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NEW LANDS OF GOLD.
On Wednesday, July 14th, 1897, the little steamer Excelsior arrived in the harbor of San Francisco with forty miners on board, each one of whom had brought with him from the icebound interior of Alaska a fortune in gold. From that day may be said to date the Klondike gold craze which already rivals in extent the three other great gold crazes of the century, California in 1849, Australia in 1851 and South Africa in 1890. Already the amount known to have been brought back by the returning miners exceeds $1,000,000, and nearly $3,000,000 more is said to be on the way. It is estimated by some experts that before the full returns come in it will be
found the total output of the Alaskan mines has been $8,000,000. California yielded $60,000,000 five years after Marshall's discovery, and all from place diggings, as are the diggings in the Klondike region; but the facilities for mining in California, with its salubrious climate, its comparative nearness to civilization, its all-year-round conveniences, were infinitely superior to the facilities in the Yukon Basin, where winter lasts for ten months in the year, and where the thermometer drops to 72 degrees below zero in the winter and climbs to 120 degrees above zero in the summer, and where the nearness of the Arctic circle practically divides the year into one long day and one long night, each extending over a period of six months.
When millions of gold can be taken out in a single year under all these disadvantages of climate by laborers working with the most primitive implements of mining life it is difficult to conceive of the opulence of a soil whose grudging tribute to the energy of the modern argonaut is so fabulous in extent.
These forty men who came down on the Excelsior from the port of St. Michael, near the mouth of the Yukon, had among them over half