Upper California, alone treated of; its situation; its boundaries; its superficies; its natural divisions. Mountains; descriptions of. Cordilleras mountains; their course; their distance from the sea; their altitude; their passes; their spurs. California mountains; course of; distance from the sea; elevation of; their passes. Klamet mountains; their course; their elevation; their spurs; their pass. Mountain spurs; descriptions of. Three butes; conic formations of. Peculiar position of California. Rivers; description of. Colorado; its source; its course; length of; navigableness[sic] of; tributaries of. Sacramento; importance of; its source; its course; its navigableness [sic]. Dry river; its peculiarities. Subterfluent streams. Feather river; its name, from what derived. The American fork. Tulare river; third in importance. Russian river. Klamet river. Bear river. The Salt lake. Rise of rivers. Islands; descriptions of. St. Catalina. Santa Cruz. St. Clement. Face of the country; of the Western section; the Eastern section. Bays and harbors. Bay of St. Francisco. Bay of St. Deigo [sic]. Bay of Monterey. Bay of Bodaga. Bay of Colorado. Commercial advantage of California.
Having conducted the reader to California, I will now proceed to give a brief description, of that highly important country, which is latterly, so justly attracting the attention, of the various civilized powers of the world. From the extremely narrow limits of this small work, I am compelled, to confine my remarks, entirely to Upper California, notwithstanding, both Upper, and Lower California, are properly, and naturally united, and have always been, so considered, for governmental, and other purposes; but to treat of both those countries, would extend this description, far beyond, either of my original or present purpose; I shall, therefore, content myself, with giving a description of the former alone. The former, is selected in preference to the latter, because of its greater
extent, both of territory and of population; and because of its being that portion of the Californias, to which, the attention, not only of the enterprising emigrants, but also, that of the avaricious and jealous powers, of the civilized world, are now being turned, with high hopes, either of its present, or ultimate acquisition.
Upper California is a Mexican province or state, situated on the Pacific ocean, between the forty-second, and thirty-second parallels of north latitude. It is bounded on the east by the Cordilleras mountains, which are a continuation, of the Rocky mountain range; on the south, by Sonora, the gulf of California, and Lower California; on the west, by the Pacific ocean; and on the north, by Oregon, or the forty-second parallel, of north latitude. It is six hundred miles in extent, from north to south, and about eight hundred miles, from east to west; having a superficies of about 480,000 square miles; more than four times as large as Great Britain; twice as large as France; and equal to twelve states, as large as that of Ohio. It is naturally divided, into two great sections or divisions, by the California mountains, which together with the Cordilleras, and the Klamet mountains, constitute the only mountain ranges, of this country. The Cordilleras mountains run very nearly north and south, the whole extent of the country, ranging generally, from six hundred, to a thousand miles from the coast. Like the Rocky mountains, in Oregon, they are generally covered perpetually with snow. This range is, also, of extraordinary altitude, and has many, very elevated peaks, which are from ten to twenty thousand feet, above the level of the sea. Several eligible passes, or gaps, are also found, in this range, the most important of which, is that in the vicinity of Santa Fe, near the latitude 34? north. There is already very considerable passing and re-passing through this gap, which is no doubt, destined to increase, very much as the emigration increases to that country. The chief emigration will, however, undoubtedly, always be through the great southern pass, near latitude 42? north, which was alluded to, in the description of Oregon. All this range is, for the most part, entirely sterile and unproductive, producing nothing but low shrubs of pine and cedar, the prickly-pear and wormwood; amidst, and in the immediate vicinity, of the mountains, however, there are numerous small, but extremely, fertile valleys, as well as many elevated plains and prairies, which abound with vegetation. Upon, and in the vicinity, of the various streams, heading in this range, very good timber is also found, in sufficient quantities, for all ordinary purposes.
The California mountains are a continuation of the Cascade, or Presidents' range, of Oregon; their general course is also nearly north and south, ranging, usually, from two, to four hundred miles from the coast, and terminating hear the head of the gulf of California, at latitude deg. north. This range is much less elevated, than the Cordilleras or Rocky mountains, yet, it has several very elevated peaks, many of which, are from ten to fourteen thousand feet, above the level of the sea. There are several very easy, natural passes, through this range also, the principal of which, and that through which the chief emigration will eventually pass, is near latitude 40 deg. north, through which, it is said, loaded wagons may now, be driven, without serious interruption. There is also another, near latitude 38 deg. north, through which, the chief trade in the northern part of the country, has been carried on, as the more
northern pass has not, until quite recently, been known. This pass at latitude 38 deg. north, affords a very eligible route for wagons, but it will never become, as extensive a thoroughfare, as that at latitude 40 deg. north, as that is in a direct route, from the great southern pass, in the Rocky mountains. But the pass near latitude 38 deg. north, is of the utmost importance, as it affords the means of intercommunication, between the two great sections, lying east and west of the California mountains. Besides these two passes, this range has another also, near latitude 34 deg. north, through which, the Santa Fe traders and others annually pass, and which, not only connects the two great valleys, which lie on the east and west sides of the California mountains, but it also affords a great thoroughfare, by which the southern emigrants, will eventually, travel by hundreds and thousands. The California mountains are much more fertile, than the Cordilleras or Rocky mountains, which is evidenced, by their being generally, covered with a great variety of vegetation, as well as by their affording in many places, a great abundance of good timber. This range is also interspersed, with innumerable limited valleys, elevated plains and prairies, which abound with both vegetation and timber, of most luxuriant growth. The Klamet range was described, in a former page, in the description of Oregon, is commencing at the Rocky mountains, at latitude 42 deg. north, and running in a direction, west southwest to the coast at latitude 41 deg. north. This range has numerous spurs of small extent which are usually covered with the grasses, and various other kinds of vegetation, as well as a growth of small timber, while the principal range is, generally, entirely sterile. It is also, thickly interspersed with small, though extremely productive valleys, all of which, are well timbered, and well watered; and like the Cascade range, it also has, several very high peaks, some of which are covered with perpetual snow. There is but one eligible pass in this range, which is found near latitude 41 deg. 30 min. north, and longitude 117 deg. west from Greenwich, through which wagons can be driven, with very little inconvenience. This pass is destined to become, of great importance, both to Oregon and California, in facilitating intercommunication and commerce, between the two countries.
Besides these distinct ranges of mountains, there are several others, which, in many places, intersect the country in various directions, all of which, however, may be traced as spurs of the ranges before described.. Some of them, and especially, those found between the California, and the Cordilleras or Rocky mountains, have been thought by some, to constitute a distinct range; but, upon a more particular examination, they will be found to be mere spurs, of the ranges last mentioned. These, like the main ranges, to which they belong, also have high peaks, or elevations, many of which, rise considerable above the snow line, which is here found to be, about seven thousand feet above the level of the sea. Here, as in Oregon, wherever you are, you are always in view of some of those extraordinary conical elevations, which are always covered with snow, several thousand feet deep; but there are much fewer of them here, than in Oregon. Besides these snow-capped, conical elevations, there are several others, which are alike conical in form, but which, do not rise above the snow line. The highest and principal of these, are the three butes, as they are called, which are situated near latitude 39 deg. north, and about one hundred and fifty miles east from the coast. They are conic-
in form, rising about five thousand feet above the level of the sea; and being entirely isolated, they serve as great land marks for the mountaineer, and emigrant. In a clear day, they are, frequently seen, at a distance of fifty or sixty miles, by persons in the valley; but by persons, upon the adjacent mountains, they are, not infrequently seen, even eighty or ninety miles.
Here we cannot avoid observing some of the peculiarities, of this very extraordinary country. We find it almost entirely walled in, by stupendous natural wills, which are perfectly impregnable and impassable, everywhere, except at those natural gateways or gaps. These gaps appear to have been designed, by nature, to enhance the importance of this otherwise important and valuable country, by affording easy intercommunication, and facilitating trade and commerce, with all the surrounding county. The great southern pass, in the Rocky mountains, near latitude 42 deg. north, connects this country with the United States; that near latitude 34 deg. north, connects it with Texas that near latitude 41 deg. 30 min. north, connects it with Oregon: and the three gaps in the California mountains, connect the two great sections or valleys, at the most important points; and thus, not only gives this country, ready and easy access to, and commerce with, the family of republics; but also, render intercommunication easy , and transportation cheap, from one portion of the country to another. But these are not all the advantages, to be derived from the peculiarities of this country. These natural walls, which almost entirely inclose [sic] the whole country, afford it perfect security against an invading foe, from those quarters. Nature, as if designing to ensure more perfect security to that country, has, in erecting the great walls, which inclose [sic] it, heaped mountains upon mountains, whose heads, now mingle, with the clouds above; but lest these even might not afford sufficient security, they are thickly deeply covered, with perpetual snow, or eternal sand, either of which, is equally forbidding, to the approach of man or beast.
Having given this brief description of the mountains, I will next notice the various rivers, the most important of which, is the Colorado of the west, or Green river. This great river is to California, what the Columbia is to Oregon, the Mississippi to the United States, or the Amazon, to South America. It rises near latitude 43 deg. north, its head waters interlocking with those of the Platte; its general course is about south, southwest to its emboguing [sic], at the Gulf of California, near latitude 32 deg. north. Following its meanders, its length is about twelve hundred miles, about two thirds of which distance, its course is very serpentine, and much interrupted, by innumerable rapids, cascades and deep chasms or channels. Its vast torrents of water, rushing and lashing over the former, foaming and dashing through the latter, make the very welkin ring, sending their misty spray in volumes to the clouds. As might be expected, these repeated interruptions almost entirely destroy its navigation, for about eight hundred miles. The remainder of its distance is much less interrupted, but its navigation is also here seriously interrupted, with the exception of about one hundred miles, from its mouth, which are without interruption, and which are navigable for vessels of two hundred tons burthen [sic]. The greater portion of this river from its source, lies through a very broken, mountainous country, breaking through lofty mountains, pouring over high cliffs, down vast perpendicular cataracts, and
into deep chasms, with perpendicular basaltic walls, five hundred feet in height. The latter part of its distance, for four or five hundred miles, is through alternate rolling hills, undulating plains, and beautiful valleys and prairies. All the different tributaries, of the northern portion of their river, water an extremely mountainous, sterile, and entirely worthless region, with the exception of the limited, though numerous valleys, which are interspersed among, the mountains. But the various tributaries of the southern portion of this river, water many extensive plains, beautiful prairies, and fertile valleys. Its tributaries from the north, in the southern part, interlock with those of the Sacramento, and they water much the most extensive and fertile regions. The Colorado and its tributaries, water much of the northern portion, most of the southern, and all the eastern portion of Upper California. The tide sets up this river about one hundred miles, the extent to which it is navigable, and very much aids its navigation to that extent. Many portions of this river, its entire extent, will be found to be navigable for short distances and although it will require repeated, and in many places, extensive portages, yet it will be found serviceable, for purposes of navigation, in all the different portions of the country, through which it passes.
The Sacramento is the next river in importance, and although, it is a less stream than the Colorado, yet in many respects, it is even more important than the Colorado, especially as it waters all of the most, fertile, and extensive valleys of that country, and as it empties its vast torrents of water, into the great bay of St. Francisco. It rises in the California mountains, by two distinct heads, the one of which is near latitude 41? north, and the other is near latitude 38? north. The course of the former of these, to their confluence, is south southwest, and that of the latter, is west by north. Their junctions, is near latitude 40? north, and near longitude 117? west, above which, in their course, they receive innumerable small tributaries, both from the north and south, which swell their waters to immense volumes. From the junction of these branches, the general course of the river to its mouth, is south west receiving in its course, a river, which I shall call Dry river, from the north, and Feather river, the American fork, and the Tulare from the south. Its length is about eight hundred miles, following its meanders about three hundred miles of which, are navigable without interruption, for vessels and steamboats; and it may be rendered navigable, to a much greater extent, with very little expense. By actual survey, it has been determined to be navigable for vessels of two hundred tons, about one hundred and fifty miles from its mouth. From the confluence of its two branches, to its mouth, it waters a vastly extensive, and fertile valley, while above that point, each of the branches pour their waters, alternately over rapids, down cascades, through mountains; and winding their way amid undulating plaines [sic], rolling prairies, and fertile, thoughsmall [sic] valleys, they finally contribute largely, in forming the great Sacramento. The tide flows up this river, about one-hundred and fifty miles, which adds much to its safe and convenient navigation. Dry river rises in the Klamet range, near latitude 41? north, whence it runs southeast, about thirty miles, then forming, a semi circle, it runs nearly parallel with the Sacramento, but in the opposite direction, when finally, it empties into that river, near latitude 40? north. Its length is about one hundred and forty
miles, including its meanders; it waters a large portion, of the great valley of the Sacramento, as well as several limited valleys, in the mountains, in which, it has its source. Some portions of the country, immediately upon this river, are entirely sterile, being mere beds of sand and gravel; but they are comparatively, very small in extent. It is from the fact of its watering these sandy and dry sections, that I have deemed the name, Dry river appropriate. There are several other small streams, putting into the Sacramento, from the north, which also rise in the Klamet range, and enter the Sacramento, either by subterraneous mouths, or by percolation. There are others of these subterfluent streams, the waters of which, alternately sink below, and rise to the surface, all of which, enter into the Sacramento, or some lake, either at the surface, or through some cavernous entrance. There are many more of this kind of tributaries on the north, than on the south side of the Sacramento, and however extraordinary they may be they are found to be most admirably adapted, to the purposes of irrigation.
The first tributary of the Sacramento, on the south side, which I shall notice, is the Feather river, which also rises in the California mountains, near latitude 38? north. Running thence, in a direction nearly northwest, it pursues a very surpentine [sic] course, through a most fertile region of country, and finally empties into the Sacramento, at latitude 39? 01' 45", north. Its length is about two hundred miles, fifty or sixty miles of which, will be found to be navigable, for steamboats, of light draught the greater part of the year. This river together with its various small tributaries, waters one of the most fertile, and admirable regions, in California. It takes its name from the fact, of its being a place of general resort for the various feathered tribes, which are said to congregate upon its waters, and in its immediate vicinity, in such immense numbers, that one person may, with very little difficulty, kill several hundreds in a very few hours. So numerous are they said to be, in fact, that, in their confused and conflicting bustling, they strew the earth with feathers for many miles up and down the stream, hence the Mexicans call it "rio de las Plumas," the river of Feathers. The next tributary of importance, on this side of the Sacramento, is the American fork, which rises in the California mountains, near latitude 37 north. Its general course is northwest, and its length about one hundred and fifty miles. It empties into the Sacramento at latitude 38? 46' 42" north, about one mile above New Helvetia. This river also waters a large portion of the valley of the Sacramento, as well as a rich, productive region in the vicinity of the mountains, consisting of elevated plains, rolling hills, and small, rich valleys. The American Fork, cannot be said to be navigable for any other crafts than canoes, boats and barges, and for those only during high water, though it is a most beautiful stream.
There is one other tributary emptying into the Sacramento from the south, which I shall notice when I shall have done with the Sacramento and its tributaries. The tributary here alluded to, is called the Tulare, which is the second river in importance, in all the northern portion of the country, and the third river in all California. It takes its rise in the California mountains, near latitude 36? north, and its general course is nearly northwest to its mouth, where it empties into the Sacramento, a few miles above the entrance of that river, into the bay of St. Francisco. Its length is about four hundred miles, two hundred of which, are,
in ordinary stages of water, for steam-boats of light draught, such for instance, as those which ply upon the Ohio and the Upper Mississippi rivers. This river also waters a vast extent, of the great California valley, as well as many rolling prairies, extensive plains, and that hilly and mountainous region, in which it takes its source. It also has numerous small tributaries, which water a great extent of fine, rich country, none of which, are of any importance for the purposes of navigation. Just below the conflux, of this river and the Sacramento, there is a large island, which is formed by the divergence and re-union of these rivers. This island is about four miles in length, and from its peculiar position, especially its contiguity to the mouths, of these great rivers, and the bay of St. Francisco, it will eventually, be found of great importance, although it is now considered entirely valueless.
There are several other streams, which empty into the bay of St. Francisco, both from the north and the south, none of which are navigable, but they are highly important, as they water all the country in the vicinity of that bay, which otherwise would be wholly worthless. There are also, several rivers of considerable importance, in the neighborhood of the coast, and which empty into the ocean, some of which, are also, worthy of a brief notice. The principal of these is the Russian river, which has its source in the Klamet range, near latitude 41 deg. north, running thence, in a direction, about west southwest, to the coast, where it empties, near latitude 38? 55' 42" north. Its length is estimated at two hundred and twenty miles, of which, sixty or seventy miles are susceptible of steam boat navigation, the greater part of the residue, is navigable only for canoes and boats. The tide flows up this river about seventy miles which will very much, facilitate its navigation. An extremely mountainous and broken region, is watered by this river, yet there are several very extensive plains, as well as numerous small and fertile valleys, upon the main river and its various tributaries. There is also another river, in this portion of the country, of which, however, I have had occasion to speak, upon a former page, in describing the rivers of Oregon. It is the Klamet river, for a further description of which, the reader is referred to the description before given. The only remaining river in the vicinity of the coast, which I deem worthy of notice, is that which empties into the bay of Monterey, near latitude 37? north. It has its source in the California mountains, near latitude 36? north, thence pursues a course, about west by north, through alternate rolling prairies, fertile plains and valleys. It is about one hundred and fifty miles in length, no part of which can be said to be navigable, for any other crafts than boats, barges and canoes. The flow of the tide extends up this stream, about twenty miles, though not in such manner, as to facilitate its navigation.
The only river which remains to be noticed, is the great Bear river, which, although described as a river of Oregon, is properly, a river of California; but as I have described it sufficiently upon a former page, I shall here give it mere passing notice. It heads near latitude 42? north, and pursues a course, nearly west by south, to the great Salt lake, into which it flows, near latitude 41? north. Its length is about two hundred miles, no part of which, can properly be said to be navigable, otherwise than for boats and canoes. A large portion of the country watered by this river, is extremely mountainous and sterile, but the Bear river valley, through which it lies, is a vastly extensive valley, and many portions of
it possess more than ordinary fertility and productiveness. This river, as well as its valley, derives additional importance, from their proximity, to this great lake, which will, in the course of time, undoubtedly, become the nucleus of an extensive settlement, in the eastern section of both Oregon and California. From the best information which I have been able to obtain, in relation to this lake, its northern extremity extends very, nearly to latitude 42? north, but not beyond it, from which it appears, that it is situated entirely in California. It is about two hundred and forty miles long, and averages from forty to sixty miles in width. Its waters are much more highly impregnated with, salt, than those of the ocean. The country contiguous to this lake, in each direction, is, generally, sterile, but the surrounding country, in its vicinity, is, usually rich, and, highly, productive.
The rise in the rivers of this country, like those of Oregon, is at different seasons of the year, in the different streams, depending upon the regions in which they have their sources. Those which rise in the California mountains, have their annual rise in the months of February and November. The rises are generally gradual, but they extend to a very great extent, rising very frequently, eighteen or twenty feet perpendicularly, and submerging much of the low country, in the vicinity of the mouths, of the different rivers, during the continuance of the high waters. The effect, of this inundation is, however, rather favorable than otherwise, as all those sections of the country, which have been thus overflowed, produce a much more luxuriant growth of vegetation, than they would otherwise do, which continues perfectly green, presenting a large extent, of springly [sic] verdure, even in autumn, when the vegetation of most other portions, is dried and transformed, from the delightful green of May and June, to the natural hay of October. Hence it is, that these portions of the country, are here considered highly valuable, for the same reason, that similar portions of the country, are considered entirely worthless, in Oregon and elsewhere. In those rivers, taking their rise in the Cordilleras or Rocky mountains, the overflow, takes place here, as in Oregon, during the months of May and June, of each year. The annual rises, of all the rivers of this country, are to be attributed to the same cause, as stated upon another page, in reference to the rise of the rivers of Oregon. The water of all these rivers, like that of those of Oregon, are perfectly transparent, and pure, so much so, in truth, that the bottoms of the rivers, are, not unfrequently [sic], seen thirty or forty feet, beneath the surface of the water. They, from their extraordinary purity, possess very little or no fertilizing properties, hence the lands subject to their annual submersions, derive no additional fertility from them; and hence, they are benefited by the overflows, only by the accumulation of moisture, which however, in this arid region, is a very important consideration.
There are but very few islands, in the immediate neighborhood of the coast, yet there are three, which may perhaps, be found worthy of a partial description. St. Catalina is the principal of them, which is situated about fifteen miles from the coast, and near latitude 33 degrees and 40 min. north. Its greatest length is about thirty miles, from east to west, and its width twelve miles, from north to South, giving an area of about three hundred and sixty miles. The next of these in importance, is Santa Cruz, which is about sixty miles north from St. Catalina, and nearly the same distance from the coast. Its length being twelve miles, and its width
six miles; it has a superficies of seventy-two miles. The other island alluded to, is St. Clement, which is still less in extent, than Santa Cruz, having a surface only, of about twenty four square miles. All of these islands possess a most productive and fertile soil, but they, usually, present an extremely broken, and mountainous surface. They are all said to be most admirably adapted, both to the purposes of grazing and agriculture. Abounding with game of various kinds, and especially the furbearing animals, they are places of the annual resort, of hunters and trappers. Each of these has an ample supply of good timber, and fresh water, as well as several very good and convenient harbors. These islands are, as yet, used merely as repositories of smuggled goods, for which purpose, they are most admirably suited, and extensively occupied, but they will, eventually, no doubt, be converted into most delightful, and admirable residences for retiring Selkirks and broken-down politicians.
As the face of the country is merely alluded to, in the description of of the mountains and rivers, it may, perhaps, be, advisable here to give a further description of the surface, of each section. The greater part of the Western section, consists of vastly extensive plains and valleys; but it also has many sections of high, rolling, hills, and less elevated mountains, besides the main ranges of mountains before described. The principal valley of this section is, the great valley of the Sacramento and its various tributaries: it extends from the base of the Klamet mountains, nearly to laditude [sic] 36 deg. north, and from an elevated range of country, upon the coast, entirely to the California mountains. This valley, although extending in each direction, as above stated, does not include the entire country, within those limits, but it comprises much the greater part, of all that portion of country. Within the same portion of country, however, there are several ranges of high lands, consisting, in many places of high swells and hills, and in others, of elevated plains an rolling prairies. About two thirds of all the country, comprised within the above limits, is properly contained, in the valley of the Sacramento, and its tributaries, which is much the most fertile portion, of the same extent, in all California. That portion of this valley, which lies immediately upon the Sacramento river, extends from its mouth, at the bay of St. Francisco, to the base of the California, mountains, a distance of about four hundred miles, and averages about thirty miles in width, on the north side, and about fifty miles on the south side. That portion of it, lying on the Tulare river, generally averages about twenty miles, on each side of the river, to the base of the California mountains, a distance of about three hundred miles, from its confluence with the Sacramento. Besides these great valleys, which constitute the greater portion, of what is called the Sacramento valley, there are various valleys, upon all the different tributaries of the Sacramento, which also form part of that valley. All of these valleys possess a soil, which is scarcely paralleled, for fertility and productiveness, which, however, will more fully appear, from what will be said in reference to the soil, and productions. South of the Sacramento valley, there are also numerous valleys, of very considerable extent, both upon all the various smaller streams, which empty into the ocean, and the various tributaries of the Colorado of the west. All the valleys. in the southern portion of this section, are equally as fertile and productive, as, those of the Sacramento. That portion, however, consists.
chiefly of plains and prairies, which are also very productive , covered with a great variety of vegetation, of extraordinary growth.
The Eastern section also, has several very extensive valleys, the largest of which, are found upon the various tributaries of the Colorado, many of which, average from fifty to a thousand square miles in extent; but the valleys of this section, are comparatively small, though extremely fertile and productive. Through all portions of this section, there is a much greater proportion of elevated and broken country, than in the Western section. High, rolling prairies, elevated plains, and moderately elevated, hilly regions, are found in all the various portions of this section, which yield the greatest variety of vegetation, of most luxuriant growth. The valley of the great Bear river, which is also situated in this section, is a valley of very considerable extent, and of more than ordinary fertility, but that portion of this great valley, in the immediate neighborhood of the great Salt lake, is entirely sterile and unproductive, as is all that portion of the country contiguous to that lake. Upon the coast of the whole extent of Upper California, from north to south. there is an elevated range of country consisting chiefly, of bills, high; rolling, broken prairies, and elevated plains. Both the Western and Eastern sections are, in many places, intersected in various directions, with spurs of the different ranges of mountains, and ranges of elevated, broken and hilly country; but much less of this kind of country, is found in the Western, than in the Eastern section. As to give a particular description, of each portion of this country, would much transcend the limits its of this work, and my original purpose, I shall leave this branch of the subject, and proceed to the consideration of those of more practical importance.
The bays and harbors next claim our attention, and that deserving of the first and principal notice, is the bay of St. Francisco, which is situated at latitude 38 deg. north, and extends about forty miles into the interior, in a direction about north, north east from its entrance. Its waters are securely confined within its bed, by an iron-bound coast, which is generally composed of solid basaltic rock. The country adjacent to this bay, is a very broken and hilly region, but very fertile, producing oats, clover, and the like, with much profusion. The entrance of this bay, from the Pacific, is about one mile wide, upon each side of which is a high ledge of basaltic rock, about two hundred feet, above the surface of the water. From these points, on each side of the entrance, the bay gradual expands, to eight or ten miles in extent, from north to south, and about twelve miles, from east to west. At the extreme eastern portion, of this bay, thus formed, its hilly and rocky banks gradually contract, so as to leave a space, only of about two miles, between the rocky, hilly shores, which thus forms a second entrance, into another bar of greater extent, than that just described. At this entrance, the high rolling, basaltic banks, again gradually diverge, about ten miles, when they again contract, leaving a space of about one mile between them, from the entrance, last mentioned, and thus, another spacious bay is formed. A third and more extensive bay is the eastern extremity of which, is about forty miles eastward, from the coast, where it receives the Sacramento. The bay last alluded to, is twelve miles in extent, from east to west, and about fifteen from north to south, and like the others described, it affords the
most extensive and secure anchorage. From this description of the great bay of St. Francisco, it is seen, that instead of one bay, there are three vastly extensive bays, which, however, are all connected, forming the bay of St. Francisco. There are several small islands in this bay, the largest of which, is situated on the north side of the first bay, within full view of the entrance, from the ocean. It is about five miles long, and three in width, and has a very rough and broken surface, which is covered here and there with timber, of a small growth, and an abundance of vegetation. It is admirably suited to the purposes of grazing as it not only produces the various grasses, and clover clover, in great profusion but also, a great abundance of good fresh water. Large herds of fine cattle, are now, kept upon it, by a Spaniard, who resides in the lower part of the country.
The next large island alluded to, is located on the south side of the same bay, fronting the town of Yerba Buena. It is also depastured [sic], but by herds of wild goats, which have been placed upon it, by a foreigner, who resides at Yerba Buena. Besides these islands, there are several others in this bay, which appear to be composed entirely of basaltic rock, and hence, produce no kind of vegetation, but are places of resort for the innumerable fowls of prey, which bound in that region. One of these rocky islands, is situated, directly in front of the entrance, from the ocean, and is about one fourth of a mile in diameter. The contiguity of this island to the entrance, and its immediate opposition to that point, renders it very important, as a few guns planted upon it, and well manned, would with all ease, perfectly command the entrance. But facilities for commanding this entrance, are not wanting, for a few guns upon either side of it would sink a whole fleet, that should attempt a hostile ingression. Outside of this bay, also, and within a few miles of the entrance, is another vast rocky island, rearing its ancient and majestic head, several hundred feet above the lashing surf, and roaring billows below, as if designed by nature, to point out the entrance, into that great bay of bays. A more admirable and advantageous position, for a lighthouse, can scarcely be conceived of, and there is but little doubt, but that those who visit St. Francisco, two year hence, instead of seeing a massive, dark rock looking out upon the mighty deep, at the mouth of that bay, they will there behold, a brilliant luminary of the ocean. From what has already been said, it must be apparent all, that there are few bays, if any, in any part of the world which surpass this, for security of harbor, and extent of anchorage. It has been well said, that "in this bay, all the fleets and navies of the whole world, could ride, in perfect safety." This bay alone, would answer all the commercial purposes of California, in all time to come. There is ample water at the entrance, for vessels of the largest class, whether during the ebb or flow of the tide, which in this bay, rises about eighteen feet perpendicular. All things being considered, I am of the opinion, that a harbor can not be found, equal in all respects, to that of the bay of St. Francisco. It is of the greatest importance, not only to California, but also to all commercial governments of the world, whose ships of war, merchant ships, or whalers cruise in the Pacific, as it affords them the most extensive anchorage, and secure harbor, which is surrounded by one of the most fertile countries, in the known world, where all necessary ship supplies, may be obtained, in any abundance., and upon the meet favorable term.
The bay of Monterey is the next in importance, but its chief importance is derived from its central, and otherwise peculiarly advantageous position, and not from its extent of anchorage, or security of harbor. It is situated at latitude 37 deg. north, and is about twenty miles in extent, and semicircular in form, affording, tolerably extensive anchorage, and secure harbor against all winds, excepting those from the west, and north east which drive almost directly into the bay, rendering the harbor very insecure, as against those winds. As an evidence of this fact, a vessel was stranded there, few years since, and the wreck now lies upon the beach, within a few hundred yards, of the ordinary anchorage. I was informed that the captain of this vessel, finding a wreck inevitable, headed directly upon the beach, under full sail, which, of course, had a tendency to decide the matter as to a wreck, as well as to produce some rather unpleasant concussions. In this bay, is in St. Francisco, the tide rises about eighteen feet, and there is also ample water, at the entrance of this bay, as at that for the reception of vessels of any class, either during the ebb or flow of the tide. The entrance is also easily commanded, but it is by no means as advantageously situated in that respect, as that of the bay of St Francisco. It is the opinion, however, of many, that the entrance of this bay, can be as effectively fortified, as that of any other. with the appropriate expense. The chief importance attached to this bay is derived from the fact, of its being contiguous to the seat of government, which will undoubtedly be the case, until there shall be some enlargement of the state, either upon the north or the south. The bay of St Diego is also, a bay of very considerable extent, which is situated near latitude 33 deg. north, affording very commodious, and safe anehorage. It is about twenty miles in extent, from its entrance to its extreme eastern portion, and it affords extensive anchorage, and safe harbor. Against all winds, excepting those blowing from the south, and the southwest. This bay is also vastly important, from its local position, being in the extreme southern portion of the country, for without it, all that part of the country, would be entirely excluded, from all commercial advantages. Besides the principal bays here described, there are several others, which, however, are of much less importance, though perhaps, of sufficient importance to require a brief notice. Of these there are but two, which I shall notice, the one of which, is situated in the extreme, northern, and the other in the extreme southern portion, of the country, the former is called Badago, and the latter Colorado. Bodago is near latitude 40 deg north, and is about twelve miles in extent, but the entrance is rather difficult, and the anchorage unsafe, and, dangerous in the extreme. This bay, however, together with the harbor, formed at the mouth of the Klamet river, before described, will afford ample commercial facilities, for the extreme northern portion. The Colorado is situated at the mouth of the Colorado of the west, near latitude 32 deg north; it is very spacious, affording extensive and secure anchorage, for ships of any class, sheltering them, perfectly, against all winds, excepting those which blow directly from the south. This gives a brief view of the facilities for extensive commerce, in Upper California, which are seldom, if ever, surpassed.