Part 3 out of 8
Hardin, betting on black, seems to win steadily. "French Charlie"
sets his store of ready gold on the red. It is a reckless duel of
the two men through the medium of the golden arrow, twirled by the
A sudden idea strikes Valois. He notes the ominous sparkle of "French
Charlie's" eye. It is cold as the depths of a mountain-pool. Is
Hardin betting on the black to compliment the presiding dark beauty?
Murmurs arise among the bystanders. The play grows higher. Valois
moves away from the surging crowd, to wait his own opportunity. A
glass of wine with a friend enables him to learn her history. She
has been pursued by "French Charlie" since her arrival from Panama
by steamer. No one knows if the reigning beauty is Havanese or
a French Creole. Several aver she speaks French and Spanish with
equal ease. English receives a dainty foreign accent from the
rosebud lips. Her mysterious identity is guarded by the delighted
proprietors. The riches of their deep-jawed safes tell of her
wonderful luck, address, or skill.
Charlie has in vain tried to cross the invisible barrier which
fences her from the men around her. To-night he is as unlucky in
his heavy play, as in arousing any passion in that wonderful beauty
of unexplained identity. The management will answer no questions.
This nightly excitement feeds on itself. "French Charlie" has been
drinking deeply. His play grows more unlucky. Valois moves to the
table, to quietly induce Hardin to leave. Some inner foreboding
tells Valois there is danger in the gambling duel of the two men he
watches. As he forces his way in, Charlie, dashing a last handful
of gold upon the red, turns his ferocious eyes on Hardin. The
lawyer calmly waits the turn of the arrow. Some quick presentiment
reaches the mind of the woman. Her nerves are shaken with the strain
of long repression. The arrow trembles on the line in stopping.
The queen's eyes, for the first time, catch the burning glances of
Philip Hardin. "French Charlie," with an oath, grasps the hand of
the woman. She is raking in his lost coins before paying Hardin's
bet. It is his last handful of gold.
Maddened with drink and his losses, Charlie yields to jealousy
of his victorious neighbor. "French Charlie" roughly twists the
wrist of the woman. With a sharp shriek, she snatches the dagger
from her bosom. She draws it over the back of the gambler's hand.
He howls with pain. Like a flash he tears a knife from his bosom.
He springs around the table toward the woman. With a loud scream,
she jumps back toward the wall. She seeks to save herself, casting
golden showers on the floor, in a rattling avalanche. Before the
ready hireling desperadoes of the haunt can seize Charlie, the
affrighted circle scatters. Valois' eye catches, the flash of a
silver-mounted derringer. Its barking report rings out as "French
Charlie's" right arm drops to his side. His bowie-knife falls
ringing on the floor. A despairing curse is heard. The Creole
gambler snatches, with the other hand, a pistol. He springs like
a lion on Philip Hardin. One step back Hardin retreats. No word
comes from his closed lips. The mate of the derringer rings out
loudly Charlie's death warrant. The gambler crashes to the floor.
His heart's blood floods the scattered gold. The pistol is yet
clenched in his stiffened left hand. Valois rushes to Hardin. He
brushes him aside, and springs to the side of the "Queen of the
El Dorado." She falls senseless in his arms. In a few moments the
motley crowd has been hurried from the doors. The great entrances
are barred. The frightened women dealers seek their dressing-rooms.
All fear the results of this brawl. Their cheeks are ashy pale under
paint and powder. The treasures are swiftly swept from the gaming
tables by the nimble-witted croupiers. Hardin and Valois are left
with the unconscious fallen beauty. A couple of the lately organized
city police enter and take charge. Even the blood stained gold is
gathered from the floor. Light after light is turned out. The main
hall has at last no tenants but the night watchman and the police,
waiting by the dead gambler. He lies prone on the floor, awaiting
his last judge, the city coroner. This genial official is sought
from his cards and cups, to certify the causes of death of the
outcast of society. A self-demonstrating problem. The gaping wound
tells its story.
Valois is speechless and stunned with the quickness of the deadly
quarrel. He gloomily watches Hardin supporting the fainting woman.
Slowly her eyes unclose. They meet Hardin's in one long, steadfast,
inscrutable glance. She shudders and says, "Take me away." She
covers her siren face with her jewelled hands, to avoid the sight
of the waxy features and stiffening form of the thing lying there.
Ten minutes ago it was the embodiment of wildest human passion and
tiger-like activity. Vale, "French Charlie."
Hardin has quickly sent for several influential friends. On their
arrival he is permitted to leave, escorted by a policeman. The
shaken sorceress, whose fatal beauty has thrown two determined
men against each other in a sudden duel to the death, walks at his
side. There is a bond of blood sealed between them. It is the mere
sensation of a night; the talk of an idle day. On the next evening
the "El Dorado" is thronged with a great multitude. It is eager
to gaze on the wondrous woman's face, for which "French Charlie"
died. Their quest is vain. Another daughter of the Paphian divinity
presides at the shrine of rouge et noir. The blood-stains are
effaced from the floor. A fresh red mound in the city cemetery
is the only relic of French Charlie. Philip Hardin, released upon
heavy bail, awaits a farcical investigation. After a few days he
bears no legal burden of this crime. Only the easy load upon his
conscience. Although the mark of Cain sets up a barrier between
him and his fellows, and the murder calls for the vengeance of God,
Philip Hardin goes his way with unclouded brow. His eyes have a
strange new light in them.
The "Queen of the El Dorado" sits no more at the wheel of fortune.
Day succeeds to day. Nightly expectation is balked. Her absent
charms are magnified in description. The memory of the graceful,
dazzling Hortense Duval fades from the men who struggle around the
gaming boards of the great "El Dorado." She never shows her charming
face again in the hall.
The secret of the disappearance of this mysterious sovereign of
chance is known to but few. It is merely surmised by others. To
Maxime Valois the bloody occurrence has borne fruits of importance.
As soon as some business is arranged, the shadowy barrier of this
tragedy divides the two men. Though slight, it is yet such that
Valois decides to go to Stockton. The San Joaquin valley offers
him a field. Land matters give ample scope to his talents. The
investment in lands can be better arranged from there. The Creole
is glad to cast his lot in the new community. By sympathy, many
Southerners crowd in. They gain control of the beautiful prairies
from which the herds of elk and antelope are disappearing.
Philip Hardin's safety is assured. With no open breach of friendship
between them, Maxime still feels estranged. He visits the scene
of his future residence. His belongings follow him. It was an
intuition following a tacit understanding. Man instinctively shuns
Maxime never asked of the future of the vanished queen of the El
Dorado. In his visits to San Francisco he finds that few cross
Philip Hardin's threshold socially. Even these are never bid to
come again. Is there a hidden queen in the house on the hill? Rumor
Rising in power, Philip Hardin steadily moves forward. He asks no
favors. He seeks no friends. All unmindful is he of the tattle
that a veiled lady of elegant appearance sometimes walks under the
leafy bowers shading his lovely home.
The excitable populace find new food for gossip. There are more
residences than one in San Francisco, where dreamy luxury is hidden
within the unromantic wooden boxes called residences.
Fair faces gleam out furtively from these casements. At open doors,
across whose thresholds no woman of position ever sets a foot,
wealth stands on guard. Silence seals the portals. The vassals of
gold wait in velvet slippers. The laws of possession are enforced
by the dangers of any trespass on these Western harems.
While the queen city of the West rises rapidly it is only a modern
Babylon on the hills of the bay. The influx augments all classes.
Every element of present and future usefulness slowly makes headway
against the current of mere adventure. Natural obstacles yield
to patient, honest industry. California begins in grains, fruits,
and all the rich returns of nature, to show that Ceres, Flora, and
Pomona are a trinity of witching good fairies. They beckon to the
world to wander hither, and rest under these blue-vaulted balmy
skies. Near the splendid streams, picturesque ridges, and lovely
valleys of the new State, health and happiness may be found, even
The State capital is located, drawn by the golden magnet, at
Sacramento. The only conquest left for the dominating Americans, is
the development of this rich landed domain. Here, where the Padres
dreamed over their monkish breviaries, where the nomad native
Californians lived only on the carcasses of their wild herds, the
richest plains on earth invite the honest hand of the farmer.
The era of frantic dissipation, wildest license, insane speculation,
and temporary abiding wears away. Bower and blossom, bird and bee,
begin to adorn the new homes of the Pacific.
Mighty-hearted men, keen of vision, strong of purpose, appear.
The face of nature is made to change under the resolute attacks
of inventive man. Roads and bridges, wharves and storehouses,
telegraph lines, steamer routes, express and stage systems, banks
and post-offices, courts, churches, marts and halls, all come as
if at magic call. The school-master is abroad. Public offices and
records are in working order. Though the fierce hill Indians now
and then attack the miners, they are driven back toward the great
citadel of the Sacramento River. The huge mountain ranges on the
Oregon border are their last fastnesses.
In every community of the growing State, the law is aided by quickly
executed decrees of vigilance committees. Self-appointed popular
leaders, crafty politicians, scheming preachers, aspiring editors,
and ambitious demagogues crop up. They are the mushroom growth of
the muck-heap of the new civilization.
Hardin gathers up with friendships the rising men of all the counties.
At the newly formed clubs of the city his regular entertainments
are a nucleus of a socio-political organization to advance the
ambitious lawyer and the cause of the South.
Men say he looks to the Senate, or the Supreme Bench. Maxime Valois,
rising in power at Stockton, retains the warmest confidence of
Hardin. He knows the crafty advocate is the arch-priest of Secession.
Month by month, he is knitting up the web of his dark intrigues.
He would unite the daring sons of the South in one great secret
organization, ready to strike when the hour of destiny is at
hand. It comes nearer, day by day. Here, in this secret cause of
the South, Valois' heart and soul go out to Hardin. He feels the
South was juggled out of California. Both he and his Mephisto are
gazing greedily on the wonderful development of the coast. Even
adjoining Arizona and New Mexico begin to fill up. The conspirators
know the South is handicapped in the irrepressible conflict unless
some diversion is made in the West. They must secure for the
states of the Southern Republic their aliquot share of the varied
treasures of the West. The rich spoil of an unholy war.
Far-seeing and wise is the pupil of Calhoun and Slidell. He is the
coadjutor of the subtle Gwin. Hardin feeds the flame of Maxime
Valois' ardor. The business friendship of the men continues unabated.
They need each other. With rare delicacy, Valois never refers to
the blood-bought "beauty of the El Dorado." Her graceful form never
throws its shadow over the threshold of the luxurious home of the
lawyer. On rare visits to the residence of his friend, Valois'
quick eye notes the evidence of a reigning divinity. A piano and
a guitar, a scarf here, a few womanly treasures there, are indications
of a "manage a deux." They prove to Maxime that the Egeria of this
intellectual king lingers near her victim. He is still under her
mystic spell. Breasting the tide of litigation in the United States
and State courts, popular and ardent, the Louisianian thrives. He
rises into independent manhood. He is toasted in Sacramento, where
in legislative halls his fiery eloquence distinguishes him. He is
the king of the San Joaquin valley.
Preserving his friendship with the clergy, still warmly allied
to Padre Francisco, Maxime Valois gradually gains an unquestioned
leadership. His friends at New Orleans are proud of this young
pilgrim from "Belle Etoile." Judge Valois hopes that the coming
man will return to Louisiana in search of some bright daughter of
that sunny land, a goddess to share the honors of the younger branch
of the old Valois family. Rosy dreams!
Maxima, satisfied, yet not happy, sees a great commonwealth grow
up around him. Looking under the tides of the political struggles,
he can feel the undertow of the future. It seems to drag him back
to the old Southern land of his birth, "Home to Dixie."
JOAQUIN, THE MOUNTAIN ROBBER.--THE DON'S PERIL.
The leaders of the San Joaquin meet at the office of Counsellor
Maxime Valois. He is the rising political chief. While multitudes
yet delve for gold, Valois wisely heads those who see that the
miners are merely nomadic. They are all adventurers. The great men
of the coast will be those who control its broad lands, and create
ways of communication. The men who develop manufactures, start
commercial enterprises, and the farmers, will develop resources
of this virgin State. The thousand vocations of civilization are
building up a solid fabric for future generations.
True, the poet, the story-writer, and the careless stranger will be
fascinated by the heroes of camp and glen. High-booted, red-shirted,
revolver-carrying, bearded argonauts are they, braving all hardships,
enjoying sudden wealth, and leading romantic lives. Stories of camp
and cabin, with brief Monte-Cristo appearances at San Francisco,
are the popular rage. These rough heroes are led captive, even
as Samson was betrayed by Delilah. The discovery of quartz mining
leads Valois to believe that an American science of geologic mining
will be a great help in the future. Years of failure and effort,
great experience, with associated capital, will be needed for
exploring the deep quartz veins. Their mysterious origin baffles
Long after the individual argonauts have laid their weary brows
upon the drifted pine needles in the deep eternal sleep of Death,
the problem will be solved. When their lonely graves are landmarks
of the Sierras; when the ephemeral tent towns have been folded up
forever, the broad lands of California will support great communities.
To them, these early days will be as unreal as the misty wreaths
clinging around the Sierras.
The romance of the Gilded Age! Each decade throws a deeper mantle
of the shadowy past over the struggles of fresh hearts that failed
in the mad race for gold.
Their lives become, day by day, a mere disjointed mass of paltry
incident. Their careers point no moral, even if they adorn the
future tale. The type of the argonaut itself begins to disappear.
Those who returned freighted with gold to their foreign homes are
rich, and leading other lives far away. Those who diverted their
new-found wealth into industries are prospering. They will leave
histories and stable monuments of their life-work. But the great
band of placer hunters have wandered into the distant territories
of the great West. They leave their bones scattered, under the
Indian's attack, or die on distant quests. They drop into the stream
of unknown fate. No moral purpose attended their arrival. No high
aim directed their labors. As silently as they came, the rope of
sand has sifted away. Their influence is absolutely nothing upon the
future social life of California. Even later Californian society
owes nothing of its feverish strangeness to these gold hunters.
They toiled in their historic quest. The prosaic results of the
polyglot settlement of the new State are not of their direction.
The bizarre Western character is due to an admixture of ill-assorted
elements. Not to gold itself or the lust of gold. The personal
history of the gold hunters is almost valueless. No hallowed memory
clings to the miner's grave. No blessing such as hovers over the
soldier, dead under his country's banner.
The early miners fell by the way, while grubbing for gold. Their
ends were only selfish gain. Their gold was a minister of vilest
pleasures. A fool's title to temporary importance.
Among them were many of high powers and great capacity, worthy of
deeds of derring-do, yet it cannot be denied that the narrowest
impulses of human action drove the impetuous explorers over the
high Sierras. Gain alone buried them in the dim ca¤ons of the Yuba
and American. The sturdy citizens pouring in with their families,
seeking homes; those who laid the enduring foundations of the social
fabric, the laws and enterprises of necessity, pith, and moment,
are the real fathers of the great Golden State. In the rapidity of
settlement, all the manifold labors of civilization began together.
Laus Deo! There were hands, brains, and hearts for those trying
hours of the sudden acquisition of this royal domain.
The thoughtful scholar Nevins, throwing open the first public
school-room to a little nursery-like brood, planted the seeds of
a future harvest, far richer than the output of the river treasuries.
A farmer's wife toiling over the long plains, caring for two
beehives, mindful of the future, introduced a future wealth, kinder
in prophetic thought, than he who blindly stumbled on a bonanza.
Humble farmer, honest head of family, intelligent teacher, useful
artisan, wise doctor, and skilled mechanic, these were the real
fathers of the State.
The sailor, the mechanic, and the good pioneer women, these are
the heroes and heroines gratefully remembered now. They regulated
civilization; they stood together against the gold-maddened floating
miners; they fought the vicious camp-followers.
Maxime Valois, learned in the civil law of his native State, speaking
French and Spanish, soon plunged in the vexatious land litigation
of his generation. Mere casual occupancy gave little color of title
to the commoner Mexicans. Now, the great grant owners are, one by
one, cited into court to prove their holdings; many are forced in
by aggressive squatters.
While gold still pours out of the mines, and the young State feels
a throbbing life everywhere, the native Californians are sorely
pressed between the land-getting and the mining classes. Wild herds
no longer furnish them free meat at will. The mustangs are driven
away from their haunts. Growing poverty cuts off ranch hospitality.
Without courage to labor, the poorer Mexicans, contemptuously
called Greasers, go to the extremes of passive suffering. All the
occupations of the vaqueros are gone. These desperate Greasers are
driven to horse-stealing and robbery.
Expert with lasso, knife, and revolver, they know every trail.
These bandits mount themselves at will from herds of the new-comers.
The regions of the north, the forests of the Sierras, and the
lonely southern valleys give them safe lurking-places. Wherever
they reach a ranch of their people, they are protected; the pursuers
are baffled; they are misled by the sly hangers-on of these gloomy
In San Joaquin, the brigands hold high carnival; they sally out on
wild rides across the upper Sacramento. The mining regions are in
terror. Herds of stolen horses are driven by the Livermore Pass to
the south. Cattle and sheep are divided; they are used for food.
Sometimes the brands are skilfully altered by addition or counterfeit.
Suspicious Mexicans are soon in danger. Short shrift is given to
the horse-thief. The State authorities are powerless in face of
the duplicity of these native residents. They feel they have been
enslaved by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The roads became
unsafe. Travellers are subject to a sudden volley from ambush.
The fatal lasso is one trick; the midnight stab, when lodging in
Mexican wayside houses, is another. There is no longer safety save
in the large towns. From San Diego to Shasta, a chain of criminals
leaves a record of bloody deeds. There are broader reasons than the
mere friction of races. The native Californians are rudely treated
in the new courts; their personal rights are invaded; their homes
are not secure; their women are made the prey of infamous attack.
A deadly feud now rises between the Mexicans and Americans. These
brutal encroachments of the new governing race bring reprisals in
chance duels and secret crimes. This organized robbery is a return
blow. The Americans are forced to travel in posses. They reinforce
their sheriffs. They establish armed messengers. In town and county
they execute suspects by a lively applied Lynch law.
All that is needed to create a general race-war is a determined
As months roll on, the record of violence becomes alarming. Small
stations are attacked, many desperate fights occur. Dead men are
weltering in their blood, on all the trails. A scheming intelligence
seems now to direct the bandits. Pity was never in the Mexican
heart. But now unarmed men are butchered while praying for mercy.
Their bodies are wantonly gashed. Droves of poor, plodding, unarmed
Chinese miners are found lying dead like sheep in rows. Every
trail and road is unsafe. Different bodies of robbers, from five
to twenty, operate at the same time. There is no telegraph here
as yet, to warn the helpless settlers. The following of treasure
trains shows that spies are aiding the bandits.
The leading men of the new State find this scourge unbearable.
Lands are untenanted, cattle and herds are a prey to the robbers.
Private and public reward has failed to check this evil. Sheriff's
posses and occasional lynching parties shoot and hang. Still the
evil grows. It is an insult to American courage. As 1852 is ushered
in, there are nearly two hundred and fifty thousand dwellers in the
new State. Still the reign of terror continues. One curious fact
appears. All of the bandits chased south toward Monterey or Los
Angeles are finally driven to bay, killed, or scattered as fugitives.
In the middle regions, the organization of the Mexican murderers
seems to be aided by powerful friends. They evidently furnish news,
supplies, and give concealment to these modern butchers. They are
only equalled by the old cutthroats of the Spanish main.
A meeting of citizens is called at Stockton. It is privately held,
for fear of betrayal. Maxime Valois is, as usual, in the van. His
knowledge of the country and his renown as a member of Fremont's
party fit him to lead. A secret organization is perfected. The
sheriff of the county is made head of it. He can use the power
of posse and his regular force. The plundered merchants agree to
furnish money as needed. Maxime Valois is needed as the directing
brain. In study over news and maps, the result proves that the
coast and south are only used for the sale of stock or for refuge.
The extreme north of the State shows no prey, save the starving
Klamath Indians. It is true the robbers never have cursed the
upper mountains. Their control sweeps from Shasta to Sonoma, from
Marysville and Nevada as far as the gates of Sacramento, and down
to the Livermore Pass. Mariposa groans under their attacks.
Valois concludes this bloody warfare is a logical result of the
unnecessary conquest of California. To lose their nationality is
galling. To see Mexico, which abandoned California, get $15,000,000
in compensation for the birthright of the Dons is maddening. It
irritates the suspicious native blood. To be ground down daily,
causes continual bickering. Ranch after ranch falls away under
usury or unjust decisions. In this ably planned brigandage, Valois
discerns some young resentful Californian of good family has assisted.
The terrific brutality points also to a relentless daring nature,
aroused by some special wrong.
Valois muses at night in his lonely office. His ready revolvers are
at hand. Even here in Stockton a Mexican, friendly to the authorities,
has been filled with bullets by a horseman. The assailant was swathed
to his head in his scrape. He dashed away like the wind. There is
The young lawyer pictures this, the daring bravo--hero by nature--made
a butcher and a fiend by goading sorrows. It must be some one who
knows the Americans, who has travelled the interior, and has personal
wrongs to avenge.
These dark riders strike both innocent and guilty. They kill without
reason, and destroy in mere wantonness. The band has never been
met in its full muster. The general operations are always the same.
It seems to Valois that there are two burning questions:
First--Who is the leader?
Second--Where is the hiding-place or stronghold?
To paralyze the band, this master intelligence must be neutralized
by death. To finish the work, that stronghold must be found or
There is as yet no concurrent voice as to their leader. Maxime
Valois is positive, however, that the stronghold is not far from
the slopes of Mariposa. The deadly riders seem to disappear,
when driven towards Stockton. They afterwards turn up, as if sure
shelter was near.
But who will hound this fiend to his lair? Valois sends for the
sheriff. They decide to organize a picked corps of men. They will
ride the roads, with leaders selected from veteran Indian fighters.
Others are old soldiers of the Mexican war. The heaviest rewards
are offered, to stimulate the capture of the bandit chiefs. Valois
knows, though, that money will never cause a Mexican to betray any
countryman to the Americans. A woman's indiscretion, yes, a jealous
sweetheart's bitter hatred might lead to gaining the bandit chief's
identity. But gold. Never! The Mexicans never needed it, save to
gamble. Judas is their national scapegoat.
The sheriff has collated every story of attack. Valois draws out
the personality of the leading actor in this revelry of death. A
superb horseman, of medium size, who handles his American dragoon
revolvers with lightning rapidity. A young man in a yellow,
black-striped scrape. He is always superbly mounted. He has curling
blackest hair. Two dark eyes, burning under bushy brows, are the
principal features. This man has either led the murderers or been
present at the fiercest attacks. In many pistol duels, he has
killed some poor devil in plain sight of his comrades.
Valois decides to search all towns where Spanish women abound,
for such a romantic figure. This bandit must need supplies and
ammunition. He must visit women, the fandango, and the attractions
of monte. He must have friends to give him news of treasure movements.
Valois watches secretly the Spanish quarters of all the mountain
towns and the great ranchos.
The Louisianian knows that every gambling-shop and dance-house is
a centre of spies and marauders. The throngs of unnoticed Mexicans,
in a land where every traveller is an armed horseman, enable these
robber fiends to mingle with the innocent. The common language,
hatred of the Americans, the hospitality to criminals of their
blood, and the admiration of the sullen natives for these bravos,
prevent any dependence on the Mexican population.
The pursuers have often failed because of lack of supplies, and
worn-out steeds. The villains are secretly refitted by those who
harbor them. An hour suffices to drive up the "caballada," and
remount the bandits at any friendly interior ranch.
Obstinate silence is all the roadside dwellers' return to questions.
Valois cons over the bloody record of the last two years. The
desperate crimes begin with Andres Armijo and Tomas Maria Carrillo.
They were unyielding ex-soldiers. Both of these have been run to
earth. Salamon Pico, an independent bandit, of native blood, follows
the same general career. John Irving, a renegade American, has
held the southern part of the State. With his followers, he murdered
General Bean and others. He was only an outcast foreigner.
Maxime Valois knows that Irving and his band have been butchered
by savage Indians near the Colorado. Yet none of these have killed
for mere lust of blood. This mysterious chieftain who murders for
personal vengeance, is soon known to the determined Louisianian.
In the long trail of tiger-like assassinations, the robber is
disclosed by his unequalled thirst for blood.
"Joaquin Murieta, Joaquin the Mountain Robber, Joaquin the Yellow
Tiger." He flashes out from the dark shades of night, or the depths
of chaparral and forest. His insane butchery proves Valois to be
Dashing through camps, lurking around towns, appearing in distant
localities, he robs stages, plunders stations, and personally
murders innocent travellers. Express riders are ambushed. The word
"Joaquin," scrawled on a monte card, and pinned to the dead man's
breast, often tells the tale. Lonely men are found on the trails with
the fatal bullet-hole in the back of the head, shot in surprise.
Sometimes he appears with followers, often alone. Now openly daring
individual conflict, then slinking at night and in silence. Sneak,
bravo, and tiger. He is a Turpin in horsemanship. A fiend in his
thirst for blood. A charmed life seems his. On magnificent steeds,
he rides down the fleeing traveller. He coolly murders the exhausted
"Gringo," taunting his hated race with cowardice. Sweeping from
north to south, five hundred miles, this yellow-clad fiend always
keeps the Sacramento or San Joaquin between him and the coast. Men
shudder at the name of Joaquin Murieta.
Valois sees that the robber chief's permanent haunt is somewhere
in the Sierras. This must be found. The sheriffs of Placer, Nevada,
Sierra, El Dorado, Tuolumne, Calaveras, and Mariposa counties
are in the field with posses. Skirmish after skirmish occurs. All
doubtful men are arrested. Yet the red record continues. Doubling
on the pursuers, hiding, the bandit whirls from Shasta to Tehama,
from Oroville to Sacramento, from Marysville to Placerville.
Stockton, San Andreas, Sonora, and Mariposa are terrorized. Plundered
pack-trains, murdered men, and robbed wayfarers prove that Joaquin
Murieta is ever at work. His swoop is unerring. The yellow serape,
black banded, the dark scowling face, and the battery of four
revolvers, two on his body, two on his saddle, soon make him known
to all the State.
The Governor offers five thousand dollars State reward for Joaquin's
head. County rewards are also published. Valois watches all the
leading Mexican families. Some wild son or member must be unaccounted
for. No criminal has yet appeared of good blood, save Tomas Maria
Carrillo. But he has been dead a year, shot in his tracks by a brave
man. The bandits hover around Stockton. The Americans go heavily
armed, and only travel in large bodies. Public rage reaches its climax,
when there is found pinned on the body of a dead deputy-sheriff a
printed proclamation of the Governor of $5,000 for Joaquin's head.
Under the printed words is the scrawl:
"I myself will give ten thousand.
The passions of the Americans break loose. Innocent Mexicans are
shot and hanged; all stragglers driven out.
The San Joaquin valley becomes a theatre of continued conflict.
"Claudio," another dark chief, ravages the Salinas. He is the
robber king of the coast. The officers find a union between the
coast and inland bandits. Now the manly settlers of the San Joaquin
rise in wrath. Texan rangers, old veterans, heroes of Comanche and
Sioux battles, all swear to hunt Joaquin Murieta to death.
Maxime Valois takes the saddle. He posts strong forces in the defiles
opening to the coast. A secret messenger leaves for Monterey. A
vigorous attack on the coast bandits drives them toward the inland
"Claudio" and his followers are killed, after a bitter hand-to-hand
duel. One or two are hanged. Sheriff Cocks is the hero of the
coast. Maxime Valois calls his ablest men together.
Dividing the main forces into several bodies, a leader is selected
for each squad. Scouts are thrown out. They report daily to the
heads of divisions. The moving forces are ready to close in and
envelop their hated enemy.
Learning of the death of "Claudio," and that a strong body of
Southern settlers is also in the field, Maxime Valois feels the
band of Joaquin is cut off in the square between Placerville and
Sonora, Stockton and the Sierras. It is agreed that the fortunate
division striking the robbers, shall follow the warm trail to the
last man and horse. Reinforcements will push after them.
The sheriff has charge of one, Maxime Valois of another, Captain
Harry Love, a swarthy long-haired Texan ranger, of the third. Love's
magnificent horsemanship, his dark features, drooping mustache and
general appearance, might class him as a Spaniard. Blackened with
the burning sun of the plains, the deserts, and tropic Mexico, his
cavalier locks sweep to his shoulders. The heavy Kentucky rifle,
always carried across his saddle, proves him the typical frontiersman
and ranger. He is a dead shot. Many a Comanche and guerilla have
fallen under the unerring aim of Harry Love. His agile frame,
quickness with the revolver, and nerve with the bowie-knife, have
made him equally feared at close quarters.
In the dark hours of a spring morning of 1854, the main command
breaks into its three divisions. The sheriff covers the lines
towards the north and San Andreas. Maxime skirts the Sierras. Harry
Love, marching silently and at night, hiding his command by day,
marches towards Sonora. He sweeps around and rejoins Valois' main
body. The net is spread.
Scouts are distributed over this region. The mad wolf of the Sierras
is at last to be hunted to his lair.
The unknown retreat must be in the Sierras. He determines to throw
his own command over the valley towards the unvisited Lagunitas
rancho. Padre Francisco will be there, a good adviser. Valois,
the rich and successful lawyer, is another man from the penniless
prisoner of seven years before. Knowing the hatred of Don Miguel
for the Americans, he has never revisited the place. Still he
would like to meet the beloved padre again. He will not uselessly
enrage the gloomy lord of Lagunitas. Don Miguel is a hermit now.
Three days' march, skilfully concealed, brings him to the notched
pass, where Lagunitas lies under its sentinel mountains.
Brooding over the past, thinking of the great untravelled regions
behind the grant, stories from the early life of Don Miguel haunt
the sleepless hours of the anxious young Southern leader. He lies
under the stars, wrapped in his blankets. Lagunitas, once more!
Up before day, filing through light forest and down the passes of
the foothills, the command threads its way. Valois calls his leading
subordinates together. He arranges the visit to the ranch. He
sends a squad of five to ride down the roads a few miles, and meet
any scouts or vedettes of the other Southern party. Valois directs
his men where to rejoin him. He points out, a few miles ahead, a
rocky cliff, behind which the rolling hills around Lagunitas offer
several hidden approaches to the rancho. Cautiously leading his men,
to avoid a general alarm, he skirts the woods. The party rides in
Indian file, to leave a light trail only.
Before the frowning cliff is neared, Valois' keen eye sees his
scouts straggling back. They are galloping at rapid speed, making
for the cliff. The whole command, with smoking steeds, soon joins
the scouts. With them are two of Love's outriders. The bandits
are near at hand. For the scouts, riding up all night from Love's
body, have taken the main road. Within ten miles they find several
dead men--the ghastly handiwork of Joaquin. Their breathless report
is soon over. Detaching ten fresh men, with one of the news-bearers,
to join Love and bring him up post-haste, Maxime Valois orders every
man to prepare his girths and arms for action. Guided by the other
scouts, the whole command pricks briskly over to the concealment
of a rolling valley. There is but one ridge between it, now, and
Maxime calls up his aids. He gives them his rapid directions. Only
the previous knowledge of the ex-pathfinder enabled him to throw
his men behind the sheltering ridge, unseen from the old Don's
In case of meeting any robbers, the subordinates are to seize and
hold the ranch with ten determined men. He throws the rest out in
a strong line, to sweep east and south, till Love's column is met.
Winding into the glen, Valois takes five men and mounts the ridge.
He now skilfully nears the crest of the ridge. The main command
is moving slowly, a few hundred yards below. With the skill of
the old scout of the plains, he brings his little squad up to the
shoulder of the ridge to the south of the rancho. Dismounting,
Indian-like, he crawls up to the summit, from which the beautiful
panorama of glittering Lagunitas lies before him. By his side is
a tried friend. A life and death supporter.
Lagunitas again! It is backed by the forest, where swaying pines are
singing the same old song of seven long years ago. His eye sweeps
over the scene.
Quick as a flash, Valois springs back to the horses. Two mounted
cavaliers, followed by a serving man, can be seen smartly loping
away to the southeast. They are bending towards the region where
Love's course, the trail of the bandits, and Maxime's march intersect.
Is it treachery? Some one to warn the robbers!
Not a moment to lose! "Harris," cries Valois to his companion,
"lead the main command over to that mountain. Be ready to strike
any moment. Send Hill and ten men to capture the ranch by moving
over the ridge. Keep every one there. Hold every human inmate.
I'll cut these men off." Away gallops Harris. Valois leads the
four over the other spur. They drop down the eastern slope of the
point. The riders have to pass near. In rapid words he orders them
to throw themselves quickly, at a dead run, ahead of the travellers.
He waits till, six or eight hundred yards away, the strange horsemen
pass the lowest point of the ridge. The first three scouts are now
well across the line of march of the quick-moving strangers. Then,
with a word, "Now, boys, remember!" Valois spurs his roan out into
the open. At a wild gallop he cuts off the retreat of the horsemen.
Ha! one turns. They are discovered. In an instant the wild mustangs
are racing south. Valois dashes along in pursuit. He has warned his
men to use no firearms till absolutely necessary. He shouts to his
two followers to wait till the last. He would capture, not kill,
these three spies.
Out from the slopes below, the main column, at a brisk trot, cross
the valley. They are led by the quick-eyed scout, who knows how to
throw them on the narrowing suspected region. Love's men and the
band of Joaquin, if here, must soon meet. The three men in advance
ride up at different points. They have seen pursuer and pursued
galloping madly towards them. Instantly the man following the first
rider darts northward, and spurring up a ridge disappears, followed
by two of the three scouts in advance. The other rider draws up
and stands his ground with his servant. As Valois and his companions
ride up, the crack, crack, crack, of heavy dragoon revolvers is wafted
over the ridge. It is now too late for prudence. The horseman at
bay has wheeled. Maxime recognizes the old Don.
Miguel Peralta is no man to be bearded in his own lair, unscathed.
He spurs his horse back towards the ranch. He fires rapidly into
the three pursuers as he darts by. He is a dangerous foe yet.
Valois feels a sharp pang in his shoulder. He reels in his saddle.
His revolver lies in the dust. The ringing reports of his body-guard
peal out as they empty their pistols at fleeing horse and man, The
servant runs up, thoroughly frightened.
Don Miguel's best horse has made its last leap. It crashes down,
pinioning the old soldier to the ground. A bullet luckily has
pierced its brain.
Before the old ranchero can struggle to his feet, his hands are
twisted behind his back. A couple of turns of a lariat clamp his
wrists with no fairy band. A cocked pistol pressed against his
head tells him that the game is up.
Valois drops, half fainting, from his horse, while his men disarm
and bind the sullen old Mexican. The blood pouring from Valois'
shoulder calls for immediate bandaging. The two pursuers of the
other fugitive now ride smartly back.
One lags along, with a torn and shattered jaw. His companion is
unhurt. He bears across his saddle bow a well-known emblem, the
yellow and black scrape of Joaquin Murieta. Several ball holes
prove it might have been his shroud. Valois quickly interrogates
the two; after a hasty pistol duel, in which the flowing serape
misled the two practised shots, the fugitive plunged down a steep
slope, with all the recklessness of a Californian vaquero. It was
When the pursuers reached the trail, it was marked by the abandoned
blanket. A heavy saddle also lay there, cut loose. Joaquin Murieta
was riding away on the wings of the wind, but unwittingly into the
jaws of death. Two or three from the main body took up the trail.
The whole body pushed ahead on the track of the flying bandit--ready
With failing energies, Valois directs the unwounded pursuer to
rejoin the column. He sends stern orders to Harris, to spare neither
man nor beast, to follow the trail to the last. Even to the heart
of the gloomy forests, this great human vampire must be hounded on
his lonely ride to death.
In the saddle, held up by his men, Maxime Valois toils slowly towards
Lagunitas. Beside him the wounded scout, pistol in hand, rides as
a body-guard. In charge of growling old Don Miguel, a man leads
him, dismounted, by a lariat. His horse and trappings lie on the
trail, after removing all the arms. He is sullen and silent. His
servant is a mere human animal. Cautiously approaching, the plaza
lies below them. In the square, the horses of the captors can be
seen peacefully grazing. Sentinels are mounted at several places.
Valois at last reenters the old hacienda, wounded, but in pride,
as a conqueror.
He is met at the priest's door by Padre Francisco. Don Miguel
Peralta, the last of the land barons of the San Joaquin, is now
a prisoner in the sacristy of the church. Time has its revenges.
The turns of fortune's wheel. Padre Francisco assembles the entire
population of the home ranch by the clanging of the church bell.
In a few words he explains the reasons of the occupancy. He orders
the hired men to remain in the enclosure under the guard of the
sentinels. He dresses skilfully the wound of Maxime. He patches up
the face of the wounded scout, whose proudest future boast will be
that Joaquin Murieta gave him those honorable scars.
Maxime, worn and faint, falls into a fevered sleep. His subordinate
holds the ranch, with all the force ready for any attack. The
afternoon wears on. In sleep Valois forgets both the flying bandit
and his fate. The old Don, his eyes filled with scalding tears,
rages in his bonds. Pale, frightened Donna Juanita clasps her hands
in the agony of prayer before the crucifix in the chapel. Beside
her stands Dolores, now a budding beauty, in radiant womanhood.
The dark-eyed young girl is mute. Her pathetic glances are as shy
as a wounded deer's dying gaze. "The dreaded Americanos."
Over the beautiful hills, fanned by the breezes of sunset, the
softened shadows fall. Twilight brings the hush and rest of early
evening. The stars mirror themselves in the sparkling bosom of
Watching the wounded leader, Padre Francisco's seamed, thoughtful
face is very grave. His thin fingers tell the beads of the rosary.
Prayer after prayer passes his moving lips.
The shadow of sorrow, sin, and shame is on Lagunitas. He fears
for the future of the family. There has been foul play. There the
tiger of Sonora has made his lair in the trackless ca¤ons and rich
valleys of the foot-hills. The old Don must have known all.
Prayers for the dead and dying fall on the silence of the night.
They are roughly broken by the trampling of horses' feet. The priest
is called out by the sentinel. By the dim light of the stars, he
sees two score shadowy horsemen. Between their lines, several poor
wretches are bound and shivering in captivity.
A swarthy figure swings from the saddle. Captain Harry Love springs
across the threshold. Unmindful of the warning of the priest,
he rouses Valois. He cries exultantly, "We have him this time,
squire!" Lying on the portico, tied in the sack, in which it swung
at the ranger's saddle-horn, is the head of Joaquin Murieta. Valois
struggles to his feet. Surrounded by the victors, by the light of
a torch, he gazes on the awful token of victory. As the timid priest
sees the fearful object, he cries, "Joaquin Carrillo!"
It is indeed he. The disgraced scion of an old and proud line. The
good priest shudders as Harry Love, leaning on the rifle which sent
its ball into Joaquin's heart, calmly says, "That thing is worth
ten thousand dollars to me to-night, Valois!"
Already, swift riders are bringing up the forces of the sheriff. In
the morning the history is known. The converging columns struck
the bandits, who scattered. The work of vengeance was quick.
"Three-fingered Jack," the murderous ancient of the bandit king,
is killed in the camp. Several fugitives are captured. Several more
hung. Joaquin Murieta, exhausted in the flight of the morning, his
horse tired and wounded, drops from the charger, at a snap shot of
the intrepid ranger, Love. The robber has finished his last ride.
Valois recovers rapidly. He has much to do to stem the resentment
of the pursuers. The head of Joaquin and the hand of Three-fingered
Jack are poor, scanty booty. Not as ghastly as the half-dozen
corpses swinging on Lagunitas' oaks, and ghastly trophies of a
chase of months. The prisoners are lynched. Far and wide, cowardly
avengers butcher suspected Mexicans. California breathes freely
now. Joaquin Murieta Carrillo will weave no more guerilla plots.
The padre and Valois commune with the frightened lady of the
hacienda. Donna Juanita implores protection. Shy Dolores puts her
slender hand in his, and begs him to protect her beloved father.
Maxime, in pity for the two women, conceals the history gathered
from honorable Fran‡ois Ribaut. Joaquin played skilfully upon Don
Miguel's hatred of the Americans. He knew of the lurking places
behind Lagunitas. From these interior fastnesses, known to Don
Miguel from early days, Joaquin could move on several short lines.
He thus appeared as if by magic. With confederates at different
places, his scattered bands had a rendezvous near Lagunitas.
His followers mingled with different communities, and were picked
up here and there on his raids. Special attacks were suggested by
treasure movements. The murdering was not executed by the general
banditti, but by Joaquin alone, and one or two of his special
bravos. Examining the captives, Padre Francisco, by the agency
of the Church, learned that, a few years before, a lovely Mexican
girl, to whom Joaquin was bound by a desperate passion, was the
victim of foul outrage by some wandering American brutes. Her death,
broken-hearted, caused the desperado to swear her grave should be
watered with American blood. Pride of race, and a bitter thirst
for revenge, made Joaquin Murieta what he was,--a human scourge.
His boyhood, spent roaming over the interior, rendered him matchless
in local topography.
It was possible to disguise the fact of supplies being drawn from
Lagunitas. Don Miguel was a great ranchero. As days rolled on,
the plunder of the bandits was brought to the rancho. Joaquin's
mutilated body was a prey to the mountain wolf. The ghastly evidences
of victory were sent to San Francisco, where they remained for
years, a reminder of bloody reprisal.
Padre Francisco saw with fear the rising indignation against Don
Miguel. A clamor for his blood arose. Maxime Valois plead for the
old Commandante. He had really imagined Joaquin's vendetta to be
a sort of lawful war.
The forces began to leave Lagunitas. Only a strong escort body
remained. Valois prepares his departure.
In a last interview, with Padre Francisco present, the lawyer warned
Don Miguel not to leave his hacienda for some time. His life would
surely be sacrificed to the feelings of the Americans. Thankful
for their safety, the mother and sweet girl Dolores gratefully bid
adieu to Maxime. He headed, himself, the last departing band of
the invaders. The roads were safe to all. No trace of treasures
of Joaquin was found. Great was the murmuring of the rangers. Were
these hoards concealed on the rancho? Search availed nothing.
Valois spurs down the road. Lagunitas! He breathes freer, now that
the avengers are balked, at Lagunitas. They would even sack the
rancho. Camping twenty miles away, Maxime dreams of his Southern
home, as the stars sweep westward.
In the morning, a rough hand rouses him. It is the sentinel.
"Captain, wake up!"
He springs to his feet. "What is it?" he cries.
"Half the men are gone, sir. They have stolen back to hang the old
Spaniard. They think he has concealed Joaquin's treasures."
Valois rouses several tired friends.
"My horse!" he yells.
As he springs to the saddle, the sentinel tells him a friend
disclosed the plot. Fear kept him silent till the mutineers stole
"There are yet two hours to day. Is there time?" Maxime stretches
out in the gallop of a skilled plainsman. He must save the priest
and the women at least.
The mutineers will wait till daylight for their swoop. They are
mad with the thirst for the lost treasures of Joaquin.
On, on, with the swing of the prairie wolf, the young leader
gallops. He rides down man after man. As he gallops he thinks of
Se¤ora Juanita, the defenceless priest, the wounded old Commandante,
and the sweet blossoming beauty of the Sierras, star-eyed young
Dolores. They must be saved. On, on!
Day points over the hills as Maxime dashes into the unguarded plaza
of the ranch. There are sounds of shots, yells, and trampling feet.
He springs from his exhausted steed. The doors of the ranch-house
give way. He rushes to the entrance, to find the rooms empty.
In a moment he realizes the facts. He reaches the priest's house.
Beating on the door, he cries: "Open quick! It is Valois." Springing
inside he finds Padre Francisco, his eyes lit up with the courage
of a gallant French gentleman.
"They are all here," he gasps. "Safe?" queries Valois. "Yes." "Thank
God!" Maxime cries. "Quick! Hurry them into the church. Hold the
Maxime's two or three friends have followed him. The doors are
closed behind them. The heavy adobe walls are shot-proof. The refuge
of the church is gained none too soon.
The mutineers spread through the padre's house. Pouring in through
the sacristy passage, they are faced in the gray dawn by Valois,
his eyes blazing. He holds a dragoon revolver in each hand. He is
a dead shot. Yet the mutineers are fearless.
"Give up the Greaser robber!" is their mad yell.
"Never!" cries Valois. "He is old and foolish, but he shall not be
abused. Let him answer to the law."
"Captain," cries one, "we don't want to hurt you, but we are going
to find Joaquin's plunder."
"The first man who moves over this threshold is a dead man!" cries
No one cares to be first, but they rage wildly. They all gather
for a rush. Weapons are ominously clicking. As they come on, Padre
Francisco stands before them, pale and calm in the morning light.
"Kill me first, my friends," he says. His body covers Valois.
The knot of desperate men stand back. They cannot shoot an unarmed
priest, yet growling murmurs are heard: "Burn them out," "Go
"Shoot the old Greaser."
A sound of trampling hoofs drowns their cries. The main body
of the detachment, stung with shame, have galloped back to rescue
Valois. It is over. The mutineers sullenly retire in a body.
Three hours later the detachment rides off. The rebels have wandered
away. Guarded by the friends of the wild night-ride, Valois remains
Under questioning of the padre, whose honorable French blood boils
at the domain being made a nest of assassins, the Don describes
Joaquin's lurking-places. With one or two mozos, Valois visits all
the old camps of the freebooters, within seventy-five miles. He
leaves his men at Lagunitas for safety. He threads the fastnesses
of the inviolate forests. They stretch from Shasta to Fresno, the
great sugar pines and redwoods of California.
The axe of man has not yet attacked them. No machinery, no tearing
saws are in these early days destroying their noble symmetry. But
they are doomed. Fires and wanton destruction are yet to come, to
leave blackened scars over once lovely areas. Man mutilates the
lovely face of Nature's sweetest sylvan retreats. Down the great
gorge of the Yosemite, Valois rides past the giant Big Trees of
Calaveras. He finds no hidden treasures, no buried deposits. The
camps near Lagunitas disclose only some concealed supplies. No
arms, valuables, and treasures, torn from the murdered travellers,
in the two years' red reign of Joaquin, the Mountain Tiger.
Valois concludes that Joaquin divided the gold among his followers.
He must have used it largely to purchase assistance from his spies,
scattered through the interior.
The stolen animals were undoubtedly all scattered over the State.
The weapons, saddlery, and gear, booty of the native horse-thief
bands, have been sent as far as Chihuahua in Mexico. Valuable
personal articles were scarce. Few trophies were ever recovered.
The gold-dust was unrecognizable. Valois reluctantly gives up
the search. He returns convinced that mere lust of blood directed
Joaquin Murieta Carrillo.
The bandits under him represented the native discontent. Their
acts were a protest against the brutal Americans. They were goaded
on by the loss of all property rights. This harshness drove the
Indians, decimated, drunken, and diseased, from their patrimonial
lands. It has effected the final ruin of the native Californians.
Frontier greed and injustice have done a shameful work.
Maxime Valois blushes for his own nation. He realizes that indigenous
dwellers must go to the wall in poverty, to their death. They go
down before the rush of the wolf pack, hunting gold, always gold.
Taking the precaution to leave men to bear to him any messages
from the padre, Maxime leaves Lagunitas for Stockton. The affairs
of the community call him home. Property, covered by his investments,
has been exposed to fire and flood at Sacramento. Sari Francisco
has been half destroyed by a great conflagration. These calamities
make thousands penniless.
Before he rides away, old Don Miguel comes to say adieu to his savior,
once his prisoner. "Se¤or Americano," he murmurs, "be pleased to
come to my house." Followed by the padre, Valois enters. There Don
Miguel bids Donna Juanita and Dolores thank the man who saved his
"I shall not be here long, Se¤or Abogado," he says; "I wish you and
the padre to watch over my wife and child. YOU are a 'caballero'
and 'buen Cristiano.'"
Padre Francisco has proved that the young leader is a true child
of the Church.
The finest horse on the rancho is led to the door. It is trapped
with Don Miguel's state equipment. With a wave of the hand, he
"Se¤or, vayase V. con Dios. That horse will never fail you. It is
the pride of the Lagunitas herds."
Maxime promises to aid in any future juncture. He rides out from
lonely Lagunitas, near which tradition to-day locates those fabulous
deposits, the vanished treasures of Joaquin, the mountain robber.
A generation glides away. The riches, long sought for, are never
found. This blood-stained gold may lie hidden beneath the soil of
Mariposa, but it is beyond human ken.
There are wild rejoicings at Stockton. Harry Love, splendid in
gayest trappings, is the hero of the hour. The dead mountain tiger
was the last leader of resistance to the Americans. The humbled
Mexicans sink into the condition of wandering helots. The only
possession left is their unconquerable pride, and the sadness
which wraps them in a gloomy mantle.
THE STRANGER'S FOOT AT LAGUNITAS. VALOIS' SPANISH BRIDE.
Through the mines runs a paean of rejoicing. The roads are free;
Joaquin is slain at last. Butcher bravos tire of revenging past
deeds of blood. They slay the helpless Indians, or assassinate the
frightened native Californians. This rude revenge element, stirred
up by Harry Love's exploit, reaches from Klamath to the Colorado.
Yet the unsettled interior is destined to keep up the sporadic
banditti of the valleys for years. Every glen offers an easy ambush.
In the far future only, the telegraph and railway will finally cut
up the great State into localized areas of civilization.
All the whiskey-drinking and revolver-carrying bravos must be swept
into obscure graves before crime can cease. It becomes, however,
occasional only. While bloody hands are ready, the plotting brain
of Joaquin Murieta never is equalled by any future bandit.
Coming years bring Francisco Garcia, Sebastian Flores, and the "Los
Manilas" gang, whose seventeen years of bloodshed end finally at
the gallows of Los Angeles. Varrella and Soto, Tiburcio Vasquez,
Santos Lotello, Chavez, and their wild Mexican brothers, are all
destined to die by shot or rope.
"Tom Bell," "Jack Powers," and other American recruits in the army
of villany, have only changed sides in their crimes. All these
wretches merit the deaths awaiting them. The last purely international
element of discord vanishes from the records of crime.
Wandering Americans aptly learn stage-robbing. They are heirs of
the old riders. The glories of "Black Bart," the lone highwayman
of eighty stage-robberies, and the "train robbers," are reserved
for the future. But Black Bart never takes life. He robs only the
Valois appreciates that the day has arrived when legal land spoliation
of the Mexicans will succeed these violent quarrels. Nothing is left
to steal but their land. That is the object of contention between
lawyers, speculators, squatters, and the defenceless owners. Their
domains narrow under mortgage, interest, and legal (?) robbery.
"Vae victis!" The days of confiscation follow the conquest.
Hydraulic mining, quartz processes, and corporate effort succeed
the earlier mining attempts. Two different forces are now in full
energy of action.
Hills are swept bodily into the river-beds, in the search for the
underlying gold. Rivers and meadows are filled up, sand covered,
and ruined. Forests are thrown down, to rot by wholesale. Tunnels
are blasted out. The face of nature is gashed with the quest for
gold. Banded together for destruction, the miners leave no useful
landmark behind them. All is washed away and sent seaward in the
The home-makers, in peaceful campaigns of seed-time and harvest,
develop new treasures. Great interests are introduced. The gold of
field, orchard, and harvest falls into the hands of the industrious
farmers. These are the men whose only weapons are scythe and
sickle. They are the real Fathers of the Pacific. Roving over the
interior, the miners leave a land as nearly ruined as human effort
can render it. In the wake of these nugget-hunters, future years
bring those who make the abandoned hills lovely with scattered homes.
They are now hidden by orchards, vineyards, and gardens. Peaceful
flocks and herds prove that the Golden Age of California is not to
be these wild days of the barbaric Forty-niner.
Maxime Valois sees the land sweeping in unrivalled beauty to the
Colorado. Free to the snowy peaks of the Sacramento, the rich plains
roll. He knows that there will be here yet,
"Scattered cities crowning these, Whose far white walls along them
shine, With fields which promise corn and wine."
He realizes that transient California must yield to stable conditions.
Some civilized society will succeed the masses as lacking in fibre
as a rope of sand. Already the days of roving adventure are over.
There are wanderers, gamblers, fugitives, ex-criminals, and outcasts
enough within the limits of the new land. Siren and adventuress,
women of nameless history and gloomy future, yet abound. They
throng the shabby temporary camps or tent cities. He knows there
is no self-perpetuation in the mass of men roving in the river
valleys. Better men must yet rule.
A visit to San Francisco and other large places proves that the
social and commercial element is supplied from the Northern, Eastern,
and Middle States. Their professional men will be predominant also.
In the interior, the farmers of the West and the sagacious planters
of the South control.
As May-day approaches, Valois, at San Francisco in 1853, sees a
procession of growing children. There, thousands of happy young
faces of school-children, appear bearing roses in innocent hands.
Philip Hardin gives him the details of the coming struggle of North
and South. It is a battle for the coast from Arizona to Oregon. Lost
to England, Russia, and France, lost to the Mormons by stupidity or
neglect, this West is lost to the South by the defeat of slavery.
Industrious farmers come, in fairly equal numbers, from the Northern
and Southern agricultural States. The people of the Atlantic free
States come with their commerce, capital, and institutions. The
fiat of Webster, Clay, and Seward has placed the guardian angel
of freedom at the gates and passes of California. The Southerner
cannot transfer his human slave capital to the far West. The very
winds sing freedom's song on the wooded heights of the Sierras.
Philip Hardin sighs, as he drains his glass, "Valois, our people
have doomed the South to a secondary standing in the Union. This
fatal blunder in the West ruins us. Benton and Fremont's precipitancy
thwarted our statesmen. This gold, the votes of these new States,
the future commerce, the immense resources of the West, all are cast
in the balance against us. We must work for a Western republic.
We must wait till we can fight for Southern rights. We will conquer
these ocean States. We will have this land yet."
The legal Mephisto and his pupil are true to the Southern cause.
Neither of them can measure the coming forces of Freedom. Rosalie
Leese, the pioneer white child of California, born in 1838, at Yerba
Buena, was the first of countless thousands of free-born American
children. In the unpolluted West the breath of slavery shall never
blight a single human existence. Old Captain Richardson and Jacob
Leese, pioneers of the magic city of San Francisco, gaze upon the
beautiful ranks of smiling school-children, in happy troops. They
have no regrets, like the knights of slavery, to see their places
in life filled by free-born young pilgrims of life. All hail the
native sons and daughters of the Golden West!
But the Southern politicians forge to the front. The majority is
still with them. They carry local measures. Their hands are only
tied by the admission of California, as a free State. Too late!
On the far borders of Missouri, the contest of Freedom and Slavery
begins. It excites all America. Bleeding Kansas! Hardin explains
that the circle of prominent Southerners, leading ranchers, Federal
officials, and officers of the army and navy, are relied on for the
future. The South has all the courts. It controls the legislature.
It seeks to cast California's voice against the Union in the event
of civil war. As a last resort they will swing it off in a separate
sovereignty--a Lone Star of the West.
"We must control here as we did in Texas, Valois. When the storm
arises, we will be annexed to the Southern Confederacy."
Even as he spoke, the generation of the War was ripening for the
sickle of Death. Filled with the sectional glories of the Mexican
war, Hardin could not doubt the final issue.
"Get land, Valois," he cries. "Localize yourself. When this State
is thrown open to slavery, you will want your natural position.
Maxime, you ought to have a thousand field-hands when you are master
at Lagunitas. You can grow cotton there."
Valois muses. He revolves in his mind the "Southern movement." Is
it treason? He does not stop to ask. As he journeys to Stockton he
ponders. Philip Hardin is about to accept a place on the Supreme
Bench of the State. Not to advance his personal fortunes, but to
be useful to his beloved South.
While the banks, business houses and factories are controlled
by Northern men: while the pothouse politicians of Eastern cities
struggle in ward elections, the South holds all the Federal honors.
They govern society, dominate in the legislature and in the courts.
They dictate the general superior intercourses of men. The ardent
Southrons rule with iron hand. They are as yet only combated by the
pens of Northern-born editors, and a few fearless souls who rise
above the meekly bowing men of the free States.
All see the approaching downfall of lawless pleasure and vicious
license in San Francisco. Slowly the tide of respectable settlement
rises. It bears away the scum of vice, swept into the Golden Gates
in the first rush. The vile community of escaped convicts and mad
adventurers cannot support itself. "The old order changeth, yielding
slowly to the new."
At the head of all public bodies, the gentleman of the South, quick
to avenge his personal honor, aims, with formal "code," and ready
pistol, to dragoon all public sentiment. He is sworn to establish
the superiority of the cavalier.
The first Mayor of San Francisco, a Congressman elect, gifted
editor Edward Gilbert, has already fallen in an affair of honor.
The control of public esteem depends largely on prowess in the
duelling field. Every politician lives up to the code.
Valois ponders over Hardin's advice. Averse to routine business,
fond of a country life, he decides to localize himself. His funds
have increased. His old partner, Joe Woods, is now a man of wealth
at Sacramento. Maxime has no faith in quartz mines. He has no
desires to invest in ship, or factory. He ignores commerce. To be
a planter, a man of mark in the legislature, to revive the glories
of the Valois family, is the lawyer's wish. While he passes the
tule-fringed river-banks, fate is leading him back to Lagunitas. He
has led a lonely life, this brilliant young Creole. In the unrest
of his blood, under the teachings of Hardin, Valois feels the future
may bear him away to unfought fields. The grandsons of those who
fought at New Orleans, may win victories, as wonderful, over the
enemies of that South, even if these foes are brothers born.
Gliding towards his fate, the puppet of the high gods, Maxime Valois
may dream of the surrender of Fort Sumter, and of the Southern
Cross soaring high in victory. Appomattox is far hidden beyond
battle-clouds of fields yet to come! The long road thither has
not yet been drenched with the mingled blood of warring brethren.
Dreams! Idle dreams! Glory! Ambition! Southern rights!
At Stockton, Valois receives tidings from Padre Francisco. Clouds
are settling down on Lagunitas. Squatters arc taking advantage of
the defenceless old Mexican. If the Don would save his broad acres,
he must appear in the law-courts of the conquerors.
Alas! the good old days are gone, when the whole State of California
boasted not a single lawyer. These are new conditions. The train
of loyal retainers will never sweep again out of the gates of
Lagunitas, headed by the martial Commandante, in all the bravery
of rank and office. It is the newer day of gain and greed.
Prospecting miners swarm over Mariposa. The butterflies are driven
from rocky knoll and fragrant bower by powder blasts. The woods
fall under the ringing axe of the squatter. Ignorant of new laws
and strange language; strong only in his rights; weak in years,
devoid of friends, Don Miguel's hope is the sage counsel of Padre
Francisco. The latter trusts to Valois' legal skill.
As adviser, Valois repairs to Lagunitas. Old patents, papers heavy
with antique seal and black with stately Spanish flourish, are conned
over. Lines are examined, witnesses probed, defensive measures
Maxime sits; catechizes the Don, the anxious Donna Juanita, and
the padre. Wandering by the shores of Lagunitas, Valois notes the
lovely reflection of the sweet-faced Dolores in the crystal waters.
The girl is fair and modest. Fran‡ois Ribaut often wonders if the
young man sees the rare beauty of the Spanish maiden. If it would
come to pass!
Over his beads, the padre murmurs, "It may be well. All well in
The cause drags on slowly. After months, the famous case of the
Lagunitas rancho is fought and won.
But before its last coil has dragged out of the halls of justice,
harassed and broken in spirit, Don Miguel closes his eyes upon the
ruin of his race. Born to sorrow, Donna Juanita is a mere shade
of womanly sorrow. She is not without comfort, for the last of the
Peraltas has placed his child's hand in that of Maxime Valois and
whispered his blessing.
"You will be good to my little Dolores, amigo mio," murmurs the old
man. He loves the man whose lance has been couched in his behalf.
The man who saved his life and lands.
Padre Francisco is overjoyed. He noted the drawing near of the young
hearts. A grateful flash, lighting the shining eyes of Dolores, told
the story to Maxime. His defence of her father, his championship
of the family cause, his graceful demeanor fill sweet Dolores' idea
of the perfect "caballero."
The priest with bell, book, and candle, gives all the honors of
the Church to the last lord of Lagunitas. Hard by the chapel, the
old ranchero rests surrounded by the sighing forest. It is singing
the same unvarying song, breathing incense from the altars of nature
over the stout soldier's tomb.
He has fought the fight of his race in vain. When the roses' leaves
drift a second time on the velvet turf, Maxime Valois receives
the hand of Dolores from her mother. The union is blessed by the
invocation of his priestly friend. It is a simple wedding. Bride
and groom are all in all to each other. There are none of the
Valois, and not a Peralta to join in merrymaking.
Padre Francisco and Donna Juanita are happy in the knowledge that the
shy bird of the mountains is mated with the falcon-eyed Creole. He
can defend the lordly heritage of Lagunitas. So, in the rosy summer
time, the foot of the stranger passes as master over the threshold
of the Don's home. The superb domain passes under the dominion
of the American. One by one the old holdings of the Californian
families pass away. The last of the Dons, sleeping in the silence
of the tomb, are spared the bitterness of seeing their quaint
race die out. The foreigner is ruling within their gates. Their
unfortunate, scattered, and doomed children perish in the attrition
of a newer civilization.
Narrow-minded, but hospitable; stately and loyal; indifferent to
the future, suspicious of foreigners, they are utterly unable to
appreciate progress. They are powerless to develop or guard their
domains. Abandoned by Mexico, preyed on by squatters, these courtly
old rancheros are now a memory of the past.
This wedding brings life to Lagunitas. The new suzerain organizes a
working force. It is the transition period of California. Hundreds
of thousands of acres only wait for the magic artesian well to
smile in plenty. Valois gathers up the reins. Only a few pensioners
remain. The nomadic cavalry of the natives has disappeared. The
suggestion of "work" sets them "en route." They drift towards the
Mexican border. The flocks and herds are guarded by corps of white
attendants. The farm succeeds the ranch.
Maxime Valois gives his wife her first sight of the Queen City.
The formalities of receiving the "patent" call him to San Francisco.
Padre Francisco remains with Donna Juanita. The new rule is
represented by "Kaintuck," an energetic frontiersman, whose vast
experience in occasional warfare and frequent homicide is a guarantee
of finally holding possession. This worthy left all his scruples
at home in Kentucky, with his proper appellation. He is a veteran
As yet the lands yield no regular harvests. The ten-leagues-square
tract produces less fruit, garden produce, and edibles, than
a ten-acre Pennsylvania field in the Wyoming. But the revenue is
large from the cattle and horses. The cattle are as wild as deer.
The horses are embodiments of assorted "original sin," and as agile
as mountain goats. Valois knows, however, the income will be ample
for general improvements.
His policy matures. He encourages the settlement of Southerners.
He rents in subdivisions his spare lands.
The Creole, now a landlord, hears the wails of short-sighted men.
They mourn the green summers, the showery months of the East.
Moping in idleness, they assert that California will produce neither
cereal crops, fruits, nor vegetables. Prophets, indeed! The golden
hills look bare and drear to strangers' eyes. The brown plains
In the great realm, apples, potatoes, wheat, corn, the general
cereals and root crops are supposed to be impossible productions.
Gold, wild cattle, and wilder mustangs are the returns of El Dorado.
Cultivation is in its infancy.
The master departs with the dark-eyed bride. She timidly follows
his every wish. Dolores has the education imparted by gentle Padre
Francisco. It makes her capable of mentally expanding in the
experiences of the first journey. The gentle refinement of her
race completes her charms.
To the bride, the steamer, the sights of the bay, crowded with
shipping, and the pageantry of the city are dazzling. The luxuries
of city life are wonders. Relying on her husband, she glides into
her new position. Childishly pleased at the jewels, ornaments, and
toilets soon procured in the metropolis, Donna Dolores Valois is
soon one of Eve's true daughters, arrayed like the lily.
Months roll away. The stimulus of a brighter life develops the girl
wife into a sweetly radiant woman.
Maxime Valois rejoins Philip Hardin. He is now a judge of the Supreme
Court. Stormy days are these of 1855 and the spring of 1856.
Deep professional intrigues busy Valois. Padre Francisco and
"Kaintuck" announce the existence of supposed quartz mines on the
rancho. Valois will not pause in his occupations to risk explorations.
For the Kansas strife, the warring of sections, and the growing
bitterness of free and slave State men make daily life a seething
cauldron. Southern settlers are pouring into the interior. They shun
the cities. In city and country, squatter wars, over lot and claim,
excite the community. San Francisco is a hotbed of politicians and
roughs of the baser sort. While the Southerners generally control
the Federal and State offices, Hardin feels the weakness in their
lines has been the journalistic front of their party. Funds are
raised. Pro-slavery journals spring into life. John Nugent, Pen
Johnston, and O'Meara write with pens dipped in gall, and the ready
pistol at hand. Tumult and fracas disgrace bench, bar, legislature,
and general society. The great wars of Senators Gwin and Broderick
precede the separation of Northern and Southern Democrats. As
the summer of 1856 draws on, corruption, violence, and sectional
hatred bitterly divide all citizens. School and Church, journal
and law-giver, work for the right. The strain on the community
increases. While the coast and interior is dotted with cities and
towns, and the Mint pours out floods of ringing gold coins, there
is no confidence. Farm and factory, ship and wagon train, new
streets, extension of the city and material progress show every
advancement. But a great gulf yawns between the human wave of old
adventurers, and the home-makers, now sturdily battling for the
The plough is speeding in a thousand furrows everywhere. Cattle
and flocks are being graded and improved. Far-sighted men look
to franchise and public association. The day dawns when the giant
gaming hells, flaunting palaces of sin, and the violent army of
miscreants must be suppressed.
Everywhere, California shows the local irritation between the
buccaneers of the first days, and the resolute, respectable citizens.
The latter are united in this local cause, though soon to divide
politically on the battle-field.
Driven from their lucrative vices of old, the depraved element, at
the polls, overawes decency. San Francisco's long wooden wharves,
its precipitous streets, its crowded haunts of the transient, and
its flashy places of low amusement harbor a desperate gang. They
are renegades, deserters, and scum of every seaport--graduates of
all human villany. Aided by demagogues, the rule of the "Roughs"
nears its culmination. Fire companies, militia, train bands, and
the police, are rotten to the core. In this upheaval, affecting
only the larger towns, the higher classes are powerless.
Cut off, by the great plains, from the central government, the State
is almost devoid of telegraphs and has but one little railroad. It
has hostile Indians yet on its borders. The Chinese come swarming
in like rats. The situation of California is critical.
Personal duels and disgraceful quarrels convulse high life. The
lower ranks are ruled only by the revolver. The criminal stalks
boldly, unpunished, in the streets.
The flavor of Americanism is no leaven to this ill-assorted
population. The exciting presidential campaign, in which Fremont
leads a new party, excites and divides the better citizens of the
Though the hills are now studded with happy homes and the native
children of the Golden West are rising in promise, all is unrest.
A local convulsion turns the anger of better elements into the
revolution of the Vigilance Committee of 1856. James Casey's pistol
rang out the knell of the "Roughs" when he murdered the fearless
editor of the leading journal.
Valois, uninterested in this urban struggle, returns to Lagunitas.
His domain rewards his energy.
All is peace by the diamond lake. Senora Dolores, her tutor, Padre
Francisco, and the placid Duenna Juanita make up a pleasant home
circle. It is brightened by luxuries provided by the new lord.
Maxime Valois' voice is heard through the valleys. He travels in
support of James Buchanan, the ante-bellum President. For is not John
C. Breckinridge, the darling son of the South, as vice-president
also a promise of Southern success?
San Francisco throws off its criminals by a spasmodic effort.
The gallows tree has borne its ghastly fruit. Fleeing "Roughs" are
self-expatriated. Others are unceremoniously shipped abroad. The
Vigilance Committee rules. This threshing out of the chaff gives
the State a certain dignity. At least, an effort has been made
to purge the community. All in all, good results--though a Judge
of the Supreme Court sleeps in a guarded cell as a prisoner of
self-elected vindicators of the law.
When the excitement of the presidential election subsides, Maxime
Valois joins the banquets of the Democratic victors. The social
atmosphere is purer. Progress marks the passing months. The State
springs forward toward the second decade of its existence. There
is local calm, while the national councils potter over the Pacific
railways. Valois knows that the great day of Secession approaches.
The Sons of the South will soon raise the banner of the Southern
Cross. He knows the purposes of the cabinet, selected by the
conspirators who surround Buchanan. Spring sees the great departments
of the government given over to those who work for the South. They
will arrange government offices, divide the army, scatter the navy,
juggle the treasury and prepare for the coming storm. The local
bitterness heightens into quarrels over spoils. Judge Philip
Hardin, well-versed in the Secession plots, feeds the ever-burning
pride of Valois. From Kansas, from court and Congress, from the
far East, the murmur of the "irrepressible conflict" grows nearer.
Maxime Valois is in correspondence with the head of his family.
While at Lagunitas, the Creole pushes on his works of improvement.
He dreams at night strange dreams of more brilliant successes. Of
a new flag and the triumph of the beloved cause. He will be called
as a trusted Southron into the councils of the coast. Will they
cut it off under the Lone Star flag? This appeals to his ambition.
There are omens everywhere. The Free-State Democrats must be
suppressed. The South must and shall rule.
He often dreams if war and tumult will ever roll, in flame and fire,
over the West. The mists of the future veil his eyes. He waits the
signal from the South. All over California, the wealth of the land
peeps through its surface gilding. There are no clouds yet upon
the local future. No burning local questions at issue here, save
the aversion of the two sections, distrustful of each other.
It needs only the mad attack of John Brown upon Virginia's
slave-keepers to loose the passions of the dwellers by the Pacific.
Martyr or murderer, sage or fanatic, Brown struck the blows which
broke the bonds of the brotherhood of the Revolution. From the year
1858, the breach becomes too great to bridge. Secretly, Southern
plans are perfected to control the West. While the conspiracy
slowly moves on, the haughtiness of private intercourse admits of
no peaceable reunion. Active correspondence between officials, cool
calculations of future resources, and the elevation to prominent
places of men pledged to the South, are the rapid steps of the
maturing plans. On the threshold of war.
For the senators, representatives, and agents in Washington
confidentially report that the code of honor is needed to restrain
the Northerners under personal dragooning. Yankee self-assertion
comes at last.
Around the real leaders of thought their vassals are ranged. Davis,
Toombs, Breckinridge, Yancey, Pryor, Wigfall, Wise, and others
direct. Herbert, Keith, Lamar, Brooks, and a host of cavaliers are
ready with trigger and cartel. The tone at Washington gives the
keynote to the Californian agents of the Southern Rights movement.
There are not enough Potters, Wades, and Landers, as yet. The
Northern mind needs time to realize the deliberation of Secession.
The great leaders of the free States are dead or in the gloomy
retirement of age. Webster and Clay are no more. There are yet men
of might to fight under the banners streaming with the northern
lights of freedom. Douglas, Bell, Sumner, Seward, and Wade are drawing
together. Grave-faced Abraham Lincoln moves out of the background
of Western woods into the sunrise glow of Liberty's brightest day.
On the Pacific coast, restraint has never availed. Here, ancestry
and rank go for naught. Here, men meet without class pride. The
struggle is more equal.
California's Senator, David C. Broderick, was the son of an humble
New York stone-cutter. He grapples with his wily colleague, Senator
It is hammer against rapier. Richard and Saladin. Beneath the
banners of the chieftains the free lances of the Pacific range
themselves. Neither doubts the courage of the opposing forces. The
blood of the South has already followed William Walker, the gray-eyed
man of destiny, to Sonora and Nicaragua. They were a splendid
band of modern buccaneers. Henry A. Crabbe found that the Mexican
escopetas are deadly in the hands of the maddened inhabitants of
Arispe. Raousset de Boulbon sees his Southern followers fall under
machete and revolver in northern Mexico. The Southern filibusters
are superbly reckless. All are eager to repeat the glories of Texas
and Mexico. They find that the Spanish races of Central America
have learned bitter lessons from the loss of Texas. They know of the
brutal conquest of California. The cry of "Muerte los Americanos!"
rings from Tucson to Darien. The labors of conquest are harder now
for the self-elected generalissimos of these robber bands. "Extension
of territory" is a diplomatic euphemism for organized descents of
desperate murderers. The wholesome lessons of the slaughter in Sonora,
the piles of heads at Arispe, and the crowded graves of Rivas and
Castillo, with the executions in Cuba, prove to the ambitious
Southrons that they will receive from the Latins a "bloody welcome
to hospitable graves."
As the days glide into weeks and months, the thirst for blood of
the martial generation overcrowding the South is manifest. On the
threshold of grave events the leaders of Southern Rights restrain
further foreign attempts. The chivalry is now needed at home. Foiled
in Cuba and Central America, restrained by the general government
from a new aggressive movement on Mexico, they decide to turn
their faces to the North. They will carve out a new boundary line
The natural treasury of the country is an object of especial
interest. To break away peaceably is hardly possible. But slavery
needs more ground for the increasing blacks. It must be toward
the Pacific that the new Confederacy will gain ground. Gold, sea
frontage, Asiatic trade, forests and fisheries,--all these must
come to the South. It is the final acquisition of California. It
was APPARENTLY for the Union, but REALLY for the South, that the
complacent Polk pounced upon California. He waged a slyly prepared
war on Mexico for slavery.
As the restraints of courtesy and fairness are thrown off at
Washington, sectional hostilities sweep over to the Western coast.
The bitterness becomes intense. Pressing to the front, champions
of both North and South meet in private encounters. They admit of
neither evasion nor retreat.
Maxime Valois is ready to shed his blood for the land of the palmetto.
But he will not degrade himself by low intrigue or vulgar encounter.
He learns without regret of the extinction of the filibusters in
Sonora, on the Mexican coast, Cuba, and Central America. He knows
it is mad piracy.
Valois sorrows not when William Walker's blood slakes the stones
of the plaza at Truxillo. A consummation devoutly to be wished.
It is for the whole South he would battle. It is the glorious half
of the greatest land on the globe. For HER great rights, under HER
banner, for State sovereignty he would die. On some worthy field,
he would lead the dauntless riflemen of Louisiana into the crater
THERE, would be the patriot's pride and the soldier's guerdon of
valor. He would be in the van of such an uprising. He scorns to be
a petty buccaneer, a butcher of half-armed natives, a rover and
a robber. In every scene, through the days of 1859, Valois bears
himself as a cavalier. Personal feud was not his object.
In the prominence of his high position, Valois travels the State.
He confers with the secret councils at San Francisco. He is ready
to lead in his regions when needed. The dark cabal of Secession
sends out trusty secret agents, even as Gillespie and Larkin called
forth the puppets of Polk, Buchanan and Marcy to action. Valois
hopes his friends can seize California for the South. Fenced off
from Oregon and the East by the Sierras, there is the open connection
with the South by Arizona.
A few regiments of Texan horse can hold this great gold-field for
the South. Valois deems it impossible for California to be recaptured
if once won. He knows that Southern agents are ready to stir up
the great tribes of the plains against the Yankees. The last great
force, the United States Navy, is to be removed. Philip Hardin
tells him how the best ships of the navy are being dismantled, or
ordered away to foreign stations. Great frigates are laid up in
Southern navy-yards. Ordnance supplies and material are pushed
toward the Gulf. Appropriations are expended to aid these plans.
The leaders of the army, now scattered under Southern commanders,
are ready to turn over to the South the whole available national
material of war. Never dreaming of aught but success, Valois fears
only that he may be assigned to Western duties. This will keep him
from the triumphal marches over the North. He may miss the glories
of that day when Robert Toombs calls the roll of his blacks at Bunker
Hill Monument. In the prime of life and vigor of mind, he is rich.
He has now a tiny girl child, gladdening sweet Senora Dolores. His
domain blossoms like the rose. Valois has many things to tie him
to San Joaquin. His princely possessions alone would satisfy any
man. But he would leave all this to ride with the Southern hosts
in their great northward march. Dolores sits often lonely now, on
the porch of the baronial residence which has grown up around the
Don's old adobe mansion. Her patient mother lies under the roses,
by the side of Don Miguel.
Padre Francisco, wearied of the mental death in life of these
lonely hills, has delayed his return to France only by the appeals
of Maxime Valois. He wants a friend at Lagunitas if he takes the
field. If he should be called East, who would watch over his wife
and child? Fran‡ois Ribaut, a true Frenchan at heart, looks forward
to some quiet cloister, where he can see once more the twin towers
of Notre Dame. The golden dome of the Invalides calls him back. He
sadly realizes that his life has been uselessly wasted. The Indians
are either cut off, chased away, or victims of fatal diseases. The
Mexicans have fallen to low estate. Their numbers are trifling.
He has no flock. He is only a lonely shepherd. With the Americans
his gentle words avail nothing. The Catholics of the cities have
brought a newer Church hierarchy with them. "Home to France," is
his longing now.
In the interior, quarrels bring about frequent personal encounters
between political disputants. The Northern sympathizers, stung
by jeer, and pushed to the wall, take up their weapons and stand
firm--a new fire in their eyes. The bravos of slavery meet fearless
adversaries. In the cities, the wave of political bitterness
drowns all friendly impulses. Every public man takes his life in
his hand. The wars of Broderick and Gwin, Field and Terry, convulse
the State. Lashed into imprudence by each other's attacks, David
C. Broderick and David S. Terry look into each other's pistols.
They stand face to face in the little valley by Merced Lake.
Sturdy Colton, and warm-hearted Joe McKibbin, second the fearless
Broderick. Hayes and the chivalric Calhoun Benham are the aids
of the lion-hearted Terry. It is a meeting of giants. Resolution
against deadly nerve. Brave even to rashness, both of them know
it is the first blood of the fight between South and North. Benham
does well as, with theatrical flourish, he casts Terry's money on
the sod. The grass is soon to be stained with the blood of a leader.
This is no mere money quarrel. It is a duel to the death; a calm
assertion of the fact that neither in fray, in the forum, nor on
the battle-field, will the North go back one inch. It is high time.
Broderick, the peer of his superb antagonist, knows that the
pretext of Terry's challenge is a mere excuse. It is first blood in
the inevitable struggle for the western coast. With no delay, the
stout-hearted champions, friends once, stand as foes in conflict.
David Terry's ball cuts the heart-strings of a man who had been his
loving political brother. His personal friend once and a gallant
comrade. Broderick's blood marks the fatal turning-off of the
Northern Democrats from their Southern brothers. As Terry lowers
his pistol, looking unpityingly at the fallen giant, he does not
realize he has cut the cords tying the West to the South. It was
a fatal deed, this brother's murder. It was the mistake of a life,
hitherto high in purpose. The implacable Terry would have shuddered
could he have looked over the veiled mysteries of thirty years
to come. It was beyond human ken. Even he might have blenched at
the strange life-path fate would lead him over. Over battle-fields
where the Southern Cross rises and falls like Mokanna's banner, back
across deserts, to die under the deadly aim of an obscure minion
of the government he sought to pull down. After thirty years, David
S. Terry, judge, general, and champion of the South, was destined
to die at the feet of his brother-judge, whose pathway inclined
Northwardly from that ill-starred moment.
Maxime Valois saw in the monster memorial meeting on the plaza,
that the cause of the South was doomed in the West. While Baker's
silver voice rises in eulogy over Broderick, the Louisianian sees
a menace in the stern faces of twenty thousand listeners. The shade
of the murdered mechanic-senator hovers at their local feast, a
royal Banquo, shadowy father of political kings yet to be.
The clarion press assail the awful deed. Boldly, the opponents of
slavery draw out in the community. There is henceforth no room for
treason on the Western coast. Only covert conspiracy can neutralize
the popular wave following Broderick's death. Dissension rages until
the fever of the Lincoln campaign excites the entire community. The
pony express flying eastward, the rapidly approaching telegraph,
the southern overland mail with the other line across the plains,
bring the news of Eastern excitement. Election battles, Southern
menace, and the tidings of the triumph of Republican principles,
reach the Pacific. Abraham Lincoln is the elected President.
Valois is heavy-hearted when he learns of the victory of freedom
at the polls. He would be glad of some broad question on which to
base the coming war. His brow is grave, as he realizes the South
must now bring on at moral disadvantage the conflict. The war
will decide the fate of slavery. Broderick's untimely death and
the crushing defeat of the elections are bad omens. It is with shame
he learns of the carefully laid plots to seduce leading officers
of the army and navy. The South must bribe over officials, and
locate government property for the use of the conspirators. It
labors with intrigue and darkness, to prepare for what he feels
should be a gallant defiance. It should be only a solemn appeal to
the god of battles.
He sadly arranges his personal affairs, to meet the separations
of the future. He sits with his lovely, graceful consort, on the
banks of Lagunitas. He is only waiting the throwing-off of the
disguise which hides the pirate gun-ports of the cruiser, Southern
Rights. The hour comes before the roses bloom twice over dead
Broderick, on the stately slopes of Lone Mountain.
GOING HOME TO DIXIE: STARS AND STRIPES, OR STARS AND BARS?
A LITTLE DINNER AT JUDGE HARDIN'S.--THE KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN
The rain drips drearily around Judge Hardin's spacious residence
in San Francisco. January, 1861, finds the sheltering trees higher.
The embowered shade hides to-night an unusual illumination. Winter
breezes sigh through the trees. Showers of spray fall from acacia
and vine. As the wet fog drives past, the ship-lights on the bay
are almost hidden. When darkness brings out sweeping lines of the
street-lamps, many carriages roll up to the open doors.
A circle of twenty or thirty intimates gathers in the great
dining-room. At the head of the table, Hardin welcomes the chosen
representatives of the great Southern conspiracy in the West. His
residence, rarely thrown open to the public, has grown with the
rise of his fortunes. Philip Hardin must be first in every attribute
of a leading judge and publicist. Lights burn late here since the
great election of 1860. Men who are at the helm of finance, politics,
and Federal power are visitors. Editors and trusted Southrons drop
in, by twos and threes, secretly. There is unwonted social activity.
The idle gossips are silent. These visitors are all men, unaccompanied by
their families. Woman's foot never crosses this threshold. In the
wings of the mansion, a lovely face is sometimes seen at a window.
It is a reminder of the stories of that concealed beauty who has
reigned years in the mansion on the hill.
Is it a marriage impending? Is it some great scheme? Some new
monetary institution to be launched?
These vain queries remain unanswered. There is a mystic password
given before joining the feast. Southerners, tried and true, are
the diners. Maxime Valois sits opposite his associate. It is not
only a hospitable welcome the Judge extends, but the mystic embrace
of the Knights of the Golden Circle. In feast and personal enjoyment
the moments fly by. The table glitters with superb plate. It is
loaded with richest wines and the dainties of the fruitful West. The
board rings under emphatic blows of men who toast, with emphasis,
the "Sunny South." In their flowing cups, old and new friends are
remembered. There is not one glass raised to the honor of the starry
flag which yet streams out boldly at the Golden Gate.
The feast is of conspirators who are sworn to drag that flag at
their horses' heels in triumph. Men nurtured under it.
Judge Hardin gives the signal of departure for the main hall. In
an hour or so they are joined by others who could not attend the
The meeting of the Knights of the Golden Circle proceeds with
mystic ceremony. The windows, doors, and avenues are guarded. In
the grounds faithful brothers watch for any sneaking spy. Every man
is heavily armed. It would be short shrift to the foe who stumbles
on this meeting of deadly import.
It is the supreme moment to impart the last orders of the Southern
leaders. The Washington chiefs assign the duties of each, in view
of the violent rupture which will follow Lincoln's inauguration.
Fifty or sixty in number, these brave and desperate souls are ready
to cast all in jeopardy. Life, fortune, and fame. They represent
every city and county of California.
Hardin, high priest of this awful propaganda, opens the business
of the session with a cool statement of facts. Every man is now
sworn and under obligation to the work. Hardin's eye kindles as
he sees these brothers of the Southern Cross. Each of them has a
dozen friends or subordinates under him. To them these tidings will
be only divulged under the awful seal of the death penalty. There
are scores of army and navy officers with high civil officials on
the coast whose finely drawn scruples will keep them out until the
first gun is fired, Then these powerful allies, freed by resignation,
can come in. They are holding places of power and immense importance
to the last. The Knights are wealthy, powerful, and desperate.
As Valois hears Hardin's address, he appreciates the labor of years,
in weaving the network which is to hold California, Arizona, and
New Mexico for the South. Utah and Nevada are untenanted deserts.
The Mormon regions are neutral and only useful as a geographical
barrier to Eastern forces. Oregon and Washington are to be ignored.
There the hardy woodsmen and rugged settlers represent the ingrained
"freedom worship" of the Northwest. They are farmers and lumbermen.
All acknowledge it useless to tempt them out of the fold. Oregon's
star gleams now firmly fixed in the banner of Columbia. And the
great Sierras fence them off.
The speaker announces that each member of the present circle will
be authorized, on returning, to organize and extend the circles
of the Order. Notification of matters of moment will be made by
qualified members, from circle to circle. Thus, orders will pass
quickly over the State. The momentous secrets cannot be trusted
to mail, express, or the local telegraphs.
Hardin calls up member after member, to give their views. The
general plan is discussed by the circle. Keen-eyed secretaries note
and arrange opinions and remarks.
Hardin announces that all arrangements are made to use all initiated
members going East as bearers of despatches. They are available
for special interviews, with the brothers who are in every large
Northern city and even in the principal centres of Europe.
Ample funds have been forthcoming from the liberal leaders of the
local movement. Millions are already promised by the branches at
Wild cheers hail Judge Hardin's address. He outlines the policy, so
artfully laid out, for the cut-off Western contingent. In foaming
wine, the fearless coterie pledges the South till the rafters
ring again. The "Bonnie Blue Flag" rings out, as it does in many
Western households, with "Dixie's" thrilling strains.
The summing up of Hardin is concise: "We are to hold this State
until we have orders to open hostilities. Our numbers must not
be reduced by volunteers going East. Our presence will keep the
Yankee troops from going East. We want the gold of the mines here,
to sustain our finances. We have as commanding General, Albert
Sidney Johnston, the ideal soldier of America, who will command
the Mississippi. Lee, Beauregard, and Joe Johnston will operate in
the East. The fight will be along the border lines. We will capture
Washington, and seize New York and Philadelphia. A grand Southern
army will march from Richmond to Boston. Another from Nashville to
Cincinnati and Chicago. Johnston will hold on here, until forced to
resign. Many officers go with him. We shall know of this, and throw
ourselves on the arsenals and forts here, capturing the stores and
batteries. The militia and independent companies will come over
to us at once. With Judge Downey, a Democratic governor, no levies
will be called out against us. The navy is all away, or in our
secret control. Once in possession of this State, we will fortify
the Sierra Nevada passes. We are prepared. Congress has given us
$600,000 a year to keep up the Southern overland mail route. It
runs through slave-holding territory to Arizona. Every station and
relay has been laid out to suit us. We will have trusty friends
and supplies, clear through Arizona and over the Colorado. At the
outbreak, we will seize the whole system. It is the shortest and
Hardin, lauding the skilful plans of a complacent Cabinet officer,
did not know that the Southern idea was to connect Memphis direct
with Los Angeles.
It was loyal John Butterfield of New York, who artfully bid for a
DOUBLE service from Memphis and St. Louis, uniting at Fort Smith,
Arkansas, and virtually defeated this sly move of slavery.
Judge Hardin, pausing in pride, could not foresee that Daniel
Butterfield, the gallant son of a loyal sire, would meet the
chivalry of the South as the Marshal of the greatest field of modern
While Hardin plotted in the West, Daniel Butterfield in the East
personally laid out every detail of this great service, so as to
checkmate the Southern design, were the Mississippi given over to
The afterwork of Farragut and Porter paralyzed the Southern line
of advance; and on the Peninsula, at Fredericksburg, at Resaca
and Chancellorsville, Major-General Daniel Butterfield met in arms
many of the men who listened to Hardin's gibes as to the outwitted
Yankee mail contractors.
Hardin, complacent, and with no vision of the awful fields to come,
secure in his well-laid plans, resumes:
"Thus aided through Arizona we will admit a strong column of Texan
dragoons. We shall take Fort Yuma, Fort Mojave, and the forts in
Arizona, as well as Forts Union and Craig in New Mexico. We will
then be able to control the northern overland road. We will hold