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The mission, situated three miles south of the town, in a valley, through which runs the torrent of San Carmelo, embraces extensive buildings, but is in a ruinous state, and nearly deserted.
The surrounding country possesses a good soil and a delightful climate, and might be rendered very productive by irrigation, for which two small rivers, flowing from the mountains, offer abundant supplies of water at all times; it, however, remains uncultivated, and scarcely any article of food is obtained from it, except the meat of the cattle covering the valleys. From the eastern shore of the bay, a sandy plain extends eastward to the foot of the San Bruno Mountains, traversed by a river called the Buenaventura, which is erroneously represented, on some maps, as flowing through the great ridge from the interior countries. North of the bay, at a little distance from Cape New Year, is the mission of Santa Cruz, to which vessels commonly resort for water and provisions; and farther in the interior, beyond the San Bruno range, is the town of Branciforte, one of the largest in California.
The next remarkable headland on the coast north of the Bay of Monterey is that called Punta de los Reyes, or the Cape of Kings, composed of high white cliffs, projecting into the Pacific, under the 38th degree of latitude; when seen from the north or the south, it presents the appearance of an island, being connected with the main land on the east by low ground. A few miles south of this point are two clusters of rocky islets, called Farellones, immediately east of which,
The Bay of San Francisco joins the Pacific by a passage or channel two miles wide, and three in length, under the parallel of 37 degrees 55 minutes, nearly in the same latitude with the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, and the Straits of Gibraltar. From this passage the bay extends northward and southward, surrounded by ranges of high hills, and containing some of the most convenient, beautiful, and secure harbors, on the Pacific, and, indeed, in the world.
The southern branch of the bay extends south-eastward about thirty miles, terminating in that direction in a number of small arms, receiving streams from the hills. Its average breadth is about twelve miles; and it may be considered as occupying the bottom, or northern extremity of a long valley, included between the San Bruno Mountains on the west and the Bolbones ridge on the east. Farther up this valley, in the south, are the large Lakes of Tule, which communicate with each other and with the bay during the rainy. season, and are said to be surrounded by a delightful country, containing a numerous population of natives.
The northern branch of the bay becomes contracted, near the entrance, into a strait, beyond which is a basin, ten miles in diameter, called the Bay of San Pablo. A second passage, called the Strait of Carquines, connects this basin with another, containing many islands, into which empty the Sacramento, and one or two smaller streams. The Sacramento rises among the mountains of the great westernmost chain, near the 41st degree of latitude, and is said to receive a branch flowing through those mountains from the east. Thence it flows, in a very tortuous course, about three hundred miles, southward, to its entrance in the Bay of San Francisco, being navigable by small vessels to the distance of more than one hundred miles from the bay. The lower part of the country traversed by it is an alluvial plain, parts of which are prairies, while others are corered with forests of noble trees, principally oaks, and the whole appears to
be well adapted for the support of a large population. The other rivers falling into this basin are the San Joaquin from the south, and the Jesus Maria from the north, both inconsiderable streams.
In the country around this bay, settlements and cultivation have advanced more than in any other part of California. Near its southern extremity are the town of San Jose and the mission of Santa Clara, in a delightful region, producing grains and fruits of various kinds in profusion, and affording pasture to numerous herds of cattle. On the northern branch are the missions of San Raefael, and San Francisco Solano; and many small establishments for farming or grazing have been formed at other points. The town, mission, and fort of San Francisco, are all situated near the south side of the passage connecting the bay with the Pacific, on a plain at the termination of the San Bruno Mountains. The principal anchorage for vessels is a cove a few miles south of the entrance-passage, between the western shore of the bay and the Island of Yerba Buena, where a settlement has been commenced by the English and Americans, who conduct nearly all the trade of that part of California.
Near Cape de los Reyes, on the north, is the entrance of the Bay of Bodega, which thence extends northward and southward, a few miles in each direction. On the shore of the northern branch, the Russians, in 1812, formed an establishment, chiefly with the view of supplying their settlements farther north with grain and meat; and some years afterwards, another, called Ross, was made by the same nation, on the coast of the Pacific, thirty miles north of Bodega, in latitude of 38 degrees 33 minutes, near the mouth of a small stream, named by them the Slavinka Ross. In 1838, each place contained a stockaded fort, enclosing magazines and dwellings for the officers, and surrounded by other buildings, among which were mills, shops for smiths and carpenters, and stables for cattle; and in the neighborhood of Bodega, farms were worked, from which several thousand bushels of wheat, besides pease, and other vegetables, butter, and cheese, were annually sent to the trading posts in the north. These establishments proved constant sources of annoyance to the Spaniards, and to their Mexican successors, who did not, however, venture to attempt to remove them by force; in 1841, they were abandoned by the Russians, who transferred all their interests in that quarter to a company or party composed of citizens of the United States, and others, equally determined to resist the authority of Mexico. Cape Mendocino, which appears to be the natural point of junction of the coasts of California and Oregon, is the most elevated land near the Pacific in that quarter. It consists of two high promontories, situated about ten miles apart, of which the southern and the most elevated is situated under the parallel of 40 degrees 19 minutes, nearly in the same latitude with Sandy Hook, at the entrance of the bay of New York; and is believed to be the western termination of the great chain of the Snowy Mountains, which forms the southern barrier of the regions drained by the Columbia. This cape was formerly much dreaded by the Spanish navigators, on account of the storms usually prevailing in its vicinity; but, those fears having passed away, the cape has lost much of the respect with which it was regarded by mariners.
The interior of California, east of the mountains which border the coast, is imperfectly known. According to the vague reports of the
Catholic missionaries and American fur-traders, confirmed by the surveys of various portions recently made by Captain Fremont, the vast territory, included between the vicinity of the Pacific and the valley of the Colorado, is a waste of lofty snow-clad mountains, interspersed with plains of sand, marshes, and salt-lakes, and subjected to a heat from the sun, as intense as that experienced in the central regions of Australia. The Colorado, the only outlet of the waters of this territory, has its farthermost sources among the Rocky Mountains, near the 42d degree of latitude, where its main trunk is called by the Indians the Sids-kadee, and by the Americans Green River thence it flows south-westward, through the mountains, where its course is broken by numerous ledges of rock, producing rapids and falls; after which it receives the Navajo, the Jaquesila, the Gila, and other streams from the east, and the Uintah and Virgen from the west, and enters the Gulf of California, at its northern extremity, in latitude of 32 degrees. The country near the mouth is flat, and is overflowed during the rainy season, when the quantity of water discharged is very great; and high embankments are thus made, on each side, similar to those of the Lower Mississippi. How far it may be ascended by vessels from the gulf, is not known from some accounts, it seems to be navigable to the distance of at least three hundred miles; but, more probably, obstacles are found lower down.
The Utah Lake, or Lake Timpanogos of the Spaniards, near the Colorado, on the west, between the 40th and the 42d parallels of latitude, is the largest collection of water yet discovered in that part of America. According to the observations of Fremont, who surveyed the greater part of it in 1843, it is irregular in outline, about eighty miles long by forty wide, and contains several rocky islands. It is entirely surrounded by mountains, and is principally supplied by the Bear River entering it on the north-east it has no outlet, and its waters are saturated with salt. Near the northernmost part of the Bear River, is an extensive plain of white calcareous earth, on the borders of which are several springs, called the Soda or Beer Springs, from the quantity of carbonic acid gas with which their waters are charged.
Having thus presented the most remarkable features of California, those of Oregon, or the country of the Columbia River, next adjoining on the north, will be described.
OREGON has been hitherto considered as embracing the whole division of America drained by the Columbia River, together with the territories between the valley of that stream and the Pacific, and the islands adjacent.
By the treaty concluded at Washington, on the 15th of June, 1846, a line drawn along the 49th parallel of latitude, from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Fuca, and thence southward, through the middle of the strait, to the Pacific, has been established as the line of separation, between the territories of the United States on the south, and those of Great Britain on the north; and the name of Oregon will therefore probably, in future, be confined to the portion of the continent between the 49th and the 42d parallels of latitude. It will, however, be more convenient at present to consider these territories merely according to their natural divisions, beginning with
THE COUNTRY OF THE COLUMBIA.
This country extends, on the Pacific, from the vicinity of Cape Mendocino, five hundred miles, to Cape Flattery, at the entrance of the Strait of Fuca; from the eastern extremity of which strait, distant one hundred miles from the ocean, a range of mountains stretches north-eastward, about four hundred miles, to the Rocky Mountains, near the 54th degree of latitude, separating the waters of the Columbia from those of Frazer's River. The Rocky Mountains form the eastern boundary of the Columbia regions, for about twelve hundred miles, from the 54th to the 42d parallels; and those regions are separated from California, on the south, by the Snowy Mountains, which appear to extend continuously from the Rocky Mountains, nearly in the course of the 41st parallel, about seven hundred miles westward, to the vicinity of the Pacific. It is not easy to define these boundaries more exactly, as the directions of the mountain chains are not accurately ascertained. The territory included within these limits, and drained almost entirely by the Columbia, is not less than four hundred thousand square miles in superficial extent; which is more than double that of France, and nearly half that of all the states of the Federal Union. Its southernmost points are in the same latitudes with Boston and with Florence; while its northernmost correspond with the northern extremities of Newfoundland, and with the southern shores of the Baltic Sea.
The Pacific coast of this territory extends, in a line nearly due north, from Cape Mendocino to Cape Flattery; in which whole distance there is but one harbor, or place of refuge for ships, namely, the mouth of the Columbia River, near the 46th degree of latitude, and that harbor is very frequently inaccessible.
The shores south of the Columbia are most perilous to navigators at all times; as they are every where steep and rocky, and bordered by shoals
and reefs, on which the waves of the Pacific are driven with fury by the prevailing north-west winds., Vessels not drawing more than eight feet may, however, enter the Umqua, a small stream falling into the Pacific, in the latitude of 42 degrees 31 minutes, immediately north of a remarkable promontory called Cape Orford, probably the Cape Blanco of the old Spanish navigators. Small vessels may also find anchorage in a cove or recess of the coast, named by the Spaniards Port Trinidad, under the parallel of 41 degrees 3 minutes, about forty miles north of Cape Mendocino, and in some other spots; but no place on this coast can be said to offer protection to vessels against winds or waves.
North of the Columbia, the coast is less beset by dangers; and it offers, immediately under the 47th parallel, one good port, for small vessels, which was discovered in May, 1792, by Captain Gray, of Boston, and named by him Bulfinch's Harbor, though it is more commonly called Gray's Harbor, and is frequently represented on English maps as Whidbey's Bay. The only other spot worthy of particular notice on this part of the coast is Destruction Island, near the continent, in latitude of 47 degrees, so called by the captain of an Austrian trading ship in 1787, in consequence of the murder of some of his men by the natives of the adjacent country.
The Strait of Fuca is an arm of the sea separating a great island from the continent on the south and east, to which much interest was for some time attached, from the supposition that it might be a channel connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific north of America. It extends from the ocean eastward about one hundred miles, varying in breadth from ten to thirty miles, between the 48th and the 49th parallels of latitude; thence it turns to the north-west, in which direction it runs, first expanding into a long, wide bay, and then contracting into narrow and intricate passages among islands, three hundred miles farther, to its reunion with the Pacific, under the 51st parallel. From its south-eastern extremity, a great gulf, called Admiralty Inlet, stretches southward into the continent more than one hundred miles, dividing into many branches, of which the principal are Hood's Canal, on the west, and Puget's Sound, the southernmost, extending nearly to the 47th parallel. This inlet possesses many excellent harbors; and the country adjacent, being delightful and productive, will, there is every reason to believe, in time become valuable, agriculturally, as well as commercially. There are many other harbors on the Strait of Fuca, of which the principal are Port Discovery, near the entrance of Admiralty Inlet, said by Vancouver to be one of the best in the Pacific, and Poverty Cove, called Port Nuñez Gaona by the Spaniards, situated a few miles east of Cape Flattery. That cape, so named by Cook, is a conspicuous promontory in the latitude of 48 degrees 27 minutes, near which is a large rock, called Tatooche's Island, united to the promontory by a rocky ledge, at times partially covered by water. The shore between the cape and Admiralty Inlet is composed of sandy cliffs overhanging a beach of sand and stones; from it the land gradually rises to a chain of mountains, stretching southwardly along the Pacific to the vicinity of the Columbia, the highest point of which received, in 1788, the name of Mount Olympus.
The interior of this part of America is, as already said, traversed by many great ranges of mountains, running generally almost parallel with each other, and with the coast: before describing them, however, it will