San Francisco: 1 September 1852. Quarto (ca. 25,5x19,5 cm or 10 x 7 ¾ in). 3 pp. Brown ink on blueish laid paper. Fold marks, paper slightly age-toned, but overall a very good letter written in a legible hand.
Interesting private letter from a New England immigrant to San Francisco, apparently from a well-off family. The letter simply signed “Your affectionate brother George, ” the author reveals his disappointment with California and its promises of richness which never became reality for most newcomers. The author also exchanges news about family and other immigrants to California and shares his support of the Democrat Presidential Candidate Franklin Pierce (who would become the 14th President of the US in 1853). Overall a fine early California letter.
Have been in the land of golden dreams for such they have proved thus far to me as well as most all of the young men that have arrived at this port of late (it being the day after the fair). <…> I have had to work harder in this country the three last months than I would in the States. I find that labour is capital. I have had for my labour 125 dollars per month. I think I shall go to the mines. I am told that they pay from two to five dollars a day, sometimes greater, sometimes less. In your last you wished to know if I thought the inducement that is held before the public sufficient for one engaged in business and has a happy home in New England to leave all and come out to this land of… (I say no). I find this state filled (to overflow) with ambitious men that have left happy homes to seek a little of the needful. Men that a few months ago could command any amount of dust at our eastern ports reduced to almost starvation. Others that a few weeks ago could not pay a day’s board in a good house worth thousands. Few knew what a life was in California when they left the old states (happy homes) to seek dust in a wild and unsettled country. You undoubtly hear that a large amount of gold is monthly recd. at your ports all shipped from California. But when you take into consideration the amount of labour, the men that is required to dig from the Earth that amount you find that the prospects here will fall for short of the expection [sic!] you once had of the gold region. We find regardless of the voice of reason and unaffected with the tears of suffering millions men who are ready to leave all that should be dear to then [sic!] to try there [sic!] game of chance in the wild state of California. I find but very few that tell me that California has proved to be the land they thought when the most flattering new[s] was daily posted up before them. <…>
You asked in your last what I thought of the Democratic candidate for Presidentcy [sic!], F. Pierce of New Hampshire. I can say with many others he is just the man this state I think will give the bold son of New England a larger majority than were ever given before for a candidate. I say 5 thousand are for Pierce (Pierce the Wiges [sic!] we shall)…”.
Price: $1,250.00 USD