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VIGILANCE COMMITTEE.

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the matter in the distance, may feel disposed to censure the Committee and its proceedings as hasty and precipitate; but, when we take into consideration that not only property to an immense amount, but life itself, was in jeopardy—the want of facilities for securing and retaining criminals during the tardy process of law, the numerous rescues by accomplices, and the frequent pardons by the authorities when the accused were notoriously guilty,-I say, when we take these things into consideration, together with the fact that not an individual was executed who was not clearly proved guilty, and even confessed his guilt; we can look upon the acts of the Committee not only as just-but imperative. In the confessions of some of those who were executed they implicated men in authority, in such a manner that not doubt was left upon the public mind. The result of these summary measures is apparent to all. Crime, since the organization of the Committee, has decreased one half, and they have now ceased to make arrests, leaving all to the jurisdiction of the proper authorities. They, however, maintain their organization, and would, no doubt, act in case of emergency

Chapter Eleventh.

START FOR THE MINERAL REGIONS-BANKS OF THE SACRAMENTO RIVER-SHOT AT-OOLD

18. MICA-SUTTERVILLE-PRIMITIVE MODE OF LIFE-SACRAMENTO CITY-AN INDIVIDDAL WHO HAD “SEEN THE ELEPHANT."

I SPENT the interval between the 5th of July and the 19th in preparing for the mines. I found many of the miners in town on account of the high state of water in the rivers. My friends who had visited the interior, spoke discouragingly of the mines, preferring the mercantile business. But goods were at the time selling at less than New York prices, and rents were enor. mously high. Many of the merchants were anxious to sell out and go into the mines, and I came to the conclusion that mining was the only sure way of making a fortune.

On the 19th July I went on board the brig “North Bend,” with three men who had been hired in New York and sent out by a company in which I had an interest, and sailed for the Sacramento river. We crossed the bay, and in an hour were in the strait, running up with a stiff breeze, passing numerous small islands inhabited by water fowl and covered with "guano.". There were innumerable ducks, brant, loons, and geese flying through the air; the scenery delightful, the first fifty miles being a succession of small bays, all studded with islands. At the right the bank rises gradually to the height of from twenty to fifty feet, covered with wild oats, with an occasional “live oak” tree, and relieved by frequent ravines through which small streams find their way to the strait. This plain, during the rainy season, furnishes pasture for herds of wild cattle--elk, deer, and antelope, but at this season they had retired to the marshes and lower lands; and the whole of the right bank, as far back as the eye could reach, appeared one immense field of ripened grain. The left bank, on the immediate margin,

BANKS OF THE SACRAMENTO RIVER.

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presents the same appearance, but relieved in the background by the coast range of mountains with which we were running parallel. This range appears a continuous ledge of granite, destitute of vegetation, and at one point towers up into a peak of considerable height, called Monte Diablo, (Devil's Mount).

At 12 m., we arrived at Benicia, now a port of entry and United States naval station. The man of man-of-war, "Southampton,” was anchored in the stream-guarding the passageto prevent smuggling. As soon as we came in sight they lowered their boat, and pulled out toward the middle of the stream to intercept us, and examine our papers—at the same time hoisting a signal for us to come to. Our captain was an "old salt," and, in his estimation, the greatest blessing conferred upon man is a fair wind. He had every inch of canvas set, and manifested a determination not to shorten sail; we were running before a ten-knot breeze, and flew by them like a shadow. They hailed us, but not being obeyed they fired a gun from the ship, when our captain ordered the helm put down, and in an instant our sails were fluttering in the breeze; we had distanced the jolly-boat—they being obliged to row half a mile against the current to reach us. The officer boarded us in not the most amiable mood; it was quite apparent that we were enjoying a joke 'he thought somewhat expensive to himself. He informed us that a foreign vessel had passed them a few days previous; but they were now on their guard and would have given us the next shot in our rigging. He pronounced our papers satisfactory, and pulled off for the ship, being most heartily cheered by us.

We were soon under way dashing along at lightning speed; soon arriving at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, fifty miles above San Francisco, the latter river coming in from the east, the former from the north. The strait up which we had sailed, running in the same direction, is called, by many, the Sacramento river. At the junction of the two rivers there is a marsh, of some extent, in the midst of which is located the New York of the Pacific," of newspaper notoriety. I am informed that it now contains one house. There were not so many when we passed up. It is said there has never been a death in the city. We soon entered “Sui Sun *

bay, which is an extensive, but very shallow body of water, requiring careful pilotage to take vessels through in safety. We again enter the Sacramento, which now presents a different appearance—the immediate margin being walled up by heavy timber, beyond which the marsh extends as far as the eye can reach. The depth of water on these marshes frequently covers the grass, presenting the appearance of a succession of lakesall swarming with water fowls. Soon after reëntering the river our pilot brought us to a dead stand by running us on a sand bar. It was ebb tide, and there was no alternative but to await the flood. We loaded our rifles, lowered a boat, and pulled for the shore, preparatory to a hunt.

On landing, we were greeted by one of the most ravenous swarms of mosquitos it was ever my fortune to fall in with. They seemed to constitute the very atmosphere, and for size and spirit, I think they are without rivals, even in the “Montezuma swamp.” We did not at first retreat, but soon came to the conclusion that game must be poor, where there are so many bills presented. We carried a few of them on board, and they were so well pleased, they remained till morning. At 10, A.M., the tide flooded us off, and we were again under way. We soon left the river, and entered what is called the "slough,” which is a part of the river running out twenty miles above, and by passing through it, half the distance is saved. On both sides the “slough,” it is densely timbered; the branches hanging over the stream, and many of the trees inclining over, it required the greatest care to avoid their coming in contact with our spars. We had a fine breeze, and each of the passengers took his turn at the wheel. None of them attracted the attention of the captain, until it became my turn. Whether it was that I under. stood navigation better than my fellow-passengers, I am not prepared to say, but, certain it is, that I had stood at the wheel but a moment, when, without consulting the compass, I found myself at a dead stand in a tree-top. I did not claim much credit for it, and did not receive any.

After cutting away branches, grapevines, etc., we were again under way, with the captain at the wheel. He proved as skillful as myself, and made fast to the first tree-top. We soon reëntered the main channel, and were passing through a more

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