo- 
ment I gave up all hope of ever seeing it or the two old 
oxen, the leaders, again, who alone were left in the yoke 
at places like these. By hard work we managed to reach 
"Frenchman's Ranch," a cluster of five or six houses on 
the South Fork of the Feather River, at high noon, and 
here we took a short rest. 

After starting again I remained yet for a short time 
with the team; but, getting disgusted with the continual 
yelling and the whipping of the poor animals, I stole off, 
i. e., I walked ahead, at first slowly and then faster. I 
soon found myself alone on the road which I followed now 
more leisurely— my rifle on my shoulder. Silence like 
that of a sepulcher lay over the primeval forest around 
me, and the sighing of the trees rather increased than 
disturbed it. 

This was a virgin forest! Dense brushwood covered 
the ground between these giants which had witnessed the 
change of winter and summer for centuries. There they 
stood; the mighty yellow pine, the sombre black fir, and 
the slender, magnificent cedar, "the gazelle among 
trees," running up straight as an arrow, often two hun- 
dred feet high, into the clear, blue atmosphere. Many 
of them had fulfilled their destiny and paid the debt of 
nature. Phantom-like stood the immense trunks, often 
eight feet in diameter, and a hundred feet high, devoid 
of bark and branches, and bleached by storms of count- 
less years as they looked down on the wanderer, or show- 
ing by their charred or blackened stems that they had 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 231 

been blasted by a scorching fire. Many lay almost buried 
under the coppice, covered with moss and vines, and— 
according to the eternal law of nature— returning to 
earth. 

The grandeur of the scenery, the solemn unbroken still- 
ness invited graver thoughts, and so I fell involuntarily 
into one of those reveries, to give way to which has ever 
been an inveterate tendency with me from early youth. 
With my eyes on the ground before me I sauntered along, 
faster or slower, nolens volens, keeping time with the 
train of thoughts as they were influenced by heart or 
head. I did not notice that the shadows of the old trees 
grew longer and longer as they fell on the intricate maze 
of undergrowth, when a sudden turn of the road brought 
me to a clearing, and I beheld as lovely a landscape as 
the pen of a Lessing or the brush of a Behrendsen can 
produce — the most gentle idyll which the pure fancy of a 
Voss can conceive or describe in poetry. In the middle 
of a small narrow valley or rather meadow, watered by 
a beautiful rivulet, stood a log house, which, however, 
did not look as if the ax of a back woodsman had had 
much to do with its construction; or as if it had been put 
up only for the purpose of affording shelter. It looked 
rather as if it had been built by a skilful carpenter for 
the park of some wealthy artist. The ground around the 
house was neatly fenced in with pickets, and well stocked 
with poultry and pigs, while near by in the meadow— 
also surrounded by a good fence— were half a dozen cows, 
whose bells were tinkling at every motion. The shades of 
evening had settled over the larger part of the little val- 
ley, including the spot where I stood as if spellbound on 
beholding the beautiful view before me, but the house 
itself and the small open space in front of it lay yet in 
the light of the setting sun, whose last rays were breaking 
through the tops of the firs and cedars which covered 
the surrounding hills. A cedar log, roughly trimmed by 
an ax, lay in front of the house, and was at this moment 
the center of one of the most picturesque groups I ever 
beheld. 



232 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Oil the log sat an old man, dressed in a suit of coarse 
gray cloth, a brown felt hat covering his white hair. On 
his knees he held several open letters, one of which he 
seemed to be reading aloud to the persons surrounding 
him. These were a young woman, of twenty years or 
more, dressed as the wives of American farmers are 
usually dressed; she had dropped her needlework in her 
lap, leaning forward with her intelligent, sunburnt face 
turned fully to'wards the old man, the better to listen to 
his words. On the opposite side of the patriarch— on 
the ground— sat a boy about 14 or 15 years of age, his 
knees drawn up to his chin, and his hands folded in front, 
so as not to lose his balance. Behind the boy stood a man 
leaning on a long rifle, with which he had probably at 
that moment returned from a hunt, dressed like a farmer, 
the broad-brimmed hat shading a handsome, manly face 
— and also listening attentively to the reading of the let- 
ters. A few yards away two children— a boy about six 
and a little girl about four years old— were playing near 
a draw well, constructed just as we have them in the 
country at home, and this gave to the whole scene some- 
thing very pleasant and homelike. The last figure of the 
group, a young man about 20 years old, stood near the 
road unharnessing a pair of mules. 

For a short time I forgot everything in looking at the 
lovely idyll, and it was only when the old man folded up 
his letters and turned around that I awoke from my rev- 
erie, and following a natural impulse I approached them. 
My first expedient was to ask for some water, and much 
quicker than I could have hoped, I found myself engaged 
in a, conversation with the old man and his daughter, the 
wife of the farmer. The latter was very communicative, 
and still excited by the good news received, and appar- 
ently forgetting that I was a stranger, she let me into 
some of the family affairs by telling me how the letters 
said that her sister Lucy had married a rich fanner in 
Missouri, and the other sister Clara was engaged to a 
young German locksmith at such a place, and that her 
brother Charles would probably be soon out here on a 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 233 

visit; and so she freely went on recounting many other 
family matters. 

An hour had passed by in pleasant conversation with- 
out our being aware of it, when I saw our team approach 
and I had to bid "good-bye" to my newly made friends. 
Our parting was cordial, considering our short acquaint- 
ance. Evening had set in, and while I was walking along- 
side our team through the dark forest, I could not but 
constantly think about the "Pine Grove House" and its 
inhabitants. My companions, noticing this, kept banter- 
ing me about my having fallen in love with the handsome 
young wife. In reality it was not that at all, but I did 
think how happy the man must be who can live thus 
secluded from the world alone with his wife and family, 
loving and beloved. 

It was late when we reached our third camping ground, 
distant from "Pine Grove" about 3 or 4 miles— and it 
was not a "Night in Granada," but a night in "Straw- 
berry Valley"— a small town of 5 or 6 houses, where we 
pitched our camp. Out of consideration for our purses 
we slept again in the open, hard by the public road, our 
blankets for a cover under a dark blue, starry sky. The 
cold air reminded us that we had now attained a high 
altitude, and during the night every now and then we 
were compelled to draw the blankets closer around us 
after the fire, which we had started in the evening, had 
fallen into embers, and as the raw morning air began to 
rustle through the pines. 

During the forenoon of the 6th we did not encounter as 
many obstacles as on the day previous. Our road led us 
over a sort of plateau; and even if we had to cross a val- 
ley or a ravine occasionally, they were few and far be- 
tween, and the banks were not steep. "We had passed the 
region of the cedars, and where we rested at noon, we 
found the pines rpiite numerous among the firs. This was 
near the "Missouri House," which we reached at about 
II o'clock. Here a steep mountain rose up before us, and 
we had to climb steadily upward for about three hours. 
After reaching the summit, our road — now only a trail — 



234 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

led us along the edge of a precipice several hundred feet 
deep, and I may say that from here— though we were high 
up in the mountains— we for the first time gazed upon the 
grand, gloomy giants of the Sierra Nevada and her aerial 
glaciers. There was not one among us but stood for the 
moment awed, on beholding the picture thus suddenly un- 
folded before our eyes. Standing as we did on the top 
of an almost bald mountain, we could with one glance 
take in the whole panorama ; the deep valleys in the fore- 
ground, densely wooded with dark firs, whose tops were 
many hundred feet below us; the tangle of chasm and 
precipices beyond— some of the latter nearly bare, others 
covered with a growth of brushwood and stunted firs; 
the sides of the mountains furrowed by numberless ra- 
vines and gulches, and beyond this and towering high 
above it all, the mighty giants themselves, rising high 
above the line of vegetation, their sharp peaks glittering 
with eternal snow and ice— standing out frozen and clear 
through the blue atmosphere. A cold breeze came as if 
in waves from the other side of the valley. We had 
reached the margin of the snow line. 

I have not attempted to give you anything like an ade- 
quate description in detail of the panorama before me, 
nor to tell you what I felt in looking at it. I could not 
do either; not the first, because I could not grasp any 
single feature myself; I had eyes for the whole only; I 
saw only the clefts, the mighty mountains, the snow — 
and I could not do the second, because— smile at me if 
you will— I cannot find words to do so. 

From here we began to descend again, and soon the 
dense, dark forest prevented a look in the distance. It 
was more a tumbling down than an orderly descent, and 
at times I really thought that our wagon would get to 
the bottom ahead of the oxen. At the foot of the moun- 
tain—at the "Lexington House"— we were told that ow- 
ing to the bad condition of the road, we would barely be 
able to reach the next loghouse— the "Deadwood House" 
—3 miles distant— a great disappointment to us, as we 
had been in hopes of reaching Grass Valley, distant about 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 235 

six miles, before darkness set in. Without delay we took 
again to the road, going as fast as our tired animals could 
travel over mountains and along precipices that made 
one dizzy. 

Our road— or to be more correct the ground— because 
one cannot speak of a road where there appears only hero 
and there the faint track of a single wagon— the ground 
was so thoroughly drenched by melted snow that every 
now and then the wheels would sink down to the hubs, 
and the oxen to above their knees. We all had a hard 
time of it; the constant unloading and reloading, the lift- 
ing, pulling, pushing, tripping and stopping of the 
wagon, would have kept busy a crew as large again as 
we were. Later than we expected, but yet an hour before 
sundown, and without any damage to our team, we 
reached "Deadwood House." Here we were told that 
thus far in this year no team had attempted to go to 
Grass Valley, and that we certainly would not be able to 
get there this evening, if at all. Rothrock's motto, how- 
ever, in true California style was "up and doing;" he 
insisted upon going on, and so, after we had taken a stiff 
drink of whiskey and lighted our pipes anew, on we went 
ahead. 

Grass Valley, the town of that name, is distant from 
Deadwood about three miles, as I said before, while the 
valley itself begins just one mile beyond Deadwood. 
As we had been told here, we lost immediately after 
starting even the slightest trace of the road; and nobody 
has an idea what it means to travel with an ox team 
where there is no road, not even a trail, unless he has 
tried it. We had our hands full, now cutting through 
snowdrifts 5 or 6 feet high, then rolling large boulders 
out of the way; here we get mired down and we have to 
unload; the oxen strain every muscle and we lift and 
push to get the empty wagon again on solid ground; 
then we load up again and immediately afterwards we 
run into another snowdrift, where the wagon goes down 
again to the hubs; the snow is piled up before the dash- 
board, like the water before a swift sailing ship; but our 



236 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

oxen pull hard, and only about ten steps more would have 
brought us out of the snowdrift, when there came a sud- 
den jerk. Stop! On shoveling the snow aside we found 
that the fore wheels had struck the trunk of a fallen tree, 
about 2 feet in diameter, which had been completely hid- 
den by the snow. Immediately two men, one on each 
side of the wagon, begin to cut through, and others are 
ready to relieve them when tired, it does not take long 
to open a passage. We start again. The snow begins to 
get solid enough for the team to pass over it, frozen solid, 
yes, it is! For the next hundred yards we are all right, 
when all of a sudden the treacherous snow field gives 
way, and oxen and wagon disappear together in a hole 5 
feet deep. We unload, dig wagon and oxen out and load 
up again. 

Thus it went on constantly, and, of course, we made lit- 
tle progress. The sun had gone down and it became dark, 
and we had not made a mile yet. Here we came to a 
place where standing up to our knees in mud and snow 
we had to cut our way with axes through brushwood 
covered with snow. The small branches would fly back 
at every stroke like steel springs, covering us all over 
with mud and show. Immediately beyond this place we 
stood before an exceedingly steep grade, almost a prec- 
ipice; how steep we could not tell in the darkness; but 
down there we had to go to reach Grass Valley, and down 
we went like an avalanche, though we had three wheels 
locked and two young pine trees fastened on behind. In 
spite of the darkness and our rapid descent, we reached 
the bottom without accident and stood now before a nar- 
row but rather deep creek. It was too dark to look for a 
crossing, and so we waded straight into it and right up 
to the hips — the water being cold as ice. Just think how 
pleasant! the upper part of the body dripping with per- 
spiration and pantaloons and boots full of ice water! We 
took just enough time to wring out our nether garments; 
took off our boots and poured out the water; into them 
with bare feet— and off we started again. 

The ground here was still boggy, but covered with 



IX THE MINING DISTRICT 237 

grass, free from snow and level, so thai we began to hope 
that we might yet reach sonic human habitation; but we 

had hardly gone a half a mile over the bottom, when the 
wagon sank again to above the hubs into a quagmire; the 
now totally exhausted animals gave out, and there was 
no alternative; we had to wait here for daylight. Hav- 
ing unyoked the oxen and fed them some hay, we started 
out in search of a camping place and firewood, but all 
we found was mud, knee deep everywhere, and a little 
half rotten wood, which we had to fish out of some pud- 
dles. For fully half an hour we tried to kindle a fire, 
but it was all in vain— we had to give it up, and with 
empty stomachs and wet and chilled through and through 
we had to seek rest as best we could. Yea, rest! The 
moment one of us would lie down, the mud and water 
would splash up to the right and left of him. But it was 
of no use to grumble (as it is nowhere in California for 
that matter). I was as ''tired as a dog" and so I re- 
signed myself to fate, wrapped my blankets around me 
and laid myself down. I had given up all hope of going 
to sleep, but fatigue at last got the better of me, and I 
fell into a sort of slumber, which, however, was anything 
but refreshing. Wet, cold and hungry as I was, it was 
impossible to sleep soundly, and I laid awake for hours. 
It seemed as if that night would never come to an end! 
With the coming of daylight, however, we were all on our 
feet, for none of us had had any sleep to speak of. I felt 
so stiff and chilled that I could hardly move my limbs; 
a heavy fog— dense and cold— lay on the marshy bottom 
of the valley. "What would I have given for a glass of 
brandy or a cup of coffee! but neither was to be had. ( hir 
whiskers were white with frost; our wet pantaloons were 
frozen stiff and hard like buckskin. After considerable 
yawning and stretching we went to work to get our 
wagon out of the quagmire. It took us two hours to do 
this, and then we started again slowly on our way, the 
liiud being up to our knees. After crossing and recross- 
ing the creek about half a dozen times we at Inst reached 
Grass Valley at about 10 o'clock in the morning. You 



238 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

may imagine that it did not take us long to get the much 
needed food and nerve tonics; that reinvigorated 
us, and after half an hour rest we started again in better 
spirits. Two or three times more we mired down, but 
finally we reached a deserted and half-ruined loghouse, 
about two miles beyond Grass Valley. It was on dry 
ground, half hidden under trees and bushes on the bank 
of a creek of clear, cold water; and there being good pas- 
ture for our cattle, we pitched our camp. 

Kothrock, after a consultation with us, concluded to 
walk across the mountains to " Onion Valley," distant 
about twelve miles, and from there to send mules for half 
of our load; we— after the oxen were rested— to push on 
with the other half in the same direction. 

The first thing for us to do was— as you may imagine — 
to kindle an immense fire, to divest ourselves of our cloth- 
ing (except our flannel shirts) — in other words, to take 
off our boots and trousers and to dry them. At the same 
time we provided for our dinner, putting on a large ket- 
tle with meat and another with potatoes, and while these 
were singing cheerfully, we stretched ourselves at full 
length upon the dry soft grass, dressed in the most mod- 
ern Indian costume (i. e., shirts) — trying to get on one 
side as much heat as possible from a brisk fire, while the 
other side was exposed to the warming rays of the sun. 

You can hardJy imagine the exceedingly pleasant feel- 
ing I experienced now that for the first time in thirty-six 
hours I was again dressed warmly and comfortably, and 
had enjoyed a good hot dinner. But not only that, the 
surrounding country looked so bright, bathed as it was 
in the warm sunshine; the snow on the sides of the valley, 
which was here only half a mile wide, contrasted so beau- 
tifully with the bright green of the sprouting grass and 
the dark firs; the birds sang merrily and the very beetles 
were out on a picnic; a feeling of happiness, of delight, 
stole over me. After a nap — I alone could not sleep, be- 
cause I had to think on this day a great deal of my be- 
loved ones at home— we began to explore the deserted 
house, near which we had made our halt. It had evi- 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 239 

dently been a tavern in its better days; there was yet the 
bar, an immense number of empty bottles, flour sacks, 
sugar bowls, boxes of all sizes, etc. While we were thus 
rummaging around, to see if we could find something 
useful which we might appropriate I happened to stum- 
ble upon a small keg. I lifted it up; it was rather heavy 
and gave a gurgling sound. I smelled it; it had a pleas- 
ant spirituous odor. Having advanced thus far in my 
exploring expedition, I raised an alarm, and the others 
came to my assistance. We tasted— first with the tip of a 
finger, and then we became bold and absorbed a moderate 
"snifter." Imagine our surprise when we found it 
to be old cognac of the very best quality; just two gal- 
lons of it! It made us a first rate punch which we en- 
joyed after supper sitting around a big fire till late in the 
evening. Thus ended my birthday, a great deal pleas- 
anter than it had begun, and after I had wrapped myself 
in my blankets, sleep came to me much sooner than usual. 
I could easily understand that after the fatiguing trip. 

Early on the following morning we took down half of 
our load and left it in the house in charge of one of our 
company, and then started again on our journey. We 
found the road in a far better condition than we had ex- 
pected after our experience on the two previous days ; and 
as our oxen had been thoroughly rested, we made the four 
miles to the end of the valley in a little less than V/2 
hours; the time passed quickly enough with me, because 
this part of the valley offers so many fine, romantic views. 

We now began to ascend again, the first hills being 
about 400 or 500 feet high, densely covered with brush- 
wood, but showing few trees. We soon encountered snow 
again, but since we had now less than half our former 
load, we got stuck but 2 or 3 times, and if one of our 
oxen broke through, as did happen now and then, the 
others soon dragged him out again. Considering every- 
thing, we made rather good time for the next two miles 
on a bald ridge, which offered us some magnificent views 
into the surrounding gulches and the snow crowned 
mountains beyond. Then gradually our ascent began to 



210 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

get steeper and steeper, and our progress became cor- 
respondingly slower; the higher up we went the softer 
became the snow, and we often broke into it to above our 
knees. Our oxen had a hard time of it, and we were some 
distance yet from the top of the mountain, when a snow- 
drift 15 feet high and more than 100 yards wide made 
it impossible for us to advance any further with the team. 
We were forced to unload right here, and while our team- 
ster returned with the oxen to Grass Valley, the rest of 
us shouldered our blankets and baggage, and continued 
on our road alone. We soon found that it was not an easy 
road to travel; the snow was loose, and the weight on our 
shoulders caused us to sink into it to our middle. 

After reaching the summit we came into rolling hills, 
gradually rising higher and higher. The air was thin 
and sharp and everyone of us soon complained about pain 
in the side, chest or head; at the same time the snow 
began to get softer and softer, and every now and then 
some one of us would sink into it up to the arm pits, so 
that the others had to drag him out again. In this way 
we made about 3 miles, when at 11 o'clock we reached 
an entirely bald plateau, exposed to a high wind, sharp 
and cold as icicles. Here, however, we made good time. 
The wind which probably blows here strongly all the year 
round, had swept the hard ground perfectly clean of 
snow, while at other places it had blown it together in 
banks as high as a house. In most cases we walked 
around these and since the plateau was perfectly level 
we would certainly have made the last three miles to 
''Onion Valley" in half the time that we actually re- 
quired if the tempestuous weather and snowdrifts 25 
feet high on this the 8th of June— and the thin, cutting 
air — had not seriously told on our lungs. As it was we 
had to make a halt every few hundred yards to recover 
our breath. It was 2 o'clock when we reached "Onion 
Valley," a broad ravine about 300 feet deep, covered with 
snow everywhere; a few stunted firs were the only signs 
of vegetation I could discover. Yet there is on this des- 
olate spot a small town of ten or twelve stores and tav- 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 211 

eras, tlie central point for the numerous surrounding 
mining camps. We rested ourselves here for about an 
hour, and then began to ascend the opposite side from 
where we had entered. We followed now a well traveled 
trail which led us up the steep Pilot Peak. This peak 
rises about 800 feet above the bottom of "Onion Valley" 
and ends in two sharp cones, which on account of their 
peculiar form make it a very conspicuous landmark from 
a great distance. Milleson and Adams, two American 
surveyors, give the height of the peak as 12,500 feet 
above sea level. Our trail led us to within 15 feet of the 
summit, and this was the highest point I have ever vis- 
ited. From here it was an uninterrupted descent, follow- 
ing a ridge between two deep gulches; one of them the 
Poorman's Creek, which in a semicircle sweeps the 
other side of the Pilot Peak. From the dizzy height on 
which we stood this stream, as it appeared here and there 
between the dark, pine covered ridges, looked like a thin 
thread of silver. 

It was 5 o'clock when we arrived at Hopkinsville, a 
small mining town at the confluence of Poorman's and 
Hopkins' Creeks, and at 7 o'clock we reached my pres- 
ent home, a loghouse a full mile below Hopkinsville on 
Nelson Creek. (Hopkins Creek flows into Nelson Creek 
a few hundred yards above our abode.) We were not 
slow in throwing down our bundles and doing justice to 
supper, which we found awaiting us. 

I am pleased with the aspect of the country. Accord- 
ing to my estimate — uncertain at best, I know — our log- 
house on Nelson Creek must be nearly on the same ele- 
vation with Grass Valley, and certainly considerably be- 
low "Onion Valley." The climate is mild and pleasant; 
the air is very pure J snow is to be seen only 400 or 500 
feet above us on top of the ravine where, however, it 
never entirely disappears; even not during the heat of 
summer. I am justified in calling this a ravine and not 
a valley, because the lower end is so narrow that the bed 
of this rushing stream takes up the whole width of it; 
the hills on both sides being more or less densely covered 
with 6rs. 

16 



242 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

There are numerous wild, charming spots on this creek 
above as well as below us, towards its mouth; it empties 
into the northeast fork of the Feather River, about eight 
miles from here. My time does not allow me to explore 
these places, and so I have to be satisfied when chance 
takes me to one of them. 

September 19th. 

Truly everything is going to pieces, and if an earth- 
quake were to swallow up this whole country, I would 
not care a cent about it! I cannot advance a single step 
forward. At this moment I might as well say that I have 
to begin anew again; my money is very nearly all gone; 
what little I have left will certainly go, too; and I have 
to commence again to work for the paltry few dollars I 
need to pay for my board. But I want to get ahead, and 
/ will get ahead even if I have to begin anew again a 
hundred times, and if I have to burrow through the big- 
gest mountains of California. 

Now, let me tell you just how it all happened. Such 
is life in California. 

When I arrived at Nelson Creek, I found Rothrock and 
his four partners to be as honorable, pleasant men as any 
one can wish for. It is true the work was very hard; at 
times I thought I could not stand it any longer, or I 
would succumb ; and I was at the point of throwing down 
my tools and quitting; but shame kept me from doing so; 
I strained every nerve, and when evening came I looked 
with satisfaction on my day's work; and on the follow- 
ing morning I would think "well, you stood it yesterday, 
and so you will be able to stand it today, ' ' and so it went 
on day after day. I said that the work was very hard; 
but I cannot say that we were worked beyond our ability ; 
and after I had got used to it and accustomed to the rare 
air of this high altitude, which inconvenienced me very 
much in the beginning, I must confess I liked it very 
well up there. Besides this, my pay was sure and I was 
in hopes that I would be able to stay with Rothrock until 
the beginning of winter. As you are aware, this hope was 



IN THE .MINING DISTRICT 343 

not verified. Rotkrock and his company had such poor 
success that he was compelled to discharge all his hired 
men, I being one of them. I regretted to have to leave 
these good people, to whom I had really become at- 
tached during the time I remained with them; and 
there being no prospect of finding work again in the near 
future, and— considering the enormous prices charged 
for provisions— and that there was no chance for me to 
make a living by working alone, I packed my bundle and 
started back again on my way to Long Bar. I must say 
I disliked to do so. Of late several men had been robbed 
and killed on the road; but there was no alternative for 
me, and so I started. On account of the insecurity of the 
road, I thought it best to make forced inarches, and so I 
reached Long Bar towards evening on the third day. 

There was something oppressive in the aspect of Long 
Bar, it looked deserted, quiet almost as a graveyard. The 
few people I met on the street looked like wandering 
corpses; they were barely able to drag themselves for- 
ward. On the bar itself it was only here and there, at 
long intervals, that one saw a man at work, who had so 
far escaped fever and dysentery. 

I would have preferred to leave again at once, but 
would it have helped me any? and whither should I have 
gone:— there was nothing left for me, but to go to work 
and take my chances. 

I have previously explained to you what sort of work 
I am doing here. We had already purchased the neces- 
sary machinery, pumps, etc., when sickness began to take 
down our men one after another; and within a few days 
we were compelled to stop work altogether. I kept up 
to the last. But during the hot days of this month, I too 
was taken down with fever. It is true, I had only one 
chill; but that has reduced me to such a degree, that up 
to this day I have been unable to do even the slightest 
work. I am yet very weak, but I will go to work to-mor- 
row, so as to make some money; my purse is getting to 
be very slender. 

There you see now:— such is life in California;— con- 



244 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

stantly up hill, and down again. A man who is well off 
to-day, may go to bed to-morrow evening without a cent 
in his pocket. Some weeks ago I considered myself a 
well-to-do miner; to-day I can hardly afford to offer a 
smoke to my friends, who come to see me in my tent. But 
it must be a. long road that has no turn; if it is "up hill" 
now, it certainly must go "down hill" sooner or later. I 
mean to keep cool and to do all I can. If I only can keep 
in good health now; of the rest I shall take care. 

There is still considerable sickness here, but the tem- 
perature is improving; now and then we see rain clouds, 
and — what is very pleasant — nearly every day at about 
noon, we have a strong wind from the north, moderating 
the heat and purifying the atmosphere. 

On our wingdam we shall probably not work again. 
Two of our company have died of fever, and all the rest 
of us are down with it yet, with the exception of myself 
and another— an American. Our prospect, too, was so 
poor, and we have to dig so deep for the gold, that it 
will not repay us. 

But let us turn now to something more pleasant, — to 
your dear letters. You ask me several questions which 
I will now answer. 

First let me thank you, my dear father, for the kind 
advice you give me, based on your own experiences dur- 
ing your campaigns. Such things we soon learn here 
from one another; the whole life of a Calif ornia miner is 
nothing else but a campaign. If he has a claim which 
gives him work for any length of time, he generally lives 
in a tent; drives four low posts into the ground, nails to 
these two pieces lengthways and two across; on these he 
nails a few potato sacks, and thus he has a solid bed- 
stead. Only when he is traveling or prospecting he 
sleeps out in the open. 

But you and all of you may rest perfectly tranquil. I 
know too well what a blessing it is to enjoy good health, 
and how easy it is to get careless in regard to it. It needs 
no admonishing about that, because our work here is 
already dangerous enough to health and limbs; besides, 
there is no escaping the inevitable. 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 245 

I am glad that you have kept our "memorial day" in 
the Warschkeitei Hills. I never doubted that you would 
do so. And we had our celebration on the very same day 
too (Saturday, April 10th); because I remembered just 
in time that I was mistaken in thinking the day after 
Easter was our day. That day will forever {)<■ a holiday 
to us. 1 passed the evening of that day at the place near 
Long Bar, which 1 have described to you at length in my 
letter No. 15. That place has a great charm for me.* 

I am unable, my dear father, to give you the exact dif- 
ference of time between here and there, because I do not 
exactly remember the degree of longitude under which 
San Francisco is situated. But you can easily figure it 
out yourself, if you will look at a map, and multiply the 
number of degrees of longitude between Konigsberg and 
San Francisco by four minutes. (Every degree more to 
the East or West makes a difference of 4 minutes: 360 
degrees X 4 min. = 1440 min. = 24 hours.) 

Juniper brush or any similar aromatic wood I have 
not noticed here yet. 

You mention in your letter the "cugar." I do not 
know of any animal bearing that name, but I presume it 



*Note by Frank's Father. — The following will here serve as 
an explanation. On April 19th, 185 1 — the day before Easter — 
Frank with his father and Moritz Ruhdel took a very pleasant 
walk — the last one — starting from Eylan going through an ex- 
tensive forest and back across the Warschkeiter Hills, from where 
one has an extensive view over the surrounding country. Dur- 
ing the rest we took there, the conversation turned upon his ap- 
proaching departure, and the great distance he had to go, and in 
the serious frame of mind produced by this, Frank asked as a 
favor, that this day be made a "memorial day" for him, to be 
passed by us all in the years to come in a similar manner. The 
assent was readily given. 

In his letter written February 8th, 1852, Frank reminds us of 
this promise given "for the day after Easter." and he was 
answered in a letter written on May 5th, that "memorial day" 
was not on the day after Easter, but on the day before Easter; 
and that day we celebrated on the Warschkeiter Mountain by 
kindling a mighty fire of Juniper brush, and keeping it burning 
for about an hour. 



246 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

means what is here called the "California Lion." The 
animal belongs to the feline family, grows as large as a 
powerful dog, has a more slender figure, and an immense 
long tail. Its color is a dirty, yellowish grey, and it is 
anything but handsome. Though large, it is one of the 
least dangerous of the wild animals; it is so shy and 
timid, that the hunter finds it a difficult matter to get a 
shot at it, and is seldom found on this side of the Sierra 
Nevada, but it is quite numerous on the eastern side, 
which is steeper and more inaccessible, and in the adjoin- 
ing desert. 

There is another beast of prey here, also belonging to 
the feline family, which, though smaller than the Cali- 
fornia lion, is much more dangerous. It is the catamount, 
or the mountain cat. I have not yet had an opportunity 
of seeing one, but I have been told that these animals 
are exceedingly ferocious, hiding in trees and between 
rocks, attacking men by jumping from there on their 
victims. They are numerous and mostly found in the 
deep ravines of the Sierra Nevada. 

Another animal of prey belonging to this class, and met 
with quite often, is the common wild-cat, which resem- 
bles the domestic cat, but is larger, stronger and very 
savage. 

The most numerous of the animals of prey, and at the 
same time the least dangerous of all, is the coyote, the 
California wolf. In shape and color he resembles a fox, 
only he is larger. Hundreds of them are often found to- 
gether, and they are so timid, that they will never go 
near a man. But I doubt, if it would be safe for a man 
to get into a band of hungry coyotes ; they are good sized, 
strong beasts. But if we can not see them in the daytime, 
we can hear them howl every night, when they are out 
on their marauding expeditions. 

The worst customer to meet however is the grizzly— 
the great California bear— a perfect monster. I have 
seen one in a cage, which measured, standing on his hind 
feet, 11 feet G inches ; twice as high as a man. I have 
never before seen or heard of anything like it, and have 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 



247 



been told that they are found only in California and Ore- 
gon. They are really dangerous to animals and human 
beings, and are more numerous in the mountains than the 
miners like to have them. In the week before I left Nelson 
Creek, two of them were killed between Onion Valley and 
Nelson Creek, and six between Nelson Creek and Jamison 
Creek. One evening, as I was walking along Nelson 
Creek, I saw a grizzly descend the other side going to 
water. I was able to take a good look at him, because 
I was on a higher ridge and near some houses. I was con- 
siderably more scared, however, on my last trip here from 
Nelson Creek, when— near Onion Valley— I saw the fresh 
tracks and other signs of a grizzly on the road. The 
tracks of the hind feet were more than 18 inches long, and 
you may believe me that I kept my eyes and ears open, 
because he certainly had passed there not more than 10 or 
15 minutes previously,— the snow in the tracks being yet 
freshly disturbed. I thought every moment I should see 
the beast, and what made my position more unpleasant 
was, that in the dense chaparral or copsewood there, I 
could not see ten yards ahead, and my heavy load had 
made me feel stiff and dull. 

Except these mentioned above, I do not know of any 
animals of prey; but these should suffice without adding 
the wild Mexican cattle; but we must not forget the fleas, 
bedbugs and vermin which infest California by the 
myriads, causing to us poor mortals a great deal more 
trouble than those large beasts do. 

Snakes I have mentioned before. There are a great 
many of them, and some of them very poisonous; but 
they are not by far as dangerous as reported. To be 
afraid of snakes in a country which is so full of them as 
California, is quite as foolish as to be afraid of ghosts. 
All a man has to do is to keep his eyes open in walking 
through the grass, and to wear topboots of heavy leather, 
and there is no danger. 

My sincerest thanks for the news you write to me. 
None of you have the faintest idea, how even the smallest 
trifles in that line interest me. Poor * * * I feel 



248 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

sorry for hini with my whole heart; it was nobly done, 
and his wife is deserving the fullest credit for it, that 
she, who was tied to him only by duty, attended him so 
faithfully, until death relieved him. The misfortunes in 
the * * * and * * * families are much to be 
deplored. I hope and wish that things have changed 
since for the better. I am glad to hear that * * * 
and * * * are to be engaged, and possibly they are 
married by this time. Everybody gets married, and I— 
''I remain sangle and my aine"— as Newman says. 
Enough for to-day. 

October 10th, 1852 (Long Bar). 

It really taxes to the utmost all the mental energy and 
self-reliance this wild life in California has imparted to 
me, to make me keep my head above water. Since my 
arrival in California (with perhaps the exception of the 
two months I have been at Nelson Creek), I have had to 
fight adversity after adversity. Were I still the weakling, 
the physically— and mentally— sick boy I was when I 
left you, by heavens!— I would have blown my brains out 
ere this. But now I am too proud to do that; I will not 
be bowed down by misfortune. Not in vain will I have 
gone through the test so far; and, though should adver- 
sity strike me again with double and treble force, I shall 
meet it. 

Now let me tell you what happened to me, since I wrote 
my last lines on the 19th ult. 

I spent nearly my last dollar in buying a claim, and— 
though I felt very weak yet,— I went to work with a will, 
and finding that my claim paid me as well as I expected, 
I felt that I was again in a fair way to make some money. 
But my hope was short lived, it lasted only 5 days; on 
Saturday, the 25th of last month, I was taken down with 
dysentery, and so severely that I was hardly able to drag 
myself to my tent. I have been down with it all of last 
week, and at times I felt so bad, that I thought this let- 
ter would never be finished, and that I should soon ex- 
change my claim on the bar for a "claim on the Mil"— 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 



2-19 



that is the cemetery of Long Bar. As it happened, I did 
not;— and my good constitution and perhaps the physi- 
cian, who kept me busy swallowing medicine, have pulled 
me through; and now all danger is passed, and you need 
not in the least feel uneasy. Yet I must say, I am still 
very weak, and that I have during the last few days only, 
been able to make just enough to pay my board bill at 
the inn. I hope to get better by degrees, and if I only 
get strong again, I shall soon have money again too, be- 
cause a full day's work in my claim, will always give me 
6 or 7 dollars. 

The general state of health here at the Bar has evi- 
dently improved considerably. During my sickness, how- 
ever, and in the previous week, it was worse than ever. 
Around our boarding-house alone, cholera and dysentery 
carried off three and four victims every day; the former 
claimed its victims generally within a few hours. I have 
sat at the breakfast table with apparently well people, 
who, when I returned from my work in the evening, I 
learned had been buried. Of our wingdam company, two 
more have gone to their last resting place, so that four 
out of ten of our number have been buried. During this 
present week, however, I have not heard of a single case 
of cholera, and only one man has died; but he had been 
hopelessly sick for several months. 

The only rays of sunshine during all this suffering and 
sorrow were your dear letters Xo. 11 of May 5th, and Xo. 
12 of June 7th— for which I thank you with all my heart. 

You have had bad weather during this spring, as I see 
by your letter of May 5th, my dear father; but you must 
not imagine that the weather in California during the 
summer season is the same as it is in spring. It may not 
lie pleasant to have to start fire in your stove in May, 
but it is much less so— you may believe me— to have to 
work hard in the sun when the thermometer rises to 30° 
R. in the shade. The air is hot as if it came oat of a fur- 
nact : it is useless to look anywhere for a moment 's relict'; 
it is as bad in the shade of a tree as it is out in the sun,— 
for the glaring rays, coming down day after day from 



250 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

a cloudless, almost tropical sky, heat the very soil to 
such a degree as you can hardly believe. You may think 
I am exaggerating, but it is the plain truth. I have had 
my fingers blistered by touching stones, which had been 
exposed to the noonday sun. You take refuge from the 
cold near the hot stove; but where are we to find refuge 
from the heat ? In our low narrow tents we feel it a 
great deal more, as you can well imagine. To warm 
yourself you drink hot tea or hot coffee; but what shall 
we do to loosen the tongue which actually clings to the 
roof of the mouth? For miles around the springs are 
dried up, and all that is left to us is the thick muddy 
water in the river, and that is more than lukewarm. Not 
a blade of green grass to gladden the eye, not a flower 
to exhale its fragrance,— everything is withered, dead; 
the very leaves on the trees and bushes are parched and 
shriveled, and they would rustle as the leaves with you 
in the fall of the year, if ever the slightest breeze would 
stir the hot atmosphere. 

Such is the climate here in the summer ; it is really no 
better, at least not in the interior of the state; along the 
coast, it is incomparably better on account of the proxim- 
ity of the sea. Beautiful, glorious is the climate in this 
part of California, only during a few months in the 
spring; in the summer you are roasted, and in the winter 
you may get drowned in rain and mud. 

In your letter of May 5th I find a passage, — now do 
not get angry my dear, my beloved father,— which, 
though your love for me speaks out of every word of it, 
caused me almost a smile. Is it really impossible for 
you to have more confidence in mef Is Emil Boettcher to 
lead me whither he will to my hurt? Here in California, 
and I believe nowhere else in this world to the same 
degree, does this saying hold good, and this alone,— 
"Himself is the man." Whosoever does not stand 
firmly on his own feet, is swallowed up in an instant as 
by a roaring whirlpool, and the greatest exertions only 
may perhaps bring him again to the surface. That I 
am yet on top, will, I hope, give you confidence in me 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 251 

and confidence in my energy, even if I am young in years 
yet ; have confidence and all your doubts about my future 
will vanish. With my experience, my energy increases 
day by day; and should a man not be safe in a stream, 
where the feeble inexperienced boy has kept himself 
afloat so long? xVnswer that question to yourself, my 
dear father. 

And now let me answer your question about Griin- 
hagen and Olias, my original companions, whom I have 
not mentioned lately. Alter having worked together in 
the mines for a few days, there were plain indications, 
that our company would not last long. The first condi- 
tion for the permanent existence of such a union, is com- 
plete harmony in everything, that may lead to success, 
and that was lacking with us. As long as Emil Boett- 
cher's soothing influence was felt among us— I am sure 
Rosenstock has not exaggerated in describing it to you 
—everything went all right; but very soon after he had 
left us to go to Lucius' farm on the Feather River, we 
dissolved our partnership, though in a thoroughly 
friendly way. Olias went to work on Feather River, at 
the mouth of Nelson Creek; and Griinhagen, with whom 
I remained for a while longer, went afterwards to Inde- 
pendence Bar, where Boettcher also went, on returning 
to the mines from Lucius' farm. Ever since that time — 
or since we dissolved partnership— the most cordial rela- 
tions have existed between us. Of Olias, however, I 
have not heard since I left Nelson Creek; Griinhagen 
and Boettcher I have visited, nearly every Sunday at 
Independence Bar. In June Boettcher fell sick and was 
compelled to go to San Francisco, and Griinhagen fol- 
lowed him soon afterwards. A letter from the former,— 
the same which transmitted to me your two letters,— 
told me that Griinhagen has not yet succeeded in finding 
employment. In this letter Emil advises me, in earnest 
and not to be mistaken language, not to come to San 
Francisco; and his elder brother— an excellent man, cool 
healed and intelligent, in whom I have the most implicit 
confidence — who wrote to me at the same time, gives me 



252 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the same advice; the mines being in their opinion, for 
the present at least, the better place to make a living. 
Emil even tells me that he might return here, if his 
health, which has been undermined by fever, will permit 
him. 

Considering everything, you must see now for your- 
self, my dear father, that, apparently I can not do any- 
thing to ease your mind about me. All I can do is, to 
give you in my letters a plain and true statement of my 
life here and of my affairs. And then I can and must 
ask this of you: have the most implicit confidence in your 
son; you will never have cause to regret it. This, I feel 
confident will help more than anything else, to relieve 
your mind of any uneasiness about me. 

This much in answer to your first letter; and now to 
your second of June 7th, which— I must confess— has 
pleased me a great deal better than the former, because 
it shows me that you are beginning to gain confidence in 
me. In this respect, I hope, you will not, allow Aunt 
Carola to surpass you! Now, now— that would not be 
right ! 

To show you that I will do all I can to quiet your ap- 
prehensions, I sat down immediately upon receipt of your 
letter and have drawn my own portrait, as well as I could. 
I herewith inclose it. I dare say, I made a success of it. 
What do- you say about that large hat, and the still larger 
boots? (Plague take them for keeping my feet sore con- 
tinually) ; what do you say about my mustache and my 
whiskers! Eh? About these however— the whiskers— 
I must confess that they are just a little exaggerated; I 
had a little too much ink in my pen when I did them. 
And then— my pipe; what do you think about that? Is it 
not a really beautiful ensemble? especially so when you 
consider that the somewhat dubious background is a — 
mudbank. 

If Aunt should ever read again mining novels to 
Froehlich's children, send her this portrait; that she may 
know exactly how a Konigsberger looks, after he has 
been transformed into a California miner. But, by-the- 



IN THE MIXING DISTRICT 253 

way, August Froehlich, like a civilized European, knows 
how to use paint and brush; should he want to color the 
portrait I will here give him a full list of the colors he 
will have to use: 

llat, brown felt, almost new, hut badly sprinkled with 

mud. 
Face, a hrownish yellow; the color approaching nearest 

to it, is that of a very dirty shirt. 
Hair, fair; beard reddish. 

Pipe, clay, an old stump, dark brown, nearly black. 
Shirt, originally red; wearing and washing have in places 

lightened the color, and darkened it in others; a 

dark reddish brown now; in spots,— as you will 

see— it is torn and patched. 
Undershirt, striped white and blue, somewhat worn hut 

clean. 
Belt, black leather; pistol, the national California 

weapon, a Colt's revolver, five shots, and sure to 

hit a card at .'><) yards. 
Trousers, difficult to describe, fancy mud color; when 

new they were grey. The patch on the right knee 

is cut from a blue flannel shirt; the lower one on 

the left knee is from a piece of sailcloth; the upper 

one is cut out of a black coat. 
Boots, any color except black; the leather on the few 

spots not covered by mud, looks a reddish brown. 

Thus, and exactly thus, looks the transformed Frank 
Lecouvreur in his working suit. 

In regard to your remark, that, what Rosenstoek says 
about our being in a German boarding house, may seem 
to be not true— because I spoke in my letter about pan- 
cakes which I bake myself;— I must say, however, that 
both statements are correct. "We certainly lived during 
the time we were in partnership, in a boarding house 
here; but afterwards I pre] tared my own meals, because 
I found it to be cheaper. In whatever we do here in 
< 'alifornia, we must be guided by circumstances, as I told 



254 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

you before. For instance, just at present I am again at 
a boarding* house; simply because, while I am sick, I 
have better care there; I can have a cup of tea, or any- 
thing* I need on short notice, and do not have to prepare 
it myself; I can select among different well prepared 
dishes what suits me best; and last, but not least, the 
prices of provisions are so high at present, that the small 
saving which might be effected— perhaps 2 or 3 dollars 
a week — does not amount to anything, when you think 
what it is to supply myself with wood and water; and 
when I consider what time it takes to prepare my meals. 
This alone would occupy me one or two hours a day; but 
during the same time I can take out of my claim double 
the amount I might save in preparing my own meals. I 
shall remain in this boarding house until I am quite well 
again, and until through cheaper provisions I can effect 
a saving. 

Flour is worth now, lb $ .25 

Rice " 25 

Ham "..., 50 

Tea " 1.25 

Onions " 25 

Crackers " 35 

Candles each 15 

Beans lb 35 

Salt pork " 40 

Coffee " 40 

Potatoes " 15 

Fresh beef " 25 

Cheese " 30 

Matches, pr. hundred 12% 

I am very glad to see that you, my dearest mother, 
take such a kind interest in * * * and * * * 
the only two friends I had in Konigsberg. Though en- 
tirely different in their ways, they have this in common, 
both are pleasant and thorough gentlemen. Your hint, 
that I might have the pleasure to grasp my dear * * * 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 255 

by the hand here in this country, startled me like an elec- 
tric shock. Yes, let him come and try his luck, and let 
him steel his body and energy as I have done. It is true, 
1 have heard California cursed by immigrants thousands 
of times; I have seen men— old women I ought to say— 
shed tears, because they had exchanged their comfortable 
homes elsewhere for a mining claim in California; I have 
seen men land here from one steamer, and start back for 
home again on the very next boat (literally true!); and 
I would never advise anyone to come here; but 
is so much like myself that 1 will say out of the depth of 
my heart: "let him come, if he has a desire to see the 
world." He will find in me the same friend I used to 
be, and as long as I have a crust of bread and a blanket, 
he shall not go hungry or cold. 

And now I come to you, my little gossip, my dear 
Marie. A pity that died so young; he was a 

gifted painter and would have accomplished much. That 
my place at the christening at Podlechen was kept open, 
I will believe. I know how kindly you all feel towards 
me; another reason probably was, that Carl has named 
his firstborn after me. When Lucinde will have pre- 
sented him with eleven more, let him come here, he can 
then start a farm and have a little kingdom of his own. 
— And so grandpa has now two Franks among his de- 
scendants; one a big good-for-nothing fellow, who roams 
at large; and a little one, who if everything goes satis- 
factorily, may also become a good-for-nothing; but who, 
I hope, will not turn out any worse, than I am. 

For the present: Good night! 

San Francisco, Cal., October 27th, 1852. 
You will undoubtedly be surprised to hear that I am 
in San Francisco; but it came about in a very simple way. 
When I found that my health would not improve in any 
way, I made up my mind to take a trip to this city. It 
is now about two weeks that I have been here; but 
though immediately after my arrival I placed myself in 
the hands of a. German physician (Dr. Wedekind) who 



25G EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEX GATE 

was recommended to me by Boettclier,— I must say I am 
gaining very slowly, though I am somewhat better. You 
can have no idea how this malarious fever here reduces 
a man; I would not have believed it. I take the matter 
very coolly though; I must ultimately get well again. 
That this sickness is a great injury to me in a pecuniary 
way, you can imagine; this is what troubles me. Not 
only that all I had went to the doctor, but I am in debt ; 
and unless an unforeseen lucky chance turns up (which 
is not at all likely) I shall not be able to save anything 
during the next six months. Well, I will not lose heart 
on that account: "Es muss doeh wieder werden," (It 
must come our way again) as our grandma used to say. 
Others have had worse experiences than I. 

I saw Olias on the day before I left Long Bar; the 
poor fellow has fared rather badly. From Nelson Creek, 
where he did not succeed, he went to Canon Creek (on 
the upper Yuba), and here 286 dollars were stolen from 
him about fourteen clays afterwards. He followed the 
thief to San Francisco, but without result; his traveling 
expenses however increased his loss to 360 dollars. It 
was on his return from here that he called on me. The 
poor fellow felt down hearted, and nobody can blame him 
for it; the loss is really heavy. 

Grunhagen has at last succeeded in finding employ- 
ment in Santa Cruz, a small place a few miles from Mon- 
terey. He is clerking there in a marketshop, gets 50 dol- 
lars a month and board, and sells butter, carrots, onions, 
ham, etc. 

Emil Boettclier about a week ago went to Sonoma, on 
the other side of the bay. His position there is not very 
brilliant. 

I myself shall return to the mines as soon as possible. 

Business is exceedingly dull here. For weeks thou- 
sands have been looking for employment, and nobody can 
give it to them. In addition to these, every incoming 
vessel brings more immigrants. How it is going to end — 
God only knows. 

I hope you will not take offense, because this letter is 



IN THE MINING DISTRICT 257 

so badly soiled. When paper is lying around loose in a 
miner's tent for about 8 weeks, it can not well be in any 
other condition. I hope you will be able to decipher what 
I have written. 

To you all (and to myself), I wish the best of health, 
and remain with much love Your 

FRANK LECOUVREUR. 

P. S.— The last mail did not bring me any letters from 
you. The next steamer, the Northern (Light?) from 
Acapnlco will be due hero within a few days. I wonder 
if she will bring anything for me?* F. L. 



*Here ends Dr. Wollweber's translation. 



17 



LETTER NO. IX 



San Francisco, Cal., January 13th, 1853. 

My Beloved Ones— My somewhat sorrowful letter No. 
17,* finished in San Francisco towards the end of last 
October, must have reached you some time ago, and I 
have no doubt, you have ever since longed for another 
letter from me and for news about my health. 

I have experienced hard times since then. Under the 
impression that I had completely recovered my health, 
and thinking that the unhealthy season must have ended 
long ago at Long Bar, I started on November 4th to re- 
turn thither, and immediately upon my arrival went to 
work again. My dream was of short duration, three days 
afterwards the fever returned, and ever since— for fully 
two months— it has been racking me day and night. As 
it happened the rainy season set in at the same time- 
storms and floods— and so dispensed me from telling 
you what I suffered during that time. Day after day 
the rain came pouring down in torrents, accompanied by 
the howling of the storm. The canvas-roof of my tent 
could not withstand it any longer; the water would soak 
through, and so I lay— shaking in a cold chill, in vain 
trying to get warm— in a bunk and under blankets, both 
wet through and through by rainwater constantly drip- 
ping in. In the beginning I tried yet— exerting all my 
strength— to make my board; but I very soon became so 
weak that I had to give that up, and shortly after, I was 
often not even able to prepare myself something to eat. 
In regard to this, I had often to depend on the kindness 
of my neighbors who now and then would let me have 



*The author's number includes more private correspondence. — 
Transl. 

258 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 259 

some soup, or would make some tea or coffee for me. In 
this way I Jed the most miserable existence imaginable, 
until at last— seeing no prospect of getting better there, 
but on the contrary, feeling that I was getting weaker 
and worse every day— I resolved to go again to San 
Francisco, which I did shortly before Christmas, after 
having sold my tools and everything I could convert into 
cash. 

You can imagine in what a miserable, wretched condi- 
tion I arrived hero, but the complete menial and physical 
rest, living as I do in a dry, sunny room— I room with 
Boettcher— and sleeping on a dry mattress, have done 
wonders for me, the fever left me more than a week ago, 
and I feel that I am rapidly regaining strength, so that 
I begin to hope that this terrible sickness, which has kept 
me down for fully four months, is about to leave me. 

I call this malarial fever a terrible sickness, and so it 
is, in the fullest meaning of the word; it manifests itself 
in different ways, but is always periodical; it returns at 
regular intervals, either daily or every second or third 
day. During these intervals the patient may either feel 
quite well and may eat and drink with a good appetite; 
or he may have a constant chilly sensation, and be at the 
same time unable to go to sleep, and may feel a repug- 
nance to the taking of nourishment, as was the case with 
me. The chill which lasts at times from 6 to 8 hours, is 
followed by a high fever, during which the patient be- 
comes delirious and sees himself surrounded by the most 
horrid creations of a sickly fancy. But this is not all; 
during the same time he suffers an agony of pain in the 
chest, stomach and intestines; he feels as if he would 
suffocate the very next minute. The worst, however, is 
the complete apathy into which the sufferer sinks. ' It 
is as if there were forever an end to every mental exer- 
tion. He sees his future black, and while in other dis- 
eases hope sustains the sufferer, it is jnst the reverse 
with one stricken by this fever: hope abandons him at 
onee and as if forever. It is a most horrible condition to 
be in, and it is impossible to describe it. 



260 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

But what is gone let it be buried with the past. A new 
year has come upon the river of time; may it bring me 
better luck,— may it bring me nearer the goal than the 
past year has done. Yet, there is much I have to be 
thankful for; if during the last year I had to suffer a 
great deal, I have also learned a great deal. "Habeat 
sibi? "—Retired, quiet and contented as you live,— I do 
not know if I could wish you anything better, than that 
the new year may not bring you any changes, my beloved 
ones! The storms which constantly spring up around 
me, will not touch you. To Marie only will I wish that 
she may soon regain her wonted health. 

Just as you received my letter of April 5th last year, 
on my birthday, so did I receive your letter No. 16— of 
August 6th on December 16th, my beloved mother's 
birthday. That was a satisfaction! 

I am glad to see that the specimens of leaf gold, whieh 
I sent you in my letter No. 15 of May 6th-15th have 
reached you in safety. I hardly had expected it. To be 
sure, the gold found here differs very much in color; but 
you never find gold differing in color in the same locality; 
and especially does this hold good about the gold washed 
out of rivers. The gold found at Long Bar, for instance, 
as it is washed out of the river, looks beautifully bright 
and reddish. After a while it turns to a pale yellow and 
then it takes a greenish hue; but since the miners are in 
the habit of carrying it on their persons, the perspiration 
may have something to do with that. 

I did not see anything at which to laugh, my dear 
father, about the suggestions you make in regard to 
mining operations here; the improvements you suggest 
have in part already been made,— as for instance, the 
repeated utilizing of the same water by running the tail- 
ings into a hole. The system however, which you sug- 
gest, would not only be impracticable in most cases, but 
—considering the small quantity of water used in wash- 
ing with a rocker, — too expensive. Lumber is worth 25 
cents per foot (in some localities 50 cents and more) ; so 
that a hundred feet of a flume such as you suggest, would 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 261 

cost about fifty dollars. To bring the water to a Long 
Tom we generally use a hose, three inches wide and made 
of canvas. To dry the ground before washing it, as you 
suggest, would not be an advantage; why should we dry 
it and then wet it again? You have no idea how difficult 
it is to wash the gold out of ground which is dry; I can 
wash three or four buckets of moist earth in the same 
time and with the same quantity of water, that it takes 
me to wash one bucket of dry earth. 

So far as game is concerned, you can imagine that near 
cities like Marysville, with 2,500 inhabitants, or Sacra- 
mento with 15,000 inhabitants, or in mining districts 
where there are numerous settlements, it has pretty 
nearly disappeared. Game birds are, however, yet to be 
found in large numbers in the Sacramento valley. The 
buffalo has never been indigenous in California, but is 
found in endless numbers on the other side of the Sierra 
Nevada. 

As for the drying of meat in the open air, what you 
were told about that is only partly true. During the hot 
summer months, meat decays here as quickly as it docs 
elsewhere; but strange to say— during the rainy season 
one can in some parts of the country, preserve meat an 
unusually long time, by hanging it up in the open air; 
ultimately however it will spoil. 

In consequence of reports received by returning 
miners, I have for the present given up all idea about 
going to Oregon. 

I have repeatedly mentioned my going by steamer to 
and from Marysville, but have never given you a descrip- 
tion of such a trip. Let me now do so. 

The style of the entire interior arrangement of the 
American river steamers is so entirely different from 
what you are accustomed to see in Europe, that I will first 
give you a description of one of them, ere I proceed fur- 
ther. The hull of the vessel is something like an egg- 
shaped flat-boat, whose deck however extends in all di- 
rections beyond its sides, thereby gaining a great deal of 
room; on this deck st;un^s a trwo-story structure — a house, 



262 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

covering the deck from one side to the other and almost 
from end to end, leaving only a small portion of the deck 
forward, open, and uncovered. The lower part of this 
structure which usually is open all around, or at the most 
only partly covered in, is taken up by the machinery, — 
the boilers are in the forward part of the vessel, entirely 
uncovered— and is used for freight; the second or upper 
story of this building however contains usually, an ele- 
gant cabin, so constructed, that only a sort of veranda 
extends all around it, to be used as a promenade in fair 
weather. On the forward part of the upper deck, or in 
most cases on top of it— thus forming a third story — 
is the wheelhouse. "With small variations nearly all 
American river steamers, from the largest to the small- 
est, have the same, or very similar construction, the ap- 
propriateness of which is evident, since it enables them 
to carry an incredibly large number of passengers. 

Between here and Stockton on the San Joaquin river, 
the central place for the Southern mines, there run ten 
or twelve large high pressure steamers, making regular 
trips; between here and Sacramento there are probably 
no less than fifteen of them; not counting those which go 
direct to Marysville. How does that compare with 
Konigsberg, which after preliminaries extending through 
several years, has succeeded in establishing communica- 
tion with Stettin by means of two old, almost un- 
serviceable steamships? All these steamers here have 
plenty to do, especially in carrying passengers, and there 
is nothing more interesting than a trip on one of them — 
some of them being 100 feet long with a 60-foot wide 
deck — to Sacramento for instance. This trip occupies 
generally from 13 to 14 hours, the fare being 5 dollars 
on deck and 10 dollars in the cabin. Nowhere has one a 
better opportunity to notice the cosmopolitan character 
of the population here, than on board of one of these 
steamers, where he finds Americans, Germans, French- 
men, Mexicans, Chilians, Spaniards, Dutch, English, 
Danes, Swedes and Norwegians, Mnlattoes, Negroes and 
Chinamen, — all crowded together on the same deck. 



IMFRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 2G3 

Everyone chatters in his own tongue, — the French, as 
usual, being the loudest and the most noisy; and every- 
one does as he is in the habit of doing at home and among 
people of his own nationality. You can not imagine what 
a motley crowd it is, nor how interesting it is to a quiet 
observer, to note their doings. One might think himself 
to be in a theater with several hundred actors from all 
parts of the world before him. There being hardly any 
distinction between classes in America, and absolutely 
none here in California, most everybody travels as a deck 
passenger, and the cabins are used only by ladies, or 
persons who will pay for comfort. Aside from what we 
see on board the steamer, the trip offers us but very little 
of interest. The surrounding country is not interesting. 
The banks of the river are low, the country is flat as far 
as the eye can reach. Only here and there we note natural 
hedges or some stunted willows; seldom groups of trees 
or grazing cattle; at times we pass a loghouse or shanty 
standing high on piles: that is all. The most interesting 
part of the trip is the passage through the slough. This 
slough is one of the many outlets of the Sacramento river 
into Suisun Bay; it is the narrowest, but, on account of 
its depth of water, the only navigable outlet. It is about 
20 miles long and the banks are just above the water 
level; but they are virgin soil, covered with the most lux- 
urious vegetation, including all sorts of vegetable 
growths, from the primeval oak down to the most intri- 
cate masses of bush and vines that I have ever seen. 

Before I close my remarks about steamboats, I must 
mention what I believe to be an English scheme but 
which has entered so much into the very life here that 
we can not exist without it. I mean the " opposition"— 
the mutual efforts of two competitors in the same line 
of business to ruin one another, by alternately lowering 
the prices. It is especially among the owners of steam- 
boats where the procedure is in vogue, and at times it is 
carried to most ridiculous extremes. It was only the 
other day that I came here from Sacramento for one dol- 
lar; and a few weeks ago a new company advertised that 



26± EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

they would not only carry passengers from here to Sac- 
ramento free of charge, but that they would give them 
their supper besides. And so they did for three or four 
days,— when they came to an understanding with the old 
established companies, and since then they charge uni- 
form prices. 

I do not know if your papers informed you about the 
terrible fire which on November 2nd and 3rd laid in ashes 
the whole city of Sacramento— about 2,500 buildings, and 
rendered about twelve or thirteen thousand people home- 
less. You may perhaps remember that I was at that time 
here in San Francisco; but on November 4th I took the 
steamer to return to Long Bar. As it happened, this 
steamer— the "Confidence"— was the first boat to leave 
here after the fire, and you can form no idea, how she 
was loaded down with freight. Anything and everything 
that one might want or not want, was on board. Every 
.little bit of space, even between and below the boilers, 
and even part of the cabin, was used to store away all 
sorts of provisions in all sorts of packages, household 
goods, furniture, building material and everything else 
conceivable; and between and up and down these moun- 
tains of boxes and barrels and bags, pushed and climbed, 
like the mules in the Sierra Nevada, the most heteroge- 
nous crowd— about 900 of them— which has ever been on 
board of a steamer, even a California steamer. I saw a 
pile of mattresses stowed away between the smoke-stacks, 
reaching about half way up to the ceiling and selected 
them as a "throne" for .myself; but straightway I came 
in conflict with the owner, who would not allow me to re- 
main there. Eepeated efforts which he made to pull me 
down miscarried, until I was careless enough to bring 
one of my feet within his reach, when he immediately 
took the opportunity, i. e. the foot, and began to pull 
with all his might, but as I resisted as hard as I could 
he almost pulled off my boot. At last, perhaps, moved 
by my obstinacy, he desisted in his attempt "to drag the 
lofty into the dust," and we became afterwards such 
good friends, that he even divided his cigar supply with 
me. 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 265 

It was 5 o'clock iu the afternoon when we cast off from 
the California street wharf, and it had become pitch- 
dark when we arrived at the mouth of the slough (men- 
tioned before). Here we had the misfortune to run into 
a schooner lying there at anchor; and, as bad luck would 
have it, we shoved her on the mud in such an unfortunate 
way as to completely block the passage. Repeated at- 
tempts on our part to get her off again, failed in the 
blinding darkness and on account of the heavy load we 
had on board, there was nothing left for us to do but to 
await daylight. I made the best of it by making myself 
as comfortable as I could on my pile of mattresses. I 
wrapped myself in my blankets and tried to get some 
sleep; but the night being very cold, I succeeded only 
partially. 

With the break of day we began again to pull away 
at our schooner so as to open a passage for ourselves, but 
with no better result than on the previous evening. 
Things began to look dark, as we had now to await the 
arrival of other steamers. Fortune favored us finally; at 
8 o'clock the "Antelope" hove in sight and shortly after- 
wards the "Wilson G. Hunt." By their united efforts, 
the three steamers at last succeeded at about 9 o'clock in 
floating the schooner again, and by that time the steamer 
"Comanche" and the propeller " Archimedes" had also 
joined us. 

We thus had the pleasure of seeing the whole fleet 
around us; and accompanied by this noble convoy of four 
other steamers Ave arrived at Sacramento at 2 o'clock in 
the afternoon— or rather at the place where Sacramento 
City used to be before the big fire. 

A scene of the wildest desolation met our eyes. Of a 
great many buildings not even any ruins were left, — 
not even any cinders! The terrible heat caused by so 
many buildings burning at once— and some of them large 
buildings (one— for instance— being a hotel four stories 
high) reduced the ashes of everything combustible to the 
finest powder, and this was at once scattered by the wind. 
AVhere the city had stood there was now nothing before 



266 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

us but a wide expanse of blackened soil, with here and 
there the blackened walls of a burned out brick building, 
ready to fall at any moment, and from some of these 
smoke and even flames would still at times shoot up. In 
the fullest meaning of the word, the whole city was in 
ashes, because only one side of one single street had 
partly escaped destruction by a change in the wind, and 
if I were to say that there were forty houses standing, 
my estimate might be too high. 

It being 2 o'clock p. m. when we arrived at Sacra- 
mento, and the boat for Marysville having left long be- 
fore that time, I was compelled to wait here until the 
next day, much against my will. I was hungry as a wolf 
and for a wretched bit of a beefsteak with a few potatoes 
and a cup of black coffee— just enough to sharpen my 
appetite— I had to pay two dollars. 

The night I had to pass in the open air like thousands 
of others who had lost their house and home; but I took 
advantage of the situation : in the ruins of a brick build- 
ing I found a corner, where, protected against the wind, 
I slept on the warm ashes as in paradise! 

It was daylight when I awoke; but when I opened my 
eyes I thought I was still dreaming. Where I had seen 
the angry flames shooting up on the evening before, there 
stood now (the sun had not risen yet), rows of tents and 
shanties, which had been constructed during the night 
by the light of lanterns ; and when at noon I took the boat 
for Marysville, long continuous rows of these tents and 
frame houses formed well-defined streets,— a temporary 
city had sprung up. Where in the world can you see 
anything like this, except in America? In any other 
part of the world a city like this, after such a catastrophe 
— being wiped off the ground as this city has been— 
would have been deserted by the inhabitants, certainly by 
most of them; and years afterwards one might yet have 
seen the traces of the disaster while here they will have 
completely disappeared within a few months. 

San Francisco too has changed wonderfully in this one 
year since I first saw it; one can hardly believe his own 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 267 

eyes. Not only have frame and sheet-iron buildings been 
torn down and replaced by magnificent brick buildings, 
and new ones been added; but whole streets have been 
opened and built up; and where as late as last January 
large ships have discharged or taken in cargo, there you 
may see to-day buildings two and three stories high on 
solid foundations; and on the very spot where we pas- 
sengers of the "Aurora" managed to land by climbing 
the narrow ladder on the California wharf— one may now 
take his cup of chocolate in a beautifully furnished estab- 
lishment and may indulge in finest confectionery. Streets, 
where we had formerly to climb up or down like a goat, 
are now graded,— and steadily is that steam-engine at 
work, which I have described to you in a former letter, 
in leveling down hills and in filling in that part of the 
bay, over which the city will extend. 

Every day shows new improvements, and the varie- 
gated styles and the different colors of the material used 
in building, produce an effect at once odd and attractive, 
such as one may not find in any other city. A veritable 
fairy-land panorama unfolds itself before one's eyes, if, 
on a clear, bright day he ascends one of those hills which 
surround the city in a semi-circle. They are already so 
densely covered with cottages and villas that they may be 
considered as forming part of the city. The observer 
standing upon one of those eminences can view the great 
mass of buildings of the western metropolis at his feet. 
The wide streets run straight as a ray of light, and the 
busy throng of humanity that flows through them from 
early morn till late at night, represents all nationalities 
on earth, and is a sight worth seeing. A little beyond, 
near the wharves, the throng seems even to increase. 
Here hundreds of the largest and most magnificent ships 
of the world are either at the wharves, unloading or tak- 
ing in cargo, while those which are not in dock for re- 
pairs of damages suffered during a long voyage upon the 
more or less tempestuous sea, are to be seen in the bay, 
majestically resting at anchor. And this beautiful bay! 
Its blue waters are glistening in the bright sunshine and, 



268 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

being dotted with lovely islands, are reflecting their 
emerald in the crystal flood; and innumerable small 
boats, spread their white wings to the breeze. Steamers 
are passing to-and-fro, and every now and then a large 
clipper ship glides by, her tall, graceful masts swaying 
under a cloud of canvas, and looming up like a frigate 
among the smaller craft! The back-ground of this pic- 
turesque panorama is formed by the Eastern shore of the 
bay, with its long chain of hills, the beauty of which is 
enhanced by the constantly changing of light and 
shadow, as the sun rises, sets or hides himself tempo- 
rarily behind the clouds, thus presenting a picture of in- 
describable beauty. Neither painter nor poet can do it 
justice; one must see it with his own eyes, and feel with 
his own heart, the power of this grand picture— at once 
majestic and sweet— as Mother Nature unfolds it before 
one's delighted senses. 

The place however, which I prefer to all others and 
which I visit oftenest, is— I am fully aware that you 
guess it — the harbor. I find that this feeling of admira- 
tion is shared even by those who do not take as much 
interest in ship-building and maritime affairs as I do; 
the harbor attracts everybody. No other port in the 
world can show such an accumulation of grace and 
beauty, allied to the most imposing dimensions in mari- 
time architecture. In one of my former letters, I have 
already spoken about American clippers, and at that 
time, I thought it next to an impossibility to improve in 
any way on what I had seen then. How I mistook Amer- 
ican possibilities, at least, when it comes to ship-building. 
Nearly every new clipper that enters this port, surpasses 
those which have come before in simple elegance as well 
as beauty and practicability. The "Winged Racer" 
lately arrived from New York is a good specimen of 
these giants. Length of keel, one hundred and ninety 
feet ; length over all : two hundred and thirty-five ; width 
of beam: forty-eight; main yard: ninety-eight, drawing 
twenty-eight feet of water when loaded. Though of such 
uncommon dimensions every line of her body is clean and 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 269 

beautiful, a masterpiece, which looks as if it had been 
cut out of one solid block of wood. On the stern under- 
neath the bow-sprit, she carries a finely carved winged 
horse, gilt and much above life-size; this and a gilt- 
moulding, about three inches wide, running all around 
the ship, are her only ornaments; beyond these, she is 
painted black. To show you how remarkably strong 
these vessels are, I shall relate an incident which I should 
not have believed from hearsay, but which I now vouch 
for, having been an eye-witness to the fact. 

As the " Clara Mallory," a Baltimore clipper of about 
equal size and just as handsome a ship as the ''Winged 
Eacer," came into port a few days ago, the breeze began 
to decline and, as the tide was running heavily against 
her, she was obliged to engage the steamer "Goliath" to 
take her in tow, and bring her up to the wharf. Being 
loaded rather deep, the "Goliath" had to make supreme 
efforts to bring her near Long "Wharf, and just at the 
moment, when she was turning into the slip, the tow-line 
broke and the "Clara Mallory" fell squarely into the 
trough of the sea and began to drift with increasing 
rapidity. She immediately let go both bow-anchors, but 
these did not take hold at once and it thus could not be 
prevented that she swept with her long jib-boom over 
the deck of the three-masted screw-steamer "Fremont-" 
a steamer somewhat larger than the Konigsberg "Cole- 
raine," then at anchor. Any ordinary ship would have 
lost her jib-boom in striking against the mast of a vessel 
riding at anchor and would then have cleared, but the 
"Clara Mallory" did just the reverse. With the very 
end of her jib-boom, she first broke the "Fremont's fore- 
mast, then the main-mast, and finally knocked the chim- 
ney overboard, without sustaining even the smallest 
damage herself. It seems incredible, but as I mentioned 
before, I saw it with my own eyes. 

Perhaps the most gigantic, though not the finest of all 
ships in this port at the present time, is the screw- 
steamer "Samuel S. Lewis" lately arrived from New 
York and intended for the Panama line. She is of two 



270 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

thousand nine hundred tons capacity. The width of her 
upper deck is fifty feet; her length, two hundred and 
sixty feet or twenty feet more than the height of the 
tower of the " castle" at Konigsberg. What would the 
good citizens of Konigsberg say, if one fine morning there 
should enter the river Pregel such a monster vessel as 
the " Samuel S. Lewis," with the "Winged Racer" in 
tow? 

.Though San Francisco is an entirely new city, steam 
navigation has already been developed to such a degree, 
as our slowly-progressing merchants at home would 
hardly consider possible. Not only are we connected by 
steamers with all places in the interior where a connec- 
tion by water is possible and advisable, but steamers run 
to the North and South from here along the whole coast, 
even to the smallest ports. The largest, the fastest and 
the finest steamers however, are those connecting us with 
Panama and with San Juan del Sur, the crossings of the 
Isthmus. Three, four or five of them are dispatched on 
the first and on the fifteenth day of every month by the 
different companies. No less than five of these magnifi- 
cent steam-ships are advertised to sail from here on the 
fifteenth instant for the two ports named. These steam- 
ers are: The "Winfield Scott," carrying two thousand 
one hundred tons; the "Samuel S. Lewis," two thousand 
nine hundred; the "New Orleans," sixteen hundred; the 
"Independence," fifteen hundred; lastly, the "Golden 
Gate," two thousand five hundred tons and one thousand 
horse-power; and the latter steamer, according to the 
unanimous opinion of all the newspapers— the finest ves- 
sel afloat at the present time. What do you say about 
such a, traffic at a place, where four years ago there stood 
but a few tents and hovels? Is it not a miracle almost 
as great as any mentioned in history? "Help yourself 
and God will help you," comes true here as well as else- 
where. 

But, methinks, I have really dwelt long enough in and 
about the harbor, but you all know my hobby and will 
pardon my weakness. 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 271 

It just strikes me that you perhaps have no correct idea 
about what is meant by the descriptive phrase, "clipper- 
built." I left three small models at home, two not fin- 
ished, one, a side-wheel steamer, the other a screw- 
steamer, the latter, though hardly sharp enough, resem- 
bles a "clipper." 

January 24th, 1853. 

Do not be astonished if my words flow more glibly and 
manifest a more cheerful spirit than those, which I ad- 
dressed to you on the thirteenth of this month. The 
cause of it is easily explained. I feel myself gaining in 
strength from day to day and I have every reason to 
believe, that I shall soon enjoy perfect health; another 
star has arisen on my present horizon : prospect of steady 
employment, which assures a steady income; and, last 
but not least, I received the day before yesterday by the 
mail steamer "Tennessee" your letter of November the 
sixth of last year. Of this I am anxious to speak first. 

I actually did read your underlined note* first, dear 
father, but with such trepidation, that its first perusal 
left me completely bewildered. The second reading met 
with better success. 

As you had supposed, I was anxious to see first who 
of my beloved ones had been kind to me this time. I 
saw, that the dear hand of my mother had rested on the 
paper; then I perceived Alexandina's cheerful lines and 
—that was all! Why not a line from my dear and only 
sister Marie? A dark, a terrible supposition shot through 
my brain and then my heart ceased to beat! No one will 



*The underlined note here referred to, contained the unwel- 
come intelligence that his only sister, Marie, was dangerously ill 
and unable to write to her brother, as had been her usual custom ; 
there being however but one mail a month, the writers thought 
it best to forward their own letters. As he would naturally have 
missed his sister's handwriting at the opening of his mail, they 
thought of forestalling a prolonged anxiety by notifying him at 
once of said news. The fact had been minimized, but his sensi- 
tive nature divined the seriousness of his sister's illness, for never 
did a brother love his sister more tenderly. — Transl. 



272 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEX GATE 

blame me, if it took quite a few moments before I was 
able to regain my equilibrium. 

I can very well imagine how the foreign newspapers 
have exaggerated the state of cholera on this coast but 
let me assure you that it was not half as bad as reported. 
As you are aware, I was at the time at Long Bar, which 
was one of the places that suffered the most. 

As for the assembling of ten thousand Indians, I as- 
sure you that the story is a lie from beginning to end. 
Some correspondent with an abundance of nerve and 
imagination, has once more succeeded in forcing upon 
your press, news, which happens not to be news at all. 
But I wish we could find such a large number of red- 
skins together in one lump, so as to have an opportunity 
for a good cleaning up among those thievish vagabonds. 
The worst and most blood-thirsty of these tribes are the 
Blackfoot Indians, the Shoshones, the Arrapahoes, the 
Snake Indians and kindred tribes, which are fortunately 
on the other side of the Sierra Nevada; and the Shasta 
Indians have too few warriors to become dangerous, 
though they gladly embrace every opportunity for doing 
mischief. As for the other Indians in California, they 
are, as I said, in a former letter, less savage, though very 
thievish and, if once in a while, here and there, a few of 
them are ''hung up by the neck until they be dead," the 
rest of them will keep quiet enough. Again it must be 
borne in mind that our population has grown quite large 
and consists mostly of young men, well able and accus- 
tomed to bear arms; and besides, that those Indian tribes 
beyond the mountains are almost constantly hostile to- 
wards one another and that, even at best, each tribe could 
but put a few warriors in the field. For these reasons 
they will never be able to stem, or even temporarily hin- 
der, the tide of progress in this glorious country. There 
is not the least probability,— but supposing it should 
happen— that the entire body of savages was to make a 
combined attack upon California, it would only hasten 
their extermination, which, to use a mild expression, I 
should not consider undesirable— all the sentimental, 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 273 

soft-headed novelists and all the maudlin poets, who 
would probably be scared to death, if one of these dark, 
red-brown muscular fellows were to approach them, tom- 
ahawk in hand — to the contrary notwithstanding. 

Let us change the subject. When you say in your let- 
ter, that you are not afraid that I will associate with 
loose and worthless persons, I can only repeat, what I 
have said before: in California one does not as a rule be- 
come intimate with anybody. You combine with others, 
whenever you find, that to do so, is in your own interest, 
and that it enables you to accomplish a certain purpose. 
The moment this is accomplished, perhaps without say- 
ing as much as "good bye," you follow your own way 
and pay no more attention to the other fellow than you 
would to an old tool, which you have thrown aside, not 
having any further use for it. Why shall the intelligent 
and the strong always drag along a train of fools and 
weaklings, thereby impeding his own progress. "Every 
one for himself and God for us all!" Whenever a person 
of common sense looks around for another to assist him 
in digging for gold, is he likely to ask him: What are 
your habits and your principles? No, but he will satisfy 
himself, that the man can look him straight in the face, 
that he has strong anns and that he is willing to work, 
even under hardships. Or, if he wants to engage in a 
mercantile business, is he likely to ask of his prospective 
associate: Can you use a pick and shovel and a crowbar? 
No, but he will satisfy himself that he has brains, a 
knowledge of business and a well filled purse. It is of 
the greatest importance, and it is just here, where the 
greatest dffieulties are encountered, namely, to find in 
this constantly shifting crowd, the proper tools and to 
make them subservient to your purpose; to do this ef- 
fectively requires a sound knowledge of human nature 
and in spite of this, many have failed and even broken 
their necks, and this mostly because they chose ways, 
which are crooked. You write that there are many, who 
would like to know the contents of my letters and thereby 
show "sympathy" in my behalf. Please do not give my 

18 



274 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

letters too wide a circulation for, I confess, that I should 
not like them to go outside of the circle of your or my 
friends. I am convinced that the "sympathy" displayed 
by other outsiders does not amount to much and all they 
care for, is to hear something interesting from the other 
side of the globe. Would you like to satisfy yourself as 
to the truth of my assertion? Just go and ask one of 
those sympathizers if they are willing to let me — the poor 
fellow— have the loan of five hundred dollars to start a 
business! I do not think you will try the proposition. 
I know all about such interested sympathy, it disgusts 
me! "Donee eris felix, multos numerabis amicos, tem- 
pora si fuerint nubila— solus eris." (As long as you will 
be in luck, you will count many friends, at the time when 
there will have been clouds — you will be alone.) I write 
for my loved ones, not for the public! You, my dear 
mother, have aroused my curiosity, for, what in the world 
has made your sweet soul so angry against Grunhagen's 
father? Is there really any cause for it? Because he 
does not want to hear anything about the return of his 
son? Now listen to me, my dear, dear mother, and I shall 
try to explain that matter to you as I see it. Heinrich 
Griinhagen and I went to California under very similar 
conditions. Our position was the same, our education, 
both at school and afterward in business, had been the 
same; in our ages there is only a difference of a few 
months; our dispositions, our inclinations are about the 
same (though our character may differ very much). We 
both were poor boys and did not want to let our best 
years pass by without making an effort to better our con- 
ditions. We both realized that we could not very well do 
so in our old home surroundings and so it became nat- 
ural for us to look abroad for greater possibilities. Thus 
we came to California with the intention of making a 
fight for prosperity. The fight began, we started in with 
stout hearts, but we were beaten. Grunhagen's heart 
failed after the first reverses and he actually had the 
intention to run away, to retire again into the safe, yet 
anything but brilliant surroundings, he had left at home. 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 275 

To this his father objected and the reasons which he gave 
are plain enough and I believe that his father ivas right 
in doing as fee did. How could Grriinhagen, or how could 
I— or how could any one with common sense— being with- 
out means, unfamiliar with the country and with life 
here; without friends, even without reliable acquaint- 
ances—how could we in any way expect to succeed with- 
out a struggle ? Yea, without a hard struggle and with- 
out severe disappointments— having come here to make 
our fortune and with the firm resolve to succeed in spite 
of everything and of everybody? Any man, who has the 
use of reason, must know beforehand that such a battle 
cannot be won in the twinkling of an eye, considering the 
terrible odds which confronted us. Inasmuch as we be- 
came familiar with our arms and realized the strength of 
the enemy, after the battle of western life had begun, I 
consider the experience thus gained too precious and too 
hard won a treasure to turn my back to it. And now 
should his father have given his consent and let his boy 
run away after the first attempt? Though the battle was 
seemingly lost— we are richer by the experience. Is not 
the best and most glorious victory, a victory won over 
many reverses? Would not the runaway, whoever ho 
may be, make himself utterly ridiculous and contemptible 
in the eyes of all sensible people? To be made the laugh- 
ing stock of the community is almost worse than a curse. 
Whe*n I left Hamburg, I had made up my mind to de- 
vote five years of my life towards accomplishing the pur- 
pose which led me to the New World, and which consists 
in: Making money enough so that at the expiration of 
the time set I should be enabled to found my own home 
with a good and thrifty wife at my side, and that, with 
such an occupation as would suit me, I might live in ease 
and some comfort.* One year has gone by and I have 
reason to hope that it was the worst of the five, and, 
while it has not brought me nearer to the goal, it has 
made me familiar with the field of operations, I have 



*And, bless his soul, he succeeded ! — Transl. 



276 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

learned to distinguish my friends from my enemies and 
it has taught me hundreds of other things which were 
necessary for me to learn; and thus it has benefited me, 
and, best of all, I am convinced that I have deceived my- 
self in my hopes and expectations. The remaining four 
years shall be devoted to the same purpose and, 
provided I remain master of my own free will, these com- 
ing four years devoted thus to the service of my purpose 
will not be curtailed one single hour, except it be that I 
reach the fulfillment of my plans before the expiration of 
that time, which, however, I can hardly expect. I would 
therefore say to you, my sweet, darling mother, do not ex- 
pect to see me again before the expiration of the time 
I have set. 

I have never cared about the "Affection" of the public ; 
respect was all I demanded, and that I could enforce, if 
necessary. Should I return home to-day, the people 
would be justified in ridiculing me and to compare 
me to a school boy who ventured into a dark room and, 
becoming frightened, ran at once back to mamma's apron 
strings. Should I, however, return after five years, even 
without having accomplished my purpose, but after hav- 
ing faithfully and perseveringly tried to do so, having 
fought bravely, though in vain, my course will not resem- 
ble the running away of a school boy from a ghost, but 
it will be the withdrawing of a man from a fight to which 
his strength is no longer equal. But ere all honorable 
resources are exhausted and before all strength is gone, 
there must and there shall be no talk of retreat. Should 
that point be reached, however, there will then be noth- 
ing cowardly, nothing ridiculous about it and no sane man 
need be ashamed of it. 

January 31st, 1853. 

The closing of mail compels me to seal my letter and 
all I wish to add is my great satisfaction at Carl's suc- 
cess, the most interesting news in Alexis' welcome mis- 
sive. 

In regard to my health, T must say that it progresses 



IMPRESSIONS OF CALIFORNIA 277 

slowly, but surely. My stomach is as yet very weak and 
will not accept heavy, substantial food, so that my diet is 
rather restricted and my limbs, being swollen as far as 
the knees, remind me of their deficiencies by cramping 
pains and by trembling whenever I venture to take even 
moderate exercise that I must not consider myself "a 
healthy man." These troubles, however, are but the con- 
sequences of the fever and will disappear in time. As 
you know me well enough, you will realize that it is not 
my own temporary indisposition which gives me most 
concern, but the state of my Marie's health; I long to 
hear favorable news about her condition. 

Hearty greetings to all my loved ones ! F. L. 



Fbom the Diary.* 

February 28th, 1853. My health had somewhat im- 
proved and a clerkship in a toy-store had been accepted 
at thirty dollars a month and board. This lasted just a 
month, when Otto Deussing, the owner, expressed his re- 
gret, that business would not allow the expense, but that 
I could remain, with board, free, until something better 
turned up, which I gladly accepted. 

March 15th, 1853. My strength has returned and witli 
it my courage to try again. To-day, I bought a hand- 
cart for fifty dollars (payable at convenience), and the 
morrow will find me at the corner of Battery and Com- 
mercial Streets as ''hand-cart-man No. 107." 

Griinhagen is said to have opened a store in Pajaro. 
Olias, Kamcke and Emil Boettcher are in the mines, suf- 
fering from fever. 



*The following pages contain the most interesting details, 
gathered from the diary of the author, as from now on there are 
but few letters in a sufficient state of preservation to be trans- 
lated. The diary in itself is a model among its kind. Such neat- 
ness, accuracy and faithful execution, till sickness disabled the 
noble man from continuing it. are seldom seen ; and they show- 
that the author must have been thorough in everything. — Transl. 



278 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

June 30th, 1853. My life as a hand-cart-man has some- 
thing romantic about it. I reside in a vacant store on 
Market street, the use of which Neuhaus had proffered 
me. My furniture consists of a mattress, a plain table 
and a box to sit on. Breakfast and supper are home- 
made, and dinner is mostly procured at a restaurant. 
Not being strong enough to take heavy burdens, my earn- 
ings are naturally very small. I make on an average two 
dollars a day. Have managed to pay for the cart and a 
few minor debts and bought some clothes. 

July 7th, 1853. Saulmann offered me a position as 
hotel-waiter with Louis Etonbleau in Alameda. Salary 
fifty dollars and board, which I accepted. Good bye, 
Hand-cart!— Arriving at my new station, I encountered 
some difficulty, as I told the employer that I was but an 
apprentice in that position and had it not been for his 
kind-hearted Hamburg wife, he would have surely sent 
me away. As it happened, he engaged me at forty dol- 
lars a month, on trial. The hotel is situated on the bor- 
der of the magnificent oak-forest, about half a mile from 
San Leandro Creek. There are but few houses in the 
neighborhood. 

August 19th, 1853. Every thing goes smoothly. The 
Etonbleau family and assistants are very congenial peo- 
ple, mostly French. Strangers are seldom seen on week- 
days and our table-guests are mostly the artisans from 
the neighboring buildings, and other toilers. Sunday is 
our busy day. Plenty of light work, incomparably health- 
ful air and good, substantial food have brought back my 
old strength, for which I am infinitely thankful. — Griin- 
hagen is still in Pajaro ; both the town and this inhabitant 
have changed their name and will henceforth be known as 
Henry Jackson of Watsonville, Cal. As Americans in- 
variably mispronounced his name, friend Griinhagen 
conceived the idea of adopting the maiden-name of his 
mother. 

Here follows one of the few remaining letters. 



LETTEli NO. X 



Alameda, November 2d, 1853. 
My Dear Ones: 

Though I do not exactly know what to write to-day, I 
trust the material will come as time progresses. As you 
will notice, I am still at Alameda, with Etonhleau. I 
like it very well and have no intention at present of 
changing my place, so long as I cannot better my circum- 
stances materially, though so far, there has been no raise 
of salary. You will therefore realize that everything 
continues as heretofore, with no changes worth mention- 
ing to report, so far as I am concerned. Alameda, which 
three months ago existed only on the map, counts now 
from fifty to sixty block-houses to which number, one is 
added daily. "We have daily communication with the 
principal places along the bay, and a special small 
steamer runs twice a day, from here to San Francisco 
and back. This is the way we populate towns and cities 
in America! Can you figure out how long it would take 
the good people of Germany to build up a place like this, 
and how much red tape and many parliamentary actions 
would be necessary to bring stage and even steamer com- 
munication to the new town? As most American towns 
and cities have arisen, as I may say, like our Alameda, 
a more detailed description will not be amiss. This will 
prove to you that we are in the habit of doing things 
over here and of doing them to suit the present need, to 
suit— I repeat it— the purpose. W. Chipman, an Ameri- 
can, settled in this part of the country about three years 
ago when hardly anybody thought of going into agricul- 
ture and when land had hardly any value at all. Being 
pressed by new settlers who curtailed, what he had con- 
sidered his birth-rights as senior squatter, he bought the 

279 



280 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

district of San Antonio, which borders on the bay of San 
Antonio, the bay of San Francisco and of San Leandro, 
from the rich Mexican land-owner, Antonio Peralta, for 
about ten thousand dollars; thus securing a clear title to 
the land. 

Chipman wanted to make money, piles of money, and 
after he had laid out a small part of his possession for 
garden-produce, he had his property surveyed and cut 
it into lots of four square acres each, which he put last 
year in San Francisco, on the real estate market. Though 
the values in property had already risen considerably in 
Northern California, the uncertainty and unreliability of 
land titles, and moreover, the insolence of the squatters, 
who simply took possession after armed invasion of what- 
soever ranch would strike their fancy, scared the buyers 
and Chipman 's speculation failed almost completely, as 
he could dispose of but very few of his four-acre lots. 
Etonbleau had the good fortune to secure his sixteen 
acres at this time for seventy-five dollars an acre. Chip- 
man saw himself beaten, but resolved to make up for loss 
of time, and the rapid growth of our neighboring city, 
Oakland, inspired him anew. He made up his mind to 
lay out a city. He engaged a surveyor to divide the 
property into lots of 335x100 feet and to draw plans of 
various kinds for purposes to suit his imagination. He 
then chartered the steam-boat "Bonita," to serve as 
ferry-boat between here and San Francisco for one thou- 
sand dollars a month, not including fares and freights, 
and agreeing to supply free fuel. The new city of Ala- 
meda had thus been forced into existence and lacked 
only— houses and people. But this part did not worry 
Chipman. The newspapers of San Francisco commenced 
now to describe the magnificent, healthful climate and 
boomed every thing that could be found, or could not be 
found, in Alameda and did everything to encourage new 
settlers. In the meantime it was rumored that the great 
philanthropist Chipman would give away lots, with clear 
title. This rumor was promptly contradicted and again 
it appeared until the people of San Francisco had almost 



AMERICAN SUPERIORITY 281 

grown nervous over the prospects. When the excitement 
was at its height, Chipman suddenly placarded city aud 
county with yard-long bills in green, red, yellow and blue 
colors, which announced to every one who had eyes to 
see and brains to comprehend, that the magnificent 
newly-laid out city of Alameda would surely become the 
only place worthy of a gentleman to live in. It was made 
plain as daylight that perhaps within t a year's time 
wharves, steamship and railroad lines would help to 
make this the most attractive spot on the Pacific coast. 
This and many other illusory stories appeared before 
the dazed eyes of the readers, who were slowly led to be- 
lieve that they were to be participants in the foundation 
of another New York. Having for a time moulded the 
minds of the unwary in such and similar announcements, 
he finally played his trump card. Notwithstanding the 
undeniable fact that the value of those city lots could 
hardly be estimated, he, Chipman, had decided to part 
with them, free to all who agree to build a wooden 
structure for residence purpose, no smaller than sixteen 
by twenty feet within ten days from date of agreement. 
And all this as a token of love for his fellow-men. Thus 
stated Chipman, the philanthropist. 

That brought the crowds. They came in ship-loads 
from across the bay and as Alameda has in reality some 
of the natural beauties, which the board-bills described, 
the majority of visitors thought well of the proposition, 
especially as they could get something for nothing — ap- 
parently. Americans are well aware of the fact that a 
real-estate boom must always be taken at a discount and 
they should not be disappointed in their anticipation re- 
garding Alameda. Many had enlisted and secured the 
lots but, — will you believe it, — most of them failed to 
build the little house. And how many people bemourn 
to-day their lost opportunities. AYell does our German 
poet advise us: "Learn to cling to opportunities." No 
sooner had about a dozen houses been erected, when phil- 
anthropist Chipman stoju>ed his "free for all" proposi- 
tion and declared his previous offer null and void, except 



282 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

in the few cases where the ten-day-improvement-clause 
had been properly and wholly carried out. He immedi- 
ately started to auction off all remaining and unim- 
proved lots and sold a good number at a price of from 
fifty to a hundred and fifty dollars a lot, according to lo- 
cation. In a later auction, held at San Francisco, he 
realized even more; and to-day,— about two years after- 
one gladly pays him from a hundred and eighty to three 
hundred dollars. This last quotation is about one-half 
of what Chipman paid for the whole town-site. 

Friend Etonbleau, who invested in time and owns six- 
teen acres in the very heart of the town has likewise 
profited by this "boom," without even soiling his con- 
science; he is now a wealthy man and contemplates re- 
turning next year to "la belle France," to spend his re- 
maining days in the peaceful enjoyment of home-life and 
comfort. I personally am glad for their sake, for he and 
his noble Hamburg wife are courageous, honest, amiable 
and industrious people, whose good fortune has not 
turned their heads. I sincerely wish them God-speed. 

If I only had been able to invest about a hundred dol- 
lars at the time of my arrival, I should now be the gainer 
of five or six hundred dollars. As it is, I can only dwell 
in air-castles and be satisfied to congratulate others upon 
their success. 

November 13th, 1853. 

Hurrah ! Another holiday for me ! I just received your 
long-looked for letter, dated the fifth of August a. c. 
Many thanks for all the welcome news it contains. 

Indeed it is no surprise to me that our American news- 
papers give more political and local information and are 
generally more informing than yours. This is particu- 
larly true of the Koszta affair in Smyrna. Every one of 
our papers is full of unlimited praise for Capt. Ingraham, 
who, by his energetic action freed Koszta from the hands 
of the Austrians and only express regret that Ingraham 
did not make use of the language which our cannons are 
so able to voice in order to teach those Austrians how 



AMERICAN SUPERIORITY 283 

citizens of our free states are to be respected. Tell me, 
has a single one of your papers given space to the answer 
of our Secretary of State, Marcy, to the request of Aus- 
tria for indemnity? Not one, I wager. Such tobacco 
would have been too strong for a German smoker. It 
pleases me to hear that at last you have a railroad. 
Tilings do go dreadfully slow over there: nobody will dis- 
pute that. Your road-building, above all gives ample 
proof of it. Alongside of this, just allow me to hint at 
a few things which have been accomplished here in Cali- 
fornia, just a little of it, as it comes to my mind. And all 
within two months: 

1. San Francisco has gas. The plant, the holder— 
fifty-eight feet in diameter— twenty feet high— forty 
thousand yards or one hundred and twenty thousand 
German feet of pipes have been laid and by New Year 
our city will be illuminated by gas. 

2. Four brand-new wharves of about two to four hun- 
dred yards in length and forty to fifty feet wide have 
been constructed and the old ones repaired. 

3. Electrical telegraphs, one coast-line, to report in- 
coming vessels, and vessels in distress; the other from 
San Francisco to Sacramento— about 100 miles distant. 
Two or three branch lines have likewise been under con- 
struction. Quite a number of surveyors and road-build- 
ers are engaged in finding the most desirable passes 
through the Sierra Nevada in order to plan the best pos- 
sible and the safest possible route for the Great Eastern 
Railroad which is intended to cross the desert. It is 
contemplated to begin work at either end during the com- 
ing spring. The costs are not expected to exceed fifty 
million dollars and have been partly provided for before- 
hand. Strong military escorts protect those commission- 
ers and surveyors from attacks by the Indians. Soldiers 
are often ordered to aid or protect commercial undertak- 
ings,— a wise plan to keep those fellows (the Indians) 
out of mischief. 

4. Three new river steam-boats,— one about two hun- 



284 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

dred feet in length— have left the ship-yards of San Fran- 
cisco, and as many more are now in course of construc- 
tion. 

5. A new semi-monthly steam-ship service between 
here and Central America has opened and it is announced 
that the first vessel, the "Amazon," with a capacity of 
one thousand tons, will leave with passengers and freight 
on December the first, a. c. 

6. The "Leytona" has arrived in San Francisco and 
will henceforth sail between this port and the Sandwich 
Islands. Two other boats, for the same purpose, will be 
installed by the same company, immediately upon ar- 
rival. 

Were it my intention to give you a recital of all minor 
occurrences in and about the city, such as the construc- 
tion of churches, road-building, planking of sidewalks, 
bridge-building, new express lines, river-shipping, I 
should have to fill half a dozen sheets. But to give you 
even a faint idea of the busy life, I shall but state that 
in San Francisco alone, there are no less than one hun- 
dred and fifty-five brick buildings going up right now I 
About four weeks ago, I read in a local newspaper what 
a correspondent had to say about progress in the city of 
Sacramento, where he assures us there are at present 
two hundred and twenty-two brick buildings and eight 
hundred and forty-eight dwellings of wooden structure, 
not counting barns, stables, warehouses and the like. 
And do you not remember that I wrote to you last win- 
ter regarding the total destruction of that city? 

I shall not force any more news from this part of the 
globe upon you. But I blush, when I compare my own 
beloved fatherland with this country. Next to poverty, 
it is the greatest misfortune that can weigh upon an in- 
dustrious, strong-minded youth, to have been born else- 
where than in the United States of North America! Well 
do I comprehend the just pride of the Yankee and inter- 
pret the fire which sparkles in his eyes, when he sings 
his national hymn : ' ' The Star Spangled Banner, ' ' whilst 
he watches the unfurling of the proudest, purest flag of 



AMERICAN SUPERIORITY 285 

God's earth, the "Stars and Stripes" to the breeze of his 
free and mighty country! 

My dear father, in speaking of Griinhagen and Emil 
Bottcher, you make the remark that such inconsistency 
of fate annoys you. Not so with me, nor do I believe 
that any Californiari thinks it strange. One has to pass 
here through many different stages. An example may 
here suffice: 

The hand-cart, which I procured last year, was the 
property of a German, who had made the round sum of 
one thousand dollars with it, inside of a year and a half. 
He was, and is yet, an honorable, industrious man and 
appeared to me, who at the time was a sick, broken-down 
and almost penniless individual, to be in a position, which 
I might have envied. About the same time I went to 
Alameda, he disposed of his cart and invested his money 
in a horse and dray, (freight truck, it is called in some 
places), and with the remaining sum he bought a small 
piece of property in San Francisco. A few weeks after 
his happy change, misfortune overtook him. His dray 
was destroyed in a fire, his horse was killed by a fall a 
few days after, and to complete his ill luck, there ap- 
peared the rightful owner to the property he had thought 
to be his own, and proved to him, that he had been made 
the victim of an unscrupulous swindler. In consequence, 
the poor man had to let go his hold, give up his lot, and 
furthermore he was unable to bring the deceiver to jus- 
tice. When I happened to 1 e in San Francisco some four 
weeks ago, I met him on the street, sick with fever and 
penniless. T gave him five dollars, which he gratefully 
accepted. "Which of us to-day, do you suppose, will envy 
the other, he or I? And, it' you tell anybody of it here, 
you hardly gain attention, as such occurrence is not at 
all rare. The Yankee, if at all interested, will remove 
his chewing tobacco and exclaim: "Well! California is 
a great country!" I have not heard from Griinhagen 
within six months and Emil BOttcher has gone to the 
Society Islands, as his brother informs mo. 



286 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

November 16th, 1S53. 
You ask me, dear father, why I have not sent my let- 
ters through Bottcher, as formerly, and wonder whether 
there has been a misunderstanding between us. This is a 
new proof, that you cannot familiarize yourself with our 
conditions and their changing possibilities. As I experi- 
ence it, as I carry on my warfare, so do thousands of 
others struggle for an existence. As I have written to 
you more than once, the only way to succeed here is to 
take the first chance which offers itself, no matter what 
it may be. And this is exactly the case with Bottcher, 
who has just decided to enter farm-life, to plow, sow and 
engage in similar pleasures which the Goddess of agricul- 
ture may have in store for him. He had long since sev- 
ered himself from his mercantile connections and kept a 
small hotel in Union City— about eighteen miles south of 
here. Many times I had not the slightest knowledge of 
his whereabouts, and it therefore would take me three 
times as long to send my mail through him, as by the 
ordinary channel. This accounts for the change. As to 
my personal good-fellowship with Bottcher, there has 
been no break ; on the contrary, everything is more agree- 
able than ever, as I have been able to return to him the 
sixty dollars which he so generously loaned me in time 
of need. As to the New York post-mark I cannot en- 
lighten you, but believe that the fifteenth of June is the 
correct date. It takes from twenty-five to twenty-eight 
days to go from here to New York (via Panama), and 
twelve days from New York to Aix la Chapelle is not 
uncommon. The postage, whether paid here or over 
there should be the same, namely thirty cents or thirteen 
silvergroschen for single weight. Thirty cents here is 
scarcely enough money for a good cigar, while thirteen 
groschen will suffice to buy yourself a bottle of good 
Bavarian beer every evening for two weeks in succes- 
sion. I want you to figure upon that and not to ask me 
again to let you pay the postage of my letters. Please 
send your mail through Bartseh. There is no reason for 
a change, as I have hitherto been well treated, and as 



AMERICAN SUPERTORTTY 287 

my present address, though seemingly of some duration, 
is by no means absolutely permanent; we had better leave 
well enough alone. Who knows how long or how short 
my stay may be. The next week, nay even the morrow 
may change my destiny. Just leave those things as we 
have been accustomed to do since my arrival; it is the 
safest plan. 

Give mother and Marie my inmost thanks for their 
ever-welcome letters. They know very well how fond I 
am of lilacs and consequently I decorated my picture 
with them to celebrate my birthday anniversary. And 
I certainly realize how you all love me, probably more 
than I deserve, undoubtedly more than I shall ever be 
able to repay, not for the want of heart,— for all and 
every one of you dwell within my heart,— but for the 
want of— I do not know what to call it! Do you remem- 
ber that part in Fredrika Bremer's* novel "The Home," 
where the old assessor falls in love with little Eva! I 
refer to the warm, living hearts in the cold, coarse, ugly 
stone. This comparison to the assessor is apt to fit much 
younger people. 

Tell Podlech to remain where he is as long as every- 
thing goes fairly well but, if things should change for 
the worse and darken his hopes for the future, let him 
not waste time in a fruitless attempt to regain his lost 
fortune but rather remember that California is a country 
where people of his kind are certain of success. May 
Carl Podlech also be assured that he has a true and sin- 
cere friend in the far West, who will always be mindful 
of the debt of gratitude which he, (that is myself) owes 
him. 

As you know, we mix here with representatives of 



*Fredrika Bremer's novels: The Neighbors, the Home, the 
President's Daughter and Nina arc a masterly exposition of 
Swedish character and make admirable reading for refined home 
circles. Young Mr. Leconvreur's reference to them gives us a 
welcome proof of his parents' delicate and wise selection of family 
literature. 'Would, that all parents were as careful, and the num- 
ber of such sterling sons would be greater. — Translator. 



£8S EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

ever} 7 nation on the globe, and consequently there is prob- 
ably no place where one finds so much foreign money in 
circulation as here. To give you a striking example, I 
shall mention the present contents of my purse which is 
divided into four parts: 

First pocket : One French five-francs dollar ; one Peru- 
vian piaster ; one French half- franc ; two Chilean 
reals. 

Second pocket: Four French francs; one Prussian half- 
florin; two Spanish two-real pieces. 

Third pocket: One East India rupee; tbree American 
half-dollars; two American dimes. 

Fourth pocket: One Dutch ten-florin gold-piece; one 
American Eagle— ten dollars. 

In all, nineteen dollars and seventy-five cents in coins 
from no less than eight different countries. Is not that 
an example of Babylonic confusion? 

Some of you folks may be greatly interested in this 
coin question and, for their benefit, I will undertake to 
give you as close a list of current coins, including of 
course, all foreign money, as we daily run across it. To 
make it a quick and comprehensive description, I shall 
mention the American value first, to be followed by its 
respective foreign competitors, some of which have a 
history of their own, which afford interesting reading. 

Copper coins do not exist here. 

Silver coins: 

Half dime— five cents — is very scarce as people do not 
care to handle so small a coin, and which in reality is 
therefore of little use. I consequently commence my 
coin table with: 

I. The Dime— ten cents— 4 silvergroschen 2y 2 pfg. 
Prussian; or French half-franc piece; or Spanish real— 
which is very common here and generally counts eight to 
the dollar, though many people do not consider the dif- 
ference, and pass them for dimes. These reals, (which 
in fact are I2V2 cents) come from Spain, Mexico, Central 
and South America. 



AMERICAN SUPERIORITY 289 

II. The Quarter— 25 cents— 10 sgr. ly 2 pfg- Prussian, 
is the coin most frequently met with; it stands in equal 
value with the 

English shilling, though worth seven pfenning less. 

East Indian half rupees a trifle less in value. 

French francs, in reality two silvergroschen, ten pfen- 
nings less in value than the American quarter. Notwith- 
standing this fact, the coin generally passes for a quar- 
ter, though it does seem strange. The story is frequently 
told that a local firm, Godefroy & Sillem, branch house 
of the world-renowned firm of Godefroy & Co., Hamburg, 
imported some three years ago a large quantity of francs 
and put them in circulation as quarters, which they 
closely resemble, at least in size. It proved successful 
and Godefroy realized an enormous gain from this trans- 
action. But the secret leaked out. Nowadays, many im- 
migrants are loaded with francs, the most profitable mer- 
chandise for importation. This will not last long and 
measures to prevent the circulation of the franc in its 
present form will soon be taken ; even now people are try- 
ing to avoid them. 

Cuartillo Pesos, coined in Old Spain, Mexico, Central 
American Republics, Peru, Bolivia, New Granada, Bra- 
zil, Argentine Republic, Paraguay and Chile are very 
numerous and perhaps the most honest equivalent of- 
fered for the American quarter-dollar, as it even weighs 
a trifle more. 

Prussian Half Florin (Gulden). For curiosity's sake 
I shall mention an attempt to flood the market with these 
coins. Godefroy 's successful experiment had induced 
another German firm to do likewise. J. G. Schroder, the 
Hamburg merchant prince and banker, is said to have 
been tempted to this transaction by his local representa- 
tive. Well, the Prussian Half Florins, which are scarcely 
worth one-half of an American quarter, had found many 
dupes, as its size deceives the guileless,— of which there 
are still some left! But Schroder's agent was in too 
great a hurry to get-rich-quick and the flooding of the 
monev market with these ooins was resented bv San 



290 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Francisco bankers, who informed the people as to the 
real value of the ' ' Gulden. ' ' As soon as the fact became 
generally known, the agency had to stand the inpour of 
the rejected coins, as well as the many uncomplimentary 
suggestions, that were offered gratuitously. Now and 
then one runs across one of these importations and as 
you will have noticed, even your only son,— bright as a 
fond parent may think him to be!— counts one of them 
among the miscellaneous coins in his porte-monnaie. 
Somebody got the best of me lately but, never mind, I 
shall get rid of it sometime. "Tit for tat" or, as the 
Germans say: "Wurst wider Wurst." 

III. The Half Dollar-50 cents-21 sgr., 3 pfg. 
Pruss., likewise acceptable are: Medio Peso, Bolivian, 
Peruvian but rarely Spanish coin. 

East Indian Rupee: 

IV. The Dollar— One thaler 12 sgr. 6 pfg. Prussian. 
American dollars are so rare here that I have not come 
across a single one during my stay in San Francisco. In 
its place, one receives foreign coins of the following 
kind: 

Five Franc pieces, silver, very common. 

Bolivian and Peruvian Peso — one thaler 14 sgr. Pruss. 

Old Spanish and Mexican Piaster: likewise Prus- 
sian Thaler is not at all rare, though only the large 
old coins with the images of Frederic II and Frederic 
William II pass for dollars; the later and smaller 
ones do not serve the purpose, as people generally de- 
cline to receive them, except as seventy-five cent pieces, 
which in reality is just about what they are worth. Prus- 
sian money has come into such disrepute since the half- 
gulden speculation fell through, that many people abso- 
lutely refuse to accept it, even at a liberal discount. In 
fact, it is a growing belief that the Prussian money, as 
we have it here, is but a counterfeit, that is, that it con- 
sists of silver-plated copper coins. It is hardly credible, 
but I personally overheard the assertion of an educated 
American, that this supposed or apparent fraud proved 
to his satisfaction the rottenness of the Prussian govern- 
ment. 



AMERICAN SUPERIORITY 291 

American coins are almost of pure silver and conse- 
quently small in size compared with pieces of similar 
values of other nations. Dimes and reals are no larger 
than silvergroschen. Quarters resemble your (now no- 
torious) half gulden. Half dollars are as large as, and 
thicker than the large Prussian gulden, and the whole 
dollar is of the size of an old Prussian thaler. Spanish 
coins are old and uncomely. 

Gold coins. I shall pass the half and quarter-dollar 
pieces, which are too small to he practicable and are gen- 
erally looked upon as curiosities. Even the 

I. Dollar coins are only of the size of half a sgr. 

II. Quarter Eagles— 2y 2 dollars— 3 thaler 16 sgr. 3 

Pfg. 

III. Half Eagles — 5 dollars— 7 thaler 2 sgr. 6 pfg. 

IV. Eagles— 10 dollars— 14 thaler 5 sgr. 

V. Double Eagles— 20 dollars— 28 thaler 10 sgr. 
These are all the American denominations of gold 

coins, but fliere is much foreign gold in circulation, 
though not in as large quantities as there is of silver. I 
shall mention the most frequently met gold coins: Such 
as pass for 

VI. Tiro Dollars — two thaler 20 sgr. Prussian. 
Spanish Eight Ounce — two thaler 27 sgr. and which 

appear mostly in old Spanish, Mexican, Peruvian and 
Chilean coinage. 

VII. Four Dollars— five thaler 20 sgr. Prussian. 

1. French Twenty Francs— five thaler 10 sgr. 

2. Dutch Ten Florins— five thaler 18 sgr. 

3. Danish Christian d'or — five thaler 20 sgr., rare. 

4. Hanoverian Fredrics d'or— same. 

5. Prussian Fredrics d'or— same. 

6. Spanish Quarter Ounce— frequent. 

VIII. Eight Dollars— eleven thaler 10 sgr. 
Spanish Half Ounces. 

Hanoverian and Prussian Double Fredrics d'or, rare. 

IX. Sixteen Dollars — twenty-two thaler 20 sgr. Prus- 
sian. 

Ounces only of old Spanish and Peruvian coinage 
are quite rare. 



292 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

X. Fifty Dollar pieces— seventy thaler 25 sgr. Pruss. 
Though this appears to be an enormous value for one 
single coin, it is seen quite often. These are really pri- 
vate coins of pure California gold, i. e. only one hundred 
and sixteen of copper and eight hundred eighty-four 
parts of gold. These valuable coins are of the size of two- 
thaler pieces but instead of being round, they are octa- 
gon-shaped. There is one peculiarity about these " slugs" 
as Californians call them; the gold is said to be softer 
than usual, so it often happens that because of wear, the 
value gradually decreases two, three or more dollars. 
Nevertheless I should not mind possessing a pocketful. 



LETTER NO. XI 



The 24th of November, 1853 
Christmas is nigh ; Do you remember how Marie and 
I, as children, cut slips of paper about this time, by means 
of which we managed to keep close count of the days 
until that great and glorious feast-day arrived, on which 
Christopher would drive up with the sleigh to take us 
upon the holiday trip to grandpa's at Bartenstein 1 ? Do 
you remember, how every night one of those slips would 
be burnt with great solemnity and how we rejoiced, when 
the number decreased to twenty, fifteen or ten, now but 
one more week, six, five, four or three days, at last the 
day after to-morrow, then to-morrow! Then!!— Tempora 
mutantur et nos mutamur in illis! Yes, times change 
and we change with them! And how wonderful the 
change! 

Little Marie has grown into maidenhood; the then 
careless child stands now on the eve of that great day 
when she will take upon herself the great duties of a 
household and the still more serious and sacred duties 
of a faithful wife. May God bless you, sister! The lit- 
tle Franz has grown too and gone away into the wide, 
cheerless world! He has become acquainted with the 
many hardships of life, and manifold reverses have made 
of the tender-hearted boy a man, hardened by experi- 
ences. Yes, hardened is the right word, for I have be- 
come hardened by strenuous labor for daily bread. As 
once the boy counted with child-like glee the days when 
school would close for a golden vacation of four long 
weeks, so counts now the man the remaining days of the 
month, at the end of which he may pocket his few hard 
earned dollars. Work-day after work-day, months, 
years, a long chain of work-days, no vacation, scarcely n 

293 



294 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

holiday for hirn! The poor man's life has but one vaca- 
tion, when all seems ended, when men in holiday attire 
sink his body five or six feet deep into mother earth, 
then covering his coffin with cold, unsympathetic ground. 
But there at least, is a time of rejoicing for the poor 
man, though he cannot, as in his childhood days, count 
the moments by paper-slips. Providence prefers to sur- 
prise him, by extinguishing the poor, sick, work-worn 
life at an unexpected hour. 

I am a fool, I know, a dangerous, maddened, relentless 
fool, who worries himself and others, all of which I know, 
but cannot help that I was born for a dark existence. 
Do you still remember, how we children surrounded the 
Christmas tree, to watch the candles go out one after 
another, up to the large life-light on the top of the tree? 
The present, earnest life has interpreted for me this par- 
able of the big Christmas candle. I still look toward the 
candle of hope. To-day it burns rather dimly, though 
not so very low, not yet nearing the end, as it appeared 
a year ago. Yes, this last comparison makes me see 
things brighter but, shall I ever live to see it shine se- 
renely? Though I be but a poor fool, I am not far enough 
gone, to grow melancholy over what may or may not be 
in store for me in years to come. We poor pygmies do 
not know what even the next morning may bring us! 
Meanwhile I shall do my duty, as and wherever I see it, 
and do it earnestly and courageously as becomes a man, 
who forges his own fate and everything will turn out well. 

It is now time to withdraw in Morpheus' arms; or, 
prosaically expressed, I shall roll my tired body in the 
blankets and go to sleep. Have amused myself this af- 
ternoon by planing five dozen pickets— six feet each — 
for a garden fence. This occupation tired me the more, 
as the wood used had been exposed to an uninterrupted 
eight-day California downpour of winter rain. I shall 
therefore not delay my night's rest. Once more: Good 
night— good night! 



REMINISCENCES 295 

San Francisco, Dec. 29th, '53. 

"Ye, Gods! That boy must have been in a trance, if 
he has not awakened before the end of the year suffi- 
ciently to continue his letter to us!" This or similar 
words I hear my dear father murmur, when he catches 
sight of the last date. Well, I did not sleep longer 
nor oftener than usual since the twenty-fourth of No- 
vember, the date of my last writing but, I worked hard 
and lost my position at Etonbleau, which kept me search- 
ing for another ; I worked again. To make the long story 
short, I could not find time to have a quiet chat with you 
and, to be honest, would not have done so to-night, if the 
fact that you all are waiting for my letter,' did not weigh 
heavily upon my conscience. It has been so long since 
you heard from me. Etonbleau found business too dull 
and gave up the hotel, preferring the life of a gentleman 
of leisure to the worries of a hotelkeeper with doubtful 
patronage. I consequently severed my connection with 
him at the middle of the month. I can truthfully say 
that we parted in excellent harmony and as soon as I 
can manage it, I shall follow his hearty invitation to 
visit him. 

Thus did it happen that I became again a passenger on 
a little steamer bound for San Francisco— an unemployed 
breadwinner. It was on the 14th of December, a beauti- 
ful morning and the dark-blue surface of the bay as 
smooth as a mirror; the many white sails of the myriads 
of coasters were reflected in the sun-kissed flood which 
our little steam-boat rapidly furrowed through. Not a 
breeze disturbed the early morning meditation of Mother 
Nature. The sun was slowly lifting the foggy veil from 
the magnificent mountain view which encircles the bay 
of San Francisco. This panorama is at once imposing 
and exceedingly attractive; the early foliage and ver- 
dure which the first rain of winter had seemingly coaxed 
out, assembled a new garb, becoming and enchanting. 
The air was agreeably cool and filled with an aroma pe- 
culiar to the coast of the Pacific. San Franciseo seemed 
to enjoy the magnificence of her youthful beauty, and 



296 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the happy sun rays sparkled playfully in the reflecting 
mirrors of the many windows and in the terraces of the 
zinc roofs. It was a beautiful morning. 

How differently did I look upon everything a year 
ago, when I arrived here at night during a downpouring 
rain, deathly sick, penniless and without hope for work? 

This time, I was positive that success would accompany 
me on my search for work, and, bless your heart ! I was 
not disappointed, as the very next day found me at work 
as. — a painter! A friend of mine, Edward Eaabe of 
Posen, has settled here as painter and paper-hanger and 
has done a good business during the last year. He re- 
ceived me kindly and offered me work and pay. Of 
course, this being winter-time, he could not offer me per- 
manent work as he himself is idle at times and cannot 
agree to engage a helper except by the day. So far I 
have been in luck, as work has been rather steady, not- 
withstanding the holidays; if there should be a day now 
and then, when I shall have to lay idle, I do not worry 
as there is enough forthcoming to cover expenses, with- 
out living off my own fat. My savings at Etonbleau 
amounted to about seventy dollars with no more debts to 
my name. Eaabe pays me three dollars a day. 

As you will readily understand, I have to learn many 
a knack, and "the tricks of the trade," so that, if I can 
only make my expenses, I shall gladly stay at Eaabe 's 
through the winter. In summer time there is always 
a scarcity of painters and no one needs to worry. Eaabe 
is a good, quiet and temperate fellow so that I cannot 
hope for a better "boss." 

Am I now to waste time, ink and paper to tell you in 
fine words and well calculated phrases, how earnestly 
and heartily my wishes for your future health and happi- 
ness are, which flash with lightning speed through space 
to greet you on the New Year mora? Truly not! 

My love for you remains the same, from year to year, 
from hour to hour, from minute to minute. I cannot 
promise you greater affection than hitherto shown for, if 
it had been possible for me to increase my love and de- 



REMINISCENCES 297 

votion to you, it would have occurred long ago. And 
what is true of me, is time of you. Your love, so tender, 
so unwavering, so immense, remains unchanged. There 
have been moments, when I doubted the sufficiency of my 
own love for you, but yours ! I never questioned and never 
shall ! I therefore do not wish for a renewal of your love, 
which I know will accompany me beyond the grave and 
I am unable to make new wishes for I love you beyond 
measure. 

If you were to ask of me a well-worded letter of New 
Year's congratulations to one or the other Privy Coun- 
sellor, I should gladly send you ten instead of one, well- 
written and well-constructed according to the latest dic- 
tates of grammar and rhetoric not to mention a superb 
orthography but, when there is a question of such a letter 
to you, deaT parents, or to you, my only sister — my eyes 
seem veiled, the writing appears crooked, and of orthog- 
raphy or rhetoric we had better not speak. I could 
never accomplish such a task. Let it suffice, that I love 
you! 

Farewell, a thousand times! 
(Signed) FRANZ LECOUVtfEUR. 

The 30th P. M. 
Have just accepted an engagement at J. Jensen 's, San 
Jose', or Santa Clara. My salary as steward will be sixty 
dollars a month and travelling expense. I shall leave to- 
morrow morning. F. L. 



From the Diaey. 

December 31st, 1853. 
One of our many proverbs in the Fatherland teaches us 
that: "All is well, that ends well!" I wonder whether 
this will come to pass in my case and as regards this lat- 
ter-day venture in the old year of eighteen hundred and 
fifty-three, which has really been pretty good to me. 



298 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Will ray trip be a successful one? Nous le verrons. We 
shall see. 

Nine o'clock saw me on board of the little steamer 
"Guadaloupe," which took in passengers and freight at 
Long wharf. They charged me six dollars for this trip. 
With the exception of a slight collision with a whaling- 
vessel, our voyage was delightful, as the coast offers a 
variety of scenery, which seems unequalled elsewhere. 
The mountains reach a, height of about four thousand 
feet and are plentifully covered with fir trees of various 
kinds. We reached Alviso about three o'clock and soon 
arrived at San Jose, where old sycamore trees and wil- 
lows are plentiful. On my arrival I am informed that the 
vacancy which I expect to fill is in the town of Santa 
Cruz, whither I shall proceed on January the second. As 
I do not propose to hunt for adventures in a strange 
place and as the company gathered in the bar-room of 
the hotel does not attract me, I have retired into my as- 
signed room and am dreaming of "sylvester-night" at 
home ! 

January 1st, 1854. 
San Jose" is one of the oldest California settlements, 
and existed long before the gold-fever appeared. Its mis- 
sion contributed largely to its importance and the agri- 
cultural possibilities assure a lasting resource. The pop- 
ulation consists largely of Mexicans and California In- 
dians, often mixed-breeds, which the eye of the northern 
immigrant can hardly distinguish. One thing strikes me 
and would strike the most careless observer: the untidi- 
ness and actual filth, with which the lower classes of these 
people surround themselves. But I suppose there will 
be plenty of chances for me hereafter to dwell upon just 
such descriptions. There is a magnificent variety of wild- 
flowers in this part of the country and when one sees the 
fantastically dressed natives roam lazily about among 
nature's choicest productions, the sight is attractive in- 
deed. 



REMINISCENCES 299 

January the 2nd, 1854. 

Have been on the road since three o'clock this morn- 
ing and I assure yon that any description one may read 
of adventurous stage-coach drives through dangerous 
forests of Italy or Hungary is tame, compared with my 
latest experience. While the panorama which opened 
and closed before our eyes occasionally was truly grand 
and surpassed anything I had ever seen, the drive up and 
down the narrow roads along the mountain sides were 
often so frightfully unsafe that every step of a horse's 
foot sent a chill through my body. The fact that we hap- 
pened to be in the rainy season, which makes the road 
more slippery than usual, did not contribute to my com- 
fort. At last we reached the long-spoken-of road which 
is about six miles in length and, passing the river San 
Bonito and its tributaries here and there, leads us 
straight to the Mission of San Juan. 

These missions all look alike to me. The church is in 
ruins, with uncommonly thick adobe walls and tile roof— 
and right close by is the church-yard, likewise surround- 
ed by thick adobe walls. The residences of the monks, 
who generally live in barracks, built in the same style as 
the Mission churches, are very simple and give the whole 
a rather mediaeval appearance. It will seem odd to every 
stranger that these structures have windows without 
panes of glass, which, it is said, are enormously high- 
priced in this country and were evidently not at all to be 
had when the good mission-fathers brought civilization 
to the natives. All the missions I have seen so far: the 
Dolores, Santa Clara and San Juan Bantista, are built on 
the same plan. After a good rest we prepared for an- 
other long ride, which proved to be worse than the first 
part of the trip, as the road was in places so rocky and 
mountainous that I expected any moment to have my 
ribs broken or dislocated. Whenever the thought of my 
own safety would permit it, I drank in the magnificent 
air from the virgin forests which beckoned us to stay. 
Oli! it was a glorious drive and when sunset came we 
were approaching what 1 first had taken for my new 



300 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

abode, but which proved to be Watsonville, the home of 
friend Griinhagen, now Harry Jackson, to whom I paid 
a flying visit. Again we went on through the beautiful 
Pajaro Valley, entertained by the songs of countless birds 
and reptiles, with here and there the roar of a disturbed 
mountain lion or the danger signal of a fleeing coyote, 
whose bark resembles that of a wolf. The evening is 
clear and the parting rays of the setting sun allow us now 
and then to catch a glimpse of the Pacific ocean near 
Santa Cruz. Soon the moonlight night with the millions 
of twinkling stars prepared us a feast such as one can 
only witness in the "Wild West." To express the de- 
gree of my rapture, be it said that I forgot all about my 
aching bones, to pay homage to God and Nature. 

January 3d-15th, 1854. 

My position as head-waiter was of short duration, as 
Madam Jensen, the ruling spirit of the house, proved 
a veritable Berlin dragon, with whom no employee can 
live in peace and one after another leaves her house with- 
out getting a cent of pay. When at last she made me 
work from three in the morning till twelve at night I drew 
the line and quit, after vainly trying to make her refund 
my traveling expenses, not to speak of the wages due me. 
Robbed by a woman, a Berlin woman— I shall remember 
this experience. 

After visiting Griinhagen on my return trip, I decided 
to take the water-route for the sake of saving expense, 
as my funds have dwindled down to almost nothing. 

January 31st, 1854. 
Griinhagen treated me well. As I have an opportunity 
to get a low rate to San Francisco on the little schooner 
"Sarah Lavinia," I decided to ship in her. The weather 
looks threatening and even the Captain seems to doubt 
whether everything will go smoothly. It happens that 
the ferry-boat on which he embarks cannot take me along 
but after the Captain is safely on board, it returns after 
me. While just about to enter, the boatman points to the 



REMINISCENCES 301 

"Sarah Lavinia," which is dragging her anchor, and rap- 
idly drifting toward Monterey. A thick, heavy fog envel- 
oped her and sealed her fate. The next morning brought 
the sad news of her complete wreck, not a life saved! 
How do I feel? Do not ask. 

February 6th, 1854. 

After recovering from the shock which my latest expe- 
rience had given me, I resolved to try my luck again. 
This time a schooner, "Francisca," Capt. Miller, bound 
for San Francisco, will receive me as a passenger. The 
weather is not at all what I should wish it to be, but one 
cannot have it made to order. I frankly confess that the 
fate of the "Sarah Lavinia" has rather benumbed my 
courage; but as I tried to persuade myself that it is the 
evident will of Providence that I should get to my desti- 
nation alive, I braced up for the rough outlook. And 
rough it certainly was, but not till midnight did the crew 
really think of danger, which was averted by the skillful 
handling of sails and rudder— captain and crew sharing 
the merit evenly. Sunrise found us only near Cape Afio- 
nuevo. All goes well; we come about four o'clock in the 
afternoon within sight of Cape Bonita, the reefs of which 
we hope to quietly avoid, as the wind, though strong, has 
been favorable during the day. Suddenly a dead calm 
sets in, the sails flap to and fro, then, merciful Heaven, a 
storm from the dreaded South West sets in, and— the 
fog, the fog! 

My thoughts were of life, death and hereafter. The 
heroic efforts of Captain Miller and his noble crew will 
ever remain in my memory. Again and again we ap- 
proached the reefs, and as if by miraculous interposition 
we escaped seemingly certain destruction. A last effort 
was made to force obedience to man's skill from the roar- 
ing wind and waves. Every available sail was set, the 
schooner was laid completely on one side, while the gale 
blew us fiercely toward the dangerous rocks. One single 
rope broken would now mean death, but once more Prov- 
idence had pity on us in our struggle and the danger was 



302 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

narrowly passed, whilst I was watching the escape along- 
side the man at the helm. Cape Bonita is a large, pointed 
rock around which the wild breakers play their danger- 
ous game among the reefs which the falling debris of 
centuries have wrought. We had passed the danger, I 
thought, and I went below to light a cigar, when I was 
nearly prostrated by a. terrific noise, resembling a cannon- 
shot, which brought me instantly on deck again. What 
I beheld can only be realized by one who has gone 
through similar experiences. Our vessel was a wreck 
— a mass of splinters from the broken masts and yards, 
fragments of sails strewn about the deck or floating al- 
ready in mid-ocean— this was the sight which met my eye. 
I stood as if paralyzed! Had this occurred five minutes 
sooner, we would have met our death unconditionally, 
but as we had already approached the Golden Gate, our 
perilous condition had been signaled to San Francisco by 
some one from shore before we had quite recovered from 
the shock. While we were awaiting help from San Fran- 
cisco a clipper entered the Gate and at once offered as- 
sistance which was gladly accepted. Thus ends the 
journey on the "Francisca," Capt. Miller, whose heroic 
deeds I shall not soon forget. 

June 10th, 1854. 
I have been working with Raabe ever since my return 
to San Francisco and have averaged about sixty-five dol- 
lars a month. I have heard from home and have just an- 
swered Marie's wedding announcement. May she be 
happy, for she deserves it. 






LETTER NO. XII 



San Francisco, October 12, 1854. 
My Dearly Beloved Parents: — Week after week passes 
without bringing me, what I desire most, news from you. 
It is now more than three months since I received your 
last letter. No change has taken place in my way of liv- 
ing since I wrote to you last, and I am, to my own sur- 
prise, still following the same trade— painting, without 
bettering my condition, except perfecting myself in the 
business. As to my health, I have no reason to complain. 
As far as social intercourse is concerned, I keep company 
with myself and wonder sometimes that I do not feel 
more lonesome, but then I might feel more lonesome if I 
were to associate with others. During my idle hours I 
walk, and of all places I prefer a quiet nook at the beach. 
There, far from the noise and the strife of God's images, 
stretching myself upon the sand in the shade of some 
rock, I let my thoughts roam wherever they please and 
let the waves of the Pacific sing to me the old, old song, 
which fits my thoughts so well! Do not imagine me, how- 
ever, to be a complete anchoret, such as are found among 
the Hindoos and early Christians, who retired for solitude 
to the wilderness, living in hovels and caves. As far as 
outward appearance is concerned, I am on excellent terms 
with all persons with whom chance brings me, but I have 
no desire to become in the least degree intimate with any- 
one. I know myself too well, and this is the result of it. I 
know what the verdict of sensible people would be were 
I to tell them of my troubles and my anxieties. How 
ridiculous, how silly I would appear in their eyes! This 
T know to be true, because other sentimental dreamers, 
such as I (but who have not sense enough to conceal their 
weak sentimentality) have always challenged my satire, 

303 



304 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

and the most bitter sarcasm on my part, even when I 
knew my own weakness, and when nobody had to tell me 
that I saw motes in the eyes of others and failed to recog- 
nize the beam in my own. 

I had a very pleasant surprise the other day, one— if 
not as great 8 s when I receive letters from you, at least 
somewhat resembling it. I am sure you will never guess 
what it was. I got hold of two copies of the "Konigsber- 
ger Hartung'sche Zeitung" of June the thirtieth and 
July the eleventh, which an acquaintance had received 
from relatives in that city. And how I read them and 
read them again! Not a word was there in them but 
awakened in me either pleasant or sad recollections, and 
not a word did I allow to escape me from the beginning 
to the end. No one, in the whole of East Prussia, could 
have read these two numbers more attentively than I 
have read them here. From the political news down to 
the very signature of the editor not a single letter escaped 
me. And what was there that did not bring my old home 
vividly before my mind! And what a cloud of memories 
arose within me with every word I read. There was the 
announcement of an auction at Stockhausen's, reminding 
me of my desk in Malmros* office— I wonder who may be 
at it now?— and of the time when I ran as an apprentice 
with samples of grain from one warehouse to another. 
Then came Spitznik with "Plaster of Paris for sale," and 
close by I read all about "Friiuleinhof," and saw myself 
at play there as a little fellow with Dave and Emil. Here 
I read in large letters: J. Wolfrath, linen goods — 
Schmiedestrasse— opposite the Courthouse— and at once 
I saw him before me with his round, good-natured face 
and his flaxen hair surrounded by the whole "Society of 
Clerks," which brings back to my mind our balls, with 
myself as vice-president and committeeman in dress coat 
and kid gloves. And there is Laube, my comrade of the 
City Guards, who volunteered at the festival of the Eylan 
Rifle Club; and does he not remind me of sentry duty, 
of patrol duty and of parade? Koesting has been trans- 
ferred from Tapian to Eastenburg; old Leitmiiller is 



A FOURTEEN-YEAR PERIOD 30S 

dead and so is Wiersbitzkie 's little daughter. Then I 
read of the excursion of a club to Arnan and how nicely 
they were caught in a rainstorm. I saw the old 
"Schwalbe" advertised for an excursion to Tapian; that 
"Wagner is still giving concerts and that Harpf has re- 
turned. I also read that the rose festival of the Ger- 
man Club had to be postponed on account of the inclem- 
ency of the weather and that reminded me of the Borsen- 
garten and of the many quiet, pleasant evenings I spent 
there. 

You can not realize how one who has been away from 
home three years and a half as I have been longs to see 
the "dear old home paper." I actually devoured the 
contents of the Hartung'sche. 

Olias, who spent six days here a few weeks ago, is 
back again trying to regain his health, which life in the 
Long Bar mines has badly shattered. He too is tired of 
mining and wants to give it up completely. I am not at 
all surprised. Nearly all the money he had saved up till 
last spring— and he had been rather successful— went for 
medical assistance during his illness; and sick, as he still 
is, he cannot see how it will be possible for him to regain 
what he has lost by making three or four dollars a day. 
His intention is to stay here for the present and to find 
a suitable position, if possible. Should he not succeed 
in that he will leave California and return home while he 
still has the means to do so. I hear that Emil Boettcher 
is doing well at Papetee, Society Islands. 

Two months ago there arrived in our harbor an old ac- 
quaintance of mine from Konigsberg, the schooner "Ex- 
pedition," Capt. Mueller. Though rigged up as a brig 
and sailing under the Hawaiian flag, I recognized her the 
moment I saw her. I remember Mueller from the time he 
commanded the "Wiedersehen," another ship of Laub- 
meyer's, and I am very sorry that I could never find him 
on board, though he had to remain here quite a while, in 
order to sell the cargo of oranges he had brought from 
Tahiti. I expect Laubmeyer will shod tears when he re- 
ceives the account of that transaction. The local market 

20 



30G EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

was so overstocked with oranges this summer that the 
very best of them could almost be had for the asking. 
What nonsense to send a vessel like the "Expedition" 
out here with a cargo of fruit which this country pro- 
duces in over-abundance. It took Mueller fifty-eight days 
from Tahiti here, while our American coasters generally 
make the trip in thirty days, but the regular packets — 
and they are all fine sailing vessels, schooners after clip- 
per model— will make the run in twenty days, which 
means about one-third the time that it took Mueller. 
Poor fellow, he will give old Laubmeyer a few practical 
hints on modern navigation that will open his eyes or 
paralyze him for life. 

The Prussian flag is flying in port just now, which I 
had not seen since I left Hamburg. It belongs to the 
brig "Titania," Capt. Voss, from Stettin. 

I would very much like to keep you posted on some 
public matters but I have not time to give you the news 
of the day. This, I know, should not be neglected, as it 
is only by constant truthful details that you could better 
learn to understand American conditions and modes of 
living; for affairs run so very differently in the Old 
World. It is true, there are two German newspapers 
published in San Francisco, but to send them to you 
would certainly not accomplish the object I have in view, 
as both are miserable sheets, published as organs of 
political cliques and edited by men who have not even 
a fair knowledge of the language in which they write, 
and who would do better to take some lessons in the 
grammar of their own mother tongue before they at- 
tempt to write for the public. If you understood Eng- 
lish I should send you the "steamer edition" of one of 
our better American papers now and then. This edition 
is published regularly on the day before the mail steam- 
ers leave and gives in a concise form all the news of the 
previous two weeks for its readers in the Atlantic states 
and in Europe. 

I suppose I shall have to send you one of the French 
papers from here. "Le Messager" is published in such 



A FOURTEEN-YEAR PERIOD 307 

a steamer edition and is— if we overlook its being very 
"Frenchy"— reliable and respectable. It may therefore 
interest you. 

My love to all of you, your 

FRANZ. 



[We shall now make a short review of the interesting de- 
scription which the diary furnishes, as there arc unfortunately 
but few more letters preserved, of which we shall read later. 
Therefore a few notes in the form of a missing' link. — Trans. J 



Diary Notes. 

San Francisco, Cal., March 23d, 1855. 
Having in vain tried to establish a well paying busi- 
ness for myself, I resolved to quit painting and seek 
new pastures. Olias and I engaged berths on board of 
the SS. " America," bound for San Pedro, a small port 
in Southern California, whence we hope to start for the 
Kern river mines. We made this trip without mishap, 
unless the fare charged, which amounted to thirty dol- 
lars for each of us is taken in that way. On our arrival 
at San Pedro, March the sixth, I saved five dollars by 
walking twenty-five miles with forty pounds of baggage 
on my shoulders, thus reaching the city of Los Angeles 
after a ten-hour tramp. We went to the United States 
Hotel for the night, where men of experience warned 
us not to risk our remaining few dollars in the Kern 
river venture. AVe took the hint and remained in Los 
Angeles. My surprise was great to meet an acquaint- 
ance, Wm. Arnhold, from Konigsberg, who at once 
offered me a place in his saloon, which I reluctantly ac- 
cepted as only my utter lack of funds could induce me 
to engage in that business. 

October 10th, 1855. 
My stay at Arnhold's lasted but two months and 
how I disliked the work, which brings one in contact 



308 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

with some of the lowest characters. Naturally I did not 
take kindly to their excesses and was assaulted on two 
occasions for my righteous opposition. Both shots 
missed their mark, but hastened my leave-taking last 
June. Since then I have been at my brushes again, 
working for G oiler, the carriage builder. He is greatly 
pleased with my work. By the middle of July I 
was able to return to Olias the ninety dollars I owed 
him, whereupon he resolved to return home at once, 
as his earnest endeavors met with so little success. 
I wished him "Godspeed." He tried his best to suc- 
ceed. This day finds me in a new position. Capt. Henry 
Hancock, county surveyor of Los Angeles, engaged me 
as flagman of one of his surveying parties at sixty dol- 
lars a month. 

December 31st, 1855. 
The outdoor life agrees marvelously well with me. Am 
in high spirits, as Capt. Hancock promoted me to head 
a company as compass man, with a salary of seventy- 
five dollars. We are working in the Mojave desert and 
swamps. 

June 30th, 1856. 
Hancock's expedition ended in January and with two 
hundred and twenty-six dollars to my credit. Although 
assured of future employment, I took once more to paint- 
ing in order to avoid idleness. At last, on March 10th, 
Capt. Hancock sent two new expeditions to the Mojave 
valley, one of these headed by Deputy County Surveyor 
George Hansen, while the command of the other was 
entrusted to me at eighty-five dollars a month. We 
surveyed the Canada de Sole'dad and neighboring val- 
leys along the Northeastern foothills of the Sierra Ne- 
vada.* Again Capt. Hancock showed his appreciation of 
my work by raising my wages to one hundred dollars 



*Of these early maps, as drawn by the careful hand of young" 
Lecouvreur, one of the best known local surveyors, Alfred Street, 
assures the translator that there is nothing in the possession of 



A FOURTEEN-YEAR PERIOD 309 

which I thankfully accepted. We finished the Mojave 
work and surveyed part of the San Bernardino Valley 
near Cocomonga, which was accomplished shortly before 
this diary entry. 

August 31st, 1856. 

Having taken a few days of involuntary rest I chanced 
to meet Johann Behn, who owns a farm and a cattle 
ranch on 

Catalina Island, 
where he offers to employ me during the summer. 

Santa Catalina is a mountainous and very romantic 
island, about twenty miles in length, situated just South 
of San Pedro and about twenty-five miles from the main- 
land. Some of its mountain peaks are more than two 
thousand feet high, I judge, and the attractiveness 
would certainly be great, were not the absolute lack of 
fresh well water a material drawback for visitors or set- 
tlers. Kain is likewise very scarce. The necessary 
drinking water for man and beast is drawn from cisterns 
and decidedly disagreeable to the newcomer on account 
of its salty taste. John Behn has a well laid farm and 
a neat little home in a pleasant valley on the North side 
of the island, which reminds me of Valdivia, as it is cres- 
cent shaped and protected by the capes on either end. 
Small vessels are perfectly safe within its realms. Cata- 
lina has from afar the appearance of two islands, owing 
to the peculiar fact that both the north and the south 
end of the island have for miles high mountain chains, 
which fall off so suddenly that they resemble a low sad- 
dle, the highest point of which extends hardly thirty 
feet out of the water. This freak of nature causes the 
well formed little harbor on the west side and a finely 
protected road on the east side. Thos. Whitley, an 
American, brother-in-law of Behn, resides here. 



the County Surveyor's Office that surpasses the work in accuracy 
and neatness. No wonder Capt. Hancock raised his salary. 



310 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Four of us started soon after my arrival to go fishing 
in earnest and the plentiful harvest of white fish and 
even sharks brought satisfaction to all. I learned to dry 
fish as well as to salt and pack them like herrings; then 
we drew the oil from the shark's liver. The beginning 
of August sees the end of this sport and to be useful I 
volunteered to bum shells, a new trade for me, after 
which I proceeded to excel as master bricklayer by 
building a new trough for the cattle. 

My employer settled with me and being fifteen dollars 
richer I return to San Pedro. Upon Belm's urgent rec- 
ommendation I obtained a clerkship at A. W. Timms at 
seventy-five dollars a month and board, which I now 
enjoy. 

December, 1857. 
Am still at Timms', who raised my salary last October 
to one hundred a month, so that I figure my credit at 
nine hundred and thirty dollars. Pretty good for a 
clerk, I think. 

December, 1858. 

Eeverses in business, by which I barely managed to 
get the amount due me, caused me to leave Timms, who 
afterwards sold out to Goller, his principal creditor. 

After a short visit to San Francisco I returned to Los 
Angeles, where Wm. Moore had become the uncrowned 
head of the county, surveyor's office— who in reality was 
a wagon maker by trade. Upon his request I surveyed 
the Protestant graveyard, and drew a plan for the new 
water supply of the city. I have done a little work for 
private parties, namely, Juan Apablasa, 0. W. Childs, 
John G. Downey, Mateo Keller's Malaga Ranch, and 
drawn plans for the Catholic cemetery as well. Mean- 
while there had been trouble in the Goller camp, as the 
latter found it very up-hill work to run a commission 
and forwarding house like that of Timms, especially as 
he himself know little about it and was too busy at his 
wagon factory to spend time to learn the inside details 



A FOURTEEN-YEAR PERIOD 311 

of the business, which, by the way, had Banning as a 
sharp competitor. Timms had paid every cent honestly, 
and with Goller, persuaded me to take the management 
of the San Pedro house at one hundred and twenty dol- 
lars and board— a position which I held about four 
months, when I thought it better to look about for a 
new occupation— greatly to Goller 's regret. 

Annaheim, an attractive German settlement, owned by 
fifty stockholders, who propose to have set out five hun- 
dred thousand vines. After three years each holder 
shall be entitled to twenty acres of land— twelve of 
which are to be in vineyard with ten thousand vines, 
while the remaining eight acres are to be planted as the 
holders may direct. My old friend George Hansen, of 
the Mojave surveying expedition, is the superintendent, 
who engages me for sixty dollars and board. There I 
am at the close of 1858. But how long? 

December, 1859. 
My stay at Annaheim was of short duration as it is 
too monotonous and disagreeable a job to watch a gang 
of Indians and half-breeds all day long at the selfsame 
field labors, where the mind has absolutely nothing to 
do. I left there toward the end of January and rode 
leisurely toward Los Angeles. At "Wilmington I met 
Banning 's manager, Wm. Sanford, who offered me Thos. 
Workman's place as first clerk during the latter's vaca- 
tion. Banning paid me two hundred dollars for six 
week's work. Meanwhile Goller was in despair again, 
and, of course, I was his Moses and took hold of his 
business again at little more than the last paid salary. 
Phineas Banning with an eye to monopoly bought out 
Goller 's San Pedro venture and engaged me at one hun- 
dred and fifty dollars and board. With the exception 
of a month of absence, I have been holding this position 
ever since, though business demanded a reduction in 
wages. 



312 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

December, 1860. 

Though Banning raised my salary again, I objected to 
an edict that went forth from headquarters, prohibiting 
every employee from smoking. This caused the breach 
and the montli of May found me as storekeeper under 
the U. S. quartermaster, Capt. W. S. Hancock, at a sal- 
ary of forty-five dollars and rations or one-third of my 
previous earnings. This really looked like an expensive 
smoke. 

Two months after Bachman & Co. made me an offer 
that approached my former position and here I intend to 
remain, as both the employers and my duties are very 
congenial. 

December, 1861. 
All went well until September, when my employers 
decided to retire from business. We parted very amica- 
bly and I re-entered Banning 's service. The business 
had increased so rapidly of late that I found myself soon 
in the midst of work, earning my salary more than ever. 
Banning has two steamers running between here and 
San Francisco, the discharging and loading of which 
often kept me up all night. The forwarding of pro- 
visions for the barracks were likewise to be attended to 
very promptly. There are times when I do not change 
clothes once in three days, but gladly drop to sleep any- 
where. I had to give up my nice quarters and move to 
an old storage house with a rough board for a table, and 
use a bottle for a candlestick and a barrel for a stool. 
Thus ends the year in romantic Wilmington.* 

December, 1862. 
Thos. Workman, our bookkeeper, two young assist- 
ants and I partake of Banning 's private table. There 
are also about twenty men under my supervision, whose 



*During this year, the author befriended one Herman W. Hell- 
man, a bright German youth, who has since become the genial 
millionaire-president of the Merchants' National Bank of Los 
Angeles. — Translator, 




u 






A FOURTEEN-YEAR PERIOD 313 

duty it is to attend to loading arid unloading of incom- 
ing vessels. My patience is at last rewarded, as I am 
given a very nice room in our new warehouse. The view 
upon the little harbor and the grand ocean repay me 
amply for the privation of months. At a distance I see 
the picturesque island of Catalina. All went well 
until the end of August when some political differences 
arose which I had so far very carefully avoided. How- 
ever, the time for election drew nearer and I could not 
conceal my view and maintain my manhood. I for one 
shall never be justly accused of being untrue to the dic- 
tates of my own convictions. A 

Political Quarrel 

arose, when some Arch- Yankees in name branded me as 
a "German trouble maker," and as soon as the Demo- 
cratic supervisors of Los Angeles county appointed me 
inspector of election for the district of San Pedro, the 
camel's back was broken. About twenty of those 
rowdies gathered about my headquarters on the eve of 
election day and tried in vain to coax me outside, while 
I sat, a pistol in either hand, ready for a bloody defense 
should they dare to break down my door. To do this 
they proved too cowardly, though even the mouth of a 
loaded ship's gun had been turned toward my room with 
evil intent. When I realized that I might have to sit 
up all night, six-shooters in hand, I resolved to beat my 
way through to Banning 's residence. At eleven o'clock 
I went upon my porch, then down stairs and faced the 
mob with piercing look and ready pistol. A few made 
motions to attack me but the better element became evi- 
dently ashamed to attack a single opponent, twenty to 
one. I reached the house unharmed and had the good 
fortune to meet Mr. Sanford ( Banning 's partner in San 
Francisco), and the U. S. quartermaster, Lieutenant 
Morgan, whom I informed of what had happened. Both 
were incensed and the latter promised me military pro- 
tection should I decide to attend the election in my offi- 
cial capacity. I declined with thanks, as it would have 



314 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

embittered the hot heads and might have led to blood- 
shed sooner or later. Personally I felt keenly the sym- 
pathy of the two noble men and returned to my room 
after midnight, passing but a few of the early disturb- 
ers. The following day I spent at work at the SS. 
"Brother Jonathan," without even approaching the 
polls, as in all probability my appearance would have 
given cause for new trouble. The next day I settled 
with Banning and left, followed by the kindest encour- 
agement of my employer and companions. 

On my arrival in Los Angeles I found myself lionized, 
and many political friends tried to indemnify me for the 
temporary loss of employment. Surveying and clerking 
for the country kept me busy from the first. In the for- 
mer occupation, I mention the Chino Ranch, sub-division 
of San Pedro Ranch for Ph. Banning, Manuel Dominguez 
and others, which brought me to Wilmington where I 
met no further annoyance. 

Work has positively been showered upon me since I 
left Banning 's employ, but as the winter puts a stop to 
outdoor measurement, the latest favor, an appointment 
as deputy county clerk comes like a happy surprise. 

I qualify as deputy county clerk on November first 
and am to draw one hundred dollars from the public 
treasury. Thus ends one of the most successful and 
eventful years of my life. 

January-December, 1863. 

My position is agreeable and my mode of living sim- 
ple. I roomed first at J. M. Griffith's house, then at 
Nordholdt's and board at Dockweiler's adobe inn, the 
"Lafayette," for thirty dollars a month. 

A great shock to me and to the many concerned was 
the explosion of the SS. "Ada Hancock" at Wilmington. 
Loss of twenty-nine lives, ship totally wrecked. This 
happened on April 27th, 1863. Mr. Banning himself was 
on board of the vessel at the time of the explosion and 
was thought to have been dangerously wounded. He 
sent me word by express to come to his aid at once, 



A FOURTEEN-YEAR PERIOD 315 

whereupon I obtained leave of absence from my superior 

officer County Clerk Shore and hastened to the spot. O, 
horrors of horrors! Among the dead whose memory I 
shall ever honor were: 

\Y. T. B. Sanford, Banning 's partner and brother-in- 
law. 

Capt. Joe. Bryant of the SS. "Ada Hancock." 

Thos. Workman, Bookkeeper. 

Dr. II. K. Myles, Louis Schlesinger. 

Robt. Johnston, son of Gen. Sydney Johnston. 

Capt. Seely and many others. 

Among the wounded were: The indefatigable Phin- 
eas Banning-, Airs. Banning and her mother, Mrs. San- 
ford ; Miss M. Hereford and many others. Of the about 
fifty persons who happened to be on board but three or 
four escaped injury, among them the engineer, Clark, 
and the fireman. The wreck sank immediately. 

On my arrival at San Pedro I found my beloved friend 
and employer unable to concentrate his mind, and I at 
once realized that I had to take matters into my own 
hands, which task I did not underrate. The large busi- 
ness needed a most competent leader in times of com- 
plete calm, and was now so shaken in its very details 
that confusion seemed to reign supreme. In addition 
to this, the many able hands that lay helpless in death, 
and the sight of the many noble men whose hearts beat 
no more actually dazed me. 

When I entered the large warehouse, so well known 
to me, I found it partly turned into a morgue, as more 
than twelve bodies had already been brought in and 
stretched out on primitive frames. In some cases it was 
impossible to recognize them, as even the very features 
were distorted or torn to pieces. My first duty was, of 
course, to put order into the interrupted course of busi- 
ness. With a number of good men I started the routine 
work of assorting a few tons of freight in the warehouse, 
where the victims had found a temporary resting place. 
Gruesome as the task was, we tried our best to clear the 
cloudy sky, but whenever a new body was brought in 



316 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

from the shore and we recognized the well known figure 
of some honest co-worker, our hearts grew weak and 
work went on slowly. Then came calls from mourning 
friends, whose piercing cries would melt the coldest 
hearts. One by one they finally were laid to rest— and 
may they rest in peace! 

Slowly I succeeded in bringing order into the chaos; 
and when all Wilmington rejoiced with me in the recov- 
ery of the revered Phineas Banning, I was able to make 
satisfactory report. Though it was my employer's wish 
that I should remain as bookkeeper, I declined on ac- 
count of the political disagreements of the past and re- 
entered my former position at the county clerk's office. 
Mr. Banning generously offered me five hundred dollars 
for my services, of which I accepted only two hundred 
that sum representing my regular salary.* 

The beginning of June found me again at my desk in 
the county courthouse from eight a. m. to five p. m., 
except when urgent business claimed my evening hours, 
which seldom happened. My only real companion in 
leisure hours is Dr. Theodor Wollweber,* with whom I 
discuss current and past events. Thus ended another 
year. 

July 31st, 1864. 
The new year brought changes in the county adminis- 
tration, the result of the Fall election. My new chief, 
T. D. Mott, kindly confirmed my former appointment, 
so that my position seems secure for the present. 



*Dear reader! Do you read through these lines the story of 
this man's noble heart? There were widows and orphans who 
needed the money more than he. And their blessing went with 
him. — Translator. 

*Dr. Wollweber preceded the author into the realms above ; 
it was he, who translated the interesting mining letters from 
Long-Bar — Yuba River — dated 1852-3. A strong, manly char- 
acter, he soon recognized in the author a man, whose companion- 
ship was worth cultivating. Strong characters often differ, so 
did these : mutual respect, however, paved the way to a close, 
lasting friendship. — J.C.B. 



A FOURTEEN-YEAR PERIOD 317 

In December, 1864, I had to vacate, to make room for 
the county clerk's brother, Stephen Mott, which gave me 
a welcome and much desired rest. I needed open air 
exercise and obtained from Geo. Hansen an appointment 
as deputy county surveyor. About the same time I 
entered Los Angeles Lodge, No. 42. 

The court, after nearly six years of waiting, gives 
judgment in favor of my claim for wages from Deputy 
Surveyor Wm. Moore; the amount of $383 was finally 
paid by him in paper money (greenbacks), from which 
I realized $180 in gold. 

Again we are at the end of another year. What has 
the next in store for me? 

July, 1865. 

The discovery of coal oil in these regions has brought 
crowds of fortune hunters to the city, and the location of 
wells naturally puts money into the hands of the sur- 
veyors. Thus it happens that I have been in clover since 
new year, even my old friend Goller— and many a wordy 
war we have had— has grown oily and paid me hand- 
somely for plans I have drawn for him. 

Main, New High, San Pedro and Alameda streets have 
also been surveyed anew. 

Harris Newmark and Isaiah Hellman are among my 
steady patrons; both substantial people. Harris New- 
mark offered me a lucrative position which I accepted 
about the middle of last month. I also changed my 
boarding place, which circumstance I consider quite an 
event, as I dislike changes. Having tried a French table 
I have now decided to let Mrs. M. Goldstein administer 
to my gastronomic tastes. 

December, 1865. 
Though everything seemed to come my way, and the 
pleasant relations with my employer, who never ob- 
jected when I had a chance to earn a few dollars extra, 
grew stronger, I felt the slow but certain approach of a 
perhaps severe illness. As the only way to get well, my 
physician suggested a change of air. Being from the 



318 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

high Xorth, the somewhat tropical climate of Los An- 
geles has in course of years enervated my whole system, 
which needs a good cold spell for a bracer. We are 
accustomed to four well defined seasons, while Southern 
California offers only two, in which the daily sunshine 
is seldom missing. It thus happened that I severed my 
connection with Harris Newmark, which was most 
pleasant from beginning to end. The fifteenth of Decem- 
ber I embark on the "Orizaba" at Wilmington and 
reach San Francisco Sunday night after a most interest- 
ing trip of fifty-three hours. Dr. Zeile's sanitarium had 
been recommended to me, and there I am at present, able 
to walk around upon the roof when the weather permits. 
Sam Cohen, Israel Fleishman and J. P. Newmark visit 
me frequently. Though yet on the repair list, I hope to 
make the best of the coming year. 

January-December, 1866. 

The new year brought disagreeable weather but then 
I had been spoiled in Los Angeles. All went well with 
me except that E. Boettcher and I agreed to disagree. 
Among those who surprised me with their visit were my 
former employer, P. Banning, W. H. Peterson and John 
Lazzarovitch. Schubnell and I took daily walks. 

Through J. P. Newmark (brother of my former em- 
ployer) I obtained a position as bookkeeper at E. Wert- 
heimer's, who agrees to pay me one hundred and fifty 
dollars a month. As I arranged to begin work by the 
fifteenth of February, there was time for a flying busi- 
ness trip to Los Angeles, which I enjoyed on board of 
the "Orizaba," Capt. Butters, though wind and weather 
were in a wintry mood. 

Three days in Los Angeles sufficed to settle all matters 
and bid good by to my many staunch friends and ac- 
quaintances. The "Orizaba" took me safely back to 
San Francisco, where I entered my position on the ap- 
pointed date. And here I am at the end of the year. 

From the beginning I have boarded at the St. Nich- 
olas Hotel— a Jewish hostelry well kept by Levy Hess— 



A FOURTEEN- YE A k PERIOD 319 

where I also tobk rooms after June the first, upon leaving 
Dr. Zeile's place. Hess charges me fifty dollars a month 
and treats me well. "Kosher food" is good for Gen- 
tiles. 

As our business, like all Jewish mercantile houses, 
closes on Saturdays at one o'clock, I find ample time 
for excursions. The Contra Costa ferry lines and the 
railroad connection to San Jose offer many a wholesome 
outing. During the spring, however, most of my Sun- 
day trips were directed to Oakland where my friend 
Schubnell had found a home at Conrad Zimmermann 's. 
These visits gave me at first considerable pleasure, as 
I sincerely enjoyed the company of the plain honest 
hearts who met under the green foliage of the pretty 
little garden. But alas! Simon Schubnell 's health 
grew poorer and poorer, so that we had to stay in his 
little room and cheer him, while our hearts were aching. 
I tried to be more punctual in my visits than ever. At 
last the end came on June 21st a. c. As my Los Angeles 
friend, Dr. Wollweber, happened to be in the city, he too 
took part in the Masonic rites, which distinguished the 
otherwise simple funeral. 

At the beginning of September the Jewish holidays 
gave me a chance to pay my friend, Henry Jackson 
(Griinhagen of old), a short visit at his place in "Watson-, 
ville, but as I did not arrive until seven o'clock in the 
evening, we had only the night for a friendly chat, as 
the stage left at six o'clock the next morning. This 
mountain trip did me a great deal of good and the scen- 
ery is truly magnificent. 

As my genial landlord has sold his "St. Nicholas" 
and installed himself in new quarters at the corner of 
Markel and Third streets, T followed him hither and 
occupy now a room on the fifth floor, with a magnifieenl 
view of the bay, foT which I have to pay ten dollars 
more than at the old place. But I get my money's worth 
and the board is excellent. The new year finds me in the 
same position and home comforts as heretofore. My 
employers are gentlemen. 



320 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

January-December, 1867. 

Though my acquaintances are many and daily increas- 
ing, my intimate friends are few. Give me people with 
unselfish hearts like Lembcke's, at whose home on Du- 
pont and Filbert streets I spend most of my Sunday 
evenings; week day evenings I generally take a walk. 
During April and May commence the many picnics, in 
which I frequently take part. 

George Dubois from Hamburg obtained a position 
through me in Los Angeles. On July seventh Rinaldi, 
Louis Scheerer and I enjoyed a journey on foot to 
Crystal Springs, which is the most picturesque cave in 
the neighborhood of San Francisco. We returned home 
by rail. Half Moon Bay is another place worth visiting. 
The neighborhood of San Mateo, the rides through 
mountains and valleys, through natural tunnels and 
caves are so wondrously attractive that I do not know 
of anything that could be of greater interest to a lover 
of Nature. Such outings would generally terminate with 
Mother Lembcke's genuine German suppers. And how 
good they tasted! 

Thus ended the seventeenth year of my life in foreign 
lands. Shall I ever see home again? 

April, 1S68. 

The city bells and the uproar of the noisy populace 
announced the incoming year, while Robert Rinaldi and 
I exchanged the sincerest wishes with the Lembcke fam- 
ily, who endeavored to please me more than ever, know- 
ing that I contemplated a long absence, though my plans 
had not matured. 

My employers, who had always treated me well, were 
rather disappointed when I announced my intended trip 
to Europe and acquiesced only when every offer failed to 
tempt me. Letters from home sounded more and more 
worrysome aud when father's handwriting grew less 
frequent, I could stand it no longer. March the first I 
turned over my books in perfect order to Lips, my suc- 
cessor. March the fifteenth was the date set for my 



A FOURTEEN-YEAR PERIOD 321 

departure. T had two tickets, one for the North Amer- 
ican liner "Nebraska," passage $75 to New York, and 
another for the "Orizaba," $20 to San Pedro. Many 
friends, Lembcke's whole family among them, bid me a 
hearty farewell. I felt touched by their good fellow- 
ship. Golden Gate, Fort Point, Cliff House and Seal 
Pocks disappear and as rain has set in I take to my berth 
in good time. My farewell visit to Los Angeles gave me 
many a proof of good will on the part of my old friends, 
Dr. Wollweber, Messrs. Behn and others. One even- 
ing the "Teutonia" gave a little ball in my honor, the 
next night while at my lodge the German Singverein 
serenaded me at the head of a carefully planned torch- 
light procession; and still I wonder why the humble 
clerk has thus been treated .' * 

Many were my visits and many were the tokens of 
friendship. I mention but one, the one I treasure most 
for the sake of the noble giver; it is a biography of "Mrs. 
Eliza A. Seton," and with it a few verses, eulogizing the 
virtues of Merced, whose grave I had visited during my 
short stay. Said verses were the giver's own. But all 
days end, and I had to embark and did so with a heavier 
heart than from San Francisco. Was there a reason? 
My heart will not tell! Onward once more, back to San 
Francisco, and then for the long, long trip East. 



*Do you, dear reader? Certainly not. But you who are youflg 
and ambitious, remember the virtues which made Franz Lecouv- 
reur beloved : Integrity — simplicity and perseverance in all that 
was honorable. — Transl. 



21 



LETTER NO. XIII 



April, 1868. 

Before leaving for New York I took precaution to 
make a will, with David Stern and Albert Solomon as 
witnesses. I believe in being systematic. My former 
employer, Wertheimer, honored me with an invitation to 
dinner, which I greatly appreciated. The eve of my de- 
parture was spent at Lembcke's, where the San Francis- 
co Miinnerchor surprised me with a serenade, instigated 
by Eobert Einaldi. 

The last pleasure was given me at the Mission street 
wharf, where Lembcke, Einaldi, Solomon, Louis Werth- 
eimer and others had assembled to bid me adieu. The 
"Nebraska," Capt. Horner, upon which I had engaged 
a state-room, left the wharf at twelve o'clock. 

Our trip, so far, has been most pleasant. To-day- 
Tuesday, the 21st— we stopped in the harbor of Manza- 
nillo, about fifteen-hundred and twenty miles from San 
Francisco. Manzanillo is a most romantic spot, sur- 
rounded by high mountains; the gay colors of the Mexi- 
can towns and villages add to the beautiful sight. We 
stay but a few hours. 

The next day we reached Acapulco toward evening 
and having passed the lighthouse, we observed at a dis- 
tance some very destructive but nevertheless magnificent 
mountain-fires. The coast is picturesque, indeed, and 
offers many beautiful views. Now and then we pass a 
cape of lesser importance. 

Tuesday, the 28th, at three o 'clock in the morning, we 
anchor below Taboga Island in the Bay of Panama and 
only three hours later than the ' ' Sacramento, ' ' which left 
San Francisco twenty-six hours before us. Our trip took 
us twelve days and thirteen hours and covered a distance 
of three thousand two hundred and fifty miles. 

322 



A VISIT TO EUROPE 323 

We reached the railroad station, which is outside of the 
city, and were packed into the cars like sardines. The 
heat was intense though only eight o'clock in the morn- 
ing. As no one seemed to know or to care when the train 
was scheduled to leave, none of us dared to take a walk 
about the city, though we did not start until eleven 
o'clock. The car in which we crossed the Isthmus was 
literally a travelling-tropical sweat-box. 

Fortunately the trip took but three hours to Aspinwall 
(Colon), where the whole population, men, women and 
children of all sizes and colors, seemed to have been in 
wait for us, for the purpose of selling their wares in pot- 
tery, basketry and handiwork. Two hours after we crowd 
on board the "Santiago de Cuba," which is to take us to 
New York. The vessel is dirty and about half the size of 
the "Nebraska." I wish we had taken the American ves- 
sel "Ocean Queen," which left an hour later with the pas- 
sengers of the "Sacramento" over which we now had 
gained an advance. 

May, 1868. 

Toward evening of the next day we sighted the island 
of Cuba and at eight o'clock enjoyed the magnificent 
"turning-fire" of Cape San Antonio. 

Nothing else of interest occurred during our trip. Of 
course I took note of everything and kept a nautical re- 
port from day to day. It is thus one can enjoy an other- 
wise monotonous trip. "Wednesday, the sixth, about nine 
o'clock the fog had cleared sufficiently to present to our 
eyes the grand panorama of the Bay of New York, alive 
with many hundreds of vessels of all sizes, kinds and na- 
tionalities. Hamburg and San Francisco, in all their mag- 
nificence, cannot compete with New York in shipping; it 
is simply immense. We passed Fort Lafayette and an- 
chored at the quarantine station about noon, after a trip 
of exactly twenty-one days from San Francisco. The 
"Ocean Queen" beat us this trip by one hour's time. The 
Port formalities were soon complied with and by half- 
past-one we landed at Pier No. 45. An hour later I had 



324 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

taken possession of a room at the "Prescott House/ ' 
agreeing to pay three dollars and a half a day for room 
and board. Among my first visits was one to Harris New- 
mark at his office on Broadway, and to Leopold Werthei- 
mer and Meyer Newmark; and I received an invitation to 
supper at Israel Fleischman's. A pouring rain accom- 
panied me home. 

Friday, the eighth, I visited some friends of Lembcke's 
to whom I wrote a long letter later. The evening found 
me at the hospitable home of Harris Newmark, whose in- 
vitation to dinner was an honor as well as a pleasure to 
me. 

Saturday, the ninth, and the Sunday following, were 
spent sight-seeing in New York and Brooklyn. The har- 
bor-scenes, of course, do not differ from others except that 
their view is more imposing, but the different fortifica- 
tions, such as the Governors', Ellis' and Bedloe's Islands, 
and those of Forts Richmond and Tompkins on Staten 
Island, and Fort Hamilton at Long Island, attracted my 
attention to no small degree. There is a danger-spot close 
by, called "Hell-gate," a rock which the sailors fear, but 
Americans will probably find a way to render it harmless 
in time.* 

New York is said to have a population of over nine- 
hundred thousand inhabitants. Places of amusements 
are plentiful and in such varieties, as one can only find in 
Sea-Ports, where care is taken to suit all nationalities and 
their manifold tastes. As in most American cities the 
rule seems to prevail in New York for all tradesmen to 
congregate in certain quarters, thus tailors, hatters, shoe- 
makers, tin-smiths, etc., are to be found, each in one cer- 
tain neighborhood; and what is true of them is also true 
of the different nationalities. While the Germans and 
Americans in an overwhelming majority are everywhere, 
the Italians, the French and others are more clannish and 
seldom move out of their quarters. Two localities are 



*They did so, by disrupting it by means of dynamite, a few 
years later. — Tr. 



A VISIT TO EUROPE 325 

truly picturesque, the Chinese, called Chinatown, with its 
many laundries, curio and tea stores, opium dens and a 
thousand and one attractions; and the Jewish sett lenient 
in Baxter street, which baffles all description. Of TduiIcI- 
ings there are many magnificent structures, of which I 
mention the Post-office, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of 
St. Patrick on Fifth Avenue, the Immanuel Temple, of 
Moorish architecture, Columbia College and its fine li- 
brary, the grand Cooper Institute, the Academy of De- 
sign, and the City Hall, of white marble, with Corinthian 
Porticus and a dome about 180 feet in height. Among 
other attractions which the sight-seer will remember are: 
the marble structure of Stewart's warehouse, the cele- 
brated Hotel Astor and last but not least, the world-re- 
nowned Delmonico Restaurant. 

Fleishman and I visited Newark on Monday and had 
admission to the clock and iron-moulding factories. This 
city is said to have over five hundred factories, but 
strange to say, little direct export to foreign lands. We 
visited Jersey City, where the large railroad stations in- 
terested me most during our short stay. We returned to 
New York by way of the Christopher ferry. 

Tuesday, the twelfth of May, was an ideal spring-day, 
such as I had not witnessed since my departure from 
home, as California with all her beauties has no such 
spring, no fresh grass and foliage as we of the North en- 
joy—except at the beginning of the rainy season. When 
the early Erie train pulled out of the Jersey City Station, 
I was just in the best of mood to inhale all the beauties of 
nature, with which the trip to Buffalo was said to be 
strewn. And there was to be no disappointment. Such 
were the scenes presented to our view that I actually 
found myself transported in imagination to home sur- 
roundings — familiar spots seemed to turn up every few 
minutes. The rivers, the brooks, the very ponds with 
their floating leaves and majestic swans, imported from 
Europe — all this caused me to think, to meditate upon the 
past and on the immediate future which was awaiting me 
at my home across the ocean. These and similar were my 



326 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

thoughts, while the train sped along through the narrow 
valley of the Delaware, which at times may be called a 
hollow way among rocky mountains, mostly very steep 
and bedecked with firs and ferns of the most magnificent 
kinds and sizes. Here and there a romantic village<-sta- 
tion and now and then a wood-chopper's abode, which 
left me wondering whether America's greatest son, the 
lamented wood chopper and rail-splitting President was 
ever as happy in later life as when he shared the bread 
and bed of nature's sons of the forest. At Susquehanna 
we enjoyed a twenty minutes' stopover for refreshments. 
Soon after we entered the valley of the Oswego, which is 
wider but not much different from that of the Delaware, 
both being very picturesque. Another stop was at eight 
in the evening for supper. In another four hours we 
reached Buffalo, after a trip of four hundred and eighty- 
three miles in sixteen hours, or about thirty miles an 
hour. The City Hotel is my temporary resting-place. 

Wednesday, the thirteenth. 

" Weather and women," some say, ''are changeable. " 
To the former I certainly can testify, as this downpour 
of rain could surely not have been foreseen yesterday, 
when Flora appeared in her ever-beautiful spring- garb. 
But I had to go now or not-at-all, if I wanted to see the 
Niagara Falls before leaving for Europe. It is twenty- 
two miles from Buffalo, and if you feel drowsy take a nap, 
for you certainly will not lose anything for the time be- 
ing. It seemed to me as if Mother Nature intended to 
gather for rest her own and her visitors ' strength in order 
to fit them for the coming spectacle. I reached the station 
at ten o'clock and registered at the "Niagara Hotel." It 
actually rained in torrents nearly all day. 

After seven o'clock it began to clear up slightly, where- 
fore I ventured out and following the sound of the falling 
waters I soon reached a spot— fancy my surprise— about 
two steps from the world-renowned Falls. The path had 
hidden it from me by the thick bushes which grow on 
either side. But as it grew darker and my safety de- 



A VISIT TO EUROPE 32? 

manded prudence in a perfectly strange country, I retired 
to the Hotel, satisfied with what I had seen. The roar of 
the falling waters, the splashing of the rain soon put me 
to sleep within stone throw of America's greatest Won- 
der. 

Tuesday, May the fourteenth, 1868. 
By six o'clock in the morning the rain seemed to dimin- 
ish sufficiently to risk the much longed-for excursion 
across the chain-bridge, which in itself is a wonder of 
human ingenuity placed alongside of this wonder of the 
Supreme Architect of the Universe. This bridge leads, 
on the Canadian side, to Table-rock, whence wooden and 
stone steps, grown slippery from the ever dripping 
waters, lead downward to a path which has been hewn 
into the stony wall and which in turn takes the visitor to 
the "Horseshoe" Fall. Though one can scarcely progress 
more than fifteen feet under the main cataract, it is quite 
sufficient for one's nerves. Here, about eighty feet above 
the boiling, foaming whirl-pool, in the ever dark twilight, 
scarcely admitted by the constantly falling waters, the 
thundering noise of which is simply deafening, nobody 
will ever remain very .long at one time. The immense 
waters, which thus form the unique wonder in the shape 
of a cataract, come originally from the Erie and Ontario 
lakes, whence the Niagara River, at times four thousand 
feet wide, has its powerful strength. The celebrated 
Falls form between the little American town of the same 
name and the Canadian village, Clifton. Goat-Island di- 
vides the cataract into two arms, the Eastern, which 
measures at least one thousand feet in width, and the 
Western, which is on Canadian territory, known as the 
Horseshoe Fall and said to exceed the Eastern division 
in width and consequently in momentum. The grandeur 
of this natural wonder is not to be measured by the 
height of the cataract, but by the almost incredible mass 
of falling water which reaches one hundred million of 
tons in a single hour. The bed of the Niagara at this 
point is partly chalk hut mostly slate and it would seen] 



328 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

to me that immense wall was about to bury me and my 
four travelling companions, who must have had a similar 
feeling for, as soon as I turned my back, every one of 
them followed me. As the rain had ceased I under- 
took a trip to Goat-Island and went on foot to the 
neighboring Luna-Island, a romantic little place in the 
American branch. From the latter Island one can look 
straight down into the whirlpool, called Devils-pool, one 
hundred and eighty-six feet below, into which the Luna 
branch pours its waters. After this I visited the Terra- 
pin tower, which has been erected upon a rock, in the 
Horseshoe Fall. This tower is indeed the strangest spot 
in this most remarkable place on the American continent, 
as one is actually permitted to visit it without paying a 
cent for the privilege, a rather incredible fact in Niagara. 
Then followed a trip to the "Three Sisters," little islands 
on the Canadian Branch, similar to Luna-Island and 
joined to Goat-Island by pretty little foot-bridges. By 
this time my appetite made itself felt and nature within 
demanded its share of the pleasure, which circumstance 
led me back to the Hotel. No sooner had I sat down to 
dinner than thunder and lightning made out-door life dis- 
agreeable, but fortunately the sun won the race and tri- 
umphantly showed his power soon after two o'clock. Re- 
joice my heart, the worry has passed! Again I went to 
the suspension bridge to inspect it at my leisure. This 
marvellous structure is eight hundred and twenty-five 
feet in length and the rails are two hundred and sixty- 
five feet above the level of the Niagara River, which is 
said to be two hundred feet deep at this spot. The bridge 
has two stories, the lower one for carriages and foot-pas- 
sengers and the top one for the Railroad. It happened 
that a heavy freight-train passed this bridge, while I was 
walking below. There was considerable shaking, but con- 
trary to my expectation, very little of visible motion. The 
enormous height of the structure cannot be realized from 
the window of a passing train but, when one stands be- 
low, the magnificence of this masterpiece of human in- 
vention inspires one with awe for the Divine Intelligence 



A VISIT TO EUROPE 329 

which is the cause of it all, and of which our finite intelli- 
gence is but an atom— an infinitesimal spark! 

On my return trip I bought a ticket to Toronto and one 
to Kingston. Even the temporary inclemency of the 
weather helped me to see the sights of Niagara in their 
different aspects. The contrast, for instance, between the 
effects of the bright sun-light and the dark, threatening 
clouds close by, upon the blending white foam in the 
depth, as seen from Goat-Island, was a spectacle of Na- 
ture which may almost be called ghostly in its effect. 

The impression this great wonder of Nature makes 
upon the beholder cannot easily be described. It is too 
grand, too overwhelming, to be expressed in human 
words. Only he, who has stood near the bottom and heard 
the indescribable roar and seen the stupendous volume 
of rushing waters, can even faintly grasp the idea of the 
Power and glory of his Creator, who tells him in an un- 
mistakable voice: ''Humble thyself, for all the works of 
this earth are mine. I am the Lord!" 

And once seen you will never forget Niagara Falls, nor 
the Voice which spoke to you. 

It is evening. I am penning these lines while seated 
upon a rock and leaning against a fir-tree; to my right 
yawns an abyss two hundred feet deep, and in front of 
me are the Falls in their magnificence, clad in the golden 
light of the setting sun. Darker and darker grows the 
spectacle, the Horseshoe Fall seems veiled and soon noth- 
ing but the everlasting roar reminds one of its royal pres- 
ence. In the midst of it all I am thinking of Home and of 
California. 

Friday, May 15th, 1868. 
The romantic trip to Lewiston exceeds my expectations. 
The road has evidently been hewn into the rocky banks 
of the Niagara river. While the American scenery on 
this road is decidedly attractive, that on the Canadian 
side has a still greater charm, which I enjoyed so thor- 
oughly that I regretted not to have made the trip on foot. 
We reached Lewiston at 10:50 and proceeded at once to 



330 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the little steamer, ' ' City of Toronto, ' ' which was to take 
us to the Canadian Metropolis. At Lewiston the Niagara 
River is much wider and 'the banks are lower, showing- 
neat settlements all along till we reach Lake Ontario. It 
was a fine little trip, which terminated at two o'clock, 
when we arrived at Toronto. No sooner had I set foot on 
shore, expecting to take a good look at the city, when it 
commenced to rain again so hard that I betook myself at 
once to the depot where I spent three dreary hours wait- 
ing for the Grand- Trunk train. All the information I 
could obtain concerning the city was that its name is of 
Indian origin and means meeting-place. It has a Uni- 
versity and an Observatory, several colleges and an abun- 
dant supply of churches, I understand. Business must be 
quite brisk, judging from the sights of shipping in the 
harbor and at the freight-station. 

Our trip to Kingston was delayed by an unforeseen ob- 
struction from a freight train, so we had to spend all night 
on the road. We arrived at our destination after five 
o'clock and I personally was glad of it, as it is not at all 
agreeable to hunt for a hotel at mid-night. From now on 
the return-trip to New York was taken up in real earnest. 
Another pleasant trip by steamer to Cape Vincent and 
thence by rail to Albany, where we arrived early Sunday 
morning. My great hope for favorable weather on the 
trip from Albany to New York was certainly spoiled, as 
I had little chance of verifying the much advertised scen- 
ery of the "Rhine of America," the Hudson, being pre- 
vented by heavy clouds and a cold fog. Arrived at New 
York I rested at the Hotel, as the rain kept me indoors. 

This trip has taught me that travelling in America is a 
cheap, comfortable and quick entertainment. Fares in- 
eluded, I expended scarcely more than if I had boarded at 
a Hotel during the same length of time. I went over 
eleven hundred and thirty-three miles, and the total cost, 
inclusive of all extras, amounted only to forty-eight Dol- 
lars, of which twenty-six Dollars were for railroad and 
steamer fares. And all these long trips without the con- 
stant annoyance from minions of some little potentate, 
whose principality one happens to enter. 



A VISIT TO EUROPE 331 

Saturday, May 23d, '68. 

I have procured passage to Europe on board of the SS. 
"Bavaria," Capt. Meyer, at the cost of one hundred and 
thirty-nine dollars, paper money (or one hundred dollars 
in gold). Last Tuesday I went to Hoboken to see the 
Hamburg American Liner "Cimbria" leave the port; she 
is undoubtedly one of the finest steamers afloat and pow- 
erfully strong in build.* 

The remaining time was spent in visiting and writing 
letters to California friends. My departure from New 
York was accompanied by another heavy storm. The 
weather continued more or less unfavorable. 

Hamburg, June the 7th, 1868. 
The trip across the ocean has been anything but pleas- 
ant, owing to the inclemency of the weather, though ac- 
commodations and treatment leave nothing to wish for. 
The passage from New York to Southampton occupied 
twelve days and fourteen hours. How I enjoyed the last 
few minutes as we passed Blankenese, Ottensen, Altona 
and then rapidly approached the dear old Hamburg once 
more! I made Zingg's Hotel, opposite the big "Ex- 
change," my headquarters; it is one of the most reliable 
and consequently is the best patronized place, where 
principally merchants congregate. This afternoon I took 
a long walk around town and found many improvements 
since my visit of seventeen years ago. 

Wednesday, June 12th, 1868. 
My sojourn rested me, and would probably have been 
extended had I not just received a telegram which an- 

*And it was just this strong steamer which, a few years later, 
while leaving Hamburg during a very foggy night with over 
four-hundred passengers on board, collided with a small British 
coal-vessel, the "Vulcan," whose drunken captain, Cole by name, 
had previously caused great damage to the "Marguerite Fran- 
chetti." Strangely enough, the "Cimbria," sank instantly, while 
only twenty-three lives were saved. Among those drowned were 
seventeen American Indians and most members of the grand 
American circus "Salamonski," together witl* a magnificent col- 
lection of trained animals. — Translator, 



332 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

nounces the dangerous illness of my father, thus hasten- 
ing my departure for Konigsberg. On the way I stopped 
at Grabow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the native place of 
my good friends, Lembcke and wife, to deliver a few let- 
ters and parcels to their relatives. It was there that an- 
other telegram, this time from Dubois, reached me, which 
caused me to take the " Express train" via Berlin to 
Konigsberg. Though it was but two o 'clock in the morn- 
ing, I was too nervous to rest, and wandered to the Polish 
graveyard, opposite the School-house, where I received 
my first instructions. Slowly I returned to familiar 
places, and finally called on Eosenstock, who accompanied 
me to the train, by which I reached Bartenstein about 
noon— in time for my father's funeral. When I reached 
Hamburg my dear father was breathing his last, but the 
fact had not been made known to me in the telegrams, as 
I could not have reached home in time. 

Grabow, i/M., Sept. 30th, 1868. 

The days of family re-union have passed and many were 
the visits and pleasant hours spent among my relatives 
and friends. But wherever I went one sad thought 
marred all else. The most beloved father, who longed for 
my home-coming, as I longed to see him again, had been 
called before I could reach him! It seemed almost too 
hard to bear, but bear it I must and I did. 

Outside of the family I met many old and new friends, 
but shall mention only a few, whose names sound more 
familiar: Olias, who is keeping books again; Grunha- 
gen's family, and Rosenstock. My two weeks' stay at 
Schleiff's was full of pleasant diversities. 

My California mail is astonishingly regular, as Lemb- 
cke, Rinaldi, Dr. "Wollweber, and many others prove to be 
faithful correspondents, who keep me quite busy answer- 
ing them. 

Tuesday, the 22d of September, was another day which 
I shall ever remember, the farewell from mother and 
sister was truly heart-rendering, as it followed shortly 
after a visit to my father's last resting-place. Many were 



A VISIT TO EUROPE 333 

also the visits paid me in Kuiiigsberg, as most of my ac- 
quaintances either managed to meet me at Rosenstock's 
or at Schwarzenberger's. 

Berlin, the next stopping place, harbored me four days, 
and my time was principally taken up with visits to rela- 
tives of California friends. And how they love to hear 
those American stories; everything interests them. 

Monday, the 28th of September, about four o'clock, I 
reached Grabow and have really enjoyed the quiet little 
town, where everything seems so peaceful after the noise 
of a large city like Berlin. The Martienssens, Labs and 
Jastrams rival each other in making my stay most agree- 
able. The little town has hardly four thousand inhabit- 
ants, but they are all of the solid Mecklenburg kind which 
are an honor to any country. Farming is the principal 
occupation of these people, which accounts for their 
healthy minds and bodies. To-morrow I shall continue 
my journey to Hamburg, much as I should like to spend 
a few more days in these quiet surroundings. 

Hamburg, Oct. 8th, 1868. 

Again I am well cared for at Zingg's Hotel, and make 
the rounds at my old friends. Dubois secured for me a 
ticket to New York, for which I paid him one hundred 
and twenty dollars. 

Of course, I make the best of my stay by reviving re- 
membrances of old, which I described in former pages. 
A spot, which was new to me, is the little borough of 
Wandsbeck, which, they say, will soon be raised to the 
dignity of a city, as it has almost the required ten thou- 
sand inhabitants. The trouble is, that it takes an uncon- 
scionable amount of legislating and red tape, as Wands- 
beck, like Altona, is within Holstein territory, which has 
just become a province of Prussia. This pleasant bor- 
ough has several places of interest, such as the castle of 
( mint von Schimmelmann, a beautiful forest and the mon- 
ument of its genial citizen, the writer and poet, Matthias 
Claudius (the AVhittier of Germany), who is best known 
as the "Messenger of Wandsbeck," which name he had 



334 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

given to his much read paper. His poems, like those of 
Hoffmann von Fallersleben excel in their simplicity. A 
little child will enjoy them, while unconsciously receiving 
the moral lessons which this great lover of children knew 
so well how to impart. And blessed are they, whose 
thoughts and words are plain and pure enough for a child. 

Claudius was a linguist; among others he translated 
Ferielon. While his orthodoxy remained unshaken, his 
influence upon his friends and readers was lasting. The 
monument honors his simplicity as well as his genius. 

On our way home we visited the Work and Poor-house 
in the Oberalten AllCe-Barmbeck, returning finally by the 
magnificent suburb "the Uhlenhorst" on the Outer Al- 
ster, enjoying an evening trip on one of the many minia- 
ture steamboats amidst hundreds of row and sailing ves- 
sels, while we could plainly hear the strains of the "Fa.hr- 
haus" concert, where the great Kela Bela with his ex- 
cellent band was just playing the "Turkish Patrol." Ket- 
tenburg's hospitality was greatly appreciated. 

The next day passed without even a walk, as it hap- 
pened to be typical Hamburg weather, cold and rainy. 
By appointment I met Dubois in the evening and with 
him I went to "Circus Renz," which is in reality one of 
the finest attractions of its kind I have ever seen. Renz 
has a permanent building near the Spielbuden Platz or 
Hamburger Berg, which I described before, though he 
uses it only four or six weeks a year and keeps it closed 
for the rest of the time. The fine balconies were com- 
pletely crowded and even the gallery (which Calif ornians 
commonly know as nigger-heaven), was taxed to the ut- 
most. And the show was gorgeous. The training and 
the costumes were worthy of an oriental court. The fault- 
less performance of the horses, elephants and dogs, the 
masterly handling by their patient trainers, had already 
kept me in breathless admiration ; but, after the last num- 
ber, "The Queen of Saba," a magnificent representation 
without words, wherein the combined skill and ornamen- 
tal beauty were exhibited, I felt that I received more than 
the money's worth. 



A VISIT TO EUROPE 335 

Neil's oyster-house, which we visited afterwards, was 
to me the most interesting eating-place I had ever visited. 
It was just eleven o'clock when w T e entered the large 
rooms, which did not present any strange features except 
that the ceilings seemed lower than is ordinarily the case 
in large restaurants. As we were among the first to en- 
ter, we seated ourselves where we could see every new- 
comer, and thankful 1 was, as never had I seen so cos- 
mopolitan a throng in any place as filed in at Neil's. The 
"Four- Hundred" of the theatrical world of St. Pauli 
mingled with the most picturesque foreign element as 
well as our own gaily attired peasant-emigrants, mostly 
sight-seers, who wished to enjoy an oyster-supper at this 
unique though not-at-all fashionable place. "Fraternal 
Brotherhood" seemed to be the slogan of this strange 
group of humanity. The repast was good and well served 
but the rooms became so filled with smoke that I was glad 
to escape from them. We decided to visit one more place 
of local, i. e., St. Pauli fame— the Spanish "Fonda" of 
Rudecindo Roche, who is said to have the best variety of 
Spanish wines of any dealer in the metropolis, though he 
might have chosen a more aristocratic location for his 
headquarters. When we entered his place, we were greet- 
ed by a handsome man of good medium stature, muscular 
build, whose dark complexion and magnificent black eyes 
compared well with the engaging smile with which he 
greeted us. It was not the greeting of a typical inn-keep- 
er but that of a gentleman, and I firmly believe that he 
has missed or lost his real vocation. I heard later that 
this foreigner— a publican in the sight of men— feeds the 
hungry and clothes the poor without noising it abroad. 
If his eyes are the mirror of his soul, this Castilian must 
have his heart in the right place.* 



♦All this is true. — In later years, Roche obtained five wolf-cubs, 
which he trained very carefully, like dogs, and then exhibited 
them in the large cities of Europe. I was told that he died from 
wounds, received from his treacherous pets during an exhibition 
at Antwerp. — And the poor missed him. — Translator. 



LETTER NO. XIV 



New York, Oct. 22, 1868. 

My Beloved Marie:— Before these lines will reach you, 
the news of my safe arrival will have been communicated 
to you by Dubois, who promised faithfully to send notice 
as soon as the landing of the ' ' Allemannia " would be 
known at the ships broker's office. It is therefore not 
impossible that you have knowledge of my well-being at 
this very moment. 

We arrived yesterday morning at ten o'clock, exactly 
fourteen days after leaving Hamburg. By the time land- 
ing was accomplished and the Custom-House formalities 
satisfactorily gone through, it was four o'clock. This 
and the fact that I desired to outline to you my intended 
trip to San Francisco, led me to wait till now to write this 
letter. 

My trip across the Atlantic was neither fast nor agree- 
able, though we did not suffer any hardships. 

Our voyage through the North Sea was fine and all were 
in the best of spirits when we anchored at Southampton, 
between an English man-of-war and the Royal Mail 
Steamer "La Plata." Our short stay was for the pur- 
pose of coaling and exchanging mail and passengers. 
There was a constant communication with the shore, as 
little steamers go to and fro at short intervals. Besides 
this, the " Jackies" on the man-of-war amused themselves 
and lookers-on by target shooting, while the boys on the 
Royal Mail Steamer, like our own, were busy enough get- 
ting things in ship-shape. The "La Plata," bound for 
Lisbon and Brazil, left Port just ahead of us. At Nee- 
dles we found ourselves alongside of the "La Plata" 
again and enjoyed an hour's communication, while a 
friendly race kept us the more amused, as our handsome 

336 



BACK TO AMERICA 337 

neighbor could not get the lead. Soon after seven o'clock 
our course changed and when I sought my state-room 
we were already on the high sea, with wind from South 
South- West and cloudy sky. The weather throughout 
the trip was rough and disagreeable, and what made us 
passengers feel it more keenly was the strange fact that 
we only sighted two vessels at great distance during the 
first week; an English Screw-steamer broke the monotony 
as she passed eastbound under full sails. Of the passen- 
gers, I saw very little, owing to the fact that few over- 
came the miserable feeling of what may be called the 
aftermath of seasickness, which prevented me also from 
enjoying this transatlantic voyage. Not until the last 
three days of our trip did I do justice to the excellent 
board. All in all, this voyage did not present any worse 
feature than one may expect at this time of the year. We 
have had a good deal of storm and high sea but nothing 
in comparison to what I experienced around Cape Horn 
in eighteen hundred and fifty-one. 

This morning I heard that San Francisco has had a 
very severe earthquake which is said to have damaged the 
city considerably ; one part of town is even reported un- 
inhabitable. The loss of life is small, but those injured 
more or less severely, by falling brick and timber, are 
many, according to the morning papers. Of course, as 
this happened but yesterday, the reports are still meager 
and more or less exaggerated. However, I am thankful 
enough not to have been in the midst of it. 

Another item of news from the Pacific affects my pock- 
et-book materially and consequently, from my standpoint, 
is of some importance. The competition between the 
Steamship-lines has ceased in consequence of an amalga- 
mation, a case of big fish eating the little ones. This, of 
course, has wrought changes all around, so that the num- 
ber of steamers has decreased, while the fare is now rated 
at one hundred and ninety dollars instead of seventy-five, 
as I paid from San Francisco to New York. This is rather 
unexpected, but cannot be helped. Another disappoint- 
ment is the fact that I shall have to wait here until the 
22 



338 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

thirty-first before I can get a berth. The disagreeable- 
ness of this delay, however, will be greatly overcome by 
the unexpected pleasure which is in store for me. My 
former employer, Harris Newmark, has taken a passage 
on the same steamer and seemed to be as greatly pleased 
as I, wherefore we decided to share one and the same 
stateroom. To be in such congenial company is truly a 
pleasure, as I should otherwise have been compelled to 
share the cabin with any stranger who might happen to 
have the price, as, owing to the crowded condition of the 
steamers, there is no favor shown. My disposition would 
have made life miserable for anyone who might have had 
to share the place with me for three long weeks, as I do 
not take to strangers very readily. This means one worry 
less. 

The evening papers are just out and state that the San 
Francisco damage will not exceed three hundred thou- 
sand dollars, while but four lives have been lost. This is 
good news, indeed, as compared with that we first heard. 
When I reach my destination I shall send you a descrip- 
tion of actual facts, which in all probability will be less 
sensational than the reports in your papers. Los An- 
geles has evidently escaped the earthquake completely. 
How anxious I am to go to work again. Truly I was 
not intended to be idle and shall welcome the day when 
this travelling ends. The steamer "Arizona" will take 
us from here to Aspinwall and the "Sacramento," an old 
acquaintance, will make the home-stretch from Panama 
to San Francisco. 

Do not expect any letter from me before New Year, as 
there will be little prospect. 

Thousandfold greetings to all! 

FRANZ. 




^^t^CniArr-o^ 



V. I ■ 



DIARY AND NOTES. 



Before we had to bid good-bye to New York, T under- 
took some splendid trips around the neighborhood, of 
which the one of Tuesday, the 27th of October, seems par- 
ticularly worth mentioning. For eleven cents we enjoyed 
a car-ride to Harlem, and then crossed the fine, iron draw- 
bridge over the Harlem river to Motthaven, Melrose, 
thence to West and East Morrisania until we reached 
Tremont. Another car took us to Fort Morris on Long 
Island Sound. Having enjoyed the sights, we took the 
little steamer "Sylvan Creek" at 129th-street and passed 
Randalls Island with its orphanages and Children's 
Homes; then, near Hellgate, the Foundlings' Homes and 
Emigrants' Hospital. Passing the "Table-rock" and 
"Gridiron" we stop at Hallen's Cove in Astoria, Long 
Island. Again we glide along the beautiful banks until 
we pass Blackwell's Island, where one gains a good 
glimpse of the magnificent buildings, which serve as pen- 
itentiaries, poor and work-houses and insane-asylums. 
All are of granite and of imposing dimensions and archi- 
tecture. This whole trip cost me only ten cents; I do not 
believe that I can spend a more interesting hour upon the 
water for the price I paid here, in any part of the globe, 
as, between Harlem Bridge and Peck Slip, where we land- 
ed at four o'clock in the afternoon. 

The following day I visited Manhattanville, where Man- 
hattan College, conducted by the Brothers of the Chris- 
tian Schools, has been erected where the wigwams of the 
Manhattan braves once stood. My object was to see High- 
Bridge, a million dollar structure, which one reaches 
after passing through Carmanville. This magnificent 
bridge of granite is fourteen hundred and fifty feet long of 
which one hundred and twenty feet are above the Hudson 



340 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

river, carrying the Croton Aqueduct on fourteen arches. 
The view from this bridge is splendid. After a pleasant 
walk through the park I returned to the hotel by the same 
route as yesterday. 

Saturday, the 31st— on board of the "Arizona," Capt. 
Maury. At last, about half-past ten, in the midst of a 
gay crowd of restless passengers, some of whom seem 
never to have been on board of a vessel before, we are 
about to set out. The captain appears and upon a sign 
the minor officers call out their routine-orders, upon which 
the. gang-bridges are drawn, the cable-ropes loosened, 
while shouts of farewell and waving of handkerchiefs con- 
tinue. Now a single stroke of the bell gives the signal 
that all is in readiness for the departure and immediately 
the immense wheels on either side begin to turn, slowly 
at first, then faster and faster do we glide from the dock 
into the beautiful Hudson river. The friends of our four- 
teen hundred passengers combine once more in a long, 
deafening Hurrah, whose echoes seem to reverberate from 
all the four points of the compass, while the white hand- 
kerchiefs, like so many doves of peace, signal their silent 
but heartfelt farewell to the crowds on board the fleeing 
vessel, which soon passes the Battery, the south end of the 
city of New York. By half-past two we reach Sandy 
Hook, and the pilot leaves us to our own resources. The 
sea is quiet, though the horizon is by no means clear. Ow- 
ing to the overcrowded condition of the steamship we had 
to share our state-room with a third passenger, an Ameri- 
can named Hagar. Strange to say, while most passengers 
braved the evening breeze, everybody seemed to have 
turned into his bunk soon after dark, and by ten o'clock 
everything was so quiet that one might suppose that there 
were not more than a dozen persons on board. 

During the fourth and fifth day we passed the West 
Indies, of which the mountain views, the fire of Cape 
Maisi and Cape Tame Marie on Hayti, as well as the 
Guano Island Navaza, attracted my special attention. 
"We met the company's steamers "Ocean Queen" and 
"Henry Chancey," both within talking distance, which 



DIARY AND NOTES 341 

indeed seems like a revival of old acquaintanceship— that 
does one good not less on the high seas than on the desert. 
By a mistake we went North as far as Cape Manzanillo, 
which is the more surprising as our captain has made this 
trip back and forth for ten long years, and ought to know 
the proper route perfectly. This delay brings us two 
hours later to Aspinwall, but in time for the train, which 
leaves at half-past nine. 

The air is refreshing and the scenery along the Isthmus 
at its very best, as the vegetation in these regions appears 
in its most luxurious colors. How different from the dry 
and desolate looking country of six months ago. A slight 
shower contributes to our comfort. At one o'clock wo 
reach Panama and as the ferry-steamer "Ancon" is al- 
ready waiting to take us to the "Sacramento," which is 
anchored at Taboza Island, thus making it impossible for 
us to buy curios, to the great disappointment of the na- 
tives, some of whom actually swim along and manage to 
board the ship in order to sell their wares, after which 
they give an exhibition of their skill by jumping back 
into the water in which, apparently, they are as much at 
home as they are on land. Happy, thoughtless, easy-go- 
ing people, nothing worries them; they eat, and work at 
their leisure, and their needs are very few. Of course, 
they seldom arouse themselves to do something extraordi- 
nary nor do they have to bear the burdens which such an 
effort would inevitably create; they live in the blessed 
ignorance that belongs to a semi-primitive state of exist- 
ence. 

At two o'clock we boarded the Str. " Sacramento, " 
Capt. Parker, and soon our few belongings had been 
stored and we settled down for the last trip. The scenery 
was truly grand, but the heat! it was enough, it seemed to 
us, to boil water without additional fire. We were com- 
pelled to wait all the afternoon to take on coal, which 
delayed the storing of freight. When evening came and 
still no end of the cargo in sight, many of us expressed 
the desire to go ashore once more, but we were infonned 
that the local government forbade all passengers of the 



342 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Mail Company Steamers to visit the city, owing to the 
fact that such permission had been abused to a degree 
that endangered the peace and property of the city and 
had even cost human lives on either side. Too much 
aguardiente, I suppose. We had consequently to exer- 
cise patience during our imprisonment and be satisfied 
with a look at the magnificent panorama from a distance. 
It is now clear to me why, on my first arrival at Panama, 
not a soul wanted to impart information as to the time 
when the train was to leave for Aspinwall and we were 
obliged to wait three long hours packed like sardines. 
The inimitable "Quien sabe" (who knows) was all we 
could get out of those fellows. 

At last we retired, hoping to find ourselves in open sea 
the next morning but! what a disappointment! Lighter 
after lighter appeared and unloaded and still there 
seemed to be half a dozen in waiting. During the after- 
noon a splendid rain refreshed the tropical air, then a 
slight thunder-storm and all was over. Such is the win- 
ter in Panama, I am told. 

At last the end is in sight, one more lighter and then, 
hurrah for the open sea! I never thought that I should 
become such a water-fiend, but I actually enjoy traveling 
on board of ship, at least I prefer it to being impris- 
oned on it in a tropical Port for thirty-six long hours. It 
was nearly six o'clock when our cannon roared its fare- 
well and the mountains echoed our salute, which rocks 
and reefs seemed to mimic. So great was my delight that 
mid-night had passed before I retired to my bunk. When 
I awoke we had already reached Punta Puerco and were 
approaching Cape Mariate. The coast of New Granada 
is really beautiful and the lofty mountains were clad in 
the early green from top to bottom, without a bare spot 
anywhere; forests everywhere, yea, even the rocks seem 
covered with green in this blessed country, as the most re- 
mote are covered with ivy or some other climber, wher- 
ever the trees could not possibly set roots. Now the fog, 
a heavy, whitish fog is setting in and slowly veiling the 
scenery I just described. Here and there the climbers 



DIARY AXD NOTES 343 

are hanging down from protruding rocks, while the veil- 
ing fog coats the foliage. What magnificent hiding places 
some of those spots would make for Indians or— other 
people. After passing Cape Mariate, our distance from 
the coast became more and more noticeable. We sighted 
Cape Matapalo the next morning and, as the coast from 
there to Cape Lloreno was hardly visible to the naked eye, 
the distance must have exceeded fifteen miles. Toward 
evening of the twelfth, we reached Cape Blanco and had 
covered only about two hundred and twenty-five miles in 
about fifty-six hours, as the wind had been somewhat 
against us part of the time. On Saturday, the fourteenth, 
we observed quite a change of scenery as the conical giant 
mountains along the coast of San Salvador and Guate- 
mala, many of which are volcanoes of more or less dan- 
gerous propensities, formed quite a contrast to the coast- 
scenes I described before. Some of these mountains are 
actually thirteen to fourteen thousand feet above the sea- 
level. The captain informed me that we were uncom- 
monly fortunate in our observation, as these giants are 
more than a hundred miles away from our present course, 
and only visible in consequence of a certain tropical, 
meteorological phenomenon, which is a very rare occur- 
rence in these regions. Two of those volcanoes seemed to 
emit smoke but that may have been a mistake of ours. 

Sunday, the fifteenth, finds us in the Gulf of Tehuante- 
pec and as the air is remarkably pure this morning we 
can distinguish the bluish mountains of Mexico, though 
they are yet fully forty to fifty miles distant. 

A fresh Northwest breeze cooled the air, and we were 
refreshed in body and spirit. About noon we sighted the 
company's Steamer "Constitution," which left San Fran- 
cisco nine days ago while we are nearly five days from 
Panama. 

Monday, at day-break, we pass along the coast of 
Oajaca at a distance of about three miles. This part of 
the coast shows another variety of nature's work; the 
mountains are terrace-shaped, with wide romantic val- 
leys, some of which resemble our plains, reaching from 



344 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

the beach to the foot of the mountain-chain. Here, too, 
is plenty of vegetation, though one notices already the 
reddish mountain tops which I have spoken of as char- 
acteristic of Northern Mexico and California. Nature 
all along this coast is in her virgin-state, which lends con- 
siderable variety to the otherwise monotonous scenery. 
Toward night we noticed a beautiful display of lightning 
in the East. 

Tuesday, at three o 'clock in the morning, I am aroused 
by the saluting of our ship's-cannon, which announces 
the welcome fact that we are at anchor at Acapulco, after 
sailing fourteen hundred and forty miles in six days and 
nine hours. Having; taken a look at the town we were 
glad to enjoy the coolness of our tents on deck of the 
steamer, as the heat was intensely oppressive. Notwith- 
standing this one disagreeable feature, we gained a good 
view of this romantic sea-port town, which is so com- 
pletely hidden by picturesque mountains that one cannot 
see the ocean; and as the entrance into the beautiful bay 
is likewise hidden, the latter has the appearance of an 
inland lake rather than of a harbor, though it is quite 
large and deep enough to admit sea-vessels of all sizes. 
Alongside of us there ride at anchor two of the largest 
American clippers and the big screw steamer "Califor- 
nia." All around were high mountains covered with 
heavy growth of cocoa palms and gigantic ferns, from 
which the adobe huts of the natives loomed up like mush- 
rooms. Acapulco is a typical Mexican city with huts of 
wood, reeds or adobe; few may be called houses of one 
story, but all are without window panes and have wooden 
or iron grates instead, a few have shutters. The streets 
are badly paved except where nature provided the rocks. 
I was surprised to see street lanterns, which showed a 
certain degree of progress. We then went to the fortress, 
built of stone and not without skill and practical pur- 
pose; it has really been baptized by the blood of French- 
men, who occupied the city but vainly tried to drive the 
natives out of the Fortress San Carlos, where sixty good 
sized guns prevented the capture. A splendid and well 



DIARY AND NOTES 345 

graded avenue, with old laurel trees on either side, leads 
to this fort, whence one gains a magnificent view of the 
harbor, which is fully capable of giving protection to five 
or six hundred vessels. It is said that Acapulco's harbor 
is one of the safest in the world. I cannot but compare it 
to Manzanillo, though the latter is much smaller and less 
favored by Mother Nature. Particularly interesting are 
the strange life and dress of the natives, who swarm 
in large numbers around the harbor or approach the for- 
eign ships in small boats, hewn after Indian style, out of 
large trunks cf trees. Their dress consists of an immense 
straw hat called sombrero, an excuse for a shirt and short 
drawers (which are frequently wanting). Tropical fruits, 
bananas, anonas, cocoanuts, mangos, oranges and many 
others, together with curious, singing birds, parrots of alt 
sizes are offered for sale by the irrepressible Mexican 
youth, as well as their elders. Another amusing feat of 
theirs is their diving capacity. Throw a small silver coin 
into the water and you will see one or more boys diving 
after it, and they never fail to fetch it, as the water is so 
clear, that one can clearly recognize any object at the bot- 
tom of the water. Were it not for the intense heat I 
should like to know more about these dark brown people 
and their customs. I do not understand why one sees so 
very few white faces in the market place and other busy 
parts of town compared with Aspinwall or Panama. One 
cannot but think of the Italian brigands and their Span- 
ish brothers in spirit, as often represented on canvas by 
the brushes of our European artists, when the poorly 
clad brown figures, whose dark eyes lurking from under 
the immense brim of their sombreros, make the stranger 
feel rather uncanny until he imagines himself at a safe 
distance only to meet another. 

Acapulco is the coaling station of the Pacific Mail Com- 
pany, which accounts for our stopover, which ended by 
three o'clock in the afternoon. Soon after we passed the 
little lighthouse, which is built on a very high rock so 
that its beacon light reaches far upon the sea. Manzanillo 
is the next port of importance. On our way to this liar- 



346 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

bor we passed the "Playas de Cojuca," commonly called 
the " beaches," but a small child on board, noticing this 
sandy dividing line between the blue surface of the ocean 
and the dark green foliage of the lower mountains, re- 
ferred to it as the "Sidewalks of the Sea," surely a very 
natural and appropriate name for it, I thought. From 
Acapulco to Manzanillo, a distance of two hundred and 
ninety-three miles, we covered in thirty-one hours, arriv- 
ing in port at ten o'clock in the evening. The coast view 
changed, inasmuch as the mountains along the last trip 
were neither so high nor steep as those just passed. 

Thursday, November 19th, before any of the passengers 
had arisen, we were again on the high sea and steaming 
toward San Bias, at which place some German passengers 
went ashore, who were connected with a large firm of 
German merchants in Tepic. As there is no railroad run- 
ning to San Bias, the stages and mule trains do all the 
work. Everything is packed on mules; care must, how- 
ever, be taken that one side of the load is no heavier than 
the other. Sometimes two or three mules, one after the 
other, carry long pieces of freight together and it is aston- 
ishing how much these much abused creatures can pack 
along. Opposite San Bias are the Isles de las Tres Marias 
(the three Mary's Islands). I am told that ships coaling 
there are occasionally lost, either in consequence of some 
terrific storm or by accident more or less strange. Sea- 
faring men have their suspicions. I forgot to mention 
Cape Corrientes which is important as the border outpost 
of the Gulf of California. The air is cooler but still warm 
enough to suit me. By three o'clock on Friday afternoon 
we sighted Cape San Lucas, an isolated hill, about three 
hundred feet high, which forms the most Southern point 
of the peninsula of Lower California. That night we 
experienced the first complete calm during this trip, 
which made it possible for us to hear the splashing of 
the mighty wheels of our steamship. Vegetation is not 
at its best in Lower California, the country looks rather 
desolate; though the volcanic, rocky mountains, with 
their many fantastic caves look picturesque enough, I 



DIARY AND NOTES 347 

should not care to live there. Peculiar are the color 
changes of these mountains, which appear sometimes 
grey, then red, yellow, violet and green in the oddest pos- 
sible mixtures. It strikes me that the Titans must have 
had among them an artist, who tried his color mixtures 
and new brushes on these rocky walls. Again a change 
as we approach the Bay of Santa Maria, which forms a 
crescent of low sandstone hills, until Cape San Lazaro 
shows its height of fifteen hundred feet, backed by a 
chain of rocks and volcanic mountains. Here, as else- 
where on the coast of Lower California, not enough vege- 
tation to raise a cow on nor enough wood with which to 
cook a pot of coffee. 

Sunday, the 22d. This is our twelfth day from Pan- 
ama. We are speeding along with Cape Abrojos in sight, 
while approaching Cape San Koque, which resembles a 
mighty heap of grey, yellow and reddish ashes, and sug- 
gests to me that the same Titanic painter must have 
emptied his pipe after his work was done. Nowhere was 
there even a weed to be seen. As is the custom on most 
American and English vessels, there has been what they 
are pleased to call "Divine Service" in the cabin. 

We have had a very high sea all day, which is the rea- 
son that the ship was kept closer to the shore than usual 
to protect the immense cargo we took on at Panama. 
There is no change in the desolate scenery, as we pass 
the large Cerros Island late in the evening. 

Monday passed quietly, the air grew colder and I ac- 
tually had to take out my overcoat toward evening. The 
company's steamer "Colorado," fifty-two hours from San 
Francisco, came within speaking distance. 

Tuesday morning brings us to an old acquaintance, San 
Clemente Island, some fifty miles south of San Pedro. 
Hurrah for the Stars and Stripes which greet us from the 
nearby shore. And at still greater distance the progress- 
ive town of Los Angeles with many a good friend within. 
Onward we speed and the next day brings me face to face 
with the dear old "Orizaba" and her well known crew; 
she had been twenty-four hours at sea on her trip from 
San Francisco to San Pedro. 



348 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

We, of course, have long since enjoyed the charming 
coast of California but, as I have said enough about these 
regions, I shall drop the subject, though one feels like 
saying something nice after the monotonous view of 
Lower California. Tomorrow will bring us to San Fran- 
cisco! 

Thursday, the 26th of November, 1868. Earlier than 
usual I arose to watch our approach to the long wished- 
for place of destination and we soon sighted the fire of 
Cape Bonito. At seven o'clock we raised our flags oppo- 
site Fort Point, and by eight o'clock I stepped upon the 
wharf where old Hess received me cordially. In a few 
minutes our many passengers had disappeared hither and 
thither, while I took up my headquarters at the Nucleus 
Hotel, my former stopping place. After a few calls the 
afternoon and evening were spent at the hospitable home 
of Lembcke. There was an old-fashioned rejoicing at 
every pleasant remembrance I related to my eager listen- 
ers as coining from their relatives, friends and dear old 
neighbors in Grabow, Berlin or New York, notwithstand- 
ing that I had written several long letters, bearing most 
of the local news as I obtained it while abroad. There 
seemed always enough matter left to discuss to pass the 
time agreeably. I feel at home. 

December 3d, 1868. Though tempting offers have been 
made to keep me here, I decided to visit Los Angeles once 
more, and settle business matters after I shall have sat- 
isfied my longing for this trip. The Southern town has 
something besides climate which seems to draw me 
thither. (Bless his heart, he had love in his bosom and 
spurs in his heels.— Translator.) 

Saturday, December 5th. Having taken leave of my 
good friends I am now bound for Los Angeles, whither 
the old "Orizaba," Capt. Johnson, is to take me once 
more. While passing along the portions of the Pacific 
coast with which I was familiar I cannot help but think 
of the narrow escape from drowning which I had just ten 
years ago, when the urgent invitation of my good old 
friend Capt. Morton of the "Laura Bevan" led me to 



DIARY AND NOTES 349 

prepare for a trip to San Francisco at a time set. The 
boat was late and as I had business in the Northern 
metropolis I concluded to change my plan and take the 
"Senator," Capt. Seeley, hoping to keep my previous 
promise on my return. As it happened, we met the 
"Laura Bevan" a few miles from Santa Barbara, South- 
bound, and exchanged signals. Two weeks after I in- 
quired for the date of its expected arrival from San Pedro 
at San Francisco, when, to my consternation, I heard that 
the vessel was eight or nine days late. Thus I was 
obliged to return on the "Senator." Reaching Santa 
Barbara I heard of the possible fate of the vessel, which 
rumor was conlirmed at Los Angeles. The "Laura Bev- 
an," Capt. Morton, with crew and passengers had found 
their death in mid-ocean. 

Monday, December 14th, 1868, Los Angeles. Arrived 
at San Pedro just a week ago to-day, after a trip of fifty 
hours. To my great joy I found Rinaldi waiting for me 
with a buggy; a four hours' drive took us to Los Angeles, 
where the welcome accorded me was truly grand. For a 
whole week visits and handshaking seemed to be the 
order of the daily program. In the meantime a great deal 
of good will has been shown me by General Banning, Har- 
ris Newmark and others, who endeavored to engage me 
for their offices. Though the offers made were very tempt- 
ing, I saw a still better future in surveying. It was on 
one of the visits to General Banning, in connection with 
my refusal to take up the managing of his business, that 
the kind old gentleman exclaimed: "Frank, if you ever 
need my help, call on me and should I, forgetful of the 
past, refuse generous assistance, tell me to remember the 
'Ada Hancock/ "* 

Thursday, December 17th, 1868. Have commenced my 
work as surveyor again. Gen. Banning was the first to 
employ me. 

Last night we were aroused bv the fire alarm and be- 



*Thc render will recollect the tragic incident of the loss of that 
ill-fated steamer with many of her passengers, a^ related on earl- 
ier pages. — Translator. 



350 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

fore I realized the closeness of the danger, the efficient 
fire department had extinguished the flames which de- 
stroyed our hotel kitchen. As usual, I escaped with a 
mere fright. 

December 31st, 1868. Christmas has passed and New 
Year is again only a few hours away. I spent the holidays 
mostly at Messer's, but came near breaking my neck last 
Sunday. Having attended the wedding of a friend, the 
whole party decided to drive out to one of the pretty 
suburbs, when the horses of our carriage took fright and 
ran away. Though two of our number were thrown out, 
none was seriously hurt and I, as usual on such occasions, 
came away without a scratch, though the buggy was al- 
most demolished. 

The dedication of the new hall for our lodge took place 
on Tuesday. Am busy surveying. 

January 30th, 1869. The New Year has made two souls 
happy. My old friend Rinaldi and Francisca Valdez de 
Pfeffer were made one on the second. I wish them hap- 
piness, health and harmony. The Lembckes lost a child 
on the sixteenth. The twenty-ninth brought us an earth- 
quake. Altogether we had fairly good weather this 
month. 

I am now settled as civil engineer and surveyor, with 
office in the Wolfskill building on Main street, opposite 
Commercial. 

April 30th, 1869. The weather has been rather wintry 
for Los Angeles and this, together with a lame foot, have 
kept me indoors considerably. 

June 30th, 1869. The weather has changed at last and 
we enjoy the old California sunshine once more, which 
makes everybody feel good. Strange things happen some- 
times, and even in the far southwest. Repeated persua- 
sions from my many friends and acquaintances have in- 
duced me to try my luck in politics. It is no more the 
fiery youth of eighteen hundred and forty-eight, who tries 
his wings, but a man of many experiences, who casts his 
lot with the grand old Democratic party and hopes to ob- 
tain the nomination and eventually the election to the 
office of county surveyor. 



DIARY AND NOTES 351 

There are two other candidates for this position, hut 
the Democratic organ, the "Daily News," foretells my 
victory on July third. 

Among others, there appear on the list the following 
well known names: 

T. D. Mott, candidate for county clerk. 

T. E. Rowan, candidate for county treasurer. 

Harris Newmark, candidate for supervisor. 

July 31st, 1869. The month hegan hot and little work 
in sight. 

The Democratic convention confirms my nomination, 
giving me thirty-three votes out of fifty-three. 

To celehrate the fourth of July fittingly after such a 
victoTy, my friend Rinaldi, his young wife and I drove to 
Santa Monica Ranch, where we spent the day, returning 
to town in time to shoot firecrackers. On the nineteenth 
of this month the opening took place of Pentalpha lodge, 
of which I am a charter member. Needless to say that 
the ceremonies were most impressive. 

August 7th. Ripe grapes. 

September 30th (1869). Election day passed very 
quietly. As the city council had neglected to provide 
more than one election booth as many as four hundred 
voters are said to have been unable to cast their votes. 
My opponents worked strenuously but the counting of 
votes had progressed by midnight so far that my election 
was generally conceded. 

The "Los Angeles Star" announced the definite result 
of the election in my behalf on the seventh as follows: 
For Surveyor: Lecouvreur, 1,240; Reynolds, 677; rest 
of votes scattered. 

T. D. Mott, Rowan and Newmark won the race in their 
respective candidacies. 

Note by Translator: Our author obtained in this elec- 
tion more Democratic votes than did the presidential 
party candidate, Horace Greeley, two years later, notwith- 
standing the steady growth of this city. Gov. Henry 
Haight, Democrat, polled over two thousand votes. 



352 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

Through kindness of Mr. Alfred Street, who himself held 
the office of county surveyor of Los Angeles twenty years 
after Lecouvreur, the following copy from the records 
of the work done during the latter 's terms of office has 
been obtained: 

Surveys of Gallatin Eoad in 1870 ; of Tustin and New- 
port City in 1871; Anaheim Landing, Compton; Gallatin 
College, Santa Gertrudes, and Anaheim Telegraph Road, 
1871; Monte Branch Eoad in 1872; Ballona, Green Mea- 
dows; Anaheim Landing II., Cahuenga Roads, Anaheim 
Spadra, Green Meadow VII., Compton II., Richland, 
Cahuenga, Westminster, Lexington and Gallatin, Ana- 
heim and Orange Roads in 1873. Mr. Lecouvreur 's diary 
does not give us many details of his official services, but a 
few notes of interest from public records should not be 
omitted in this connection. Some of them may have been 
and, to the knowledge of the translator, are mentioned in 
the graphic records given us by the eminent writers of 
Southern California history, J. M. Guinn and H. D. Bar- 
rows. Many a page in the "Illustrated History of Los 
Angeles County" (signed or unsigned) is from the pen of 
Mr. Barrows, who will likewise write the preface to this 
biographical translation and thereby give the weight of 
his testimony to the work. We read: 

January, 1870. The people of this city were so worked 
up by the actions of the councilmen in regard to several 
financial manipulations that they caused the arrest of this 
honorable body headed by the mayor. 

December 31st, 1870. The local vigilance committee, 
which has given the city a much needed cleansing of bad 
characters, has suspended its actions with the close of 
the year and after hanging the last of desperadoes, Michel 
Lachenais. 

October, 1871. There has been a Chinese massacre this 
month, a most disgraceful affair, the like of which is for- 
tunately not on American records. Some members of 
different Chinese secret societies fought over the posses- 
sion of a woman. The first battle took place in Negro 



DIARY AND NOTES 353 

Alley, but notwithstanding that several shots had been 
fired, nobody seemed seriously hurt. A few Celestials 
were taken to jail in consequence. The disturbance was 
thought to have ended and the jailbirds were taken the 
next day before the police court for preliminary hearing, 
at which large numbers of Chinatown were present. No 
sooner had the court set the day for trial than the Mon- 
golians repaired to their own quarters, where a new fight 
ensued, which soon attracted a multitude of Mexicans and 
Americans from that vicinity, some of whom were speed- 
ily mixed up in the fight. The heathens fought desper- 
ately and an officer, Robert Thompson, who attempted to 
quell the riot, was killed and his deputy, Bilderain, was 
wounded, which naturally roused the boundless anger of 
the white mob that now surrounded the Chinese dens 
demanding the blood of the murderers of an American of- 
ficial who had done his duty as a peace officer. One of the 
heathens ventured into the street and was at once caught 
by his pursuers, taken about four squares and hanged to 
the doorway of a corral amid the abjurations of the en- 
raged spectators. Having tasted the blood of the almond- 
eyed stranger, the combined mob of Americans and Span- 
iards now largely reinforced, began the real massacre. 
As the beleaguered heathen had barricaded doors and 
windows, a crowd of hoodlums in desperate frenzy 
climbed upon the roofs, broke holes through and shot the 
inmates, males, females, young and old, regardless as to 
their guilt or innocence. The object was one of vengeance 
on the cold-blooded murderers of an American citizen. 
It may seem amazing that so-called civilized communities 
should have to witness the frenzied destruction of nearly 
a score of human lives, even though the provocation was 
very great. When quiet was restored, there were eigh- 
teen bodies found dangling in mid air, some from win- 
dow casings, some from lamp posts, while one ot two had 
actually been tied to the seat of farm wagons and others 
to awnings, among these the body of a child ! 

Though quite a number of arrests had been made, few 
actual convictions followed and the sentences covered but 

23 



354 EAST PRUSSIA TO THE GOLDEN GATE 

a few years of imprisonment, while the City of Angels 
will never be able to erase this dark page from her chron- 
icles. How strangely human justice is sometimes meted 
out in this free country of ours! 



About two years before the above occurrence the author 
expressed a great longing to see his fatherland, which 
was then divided into many principalities, once more 
united under one supreme head, be it as an empire or as 
a republic. He longed for it, but dared not hope. On the 
contrary, he sighed often when what he called the insig- 
nificance of Germany's power and the consequent dimin- 
ished respect shown her abroad, was the subject of a con- 
versation. Lecouvreur loved his native land, and he 
therefore followed the preliminary negotiations between 
France and Prussia, which led to the war of 1870-71. He 
hoped for a German victory, but could scarcely believe a 
united action of Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and the smaller 
kingdoms would be possible. But the insult which Na- 
poleon III. through his ambassador, Benedetti, had of- 
fered the venerable King William I. of Prussia, aroused 
and united his fellow rulers to action. The war lasted but 
two months, during which fifteen big battles were fought 
and won by the German amiies and the crowning events, 
the taking prisoner of the French Emperor, the proclama- 
tion of a German Empire under William I. as well as the 
capitulation of Paris, overpowered our author with glad- 
ness and surprise. Now, at last, was respect for the Ger- 
man citizen established at home and abroad. 

Los Angeles, like all Western cities, had to undergo 
many changes and struggles, with now and then a boom, 
all of which was shared by the public spirited author of 
this biography. Being a man of education, such as was 
rare among the foreign born element of this vicinity, his 
interest in all matters pertaining to the uplifting of his 
fellow men was as keen and far-reaching as his percep- 
tion of public needs, wherefore he welcomed and encour- 
aged the endeavors of every good man. 



DIARY AND NOTES 355 

In the beginning of June, 1877, while cashier in a lead- 
ing local bank there, began a new era for our 
author whose happy matrimonial venture was accom- 
panied by the earnest wishes of his many true friends. A 
wedding trip to Europe was heartily enjoyed by both, 
alter which they founded a home where happiness 
reigned supreme for fully eleven years, when suddenly an 
attack of paralysis compelled our author to bid farewell 
to all activities and resign himself to the will of his God. 
Great were his sufferings and privations, but greater was 
his faith and his hope in the Divine Mercy, which sus- 
tained and comforted him to the end. 

Purified by fourteen years of untold agonies, his beau- 
tiful soul entered into the realms of Eternal Peace on the 
seventeenth of January, nineteen hundred and one, in 
the seventy-second year of his well spent life and the 
fiftieth year of his California citizenship. 



THE END. 


















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